Hack’s machinations are wrapping Jeannie in an ever-tighter net. Her nights and days are full of Lincoln. She recalls her ingracious return to North Carolina, and the slimy events that preceded it. With her mother sickening, surely she’s had enough bad luck, unless that shaman is involved. SY
V. November, 1989
Night in the Tuttle household.
Hack hovers over the sleeping girl, impregnating her with a fresh dreamscape involving Abraham Lincoln. She stirs some as it finds purchase, but remains asleep, her aura pulsing as the dream unfolds, her face mutely quizzical in the way of the sleeping. The shaman leaves her for her mother.
In the last episode of Intangible, Hack the shaman had picked his target. His mark is a young woman, Jeannie Tuttle. He now begins to dabble in her everyday life, placing cues in the unseen movements of his grand plot. SY
III. September 11th, 1989
Jeannie knows she’s dreaming. It’s an inherent knowledge, like how to lie. She distantly wonders if she can manipulate her dream, steer it, but this proves impossible: it sprouts strange legs and runs, moving with the scripted adamance of a kabuki play.
It’s daytime and beautiful, concrete below a sunshot sky, people thronged along a cordoned street. In the distance, snare drums and a pan flute play “Yankee Doodle.” Good cheer lifts every face, a flag for every hand. The Fourth of July?
In part one, we meet Hack, a shaman who deals in intangibles. He can acquire what it is you need. His customer lives behind a mask in a chequered castle. The most important task: to make his mark. SY
I. September 7th, 1989
The shaman is named Hack, and he does not work for free.
He leans alongside an empty guardhouse beside a great gate, awaiting his client’s dispatch. The hilly countryside lies pastorally still, so much a postcard. His wintry hair reaches in the breeze, bald pate white with sun. A tattered overcoat mimics his hair, lifting in identical pattern. His appearance suggests nothing of a miracle worker.
Gary Inglewood has been offered an exciting contract working in rural Queensland, in a small town called Isisford. His family aren’t particularly happy to be uprooted, but at least the locals seem pleased to see them. Nothing much happens in this sleepy little town; except for those events on the religious calendar, of course… SY
Isisford was just what the Inglewood family had expected—a hick-infested hell-hole in the middle of nowhere. Gary had tried to remain optimistic, thinking of it as a close-knit country town a stone’s throw from Longreach—but the stunned look on his face bore witness to his disappointment.
The over-packed station wagon rolled warily along the main street. The Inglewoods had tried to bring all of their earthly possessions with them, but even a spacious car like theirs had its limits.
They passed an art gallery, and its recycled rubbish sculptures—with beer caps for eyes—seemed to watch the family from behind a dirty display window.
I rolled up the piece of paper tightly, until it was no larger in diameter than a fast-food milkshake straw. My favourite doll, Miss Louise, was squeezed under my arm. She couldn’t breathe, but even though she didn’t complain, I still tried to be quick about it anyway. As soon as I dropped the paper into the glass bottle, it immediately uncurled and filled the empty space inside.
Most of what I had written had been obscured by the curvature of the glass, but as I turned the bottle this way and that, I could make out some of the words. Hit. Broken. Scared. Need help. I wrote that bad things would happen if they didn’t act soon, and left my name and address at the bottom.