I'll come up with something in a minute.

Twins in Death: Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen

A Last Attempt at Ragnarok

 

 

June 1st, 1711

9:04 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo was leaning against the wall, his jerkin buttoned to his throat as the Captain’s was. The two of them watched as one person then another walked past the guards at the door. The king was having yet another one of his delightful, parties which were just a way for him to demean and degrade everyone around him. The Weirdo didn’t particularly like this young man, but he had been assigned to learn everything he could from the captain of his royal guards, and thus here he was.

 

            He looked at the other Musketeers and wondered how many of them held the same grudge against the king. Was it just the love of the captain that kept them here? The Captain had been a Musketeer during the bad days, when the Cardinal had started the war with England. The Weirdo looked at the Captain and glanced at a priest who walked in and nodded to the Captain who nodded back.

 

            “Is that?” The Weirdo asked, stopping himself before he finished.

 

            “He is.” The Captain said.

 

            The Weirdo looked back at the black robed priest as he walked across the floor. He was taller than The Weirdo had thought he would be. He wondered for a moment what Miss Parker would say if she could see him. Her first thing might be that they were about a hundred and fifty years before her birth, but after that there would be amazement. She would be shocked to find a man she thought to know only the obscenities of the French language speaking it well enough to have become the trusted Lieutenant of the Captain of the Royal Guards in only two years.

 

            “I had better go check the west posts.” He said straightening up from the stone pillar. “He’ll want to go out into the garden soon, best to make sure everyone is in place.”

 

            “Very well.” The Captain said. “I’ll meet you by the great fountain.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

9:10 a.m.

 

            Loki stood over the dead man, looking at the way the blood seeped into the carpet. He had cut the little man down with the Arabian blade, just to get the feel of it. He swept the half moon shaped sword from side to side.  It was light as a feather and stronger than a bar of steel. Yet it was sharp enough to cut through a silk scarf while it was falling from the hand of a lady. The scimitar didn’t look like the ones in the movies. It looked more like an oddly shaped saber, which he wasn’t sure he liked. He decided he didn’t want that one and dropped it on the floor.

 

            He had used it to kill the man who had owned it easily enough, but you could only really hold it with one hand. He needed both hands to finish his intended foe. This wasn’t going to be any old fight after all. This was going to be an apocalyptic battle for the end of the world. The winner of this fight would go on to decide the fate of the world, bringing about an end to the current order of things. One way or another, the world as they knew it was on borrowed time.

 

            His eyes scanned around the shop and fell upon the samurai sword, which stood in a place of honor. That was the sword the little man who had tried to run to when he grabbed the Arabian blade. He looked at it in its glass case, marveling at the simple beauty of its scabbard. The black lacquered wood was so beautiful and then he noticed the little extra. There were bits of gold in the black, which made is sparkle as the light glinted off it. He found that he wanted it even more now. He smashed the case open with his elbow and was heedless of the alarm that began to wail. He took the sword out of the case carefully, handling it with a reverence he had never felt for anything before.

 

            He marveled at the weight of the light blade as it slid from its scabbard. He had heard about Japanese swords, read about them in books. Actually he could only sort of remember books, what he remembered was the information, but not where it came from. They were supposed to be the best, all the movies said so. He had no idea how to use one, of course, but who did in these days. He looked at the sword’s sharp edge and ran his finger down it; he watched the finger spilt like magic. The blade had cut so easily and with such little force from him.

 

            He watched the cut close up and marveled at the drop of blood that fell from his finger. The blood dripped down the blade and he swung the blade through the air. He could cut a hole in the universe with a blade so sharp.  He slipped it back into its sheath and looked out the window. There was a group of dogs running down the street, powerful and streaming with sweat. That’s what the world needed, all across the planet. Large animals, running through the streets, eating people, scaring them, and causing quite a panic. He thought about this, and a new plan formed in his head. There was more than one way to cause panic.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

10:35 a.m.

 

            The gates of The Bronx Zoo opened and animals scattered, whether they wanted to or not. Those that had been too complacent got shot at or zapped with cattle prods to get them going. There were an incredible number of animals, confused and angry at the change of their routine. The armies of Loki had stolen animals from pet shops and opened the doors at the Zoo and animal parks, and led all the animals into the city. They lead with whips and guns herding the beasts into the city, towards the more populated areas, on this business day. This Friday things were different than they had been last Friday. Today there were animals in the streets and panic was beginning to grip the town.

 

            The chaos was incredible, that is to say if you saw it you would have trouble giving credibility to your senses. There were deaths, from angry monkeys, from a bear, from a newly formed pride of lions, and from people being trampled to death. Cars swerved to avoid the tall giraffes and there was more carnage. The cars smashed into each other, and further cars smashing into them, this began a sort of mass panic that seemed to grip most of the city, causing the citizens to flee.

 

            Then the second wave of street youth attacked and they attacked in earnest, with vision. Guns blazed, animals screamed, people ran, chaos ruled. Loki stood atop the highest tower he could easily get to and he laughed. He laughed at the world his children were conquering, that he was conquering. Nothing was about to stop his minions, who were gathered at such lightning speed. A month ago and who had heard of him? Now he was a living legend, and he was their liege lord.

 

            People were terrified, and where were the heroes?

 

            “Where have all your heroes gone to, where are all your gods?” He called out to the people as they fell.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

10:37 a.m.

 

            Max slapped a fresh clip into his pistol, jamming it into the holster behind his hip. He had bought two holsters so that he could reach up behind his back and draw them both out. The Beretta and the Glock sat against the small of his back, their clips pointing to heaven so that he need only reach behind him to grab both guns. He had been forced to special order these holsters since the condition of his left arm meant he could only bend it certain ways.

 

            He grabbed a third gun from the shelf, another automatic in a leather holster. It was the sort of holster that clipped to one’s belt, which would make it easy to adjust to whatever position the wearer might desire. He slipped the holster onto the front of his belt, just above the right hip pocket of his jeans. He thought about the three guns for a moment, there was a lot of fire power there, wasn’t there? He touched the two guns and then the third. He then wiped his brow, wondering for a moment if perhaps Gary Cooper felt this way? He reached out and took hold of an old black cowboy hat and slipped it on his head. Might as well go the whole way if you’re going to start these things. He had a fourth gun though, and more bullets than any cowboy. He looked at the rifles before him, reached down and picked up the M16. He slid on an ammunition vest, which gave him easy access to six clips.

 

            He considered the weapon for a moment before sliding the cartridge into place and picking up the bag of carefully stacked and placed ammunition. He wanted to sling it over his left shoulder, but he didn’t dare put the extra weight on that arm. He decided to try and sling the rifle over his left shoulder and the bullets over his right. As he looked at the weapons laid out before him and the ones he was already holding, he wondered for a moment on what sort of person keeps this many fully automatic submachine guns about. He found himself worrying about this really. Why would anyone have this many weapons?

 

            “You ready?” Jack asked as he loaded his own MP5.

 

            “Ready.” Max said.

 

            “Are we just going to put down anything we see?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I don’t know what choice we have.” Max said.

           

            “You know I only took the one machine gun and side arm.” Jack said slipping extra clips into his armor.

 

            “Yes?” Max asked.

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “And?”

 

            “Just when comments about compensation get made I want you both to remember I said it now.”

 

            “Don’t worry Jack.” Tommy said as he worked the magazine of the Thompson sub machine gun into place. “We’d never claim you have to compensate for anything.”

 

            “Thank you.”

 

            “You are English after all and therefore we all know you have no balls.”

 

            “Oh thank you Tommy.”

 

            “Anything I can do just ask.” Tommy said as he worked the slide on the machine gun.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

10:40 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the place where Shannon had fallen, and his heart began to rage. It was just a wood floor, framed in a white box of sun light. It looked like just another patch of floor, but he knew where it was, that was something he would never forget. He would always walk around that part of the floor for the rest of his life, in later years he placed a table over the spot so that he would have a good reason to avoid the spot. Not that anyone ever asked him about it, or walked over it themselves, but it was the principle.

           

            He felt the wound in his chest sting and he could feel the blood drip from the wound again. Anger and rage built in his mind, rolling and folding under the strain of his own self-control. He could feel something deep inside him fighting to get out- the rage, the anger, the indignation. They built up pressure and heat inside him, like a furnace forging great steel. He could hear the glass shattering again, see the blood, and feel her go still.

