Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Fields Chapter 6

My cigarette dropped a bit of ash on my mahogany acoustic guitar and I promptly wiped it off. I often had to remind my lips to keep it from completely falling onto my lap. I always smoked and strummed mindlessly on sleepless nights. It's not uncommon for me to have trouble winding down enough to crash and when I do, I tend to think a lot. I think about what I've been doing with my life, specifically if there was any other road I would have taken besides this one, and considering the answer is almost always 'no' I then think about revising my bucket list again. I'm not complicated, I don't need to start a family to feel complete, I just seem to require constant entertainment. I took a drag and propped the guitar up again, strumming along to 'Sweet Home Alabama' from memory.

I am Sierra Fields. I'm the middle child from what could have been a nuclear family, but then again, maybe not. While my sister refused a life of secrecy and combat worship in order to study English literature or whatever, I did my best to stay realistic about the whole thing. I reject the idea put forth by my father and mother that our family will outlast the cursed fate we've been marked with. Instead, I try to live what little life I have.

As soon as I saved up enough money assisting my friend who works in a tattoo parlor, plus other odd jobs I've done for acquaintances, I bought a house. Not just any house, not just anywhere. This house, this is a 'murder house'. It was incredibly cheap, located just near the north edge of Arcata Bay. Most people would shy away from the fact that it is both old and has a history of people killing each other in it, but to me it was just the best way for me to move away from my family sooner. I gutted the old plumbing and wiring but kept the old look so that I can charge people once a year to take a tour, that's a great outcome for all parties involved.

I don't believe in superstition anyways. Well, besides the multiple dimensions thing. Most of that is just what my dad told me anyway. Although I was old enough to retain memories at the time, I can't remember anything. It's so useless to me that I often forget about it. I don't know how well Heather copes with it, I just know she's turned it into a series of published novels. Derek, I feel like I don't know Derek at all.

You could say that I still picked up a few traits from my parents even despite trying to push them away. I have a large collection of weaponry and am probably the most talented marksman out of all of them and I also enjoy destruction in general. I could try to justify it, but I don't think there's any need to. Having a colorful police record is generally not good, but I can live comfortably so long as I am not in jail. Or so I say to myself. The fact that I've been up every night for the past week smoking and eating and playing guitar might say something about my peace of mind, but I refuse to listen.

I pushed myself off the bed, leaving the guitar behind and start dressing up for the night. I didn't have a plan, I didn't need a plan. I'd go set off some dynamite in the forest again, maybe find a fight club I haven't been kicked out of before. However, before I got too ahead of myself, I needed to jump through precautionary hoops. The world is a dangerous place.

I stuffed a loaded stubby police revolver in my boot, a lighter in the other. I strapped a shorty shotgun to my back, then a long sleeved shirt over that, an arm cuff with a hidden semicircle of slugs and I covered that up with my signature brown bomber jacket. Quite literally so, I always carry with me components of quick smoke bombs or anything that might cause a fire. The Anarchist's Cookbook is my bible.

Nighttime drives aren't so bad on their own. The radio usually has some kind of smooth jazz or generic rock playing and I wasn't about to start a fit over the radio, I leave that to the comedians of our world. Even though I drive a van, people typically don't see me as a pedophile or anything because I'm just a young woman. It helps that this used to be the van for the band I was in, Tap Rack Bang, which I was legally forced to scrape the name off of but the logo and disconnected phone number is still there. Of course, what van would be complete with additional hidden compartments and an area I could sleep on if I ever ran out of gas?

There wasn't much hustle and bustle around here, I liked that. I'd rather drive to the fun than have the fun find me all the time, especially if the fun is carrying cuffs. There was a hotel, down the road to the west was a gun club and there were a few wild life reservations. All dead at 4 AM. I rolled down the road past the gun club and continued around the edge of the Bay.

I was just about to turn back and try to sleep again after I fished out my lighter for a smoke break when my eyes flicked over to the curb. Of all the people to be sitting there anxiously at the crack of dawn, it had to be Sarah Lacy. As she trotted over to the car door, I held down the window switch, raising an eyebrow.

"Hey, hi, um, do you think you could help me out with something?" Sarah spoke with a hesitation in her voice which that wasn't very odd for her. She was tightly gripping her shoulders and slightly hunched over, I assumed that when she left the house she didn't have the opportunity to grab a jacket. "I suppose so. Where was your house again?" I asked calmly and quietly, meanwhile my eyes scanned the surrounding streets and houses. All dark, only very spottily placed street lights. Although we bowled together sometimes and I chatted with her online whenever I was bored out of my brain, I didn't think it would be worthwhile to note her address. "Just up the street there, um, then a turn-" Sarah's directions fizzled out while she glanced cautiously all around her, then she simply asked to get in the car and I'd drive. I obliged.

Knocking off some of the ash from my cigarette into the open street, I coasted down the road and carefully turned under one of the few street lights. I decided I'd ask what kind of mess I'd be helping her with today, after all, I think a friend deserves to know.

"What exactly happened?"
"I was home, you know, like always. It, er, there was nothing I could see from my bedroom window 'cause it was so dark. Then I heard, like, heavy boots. Maybe some things getting knocked over, I'unno, I just, you know don't feel safe. I think it's a burglar or, like, a rapist..." As she spoke I glanced over at her. Her head was down, her hair covering her ears. She became more fascinated with warming her hands between her thighs than relaying this important information. This wasn't odd for her either.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Check my house for the bogeyman? I just, I'm sorry, I just figured since you're all-"
"Bad ass?" I gave her a sly grin.
"I was going to say dangerous." She craned her head at me, peering into my face with her big round eyes, "You could kill." Huh. Maybe a little weird now, I thought. No matter, I can get this done and go home before the left over ham sandwich in the fridge becomes irrevocably dried out.

We pulled into the small alley beside the house, a muddy pathway mainly there to space out the houses and for people to put their trash cans. I was surprised the van even fit. I stuck my head out of the window to examine the exterior of her house. It was about the same as every other aging suburban house in the middle of Eureka, the only difference being the second story was built onto it as an after thought. It stuck out a little among the rest of the homes.

I landed in the mud with a squelching sound, followed by droplets of piss water landing all over the ground and rotted wood fence on my left. I advised her to stick by me while I gathered some things, saying things like "If the thieves are still here they're more likely to 'drop the hit on you'" and because she loves to argue I tossed around some words like 'witnesses' and 'blown cover.' That shut her up. I shuffled over to the back of my car to the doors and only opened one of them, grabbing a case squeezed between some other junk. I ran my fingers over the goods inside held in place by cut foam. A 9mm handgun, a suppressor for said handgun, three clips and a tactical baton just in case. In no way would the gunfire really become silent, I knew going in that the police might arrive.

I put out the cigarette with my jeans, clambered the trashcan that insultingly threatened to topple underneath my weight and I exchanged one last glance with Sarah, telling her to wait a minute and then enter after me. She was breathing heavily and even she looked like she was puffing smoke, but that was just the effects of winter air. I pushed open the window, unsurprisingly it was locked, and I swung my body over into the house. Cold air swirled in after me and my boots squeaked against the polished wood floor. Immediately after stuffing my cigarette in a potted fern's recently watered soil, I swept the hair from my face and silently advanced into the foyer.

Sarah must be loaded, or at the least she inherited her house and all the furniture she owned. Top to bottom, it was all crystal chandeliers, china cabinets filled with silver and gold. I could see why someone might want to burgle this place, but I cared more about punching the person in the face and buying a breakfast burrito. Swiveling methodically and threateningly with my handgun, I began by checking the linen closet and guest bathroom. You can never be too sure. Not only were they completely unmolested, they also seemed to have never been used.

Sarah's kitchen is the kind that has a window and little shutters for if you'd like to cook and talk to people while they sit in the living room. Crouching low beside a corner in a position that your body can comfortably slip in and out of supposedly helps you navigate buildings stealthily. I don't know how true that is, I might have just heard it on TV once. The kitchen door had no latch, it was more in the style of restaurant doors which are made so people can carry copious amounts of food in their arms without slowing down too much. Keeping the door from hitting me in the face I pressed my elbow against it in order to look around inside. Unlike the rest of the house, the only light here was above the sink which was just below a window with the classic window sill you could leave a pie on. Deciding that it would be stupid for a criminal to hang around a kitchen, I planted myself in front of Sarah's fridge, eying a particularly appetizing container of egg rolls.

"You find anything?" Meek, patient Sarah nearly made me rain suppressed gunfire on her pale face and neck. You'd think that sneaking up on a heavily armed hungry person might be a poor decision, but then again she does talk to me. I told her to wait a minute, not five, can she take direction? I thought angrily to myself. Recovering from just about choking on a mouthful of cabbage and pork, I swallowed and spoke, "I'm still looking. Maybe you should stay here or something, I can't really have you skulking around while I do this." I popped the rest of my cold stolen egg roll in my mouth and continued through the kitchen to another door. Sarah said nothing, I didn't even hear her sit down.

Through a series of hallways and circling backward from dead ends I ended up finding the entertainment room, undoubtedly not the official name for it but I call it how I see it. The massive 60" plasma screen took up most of the focus in the room, the rest of the space being used to accommodate it. Among the numerous cabinets and DVD players stood speakers about as tall as me, along with racks of CDs standing next to those. For being such an introvert, this girl sure did have a great place for a party. The TV was still on, it was broadcasting the sci-fi channel. Some stupid movie was playing and it made me want to sleep even more now, even though the sun would be shining bright pretty soon. I thought that was enough ground work done now, I'd check the upstairs. Just before I did I whispered this into the kitchen, no response.

