It’s Saturday Scenes, and it’s Publishing Day!
So, here’s my one of my favorite scenes in Monsters of Pittsburgh: Omnibus Edition:
The dark ocean stopped its gentle rocking. Matty wanted to open his eyes, but they were already open.
“Hey, Matty.” The owner of the voice was tall for a werewolf, almost six feet and had the closest thing to a barrel chest on any wolf that Matty had ever met. Short golden hair topped a handsome face with warm brown eyes.
Matty’s heart thumped painfully. “Nick? Is that really you?”
Nick gave his big laugh. “Hell, no. I’m the manifestation of your subconscious.”
Matty’s head tilted as the sentence settled in his ears. It was so unlike Nick. “What?”
“You’re dying, man. You just don’t want to be alone. And for some reason, you chose me to hang out.”
Matty laughed. “Then come here.” He wrapped his arms around the wolf. Nick’s rib crunching hug lifted him off the ground.
When Matty was on his feet again he punched the other wolf on the arm. “So what do we do now?”
“I dunno. This is your death. What do you want to do?”
“You’re the least helpful psychopomp ever.”
“Who are you calling psycho?”
Matty laughed again. “I’ve missed you.”
“That’s why I’m here.” Nick flopped down on the endless blackness. “You wanna talk or something?”
Matty joined him. “I don’t want to die. How do we stop this?”
Nick kicked his leg. “I don’t know anything that you don’t know.”
“Just like the old days. You have nothing useful to contribute.”
Nick’s familiar salacious grin was joined by a wink. “I was plenty useful, just ask your sister.” The grin shifted into a pout and he kicked Matty’s knee again. “And by the way, if you were into guys, how come you kept putting me off?”
Matty groaned. “Seriously, man?”
“What? I’m curious.”
“Mina was in love with you.”
Nick’s grin grew wide.
Matty leaned back on his hands. “But even if she wasn’t, I don’t think I’m really into men or women. I’m just into Dean.”
“Yeah, you’re really in to Dean.” Nick’s familiar snicker skittered in the darkness. Matty laughed with him. “What about you and Rick?”
Matty rolled his eyes. “Two guys can’t be friends?”
“Sure, but that man snuggles you.”
“He does n—”
Nick’s eyebrows rose.
“Dude, seriously, it’s not snuggling. It’s a legitimate technique to calm me down.”
Nick smirked. “That’s a great line from the man who chose two hundred and thirty pounds of gorgeous muscle for his Speaker.”
The laughter bubbled up in spite of Matty’s annoyance. “Just because you never had a platonic thought in your life, doesn’t mean that the rest of us are as perverted.”
“Oh, you are. You just won’t admit it.”
I have missed you.
Nick’s smile faded. “But seriously, why not me?”
Matty looked away as guilt flooded him. “You thought werewolves were monsters.”
Nick gave a shrug. “I always knew there was a reason.” He stared off into the darkness.
Matty found himself talking to fill the void. “So any idea what the hell is wrong with me?”
“I told you. I’m your memory of Nick.” He shrugged. “I don’t know anything you don’t. What do you think is wrong with you?”
Matty thought back to what he’d been doing before the pain started. “I was in my room, music jacked up, trying to figure out why the hell I was given that file.”
“The one Sam got from ‘demon hunters’?” Nick’s skepticism slithered into the endless black around them.
“Yeah, that didn’t make sense to me either. The Tribes avoid demon hunters. These files are from someone who knows the Tribes. An outsider for sure, but someone who gets people talking.”
Nick shrugged. “Family, a lover?”
“No… maybe. Whoever it is, they’re up to something. Some files read like the reports my mom used to get from the other elders, but most of them sound academic, like research papers.”
“What’s the agenda?”
“Every researcher has an agenda, Matty. Even pure knowledge is an agenda.”
Matty’s eyes narrowed. “That was very astute for you.”
Nick shrugged. “You’re talking to yourself, remember?”
“And apparently I also have a massive ego.”
“You’re dying. I think you’re allowed to pat your own back a little.”
Matty shook his head. “Okay, I’m not sure what the hell just happened.”
“Relax, man. This is gonna be a strange trip. So, this file, why does it matter who sent it? Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Matty covered his eyes with his hand. “Great, you’re busting out den mother wisdom. Fine, how about, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Why give me a bunch of files? Why not just tell me what the hell is going on? It’s a game.”
“And you don’t know the rules yet?”
“Talking to smart Nick is creeping me out.”
“You really thought I was stupid?”
“Not stupid, no.” Matty shrugged. “I get to thinking on a problem and it’s like looking at a map in a computer game, when ‘fog of war’ is on. I can see what I’ve discovered, but not the rest of the map. And I explore the edges of what I know to see more and more. But unlike a game, at a certain point, the map reveals itself. I can see it all. And I start to point to important things we need on other parts of the map, but nobody else can see it yet.”
“I was in the fog?”
“Almost everybody is. Mina can keep up, usually, and Dean… oh gods, Dean must be freaking out too.”
Matty nodded. “I heard her, Mina, right before I saw you. She was berating the hedge doctor.”
Nick licked his lips. “She had the most penetrating voice.”
“Dude, gross. Remember, my sister.”
“And you’re dating her ex.”
Matty shrugged. “They were never serious.”
“You’re a strange man, you know that right?”
Matty sighed. “I’ve had a pretty strange life.”