Monday, August 27, 2012

Rue: Perdido Part 1

Land Of The Dead

People always complain about the smell of wet dog in the car. I doubt ever will again. A dead man on a hot day on real leather is far worse. Rick was fidgeting in the back seat; fumbling with his hat, inspecting his nails, and untying/retying his shoes. He was understandably nervous. We knew that his mayoral nemesis hadn’t tried to have him killed. Instead, things were even worse.

Someone was scavenging bits and pieces of the dead in order to bring to life people like Sgt. Johnson. Johnson was dealt with now at least, having found justice at the fiery fingers of those he stole from. His passing though, hadn’t helped us much. All we knew was that the source of this misery was in Cairo District.

It just happened that the largest dirt cemeteries in the city were still in Cairo. The District, while maintaining all its normal money making functions for West Worthington and East Fredricksburg had an unusually high concentration of mausoleums, cemeteries, and crematoriums. The skyline in just about any district, maybe barring Jeng or Phoenix or whatever the hell the people that had taken over it were calling, was full of towers jutting into the air. The arcologies were the way the Corps controlled people. They kept you locked into self-sustained buildings and forced you to get licenses to leave. Cairo’s towers though, weren’t the human hives most of the districts had. They were the crematoriums that most of the city was sent through. Green Gates was one half a dozen of the limited capacity “premium” crematoriums that let you visit your dead without driving for a day to reach Cairo.

Amy shuddered as we watched black smoke pour out of the top of towers that filled the horizon as we finished our six-hour drive out of Sho, through Renner, and into Cairo.

“So many…”

“Ghosts hon?”

Amy nodded.

“By the tens of thousands. They’re just swarming around in the clouds of smoke, unsure of where to go. It’s maddening Morgan. People don’t normally just… hang around after they die.”

“I’m afraid I’m a little out of touch with normal. After all, I’m the only live one in the car right now.”

Rick sniffled at that a little. He wasn’t being indignant; he was getting lonely.

“Are you alright back there Rick?”

“I’m okay. I’m just trying to make myself presentable. Can’t have people thinking I’m a dead man stumbling around after you. If we’re going to find out who killed my family, I need to be able to contribute.”

I nodded. It was a damn shame. I would’ve definitely voted for Rick.

“Are you able to remember anything Rick? Do you even remember where you dug yourself out? That might get us somewhere.”

“I walked for so long Mr. Chadwick. I knew that I should come find you. I had remembered reading about your work in paper several times while I was alive. It was the only thing on my mind.”

“Are there any names that ring a bell? I know I gave you a long list of cemeteries to go over, many of them with ridiculous security measures installed. However, if you see one that you remember, we’ll find a way in.”

“I understand. I just… I know I should know the name. It just keeps eluding me.”

Amy sighed.

“Perdido, eh?”

“What did you just say?”

“Perdido. It’s Spanish for lost. As a little kid, my brothers and I set up a fort on the opposite side of the river near where we lived and named it Perdido.”

“That’s it. That’s where I was. I remember the sign clearly now. It didn’t say anything but Perdido on the sign. That’s got to be good right? We know where I was buried. But… wait… I didn’t remember seeing that name on the list you gave me.”

“It wasn’t. Perdido’s been closed to visitors for over a year and a half now, closed to bodies for three. Supposedly, West Worthington shut it down after claiming that too many people were vandalizing the graves. It filtered back to us through other precincts that the real reason they closed it was because they and East Fredricksburg were fighting amongst the bodies. When too many of their people died, they just dug a hole in the middle of the district, dumped them in, and pushed dirt back over top.”

“What on Earth has been going on in this city? I knew about some of the fighting but this is unbelievable.”

“Very little here is unbelievable. Unconscionable, unbearable, but never unbelievable.”

Rick shook his head and slumped back into his seat.

“So what do we do now?”

“We head over there, I show them my badge, and we take it from there.”
Rick nodded and went back to picking lint off of his shirt and attempting to shine his shoes. I rubbed my eyes and Amy held up an open pack of Pro-Tabs for me. I opened my mouth and she dropped them in.

“Thank you.”

“I may not like those things but I’m not about to let you fall asleep at the wheel and join us just yet. You really think we’ll be able to just breeze into Perdido?”

“I don’t know Amy. I hope so.”

That was the optimism talking. There wasn’t any way they’d let us into Perdido. Perdido held too many secrets that were supposed to stay buried. Just like Rick was supposed to stay buried, not up and stumbling around. My first attempt at getting answers had almost gone up in smoke. I just hoped that this time burying me alive wouldn’t be the method of choice. I had a bad feeling that things far nastier than Sergeant Steve Johnson were wandering Perdido.

And I had no intention to join them.

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