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and if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer:; the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Topic Started: Mar 28 2017, 06:21 PM (83 Views)
Cicada Days
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((Permission from Volt Turtle and Bikriki))

And upon that lonely town carved of the dust of the desert God’s eye briefly turned blind, for all His plan was to lay his Earth fallow, to allow his children to run amok and trample beauty to ashes and dust, by their own providence.

--

So it was down to this.

Mark did not give a fuck. Or was it something like… gave all the fucks, specifically in the form of his middle fingers setting the dead desert sky alight?

It was his first time out to Kingman in his life and the town was every bit the hellhole he’d imagined it would be. Just a casual walk-a-bout of the streets, all casual-like. Mother, Father, his sisters had all tried to sell it as better than it was for how many years now? Since their lord and savior j,h.christ had invented time? He couldn’t have had the wool pulled over his eyes. He was just too much of an asshole for that.

He’d re-read all of those emails Lucilly had sent on his flight over. Every single one, using the laptop he’d ‘borrowed’ from a friend before the flight out. She’d tried so damn hard in every single awkward word of every single awkward letter to try and convince him that the parched asshole of Arizona was worth his time. Seeing it in real time Mark couldn’t imagine how she could have ever found it in herself to care.

That had just been her thing, he guessed.

He didn’t fucking know.

Alien streets blurred together into a slurry river of molten- seriously, it was sweat out his hair follicles hot and it had to be midnight already- concrete under his feet. He navigated by the dim light of the moon bouncing off the dull witted light of the streetlamps. None of the houses stood out from each other but he was looking for one, and when he found it he stopped with a casual lean to his slouch and two hands shoved into the cramped pockets of his hoodie.

Broken glass and scorched earth. He knew he’d found what he was looking for.

--

Dinner in the Peterson household had been something. Something like a family minus a heads and minus mouths. Maybe one eighth of the dinner Mother had prepared had been eaten. Father had tried to set an example by making a show of forcibly stuffing his face but for once nobody was biting or obeying. He’d given up on his pretensions for maybe the first time in his son’s adult life. Victoriya had restlessly drummed her thighs against the cloth of her seat, and for once in everliving memory Mother hadn’t been on her case. One by one they’d all drifted away from the table and towards who the hell even knew where.

Mark was alone despite being surrounded by family. Doman hadn’t come with him, the fucking coward. He hadn’t even had an excuse, he’d just honestly admitted he was too something to face his family again. That something was grief-struck, or it was angry, or it was scared, and Mark didn’t know which. If he had known he would have been able to figure out why he likewise felt consuming trepidation in his own home.

Mark had found his way up the unfamiliar rigidity of the stairs at some point, he couldn’t remember. Every panel of the stairs was inflexible, unforgiving to his attempts to climb. He didn't know if he was even allowed to be barefoot. He managed to find the room he was looking for the moment he spotted the innocuously shut door. He didn’t know it from any other damn door, it might as well have been a door to Willy Wonka’s factory, but the moment it creaked open before him he knew this was where he didn’t belong.

A spartan bed, a simple Excel spreadsheet of a blanket with a flower motif. Sunflowers, abnormally bright petals tensile like rays of light. No points for guessing the hinted-at biblical motif. A polished tan wooden desk with bare surface, and a chair Mark sat himself in so he was right next to the desolate spread of the bed.

First time he’d ever set foot in Lucilly’s bedroom in his entire life.

The first drawer was randomly open and Mark could see a few neon colored journals sitting quiet and pretty. Spines still delicately spun, surfaces still glossy as if the journals had only just been bought. Mark cracked one open with a finger intrusively displacing the dust, the spread of the page was filled out with prose in neatly immaculate penmanship. Unfamiliar for a good second, and still only an eerie watermark of a life he’d once maybe sort of known the second after.

Lucilly had once sent him a sample of one of her works once. Hadn’t even been any good, really. Lucilly had seemed to think writing was copy pasting passages out of damn scripture and adding the occasional reference to an iPhone.

He was able to confirm that her writing was continually still rather lame. Two whole pages of proof to expand his pool of evidence for that hypothesis.

The walls slowly closed in, shuffling up beside him like strangers of a crowd. How long was he sitting there, he didn’t know. He couldn’t track time through the singular existent sensation of his ass getting cold in a seat that would never be sat in again until Mother and Father got the courage to donate it to charity.
The Dies Before First Rolls Squad

The Nights
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Cicada Days
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“Also can’t sleep?”

His ears woke up like the dead from the grave and he turned his head back. He’d heard her voice once in living memory, Sevilla had a sort of serenely massive voice, evocative of booming echoes from the altar. Her father- their father- in the tiny quivering throat of a twelve year old girl.

“Nah.

What time is it?”

“It’s ten o’clock already.” Three hours since dinner, since Mark had stumbled up the steps like a drunken man ready to make a home out of a stranger’s bed for the night. Mark roughly shoved his ass off the chair, gestured for Sevilla to take it. She hesitated by inaction, and ultimately stayed put. They were both standing then, just the two of them and the forty-five degree angle between them and the unceremonious meeting of eyes for the first time in years.

“Alright.”