Each wooden step creaked under my foot. The top of the stairs was pitch black and for the first time I felt hesitation, that maybe not-so-good things might happen up there. I fumbled in my pocket for the lighter, casting a ghastly array of shadows from the front of my body and giving the wall parallel the bannister an orange tint. As the shadows and improvised light allowed my eyes to focus and the floating dark shapes disappeared, I realized I was staring down a two way hallway with multiple bedrooms on each end. Suddenly I could feel every horror movie I'd scoffed at during my last late-night TV binge scoff back. Thankfully though I heard Sarah cry for help downstairs, so I could pretend that never happened.

When I stomped off the last step to the first floor after creating a symphony of harried foot steps, I realized I had no idea where Sarah went. I used one hand in a vain attempt to amplify my voice, but nothing came of it. That is, until I found the basement door out of the corner of my eye. I like to think most people avoid basements as a core survival instinct, so I didn't feel too bad about missing it earlier. I stumbled down the dark stairwell with its dank scent and chilling atmosphere. "Sarah if this is a joke we are never going bowling together again!" A small part of me felt stupid for saying that, that's the cue for the movie monster to come eat me. I fumbled for a light switch and ended up finding something that looked more like a switch from an industrial fuse switch than a regular light switch, but I suppose it wasn't my place to judge what she is into.

A thick layer of dust coated the cement floor, sprinkled with the remains of some dearly departed rodents and some not-so dearly departed insects. The middle of the room was filled with junk covered in a black tarp and unless that is some artistic masterpiece underneath, I'm going to continue assuming it's junk. A busted black piano sat on the far right of the room. It may have been older than a century, but it was obviously uncared for regardless. I cautiously trotted through abandoned spider webs and the murky stale air it hovered in. Which, funnily enough, made me concern for the health of my lungs. I let out a long sigh mixed with a groan. No silly white girl to be found. Might as well do some snooping anyway, I figured.

Or an ancient door in the back wall could start vibrating. That's a lead for sure. I slowed down, staring at the ground before this mystical vibrating door. The dust had very recently been disturbed. The door stopped moving just long enough for me to kick it in. My face felt the force of a kick followed by a wheezing chuckle, but I saw no one. I gripped the doorway and pulled myself inside.

The room was the size of another basement. I could see a single bulb hanging by a wire paired with its chain switch smack dab in the middle, but that would be the only light the room offers. I started swearing at the darkness and felt a few drops of warm copper liquid drip down to my lips. As soon as I found this bastard, I'd spit in their face. I started catching glimpses of Sarah again, just standing there with a plain grin. I dashed for the light in the middle and was tackled to the ground just after I managed to click it on. I struggled to my back, partially blinded from the light. It was Sarah, no real expression on her face besides mild amusement and she kept coughing in the way someone might if they happen to be laughing hard at the same time. That was it, no more bullshit. I whipped out my baton until it locked in its extended position and I struck down just hard enough to-

She was gone again, standing in the corner and staring at me. For a brief moment it looked almost as if her torso and the air itself in front of her was fragmented and the world just needed a second to catch up with its own visuals. I was starting to think this wasn't just a regular burglar. I raised my gun and shot at her abdomen, but she was gone again and a puff of drywall exploded from where the bullet connected. "Son of a bitch," I exclaimed just before getting pinned to the wall from the side.  My neck felt like it was getting crushed by an from the back but I felt no flesh. My right wrist was slammed into the wall and I couldn't even make my fingers move the gun. I raised my foot trying to dig my hand into the boot. My vision became dotted with darkness and I forgot when the last time I took a breath was. I ripped the police revolver out of my shoe as soon as my finger tips felt metal and nearly dropped it. I crammed it over my shoulder and squeezed the trigger awkwardly, firing at where her arm should be.

When close to death via suffocation, one forgets that firing a revolver two inches from your face in a basement might make you half deaf. The only reason my right ear was even hearing the sweet sound of tinnitus was probably because the worst was blocked by my big ass head. I scrambled to another corner of the room, screaming, I think, and trying to put in my emergency earplugs. Through watering eyes I saw swift dark shapes twist and dance to and fro. Before I could get choked again I detached my shorty from under my shoulder blade and folded the foregrip down. Unfortunately, a mess of pain and adrenaline had my aim wavering uncontrollably. I fired twice at the vague shape of something reaching out for me, sending my shoulder inside of the wall. I'm not paying Sarah to fix this. I sprinted diagonally to the other corner, hitting my face on the now searing light bulb. I heard a whoosh and ducked backwards, crazily falling backwards on one of my legs, so I had to use the other leg to propel my back to the wall.

I groped around under my jacket for my backup shells and loaded the shorty yet again. I lacked a plan and should have ran, but what good would come from leaving this behind? A spindly humanoid shape launched itself at me, now emitting a faint gurgling screech. I managed to hit with one of the shells and black steam erupted from the thing, the other shell however shattered the light bulb and letting sparks fly all over the room. I instinctively dug out and flicked on the lighter. It seemed that the one I hit was down for the count, so that just left one more. By now I was more pissed off than anything, so I decided to Rambo it.

Slugs found themselves in every wall and the retrieved handgun got closer to hitting each time I fired, yet it felt so far. The air was thick with obliterated basement wall and dust, which surprisingly made it easier to detect when this scientific anomaly would show up again. Maybe just to give me a heart attack as its final weapon, Fake Sarah appeared six inches from my face with a grim look on its face. I won't get that image out of my mind for quite some time, but it didn't live to gain pleasure from that. It only took one shot to send bits of Fake Sarah all across the ceiling and floor. I stood up shakily and gave myself an ineffective dusting. I exhaled, then looked to the floor and wall.

Where Fake Sarah 1 and 2 died were now shadows of humanoid shapes permanently etched into the floor, although I wasn't about to touch it to find out how permanent it'll be. When the dust cleared I stared blankly at the wall in front of me that's supposed to be white and bullet riddled.

Instead, the wall had been scribbled on with some kind of writing tool, marker maybe, and despite its hasty strokes the design would have taken anyone a significant amount of time to draw. It looked almost like an outline of a large tree, if trees were made of alien scripture and symbols. I tilted my head back and forth trying to make sense of it. Was it a map? Was it graffiti? A message? The more I looked, the more chilling it became and one lone thought stuck in my mind: Get the camera.

I always kept my camera in my van, it's useful for many things. I also like to have fun with it, but that's not what this is. As I jogged to the front door I took my ear plugs out and heard something strange. Thumping upstairs. I growled to myself, grabbing my baton and running upstairs. I walked into one of the bedrooms, one with a bathroom connected to it. Someone blocked it off and I never even know. I slowly removed the chair from the knob, sighing to myself, hoping there wouldn't be a final boss behind it. I kicked this one open too. Surprise, another Sarah! Although, I instantly got the feeling that this one might be the real thing. This one actually has emotion in her face, even if she looks drugged.

She got all clingy and told me how scared she was. Thankfully she doesn't remember me committing many felonies, unfortunately that means she can't tell me what happened to her. I told her to never go into the basement and that I may need to use it for a while, she seemed to be fine with that even if it's just because she wasn't fully conscious. I even got her to nod which is totally a non-verbal contractual agreement.

I grabbed my camera and documented the weird art. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do, since I really hate having to ask my family for things. However, this seemed too important to ignore. I also heard sirens, so I had to slip out unnoticed if I wanted to stay free.

As I sped off through the alleyway and drove all the way home while Sarah dealt with the police, I started thinking again. I thought about how, although my entire family may be doomed, I can't ignore them forever, even if I wanted to. I thought about whether I found this fun like I find other kinds of danger fun, or if I might be somewhat sane after all. I don't even know if I have the strength to fight this. Oh well, I sighed. The morning sun felt nice.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Fields Chapter 5: Watch your back.

In case you were wondering, the name of the town I live in is Pizzatown. Frankly, Tony's Pizza is the most important junction in the entire place and the real name is boring anyways. The fact that there was a triple attempted homicide though, now that's something worth visiting for.

I forget how bored I get when both Julie and Kyle are out of commission. They're pretty much my only friends. It's pathetic. I get so bored that hunting down a crazy man sounds fun. Well, maybe you don't need to be bored to do that. I packed some things and grabbed my sword for a day full of adventure and mystery, which is more like me wandering around town looking for 'clues' on the Lime Green Gunslinger. Julie keeps me entertained on the phone, but Kyle has barely said more than a sentence.

I sat on the curb of the deserted park jotting some things down in a journal I bought from the convenience store. The strange man has been replaced by an old woman, either through him getting fired or not existing at all. I started to have serious doubts about this hero thing. I don't know what I'm doing and have only survived through luck. I searched high and low for the green bastard, no one in town has seen him except for the people who sat by the entrance to the Darkstar. I checked every store in case he bought some plastic tarps or hatchets, serial killer stuff. I asked a Bed and Breakfast owner if she rented a room to any cheesy Hollywood director wannabe, but she wanted like $200 before she'd tell me any real information so I left. I kept having this nagging feeling like the most critical part to all this is staring me in the face. No idea.

I walked up the cement steps to my apartment and something didn't feel right. I brandished my blade and stepped slowly to my door. It was unlocked. Holy shit, I thought. Some rustling and page turning could be heard through the door, which is definitely not good because that means my walls are probably paper thin too. I stormed in, screaming some nonsense like "HA-CHAA!" without actually swinging the weapon. Then I dropped my shoulders and sighed, completely disappointed and more than mildly annoyed.

