Monday, May 30, 2011

In which Charles looks back

So, I appear to be the only one who had to work today. Not like it really mattered that I did. I sat a grand total of ten tables. In four hours. It was the deadest day I've ever worked. But it's ok, because Charles came to hang out towards the end of it, and we went to Anya's house. Us and Theresa and Anya all had a mini picnic on the lawn and talked about the weather. It was nice, actually. I think Anya liked it particularly. I don't talk about her much anymore, because I'm really not sure what to say. Have you ever met anyone who knows that they're going to die? Someone who is over the shock and anger of it all and is just waiting for the end? That's Anya now. She seems a bit more like the old Anya I knew now. She laughs and she runs around and she talks everyone's ear off. But there's a frantic sadness to all of it. Like she's acutely aware that this moment could be her last.

I feel awful about that. I really did want to try and help her. Now it seems likely that I'm going to be the one who does her in. Everything is so fricken hopeless and that small time on the lawn was just so beautiful I almost cried.

Charles did. Not in front of Anya and Theresa though. We were heading to the metro afterwards and he ducked into a burger king's bathroom for a few minutes. But he didn't really do a good job of hiding what he had been doing in there. Your face gets weird when you cry, and apparently no one ever taught Charles how to get rid of the evidence. So I called him on it, and he just monologued at me for like half an hour.

I think I've mentioned that this is the first time he's led a Noctis thing. Apparently most of the time before this he was just writing down names like I had been. It hadn't really hit him, and he believed Lazarus when he kept on going on about how this was the only way. Being near it, he's having second thoughts.

And being near me, apparently. He wasn't very clear at that point. But apparently Charles had a girlfriend once. She was linked, which is why I remind him of her. She threw herself off a bridge once he took the children.

I never really called him by his silly codename thing. If I knew the others' names I wouldn't call  them by their codenames either. But I think I sort of understand why he chose Orpheus as his.

I tried to talk him out of doing the exchange, but I think that the noctis still hold a lot of sway over him. Ultimately, it's just another person in a bad position. Another person I can't save.

Another person I caused pain. Without even meaning to.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In which I admit to something

I talked to the Noctis today.

Well, I talked to Charles. Who told me that he wasn't allowed to talk to me. Then I talked to Gabriel. So... I talked to two fifths of the Noctis today? Charles was being a failed Ninja around Anya again. I think they're still trying to go forward with The Exchange, which is just another thing that I have to worry about. Honestly, if I had anyone else to talk to I would. The Noctis, Gabriel especially, are not my favorite people in the world. But they're also the only people who could know about what I'm going through.

So, I flagged Charles down and after a weird but somehow comfortable conversation about how Lazarus and Gabriel think I want to stop the exchange (I admit, I kinda do) and I'm a danger or something now (uh... ok?) he dragged me to a rendezvous point and we waited until Gabriel showed up. There was some small talk and insults thrown, but the meat of the conversation started about here:

Me: Why don't you trust me?
Gabriel: Oh, I don't know. Maybe because you accused us of murder then stormed out the door.
Me: It is murder. And you hated me before that.
Gabriel: The timing doesn't match up. He came for Anya too soon.
Me: Ok, but why does that make me the bad guy?
Gabriel: There are some people who are just... linked to him. He can control them. Uses them to protect his targets from outside influence or make sure they're all in the same place when he takes them. He always seems to respond faster when someone linked is involved.
(I don't know how long I stayed silent here. I think Gabriel and Charles thought that I had gone catatonic or somethin.)
Me: You were right about me Gabriel. I mean, I didn't know. I just figured it out. But...
Gabriel: How long has it been happening?
Me: It's not like it came on all of a sudden. Maybe since I first saw him. I don't know. The point is, I hate what you guys do, but I don't trust myself around Anya anymore. I just want her to be safe.
Gabriel: How much of that is you?
Me: I don't know.
(Gabriel just nods)
Gabriel: I'll tell Lazarus. He'll think of something.
Me: Thanks, by the way.
Gabriel: For what?
Me: Not rubbing being right in my face.
Gabriel: I could if you want.
Me: No, I'm good.

And that's pretty much it. Against my better judgement, I'm back in with the Noctis. This might be the best time to ask questions if anybody has suggestionss.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In which I am not a liar

Ok, so that's a lie. I am a liar. I lie to people a lot. Mostly about stupid stuff, like whether or not I've eaten today. But I do have a bit of a reputation of lying. Aspies can't be dishonest my ass.

