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Old 05-23-2011, 09:19 AM   #1
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Out Of Control 41

I'll have a less shitty chapter next, I promise. I just have a shitload of papers to write for this week in school (weird because school ends soon) and it's my birthday in a couple days plus the art show so I'll be quite quite busy.

***

(1986)

Desert sky
Dream beneath the desert sky
The rivers run but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight

She is liberty
And she comes to rescue me
Hope, faith, her vanity
The greatest gift is gold

Sleep comes like a drug
In God's country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God's country

The first few days after, Bono still felt like he wasn’t the same. His body was a block of wood, unresponding to most motivation. Rather, he went through the day with a thick, buzzing shell of thoughts around himself that acted like a glass barrier between pain and the world outside. Inside sparked turmoiled thoughts, flame-red and achingly familiar.

He understood the hurt, but not its cause. He knew Marcus would be speaking in court in a few days, and two people had died, not counting Isaac. Or far before, Cath. With Isaac’s unexpected reappearance and Ciarán’s kidnapping, Bono had the strangest feeling that that death especially might not have been what it seemed. But all of this was present only in his dreams, somewhere in the unconscious realm he could not waken. And some was only speculation, or deep painful instinct.

It all hurt. Something about the deaths had shocked him like he hadn’t thought could happen again. The problem was, he didn’t know what. He could go through every single detail of what he had seen and heard and felt but that didn’t explain the reason for his reaction.

In his ignorance and confusion, he clung to Ali who had surfaced from the past few days like they had all been a bad dream. He was thankful, after knowing how much they all could have lost, to wake up beside her in the still of the morning and hear her breathing in sleep. They were, if anything, closer than usual.

But remnants of that slow coil of static thought kept pushing back to him, leaving him unsettled, wondering what it was about. He kept his suspicions to himself.

He awoke, three days after they’d all returned to the desert, with the static gone. Leaving a completely blank calmness in its wake. He felt suspiciously good again. Everything he saw was what it was, not imbued with any other meaning. He smiled slightly, yawning and slipping out of bed, kissing Ali on the cheek. She turned over, dark hair slipping over one bare shoulder above the sheets. He gazed at her a moment then grabbed some coffee from the kitchen, watching the sun rise wide and sharp into the desert sky. His thoughts became less muzzy with sleep and sorted themselves into clarity, and suddenly he was itching for a pencil and paper. He lurched off the couch and, trying not to be too loud, found the first writing implement noticeable and cursing his thick-fingered clumsiness this morning, soon lost himself in the words spilling out onto the paper. He started, when Ciarán woke up a little later and peered over his shoulder.

As Bono looked over, he noticed again his son’s eyes were still piercingly sad. Though the boy had adjusted to being back and didn’t try to hide when anyone came in the room, or cling to either parent, he’d had a strange sort of apathy the first day or two back. He would forget that moving off the couch or chair made sense, or stand where he was, momentarily not remembering he was allowed to move. He was painfully thin—“bird bones,” Ali had called them, when putting Ciarán into the bath. The narrowness was more of a hint around the edges now, not full blast like his eyes. Ciarán’s eyes looked out and screamed and fought and loved and cried.

Ciarán had wakened from that state gradually, and explored the house like he was rediscovering it, drifting through, sometimes running his hands over the walls, sometimes sitting by the window and hugging his knees as his eyes pierced the sunset.

That, and the normal things—the way Ciarán’s hair tried valiantly to stick up like Bono’s had when he was a kid, the brief twitch at the corner of his mouth and hint in those eyes of mischief—coalesced painfully to Bono when he looked at him.

Ciarán tilted his head in question and asked quietly, “Whass’ that?”

“I’m writing a song,” Bono said, a mirroring corner of his mouth tilting up. “Enough of that for me, though.”

He set the paper down, an electric current passing between his fingers to the words: he longed to continue, but when he looked at Ciarán standing there his heart hurt. He got up, brown eyes tracking him, and surprised a giggle out of the kid by swiftly lifting him by the armpits, twisting around and setting him on his shoulders.

“C’mon,” Bono sighed, grinning, “let’s make you breakfast.” The calmness was leaving him a little. He tried to engage Ciarán in what he was doing but it didn’t work very well; he just sat there, resting his elbows on top of Bono’s head.

“Ow,” Bono winced, turning his head around. Ciarán stopped, eyes flashing with something briefly unreadable, and he sighed. It was only when Bono pushed his own breakfast away and returned to scrawling lyrics across the paper that Ciarán moved again, coming to sit beside him, biting a smile back in sudden amusement when Bono raised his eyebrows in silent question: I see how it is, then.

