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Twins in Death: Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

Halloween Night

 

The Palace

 

            Her name was Zhaznal, and she was the goddess of uncertainty. Not much is really known about her, at least from a mythological standpoint. There are, as far as we can discern, no legends or fables or indeed any myths of her at all. She does not seem to have any worshipers besides a few new age physicists who claim that she really runs everything in the universe. This is not quite true, she observes the universe, and by observing certain parts of universe she affects them. She cannot truly control the outcome but it’s a pretty safe bet that she would be the one to sit next to at a roulette wheel. Always bet on what she put her chips on if you get my meaning. The palace she lives in is a huge empty place, which appears to be strewn with spider webs.

 

            These webs are not actually the silk of spiders but instead are the physical interpretation of waveforms of possibility. The goddess and her assistants shift the outcome of events and thus create one reality or another, by collapsing the waveforms of possibility and causing events to come to fruition. By watching the strands very carefully, one can usually tell which strand is going to finally be left and thus which event is going to take place, those strands are usually thicker and more substantial. Still Zhaznal has the ability and the right to affect the final outcome, by deliberately choosing one strand or another when the final event comes close.

 

             It is said that if a single person could more easily perceive multiple dimensions and could see all the alternate realities they would more fully understand that Zhaznal and her assistants don’t actually eliminate strands, but rather they sort each possibility into a reality of its own. They shape every reality by putting each individual waveform of probability into a set of strands that make up each reality. Those realities are then said to be woven together into strings, which confound physicists and then make a rope, in which the mulitverse is contained as a whole and complete thing.

 

            There are billions or possibly trillions of tiny spider-like creatures helping Zhaznal in her task of plucking (or possibly selecting and moving) each stand. There are then large angelic like figures who help her in selecting the daily decisions while leaving the larger choices to her.

 

            At this moment, most of them were intently watching seventeen strands, which were hanging in two massive clumps together over a small chasm. One clump of webbing was the past and the other was the future. Strands stretched out from each of the strands and formed pools and rivers, which branched out into other things. The fate of the universe though, seemed to be based on these seventeen strands before them. One spider watched as The Weirdo and his double Loki walked towards the warehouse. If one of them walked away he would break one strand, if they didn’t, he’d break another. If they both walked away it would be a third.

 

            People think that the tiniest difference in the way they might have acted could change the universe. Such changes are rarely as large as anyone thinks, a real decision would have to be made because what with Fate, Luck, all the assorted gods, and Zhaznal watching, things generally turn out like they were supposed to. Every once in a while though, the outcome is not what people think it’s supposed to be. Sometimes they turn out one way because people have bribed Fate, Luck, many assorted gods and Zhaznal to do things one way. Sometimes they turn out another way because other Gods, and creatures who we haven’t even seen yet get wise to the bribery. There are times though that things turn out the way they do because revenge can be a larger motivating factor than duty.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:50 p.m.

 

            It was going to be a good storm, the weather Gods had planned ahead. They had packed hail and sleet and two dozen kinds of rain; had brought winds that blew in every direction you could want. In fact they had winds that would blow in directions you don’t even know exist. Sensing that the confrontation they had always waited for was on the menu, they decided to serve up a storm the way some people serve curry or jambalaya or certain kinds of Thai food. They decided to dump everything in the pot and add a lot of power and spice to the mixture and hope that they didn’t wipe the taste buds clean off the tongue. In truth though, the curry that does burn the taste buds off the tongue is a curry to be well remembered.

 

            Clouds had formed and rain was beginning to fall. There were only small drops, a gentle mist right now, but soon it could be a torrent. This was going to be a good storm, a veritable monsoon was coming, and Loki could feel it. There were receptors in his brain that tripped like mad from the energy cycling through the air. Warm winds blew through the city, which was growing darker by the minute. The clouds seemed to be absorbing and sucking away the light instead of reflecting it. The time was right, and the battle was soon to be fought.

 

            “Are you ready?” He asked one of the pieces of human detritus that followed him.

 

            “We are ready.” The punk said, his voice that of those who have been possessed by a dream.

 

            “Five minutes then begin the last phase.”

 

            “Yes, Loki.” He said.

 

            “And no one bothers us, understood?”

 

            “Of course Loki.”

 

            Loki looked at the building; it would be the perfect place for this final battle of all battles. He tugged at his belt, touching the hilt of the sword and the butt of the pistol in his belt. He looked down and considered the gun, thinking about the weapon. It wasn’t the sort of thing that one should have at a moment like this. This fight was of the old world, an ancient type. This was a fight of paladins, of samurai, of warriors. This was the fight of fights, the only real fight, the fight that had always been.  He looked at the lost eyes of his soldier.

