‘Shit’ I thought to myself as I saw her. I was hoping that if I was fast I could ditch this whole mess before she noticed me. Then those big brown eyes sung around to meet mine, like giant dog-doo colored searchlights.
She grinned malevolently and made her way over to where I was seated as waiters rushed around the tables in their elegant uniforms, causing her dark violet dress to swirl like a festering whirlpool of decayed entrails and suffering. She sat down across from me as I returned her grin, envisioning her being torn apart by a dozen angry beavers in plaid shirts. Grim I know but I was hired to kill this sociopath anyway so who cared.
“Well, well, well, the infamous Jack Venturi, I must admit I expected more from you. Did you really think I wouldn’t run a background check on someone I met online?” she teased.
“The online dating site wasn’t my idea.” I moaned in annoyance, “I bet Pipino never had to put up with this crap.” I muttered solemnly.
Her dark lips curled into a pitying grin, “Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself cutie” she cooed, “I’m a politician remember, we are some of the most untrustworthy and slippery folks you’ll ever have the mis-pleasure of killing.” A waiter appeared and poured her a glass of dark red wine. “Of course, you won’t be killing me tonight.” she continued before taking a long swig of the booze. I had water. “We know all about your plan to poison me on this date by coating all the glasses in whatever toxin was in that bottle.” She gestured to my left inner breast pocket.
I shrugged and removed the empty bottle from my jacket and set it on table in front of my plate. “Well I can’t say I’m not dissapointed, but I suppose my expectations were a bit too grand, eh?”
She laughed mockingly, “Your expectations were pathetic, I mean to think you could kill someone like me with a poisoned glass is just plain stupid. But to lace every glass they had was just insane, all these innocent people will die and then I’ll kill…” she paused as I took a drink of my water from the same tainted glasses. “Wait?” she glanced over at one of her many guards planted at other tables who were slowly collapsing and foaming at the mouths. She shot me an enraged glare. “What did you do?”
I shrugged again, “Strange how you thought me so cold hearted to kill off innocents so freely without being paid. I mean this is a nice restaurant who knows when one of them will have their own bounty.”
“But, but, the glasses?” she pouted in shock before a crippling pain caused her to hunch over.
“Oh that.” I said picking up the vial from the table again, “that was the antidote, the poison was in the wine. Shame you and your guards decided to clean yours so thoroughly.”
“You bastard! You’ll pay for this!” she gurgled.
“No the client pays, I just collect.” I said as I signaled the waiter for the check. “But like I said, my expectations of you were a bit too grand.” I said emphasizing the word ‘you’. I attached a hundred dollars to the bill and headed out of the restaurant as my date’s eyes glazed over and the same foam burbled onto the floor from her mouth. I chuckled to myself as I remembered an old commercial about drinking responsibly and whispered to myself, “Too true.”
A car passed John as he walked to work, except it wasn’t a car, it was duck with wheels being ridden by a group of uninterested businessmen. He decided to stop by the coffee shop on the corner and found a long coffee exclusive line when he entered. It was mostly people in slick profession business suits; but there were a few pigs, sharks, and even weasels in suits as well, all patiently waiting for their morning pick-me-up.
He got in the line for everyone not wanting coffee, which gave him a brief view into the backroom where they were grinding the beans; however in that brief moment he saw the truth every barista will take to their grave. Those weren’t beans! Instead several demonic looking black rats took consistent hard black poops into a funnel that fed into the grinder. John would have said something to the unsuspecting people in the coffee line but they looked jittery and upset enough. So he simply shrugged and waited, he had always suspected that was what coffee truly was anyway so it didn’t really matter.
His line moved ahead leaving only one person ahead of him, meanwhile the coffee line seemed to move backwards in some twist of fate brought on by demonic rat poop. The girl in front of him looked like someone had taken and smashed together the copies of a dozen fashion magazines and then scotch guarded her with makeup. He just stood and tried to read the menu, but was drawn back to her as he saw the truth. The blue blinking lights in her eyes betrayed her. She was an android, and by the shallow demeanor he guessed she was probably a beta model. When she started counting the fifteen dollars her order had cost with two bills for the twelfth time he let out a relieved sigh. She may be an android but if this is the best we’ve got to beta test at least we don’t have to worry about a robotic uprising. The calculator on the counter laughed an error message at her as though to say in agreement “I know right?”
Finally she got flustered and just threw an extra twenty at the barista who had repeatedly told her what she had was more than enough. She screamed about not being a charity case, and how it was the worst service she’d ever had, as acrid blue smoke smelling of burning wires poured out of her ears. I stepped up to the counter and ordered an earl grey tea to go as the barista picked up the money and the receipt that read ‘$14.97’ as the total. He shoved the extra twenty into the tip jar and processed my order. The leaf juice finally came, and was just that, earl grey leaf juice because apparently the universe thought that tea was weird enough already. I left the poor barista to help his co-workers battle the hoards of coffee addicts. The small man had tightened his apron and grabbed a nearby sword to plunge right into that fray of madness, I put another twenty in his tip jar. That guy definitely deserved a raise.
As I left, there was a walrus on the corner going on about the end of the world, and how a local car dealership had a twenty five percent off sale as he handed out flyers saying, ‘The end of the season is near! Buy now!’. I took one and hopped onto the long horse drawn carriage at the bus stop. I made a paper airplane out of the flyer as we bumped along the road. Several other passengers watched me with annoyed disgust, but I suspect that had to do with the strange glasses they wore painting the world in dark colours. I would have told them to take them off but you can’t reason with those people, they just turn the glasses filter darker and yell at you. So I just felt pity for them and continued crafting my airplane until my stop.
The horse headed driver whinied pulling the massive six legged creatures to a stop outside my office building. I disembarked and tossed my airplane up towards the building and watched it as it did a few somersaults before soaring into the sky. I went inside and headed to the elevator waving at the friendly owl in a dress that sat at the front desk. Then hopped into the elevator along with a few eager little rabbits with gleaming eyes carrying packages and messages for some of the senior employees. As I got to my floor I headed down the hallway of doors, each one concealing a whole new universe, some I’d even visited and made friends inside during my breaks.
I got to my door and unlocked it, then setting my things down, taking off my coat, I rolled up my sleeves. I looked around my small cramped office at all the tiny windows and pictures of different realities. I pulled out a fresh piece of paper, put it into the holders on my desk, and began to draw.
He turned onto the highway heading north, towards the ominous green light that swarms of other people seemed to be fleeing in the southbound lane. The government was still using the emergency broadcasting system to inform people not to panic and to stay where they were. In the meantime, mob mentality fueled by fear, prejudice, and organized religion, drove slack jawed oil workers and their whorish spouses away from the new and unexpected. Not Thorin though, he had just finished a rather terrible week of dealing with the same fleeing sheeple and was not in a mood to join them. Instead he loaded up his jeep, plugged in an outdated, but still functioning, mp3 player to the radio and headed north.
He sped north in the center lane at about fifty clicks over the speed limit which should have worried him as the only other vehicles on this side of the highway were emergency vehicles all which passed him like he was standing still. He knew they were responding with whatever force they could spare and reporting to the lookout outpost constructed about 25 kilometers away from the glowing green ball that lit up the sky for miles.
He just blazed ahead listening to his playlist of golden oldies until he noticed the road had become deadly silent and he could see the orange flashing lights of a barricade up ahead. He pulled off the road and headed up a side road with his lights off. Then as the road began to curve right he continued along the road on a pair of tire grooves worn into the ground. They lead a trail through a patch of thick forest, all the time with his vehicle moving no more than 30 km/h and watching the glow in the dark compass closely as he wove his way through the trees, finally emerging on the other side after about an hour of the tedious wooded path. As he exited he turned his lights back on and heading out of some farmer’s field merged back onto the highway. The annoying orange lights behind him and the ominous emerald one in the distance becoming brighter as he raced closer.
Thorin noticed that the light was beginning to flash again, and he pushed his jeep hard to make it there on time. Every time it did, people would disappear, only to reappear a few hours later in a park, fifty kilometers from the object. It was like it was looking for something which explained why it was just sitting there waiting. Thorin had to get inside that thing, he had to disappear to see what was going on. He could have claimed it was just the reporter in him that drove him to risk life and limb to find the truth; but in all honesty, he was just curious. He needed to know what all this was about, even if he could never tell a soul it was important to him in a way he couldn’t really explain.
Clearing the rim of the crater the thing had carved into the ground as it landed he finally saw the pulsating green light sitting in the middle of the glassy bowl it had made. He stopped his vehicle, strapped his sport camera to his chest and got out. Then carefully he slid down the bowl towards the giant glowing orb. Unfortunately, it was at this point he realized he was not alone as five uniformed officers from the police, military, air force, navy, and some kind of secret service, were all pointing firearms at one another.
