Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
Dr. Severius was just waking from the deepest sleep experienced since his residency days when Esk showed up. Esk seemed troubled.
“When are you going to let me go? What are you going to do to me here? And where is ‘here’?” Severius asked.
“You know where we are, Lod. Do not try to trick me. I am not in the mood to counter your wiles. I want answers, and you will give them to me. Understood?”
“Esk, I don’t know what you want from me. I really don’t, and I can’t give you what I don’t have. I don’t have the answers you want.”
“Oh? You do not even know the question yet, unless you can read my DNA, which I highly doubt you can, given its complexity.”
“Well, no, of course I can’t read your DNA. That’s ridiculous. Why would I want to?”
“Watch your tone. Now, what I want to know is why you are so eager to reprogram psychopaths. From what I have seen, you may well be one yourself, Lod.”
Severius decided not to argue about what Esk called him, but instead to focus on the question. He thought answering Esk’s questions may be the only way out of his current predicament.
“I want to show the world that I’m brilliant—that I’ve found a cure for the world’s ills. Then I’ll be famous and rich and…”
“You want to be better than everyone else,” Esk said. “That is why you want to do this. You do not want to help people. You simply want to be superior.”
“Well… yes, I guess I do. But Esk, you must understand. I’m sure you’ve felt unappreciated and lonely. I’m sure you’ve experienced what it is to be unhappy and overlooked, haven’t you? Haven’t you ever wanted more in life? This is our ticket. Reprogramming psychopaths is our way out of all the criticism and the unfairness of it all. Don’t you see?”
“I see that you think I will assist you in becoming a fraudulent success. Why would you want your success to be fake, Lod? And why do you care what happens to the humans, anyway? You are not even one of their kind. What success could you possibly find satisfying amongst them? They have no way to compete with you for such ‘successes’. It would not even be your accomplishment, even though you might receive the recognition.”
“Esk, can’t you see the big picture?”
“I see the big picture just fine.”
Esk reinstated the invisible shield between himself and Severius as he walked away from the conversation. Once around several corners and out of earshot of Lod, Esk allowed the salt water to flow from his ocular sockets. He cried. His “research partner” was really an undercover psychopath of some unknown species, and Esk was beginning to wonder just how much of the population of the universe was diagnosable with psychopathy. Lod almost fit the bill. Esk trusted Lod, and Lod betrayed him. He had to remember, though, that Lod was not human. Whatever he was, he could not be human.
Sam went down to the diner to have some country fried steak and eggs for breakfast. He did not feel like cooking that morning. On his way in, Sam was accosted by the junior cook, a kid all of 15 years old.
“Hey, Mister, can I talk to you for a sec’?”
“Sure,” Sam said. “What’s up?”
“Yer friend—the one the Rev’rund took out back a’ the diner a few weeks back—is some kind a’ alien er somethin’. He made the Rev’rund and him disappear, an’ then a few minutes later, jist him came back. No Rev’rund,” said the young man.
“Aw, kid. He’s no alien. He’s even more special than that, even. Now, don’t ya’ tell nobody, but’cha ain’t gotta fear him none. He’s a angel. The kind that Gawd hisself sends down ta’ help people like us. So it’s okay. I’m sure he jist took the Rev’rund ta’ get some help when that happened. Okay?”
“Wow, a real live angel?”
“Shh! Yep. But’cha can’t tell nobody, okay?”
The youth was left starry-eyed in wonderment outside the diner until his boss called for him to come back in for an order of country fried steak and eggs. He ran inside as fast as his skinny legs could carry him, hardly able to contain his excitement.
The Deacon Pritchard had almost had enough of Jean Bandersnatch. He was finally beginning to see who she really was, and he did not like it one bit. She nagged at him and needled him and called him at all hours of the day if she was not physically inside his own house—his house—cajoling and chattering away. All her prattle was about everyone else in town, and everything was about her. Darrell Spencer snubbed her. Old Mrs. Fink would not return her calls. The church board was not convening because of her. The Reverend had ruined her. Her, her, her… it was all about all the wrongs in the world done to her, when it was she who brought all this ruin upon herself. Lawrence Pritchard was beginning to see the light. Pretty soon, he would be the talk of the town for wronging her in some way. The writing was on the wall. Now what was he going to do about it?
A loud rapping at the door snapped the Deacon out of these deep thoughts. He went toward the door, only to be cut off by Bandersnatch, who flung the door wide open to meet the county sheriff’s eyes.
“I need ta’ go over what happened with the Rev’rund with ya’, Lawrence, if that’s okay. Did I come at a bad time?” he asked.
“No. No, you came at the perfect time, Sheriff. Come on in,” Pritchard answered.
Jean inserted herself between the two men just as the sheriff attempted to step across the threshold. She thrust out her bosom, blocking the way.
“Now, Sheriff, ya’ wouldn’t wanna be bargin’ in on anything personal, now would ya’?” she cooed.
“Uh, well, no ma’am, I wouldn’t,” stuttered the sheriff.
He looked desperately at the Deacon for further permission and possibly his future testimony that he had not touched Mrs. Bandersnatch in any unwholesome manner. Pritchard moved Bandersnatch aside.
“Come in, Sheriff. Jean was just leavin’.”
The Chief Gossip stormed into the diner and flopped down on a bench seat in the corner. The server was busy and nodded toward the junior cook. He grabbed an order pad and headed quickly toward the dark end of the diner.
“May I help you?” the young man asked.
“Coffee. Black. Blacker than black,” Bandersnatch snapped.
“Um, yes ma’am.”
He wrote down the order exactly as it was given and handed it to the server on his way by, eager to get back to the grill and beyond the range of Jean Bandersnatch’s wrath. The server read the ticket and sighed. It was going to be one of those days.
“Hey, where’s that snot-nosed kid I just gave my order to?” the Reverend’s wife asked. “Lemme talk ta’ him. I don’t wanna talk ta’ any a’ you people t’day.”
The server walked back to the kitchen and told the junior cook that Mrs. Bandersnatch wanted to talk to him, and only him. The youth trembled. Walking slowly out of the back with his eyes glued to the floor exactly where his next foot would go, he made his way down the aisle to the grim corner booth.
“What’s yer name?”
“An’ whaddaya know ‘bout Sam’s friend that he brings in here all the time, Julian?”
The boy’s face suddenly lit up, partly out of joy and partly out of fear. He had been taught that it was a heavenly duty to minister unto others in their time of need, but he also remembered the promise he had made to Sam not to tell anyone about Esk. The Chief Gossip sensed his inner turmoil and pounced on it.
“Tell me, boy. I know ya’ knows somethin’ yer not a’tellin’ me. Spit it out.”
“That’s enough, Jean,” the waitress intervened.
She pulled the boy up by his arm and sent him back to the kitchen. Walking away briskly, she shot Mrs. Bandersnatch a wicked glare. The Reverend’s wife made a mental note to look up Julian’s name in the church directory when she got an opportunity. The directory happened to have photos, and every proper person in Fletcher went to church.