A Place in the Shade

Chapter 10 I Believe

I got Burger’s trying to come in through the closet door (the one before the restroom door). Acid is raining from holes on the ceiling, seems we left unattended the fact that the ceiling was not acid proof. The hole in the bathtub seems to be the best exit… I just don’t know how far the jump is and what the hell am I gonna do down there. Actually I don’t even know if there is something under it, the lights seem to have failed with the acid leaks. I have heard a couple of rock falling, from the walls I guess. I’m trying to make up my mind as the burger people and the acid try to get me to freeze. Its one of those situations in which you never really feel certain that what you did was the “best choice”. So I set one foot inside the tub’s hole. Bam! Burger people are hungry. I set the other foot in. Bam! Im about to shit myself cause I’m actually thinking of letting myself fall into a black unknown hole. I take a deep breath and pull the rest of my body down into the tubs hole. Brruuum! The door is down. I can hear them run into the closet. I close my eyes. Bam! Bam! Bam-bam-bam. Gun shots? As I open my eyes I see a woman in a riot suit extending her hand to me (what the fuck?).
– No time, give him a gun and lets move- she says to her help. A dude in riot gear pulls a handgun from his backpack and extends it towards me. Fuck yeah, I have a fucking gun.
– Was there more people with you?
– Were, we had a fall out.
– You know where to find them?
– I just, no.
– We got to move, boy. I don`t know if you reckon the building is coming down. We have a chopper coming for us within four hours and a half. Be there or be gone.
– Na, I’m coming with you.
– No can’t do. That gun is what we can help you with. As you might imagine we are not here to rescue you.
– I ima-, but, what?
– Give him a couple clips. Look son, shits gone wrong. Try to look for your people, whatever happens, (and she handed me a plastic chronometer) you got to be outside at 16:55. There is an underground path you can follow to the outfield. If you are there, with or without your friends, we can lift you to the base. There ain’t much freedom with 32 thousand refugees but its not falling apart.
– She raised her fist and pointed to the outside of the closet. I noticed there was four people. The one with the weapon bag, one with a rifle and a dud with laptop hanging like a mailbag. They left without making much noise. I followed them till we got to the main hall, there she reminded me I was not allowed to follow them any further since I was not properly trained and would get in their way. She explained once more how to get to the basement without running around the full complex “looking for trouble”, and reminded me to be there on time while tapping her wrist.

So I did not know where motherfucking Cyclist and his traitor posee where, and neither should I care, but there was something about the burger people that made it so much easier to forget and forgive. I stood there in the hall listening unintentionally at the sounds they made as they left me alone in the hall. The smell of blood was fresh. I was starting to freeze with indecision. Where the fuck should I go look for them? Since I could not come up with one single good place to look for them- The entrance! Main entrance!
I ran cross a hall filled with death burger people and their earlier victims. I slipped on blood and fired a round on accident. Remembered there is a safety pin on the gun and cliked it. I hid myself behind a flower base for a while waiting for a sound. After what felt like an hour but the clock revealed to be a minute and a half I decided to move on. When I got a glance of light come in through the shutters I noticed it was dark even with though it was only 13:12. When I got outside the main entrance I noticed no sound, no sign of luggage left unattended, not even fresh foot prints. When I looked at the land scape I stood there in aw of what the acid had done to the trees and the rest of the plants, or animal even. It looked like giant ants had crawled out of infertile earth. Or that a fire had had place outside. No white snow, not even firm tree trunks, just black and gray gunk and holes in the dirt. The museum itself looked like a cake caving in, the top was already falling in, all designs carved into the walls were mostly rubbed of. Some windows had cracked in glass falling in or out. A bunch of burger people could be seen running from one side to the other on the upper floors. I took a walk around the building and looked for the kitchen’s entrance. When i got to the trash cans I saw a rat and did not think twice to shoot it. However the safety was on. When it heard the clim it rushed toward me. I kicked it (and screamed like a bitch). I think I even closed my eyes. it went down hill. I did not go in through the kitchen. I went back to the main entrance. There I took a couple breaths, looked at the safety setting. I went in sliding my feet close to the floor with two hand on the gun and square shoulders. I was most certainly gonna die in a hallway. I thought about all I could as I walked, since thinking about incoming burgermen did not help at all. I stopped to rethink the rout the cop woman had suggested. First I had to get to the basement through the dinning hall, the hallway that went from the restroom to the gym had a service stair that I could use to get into the storage room. There, a steel door behind the wine cellars had been opened by the team to go in and out. There should be a couple emergency flares burning in the way there. So all I had to do now was get safely into the dinning hall.

I went back in the same path Cyclist and I had taken to get the topper wares. I looked inside the room where burger people had bitten Cyclist in the arm. It was dead. I did not trust it so I kept on going. Silently. I noticed my breathing so i did all I could to slow it and silence it. The smell of blood got in my mouth hardcore. As I thought it disgusting a heard a sound coming from the kitchen. I froze. My body rotated to the wall and glued itself with the gun in hands like a rosary. I was focused. My nostrils widened. I could sense my nose sniffing into the blood cloud trying to make something more out of it. I took the safety off and them fucking BAM! I shot Neutral Blonde on the fucking hand. Gypsy covered Blond’s mouth instantly and looked at me in complete fear. While she screamed muffled we started running into the best lit part of the hall. I said I was sorry in every way I could imagine eve though Gypsy told me to stop. Neutral passed out and I was getting really anxious. I was happy to see them (some) but I felt that this was gonna cost me getting in time to the extraction point. I told Gypsy about the cop team that gave me the gun, the exit plan and the time we had left for it was not enough.
– Well it wasn’t that smart to hand you a gun was it.
– …
– And what now, you seen Cyclist?
– I…
– Look I know you must not be liking him too much right now-
– You guys fucking left me!
– Lower your voice!
– Fucking left me.
– Cyclist was mad, we were afraid. You went unconscious and then he left… I mean you know me and Blonde-
– It’s ok, i guess, I- was prepared for this…
– what?
– waking up al- never mind.
– Whatever, look I say we go for Cyclist. If that underground road leads us out then we gotta go get him.
That’s when it hit me. Blonde was unconscious, but Gypsy was insane, burgermen apocalypse is no place to get all touch filly. If we went looking for Cyclist we were gonna die in here. And thats what they were ready to do. At least Gypsy. I guess she had had a thing for him for a while now and know that her wife was decorating the floor directly under the bathroom, there was no better time to go get him. So I lied to her crazy ass.
– You know what… you take care of Blonde, I’ll go look for Cyclist.
– But- how- what?
– You can stay in the restroom there. You close the door. I’ll go give a lap around the rosie and holler for the man. I have the gun anyway.

