Routine

•June 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Humanity thrives on spontaneity. We always look for new experiences. Adventure. Surprises. That whole business about variety being the spice of life.

But in stark contrast, we’re also known for relying on rituals. Little things we can do every day to remind us that, despite all the chaos, there is still some order, some pattern, in our lives. It’s a form of feeling in control. Feeling as though we can fight back against the things we cannot foresee.

Of course, that’s all bullshit.

Her name is Lyndsey. Usually, I’d gag at the spelling of that name. That unnecessary “Y” telling me that her parents were pretentious assholes who thought their daughter would be “unique” and “special”. Little did they know that she’d do just fine with that, regardless of her name.

In retrospect, it’s a pretty pathetic thing to get depressed over. This girl who I only know by first name. Who I only see for a few minutes a day. If you asked me about her, I could barely tell you anything that you couldn’t find out talking to her for five minutes.

Excuse me, that should read “couldn’t have found out”. Past tense. You can’t really find out anything now.

The coffee is a bit more bitter today. Actually, it’s probably made the standard way it’s supposed to be made. The way every barista is trained to make it. But she knew I wanted a bit of extra sweetener. And now I have to remember to order it like that again. First time I’ve had to order my drink in almost three years.

Three years. Even someone who has such limited exposure on your daily life can really grow to have a strong impact over years of time. Three minutes a day, five days a week. That’s about it. Hell, we barely even had conversations outside of quick daily updates. I can tell you the name of her dog. She can tell you the name of my wife.

Excuse me, that should read “could have told you the name of my wife”. She can’t really tell you anything now.

For the first time in all these years, I’m actually sitting at a table drinking my coffee. Staring at the new guy behind the counter. The one who replaced Lyndsey, with a Y, after she…

…after she was claimed by The Crisis.

What is this? Why do I care? She just made my coffee, that’s it. Why does it feel like I lost a friend? Was she my friend? No, she’s nice to everyone. It’s her job. But still…

Excuse me, that should read “was nice to everyone”. She can’t really be nice to anyone now. She can’t really be anything to anyone now…

Remember those rituals I was telling you about? Those things we do every day to feel comfortable in our own lives? It’s actually those very repetitive events that make the spontaneous moments have that much more of an explosive feeling. The unexpected can only happen if there is an expected result to begin with.

She’s gone. That’s all there is to it. I have to remember to order my coffee the way I want it for now on. Or at least until the new guy learns it too. Then it’s back to normal.

It will feel the same, right?

She was putting herself through college. When I came in and saw she wasn’t there, I thought maybe she’d finally paid things off and moved on to a real job. I was just about to comment when the other girl told me she disappeared. Vanished. During her cousin’s bridal shower. She was excited to be the maid of honor. She told me about it for two weeks straight. I was happy for her.

I was happy for her? I actually was, wasn’t I? I actually cared that this girl, nearly two decades younger than me, was happy. Then maybe…

I do feel bad she’s gone.

My daily norm is gone. Replaced by another, perhaps. And yet, this one will take awhile to form. Once again, I have to develop that routine. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to move on to the next thing, not like this. The Crisis disrupts so many things in our lives, from the big to the very small. I don’t want to just forget and move on. Because there are others in her life that can’t just move on. People she talked to for more than three minutes a day. Co-workers. Family.

They can’t just get their familiarity from someone else. They can never replace her. Is it fair that I could?

Hell, can I even replace her?

This coffee is awful. I miss Lyndsey…

Det. Damien Crosby’s Story – Chapter Two – Momentum

•June 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There are moments, only tiny fragments compared to the grand scheme of our lives, that we find our bodies moving without our conscious control. As if pulled by some unseen force. Or perhaps pushed by one. This momentum carries us the same as any, but the destinations feel different. Foreign. As if we had no reason to go there.

How best to describe it? Perhaps it’s like finding yourself in a room of your house, and having no memory of the purpose for being there. At some point, the conscious thought process of moving yourself to a room for a purpose dissipated, and a natural movement took over. You know you had to be in that room for a reason, but your mind no longer remembers it. But yet you still find yourself at the destination. Your body, subconsciously, brought you there, even without your understanding of the purpose.

