Joule was born in 1977 in Lima, Ohio, USA of Sayers & Scovil Coach Company (1876 CE), and General Motors Cadillac Division (1902 CE). Joule’s first ministry was serving the rural community of Larkhall, New Hampshire as a ‘Professional Car.’ Joule was a Cadillac Victoria Landau Endloader Hearse.
After 16,650 Miles, twenty-five Years, and one Driver, J G Barrett, Mortician; the machine called Joule was prepared for the afterlife. Following an oil change, lube, and a private ceremony, Joule was put in storage at the funeral home garage.
A mere six months had past when Joule’s original keeper retired and promoted himself to fully committed fisherman spending his remaining days exploring the chilly waters of the Arielle River behind the abandoned Diamond State Hospital For The Criminally Insane.
One month later, tattered remains of the man washed ashore. Forensic examination determined that J G Barrett had been bled dry prior to being cast into the river. His clothing of fine silk, soft wool, and pricey custom footwear held no personal items. Except for two platinum coins.
The coins were brought to a numismatist, who identified them as ‘Proof Coins.’ Where were they from, he asked? From inside the pockets of a man whose body was completely drained of bodily fluids, then dumped into the River Arielle, they told him.
The numismatist was unable to determine a country of origin. The coins’s obverse sides bore the inscription ‘VII’, inside a seven-pointed star, within a circle. The back, said the coin expert, resembled a CoE (Council of Europe) symbol, an arrangement of twelve tiny five-pointed stars, etched in supernatural precision.
What he could say was the coins were the exact dimensions and weight of the 0.9995 Silver American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coin, denomination $100.00; but they were not derived from said coin. How do you know? Look here in the microscope, he said.
He placed the American Eagle and one of the Mystery Coins side by side.
The Law Enforcement Officers, even though mere generalists, could plainly tell the detail of the American Eagle was by comparison, primitive manufacturing technology.
Kathleen Mary James sat on the smooth fragrant leather sofa in Level Three of The Arielle Facility. The sofa was the color of soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Vanilla leather. Why had Randall Osbourne and Angelique Fraser left so hastily?
Her Edward said that soft-serve ice cream was one-third air. More air than one-third, and the ice cream shrank and melted too fast. Kathleen wanted to have either vanilla, or red strawberry flavor. Her mouth tasted liked blood. Had she bitten her cheek?
Every other. Second. Every other second.
Kathleen’s life these days was switching off-on binarily. She woke up this morning at The Arielle Facility with a feeling that material and time were getting THINNER. Life was turning into an edited version of itself, a draft paper printout of a photo program on a PC. Reality was watered down, reduced to finite pixels. Where did the time go? What was clandestinely cheapening her reality?
Back when Edward Fraser, Angelique’s husband, disappeared Kathleen had been given a prescription drug supposed to make her feel better. She experienced an adverse reaction from unintentional over-medication.
The chemical overdose slowed her breathing down but without any panic or discomfort. It was taking her life. The room became tomb-silent, and the fringes of her vision revealed what she knew to be shadow people. They looked like stragglers in a movie theater searching for seats when the lights began dimming.
Kathleen remembered the calm serenity of neurological oblivion. Death felt nice.
Then something had snapped her out of it. It wasn’t HER TIME! Angelique needed her friend! Kathleen knew angels rescued her on that day.
Today it was similar but not same. This present surreality was not of man-made compounds. Something more difficult to fix was fluctuating glitching. Itching. Where was it coming from? Angelique, no… Angelique was pure. Randall Osbourne? HE had just taken Angelique away, dragged her like undertow outside the room, down those stairs…
In Angelique’s Level One Showroom, Randall had touched a PC Computer with the Morrison Cores inside. The same computer cores which Joule, Edward’s Custom Car, used for Engine Management and GPS and Communication. Joule. It was named Joule. That damned machine…
A Hot-Rod Hearse with Big Wheels. Fat Rubber. Down in the basement. It was Joule.
Randall Osbourne was vibrating, shaking. Child-sized fists pummeled his body. His retinas hosted stars titanium white melting into lingering green blobs.
Angelique Fraser was SCREAMING! Not so much in terror… but with pure indignation that the stupid man wasn’t doing what he was being told!
She kept waving that little LED flashlight she always carried around her neck. Right in his eyes. Blinding him. Angelique hated the dark. That tiny light put out over 50 lumens!
“Angelique, my ear bones are rattling. Tone it down. What…”
“Are you dying?” “No… It feels like life… It HURTS… Why?” “Look around…”
Randall Osbourne saw the Durasteel Fire Door Angelique had painted the color she called 1959 Thunderbird Turquoise. They were standing at the entryway to Level Zero, where Edward A James’s unique Hot Rod Hearse rested sleeping dreaming.