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MIDNIGHT

CITY

what if life wasn’t for everyone, but for everyone else?

BY GENE P A O L O GUMAGAY


midnight city stat report: as of september16 2012, midnight city has 1140 reads, 33 votes, 10 comments, and is #278 in the science fiction category. support this brand new piece of literary art by voting, reading, and commenting on it online at http://wattpad.com/story/1169281


midnight city


midnight city by gene paolo gumagay


To everyone. And to M83.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA. This is printed in recycled, acid-free paper. ∞ Typeset in Minion by Adobe and Gotham by Hoefler & Frere-Jones Available on Wattpad and Issuu


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CHAPTER 1 - DEAD THINGS The car slowly turned, and tumbled down the mountain. What could have been a very cool $40,000 Volvo XC90 is now a glued-together pile of scrap metal, cedar, and bloody bodies. I, personally, would be surprised if anybody survived that. That anybody, of course, would be me. Me, dad, and mum. Lying here in my hospital room, I remember the vents vividly. It all happened so fast, even my brain and my heart couldn’t catch up. Hell, how could anybody catch up with an event that happened in 5.5 seconds until we were all on the ground? It’s my 10th here at the hospital, and my hip, my wrist, and my neck is still fucking nasty. I still struggle going to the loo to pee and shit. There’s also this burn on my thigh that’s healing faster than I can read the whole chapter of Revelations (I am a fast reader, and yes, I’m


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Christian). I knew it would happen. Dad and Mum were drunk that time. I hope they are okay. My name is Daniel. Daniel Hurt. 17. A proud Cockney. No girlfriend, no good track record, no friends, and in this point in time, no hope. (How could hope enter my life when you’re ill, everybody’s worrying about you and you are worrying about your parents and your older brother?) Oh, yeah, I have an older brother. His name is Jack. 27. Cockney and Ginger. Attractive (and, no, I’m not a fucking fag), has a girl named Robyn, has a beautiful, beautiful life. That’s why I love my bro. He comes into the room, in a sweeping fashion (see the walk of the main character of Lie to Me*), sits beside me in the bed with an assuring look to his face. “Mum and Dad are fine.” “Good to hear.”

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He sighed heavily again. “They are fine. Don’t you worry.” He then caresses me with his hand. I didn’t need it, but sweet Jesus it was so fucking good. Oh shit, this is better than a massage. It was so good, I slept. I woke up 2 hours later. I still can’t forget the time he touched me like that. Like I said, I’m not gay or anything, and I know he isn’t too, but there was this love connection that we have that was so extreme, you can call it gay or cheesy. But dude, it’s so real. I wonder where he went. Maybe he went to the bath to pee. Or buy some coffee for me (yes, call me a coffee connoisseur). Or check on mum and dad. Then it hit me. Are my parents okay? Suddenly, Jack came in with a confused look in his face, with teary and wet eyes. Seeing him in this situation alone made me worry about mum and dad.

“Are you?”

I asked him, “What’s wrong, Jack?”

“Jack, being “okay” is not a measure of perfect health and well-being.”

“No, nothing, nothi--everything’s fine.”

Jack asks, “You and your very elaborate statements.”

“You look like you have seen a ghost.”

I laugh. “Can’t help.”

“No. No ghost -- just there-wolves -- huh? -- ahhh!”

An awkward silence fills the room. I asked naively, “How’s Mum and Dad?”

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This thing is going nowhere now. I grabbed his arm and dragged him closer to me. “Hey hey! Calm down you!” He calms down, breathing heavily. God, I have never seen Jack this frustrated.

“I said they’re fine,” he snapped back.

“Come, lie beside me.”

“No, how are they, like, physically?”

He stands up as I released him from my hand. He then sits up on my bed and lies down.

He sighed, “Dad suffered a second-degree burn, and Mum has a very deep cut in her limb. You shouldn’t see the poor things. But they’re under control.” This muddafugga’s a liar. “You said they’re fine.”

“Jack, um, I have one question.” “Shoot,” he said as he sniffs.


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“I know this is crazy, but, um, what happens if Mum and Dad die?” He laughed. What a mood-swinger. “You’re right, Daniel. It is crazy--there is no point in it. They’re not dead yet.” “Just answer the fucking question.” “I can’t.” Fine with me. Feeling tired from this alone, I slept again. I hear the doors open, but I didn’t budge an inch. 1 a.m. I hear the cries of a baby, like its next door. The difference is that the cries come from behind me. This is the first time in my whole entire life that I saw Jack crying. He was the bravest man in the family, second only to my father, and now he’s crying? But thinking about this also made me think about Mum and Dad. “Daniel?” “Jack, why the fuck are you crying?” “When Mum and Dad die, you and I will feel very, very sad, like the whole world is falling apart. The world--broken into pieces, those pieces broken again into more pieces, and so on and so forth until the earth is now dust.” “That’s crazy, what are you talking about?” “I know, but that’s what happens. Then somehow you find all the pieces, and you glue them together, and your life is whole again, and you start again.” This statement in itself is very moving. It hit me--Mum and Dad are now in heaven. God Bless their pure souls. I cried very hard again, joining Jack. A river of tears came out from my lachrymal sac and filled my eyes.

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Jack was right. My world is falling apart. It gets broken into pieces, those pieces broken again into more pieces, and so on and so forth until it’s dust. All I did my whole fucking life was fucking fight with them, and knowing they just died is a big deal to me. I was so fucking rude and cruel, and my whole life is a big, big fuck up. Can I glue the pieces together again?


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Dad is from East London, and is a true Cockney. He is (was, Daniel. WAS!) an advertising executive. From AMV in London, he moved to DDB in Stockholm and worked with the Swedish Armed Forces, McDonald’s, Microsoft, and some other brands whose names you cannot understand. Sometimes I would join him at work to see him do his thing. I saw him scold an employee, which is funny, because at home, he is a very humorous, funny, young-at-heart man. Jack is a DJ for a national radio program that plays hit music from Sweden and from around the world. He has a musician girlfriend named Robyn–you know, the singer with the bleached hair and angled bangs and big-ass moves and the song “mi style is the bom digi bom gi dang gi dang digi digi!”. I never met her, but she’s cool. I also guest sometimes at his show–hell, I even take over for him when he’s sick. I, Daniel Hurt, am studying Theatre Arts at the Stockholms Universitet. I am a part-time DJ and travel around the world for it, from Miami to Ibiza to London to Brussels and every single club in between. I had worked with the Teddybears, Roykskopp, Toddla T, David Guetta, Kaskade, and good ol’ SHM.

CHAPTER 2 - GONE, JUST GONE I got out of the hospital 9 days after the Death (cool name, huh?) and the memories, the wounds, and the hardships are still fresh in my mind (both figuratively and literally). I think you may be interested in some history about our family: the place we live in is a very cool (low temps) suburb in Älmhult, Sweden, a small locality 5 hours outside Stockholm, the town where Carl Linnaeus, Ingvar Kamprad, and IKEA was born. (Hell, we have a whole house full of IKEA!) My mum is (or was) a housewife. A minimalist cleanaholic, Lisa always cooks really good food. Spaghetti and meatballs, pasta alla carbonara, Ärtsoppa, gravlax, palt, Flying Jacobs–you name it. But the most memorable dish she ever cooked for me is the chokladboll she makes in Christmas–it was very moist and sweet, yet chewy. The more I thought about this, the more I miss this lady. She was such a pro.

Due to my parents’ and Jack’s A-list (B-list, at least) status, we headed out to parties a lot. I first attended a club party when I was 5. Teddybears STHLM was there, also is Steve Angello (who, 10 years later, with Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, would work with me on their new record). The latest party that I had was held in Orebro, at Nina Persson’s house. Nina is a friend of mine, and is the lead singer of The Cardigans, an international smash and my favorite band. Lots of dancing and drinking was there–hell, I even had a quick threeway with two chicks at the bath! (Shhh, don’t fucking tell Jack. He’ll be so fuckin’ pissed.) We were all so drunk that time (0 is the legal drinking age for alcohol with <2.25% ABV, but it is illegal.) At times my parents and Jack worry/ied about me, but now its time for me to be worried about myself–how can I move on with my studies and my DJing career without Mum and Dad. Without them, my whole world would be, well, meaningless. Now, they are just some pieces of dust in the wind. They’re gone, just gone. Yesterday, we had guests for the funeral. Jack and I served a simple lunch for them over at the dining table. We cooked some meatballs, fish, some caviar for Jack’s A-list friends (and the social climbers), and some other classic Swedish foodstuff. Guests tell me they were


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good, but, in my opinion, it would have been better with Mum. That was also the first time I had met Robyn. I small talked to her. “Hi Robyn.” “Hi Daniel! Jack told me a lot about you. You look better than I thought!” “Thanks!” Stop flattering me, you. “Oh, I’m so sorrry about–you know...” gesturing with her hand. “Yeah, thanks for coming by.” We also talked about the food, and how she heard my DJing. “You really have good taste in dance. Who is your inspiration?” “Many. One of them is you.” I had to flatter this woman. “Oh, stop it you!” she replied. She and I saw jack from the distance. “Well, I should, you know, go talk to your brother.” The words on my mind were Oh, you’ll kill him?, but no bother. Instead, I went for “Okay. Thanks for the visit!”

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But I’m not touching it. I’m going to my Privia beside Jack’s bed. Although the members of my family have different careers, we are all bounded by music. Jack and I are DJs, Mum is a soprano at the local choir, and Dad is (Daniel, how many times do I have to tell you everything should be in past tense!) a piano player–errmm, a pianist–and a composer. His last composition is entitled “Mad Rush”. I played it–has a lot of ups and downs called arpeggios , or as it’s known in the DJing industry, arps, and is very moody. But its moodiness reminded me of something–I miss them, more than ever. It has been a sad, sad ending to their life, and their story shouldn’t have ended like this. I love them, now more than ever, which, I think, they wouldn’t appreciate because now they’re in heaven. With this, I cried. So hard, it can be heard in the guest rooms. Jack and Robyn (who hasn’t yet gone back to Sthlm) came in to the room and comforted me. “Don’t worry Daniel, you’ll be okay.” “Hey, I am supposed to be the one to say that!” “Why?” “Y’know–it’s just a song from my album.” “Oh yeah, right.”