I left them in the room. They closed the door, then locked it. I took a deep breath and started jogging around in small circles at first, then I noticed how dumb it was and started thinking about actually looking for Cyclist. Sigh. I checked that safety and it was off. Liked it in, clicked it out. I could get to the passage alone, but something about having shot Blonde on the hand made me feel I had to actually try to look for him. The asshat had left me unconscious and alone in a cosed bathroom, and I had to fucking save him. However I had been saved by the fucking cops too so there was no way out of the Karmic debt. I knocked on the restroom door.
– What.
– ehm, where did you see him last.
Gypsy opened the door and looked at me in disbelief.
– He left us behind once we got out of the closet. before we came down to the dining hall. It was in the stairs we lost actual eye contact with him. He was completely out of himself.
– Ok. thanks.- she closed the door and I went back to playing with the safety switch.

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A Place in the Shade

Chapter 9 Where do cats go when the cup falls?

I was getting up from a long nap. There was no one home. It was dark yet not night. I felt a spike in my heart at the thought that my mother had left me again. It was cold and I was damp, there were no blankets on the couch, I had no sweater. Every drawer was sealed shut, the celling seemed far away and the walls to constrictive. There was no one outside, no one inside, just some muffled noises in the background, pretending people was somewhere out there. After searching the house I realized that the time to leave was any good as now. I took the doorknob and thought about what I was saying to myself. Second thought… I opened the door and there were  cars parked outside, empty with the lights on and the radios. A bike was stuck as if ridden by a ghost. When the sun started to go down, the clouds changed color fro purple to orange, suddenly it was dusk again. the sun was bobbing in and out of the sides of the earth, left side sunrise, right side sunrise. The shadows oscillated as I walked through the crossroad. Inside the TVs and radios seem to go along with time change, which was practically none, yet the sound seem to come on and go of again. After a while I started going inside houses. None of them had family pictures. inside one of them there was a dead animal piked on a stick. Eventually I found a running faucet. When I closed in there was blood running from it to the grass. Instead of being shocked I just took a couple sips and took off.

I was getting up from a long nap. I was at a club. Getting up, people dancing, no one seemed to care about me. As I walked out I noticed I had not seen a single face, not even by mistake. When I tried to turn around there was no one around. Suddenly the sun started to come up and the buildings started to melt. When I tried to run away the bouncer grabbed me by the shoulder and said: Do not fear… He then led me to a secret pathway through the Dj’s booth and came out to my fathers living room. There he was sipping from a cup and expecting me. When I walked In he asked me: What the fuck do you think you are doing? You had one job… As I tried to explain to him he started melting again, then his chair became a tree trunk, grew roots to the floor and the dried off. I touched one of the leaves and it lit on fire and puffed away. A butler showed up and led me to the exit as if nothing had happened. Once on the street I saw my self drinking from a tap on the street, then keep on walking. I ran after him but only saw yellow liquid flowing from the faucet. I took a couple drinks and chased after my self.

I was getting up from a long nap. My ex was sleeping right next to me. The room was small but crowded with cloth. She would not wake up so I started walking around the house. I watched TV, a show about a couple of cats trying to eat their own tail for money. Then went back to check on her. I went back to the kitchen and made myself a bowl of rabbit feces with banana juice. Watched cartoons about homicide and the family. Then the news came on and It sadden me to watch a muppet man’s voice muffle. Some coins appeared next to the muppet and I started to cry. Then my ex was up behind me. She asked me what I was crying about and I told her that a good man had died trying to get some food for his family. She came down on her knees and started scratching my head. It felt so good I closed my eyes and light started flowing in front of me. When I opened them again my ex was gone, the house seemed dirtier, older, worn out. I felt a spike in my heart. When I ran to the room she was sleeping there. Again I tired to wake her up and she would not hear me. I went back to watch some TV and a show about a man whose wife would not turn to look at his face came on. I’t struck me odd and I went back to check on her. She was asleep. After a while I decided she would not wake up for me. I went to the door and as I tried to open it I she came behind me. She asked me what was I doing. I answered that I thought she was never going to wake up and decided to leave. She laughed at me silly, went down on her knees and started scratching my head. The house faded away in pleasant sounds. When I woke up again she was asleep. I stood there looking at the dust flow through the room, within the light. I could feel her breath. I laid down with her and started to cry after a while. She did not wake up. I hugged her and told her I was sorry. I babbled and snotted. She did not move. After a while I dried my tears, kissed her in the shape of a cross right on her head and left. This time when I got to the door, she did not wake up. I looked outside an there I was, taking a drink from a tap on the street. I didn’t care much and took a lap around the house before leaving for good. The car’s key was in the garage. I took the car for a drive. The radio seemed to be looking for a station to tune in to yet it kept recoiling. The sun seemed to spiral too fast around me as if the planet was a bullet shot through space. I decided to drive out of the city but never really got to see the city limits, just housing projects after housing project. Eventually the car ran out of gas and I left it there. When I started to walk I noticed I was back at my ex’s house. Startled I saw my self drink again from a tap on the street and leave. – HEY! – I fucking yelled at me. But did not turned around and left. I chased after my self, but by when I looked at the tap I was sooo thirsty I took a couple sips from the clear water.

