Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From Chapter 1: Some Years Earlier

With all the sensibility borne of a alcohol and a short temper, Roy slammed his forehead with a great crunching sound against the mound of muscle.

And it was right at that moment when time stopped for Aloysious. He glanced around the room. The ceiling fans were stopped. Gina hung motionless above a bank of manufactured cloud that didn’t stir. The mound of muscle was frozen in a grimace of pain, his body in the midst of falling down; the phalanx of equally muscled friends with looks of shock and anger stretched on their faces. Aloysious stood up. Everything remained still then a heartbeat later the world started to vibrate and he exploded in a cacophonous wave that suddenly thawed the motion in the room.

It was a violent thaw -- people knocked against each other, every bottle of booze at the bar shattered, and the closest people, mainly the wall of flesh and his friends, had their clothes shredded.

Gina seemed to be the only one unaffected. Hands on her hips, she actually appeared annoyed that someone had exploded at what was to be the climax of her routine.

Aloysious snapped back into existence. Roy didn’t even have to shout a drunken question at Aloysious before they started stumbling toward the exit.

Aloysious didn’t know what it was, but he knew he had to get the hell outside, to the relative safety of the Murder Capital of the World.

“Hey, boy,” Roy rasped. “What’s happening to your skin?”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Prologue: The Future

The bar was full of the haze of cigar smoke, the smell of cigar was heavy in the air and accented by stale, spilled beer. The seat on which Aloysius sat was uncomfortable, the padding long squashed flat by an army of drunks before him.

He shifted again, the tenth time in as many minutes. The wait was itself uncomfortable, never mind the seat.

Someone dropped money into an jukebox across the room. Instead of warming to life, lighting up with bent neon tubes, the speakers crackled and hissed, and suddenly Aerosmith’s “Crazy” was ricocheting off the walls. It was earsplitting and it wasn’t making the wait any easier.

Aloysious knew he was in the right spot, could feel it. He'd already downed two Red’s -- Brewed in the Heart of Saskatchewan! the label touted -- and the third sat in front of him. He’d insisted that the bartender just leave it in the can. The “I like it that way,” explanation seemed enough. But Aloysious could tell from the bartender’s expression and sudden silence that he had Aloysious pegged as someone who wanted to get drunk fast and for not much money.

The change from the $10 bill sat in front of Aloysious. Three beers for under $10. That was the magic of Red. It was cheap and loaded with alcohol.

Aloysious glanced over his shoulder. A couple of biker types playing pool, two grizzled ladies of the evening crowded into a booth by the door not saying anything to each other, and a smattering of single guys, empty shot glasses lined up like some kind of glassware firing squad. Aerosmith was still raging. Aloysious looked down at the can then let his eyes slide toward the change.

He didn’t want to to acknowledge that he saw it but he had to admit it. The coins were vibrating, just ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly.

He scratched his beard, extended the scratch to the back of his neck. The coins were very visibly vibrating on the bar.

Whatever was about to happen, the thing he knew was going to happen, the thing that brought him here to this time, this place, this corner of Alberta, was just about to smash through a wall. Or possibly tear off the roof and reach into the bar to snack on a pickled patron.

He lifted the third can of Red to his lips.