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Twins in Death: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

The First Battle of Central Park

 

October 31st, 2002

12:04 a.m.

New York

 

            Kestrel sat alone in the ballroom, looking out the windows. There were such large windows and they gave such a beautiful view of the night sky. The dark and heavy clouds covered the night sky, but they were beautiful clouds. The wind had begun to pick up and the leaves were sailing by. They tumbled along, like the little happy things they had once been. Now they were dead of course, which was a bit of a sobering thought. Those had once been attached to a living tree, in order to help make food. When the season got too cold, and the leaves were too expensive in terms of water and warmth, they had to go. The tree could only survive by getting rid of the leaves. That which had formally been so vital to its life could cause its demise, so the leaves had to go.

 

            She wondered for a moment if that’s what they all were. Were they just leaves, drying up on the stem of the world? She was alone and trying to figure out where the hell she was going to go next. The problem was she felt like she might be drying up, like those leaves. She had felt it for so long and wondered if it was time for her to be blown off the life tree and become mulch for next year’s plants?

 

            She thought, if only there was some sort of sign that everything would be all right.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

Time – Undeterminable

Half way across the Atlantic Ocean

 

            It was a good thing that no one could see what was going on, or they would have been badly confused. They would have been confused for several reasons, for instance they would have wondered why a man was apparently skating on the surface of the water without skis or a board or speed boat or any of the other things people usually walk on water with. They would have also been confused by the speed this man was going, which was close to that of a supersonic jet, and possibly more. They would have also been confused by the fact that the particular person was actually flying over the water.

 

            Last and possibly the thing that would have made any observer jibber was the fact that this person was wearing a gray trench coat, had an iPod and appeared to be singing trucker songs. The songs of course flew behind him and it would take a few seconds after he passed to pick up the words as he went by.

 

            A bird was sitting on a barrel that was tied to a large packing crate with plastic cord. The barrel and the crate had formed the basis of a miniature fish nursery. A few small fish were living in the crate, and several young fish were zipping around the crate finding food. As the bird sat resting itself, a streak of grey zipped by, causing a wake in the water as it went. It was six seconds later that a voice followed like a ghost trying to keep up. It was just a few words, but the bird didn’t understand it anyway. The average sea faring bird can’t understand English. To be fair though, what this gray streak was saying barely counted as English, partially because of the speed he was speaking it out.

 

            “Unless we had drove the black bear road before we’d better…”

 

            And then the voice was gone. The bird looked around and thought about how noisy the world was these days. It might be amusing to say that a shark then broached the surface and ate it, but in fact this didn’t happen. Nothing happened, besides the waves rolling a little because of the wake on the water.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

1:15 a.m.

New York

 

            The rain should have been coming down in sheets. There should have been rolling thunder and flashes of lightning. It was just a little overcast though, with a light mist of rain coming down. The Weirdo walked into the house and was taking off his coat, while Tommy was coming out of one of the studies in the hall. He looked at the Weirdo and dropped the bottle of scotch he was carrying.

 

            Tommy crumpled to the floor and threw his head back. The howl that came from Tommy’s throat was not the sound of ultimate suffering, rather ultimate confusion. It’s not that Tommy was refusing to believe what he saw, it was just that he wanted confirmation.

 

            “JAAAAACK!!” He shouted.

 

            After a few seconds, Jack came bursting down the stairs like a lemur or other largish cat. His pistol was gripped tightly in his hand as he leapt down the stairs in a manner that made him look like he’d never actually had all that SAS training. A quick sprinkling of sweat had beaded on his face as he came down the flights of steps. He looked as if he were ready to gun down half the world when he ran in.

 

            “What the hell is it?”

 

            “Can you see The Weirdo standing there?”

 

            “Yes?” Jack said, a bit confused.

 

            “Oh good, for a minute I thought I was hallucinating. At least you can see it, too.” He turned to The Weirdo. “If you’re a hallucination, I’m not nearly drunk enough. If you’re a ghost, you’re a day early. And besides he can see you, too.”

 

            “I’m neither.” The Weirdo said. “I am the risen dead.”

 

            “He’s a zombie.” Jack said.

 

            “Then, you’re in very bad taste to wait until I’ve had a few to show up.”  Tommy yelled.

 

            “Well, it’s nice to see you, too.” Many a cunning linguist might note here the very subtle way that The Weirdo twisted the phrase ‘Nice to see you, too.’ and somehow made it ‘Oh, go fuck yourself.’

 

            “I don’t believe it.” Max said as he came down the stairs. “What are you doing here?”

 

            “What is everybody’s problem?” Jack asked. “He came home, he lives here.”

 

            “No, I meant you, Jack.” Max said. “I thought you left.”

 

            “I came back, now, excuse me.” Jack walked up the stairs and closed the door to his room. After about twenty seconds Marla’s voice was heard.

 

            “WHAT?” The door was thrown open and Marla came rushing down the stairs.

 

            She looked at him as she came to the foot of the stairs. Her lip quivered and she ran toward him, her arms wrapping around his neck. If this were a cheaper novel, and not the true story of these events, Marla would have been dressed in a lace and silk handkerchief pretending to be a negligee. As it was, she was dressed in a pair of cotton pajama pants and a T-shirt.