But this is a small-scale for that. What if we applied that theory to a larger movement. The Crisis, for example. What if it is not the mystery of the journey, but the destination. That is, if there is a destination at all.

Why was he walking in this direction?

12:37

That means a solid two hours had gone by since he watched that footage. A video camera recording something that is impossible to truly capture with words. A “now you see it, now you don’t” magic trick pulled off in the blink of an eye. Less than a blink of an eye, even.

Marcy Crosby. Gone. The voice, that terrified voice. His daughter, Kylie. Screaming for her mother. And then the sound of feet on crunching leaves, trailing off in search of something that could not be found. That was the last thing Damien saw. Two hours ago.

And now he’s here. Why? Without any regard for his old friend, Damien Crosby just started walking. First, into the woods. To look for his daughter? But he’s far away from the woods now, and he never stopped to turn his head, or change his course. He just kept walking. And now he’s on a bridge. The 7th Street bridge? Why? And what is that awful noise?

“Hey! Sir, the bridge is closed… sir…”

“What, oh… shit, sorry. Um… I’m… I’m a cop. Sorta.”

“You’re a cop, sorta?”

“Um, well… ah hell, you know what, never mind.”

“Whoa, wait, it’s fine Joe, let him pass.”

Damien furrowed his brow at the sound of the familiar voice. Where had he heard it before? Right, he heard it…

“Police Academy basic training, my God. Damien Crosby, how the hell are ya, buddy?”

“Curtis Holland. Been awhile.”

Damien shook off the confusion of his mysterious journey and raised his tired eyes up to meet Curtis’. He was surprised that, despite fifteen years of age draped over him, the man looked relatively the same as he did back then. Puking into a bucket after running the obstacle course. Laughing at himself for being in police training and eating a donut. The kinds of things that pretty much assured that the kid would be stopping cars at barricades instead of solving major crimes.

“So, Curtis, what do they have you doing these days?”

His whole body shifted forward, as if the forced niceness had to actually be physically worked up from inside of him. His brain running that obstacle course, then puking up phony small talk into a bucket.

“Oh, you know, keepin’ crime scenes safe, that sorta thing.”

“So you’re working barricades then?”

“…yeah, mostly. Heh, just like you said. I suppose I should have listened.”

“Believe me, I’d much rather have been doing that these last fifteen years.”

Damien watched the blinking lights of a nearby squad. Red Blue Red Blue Red Blue…

“Oh yeah, you were working missing persons, weren’t you? Man, you guys must be swamped these days. What with…”

“What’s going on here?”

Curtis jerked back, as if someone lightly shoved him. It clearly surprised him to have the conversation’s direction shift so suddenly. After a few rapid blinks, he let his face drop into a more stern look.

“Well, we got a jumper here. Yeah, some guy decided he wanted to paint the freeway with his blood. Was going on and on about losing someone to the Crisis. It’s not like he’s the first, suicide rates have been pretty high since this whole thing started. It’s pretty awful, if you ask me. People who are lucky enough not to disappear, throwing their lives away like this…”

“Let me talk to him.”

“It’s… wait, what? I can’t just…”

Clearly the words surprised Curtis just as much as they surprised Damien himself. Why did he say that? Why did he feel obligated to talk to a suicidal on a random bridge he didn’t even remember walking to. He supposed anything was better than thinking about his current situation.

“Ah, come on Curtis. You know I’m trained in crisis negotiation. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what this is. Crisis negotiation.”

“I… I’d have to check with the chief but… are you sure?”

“Do you have anyone else trying to talk him down?”

“We’re stretched pretty thin as is, so no, we’ve just got a normal detective…”

“Then you have no reason to turn down the free help. The Chief will be ok with it, we’re friends.”

Within fifteen minutes, Damien found himself leaning against the hood of an unmarked detectives car, a megaphone resting in his hand, staring up at the man. He looked surprisingly calm considering he was only a few inches away from certain death. But perhaps that’s why he was calm. Certain death is still certainty. And at this point in time, certainty was perhaps the greatest comfort someone could find. He understood that thought.