I was waking up from a long dream. I put on my robe and shaved in the bathroom. My wife was still asleep on the bed, blonde beauty. The kind of girl that gets away. As I walked down to take my breakfast a couple of blonde children came running to me. –Daddy, Mia says you killed our older brother. -it’s not true- interrupted the other one. I said we used to have an older brother but we can only play with him outside because he isn’t with a real body anymore. They seemed calm about it so I kept my chills to myself. One grabbed me by the hand as the other pulled my shirt. They led me to the dining room, an animal piked on a stake was served in a silver plate. My wife came down in a red dress, she was placing her left earing on. Without looking she asked me if I was ready for the event at night. When I looked at my self I saw ragged clothes and dirty hair, I was too comfortable for dinner anywhere. The kids can stay with “nan”, she added and left giving me a kiss on the cheek. Before we left the kids at her grandmas house I saw there was no one inside. I asked my wife if it was alright to wait a little, she told she needed to be there early, she could wait for me there. She gave me another kiss on the cheek and left me with the kids. As I was holding each kid on one hand I felt she was neither going to an event, or coming back. The days started going by. The kids and I had built a fort out of plastic throwaways and wood. It was nice and sunny, warm. They seemed to like me. I seemed to like them. One night one of the kids asked me take her outside to the bathroom, I was too tired to go and I told her It’ll be fine” after a while I noticed she was not coming back. I took a light and woke up the other kid. As we went looking for my other kid we saw a shadow pass by. It startled us so I turned of the lamp. I put my hand over my kid’s mouth so I would not breathe to hard. Then we heard a shriek of pain come out from the street. The kid started to cry. I was as afraid. I did not know what to do. When we heard a faucet sprinkling water on the floor I got scared enough to point the lamp at the sound. A shadow of myself, like a ghost, looked at me with bloodshut eyes. I froze. It froze and then started leaving up the sidewalk. When I looked at my kid there was none. It puzzled me for a while then it appeared that the best thing to do was investigate the faucet. The liquid was still flowing from the tap. I looked at the black gawk and felt thirsty. I knew better than to take a sip from it but I could not help myself. I took a couple sips from it and felt fear run through my spine. ¿Why did I drink that? Then I felt the urge to know where had that ghost gone. I turned on the light and started to follow the shadow’s path, for some reason I felt I knew which way to go.

I was getting up from a long nap. I was at a hospital. A nurse came in and when I asked her something she looked at me amazed. She ran towards me and started to do al sort of check-ups. Mi girlfriend and mother came in. They explained how I had crashed on a motorcycle while drunk driving. Apparently I had seen a sharp turn after I should have. I maneuvered the best I could and still managed to crash. They mentioned one of the sweeping cars that clean the streets had found me around 3am, took me to the hospital. There I had been in a coma for three years and a couple months. After the nurse left I cried. My mom and girlfriend comforted me. Then my mother left me to talk with my girl. She explained to me how she had moved on as fast, simple and soft as she could. I didn’t wanna cry in front of her but I could not hold on the despair. I had lost control of my legs and my arms. All I could do now was look to the left when my mom, a doctor, or the nurse said something to me that i did not want to hear. I watched the news on TV but nothing really stuck. I stated wondering if this was a dream, and how could I get back to reality. I started distorting the things people said to me decomposing them till I gave them the sense I need to “get back home” after a while I was confronted by the doctors and my mother about the way I was handling things. They shipped me to a facility for people sick from both their body and mind. There I watched the other patients struggle with their problems, tough never really felt comforted by their disgrace. Days and nights kept on passing by. One night I heard a faucet running in the bathroom. I woke up thinking I had pissed myself but then noticed the bathroom light was on. I tried calling for help. Then I started yelling for help. At the top of my lungs. No one would come. I started crying and kept on screaming and yelling. The light started to dim off. I closed my eyes and asked god for mercy. No one came. Then a shadow came out of the bathroom. It looked at me with white eyes. I looked at him in fear. It took the breaks of the bed and pulled me towards the badroom. It placed its hand under the running water while looking at me. Without saying a word he brought his hand to my mouth. His eyes told me to trust him. I drank from his hand. The liquid was thick but had no taste. It was cold outside and warm inside. It made me drink again and I drank. He cleaned my mouth with the back of his hand and placed me on the stroller. We left the hospital and went up the sidewalk.

I woke up. I had never felt so unwilling to wake up. My head hurt like fatigue. My lip had blood rust on it. I looked around trying not to use my neck to much. I got up and saw a couple of burger people lying on the floor. I remembered what was going on and could not give myself time to cope with it. There are some situations one most not wake up to if desired to stay focused or sane, and an acid snow, cannibal humanoid family dinner apocalypse is one of them. I went to the tap to splash water on my self. I felt a strong dredge of energy as my eyes went black. I held on to the only dot of light my eyes could catch and came back holding my self from the sink. I turned the faucet’s key and before actually ruining my hand under it, I herd the pipes crack. A sound like air forcing itself trough rusted pipes farted down the water tap but nothing came out. I closed the key. Cyclist had left with Neutral Blonde and Gipsy. I did not remember much too fast but I started getting scared soon. Too scared. Too soon. Spiders started to creep up my spine as if escaping from a bigger bite. I felt alone, and fragile. I wanted to cry but did not see it fit. I had some marks on my skin that took me a while to realize had been made by the makeshift armor. I paced around the bathroom, the eye I had split open with the razor blade was still sitting on top of a counter. The pipes cracked again. A drop of acid came to the floor and burnt a ring on the carpet. I looked above me and saw there was many leaks forming on the ceiling. The pipe cracked again.

