John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End #1)

12,986
07.03.2019

“You figure out what that thing was, floatin’ around in the Sullivan house?”

“I don’t know any more than you, Drake. Just weird, that’s all. This town, you know.”

“You know there was a cop, a detective that went missing a while back? Name was Appleton? Black guy? Started ranting about the end of the world, then vanished like a puff of smoke?”

“I think I heard about that.”

Drake said, “You know who was the very last person he interrogated before he went missing?”

“Me?”

“That’s right. That’s right. And they never found him.”

Being a cop in Undisclosed is not a path to long-term mental or physical health, Drake. Check the suicide rate. And I’ll tell you something else, too. The look I saw in the eyes of that guy before he went off the edge is the same look I see in yours now.

Out loud I said, “Why are you here, Drake?”

“I need a movie,” he said brightly. “Gonna stay in tonight.”

“Okay.”

“Why don’t you recommend something for me? Something fun.”

I reached over and plucked the first movie off a pile of returns to my left. Mulholland Drive, some David Lynch movie I had never heard of. There was no anti-theft tag on the case of this one. Almost like we wanted it to get stolen.

“Here,” I said. “This is a good one.”

“It’s something my kid will sit through?”

“Sure.”

I rang him up and he sidled from the counter. Drake put his hand on the door as I picked up another DVD and let out the breath I had been holding. Then, just as he was stepping out into the cold, I heard myself say, “There wasn’t anybody else reported missing today, was there?”

He stopped, and turned. He let his gaze stay on me for a moment before saying, “No. Why?”

He’s gonna remember you asking when somebody does come up missing, you stupid fuck.

“No reason,” I said. I recovered with, “Whatever happened to Amy, I didn’t want it to happen to somebody else.”

“Yeah.”

He waited for a moment, like he had something else to say, but turned and walked out instead. My cell phone rang. Everybody had taken to downloading songs to replace the ringers on their cell phones but me; I just set mine to ring again. One less thing to worry about. I pulled it from my pants pocket and saw John’s name on the display. I answered, “Hello?”

“I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE, VINNY!”

“You called me, John.”

“That’s right. Sorry. Have you seen the trees? Isn’t it pretty?”

“That guy came back, John. The guy who showed up in my car last night. He came back and I thought it was a dream but I’m starting to think it wasn’t.”

“Did you kill him?”

“No, John. And thank you for asking me that over a cell phone.”

“Speaking of which, did you find out about the you-know-what in your toolshed? As in, a name?”

“No, the dead body in my you-know-what is still a mystery. I have to get back to work. What do you need?”

“You gotta leave the store.”

“I can’t, I’m the only one here.”

“Close the store, then. Close the store and get outta there.”

“What? Why?”

“You’ll see. Meet me at the safe house. Noon. You’re not gonna believe this shit.”

“THE SAFE HOUSE” was our code name for Denny’s.

I arrived and saw John at a far corner booth, a bundle of papers in his hand, a pair of boobs next to him attached to a girl. This wasn’t Crystal, the tall girl with the electric blue eyes and short hair and the peasant skirts, nor was it Angie, the sexy librarian girl with the dark-rimmed glasses and ponytails and capri pants. It wasn’t Nina, with the criminally short skirts and green streaks in her hair, or Nicky the Bitch.

This one was Marcy. Oh, Marcy. Contrary to the wisdom of the gay men who run the fashion industry (who, coincidentally, prefer their female models to look like thin males), the hottest girl I ever saw in real life weighed probably one hundred and fifty pounds. And her name was Marcy Hansen. And she was John’s girl. Rusty reddish-brown hair, about the same color as Molly’s, wide cobalt-blue eyes that looked at you like you were the most important person in the world.

I sat, we greeted each other. Out of the corner of my eye, off to the left of Marcy’s boobs, John waved around the papers and said, “You gotta read this.”

At that moment I realized I was boob-staring and I took the papers from John. Marcy wore tan cargo pants and a skintight T-shirt that said, I SWAM THE NAKED MILE! Marcy was one of those girls who seemed to have an endless supply of stories that involved some kind of hilarious sexual misadventure and/or accidental nudity. I took the papers from John’s hand. I studied Marcy’s boobs carefully. I caught myself, again, and held up the papers to obscure the supple swell of her bosoms. The papers were a printout, a log of the chat Amy was on the night she got abducted last time.

“I saw Amy this morning,” John said. “I stopped by to, you know, make sure she was still there. She was pretty freaked out, reading that.”

