Dark America, Part 46 – Under the Setting Sun

Continued from Chapter 45, here.

After five minutes of sitting under the shelter that rose up from the ground on command from Sara, watching the sun set, I finally decided to break the silence and speak again.

“Sara, is there any way for us to re-open a door to that middle place, the in-between?”

She looked back at me, her face curled up in a frown. “I don’t know. I don’t think so, or I can’t. Other people went there, but it was just sort of…” She paused for a second. “They say that it was like reaching your arm into a bag that you can’t see inside. You just sort of fumble about for whatever you want.” Continue reading

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Dark America, Part 45 – Drawing in Circles

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

I looked at Sara, first at the raised fingers of her hand, and then back at the huge organic constructs breaking through the ground, miles in the distance. “And that’s you?” I asked weakly.

She smiled, gave me a little wave by wiggling her fingertips. Moving simultaneously, with no lag time at all, the huge shapes stabbing up at the sky in the distance bent down, then rose back up. A minute later, the wind from this movement nearly bowled me over.

Sara was… Hell, I didn’t even have the words to describe it. Desperately, I wished that I had anyone else here, any other team member to help me try to understand. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 44 – Unplugged from the Matrix

Continued from Chapter 43, here.

I was once again back in darkness – but this didn’t feel like the mindless, empty void of earlier.

I felt pressure of a sort – and when I pushed at it, I could get the thinnest sliver of brilliant light, piercing into my skull.

Wait a minute – I had a skull! I pushed again, felt those brilliant slivers enter, not quite so blindingly bright. I reached out to lift one hand up to block some of the glare, only realizing as I did so that this also meant that I had hands, which presumably were connected to the rest of my body!

I finally managed to open my eyelids, sat up and looked around. I lay… Continue reading

Dark America, Part 43 – Child Abduction

Continued from Chapter 42, here.

Standing there, in the strange simulation of reality that was too vibrant, too real to be truly correct, I felt my fingers tighten around the cold steel of the crowbar that was leaning up against the half-torn-apart car. Gripping it so tightly that the beveled edges bit into my skin, I brought it up and swung it at the head of the thing that wasn’t quite my wife.

The crowbar swung true. It flew right towards Alexis’s forehead, and I felt a burning scream inside of me, a scream at the idea of doing this to something with the face of my wife, even if it wasn’t really her, just wore her skin- Continue reading

Dark America, Part 42 – The Mind Behind Her Eyes

Continued from Chapter 41, here.

“You’re not serious,” I said to this mental construction, whatever it was, of my wife, sitting on the couch of a stranger’s house beside me and smiling with love at me as she rubbed my hand between her fingers.

“What’s scaring you, husband?” Alexis kept smiling, didn’t stop moving her fingers against mine. Somehow, that closeness made it even worse. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 41 – A Chat With the Wife

Continued from Chapter 40, here.

No. Not possible. This couldn’t be happening.

Standing just in front of a couch, in a room that shouldn’t exist and didn’t seem quite real, I stared at the woman who had just walked in through the front door. There were a handful of situations when i remember being too stunned to speak, but none of them could compare to this one. Those were gentle brushes compared to this current mind-fuck.

“Alexis,” I croaked out, my lips barely even able to shape the name.

The woman smiled at me, a slightly uncertain smile that I recognized intimately, instantly. That was the smile she gave me when I first swept her off her feet, promised her that I’d treat her like no one else ever had.

“Hi again, Brian,” she said softly, and I swear I heard the ripping sound of my heart being torn in two. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 40 – Unexpected Reunion

Continued from Chapter 39, here.

No one else seemed inclined to say anything, so I kept on taking the lead.

“I remember you now,” I said, waving a finger at the man. He didn’t back away, didn’t even acknowledge the pointing towards him. “This is your house, isn’t it? This was the living room. We stopped by, saw pictures of you here.”

Hobbson didn’t say anything, but he gave a slight nod of his head, as if allowing me to continue. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 39 – It’s All Calm On the Surface

Continued from Chapter 38, here.

Well, today was turning into a strange day.

With my squad, I located the massive, impossible-to-understand monster that may have been responsible for billions of deaths. Despite feeling almost absurdly over-prepared, we failed to kill the thing. Hell, we failed to do anything but make it angry – at which point it decided to squash us like insects under a boot heel.

Instead of dying, we apparently woke up in some sort of shapeless version of Hell, where we fought off an endless stream of attacking psychic tentacles using the power of our mental focus. We managed to escape through a cheap pine wood door, appearing in-

-in a living room, I finished that disturbing, totally bonkers summary inside my head. Continue reading

“Take the office job. Nothing exciting there.”

With my attention focused on the main screens, my eyes glued to the free plasma levels, I barely heard the door to the command deck slide open. Indeed, I might not have heard it, even if I hadn’t been distracted. Chief Engineer Hansen had just been through last week with a can of atomized graphite, complaining about “the infernal squeaking every time it opens.”

Instead, I kept every bit of attention focused on the screens, watching the readouts. All I had to do was make sure I didn’t miss seeing- Continue reading

Dark America, Part 38 – Not the End?

Continued from Chapter 38, here.

Whiteness.

Nothingness.

And then, creeping in so slowly that it was all but unnoticeable, awareness.

I was… that’s it. I was. Again. For a period, indescribable in every way, I hadn’t been, and now I was once again.

What I was, where I was, how I was… all of these were questions I’d address in a minute. For some unit of time that I can’t measure, I simply luxuriated in the simple pleasure of existing.

And then I noticed where I was, and all of that happiness went straight to Hell.

Dammit. Continue reading