Wednesday, 29 June 2011
I never lose this much time. Not anymore. Everything was going so damn well. Why, why, why now?
To clarify, this post is more to August than anyone else. I'm so sorry.
The last thing I remember before everything went dark was actually thinking and saying out loud to myself "I've been doing so well." Then a long empty space, and then waking up on some sidewalk, feeling numb and almost blinded [a feeling i'm sure spencer knows all too well].
Of course, my first thought was "Oh my god, it's finally happened. Shit, shit, shit!" I took off the hoodie I don't even remember owning, and ran for... a long time. My knees felt on fire by the time I was stopped. I collapsed on a bench, where I could think to myself. The more I thought about it, the more things became confusing. Usually when I black out and do something violent, my fingers feel like shit. They felt normal. I also usually wake up blade in hand, and I didn't even have it on me.
I saw a library across the street. I walked in, wanting to use the computer, expecting the blog to say something about "Todd killed everyone!". Then I read that August was attacked. I started flipping out, until I read he stabbed the guy. Needless to say, I didn't feel very stabbed.
i'm just glad things didn't
Monday, 27 June 2011
I’ve never been one for sitting around the house. Spacious though it may be, the decorum is Spartan and the entire affair smells faintly (and in some places, not so faintly) of mould.
So I stay on the move as much as possible. Take on some semi-freelance work delivering (Spence was not keen on the idea until I told him I was referring my customers to the Business after they’d paid me), get some cash on the side, and who knows, I might even have some fun along the way if there happens to be a decent club or pub. I return ‘home’ occasionally, though generally just to meet up with my co-workers if we’re going on a big assignment. My room in the house is, basically just a storage facility for my cash and medicine, (Which reminds me, Doc: Why would I steal from you? That’s such a goddamn stereotype. I’m pretty sure if you saw my stash, you’d be more likely to steal from me) and occasionally I’ll even sleep in my own bed. Though sleep is a luxury these days…my little sickness is becoming more symptomatic. I close my eyes and the darkness overcomes, then a light flashes and I can’t move and He is here and my lungs clamp…
So sleep is a luxury.
I’m back home now; last couple of days I’ve been on a little trip to line my own pockets (and then promptly de-line them, you know how it goes). It was a routine delivery, couple of Runners (you know, I’ve never really liked that term, people always take it far too literally. I wish people would just calm down and see it more, metaphorically: running from death, perhaps? But these silly buggers pissing themselves as they sprint across the country? They’re just forcing themselves into de-facto vagrancy. And vagrants cheques? Generally bounce. I’ve got a rule for my own deliveries: If you don’t have a place of residence I can make the delivery to, ‘cause you’re too busy sitting in a hotel taking videos of the minibar, then guess what? I’m too busy to get my arse over there with extra videotapes. Go get a real job.) under lockdown in a South Dakota farmhouse. And like all good rednecks, they needed more slugs.
I always have these flashes of existentialism in this job. What are we doing? We’re profiteering from people who, no matter what we bring them, are doomed. It’s pre-emptive graverobbing. We can bring them all the guns and ammo they want, all they’ll be doing is maybe putting a dent in the Proxy population, which in some corners of the earth appears to be, considerable. Never do they touch the source of the problem. I don’t even think a depleted uranium shell could make a dent in Tall and Slender…though damnit I’d love to try. (Spencer, can we get a tank for Christmas? Pleeeeease? I’ll be good! I’ll take it for walks and clean up after it and everything!)
This is generally the point that Spencer would come up to me and say “We’re providing a service in the short term, and who knows? Not everyone’s as fuckin’ pessimistic as you, y’know?” (Except he’d be saying it less coherently, because by this point he’d probably have got into my absinthe and sculled it like the Philestine he is)
I think I’ve thought of a better justification: We’re on our way out too. Just one group of the walking dead, doing jobs for another. It’s not graverobbing, it’s more…a zombie economy, so to speak.
…So where was I?
