Bad: A Memoir of Good & Evil
Couldn't Call It Unexpected
Cyn & Tangents
Lead Paint Double Date Set Diaries
Moving to Mars
New Roman Times
Saint Red
Suspension of Disbelief
What Fools


Saint Red: This Year's Model
Chapter 7 - Hand In Hand

By Jordan D. White

Chelsea collapsed onto the remnants of her bed and bawled like a baby. She heaved out a whining groan of fury and tore at the sheets, feeling immensely dissatisfied when the tension gave out, the sheets ripping further. She pounded her fists into the mattress, then, causing its insides to spill out through the gouge she'd sliced that morning. She clenched her jaw, clenched her fists to her chest, and tensed every muscle in her body, a high pitched wail slipping between her teeth as she tightened her body, squeezing out all her tears, all her weaknesses

When at last she let her physical-self release, she lay there and gasped for breath, exhausted. She swiped her arm under her nose, sniffling. She went to wipe the tears from her face and was shocked by the stinging pain it caused in her right eye. She mentally cursed Red again before she remembered that she'd given herself that black eye in a drunken stupor.

She rose and went to the bathroom to inspect the damage. It wasn't too swollen, thankfully, she could still see out of it fine. Just bruised. Between that and her red eyes and splotchy cheeks, to say nothing of her hair, sweat plastered to her forehead heedless of the cool October weather, it was all Chelsea could do not to shatter the mirror with her bare fists from self loathing.

She grabbed the tiny soap, shampoo bottle, and conditioner. It she couldn't break the mirror, the least she could do is fog it up and make herself presentable at the same time.


"Felling any better?" Alison asked as Red emerged from the bathroom wrapped in towels.

"Incredible!" he said. "It's amazing how a nice, hot shower can clear the mind."

"Thank God!" said Alison. She wrapped her arms around his neck, he leaned down to her, and they kissed. Red grabbed a hold of her sides and spun her around.

"From here on in, things are going to be wonderful!" He plopped her back down on her feet and moved on into the bedroom.

"That's good…" Alison said from back behind him. "I was worried. Things you were saying…"

"What can I say?" said Red, grabbing his clothes from the closet. "I went a little crazy. Sorry I scared you. I wasn't myself." He slipped on some underwear.

"I'm glad you're back," she said, sitting on the edge of their bed. "For a while there… uh… what are you doing?"

"Dressing," said Red. He had finished buttoning his bright red shirt and was tucking it into his black slacks. "What do you mean?"

"Why are you wearing those?" she said. "You haven't looked at them since I made you buy them. You said you'd have no need for them."

Red chuckled to himself as he attempted to tie his black necktie evenly. "See what I mean? I was crazy." He turned to face her. "Straight?"

"Yeah, but the back of your collar is still up," she said. "Wait, what are you saying?"

"I was just misguided," Red said. He smiled, reaching behind his head and around his invisible blade to push down his collar. "I was being selfish. But there are some things that are bigger than one man, one life. Sometimes you need to face your responsibility. And if I don't take down all the greedy corporations of this world, who will?"


Chelsea had to stop halfway through her shower to vomit.

Standing there, letting the water run over her head and down her torso, the dirt may have been washed off her body, but her mind was just given time to fester. She watched the water running down her leg forming little chutes off of her before running the hard plastic rapids into the drain, but all she really saw was Alison.

She could still remember the first time she met Alison. It was Chelsea's first day at DI&R. Mr. Davis, head supervisor of the prophecy unit for their installation, had been giving her a tour of the pertinent facilities. Chelsea was beaming with pride as the portly man told her how special and important her ability was.

He had just shown her the main room of the prophecy unit. It was an immense open area packed with couches, chairs, oversized pillows, meditation mats, and beds of all shapes and sizes. It was here that her fellow prophets could come, relax, and get to work. They would get comfortable and then, using any of a number of relaxation and meditation techniques they'd been trained in, open their minds to the will of God. All prophets could have visions whenever they needed to, but research had found that these relaxation techniques increased the likeliness of one occurring. A number of supervisors walked amongst them, waiting for a raised hand or quiet word, ready to take down any information they'd seen so it could be hurried on to teams waiting to decipher it.

Alison was on her way in as Mr. Davis was ushering Chelsea out.

"Oh, Alison," he said, stopping her a moment. "This is Chelsea. This is her first day with us."

"Congratulations!" said Alison, smiling. "Welcome to DI&R!"

"Alison here is one of our most promising new prophets," Mr. Davis said. Chelsea could see his little eyes shining through his glasses as he talked about Alison. "She's only been here a year and she's contributed to some of the biggest prophecies our unit has brought in."