"You need to start reading something not so... Sixth grade." Heather broke in. "The fuck do you think you're doing?" is what I wanted to ask, I ended up asking "What the hell is this shit?" I opened my arms wide in a very 'are you serious?' manner. Heather just points back to me and says "Katana. Nice. You don't seem like you know how to hold it though." Funny how she doesn't ask if my arm is okay, because you can clearly see scarring. I slammed the door shut and grabbed her shoulder, trying to pull her away from my stuff.
"Look, Derek, I know you're very naive about this detective work but-"
"How did you know I-"
"I've been on the trail of a serial killer for some time now and your little, uh, village just became interesting."
"You realize that I was-"
"Of course, it's personal for you, which is why you should definitely not be doing this. We already have a threat big enough to wipe us all out, so you should focus on that."
"Fuck, Heather, why are y-"
"I'm writing a novel about this serial killer. It's like you're not even my brother."

That last sentence made me sad. She does that. She can make puppy dog eyes affect you through verbal communication alone. "Wh- J- Then let me help." I leaned against an old chair I got from a garage sale once for a penny. "You'd get in my way. That gets you killed." I sharply exhaled. She seemed to be on my computer now, clicking away, and my voice became frantic. "Why do you need to look at my stuff? Go catch killers and, uh, shit," I then sprung a surprise attack, trying to knock her off the computer but she was like a stone wall. "Since it is so personal, there may be some connection in here that you just didn't see. By the way, you'll get a lot of viruses this way" she tapped the screen and looked at me with a plain face and I punched the monitor. It broke. "Maybe you can help me speak to Kyle Davis." I shook my head. "He won't. He doesn't talk to anyone now. He even wants to stay in the hospital." She just pushed her fingers together and thought out loud, 'maybe they were lovers,' and I buried my face in my hands. "Let's go."

At least this time she had a car. She would take me to the last known murder from this guy. The MO was supposedly that he'd lure victims to construction sites, or deserted hotels, or ruined churches, then he'd take pictures of them in the positions a 'naughty schoolgirl' might make, whatever that means, then a single strike of the nail remover of a hammer to the face. Gruesome. Perfect for a novel by my sister. We took a tour of a crowded city called Jacobtown before we showed up at the crime scene. "What makes you think someone who shot me and my friends is someone who likes, uh, schoolgirls and hammers?" She just giggles, looking ahead and says under her breath, "Aw, cute, they're your friends" I snapped right beside her ear, "Well, this dude has been making appearances all over California. Well, not appearances, no one sees him. But they see the dead body and that's all that matters. Anyway, it's been trickling down to your... What did you call it?"
"Sure. I firmly believe that he was about to get his most satisfying kill of them all, the coupe de grace, except you and your girlfriend really screwed that up."
"She's... not even-"
"You really interrupt a lot of things, you know that? Like that one time when you walked in the room while mom and dad-"
"I will slice your air tube."

We arrived at a skyscraper. It was daunting, a magnificent glass and steel beast. "What happens here?" She replied, "What do you think?" We stepped inside the main elevator, completely ignoring the front desk. She said we needed to get to the roof, then pressed the now-lit circular button 86. The ascension will take an eternity.

"So how's Sierra these days"
"Oh, she's pretty good. Do you not talk to her?"
"You don't even talk to me," I looked at the ground.
"Oh, yeah... I'm sorry about that. We have been busy. Now we all have something to worry about."
"Aren't you the least bit curious about my life?"
"Not really. Don't guys typically like their own space and stuff?"
"Sometimes. But you said nothing about the bloody glass. I also I have this," I held up my arm, it looked like I had subcutaneous spider webs and a little bit of redness but no signs of bullet holes.
She said nothing.
"What's going on with the whole end-of-the-world thing?"
"I've seen some weird stuff, but nothing to worry about yet. After the second earth quake, all the really bad stuff ceased, then you went home."
I sighed, resting my head against the cool glossy granite wall.
"Are you afraid of heights?" she asked, no hint of judgment in her voice.
"Reasonably. I don't know. We won't be up there long, right?"

I stood near the helipad platform while she examined forensics or whatever, while I clung onto a metal pole whole my face was lashed with bitter winds and vertigo might have made me choke back vomit, but it happened less than six times.
We were there for two hours and thirty-two minutes. I stared at the pretty city lights and the skyline. "Is the sky supposed to be purple?" I asked, yelling over the winds. "Global climate change," she simply yelled back.
"No, I mean it's really purple. Blips of plum and royal purple and stuff," I said, concernedly.
"Maybe it's the apocalypse," she said, pocketing plastic bags of evidence.

On the trip down I laid, curled up, with my shoulder pressed against the wall. "Do you think we can do this? Fight off our demise?" She looked into my eyes for once and said grimly, "We might never know."

Back in her car, I felt even more melancholy. "Does mom wish I was never born?" She raised an eyebrow at that one. We were driving to the suspected home of the killer. The police found it empty, but we have talents the police would never be able to grasp. Sweating profusely now and feeling like I'd be violently ill, I kept doing this combination of gagging and swallowing. Softly, I asked "Do you wear make up?" She was wasting time trying to figure out what I meant, so I forced out a grunt that roughly translated to 'give me the powder with the mirror' and so she fished it out of her coat pocket. I slipped it into mine. Her eyebrows furrowed now.

The house was old, probably cheap, built on dead land with some old fashioned appliances. Furnaces, a grandfather clock that seems to have been gutted and left there to rot, a bunch of cast iron pots. Nothing else. Well, nothing else besides the blanket she found rolled up and stuffed under the side of the floor boards. So this is where the gunman squatted. Which means Pizzatown really was the prize and if Kyle was the X on the map, he'll come back agai- "Seems like you have gotten the hang of detective work, lil' bro." Oh crap I was talking out loud. I shrugged it off.

Something twisted in my intestine and searing pain shot up my back. I suddenly knew that our universe was doomed and Kyle would die and I would never see Julie again and my family will never belong anywhere ever again, my talents are nonexistent and all I'm good for is surviving.

"Derek, are you okay?" Every word of that sentence rung in my head similar to a church bell. I was trembling and stiffly put one foot in front of the other on the rotted wood floor.
Demons inside of me...

One hand, the left one, clasped the hilt of the sword hard enough to hear the satin lining in the grip crinkle.
My future is no future...

My other hand grasped the sheath, keeping it steady. I was on my knees on the front steps of this small, decrepit house.
I should let the world swallow me up...
"Derek! Shit, hold on, let me call dad-"
I should kill everyone in my familyWait, what?

Too late, I slid the sword out and across my neck, staring at nowhere.
before I die and end my legacy permanently,
I made sure to dissect the bastard creature sucking the life out of my body
thinking it's clever
hiding in plain view...
My sister's tears drench my body and dad is on the phone, but at least I killed the despair eating piece of shit.


What's Kyle doing here?

The Fields Chapter 4: I don't like coffee anyway

The first thing my blind fury wrecked as soon as I got into my apartment was my collection of school trophies. My fists jabbed and smashed them across the room. Foaming through gritted teeth, I kneed my bookshelf repeatedly, splitting the spines of several paperbacks. How could my life come to this? I should have run away from home when I was 10 like I planned, I swore at myself. I pity myself. Being an obedient child all my life, just to get shat on. The nerve of my dad, my sisters, my mom even. All I am now is crazy, and the worst part is that's my best case scenario. Insane in the membrane. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every odd thing that's ever happened to me was a hallucination? To think, my dad could even say such a ludicrous and heart breaking thing to my face. "None of us were born in this dimension." These are the only people I trust in the world, if there even is one world, and they're useless. Batshit crazy.

My exhausted dad sent me home in a taxi which, thankfully, he paid for. I got a whole car ride to let my anger, confusion, frustration and pain come to a boil. It didn't help that the roads were totally cleaned up, probably the CDC or something. Like nothing even happened.

I thought of every missed opportunity due to my parents' paranoia and all of the times they haven't been there to stop me. Now that I was home - well, let's just say that home isn't a word I can use calmly anymore - the aggression wanted to maintain momentum, but I was in a tiny apartment. So I began hitting things.

So then I'd crushed the glass protecting my print of the Kill Bill: Volume 1 framed poster on the wall. The cracks echoed out into a web-like pattern and I left droplets of blood on the shards. I dug my fingers through my hair and tugged, giving myself an even bigger headache and flopped to the floor. I was in full toddler tantrum mode. Parts of that damn conversation with my dad wouldn't stop coming and going just like waves of nausea.

"Then why specifically us? What's so special about our family that's worth hunting over?"
"Son, there's no easy way to put this. All five of us escaped them at one point, but I well, I had already ended the lives of many of them by then."
"You mean to tell me we're now part of a revenge plot? Fuck."

I was dry sobbing after that, which even for me is a little strange. I was jolted back to the real world as my landlady busted through my door, yet all I could muster was lifting my head to point my eyes back at her. "What on Earth is going on here!" Crap, I thought to myself, even with everything, it would suck to get evicted. "...a dance routine." I slowly spoke, wondering how I come up with these things. "Oh..." She slid back out, bringing the door with her, "Just quiet down a little then."

I was defeated. My knuckles and elbow were covered in cuts and I didn't feel like getting up to take care of that. I fell asleep, on the floor.

