“Crap” muttered DC as he hid from the little creature that was currently crawling around the ceiling. “Please open” he said to no one in particular as his hand cautiously pounded on the elevator call button hoping to remain hidden to the what was in the lobby in front of him. One of the buildings security guards, who had yet to fall to the creature’s bizarre wrath, fired a taser hitting the thing and dropping it twitching and smoking to the floor near the other side of the lobby. His co-workers all groaned and gasped on the floor around him, dehydrated and low on electrolytes. The guard who had floored their intellectually inferior opponent strutted over cockily examining his handiwork. DC could see him lean down and say something he didn’t catch to his victim, as the elevator door dinged behind him. He backed quickly into the elevator and hit the button for the parking garage. As the doors closed he saw the monstrous little pickle creature latch on to the arrogant guard’s nose and begin draining water and electrolytes from this man too.
DC leaned back with relief, supporting himself on the interior railing behind him as the elevator descended. He had hated to leave his creation behind but the guards hadn’t given him much choice. Besides, he could always come back for it later. He was just glad the guards hadn’t caught him. Best case scenario he would be held and questioned by the police. Worst case, he would be chased and burned alive by an angry torch mob. Although his therapist assured him this was incredibly unlikely given today’s civilized society, he tended to disagree given society’s lack of general understanding when it came to things like science, logic, or basic grammar.
The elevator dinged at the bottom and the doors slid open as he emerged looking at his phone. Not at anything specific, just in a way that told onlookers not to bother him. It was a skill he had mastered to avoid contact with people who would otherwise strike up inane chit chat like ‘Hey do I know you from somewhere’ or ‘Excuse me but you do know this is private property’.
“Hey, you!” yelled a deep voice from behind him. DC kept walking pretending that he was totally immersed in his phone while maintaining a reasonably slow yet steady pace. A hand grabbed him by the shoulder, as a large security guard came around his right. “Hey, I was talking to you!” bellowed the guard in an attempt to intimidate.
“Oh, sorry” replied DC as sincerely as he could muster, “just responding to some business emails, I didn’t hear you.” He smiled apologetically, as the muscle-bound guard glared at him no doubt trying to form a question. ‘Go on, you can do it!’ he wanted to say but held his tongue waiting patiently for the guard to catch up.
“I’ve never seen you here before. What are you doing down here?” He released his grip and went for a pair of cuffs next to a baton on his belt.
DC pretended not to notice and responded in a calm, naïve tone, “I’m just visiting a friend here, he asked if I could grab something from his vehicle and take it to his girlfriend.”
The guard relaxed slightly but raised an eyebrow, “Really? Well then, let me assist you. Where is your friend’s vehicle?”
Crap, this guard was smarter than he looked, but luckily DC had tried this before and he was always prepared. He took what looked like a key fob from his pocket and quickly looked for an appropriate vehicle. He picked one that had super hero stickers and a camo deer head on the back. It might as well have had masculine compensation written on the back of it. “There it is” he said as he pointed the key fob at the vehicle and waited for it to unlock. The vehicle took a couple of seconds longer than it normally should have for a key fob at this distance but eventually it clicked open.
The guard just rolled his eyes and turned to continue his patrol as he said, “Just get what you need to get and leave. This is private property and you’re not supposed to be down here unattended.”
“Oh sorry, I didn’t know.” He chimed, “I’ll hurry up then.” The guard simply waved and continued about his business. DC walked over and opened the back door of the vehicle he’d just unlocked. It was full of fast food garbage, sweaty clothing, open but unused condoms, and some stretched women’s lingerie. He scoffed in disgust and grabbed a cowboy hat on back window. This guy was into some weird things and trying to hide it from his friends which he suspected were few in number, but most likely not as bright as this guy hence the charade.
DC closed the car door and headed towards the exit. He needed to get out of here now that his plan was a bust. Exiting outside he looked up to see an afternoon sun beating down on him. He smiled to himself as he put the cowboy hat on and started to walk up the street and away from the drama behind him. He sighed heavily as he walked, hands in his pockets. He was so close, but today’s events would prove only a minor setback. He was of course, a mad scientist. That creature he had just created and unleashed on unsuspecting citizens was the results of one of his failed experiments.
