-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
<@bda> My food cut me!
<@ejp> "How you know you're in Philly"
* bda gets in a cab, after a long night of trying, and failing, to fix insane SCSI hardware.
<cabbie> Good night!
<bda> Heh, good morning. @cross_streets, please.
<cabbie> But I am going up.
* bda pauses.
<bda> You can't turn around?
<cabbie> Ah, I have a problem where I must be home by 3!
<cabbie> So I cannot take you down.
<bda> Right. Well. Cheers.
<cabbie> I hate to leave you! But it is my big problem. I must be at my home by 3!
* cabbie mimes knocking on a door.
<bda> Really. No worries.
* bda gets the hell out of this maniac's cab and finds another.
Best Buy has the Veronica Mars season sets for $17 to $20. Right now.
You should go buy them. If not for yourself, for a friend. Or an enemy you want to lull into a false sense of security (I'd suggest maybe you could get at them while they were engrossed with watching the show, but like, no one is that evil. Not even you. You bastard).
Get them! Cheap!
(Compare to the full sets at either Best Buy or Amazon, which are ~$160. wtf, dudes.)
[link via aab]
I am deliberating between red and green apples when I feel the girl staring at me. The apples are hissing abuse at the oranges behind me, and I am attempting, with little success, to determine which color is less full of vitriol, thinking perhaps their personality may be linked to their flavor.
It is not the sort of stare I often convince myself people are directing at me, the sort that causes me to duck into alcoves or behind trees, arguably accruing more attention than otherwise. Though convincing at an animal level, I understand it is the universal paranoia we are all subjected to simply as a side-effect of existing.
No, this is the kind of gaze that causes other people nearby to pause, to look and see what is worth being so intent about. As it's just me, glaring at the apples, their attention wanes quickly.
The girl looks somewhat disheveled, her clothes washed but rumpled, her boots polished but the toes recently and heavily scuffed. Her attitude is intense, and the large raven on her shoulder adds somewhat to this intensity. Her eyes are narrowed, shadowed by furrowed brow, and it is doubtful I could make out their color at this distance even if I weren't observing her solely with my peripheral vision.
The raven ignores me completely, entranced by an array of berries. The berries, oblivious, are humming to themselves tunelessly.
I reach out and take a green apple; perhaps this decisive act will break her concentration, and she will blink, shake her head slightly, and go away. It does not. I replace the apple and take a red one. This seems to have no effect either, but then, after a moment, in stops and starts, she shuffles over to me. She steadies herself against the bins of fruit; though she appears uninjured, staying upright seems to be an ordeal.
The great bird ruffles its feathers and flaps off her shoulder. It perches near its berries, peering down at them from one side of its head, then the other. They continue their incessant humming.
The girl leans down in front of me, obscuring the now silent apples. Slightly more intelligent than their neighbors, the cursed things seem to have realized something is up.
The girl's hair is short; though grown out, it was expensively cut. Her eyes are startling green, and her shirt is loose enough I can see down it. A necklace hangs between her breasts, but I cannot make out its shape.
"I met an angel here once," she confides. My eyes meet hers, and she seems to take my understandable confusion for questioning. I have suffered sentient furniture, allayed the slow jealousy of suspicious statues, and parlayed with what may have been the shadows of demons, but angels?
"He saved me, with a word, and it tasted like strawberries."
And then she falls to her knees and begins quietly sobbing.
The raven leaves its amateur choir and returns to her shoulder. Finally deigning to notice me, its expression, for all its immobility, is withering.
The shadows whispering assurances hard experience has taught me to distrust, I take another step into this accursed houses basement. The concrete and wood mutter to themselves, ignoring me; I can understand the gestalt of their constant discourse, though. In great detail, they recite the litany of horrors enacted in this place.
There are six rooms below, each darker than the last. Each full of a greater level of terrors. When the victims would be moved from one room to another, deeper in the basement, the door behind me would be left open. If it were day, the sunlight would shine down, blinding the prey. And then they would be moved back, away from the light, into deepening gloom.
When moved at night, the walls and ceiling remind, there is a flood light set against the far wall upstairs. While not as good as real sunlight, the effect is often the same.
I take another step down, slowly, the vile patina filling my mouth and ears. Behind me, the girl's bird hisses: "Fool. Hardy."
Two more words the girl will never use.
Perhaps once this was just a house; just beams and nails and heavy oak. Terrified blood has soaked into the wood, into the concrete and stained the paint, and now like any other rabid animal, the house is quite mad.
Atrocities occurred here, and in the creaking of the stairs as I descend another step, in the wind against the shingles, in the very air settling throughout the dead spaces within the damned walls, the house is more than willing to share them.
I wish, in my very core, that some dark power brought this place to its current insanity. That some demon slipped through, investing itself into the foundation and mortar. I can feel the intent that shaped it, though, and it is man. A man, singular, unique in his perversion; the ghosts of his actions are enough to arrest my progress. The pressure increases with every step down, making it harder to breath.
The bird lands on my shoulder. Its claws dig into my flesh, bringing me back to myself. The cacophony of the house quiets, becoming again a muttering background.
The bird's mistress is not down here. We both know it. It can sense her absence, and I can feel the pregnant emptiness. But we both must see.