He halted to a stop as the others all glanced quickly in his direction. He went to say something witty in hopes that he wouldn’t be shot, however before anyone could speak the bowl lit up with a brilliant emerald light and next thing he knew he was sitting in a waiting room with a door across from him and the word test written on it. A digital counter was over the door and read five hours, which just happened to be the same time most people had disappeared for. Nothing else was in the room, which was a pastel green, except his chair he was in which seemed to be molded out of the floor.
Thorin stood up and looked around the room, trying to think of a way to determine where or when he was. The room was still empty but for the door and the counter. He rubbed his chin eyeing the counter and proceeded to climb up the door standing on the door handle, which surprisingly held his weight. He very carefully ran his fingers around the edges of the counter on the wall and finally found what he was looking for. On the left side, farthest from the door handle of course, was a series of bumps that felt like letters. He couldn’t see them so he took his phone out and took a quick photo of that side before slipping off the handle and falling to the floor.
He groaned as he sat up, picking up his phone which now was sporting a cracked screen. He crossed his fingers as he pressed the power button and was relieved to see that the display panel was still unscathed. He unlocked the phone to see the photo he had just taken and his eyes went wide as he read the engraved letters which read ‘Manufactured, 12th Aug. 3420’…
——— The first teaser of one of my new novels ——-
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“Not again.” Muttered Octavia, as she kicked at a lump of dirt on floor of her cell. A giant blood thirsty wolf happily devoured the watermelon heads of scarecrows in the corner and leaving there beaten and straw-filled carcases strewn about the floor. Octavia watched the waheela wag her giant tail as hit slurped, “That’s right girl, show those fake farmers who’s boss!” she shouted, to which the giant puppy panted and wagged ecstatically glancing back at Octavia.
“Could be worse.” Said Tinder from his full body restraints “At least no one died!” Octavia shot him an angry glare, to which he cleared his throat then went back to trying to melt his way to freedom.
“Why do I listen to you?” Octavia shot as Tinder pretended not to hear her as he enacted his escape plan for them. She stared ahead at the bars and sighed. “All I had to do was wait for a senior agent to show before trying to take on a wild waheela but no! Instead, as always I go charging in with my partner!” she complained waving a hand half-heartedly at the small lizard who was still spitting streams of fire at the metal constraints on his limbs. “What do you think fluffy?” she moaned at the adjacent cell. The waheela had gotten to her feet and was scraping up the straw corpses into an empty corner before squatting down to relieve herself on her brainless enemies. “Yep!” said Octavia raising an eyebrow in mild shock “That sums things up nicely” then leaned back against the wall to resume her bored pouting.
“I hope you’re enjoying our hospitality Ms. Maurelle” said a grey-suited man as he entered the holding area. “Of course, if you don’t have an excellent explanation for your behaviour than we can always arrange to make this a more permanent accommodation for you?”
Octavia rolled her eyes at the thinly veiled threat towards her freedom. “I already told you what happened!” she whined. “Tinder and I thought we could take on the giant furball by ourselves.” At being called a furball the waheela popped her head up and looked at the grey clad man. Then returned to feverishly kicking straw on top of a steaming present she had left the kind people who brought her the juicy victims. After watching the dog Octavia added, “In hindsight, we may have overthought our plan a bit.”
The grey man grabbed a folding chair and proceeded to clean it with a handkerchief before sitting down. “Please, enlighten me Ms. Maurelle.”
“I already told the people who arrested me all that!” Octavia countered defiantly from her mat in the cell. The grey man simply stared, waiting for her to continue. She flopped her arms to her side and whined “Fine! But you need to let Tinder loose first.”
At this Mr. Grey, as she had labelled him in her mind, sighed and snapped his fingers causing the lizard to plummet unceremoniously towards the ground where with a second snap from Mr. Grey a large terrarium appeared around before he could impact. Tinder let off a burst of fire intent on burning his way out of the glass prison only to blacken it along with his snout. “There you are Ms. Maurelle, now please continue.” He leaned back making himself comfortable with a barely noticeable, yet no less malevolent smile.
Octavia glanced more out of annoyance than fear from her caged companion to their interrogator. “Well, after we got to the location, Tinder and I quickly created a plan to trap and ensnare the giant wolf next door.”
“Are you referring to the incident with the birthday clown?” inquired Mr. Grey uncomfortably.
“No that came later” she replied ignoring his squirming. “No, our first attempt resulted in me dressing up in a female wolf costume and trying to howl seductively to lure the waheela into a pit trap we had built. I spent the first night in the cold northern forests trying to keep the shivers out of my howls as we waited to bag us a waheela and be back before I had to blow my cover.”
“I see,” said Mr. Grey with a sigh. “Let me guess, you ended up blowing your cover?” Octavia nodded sheepishly. “And you didn’t know that your friend there,” he gestured at the waheela who was rolling on the corpses of her victims “was in fact not a male or a lesbian for that matter?”
Octavia, Mr. Grey and Tinder, who had accepted his new accommodations bathing under a heat lamp, all glanced over at the furball who had proceeded to clean herself after rolling about. Her head popped up long enough to notice that everyone was staring at her then seemed to shrug it off and continue grooming her nether regions.
“Yeah I definitely made an assumption there.” Octavia said trying to hide her embarrassment. Mr. Grey waved permission for her to continue. She breathed deep, “Well after that we decided we needed some live bait so we put 5 chickens at the bottom of the pit. It probably would have worked except they attracted some other predators as well, including two bears, a cougar, a badger, various predatory birds and what was either a very tall mountain man without pants or big foot.”
“It wasn’t big foot.” shot Mr. Grey flatly.
“But he looked like big foot!” Octavia protested.
“Maybe, but Big Foot would have reported in your shenanigans if he had been there.” Mr. Grey had removed them for cleaning while he spoke. As he replaced them on the bridge of his nose he continued, “Where did the clown come in?”
“Wait?” Octavia said as she processed the latter statement, “Big Foot works for us?”
“Please Ms. Maurelle, I need to know how much you may have let slip to the clown you contracted for your bait.” Mr. Grey’s patient seemed to slowly fade from his voice as the interrogation continued.
“Okay, so basically I called the closest city and hired Mizzo the clown for a surprise party we were having outdoors. Tinder and I had set up an entire maze of traps out of determination. ‘Don’t you think this is overkill?’ he had asked but I had reassured him that I wasn’t risking my cover anymore than I already had at that point. Though in hindsight my job sucked anyway so I don’t know why I cared.” Octavia chuckled nervously as Mr. Grey frowned.
“Anyway,” she said before he could lecture her on the merits of hard work, “The clown reached the maze and proceeded inside, ‘Finally!’ I said as Tinder and I watched patiently for him to reach his mark. ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this!’ Tinder had whined from my shoulder. At that moment I said the worst thing anyone can say…”
Mr. Grey held up a hand in a disheartening manner as he said, “Let me guess you said ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’”
Octavia blushed and shrugged sheepishly in acknowledgment, “After that, the clown reached the trap but from the wrong angle, triggering one of the leg holsters that whipped him into the air. That’s when our furry friend over there decided to make her entrance.”
Everyone looked at the wolf again to see that she was, in fact, fervently listening to the story now and her tail wagged enthusiastically at the sudden attention. “She was clever too!” said Octavia as she narrated their adventure further. “I have never seen a wolf, and I mean any wolf, that could scale the fifteen foot walls this maze had. Worst of all it didn’t even seem hard for her and if it weren’t for the quick thinking of me and Tinder that clown would be dead instead of just hospitalized.” She leaned back defiantly and muttered, “Ungrateful jester should be sending me a thank you letter.”
“I’m afraid I’m still a little fuzzy on the details Ms. Maurelle. Do you care to clarify how you managed to finally ensnare the waheela?” Mr. Grey was stern with a deadpan seriousness that would make an accountant feel like an emotional wreck.
“Oh right,” said Octavia slapping her forehead, “So the furball over there finally makes it to the clown, who is wetting himself at the sight of this huge monster about to bite his head off. She takes one big bite but misjudges where his head is, all she got was a colorful wig in her mouth. At this point Mizzo is freaking out and throwing everything he has at the beast to distract it. Finally, a rubber chicken sails from the clown’s hand and hits a rock behind the giant wolf with a huge SQUEAK!”
At the word squeak the waheela’s ears perked up and she looked around excitedly for a new mystery toy that they must have given her. Octavia pointed at her quickly and squealed through fits of laughter, “Just like that, she looked just like that when it hit!” Mr. Grey scowled as he grew impatient, “Ahem” Octavia coughed as she composed herself, “Needless to say she spun around and began playing with the rubber chicken like it was her new best friend. Squeezing it then barking as it squeeked in response. We quickly made are way down to the maze and I had Tinder cut down Mizzo who in his panic landed on his knocking himself unconscious on impact. He wasn’t a priority at the time so when we called an ambulance and lead the waheela towards the pickup site. With the squeaky toy in hand she would do whatever we said so it turned out to be really easy getting her into that cage.”
