Man writes one page a day to a series of seven novels, every day, never stopping until he is finished. Horror meets modern-day Lord Of The Rings in this tale spanning 70,000 years about a twenty-four year old named Marvin and his encounters with an ancient anomaly known only as the "Harvester".
“Dude you know she’ll do it! She’s such a fuckin’ whore”.
The taller of the three was clearly the worst versed. He appeared to be the oldest, but only stuck out because of his thick black goatee. Something about the latin chick led Marvin to believe that she was one of the men’s “friends with benefits”. The conversation continued on as the shortest, fattest boy spoke.
“I know dude, but she’s got shit on her. Steve banged that bitch and he’s got warts I heard.”
The latin chick, as Marvin quickly learned, was called “Jem”. He never got her real name, but that was what the three degenerates seemed to be calling her. She looked like a slut, somebody from the city who lived with fourteen of her family members. Her exposed midriff and large hoop earrings eluded to the prostitute in her, giving away her goods for single digit dollar amounts. Marvin felt bad for stereotyping her, but he was feeling especially angry that day. He wouldn’t realize it, but his distaste for those around him would soon intensify.
“Buy me something Pete, I want a burger.”
Ahh, Pete. He looks like a Pete. What a fag, I know he’s got shit on him. What are they talking about? Fuck, I bet they all have somethin’ crawlin on ‘em.
Marvin thought to himself as the four got their food and departed. He knew people like that back in Wilkes-Barre, but they had much less money. His father always told him “Money breeds ignorance”, a word of advice coming from one who lavished in wealth himself. Marvin always took Chauncey’s words with a grain of salt, knowing well his fathers hypocrisy. He could tell that the majority of people he’d meet from here on out would be of the same nature.
Setting sun rays shot through the mosaic restaurant window like hundreds of tiny piercing daggers. The heat they supplied reminded Marvin of his bed back home. Thoughts of comfort relaxed his extremities, and the time for leaving prompted him to his feet. Passing by the exit corridor, Marvin stopped off at the rest room furthest down the hall.
Upon entry, he could see the walls were paneled with off white tile, outlined with mildew caressing the grooves between each square. It reeked of neglect, characterized by the smell of vomit mixed with old cheese and expired milk. Marvin wasn’t thinking, neglecting to take a last minute breath before entering. His mind wasn’t at ease that day. He was careless.
Inside, Marvin ordered a Whopper Junior with cheese and a 6 piece chicken nugget combo with a small diet coke. He always had sweet and sour sauce to go with his nuggets, and his Junior Whoppers always lacked onions. He had to pay an extra twenty-five cents for a second sweet and sour packet, but the women behind the counter could sense his strife. A freebie of this magnitude granted Marvin a quick rush of happiness.
Hopefully people are this nice where I’m going. Man it’s fuckin cold in here. There’s so many cars in the city. Who am I going to ask for directions? I wonder if moms alright..
The burger was warm, but cool enough to tell that it was assembled shorty before his arrival. As Marvin bit into some soggy onions, the joy stemming from the free sauce packet quickly slipped away.
Fucking onions. I hate this shit.
The diet coke was flat, flatter than a diet should taste. Marvin hated diet coke but was determined to cut sugars from his daily intake. He was pushing 140 and stood only 5’4”. Being so short, he was never one to participate in athletic activities. By cutting sugars, he hoped to counter act his weight problem. The burger joints weren’t helping his case. It’s wasn’t that he was fat, rather thick around the waistline and thighs. Progress came slowly, and Marvin found that the more off track he got, the angrier he became.
As he finished up, three white guys and a latin chick burst through the entrance door, carrying on about a party that they had gone to previously during the week. Marvin could hear their shrill cries and listened on incognito.
A half hour had passed since the stand off at the smut stained billboard and Marvin barely noticed. The long stretch of road had quickly turned to highway, with three lanes wedged between the outside shoulder and jersey wall. Four miles separated him from the capital, and Marvin needed to find his way before getting lost further. Traffic had begun to increase and he always felt uneasy in cramped spaces. Whenever Marvin had come to York in the past, one of his friends would have driven him. The role of passenger rendered him neglectful of the mechanical ballet that brought him there. This was the first time in three years since Marvin’s last outing, and lost was an understatement.
