Author's Note : This story is a bit of fan-fiction regarding a story by Gorman Bechard, "The Hazmat Diary". If you're interested in reading the entire book online I would wholeheartedly urge you to! check it out at: http://www.hazmatdiary.com

"Siblings"


A HazMat Diary Short Story by Jay Seals

 

It was a beautiful night with stars in the sky. No clouds, just the stars and the sun's reflection on the Moon. Actually, the Moon is the only thing in nature that I know of which reflects two celestial bodies at once. I keep forgetting that the Moon reflects the Earth, too. So there she was, the Moon, shining down on my twin sister, captivating Calista's attention like on so many other nights. Calista was, in the truest sense of the word, a lunatic. She loved everything about the Moon. There were times that I swore she knew more about the Moon than Neil Armstrong. Calista used to get me to help her learn about the Moon when we were children, asking me to give her pop quizzes on all kinds of facts. Our schoolmates thought she was crazy, like most other rich kids, but even though I slightly agreed with them, I helped her anyway. She loved it utterly. Or, at least, she did until that damned thing led her right off a cliff and to her death.

The way Calista died is probably one of the most unbelievable ways imaginable. We were kids, at the age of twelve, on a family vacation in California. It was supposed to be the greatest trip of our lives, according to our parents. Calista and I went for a walk one night to get out of the hotel for a while. I didn't want to go, but even then no one was stupid enough to let a young girl go walking around alone anywhere in California. We came up to this cliff and Calista was staring at the Moon while she walked. I'd turned my head to make sure that some far-off gunshots weren't headed our way and the next thing I knew, Calista's scream cut into the night air as she plummeted to her death. She was gone forever. The rocks below made sure of that. My twin, the other half of me, was gone just like that because the fucking Moon was just too pretty to ignore. One giant leap for Mankind indeed, eh?

Fuck the Moon. I'm glad it's gone. The bitch killed my sister, so it's only fair that I contribute to its demise in return.

 

Enough about my sister, she's dead. I'd rather talk about how I got my revenge on the Moon. Let's start with the obvious: I'm rich. And I'm not talking about a recent windfall kind of rich, either. I'm talking Gates Foundation kind of rich. When I was in my early twenties, my parents, themselves heirs to a small fortune built on the Internet, died in a plane crash and I invested the inheritance into a few cable companies. That investment quickly became my own empire. In no time at all, I owned three major cable companies and their affiliates. Media, it seemed, was God. Deathball certainly helped, too.

My original intention was to educate people in some way through the media and possibly make enough money to buy a house and settle down, maybe raise some twins of my own that would survive. It was only dumb luck that the President decided to make cable free to the American public by giving it government backing. When that happened last year, I was not only able to afford a new home, but I could have bought six of them as well as a whole fleet of those old-fashioned combustible engine cars. When he was running for office he'd already begun making me a fortune just by promising free cable as a part of his campaign. Bill DeNitto: the President Who Would Be King. Even Howard Stern didn't have such high aspirations as DeNitto did.

Of course, it wasn't entirely his idea. Hell, no. It was mine. I was the one who whispered that one in DeNitto's ear. It started innocently enough, though. Nothing overt. I gave him the idea over drinks when I was in Greensboro, North Carolina for a conference. Just lucky, I guess, that he was on the campaign trail and going through the city at the time. When he heard I was there, he asked to meet- discretely, to talk about helping his campaign. We met at some dive- me, him and six of his guards. I was early that night, so I'd started enjoying a few drinks while I waited for him to show up. The bartender, a guy with an interesting name- Doctor or something like that- listened to my story about Calista. The whole conversation got started when he mentioned the full moon that night. Got my motor going with that one. When I was done, he suggested that I find a way to blow the bitch up and be done with it. It was a joke to him, but a ray of light to me. He probably doesn't remember that to this day, but if he did… fuck him. Maybe next time he'll be more careful with what he says and who he says it to. That's when I hatched my plan to kill the Moon.

