Je N'ai Pas De Bouche...


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Scene Title Je N'ai Pas De Bouche…
Synopsis I have no mouth…
Date May 31, 2018

"What the fuck is this?" A piece of paper is hurled through the air, too light to gain any real momentum. Instead, it flits up, does a loop, and lands face down somewhere on the floor under a desk.

Pete Varlane is red-faced with frustration, storming across the hardwood floor of a spacious, brick-walled room with rustic exposed beams. There's no windows, giving everything a dusky basement feel. The overhead industrial lighting is stark, casting dark shadows of the living room furniture. Seated on the brown leather sofa, legs crossed and eyes wide, Magnes Varlane looks as though he'd heard a gun go off at the sound of Pete's raised voice.

Looking to the discarded scrip of paper, Magnes makes a hitched noise in the back of his throat before he starts to talk. "It— " Pete doesn't want to hear it, as he approaches Magnes and slaps his hands down loudly on the leather of the sofa, causing Magnes to recoil and land on the floor, white socked feet in the air.

"I told you to stop!" Pete howls, circling around the couch to grab Magnes by the collar of his t-shirt and haul him to his feet. All the while Magnes keeps mumbling aborted apologies and utterances of dad under his breath. Pete reaches up and grips Magnes' face tightly, then turns his head toward a security camera above the hydraulic-bolted metal door that leads into the room.

"I can see every little thing you do." Pete says with a shaky exhalation of breath, his face too close to Magnes' for anyone's comfort. When he releases Magnes, the younger man staggers away, gripping at his face. "For the love of god, I just want you to be normal." The anger drains out of Pete as he sees the look of shock and confusion on Magnes' face. "I just… I want you to be healthy. I can't do that if you're not filling out your goddamn baseline tests."

Magnes hunches his shoulders, reaching up and scrubbing one hand at the back of his neck. "I…" he looks away, then back to Pete. "I'm sorry, I— I was trying, dad. I was, it's just… I've been having these dreams about this redhead girl lately, and she's really sweet and I think she loves me. I remember her like she was real, though, but I can't remember— "

"For the love of fucking Christ!" Pete shouts, sweeping one hand over the top of his head. "Magnes, you know you got out of here once. You broke the fuck out, and my bosses were going to straight-up kill you. I got to you first, I… I protected you, but you know it's… your memory isn't…" Pete screws up his face in a tense expression. "Maybe she was real. But it doesn't matter. You get obsessed with that again and— "

Magnes takes a step toward Pete. "She's going to have my baby though, dad! I'm going to be a dad too!" Pete stares vacantly at Magnes, color draining from his face and a hand slowly sweeping down over his nose and mouth. Slowly, there's a look of distress and guilt that crosses Pete's face, and his eyes start to tear up as he takes a few steps away.

Seeing the sudden and inexplicable reaction, Magnes inches closer. "Dad?" He reaches out a hand, hesitating and curling his fingers against his palm before he can touch him. Pete swallows back a single, ragged noise and turns to look back at Magnes, face red now not from anger, but from a profound sadness. "Dad are… are you crying?"

Swallowing back emotion, Pete takes a slow step forward and puts a shaking hand on Magnes' shoulder. The senior Varlane looks in his son's eyes, searching for something, jaw unsteady and face flushed with rosy color. "Words are flowing out…" Pete starts to recite in a sing-song voice tempered by overwrought emotion. Magnes stares vacantly at him, eyes wide, as he continues. "…like endless rain into a paper cup…" Pete waits, searching Magnes' eyes, looking for something.

There's no recognition.

Pete smiles, but it doesn't reach his eyes. Instead, tears roll down his cheeks and he brings his hand from Magnes' shoulder to the back of his neck. Jaw unsteady, Pete draws Magnes in to a hug that feels remarkably awkward. Arms at his side, Magnes looks helplessly around himself as he hears his father whisper. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." For some reason, Magnes feels like he isn't talking to him at all.