"Just doing God's work," said Alison. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm sure you'll be doing the same in no time."

Chelsea had blushed.

A few hours later, Chelsea had been learning the basics of transcendental meditation from a senior prophet in a small room not far from there. She was just beginning to feel the threads of reality slip away from her consciousness when a scream cut through her concentration. She looked up, frightened, to her instructor, who was already on her way to the door.

Chelsea followed her back through the hall to the main chamber. The entire room was fully aware and all their attention was on Alison. She was huddling on a large comfortable love seat, crying. Those around her comforted her, rubbed her back gently, whispered that she would be ok.

"What happened to her?" Chelsea whispered to her instructor.

"She's discovered a new Saint," she replied, no small amount of envy and respect in her voice.

Chelsea was in awe. Here was a girl not much older than herself with all these people, older, more experienced, proud of her, admiring her. A girl whose prophesy was so important, it shattered the silence and preempted all others! The force of her vision! The Holiness of her very power! As she watched them load Alison onto a gurney and wheel her out of the room, she decided that this was a person she needed to get to know better.

Chelsea went to the infirmary as soon as her training for the day had finished. She'd brought some yellow flowers. Alison was lying in the bed, her eyes wide, staring up as through looking through the ceiling.


Her eyes came into focus. "Oh, hi… uh…"



"I just, I…" Chelsea presented the flowers. "Everyone said you did something pretty amazing today, and I… I just wanted to give you these and hope you feel better."

"Thanks," said Alison, managing a weak smile.

"Everyone seems pretty impressed," Chelsea said. "They say you're the youngest prophet to ever discover a Saint. You must be so proud! What was it like?"

"I hope you never have to find out," she said. "It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen."

Chelsea didn't press the point, but she held out the hope that maybe, if she could find out more, if she could glean what Alison did that made her so special, she could beat that record. Alison seemed to be a year or two older than she was, she'd have a little time to work on it. And that's why, when Alison left the infirmary the next evening, Chelsea was there to accompany her to dinner. And she met her for lunch the next day. And eventually, the two became close, to a point.

Which was how Chelsea met Red.

Which was what made her leap out of the shower and scramble to the toilet, vomiting up her stomach acid and the remains of this morning's liquor breakfast. She slid down into a shaking mass on the tiled floor as she listened to the white noise of the shower water hitting the stall.


Red checked himself in the mirror as he buttoned his jacket. It looked pretty good to him. It was the reverse of most of his original saintware, a black jacket and tie with a right red shirt under them, rather than the opposite. Not exactly the traditional super-hero outfit, but stylized enough to make him memorable.

The only question in his mind, really, was where to start.

He heard their front door open.

"Thank God you're here!" said Alison from the other room.

"Why? What's happened?" Argento. Perfect. Red hurried out to meet them.

"He's gone all-"

"Frank!" Red called out, entering the room. "I'm ready."

Argento looked him up and down for a moment. "Red?"

"I'm back in the game," he said.

"That's wonderful!" Argento called out. He ran over to Red and gave him a hearty squeeze. "This is going to be great, I promise you! We can play this any way you want to- we can go back to DI&R, if you want, and read them our demands for working with them, or if you want to go the other route, sure, I'll be your mole in the system, sneaking you information, getting you where you need to be, where no other Saint will do. I could pretend I'm following you around the country, you know? I mean, I'm supposed to be tracking you down, but instead, I'll just go with you, looking up information on 'whatever it is you're going after' in order to give you the very information you require! Oh, Red, this is going to be so wonderful! We can finish up here, which I figure must involve some form of mind control or some such, how else could we explain your behavior, right? Then, head out wherever there's trouble, like I heard whispers about this prognostication freak who-"

"Frank, Frank!" said Red, shaking Argento a little. "Relax! We already have a mission."

"Yes, of course," Argento said. "First things first, and all. Like I said, I assume we're dealing with some sort of mind control or brainwashing technique, something that could cause such a large number of you to become so destructive back there."

"No, no, Frank, you've got it all wrong. Here, have a seat, I'll explain."

Argento glanced over at Alison, who met his eyes and jerked her hands up in a helpless gesture.

"You two are so paranoid!" Red said. "Just relax!"

Reluctantly, the others were seated on the couch, and he sat on the love seat. He slid forward right to the edge, leaning in towards Alison and Argento as he began.

