The Catalyst: VIII

“The propensity for lyrical corruption at the hands of our subjects during the comprehension tests seems a bit alarming, but I am confident we can work out these genetic kinks. Still, their conversations with each other in focus groups seem to devolve into cyclical cryptic-isms that, at times, can be outright disturbing.” ~The Memoirs of Doctor Earnest P. Mallory*

“I’m a blind man in a dark room and I’m searching for that black cat. I gotta move before he moves, cause I think he’s crossed my every path.” The words were faint as I started to wake up. As I became more and more conscious, the voice became nearer and clearer. A nervous male voice.

“I’m a bad man, and you know that, but you’re still standing on my doormat with a mirror in each hand, and I’m gonna knock you down again.” I slowly cracked open my eyes. I was lying on my back staring at a very low ceiling in a room with minimal lighting. I became aware of a humming noise and a swaying motion. The room seemed to be moving – almost flowing.

“Mirror, mirror can’t you see that something’s got a hold on me and I’m not feeling very well.” I turned my head towards the voice. A young man sat in the corner next to some medical crates on a small, dirty mattress. He had his legs curled up into his arms and was rocking gently as he spoke.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, I’m not sure who made you fall. I don’t remember anything. Do you remember me?” He saw me looking at him. His piercing blue eyes grew wide from deep sockets in his gaunt face. He looked almost fearful of me. He looked away from me and continued.

“I’m a blind man In a dark room and I’m looking for that black cat. I gotta move before he moves, cause I think he’s crossed my every path.” It occurred to me that we must be in some type of vehicle. Suddenly I remembered the bright light before I had fainted. We must have been in some type of water vehicle! Could I be in the presence of my rescuers? Were we ascending? I opened my mouth to speak – but was cut off by the youth.

“You’re awake. I’m sorry.” he said gloomily. “Might have been better had you stayed under. Waking up is the death of sleep. Sleep is the only place anyone makes sense of things these days. I’m sorry. It’s awful for you, you had to wake up.”

I coughed to clear my throat. “Don’t say anything, Jim! I’m gonna call you Jim, ok? I don’t wanna know your name. You don’t wanna know mine. Just as well we go to our deaths strangers. If the magistrate makes us barter or beg for our lives, I wont feel obligated to save you.” He must have been able to tell from my face how confused I was. His eyes grew even wider with realization.

“You have no idea what is going on, do you?” he quickly added – “don’t answer that!” He gaped at me for a moment. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? A Harbinger?” I sat up slowly. Apparently I had been lying on my own horrible mattress, and we were in the small cargo hold of the small vessel. I began to ask him a question –

“Shut up!” the young man quipped. “Don’t talk. Alright, Jim. Here’s the thing – you’ve been unconscious, for a real long time. We thought all the harbingers were dead and gone. You all were from the old time – the time of the sun. The time before the descent. These men, up front of this trench-probe, they’re taking you to the Magistrate, see?” he paused for a moment. “Oh God, I’m screwed. I’m totally lost. There’s just no way. There will be blood, and it will be mine. If you’re a Harbinger – It’s over. I’m done.”

A narrow slat opened in the door of the cargo hold, spilling light into the room from the cockpit. A rough voice shouted through the slat. “Ah! He’s awake, is he? Eh, Max! The bastard what killed Larry’s awake. The kid and him are gettin all chatty!”

“The Ahbinger, eh? I’m gad the rotter ain’t dead on us. He’ll be a fine prize to bring the Magistrate. Now shut the hell up, you two!”

“Max, what we gonna do about Larry?”

“Larry was an idiot.”

“Right, Max. Of course, Max. – May he rot in hell then.” – the slat slammed back shut, immediately cutting off the additional light source. The young man looked directly at me, tears in his pitiful eyes. His voice shaking with helpless resignation.

“I’m a bad man and with that said, you drew a 13 on my forehead. I can’t let you come back in If you’re planning on leaving me again.”

 

~j.d.schofield

*lyrics drawn from (((louds by He Is Legend

 

 

 

 

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