A couple more exits flew past before the mid-sized SUV found its way to the town of Lemoyne. A Burger King and KFC claimed two corners at the end of the off ramp. Across the intersection, he could see a Quik Fill and a Hess gas station. Hunger was becoming more of a priority and Marvin refused fried poultry. As the light turned green, Marvin whipped the 4-runner into a vacant space near the end of the parking lot. The smell of charred beef and mayonnaise pierced through the atmosphere with ease, causing certain memories to dissipate while preparing him for the long road ahead.
He hadn’t stepped outside since stopping at the Wal-Mart back in Danville, and Marvin could deduce that it was slightly cooler out now.The temperature inside the 4-runner had been dramatically warmer than the air outside. Marvin could feel a slight shiver reaching into his lower back as he slowed his pace across the parking lot expanse.
It was a little after 4:00 by the time he’d arrived, and more people had flocked to the eating establishment for an early evening dine in. As he opened the swinging door, two black women in their late forties had been walking out, both talking on blue tooth headsets and looking like fools. The people of the city always talked as if they were in a hurry, and Marvin suddenly felt the distance from home.
Billy looked pleased. He wasn’t one to converse with those in the scene, but he could tell Marvin was a musician like himself. He nodded as he reached back into his coat pocket again, this time to pluck out a cigarette.
“Haha sure man. Let me see that.”
Marvin handed the pen to Billy. Quickly, the young teen scribbled a mess of words on the back of the tour poster that closely resembled an e-mail address. He handed it back to Marvin, then began to dress himself in preparation for the chill looming outside. His jacket was tight and thin, made of wind breaker material and lacking any real insulation.
“I don’t do myspace, but you can e-mail me here. My names Bill. I live in Shrewsbury, just outside of York near the Maryland line.”
Billy pulled out a pink bic lighter, the last in a multicolor five pack. He motioned toward the back of the room where the boys who were skateboarding now sat chilled, smoking herb and tobacco by a set of double doors. He spoke once more.
“Hit me up, bro.”
Marvin didn’t smoke, and as a result moved himself in the opposite direction. His business was through here, but the clock had just begun. Without realizing it, Marvin had inadvertently set in motion a series of events worthy of changing history for all of mankind. He would never know the implications of his actions. He just wanted to get home to his bed and retire there.
The parking lot was filled with kids and their mothers, some fathers, and others who didn’t seem to fit in at all. Marvin was halfway through the cars and mini-vans when he caught sight of his 4-runner in the distance. Resting against the hood stood a female body whom Marvin knew quite well. It was Stephanie, and her eyes glistened under the parking lot lamp lights.
Billy grabbed the stickers and placed them between the jewel case and his thumb.
“You can have it. I don’t really try to sell these things anymore. Just don’t let the other guys see.”
Billy reached out to hand over the package. He was tired. Marvin assumed they’d been running on three or four hours of sleep at best. Oddly, It didn’t seem like the first thing on Billy’s mind. There was an underlying trouble hidden in his belly. Something tore at him, ravaging his conscience. In an alternate timeline, Marvin would have learned of it. Nine years would pass until they’d be ready. Fate would bring them together once again at that very moment, during a time when both men were more disciplined and aware of the dangers lurking just outside their doorstep.
“Man, are you sure?”
Marvin looked distraught, knowing this amount of money could buy a quick meal down at Hardee’s or any random truck stop. It wasn’t much, but it would stave off hunger for at least another night.
“Don’t worry man, just glad you like the tunes.”
Marvin took the bundle and put it in his inside coat pocket. He was wearing a long black pea coat with oversized white acrylic buttons. It didn’t match the rest of his outfit, but he was originally there to see Stephanie. She’d bought him the jacket a couple months prior, so Marvin felt compelled to wear it whenever he saw her.
The two shook hands and Marvin let on that he wanted to say something more. Billy could see it too, granting him a lingering moment to do so.
“My names Marvin.”
Billy waited as a few of his band mates fought for his attention from across the room. His eyes locked firmly with Marvins, waiting for more.
“I play music too, mostly piano and keyboard stuff. Maybe we could do a project or something?”
Just then, Marvin reached for a pen resting next to a stack of cheaply printed tour posters. Amid his advance, Billy snatched up one of the papers from the pile and shuffled it forward. Marvin continued on.
