Tucker Cummings Miller

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chapter 365: Makaria

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2011 at 12:01 am

My dearest daughter. I’m sorry I didn’t come home. After your father died, after the accident, I couldn’t bear it. I was willing to do anything to find him, to bring him back to you and make us all a family again.

I said once that I left home out of curiosity. Now I can say that I was running away. Away from you, away from pain, away from the comfort of familiar routines. Everyone thought I was crazy. They said it couldn’t be done. We did it.

Now, finally, I’m at peace. I’m ready. I’m happy.

Let’s do this thing.

Chapter 364: Adora, Au Revoir

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2011 at 2:14 am

Adora, broken and embittered, sits on a pile of dust overlooking a railroad depot. Her clothes are ragged, her nails are dirty, and her hair hasn’t been cut in years. Despite all her hopes, her journey is at an end. Her mission was a failure.

Her heart once pumped white-hot rage. It’s cooled now. It still aches fiercely.

“Where are you, Mom?” she asks the puffs of dirt she’s kicked up.

She opens her knapsack and grabs a bottle of lemonade. It’s warm, but still quenches her thirst.

“Here’s to you, then. I’m done looking. Find me, if you want.”

Chapter 363: Exit Strategy, or The Last Time I Saw Ripley

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2011 at 2:09 am

There’s clearly something on Ripley’s mind. I don’t know what.

We pass each other in a hallway. I’m starting to show at the seams.

Casual hello. It’s me, Margery. Act naturally, I instruct myself silently.

“Heya, Rips!” I bark, and immediately am sure she’s seen right through to the heart of me.

Miraculously, she seems unfazed by my lack of cool.

“Margery, hey. No time to talk. You look busy, too. Come by my rooms later for dinner? I’ll make that seafood stew you like.”

“Sounds great,” I say convincingly.

But it’s not going to happen. I have other plans.

Chapter 362: Chatter

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Ripley and the doc are sitting in Doc’s office, printouts and solid state drives littering the landscape of the desk.

“There’s been chatter,” Doc explains. “We may be in an intermission, not at the curtain call.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Our operatives in the field are saying that the boys in black are staging a comeback tour.”

“Okay, firstly, enough with the artistic euphemisms. Second, that’s impossible. What few stragglers there were are now running scared.”

“Something’s going to happen, Ripley. And soon. So now we have to decide how to prepare. What to do.”

“Doc. Please. Don’t tell Margery.”

Chapter 361: Social Piranha

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2011 at 3:04 am

Stirrings, always stirrings. Wars are never over. Every pause is just long enough for the faction to catch a breath, then draw a weapon and start the conflict all over again.

There are agents moving, always moving, nipping into crowds and leaving behind parcels that will change the game. In any given city, they teem, clustering in schools and plotting revenge.

From death springs life. The snake eats its tail, and the circle is unbroken.

The pax is over. Our interbellum’s at an end. When the fallen strike back, it will be a fatal blow.

Don’t start what you can’t finish.

Chapter 360: Wayzgoose

In Uncategorized on December 26, 2011 at 1:56 am

St. Bart’s sacred day is long since past, and yet we still have a fun little shindig to attend.

Apparently in my sleep, the doc and Ripley started a tedious little tradition. Day after Christmas, without fail, they throw a little fête for all the hospital staff. It’s a strange thing, to sip warm champagne with a gross of your look-a-likes.

My throat is ragged from making small talk, my head aches from chit-chat. How can I share so much of my DNA with these people, and yet hate everything about them?

Ripley waves. Someone for me to “meet.”

Ugh.

Chapter 359: Very Merry

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2011 at 3:01 am

Our wounded little family sits around a plastic tree. A photo of M2 from a time after I fell into my sleep is by Ripley’s feet, and it’s creeping me out. To her left, Doc is pouring us coffees from a thermos laced with whiskey.

The gifts sit at the base of the tree, unopened. No one wants to be the first to unwrap one. Once you start, you begin to end.

I miss Dora. There’s no way I could go back to her now, not after I abandoned her. But still. Still.

Yeah. I’m ready to get out of here.

Chapter 358: Scheisse

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2011 at 2:43 am

Recklessly selfish, I’d forgotten one thing during my frenetic planning phase. To keep my intents a secret, I need to act normally. And to be in accordance with social mores, I have some serious Christmas shopping to do tonight.

What do you get for someone when you know it’s going to be the last holiday you spend with them? Do you go all out, or do you restrain your impulse to spend lavishly, as if to say “We’ll be together next year. I know it.”

What do you give you the woman who nearly killed you? To your miraculous doctor?

Chapter 357: What’s Left?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 2:05 am

I don’t have a bucket list, that’s true. But I’m still curious. There are a few things I haven’t done yet. I don’t have a lot of time left, and I’m not sure how I want to spend it. I might as well try a few new diversions on for size.

I’ve never tried opium or heroin. I’ve never gone skydiving. I’ve never held a snake. I’ve never volunteered at a soup kitchen. I’ve never baked bread from scratch, or brewed my own beer. I’ve never driven on the Autobahn, or seen the South Pole. I’ve never seen a birth.

Chapter 356: The Shopping Trip

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 at 2:32 am

I’ve eaten a lot of strange things. Some of them I loved. Some of them I sort of liked (coelacanth sashimi.) Others were a little too weird for me (like that edible soybean sweater.)

But I’ve enjoyed hunting down some of the items for my last meal. Obviously, there’s the obligatory pint of McIlhenny’s. Maybe a dandelion and burdock float for dessert. Still have to plan those courses in the middle, though. Still, it’s sort of a nice way to pass the time. Traveling hither and yon, visiting the most pleasant of my old haunts.

Gather ye acorns while ye may.