Zwain was distant all day. The nightmare from last night still weighed heavily on him. He showed up to band practice lacking the enthusiasm to even be himself, let alone the frontman. Tony called for a quick break and tossed Mandy and Duece a ten to go out and get themselves a drink.
Duece caught the money and said, “Dude, you think this is enough–”
Tony shot him a look that knocked the rest words right out of his mouth. Duece liked to run his mouth, but still knew when to shut it. He gave Tony the Headnod of Acknowledgment and waved Mandy to join him.
As they left, Mandy took one sorrowful look back at Zwain who was slumped over on the couch. She could see Tony grabbing two beers from the garage fridge, then offering one to Zwain. Zwain hadn’t looked up to meet Tony’s eyes by the time she turned back to face the street in front of her.
Zwain finally raised his eyes to Tony and waved the beer away. Tony pushed it a little closer to him and said, “Take it.”
Zwain took the beer from Tony’s grip with a shrug and an eyeroll. He set it down on the floor in front of him and planted his elbows on his knees; resting his chin on the palms of his hand. He let out a deep sigh and once again looked up at Tony. “Sorry, man,” he said.
“No need to be, dude. What’s got you down on this fine evening?”
Zwain held back. The way they made fun of him for claiming to be from the future always made him wary to open up about the problems he carried with him from that time. In a way it was good that Tony got rid of Duece since Zwain was not in the mood for that special brand of wise-assery. Tony would at least listen first, pass judgement later. That didn’t make opening up about this any easier.
“Go on. It’ll be better to get it out, man. I can tell something is going on, dude. You were so stoked after finishing your solo yesterday, what could’ve possibly changed that attitude, man.”
“What? Did he call–” Tony caught himself before finishing his sentence. Of course Zwain’s father didn’t call. Zwain had stuck to his time traveller story for so long that Tony actually did come around to believing him. That didn’t mean that Tony didn’t join in some friendly ribbing now and then. “Shit, sorry man. I know he didn’t. It was just a reactionary response, dude.”
“Nah, it’s okay.”
“No it’s not, man. We get on your case all the time about coming from the future. I know this isn’t much of an excuse, but look at all the shit around us, dude. Movies, books and even comics all make time travel seem so radical and easy. You don’t even remember how you got here, man. It all just seems so convenient. But I do know one thing, that deep down you are who you claim to be. I know this because your lie is way too fucking weak for anyone to hold onto it as long as you have, man.”
Zwain cracked a smile. Hearing Tony say all that did lift his spirits. He took a deep breath and said “I had a bad dream last night. About the death of my father. I was so powerless to save him and he… died… right in my arms.” Zwain fought back the tears of that night, his eyes glistening in the lights of the garage.
Tony took that moment to sit down on the couch beside him and place a hand on his shoulder. “Ah, shit dude. I’m sorry to hear that.”
Zwain went on explaining the events of that painful day to Tony. It was so vivid, as if Tony could see the wasteland that Zwain lived in, the fire of the orphanage and the lifeless, limp body of James.
“And it’s not only that. That night was only a precursor. I vowed to live my life in his honour. To do him proud. It was hard to keep to his ideals and sometime after that night… something… happened. I didn’t mean for it, but it did…”
“What happened?” Tony interjected.
Zwain didn’t answer and continued, “It’s like it finished up the last bit of my father that the Ravagers couldn’t get at. The part that was within me. I tried to become my father and I failed. And before I could even get the chance to try again…”
“You woke up in the field at the PBJB concert.” Tony sighed and took a sip of beer. This was a lot to take in. After swallowing the cool beer Tony asked, “Who or what were these Ravagers? What happened to you after your father died?”
“It’s a lot to explain.”
“We got some time.”
“Nah, I want to do it in front of everybody. Kind of just come clean once and for all. I have blood on my hands, it would be best to wash as much as I can in one go.”
Tony leaned back, eyes wide. “Dude! You don’t mean…”
“Look, I’ll get into it once Mandy and Duece get back. I hope it doesn’t sour your opinions of me, but I think it is time for me to get it out.”
“Yeah, man. Whatever you want. This is totally your call, dude.” Tony’s mind was already filling with all kinds of horrors that Zwain must’ve had to do in order to survive. The mind always assumed the worst, or at least Tony hoped this was the case.
“Thanks,” said Zwain as he stared off into nothing trying to think of how he was going to say what he had to say.
Tony just sipped his beer in silence.