 

            “Is that what all the noise is about?” Mrs. Pendleton asked as she came down the hall. “He comes back and AHHH!”

 

            She screamed as she saw the scotch that had spilled on the wood floor.

 

            “CLEAN THAT UP!” Tommy responded instantly, soaking up the mess with his shirt. It must be said that there was more drill sergeant than housekeeper in Mrs. Pendleton.

 

            “Nice to see someone keeping a proper perspective.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “So, what happened?” Marla asked as she helped Tommy swab up the mess with a towel.

 

            “It’s a bigger deal than it sounds like.” The Weirdo said. “For now, I think you should all go back to bed.”

 

            “I wasn’t in bed.” Tommy said. “I was trying to get drunk to drown out the despair.”

 

            “Why were you despairing?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Because you were dead and we were going to have to run and leave this city to its fate.”

 

            “Well now you don’t have to.” Our hero said looking at the mess of confusion. “Now you can stand and fight.”

 

            “I see that.” Tommy said, sounding as if he’d had the veil of confusion lifted from his eyes and could see the light.

 

            “Well then. Go to bed.” The Weirdo told him. “Nowish.”

 

            Bagheera had managed to come downstairs and was now sitting at The Weirdo’s feet looking up at him.  There was something in the cat’s manner that seemed to say ‘Hello boss, came back did you? Thought so. I told them you would but of course no one ever listens.’ The Weirdo reached down and picked the cat up and held him lovingly in his arms.

 

            “Mew.” Bagheera said.

 

            “Right now, I’m going to take my kitty and go to bed.”

 

            Bagheera purred at this news.

 

 

February 2nd, 1636

2:21 p.m.

Germany

 

            The palace had a large yard, which was totally deserted. It wasn’t that surprising really, what with the biting cold and the snow most people had the good sense to stay inside where there was warmth, beer and the delightful ladies of the house. It was the ladies The Weirdo had been thinking about, their kind hands and gentle smiles. They were watching him he knew, and he hated to look weak for them. He was cold though, and couldn’t help shifting from foot to foot.

 

            The yard was freezing, but they practiced anyway. It was important, or so Gruenwald said, to keep shooting every day. The Weirdo was wrapped in a huge gray and black wool cloak that obscured nearly everything about him. His hood was up over his head and a massive scarf was wrapped around his face. His hands though had only a thin pair of velvet gloves on. It was important that the hand be able to do the delicate work of loading and cleaning. He poured the measure of powder down the barrel and looked at the falling snow.

 

            Gruenwald pulled his trigger and his gun barked flame from the pan and then from the barrel. The gun’s shot flew straight and the wooden target earned another small hole in it. The Weirdo took the round ball from his pocket and pressed the bit of paper over the barrel. He pressed the bullet over the paper and pushed them both in before pulling the ramrod from under the gun. He pushed them both down and gave them a second superfluous tap. He drew the rod out and slid it back into place. He cocked back the flint hammer and opened the pan where he put the powder charge, sliding the cover back in place and tightening it down with the screw. He knew in battle many of these things would be impossible, but they weren’t in battle now. His hands shook a little, even under all his protective clothing. He looked at Gruenwald who was dressed much the same as he was, only in different styles.

           

            “You shake a little.” Gruenwald said.

 

            “It’s cold out here.” The Weirdo answered.

 

            “That shouldn’t matter.” Gruenwald admonished. “You should take all the warmth in your body and concentrate it in your arm to keep it warm.”

           

            “You’re not serious.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I am.” Gruenwald said. “Concentrate, think of the cold in your feet.”

 

            “My feet?”

 

            “Yes. Concentrate on how cold your toes are compared to your hand. How cold your left hand is. Take the glove off your left hand if you must. Consider the cold in every other part of your body besides you shooting arm. That arm is as warm as a roasted pig, dripping with sauce.”

 

            The Weirdo pictured all these things, and aimed the pistol again. He found that Gruenwald was right about that. The hand became steady while he considered this. He thought about his poor freezing toes in the lousy wet boots he had on and his hand felt warmer. He pulled the trigger and the wooden target shattered from the shot.

 

            “Good.” Gruenwald said clapping his hands. “Now let’s go in, I’m fucking freezing.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

1:21 a.m.

 

            Virgil lay naked in the bed; his tired body lay on the white crumpled sheets. The hotel room was still full of the smell of their two bodies. He had never felt like that before, his entire body was sore from the strenuousness of his activities. He felt incredibly good though. He looked over at the man next to him and kissed his forehead.

 

            “How do you feel?” He asked.

 

            “Good.” Virgil answered.

 

            “Good.”

 

            “Dale.” Virgil said. “I should tell you something, though.”

 

            “What’s that?” Dale asked.

 

            “It’s just that I’ve never, I mean this was my first time.”

 

            “First time with a guy?”

 

            “First time with anyone.”

 

            “Damn.” Dale said, “You never said anything.”

 

            “No.”

