Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lab #3: Heart of a small boy :: George

A van had just come around the corner. The crow was getting hysterical. Without a wince, Valon pulled the trigger. Twice. Kalinas tried to grin but there wasn't much left of his lips. Or his mouth. Or his face, for that matter, although the right eyebrow seemed to have won a few more minutes of airtime. And they ended just as Kalinas crumpled to the ground. The eyebrow beat the rest of his face by a whisker. Which was a bad way to put it, because getting your face blown up while your guts were falling onto your shoes is not a great time for puns.

Six weeks ago, the sight would have made Valon give up his dinner. Now it was different. It felt like brushing your teeth. Or eating a homemade coriander chutney sandwich. But he still didn't like it.

Ten minutes and a black coffee later, Valon's taste buds registered the flavour of the syrup that covered the hot waffles. Dada was late. Again. And then he walked in through the door, a tired-looking, resigned-weary man wearing a gray porter's jacket, as gray as his hair, as gray as his indoor skin. It was spooky. It was almost as if he had been waiting outside. Waiting for Valon to think of him.

"Coffee. Black, " said the crusty voice. "So, Kalinas dead?"

Valon nodded and took another bite.

"The blue eyes were gone on the jackpot bars"

"I hadn't thought about it really"

"A lot of impossible things are happening lately"

Valon's mutter was the only indication that he agreed as he raised his cup to tell the waitress he needed a refill.

Dr. Foster from the Rekal Research Institute believes that the miasma theory might hold the answer to the madness we've been seeing over the last few months ...

Dada treated the TV screen with a few subdued obscenities and treated himself to another gulp of coffee. A grimace and a "yech!" followed. The final glance away from his cup saved his life. The morphy's drunken swipe with the chopping knife missed his face by a breath. The morphy lost his balance and doddered a bit on his left foot, before falling onto the floor. A bar stool broke his neck along the way and the sound was drowned out by the scream of the waitress behind them. And the sound of Valon's gun drowned that out. And then a jug crashed on the floor and coffee mixed with blood. The screaming waitress backed away, slipped, and fell into the mix. More screaming. Dada would've loved to slice her head off just to stop the noise.

Valon slapped a withered Lincoln and some change on the table and headed for the door. Dada dusted his jacket and followed suit, swapping out the clip in his gun in a fluid motion he'd perfected after watching the old Woo tapes at the motel.

"Picture yourself! In a boat! On a river!" screamed the preacher standing at the corner of Romero and King. Valon and Dada walked past him and Valon tossed some change into the dented rusted bowl at the preacher's feet. The clinking was quick and muffled.

"Dunwich was online an hour ago"

"Is Abagail fine?"

"Yeah! They heard from the group in Kingsport too. They should be getting to the outpost by Friday"

"Any more sightings?"

"Conflicting reports. Two reports from Innsmouth and then a message came in from Doglick that a group had seen him near an encampment."

"Maybe Griffin's ... what was that he called it ..."

"Refractive index aberrations"

"Yeah, that. Maybe that's what it is. We'll have to wait till the town hall meeting to find out"

A scream pierced the night air. And then half a head landed with a splotch on Dada's shoe.

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