DEAD WEIGHT: The Tombs
NOT ALL FAERIE TALES HAVE HAPPY ENDINGS.
The Faerie war is over. Did we win? We aren’t sure.
DEAD WEIGHT is a serialized novel where the United States finds itself at war with the Unseelie court of ancient Faerie. In this first installment, “The Tombs,” Boy Scout wallows in grief and self-pity, wanting nothing more than to numb his mind and escape from the horrors that plague him from his time serving in the Faerie War. However, the conflict is not truly over. Forces from both worlds, Earth and Faerie, seek to use Boy Scout again. Will he dance the same old dance from the strings tied to him, or will he cut those strings and write a new story?
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.
I’d type a little faster.”
– Isaac Asimov
“Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
Max blinked down at the metal blade sticking out of his chest, just to the left of his sternum. He couldn’t tell if it was a sword or spear or…well…did it really matter at this point?
Ha! he thought. I see what I did there…point! Good one.
He might have even laughed if he hadn’t coughing up blood all over his chin at that moment. Or, maybe that’s what laughing is when you have something metal sticking through your chest.
Blinking at the tip of this weapon, he considered that this shouldn’t be possible, not with the gray t-shirt he was wearing. Yet, he saw it, a blood-covered point in the center clearly sticking out of a bloody mess right there in his chest. Odd though…it didn’t hurt even close to how much he would have expected.
Blood dripped from the tip – Max tried to ignore the fact that it was his blood – onto the newspapers, parchments, and books that covered the table. It was a few drops at first, and then the floodgates opened. He remembered a time back in the war, marching along with a platoon of Marines, when he saw a waterfall that same color spilling down a cliffside at sunset.
Glancing over his shoulder, Max saw a petite figure in a deep gray wool long coat, complete with a hood. Shadows hid most of the face inside that hood, but he saw a narrow chin and thin lips painted in gray lipstick matching the coat. Like pillars, two platinum-blond braids fell out of the hood and framed that chin.
“I know you,” Max said.
The girl nodded. Or was she a woman? Max couldn’t remember.
It might be the blood loss, but Max couldn’t remember how long had it been since he thought of himself as “Max?” Years maybe, perhaps a decade or more. Then again, it might have been only a few weeks. The room spun around him as his head grew dizzy with blood loss. He remembered one of the foundations of the Old Knowledge he hadn’t considered in a long, long while: Time becomes fluid and mutable at the slightest touch of Faerie.
“Is that all?” Max asked.
“That should do it,” she replied with a whisper, and backed away.
As she retreated, blending into the shadows, the blade slide out of his chest. Holy fucking Crist Budda badger fuck, Max screamed in his mind. That hurt more than he had words to describe, and he used a lot of words and had used those words to describe a lot of things.
A moment later, the girl was gone.
Max waited for his life to flash before his eyes.
Unfortunately, human lives have too much extraneous crap filling up the meaningless moments for a whole life to flash before a dying person’s eyes. Rather, people must see what is most important to them. Max spent the better part of his life twisting and manipulating names and words, so that’s what came to him, names, words, and titles: Max, Lies, Boy Scout, Champion, Friend, Hero, Traitor, Father, Son, Writer, Journalist, and the one he hated most of all, Bard.
Bard…Bard…Bard…a blessing and curse to all who held that title.
Eyelids half-closed, the waterfall slowing to a trickle, Max saw one piece of paper untouched by his blood on the far corner of the table. Somehow, not a single drop touched that piece of paper. He loved the sight of an unblemished paper, full of infinite possibilities of what a writer or artist might create. If only he had time to fill that page, but alas, it was too late. Then, an odd quote came mind, as quote by Lao Tzu: Time is a created thing. Paring that with a bit of the Old Knowledge, Time becomes fluid and mutable at the slightest touch of Faerie, Max understood he had one chance to save his life. It was a desperate move, but moments like these are the perfect time for desperate moves. And perhaps because it was such a desperate move, he also thought it might give him the chance to set things right.
Max dabbed his right index finger into the wound on his chest.
Funny, he thought, I thought that would hurt more.
He slumped forward, placed his bloodied finger on the paper, and wrote four letters.