 

            “Well, I just thought that…”

 

            “It’s okay.” Virgil said. “Why don’t we just go to sleep now?”

 

            “Okay” Dale said wrapping an arm around him.

 

            This is more or less where Virgil exits our story. I would like to say that Virgil and Dale lived happily ever after, but is truth they didn’t. Dale tired of Virgil’s excess of naiveté, which he had at first thought a cute act, but later discovered to be his regular expression on the world. Virgil did meet a nice architect named Mark in Kansas City, later. At last check, they were still together, and Virgil was working in a law office, as a receptionist at the front desk.

 

            You might as well say good-bye to Virgil now because I don’t think he’ll ever be back. He managed to do that thing that so very few people in this tale managed, he got out. He lives the rest of his life in peace and harmony and doesn’t get killed or have to ever kill anyone again, not that he actually did kill anyone, save a few people who fucked with the wrong teddy bear. He didn’t need Marty so much after Loki, but he kept him anyway. A few years later when Virgil and Mark adopted a child, he gave Marty to the child, and that’s where Marty leaves the tale as well.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

2:19 a.m.

 

            The room was so quiet that even Bagheera’s purrs had died away. The Weirdo was awake, sitting in a chair with Bagheera on his lap. He was looking at his hand, which seemed solid enough and appeared to be real. He wasn’t sure, couldn’t be sure. He could have been a ghost, come back on Halloween, when the dead are supposed to be able to walk the earth. This was supposed to be the time of year that the reality barrier was thinnest. There was supposed to be a breach in reality that earth came in contact with at this time of year.

 

            He stroked the cat on his lap, brushing up stray hairs that floated lightly in the air. The hairs drifted down slowly, dancing though the still air. The Weirdo looked at his hand, again. It seemed solid enough so it must be so. He touched his hand to his chest and he could feel his heart was beating. He felt alive, but he couldn’t tell. He looked at his hand once, again.

 

            Seemed solid enough.

 

            There were cells, made up of chemical strands, made up of molecules, made up of atoms, made up of protons and electrons, which were themselves made up of smaller particles. He thought he could see every layer, the smaller and smaller particles, smaller than quarks and leptons. Each one might have been a miniature universe. There were quantum particles spinning around, meeting one another and vanishing from the universe. They appeared, met one another, played with strings and vanished. He could clearly see six of them doing a double Dutch competition with the strings before vanishing. Only they didn’t vanish, not really, they just extended into another dimension of physical space. He closed his fingers into a fist and opened them to assure himself he still could.

 

            Tommy walked into the room, leaning against the doorframe and looked at The Weirdo. The Weirdo’s head turned, slowly, like he was trying to make sure his head could turn. They looked at each other for a long time, and The Weirdo pointed at the cat as the reason he couldn’t get up. When the voices came, they were quiet, near silence.

 

            “Well?” Tommy asked. “So, what do we do now?”

 

            “Find Loki.”

 

            “And then?”

 

            “Kill him.”

 

            “Oh good, at least your plan has something we haven’t tried yet.”

 

            “It’s not much of a plan.” The Weirdo said. “But I’ve only got a little bit of time to do it in.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “It’s Halloween.” The Weirdo said, still looking at his hand.

 

            “Yeah? What? You’re gonna go trick or treating?”

 

            “The dead walk on Halloween. A time for ghosts to complete that last bit of business.”

 

            “I don’t think you’re a ghost.” Tommy said.

 

            “You sure?”

 

            “The fact that you’re not wearing a sheet on your head was a dead giveaway.” Tommy said.

 

            “I’m serious.” The Weirdo said. “This is new ground, man. I could be pulled back tomorrow.”

 

            “Yeah?” Tommy asked. “Well then, why waste time?”

 

            “I think petting the cat is part of the job.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You were brought back from the dead to pet the cat?”

 

            “Can you think of a better use?”

 

            To Tommy’s credit, he did stop for a moment and consider this as a viable option before going forward. One couldn’t actually discount anything The Weirdo said anyway because many of his most ridiculous ideas had turned out to be right. Geniuses were like that, you have to watch what they said lest you miss what they thought was an obvious hint.

 

            “Not off the top of my head, but I’m very tired.”

 

            “Well there you go, then.” The Weirdo stroked Bagheera again.

 

            “I am going to go to bed now.”

 

            “Okay.”

 

“I think you should try and get at least some sleep.”

 

            “I’ve slept.” The Weirdo continued to stroke the cat. “I’ve slept for a couple of days now.”

 

            “You’re serious?” Tommy asked before he left. “You think you might die again, or disappear, or something come tomorrow morning? Only you seem solid enough to me. Shouldn’t you like, fly through things if you’re a ghost?”

 

            “I don’t know.” The Weirdo said. “I think that’s the point.”

 

            “I’m gonna go to bed, then.” And Tommy left. “If you turn out to be a bit of an underdone potato I shall be very cross.”

 

            The Weirdo looked at his hand and stroked that cat some more.

