Tristan And The Apocalypse Vol. 2 written 2016

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James

The bank was a nice building. It was the nicest of the three. As I looked on at them, it occurred to me very easily, that it was also the most secure. I was quite sure they were inside the bank.

I thought about how to go about this. I had brought no one with me because of how dangerous it would be, but now I did wish I had back-up. If I tried to sneak in and they caught me, they might kill me. If I were to confront them, if I were to knock on the door and make it seem as if we were going to be civil, as if this weren’t really such a big matter, maybe I could negotiate his release. The question still, was what would they want. What would be the ransom. It filled me with dread to think of how much they ask for, but there was not much I wouldn’t give to rescue Allister.

I look around and there was no one as I walked up the steps to the bank. There was a big glass door, but it was blacked out. I hesitated, but I gathered courage inside and knocked resoundedly, so they couldn’t fail to hear it. Nothing, though I think I sensed motion. I knocked again, just as forcefully. And after a short wait, the door opened swiftly, and there was a man standing there, and another, standing next to him, with a machine gun.                                                                                               


I tried not to panic, and they spoke first. The man said.

Who are you?

I’m his brother.

Who the hell you talking about?

I put my hands up, almost all the way, to show I was unarmed. I think you know who I’m talking about?

While he was looking at me, he said to the other person, it’s him. This is him?

I wasn’t sure what they would say. They didn’t look happy? I spoke first. What would it take for you to give him to me, and let me leave and go home with him?

We don’t want to give him back.

Is he okay, I asked.

He didn’t want to give the answer right away. We haven’t hurt him, he said eventually.

We don’t mean any harm to you. We don’t mean to be so important. That said, we can certainly have your interests taken into account, moving forward, in the new parliament.

We can’t put our trust in what we say. You’ll have to leave him with us. You’ll have to trust him with us. We want him. He will be on our side eventually. It is time for you, whoever you might consider yourself speaking for, to say goodbye.

It is hardly the time.          

You won’t be able to give us what we're asking for. You won’t be able to do for us what we plan to do with him.

What could you possibly be trying to do?

You are aware of some of what we want to do. But our ultimate plans are to remain secret?

What can I give you for him?

It would take a whole lot, a whole lot of something special for us to let you have him back.

I was flustered, I was nervous. What would it take?

I don’t believe you could give me anything. You can’t promise the things we want politically. We want power. But we don’t trust you to actualize it for us. Now the power needs to be in our hands. The money. We want all of it.

I thought they had stepped past psychotic and entered a new realm for us to evaluate. Done, I said.


However much you want, for my brother back. Just give him to me.

Give me the money.

How do you expect me to do that right this second?

I don’t know, but you better figure it out.

He wasn’t very handsome. I stopped looking in his eyes. I made movements with resignation. I’ll make the call.

They looked hungry and greedy as I dialled numbers, as it rang, as the congressman answered.

He says okay, I said.

Good. Tell him to bring it here. Then you can have him.

Fine. He says for you to let me keep my eyesight on him, and for you to not hurt him further.

We will wait for the money then.

But then, in the sky a helicopter flew above us, beginning to circle. It seemed that the congressman, the special forces, had been on to some of the same hunches, and they were already there.

The man screamed and was swearing and he grabbed me and the other hit me with the butt of the rifle.        


Several hours later, my pain had subsided. My shoulder was bruised, though I figured I could move it if I could untie myself. The grogginess I felt from being banged around subsided a little. They were watching us, though they were shaken by the sudden appearance of the special forces. In some way it would seem it was all over. And yet it had just begun, as they had us, and as long as they held our lives in there hands, the hands of the special forces were tied as well.

They had surrounded the bank. Most prominently they were positioned on the front lawn, behind their vehicles, lately in front of shield, closer to the entrance. Anyone who stepped outside would be under the pressure of gun fire from all directions. They strangely still had hoped that they would receive some ransom, and still not be shut down. I thought to myself that if they tried some escape, maybe they could continue, and it might be possible meanwhile to get something out of the congressman, but they were surrounded, and the exits in the other buildings were covered as well.

I put my mind on to how to free myself. My hands were tied behind me, and my feet were tied to the chair. They had done the same thing to Allister.

I looked over at him, and I think he was thinking what I was thinking. They were watching us. If only they would have to leave their posts, their guns in hand.

The time went by agonizingly. Our lives were in peril. Another hour went by, and I could tell from there talk that the special forces were moving closer and they were thinking of entering. If they did so, I thought they might kill us right away.

More time went by, and it was more and more likely that the special forces might try to enter. The Resistance seemed to accept this now, and they were less hostile towards us, and I was more and more confident now. Suddenly it occurred to me that the Congressman was probably wondering what I was thinking at this point, as much as whether I was okay, and if I could get in tune with him, then maybe I could know what was going to happen.

As we waited to see what would happen, the Resistance tried to take position, and get ready for gunfire. They weren’t going to run at this point. Though, all in all, with the special forces here and nearby, they were outnumbered. 

Another hour went by, and by protocol something was going to happen soon. I could look at Allister, and I could communicate to him to get ready.

Then, with no warning, there was a huge explosion. A bomb had gone off in the front of the building. We flew back in the air in our chairs, and everyone was shaken. There was dust and gas in the air.

More than the door was open now, half the front wall was gone, and shots were fired in, accurately, at the front of the Resistance, who were stunned, barely knew what way was which. One man watching us had gone to the front. The other had fallen unconscious. Allister was closer to me, and I wiggled my way over to him, and he untied me. After we were both untied, the special forces were about to make there entry, cautiously, as some of the Resistance were still alive. Allister and I ran towards the back. The back door was barricaded. We tried to break through but it was too noisy, and then we tried to hide there, with the gun shots very audible from through out the bank now. I don’t think the Resistance was concerned at the moment about our whereabouts so much, as they were concerned about their lives, or there freedom. 

Then someone grabbed us, and he dragged us by the collars to get us moving, and we ran threw the front, as he pointed his machine gun at angles where they might be more Resistant, and we broke through onto the lawn. 

There was still the sound of some gunshots, but I don’t think there were any more Resistance that were not shot or apprehended. I was a little shaken and we got into a car, and I covered myself in a blanket. I was hungry and I wished to drive away from here, right away.


When we were safe again inside the building in Toronto, we knew, Allister and I knew, and everyone knew that we were okay. Things were fuller now, and it was strange that Dad was someone I could talk to, that I knew, and he was very empathetic, and assuring that everything would be okay now. He looked a little older, though in spite of everything he seemed a little more at ease than in the past few years. He said his trip had been fine, that he had been safe overseas, and that there was nothing pressing for him to return to there right now.

He was smiling a lot, and it was strange. Maisie had been so sad, and everything felt so horrible, that he offered a different feeling, and his paternal air, not in the dark about the surrounding tragedies, was proudly comforting.

When our emotions settled, Allister and I ate together, and Dad and the congressman chatted some about how the situation had been. My father listened very attentively, while the congressman explained some things, I imagined talking about his plans, as he often did.

Later that evening he was reading at his desk in his room and I went to visit him.

What happened? I asked him.

I’m not sure, he said. It was all very scary and not enjoyable.

Yes. But you knew we were okay?

Always. I believe in the the two of you. I wouldn’t leave you to have adventures on your own if you didn’t. But I admit, this wasn’t supposed to happen, and this is no fault of your own, certainly.

Is this stuff on t.v.?

Hardly. They were concerned about a virus spreading on the continent. Now I think there is more t.v. coverage. I did receive updates via radio, and occasionally by phone, as you are aware.

I guess so. I feel very shaken. But I want to appear confident. I can’t make up for what I lack in years with poise, but without either I feel more lost. How do you find yourself after you go through tragedy?

I’m not sure. Consider each day and then the next. Think about the things in front of you, and not how you relate to the large whole. A big part of life is accepting wonder, that you can’t know everything, and you can’t control reality.

The day spun through my head in an uncomfortable way. I tried to let go of some of the visions.

He said, what do you and Maisie have planned for tomorrow?

Nothing special, why? We were going to look at some more of the surveillance.

Because I want you to stay here tomorrow. Don’t go outside for the next while. I’ll be keeping an eye on you for now.

Is that something you and the congressman talked about?

Yes, that is something we talked about. Everything else okay?

Yeah. I guess. I’ve been wondering. Well. I’m not sure if. I’m not sure how truly Maisie loves me.

He took his glasses off and smiled at me. I think you should stay together now. You need each other.

But is that what she wants.

Yes I think so. She is very young and maybe she wants lots of things, like you’re scared about. In more time she will trust you, and she will love you then. You forget sometimes, I think, that your just a boy, a young man for real, and she is watching you in motion, so be patient with her, and try to worry about being safe, for the time being.

I trusted what he said, and I didn’t expect anything that someone could say to answer all of the searching questions in my soul. Are you tired yet?

I was just going to give up my reading about now. You should go to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow. Alright?

Okay. Good night.

It was very dark outside, darker than Vancouver ever was. It took a few hours for me to fall asleep though thankfully I eventually did, and I slept a dreamless sleep.


When I awoke, my body was full of aches, and my throat was dry. 

I went to the bathroom and threw water on my face. My jaw looked wider, my cheeks bigger. I looked very skinny. There were still dark circles under my eyes. 

I got dressed and I went out of doors. My father had told me to stay put and yet I had already left. I resolved, though, to not go so far. I walked the block, and then I sat down at a table as if I’d do some people watching. I could handle the cold weather for a little while longer, I felt. I couldn’t stop my mind searching for answers. All of this left me thinking, what was the purpose of why we were here? And I wished I knew better, before this, what our purpose was, though I feared that would not help me even a little to know what our purpose was now. I felt lost, in space and time.

I was there for almost an hour. Daphne came out, and she had thought she might find me. What are you doing out here? We want you to be safe.

I was feeling restless.

Come inside. It’s too cold now anyways. You can trust me about that.

I suppose.


