Now, with that out of the way, I guess I should describe what this post is all about. Readers of my blog will know that I recently read Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. It is an amazing book. Miriam Black is such a vibrant character and while I was reading it, I couldn’t help but to have a couple ideas for Miriam Black fan fiction come to me. So, that’s what this is. I haven’t read Mockingbird, so this takes place sometime after Blackbirds. It also has some cross over fan fiction involved, but you will figure that out if you actually read it.
Here is the story. I planned on it being a short, but it ended up being more of an intro to a larger piece than I’d planned. I probably won’t do anything else with it, but I’m not going to close the door on writing more if people like it.
A massive orgy of potential death swarms around Miriam as she squeezes her way down the city sidewalk. Covered by gloves, each hand is shoved firmly in the pockets of her tattered jeans. The last thing she wants is to come into contact with hundreds of people, only to find out how their miserable existence is going to end.
Her destination looms ominously in the distance. It’s a giant monolith of a building. Based on the appearance, it seems to be some kind of lawyer office. Miriam hates lawyers. She’s dealt with all kinds of nasty vermin and horrible people, but she’s never been able to handle lawyers. At least nasty vermin and horrible people tend to wear their colors out in the open.
What would be worse, being surrounded by a sea of people or being in a room with a couple lawyers? Inhaling deeply, she extends her hand towards the door. Why, oh fuck why, did Louis want her to meet him here of all places? Cursing under her breath, tightly cocooned fingers hesitantly linger just a breath away from the handle, and something smashes against her face hard and fast.
Flying violently through the air like a rag doll, she smashes into a bystander. The person simply keeps walking and lets her body slump down to the ground. It’s far from the hardest she’s ever been hit, but it catches her off guard. Violently blinking and sputtering, she attempts to catch her breath and open her eyes. A sea of blurry figures can be seen flowing above as a man pounces on top of her and grasps her throat.
Pepto Bismol colored pink light permeates the smoke filled alleyway. Blood drips down the side of the mans face. He runs as quickly as he can, but is not entirely sure where he’s trying to go. A dark, dense metallic door swings open in front of him and his head smashes into it like a ripe melon smacking against a mallet. Miriam starts to think that maybe she’s been watching too much Gallagher. He slides down, and his blood stained tears paint the frame of the door.
A tall man with paper white skin and matted black hair steps out from behind the door. He has a circulating saw in one hand and a pick axe in the other. Dried blood spatter covers his black and white striped clothing. He peers around the corner, and then walks back through the door, dragging the man behind him. A trail of blood leads from where the body was to the inside of the building. The door slams.
The man reaches to see if Miriam is carrying a purse or wallet or anything that might hold money. She grabs him by the arm and slings him into a nearby wall. The mans head smacks against the corner of a metal sign, digging a long scrape into the side of his face.
“Get out of here fuckwad! You’re going to have a bad enough day as it is.”
The man scrambles to his feet and runs down a dark alleyway with blood dripping down the side of his face. Miriam just stays where she is. There is no need to follow him. She knows what’s going to happen. There is no reason to add insult to injury. He was just trying to get some money to feed his family. Desperate people do desperate things.
As people walk around her, she just sits there contemplating what is about to happen. She can see it in her head. Louis walks up behind her, reaches one of his pitchers mit sized hands down, and pulls her up to her feet. She’s happy to see him.
“I was going to step in there at the end and help, but it looks like you have everything pretty well taken care of.” Louis grins and gives her a big burly hug. He squeezes tighter than he realized and her back pops under the pressure.
Miriam sighs and gives him a peck on the cheek. “Help me? Help me with that guy? Why the fuck do you think I would need help with that guy?” She takes a small mirror out of her pocket and looks at the bruise that’s starting to form on the side of her face. It would eventually go away. They always do. “It doesn’t matter. That guy’s about to die anyway.” She takes a cigarette out of her pocket. It falls out of her trembling hands before she can get it to her mouth.
She continues walking forward and steps on it. The object of her desire is smashed into a ball of tar, nicotine, ice, and random street trash. “Damn’t! Damn’t! Damn’t piece of monkey shit! That was my last cigarette! What the hell am I going to do now, suck on a smoldering rat carcass?”
