” Beyond the whirling worlds of above and below, beneath our deepest dreams and the cages of light that become the ties that bind, between the truth and our circumstance lies the answer to the question you’ve been running from all along.
Exodus started at the beginning of the end of the world.
Exist began behind the story of how it all came to be.
Empyrean took you where you thought you wanted to go.
Exile, book four of thegrievechronicles is when you finally just start to give because you cannot take anymore.
Point-blank: If God is…where the fuck is he in all this?
Do you really want to know the answer?
There’s only one place to go to find it. To the bottom- The Badlands. The Leuce. The heart of darkness. The wilderness. To the people and provisions made within them. Exile makes you see the whole thing. In the worst way. In order to salvage what’s left or throw it all away, for real this time. “Why?” has been asked. Get ready for “…because.”
The end of all things can’t be a beginning if you still are trying to defend your Self. Universes are born, not made. Choices are made, then worn until they wear you or themselves out. Pain might be the only proof of there being a point to life that we need.
Exile is a bullet-train ride set in a media-blitzed and celebrity-hungry apocalypse now close to our own. Just how close to the end of the world are we, anyway?”
by Angel Brynner.
( Copyright 2012 by Angel Brynner. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States of America. www.angelbrynner.com No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any other information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the author.)
Dedication: For Love.…and the man He made watch over my pregnant ass who changed everything.
The little girl climbed up the pillar of weathered sandstone like a fearless little monkey. Her hand shielded her eyes from the glare of the sun, but freckles popped out anyway on her amber colored skin. Her clothes were snatches of leather, the equivalent of rags really, but embroidered with spirals and glyphs, festooned with jingling charms. The wind played with the tumbleweed tuft of coffee ground colored hair that sprawled out behind her and made the bells around her ankles and wrists ring just as petulantly as she felt.
“Calm down,” she whispered as she looked down and across the deep ravine of shimmering rock below. “We’re early. We’re always early. But it’s time…really, this time.”
“Good, because it is stuffy in here, and I‘m lonely. I want more babies.” the one still in her burlap sack mumbled, his little head hooked over her shoulder. Off in the distance crows began to circle in the sky. The hairs stood up on the back of her & her other half of self’s neck as the acrid smell of smoke wafted past, making her nostrils flare.
“See, I told you,” she whispered. “It’s time.”
Rabble Rabble had tried to make his way back towards his house but something dragged heavy on him with every step he had made. He’d found himself walking in circles until finally he went over, popped his hood up and pushed right back through the protesters they’d been battling with earlier that morning. It felt like a forever ago to his soul. He camped out at the counter with Habib and willed the hands of the clock to move but they seemed stuck.
“Maaan, this is Hell.” Rabble Rabble growled into his decaf coffee that Habib matched him sip for sip with tea.
“I know.” Habib muttered.
“No, I mean really, it’s fucking Hell! I can’t even taste this coffee-“
“I KNOW. And It’s decaf, kid-you’re not supposed to taste it-“
“I’m sitting here Wanting to be IN School?! Who came up with this shit?”
“This fucking sucks. But I know I have to-I can’t go back- I gotta- I feel like something is pulling on my fucking bones, man!“
“We all do. Just wait, kid. Enjoy the silence.”
The woman momentarily nodded awake to the sound of water splashing in the sink below before going back under.
In front of her eyes flashed images of a guy she didn’t know roughly grabbing her by the hair and pinning her to a wall for a crossroads kiss. The biochem stamp nicknamed DBLHELIX on his tongue activated on contact with the spliced saliva on hers. Her body pressed violently up against him as the element soaked into her system like a hard rain.
“Enjoy the ride, baby,” the unknown slurred, eyes wild by how quickly she’d crossed and made his presence unnecessary. A shock of tenderness shot out from his eyes, startling her. The unknown flashed a confused smile full of the chaos he’d just kissed her with, she blinked and he disappeared.
Her eyes fluttered.
Again she felt the tangle of legs and arms around her. The pulse of the place careened into her repeatedly through the drenched DBLHELIX’d bodies strung out alongside her. Strobe lights. Darkness. Bass. Repeat. Groans echoed from the tracks being spun and the bodies closest to her. She tried to focus on the eyes of the “friends” she had found in the crush. An obscenely beautiful jawbone here, just shy of bizarrely elongated limb there, Adaptives as well as Latents waiting for an Aware to bridge the gap for them, blindly faking it until they made it to a taste of whatever it was that made those like her glow so radioactively underground.
Friends who were loyal to the self-hatred woven through the entire Day-tripper dance, who really came out with her to get fucked up just to make sure she wouldn’t get away more than anything else. To keep her, under the guise of keeping her company. Latents licked at sweat as it rose up out of her pores and glowed in the half-light of the club, murmuring how it was ok, how ALL was GOOD.
