Illustration by Idiots’Books
Death Waits regained consciousness several times over the next week, aware each time that he was waking up in a hospital bed on a crowded ward, that he’d woken here before, and that he hurt and couldn’t remember much after the beating had started.
But after a week or so, he found himself awake and aware—he still hurt all over, a dull and distant stoned ache that he could tell was being kept at bay by powerful painkillers. There was someone waiting for him.
“Hello, Darren,” the man said. “I’m an attorney working for your friends at the ride. My name is Tom Levine. We’re suing Disney and we wanted to gather some evidence from you.”
Death didn’t like being called Darren, and he didn’t want to talk to this dork. He’d woken up with a profound sense of anger, remembering the dead-eyed guy shouting about Disney while bouncing his head off the ground, knowing that Sammy had done this, wanting nothing more than to get ahold of Sammy and, and… That’s where he ran out of imagination. He was perfectly happy drawing medieval-style torture chambers and vampires in his sketch book, but he didn’t actually have much stomach for, you know, violence.
“Can we do this some other time?” His mouth hurt. He’d lost four teeth and had bitten his tongue hard enough to need stitches. He could barely understand his own words.
“I wish we could, but time is of the essence here. You’ve heard that we’re bringing a suit against Disney, right?”
“No,” Death said.
“Must have come up while you were out. Anyway, we are, for unfair competition. We’ve got a shot at cleaning them out, taking them for every cent. We’re going through the pre-trial motions now and there’s been a motion to summarily exclude any evidence related to your beating from the proceedings. We think that’s BS. It’s clear from what you’ve told your friends that they wanted to shut you up because you were making them look bad. So what we need is more information from you about what this guy said to you, and what you’d posted before, and anything anyone at Disney said to you while you were working there.”
“You know that that guy said he was beating me up because I talked about this stuff in the first place?”
The lawyer waved a hand. “There’s no way they’ll come after you now. They look like total assholes for doing this. They’re scared stupid. Now, I’m going to want to formally depose you later, but this is a pre-deposition interview just to get clear on everything.”
The guy leaned forward and suddenly Death Waits had a bone-deep conviction that the guy was about to punch him. He gave a little squeak and shrank away, then cried out again as every inch of his body awoke in hot agony, a feeling like grating bones beneath his skin.
“Woah, take it easy there, champ,” the lawyer said.
Death Waits held back tears. The guy wasn’t going to hit him, but just the movement in his direction had scared him like he’d leapt out holding an axe. The magnitude of his own brokenness began to sink in and now he could barely hold back the tears.
“Look, the guys who run the ride have told me that I have to get this from you as soon as I can. If we’re going to keep the ride safe and nail the bastards who did this to you, I need to do this. If I had my way, I wouldn’t bug you, but I’ve got my orders, OK?”
Death snuffled back the tears. The back of his throat felt like it had been sanded with a rusty file. “Water,” he croaked.
The lawyer shook his head. “Sorry buddy, just the IV, I’m afraid. The nurses were very specific. Let’s start, OK, and then we’ll be done before you know it.”
Defeated, Death closed his eyes. “Start,” he said, his voice like something made from soft tar left too long in the sun.
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As part of the ongoing project of crafting Tor.com’s electronic edition of Makers, the author would like for readers to chime in with their favorite booksellers and stories about them in the comments sections for each piece of Makers, for consideration as a possible addition to a future edition of the novel.