So things have been pretty terrible lately. Here is a little snippet from Gordon and me to help you think of something else.
God was dead.
No, that wasn’t quite it. He was dead.
No, that wasn’t it either.
Voices tugged on him, refusing to let him sink back into the numbing darkness.
He was laying on something hard and wet. The stench of sour, alcohol-saturated vomit hit his nose.
He was drunk. Yes, that was it. He was drunk and getting more sober by the moment, which meant he had to find something to drink or pass out again before the void where God used to be swallowed him whole.
Cold liquid drenched him.
“Get up.” A familiar male voice, but the identity of the speaker lay deep inside his memory, and to reach for it, he would have to think. Thinking brought the void closer.
“This is pointless.” Another voice he knew and decided to not remember. “Look at him.”
“Get up,” the first voice insisted, calm, deliberate. “Landon is winning. He’s killing us one by one.”
Something stirred in him. Something suspiciously resembling loyalty and obligation and hate. He tried to sink deeper into the stupor. God didn’t want him anymore, but the darkness was happy to take him in.
“He doesn’t care,” the second voice said. “Don’t you get it? He’s lost. He might as well be dead and rotting for all good he would do us.”
“Get the fuck off this floor!”
Sharp pain punched his skull. Someone kicked him. He briefly considered doing something about it, but that way lay reality. Staying on the floor was the better option.
“Hit him again, and I’ll split you sideways.” Third voice. Cold. He knew this one too. That one rarely spoke.
“Think.” The fourth voice. Collected, reasonable, dripping with contempt. “Right now he’s drunk. Eventually he’ll be sober. If you kick him in the head, you’ll injure his brain. What good is he then? We already have one brain-damaged imbecile. We don’t need another.”
One… two… three… The count surfaced from the muddled depths of his min. He used to count just like this to see how long the insult would take to burrow through the hard shell that was Bale’s brain.
“I’ll fucking kill you, Lamar!”
“Shut up,” the first voice said.
Yes. All of them needed to shut up and leave him the hell alone.
“Get up, Hugh.”
Stoyan, his memory supplied. Figured. Stoyan was always a persistent sonovabitch.
“We need you,” Stoyan insisted. “The Dogs need you. Landon is killing us. We’re being purged.”
Eventually they would go away.
“He doesn’t give a fuck,” Bale said.
“Bring me the bag,” Stoyan said.
Something landed next to him.
“It’s not gonna matter. He’s all fucked up. He’s laying here in his own piss and vomit. You heard that dickhead at the door. He’s been in this shithole for weeks.”
Hugh heard the zipper. Something was put in front of him. He smelled the stench of rotting blood and decomp.
“Even if he sobers up, he’ll crawl right back into the bottle and get shit-faced.”
Hugh opened his eyes. The severed head stared back at him, the brown irises dulled by the milky patina.
“He can’t even stand anymore. What are we going to do, tie him to a stick and prop him up?”
The world turned red.
“To hell with this.” Bale leaned back, readying for a kick.
Rage drove him up before Bale’s foot connected to the severed head. He locked his hand around Bale’s throat, jerked him off his feet, and slammed him down onto the nearest table. Bale’s back hit the wood with a loud thud.
“Halleluiah,” Lamar said.
Bale clawed at his arm, the muscle on his thick biceps bulging. Hugh squeezed.
Felix loomed on his right, reaching for him. Hugh hammered a cross punch into nose with his left hand. Cartilage crunched. The big man stumbled back.
Bale’s face turned purple, his eyes glistening. His feet drummed the air.
Stoyan locked his arms on Hugh’s right biceps and went limp, adding his dead weight to the arm. Felix lunged from the left and locked himself onto Hugh’s arm, trying to force an arm bar.
The world was still red, and he kept squeezing.
Water drenched him in a cold cascade, washing away the red haze. He shook himself, growling, and saw Lamar’s face.
“Welcome back,” Lamar said. “Let go of the man, Preceptor. If you kill him, there will be nobody to lead your vanguard.”