stream vertically down
these puffed white clouds
the hills in the distance
sea green in places
where the water droplets
scatter the light
there’s a world up there
in the many layered clouds
I wish aloud for wings
it’s been drizzling
half the drive
wet sheen to the world
mist hangs from the hills
the trees still
peace on earth seems
while on this stretch of tartop
there’s no ticker tape parades
for the tow trucks
salvation though they may be
same for the flashing sirens
of any kind
give them right of way
please let them
get there in time
written on the highway side
on the cut slate cliffs
exuberance held in hand
a more permanent state
500 meters down
on a similar stretch of rock face
is an serene silent vigil
to someone killed
flowers on the cliff top
the everlasting kind
brightly dyed cloth
and plastic stems
all season memorial
another white cross
in the tall grass
mowed around the marker
wreathed in flowers
someone is loved
someone is dearly missed
some too fragile
to make it
become rock piles
reads the decrepit billboard
on a slow sag
into the grass
still wired for power
some just skeletal
some boards for rent
some people live their lives that way
in their bright colours
LOOK AT ME
DON’T MISS OUT
don’t text and drive
seat belts save lives
the smaller road signs
such strange names
ezylyfe road on the right
meteorite crater on the left
Nairn Centre up ahead
does Black Bay
have deep, dark waters?
no time to find out
must be rolling on
entire forests fenced in
this vast pine expanse
seems the hedonist
in my wants to climb over
same as the graffiti
these small towns
awash in the vacant
boarded up buildings
once gaily decorated
now the paint is peeling
the happy eyes of the locals
in the places we’ve stopped
like this country
the Great North
these power poles
that follow the roads
will be the totem poles
we’d be back to
the thunder routes
the timber trails
the starlit veils
the owl knells
the unnamed paths
as far as the crow flies
as a measure of time
they’ll come across
inspect it carefully
seems like blue skies ahead
you keep watch
the monster caged
kept in the prison in your mind
locked down tight
you never relax
always stay vigilant
one unlocked door
one collapsed wall
they’ll find you out
the monster will cry out
before you lock it back up
but it never dies does it
whimpering in the dark
the monster is hurt
and you do all you can to protect it from the world
run far away
to the darker recesses of your mind
you’ll hide there
no one will know
of your hidden fangs
your tearing ways
you’ll slip yourself behind bars
no one will find out
chasing the silver lining
in the barbed wire
you wrap around yourself
you’re in control
the monster slumbers
then comes the flash
someone is looking in
eyes squinting in the bright light
you swear you see home
the prison dissolves
as someone holds the monster
the claws become fingers
that reach out to touch
you almost hope it burns
too afraid of hope
and what it does
you feel like running back into what you’ve always known
it’s safer there
in the dark
with the heart’s eyes closed
you won’t be chased there
you’d be alone again
back in control
it’s a relief of pressure
a sensual surrender into lowered expectations
but there’s something in their smile
that knows the monster is you
has always known
there’s something about the light that speaks of home
it’s a voice you heard once upon a time
cowering you take a step outside
a hand takes hold
there’s no place like home
no feeling like hope
We were all lined up. Vehicles in a garage when the bomb went off. Our grand plan ruined. People like living flames running around until you could catch them. And you dropped them. Covered them on whatever you could. And rolled them around until the flames went out. Hope that they make it. Most of them won’t.
The sirens came. Lights rebounding off the concrete pillars. Sounds deafening in the echoing, deep underground part of the high rise we were under. The structure around me seemed sound. Maybe it wouldn’t all come crashing down.
The blood was everywhere.
The vechiles slowly burnt out before they could get a water truck down here. The garage was supposed to have a high pressure hose of their own, but they did not. A safety violation that the charred remains were beyond caring about.
I couldn’t help but be burned in the assault. There we were practically invincible. About to go out on the job of the century. Taken down. Quite easily. Should have known better. Should have expected we had a traitor in our midst.
By the time the paramedics got there I was covered in the blood and missing skin of my fallen team mates. I wasn’t feeling any pain so I brushed them away. But the police officers gently gestured me to the back of an ambulance and cuffed my hands to the rails of the bed.
As they wheeled me to the hospital, two detectives were trying desperately to find out what had happened. Like hell I was going to tell them. That’s not how things are taken care of. Besides I wasn’t dying. I felt no need to talk at all. So they berated me and I allowed them to.
