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Twins in Death: Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

A Force of Nature

 

At Home

 

            The Grandfather looked at the poor sick boy and asked if he needed anything besides the orange juice. The boy said he didn’t, he wanted to know what came next. This story had been so long, and he wanted to know how it ended now that he was so near the end. Grandpa had held the moment out too. Giving him all that talk about alternate realities and hanging forever on the possibility that this was the reality where The Weirdo got his head cut off.

           

            There were tissues near the bedside, and the boy’s cough drops were in good supply. The grandfather looked at the closed door, knowing no one was going to interrupt. He looked at the book with trepidation, his eyes moving across the page and then up at the child’s open and wondering face.

 

            It didn’t look good, when we last left our hero the katana was one and ¼ inch from his neck, moving faster than the speed of sound. The Weirdo, and we must be realistic here, was already dead. There wasn’t much that could be done at this point to save him. Now that’s a sad idea, but it’s a fact that people like The Weirdo don’t get to live to the ending. Those who live by the sword and all that.

 

            “So what happened?” The boy asked.

           

            “You sure you’re feeling well enough for this?” The old man asked, looking a little disturbed as he looked at the book. “I mean things don’t always turn out the way you expect them to. Sometimes, even the hero dies.”

           

            “I gotta know.” The boy said. “Even if he dies, I’ve gotta know.”

 

            “But if he dies here, that’s it. If he’s killed here, you know that the world is over.”

 

            “If we don’t go on, I’ll never know. I’ve gotta know.”

 

            “Okay.” The old man said putting his glasses back on.  “Let’s see where were we? Ah yes.”

 

 

            The blade whistled through the air, ready to take the head form The Weirdo and…

 

            “Are you sure you’re feeling alright?”

 

            “Will you tell me?” The boy screamed. “What the blistering fuck happens next?

 

            The blade whistled through the air, ready to take the head form The Weirdo and…

 

 

           

 

 

            …. CRASHED INTO EXCALIBUR!

 

 

            The sword had flown into its owner’s hand and prevented his decapitation in the tiniest fraction of a second that had remained. Don’t ask how, ‘cause the explanation would take a real long time, involved a lot of formulas and honestly you wouldn’t care after the first ten pages. For the sake of brevity, put it down to The Force and hope George Lucas doesn’t sue us. Although, some might also notice that he’d managed to block the blade and stand up in that short time.

 

 

The room of the fates

 

            The smoke rose from the barrel of the six-gun, and Fate looked at the end of her scissors. They were the greatest scissors ever made, and now they weren’t scissors any more. One of the blades had been shot off by the revolver’s bullet, making it a single scissor. She was very still as her eyes moved towards him. His had already drawn back the hammer of his gun, ready for another shot.

 

            “That’s cheating.” She said, still not moving.

 

            “So call the ref.” He said. “Call the authorities. Call the damn teacher and tell her I’m talking out of turn.”

 

            “You could loose your position for this. Your privileges, everything.” She warned.

 

            “Yep.” He replied.

 

            “And yet you decided to do it anyway?”

 

            “Yep.”

 

            “Why?” she was truly mystified.

 

            “Because John Death keeps his promises.” He said. “Which is why the scissors got it, and not you.”

 

            “I see.” She nodded, and then very slowly, set the scissor down. “So you mean what you say, even in bed?”

           

            “Yeah.” He said, still not putting his gun away.

 

            “So he lives for a while longer.” She announced.

 

            “More than a while.” He said taking a step towards her.

 

            “I won’t raise a hand against him,” She smiled at him. “Best I can do.”

 

            “Then it’ll have to do.” He said and put the gun back in its holster.

           

            To say that some sort of political wrangling was and would later be going on in the higher realms of existence would be putting it mildly. To say that a minor coup was going on would be understatement by far. It’s not a big part of the story now, so we have only gone into the pertinent parts of the tale. Suffice it to say that the universe had just shifted into fifth when the drivers thought they were going into third and now must put the  pedal to metal in order to not stall out.

 

 

Olympus.

 

            “Good job.” Chronos said.

