Darvey. I won't forget you. Your life, condensed into the 24 small pages of paper, is now part of my narrative. Your memories intertwine with my own. Where you begin and I end has been blurred into a gross brown of moments once lived. Darvey. Your story has been read. Your story will be told. Your story will become a rumor, a myth, a legend. You will be made again into a character, bigger than life, unbelievable, a fable. Remember Darey, is what they will say. Remember Darvey.
I am writing you out of desperation. I have many things I would like to say to you--things I feel a need to say to you--but alas, time is not on my side. The battery for this laptop has dwindled and now teeters on the brink of death, and I do not have the means to preserve its spirit. I fear my attachment to this device has grown too strong; I dread an existence without this outlet for my thoughts. It would seem that I have developed a dependence where there is no feasible substitute for someone with my disposition. Furthermore, the discovery of Wesley Neumann's apparently accidentally shared discourse grips at my being--his wandering ponderings ring in my ears and prod at my curiosity. He does not speak to me, but his words unwittingly do. I have much to say to this distant stranger; much to learn.
Will you help me?
True, I am but a stranger myself--a strange stranger; one who provides you with no real incentive to offer your kindness yet again. And yes, I do not have anything to offer in return, and requesting your assistance very well may place you in some form of danger (maybe, I can't be sure)... Still, I must ask this of you, even though I should never think to impose on you in this way, even with the realization that such an inquiry carries such an immense burden (a burden further burdened by the source of the question)... But, there are just far too many questions to be asked and far too much conversation to be had. What a waste it would be should this potential fail to actualize. I hope, truly and fully, that there is a solution to this dilemma, and I hope that it is one which you will be able and willing to aid in the procurement of such.
That is all I have to say for now. I anxiously await your return.
I held my hand and stub near to the fire in hopeful search of warmth, yet none was found. Had I started this fire? Let's say that I had, let's say a irrepressible rage swarmed through me when the undead I had so rancorously shoved to its death stood up again and, ever more feebly than before, began to shuffle-skiff away. I wouldn't have it, I wouldn't—had it started snowing? How... nostalgic. Were I alive living instead of dead living then I assume a lump would have welted in my throat while I stood, unabashedly fighting back tears at the sight of those beautiful ice pixies dancing their Zapatistas dance in revolt against warmth.
A unfeeling, undead creature vainly warming its hands upon a fire lit from a body of a husk of an existence amidst rebellious snowflakes... believable? Morbid? Melodramatic? Darvey flickered through my mind. Where had he gotten in his story? Let me check.
I pushed the door closed and shuffled back into the living room. Noting the low murmur emanating from the black outline on my recliner, I gracelessly sidled past along the length of the coffee table and plopped onto the couch, which creaked and squeaked in protest. Shilah--surely the preferable guest to its weathered old frame--had (grudgingly) relocated to the couch's more favorable neighbor. Sleep had suddenly become elusive, so she watched my haggard frame with a nefarious stare (as cats are wont to do). I propped my foot against the bottom of the chair and began to gently rock it back and forth; her eyes fluttered closed; her muted purr began to crescendo, and sleep appeared attainable once again.
Outside, millions of silvery flakes fluttered from the heavens and immediately perished once upon the damp landscape. The window rattled with an errant gust; the flakes swirled spasmodically with the outburst, then returned to their graceful suicide.
"Where to start, yes, where indeed to start my investigation into these creatures," I thought—cooly?—as I stood wavering outside the door which I had shut thirty or so undead creatures behind. I stroked my chin thoughtfully, attempting to conjure up one of those majestic characters I had read about. Instead I probably just looked a fool. An obvious imposter. Yes, that was what I, a—no... focus. Focus.
I didn't particularly like having them around, but then again, one had to make sacrifices for the sake of scientific inquiry and discovery. So...?
