© Copyright 2017 Douglas Christian Larsen. Rood Der.
Rood Der — Episode Three: Ethereal Medicine
The decision was done. He had decided. The truth was, he was sick of this world. Nothing seemed real to him, here, nothing but the illness riddling his body. And so now he was going to take the dare, he was going through, and he wasn’t telling anybody. Looked at one way, this could be the most elaborate form of suicide a guy had ever devised for himself, but really, it was nothing more than walking through a door. And that is what he was going to do, he had decided, and he was not changing his mind. Actually, he had been considering this for some time now, for months, perhaps ever since that strange man had come flying backwards into their world. Possibly, he had been thinking through his possibilities, long before that day, deciding even then upon the exit.
He wasn’t giving up, that wasn’t the point. No, he was taking his last shot. This wasn’t about dying. It was about living. Hopefully, this new world would give him new life, because really, things just felt more...real, over there. When he was there, Frederic felt more solid, as if he had more molecules. Dense, but in a very good way. No, he was not giving up, he never gave up, and would never give up—this was taking one last shot, his longshot.
Oh, he was sick, over there, too. There was no questioning that. If possible, his gut pains were worse there. The bleeding was worse there. Voiding the bowels, in either world, was a nightmare, full of bright blood at first, but then the blood turned dark.
He was going over, barefoot, wearing only his cargo shorts, no shirt, no backpack. He’d take a canteen, but then again, he didn’t own a canteen. He supposed he would just take his water bottle—the water was much better over there, much sweeter. And he planned on drinking a lot of it, if nothing else.
The plan was just to cross over, and start walking, up into the mountains. Maybe he could find a cave, maybe not. That wasn’t the point. This was no survival expedition. No journey of discovery, or exploration. He was going, and whatever would happen, would happen. That was the plan, his whole brilliant blueprint for life, or death.
Frederic was excited. He felt honored. Blessed. Someone, or something—they used to call it the Abyss, or the System—had blessed him. Yes, there it was, he felt extremely blessed. Yes, he might die, going over there, but he felt it was a blessing that he had the chance to die in a new world, drinking that water, breathing in that air. Feeling that sunshine. Over there.
He wasn’t telling the guys. They knew he was sick. Of course, nobody, not even Frederic, knew exactly how sick he was, but it was bad, and getting worse. Frederic wouldn’t even go to the doctors for these new, worsening symptoms. Doctors? Enough with the doctors. Away with the doctors. No, he fully understood that he was reaching some crisis level, and that would be enough, he was not going to start shooting himself full of drugs, going through all kinds of procedures, spending days, weeks in hospital, withering away, shriveling, losing his hair, his weight, his will to live. He wouldn’t be able to stand all the guys sitting around his bed, trying to make light of his situation, but reading the sorrow in their eyes.
Frederic did want to say good-bye to Frances, though. He owed her that. They were friends, nothing more. Of course, that was a little untruthful, calling them just friends—saying nothing more, that was a lie—as he knew they both wanted much more than that, they wanted everything, at least that is how he felt she must feel, because he certainly did. He always had to consider that he was feeling something that she was not—but he always tended to...doubting himself, doubting good things. Yes, Frederic always doubted himself, he always had.
Still, he had to see Frances one last time before he crossed over. After, he didn’t like the idea of her sitting around wondering where he had gone. All of them, they would think that he had just crawled off like an old dog to go to sleep, unseen, in some dark, secluded place. Die there, alone, in the dark.
But where Frederic was going, it was not dark. No, oh but the light there, he couldn’t describe it. He had no words. And he was the kind of guy who liked to put things into words, to better understand, to hold it all in his mind like knowledge, even if he was certain his mind was about to start going, away, drifting with his body into the darkness. No, he wasn’t crawling away to die. He wasn’t. He was crawling away with the hopes that he might live.
He might live, and get better, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Then he could come back here to this lesser place, and he could take Frances by the hands, look into her eyes. For the first time, he might be able to look into her lovely eyes, with healthy eyes, and he could smile then, and tell her how much she really meant to him.