Jack and I decided to cremate the poor things, and we held mass for them at the local cathedra;. Jack, Aunt Miriam, Uncle Andreas, and I prepared eulogies for the service. I was the one with the most flowery words in the speech (remember, I have good vocabulary).

This gal is funny, but I kept crying. “Daniel, husssh, don’t cry. Don’t cry,” she whispered while caressing me at the back.

All of the guests (except those who have busy schedules, like Robyn) stayed in our house. Le manse is rather large, and spacious, with one master bed (for my mater and pater), one room for the Hurt Brothers (that’s what I like to call Jack and I), and 5 guest rooms that can fit 10 people, just enough for the 9 guests and a half (my cousin, Bo).

2 hours later, and my crying stopped. In those two hours, she sang a piano version of the song that she reffered to earlier. And after she sang that, I calmed down.

After all the work I had that day, I went to my room. Its a small one, with a double-deck bed, two small cabinets, a nightstand, and other things you might find in a teenagers room except triple-X magazines. (Jack and I aren’t into those kinds of stuff.) There’s a M-Audio Axiom Keyboard in the corner connected to a Mac Pro with Pro Tools. This is where I do my minimixes, my remixes, and my tracks for my DJing.

“Daniel, you’ll be okay. You’ll get over this, okay?” “Okay,” I said. “Okay, I’ll drive Robyn home. Go to sleep,” Jack uttered. “Okay. Good night.”


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The couple said, “Good night.” Finally, I had restored my cool and now I can do the thing I want to do. I slept.

CHAPTER 3 - REPEAT 8 days after the funeral, Jack and I decided to return to normal life. It’s winter, the snow is piling up in our yard, SVT says the road is very, very slippery, and it’s fucking cold. Scratch that. I’m fucking freezing! After a hearty breakfast (sadly we can’t replicate Mum’s good cooking) we prepped ourselves. Then, Jack wiped away the snow off our second car (we have 3), our Volvo S60. It’s mum and dad’s party car when we’re not joining, and it’s very rarely used. The last time we used it is when Jack graduated from high school. We packed our bags and put it inside the car, and we put ourselves in. Jack inserted the key and starts the engine. Our 2003 S60 came to life from its dormant condition. Then we hit the road.


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Its a slippery day at the road. Turning at corners is very hard. But this very disheartening fact is dampened by the mood in the car. We were very busy sharing jokes, experiences, and embarrassing moments. “Okay, Erik and Bea are found dead on the floor in a bedroom. When they were discovered, there were pieces of glass and some water on the floor. The only furniture in the room is a shelf and a bed. The house in is a remote location, away from everything except for the nearby railway track. What caused the death of Erik and Bea?” “Shit dude, they’re fish.” “Fuck Jack, you have an insanely high IQ!” “I have one. Mr. Carlsson, the owner of the most famous telecom in Sweden was found dead on his bed at 1:46 am, beside his bed, on the floor, is a pair of scissors, according to the sheriff, the scissors were the instrument used to kill Rico, yet there’s no trace of blood found, no bruises of cuts in Carlsson’s body. How could he have been murdered with the pair of scissors?” This hit me hard. “Shit, Jack, I don’t know.” “Guess.” “He’s a robot?” “No.” I was dismayed. Then it hit me. “Oh, OH! He got scared by the scissors and he had a heart attack, he has sicosnipophobia! Right? Right?” “No.” “FUCK!” “Give up?” “Okay.” I nearly sobbed. “He was in a waterbed. The killer drowned him.”

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“Ahhh. I see what you did there.” “Yeah right.” 3 hours later, when we reached Jönköping, we were alone at the road. Visibility is, well, maybe less the 5%. I can’t see a fucking thing. Then I figured out, well, it’s a bank holiday today, so no one’s outside except for those at the media and DJs. Then I saw something. It’s a large figure, 20ft tall, taller than a human. I doubt it’s the tallest man in the world, since it has ear flaps. Then it hit me. Ear flaps? I doubt this is an elephant, because elephants walk shorter and sit taller. This mut be an alien. Then, I realized, we’ll crash into the road if we don’t stop! I turned to Jack. He’s asleep! “JACK! DUCK!” “Huh? What duc--aaaahhh!” He took a sharp turn with the steering wheel. We slid across the road in a sweeping kind of sound. I see sparks at the window--we’re scratching the road. Then, my whole life passed by and I realized: Jack and I am going to join Mum and Dad in the heavens. Behind the snow I see a thick, thick line. It comes closer and closer to me, like it’s going to hit the car. And now I realize, it’s a lamp post. Shit, we’re screwed. Mama’s gonna kill us.


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CHAPTER 4 - PROVERB For the first time in 6 hours, I opened my eyes. I realized I was under rubble, feeling helpless and hopeless. I don’t feel anyone else around me except Jack. I can’t even turn my head to see him and how he is. My back, neck, knee, and head are so shitty right now, I can’t even find the words to describe how the fucking things feel. I still manage to move my arm around to see my hand. It’s fucking bloody. And it’s mine. Suddenly I hear a loud mechanical crash above me. It is a backhoe, banging on what’s left of the S60. Its noise, so garish to my ears, yet so familiar. Every time I go to Stockholm, the roads are being repaired. Every time. Now is the first time that I can hear a backhoe up close.


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Then, a blinding light came through my eyes. It is so white and intense, I bet Jack’ll wake up. Slowly, my eyes adjust and I can see the sky. The snowy sky. And I put my head down, and I see the road, and the backhoe just 2 feet away from me, like it is going to eat me. But I didn’t budge a bit. The spotters shouted “Sluta!” which means halt. I guess they’ve found their two survivors. Or is it two? I bet we’re very famous now. DSLRs all over the place. News reporters in fur jackets, cameramen and soundmen in LL. Beans. I overheard one reporter (I think she’s from STV), “Det var en bil som kraschade in i en lyktstolpe och höll på att öppnas upp för räddningspersonalen och mycket överraskande att de två passagerare på insidan överlevde. Ett sades vara i kritiskt tillstånd... (There was one car that crashed into a lamppost, and was being opened up by rescue teams and, very surprisingly, the two passengers inside survived. One was said to be in critical condition...)” Then it hit me; Jack is in “i kritiskt tillstånd (critical condition).” This would mean that I am a doctor’s mistake away to being alone in my family. I sat there on the scene of the accident -- our accident -- sipping my hot water and pondering about my brother’s condition. I decided by then that after my interrogation at the local cop station, I’ll head to the local government hospital to find my brother. My time at the police station was not that long. The chief--a young one for this position-asked me some questions which I am very able and proudly and emphatically intelligent to answer. Questions like “What car was it?”, “Was Jack drunk?”, and the most vague of all, “How was the weather then?” which I would have answered better than now, but it wouldn’t be helpful. Hell, we even talked about Christmas, my job, Jack’s job, salaries, and the smartphone we used and our service provider! I signed some forms and the officers escorted me to the exit. I realized I was in the middle of a quiet, desolate, and a no-one-cares-wachu-think town that was God-knows kilometres away from Stockholm and that I have no idea where this fucking hospital is in this hell-hole. I realized (again, for having realized things millions of times) that I didn’t ask the Chief (his name is Chief Johan Broms) which hospital Jack’s admitted to. I run back up a large flight of stairs to the police station and went to the chief. I asked him hesitantly (because there is no other way but to hesitate), “Chief, where is the hospital where Jack’s admitted?”

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He answered in perfect English (with a hint of Swedish nasal accent), “No, can’t tell you that, son.” “Why?” “Confidential information.” “But this is a life-or-death situation we’ve got here! And I’m his younger brother!” I plead with fake compassion and conviction. “That’s the reason why–it’s a life-or-death situation. Would you like to see your brother in a bad situation?” “I’ll be there whatever it takes.” Now this is becoming cheesy, like the DHL, or UPS commercials. “No, kid. It’s just not right,” he finally told me, which seemed to be the best reason for me to just stay away from Jack in his critical or whatever attack-of-the-heart-bringing condition he may be in. The pink phone (no, sorry, not pink–magenta, it is.) in his desk rang a high-freq, highpitch, and shrilling sound. So brilliant and clear, I bet the Supplies Department can hear it without delay. He stands up from his mammoth of an office chair and picked up the phone. “Ja?” The person on the phone I cannot hear, but what I can hear are his responses; “Should I tell him now?,” “Yes, yes, I know,” “Is there anything else to sign?,” “No, I hate carbonara!” (Okay, I made the last one up, but I can tell he hates the poor Italian thing.) As he ends his phoneversation with a loud banging put of the receiver in its place (intended to be heard until the traffic lights outside the office), he tells me, “You can pick up your things at reception, Daniel,” in a smooth, assuring voice. “Okay,” I said. I stood up from the most comfy client’s chair in the world (compared to those chaises at IKEA), he then compliments, “Keep doing those jams.” I was about to say, OMG! The police chief of God-knows-whatever-town this is loves my tracks!!!1, but no matter. I just said an affable, yet timid, “Thank you, Chief.” I went out the door and shut it slowly.


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I rapidly sprinted down the flight of stairs, (just to keep in shape, instead of using the elevator) and headed to reception. Standing behind a black, cultured-granite box of a table is a kindly elder lady who is, from my perspective, carefully reading her Lotus Notes. “Hi, how may I help you?” said the woman, who seems to not complain of her night-today shift. “Hi ma’am, I would like to pick up the evidence...” “Oh, I’ve got it right here!” then laughs. She moves her hip and reached out to what seems to be the most bottom part of the endless granite box (the Swedish always have a knack for illusions). She then reached out her hand with a large Ziploc with Jack’s and my things. “Tack,” I thanked the matron.