 

            “Thanks.” The little girl said handing the clock back, her blue eyes sparkling. “I think we did what we had to do.”

 

            “And you did very well.”

 

            “Are you done now?” The Gray Man asked as he came toward her.

 

            “Yup.” She said. “All done.”

 

            “Good.” He said. “You’re not even going to be born for a while yet. Why I let you come and interfere here, I’ll never know.”

 

            “Because if you didn’t the quantum flux of The Weirdo being slain at that moment could have caused a massive feedback loop, which in time would have torn the universe apart. This way the cosmic strings would be kept intact and the waveforms of twelve dimensional space don’t collapse around your head. Since if you let that happen, your checks would stop coming soon and your little plan would unravel.” She said.

 

            The Gray Man looked at Chronos.

 

            “Did you understand any of that?”

 

            “Lost me after Quantum.” Chronos said.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:11 p.m.

Eye of the storm

 

            There was a moment of silence; the wind blew the two men’s coats, a silent bolt of lightning flashed in the sky, illuminating them. A few leaves danced in the breeze because even at a moment like this certain standards have to be kept. Time had frozen, melted and moved out into a pool that spread about them. A few ripples ran through the pool, and it began to move again. 

 

            Loki’s mind began to fill with paranoia, and his mind began to panic. Someone had acted against him, when he was sure they wouldn’t. Someone had helped his adversary along when the voices in his dreams had said it would all work out fine. They had said all he had to do was to kill The Weirdo and everything would be wonderful.

 

            How had he moved that fast? It was as if he had suddenly been part of one reality and then The Weirdo had swapped places with The Weirdo of another reality. Loki had moved fast after all, but The Weirdo had somehow managed to move faster. He hadn’t even reached for the sword when Loki began his stroke. Yet The Weirdo had taken up his own sword and stood and blocked. In less than a second, less than a hundredth of a second or even a ten thousandth of a second in fact.

 

            There had been something otherworldly in that movement. He must have switched places with another doomed Weirdo who would also have been given the extra second he needed by swapping their positions like that. For a long while, the two simply looked at each other. The only sound was the wind on the metal roof of the warehouse. The thunder rolled across the sky like an empty steel barrel down a hill.

 

            The Weirdo was standing, his dark shades covering a pair of eyes that begun to burn. Sweat had trickled down his face and his glasses began to slip slightly. He allowed the sunglasses to drop to the end of his nose, to show those smoldering black orbs of hate. He had become completely calm now, which is the sure way to tell that someone of fiery and emotional nature has gone over the danger level in anger.

 

            The air pressure was incredible. One would think that they were at some great depth, a few hundred fathoms below sea level. The local pressure was twice what its usual power was. This causes headaches and nosebleeds but for different reasons than those if one goes high into the air and gets one. It was like some net had been tied around the city of New York, holding in as much of the air as possible, in order to hold back some massive explosion.

 

            “You did it.” The Weirdo whispered, completely emotionless as he spoke.

 

            “Uh.” Loki’s eyes twitched from side to side.

 

            He could feel the pressure of the second blade pushing down on his. He tired to push back but The Weirdo seemed to suddenly have denseified and was now as unmovable as a boulder. The waveforms of possibility were closing very rapidly as one possibility after another was squashed. The world was about to change forever.

 

            The Weirdo managed to keep the pressure constant, even as he took one hand away to remove the sunglasses from his face. It was as if the sword were acting on its own and only needed him there as a matter of form.

 

            “You.” He pulled the sunglasses from his face, his mouth twitched, and his eyes squinted.

 

            “YOU!” He roared.

 

            He threw his hand out and Loki was thrown back by what he could only explain as a column of pure hatred. The Weirdo fixed his eyes on Loki, and fire burned in those eyes. The red menace was now going to be crushed once and for all, not with witch hunts but with a good strong blade.

 

            Loki saw hate in those eyes, hate that was reserved completely and wholly for him. Hate strong enough to kill a man on it’ own, hate that could topple a god. His body seemed to vibrate slightly, as he stood erect. There were years of anguish swelling in the dark hero, now. Years of lost victims, villains gotten away. He could once again hear the screams of his parents, those children, and his love.