"They slither while they pass," Pete begins to recite again, voice hitching with emotion. Magnes starts to open his mouth to question what he's doing, but a sudden sensation of prickling and tingling spreading beneath his skin draws his attention away. There's a hiccuped sob from Pete, breaking up the verses. "They slip away…" intense pain begins to wrack Magnes' body, and he lets out a howl of agony as his legs buckle and eyes wrench shut in his father's embrace. "…across the universe."

"Pools of sorrow," Pete whispers as Magnes' skin reddens and blisters, his scream turning into an inhuman keening sound as Pete slowly crouches to the ground. "…waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind…" Magnes' arms flail, jaw works open and closed soundlessly, and a clear fluid begins to leak out from beneath his skin where it splits like the surface of a melting candle. His hair slides off of his head, revealing the wet and pink bone of a skull. "…Possessing and caressing me."

"Nothing's gonna change my world,' Pete whispers as Magnes writhes in his arms, dissolving into a protoplasmic soup of pink and clear fluid, even his bones breaking down and melting at first like putty, then gelatin, then nothing but a murky pink swirl on the floor that stains Pete's clothes through. "Nothing's gonna change my world," Pete reiterates in a ragged, sobbing whisper. "Nothing's gonna change my world…" his hands tremble, eyes focused down on the pool of bubbling liquid at his feet. "Nothing's gonna change my world…"

When he looks up, he realizes he's not alone in the room. A frightened blonde woman stands in the doorway, hydraulic-locked metal door open behind her. Doctor Adrienne Allen holds a clip board in one hand and a plastic cup of pills in the other. Her eyes are wide, vacant in horror as she stares at Pete, who slowly rises up to stand, wiping off his slacks as though he were cleaning up spilled coffee. He snorts, loudly, wipes at his eyes and motions to the mess on the floor.


"Doctor Allen," Pete says with a hitch in his voice still. "We're shuttering the project." Straightening his suit jacket, Pete walks through the primordial soup that was once his son and closes the distance to her. Adrienne steps aside, eyes still wide and otherwise frozen in disbelief. Pete swallows, awkwardly, and looks at her for a moment with an expression that demands her silence on the matter. But his request is verbally different. "Please clean up."

Without so much as a goodbye, Pete steps through the door and disappears down the concrete-walled hallway. Adrienne finally breathes again, swallowing down bile at the back of her throat and turns teary, wide eyes to the mess on the floor. Tucking the pills — cup and all — into her pocket she walks slowly across the hardwood floor and raises a hand to cover her mouth. There's an acrid stink in the air, a putrid smell of digestion and decay. A piece of paper just outside of the spreading pool — the only other thing out of place in the room — catches her eye. Doctor Allen steps around the fluid and crouches down to pick it up.

As she turns it over, Adrienne's eyes flick from side to side as she reads the handwritten note on the lined paper. Slowly, she turns to look back at the pool on the floor, then looks back to the paper and breathlessly exhales.

"Oh my God."

What you have to understand is that we're in the present. All of these supposedly aborted and branched futures, they haven't happened yet, they can't be our concern. We're in universes with very real people, very real consequences. Flesh and blood, tears and loss. They're parallel to us, they aren't our past or our future, they're our neighbors, they're real people.

It's not our place to simply use them, to run through a world and pillage it for everything that we can before we leave. We have to help these people, we have to save them. I don't know what it means to save them, maybe Elisabeth knows more than me, maybe she doesn't, or maybe none of us know anything. But I know that these people are real.

We're fighting for the present, for each of these very real worlds to have the best future that they can possibly get.

No one, no place, has to be doomed.

To allow the existence of parallel realities, of clones, of creatures I don't understand, to turn us all into nihilists, would be spitting on the sacrifices that everyone made for us.

I won't let that happen, I won't let these worlds suffer. I won't allow anymore bad endings in these worlds that I visit. No amount of pain and suffering that I witness or experience will change that in me. I will save these people, I will save my family, I will right the wrongs that men very much like me have committed.

Only my family and friends can keep me from this darkness, only hope can make everything I've done and everything that I'm going to do worth it.

I love you.

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