Well here we are with the final chapter of The One That Came Back raw and unedited cos I’m mean like that, if you want the lovely polished edited version you’ll have to sign up to my mailing list to get it winged to your inbox in a lovely digital with a cover and everything that I spent ages on ms paint making haha. I wish I was kidding.
Shit, I spent god knows how much money getting it edited only to give it away now I’m supposed to spend a small fortune on getting someone to do me a cover. I got lucky with the Ladies Close Your Eyes cover, I got someone from my comic book connections (when it was supposed to be a comic) to do it for free with a bit of cajoling and ass kissing.
So ms paint is all you’re getting, hey it’s the content that matters, all that thirty day nanowrimo content that kind of sucks but what do you expect it’s free? Nah it’s good, it’s not my best work to date, it’s rushed, it’s kind of raw, a little cheesy but overall I like it because it’s as close to the real life events as I could get it.
My main aim when writing it was to add an element of the supernatural and an element of mystery while keeping it as grounded and realistic as possible. A little like true detective, keep it gritty and real even a little boring to hit harder when it gets a little crazy.
I don’t really think I got the emotional weight I could have gotten or spent enough time making people like the characters but I wanted almost to treat it like a documentary and just present the characters as they are and you end up liking them or disliking them.
I dunno, I kind of like that, I’ve been watching Battlestar gallactica recently and it’s hard to describe because the characters are really grounded and I find myself not really liking any of them but not hating them either. It’s weird, they just are. I’m not rooting for anyone but I still find it oddly compelling and interesting and I love spaceship cabin asmr noises in the background and the sort of claustrophobic feel. Because it’s basically about the majority of the human race being destroyed by evil robots they created and now they have to live in a nomadic convoy of space ships looking for a new home. I think it’s a great show, not usually a big fan of sci-fi, but it’s sort of so realistic it’s almost like watching a tv show aboard a naval ship a thousand years in the future.
It gives me that hit of starship troopers feels I didn’t get from the animated series. Because I recently read the starship troopers book and it’s written by a guy who spent time in the navy and he just wrote a book imagining a navy in the future with space travel and killer bugs and that’s how it reads. And it’s why I found the book super fucking boring haha.
It’s not a bad book, just nothing really happens in it, it’s just slice of life kind of crap but its only interesting because its a slice of a guy who kills bugs in a mech suit haha. But it just goes to show how perfect Paul Verhoeven was to direct the movie, he added the perfect tone to the movie, just enough campy silliness to make it fun and make the gorey fucked up moments hit harder. Because really there’s no other way it could have been done, it stretches credulity too much to be taken seriously so Verhoeven just took it to it’s natural ridiculous conclusion and it worked really well.
Obviously he was trying to parody a fascist space dictatorship but he just made it look really cool haha.
Updates updates, ok well 3 ring is coming along pretty well actually. I’m finding it really easy to write, just flows really naturally, I’m not sticking strictly to a word limit for the chapters like I usually do, so just letting them fall where they fall because I have a lot of content for this, no shitty word salad filler (I don’t do that).
I originally planned it to be like a sixty issue long comic series so I watched a buttload of kung fu and samurai movies as ‘research’ and I have ideas out of the ass. So I’m just gonna write this first maybe as a novelette and just see where it goes, end it where it feels natural. Maybe I could get it published in a magazine in an episodic format if it’s short and wraps up nicely.
Yeah I was surprised by how well it’s going to the point where I did something pretty clever that was kind of unintentional, but mostly I think it’ll be a fun read, I think I’ll do the next Diana book after this seeing where the wind blows. Maybe I’ll do Cur for nano if I do nano this year. I fucked up and was late last year and just failed by like a day haha.
Getting some good stuff for Cur, still not fully formed, reading more Witcher which I’m enjoying for the most part. It’s fun because it’s basically written almost as a fantasy noir, it’s very stark and gritty and not at all fanciful or verbose, it’s literally like if Richard Stark or Dashell Hammet said “Fuck it, I’m doing wizard shit now” haha.
So it’s right up my alley but there’s no real story to the first book, it’s basically a collection of not really connected vignettes pastiching classic fairy tales like snow white and things like that. So I like it but there’s nothing in it that makes me want to get back into it. I kind of have to force myself to set time aside whereas when you read something like a Richard Stark Parker novel I can’t wait to find a minute just to see what Parker does next because I know it’s going to be fucked up, usually rape and child murder. Actually has he raped anyone? I don’t think so but he definitely killed a kid in one book haha. He is not a nice person.
