Time for exposition dudes and dudettes, I’m told I handled it less painfully than a full colonic irrigation by a clown making balloon animals, you be the judge.
Slightly hungover from a lovely wedding I went to last night, it was a good time, I didn’t know anybody there. It was an old good friend from uni and his misses only let him invite one of his uni mates, little did she know she invited the worst offender of them all haha.
It was a good night, I only wish I could have stayed longer if it wasn’t for my long journey and ill fitting suit.
Kinda makes me feel melancholic watching people so happy like that, so normal. Makes me wonder if I could ever have that without royally fucking it up. If it’s really that perfect or just seems that way and takes lots of work and compromise I’m too lazy/stubborn to do.
It’s a selfish thought to go to a wedding and think ‘but what about me’ I guess, but maybe it’s good I recognise that. I genuinely feel happy for them but it brings into question the life I chose. I wish I could see more of him and all my old friends but I’ve chosen a solitary path.
I knew I would have to take this journey alone, I had to seclude myself to find the best stories and be a success, there was no other options, to balance work and writing and friends would make me a failure at all three and too burnt out to do anything about it. I knew what I was doing but it still catches in my throat when I see that two people can be so happy and normal when I’ve always felt so broken and different. But there goes that narcissism again, too bad I spend all my money on knives and editing instead of therapy haha. Ah fuck it, as Tom Waits would; “It’s nothing that a hundred dollars won’t fix”.
Or a couple hundred thousand would be nice.
Anyway enough of this ceaseless faggotry, this chapter fills in a lot of the blanks so I hope you people appreciate this and I know you people exist. I was looking at the analytics for this on inkitt and Green Sunday has had just under a thousand reads since December/january I think, so they exist.
As always you can find the full chapter on inkitt by following this link;
Take up Space
The sun rolled down the hill faster than usual. Candlelight lit TJ’s mom’s little dining room. The sounds of knives and forks scratching plates filled the silence.
“So how did you and TJ meet?” TJ’s mom asked, cutting through the awkward silence of this intimate little meal. The table consisted of her and her son and a strange, green-haired girl he’d brought in off the streets who smelt faintly of dried blood.
“We met at the mall actually,” the girl said, turning a wry smile up at TJ who was sweating into his food.
“I’m sorry, did you tell me your name? I get a little ditsy sometimes,” his mother said; something wasn’t quite right. Like she’d walked out of one dream and into another unannounced.
“Sunday,” she said.
“Well that’s a pretty name. TJ, don’t you think that’s a pretty name?”
“Err, yeah,” TJ said, looking up from his plate of macaroni and cheese to glance across the table.
“Do you live around here? I don’t think I’ve seen you before. I mean, I think I’d – I mean -”
“Ah no, I just got here. Err, my… dad travels a lot for work,” Sunday said, choosing her words surgically.
“Well I think the candles were a nice touch. We don’t get to use the dining room much these days; it’s just been the two of us for a while now.”
“Yeah, well, it was TJ’s idea; he said it would give the room some atmosphere, right?” Sunday said, watching TJ squirm.
“TJ and I aren’t used to entertaining. After his father left, we mostly kept to ourselves.”
“Mom,” TJ whined.
“That’s right, TJ hates me telling everyone our life story.” His mom smiled with a melancholy intake of breath. “Oh, you’re finished?”
“Yes, thank you. It was lovely.”
“What a polite girl,” TJ’s mom said as she collected the plate in front of Sunday, a warm smile on her face. “You’re welcome to stay in the guest bedroom across from me if you’re too tired to make it home.” She fluttered out of the room with the dirty plates.
“No, that’s OK. I think I’m just gonna bunk with TJ and fuck his brains out all night.”
TJ’s perfectly timed sip of milk sprayed down his shirt.
“That’s nice,” TJ’s mom said from the kitchen, clearly not having heard anything she’d said.
Sunday handed TJ a napkin and smiled trollishly. He snatched it from between her two fingers and began to dab his shirt.
“Do you think we should tell her?” he whispered.
“Why worry her? Nothing should happen tonight as long as we don’t light the house up like a Christmas tree. Or make too much noise. I thought the candlelight thing would be cute,” Sunday said, reclining in her dining chair.