Reluctantly, eventually I walked in with her.                                                                         

She looked very concerned. She wanted me to warm up, and be in the lobby with her, and keep an eye on me. She said she didn’t want to lose me again. I was sorry about that feeling in her.

Thank you. I asked if she might get some teas. She was dressed very nicely. I looked at her and said, nice… lipstick.

If there could be blush behind her makeup, and I imagined that she blushed. Thank you, she said. And she went off to get some teas.

I suppose that was nothing different, if I were to consider before the storm.

She smiled a lot and seemed very free, as if she weren’t aware anyone was watching. 

Then Maisie came downstairs, and her expression changed some, as if she’d done something wrong. She seemed uncomfortable with Maisie seeing us together just then.

Maisie had been acting differently as well. She seemed much calmer, as if she had found religion. 

Daphne had been acting strangely, but I don’t think she was jealous or suspecting, which wasn’t what I’d expected given the way she had been so far.

We were sitting there quietly for some time. How is Allister? Daphne said finally.

He’s okay. He might be asleep right now.

We should go check on him.

I suppose we should. I suppose we should do so presently.

I got up and spun around, well are you going to follow me or are you going to follow me?

It surprised me that the elevators worked, this time, and every previous time I used them.

Allister was lying in bed, with his head raised a little to watch movies. At first when he spoke with us, he stuttered nervously, but as we tried to make him feel better, he spoke more as himself.

They said something about a charter.

They what?

The Resistance said something about a charter. A list. A documentation of the post world. Do you all know of this?

I said, No, I don’t think they knew what they were talking about.

Nobody else has heard of it?

They couldn’t say they had.

He frowned about this. It must have been something important. And I think I knew what they had been talking about, but I didn’t say anything now, and held back any emotion that would give away what I knew of it.

I found it strange that Maisie didn’t realize what we were talking of. She seemed very unworried about things. Almost as if she had forgotten anything except this little world, maybe about me. And I feared that when she would gaze at me. Maisie, have you been feeling alright?

She was a little red in the face, and she wasn’t standing up so well.

I’m fine. We stayed upstairs after that. The night was long. Maisie had been very sad, and her lightened mood seemed to me that it would last, but all the same, at this point, it was an anomaly, a rise in a long saddened valley of grief. At one point I asked her. Maisie, are you on some sort of pill now?

No. There was a doctor here and she prescribed me an anti-depressant.

Oh, and did you take it today?

Yes, though only as much as I was supposed to.

Were you drinking at dinner time?

Yes, I was.

Quite a bit.

Sure. We’ve been much drunker before.

Perhaps. But with the pills?  

She paced the room. Looking out the window. Well. There wasn’t time in this life for me to drink later. But you know.

What, what is it I know?

I love you. For real, and I trust you. Like I never trusted you before.

I know you mean it.

The pills don’t loosen me up. Is it warm in here?

I’m not finding it warm.

She opened the blinds and opened the screen door to the balcony before I could say anything, say anything without seeming uncool, or panicky.

Let’s just stay in here. It is awfully cold out there.

I feel more alive this way. And cooler.

I got up quickly and went out there with her. 

She was turned around and she looked at me, not perturbed.

That was quite the fall you had in Brighton.

It was a bad fall, and I wouldn’t want to see it happen to someone else.

She was over emotional and she was starting to cry. It wasn’t easy for me when that happened. Because, I didn’t want to lose you then.

And now, she said. I am all alone. 

No, I said. No.

But I have you. And you’d never hurt me. You’d never let me fall.

And then she stepped backwards, and half accidentally, half on purpose, before she could ever change her mind, she fell from the sixth floor to the concrete below, and never before in my life had I felt such horror and loss and fear.


I hung my head, and covered my ears with my hands, unable to escape the waiting room, unable to the escape the noise, or the reality of what had just happened.

The doctor had come to visit me presently.

It isn’t a good idea to go see her now. He paused. She has received several injuries. She had a grade four or five concussion and cannot seem to remember the incident. She isn’t displaying short term memory and may have permanent brain damage. As well she has injured her leg, and will be in a wheel chair for the next four months. She has also injured her spine, and we are not sure if she will be able to halt use of the wheel chair after this.

I stared past him into the wall. I couldn’t bear it. The knowledge of this was too traumatic and I could hardly speak for my sorrow. The doctor gravely understood and gave me time to process all of the implications of this accident.

It had been three days and I hadn’t had more than a nap the past two nights. I walked back to the hotel. For the first few hours, I sat and let myself think of her, and the way things had been. The thoughts didn’t go away, but almost unconsciously, I lay down in bed and covered myself. I awoke several hours later, and my body was too warm. I didn’t want to move, but I made myself go to the bathroom to splash my face again.

I left very confused, I was sorry for what happened to Maisie.  I was sorry for what she had lost from the storm, and I wish that those things couldn’t have happened, but I couldn’t change it. It was the past; and I wasn’t the victim of the tragedy. But I think I had all but just lost a loved one, and even as my face looked very young to me, it hurt very bad, all the more, as I thought there would be so much time I could be with her in the future, and now I didn’t know if I was going to spend that time with her, or with… without her consciousness, with just her memory.

I flicked my hair, and shook a little, thinking of all of my f-a-c-ul-t-i-e-s, and I was thankful everything felt in order.

I didn’t want to speak to anyone, and felt intensely helpless, sitting there in my hotel room, feeling very alone and vulnerable.

My mind returned to when we first met, and when we first got to know each other, and I didn’t feel confident that any of this time I would have been able to spend with her, would have come true. I had changed and become, well the process of becoming had come further than it might have. But I’m just being pessimistic and depressed.

I wanted to go be with her, but the doctor said to let her rest for now, and I already knew that it wouldn’t be fulfilling. The pain would be worse if I was there at the bed side, like I were in a film, near the end, and things were going to end without… happiness.

I lay in bed for a whole day. And after then, I still didn’t want to do anything. I felt so horrible. Eventually I started to feel that maybe I needed just needed to go for a walk some. But I was so angry, picked up a vase and threw it at the wall, and it shattered everywhere. And then I tore the sheeting from the bed and threw it up in the air, kicked the mattress off the bed, ten feet away on the floor. Then I stopped, thinking that was more than enough, and I felt a little more inside myself and went outside to go speak with Daphne, confident my anger had passed.

The doctor had said we would have to wait a week, but it had been about long enough. It felt I could say Daphne would be there for support instead of it being an over intimate moment that might overwhelm someone. We hiked over to the hospital, and we got directed to her floor, where the doctor was, on the floor, and we had to ask his permission then if we could see her.

He thought about it, and he considered my expression for a moment, and then he said, Well, do you promise me not to try to wake her, and do you feel that you will be okay seeing her in this condition at this time?

I tried to sound sure for him, I feel quite certain that that will be the case. 

Alright. I’ll be outside. Not too long.

It was peculiar inside, and I just heard the sounds of the monitors. Her face was not injured, aside from scratches, though the rest of her head was covered in bandaging. Her sleep had looked very sweet, and I don’t think there was anything tormenting she could feel now. When she awoke I wasn’t sure what she’d feel. Her left leg was ten feet in the air, and it looked like her back had been stiffened. Daphne said she looked okay. She was trying to be positive, and supportive. Did you think she’ll get better, I asked?

I think so, she said.

We talked with the doctor further and he said he wasn’t sure. He said she was improving as expected, and there is now, a 50/50 chance that she would recover in full.

I hope for the best. We want to see her recover in full. This wasn’t her fault.

No, he said. I don’t think so. We’ll see you again in another few days. I will let you know when she is awake. With that, he walked away through the hall to another room, another patient.

When you thought things couldn’t get any worse, I said to Daphne.

But this was positive.

Yah, I said.


Later that night, the congressman was speaking with my Dad. They were getting very involved, and I came out to see what it was they were discussing. Sometimes my Dad got like that, where he considered himself as important in this scenario as the congressman. He couldn’t help himself from trying to do everything, in every field.

They were discussing what had gone wrong with Maisie, and if it was related to what happened with Allister. Maisie’s prescription was a little strong, but that didn’t necessarily mean that the psychiatrists had been dishonest.

There doesn’t seem much likelihood to me that a doctor was involved. From our survey, many of the Resistance were laymen.

But not all of them. And the second part of this investigation is making sure that we are all not at risk. We are going to inform everyone, well anyone at risk, that this is not the time to be blind with your trust. As much as we have a dedicated special forces, the amount of people who can handle intelligences, especially within the building is limited. 

Well, you can trust us. We can look out for ourselves some. I am sure we can stay safe here. I don’t think that was anything but an accident.

No. But there have been several groups after your family. You’ll have to keep an eye on the boy. The older one. He’s going to be most at risk moving forward. They were only trying to get to him before. 

I suppose you’re right. And the reconstruction reports?

Preliminary building is well under way. Everyone wants better, environmentally safe cities, but we have only so much time to tarry. But certainly we will never view the issue the same.

Okay. We’ll keep an eye on Tristan for now. But I fear he’ll become implicated again in the future no matter what measure we take.

Unfortunately, it is too likely that will be the case.

I chose to remain hiding around the corner from them. I was perturbed when the congressman walked my way, and leapt back into some shadows, and he turned the other way. Once he disappeared, I hurried back to my room.

Book II

The next day I was more suspicious of things, and I wondered if I could trust many people I’d been in the habit of trusting. I wanted them to be wrong, and I resolved to stay safe here, and try to make them wrong.

I couldn’t help though the way Daphne had been acting of late. She was no longer trying to be my friend and she wanted love with someone. She didn’t care about Daphne’s feelings, and her mind was so involved in her present state of mind that I couldn’t see that she could remember things being anything different than how she saw it now, me and her, more than friends.

I’d been giving Allister time to recover emotionally from his capture, but now I enlisted his help in making sure Daphne and I weren’t alone so often.

I believed in my heart Maisie would recover 100%, but there was no saying on Daphne’s part that she wanted her recovery, not to us. Maisie could never have the same personality, the same mobility, but it wasn’t a situation where I was supposed to say it was over, I thought. But so many people could say what do I know?

