Friday, January 20, 2012

Right Behind: They Are Legion, Part Six

The smell of coffee drifted tantalizingly through my room. Maybe that was what woke me up, even. For a time I just lay there, being awake... but, well, not awake enough to actually move.

There was sunlight on the blankets, and on the wall behind me. It was bright enough that I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. That realization brought me another small step closer to wakefulness, but it was so nice to just lay and drift until I was actually ready to move.

I'd been dreaming about a roller-coaster, I remembered - an improbably massive structure that wound around an entire mountain, and even dipped through tunnels inside. There had been someone... no, that was gone. I couldn't remember anymore. I was too awake.

I sat up at last, cracked my neck, and yawned. My room was the same as always, decorated with posters for a couple of movies and another for the Marine Corps, which I'd briefly considered joining after High School. The bookshelves still held my old favorites, but the computer desk was empty - I'd taken its contents off to college, and left behind an empty shell. I remembered telling my parents that they could do whatever they wanted with my room, but either they hadn't heard me or they'd just decided to leave it alone...

Once things had settled down last night, I'd sent Tina and Mom off to bed and sat down to watch a little television. The news reported looting and other violence. At least some of the violence seemed to be a product of people trying to loot houses and stores that were still occupied. A lot of the rest seemed to be people who were convinced that the world was ending, or just taking advantage of the social disruption. I doubted that the troubles were anywhere near as widespread as the talking heads implied; for one thing, we hadn't seen anything like that around here, and for another the TV news programs had been getting ever more hysterical in their attention-seeking for as long as I could remember. Still, I made a note to go and find a couple of guns in the morning... just in case.

One guy they interviewed said that God had clearly turned His Face from us. Since he knew he was damned, he said, there was no reason not to do all those things that he'd always wanted to do. That was right before the police stuffed him into the back of a patrol car. I found myself reminded, very uncomfortably, of Anna - and I realized that I should call her. Probably not then, though - it was after midnight.

Instead, I'd shut off the television and wandered up to my room. I didn't exactly remember collapsing on the bed, but since I'd woken up there I was prepared to take that part for granted...

Now I paused in the hallway outside the kitchen. I could hear voices inside: Mom and Tina, talking. I stopped where I was, just out of sight. It wasn't a desire to eavesdrop, exactly; it was more that I wanted to know what I was about to walk into. And I wasn't quite awake enough to make conversation myself, so I waited... and listened.

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