METASTASIS a novel: Prologue

At the sound of the alarm clock, I woke as any normal person would, thinking about how the day was going to begin and end and what would happen in the middle. There wans’t much to go on to see ahead of “here” and “now”. Isn’t there never anything to base a prediction on? Certainly.

Sitting up in bed seemed like it was the hardest thing in the world to do, as if I could feel that something was wrong in the pit of my stomach.

Such a cliche.

My eyes felt like they were going to come out of my sockets and it was then that I realized that something wasn’t right. See, the thing of it was, last night was the best night of sleep I had ever gotten. Why? I had a pretty good idea.

I had been drugged.

This didn’t make any sense at all. There had to be an explanation! But there wasn’t going to be unless I looked for one, yet there was no telling if there was one to find at all.

Sitting on the side of the bed, I rubbed my face into my hands, breathing out slowly. I could feel the blood running within me, life itself judging that I should go on. But did it matter that I still breathed? And why was I even questioning my existence at this time.

Must have still been wearing off the effects of whatever drug they pumped into me.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I was alone in the room.

She wasn’t on the other side of the bed. She always was. Why not now?

Startled I got up and moved around in the room, my legs feeling like jelly beneath my weight. I grasp the walls in an effort to keep my balance.

“Constanza?” I call out into the living room of the homestead.

The door is half ajar, leading into the living space where the ceiling fan was still going.

The Mexican heat was unbearable as it always was, the harsh morning sun bleeding rays of light through the curtains. The carpet was lit up in golden colors and the glass chandelier refracted most of the rays into the full spectrum along the walls. There wasn’t anything much different in the room’s appearance as is usually was in the past. Nothing of immediate interest or concern.

But then I noticed the film of dust.

Constanza always kept the home clean. That was one of the things she always did in the afternoon. There wouldn’t have been any amount of dust on any surface if she were here. But wasn’t she here yesterday?

I go into the kitchen where the calendar hangs on the fridge. All the days leading up to Thursday are crossed off. But I knew that it may not be so true as to assume today was Thursday, so I went into my study, where the computer kiosk stood. Sitting down I boot it up and log in under my username. Down in the corner of the desktop is the date and time…

Saturday, June 3, 2034.

I had just finished putting away the clean dishes when I noticed that I had forgotten to cross the date out on the calendar.

“Cameron,” said Constanza from the living room. “Are you finished yet?”

I loved the sound of her voice, her accent that she had kept since our days in the States. I will always remember the days that we first got to know each other…

“I’m coming,” I said.

I came into the living room and sat down on the couch beside her. She put her arms around me and came close enough for me to smell her feminine aroma. Her black hair listed down her shoulder and brushed my bare chest. Then she brought herself closer and kissed me passionately.

I succumbed. In turn I gave her my affection with a deeper kiss. For a while we tourneyed back and forth, trying to outdo the other at the loving task of a kiss. Then she stopped, as did I.

She pulled back slightly to look at me.

Tears had started to appear.

“You got another letter from that man. Please don’t go away again. I don’t want to lose you.”

I searched the house, looking in all the rooms. She wasn’t there! How could she be gone? What I remembered about Thursday was that I came home from a job out in Mexico City, a drug bust that the government was trying to avoid – too many people around the world have been under the influence of the Substance for far too long, and it was only a matter of time before the people of Mexico started to urge for the confounded narcotic.

As I looked through the house, the only thing that I found was a note she had left on the bedside table. How could I have missed that?

I read the note…

… and was astonished at what I saw.

But the first thing that I noticed about the note was the fact that she wouldn’t have left anything. It wasn’t in her character to do something like that at all. Then there was the fact that the note was written with such literate language. I remember when I first met her she was illiterate, from a village down here in Mexico, trying to cross the boarder with family. I was the one that inspected the truck they stowed away in.

I know that she hated me, but that was years ago, before the world gave in to temptation and addicted themselves, pledging their lives, to the Substance, before she married me.

Before we lived happily.

Before I realized she left me.

I heard a familiar sound then and looked out through the window to see an old Isuzu truck, white and rusted, coming down the dirt road that led to our homestead. The truck parked out front and Cortes, the mail carrier, came out.

There was only one reason for him to visit me: that was if I received a letter from who I might call my employer.

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