Tucker Cummings

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chapter 263: Six and Nine

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

“Thanks for letting me out.”

“No sweat,” she says, cool as a cucumber. She reaches into the back of her jeans and pulls out a pistol from her waistband. She holds it out to me, but I don’t reach for it.

“I really don’t know what I’m doing here,” I stammer. “They told me I was sick, but I didn’t believe them. And seeing you, I’m guessing you’re like me. Right?”

“They’re the sick ones. This place is where they run their little experiments. Including me. I look like you because they used your DNA to grow me.”

“You’re a clone?”

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Chapter 262: That Depends

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2011 at 3:47 am

“That depends,” I respond. “That depends entirely on what you want to do next?”

“Listen,” she says. “I’m opening the door. Then we’re going to get out of here. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one left. I could use someone on my six.”

The door clanks, and opens with a low groan. There she is. Me, age 8. Maybe age 10. It takes some muscle to hold an assault rifle.

“Hi,” I say.

“Stop gawking,” she retorts, clearly embarrassed to be associating with yet another lame grownup.

“You got a name?” I ask my pintsize warrior.

“It’s sure as hell not Margery.”

Chapter 261: Shave and a Haircut

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2011 at 2:24 am

My little savior knocks seven times.

There is silence, punctuated only by the high fast breathing of an over-exerted child.

I can’t stand it. I speak out.

“Hello?”

From the other side of the door, I hear my own voice, circa age 8: “Who’s in there?”

“My name is Margery Jones. I think…are we related?”

“Only kinda.”

“Are you okay? I heard gunshots.”

“Yeah. That was my AK.”

“You have an AK-47?”

“I have lots of toys,” she cheers. “But this one is definitely the best.”

She says nothing for a while. Then: “Do you want to come out of there?”

Chapter 260: The Juniper Tree

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2011 at 5:27 am

The Margery on the other side of the door laughs: a high, tinkling sound that makes my blood run cold. There are shots fired, then silence.

And then, she begins to sing:

“My mother, she killed me;
My father, he ate me;
My sister, little Margery,
Gathered up all my bones,
Tied them in a silk handkerchief,
And laid them under the Juniper-tree:
Kywitt! Kywitt! what a beautiful bird am I!”

I thought she was like me, but I was wrong. If that is a Margery on the other side of the door, she’s just a child.

A terrifying child.

Chapter 259: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margery.

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2011 at 5:29 am

Days pass. The corridors sound silent, with only the occasional creaking of trolley wheels or distant clacking of heels audible through the walls.

I try to listen surreptitiously, crossing by the door every afternoon, never stopping long. Musn’t arouse the camera’s suspicions.

A clattering sound like bedpans dropping on linoleum makes my heart leap, and I rush to the door.

I hear, “Get back!” from the other side of the door, in my own voice.

“It’s me!” I yell at the top of my lungs. “Can you hear me? Please, can you hear me? I’m in here! You’re not alone!”

Chapter 258: Doctor? Who?

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I lie in bed, straining to hear the faraway, muddled sounds of the hospital staff. Outwardly, I am sedate, resting, almost on the verge of dreamtime. Inside, I am a covert operative, smooth as silk, deadly as tetrodotoxin.

I hear two women’s voices talking in the hall. I assume they are nurses, not patients. If I’m right about where I am (and I’m not actually crazy), then all the patients here should sound just like me.

The women say something about a surprise visit from “Mr. Pierce and Dr. Nola.”

Now, I can sleep. My enemies have names, at last.

Chapter 257: Listening or Hallucinating

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2011 at 12:56 am

I press my ear up against the door every afternoon at 3, hoping to overhear some vital piece of information. I still don’t understand what they want from me, what the drugs they’ve been treating me with are meant to do, or how I will manage to break free from this place.

Two days ago, I heard nothing.

Yesterday, I heard nurses murmuring about “other patients” and “morgue overflow.” That chilled me.

But today. Today. I am certain that today, at last, I heard something important. The unmistakable sound of my own voice.

There is another Margery here.

I must find her.

Chapter 256: Misplaced Trust

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm

The one person you can always trust is yourself. It’s an aphorism my mother always whispered against my brow in times of trouble, probably mimicking a gesture as old as the troubles in her home city of Belfast.

The more I consider my situation, the less faith I place in her maternal benediction. Because I don’t trust myself, not anymore than I trust all of the other versions of myself that I’ve encountered.

Our minds are such fragile things; it takes so little to destroy them. A high fever, a bump on the head, a few trips across strange worlds.

Chapter 255: Interlude: The Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2011 at 2:45 am

There’s only so much use you can get out of a single corpse. You only need a few ounces of tissue to extract DNA. The real value of a body (after you’ve experimented it to death) is in autopsy. Once you’ve excised the useful bits, a body is just a hundred pounds of waste.

Disposing of a body is surprisingly difficult. When you have a parade of bodies coming in each month, getting rid of the Jones cadavers is pretty much a full time job. Sometimes, they use chemicals. Sometimes, fire. But mostly, the bodies are dumped into the sea.

Chapter 254: Interlude: The Box of Lies

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2011 at 1:59 am

But wherefore says my love that she is young?
And wherefore say not I, that I am old?
O, love’s best habit’s in a soothing tongue,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Therefore I’ll lie with love, and love, with me,
Since that our faults in love thus smothered be.

Mr. Jones interrupts the coffee house poetry reading by leveling his Desert Eagle at the undergrad.

The girl falls, and the crowd flees.

Jones holsters his gun, and places his briefcase on a table.

He opens it, extracts Margery’s keepsake box. Time to follow another lead.