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Snippet #918

located in Life, a part of Almost an Allegory, one of the many universes on RPG.

Life

The container of experiences that a living creature goes through, whether asleep or awake.

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A fist supports my head as I peer down through a blurry mesh of eyelashes at my desk. I see the foreboding shape of ear buds near my elbow, thrust uncomfortably down against a fake wood surface. Peeling edges expose its superficiality. A connector cable wreathes toward a cassette player holding my workday on a translucent strand of tape. Reaching over, as if to flick them away in offense, I instead resign myself to the audio-manacles and begin converting a deposition to print form. Clarity and volume are my refuge, lest I need acknowledge the stack of steno sheets and wearily work my way through that arcane dialect of consonants and vowels.

Question and answer, a male and female voice discuss absurdities in incidental tones. Their voices are as numbing as the stuffy cubicle, complete with a vent blowing in a constant stream of frigid air, filtered to include dust mites, mold spores, and God knows what. Yet, the lurid tale so casually reconstructed manages to keep me awake.

It starts with a drowning death in a swimming pool, which is barely enough to tweak my eyebrows. Typical accidental death stuff. But new details continue to manifest: Three people were in the pool, and the one who drowned went unnoticed until the effects of alcohol melted away. Of the three intoxicated persons, the entire company, one was male and quite recently married, another was a junior in high school, and the third had suckled chlorinated death. Hearing they were nude and cavorting surprises me, despite how the previous facts lead to that deduction. Of course, my ‘thrilling’ life experiences don’t amount to anything close. I’ve never even been naked a locker room, much less had sex, so the idea of coitus with a girl young enough to land me in jail while in my bride’s parent’s swimming pool blows my mind.

I pause my typing, as well as the tape player, and blink. Is this real? Looking at the pamphlet, it appears to be; it is in a lower court worthy only of a district number, somewhere in Pennsylvania. A town I’ve never even heard of, despite the fact I don’t live too far away, judging by the county. Glancing at the clock, it is hours from lunch, and that is the only break we have in the day. With a shrug, I press play and resume typing.

Details. They’re easy to get lost in. Like how the teenage girl is the bride’s cousin and the older one is a non-relation; a bride’s maid or something. Why they were even there, alone in that house, is something I can’t get my mind around. Either way, after the two girls wear each other out, the groom got understandably jealous, and completely missed the perfectly legal - albeit immoral - candidate for satisfying his carnality submerge beneath a rippling reflection of moonlight while he eagerly spurned the law. How any of them managed to escape alive, boozed up and - the young man, at least - exhausted following his refractory period, is a miracle.

It is noon when the tape clicks. Taking out the ear buds, I burp. Just because, after recovering from the awkwardness, I found it all incredibly funny, and my suppressed laughter had turned into compressed air.

‘This will give me something discuss over dinner,’ I muse, leaning back in my computer chair and nearly falling over as a scream rattles my confidence and a pale face gazes sightlessly back from a bed of curling leaves on the forest floor.

‘But the scream did not come from her,’ Sod thinks, kneeling and listening intently. A series of thuds, like a sac of grain falling on a barn floor, reverberate through the forestation behind him. Guilt impales his trunk, along with a sense of neglect, and he immediately moves to retrace his footsteps. As the forest clears, he discovers his first night caller slumbering like a bludgeoned beast at the base of the slope.

Collapsing to his knees in the stone-strewn turf, he grabs her shoulders and shakes her with markedly less verve than the manipulative terror setting his hands atremble. Caution clamps his throat like a withering mule pelt asphyxiating its victim.