Glowien ~ (Gunman, Bespoke: ch. 4)
September 21, 2016 § 1 Comment
I and the public know what all schoolchildren learn, those to whom evil is done do evil in return.
~ W. H. Auden
Once Alaniah, Neil, and I were in the hallway, we walked shoulder-to-shoulder without talking, the exited class deep in contemplation over Religious Studies.
Before stopping in front of our lockers, I noticed my younger sister, Eva, waiting for us.She was relaxedly uneasy.
“I’ve got a message for you,” she said in an almost whisper, her long, curly hair in two pigtails framing her cherub, light-brown face. She’s beautiful, short, muscular, and most people thought she was still in elementary.
“Okay?” I said, reaching for what she was handing me. Not another fucking note.
Neil’s curiosity interrupted my reading.
“So what’d Bella say to you?”
“Donna,” Ali piped in. “It’s Belladonna, asshat.”
He gave an acquiescent smile. She, a satiated grin.
I looked at him, half-dazed from what Belladonna’d urged.
“She jus’ told me to be sure I read everything thoroughly.” It was kinda the truth.
“Erriight,” he responded.
Ignoring him, I caught Eva staring at me intensely.
“Giz, why’re you lookin’ at me like that?”
“You haven’t read the note.”
“My reading of it doesn’t require your attendance. Don’t you have class?”
“Yeah, so do you. Plus, the guy whom gave it to me asked to assure that you’ve read it before I go. He wants me to tell ‘im that you understood it.”
The three of us looked at each other oddly, then turned our glares back on Eva.
“This’s odd as hell,” said Cheeky uncomfortably.
“Concurred,” said Neil.
I stayed silent. Oddities were the order of the day.
I read the note: The Sacred History, Mark Booth.
“Is this a joke?” I blasted.
“I dunno?” Eva said defensively.
“What’s it say?” Ali inquisited. I showed her.
“Didn’t you jus’ buy this book last weekend when we went to Powell’s?”
“Yeah,” I said softly. So many things were cascading through my mind.
I came out of my daze and looked at Eva.
“Tell me who this man is.”
“Obviously, he’s the author of the book.”
I closed my eyes and groaned.
“Bro. Not the guy on the note. The one who gave it to you, nerd.”
“Oh. Jus’ some guy who stopped me when I was walkin’ to class. He asked if I knew you, referenced you by name…I didn’t tell ‘im you were my sis, jus’ that I knew who you were. Then he asked if I’d give you this note. I was weirded-out, but he wasn’t a creeper. He had a visitors’-lanyard so I knew he was legit to be on campus. Still kinda strange though.”
“And he wanted you to report to ‘im once you gave it to me.”
“So, he’s still here.”
“I guess so. I’ll go check.”
“Word. Be quick about it.”
Eva darted off.
“Guys, we gotta go or we’ll be late for psych,” Neil stated.
Alaniah sighingly eyerolled upon the realization. “Shit, I totally forgot about class.”
We quickly tucked our tech in our lockers.
Our psychology professor wasn’t so much for mechanical devices. He liked things the old way – books, paper, pens. If he had his scholastic druthers, he’d have us using quills, parchment and ink.
We were just down the hall when a couple of kids ran past in the opposite direction.
They trailed something on the floor behind them, seeing their shoe prints consecutively patterned one after the other in what I thought was glossy paint.
“Rejects from art class, prob’ly,” Neil groused, as we gathered ourselves from the mild fright of their speed.
“I don’t think this’s paint,” Ali said with moderate shock after a further examination of the substance.
She touched one of the prints with her long, slender index.
“What is it?” I asked.
Neil and I squinted while crouching together to take a closer look.
“It’s blood!” She squealed.
“Fuckin’ gnarly,” Neil said with morbid fascination of the standard eighth-grade boy.
“Fucking gross!” I proclaimed, frightened by the thought of what caused a couple of kids to run through blood.
“Dude, we gotta see where these prints lead!”
It was too late when I reached out to stop him. Neil had already jumped up and ran toward the origin of the tracks.
“Wait!” I screamed.
I shot up, kicked off my Birkenstocks, and ran after ‘im, surprising myself at how fast I was.
Neil turned a few corners before disappearing out of sight. I knew the school well enough to guess where he was going.
My speed increased. Whose legs were these?
