View Full Version : 'misplaced'

self biased
20-10-2003, 05:47:55
late november.

“Isabel, I am going out of my fucking mind,” came the voice from the answering machine. It belonged to her ex-boyfriend Jacob Maiers. They were practically beset friends, now that the awkwardness of their tepid romance had faded. Isabel frowned. Jacob was usually the Rock of Stability that others clung to during troubled times. That alone made the edge in his voices all the more worrying. “Now, I’m not about to do anything stupid,” the machine continued, “but two and two aren’t adding up to four at the moment. Give me a call, or stop by my place… I don’t think I’m going anywhere for a while.”

Isabel took off her coat and tossed it over the back of a chair. She wandered over to the fridge, retrieved a Mountain Dew, and sat for a moment. Isabel sipped thoughtfully. ‘what could have sent him over the edge?’ Their romance, if you could call it that, had been over for years. They had both dated other people in the interim to boot as well. As a matter of fact, Jacob and Eve’s two-year anniversary had just gone by last week. She kept mentally playing elimination, and came up empty. Not knowing what else to do, Isabel picked up the phone and dialed Jacob’s number.

“Either the world’s gone mad or I have. Leave a message at any rate.” The machine stated.

“Jake, it’s Isabel… I got your message. I’ll be over in a few minutes, but…” she scowled into the phone, remembering the events of the year before, “If that bitch Eve has hurt you in any way…”

“It has nothing to do with her yet, Izzy, Just get over here.” And with that, he hung up. Isabel grabbed her jacket and raced for the door.


During the fifteen-minute drive over to Jacob’s place, Isabel racked her brain for what could be wrong. She stared out into the country road that separated the two towns. The headlights of her car played tricks in the swirls of flurries. The occasional face might appear, or the colors of a particular swirl would fluctuate unnaturally. Isabel wrestled with herself, and managed to be convinced that it was strictly her imagination, nothing more.

When she arrived at Jacob’s, the flurries had mutated into a light storm. Isabel exited the car and started for the front door. Although not unheard-of for the time of year, the air was atypically heavy and bitter cold. She paused at the door, turned, and looked back at the clouds of condensation from her breath. They hung in the air like phantom sentinels, refusing to dissipate. Isabel shivered. The damn things were watching her. She swiveled around to the door, and let herself into the flat.

Jacob didn’t look up when Isabel came in. He was seated in front of the giant chess set that he and Roger built last year. The board itself was over three feet on a side, with four-inch red alabaster and black obsidian squares, trimmed with silver. The pieces were also proportionately large, almost four inches in diameter themselves. The red ones, which were Roger’s, were modeled after ancient Roman armies. The rooks were nearly two-foot tall Corinthian pillars, the knights were mounted Centurions, and the pawns were the Roman Phalanx, with their spears pointed menacingly forward. Caesar, of course, was king. Egypt was the theme for the black pieces. Queen Cleopatra oversaw Anubis and Ra, the rooks, the High-Priest bishops, and the Archer pawns.

The set had taken Roger and Jacob two and a half years to complete, and they didn’t even finish the first game. Halfway through, Roger had been murdered during a convenience store robbery while on a beer run the night they sat down to play. Jacob maintained the board, but never touched it otherwise.

Isabel hung her jacket up, moved behind Jacob, and squeezed his shoulder silently. She didn’t know what else to do.

“Have you ever caught something that you thought was a constant, change? The color of a book or lighter change? Usually something small, right? Take the chess set:” he gestured, “I know every move that was made that night, and this piece,” he hefted a Roman bishop from the center of the board, “had never been moved. Salazaar didn’t get out and shuffle this solitary piece into place. Eve? Certainly she knows better than to even touch the board, let alone move anything. Izzy, I’ve been noticing things changing. They’ve been getting bigger in size, and terrifyingly more frequent.”

“Jacob?!?” Eve scampered in, breathless and panic-stricken. A guilty look had obviously camping on her face. “Oh my god… Jacob, are you okay?” She moved to embrace him, and looked desperately into his eyes. “I came as soon as I got your message, but my phone was turned off and I didn’t realize until-”

“Ssshhh.” Jacob brought up a solitary finger to Eve’s lips. “It’s only the world that’s falling apart. That’s all. Just something for me to figure out, okay…? Calm down, and breathe…” She did so, reluctantly at first. He slid his fingers from her lips, down her arm, and to her hand, which she squeezed tightly.

“When did you start to notice these changes, Jake?” Frustrated, Isabel paced the room.

“Tuesday,” he began, “I picked up my math textbook, as I was putting it my backpack, it was green instead of it’s usual blue. Since then, the shit has been spiraling out of control. Hun, how long has your hair been that particular shade of red?”

Puzzled, she fretted with her chin length locks, and responded, “About ten months ago… after Roger’s funeral I started to-“

“Dye it black. As I quite clearly remember. But you decided to go with the ‘Rusted Roof’ didn’t you?”

