We’re All Going to Die

cover-12-ebook-final-MEDIUMWe’re all going to die.

Unless there’s some remarkable leap in science in your lifetime which allows you to attain immortality, your days are numbered.

As are those of everyone we know.

I think I first became obsessed with death when I was a child and my grandfather died. Prior to that, death was something that happened on TV shows, in comic books (though comic book deaths were rarely permanent), and in the movies. But not in real life.

My grandfather’s death hurt.

But it didn’t shake me nearly as much as the next death.

In high school I had a close friend, whom I’ll call J. She was a bit younger than me, and infinitely more carefree. We hung out all the time, riding our bicycles (before either of us had access to a car) and we’d find places to hang out where we shouldn’t be — closed down restaurants, fenced off areas, a park that was under construction where we’d hang out on a dock. And we’d have these great conversations. We’d talk about the weirdest most fantastical stuff — aliens, ghosts, what we’d do if we could go back (or forward) in time — the sorts of things I’d always thought on my own but never talked about with friends, particularly girls.

She was weird and geeky in all the same ways I was.

And I loved her. She might be the first girl I truly felt like I loved. Like the painful you want to be with this person so much that when you’re not, you feel empty sorta way.

Of course I was too damned chicken to tell her. I was a fat kid with a pizza face, and my few awkward attempts at something more were met with rejection.

So I settled for her being one of my best friends.

The thing I remember most about her, though, is something she told me in secret. Something she told me she’d never told anyone before.

She knew that something bad was going to happen to her.

And while she was prone to saying things to get attention or to endear herself to someone, there was a look in her eyes when she told me this that shook me to my core.

She was so convinced that she even made up a secret code that she’d tell me if she were ever in trouble. How she’d get this code to me, I have no idea. But at the time, I don’t think either of us thought it out that thoroughly. And neither of us really thought how paranoid that notion was.

Over the years, she started changing. She was being accepted by a cooler crowd (kids with cars, too) and she suddenly had no time for me. In a lot of ways, I felt like she’d “broken up” with me. It hurt like hell.

While I was an insecure kid, I had enough sense (and a bit of self-confidence) not to beg someone to be my friend.

Flash forward a few years. I’m out of school, am a bit more confident, and have a lot more friends. Well, for me, anyway.

One night I had this weird moment. I thought of J and her code word for her being in trouble. I don’t know if it was my OCD or some unexplainable phenomena (the kind she and I would talk about a lot), but I was suddenly convinced that she was in trouble.

I decided to call her.

I felt totally stupid doing so. She had pulled away, not me. Yet, if she was in genuine trouble, I would have been there for her. She still meant a lot to me. I still treasured our time together even if I no longer loved her in the same way.

No answer.

This was before cell phones. And I don’t remember if her family had an answering machine so I can’t remember if I left a message or if I just hung up before I could.

In any event, I didn’t attempt to call her again.

I felt stupid for even trying to repair something that was probably better left broken. I felt weak, like I had been when she knew me.

That was Old Dave.

Besides, I had a feeling that someday we’d be friends again. A friendship as strong as ours had been could recover from anything, right?

Flash forward a short while later.

I’m hanging out with my future roommate at her father’s house when I hear about a shooting on TV. A news reporter is live on the scene where an estranged boyfriend has killed his girlfriend.

Happens all the time.

Except this time, the name is one I know.

J.

And I just stared at the TV.

No.

Not her.

It can’t be.

Can it?

It was.

I felt as if someone had blown a hole in my world.

Flash forward again, another year.

I’d been thinking about J a lot. I know if I’d tried harder to reconnect that maybe I could’ve prevented her death. I don’t know how. Hell, maybe her boyfriend would’ve shot both of us, I don’t know.

All I do know is that there’s this hole in me where she used to be. And I feel horrible for her, her family, and for the young child she left behind.

And I can’t stop thinking about how she knew something horrible was going to happen to her. Some part of me feels like the only reason I thought of her was because somehow, some way, she was reaching out to me.

And I didn’t answer the call.

At this time, I’m working graveyards at a gas station. I’ve become friends with a cop (who is also friends with my now roommate), and we’re shooting the shit one night.

I asked him what’s the worst call he ever got.

He started to tell me about this shooting he responded to a year or so ago.

As he was talking, too many things seemed familiar.

I asked the victim’s name.

It’s J.

He was there when she died.

I needed to know more. Every detail.

He then got behind me, putting himself in the shooter’s role, holding me, just as the shooter was holding J.

It was all I could do not to break down right there.

Flash forward a few more years.

I’m working graveyard shifts at yet another gas station. Hey, this writing career took years of toiling away and honing my craft at gas stations!

