Chapter One: Morgue

Originally Published at Rob.BearSwarm.com on 2011-08-29.

They say some people are more sensitive to the departed than others. While I disagree with them in most cases, this time I have to concede their point. I used to be way more in tune than I am now. I think you can get this way with anything. If you eat allium sativum too often you’ll need more to even taste it. To too much cocaine and you’ll need even more next time to get the same high. Drink too deeply from the souls of the dead and soon they stop mattering to you. The person isn’t the drug anymore. The drug is the drug.

I’m being too melodramatic. I know that technically the light blue liquid in my syringe is actually harvested from some gland near the brainstem. Still, when I roll it in my hand I can’t help but think of it as someone’s soul. In some regards it is accurate. Not divine soul or religious, but a type of soul. Mana is the chemical that connects a human to their Arcane soul. Mana lets junkie mages, like me, bend reality.

I can hear movement in the next room and I know what that means. If Wall catches me shooting up again he might leave me behind. He always threatens it but he’s only actually abandoned me twice. Plus he doesn’t complain when my habit helps patch his cuts or power his limbs. He hates that I shoot Mana though. I sigh to myself when I hear his boots pad across the room. I wait for his fist to hit the door before I even bring the needle out. Don’t need to flinch and blind myself.

BAM… Silence. BAM BAM BAM.

“Morgue. Get up.”, Wall’s deep baritone echos through our lean-to.

I mumble a response, trying to sound tired. It’s better for everyone if he doesn’t know that I’ve been up for hours. I wait a second and then he grunts. I listen as his boots trod back to the front door. That’s when I lift the needle and jam it right into my tear duct. They say you can shoot into any vein for the same effect but personally I feel it faster if I shoot into my eyes.

I’m a six year old boy. Oh shit. No. I slam my eyes closed. I’m in a city but I’m down in the slums. No no no. I pry my eyes open but I can still smell the acrid stink of human waste. There is a man near me and he smiles. He seems so friendly. Mama joined Daddy yesterday and now it’s only me and Shell. No. NO. I pull myself to my feet and try to call out to Wall. When I open my mouth it’s a little boy calling out. The man has grabbed me and is holding me down. I struggle but I’m too little to fight back. I throw up and see Wall standing in the front door. He looks at me with a sick smile, not the friendly one he just had. Then he pulls out a really scary needle. Wall glances back at me and his faces goes white, and impressive feat for such a bronze skin. The needle slams into the back of my head, just below my skull. I collapse and Wall catches me.

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