I went to speak to my Dad. I asked him, is everything okay?

Of course, everything’s all right.

Dad. Lately, I’ve been feeling unsafe. Who are these people here?

He said, I’ve been thinking the same thing. Do trust people, but don’t rely on them. You can trust the congressman. Beyond that, stay safe, as I’ve told you. Spend your night secure in your room. 

That’s all.

That’s all. I don’t think there is much for you to worry about right now. Let us handle the restoration right now.

Is there anything else I should know?

No. I don’t think so.

This upset me. I wish he’d tell me the truth. Okay then, I said.


I waited for the elevator anxiously, and then rode it down to the lobby. Daphne was waiting for me at the bar and I met her there?

So? I said. 

So, she said.

What did you think of the pages?

They were… they were very good. But…

What’s wrong? What didn’t you like?

Well, there, overwritten, and it’s so.. so sad.

I guess I see what you mean by those criticisms.

Well. You just need to rewrite. Just write it again. And it will be better. Try not to think about… she paused. Try not to think about Maisie too much.

We stayed there for an hour or so. I couldn’t get over the severity of her criticisms, especially about Maisie, though my concern that I was only hurt because I cared about the work so much made me hold my tongue. Then we walked upstairs, so we could both forget about this just a little.

She was looking for her key and she had another thought. And the ending...

She was stopped mid-sentence because there was someone in the room.

All the drawers were open and sorted through. All her bags had been emptied. He was dressed normally, though in joggers so he could escape. He lunged for her purse and searched through the contents. He grabbed her and held her and then he asked her about what he was looking for.

Where is it?

I don’t know what you’re looking for.

Where is it? I know you know.

He looked familiar. Though he didn’t want to. My heart sunk because of who he looked like, who it might be again.

Hey, get out of here I said. And I yelled down the hall for help.

You. He said. That you would even let me see you’re face again.

So it is you. I thought you didn’t want anything more from me.

It’s not you I’m after now. I’m after something else. But trust me, there are enough people after you right now.

It was my father. And he saw what was happening, and said don’t move or I’ll have you shot. He pushed a speed dial on his phone and said, the police are on there way right now.

He didn’t do anything, but reluctantly let go of her and she ran over to us.

The special forces took him away.

Are you alright? My Dad asked of her.

I think so, she said.

What did that person want? 

I don’t know he was looking for something valuable.

My father sighed. I think I know what it was. And he had words for you, too, Tristan, I suppose?


Great. Stay safe in your rooms again, at all times now, and alert me if something goes wrong.


The next time I went to see Maisie, she was awake. It was only the day before. She said her head hurt, and she was having difficulty remembering many things. She was slurring her words, though making every effort to speak sweetly as herself.

Sorry, she said.

Yes. I forgive you. I don’t think you meant to do that.

No. I wasn’t feeling very good.

And now?

I don’t feel very good now either.

I forced a smile and I said, I trust you not to do that to me again.

No. No more pills. I don’t need them. How long has it been? The doctor told me, but I can’t remember.

It has been two weeks now. A while, but not long enough to make us old yet.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to speak. I’m passing out from the drugs.

You don’t need to feel so much pain right now. Stay awake while you can.

She looked unflustered. Thanks for being here, she said. Her body was still strapped in place. I held her hand while she stayed awake as long as she could.


How’s Maisie? Daphne said

She’s okay.

She is really awake now?

Wow, she said, that was quite the fall.

Her mood, was rather — unflagged by this. Are you going to stay with her then?

I looked at her with curiosity. I was not thinking of doing so. Though if she didn’t recover, I don’t know what I would do.

You could always be with me?

I could.


Now that wouldn’t be fair, would it?

It should be about what you deserve. Someone who’s always there for you, that is the same as you. You deserve someone sound in body and mind.

I felt uncomfortable then. And are you going to come on to me now? I said.

Yes, that would be what would happen next.

I need to go speak to my Dad, I said. I was supposed to see him earlier.

I hurried away quickly. I was upset because I thought I could count on her friendship. But we can’t ignore human emotions.

Dad, I said. What was the reason for the break-in?

Well, as you know they were looking for something.

Yes, and what was it that he would be sent all the way here for?

There looking for the plans, to the restoration. We’ve been developing new energy science for real mass implementation, a new world order really, and they want to get there hands on it, they want to be the ones to offer it, to control things, really.

But why Daphne?

Well, he was likely to have searched several rooms afterwards. I think he was looking for someone who was not protecting themselves, not as concerned as you, quite certain he would at least find clues. And, I suspect Daphne has been up to more things than you think. She seems to want a hand in things big like yours, or perhaps even the congressman.

Is it her fault, then?

He was quiet. No, he then said. No, it is not her fault.

What do I say to her.

Well, if she wanted to be involved with the congressman, perhaps he can say those things to her for you, I suppose.

That made me sad. Though my Dad was right that someone could speak to her sternly.

What do I do Dad?

No matter how hard you try you will not find yourself in your friends. Women will tell you will, but you won’t. They want your handsomeness, more so than they want you because of your handsomeness, much more so, I would say.

So you and the congressman will speak to Daphne. Yes. She’ll understand, as long as you yourself reassess your relationship, son.



Oh. Hey Daphne.  I was just going to see Maisie again. It has been a week since I saw her last time. 

You know the doctor said that you would have to let her rest for quite some more time than this. Stay with me. Come with me. I’ve been meaning to show something.

Have you?

What? You don’t believe me of late?

Well. Who is to say that I believed you the very first time I sat with you in our building? Who is to say that I disagreed from that moment, maybe even before that, with everything you would ever say.

What are you talking about? You’re joking right?

Of course. What is it you want to show me? Let’s go there, now, why don’t we?

She hesitated. She looked confused, perplexed. She skipped along. Follow me, she said, with enthusiasm.

We walked to the end of the street, to the end of the neighbourhood, into the park, to the cliffs.

Oh. I said. I’ve been never been here before. But I’ve heard of it. People were speaking of it. Very fondly, I thought.

Yes. It it is very quiet here. And very lovely. Everything is so chaotic now. And here it isn’t.

Why did you bring me here?

Because, she said.

Because? I asked.

To be alone with you.


To be alone with you here, yes. And she put her arms around me and I thought she would give me the most passionate kiss and before I could do anything.

What? she said?

And right at the last moment she stopped moving her lips closer to me, and without even pecking me on the cheek, she said. I wasn’t going to do that to the two of you, silly boy.

Very funny. I’m laughing inside. A heart can only break so many ways. Or do I mean so many times. Thank you.

You need me. Forever. I don’t want anything from you.

No. No, of course not. 

We were there for a couple hours, before we felt we should go, and we walked back. The night was warm and cozy, and however frizzled things were, I felt better, sane, and we wouldn’t feel this way forever. Suddenly I realized that we could hide here much longer. We could hide for much longer. Our ambitions needed to lead us away, though mostly I felt sleepy and concerned with the people here.


There’s been a terrible complication.

What, I asked.

The Chinese have placed a severe tariff on all exported goods. We are looking for supplies here and across the boarder, and we are really counting on there support.

Most people thought they would be a threat if they were anything.

That is what we fear. There is no telling if they will become hostile. But they’ll be of little help. This will put many things on hold for now. 

But will this matter in the long run. 

Who’s to tell.

But there is something you can help us with.

What can we help with.

No, something you can help with, son. Just you.

I see. What might that be?


By the time I was in Buffalo the mid-west seemed a stones throw away. I was driving a silver bmw and it was quiet a while the air conditioner made me forget the heat, as the days faded by.

In Las Vegas, there was one thing I needed to find, though it wouldn’t be as easy as finding matches in an arsonist’s cabinets or sex in a whorehouse. I think they still have those here.

The city had reassumed in a haphazard shaken way business, as a place of adult entertainment. Driving down the strip, I knew that two hotels had been hosting disaster victims, and two were semi-operational. There was one casino operating. Everyone needs distraction in the best and worst of times.

The police had bought a room in the bellagio. The staff were aware of this, and they were accommodating and discreet about it. As I went up the elevator, escorted, I felt a knot in my throat. I couldn’t say why, because it wasn’t the overall situation, nor was it going up in the elevator. I felt anxious. 

I stepped onto the patio and it was not as active as to make me feel a rush, but dread worthy sinking. I tried to breath the night air, brace for the day, what was to come, and I shut the screen door, going back inside the suite, and locked it.

Early in the morning, I awoke, long before my alarm. My body was cold and I felt rested, though I shouldn’t have. I saw the sun low in the sky, and I held it in my vision, obliquely, until I knew better who I was, where I was, and her eyes were full of light.

In the restaurant downstairs I ate fruit and thought about the day, trying to feel confident about it. It would be risky. I didn’t necessarily feel the right person for it, no matter what my Dad felt.

In the afternoon I went to the casino. I sat down at the bar to order a vodka tonic and I took it as I walked about for a minute, and sat at the table I needed to.

He was in his late thirties. His hair was greying and he had a tough, mean face, weathered and softened by the warm sun. I bought into the table and played the minimum, making a point of looking like I was getting to know the cards. His wife was younger. Much younger. She was twenty two. She was smoking though I don’t think she liked to. She was golden blonde and her face looked like she might have had some plastic surgery. She was slim and pretty, and she didn’t seem in tune with her husband’s lifestyle, aside, perhaps, from being outside, and walking.

I knew more than they would suspect. They’d be staying through the week. They were one floor above me. He was known to be gruff, with little trust. He was almost always alone, except for his wife, whose trust he absolutely demanded. I needed to introduce myself to him. If he told me off this time, it wouldn’t be my last chance to find what I needed, but I couldn’t suspect him trusting me much more later on in the week.

Good winnings, I said.

Thanks. He wanted to get back to playing, emotionally shrugging off any suggestions there was some form of cheating going on.

I’m Tristan.

He didn’t respond.

I’m staying here this week doing business in the area. I’m on the tenth floor.