DeNitto and his entourage walked in and sat down with me. We talked for a while about how we would finance paying for free cable. The problem he was running into was that none of the cable companies wanted to help him make good on his word. I decided then and there that I'd help him on one condition: help me kill the Moon. "Scatter her to the four winds," I said.
He looked at me for a very long time, expressionless. "Say that again," he said slowly.
"You heard me," I replied. "All you need is just one cable company to support you and the rest will fall into line. I'll be the first, but you've got to do something for me."
"Are you fucking drunk?" he asked. "You're talking about the fucking Moon! I'm no scientist, but I did get some kind of an education. Without the Moon our tides go screwy. Hell, who knows what kind of effect it'd have on the ecology! I'd be remembered as the man who took out the only romantic thing left in this shit-hole of a country."
I was quiet for a minute, trying to think of a way to convince him. Finally, it hit me. "Make it a party," I said simply. "Make the American people want it to go. What do they fucking care, anyway? If there are any consequences, it's not like anyone in our generation is going to have to deal with it. To them it'll just be another great moment in history. The biggest bang to end all bangs. You want the people to be entertained? Fine. Give them a real show. Blow up the moon."
He sat back a moment in awe, actually considering it. To be honest, I was surprised that I'd gotten that far. Imagine my astonishment when he looked up at me and said, "Why the fuck not?"
"Sure," I added. "It won't be your problem when you're gone, will it? Is Rowland still around to deal with the Long Island Sound? Hell, no! He left it in someone else's hands, didn't he? With the destruction of the Moon, you'll not only be creating millions of short-term jobs, but you'll be insuring that lots of those jobs are secured during the clean-up process. Police, television, news, military… it'll all be under your control because you're the one that got the ball rolling on it. You'll be hailed as a hero."
The stars began to swim in his eyes. "Yeah… yeah, I will be, won't I? DeNitto the Hero, they'll call me."
"Yup."
"Fuck it. Let's do it."
I handed him another drink. "Give me the Moon and I'll give you the world. Sounds like a fair trade, doesn't it?"
How could he argue with that?
He didn't.

 

As promised, I got DeNitto his backing from the cable companies. And in return, he quietly hired a team of "specialists" who all concurred that the Moon needed to go. They came up with some poppycock stories about how it was affecting the Earth's weather patterns adversely. They knew that some people might poke holes in that, so they constructed this elaborate bullshit about how the truth of the matter was that the Moon was actually screwing with the Earth's gravitational pull and that if things continued the way they were, the Earth and the Moon would end up colliding. Simple self-preservation, they'd claim. We have to do it or else.

NASA and the military saw the project as a challenge. And those eggheads really like their puzzles, don't they? At first they fought tooth and nail over it, but when DeNitto suggested going to the French for the project, NASA changed its mind and the U.S. military followed suit. It's funny what you can accomplish when you suggest giving work to someone else. They knew the truth. The Moon wasn't anywhere close to being a threat to us. When something that is, at the closest, 107,000 miles away it stands no chance at all of hurting us. But the American people, like President DeNitto, are stupid. What they don't know won't hurt them. Their great-grandchildren, maybe, but not them.

As an act of good faith I started the media blitz in support of the Moon's destruction. It was simple, really. I told my news division that if they didn't do the reports and act happy about it, then they'd get transferred to Connecticut and left to rot. And so it began: my revenge on the Moon for killing my twin sister. And there wasn't a fucking thing that Mother Nature could do to stop me, either.

 

The night it happened, the night they blew it up, was one I'll never forget. All the big shots around the country were making their way to various parties and social gatherings. President DeNitto actually invited me to share the experience with him and his group since I had no family left. I wasn't polite about telling him to fuck off. This was my Quest and I had to see it through to the very end. I had to be there where it all started.

"What? That bar in North Carolina?" he asked over the phone, confused.
"No, you fucking moron," I said. "California. Now leave me alone." I didn't wait for him to respond. Instead I just hung up the phone. Who cares if he was the President? Who got him there in the first place, the people? Yeah, okay. Anyone who believes that the American people still have a say in who runs the country should watch some more TV.

It was getting closer to the big moment, the time when all my work and weaseling would be met with fruition. I looked up at the night sky and saw that hateful, murderous satellite. The fucker was huge, full and bright. Luna the Killer. Rest in peace, you bitch, I thought at it. All that stared back at me was 2,160 miles of wide, silent grinning. She still looked like she had the last laugh. Maybe she did. Destroying her wasn't going to bring Calista back. But, goddamn was it going to make me feel better knowing that an eye for an eye was going to be had. Calista was tricked into falling from the very cliff I was standing on, so it was simple and pure justice that Luna was going to be forced to fall from the heavens.

I looked at my watch. 11:50:39. I'd made damn sure that my watch was in perfect time with the missile launch silos, right down to the very second. The Casiex, an amalgam of Timex and Casio, was perfect to the nanosecond for up to thirty years. It was on time and precise. I had less than nine minutes before my life's work would be realized.

That was when I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I don't know who she was or what she was doing there, but she'd made damn sure to keep out of sight until the last minute. It was a woman, I think younger than me, and she was watching me in stark silence. What the fuck, I thought to myself. Why not share it with someone after all?

