Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Pallbearer: Where The Dead Belong Part 2

The Angels

Lightning never scared me. Always loved storms as a kid. Sat out on the front porch as the rain came down. Lightning was just part of the experience. The smell of sky being ripped in half, the way your hairs leapt up on end as a bolt of pure energy drives itself into the ground. Watching storms, listening to thunder, face all lit up... Mom always said that thunder was angels bowling.

Dad landed on my car when I was 16. I was stopping by the office to bring him his lunch. He had forgotten it at home.

He had leapt out of a 20th story window. I was just walking into the lobby.

You couldn't really tell where he ended and the car started. There wasn't really a place where the two were separate. Not anymore.

I never went to the funeral. Someone told me he looked really good for a corpse.


Ever after that, I watched lightning more carefully. Bowling my ass.

Lightning is angels committing suicide. Thunder is just the sound they make when the hit the ground. The sound of broken glass, broken bones that never wants to leave, that creeps around corners waiting to jump into your eyes so you can see it again.

Mom dragged me to church every Sunday to pray for Dad so he wouldn't roast in Hell. I bent my head but never prayed. You see, I figured he was better off.

If even the angels were committing suicide, maybe Dad had the right idea.

It wasn't an angel that came through the wall of the garage. It wasn't an angel on the end of that lightning bolt. It wasn't an angel coming to kill us.

But it looked like suicide to me.

It came through the wall, rippling with electricity. Blue and black with stark yellow markings. A single monocle adjusted to the dim light of the garage.

It was Conduit, West Worthington's chief Customer Service Associate. Translation: He was here to kill us.

I took my best shot. And missed.

Smell. Ozone. Dying angels.

Conduit raised his hands and I was struck by lightning. It put me through the wall, half buried beneath concrete and steel.

Like I say, suicide.

I saw the roof above me. The tanks were firing. Ozone. Boom.

Panzer Kitten was beside me, screaming at me. Cursing. Using me as cover.

I struck her to the ground and covered her with my hand. St. George looked toward heaven.

"Bring him down St. George. Bring him down to me. We need to have a talk."

St. George bellowed in agreement.




I was pinned beneath the Cleaner's hand. He had brought down the ceiling on top of us, and the building above with it.

Dust worked its way down my throat and through my nose, gagging me.

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No. Please no.

I snarled and struggled, but I couldn't move. Black weight. Heavy as midnight. No light. See. See behind my eyes.

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I wondered what it was like for Dad in his coffin. I wondered if he could still see and just had to lay there. His eyes had been sponged off of my windshield.

Maybe he could still smell. Still had most of his nose and some of one ear. Laid there, in darkness, watching it come.

Spring. Fresh flowers. A party. Perfume. Sleep. Blanket.

Earth. Old earth. Rotting wood. Spring again. Rain today. Earthworms.


I lay there, blinded, the fluid leaking out around me. An angel committing suicide. The sky is falling chicken little.

Down here. Beneath the dirt. Beneath the city.



Something stirred around me. Ozone. Someone out of their grave. Not allowed.

I punched the forward hatch release. The front half of my Brute erupted forward, lifting the rubble with it. Daylight.

I stood, stretching my eyes, opening my muscles.

There. Fifty feet away. Conduit.

"Bad boy Mr. Angel. No fair getting up early. Let me tuck you back in. See? I have your grave all ready for you. Don't worry. I'm a pallbearer. Rest assured, it'll fit just right. After all,

it's where the dead belong."

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