Here's the beginning of a trickC dealie I still look at lovingly once in a while. Sorry, no trickyfish for me. :(
Fell Upon Days
It took him a long time, many weeks of travel, but Chris reached the outskirts of town one day when the red light slanted in sideways early in the afternoon. He guessed it was approaching fall, but it was hard to tell, even without the strange effects of the pulse. Here, the air remained heavy and wet until winter, and the insects prospered year round.
Rye hadn't wanted him to go. He had tried to withhold the precious can of spray until Chris fixed him with a steady glare.
"You won't find him. It's been too long," Rye had said, poking at the fire with a stick. A baby had been crying, Chris remembered, somewhere off in one of the tents, the sound carrying well through the warm air despite the constant whisper in the night sky. He had heard a low voice murmuring, and the thrum of a guitar.
"I'll find them," he'd said, his throat tight. Rye had sighed, and glanced toward the settlement.
"I'll go with you, then."
Even now Chris found it hard to use the spray, preferring to grit his teeth and ignore the bites from invisible flying things. It wasn't the only possession he had gotten from them, the people he had called family for so long. But he caught himself checking his pack for the rusty can again and again, making sure it was still there. It might come in handy, further on down the line.
He rested overnight in a little camp he built not too far from the great expanse of cracked concrete that had been his guide down from the north. Lying awake in the dark of his lean-to, hidden from the roiling sky, he listened to frogs and insects and the occasional hoot of an owl, feeling he could almost remember the hum of traffic on the freeway and the rumble of an engine underneath him, carrying him somewhere through a clear, quiet night.
Next morning he risked climbing up onto the abandoned roadway, although truthfully he had seen no signs of living people for a long time. Vegetation had pretty much taken over the area, and strange grasses and vines and new trees crowded the edges of the road. In the glaring heat, he picked his way past rubble and twisted metal and jumbled rock, looking for faded green panels, old signs. He would need help in figuring out when to turn east, toward where Winter Park had been before.
Fairbanks Avenue was more or less intact, if overgrown. Chris hesitated a long time, biting his lip, considering the narrow opening into greenery that made up the old freeway exit. A hot wind sprang up while he crouched there, and the ruddy shadow of a cloud raced across the ground. It would probably rain soon, and Chris knew enough to stay out of the weather, these days. It was time to get moving. He shouldered his pack and stepped off the interstate, listening and watching all around him.
Everything was so quiet.
so then, chris finds jc [yes, my outlines are always that detailed] but jc is not... not okay [deeeetailed]. turns out the whatever-it-is in the sky scrambled his brain
Chris waited for a long time, but JC didn't come back.
"He does that sometimes."
The boss lady was looking up at him, fingers busy with a seedpod over a battered metal bowl. Chris settled next to her with a sigh and took his own handful of pods to shell.
"Does what? Has a psycho crazy spell and runs off to hide?"
A faint smile passed across her lined face.
"He's on some kind of journey, a personal one," she said, transferring the bowl to Chris's lap, climbing to her feet and bending slightly, hands in the small of her back. "I don't know what's wrong with him, or with any of them like that. For what it's worth, though, he has a place here."
"Okay," Chris said, tapping a quick rhythm on the edge of the bowl.
"You'll finish that?"
Chris rolled his eyes. She smiled again and started to turn away, gathering up her bags and the precious book.
"What did you do? Before."
He had no idea what had prompted him to speak. She stilled, and it was a moment before she answered.
"I was a.. a singer."
"Yes," she said, her voice full of sadness and amusement. "I was a fan."
Chris sat holding the bowl for a long time before he could make his fingers move again. Finally he picked up one of the pods, and sat doing his work as the day faded to dusk and children came around, chattering like birds, to light the torches. For the first time since Chris had come here, JC did not sing when the sun went down.
"Remember, Chris? All the noise, the screaming, the lights? Do you remember that?"
"I remember," Chris said, his heart in his thoat.
"It's different now," JC said. He sat with his hands folded in his lap, calm and still, and when Chris was able to make himself meet JC's gaze, JC smiled. It was like there was no one in there at all.
He could feel JC watching him as he stumbled away, and knew that JC saw it when he tripped over something in his path, eyes blurred. JC stayed silent behind him.
then lots of stuff happens. uh. including jc's scrambled brain turning out to be something... more? useful? dammit. but he doesn't want to move on, and chris has to. being chris
"Storm's coming soon," JC whispered into his neck before turning over, his back warm against Chris's under the covers. Chris waited a minute, but all he could hear was JC's soft breathing.
"We'd better get going, then. Tomorrow."
JC sighed, but said nothing.
"We'll find them."
He could feel it when JC stopped breathing, gone suddenly still next to him. No doubt he was somewhere else in his mind. Chris held his breath, too, waiting.
"Okay," JC said finally.
welp, that's it! I love this story! someday it'll come back to me! I hope! mrph
I sort of lost momentum on the school thing somewhere along the way. Two out of three of my classes, not a single bit of feedback for any of the vast wordage we've turned in. Discouraging.
Work, however... weird. I don't actually work, I just answer emails all day long. Yesterday I loaded up livejournal, but that way lies madness, I'm pretty sure. Also, I made a Valentine's Day bulletin board. Wtf.
Mal... man, I wish I could have gotten that shot of Mal in the refrigerator. He likes it there.