They searched me and found an ID and began to refer to me via the name they had discovered.
One of the detectives leaned in closer. “Make this easier on yourself, Ms. Rathford and tell us who targeted you. We’ve found enough at the scene to put you and any of your friends that survive away for life.”
I quietly said. “I’ve nothing to say to you.”
This angered the other detective who promptly shoved his fingers into the wound on my shoulder sustained in the explosion.
I screamed. There wasn’t a choice of holding back. The pain went hot, black and overwhelming.
The paramedic, to her credit, pushed off the man and forced him aside. “Touch her again, and I’ll have you badge pulled. Criminal or not, she is still my patient.”
“There are lives at stake here. We do what we have to.” He snapped back.
Swallowing back the nausea, I murmured, “That’s a sliding scale of morality if I’ve ever seen one.”
“What would someone like you know about morals?”
“More than someone like you who has right or wrong spoon fed to them.”
“Look, Ms. Rathford. Word has it that your crew was planning something big. We have been watching you. How do you think we arrived so fast?”
“Little good that did.”
“Even you didn’t expect the bombs.”
“No, we didn’t.”
“Who would have wanted to stop you?”
“Beside you guys?”
“Bitch! You fucking think cops would do this?”
“I don’t know, you tell me. Awful convenient of you to come to rescue after the fireworks go off.”
“Calm down,” the female detective directed to her partner. “You’ll have to exude him: he has a personal interest in this case.”
“I couldn’t tell.”
“He has a sister who was..”
I interrupted her, “Save me the sob story. We are all responsible for our actions.”
“Yeah and yours got your friends killed.”
“They all knew what they were signing up for. And you don’t even know who I am.”
“You’re not one of the leaders. I don’t recognize you.”
“Never been one to step first. Could be traps.”
“See. You’re smart. That’s how I’ll know you’ll help us.”
“I will, will I? Why’s that exactly?”
“Because you want revenge on those who did this.”
“True. But I don’t need your help for such things.”
“Where you’re going, you’ll not be doing anything you weren’t already told to.”
I smile and turned to the paramedic. “Anything you can give me for the pain?”
“Sure. Have any addictions I need to know about. Any drugs in your system?”
“Nothing but a B vitamin I took this morning.”
“Lying to me could have dire consequences if what I give you interacts with what you’ve already taken.”
“I am aware.”
“Nothing in your system?”
“No. I told you.”
“Ms. Rathford. Why were you a target?” asked the female detective with her head tilted in what I assumed was her standard sympathetic pose.
“You’re still here?”
“I’m not going anywhere until you talk.”
“You’ll be waiting awhile then, friend. Because like I have already told you. I am not speaking with the police.”
“Why bombs why not a shooting?” she persisted with her questions.
I smiled. “They wanted to be sure we couldn’t recover. A shooting may wipe out personnel, but it leaves your equipment intact. Now if you don’t mind I’d like to rest.”
I closed my eyes and awaited the drowsy agitated dreams that narcotics bring.
Human torches move in the darkness behind my eyes.
all along the wavelength
lasso me into another parallel
need the strength
to survive the flux and flow
the shells dissolve
almost as though
the multiverse was here all along
the tinfoil on the window
kept the radio waves out
strings playing pong
heart song recall
shed the coat
lose the resolve
reality as sense perceives
becomes sand in the glass
turn me over
by the flames
spirit remains untamed
thoughts circle in a holding pattern
the mind is blown
Written as a series of tweets. My favourite way to write improv poetry. Something about the blank screen and 140 character limit.
(This story contains violence, nudity, coarse language, and mature subject matter. Reader discretion is strongly advised. Gma, this means you. <3 )
“I have seen the Great existence without need of form. I am haunted by the freedom. Even without these bars I am behind, I am imprisoned within my own skin. I long to be dust. Dust everlasting.”
~Auguste “Dust” Mendes
Whereabouts unknown: Currently
Orleans found herself standing in a dimly lit room with her back to a door. Xell was seated at a small table to the right. Behind him was an empty cot. On the left was the same furniture and an old man stretched out with his legs crossed on his cot reading a book. The rest of the room contained no decorations. Just black walls, and sleek grey cabinets.