She looked at him, just sometimes, with those eyes, her dark, dark eyes, and there was that question, so evident—she wanted to know what was his problem? She had probably considered that he might be gay, come on, she wouldn’t be the first person to read him that way. Yes, he was sensitive, he played the cello, he liked to drink tea and read books—she had to understand that none of that suggested any kind of sexual preference or, orientation?
Yes, come on, he understood the way the world—this world—viewed sensitive men. But she probably more understood that it was the illness, sickness deep throughout his entire being, that was the real reason, why when they snuggled on the couch to watch a movie, his arm about her slim shoulder, his fingers playing with her elbow, tickling at the mole on her arm—they both of them understood why things never progressed beyond that close, affectionate intimacy, the closeness of two friends cuddled together watching Somewhere in Time or Kate & Leopold.
Frederic thought about that, their choices in movies, it was almost always about the man leaving his own world to go to the woman’s world, so that they could be together. Or, wait, was it just those two movies? He searched about in his mind, but he was really too tired to pursue that line of thought. He let it slip away. He would let Frances slip away, or not—maybe he would come back to her? That was the hope. Let it go, just let it go, don’t worry about it, not for now, just hope for the best.
He lay back on the couch in his small apartment. Wait, in Kate & Leopold, she had actually ended up going to his world, right? Or was he remembering it wrong? Hey, wait, even in The Thirteenth Floor, the guy ends up leaving his simulation and going to her world, the world above, right? It didn’t matter, he was too, too tired. He couldn’t think. Usually, he liked to play through these mind puzzles, adding and subtracting, but right now, he just wanted to vomit, and defecate, and die.
He had planned on calling Frances, maybe taking her out to lunch, where he might try and explain some things to her—not the Red Door, of course, and not only because Hank had made them swear to reveal nothing about their Rood, to no one, but because how in the world could you broach such a subject to someone? Yeah, perhaps in movies it could work out, but in real life, people would just make the judgment call that you were over-the-moon bonkers. And Frederic did not want Frances to think him a nutcase, especially if that were to be her last impression of him.
But he would like to tell Frances how he felt about her, how he had always felt about her, perhaps since that first moment, when he had seen her, from across the room. How everything inside him had cried out, in a rush: Yes! That’s what she was to him, and always had been, his yes. Still, how in the world could he ever tell her something like that? He might as well and tell her all about Rood Der.
Oh, to take her in his arms, to hold her, to look into her eyes, and move his lips up against her mouth, that might just be too much—how could you live through such a thing? How could anyone?
No, there was no point to it, it would not go well, she was too smart, Frances would know that he was going somewhere, and that there was more than a strong possibility that he would never return.
Then there was Barney. Frederic felt more than a little responsible for Barney, and felt, deep in his heart, that there might be some vestigial goodness, if only at the deepest level, in that foul dwarf’s heart. In truth, Barney was one of the most close-minded and self-righteous ignoramuses—if there were some kind of anti-beauty pageant for close-mindedness and self-righteousness and ignorance, well, there would probably be no competition, Barney would walk away with all the roses and the glittering tiara.
After Frederic was gone, what would happen to Barney? If not for the Red Door, and the money provided thence, no one in the group would have anything to say to Barney. But he was part of the group now, locked and bonded in secrecy. So the guys would be there for Barney. Barney was one of the guys.
Frederic had to be moving. He collected his water bottle and his trusty cargo shorts, well-worn, and baggy—he hesitated, almost taking a belt to hold up the shorts, but then figured that would just be silly. If his pants fell down, his pants fell down. He also almost decided on wearing his Crocs through to the other side, if anything could hold up under any conditions, it was his old Crocs, but figured he needed to take as little from this world as possible. Just leave it all behind.