 

            “Weirdo.” Mrs. Pendleton entered the room.

 

            As he turned, she stopped suddenly, raising her hand to her mouth. He knew what he must look like right now. He felt tired and angry and hurt and worried. His heart had broken there, and now it was beginning to show. He couldn’t keep the façade up at all moments; sometimes it showed. Not often, but sometimes he was unable to hide his feelings under the image of the professional.

 

            He wanted to charge off like an ancient warrior, waving a blade over his head and scream epitaphs. To die in battle, it would almost be an acceptable suicide. His face expressed so much and it scared her. He looked at the scared look on her face and he forced himself to change. His eyes softened and he looked like himself, again. Tired and stretched like a rubber sheet that’s been pulled too far and is near breaking, but himself.

 

            “Yes?”

 

            “It’s begun, again.” She said. “The animals, from the zoo.”

 

            He reached out and touched her forehead, taking in all the information. He didn’t do this often, but he didn’t feel he had time for normal communication. He could see everything, and it made him madder. He wanted to go then, but he had come to the house for a reason. What had been the reason? How had he even gotten home for that matter? He kissed her forehead. He saw The Gray Man and followed him behind the house.

 

 

Retirement

 

            “If you like.” The old man said filling a birdbath with water. “You can see what goes on here.”

 

            He touched the water and a moment later the scene came into focus. The scene of carnage was so incredible it wouldn’t bear repeating. There was really too much death and horror to bother describing. The old man closed his eyes and looked away, his tone gone from friendly to serious, as if he didn’t really want to see it.

 

            “You just touch the water, thinking of the person you want to see.”

 

            “Alright,” She said, touching the water and thinking of Max.

 

 

 

October 31st, 2002

11:01 a.m.

 

            Max watched as they came down the street, his heart sank as he readied the weapon in his hands. The animals, people, monsters, they were not to be counted. They fired at everything they saw, in the process, shooting people, animals, everything. The three of them walked into the street, guns in hand. He was carrying a machine gun that fired 800 rounds a minute and he had a 30 shot clip. He had two magazine held together by a small plastic clamp that had been used for years instead of taping magazines together with an M16 on a strap for back up. His companions were holding sub machine guns of like capabilities, and it hardly seemed to be enough. 

 

             Max stood at the lead of the group, leveling his gun and firing into the crowd. The bullets sprayed as he tilted his body slightly and simply fired blind. It was a long, sustained burst, lasting a full ten seconds and he watched where each bullet fell. The gun stopped and he tugged the clip from the gun, flipped it over, primed the chamber and fired again. The sound of the gun was like that of an air drill, a tapping sound instead of the gunshots one thinks of in movies. He felt bile creep up his throat from the sickness educed from him firing the blind shots into the oncoming biomass of death that was charging towards them.

 

            The bullets struck mainly animals, but most of them weren’t killed. A large elephant, called Mongo at the zoo, was struck in the shoulder. This caused the poor animal incredible pain, which drove him into a greater rage that he already was in. His home had been invaded and he was tired and confused and now something hot had cut into his shoulder. This drove Mongo into a rage from which there could be no return.

 

            The elephant grabbed at a wolf and threw it into the air, it trampled a man and screamed a noise that was suddenly cut dead by the six machine gun bullets that shattered his skull and drove into his brain. It took Mongo’s body several seconds to realize that he was dead and to stumble over onto a small Plymouth, which his bulk crushed. Max felt his guts want to revolt, and then turned his head to let it out onto the street next to him. He spat the last bit of bile and pulled the other double tapped clip from his chest.

 

            The crowd was lessened, but not enough. Crowd members stepped over the dead and came toward them. Jack and Tommy stood in front of Max, firing their weapons. As Tommy had a hundred rounds of ammunition and the Thompson only fires four hundred rounds per minute, he lasted considerably longer. The problem was that it wasn’t long enough. The crowd hadn’t even slowed down. Every time one fell another took their place.

 

            “What do we do now?” Max asked.

 

            “We run.” Jack said.

 

            “Is that what The Weirdo would do?’ Max asked.

 

            “It’s what we’re going to do.” Tommy said.

 

            The three of them turned and began to run, with the crowd after them.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

11:02 a.m.

 

            “See?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            The ruby in the hilt of the sword seemed to gleam with its own internal fire. Excalibur was the sword of swords, and he held it in his hand. He gazed upon the mighty sword, light glinted off the blade and the blade seemed to have a light of its own. There was an inner warmth to the hilt, which seemed to be holding onto The Weirdo’s hand as much as his hand was holding onto the hilt. There seemed to be a slight whisper in his mind, as if the sword were speaking to him. It spoke of power, of honor, of justice, and where you should stick them while giving someone a damn good thrashing. The older man seemed fascinated with the fact that The Weirdo had the weapon already. He said it over and over again.

 

            “She gave it to you already.” The Gray Man said.

 

            “Yes,” The Weirdo said, strapping the sword to his hip, “And now I’ve got to get out there and save the day.”

 

            “Save the day?” The Gray man asked.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said tossing his hair back and pushing his gray hat on his head. “That’s hero talk that is.”

 

            “Yes, I recognize it from when I read comic books as a child. Listen.”

 

            “Nope.” The Weirdo said shaking his head. “No time to listen. World to save.”

 

            “I’ve got to tell you something very important,” The Gray Man said looking out the window for a moment. When he looked back, he was alone in the room and The Weirdo had simply vanished. He looked down the hall and found that no actually, The Weirdo had just disappeared.

 

            “So that’s what it feels like.” He said.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

11:09 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo stood atop a building, gaining a view of the surrounding area, and saw his friends. Tommy, Jack and Max were being pursued by perhaps a hundred of Loki’s lads. His eyes narrowed, his hands took hold of his own Tommy gun, and he leapt into the fray. He sailed through the air, causing them all to look up. He managed to just block the sun for most of them as he sailed through the air.

           

            He landed before them like an angel sent from above. Or at least like one of the warriors of old, kicked out of Valhalla, come back for a reckoning. There was something of the barring of Beowulf, the noble creature who was going to rip your arm off. It confused and worried them that anyone would simply jump into their fight. He stalked into their midst, looking as though he might tell them that he was now their leader and that they would together rule the world, and they just might listen. Max was prepared for a great speech in iambic pentameter, what he actually heard was The Weirdo’s very distinct and clear voice proclaim to the crowd…

 

            “Wus up mutha fuckas?” He asked standing before the crowd that had suddenly stopped as he hit the ground.

 

            It took a long time for anyone to say anything, mainly because they had to translate The Weirdo’s ghetto speak into English. Even then, it was hard to know what to say. It took an enterprising young lad, who was not quite up to speed to say something. This young man hadn’t quite grasped the fact that the situation had completely and totally changed in the space of two seconds, and he would pay the price for his apparent lack of vision.

 

            “We are the children of Loki!” The lad cried, raising his shotgun over his head.

 

            “Wrong answer.” The Weirdo said.

 

            The Thompson burped a short burst and the one who cried out fell dead to the street, thrown back from the force of the bullets. You could have dropped a pin, you really could have. Whether or not anyone would have been able to hear it is debatable, but you could have at least dropped it.  They all had stopped, and there was just a wind.

           

            “Who wants some?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “We are the children of Loki.” Another one said defiantly. “There are thousands of us.”

 

            “That’s alright.” The Weirdo said, aiming the weapon. “I’ve got lots of bullets.”

 

            There was a moment, which probably wasn’t as long as it felt like. There was almost a sort of buzzing sound as the group of young men, unaccustomed to thought, were thinking. They were trying to figure out if they could rush him and if they did, then what? Would they all rush at once or only a few. If they didn’t all rush at once, they’d be slaughtered. These men were better at killing people than any of them were. It would have taken a great leader to get them to rush the boys at that moment, but no such leader was in their midst.

 

            “And it’s cheer up m’lads,” The Weirdo sang suddenly, “let your hearts never fail, the bonny ship the diamond goes a fishing for the whale.”

