-Jason. Wake up.-
I sit up, still dreaming, my wife asleep at my side. They are arrayed at the foot of our bed, the women sitting, the men standing behind them. They are five in number, a little family – although I remember later that only three of them are actually related. The teenage Girl sits to the left of me, a strawberry blonde in a black t-shirt under a denim vest. She is scrawny and kind of trashy but she has a very pretty, vulnerable smile. She also has a deep gouge in her forehead and a thin red line dug into her throat where she was strangled. The older woman, the Mother, sits to my right, covered in blood from what appear to be innumerable stab wounds. Underneath the blood her dress is plain, her face even plainer. The older man, the Father, and a young teenage boy stand together behind her, the older man’s hand placed awkwardly on his Son’s shoulder. The boy, kind of punk-rock, kind of skater-ish, is also bleeding but less so than his Mother. Fewer stab wounds are visible. The Father appears nearly untouched but for the blood seeping forward into the front of his work shirt – all of his stab wounds were in his back. The last – that other teenage boy, the Suicide – is a little older than the Son but, admittedly, it is hard to determine his age because half of his face is gone and his jaw hangs awkwardly from the right side, the intact side. The shotgun took care of the rest. It appears that there may be another two or three figures standing behind him but the outlines are vague, ghostly.
-Jason. Wake up.-
-What. What is it now.-
Rand Myers speaks. –None of us is very happy about the way this has turned out so far.-
I laugh. –Oh. Oh really. Well, too fuckin’ bad. Get somebody else to write it up for you.- I shake my head, laugh again. –Assholes.-
Katie Hoehner touches my arm. –No, no, don’t get mad. It’s just there’s so many holes where there’s no information.-
-I know, believe me, I know. Tons of the stuff in this is total speculation. But what do you want me to do. How could I make it better, more what you want.-
John Janks says, -Well, what I’d like, I’d like it to be more consistent, more like a story from chapter to chapter. Not so much jumping around from idea to idea.-
Katie Hoehner says, -There’s too many characters, and some of them just appear and then just disappear again, like Donna and Our Lady. It seems like they were just introduced to tell about the dream I was in.-
I smile. –They were.-
Katie shrugs. –But still.-
Rand Myers says, -I wanna know what Snakeland really is, what it was. If it had all this impact on all of us, and everything, I wanna know exactly what was in there and how it did all this to us.-
Mark Janks says, -I want some straight up good guys and bad guys. I’d like it to be clear if Mike Guerrasio was, like, an actual killer or just a dick. And if he was just a dick, I’d like to see him change, kind of come around and become cooler by the end of the story. Not all the Heads were dicks.-
-Most of them were.- I sigh. -Okay.-
Marge Janks clears her throat. –I want a happy ending. I know that maybe that’s not “cool”, the “cool” thing to do, but it’s what I want.-
Then I realize: -You guys are describing the, like, blockbuster Hollywood movie version of what happened.- And then I think about that for a second.
Suddenly, that doesn’t sound so bad.