DEAD WEIGHT: Search and Destroy
How far will you go to chase your dreams?
This is the third installment of the serialized novel DEAD WEIGHT, set within the world of THE FAERIE WAR.
More than anything else, Violet wants to be a bard. On her sixteenth birthday, she decides to force her dreams to become a reality by looking into a certain keyhole painting on a certain tour, a painting known to touch mortals with faerie magic. Her choice opens up entirely new worlds to Violet, worlds she’s not certain she’s ready for.
And what of Boy Scout’s journal? We have already followed the tale of Roland the Bold. What other secrets are contained within? Follow the story of Lies, a war correspondent attached to a platoon of U.S. Marines as they patrol through Faerie. Will his chapter reveal as many secrets as Tommy’s?
“This is Malazan meets Harry Dresden. I found it the most original fusion of urban fantasy and Gaelic-infused myth that I’ve read in years.” Greg S Close, In Siege of Daylight
It rained. All fucking day. Things have mostly cleared up, but I’m under a poncho rather than risk my journal getting ruined. As it is, it still smells a little like beer from the rain soaking through my pack. Oh yeah…it didn’t rain water; it rained a bunch of other stuff: beer, milk, soda, stuff I’d rather not even try to figure out what it was.
Yeah, I know you’re probably thinking: Awesome! Raining beer! Why can’t that happen on Earth? Faerie must be the greatest place in the history of ever. Sign me up!
The novelty of beer falling from the sky wears off really fucking fast. Sure, it’s cool at first. Then, you’re just soaked in beer. Only blessing I guess is that wasn’t American beer.
Speaking of that…
“Hey Scrub,” I said louder than I needed to, so that his squad could hear me over the patter of beer drops.
“What?” His tone indicated that this better be pretty fucking good.
“How are American beer and making love in a rowboat the same?”
“Hard telling,” he said.
I dropped into my most outrageous Irish brogue. “They’re both fucking close to water.”
Silence for about a second, and then laughter. Serious, belly aching laughter.
“What the hell is so funny over here?” Cuban asked, stomping over.
Scrub told him my joke. Cuban laughed too. We stopped in mid-step. We being Scrub, myself, and everyone in earshot. Cuban laughing did not compute. It took a couple of seconds for my brain to compute that Cuban was, in fact, actually laughing.
“Hey, Gunny,” I said. “An Irishman walked out of a pub…It could happen.”
“Alright there, Lies,” Cuban said. “Other squads are going to get curious about what’s going on. Share your jokes with them. Could use a little levity on a day like this.”
I did. It didn’t do much in the grand scheme of the war, but it lifted our spirits on an otherwise sucky day. More jokes made the rounds between squads. Cuban and the LT kept it from getting into open mic night at the local comedy club level, but they didn’t put the kibosh on it completely. After a little bit, I saw why they let it go on more than they would have on another day. With the weather bringing spirits down, especially with the weirdness of it all, it would have been far too easy for alertness to go down.
We did have one attack, but the Marines were ready, and we suffered no casualties.
Midafternoon, the rain changed again. This time the sky pissed on us with what smelled like perfume. Yeah, that was fun. Feeling sour and sticky from everything else, and now the fumes of this burned at our nose. After maybe two minutes of the scented rain, I muttered, “Oh, shit,” and hurried toward Wish. Now, I didn’t go to him because I had some flash of insight from my bardic powers. As far as I know, I can still only do that while writing. This was just a gut feeling I had from all those books I read, the ones with magic and curses and such.
In his various tours, Wish has not been kind to Faerie…yeah…I know…understatement. He’s caused maybe more trouble here than any other member of any branch of the armed forces. Each time Faerie throws something at him, Wish winds up beating it. I’m not sure how, but listening to the Marines talk, Wish has some sort of force looking out for him, because no one is that crazy and that lucky all the fucking time. The thing is, they’re looking at it the wrong way. Different world, different rules. In Arcadia, we’re working with the rules of story as an integral part of the fabric of reality. Wish does the things he does because he wants to die. In his own mind, he needs to die. Too bad Faerie probably isn’t going to let him. Faerie will, however, mess with him in as many other ways as it can.
Death is hardly the worst thing that can happen to someone in Faerie.
I reached Wish just as he dropped to his knees and started weeping. Mary was a second behind me. Together, we urged him to his feet and got him walking.
“It’s her scent,” Wish said between sobs. “Her perfume.”
“It’s alright,” I told Cuban as the Gunnery Sergeant came over to us. “We got this.”
We walked with him, Mary and I, whispering to him, trying to take his mind off of things by whispering to him, telling him stories, jokes, anything we could think of. Maybe thirty minutes later, the rain switched from the perfume to something red.
“Holy shit!” one of the Marines yelled. “It’s fucking raining fucking blood!”
“That’s not blood, you whiny bitch,” someone else said. “It’s tomato juice.”
“No,” someone else said. “It’s V-fucking-8.”
What? I can’t imagine why you aren’t thinking: Awesome! Raining V8! Why can’t that happen on Earth? Faerie must be the greatest place in the history of ever. Sign me up!
Yay, the glamour of wandering through Arcadia. Could we please have the beer back?