 

            “Please, Mister Weirdo. Please save my mommy.”

 

            He heard all of the cries that he had tried so hard to quiet with many hours of concentration. He had tried to remove the painful feelings with liquor and Excedrin; removed himself with everything in his power. Now those voices screamed for vengeance, they screamed for payment, they screamed for blood. Loki was to be the intended victim of that vengeance, and The Weirdo was to be its instrument. If it was to be a blood sacrifice, why hold back on the blood? He raised his blade like a master and stopped for a moment, the universe holding back.

 

            Something automatic in his mind tried to hold back the wave of emotion, which was rushing forth. It was clearly evident that the floodgates more than had met their match. All the held back emotion, all the reserved feelings, came out in a rush, a rush all the stronger for the moment that those gates had held them back.

 

 

Olympus

 

            “Now.” The small child said.

 

 

New York

 

            And the rain began, unlike any rain there has ever been. There were not a few drops and then the torrent, there was simply the tide. It was as if a thousand gallons of water were suspended over the area and it all dropped at once. The water all hit the ground in one moment, instantly soaking everything, and then it didn’t stop. It was as if the world had shifted from a world where the rain hadn’t started yet into a world where the rain had started five minuets ago but it took a moment for the ground and air to catch up. The rain had been ready though, hanging in the air and dropping when the signal was called. It was to the point where one careful observer (Max actually) was able to watch the near solid sheet of water fall over his eyes like a curtain, like someone making a Kurosawa like wipe, but over the exact same shot. That is to say, all the water fell at once.

 

            And with that, so it began. Or so it ended, really depending on where you stood.

 

            No, lets be clear about it, this is where it ended.

 

            The Weirdo’s mind had shut down, and something else took over. There was no world, no universe, no power, no force in the all of creation that he would heed now. There were no forces of nature, for The Weirdo had become a force of nature. There was no pain, no weariness, nothing. He could no longer perceive anything but his purpose of vengeance. If that made him a little short-sighted, then that was that.

 

            There was no time to think out strategies; rather everything was part of the pre-thought-out strategy, which he was also making up as he went along. The idea that vengeance was empty and brought no satisfaction was not allowed within a ten-mile radius of his mind. He could no longer perceive anything but his quarry, his prey would be killed.

 

            Excalibur smashed against the Japanese sword. Loki nearly let the sword go from his hands as the hate-propelled blade smashed against it. A hundred and fifty two times in eighteen seconds the blade attacked. The Weirdo struck like a demolition machine. His wide strokes cut through brass poles and huge metal pillars. Loki fell back from the steely attack, which was ripping through everything it came in contact with, save the Japanese blade.

 

            Loki began to call on his powers to fly up to the roof, but The Weirdo could fly too, and he leapt toward the ceiling and fought Loki in the air. The Weirdo’s blade danced lightly and seemed to move The Weirdo’s arms only as an extension, as if it was the sword leading. They leapt from place to place, their two blades matching over and over again. Loki leapt from the wall to a platform but found The Weirdo ahead of him. The Weirdo’s elbow struck him to the ground and he came blade flying after him.

 

            Loki could feel The Weirdo using something else to attack him as well. Hate was beating down on him more powerfully than the blade ever would have been able to. The Samurai swung out and was slapped away, seemingly with the effort one would use to brush away a fly. The samurai swung again and again, each time slapped away from it’s destination like a toy sword. The great sword in The Weirdo’s hand sang as it cut through the air. The blade cut deeply into Loki’s chest and with the blood of its wielder on it, bursts into flame. A yellow, orange aura of flame coated the great blade as it cut down on Loki’s coat, just barely missing his head. The flame covered the entire extent of the wielder. The Weirdo seemed invulnerable in the flaming aura.