But that’s one of the reason I love those books, because I spent so long reading noir detective novels to read one from the opposite side of the law was just so refreshing and every book in the series is just consistently good. It’s a lot like Dexter in that respect but a lot more stark and realistic. No dumb jokes about fruit or whatever haha. No I love Dexter but reading the books back, he is kind of a goof haha.
Anyway Jesus, I waffled a lot today.
Shit I need to do some real work. I hope someone out there likes the ending and wants to read it in it’s final form until then you can read the raw copy with the link below and have yourself a peachy day.
A week later they had his funeral.
Porter came to watch people. He blended in, that’s what he did on most days. There was no guest list at a funeral and he knew Jack for a split second or two. Maybe he owed Jack a headache he’d pass on to the nearest relative, so he figured that made it sit right, for now atleast. Some of the heat had died down from the Bartlett case.
The imposter supposedly skipped town after he got bailed out by a family friend. Without him to interview the press had run out of blood to squeeze. He was the centre of it all and with him gone it all fell apart. Jack’s death made him the perfect scapegoat. For the fbi at least and any news source that didn’t make the imposter the focus of their stories. For anyone that could see past a desperate conman to the potential murk underneath. They’d seen enough and were willing to pin it on the junkie that killed himself.
So why was Porter still here?
The funeral didn’t go on too long.
It wasn’t overly dramatc, it wasn’t raining, no one cried. The priest said his part and they put him in the ground and threw dirt on him.
They buried him in Holy cross cemetary near Bracken because it was the closest to their house. It was just a field at the side of the road like so many others. But it had some privacy with the surrounding trees and the long chapel barring it from the road. It was a small and private.
When it was over he watched as what remained of his family walked to their cars. They were parked at the bottom of an embankment. A blonde haired kid that looked like Johnny should have looked at his age got in the drivers seat of the Lincoln. Peggy and her husband Brandon helped the mom, Angela into the passenger side. They were ready to set off when Porter worked his way up to them.
Peggy clocked him straight away and her irises shrunk to full stops or the dot at the end of an exclamation point.
“You remember me?”
“I remember you, you’re that detective right? The one who took Johnny for the interview.” She looked curious but cautious and hung on the edge of a car door, half in half out.
“What did your father do to you?”
“Did he touch you?”
She scoffed and started to get into the car, Brandon worked his way around the side and balled up a skinny fist. “I don’t have time for this”. She said as she began to sit down.
“I found him, it is him isn’t it? Buried in the backyard of your old house.” He said looking at Brandon shrink as he said it. All the strength drained out of skinny limbs.
Her face got long and her ears seemed to dip, her eyes looking around as if for somewhere to be sick.
“You get the hell out of here!” Brandon screeched coming up on Porter but stopped short to looking at him. Revealing the emptiness of his threat. Expecting Porter to look away or flinch but Porter looked straight back and said nothing. His eyes like steel ball bearings in his head.
“Stop” Peggy sighed.
Brandon stepped back and flopped around the side of the car and got in behind Peggy.
“Two minutes mom” She got out of the car and started to walk up the path flanked by gravetones. He was supposed to follow but he watched her go and then went to find her.
The cemetary wasn’t that big or old. It was just a patch of land in the middle of all that texas nothing. Dolled up to look like a tasteful oasis of trees and restful sleep. She was standing in the back under a large oak tree looking down.
He approached her slow, evidently she did have time for this.
“He was yours, Johnny?”
“I don’t know where you get an idea like that”, she said folding her arms indignant.
“I have my story, you have yours.” He lit a cigarette and waited.
“Let’s hear your story first.” She said cocking her head to the side and plucking the cigarrete from his mouth, taking a slow pull.
“I think he had his fun with you and you got pregnant and Jack found out and killed him for it.” He stood and waited for her anger, when it didn’t come he went on. “Then when Johnny was old enough he found out. Then he found what was buried in the garden, there was a fight and he had an accident.” Porter said checking off boxes in his head. Going back to the pack for another cigarette and lighting it like dejavu. Waiting for his pat on the back.
