Chapter Six – Apoptosis
I know the feeling.
Part I – Morphology
“Imagining explicable worlds can help us to understand the nature of explicability.” David Deutsche – The Beginning of Infinity.
“Of course you never know where any of this is going or even how it started. It's simply a bizarre coincidence that my uncle is working on a project to stop the rain and make the planet live again. It's also coincidence that I was moving west to escape the poor air, and that somehow, don't ask me about it, because I have no idea. But we got called into the centre. That's when everything got mixed up. Really I don't remember the right order of things.”
“Joel, that is really fucked up man,” Grif had no idea what he was going on about, and really he wasn't that interested.
Things were essentially like that if you took the time to step back and look. Not like the confused chaos Joel was describing, but the reality that people were selfish and concerned primarily with themselves. Any interest in someone else had some ulterior motive behind it. That anyway was how Grif felt.
Jack was different, he was younger and you could say just enjoyed life. Except he had a habit of being irritating and annoying people he didn't know. He had been like that with both of them at first, just monosyllabic phrases and teenage angst. That had softened now, at least with Joel, and probably with Grif as well.
“So what we gonna do?” Jack asked to no one in particular.
“How many times you gonna keep asking that?” Joel sounded annoyed now.
“Alright, alright, but...” Jack was starting to get defensive.
Grif interrupted them. “We can't go back. Kado closed the club.”
“We could just stay here.” Joel really couldn't think of any other course of action. He knew he should remember where his uncle had gone, but he couldn't. Anyway, why follow his uncle? It might not be such a great idea.
“I guess we just hang out here a while,” Grif too had no other ideas.
“You get out here!” Kado told Mark.
The car was stopped and had gently dropped to the ground. Without the sound of the engine, it was the wind sweeping the rain into the plastic body of the vehicle that filled the void.
“What!” Mark was taken aback.
“Take this it will lead you to the house,” Kado handed him a watch. The round dial glowed, a tiny red V on the face indicated a direction.
“What about Steve?”
“He stays here with me. We'll see all of you at Mount Columbus.”
“I could go with him. He might need me.”
“You're my insurance Stevie,” Kado grinned. “Make sure everybody gets to Mount Columbus.”
“Use the watch it’s programmed. Now go. I don't have loads of time.”
The door opened and the rain lashed Mark’s face as he stepped out. It was dark and cold. The engine came alive again, the door closed, and he watched it rise and move off. He watched it just until the red lights were lost in the storm.
Looking at the watch he started walking. He wasn't left with any other choice. By the time he found the house he was soaked through to the skin and shivering with the cold. He never came dressed for a hike in the wilderness.
It was like something from an old film. A darker shadow against a gloomy landscape of bleak nothingness. He climbed the wooden steps, they creaked, complaining at his weight. But he hardly weighed much at all, so this place must be really old. Was anyone inside?
He tried opening the front door, but it didn't budge. He shouted, “Hey! Anyone there?”
His voice seemed to be swept away with the rain and wind, and the door was metal, solid enough to block out any sound, even without the storm. Just as he was cursing himself for being in such a stupid situation, the watch beeped. He held it up to his face to see what was happening. The greenish light and the beeping faded and stopped. It looked dead. He lowered his arm and was about to try vainly pushing the door again, when the beeping recommenced. It was then he noticed the beep got quicker when he moved his arm left.
There was a metallic click. Mark pushed the door. It opened.
He stepped inside. Closing the door behind him, he looked around, but there was only the faint glow of low lighting. It was difficult to make out any details, but it was obviously the entrance hall, and a broad wooden staircase led up to the first floor.
He decided to explore, but he was soaking wet. Inside it was warm, so he stripped off his sweat shirt, kicked off his sneakers and got out of his jeans. Then he decided to go upstairs, it was the logical move to find a bathroom and maybe dry off.
The first door off the upstairs hall he opened to reveal nothing but a seemingly empty bedroom. Moving along the hall he came to a second door and opened it.
Arms reached out and grabbed him, pulled him inside and they fell over together with a loud crash onto the floor.
“Lights!” a voice spoke.
Mark found himself pinned to the floor with someone sitting on top of him holding his arms down.
“Who the fuck are you?” Joel demanded.
Jack was standing next to them trying hard not to laugh.
“Well he certainly ain't X-Corp. He's got no clothes on, just his pants!” It was too funny, Jack burst out laughing.
Joel sat up, releasing his grip on the boy's arms.
“Well? Who are you?”
Mark was so shocked he couldn't get the words out. When finally he tried to speak he jumbled up everything.
“Um... I... ah,” was all he managed.
“Get off him,” Jack said recovering from his bout of laughter. “He's just a kid.”
Joel moved off the boy and stood up looking down at him. Now the danger was passed and his adrenalin levels were returning to normal, he took a proper look at the near naked and wet boy lying on the floor.
Mark half recovered, looked up at the two guys towering over him. “Kado sent me,” he managed to say.
Jack looked at Joel, somewhat surprised, but also sort of relieved. Joel reached down to give the boy his hand. Mark took it, and Joel helped him up.
“Better get you dried off,” he couldn't help smiling.
Mark followed Joel into the bathroom. Jack stood in the doorway looking on as Joel took one of the big bath towels and wrapped it around the boy. Mark was instantly conscious of the hands holding him through the soft towel.
“Get those pants off,” Joel spoke almost next to his ear.
Gingerly Mark removed the last item of clothing as Joel held the towel. Despite everything he couldn't stop it getting hard.
“I'm Mark,” he said, trying to get his mind off his rapidly growing erection.
If Joel noticed, he didn't say anything, but retreated back to join Jack and allow Mark to get dried off.
When he'd finished they walked back to Joel's bedroom.
“It's late.” Joel looked at him. “We can talk in the morning.”
Jack climbed into bed.
“There's only one bed.”
Mark let the towel drop and quickly climbed in after Jack. Joel watched, admiring the slim, smooth body and nice arse. He felt his cock twitch.
“Lights,” he commanded, and suddenly it was dark.
Mark felt Joel climb in beside him. He felt warm and safe and just a bit sexy, sandwiched between these two guys. Because even if the bed was big enough, they made no attempt to move away, instead he felt their two bodies touching him. But he was tired and quickly fell asleep.
He dreamed one of those amazingly vivid dreams. It was both sexy and strange. In it he was playing with two guys and they were teasing him, touching him everywhere, but nowhere near his sex. They were all laughing. It was at once new and at the same time it was a replay of before, when he and Steve were with Grif.
But this was different. It had the same feel of merging into each other, of not quite knowing what was whose body. The difference was from inside him. A strong sense that things were changing, that something massive was about to happen. It was good though.
The world was changing around them. Swirling symmetrical patterns – beautiful, and an overwhelming feeling of wellbeing. Then he was floating free through the blackness of the universe. Dark, except for the stars, and occasional planet.
Finally he was joined by some others, but he couldn't make out their features or who they were. Then when he looked, really determined to see who was there with him, it was his own reflection that looked back at him. Then two reflections. They joined and parted, merged and turned, floating. He had a wonderful sensation of floating.