Louis shrugs and laughs. “We’ll get you some more cigarettes on the way out of town.” His face turns dead serious. “So, that guy huh? You said he’s going to die?”
Miriam shakes her head. “He’s already dead. He was murdered.”
Louis looks shocked. He’s heard about everything one could hear from Miriam, and he would think that nothing would surprise him now, but this really takes him off guard. “Murder?” The word comes out of his mouth sounding more like a declaration than a question. “That’s pretty heavy stuff. Crap! I thought we might be able to have a moment of quiet after you got rid of that guy back at the lighthouse.”
Miriam looks Louis straight in the eyes. “I’m sorry Louis. Things will never be calm or quiet around me. This stuff. It follows me. I attract it like a damn magnet! It follows me everywhere I go! I can’t lose it! I can’t wash it off of me.” A single tear runs down the side of her face.
Louis puts a hand on either shoulder and gives her a gentle, concerned look that shows he understands, and is willing to face whatever he needs to so that he can still be with her.
She wipes the tear from her cheek and tries to look angry, but a lingering appearance of frustration remains in her eyes. “So why the fuck did you have me meet you here anyway? You know I hate lawyers!”
Louis laughs and his whole frame tremors. It seems the whole sidewalk would quake if he laughed any harder. “Oh, that! I never intended to actually let you go in the lawyer office. I just wanted to make you squirm a little. Unfortunately, that guy back there got to you before I could stop you.” He looks back in the direction the guy came from.
“No, I had to drop a haul off a couple blocks from here. Some S&M club was getting a shipment of sex toys. I wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, plus, I figured I could have some fun if I told you to meet me here.”
“Shit Louis! You ass!” She punches him in the shoulder. Louis grabs her arm, pulls her in next to him, and wraps his arm around her shoulder as they walk down the sidewalk. She wishes that he had been around her earlier. The crowd parts in front of his massive frame, and they move forward like a knife slicing through a stick of butter.
“So where are we going?” She looks up to see what his response is going to be when a toddler tornado whizzes past and steps on her foot in the process. It isn’t long before the frantic father follows suit. He stumbles on a crack in the oh so finely manicured sidewalk, and her cheek slightly grazes his before he continues chasing after his son.
Dim light meanders through the room, emanating from a bulb being suspended by a lone, frayed wire that hangs and sways from the ceiling. Occasional sparks pop from the wire and illuminate several small pools of blood that line the floor. Loud, piercing screams of pain and agony reverberate throughout the room. Faintly, in the distance, a small boy can be heard pounding on the door with all his might as he cries out for his daddy.
The image of the boy in the alleyway sticks with her. She becomes violently ill and crumples to the ground. She’s not cold, but her body shivers violently. Looking into a patch of ice just inches away, she can see the reflection of her face. She sees the bruise become ever more prominent on her cheek, she sees the people walking above her, she sees Louis reaching down to help her up, and above all that she sees a red balloon floating off into the distance.
Quickly, standing up to her feet, she brushes Louis off. “Sorry! No time to explain! I need to go!”
He gives a knowing glance. “I’ll follow you.”
“Whatever, I know I can’t stop you, but I need to go!” She rushes off in the direction she saw the man and his toddler heading. When she was on the ground, part of her jacket stuck to the ice. The fabric ripped as she stood. In her haste, she bounced from one person to another like a pinball.
A man hangs upside down in a cage. His face is covered with blood and desperation.
A half alive body is being slid along what seems to be an underground corridor.
A very large woman is being nailed to the wall by her skin flaps.
She turns the corner into the alleyway. The small, frightened boy is curled into a ball next to a dingy wooden door. His chest heaves and sputters as he cries uncontrollably. He doesn’t know it, but his father is already dead.
Miriam walks up to him and lifts him to his feet. Terrified, he diverts his gaze and his body goes limp. He is dead weight in her arms. She puts her finger up to her mouth and calmly shushes him. She doesn’t want to touch him, but also knows that he is young, mortified, and needs comforting. Nestling his chin against her shoulder, she strokes his hair.
An old man, in his late 80’s, sits in a rocking chair surrounded by a very large family. They are watching television. He slowly closes his eyes and lets his life slip away from him.