Beeps, almost in the theme of Pac-Man.

"Oh, shit." I said out loud, not opening my eyes. I groped around, realized my phone was in my back pocket and that it was weird how I was groping my own butt. I lifted it up to my ear, followed by a weak "Yeah?"

"C'mon Derek, I know you don't really have food poisoning. It's been over a day, the toxins should have left your system even if you did have it." That didn't really make sense, which means this was Kyle. I completely forgot about work, but I stayed silent. "Anyways," he continued, "Meet me at the Darkstar Cafe. You're going to be my wingman, 'cuz I'm meeting Julie here." I sat up immediately and barked into the microphone, "Why the hell would I agree to do that?" Then he hit me with a grim reminder.

"If you don't, I'll tell her about your little, uh, scandal, to put it in a lighter tone." I jumped to my feet and grabbed a spare jacket on the small table next to me, "That's just a rumor! Don't even bring it up, it's not tr-" He interrupted me, "Doesn't matter. She won't think of you the same again. Gotta go." He hung up and I growled in frustration. I went over to the sink to rinse off some blood and noticed that the cuts on my elbow were already reduced to scratches the size of paper cuts. I wrapped it in a bandage anyway. I spotted my treasured Katana that is displayed on top of a shelf. Now I remember what it is that I forgot, I told myself. I grabbed it without taking it out of its silk cover and slung it over my back, since it has a handy string that can act like a shoulder strap. I headed out the door.

I forgot that my car is as good as gone and sighed, deciding that the cafe isn't too far away anyways. I spent that time thinking about how much of a dick Kyle is. Whenever I bring up the fact that he regularly tries to access my computer files remotely - because I refuse to tell him my sisters' phone numbers and so he tries to get them another way - he'll 'accidentally' drop the pizzas I made at the counter in front of a customer just so I have to do it again. There was another time when a group of grade school kids made a pit stop here on the way to some field trip and he wouldn't stop making references to drugs as he handed them their food.

I was only a block away from the cafe, which was really more of a fancy restaurant with its own parking lot, when I bumped shoulders with a man going the same direction, I wanted to mutter a simple "Sorry," but the encounter just had to be weirder than that. Time slowed down by what felt like 40,000x and I could see the world through the lens of this man's very own mind. Although, it was a snippet, I couldn't see his whole life or anything.

He was making his way to the cafe to look for someone, except that he probably already knew they were there. He would ignore the Barista and sit right in front of this person with a huge sickening grin on his face. The person is Kyle Davis. It's weird, I thought Julie would be here right now. Or maybe this person has no idea who she is and isn't anticipating her. That could get messy. It seems now Kyle realizes who is sitting in front of him and shits himself. The man seems to be trying to get Kyle to follow him, but just in case he cocks a small pistol under the table, mostly for the intimidation factor. The two both stop a dark construction site somewhere, the things I see become patchier and more sped up. He murders Kyle.

I gasp, back in real time. The man is still making his way to the cafe and I'm stopped dead in my tracks, trying to think quickly without thinking about the fact that I just became someone else's brain. My left hand touched the Katana to make sure it's still there, although I'm not sure how I'd be able to use it. "Sir!" I ran after him. He only glanced at me, but with my persistence he was forced to utter a low and jarring "What?" I blinked a couple times. I needed something in 0.34447578 seconds, which-

I was running, apparently. Great plan, Derek. There were only a few cars in the street and even less people, but the cafe, yes, the cafe! It's the hottest tourist attraction this town has. I kept run-jogging, trying not to go too fast, looked back at the confused man with a fearful expression and exclaimed "He's got a gun! Run, everybody! G-U-N!" I made sure to make eye contact with as many people in the cafe and saw that the Barista already had her fingers on the number pad of the phone. I dodged into the alleyway, waiting for him and peeked back. He was gone. What the hell? I circled around the back of the cafe and, oh shit, there he is. "Tell me who you are, or your brains stain that wall over there," he gestured with the end of the barrel as he spoke. This guy looked like he walked straight out of an audition for the part Cruise Ship Party Host for some stupid 70's Hollywood movie. White dress pants, lime green polo, snake skin belt, pilot shades. His hair was slicked back but his facial hair was unkempt. How long do they say police take, five minutes?

He rushed me, stuck the gun barrel over my tongue and showed me his crusty lips twist into a frown. "You rotten little shit, you have three seconds," he spoke with a gruff voice of a man who gets no sleep. Julie and Kyle crept around the corner behind me, which made me have to attempt to talk with metal in my mouth. "Ka-uhl! Ge'h ou-" he removed it, grinning once more. "It's a little more than I wanted, but I'll take the girl anyway. You, Kyle Davis, son of a bitch-" he only got to do his macho thing for so long before I smacked the gun out of the way with the hilt of my Katana. I wasn't sure what I'd do after this. Julie wouldn't budge. Kyle's look of horror blinked on. I ran back to them both, using my body as a meat shield. "Are you that desperate to get killed?" he asked, before shooting all three of us.

Two minutes and thirty-eight seconds left until the police get here. Too much time. He could run. A quick assessment showed that he has poor aim, which is why he would have only ever used it less than two feet away. Two bullets bit off a chunk of Kyle's arm, one grazed the entire stretch of Julie's forearm and another bounced off the wall to the right of her face, thank God. I was struck in the thigh. We all hit the ground, writhing in pain, now a crowd is forming in the street that the staff of the Darkstar is desperately trying to restrain.

However, mister Lime Polo, you underestimated my freakishly quick healing. I rose to my feet, crouched because I can't deal with putting all of my weight on that thigh yet and whip out my onyx Katana sheath with a stereotypical (read: traditional) golden dragon in the middle. He fires twice more, and they hit the flesh of my left forearm making a blood spatter pattern on the wall behind me in the shape of a wing. Nice. "Don't be a hero," says Kyle, "You're going to die," says Julie. I take some more steps forward, Lime Polo has this concerned look on his face. Concerned like I'm about to devour his brain, not concerned like he's about to get arrested. I swing down, angled chop up and left and smash his right thumb with the hilt. The sword is still sheathed, it's not like I was slicing him open.

I guess he decided this was just too weird for him, so he runs away, clutching parts of his body. The police arrive and then a few ambulances, but the man is nowhere to be found. Julie asks why I have a Katana and then thanks me, Kyle thanks me but when Julie is driven to the hospital and he's about to be too he whispers hoarsely to me "You were supposed to be my wingman, dude." I lay down on my own and then it's just paramedic radio chatter for another ten minutes. At least we all get the week off from work.

I was released the next morning but Kyle has to stay a few days and Julie has to stay for observation. I still wonder sometimes if my one blood wing is still faintly staining that wall next to the Darkstar, but probably not. I also promised Kyle that we'd all have some coffee or a dinner date or something once we're fine. Except, there's one thing I want to check first, even with no comment from Kyle on who that man was. This is the first thing I've seen that actually petrifies Kyle.

Time to go show Lime Polo the shiny side of my Katana.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Fields Chapter 3: This is just the beginning

I found myself standing on a wooden pier and although it had a 19th century look to it, the boards nailed to crisscrossed stilts only looked mildly rotted. I took note of the lamps swinging from tall metal poles on the left side of the long and narrow walk way and how they didn't emit any tangible light. Despite that, the path and railing below them was brighter than the twenty-foot gaps between each lamp. I must've been near the very end with my back facing the water because the walkway before me terminated in a much larger structure and maybe some kind of docks. The only problem being the distinct lack of details on just about anything besides the wood I stood on. In my peripheral vision the water and sky both seemed black, but that wasn't quite right, more like blank. Like a rough sketch on a chalkboard. I didn't notice any smell but felt a slight breeze whistle through my skull.

My body started moving forward, though I don't really know if my legs were lifting though, just that I was no longer in control of them. I moved at a steady pace towards the darkness, a growing sense of terror following close behind me. I broke into a sprint, my feet hitting cement steps. Much to my dismay, just as the nothingness began to caress my cheeks, I was suddenly back on the pier again. Only this time, I was looking out at the empty yet still body of water. The only detail which made it seem like water was the shimmer of a ripple of water, illuminated by no distinguishable light source and moved by no distinguishable falling object. It reminded me of hail, but the lack of water sounds made that image disturbing.

At the very edge, its head tilted down, was a man of average height and a slim build staring at the same ripple effect. He was the only thing in this world besides the wood which was decorated in any kind of color and his presence literally brightened the atmosphere around him. It was almost as if I was watching one of those murder mystery shows, the kind where every time the show wants to make a piece of evidence very clear they highlight it with a static-y oval. Although with those, they're not exactly adding color nor light to the picture, just brightening the image enough to show how awfully old the photo looks.

The man wore a light grey trilby with a black band around it on top of regular street clothes. A ragged and faded grey wool coat, red-brown corduroy pants with dark brown leather loafers. I couldn't see what kind of shirt he was wearing because his back was to me. It only took a nanosecond for that to change, however, as the next thing I knew my face was almost buried in his shirt which seemed to be soaked in oil or blood.

Becoming increasingly apparent that my presence as a walking human was just my brain trying to make sense of the situation, for some reason my point of view was now suddenly only about to this man's abdomen and he must have been six feet tall. So I ran. Or, well, it looked more like my consciousness was being dragged behind my will to live, but all the same really. As I pushed myself towards the blank docks I could feel the man effortlessly speeding up as well. Images of a madmen brandishing a sickle and a sick smirk rattled in my head, but to be honest I wasn't brave enough to actually turn around.