“I can give you my e-mail address or myspace or whatever.”
Billy’s eyes widened as he reached around a chair for his jacket. He fumbled for a bit and pulled out a wallet of identical shape and design. Marvin recognized it almost instantly.
“Mine doesn’t have the chain though. I took it off after it kept getting stuck on my rig.”
The room was full with chicks who were all too into themselves. Boys with skateboards ravaged the concrete loading docks just outside the back of the venue. The Kaleidoscope Lounge was an under 21 club for kids to hang out and get together without fear of getting jumped or abducted by truck drivers passing through town. It also served as a place to keep drugs out of teen hands, but the youth who frequented there knew better. Williamsport was aging and the floundering economy hit the town hard. Heroine dealers prospered as trafficking channels began to establish on the towns south end. It was late now, going on eleven o’clock.
“Man, I’ve had this wallet for like, four years now.”
Billy talked as if he and Marvin were close friends. His words seemed calm and unforced, like those of a close relative.
“It’s something I can’t really part with, but..you keep because it seems like something that defines you.”
The tone in Billy’s voice became more serious and Marvin could tell something was bothering him. He didn’t want to seem disinterested, but other appointments required his attention that couldn’t bear to wait much longer.
“Well how much for the disc bro?”
Billy looked into the merch box and grabbed a couple stickers poking through loose change and crinkled papers. Marvin assumed them directions to the next venue, hotel or camp ground. He couldn’t quite see them, but the money tray was in plain sight. The safe contained three 20s and a couple 5s, just enough to get them close to Rochester. Marvin suddenly felt a sense of pity. Staring longly, his gaze was cut short by Billy’s flickering tongue.
Marvin’s voice choked back a bit, sounding raspy from anticipation. He cleared his throat and spoke again.
“I like your guys’ style. I think I’ll pick up a CD.”
Billy nodded and reached his hand out to Marvin. His palms were sweat covered and clammy, but rough enough to show that they had the experience. His voice was higher in pitch, hinting at his age despite the bands hard work and dedication.
“Thanks man. We’re actually on our way up to New York. We have a show in Rochester on Sunday.”
Marvin thought to himself. It was Friday and he was supposed to see his girlfriend Stephanie Blevins that night. They’d been fighting for the past couple of days over prom and other issues. He was 20 then, and Stephanie was in her senior year of high school. The district upheld a strict policy barring any individual over the age of 18 from attending their school functions. Stephanie was sure that Marvin would be fine, implementing a so called “reverse fake I.D.” to fool the faculty and staff of his age. Still, he had his doubts.
“We’re playing at a venue called the Penny Arcade. I hope kids come out.”
Back to the conversation, Marvin could see the doubt in Billy’s eyes. They scanned the room in every direction, never truly coming in contact with the curly haired boy presently making his acquaintance. The band was just starting out, and Marvin could see it on their clean shaven faces. They were close to home, and the dreams of stardom had just begun to take shape. He could still see something though. Marvin had seen that kind of fear coupled with excitement before, yet the memory of such a time had long since passed.
Feeling hopeful, Marvin reached a dry skin chapped hand into his back right pocket. A silver chain rattled loftily, connecting a bi-fold wallet to the belt loop of his Levi’s 501 blue jeans. Inside, two 20s, three 5s and nine 1s lay tucked away within the folds. The wallet was leather with a picture of a Phoenix on the front of it. The bird’s sharp tipped wings melded with the cows hide, etched and worn away due to times constant advancement.
Marvin’s hair was short and very curly, resembling tight knit springs locked within a permanent configuration. It was jet black, the color of freshly lain black top spilling from a pick up truck flatbed. Marvin insisted on taking two showers daily. His hair would become grease laden by mid day, and that quality never suited him much. Marvin couldn’t work a comb to save his life, so he picked out what little bits he had. Over time, an oblong shaped afro had begun to consume his flakey scalp.
Marvin had two good friends. One was a boy named Randy Hicks, a tall blonde haired skateboarding enthusiast who liked to take risks. They knew each other since pre-school and always meshed well together. They were neighbors and practically brothers. Marvin liked it this way and they always kept things cool.