 

            The young men dropped their weapons quickly and began to back away. The Weirdo had, if you think about it, done less than the others had. He had only shot one person and stared at the others and then sang in what is regarded as a pretty good voice. This can be labeled as one of those moments, though. The sort of moment when the one act is a prelude. A sort of way of saying, I can keep this up all day. While staring them down he even let the barrel of the gun drift down until it was at a forty-five degree angle from the street.

 

            The Weirdo stared down the crowd, anger filling his eyes, rage ready to be released. None would meet his gaze and quickly the entire group was reduced to the level of a pack of errant schoolboys. They had been bad boys, pretending to be tough, and now a tough guy had appeared. They shuffled away from him, the meanest schoolmaster in the universe.

 

            “You fucking bullies.” The Weirdo raised his gun and was about to fire.

 

            The crowd of youths actually flinched and several fell back, one screamed and covered his face in terror. The Weirdo would have fired, but he wasn’t mad at them. He was simply mad at the entire world, the world that had grown these kinds of people. He was mad at a society that let things get this bad. As far as they went though, he’d made his point and now that he had sorted these losers out, he had other fish to fry. One of the things he was going to do was to find was whatever idiot coined that last phrase and make that person sorry.

 

            “Get out of here.” He said firing at the ground. They scattered, running like children, which many of them were.

 

            “How long do you think that will last?” Tommy asked as they walked away.

 

            “Long enough.” The Weirdo said. “They’ll be humbled for an hour or two, we might even make it to dinnertime before they get the nerve up to strike again.”

 

            “And what do we do then?” Jack asked.

 

            “Nuke the city?” The Weirdo asked

 

            “Nice to know you’ve got a plan.” Max said.

 

            “Isn’t it though?”

 

            “Do you have a nuclear weapon?” Jack asked.

           

            “Probably,” The Weirdo said, “Somewhere.”

 

            “So, no is the answer we’re looking for.”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “Bugger.” Jack muttered,

 

            “Yeah I know.” The Weirdo said. “Sounded like a pretty good plan otherwise didn’t it?”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

12:01 p.m.

 

            The animals had, for the most part, gathered in Central Park. They stood in the same place where Loki had stood before, gathering like Loki’s group had gathered. They were not ready to fight though; they were simply congregating about. These were complacent animals; that for the most part spent all day lying around like this.

 

            The Weirdo and Tommy looked at them as Max reloaded his guns and Jack called the Zoo.

 

            “What are they doing?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Walking.” The Weirdo said. “They don’t know any better. They had ten minutes of wild antics but when they have time to think it out, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They’re zoo animals after all, most of them are just less tame versions of house pets.”

 

            “How do we get them home?” Jack asked.

 

            “Tell them to go home.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Oh, lovely.” Tommy said. He stood and put his hands to his mouth. “Could you guys go home? Or could the leader or representative of the group be sent out? We would like to negotiate the terms under which you’ll all go back to the zoo.”

 

            To his great surprise the group opened an alley between them. They moved apart as if making a path between the queen and the throne. They bowed their heads and the biggest tiger any of them had ever seen began to stalk out. The tiger was about twice the size of one of the large Siberian cats, and it was gray. The cat had a gray body with the darker gray stripes of a tiger, and the animals looked on her with the reverence one holds for a god.

 

            “What the hell?” Jack asked.

 

            “Do you ever get the feeling that you should have just kept your mouth shut?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Sometimes, yeah.” Jack said nodding. “You?”

 

            “All the fucking time.” Tommy said.

 

            The tiger stood between the throngs of animals and The Weirdo’s company. She looked at them, standing like many a house cat who is trying to decide whether to ask for food or simply attack a bit of dust on the floor. She tilted her head and made a sort of growling sound. The Weirdo looked at Tommy and then at the cat. He held his hand up and made a sort of shooing motion.

 

            “Go home, g’won scram.”

 

            The cat roared.

 

            The ground shook, windows broke, car alarms went off. The sound rattled Jacks insides, literally. His lungs had vibrated from the sound of this beast’s cry and he felt his testacles crawling up into his belly. The Weirdo stood, his hair blown back a bit. He was amazingly unimpressed. He turned and looked at Tommy, Jack and Max, who were each curled up in a fetal position. Tommy looked and saw a look in The Weirdo’s eye, and then he clutched his head again. The Weirdo turned back to the cat.

 

            He didn’t roar, didn’t call, and didn’t speak. He just stared into the huge cat’s coppery eyes. He took in a deep breath which expanded his chest and when he exhaled there was a rumbling in his chest that was felt through the ground rather than heard. The huge cat’s head tilted to one side, and then the huge cat rolled onto her back, exposing her belly.

 

            “There’s a good kitty.” The Weirdo said, rubbing the huge cat’s belly.

 

            “What the fuck just happened?” Jack asked risking raising his head.

 

            “They had a staring match, and he won.” Tommy said, his mind half blown from all the screaming.

 

            “I see.” Jack said, in a cracked sort of voice. “Well, that explains everything.”

 

            “Doesn’t it?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Oh yeah. Lovely.” Jack patted his pants and looked at Tommy. “I don’t smoke anymore do I?”

 

            “Nope.”

 

            “Shit.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

12:45 p.m.

 

            Loki watched as the animals filed back into place, lead by The Weirdo and that great gray tiger. He had decided action was called for. It was time for some decisive action. He would gather together a band of his followers and they would block the bridge. When they came to take the animals back they would have a problem. He pulled his phone from his pocket and began to dial.

 

           

October 31st, 2002

12:50 p.m.

 

            Tommy stopped as they approached the bridge back to the Bronx. Twenty-three cars and trucks had blocked the bridge. On each vehicle, people sat, loading guns. On the lead car was Loki, a great hunting rifle in his hand.

 

            “Well, hello.” Loki said.

 

            The Weirdo didn’t wait; he drew out the black gun and fired. The first shot didn’t hit Loki, nor was it intended to. The first shot hit the gas tank of a large van near Loki. The van exploded in a fireball that was much too large for the amount of gas in it, but then to be fair, why should a piece of amethyst cause gasoline to explode when really a bullet doesn’t do it? Or for that matter could such a piece even be fired from a gun without shattering? Let’s not ask too many questions, eh? People might give us answers. Loki fell off the car and aimed the rifle over the hood. He fired twice, hitting the tiger in the head and chest.

 

            “Minga!” The Weirdo shouted as the bullets struck the cat.

 

            He didn’t shout anymore because when the bullets struck the large gray tiger, they broke on her skin. She looked at Loki as if he had thrown a ball of tin foil at her. She turned towards the car and gave it a quizzical look. Loki’s brethren began to open fire, and the animals began to scatter, now truly running scared. People were once again in danger, he watched one person get trampled by a terrified rhino.

 

            The gentle peace that The Weirdo had begun to weave had just slipped from his grasp and he was getting pretty frustrated by now. He looked around at the suddenly growing chaos around him, his anxiety rushing up to greet him. He did what any self-respecting possibly homicidal hero would do at a time like this.

 

            He reached under his coat, producing the Thompson sub machine gun. He hadn’t noticed, but the colors and sounds began to fade. He drew back the slider, letting it fall back into place over a bullet and began to fire. There was almost no sound, the gun cracked and screamed as he fired madly at the enemy, but he could hardly hear it.

 

            It was at this moment that everything began to go dark. He hadn’t really paid much attention as he fired. Things began to move in slow motion, the colors were fading and even the lights were going out. He would notice when he began to fall, tumbling into a dark and empty nothingness.

 

            He fell slowly, the gun firing into the street. Pieces of black top shattered up around him as he collapsed. The gun ceasing to fire when the hundred bullets stored in the drum magazine were spent. He may have physically stopped when his body hit the pavement, sprawled out, but the spinning into blackness continued unabated. It is nice to know that pavement can’t stop that sort of journey.

 

 

Blackness

 

            The small child was sitting on a swing, trying to get started. She was far too small to truly understand the physics behind swinging. She hadn’t quite mastered the idea of pumping her legs to create lift and inertia. She was trying to push her self off the ground, but her short legs didn’t allow her to get in the seat fast enough.

 

            He watched the tiny, fair-haired child, the only other person in this universe and thought of her as that. He was one, and she was the other. There was only the two of them.

 

            “Sit on the seat.” He said.