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“Can you wait?” I said to the cabbie. “Sure,” the driver said, smiling. That smile just implied that he wasn’t aware of my condition (who cares about my condition anyway?). I hurried into the hospital, striding across the wide, empty path. As I arrived at the door, I asked the security guard, “Is the man who met an accident on the high way hours ago admitted here?” I could have used a shorter question, but no bother–the guard said yes. I ran back into the cab. “Thanks,” I said to the cabbie. “No problem, Daniel.” Fuck, this guy knows my name. “I love your mixes,” he added. Then it hit me–“Wait, did I know you from somewhere?” “I went to your concert once at Södermalm.” “Ahhh, that’s why. Thanks!”

CHAPTER 5 - WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU Where to go, where to go...oh, I have to go to whichever fucking hospital Jack’s at in this town. I thought of getting a cab and then touring me to all the hospitals in the city–in one ride. But of course, that would be impossible, because that would keep the cabbie waiting. But, I do have money, so... I hailed a taxi, and I told him to go to “the nearest hospital.” I entered, and we started our journey. I told him that I was the one who met an accident by the highway, and that I need to visit my brother n the hospital. The problem is I don’t know which hospital in this Goddamned town he is admitted to. “It’s okay. I’ll try,” the man said, who, by his voice, was very young and fit, and yet able to be a taxi driver in Sweden. He drove smoothly for about an hour, when we arrived at the first hospital in the area. It’s a county hospital, and I’m sure the cops put Jack here.

I hurried back (God, slow me down) to the hospital and rushed into the lobby. It was a clean-scented (the smell of grain alcohol) room, with empty chairs, a running TV with BingoLotto on the screen, and a blonde lady at the front desk [much younger than the woman at the station who, if you can recall, is the Swedish Mammy Two Shoes (Google it, you lazy double-crossin’, knick-knackin’, good-fo’-nothin’ man!)]. She too, also looks like she’s reading her Outlook, Gmail perhaps. “Excuse me–“ “–Oh, your brother’s on room 415. Dr. Eklund is expecting you.” (Did this woman just interrupt me?) “Okay. Thanks.” (Stupid lady.) I sprinted to the (wooden) elevator, pressed a (black) button, and the door opened in an instant (maybe because it wasn’t busy). It wasn’t so (overly) cramped. The doors (suddenly) close and I press the button (with the number 4). I can feel the elevator (slowly) ascend. Feeling gentle (yet noticeable) gravitational pull, I have.


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Rule 24: If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Rule 40: Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary -Bill Safire I got out of the elevator and ran to room 415 The whole floor is a labyrinth Finally I found room 415 I opened the door and there I saw a doctor in doctors clothes and doing doctor things and also I saw Jack lying in the bed eyes clothes with an EKG beside him and IVed through a dextrose solution The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath. - E.C. Zwart Jack lay down there, like an old man dying. Bloody red, full of wounds. Stitches on his head, arms, thighs, beep, boop, ngeeb, ngaab, ngoob, ngiib (Okay, stop it, you sound like a crazy person). He looks as if he is a victim of an earthquake, or a bombing, or an explosion–in the deluxe suite. Dr. Miriam Eklund attended to Jack, and she told me, “Everything is under control, Daniel.” With the looks of Jack right now, I think she’s fucking lying. “Come on, Doc. Tell me the truth.” I have that kind of attitude that in emergency situations, I always seek the truth. “No, Daniel. It’s too harsh to tell you.” “Tell me. I won’t be–” “Daniel,” Jack cut into our conversation with half of his normal voice, “don’t–I don’t want you to be hurt.” “Tell me,” I challenged Dr. Eklund one last time. She sighed heavily, and started talking in a stoic and professional tone. “Jack has heavy haemorrhaging on the head caused by a fracture in the cranium. The impact of the crash,” she gestured while showing X-Ray pictures on a backlight display, “is very large that it halved the Jack’s skull. And according to the MRI,” she said while reading her report, “Jack’s memory has been affected, but it is not so significant that it can hurt longterm memory, and is treatable.”

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Treatable. The word kept echoing in my head. It suddenly had a new meaning to me. It now meant relief, from the fears of your brother dying, from your family breaking, and from you being alone without someone to lean on to in times of hardship and uncertainty. Treatable Treatable. But, what if there still holes in this story of mine? What if just 1% of human error in this situation can reject my positive hypothesis? What if Jack can’t make it. Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable Treatable. Dr. Eklund left us in the room. I sat beside Jack in a chair. “Have you eaten?” “Daniel, don’t act as if this was the time that you were on that hospital with Mom and Dad. It makes me cry.” “I thought you don’t cry.” My naivety has taken over. “We cry.” Silence in the room. I held his hand tight, and he held mine back too. There was a connection, never experienced throughout the years I lived with him. A feeling so new, yet so normal and disheartening. We had the urge to kiss each other in the lips. My heart–probably his, too–started racing. We kissed long in the cheek. The feeling was so intense–skin to skin, flesh to flesh–so wet, yet so warm. (Suddenly, a voice in my head started saying, “GAAAAAY!) I felt him close his eyes. His beat slows down, yet steadily. I kept kissing him, with a bit of tongue action, and he kept his lips on mine too. Then his beating suddenly stops. I hear a loud hi-freq beep from my left ear. It was from the EKG. The reading showed a straight line. I didn’t know what to do. He just died. Just like that, like he had no reason to exist at all. Like it was just perfect, like the world didn’t need him. I cried there, hard. I have just lost a friend, a brother, a saviour, a guardian, and, just now, a lover. Someone who understands me. Someone who cares about my naivety and my unprofessionalism.


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He taught me how to walk. How to dance to the beat, and make the beat. To be confident, and to free one’s self from regimen. To be creative and crazy and artistic and sexualizing and racy and cool and good with the chicks. To be nice and intelligent and balanced and normal and attractive and ridiculously photogenic to Swedish tabloids. He made me who I am. And now he’s gone.

CHAPTER 6 - NO NO NO NO 4 weeks after Jack died, and I feel that I’m still catching up with life. It felt like time ran by so fast that I can’t seem to keep pace with events. My mind is always blank. This was the most depressing, upsetting, and perplexing point in my life--Jack shouldn’t have just died like that. Sitting here in my KLIPPAN in my living room, I stare straight at the people passing by. They seem like streaks of brown and neutrals--that’s how mentally blank I am right now. Suddenly, Robyn comes up to me in a sad, perplexed, yet stoic appearance. “Hey.” *But seriously Daniel, that kiss you had was so ultra gay and inappropriate.

“Hey.”


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“I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry, too. I knew he was the one.” “He was the one. Unfortunately...well, this happened.” “Yeah.” We sat silent there for seconds, then I offered her coffee, which, to my surprise, she declined. She said she is caffeine-intolerant. “I can’t,” she said, “I just can’t stand why it’s bitter and strong and...” “It’s blond,” I argued. “Like my hair? Ooh. I should try.” I gave her a cup of it and she sipped it. She wipes her mouth. I remember all these little details because she looks beautiful doing this. “Wow. That’s good.” “Thanks. Starbucks.” “Mmm. Jack used to tell me that I should be brave and just take a sip of coffee. I can’t-then. Now, coffee suddenly has a new meaning for me. Thanks, Daniel.” “Wow, you’re welcome.” I was lost in her eyes. But no bother, it’s weird taking the girlfriend of your dead brother. The funeral went by in the same way I did for my parents. Then it hit me (I keep on being hit). Time really flew by so fast. Just months ago, my parents died. A slow and excruciating death. Then, just 4 weeks ago, I saw before my eyes what death really is--it’s the worst kind of hurt. Someone who loves you really much and you love back, gone in minutes. I can’t let that happen again to someone else close to me, what more to myself? At the dinner after the services, my relatives had a healthy yet safe (not one that would involve fighting) conversation about who will take care of me after this. It was a long and

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hard battle. Even Robyn had a say (e.g.: “He has a DJ career, so living in Stockholm would make it easy for him to continue his career...right?). What a lawyer. But Aunt Fiona, who also a nice geriatric, was unanimously selected. (Do anyone of you readers of this tome feel like this was a debate for the elections? If so, then Aunt Fiona would be in the Moderates.) Aunt Fiona and her husband Bodil (who also seems nice) drove me and what remains of my things to her house at Malmö. It was a snowy, cold, and wintery day, and I fucking hate it. It just reminds me of what happened to Jack, and I have a bad feeling about this kind of thing. It makes me want to puke, cry, and swear never to ride out in the cold again and eat cereal at home instead. “Here, Daniel, have my sweater,” said Aunt Fiona. I took it, and immediately felt its warmth. Its Nordstrom, pure fur (Greenpeace, don’t heat up; we’ll take off the Nordstrom and will use cotton. Don’t you fucking worry!), and stinky. Like the smell of sex. Very weird. I bet these OAPs do some occasional horizontal salsa at home! (Daniel, stop it; it just goes to say that you fucking fap to porn every fucking night.) Also there’s some gelatinous, sticky substance in the fur. I’m sorry if I’m just to sexist or dirty, but it is what it is... “Daniel, I think that’s too warm for you. Take all your clothes off,” suggested Uncle Bodil with an evil smirk. Something’s really fishy. “No thanks, its fine,” I declined. “We insist,” insisted the insistent Aunt Fiona. “NO!” These people are becoming too personal--deeper than personal, that is. People in Sweden are okay about being naked--with butts, breast, wangs, and cunts; y’know--in fact, its a way of life. Public baths sometimes require people to be naked. But I’m not that kind of person. Not that I don’t want my wang to be seen, it’s just plain uncivilized. (Daniel, stop your excuses.) “Well, I’ll have to take it off from you!” This is going too far. But then, I saw a fist flying past my head--I was just centimeters away from it, as I dodged so fast. Uncle Bodil stopped the car and joined Aunt Fiona in their quest for my total nakedness. They searched long and hard for the ends of my clothes, trying


