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Guy Maddin's favorite A.D.
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And Alex turned. Left.

Andrea smiled. She smiled and backed up and then, twirling like a crazed ballerina, she threw the grenade. It slid neatly off her sweaty palm and arced toward the far edge of the treeline.

"YOU HEAR THAT ALEX?" she screamed, and was overwhelmed by the explosion. She knew on some level that it hadn't been anywhere near Alex, but she didn't particularly care at this point. Andrea continued backpedaling toward the water; she grabbed at the other grenade clipped to her belt loop, yanking it loose, not giving a shit about what anyone might think. Alex was still somewhere and if it didn't kill him it would give him a bit to think about.


As she raised the second grenade she thought she caught a glimpse of him. Maybe it was Alex, maybe it was just her wild imagination, but she hurled the other grenade in that direction anyway as she saw that vision of Alex raising its gun. Then Andrea turned to run as the grenade exploded, throwing her forward.


She coughed, ears ringing, and rose slowly one more time to her knees, then to unsteady feet. Must've been closer than she'd anticipated, to knock her down like that. Well, whatever. What-the-fuck-ever, right? She didn't know a thing about grenades, frankly it was a miracle she hadn't blown her own hand off. Her eyes were stinging and there was a dull, burning ache in her back, but that was OK. She was far enough away to avoid any of those shrapnel things, it was just sand and pebbles and driftwood pieces and shit. The beach was covered with that stuff. It was a pretty crappy beach, to be honest.

Right. The boat.

Well, it was right there, wasn't it? Looked like everyone was on board.

She walked, holding her bag in front of her. She walked and thought she was going towards the boat. A few steps, and a few more steps, and then she was puzzled because something was wrong.

No idea what, not yet. But Andrea could see that the boat was way off to her left now; she was a ways down the shoreline from it. Why the hell was she there instead of on the boat? It was like her legs weren't exactly following her orders. Weird. Her legs felt funny. Not just from the Alex's latest bruise either.

Her hands too. The nerves or something, they felt scrambled. And her back, her back was fucking aching right now. Especially from one spot right up there, somewhere high.

The strap on her duffel bag broke behind her, edges frayed from the bullet, and the bag itself fell at the water's edge.

Andrea willed her arm to move and bent it around her, fingers twitching. She felt blood.

"Ah... ah crap."

That fucker.

She tried to push it away and take another step, this time to her left and towards the rescue boat. She could do that. Her moment.

Instead, her steps took her forward into the water, stumbling with legs that no longer felt like hers at all. Now she was staring out to sea, and the sun beyond it. It was huge and gold and hurt her eyes.



"OK then."

The water washed over her legs and she was wading now, so cold and so refreshing, it was the cool air of the funeral home, it was an iced latte from The Alibi, pumped full of syrupy goodness in the summer and in the winter it was that Minnesota breeze against her skin, that first blast of air so fresh after you'd been crammed into a club all night and it was like that time not long ago when she'd waded in the St. Croix and laughed with Chad on prom night and the cold rain had fallen against her skin and it felt like

Now the playing's stopped in the playground now
She wants to play with her toys a while

And school's out early
And soon we'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die

it was all those things and it was everything and she smiled and fell, not caring if the salt of the sea stung her open wounds, not caring at all.
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The Cavalry Arrives · The Beach: North