 

            Loki spun around, trying for a sweep, but his blade never came close. Excalibur stopped the samurai sword in mid-flight like a man might catch a ball thrown to him. The sword was actually an antique, one of the strongest blades in the world, but nothing to the mystical blade, which was now covered in flame. The Weirdo brought his blade about and Loki’s sword might as well have been made of a long Popsicle stick. Hate was now the presiding element of the blade. Not anything so weak, so mundane, so pathetic as metal. Excalibur cut through the ancient Japanese blade at the hand guard and sent most of the blade to the ground. The length of the blade fell to the ground and made an odd *ping* sound when it clattered to the ground. Loki looked at the four inches of blade, which actually remained on the sword. The Weirdo raised his blade, almost in salute; Loki dropped the end of the sword and turned.

 

            Loki began to run with all his speed, putting his arms up to shield his face. He ran through the great glass doors and sent a shower of clear rain flying into the street. His arms were cut deeply, his coat shredded so badly that strips of it came away and left a trail behind him. He looked around him, trying to see anything in the driving rain. He could just about make out the shapes of the buildings above, so he took to the rooftops.

 

            The Weirdo followed with the sort of careless ease that a masked murderer in a slasher film might affect. He followed like some sort of dark angel engulfed in a hateful flame, flying after him. As he began to rise up though, a thought struck him. It really wasn’t fair to use a sword against someone who had lost theirs. He stuck the end of the sword into the ground and sank Excalibur to about half its length in the concrete. The flaming aura around him seemed to leave him as his fingers left the sword. It was as if the sword had produced it instead of him.

 

            The Weirdo then gave chase, flying up into the air swiftly. So quickly and easily did he fly that one might suppose the very wind was at his command. He didn’t actually pursue though, he flew ahead and trailed back so that Loki jumped over a building and found his dark brother standing before him. The Weirdo’s hand struck out with speed greater than the clone could see. Loki fell to the ground and found The Weirdo looming over him, the rain so powerful it was nearly blinding him.

 

            “I’ll kill you.” Loki said getting to a crouching position. He pulled his razor from his pocket and swung at The Weirdo. The Weirdo blocked the cut with his left hand and his right punched Loki in the face again. Loki fell back again, the blood mixing with rainwater to become a vague stream on his soaked face.

 

            The Weirdo said nothing at this point, for there was nothing left to say.

 

            Loki leapt forward and brought his blade down on The Weirdo’s face again. This time The Weirdo did nothing to stop him. So great was his rage-fueled strength now that the razor broke on his skin. It snapped in half from Loki’s strike and the broken piece flew away into the darkness. The Weirdo’s skin was unblemished, looking like stone. Loki looked at the broken end, and threw the half razor away, panic beginning to take over.

 

            The Weirdo was upon him, again. Loki’s hands were raised in defense, but The Weirdo was the more practiced of the two and knew all the tricks. The Weirdo’s hands struck their mark and sent Loki flying to the ground. Loki scrambled to his feet and began to run again. He jumped down the side of a building and ran through the streets with The Weirdo following behind. He slipped on the wet and icy patches of ground, crashing into some garbage cans and spilling their contents. He simply got up and continued to run again though.

 

            He did not run like someone who was trying to get anywhere safe, just someone trying to get away. He somehow knew that there was nowhere safe left for him to get to. He ran like someone who would rather get far enough away that whatever was chasing him might loose the scent. The Weirdo let him run and walked with a deliberate gait after him. His hands were stuffed deeply in his pockets and the wind filled his coat as he walked, making him seem from behind like some great sailing ship that was moving backwards. He would lead him back to where he wanted to go.

 

            Loki couldn’t move fast enough, every time he looked over his shoulder The Weirdo was right behind him. Loki would jump and run and fly, and The Weirdo would effortlessly glide. He only had to step every ten or twenty feet to send him off flying again. Loki was running with his fullest strength, but found The Weirdo barely breaking a sweat as he pursued.

 

            Loki made it back to the factory somehow, rushing through the large open doors to discover he had come full circle. He wasn’t sure how he gotten there, he just had found himself there. He was panicking now, because he knew the fight had gone against him. He wondered where the ice giants were. In his dreams they told him that if he needed them, they would come. Only The Weirdo had appeared before him. With the might of a thousand mountains, The Weirdo punched him in the face, sending him falling to the ground. He crumpled on the ground and whimpered, noticing that his broken nose hadn’t fixed itself.