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to take them off, and the best that I could do is block their arms from it. I never thought my relatives would be this perverted. I was exhausted of preventing their arms from opening my pants and top, and let go. Finally (for them) my fly opened, and they worked hard so my boxers and my pants came off. I went on searching my bag for something to prevent them, and I found a Swiss Knife. Jack gave me the Swiss Knife at my birthday two years ago. For a year, each Saturday would be spent by teaching me how to use it. He told me about the fastest way to open the main blade (it’s a secret). I opened the main blade and decided long and hard before coming into terms of what I will do next. It will sound stupid and morbid and all that, but I concluded that it is my only option to keep my trousersnake out of their hands -- 24/7. I held my hand with the blade high and in one fast motion, I pierced into the neck of Uncle Bodil. Aunt Fiona cried out, “Aaaahhh!” I stabbed the back of the motherfucker--twice. I finished them off and making sure that they’re well-killed. As I was doing this, my eyes constricted, my teeth gritted, and my head hurt. Here I am, Daniel Hurt, a “good DJ”, a “nice son”, a “handsome boy”, killing some paedophilic aunt and uncle and stopping them from making me their next victim. When I made sure that Bodil and Fiona’s lives are pretty much dead, I looked for something combustible. I see some extra kerosene under the driver’s seat. Pretty lucky day. I laid Aunt Fiona horizontally on the driver’s and the main passenger’s seats, Uncle Bodil on the back. I still can’t get over it. Seeing Jack die was one, but killing your own aunt and uncle who you have just found out are closet paedophiles not listed yet in the Most Wanted List of the Rikspolisstyrelsen. I am fully shocked about me, having the ability to just kill my own relatives, but there is also a feeling a self-gratification inside me. A feeling of satisfaction. I poured the kerosene all over the thing--Fiona, Bodil, the chairs, the windows, the hood, the dashboard, the chassis, the tires--everything. No one was around, and if anyone was at that moment, then it would be impossible to see me since visiblity was zilch. I took out a torch from my bag (my dad’s gift to me) and lit it up. I was thinking twice about pressing the button; it was cold, and feared it would not work. But no bother, it lit up.

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I decided to leave the torch inside. I opened the Saab for the last time and threw the torch inside. Fiona’s body lit up like a splash of yellow in a sea of white. I picked up my bag, I walked away, and hid behind a tree. The fire reached the back of the Saab, joining Bodil into the flames. Minutes later, the whole car and the bodies in it are black and grey in the vast bed of Swedish snow. An Audi pulled up near the car, and the people inside came out. They were surprised by what they saw. Afraid that I might get caught, I ran into the woods with my belongings. I heard screams, chatters, and conversations behind me, but I didn’t look back. I didn’t feel there was someone running after me. Minutes later, I was in the middle of the woods. Feeling lost, insecure, and weirdly horny, I thought that I should wait for police to come and save me from myself. I saw it on the news, and I thought it would work. I whipped out my BB, and I called the police hotline, but as I typed in the last digit -- zilch. The BB has no battery left. And there’s no power outlet in the woods. And it’s fucking cold. I’m fucking lost now.


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CHAPTER 7 - Jóga I was running relentlessly, but the noises of the city won’t seem to go away. My feet hurt bad now, and I need to rest. I stopped running and started walking. In a slow pace, I breathed heavily as I listen to the noise of the woods and of the city. As I steadily slow down to a stop, all the noises also seem to fade away. Was all of it a figment of my imagination? I buckled on my knees in the cold climate. I sat with my bag on a leafless, lifeless oak tree. I sat there and breathed heavily, cold smoke coming out of my mouth. I scurried my bag for anything (clean) I can use to warm myself up. I found my hoodie, my sweater, and my fur hat. I removed Fiona’s (dirty) Nordstrom, and shivered in the cold with only my tee and pants as protection. I quickly donned the knitted sweater Mom made for me last Christmas, the hoodie I bought in a show in Toronto, and a fur hat from Norway. God, I’m one imported,


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sexy beast. I continued my run across the woods. The noises start howling again. The sky and the conditions get darker and darker. Apart from the noises, I hear rustlings of leaves and snow. As I hear these, I turned around to find the source. Nothing. I resumed. I was running faster and faster, breathlessly and without stop. I hear it again. I stopped and breathed heavily at that moment. As I turned around, I saw a small dark figure, much more humane than the one we hit at the road. It ran faster and faster towards me. Hair swung back and forth its face. As it came closer, its face became clear. It was a she. A human girl. “Allo,” she said in an innocent, yet strangely attractive voice. “Allo,” I replied. “Est-ce que vous parlez Francais?” Shit. I should have listened to my strict French teacher at school. “No,” was all I could say. “Okay.” B-but...I thought she was French? Language barriers aside, I introduced myself, “Hello, my name is Daniel.” “Salut Daniel, je m’appelle Ella.” A really French name. “Nice to meet you. Can you speak English?” “A little.” “Okay. Let’s talk in English, okay?” “Okay,” she timdly replied. For the next few hours walking, she introduced herself to me, as I introduced myself to her. She is also 17, and has lived in Marseilles, a fishing town in the South of France which some people say is “a long long way from Paris”. She migrated here to Sweden with her parents and sister when she was 5. For her, being with her family is easy, but since their death two years ago, life has become a living hell. No one liked her; there’s the language barrier, she

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was of a different skin tone, different culture--she was a needle in a haystack, and she was sharp. “It was a really hard time for me. I was hungry all the time. People would give me food, but it was rare. So I got lost here,” she said to me in proper yet understandable Francais. “In the forest?” I asked stupidly. “Yes,” she replied. We kept walking into the woods, as I introduced more of me to her. I told her everything, my story much much longer than hers. I even told her about my job, as a DJ, in which she asked, “You are DJ Daniel? Oh my gosh, I have never been so happy in my life,” in a very elated tone. “That’s why I think you are so familiar.” “Yes, I have that effect on people,” I joked. As we walked much more into the forest, I now made out how vast this land is. I can’t hear the noises now, and we talked a little bit more. It’s getting dark now, and Ella said she’s becoming more afraid. I told her not to worry. As I said that, we were hearing noises again--of snow and leaves and of footsteps. We were hearing it everywhere. “Daniel!” Ella shouted to me. “Get closer!” I shouted back. The noises grew. Ella got closer to me. I grabbed her hand, and we were shoulder to shoulder. “WHACK!” Everything became black. We felt were pinned down. But I’m not gonna die. No, not this time.


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As we talked, I can hear the rustling of snow all around us. The sky was somewhat consumed by something dark, yet is vagued by the vulnerability of my eye--everything is blurry and hazy to me. I squinted a little bit and everything comes into focus, but still, the lighting is insufficient to let me make out the faces of these bitches. “What are you?” I asked with an annoyed tone. They seem to be speaking in another language that I can’t understand. Like they’re talking like us, but repeatedly and in high-speed. Suddenly, Ella blurted out silently, “They say they will carry us somewhere.” Wha-? This French girl just comes into my life with not only almost perfect French English but also perfect alien language? “You’ve been abducted before?” “No. It’s in their body language. Duh.” I’m not a telekenetic-type of person, but I’m impressed with this girl. Suddenly, the creatures lifted our hands up from our position, giving an oppurtunity for me to catch a glimpse of their faces. They look like large wolves with big ears. But my visualization of their faces was vague, since it was only a split-second glimpse.

CHAPTER 8 - The Guðmundurs I woke up from a dreamy daze, but I had a hard time opening my eyes. Everything about me is stone-cold. I have difficulty remembing even the last few hours before I blacked out, and my brain isn’t cooperating. But as time passes by, and as more light gradually enters my eyes, I started to remember things. The snow, the woods, the incident. And a girl. What was her name? Ah, Ella. Where’s Ella? “Daniel,” someone whispered beside me. I squinted my eyes and looked for the source. It was Ella. “Ella, are you okay?” I asked with fake compassion. “I am okay,” she said, still with her imperfect English.

They carried us deeper into the woods like dirty socks about to be thrown into the washing machine. The air in my face feels like a punch being thrown at you a million times. I looked at Ella, and I saw her hair flowing backwards from her hair, like a river. After a short shut-eye (no, I was not sleeping), the things put us down to the ground with great stability, and gestured me and Ella to move forward. As he pointed his hands forward, I see a cocohusk-hut, and seems to be made by IKEA. It was a real oppurtunity to look around. The trees are lesser, and the aliens are doing what seems like normal lives. The little ones are playing, Now I can really describe what they look like; they really are like wolves with brown fur all over, large ears (yet flattering), large yet tight bellies, fat frames, and cute bodies. Like what I saw at the Accident. “They look like Wild Things,” described Ella. Yes, they really are some Wild Things. As we arrived in the Coco-IKEA hut, we we’re being escorted at the entry by some sunglassed Wild Thing guards in armored metal vests. We entered a large door, and got inside yurt-like room. There are candles all over the place. It was an Egyptian palatial room inside


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a Kazakh camel house. Inside are some what seems to be female Things, and a large fatter Thing, which presume to be the leader of all the Wild Things. We were ordered by the guards to kneel before the leader. The leader finally spoke, in an old man’s big, for-film-narration-purposes voice, “At ease.” Ella and I stood up from kneeling in the snow and sand crusted floor. The leader asked us again. “What are your identifications?” We take this as a ‘what are your names?” question. I answered, “My name is Daniel Hurt, this is Ella--,” “--de Caunes,” Ella added, seemingly knowing of my dilemma. “What is your purpose for trespassing into our land for whom we care about so much?” “Y-your excellency, w-we didn’t have any intention to invade your beautiful country. It was a pure accident.” The voice in front of us roared. “THERE ISN’T A SINGLE ACCIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY!” We were humbled by his authority. I mean, he’s dead serious about nationalism and loyalty more than the main monarch of this motherfucking country at the north of Europe. “Umm King,” Ella suddenly cried out, “as we didn’t intend to infringe your land, we would like to learn more about your culture, your citizens, and your country, so that we can make amends.” The King thought long and hard. His advisers advise him using their high-speed dialect. After they seem to reach a decision. The King finally said, “Okay. The People of Guðmunduria have decided to give special Citizen Training for you. You are ordered to find someone who is capable of training you two organisms into becoming true, naturalized Guðmundurs.” Finally, relief from all the pressures of our supposed illegal immigration to, what was that name again, oh yeah--Guð-mun-duria. We ended our conversation with the King with a, “Thank you, Your Highness King--” “Pendar. My name is King Pendar. Go on, don’t waste time!”