But I haven't lied here. At least not one that's lasted more than three seconds. Lying here just seems wrong. Bending the perspective of things and omitting some information is a bit different. And I have done that a bit. Well, a lot.

When I was in middle school, I read the diary of Anne Frank. Ever since then, I've always wondered if someone years down the line would find my writing and publish it. And since then, I've cared about the kind of person I come off as to the world when I write. Even in those journals that no one is supposed to read. Especially in blogs, where I want people to like me. And when all this stuff happened with Anya, there was so much going on that I could avoid this tiny little problem and most likely nobody noticed.

But it's a whole lot more than a tiny problem now. Today proved that.

I was at work earlier today. Which means that it started out boring, and it stayed boring for quite a while. I was pretty certain it was going to end that way when the voices in my head cut out and there was nothing but silence.

You have to understand what it's like having that noise in your head all day. It gnaws at you, wears you down, makes you willing to do anything for just a moment for it all to stop. And he provides that. I looked out the window, and I saw him. Just waiting, like always. I stared at him and I couldn't look away.

I mentioned once that when I saw him first he reminded me of how I felt about Darth Vader. And he does. But fear is not the only thing that I fear when I look at either of them. Sure, the fear is the main feeling. But there's an awe there. A recognition that the figure before me holds a power that I don't know of, and could never have. Even as I find myself terrified, he commands respect. And I give it to him.

I only stopped looking at him because my coworker Juan had grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the street I had been walking into. It was empty and the crosswalk was on my side, but it was still unnerving to realize what I had been doing.

I remember it all. I know that I walked there on my own, and I have no missing time whatsoever. But this has made me realize something that I have been wondering for a while but never had any proof of.  I am not in control of myself, he is. It's possible he has been for a while.

The voices are back now. I can understand some of what they're saying. Steve L. Martin. Larry E. Stone. John J. Clark. I don't know what they mean, or why I'm hearing them. But they unnerve me, both for the fact that I'm hearing them and that they're driving me towards the being that I hate the most.

So no more lies or half truths or omissions. It's too late for that.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In which I am a moron

It is sort of amazing what someone will do when they're desperate. I'm desperate right now. The only chance I had of saving Anya just ended up being more of the same bullshit and horror that every other option I've taken ended up being. I am wondering if perhaps I should stop trying. Whatever he does to do her can't possibly be bad enough for me to be fighting him this hard. And yet, I can't stop. I need to protect Anya. I'm the only one who really will. So I listened to Maurice. I really need to stop clutching on to every option that's presented to me. But I'm gullible like that I guess. Some stupid part of my brain refuses to give up hope.

Maurice suggested that I do something unexpected in order to draw his attention away from Anya. Of course, thinking of something unexpected was the hard part. I can barely figure out what is expected of me, let alone the opposite. Most of the time I just wander around doing my own thing and try not to care if it's a little off what people are supposed to do.

So I donned my beat up second hand black trenchcoat and skipped off to the nature trail next to my house. The one with lots of trees.

Stupid? Suicidal? Yeah, I know. But breaking this rule was the one thing I managed to think of. Maybe it was not original enough, maybe something else was going on, but he never showed. I walked deep into the woods, I spun around and yelled and made some pretty awesome limericks that I hopefully remember. It didn't matter. I am just not that interesting. Of course, what would I have done if he had actually shown up? Fight him? Make a deal?

No. I hate to admit it, but I'm sort of chicken shit in general. And he terrifies me. I read a lot of blogs and watch a lot of vlogs and stuff. How do they do it? And now I know, it's not because they had to. I have to, and look what I'm doing. Running around spouting poetry in the woods, trying to convince myself that something will work.

When I walked home, there was an accident on my street. Three cars. One of them was wrapped around a tree.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

In which I learn how to pay the piper

It was raining pretty badly today. I wore a light gray jacket to work this morning, so I was soaked by the time that I got home. But it was silent the whole way. I've begun to love that silence, need it, even though I know perfectly well what that silence is.

Everything is messed up now. The world turned upside down when I wasn't looking or something. And somehow, all the hope I had just vanished.

I'm not making sense. I know I'm not making sense, but I am having serious troubles trying to adjust things in my head. It's all I can do to not sit in a corner and rock back and forth.

