The Frail Children Saga (Q.D.)
The ethereal reverberation of meat on slabstone. Gluttonous panting.
Guh… What is it?
The wail of a starving infant splits the sacred air. Startled silence. Glass cracks on an infinitesimal level.
James, it wasn’t here a minute ago. It’s like it came out of the fucking stonework.
Yeah. I know.
It sounds hungry.
We don’t have any food.
Cloying limpet silence. The tightening of skin across barren cheekbones.
Dammit, we can’t just leave it here.
It’ll die of hunger either way. I don’t even know what they eat.
James, I am not killing-
Fuck, dude, neither am I.
The infant champs on air and draws rasping breaths.
We taking it with us, then?
Fucking hell. Yes.
What’ll we call it?
The rustle of papery cloth on a slabstone altar.
Him. It’s a he.
What’ll we call him, then?
Silence. A guttural wail.
Edward. That’ll do for now.
Ugh. Fuck this, man. I’m going outside.
The ragged scrape of rusted nails on gypsum. Footsteps like a mad zombie.
Oh Christ. C’mon, James. It’s dark. There are things out there now.
The footsteps stop. The rustle of an emaciated shoulder inside nylon.
I told you to stop doing that.
The bloody blasphemy. You’re laughing at me.
No. No I’m not. Listen, you think I care anymore about your fucking religion? You think I give any kind of shit about what you believe in? I’m too… (okay fine you’ve made your point) I care too much about what’s going on inside my own head. I don’t dream good dreams, ma- (okay i’m sorry jesus) I dream about losing my hands. I dream about you losing your hands. You know (shit, man, you’re freaking out, calm the) you know what? I don’t think I even saw the bloodstain. I don’t even think the manhole was crusted up with anybody's goddamn brains. I don’t think I saw the imbecile trying to eat smoke. I think it’s all in my damn head. I’m juh-hust –
His voice cracks. Guttural gasping sobs.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
A sigh. Rustle of clothes and the heavy thud of muscle against gypsum.
Sobs that sound like laughter.
It’s alright. Look, see? I won’t go outside. Are there even things out there?
No. I d-don’t think there’s anything.
We’re not going to Clifftown, are we?
No. No, we’re not.
Yes, I can hear you. What?
Do you, um… d’you think it’s… is it still murder if they’re, you know… not all there? I mean, if their brain isn’t working and their eyes are listing, but they’re still breathing? Kind’ve dead, but there’s still life in them?
The soft trickling of rain.
What the fuck kind 'f question is that to ask?
Listen, okay? It was a kindness we did him. You have to understand this-
I just don’t think that’s right. That kind 'f power. I mean, his head came apart like a fucking eggshell.
The soft haze of white noise. The sound of meat.
Jesus. Jesus Christ. The fucking…
The fucking gall. You’re coming over religious. This isn’t like you.
I know, I know. It’s… hypocrisy. Phony. I hate myself for it, but somehow what happened…I mean, what we did… doesn’t feel right. It’s not alright. I mean, did you see his eyes? His head… came apart like a fucking…
A choking sob.
This isn’t like you, you know. Going to pieces over the past. Can’t be changed, you know that.
Thought. White noise.
I’d just like to bury him, at least. Give him some kind’ve…
White noise. A guttural sob.
God damn it. God damn it.
God Almighty. It puts the fear in you.
Jesus Christ. Again?
Yes, again. Don’t be a tit.
A hanging silence.
You know William Paley?
No. Go on.
Oh. Paley’s Watch?
Fucking go, James.
Uh, Paley’s Watch is a theory that the universe is too complex to exist by chance, and therefore there must be a creator. I mean, just like the existence of a watch presupposes a watchmaker ‘cause it’s too complex to be there by chance.
And you eat that?
Yes, or something similar. What offends you so fucking much anyway? So I believe-
It’s defeatist. Jesus Christ, the only reason you and anyone else believes this dogshit is ‘cause you’re fucking terrified of dying, and the reason a fucking graveyard puts the fear into your thick skull is ‘cause you want to join them when you croak. That’s what it is, it’s fucking insurance.
Okay. Alright, fine, it’s insurance. But I am playing this insurance, see, into my benefit. I believe in the creator, and if it turns out he’s watching me he’ll put in the good word and I spend my afterlife in eternal sunshine, and if he’s a scam like you say it is I join you in blackness or hellfire. I win either way.
Oh, very faithful, doggy. Arf arf.
Oh, for the love-
What’s life worth if you’re so sure where you’re going? I reckon I’d rather drink and steal shit and burn in hellfire than piss away my life in the service of some shitbird in the sky who may or may not exist.
Stop fucking blaspheming.
Fuck you, James.