Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I thank and curse Scott Redmond for making me aware of this
And so it is that Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov gets the coveted Craw Fu salute for gaining international recognition while having no apparent marketable skills. That's not as easy a task as you might think.
To all outward appearances John Sig is just an old man living a quietly in an empty old house. His one pleasure is when he heads down to the local diner and visits with his favorite waitress Angie. When Angie disappears, John sets out to find her. For an ordinary old man that might seem like a foolish idea but John Sig isn't human, he's a monster living in the shadow of a nightmare thirty -five years old.
The sight of blood crusting the welcome mat was enough to make Phil decide to investigate further. The doorknob was streaked with red, so was the keyhole. He broke into John's house easily and with a flush of guilty pride that he still had the touch. Pocketing the forty year old lockpick set he stepped inside, his footsteps echoing in the naked room. “Love what you've done with the place.” he muttered to himself.
In the two days since the incident Phil like to think of as the 'McDonald land Massacre' he’d neither seen nor heard from John. Ordinarily that wouldn't have worried him, after all it wouldn't be the first time that old coot had gotten fed up with him. But there was an article in today's Troy Record that got him worrying.
Phil stopped dead in the front hall. He bent unsteadily and carefully examined the pile of tattered clothes. They were stiff with dried blood. Where they John's? Or somebody else's?
They were too ruined for him to be certain. There were bloody footprints everywhere, steeling himself for the worst Phil followed one of the trails into the kitchen.
The newspaper article that got him worried was about the bodies of three drug addicts the police had found in the lobby of an abandoned hotel. They had been mutilated beyond recognition; the police could only theorize that the bodies had been eaten by rats or a pack of feral dogs. Now ordinarily Phil would have read an article like that and chuckled to himself but the thing that stuck in his craw was where the bodies had been found. That building had been abandoned for almost a century now and it was the largest eyesore in
The floorboards creaked underfoot but Phil was too lost in thought to hear. They way the bodies had been found had also set him worrying. Bodies had been found floating in the
The kitchen was a ruin of opened tins of SPAM and pastry boxes. The patches of dried blood were thick with crumbs and flecks of meat. Phil breathed heavily, this was bad. The rust-colored footprints lead back to the stairs, he followed them.
Three steps up the stairs something squished underfoot, oozing out from beneath the undersides of his sneakers. Reluctantly Phil looked down, relieved to see it was only vomit. Skirting as much of it as he hurried to the second floor. The blood trail led straight to John’s bedroom door. For a moment Phil considered just turning around and heading straight back home.
After all, what if he was still hungry?
But on the other hand, if not for John he’d be worse than dead.
Phil cautiously pushed open the door.
Pale sunlight streamed in through the cracked bedroom window. The only furniture was a bloody mattress; John lay on it, curled into the fetal position. His back was to Phil and his breath was coming in shuddering pants. He looked emaciated, like a starving animal. Phil felt his mouth go dry as his gaze lingered on the fist-sized exit wound in the man's back. The borders of the laceration were crusted and dark, but the center was wet and gleaming. He could just see the edge of John's spine.
“Why the gun?”
Phil started at the sound of his John's voice, “What happened to you?”
“Why did you bring a gun?” he said again.
“Just in case.” his hand drifted to the .38 in his jacket pocket.
“Just in case of what?”
Phil shook his head, “I don't know! Just in case.”
“What kind of bullets are in it?”
“John, stop talking nonsense and let me help you.” he drew closer.
“Do you have regular bullets in there?” he rolled over and glared at Phil. It looked as though the lower half of his body had been soaked blood, there was a bullet wound in his gut. His face was drawn, his eyes were feverish and resentful, “Or the expensive kind?”
“You're hurt. I need to call Zara.” he looked around, “Where's your phone?”
“After all this time... you still don't trust
Phil put a hand up, “Look just calm down and get back on the bed before something falls out of you.”
“What was it Victor said about me? Too much a monster to be a man,” he hobbled forward, every step threatening to pitch him forward, “Too much a man to be a monster.”
Phil shrugged nervously, “Victor also said that no one could stop him. We stopped him didn’t we?”
He drew closer, “I'm a murderer.”
“So am I, what's your point?” Phil took an involuntary step backwards.
“When I reach you I'm going to tear your throat out.” the sunlight cast John's face in shadow, making his expression unreadable, “Just like those men in the hotel.”
“I might even attempt the Metastasis.” he said, “Hell I might even get lucky, even the best enchantments fade over time.”
“I'm not going to kill you.”
“Then why did you bring the gun?”
Phil muttered “Fuck.” under his breath and took another step back. He was in the hall now, one if his hands snaked into his jacket and wrapped around the comforting weight of the pistol.
“That's it.” John cooed as he limped closer.
“Don't make me...” he shook his head, “don't you dare fuckin' make me.”
“There's no telephone here Phil and even if the neighbors hear your screams, they wouldn't get here in time.”
Phil's back hit the wall, cursing himself he drew the gun, “John-”
“There is no John, there never was.” he took another unsteady step forward, “He was an affectation, a role to play. I am Sig! And I am alone.”
