song drabble meme Rules: Take your music player of choice and set it to random. Write a segment to the first twelve songs that play. Doesn't matter how long the segment is, you have to end it when the song ends, and no, you can't use the repeat button.
Cheated a little, since I used a long, long playlist of stuff I've been listening to recently. Warnings for blood and gore, because hell, it's me, and it's Jack, and my mantra is apparently "if it doesn't make you want to jump off a cliff it's NOT DEPRESSING ENOUGH."
1. Percussion Gun, White Rabbits
When Jack was out on the rooftops, he was possessed of a certain sense of purpose. It propelled him along with a speed and fluidity that he had no venue for in day to day life, and leaping between buildings gave him a strange and wonderful illusion of freedom. Free from the laws of gravity, free from the oppressive crouch of the buildings, everything felt open, pulled apart, released. There was a level of truth to what he'd told Rorschach - this was who he was, now, not someone he had decided to be, just someone he had happened upon after a blow to the head. This grinning death's head in the night, this, free-running without the weight of reason or a live love to hold him back. It felt good, it felt very good, to simply be a force of nature. As good as anything could feel anymore.
2. Wicked Game, Giant Drag (Chris Isaak cover, I may or may not also have the original. Hey, girl's gotta have some Chris Isaak)
Love could be catastrophic thing. Jack was living proof of it. True, he hadn't gone looking for it, and true, it had wreaked a very particular kind of havoc on him when it was taken from him, but at the same time, if he had the option of going back and staying away from her he wouldn't consider it for a moment. The loss of the love wouldn't be worth the loss of the pain, or of the gaping, empty hole cracked into his ribs. Helen had often laughed that she was a cynic, that she hadn't believed in love until she met him, but then later admitted that was a lie. Love had frightened her, because it meant getting close enough to a person that they could tear you apart. She had been with someone else before him, and loved them well, and they had broken her heart into a thousand pieces. When Jack came along, love was the last thing she wanted, but love was what she found herself in all the same. In the end, the broken hearts left in the wake of that bond had nothing to do with either of them, everything to do with the world, and its derision of the happiness of lovers.
3. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, First Aid Kit (Cover of the amazing Fleet Foxes original. I am actually cobbling together a Jack mix, and this is on it, funnily enough)
When Jack had come out of the coma, the world had felt like a ghost town. He knew Helen was dead from the moment he sat up in bed - it was no surprise when the nurse tried to break it to him gently. She'd been a sweet woman, with pale blue eyes and white blonde hair, and she had been pitying.
He remembered the first time he'd looked into a mirror and seen what his face looked like in the wake of the events that had dragged his life down like a shipwreck. It felt right, appropriate that he should look different. He felt different, like half of him had been shorn off. An eye gone pale and dead, and a gash across his face, they said something. They said that something had happened, and they were a mark of history. They separated a 'now' from a 'then', and they marked him, told those he met that he was a ghost.
When he crossed over through the portal into the human world, he wondered for a moment what Helen would have thought of the things he planned to do, then thought about it no more.
4. I Am A Wicked Child, Radiohead
Once, Jack, while he was Corbinian, came across a girl kneeling next to the body of her dead mother. The woman had a pair of small scissors sitting next to her, and the girl was covered in blood.
He held the girl until the police arrived, and then left to find the teenage boy who had stabbed her mother to death. He didn't kill him. No. He was too young to see death just yet. He did, however, take the scissors with him.
He left him at the police station, bleeding and begging for rescue. Later, when he was cleaning the blood from his hands, the incident seemed to somehow escape total recall, flitting around the edges of his memory, disappearing when he reached for it. He remembered grabbing the boy, and he remembered leaving him at the police station. What had happened in between was something unknowable, something so dark he couldn't manage to reach it. This was the day he began to worry.
5. Clipping, Mute Math
Chaos slipped into Jack's life in interesting and unusual ways. When a song came to him that clashed but had no lyrics, when a poem came to him in the flow of battle, when he found blood under his fingernails with no explanation for it, when he took a blade to his own skin. Chaos lapped and itched, chaos was erosion at his edges.
He wasn't sure exactly when it was that he started seeing things, but it was soon after he woke up. Sitting in the hospital bed, head turned towards the window, he saw a woman go by with raven black hair, a woman in a hospital gown open at the back, exposing death-pale flesh. He asked the nurse with the pale blue eyes who the woman was, and that pity came back into her eyes.
They made him undergo an analysis. He answered their questions without thinking. He was looking out the window, at a black bird perched in the branches of a tree outside of the hospital psychiatrist's richly furnished office. The bird was massive, dark as a night without stars, and it was looking at him through the rain pelting against the window. It had its head turned to the side, and it seemed to be saying something. The psychiatrist asked him whether or not he was listening, drawing his attention for a moment, and when he looked back the bird was gone, as if it had never been there at all.
