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Choen 02b: The After Party [Mel]

Dave ST

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Mel twisted the cap off his beer and paused for a moment to stare at his hands. How did she know? Nothing in the last few days seemed to make any sense, from how he got the wounds to ho someone he'd never met before would know about them. He tipped the bottle back and almost emptied it in a single draught.

He sat down in his chair, trying to shake away the weird while simultaneously glaring at the marred up floor right in front of him. He rest his head back and rubbed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. Suddenly the sound of snapping fingers caught his attention, like... someone trying to actually get his attention.

“Hey,” the snapping continued. The voice was a thick Jersey accent, male. Late forties, early fifties. Maybe four feet ten, five foot tall? “Wow, we got him! Man, he was easier than the librarian!”

“All gone,” came a lazy voice from Mel's kitchen. “Dreams are all he has left.”

“Yeah, too right,” the snapping persisted and Mel lazily opened to come face to face with... a rabbit-man wearing a hoodie? “Hey, you with us?”

“Freak out.” Came the lazy voice from the kitchen. “Three. Two...”

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"Get me another beer." The lazy voice and the rabbit-man were taken aback by the flat nonchalance in Mel's voice. But really, Mel was considering the situation tactically and rationally. "Beg your pardon?" The rabbit-man finally ventured. "You heard me." Mel replied without a hint of expression. "I haven't drunk enough to hallucinate yet. Therefore you're a manifestation of the Section 8 crackup I've been afraid of, or real. Either way, I'm not going through this without another beer."

"Ok." The two supernatural creatures were a bit nonplussed. "And you're not freaking out if we're real?"

Now Mel looked irritated and dismissive at once. "Bugs Bunny, I've spent years surviving insurgent nutjobs with machine guns, mortars and RPGs, IEDs and suicide bombs. I've killed men with guns, knives and my bare hands. I've lost good men who fought beside me and faced my own mortality. In short, I've dealt with far scarier things than you, and you aren't a hostile. Now bring me the damn beer.'"

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Well, alright then,"  the rabbit said in his Danny DeVito voice.  "Seth!  Get the guy a beer."

When the massive figure stomped out of the kitchen grasping a bottle of beer that was almost hidden by the size of the creatures massive fist, Mel was almost certain he was officially insane.  The creature looked humanoid, with massive arms and wide thick body that stood over seven feet in height, or more, he looked like he was slouching.  Two massive horns sprouted from his head and his lower teeth were pronounced, like tusks.  He wore overalls that had the name tag on them.  'Seth'.

The beast offered him the beer.  "Here go."  It said in a soft, slow monotone.

"Look, Mel."  The rabbit started, pacing about his floor, but avoiding the spot in the floor that Mel tore into the the other night, trying to dig to his dead wife.  "You're not crazy.  You keep telling yourself you are... and you're going to be, though.  All those drugs they got you taking, man... not good for ya.  They don't keep you head straight, make it cloudy, foggy and hard for us to get in here and talk to you.  Sure, sure... a rabbit and a troll are probably the last thing a guy who thinks he's going crazy needs to be seeing in his dreams, but listen to me pal... we're working with what we have here, alright?"

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Mel cracked the cap off his beer, having decided to go along with it and retreat into the old military mindset. "Fine. So you're here in my dreams and I'm not crazy. Gimme a sitrep then, Bugs."
"See?" He looked up to Seth. "This is why I like the military types. Straight to the point. And it's Jack."
"Jack? Your name is Jack Rabbit?"
"So?" He said like he didn't get it. "Anyway, look... the librarian, the girl... you gotta find her. You have to help her. She's in danger."
By process of elimination, Mel quickly worked that to mean Maya Flynn, the woman whom D'Sombra made a columnist. "What kind of hostiles are we dealing with?" Mel asked, something of the energy of old reentering his eyes.  "Numbers, resources, motivations?"
Worry gripped the pooka's face. "Unlimited. Unlimited. And the ruination of everything. I don't even know if you can stop it, but you drew the 3 of swords, so it's on you. She needs you, Mel."
Mel stared at Jack before taking a quick swig. So the uselessness of military intelligence applied even to supernatural beings. "Can you actually at least tell me where to find her? Maybe, since we're asking for miracles, there's a way to convince her I'm not crazy?"
"I-I don't know," Jack said. "She's a librarian. But we can't leave the place of someone's dream, so we don't know which one."
"Yorkville Public Library, 222 E 79th St, New York, NY 10021," Seth blurted out slowly and in his own monotone way.
"H-how did you know that?" Jack asked, mouth agape.
"Books." Seth smiled a wide toothy smile. "Dreams on paper. For everyone. Finding dreams. It's what we do."
"Oh, hohoho, Seth! You big lug! You're a genius!" Jack hopped about with excitement then stopped suddenly, looking worried. "We're almost out of time. It knows were here. You're not crazy, Mel! The drugs! You don't need em!"
Mel snapped awake in his chair, holding an open, half full beer bottle. After a long moment, he snapped the cap back on and shoved it back into the fridge. With his efficient swiftness at packing, Mel pulled together what he needed. Flashlight, keys, holsters. Knife, pistol, rifle. Mel hadn't stopped having firearms around just because he'd been back in the states, and his gear had been among the grandfathered 'assault weapons' under the NY SAFE Act. NYC's own second set of gun laws was a pain, all the extra permits and licenses required.
But fuck it. If he wasn't crazy, this might just be worth it. Saving someone's life and getting some answers to all of this crap might mean something. And when you had nothing left but dreams, something could be everything.
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