May 23rd 2013
Saturday, January 1st, 2000
Author’s Note: The following is a framing device and prologue of sorts for �Monster Nation�. It takes place some time after the events of �Monster Island� but well before the beginning of �Monster Planet�. If that�s not confusing enough, it takes place before the�Teaser�, too.
If the above paragraph made no sense to you whatsoever this may be your first visit to this website. In which case you may like to check out an introduction, a title page, or just go straight to Chapter One of �Monster Island�. Just trust me. The following contains SPOILERS, so stop reading right now if you like surprises.
Dekalb lay back on the metal grating and drew one hand weakly across his stomach. The hunger sat like a wildfire in his skin, consuming him, emptying him out. It was no longer hard to resist its pull. It had taken so much of him he could no longer fight it but nor could he feed it. He was too weak to move much at all.
In the heat, in the darkness the mummies moved around him, tending to his bedsores. Washing his skin in pungent waters, mixtures of herbs unknown since the days of the Pharaohs. They moved quietly on the catwalks, wishing not to disturb his thoughts.
His thoughts, and the others. There was no real way to differentiate them anymore. Gary’s head sat at his side. Jawless and mutilated but the burns had turned to pink, new skin. Dekalb had no idea how that could happen, how Gary could get stronger but it was happening. The skull stood propped up on its cracked and yellow incisors, the empty eye sockets all Dekalb could see when he turned his head. Darker than the rest of the room. Darker than anything.
Every day I heal a little. There’s more of me and less of you. You’re losing this battle, Gary told him. If you don’t eat you’ll waste away to nothing. Look at you. You’re as dry as sand.
Dekalb brought up his fingers and stared at them. Just bones now, with vellum-thin skin stretched across them. He was becoming an animated skeleton. Barely animated. I destroyed you once. I’ll survive long enough to do it again.
And the time after that?
If I can. Others will come to take my place. Gary… can’t we talk about anything else? Do you do nothing all day but sit in there and hate me?
Gary laughed and it made Dekalb’s skin crawl. The mummies would hear it, of course, but they never made any sign of reaction.
There’s not much else for me to do, Dekalb. Hatred, and the eididh. I spend a lot of time strumming the strings, jumping from memory to memory. I’m learning things. I’m learning how to beat you.
The eididh. The network… I can’t access it, not the way you could. Or Mael. What do you see there, Gary? Don’t you want to share with me? Maybe there’s something constructive in there. Maybe you can tell me… how this ends.
I can’t see the future. Only the things the dead have written. The past. I don’t know how this ends, Dekalb. I know how it began.
You know what caused the Epidemic? The media never explained it. The Centers for Disease Control said they were baffled. Dekalb managed to sit up a little at that. He pleaded with Gary with his eyes. He needed to know.
It’s a long story, and fairly complicated, and I hate the idea of entertaining you, Dekalb. I hate the notion of alleviating your suffering even a tiny bit. Still… It might help pass the time while we wait to kill one another.
Dekalb rolled over on his side, gingerly, ever so cautiously. His neck resisted but one of the mummies came along and turned his head for him so he could face Gary directly. Please. How does it start?
With half of a memory. It ends with the other half. Let’s begin.