I read, but didn’t understand until the last third or so and, at that point, everything changed.

This, I thought, is the end. One way or another, this is gonna be the end.

CHAPTER 13

The Chat Transcript

* JOHNNY_5 HAS LOGGED OUT *

{faierydust} asshole

{MustacheGirl} Still there girl?

{faierydust} hes banned

{EVLNYMPH} dialup sux

{amy_sullivan} still here

{EVLNYMPH} anybody else lagging?

{faierydust} this is the creepiest thing ive ever done

{MustacheGirl} You should look out the window. See if there’s lights.

{EVLNYMPH} stop with the ufo thing

{MustacheGirl} Have you thought about getting hypnotized? They can recall memories of those nights . . .

{amy_sullivan} no

{amy_sullivan} i don’t even know where ppl go to have that done

{amy_sullivan} sounds like a good way to get molested

{MustacheGirl} Almost midnight.

{EVLNYMPH} iam so freaked out right now i read a book about a navy ship that disappeared

{EVLNYMPH} they found it latr but the crew was all gone and some guys turned up hundreds of miles awy w/no memory

{EVLNYMPH} they think it was sum kind of time pocket or somethin

{faierydust} oh shit

{amy_sullivan} that was a movie. the philadelphia experiment

{MustacheGirl} Yes.

{faierydust} it had tom hanks. the expriment gave him aids

{MustacheGirl} The movie was based on a true story though.

{amy_sullivan} molly is staring

{amy_sullivan} she jumps up on my bed and stares at me til i take her out

{MustacheGirl} I assume the true story wasn’t as interesting.

{EVLNYMPH} im putting on music the quiet is freakin me out

{faierydust} what if its like a wormhole or something

{EVLNYMPH} bob dylan. you gotta serv somebody

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{amy_sullivan} im taking molly outside BRB

{MustacheGirl} AMY!!! Are you nuts?!?!

{amy_sullivan} BRB

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{faierydust} wormhole. i just got the weirdest picture in my head when i thought of that. ugh. worms.

{MustacheGirl} Stupid dog. I’m literally on the edge of my seat and she walks away. This is hurting my butt.

{MustacheGirl} Ew. The cat peed on my bed.

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{MustacheGirl} She NEVER does that.

{faierydust} my science teacher says if all of the worms in the world came up to the surface the world would be buried 20 feet deep in them

{faierydust} he said there are 100000000000000000000000000 sea worms in the ocean 10 w/ 26 zeros

{faierydust} they would flow around the streets like aflood

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{faierydust} there is a world like that i have seen it

{faierydust} people die choking on them

{faierydust} they are consumed from the inside out

{MustacheGirl} All of us find that exact same fate.

{EVLNYMPH} serve

* S_GUTTENBERG HAS LOGGED IN *

{S_GUTTENBERG} HEY GIRLZ!!!!!! I’M TYPING WITH MY COCK. CYBER?

{MustacheGirl} Our race was created as food for worms that do not die. Our eyes are as sweet as candy to them.

{faierydust} eye

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{faierydust} I

{MustacheGirl} None find life outside of the throat. His jaws are like a lover’s embrace.

* S_GUTTENBERG HAS LOGGED OUT *

{MustacheGirl} None

{faierydust} I

{EVLNYMPH} serve

{MustacheGirl} None

{faierydust} BUT

{EVLNYMPH} K

{MustacheGirl} O

{faierydust} R

{EVLNYMPH} R

{MustacheGirl} O

{faierydust} K

{MustacheGirl} It is done.

{faierydust} i just blanked out what time is it KORROK THE SLAVE-MASTER KORROK THE KNOWING KORROK THE WISE KORROK THE LIVING KORROK THE FAMISHED KORROK THE CONQUERER KORROK THE GIVER KORROK THE ALMIGHTY I SERVE NONE BUT KORROK

{EVLNYMPH} faierydust are you o

{MustacheGirl} She’s food.

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////////////////////////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////////////////////////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////////////////////////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////////////////////////////

{MustacheGirl} ///////////

* MUSTACHEGIRL HAS LOGGED OUT *

I FOLDED THE pages and ran my hand over my mouth, unshaven jaw like sandpaper. Korrok the Slavemaster.

A blue eye in the darkness. Populations of worlds roil in his guts.

As much as I hate being right, I hate it even more when John is right.

Marcy said, “Isn’t that just the weirdest?”

I glanced at Marcy, then at John. Keep in mind, these two had been going out all of ten days.

John said, “Somebody’s got to stay with Amy tonight.”

❮❯