 

            If there was a fourth dimension of space, as well as a fifth, sixth and tenth as there had to be for string theory to work, then he thought cats must occupy up to five dimensions. If they didn’t occupy them, they could at least observe multiple dimensions. He thought that the reason we didn’t see the other dimensions wasn’t because the dimensions were wound up tightly around themselves, but rather they were outside human perception. Humans could only see three physical dimensions, and the fourth was in their perception. It wasn’t really wound in a tiny ball. Rather it was on the outside of the universe. If anything, this dimension was wound up tightly.

 

 

November 17th, 1762

1:21 a.m.

Russia

 

            The Weirdo’s dream had become a frozen reality. While he knew he was still in the dream world, he could see the bedroom around him. He knew that it wasn’t the real bedroom, but one in his mind. He could see the room clearly, which he wouldn’t be able to do if it was the real room, which was dark. Also just in his mind, was the unsettling children’s voices laughing and the flashes of light from a source just out of his visual range. He couldn’t move his body at all, and there was a buzzing sound overwhelming the sound of laughter. He desperately tried to move his legs, his arms, or even his eyes, but nothing would work it seemed. He wanted to scream, but nothing came out of his mouth…

 

            And then suddenly it was over.

 

            He woke up, and began by moving his legs around. He turned over in the bed and sat up, making sure that he was once again in control of his body. He looked around the room, finding it still dark. The darkness was near complete, due to the lack of electric lighting that wouldn’t be an issue for another two hundred years or so. He reached out in the darkness towards his left, the soft hump of her hip was the first thing he touched. He slid his hand up further, and felt the gentle swell of her breasts as she lay on her side.

 

            He hadn’t thought she would stay the night, he had thought she would go back to her room. She had slid into his bed and once again had taken him with in her. She hadn’t crept in like a woman ashamed. He had watched her stride and knew that there was only one kind of woman he could have now. She would spoil him for all other women, because they would all have to be at least as good as her.

 

            He had been sent to learn from her, this wily German beauty, yet she had entranced him. He had spent the last six months around her, and even helped in her endeavors. She had actually been coming to his bed for nearly two weeks now, yet every night he found it a shock worthy of amazement that she came to him. She was teaching him things, showing him a lot in the ways of being politic. They were showing each other a range of interesting and exotic things which both of them would use to delight lovers in the future.

 

            For right now though he touched her soft cheek, and tried to imagine how someone who had been as rough as he was, could have a woman this grand come to make love to him. He looked at her sleeping face, and then let his glace pass to the dark world outside, where the Russian winter had already begun to attach large white flakes to the windows. He could just make out the difference between the window and the wall, and could see the flakes of white hitting the window.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:01 a.m.

 

            Kestrel and Max walked through the early morning street, together. They were on their way to find something for breakfast, with the promise that if The Weirdo needed help he would call. They were on their way to a small restaurant where Max assured Kestrel they could get some really good crepes. Max was thinking of all the ways he could eat the thin pancakes and was trying to keep up with a story Kestrel was telling him about a robbery in Berlin.

 

            Loki had stalked them and now pounced from an alleyway. He actually pounced out of the alley onto the sidewalk, which should be a clear indication of how the drugs were affecting him. His head burned with a fever as he ran from the shadows, which he swore followed him. He shoved Max with one great shoulder blow, knocking him to the pavement. He grabbed Kestrel by the throat and took out his razor.

 

            “Time to clean house, bitch.” He said as he raised the razor.

 

            The bullet Max fired tore through Loki’s hand and blew it open. Many of the fingers fell away as the razor flipped end over end toward the ground. Kestrel reached under her coat and grabbed for the revolver. It was a big gun, and when she rammed the barrel into his gut she wondered if she was out of his reach by virtue of the gun’s length alone. He grabbed her by the throat though, which caused her to reflexively fire the gun. He was thrown back, his fingernails scratching her throat. He stood up and charged too fast for her to get another round off. He smashed her body into a wall, and grabbed her hair to smash her face into the wall, and smacked her head once against the wall.

 

            Max punched Loki in the side, his own pocketknife sticking out between his fingers as he struck. He drove the knife into Loki’s side as he pushed him away. The knife came out cleanly and Max drew back again. He punched Loki in the face with the bladed fist. The knife stuck in Loki’s cheekbone and snapped off.

 

            Max stood with half a knife in his hand, looking at Loki. The red coated man reached up with his freshly reformed fingers and tugged on the broken blade. He tugged again, but was unable to pull the blade out. Max reached under his coat and pressed the communicator’s panic button. He then reached the rest of the way to his back, grabbing the guns and waiting for a moment.

 

            “Is this what you intend to use as an identifying mark?” Loki asked,

 

            “Naw.” Max said taking the two pistols out. “This is.”

 

            He fired five times at Loki’s head, dislodging the broken blade with one of the shots. Loki simply stood, like someone who had been struck with a feeble blow. Max looked at the two guns as if they had been laying down on the job. Loki shook his head and rushed Max. The young man leapt from the path of the running lunatic, landing a swift kick in the ribs as Loki passed him.

 

            “You’re too slow.” Max said.

 

            “Oh?” Loki was suddenly on Max, “Maybe I was fucking with you.”

