Even The Dead Hurt


micah_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Even the Dead Hurt
Synopsis After sending a message to someone beyond the grave, Monica Dawson is surprised by a response…
Date July 13, 2010

Hamilton Heights Apartments

Faint moonlight spills down thorugh a tall window, casting rectangular shadows across a hardwood floor. Outside that tall brick-bordered window, the moon looks like a clipped fingernail cast against a starless sky dappled with clouds. The bright lights of New York City and the atmospheric pollution drown out much of the starlight that should be twinkling in the heavens, and the low crescent moon just now rising above the glittering city skyline seems lonely in those heavens.

Far above the streets of Harlem, far above even the atmosphere of the planet earth, angels of the digital age criss-cross in a starlit heaven. These watchers of plastic and steel, solar panels and circuit-boards stare down at the world with unblinking eyes and observant ears, watching and listening to the greatest moments of triumph and the lowest depths of depravity the human race is capable of.

They are no more the servants of a God than the people they watch, for these artificial angels were crafted by mankind's hand, designed to transmit and receive data from the tiny blue-green world below. It is only in the ascension of man from something ordinary, to something extraordinary that they take on a more Biblical likeness.

Thousands of miles below their watchful eye, these angels use the modern day equivalent of a burning bush to relay their knowledge.

It happens to play a catchy beat when they're calling too.

» Incoming Call: Blocked Caller

The illuminated LCD screen on Monica Dawson's cell phone accompanies a rumbling vibration and music emitting from tiny speakers. A call just after nine at night isn't entirely unexpected, Cardinal tends to call at all ungodly hours of the evening.

It's not Cardinal, not tonight.

Of course, since Monica is up during those ungodly hours, it tends to be the best time to catch her. She is, in fact, just getting into clothes less conspicuous than her work uniform to head out again when the call comes through.

"Hello," she greets as impersonally as one might expect when answering a stranger's call. "If this is a bill collector, she isn't home." These are the jokes, folks.


The voice isn't what Monica expected to hear on the other end of the phone, the soft and small voice of a boy she hasn't seen in years. That Micah Sanders can even reach out and touch someone is a miracle, despite all evidence to the contrary that he shouldn't even be alive. First D.L. comes back from the beyond to rescue Monica from a burning building, and now the voice of her cousin that supposedly died in Midtown is calling her from somewhere far, far away.

It's me, um, Micah… How— How're you doing?

The voice sounds subtly electronic, a crackling tinny quality to the edges of the boy's words, almost like someone were running Micah's voice wthrough a synthesizer, or that he were on a poor connection and about to pass through a tunnel. Those are rational thoughts, though, and now may not be the time for rational thinking.

"Micah?! For goodness sakes, Micah, is that really you?"

Whatever she had been going out to do, now she sits down on the edge of her bed instead. Letting out a heavy sigh, her free hand moves to cover her face for a moment.

"I'm… doing. I guess asking you how you're doing is a little… strange isn't it? Lordy, lordy."


For the barest of moments, it sounds nothing like Micah on the phone. Instead there is a harmony of three people talking at once, one of them not even speaking English, but Mandarin.

I'm fine. I mean… I'm as fine as I can be. I'm… I'm sorry, Monica. I'm sorry I never got in touch with you after everything happened. I… I've been through a lot in the last few years. I'm keeping an eye on Mom and Dad, and… and I have a friend who's helped me through what happened to me. I… um, how— how much do you know about?

Outside Monica's window, the noise of traffic on the street below is almost drowned out by the beating of her own heart pounding in her chest. This is like getting a phone call from the dead, a phone call from heaven, and down to the technicalities of definitions it is the latter of those two things. Micah Sanders may be physically dead, but he's also here. At least, part of him.

"Hey, hey, kiddo. It's okay. Don't… say sorry. I'm just glad to hear you. All of you, I guess. Cat said there were three? I don't really know much more than someone named Monk got her to bring your mom to the hospital. You… know your dad's alive? Does Niki know that, too? Because I gotta tell ya, I've been trying to figure out how I'm gonna break that one to her." Monica shakes her head, though, sounding more than a little lost when she states, "So let's just assume I don't know a thing. About all this."


Surprised and distant at the same time, somewhere in that regretful tone of voice that it's a shame someone as young as Micah has become so accustomed to using. He always was older than his years, even more so now.

Monk… is a friend. He's like me, or, was. Something happened, not too long ago. Monk and I had to make a sacrifice to save someone important to us, and we got hurt in the process. We survived, but… it's complicated.

Silence lingers ovetr the phone line for a moment, long enough for Monica to hear the muffled thumping beat of her upstairs neighbor's radio pounding noisily to some club beat. By the time Micah does speak up again, half a minute of awkward silence has progressed over his end of the line.

I don't know if mom knows about dad or not. I don't really talk to him and… I don't know if it would be better or not for her to know. Mom's very… delicate, and I don't want to hurt her more than she's already been hurt. I know it hurts her to talk to me like this.

Another moment of silence, and Micah's voice on the other line softens some.

Sometimes it's easier just to think she's mourned me… and moved on.

"Oh, Micah," Monica says, sorrowful and full of sympathy. "I'm so sorry, Micah." She goes through her own elongated silence there before she clears her throat. "Admittedly, this is a little weird," she says, her tone lighter, "But I guess if we've learned anything, it's that the rules are different now. If there are any rules. Look, Micah… if it's… if it helps, you can always talk to me. I'm here, I don't plan on skipping out this time."

I know…

It sounds more dismissive than Micah intended it to.

But most people aren't ever far away. We're— I'm always out there, always watching, always listening. I'm only ever a phone call or a text message away, and I'll always have your back, 'Cuz.

A noisy horn honks outside, distant shouting down on the street, sounds so typical to a Harlem night that it's like the city's equivalent to crickets chirping out in the country fields. Between Micah's silence this city grit invades the apartment, and between Monica's breaths it almost sounds like New Orleans; almost.

I have to go, Monica. I…

He doesn't really have to, but on the same token, he doesn't want to stay either. Some things still hurt, even after death.

I'll be around, if you ever need me…

It's a little awkward. Or a lot. And it's a little sad, too. And Monica lets out a quick sigh that's both regretful and understanding. "Yeah. Of course. And I've got your back, too. Such as it is. You ever need anyone beat up, you know where I am." Which is probably more true than she means, really." "Thanks, Micah, for the call."

Thanks… for listening.

Micha's voice trails off, to a brief static hiss. By the time the line goes dead, the noise out on the street has subsided, leaving Monica's apartment sunken into silence. Sometimes letting go is easy, sometimes digging up the past is hard, other times there's no easy answer at all. If life has taught her anything, it's that more often than not there is no true easy way out. Life is a hard, unfair thing that punishes the innocent and lets the guilty walk free.

That her phone vibrates from an incoming text message is perhaps because of that fact. Because sometimes, in an injust world, there's people willing to go the extra mile to see justice served.

No matter the cost.

» We'll keep your offer in mind. — Rebel

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