 

            He pulled the gun from his belt and held it up, holding it out for the street soldier. The youth looked at it and then at him, empty, dead eyes staring out into eternity. Loki held the gun, butt towards the young man and shook it. He then closed his eyes, weary of the youth.

 

            “Take this, I won’t need it.”

 

            The youth seemed to notice him again and looked at the gun. He then reached out and took the gun in his hand. He looked at the gun for a moment and then slipped it behind his back in his jeans. Loki watched at the young man turned away and began to leave. He would be done with them soon, and then he could cull the herds of humanity.

 

 

April 15th, 1916

3:15 p.m.

Flanders

 

            The Captain leaned against the wall of the trench and looked through the periscope in his hand at the German lines across the field. Of all the filthy places in the world to end up, why here, and why did he have to stay such a long time? He couldn’t help but feel that he was waiting for something, but he was damned if he knew what it was. He had begun to think that he was being punished for something because he couldn’t see anything to learn here.

 

            The trenches flooded when it rained, and they flooded when it didn’t rain, and they flooded when the sun rose and when the sun went down. There were always a few shells flying overhead, bombs and grenades were also pretty much a constant. Men died at a rate of ten a week, and somehow they always managed to come up with ten more men to replace them. It was as if the Europeans had discovered a macabre way to make sausage and decided to give it a multi-year human trial because animal testing hadn’t been invented yet. 

 

            “Got a new lieutenant captain.” Sergeant Jackson said.

 

            “Fine.” The Captain said, not looking from his periscope. “Tell him to stick his head up over the wall so the sniper can shot him. Then I might actually be able to tell where that bastard is.”

 

            “Sir?” Sergeant Jackson asked.

 

            “No, that probably wouldn’t do.” The Captain said still not looking at either of them. “We’d better get to know this one, he might turn out not to be a total wanker who got his officer rank because his father went to school with someone. Where are you from? It’s good to know where to send the body back to if they decide to send your body back.”

 

            “I’m from America.” The new Lieutenant said, “New York actually.”

 

            “Well don’t tell me anything more about yourself.” The Captain said. “I’d hate to get to know you just to see your brains splattered on the wall tomorrow.”

 

            Sergeant Jackson leaned against the earthwork and wood that made up the wall of the trench and gave a little laugh. The young man looked over his shoulder and then at the man that they all just called The Captain, as if he had no real name, just the title. The Captain just looked through his periscope, trying to find the sniper on the other side, so he could kill him in order to save his own men.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:58 p.m.

 

            The small child watched as a group of people, in long purple trench coats and opera cloaks, watched Loki walking toward the building. He didn’t know he was being observed and neither did they. The child, however, knew that Kestrel was watching everything in that bowl.

 

            She looked at them from around a corner, her pink plastic raincoat deflecting the water from her fair blonde hair. She watched as the two groups moved one after the other. She touched the small backpack with the bunny on it. She looked at the contents and nodded to herself. She would have to do this; there was no other answer.

 

            “You ready?” The Gray Man asked.

 

            “Will we be able to see in there?”

 

            “You bet kid.” The Gray Man said picking the tiny child up. “Don’t worry.”

 

 

Mt. Olympus

 

            The Fates keep life on long strings, and pay them out as life goes on. When some one dies, they cut the strand of life and stop spooling the string out. They then add it to the tapestry of the universe. They have special scissors to perform this job with. They have to be tough, they’re meant to cut down a life.

 

            A pair of scissors were currently getting ready to cut a cord of life, and the man in the leather duster was going to try and stop it. He drew out his gun and thought about pleasant things while he tried to get a good bead to aim his shot. He was going to stop them from cutting the thread and adding it to the tapestry before it’s time was up.

 

            If someone asked the man, he’d have probably said something about greater good. Greater good is usually a thing people use when they’re about to go against their better judgment, when they’re about to do something that they should find repellent. In this case though, it was so that he could protect his real reason. The reason had to do with words that were had a long time ago, and they were words of friendship. Upon finding that a friend was about to get eliminated from the story early; well, loyalty still means something to some people.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:59 p.m.

 

            “We ready?” Max asked.

 

            “Not even remotely.” Tommy said.

 

            Max looked at the face of the older man, hoping that his fear wouldn’t shine through. Tommy’s face betrayed nothing, no joke, and no fear. There was simply his serious and professional expression.