 

            “Damn.” Max said, trying to pry Loki’s hand from around his neck.

 

            Kestrel began to get up and her hand wrapped around the big S&W 500 again, ready to blow that stupid red head off those narrow shoulders. She put the gun against his head and fired a round. Loki’s head exploded wonderfully, blood and brains went everywhere. Then the head reformed and Loki just stood up slowly and walked towards her.

 

            He smacked her hard and threw her at the wall. Her head smacked the brick and she went down. He was about to close on her when a fairly unexpected thing happened. At least it would be unexpected if you hadn’t been part of the group that had set it up to happen at that moment. The unexpected thing that happened was that a sword clanged against the ground. Loki’s head turned down to look at the blade. His head turned and he saw the man in gray. He nodded to Loki and then indicated the blade with a tilt of his head.

 

            “Why waste time on rabble?” He asked.

 

            “Yes.” Loki said. “How right you are.”

 

            He stood up, and Max’s foot landed squarely in his crotch. Loki winced and Max scrambled away. Loki’s hand took the ancient handle of the sword and he brought it up. He was about to run forward when he felt a strong hand on his shoulder. The Gray Man had a grip of iron, if only people knew that from looking at him.

 

            “Forget them.” The Grey Man said. “You’ve got to go take over an entire city. You don’t need to kill these two.”

 

            “Don’t I?” Loki asked.

 

            “Nah.” The Grey man said. “Come on, I’ll show you the best place to start.”

 

            “What the hell was that?” Max asked as the two men walked away.

 

            “I would say a diversion.” The Gray Man’s voice came from behind Max.

 

            “What the fuck?” Max asked turning

 

            “Don’t waste time, she’ll need a hospital.”

 

            Max ran to Kestrel, thinking that he really needed to wing the Grey Man before he could get away. When he turned he could see no sign on The Gray Man, just Loki walking away. He wanted to start shooting, but it was clear that he was no match for Loki. Loki could have killed the both of them easy, he just didn’t want to. He had been distracted by the shiny piece of metal.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:09 a.m.

 

            The midnight blue sedan pulled up to where Max was standing and Kestrel was wiping at her head. The Weirdo ran toward Max and Kestrel, panting as he did. He looked down at the annoyed form of Kestrel, and looked at Max, who still had a gun in each hand, just in case. There was blood dribbling between her fingers and Max had clearly seen better mornings.

 

            “What happened?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Um.” Max said.

 

            “I’m fine.” Kestrel said. “I got my head banged is all, it’s just a cut.”

 

            “You sure?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yeah.” She said.

 

            “Um.” Max tilted his head and The Weirdo followed him as he walked. “One second.”

 

            The two men stood next to a small outdoor café and talked. Max explained as quickly as he could while The Weirdo listened. Tommy approached in the middle of the story, causing The Weirdo to summarize in a much faster fashion than Max found himself capable. Max then finished the story when The Weirdo was done with his summery.

 

            “And then both of them were gone.” Max said. “But then that Gray Man came back and helped her up. He said we should get her to a hospital, but then he vanished when she was standing and we sat back down and you showed up again.”

 

            “I see.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Whose side is that guy on?” Tommy asked

 

            “His own, most likely, but he was right, the distraction probably saved you two.”

 

            “So he’s on my side, sorta.” Max said.

 

            “We won’t know until we discover where he’s going with this.” The Weirdo said.

           

            “Oh good.” Max said. “Glad to hear it.”

           

            “How did Loki know where you two were?” The Weirdo asked.

           

            “I guess he followed us.” Max said. “Or one of his little monkey men did.”

           

            “And you didn’t see him?”

           

            “No.” Max said, looking down at the street.

           

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I’m sorry.”

           

            “Why? Because you were surprised by someone who was stalking you?”

           

            “Well, yeah.”

           

            “Well, don’t.” The Weirdo said. “Not you’re fault. Happens to everyone.”

           

            “Happens to me more.” Max said. “He surprised me on the roof top and we lost him.”

 

            “I think he’s following you special.” The Weirdo said. “Think of it as twice that he’s stalked you for some reason.”

 

            “That’s not very reassuring.” Max said and then added, “What reason?”

 

            “We’ll find out.”

 

            “Oh good, that’s two things we’ve got to wait for now.”

 

            “Exciting isn’t it?”

 

            “Not really.”

 

            “Well, it’s the best I can do, your only other option right now is to pull on a pair of tights and join Rooster Boy for his early morning crime fighting.”

 

            “Good God, no.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:12 a.m.

 

            Loki stood in the closed bookshop, a large book in front of him. It was a book on Norse Mythology and it was turned to the last chapter. It was fascinating, to think that this was how the world was meant to end. He was meant to build an army, which he had done. He didn’t recognize any of the names, but the meaning was clear to him.

 

            It would be a perfect way to do things, kill them all and make himself lord. He tossed the book aside and left to begin the plan. It was a plan that had been formed in his mind for years perhaps. The plan that was now ready to happen. He must have always had this plan, since reading only such a small part made everything fit into place.