“So, am I supposed to talk you down?”

The man swung around, surprised by the new voice behind the crackling megaphone. He had to catch himself on one of the support beams to keep from falling. Strange, to prevent yourself from accidentally doing what you were planning on doing on purpose anyway.

“What… who are…”

“Ah, come on. You don’t care who I am. I’m just another schmuck with a megaphone to you. Just another voice to try and reason with you. As if that’s going to work. Look, if you think I’m going to beg you to stay, to tell you life is worth living, to try and give you some hope and trick you off that ledge, you’re wrong. I’m not going to say that. It’s a lie. At least in your mind. Hell, probably in my mind too.”

“So what, you… you just want me to jump?”

Damien smirked. He already liked the guy, just by the surprising strength hidden behind his quivering voice. He set the megaphone on the hood of the car and walked towards the edge of the bridge slowly, sliding his hands into his pockets.

“Hey! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to do anything. I don’t want you to die, nor do I want you to come down. Why would I, I don’t know you. You don’t want ME to die, so why would I want you to die? The reasoning is sound, no?”

“I… I guess. Then what do you want?”

“I don’t know. I want to know why it’s you on that ledge right now and not me, I guess. What makes you think you have the right to end it when so many other people are down here, safely on the ground, pushing through all this shit. More shit than you are, less shit than you are, doesn’t matter. What makes you think you’re the one who should jump? Maybe I should jump? Maybe you should be talking me down?”

Even from the height he was at, Damien could see the man let out a deep sigh. It didn’t look like a sigh of relief, or a sigh of despair. No, it was… a sigh of contentment?

“So, Mr. Jumper. No no, that doesn’t work. What’s your name, man? Can we at least get that far?”

“Um… it’s… Thomas… uh, Tom…”

“Ok, Thomas uh Tom, I’m Damien. So… who was it?”

Tom’s eyes widened, but not with surprise at the question. He’d been asked it several times already. It was more a look of sudden realization. As if he’d forgotten why he was up there, if only for a second.

“It… well, my… it was my son… he… disappeared a week ago.”

“Tough break. Lots of people have lost their sons. You know who I lost today? My daughter.”

“She… she disappeared?”

“Nope. Her mother did. My wife… well, ex-wife, well… we’re separated, whatever, not important, anyway, she disappeared and my daughter just wandered off looking for her. No one can find her.”

“Oh, I’m… I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not. No more or less than I am that your son disappeared. Why would we care? I don’t know you, you don’t know me. But you know, I gotta say, it’s a hell of a lot more frustrating that I can’t blame the Crisis for my daughter. You know what I mean?”

Various emotions flickered over Tom’s face in only a few seconds. Confusion. Sadness. Anger. Concern. Sadness again. And then a look of deep concentration, as if he was trying to figure out a tough math problem.

“So was this the game? You tell me a story worse than my own and I realize my mistake and come down? You just said yourself I shouldn’t care about you or your situation. So why would I let it change my choice?”

“Because you’re being an idiot.”

Both Tom and Damien showed a surprised look at the same time. Damien because he was surprised no one had dragged him off yet, and Tom because he was taken aback by the bluntness of the disheveled looking man’s words. He could tell, even from his eagle-eye view, that this man was carrying a burden far heavier than any man should bear. As if it had been piled on for years, holding him down. As if the world had turned up the very force of gravity to push him to the ground, to crush him. And yet, he was down there…

“I am an idiot…”

“Ah, good, we’re on the same page then. Look, do you mind if I came up there and joined you?”

“What? Why… so you can…”

“No, not so I can grab you. I wanna see what it looks like. To be only inches away from ending my life. I want to see if I was in the same position as you right now, how I’d feel about that choice. Hell, who knows, I may go right ahead and jump with you. At this point, what’s it matter? Right?”

Before Tom had a chance to respond, Damien began climbing up the side of the bridge himself. It was at this point that several officers stepped forward, but to Damien’s surprise, it was Curtis that stopped them. Shaking his head as he tossed a concerned look at Damien. The look was, of course, ignored as Damien began inching his way over to Tom, stopping on the other side of the support beam.

