Jar drags deeply on the cigarette as Marilyn makes her way out, onto the roof, and passes him a coffee.
“Well it’s official, it’s been four hours since the last reported death,” she says as she looks out, over the quiet city.
“Do we have a final tally?”
“Unofficial numbers sit at twelve million, give or take a thousand either way,” she says, brushing her hair from her face as a cold breeze flows past, she feels her eyes swell, then, a few tears escape, and, as she tries to secretly wipe them away, he places a hand on her shoulder and she digs her head into his chest, letting the rest out.
“It’s okay, better out than in I say, like so many things in life. Although, farts are the worst in my opinion, I mean, did you know that you can explode if you hold them in for too long? Which is why I believe in self-preservation and ventilation.”
“Stop it, you’re not funny Jar,” she says with a laugh, smothering a cough into her jacket.
“Your words say one thing but your eyes say something else,” he says with a smile.
“Do you think, it’s over?”
“It has to be, doesn’t it? I mean, seriously, who’d believe shit like this could actually happen? That some basement dwelling dreamer who wanted to be a writer, could bring to life a creature like that, just out of his desire to write something that would make him famous, or, at the very least, make some money, it’s just crazy!” He says, looking down at her, he can see from her glassy eyed response, the day is finally taking its toll. “How are you holding up, champ?”
“Exhausted, overwhelmed, done, basically, with everything that’s going on, I just, I mean. This isn’t something I need, we need, right now.”
He kisses her on the forehead, “I’ve know you for twelve years, been your partner for eight, we’ve both seen a lot of shit, and this, this is the craziest. But, it’ll all settle down eventually, and when it does, we’ll talk, about everything.”
She smiles, “So, what do we do now then, while we wait?”
“We leave the boys to find the breadcrumbs left on his hardware, before the feds take it from under our noses. We go home, we get some rest, or at least try to, and we deal with it all tomorrow,” he says, she leans up towards him and they share a stolen kiss.
“Can’t we stay here, together, or get a room somewhere? I don’t want to go home right now.”
“You’ve got to go home, Clive and the kids, they’ll be worried sick, and I don’t want a repeat of last time again.”
She grabs him tightly and presses herself against him, “Get your shit then, I’ll drop you off along the way.”
Marilyn’s car pulls up outside Jar’s apartment and he steps out into the cold night air, letting out a shiver, before he peers back into the car, smiling, “You go straight home, and get some rest.”
“Rest? Clive’s going to still be awake, he’ll want to talk, again, and Sandra’s still there, fucking sucking the house dry of everything. Are you sure I can’t come up for a little while?”
“Go home to your family Marilyn, neither of us need this right now,” he says as he closes the door and she pulls away, grabbing one final glimpse of her before she is out of sight.
He makes his way quickly up the stairs to his loft apartment, tossing his jacket onto a chair and throwing himself onto the couch, face first. He screams into the pillow as he lets out all his built up frustration, not only over the case, but over his overly complicated love life. He flicks on the TV and stares at the images as they move about, like fireflies in the night sky, nothing more to him right now than static, than white noise, and then, he hears a voice, cutting through the darkness and his eyes slowly open. The light of the TV silhouettes two figures standing before him.
“Not now, please, I just need sleep, why do you two keep coming to me, why do you keep doing this?”
“Because you need to deal with this, you need to know what’s really happening, what’s really going on.”
“What, that this is all a story? That some amateur writer made all this and we’re just characters in his stupid fucking fairy tale? I’m not buying it, I won’t, I know I’m real, I know my life, I’ve lived it, I’m not just some made up fucking character,” Jar says as he closes his eyes again. “Now, please, just let me sleep, just for an hour, then, I’ll happily talk to you all you want.”
“When you wake up, it’ll be too late,” once of the voices says.
His eyes open again the house is pitch black, the TV dead, several hours have past. Slowly, he pulls himself up as his eyes adjust to the light, then, they widen in panic, as he sees her, standing a few feet in front of him, unmoving. Her long blonde hair cascades over her shoulders, and, he recognises her instantly, “Sam?” He says softly as he rubs his eyes, but she doesn’t disappear, she just stands there, watching him. Slowly he reaches for the lamp on the table beside him. He fumbles around for a few moments, not daring to take his eyes off her, but, eventually, he has to, as he can’t locate the switch, and, as he does, she jerks forward like a poorly cut together video tape, clutching him by the jaw, turning his petrified face to hers.
“It flows, deep below, underneath, inside the concrete, past where it began and where I rot, you’ll find it there, and you’ll know fear, you’ll know its name,” she says, and then, she is gone, and he sits there, alone, frozen in fear, as her disfigured image lays burned into his mind. He snaps out of his trance, gets to his feet, quickly makes his way over to the table, and begins emptying his jacket pockets onto it, until he comes across his phone. Quickly, he brings up his contact screen, presses a number, waits for a few moments for it to start ringing, then presses the phones loud speaker button, tosses it on the table and pours himself a drink.
“Do you realise what time it is?” Marilyn says, from the other end of the line.
“I just had a visit from Sam.”
“Sam? But she’s…”
“She’s dead, I know, that’s why I’m calling.”
She sits up quickly, “I thought shutting down the site stopped it? And anyway, you haven’t read any of the stories, isn’t that how it moves from victim to victim?”
“How the fuck do I know, we’re all just taking gu…..” He stops mid-sentence and everything goes quite.