A Place in the Shade

Chapter 8 Long live the King

When the light started to shine through what was left of the pines, a feeling struck me.
– Lets hurry up inside. I told them and egged them into the museum. In the end only three toper ware survived the snow test. Only two had a lid so the third one was half filled. We went in Cyclist and neutral to the front, cyclist half as equipped as before, Neutral twice as equipped than before. Gipsy, Cyclist’s wife, and Me where on the back. I had not given up the cleave nor the pan. The girls to on my side had the closed topers. Neutral blonde had the opened one. If Blonde saw anything pop-up in front of her she was expected to shot under discretion since she was the spearhead in the formation. As we got past the doors I seemed to get a spike of fear rise. It seemed to want me to know that thresholds had something to be aware about in a fearful way. When I thought it was necessary to inform the rest of the group, One of those things bite Cyclist on the same hand he had pierced the mime-girl. Neutral poured the acid into the things skull like it was a baby then started hitting it away from the arm. When it fell she cut the throat like it was gonna call for help. Mean while the girls  made a safespace I grabbed the turkey knife. His wife got a hold of cloth and made torque on his bicep, tight and close to the elbow. Then she grabbed his head into her lap and closed his eyes while making sure she didn’t look either. It took about 7 long seconds to carve a circle around the elbow, 10 more to carve away enough muscle to make a clear shot, four hits to the bone with the cleave. All the time the man screamed and moaned like a squirrel being ran over by a slow tricycle. He passed out when we were done. Since we heard a racket forming in the contingent rooms when closed ourselves in the first empty room we saw. For no reason I made sure the curtains were shut, there was something strange about the sun. While I helped Neutral and Gipsy hold the door, Cyclist’s wife got a hold of my lighter and more cloth to patch the man up. After 3 hours or 5 they stopped trying to budge the door. Cyclist was fast asleep so we decided to stay there till he could walk again. We slept in cycles of 6 hours with 2 hour naps for whomever needed it most. Not two people went to sleep at the same time, at least 3 hours to give us enough shield against unforeseen attacks and mishaps. The next afternoon we were all ready to move again. Cyclist’s wife had the pleasure of bringing him up to speed as to how he had woken up without his right arm. As far as I know, he held up pretty good taking the good news without breakfast every morning. We went from room to room when we were all ready and heard enough quiet outside. They seemed to stop going around between 10am and 4pm. Along the ones we had to kill we found what seemed like different evolutions of a root. The third one had had his whole neck grown into a tree trunk looking root, the first one had only minor popped up artery like looking sprouts, the fifth and second had only looked like roadkill ran under chalk. The fourth one however had what looked like root bridges crossing from one side of the wound to the other, maybe as if trying to close the gap.
Of course we had not eaten in a long time, not even as salvage. We had found four fun-size energy bars, a couple of broken chips. And two 600 mlt sodas. We split the chocolates in half but cyclist’s wife advocated in favor of giving one hole bar to him. No one said no, not even him. We sat on the floor dining our square meal at 9am. Four 8 seconds or less we ate in silence. We looked at each other like we might not have such a bad day after all. We had two topers filled with godsnow. We had about 400 mlts of soda left, we used it as fuel. And I had my hand on the sun. I didn’t notice at first cause the slow warmth felt comforting but when I did, i felt my hand was cooking shut. I pulled it out of the sun and excerciced it into opening again but it felt like it was resisting my commands.
We talked mostly through pantomime, we had already learned that even the calmest tone can be heard by the burger people. Talking in pantomime took a while but in the end we learned to keep it short and simple: Number 2. Number 1. Hand to the mouth for food. Hand on the stomach for hunger (it usually was only a joke). Two taps on the wrist for directions. We used the 12 o clock, 6 o clock, 3 o clock sistem. It wasn’t that hard.

Two days after the fifth burger dude cam at us we went into one of those ample closet bathroom deals. It was something for the ladys i think. They got excited the most and especially, cyclist’s wife. Maybe thats why she was the one the burger lady got at. On her behalf I will say she bite her neck clean off. She got to her artery before she could scream. Maybe that is why Blonde and Gipsy were able to react on time, cause she was busy biting her, and saved their own lives. I guess it would not have been easy to evade such a critical hit on such a short notice. It was hard for me to get gipsy and blond off of the burger lady’s body. They were mad but I needed to understand what were they. After a lot of pushing me around, and then heated discussion they settled for taking care of the now double trauma man of the moment. In the bath I noticed the woman’s eyes had a rustily rim around the iris. I went through the cabinet and found a disposable razor blade and eyebrow twezers. I removed the cornea from the eye and looked at the rust. After opening the eyeball I understood. This things were growing inside the body. This were their roots. The human was only a living compost that they could feed on and grow like a tree. From the nerve system to the outside said her spine and lungs. And somehow the level of exposure to the sun had something to do with it. The ones that had been much more clothed showed not many signs of root within their naked bodys. This woman in exchange was struck by the roots all through her exposed back all the way to the neck, where her hair must have cover the light. When I got to explain what I knew to the rest of the group I felt my right hand stumpier. It couldn’t be the light, I had only used fluorescent light. It could be that I was just tired. Anyway they were set on fixing a ceremony for Cyclist’s wife. I understood the feeling but I wondered if they understood the situation. They wanted to burn the body on the bathtub. I told them the only way we could do that was by emptying the topers into the bathtub with her. As a sarcastic reproach. Blonde and Gipsy pinned me to the wall as He emptied both the containers into the tub. He did some salute of sorts with his heart. I wanted to push him in it. When I was let go I was crying out of anger. What the hell was going on with them.
– We needed that shit.
– Save it. No one wants to hear it.
– And I don’t care to say it, but there ain’t gonna be no recess soon. Those burger people, they are plants growing inside of us. Very fruitful plants. Tiny plants that move around through our blood, get into our spine from the brain down and start growing inside of us. That fucking acid could have done something to burn the shit out of those plants while we still had it. We had a godsent shot at this thing and we fucked it up cause you wanted to show your dead wife that you loved her. And am guessing If  you had done that in life, instead of waiting for the proper moment, we would still have our acid with us. but hey, at least she will enjoy the full benefit of the motherload. Then he knocked me out.