“Well, son of a bitch. That is quite the drop, ain’t it? Heh, so Tom, I’m not too good with heights, so if we’re gonna do this, let’s do it before I have second thoughts.”

“You… you won’t jump…”

“Oh? I won’t? Why wouldn’t I? By your logic, I have the same, no MORE, reasons to do it, right?”

“No, your daughter is alive!”

Damien’s demeanor changed in an instant. A flash of lightning in his brain caused every muscle in his body to tense at once. Sweat soaking through his shirt. He hadn’t made up that part about heights.

“IS SHE?! Can you say that for certain! My daughter could be dead right now! She could have been hit by a car, kidnapped, a million other horrible things could have happened to her by now! And what if she is! I could find my little girl, dead. I could see her body. You selfish fuck, you’re the lucky one here! Your son is GONE! He’s not dead, he’s just gone. The most peaceful fucking thing that could happen, you just… disappear. I wish my daughter had just vanished. But no, she’s out there somewhere, scared, alone, in danger. Even still. And here I am, being a selfish asshole, standing on a bridge, about to throw myself to my death? Fuck that. I won’t die. Not until my daughter is holding my hand. Not until I feel her. See her. Smell her. And fuck you for thinking you should give up too.”

“I…”

“No, you know what, I don’t even want to hear it. You’re right. It’s hopeless. We should all give up, right?! I should give up on Kylie, you should give up on… on…”

“Anthony…”

“Anthony! You should just give up on him! Right? He’s gone?! So you should give up! He couldn’t possibly be out there somewhere, because we already know so much about The Crisis. We know everything! We know he’ll never come back, right?!”

“No… we…”

“NO WE DON’T! So what the fuck use is there in giving up now?! Are you going to give up on Anthony?!”

“…no… no I’m not…”

“Good…”

“…what about you?”

Damien felt his stomach drop as he looked down at the road below. Far below. Between the heavy breaths he was no taking, he finally pushed out the words he should have said hours before.

“I’m going to find my daughter. No matter what…”

Momentum. Moving forward, be it hours of walking or only a few inches to our deaths, momentum drives us. It brings us from one point to the next. Not even just physically. The human race in and of itself is in a constant state of moving forward. A sort of cosmic momentum that carries us through time and space. The Crisis doesn’t halt momentum, it just adds to it.

It took only a few minutes for Damien and Tom to climb down off the bridge. They never said another word to each other, didn’t even shake hands or wish each other good luck. There was no need for that. They had no reason to care for one another, and yet that didn’t stop Damien from sliding his card into the jacket pocket of the man he was only inches away from facing death with.

He knew that Tom would move forward, and he knew he had to do the same. Always forward. The momentum of this event carrying him forward, closer to his destination.

Closer to his daughter.

Scraps And Pieces: Innocence

•May 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Hello, Mrs. Lester? Hi, it’s Julia Michaels, Henrietta’s teacher? Yes… sorry to bother you, but I have something you need to see…”

Letting Go

•May 16, 2012 • 2 Comments

“How much time… do I have left?”

Dr. Heard twirled the ballpoint pen around his pointer finger, letting it slide back into his grasp. Tapping the tip on the piece of paper in front of him a few times, he bit his lip and glanced over the rim of his glasses at Andrew Willis.

“Andy… I’m sorry, but at the rate the cancer is spreading… a month, two at most.”

“You don’t have to apologize, Tim. You’ve done everything you could to prolong my life. You’ve been by my side for, what has it been, fifteen years now? Three doctors said I wouldn’t live to see my 60th birthday? You were the only one who believed…”

“And at 73, it’s still fun to rub it in, heh…”

“You’re a great doctor. But more importantly, you’re a good friend. You’ve given me so much. And I want you to know that.”

Tim Heard set the pen down on his desk and reached his hand across the desk. Andy didn’t take it.

“Don’t act like this is a goodbye, Tim. You’re gonna be here for me, right? Until the end?”

“Of course, I just… of course I will.”

“Good. And stop twirling that pen around in front of me, it makes me nervous.”