Both of the men were wearing some kind of uniform done in a pale blue that looked like gym clothing.
She could feel strong vibrations coming through the floor and resounding around her. Every now and then there was a sharp shudder. She felt unsteady on her feet and reached out to the wall to steady herself only to find it also was rhythmically resonating.
“There are things to be done, Orleans. You won’t understand at first, but I hope in time you will come to know the why of it. I want you to understand my intentions in all of this,” said Xell.
The large window behind him looked out onto space. The room they were in was moving. Slowly, stars passed by.
Xell continued, “I want you to come to me willingly. As always, I need you.”
Orleans didn’t respond. Just stared at the impossible galaxy beyond. She tamped down the feeling of nausea as best she could.
The old man seated on the cot looked up from the book he was reading and asked, “Who is she, Lucas? How did she get here?”
Xell/Lucas waved his hand casually, “Not to worry Mr. Bishop. This is Orleans. She is a dear friend. She’s here to help us.”
Mr. Bishop looked thoughtfully at the woman and turned back to Xell. “I see.”
He went back to reading.
Xell held a sleek black pen in his hands which he rolled between his thumb and his forefinger. “You’re in more danger than you know, Orleans. It’s a risk to contact you like this, but I need you to be aware of your surroundings. I need you to know they are watching you. Always watching you.”
Orleans walked past them both to the window. She ignored her reflection other than noticing she was dressed in a hospital gown and look out onto the blackness of space. “I don’t need your help. Don’t want it. You went your way. I went mine,” she said. She couldn’t help but stare at the slow swirl masses ahead of them.
“They hope you will lead them to me.”
“Ha,” replied Orleans. “Fat chance of that happening. I don’t even like acknowledging your existence these days.”
“Eventually you will come to find me. I expect they will follow you. I just want you to be aware of who you bring along.” Xell sounded sure of his assertions.
She closed her eyes, tired of the tension she felt around her. She didn’t feel like participating anymore. “Bullshit. I don’t give a shit what your plans are.”
“Even if it means the survival of us of us? Would you care if I told you Jules and all the rest of the veil will die without intervention?” Xell had a pleading tone to his voice.
She took a deep breath. Opened her eyes to see the ‘heavens’ her ancestors had only been able to see from Earth’s gravity. “I’ve seen so much death in my lifetime. What’s a few more bodies to add to the count?”
“You don’t mean that.” Xell’s voice softened.
She turned back to look at him noticing for the first time the ever present sadness in his eyes hidden beyond his pride. “Maybe I do. Maybe in the end of all this, none of us were ever meant to survive the Grey.” She looked back out the window completely captivated.
“It troubles me to see you so, my love,” He said lightly.
She sighed more than exasperated. “Leave me alone, Xell. I just got back home and I’m tired as hell.”
“We’re all tired, Orleans. But the fate of the world is at stake and we must continue on just like everybody else.”
“Oh no. Not the fate of the world you say. Dear Lord. Whatever shall we do.”
He stood up from his table and moved closer to her. “Orleans, listen to me.”
She turned to fully face him. She shivered in her hospital gown. It was cold in this place. She gritted her teeth as she bite the words at him “You’ve become pathetic and boring even in my dreams, Xell. This must mean something.”
“Are you certain this is a dream?” He tilted his head and looked past her to the view beyond.
She grinned as her eyes narrowed. A tinge of hate to her voice. “Hmm. Spaceship. Random old guy who vaguely looks like someone out of a history book and you. Yep. Pretty fucking certain this is a dream.”
“Don’t discount this. I may end up turning out to be real.” He studied her face which made her self conscious and uncomfortable.
“As real a ghost as you ever were, Xell.”
His whole face tightened. His jaw clenched. “There’s not much time left to waste in this idle chastising.” He grabbed hold of her arm tightly and she couldn’t escape his grasp. He pulled her towards him as he looked down into her eyes. “Listen to me, I’ve reprogrammed the relays to read as though you’ve been gone to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1911 for the last four years. So when they ask you, be sure to tell them that is indeed where you’ve been.”
He let go of her and she fled back towards the door. It had no handle and it would not open for her. She briefly searched for a keypad but couldn’t see one. She turned back to him. Prepared herself in case she had to get violent.