And some time passed. How much, Mark couldn’t say.

“She kept a picture of all of us in this room until last year,” and that was how Sevilla chose to break the silence. Her voice cracked the air like a bullet. “Right on the desk.”

Mark didn’t understand how Sevilla still sounded so strong, so beautiful. When had she even ever been allowed to grow up? She was supposed to be too fucking young to know a world like this, a world where her older sister was gone. Mark hurt for Sevilla, he really did, a hurt that clenched around his stomach and chest like a fist and didn’t let go. “She moved it into her locker at school when school started last year and we haven’t gotten it back from the police yet.”

“... Alright.” Mark was staring at her too intently, he couldn’t help it, he didn’t even know it. The fingers of his hand spontaneously became a fist through conscious thought, clenched tight, and were immediately undone. He didn’t know why he’d done that, but it had something to do with the unsettling feeling taking roost in his body.

Sevilla’s lips twitched a bit at the corners, maybe an attempt at a smile.

“We can probably pick it up soon.”

“Maybe now,” Mark offered. “I could go pick it up myself.” Well, he didn’t know where the police station was. But he was pretty sure he remembered the photo, they must have taken it back when Lucilly had still gone to Sunday school. He and Doman had been assing around in the back row, and their faces had been obscured by Uncle Jackson’s broad shoulders. That dude had probably been Uncle Jackson. Mark vaguely remembered the damn photo because Victorya had been making some kind of political statement, ripping her diaper off to the dubiously photogenic shock of Lucilly and Mother. He tried his hardest to remember that photo, as much as it hurt to.

“That would be nice, Mark.

Thanks.”

And some more time passed, and this time Mark was almost ready to mumble something in plain gibberish that might have meant ‘goodbye’, or ‘I love you’, until Sevilla had said something first again.

“This is, uh…

Did you, you know…

See?”

Mark didn’t reply initially, and he was pretty sure at some point he stopped looking at anything that wasn’t the hieroglyphic geometric patterns of the carpet.

“Mark?” She sounded timid, scared, ready to retreat away from that ashen, dusty room she’d once called her- their- sister’s. Mark might as well have been holding a gun to her head.

“I saw.” No point in lying. “Every bit of it, and…

I know who the girl who killed her was too. I checked Lucilly’s yearbook… While I was here.” He’d found the yearbook right on the coffee table that was next to the living room sofa for some reason Mark didn’t know. Sevilla nodded slowly, her head threatening to fall off her neck every single time a gentle tremor rocked suddenly rocked her body.

“Okay.”

More time passed and Mark was vaguely aware that he didn’t know what else to say.

“You should get some sleep, Sevilla.” The pronunciation of her name seemed to come out all wrong, a tongue twister from a book in foreign language.

“I will,” she murmured softly, and that one got her to smile. Mark almost didn’t recognize the smile, he needed to dig for the memory. It didn’t sit right on her face until Mark could dredge up the memory of how it did. For just a second Mark was able to remember that his younger sister prided herself on being a cheeky asshole. For just a second, and then Sevilla’s heartmelting smile melted in turn, like a candle snuffed out. “I will, don’t worry.”

“... Yeah, okay.

You tell yourself that.” Mark wondered why he sounded so stoic. He wondered when he’d started bleeding emotion like Lucilly had bled blood on the rooftop of that hell on earth.

“Hmm! I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And Sevilla was once more trying to smile but it was once more not happening. Mark could finally see the way her lips tried to fold when a smile was coming, or even when it was dead on arrival. “I’ll be going to sleep at a reasonable hour.” Maybe Mark could trust her.

Some more time passed, and no one went to sleep. Mark’s emotions continued to fester, into an unknown stench that bloodied his senses.

“Was her room always empty like this?” Mark felt something then. Felt something like a shitstain on earth for not knowing how his sister had once lived.

“Yeah,” Sevilla nodded in that creaky, forced way again. “Cabinet’s for clothes and school supplies. Desk’s for her writing and her Bible. Machine’s in the garage. When it was family time she’d be the one to bring the machine and the textiles out to the living room.” Like reading off a list, or maybe Sevilla was reading from Lucilly’s own diary or soul and Mark was the one just hearing the rivets and bolts of words on an assembly line.

“I see.” Mark devoted as much of his memory as he could pathetically nurture to memorizing every syllable his sister had just offered him, but that odd sensation in the pit of his stomach continued to gently smolder and it turned out his memory wasn’t so good because of it. But still he could still fucking envision it. Square meter by square meter, the life Lucilly had once lived in inches and footsteps. Until it evaporated from thought, and Mark was once more alone.

“I see,” he repeated for no damn reason.

“She cared so much about keeping things tidy, I guess.”

And some more time passed, and that unknown feeling continued to curdle Mark’s blood.

“She cared so much…” Sevilla’s quiet tremor mutated into a hug, one Mark was a stranger to because it was his sister alone, her own arms wrapped around herself because he was somehow insufficient. “I had always hoped… That she’d stop caring for once?” Mark merely nodded, Sevilla continued,

“I dunno, I guess I thought she’d realize that she couldn’t really… deny herself? For our sakes.”

