Here’s my second of four excerpts of writing that I did for NaNoWriMo last year.
On The Darker Grapevine
“I’ve got just the thing for you Fliss,” Cynthia says. “You remember last year, that whole business with Harvey Clay and his associates?”
“Of course, who doesn’t? Ambitious wasn’t he? But, he lacked the ability to follow through with well-made plans.”
“What most of our kind don’t know is that they would have succeeded were it not for another machine.” Another machine? One that I didn’t already know about? Cynthia better not be fobbing me off with information I already have.
“Do you remember about 16 or so years ago there was a fallen priest named Pritzi?”
“Fallen myth surely?” I say. Pritzi was into chaos. Loved it. He died under mysterious circumstances. He’s been elevated to what really constitutes a fallen martyr but no one really knows how or why he died. I always thought his martyr status was a bit pretentious.
“Fallen Martyr actually,” Cynthia says. Oh Satan. Trust this moron. “I know I saw the stalk of energy the encounter produced. The machine was a little girl. Very powerful, she’s older now and just happened to be living on the same plane of existence Harvey Clay stole. The machine is responsible for four fallen deaths.”
“Really Fliss, you think I would embellish this type of thing?” I smile with my eyes and Cynthia scowls again. “You know Fliss, I know now why we couldn’t be friends?”
“Because we’re fallen and “friends” is such a hideous, optimistic human concept that makes me want to kill people…more than usual.”
“You’re a bitch Fliss, a proper bitch unequalled by any living thing,” Cynthia says. I smile. He’s annoyed now and has forgotten a line of verbal abuse that might actually hurt me and is throwing out random names. “A proper bitch Fliss,” Cynthia repeats and a line of spittle runs over his lipstick.
“Your human platitudes are irrelevant, now do your job and give me what I’m owed. I’ve already wasted too much time here.” Cynthia turns and walks towards the Grapevine. He Stomps his feet on the floor as he goes. His mules clack loudly and if I hadn’t been witness to this act before, I might fear he could crack the delicate looking surface. I’m distracted for a few seconds and he comes back around from behind the vine holding a small glowing cut from off the vine. That was quick. He holds out the cutting and I walk forward eager for the information energy it holds. His eyes sparkle for just a moment. He’s eager himself and I have to wonder why. The hand not holding the cutting is down by his side. Down by his side but slightly hidden by his chiffon dress. His fingers are twitching behind the dangling end of a pink boa. I reach out.
The Grapevine glints in my watches glass face and I blink trying to clear the sudden color spots in my vision. Five minutes. Five minutes have passed in the last few seconds. Five. Pissing. Minutes. It seems I’m not the only sneak in the room. I’ve reached out. There is no way to recant the gesture and I’m seconds away from falling into whatever trap Cynthia has planned. It seems I have already underestimated him and he’s managed to glamour me.
“Cynthia, before I go, tell me about this second machine. I think I’ve had an epiphany.” I hope this isn’t too out of left field. I’ve never paid Cynthia this much attention. He’s taken aback and he stutters without really saying anything at all. “What’s the machines name?”
“Hudson. The machine’s name is Hudson,” Cynthia says.
“Why would I be interested in it?” I ask. I take a step toward Cynthia but to her side also giving me a clearer view of the Grapevine. There seems to be a more intense pulse to its flashing.
“Well… the machine has had a hand in destroying four fallen,” Cynthia stutters.
“Wrong,” I reply. “Fallen cannot be destroyed. Nothing can be utterly destroyed. We are matter, matter which cannot just be destroyed.”
“W. well the four fallen in question, were not exactly…destroyed. They…”
“Spit it out and give me a clear answer. Not just hearsay. I want facts. I want solid information. Isn’t that what you specialize in? Isn’t that what you deal in here?”
“The machine, whatever it did, defeated the four fallen. She had a hand in their dismissal from this plane of existence and banished them to wherever it is that our kind go when released from our existing states of being. Clear enough for you?” Cynthia says.
“The details are not known. There are no living, or otherwise, witnesses to either of the events.”
“Wrong again,” I snap. “There are always witnesses to our actions. Everything we do is written in the book of life and death. We are accountable to every action, deed and thought.” My own words are a stream of conscious brainstorming. There are witnesses to everything we do. What was it that the kid did to catch my attention before the car crash? It was like I could see his eyes in my head. I could feel him in the front of my forehead. He’s a witness. His machine element is of a witness. He sees what angels see. He has the still small voice. I need to plan for this. Cynthia is just a fly to swat at a later time. “I need to defer for a couple of days,” I say. I turn and walk to the Grapevines exit. “I’ll return in a couple of days. Have the cutting for me then. I need to think.” I open the door and move swiftly down the hall. I don’t look back. I’m safe in the assertion that Cynthia needed me to personally take her offering, for me to be taken advantage of. I need to know what exactly she did in those 5 minutes but that can wait. I need to find that kid from the car crash…and plan Cynthia’s removal from this plane.