r e t u r n

a sharp hiss, something pops behind my eyes flashbang searing white heat smoke

where

 

 

 

 

 

am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the chamber. I’m in the chamber.

 

“Jesus FUCK!”

 

 

 

I’ve got about sixty seconds before this thing goes earthquake mode and I come out

 

 

 

somewhere.

 

 

My only hope is that I’m somewhere, anywhere, that you are, too.

Amara.

I’m almost there, baby.

 

My hands go to work on the straps, adjusting the loops for my arms, then I’m sitting. My feet are locked in. Left wrist, secure. Slide in the right, lean.

L E A N

 

Fuck. This was easier at home.

 

So my right wrist isn’t completely secured. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

My eyes are flooded with stop-motion frames: man being ripped apart. Man in pieces. Walls covered in blood. Chunks. of. Parts. of. Hair. of. Teeth. Of. Gnashing.

of me.

Fuck. I try again. My teeth catch the strap and I jerk my neck back hard.

 

Success!

 

The chamber is silent. As in, completely.

No noise. Anechoic.

 

 

 

 

n    o    t    h    i    n     g

 

 

 

Sweat rolling down my forehead is what I’m feeling. My heart racing. Bump-bump-bump in my ears.

 

Baby. Please. If you can hear me, hold on.

 

If this is the last time I die, will I know?

If it was permanent, would I remember

 

you?

life?

anything?

 

 

My jaw clicks. Teeth grinding. Any second.

Any second I’m going to fffffffffff e e l

 

 

 

I feel

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

feel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

s
t

r

 

 

e

 

 

 

t

 

 
c

 

 

 

 

h

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d

 

 

 

 

 

 

a

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h

h    h
h

h h h h h h h h h

host

My hands won’t stop shaking.

Gordon’s pacing—although honestly, I don’t think it’s fair to call it that, at this point—like he’s trying to formulate a new methodology for setting the carpet on fire with nothing but intricate choreography. His living room is immaculately clean, to the point of sterility. I’m not wearing shoes.

It’s that clean in here.

I drove a hundred and ten miles an hour through the city all the way here.

And my hands won’t stop shaking.

For the last twenty minutes, Gordon has been pacing back and forth in front of the sofa where he kindly insisted I sit, muttering the same two or three words over and over.

“I’m fucked. I. Am. Fucked. I’m fucked!

“Listen, I know it sounds crazy, but—”

“Crazy?” I think he’s trying to smile at me, but honestly, it just looks like showing teeth. “Crazy would be if we walked up to Dr. Soliman’s office, pulled out a gun and said, ‘Good morning, Dr. Soliman, I’m having trouble killing myself today. Would you mind to help me out? Oh, and while you’re at it, I’d like to use your office.'”

He’s right. That would be pretty crazy.

“What you’re talking about doing is completely and totally FUCKED!”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was going to break out in tears.

Gordon rocks back and forth as he walks, his body hinged at the waist like a stiff doll; the nightmare Christmas Toy creation of an autistic-savant-designer-turned-terminal-crackhead.

“I’ll tell you,” he says, completing his seventy-fourth lap around the coffee table, “but you have to swear to me you won’t try anything stupid. Just get the video from the archive and get out.”

My plan flashes behind my eyes:

  1. Connect remotely to the Praxem SecureBridge packet and download the server keys.
  2. Create a query in the system to allow access to the building after hours, coded to my employee ID.
  3. Tell the security guard I left my wallet in my office the day before, and
  4. Use my security credentials to bypass monitoring in the archive room. That’s where they keep encrypted copies of the video footage from the cameras in the observation rooms.
  5. Use Gordon’s access code (which he is very close to giving me) to get into the observation deck.
  6. Blastoff…

 

“Gordon, I promise. Listen, man….”

 

 

I’ll see you soon, baby.

I love you.

o p e n

 

And

 

 

now

 

 

 

 

I’m

 

 

 

 

 

 

falling.

 

 

 

 

MOSHED-2018-5-3-11-8-29

 

 

tumbling

 

 

 

down

 

 

 

 

down

 

 

 

down

 

 

   through

 

 

              the

 

 

   floor

 

 

              of

 

 

o        b        l         i                   i        o        n        ,
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f                                                                  o

 

 

m                                                                                                     y

 

     

       

          

                    ෧ 

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comes

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t o   f l o o d   t h e     s t r e e t

of   —  my   —   sub   —  cons    —  cious

b l u e    s m o k e    h a z e    P a R a D e

 

 

w h i t e  f l a g s
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deliver evil liver e  v  i   l    e     d

 

.

  e

s

       i

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t h e
w i t h  s u n.


 

 

 

 

Morning is red,

 

 

 

 

 

no wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

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