Ciarán picked up the sheet of paper from his hands, peering at it with a frightening intensity, then tilting his head and running his fingers over the words, something obviously going through his mind.

Sleep comes like a drug…

No, it didn’t, Ciarán thought, all his dreams were sad…

Bono heard when Ciarán came to the tentative chorus, and the words suddenly stopped. Ciarán set the paper down, looked at his father with curious eyes.

“Have you had dreams, then?” Ciarán asked. “That you didn’t want?” Bono wondered, again, just what this kid was going through.

He nodded, though the dreams had been at another time.

“What did you do?” Ciarán asked openly. A smile tugged at the corner of Bono’s mouth; Ciarán’s accent was creeping back.

“I had to face them,” he said seriously.

“I don’t want to,” Ciarán said plaintively.

“Well, some are meant to be forgotten. One thing’s certain, dreams aren’t real life. They shouldn’t be so worrisome you stop everything else.” With that, Bono thought, but the thought ran away.

“I’m going to go get your m—Ali up,” Bono said, rising. “You can change the lyrics around if you want; they’re not right yet…” Ciarán looked at the paper thoughtfully, and Bono grinned. “Tha’ verse should be above t’other one,” he head Ciarán mutter, and the sound of childish writing, as he left the room.

The coolness of the bedroom was a blessing. The warmth of Ali’s skin. He rested a hand on her shoulder for a moment, then leaned down and brushed his lips over hers. Her eyelids fluttered awake, she made a sound and pulled him closer, wrapping her arms around his back.

“Nuh-uh,” Bono chuckled, stepping back, “I’m waking you up, not disappearing into here.”

She raised an eyebrow, then pulled away from him, rubbing her eyes sleepily.

“Uh, Bon,” she said, pulling on some clothes, “there was a call at around 1 AM.”

He looked at her in confusion. “What about?”

She came up behind him, leaning up and resting her chin on his shoulder. “Marcus’ lung collapsed and he started to go into cardiac arrest. They’re moving the trial date to a week or so later. Ruth called and said they’re having the funeral this afternoon.”

“Funeral? For…”

“Seamus,” she said first, “and Phoenix.”

Inexplicably, the calmness left him entirely. He nodded shortly, turning away. He’d almost forgotten the two had died. And the impact of it.

“We’d have to leave in the next half hour or so to make it,” Ali said, her eyes full of regret. He nodded again. She must have noticed something, because she asked.

No, nothing was wrong. “It’s not—“ he began. His eyes locked on hers desperately. He didn’t know what he was looking for, what was so important in his mind…

“Is it Seamus?” Ali asked, biting her lip. “You didn’t want him to…” …come to the other funeral. Her words trailed off as she noticed a flash of something in his eyes.

“No, he was a bastard, but no. I don’t…” He sighed. “I don’t know what it is.”

“Did you…did you know, though,” she said softly, painfully, pulling him out of the room and nodding his head towards Ciarán, “he was trying to help Ciarán escape. Your son knew a different man.”

He shook his head slowly. “Maybe Ciarán shouldn’t go. He’s been…” He swallowed. “He’s been doing so well, away from where it all happened.”

“I can stay here with him,” Ali offered. “Go,” she said.

He bit his lip. Something gripped him and moved him say, a little more fiercely than he intended, “No.” He sighed. “Ali, I need you to come with me,” Bono said. Strangely enough, in that moment she didn’t see the man, she saw Paul, the child, desperate about something. Scared about something else.

“Alright,” she said, tilting her head. Something in that reminded Bono of Ciarán; he laughed unconsciously. Then suddenly he leaned forward and in all that desperation kissed her, leaving her mind reeling. And froze, pulling his lips away from hers. His muscles tightened, his eyes sparked; he blinked, for just as suddenly as he had been kissing Ali, that’s not what he had felt. He’d tasted chlorine, and alcohol, and nighttime. Burning like fire afraid through his veins. He shivered and masked the reaction.

The desert passed once more past his window in a fevered red-brown blut as he tried not to think of what was ahead. He leaned against the window, tapping his fingers disjointedly to the beat of the song on the radio, staring outside, a knot in his stomach. This grew unbearable after a while; once again, like before this all started, Bono had the overwhelming feeling that he didn’t want to think or analyze too much. He pretended to be fine, shifting his focus to Ali and Ciarán, talking and joking with the two to fill the silence. The miles ran by.

They returned to Santa Barbara and Bono felt fine. It didn’t hold the same feelings it had a week ago. They exited the car, Ciarán with a mischievous look on his face; he didn’t see that it was a funeral yet, just that everyone had come back and not at the police office.

