No, screw you WordPress, I’m not going to put in a little reminder for my readers to vote.
My goodness, this story is continuing to get more and more bizarre. And trust me, it’ll only get more so as it continues.
Oh yeah, so, as you may have noticed, I haven’t made an episode of 108.3 in a little while. I never really announced it or anything, but I decided to take a fairly short break from it for now. So, it might be a month between the last episode and the next now. (Geez, that’s actually getting pretty soon now, isn’t it?)
Here are two albums, this time, both of which I enjoyed immensely.
Ouroboros said it wouldn’t be a problem. She had been, for all intents and purposes, the god of immortality, after all.
She glowed brighter and brighter, to a point where the white outlines of her ghostly presence almost blinded me. I tried to turn away and raise an arm to shield my eyes, but realized I had no arm to do so with, let alone eyes to block in the first place.
The light peaked, flashed, and resumed to its previous state. Something flowed out of the tip of the tooth toward me, though, and upon reaching me it wrapped around and around, seeming to cocoon me in the fluid.
“Use this ‘second chance’ well, Lawrence. After this we will be able to communicate via… Well, you’ll see. You’ll see better than ever,” I heard her say over the sound of rushing energy and whipping wind.
“Thank you,” I tried to yell over the sound.
A dumpster? They put my body in a goddamn dumpster?
I felt utterly wretched. My body had been sitting in garbage for an indeterminant amount of time, and my clothes and skin were both soaked in dry blood.
My wound, though. The one through my back seemed to be completely gone, from what I could feel of it, but the one through my head…?
I reached up to touch the middle of my forehead where I had seen it was in my brief journey as a wandering consciousness, and poked myself in the eye. Maybe I was still woozy from coming back to life and had poked that by mistake.
Alright, get out of the dumpster first, I said to myself. I struggled to my feet and pushed up the lid and climbed out. My head spun, a sudden spike of vertigo, and I found that I was laying on my back on the ground beside the dumpster. I realized that the ketamine content of my blood hadn’t really changed since the moment I died. That wouldn’t be much of a problem, aside from that, as I realized at that moment, I had been completely sober in my post-death experience. I had, somehow, gotten accustomed to sobreity in that short period. Short? I couldn’t tell how long it had been. My guess was that there wasn’t really any objective measure of “time” in that world.
I smiled and my eyelids drifted downward, slowly darkening the sky and blotting out my vision.
Not all of it, though. Even with my eyes closed, I could see the outside world, in that black-and-white line drawing way that it had been before I came back.
I slowly lifted my hand toward my forehead again, fingers trembling. I saw my hand in the line drawings, and brushed my hand over where the bullet hole in my head had been.
I poked myself in the eye again.
She had given me a third eye. Filled in that bullet hole with an eye. Why? What was the point of that? Sure, I’d be able to see into that world, but I’d look like a fucking freak! How could I do whatever I was supposed to do with a third eye in the middle of my forehead?
I noticed there was a hose in the back of whatever building I was behind. I guessed it was the bar. Dried blood is a horrid feeling, even worse when your entire body and all of your clothes are caked in it.
I stripped off my clothes and ran over to the hose, turned it on, and washed myself off. I didn’t think I’d bother trying to clean my clothes, so I just used my shirt to try and scrub some of the blood off myself.
A few minutes later I was clean and my skin was pink and tender from the friction of scrubbing.
I needed to get back to my hotel room to put on new clothes. But I couldn’t get back into the old ones, they were stiff with blood, and I had just cleaned after all. I went through my pockets to get my key card, found it, and was gripped with a sudden anxious horror. I went through my pockets again, and again. Checked the breast pocket on my shirt, jacket pockets, everything.
My bag of ketamine was gone. My bag and briefcase of ketamine were gone, furthermore.
Those goddamn motherfucking bastards. I would kill them. I would wipe them off the planet, smear their bodies into trails of blood and mashed muscle. They would pay, I’d make them pay.