South Dakota. The farmhouse in question was…ominous. A tiny, dilapidated (hell it might as well have been Civil War era) cottage in the middle of sprawling fields. Very Children of the Corn. And you wouldn’t believe how little it appealed to me that the first thing that came to mind when I saw the thing was a Stephen King novel. That never bodes well. I parked my car (Well, it wasn’t mine as in, bought it with my own money. Last freelance job I took, my client didn’t need it anymore. I don’t generally take non-cash payments, but hey, everyone needs wheels.) as close to the house as I could manage, taking a reticent look out at the swirling cornstalks before vacating the car, grabbing the package, locking the door and briskly walking to the front door. Knock knock.
The door opened near immediately to a pair of flannelette-shirted beards. “Special delivery for a Misters Johns and Stewart?” I asked, just going through the motions at this point: of course they were, there wasn’t another house for miles. Which made sense. Wouldn’t want to spread the plague further; bunkering down in an urban area? Someone’s going to see Tall and Slender, or at least one of his little buddies. And then they’ll be at risk. Sometimes, it’s best to go into quarantine, I suppose.
”You got our ammo? We got those sons-of-bitches knockin’ on our doors just as soon as the sun sets,” Mister Johns and/or Stewart asked frantically as I handed him the tightly-bound package. “And we can’t go into town, not anymore. They’re there, they’re there…all through, never suspect a thing, can’t see, not on their faces but in their minds and they want us and why? Why do they want us? …”
One of the perks of working with people with our problems; you don’t need to try and carry out an intelligent conversation with them, they’re far too happy to hear the sounds of their own voice, letting their fragile minds explode through their vocal cords like they’re afraid if they don’t talk about what’s happening, they’ll miss their chance to talk ever again.
Probably why so many of us blog. Go figure.
”Got the cash?” I asked, prompting the silent one to reach into his pocket and toss over a roll of Ben Franklins. “That’s ‘bout the last of our cash.” he said quietly. “We can’t sell the harvest, they’ve sprayed the corn with something. Frank here ate some and seriously tripped, he’s never been the same since.” I counted the money. “Must be tough. Yep, this is all the cash, glad I could be of service.” I said, backing up a little. Never overstay your welcome, that’s my philosophy. For life in general as well, apparently: well, considering my job and habits. Jump in, do what you need to do: stay around after that, and that’s just pure hedonism.
“Thanks, pal…I guess it’s ‘bout time we should move on, we’ve held the fort here as long as we could. We’ve got food for another month or so, but…” I was already on my way to the car. This field was giving me the heebie jeebies. Though if I was asked to describe my feelings at the time, I’d probably have used a rather more choice phrase which didn’t make me sound like a cartoon.
“You kids have fun.” I said, unlocking the door and stepping in. I waved (might as well be polite) to the two blokes at the door, only to see them turn sheet white and slam the door. So much for politeness.
It was only when I put the machine into ‘reverse’ and looked in my mirror that I saw what they were so white about.
Two men in masks, standing either side of the path out; partially obscured by stalks of corn. I couldn’t see them carrying anything, but they were far away, and my eyes are bad.
I locked my doors, swung the car around and pulled on my seatbelt. Neither of them moved. I considered going out of my way to hit one of them, but…well, death is…death. The end. The finale. As a man who is spending his life trying to hold onto it? Taking another life when it could be avoided…
Not my style.
I pushed the accelerator and started down the path. Neither of the two masked men moved as I shot past them, they merely stared intently at the cottage. As I drove, I noticed more and more masked faces amidst the corn, sending shivers down my spine. None of them moved, they just…watched.
We may all be Runners, but some are closer to the finish line than others. The roll of bills weighed heavily on my consciousness on the drive home, though I managed to put it out of mind because of one simple fact.
At least with my help, the two of them weren’t going down without a fight.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
" ... Wha?"
Saturday, 25 June 2011
In all seriousness, I do actually have to go get to work on that.
Friday, 24 June 2011
So, y’all have seen the rest of the team. Woop-di-fucking-doo, welcome the disfunction junction. The booze is Spenc’s, the drugs are Steele’s, and the smokes are mine. I just happen to steal the booze.
