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The Last Book
The Last Book

Chapter One - Fear of the World Outside


He slowly stirred from sleep, unsure whether he was under the shadow-cast of the moon’s endless promise of dreams, or the mechanical demands of the sun. Somewhere; behind the bedroom door, he could sense a voice, and he took a moment just to take a moment, to establish which way the pendulum would swing. As the pain started to seep in, it became clear that he was, against all desire and logic, waking up and the voice was the cause of this. He pulled his head out from the covers into complete darkness. He could not escape it.

This was the real real. And he was the real him.

He flailed around the sideboards for whatever he could find. He brushed his arm across his bedside table, and felt the sweet touch of a blister pack. Dragging it into bed, he cursed as he realised it was a packet of Viagra. He tried again, this time fishing some Valium from the mess. He swallowed five or six, and pulled the bed covers back over his head. The voice kept on, but turned to sound, then noise, then a rhythm; going doobie-doobie-dah-dah-dah. The pain swam away, and the void swallowed him again.

Then the pain started again. The voice was there. Again. And now more than one voice. Even worse, the voices were arguing. This time he took a moment to take a moment of a moment; just to see if that extra special added dimension might add some clarity to what was happening outside the door. The door… fuck… the door…  vague fragments of memory started to swarm together. The door led to The Outside, a place he had not been to for a day or two; at least.

Realising he had no idea what day it was, he felt around the bed-side table for a phone, finding something that felt like it weighed around £800 of metal and plastic, he withdrew it into the inner sanctum. The cold aluminium in his palm, he swiped the screen. It said February.

February. FUCK. FEBRUARY. FUCKING FEB FUCK UARY… there’s no way… it wasn’t possible… 78 missed calls, 324 text messages… what the fucking fuck? Like the proud Scotsman he was, he rose rampant, naked, the covers flying off the bed.

‘WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?’ he screamed at his wall, as if it would have the answer. Scrambling in the dark, he worked his way around the room, hit a switch, and the expensive Danish lighting system enveloped the room with a seductive glow  illuminating designer furniture, art, games and movies posters and a few GQ Top 100 women (he’d fucked all of them), immaculately framed in an endangered wooden frame.

By now his senses were switching on, systems up – check… check… he dragged his boxer shorts up his legs, catching his cock down one side. 

Then, the pain. As always; inescapable. And he recalled that he had gone through this same routine again and again and, unable to face anything, and with more money than he could possibly spend in a lifetime, he’d just gone back to bed. Every day.

For three months.

He could never quite place when it had begun other than it was some time after The Success. The Success had happened twenty years ago now. Like a narcissitic relationship, it had placed him into that impossible position; where he could neither leave, his identity being so bound to it, that it was him as much as he was it – but nor could he stay. The trouble was, The Success was never meant to have to have turned out like this. Oh, sure going from a £15,000 year computer game programmer to earning Hollywood Director size salaries was an achievement in itself. But this was not The Success. The Success was something quite different. Different. Dangerous. It was a joke. Literally; a joke. That’s what they’d planned back then. Now look where they were, the wee underpaid schemie coders getting one over on the big man. Now they were the big man. They’d fucked up, and they all knew it.

The voices weren’t getting quieter. In a flash of genius he saw a pile of white powder and took it off the back of his hand only to realise it was not cocaine.  It was keeeeetttttaaaaaammmiiiiiiinnnnnnnnenneneneneneenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenneenenneneneneenenenenennenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenenennenenenenenenneneennenenenenennenene. At that point the door came slamming in, with two cops leading the way. As the dust settled, Jack, immaculately dressed in a suit as only a Dundee boy could dress stood square in the frame.

“Rab, for fucks sake man, we’ve been trying to get hold of yous for weeks… you prick. The company… oh fuck them…”

Jack saw Rab, covered in white powder, bits of valium, his cock hanging out his boxers and with a stupidly massive grin on his face.

“Rab…. Rab… man… it’s your da’… He’s deid.”

The smile turned into the biggest grimace that has graced any clown, and Rab’s eyes shone bright; so bright they burned until tears started to swell and gush.

A wailing banshee started to sing. Then scream.

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