Yesterday I met with the Noctis. We were making plans, although they were still dodging around what I was helping them with. They started looking over the names we had written down, started mapping out bus routes and car pathways, and set something they called 'The exchange' for June 15th. When I heard it, I thought that is sounded far away. But it's close. Far too close.

I began to feel a little sick to my stomach, so I excused myself to the restroom. When I came back out, everyone but Lazaurs seemed to have cleared out. Yeah, it was that bad.

(so, this is our conversation. Weirdly enough, I can remember some of what I said word for word. Not all of it, and only me, but maybe I'm getting better at this memorizing for script purposes thing.)

Lazarus: Are you all right?
Me: Yeah, just have some stomach issues.
Lazarus: What is your family history like?
Me: Uh... that's kind of random.
Lazarus: Not neccesarily.
Me: Kind of sucky. Cancer, Diabetes, Schizophrenia, and that's what I can remember at the moment. Why?
Lazarus: Do you know how I lost my leg? (I shook my head) (Have I mentioned that he has a prosthetic leg? I probably should have. He had lousy doctors do it, too. It's why he walks funny.) It was a few years before I met Gabriel. We had an exchange go bad, which happens sometimes. The thing got a hold of my leg.
Me: And tore it off?
Lazarus: No. Nothing that dramatic. You've read some of the blog, you know he can cause sickness right?
(I nod, although at this point I'm wishing he'd just get to the point. In the real conversation, I think we were like eight tangents from wherever we started.) It can be more than just a cough. My leg developed gangrene, and spread too fast for the doctors to save it. They say it was an unexpected complication from my diabetes. I've met others with similar fates. I've seen people die of an illness before my eyes.
Me: So what, you think my illness is because of him?
Lazarus: I just want you to know the risks.
Me: Lazarus, what happens at an exchange?
(he pauses for a bit)
Lazarus: I guess you deserve to know.We haven't yet managed to find a way to stop this monster completely. But he can be reasoned with.
Me:  ..... what?
Lazarus: If given enough incentive, he will leave his chosen target alone.
(Things were really starting to not sit right about here.)
Me: And what exactly is this incentive?
Lazarus: It fluctuates, but I'd average about twenty people.
(I almost threw up here.)
Me: What?
Lazarus: We choose about twenty people from nursing homes, prisons, hospitals. And we take them to a defined point, where we make an exchange with him. At which point he leaves the chosen child alone.
Me: So you're murdering twenty people for one kid?
Lazarus: These people have already lived their life, AJ. A child still has a future.
Me: It gives you no excuse to play God like this. And he'll come back. He'll always come back.
Lazarus: Gabriel has been with me for fifteen years.
Me: It doesn't mean he's forgotten. He never forgets his children.
Lazarus: It's our only choice, AJ. He is unstoppable, you know this already. This way, we can at least give them some sort of life. You want to protect Anya, don't you?
Me: Not like this.

I left then. Shortly afterwards I did throw up, though I don't know if it was my stomach or the conversation's fault. But all I know now, and all I can really think of is one simple fact:

Anya's doomed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In which a mother weeps

I'm not quite sure when I went to do that Noctis thing. Three days ago? Four? Time has kind of been running together. Between my work and the Noctis and Anya and Mom telling me to do stuff, I just don't have enough brain cells to figure out timelines. Plus, that's kind of tedious.

So, I'm not sure when it happened. But it happened. And it was a total let down. The address was a nursing home, and I spent several hours writing down the names of old people. The minute I think I'm going to learn something, and they go make me do something stupid like that. They've been sending me all over doing silly stuff like that, and I really hate them for it. I mean, Anya's in danger here. I don't care if you don't trust me, let me help somehow. Or at the very least don't send me on wild goose chases pretending that it's important.

Anya gets out of school for the summer in a week. I'm not sure whether that makes her more or less safe. All I know is that things are slowly building. And it's sort of freaking me out, to be honest. That's probably why I'm so frustrated at this pointless running around. It's like the Noctis aren't even trying to save her.

The only one who seems remotely honest with me is Llorona, and even she seems obsessed with these stupid errands. It turns out that she really was fine. She made sure that Anya was ok during the fire, then high tailed it out of there. I thought it was kind of silly until she told me why she joined the Noctis. She also gave me permission to tell it to you guys. She talked, I typed, I copy and pasted it here. On her request, I took out proper nouns. But aside from that, this is how she told it. Ok, I edited it a bit. Not the story, just some of the wording and sentence structure and stuff. I meant no disrespect at all. Actually, I feel a bit weird about posting this, but Llorona wanted me to. She said that if people really were reading this, they should know.