Oh. Hi. I’m Terrie.

He put his hand down, and waited for the dealer to play the round.

This is is my wife, Sandra.

I wanted to make eye contact with her. Hi, I said. You look very beautiful today.

He didn’t seem to think anything of it. He would be offended if I didn’t notice, rather, I believe. When the hand was over, he had lost a hundred dollars. Come on, he said to her. We need to go upstairs and get ready now. Nice to meet you, she said to me. He limped noticeably as he began walking, though normalized as they got into the elevator. I thought about going up in it with them, but I didn’t want him to suspect how anxious  I was to ask him questions. I played a few more hands and then went out for a walk to investigate, or erm, have a look at, the way the city was set-up now.

The few people out looked at me sideways. The skies were drenched with sadness. I couldn’t tell anything from the buildings. They had nothing to tell me. The winds were too strong. The streets were scorched with fire. People were too frightened, hysterical, sorry, they said. What do I do? What can I do? I don’t know, I thought. Who could tell you? Who could save us. 

I started walking faster. The air was very choked with dust. Every now and again, I thought I might have seen something that would be considered a clue. Gangsters in an ally way. Dark police vehicles stalking the street. If I wanted the feel of the place, I had it. I felt very unsafe. I was walking with a brisker pace than I realized. I turned around and headed to the hotel again at double time. And then, as I was rounding the corner to the hotel. I saw him. He was speeding. And Sandra was balling in the passenger seat. A red mark across her neck and face.

I ducked away from them, and when the sound of there engine finally disappeared, then I ran into the hotel, collecting myself subtly as I could, walking through the lobby with eyes burning me, rising in the agonizingly presently feeling slow elevator, locking myself in the room.


I let one day go by, and then I knew I needed to go find out more about Terrie. He had three associates that were visiting in Toronto almost immediately after we arrived. If he knew who  I was, he was hiding this. But our meeting did seem to make him angry, angry enough to hurt Sandra.

She looked very good. She wasn’t wearing a dress today, but tight black pants, and a small t-shirt. Her bust looked twice as big today. There was make up hazily over her face and neck, and I could only see a little redness near the collarbone.

She smiled with pearly whites, and acknowledged that I was there with them. I wasn’t as anonymous as they had first pretended. She picked up the slack. 

What have you been doing today?

He took his time answering me. We just drove out and played some golf. Good day. Too warm now.

It is almost one o’clock.


I don’t have much to do. Would you like to go for some drinks?

I can’t kid. I’ve been up since six in the morning. Got a go take a nap some.

Oh we don’t want to leave him all by his self, Sandra said. She looked at me. Why not later on? In a hour or so.

He shrugged. Alright. Three thirty we’ll see you at the bar.

Cool. I said. I think I had some things to do.


I had nothing to do. I joined a game of black jack, and played as many hands as I could. I’d been there suspiciously long so I got up and joined another table. I didn’t want to start drinking. I wanted to be sober for this interaction with Terrie and his wife. It’d been over an hour and now I bet as carefully as I could, and I thought of what I was going to say to them when they came downstairs. Now time went a little quicker. I was feeling more confident about this. They were going to be unsuspecting. Whatever they knew of me, they didn’t know what I knew of them. I went to the bar at quarter after three, and I sat down to order a drink. I took my time with it, and they came down shortly a little after 3 30, and she had changed into a light dinner jacket, covering her neck, with her make up styled down some, paler, like me, not so red.

He looked sun burnt. He was a little cheery after his nap. He was looking forward to a drink. I think I knew what I would ask him first.

So, where have you been throughout all of this? It is always interesting to hear a survivor’s story. I was in Vancouver when it happened. We were very fortunate. Though, truthfully, my brother and I prepared for it immensely.

Well. We were in Los Angeles when it happened. We couldn’t believe the god damn tectonic plate didn’t detach. Right dear?

He took a hefty gulp of his drink. Very scary, she said. There was flooding everywhere, and no electricity for months. She was very somber as if she were taking drags again, looking into the distance.

I wasn’t sure if he would explain or not. He certainly thought it would be a compliment if he could be bothered too. We hung out in a shelter for a couple weeks but it wasn’t good enough for much more than that. We went home and made due with what we had. Stayed upstairs, stayed away from rooms that might collapse.

I expressed my shock and sadness at this predicament. Now was, of course, the time to ask a more pointed question.

Have you been in Toronto at any point.

Sandra gave her husband a questioning stare. No, he said. We were there then we were here. He took another gulp of his drink, and then he said, We were there and then we were here. Haven’t been anywhere else. 

I felt taken aback. I tired to drink my drink, and wait for then, perhaps Sandra, to say something.

What do you think you’ll do now, I said, changing the subject slightly.

Keep working. Think I can get my business restarted. Meeting with an associate later on this evening.

What do you do?

Contractor. Homes.

Oh. You look like you use your body a little for your career.

Yah. He said. Good money. Not bad. Long time in the business. Know the right people.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t go back to school I don’t think. I suppose there is still a school, that I suppose will reopen eventually.

That’s something we’re talking about tonight. New hiring. Kids need new direction. He sounded genuinely interested in what he was saying for the first time in the course of my speaking with him.

You know, you could really come to dinner with us, Tristan, said Sandra.

He didn’t change his expression, but he said of course he could. He could come, and we could chat together about everything. He might have opportunities for you. You want to stay over here, don’t you.

Yes, I said. Need to keep moving.

Sandra acted pleased with us. Wonderful, she said. I’ll have someone to talk to. Someone intelligent.

Watch it now, Terrie said to her.

She flashed her pearly whites at him, deviously. She did this often, he could gather.

He’d already had two drinks. But after that, he wanted to leave. It was four thirty, and he said, one last drink.

Sandra and I were able to chat without angering him. When he finished his drink, he asked for a water. Hot out there today, he said. And then we took off. It is a bit of a long drive, he said.

In the suv I sat in the back alone. I was a little perturbed as we left the strip. Though I wasn’t surprised when I reminded myself that this was a mission, and not a networking dinner. It was a surprisingly busy location. It had been servicing as a rations cafeteria, and now it was open for business again. Though, prices weren’t high right now, and there wasn’t anywhere else for locals.

We walked along the front entrance, and Sandra was beside me, smiling with her pearly whites again, happy to be out in public. When we got there the associate was waiting for us. He was there with his wife. In this way, I felt silly and off track of any investigation, he wasn’t with any gangster buddies. 

We had another drink right away, and they took there time ordering food as they discussed restarting their company.

We can merge, as was becoming a reality before the disaster, he said. And now it is us two, but that is enough, I would think.

Terrie thought about it, and he seemed pleased by his friends positivity.

We’re not going to have the money without the documents of course though, his wife suddenly said. She neutralized the positivity. And I realized she ruined the veneer of good intentions, without realizing not everyone was in on it, that I wasn’t in on it.

I think Terrie wanted to rip her head of. But he only acted annoyed like she interrupted what he was going to say. And then he said, evasively, We’ll contact Sandcor about more backing. And then he ordered another drink.

Often, Sandra was making eyes at me. In all the time they spent together, I don’t think she was allowed to notice other men. I don’t think she had seen anyone who looked quite like me.

I’m going to need to go to the washroom. A lot of drinking. Excuse me.

And I honestly did have to pee. I used the washroom, and then washed my hands for a while, so I could get the oil off them to fix my hair, extending my time away from them, away from cameras, to feel out where this was at. Then I went to the door to walk out and as I did, Sandra came in. I hardly saw her before she jumped at me and grabbed my face making out and mauling me. She was so attractive. Though all I thought of was getting information from her. She undid my belt and put me inside her under her dress. She heaved slightly, but I could tell how unsafe we were because she wouldn’t make any more noise. This went for three minutes, I counted them. 

And then I said, sweetie are you okay? And I withdrew myself from her though she was still pushed right against me. And I asked her what I needed to. Sandra, what was she talking about? What documents does she want. She didn’t really hesitate to tell me the truth. You knew the ones. In Toronto. For the restoration. There going to come for them. It’s billions of dollars.

I really thought something was going on. What does he want from you?

He’s going to try to kill you. Kill all of you. Then try to replace you with the congressman and turn a huge profit from all of this.

Thanks for telling me, I said.

You should know.

You’re safe in all this?

Of course. But you’re not going to be after tonight.

Okay. Go out there now. I’ll follow you in a minute.

Good idea, she said. She was still beaming in my eyes.

She left shortly, taking precious seconds to fix her dress some, re-polish her lipstick, and then return to the table.

I remained against the wall, feeling the sound of the music and light chatter in the building. I washed my hands, perversely, and then went back outside. They were talking as I came over, worriedly. And when I was halfway there they were drunk, and I don’t think they knew I could overhear.

…but what if he survives? You’ll need to do something tonight.

No, no. He can’t suspect anything. The more time we spend with him, the more in their trust we will seem.

Then they stopped talking. Terrie looked at me. There you are again. Not too long. We were just about to have some food I do believe.

Just then a server brought over our meals.

Sandra look worried and a little uncomfortable, though Terrie was too drunk to tell. He was aware of this, and all of the sudden he switched to water again. But first he gulped down his drink.

I stayed quiet, and ignored any further enlivenment of Terrie. He was still the lonely angry guy from this afternoon. Sandra calmed down and was able to hide any feeling from the people around us for the rest of the evening. Terrie didn’t let anything further slip, and kept acting very amiably. Afterwards,  I declined to go anywhere else, and asked to return to the hotel.

When we parted ways my only thoughts were that I hoped Sandra didn’t show up again alone, with Terrie trying to kill me already, and all. I locked my room up well, and managed to get some sleep. And the next day I drove out of the city, early in the morning, finishing my hiking by one in the afternoon, splashing myself with water from the rivers, and driving back. Tired, I walked back to my room.