Octavia finished her tale and glared at Mr. Grey, “Satisfied? Now what I don’t understand is why I’m in jail next to that thing?” she pointed a finger at the beast who tried to lick it through the bars.
“You’re here,” Mr. Grey began as he stood from his chair, “because, quite frankly, you screwed up.” Octavia went to protest but he cut her off with another raised hand, “You left your cover without justifyable reason or preparations, you failed to properly research your target beforehand, which put innocent lives in danger as well as disrupted the local wildlife and drew unwarranted attention to your mission. I should be writing you up for this and having you attend to your damage control while supervised as punishement.”
“Yeah that works great, why don’t we do that?” Octavia said with excessive sarcasm.
“Unfortunately,” Mr. Grey continued as he ignored her outburst, “this isn’t your first offence, so we will be taking care of the cleanup. In the meantime you will stay in this cell until we can find you a probationary partner for you.”
“Probation? Partner?” Octavia asked as she began to see the severity of her situation. “You mean you’re assigning me a babysitter?!”
“Call it what you like but if you mess up one more time your mind will be erased, we will lobatomize part of your brain and I will personally see to it that you are stuck in that hell hole of a job for the rest of your days do I make myself clear?” Mr. Grey said these things with such force and certainty that not only Octavia but Tinder and the waheela nodded in unison frantically. “Good” he said with a smile as he headed towards the exit. “Oh, and one more thing,” he added with his hand on the door nob “that waheela is your responsibility now too, enjoy!” with that he exited leaving the three of them to stew in their prison.
Octavia turned to Tinder who had written ‘Ouch!’ on the side of his tank, “You said it buddy.” She moaned.
“I know, right? I thought he would never leave.” Octavia and Tinder both looked at one another realizing the voice had not come from the other. Turning to the cell next door they saw the waheela staring at them as she said, “Hi, my name is Lupe! What are your names? I’ve always wanted friends!” to which both Tinder and Octavia began to scream like little children.
To Be Continued….
Thanks for reading, another rush job I’m sorry but life continues it’s never ending progression which cuts into my writing time.
Hope you enjoyed and check back next week for a new adventure!
“Really Nadiya?!” screamed the Sandman, “I teach you how to modify the weather slightly and you keep conjuring thunderstorms!”
“What’s so wrong with thunderstorms?” asked Nadiya innocently as she gazed over the balcony with an air of melancholy. “I like the lightning best personally.” She grinned as she turned her gaze to the chaos overhead.
“Thunderstorms are fine when you’re not in a building made of sand!” said the sandman through gritted teeth.
“Fine!” Nadiya moaned like only a teenager could. “Give me a moment” she said pondering for a moment. The sandman went to protest but she shushed him causing his eyes to burn like the desert sun. “I’ve got it!” she exclaimed “Mr. Morpheus can you help increase the static level of that storm?”
Morpheus, aka the sandman, stared at her in confusion briefly, “Why, what do you have in mind?”
“I think I know how to make your city a little more resistant to the storms.” Nadiya beamed at her temporary mentor.
With realization donning on him Morpheus joined Nadiya at the balcony and stretched his hands over the quickly reforming city as it dried. “I see what you’re implying he said, but follow my lead this time alright?”
Nadiya nodded trying to contain her glee as she raised her hands in unison with her teacher. As she did waves of sand darted in and out of the clouds agitating the air; causing a barrage of skillfully aimed and charged lightning bolts to rain down crashing into the towers and roads, solidifying certain part into patterned multi-coloured bricks and shingles. The city went from an elaborate sandcastle unto a crytaline city of dreams.
Nadiya went to lower her hands thinking they had finished when the sandman snapped, “Not yet! I have an idea, just keep the lighting coming in a ring around the edge of the city!”
Not wanting to argue with him she continued to rain down lightning but this time she was aiming at the edges of the city limits; where the sandman was raising, what looked like a wall that crystalized into an almost invisible glass as the lightning coursed through the grains of sand fusing them into the desired shape. As it grew higher than the highest towers themselves she began to understand, it was no wall! “Oh wow, I get it now!” She said as she focused on her barrage.
The walls kept climbing and tilting inward until they created an arched cone around the city. They had sealed the city in what looked like the bottom half of an hour glass. Effectively placing them at the center of a very large greenhouse. Finally finished they both lowered their hands and stared at the familiar but evolved version of the sandman’s domain. “First time I’ve changed anything this much in almost five hundred years.” Chuckled Morpheus as he leaned on the now glass balcony railing.
“Really?” ask Nadiya with a raised eyebrow, “I would have thought ‘master of dreams’ would be more into creative alterations.” She said the ‘master of dreams’ line with as much sarcasm as she could muster.
“Well when you’re an immortal being that controls a metaphysical force, change just becomes another mundane occurrence. Still I must admit, I do like this idea.” He waved his hand over the railing sending grains of shimmering green sand into the wind which settled into the ground wherever he intended. “Do you mind?” he asked gesturing at the glass dome above.
Nadiya watched the green sand and followed the sandman’s gesture upwards realizing that he was asking for rain this time. With a squeal of delight, she focused on the air in front of her and manifested another storm that rained down onto the newly waterproofed buildings. As the rain soaked into the sand, plant life burst forth from the green grains of sand Morpheus had sown moments ago. They both leaned forward and watched as the previously desolate sand sculpture grew into a beautiful and vibrant city. “So, how long until tomorrow?” asked Nadiya, it was a strange question but fitting for a strange realm like the sandman’s.
The sandman glanced at his watch. “Oh, tomorrow will be here in a just over a week relatively speaking.” Morpheus said this as matter-of-factly as someone reading a calendar to find the next Tuesday.
Nadiya sighed in exasperation, “But it’s been like four months already!” she complained. “Why does time suck so much in this place?”
“Time doesn’t suck in this place” countered Morpheus defensively. “It just takes getting used to dream time, which always runs faster than other places.” They had had this conversation many times before and Morpheus strained to keep the annoyance out of his voice. “Besides,” he said changing the subject, “I told you I would teach you more about the universe and give you the tools to help people, did you really think I could teach all that overnight?”
Nadiya understood his meaning but raised an eyebrow to make a point, “But it technically has been overnight?” she countered slyly.
Morpheus went to correct her but clearly not used to the simplicities of socialization after decades of solitude, he simply shrugged and said “Touché, I suppose you’ve got me there but I do have another job to do you know!”
“I know” she moaned, “and I do appreciate everything you’ve taught me but I’m ready to go now. I haven’t even eaten anything since getting here!” she protested. “Can’t I just leave and wait the last bit of timeout in the real world?”
It was a good point and one that they had, of course, already been over multiple times. The sandman sighed, “No, as much as I would like nothing more; I’m afraid we need to wait for…” He paused trying to consider what to call the creatures in question. “Let’s just say I need approval for you to return.”
“Approval?” Nadiya said with a digusted look, “Approval from who?”
“From me!” came an ominous voice behind them. Turning around they saw a lady in a royal blue dress enter the room. She had blue eyes and black hair in looping shoulder length braids common in the late 1800s. “Sorry to keep you waiting but there was a substantial amount of paperwork to finish up as we have had three separate awakenings and a rogue agent to deal with.” said the mystery woman. She scanned the room “I hope my absence wasn’t missed too much Mr. Havilah?” she smiled her brilliant white teeth at the sandman.
“Yeah!” snorted Morpheus, “I miss you like I miss bedbugs!” It was childish he knew but he hated his assistant, mostly because she was constantly escaping the dream traps he built to contain her. For years, he had tried to imprison her in a near never-ending looped dreamscape, but on one of her escapes she was discovered by his superiors and he was ordered to give hire the meddling girl as his assistant. Much to his dismay and her elation. “Hello Alice,” the sandman whined “please take Nadiya to the office to fill out the paperwork you…”
“What did you call me?” hissed the apparently not Alice.
“I mean Carol! Sorry I meant to say Carol!” Morpheus corrected uncharacteristically. Nadiya stared from Carol to the sandman trying to understand what was going on.
“So, Carol is like your maid or something?” Nadiya asked the sandman,
“Maid?” interrupted Carol, Morpheus sighed feeling a lecture pending from Carol. He leaned against a wall and waved his permission for Carol to continue while at the same time directing Nadiya’s attention to towards the pillar of blue self-righteousness. “I don’t know what Morpheus has been telling you but the truth is I spent centuries as his prisoner!”
Nadiya shot a shocked look at the sandman who simply shrugged and clarified, “It was about two weeks, real time.”
“He stripped me of my name and altered my memories through various demented dreamscapes, but I was too strong willed and escaped everytime.” Carol said triumphantly.
“How could you!” Nadiya spat at the sandman.
Again, he shrugged and replied “Carol has the unique ability to amplify forms of energy she’s subjected to. The memory loss was from lack of sleep since my powers didn’t work properly on her. I brought her here, just like you, to try and teach her how to use her natural talents to do good. Unfortunately, she met a man who was a writer after one of her escape attempts and told him her sleep deprived hallucinations of what happened. That’s why you have the Alice in wonderland stories.”