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We thanked King Pendar one last time and walked slowly outside of the hut. At the very second we got outside the palace, we were struck again by how beautiful this country (no, not Sweden) is. There are Guðs who are playing, cooking, hunting--having simple, yet perfect lives. All we have to do is find someone who can teach us how to be a real Guð. While I was looking for a candidate teacher, Ella tried playing with the children. They we’re playing what seems like Ring Around A Rosie. They were happily playing as their parents watched from the back. Beyond the playing children, I saw a moose fall out of its way and fall down, with speckles of dust from its trail. The children and the other Guðs didn’t budge, even though they can hear the loud bang of the moose’s fall. I ran towards the direction of the moose, through the rough and chilly snow, and was stopped at my tracks by a slight commotion. I hid behind a tree and peered at the moose. A lean, athletic, female Guð, looking like she’s in her mid-20s. She is wearing a sleevelss leather shirt, and white-fur shorts. She gets a dagger from her belt and kills the moose one more time. After a short vigil to the gods for their mercy, she ripped off the fur of the poor thing. It was a pretty vile sight; but, even though I was an animal activist, I didn’t budge even a bit. Then, when she was finished, she saw me. I hid behind the tree, in shock. I thought maybe I was her next vicitm, skinning off my beautiful complexion. “Come out,” she shouted. I didn’t comply, but finally decided that it was my only option. I came out of the tree slowly, and there, she saw me. A human, tasked to become a member of her country. “What are you? Why are you in our land?” “Umm, my name is Daniel Hurt, I am a human being. It was not my intention to inv--“ “Follow me, I will take you to our king, you intruder--”


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“NO! NO! We already met with the king, and I was tasked to find somebody to teach me the ways of your country, and I think, I th-think--” “You thought of what?” “I THINK IT MIGHT BE YOU!” Shit. Why the fuck did I shout. I covered up my mouth immediately. I stood there, nervous, dumbfounded, and flabbergasted at my reaction to this Guðwoman. She stared at me like she was really going to kill me, but suddenly, at my surprise, she heartily laughed. I followed her in laughing. “Okay. That’s funny.” “I’m serious,” I said. Her laughing stopped, but she kept on smiling. “Really?” I nodded. She pondered for a minute. Then she said, “Okay. I will teach you.” “Thank you! What’s your name?” “My name is Karlii.” She spelt out the name for me. “Well, thank you. When shall we start?” “Tomorrow morning.” “Okay. I should go, I’m going to tell my companion.” “You have a companion?” “Yup. She’s a french girl, named Ella. de Caunes.” “Okay. Tomorrow morning, okay?” “Deal. Bye.” “Bye.”

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“Just in time! Breakfast is ready Ella and--partner,” said an elderly female Guð. “His name is Daniel, Mrs. Punggi. Daniel Hurt.” “Hi, Daniel!” I replied with a timid hello. Mrs. Punggi is a very hairy Guð, yet I can tell she is female (and elderly) because of her long hair and wrinkled muzzle. The breakfast table is filled with mashed wheat, some roast chicken wings, melded by fried ostrich eggs and goat cheese. All of it was washed down by a drink they call “Fär”; a mix of oils, water, and finely chopped and grounded barley. Everybody was very happy. Mrs. Puggi was very hospitable, and her children, Päl and Çipryn, are very fun to be with.

CHAPTER 9 - STATE OF EMERGENCY I woke up with a slight buzz in my head. I felt like I just drank a million pints of beer last night. Or I just had done something that I shouldn’t do, and that it felt as good doing in real Earth as it is in Guðmunduria. We slept in this rag made of woods that have been carved and flatted. It provided the warmth. For the first time in several months, I had a really sound sleep that, when I wake up, will contribute to my positivity. This was the first time I felt happy in my life. I went out of the rag, where Ella and I slept, and into--wait, whose house is this anyway?

The house is like a large human tree house, separated into compartments. The living room (a Klippan) has wooden furniture, a single floor-to-ceiling window made of a clear cotton sheet, an elk’s head, and a single stalk of tarragon in a vase at the center of the table. The kitchen (they call it Faktumy) comprised of a large wooden table and cabinet, half a tube of flowing water, a large bonfire with a large pot on top. They also have an attachment so they can grill meats and other stuff, like apples. Their bedrooms (Slutna) only have a small table full of things, and a woven mat for sleeping. They use hay inside a leather cover as a pillow, and fur from wolves as blankets and comforters. They bathe in a public bath, walking distance west from their house. I couldn’t imagine bathing in front of lionbearelephants naked, but they do strip everything off. Once we parted ways with the Punggis, I asked Ella, “How did we get there?” “The house?” “Yes,” I replied in a hesitant manner. “Don’t you remember? We were looking for a house yesterday. Everybody declined, except the Punggis. They were very, very nice. Didn’t you remember?”


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“Oh my God Ella, I totally forgot.” “Daniel, you’re still seventeen. You’re too young to forget.” We laughed. Smelling really bad from my nose’s point of view (or smell), we headed west to the Baths. We thought long and hard about being naked in front of millions of Guðs. Catching sight of the Guðs bathing, we then realized that we didn’t have to be fully naked. “This is going to be really fun,” Ella exclaimed. I didn’t really get Ella’s idea of fun here. Before going into the water, I took off my grey hoodies first, then my t-shirt. Once I took that off, I immediately felt the chill of the climate of the Bath. I unbuttoned and unzipped my jeans and stripped it off to the ankles, leaving my blue ankles for everyone to see. Luckily, no one cared about this. Then, I caught sight of Ella. She had a white tank top and a pale pink panty. Her body was really model-like. Not super, but model. She was very board-like, pale–very French. But she wasn’t that attractive, and I’m not very sexually fascinated with her. No sir, not at all. Suddenly, Karlii appeared. Still fully dressed, she slowly unbuttoned her leather jacket, and her skirt. She was different from Ella–she was a fine one. Her body is really curvy, tanned, perfect. But there’s a catch–she’s not human. Once she was fully naked, I noticed the men were rowdily teasing her. She stayed adamant, but once there were shouts and whistles and bells and eye-popping, she stood up from the water, walked to a random man who hailed at her, then kickbutted him. All of them. I never knew about her brute, raw force until now. Hell, she’s much more kickass than any human in the world! Our eyes met. She slowly sat down in her bath, and smiled. Such small time to change your feelings. What a chameleon.

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We jogged around for a while, feeling lost. Then I remembered Karlii saying to just look at the signs. I didn’t know what the signs were--we’re they signals from the sky? Crop circles accidentally forming? A hailstorm? “Daniel! Look!”, I heard Ella shout at me. I neared her vicinity, and she pointed at a pole with some wood blocks shaped like arrows. Engraved in the wood are some words I cannot comprehend---they were written in Gudmundurian language. Suddenly, they began to morph into another language. Ella then said, “Daniel, the woods are just 5 miles north of here.” Just 5 miles north. Just. 5. Miles. North. Perfect. We then began the walk, meeting some interesting sights along the way--weird organisms, Guds doing weird “everyday” jobs, and youngs happily playing everywhere. The trek was very exhausting. My feet are very swollen, hot, sweaty, and tired (I think Ella’s are too, basing from the expression of her face). Minutes later, in the middle of the field, Ella was panting really hard, and collapsed. There was a loud thud as she banged into the grass (or whatever Gudmundurian plant it is).

CHAPTER 10 - TRAINING Karlii told me and Ella to go to the woods today, so that we can commence the first chapter of us becoming true blue Gud. I packed up my clothes (just washed)into my bag and brought some food in the pack to. Like we’re told, I also got two little wooden swords from the shop with the little nut-money Karlii gave us. Yes, too porous for a sword, but when we tried cutting it into bone, I was amazed by how sharp and accurate it is. They call it the Vusthoff. We left the Punggi’s residence and started our trek into the woods. “Are you ready?”, I asked Ella. “Much more ready than ever!” she replied excitantly. I still pondered on her grammar. (And on the word excitantly.)

I lifted her lithe body forward and up. She opened her French, blue eyes, and was alive again. “Que s’est-il passé?” she asked. “You tripped,” I replied. And we continued our walk, with renewed faith in whatever we believed in. When we arrived in the woods, we saw Karlii doing her thing--hunting. Now she is peeling the fur off another deer. “Welcome to Skogrenn Nord,” said Karlii. Whatever it meant I did not care. “Today we will begin our training.” This place is too beautiful for training, I thought. “We will start with an Gudmundurian immersion lesson--immersing yourselves into the culture, language, and habits og mothe Gudmunduria and the Gudmundurian people.” Soon enough, we started immersing ourselves in whatever we immersed in. We learned


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the language, history, culture, what to do and where to go--you know, basic tourism lesson stuff. I thought this was training--actually, it was learning. “Good! You have passed the first stage of training. Next is the self defense lesson.” Wait what? First we started off really well with immersing ourselves into the spirit of Guðmunduria, and now we have to learn how to fend off lions, bears, and pigeons? Im outta ici. But I had no choice. Ella and I have to do this, or else we have to be killed. We love this country more than what we left behind. So we started kicking butt. There is this one time in the training when Karlii tried to pin me down. I was having hard time breathing, my lungs tightened, and I thought my will to live was of no use. But then I remembered Robyn telling me I had great eyes. (Daniel, shh.) I swallowed the air that remained in my mouth and looked at Karlii deeply. Her eyes were so green, it was greener than the leaves above us. I think Ella might be a bit worried now, in my situation. Suddenly, Karlii’s grip on my weakened. I then pushed her by the chest, and kicked her off of me, leaping and landing on the soil on her back. “Ow,” she exclaimed as she massaged her back. “That was good,” she complimented me. “Wow Daniel. You’re such a beast!” Ella added in Newspeak. For two more hours we practiced and practiced, until finally, Karlii gave up and called it a day. “See you two to-morrow!” “Bye Karlii!” Ella and I shouted in unison, and we started our march back to the village. It was 4:00 maybe, and the sky is a dark blue.