I want to do something. Getting antsy holed up where I am, Poe too. Poor bastard hasn’t been able to stretch his wings in ages. My bones are getting that ache that means something’s going to go down. Dunno what, dunno when but it’s gonna happen. Mark my words.
Christ, I’m tired. But I can’t sleep, not an option. I’m on my third cup of stale coffee. Need to brew a new pot soon. Which means I need to go steal some instant coffee. It’s funny, before this I was a fucking coffee snob, now I’ll take anything with caffeine in it. Coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks. Hell, on bad days I’ll take the blasphemy of decaf if it’s fucking hot. As long as it keeps me awake.
Should pick up a carton of cigs while I’m at it. Maybe I’ll treat myself to some nice ones. Steele and Spencer have their addictions, I have mine.
Gonna go smoke the last of this pack or something. Thank god we’re not in the woods.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
I’m writing this blog post because Boss threatened to hide my favorite scalpel if I didn’t introduce myself. So I suppose I’ll get this over with, get my tool back, and resist the temptation to let him bleed out the next time he comes to me with a knife sticking out of his back. I’d forgive him for being drunk when he said that, but he’s drunk when he says anything. Especially when it’s about my tits.
But, enough about Boss’s shitty problems; I suppose I should introduce myself. Call me Doc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a real doctor. Had a few issues during my residency, one thing after the other, and I’ve ended up running packages and patching up these sorry sons of bitches when they don’t have the time or the cash to see a real doctor. It’s a bummer, but I still have my fancy degree papers to use as kindling the next time the power goes out, and fuzzy college memories to keep me warm when that doesn’t suit me.
Speaking of warm and fuzzy college memories, that’s about the time I started seeing the Tall Guy. Sophomore year, middle of winter, right after a big party: I was stumbling home drunk, alone like an idiot. I’m usually a big girl, I can take care of myself. Didn’t really prove my worth that night when I decided to wander home boozed up and wearing…well, let’s not be too graphic here and leave it at, “not nearly fucking enough to be wandering back to your apartment on a winter night.” If I remember, it started to snow while I was weaving between the lawns of the frat houses, trying to find a shortcut. God, it was cold. I eventually found my way to the city park, which was pretty far out of the way. I stopped to catch a breath, though it wasn’t a pleasant one. I was tired, and the icy air pierced straight through to my lungs, prickling and gouging every inch of my mouth and throat along the way. Hell, to be honest, I wonder if it actually was. I shuddered and coughed into the back of my hand, and to my shock, there was a bit of blood. The wind picked up a bit, and I looked back up again into the maze of trees on the outskirts of the park. For an instant, I saw a sickly white face gleaming in the moonlight: it sat on high shoulders, its eyeless gaze judging, seeming to pierce my mind. I screamed and ran back blindly between the frat houses, across the lawns, into the street, in front of a pair of blinding headlights.
That was a nice few weeks in the hospital. The doctors and nurses were all so kind, I felt inspired. I started studying to take my MCAT soon after. In a way, I guess I owe one to the Tall Guy for helping me figure out my career path, but that doesn’t make up for the rest of the shit he’s done.
I’ve made a long damn post for somebody who didn’t really want to say anything, but I guess once you start, you can’t stop. Not much else for me to say, but just to get the business notes out of the way here: if you need something delivered, fine, just pay up like the rest. But be aware that I don’t offer my medical services to anybody but these loons. Nobody else is (or at least, should be) crazy enough to let one of the Stalked anywhere near them with a goddamn knife.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Just because there's a faceless deity stalking you, doesn't mean other things aren't trying to kill you. Sure, I can carry a package like hell, but the thing is, if Mr. Tall feelsthe need to throw some guy in a hoodie at you,that's where I come in. I'm the escort man. I can guarantee that no one else other than Mr. Tall and his many-a-tentacles will be bringing you down. When trouble rears it's ugly head, I will be there. To stab the fuck out of it.