Llorona's Tale:
You don't really get a life working for the Noctis. Anyone you talk to could possibly be the next person you're trying to protect. So you stay aloof, you don't make friends, you only talk when neccesary. I've heard the others complain about it, but I've never minded.

I had a life once. I had a husband and two children. Two beautiful, wonderful children. My husband and I both worked at the elementary school our children went to. I loved teaching, and children. I thought that my life was perfect and perhaps it was. But over time, something strange began to happen to my husband. It was subtle at first, and I only really notice now that I look back. But he was changing, little by little. His emotions dulled, his opinions began to shift, and at night when he thought I was asleep he would sneak into our children's room and whisper about how he would protect them until the shadow was ready for them. I stood in the hallway listening to him, but I did nothing. I still thought that he was the man that I loved. This inaction killed my children.

It was a spring morning. I seem to remember it being a beautiful day. It started without warning. I smelt smoke about the same time the alarms went off, and the fire was in the classroom shortly after that. I can't say that fire drills aren't helpful, because they saved my life. But they don't prepare you. Nothing can prepare you for the smoke and the heat and the sound of screaming children.

I tried to keep my class calm as I led them out the route we had practiced. On the way, shortly before the exit there was a hallway that seemed to be without fire of any sort. We had almost gotten through it when my husband blocked our way. The monster was behind him and I couldn't tear myself away from those eyes. I could hear my husband mumbling over and over. 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't want to.' The man behind him... stretched. And several children of my class began to walk towards him. I tried to stop them, but they kept on walking and I could only hold a few back at a time. Eventually, all that walked towards him disappeared with the monster.

My husband was still mumbling that he was sorry over and over. That and the monster was all I could think of. It took me to realize that he was carrying a fire axe. Three children were gone before I could take it from him. It didn't stop him, and he had strangled another before I forced him to stop.

I didn't kill my husband. He was already dead. But I killed my children by not noticing.

Twenty children died from the fire, they say. How many was the smoke and how many was my husband I do not know. Twelve children were never found, mine among them. Usually I can handle schools. Before everything, I had found them comforting.But that's what he does. He takes what is safe and turns it against you. Your home, your family, even your mind. He burns it away until it's ash. A school on fire is different than just a school. A school on fire is His.

I'm sorry for leaving Anya. But I can't go through that again. I have lost enough.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In which there are fires

I feel like I should start this off by saying that no one's hurt or dead or anything. There was fire, but everyone's ok. So you don't have to wait around wondering if anybody died or something. Because they didn't. Some creepy stuff did happen though.

I probably should have realized something was going on when the voices stopped. But I was so busy being completely overjoyed that my head was quiet for once that I didn't really think about it. The voices in my head are driving me crazy (huh. Never imagined I'd ever need to use that line). It's like Tenitis, always there and bugging the hell out of me. So when it stopped, the silence was all I really focused on. However, a few minutes after they stopped, a person came into my work, asked me for a glass of water, then stepped back outside.

I went outside with the water to find a burning tree. It wasn't completely engulfed or anything, but I could see some flames at the base of the tree and some smoke billowing off it. I just stood there staring at it until somebody took the water from me and put the tree out. I'm a huge help in a crisis.

Before I went back into work, I looked around. He was hard to find at first. I'm not sure how something so striking can fade into the background as easily as he can, but I never truly see him all the way at first. He sneaks up on me despite standing still, as if I can only see him when he wishes me to. He looked at me for a quick moment and then he was gone. Someone had put the fire out, and the voices started to come back.

Can't say I was the best worker for the rest of the day. I'll admit, I was kinda freaked out. I know it was a small thing and everything, but that didn't seem to matter. And things just got worse from there. When I got off work, I discovered that Charles had left a voice mail.

Apparently there had been a fire at Anya's school. If I have it all worked out in my head right, it wasn't very long after my own fire. It only took out a couple classrooms, but it was a fire nonetheless. I talked to Anya about it afterwards. She said that it was after school had cleared out so there weren't many people around but she was only about twenty feet or so from the building when it started. He was there, though I hadn't really expected anything else. A handful of kids were injured too, but no serious wounds or fatalities so I doubt it will make big news.

