Big Sky.


Journal Entry: March-27-2028

I do not make exaggerations, similes or metaphors. I do not bend the truth in any way. There are heads growing on all of the surfaces. They started growing three years ago. First, they grew on trees and people thought it was a fungus. Some head shaped new mushroom. Then the whole world started breaking out with them. They start as tiny nodes on the wall or on the back of the couch. Jocelyn Marbles has one on the hood of her car. It’s made of metal. They have eyes and lips and hair and all the things you need to look human. People tried cutting them off but there were so many in such strange places and they grew so quick.

I found one in my collection last week. It hadn’t been there before. I opened the cabinet and there it was between two crates of records on the rear paneling. Honestly, it looked like my mother. It had the same chin and eyes. I moved the records down a shelf and locked the other cabinet. There are two main theories about where they came from. The biggest one was that God was returning. And the souls of the damned were pushing out from hell to reclaim the world. I don’t buy that one. I mean if (s)he made the world in seven days then I’m certain it could be destroyed in less. Science hypothesized a merging of alternate universes. That matter can’t be created but that it can be changed. They said we could be the heads in a different universe. The thought of my head popping up somewhere inconvenient makes me laugh. Imagine waking up one day and my head is staring at you from the shower head. Spitting water through my mouth and trying to whisper at you. The only thing either theory has in common is that it signals the inevitable end. Either by hell or by one universe overwriting another. I woke up with a head growing out of the side of the mattress this morning. Its lips came in first. They twitched and rippled like it was trying to speak. I threw the bedspread over it then went to Jamie’s baby shower. She already has one child, Michael. He’s four and probably thinks that the heads should be there. He stopped eating cake at the shower just to try painting on the head that grew out of Jamie’s fridge. She said he tries painting on them all the time. She hates it. Most people try to pretend that they aren’t there. I don’t get how people do that. How do you ignore what looks like a skin tag with a mouth when it’s hanging off the concrete? Some people choose blindness. For the most part that means wearing a mask over their eyes as much as possible but they can’t do it forever. Honestly, this is the worst apocalypse I’ve ever been to. I never thought there’d be one where I still have a day job. There may or may not be a head growing on my mailbox but there are definitely bills inside of it. And some headless computer system knows when bills are due no matter what. I've got a job in data entry at a tax office. It's mind numbing. I spend most of my lunches in the grass outside. I stare at the sky. There aren't any heads up there. I take the subway to work personally. I’ve got this fear that a head will grow on the engine and it’ll crash and we’ll all die in a fiery explosion. It’s a stupid fear. They don’t grow that fast. I’m told it’s the law now for transport companies to inspect their vehicles for nodes before operation. The fines are heavy at least if you’re found at fault for that sort of thing. My cousin Joseph got fined because he didn’t check his cab often enough. One grew right under his timing belt. He popped the curb and hit a hydrant. They started talking recently. People write about it on social media and it’s even in the news now. That if you’re alone with enough of them then they talk. They whisper secrets. Secrets about family and friends. Sometimes horrible things. Jamie left her husband even though she was pregnant because of what the heads told her. Palmer was a pedophile. Jamie said that it was all they whispered to her over and over. She didn’t believe it but she checked his computer files. The heads don’t lie. My friend Marla hasn’t spoken to me in a month because the heads told her I was hoping her and her boyfriend broke up. The heads don’t talk to me. When I’m alone I take my hearing aids out. I think they know I can’t hear them. But they open their eyes and stare at me. Those dull, dark eyes rolling around on my bed, in my cabinet, at the window and the wall. I have a wall of them. Not a full wall but it has two growing on it with space for more. Each of them with a glare that unsettles me. It’s as if they’re waiting for something. So, I give them something. I give them secrets. Everything about everything I know. This loose tongue of mines is why I couldn’t be a criminal. I tell them about my favorite albums or movies. I tell them how when I was twelve, I saw mom holding hands in the backyard with our neighbor. I tell them everything and I wonder if other people do too. Maybe that’s how they know what they know. It’s either that or just me sinking ships left and right. I don’t know which but telling them things stops them from staring at me. Chord’s been missing for two days. The heads spook him. I think the heads talk to animals too. No one believes me when I say it. But Chord was a good dog. He was on the larger side even for a Labrador but he never got scared. He always came when I called. Until he wandered off the lawn one day. He got into my neighbor Frank’s garage. There were only a couple growing in there but it’d been enough, I think. I looked for Chord for hours before I found him lying on his side and breathing heavy. Now sometimes he runs off. I don’t know if he’s running to something or away but normally, he comes back by now. No one’s animal has been easy to control lately. Dogs howling in packs in the middle of the day. Cats stopping in traffic and staring. I wonder if the heads sound human when they talk to cats or if the mouths purse and purr. I went around to a few places. The library, campus, gym, and the coffee house, to hang posters but there wasn’t room for Chord’s poster. Not without taking down all the missing signs for other people and their pets. I covered the oldest looking posters of pets I could find. If they hadn’t found them by now then it was my turn to hope. I don’t touch the ones for people if I can. People that walked into the desert on a whisper. I wonder what sort of thing it’d take to make someone do that. What secret? Tonight, I’m thinking about leaving my hearing aids in. Someone has to know where Chord is. Maybe the heads will tell me.