She gets to her feet, breaking out in a cold sweat, “Jar?” she says, waiting for a few moments, but no reply comes. “Jar, are you still there?” again she waits, still without reply, “Javier?”
The phone scratches along a surface of some kind, “I-I-I’m here,” he finally says softly, she lets out a sigh of relief.
“What the fuck were you trying to do to me?”
“Marilyn, w-w-we didn’t stop it.”
“What? What the fuck are you talking about?”
“It’s in the house.”
“It, the beast, it followed her,” he says. “It wants me now, it told me, it told me everything, and it makes sense, all of it. The stories, they were the start, but it’s the technology, it’s how it moves, and it’s getting stronger.”
“Hold on Jar, you fucking hold on!” She yells as she grabs her keys from the table.
“I-It’s t-t-too late for me, g-g-get out, I should’ve never called you-u, run!”
“You’re serious aren’t you?” She says, but only silence is her reply, “Jar? For fuck sake don’t do this, what’s going on?”
“It’s coming for you, god, oh god, I love you Marilyn,” he says as the phone crashes to the ground followed by silence and then it disconnects, her heart races with panic as she pulls the phone from her ear, tears running down her face. She jumps in fright as the phone begins to ring again, her heart skips a beat when she sees Javier’s name on the caller id, and she answers it quickly.
“Jar, what the fuck happened? What’s going on?”
From the other end of the line a deep, gravelly voice begins to say, “On the coldest night, you gave me your sin, I claimed you then, but I let you run free, now I come calling, now I am free, soon you will remember, you will remember me!”
She staggers backwards, dropping the phone, “Honey? Are you okay?” Clive asks as he staggers out of the hallway, rubbing his eyes, as soon as he sees his wife’s face, his turns to panic. “Marilyn, honey, what’s wrong?” He says as he rushes to her side.
“It’s Jar, something’s happened to him,” she says as she collapses into his arms.
“What? What’s happened? Is he okay?”
“I-I don’t think so, get Sandra and the kids out of here,” she says through her tears, as her mind races, trying not to think of Javier, or what, she knows will happen next.
“Tell me what’s going on? What happened to Javier?” He yells.
“GET SANDRA AND THE KIDS NOW!” She yells back. “I’ll tell you once we’re….” She feels all the hair on her body stand on end, and she knows it’s too late, it’s here.
“Marilyn what the fuck… What the…?” Clive says as the huge, behemoth of a beast stands before them, and it lets out a low, inhuman growl.
“Father,” Marilyn says softly, as the beast almost smiles at her words.
“Hello my child, it’s time, to come, to play your final part,” It says, slowly she turns to face Clive, her eyes, deep pools of nothingness.
Marty collapses into his seat, and places his head in his hands, then looks up nervously at the screen. “Things are getting weird, really, really weird. Clare and the girls left to go up the coast today, totally unexpected, her sister Helen went into labour six weeks early, and she asked Clare to be there for her as Will, her partner, is in Melbourne for work and couldn’t get a flight down until tomorrow.” He shuffles in his chair, his eyes dark and drawn in, he bites his bottom lip. “I know it doesn’t seem like anything really, but it’s Tuesday, tonight the story starts and in the story Clare and the kids are up…” His phone rings suddenly and he quickly answers it, switching it over to loud speaker.
“Dude what the fucks happening, I got your message,” Gareth says.
“I can’t do it man, I can’t post it, I just can’t, it feels wrong, I’ve told you the whole time it feels like I haven’t been the one writing this, and now, with Clare, it just seems, too much of a coincidence,” Marty says nervously.
“You’ve gotta relax Marty, that’s all it is, a coincidence, nothing more. I know you’ve lived and breathed this thing for the last four months, putting your heart and soul into it. Trying to do as much as you can for people to take notice, and now the day is here it’s okay to get nervous, you’re just a little rattled is all, post it dude and don’t worry, it’s just a story.”
“I can’t do it man, I can’t.”
“Why not? Because if it’s all true you get killed in the opening scene?”
“No, it’s not that, it’s the ending man, I-I-I still haven’t finished it, I can’t, I won’t! And the rewrites, they keep happening, sometimes, I swear, without me even doing them.”
“Just stop it man, if you keep adding to it, changing it, you’ll never be ready, anyway, I thought the ending you had was tight.”
“It was, sort of, but, it’s the way it ends, it’s wrong, it’s, it’s not my ending!”
“Marty, mate, finish it, and stop fucking worrying, it’s just a story,” Gareth says.
“I know you’re right, I really do, but it’s just….”
“Marty, it’s just a story, fuck, it’s your story, end it the way you want it to, if you don’t like the ending, just change it, but don’t sit around moping and throw away all the work you’ve done, all the work we’ve done. Just get it out there, and see what happens, it’ll be a hit, with or without the ending I’ve read, trust me,” Gareth says, for a few moments there is nothing but silence.
“Yeah, you’re right,” Marty says finally.
“Of course I’m right, just finish it and move on dude.”
“I know, look, I’ll talk to you later,” he says as he hangs up the phone and looks back at the computer screen, he jumps in fright as he sees a reflection in the screen, the reflection of a large, hulking figure behind him, as does Clarke. He quickly presses pause on the video and slowly takes it back a few frames, his heart beats a million miles an hour as he stares at the blurry, black shape behind Marty and screams for Jimmy.
Go HERE to read part 6.
All artwork by Yazgar, check his stuff out when you can!