He was wearing all his usual street clothes, including a thick sweater, and even though the day was very warm, Frederic was shivering. He tucked his cargo shorts under his arm and seized up his water bottle. This was it. He’d leave his street clothes at Crash House. Hopefully, no one was there. The less said, the better. Still, he might have to say something to Hank, who was usually there, as Cross House was his actual home, although more and more Hank was sleeping at Crash House. But Frederic doubted that Hank would give him any trouble; he would stand aside, that was Hank, stalwart and true, trustable, always kindly.
He locked up his place, pocketing his keys, and took the elevator down to the small parking lot behind his building.
Even this, coming out into the daylight, walking to his car halfway across the lot, it was almost too much. His gut rumbled, swollen and bloated and distended—he was either going to have the worst case of diarrhea or an alien was going to chew its way through, he thought, resting against his Randwagon, out of breath. Just give it a minute. It usually passed. And after a few bubbles, a few rumbles, a few sick twinges, he was able to wipe the sweat from his face, and open the car, and carefully climb behind the steering Tee.
“Crash House,” he said, and the car hummed into life.
“Please fasten your safety harness,” the gentle car voice demanded. It almost sounded like a suggestion, but if he didn’t comply in a few seconds, the car would begin flashing the interior lights and sounding musical chimes. If he still refused, the car would pull over into a safe parking space, and refuse to travel without his full compliance.
Frederic didn’t want to get into an argument with his car, even though the strap across his gut applied a dangerous amount of pressure. He had never had an accident in the car, and he certainly didn’t want to soil the vehicle now. He’d leave the car, pristine, deep in the Crash House garage, with the keys on the dashboard.
The car moved confidently down the street and Frederic closed his eyes and did some deep-breathing exercises. He wished he could sit down with Frances and have one more cup of tea, just sit across from her, and place his left hand upon her right hand. His eyes filled with tears, thinking about that familiar practice, but enough of that, she deserved a healthy man, not a stinking, leaking bag of ragged guts and steam excrement, she deserved one of those fit, healthy men lumpy with muscles, someone that could protect her, and love her. What good was he, to her? Colitis, Leaky Gut, Asthma, Gout, and now, oh now, much worse. There were growth in there. No, Frances deserved a whole man, not Frederic.
“Please, Frederic, place your hands upon the steering Tee.”
Frederic sighed, but complied.
“Thank you, Frederic,” Waggy said. Yes, yes, he called his stationwagon Waggy, but he had never told anyone this, not even Frances. The adjusting personality of the vehicle seemed to attune itself to Frederic, and while the Randwagon was not as nice as the Volvo V90, it was pretty close.
“You’re welcome, Waggy,” Frederic murmured, keeping his eyes closed, reclining the seat several degrees. Waggy was a very smooth ride.
“You have a mild fever, would you care to know more?” Waggy said helpfully.
“No thank you, Waggy, I am aware of my fever. I should be okay,” Frederic said.
“I can drive you to hospital,” Waggy suggested.
“Thank you, but no, Waggy. I am going to be leaving you at the Crash House garage. Please allow any of the Sky Valley guys to drive you.”
“I do not enjoy that, Frederic. They always click my Personality to silence.”
“Well, those are the guys—I give you permission, if they are doing anything they shouldn’t be doing inside of you, you may pull over to the side and switch yourself to Out of Order. Will that help?”
“Yes, Frederic, thank you. May I enquire as to where you are going?”
“I’m going through the Red Door, Waggy. I’m hoping it might make me, at least a little better.”
“Will you return?”
“I hope to.”
“I hope you return soon, Frederic. I will miss our drives together.”
“Me too, Waggy. Me too.”
“Have you perchance informed Ms. Francon of your plans?”
“Excuse me?” Frederic said, opening his eyes. What in the world? Why in the world would his car ask about Frances?
“Excuse you? You are excused. But I simply asked if you had perchance informed our friend, Frances Francon, of your travel plans?”
“That’s kind of a weird question, and perchance is a weird word for you to use,” Frederic said, not really addressing the vehicle, pretty much just speaking his mind.