“I don’t understand. Why would you need to reprogram the relays?” She asked.
“You don’t have any idea where you were, do you?” He looked at her with sympathy as he kept his distance.
“I don’t remember.”
“That’s not surprising.”
“Fine. Where have I been?”
He ran his hands along the back of the chair he had been sitting in. “That’s the thing: you’ve never been anywhere in any time period. Four years ago you went into a relay and never stepped through to any side or time.”
“That’s not possible.” She stopped looking for an escape for a moment as confusion set in.
“It is quite, I assure you, possible. After all your sister did the same thing albeit it by accident. You went into that malfunctioning relay and brought her back. I have done the same for you. The only difference was the relay you were in wasn’t malfunctioning.”
“It’s not possible to stay inside. That kills people.”
“It didn’t kill you, Orleans. You’re here. You’re home. You’re alive.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“It doesn’t matter whether you believe me or not. It’s the truth, and I always told you above everything I’d be honest first and foremost.”
“Look how well that turned out for us.”
Her words hit their mark in him as he pleaded, “Orleans, please just tell them you were in 1911. Don’t let them find out the truth. They need to believe you’re still controllable.”
Xell stood up and moved towards her. She turned her face away from him. Closed her eyes.
“Orleans,” she heard him say very softly and very close. “Orleans please look at me.”
She opened her eyes to see him looking down at her inches from contact. His eyes tried to hold hers but she had to look away.
His voice cracked when he said, “I’ve missed you so very much.” His eyes filling with tears.
She slid out away from him. A strong light blinded her eyes. And she was gone away from the strange place.
(wrote this on twitter in obviously a series of tweets. <3 Nette)
Spectral hugs that speak of love; they evaporate too soon.
Far away and yet close to the heartbeat.
Refreshed by every new breath.
Helpless in the heartache of those you love.
Tormented by pain you cannot take away.
Your smile becomes a beacon of hope.
You hope it shines brightly enough in the heaviness of darkness falling.
Let them know they are never alone.
Let them know you will keep them close.
Never let them go.
No matter how deep they tread.
No matter how long they’ve been away.
Love is unbound by distance.
Travels at the speed of light.
Faster than reality can bend it.
Briefly it glows.
Becoming the horizon.
The way home.
(This story contains violence, nudity, coarse language, and mature subject matter. Reader discretion is strongly advised. Gma, this means you. <3 )
After the Grey, Veil Sector Tunnels: Currently
The Dapper Man walked down the hallway a few steps behind his Boss and the accompanying entourage. He adjusted the cuffs of his sleeves; picked a red fibre from his lapel. He looked at his suit pocket and wished there were still carnations in the world. He felt wrong without a yellow carnation for his outfit. Wherever he went when he time travelled, the first thing the Dapper Man would do would be to find a florist and buy a flower. He was ridiculed for this, but he ignored such trivial juvenile behaviour. Flowers ,especially carnations, were a visceral representation of beauty that he needed to carry around with him.
The group paused for a moment while Lucky Snow, the Boss Delmar’s, ever present bodyguard, opened the door to the meeting room. To the right of the door hung a plaque, and the Dapper Man took a moment to smooth his cowlick back into place staring into the shiny brass surface.
Delmar had salvaged the plaque from a government held museum commemorating the events that led to the Grey. The plaque itself read: “Here are the remnants of the only escape pod of our planet’s first deep space capable spaceship ISS Caelo Aevitas This capsule was the only one of seventy to have landed on Earth after the events of January 23, 2035. There were no survivors.”
Delmar kept the plaque mounted as a mockery and a testament to his esteem of the people who had survived the Grey. Anyone inside the conference room were true survivors: anyone outside were merely pawns.
So many people had been thrown back into time to that ship once the coordinates and timelines had been determined. So many never came back. Just died in the past and never came home. No burial for them because their was nothing to bury. That was when they began to realize there was no way to change the past. You could stop the ship from being manufactured, come back and find the world still Grey. Kill the traitorous captain, and the present would remain unchanged. All those first phasers died for nothing.
Lucky Snow opened the door for Delmar and ushered him into the room. They heard that idiot Nen speaking with his back to the door.
“Just saying I don’t like to be kept waiting, especially by someone who needs a booster seat,” Nen was nonchalantly cleaning his nails with the edge of his blade.
