mistersmith_tm: (smith cu)
Sixteen years ago, all of us kids, everyone under the age of 11, inherited exactly the same thing. The world. The whole world, with no one to run it. No curfews or homework. No chores or anyone to order us around; to tell us when to go to bed or what eat. No one left to say what we could or couldn't do. Because they were gone. All gone. Every adult. We watched them all die. And then we were alone. Just us kids with the world to ourselves, a broken hand-me-down wrapped up in fire and blood and destruction.

Know that old saying? The one that says the meek shall inherit the earth? Well, it came true. And it sucks.
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
If the world hadn't died, what would my life have been like? If the Big Death had never been released – no, if it had never been thought of or developed at all! – where would all of us be today? Or maybe the question should be, who would we be? Would Markus have become a scientist or a military leader? Maybe he would he have left Thunder Mountain with his parents and gone altogether. Would Kurdy be married with kids of his own and a nine to five job? Would Jeremiah still have his brother?

Would I ever have had Rose? No. Probably not.

If, if, if. Doesn't really matter what might have been, does it? You can look back all you want, but it doesn't change the now. It doesn't change today. In fact, it doesn't do much of anything at all except piss you off and hurt like hell.
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
Markus listened patiently to the story while working very hard to keep his skepticism from showing in his expression. Mister Smith sat across from him, a mug of rapidly cooling coffee sitting forgotton in the table between his hands. As he spoke of the first time he had heard (or rather, as Markus suspected, thought he heard) the Voice of God, his hazel eyes seemed to look through Markus and beyond. Or perhaps he was looking inward.

"My Voice will be heard," Smith was saying, his own voice soft yet clearly heard above the buzz of the cafateria. "You will be my Voice." His words fell to silence.

Several minutes passed. Enough time that Markus began to wonder if perhaps Smith hadn't fallen asleep with his eyes open. "Then?" he gently prodded, his tone even and measured, giving nothing away of his own thoughts or opinions.

"Then." Mister Smith looked down at the mug between his hands as if seeing it for the first time. "What happened then. I don't remember. Not really. I was in the water. Drowning. And then I wasn't."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that."

"Did you swim to shore?"

"Not exactly."

"Not exactly?" Markus frowned. What did that mean? "How did you reach land?"

"A wave picked me up and dropped me on shore." He picked up his spoon and began to stir the dark liquid in his mug, making small laping waves as he did so.

"So you didn’t swim?"

"I can't swim for shit," he confessed. "That's why I jumped into the lake."

"Then why . . . " Markus suddenly frowned. "You jumped into a lake?"

"Roger that."

"A lake. With a wave big enough to pick you up and wash you to shore." This time Markus was unable to keep the skepticism from his tone.

"Dropped." Mister Smith corrected, his expression placid. "It just dropped me there. From about 7 feet. Hurt like hell." Stirring, stirring, making a tiny vortex in his cup. "When I woke up the next morning . . ." He released the spoon and watched as the plastic utensil was caught up in the whirlpool and continued circling without him.

"The Voice was there," surmised Markus.

Mister Smith nodded, watching as the spoon began to slow with the failing momentum. "I'm not crazy," he said softly. So softly that Markus nearly missed the words.

"I never said you were," he said placatingly.

"No. You didn't." The spoon finally slowed then settled to a stop. "But you thought it."

Markus arched an eyebrow. "Do you read minds, too, Mister Smith? Or was that just a guess?"

"No. I don't read minds." He gave a little laugh, sad and self deprecating. "Not even my own."
mistersmith_tm: (smith sock puppet)
Now there's an easy question to answer. Most people think I'm crazy. Doesn't matter if they're strangers or friends. Pretty much everyone sees me as the sorry ass who imagines he hears God. I guess if I were in their shoes, it might seem that way to me, too.

