"You remember me?" Red said, blinking his eyes rapidly, trying
not to let himself cry.
Argento rushed into the room. "The ambulance is oh, my God," he
"It's ok, Frank," Red said. "I took care of it." He watched
as Argento looked around the room. At the formerly late Alison Innes, black
lipstick smiling up at Red. At the dumbstruck Mr. Innes, not quite prepared
for his daughter's suicide, let alone her resurrection. At Father David Patrick,
the pedophiliac priest who performed the miracle, now lying back, exhausted
and completely naked, on the floor.
A loud knock came from the front door.
"That's the paramedics!" Argento said. "Mr. Innes, we need
to get this man some clothes. Mr. Innes!"
His gaze finally snapped away from his daughter and up to Argento's face. "What?
Yes, yes, of course," he said, rising, awkwardly, escorting Argento and
Patrick into his bedroom.
From downstairs came the sounds of Mrs. Innes letting in the paramedics. "Just
play along with me," Red told Alison, helping her to her feet. He took
off his jacket and threw it onto the ground, covering up the gash in the floor
his sword had made. When the emergency workers burst through the doorway,
Red and Alison were sitting on the side of the bed. Alison was holding Chaser,
petting him. "Hi there," Red said to the EMTs.
"Where is she?" the first EMT said.
"This is she," said Red, "But there's been some mistake." He
lowered his voice a bit. "Her mother has a tendency to get a little,
you know, hysterical. Alison was only sleeping, but dressed the way she is… you
get the picture. It was a misunderstanding."
Red saw the Argento and company come out of the other bedroom, Patrick now
wearing a blue sweater and some gray sweats. "You're telling me," said
the EMT, "That she was just sleeping and you thought she had killed herself?"
"Hey, not me, I didn't think so, no, but… you know. No one listened
to me. Anyway, everything is fine now, everyone's ok."
"Are you alright, miss?" he said to Alison.
"I'm peachy," she said, squeezing Red's arm. "I haven't seen
this guy in ages!"
"We're terribly sorry to have bothered you," Argento said, "I'm
sure you're very busy people, so we won't keep you."
"Is this your house, sir?" the EMT asked.
"It's mine," said Mr. Innes. Argento shoved Patrick into Alison's
room and shut the door before escorting the paramedics out with Mr. Innes.
"Red, what is going on?" Alison asked. "I don't see you for
a few years and all of a sudden… I don't even know what is going on
enough to say all of a sudden what."
Red sat Patrick down in the chair in front of Alison's desk. "Just stay
there and keep quiet. You really remember me?" Red said, returning to
"Red," she said, looking at him funny, "It hasn't been that long. Now, who is that guy? What are you doing here? Why are we both dressed
"Both?" he said, "You didn't put those clothes on?"
"Me? Of course not! And how did we get to my parent's house?"
"You mean, instead of your apartment?"
"Yeah, last thing I remember I was… I was in my apartment, just
about to go meet some people for lunch."
"Oh, this is great," said Red, "This is wonderful."
"You did it. You sick disgusting bastard, you did it!"
"What did I do now?" Patrick asked, turning to face them.
"What, Red, please, tell me!" Alison said.
"Ok, but you're not going to believe a word of it. Not at first."
"You may find this hard to believe," Argento said, "But I'm
hoping that the resurrection of your daughter who was, most assuredly, dead
will go some way in convincing you that what I say is indeed true."
Alison, Red, Mr. & Mrs. Innes, and Father Patrick were all seated around
the Innes household living room. Argento stood before them, endeavoring to
explain the situation.
"Now, Red has already explained all this to your daughter, but from,
ah… a slightly different point of view. Ah, let's see… Red, you
see, Red is, ah… a Saint. He has been appointed by a… a very powerful
Christian organization that acts in the name of God."
"The moral majority?" said Mr. Innes.
"No," said Argento, "No, more powerful, more secret. I also
work for this, ah, religious agency. When Red was ah… inducted into
this agency, a miracle was performed, a miracle which… which erased
him from the memory of every person not a part of our agency. Before this
occurred, Red and your daughter had been close, ah, friends. You, of course,
knew him as well. And back then, she was a… a rather well adjusted young
woman with… with her own apartment in Brooklyn and friends and such.
And somehow afterwards… she was suicidal, as you know. Leading us to
believe that Red, ah… had a rather large impact on her life.
"The, ah, the odd part is that when she was brought back to life… she
was healed by this, ah, gentleman of sorts here. And somehow he rather… healed
her mind as well! Ha ha… so you see, ah, there we are."
The Inneses merely stared at him.
"The practical upshot of which," Argento continued, "is that
although you, and the rest of the world, remembers a daughter named Alison
who was hideously depressed and repeatedly tried to kill herself, Alison herself
remembers a pleasant life in which she had very few complaints. So, really
it's good news."