But why would I be joining a group like this one now? It's true, I would never lower myself to the position of delivery boy under any normal circumstances, but lately, I've come to the realization that the others have known for quite some time. I don't have much longer. I've been running for years, and I thought I could run for a lot longer, but I found out the Man wears on other things than your mind. It turns out he can take a toll on your body as well. Picture this: A 6'5" bald, black man, walking into a pharmacy to steal over-the-counter arthritis medication. Pretty pathetic, huh?
Spence found me in the middle of one of my relapses. I was somewhere spraypainting a circle with an 'X' through it somewhere, with a batshit-crazy look in my eye. He never told me the full story, but he must have been pretty damn convincing in getting me to calm down, cause I haven't gone mad since. Now, it's just a matter of waiting until the lights turn off, and I wake up covered in their blood.
So, if ushering people helps take my mind off the pain, so be it.
Monday, 20 June 2011
I guess I'm staying here, though. I figure for me it's a choice between growing a (metaphorical) pair and working for Spence and co, or being out on my own and dying a horrible death in some dark alleyway. Which will probably still happen. But at least I'll be getting paid for it.
Also, I'm a girl. Just thought I'd mention that.
So Spencer thought this blog thing would be a good idea. Yeah, no, I don’t think so. But I might as well use the damn thing. Quicken the end or whatever the fuck.
So, yeah, I might as well make some sort of introduction for this doomed thing. I’m Amanda, that’s all any of y’all get to call me. That means you, Steele. I’m one of the poor fuckers who got sucked into this whole delivery thing. At least it pays well. Even if I have to deal with nutjobs all day. And then there are the customers. The poor, doomed idiots.
I’ll deliver anything you want, no matter what it is. Bones, blood, bodies, cryptic as fucking hell messages, I’ll take anything. Just have to give me something to make it worthwhile. And no questions. Never any questions. Got that? Good.
And that’s Poe, my crow. Fucker needs to learn not walk across my damn keyboard. Found him on side of the road one day. Apparently his mother had kicked ‘im out of the nest or something so I took that ball of feathers home. May’ve been one of the stupidest decisions I’ve ever made. And I don’t regret it at all.
So, yeah, that’s me. I have to go bitch at Steele about something or other. He deserves it for all the shit he does. Fuck ‘im.
What would you do if you knew your days were numbered? Grieve? Write a bucket list? Break down? Withdraw from society? Maybe even, heaven forbid, make your peace with the big guy upstairs? All Glory be to God on high, God who’s left me high and dry, as I wait alone to die.
Not my predilection, I can assure you. I’m more of the live each day as if it was your last type of griever.
Because one day, not too far from now, it will be. And I guess I’m cool with that. No more worrying, no need to maintain a façade. I live a world without lasting consequences. And well…I have been told that this particular quality of mine… (fearlessness? No, I still have fear…I still have fear. I have wake up at 3AM, convulsing with terror, covered in sweat and tears, blood in my mouth, gasping for mercy fear. Perhaps it is just plain ‘idiocy’, maybe that’s my quality. Or ‘recklessness’. Or ‘suicidality’…Anyway.) …gives me a certain, je ne sais quoi. “A certain thing, an aura if I may be so bold, my dear. Though it may be in part the accent.”
Or so the rather wordy bloke (hah! Like I can talk! I am the veritable prince of pretentious, as you may have been able to guess by the italics. (You’ll have to get used to me disrupting my thoughts with other thoughts (and so forth), I can get positively disgustingly sidetracked.) Confused yet? Just skip the parenthesis and go on, I’ll pick up where I left off. Normally.) lying on the (disappointingly bland) mattress next to me was telling me, as I struck a match and lit the Marlboro I had balanced precariously on my lower lip. “An aura? Oh golly, I bagged a crazy.” I exhaled, dreamily lying back onto the pillow with a smile. “No, seriously! You just have this…well, if I could describe it, it wouldn’t be so mysterious, but…you know?” He stumbled, as I ran a finger up his naked leg.
