The Road So Far: http://www.polyvore.com/road_so_far/collection?id=2313849
Ruby comes at some point, and I remember her dragging me away, telling me to come on, but then I stop thinking, and I stop feeling, and I stop knowing why. She takes me to the safe house, and even Wes and Jeff seem tactful enough to stay quiet while I sit in a chair and slowly rock back and forth.
“Are you okay?” Ruby asks. She brings me a cup of lukewarm coffee that I think she spilled. Some of it drips down the sides of the cup and onto my hands, but I don’t mind. I take a sip and look at Ruby for a long time, watch her head tilt with concern.
“I’m fine,” I say. I set down the cup on the side table and stand up. “So, what are we doing? What’s the next job?” I have to focus on work. I need to go to the next job. I can’t think about it right now - not Az, not Will, and not it. He’s not gone.
Ruby looks like she doesn’t quite trust my sanity, but she reluctantly stands up and pulls a newspaper clipping out of her pocket. Before she can start talking, Jeff bursts in, looking far too excited, and begins talking: “So there’s this little town near the border of Oregon, and they’re having problems with ghosts! It’s gonna be great. They have this haunted house that everyone’s afraid of, but we think it might actually be haunted!”
“Fantastic,” I say. “Let’s go kill some f-uckers.”
Finally, personal tragedy has allowed me to reclaim my place in shotgun without being questioned by the two d-ouchebags in the back seat. I’m sure Wes and Jeff have lots to talk about. They have a lot in common (Ruby). Ha. Glad I’m not there to see them rip out each other’s throats. They get in arguments about even the stupidest things, and by the time we find the d-amn town, I’m about ready to kill them myself instead of the friggin’ ghosts.
“We’re here!” Ruby announces, getting out of the car more quickly than she usually does. So she noticed too. Well, that’s not really my problem, and I don’t care, but it’s still a little funny. Sucks.
I get to the trunk of the car and choose a big shotgun, because I feel like big shotguns. But Ruby takes it away from me gently and looks me in the eye. “I want you to do recon with the townspeople, okay? Go get something to eat. We’ll get some research done.”
I shrug. “Fine. Meet back here in two hours?”
Ruby nods, leaving me to wander off to Chip’s Diner, an establishment far grimier than the term “diner” would suggest - “hellhole” would be a more appropriate term, seriously. It’s not that it smells bad or anything, which would be totally horrible. It’s just that it’s completely dirty and the seats are ripped, and the clientele seem to be anything but desirable.
I plop down in a seat and ignore the menu and my sister’s wishes. “Do you serve anything alcoholic?” I ask the waitress without pause.
She looks at the menu, then at me, and says, “Can I see some ID please?”
I hold out one of my many fake IDs, watch her squint at it, and accept it as she hands it back. “Sure. We’ve got - ”
“Give me the strongest thing you have,” I say, interrupting her. No hesitation.
She looks at me. “O-kay then.” She returns a minute later with something in a shot glass, and I don’t even ask, just down it. I ask for another, and she obliges.
Half an hour passes, and no one else comes in. It’s basically empty except me and a couple other guys and the waitress. I could ask her about that stupid house, but I can’t motivate myself to do any work. I’m sure Ruby and the two morons will find more helpful info at the library in two hours than I could get in a year with these people. Small towns are hard to crack. I should know.
The waitress slides into the booth, looking around nervously like she’s going to get caught. “Seems like you’re having a rough day, sweetheart. Anything I can do?”
“Ha.” My laugh comes out more as a bark. “A rough day? More like a rough lifetime.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
I’m never going to see her again, but it doesn’t matter. To talk about it is to admit it’s real, and that’s the last thing I can do. I almost want someone to talk to, to tell me that it gets better, but it can’t get better, because there is no turning back from here. Finally, I say, “No, but I think you could get me another drink.”
It’s pain - eternal pain. And the only thought that keeps him going is her eyes - piercing blue. And the screams stop being his, and slowly, her eyes begin to disintegrate from his memory, piece by piece, until he wonders what the blue color he loved so much had ever meant at all.
Two hours later, I’m significantly more wasted and a hell of a lot readier to deal with Wes and Jeff and Ruby. Just as long as I keep my mouth shut, they won’t know I’m drunk.
Actually, who am I kidding? They’ll know. As long as Ruby gives me the d-amn shotgun, I don’t care. I can shoot better drunk than most people can sober.
Ruby reluctantly hands over the shotgun when I meet her at the creakiest, spookiest gate ever. Right out of some stupid kids’ show or a horror movie. It even has cobwebs on it. It’s unnerving.
“Right,” I say, just to hear the sound of my voice. “Let’s go.” I proceed into the house with the gun, not checking to see if they’re following me. When I finally do turn around, I’m all the way in the dining room, and there’s been no signs of ghosts anywhere.
Ruby, Wes, and Jeff are nowhere to be found. Sh-it. “Guys?” I say.
It really is just like one of those stupid horror movies: we’re split up.
I walk around the house for a couple minutes, calling Ruby and Jeff and Wes’s names, but no one answers. And I don’t have any stupid guardian angel here this time, as dumb as that phrase is. I’m alone.
I try not to think about it. Being drunk helps a lot. It’s more like a dull ache. I forget when I’m not focusing.
There’s a slamming door somewhere on the other end of the house, and I dash over. It’s the kitchen door, and it’s not just closed - it’s stuck shut. I yank on it, but it won’t budge.
“Jess!” I hear someone yell. I don’t recognize the voice, though, and I immediately freeze up.
Then, there’s a noise from another room. I listen to it incredulously for a minute before I realize that it’s a pipe organ. I run past a series of disturbing portraits to check it the h-ell out. I run through the dining room and into the living room, which is less of a living room and more of a hall. There’s a pipe organ there, but no one’s playing it, and the noise has actually stopped.
I turn around to go back to the kitchen, but the dining room isn’t behind me anymore - it’s a different room, one I don’t recognize.
“What the actual f-uck?” I say. Rooms that move, creepy friggin’ portraits, pipe organs, and cobwebs. We got separated.
Oh my god.
It’s just like a horror movie. And I’ve already broken the first two rules of horror movies: I’m wasted and I’m alone.
He spends a lot of his time screaming and wondering who he is. Who he was. Because he is no one now - no one but a broken body, a broken mind, a broken soul. Some days, he wants it to end. Wants to find the dark at the end of this tunnel. There is no light, not for him. Not in this. Just dark - and he would be thankful for even that.
Some days, he remembers blue. But only a color, and he never knows why.