Journal Entry: March-28-2028

There weren’t enough of them in my room. I even opened the cabinet and still nothing. I’m probably the only person for a thousand miles that wants more of these damn things. There are certain places almost guaranteed to have them. I could go deep enough into a forest and stumble onto a clearing of them. Then they’d chatter away until I went mad. I could find them in a basement or an old building but those places aren’t safe. Creeps hang out there listening to other people’s secrets. Sometimes to blackmail. Other times just to know. It’s best to stay away from any area that might attract creeps. It’s hard to convict anyone these days. Eye witness testimonies mean less and less. Any two-bit lawyer argues someone saw a head on the way to the crime that looks like the defendant. They argue that in the new world we see so many more faces that we can’t place them the way we used to. Not for certain at least. I can’t go to places like that. I’m running out of time though. Everyday Chord is missing is another day he’s further from home. Or worse. I’ve got an idea to try first.

Journal Entry: March-30-2028

At the end of my shift I hid in a boardroom on the third floor. The one no one uses. I had to change my batteries out by the time everyone left. On the first floor by the back exit is a janitor closet. They closed it off for being “Overgrown”. Which is what they call one too many heads in a small space. Last year I found a skeleton key to building. I was on my lunch break and it was in the grass. I never turned it in. The janitor closet was stuck shut. There was a chance that a head had grown on both the door and the door frame. Which would’ve required someone other than me. Someone with a higher tolerance for mutilation. Or any tolerance. I banged my shoulder up pretty good slamming into the door. There was a nest of heads weighing it down on the other side. There was a chain dangling. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to pull it. The bulb must’ve been a 90 gigawatt or more. The closet was small but I could see every part of it. I’d seen Overgrown spaces before. Pailey museum has one on showcase. An ex had one in his garage. Typically, when I see one, I think that there aren’t really that many heads there. 6-10 maybe. Not that much in a big enough room. You could cover them with cloth or move a book case in front of them. But the closet earned its status. Heads were springing out from the corners awkwardly. A tiny growing cluster of them. Eventually one head will eat the smaller ones. They were growing on either side of the tool shelf. And up from the ground. More than I’ve ever seen at once. The full-grown heads turned their eyes to me when the light came on. One had this loose, hanging jaw. Another head grew part way on the metal and part on the concrete floor. Its placement fasted the vent shut. There were more all around me. Their eyes made of textures that don’t normally act as flesh. I, for one, would be happier if I had my dog back. And, for two, if the apocalypse was some alien overlord thing. I’d settle for a simple totalitarian setup too. I think either would be better than the heads. I closed the door to the closet and turned my hearing aids up. They didn’t say anything at first. And then they all spoke at once. Whispering over each other. It almost all blurred together into this sound. I don’t know what it was like but I was drawn to it. Calmed. Until I heard,

Marla has a dog she doesn’t own. She hopes it dies.

I left the closet immediately. They were still talking behind me. I wonder whose secrets they were telling.

Journal Entry: April-3-2028

I went to Marla’s. It didn’t go well. She wouldn’t admit she stole Chord. She just kept accusing me of trying to mix the pot with her and her boyfriend. Sometimes people listen to the heads too much. They hear things they shouldn’t and then get their little feelings hurt. I told her I didn’t care about her and Tomas but she didn’t believe me. She just yelled louder and louder. Then I heard a bark and a whine. I slapped her and pushed my way in. Marla had a two bedroom. I helped her move into it two years ago. She was dating someone else then. They got a two bedroom for guest. That’s where I thought Chord was. Instead there a Doberman pincher chained to a pole. It was lying next to a full-grown head. Maybe it was in my head or my memory but I think the head smiled. I think it twisted it’s face of fug into a grin. Marla tackled me. She wasn’t as skinny as me. It knocked me out of breath. When I came to she was on top of me. Choking me. I stabbed her with the pen in my pocket. Two or three times until she slumped over next to me. I searched every room in that house for Chord. When I unchained the Doberman, it bolted out of the house. The head it was next to looked up at me.

“You’ve got secrets.” It said. I’d never seen a head talk by itself and I didn’t stay to listen for more. When I went outside people were already converging. Some of them probably heard the commotion or saw a dog sprint out of an open door. Or maybe the heads were talking. I ran. Eventually someone would hear my secret. I’m not sure how I would take to jail. I thought I saw Chord the other day. It wasn’t him. I realized when I got close enough. It was silly of me to think I’d even run into him now. I’m probably as far away from home as he is at this point. I’m not sure what I’ll do now. I’ve been staring into sky as much as a can. To try and clear my head. When I can I take my hardware out and just drift as far into that headless space as I can. All I want now is the quiet.