A Place in the Shade

Chapter 7 Hello

Cyclist and I waltzed with our feet as straight as our fear let us. We had no source of light other than a lighter, and if you have ever tried to light your way with a lighter you will know that a) it lights a very small area around your thumb and palm. 2) It burns out pretty fast.
– Man, we need some light. I can only see like a black square with some chairs in the middle man. One of those fuckers is gonna pop up, and this umbrellas ain’t gonna do much harm, man.
– You want the chandelier, is that it?
– You can keep your fucking chandelier! Am saying: Where do we get a better fix?
– Well I did see private security around, maybe we can get some nightsticks?
– Fuck that, the probably have flashlights.
– Whatever, lets go. We need the plasticware anyway, that shit out there is best weapon we have. We just need to carry it in with us. But we gotta do it fast!
– OK. Fast. How do we get there?
– We stick a hand to a wall. One walks looking back, the other walk looking forward. We keep the umbrellas at hand to bubble up if danger arises. Its the safest way to get us there fast that I can think of.
– So, in this scenario, are our butts touching?
– … yes.
– It’s necessary? Like you thought this through and there ain’t no other way?
I grabbed my hands and flipped them so the knuckles of each side were onto of each other in a mirror fashion. He looked at me like he understood now it was the better option. So I let him decide which side we were walking on, he chose the right. I then took my turne and chose to go looking forward. He obviously objected to it but I just placed mi right hand on the wall and held the umbrella firmly with my left. He took a childish attitude for about five seconds till we heard a Glop! of juicy something drop on the floor. Then he set his back on mine and we started walking like a retarded crab into the museum. When we got to the first half open doble door I nearly crapped my pants. I had been listening as far as I could the whole way there. I had been subtracting the noise our clothes, shoes and respective hands on the wall might make, the breathing has hard though, every couple seconds it got my attention like I was listening to a third person. So by the time We were about to cross the doorway, I already knew I did not have to stop. But the open threshold looked even darker than the rest of the hallway to our somewhat accustomed eyes. I crossed walking with my chest out and blank eyes like a horse with blinders and nothin, but right before I was safe i felt Cyclist scream for a nanosecond like breathing in too fast. Then FLUP! He was fending off one of those fuckers with his umbrella. It started poking the plastic fabric. Attempting to get through. He started breathing heavily and when he looked at me I pulled my umbrella open and started pushing him into the threshold. I took Cyclist by the shoulder and started running from the threshold as I left my umbrella fall. He must have ran behind me because he was behind me when I got to the kitchen. The way there I could almost see their eyes in the dark as if they were creating the light somewhere in their brains. Some of them got up to start chasing me I suppose, but maybe there is something about our complexity that made me faster. Maybe they were just slow people before turning and I just have a statistic advantage. Before I got to the kitchen I dropped as much furniture behind me as I could, Cyclist hit me with an ashtray, I think cause I was making his run too hard. Once in the kitchen we ran to the pantry and emptied sacks of flower, potatoes and oranges on the floor and grabbed as many plastic containers as we could. Cyclist brought over some snacks and sodas. On the way out we had made backpacks of the sacks and were armed to the teeth with kitchenware. Cyclist had an electric turkey knife and battery drill on the other. I had a pan and a cleave. We both had the rest of the knife set on the sacks. We came out through the dinning room since we had made a mess trough the service entrance. We made it half way through the dining room till Cyclist opened the curtains and we saw a woman sitting in the middle behind a large flower base.
– Sht! –Cyclist snapped and pointed the drill at me.
– If you are scared, I can tell you im not one of those. Came her for what was left of the potatoes.
I sat at the dinning table. I felt like she knew what she was doing, after all she was all alone and had gained access to the food without us noticing her. Cyclist took a seat too he seem to get it too.
– Look- she cleaned her mouth with her sleeve.- You guys are doing fantastic. I dig your work. The Phantom Trapper guetty-up. The drill and the turkey knife. Bag full of tuppers for war. I really like what you are doing. Its almost as impressive as those things running all around with practically no sight. The thing is- and she started eating again- the thing is… you can’t win.
Cyclist got up.
– Sit. No use waisting energy. Sit.
– No. You are a fucked up little girl and you do not know what you are talking about. I’m not gonna get my fortune read at a fucking museum full of walking deadfolk. Are you coming, dude?
– What do you mean- I looked at the girl.- I don’t happen to see it as a game.
– Your fault sir. But I just dropped in to tell you “You can’t win”. It’s one of the best sets I have seen as a supervisor on this part of the sphere, but this situation is made to stop you from “keeping on”.
– You sound a little judgmental.
– You have been judged. Your serial contributes nothing to the sphere, let alone the sequence. Your branch is being cut off.
Then Cyclist lost it and struck the girls hand with the drill. She started screaming and looking at him in pain. Then she stopped and looked at him. She splattered some of her blood on his face as she pressured him with her eyes. He looked at me. I looked at him.
– This bitch just got you less help. -She pointed at him throwing blood at his face again. Then she started walking to the other side of the dining room. She left like a pouty little cunt who knows she has enough money to leave in such a way. When she got to the door she opened it and started screaming and yelling. It was all we needed to spike up. In less than 10 seconds we were both strung out on fear. There were so many of those things running to the dinning room. I looked at Cyclist. He looked at me. We started throwing chairs to the doorway piling them up. He threw the big flower base at the little cunt. She fell and stopped screaming for a while. We dived back into the kitchen. The pressure I had built behind us was now gone and we might leave the same way we came in. On the way out we saw one of the deadfolk pinned to a window by an umbrella. We looked at each other.
– I rather keeps these for now. -Cyclist said as we kept marching towards the only light we knew so far. When we got outside, sporting our savage godfall uniforms and equipment the waiting crowd cheered silently. Some claps, a couple fists in the air. We sat down and smoked a couple of my cigarets. The sun was coming up in a couple hours so we just sat outside taking and telling jokes. Cyclist looked at me once or twice for help when they asked what we saw in there. I called for wingsmanship of him too when placed in the same position. None of us had the nerve to tell them we might have met the lieutenant of god, and that he may have seem fit to finish humanity.

