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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

The Unnoticeables

A Novel

The Vicious Circuit (Volume 1)

Robert Brockway

Tor Books



Unknown. Unnamed.

I met my guardian angel today. She shot me in the face.

I'm not much for metaphor. So when I say "guardian angel," I don't mean some girl with big eyes and swiveling hips who I put on a ridiculous pedestal. I mean that she was an otherworldly being assigned by some higher power to watch over me. And when I say "shot me in the face," I don't mean she "blew me away" or "took me by surprise." I mean she manifested a hand of pure, brilliant white energy, pulled out an old weather-beaten Colt Navy revolver, and put a bullet through my left eyeball.

I am not dead. I am something far, far worse than dead. Or at least I'm turning into it.

Here's something I found out recently:

The universe is a problem. Again, I'm not much for metaphor. I meant what I said: The universe and everything that lies within it is a problem, in the very technical sense of the word. There are many parts to the universe-too many, in fact-which means that there is a simpler way to express the concept of "universe." There are extraneous parts in every single object in existence, and to do away with them is to compact the essence of the universe into something leaner and more efficient. The universe and everything in it is a problem. And that means that the universe and everything in it has a solution.

Humans also have extraneous parts: Think of the appendix, the wisdom teeth, the occasional vestigial tail-there are parts of us that we simply don't need. They clutter us. We can be rid of them altogether. But that's just physical stuff. There are also fundamental elements of what we are inside-spiritual, psychic, psychological, what have you-that are being expressed inefficiently. Our parts are too complicated. They can be reduced. They can be solved.

Human beings have a solution.

And being solved is a terrible goddamned thing.

The exact methods vary from person to person. My solution? A .36 caliber lead ball through the pupil while sitting cross-legged on a bed in a Motel 6, watching a rerun of Scooby-Doo.

I've always been a simple man.

I guess I'm about to get a whole lot simpler.

Before this thing takes me completely, I need to tell you a story. But I'm having trouble starting. This is how it goes, or how it went, or how it will go. I'm having a hard time with time: That's the first step to the change, Yusuf told me-losing your chronology. Where did it start? With her? With me?

I can't remember why the start should even matter. Quick, let me tell you about Carey....

Copyright © 2015 by Robert Brockway