“I don't believe that.”
“You know it.” he was close now, close enough for Phil to smell the stink blood and shit on him. Tears ran down his cheeks, “You're going to die if you don't shoot.”
“And then when I'm done with you maybe I'll pay Zara a visit and do all the things-”
“Fucker!” Phil swung the barrel of the pistol down catching John on the side of the head. Gasping, John dropped to his knees. Phil swung the pistol again, striking this time on the other side of John’s head, sending him sprawling. Phil stood over him and took aim.
There was a long silence broken only by John's trembling whisper, “Do it.”
Phil looked from the supine form to the gun in his hand and back again. He lowered the weapon, “I can't- I could never-”
“I am alone.” sobs racked his body. His head was in his hands, his fists tangled in his long silver hair. He wailed again, “I am alone.”
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The dining room was ready by midnight.
And what a dining room it was! It reminded Isobel of something out of Jane Austin with its long table in an even longer room. A fireplace filled the room with yellow light that set the facets of the low-hanging chandelier glittering. Oil paintings and old sepia toned photographs decorated the walls.
Hao and Warren had seen to it that the embroidered silk tablecloth was crowded with silverware, crystal glasses, wine bottles and lit candelabras. Helping her seemed to have taken Warren's mind off the whole mystery janitor thing.
Man. Isobel thought to herself, And I thought they pulled out all the stops when we got here.
When she, her brother and Galen had gotten to Laurel House the last thing they had needed was a fancy dinner. Instead they had been greeted with first aid, a change of clothes, and brandy glasses that were never allowed to be empty. After that is was off to a warm bed and sleep so heavy that Isobel didn't wake until the next evening.
Of course turkey and wine at this hour would most likely have the same effect. The chairs they sat in were high backed, soft and looked to be generations old; Angie was to the right of Isobel, Galen to the left.
Once again Isobel had to wonder, What is this place?
And why the hell was Bodivar cooking in the middle of the night?
She imagined it was whatever semi-divine force that had Hao standing by with bandages and booze over a week ago.
Magwier and Zeth were sitting near the end of the table, still chatting away like they were the only people in the room. Bodivar was cutting the turkey as plates of side dishes made their way around the table. Sig sat on the other side of Angie, he had taken an entire plate of cranberry sauce for himself. There had been some amused protests but everyone seemed to have expected it. Roxanne and Jack sat directly across the table, Roxanne's left hand was out of sight and every once in a while Jack would jump in his seat. Isobel didn't know what was going on but she decided that if she dropped her napkin she wasn't going to get it.
On the other side of Jack sat Hao, she had called Warren over to join her and kept him busy talking about mundane things. Again, it was just what he needed, Angie wondered why there weren't any girls like this on the outside world; her brother might have been a much happier man.
Then again if there were girls like her out there what would girls like me do?
“What are you smiling at?” Galen asked
“Oh,” Isobel said. “I was just thinking that's all.”
“I think that my brother and Hao are a little smitten with each other.”
Galen nodded, “It looks that way, but those kinds of feelings can lead to trouble can't they?”
“I don't-” Isobel stared at her plate but there were no answered to be found there, “You know, maybe after dinner we should take a walk or something like that?”
“I'd like that a lot. I know it sounds crazy but I miss your company.”
“You only really had my company once.” Isobel said, then added “But it was my full attention wasn't it?”
Bodivar sent the plate of turkey and sent the serving plate around the table.
Angie asked, “John honey, are you sure you don't want a drumstick?”
Sig looked up from his cranberry sauce, potatoes and stuffing, “Too cooked.”
Isobel said, “You haven't even tried it.”
“Oh don't mind him.” Angie passed the plate, “He's picky.”
“That's right.” He gave her a lingering look, “I want nothing but the best.”
With that said Isobel served herself then passed the tray along. Galen took double the amount she had. He said to her, “I can't imagine what you make of all this.”
“Nothing wrong with a late dinner,” Isobel said.
“I mean all of this... This crazy world I dragged you into. There are still a lot of things I still haven't told you,” Galen paused. “You see I'm... that is to say...”
“...is that you're not human? Is that what you're trying to say?”
“Uh… how did you…”
“You don’t think I might have gotten a little clue by now? Besides Hao told Warren and Warren told me.”
“Oh,” Galen said. “This kind of conversation is usually a lot more dramatic.”
“I guess you bring out the unconventional side of my nature.” She laughed
Bodivar grinned, “Jack, I think you should make a toast. Yes a toast. Does everyone have their wine?”
Jack stood and everyone raised their glasses. Roxanne could barely hold hers still because she was laughing so hard.
Jack said, “To new friends and absent ones.”
Glasses clinked this way and that, several calls of cheers floated around the table and one “Salud”. Isobel took an experimental taste of her wine, it was sweet and smooth. Her next sip was considerably longer. Magwier cleared his throat and added, “And to friends we have yet to meet.”
A few more cheers and clinkings worked their way along the table.
“And here is to Jack realizing his fly is open.” Bodivar added.