But I needed clothes, and there wasn’t any way I was getting back in the old ones to get back to my hotel room. It wasn’t far to get back to there, but… Indecent exposure, and all that.
Wait. Why was I thinking about that? Fuck this town, fuck everyone in this town. I didn’t give a shit about it any more. I was going back to that hotel, stark naked.
Which was actually easier than I had initially imagined. With this third eye I had just obtained, I had a heavily increased sense of space and surroundings. I could tell whenever anyone was around for a good distance. I waited a moment, found that it was all clear, and sprinted across the street.
Sure, fuck this town, but I had just been brutally murdered, after all. I didn’t need them knowing I was back alive just yet.
I went into the hotel, ignored the horrified looks from the receptionist, and went to my room. I hadn’t packed that much clothing-wise, since I hadn’t intended to – didn’t intend to, I had to correct myself – stay that long there, but had enough that I could change.
The ketamine that had stayed in my body was beginning to wear off. Those bastards. I was going to get that back. All of it. And I was going to sell it.
Actually, that might be a little difficult, given what I now knew about the town. Well, then. My “employer” may be a bit… disappointed. That was never a good thing.
Hey, maybe I could sell it to the head honcho here.
“Frederick Simmons,” Ouroboros said to me. It was a bit startling, as I hadn’t expected her to be able to speak directly into my mind like that, but I thanked her.
Frederick Simmons. Anyway, he obviously didn’t want it available, but once he learned of what happened to me, he may be interested. I had to see.
I started to head back out of the hotel, but paused before opening the door. I had left my wallet here, thankfully, it probably would’ve been gone otherwise. I went over to it and pulled out forty dollars, then left my room and headed toward the hotel lobby. The receptionist was still there, trying to avoid eye contact. I went up to her.
“Sorry about earlier. My clothes got soaked in… uh, gasoline, and I didn’t want it dripping all over here.”
I handed her thirty dollars. “Just, uh. Forget it happened, alright? Consider this a little apology gift for… what you saw. Alright?”
She took the money and nodded without speaking. I headed out the door. I had no idea where I would go, where I could go, then thought of Hannah. She’d probably listen to my story, though she probably didn’t know me well enough to believe it. Well, at least she’d be one of the few people who wouldn’t try to kill me, so there was that, at least.
But where was she? I had seen her interviewing someone at the bar, though I had no idea when that happened. Could’ve been yesterday, three hours ago, or sometime a week from now.
My eyelids drooped, but I could see better than before. Well, sort of. The black and white line drawings were… fading somewhat, now. A bit blurrier, overlaid on my eyelid-blurred normal vision. But I could see better. I could see further and just… more. It was a bizarre sensation, almost like I was viewing the town from above, yet still being from my perspective.
But I saw her. She was in her car, the car we had driven here in, her chair set back, sleeping. Not too far away, either.
I started walking towards her, eyelids still drooping, still looking through that impossible lense. But as I kept walking, it blurred further and further. The line drawings scattered and splayed across my vision at points. I knew where she was now, though, so I just opened my eyes fully and kept walking.
I arrived at her car. I didn’t really want to wake her up, if she had been living in her car this whole time she probably needed the rest, but didn’t feel like I had much of an option. I rapped my knuckles on the driver-side window. She startled awake, looking around in a panic, then saw me and rolled down the window.
“Sorry, hey, what’s up?” she said.
“No, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t want to wake you. But there’s something you should probably know…”
She unlocked the car and I walked around to the other side and got in the passenger seat once she had moved a stack of papers off it into the back.
She hadn’t seemed to notice the addition to my head yet. Probably groggy from sleep.
“So, what should I know about?”
“Well, for one,” I said, pausing and looking upward briefly. She looked around.
“Well, the, uh…”
Maybe it was closed or something and she couldn’t see it. I drooped my eyelids again, but the shaky imagery had nearly disappeared. It wavered one last time, then vanished completely and I was left with my normal vision again.
I lifted my hand and felt around on my forehead. It was smooth. Well, as smooth as it ever was. No third eye.