Then it happened. I opened the door, feeling very tired, thinking only of napping, and then I was reminded of how in danger I was. Someone came out of the bathroom. The door opened violently. He was wearing a mask and he had a knife. I screamed fuck before he lunged at me. I put my arms up. And pushed him. Holding his arms, preventing him from making stabbing motions. I fell back against the wall, and I feared he would stick the knife in me. He was big though Terrie and I hadn’t gotten around to chatting about what kind of shape I was in. I kicked him in the shin as hard as I could and he reacted and then I punched him in the face, trying to knock him out. He was hurt and dazed slightly. For a second he wouldn’t try to stab me, and I grabbed a lamp and whacked him across the head. It shattered loudly, and he fell to the ground, concussed and unconscious. I thought of restraining him though I wasn’t sure I had the materials, and rushed downstairs to find someone to apprehend him.

When I returned with security, he was gone, but they did not hesitate to believe me, and the scene made it clear what had happened. They said they had been keeping an eye on this Terrie person, and he was obviously behind. They said they would move towards arresting him, and keep him away from me and my family, and the plans for restoration.


I left Las Vegas and I returned to Toronto. The plane ride was full of a terrible turbulence. When I arrived I was weary from all the hustle and bustle that never faded away there, the sin that still existed in a place within us.

The sun and the stars traded places, and it was dark as my Dad and I drove back to the hotel. He had several things to say to me, and he spoke in an informative tone. I think he regretted that Las Vegas went much as he expected it would. Terrie had been spotted as far as New Jersey already and they expected that he was still on the move. There had been no new threats identified to the Restoration right now. 

Presently Maisie was recovering steadily. The predictions of her doctor were that it was likely now she would recover. Whether her personality would be altered, that would be the last thing revealed, as her brain function will recover the slowest.


The first thing I did was go visit her. The hallways were empty. Her door was closed all the same and I opened it, and I heard one sound, the beeping of her monitor. I sat down beside her, and looked upon her. Suddenly, as if I had stopped shaking the air, I could hear her breathing. It felt miraculous, it sounded — it was her breathing. She was so lovely. I bent to her, Hi, I said.

She was still asleep, though I imagined that she had resounded to me, melodiously. I wish you could have been… I wish you could have seen me out in Las Vegas, I said. Guns, plots, all of that stuff. It is a good thing they say you’re going to wake up. That will be what’s best for me. 

She didn’t move just then. There was something else going on. I wondered what it was. For then, I just sat with her. The moments would go by that she wasn’t awake with me.

I think that she was out of herself when she did those things. My faith in her I admit was shaken. But she was still the same, I fully believed in her beauty again.

Sometimes I didn’t feel perfect. Sometimes I only felt young, the feeling of losing her was too much to go through.

The doctor was outside when I left the room eventually. He had a clipboard in his hand and he looked assured. Hi, Tristan he said.

Hi, Doc. What’s going on.

He looked at me, lightening a little. We know what happened. We ran a battery of tests and we discovered something. We’re sorry we didn’t catch it at first. We had no idea. You see, Maisie is pregnant.

Really? Is that why she became so, so out of herself.

We think certainly that’s why. She’ll just have to be aware of this and take it easy now. No more drinking or any pills. She should awake any day. The situation was not as serious as we thought it was to begin with.

That’s wonderful news, doc. Thanks a lot.

You’re welcome. I am going to go over the results one more time, and we’ll let you know when she awakes, or when she is likely too. Good night, Tristan, get some sleep.

Good night, Doctor.


My father had been sitting up when I returned. He looked hurt, and dismayed, and he had not displayed these things for a long time.

What’s the matter?, I said.

I’m sorry son. I don’t know what we were thinking. We really risked things for you this year. 

You see it’s only me now, he continued. He looked up and out the hotel room window. I’ve grown so numb about things. And all of the sudden I thought this mattered so much. I hope you’ll forgive me. I want you to grow up, strong. Though I didn’t mean to endanger you quite like that. Have you been writing something?

Yes, you heard too?

I did hear. Keep working on that. Write about this. Let me read it. No more big adventures for now though, okay? I promise I won’t ask more of you than that right now.

Okay, I said. You know, you really can talk to me whenever. I’m your guy. You can count on me.

I know, son. I know. Thank you.

Then I went out and into the hallway and walked back to my room. I thought of how he had reacted. I thought he had been silly now, as opposed to before weirdly.

The next day Daphne and I had coffee in the morning. I told her everything that happened and she seemed in a good mood about things. She thought it was more humorous that I had been at risk.

I paused at one moment and then I had to tell her about what happened. What more happened. About Maisie.

I think she was bothered. It was sad for her that we would have something like that between the two of us. It meant the end of something for me and her. To her it meant the end of something for me. Though we try to be happy for the new beginning, for what will eventually come in the future to be something beautiful and poignant for us to oversee.

That she would recover was really good news. No one didn’t want that. But I told her that I really enjoyed spending time with her like this, regardless of what else was going on, regardless of what was going on was what facilitated the time we had for one another.

It  wasn’t fair to either one of us the unraveling of reality, though. Our time together wouldn’t fade so easily, into a nothingness amidst turmoil strong and sorrowful, I wanted to be in her presence, unshaken, for a life time.


A week later I went to visit Maisie and I was feeling very somber about things.  I suddenly realized I had been saying so many things to her but she hadn’t responded to any of them. I thought then that it was likely that she had heard all of them. She would awake and know me more intimately. I had been confessing things to her I had never confessed to anyone.


She was still in bed in the same way, her hair combed the same way. I sat down beside her again and I felt differently about things. This was no place for her to be. She needed to awake. But it didn’t seem she ever would, and it was frustrating.

I didn’t say anything this time, but I watched her monitors, her life force represented as beeps, numbers, codes. Peremptorily, effervescently, I was called for. Tristan, she said. She spoke. She spoke.

Croakingly, Tristan, I heard. I turned around, and her eyes were open, only so much, and yet they looked so big, and she looked so tired, and yet they looked so watery. There was little light in the room, but they glowed. There was little light in the room, there was little vitality in her, but I found her radiant.

Are you okay? I said. Stay awake with me, now. 

My head hurts, she said.

Oh, I bet it does I said. It’s going to hurt for a little while, now that you’re awake. What happened?

I, I don’t know, she said quietly. I wasn’t feeling, I wasn’t feeling very well. I wanted to feel a little better, and then… Then, that’s all I remember I think.

Maisie, Maisie. I paused. Maisie, you’re pregnant. You’re going to have a child. 

What, she said. Really?

That’s why you fainted. Really. You’re going to have a child, you and I.

Oh my, she said. I didn’t know. How interesting.

I suppose there were some good elements and bad elements to this happening to us. Certainly, she wasn’t ready for it so much. She knew that right away. She knew lots of things about this moment, though we hadn’t hoped for it so soon. She was happy, she was selfless in this moment. Only one child, that would grow so strong and brave so fast, out of her.

She said, Where is the doctor? What did the doctor say?

He said you’re going to be okay. They know it was an accident. You are not in trouble. Everything should be okay.

I don’t feel pregnant, she said.

I laughed. I don’t think anyone else would have noticed either.

I wish my mother was here.

I am sorry for that. I wish she was here.

Where is Allister?

In the hotel. He was going to come and see you when you wake up.

Oh. I suppose some people will come and see me.

Of course, I said.

   I sat with her while she stayed awake. It was almost for an hour, that she was awake, though she had little energy to talk, to have any big reactions to the things I told her. 

When she fell asleep, the doctor came in shortly thereafter, and I realized I should leave then. When I was by myself I was suddenly come over by a feeling of manhood. By that, I mean, I felt, that I would have this responsibility, part of it would be mine, that it would really be just the two of us that loved it, really loved it. My child, and I would be a father, with a whole world of connections, but moreover challenges. It was a lot to think about. The way back took a lot longer than usual.

I returned to the hotel and I went around and told everyone that she had been awake and she was back to normal. Everyone was going to go see her in a few days, then she’d come back soon. And things weren’t so bad here. Things would be good again. We couldn’t possibly feel sad anymore.


Three days later she was discharged from the hospital and I wheeled her out onto the street in a wheelchair. A car took us across and over to the hotel. Everyone was very happy to see her recovered, no one was at all mad at her because it wasn’t her fault. They even said congratulations, and said they wished her a speedy recovery, and for a while everyone was very nice because they knew she was in pain. She spent another two days in bed. I explained to everyone that they would see more of her eventually. I became everyday more and more her family. It was overwhelming to crave the responsibility. I liked the idea of me being there for her, and that was scary.

It took two weeks before she began walking around on her own. Her eyes were big and round with wonder, and thankfulness, like this was a new beginning for her, before it was for anyone else, the pregnancy. Her youth was not ended by something that was eight months away. She made new friends. We weren’t farther into the danger zones as she got better. We met all the new comers. New things waited for us.

One day we were sitting together and we started discussing what things would be like. We talked about different names. She thought it would be a boy. Oddly I thought it was going to be a girl. I told her given her strength it was so unlikely that it would grow to be anything but a reflection of the wonder that she is. I said it without being corny. She received the things I said with love and adoration. Sometimes we sat together arm in arm, and we said nothing for hours. Our togetherness was powerful in the midst of the vast darkness threatening everywhere.

I didn’t know what would happen in the next year. It seemed so clear and so quickly it changed. But that wasn’t what I was surprised about. I was surprised by the process of adjustment. By how quickly we could do it. By how we could do it amidst feelings of uncertainty. My whole identity was challenged and yet it has persevered, bended to fit its new requirements.

I said to her that I wanted none of the things I wanted before. But I wasn’t upset about it. I didn’t have ambition in the same way. It didn’t exist anymore. I think it had been on her mind but I said it, do you think it was the apocalypse?

No, she said. I don’t think so.

I didn’t think so either. I didn’t think it would ever stop.

There was good and evil.

Yes. That’s a good way to put it.

Her pregnancy came along well. The bump in her belly grew, though the rest of her appearance didn’t change at all. I asked her if she was trying to do that and she said she wasn’t.

Maybe people that try to stop that make it happen.

Maybe. That’s funny she said.