“But she has to know.”
“She’ll find out.” She closed her eyes for a moment, putting her hands behind her head.
“Are we gonna die?” TJ said, a hint of anger in his hushed voice.
TJ’s mom barrelled into the room with some sort of lopsided cake and plonked it down in between the two of them, oblivious to the mounting tension she had just crudely carved in half.
The door to TJ’s bathroom opened like a sealed vault door, or an alien craft billowing steam. It had been closed for a good hour and a half. Sunday walked out barefoot wearing an old XXXL ‘Walking Dead’ T-shirt that went down to her knees. She rubbed her whole head with a towel as if she was trying to polish a lamp.
Her legs, clean, were surprisingly dainty-looking, covered with little cuts and plasters, but her skin looked soft and smooth. TJ stopped dead on his made up futon on the floor. She opened one eye underneath the towel and saw he was looking at her. She dropped the towel on the floor and crossed the room to the window.
“Thanks for the shirt.”
“Err, no problem.”
“Let me guess, you wanna know if the curtains match the drapes?” She smiled as she turned back towards TJ.
“Err, wut? No! I wasn’t!” TJ’s face turned a purply red colour and his tongue swelled up in his head.
She perched on the windowsill and looked out at the cool, quiet trees swaying in the dark. There were fires burning in the distance, muffled screams carried by the shiftless night. The smell of the smoke was sweet and homely to her. She sighed after taking in a lungful through the small crack in the window.
She cocked one of her legs up on the sill and TJ almost burst a blood vessel.
“Err, I made up the bed. I’m fine here,” he said, motioning to his crude futon.
“OK,” she said dreamily, staring out the window.
“What’s happening?” He bit his bottom lip as he said it, not wanting to know.
He could see her blank expression reflected in the black window. “It’s a game.”
“I was brought here to play,” she said, her voice trailing off.
TJ furrowed his brow and got quiet. She looked over at him as he hung his head, trying to make sense of what she had said.
She sucked her bottom lip and sighed again. “They did it before, to my town. I was working in some fucking diner and then one day…”
“Please, I don’t understand.”
“This happened before, in Arkham; that’s where I’m from.”
“But, the TV, it said only one person survived,” TJ stuttered.
“The TV lied. Me, that guy you met before, and a few others: we’re all leftovers, survivors, but now we’re ’players.’” She turned her face back to the window, but didn’t look outside; she didn’t look at anything.
“How do I play – the game, I mean – how do you win?” TJ rose a little from his futon. A frustrated resolve boiled beneath the surface; he was sure there was a straight answer somewhere under that mess of green hair.
“You just have to survive.”
“What’s happening?” he asked again.
“In three days this place is going to be a ghost town. It’ll be wiped off the map, blamed on a nuclear plant leak or a fire or terrorists, whatever.”
“Three days? Why just three days?” TJ’s voice took on a frantic tremble.
“It’s how the game works. The zombies are just the first part; the second day is when it starts getting messy.”
“Messy? What the fuck does that mean?”
“If you win three games in succession you get to leave: a new identity, a new life, somewhere far away.” As she said it, she turned her head away as if she almost believed it. “The winner is the person that scores the most points. Points are allocated per zombie and recorded by a series of drone cameras flying overhead, as well as security cameras they’ve hacked throughout the town. There are no points for killing people, but on the second day, a backed contestant is worth double points.”
“Backed contestant? What does this all mean?”
“To be a contestant you have to have a backer. There are thousands of people watching: some just gawkers, stumbling onto the deep web; others are rich sickos who want to pay to control someone, someone like me. They take bets on who wins and they pay to keep you alive or watch you die.”
“Can we escape?”
“You can try.”
“What about phones? The Internet?”
“All cut off. Only they can access the net through their own satellite. That’s how they broadcast through the deep web.”
“What happens on the third day?”
“The third day, all bets are off. This town will burn.” She stood up, walked away from the window, wafting a sweet scent as she passed him, and climbed into TJ’s bed, which had never looked so neat.
“How did you survive?” TJ asked, still prone in his futon.
Her body was rigid and she spoke while still facing away from him. “I didn’t.”