"What happened back at CCI this morning wasn't mind control," he said. "It was the first stirrings of a revolution. What I realized this fine day is that our society is in grave danger. We live in a culture founded on principals of capitalism, where money is the means of placing value on products, work, people, or whatever. The problem is that, like it's nemesis communism, capitalism works far better on paper than in the real world. This capitalism we hold so dear is threatening to destroy the free market it claims to foster. The problem comes with these new beasts, the corporations. You have to remember there was no such monster when our country was established. They crept up over time and insinuated themselves into our systems of living, exposing the cracks in our capitalist foundation. The problem is that once any one person, or corporate entity, has achieved a certain amount of money and power, they capitalist system provides them with a simple means of perpetuating it and, in fact, increasing it exponentially. Look at Wal-Mart. Because they have such an enormous amount of capital to invest at the beginning of each store, they can make an enormous store, where they sell everything you could possibly need in one location, and typically for less than a specialized store. How? Partially, because, like I said, they have it all, guaranteeing that they sell more product. Partially because they build their empire on the backs of not only underpaid and overworked Americans, but overseas sweatshops as well. Because they have so much money, they have the opportunity to make exponentially more, and the power to do so in immoral ways, by making the consumer dependent on them. For why would an underpaid worker want to go to another store only to pay more? And so the cycle continues. And as the powerful become ever more powerful, the common man is left behind, happy with his sale prices, thinking there is nothing one man can do. And he may be right, but I am not just one man. I am a Saint. If our economic system has grown beyond it's moral restraints, it's up to me to tame the beast and get it back in it's pen with all the other animals. I will not rest until I pop every corporate pustule riddling the American body."

Argento merely stared into Red's eyes for a moment.

"And I figure I'll need your help. Both of you."

Alison looked to Argento. Argento stared some more. Red leaned back, taking it all in, basking in his new philosophical clarity.

"What?" Argento eventually bellowed.


The first time Chelsea met Red was at lunch, about a year later. Alison and Chelsea had lunch together every day at the food court near the prophecy unit, so it wasn't odd for her to meet Alison there. She was, however, surprised to see a young man with her, dressed in a bright red jacket.

Chelsea knew immediately who it was. Since Alison had discovered Red, something very odd had occurred. About sixty percent of Alison's visions had pertained to Red's missions. There was quite a bit of whispering about it amongst the others in the unit.

Chelsea had kept her eyes peeled for any particular reason for this. She and Alison had become fast friends, through no small lack of effort from Chelsea, and as such, she was privy to Alison's point-of-view on the entire Red situation. Much to Chelsea's disappointment, however, Alison didn't seem to understand the connection any more than she did.

For her own part, Chelsea had only been involved in more minor visions. She was told this was normal- most prophets work for years before they have visions that stand alone, Alison was the exception to the rule. She spent her days honing her meditation techniques and her evenings studying Alison for clues.

For a long time, Alison had only known Red through the flashes she experienced, but eventually, after a number of successful visions, they were introduced. Alison had told her all about it. Apparently, they hit it off rather famously, but Red had never built up the nerve to ask her out on a date or anything. Hence the surprise at seeing him here at lunch.

She approached slowly and Alison saw her coming. She smiled and waved Chelsea over.

"Red," said Alison, "this is my good friend and fellow prophet, Chelsea. Chelsea, this is Saint Red."

"God, just Red, please," he said, offering his hand.

"It's an honor," said Chelsea.

"If it is, it's all mine, I assure you." She could tell he was embarrassed from the way his eyes suddenly could not find anywhere to rest. "I'm just a lucky guy. You ladies are the ones with honest to goodness super-powers."

"Chelsea and I usually have lunch together," Alison said.

"Oh, well, if I'm intruding," said Red.

"No, no, of course not!" said Chelsea. "It's not every day a Saint seeks you out! I'll leave you two alone. Besides, I'll just see you tonight, right Al?"

Red and Alison looked at each other.

"Er, actually," said Alison, "That's what brought Red down here."

"I, uh, wanted to ask her to come out to a… movie tonight," said Red, looking at his sandwich.

"No problem!" said Chelsea. "I understand, of course. Congrats," she whispered to Alison. "Give me a call later, ok?"

"Sure, Chelse."

"Nice to meet you, sir."

"Red! Please!" he said.

"Red, then." She did an awkward little curtsey and scurried off.

As she spent her lunch alone, she realized how unhappy she was. She didn't like losing her lunchtime routine with Alison. She didn't like losing her evening time with her. Not to mention that Alison was going to spend the time with an actual Saint, getting that much closer to real power, probably reinforcing whatever the bond is between them. She'll probably have even more visions about him now.