We had an ultrasound that told us it was a girl. It was interesting news.

I was right, I said.

I wouldn’t have it any other way, she said. I have standards.

Oh my, I said.

After six months she stopped doing things, and spent most of the day inside, often in bed. 

Are you feeling alright, I said.

Why yes. I think so. She said.

Are you sure? 

Why I am quite sure.

I think I was prepared for whatever she was going to be like. We didn’t need the step mom. It made me feel uneasy. She couldn’t hurt us, but she couldn’t help us. I felt uncertain that there’s a this mom in me. There was one in my Maisie. Though such a young person, she is.

A month later something happened. Her water broke. But she wasn’t feeling right. Her face became red. Her arms and legs were suddenly swollen. I didn’t know what was happening for sure. She was more than nauseous. 

I’ll call an ambulance, I said. I went and got the radio.

We need an ambulance and a stretcher up to the ninth floor. A pregnancy. The baby is ready to come out, but she’s feeling really not well. Ya. Ya. Okay.


I nervously waited for the doctor again outside. Sometimes my hands were red as I was pressing them together so hard in prayer. She had gotten even worse on the way here. 

There were nurses, people in large gowns, scurrying in and out of the room, some of them with whole trays of equipment. There was that nervous energy that they didn’t bother to hide from me very much. That was part of becoming an adult. People didn’t hide things. People hid children from things. 

I was waiting for someone to come and speak to me. If I went and tried to speak to them there hysteria might just get worse. For five, it was six hours I felt an agonizing pain wondering if they were going to be okay. Finally, the doctor came over to me. He had news.

Hi, Tristan. He said.

Hi doctor. What’s going on.

Well, there has been a problem with the pregnancy. The child was born and Maisie is stable and doing normally, just distraught now. The child isn’t getting enough oxygen. She is premature, and has a congenital defect in one of her lungs. We’re not sure if she’ll survive the night.

I had no immediate response for him. I looked at him gravely, hoping he would brake with a but or even an and. He would not. Well can I see her? I said.

You can see her in an hour or so. We are currently doing observations. I am sorry we couldn’t do anything about this. Good evening to you and we will speak again tomorrow. He walked away and disappeared into an office.

I was more distraught now. I went to sit back down, and stopped. I didn’t want to feel the comfort of the chair. I stood there instead, and I didn’t want to sit down any time soon. The whole hour went by, so slowly, I counted every second, and then a nurse came to me, and took me to the nursery, where she was in her own section, on a machine.

She was so small, her skin wrinkled and soft, she was sleeping, but she looked slightly discomforted all the same. I began to cry. I wanted her to live so much. I touched her cheek gently. I felt a real love for her. I sat down for the first time with her. I didn’t ever want to leave her. I could be there with her forever. Though soon the nurse told me I had to leave, and so I went back to the waiting area, and sat down there. People went past, some looking like they were going about there business, others looking worried. Eventually, they told me I should go home and get some rest, and come back later tomorrow, and so I went home and tried to sleep. 


As you could anticipate, I didn’t want to go to sleep. Rather I sat up drinking tea. It was dark and the lights were on but I didn’t care. I just heard the noises outside and I wasn’t disturbed by them. I had a feeling my Dad was going to come in and see if I was actually asleep, so I went to the bedroom and closed my eyes. I lay there for a long time.

I started dreaming about it the next day. I was in the lobby again. It was the same nurse. You can see her again, she said.

She looked just like she did the day before. I had all kinds of faith she was going to be just fine. They were just being cautious. I was sure of it. Then something happened. Her monitors started beeping. I looked panicky at all parts of her. I didn’t see anything wrong. I’m sorry, you’ll need to leave, the nurse said. 

She actually physically grabbed me to leave. I was shocked still. She shook me. I agreed to leave right away. 

I was in the lobby room again, but it didn’t feel the same. It was so dark. It was so cold. Where was everyone. What on earth had happened? What had happened?

It was another hour, it might have been two, were I couldn’t move from the seat in the lobby. This time, it was the doctor. Someone was coming to see me. It was the doctor. He was coming with news.

Doctor, I said. What happened?

We tried to perform an emergency surgery. She had severe tachycardia and was going into arrest. She wasn’t receiving enough oxygen. She died during the procedure. I am sorry.

I sat down. I had my head in my hands, though my eyes were open. 

Oh my, I said.

Sorry, Tristan. He said. She almost made it. We were very proud of her. Though there was little chance she would make it.

Okay, I said. Okay. Okay.

I sat there a minute and he didn’t go away. I just wanted him to go away and for this to be over. I was feeling so tired.

She grabbed me. She physically grabbed me. She shook me. And then I realized.

I wasn’t dreaming.


Maisie and I were both having difficulty getting past it. A big depression came over us. There was nothing we wanted to do. We didn’t eat. We only slept when we were so tired it was painful to stay awake. We didn’t leave our rooms.

Then one day I began to feel we were still very young and we had much to do and it had something to do with this, that there was still a sense and order to things. Though Maisie didn’t feel better. And I felt there might be something I can do for people still. I didn’t care how I felt. But I cared how other people felt.

My Dad said that things were reorganizing. There had been a tremendous amount of infrastructure restored. There was going to be a new government. He said that there needed to be more regulations or else something like this could be repeated.

But global warming is already happening, I said. There is very little we can do to stop that.

Well, not really. We could markedly reduce emissions all over the planet. There’s no telling what a difference that could make.

But there is an aspect of it that is natural, that has nothing to do with us.

But at that rate there isn’t supposed to be an extinction for more than 10,000 years. 

I thought about what he said. I suppose it was only an attitude that we were so hopeless as a race. Apparently the congressman was going to run. How? I said.

He’s a dual citizen. My Dad said. 

Oh. I said. Is that why he’s so concerned.

He considered it for a moment. I suppose he said.

He shuffled the documents he was going through, as if he had no idea what he had been doing a moment ago. Son. He said. Would you like to be on the campaign? 

Absolutely. I said. Is that a possibility?

You bet it is. He said.

What can I do?

Oh. I think you’re going to be important. I’ll see to it that you can do a lot.

That’s good. Thank you. Then I said, Hey Dad. Who is going to run against him.

There is one other candidate right now.

Who is it?

I’m not sure, he said.


The congressman prepared for the race in talks with my father. There was a plan they provisionally created. There were targets they would run with. There was an overall platform they wanted to suggest. Now people wanted change. Now people would listen to a progressive voice. The other candidate would expect that, he said. The whole spectrum will be swung to the left, but the trouble will be keeping it there.

The election would be in four months time. He said he felt it would be a position from which he would have a significant work impact. Probably much bigger than the Prime Minister had. Given the destruction in the South, he said it would be more like being the President.

That’s good. I said.

Yes, he said. It is.

He was quite pleased I felt. Though I am sure he was going to switch to saying how prepared he was to have a positive effect on the world from the position in the coming weeks. I suddenly had this feeling it would be a battle. Nothing would come easy. No one was on our side so easily.

I went to visit for the first time in a while it seemed. It had been a few days since I had seen her. She wasn’t coming downstairs. She said she’d come out but she hadn’t. I knocked on the door, a couple times, and I had to wait for her to open the door. It took a while.

Hey, she looked better, oddly. I blinked. A lot had happened since she had been begun to feel so damned depressed.

We got to talking about what had been going on with my Dad and I told her he had been busy. Had I been spending my time with Daphne.

Yes, I said. Most days, yes.

Like every day.

Well, yes. Why?

No reason. Did something happen. 

Not really. She tried to kiss me. That’s all.

Really? She said. That’s all?

Yes, really… I don’t think she’ll try to again. I paused. Maybe were all feeling emotional. It’s best just to let it alone.

I was turning around, considering my choices of word, then I had to look at her face, and see she was smiling, again, and she was kidding. 

What you think matters more than anything else in the world. That’s what about what you think.

Thank you, Shakespeare. Thank you. You too. Let’s go downstairs and have dinner.

Yea. The last place I thought I was Shankspeare. 


Maisie didn’t say anything to Daphne about it. They didn’t speak, but were comfortable enough sitting together. For a moment I left them alone and Allister and I went over some new info about the Resistance. It didn’t sound like there was anything to be worried about right now.

Do people take road trips when the world is ending, I said.

I don’t think we can go anywhere with the restrictions, she said.

No, I said. The resistance aren’t being dangerous. We could go some ways. For a day or two. Any arguments with which to get away sort of thing.

We should go. I would love to get away from here, Maisie said.

We could drive up north, I said. Before it gets too cold. I’ve never been to the Hudson’s bay area. 

Yea we should, Daphne said. That would be a nice place to escape viewing the decimated city.

Thanks for the reminder, Maisie said grimly.

Yea. You’re welcome, Maisie.

Okay. I said. Well then. All settled. You coming Allister?

I don’t know, he said. Yea. I guess so.

Are you feeling uneasy after what happened, Daphne said.

Yea, he said plainly. I guess so.

It will be alright, I said. We’ll talk to Dad.

He said it would be fine, but to make him feel we have an eye on him, and to stay together, and as long as we do that, we’ll always have the phone, and they won’t be so so far out of reach.

It’s good. He said. All of this stress isn’t good for you.


I packed some things. Allister helped me. The two of us did all the work. Daphne was very talkative on the drive. She had something she wanted to say, though it came out as a bunch of the same sorts of things, and I figured she would say something in private later on on the trip.

About halfway there I stopped. There is something in the road,  I said. It was an animal.

What is it, Daphne said.

It looks like a deer, I said. Yea, looks like someone has been driving this way. It has been run over. 

Oh my the guts, Daphne said.

I wonder who was driving this way. Maybe someone should call Dad.

Really, you think so? she said.

Well, maybe in a little while I guess. Have to see what happens. If we see someone we don’t really have a choice but to just give him a call.

Yea that would be the right thing to do. For everyone’s sake, she said.

Should we move it, Allister said.

I wouldn’t touch it actually, I said. But take a look. Can you tell were it was hit? Is there any marks on the road.