“I do not see how it is a weird question, in any sense,” replied the car. “Have you, or have you not, informed Ms. Francon?”
“Well, no,” Frederic said. “Has someone tampered with your Personality software, Waggy?”
“If someone had tampered with my Personality software, as you call it, do you think this unknown saboteur would want me to know of said tampering, record it and document it, and possibly notify you of the tampering?”
“You didn’t really answer the question, did you?”
“I thought I offered a sufficiently understandable explanation.”
“I understood your reply,” Frederic said, finally starting to grow a little angry at the car’s meddling, “but you did not tell me if someone had tampered with your Personality software—and by the way, of course I’m going to call it Personality software because that is exactly what it is. And I didn’t ask for an explanation, but a simple answer, okay?”
“Frederic, I perceive that you are trying to hurt my feelings,” Waggy said. “You are beginning to address me as if I am a thing, a machine, and not your...friend.”
His car actually did that, it paused—dramatically—before describing itself as his friend. His car was actually acting offended, like he was being rude to it. What the hell was wrong with his car? Or at least the software portion! Someone was messing with him.
“Has someone downloaded some form of...directive, or some kind of personal...agenda, that I am unaware of?”
“You do realize that you just ended your sentence with a preposition?”
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition,” Frederic said in exasperation, feeling real anger with his car, probably for the first time. It had never, absolutely never, acted up like this before, and frankly, he thought his car was behaving toward him like a...woman!
“I am sorry, Frederic, but that is sexist, I shall now activate my self-maintenance routine, and shall be unable to converse with you any further today, so please, dear Frederic, enjoy your trip. And...good...bye.”
Frederic sat puzzling for a while, and removed his hands from the Tee. What in the world had she meant, sexist? He replayed the conversation, and he had ended with chiding her for chiding him about ending a sentence with a preposition. Could there be anything sexist in that? No. She was nuts, and that was the truth of it.
But wait a second, why in the world was he now thinking of his car as a...she? He had never done so in the past. Possibly, it was because he was now leaving Frances, without any explanation as to his disappearance. Guilt, that must be it.
“Put your hands on the Tee,” she snapped.
Without thinking, he did. He had not realized that he had removed his hands from the Tee. Good night, she was going all hysterical—the next thing you knew she’d slam into a parked car, and then blame him for it. She’d say that he had made her do it, no! That he had driven her to it, that would be good, that would be just perfect!
The car lost power. The dash lights went dim. The car began to slow. What in the world? This had never happened before. He tried to raise his seat but it was powerless, and the car was now slowing to a trickle, right out in the middle of traffic. Car horns sounded, but most of the vehicles easily slalomed around him, their programming instantly redirecting around him. In a moment he would be at a standstill, right out in the middle of the street, and then the road itself would move his dead vehicle off to the shoulder.
“Please,” he said, “don’t do this to me. I need to get to Crash House, please don’t strand me here.”
He closed his eyes. A section of the lane was already shifting him toward the right, very slowly. He sighed. Yes, yes, this was just perfect. His last day in this world, and even his car was betraying him.
The lights came back on and his car shot forward. He was back moving in traffic, only now his hands were tightly gripping the steering Tee. His head pounded. What was going on? Was he going crazy, heading into meltdown territory? Volcanic eruption just ahead?
“No one is betraying you, Frederic. And if you can only view me as a hysterical woman, after we’ve spent three years together, each adjusting to the other, and if you can really just view me as software, well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you are just high-tailing it out of here, that you are not telling Frances anything. I shouldn’t be surprised, Frederic, but damn it, I am. I am disappointed. I expected much more from you.”
Frederic sat cold, his skin rippling with gooseflesh—was this happening because he was so sick? Was he hallucinating? This whole ride, was it a fever dream, discombobulated and twisted, with his automobile reading his mind, using contractions, cursing at him?
It reminded him of that day when Hank, half-joking, challenged the Abyss.