“Sorry about that, old habit.”

“Right, well at least you like the gift.”

Andy pulled himself up from the chair, the weight of his declining health pushing down on him, making every second a struggle. The cancer was eating away at his body, but the elderly man showed no signs that it was eating away at his soul. As he began to walk to the door, an envelope slipped out of his pocket.

“Oh, whoa, you almost dropped this…”

The doctor stood up and walked around the desk, bending down to pick up the letter on the floor.

“What is this? It’s… is this addressed to Sarah. Andy…”

“I have to tie up the loose ends. I’d hate to leave things… the way they are…”

“Of course. Here.”

The old man took the letter ran his wrinkled, grey fingers along the edge. No matter how weathered his face became, one thing remained the same: his smile. A subtle, delicate smile, that once more took to his face as he read his daughter’s name over in his mind.

“Let’s just hope she reads this one.”

“It’s always a fight with you, isn’t it dad! No matter what I do with my life, you always have to push your way in! I don’t care if you’re dying, it doesn’t mean that I need to let you control every aspect of my life”

“I know that, Sarah. You think I don’t know that? All I want is for you to be happy, I’m not trying to control anything.”

“Then stop trying to tell me how to run my life. You’re… I’m not your little girl anymore.”

“I know you’re not…”

“I can’t do this anymore… I just can’t… I’m sorry…”

Three years ago. It was three years since he’d last seen her. That fight, he wasn’t even sure what he’d said to make her act that way. What he’d done that made her so angry. He didn’t know what it was, until just recently.

“I understand now…”

He looked down at the small stone in his hand. Shifting it between his fingers, he finally lifted his hand, and with great effort, cast the stone into the water in front of him. It skipped three times then disappeared into the water, disrupting the reflection of the full moon.

“Remember when we used to do this, Sarah? Skip stones, eat ice cream… it seems so long ago. I know these words aren’t going to make you feel any better about any of this, but I hope they’ll at least let you know what’s really important.”

Andy held the letter in his hand, letting the dim light from the night sky cast a spotlight onto it. In another moment, the letter was resting gently on the ground.

The last thing Andy saw before disappearing, was the remaining ripples on the pond. The last thing he did was let that well-known smile once again take over his face.

“Yeah, yeah, ok, I’ll be home in a few minutes. It’s been a long day, I… um… wait, I’ll… I’ll see you when I get home, bye…”

Dr. Heard snapped his cellphone shut and set it in his pocket. He abandoned the path through the park and walked over towards the edge of the nearby pond. The moonlight lit up just a small part of the shore, but on it was a familiar sight. A letter he’d seen on his office floor only a few hours before.

“Oh no… Andy. You are one lucky son of a gun, old friend. Good thing I decided to park in the west lot, aye? Wouldn’t have been able to find this and save your ass once more…”

The doctor picked the letter up, and glanced up at the moon. It’s light, shining down, as if pointing out the letter to him. Curious, he lifted up the unsealed lip of the envelope and pulled out the single sheet of paper inside.

“Sorry, but I’m curious. You’d understand, right?”

He carefully read over the select words on the paper. With each one, he felt the water well up in his eyes. Finally reaching the end, he blinked out the tears that had formed. Silently, he folded up the letter, slipped it into the envelope, and walked over to the mailbox on the street corner.

Stepping back as the door to the box snapped shut, Dr. Heard took a deep breath and smiled.

“Well, we’ll just have to wait and see how things go, old friend.”

Dear Sarah,

Throughout my life, there is one thing I’ve never done: Regret. Every second you’ve lived has been the best second of my life. I don’t even regret the last time I saw you. Not anymore.

Lying in hospital beds, I was given a lot of time to reflect, to think about the things in my life. I thought about those moments, about why you were so angry. And I realized that it wasn’t anger. You weren’t angry. You were scared.

Sarah. You were always my little girl, even when you said you weren’t. And because of that, it’s been as hard for you these past fifteen years as it has been for me. You weren’t afraid of losing me, you were afraid of me losing you. You knew that after your mother passed away, you were what gave me the strength to push on.