Nadiya, befuddled once more, looked at Carol who nodded emphatically verifying his story. “What about keeping her prisoner and why is she still here?” Nadiya inquired cautiously.
The sandman rubbed his eyes with his index finger and thumb, causing more magical sand to tumble down forming into a tiny horse drawn carriage that sped off into the hall. “Well,” he began, clearly not a fan of this particular story “I did try to imprison her shortly after that so she couldn’t accidently shred the dreams and memories of half the planet. I wrapped her in the most powerful magic I could muster and in a matter of months she shattered it.” Nadiya and Carol hung on every word as he wove the past into a story. “After that, I was punished for failing and…”
“And,” interjected Carol, “I became his permanent and immortal assistant, and lived happily ever after!”
“But how did she end up controlling her powers?” Nadiya said as she punched holes in their story.
“She’s not actually alive anymore Nadiya.” Sighed the sandman. “Not dead, but more dream sand and hope than an actual person.”
“Basically, I’m whatever the hell he is now!” countered Carol as Morpheus nodded.
“Well aren’t you just the happy couple.” Said Nadiya sarcastically; then turning to face Carol she said, “Anyway, what’s this about having a way out of this place?”
Carol smiled again and produced a suitcase from her own brighter sand, “I just have a few documents for you to sign.” With that she turned and waved Nadiya to follow her.
Nadiya looked at the sandman who smiled sympathetically at her, “You know there’s no paperwork for mastering imaginative force. We just give her those to keep her busy, and she really likes documents.”
Nadiya’s mouth dropped open, “But you said I could leave as soon as you got approval.”
The sandman smiled, “Indeed I did, have fun filling out the approval forms this week!” he started walking towards the hallway.
Nadiya was almost speechless at the realization, “A Week!!!” she screamed.
“Or just over a week!” he called over his shoulder as he headed opposite to where Carol would be. “I’ll come collect you when the others are ready, besides I need to have a little chat with Death about his new friend.”
With that Nadiya was left to a fate worse than death, bureaucracy. “Are you coming Nadiya?” called Carol. Nadiya scowled as bolts of lightning flashed in the distance behind her. With a sigh she decided to just get it over with and marched to her papercut filled doom as the rain began to pour.
To Be Continued….
Thanks for reading this (very rushed) story, I know it’s not my best but I promised myself I would post something once a week. As always let me know what you think and feel free to share (if my unseen errors don’t cause any aneurisms)
“Nicholas Umbra, you stand accused of the murders of two people, the theft of thousands of dollars in cash and valuables, breaking and entering, and a myriad of minor offensive outlined on page seven of the outlined charges against you. If found guilty you will face six life sentences for your recent and pass crimes, how do you plead?” The judge looked down on me with disgust as she awaited my reply. I stood up straight next to a defense lawyer who shook like a rattle as he held back the urge to soil himself out of fear.
To you I raise an eyebrow, as our audience follows my gaze in confusion, their inability to perceive you once again causing waves of doubt, confusion and fear to overtake them. “I plead guilty to all charges!” I shout back at the judge as I drop my recently escaped shackles on the table in front of me and make my way towards the exit. “Please hurry up! I don’t want to waste the rest of this week listening to the inane prattle of this ostensible legal system” I checked my new watch, or I should say my lawyer’s old watch, as a gaggle of grouchy guards surged after me.
“Not so fast Mr. Umbras! We are not done here as of yet!” The judge howled from her perch.
I spun on my heel to face the judge, spooking the guards into pulling their weapons and aiming them at my chest. “You may not be finished yet my dear aunt!” I shot back to the gasps and perplexed looks of my audience. “But as for me, I would rather be drawn behind a horse through fecal matter to be quartered than spend another second breathing the same air as the pitiful excuses for life that dare to judge me!”
My lawyer raised his hand nervously, then stuttered “Um, yo-your honour? As the d-defendant has already admitted to being guilty than if it pleases both him and the court we can in theory continue without him?”
My aunt, who’s attention had momentarily fallen upon my advocate, returned her attention to me with a look of profound disgust and disappointment, “Take my joke of a nephew to a holding cell and let’s get on with this!”
As the guards holstered their weapons and advanced forward once more I twisted my orientation back towards the exit as I pouted, “I know the way you imbeciles!” As the doors closed behind me I heard a roar of conversation erupt in the court room followed promptly by a gavel beating an innocent block of wood. ‘You know, for a civilized society they certainly support a lot of violent traditions, don’t you think?’ Of course, you don’t answer again, making me wonder if you are capable of thought or simply mindless voyeurism and judgement.
“Quit your muttering and get in the cell!” a guard pushed me down the hallway towards my holding cell. “Scum like you gets eaten alive in the supermax, now get in your cel-AHHHHHH!” he screamed as his arm snapped from my blow to his elbow. I threw him to his companions as I entered the cell and stretched out on the bed waiting for the show in the center ring to conclude upstairs.
The guards locked me inside and spit in my direction as all but two shuffled their injured leader off for some medical attention. The two guards left stood at each end of the hallway trying to hide their fear of being left behind to guard my cage.
‘Hmm?’ I said raising an eyebrow at you, ‘you follow me into this confinement only to ask such a stupid question?’ You stare at me with determined curiosity and a trace of fear. I roll my eyes at your childishness but concede mostly out of boredom. ‘Fine, yes she is really my aunt and no we don’t get along.’ You gaze intently with more curious nonsense, ‘Because my mother is dead that’s why I hate her. I had to live with her for months and she was intent on raising me to be a proper upstanding citizen like the ones who had taken my mother from me. She is a hypocrite and a coward.’
I sigh at your sympathies, ‘Please refrain from pitying me, it is simply annoying. Besides without that time in captivity, I never would have become the man I am today. She lead me to my mentor, who taught me how to be the wild beast they fear today.’ I chuckled and laid back on the stiff mattress. ‘That’s enough questions you invisible creeper, now go stare at the guards or something while we await a more suitable cage for my purposes.’
Later that afternoon I got my wish and we were bundled up in more useless restraints and plopped into a cozy cell at the supermax facility outside of town in the mountains. I mean that literally too as the prison was actually carved into the mountain. My clothes and all my belongings had been removed and replaced with the standard orange jumpsuit of the prisoners. It even glowed in the dark to give the guards something easier to shoot.
As you may have guessed this wasn’t my first time in this particular prison and they had a special isolation cell designed just for me. I never understood exactly why I had earned such garnishments but suspected it may have something to do with my seven previous escapes. They took no chances, a mix of digital and human security measures kept a twenty-four-hour watch. A layer of six-inch-thick plexiglass separated me from the electrified bars that ran around all four sides and granite above and below. I loved it.
“You’re going to be here a long-time Mr. Umbras!” chortled the warden who had stopped by to see me to my new accommodations. “You may have found a way out before but this time we had this cell designed especially for you and there is no way you’re escaping’!”
I turned with a faux-shocked expression, “Warden, if I didn’t know better I would think that my humble release from this hell on seven earlier occasions, has somehow injured your pride?” his face glowed with red malevolence as he tried to gouge my eyes out with his stare alone. Then spun on his heel and hurried out barking orders to his many foot soldiers as he did.
‘Well that was a tad over dramatic don’t you think?’ I chuckled glancing in your general direction. ‘What? You think I was being petty sinking to his level?’ again you say nothing simply judging like the specter you are. With a malevolent grin I respond, ‘Well I don’t need your approval, for all I know you are nothing more than a conjuring of my own overactive imagination, besides we have work to do here so be patient and watch the show.’ With that I grab one of the books from the small library provided, Alice in wonderland, and I lean back in the provided chair to pass the time while I wait.
After a few hours, a guard came to deliver my dinner on a plastic tray. It was meatloaf, why was it always meatloaf? “Hi Fred, how is life going?” the guard ignored my friendly banter and continued with his tasks, checking the security systems and inspecting the cell thoroughly without opening the door. He smiled and nodded at the cage, then began to head towards the exit. As he slowly punched in his code to leave the secure room I couldn’t help myself, “Come back anytime Fred! And say hi to the red queen, the hatter, Tweedle-dee and Tweedledum, and the jabberwocky for me!” he slammed the door behind me and I returned to my wonderful book.
After stretching out on the bed I got ready to sleep when I felt your inquisitive gaze drilling into me once again. ‘What? Oh, you’re wondering why I’m just lying here if I’ve escaped so many times? Because my naïve companion, I am escaping! That’s all you’re getting from me for now but remember I’m not here because I enjoy it; which means I’m not leaving until I get what I want out of the inmates here.’ Hoping my explanation would satisfy you long enough to get some sleep I close my eyes and drift into a blissful sleep. You can say what you like about prisons, but the truth is, when you’re a sociopathic villain people are always out to kill you in some poetic fashion. The only time you can rest easy without worrying about an impending assassination attempt is when you’re locked away by just people who want to see you rot rather than die.