 

            “What?” The other asked.

 

            “I’ll give you a push.” He said.

 

            “Okay.” She climbed onto the single strip of wide leather, not plastic or rubber but actual leather. She turned her head to him, her eyes sparklingly blue.

 

            “You hold on tight, with both hands.”

 

            He touched the chain and gripped the seat near her tiny hips, touching the pink denim. He pulled her back and despite his claim of a push, he actually provided more of a drop. This did the trick though and began a free-swinging motion for the small girl.

 

            “Now pump your legs.” He said.

 

            “Huh?” She asked.

 

            “Legs back when you swing back, and then kick forward.”

 

            She got it backwards the first two tries and only managed to slow herself, another drop like push and she got going again. She was swinging on her own after a few moments and actually laughing. The other human being in this universe was laughing the way we think that small children laugh when they’re happy. Her terribly pretty face caught what every light there was in this place and her two braids swung past her face when she swung back.

 

            And then she faded, and he came to.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

3:01 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo awoke in The Hole, his chest aching terribly. He reached for it and felt the stitches on his breast. Tommy, Judy and Sheila stood over him. Judy’s hand was holding his; her crystalline blue eyes fixed on his. She looked like an angel and his mind flew through all the movies he had ever seen.

 

            “Hey, welcome back.” She said.

 

            “Am I dead?” He asked.

 

            “No.”

 

            “Blast.”

 

            “How do you feel?” Tommy asked.

 

            “The bridge.” The Weirdo tried to sit up but was pushed back down by Tommy.

 

            “It’s okay.” Tommy said. “We took care of that.”

 

            “How?”

 

            “We blew it up, me and Jack.”

 

            “What happened?” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You fainted is what happened.” Tommy said.

 

            “Really, Weirdo.” Doc said walking toward him. “If you’re going to get stabbed in the chest with a sword you could at least let me check.”

 

            He wanted to say a lot, but his mouth wouldn’t manage to do what he wanted. He could only get out so much, because exhaustion took the rest from him. There was so much to say, and he felt suddenly out of breath and patience. His head fell back and he managed only three words.

 

            “I heal, remember.” His words were slurred. “Got mutant healing factor cause my chi is strong and my aura is kickin’!”

 

            “Not this time you didn’t.” Tommy said. “You had blood soaking down to your knee.”

 

            The Weirdo felt the spot of pain on his chest. He touched the stitches and looked at Doctor Crazy. His eyes seemed to cloud over, his empty left hand tightened into a fist, causing the tendons to twang across bones. It was a somewhat sickening sound but it was made almost every time he made a fist. His arm tightened and then shook, and then it passed.

 

            “It’s not over of course.” Tommy said. “Jack and Max are trying to rally what troops we have.”

 

            “Troops?”

 

            “Police, firefighters.” 

 

            “Oh, sweet Cthulu dancing naked on Jesus’ pogo stick.”

 

            “We have to do what we can.” Judy said.

 

            “Cthulu dancing naked on Jesus’ pogo stick?” Tommy said.

 

            “I have to cut off the head.” The Weirdo said, getting off the gurney, wishing his knees were stronger. He wanted to stride bravely out of the room but it was all he could do to stand.

 

            “You haven’t got any fight left.” Doc said.

 

            “Shut up, Doc.” The Weirdo said leaping off the table, and wished he hadn’t.

 

            “He’s right, though.” Tommy said. “You’re trying to put on a brave face but you’re all used up.”

 

            He walked towards the house, but he couldn’t come up with a single reason not to just go back into the house, lay down and go to bed. To just let someone else do the job. He knew that this was not a solution the world could handle, but he needed to be reminded.

 

            “Jesus has a pogo stick?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Sweet Cthulu?” Doc asked.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

3:29 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo was opening and closing books, his speed faster than most humans could manage. One couldn’t tell what he was looking for, he wasn’t completely sure, but he had an idea. He needed a battle cry, a banner, a shield emblem, and a reason. There had to be a damn good reason to continue this. He couldn’t find anything though. He walked from the main library and entered a smaller library. The house had about a dozen like this, small comfortable rooms for when the huge library caused agoraphobia. This room was filled with books, old books. He reached out and took one off the shelf at random.

           

            He looked at the cover, and opened it carefully. If The Weirdo had a religion, this was the closest he came to a holy book. At least this would be a holy book, but copyright issues kept him from binding all the books of this much import together. And it was an important book, if ever there was a holy book, it would be one like this.

 

            It was a book from his own childhood, if he indeed had one. It wasn’t about brave knights or soldiers, but a bear, a silly little bear with very little brain, who lived in a large wood. He didn’t achieve things by force of arms or by cleverness, but simply by being himself. It was a book of innocence and happiness. A book of joy and simplicity, it was something to be protected.

 

            There are certain pathways in the mind that would make a person decide that a book about pastoral delights and the celebration of childhood were good reasons to fight. People who explore those pathways and decide which are the healthy ones would probably be of the opinion that it would not serve that book to go off and fight for it. As The Weirdo considered all of this, he thought about the proper way to serve this sort of book. He thought on the idea and then, as if called up by some part of his mind that knew what he needed, he remembered.

 

            “Heroes save mommies and daddies and people who can’t save themselves.”

 

            The memory struck him with the force of a physical blow. He was thrown to his knees, and he began to doubt the sanctity of his own mind. He heard the shots, listened to the glass, felt the blood, and heard her whisper.

 

            “I love you.”

 

            And then the child, so tiny, so afraid.

 

            “Please save my mommy.”

 

            He looked at the book, deciding that he wasn’t going to fight so much with it as an excuse, but rather to protect what the book represented. He was in the middle of a siege after all. This was defense, wasn’t it? They would just keep coming until they were properly dealt with.

 

            He looked at his hand again and it was the hand of a warrior. It was the hand of a protector, the hand of a savior. It was the kind of hand that could do good, bad, or even ugly things. It should do something though, anything. In a world where so many were afraid to act, the simple act of acting was something brave and great. If he could achieve something, anything, then it would be worth the return. If he could do something good, something right, something noble, than he could earn something for himself.

 

            Loki and he were going to just burn around each other until one of them was dead. Loki would keep coming, until he’d killed The Weirdo. Then he’d come and kill The Weirdo again and again until he died. The Weirdo would have welcomed that as a prospect, except, except….

 

            “Heroes are supposed to save mommies and daddies and people who can’t help themselves.”

 

            He stood up, his chest burning with pain, his mind burning with anger. He laid his hand on the table, and his fingertips met the hilt of Excalibur. He looked at the metal hilt, the red gem set in the pommel, and he felt the warmth. It wanted to be used to smite evil; it wanted to swing in righteous battles once again. He looked up and was less than surprised to see The Gray Man standing at the table.

 

            “Arrange a meeting.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Where?”

 

            “Anywhere.” The Weirdo said. “No! That warehouse, where I met her.”

 

            “When?”

 

            “Anytime.” The Weirdo said. “Six o’clock!”

 

            “You’re going to kill him or he’s going to kill you.” The Gray Man said. “That’s how this is going to end, you know that, don’t you?”

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “And I wish him the best of luck.”

 

“If you don’t have a better reason to fight than righteous indignation, you’ll be killed.”

 

            “Why don’t you let me deal with that?”

 

            “Because we can’t have Loki winning?” The Gray Man leaned over the table. “If he wins this fight, that’s pretty much it.”

 

            “Well I won’t have to worry about that if I loose.”

 

            “But some people do have to worry.”

 

            “I won’t let you down.” The Weirdo said. “And if I do, who will ever know?”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

4:00 p.m.

 

            Loki was alone in the room, laying full length, naked on the bed. He was thinking about The Weirdo, about how nice his head would look away from his body. He was thinking he might like to sodomize the corpse. Maybe it would move differently, with the head gone. His fantasies were all about to come true, all of them. He was thinking about these thoughts, and beginning to get aroused when there was a sound.

 

            The Gray Man stood before him, disapproving.

 

            “He’ll fight you.” The gray man said.

 

            “Of course he will.” Loki said, “I’ll burn this entire city down to get him.”

 

            “No.” The gray man shook his head wearily. “He’ll fight you tonight, officially. Just you and him, sword to sword.”

