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(..) 2


… and, oh, how I want to sleep … always want to sleep … always tired, always hoping I can stop … but I can’t stop … until all the people like Cameron are just once-and-for-all dead … so things can be better …

“It could be better.  Like this — with the two of us ….”
“For as long as — “
“No.  Don’t finish.  Forever.”
“Lysette — …”
“Yesterday, today and tomorrow — I’m here for you.  Now, and when I’m old.”
“I know.  But I- … wait, don’t-!  I want to back out.  We don’t really know what this’ll — …”
“Hic est sanguis mulieris velit! Fac in hoc fundamentum!”
“Shit — you’re doing it.  You’re — … you’re really bleeding … a lot!  Stop it, Lysette!”
“Hauriendum sanguinem viventium!”
“Erit autem sanguis vobis verbum mentis!”
“I’m freaking out, Lysette. Seriously, stop it.”
“… oh, shit — what do I do now?”
“Wait — what? You don’t even know what comes next?!  What were you expecting?!  Stop laughing!”
“You stop laughing!”
“Okay.  Okay.  Shit.  Shit.  Is this when I’m supposed to use my blood?”
“Umm — try it.”

… but nothing feels better … and the memories feel like they’re cutting me …

“I don’t want you to keep cutting yourself like that.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
“It’s not right.”
“But why not?”
“Because you can’t just — …”
“People will see the card and say your name.”
“I’ve found other ways to –“
“You’re always saying the other ways take too much time.”
“They do, but –“
“Well, okay, then.  This will work.”
“No.  We just need to keep looking, Lysette.”
“They’ll say your name. And then, you can help them better.”
“Look — don’t. It takes too much blood.”
“It’ll work. Trust me. It’ll help you. I love you, and I want to help you.”
“I know. I — … look, you help me just by being here.”
“Not enough, though. I want to do more.”
“I know. I know. But — …”
“I know, too. You need to trust me on this. I’ve been studying it.”
“It scares me. And I don’t like to see it.”
“Then you don’t have to see it.  But I’m doing it anyway.”

… and I’m helpless … and I hate it … and it’s just like always … and I’m trapped … and I’m reaching out … looking for the glow of Rick’s thoughts, or Jeff’s, or even Salat’s or, hell, Hilda’s …

“It’s not enough.”
“It says my name. You did it. That should be enough.”
“No. You can’t barely pick it up.”
“Because this doesn’t work.  None of it works.  It’s just more trash.  We’ve established that.”
“No.  You’ve seen.  This is what works.  It just needs more blood.”
“I’m not doing this any more.”
“You don’t have to.  I’m doing it.  Whether you like it or not.”

“Lysette … “

… and I’m alone … and I can’t feel any of them … and I don’t want to be here … but I can’t get out … no matter how hard I try …

“Try and listen to me.”
“I’m listening.  I can listen while I work.”
“This isn’t work.  This isn’t necessary.  You’re just hurting yourself, Lysette.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
“Talk to me. Please.”
“… and there we go.”
I’ve finished the card.”
“What? Again?”
“I made it more personal this time. Try and … try and pick it up.”
“I want to stay like this. In your arms. You’re pretty. Your eyes are all glowy.
“You’re delirious. You look terrible.”
“Thanks. That makes me feel valued. I finished the card.”
“You what? You already finished it.”
“You still had trouble lifting it.”
“I’m not good with solid objects.”
“I had to coat the whole thing.”
“You did what?”
“I coated the whole thing.”
“That must’ve– …”
“Yeah. Read it.”
“I’m reading it.”
“Out loud. I want to hear you say it.”
“‘Detective Evelyn Diedz. Containments and Extractions a Specialty.’ What? And then some of your fucking Latin.”
“‘Lupum ululatum non time. Lupum subridentem time.'”
“What’s it mean?”
“It means ‘Don’t be scared of the howling wolf. Be scared of the smiling wolf.'”
“What? Why would you– …”
“That part’s for me, Wolfy.”

And then I hear a voice.  “Where are we?  Who was that?”  It’s Rick.

The hell–?  I’m still surrounded by the cloud-walls of grey nothing.  But I’m not alone.  I’m in here with Rick.  He’s still with me.  I’m baffled.  But it’s something — and, for whatever reason, Rick’s voice calling out like that has made the memories stop cutting into me — at least for the moment.  “Rick?”  I call out as best I can try.

Here’s the thing:  talking, screaming, thinking — it’s usually all the same in these emptiness-traps.  Like it’s happening, but not happening.  This time, though, it’s different.  Because I don’t think I’m in here alone.

Makes sense.  I would be.  And then some of the things Rick said actually hit my awareness, and my brain starts doing a confused dance:  “Wait — Rick?  Where are you?”

“I don’t know.  Floating around in- …”

“Clouds like walls?”  Part of me hopes he’ll answer no.

“Kinda?”  Rick sounds a little more confused, but he’s not scared at the moment.  Which is good, I think.  Because I am.  I’m also feeling really stupid, though.  I’ve been sitting here feeling sorry for myself.  Letting myself get chopped right up by my memories — and, most importantly — not actually trying anything.  I’ve been in so many of the traps before — alone, and unable to get out until I feel an outsider’s thoughts — that I realize I’d long-ago stopped experimenting and just endured.

“Evelyn?”  Rick sounds scared now.  I’ve taken too long to answer.

“It’s okay.  I’m here.”  ‘Self-pity’s never pretty,’ as my mom used to say.  For the briefest moment, I find myself wondering if I’ll get slapped by painful memories of my mother.  Because, really, who wants that even at the best of times?

“Where’s here?”

I try to think of how to answer back to him, when I have no idea myself.  But that’s precisely when I start really thinking about what was happening right before the moment when I — we, maybe — got trapped.  How I could feel the energy roaring into me as Rick’s landscape came apart.

And now I think I understand.

It isn’t natural, a place like this.

It’s what happens when a landscape is devoured.  People like Emma Albrecht — they’ve had their landscapes … eaten.

Except this time, I’m the one who did it.

Click here to continue reading the story

Published inpart 2

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