When I wasn’t writing or drawing my comics, I was reading up to four newspapers a night.

I couldn’t help but notice a pattern of stories about mass shootings. Every time it felt like the same story, just a few details changed. Following each shooting, the papers would explore every facet of the shooter’s life.

Who was he?

Why did he do it?

What could’ve been done to prevent it?

Didn’t anyone know this guy was gonna snap?

Always the same story, with the shooter becoming something of a celebrity while the victims’ lives faded into the background, mere footnotes to the story the media wanted to tell.

The death of J, along with these stories, inspired me. I wanted to write something about a mass shooting which delved more into the lives of the people involved. Not just the shooter’s.

I wanted to write about fate, destiny, and paths not taken, and how the smallest event can turn into something horrible.

12 is my attempt to find catharsis from something you can never really come back from. 

12 is also about how we’re all going to die, and what we do with the hours we have left.

12 will be out on May 12.

You can pre-order 12 now at Amazon.

AMAZON US

http://www.amazon.com/12-Sean-Platt-ebook/dp/B00WTOM6G6/

AMAZON UK

www.amazon.co.uk/12-Sean-Platt-ebook/dp/B00WTOM6G6/

We’ll have links to the other stores next week.

Or, if you’re a Sterling & Stone Platinum Reader, it should now be in your Member’s Library.

As always, thank you for reading,

Dave (and Sean)

 

About David Wright

Dave is the co-founder of Collective Inkwell, in which he and Sean Platt re-invented serial fiction. Hailing from the quaint town of [REDACTED], Dave's renown for putting children in jeopardy (in his fiction, anyway) has made him world famous.

Comments

  1. Wow. This is incredibly heart wrenching to read, Dave. I can’t imagine what it was like to live through. I’m really sorry for your loss.

    I had a friend in my neighborhood named Damien when I was about eight. He was ten, and I thought he was the coolest person in the world just for hanging out with me. After we’d known each other for only about a year, he stopped coming around. After about a month of wondering what was up, I found out from another neighbor that he’d been killed in a drive-by shooting.

    It was completely bizarre. I mean, you can’t even process that when you’re ten, not really. A person you used to see all the time just…won’t be there any more. Like, I couldn’t even internalize the concept enough to be sad about it. I just remember being very, very confused for years until I eventually forced it out of my mind. It was years before I actually dealt with my feelings.

    Anyway. Good luck on 12! I really want to read it when I can (you know what I mean).

  2. Wow…crying at work is not good, so will just offer *hugs*

    I also have to admit, I am super excited about 12. From the first time I heard the concept, I was on-board with reading it. It sounds amazing and powerful.

  3. Kathy Austin says:

    OMG! I am sooo sorry you had to go through that. I know the pain. But if nothing else, 12 will be a tribute to J. A way to put some of it to rest for you maybe. I know the emotions will come through in a way that will make us all take note, no matter the story-line as we now know now the reason for the story. I can’t wait to read it (as with all your other work). Big hug coming your way!

  4. Lauren says:

    Wow. That’s just terrible. So sorry for both you and your friend.

    The many shootings, either singular or mass, that seem to be associated with America these days is so foreign to me here in Australia. We have such strict regulations on guns here, that its very rare to hear about things like that happening. Every now and then you hear of somewhere being held up with firearms, but it is quite a rarity. I have a friend at work that owns guns legally for hunting, but it still seems to wrong to me!

    Looking forward to reading 12 though. I’m sure it will be great. :)

  5. Wow.

    I watch your SPP podcasts (and BOU when I have time) and while I love the podcasts I was never into the ‘horror’ type books you and Sean write, but this… this I’m ordering.

    Just your back story alone was compelling enough to make me want to read more. And who knows, maybe I will venture into some of those more horror leaning books if the writing style carries over into those books.

    Can’t wait to read it.

  6. Wow. Thanks, Dave. That’s a hella connection for 12, and it works for me. I’ve been listening to you guys since the beginning of the podcasts, and since we apparently had similar childhoods, I often wondered if you were surprised at how many people like and identify with you. I’ve also wondered the same about our ol’ pal Dean R. (F) Koontz. I’ve beat the bushes for author interviews for the past couple of years, and noticed that Dean almost always conducts interviews one on one—never with any other authors. Most of us know about Trixie, and Dean’s fixation with dogs. We’ve never even seen his wife, as far as I know. I love some of Dean’s work, especially the Moonlight Bay books. I just can’t help wondering—does he have friends? People he hangs out with? He tells of a fairly troubled childhood. It seems like he’s isolated. How cool would it be to sit around a fire getting hammered and swapping stories with Dean F$%!^in’ Koontz?