 

            “We’re not?” Max asked.

 

            “Not in the least.” Tommy said. “But as that has failed to stop us in the past…”

 

            He worked the slider on the Thompson submachine gun he carried and looked at the younger man. The three of them were standing alone on the city street, an army of skulking small boys coming towards them. The narrow street gave them the advantage and counteracted the large numbers that they’d brought with them, but it would only hold so long. There was an alley up the street a bit, in case they needed a narrower place, just to keep them back. Max had erected a small shooting position down the alley, just to be sure.

 

            “The question is,” Jack said. “What are you ready for?”

 

            “Huh?” Max asked, watching the unnervingly large crowd gathering.

 

            “Are you ready to fight? Ready to run, ready to die?”

 

            “Not ready to die yet.” Max said.

 

            “Then you’ve got to be ready to fight and to run.” Jack said.

 

            “They’re just about in range.” Tommy said. “Do we cut them down or try to talk sense?”

 

            “I don’t know.” Max conceded.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:00 p.m.

 

            “Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle, for Tweedledum said Tweedledee had spoilt his nice new rattle.”

 

            The Weirdo was standing against an aged and useless piece of machinery, which through neglect and time had become one of those things you needed an industrial archeologist to even tell you what it was. Something this factory had done once had necessitated a long belt machine, which led from what looked like a box sealer or possibly a filler of some variety. He was leaning against the long metal frame that once long ago had a re-enforced rubber belt strung along it. The belt itself was dry, cracked and broken in places. The steel strands which had re-enforced the belt now were showing through the rubber in places. There were bits of steel wire protruding from places where the belt had warped and cracked. In someplace those wires were the only things holding pieces of the belt together. He watched the large rolling doors that made the interior of the loading area. Once things would be loaded at those large rolling doors and trucks would pull up from the outside and items would be sent out into the world. The Weirdo could close his eyes and get an impression of what had happened here. How men would move back and forth, shouting and working. Mostly just working, discussing things like the weekend and fishing while moving the heavy boxes.

 

            Tommy would have been able to tell what was in the boxes, explain the smells, pick any one time out of the air and describe it. The Weirdo could only give a glimmer of what went on during any given day. The smells he could detect from the past being those of cardboard, sweat and soap. Now of course there was only the smell of rotting rubber, of dust and of stillness. The sort of bleak stillness that makes people say words like stuffy.

 

            Stuffy, to The Weirdo, always sounded like a moronic word and he disliked it greatly. It could have been because he disliked the feeling so much, but he also just didn’t like the word. There were words he didn’t like much, and that was one of them. It wasn’t like he’d cringe if someone used it, but he found the word annoyingly dull and boring. It was a terrible thing to do to the English language, to use a boring word like stuffy. A language like English has so many words that are so versatile that you can find a better word than stuffy, or you could assemble a few words and make something even better.

 

            The stillness in the air was disturbed when one of the rolling metal doors, broken from its chain fed motor years ago, flew up and then fell back down. The clang filled the empty chamber of the warehouse, echoing off its walls and cathedral high ceiling. Another attempt was made and this time the rolling door flew all the way open, banging as it stopped. The open space caused a splash of light, and the silhouette of Loki’s figure entering the room.

 

            “So, here we are.” The Weirdo said as Loki entered via the loading dock.

 

            There was a certain amount of light that shined in from the large rolling metal door, not enough to really illuminated the room, but enough to make a silhouette. Loki liked the dramatic, and liked his ability to make an appearance. The Weirdo seemed to have no interest in the game though. He didn’t seem to be enjoying this, just waiting for it to be over. Loki was going to enjoy it for the both of them though.

 

            “Yes.” Loki agreed. “Here we both are.”

 

            “I was just wondering one thing.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Yes?”

 

            “What do you get if you win?” He seemed to be asking the question out of genuine interest.

 

            “I rule the world.” Loki drew the katana from its scabbard, and set the wooden scabbard down on a table. “What do you get, I wonder?”

 

            “To know the world is safe for one more day.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Which could be gone tomorrow.”

 

            “That’s right.” He nodded.

 

            “Why do you do it, then?” Loki asked. “If the prize is so tenuous?”

 

            “If I told you, you still wouldn’t understand.” The Weirdo said drawing Excalibur and tossing the scabbard aside. “It’s that fundamental.”

 

            “Try me.”

 

            “It’s what heroes do.”