“You need to leave. You need to leave now. Walk away from here and don’t turn around. Find a local business that you feel comfortable going in. Tell them that you are lost. Tell them what your name is and that you need to find your mother.”
She stands the young boy up and pats him on top of the head. “O ooo ooooh ok. Th thank you.” The boy rubs his eyes and yawns. Dark circles under his eyes show that he is clearly drained from the occurrences of the day. Slowly, he walks away and stops at the edge of the alleyway for a brief moment before disappearing into the crowd.
“Why am I doing this? I don’t have anything to do with whatever is going on. Fuck! I made sure that the kid is going to be safe. Why should I give a damn if this maniac gets a hard on from killing people? People kill people all of the time. What’s so fucking different about this asshole?”
She just stands there. Losing complete track of time, she just stands there and thinks to herself. “Fuck it, I’m out! I’m going to go find Louis and we’ll go get some lunch, then we’ll get out of this hell hole of a city.” Turning around, walking away, step by step she gets further away from the door.
Something stops her. She can’t walk. She tries. She struggles as hard as she can, but she can’t take a single step forward. It’s like something is calling her back to that door. Even though every fiber of her being tells her not to, somehow, she knows she needs to go back and find out what’s going on.
She walks up to the door. It’s not necessarily that she’s afraid. She’s not afraid! She’s trepidatious. She knows that something very strange is going on. There’s no point in drawing it out any longer than needed. Raising a hand into a fist, she quickly and deliberately knocks on the door as hard as she can.
The sound of metal scraping on cement can be heard on the other side of the door as it slowly swings open. A pair of incredibly wide eyes peek around the door and focus on Miriam. It looks as though they’re the eyes of someone who hasn’t blinked or slept in weeks.
“Hi.” She doesn’t have any clue what she should say. She really isn’t even quite sure why she is there.
“Oh. Errr. Hi.” He opens the door the rest of the way. He is wearing black clothes that seem to accent the white of his skin. “What exactly do you want? Are you trying to sell me something?” He abruptly turns around and screams. “No Reverend Meat! I am not going to kill her! She might be a guest. She might also be a disguised member of the evil monkey army of doom! Are you?!”
Miriam cocks her head to the side and looks at him. “You’re a strange one aren’t you?”
He blinks. “Yup, probably. Why do you ask?” Twitching, he keeps looking over his shoulder. “Um, do you want to come in? Would you like a fruity pop?”
Miriam smiles wryly and shrugs. “I guess I don’t really have anything else to do. Well, I do, I tried to leave, but some invisible force pulled me towards here. I guess that doesn’t really make any sense. No thanks to the fruity pop by the way. I’m good for now. Thanks.”
“Hmm, well ok then. There’s a couch over there by the fridge. Make yourself at home? I think that’s what you’re supposed to say.”
Miriam walks into the room. It is one of the most repugnant settings she’s ever witnessed. Even if she had any notion of wanting a fruity pop, whatever that is, she definitely does not want one now. The air is permeated with the scent of vomit, feces, dried blood, and pizza. It also makes her highly questionable about whether or not she will ever want to eat pizza again.
The walls are made of cinder block. One wall is filled with pegs holding various different styles of knives. It’s obvious that he’s not a doctor, but there is something that closely resembles a surgery table. Several cages hang from the ceiling. They contain bodies in various different stages of decomposition. Miriam stands in the middle of the room. It’s the only place where she feels like she can avoid contamination.
The man walks to the far side of the room. The wall is covered with a thick, slimy substance that looks like blood. He walks up to a paint can situated next to the wall. Blood drips from one of the cages and into the bucket. A bubs burger boy figurine sits on the floor. He kneels down and grabs the figurine in one hand, and a paint brush in the other hand.
“See Reverend Meat. We have a visitor.” He appears to be talking to the figurine in his hand.
“My name is Miriam.” There’s a clearly visible, permanent grimace on her face.
“My name is Johnny. Some people call me Nny. This is Reverend Meat. He thinks I should filet you and gut you like a trout. Personally, I’m pretty tired. I don’t really feel like killing anybody else right now. Wait. What?” Johnny puts his ear down to the mouth of the figurine.