And you still are. And you always will be. Don’t worry anymore, Sarah. You must go and be your own strength now. I know that it’s that strength, the strength that made my life so wonderful, will carry you to great places.

As for me, I believe it’s time for me to skip one last stone and get ready to take my final moments with a smile. You keep that strength in your heart, and know that I love you.

I’m ready to let go.

-Dad

Those We Leave Behind

•May 14, 2012 • 1 Comment

“The scariest thing about vanishing isn’t that we don’t know where we’ll end up, or if we’ll even end up anywhere at all. No, the real fear comes when we wonder about those we leave behind…”

Lindsey Grace Wells, born three weeks, two days, and fourteen hours ago, to Marcus and Kate Wells of Wheeling, West Virginia. Healthy, beautiful, everything you’d want from your first-born.

Three weeks. Three weeks is a long time to go without touching your baby.

Kate stared ahead at the mobile hanging above her grandmother’s mahogany crib. The wood chipped away, showing its age, yet holding strong for a fourth generation of use. The mobile itself was relatively new. A 2 dollar purchase at Wal-Mart using gift cards left over from the baby shower. A flimsy metal wire holding animals painted in non-threatening muted pastels, colors that didn’t make sense on those animals. A pink giraffe. A green elephant. Upon looking at it so long, Kate realized it was total shit.

But Lindsey loved it. The child would stare wide-eyed at it for hours. A look of bewilderment, youthful surprise like only a newborn can dwell in, as she watched the animals frolic in the air above her. Slowly circling above, as if some kind of magical force, an unheard music, caused these animals to dance.

“Stupid mobile…”

Kate got up and approached the crib. Her quick pace slowed more and more with each step as she moved closer to where her child lay, gently gurgling and cooing into the air. In one quick motion, without looking down at the baby, she wrapped her hand around the soft, yellow alligator and pulled. The cheap wire bent as it was pulled from the hook in the ceiling. The string holding the giraffe snapped from the force, causing the discolored creature to flutter down, landing gentle on the baby’s face, which was responded to by an innocent giggle, which was replaced by a sudden cry as the child realized the mystical animal dance party was no longer here.

“Oh… oh sweetie… I… I’m sorry… no no… please don’t… don’t cry please… I…”

“…I didn’t really like that thing either, but… that’s a bit drastic, don’t you think?”

“Oh! Oh… Marc… I, um… could you change Lindsey… I… I need to go to the bathroom…”

Kate hurried past her husband, being extra careful not to meet his concerned gaze, and out into the hall.

“Well, Lindsey… looks like we’ve got a problem on our hands, doesn’t it?”

Marcus sniffed a few times, with each sniff, the concerned look dripped off his face and melted down into a cringe.

“…make that two problems… “

Weeks passed, and the situation didn’t change. Marcus spent most of his day at work, only to come home and find his daughter filthy, showing no signs of being picked up the entire day. His wife became more and more detached from the little girl.

“Look, all I’m saying is… maybe we need to hire someone. Someone to come in and take care of Lindsey during the day…”

“You know we can’t afford that.”

Her response was surprisingly quiet. For years, Marcus always had to tell Kate to lower her voice. She was naturally a loud person, but lately her voice was getting lower and lower. As if it was stuck, and she was using the last of her energy to force each statement out.

“This is our daughter! I don’t care about the money, she needs to be taken care of, and it’s obvious that you…”

He stopped, for two reasons. The realization that what he was about to say may be too much for Kate to handle, and because for the first time in days his wife looked him straight in the eyes. A cold, defeated look that sucked the once vibrant blue from her eyes, leaving a gray that seemed to mirror an ominous fog that was hanging around their house, enveloping their lives.

“It’s obvious that I what? Can’t take care of my own child! You’re right… I can’t…”

Her gaze returned to the floor, where it had found itself frequently since coming home from the hospital.

“That’s not what I meant, Kate. You can take care of her, you just… won’t.”