After a lovely evening, I awoke to Fred tapping insistently on my wall. He had another tray of food that he slid into the wall compartment, that allowed me access to a less than superb example of what one would consider breakfast. It oozed on the plate in what I assumed was meant to be scrambled eggs. The guard continued his usual inspection, thoroughly checking every possible scratch or imperfection as though they would provide the details of my entire escape plan. We all know that was impossible; well, maybe you don’t know that but everyone else in the room does. “So Fred, how did everyone react to my incarceration? Were they devastated with terror and sadness?”
Fred scowled at me and then, finishing his patrol, simply scolded, “Eat your breakfast.” He slammed and locked the exterior cell door showing his loathing. I picked up the plate of eggs and drained them into the toilet and left the plate to rinse clean in the sink for a moment. Returning to the tray I found a cheap bag of tea labeled Red’s and some toast from a loaf of white bread in which the crust seemed to have curled over the edge of the pan like the brim of a hat. I took a bite of the toast and got the tea ready in the cup of hot water provided. While the tea steeped, I checked on the plate to find the letters TDENTDM inlaid into the white paint in blue letters.
‘The service here is truly terrible don’t you think?’ I say distractedly, breaking the silence as I finish making my tea. You as always simply monitor my progress with your scrutiny. ‘Don’t worry, I’m beginning to adjust to your presence my mute friend. Besides, in a few hours I shall be leaving this place with the information I require.’
“I don’t know who you’re talking to but I think you’ll find that your little breakout schemes are doomed to fail!” chuckled the warden as he burst into the room. “Besides you have a guest, Miss Fanny will be conducting a complete psych evaluation.
“Apologies warden, I’d be delighted to entertain Miss Fanny for awhile.” I replied with a devilish grin.
He frowned and strode out of the room, obviously disappointed that I had acted like a gentleman rather than a demon. “Doc, you have ninety minutes and will be monitored the whole time. If you need anything just say so.”
“Thank you sire!” bubbled the young Miss Fanny who seemed excited about her new career. As the warden left locking us in she took a seat at a small desk provided in the corner and began unpacking her bag. “I must admit Mr. Umbras it is a true honor to be able analyze you like this!”
I notice you glancing from our guest to myself, ‘What’s the matter with you? Of course, we’re not dating!’
Miss Fanny’s face went ghostly white as she scanned the room and was about to say something when an alarm went off on her watch. Just then the lights flickered and the cameras ceased their sweep of the room. “Alright,” Miss Fanny exhaled in relief, “we only have about seven minutes, I already took care of the book, but we need to hurry!” She disassembled her bag pulling a symmetric vacuum sealed false bottom and sliding it into the food tray slot.
“What about my targets? Are they here?” I demanded as I tore open the package removing a simple lightweight change of clothes, a wig and a self-fitting mask. “I didn’t bring myself back to this hell simply for their culinary exploits Carol!” She shrank a bit under my barrage.
“Sorry sir, I know sir. Your informant found a few leads but most specifically Mr. Chapeau, Red Monarch and the twins are here.” Luckily despite her embarrassed state she kept working diligently setting up decoy impact sites along the wall with small explosives. “Four minutes left!” she exclaimed.
I quickly donned the mask and adjusted my posture and voice to suit the character I was about to portray. I quickly cut my finger as Carol did the same and we began to spread it believably over our faces. ‘I would warn you not to say a word but we both know that won’t happen!’ I spat at you, ‘But if you screw this up for me I swear I will dismantle reality itself to get my revenge are we clear?’ you nod with a gulp as the charade continues.
“Thirty seconds left sir!” Carol yelled, “A pleasure as always!” and with that she screamed as loud as she could, blowing the various explosive in the process. One large grouping of them dropped an air vent cover as she smiled and smashed her head forcefully against the wall. She crumpled to the ground and gave me a weak thumb up before passing out.
‘She’s a great assistant,’ I remark to you, ‘really have to admire her dedication to detail. Now if you’ll excuse me’. I walked over to the clear door and began banging as hard as I could, “Help! Help! Please you must help he’s getting away!”
I continued this for about a minute before the cameras buzzed to life and a gaggle of guards burst into the room followed by a red face warden who on the sight of me quickly rushed forward fumbling his keys to get me out. “Inspector! How did you get in here? I mean, I know how you got in but the cell?”
“Your man is good at escaping I think?” I responded with a hoarse and accented voice. “But please, we can discuss that later right now that young miss requires your attention.”
“Of course!” stammered the warden barking for two guards to attend to Miss Fanny. “We need to begin the hunt immediately before…”
“And I will lead this hunt!” I interrupted. The warden looked as though he were about to object but the look on my face deflated any thoughts he may have had to the contrary. I quickly barked at a few guards to go and secure the facility while I made my way to one of the cell blocks.
Once we were there I glanced at the guards with me and instructed one to take the third floor and another to take the first while I focused my attention on the second. They quickly hurried off leaving me to head to my target. I passed by most of the cells in order to save time and I could honestly care less about their inhabitants for that matter; stopping only when I reached two cells side by side. “Monarch, Chapeau, Harry, and Ron, good to see you all again!” I said in my normal voice knowing full well that the surveillance equipment was currently having difficulties.
“Who the hell are you?” Demanded the twins in unison, “We ain’t never seen no stooge like you before?”
“Oh?” I replied coyly, “I tend to leave a very big shadow, I would have thought your memory would be better than that?”
“Umbras!” spat the Red Monarch “Listen about your mentor, we don’t know…”
I raised a hand cutting him off, then turning to you I quietly say ‘Please wait over there will you.’ The look of confusion on your face matches the concern of my caged audience. ‘I need to have a word with these gents and I would prefer it to be alone now scram.’ Hesitantly you back away and back up the walkway until you’re just out of earshot, which is perfect. A few moments later I attach two small boxes from my pockets to each cell and meet up with you once more. ‘Apologies but I don’t really trust you entirely, what if you were to somehow leak my plans and my evidence? Tipping off my future victim who so willfully slaughtered my mentor before I had a chance?’
I stride back the way I’d come and head towards the facility’s entrance. ‘Keep up and keep quiet up, we need to leave quickly before they catch on.’ At the entrance, we meet up with an now conscious Carol and the warden. “No sign of him I’m afraid,” I said depressively in my accented voice. “He can’t have left yet I’m sure we will meet up with him shortly. Unfortunately, I must depart as the premiere is patiently waiting my presence.”
Once again, the warden seemed to choke down his objections as he said, “Of course sir! Always a pleasure to have your assistance and I assure you we will easily capture and return Umbras to the cage you so graciously designed for us.”
With a curt nod, I smiled and we departed, carol and yourself keeping pace with me as we left towards a waiting car parked out front. I sat down heavily as Carol slid into the driver the seat next to me. “I can’t believe that worked sir!” she squealed giddily “Building your own maximum security cell and upgrading the prison’s security under an assumed identity! I mean it was AMAZING!”
“Thank you Carol, but amazing as it may be it was all for such occasions and now that we have a lead it’s time to do some more hunting.” I said as I removed the mask from my face.
“Oh my god! You got a lead!” she effervesced, “Who was it? Did they know? Did you torture them? Was there screaming?”
I listed the answers off on my fingers as the car drove, “Yes I have a lead. The lead isn’t the killer. No, I didn’t torture them. And no there was no screaming when I…” I was interrupted by an explosion behind us that shook the car slightly. “Well. Maybe a little screaming.”
Still bubbly as always Carol continued, “So boss, where are we off to now?”
With the malevolent grin of a free man once more I replied, “We are off to interrogate a Jabberwocky!”
Her eyes lit up with excitement, but then quickly dulled as she remembered something, “That’s great but I’m supposed to tell you that you owe Fred a bonus for overlooking those bombs back there. He says that was pushing it even by our standards.”
“True, but necessary. I’ll be sure to add a couple zeros to his pay check this month as compensation.” Fred really was one of my most loyal guards.
To be continued….
Thanks for reading this madness.
J. S. Figment
The above is dedicated to my cousin Andrew, who’s insight into the world of security and the legal system made my bastardization of everything he told me possible.
Above are the results of the poll, thank you everyone who participated and get ready for new stories!
The first one will star Nadiya Kazuko by popular demand
I was born! A little squirming pink thing that enjoyed soiling myself to the dismay of others. I was carried home by my parents and met a slightly larger pink thing that I’m told was my brother. “It’s funny looking!” my brother exclaimed, followed by a scolding from our parents and so began my life. Of course, I remember none of this. My brain was still busy learning things like how to process light and breath this funny thing called air.