 

            “Swords, eh?”

 

            “That’s right.” The gray man nodded. “Fitting for your ascension, don’t you think? You and your brother? Once you finish him off the rest of the family will fall away. No one will stand in your way, once you’ve dispatched him.

 

            “No.” Loki said. “They’ll all be cut down like grass.”

 

            “So, why not call back your forces until the fight begins? Otherwise he’ll be too tired to fight you properly.”

 

            “Right.” Loki said looking at his crotch. “I’ll do that.”

 

            He looked up and found himself alone again. He called his forces and told them to run and hide until called for. They would be called for soon enough, he promised them that. The world would soon be theirs, and they would rule. The night would last forever, because he was going to have Fenris chase the sun away.

 

            He sat down with the books and read again on the endless night. According to some twelfth century writer, if the evil that was released on Halloween, night could overtake the good and they could prevent the dawn. An eternal night would exist, they would rule forever in an endless twilight of the city.

 

            He thought about what the most powerful force toward good was, and who was the greatest force of evil. He considered all the alternatives. He decided the strongest force for evil was The Weirdo and decided that if he could kill him then he would prevent endless night. If The Weirdo killed him of course, the sun would never rise again. He had to save the world by killing The Weirdo.

 

            When you’re on a mixture of Crystal Meth, malt liquor and oxicontin, you can believe just about anything.

 

 

 

October 31st, 2002

4:25 p.m.

 

            Jack walked into the house; his body was wracked with pain and exhaustion. He sat down on a chair as he entered the house. He took in a breath slowly and let it out, and it all came rushing back to him. He hadn’t wanted to see a lot of that, not by half. There were things that he had seen today that he felt would wake him up for years to come.

 

            The stampede, the assaults that he had found just in time or too late and the animals Loki released from the zoo had nothing on the animals he had enlisted in his army. He had shot so many people today, seen so much blood. He had been in three wars, and not seen anything like that. He and Max had shot a lot of them because they couldn’t conceive of a form of rehabilitation after what those creatures were doing.

 

            For a moment, it was like being in Korea, when he found that troop of Americans, who had skinned and eaten the villagers while keeping the skins as trophies. He hadn’t asked what they were doing when he found them eating what was clearly a human leg they had roasted over the fire, the foot still attached. He looked at them, cleaning a dead man of his organs, eating the remains of his family, and didn’t even bother to ask. It was clear what they were doing and asking was foolish. You couldn’t talk to people when they had come to this anyway. You couldn’t reason with people who had gone past the worst of humanity. He simply cocked the gun and began to fire.

 

            He had simply killed the entire troop, never bothering to report it. He had burned the village, destroyed the evidence, and never spoken of it again. What would have been the point, who was there left to punish? He had shot all of them, using his pistol on the last three when the rifle ran out of bullets. He had put his gun against the last one’s head. He rammed the barrel of his colt under the man’s chin and blew his brains out onto the frozen ground. He had allowed himself a scream when he fired the gun, when the blood splattered all over him, steaming slightly in the cold air.

 

            The look on the faces of those soldiers was like that of the children they had killed today. You couldn’t talk to them, you couldn’t reason, you just had to kill them. There would never be anything but death that would stop them. He was glad that Max seemed to understand, though it was almost too much for Tommy.

 

            He knew Tommy had been part of the O.S.S. and had been in Germany, and watched the actual children die. Jack was in Japan when the invasion of Normandy had happened, so he hadn’t seen the child fighters. Tommy had said that it was one of the worst sights he had ever seen, and Jack was glad he missed it, because he saw a hint of it here.

 

            It was as if Loki had raised demons from hell to punish the living. Those sorts of things aren’t meant to be seen on earth. He felt the shudders riding up his body, and found he couldn’t control it. He began to weep from the memory; he felt that he might be doing a lot more of this in the weeks to come.  His shoulders shook and he couldn’t stop the tears from coming. The sobs escaped him with a sudden furious speed.

 

            He hadn’t heard his son approach, the small boy already dressed in the rabbit costume that he intended to use for trick or treating. The boy didn’t know what to make of this scene. His father was crying, but he was completely alone. His knees didn’t look skinned, nor did his elbows. Rutherford was too young to understand crying for any other reason than if you’d fallen down, and God bless him for that.

 

            “Daddy?” Rutherford came walking down the hall. “You get hurt, daddy?”

 

            Jack’s eyes looked at his son, a vision in white fluffiness. The small ears sticking up at irregular angels, his young boy knew nothing of this. He wiped his face and suddenly found himself laughing. Had he ever thought that he would be the parent? Had he ever even for a moment thought he would have a child?

 

            “No champ.” He said picking his son up. “Daddy’s okay, how are you?”

 

            “I’m okay.” The child said.

 

            “What’d you do today?”

 

            “Well, Amy and I were playing outside and I hit the ball with the bat and it went far.”

 

            “Yeah? How far?”

 

            “Really far.” Rutherford said, “Like a mile.”

 

            “Cool.” Jack said, trying to sound normal.

 

            “Hey, Dad. I’m worried about something?”

 

            “What’s that, son?” Jack said trying to hold back the sobs.

 

            “We’re gonna be able to go trick or treating, aren’t we?”

 

            “You bet.” Jack said, and hoped it was true.

 

            “Good.” Rutherford said. “I’d be pretty mad if I had to give up all that candy.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:01 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the sword as it lay on the table before him. He pressed his hand against his chest, and was disturbed to find that some blood oozed from the wound. The blood soaked into his shirt, making a large red stain across the place where his heart was. He covered it up by putting on his trench coat. He didn’t want them to worry, which they would do anyways.

           

            He saw a face, as he moved it came unbidden from the darkness of his mind. The face of a child, holding her mother’s hand, a face that had exploded when a hollow tipped bullet tore through it. The side of the head had vanished, and particles of brain had vaporized in the air. The body fell, tugging at the mother’s hand.

 

            He didn’t want to remember this now, but he had not choice. The image came uncalled and information had come with it. He knew for a fact that the child had been trying to figure out how exactly a turtle had learned surfer lingo when it had spent its whole life out in the ocean.  When Loki’s bullet struck she had just come to the conclusion that it must have spent a lot of time near the coast and heard the surfers through the water. She had heard that sounds travel much farther through water and could be heard better, her teacher had said so.

 

            The bullet had first struck a part of her brain that had stored the information of what club soda felt like under her nose and then it had exploded her head. It was foolish to think of these things since they had no merit. He couldn’t know these things, and yet he did. He knew for a fact that the last thing she had thought was that water was a good carrier of sound, before the bullet obliterated her memory of club soda, and then the rest of her brain.

 

            He wished there was some sort of way he could wipe away the image of her head exploding into a cloud of bloody mist, but it kept playing in his mind. It was as if his brain was trying to process the information about the computer-generated turtle who spoke surfer lingo. As if it had recorded but not processed the information yet, and a side effect of processing was that he had to watch the head explode over and over again.

 

            He left the library, setting the sword on a table near the door; he walked up the stairs. Max was standing at the stairs; the last few days had taken their toll on the young man. He looked at The Weirdo, who looked even more tired. In fact The Weirdo looked as though the only thing holding him up was pure will. He wasn’t leaning against the wall, he wasn’t slouched, but he was going to fall soon.

 

            “You’re sure you want to do this right now?” Max asked. “Loki’s people pulled back hours ago, they may have run off.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “They could have.” Max was embarrassed to find a child-like whine in his voice.

 

            “Look me in the eye and tell me you believe that.” The Weirdo said; his voice perfectly flat.

 

            “Can’t.” He said. “But you’d have to improve to look like shit.”

 

            “Thank you.” The Weirdo said. “You look marvelous, too.”

 

            “But I’m not about to go back out there.”

 

            “And be glad of that.” He walked passed Max.

 

            “Why are you doing this?” Max asked following The Weirdo. “Do you want to die? If you run into a battle you know you can’t win, isn’t that still suicide?”

 

            “I swear by the small yet perky breasts of Athena, I wish I cared one way or the other my lad. At this moment all I can tell you is that this is what we do. It’s sometimes, good, it’s sometimes bad, and it’s sometimes ugly.”