 

            Loki actually seemed to consider this for a moment. He looked at the ceiling and pondered, if faced with the inevitability of this situation, that was as good a reason as any. He tossed the thought back and forth in his mind like a wine taster and found it acceptable, and then he spat it out. In fact, even his mouth puckered up a little as he sat considering the idea.

 

            “Fair enough.” Loki said nodding.

 

            Loki struck a pose, holding the sword like he had seen someone do in a movie once. He held his pose while The Weirdo just began to walk toward him, his sword simply dangling in his hand. Loki looked exhilarated, The Weirdo looked exhausted. The Weirdo felt his chest hurting again, and could feel the blood seeping from the wound. He knew that his time was ending, that waveforms of possibility were collapsing around him. In a quantum multiverse, where anything was possible, or at least probable, he was going to die before morning, no question.

 

            The two stood apart from each other, the world holding its breath. The Weirdo sighed, he swung suddenly and the sword left Loki’s hands. The Weirdo’s fist moved forward and hammered Loki in the chest. Loki’s ribs shattered and reformed immediately. Loki made some sort of gesture and the unseen blow hit The Weirdo’s mind like a ton of bricks.

 

            The Weirdo’s mind went on strike and he could feel parts of his soul tear away. Loki’s fist struck The Weirdo under the chin. The Weirdo struck back and Loki’s mind reeled from the psychic blow. The gray-coated hero flew back, crashing into the floor. He stood back up as Loki swung another overly powered fist. The Weirdo’s hand came up and slapped away the fist.

 

            The Weirdo stretched his hand out and the universe seemed to bend around the hand and the folded space sailed toward Loki. He struck him and felt something give in his hand. Loki leapt towards him, bits of energy like shards of glass sailing at him. The Weirdo screamed while the attack flew and stabbed with a flattened hand. Loki’s nose and ears began to bleed from the mind-pummeling blow. He stretched his finger out and an energy bolt struck The Weirdo. His heart stopped for a moment. Loki used his speed to connect five different strikes at The Weirdo who finally fell away from the red-coated maniac. The gray-coated lunatic then swung his great foot out and stuck Loki in the stomach.

 

            Loki flew into the air from the strike. This popped open the intestinal track inside his body and pushed so hard that it broke his spinal cord on the other side of his body. There was a second power in the kick, a bolt of white light that made Loki feel as though his bones had all been shattered. Loki’s body, which looked to be bent in half, flew into the air and came down like a badly made paper airplane. When the base of his spine crashed into the ground his body sprawled, but he was standing a moment later.

 

            Loki swung his hand and gave The Weirdo what should have only been a slap, but the gesture sent our hero flying across the open expanse. His body crashed into a bar, which bent under his weight.  The Weirdo’s nose had begun to bleed; he also spat out a mouthful of blood. He reached down and picked up his sword, preparing to cut Loki in half.

 

            “Wasn’t I supposed to win this one?” He whispered to himself.

 

            Loki’s hand struck, again and the invisible bolt struck The Weirdo squarely between the eyes, the sword clattered from his hand. Loki walked back to the place where his own sword lay on the ground. There was a scraping sound as he picked it up. He looked at it with his right eye, as his left was beginning to swell shut.

 

            The two walked toward each other, already becoming worn out from this battle. Loki found he had more sword skill that he thought. The Weirdo’s blade was faster than his was, but he was faster than The Weirdo was. His blade danced with The Weirdo’s, which didn’t have bits cut away from it like his sword did. With each bashing of the swords Loki’s became more pockmarked. Loki came under with his left hand and caught The Weirdo in the throat with his razor blade. The cut was very shallow but distracted The Weirdo just long enough. Loki’s foot swung up, kicking him in the face, again, and something cracked.

 

            The Weirdo felt so very tired, his arms felt like they could barely lift their own weight much less that of a sword. His eyes stung, his muscles cried, his heart complained that it just couldn’t give him any more power. He felt like he was moving in slow motion, like he couldn’t even manage to resist another blow. He did manage to raise the sword up though, and brought it down for another attack.

 

            Loki blocked the sword, and another mind-bending blow struck The Weirdo in the skull. It was at this point that The Weirdo was sure he had lost. Loki’s hand reached out and one more blow savaged The Weirdo’s mind. He was thrown back physically from the force of the psychic blow. His hand loosened on the sword and Loki’s own blade sent it flying away. Loki stepped forward and the sword raked across The Weirdo’s back and under his knees. The hamstrings severed and The Weirdo collapsed to his knees. The sword hilt came in and caught the back of his skull.