“Shut your dirty whore mouth Reverend Meat! Stop it! Stop it right now damn’t! Fuck! Why do you always have to be so damn negative? We’ve already killed 10 people today. I’m tired! If you want to kill her then you need to do it yourself.”
Johnny turns away from the figurine and faces Miriam. “I’m sorry. Where are my manners? I said shut up you worthless piece of shit! Anyway, you said your name is Miriam. As I said earlier, my name is Johnny.”
Johnny approaches Miriam. She takes off her glove to let him shake her hand.
Nothing. She sees absolutely nothing. Surrounding her is a deep, dark, and barren void. Off in the distance she can see a pipe. Blood, tissue, filth, and excrement pours out of the pipe like the burst sewer line outside of a funeral home.
“What the fuck are you?” She jolts back and a look of horror crosses her face.
“What do you mean? What are any of us? The world is full of sheep being led to the slaughter. Every day people die. You are not a sheep. I can sense that. There is something special about you. Damn’t Meat! Shut up! I am definitely not going to kill her just because she is special!”
“Sorry, he always is ready to slaughter.”
Miriam isn’t sure if she should laugh or if she should run away in terror. Deep down she can feel that they are somehow both pieces in the same puzzle. “Everybody does die, that is correct. Well, it seems that everybody dies, but you.”
Johnny moves his face within inches of Miriam’s and stares at her with an unbreakable gaze. “I have died Miriam.” He eases back and goes to sit on the couch. “I went to heaven, but they didn’t want me there. They sent me to hell. That is when the devil explained everything to me. Shit! I forgot what I’m supposed to be doing. I know Reverand Meat! I know I’m supposed to be painting the wall!”
He walks across the room and dips the paint brush in the bucket. A thick mix of fresh and dried blood drips from the brush like some horrific gelatinous ooze. The sight of it makes Miriam heave a little. With long, smooth brush strokes he works on adding another layer onto the hundreds upon hundreds of layers of blood that are already on the wall.
“Ah yes, back to explaining how I died. I had a very interesting conversation with the devil, and he explained a lot of things to me. You see, I am what he called a flusher. Everything wicked, horrible, and vile flows through me like a sewer pipe. I have to keep this wall covered in a thick layer of blood or a monster will escape through it and destroy the world. It’s already happened once. It happened when I died, but of course, no one living knows that it ever happened.”
Miriam laughs. She laughs uncontrollably. Normally she wouldn’t want to touch a single inch of the floor, but she falls and rolls around with body shaking laughter. “I bet most people wouldn’t believe you if you told them that.”
Johnny smiles. “Probably not. I usually don’t talk to many people while I’m killing them. It’s usually oh my god this, and ow my spleen that, and when will the pain end? It really gets tiring to hear their constant wanking. That being said, you’re probably right, I doubt anybody would believe me.”
She stands back up and does her best to brush herself off. Various types of residue fling off of her fingers as she attempts to become clean again. “Shit then Johnny. It looks like we have more in common than I could imagine. Well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t get off on killing people like you do, but there’s something about me that most people don’t see. I see when people are going to die when I touch them.”
He smiles a wide and maniacal grin. “And? You didn’t see anything when you touched me did you?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Of course you didn’t. He approaches her. We are both pieces on the same side of the chess board. We both see how the sheep are going to be brought to slaughter. You see the end of the line for the sheep. I wait at the end of the line to make sure that they’re slaughtered.” He turns around and goes back to painting the wall.
The little boy walks into a coffee shop. His face is red and still shows signs that he has been crying for quite some time. Another boy, several years older, walks up to him. “Hello, my name is Squee.”
Here is where I put the obligatory legal jargon. Miriam Black is the intellectual property of Chuck Wendig and he maintains all rights to said character. Johnny: the Homicidal Maniac is the intellectual property of Johnen Vasquez and he maintains all rights to said character.
If you enjoyed reading this fan fiction, even the slightest bit, you really should buy all of Chuck Wendig’s book. I promise you, I really don’t do Miriam Black the justice she deserves by writing this. I only hope my writing that includes her can contain a fraction of the quality that Chuck Wendig’s fiction so masterfully weaves together. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it.