Echo, Bravo

MW's Private Rank
Joined: February 18th, 2009, 7:01 am

August 29th, 2017, 7:52 am #1

BB Gunnerson stood far from the center of everything and let the world dissolve into noise. The candle she held flickered with the breeze—no, with her own unsteady hands—as the words from the mayor and the priests blended with the ambiance. Silence was relative, and no matter how still and respectful the crowd, there was always something to be picked out. The faint hum of the failing streetlight nearby, the buzz of mosquitoes and crickets, the rumble of the far-off highway—they all came together into something larger and more than even the collective here, let alone any of the individuals. This could have been comforting but was not.

BB had seen people she knew and knew of, but she was pretty sure they hadn't seen her. Nobody but her parents had since she got back from school, and while that was not unusual in itself, the cause was; as soon as she found out that the buses were missing, she'd withdrawn to her room and locked the door. She looked at her keyboards and her bass and it was all she could do to keep herself from either hitting every note she could all at once or smashing the instruments; she gently laid them in her closet and closed the door, then cued up Earth 2 on her CD player and turned the volume up so loud she could feel the hum when she laid her hand on her desk.

She killed the lights and crawled into bed and pulled her blankets tight around her, thoroughly-temperate afternoon Arizona warmth be damned, and stayed there, sweating and staring at the wall, for seventy-three minutes and thirteen seconds plus a little bit, only finally moving to start the album over again when the silence after its last notes became too much to bear. She expected all the while that her parents would intervene, but they didn't. It was only as darkness fell that her father came and knocked and when she did not respond opened the door and said there was a vigil, would she like to go? And she'd said sure but had ditched her parents just about as quickly as she could and made her way to a spot far enough to be isolated but close enough to be inconspicuous.

The noise of it all was crushing, and she felt filthy and disheveled, and she wished she'd changed before leaving the house. This was the wrong weather and scene for shorts, and if her black shirt made it easier to hide any sweat stains, it did little to reflect the lack of normalcy n the world. She had a robe in her closet—not a bathrobe or one of those slinky silk things from steamy scenes in movies, but a heavy brown robe like an ancient monk or druid might've worn, that she'd used for a couple gigs over the past year—and that seemed more appropriate to the unearthly spectacle.

As she watched the crowd, the insects picked up and blended with the voices again, and the word "teeming" came to her unbidden. This place was teeming with mourners, arms and legs and abdomens dragging as they writhed over each other, a pulsating mass, and her candle fell from her hands, the flame snuffing in the air before it impacted the concrete and cracked into three sections loosely connected by wick. She glanced left, right, but nobody had noticed, and nobody noticed as she turned and slowly fled.

Half an hour later, her parents brought the car around and picked her up where she'd texted them to, and nobody said a word as they sat in the traffic that came with such a large gathering, listening to the hum of engines and their own breathing.