“You know why… you know what I can’t…”

“The Crisis. Is that really what this is about! Come on, Kate, the odds are…”

“Getting better every day! It’s bad enough I have to live in fear of my baby disappearing, but what if… what if I disappear and she… gets hurt…”

“You won’t! You can’t just live in fear, she needs her mother, she needs to be held…”

“You don’t think I know that, Marc! I understand everything but… how can I be expected to… she could… I don’t want it to be my fault…”

To Marcus’ surprise, Kate began crying. It was the one thing she hadn’t done during this whole ordeal. It was apparent that these tears had built over the last few weeks. She began to collapse to her knees, but Marcus threw himself forward and caught her, holding her against his chest as she sobbed. Together, they dropped to their knees on the bedroom carpeting.

“We can work this out… we can…”

He was cut off by the sudden, shrill cry of Lindsey in the other room. Kate shuddered at the sound, burying herself deeper into her husband’s arms, as if trying to escape reality itself.

“Please… make it stop… I can’t stand to hear her scream…”

“Ok… just… I’ll be right back. You sit and try to calm down. I’m going to go get her up and out of her crib…”

Kate’s eyes widened between her fingers as she listened to her husband’s footsteps tapering off down the hall, followed by the creaking of the door to the baby’s room. As if being pulled by strings controlled by someone else, she gingerly stood and stumbled, with the legs of a possessed woman, over to the desk on the corner of the room, falling hands-first onto the surface, and finding her fingers wrapped around something…

“It’s ok… there there, is it time for you to…”

“Don’t! Don’t… touch her. Leave her there, in the crib…”

“What the… Kate, Jesus you scared the hell out of… Kate?”

Marcus pushed his back against the crib, his breath torn from his chest by the sight of a recognizable shiny object clutched in his wife’s trembling hand. The pen knife she’d given him for their anniversary a few years ago.

“Kate… what are you doing with that. Put it down, I need…”

“No! You can’t… you can’t pick her up, Marcus… you’ll disappear. You’ll kill her, you’ll leave me… you’ll leave me all alone…”

“No, I won’t Kate. You know deep down that I won’t…”

Kate raised the blade and pointed it at Marcus, her arm shaking violently as she struggled to keep it upright. Marcus put his hands up, partially to shield himself but also to try and reassure that he wasn’t going to touch her.

“Look, ok… ok… we’ll leave her be for a minute. Now will you put the knife down…”

“I… I’m not a bad mother…”

“No one is saying you are, Kate. You’re a great mother. You love Lindsey, that’s why you know deep down we have to pick her up. We have to feed her, hold her, comfort her… you know that, you’re just… you’re just afraid now…”

“I’m not a bad mother…”

Kate’s arm fell to her side, the knife slipping out and dropping to the floor. Marcus lunged down to the ground, snatching up the knife and throwing it down the hallway staircase.

“I’m not a bad mother… I’m not a bad mother…”

Kate continued to mutter the phrase under her breath as her heavy eyes stayed locked on the hand that once held the weapon. The tears that were once streaming down her face once again retreated inside, held prisoner.

“Kate… look at me…”

She closed her eyes, trying to turn away from her husband. Ashamed and afraid.

“Kate!”

Marcus stood by her side, waiting for her to look. With some effort, she pulled her eyes up and looked at him. The lids of her eyes snapped open, leaving her wide-eyed. She took a couple of steps back, until she bumped into the door of the bathroom behind her.

“No… no… please…”

Marcus held Lindsey, cradled gently in the crook of his arm, the baby now quietly sleeping in her father’s embrace.

“Take her, Kate. You have to take her. Please, just for a minute… I’ll be right here in case something happens. Ok? I’ll be right here. Nothing bad will happen… you need to take your daughter. She wants her mother…”

Kate looked down at the peaceful look on the resting baby’s face. Her features just as gentle as her husband’s.

“…I…”

“You can.”

He slowly, delicately lifted the baby up and moved it towards Kate. Reluctantly, and to her surprise, she found herself reaching out her arms. In an instant, Kate was holding her child for the first time.

“See… there you go… I’m right here. See. Everything’s alright. Look, she’s smiling at you…”

The baby glanced up at Kate, and let out a small giggle. Kate brushed her fingers against the child’s soft cheek. Marcus wrapped his arms around his wife, looking over her shoulder as Lindsey drifted back to sleep.