You can't hear the thoughts of the guy standing next to you, right? And no one can hear the conversations you have with yourself inside your mind. So what makes you think hearing God's voice is any different? Because it's not. When I hear the Voice in my head, it doesn't sound like me. It sounds Different. It even feels different.

But it's not something anyone else can see or hear. When I hear the Voice, all anyone else sees is me. Crazy Mister Smith. I don't know what I look like when it happens. I've never been near a mirror when it does. But it must look pretty goofy, because sometimes they laugh. Mostly, they just shake their heads, like Kurdy. Or walk away in disgust, like Jeremiah.

It doesn't really matter if they believe me or not. It doesn't matter that they think I'm crazy. Because it's there. God says, "My Voice will be heard."

I will be that Voice.
mistersmith_tm: (smith woods sitting)
I'm not the sort of guy who likes confrontation. I avoid it if I can. When I can. But sometimes – most times – I don't have much of a choice. There are a lot of predators in the world. The ones who survived through violence and anger, preying on the weak.

Some bullies are bigger than others. Like Daniel and those who flock to his cause. They've taken survival of the fittest to a grander scale, carving out their vision of a perfect world in the blood and lives of others. Hundreds have fallen beneath Daniel's scythe. Thousands . . . hundreds of thousands more will die unless something stands up to them. Like the Western Alliance and men like Markus and Kurdy and Jeremiah.

Me? The guy who doesn't like confrontation? I tried to make a difference on my own. Once. Through violence. I took justice into my own hands and tried to kill someone. Not face to face, but by stealth. I hid in the woods with a rifle and I waited . . . waited for hours. Waited for the convoy I knew was coming. Waited to see him. Sims. The Dark Man. The leader of the forces laying siege to Thunder Mountain.

I can do this, I thought. I can make a difference. Take out Sims and you cut off the head of the serpent. Another might grow in its place, but it would take time. Days. Months, maybe. Time enough for the Alliance to regroup. Time enough to rekindle hope.

You might not know it, but I'm a pretty good shot. Better than you'd think. I wouldn't have missed, either. Not if I'd been given the chance.

It doesn't really matter how they found me. I realize now I was doomed to fail the minute I decided to assassinate Sims. It wasn't my place to try and kill him. That was meant for someone else. Someone who needed it more. Just like it wasn't meant for me to take things into my own hands, unbidden.

I barely survived the encounter. Shouldn't have survived, but the Voice isn't finished with me yet. There's still work to be done.
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
Sometimes he dreamed about his father. Or rather, he dreamed about what he wished his father might be or had been. He envisioned a tall man with dark hair and deep brown eyes that shone with a thirst for learning. This version of his father was animated and energetic and had a warm, infectious laugh. Other times he imagined a man closer to his own stature and temperment, with a short, average build and softspoken. But sometimes, in the dark of night, usually after an especially frightening or traumatic day – he dreamed of a man with heavy fists and sharp words, dark and angry and violent.

Fantasies all. Or was there something of truth in each?

He had no way of knowing. His mind had erased all memory of what had gone before. Home, family, friends . . . all MIA. Hidden behind a mental door to which he'd lost the key. For now. Or perhaps forever. He had no way of knowing.

But he could dream. Sometimes.
mistersmith_tm: (Default)
Smith had to practically jog to keep up with the Kurdy's long legged strides. "You have to listen . . ."

"I don't gotta do anything," he snapped back.

"It's important!"

"It's always important," growled Kurdy but did not slow his pace. He was already thinking ahead to the mission, dismissing the smaller man without a second thought.

"Kurdy!" Smith began to fall behind as Kurdy picked up his pace, putting distance between them. How do I convince him?

The Voice gave him a word. A single word. A word that would stop Kurdy dead in his tracks.

A word that might also get Smith killed.

"Elizabeth," he said, quietly. But the name carried.

Kurdy stiffened instantly and his step faltered. He whipped around, a cloud of anger on his already dark features. Clenching his hands into fists, he marched back to the smaller man standing wretchedly in the middle of the corridor. His eyes burned with anger and pain and loss still too raw. "What?," he ground out.

