Something Sacred metafiction #1
Something Sacred metafiction
Acts of Desolation #1
When the battlefield torn by mines is all the school or playground in which to grow,
how can the children be taught to know, to understand a lexicon of peace?
Bitter hatred permeates mother’s milk and what there is of grain,
permeates the very rain, gathered in barrels since the wells ran red
with poisoned blood, since the holiest of sites became blackened
with pestilence and shame.
Rumors expand on who is to blame; not much else to go around..
I like to walk the dark empty streets. Late at night, the city becomes its own. The smells, the silence, the stark black and white, shadows and streetlamps, without the people the city can become comforting, peaceful. But never for long.
It was a cold night, early in January. It hadn’t snowed much, but there were icy patches where puddles refroze after the hours of the traffic’s warmth. She was huddled in a threadbare shawl, moving at a pace some compromise between care for the ice and keeping blood from coagulating to avoid frostbite. I don’t like to get involved. In the end you can only lose.
Sure enough, a large, somewhat threatening looking, guy appears, yelling after her.
I keep to myself against the reassuring bricks and steel, and watch the drama ensue.
But maybe I’m not as sheltered as I thought, since the next thing I know I am waking with a monumental headache in a far different place. Bright lights, loud noises, sterilized activity, I am propped up against a wall in an overcrowded ER, a place where my disheveled, disoriented presence is sure to cause no alarm.
Then, I see her on a gurney. She is deathly pale, still. I am starting to wonder if this is all a dream, or some superdrug hallucination, but the sensory qualities are all too real, and distasteful. I hate when that happens. Now I’ll have to deal with all this gross stupidity without the benefit of knowing what it’s all about.
A nurse’s aide comes over with a form for me to fill out about insurance and next of kin. I motion, slur, get him to understand that I am concerned about the young woman on the gurney. He probably thinks she’s my sister or girlfriend, and tells me she’s lost a lot of blood, but they will be transfusing as soon as the right blood type comes up from storage. It may be touch and go, but she’s in good hands. He tells me a physician’s assistant will be calling me shortly to examine my contusions and lacerations, and I should tell her what drugs I am on.
I see the guy from the street come in while we are talking. Should I try to hide or get away? Or is he just here because of her? I was just an inconvenient by-passer, after all. I can’t get my legs to work under me anyway. May as well just let it play out.
Sure enough, he sidles over to her, whispering something in her ear as the life drains out of her. Like I say, I don’t like to get involved.
I waited for my body to figure out how to cooperate, and got out of there. Back home, I’m hammering this out on my antique manual typewriter. There’s no electricity here in the hole. Thankfully, there is a working fireplace, and places to scavenge wood.
The city’s got a million stories. I like to squirrel them away in these recordings I keep typing and filing. You can see them unfolding, refolding, just out there, everyday. The hard part is not getting sucked in, becoming the story yourself.
Acts of Desolation #2
There are some streets blissfully deserted in that magic time around dawn. Catching a pattern here? Living in the city, but not of it, or at least among the people. There are millions of souls in this city. I avoid them as much as I can. Souls can be really icky, especially the ones who don’t know they are dead. A lot of the ones who do know they’re dead can be just as bad. Wandering around with no future can be frustrating. Best to keep to myself, I say.
I need to go out, to scavenge for my living. Around dawn, it’s light enough without being too light. Anyone still out from the night before is too trashed to be much of a threat. Anyone starting their day has too much on their mind to notice me.
But there she was, that girl, her ghost, from the ER, from the streets. No doubt she wanted me to help her get some vengeance on her murderer. I don’t have the time for this. I mean, there are far too many ghosts needing vengeance. I have my own problems to work out.
“But what if he finds you? What if you become a target? Isn’t it better to know your enemy?”
She had a point.
