A Story’s a Story | Over the River: TEoJK #25

Son of a Bitch

• • •

“Never again,” Jonathan Knox, “will I trust a backwoodsman.”

The tree bark digs into his back, hurts like a son of a bitch, more so on the inhale than the exhale, but yet he doesn’t move. Jonathan Knox hobbl’d so furiously away his entire body began to drool – sweat, that is, not blood – and like a human being he let it go on until the lenses of his glasses were so fogged up he couldn’t see where he was going, until the problem was at the point that he had to stop what he was doing just to get a handle on it.

“When I first woke up I was so grateful,” said between pants of hot and stinking breath. It’s been literal years, probably even decades since Jonathan Knox brushed his teeth. “Even when I saw the shirtless picture I thought they would be fine. A little cooky, sure, but fine. They carried me half-dead from the woods and patched up my foot, why would I have been suspicious?”

The wind carries the acrid smells of cinder and gunpowder. The cabin is gone, there’s no doubt about that, and the Does are probably gone along with it. Oh well. At least they went down in a blaze of glory, right? And Cletus evidently got to use those dragon’s breath shotgun rounds he lectured to Jonathan Knox about between bouts of carnally and shamelessly fucking his wife in front of him.

“Even the sex I could’ve been okay with. Probably. Maybe. After a while.” He shudders. The bark bites down hard during this shudder. “But I wouldn’t’ve had the chance to be there long enough to get used to it either way. They were going to eat me. How fucking twisted, how fucking depraved do you have to be to give into the urge to cook and consume human flesh? Like, what the fuck?”

See, originally, I was going to have Jonathan Knox find out that Cletus and Courtney were siblings, but I felt like that might be too much for him. Felt like it might have made him consider giving up on life, kind of like I’m doing with this book.

“What the fuck, ‘man? Just what the fuck?” He broods for a moment with his mouth hanging slightly open. “And who the fuck were they shooting at?”

Just then, a rustling somewhere in the wood. The Universe must be feeling cheeky, the timing on this is too convenient… but anyway, it’s coming from somewhere off in the distance in front of him… or… no, it’s to his left. It always starts with the lef’.

No wait, it’s to his right. It’s coming closer, closer, it’s…

Oh, it’s coming from behind him. From the direction he was hobbling until he couldn’t walk on account’a all the eyeball fog. Footsteps, definitely the sound of footsteps. Bipedal footsteps. And… is… whistling? Oh my god, what if it’s a bigfoot? Bigfoots walk bipedally, bigfoots whistle! I would be so happy if it was a bigfoot, my interest in this book would be renewed in full if a bigfoot walked out from behind the tree right now.

Closer, it’s coming closer. The bigfoot is coming clooooooos

Oh. It’s just a ‘man. Male, mid-late thirties. Dude’s dressed in raggedy clothing, jeans with pulls and holes everywhere but the knees, a black hoodie, one of those hats with a racoon’s tail floppin’ off the back. Stubble. That’s no bigfoot, that’s just some off-gridder wandering through the woods. Ugh.

You ever set out to do something, like… take a solo walk in the woods, or even make a book in order to destroy a Universe properly? Yeah? Okay, so you’re going along and it’s all great, you’re having the time of your life, you might even be whistling a tune as the ‘coon tail flops around and tickles the back of your neck, and then you suddenly find some dude dressed in slacks and a dirty white button-down sat against a tree sweating his balls off. No? Y’never been there? Well let me tell you, it’ll fuck you up a little bit if you go. It’ll break your stride. It’ll make you stop and hunker down and ask the human why, it’ll make you ask why the ‘man is leaning against a tree huffing and puffing like he’s totally out of breath, it’ll make you ask why the smell of arson is in the air, it’ll make you question what you’re doing in the woods in the first place, why you’re giving this Universe one last final hurrah when you’re just going to obliterate it all at the end of this book anyway.

Like, what the hell is the point of this?

“You all right, buddy?” asks the ‘man with the raccoon cap. “You look like someone stuck you with a gun and told you Get runnin’ before I get shootin’.”

Jonathan Knox looks up at the wanderer feeling as puzzled as I am over the fact that this book is still going on.

“What?” he asks. “What’d I say?”

“No,” says Jonathan Knox, “you ju–… I mean, you practically hit the nail on the head. I’m kind of taken aback.”

Fine, but when is someone going to hit my nail on the head? I’m all alone on Planet Eden with no Eve to keep me company and I haven’t seen Psychedelia once since she got me so high that we came up with the stupid idea for this stupid Universe’s stupid continuity. Why won’t anyone ask Me if I’m all right? Is no one My buddy?

“Good grief,” says raggedy ‘man. He offers Jonathan Knox a hand, and Jonathan Knox hesitates. Then, he takes it. “That’s a boy. Tell me if I’m speaking out of pocket here, guy, but you look like you have no place to go and a story to tell.”

Why won’t someone give me a place to go? Maybe I have a story to tell. Maybe it’s better than this stupid Fall of the Seven Earths bullshit too, y’know? Mayb

A man dressed in a full black suit with a white undershirt, a black fedora, sunshades, a purple necktie, goatee, you get the goddamn picture, appears out of thin air and hollers, “Shut the fuck up, you annoying son of a bitch! It’s not about you! It’s bad enough you force us to write these books for you, now we have to transcribe your… your… whatever the fuck this is?? NO! Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, just make the goddamn book!” then vanishes. Neither Jonathan Knox nor the random guy are aware of The Suited Man’s little episode just now, um, because it occurred thirteen feet above the water dead center over Lake Atacama.

“Okay, I see,” says Jonathan Knox, leaning against the tree again. He supposes he should be afraid, but honestly, he’s way too tired to give a shit right now. “You must recognize me.”

“Nope,” flats the ‘man. “I’m an off-gridder, I don’t fuck with the Socials or any of TICC’s bullshit. Don’t even have a cellular, and all my guns are old-style, the kind that shoots ammo that leaves a shell when it’s fired.”

Jonathan Knox cocks a brow. “Don’t all guns sh–… actually, never mind.” He stands, despite his throbbing foot and general malaise. “You don’t know me?”

“I don’t,” confirms the ‘man. “We could change that, though. The name’s Cody.”

“Cody what?”

“Nothing.” Cody spits on the ground, but it doesn’t come off as disrespectful. It’s just the ground. “And you are?”

“Jonathan Knox,” says Jonathan Knox. “And that might be the only part of my story that you believe.”

“Maybe,” Cody shrugs. “But a story’s a story. Come on, walk and talk with me. You say you’re on the run; the place I’m going might be the best place in the world for you right now.”

“Maybe so,” Jonathan Knox admits, “but it’ll be slow going. I’ve a bad foot.”

Cody shrugs, physically this time. “So you do. I won’t leave you behind.”

“All right. Then let’s go.”

So they go. All’s quiet at first. Then, Cody reminds Jonathan Knox to tell his story.

“Oh yeah, right. So… I guess it all started when I crawled out of the lake…”

This has been the fifth subchapter of the second chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:

Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox

Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:

The Fall of the Seven Earths

The Hillside Commons is an actual library of content. Click here to peruse.

If supporting The Hillside Commons is something you want to do, click here for the GoFundMe.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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