May 01 2010

The Places We Don’t Like to Go

Published by Reesa at 7:50 am under Writing, callie, momentum

Z’Aria’s chatter seemed to have more of a nervous edge than before their encounter with the trapped little kid. Callie considered the thought once more that her companion might not be the sort of person to keep herself together in a crisis. It was worth watching.

Out loud, she said, “Who is this person you mentioned who helped you before?”

“I think they’re some kind of detective. I met Johnnie originally over at the Elm Creek Cafe, we were both having burgers at the bar and I can talk to people pretty easy.”

“A detective sounds like a good source for getting more information.”

“Johnnie’s a little weird, but helped me find my way back to the overpass when I was super lost.”

Callie didn’t think that was a strong selling point for this person’s ability to help their current situation, but it also sounded as if they were nearing the end of options for assistance. She wasn’t looking forward to having to do all the work herself, whatever it was.

They topped the hill and descended into a strange scene. A car was stopped in the middle of the road, driver motionless behind the wheel. A body lay prone just forward of the front wheels, and another person bent over the body as if to inspect it, also unmoving. All three continued to hold position as Callie and Z’Aria drew near enough to see. Callie chose to watch Z’Aria’s face first, which melted into disappointed lines when the girl was near enough to see the standing person in front of the car.

“Let me guess, this is Johnnie?”

Z’Aria sighed and shrugged, then stomped off to the side of the road and sat down, looking away from the scene. Callie bent down to look through the window at the driver’s face and stopped, sure she could hear murmuring as if someone was talking very low and quite near. Her attempts to pinpoint the sound by tilting her ears first slightly one way, then another, completely distracted her for a full minute from noticing the full weirdness about the situation.

She realized the body in front of the car had the exact same face as the frozen driver and the bending observer. At the same moment, she finally figured out that the muttering was coming from the mouths of all three: “Fuck, I’m dead. Fuck I’m dead. FuckI’mdeadfuckI’mdeadfuckI’m…”

Callie backed away until she reached where Z’Aria sat. “I’m fairly certain your friend won’t be helping us today. Is there anyone else?”

Z’Aria finished wiping away the signs that she’d been crying and said, “I remembered there was a guard in this one spot, back that way. Mostly he kept people away from a dangerous area, but maybe the guard could help us?”

Callie didn’t feel any more hopeful, but didn’t show it. “The guard it is, then.”

*

Callie squinted hard, but even her well-trained eyes couldn’t make meaning out of the few flecks of words peeling on the battered and chipped sign. The sign hung from a simple link chain, long rusted, that stretched across the road. “This is where you met the guard before?”

Z’Aria gulped and nodded. “I was scared of him then. But he just wanted me to go around the chain a different way, he was sorta nice after all.”

Callie sometimes found it difficult not to stare openly at Z’Aria’s peculiar ways of thinking. She returned to examining the barrier.

“Uh, Callie?”

“Yes?”

“I don’t think I want to follow you past that chain. Remembering that guard still scares me.”

“Wait here. If I don’t return after a while, try to go find your overpass again. Understand?”

Thankfully, Z’Aria didn’t start crying again. The girl found a comfortable place to sit where she could watch the road and see when Callie came back.

Callie stepped over the linked chain easily, knocking a few more paint chips loose from the old sign in the process, and waved to Z’Aria as she landed on the far side. Three steps later, she vanished from sight. Z’Aria sighed, and waited.

One Response to “The Places We Don’t Like to Go”

  1. Lynnon 01 May 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I never considered what it would be like to observe the aftermath of my own demise.