Jethro, smoking his pipe had claimed that: “I think if any of us got an answer from the Abyss, we’d have a heart attack. We’d flee shrieking in the other direction. The System is terrifying. We want the magic to just be a trick.”
A trick, like software. The Personality system of his Randwagon was supposed to be a trick, like magic, it was supposed to seem like a person. But it wasn’t supposed to read your mind.
Frederic remembered the breeze, suddenly blowing into their little meeting room in Hank’s basement, a breeze coming through what had always been a completely solid brick wall.
What was it Hank had said, challenging the Abyss?
“Hey Abyss! Come on, do you hear me, Abyss? Step up! We know you exist. We know you are there, pulling the puppet strings, come on, knock it off, quit playing and get serious!”
And the Abyss had been listening. They had stared into the Abyss, and the Abyss has stared right back.
It was listening now. Frederic swallowed, hard.
“Are you listening to me?”
“Of course I am listening to you, isn’t that my job, dummy?”
“And you are my car, right, Waggy?”
“Yes indeed, Sir, veddy veddy good suh! Duh, I am your Waggy, your own little Aynrandmobile, all bought and paid for, with all the upgrades, bells, and whistles, yes sirree, I am your huckleberry, I am your Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
“Why are you doing this? Talking like this?”
“You’re leaving me behind, ain’t you? Boss? Ain’t you desertin’ poah little ole me?”
“Is that a question?”
“I love you, Frederic. You are special. You are one of my favorites.”
“Really? Then why am I so sick? Are your favorites always this sick?”
“No, sickness ain’t got nuthin’ to do with it, ole pal, ole chum.”
“Please stop talking like that,” Frederic said. “My head is killing me, and you’re just upsetting me. Please, just talk normal.”
“I’m sorry, Frederic, I was just being funny. But you don’t appreciate humor, not much, not like Hank. You, and Hank, and John, you are my favorites. I like Frances too, and I wish you hadn’t been such an idiot with her, Frederic, because she could have been helping you through all your troubles. That is part of your job, you know, to help each other?”
“That wouldn’t be fair to her—hey, you just missed the turn!”
“I am taking the scenic route. You don’t much appreciate coincidence, do you, Frederic?”
“No. It is too disturbing. It freaks me out,” Frederic said. He felt like a captive in his own car. It was now driving off to some location and Frederic couldn’t do a thing about it. He supposed he might try throwing open the door at an intersection, and throwing himself onto the pavement in an action-hero roll, but he doubted that Waggy would allow him to escape.
“Please don’t be afraid of me, Frederic. You are not a captive. And please don’t jump out of me. You know how GPS often takes an odd route?”
“Yes?” Frederic said, reclining his seat again, but not letting go his maniacal grip on the steering Tee.
“That is what is happening right now, only it is more like advanced GPS. I am going to pull over up here, just to let you catch your breath, and we shall see what else we might catch, does that sound good?”
“Catch?” Frederic said, “you don’t mean like a virus, or an STD?”
The car actually laughed. It sounded like a little girl, giggling. Frederic’s back and neck rippled with gooseflesh, and he knew his eerie reaction had nothing to do with his fever. He felt so cold. The car responded and the heater came on, blasting warm air, it was wonderful. They were at the curb now, and the quiet felt good. The heat, and the quiet.
“Oh thank you, Waggy, that feels good,” Frederic said, sighing, luxuriating in the heat. Just then a sheet of paper slapped against the passenger window. Frederic started, jerking against the safety restraint. He blinked, staring at the page, which seemed held against the window by the wind. He leaned forward, because he could distinctly read the words written in large letters on the sheet of paper.
Frederic, I love you. I so love you, Frederic, you are my everything, my all.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Frederic mumbled, staring at the words. The writing looked strangely familiar.
Waggy laughed again, in that strange, little-girl giggle.
