No clue what’s going on in the story so far? We got you.
Chapter One by Lucy
Chapter Four by Matt Snyder
Author Acknowledgment: Lyrics From Hard Man Fe Dead by Prince Buster.
Words I can’t quite discern coming from a distance. “Them boil one pot of chocolate tea and all the fried fish they caught in the sea. They also got a six quart of rum saying that they waiting for the nine night to come.”
I recognized the words, lyrics to a song called Hard Man Fe Dead by Prince Buster.
Where am I?
There is a chill in the air as well; I feel I exist but I cannot seem to move. I hear bits and pieces of a muffled dialogue. I sense movement, yet I see nothing.
My eyes crack open slightly and there is a bright blinding light above, too damn bright. Am I peering into heaven? Back to the muffled voices, I strain to make out what is being said.
“Is he awake?”
“You hit him too hard… Were there no other means that were less violent?”
I feel a pin prick on my arm. I am surprised I can feel again.
Growing hazier, groggier…
“Why did you do that, Cracker? Don’t we pay you enough? Was it so hard to find an easier, less messy way of bringing him here?” said Venus.
“I did what you asked, he’s here as promised, what exactly are—”
Before he can finish his sentence, Cracker crumples to the floor, having had his neck broken by the seven foot thug standing behind him.
“Remove the carcass from the operating room,” Venus states callously, “It served its purpose.”
Silence, at last.
For what felt like an eternity, again I hear voices yet I cannot make out who they are.
“Was it a success?”
“Yes, it’s inside. We have managed a full erase. He is now ready to be used so you can get what you need.”
A full erase? I wonder what they meant by a full erase?
There is a lull; it’s quiet again.
I finally begin to awaken. I feel a roughness beneath me. It’s sand. I’m on a beach. The air is crisp, the gulls are flying overhead and the murmur of the waves are soothing.
But where exactly am I? Wasn’t I working? Am I on vacation?
And most importantly, who am I?
A cop approaches me and tells me to move along; he’s got a real tough and gruff approach about him and he’s real big like easily three hundred and fifty pounds at seven feet. “The beach ain’t open yet ya mug, cantcha read?” he says.
I tell him I’m not from around here. I apologize and start heading down the boardwalk. I come across a sign, it reads THIS WAY TO THE 9TH with an arrow pointing forward. I decide to take this path, though I’m not quite sure why.
I stop dead in my tracks.
There is a man lying on the boardwalk. He seems to have been struck on the head, and is bleeding profusely. I call out to the cop that I need help—
In every direction there is nothing and no one.
I stare into the man’s eyes. I want to help. But, I don’t know how. I feel a genuine closeness to this guy, like we’re brothers. But try as I might, nothing I do helps; it all feels hopeless.
He whispers something in my ear. “They….have….us…now…”
Us? What did he mean by us?
I look away for a moment to try to gather my thoughts. Who was this guy that seemed familiar to me? Where am I? What happened to the cop? What the hell is the 9th? And most importantly who am I?
I look back down. The man is gone. I find myself alone again. Did I imagine this guy I saw before me?
Another man walks past me, an older gentlemen; he hands me a paper and all it says on it is THIS IS THE YEAR. The year of what? Far too many unanswered questions.
I decide to ask him, “The year of what?”
“Tonto del año”, he says.
It all sounds familiar to me, but I am bewildered as to what it all means.