To my horror, my body sporadically slowed down or wouldn't respond at all. I wanted to kick myself in the ass just so I may hope to start running again, but all too quickly that was resolved for me. The man caught up, I felt him reaching for me, the air drained from my lungs and-

I woke up on a blue futon in a well lit room that sort of reminded me of what I always imagined teacher break rooms to look like, maybe mixed with a bland cafeteria. Cold sweat matted the back of my hair and stuck strands of it to my forehead, my face now flushed and red. I felt stiff and I looked stiff, my feet just dangling off the other end of the futon. I also looked dead, I was covered in blood and dirt. My vision was slightly hazy and I could hear somewhat familiar voices that I immediately registered as both irritating and worrisome. Oh yeah, I remembered then, that's my family over there.

"Check it out, the Joker is alive." I already wanted to punch Sierra, but I was too tired. She always hid her concern by doing that, even at really inappropriate times, so that made me feel slightly better about myself. Sierra was only a little younger than Heather, but the two weren't very much alike. She gets a different hobby every other week, is very comfortable in her lack of career goals despite being twenty three years old and is the only one of us who maintains an up-to-date police record. Her hair is lengthy and braided into a ponytail. She could whip me with her hair if she wanted to. She was in her best comfortable-but-still-wants-to-go-out outfit, her gaudy lipstick wiped off for once and she appears to have been crying, but won't ever let me see that again since I'm actually conscious now.

"That's a dick thing to say, do you know how hard it is to get shot in a freak way like that?" My oldest sister tries to be supportive but it often comes off as misguided. I studied Heather's body language, her shoulders stayed turned at Sierra but she no longer could keep her eyes off of me. Something tells me it's about my gross wounds and not because she just loves seeing her little brother that she hasn't actually visited in about 18 months and just nearly died. She has a more studious attitude about things, she was the first person to actually beg my dad to let her study at a university and goes through more books than I do slices of pizza. Sometimes I think she needs a few less cover-to-cover bookshelf marathons and a few more pizza eating competitions. She took after my mom the most with the same with her petite shoulders, all the way down to the same fashion that my mom was into when she was 25 as well. That part really wasn't a great thing, but at least she owned it. She is already a published author and writes novels about Victorian robots who can cry or something. While she doesn't tower over Sierra, the few added inches now make her a scarily skinny 5'7". She's not someone you can trust with a shotgun.

I sat up, almost falling backwards again in the process and jokingly held out my arms for a hug. They both took up the offer, including my distraught mother and my father who seemed deep in thought. I didn't intend for this to happen. I sighed, "You guys are acting like I've never had a scratch before. Heather didn't even visit me in the hospital when my appendix burst!" "I was in the middle of my finals!" she retorted. Sierra let out a small cough that had a hint of tobacco in it, "Derek your breath smells like shit," her observation was buried under comments and questions. "Honey, three and two thirds of an inch higher and you'd be our very brain dead son!" My mom really knows how to cheer me up.

My dad grunted and now stood beside me looking very serious. "Derek, we need to talk. All of us do. I'm glad you're okay, you know how much I care about you, but we-" I waved a dismissive hand. "Don't give me that. You already gave me the talk when I was like nine. Anyway, you never tell me anything. Why can't Heather handle this?" My dad tried his best to look mean. The guy did have the build of some hero out of one of Heather's fantasy-romance novels and he had a couple mean looking scars, but I've put so much effort in distancing myself from this entire family that he doesn't faze me anymore. "We are being reminded of a threat that is capable of decimating all human history, not just the Fields family members." The room got quiet. Well, shit, I thought, I guess this means I better call in a sudden vacation at work. "Everybody, to the conference room. We're doing this the right way."

Once everyone walked out of the room, heads hanging low, I could take in the room. It looked different from my childhood memories. Of course, I'm talking about the Fields Manor, a five - or more, who knows at this point? - floor shelter built for one family but capable of defending against every conceivable outside danger. My dad started renovating it while I was in preschool. Right now I was in the break room, on the second floor. It has a few small metal tables with benches, except only the benches are bolted to the floor in case you need to barricade the room or something. For the most part it's just off white colored walls, cabinets full of food and miscellaneous supplies, the futon I bled all over, some sinks, a mega fridge with a cold storage system capable of storing several tons of food for over 25 years, I could brag forever. My dad never found a way to make this place seem less like a bizarre office building, though.

I worked my way over to the sink, cured my dehydration and dry mouth and took a moment to touch my face. Someone stitched up my cheeks, Sierra I'm guessing. My tongue could still feel the stinging flesh in the inside of my cheek, my spit was still the color of pink lemonade, but the weirdest part was that my wound already began to close up. Let me remind you that this was in fact not a scratch, two large hot hunks of lead ripped my cheeks open. Yet the wounds are about as bad as if I chewed on my cheeks during an unusually long horror movie.

The conference room was just one door over. It has a large round table with a couple of chairs for everyone, plus a huge map pinned to the wall and some computer monitors in the back. This is the first time that I've been in here and my feet touch the floor when I sit on these damn chairs. My dad had some pieces of paper clipped to a clipboard in front of him, monitors behind him and I sat directly opposite him. Everyone else sat wherever. He took a deep, sorrowful breath and began explaining.

"Right, now, girls, I know you both know a little bit of this but this needs to get to Derek the most." My mom stared intently at a piece of paper at her own seat, my sisters stared at my dad. "There are things in this world more terrifying and dangerous than anything you've ever read about in fiction, anything you've watched in a movie, any urban legend, any real event or person. While none of us, and I do mean us as humans, know much about this threat, we know now that they have been hunting us for over eighteen years. I'm sorry if all that time led you to a false sense of safety and believe me, I would never wish this on anyone, but the fact remains that we all need to become as vigilant as humanly possible. I've trained all of you for this day, to the best of my ability. Sierra, Heather, you two need to depend on Derek now more than ever. No sibling rivalry is worth losing each other over. Now Derek, that doesn't mean you get to slack off anymore. I call you for a favor, you get here as soon as possible. Even if Heather or Sierra are just scared, they tell you and I want you at their house that same hour. Understand?" I looked at the table, contemplated leaving, then looked at him, "Sure." He slammed his fist on the table, startling everyone, "DEREK! No bullshit, this is a life or death situation and you are my family. Take this seriously for once, goddammit!" I stood up, placed my hands on the table and just looked at him. "Tell me what they are."

My dad didn't speak for several minutes. I thought I may have broken him. He stared at his clipboard as if it was a bowl of charred cereal. "Alright," he began, "I'll tell you what I know, then what to look out for, but there is one important detail. Most of this is just a theory." He rubbed his face, "There are things that look like humans. They don't belong here. They don't exist. Yet somehow, they're here now. They have unimaginable power that seems to only grow as time goes on. You've seen them, I can tell. Derek, there are multiple dimensions in existence. In fact, there are an infinite number, or so we think. Either way, a lot of these dimensions are, well, similar. Similar enough that, given a tool to cross over to another, it's theoretically possible to find a new home this way. It's also possible to encounter horrible monsters, and those can theoretically live elsewhere too."
He was sweating a puddle on the table. His voice became hoarse.
"Derek, I'm trying to say that these things came from another dimension. I'm trying to tell you that neither you nor your sisters were born in this dimension. Not me nor mom, none of us."
I wanted to pass out.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Fields Chapter 2: Check Engine

Never before have I seen a highway assume the position of a dog taking a shit, because that's what it did when the heart stopping shockwave of an earthquake rumbled through me and the car, launching it two feet in the air and smashing back to Earth. After a long string of expletives and a moment to make sure I'd stopped pressing on the gas pedal, I took some time to appreciate how hard the crown of my skull had smacked the roof of the car's interior. I fished out that bottle of Aspirin and patted around the floor for some fluids I could use to wash the pills down with. I think I took 3 tablets, I'm not exactly sure if that was a safe dose but there were more pressing matters at the time.

The sky had grown sullen and had a thick blanket of smoky clouds hovering above me. The wind shield of the car kept annoyingly fogging up from the bitter chill outside combined with the tiny heater vent that has kept me sane for hours up until then. I swore once more when I saw that my wind shield had a crack in its glass, curving up and around the passenger side. I reached over and hit the latch on my glove box, retrieving some maps. After deciding, yes, the scenery does vaguely match this one map, I spread it across my lap and looked back down the road. Oh, boy.

Bits of the guard rail to the left had snapped and buckled in direct connection to the massive splits horizontally across the road. I certainly wasn't about to just sit here and fall through the Earth's crust, and there was an overpass up ahead. I may have seen too many movies that include crumbling bridges and sweet jumps during disasters, but I was confident I could make it if I was careful, even with my Subaru. As I sped up and made my way across the overpass, I heard car alarms go off in the distance, the number growing by the second. This was more irritating than creepy, really. I did some deep breathing exercises, the kind you learn about when you or someone you know is about to have a baby. It didn't really help, but I remembered where I was headed and I became determined once more.

I slowed down yet again once I entered a place named Fields Landing, a small part of the city of Eureka, California. Yes, I realize the coincidence. I've seen it a hundred times, but not quite this desolate and run down. While I was pretty low on gas, the bunker usually has some and I wasn't far from it. I'd been dodging and driving through road blocks all day and the lukewarm iced tea from 7-11 was starting to finally get to me. Digging around in the glove box proved yet again to be my best friend, still housing the camping knife I got for my 11th birthday, complete with a belt-attachable carrying case. As impressive as it looked all black and professional looking, it was only about 2 2/3" long. Single edge. I strapped it to my waist as fast as a man who was about to piss himself possibly could and headed out, slamming the door.