 

            He touched the large sword, and felt its weight in his hand. He wanted to begin fighting now, but first he’d have to make them come. That would be the easy part of course, it always was. They were each worried what could happen to them if he found them alone. He would make them all come at once, and he would bring his forces all at once.

 

           

October 31st, 2002

7:35 a.m.

 

            “Are we ready?” Loki asked.

 

            “We are Lord.” One of them said. He no longer knew their names.

 

            “Then we shall begin.” Loki said standing. “Gather the troops in the park, so that we might begin.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

8:00 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo’s cell phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket and raised it to his ear.

 

            “Yes?” He asked.

 

            “There is something going on in Central Park.” Jorgaes’s voice was quick and crisp. “Loki is raising some sort of army. Police and National Guard are already being alerted. I doubt they’ll actually do anything, but they are being alerted.”

 

            “Be there in a bit.” He looked at the car and drew out the small pen like device from his pocket. He hit the group code and spoke into the top of it. “Everyone needs to get to Central Park right away, and bring the biggest guns we’ve got.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

8:30 a.m.

 

            The morning was still cold, frost was even on the grass in the shade.  People were being kept away from the park because of the unusually high number of people already there.  They were rabble of the worst kind, and they were screaming about a war.  Some of them were armed with machine guns and their leader was standing on a statue, waving a sword. He was dressed in red, as was his want, and he was insane. He was shouting to his gathered minions who were enraptured by him. There was something in the way he spoke that led certain people to want to follow him.

 

            He had spent so long gathering them, promising that if they listened, one day this world would be theirs. Today was the glorious day that they would begin. They would start it all today. They had been promised much, and if they were willing to but extend their hand, today was their day. They were getting agitated, they were getting ready to extend their hands, and a lot of blood could end up spilled as a result.

 

            “We shall march from this place and destroy all in our way.” Loki screamed. “We shall fall the pretender and take back the throne of Ithilien from the bastard king. We shall take Asgard from my father and smash the bridge of many colors. We shall replace it with a single white bridge of ice.”

 

            The crowd cheered with glee, The Weirdo hoped that they knew what he was talking about because he didn’t. Some of the things he was saying sounded familiar, but they didn’t work together. What did work was the fact that there was well over a thousand maddened young men screaming in one place. They were angry and they were ready to kill for that slice of the American dream. There was no longer going to be any questions about who would be the rulers and who would be the ruled. They were going to take what was being jealously guarded from them. The things that had been horded away from them, they would take them today.

 

            The Weirdo rested his hand on the butt of the black gun, the handle growing warm at his touch. He drew the gun out, ready to fire into the crowd if he had to. Tommy walked behind him, his gun in hand, Jack at his side. Max walked behind them, covering the rear with a large machine gun in hand. Kestrel hadn’t even taken a bandage on her head since it had been a small cut; it had just bled a lot. Now she was covering the rear with Max, an M16 at the ready.

 

            “We ready?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “No.” Max said. “But do it anyway.”

 

            “Loki!” The Weirdo shouted as they cut through the crowd.

 

            “Hark! Here he comes, my children.” Loki’s voice called out. “My brother approaches.”

 

            They all turned toward him, and their stares could have frozen molten lead. Their eyes were cold, lost, and hollow. They didn’t hate; they didn’t have anger or even mistrust in their eyes. They looked drugged, unable to discern if he was on their side or not. They were the faces of those lost to a good story, completely brainwashed. They would have bought into multi-level marketing or even voting Republican at this moment.

 

            “Cute family.” The Weirdo said looking at the rabble around them. “Christmas cards must look nice.”

 

            “Yes.” Loki said laughing. “Jest now that your time is nearly up. The sun is rising its final time, now. After this, there shall be no more days.”

 

            “And then?”

 

            “Well then, my children and I shall rule the world.”

 

            “Is that a fact?” The Weirdo asked looking around him. “With this lot? I doubt it. They’ll destroy each other in petty power battles. ”

 

            “You won’t have to judge.” Loki said as he jumped down to the ground, standing near The Weirdo. “You’ll be dead by then.”

 

            “Going to get someone to kill me, again?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “No.” Loki said, raising the sword. “This time I shall perform that feat myself.”

 

            “Unless I’m still dead.” The Weirdo said, slowly circling his clone.

 

            “Ah yes.” Loki said. “It is the sam-hain, isn’t it?”

 

            “It’s pronounced sow-en you dumb fuck.” The Weirdo said with a pained expression on his face. “Get a fucking pronunciation guide you waste of nuclear attraction. And all in all, yes, it is the time when the dead can walk, and right former wrongs.”

 

            “Or the demons of hell can create new ones.”

 

            “But, I have an army to stop you.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I have my army, as well.” The hilt of the sword caught The Weirdo under the chin as Loki jumped back. “Kill them.”

 

            “Always kill them isn’t it?” The Weirdo asked. “Never capture, never eliminate, always kill them.”

 

            The army of Loki’s followers raised their weapons and trained them on our heroes, prepared to cut them down. This was not a happy thought, but it was what had to happen. Max raised the gun and fired into the crowd, Jack and Tommy fired as well, and cutting a path through the human wall that was building up around them. Kestrel shot at single individuals, making sure to hit their legs or lower backs. She hadn’t wanted to kill anyone, just wound them. The Weirdo brought up his black gun and struck Loki with the butt of the weapon, striking a large gash across Loki’s forehead.