Still, I had more immediate considerations, like food. I have traps for the rats in the hole, but you have to cook them for hours. You never know where they’ve been. To have any hope of edibility, that means stew. That means vegetables, easily available outside of food stores and restaurants where they dump the not quite spoiled produce. In fact, there’s a vast array of nearly spoiled food to gather. Then, in the doctors’ office row there are pills aplenty not too far from their expiration dates. Rich party quarters can yield vast treasures of marijuana roaches and dregs of high-end wines and liquors. I am soon well stocked to bliss out through the approaching daylight hours, avoid the blaring sunlight and assorted psychic pain inherent in daily commerce. But that damn !@#$ of a ghost won’t leave me alone. I am beginning to think whoever killed her might have had good reason.
“Perhaps,” she insists, “but that doesn’t make you any safer.”
By now, though, I have ingested the proper mix of pills to quiet all the voices.
Of course those dreams come again. The ones where there are sirens and blood and nothing makes sense.
Then, I’m walking down the empty city streets, the ones that aren’t filled with night life. There’s no one here with me. No ghosts, no shadowy dream figures, no murderous demons, just me. I am walking these empty streets as if I am going somewhere, pulled along by fate. Then, again she appears. Not a ghost or a waif or a corpse, but as some divine messenger in the guise of a common streetwalker. Somehow I understand that she is both messenger and me. We have a symbiotic link. The important part is that an unspeakable evil has been unleashed into my city. It is up to me, in this twin form, to defeat this evil, as only I have the power to see it for what it is. And there it is, glaring at me. But apparently our battle is meant for another day, for it disappears without comment. No doubt it has more nefarious business to attend to.
I had some thinking, and typing, to do. But first for some street theater to amuse and defuse me. I must venture over to the night life side of the city streets.
It’s the loud, insistent, deep rhythmic music that makes it possible for me to even be here. I can move myself into the sound and keep my distance in the crowd.
“Share your body with me. Let me in.” She was hovering all around me. Not as sexy as it sounds. She wants to take over my will and use my body for her own purposes. Well, maybe that is sex for some, but not me.
“You know I can help you.” So enticing. I can almost be persuaded, flooded by feeling of her concern, that she is so kindly offering me her soul. I know the rules. They can’t get in without an invitation. Here, in the cacophony of noise, light, movement, I have the distraction to avoid falling into her psychic trap. Concentrate on someone else, someone I can in some sense relate to. There. That girl in the background, her costume just enough different from the rest. She is palpably alone, and enthused with a fear and excitement at being part of the scene.
The ghost can see her, too. All that charming vulnerability, just waiting. This girl didn’t have the experience I did. The ghost desperately needed a body. She had corporeal errands. I, so far her only psychic link, was not cooperating. If only she could manage an invitation from this lonely young woman who was looking for something new. I would be off the hook, out of this mess that was none of my business to begin with.
Red and green spotlights were flashing across the stage. The band was revving up into banshee shrieks over an accelerating, hard-driving beat. Everyone was screaming, the dark, perspiration-dripping room closing in way too fast. I wound my way out of there, back onto the minimally quieter, darker, emptier street.
It was raining, a cold January rain when it’s not interested in snowing because that would feel pleasanter. Had it been this wet all night? I didn’t remember.
She was there, the girl from the club. I don’t know if she was following me. Maybe the ghost had gotten to her. I looked her straight in the eyes, and I was lost. She was not the innocent I had expected. It seemed that potent forces were collecting here, and I seem to be vibrating in the center of an impending storm.
Mar/24/2017, 4:37 pm
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Re: Something Sacred metafiction #1
Before I can gather up the necessary will to run off, she walks to where I am standing and takes my hand.
"Take me with you," she says simply, quietly. "We have a lot to catch up on."
We make our way, through the rain and icy streets, to the hole. I light a fire to dry us. As it turns out, she has a flask of very fine brandy in her pocket, which makes the warming up process far easier. In no time it seems like we were old friends.
"That's because we are," she tells me, laughing gently as if remembering a private joke.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this. But, if someone had to, I'm glad it could be me." This does not sound encouraging.
