SEVEN, 2.0

Franny had plans for days, for weeks, because the voices knew everything she had to do, and when, and she had written it all down.

One could never see Franny without her little notebook full of plans, sketches, outlines, and notes related to plans upcoming, words hastily written to keep up, no doubt, with the calculations constantly running through her mind.

Whenever she’d finish a task, she’d tear out the page and eat the paper, forever consuming and finishing the plans she’d set forth to complete.

Her life was a constant stream of calculation and completion, down to the smallest detail of riding a certain bus, at a certain time, and eating a very mathematically accurate bag of peanuts from the peanut vendor on whatever corner she’d worked out as the best corner, at the best time, for the best nut, on any given day.

On this particular day, she was to meet “Cary” at the cafe on the corner of 7th and Mustang, by the park, so  Franny set out on the path she’d chosen, which included an alley behind a neighborhood bar, skirting along the outside of Evergreen Park, and hopping the number 74 bus line for one-quarter mile only to pull the emergency stop lever, forcing the bus to halt between usual stops 6 and 7.

Cary was already waiting inside the cafe, box in hand, and Franny simply handed over the cash for a smooth exchange.

She then went to the cemetery and tore off the next page of her notebook, chewed the paper casually and swallowed, at which point she pulled the gun from the box and eliminated the voices in her head that constantly shouted at her what to do, leaving behind a notebook of empty pages.

SIX, 2.0

Lansing walked to the door to answer the knocking but of course no one was there when he swung it open. He shut the door quick, throwing the bolt and backing to his desk.

The letter he’d written to Alice lay open and without a final admission of his own guilt, the way he’d betrayed her and allowed this disastrous end to their studies together. He thought back to the last time she’d run off, her disgust at his prayers to the after-world and the monsters that would soon be unleashed, the horrors that were still to come to their town.

The last of his hopes were dashed as he turned to finish the letter, but the loud KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCKING caused him to jump, to knock over both candle and ink, leaving him in utter darkness.

The door suddenly smashed open, and the swirling snow was the last of earth Lansing would ever see.