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expected, Karlii was there. “Welcome. Today is finals. Show me your best, and you will pass. My tip: use the tools and techniques you have learned for the past few weeks into good use,” she said in broken English. “Good luck.” And there we were--kicking butt, walking and talking Gud-style, kicking butt again, praying to Frettírsdottir, the goddess of the Earth (and plenty of other gods as well), and more of everything else. It was exhausting, tiring, hectic, and difficult--much more physical than normal exams when I am in school. But we had to do it, since every Gud has to pass this teat. It was grueling. Hour after hour of super difficult mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional exercises--an unrelenting examination meticulous of me and Ella’s worthiness of being Guds. We didn’t want to be Guds. We had very bad experiences. In our lives, we were lost. And now, that we are here, there is no turning back. If this is Utopia, it must be the most beautiful Utopia there is. It’s like an escape that embraces us like a towel that has been in the sun for YEARS and never lets go of us.

CHAPTER 11 - FINALS For the past few weeks, Ella and I have been training hard to become Guds--physically, mentally, and emotionally speaking, that is. Today is what Karlii calls the Eksam--finals for me and Ella. We have to do our martial art routines, memorise the 10 rules of Gudmundurian grammar (e.g. A word is a sentence), and other basic things. We wake up to a warm morning. Ella and I go through our new-found daily regimen--bath, clothes, breakfast, prep, and go. (Did I forget to bid Mrs. Punggi goodbye?) We headed north again to Skoggren Nord, like what we do for the past few weeks. We meet landmarks--the signpost, the big lawn, and finally, the entrance to SkoNord. And, as

It’s the night. We were in.our beds at the Punggis. Karlii told us that our results will be announced tomorrow. It’s dark, Ella’s asleep, and I am bored. Suddenly , I remembered something. I went to the living room and unplugged the charger of my Blackberry of what they call a Lytt. It was an energy source that Mr. Punggi told.me “comes.from.the remains of dead Gud.” Weird, but true. I turned it on for the first time in Gudmunduria , and I noticed the signal is strong. (Tack Telia!) I checked my Facebook, and there were sixty notifications, all comments, likes, and shares about my disappearance. Roxy Records, my label, posted that my Nationwide tour with my friend Erik Hassle will be cancelled. “Aw man,” I remarked. I checked my Twitter. Lots of messages to.follow accounts supporting the government’s decision to conduct a nationwide search for me. Also, #whereisdaniel is trending in Swe-


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den. I’m fucking national news! The next day came in sadly. The sky is grey, but it’s not raining. I guess we won’t know our results today because it’s raining, just like every other rainy day. I expected Punggi’s little children to play around the.house. Instead they were all sitting in the Kiippan with one extra person. That extra person turned out to be Karlii. “Hi Daniel and Ella! I am proud to say you passed the Eksam!” Wow. That was a relief! We were all smiles in the room. “Karlii, please stay, we have a scrumptious meal for you and your.pupils!” Mrs. Punggi said in Gud. We all headed to the Faktum and ate our brekkie. Like Mrs. Punggi said, it was delicious. Wheat pancakes with strawberries and syrup, a rice cake filled with pork and chicken, and surprisingly, an egg sunny-side-up! Suddenly, the tone began to change in Karlii’s face. Then, she suddenly sprinted out of the house. There is something fishy in here, I thought. Ella and I looked at each other, and like we knew what we meant, we sprinted out and followed Karlii. We followed her to the forest. Suddenly, she stopped behind a tree. She cried heavily-sobbing in fact. “Frettírsdottir! Why did you leave me!” she said. We didn’t realize why she was crying, until we saw why.

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Hours later, we felt better, although there still this pain that crunches you up and knocks you down every time you brighten up. We sat on a boulder, the last thing that remained of SkoNord. It was its landmark, but also, it is a reminder of the Guðs who died in the two World Wars. (Yes, they were attacked by the Allies for ignoring the greater moral issues and playing both sides for profit during the conflict, including its supply of steel and machine parts to Nazi Germany throughout the war. According to Churchill, no less.) It took a long time for the Guðs to rebuild, recover, and stand up again from the aftermath of the two wars. Now, it will take a long while to make SkoNord get back on its feet. No, this is not a war. Yet. “This has been a bad experience. This was an inheritance from my father,” Karlii said. “I’m sorry I dragged you two into this.” “We’re sorry too,” I replied. “So this land is, I mean, was all yours?” “It was mine for the taking.” “Who’s your dad?” Ella asked.

CHAPTER 12 - A LUTA CONTINUA It was a horrifying sight--what was once SkogrennNord, a lush territory full of vibrant foliage, warm trees and exotic wildlife, is not just a barren, burnt, and smoking wasteland. All of it. Burned to ashes. Selfishly and without consideration. Karlii’s knees were on the ground, crying, bleeding, and I swear she was swearing in Guð. This was such a terrible, terrible act--no one could ever be evil enough to just fucking burn down a fucking pile of fucking trees and fucking undiscovered species for fuckloads of monies. We were, mentally, on the ground. I was hurt, and I think Ella was too. This is not an ordinary extermination of Guð flora and fauna. No. This is abattoir. (I don’t even know what that meant.)

“King Pendar.” So Karlii WAS part of the Guðmundurian Royal Family. “I am the Duchess of Skogrenn.” “Explainable. Why didn’t you tell us?” “Oh, my father would be angry at me. Even though we were still a family, his children, including me, were to be separated from him so we can live fruitful lives of our own.” Suddenly, while we were talking--big trucks. Equipment. Noise. We immediately hid behind the boulder that we sat on for quite a while and peeked at the sight. And it hit the three of us. Men with hard caps jumped off from the bulldozers and into the ground, an approximately 20-foot jump. They land into the ground unscathed.


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The men inside the backhoes started to pick up and crush all the dead wood, carrying it and dumping it in an open container behind a ten-wheeler truck, The other men, with their tools and shit, also began to chop off the little shrubs, once green and growing, now just another statistic. They also mercilessly took all the dead, fleshy, bloody, fly-infested animals with their glove-covered hands and threw them into mobile bins. “What do we do?” “Make them pay.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ My name is Adam. I’m 16, from Ireland. Now I’m in the middle of nowhere--in Sweden.

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We carried him up the stairs and into the attic. Then, we layed him down to the bed and Karlii cast a spell on him. Immediately, and without time to ponder, he awakens. “Where the fuck am I? Who are you?” “I am Daniel Hurt. This is Emma, and this is Karlii. Now, Karlii here is a Guðmundurian...” As I continued explaining, he complains, “Get me back into the field, I have work to do!” in a seemingly non-Swedish voice. But then, when I asked him, “Who do you work for?”, he answers. “I work for GlobalBrand Solutions. They’re planning to make a paper factory in here.” “What?”

What a journey I have been through. From a glee club member in the local church, to going broke, to working for some 1984-ish stereotypical company who has nothing to do but get richer and richer. This wasn’t the life I signed up for.

“Mmm, yeah.”

But now I’m here, cleaning up the shitty mess his company made, and then sashay out without anyone seeing.

“AAAAAH! You wolfcowrabbithuman speaks English?”

As I was picking on a dead rat, I saw something; no, I felt something. It was the most beautiful feeling in the world. Better than anything--food, love, sex--it was the best. And...I fell down. <unintelligible> <coughing> <unintelligible>The last...<unintelligible>...I was dragged...<coughing>...the sky was...<unintelligible>. END TRANSCRIPT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ We dragged this man out of SkoNord and miles away into the Punggi residence. He was young, had blue eyes, an open mouth, and ginger hair. Like Jack. God why. “What is this preposterousness, Karlii?” Mrs. Punggi guffawed. “SkoNord has been burned down, and maybe he could say something,” the Duchess of Skogrenn replied.

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“So, you--”, Karlii starts to speak.

“Yeah, but enough about that? Umm, what’s your name again?” “Adam. Adam o’Leary.” “Adam, this is our land, you can’t just burn it down.” “I didn’t burn it down. Jack Mervs did.” Jack Mervs is a wealthy, greedy, and useless bastard. He was the CEO of GB S. I met the guy once, and he was demanding as a dictator, oily as a corrupt official, and fishy as a lie. He says “I am a good leader” to a fault. “This is not good on our part, Adam. This is the land of us, the people of the country of Guðmunduria. It was our life, and you humans just turn it into a paper factory? Stop this thing!” “But my money! I’m broke, young, yet done for!”


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I started, “Come on Adam. It’s about time you helped the Earth.” He stopped speaking for a while and pondered. Then he said, “I’ll try.”

CHAPTER 12+1 - I DOn’t believe in karma For the past few days, the situation at (ex) SkoNord is worsening. Now construction materials are being sent to the site and are being layed out. I have heard from Adam that what Moron Mervs is doing is to make a paper factory. GB S is saying in a press release (Doctor, is my condition terminal?) that they chose the area for its high-quality firs and pine, and due to their high collagen content, is able to create a wide variety of papers, coated and uncoated. This, I do not understand. According to famous environmentalist Dr. Kent Johnson, PhD, whom I am not familiar with, in his highly popular blog “MoneyCan’tSaveTheEarth.com” (which I do not follow), GB S is at number 1 of the “Most Un-sustainable, Un-Ecofriendly, and Greedy Companies.” I didn’t even know that a list like that existed, but I agree with him. Hands down. Karlii, Adam, Ella, and I have been scheming plots for taking the factory down. Karlii has


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been spying at the progress of construction. Adam stole copies of blueprints of the project. While I have been researching more on this Mervs guy. He was born in East Germany in 1985 to a high-ranking Defense official and a hairdresser/activist against West Germany. When Brandenburg was torn down in 1989, both of his parents were executed for heinous acts and rebellion. He was having a hard time in childhood, so he moved himself to America to start a new life. He changed his last name to Merv and his first name to Jack because Merv Griffin was a hit at the time, and because he wanted to be someone like Jack Welch when he grows up. Not far from the truth. He graduated at Harvard Business. He worked at Leo Burnett, HarperCollins, until finally moving in and founding GB S. Since then, he was becoming much more moguler and powerful, but his track record is backlashed by his bad practices, especially of his company. That was my three-paragraph bio of him. Hope I win a Pulitzer. We argued for two hours today. It was a Saturday, cold, rainy, gloomy. King Pendar issued a declaration to make this day a Guðmundurian Day of Mourning. “No, we can’t do that. They haven’t started yet,” Karlii argued. “The groundbreaking’s tomorrow,” Adam informed. “So?” I queried. “We’ll have to make a scene.” “But how?”

