(this is purely for me. it has no artistic merit; it will teach you nothing.)
She left, barefoot, but left the door open, which seemed to suggest that he follow. He followed, leaving his own shoes, but closing the door behind him. They walked through the fog a for a while until they came to the bridge. It still looked new, and he smiled involuntarily at the sight of it. Rakel turned sharply right and started walking along the shore. They found a boat, and Rakel got in it. Mos hesitated, then followed after her. She started rowing.
“I love everyone,” she said, when they were out at sea. “But especially you. It hurts. It hurts so much.”
“Yes, loving you.”
“We didn’t really meet via online dating, did we?”
Rakel shook her head. “It hurts.”
Ambulances with their mouths open roam the streets of London, looking for their next victim. They like to see the little ones get hurt, because the little ones are tastiest, full of opportunity and light. They have heard of the one that they did not get to eat, and they are upset about this fact. The ambulances, with their mouths open, roam the streets and try to find an angle. It has been all over the news — there is always fallout, like a nuclear explosion. The closer they can get to the scene the better, but whenever they’re in line of the cameras, they have to close their maws and line up all their teeth nicely so the little ones don’t get suspicious. They like the little little ones, the tiniest ones.
That day, three people took their own lives. The first one threw herself off a bridge. She had bungee-jumped before, and this was just one step removed from that. She died before hitting the water. The second one threw himself in front of a train. He looked the train driver in the eye before the train slammed into him, and there was a moment of understanding that almost made him regret it. The third one simply ceased existing, as if someone had turned off an ontological switch. Several cameras caught the event, but no humans. After she disappeared, so did every envelope currently addressed to her, and after that every piece of clothing she had had in her closet. The food in her fridge faded gradually, and her number disappeared from people’s mobile phones just moments before they were going to call her, and then they stood there blinking, wondering what they had just brought out their phones for. Then they stuck their hands back in their pockets because it was the middle of winter, and it was madness to have your hands out without a really important reason.
That was how they all came together – the gunman’s own blogpost. Not content with having parts of his mind blocked off from him, Mos had started recording himself being traumatised by breaking eggs. He had become somewhat of a viral internet sensation, even though 95% of the people visiting his blog did not even read the notes for every session. He would describe in paragraphs full of spelling errors and crossed-out notes, with footnotes and cross-references, a scene out of some ghastly nightmare. He described the mountain of phones as an actual mountain, one of several symbols that kept reoccurring to him: the ringing mountain, the jingling worms, the bookshelves that moved around.
This was how they remembered it: The hospital was big and merciless. The sliding glass doors did not open with a vertical gap in the middle like most doors, but rather irised open like a mouth. The place was more sterile than an airport, and the people sitting in the waiting room were more like cut-outs than anything else; if you looked at them directly you would see them for their lack of depth, but Janelle had made sure to not look at them. A well-meaning doctor had said hello to them, opened another mouth in the building to get to the lift, and held it open with a strange and oversized speculum. “Come in. We will see your dead son now.”
The doctor pulled out the slab of metal on which their son lay with a black sheet over his body. “This is your last chance to back out,” he said. His voice was sonorous and instilled confidence, like he knew what he was saying, but Janelle and Eric did not back down.
They saw their dead son, with a giant hole in his head, and they smelled the sulfur and gunpowder, potent and stark.
“It’s called the gunshot virus,” said the doctor, pulling the sheet back over the dead child. “We don’t know how it works, but these are the results. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“So how did you two meet anyway?” someone asked.
“Oh, it’s a funny story actually,” Mos said. He had drunk three eggnogs as a kind of protest, but now he spent much time trying to find his nose, which he had cut off to spite his face. He steadied himself against a pole. “We were both very single, and we were hired by a dating website to accept dates with people so they could boost their statistics, and somehow their system placed us …” He waved his hand vaguely, “in incorrect boxes, and we ended up having a great time.”
“Oh, funny,” said the someone. “That’s not what Rakel told me.”
Then he brought out a bowl, and held a whole egg above it. Rakel opened her mouth, seemingly unsure what to say. They both trembled like before a first kiss.
Silently, Mos crushed the egg in his hand just the way Karl had last winter. It broke easily, and some of the shell fell off immediately, into the bowl. The liquid gathered round his hand and slid off with reluctance, and it took all his strength to keep his hand outstretched like it was. Rakel started crying, and so did he, and things went kind of black. He came to when the goats licked the rests of egg off from his hand. He was still shaking. Rakel was somewhere else.
“So, are you sleeping with my wife? Again, I do not wish to hurt you. You can probably hear that I am not even angry right now. I just want to know.”
“No, I understand.”
“Why are you evading the question?”
“A little uncertainty never hurt anyone.”
He began to flare up, he closed his fists and the snowflakes on his fingers melted as if on cue.
The journalist picked up one of the eggs from his fetish basket and crushed it in his hands. Mos started crying, and the whole world began to shake for him. Unspeakable horror. Rakel found him late in the night, well on way to morning, rocking back and forth and dribbling. She loved him, so she helped him back to their house.