A thin set man with thick rimmed black glasses had us on the Boss and said, “I wouldn’t talk that way if I were you.”
Nen laughed. “Then thank the fuck, I ain’t you, Simon. I’d die of sheer boredom.”
Rev bent closely to Nen and said something quietly her eyes on the Boss who was watching the ongoings without saying a word.
“I don’t care.” Nen shrugged his hand slipping slightly to cut into his thumb along the nail. He stuck the offending digit in his mouth and licked the blood off. Smiling as delight lit his eyes. The best entertainment was a strong sense of the offensive. “It just gets so fucking tiring waiting around for that midget bastard to show all the time.”
The door clicked audibly as Delmar slammed it shut with his cane. “This midget keeps you all alive, fed and paid. If you weren’t such a good little murderer, Nen, I’d have fed you to the machines years ago.”
The room itself was small. Just a plain concrete bunker box off Delmar’s office. Delmar liked his office in the basement. It was down a long tunnel all brick and part of an old building whose structure had been vaped in the Grey leaving only the brick foundation. Delmar had had it sealed off from the surface and slightly whitewashed. He had a grand mahogany table with suited chairs that shone with orange oil. He allowed no other furniture in the room. If you visited him you stood. It was a very stark and clean room and in it, Delmar was king.
Delmar Lowell was the spit in the palms of a tight handshake. He was the promise maker, the action taker. He was the enforcement behind the veiled threats. He ran the set of tunnels carved into the hardest rock on earth: the great Canadian shield. Those tunnels, unlike the government run Carp complex to the west, were cut close to the Ottawa river and ran like a labyrinth under the former city. Those tunnels Delmar called home he also called the Veil. Hunter may have been the visible leader of the rebels, but it was Delmar calling all the shots in the underground.
Delmar didn’t have the patience for politics, that kind of stuff he left for people with ideals, people with visions, people with dreams stuffed so far up there asses that they were more than willing to turn a blind eye to Delmar so long as they retained power. He also spoke of a kind of greed to be found in good men and women: a need to save everyone and the greed to rescue. A need to control.
The Boss had control of any business conducted in the Veil tunnels, legitimate or otherwise. He also held control of the Veil’s only relay which was located in a side room of his office a sub level down from the casino candidly called “The Lucky Snow”.
Delmar was a short man, more then short, he was born a little person. He commanded respect more strongly then the men and women he ordered around. He was ruthless if you crossed him. He was cunning, and he was dangerous.
The Dapper Man took a seat near Lucky Snow who was intensely staring Nen down.
They were all seated around a the mahogany table. There were ten of them: Delmar, Lucky Snow, the Dapper Man, a couple of Delmar’s guards, Nen, Rev, Swain, Verse Moon Song, Turkey Jack the weapon’s dealer, And Simon who was Hunter’s unofficial representative in situations where it wasn’t appropriate to have direct knowledge. Plausible deniability was always paramount.
Delmar sat in his seat which was raised higher than the rest, custom designed to. He laid his silver tipped cane in front of him. He left his soft felt hat upon his head. He glared at Nen until he removed his tattered leather hat.
“Glad you each made it home. Some of you never left. But it’s good to have everyone home safe and sound. I presume, Simon, that I can add Orleans to this sentiment.” Delmar pulled out a cigar, cut it with a silver cutter, and lit it.
Simon sat forward in his seat. “Indeed, sir. She’s recovering as we speak.”
“Any signs of damage?”
“Minimal, sir. Nothing out of the ordinary resurrection sickness.”
“Good to hear. Messy business slicing.” Delmar grinned with his cigar clenched tightly between his teeth.
“She’s due to come out of the coma later today.”
Delmar sat back in his chair as he asked. “And what do the relay logs tell us? Where has she been the last four years?”
Simon answered. “It seems that Orleans was in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1911 to be precise.”
“The entire time?”
Simon folded his arms together. “It does appear to be so, yes.” He tilted his face just a touch his lips tightening briefly.
The Boss caught the doubt. “But you’re not confident in your data, Simon?”
Slightly exasperated, Simon raised his hands. “I cannot dispute it. Every relay log has been scoured and there is no evidence that she has returned before now. Nor that she every ventured anywhere else since that initial trip.”