A Place in the Shade

Chapter 6 Pawer Punch

The lights went out. More screams and hollers of pain started crashing with us from every direction. Shrieks of pain from women of all ages. Moans from the most composed gentleman. After a couple seconds everything got a lot more quiet. We were crouching our way to the coat keep when the fear hit everyone. Hard knocks against the marble flour started to break the silence. KACK! KAK! KRAK! Silence again. Then the bitch must have grabbed another bitch by the arm, or something, cause someone let out a fucking shriek that made us turn around though there was not a single practical advantage to it what so ever. We were half way through a couple of stairs the asshole of designer had decided to put at the middle of the way to the door. On all four like scared little twats. We all caught a sniff of the metal in the air when she got bit. O could feel my senses fixed on an immediate circle around me. We could all hear the munch and slobs it was doing. We could all hear everyone backing away on an almost perfect circle from where the waitress had fallen, though minutes ago this same jackasses where licking each others asses and pretending they did not know where the poor girl fell before striking her head several times on the floor, had attained the coordination of synchronized dancers in the dark. Thats what fear will do to you. When the lights came back on, there was a woman being eaten from the guts out by what looked like the waitress. They were both covered in blood. A poodle of blood was being made on the floor so when the waitress’ head was struck with a fire extinguisher  by a “brave” man in a tux she fell making all sort of finger and knee marks on the blood and the floor. Then when she tried to get back up, again spilling more patters the tux man gave her one more hit on the head and she fell like a Bombi. Everyone started getting up in groups. We had made it to the coat and the keys where there. We had not even started to celebrate when a cook came running out without a hand and his uniform set aflame. The people let him pass while tux man went back for his fire extinguisher and struck him square in the face. The cook fell to the ground and started to cry. Someone stopped the tuxedo avenger from splitting the mans face in half when they noted he was only a suffering man. Then the bitch without guts got around that guys leg and fucking came at it. Then we noticed the kitchen door burst open and the service came out running like animals straight to fucking murder everyone they got next to. In a way the same that a chemical burn might make two particles  engage in a magnetic like, heat missile kind of effect. I put my hand over the door knob and signal them to be quiet with a finger to my mouth. We open the door lifting it. It responds by making a squeal. We bolt out. I sensed one might have looked our way but the only time we looked back was when the door was closed behind us. When we were outside we noticed the cold was critical. Most of everything was white. And right before we set foot on the snow a branch gives out and lets the snow fall right in front of our feet. I look up and notice the branch looks like it a cut too clean for nature. I try to kick a bit of the snow with my shoe. Then i notice the melting snow is eating away my shoe.
– HOLY SHIT!–I yelled.
– What’s wrong?-Turned the cyclist cat as I showed him my foot.
– ah, I, think, that, snow has, acid.
– Maybe if we go around the back, where the service entrance? -Said blond neutral.
– We have to go back in though.
– Shit. puffed everyone in turn.
The gipsy opened the door and right after a person came out screaming. Neutral Blond pulled her away from the threshold while cyclist cat’s wife gave it a push downhill into the snow. The thing came out almost right after. Screaming still it tried to clim back up the hill and made a gross mess. The gipsy closed the door again. We all looked at each other. The next time the gipsy opened the door se did it with the door as a shield,cyclist cat and neutral blonde where waiting at 4:30 and 7:30 o clock. Cyclist’s wife and I were against the wall as back up. This time nothing came out. Cyclist game me a look saying it was all clear. I turned into the threshold spinning on my right foot. Before stoping into the threshold, though knowing I could throw my self back out, I scoped what I could drawing fast Zs into my field of view. I had catched nothing suspicious so I stopped on the threshold to look some more. Without thinking I stepped inside and glued to the wall to my back. They started coming inside and doing the same one after one. We left the door open and started getting ahold of whatever we could use as a weapon. We each grabbed an umbrella. Cyclist’s wife had a chandelier that looked pretty solid. I grabbed ahold o my expensive pen inside mi jacket.
– What is on the other side of the museum, dude?- asked neutral.
We all stopped while we still had light behind us.
– There is probably a load of those suckers.Explained Neutral Blonde.
– We need to find plastic containers. I threw my two cents.
– Where the HELL are we gonna find CONTAINERS? – Asked Cyclist.
– Tuppers in the kitchen! Yelled cyclist’s wife.
– What’s the tuppers for? Asked cyclist.
– We might need to take some of god’s yellow snow with us. I looked into the foreground.
– Yeah, there’s got to be like 50 or 60 of those things in there. Added Neutral Blonde.- And the umbrellas are not gonna cut it.
I told them we could advance through tight corridors with our umbrellas in hand and spread them out all at the same time to close off the path. Like a broadway version of the Hundreds of Spartans. So we went in the same way we had come out to get the coat. Everything fine. It still smelled like blood but it was like burnt out blood. It made you know that something had died there but it carried none of the thrill of the dying just the scent of rigor mortis setting in and decomposing on an expensive living room.
– They must have gone chasing off the rest of themselves. I muttered to The Gipsy. – Guys, we are risking too much. A pair of us should go get the plastic containers. Any way we know the snow is working. And if the rest stay there–
-Who’s gonna go?- interrupted cyclist.
– You, with me. I turned to Neutral Blond. You guys go back and fend off with the door.
The girls turned back  with their umbrellas. Neutral Blonde gave the chandelier to Cyclist. We headed back to the innards of the museum as the light from the night sky shone a dim light ahead of us.