In fact, while the knot in Bono’s stomach reformed, as he watched two bodies being interred into the earth, his hand tight in Ali’s, Ciarán had run off to the pier. He stood, a small figure at the end, buffeted about by the wind and the pulsing sun. The world receded into a warm little speck of light and all that ran through Ciarán’s mind were the lyrics he’d changed about a bit, until he forgot those too. Ciarán alone could ponder life and death with less weight.

He squinted against the sun that had built in intensity, setting ever so slightly to grab the waves as his father a little ways away looked past the two long wounds in the earth. Then some emotion grabbed Ciarán with an intensity that hadn’t been possible when he’d left for home, and alone with himself at last he found himself crying. It was brief, for crying wasn’t something he did often, and he heard a sound behind him. He blinked and turned around, his mouth twisting. He was ready to tell his da no he hadn’t just been crying, that was…eh…saltwater because look the ocean was right there, but it wasn’t his da or Ali.

Ruth sat at the end of the pier, her legs, longer than his, casting shadows over the water below. He could see a little of Phoenix in her; that she didn’t start the conversation, that she looked at him a little sadly.

“What’re you doing?” she eventually asked.

He didn’t respond like he might’ve. “Trying to understand.”

“Understand what?”

“Everything,” Ciarán said with an expansive gesture, trying not to laugh.

“Really? That’s a lot to take in,” Ruth said, amused.

“I didn’t want to see it,” he said more seriously, jerking his chin back towards the rest. She nodded.

“Well, a lot of us had to say goodbye. I said goodbye to Phoenix.” There were broken pieces of acoustic guitar from the abandoned church somewhere in the dirt, now.

Ciarán looked out into the blinding light on the waves, squinting powerfully. “I couldn’t,” he said. “There wasn’t enough time to say goodbye.”

Ruth nodded. “Ciarán, when she died, she wasn’t Phoenix.”

He turned back, his face screwed tight in puzzlement. Then something shone in his eyes. A little thud from his heart.

“How—“

Ruth pointed out to the water. He tilted his head, eyes trailing the line it made. It was all blinding sun moving.

“If you think of the world as one big ocean,” Ruth said, mouth slanting to the side, “and then everyone in it different little drops of water inside of it…they can get confused sometimes.”

“What about—“

“When one drop of water’s gone, it goes up into the air and comes back down eventually into the ocean again. Sometimes it’s the right time. Sometimes it’s the wrong time. Sometimes we can choose when it happened.” She spoke a little further, and explained what had happened. He looked down.

“…but, see, your da already said goodbye. And what this all was supposed to do, I think, was to make you alright.”

“I don’t want to…think about it anymore,” Ciarán said. Ruth nodded. The sun set slowly.

Bono left right about when Ciarán did. His thoughts did, at least. To a place where the helicopters hummed overhead and gunshots rattled out warnings, and then to a place between the streaks of light coming in from a doorway, a burst of shocked silence. And those lines in the papers and on the air stating that 2, 11, 5, 8, 1, lay dead somewhere far but all too close. He didn’t feel so neatly shellacked into silence anymore. Perhaps all that death all around him had stirred something restless and outraged. He looked at the hard black surface of what was probably Seamus’ coffin and felt that knot in his stomach twist hard. Regretful hate, regretful appreciation.

He felt Ali’s hand on his arm, bringing him back to the living world. He looked up, shivering, and was taken back to the night of the fire. When she looked at him oddly—he was staring—he shook his head with a gasp.

Not wanting to explain something inexplicable, he spotted someone familiar and headed for him purposely. Thinking mistakenly briefly that the man was Larry, his eyes widened when he saw Oisín. Inexplicably, Bono felt relieved.

He drew Oisín aside, with a look of desperation, then realized he had no idea what he wanted to say.

“Hey. You don’t look so good. What’s going on?” Oisín asked with a look of concern.

He didn’t really look so good himself. He hadn’t wanted to come, could barely even face his father dead, but Ruth had overridden his protests.

“Someone needs to tell my head to stop,” Bono winced. He said something disjointed by way of explanation, but oddly enough, it looked like it made sense to Oisín.

Somewhere in something the other man said to him, he heard “Just…stop worrying about it. What happened, happened, and it wasn’t your fault.” Bono opened his mouth and Oisín shook his head.

When they were about to leave, Bono looked for Ciarán with beginning frustration, then slight panic, then found Ruth who said he’d been at the pier. He found Ciarán by the water’s edge, scooping water into his hands and looking at it intently. When Bono asked what he was doing, Ciarán just yawned with a small smile and followed him back to the car.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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I bet Ciaran made the song what it is now. XD I love that song!
Those are quite deep thougths for a, what, eight-year-old kid to have?
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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He probably did :3 and it's one of my favorites from The Joshua Tree...

He's been through a lot...
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