 

            The chaos was sudden, as if some sort of spell seemed to be broken. All the people began to run in every direction. Loki stood and raised his sword over his head and stabbed at the air, screaming with rage. His cries managed to overpower even the firing of the machine guns to reach his flock.

 

            “We can defeat them!” He screamed, holding his sword up like a beacon.

 

            The firing all stopped at one moment, everyone seemed to be mesmerized by the blade, which had caught the rays of the rising sun. It seemed to glow with an inner light of its own, almost seeming to burn in the clone’s hand. He held the gathering of youths in awe. Even The Weirdo’s forces stopped and watched to see what would happen next.

 

            The Weirdo raised the black gun and instead of going for Loki, this time he aimed at the base of the blade. He pulled the trigger and the blade burst apart, sending fragments out in every direction A major part of the sword was flung away, though several shards spun from the hilt.

 

            The spell was broken again, and the sound of Tommy’s old Thompson suddenly cut through the cold morning with its distinctive and slow chopping sound. The rest of the group began firing and the momentarily held off chaos erupted again. The screams, the running, and the panic had once again taken over.

 

            Loki looked at the shards of steel that surrounded him. One of them caught Loki’s cheek and brought a rivulet of blood. He looked at The Weirdo and cried out in anger. He stabbed the broken sword into The Weirdo’s chest. The Weirdo tried to move but caught the hilt just under his heart. He fell back and dropped the gun.

 

            “Now.” Loki said, reaching down and taking the hilt of the sword. “You will die.”

 

            “Not this time.” Loki looked up and The Gray Man hit him.

 

            The Gray Man punched Loki in the face and knocked the red coated lunatic to the ground. He gave him a few swift kicks, in the side. Loki began to get up, The Gray Man took an odd looking pistol that was the color of pewter from under his coat and shot Loki twice in the chest. Loki was thrown back to the statue, and rested against the bronze work. He looked at his bleeding chest and touched the spots of blood. He reached into his coat and took out his gun before falling in a crumpled mass on the ground.

 

            “Go.” He shouted to Jack and Tommy. “I’ll take care of him, just go.”

 

            They didn’t have time to think about it, the crowd was large and unwieldy. They felt they had a pretty good chance of shooting their way out if they ran now, which is what they did. Their guns crying out like the sounds of a full-scale war. Kestrel had to give up trying to wing people and now was just shooting as she and Max tried their best to make it to the car.

 

            A blow to the back of her head made her collapse across Max’s back and he carried her to the car. He wondered if she had been struck in the same spot and if so how many times was it that she’d been hit there. She was going to certainly need the attention of an expert soon, otherwise she might suffer some real brain damage.

 

            Tommy watched the two of them and grabbed at The Weirdo, who was being held up by The Gray Man. Jack ran over and placed a hand under The Weirdo’s arm, which caused him to shout and fight out of their grasps. He managed to stand up despite the hilt sticking out of his chest. He looked around and then placed his hand on the bit of sword stuck in him.

 

            “Fucking hurts.” The Weirdo muttered. “Go on guys, get to the car, get out of here. I’ll be along directly.”

 

            “You’re sure?” Jack asked.

 

            “Go.” The Weirdo said pulling out his colt. “I’ll be fine.”

 


October 31st, 2002

8:45 a.m.

 

            Loki began to rise from where he had fallen, re-emerging from a gray cloudy fog. The chaos was not over, yet, but it was getting under control. His forces were dispersing, running scared. Many of them lay dead on the ground around him. Some were still shooting it out with police and The Weirdo’s people. He couldn’t see The Weirdo in the group, or that gray man. He got up and touched the place where the bullets had struck him, and found they still hurt. There was something about that gun; he was going to have to be careful about it in the future. Obviously it was able to actually kill him. If the gray man had struck his heart or head, he felt he’d be dead now.

 

            He looked at what was left of his sword, shattered steel on dull concrete. He’d have to get another one that much was obvious. Something stronger, lighter, and faster was required. He had heard much about the swords that Samurai used. Surely he could find some collector or antique dealer with a hard on for such things, this was a big city after all. It wouldn’t take long; after all, he had until tonight to really begin the battle.

 

 

Retirement

 

            Kestrel sat up in a bed of flowers, and realized where she was immediately. The old Weirdo walked from his house and toward her. She looked around, bewildered. There was a table in the front lawn. It was a high clerk’s table that appeared to have grown up out of the ground. He had a large book on the table and several brass instruments. He took a drink from his steaming mug and looked at her.

 

            “Ah, hello.”

 

            “What?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “It’s alright.” He said taking her arms. “You took a pretty nasty blow to the head. Don’t worry, you’ll be safe here.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “So, why am I here this time?”

 

            “To be kept safe.” He said, “And to watch.”

 

            “Watch what?”

 

            “The fight that is going to happen.” The old man said.