 

            The Weirdo’s head fell forward and our brave hero landed on his hands, managing to keep himself off the floor. His shuddering hands let go and he fell forward, blood leaking from him, onto the floor around him.  He could feel the floor spinning as he watched the pool of blood around him expanding.  He felt himself slipping away. He could feel his mind moving out of his head. He felt himself float and hover over his body, watching from above.

 

            “How can you be their hero?” Loki said with a sound of mixed disgust and joy. “You? Defender of the world? You can’t even defend your little friends. You can’t even save the ones you love.”

 

            He pulled The Weirdo up by his collar, forcing him to a kneeling position. The Weirdo looked up for a moment, his eyes goggling. He felt so tired, so very tired. Just six feet away lay Excalibur, but there was no point. He would just lose again. He couldn’t jump for it anyway, his body was tired, and he hurt. His chest burned with pain again. He sat there, like some woodcut of a samurai, about to be taken from this world in an honorable fashion. He couldn’t manage to move from the position he had been placed in, he was too tired to even fall down at this point.

 

            “You don’t even deserve to live.” Loki said placing the sword against the back of his neck, almost like a golfer. “It’s not even worth torturing you.”

 

            “You’re right.” The Weirdo said closing his eyes. “Oh Shannon.” He thought to himself. “I failed you, I’ve failed everyone.”

 

            “I am?” Loki asked. “You concede?”

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo tilted his head down, and waited for the blow which would end all this world of pain. He felt so tired of everything, tired of even being tired. To die, to meet that cousin of sleep, to actually rest.

 

            Some part of him was trying to figure out a way to get out of this. Just one desperate faculty was trying to find just one thing that might make him get up. It was trying to explain about kittens and puppies and that the world wouldn’t be the same. It tried to show him the way the world would be without him.

 

            But there was nothing left to fight for, was there? Nothing left to fight with, all the strength was gone.

 

 

Retirement

 

            “What the hell?” Kestrel yelled. “Can’t you help him? If he loses we’re all screwed!”

 

            “I’m aware of that.” The old Weirdo said, as tears seemed to be forming in his eyes.

 

            “Why the hell are you just sitting there? Why don’t you help him?! Why show me this if he is past all hope? Jesus Grandpa, what’d you tell me this story for?”

 

            “Watch the pool,” The old one said, and she saw it wasn’t a tear, but twinkle forming in his eye, like someone who knows that you’re about to hear the funniest damn joke. “Loki’ll make a mistake soon enough.”

 

            Kestrel’s eyes looked on the pool, again. She began to realize her eyes were welling up with tears, that she really was worried.  She wanted to go help, but she was stuck here. She began to think of ways she could encourage him, but could find none.

 

            “Come on.” She said, tears forming in her eyes. “You can do it.”

 

 

New York

October 31st, 2002

6:08 p.m.

 

            Max rammed a pair of earplugs into his ears as the sound exploded around them. The alley was almost too narrow for the three of them to give each other room to fire their weapons. The sound was amazing, bouncing off the walls and directly into one’s brain. The gunfire was a hugely loud thing down the narrow alley and Jack and Tommy had plugged their ears first thing. Max had forgotten and as a result he could feel his brain still rattling around in his head and could only hear a loud buzzing noise.

 

            The problem was, they were losing more and more ground, and there was precious few places to go. They could run the rest of the way down the alley, but to what avail? The young monsters were pouring in from the roof and would find the back of the alley soon enough. They kept firing though, even though they figured the cause was lost.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:10 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo was a hollow shell.

 

            He was a shell, hollow and empty. There was nothing left within him but a small tiny ember of what had once been a soul. He had figured that death wouldn’t be so bad, that he would simply end. There was so little left of him, now. He was defeated, and there was nothing left to bring him from his knees. He welcomed the death that was coming.

 

            He knew that there would be many who wouldn’t understand this embracing of the emptiness, but after so long he felt as if he’d been nearly worn away. He felt like leather that had been through too much wear and work, and he would be glad to have just been hung up on a hook and forgotten about.

 

            Loki placed the blade against The Weirdo’s neck and drew it back, placed it again and drew it back. He wanted to make sure that this one stroke was perfect. He wanted to be sure that everything went the way it was supposed to. He placed the blade down one more time and drew it back again, noticing the blood on the back of The Weirdo’s neck. He had cut him ever so slightly with the sharp blade, giving him a line to aim for when he brought the blade down to do it’s work.