"God says –"

Kurdy's hands shot out and caught Smith by the ragged lapels of his jacket, fairly lifting him off of his feet until he could barely touch the floor with his toes. "None of your BULL SHIT, Smith," he shouted into the man's face. "What about Elizabeth?"

"Where you're going. Tenlytown," he managed to rasp out. "It's where she's from. It's her home."

"Why's that important," demanded Kurdy in a cold, angry voice. "Or are you just looking to get your ass kicked for bringing up something you've got no business in?"

"They're not there. The raiders. That's what you were told, but it's wrong," Smith said quickly, knowing that this might be the only chance he'd get to appeal to Kurdy. "It's what they want you to believe. Because of how you feel. Because it's still . . . it's too soon. And being there . . . it might put you off guard. It's a trap."

Kurdy searched the man's hazel eyes, trying to find deceit or guile or cunning. There was none. Just a deep sadness and sympathy. Or was it pity? He released his hold on Smith and pushed him away. "No one's going to catch me off guard," he said darkly. "Least of all some sorry ass who thinks God's his copilot."

He turned on his heel and stalked away.

Leaning against a wall for support, Smith watched Kurdy's back until he turned a corner and disappeared from sight. They'd played out a few variations of this scene since Smith had arrived at the Mountain four weeks ago. It was almost becoming a routine.

It didn't really matter if Kurdy believed him or not, as long as he listened to the message.

Would ever come a time when Kurdy would trust him? Maybe even believe in him?

But on that point, the Voice was silent.
mistersmith_tm: (smith sock puppet)
Dying is a very personal thing. It's also pretty lonely. Just you and your thoughts and the Void. Then nothing. Peace. Quiet. Void.

Unless you're me. Then dying is no different than living. The day to day struggle to survive in a world gone mad. Where you can't trust anyone you meet and no one trusts you. Where only the strong survive. The weak -- and little guys, like me -- are lucky to make it to the next day in one piece. After 15 years of beatings and starving and lost hope, I was done. I was already more dead than alive, anyway. Jumping off the bridge only finished what the Big Death started. I'd probably still be there, too.

Except. Two things happened.

I heard the Voice. That was kind of surprising, since I was drowning and pretty far under. Probably even already dead. I'd never heard that Voice before, but I knew what it was. You can't mistake it for anything else, you know? It was clear about what it wanted, too. "There's work to be done."

"Fuck you!" I said. Or maybe my mind did. But It heard me. "You abandoned us! You let death and terror into the world and now look at us! Look at what we've become!"

"I know, said the Voice. "But I'm back now."

I didn't want to listen. I didn't want to care. But when you're dead . . . well, you're a captive audience.

"My Voice will be heard," It said. "You will be my Voice."

I didn't want to be anyone's Voice. Especially when I'd never been able to find my own after a lifetime of despair and loneliness.

"Let me die in peace," I cried. "Let me do at least one thing right!"

The Voice was silent. But It did something that changed my future forever. Changed me forever.

It showed me Rose.
mistersmith_tm: (smith rose worth living for)
Love Letters )
mistersmith_tm: (Default)
Kindness. The kind of word you don't hear very much. Or see happening. I don't know about before the Big Death, but after? Kindness is like hope. Most people have lost it. They're too busy just trying to survive.

Maybe 'lost' is the wrong word. 'Misplaced' is better. Because I think everyone has the ability to be kind. Some more than others.

Like the Sisters. Kindness is more than an emotion or the occasional good deed to them. It's an action. An ideal to live by. It's one of the building blocks of Hope and the change for a brighter future.

I don't know how the Sisters came together. I don't know how they found each other or when they started the School. The Tellers probably know the details. Or ask Sister Hannah. She was there at the beginning. And before. She's old. Older than anyone I've ever met. Fifty, I think. I haven't asked. It's not polite. But the school might have been her idea. She was a teacher, before the Death. She's a teacher still, but so much more.