 

            “Fight?” She asked.

 

            “Fight.” He answered.

 

            “Which fight?”

 

            “The Weirdo and Loki are going to fight it out.  It’s going to be the knock down drag out, world heavyweight championship fight. They will fight tonight, after sundown. I can’t be more precise than that.”

 

            “Why not?” She asked.

 

            “Um, well.” He looked at the book and began to close it.

 

            “What was that?”

 

            “Oh, it’s just, quantums, ya know.”

 

            “What?” She asked.

 

            “Quantums.” He said. “You have to calculate a lot when time is fragmented and… it’s um, quantum.”

 

            “I see.” She said.

 

            “You do?”

 

            “Not really. I was just trying to be polite.”

 

            “Ah.” He said. “Well, I think we can say the fight will be before midnight, but after sunset.”

 

            He placed a brass compass on a chart on the book and moved it around a little, and then he made a few more notations. He then twisted a small dial on a small brass device, and made a notation of what that said. He looked at something that looked like one of the models of the solar system that was made circa sixteen hundred. In truth though, it was actually a model of four-dimensional space with a mobile waveform emulator to calculate the motions of possibility. He turned the small brass knob and moved the waveform a little further towards apparent east.

 

 

May 1st, 1871

11:45 p.m.

 

            It was so quiet on the fields of Virginia, The Weirdo hated to tell the man giving him his lesson that in a hundred years you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself on this little patch of future highway. There would be cars and truck at all times of the day and night, but that was for later. Now he was trying to ride what the man called a zeta beam to a spot about seven feet away.

 

            “It’s like wishing.” He said.

 

            “Wishing?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “You hold your hands out, and you find the stream.”

 

            “And that will take us there?”

 

            “Yes?” The old captain said.

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said.

 

            There was something like static electricity dancing around him and he took the step forward. He appeared seven feet from where he had been standing. He turned around and looked back and the man clapped his hands happily.

 

            “Wonderful.” He said. “Now we prepared to try for Barsoom.”

 

            “All right.” The Weirdo agreed. He wasn’t really prepared, but he had made a deal.

 

            “You just ride the beam to Barsoom, and we shall rescue Dejah.”

 

            “I said I’d join and help you.” The Weirdo said. “But if I end up floating halfway to Phobos without a helmet the deal is off.”

 

            “What’s that?”

 

            “Nothing captain.” The Weirdo said.

 

           

October 31st, 2002

9:05 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo sat alone against a stone wall, the hilt with what remained of the blade of the sword laying next to him, his blood still wet on it. It was a small brick hallway, the sort you see all over the world. A gray concrete floor and the painted brick that smacked of an institution like a gym, school or prison. There was a deep pain in his chest, but it was passing. He placed his hand over the wound. He could see the spot where the blade had been in his mind’s eye. The blade had just missed his heart, but it hadn’t missed had it?  He could feel the small scratch on his heart. The blade hadn’t sunk into the muscle of his heart but it had been cut, scratched very lightly. It hurt a little with every thump, but he could handle it. The blood oozed gently from the wound, soaking into his shirt and down his pant leg.

 

            “He’ll have a new sword, soon.” The Gray Man said.

 

            The Weirdo looked at The Gray Man who standing near him, and he felt feverish when he turned. He wasn’t afraid but he felt a wave sudden panic rush over him. A purely physical manifestation, without mental emotion, took over and his breath came in a ragged shallow thrust. His heart thudded as his dark eyes locked with the man’s gray ones. His chest seemed to be out of his control, and then it passed. He wasn’t panic-stricken now, just tired. He was so terribly tired. He looked at the face of the man who had surely seen the other side of fifty and hadn’t enjoyed the trip. The Weirdo fell suddenly, from panic to exhaustion. He felt breathless and confused, looking at the man’s sad face. There was a door in the hall, but The Weirdo sat between The Grey Man and the door. His eyes were closing on their own, but he felt more alert, now. He managed to stop his head from falling against his chest he was so alert.

 

            “Oh, yeah? Good thing I’ve got this.” He held up his right hand, the black gun resting in it.

 

            “Won’t work very well, will it?” The gray man asked.

 

            “Works fine.” The Weirdo said.

 

            He wanted to say more, but he felt out of breath and couldn’t manage to organize the words so that they wouldn’t sound like total gibberish as they exited his mouth. The only real hope was to speak in small sentences. It wasn’t much of a hope because a glib answer would likely keep the gray man asking questions.

 

            “Do you think that gun would kill you? It couldn’t ever hurt you, it’s your protection, and your tool.”

 

            “Eh?” He was suddenly fascinated by the cadence of the gray man’s voice. There was something like music in the man’s voice, or was he imagining it?

 

            “That gun responds to you, Loki is like a part of you. The gun wouldn’t kill you, couldn’t kill you.”

 

            “I see.” He didn’t but it helped to say he did.

 

            “What you need is a weapon that has killed the kin of the owner before.”

 

            “Got one.” The Weirdo said his breath still far away somewhere.

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “Got it at the house.” The Weirdo said. “Come on.”

 

 

 

 

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October 17, 2013 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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