I was in a good mood, but like all good things, it didn’t last. It came back in a rush. I felt the colour drain from my skin, and bile rushing up my oesophagus like a wave. I dropped my cigarette on the sheets and retched over my side of the bed, as…the person looked on in abject horror. (Not that I could determine whether or not their horror was abject or merely reviled, I was a bit preoccupied at the time.) “You’re sick?” He asked, going empathically white. Or so I like to think in that part of my mind where people give a fuck about something other than themselves. (Which, admittedly, doesn’t come out to play unless I’m in a sorry position, myself. ) “No, I’m just a magician. But where did the carrots come from?” I retorted, in between spilling my guts. The muscle pains crept back, my eyes watered, and an involuntary shudder of revulsion went down my spine.
I have an idea, that You are here…
“You’re sick and you didn’t tell me? How contagious are you?” Here it comes, the self-preservation instinct. No “oh you poor thing here let me hold your hair back, do you want some water while you die slowly, naked in a hotel?” Just a good, old-fashioned practice called being a pig. I rolled my eyes through my tears, and decided to make emotional bacon. “Very. You should probably go to a doctor. If you don’t get the meds, things will drop off, and you need that entire particular, if I might be perfectly blunt. Nope, definitely can’t spare an inch.” I was lying on one count. I wasn’t contagious, but I did want to be alone while I rode this out. He grabbed his clothes and left the room in stony silence, only broken up by me re-visiting my breakfast.
The door slammed.
And the coughing started.
My guts were empty, but I could not sit up, I coughed until my ribs hurt and then some, uncontrollably, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see, struggling to maintain consciousness from lack of oxygen so dark no escape…
Then, like a vice un-clamping from my windpipe, it lifted, and I gulped down air, every muscle in my body screaming in pain, both from the ordeal, and from…the aura.
I had the idea, that You were near…
I crawled out of the bed (the other side, I may have been dying, but I would not die in my own filth), the effort making my head spin. I reached into my bag and with faltering hands took out a lighter, a spoon, and a leather-wrapped bag. I unclipped the clasp and pulled out a glass syringe, and held the needle over the lighter flame for a while, before rummaging through my bag some more.
I have a Sickness. And one day, it will kill me. Though most don’t last long enough for the Sickness to kill them, they just get plain Eviscerated.
But I have a Sickness, and I need my medicine.
I removed the syringe from my arm and felt the muscle pains fall away, into blissful numbness. I leaned back into the wall, and looked up. Numb and quiet.
Quiet contemplation of my options.
Front door, take a left, elevator, out through the lobby, hail a taxi...
And it looks like I made the right decision, as the lights in the room began to flicker. The clock on the bedside table fizzed a little, then reset, green neon, flashing 88:88. The mirrored door to the closet softly grew convex, before shattering. “That’s my cue.” I murmured, calmly pulling on a pair of jeans and throwing on a jacket, slipping into some nice shoes before grabbing my bag and kicking in the window. So glad my former, now-estranged admirer paid for the overnight stay and not I.
Not to mention the inherent beauty of providing a fake name to the sorry bastard.
A dog barked somewhere as I pulled myself through the broken window pane and powdered glass (looking back just long enough to see black tendrils of shadow creeping underneath the unit door), before bounding down the metallic grille stairs, three at a time.
Any fate, be it stabbing, overdosing, or falling from this precarious staircase, was better than the one waiting for me, following me, always over my fucking shoulder.
I want to live.
But wants are right up there with wishes, and wishes are for those with a deficiency in facts.
The fact of the matter is, I can’t run forever.
I’m supposed to post about my courier services, Spence says? Well, bugger him and his bottom line. If you’re hiring me to perform a job for you, it’s perfectly within your rights to know who I am, along with any, shall we say, quirks I’ve developed along the way. And more importantly, that I’m a tough bastard who’s got nothing to lose, no judgement, no queries and no problem with any shipment you might wish to procure.
The name’s Leon Steele. I’m 22 years old, and these are the last days of my life.
His presence is associated with paranoia and sometimes a strange sickness, and those who see him are frequently found to be maniacally writing strange messages, and drawing mad scribbles of a dark, faceless figure.
It is advised to avoid investigating too much lest you get entrenched too deep...and find yourself the subject of unwanted interest."
Because sometimes you won't."