A Place in the Shade

Chapter 5 The Party

The place was exceptional, there was all sorts of dead things hanging, nailed to a wall, pasted to bases, encased in crystal. Things dead because anyone related directly to them was dead; things dead because anyone who understood what they meant or what was their purpose was dead, or stuffed in an exhibit right next to them; things dead because their significance, even though understood, was dismissed by all like a pretty biblical painting that derives all its worth by mere market speculation. There were waiters all around, there was people dressed in fancy clothes that could not hide their unworked personalities; fat lady in silk; show men in thick three-piece suits; couples of homosexuales pretending to be heterosexuals, people alone pretending to know someone but begging for attention, whores of all sorts, all for sale but no one buying a damn thing. Food running around on waiters, but the unspoken rule was that eating was for the weak, drinking was for the week too. All that food, all that booze and everyone was supposed to stand still and not touch anything, listen to people with nothing to say. It really made me wonder what the fuck had brought them all here. Me, as I was not really into that behaving bullshit, I was eating everything, drinking whatever cup I could grip around my fingers. By 9pm I was drunk as a Skunk. My stomach made me a gas bag, but I didn’t mind, since I was filled with food, I had no room for these peoples vain comments. I don’t think anyone wanted to talk to me anyway, just my cousins. The gipsy was dancing with an older married man. His wife seemed to be watching and gulping small yet darling sips from a cup of wine, watching from the wall. The face in the man’s face said that she had earned this; both of them, my gipsy cousin by being beautiful, young, and free. On the other hand, his wife, had earned it by being a cold bitch. The neutral blonde was talking to a circle of older people, work seemed never to stop for him, he was darling in his own way, dressed in a white suit, looking like a beautiful and fragile male dove, but his speech and the group bought as if his body was just the tail of a dragon, entertaining his food. The biker-cat was out an alley, I believe he was doing his wife because he said to me, before leaving: “I’m going out for a smoke” as he showed me his cigarette case. And looked nowhere, pointing out in a funny way that he was going out to do everything but that. Then he asked me if I wanted to join him with one, also while looking away. When I responden, “no thanks”, he happily griped his wife hand, the same way I had been catching alcohol from the waiter’s trays all night, and feed the seen. They came in about 45 minutes later, nothing out of place, except that they were ready to listen to everyones bullshit, like they belonged in this steaming pile of excrement we called a society.

When the food was served, all sort of tables arranged in a hierarchy of allegiance to the purpose of the family existence: my father was sitting right next to my grand father, my twin cousins were split, lollypop-face aunt was on my grandfathers table, my sharp faced aunt was sitting on a table next to the main one with her doctor husband. The black sheep was sitting again on the main table, but he looked like, though he was proud of it, he would be OK sitting on another table with half the pressure set on him. My grandmother was sitting in the same table that the group of business men, the one’s talking to the neutral blond earlier, were sitting on. The cousins were fitted to sit in the table closest to the bathroom. First they served some cream with bread. Then they gave us a gourmet sausage made of cow served with wild rice and mashed potatoes. At last I ate mint ice-cream. I finished my meal way before everyone else, since I was not waiting on none. When I finished my meal I headed out for my own smoke. I told my cousins I was going to the bathroom. They knew what I meant. But to be honest, It was really hard acquiring weed on my condition, no money, no job. I had to pull some strings to get a few joints into my pocket and It felt perfectly fine to be stingy. My cousins as I said, were all minding their own bites, metaphorically and literally, so I left. Outside It was snowing, witch is rare for a so called tropical weather, I guess we were cold and windy enough for that. For a few minutes, or seconds, who knows, I enjoyed the view. The pines and trees seemed to have been waiting for snow all their existence. Plus the smoke looked way cooler in the cold. It made me think I was taking huge puffs. IhhhhhnHale. EhhhhhxHale. Wen my jay was out, and I do mean out. You know, after that bit you leave for the Devil, the one who has it worst than you, when it was completely out. I gave a la around the complex. There were huge balconies that I could not understand, structurally speaking, how one got to them. There were more pines, with snow pilling on its leaves, there was this black dirt at the bottom, getting covered by white snow, the tree trunks were catching some snow too. In a way it looked like a different kind of nothing was eating it all. Like the end of the world was coming onto the museum in the same kind of way you would expect a black wave consume it all before we fade into nothingness, except it was white, and cold. I like it. Then I headed to the service entrance. I had always liked mingling with service people better than the kind of guests inside, they were uneducated, but they had their he’d well placed on top of their shoulders. As I was was walking onto the service entrance, I hear someone puking their guts out between the garbage containers. I saw a white trash bag spilled by a man who was puking out blood. But something was strange, as I saw him there in obvious need for help, bend in al fours, puking, making sounds a hell sent figure might use to scare his enemies. I felt no need to help him. I felt no remorse. As if a white guardian angel, taller than me was holding my shoulder, saying, “watch”, but comforting me enough not to move. I understood, in a speechless form of dialogue, that there was nothing I could do to help this man, not now, not ever. After all the blood came out, his puked some black gunk and the some kind of black dust. Then his body let him fall onto the snow. He was covered ny small mounds of it. Then a puff of smoke came out of his mouth. I don’t know how long I watched that, but I know it was longer than any normal person should. Then I stopped feeling that wight on my shoulder and snapped out of it. I went into the kitchen and told someone who looked like he was the syndicate leader that one of his men seemed to have fainted in the trash. Of course I lied, I was not about to tell him I just stared and did nothing as one of his men died on top of a pile of trash. We went outside, I showed him the body. He did all the things a certified paramedic should do. I left him there as the other servants gathered there to watch. When I got in people were drinking again. My father was gone, his wife entertaining the people next to her on my grandfathers table. My grandfather had a distraught look on his face, it was as if somehow he knew something was askew. I sat on next to my cousins and I said: “You will not believe what i just saw”. Biker-cat turned to me and interrupted: “Naw, dude, you gotta hear this”. Then they started telling me about how they had brought drug spliced brownies to the dessert table and a couple of old people had eaten a pair of them. Now they were dancing as if they were 60 years younger. He finished with “this ain’t right man, we don’t know if they will make it till tomorrow, but they will sure enjoy today”.