She got quiet and thought about it for a minute, like she was rearranging things in her head. He expected tears and bittereness and denials. She sat down at the base of the tree and stared up at him, squinting as the sun dipped in the sky.
“You heard that story before or did you come up with that on your own?” She breathed out and cocked her jaw like she was trying to cry or stop from crying. Just taking another long pull from the cigarette she felt entitled to. “He wasn’t a bad man, my daddy. He was just a drunk. He didn’t know better and I wanted a baby so bad.”
Porter walked to a gravestone and sat against it like a teenager cutting class. He started the tap running now, she’d go until she was spent.
“It was my fault. He was drunk. But I couldn’t tell Jack or my momma that” She took a puff from the cigarette and said “You know the rest, or close to it”. She said looking at him through lidded deep set eyes.
“Is that all?” He said flat.
She rubbed her chin with her hand the cigarette dangled from. Her eyes focusing on nothing in particular. They were shakey, getting heavy like clouds about to rain. She looked up and smiled and said “This really bugs you doesn’t it, not knowing?” She took another drag still smiling. Her eyes still shaking. “It kills you not knowing, not being there, not seeing it yourself, having to trust me and every other idiot you ask”. She was mad now but at whom she didn’t know.
He looked at her and smiled back. Focusing on little details, the stain on her collar, the yellowing of her teeth. The pitch of her voice, split ends. Anything to stop him from boiling over and breaking her nose with the flat of his shoe.
“Right now you’re thinking you can hurt me and make me tell you everything but you can’t. You know you can’t, not really and it wont make a difference anyway. I can’t tell you everything because I don’t know I can’t know.” She said it not looking at him. She looked off at the horizon like it was some grand epiphany. She knew she was getting under his skin, she wouldn’t be the first.
She smoked a little more and said “You know the funniest thing about all this.” She stopped to bite her fingernail and take another drago on the cigarrete. “Is that people think we took in a complete stranger to cover up Johnny’s death.” She stopped again to pull the cigarrette in her shaking hand. “-but in all that time, we were the only ones who gave a damn about him.” The water works started slow and built from there. Her voice shaking with cool anger and bitter tears. “When he disappeared it didn’t even make local news, because they knew how he was, we did too. He was like that Bart Simpson kid, always getting in trouble. Terrorizing the neighbhorhood.” She wiped her tears with the edge of her hand, the skin taught and pale. “They thought he’d turn up in a couple of days and the whole thing would have been nothing, but he didn’t”.
“What happened to your father?”
“I don’t need to tell you anything, you know why? Because if you had anything I’d be talk to the cops right now.” She was indignant now, her face wet. “And even that wouldn’t do any good since the only people that really know the truth won’t say a damn thing to anyone about it.” She swallowed, her throat burning, raw. “because one is my momma and the other is buried under our feet.” She stopped and shook her legs, to check they were still there. Her movements were light and fast like a moth under a lamp. “So you’re wasting your time, he took it to his grave and so will Momma.” She smiled but at what he couldn’t say.
“I can tell you one thing, I’m glad of whatever happened to that French piece of shit, you ever find him? That’s what I want to know.” She shook her head and put her hand on her hip and looked like a cartoon character for a second.
“I looked” Porter breathed in, sealing his lips tight.
“What did you find?” She asked wistfull, suddenly not interested in the answer.
“Blood and feathers.” He said.
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?” She looked up at him scrunching up her brow, her temper fraying.
“No it doesn’t, not a god damn bit”. She spat.
“He had a place, Jack. Way out in the boonies, a little trapper shack.” He finished his cigarette and flicked it.
“So? What does it mean to me?” She folded her arms again, getting catty.
“Blood and feathers.”
Peggy grimaced and turned away. She staggered to her feet and began to dust herself off.
“Well if that’s everything, I think I’ll be on my way.”
“Is that good enough for you?” There was a challenge in Porter’s voice but his eyes stayed fixed on the gravestone. As if the challenge was open to all takers.
“It’s enough for me. I can live with not knowing, it’s the only way. But this isn’t about me, and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think I see that itch you got.” She smiled cockily at the back of his head and hiked her purse up.
She started to walk away and turned her head to watch him as she walked. Shouting back to him “Is it enough for you?”
Porter didn’t turn around to look at her and she just carried on down the path and got in the car and drove away.