"How long have you been there?" I asked. She didn't reply, but I didn't take it personally. Hell, on any other occasion I'd be wary, too, if some stranger was trying to strike up a conversation on a dark cliff in California. "Do you have any binoculars?" She shook her head. "In the passenger seat of my car," I pointed to the silhouette of the vehicle parked some forty yards away, "I have another pair. Get them if you like." She did and walked close to me, but not so close that she couldn't bolt if I made any sudden moves. She was smart, it seemed. Good, I thought, I like smart people. Smart people make you earn their trust.
"What brings you out here?" I asked her. She mumbled something quietly in a soft voice. "What?"
"Closure, I said. I lost someone here years ago. I came back to… I don't know… get closure or something like that."
I chuckled inwardly at the coincidence. "Friend? Lover? Boyfriend?" I prodded.
She shook her head slowly. "Brother."
"Really?" I asked with slight astonishment. "Funny… I lost my sister here, too. Back when we were kids." I pointed skyward. "She was looking at the Moon at the time and wasn't paying attention."
Her face blanched. "Didn't you try to stop her?" she asked.
I shrugged. "I wasn't paying attention, either. One second I was looking somewhere else and the next… she was gone."
She took a step closer to me. "Were you… close to your sister?"
A wry smile crept across my face. "You could say that," I answered. "We were twins. I came out here tonight to… I guess closure is as good a name as any to call what I'm getting tonight. Maybe a little revenge, too." She took a hesitant step back at that. "Don't worry," I soothed. "The only one I want to die tonight is her," I pointed to the Moon again.
Her brow furrowed. "I don't follow you," she said. "You want them to blow it up? You support it? Most of the people I know are sad to see it go."
"Oh, you don't understand," I replied. "She killed my sister. She deserves to die tonight. She's had it coming to her for decades. And I'm the one who brought it to her."
The woman put a surprised hand to her chest. "You mean… you're responsible for this?"
I smiled proudly. "The idea was all mine. The funding? A major portion of it, mine, too. All the hoopla and reports on the news? I got all that going." Her look was skeptical. "I own a few cable companies," I explained. "This was part of the bargain I'd struck with DeNitto to help him win his campaign."
The look on her face was shocked and suddenly frightened. "People don't say things like that to just anyone," she said nervously. "At least, not unless they're telling that person the last thing they'll ever hear. Who are you?"
I smiled kindly. "I'm not worried about telling you. Hell, after tonight, I won't be worried about telling anyone. Once she's gone, what're they gonna do about it? Undo the damage? Put it back together? Fuck 'em. And fuck her. She's getting her just desserts."
We stood there for a few moments in silence. The twinkle of the multitude of missiles headed for the Moon blinked at us from the night sky. The launch had begun. In a matter of minutes, they'd strike home and the night would be over, or darker anyway.
"What's your name?" I asked quietly.
The answer froze my blood. It froze me to the very core. "Calista," she said. "And you?"
Like a zombie or a machine on automatic pilot, I answered, "Michael."
"Hmm…" she intoned. "That's what my brother's name was. Before he died."
Without prevarication, I approached her. "Your brother," I began quickly, "How old was he when he died?"
The forcefulness of my question, the intent look on my face, returned her to fear. "T-twelve," she stammered. "Why? What does it matter?"
"You don't understand," I shot out, "My sister, the one who died on this cliff, was named Calista, too. She died when we were twelve! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! What've I done? What have I done?!" I looked her in the eyes for a moment and without a doubt, I knew. Somehow I just knew that she was my Calista, my sister. "I've got to stop them!" I growled. Without waiting for a response, I turned towards my car. The phone inside it covered the nation. I'd just make a call to DeNitto and he'd take care of it. I knew he would. I made him and he owed me. He'd bring me the Leaning Tower of fucking Pisa if I told him to. I yanked the car door open, barely aware of the fact that I'd bent the handle.

Then I heard it. A low, soft boom, like the sound you hear when a live microphone jack has been pulled out of an amp too soon, only far away. From off in the distance I heard cheers and gunshots and loud music fill the night air. The party was at its climax now. Soon, it was going to end.

When I looked up, it was gone. Already breaking up and scattering in a million, billion pieces. The Moon was gone and I'd killed it.

I looked back at Calista. She wasn't there. Just like the Moon, she was suddenly an ephemeral memory, barely an afterthought of reality. But I continued to stare at the spot where she'd been standing. She was real. I know it. She was there and we talked. She was my sister and I spoke with her, damn it! Angry, I spun back around and did the only thing that came to mind. I hit the rooftop of my car.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something glimmer in the passenger seat. It was my second pair of binoculars. They were exactly where I'd left them. Still sitting serenely in my car, untouched and perfectly still. They'd never been moved at all.

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