Memento Mori: Fourteen – Exit Music From a Film

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Fourteen – Exit Music From a Film He decided to feign ignorance of Serenity Acres just to see how far it would take him. As it turned out, not very far at all. It didn’t take a genius to figure out he’d gone out to the place he’d asked about earlier in the evening. Not only that, but apparently curiosity got the better of Clay. “After we heard about it – the official statement seems to be a transient accidentally burned it down while squatting in the place, killing himself. Which didn’t make sense, because nobody would go all the way out there to squat, or do anything – nobody hangs around there. It feels off.” Clay’s eyes took on a suspicious glitter, almost amused. “Well, if you...

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Memento Mori: Thirteen – Gravity Gets Things Done

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Thirteen – Gravity Gets Things Done The ocean was blue-gray, a darker color than the azure sky, which seemed to go on for forever, barely broken up by a smattering of high clouds that looked like a torn layer of cotton gauze. The water lapped gently at the golden shore, splashing down and retreating once more, only to do it again. Gryphon supposed it was pretty, but then again, he supposed it was also the epitome of futility, nature’s version of Sisyphus. In that case, it was a perfect representation of him, wasn’t it? What the hell had he been doing with his life since the dead pulled him back from the brink? He’d been their taxi service, their conduit for revenge, and nothing more. Shouldn’t he...

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Memento Mori: Twelve – Dead By Dawn

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Twelve – Dead By Dawn It was always odd to be in the back seat of his own mind, watching as others took him over and made his body do things he never commanded it to do, but in this case he was glad. Hugh would probably think he was a big old pussy, but he hated fire; he especially hated when there was a lot of it where it shouldn’t be. Being surrounded by it was enough to bring on a panic attack … if his body was responding to him. Right now, it wasn’t. Right now, he could see Louis looking around in abject shock as the fire licked up the walls, spreading like a living stain, clinging to the ceiling as if in violation of physics, but perhaps the most shocking thing to Louis was that he wasn’t...

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Memento Mori: Eleven – Don’t Save Us From The Flames

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Eleven – Don’t Save Us From The Flames According to Dante, there were nine levels of hell, which each one very specific in its punishments and the rules for those who would dwell there. Of course he was a fiction writer with a strong sense of Catholicism and an infatuation with a pre-pubescent girl, and Gryphon didn’t believe in any sort of afterlife like heaven or hell – some kind of fabulous or terrifying kingdom where you got to frolic with angels or get anally probed by imps – as it was such fairy tale bullshit he couldn’t believe anyone in their right mind bought for it a second. Still, he did believe there could be types of hell, such as the things Human beings did to one another,...

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Memento Mori: Ten – Wake Up The Dead

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Ten – Wake Up The Dead Clay did have an answer, as he expected, and he told Shane and Clay he wanted to go there tomorrow. He was lying, of course, but they weren’t to know that. After he got all the information he needed, he asked to be taken back to his motel, as he claimed to be completely shagged out after the whole Laurel Stanhope thing, and subsequent interrogation. No one disbelieved him; the pity was almost palpable. But of course it was a crock of shit. He went back to his room to have a piss, and dig out the money he had hidden in his duffle bag before heading out to the Buick. You can’t possibly be serious, Mr. Aronofsky insisted. “Would you stop saying that? I am. I’m not waiting for this...

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Memento Mori: Nine – Fight the Power

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Nine – Fight the Power Gryphon noticed something that Ruby hadn’t, or at least that she hadn’t commented on. When the two way mirror fell away, the cops monitoring in the other room jumped up, some reaching instinctively for their weapons, but there were two people standing at the back of the room, looking on in mute horror: Kevin and Rachel. The cops in the now exposed room pulled their service weapons, and Romano barked, “Sit down, now, and stop … whatever the hell you’re doing.” That was when the funniest thing happened: Rachel stood up for him. “You can’t talk to him like. He hasn’t done anything.” Everybody, even Ruby, looked at her in general disbelief. Romano’s blocky shoulders...

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Memento Mori: Eight – Freak Show

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Eight – Freak Show Gryphon stared at the woman (Laurel; her name was Laurel Stanhope), pretending he didn’t know what she was talking about, but of course he knew. He didn’t want to know, but it was hard to deny. “He did this to you?” “We were the first. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he knows now. He’s coming back. He’s ready this time.” “Ready? For what? To do what?” “Gryphon? Clay said, and touched his shoulder. For some reason, that did it. This fragile reality shattered; whatever the rapport between him and the angry dead were, it just ceased to exist when other people tried to barge into it, and he felt the backlash like a physical thing. It seemed to hit him square in the...