“We knew this four years ago.”
“Yes we did.”
“And did we not send teams out to look for her then?”
“Yes we did.”
“And they all came be with no sightings?”
“Yes, sir. That is indeed the case.” Simon nodded his face grim.
Delmar thought for a moment before speaking. “What are the chances your data has been comprised in some way?”
“It would be nearly impossible to achieve such a hack. The computing power alone would be out of reach for most. Besides her implants reconcile the trajectory as being nothing more than 4 years spent in 1911.”
“Any physical signs to the otherwise?”
“None to suggest extensive time travel, no.”
“Anything else I need to know?”
Simon referred to a report he had in front of him. “There are some descrepancies in the logs. They appear to be unrelated to the current events at this time.”
“Explain.” Delmar gestured to Simon to hand over the report.
“There’s a glitch.” Simon gave the Boss the papers.
“Where and when?” Delmar said glancing at the text.
“A steamer train in 1928, running cross country Canada.”
“Well that train is known to have derailed just outside a small town in Quebec in an horrific accident. And yet the logs have reported numerous trips to this location by parties unknown to us is at this time, at a point past where the accident should have occurred.”
Delmar put down the report and puffed on his cigar. “I’m not following you, Simon. The past cannot be altered in any meaningful way. You could blow up the White House in the past and come back here to find nothing changed and the White House still standing. Everyone knows this.”
“There is a conflicting log in the relays that suggests there were two trains. The one that derailed. And one that continued on safely into the maritimes.”
“How can two trains exist on the same track?”
“They can’t. Simply put we are either monitoring two trains which cannot possibly exist together or the feed we are getting has been tampered with.”
“To what purpose?”
“As of right now, I don’t know.”
“Send a team out there. No one alpha, say, Lidsville and Daniels. I want a handle on anything that could possibly interfere with our current status.”
“Of course, sir. I’ll make the arrangements.” Simon wrote some notes down in his tiny black book.
Delmar turned to the rest of those present. “Moving back to the matters at hand. You have all heard by now of the treaty we’ve been locked into with the Dominion.”
They all signalled that they knew.
“We are not shutting down operations entirely. We will continue to import goods from the past. We have the go ahead from Hunter to continue as is. We will continue to have this green light so long as we find the whereabouts of the fugitive Xell and his kidnapped Architect.”
Nen’s eyebrows raised as he suddenly became interested in the proceedings “Woah? What? The architect is gone? Out of the Serenity project’s compound?”
“Yes. Just yesterday he was taken. By Xell who apparently has visited the complex several times masquerading as a man the Architect referred to as Lucas,” said Delmar.
“I thought they kept Him under controlled conditions in a place barriered against relaying into. In a room that moves in time and space randomly so that it was supposed to remain indecipherable,” said Rev.
Delmar answered, “He entered more than once without means of a relay and only yesterday decided to take the Architect with him.”
“Where did they go?” asked Nen.
“It’s not known at this time. So eyes are on Orleans and the fortunate timing of her reunion.” Delmar motioned to Verse Moon Song, “That means you, Moon. You’re to remain close to Orleans at all times.”
The Boss sat with his cigar in his hand for a moment and spoke directly to Swain. “Do we know if Julia is aware of her sisters return?”
“She is not, yet,” answered Swain
“Does she know anything?” Delmar asked.
Swain shook his head. “No, we’ve kept her out of the loop purposefully. She’s been through too much since her husband and children all died in the last influenza outbreak. She is working in the medical centre and hasn’t had contact with her sister since the disappearance four years ago.”
“Will she cooperate if it comes down to it?”
“Hard to say. She’s a little fragile at the moment. Could go either way,” said Swain.
Looking around the table, Delmar said,”Well you all know what’s at stale here. If we don’t find Xell and his new capture then the Dominion may call off their newfound goodwill.”
“Rev, Nen, you will be the counterpoints for gathering any and all information from the Dominion. Rev, I expect you to use your considerable contacts and charms to find out what they know. Nen, I expect you to keep your mouth shut and your gun holstered.”
They both knew better than to object.
“Turkey Jack. Expect a visit from Orleans as soon as she’s able. Knowing her, she won’t want to be home unarmed. Go ahead and sell her whatever she wants, but make sure there’s a tracker hidden in whatever you give her.”