6. Lady of My Dreams, VAST
Jack dreamed about as much as anyone else did. He had nightmares - nightmares were to be expected, they had told him so before he left the hospital. They could be gotten rid of with therapy, but Jack had no interest in that. No one could make this go away, this feeling of the world being emptied suddenly and irrevocably of the things that made living worthwhile, the things that brought color to the world, as if Dorothy had stepped back inside the house that dropped her into Oz and watched things go black and white again.
This was a black and white place, this world Jack found himself in when he left the hospital. There were black and white buildings, black and white edges around everyone he met, black and white ideals, black and white thoughts. The world was chiaroscuro, and the shadows that drew the definitions were deep indeed.
7. Blood Makes Noise, Suzanne Vega
Jack had never been inclined towards violence until after Helen's death, and his knack for it came as a total surprise to him. He didn't have any particular skill, but enthusiasm seemed to make up for much, particularly when one didn't need to worry about their own safety in the fight. He would walk into a crowd, or toward a sole person, and the world would become a place of white noise and ringing. He would speak, and he would hear himself, and he would hear the men he was killing, but the words somehow didn't fully register. And then he would find himself amongst a pile of bodies and wonder at the swiftness of it, the course of adrenaline, the pounding of blood.
8. Annan Water, The Decemberists
Jack considered death, and he considered it often. Death became infinitely more interesting, he had found, when it both hovered around you every hour of the day and yet seemed miles out of reach.
Whether or not he could actually die was a question that had settled on his shoulder, lightly perched and black, as soon as he discovered in a fight that knives and bullets had about as much effect on him as a blown feather. Could he die? Would he ever?
Thinking too long on the question inevitably brought him to a jagged, angry edge. Somewhere, he had faith, Helen was waiting for him. He believed in God and the devil, but not in such a way that he felt he had anything to prove to either. No, he doubted either of them cared too much about the dead. Why bother, when life was such a misery on its own for most? One day he would find the death that he had missed by centimeters of crushed bone and a will to live born of a need for revenge that moved his limbs still. He saw himself as a dead man walking. Even the doctors had said he should have died, and yet here he was, on the other side of seeing the person he loved killed in the most brutal of ways and yet separated from her by an uncrossable chasm, death itself, as elusive as safe passage on the stormy, wind-whipped waves of a channel, watery and deep.
9. Cloudbusting, Gemma Hayes (Kate Bush cover)
Jack had a fondness for rain. It cooled the city down, tempered the fever of its brow, and left it a quieter place. Even criminals didn't much like getting wet. Hot, clear nights were not much to his taste, no, he liked a downpour that obscured everything, that left him so much a spectre in the dark that more than once he had come within inches of a man's back and been able to spook him so badly he fled his intended crime without so much as a blow needing to fall.
If it rained through the day, he was nearly guaranteed to write. He kept the window open, and let the sound of the rain permeate the track, backing percussion come out of the clouds. Rain, like many other things, had good memories in it. Curled on a windowsill, naked and wrapped around by the woman he loved. That was just a year ago. A thousand years, an age, enlightenment fading into dark. It was harder to see other people in the rain, but the ghosts still came through loud and clear.
10. Anyone's Ghost, The National
The people who Jack came up against seemed to think that he, as Corbinian, was as much a member of the dead as he often felt. That was always interesting to see. He was better than any haunted house movie, a ghost that killed in reality, that killed for their trespass on his city, on this sacred ground, their trespass on morality and decency and the people around them. Seattle made for a good house to haunt, creaky underfoot and dirty in the corners despite all. But it was far from abandoned, and anyone who thought they could demolish it, burn it down, they would have him to contend with.
11. Terrible Things, April Smith
One had to stay upbeat, didn't they? Well, that wasn't necessarily true, but he did try to bring a certain kind of levity to everything that he did. And he did do some terrible things, truth be told. Still, if a broken leg was brought with a smile and a quote from Baudelaire, how bad could it actually be? There was a poetry to it, a sort of black comedy that was too black for really laughing at, but he managed to laugh anyway. Once, he punched a man so hard that his spit out his teeth like they were piano keys in a warner brothers cartoon, and he laughed. But humor was relative. He doubted it would be the sort of joke that the Bat would find as funny. And it was a sick sort of laughter anyway, the kind that made him feel ill, the kind that didn't really have a thing to do with genuine mirth or joy or pleasure and more a kind of desperation for something to vent the roiling fury. But a laugh was a laugh was a laugh. Wasn't it?
12. Lilium, Kumiko Noma
At the end of a night, with teeth marks on his knuckles, aching arms and blood flecked through his hair along with dashes of white paint, Jack sometimes climbed. He went as high as he could go, climbed fire escapes and ledges, the edges of buildings, and sat in places high enough to make the city look distant and separate, like a backdrop. He entertained fantasies of stepping away from the comfortable cement of the ledges and out onto the air, making his way across the city carried only by the edges of lights, a tightrope winding around the city's darkness.
Inevitably, he climbed back down. Because these were only fantasies, tempting, awesome visions, and not acting on them assured him that he had yet to lose his mind completely.