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“Groundbreaking, what does that mean?” Mrs. Punggi asked us. “Preparing the land for construction.” “Mmmm, well...” And she stated her proposition. It was brilliant, fluid, and easy to do. But most of all, it was effective, logical, organized--everything you wished for in a con. “WOW! That’s nice Ma’am!” Sunday. Groundbreaking. A small stage is set at the center. Chairs are being layed out. Karlii, Ella, Adam and I are in security uniforms, in arms, and set. “Adam, place it in Center stage. Ella, in L. Daniel, in R. I’ll place in Rear,” Karlii ordered in militarinese. “In 3. Ett, Tvo, Tre, SPLIT!” And we split. I move to my place in the right of the stage, with the chairs. I placed it in the center of the place. I dug up a hole in the ground, put the thing in, and put the dirt back. “R is done,” I said through the CB. Karlii was supposed to say “Clear”. But for the next 10 seconds I received nothing through. Suddenly, someone tazed me. Everything went black, and I was on the ground. I’m in a coma. I did not know what time it was now. Something is preventing me from opening my eyes. Some men, made me walk into some room. It was cold, pretty much dark. My hands are tied.

Suddenly Mrs. Punggi entered the attic. “Are you guys done?”

“Daniel? Is that you?”

“Not yet,” Ella retorted.

Finally, I hear Ella’s voice for the past mleagh hours. “I’m here.”

“The groundbreaking is happening tomorrow. If we can’t stop it, then we will suffer,” Karlii explained.

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“Finally. Are you okay?” Karlii sighed. “I am.”


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Suddenly, someone entered the room. His steps were slow, but they were loud. Someone then closed the door for him. There was a silence. Then, he said, “Remove the blindfold,” in a particularly German voice. Now, I can see the room. Lit only by one light bulb, it was particularly dim. The man then revealed himself. It was Jack Mervs. He looked like what he is in the pictures that I have seen in the internet--oily, wrinkly, and menacing. “Don’t you know who I am?”, he said as he neared me. “Yes, I do--” “What you did--all of you--was mean. You put four bombs in a ceremony. Didn’t you know this project could help you--all of you? Especially you, (starts to walk towards Karlii) you wolfcowrabbithuman,” he said. Suddenly, Adam laughed. No, he did. Really. “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!” Merv reverberated. “What? Who, me?” “If you don’t shut up, I will shove my hands up your ass and close your mouth for you, you understand that?” “Yes,” Adam retorted. “Good. Now you little girl--” This was getting too far. Swearing at a worker was enough, but now scaring a French teenager? “Why aren’t you in school and in a terrorism act?” Terrorism act? Really, Merv? REALLY?

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Ella just looked at him, unblinking, and breathless. Merv’s expression then turns slightly to scared. He then turns his head and into his men, ordering them through a little whisper. Once, he got out of the room, his men got near us and took us out. The question was, where?


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CHAPTER 14 - FREEDOM and reunion Jitters run across my circulatory system. My skin feels tight and cold to the touch. Suddenly, a sharp flash sprinted through my nerves and brought me back into consciousness. I open my eyes, and a bright white light shone on it. My pupils adjust, and I slowly take in the sight. It was a luminary. I was knocked out for a little while. My muscles were numb, and only my limbs work. I tried massaging all over my body. Once all the numbness was gone, I sat up and looked around the room. It was a square cell. It was small, and was very monochromatic. The walls were grey, and there were four beds pressed up against the wall, leaving a large gaping space in between us. I went around the room to search for Karlii. There she was, looking like me when I woke up--looking at the luminary above her. I neared her and looked at her--an unblinking non-


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being. “Hello,” I said to her. Without moving her head towards me, she replies, “Let’s go.” She suddenly stands up without hesitation. “What-wh-why Karlii?”, I asked. Without reply, she walks around the room to Adam and Ella. “Wake up! WAKE UP!”, she yells at the two youngsters. Ella and Adam were simultaneously (in exact and proper order) a.) shocked and shaken, b.) sighed and whined, c.) sat up against the wall, and d.) asked, “What is it Karlii?” Still, Karlii ignored them and kept walking around the room. While striding here and there, Karlii walked to the wall and started to drag her hand across it, felling the rough bumps of the uneven paint job it suffered. She started to slow down near my bed, and then, after minutes of walking around, she stops. She layed her limbs across the wall, feeling it. A rush of some sort of electricity gushing through her body, making her eyes shine brighter. Then, she called out to the three of the humans in the room (including me), “Push this wall!” We were hesitant then, but then we complied. We rushed on over to the spot and started to push the wall. Not knowing how serious she was, she yelled, “HARDER!” As expected, we pushed harder. But nothing happened. Suddenly, the electricity that began to accumulate inside Karlii started to become much stronger and stronger. Then, BOOM! An explosion! The energy inside Karlii multiplied Adam’s, Ella’s and my pushes, which then made wall push through. In front of us was another gaping hole. But before we could suck in how it appeared, Karlii pushed us through. “Let’s go. RUN!” We got into a futuristic hallway, with a shiny black wall, a shiny floor, and a matte ceiling. There are only five light bulbs across a 20 meter span of hallway. There are several lines of Versatube running across the floor. Am I totally recalled? Suddenly, an alarm. Sirens. A lifeless announcer states, “Warning. Detainees from Cell 769.2.134 have escaped. All Security Action Team Force members are ordered to their stations and await further instruction. Please remain calm.” She then continues in Swedish,

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French, Chinese, and German. “They’re coming. We have to move now,” Karlii whispers. And we run again, towards a labyrinth of a maze of an intricacy. The siren continues. We ran and ran. We turned west then east then west, then northeast. We didn’t care if we were running in circles, we had to keep them tired. Even if Karlii had another SatNav on her mind, we didn’t care. Suddenly, feet were running up behind us. We had to run faster. But the faster we ran, the faster they ran. It was a chase. Some of the SATF shouted behind us, “Stop running right now or we will take evasive action!” I turned my head to the source of the voice. I then realized that the police were actually unreal. They were holograms of real people--maybe from an office? After 7 minutes of chasing each other, we decided to detour and make the SATF lose grip on us. We went left and hid. The police passed by us in a controlled and militaristic fashion. Their object tracking sensors were nooby prototypes. (I knew this because I play a lot of XBOX.) While we were hiding and devising another step in our grand escape plan, another person--or being--brushed up against the four of us, and dragged us...somewhere. We shouted and shouted. We were taken into this hostel type of a dark room, dimly lit. “Shh, shh. Calm down,” a voice said, afflicted by a Welsh descent. “I know a way out of this shithole.” “Who are you?” Karlii asked. “A friend of Daniel’s. Now you have to trust me, or else you cannot get out of here.” His voice starts to become more and more Cockney. It starts to gain familiarity to me. Then I realized. “Jack?” “It’s me Daniel. Now let’s go.”

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After crawling through a tighter labyrinth, we got out of the shithole Jack described. I still can’t believe it. Jack Hurt; injured in an accident, dead on arrival, alive? “So, you’re alive.” “Yeah.” And he explained it. He was in a super-temporary, super-quick, and super-safe coma. By the time he was awake, he was inside the morgue. Then he became national news as “the man who died and became alive.” “Cool story,” I said. Karlii stopped our conversation, “Let’s go to Guðmunduria. I want to see my dad and the Punggis.” We started to walk. As we walked, we marveled at a big fat lie. What Mervs described as another paper factory in the middle of a lush forest was a big pyramid of some sort. “Let’s stop by here, I want to see,” Ella said, her voice traumatized by the chase earlier. As we entered, there were video walls everywhere. Droids. Humans. Monks. Priests. Then, they all assembled into a neat file. There was a stage in front. On it was Merv. “Welcome everybody. Today starts the Unification, the marriage of technology and humanity. No longer we will be worried about the sharp blade of nature. We will be selfsufficient, and we will be powerful. Together, we shall prevail!” Unification. I was in a meeting of the start of the New World Order. How impressive. “This is nonsense,” Adam remarked. “I know. But it’s not for people like Mr. Oily over there. They get more money from this bullshit.” I have never heard my brother speak much more profanity ever in my life. “We have to go,” Karlii finally ordered. And we set off.


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“Where’s Father?”, Karlii asked the matron. We were shocked by Mrs. Punggi’s response. She shook her head. We all paused for a sec, amid the still strongly raging flames, in utter, pure, and powerful shock. Tears formed in Karlii’s eyes, then she started to sob. King Pendar was a great king to this kingdom--his kingdom. He wasn’t corrupt, a drunkard, a jokerman, happy-go-lucky--he was serious in leading his kingdom to stay strong and lean forward amid bad things. (Keyword: amid.) Karlii was on her knees again. It was only the second time I saw her like this. But this time, the by-product wasn’t just anger, it was determination. A future. Furthermore, it was hope. After a few more minutes, she collected herself together and said, “Round everybody up.”

CHAPTER 15 - DIVERGENCE We rused at a horrifying sight. (I’ve been through a lot of horrifying sights before, but this-this is Salad Fingers to the squared squared squared squared.) Guðmunduria, a kingdom of lushness and vibrance, all in red raging fire and in ruins. Guðs running for their lives, scrambling for shelter, collecting themselves, getting themselves together in calm amid chaos and warfare. (Daniel, stop being so emotionally verbose.) After an hour long of searching, we finally found Mrs. Punggi and her family. I can hear Pal and Cipryn’s cries--no, squeals--from afar. As we found them, we ran towards them and they ran towards us, like a family reuniting.

An hour later, we scrambled across the kingdom to do something. I couldn’t tell you now because, well--it will defeat the purpose of storytelling, right? Karlii morphulized some infinitely loaded guns and artillery Jack, Adam, and I could use (carefully). She and the ladies, including Mrs. Punggi, created lots of bows from the local woods and abaca, while the men trained their sons and created millions of arrows from the last remaining bars of brass and silver. All of this done amid the fire. After everyone was done, Karlii said, “Diverge.”


