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11:11 – Chapter 33Posted: July 18, 2012

January 1, 2012

Five blended-together days later, Burton was right as rain and fit as a fiddle and was still trying to figure out a way to kill the old man.

His innocent, youthful brown eyes pleading toward Carrie and Stacy led them wildly astray. He was just what these two mothers needed as they battled with the hold on their pasts and pull of their futures.

Even Stacy — who Kenneth regarded as the more sensible and reliable of the two, mostly because Carrie’s sparring with him had grown in intensity and increased frequency — had fallen head over heels for the conniving, rotten soul. Perhaps it was merely indicative of their fledgling angelic selves.

Burton was a smart kid. He was a voracious reader, particularly fond of gothic horror and ‘how-to’ books. Google had also become a fantastic source of information and missing it was part of his own current personal hell. All souls left on Earth were experiencing hell — none spared nor assuaged.

Small for his age, and starved when found by the trio, this demented soul, who’d have enjoyed a prolific life of murder and torture had everyone not disappeared, presented a package that needed mothering and he poured it on lumpy gravy thick.

The women took turns waiting on the boy, who lounged on a thick mattress, wrapped in a warm comforter and watched every DVD and VHS in the place.

Burton didn’t care that he was watching Disney classics such as Dumbo, The Rescuers, The Lion King or Peter Pan, leftovers from the owners’ bout with grandchildren.

He also cared not a sniffing, snide teenaged whit that he sighed his way through the likes of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Muppet Movie, The Aristocats, Smokey and the Bandit, The Bad News Bears or The Cat From Outer Space.

But Burton found himself enthusing rapaciously while watching Harold and Maude and got so deep into Land That Time Forgot that he failed to see Kenneth appear at his door and linger for a few simmering minutes, his stern gray eyes boring deeply into a mind he could not penetrate. That was how Kenneth sussed out evil. If he could not get an immediate sense of a person – a direct path into their most basic mien – he knew them to be without solid grounding of essence and were, therefore, creatures to be well away from or in need of dispatching.

When Kenneth stepped away from the door, Burton smiled.

They celebrated New Year’s Eve with a grand feast and Burton thrilled at the fact that Stacy and Carrie let him drink some wine. Kenneth said nothing to him. He refused to speak to the boy and, in fact, he’d grown solemn and bitter towards the women as they had usurped his control with their perilous maternal instincts.

When they asked about the burning buildings in Big Sky, the lad tweaked their hearts by tearfully relating a story about how he thought he had missed his chance to be found and he lit the buildings up to try and bring them back.

As usual, his lies worked beautifully. His mother always purchased his prevarications with the will of a blind fool, as all mothers do with wayward or naughty sons.

Carrie and Stacy drank themselves into giggling, chattering stupors on New Year’s Eve and spent New Year’s Day sleeping and groaning about headaches. Burton seized the opportunity to squirrel away a steak knife when Kenneth went outside to get firewood and worked out the final few steps of his nefarious plan.

I also celebrated New Year’s by getting completely trashed — by myself, in my room. Not normally prone to drinking hard liquor, I tucked into a bottle of tequila after drinking a six-pack and watching the first three episodes of Deadwood. I was doing fine with the pace of one bowl of weed with each beer but when it became one bowl for every shot of tequila, things got messy right quick. Didn’t even make it to midnight.

All that I managed to write in my journal from that lonely evening was “fucking Mayans!” and “Save me Jebus!” ( ) — a homage to the equally hard-drinking and thick-skulled Homer Simpson.

The three pages I filled before I tucked into the booze was an update to Carrie, a practice I began immediately after Andy spilled his preternatural beans. The more I wrote to her, the glummer I grew, so the elbow bending began. Weak, I know. But it was a time, all right. A time for the ages lost to the weaknesses of men.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW


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