 

            He climbed the stairs to his room and entered. He closed the door behind him and walked towards a cabinet. It was a small apothecary’s set of drawers. Many of the drawers still smelled of the ginger, cinnamon and other things that had once been put in them. He opened a drawer, which smelled of jasmine and pulled out a small velvet roll. He laid it down and untied the ribbon that kept it rolled up. He unrolled the velvet to expose six jeweled bullets. He took out the black gun and emptied it of shells and bullets.

 

            They clattered on the counter top and one empty shell rolled away and clattered quietly on the floor. It must have been quiet, because they were small shells. Each brass casing couldn’t have made that much sound. The clatter that filled the room sounded like the tumbling of a cathedral made of iron bars. The Weirdo closed his eyes and reached for his ears, the sound seemed all encompassing and he had to hold his head. He could feel the blood rushing through his brain and arteries. He could feel the veins as they carried their payload of oxygenated blood. It felt not unlike someone was drawing yarn through his veins at high speed, not painful, but aware. He could feel every part of his body. His mind felt like it wanted to burst out of his head. He reached down and picked up one of the shells, the brass still smelling of gunpowder. It was cool in his hand but warmed at his touch, a small amount of condensation formed around the place where his fingers were touching. He examined it for a long while, just looking at it. He finally set it down and looked at the gun.

 

            He loaded the six blue gemstoned bullets into the guns chambers. He looked at each bullet, examining the sparkling clear stone. He examined each phallic shaped bullet and inserted each one into the round chambers, thus completing the sexual innuendo. He spun the chamber around when it was done, watching it slow and stop after a while. He closed it, feeling the chamber click into place; feeling everything. He held it in his hand for a moment and then inserted it into the holster next to his heart. The holster was gone a moment later, but the gun would be there when he wanted it.

 

            He looked at himself in the mirror and had to admit that popular opinion was probably the truthful one. He would have to go several steps up to look like shit, as Max had said. He looked like someone who was just barely staying on his feet, but he felt electric. He could feel each neuron firing, and every chemical process. He wondered what it was that kept him on his feet as it was.

 

            “Please Mister Weirdo save my Mommy.”

 

            Ah, yes, that would be it.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:10 p.m.

 

            Loki held the sword in his hand. He slashed around the empty room, waving the sword like the God he knew he was. There would be no question in just a short hour.

 

            Yep, just an hour.

 

            He swung the sword.

 

            He looked at the clock, still an hour to go.

 

            He leapt from the bed to the couch to the bed, and back to the couch, practicing his slashes every jump till the couch was a mess of tattered cloth.

 

            He looked back at the clock.

 

            Now there were only fifty-nine minutes.

 

            No, wait! There were only forty-nine minutes left.

 

            He had forgotten that the battle would be over by ten after six, but it began at six. He laughed to himself till he fell over and his stomach ached. He got up and looked at the clock again.

 

            Forty-eight minutes.

 

            ARG!

 

            The torture of having to wait!

 

            Why did he, Loki, the indestructible GOD have to wait?

 

            Why? Well, because this was a battle of honor, besides, The Gray Man had said that this was an “Official Challenge” and one could not just rush an “Official Challenge” could they?

 

            He very casually and regally glanced at the clock.

 

            Forty-Seven minutes.

 

            “Damn IT!” He screamed.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:25 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo sat alone in his room, looking at the picture. Shannon had been so beautiful that day, the day he’d taken that picture. She had laid in a pile of fallen leaves and he had stood over her and snapped that picture. She was starring up at him from the floor of leaves, her eyes piercing him. She was still staring at him, with love in her eyes. He felt the anger building again. She had been so alive, too alive to be snuffed out. It wasn’t as if she had been wasting her life like so many of the people he saved everyday. He rescued people almost daily who have less right to live than she had, and yet she was dead.

 

            What were they going to do with their lives? Petty little people, stabbing each other in the back each chance they get, making sure the other guy doesn’t get ahead so they can. Having children for no better reason than people told them they should. Treating those children like a burden, making more tiny minded petty people. The problem was boiling over into every facet of life. The selfishness, the stupidity, and the little everyday evils that people are content to put up with.

           

            He felt his lip curl with anger and the pain in his chest started, again. He felt rage swirling and boiling and pressing against him. Why should she be dead when there were so many who didn’t even deserve the lives they had just walking the streets. He felt his strength returning to his hands, felt alive again. Why her? He could fight, but how would he feel tomorrow?

 

            “Never mind!” He shouted

 

            Tomorrow may never come after all. There was a very good chance he wouldn’t live through this fight, and then, well things happen. He couldn’t be disturbed with details, there were too many of them. If he thought about all the details he would forget the simplicity of fighting. He needed to wave his banner, to fight with his armor on.

 

            A disturbing thought came to him though. What if he won? He’d have a lot of pain in the morning.

 

            That was if he would even be here in the morning. He wondered about that. This was Halloween, after all. Didn’t the dead walk on Halloween, and wasn’t he dead? He placed his hand against his chest, looking for a pulse. Pressing his chest however, put pressure on his wound and he pulled his hand away. He would have to trust that indeed his heart was beating.

 

            Well, pain was pain. He dealt with it every day and was not about to let it slow him down now. He could deal with the pain. After all he had so far. He wasn’t sure if there could be more pain than he already felt, so that would have to be that. Maybe he might be able to sleep for once when this was over.

 

            He ran his finger over the picture again. Recalling the curve of her cheek, the smell of her hair in the morning, the way rain would look on her face. The smile, oh her smile. He remembered it all, twisting a knife in his soul. The joy, the pain, but mostly joy. Those were happy times, now over.

 

            If he could cry, he would have.

 

            As it was, he had to simply sigh.

 

 

Retirement

 

            Kestrel watched and looked to the old Weirdo. She watched as he calculated with his brass instruments. He looked deep in thought, but she had to ask him.

 

            “Tell me something.” She said.

 

            “Yes?”

 

            “Does he, I mean you, I mean…”

 

            “You can say he.” The elder Weird said. “It’ll make things easier.”

 

            “Does he ever fall in love again?”

 

            “Why are you so concerned?”

 

            “I’m not.” She blushed. “I was just wondering.”

 

            “Not for a long time, I think.” The Old man said. “You must remember that his love is very recently dead.”

 

            “I know.” She said. “It’s just he looks so sad.”

 

            “He will.” The old man said. “You can really draw a line from the way he felt before to the way he felt after her. He was never the same once she was gone.”

 

            “Oh.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Very sad, isn’t it?”

 

            “Well, yeah.” She admitted. “I mean to have his entire life change after that.”

 

            “Doesn’t matter, nothing we can do to stop it.”

 

            “Fairly cavalier way to look at things.”

 

            “That’s life.” He said.

 

            “Isn’t there some way to help?”

 

            “Maybe.” He said going back to his table.

 

            “Maybe?”

 

            “You’ll have to figure it out. I’ve got these little quark buggers to worry about.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:29 p.m.

           

            Max and Tommy approached as The Weirdo was walking towards the door. He stopped and turned since he knew they were going to try and talk him out of it. He didn’t want to slow down, not now he’d got going, but he owed them.

 

            “What do you think you’re doing?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I’m going to go sort this out.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You can’t just run out on your own.” Tommy said. “Whatever it is we’ll all face it as a team.”

 

            “You’ll have to stop Loki’s lost boys. I’ve got to stop Loki.”

 

            “You know everything you’re saying is against all the rules.”

 

            “I’ve gotta do this.” The Weirdo said. “Just give me a couple of hours.”

 

            “No!” Tommy shouted. “No I will not! You know how stupid all of this sounds!”

 

            “Tommy.” The Weirdo’s voice was just above a whisper, and it stopped Tommy dead in his tracks.

 

            The Weirdo didn’t just look tired, he looked desperate. He looked like he might start crying at any moment. He looked like the weight of the world was on him and only this one thing could make the pain stop. Tommy would have sworn that he looked like he didn’t care anymore.

 

            “Give me one reason.” Tommy said.

 

            “You’d do it for Randolph Scott.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Randolph Scott?” Max asked.

 

            Tommy had to bite his lip at that for a moment and think about it. It was an insane reason, but it was also probably a true one. If this had been a Randolph Scott movie, he’d give him at least a couple of hours. He would let Randolph sort this thing out on his own. He would know that there was no reason to put anyone else in danger.