Eve nodded solemnly. Her boyfriend’s mastery of the obvious was indeed staggering, but a horror crept through her. He wasn’t crazy. She had very nearly dyed her hair black after the funeral, but she never told him that. Just that she was considering two colors, and one of the was ‘Rusted Roof.’ Eve swallowed hard, and fought back a tear.

Jacob twitched as the world began to wash iridescent in his peripheral vision. It slowly crept into his sight, a line of change scouring the walls. A vibrant jungle green was eating the eggshell blue. He remembered the argument that almost ensued over the color of the living room when he and Eve first moved in. The change was gradual, long after the line of change had passed… and the furniture was also rearranging itself as well. Everything seemed like it had always been, only different now. A different throw rug graced the floor as well.

“The walls,” he croaked. Eve and Isabel regarded him with a certain amount of shock. “They’re green now. And before you fucking tell me ‘Duh, genius,’ I remember painting it eggshell blue for you,” he glanced at Eve. She ran a hand through her waist length blonde hair, and returned his gaze, with ample worry. The line of iridescence came back towards him, a maw opening up to swallow him whole.

Jacob saw shapes in the flurries of the iridescence, and it grew brighter. He saw people. Faces. White noise filled his ears with static and nonsense. Unsaid syllables were disgorged from the aural chaos. The passage of time gradually became indistinguishable. An hour could have been a second, a day, or a year. The iridescence grew brighter; straining his eyes, while the noise painfully babbled semi-coherent thoughts directly into the soft center of his skull.

Jacob Maiers faded to white after a flash of radiance, and a pop of his ears. He sat dumbfounded and stared into the static as it faded from view, leaving pinpricks of phosphorescent light behind. A light mist started to wind its way around with thick, ropey tendrils.

A golden eye blinked at Jacob, as if it had always been there. The eye was one of three spaced evenly around a large conical head, much like a squid's. Nearly a dozen of the misty tendrils connected below the eyes, surrounding an ivory beak. A single tendril whipped gracefully around and gently caressed Jacob's cheek.

'worry not, child,' he heard in his mind, 'there are not only others like us, but you will find out what has happened to you.' The monster winked its eye that was facing Jacob and swam away, fading into the mist.

self biased
20-10-2003, 05:52:21
October 17, one year previous.

Jacob swore as he put his Ford Escort into park. The narrow swath of pregnant sky that was visible darkened with moisture. Looking both ways as he exited, he surveyed the scene, and to his amazement he had only missed the telephone pole by four inches, tops. He turned his car, which was stuck in the ditch with mud up over the hubcaps. With a sigh and another curse, Jacob grabbed his keys out of the car, turned on the hazards, and wished like hell he had brought a jacket.

A chilly wind blew up the mountain road as the sky darkened with the impending storm. It had been unseasonably warm the last few days, and the storm had blown in from seemingly nowhere. Tendrils of mist slowly exuded out for the forest on either side of the road as Jacob considered his options. It was only three miles or so to get back into town, but it would be three miles back as well. The only other option was to truck the four miles up the mountain to Eve’s house. He could call a tow truck from there; she could deposit him back at his car with the remainder of his belongings, and she could be rid of him once and for all.
Jacob laughed in spite of himself. “This,” he said to nobody in particular as he started up the winding mountain road, “could be the perfect end to the perfect week.” The vapors exiting the woods seemed to agree with him and lazily followed him up the road.

The usual sounds of the forest were subdued by the rising wind. The sky to the south began to glow a halogen orange as darkness fell over the mountain. The storm announced its presence in the distance with a light roll of thunder, and Jacob’s ears popped as the pressure dropped like a stone. Cursing again, he stepped up to a brisk pace up the mountain. The mist followed cautiously behind him, weaving around trees and the odd traffic sign, possibly to not arouse suspicion.

Under different circumstances, Jacob might have enjoyed the walk more. Instead, he used the forty-five minute trek to allow his mind wander, occupying the time in transit. His mind was always awash with daydreams, possibilities, and the like. Currently he was examining the recently tumultuous relationship between Eve and himself, with the hollow perplexity of one who cannot understand how or why everything has suddenly gone to shit.

I can’t believe this… three days, and now this. She was buried yesterday for the love of god, and she couldn’t even be bothered to come to the fucking funeral. /Oh sure, Eve. Yes, I know you don’t do the whole deathbed scene, or funerals, or even goddamned compassion it seems like at this point, but that woman was the only and final link I had with my family! She had raised me for as far back as I can remember. Did you know that my earliest memories are from my father’s funeral? Yes, you did. You know exactly what happened, and exactly how much Grandma Maiers meant to me. To blow me off for that Todd, or Tim, or Trevor… whatever the fuck his name was? That was not only lame, but also pa-fucking-thetic. /’ The voice of Jacob’s mind’s eye had grown almost to a shout, then brought itself to nearly a whisper. ‘/But… but to leave me now for this jack off, when I need you the most? I know you don’t deal well with this sort of shit, but it’s been a rather cold fact for me. Doesn’t make it any easier, but… I’m unraveling. I need you./’

At about this time, Jacob’s senses interrupted his monologue to inform him that he was soaking wet. The storm had begun to drop its cargo innocently enough at first, with a few random drops. Seeing that nobody was really paying attention, it steadily built itself up to a fair downpour. Jacob gathered his bearings and decided he had maybe ten or fifteen minutes left to go. Shivering, he went back to assessing his speech. He had no idea exactly what he was trying to accomplish with those words that kept stewing in his head. It seemed to fit the occasion, and he felt inspired as if struck by the muse; and his words here were his only way to shine.