The school didn't start out that way. It started as a haven for the Sisters, hiding from a younger world that might not understand why they had been spared after so many of their generation died. Their home. But it wasn't enough to be safe. It wasn't enough to sit and wait out the storm. They felt there was something more they could do. Some reason why they had survived the Virus. They found their calling the day a 15 year old girl nearly dropped dead on their doorstep of exhaustion. A girl about to give birth.

How could they turn her away? They couldn't. And wouldn't. She became their purpose, and others like her. Unwed mothers, desparate, hungry, alone, and with no place to go. The Sisters took them in, cared for them, and helped them to care for their babies. Protected them from the terrible despair and desparation the Death had left behind. And when the babies began to walk and talk and grasp things like higher math and physics long before they were out of diapers . . . the Sisters realized that they were witnessing a miracle. This was their true calling. The future hope of the world. Out of the mouths of babes.
mistersmith_tm: (man of mystery)
Dear Smith,

Words alone cannot describe the terrible changes that lay ahead. What the world will become. Worse than anyone can imagine. Soon. Sooner than anyone expects.

The world is going to change. In a month, maybe two, it will become as alien to you as your world is to me now.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing – Stop! Look around you. Remember all that you see. No detail is too small. No item insignificant. Look at your room. Your favorite toy. Your favorite book. Look at the faces of your family. Is your mother there? Your father? Do you have brothers? Sisters? A cat or dog? Maybe even a goldfish? Look at them. Hold them in your heart but, more importantly, hold them in your mind.

Because the world is about to change. And you with it. Remember your home. Remember your family and friends. No matter what happens, hang onto those memories as if they were a lifeline.

Most of all, remember you. Your dreams and wishes. Your loves.

Your name.

There's hope in memories. And in the world ahead, only hope can overcome despair.


Mister Smith

p.s. – Learn how to swim.
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
Setting his knapsack down in the damp grass, he moved to the edge of the embankment and stooped down. Dipping his cupped hands into the frigid river, he drank his fill before splashing his face with water. Ringlets moved outward from the disturbance and were quickly swallowed by the current. Rubbing his face with his hands, he scrubbed away several days worth of grime before running his damp fingers through is hair, combing it into shape.

His reflection combed its auburn hair as well with liquid fingers. Like it's twin, a young man with clear hazel eyes, boyish features, and clothed in shabby castoffs.

The mirror image rippled and undulated, at first clear and bright then lost in shadow as the sun disappeared behind a cloud.

Which is the real me?, he wondered as he reached a hand toward the reflection. It's ghostly hand moved up to meet his.

Thin. Insubstantial. Sometimes solid and standing on firm ground, yet other times -- most times, these days -- lost and forgotten within himself. Disappearing one inch at a time into the fabric of the world. Until soon all that must remain is a shadow of the man that once was . . . and would never be.
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
He stood on the quay, his expression uncertain. The water was gun metal gray, making it hard to tell where the horizon ended and the overcast sky began. The last time he'd seen water that color, he'd been falling . . .

"Well? You comin?," demanded the ferryman, meaty fists planted firmly on his hips.

Mister Smith continued to look out across the water, unaware that his fingers were fiercely gripping the strap of his knapsack as if it were a lifeline.

"Ya listenin'? I ain't got all day!"

He nodded, acknowledging the boatman's impatience but making no effort to move forward.

The ferryman cursed under his breath, then snapped, "Do ya wanna get to High Tower or not?"

"I do. But . . ."

"But what?"

"I can't swim."

The cry of a gull soaring overhead sounded like derisive laughter. It was surprisingly familiar. Not the gull, but the laughter.

"I've changed my mind," said Mister Smith, and took a step backward. A step closer to dry land.