Mrs. Innes looked like she was going to cry. Again. Mr. Innes turned to his
daughter. "Honey, you don't remember us taking you to the hospital? Three
years ago. They had to… pump your stomach. I held your hand all night
long, stayed right by your bedside."
"No, daddy," said Alison, "I don't… Three years ago
I was going to Columbia. I was dating Jonathan. Did I… did I even know
Mr. and Mrs. Innes exchanged a pitiful look just before Mrs. Innes did burst
into tears once more. Alison's father looked over at his daughter but immediately
broke eye contact as he shook his head.
"This is going to take some getting used to," Alison said.
"Hey, I've got it," said Red, "Can't we just have Patrick
heal their brains, too?"
"It's not really practical," said Argento. "Technically we
could heal Mr. and Mrs. Innes themselves, but then they too would have different
memories than the rest of the world. Who knows what kind of difficulties that
would cause, no, that's not really going to help. Although…"
"What?" said Red.
"We could always set Alison's mind back to-"
"No," said Red, "Forget it."
"From what I've heard about myself," Alison said, "I was not
a very happy person. I don't want to go back to that if I don't have to. Especially
since it wasn't the way I was intended to be in the first place. And while
we're on the subject, what gives you the right to muck around with people's
minds in the first place?"
"Well… God," said Argento.
"And if you do this miracle every time someone joins you, then doesn't
that mean the world you set out to protect and the one you actually end up
with are completely different ones?"
"We have people whose job it is to keep track of…"
"And do you follow up on all the bad things this causes? Would you have
tried to save me at all if the apocalypse was not at stake?"
"Red, I told you that was classified!"
"Not to mention the big question, if you can just rewrite the past,
why do you leave the big tragedies? Why leave war, and famine? Why leave September
11th? Why don't you just erase all memory of Osama Bin Laden?"
"Oh no, not again," said Mr. Innes.
"What?" said Alison, "What not again?"
"September 11th," Mr. Innes said. "The twin towers, you're
always going on about-"
"What are you talking about, Dad?" Alison said.
"Remember, this is not the same Alison you knew," said Argento. "I
cannot apologize enough for the confusion you must be feeling."
"What did I say about the towers?" Alison asked.
"You're…" Mr. Innes began, then, "You were always going
on about how you knew it was going to happen before hand, how it could have
been stopped, what a terrible place the world was where this would be 'let'
"Excuse me," Mrs. Innes said and ran upstairs.
Mr. Innes rose. "Thank you… for saving our daughter's life. You're… you're
welcome to stay the night."
"Thank you," said Argento, "But-"
"That would be wonderful, thank you, sir," Red said.
"There's a guest bedroom at the top of the stairs on the left, and the
couch down in the basement folds out into a bed," said Mr. Innes just
before disappearing upstairs. Red got the distinct impression that they would
not see the couple again for the night, even if it was barely six o'clock.
Argento turned to look at Red. Red tipped his head towards Alison, who seemed
pretty crushed by the whole ordeal. Argento looked over at Red again and sighed. "Alright,
we can stay. But just for one night."
"Thank you," said Red, "I appreciate it."
"Keep an eye on Patrick," he said, "I'll go to the van and
fetch the duct tape."
"Oh, come on, I've been good!" Patrick called out.
Back up in Alison's room, Red sat on the foot of the bed while Alison propped
herself up against her pillows at the head. Chaser had plopped himself down
directly between them, the better to be rubbed by both of them at once, which
they of course obliged.
"I don't know what I am going to do, Goggles," Alison said, "I
mean, half of this stuff isn't mine! Look at this." She gestured to a
poster on the wall. "Tool? Who listens to Tool? I don't even think I
can name a Tool song."
"There was that one with the twisted claymation video, with, like, the
pipes with all the meat in them. I forget what it was called," said Red.
"Oh, that was them? Huh. But still, all the CDs I really like are not
here. I'm lucky I have Chaser here. Yes, you, I am talking about you, you
cutie! And what was with all the make-up? And I'm going to have to buy practically
a whole new wardrobe. I was lucky to find anything this tame." She had
changed into a pair of old jeans from her high school days and a black T-shirt
that read "Got Blood?" on the front.
"You look great," Red said.
"It just sucks losing so many of my things like that."
"I lost all of my things," Red offered, consolingly.
"What?" said Alison, aghast, "They didn't let you take any
of your things with you?"
"No, that's not it, I just… there was this letter and I… I
didn't bring my stuff. I guess it was my fault. The only thing I brought was
the Christmas Card you sent me. Actually, I have it right here." He grabbed
his jacket off the floor and pulled the card out of his pocket.