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and humans, fighting supercapitalism and eco-fiending with war. I feel anger inside me. Pandemonium. This had to stop. Once we arrived at where we were supposed to place ourselves, we were shucked by what we saw. CCTV cameras surrounding us. A large electric fence. But what struck us was that they were ready. Even Karlii was struck by everything, who blurted out, “FIRE EVERYTHING!!!” And there we went. Firing bullets. Arrows. Grenades. Smoke bombs. Bazookas. If fire and a red sky wasn’t enough, we added yellow, bright explosions, and grey, putrid smoke to the atmosphere. It was that intense. Suddenly, while I was shooting some SATF droids, a wail rooted up from behind me. I turned my head only to see more blackish-grey smoke. I returned to duty, but still--the wail hasn’t shut itself up. After I have killed the last droid and made sure no one was after me, I returned to the wail behind me. I ran through the smoke, and there I saw one of mine in pain, covering his bloody limb.

CHAPTER 16 - AND I WILL KISS We gathered up in lines. I was placed in front row, a gun of unknown identification and type in my hand. Jack, Adam and I have this, and some bullets, ten grenades, some smoke bombs, and more else. Ella, Karlii--everbody else--have bows, arrows, swords, and other primitive weapons. So, I realized how lucky I am to be able to use this modern weapon of mine. Then, it hits me how big my responsibility is. Karlii wanted me to be her Mockingjay. Finally, I realized how big this undertaking is. “Okay, so by the time we are 50 fields away from the complex, we will attack. You all know what to do,” Karlii shouted to the millions of Guðs crowding. “Let’s go!” And we started running--no, marching--towards the complex. All of us. 1 000 432 Guðs

It was Jack. “Jack, don’t tell me this is your second death,” I ran up to him. “Nah, it’s just a scratch.” More than a scratch actually. It was a bloody, and big laceration on his bicep. I supported him up. “Come on, we got more droids to kill.” And there we were. Between warfare. Hour after hour we fought, and suddenly, we realized that everything was over. When we thought about that, suddenly, a bullet ran past my ear, and hit the tree behind


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us. I turned in front and I saw a man in a business suit with a gun. Jack Mervs. “Hello boy. Happy now?” “Never. Unless you’re dead.” He laughed evilly at that. “Sure sure.” He laughs again. He is sickening me. “Why are you doing this? You had money, you had fame, and you had everything you would wish for in life. What else do you need?”, I asked angrily, sobbing, serious. “Well, I don’t have the world!” He laughs again. Jack--this one-- is the epitome of narcissism, greed, power, abuse, and money. He looks like money, acts like money--he is money. This is the very reason why, of all affectionate connections to choose from, I totally HATE him. “And this is how you’ll take over the world?”, I asked, half madly and half curiously. “Who are you, an idiot? Of course it is--” BANG! Two bullets pierced through Mervs’ body, and he was taken aback, finally landing on the ground with a loud thud. He died. Not only that, he was killed, and he was shot. But not by me. “Rule no. 1: Cut the crap and do it.” A voice went up behind me. It was Jack. No, not the dead Jack--the dead then alive Jack. My brother Jack. Jack Hurt. “JACK!” I shouted to him. He couldn’t have done this for me, let alone he could do this. He is a hero. We hugged each other. And no, we didn’t do things stated in the fifth section of this tome that are too outrageous to retell, but the feelings--it was right. Karlii, Ella, Adam, the Punggis, and the rest of Guðmunduria followed behind, clapping, howling, and huddling with me and Jack. This is a brilliant day.

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When we returned to Guðmunduria, Ella came up to me from behind. “So, Jack saved the day, huh?” “Brilliantly at that,” I said through smiling teeth. “You are brilliant,” she replied. “You are brave.” “You are lovely.” “You are pretty.” “You are golden.” “You are perfect.” At that, her lips met mine. All of these months we spent together, we didn’t have anything between me and Ella at all. But now, we realized that we needed each other, we wanted each other. We loved each other.


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FINALE

November 2013. Winter in Sweden. (And a really cold one at that.)

Today we are celebrating the first anniversary of the Happenings. We plan to celebrate it in my Almhult home, with Jack and Robyn, Adam, and Ella. Ella and I are in a very tightly held relationship. Consisting of kisses, hugs, daily loveydovey texts, and casual sex, our relationship was going really, really fine. We said I love you everyday, and shared moments with each other--intimately. Jack didn’t mind also, because he had Robyn. My life is perfect now. Adam, well, he’s still looking for the perfect girl. He had to return to Ireland in January to be with his family, since he promised them. But he said that he was planning to move them all to Sweden, to experience the best summers of their lives and to be with us.

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I was cooking the roast pork, when suddenly, there was a ring and a bang on the door. I thought this was supposed to be a private party, between me, Jack, Robyn, Adam and Ella. “On it,” Ella shouted from the living room, who was cleaning the tables and arranging the chairs. I kept on brushing the roast pork with sauce. Jack was a patron of a farm downtown that organically raises pigs and cows and delivers cuts to an elite clientele. Jack often promotes the farm on his radio show, but not to an extent that he is advertising, which would certainly anger the chiefs. “Oh wow, hi!” I heard Ella from the living room. I wondered. I ran to the living room and there I saw Ella with Karlii and the Punggis! But not as I remembred them... You see, dear reader and follower of my misfortunes, the Guðs undergone a treatment to make them human. The reason they became Guðs is that they were affected by the Nobel invention--TNT. Since then, the nuclear materials used in dynamite have entered in their systems, thus creating mutants. A government-sponsored amnesty program undid this, and now they are one of us. We welcomed each other, hugged, and let them inside the house. Adam and Jack, who were working on the salad and the steak, also went to say, “I think we need a bigger menu!” Everyone laughed at that. Karlii now looks better than ever, and she’s renamed herself to Carly. Mrs. Punggi is now Mrs. Ericka Tanberg, his husband is now Carl, and his sons ar Paul and Cyrus. They all look like healthy, excellent human beings now. Dinner was swell. Mashed potatoes. A Caesar. The roast pork. Some sirloin. A Doberge. Spaghetti and meatballs. (Finally, like how Mom used to cook like.) And ending it all with a fine Chianti. “Cheers!”, shouted everyone, clinking our flutes. We all retired to the living room. Adam, Jack, Ericka and Carl were watching TV. It was


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a match between Helsingborgs IF and Malmo FF. (Spoiler alert: Malmo wins!) After the game, Adam concluded, “I do not understand this, but they are better than Barclays!” Paul and Cyrus were in my room, playing on my M-Audio keyboard. Good god they were good. Leaving me and Ella in the kitchen, washing the dishes. “I have been waiting for this moment my whole life,” I said. “Really? This moment?”, she replied. “Yeah, you and me. Washing the dishes. Together. Two inches apart.” “Hahahaha.” “I’m serious, because it’s more special than that.” “Why?” I wiped my hands dry with a towel, and held Ella in her hip. I held her close. “Ella, you are the most beautiful, prettiest, nicest, and unmistakably most perfect person in the world for me. No one can ever change that.” With every adjective, she laughs. I warned her, “I’m serious.” She stifles a laugh. I knelt to the ground, pulled out a diamond Swarovski, and said, nervously, “Will you marry me?”

“OF COURSE, YOU IDIOT!!!” The night was happy and young.

#


about the author: gene paolo gumagay a filmmaker, photographer, musician, artist, visual artist, writer, blogger, and student at the digos city national high school as of 2012. midnight city is his first novel. he has a blog , at http://paulgumagay.tumblr.com/


songs to listen to while reading this novella

MIDNIGHT CITY. REUNION. M83. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Naive. METAMORPHOSIS TWO. MAD RUSH. Philip Glass. Solo Piano. Sony Masterworks. LABYRINTH. Philip Glass. 1000 Airplanes on The Roof. Virgin. PROVERB. Steve Reich. Steve Reich 1965-1995. Nonesuch DANIEL. Bat for Lashes. Two Suns. Parlophone. CLOUDSCAPE. THE GRID. Philip Glass. Koyaanisqatsi: Original Complete Soundtrack. Orange Mountain Music. Jóga. Björk. Homogenic. One Little Indian. Jag vet en dejlig Rosa. Robyn. Body Talk Pt. 1. Konichiwa. JERUSALEM/FLOWER OF SCOTLAND/DANNY BOY/ BREAD OF HEAVEN. Four Nations Choirs. Isles of Wonder. Decca.

AND I WILL KISS Featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie. Underworld. Isles of Wonder. Decca. CALIBAN’S DREAM Featuring Dockhead Choir, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Only Men Aloud!, Elizabeth Roberts and Alex Trimble. Underworld. Isles of Wonder. Decca.


acknowledgements

Engr. & Mrs. GUMAGAY. For bearing forth a highly creative individual. ALLEN LAU. For creating a platform that can change the lives of many writers around the world on an old 500-line Nokia phone. Michael Hansen, Ruben Bjerg Hansen, Mikkel Jensen, and Martin Ferro-Thomsen. For realizing the potential of online publishing. Mrs ROSE FERNANDEZ. For teaching me good literature. GOOGLE. For helping me familiarise Sweden and music. CHAMBERS HARRAP. For my dictionary. and of course...to KENT, JEANETTE, SHELLYNA, KIMAN, GRIES, ORIOLE+OSTRICH, WATTPAD PILIPINAS, ECHELON ARMY PH, and many others important but forgotten, for beta testing my work. Finally, to you, reader, for taking time to look at this.


A 17 year-old boy, after being shattered by his familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s death, discovers life is more than meets the eye.

Daniel Hurt was like every other teenager in Sweden. He was famous, he was admired by everybody--life was perfect. But his fame brought a price. Losing everything, he runs to the forest, where he discovers a new friend, and something that the world has never seen before. With brilliant plot-twisting and perfect pacing, this novella is so epic--it would read like a real novel! Available on: Contact the author thru: Get the Tag app at http://gettag.mobi and scan this tag! No smartphone? See inside.

the.p.gumagay@gmail.com @sosuperp paulgumagay.tumblr.com

Midnight City  

A 17-year old boy discovers life is more than meets the eye.

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