It was a weird and frightening start. Everything terrified me, I would wake up and realize that I was alone and that I couldn’t see any light like when I my family was there. It scared the crap out of me, literally, and I would begin to cry. Then, sure enough, one of the others would come and check on me and let me know everything was okay. Sometimes my dad who would sing to me and sometimes my brother who would draw on me, but most of the time it was my mom who seemed to always pop out of nowhere whenever I was in trouble. She always knew how to fix what was bothering me, from being out of water and fearing dehydration to those monsters that kept trying to break in through the window that she would whisk out of sight with a mighty popping sound. I liked the popping sound, it made those first days alive a lot more bearable and a lot less scary.
I was beginning to get the hang of life, and things didn’t bother me as much as they did when I was born. We were all happy but life seemed to be hard on mom; because dad kept running around and mom started swelling. I didn’t mind though because all the drama meant my brother was playing with me more than usual. Probably because mom and dad were busy a lot, dad would yell at people sometimes sending cars flying with his voice. He said he was keeping everyone to date because mom was something called pregnant. I didn’t know what a baby was but my brother tried to enlighten me, “She sick!” my brother told me informatively, “just like when you were born.” I didn’t understand what he meant but it was nice that he took the time to teach me.
Then one day, mom disappeared and dad went after her in a loud white and red box. It was almost as loud as he was but didn’t sing as nicely. A few days later they came home with something in a blanket, it was really funny looking and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Mom and dad seemed okay with it though and told my big brother and me that it was our little sister. It was stull funny looking to me.
My siblings and I were home from school and doing homework at the table while the radio played in the background. “Mom, can I have some juice?” my little sister asked.
“Sure sweetie, just give me one sec.” Mom replied as she popped about doing chores and helping us with our homework. Then something caught her attention and she turned up the radio. She listened intently as my dad spoke over the radio.
‘There is a disturbance downtown, police are struggling to keep damage to a minimum of as a criminal of unknown abilities is holding a group of guards hostages inside the bank vault…’
My mom turned to us and said with a smile, “I think we have more juice downstairs.” Then to my older brother, “Watch your sibling for a sec okay?”. My brother grunted an acknowledgement, his attitude a side effect of being twelve.
My siblings and I all listened intently as the radio continued its news broadcast, ‘We’re waiting patiently to see if any heroes… Wait… reports are flooding in that superhero Prism has just arrived on the scene. She seems to be conversing with the unknown criminal and, OH! It just launched a bolt of energy from its mouth in her direction. Prism has vanished… no wait she’s above him! Is that a porta-potty? The villain has opened his mouth to fire again, Oh wow! She teleported the toilet around his head! We can hear gagging from the inside of his new helmet, he’s thrashing about and… no wait? He’s down! The criminal is down, passing out from the fumes! The crowd is cheering as Prism has once again saved the day and is now… she’s now paying a local grocery clerk in the crowd?”
Mom came back upstairs with a carton of juice and poured my sister a glass, “Sorry sweetie, it was harder to find than I thought.”
My brother rolled his eyes and muttered something like, ‘I can’t believe you used a porta-potty’ my mom shot him a warning glance to the confusion of my sister and me.
I had just failed my drivers test, not that I had put in a whole lot of effort. I tightened the laces on my running shoes and sped off at Mach three. I had powers and it was awesome. Unfortunately, I was the last one of my sibling to awaken their powers. My brother was twenty-one now and was the sidekick of a local hero of some repute; after briefly engaging in near villain like behaviour during his teens as a form of rebellion. During that time, my dad and him had battled it out a few times resulting in a lot of collateral damage from my dad’s super scream. Trust me, you did not want to be on the receiving end of one of his lectures, they tended to level whatever building you were in while it was happening. As for my sister, she found out she shared the same power as my brother at the age of thirteen, flight. Both of them could fly at Mach twelve and lift about five hundred pounds with them as they flew.
Me, I ran. It’s not an impressive power really, but it got me from point A to point B and allowed me to get a lot of things done incredibly fast. I also wasn’t a bad inventor and made quite a few gadgets for both myself and my family. On the upside, I was faster than both my sibling, except for the fact that I was stuck on the ground.
It was the summer and I headed to a lake we used to go to every year when I was a kid. I sat on a picnic table listening to classic rock on a local radio station. The music cut out as the host came on with a news bulletin, ‘We’ve just had a report that a high-speed chase is in progress at… sorry, was in progress on highway two. It ended just now when superhero Prism teleported the entire car into the RCMP’s parking lot where they were quickly apprehended. It’s rare to see her this far away from her normal jurisdiction but as always we greatly appreciate her assistance and hope she…’ *click* I shut off the radio and took my headphones out, just as my mom came up behind me and had a seat at the picnic table.
“So, failed the driver’s test I take it?” she asked knowing the answer already.
“Yeah but it doesn’t really matter, I can try again and it’s not like I can’t get to wherever I want by running.” I said in the overly confident tone of a teenager trying to avoid a lecture.
My mom just smiled, “I know you’ll get it eventually, but why did you run all the way to this lake?”
I shrugged, “The local radio station has good music.”
“Nice try, what’s bothering you?” she interrogated.
“It’s nothing just wanted time to think, okay.” I said a little more harshly than intended because I was a teenager and that’s what we do.
My mom stood up from and turned to look at me shrugging, “Alright fine, but be home for supper and remember that there is a one hour time difference compared to home.”
“I know mom, I’m not a little kid I know how to tell time. I’m pretty sure you were the one who taught me.” I countered sarcastically.
She smirked slightly but conceded defeat as she leaned in to give me an embarrassing kiss on the forehead. I suspected this was what moms considered revenge, “Okay fine, I love you see you at home.”
“Love you too mom.” I said reflexively as I put my headphones back on to listen to music. It was something everyone in my family shared. We all may have had different powers and abilities, different talents but we all loved music. My brother and sister even knew how to play various instruments and always kept up on the latest music. My dad was in was a radio host and he dealt with music more than any of us, though I suspected it was more work now than enjoyment.
I just liked listening to it, enjoying the same music my mom used to play for us on the trips to this very lake. For me no matter what I was doing rock and roll would always be the music that made good things happen.
I had just been kicked out of university for one-too-many experiments that, as the faculty put it, ‘Endangered the lives of students and was unbecoming of a future hero’. I was distraught because none of that had been my intention as some of my instructors had argued on my behalf. Unfortunately, since I was at a prestigious university, their decision pretty much stripped away any alternative opportunities I may have had.
For the first time in my life I turned towards villainy. I was tempted to enact revenge on those who had stripped away my dreams of success. My brother had taken over for his mentor as the hero Jet, and was a prominent figure in his own neighborhood. He also had a daughter now, my niece; and although she had no powers yet her mischievous poops could be described as villainous toxic attacks that brought my hero-of-a-brother gagging to his knees. My sister was still at the same institution that had shunned me studying the languages of other dimensions in hopes of traveling the multiverse.
It was a dark time for me, especially since my parents had separated. My mom moved to be closer to my siblings and me after a lot of arguing between her and my dad. It was my mom’s insistent intervention that eventually stopped me from destroying a few small cities in what would have been my malevolent debut.
My mom was still seen as one of the greats among other heroes but she let a lot of the younger heroes like me and my sibling deal with day-to-day crime that seemed to surge from a never-ending source of hatred in society today. I was now one of the go to heroes in my jurisdiction and often acted as perfunctory leader in most planning and diplomacy. My brother was now married and had a second daughter and he was constantly on the go in his new position as head of field missions. My sister had finally travelled to one of those strange dimensions that shared trade agreements with our own and had a bizarre language my siblings and I had all learned as children to be bilingual.
My mom still teleported to see them whenever they needed, but didn’t get involved in a lot of unnecessary hero-ing anymore. I did most of that now, showing those incompetent faculty members at my old university that their approval was unneeded. Instead, like a lot of things in mine and my siblings lives all we needed was our mom’s support to be great!
I left a vase of flowers on the table for my mom as I raced off to investigate a blaring security alarm in a nearby city that my wrist device alerted me to. As I left I saw the blue and red streaks of my siblings fly overhead, and in a green flash I was off to catch up.
The card next to the vase of white, orange and pink tulips read, ‘Happy Mother’s Day; Love, your superbrats.’
Happy Mother’s Day!
J. S. Figment
“Hey, what are you doing here? What’s that?” BANG! The guard hit the ground as I strode in. An alarm sounded as I marched forward while trying to avoid the quickly expanding pool of blood on the floor. The building was mostly empty at this time of night with only a skeleton crew of guards between me and my prize. I tossed a small pile of money and valuables onto the corpse and headed up the stairs to the second floor of the museum.
‘My name is Nick, no you don’t need to know my last name. We’ll save that for when the police are complaining about my lack of co-operation later on. For now, you can call me Nick, of course you won’t and I don’t really care because you, the reader, are equivalent to nothing more than voices in my head. That’s right I can hear you out there as you shuffle around looking for the creeper watching you as you read this. Please! How vain are? No one gives a crap about you! Sure, that sounds mean but the truth is you’re probably someone with a mediocre life, job and dreams. You probably try your best to be a good and upstanding member of society? Well congrats, if I had some gum to give you I’d tell you to go curl up in the corner in the fetal position chewing and trying very hard to make me forget people like you even exist.