"I know you're retired. I now you've been taking memory suppressants to help you stay truly undercover. I know why." This is more encouraging, since so unlikely. This must be another one of those dreams. Soon the sirens and jumbled images will take over until I find myself suddenly awake, terrified, covered in sweat, with no idea why.
"I am sorry. We have ourselves a situation. We need you. You are going to have to come in from the cold."
Suddenly I am very cold indeed. Shivering uncontrollably, as tears take over my face, I still don't know why.
So, it turns out I am part of a highly trained secret corps of empaths, developed by the Genetic Weapons Initiative during Cold War III. When the new Administration and Congress were voted in after the Worldwide Peace Convention, they dismantled GWI as repugnant to the conscience. We were sold to a secret mercenary group for ad hoc assignments.
This is a lot to take in, and apparently the story gets weirder from there. Calinda, my new best friend, is also my old best friend and my biological twin, though several years younger than I. There was a mutiny against the mercenaries, a secret war between secret entities.
"Dorie, I know you wanted, needed so badly, to get away. I know you just wanted a peaceful retreat." She hugs me as she speaks, holding off some of my terror as the visual memories run scatter-shot through my inner view. What could they possibly need from me? I am nothing but broken, hiding in self-imposed ignorance.
"You sleep," she decides. "I'll walk your dreams. It will all make sense when you awaken."
I feel Calinda's safe presence guiding me into the dream, the denied memory.
When you grow up in a vat, created as an advanced biology experiment, any semblance of family takes on great significance. Especially for empaths, who are forced into intimacy relentlessly, having the security of well-known, bonded, intimates can be crucial.
It was a small, efficient team: Reag, our revolutionary leader, his wife, Romy, Arden, his bio-twin, and me, his oldest friend. We had learned that the GWI labs were still in secret operation, churning out human weapons for the mercenary organization with which we were now at war. We were all linked in, both for strategy and emotional support.
Arden and Romy were in the main lab building, setting the explosive charges in the embryo and accelerated growth vat rooms. The kids in the vats, undergoing treatments to bring them to physical maturity in months rather than years, could feel our presence. They were helpless. There was no way we could save them and destroy GWI. That would take resources far beyond anything in our power.
Reag and I were in the communications tower, standing look-out while scanning and overriding the data stream to keep our actions from being monitored. Most of the lab's operation was automated, especially during the scientists' and technicians' downtime.
We weren't prepared for the silent screaming. The vat kids knew why we were there. Their energy, a massive panic surging outward, set off the explosives before Arden and Romy could escape. Noise, light, pain, hundreds of young bodies ripped apart, still silently screaming. Arden's and Romy's screams coming through even stronger, with poignant, tragic intimacy. Reag and I managed to run, hide, get away.
I awake secured in Calinda's arms. Gently rocking, gently humming a soothing tone, she quiets the panic in her empathic love. Still, I am not ready for this.
"You're really not going to be ready for this, but it's imperative that you know." I am not thrilled by this build up, but still in too much shock to resist more unwelcome information.
"Reag is out to kill all the GWI freaks. He's been looking for you."
"All of us? But there must be tens of thousands! How can he think that's even possible?"
"He's not thinking. He's insane."
Sitting between us, a thought so faint, in our closeness I could not tell if it were hers or mine: "As are you."
Or was it Reag's? Suddenly, I could feel his presence. Not here, in the hole, but close. The raw jumble of pain that was his mind sent tears streaming down my face. Now, I knew why.
The ghost, I realized, was Nerice, another member of our crew. Was she working for Reag? No doubt he wanted to draw me out of hiding.
"You weren't meant to survive the ER either. They had no idea you would disappear like that after all the drugs they forced into you."
"Good thing I got my tolerance up, then."
"Nerice was one of ours. Reag got to her through some cronies he developed among the criminal class here."
He always was a persuasive leader.
Mar/25/2017, 4:24 pm
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Re: Something Sacred metafiction #1
Good dialogue. Think so.
Mar/30/2017, 6:43 pm
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