Had I imagined it all? No, I couldn’t have. I knew exactly where she was, I saw her sleeping before I got here. Where had it gone, then? How could it just disappear?
It wasn’t the only thing that had disappeared. So had the final lingering effects from my ketamine dose from, at my best guess, earlier that day.
That goddamn ketamine. I was going to get it back, somehow. I had always just been thinking about my small bag that I kept on myself at all times, but suddenly thought again of the briefcase. Wait, I had a briefcase full of drugs? How much was that? It was fully packed with ketamine, had to be several pounds at least. How much could that have been worth?
Why the fuck was I here? Why the fuck was I doing any of this? These are the sorts of things you forget to think about when you’re on any number of drugs, and I was only coming to think of them now. It was horrible. I didn’t want to think about those kinds of things, that’s why I took the drugs I did.
Huh, so that’s what the reason was. I had never thought about that much, either.
“Oh, sorry. I was just meaning my… uh. How I styled my hair? How I styled my hair.”
I saw in the mirror that my hair was wild, probably still some proteins from the blood drying again and forming it like clay into some modern art sculpture.
“Interesting. Anything else?”
“Yeah. Listen, okay, this isn’t going to be easy. You won’t believe it.”
“I’m a journalist, man, try me.”
“No, really. You won’t. It won’t make any sense. God, none of it makes any sense that I think of it now. But it’s the truth. And it’s quite important for us. All of us. Well, us, the three band guys, and the tea guy, anyway.”
“Alright. Should I write it down?”
“Yeah, you may want to do that.”
I told her my story. I told her everything. That I had been shot – killed – woke up in some strange, ethereal overlay upon the regular world, spoken with Ouroboros, and risen again. I told her about the eye, and explained that’s what had caused the confusion earlier.
Well, I didn’t tell her quite everything. I didn’t mention the ketamine. I mentioned the briefcase, but just mentioned that it was very important to me, papers and whatnot that I needed to have, and that I couldn’t let anyone else have.
She was incredulous, of course. Anyone would be. But then I mentioned that I had seen her in the bar, described in perfect detail what had happened. This seemed to convince her somewhat, but she mentioned that I could’ve just been standing outside watching for all she knew.
“That’s true,” I admitted. I hadn’t thought of it before. “But… Well, what reason would I have had for that?”
“You’re weird,” she said. “I don’t think you’d need a reason. Or maybe your reason would be to have it to convince me of your story.”
“Well…” I hesitated. “Well, how did I find you and your car just now?”
“Following me? I dunno man, it’s not that out of the question.”
I looked down. I didn’t really have anything else. I could tell that she wasn’t in utter disbelief, but she certainly didn’t seem trusting.
“Weird about that other thing you saw, though,” she said. “The band guys running away from, what, skeletons?”
“Well, sort of skeletons.”
“Any idea where it was?”
“It seemed like it was underground somewhere. It was in this long hallway sort of thing with… that weird plastic floor tiling sort of stuff, like hospitals sometimes have.”
“Yeah. Actually, come to think of it, it did actually sort of look like the sort of hallway that would be in the lower levels of a hospital. Like where they keep supplies and stuff.”
She raised an eyebrow. “And how would you know what the lower levels of a hospital look like?”
“I trained as a nurse for a while a while back.”
I almost said it as a lie, but realized that it was, actually, the truth. I hadn’t thought about that in so long. God, when and where had everything gone to shit?
Her eyebrow returned to its normal spot. “Alright.”
“So what were you thinking about it?”
“I dunno. It just seems like a pretty bizarre thing to think up to tell me in a story, especially one you’re trying to get me to believe.”
“So, you believe me?”
“Not really. However, I am interested, at least. And hey, if this does, somehow, inexplicably, impossibly, turn out to be true, it would make for a hell of an article.”
“What now, then?”
“Why not head to the hospital? Seems like it would be the best bet if you’re right.”
She pulled her seatbelt over herself and buckled it, then started the car and drove in the direction of the hospital. I could see a very slight smile forming at the corner of her mouth.