The trip has been going well so far, as well as it could. Earth handles better than I thought a bus would. The dreams started two days ago and now I try not to sleep, I hope my cowardice hasn't cost us too much. I see them everywhere now at first I thought it was the drugs but I was wrong. It's always out of the corner of my eye they dart back to their place before I get a good look, I'm glad! But I hear them even over the music. I think Ryan hears them too, and I know Scott knows something. Why did he send it to me, why do I have to let them know? Well enough bullshit I have to let them know before it gets out of hand. I let everyone know that there's something I have to read to them now that we're out of the city, it's safer out here. With weak voice and trembling hand I read the letter, I hope they believe me!

Rob -

If you are reading this, I am dead.

I met this waitress in this outdoor bar in Lauderdale. I’m drinking to calm my nerves, and it’s failing miserably. I had just gotten my first look at Steve, and I wish I had never come here. You see, at occasional times I have been able to pick information out of the air around me about things, well, we were doing a line check on the orchestra when they arrived for a spot of rehearsal. Every thing was fine as they trundled through their ancient hits that they stole and sucked dry of money. As I said, all was fine, a few brown notes from Eydie, and then they started in on “Baby, it’s cold outside” and I was knocked down to the stage under the weight of such malignant intent that I had never dreamed in all my Stephen King, Rob and Chris, TV violence life. I downloaded files and files of murderous, soul wrenching evil so fell, so ancient that I dare not name that which eats at the insides of Steve even here on paper. I stood up from behind the modesty panel with a “clumsy me” dying on my lips as I met his eyes.

I knew, and he knows.

With the line check half finished, I brushed past Shannon saying I’d be back, and I came here. While I was nursing my first vodka, I tried a tarot reading, as though a thirty dollar set of playing cards could help. I had a pretty good idea what was going down, and my part in it. I laid out the old pattern with blank cards, shit. This waitress agreed to drop this letter first class If I don’t call her tonight after the show, I think she thinks this is some kind of spy pick up line, but I know she’ll do it.

I write to you because though I am dead, this is far from over. You are my friend and we are bound by things other than friendship, older. What I ask is dangerous, Steve’s money has purchased many minions and the roads I ask you to take are long. Come and get me, come to Florida and claim my body. I will not be safe until it is on Nez-Peirce land. Find Clinton Fuchs in Lewston Idaho, he will take you to where I need to go. I charge you, Ryan, and Chris to send me the way of the kitten. This is not a final request, but a plea screamed from beyond the grave, don’t let it get me, oh Jesus don’t let it get me. I have to go back to meet my destiny, to do what I can to stop it. Steve’s worried, but not about me. Perhaps I can serve as a distraction and hope whatever it is will take him out. I am important somehow, and you will meet resistance, you will be pursued. Tell Chris to bring all his firepower, you will need it. I’ll try and swing luck, and chance as much as I may in your favor because until I am cinders in the pyre, I’ll be with you.

Gather the mutants, you have a mission at last. Boy, I hope I end up fucking the waitress instead.

Dead but dreaming,


We're out of the big city where a man can not be free of the evils of this town and himself and those around.

--Letters from a Savior; Offer for a few--


A desert.
the afterlife seems to be a desert and apparently I was so good or so wicked or just one of those uncountable degrees in between the two to have this entire desert to myself.
No food or water in sight. Good thing I’m dead or else I might really be in trouble.
I have no idea how long I have been here, and the last I remember was the peculiar sight of a 158 grain semi-jacketed hollow point leaving the barrel of a 357 Magnum to end up in my eye…
I am certain this gets me into some special club.
The lights went out and I awoke here as I might from a nice little nap.

I am incredibly serene, the landscape is magnificent, and I’m perfectly happy to sun myself on this rock like a lizard. If I ever tire of this, I figure I’ll walk around and explore, but for some reason I have become convinced that I’m waiting for someone.

A few minutes, or millennia, or four hours, or two and a half months (a smidge difficult to tell) later, I see a winged figure appear at the horizon line directly in the center of my field of vision.
This must be whom I am waiting for.
I watch it approach until it is close enough for me to refer to it as a she…
She is tall, perhaps seven feet, dressed a bit like a valkyrie on her day off, with beautiful wings the color of smoke, and when she arrived at my stone, I looked into eyes the color of…
the color that when someone asks you to imagine a color you’ve never seen before and you can’t.
It was in those unfathomable depths that I thought I saw confusion.

Hello.” I said
I always thought that to be a pretty good opener…

“You are not a child nor are you a puppy.” She stated flatly, and she was correct.

“No…Is this a problem?”

“I am Hecitie, guide of children into the Underworld, and I am also associated with puppies.
You are neither. Why are you here?”

“Well, I did make an extraordinary catch with my left eye, and now I am here…”

“You died in battle?”

“Well, yes and no.”

“Do you like puppies?”

“Ah… sure, puppies are nice.”

“Walk with me for a time” she said, “while I divine why you are here.”

We walked along for an indiscernible amount of time through this immeasurable desert, and I felt no fatigue, which I assumed to be another perk of being dead. Every time I tried to spark up conversation, the words died on my dead lips with a look from those otherworldly eyes.

“You quested others with the disposal of your shell.” she finally said.


“You were born into your previous life on Holy Innocents Day, December Twenty-eight.”

These were not questions, they were declaratives, but I wanted to participate in conversation while I still could.

“Then it is here you must wait till your decaying meat sizzles in the pyre. So few quests are given or undertaken anymore that they have all but disappeared from my responsibilities. Even in ages gone, children rarely quested others, but you were born on the day that Herod slaughtered infant boys, and I am forever tender to any soul brought into the world on that day. You are welcome in my realm until the quest is completed, but I must leave you as my duties are never ending.”

“Can you tell me what my friends are doing?”

“They have entered the slipstream using LSD somewhere near Wall Drug, South Dakota.”

…and she was gone.

I looked around for a new perch and found the rock that I woke up on.
It was a perfect rock, and it was mine for the time being. I regained my spot and looked out across this landscape. I found myself wanting a cigarette, not for the nicotine, for death works better that the patch, but just for the simple pleasure of smoking. Before my desire took full root, a finely rolled Drum appeared in the corner of my mouth, lit.

I took a long, luxurious pull and thought to myself, take your time kids, this is going to be a nice layover.

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