It all heaped on top of the fire to form a jealous green pyre in the center of her mind for all her thoughts to huddle around. Alison had everything she wanted - respect, power, envy, now even romance.

When she finally did get together with Alison after that, Alison was, of course, aglow from the date. From then on, Chelsea had to share Alison's time with Red. At first, Chelsea tried to get to know Red better, see if he would show any interest in her. She should have known better; he only had eyes for Alison. When, on occasion, he was left alone with Chelsea for a moment, he seemed awkward, much less self assured than when Alison was around.

Chelsea was right, though. The more time Alison spent with Red, the closer they grew to one another the more she would have visions of him. It got to a point where she saw almost nothing that did not pertain to Red, and very few other prophets had visions of him anymore. Chelsea stewed inside just to think about it. Even so, it was months before she took action, months of frustration. She kept thinking the next vision would be the one, the big one that put her on the map, but every time she would see where a spare house key was hidden, which subway route would be faster, what time the dogs settled in for a nap.

It was her own foolish inexperience that did her in, of course. She knew Red would be heading to California in a day or so- Alison had seen a situation arising there and so, of course, Red had been assigned to take care of it. Chelsea spent most of the morning relaxing and doing her usual morning meditations, but she wasn't really trying, she was keeping up appearances. Closer and closer the noon hour came, and Chelsea decided to make her move.

She inhaled a sharp breath. She let out a low moan. Her eyelids burst open and she yelped "No!" A few supervisors raced to her side. Any of the prophets around who had heard her looked up to see what the commotion was.

"What did you see?" one of the supervisors asked as they helped her to her feet.

She feigned weakness and leaned on two of their shoulders. "It's Red," she said, "Saint Red… he can't go… to California… he'll die…" She figured it was a pretty solid plan. She had a death scene in mind that figured the drug lord Alison had told her about seeing the night before. She figured it would be a pretty attention getting vision, then they'd have Red sit the mission out, send another Saint in. She gets noticed, Red is ok, evil is still vanquished. Except for one thing.

"No… no, he won't…" said Alison, softly.

"I saw it…" said Chelsea, "I saw him… dying…"

"No," said Alison, more firmly, but confusion in her eyes. "You couldn't have."

"I did!" said Chelsea, anger hinting its way into her voice. "Red cannot go to California. He won't make it."

"But, Chelsea," said one of the supervisors, looking over at Alison.

"Chelsea…" said Alison, staring into Chelsea's eyes, "Why are you doing this?"

"I saw it!" said Chelsea, standing up on her own. "I saw it!" She took a few steps towards Alison and began shouting. "You think you know all about him just because you've seen for him the most? You don't own him! He's not your private Saint! Any one of us can have a vision for him, any one of us, and as it so happens, I have! Mark my words, if he goes to California, he is going to die! I've seen it!"

Alison said nothing. Everyone else in the room was staring at her.

"What?!" Chelsea spat at the group.

"Chelsea…" said a supervisor, taking her arm, "When a prophet discovers a Saint… what she sees is his death. If Alison says that's not how Red dies…"

Alison slowly took a few steps back, turned around, and ran out of the room. Chelsea could feel every muscle in her body go slack as she broke down.

That was not quite the last time she saw Alison before this morning. That came in late November just under a year ago.

She had been transferred to the Chicago office of DI&R a day or two after her false prophecy incident. There she was put on very menial tasks for quite some time. She had eventually worked her way back up to the main prophecy pool of their office, neither as large nor as productive as the New York branch. Chelsea lost herself in the job, reinvigorating her faith as a penance for bearing false witness. It had taken time to earn her new bosses trust, but a new commitment to honest hard work eventually paid off - more than Chelsea had intended and perhaps more than she wanted.

It was in Chicago that she discovered her first Saint.

That Saint was Chelsea herself.

The screams that shattered the silence on the Chicago prophecy floor seemed no more horrified than any other Saint's discovery, nor did the sobs that followed seem any more mournful. Inside, however, Chelsea found it hard to imagine that anything could feel so bleak. She had seen her own death, her own martyrdom. But that wasn't even the worst part.

She saw herself die at the hands of Alison.

Chelsea did not speak much of her vision beyond the basics of it containing her own death. When she was back on her feet she gave DI&R an ultimatum.

"I don't need you," she said. "I can see God's Will for myself, and He has seen fit to bless me with His approval. I can make things right in this world without you. It is you who need me."

She gave them a simple bargain. She would be their Saint so long as Alison was taken out of the playing field. Rechristen her, give her a life outside of God's Holy works. Lose one prophet, gain one Saint.

They shook on it, and the deal was done.

Go to Chapter 8