 

            “Randolph Scott.” Tommy said nodding. “Alright sheriff, I’ll give you some time.”

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:31 p.m.

 

            There was a certain inevitability to this, a certain predestined feeling. The Weirdo only wished that he had time for one really good last meal. The only thing he had time for though was a hot dog, and that would kill him before Loki would right now. He figured he had maybe fifty-five minuets of life left. Loki was the stronger of the two of them, wasn’t he?

           

            “Stop it.” He told himself. “You’re going to lose the fight before you even begin it.”

 

            He hated defeatists, they provide a weapon the enemy could never hope to muster for themselves. He had always thought that if you thought you were going to lose, you would. If you thought you were going to win, he found you often won. It sounded like the sort of stupidity that people who get way too serious about sports tend to say, but there was a grain of truth. At least there was truth that if you thought you were going to lose, you probably would.

 

            He drove through the city, which was quiet and waiting. Where the hell was the police? Where was the National Guard? Where was anyone? Didn’t Loki constitute a terrorist threat? Why was it up to him to save the world? Why didn’t anyone else do anything? Weren’t there other superheroes around? He had no answers for that, and in truth the answers are hard to come by. The best answer anyone’s ever come up with had to do with fear and slow reaction time. Either way, it wasn’t the sort of thing he relished.

 

            He saw something colorful which caused him to pull his car over. It was a man dressed in blue and dark purple. He wore a mask of silk, which honestly had probably caused him more vision problems than it had been worth. Concealing your identity is one thing, but losing your peripheral vision can be fatal. It had been fatal for this man, who was called The Blue Weasel. He was just another guy who had decided to dress up and be a superhero. In the forties, he would have been hailed, now he was just dead. No one would remember his name, or what he had done for the world.

 

            He had been shot three times in the chest, and fallen dead. They hadn’t bothered to take off his mask, or even take his gun. They had just left him for dead. The Weirdo pushed the dead figure to a sitting position and looked at the rifle by his side. It was a paintball gun modified to fire a ball of pepper powder. The balls could be filled with liquid pepper spray, powder, or just hard plastic balls. The Weirdo had a pepper ball gun system in the trunk of the car, he knew all about it. It was just a less than lethal answer for riot control, and it hadn’t been enough for this man.

 

            The Blue Weasel had tried to protect his neighborhood, without really hurting any one. The Weirdo noticed that while he had hard plastic balls, which were meant to breaking windows but could be used on people if you had to kill, he hadn’t used them. He had loaded his gun with simple pepper powder balls. He had tried to be a peacekeeper, and it had gotten him killed. The Weirdo found himself angry at the man. The police were smart enough to wear body armor and didn’t try to hold off entire crowds with only one man. This man hadn’t thought a strategy through to make his numbers work for him. He had simply stood in the street and fired.

 

            He had been a hero, and it had gotten him killed. He hadn’t abandoned his post, and that had made him only a footnote in the long tale of costumed heroes. He was just another person who died because of the Loki riot. He suppressed an urge to kick and punch the dead body, berating him for foolishness.

 

            The Weirdo looked down the street, there were people looking at him from the windows. Scared faces ducked back when he caught their eyes, they were worried, and the army was on the move. He pulled the small pen like device from his pocket and pressed the transmit button.

 

            “You may not want to relax guys. Loki’s boys look primed to strike, just as soon as I get in there with him. They may not even wait that long, I’m not sure.”

 

            “Ten four, Rubber Duck.” Tommy’s voice came over. “And if it’s not too much out of line, God speed and kick some ass for me.”

 

            “Ten Four, Pig Pen.” He said, placing the communicator in his pocket.

 

           

October 31st, 2002

5:40 p.m.

 

            It was already growing dark outside. The night things were coming and have no doubt. Thing was, Tommy felt he could take things from other dimensions right about now. He’d seen Evil Dead II, if Bruce Campbell could do it, why not him? He wasn’t going to do anything drastic like take his hand off and replace it with a gardening implement, but he felt fairly secure in the knowledge that he could take a few dead bastards.

 

            But this, these kids, these drug addicts, they wouldn’t stop, retreat or even listen to reason. They had found the strongest drug of all, belief, and that had made them extremely dangerous. They would fight to the last, and then probably keep fighting after that. They believed in whatever it was that Loki was gibbering about, the whole “Bring down Asgard” bit.

 

            They wouldn’t stop, because they thought they were right. It was like that boy in Germany, who attacked a tank with a rocket in his hands. He hadn’t used a bazooka, he’d simply ran and smashed the end of the rocket against the tank. It smashed the tank but bits of his hand had flown everywhere. The Hitler Youth were the hardest to kill in the war.

 

            Being so young, they wouldn’t give up. They had youthful exuberance for the endless fight. They really did fight to the last of them, causing Tommy to have to kill a child of ten, just to stay alive. They even shot their own if the allies wouldn’t fight them, they were the worst of enemies. He had soundly hoped that he would never have to see it, and yet here it was again.

 

            The world had seen this sort of youth before, in Germany in the 40’s most recently, but before them as well. The pattern was the same, take some little bastards, who had lost their world and give them hope. Give them something to strive for and tell them that they can achieve it because they were better. Teach them that they were the bullies of the world and that they should be. Turn a child into a solider of ideology and send him out into the world. They were monsters and they had been manufactured by other monsters.

 

            Tommy loaded a shotgun and looked outside, out at the world. He could fight them, he supposed, they might even win. He would rather have a secure fortified position though. Actually he’d rather have an island in the Bahamas, but you can’t have everything. All in all, he thought he would much rather fight a lot of dead monsters, and maybe he could arm himself with a soft blanket. It certainly sounded safer than what life actually had planned for him.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:42 p.m.

 

            Max looked at the guns before him. He had cleaned and loaded them and now there was nothing more he could do so he felt anxious. He should have followed The Weirdo, but he knew he wasn’t allowed. It wasn’t that anyone told him that, he just knew. Nevertheless, he wanted to go.

 

            The Weirdo needed a squire, or a batman, an adjutant or whatever you wanted to call it. Max knew what he was in the scheme of things though. He was an apprentice and the apprentice didn’t go to the big jobs, he just helped out. That didn’t mean he felt that it was at all just for him to be so sidelined. He felt cast aside by his lord, but that wasn’t really true.

 

            He was going to do part of the job, with Jack and Tommy. If nothing else, he was at least on equal footing with them. He knew that Jack was thinking of him that way. He thought that maybe after today Jack thought a lot more of him than maybe he had before. Facing a few guys in a dark alley is one thing, facing an army on the streets is another.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:45 p.m.

 

            She stood alone near the building, the shadows concealing her. She watched as The Weirdo approached, his eyes looking down. The Lady Death felt there was something supremely unfair about this. She wanted to protect him, to keep him from being killed. There was, however, the job and the job had to be done. She touched the skirt of her long dress, feeling the petticoats beneath and began to walk toward him. She felt something like love for him, and it broke her heart to think of what she would have to do here.

 

            “Weirdo.” She whispered.

 

            His head turned and he saw her, the long black dress, the black cloak, and the tight bodice, which held her breasts together the black lace lining the pale cleavage. The dress was made of silk, lace, and velvet, the sort that any Goth would have killed for. It made her look like what she was, the caring hand that ended this mortal existence. It was the sort of person you’d want to see at the end of life. Her pale and beautiful heart shaped face, inviting him to come to her was filed with apprehension. Her hat capped the silvery lavender hair, which framed the face. She looked like a Victorian lady in mourning, and was beautiful by any standards. She looked at him, imploringly, tears forming in those icy eyes. His own face was filled with sorrow, with remorse and most of all, with resignation.

 

            “Yes?”

 

            “You don’t have to do this.” She said. “You could just come with me.”

 

            “No.” He said, “I have to do this.”

 

            “You probably won’t win, anyway.” She said. “I just want to take you from the pain, please just come with me and there will be no more pain.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Please.” She placed a hand on his shoulder as he turned away. “I don’t want you to be in any more pain.”

 

            His eyes turned back to look at her. The tears that ran like small rivers from her eyes were painful to see, but he saw beyond that. His eyes burned with rage, with anger. It was an anger that was not reserved for her, but it made her fear all the same.