 

            “You know. It’s almost poetic; you’re completely helpless every time I kill someone. Even when I kill you. All your men dead and here you are on your knees. You’ve never been able to stop me. You can’t fight me, you can’t find me.” Excalibur began to stir ever so slightly it seemed to shake a little. “You’re such a useless fuck.”

 

            Excalibur shook violently on the floor, screaming for blood.

 

            “Can’t even save the woman you love.”

 

            ‘Please, Mister Weirdo,’ the tiny girls voice begged in the back of his mind, ‘You have to save my Mommy.’ He felt something in his heart, very deep within the lowest part of his heart.

 

 

Retirement

 

“You see.” The old man said to Kestrel. “When you’ve got nothing left to fight for, when everything’s been taken away from you, and there are no more reasons to try again, you can always fight for revenge.”

 

“That’s not a very good reason to fight.” She said.

 

“But it’s always there when you need it.” He said.

 

 

Olympus

 

            Chronos looked at the great clock of time. He sighed as the great sweep hand spun around, counting off the seconds, causing the universe to change around it. He touched the glass plate, behind which the mighty pendulum swung. He looked at his reflection in the polished brass weight, which swung back and forth. He looked at the mighty sweep hand, which floated around the face. The clock’s hands didn’t click in jumps. It moved smoothly, fluidly, and ran the time of the universe.

 

 

The Palace

 

The strands had all but snapped away now. Only two remained and Zhaznal reached down and plucked away the strand that would mean that The Weirdo would roll away and somehow call up enough strength to save the day. That was a thread for a different reality, not this one. Although in truth the way they had decided it would work would be that those threads would get lost along the way somewhere. They had agreed that in this world The Weirdo would not succeed. He was to be obliterated with no other options. The world would have to be under Loki’s rule for a while.

 

But then, the world was supposed to end soon anyway, wasn’t it? Cleanse the whole mess, and start fresh. The single strand that was left was one of death and destruction. The other waveforms of possibility had all collapsed and the only one left said The Weirdo had to die. Except there was that other thread, the one that hadn’t completely fallen away. It was still there, if a person were to simply reach out for it, they might even reattach it.

 

 

New York

 

            “When I shot her down, watching you try to save her with your pitiful magic was, well, just the best.”

 

            The katana’s razor sharp edge came down to the flesh of The Weirdo’s neck, to take his head off. When his head fell the world would be destroyed, eaten by this Red Demon Weirdo. Loki’s soul would be tamed and perfected with the entrance of the original Weirdo. It would seem that all was lost. All the training that The Weirdo had done over the last sixty years had so far amounted to nothing.

 

“You can’t even avenge her death. I only wish I’d gotten a chance to fuck her first.”

 

If nothing else, this could be counted as that mistake we were looking for.

 

The blade swung back and Loki brought the blade down. Time began to slow in Loki’s mind, to better prepare him for the entrance of his brother.  He couldn’t seem to make the blade go any faster even though his stroke could be clocked at two hundred and eighty-five miles per hour. The Weirdo was still moving as he had. The rest of the world was nearly at a stand still though.

 

It was almost as if Chronos had pulled the face cover from the great clock and taken hold of the mighty sweep hand to afford The Weirdo a few more precious seconds of time. It was as if Chronos himself had an interest and wanted to give the words full time to reach their mark in The Weirdo’s heart. To give the rage time to gain itself to a proper boil to allow for all the strength to return to The Weirdo.

 

It was as if Chronos was cheating the fates.

 

He was.

 

 

Olympus

 

He held the great sweep hand, which pulled relentlessly on his ancient fingers. He tried to hold back the pulling sweep hand as it cut into his fingers. Blood slid down the sweep hand as he waited for The Weirdo to react. He found his fingers slipping from the blood. The old man put his foot up on the side of the clock to help him pull.

 

 

The Palace

 

            Something like a bowstring twanged in the darkness and something flew past Zhaznal’s head. The last strand in place was severed and an arrow buried itself in the opposite wall. The Angels and the spiders looked up as a group of tiny naked babies with wings, flying in a classic delta formation, began to dive towards the chasm where those strands had fallen. They saw that the cherubs all had large goggles and leather flying helmets on as they dove.

 

            “Stop them.” Zhaznal’s voice said in fell tones.

 

            The angels drew their dark knives, meant to cut reality from the threads and moved like shadows across the floor towards the flying naked babies. Then the beating hooves came as the cherub’s back up descended through the open ceiling of the dark palace. The Angels looked up as a dozen Valkyries stormed down on them, their golden breastplates catching the light and blinding the servants of the goddess of uncertainty. Their spears flew and instead of killing the angels, they pinned their robes to the floor, immobilizing them.