"Hey, you got it already!" she said. "I must say, I wish you'd
come to visit under a bit happier circumstances. I've missed you so much.
Why did you never come visit? I invited you like fifty times!"
"I don't know," he said, lying back against the wall, "The
City… You know me; I've always been more of a homebody. I like to stay
in one place. I doubt I would have left any time soon if I hadn't… uh,
been, you know. Sainted."
"So, what's up with that? Why you? No offense. But you don't seem like
you're really… I don't know, one of them. Those people who'd decide
what is best for the world without its consent."
"So far it hasn't really been like that. That Patrick guy is a total
pervert and deserves anything he gets. He's insane, he was saving little sick
children and then molesting them and telling people it was the Second Coming."
"Sounds like it happened more than twice," said Alison.
"You're terrible! He also tried to get me to have sex with this little
"Did you do it?"
"What? You never know."
"You're awful!" Red said. "I would never."
"I don't know…"
"I am not a pedophile! I was completely-"
"I'm joking! I'm joking! Man, you are too easy. Always have been, Goggles."
Chaser hopped off the bed and made his way up to the top of Alison's dresser
where he began to thoroughly clean himself. Alison took the opportunity to
stretch herself out, putting her legs over Red's lap.
"You know I always had such a huge crush on you," she said.
Red wasn't drinking anything, but he felt the strong urge to go grab himself
a glass of something so he could take a sip and then spit it out all over
the place in shock. "What?" he asked.
"You know," she said. "You were so smart and interesting.
All the other guys I knew were busy worrying about stupid social nonsense,
while you were always off in the corner, memorizing Shakespeare."
"Memorizing… I forgot all about that… I think I still remember
"Do you really?"
"'Let not my love be call'd idolatry, nor my beloved as an idol
show, since all alike my songs and praises be, to one, of one, still such,
"Bravo," said Alison, clapping.
"I can't believe I still remember that! God, I never think about Shakespeare
anymore, it's so strange that I still remember it all."
"Do you remember all of it?"
"I don't know… test me."
"OK… Richard III, act two, scene one."
"Act two scene one… 'Why looks your grace-' wait, no… 'Why
so; - now have I done a good day's work - you peers continue this united
league: I every day expect an embassage from my Redeemer to redeem me hence;
in peace my soul shall part to heaven, since I have made my friends at
peace on earth.' Jesus Christ. Try Dickens."
"You did Dickens too?"
"Jeeze, I don't really know any Dickens…" Alison said. "Try… Great
Expectations chapter, I don't know… twenty. Are there twenty chapters
"There are fifty-nine, although the original version only had fifty-eight.
Chapter twenty… 'The journey from our town to the metropolis was
a journey of about five hours. It was a little past mid-day when the four-horse
by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about
the Cross Keys, Wood-street, Cheapside, London.' Although admittedly that
was an easy one since I read that book about fifty times."
"Jesus, like it much?"
"Yeah, I guess I did. This is really weird though…"
"I don't know, it just… I can't imagine just sitting around memorizing
books. It just seems so odd, but I guess… people change."
"You haven't changed that much, Goggles," she said, grabbing onto
his side and tickling him, "You're still a pushover for me!"
"Hey, cut it out!" he said, trying to stifle his own laughter.
"Shhh, you'll wake everyone," Alison chided.
"Stop tickling me then!"
"Oh, you're no fun," she said, letting up on him. She lay back
onto her pillows and pulled him next to her. "Remember the first time
we had a sleepover?"
"We colored Care-Bears coloring books and did Madlibs."
Alison burst out laughing. "Remember we were… oh man, for some
reason whenever they asked for an exclamation, we'd put 'Thanks for your support!'
and we thought it was the funniest thing ever!"
"Oh my God!" said Red, joining in her inexplicable laughter. "What
the hell was wrong with us?"
"Who knows…" she said. After their giggles subsided, they
just lay there, looking up at the ceiling for a minute. "You know what
I just realized?"
"What?" asked Red.
"I spent four years getting through undergrad… and no one remembers
it but me. I'm going to have to do it all over again. You can't become a teacher
without a degree."
"I'm sorry…" Red said.
"It's not your fault."
"Well, sort of."
"Not really. It's those weirdoes that drafted you. They left me as a
depressed Goth with some sort of Cassandra complex and now that I've been
'saved' I'm trapped in a world that's just a bit off from the one I grew up
in. My own parents are too freaked to talk to me for longer than five minutes.
What am I supposed to do?"
"I don't know," said Red. He looked over at her. Her shoulder length
brown hair was spread out around her head, darker than it used to be, likely
a dye-job by her darker half. "Maybe… maybe you could come with
me. I could tell them, I don't know. You're my assistant, or partner, or,
whatever. Fiancée or something."