Ali tried keepin’ up, but to no avail; which was weird ‘cause she was in great shape and super-quick, too.
A loud bang pierced the clutter of my rapid footsteps and panting.
The lights flickered on the fritz. I could hardly see in front of me.
Halting breathlessly, I listened cautiously to my surrounding environment. The school was huge, so with the vast space between segments of the facility, I could only make out garbled tones of voices, high-volume movement, and the fire alarm, though the overhead extinguishers refused to spray.
The bioelectrical spatter of the school’s defunct nanobots made the strangest noises, accompanied by an even stranger scent: burning hair.
At this point in the pursuit, I’d ran to the school’s backhalls, way off the grid of the main floors. Students do some sketchy shit back here.
Ridding myself of those thoughts, and once again listening attentively, I realized there was an abnormality about what I was hearing.
Awareness acute, pressure within head intensified.
A familiar tingle swept my body.
I groped the lower portion of my abdomen.
An indomitable electric-surge panned through my brain. I winced and gasped. The headache blooming was herculean.
Reflexes taking control.
My head swung back in an attempt for air.
On inhale, I felt the energy of the infinite number of the school’s nanotech data outputs. They pervaded through me.
My thoughts unhesitatingly traced to Valhalla.
I shook my head and blinked, deciding to keep following Neil in the direction of the noise.
Ignoring my migraine, I ran down a few flights rapaciously, reached the landing, then slid on something at the bottom. I’d been running unconsciously, cognitively unaware as I skipped the last few steps and landed right in it, feet bare.
I slammed hard on my chest, eating it big time, registering within seconds that I’d just done a slip-n-slide through more blood.
It took a moment to collect myself after having the wind knocked outta me.
While rolling on my back, groaning, I wiped hair from my face and pasted a streak of blood on my cheek. A dollop of it brushed against my tongue – salted rust.
I spat, scrambling up.
A sharp pain jolted up the side of my right foot. My ankle. Fuck. The absolute worst sprains.
Yelping in anguish, I limped around the final corner of my quest for Neil. He, nor Ali, could be spotted anywhere.
I tripped over a mass below me. Jesus fucking Christ.
While getting up, I whipped my head around, disregarding the inevitable pain from my ankle, curiosity overpowering the physical.
Although a moderate pool of light shone through two nearby exit doors, the malfunctioned nanolights strobed uncomfortably, making it difficult to see.
It was him.
“Neil!” I span around on my left foot to take as much pressure as possible off my right. “Neil!” I shouted again this time hopping toward his face.
He was on his back, face leaning away.
I lowered my frame to his and put my hand on his chest, noticing his blood immediately. It’d congealed from a hole in the center. I scurried backward in a panic, falling speedily, jarred by the scene.
I kept rapidly trying to grip myself in a hugging fashion as I kept my head turned away. The delirium that my mind was in compelled me to reenact a calming and reassuring gesture.
A body hit the floor closeby.
It was Alaniah, who’d just done an instant-replay of what I was gathering myself from. The wail of her shriek put a banshee to shame.
In her scream of terror, she reached out for me.
I had an instant maternal inclination and grabbed at her. I rushed up to meet her halfway. We were almost clawing each other in a panic for normalcy.
We melted to the floor, heavy from the weight of emotions.“Are you ok?” I begged, grabbing both sides of her face to look her in her dark, brown eyes.
“Yeah…no…Neil…is he…?” She whimpered through cries and sniffles, her eyes lucid with water.
She could hardly breathe. I embraced her tightly.
“I don’t know,” I said, still panting hard, staring at Neil’s body over her shoulder.
He didn’t move.
I couldn’t peel my eyes away.
Is he alive? The hole is so close to his heart.
A clamor jolted our senses, the bottomless feeling that tortures you during airplane turbulence arising in my gut.
A white boy, about seventeen, dressed in a bespoke black suit, came busting through the nearest exit.
Alaniah turned speedily.
Upon him noticing us on the floor, he froze transfixed, our eyes locking with his.
Shakily, he quickly lifted his right arm; in his hand, he held a suppressed Beretta Px4 pistol. Through all the flurry of that inexplicable moment, my mind recognized the piece right away, owing to being co-raised by an uncle who was a retired Navy SEAL.
“He never saw it comin’,” the shooter said, grimacing, his head slightly lowered and tilted.