And apparently Llorona (I've been spelling it wrong this whole time) disappeared. She was supposed to be walking Anya home from school today since I was at work. Usually she's a dependable person, though I'm a tad jealous of her because Anya seems to like her more than me. So I thought that something bad had happened to her. Charles didn't seem to think it was a big deal though, and said that Llorona just gets emotional about fires, especially at schools. If she ends up being ok I'll have to ask her about that. But it did mean that Anya was alone at my house for several hours, and I really hate doing that to her.

Also, Charles called me a bit later and told me that he had been talking to Lazarus about the fire. Due to him actually doing things now, Lazarus thinks that they need to do... whatever they're doing faster. And since Llorona is nowhere to be found, they said I could tag along. I have an address, we're doing something tomorrow. Maybe they'll bother to let me know what the hell is going on.

Friday, May 6, 2011

In which I get very close to actual raeg

I am spending a lot of time with the Noctis recently. I think that's partially because I still have no friends and I'm dying to have someone who will talk to me, and partially because I'm really worried about Anya. Every day I wake up and wonder if he's going to stop just waiting. The Noctis say that there's a way to save her, and I'm desperate enough to believe them. For one thing, they seem like they know what they're doing.

And there's Gabriel of course.

I hate Gabriel. Gabriel hates me first. Actually, I think he might have started the hating but either way it amounts to the same thing: He's a jerk. Yet for some reason, him and Charles are who I deal with the most. That's because Charles is supposed to be leading this 'case' or something. But it's his first time, so Gabriel is hanging around and being annoying. I threw ice water in his face once. I felt bad about it afterwards, but when I get mad I either do stupid things or nothing at all. Around Gabriel, it's usually the stupid things option.

He accused me of being a spy. That's why I drenched him. Apparently usually when they deal with kids like Anya, the children have no idea what's going on. They're infected by a different person who's heard of him, an online blogger or such. But there's a delay. So usually by the time the noctis come around the leak has been gone for six months or so. I am still here, and it happened almost immediately, so Gabriel seems to think that I am really working for him and trying to take apart the noctis instead of save Anya.

I did feel bad about the water, but he sort of deserved it. I want to help her more than he does. I think Gabriel only does this because he feels he owes it something.

That's the one thing about Gabriel. Apparently he was almost taken. The Noctis saved him, and Lazarus adopted him. Which means that whatever they're doing, it works. And so I am putting a lot of faith in these guys, despite the fact that they're all crazy and Gabriel's a douchebag.

For the first time in a while, I've got hope. And that's worth holding on to.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In which I devolve into a fangirl

ZEKE STRAHM IS IN MARYLAND! Ok, so I'm not quite sure where in Maryland, but most of that state is WAY close to my house. Mostly because of Metro. Metro is awesome. So Zeke Strahm is with easily travelable (is that a word?) distance from me and it is TOTALLY SURREAL.

Oh, and I hope Celie is ok. And he doesn't get into more bad things. I'm trying to be concerned but HE'S GONNA BE SO CLOSE! Hey, if any of my readers know anybody who knows Zeke by some weird twist of fate, can you ask him if he wants to meet for lunch or something? Just for an hour or two? Ok, I sound like a crazy stalker now. But seriously, ZEKE FUCKING STRAHM.

Well, it seemed that this revelation has saved this blog, because while stuff has been happening I haven't really been writing about it. It's that flaky thing coming up again I guess. So I don't think normal narrative is going to work very well to fill you guys in. You guys are gonna have to deal with straight up exposition. Sorry.

Ok, first things first, I've been spending a fair amount of time with the Noctis. I don't like all of them, but at the moment they're Anya's best shot. Apparently Noctis Custodes has been around for a LONG time. Like Egypt time. And the point of them is to rescue children from, well you know. How exactly that works I don't know. They won't tell me. Their eyes narrow whenever I ask. The Noctis are everywhere. Well, a lot of places anyway. Although there are usually only two or three in each branch. I think a prerequisite of getting in is being completely nuts, because even the ones I like are off their rocker.

He's waiting for something. I don't know what, but it's why he hasn't done anything yet. I used to complain about how sometimes he didn't do anything. It made him seem like less of a threat. But actually, he's just patient. In no rush. Whatever he's after is going to happen, and that unearthly certainty has been hanging over me for a week or so.

Also, the voices stop around him. There's only silence.