Chapter 4: Nick
Dreams flow like ink. Sloshing, dark, slow, obscuring what is hidden behind them. My world is like a dream. Everything is in slow motion, shadows on the wall of a cave. Dark. Dim, quiet I mean, like a party heard through a wall. Sounds of happiness somewhere but so distant from you that it makes it more of a terror than a comfort. Sights are blurred, vignetted. Sounds are dampened. Smells are odorless. Tastes are mild. Touches are numbed. Everything is out of body, everything is far away.
Smith is leaving.
Natasha and Matthias came back, and Jones is leaving too.
He doesn't want to live in our world anymore, their world. Those two, their world. Not mine, I don't have a world, my world is a dream. Night terror, nightmare I mean. He is staying with his wife, with his daughter. With his country, with his band.
He has a band. They're really big in Britain. The Hedgeclippers, their songs are about being content and not worrying too much. They are songs of hope in a dark time, Smith wants to sing hope to his country again. I can't sing, I'm a wordsmith. I speak, write I mean. Or maybe I don't say anything. Jones says a lot. He says he's sorry, he can't let me stay. I say I understand. Or maybe I don't say anything. I don't know, something like that. I guess I'm stuck with those two, the jolly gang. Matthias says that Smith should stay, he accepts it. He says this is a war to be fought by those with nothing to lose, they are the only ones who are able to make the sacrifices that will win it. Natasha says that Jones is a coward. She also said that about you, but I'm not supposed to tell you that.
There is another Natasha now. Her name is Antithesis. Did you know if you rearrange the letters in 'Antithesis' it spells 'This is Nate'. I don't think that has any significance. Did you know if you rearrange the letters in my name it spells 'Nice fork, T.' That's not significant either. 'God' backwards is 'Dog.' Continuing in the trend though, I don't think that means anything.
I'm scared because I'm going to die because we're going to get killed. I know how this ends. You won't like it. Where have I heard those words before? Natasha's heard them too, she says she heard them during the last Oktober. I think they're lyrics to a song. Not the type Smith plays, though. A song about how life isn't worth living. The type of song I'd listen to. I'm not a good person.
Smith's daughter has a concert tonight. She takes after her father. Jones also has a concert today. See the date? It's been a few days since the last entry. He got the band back together, planned it. We're staying for the concert, then leaving. Jones wants to send us off properly, Matthias wants to be here in case today is the day that Midas decides England should fall.
Want to have a lesson in abstraction? Watch this.
I ask you what day it is. You tell me the date.
I ask you what day it is. You hand me a calendar.
I ask you what day it is. You hand me a scrap of paper.
I ask you what day it is, but you are merely a scrap of paper with the date written on it.
I am a scrap of paper asking what day it is. You write the response on me.
I have a question written on me, you ask me what day it is. The question is carved into my stomach. I'm bleeding. I give you the date. You glance casually at the question etched into my stomach, and tell me you don't have the answer. I bleed to death.
You ask me a question. You ask me if I will let you live. I carve no into your stomach. Maggots are writhing in your stomach. No on knows what day it is, today doesn't exist. You die without existence. Blood runs down your arm, forms a drop on your finger tip, and drips into a pool beneath your body. I carve the date into myself. You bleed to death. I slit my throat. Maggots spill out.
You are a maggot and you are eating me inside out. You are a parasite in my brain. I ask a man what day it is, but you tell me to stab him. I don't know what I'm doing. I produce a knife and advance. He asks me if I'll let him live. You tell him know. He calls me a maggot. You laugh. I laugh. He cries. I cut him, he is a maggot, insects spill forth. I don't know what today is, because I know longer exist. You exist though. You etch the date on to the mans stomach. He dies. His last was O'Seven. His child is nineteen. His child's name is December.
Sorry. I can't really think coherently anymore. There are these drums here, really loud. I asked Natasha if she could make them stop but she didn't know what I was talking about. The drums are everywhere, actually. They make it hard to get to sleep. Actually, I haven't slept in days. They keep me up. I'm starting to dream while I'm awake. Or maybe this is one of those dreams where I think I can't sleep, but really I'm asleep the whole time. I hate those.
Want to know why we can never call Smith just Smith? We also call him Jones? Cause there's two of him.
After we leave Jones we're going to France. Enemy territory. Limbo. We have to be nobody, Matthias says. I thought we already were. Chased all around the world by mistake. If they every did catch us, they'd probably tell us they were terribly sorry, they had mistaken us for someone else, and then they'd leave.
Actually no, they would gut us. Uncoil our intestines, drag them across the floor, then hang them on pikes. Small on one pike, large on the other. Then our heads would be cut off, those would be enshrined at our feet. The skin on our arms would be peeled off and stretched out. Our teeth would be yanked out, ground into dust, and cast to the wind. Eyes would be squished underfoot and fed to children. It would be very unpleasant. You know.
Schizophrenia ran in the family. There is a scar on my hand to remind me of this. I caught a knife with it. It hurt, but it wasn't the knife that hurt. Sometimes I worry that I might be schizophrenic too, worry that I'm just locked away in some sort of mental hospital somewhere. White padded rooms. Pat the bunny soft walls. Lots of talcum powder. From the cheap rubber gloves the doctors wear. Where? Out in the desert somewhere. Isolated. Where people would see them unwind my guts and all. Or in the mountains maybe. You know, cause the air is nice up there.
We're in Katie now. Matthias and Natasha didn't tell Smith about Antithesis. They're already phasing him out. I feel bad. Upset, I mean. Cause I'm alone now. In an unfamiliar world. I can see myself now. In a cell. Dank. Dark I mean. Fragmented. The walls, fragmented. There is a pool of muddy water in the corner. No rats. No cellmates. No insects. Nothing living. Except me. And I'll look around the room, fruitlessly, because it is too inky to see. And I'll think to myself, at the end, waiting to die, at least here we are alone.
Matthias gave me a gun. I keep it on me at all times now, even have a holster for it. I'm afraid if I am schizophrenic I'll use it to shoot him, then Natasha, then myself. The voice in the back of my head tells me not to worry too much though, so it should probably be okay. I think I'm sick. Can't stop coughing. Maybe it's the cigarettes. I've been out for a day, really antsy about picking up a carton somewhere, Natasha won't lend me any. I never thought I'd pick up the habit. Don't really like it. Maybe I'll quit. Probably I won't.
Oh, and we're going to kill Daphne. She sold us out. Well, no, that's not necessarily true. That would imply she was on our side to begin with. No, she was always daddy's little girl. Shame, she was so convincing. I'm worried for Renard now, I don't know where he's gone.
You know how I'm waiting to die? Want to know what it feels like?
You don't want anyone to love you, because you know that they will suffer the greatest pain a human can suffer watching you die.
You don't want to shut your eyes, because you'll never open them.
Voices and shades keep whispering for you to come with you, they beckon from shadows and mirrors and the corner of your eye.
But the worst part is knowing how terrible you are. The idea of being sent before God and having him judge you is horrible. We all commit miserable sins, and we think it is okay, we say 'we're only human.' Now I have to face those sins, and account for them.
When I die, there's going to be nothing waiting for me. After my judgment, I'm just going to fade away.