So, technology has further complicated my life, and since it is not practical to use my phone to blog, I had to figure out what it was that caused my computer problem before I could share with you anything else. I have not quite solved my issues, but it has not crashed for at least twenty minutes, so here you go. If you haven’t read the first two chapters of this story, please start here: https://cmkline.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/precipice-chapter-one/
My little girl looked just like me, with her mother’s smile. She had the kind of smile that made her eyes look like she was squinting from the sun, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She would run up and down the halls, her stuffed Dalmatian in tow, anxious to be wherever her older brother was, with him anxious to be wherever she was not. She so idolized him, and not matter where he was, she was never too far behind.
I can see them playing every time I close my eyes; it never fails. It is their memory that keeps me going, and that slight glimmer of hope that their mysterious disappearance may one day yield an equally mysterious appearance, back into my arms.
I was never really a religious man, but looking at my beautiful children playing in the yard; arms outstretched for one another as they barreled through the door was proof enough in God for me at the time. Not now. No deity, no matter how cruel would take a man’s children away from him with not even a death to mourn over. Not an explanation, no solace, nothing. Curse a God who would do that to me. I feel with every ounce of my being the seething hatred for anyone who would do this, who would leave me alone with my memories of a beautiful life and nothing more—God or not.
As I lay in on the back seat of this bus that I stole from one of the only people outside my home I cared for, I wished for sleep. I wished it for so long, when I finally fell, I awoke to wonder if I had even slept at all. How long did I actually sleep, or did I actually make it through the night? It doesn’t really matter I suppose. Just as this thought crossed my mind, and as I watched my breath a fog of precipitation with the coming of dawn and a new day in this lonesome world in which I feel like I am the only inhabitant.
I jolted to an upright position at the sound of a loud bang in the early hours of the day. Was it really gunfire? The question on the tip of my tongue as I grabbed my black Ruger and crept quietly to the closed back door of the old bus to see if it was, or if I am truly losing it. I slowly pulled the knob and the handle to make my way out, but it was the squeak of the hinges that gave me away to this unknown danger.
As I lifted my head to survey my surroundings, I was interrupted by the crash of broken glass and the burning of a bullet cutting my cheek just below my eye. I brushed the glass from out of my face, and decided it was probably time to surrender.
“I am unarmed,” I muttered, hoping that who or whatever this was would give me the chance to at least talk to them.
“Fuck you devil,” the shout rang in my ears as I tried to pull myself together with all of the blood that was beginning to blur my train of thought.
“I am just a guy trying to get to the coast,” I replied in a calm tone, hoping to pacify the anger coursing through his veins.
“You did this.”
I was almost offended. “I have no idea what you are talking about,” feeling as though I just wanted to break this shithead’s neck. Is this really the only other person on the whole planet? This yahoo with Charleton Heston and God almighty on fucking speed dial?
“It had to be the devil who took my Jenny away from me, and since you the only one here, then you must be him.”
“Look man,” I grunted as the loss of blood further clouded my mind, “I lost people too asshole, it doesn’t make me the devil. I am just a guy trying to figure this whole thing out, just like you.”
“You ain’t just like me. You ain’t seen what I seen.”
It was just then that I actually got a look at this guy. He was a middle aged balding man, skin cracked and darkened from years in the sun. His red hair was streaked with shades of white, and his eyes were beady and desperate. All I could think about was trying to reach my clip. Why the fuck wasn’t this thing loaded?
“I know man, it is pretty sad out there, but at least you can go on in their honor, ya know?” I wound my hand around the ammo bag as we exchanged uninterrupted stares.
His face turned a shade of red so dark, that it was almost purple, and tears began to form in his beady desperate eyes.
“She was there, and then she was a cloud of dust, and then she weren’t even that, my sweet Jenny Marie was nothin’ anymore.”
This guy has got to be out of his mind, or at least that is what I kept thinking, but as we stared in silence, the expression on his face went from sad, to frightened.
“I ain’t crazy you son of a bitch!”
He clenched his ears, and then for a second I felt the weight of his world, and the breadth of his burden.
“I wanna come home Jenny. I can’t do this anymore.”
I heard the words as clear as day, though his mouth never moved. The stranger cocked his pistol, and raised it to his mouth. Our minds were one in the same now. I begged him to stop, never uttering a single word, but talking to him just the same.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, we could help each other.”
The words flowed from my mind into his like water over a broken dam, and I wondered for a split second if this was even real.
“Oh it’s real alright, and no there ain’t nowhere to run.”
He spoke to me without words, they weren’t even words in my head; they were ideas being shared. I was then that he pulled the trigger, and blew his brain out and painted the desert floor with his blood and skull, and life laid open for me and the morning air to see. Goddamnit I need a drink.
Despite my best efforts to drown out the sensation that I just experienced; what I had seen, it was just not possible. Perhaps the desperate last minutes of human companionship that I got to experience were shit, and the only thing I had to gain from it was the veritable high jacking of my mind and the sight of his; grey matter decorated with his blood like some kind of holiday fucking center piece. The image will be forever burned into my mind’s eye.
I knew the man for but an instant, but for some reason I felt as though I knew him my entire life. As the warm sun began to shine in my eyes, I felt myself drop to my knees and weep for this man I knew for a moment and forever; he was me, and I him, and now he was gone and I felt like I died with him.
“I have got to keep moving,” I muttered as I gathered my senses and carried on toward my van. If there is one other, there has got to be more, and the only way to know that, is to keep moving. They have got to be headed to the coast.
As I carried on, the vision of my lost friend was hard to shake, but as the sun moved high into the daytime sky, its rays shown like shards of glass littered on the highway below, and in their terrifying beauty they somehow made me feel that it was somehow a little better. I placed my headphones on my head, and let Bob Marley tell me that everything was gonna be alright.
Onward and outward into the empty and great unknown I go; no real plan but the ocean, no real agenda but the answers to questions I have not been asked out loud yet. As the gas in my old bus runs low, I contemplate stopping, but with no gas station in sight, I have no choice but to move on.
About an hour had passed since the realization that I was running on fumes, when finally it happened—the short sputter, a puff of smoke, and me…without a ride. So I did what any able bodied last human in sight would do. I grabbed the fridge dolly from the back of the van, loaded up whatever I could find, and started walking.
I drudged along on this death march for what seemed to be an eternity; until the sun kissed the far off mountains. In a drainage ditch, I found solace for the night. I put on an extra jacket, lit a fire, and tried my best to find some sleep, to no avail. Sleep was harder to come by it seemed than company, and the night took forever to subside.
Just as soon as I feel to sleep, it seemed that my old friend the sun decided to rear its ever present face, and blanket the ground with light and heat. I laughed to myself quietly as I rubbed my eyes, and drug myself from the metal drainage tube that I most recently called my home. What a pathetic existence this has become. What is the point of even writing? Who do I write for now? I fear it is only for me, and I simply cannot do it anymore