The other was a kid named Billy Spencer. Billy lived in Shrewsbury, a town roughly thirty miles south of where Marvin was now heading. He’d met Billy three and a half years prior in Williamsport at a small venue called the Kaleidoscope Lounge. Billy played the bass guitar in a band called The Good Faith Agreement, hailing from a small suburb just outside of York. They played mostly pop rock, a genre of music far too soft for Marvin’s taste but good enough to give them a thorough evaluation.
After their set, Marvin traversed his way over to the groups merch table. He wasn’t the first in line, trailing behind glitzy teen girls who wished to spend their mommy’s smaller bills on home made tee shirts and poorly pressed self recordings. Maning the booth was a female friend of the band named Larissa Norlan as well as the bassist himself. The band was use to smaller crowds. They enjoyed the closeness of their fans, and the decreased risk of uninterested listeners boosted their confidence.
Marvin watched Billy closely from the beginning of their first song until their closing number. Since taking piano lessons at the age of 7, Marvin was no stranger to the language of music. He admired the skill and technique of Billy’s playing. He knew the guy could play the guitar as well just by watching his fingers move. After the line dwindled, Marvin walked casually as not to seem pompous. Questions loomed within the reaches of his mind and Billy greeted him with a smile that would bind them to a story far greater than they both could have ever imagined.
These and other thoughts filtered through Marvin’s mind that day, the heat getting the best of him. It was always this way, having two parents whom both of which had problems that directly affected his life. Maybe that was why he decided to attend York College, a short jaunt roughly four hours south of his home town up north. He’d been to York before, but only a few times. The York Fair was known in states as far south as North Carolina. Marvin would take the trip each September with friends he knew from around the area. They were nobody close and always different each year. Sometimes he’d bunk with them, sleeping with young girls he’d never known or really cared about. This year he was going for different reasons. He was also alone.
In addition to his jeans, Marvin was sporting a brown leather belt that cracked in places from normal wear. It needed an upgrade, but those things never mattered to him much. He wore a pair of black and white Chuck Taylor’s that he’d recently bought at the thrift store his mother frequented just before her arrest. The employees never liked the Rest family from that point on. As a result, Marvin would try his best to piss off the young women who worked there. Three of them, always covered up in billowy colored blouses that screamed of pleas for individuality.
Amid his hatred, though, Marvin longed to fit in with the hipsters he so strongly despised. He’d always try to keep his look clean, foregoing spike collars and outlandish hairstyles for chain wallets and track jackets. Today Marvin wore something a bit more conventional, given the blaze outside of his motorized chariot. His upper torso fashioned a simple black and gold Tee shirt with the words Delone Catholic spread across the chest. Below the writing, a graphic of a cartoon squire stood its ground while adorned in a suit of armor. He never knew where the school was located, but the shirt was cheap and it fit him well.
But now she was 48 and living off the spoils of a man she once gave up her life to be with. Time didn’t mean anything anymore, only when it came to keeping it from moving forward. Marion got pregnant at the age of 26 after meeting with local architect Chauncey Rest at Josie’s on a Tuesday. She’d just wrapped up a parent-teacher conference with parents of self-acclaimed artist Hannah Ghast, who as of late had been painting pictures of naked boys dancing circles around statues in ancient Greece. It wasn’t for certain as to why or how she understood such things. There was a possibility that the young girls parents could shine some light on the situation. This, as was the case most times, proved futile.
Marvin’s mother never did understand that little girl, or her mother and father for that matter. The couple, who had grown up living off the wealth of a relative who worked in the coal industry, seemed content with their daughter’s talents. The young child clung to a forte most fitting, crafting illustrations spawned from absent boundaries and unsupervised curiosity.
Marion lacked any real talents. No skills, no passions, and no faith keeping her from becoming what she feared the most. It took time, and that passing of which took the worst toll on her than she could have ever imagined. She separated from Chauncey when Marvin turned 11. She turned into a monster.
When Marvin was thirteen, Marion was taken into custody after an alcohol fueled robbery at a local thrift store, stealing what amounted to a mere $14.67. Two hand bags and a pair of heels earned her thirty days behind bars. After her release, she agreed to attend therapy on the condition that she stay sober for the next eight months while reporting weekly to her assigned probation officer. The humiliation tore Marvin apart, eventually leading to his closeness with his father. Odd as it was, his father never wanted him in the first place.