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TheGlassSpider

Remembering to Forget - – ‘Laura’ Lacey’s Journal & Notes

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(Thank you @Alkis for this image!)

“Once upon a time, there was a woman named Catherine and a little girl named Virginia. And a stupid ex-husband who thought he could buy his daughter’s love with fancy gadgets and exotic adventures. So, Catherine ended up on her last adventure because of theirs.”

“What happened to Catherine?”

“I am killing her.”

C.A.L. & J.M.

 

This battered journal has clearly seen better days, and it’s mostly blank – there is writing only on the first few pages. There is also a collection of loose papers filled with scribbles and doodles, in no particular order, stuffed in the back.

 

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If The Stranger (TS) hadn’t found me, I probably would have died. This region has been unforgiving, and I left my guide at the border. This guy recognized my voice…from that last transmission. Gotta fix that. And now I owe him. At least it’s just supplies – so far.

He lead me to people, said he figured I could handle the rest on my own. The surreality of it. I offered them spiked peaches and we sat in a church getting drunk – telling stories and laughing. They must be very strong. Not afraid to lose control. Especially the loud woman, she won’t take shit from anyone – drunk or sober it seems.

They say I must have a new name. Mine sounds too much like other of their friends. But we couldn’t settle on a good one before this new guy comes in.

New guy doesn’t have to talk loud to be heard. It looked to me like everyone was listening. He tells me his name, tells me it’s not really his name. Then tells me if I want drugs, I come to him. Any drugs. Any time. Sounds like my Dad’s line. I’ll call him The Pusher (P). I’m starting to let him know I’ll be in touch – even though I don’t want any drugs – when this slip of a woman rolls in wearing a skirt like it’s not cold as hell outside.

She’s talking about ghosts and salt purification. The Pusher changes when she comes in – it’s easy to see. And she fills this locket he has with salt. Trying to protect him from ghosts. I hope it works for them.

--

 

TS says I look like a Laura to him. So be it. I will become Laura.

--

 

The days have been a blur, running with more people than I’ve seen in a while. The loud woman – the Star, Stella Minor (SM) her kid, P – some others. They make me laugh. They light up the towns and destroy the infected. I find myself not paying attention. How the hell did we get to this fountain reading Alice in Wonderland? I’m tired and Catherine keeps clamoring about tucking Ginny into bed, reading her bedtime stories, singing her a lullabye. Kindly shut your mouth, my dear.

The Pusher could just as easily be the Herder. Quiet and urgent, his directions guide us through the forest to the next clinic, and the next. A dozen pairs of feet pounding through the night, guns out – the loud woman a Red Star shining through the trees. The rhythm, the wind, the ebb and flow of banter…make it easy to shut Catherine up.

--

 

The Pusher’s girl is with us, with her legs – and cookies this time. They’re really good cookies. And there’s some new woman. She keeps poking at the Pusher’s girl, making fun of her. I don’t get it – the Cookie chick is nervous and sweet. Fragile. Can’t she see his growing irritation – is she blind or suicidal? Or does she think she can take him? Interesting.

The first time he raises his voice, she slinks off.

What are we doing?

“Cutting 45 degrees right across the field.”

We’re running, and I’m following. It’s getting later. We’re dropping people off for bed in every town. Eventually, it’s just the two of us and I can’t keep up anymore.

--


The radio wakes me. The Pusher’s voice. What is he saying? I have to put on Laura’s voice, Laura’s posture. Laura is always ready to do business.

Right.

"Sorry, missed that first bit. What's this about taking?"

"Hm. Merely seeing if you'll need assistance in acquiring shit other than drugs. I'm... as you put, an 'entrepreneur,'" The Pusher chuckles. "Able to nab next to anything these days. That kind of work comes at a cost, like always. A give and take."

"Oh! Excellent. Yes, usually I only bother to carry medicines, though I know more recreational options are available, but I really rather like vodka - and occasionally wine...At any rate, you didn't radio to hear my morning prattle or preferences. Business to take care of, I'm sure. I could use a pair of night vision goggles - though I understand they're rather dear. And we have not clarified what forms of payment you accept. Some things can cost too much, you know. And I expect you are not a man to whom I would like to be in debt overly long."

"My preferred payment is information. Materials are simple to come by. Debt shouldn't be a concern. I'm a reasonable man. Lies though, deceit. That's something neither of us will appreciate... I can start with something simple, if you're inclined."

"I do appreciate honesty. Something simple will work. But what concerns me most is a clearly communicated exchange. After all, I require a single, discrete item, and want to be clear on my end of the bargain - which shouldn't be indefinite, I think. What, specifically, did you have in mind?"

"For NVGs? Tell me how and what you know about Jack. Since I just came back into the country recently, I don't know much about him or his friends he's brought along."

Our first deal is easy. They always are.

--

 

Perhaps Catherine would have liked Chernarus in some other time. Its hiking trails and mountains can almost make you forget that most of the world is dead and the rest of it’s insane.

That doesn’t matter, though. It’s a slow process…the more deeply embedded the memories are, the harder it is to cut them out.

The trail has gone cold. The best thing to hope for is that Ginny’s dead. Catherine’s choking, fading – one memory at a time.

That’s all right, too. I think I’m getting better at all this.

Edited by TheGlassSpider
added attribution, changed image layout

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