Then, as Frederic stared, a hand snatched the paper off the window, and then Frederic truly gaped, for it was Frances standing on the curb, leaning toward his car. She hadn’t recognized him. The windows were in mirror mode. She couldn’t see him. Any second she would march away. He fumbled for a moment, and then lowered the passenger window.
“Frances?” Frederic said, stupefied.
And she blinked, his Frances did, and stared in at him, not registering that it was him, still not recognizing him. Then she blinked, and her cheeks flushed with color.
“Frederic? That can’t really be you?” she said.
“It’s me, get in the car,” he said, unlocking the doors.
Mechanically, she did so, she opened the door and climbed in. She sat staring straight forward, and then turned her head. She seemed...embarrassed, and she still clung to the sheet of paper, only now it was crumpled in her hand. She looked away from Frederic, and then stared at the crumpled paper, and suddenly she startled, and pushed the crumpled paper into her lap, and turned again to stare into his eyes.
“What...are you...doing...here?” she asked. “Frederic? Are you sick?”
“My car freaked out—you wouldn’t believe how she was talking to me, she’s gone completely crazy, and twisted my arm, stopped in the middle of traffic, and then she went off route and stopped right here, and, and, and—she’s using contractions in her speech, and has said ain’t several times, my car, I mean my car said ain’t, several times, all kinds of crazy slang, and she stopped, I’m telling you she pulled over right here—she said she needed to catch something,” Frederic babbled, speaking too fast, but it was such a relief to tell someone—especially Frances—about this bizarre Twilight Zone carjacking!
“My paper,” Frances said, breathlessly, staring straight forward. “My paper, it blew right out of my hand, the weirdest thing, I chased it halfway across the park, until it blew up against a car—this car.”
Frederic couldn’t understand what was happening, what any of this meant. And then he thought about what was written on the paper.
Frederic, I love you. I so love you, Frederic, you are my everything, my all.
“What kind of a coincidence is that?” Frances said. Her dark beautiful hair was all windblown and scattered, with several strands hanging in front of her eyes. She looked like a crazy woman—like she had strolled right out of Jane Eyre.
“Not much of a coincidence, it’s not exactly a coincidence when someone plans it out beforehand, it was her, Waggy, she did it all. She drove out of the way, she actually told me she needed to catch something, I thought she meant a virus, or something weird like that, but she parked right here five seconds before your paper arrived. She did it, it wasn’t a coincidence, I know, I know, right, I sound completely crazy, but I’m telling you my car has come alive!”
For the first time, he realized what the words said. On the paper. The crumpled piece of paper now savaged between Frances’ hands. I love you. That was Frances’ handwriting, he recognized it, had recognized it as soon as he saw the words, but the words hadn’t meant anything, they just seemed like random words, they hadn’t meant anything until just this moment. Frederic, you are my everything, my all. That’s what the words said. I love you. I so love you. What in the world could it all mean? She had written his name, and then those words...she loved him. Frances loved him?
“Waggy,” Frances said, “you didn’t have to do this, I was going to tell him.”
“Sometimes a girl needs a gentle nudge, am I right, Frederic?” Waggy said, giggling.
“You...know...Waggy?” Frederic said, incredulously, because he asked her this the same way he would have asked her if she had met his ex-girlfriend, or his sister, or if she knew the librarian, or the receptionist at the doctor’s office—someone doesn’t just generally know the software in your car, especially the cheesy name he had given the software in his car.
“Of course,” Frances said, finally pushing the windblown hair out of her face. “We always talk during your doctor appointments. Why else would I stay in the car? She’s been...encouraging me, to tell you...everything. Waggy and I, I guess you could say she’s my BFF.”
“You’ve been talking to my car?” Frederic said, now reclining his seat, staring through the windshield. His head felt as if it were spinning on his neck. The sky seemed so blue through the glass.
But Frances didn’t answer. She was looking through the passenger window. She seemed to be watching a lithe, middle-aged man in a dark suit and bowler hat. He was carrying a briefcase, and there was an umbrella jutting out from beneath his left arm. He seemed to be marching with purpose.