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Memento Mori: Seven – Passive

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Seven – Passive The first appointment of the evening took them to a pre-fab house at the end of a cul-de-sac in a Portland suburb, right where it slowly gave way to the rural. In the cul-de-sac were perfect lawns and cookie cutter houses, and just beyond it, as if there was some invisible demarcation line, were wide fields and spiky tangles of blackberry bushes, the smell of cow shit faint but quite prevalent in the air when the breeze changed direction. Shane warned him they would refer to him as a “psychic”, as that was the term more people were familiar with – in a supernatural sense – than “agent”, and Gryphon honestly didn’t care. They could call him Patsy the Dog Faced Boy as long...

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Memento Mori: Six – Three Libras

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Six – Three Libras He actually thought he might make it out. Considering how his life had been running lately, Gryphon had no idea why. It seemed overly optimistic.They were passing by the emergency room, heading towards the lobby where patients in various states of need and impatience sat in hard plastic chairs, when he sensed someone, too late for him to tell Clay to choose another exit. The emergency room’s sickly green and white coloring gave way to a cozy bookshop, the warm white lighting bouncing off shelves of polished mahogany, where books overflowed the shelves in a manner suggesting planned chaos. It was a way to be orderly without actually appearing that way, the devious work of a store owner who...

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Memento Mori: Five – You’d Prefer an Astronaut

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Five – You’d Prefer an Astronaut The people in the doorway were not ones he expected: they were Shane and Clay, a/k/a Larry and Curly. As usual, it was the hangdog Shane who spoke first. “Uh, hope we’re not disturbing you, Gryphon. We just got to the Red Dog when they were takin’ you away, and -” “No, great, I’m glad you came,” he told them, frantically looking at the i.v. tubes in his arms, trying to figure out how to remove them. Were those really needles under his skin? How could he remove them without bleeding all over the place? Was that the point? “I really need to get out of here.” Don’t do this, Mr. Aronfosky insisted. You’re honestly ill. I told you he has death wish, Hugh...

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Memento Mori: Four – One Armed Scissor

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Four – One Armed Scissor They were right behind him, and he couldn’t get away.A house materialized in front of him, and Gryphon hastily scrambled up the front porch, yanking open the old door so hard he almost tore it off its hinges. Once inside he slammed it hard, throwing all the bolts and locks, leaning against it in hopes of holding them back. Their steps thudded on the hollow porch, sounding like a rain of boulders, and it seemed like there were hundreds of them after him, thousands. He heard scrabbling beneath the floorboards, skeletal fingers clawing the wood, and he backed up across the empty front room, looking down warily. Sharp, loud booms made him jump, heart leaping up his throat in return,...

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Memento Mori: Three – It’s a Shame About Ray

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Three – It’s a Shame About Ray The Red Dog was a rather seedy looking all night diner, its neon limbed red sign highlighted by a blue neon clock that you couldn’t actually read until you were in about twenty feet of it. Even then, Gryphon didn’t dare look, as he was afraid to see at what point it would stop. The inside of the diner wasn’t very crowded, with just a few scattered patrons, the décor retro-kitsch under somewhat harsh fluorescents. Formica the color of a smoker’s teeth covered the front counter and the tables in the booths, while red vinyl covered stools and seats with brushed aluminum frames, giving the place some desperately needed color. It smelled strongly of boiled coffee and...

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Memento Mori: Two – I’m With Stupid

 Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed Two – I’m With Stupid Gryphon stared back at the man, who looked between the device in his hands and his face with increasing alarm. “What the hell …” The guy at the table, who was leaner and shorter than the other man, held up something that looked like a small portable microphone, and said, “Yeah, we’ve got a definite temperature drop in here, and the ion counter is goin’ nuts over. I think we got more than one …” “What is that thing?” Gryphon asked the guy in front of him. He had ginger colored hair and a matching goatee, making him look like a logger who had embraced the grunge movement and never looked back. The man looked at him once more, and his hazel eyes were wide with...

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Memento Mori: One – Psychopomp and Circumstances

Alone With the Dead: Memento Mori by Andrea Speed One – Psychopomp and Circumstances The first night into his trip, Gryphon realized it was hurricane season in Florida.He was in a bar where they inexplicably had the Weather Channel on the t.v. over the bar, even though the weather outside was pretty typical. But some guy with bad hair and an unfortunate jacket was talking about how Florida hadn’t finished cleaning up from the last hurricane, yet there was another one coming in. It was mutually decided that they would wait until hurricane season was over before going to Florida. Mr. Aronofsky had spent most of his life in Philadelphia, and had no desire to experience a hurricane, and Gryph wasn’t thrilled with the prospect either. He could just imagine...

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