The air was cold on the roof, the sun retiring and giving way to the night, taking with it the small amount of heat that had halted the rain. Now the mountain air was heavily scented with the threat of falling droplets, and the breezes along the roof top were a chilly reminder of the season—but the view was beautiful.
From the roof I could see the whole city and the distant phantom shapes of mountains. The sky was clear and a dusky blue but strangely bright at the same time, the clouds were like swirling smoke caught in a jar.
I had read in my history book that once the sky had been crisscrossed with electronic wires like a giant spider web bringing energy to people’s homes. Now there was only one power source, a large dome topped tower named the Tesla, named after the man who had first come up with the idea some three hundred years ago. It sent out waves of energy to the receiver of every electronic device blinking unseen in the landscape.
The only thing that marked the sky was the faint light trails and humming of the cars flying above.
“Are you okay?” Titanic asked sitting down Indian style with her tray. “Looks like death just sat on your face.”
“Yeah.” I said chuckling slightly at the imagery.
“Ya sure?” she asked.
“Yeah.” I insisted edging over to where she was. I just got queasy whenever I was at great heights but I wasn't going to tell her that.
“I'd hate to worry anyone.” She said winking at me.
I was confused as to what she meant by that. It seemed the more time I spent with Titanic the more confused I felt.
“You had something you wanted to tell me?” I asked dipping my garlic bread into my soup and taking a bite.
“Yeah.” Titanic said, pushing her short hair from her face only to have it fall back in front of her eyes. “It’s more of a visual thing.” She reached into her inside the pocket of her worn leather jacket and pulled out a bulky medium size envelope.
“Your lady friend said that all I had to do was submit it and you would edit and publish it.”
“It’s not that simple.” I said reserving my right to refuse her article. “It has to meet a certain protocol.” I hinted taking the envelope from her.
She raised an incredulous eyebrow at me.
“Mmm-hmm.” I mumbled opening the envelope and riffling through it.
Inside were two things, a short essay and a series of important looking files. It took me a moment of studying the curt, concise format to realize what these were.
“Police documents?” I demanded. “You stole police documents?”
“Burrowed.” Titanic corrected through a mouth full of Clam Chowder. “For the special of the week, this is terrible.” She pushed the food away from her.
“Yeah, Ti-tanic.” I still hadn't gotten over her weird name.
“This little report thing is, I don’t know how to say…” I paused as I closed the envelope without further investigation of its contents, trying to think of a polite way to say ‘federal offense’. "What’s the word?”
“Maybe the words would come easier to you if you actually read the essay.” Titanic suggested, her elbows resting on her knees and her chin resting on her linked fingers as she watched me closely.
“Mmm yeah.” I said extending the envelope for her to take, a gesture that clearly said my time was not so easily wasted.
Titanic watched me for a moment unmoving. I waved the envelope at her.
She gave a frustrated growl.
“Get over yourself you’re not the editor of Vogue!” She complained snatching the envelope.
“Very mature. An elegant solution to handling rejection.” I commented.
“Just sit there and shut up!” Titanic ordered.
I scoffed affronted. I had half a mind to get up and leave but then she started to talk.
“Chain deaths, Supernatural happening, or what you will.” She ripped the envelope apart taking out the contents and discarding her essay. She picked up the first picture.
“Tina Martin died in 3076, drowned. Max Stanford died six months later in a house fire. His neighbor six months after that and six months later her doctors die. Aren’t you least bit interested now?!” She asked.
“Interested, no.” I lied. “Put off, yes.” This was not a lie.
“Good then I’ll continue.” Titanic said pointedly.
“Water, Fire, Blood, fear the demon they will make, by crash of air he will wake, by the blood of the breeze his cage will break.”
I waited a moment for the conclusion, before I realized she wasn’t going to tell me unless I asked. She was good.
“Which is to say?” I asked despite myself.
“When Tina Martin died, drowned in the wee hours of the morning in her local lake; the only witness to this was Max Stanford.”
“Wait, he saw her die?!” I asked finally getting the coincidence.
I nodded, neglecting my soup and giving her my full attention.
"Wait." I paused, catching myself before being plunged fully into her story. “You’re not making this up are you?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Titanic said solemnly. “Proof.” She handed me back the police reports and I read through them and them carefully as she continued her story.
“Six months later Mr. Stanford dies in a house fire. His elderly neighbor is the only witness and calls the Fire Department.”
“Six months later she dies.” I guessed.
“Not so simple.” Titanic corrected. “She has a heart attack, manages to call for help. The ambulance get there and pick her up, she makes it to the hospital where she dies.”
“This is important because?” I asked looking up from the police reports.
“Six months later, the ambulance driver who tended to her and the Doctor who pronounced her dead both died, at the exact same moment.”
“Mnnah-uh.” I said shaking my head. That was too much to ask someone to believe.
“Actually it was pretty easy, see they were married and in the same car when it crashed, ran into solidified air.”
Chills ran down my arms, this was too, coincidental. I felt like I was listening to my life.
“You said solidified air, that’s…that’s not physically possible.” I pointed out. That was the only thing I was brave enough to question.
“If you want to get technical, they hit a block of invisible solidified veil, the veil that separates us from the white noise, something manipulated the veil so it harden when they hit it, but soften so when their bodies flew from their car they were swallowed by the veil. That’s why their bodies were never found!”
I froze, this was too familiar.
I flipped frantically through the police documents looking for the one of the car accident.
While a stream of memories played in the back of my mind, breaking free of the barricades I had built to hide them and forcing their way to the surface of my mind.
“Their bodies haven't been found.” The police officer had said.
“Could they still be alive?” My Aunt Rebecca asked.
The officer shook his head, a quite gesture that had silence so many of my desperate hopes.
I blinked myself back to the present, as my hands found the report I was looking for.
Titanic was still talking to me but my brain seemed to have lodged its self somewhere out of space and time, somewhere beyond words and voices, a place silenced by pain.
On the police report, I saw the names that identified Titanic’s nameless medical couple, my parent’s names. In the pictures of our mangled car, I saw the letters of our license plates, memorized by years of cleaning that car.
Icy hand crushed my heart in a constricting grip, freezing the blood in my veins till the burn under my skin and melted tears behind my eyes.