April 6th 2009
My alarm clock kicked me out of my deep slumber at around five-thirty each morning. It was routine to slap it off with a grumble and stomp into the bathroom for a shower. Checking my email, and my Facebook before classes was also normal. Clicking a link to download Pesterchum, a portable chat client, and installing it on my phone, however, was not. Even if it ended up being the best thing I ever did. Pushing up from my computer and running a hand through my short, fluffy hair, I slid my phone into my pocket and grabbed my bag.
I met my best friend, Gambrill Mason outside my apartment complex. We were in the same classes at the local college, so we carpooled in the mornings.
“Hey Kalvin!” Gam chirped, his black mop of hair flopping everywhich way as he bounced like an excited puppy. I gave him a smile. “Hey, Whats up?”
“Not much my brother. Got my spider and dragon sisters coming over today.”
Gam called everyone his brother or sister. The guy was an awkward cross between a stoner and an ancient monk or something. At least he wasn’t high now. It was hard to deal with Gam this early if he was flying like a kite. Our car ride consisted of Gam ranting about ICP-a musical group he felt insulted clowns everywhere-and how it was a misplaced miracle that they had gotten any fame at all. I just nodded because I don’t really care. My phone vibrated in my pocket, making me jump. I reached down for it as it vibrated again. It was the Pesterchum download. Someone was ‘Pestering’ me.
timedApocalypse [TA] began pestering carmineGenetics [CG] at 6:04
TA: hello 2tranger
CG: WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?
TA: rude aren’t you?
CG: NOT REALLY
TA: 2eriiou2ly? Ugh. Nevermiind.
TA: my name is 2ollan
CG: DON’T EXPECT ME TO TELL YOU MY NAME
TA: ii already know your2 though
TA: iits kalviin, right?
CG: HOW THE HELL DID YOU KNOW THAT?
TA: because ii do
TA: iive 2een your u2ername before.
CG: I SHOULD REPORT YOU FOR STALKING ME OR SOMETHING
TA: well, you could do that
TA: but that2 not a2 fun for u2.
CG: THIS IS FUN?
CG: COULD HAVE FOOLED ME.
TA: kalviin, ii make iit fun.
CG: THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK
TA: thiink? ii know.
TA: but ii diidn’t me22age you for witty banter, 2marta22.
CG: THEN WHAT DO I OWE MY EXCESSIVE HATRED TO?
TA: ii'm trying two tell you.
CG: GET ON WITH IT
TA: ii am ii am, 2hee2h
TA: 2ee, ive been hearing voice2. In my head.
TA: and ii know ii don’t know you, really,
TA: but 2omeone i know 2aiid to me22age you
TA: because you can help me.
CG: YOU’VE GONE INSANE.
CG: TAKEN AN ACROBATIC FUCKING PIRROUTE OFF THE DEEP END.
CG: I’M NOT DEALING WITH THIS
TA: KK, wait
TA: help me
I didn’t know what to do. Sollan sounded like another one for the nuthouse, but something about him seemed almost familiar. I was admittedly unnerved.
CG: CAN YOU WAIT UNTILL I GET OUT OF MY GOGDAMN CLASSES?
TA: ii’m not sure. maybe.
CG: I CAN’T BELIEVE IM DOING THIS
CG: BUT ILL BE BACK IN AN HOUR
CG: IVE GOTTA GO. GOOD LUCK FUCKASS
TA: thank you KK
CarmineGenetics [CG]ceased pestering timedApocalypse [TA] at 6:28
My biology class ticked by at the slowest rate possible, as though the universe itself didn’t want me to succeed in cheering up strange online mental patients-which wasn’t unlikely, I guess.
When class was finally, blessedly over, I was surprisingly egar to chat with Sollan.
CarmineGenetics [CG]began pestering timedApocalypse [TA] at 7:22
TA: way to steal my typing quiirk jacka22.
TA: were iin the 2ame town, by the way.
TA: can we meet up?
CG: IM GOING TO REGRET THIS
My ride-Gam-still had another class today, and it was normal for me to grab a coffee at the café on campus while I waited for him.
CG: can you meet me at the campus café at the Com-College?
TA: your quiirk2 2sliipping
CG: SHUDDUP. I CAN JUST SEE THAT SMIRK
CG: CAN YOU JUST MEET ME THERE?
TA: yeah. iim actually close.
CarmineGenetics [CG]ceased pestering timedApocalypse [TA] at 7:47
I sat in the corner table if the café, where I had a great of the door. A tall man with long legs and arms and no body fat to speak of pushed the door open. His black short sleeved tee seemed inappropriate for the chilly April weather, but who was I to judge? I wore my turtlenecks all year round. He glanced around the room, and I returned my eyes to the door. Not that I knew what I was looking for.
The tall man walked over to my table and plopped down across from me.
“Hello Kalvin. I’m Thollan.” He greeted-cheery for a schizophrenic maniac-and oh my god that lisp. It was surprisingly sexy.
“Hey,” I grumbled, sipping my soda.
“Look, I know thith ith weird, but I need you to trutht me, KK.” He pleaded. “We don’t have time to argue.”
I couldn’t say no to that-cute-lisp, or those mismatched eyes, which sparkled-GOG IM GETTING SAPPY! But they DO!-behind his 3D-glasses.
“Fine” I ground out.
“Awethome. Look KK, we have ethactly one week before everyone in town is dead. Maybe even the whole world.” He pushed his hair back and mumbled, “The voiceth have never been thith loud before.”
I blinked, “Are you some kind of prankster? Or a terrorist?”
“Ath if. I’m jutht curthed. I can hear people. Dead people. People who will die. Talking.”
This was getting weird. I don’t know myself why I trusted him. Maybe it was his innocent face. It must have been.
“Let’s say you are. Why tell me?” I was actually genuinely curious.
“Becauthe. Karkat thaid you would make thith thtop. If I thtayed with you.”
“Angry internet troll. He’th CarthinoGenticitht.”
“You listen to advice given to you by internet trolls?”
Sollan blushed. “Not alwayth!” he protested. “Bethideth, he wath telling the truth. I feel great now.”
“Glad I could help, then. I guess.”
We sat quietly for a second.
“It’s inevitable?” I finally asked.
“What, the end of the world?” Sollan sighed. “Yeth.”
I felt a pang in my chest. “I don’t believe that.”
I wanted to curl into myself forever. The idea of dying had always been a black abyss I would avoid with every ounce of my being. It was unknown, foreign. Frightening. I pulled my knees onto the bench and nosed my chin between my knees.
“Kalvin?” Sollan was watching me carefully. He stood and walked over to my side of the booth, wrapping his arms around my body. I felt a panicked sob rising in my chest, and realized I hadn’t been taking my meds lately. “I’m thorry” Sollan whispered, running his fingers through my hair, making shooshing noises between whispers of apology. He led me out the door and to a shady tree on campus, where he sat with me until I stopped shaking. All the while he shooshed me quietly, with his forehead resting on my hair and his breath warm and tickling on my ear.