“…perfectly alright to need a little help breaking free,” one slurred.
“…all in this together,” meowed another as he gently bit down on the inside of her thigh.
“It’s just…a connection with your creativity-” a wild-haired girl with dilated eyes purred.
But she didn’t hear or feel a thing and it was obvious from the deadness in her whited-out eyes that they were all still too terrified to look into at night.
Like a bored dog in the throes of play with edible things that wished she instead could be their prey, she laid there nipped by the nervous cruelty of each random caress, nuzzled with the panic that coursed through them aware of nothing else other than she wasn’t as ripe to be fed upon as she made herself look. As for the ones who’d gotten fucked up just like her to escape the greatness that poured out of them Aware and wide awake, they lay scattered across the Bunker in the midst of their respective piles of Latents and Posers just the same, allowing their sweat to be fed upon, for things to be licked and rubbed that remained numb no matter what, pretending as best as they could that the distraction was working, in case any of their other Aware brethren would look on and see the selfsame futility in the farce tattooed across their faces, silently outted for not being able to literally be “down.”
“I wonder what it would be like with one of them instead?” She mused to herself, looking at a fellow Aware across the way, trying not to look as overwhelmed with boredom by it all as she was.
She bit down on the strange line on the inside of her jaw to make more of the drug release itself into her system, smack that somebody from the currently attending crew had given her, one she never knew. Whatever it was…it was good. It out numbed the numb, and her body arched reflexively, the mouths of those kneading at various pockets of her gasping as it instantly got communicated to them, slurring the visions already whirling in front of their eyes from proximity alone. Absently, she rose up and grabbed the head resting cagily on her inner thigh and shoved him off of her into a crumpled heap on the floor as she stood up, suddenly needing to pee.
Her eyes fluttered again.
She was back in the bathroom, the water from the faucet sounding much farther away than it possibly was, unless she was suddenly ten feet tall.
She couldn’t feel her hips, only knew that they were pressed awkwardly up against the counter, and that this time it was harder to come up from whatever she had blindly put herself under with. She tried to get her throat muscles to swallow but the command roughly came out of a near mute mouth only to fall on deaf ears. Her eyes did their best to steady themselves on her reflection in the mirror, but something was wrong. The image was too pulled together, too sleek to be her.
She angrily looked away, raking her hand roughly through the wild hair she knew that she had left the house with, hair that whatever that was in the mirror had yanked back severely from its face.
The eyes of the mirror image didn’t budge as its body followed the motion of the one prematurely calling herself “Anjuge”, one beat behind it. She looked back at her reflection, trying her best to hold onto the last snatches of purchased incoherence she’d plastered up in the front of her brain.
She narrowed her eyes at her sober self in the mirror. Her Ka returned the silent salutation, totally synched to her. It even let its hair start to slowly unfurl along the peripheral, to match the mane on the other side of the looking glass. She looked away again.
” This is bullshit-” she muttered to herself. “I know that shit wasn’t that strong-” her ears unplugged again and the sound of rushing water erupted.
“Bullshit-” she muttered again abrasively as she lurched down to splash water on her face. Her reflection remained erect, a snarl spreading slowly as each splash of water made contact with her bent over face.
Absently coherent and angry about it, she stood back up, wet-faced and visibly on edge. Her mirror image stood there stock still on the other side, defiant and dry as a bone, eyes narrowed accusingly at her.
“What the-” she choked in shock as her reflected Self rose up and through the mirror and slapped the shit out of her, knocking her to the floor in a shower of shards of glass. Blood spilled out of her split lip as she looked up at herself, bewildered.
“This is what happens when you take shit from strangers!” she snarled as she crawled the rest of the way onto the counter and loomed over her lesser Self sprawled on the floor trying to scream, to blink all this away.
“What?!” her Ka screamed, “You think you’re just going to be able to drug this shit away?! You think you can imagine it all away, go to your morbidly pathetic almost happy place after you just so glibly set me free?!” her Ka roared.
“But I- but I-” she stammered.
“Shut up!” her Ka screamed at her cowering self. “You fucking burnt me out of you with this bullshit!” she yelled as she jumped off the counter and locked the door her lesser Self had been too high to even latch when she’d entered.