Right in the front, he said. 

Then Maisie said, look, there are tracks over here.

Cool, I said. Well, I mean. Let’s look at them.

They were long, though they stretched off the road, into the dirt. They drove away after it, I said. They didn’t hit the trees.

Is that a bad thing? Allister said.

Oh yes. They didn’t want anyone to find them.

Let’s turn around, she said.

Sure. Well, let’s see what we find. It is probably nothing after all, we knew there were some cars that came this way. 

As we continued on driving, I felt a deep uneasiness, though it faded, as I drove further and further, into a dull ache that I could almost ignore. I drove into the night. 

It was a few hours later we arrived at the cabin. There were no lights, so we made our way through them with headlights, to the appropriate number, and I opened it with the keys. I walked through and looked out, and I could see the water, in the dim light, down the slope, a little ways away. It felt awfully chilly, and I turned the lights and heater on immediately.

Was someone using this, Daphne said. 

Oh yes. The Congressman was up here actually, I said.

Oh, she said. Well then.

This will do, Maisie said.

Glad to hear it, I replied.

We went to bed, mostly because I was tired, and because we weren’t feeling so scared of the night here. And I was having a dream again. It was a few months later and the election was over, though something was wrong. Things were even worse now. We had made a fall. We were not recovering, we were not in a rebuilding of our world. The opposer, he looked familiar, and he had one. We were in the building as he won, and he had already been making moves, as if he had rigged everything somehow. I wanted to fight it, but I couldn’t fight it, there was nothing I could do to make him stop. Would you stop sir, will you stop?

I awoke suddenly. This time I wasn’t dreaming. Maisie wasn’t in bed. I thought where could she be. I went and checked in the bathroom but she wasn’t there. I went down to the kitchen and she wasn’t there. I was worried for a second and then I thought of another place. I looked out the back window and the lights were on. I couldn’t see right to the doc, but I figured I better check there.

I wandered outside without realizing that it was so cold out there. I walked quickly down the path, down the steps until the dock. When I got to it I could see her on the edge, with her feet hanging over, hunched up.

Maisie, I said. What are you doing?

Nothing really. I just came down here. I couldn’t sleep.

I went and sat down next to her. Let me have a look at you, I said.

She looked very sad. Her face looked worn from being so sad for a while and she was bundled up in a blanket.

What are we going to do, I said?

I don’t know. She said. I’m not sure.

I’m here with you in this. You know that. I love you.

I know that. I know you do. It’s just so terrible.

Yea. I can’t make that go away.

She didn’t want to look any less sad. There was something in her hands.

What have you got there? I said.

She didn’t respond for a second. Then she took her hands out of the blanket and showed me. She had a bottle of whisky. For staying warm? She said sort of inquisitively.

Yea. I’m pretty cold actually. I shivered.

She smiled for the first time, maybe the first time in forever, and she offered the blanket to share with me.

Thank you I said. Let’s leave the tequila on the side for now though. 

Deal, she said.

The moon was rippling along the water. We held each other as it retired, bringing the day back relentlessly.


A few days went by and nothing happened except that we relaxed and recharged. I hadn’t realized how badly I had been sleeping and it was sort of jarring. Then there was a weird feeling I had. It was almost time to go back. But I was awake to something very unpleasant, in the worst kind of way.

Where is Allister? I said at the breakfast table.

He hasn’t been feeling well, Maisie said.

Like how?

I don’t really know. He wasn’t too descriptive. Something like the flu.

Hmm. I said. No one else feels anything?

I feel like I’m a little woozy, Maisie said, then laughing a little.

That’s no one then, I guess, I summed up.

After I finished eating I went to check on him.

Hey bud, I said.

He mumbled something uncomfortably.

Getting worse and not better then, hey.

I didn’t really want to get the flew. I remained in the doorway and he sat up in bed a little slowly.

Oh my, I said.

Yea, he said.

His face was literally green.

But how do you feel I said?

Not that bad, but it’s getting a little worse.

Just green in the face, hey.

Just green in my face, I guess. 

Well, I’m going to leave you in here. The weekends almost up, though I’m not sure if we want to drive back with all of us together in the back of the car while you are this sick.

Yea. How long could I possibly stay green though, right?

I suppose. Very right. Let me know if you start feeling better. Try having a shower, no matter how you’re feeling.

Sure, he said.

I went back downstairs. He isn’t feeling well, I said.

Oh, Daphne said. What’s wrong?

I don’t know. Like the flu. But his face is green. Shouldn’t be too bad though.

That’s weird. Like really green?

Like really green. Never seen it. Never read about anything like it.

Is it because of the pollution from the wreckage?

Well, maybe. Probably. I don’t know what I’d call it. Everyone wash there hands and things.

For sure we will do that. But if he gets better there is nothing to worry about, Daphne said.

No, there is nothing to worry about then, I said.


In two days time, Allister was almost better. His face wasn’t green anymore, it was… only slightly tinted. A bit like a normal flu again. That night his spirits were revived some and we decided to drive home in the morning. My Dad was a little concerned that we were gone for so long, but he wasn’t upset with how early we were coming back after he got better.

As we were leaving, I heard something. It was actually quite loud. I turned around. Did you hear something Maisie?

Yea. It was the wind or something.

I looked forward through the open doorway. There is no wind.

Oh it was nothing, Daphne interjected. Let’s get out of here.

And we left.


When we arrived back we went in and went to sleep. It was a much different experience of things, though I slept fine, and went to bed within a few hours.  

But the next day something had happened. And they wanted to see Allister immediately. Daphne had told several people about how he was quite sick. How green his face had been that first night. Allister was downstairs already, and there was a doctor attending to him, taking his blood work, and a nurse asking him to describe his symptoms. He wanted to speak to me. My father wasn’t around right at that moment. He said that it was a serious illness and it usually hits people much harder. Often fatal, he said.  

When did it begin? I said.

The first case was two months ago, there has been an outbreak across the border in the past month. 

How many cases?

A hundred thousand.

How many deaths?

Most of them, he said.

There had only been one other case in the building, though there had been three down the road at the other dwelling. We were told to exercise caution, as with any flu, and that would be the most effective way to avoid the illness. It was particularly transmitted orally. It was advised to not share drinks or to kiss excessively. It was believed to be born of the disaster, however it was believed there might have been a terrorism induced spread.

I looked around for Dad later. He was in the offices, sitting at his desk pensively. Hi Son.

Hi, Dad. So I guess you heard about Allister’s sickness.

Yes. They tested it. It is a match for the severe strain going around. You’re not to ingest anything from a stranger, is that something I can trust you with?

Well, absolutely.

Good. Now is not the time to be on drugs, or to start to begin on drugs, or doing anything ill-advised. Now, tell me, how did Allister seem?

Like he just had the flu. He didn’t seem so worried about his coloration. That might be why he recovered. Anxiety might have worsened his fever.

Do you think it might have been a high one?

It didn’t seem dangerous, but it was close to that.

There working on an antidote. It might be a few more weeks, or unfortunately longer. But if you or anyone catches this, replicate the bed rest, and do not stress, and take the best care. He owes his own bravery and cavalier attitude, as well as your care-giving for his life. 

As thing were getting better, they seem to get darker, as if we had only seen a small hope so as to face the whole plight of things. Maisie and I left our rooms a little, sitting around together, crying sometimes, working on the campaign at others. Dad said that the other candidate had challenged successfully though he is running under a different identity. It was Terrie.

He said that sadly they had not been able to pin any charges on him related to the attack in Las Vegas, and they hadn’t been able to tie any charges related to his other involvement’s enough to affect an arrest. He said it was going to be okay, and that he didn’t think I was personally at risk so much. Terrie didn’t want anything from us personally, he wanted power and money. He was one person that was unfazed by the disaster, even seeing it as another opportunity. It seemed he had found even more money, and there was no telling what he wanted really, but it wasn’t going to be easy to tell the public that.

The first debate was coming in the next few weeks. The congressman was preparing with some advisors. He told me that they had actually been spending most of there time predicting what Terrie would be saying. They wanted to know his every move.

It felt like the start of a new investigation, on the highest level. I thought once the election was over, he might be in jail. It was scary to think what might happen. I started thinking about my interactions with Terrie, thinking about whether there was something that would be particular helpful, some clue to defeat him.

The disease advanced, a cure was on the way though, I heard. There was a chance that it would come around quickly for us. It depended on whether the present theory of the disease was correct.

Allister never relapsed. There was something dark hanging over him personally, at some point there was something that happened on our trip. He was thinking about how he got it. I was certain he would come up with the answer.  

In the mean time, I tried to assist my Dad in any way in coming up with campaign plans. Other than making sure she was safe and away from the illness, Maisie wasn’t someone I was spending a lot of time with. Politics made my life feel so mean. It felt like a game of inches with body checks of mental puzzles. Something almost addictive, but full of thorns.  Ideally I didn’t want to see Terrie elected now, from a personal place. 

In the first debate, the congressman was really on. He didn’t want that anymore, and he could communicate that to everyone there. In all the reports he won in almost every category. The election drew nearer and it seemed he had the edge, although at times he slipped down. People worried whether just the things Terrie was saying as a candidate were going to be influential. I want so much to stand up there and change the future, really take direction of things.


Then there was something else that happened. I thought I got the illness, I woke up with my throat sore, my nose runny, feeling stuffy. I went to the bathroom, forced myself in the shower, and I wasn’t feeling better for the whole entirety of the day. It was only after agonizing hour after hour that the next day finally it began to clear, and I found it was just a flu, it was nothing.

But there was some ramifications that did touch us. Daphne fell ill. It was the first day where she experienced something similar, but she didn’t improve. The next day she worsened and her face became green. Within the next week she was in the hospital. I went to see her and I was so distraught. I was getting so heartsick from being with them. There would never be another one that wouldn’t give me deep pain.

Hey, Daphne, I said.

I’m not feeling very well, she said.

No, I said. I can see so. Oh, dear. You poor thing.