  7. Dale Szewczyk says:

    Well written, brother! I lost my aunt when I was six. Her abusive husband killed her. He didn’t use a gun, but the end result is all the same. Even at a young age, it rocked me. My heart goes out to you, Dave. I can’t wait to read, 12.

  8. You have told most of this story in bits on the podcast, but it was heart wrenching to read it all in one long post. Sending you a big hug!

    To me, guns still belong in movies. It’s really rare to hear about episodes with guns here in Denmark, even though it of course happens, like it does anywhere else, but there are strict regulations and laws for who can own a weapon, and how it must be stored in you home etc. If you have a license to have a weapon, you can’t just have it in a drawer or whatever. Although I often think of how fantastic it would be to live in the US, that’s one thing I’m not envying. I would be absolutely horrified to think that my neighbor might have a gun.

    Besides that whole thing about guns, I hate how the media always dives into the life of a killer or terrorist. It’s horrible. How they stand in front of a house that a man lived in, asking his neighbors what kind of person he was and if they suspected anything like this. It drives me crazy. So I rarely watch the news anymore. Or read them. If news is big enough, I’ll know about them anyway, because they’ll be talked about everywhere (or my husband will feel the need to inform me of yet another death, accident or tragedy, because he watches and reads the news every day). We’ll get to know everything about that one person, and nothing about all of those lives that were lost. Because there’s no story in telling about Mary who was a good mother and wife, or Peter who was devoted to saving the rainforest or whatever it might be. Ordinary people doing ordinary things are not news worthy. That’s just how it is.

    When Colleen McCullough died earlier this year there was an article about her, starting off with talking about her plain features and that she was overweight. WTF! She wrote amazing books! How about that? She had a brilliant mind. Who gives a fuck if she was overweight? Argh!

    Anyway! I’m so looking forward to reading 12. The idea behind it is so interesting. And I’m happy to see that you went with my favorite cover 😀

    • Blaine Moore says:

      I discovered about a decade ago that there’s very little in the news that impacts my life and that it just depressed me, so I stopped reading the paper or watching it on TV. Same philosophy: anything important, I’ll hear about through other channels.

      It’s a shame that getting eyeballs is more important than actually reporting news these days.

      • That is pretty sad. But some people must still like it (in some bizarre way), or the news channels wouldn’t have most viewers by doing just that.

        If all had the same feelings about it, and simply stopped watching the news, then they would have to figure out new ways to report them. Perhaps in another 20 years or so…

        • Blaine Moore says:

          I dare say most people like it. Hence why our news is crap here in the States. People don’t care about actual reporting; they only want sensationalist **** 24/7. Since it’s useless information to me, I’ll let anything important filter through to me through my social channels or the curated sources of content that I regularly visit. Life is much less stressful that way. Less stress is good, it means fewer migraines, which means less time spent blind.

  9. Kendra Baxter says:

    Dearest Dave,

    I am so sorry for your loss and all you have endured. I grew up with David, he was a good and decent young man. Thirty years ago, when we were in our late teens, David took his own life. I carry David in my heart and I will always be deeply saddened he never got to grow past the pain that drove him to such a desperate act. I often find myself missing David and wishing he were still with us.

    This is the first time I’ve written of David. Thank you for sharing your J and for giving me a safe place to speak of my friend.

    I wish you and Sean much success with 12.

    Hugs to you and yours,

    Kendra

  10. Blaine Moore says:

    I checked the members library a day or two ago and noticed it had been uploaded, so I’ve been reading it already and enjoying the book quite a bit.

    When I was in high school I lost quite a few friends; there was at least one fatal car accident w/kids from the school for 5 of the 6 years between middle and high school (not that I knew the kids who died when I was in middle school but it was still pretty bad and the effects were felt across the entire campus.)

    Not quite the same as having a friend meet a violent end, though.

  11. George says:

    I was struck by the reach of imagination it took to craft the narrator’s character. Why did you hide the fact that you live on Isle of Dave, your own private island in the Bahamas, and that, when forced to, you motor your yacht to Port Everglades every six months for supplies and to thrill the Fort Lauderdale natives? Are Nassau-based paparazzi and their drones now a problem on your Isle? Yes, I am fishing for an invite back to Dave’s Paradise Island for the magnificent Conch fritters made by your beloved wife. You’re still my favorite author.

  12. I have been intrigued by this book ever since you started mentioning it on the podcast. I am even more intrigued after this fab article. Article + Intrigue = Pre-order. You just can’t argue with the math…

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