“Hiding here?! Of All Places? Do you think they’re your friends?!” She howled, unable to even look at herself. “Do you think that’s why they get fucked up with you?!” she spat at herself. “No! THEY hate you! They hate you more than you hate yourself! That’s why they get fucked up with you! Because they have no access to what you have naturally flowing through you! They only get a semblance of it this way- sniveling in your sweat! And look at you!! You have it- IT- what they want, what they’d give anything for to have naturally- and-”
Her Ka took a breath as she fought to find the right words. ” They get fucked up with you to keep you there. For the taste of your sweat. That’s all it is. To keep you locked up. They tell you…you’ll all get clean together, but you won’t, they won’t, because you clean cannot be there with them- And Yet this is what you came back to! THIS is where you hide! THIS is what you choose to remember-”
“But I-” she continued to stammer softly as she cried out inside of her head to move, her body remaining motionless.
“Who do you think you’re talking to, Baby?” her Ka asked, still facing the door she had locked. “Who are you begging softly to make you move? Who have you been begging to take you away? Don’t you get it? Don’t you see?” she whispered.
“The soul you’ve been hell-bent on burning out is me- I’m what makes you move-” She paused. “but I’m not who is doing this to you, Anukai-”
The woman’s eyes got big with fear. “My name- my name isn’t Anukai! It’s-I’m- “ she gasped, shaken by the sight of her own blood seeping through the scratches all over her arms from the broken mirror.
“Not yet you’re not. You can’t be who you’re called to be until you quit doing this. If you make me burn it out of you, I will.” Her soul whispered roughly. With the tone of the last two syllables, something inside of the one on the floor shifted and she silently rose up, cracking the muscles in her neck.
“Then be ready to burn this whole motherfucker down, because I will Never be what you’re calling me to be.” She roared, yanking her Ka’s shoulder by surprise and slamming her back into the broken mirror. She pinned her against the shards of it by her throat until, slowly but surely, the bloodied pieces of broken glass on the floor and in the numb flesh of her arms floated back up into place, sealing her sense of Higher Self behind the resituated mirror in a bloody haze with one final pulse that reverbed out like a stone crashing into the surface of deep water.
“This is what you choose to remember?” Her Ka seethed. “All right. So Be It. But THIS time-It’s MY version of this shit!” Her Ka roared.
The woman refusing the title of Anukai cupped her hand to her ear on the other side of the looking glass and pretended like she could not hear herself. She turned off the tap and smiled at her malevolent self in the mirror, tossed a middle finger up, threw the door open and sauntered back out into the club.
“So Be It.” her reflection whispered right before the door swung shut.
Her eyes fluttered again.
“Now where were we?” She purred into the ear of the one she’d left in a heap on the floor. He readily nuzzled right back in where he had been eons ago. She bit her jaw again, toes curling from the pain that rose up and faded in a surge of ecstasy loop-holing through the lower regions of her veins. She fought off the” So Be It” of her Ka echoing in her head against her will to the sound of her toy’s erratic heartbeat as treble and bass shook the underground limits of the Bunker.
Her lashes were sticky with desire for it to be more than feasting on those who thought they’d been invited to feed, not to be fed upon by Awares used to shooting in barrels, a desire that could never fill the need harbored in her. Each gasp of heat was loaded with this hollow hope of deeper, of more, of…
“Chrysalis-” she whispered to herself. Her eyes finally slid all the way closed.
“So Be it.” her Ka whispered as the entire scene spontaneously combusted into flames. All in attendance of the suddenly comatose Awares screamed as the flesh disintigrated off of them before their own eyes. Within moments, nothing was left but charred bone and ash.
“Get off her! Get the Fuck off of her!! Move! Move!” Bishop roared barreling over as some of their classmates huddled around Anukai’s body on the floor. Shards of glass rained down in slow motion all around them, slicing through clothes and skin as they screamed, diving for cover.
“Did anybody else get hit?!” Jimi screamed as the entire class careened into one another on the floor checking, including Harvey.
Jezreel yelled ”She’s not bleeding-why the fuck is she breathing like that?! What the fuck is going on?!Anukai!! Anukai wake up! Wake the fuck up!”
Bishop pushed up against him and they locked eyes. Bishop popped his head up and saw for the first time the press he’d always felt around her when he’d been trying to mess with her as they stepped out of shadows, armed to the teeth.
Give her here. NOW. The leader roughly ordered Bishop from inside his own head as the retinue pressed along the perimeter of the room.
“Do you-do you See that?!Them?!” Bishop whispered to Jezreel, who gawked at them just as openly.
NOW!!! The Angel ordered again, as he took a step towards the two of them, weaponry raised. Harvey stood up in front of the pissed off Angel and looked up into his eyes with no fear.
“Holy- oh my God!” Jezreel hissed, clearly able to see the Terrifying Deity glaring down at the woman who’d been their playful nemesis for years as she stopped them from being smote.
“You can’t DO this-“ Harvey seethed. The Guardian went to brush her aside and Harvey’s eyes whited out just like his as she narrowed them balefully. The other Angels policing the glass peppered room gasped at the teacher’s de-cloak.