As you may have guessed I’m a villain and everything you’re not, basically I’m better than you. “But you just killed someone in cold blood? How does that make you better?” is that what you were thinking? Well from my perspective I didn’t kill anyone. Sure, I shot that guard and he or she, I wasn’t really paying attention, is probably dead but they were in my way. Besides, I left them, their family, their pet or whatever a nice thank you for being so easily silenced.’
I reached the top of the stairs only to have a flashlight shoved in my face, blinding me as a woman’s voice screech “FREEZE!”. I lash out with my left, free hand and punch her right in the face. She crumples like a sack of trash and falls backwards. I continue towards my anticipated prize unhindered by….
‘Sigh. Really? Are you really complaining about how I treated the guard I knew to be a woman?’
‘Fine! Wait here…’ I dropped my bag and march back to the corpse and heave the unconscious guard over the railing to a satisfying crunch as she hits the floor several meters below. I toss some wads of cash down to her and head back to retrieve my precious earning of the evening and continue on. ‘What? She’s dead now too stop whining or this story is going to take forever.’
I walk into the a one of the exhibit rooms filled with various greek sculptures and statues, and pottery. ‘Thank goodness, its about time, here hold my bag’ it clangs to floor as I glance from the invisible reader that is you to the bag and back. ‘See! You really are useless now wait here for a minute’ I abandon you to head over to one of the larger pieces of pottery undoing my belt.
Moments later I return to grab my bag, because we both know you weren’t going to, you interdimensional snob, and I head off towards my prize. So many gloriously expensive artifacts just lying around for the plucking but only one is worth my time and energy. I exit the exhibit and am finally in sight of the most beautiful piece in this whole building. The guides are already here even this early and they stand in fear of my awesome presence and I march straight up to them with a well practiced villainous sneer on my face. ‘Now pay attention, this is what a real villain looks like.’
I throw my bag of swag onto the counter that separates me from the two beautiful guides cowering in their white garbs. “Excuse me,” I begin as politely as possible, “are the cinnamon buns ready yet?”
They share a confuse look as one nods and stutters, “Ye-ye-yes, we j-j-just took them o-o-out ten minutes ago.” Their reflections gleaming off the stainless-steel counter of the cafeteria.
“But we don’t open for another three hours, sir?” choked the other, looking for a guard to come help them.
“I am well aware of that, thank you, but as I have gone out of my way to procure suitable payment for this early hour so I might enjoy these delicious treats while they are fresh; perhaps you can see your way to selling me a couple all the same?”
The two glanced at one another and shrugged nervously, then quickly packaged up my snacks in nice to-go containers, even including extra icing. “Um, have a good day sir?” one said as the other elbowed him in the ribs and they both smiled nervously as I gathered up the treats.
“Same to you my friends!” with that I spun on my heel and skipped towards a table that overlooked the street below, leaving my servers to alter the color of their uniforms below the waist. The cinnamon bun melted gloriously on my tongue as I relaxed for the first time in days. As I watched and enjoyed my comfort food, the road below was steadily illuminated by a variety of red, blue, and white. I had about twenty-two minutes before they got around to dealing with me.
‘I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m moping in a museum cafeteria?’ Again, I await an answer from my less than helpful audience. ‘Whatever, anyway let’s just say that yesterday was a very bad day and that I wanted something to help me relax.’ I peel another layer off the delicious tape designed dessert and dip it in the extra icing. I really should have gotten a drink, but glancing over my shoulder I can see that the attendants in white had scurried away without even taking the time to process my payment. ‘What is it with people today? Everyone is so apathetic and lazy, but I’m sure you’re the exception?’ I say to you sarcastically.
I try my best to ignore the questioning and indignant glares you seem to be shooting me. ‘Fine!’ I say slamming my fist on the table to a squeak somewhere in the cafeteria. ‘I’ll answer your stupid question! You couldn’t even let me enjoy five minutes of glorious cinnamony goodness.’ I take a moment to compose my story and finish another ring of the bun.
I sighed, ‘Alright, so as you’ve probably figured out I’m a villain… well as close as anyone can be in this boring reality. Hopefully your reality is more entertaining, people with superpowers, mythical monsters, ghosts, angels, demons, or even advanced technology or something.’ I chuckle slightly at the thought. ‘Sorry, who am I kidding, your reality is probably just as boring as mine, you probably sit at home watching television or reading random nonsense on the internet!’ *wink*wink*, *nudge*nudge*
‘Anyway, yesterday something terrible happened, someone died!… What? Oh! No not like the guards, I mean someone important! My old mentor who taught me how to be a villain was violently murdered when someone blew up their home, my home!’ a tear rolled down my cheek. ‘I know what you’re thinking and you’re right! This hurt more than anything I’ve ever known, I mean I was only a week away from killing her myself and I would have done it with more class. An explosion? Who uses an explosion to kill one person? That’s what knives, poisons, traps, sniper rifles and anvils are for!’
I hear glass break somewhere in the museum as I await the inevitable, I have about twelve minutes while they inspect all the exhibits. They never start with the cafeteria for some reason, preferring to trudge through all the junk in the other rooms. I open up the second cinnamon bun and begin tearing it to pieces as I devour its sweet flesh.
‘Stricken with grief at having my revered mentor shuffled from this mortal coil a whole week early and more importantly at having my plans to kill her so uselessly shattered. I became depressed and slaughtered a gang that hung out in the area assuming they were responsible. To my dismay no matter how many bones I broke or tendons I slit they wouldn’t tell me who had taken my opportunity from me. Don’t look at me like that! They were scum and besides after I ripped the life from the last of them I began to suspect they didn’t actually know who was responsible. That’s when I decided to rob the bank across the street and get some snacks while I planned my next move.’
“FREEZE!” screamed a dozen voices as I found myself encircled by a small army of police officers.
I sighed and raised my hands, “I’m afraid that’s impossible unless you drop the temperature substantially.” The officers all groaned somewhat at this and the lead officer marched forward cuffing my hands behind my back.
“That’s enough out of you Nicolas Umbras, you have the right to remain to silent! Anything you say or…” I dropped the recently cuffed hand cuffs in his hands cutting him off.
“Relax officer!” I said reassuringly “If I had any intention of running than you wouldn’t have caught me, excuse me a moment!” I walked back over to the cafeteria counter as the sound of dozens of guns came to bear on me. I grabbed another cinnamon bun from the tray and taking a big gooey bite before anyone could complain, I swallowed and said “Okay, let’s go!” as I heading to the exit and the waiting police car as a group of confused officers followed in toe.
As I reached the vehicles out front I handed my cinnamon but to the officer following me as I glare in your direction. “I’ve learned not to trust you with my things you voyeuristic pervert.” I spat as the officer followed my gaze to the empty air where I perceived you.
“Who are you talking to?” the officer inquired cautiously.
I sighed realizing I had shared our discussion out loud unintentionally. “I’m schizophrenic,” I countered, “I was talking to one of the many voices in my head.” The cop stared at me in nervous disbelief. “Oh, who cares what you think! I’m a villain we have issues!” I scolded snapping him out of his daze as the man blushed from being treated like the child he was.
I allowed myself to be ushered into the back seat of a cruiser as they cuffed me again. ‘I know, I know! What kind of villain gets captured so easily? Well I need answers and the only way to get them is from criminals. Of course what better place to find a large group of criminals to persuade to talk, without scouring an entire city that is, than the local penitentiary!’ and with that I prepared myself to be incarcerated so I might avenge my ruined plans… oh and my dead mentor too!
Thanks for reading… whatever this was? Hope you enjoyed it and please comment either here or on my facebook page if you would like to hear more of Nicolas Umbra.
4. Screw Retirement
Joe stared at the eggs on his plate, they looked terrible, revolting, deadly, and worst of all… healthy. He smiled at his wife who was quietly enjoying the abominable breakfast just fine. He lifted his fork and took a bite of the eggs and had to admit they weren’t as terrible as he had expected but they weren’t loaded with cheese, bacon, and grease. “These are delicious sweetheart, thanks for breakfast.”
His wife Celine smiled coyly at him and said, “You’re full of it you know that? And you’re welcome.” They both chuckled and finished eating breakfast. They had been married for almost fifty years and although little things like this may have escalated into a whiny argument in their youth they had long since given up on fighting one another. Instead they simply took each other’s faults in stride and reminded themselves of why they loved one another.
Just then there was a knock on the door, to which they both yelled “It’s not 9am yet so piss off!”
A couple of voices muttered to one another on the other side of the door as one of the annoying trespassers squawked “But I was told to be here for 8am so we could…”
“PISS OFF!” the couple yelled, then giggled slyly at one another as they silently finished breakfast. It’s not that they didn’t have things to talk about just that they both enjoyed simply being at home alone with their spouse and didn’t need anything more. They cleared the table, stealing small kisses and making silly faces as they finished their morning routine; then made their way to the entrance where they threw open the door to reveal a couple fresh faced lieutenants who had been sent to escort them to work.
