Monday, May 2, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
So this week:
Messengers will finish.
Zombie story will start.
New Red Teeth chapter.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Dylan felt like he was drifting. There was an unreal quality to life in jail. Sometimes he suspected that it was the mixture of a perfectly regimented schedule combined with more free time than he knew what to do with it. While that was a reasonable enough explanation, and it might have even been true, it wasn’t really the truth.
The truth was that nothing in Dylan’s life had felt real for a long time, definitely since before the messages, probably since Alexandra died. After a certain point, Dylan thought, we expect our lives to go a certain way. We start looking at the future like we look at the past, something fixed, something definite. When things go off the rails, then you start to feel like nothing is real.
Dylan hadn’t quite lost his mind. He was aware that feeling like your life wasn’t real was some kind of insanity, and he hoped, at the very least, that being aware of the insanity of his feeling meant that, paradoxically, he wasn’t going insane. Or at least, not too insane. But there was still a moment or two when he woke up in the morning where he simply could not believe that he was where he was.
He was a celebrity, of sorts, and so he spent his time in jail alone, passing the days until his trial. They’d tried putting him in general population, but his status as the angel guy had made managing the other inmates more trouble than it was worth. It was amazing to Dylan just how many of them blamed the angels for their problems, or thought that Dylan had a line directly to them and could help them.
It didn’t help that he was the current subject of a media blitz, which had taken him from relative celebrity as the first person to receive a message to full blown infamy. They might not have wanted anything from him, but they all knew who he was.
For his part, he was grateful for the solitude. The one real advantage of being in jail, as far as he was concerned, was that he was free from the messages. He didn’t watch television, he didn’t use the internet, and he declined to speak to anyone on the phone. He did read, but he did his best to get books that were printed before the messages began. He wasn’t interested in anything that the angels had to say.The problem was that he was alone with himself, and the truth was that he wasn’t really alone. In the endless hours, he found that his thoughts naturally drifted towards Molly. Always. Her memory distorted the shape of his mind, like a bowling ball on a rubber sheet. No matter what he did, his mind was always pulled towards her. It was worst at night, when he dreamt about how he killed her.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
“I think you’re keeping secrets” she said.
She said it through a mouthful of bacon, which is one of those things that he loved about her. Molly was an unabashed carnivore, and while he didn’t share her enthusiasm for meat in all its forms, it made him love her even more.
“I’m an open book. Hell, I’m practically a newspaper.”
“Uh huh. I think you’re keeping something from me. I can tell when you have something on your mind, and I think you have something on your mind.”
“I’ve got lots of things on my mind: my deadlines, the nature of causality, why Hugh Jackman is popular, and how cute you are when you’re devouring a salted pig.”
“Nice try, but I know something is on your mind, beyond the usual.”
Her tone was light, but it seemed a little forced. Dylan thought that she was genuinely worried about something. He wasn’t inclined to tell her what he was thinking about, and he was actually a little worried that she might figure it out on her own.
“Well,” he said, “what about you. You never did tell me about the other message.”
She paused, bacon hovering in mid air and he regretted bringing it up. They’d been married about six months when he came home from an interview to a house full of smoke.
He found Molly in the bathroom, where she was burning paper in the bathtub. She was pale and she was crying. She was burning a printout of her thesis. Dylan had tried to turn on the shower, to stop the fire, and she hit. She pounded against his chest and he had to grab her to stop her. He’d never seen her like that before. He’d never seen her like that since and he hoped that he never did.
Dylan was not, despite occasional evidence to the opposite, a stupid man. He figured out that she had gotten a message. But she refused to talk about it. She spent the rest of that day in bed, not saying a word. He wondered what she could have read that would have done this, but she wouldn’t tell him.
The next day, she was back to normal. He brought it up again and the subject was either brushed off or the beginning of a huge fight, but there was never an answer. As far as he knew, Molly didn’t have secrets, didn’t see the point, except for this.
She stared at him now, and he wondered which way this was going to go. She stood, no expression on her face.
“I’m late,” she said, which simply wasn’t true.“Molly,’ he said, but it was already too late. The only things that heard were the kitchen table and the bathroom door. Dylan drummed his fingers on the table. He didn’t want her to know what he was worried about. He was worried that talking about it would cause what he was afraid of would come to pass. Once again, he wondered about causality.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Greer, for his part, walked away from the accident without a scratch on him. At least on the outside. Dylan heard, later on, that the man was never able to go back to work. He just couldn’t get behind the wheel. All things told, that seemed like small punishment.