I skulked around empty offices, abandoned and flipped cars, weeds lining the fences of the houses that were probably built over 60 years ago. Even for a neighborhood, the lack of life was a bit disconcerting. Although there was still tons of shrubbery to be found, all green-brown-red leafy mounds of plant. I'm not good with botany. At this point, the front of my jeans were facing impending flooding. I needed to act. I awkwardly hobbled up the lawn of one of these houses, eggshell colored side paneling with a mostly chain link fence. I knocked with two knuckles a few times, asking if anyone happened to live in this depressing place. To my complete shock, someone did answer.

This man, bow legged, in his robe - probably not wearing anything underneath - and with a paunch that could rival my high school bus driver, stood before me. He's got this 8  'o clock shadow look to him, like he thought about getting up for work once but just said 'fuck it,' and this probably wasn't the first time. He said nothing, just stared at me with these glazed over eyes that looked as if he may be freezing over from the inside out, or maybe he's still recovering from a food coma.

A few things ran through my mind, now processing about as fast as an Armadillo can run. My first idea was to start asking him if he had a moment to talk about the book of Mormon, but I shook that thought, that's only if I want him to close the door. My second idea formed and I ran with that one. "I'm from the Energy Conservation Department of FEMA and the president has asked that I inspect your home - among others, don't worry, we're not targeting you specifically or anything - for potential gas leaks resulting from the unfortunate earth tremors going through the state." Wow, I thought, that was a bunch of shit. Every member of the Fields family is good at something, usually just about everything actually, but that obviously excludes me. Better than finding out you're a total sociopath, I guess. The man just nodded slowly, as if he was concentrating at moving every little strand of muscle smoothly. Alright, then. I shrugged that off and stepped inside, explaining how I forgot my clipboard but that I'm great at taking mental notes. Another lie. I kept having to step over torn newspaper and puddles of this very pungent substance that I'd rather not try to describe, just that it looked organic. I covered my mouth and the bottom of my nose, asking through muffled words if I could use the bathroom and he didn't move. This sludge he was neglecting made me feel as if I was growing cancer cells in my lungs, dozens by the second. I searched for the bathroom, feeling my headache remind me that it never left and fuzzy dots hovered in my eye. Finally! The toilet was even clean.

Now, I have no idea how long this piss could take, nor have I ever timed a one-handed-pants-around-your-thighs-knife-versus-bony-claws-of-hellish-fatman-creature but after I've done both at once, I can safely say it lasted about a minute forty-one seconds. The goddamn fatman's chest split vertically, widening to show his impressive collection of human heads, bone spears, dripping slobbery acidic venom and masses of muscle that flopped out of his belly and onto the floor. Don't ask me why I know that's venom, because all I know is that it is nothing any snake or spider can spit in this world.

I managed to pull up my pants with one hand and dismember one of the bastard's meaty pendulums before booking it. Did I mention that the things that fell from his belly were attached by rope-y intestines that he swung around like an organic ball and chain which ended up wrapping around my neck? Yeah, it sucked. All I could think of was wiping this fatman red sauce off of my hands with a warm, wet rag. I'd lean against the cool tile wall in a pristine granite and steel shower that'd erase the grease from my hair and face and de-knot my back. I'd curl up in a soapy bath that smells of mint and mango. Alas, I still had to sprint through ice cold grass, hop over twenty-five thousand year old fences and oh shit, now the whole neighborhood is whooping and gurgling loudly at me. I could not turn at a single unfamiliar corner without a thing with claws, sometimes multiple limbs and tendrils, dark eyes and nervous systems that glowed through their flesh. Made them easy to spot in the dark I suppose. I think they were saying things like "YOOOUUU!" and "NEVER FORGIVE..." but I wasn't really paying attention.

I jumped backwards into my Subaru and pulled my pants up all the way in the back, simultaneously slammed the door towards me and sinking my foot into the gas pedal as hard as possible. I shivered, but I pressed on. Only about twenty minutes until I was in the warm embrace of my strange, possibly insane family. Out of nowhere, some dick swerves in front of me, cutting me off and crushing my right headlight to bits. I made a mental note to kick this guy's ass later and get a new car. That was, until I realized the 50 other cars sitting idly in front of me. They kept honking their horns, like that'll fix anything, aggressively bumping into each other for no reason. Up ahead, against the dull sickly sky and first signs of daybreak, S.W.A.T. vans sat crookedly behind a bunch of sand bags and very serious and very military-looking riot control officers. Alternating flood lights hooked up to portable generators and flashing red lights on three-legged stands blinked.

A man on top of a Humvee smoothly took a megaphone and put it up to his lips. "We are aware that we have a crisis on our hands, we are also aware that you are all eager to escape and see your loved ones. We do not care. Any person, civilian, police officer or otherwise may not pass beyond this point. Anyone seen trespassing will be shot. If you do not move your vehicles from this specifically designated spot in the next ten seconds, you will be shot. All of you must leave at this very instant and head to your local shelters, we cannot help you, but we can destroy your vehicles. Make your decision." With that, he walked away. How did he expect us to get our cars out in ten seconds anyway? I think he just wanted to see people get riddled with bullets. "OH SHIT," I exclaimed as I hit the floor of my car, 5.56 mm bullets washing every car and person very systematically, while .50 caliber bullets rained down on us from the less graceful firings of machine guns. I was struck at the top of my shoulder, just a graze though, even if it did hurt and bleed something awful. I could see casings roll off the side of the road into a dirt ditch like gold coins, illuminated by the flood lights. I tried reversing, but my car was acting all retarded now. Sure enough, the "CHECK ENGINE" light blinked on. Then the temperature warning. Then the brake failure warning. Oil pressure. Battery. Open doors. That last one was me.

It was completely crazy for me to have escaped then, totally uncalled for, although I felt a little better after one of the adjacent bystander's car exploded into a mini mushroom cloud of flame. My mom is going to be so worried. I wondered then if my sisters worried too, or if they're just mad because the meeting can't start until all Fields are accounted for. Damn. I peeked around the other side of my poor car, its tail lights still blinking, but even that chokes and dies as the horrible SWAT team destroys it. This wasn't so bad once I took a better look at some of these people.

Maybe it's not my place to judge from a distance, but I had a guttural feeling at least half of these people weren't people at all. Maybe something different from fatman too. The other horrible thing is that a few of them were, in fact, regular people. Grandma visiting grandkids. Dad coming home from work. A young couple doing whatever it is they do. Children. It was probably just the adrenaline, but I could've sworn I was mentally picking apart the anatomy of these things. Absorbing information, or possibly recalling something I already knew. No, that's too obtuse. Either way, these things seemed to emanate something that wasn't pure, something that didn't work with me. They seemed to ungracefully mutilate the air itself around them, and their statures were like a reanimated skeleton imitating an orangutan. Fissures around the sockets and joints of their bodies glowed like ember, I could feel myself drifting into their minds-
I rocked to the ground, my arms falling limp and my legs struggling to push me further behind my car. Salty, copper, warm blood filled in my mouth and down the corners of my laps and rivulets of the thick red juice started trickling down the side of my cheek and chin. My tongue had a hot paper cut sting to it, and a scratch in the gums of my lower teeth tasted raw. I turned my head to the asphalt, my body seeking a way to reject its own motor oil. I wanted to vomit, but I needed to get past officer Prick first. I steadied on my elbow first, then with a throw of all of my energy and weight I was back up at the trunk, hunched over, peering around.

They say when you're about to die your brain goes into overload, it processes information in such a large quantity that your final moments can feel like hours. It's supposed to help you figure out how to survive.

Hunched over dying, my perspective is staring directly east at some trees and just a bunch of tail lights of cars. Shredded Corvette, two cars in front of me, green Jeep in front of it, white Mercedes next to that, RV behind that one, short bus with a few dead people two cars to the east of mine, three Cooper Minis on the far East of the grid of stuck cars, a Buggy pulling a trailer near the north side, one motorcycle on the west. These are the vehicles which are both used in transportation for these foreign hellish creatures and are the hellish creatures that, most likely planning to commit mass murder here or someplace else before they were stopped, are carrying semi-automatic weapons and some of them have fully automatic ones or possibly explosives. Modern weaponry, inhuman things, these things must all have some kind of collective knowledge to be able to obtain those, or at least something like that. My Subaru deflected the bullet at such an angle that it entered my left cheek, pointed down slightly, grazed the edge of my tongue, scratched half an inch of gums, then torn through my lower lip somewhere. It's not a fatal wound, if I can get it mended quickly I won't even have trouble speaking in a couple months. In a couple minutes though, I will be dead.

Wow, I'm glad I never did drugs in high school. I now had a plan painted in crimson imprinted in my head. I knew how to do it, I just wasn't sure if I would survive. What the hell, I thought, I know what happens if I don't do anything. I snatched my bags. Yeah, yeah, they weigh me down, but how else would I do this without The Eye of the Tiger playing on my MP3 player?