He had been trying to create a new form of energy by harnessing power from a different level of reality. Although his math was mostly correct, he had miscalculated the shear torrent of energy that had flowed through the microscopic breach he had created. The good news had been that thanks to his machine the atoms affected by the breach continually shed electrons an unknow dimension. Some would claim he broke the conservation of energy but in reality, he had just expanded the definition to include more than the energy of our reality. The device ran on its own for about 6 minutes before failing from the stress and expelling a myriad of foreign particles. He had been safe behind his makeshift barrier from that failure but the pickle he had forgotten in his lab was less fortunate. It glowed from the exposure for a few hours then grew a mouth. It grew stronger from drinking the juice in the jar and eventually grew some limbs and an eye to navigate. He had even managed to train it to do a few tricks. He watched it for days and had decided to bring it to a local expert in biological phenomenon, Professor Transito. She was the head biology professor at the university and just happened to live in the same little satellite town that he did; in fact, in the building he had just finished escaping.
‘Well so much for that idea’, He thought to himself as he left the main road and headed down one of the paved trails of the nearby park. When he got home he was definitely going to scale down his prototype and make it more portable, as well as adjust for the power readings he had encountered the first time. He was just debating the validity of using quantum entangled particles to pull a steady controllable stream of energy from the alternate reality when he walked headlong into tall and dark clad figure.
“Decebal Conrad I presume?” asked tall dark and creepy as he stared at an old and worn leather book in his hand.
Decebal shrugged and said, “Never heard of him” tipping his hat as he started walking again. He glanced over his shoulder to see the man watching him with an annoyed look on his face when he once again bumped into someone. “Oh sorry, I didn’t see you…” he choked on his words as he looked up to see the same man in black looking at him once again. DC glanced over his shoulder looking for the other man but saw no one. He did a double take a few times before blurting, “How did you… but that’s not… teleportation wouldn’t let you be in two places at once?”
“No, it wouldn’t” smiled the man as he cleared his throat and opened the book once more. “Now as I was saying, you are Decebal Conrad or ‘DC’ as you prefer to be called. I’m here to recruit you, or kill you. I really don’t care which you choose.”
“Wow, how generous of you!” DC replied sarcastically.
“Oh, don’t thank me,” said the man in black “I would have just killed you.” Decebal’s eyes widened as he realized that not only had his sarcasm been completely lost on this stranger, but he was also some kind of homicidal ghost that wanted him dead.
“I see…” DC began to slowly back away, “you’ll have to excuse me if I… PASS!” on the last word he turned and ran as fast as he could before “Umpf!” he grunted as he flew back and hit the ground.
The stranger had appeared in front of him once again and sighed, “Could you please stop doing that. Normally I would find this behaviour amusing, except someone I respect a great deal asked me not to kill you and the constant chase makes it difficult to hold any form of conversation.”
“Sorry to inconvenience you!” spat DC as he rolled backwards and went running erratically away from the stranger. He watched the man sigh and vanish in a puff of black smoke. He kept running deeper into the park and hid behind a small grove of trees as he watched the spot where the man had vanished. What he didn’t see was the ominous fog that seemed to rise from the earth itself until it surrounded him.
“This is your last warning!” boomed the man’s ominous voice from everywhere at once. DC gripped the tree at his back as a dark hooded figure coalesced from the fog in front of him. “If you try that again your soul is mine. Besides, didn’t anyone tell you?” he pulled the hood back revealing a skull that seemed to burn with icy darkness, “You can’t outrun Death!”
“OK, recruit me!” squeaked DC as he felt himself begin to pass out from terror when the man reverted back to his earlier form and smiled for the first time since their encounter and it unnerved DC almost as much as his skulled appearance… Almost
“Excellent!” Death exclaimed helping DC to his feet. “If you have no questions then we’ll leave at once.” His hand turned to bone and he reached into an abyss in space to pull a scythe and cutting a rift in space and time. “There are a few people who would like a word with you.”
“Wait!” exclaimed DC stopping death in his tracks, something he would realize and giggle about later. “I have some a question and a condition!”
Death closed the breach and rolled his eyes “What are they? Hurry up, I have a job to get to”
DC suspected a great many people would thank him for keeping death incarnate busy for a few more moments but hurriedly blurted out his question all the same. “What the hell is going on and who is recruiting me?”
“That’s two questions but whatever. You’ve been recruited by a group of people who protect the various realities that coexist on this plane of existence. What’s going on is you knocked on their door and they are concerned to say the least now what is your condition so I can ignore it.”
“Well that’s messed up,” spat DC, “and my condition is that you take me home first so I can change my pants that are somewhat moister after your scare tactics!”
Death blushed, actually blushed at the remark, “Oh well… I mean that does happen but usually it’s not a problem since…” DC crossed his arms and glared at the reaper. Death sighed and slashed the air which shimmered an image of Decebal Conrad’s home. “Fine, let’s make this quick.”
They marched through the rift and opened his house and descended to his laboratory to grab some clean clothes, and to see if Pickles made it back alive.
Thanks for reading, fight the good fight and don’t stop imagining a weirder reality.
J. S. Figment