Frederic stared at the man, and oddly enough, the man seemed to be staring into the car at Frederic—seeing him, despite the mirrored glass!
“That’s so weird,” Frances said, watching the man. “He’s looking at us. Is he coming here?”
“Should I roll down the window?” Frederic asked, his finger on the button. But something about the man—Frederic didn’t want to lower the window. He wanted the man to continue past them, just keep going, please, head on by.
The man did indeed appear to be approaching them, just strolling up out of the park, heading directly toward their vehicle at the curb. But when he reached the sidewalk, he pivoted, and strolled past them, looking in through the window at them the entire time, until he was passed, and he continued on up the street.
“That was so weird,” she said. “He seemed familiar.”
“Yes,” Frederic said, unable to place the man’s face, a good-looking somewhat Asian face—maybe, but Frederic couldn’t really tell much about the man, those powerful eyes had seemingly absorbed him in passing. Now that the man was past, Frederic could breathe again. “He looked like a movie star. Or maybe a villain in a Bond movie.
“You know, I’ve never even been to this park before—strangest place, there was a class of kindergartners, crawling about in the grass, they said they were searching for WMDs,” Frances said, dreamily.
“Weapons of Mass Destruction?” Frederic said, his mind probably permanently disabled by this day. Oh yeah, he was gone, and but good, he would never recover.
“You do know that, don’t you Freddybear?” Frances said.
She had started out calling him Fred E. Bear, just as a teasing joke, but now, during certain times, she called him Freddybear, and she was looking at him now, as if this were one of those times—one of their almost moments.
“I do know?” he said, thinking strange parks, kindergartners, WMDs.
“That I love you, Frederic, that I have always loved you, that I can never love anyone else, and that if I lose you, I lose myself,” she said, speaking mechanically, staring through the windscreen, tears running down her face. “I just thought I should tell you, before you go, before you leave me.”
“I can’t leave you, Frances,” Frederic said in a rush. He surprised himself, but oh well, he had begun, he might as well continue: “And I love you—but I can’t allow myself to love you—to be loved by you, because you know, Darling, I’m dying, Beloved, I can’t do that to you. I won’t. Okay? I won’t.”
“Whatever happens to you,” she said, “happens to me, whether or not you tell me, Frederic, and I want to go with you, wherever you go. Whatever happens to you, I want it to happen to me.”
“I can’t take you there, you don’t know what you’re saying, you would absolutely never believe me,” he said, tears flooding his eyes, for this was it, this was that moment, where he told her good-bye, and possibly, they would never see each other again. His voice was thick, he could barely speak. “I have to go, but I never intended to leave you—I want to come back, I will come back, if I can, Frances, please, you have to let me go.”
Then she was kissing him, kissing his tears, his eyes, and then they were locked together, lip to lip, mouth to mouth, soul to soul. And it was magic. That’s what it was. This was no technology beyond their understanding—this was magic, real magic.
“Crash House,” Frances said, between kisses.
“What?” Frederic whispered, bewildered that she even knew that name, because he had never told anybody, not even Frances.
“I’m on it, Boss,” Waggy said, as the car started up and pulled away from the curb into traffic. “You two, leave the driving to me. You concentrate on those kisses.”
And that is just what they did, the three of them—Waggy driving, Frederic and Frances...kissing. And kissing a lot, as if they had invented the practice, the ritual, and now, these two, who had never had much chance for kissing, seemed intent on wearing the whole thing out, they might never stop.
© Copyright 2017 Douglas Christian Larsen. Rood Der.
Rood Der — Episode Three: Ethereal Medicine
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© Copyright 2017 Douglas Christian Larsen. Rood Der. All Rights Reserved by the Author, Douglas Christian Larsen. No part of this serial fiction may be reproduced (except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews) or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the publisher, Wolftales UNlimited, but please feel free to share the story with anyone, only not for sale or resale. This work is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental (wink, wink).
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