Now crouched and pumping my little calves along with my body's adrenaline drip, I swiftly sneak behind the short bus. Seems like the SWAT guys are reloading or whatever. I rip open the emergency hatch. The seatbelt and harness for the wheelchair thing is torn up, like someone fought for their life by clinging onto it, but something stronger ripped them away. A few feet away from me, two students of some local middle school are eviscerated. Their wounds are stuffed with a glowing, silvery damp cotton type of material. It was disgusting, and I didn't look at it very long. I sat in the seat behind the driver, who was still creepily sitting there in the uniform. I remember that he still wore his stupid little beanie and uniform, the radio hanging uselessly from its velcro holster. I was looking at an angry, lost, bitter, disgusting, sad, dreadful thing. That's the word, thing. I still haven't found a good word for it.

Have you ever seen the drawing of a young child? You know how they draw shadowmen, or humanoid figures before they know how to or before they actually know what it's like to be a human? Or maybe they just wanted to draw a villain for their heroic fantasies because their minds haven't been tainted by hollywood and real bad people who are waiting to show them real fear. They draw them like harsh, unrefined, archaic scribbles. They have sharp hands and legs, but at the same time they aren't hands and legs, because they're only lines that aren't actually put together to form anything. All those lines represent are the force of the pencil, made by the energy of a wild young child. Dark. They smudge if you even lightly touch them, you could probably get a criminal's fingerprint made from that graphite.

It's like that. Maybe a little more organic. Their eyeballs are like stars, not the cartoonish 5-point kind, the ones that our eyeballs obscure because they aren't strong enough to endure the true nature of a star. This is a being that isn't meant to be in front of my eyes. The only reason I haven't died yet, or shocked so much that I feel I can never be normal again and want to jump off a cliff is because I can also still see the sullen physical body of the human it was trying to be. Mid-forties, clean shaven, used to enjoy his job but is getting fed up with life and loves pastries too much to try and extend his lifespan. Endures quite a lot of noise every single day, used to be married and loves comfortable pants. One of us. Not a monster, depending on your personal definition. I shakily raise my hand, he moves his face at me which leaves trails of after images burned into my sight like overlaying film into one little picture."WHOOOOO?" It says to me. I slash the knife wildly at its throat, tears staining my face.
Family stories and seeing it for yourself are two different things.

I wake up, flames erupting everywhere, monsters leaving their cars and dodging bullets like ballet dancers, but a little jankier. They pull out their pieces; pistols, sub-machine guns, canisters of explosives or gas, one with a shotgun. I must have only passed out for a few minutes, but it was probably the stench that woke me. I sprinted out of the bus and dry heaved. A lot. I could hear them saying stuff. Nothing that makes any sense, but it seems directed at me. "EYE FOR EYE..." "WHO ARE YOOOU?" "GET HIIIIM DOWN HERE!" "WHY DID? WHY ME?" It was kind of obvious that they realized we're a little too different from each other for them to speak traditionally, I guess they learned bits and pieces of English.

I haven't mentioned this yet, but these things, they sound horrible. It's like when you get water in your ears and only half of it drains. Then, their voices seem to pierce your brain like a hand trying to manipulate it, only it physically hurts like that and they don't know what buttons to push in your brain to get it going. It also just sounds like general garbage, think a VHS tape played on half speed and through a walkie talkie. Well, you get the point I think.

In a fit of rage and desperation, I decided to go full Rambo on their asses. I hid behind the massive cover the bus's front grants me and shoot. And I shoot. And I slam the grip into the yellow scratched paint when I miss, causing a dent, then I cough and spit more blood and continue shooting. The nice divorced possessed man had an extra clip stuck in his belt. Then there was one he had pinched between his thighs. Next to his crotch.

My shots were meticulous, but hasty. These things could come at me at any time, I needed the preemptive. With a stockpile of 45 bullets minus the ones I waste, I wasn't too worried. Aside from the few people trying to drive away and getting blown up for it, no one has moved. I wasn't even sure if the SWAT team was going to hunt me down, and I wasn't sure where Mr. Dickhead McMurder Your Families was. I wasn't sure what happened to my family, and I was regretting leaving home again today. In fact, I believe every innocent here is dead. I'm excluding myself from that list on purpose.

I was dead tired. I wasn't going to make it. I've splattered manifested fear or whatever those things are all over the place. I was keeping the gun, just for a little while. I just need to get to the bunker, I grunted to myself, vomiting blood. I think it's impossible, depending on your injury, to not swallow any blood. So that sucked. "You know what? This is bullshit! I'm done! Mom, Dad, Heather, Sierra, I'm sorry..." I shakily held the pistol with a clear shot at one of the machine gun operators, breathing heavily. "Put down. The weapon!" He had the gall to pretend this was even a civil manner anymore. You kill everyone on sight, but me? I scoffed, which went into a full blown chortle, then slid into a dry sob and back to breathing heavily. "If you just let me through, none of this would happen!" I held out my arms in a defeated manner. "You incompetent. Piece. Of shit." He readjusted the weapon, staring me down. I stood in the mud and dirt and overturned grass, completely torn soil from the hundreds of rounds shot by these guys. Tons and tons of machinery crumpled and melting, over fifty dead. I got it, really. I would do this too if our country was invaded by abominations. However, I have the right, and I always will, to be absolutely astonished at how my life can always get stomped by this shit. Literally, all I needed to do was see my family. Not my fault they're paranoid people with a signal and safehouse and everything. Today was the day I ate pizza, texted a girl until I slept, woke up the next morning for work. "And you know what!" I shouted, externalizing my psychological breakdown apparently, "I'm not," I squeezed the trigger once, "getting," twice, closing my eyes now, "shat," three more times, "ON," I emptied the clip with my eyes closed too, "TODAY!"

I collapsed. I should really think my dad for once for taking me to all that shooting practice, because hot damn did it pay off. I ended up severing the bullet belt that fed the gun set on delivering my demise. The other machine gunner was knocked unconscious while trying to get a hit on me, I think a bullet ricocheted off his thick skull. One bullet went through a dude's hand, the space between the glove and their sleeve is unprotected, which rendered him trigger unhappy. The shot right after that hit a piece of smoldering flesh that splatter into his eyes, since he was trying to help the man with the broken arm. The third shot pretty much punched him in the chest. This all happened in under eight seconds, and the only person left was Mr. Asshole. He sauntered up to his mound of dirt and sand bags and the useless Humvee. This time, no megaphone. He picked up assault rifles from two members of his squad, one in each hand, probably just for some macho display because I don't think that would have really worked. "You little shit. You really think is going to go well for you?" I guessed he didn't hear my earlier monologue. "I am going to detain you, then I will send you to the harshest FBI interrogation facility in existence. You will be thoroughly tested at a lab, no sedatives, then you get to live at Guantanamo." He smirked himself a smug grin that only fantastically horrible human beings from movies where it's considered unrealistic to be this terrible of a human being can grin.

"Rochester. You know what that means. I have the highest possible authority in this situation, and you are dismissed indefinitely. Now leave." A tall, daunting man appeared behind the jerk, shadowy except for the flames flickering light on his face. Rochester is my dad's middle name, he uses it in 'special circumstances' and is a powerful phrase for my family in certain branches of the military. Two grown women came sprinting down the dirt ditch to the side, the only way to walk up the slope of barricades and right now they both seemed to be reduced to something like teenagers after watching the final part of a movie series they love. "Derek!" Heather - my oldest sister - cried, figuratively and literally, and gave me a bear hug that was a bit too tight. Sierra followed after and tackled me into a hug, fat ugly tears drenching her face. "Are you okay?" they both exclaimed at the same time. I thought it'd be better to give them the short version the story. Pausing long enough to give a wide grin, Heather gestured to the top of the hill with morning warming the cheeks of the living and said "Mom's here too!" I looked up and there she was, Mom, in some sort of dress that fluttered in the all too chilly breeze. I'm not good with fashion.

Looks like the family's all here.

The Fields Chapter 1: My Name is Derek Fields

(Author's note: I planned on writing and publishing something much bigger and better thought out, but I sort of got bored of the idea and then I moved, which disrupted the whole posting-regularly-about-things plan. But hey, I figure I might as well write SOMETHING and then think of a better plot later. So here it is, my somewhat improvised story about crazy demons and combat and stuff. This is mostly just for fun, so I apologize if this ends up being really stupid.)

I feel the need to preface the rest of this with the fact that I haven't seen my family in a couple years. I still get regular calls from Mom, but for the most part I've just been working part time jobs to maintain my fast food addiction and whatever else keeps me entertained. The family as a whole seems to agree this is for the best. Sure, maybe if I told this to my younger self he would have felt some contempt, assume my parents don't really love me and that my sisters would rather worry about themselves. However, I've learned how to ignore most things that bother me, or force myself to stop caring. I've even gotten comfy with my cheap two-person car that was paid off using birthday money and a studio apartment that resulted from the same deal. Maybe 18 is a bit young to be living on your own, but that doesn't bother me.

My name is Derek Fields. I had just finished a 2:16 AM pizza eating challenge with my coworkers after a long day at the 'shop when I decided I should probably head home. I slipped out the back and into the unlit parking lot, intentionally avoiding my friend Julie so she wouldn't realize how disgustingly bloated and greasy I was. I slid into the driver's seat, exhaling, glad that my stomach was already conditioned for this kind of ordeal, but still unhappy that the weather was becoming unusually cool. The only thing I like about cold weather is that it gives me an excuse not to work out and train with some local karate instructor that my dad is friends with and my mom would complain at me for not going to until I actually do.