"Yeah?" The ferryman threw a nod over his shoulder, toward the tall outline in the distance. "How the hell ya gonna get over there if not by boat? And if it's the price you're scoffin' at, none of the rest of these sots are gonna give ya any better than me."

"Thanks. I'll walk."

"Walk? Around this? You're talking going more 'n 80 miles around instead of straight across! It'll take ya days!"

"Almost three and a half days. Maybe four."

"So why walk when you can ride?"

Mister Smith glanced once more at the steely water and shuddered. "Because you can't drown in the woods."


Oct. 26th, 2005 07:43 am
mistersmith_tm: (i walk a lonely road)
Talk about something you did that made you feel ashamed of yourself afterwards.

Shame )
mistersmith_tm: (smith alone)
Need to forgive? I know there are people I should forgive. Like Libby. She wasn't a bad person. She wasn't evil. I think there's a part of her that genuinely loved Jeremiah. But she didn't believe in Jeremiah or what the Alliance was trying to do. She thought that Daniel's way was what would restore order to the world. And Jeremiah . . . I don’t need to forgive him for hating me. There's nothing to forgive. I mean, I killed Libby. I didn't want to! It was in self defense . . . but that doesn't change the facts. So I don't blame Jeremiah for hating me or even wanting to kill me himself. He was in love with Libby. If I were in his shoes, I'd probably want to kill me to.

Come to think of it, I didn't do too good of a job of it last time.

Maybe that's the answer to the question. The person I need to forgive, but know I never can.

mistersmith_tm: (man of mystery)
Libby. Everyone in the Mountain knew her. Not just as Devon's assistant or as a survivor of Valhalla Sector. They knew Libby because Libby went out of her way to know them. Sometimes she helped out in the cafeteria, greeting the refugees with a smile and a warm meal as they poured into the Mountain, fleeing from Daniel's tyranny. She was always the first to offer an encouraging word but sometimes she simply sat and listened and let them unburden themselves of fear and dread.

Libby was great at that. Listening, I mean. Always concerned and attentive. She didn't miss much. People tended to want to pour their heart out to her. She even listened to me, and that's saying something. Not many people do. At least, not as if they care. But Libby cared. She always seemed to know the right words to say at exactly the right time.

Everybody loved Libby, so bright and alive and caring. Especially Jeremiah. He didn't just love her. He was in love with her. She'd managed to touch a part of his heart he thought was dead. She gave him hope and something to fight for.

It was all lie. All of it. The kindness. The caring. But not the listening. That was real. Because everything she heard was something she could pass on to the other side. Information. Because knowledge is power.

What's the old saying? Know thy enemy. Libby got pretty good at that.
mistersmith_tm: (smith listen)
The best present I ever gave wasn't wrapped in paper or tied with ribbon. It wasn't something bought in a store or crafted by hand. But I paid dearly for it, in blood and pain. Very nearly with my life. But it was worth it.

The gift was a message I sent to Kurdy. Hardly enough to write on a note, really. Just four words. That's all. No more, no less. But it might have been the most important message Kurdy ever got. Because it gave him a fighting chance. And it gave his troops hope.

See, just then it seemed like Sims and Daniel's forces were everywhere and closing in fast. They jammed our radio transmissions and managed to pin down Thunder Mountain, cutting off reinforcements to the field. Or help to the Mountain. A massive assault was coming. Everyone knew it. But without the help of the Mountain and communications down, the Alliance was fighting blind. From where would the final attack come? And when? Without that knowledge, how could Kurdy muster his troops to best defend the Alliance?

That's when my gift arrived. My gift to Kurdy. Four little words overheard. Sims' words. Words from a distance, heard through rushing water and closing darkness. Sims dismissed me the instant he'd had me thrown off the bridge. But I struggled to stay afloat. To stay conscious. Long enough to hear. Long enough to remember, even as the current dragged me away.

"Four Roads. Sundown. Friday."

That was my gift to Kurdy. To the Alliance. Knowledge. And hope.
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