Thursday, September 29, 2011

158/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Venus" by AIR

The saw-buzz of cicadas tore through the air, and the church in front of me rose in a ramble of crumbling sandstone. I unholstered my gun and stepped forward, grinding my foot into the gravel. Was it here? Was it really here...

I walked forward slowly, my gun hand out in front, wavering slightly. I took care to avoid the shadow of a dead joshua tree. My radio crackled on my belt.

"--you will be healed--" it was the voice of an old-time revival preacher. Static.

"--today we will have rain--" the voice of weather announcer.

"No we won't," I said under my breath. There was static, then silence.

"--it--comes--for--take--you--" it said in it's halted, borrowed voices.

"I don't think so," I said.

I scanned the church with just my eyes. There was no apparent movement. I stared into the windows that were like the pitted eyes of a rotting, desiccated skull. The air wobbled with heat. Then the cicadas stopped. My skin dimpled with gooseflesh.

"--careful--...--the sun--"

"Come out," I commanded.

"--we could--...--be a--illusion--"

"Your time is up, fugitive," I said.


"Nope." I knelt down on one knee, careful to keep the darks of the windows in sight. I steadied my gun, then dropped the other knee, and pulled up a length of the thick electrical conduit that linked my gun with the generator in the semi truck.

"--you can't--...--there is nothing--"

I slowly slid down onto my belly onto the rough ground. I flicked the recursion switch on the gun and it started to rev up. The air around me got icy cold, but my hands remained warm.

"--you have--...--nothing--nothing--...--nothing--"

"I have a lot of nothing." I nodded my head to flick down my opaque visor and pulled the trigger.

The beam instantly vaporized the church and whatever was behind it for five hundred feet. After twelve nanoseconds a tight gravity vortex formed in the center of the beam. The gun automatically switched off after three picoseconds more. I pushed up the visor.

The remains of the church was a lump of molten glass--bright white. In front, sprawled on the dirt, was sprawled the fugitive, stunned and breathing shallowly, his tattered clothes steaming. I quickly got up, reholstered the gun, and ran to the extraction point. I pulled cuffs from the back of my belt, then rolled the fugitive over onto his back using my the tip of my foot. My shoe grounded the excess electricity that didn't know quite where to go. I bound his hands, frisked him, then turned him back onto his back.

"Please don't," he pleaded. The radio spat out a staticky echo.

"You confuse me for someone who cares," I said.

"I had to do it, I had no choice--"

"Don't care buddy. Sit up."

"I can't," he said.

"You can. You did it once before, when you leapt through, and I know you're not as weak as you look."

Suddenly he jumped up and started running towards the road to the west.

"Get back here you moron!" I yelled.

He quickened his pace, and jumped over a small barrel cactus.

"You can't catch me! You'll never catch me!"

"Well, maybe not." I unholstered the gun and held it in his general direction. I turned my head one hundred and eighty degrees away, pulled the trigger again and let residual charge find its way to the fugitive. When it was done, I went back to the cab of the semi and drank thoroughly from a bottle of water. Another lucrative bounty vaporized. I ruminated on the rising cost of gas.

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