"And have them erase all record of me, too? Doesn't sound like too much
fun," she said. "Not that it's really 'me' they remember now. I
don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do. But I know I'm glad you're
here with me, Red. And… I know I don't remember dying or anything, but… thanks
for saving my life. No matter what kind of psychedelic life I wake up to,
I'd rather be alive than dead, any day." She turned to face him. "So,
thanks." She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"What?" was the first thing Red heard the next morning. The voice
sounded like Argento's. Red looked around himself. He was still in Alison's
room. He had fallen asleep on the bed next to her. It was seven in the morning.
Alison was wearing the same clothes from last night, as was Red. Her hair
was a mess all around her and she was snoring very lightly. Chaser was asleep
on her chest. Red smiled. He could still hear Argento's voice, but much less
distinctly. He could still hear a very agitated edge in the voice, however.
He climbed over the two sleeping bodies as carefully as possible and made
his way out of the room. Argento's words soon faded into clarity as he entered
the guest bedroom he had apparently shared with the taped up Patrick who was
lying on the floor.
"We'll get right on top of it," he said into his cellular phone,
his back to Red. "You can count on us, sir, you won't regret it. Thank
you. God bless you." Upon hanging up the phone, he threw his cell phone
over his shoulder onto the bed and flopped down into a chair.
"What's wrong?" Red asked.
Argento turned around, startled. "Red, oh, I didn't see you there…"
"What happened? What did they say, on the phone? Was that Hayden?"
"Yes," he said. "It's nothing, it's just… nothing really."
"I thought our relationship was past this whole classified stage."
Argento looked down at the floor. "Alright, Red, alright. I don't have
the energy to do what needs to be done while fighting you, too, so you win."
"Cool, go me, I'm the champion, now what's going on."
"Remember when I mentioned the, ah… apocalypse earlier?"
"No, no, no," Red said. "We got that covered. We saved Alison."
"No," said Argento. "We didn't. She succeeded in killing herself.
The prophets still say the apocalypse will be here in less than two weeks."
"Just as I told you, that's when those things seem to happen."
"So, what can we do?"
"They don't know," Argento said. "That's what we need to figure
out, what Alison is involved with that could cause the Apocalypse."
Father Patrick kicked at the dresser.
"She's not really going to be all that much help in that department," Red
replied, "She doesn't even remember 'her life'."
Father Patrick kicked at the dresser.
"What the hell do you want?" Argento hissed, tearing the duct tape
off of Patrick's mouth, eliciting quite a yelp.
"I just wanted to take a stinking shower," said Patrick, teeth
clenched. "Is that alright with you, your holiness?"
"Whatever you think, Frank," Red said.
"Fine!" said Argento, "But it's got to be fast and if you
try anything funny you are going to regret it. Is that clear?"
"Fine, whatever," Patrick said he was dragged to his feet.
Argento tore the tape off Patrick's wrists and the sweater he'd been given
to wear, but as he crouched down to pull at the tape around the ankles, Patrick
toppled over onto the bed, his feet accidentally kicking Argento in the face.
"God Damn it!" Argento shouted, kicking at Patrick's feet.
"Frank, Frank," Red said, taking over the untaping, "It's
going to be alright. We're going to figure it out, ok? Just relax."
"Alright… alright," he said. "I'll be ok. I will. It's
just a lot of pressure."
"Let's go," Red said to Patrick. He escorted the priest to the
bathroom, leaving Argento to calm himself down. Patrick went into the bathroom
and turned on the shower. A moment later, Alison, whose room was next to the
bathroom, opened her door, rubbing her eyes.
"Good morning, O Goth one," Red said to her.
"Oh, not funny, Goggles," she said. "I had these horrible
"Red?" called Argento, coming into the hallway, "Do you have
my cell phone?"
"No, I…" Red said and then turned around and smashed his
way into the bathroom. A beep sounded as Patrick pushed the 'end' button on
"You're too late!" he called out. "Already my Righteous Angels
are preparing to rain fire and vengeance down upon you all! The sword has
been drawn and the lightning shall cometh!"
"That's strange," Red said, "I thought I had the sword." He
drew the weapon and smashed the hilt down onto the pastor's head, knocking
him down into the shower.
"This is terrible…" Argento said, picking the phone from
where the priest had dropped it on the rug. "We've got to get out of
here. All of us. Who knows how much he's told them." He opened up the
phone and dialed a number fast. "Robby. This is an emergency. Get us
three rooms at the hotel downtown ASAP. The usual one. And have a new cell
phone waiting for me there, this one's been compromised. Thank you." He
dropped his phone into the toilet. "Grab whatever you need," he
said to Alison, "I'll go get your mother. Your father will have to meet
us there. Red, get the tape."
"This time it really isn't my fault," said Red.