Sunday, September 06, 2009

Someone who mattered

“I'm not going with you.” The illusionist shook his head. “If you want to kill us all, fine, but if I'm going to die, I'm going to die here.”
“But we need you, Morris!” The hero sat on the conference table, swinging his legs back and forth. “I don't think we can even get in without your help.”
“You'll manage, I'm sure.” Morris folded his hands behind his back as he stared out the room's huge window. “I'm staying here.”
“But don't you care that people will die if we don't?”
“They'll manage.”
“But...” Cable trailed off, staring out the window for a moment. “We have to.”
“So a criminal syndicate will control one more city. They'll live.” Morris' voice was cold as ice, cold as it ever was, and his face was hard.
Cable turned back to the illusionist. “Don't you care about them?”
“None of them? I mean, they all care about you!” Cable hopped down off the table and joined his friend at the window, looking out.
“Do they?”
“Well, yeah! They care when we disappear.”
“We are passing entertainments, nothing more. A distraction.”
“Morris, they really do care about us! I've talked to them, believe me! Why don't you care about them?”
“I can't care about all of them, Cable.” Morris' voice turned to a hint of condescension, as though he was speaking to a child. “There are too many.”
“So think of one, then! One person that you care about. Don't you want to save them?”
“There isn't anyone.”
“Nobody?” Cable stretched as he spoke, nervous. “Come on, I know there's...”
“No. There wasn't. End of story.” Morris turned away, staring out over the city below.
“But...” Cable paused. “What about that one kid?”
“What kid?” Only through careful concentration did Morris keep his voice level.
“The one you visited... You went a couple times, actually. I know you didn't want us to know, and I'm sorry I followed you, but...”
“Cable, shut up.”
“But...” The redhead shuffled his feet nervously as he spoke. “I saw you when you talked to him, and it seemed kinda like you were...”
“Shut up.” Morris put a hand against the glass, tension clear in his fingers.
“And you did magic tricks for him, and you talked for hours, I think, because when I left and came back you were still there, and...” Cable looked back at his friend. “You seemed happy.”
Morris was silent for a moment, stern faced but shaking almost imperceptibly, free hand clenched into a fist.
“Morris, don't you want to save...”
“Shut up!” Morris whirled. “He's dead! He died, and I couldn't do anything! You never saw him, I never saw him! I don't want to remember him!”
Cable at this point normally would have shrunken away, apologized, and never mentioned this again. Something about this time, though, whether it was Morris' words, or his tone, or the sheer weight of the bitter sense of futility he felt in his oldest friend, was different, and Cable rankled at it.
“So you're just going to forget?” The angry tone of his voice was new, unfamiliar, and he was almost afraid. “Pretend he didn't exist, that you never met him? I don't know how it was with him, and I don't pretend to, but he was real, Morris! You can say we don't exist all you want, and for all I know, you're right, but he did! He existed! And he mattered to you!”
“Shut up,Cable!”
“I will not...” Cable paused for half a heartbeat to regather his nerve. “I will not shut up! Don't pretend he wasn't real, that he didn't exist. He was, and he did! He mattered to you, and he still does! Don't disgrace him like this.” Cable stopped, fists clenched and breathing hard. “If you were his friend,” he said slowly, deliberately, “the least you could do is remember him. Even if it hurts.”
They stood for a moment, staring at each other with anger in their eyes fading into shock, before Cable turned away. He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again, and walked out.
And Morris alone stared after him.
And slowly, surely, Morris slumped against the window, and mourned.

Once again, new story. You might be a tad confused by the "we don't exist" thing, but it makes sense in context. Anyway, enjoy, and comment!

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