He was with me as I awoke from my fitful sleep, impatient as always and eager to relay his findings of the previous night. The morning sun filtered in through the half-closed blinds, and I raised my arm to shield my eyes from its rays.
"David, I think we need to investigate the Looking Glass lead again," he said.
I had been dreaming that I was outside my old apartment building, sitting on the stoop alone, when a plane crashed. It wasn't a very big plane and it didn't even make a lot of noise. There was no fire, no smoke... it just sort of dropped down onto the road in front of me.
"He was able to get some ledgers from that bookie – you know, the guy with one ear? I've taken a look at the names but none ring a bell."
I kinda just sat there, not sure what to do. I wasn't upset or frightened about the plane crash. I wasn't even surprised. I was just frozen. Confused. I just stared at the twisted pile of metal and in my dream, I felt like it stared back at me.
"...but there is a margin notation talking about an 'RFR' in Looking Glass. That can't be a coincidence."
For some reason the plane tried to take off again, clanking and dragging its broken frame across the asphalt. I was suddenly struck with the notion that I had to stop it, but I couldn't. I tried to run into the street but every time I did, I found myself back on the stoop – staring at the plane. I started to panic. I felt like I couldn't breathe and the plane was still lurching down the street, scraping its fractured metal underbelly against the ground.
Then I woke up.
"I know you have expressed reservations about going back, but I really think we might be onto something now."
Wearily, I sat up in bed. I couldn't see him very clearly, but that wasn't unusual. The sharp pain in my side though, was.
"Jesus, what did you do to me?" I exclaimed hoarsely as I examined the large bruise stretched colourfully across my ribs.
"Please don't take the Lord's name in vain," he scolded politely.
"I don't believe in the Lord," I said, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and standing up from the bed.
"Don't worry," came his response, "He believes in you."
Personality: My first thought was that after years of failed relationships, occupational apathy and recreational drug use, my brain had finally just rolled over and checked out. I mean, what would you think if you started seeing and hearing someone who wasn't really there? I went through 4 months of shrinks, anti-anxiety meds and sleeping pills before I finally scrapped the whole thing and started really listening to him. I mean, if you are going to suffer from a delusional hallucination that won't go away, you might as well have a dialogue with it right?
He thinks he's a ghost – sent back from Heaven to deliver a message to his daughter. Only thing is he doesn't know who he was or who his daughter is. Convenient. I try to explain to him that he's just a manifestation of my own fucked up subconscious, but he doesn't listen. Ghosts, the afterlife, Heaven – these are all things for which we have no real evidence. They fly in the face of logic. What we DO have is volumes of research on schizophrenia, psychosis, neurological damage, bad mushrooms – hell, there are a million reasons why I see him which make more sense than me being haunted by some dead guy looking for his kid.
Whatever it is that's wrong with me though, it seems like the only way to get past this is to play along and see this thing through. Either I'll resolve whatever profound psychological issue my subconscious is dancing around or I'll end up a permanent resident of Crazyville. Fuck... maybe I'm already there.
| Supreme Superhuman strength. |
Can bench press a skyscraper.
|Standard Normal human agility.|
|Supreme Extremely tough. |
This fighter is built to last.
|Superior Highly educated and ingenious. |
A smart cookie.
I was willing to indulge my hallucination to an extent, but we needed to set up some ground rules first. He is very insistent about the whole "finding his lost daughter" thing but he has the luxury of being a figment of my troubled psyche. He doesn't have to work. He doesn't have to pay rent or keep the car out of hock. Hell he doesn't even need to sleep... but I do. Concessions needed to be made on both sides if this was going to work.
I've been a private dick for about 10 years now and make my meagre living chasing cheating spouses with a camera and some solid research. It's a terrible job, but I'm good at it. The agreement is that I set aside a few of my clients in favour of helping my hallucination out with some investigation. So I spend far too many days parked in front of a computer or on the phone tracking down leads he feeds me each morning. To be honest, we haven't made a lot of progress, which isn't surprising considering I don't think any of this bullshit is real.
In exchange, he has to calm down and let me work now and then. I can't do research from a cardboard box in the alley, so he has to just shut up and let me earn enough to stay afloat. More importantly, he needs to let me sleep. Between him yammering on non-stop about leads and of course... well... that other situation ... I was wrecked. Not that it's any less disturbing to try and sleep knowing he's there staring at me, biting his tongue and waiting impatiently for me to wake up. I'm getting used to it know though. That's probably a bad sign.
I'm not sure why it is that the Lord chose David to be my vessel on this journey. Clearly he has a gift when it comes to investigating the clues I'm able to provide him. When we began, I had only a few vague images to guide my way – my daughter's face, glimpses of places or events – it wasn't much to go on. To his credit, David's work has brought us a few promising breakthroughs, including the linkages to an organized crime syndicate operating out of Lowtown. I could never have made it this far without him.
- Power: Blending
- Kit Power Link: Avatar
Still, his lack of faith is disappointing. He has been chosen by God to help me find that which has been lost to me, yet he still refuses to believe. He thinks I am an illusion, a trick of the mind that he can't escape. If only he was aware, as I am, of our time conjoined into the being known as The Atheist. The reality of our nightly sojourns might be enough to convince him of our Divine Purpose. For now, he knows of it only what I tell him and of that he believes very little.
As unpleasant as it may be, we both need The Atheist. His ability to remain unseen allows us to go places David will not, either due to legalities, apathy or cowardice. Usually all three. His abilities and strength flow from my otherworldly essence, and my will to find my daughter drives him. From David, he draws his street-smarts, keen eye and resourcefulness – along with a healthy dose of sarcasm and a flexible morality. It is an uneasy balance, but one which seems to work. I pray that it works in time.
I'm not an angel. I'm not a hallucination. To be honest, I have no idea what I am... but I know what I'm not. In the end though it doesn't make a lick of difference, because I've got a kid to find. Why? Who knows? Who cares? I just do. It's all that matters.
- Power: Phasing
- Kit Power Link: Avatar
This is exactly why I'm the only one who can get this job done. The angel doesn't have the balls to accept the full extent of his power. He doesn't have the backbone to break his God's rules to do what needs doing. He's trapped by his faith and his humility. It's pathetic.
David is no better. He is so convinced that he's crazy that he won't accept the reality smacking him right in the face. Apathy, self-pity and an unwavering commitment to his own view of how the world operates has left him impotent. It makes me sick just thinking about it.
Two beings, both trapped - the angel by his faith and David by his lack of faith. Stuck in their little boxes unable to escape. Unable to function. Unable to find the kid. This is why I'm The Atheist. I don't believe in anything. God's not real and the world's not real and I'm not real. This wall isn't real, this door isn't real and the fist I just put through that man's face isn't real.
The only thing that's real is the kid – and I've gotta find her.