Then they started playing dancing music, nothing special just the kind of shit everyone knows how it goes, some know the words, and fewer people but enough, know the steps to show everyone else. During this my grandfather was at the back of his table talking to the syndicate leader, they seemed to be way out of place for a celebration, he led my grandfather to the kitchen and the it all went south. Just as the DJ played Michael Jackson’s thriller into the mix, a waitress came in squealing like a nazgul, holding her ear, spilling blood everywhere, everyone stopped but the DJ, she could not hear with her headphones on behind the monitors. She came right into the middle of the dance floor and tried to tell everyone something but the pain of her ear, that’s were the blood was coming from, would not let her speak into anything other than squeals and sobs. Some one got her from her shoulders and tried to talk to her, she pointed to the kitchen and help her missing ear. Then she started puking her guts out, all over the dance floor, then some black gunk. I knew what was coming next so I grabbed my gipsy cousin by the wrist, as she was the one closest to me and said, “she’s gonna spew some black dust after this. That’s what I was gonna tell you about before. I think we gotta go”. They all turned to me with a look that said, did you just watch that shit happen before and came in all calm and walking in? To which I said, “I watched it one time before, now there’s the second on the dance floor, do you wanna be hear for the third? They looked at each other for a second and started gathering their shit.
– I came in a phone cab.- said the neutral blond.
–  I can take four people with me in my car. – Said the biker-cat.
– My car. -Corrected his wife.
– Her car.
– Who cares, let’s get the fuck out.- Urged the neutral blond.

Then biker-cat, searched his pockets and made a face like he was getting fucked by the holy ghost. Babe – he asked. – Do you have the keys? She returned the look like she was getting fucked by the ghost too.

A Place in the Shade

Chapter 4 La Familia

This morning, as I was still waking up a White Owl came trough the window barring a pouch. Inside it there was a papyrus with a lion sigil stamped on purple wax.It said there was going to be a big meal in a fancy house and I was invited to come over. When I finished reading the note it was gone from my hands. I was holding my phone and with the family chat open. I was going to the family dinner. I didn’t  know how much of my situation they knew but anything was better than staying at the hospital. I threw on my black suit withe the white shirt. Shaved my homeless face. Even threw some soap on. Some way, some how, it felt like the way out.

My family, like any other in the face of the world, was numerous, mixed, triangular, square, had some circles, spaces, silences, but never a stop. My grandfather had been an industrious man in his youth, though he now pretended to be an unimportant person, his relevance seemed far from over. He had a way to preside over the hole family without saying much. He sat in his sofa, smoked a cigar, laughed with his visceral deep tone. He was not conceived in black and white concepts, the kind of man that believed no soul was going to hell. He never talked to us much but we somehow had a feeling he knew what was going on through our heads. He knew of our struggle.

Then there was my grandmother, she was beautiful but her pretty seems to not last her enough to know herself. She was not young anymore, and that was her upmost important crime in the world. She was always in a hurry and she knew everything anyone was doing at all times. If god had existed, she would have been the omnipresent part. She knew the names of all the kids that her kid’s kids had had. She knew who was sick and who was truant in school. She was what seem to be short of temper. However we found out that it was really a matter of armor. She was calm as bamboo, but life corroded her armor and it made her break suddenly, thats when we could se the armor was there like a kind of tupperware, to keep the heat in. She was somehow afraid that she would cook us to a crisp if she let us know how much she could care.

Then there was my uncle, he was a rich man but it had not come from the usual business dealings. He was working as the Assistant for the Ministry of Defense Warden. As described by my siblings he was: “The boy wonder.” “The genius in the family.” “Sharp like a whistle.” However he was the only one with a cleft chin and had an attitude of a black-sheep by bureaucracy. He was the one with the cool music, toys, house, toys. He had a spaceship the size of my extended arm. He had the plastic version of music engraves. He had a dark air to him that made him look a little bit tired at all times. He had a minor hunch, not a hunchback but a minor disappointment expressed in a little sway of the back.

Then there was my aunts, twins. Both spectacular however one of them felt her sharper face made her look aggressive, that and maybe the fact that her lollipop-faced sister was the jewel of the family. As her couple in life, sentenced to be next to hear for being born at the same time, school, clothes, uniforms, lunch, anything but friends. “She” was always the center of attention, while her, she was only the peanut gallery, but forever. It had made one of the sisters personality bloom like a sunflower, petals always shining looking straight at the sun, sun looking straight at her, everyone else looking at the sunflower cause the sun is hard to stare at. They were both married, one to an unsuccessful business man, with great attitude and good care for the children they had. The other one with a doctor, who in spite of having a great attitude, always laughed apologetically as if saying: I don’t know why I’m here, man.

Then there was my dad, charismatic man, yet he seemed like he was half not there. Almost like the hand inside his blazer was taking a walk somewhere else and his consciousness needed to be focused on it for the sprawl. He was not always there for the events either. He was a successful business man, owned a communication Agency and was a stock owner and Board Member for a Medical Firm. He was loved by his employees the same way soldiers who fought wars beside their king would. He was never seen doing anything wrong, out of place, yes, dangerous, maybe, but quite the correct man, he wore suit and tie and came first hour to work every day.

Then, of course, where the cousins. We were like those fun&mix chip bags, a delicious mix of wonderful, savory and spicy things you find under the couch seat. The fact that “we didn’t mind” anything, was our purest quality, like stray pups, with funny hair and a cool pose. One was a witch of sorts, she practiced dancing, acting, singing, did not own one single white shirt, though. All back, fiery attitude. The other one was a neutral blonde. He worked as an editor in the papers. He was a big deal for a small person. If he had any kind of fire it was save up in the form of some diamond, incrusted on his heart. At last there was the spotted hair man. He was older but not enough to have grey and white hairs fiddled all around his beard and head. He was quiet and had an all-forgiving look. However, beneath his fat cat mask he had a rocker-cyclist body. It was hard to know which one to trust.

We had all been invited to spend a night at a museum, along with some people to impress, dine, drink, laugh, dance, then drink some more and go to bed. The place was at the top of a local mount. It was snowy outside but the fire inside made ti cozy and comfortable. The crackling of the wood, crack, crick, cra-pa! The sun was setting outside, all cars where arriving: A white suburban truck for my sharp-faced aunt and fam; a sports sedan for the black sheep, a silver copue sedan for my lollipop faced aunt; a city version of a truck for my dad; a cab for the neutral blonde; the boyfirends bike ride for the witch; and the wife’s car for spotted-bead.