 

            The cherubs flew down and gathered up broken strands, finding one that looked acceptable and flying towards the other side to reattach it. The God Eros then flew down to them and checked a small notebook before allowing them to finalize the reattachment.

 

“What are you doing?” Zhaznal screeched.

 

“Father says you’re only supposed to observe.” Eros said, notching a lead arrow on his bow. “You interfered, and you cheated. We are setting things right again, because I know if you think about it, you’ll know that taking the bribe was wrong.”

 

“You think I can’t re-break that as soon as you leave?” She asked standing haughtily.

 

“Do it.” Eros said to the cherubs as he aimed the bow at the goddess. “You can’t break it, because we’re going to stay until this strand become solid.”

           

As the cherubs attached the formerly broken strand, a new strand opened up and new wave forms of possibility stretched away from it. The seraphim looked in gaped horror as the universe changed without their help, and new worlds opened around them. They looked down and found that someone was stringing up new strands.

 

“I think it was the wrong one boss.” One of the cherubs said, raising his goggles. “He’s standing up in this one.”

 

“We’ll have to deal with that later sergeant.” Eros said over his shoulder. “We’ll just have to hope father has his plan ready for such a contingency.”

 

“You chide me for breaking the rules, and then you make such an error?” She asked.

 

“If you hadn’t so deliberately broken them, I wouldn’t have to be here.” He said. “I could be at home, watching a TV show or something. I don’t want to be here. I’ve got better things to do than this.”

 

            “And yet you’re here.”

 

            “Father said.” He said drawing the bow back, making a half turn to his left and letting an arrow fly. One of the angels dropped his knife and simply sat on the floor, indifferent to the world. Eros renotched the bow so quickly one might wonder if an arrow had indeed left it. When he drew back though the arrow had a golden head. “I can cause a lot of trouble with these.”

 

            “Yes.” Zhaznal said sitting back on her throne, “I can see that.”

 

            “How long sergeant?” Eros asked.

 

            “We need a bit more time.” The sergeant said. “Gotta finalize a few things. A minute maybe.”

 

 

In the Streets

 

            Tommy’s fist crushed the jaw of another street punk. He could feel the fight going against them. They were gonna loose if The Weirdo didn’t start doing whatever it was he was supposed to be doing.

 

            A bolt of lighting split the sky directly overhead. The sound was like a thousand boards being split, and the light temporarily made the world just a lot of white. Tommy wondered if perhaps the world had just lost one of its best. If no comets could be seen, perhaps the weather did the job of proclaiming.

 

 

Retirement.

 

            “He’s not doing anything!” Kestrel cried out.

 

            “I know.” The elder Weirdo said. “He’s going to.”

 

 

Olympus

 

            “Help me.” Chronos yelled.

 

            Apollo grabbed the sweep hand and Odin did as well. They held the clock’s hands as Hermes ran back and forth telling them whether or not it had happened, yet. They held the clock, desperate to stop the flow of time. The massive clock strained and groaned against their grips.

 

            “Hold on.” Odin said, his mighty voice straining with the effort.”

 

            “Speed up that other clock.” Chronos yelled over his shoulder.

 

            The young girl watching them picked up the small clock and held it up.

 

            “This one?”

 

            “That one.” Chronos confirmed.

 

            The tiny child opened the back of the clock and began to force the mechanism forward. She feared that this speeding him through time might stress the clock spring and snap it, thus killing him. The problem was, if they didn’t he was dead anyway. This made the time that The Weirdo observed move much faster than the time that Loki or anyone else observed. As time is not actually a constant but is only another thing affected by the observer’s placement in the universe, thus The Weirdo moved more quickly through it. Since The Weirdo was now about a minute ahead of everyone else because of his observable movement through time, he should have had a nice breather and gotten his strength back.

 

            The problem was that The Weirdo was not observing his quickened movement through time. He was locked in an angry and vicious cycle of self-recrimination. Thus he was an unobserving observer and the speed of light could go fuck itself as far as he was concerned because he didn’t believe that the speed of light was constant either but was actually affected by gravity and mass. The practical upshot was that The Weirdo was only being saved to blame himself further for an event in which he could have done very little.

 

 

The Street

 

            Tommy felt dead, but was standing over his own body. Jack and Max were also standing over their bodies. They saw several of the dead standing over their corpses.

 

            “I’m dead,” He thought. “I’ve died and now I’ve got to wait for death to come get me because time has stopped for some reason.”

