The rusted orange of Frederic’s shirt catches fire in the dawn as he makes the furtive step forward necessary to catch a glimpse of my face without the pixelated censor bar over it. It is always pride that keeps him from being the first to vibrate his vocal cords in greeting, as though the thousands of hours he has spent etching the paradigms of his metaphysics upon the sole of mankind account for objective truth in the matter of apples falling from trees, synapses that only fire to indicate a smell of burnt toast in the air.
“That’s far enough,” Elle states, grabbing him by the collar and hurling him to the ground. The woman has become divorced of uncertainty in the realm of kinesis in this third dimension, cutting through space like her body is a knife and not a pathetic mess of vulnerable flesh and nerve endings that do not regenerate if severed.
It catches in my throat because… I really thought this boy… “Hello.”
The thespian finesse of his ignorance molds to all the contours of my hubris. “I-I never thought I would see you again after… You know. After Bastion took all the kids out to the meadow and began to slaughter them.” The words come to him unbidden, with spasms of excitement; vessels of holy words that get tossed out with the trash when one generation loses its innocence and the next one begins planning future genocide with marbles and games of tag at sunset. “The whole of my existence has been spent trying to get to you in this particular frequency and expression of atoms as they pertain to the avatar of our souls in the known universe. Bastion told me—”
She lifts the long silver rifle and crunches the truncheon into his gullet.
“Thank you, but…” Something terrible is going to happen to me. Something terrible is always on the verge of occurring to my person. “Elle, you can take today off. Don’t worry about me.”
Unlike Frederic, Elle does not feign the polite uncertainty that one dimensional henchmen portray in popular movies and films. Are you sure about that, sir? Or, I’ll be just over there if you need me. The Soldier of Scion knows, though, that it is these tiny niceties that keeps me alive; after all the oxygen is consumed from mere conversation (and the death of all the trees), it will be me lying on the side of the road with a purple tongue and blue cheeks wishing that I had paid more lip service.
I sold the name on the internet and encouraged perverts to assume its likeness. “What is it?”
“Jeffrey MacLean is coming to kill you. It was never me. You know that, don’t you?”
It is elusive to all the doctors I tricked Fred into seeing, whatever illness it is that plagues him; none of us could figure out even if the malady was one of the body or the mind. “Crack thirteen more chicken necks and pray to Dinclinsin. That fucking human shall never cross the ethereal thresholds that you and I are privy to.”
True unknowing slips down into Frederic Medina’s facial features like blood from an unseen wound across his forehead, like maybe the gash is hidden beneath his hairline. “Dinclin…”
Illustrious garbs of crimson and violet flicker towards the West and off my frame as I turn to the East; the pidgin oracle in the next room choked on his own blood as I watched Hangul drape purple cloths across my shoulders in some emo YouTube video I was making. “You will kill Jeffrey MacLean,” I order him, and actual thunder crackles through the sound of my voice, but subtle, like I am catching the flu and perhaps it was only mucus and not a glitch in reality caused by all the blasphemies I have committed. “If it means you must throw live virgins into a volcano you will ensure that man never transcends to the fourth before I do.”
Although deep in his unconscious and even unexpressed by words or symbol, Medina waits for this recurring moment in universal cycle; he waits through numerous lifetimes and approximated hells for Solinis to beg for love from the only man he has not already made appeals to, thus enraging various ancient deities with the petulance resident in all mankind to summon Lucifer via Mephistopheles and waste twenty years annoying priests… Summon the devil to ask for twenty bucks, thinking it to be true evil due to the opulent squanderance of it…
That was the fault in the stars that beget Solinis, but I am not he and now I know what this is all about.
The words are on the tip of Frederic’s tongue. Don’t you want me to love you?
I look back at him through the eyes of Solinis and smile. The amber sunlight wipes away the emotional blood from his face and leaves him staunched in mortality as an idiot young man thinking he was going to achieve eternal bliss by murdering God’s favorite kitten. “Or I will. If you lack the fortitude to murder one insignificant man then I shall traipse back across the escarpment of this decade’s misdeeds and find Mister MacLean with my own wiles to snuff out the breath from his lungs once and for all.”
This is the first time that the Soldier has even heard the name but it is the second time that one of his superiors has requested that he murder somebody. “Obviously.” There really is something like beauty in the manner of his interchanging dumbness for villainous apathy. “It was my second order of business, and I have already begun efforts to eradicate MacLean for reasons of my own. In fact, it was such a non-issue that I did not even want to bother you with its particulars.”
Where am I, that I lack the ability to feel the electromagnetic resonance of souls and emotions through physical proximity? “Perhaps I am already dead,” I riddle. The eyes of Solinis remain on Frederic’s but, wherever I am, I look away and into the fog. “Maybe I am already a ghost.”