I saw a faint hint of a smile on his mouth.
The fear of his gun pointing in our direction, mixed with the evil excitement of the moment, contracted my insides.
His mouth parted. I could hear his breaths as if he were an inch away from my ear.
Senses enhancing themselves, mental-awareness ascending.
I could taste my sweat, saliva, and blood. I could smell the shampoo in my hair along with Ali’s, and the interior of the school – that smell of metal, sex, broken-hearts, body-odor, and living up to your Parent’s expectations.
With my muscles tensed, I stared at the dark, wide eyes of this child who didn’t look at all like the quintessential teenage gunman.
He was clearly insane, although calm about it.
He looked at me rabidly.
“Do you want to live?” He asked gently.
I was frozen.
“DO YOU!?” He screamed, gunned hand still vibrating with uncertainty.I was appropriately startled, and perplexed by his question.
My mind wandered.
He cocked his gun.
It brought me back.
“Yes, I wanna live!” I said with as much sincere passion as could be mustered.
I gripped Alaniah tightly, burying her face in my chest so she couldn’t witness the horrors.
I stopped breathing, waiting.
“Good,” he said drolly.
He dropped his arm and proceeded to unscrew the suppressor, thrusting the naked barrel in the soft, taut spot between his chin and throat.
“NO!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, and I don’t know why I did. It was better that he pointed it at himself.
He smiled as he spoke.
“I found you,” he whispered.
My eyes widened.
The loud, metallic bang pierced the silence, echoing through the stillness.
Globs of dark, wet, chunky material splattered against the door behind him as his body hurried down.
I lurched back with Ali still held.
The invigorating energy of intrigue possessing her to turn around, she eyed the horrendous sight, yelling with more ardency than before.
I snatched her by the shoulders and turned her back with such force that I knocked us both on our sides.
We sobbed uncontrollably, faces drenched, burning from our salty opened pores of tears and sweat.
Through all the adrenaline and shock of the moment, I felt the agony of my ankle. I reached for it while turning from Ali, the pain reminding me of Neil a few feet away.
Another jolt from below shook me.
I glanced toward the shooter, mechanically, and saw his body in a pond of his own blood, bone fragments, and brain matter.
Coughing, I wiped away the puke from my face with the end of my shirt, glancing at Ali between breaths.
She had moved over to Neil, crying as she loomed over his body.
I crawled to her, afraid that if I got up something worse would happen.
Embracing her, I stroked her hair and face in hope that my touch would be comforting.
I peered at Neil’s remains, losing the ability to think or feel, my mind chasmic.
My peer progressed into fixation.
With my volition buried in the abyss, instinctively, I gently moved Cheeky away from me, my focus on Neil as I did this.
I shifted my knees to his shoulder – they touched.
Valhalla’s visage crept in.
My head jerked and twitched as if trying to remember something that was out of reach, the penetrating eyes of Valhalla emblazoning in my memory, her eyes glowing ultraviolet, emanating that wavelength.
“Eva, stop!” Alaniah belted, noticing her getting to the upper landing of the stairs, surveilling the wondrous event before her.
Eva stood there, catatonic.
“…what…the…fuck?” She squeezed out through a strained whisper.
My chest swelled rapidly, body bulleting forward directly on Neil’s, torquing violently.
I was having a full blown seizure on the corpse of the only male friend I had other than my brother.
A final vision of Valhalla,
a climactic fit through my body,
then I collapsed on Neil.
The Absolute Void of All Being.
The feeling was complete.
Without warning to Ali, my body bent upward with a fluid speed that knocked her backwards.
Energy surged through me.
My arms were lifted, muscles flexed beyond what was comfortable for any human.
My head shot back, face vaulted to the ceiling, a golden-blue ether churning through the spectrum of my eyes.The impression that pushed its way through me was encompassing.
I held my breath.
This energy used everything I was.
Eyes closing involuntarily, they shot open, my mouth along with them.
Glistering amber light shot vertically from my eyes and mouth:
I, Am The Aensupra:
The Great Attractor
I knew the voice doubtlessly. ’Twas the same vocal apparition that was first introduced in kindergarten.
Identifying as many names, this power, this entity, took upon itself to manifest through me.
I was burning from the inside out, awkwardly writhing under the force of its magnificence.
There was so much syncopation and rhythm due to its vibratory-intention.