A wave of thunder rolled over the area as Jacob approached the driveway. The rain had intensified and obscured the features of the log cabin-style house just up the incline. Light poured out of the living room window on the left-front corner of the house. He ascended the muddy driveway and paused in the shaft of light to summon what courage he could. A glowing nimbus of played above his head as the rain came down harder still. Looking over his shoulder, he saw that oddly enough, fog was filling up the valley below. A tendril poked its head up the driveway. Shaking from the adrenaline coursing through his veins, he rounded the corner of the house to the side door.

He knocked soundly, but a blast of thunder covered sound. Jacob let himself in the house, stepping to the kitchen. It was in complete disarray, which was uncharacteristic for Eve. A half-prepared chicken dinner, and the associated articles sat on and near the stove. A soft sobbing was barely audible above the din of the storm. Not seeing anyone anywhere, he took a few steps to get around the counter that looked into the living room. As he strode, glass crunched underfoot. As he reached the end of the counter, he turned to his right and looked into the living room.

Eve looked up wretchedly from the easy chair on the left. Her mascara was running, and was mingling with blood from a fresh cut on her right cheek. All of the bile and rage Jacob had built up over the course of the walk drained from him as he stepped into view. He was already weary from the walk, cold, wet, and the sudden absence of adrenaline, left his very soul sapped of strength. She stood, and the two met in the center of the living room. Wordlessly, smudged her mascara in a valiant effort to wipe it clean.

Tears welled up in her eyes again, as she caressed his chin. She moved to embrace him and hesitated. “You’re wet,” she said as she ran her fingers from his chin, down his sleeve, and took his hand. “What happened to you?” Her voice was marginally above a whisper.

“I could ask the same thing about you, and I’m sure your story is better than mine. Swerved to miss a deer and ended up in a ditch just ahead of the infirmary about an hour,” Jacob glanced at the clock, “shit, hour and a half ago. I figured I’d be able to get a lift from you after I called a tow truck.” He squeezed her hand and wiped a tear from her cheek, as she pushed a lock of hair out of his face.

He motioned to the phone, and she nodded. He picked up the receiver with his free hand and dialed. Apparently, the sheriff had spotted the car fifteen minutes ago, and was already mildly annoyed for having to be standing out in the rain looking for some fool who abandoned his car. Eve drove down the mountain to the flashing lights, amidst the thickening fog. After being admonished for careless driving, and nearly having his car impounded, the tow truck arrived, and the two were soon back at Eve’s house.

The house had been built by Eve’s stepfather not quite ten years ago, and wasn’t quite finished. It still needed stairs going up to the semi-enclosed front porch. Jacob parked next to Eve in the driveway, and trailed her into the house. Stopping in the kitchen, she regarded the mess with a sigh.

“Fucker,” she stated, and squeezed Jacob’s hand. “I’ll be right back,” she reassured him, turned around and headed upstairs. Jacob busied himself by sweeping, and ruminating about the unseasonable thunderstorm. The world suddenly went dark and Jacob felt a pressure on his skull. A giggle came from behind him, and light returned to his eyes as Eve removed the towel and slung it around his shoulder. He chuckled as he turned to face her. She fell into his arms without warning and hugged him so tightly she threatened to squeeze the life out of him.

“I’m so sorry,” she spoke in his ear. Whispering above the noise of the storm wasn’t an option. She drew him somehow closer. “I…” she began and she withdrew enough to meet his eyes, and studied his countenance. As they stared into each other’s eyes they were communicating in some secret and personal language all to themselves. Her hair was a dark auburn, cut just below her ears, which contrasted her aquamarine eyes and porcelain skin and rose-pink lips nicely. His hair was in his face yet again. It was still at that awkward stage where it was just not long enough to be tied back. His steel blue eyes betrayed his relief.

They leaned closer in each other, the energy between them palpable. Their passion began to focus itself, as lips met. The energy reached critical mass and hands and fingers began to undo buttons and remove clothing on their own volition. By no small miracle, the pair made it to the couch. Thunder rumbled prophetically as she straddled him. He ran his fingers down her bare side, gliding down her soft skin. She spoke her words in silence, yet he understood them, and repeated them. The lights flickered and then went out in a strobe of phosphorescent light, leaving the lovers to their own devices.


Jacob looked up out the window from Eve’s bed. The storm had passed hours ago, revealing the moon. It truly was the perfect end to the perfect week. The mist seemed to agree as it slunk down the valley, back to wherever it came from.

self biased
09-06-2011, 02:59:35

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15-06-2011, 07:19:14
Film, Fiction and Writing