“THIS is My territory- I Don’t CARE what fucking orders you and these cowardly minions have been given! You have NO Dominion here! And you will not touch her on these grounds! It’s always the same! Your so-called Protocol! You think we’re not prepared for your cowardly kind?!” Harvey snarled.
“You! Red! Blue!- Tone! Jimi-all of you! WAKE UP! NOW!” Harvey snapped. ”I said NOW!” The scales from the Latent eyes of the rest of the Art & Music Boyz fell off as she called out nicknames they didn’t think she knew of as they catapulted up into Aware status and saw the spiritual battle trying to pop off on the sly in English class. “Elastic! Up! BALLAST! Now!”
“And Don’t you fucking move, you fucking Anhk! Step the fuck back now! That’s a fucking Order! You’re in MY territory! My fucking laws! Step BACK! “She roared. “More! Don’t make me-“ Harvey stepped forward towards the Angel who moved back.
“Bloc! The Law! Stop gawking and get the fuck out of this classroom NOW!” Harvey roared.
“DO what Harvey says! Do what she says, man! Holy Shit!” Jezreel yelled. ”Yo- yall! Tone- get the fuckin door- come on! Guys! Come the- cover the-”
The Art Boyz swarmed her, Viet Cong style, shielding her body as they slammed out into the hallway and bashed their way into the English teachers lounge down the hall.
Fairman looked up blasely from sipping his coffee as the ones who’d made his last year a pain in the ass barged in and placed Anukai on the couch. “She out?” he asked calmly.
“Yeah!” Ballast barked as Bishop stroked her cheek and snapped his fingers in front of her face.
“what the -what is happening,man?!” Bloc yelled.
“Harvey?” Fairman asked in a bored tone as he folded his hands across his happily rotund belly.
“She’s toe to toe with some sort of-“ The Law stammered, still trying to grasp what he’d seen.
“Got it,” Fairman said casually as he drained the last of his coffee, looked at a picture of his ten blonde and red headed kids and his wife, stood up and pulled out a sawed-off shotgun from the bottom of his bookshelf.
“WHAT the FUCK!?’ Elastic yelled. Fairman cocked the gun
“I mean- sorry Fairman-“
“Yeah! Sorry For EVERYTHING!!” Ballast chimed in nervously. ”We were young!!”
“Shut up.” Fairman muttered like a man with ten kids at home as it was. He stroked at the angry calm sweat breaking out along his hairline.
“Law-“ he tossed the gun to the biggest of them and all the boys winced, diving for cover as the Law clumsily grabbed it just before it hit the floor.
“He’s a pacifist, man!” Elastic yelped. ”You can’t just throw a sawed-off shotgun at a pacifist! Frankly Fairman, that’s a tad racist! You give the gun to the biggest black kid in the room? Really Fairman? Really? He’s just posed to genetically know what to do with it?”
“What the hell!?” Tone yelled as Fairman pulled out another gun, then tossed another at Elastic.
“He loves her.” Fairman said calmly. All the breath in the room got sucked in at the same time in silent shock. “Law? Kill anything with a face you don’t recall that comes to this door. You know who belongs here. They’re trying to drag her all the way down to Hell from our Fields.”
” Bloc- you & Bishop smash the literal hell out of anything that tries to come through those windows.” Fairman turned “Go tell Viancourt we’re under attack.” he snapped evenly to Elastic. “You go tell Vitanza,” he ordered Ballast after tossing another gun.
“You want me to approach Vitanza. With a Gun in my hand? Did you not hear what went down this morning-” Ballast fussed.
“Do it. Or we’ll all be dragged into Hell in like ten minutes.” Fairman said calmly. He scanned the room. ”Rest of yall? Harvey picked you for a reason. Suit the fuck up. We’re going to war.”
He hit a switch on his wall and rack upon rack of spiritual guns and ammo folded out of bookshelves, cabinets, and tables.
“Sonafa- no wonder they never wanted us in here!” Tone hissed.
“I thought they were just smoking!” Jimi laughed nervously.
“Suit up!” Fairman yelled then walked out the room calmly.
“Where are you going?” Jezreel hissed after him as he wound bullets around his suddenly bare chest, Commando-style.
“To buy us some time.” Fairman growled and shot out an overhead light down the hall,making the Boyz and all the kids in every non-soundproofed classroom on the third floor hit the deck, being Cleveland and all.
“And put your shirt back on, Jezreel.” Fairman called out over his shoulder,exaperated. “These motherfuckers actually eat flesh.”
The Art & Music Boyz looked at each other, eyes unsealed, but still shell-shocked. Fairman cocked his sawed-off again as he walked so it echoed down the halls and the Boyz jumped into action.