The two kids, as the couple saw them, stood at attention as they waited for Joe and Celine Krell to help each other into the waiting vehicle. They sat in the back of the of the car as the two foot soldiers got in the front and they pulled away. The divider was up so they didn’t need to worry about being overheard.
“This is the third time in as many weeks that we’ve been dragged out of retirement to interview some rookies.” Celine complained and pouted slightly as they drove.
Joe chuckled taking her hand as he said, “It’s because none of the kids these days can do what we can. At least not until we’re done with them.”
Celine raised an eyebrow at him with a slight smile, “We retired from this garbage years ago, and that was supposed to include the teaching part too.”
“These three are different from the others though hun.” Joe sighed, “Besides, if things are as bad as we’re being lead to believe then there really isn’t anyone else who could train them.”
“That’s a pile of crap!” spat Celine, “They just never took the time to continue recruiting when things calmed down like I told them to!” She stared angrily out the window as a piano came crashing out of a third story window of a nearby office building and crushed a Maserati that was parked in the manager’s stall below. She smiled villainously as they drove onward as though nothing had happened.
Joe laughed out loud at the site, “You really do miss all this, don’t you?” he asked as he looked at the back window to see the angry owner jumping up and down in a tantrum as his face reddened. It was too far away to be sure, but Joe could have sworn that steam was actually coming out of the man’s ears.
She punched him playfully in the arm as she tried to look upset, “If you mean the field work aspect then yes I do.” The car stopped at a light and she leaned in next to Joe to see what he was looking at out his window. She saw a man on a cellphone walk into traffic without looking and get struck by a semi, rather than meeting his maker for his carelessness he was flattened to the pavement only to pop up and reflated a moment later with a confused and nervous look on his face. “Though apparently, I’m not the only one” she gave him a peck on the cheek as he smiled sheepishly.
“I wasn’t just going to let him die” He protested as the light turned green again and they continued moving again.
Celine looked at him incredulously, “Your arch-nemesis isn’t going to look too kindly on that trick you know?”
Joe sighed and grasped her hand, “I know but it was just kind of a reflex.” He looked into his wife’s eyes pleadingly trying to apologize. “You know I wouldn’t do anything to risk pissing him off so carelessly.”
She wrapped his arm around her as the car wound its way out of the city and down the side road that cleaved the forest in two. A wolf looked up and watched their vehicle pass by, a small patch of red cloth stuck in it’s teeth. “I see Scott is out on patrol this morning.” referring to the wolf “As for Hyde, I’m sure will understand your little faux pas, given the circumstances.”
The divider rolled down, “We need to stop to pick up a third, I hope you don’t mind?” said the soldier in the passenger’s seat as she fidgeted with her uniform nervously.
Joe smiled politely as he replied, “That’s perfectly fine Mademoiselle, I suspect we would have little choice in the matter regardless of your courteousness.” The young soldier blushed as she opened her mouth to speak; but before she could the driver shot her a quick look that made her remember her rank and roll the divider back up.
“La pauvre fille!” cooed Celine sympathetically, “I hate to admit this mon lapin, but I have no clue as to who else they may have called in for this?”
Joe simply shrugged as he pondered, “Only three names come to mind.”
“Only three?” said Celine in faux-shock, “That’s more than came to my mind. Who, pray tell, do you think it could be?”
“Well,” he continued, “firstly there’s always Hyde but I suspect he would rather poke himself in the eye with a rusty spork than sit for even five minutes with me.” Celine barely held back a smile as she nodded in what she hoped was a wise and understanding fashion. “Then of course there is the Sage, but that would require someone to find the strange little bastard first.”
“Not to mention that if he were needed he would probably already be there.” She added and they both nodded in knowing agreement. “So, who is mystery contestant numéro trois?”
He thought long and hard for a moment, “There’s only one thing it could be I think.”
She pushed away from him to look him in the eye directly, “It?” she asked the one word as though it were a volatile substance that needed to be handled with care. “You can’t mean they’d be desperate enough to…”
Just then the vehicle pulled down an entrance road and came to a stop what looked like an old printing warehouse hidden in the trees. They both looked out the window and watched one of their escorts get out of the vehicle and march towards the warehouse. She walked confidently to the door and removed a series of pad locks with her key and then unlatched the door entering the dark warehouse cautiously.
The divider slid down and they saw their other escort glance back at them “I bet you guys five bucks that she gets a pie to the face.”
Celine grinned at the unexpected wager, “You’re on, but make it ten and I’m betting it gives her the Picasso treatment.”
The guard raised an eyebrow curiously, “The Picasso treatment? I haven’t seen that one yet.”
Joe chuckled, “Oh you’ll see, and I’m in for ten too, but my money is on the clown shoe gag.” Both the guard and Celine cringed at the suggestion having seen it before.
They watched the door to the warehouse a few dozen meters away with intent curiosity. Bike horns, slide whistles and rimshots as colourful lights and fireworks shot off inside. An anvil went flying out of a second story willow and imbedded itself into the pavement a few feet from the hood of the car. Then everything went silent and the occupants of the car watched as time seemed to stall with their breathing. Finally, the door was kicked open and the enraged soldier stormed out. Her face was covered in pie filling and everything else was covered with bright and colourful ink at sharp angles. In one hand, she had a large brown envelope that seemed to squirm in her grip. In the other hand, she dragged her shoes which had inflated to unnatural proportions.
She opened the trunk, shoving the envelop in followed by the sounds of chains, locks and mild obscenities. She must have left the shoes in there as well as the now colourfully decorated officer plopped back into the passenger’s seat. She glared at each of them in sequence as she growled through gritted teeth, “NOT…ONE…WORD!” With that she glared forward and spat venomously, “Let’s just go already!”
The driver opened his mouth to laugh but choked on it as his partner shot daggers at him and the vehicle went deadly quiet. Celine sighed happily and smiled at her husband as she said, “They make a cute couple don’t you think sweetheart?” Joe nodded and they both looked at their escorts with a time crafted look of admiration that inspired child like embarrassment in those it was unleashed upon.
“No we’re not…” the two officers blurted in unison, “we’re just partners!” Their gaze jumping from their passengers to one another and back again as they blushed. Well, one of them blushed the other just melted pie filling off her face at a greater rate which was close enough.
Without another word the divider raised again, followed by a torrent of giggles from the Krells. “It’s been a while since we got that reaction.” Smiled Joe, checking his watch as the vehicle lurched back onto forward and back onto the road.
“Too true, but I’m sick of all the waiting.” Celine glanced over her shoulder nervously at the trunk which held an old acquaintance. “I just want to get all this over with, especially with that thing being drafted again, but whatever, screw retirement I guess.” Leaning forward she pressed the divider button and slowly revealed the drama in the front seat.
“It’s not like I like you like that or anything…” blustered the driver, “I mean I do like you, as in like working with you. But I haven’t even considered that you and I were like, you know.”
Looking nervously at her folded hands in her lap she laughed, “Yeah, I know. I mean that would be completely ridiculous, right?” They both kept glancing at one another and laughing intermittently in vain attempts to break the tension.
“You kids, need a moment or can we take a right up ahead and head to the big house?” Joe asked politely as him and Celine enjoyed the awkwardness of youth. The two kids up front blushed even more as the driver quickly took the next right, only to come to a screeching halt before a dead end.
“Um sir?” asked the driver, “I think this is the wrong way we should really head back to the road and finish the last hour stretch so we’re not late.” He went to back up when Celine shot him a ‘how dumb are you’ look.
“What are they teaching you kids these days?” Celine asked with a mix of curiosity and sarcasm. “Watch and learn rookies.” she unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned forward pausing only to look at forgiveness as if to say ‘oops, mind if I?’ he bowed his head slightly and waved a hand permissively. Celine grinned and leaned over the window that housed the divider. She flicked on the radio to a random static station and clapped her hands together.
“I love this part!” chuckled Joe from the backseat as the driver and his painted partner watched in confusion. With slow dramatic movements, Celine separated her hands and the brickwall seemed to shift into an illusionary curtain as the radio sprang to life with a cartoony music and a long colourful ringed tunnel appeared behind the curtain.
“Get a move on,” shouted Celine rolling her eyes, “I can’t do this all bloody day.” The driver remembered which seat he was sitting in and they took off down the newly formed tunnel as the curtain closed behind them.
***Alright it’s been a month which means it’s time for another poll! Let’s continue this co-operative and see how you (the readers) would like this series to continue. So please, PLEASE Visit https://www.facebook.com/JSFigment/ to fill out the poll and of course feel free to like/share if you would like to keep up to date on more shenanigans from a mad writer! ***
Thanks for reading and keeping this random story going,
J. S. Figment
“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