Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Feast-Days


We chose a wreath of honeysuckle.

Rebecca told me its what out Mother smelled like.

Mr. Rook carried the imps and I on his shoulders, plowing the snow aside as we walked through the cemetery. It was over my head now and still coming down. Rebecca wore Mr. Jonathan's coat, pulled tight around herself. Trevor and Mr. Jonathan led us through the drifts, scenting out the path to her grave.

It was a simple headstone that we dug to find. Plain and simple. Efficient and caring.

Ugly. Too ugly for my mother's marker. But we never had the funds to change it. So it sat, plain and simple and ugly, marking the most beautiful woman's grave.

Rebecca sobbed, streams of soft sorrows for a mother that wasn't hers. Rebecca had been taken not two days after I had brought her to life. She had never been given the chance to see Mom's grave until now. Never had a chance to see the grave of the woman she remembers as mother. The one that she remembers running to with a bad dream, with a bruised elbow, when pursued by horrible brothers.

The one that never knew she existed.

I slid down off of Gregor's shoulder, wreath in hand and landed in the snow face first.

Up Nod. Not in front of Mom.

I adjusted my tie and jacket. I double-checked to make certain my suit was buttoned proper.

My little man. You look so sharp in your suit.

I wiped away a handful of tears and laid the wreath on her grave.

"Happy Birthday Mom. Sorry I don't have any candles to blow out. Not enough to buy a caske. But we got you this wreath. Becca says it smells like you."

"It does."

Abraham. Behind us.

Not again. Not now.

I'd kill him this time, brother or not, if he interrupted.

"Been a few days since you put me through that window little brother. That hurt. A great deal I might add."

Mr. Jonathan was grabbing me again, Trevor pulling pistols, the imps tunneling under the snow. I jerked out of Mr. Jonathan's arms and walked forward wordlessly. Still two feet shorter than him. I stepped onto the headstone of a random rotting corpse beneath the dirt and lunged for him.

That caught the bastard off guard I think, that and me tossing my bowler aside. Before he could blink, I had my pistol out and jammed against that electric eye of his.

"They died once. I left you live because you are my brother and blood is blood even if its spilled across the concrete. But you have no right to interrupt this. I am visiting Mother. Now, if you want a repeat of the arse-kicking I handed you, by all means, use your powers, oh righteous bloody reverend. But I will not hesitate to kill you here."

He smiled at me, smiled weakly through a set of undersized white teeth. His hands moved, pulling aside his robes.

He was mostly flesh again, only a twitching hydraulic knee and his eye remained mechanical.

"My Lord Adam 2.0 punished me for my failure. He stripped me of most of my upgrades and sent me on a pilgrimage of penance. You are not involved. Nor is Mother. Not really."

"Then why are you here?"

"Because I wasn't the one who killed her. He is my Father and the one I look to for guidance. Doesn't mean I'm happy he killed Mother."

"He's telling the truth Michael. He loved Mom. He was.. he was jealous of you."

Abraham squirmed beneath me, struggling to see Rebecca.

"Who is that?"

"Our sister."

"We don't have a sister."

"We do now."

I let him up, moving my gun around to his spine, pressed tight.

He shook. Twitched. Fists clenching. Teeth grinding. You couldn't quite hear the tears falling but if you strained, you could hear the sharp suck of breath as each was squeezed out.

"It's... it's her."

Rebecca stepped forward, frowning, hair reaching out, fighting the wind to trace Abe's face.

"You looked better without the metal bits Mentor."

"Mentor? What are you talking about. Who's Mentor?"

"You are silly. You always tried to teach me whatever you were doing in school. Read me the big storybook that was on the highest shelf in your room. The one with the red cord that held it closed. I wanted to know what Mentor meant when you read it to me one night. You told me that it was like a teacher. So I called you that ever after."

Abe blinked and turned to me, breath wavering into the wind.

"You never knew her. How did you know her? Tell me. Tell me goddammit!"

I pulled back as Rebecca's frown grew deeper.

"What are you talking about Abraham?"

"She was dead! They killed her! The Sleepers tore her apart in the middle of the street when the wall came down! You were two! HOW DO YOU KNOW HER?"

Screaming, blood coursing through his veins. His eye was a spinning globe, trying to find north. Rebecca was crying again, wrapping her hair around herself, arms crossed.

"She was in my dreams when you tried to kill me. That's all I know Abe."

My brother ran a hand through his hair. He dug deep into his robes and pulled out a bouquet of roses and tossed them onto Mom's grave.

"I have to go. I have to go. This is a test. It must be."

A hand shot out and grabbed me by the shoulder. A hiss. Air brake hiss. Leaking tire hiss.

"You take care of her. I don't know where the hell you found her Nod, but you take care of her."

I held up my hand once more.

"Talk faster brother, or they'll shoot you."

"There's an apartment for you in the Renner District."

"A present on my birthday?"

"A present to Mother. I'm giving her favorite son, the one that even shared her birthday, a chance to survive. There's even an allowance to get you back on your feet. I'd suggest contacting one of the Corps when you get there. Something nasty's been out killing people. A disease. They're calling it the Berlin Flu. Might be some profit to be made from industrial espionage."

He let go and I straightened my suit coat. As Abe strode off into the snow, Rebecca's voice drifted after him.

"Take care Mentor, my sweet brother. I hope you find what you're looking for."

He kept walking.

I stepped to Rebecca's side and she grabbed me tightly, clasping me in her arms.

He kept walking.

"What am I Michael?"

He kept walking.

It was December 28th. Happy Birthday Mom. Happy Birthday me.

He kept walking.

Just like he always had. He was the older brother after all.

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