At this point I made an unconscious decision to park outside of a 24-hour convenience store. Whatever, I thought, might as well do some 2 AM shopping. As I stepped through the motion sensitive door thing, something between a shiver and a cringe coursed through my intestines, spine, chest and neck. At the time I just thought the pizza bomb had hit early, but upon later Googling it would appear this was something called Frisson. I was the only one in the store besides the owner, so I kept my head down the whole time attempting to dodge his line of sight. I hate small talk and I felt like I'd just eaten 26 2/3 slices of Tony's Grill three-cheese pizza, so precautions were justified. I gathered some essential items and cradled them in my arms before plopping them on the counter. Just some gum, a few cans of that 'healthy' energy drink stuff with a red cross symbol on it, probably condoms, a stress relief ball, aspirin, generic stomach medicine and two flavors of chapstick. Grape and lime. I heard the register tally up the goods and I took the time to rub my sleepless eyes. I glanced back up at a staring convenience store owner. He looked like he was trying to see through me, as if he glared hard enough he could turn on X-ray vision. I dug out some cash, flung it at him and swooped up the bag as soon as I confirmed I wanted one.

Slightly nervously tapping my foot next to the gas pedal, I threw the whatever-mart brand bag to the passenger seat, zipped up my black hoodie over my blue flannel shirt and threw my car in reverse. I half expected the owner to come trotting out of the store, but thankfully he stayed put. Now I have all the time in the world to plan out the rest of my week.

Things like the store owner don't really spook me. Maybe activate my fight-or-flight skills, which admittedly are dampened by fifteen pounds of grease and cheese but still sharper than probably 94% of the population. We have family stories that are so pants-shittingly terrifying that I have trouble taking dates to the movies. You may say, wouldn't looking brave actually help you in that way? Well, no, when you show nearly no emotion you tend to look like a sociopath, and that's not very attractive. Especially when you might accidentally chuckle at one of the characters getting called by the oh-so-scary computer generated graphics, because you know for a fact that there are things in the world ten times scarier than that.

Home sweet home, I couldn't wait to accept sleep's comforting arms and wait until my next shift in the warm daylight with Julie and Kyle and even the guy who looks like a homeless person. I figured, unusually, that I should probably shower first. Julie never says anything, even though Kyle does, when I forget to bathe, so maybe this time I can impress her. Which is why I didn't hear the Ham radio I keep tuned into one specific frequency blasting 'Fish Heads' by Barnes and Barnes until I opened the bathroom door.
Let me explain.

I only remember fragments of that very important day. We sat at a round table built into the Fields Manor, a kind of mansion and nuclear bunker mixed together. We spent most of our childhoods here. My sisters sat at my left and right, my parents sat across from us. They were explaining how radios work, how during a catastrophic emergency cellphone towers would probably be down, and that we would need a very distinct way of telling each other to meet at the bunker even if we had all grown up and lived on our own. My dad chose that song, he said that even if we wanted to change it it's better that we don't risk forgetting what to listen for. I had no say in this. I must have figured my sisters would be on top of it so I wouldn't have to worry, considering they were 5 and 7 years older than me. The phrase "fish heads" never really leaves your memory, though.

I stormed past the entryway, my heart pumping like an Olympian consumes food. I didn't even really have time to curse myself for being so stupid and having that daydream about boxing Muhammed Ali. Another fragment of memory sparked into existence, it felt like my dad was really there. "This is meant to be a seven minute warning. Now, the fact that this is even happening means that getting to the bunker will be dangerous in itself. You have seven minutes to grab whatever you think you need before you desperately need to get your butts over here..." I grabbed my duffle bag and smacked the plastic bag into it. My plan was to keep repeating words that sounded important so I wouldn't forget anything. Underwear, toothbrush, styptic powder, first aid kit, candy stash. I slid my old high school backpack on which unfortunately had a spray painted red X on the front. Rebellious stage, don't ask. I grabbed some non-perishable foods, extra coat, cellphone charging cable, cheap MP3 player I kept around so I could listen to "ass-kicking music" and some comic books I snatched at random. At this point I had no plan, I was so irresponsible that plans don't ever become thoughts in my mind, they never have the chance to hatch. Alright Derek, enough beating yourself up I said to myself.

There was one thing that felt like it was piercing me in the gut saying "Hey, you forgot me" but I couldn't think, I didn't know what it was. Panicking is uncool. I decided that was enough and stumbled to my car, placing the backpack in the passenger seat's leg space and the duffle bag on top of the seat. I wiped the sweat from my forehead, got it all over the steering wheel and tried cleaning it with a napkin that was stuck under the seat. Just fantastic.

In all this confusion, I forgot one small detail: I live over 5 hours from the Fields Manor. I wonder if my parents took this into consideration when they bought it for me. They may very well hate me after all, I muttered to myself. For several hours I slipped in and out of frustration, several times wanting to say "screw it" and go back home. They can deal with their own damn crises! My sisters are more important to them anyways, what's the point of me being there? I slammed the wheel with one fist and exhaled sharply. The street was an inky blackness, I struggled to keep my lids from shutting. Then my phone rang, the theme of Pac Man created primarily out of beeps and boops.

I exhaled once more, fumbling with the thing, trying to answer and hold it with one hand and just barely got it by the third ring. I mumbled a mix of 'huh' and 'yeah' into the bottom of the microphone. "Derek? Are you okay? You didn't call me or Kyle and we're about to open up in an hour..." Oh, shit. Julie. I shook my head, trying to make it sound like I'm doing anything but driving down an empty highway in the cold morning. According to her, if it's an hour 'til we open the store, it's 6:30 in the damn morning. I'd been driving for 4 hours or so. "I, uh, I've been awake all night with..." I trailed off, scanning the road, thinking I saw something but remembering that I might be about to pass out. "With food poisoning. Sorry, I should've called s-" I was cut off there, "Oh, no, no! That's okay, we can do it without you today. You should stay home. I hope you feel better." I agreed, smiling plainly. She was always nice to me. She was nice to everybody, that's how she operates. In fact, sometimes it almost seemed like she was patronizing me, until I realized that's me being cynical. In my defense, it's not far fetched to say I've developed trust issues from time with my family. I hung up.

There are things about my family that no one should know, a lot of them are things even I don't know. I can't impose that on someone like Julie. She's untainted. On that train of thought I considered trying to call my dad and asking what was going on, but then I remember he doesn't really talk on the phone. My mom doesn't have a number, my sisters have both changed theirs and I haven't bothered to get the new ones. Maybe they don't want to hear from me.

The weirdest part was that nothing was going on. All of the streets I visited were empty, shops appeared just fine with no signs of looting, buildings were intact. Perhaps the weird part about that is the lack of cars, especially since I was in the middle of the time people go to work.

Just like that, I jinxed myself. Sirens rumbled and whined in every direction. You might not understand the gravity of the situation here, but these aren't regular police sirens. Every single day we hear ambulances speed past us on the street. For absolute attention of its citizens, cities use things like air raid sirens and tornado sirens to intentionally disturb you and keep you from ignoring them.

This is one pants-shittingly terrifying thing I don't have much tolerance against.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Just stretching my fingers

I've decided to finally make my own blog, a for real blog, not just my tumblr where I don't contribute much. I don't actually find it very comfortable to write openly about what I think and what I've done today or whatever, but something that I do enjoy is thinking of crazy story ideas I could pursue. Unfortunately I lack the focus and expertise to sit down and write a 300+ page novel, rewrite, grab criticism from a bunch of people and do it all over again. But with a blog I can just have fun with writing and post whatever crazy shit I want, then maybe I'll even get better at it this way.
Of course, what's a blog without an audience of some sort? I'd like everyone to visit my dear friend's blog that is much more about bloggy stuff.

I'm not currently writing anything now, but I sure am trying to make it happen. I have so many ideas I'm almost having the opposite of writer's block sometimes. Well, relatively speaking, all of these ideas pertain to the same fictional universe. I'm not the kind of person who can crank out an original short story every other day. I use this program called Evernote that syncs documents you write to their magical servers in case your computer fatally craps itself, so I've been writing a TON in several different documents about what I want to have happen in the story, certain ideas I could expand on, a to-do list of what details I need to think of (creating fake towns is hard) et cetera. But I like what I've got so I'm making myself commit to this one. Hopefully soon I'll be able to publish the first chapters, because everyone knows stories don't get interesting until a little bit in. Then more people I know can read it and ask what's wrong with me.

In the meantime, I've been packing boxes so I can move, which sucks, but it's to a house that'll inevitably be less than half an hour away from's location, which is cool. Maybe I can blog with her.
Here's an image to celebrate.

So what else I've been up to recently? Mainly netflix. I started watching Supernatural because everyone on tumblr talks about it and I watched several seasons in some kind of crazy marathon but I'm taking a break from it now. The show's pretty depressing. I mean, it made me tear up too many times for mainly being about fantastical violence. The teary-eyed Tony threshold is zero! How dare they. Before that I was on an anime binge. I watched all of what's currently available of Blood Lad, Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online. I love them all to death now, even if I have no good reason to. I've even caught up with SNK's (attack on titan) manga, and I have to wait 'til next month for the next chapter. Which is something I totally wouldn't do to any of you, I might take a week off but once I start writing and I know exactly where I'm headed and how I'll get there the craziness will just continue to escalate!
Video game wise, it's been a sad month and a half for me. I had to box up my consoles and I've been too tired to even try to play my handhelds. Maybe it's because I'm waiting to buy this one game from Gamestop as my final act of enhancing my collection before I take the dive into living out of boxes for several months.
Not literally.
Oh yeah, remember to go to