 

            “I’m busy.” He said. “I’ll be done with this and then I’ll go with you.”

 

            “I can’t deliver you from the pain if you go in there.” She said. “You’ll have to endure if you do this. You’ll have so much pain before one of you dies.”

           

            “I understand.” He said.

 

            He then turned away and began towards the great doors.

 

            She fell to her knees and began to weep.

 

 

Date: Unknown

Time: Unknown

The Weirdo’s Personal time line: 10 years, six days before the return

 

            He didn’t know exactly where he was, but it was like a desert, only with a rain forest. It was like walking through a dry lakebed that was also a swamp. It was cold and amazingly dry, yet hot and too humid to breath.  He looked through the perfectly clear air that was thick with mist and saw a man approach him. He carried a small bag at his side, like a child’s school satchel.

 

            “Jesus Christ jumping on a pogo stick.” The man said looking around. “Will you look at this shit?”

 

            “Huh?” The Weirdo said looking around.

 

            When his head whipped the icicles that had formed on his forehead from his sweat broke and fell off. The man brushed The Weirdo’s hair and dislodged a few other bits of ice that had formed from the sweat. The heat had made him sweat, and the cold had frozen the sweat. The man looked around again and sighed.

 

            “I’m sorry about this.” He said. “Terrible cock-up you know.”

 

            “Wha?” The Weirdo asked, and the man noticed he was exhausted.

 

            “Oh I beg your pardon, hang on a second.”

 

            He turned and walked away and the mist began to solidify. That is it froze where it was and began to make shapes, like cloud formations. The shapes began to become solid forms and he very quickly found himself in a plush study. He sat down in one of the huge overstuffed leather chairs. He still felt a little chill and was happy to notice that there was a fire in the fireplace. He leaned back and smiled, thinking about how nice it was. He thought about a hot cocoa and heard something rattle next to him. He opened his eyes and there was a mug of steaming hot cocoa next to him on the table along with a few butter cookies. He hadn’t thought about the butter cookies, but they were a welcome touch. He glanced out the window and noticed frost on the panes and snow falling past the window. It was very delightful to be in a warm room with a mug of cocoa and a big fire while all outside was cold.

 

            “All better now?” The man asked as he poked his head back in.

 

            “Oh yes.” The Weirdo said as he sipped at his drink.

 

            “Delightful.” The man said walking in.

 

            He sat down and set a brightly colored bottle down one the table next to him. It couldn’t have been made of glass, because it didn’t make a thump when he set it down. It had a red label which claimed to be Coca Cola Classic, which was madness squared. Fist, Coca Cola came in small heavy glass bottles, and second what was classic about it? There was an odd cap to the bottle too. The man simply grasped it in one hand and turned the bottle top. The Weirdo was looking for sudden spurts of blood and possibly a scream, but all he heard was the hiss of carbonation. The man took a long drink and re screwed the cap on, setting the bottle down.

 

            “How do you manage that?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Hmm?” The man queried.

 

            “You unscrewed the cap.” The Weirdo said pointing at the bottle. “And then you screwed it back on again with no trouble.”

 

            “Oh that’s right, you don’t know about this yet.” The man said, “The bottle’s plastic.”

 

            “Plastic?” The Weirdo shook his head. “Plastic’s no good to anybody, its cheap crap.”

 

            “In thirty five, sure it was, but not now.” He said. “You’re going to find that out later. You’re almost ready to go back. A bit of updating and back you go.”

 

            “Go back?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yes.” The man said nodding. “We taught you all of this so you could go back and be the best.”

 

            “I know that, it’s just…”

 

            “You’ve still got some time of course.” The man said, “But that will just be time to go to three or four universities and learn all the stuff we need you to learn.”

 

            “How much time?” The Weirdo asked despondently.

 

            “Oh, it’s almost over, don’t worry.”

 

            “I’ve been at this for a while.” The Weirdo said. “I can’t actually remember how long now.”

 

            “Yes and you’ll continue to be. We haven’t even told half of the training stories we want to yet. It’s just we need this scene to come here for literary purposes.”

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “Nevermind. Everything is parody, just remember that.” He said shifting in his chair. “I need to give you this.”

 

            He opened the strange cloth bag and pulled out a small padded bag of the same odd material. The Weirdo couldn’t place the fabric and looked at the man inquisitively. The man noticed and looked at the two bags.

 

            “What is it?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “It’s a material called duparoh.” The man says. “It was the first plastic fabric, used for ladies stockings. It’s an acronym standing for Dupont pulls a rabbit out of a hat. They call in Nylon where I come from but for you its duparoh. Just one small footnote in history, that’s not important now anyway. This is.”

 

            He held up the smaller padded bag and unzipped it. The zipper had the tiniest teeth, The Weirdo had ever seen on a zipper. It did make the normal zip sound as it opened though. The man opened the bag and reached his hand inside, and drew out a weapon. Not just any weapon, but The Weapon. It was a gleaming gun made of some black metal, with heavy black stone scales for the handle. It looked like a revolver, but like no revolver The Weirdo had ever seen.

 

            “See I have to give you this now.” The man said. “Because you’ve got to learn how to shoot with it, and you’re going to use it like ten pages from now.”

 

            “Ten pages?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Roughly.” The man said.

 

            “This is parody again.”

 

            “Right.” The man said. “But it’s important that we give time to the fact that this gun has been handed down from on high.”

 

            “You’re from on high?”

 

            The man didn’t say anything, simply pursed his lips and looked at the ceiling. He seemed to be rolling an idea around in his head, trying a few answers to the question out. He then nodded slowly and looked at The Weirdo with a smile.

 

            “You might say I am on high.” He said his smile growing winder. “Which doesn’t make much sense right now.”

 

            “No,” The Weirdo said shaking his head. “It doesn’t.”

 

            “No matter.” The man said tossing the bag across to The Weirdo. “Go have some shooting practice.”

 

            The Weirdo opened the duparoh bag and found a few boxes of shells in it. There were normal brass casing shells, but they had the oddest bullet heads. The rounds themselves were gemstones, carved into the shape of bullets. He held one up to the light to see the play of light through the gem. He looked back and found that he was alone, with only a note in front if him. The note wasn’t very helpful though. All it said was that he shouldn’t worry about the mug. Someone would be around to clean it up later.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:47 p.m.

 

            The ancient warehouse had large windows near the ceiling, they let some light down onto the dusty floor, but only a few dim lights managed to make their way in, now. It was too dark out to make any sort of beautiful or majestic scene. This was not the time for such pleasantries anyways, this was work. He didn’t have time for proper lighting or making sure that the beams of light fell on his face as he stood waiting. This wasn’t the time for such things; this was a time to work. He pulled the magic blade out and set it on a counter, and then stood, waiting.

 

            There was nothing to do now but wait. Had he been a more religious man, he could have prayed. Prayer makes a great solace for the religious man, a time to ask a god to look in on them. In such a time however, when so many are in need, what kind of person could ask any god to look in on just them? How could any single person be so selfish? Any god worth worship would have their hands full right now, no matter how many hands they had. The Weirdo hadn’t built up a proper report with any god, not in as much as to pray to them at least. He wasn’t the sort of person who could ask for help, not from a god. As it was, he took the revolver from its holster and made sure it was loaded.

 

            He heard Grandma though, telling him he couldn’t do that. This was a battle of honor and even if Loki didn’t respect it, he had to. He looked at the black gun and then at the sword. He wanted the gun; the gun was his weapon, it was what he used. He could hear Grandma loud and clear though, and set the gun into a drawer.

 

            He would have to fight this one with the blade, because those where the rules that had been set down. This wasn’t a simple attempt to kill one another. This was a referendum. It was a time to decide what kind of world this world was going to be. Would it collapse into a tribal war, with Loki eventually climbing to the throne atop a mound of bodies, or one where things went like they had? The world wasn’t perfect, but one had to weight the options. If the option was rape, murder and desecration of the human race or the vaguely corrupt and unfair world they already had, one weighed their options. As for creating a new and just world, well, you had to pick your battles.

 

            “And now we wait.” He said.

 

 

© 2006 Autumn Knight Productions

 

Advertisements

October 23, 2013 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: