Fiction — The MagicLand Chronicles
The House of Nadab
Welcome to our house, where you choose how to die
This story is set nearly 2,000 years before the events in the novel MagicLand.
“It’s not another pandemic,” says Gareth as he winds a long, loose thread from the sleeve of his flannel shirt tightly around his wrist. This has the effect of creating a wrinkled plaid funnel aimed at his worn, black hand.
“Yeah, yeah,” says Button disbelievingly. That’s all we know about her. Her nickname. She’s wearing a shoulderless vest over a thin white top on a cold Minnesota day. Not much she does or says makes sense to any of us, but we all nod at this. Button’s arms are thick trunks of white steel.
She’s bigger than most men I’ve known. How she stays in shape is beyond me. I don’t ask her a lot of questions.
She’s wearing an aged Harley cap over a nest of frizzled, platinum hair that looks like it gets its only maintenance from weekly doses of Clorox. Each of her arms has a tattoo telling you what to do with yourself.
“Don’t believe me, fine. It ain’t on me,” says Gareth. He looks down at the table and fills a bowl. Even on a dying planet, we seek our medicine.
“I seen pictures on Instagram,” says Roof, who’s called that because he wears a dark gray, almost black flattened hat that looks like it has tiny shingles across its wide brim.
“There ain’t no Instagram, brother,” says Gareth, passing the bowl to Roof, who sits next to him.
“Before all this…” says Roof, drawing a hit. “… I saw it. Saw them. Some dude posted pictures of cats in hazmat suits dumping bodies into dump trucks with tires as big as a house.”
Roof is a tall, wiry Black man who sits so upright at the table that it looks like a plank of wood is strapped to his back.
“That don’t prove nothin’,” says Button. “Just that it’s another pandemic as bad as the last one and the one before that.” She follows that with a round of cursing that would have made my army dad blush.
“It’s an eradication, that’s what The Society says,” says Gareth. “Ain’t none of them pandemics.”