A series of short fiction pieces continuing the stories told in concept albums. This week’s article is a
continuation of last week’s article inspired by Linkin Park’s “Waiting for the End.”1
“I’m going to the Yards today,” Liam announces over breakfast.
Nathan looks up sharply.
“Don’t look at me like that, you know our life hardly pays.”
Nathan knows, but he can’t follow Liam’s logic. Though the infamous Yards give good pay, it is at the possible cost of your life. Nathan leaves without finishing his food.
He walks aimlessly, dissipating his anger and feelings of betrayal toward Liam, but familiar anger erupts. Anger toward the people who walk right by him with no knowledge of his presence due to the device in their arms overriding their cerebrums, preventing them from seeing Nathan, Liam, and others without it. Anger at nature for freaking out and destroying the world before this.
Liam is gone when he gets home.
Nathan says nothing to him when he comes back, is quiet while dressing Liam’s wounds. Dinner is silent, with no mention of the boxes of canned food that now lined the counter. They go to bed restless, but full for the first time in years.
The anguish dissolves through the night, and they fall back into routine, save for Liam’s trips to the Yards. They keep routine for four days. On day five, Nathan awakes with dread. He recognizes it as the same thing his four-year-old self had felt fifteen years ago.
Though Nathan begs him not to, Liam leaves. Around three, there’s a heavy knock on the door. Nathan opens it to find a man about two times his size.
Nathan’s heart speeds up. “Yes?”
An even bigger guy comes into Nathan’s view, holding a body he supposes to be Liam, but it can’t be Liam because Liam is big and that body looks small, way too small, and Nathan can’t breathe.
He hears without feeling. Liam’s not dead, but he’s hurt. His body is brought in. He should get better soon. Then they’re gone and Nathan feels like he ran a mile.
They’re in their third week, food supplies dwindling, but Nathan doesn’t care. He asks Liam what he wants to drink.
Liam doesn’t respond.
Nathan tries not to freak out. He approaches the living room-turned-bedroom slowly. Something is wrong, he thinks as he looks at Li’s sleeping body. What?—Then he realises—the blanket, it’s not moving.
“Li, no. Liam, please.” Nate pleads with no one because his best friend—his brother—is dead. He’s lost his family again.