Turkey Jack acknowledged the Boss’ request saying nothing.
“As for you Swain, I want you out of the bar, and back to doing what you do best. I don’t feel the need to elaborate on that, do you?”
Swain shook his head. “No, sir.”
“Good. Then we’re finished here. Dismissed. Keep me informed.”
The others left leaving only the Boss, Lucky Snow, the guards, and the Dapper Man. Delmar waved away the guards.
Once they were gone he spoke, “There’s something else I didn’t add that I’d like you both to take care of. Under no circumstances is it to leave this room. Understand?”
Lucky Snow nodded.
The Dapper Man smiled and said, “Of course, Boss.”
Delmar leaned back in his chair. “Hunter and the Dominion want their Architect back awfully badly for people who have no use for relaying any longer. Without him they cannot build any more relays. I think there’s more going on to this then we’re being allowed to know. Keep your eyes peeled for why. Get in touch with our contacts Dominion side and find out what you can. I don’t like entering into business contracts without knowing all the cards at play. They should have put the Architect down when they had the chance. Yet they didn’t. This tells me there’s something still active at play they need him for. Find out what, boys. Quickly, yeah?”
Lucky Snow stood and the Dapper Man followed suit. They left the Boss at his polished table to his own devices. His shaky hand pouring out a glass of some past imported liquor. The finest things in life were still available to the present apocalypse for a price. Delmar had the control and the coin to pay.
(You can find Chapter Five here.)
(Reworked this from November. Felt I had to. The original is still up here.)
you stand in an empty bathroom
all done in black
so you lose yourself
the moment you step inside
the mirrors are on all sides
you see yourself in the infinite
caught rapt for a moment
all these selves
shelves of existence
stretching further than mere eyes
you cannot keep eye contact yet
all the stalls locked save the one in the back
you head down the path
passing by with a quick step
peripheral vision catches brief flashes
unable to see in
you try the locks
there’s no getting in
only to see nothing
but a stainless toilet seat
the green sensor flashes
no one is in there
you step back
knowing something caught your eye
you can’t place why
a blurry riot of colours
come between the cracks
moments caught in time
frightened by these ghosts
terrified by the silence
feels like floating
all this black
with sudden bursts
of movement that ceases
the moment you go in for a closer look
you turn back
to find the entrance
you run towards the false wall
and the cracks in the stall doors
you see yourself
in all your past
things you don’t want to remember
people you were
that you don’t want to see
there’s no going back
you hammer fists
upon the ebony tiles
screaming for another chance
the wall remains in place
back to the wall
knowing you have no choice
but to head for the only open stall
save the rapture
the mirrors come down from the ceilings
you are a caged wild animal
you touch the reflections
wishing you were anywhere else
scatter and contract
cutting to the bone
among the blood flowing
it’s all too much
to cry now would bring a flood
you don’t want to drown
you don’t want to accept this
a hand is held out
you look up
a looming figure
who is whole and intact
grabs hold of you
has your eyes
but they smile at you
pulls you up
holds you close
there is nothing to fear
come with me now
they say to you
they say to themself
they lead you past
all these bathroom stall visions
you can’t help but see
of all the things you don’t want to admit
the tears come
they hold your hand
as the flood waters
everything you’ve ever done
in the sidelines
you can’t look away
try as you might
you’re sure this will kill you
but you look ahead at them
and they seem so unafraid
seem to love you
as they carefully tread forward
knees deep in the water
brief blurry riots of colour and form
replete with grand noise
the sobs come on
you are wrecked
you are wracked
they pull you on
black tiles beneath you
you are afforded short
intense and fleeting glimpses
of all you’ve ever done
all you’ve ever been
all you’ll ever be
they say to you
in a whisper that
you say you can’t
say you will someday
finally you’ve reached
the last and only open stall
hand in hand with yourself
chest deep in water
you don’t understand
but a gleaming steel toilet
and a green sensor flashing
just like the first one
that’s the point
they tell you
that each stall is a new
or the same ending
it’s up to you to flush this place
they tell you
as they let go of your hand
you hear them call
as the water rushes up around you
and the mirrors come down
(Just sketched this up now. Apologies for the rough state. Came to me as I was planning on working on Relay. Super wanted to share it with you all. <3 Nette)
(Edit: Expanded this and I think improved upon it. <3 Nette June 30, 2014)
There was a flask of vodka on the side of the bathtub. She shouldn’t have been drinking when feeling so distraught, but the funeral was tomorrow and she couldn’t bear it. The hot steam pasted her red hair to her forehead. She lay with her head on the edge of the tub. Eyes closed. Mind far away. Trying to soak reality out with the bath water to little or no effect.
