A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 33 – One Step Ahead and Two Behind

A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday – February 8, 2060 – Below the surface

And once again things go back to resembling normal… we go to church– we socialize afterwards,  we pretend that things are fine and that it’s just another day when in reality a battle is simmering just beneath the streets.

Sometimes I want to shake people and tell them to wake up… but maybe it’s better that they sleep through the whole thing. I don’t know anymore– I don’t think I ever did.

I’ve seen it– if only from the fringes, and long before the Arcology imploded on itself. I wonder if Maroshi knew anything about this… or Huang. Maroshi was a bit stiff and officious– Huang… quite… sure of himself.

There’s no way of knowing– I mean there was no sinister music playing when we met– nothing more than pleasantries… That’s what this whole thing boils down to– the face you show the public vs. what’s really happening.

At least if the plans I’ve passed on mean anything– something is going to happen… but… I’ve seen the things they have inside… I’ve… seen…

Too much.

Sometimes I just want to take Bri and run as far away from this as possible… but I know… it isn’t any better anywhere else.

Okay… there aren’t giant robots everywhere trying to destroy you– but the darkness is just under the surface… and its everywhere. Best to stay where you have friends… and where you know your enemies.

Monday – February 9, 2060 – Housecall

Since I’ve been indisposed– Citywide hired someone to take over the paperwork leaving me free to do what I do best. I’m still in charge of the program– but I don’t have to do the paperwork– I just have to review it.

Let me tell you what a relief that is. Besides, right now we need our medics on the street, not pushing paper. The world hasn’t stopped because of the shutdown– if anything it’s grown more active, more insane.

I mean today I got a house call. Nothing too unusual with that– there’d been an accident and a car was now parked in somebody’s living room. That was fine– it happens, not frequently, but frequently enough.

Of course, this particular accident happened on the I-5 and was blocking traffic.

Seems the house had fallen on the car. You don’t see that everyday, thankfully.

The house had been in transit when a 5 car pile up happened in front of the truck driver with the house. In trying to stop– everything overbalanced, he jack-knifed and the house went over.

Fortunately, the man inside the car and the living room was fine, but it was one for the books.

I’m glad I don’t have to do the paperwork on this one.

Tuesday – February 10, 2060 -System overload

Another day in the trenches another night of wondering what’s going to happen next, what have I missed?

Case is doing his best to help me deal with things– but it’s hard when I don’t even know what’s bothering me… and that bothers me.

I mean– I’ve always known the world wasn’t safe but…

I know– too much negativity but its hard… really hard not to jump at shadows, not to wonder when the next shoe is going to drop and knowing full well that it will.

Our caseloads are up, a lot of cases of depression and fear leading people to extreme measures. I don’t get it either… it’s not like they had some AI invade their mind…

Too much… too much…. no…

Wednesday – February 11, 2060 – Walled away

I’m back now… sort of.

For a while, it was rather questionable. I don’t know which was worse… the vague impressions and feelings I remembered or Case’s expression when he finally got me to snap out of it.

I couldn’t even begin to describe it to him. He settled for just holding me and letting me try and get a handle on what happened. It took me a long time before I was even willing to try and… remember.

… It was after I’d been captured… after Ange and I had been separated… I vaguely remember being lined up… waiting– watching as each person ahead of me was reduced to tears… silent screams… then it was my turn…

They plugged me in… the images… the pain… it was beyond description or understanding… The images and sensations didn’t always mesh… it was… It was a baseline response… they were prepping us for something far… worse.

Every time I tried to focus on the images… they’d drift away… in the end all I had was a blinding headache and the knowledge that I’m not nearly as stable as I thought I was.

Case called into work for me and we took the day off. When he figured I was up to it– he called Mario and Mom-Walker.

They were afraid that something like this might happen, that there was more… things my mind had edited out in an effort to protect me.

They couldn’t get any closer to the memories– but at least we all know that they’re there and that I have to do something with them– and walling them away isn’t the answer.

Thursday – February 12, 2060 – On the edge of the abyss

I woke up in the middle of the night– cold sweats… a deep-seated feeling of impending doom– it was a lot like being back in college…

This time… Mario came over and gave me a guided tour of my own warped little mind. The only thing is… there really isn’t anything to focus on. I think that might have been the point. I don’t know…

Several cups of tea later, I finally managed to get some sleep– but only some.

I spent the morning trying to do settle into a normal routine– but every time I thought I had a firm grasp on reality– I’d see something out of the corner of my eye.

If I could name it– identify it– I could deal with it… but this… this is just…

Too much…

Friday – February 13, 2060 -Decisions

I know my mind is trying to protect me, but it’s not working. If anything its making things worse. I mean, I can be perfectly normal one minute and then the next I’m almost overwhelmed with a sense of dread.

The worst part is, there is no other difference between the moments.

Case can barely keep up with the mood swings and poor Bri, she’s confused by the whole thing. Its bad enough my world has been turned on its ear– but seeing what it’s doing to her is just… well… too much.

I can’t deal with what happened otherwise I wouldn’t have buried it, right?

The only thing is– I have to. If I don’t, this is only going to get worse and Bri… I can’t let this hurt her any more than it already has.

You know its bad when your two-year-old tells you, “don’t worry mommy…”

That was when I knew I had to do something– more than anything else. I can’t live like this, but I know what I have to do.

Saturday – February 14, 2060 -Back into the lion’s den

Yesterday I thought realizing what I had to do was the hardest part of dealing with this– but it’s not. It’s not even close.

It is not in my nature to let others fix what’s wrong, because this is something I have to deal with because it is all inside my head– the most anybody can be or do is guide me… give me direction.

The rest is up to me.

Mario had helped me realize it was there, Mom Walker showed me how to open the door. They both wanted to help, but they also know me well enough to know that it wouldn’t help. Every time they went in to look, I would wall it away. I don’t think it’s entirely fear– I think somehow… I’m ashamed of my responses… of how I reacted to what was done as much as I’m afraid of remembering what it was.

And so I journey alone… or as alone as you can get in Seattle.

I made arrangements to leave yesterday– said my goodbyes and boarded a train for the Tir. I’m not going there– not really. It’s the journey, the illusion of a destination that I needed. Because this is a journey. It may take a day, a week… a month…. who knows.

The only thing I do know is– I need to take it and see where it takes me.

I miss Case and Bri already, and I want so much to be with them, but I can’t– I haven’t been since this whole mess began, maybe even longer, I don’t know… but until I can truly live with and accept the whole truth, I won’t really be here and until then, I can’t really be with them either.

A leave of absence, a temporary separation, transition, transportation– I know where I want to be… I just don’t know how to get there.

Copyright 2001 M.T. Decker

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