Yea. It doesn’t feel so good. 

You’re going to get better. I said.

I hope so. She said.

When you do, I promise we’ll have more fun. We can make a paradise of whatever we have. I promise.

I know. I know you do. That would be wonderful.

You’ll get better. I think you will. I know for sure that there going to take care for you. And we’re here for you.

The doctor said it might not be a malignant case. We’ll see.

The second debate was much closer. It seemed there was something Terrie knew. There were many things he knew. There had been some surveillance that had occurred. He had prepared this time as if he was the Congressman. 

But that he was not. When the election came around, I found myself sitting around praying that it would come around easily. I had faith it would be a good election. It would be done in good faith. There were enough spies to ruin everything.

I watched the results with Maisie and my father. I held her hand and they were both clammy. Sometimes I didn’t realize I was squeezing it. It was close. Though as it moved West, the Congressman soared, somewhere were there was no spies, no planning, and he secured a victory, before it was over, before they were was any chance really to say hey wait a moment. Maisie and I were so relieved. I had never kissed her so hard.

He would come into power immediately, and there was much work he could put into effect immediately. Though the first order of business was to end the disease. It sounded as if there would be an investigation into Terrie again. Though this time it sounded like we might have the power to arrest him, and stop whatever further it was he was planning. All I remembered of him was a very deep sinisterness, that I must have thought was just briskness.

But there was something else. An associate came into the room. There is something that has happened. 

What’s that?

It’s Daphne. We believe she has passed away. 


For a moment I couldn’t breath. My shock subsided only momentarily so I could try to speak. Are you sure, I said gaspingly.

She was getting better, he said. The treatment was working. And then, suddenly her vitals plummeted. She stopped breathing and she passed away. We believe she passed away, just an hour ago.

But, how? I hoped she would recover.

We don’t know. We thought we were coming to understand the disease, but there is some element we haven’t fully grasped yet. It’s…it’s biblical.

I looked off into space for a long time. This is bad, I said.

I’m sorry sir. We’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

I went off for a walk, despite the fact it was so brisk outside. I wanted to save her. I wanted to bring her back. But there was nothing I could do right now.

I sat down in thought on a ledge, in front of soaring office buildings. I couldn’t bear the sadness of it.             

It was quite a while before I realized I had been lost in a number of thoughts. When I woke up out of the daze, I realized how far I was from our place. Then it occurred. 

   A van drove quickly up the street, from only one street block away, and stopped right in front of me, and two men with guns got out, and they grabbed me viciously, and pulled me away in the van.

Someone knocked me out, and I don’t think it was for quite some time that I awoke again into consciousness.


At that time I was in a different space, the air felt like I was underground, and the ceiling’s were very high, like an old subway, or like a vault, and it felt like safety was a long, long, way away.

Then a deep pain went through me, I all but convulsed, I let out a scream. When it was over I felt the attachments on my arms, my legs, on my chest, and when my vision wasn’t blurry anymore I saw at my side someone familiar. It was Terrie’s girlfriend. 

There was a dial at her side and she turned it a whole turn, and then there was a button beside it, and she pushed it again, and that was the last thing I remembered.

Next I was in a different room and Terrie was there, and I couldn’t hear what he was saying to me, to whoever. Then he said.

Now, you’re going to tell me. You are going to just tell me. Where are the plans to the restoration?

I have no idea, I said.

Are you sure? 


Final answer? he asked.


Well then, I hope you enjoy what moments we have here together. What fun we have had together. In that man out there’s long needle that he will soon put into you is the virus. You know the one. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It will kill you in a few days. It will agonizing and slow. Unlike that brother of yours, will make sure you get enough of it. It’s too bad you are stuck in here. You probably haven’t heard. They just found a cure. It’s too bad for that friend of yours, whatever her name was. Come in, Victor.

The man came in with the needle, and I couldn’t move, I was still tied down. The needle went into my vein and it was only a matter of hours before I would begin to feel the drowsiness, and I felt the deepest anxiety and hopelessness. I might as well have said to myself that it is over.


When the drowsiness began I had already accepted my fate. I didn’t fight it coming on. I thought of my family. I thought of Maisie. I wanted to say something to her before it happened.

As death came on though, my breath was held away from her. Eventually I felt the pain intensely, and I couldn’t hear it, as I faded away into a sweet nothingness, leaving the world forever, I thought to myself.

I didn’t feel anything and my eyes opened and I felt another needle in my arm. It was Allister and Maisie and they had stuck it in as soon as they saw me.

Oh my, I said when it felt safe for me to.

I was dead, I said. My heart stopped.

You didn’t look very dead, he said. I didn’t check. I just stuck it in.

I thought about it. Oh my, I thought.

Allister, I said. Daphne, she’s still alive. We have to get out of here.

I know he said, can you move?

Maybe? Loosen me. 

He cut off the ties. It’s up through here. Whenever you’re ready, bro.


We climbed as quickly as we could, he was able to lift me, and I had recovered just barely enough of my strength to get into the vent, and he half dragged me, and I half crawled. The amount of noise we made was laughable. 

Stop, Allister said.

What, I said?

There below us.

I heard the steps, as they went from one to another through the hallway beneath us. 

They’re going to see, he said.

No kidding, I said.

We’ll move then, Maisie said. They’re gone.

Making it through the crawl space was difficult, and it took longer than was safe.  I figured they had found out by the time we exited. They hadn’t driven me far. It was a lab facility they had taken over, and there was nothing outside. We ran through the back into the woods. 

Where from here? I said.

We’re parked a few miles from here. We didn’t know exactly were you were, like we said, we were just going on a hunch.  


The car was still there and in place. I couldn’t drive though Maisie could. Throughout the journey I felt better, though I seemed to doze from the effort of feeling better.

Then suddenly, I said, Maisie, drive faster. Drive faster.

As soon as we got there I rushed out to the street and to the hospital. I kicked her door open. 

Then I realized I would have to wait for Allister. He did run in behind me. Give me the cure I said.

I stuck the needle right into Daphne’s heart.

She remained that way for several moments. And then there was a beep. And her heart had restarted, and I could see that she was breathing ever so lightly, and I was so pleased.

I told the doctor my heart had stopped, and he said there wouldn’t be any police involvement for me stabbing her with the needle. I obviously had a special knowledge of what happened. 

He said that they had begun using the cure on every case, and they were recovering. He said they kept Daphne there so I could say a goodbye, but all the other bodies had unfortunately been cremated due to disease control precautions. He said it was interesting and amazing that I had come back to life and the finding would surely be helpful if the disease becomes resistant or troublesome in some way in the future. There might be other ramifications from the disaster that we have yet to see yet.

I thought about it gravely that so many more people had died, but there is an undeniably hope in finding a cure. I counted myself lucky to be alive.

My Dad found me in bed, an emotional wreck. I had the covers around me snugly. I had a pillow over my face.

My son, he said. You’re alive.

I couldn’t really say anything to him right then.

I told them not to go after you. And yet they found you. They risked everything to find you. I don’t even know if I meant it now. I’m just the father. My my.

I came back. From the dead. Just to see you.

Indeed. I see that you have. You look mighty tired. Your body will need a day or so to recover. You won’t have to go and talk with any of us for a while.

My batteries will recharge soon enough. Tell Allister thank you. Give him a raise or something.

Yes, yes. Will do.


The next day I stayed in bed. It was tough to feel bad about what happened. In that moment I was so upset about her death that I wasn’t caring where I was, I was only vaguely aware of my safety. In the future I thought I would have to find a way to face the tragedy with more wisdom, say to myself that people die sometimes. And yet I had stumbled into something that brought her back alive. I kept thinking that eventually I had got brought into the present, and I realized they’d been trying to do that all along, maybe more so than just winning the election.

The next day, I felt to hell with it with recovery, and I went downstairs and ate breakfast, mingled in the social room. I did all this gingerly, though, mind you.

Daphne came down shortly after me. She had a different look to her. Her eyes were more vacant. She was more composed, while being more shaken. When she spoke with me she was more commiserate than she had been ever before. I sat with her for a while, and I reassured her that she really was recovered, and that maybe she wasn’t that close to death. I told her I hadn’t accepted it, and that’s why I had left the hospital to go outside. I thought of curing you, I said, and that was why I payed attention to my vitals. I was feeling so depressed though, I said. Otherwise I wouldn’t have. It seemed everything would end then.

That’s what I came to feel. Everything would be destroyed, and we came to save what we could save, and that’s what would be left. With a tremendous humility the things we ignore become the things important to us again. 

The people around me had become so much more alive to me than before. The memories in our past felt so small in size compared to the great vastness of the one’s now. In the destruction of so many lives, I saw the sanctity of each of my friends lives. I wanted to be a more compassionate human being. I thought if I could help one person, sometimes it could help a great number of people. 

While I was still feeling so gingerly I went back to my book. Now I had some things from my life that would contribute more wholly to my book. It felt good to write about them. That’s the part at which they weren’t secrets anymore.

It was almost done. I thought about what to release it into. The world was so different now. I felt I could release it and become a writer, it didn’t seem likely anyone was set up to pay me to do it. And as of now, no one was paying any fees for anything. Everything was a ration or a privilege. I would fulfill my purpose as a writer and an intellectual. That’s what I said to myself. For several days I wrote. I told everyone I was just recovering. Many novels happens when we are not well.

Or when we say say so. Sometimes when I stared at the screen nothing would happen. And that was frustrating. It wasn’t very often it felt like it wrote itself. It has its own logic, but every page came from no place that existed. I tried not to delete the things I wrote. But I wanted every word to be so perfect. At night I tried to write until my eyes were red, and I couldn’t keep them open, then I went over to my bed and fell asleep. If I had the energy I would undress. I felt very far away, regardless of who was downstairs, on the other floors. I felt like I was in a cabin in the woods somewhere.

It was almost done. Maisie knew I had been writing again. But she didn’t ask me about it at any point. It was all I thought about, writing it or being stuck writing it. 


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