Oh... yes... I must start my discoveration (my word, don't judge), so I may be rid of their blighted presence, it stains my sanctuary. The library ma—hadn't I named him...? Darvey.
What about Darvey?
Noting the familiar head bob, Melody rushed to my tattered, stain-riddled sofa and plopped down in front of the laptop, which she nonchalantly swiped from the coffee table and placed on her lap. As she was flipping it open, she paused abruptly, catching herself, and turned toward me, her face painted with guilt.
"Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to just... do you mind if I...?"
I shrugged as her voice trailed off; relief washed over her face and her attention returned once more to the glowing screen before her.
"It's, uh... you sort of get used to just, you know, taking without permission, I guess. It's like, uh, survival instinct or something... I don't know."
She cleared her throat and glanced up at me, a bit ashamed.
"So... you, uh, use this thing at all? I mean, is this your writing? Or...?"
I nodded, perhaps a bit sheepishly this time. A twinge of discomfort loomed in my psyche. I had not anticipated another pair of eyes poring over my words. But then, had I known, would I have abstained from portions of dialogue? Had I been knowingly writing for an audience, would my thoughts have taken a different tone? A different form? Would I have instead opted for a more disingenuous narrative—stringing words together simply to entertain rather than... what exactly is the purpose of my writing?
I grabbed its hand and pulled it with me. It mumbled a groan in meek protest, then off snapped its hand. It didn’t make sense. They seemed almost superhuman when they devoured poor library man, but how easily they seemed to come apart when I attempted to move them. Not that my existence made much sense either, but still, there had to be some rhyme to reason behind how these things functioned, and perhaps gleaning the secrets lying within them would unlock whatever mysteries I contained.
Melody nodded in the direction of Gordon's concealed body, both hands cupped into an artificial surgical mask of sorts.
"Friend of yours?"
I winced at the question and nodded timidly, hopeful that she wouldn't detect any of my guilt in my demeanor. She watched me for a moment then turned suddenly, quietly retching into her cupped hands. She shuddered and looked back at me apologetically.
"I'm really sorry. I don't think I'll ever get used to that smell."
Her eyes dropped again to the pile of clothes; her brow creased into a pained expression, equally surprising and perplexing in its sincerity.
"Sorry for your loss."
A rather cliché statement, yes, but confoundingly heartfelt. Who was this seemingly sympathetic, unassuming figure standing before me? Is this not the same woman who pulled the trigger on Eduardo? Is that not the same pistol whose contents burst forth and pierced through the tight, pinkish coils housed in Eduardo's unsuspecting think-tank? Is this not the same woman who murdered, plundered, then fled, ostensibly remorseless and unhesitating?
Where did I lose that diary? Well, at least I think, that I lost it. But why now am I recalling those words? I can still picture them shapes of the letters written within; minuscule and with serifs. Cramped line after cramped line. No punctuation. Did I ever learn his name? Was it Darvey? Must have been Darvey... and let's say Richardson, yes, that sounds good. Darvey Richardson. Can you hear me? I thought not. Why? Because you are dead. You have been for quite sometime now, but in case you didn't know, I thought to remind you... or... am I actually reminding myself?
"I'm not going to hurt you! I'm not going to hurt you!"
By some strange circumstance, Eduardo's killer now stood on my porch, one hand hovering over the weapon holstered on her hip while the other waved at me in surrender. I stood in the doorway, unwavering at this contradicting display, prepared to face whatever should befall me. She watched me intently, her hand prepared to snatch the gun from her side and send a bullet through my skull should I make any sudden movements. My eye locked with hers; a light breeze danced almost cinematically through her hair; a pile of leaves dismantled and tumbled across the sidewalk behind her. There we stood, incidental players in a most unusual western-esque standoff where I was woefully unarmed. It then occurred to me in all our standing what a strange coincidence it would be to suffer the same fate as Eduardo after having watched his own demise from this very place.
She folded her arms abruptly and exhaled.
"Heh. Thought so."