“It was all stupid anyways.” Mark’s voice was heavy enough to sink into the earth. “She was gay and she should have allowed herself to be.”

“But it was all about what she believed in,” Sevilla smiled and it was a smile that told a story of some burdensome sadness. Mark’s eyes turned, first away from, then back towards her. But the smile remained a variable.

“But what she believed in was bullshit. And both you and I know it.” Who was to say. Not Sevilla, she stayed silent. For some time, and that time too passed away like others before it had.

“Look-”

“I understand.” She spoke so timidly despite the godgiven strength of her voice. Mark felt a twinge of desperation, or maybe it was that emotion he still didn’t know.

“I wasn’t trying to say anything else.” Mark’s steely eyes melted away to something soft. “I just… wanted you to get some sleep. You know.” He meant it. Tried to mean it, at least. Maybe it was that he wished he meant it.

“I said I would, didn’t I?” However long ago, yeah. She was looking at him simply, innocently, and the last time she’d ever looked at him like that must have been when Mark had still called the roof of his father’s home his own. The look stayed, and stayed, and stayed, and Mark wilted under it, his shoulders drooping, lowered into the Earth for burial. “What are you going to do after this, Mark?”

“I should sleep too.”

“You don’t look like you’re going to be able to sleep.” And it was true, Mark just hadn’t known it was true until told otherwise. He inclined his head. That mysterious feeling continued to eat away at him, and he wondered if Sevilla knew what it was better than he himself did. The innocence on her face refused to die as innocence was wont. Maybe her innocence had yet to die in her youth. Maybe not. Definitely, Mark did not know. “Hmm. Maybe you’ll go out?”

“Maybe. For a bit.”

“Where do you think you’ll go?” Mark didn’t know. Or maybe it was just another case of him not knowing despite being confidently, painfully sure as that unnamed but obvious feeling continued to erupt and spew like a volcano in his heart. “Maybe just for a little walk, perhaps?”

“We’ll see.”

“We will.” Her smile finally appeared again. Mark’s never had. Her smile hurt, but Mark welcomed it, as he would have a stranger into his own home. He welcomed it with a slow, careful, creaking forth of his body as he sought out something, was it her arms, her hair, her god-given voice to say something more, to impart onto him wisdom and forgiveness? He didn’t know.

Their hug was abortive, it was brief, and Sevilla’s body might as well have been a mannequin in his desperate grasp.

She said good night and so did he, as if they were both shouting in whispers across a chasm. She was swallowed up by the foreboding caverns of the home, and Mark was cast away, still burning like a man put to the cross for reasons he didn't understand.
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He knew now, as he surveyed the facade of Isabel Ramirez’s home, that the emotion he’d refused to betray to his own flesh and blood was anger. It seethed and rebelled, and it was naturally fit, at home in his shell of a body.

--

The greenery was trampled, in patches utterly dead to rights and wrongs. Burn marks streaked across tufts of the lawn, winding in shapes as twisted and contorted as the mangled path she’d struck out for herself atop the disfigured corpses she’d made her gift to the world. A number of windows were broken like bones and throats, the door had been marked red as the blood it’s former occupant had so delighted in spilling.

Yes, Sevilla had not known what it was Mark had left the home to do, or perhaps it was that she knew what he was to do better than he himself did. Perhaps she knew that his soul was his offering to god.

But that was all bullshit anyways, or so Mark told himself as hot tears finally began to rip his face asunder, streaking into the clear of the air as he raised no hand to defend himself and his vulnerability from the world.

He did raise his hands for other purposes. From his pocket came the singular stone, smooth bore as the carved ball of a musket. The desert Mark was to wander for however many days and nights kicked up dust and animal cries to herald his vengeance, and not a single other one of god’s people bore witness.

Save maybe Lucilly herself.

But Mark doubted she’d be by his side when he’d never been by hers.

So with nobody bearing his cross but his own body he heaved and hurled every muscle into a singular motion, his arm winding until the elbow was pulverized and he continued to go, and he threw, and another window was obliterated, smited down. Glass shrieked until it was silenced, and like a jewel the corpse sparkled and shone. Blood diamonds, perhaps.

He had broken part of the demon’s home, but it was false comfort, false retaliation. She had already inflicted a deeper wound. She had broken part of his own life, before he’d ever had a chance to realize how much it had meant to him.

The solitary figure of Markinson Peterson, the elder brother of Lucilly Peterson, observed his own actions with no expression present underneath the fresh flow of his quiet sobbing.

He ran wild, bestial. He ran down that alien, unfamiliar street, down other streets equally unknown, uncaring. He ran from that broken home of that broken home, and he ran from the other broken home of the other broken family where he’d spoken to a beautifully broken girl once not so long ago. He ran until he could run no more, and continued to run all the same.

After all, he had nowhere to be and nowhere to go when he didn’t belong.

--

And God’s beautiful son fled from all His creations his heart quailed and ached for it’s sin. And God turned his eye back onto his nascent mortal children, and His plan was a beauteous plan, for His son would run amok, but would always return home to where he truly belonged, where he would always be welcomed like his beloved had also surely been welcomed to His kingdom everlasting.

((Finished.))
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