“She’s so beautiful…”

“She is. She’s happy. She finally has her mother…”

“…we don’t define ourselves alone. We use the interactions of those around us to validate our existence. It’s in other people that our memories live on. Perhaps the fear of vanishing comes from the fear that when we do, our memories will remain and hurt those we care about. No one wants to leave someone alone. And yet, it’s perhaps inevitable.

The thing that helps us find meaning, also lends itself to one of our biggest fears.”

-Dr. Matthew Beaustein, “The Nature of The Crisis – Esotericism, Escapism, And The True Nature Of Self”

Theft

•May 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Hands out of your pockets! Up in the air, where I can see them. Don’t think of running again…”

The girl trembled as the recently dropped bag of grocery spilled at her feet, cans of food and stray produce rolling around on the dirty ground of the alleyway. With tears in her eyes, she stared at the police officer in front of her.

“I… you don’t understand…”

“I understand perfectly! You think you can just steal whatever you want, whenever you want? Don’t you understand we’re in a time of crisis! This is no time to be committing crimes! Your parents should have taught you…”

“My parents are dead! Well… I mean… my mom is… my mom is dead. My dad… he…”

“…he disappeared, didn’t he…”

“Yes. A few days ago… I’m… I’m only fourteen. I’ve been trying to survive on my own since he disappeared. He was the only one who could take care of me…”

“You should have gone to the authorities. We can take you to a foster…”

“I don’t want to go into foster care! I’d rather live here on the streets, taking care of myself, than risking having more parents ripped from me!”

“That’s… understandable, but…”

“No! I’m not going to rely on someone else ever again! Don’t you get it! Don’t you want the news?! People are disappearing every day!  WE CAN’T RELY ON ANYONE ANYMORE!”

We can’t rely on anyone anymore. Those were the words that echoed down the alleyway and poured into the streets. The girl cringed at the sound of her own voice, distorted, being fed back to her. The police officer lowered his gun, letting it rest gingerly in his hand at his side.

“That’s… that’s not true…”

“It is! We’re all alone in this world now.”

“We’re… you’re not alone… no one is alone…”

“You’re wrong! We all have to fend for ourselves…”

“No! You’re the one that’s wrong, you little bitch!”

The cop’s sudden, violent tone made her jump. She looked away from the once again raised weapon down at a can of peas resting near her left sneaker. She kicked it at the wall and took a few steps back, feeling the metal of the chain link fence blocking her exit pressing against her back.

“We’re all alone…”

She expected another angry response, but when she looked up. The cop was gone.

“No… no not again… please… not again…”

Where the cop stood, the girl could see a standard issue police uniform, crumpled up on the ground. She stumbled over to it. Collapsing down onto the fabric. The sting of the concrete connecting with her kneecaps was nothing compared to the feeling of abandonment , of isolation, she felt from having yet another person disappear right in front of her.

“You stupid idiot… you fool… why did you leave! Why did you leave me all alone… dad…”

The girl gripped at the police uniform on the ground, grasping fists of fabric. Something slide out of one of the pockets of the pants. A wallet? She slide open the wallet and looked at the ID card. She rested it gently next to the cop’s badge.

“Mike Caprice… age 32…”

The girl’s hand, as if it had a mind of it’s own, reached over and rested gently on the police-issued handgun lying in a puddle next to the uniform. She felt her fingers wrap around the handle, her pointer sliding against the trigger.

“Well, Mike… I hope you didn’t have a daughter that you left alone. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone…”

Without thinking, the girl pulled the gun up from the puddle, letting the dirty rain water drip off against her shirt as she held it up, the muzzle resting against her chin.

“No one deserves to be alone.”

Scraps And Pieces: CAC Flyer

•April 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I was in a coffee shop on Wednesday, when I noticed these fliers pinned to the bulletin board next to the local band announcements and the like. It’s insane the theories people are coming up with as an explanation. I know it’s just another crazy idiot spewing a whacked out conspiracy theory. But it really makes you wonder…

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.