I starved for oxygen.
With a final contraction of tension, my arms, hands, and fingers stretched to the heavens, chest heaving, to a final rush from this power.
My amber fire radiated through and lit everything in the area.
My arms dropped with as much speed as the suicide-shooter, amber still blazing from my eyes and mouth.
A screech escaped through my vocal chords – a yell so piercing that Ali covered her ears and scampered away from me and Neil as fast as her fear would allow, all glass in the vicinity shattering.
An electric-blue, spherical, etheric, audible flare exploded from the base of my spine, the sacrum, through the environment in all directions.
The energies felt and looked like what I encountered at my meeting with Valhalla, only more galvanized.
The light pent back, my eyes and mouth closing, a burnless heat radiating below my navel.
Even though my back was arched and my head lifted from a fit of supernatural discharge, I had the physical wherewithal to clench the area with my hands.
I hunched forward, head butting Neil’s bloody chest.
The light transformed, illuminating gold, swelling in the clenched area.
I stayed motionless and panting for a moment, groaning as the light intensified.
I gasped a deep inhalation, forehead still posted.
As the goldilight grew and climaxed, I was blown backward into the air with blinding speed, crashing into Alaniah.
We fractured through a wall twenty feet behind us.
I blacked out, and although I felt pain everywhere, nothing hurt.
I focussed on my breathing.
It was paradoxical being conscious and asleep simultaneously.
Consciousness gained control.
I waited a moment before moving, making sure there were no more surprises.
Then I got one – the surprise of my life.
Deep coughing and choking trickled to my hearing. Strained respiratory babbling peeking through the rubble.
I felt the soundwaves. They tremored me.
All of my senses were alive and vibrant. I was one with them; and they, with me.
Dust and debris floated everywhere. Residue from the blown out ceiling, glass, dry wall, wood, vending machines, water fountains, splintered fiberoptic cables, various metals, all performed with destructed whimsy.
I heard sporadic words through the chaos of demolished materials and five floored souls.
I coughed to clear my throat as I moved to uncovered my head, turning it to each side in search of Ali & Eva.
They were knocked out, Eva slumped yards away, Alaniah crumpled in a heap, slabs of the wall she just pulverized blanketing her.
I thought it was her I heard coughing and muffling out incomprehensible words. She should’ve been dead from the impact.
As I crawled slowly toward Ali, I saw movement from the corner of my eye.
In irrational panic, I thought it was the suicide-shooter and scurried faster toward my best friend. I grabbed an arm of hers that was closest, hid with her in the debris, looked toward the movement and waited.
I heard a mumble.
The voice was anguished, pushed beneath the surface.
“…waateer,” it squeezed out.
The voice was closer, clearer.
I made room to view the sound, seeing the figure to the voice.
It was Neil, Eva piggybacked on him, crawling towards Ali and me.
I stared in disbelief.
With all the unfolded circumstances of the day, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
A fine frenzy my mind was in.
I took a deep breath, an immense wave of repose sweeping over me.
I became numb.
I couldn’t feel anything.
I was relaxed, completely.
The only sound I took in was my breathing – a sound so familiar, and yet in this instance so strange and new, that it took my recollection processes to deeper depths.
I recalled memories when I was still in a crib. Impossible. The looks on my parents faces as they changed my diaper. When I first crawled. The pain of my first tooth. Finally, the reenactments took a leap to when I saw first light on my entrance into this colorful, loud, confusing, bizarre world.
The memories faded, my inward reality scotched by the truth of the moment.
Neil reached us. He had to climb over shards of wreckage to do so.
He reached out.
He spoke. His voice a solemn reassurance.
“You’re alright, but we all need water.”
I blinked at him, like I’d just been born and this was the first face I’d seen. I only remembered his words thoroughly after I’d fully recapitulated this event.
I was still laying with Ali, hiding in the aftermath.
I blinked again.
The sound of police, ambulance, and firetruck sirens could be heard.
I felt the weight of my eyelids, squinting, trying to apply cognition to what I was seeing.
Light blindingly glared from the tips of my eyelashes, retinas rolling back, head leaning as they did.
Eyes closed, head bowed.
The final wave of exhaustion was making its appearance.
Neil whispering my name softened the landing of my blackout.
~ author: Hiram Surtyr – illustrator: Ruth Barbee ~