 

            There was only one reason he could think of for time to have stopped and so he gave another thought.

 

            “Weirdo, get mad. Don’t bother with that Zen bullshit, just rip him open.”

 

 

The Weirdo

 

            There had been happiness, mornings in bed, sympathetic shoulders, and a forgiving smile. Her voice had always reminded him of warm summer nights. She had been so beautiful, and he loved her so much. There were autumn nights, golden summer afternoons, her hand in his, her eyes on his face, how much he loved her.

 

            He was the sort who was always unsure about whether or not people liked him, but he knew she loved him. When you don’t know much, that much is a necessity.  She was a glorious lover, and she had been taken away from him. With violence and stupid actions. It was so stupid, senseless, and she deserved better. So many deserved better, but she more than most, and now her time was gone. If he could reverse the flow of time he could change the streams of probability and save her, but that was unfortunately impossible. She was gone and nothing would bring her back. In that the frustration came back to him again. If he was so goddamned smart he should be able to reverse the flow of time or something.

 

 

The Other

 

            The little girl turned the key, which made The Weirdo’s clock move faster than the rest of the universe, could hope. She looked around, making sure that no one saw what she was doing, and blew into the clock. Hope was her breath, and she blew on his soul. If there was any flame left to be kindled, her breath would do it.

 

 

The Weirdo

 

            There was a small warmth, the flowing wind of frustration whipped through his body and touched up the small smoldering remains of what he thought had once been his soul. The curling embers lifted through the hollow shell of his body and landed, red hot, on something flammable.

 

            The tiny ember of his soul had touched something, something in his empty mind that was very flammable. The packing material that was left over from his mind vacating the premises had caught. A fire of anger began to dance in the empty warehouse of The Weirdo. It began a chain of events within him, in fact the small packing material fire came just a little too close to a pile of drums in which a greatly inflammable substance was waiting for a just one spark, which it received.

 

            The rage boiled up, it simmered. Anger, rage, indignation, came together to form some new fire. Vengeance. Fire built in his heart, spreading through his soul, filling him up. The rage filled his hollow frame, granting him power, promising him strength to do what was needed.  It burned in him, and there, on the floor was its tool.

 

            The great sword was vibrating on the floor, calling forth.

 

            “Use me!”  It seemed to demand. “I am your tool, use me!”

 

            He could feel himself in a separate time from the one the others were in. His hand reached out, and he could feel something reaching out to take the sword. It shook on the floor, preparing to leap toward him.

 

            There was no such thing as right or wrong, black or white, there was only now a cold gray rage.

 

 

Olympus

 

            The sweep hand’s tip suddenly snapped loudly, the end breaking off. Chronos flew back and crashed into the ground. Odin and Apollo fell over each other as Chronos looked up in horror. He looked as the sweep hand sailed around the face of the clock. His eyes misted as he watched time move again, the spell broken.

 

            The small child twisted the tool she had in her hand harder, the clock might break, but there was no more time to waste. Even among the gods, time can only be stopped for so long. She pushed on the tool, making the clock run as fast as it could, speeding The Weirdo twice as fast through time as anyone had a right to go.

 

 

New York

 

            Loki’s blade returned to its speed, the blade cutting reality itself as he brought it down with all his strength and speed towards The Weirdo’s neck. The katana cried out as it sailed down. The blade was going to taste blood.

 

            There are many universes in which every probable version of events takes place. If there had to be a place where The Weirdo lived, there had to be a place where he died. There also had to be a place where the two men came to this place and decided to go out for coffee and discuss their differences. In all the realities where The Weirdo lived, he would have had to have gotten up before the stroke began to actually fall. It would have happened too fast for him to move after. Once Loki’s sword began, there never really was a hope.

 

 

At home

 

            “But Grandpa.” The boy said. “What’s going to happen to Weirdo?”

 

            “Hmm?” Grandpa asked.

 

            “What’s going to happen to Bagheera and Marla? Who kills Humperdink?”

 

            “You know you’re very sick, maybe I should let you sleep.”

 

            “You’ve got to finish.” The boy demanded. “You can’t leave The Weirdo there, we’ve got to have the rest of the story!”

 

            “Alright?” The grandfather said. “Now let me see, Loki beat him up, was about to cut his head off and here we are:

 

The air whistled as the blade cut through it, towards our doomed hero’s neck…   aaannnnd…”

… (Suspenseful, Isn’t it?)

 

 

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October 26, 2013 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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