I Felt A Funeral In My Brain



Scene Title I Felt A Funeral In My Brain
Synopsis Deckard has a second job.
Date April 15, 2009

Staten Island

I felt a funeral in my brain,

And mourners, to and fro,

Kept treading, treading, till it seemed

That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated,

A service like a drum

Kept beating, beating, till I thought

My mind was going numb.

There is no last call on Staten Island. Bars close whenever they feel like closing, whether that's midnight or sunrise or ten o'clock in the morning. It's probably around four now, a good two or three hours before the bruised night sky has to worry about going grey against early morning's trespass.

Deckard is waiting.

The shoddy bricking on either side of him is slick with moisture – runoff from an earlier shower, with mold bit black into the mortar along familiar pathways. One of the darker patches looks a little like a bird. Something with wings, anyway.

Maybe a raven. Or a vulture.

Weird the things you notice when you stand around alone in lightless alleyways long enough for your eyes the adjust to subtle differences in the build up of grime from one brick to another. His duffel bag is getting heavy. He stoops to set it down, only to hesitate before it scrapes the ground. He's held it up for this long.

The fog of his breath thins against impatience that he's still learning to suppress. Should've brought his flask.

”I already told you it was 'eight.' Write 'eight.'”

“Yeah I know, you said that already, but I still don't get why.” The kid is frowning at him, worksheet in one hand, pencil hanging at his side in the other. Almost pleading, in a surly, stubborn way, a single line drawn in between his brows. Christ. Keep that up and he'll look forty by the time he's a teenager. “What are you reading? Are you helping someone with science?”

”No.” No, he's not helping anyone with science. The textbook in his lap tipped closed with an annoyed 'thump,' Deckard rubs past his bristled jaw at tired eyes and reaches over to take the worksheet again.

Fifty-six divided by eight with a shoddily penciled in '8' hunched sheepishly over the division line. Numerous erasures cloud the paper weak and grey beneath the black ink of the fifty-six where the kid tried to make it work.


He holds out his hand for the pencil, trying not to grimace at the eagerness with which it's pushed into his calloused and lead-yellowed palm. 'Just seeing if you were paying attention.' That's the stock response for old people when they don't feel like admitting that they fucked up.

”Try it with a seven,” seems like a less stupid thing to say.

This time he sketches the long hand out himself, and the kid seems to follow. That, or he's realized he's probably better off asking someone else about math. Either way, there are no more questions.

It's hard to breathe quietly in a ski mask. It's hard to breathe at all with the pressure twisting over itself in slimy knots where Deckard's heart should be. He's making the effort nonetheless. His patience has paid off.

Some poor son of a bitch with a gun is getting closer to the mouth of the alley, footfalls weaving erratic across wet cement. Four paces, three paces, two. Translucent muscle is loose over white bone. He's relaxed. Giddy. Probably plans to get laid. Sounds like a nice idea. A good plan.

He should try again some time. When he isn't doing this.

Taser raised level, he pulls the trigger.

The violent, rattling snap of electricity along barbed lines starts to send the drunk down onto his knees, but Deckard is already there, left hand bracing solid against the stiff-locked spasm of his back. The gloved right twists an unfamiliar semiautomatic out of the younger man's wasteband, finger bones drawing white hot metal out into the stinging cold.

This time there is no snarl of electricity – just the acrid metal ring of a single shot and the hollow tink-tink-tinkle of the spent casing that goes with it. Skull splinters, brains splatter: a violent spray of white detritus across the black and blue of field of Deckard's special vision. His gift. The guy finishes falling, this time without running any risk of ever standing up again. How old was he? Late twenties, maybe. Thirty two? How old is Brian? Teo? Abigail?

He should feel something. Guilt. Pleasure. Nausea. Anything.

The gun is hefted back into the alley, where it eventually clatters to a rest against the wall.

Why the fuck would he think fifty-six divided by eight was eight?

Deckard starts dragging.

One of the girls has been leaving a light on in the bathroom upstairs. She gets up after the others have gone to sleep and she can't. Flips it on, cracks the door to her bedroom so that the yellow warmth of it floods across the floor and up the wall in a wide line. He finds it on when he gets back from the bar sometimes, during his last walk around the place before he passes out.

So far as he knows, none of the other kids sleeping in that room have complained about it, but whoever's paying the electric bill probably will.

Tonight she's waiting for him, big brown eyes dark when she pushes the bedroom door the rest of the way open to catch him in the act. Hand lifted towards the switch, he lets it linger there a moment before it falls back to his side. He keeps his rough voice quiet, pitched too low to make it past her ears. “Why do you leave it on?”

”Why do you turn it off?”

'There are plenty of things on this island that won't be put off by a bathroom light,' is the automatic response. It's also the wrong one, which means he has to think of something better. He works his jaw. It takes him a minute.

”You don't need the extra light.” This time he does turn it off, thumb turning the switch over with a decisive click. The cold burning light of his eyes pierces the darkness that smothers the upstairs like a blanket at this hour. He turns for the stairs. “I'm here.”

It doesn't occur to him until he's back in the basement that probably wasn't actually a more comforting thing to say.

The duffel bag is open, contents scattered with a deliberate kind of disorganization around the canvas pit of it. His eyes are bright, lambent blue roiling with more than the demonic intensity that is its status quo while he finishes making an incision at the base of the rib cage, carefully separating diaphragm muscle from bone with the wicked gleam of a switchblade. The text book wasn't as specific on the means to getting to what he's after as he might have hoped.

Next come the lopping shears.

The hook of the lower blade is pried in under the sternum and he braces himself, shoes scuffing damply over grimy cement. He nudges the open gape of a small ice chest out of the way with the side of his foot.

A gradual increase in pressure eventually yields to a wet, crunching series of pops. Fresh steam escapes the chest cavity in a bubbling belch of warm air.


He resets the shears. Adjusts their bite in an inch or so into the established divide – this time angling more for the ribs – and wonders if the bathroom light will be on when he gets back home.

And then I heard them lift a box,

And creak across my soul

With those same boots of lead, again.

Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,

And Being but an ear,

And I and silence some strange race,

Wrecked, solitary, here.

I was kind of in a hurry to finish this because I have to get up early so I may spam with edits tomorrow in panic over what retardation I managed to post in my haste SORRY IN ADVANCE.

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