Despite that, Dylan wasn’t really angry at Carson Greer. He thought he was an idiot, and he thought that playing Call of Duty was a stupid reason to die, but he didn’t hate him, not really. That Greer plowed through that red light at just the right time to kill Alexandra was blind idiot fate, and if you spent your time being mad at that, then you weren’t likely to get anything else done.
Their marriage was not a particularly love filled marriage, not in the way that romance novels and chick flicks would recognize, but it was a happy marriage. They got along and they had a good time and Dylan missed her every day until the angels started leaving him messages.
Johnny was right; there was something about the messages. Dylan assumed, at first, that the voicemail was some kind of mean spirited prank, or maybe even a wrong number. Dylan didn’t know anyone that was that big of an asshole, as far as he knew, but he didn’t really consider any other possibility. But it nagged at him. He spent the whole day thinking about it.
Of course, once the messages became a known fact, which didn’t take very long at all, Dylan gave it some more consideration. It was a while before people got a grip on how the messages worked, but Dylan couldn’t put it out of his mind. Not just because it was bizarre, although there was that, but because he couldn’t shake the feeling that the last few years of his life were not what he thought they were.
His marriage was happy. He was sure of that. He knew Alexandra, knew her as well as he could know anyone, but what the angels said, he couldn’t get over. She’d been planning to leave him. Something was wrong, something he never saw.
There was no evidence she was planning to leave, if you don’t count the word of unknown and possibly unknowable forces, potentially supernatural in nature. He’d checked her email, spoken to her friend and family, even tried to check with the divorce lawyers in the area. As far as he could tell, Alexandra was as happy in their slightly odd but functional marriage as he was.
So he went on, and did his work with the messages, and tried not to think about it because there was nothing to think about. Either the angels were right or they weren’t, and there was no way for Dylan to get at the truth of it. If he kept replaying his marriage over in his head, the only real outcome was misery. He thought about it everyday, after the message, but he tried not to think about it a lot.But then he went and got married again.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Dylan’s first wife was, more or less, Dylan in a dress. Alexandra was smart, she had a biting sense of humor and Dylan always wished that he loved her more. They got along, almost too well, but there was always something missing. He didn’t realize it until he met Molly.
They’d got together in high school. Dylan was neither popular or unpopular in high school. Basically, he was background filler. He didn’t feel particularly lonely, but he was definitely different. Not many sixteen year olds at his school had actually read The Communist Manifesto. Alexandra had. They fell into each other’s orbit out of necessity. It felt like gravity.
They’d gone to college together. They hadn’t really discussed it. It wasn’t a big romantic gesture, like they had to be together. It had simply turned out that way. In a way, Dylan would later realize, it was a lot like their relationship in general. They did it because it was the easiest way. He realized that their whole life together was like sliding down a greased chute. Always down the path of least resistance.
They got married after college, in a small ceremony that was probably most notable for the cookie table. They were happy enough, he supposed. They were comfortable. The marriage worked. Dylan had honestly never considered that it might have been otherwise. Naturally, it was bound to end in tragedy.
Tragedy, in this case, came in the form of an eighteen wheeler driven by a man from Florida who shouldn’t have been driving. His name was Carson Greer, he was twenty six years old, and at the time of the so called accident he’d been up for more tham twenty four hours.
This had nothing to do with him being a truck driver and everything to do with him being an asshole. He was at the end of the amount of hours he could legally drive at a stretch, and that would have been fine had he not spent the day beforehand up playing a Call of Duty. In a very real way, Alexandra died because of an X Box.
Life hangs on tiny seconds. Alexandra stopped at the local convenience store every morning before she went to campus to teach her first class. The coffee was terrible, but she’d gotten a taste for it when they were young and poor, one that had persisted now that they were slightly less young and slightly less poor.
If she had spilled her coffee, if she had had to look for change, if she had eaten cereal for breakfast instead of a bagel, she would have lived. Anything that made her five seconds faster or slower would have saved her life. If Dylan had given her a goodbye kiss that morning. But he didn’t. She didn’t.Carson Greer never even saw the red light. He didn’t even see Alexandra before he slammed into her car at sixty miles an hour as she pulled out at the intersection. Dylan didn’t know why she hadn’t seen him coming, why she assumed that because the light was green that the intersection was safe. But she didn’t.