He was gone and with him all her dreams and hope. Dead from a heart attack. Their friend John had called to tell her. She had numbly responded and insisted she would be alright. John had wanted to come over. She didn’t want to see anyone and told John so. Softy he had responded by saying, “I’ll pick you up Friday. 9AM.” Numbness flooded her as she had hung up the phone.
She just kept relieving that phone call. No amount of alcohol was helping it stop.
Her lips tightened as she desperately tried to summon the will not to cry. The tears came anyways. Might as well get it all out now while she could be honest with herself and her feelings. Before she had to go and console her good friend: his wife. Before she had to hold it all in.
Life was supposed to have changed so that someday they could have been together without hurting anyone. She never liked to think too much about the how of it working out. It hurt too much to think of the logistics. Seemed hopeless. She kept a quiet promise to herself that if she just kept holding on to him they would be together. And now she was torn asunder. Left with a life half lived in dreams only. Left alone.
She thought of his wife and her heart broke even more to know all the pain she must be going through. She felt utterly ashamed of herself. Yes they loved each other, but his wife loved him too. Death was an answer with absolute finality to an unfinished life that left behind nothing but fragments and questions.
She missed him. She hated him for leaving. She hated loving him and hated him for loving her. He wasn’t suppose to go. They were suppose to live forever. They were supposed to have watched the stars die together. He was supposed to be the fucking light in her heart that never went out. They should have been together. Someday. Now never.
Now he was just a dead matchstick lying in a wooden box. This thing that was awaiting her tomorrow.
She wasn’t there when he died. She never got to hold him to the end. Never got to say goodbye, say I love you. She never got enough and there would be no more chances for them. He passed from the earth; yet, it still turned without him. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t let go. She shouldn’t have to. It wasn’t fair. None of this was real. It couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be happening. He was out there. He had to be.
She stepped out from the bath and drained the water. Carrying the flask, she took a swig as she walked with the water streaming off her body to the bedroom.
She saw him for a flicker of a moment on the edge of the bed. Putting his shoes on and whispering quietly that he had to go back. Always leaving; now gone for good.
She with her eyes blinded by tears walked to her closet where she had hung up his favourite dress: the red one, the one that was velvet and so soft to the touch. She ran her fingers along its curves and remembered his hands on the small of her back guiding her through the parties they’d attended. She closed her eyes and saw him looking at her in the way that he did. He would never look at her again.
She wished she could wear it and feel him hold her again. But he was just a ghost now. She threw the flask at the wall and it clattered to the floor. She tore the dress down and ripped out its delicate buttons one by one. She couldn’t rip the stitches. She was too weak in her emotionally exhausted state.
She sank to the floor fingers grasping the dress tightly. Her head to her knees. Great deep sobs came out of her and shook her whole body. From the depths of despair she held him tightly. She howled.
She could feel him kiss her forehead and smell her hair. She could taste the salt of his skin as she kissed his neck. She could feel him wrapped around her. She could remember the intensity with which he held eye contact. And how she couldn’t quite keep looking at him without having to look away.
They had never had sex. They’d always come close but never crossed that line. It could wait until they were each other’s alone, they thought. It could wait until life gave them the chance. They had plenty of time. They used to lay side by side wrapped up in each other’s arms fully clothed. Talking throughout the night and into the dawn. Baring their souls. It seemed to her now to be unbelievably and stupidly romantic. Completely naive. Lacking anything she could hold onto.
That wasn’t entirely true. She had his words and the way he looked at her. She had known him in all the ways that counted. Just not in any way that was significant.
But they both loved his wife and she deserved better than that kind of betrayal. But try as they might they couldn’t lie to each other about how they felt.
She felt her own cowardice heavily knowing she had held her dreams in her hands and never took the full chance. Now she held a red velvet dress and a whole lot of nothing else.