 

            The Weirdo picked Loki up by the remains of his leather coat and threw him into the air. Loki crashed into the brick wall thirty feet in the air and then crashed down onto the metal stairs. He rolled down those stairs and slowly stood up, marveling at the fact that The Weirdo would let him get to his feet. He could feel a force calling him, and he started to move towards a set of drawers. He opened a drawer and found that mysterious black revolver The Weirdo had used before. He lifted it from its hiding place and felt a surge of power riding up his arm like lightning.

 

            “I’m gonna blast you.” He said, suddenly feeling confident. “Gonna put you down once and for all and then I’ll be all there is.”

 

            The Weirdo looked as if he had expected Loki to find that gun the whole time. Loki leveled the mighty weapon, pulled back the hammer, and squeezed the trigger. The gun gave a soft click as if it were empty, even though The Weirdo knew he had loaded it. Loki pulled the trigger over and over again, nine times in fact. The Weirdo just stood calmly watching him as he futility tried to fire the weapon to no avail.

 

            Loki lowered the gun looking as if he wanted to throw it away. He then pointed it at the wall and screamed as he pulled the trigger. The universe seemed to tug towards the gun, time slowed, then the gun fired with a great sound of silence. Part of the wall had disintegrated when the two of them looked up at the place where Loki had fired.

 

            “Aw, come on.” Loki complained. “That just ain’t fuckin’ fair!”

 

            The Weirdo was on him in an instant, his left hand on the gun and yanking it from Loki’s grasp. He smashed his evil twin’s face into the table next to him and hurled him across the room. He kicked savagely and punched and threw Loki to the floor He brought his foot down hand and shattered Loki’s left ankle. He tossed the gun lightly in the air and caught it with his right hand. He then pressed the barrel against Loki’s head.

 

            “Please, brother.” Loki begged, throwing up his hands in a pathetic gesture of pleading and surrender. “I’ll never hurt another soul.”

 

            “Oh I know you won’t.” an evil little voice from the back of The Weirdo’s mind said.

 

            Loki was slinking away, dragging his leg behind him, and looking like a frightened animal. The Weirdo might have, at times, felt pity and not done what needed to be done. He might have forgiven and found some deep hole to keep Loki in, some human prison. That was before Loki had gone too far, before he had confessed all his crimes.

 

            “I love you.” Had been the last thing she had said when Loki had killed her.

 

            “Did you listen to the pleas of your victims?” The Weirdo asked. “No, you used their cries to excite you. You terrorized and murdered for your own sick pleasure.”

 

            “But,” Loki said thinking quickly as possible. “If you terrorize and kill me, doesn’t that make you as bad as me?”

 

            “Very probably.” The Weirdo said. “But I know my limits and if I get out of control then I expect someone else will come along to put me down as well.”

 

            The Weirdo thumbed back the hammer of the black gun and put as much pressure on the trigger as he could muster. It would not be untrue, that is to say it was true, that nothing that he had experienced in his life, up to that point, had given him as much pleasure as that act. It was a simple act of cold murder made to look like vengeance, and he really liked it.

 

            It’s hard to say exactly what happened. Those who were awake in the world enough to remember what happened would say that all the glass in the city exploded and flew everywhere, while a blinding light blazed from every corner of darkness. It felt as though a soul were being erased and then engulfed. And from that light seemed to come a great collaboration of screaming voices and sound pouring from everywhere.

 

            The world seemed to be wiped clean of all of its works, and the earth was wiped clean of all its life. The earth for a moment became a perfect sphere with a perfectly polished landscape, which if one had been able to see the earth it would have looked as polished as the slickest ice. No hills, no valleys, no life, just a bright light which had made the sun’s own light pale and darken by comparison. Then as the light and chaos reached its peak, everything stopped, slowly. Then it reversed itself suddenly and in a second everything was back to the way it had been before.

 

            Even time, it seems had been pulled back a bit, and then it snapped back, but not all the way.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

5:45 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo stood alone in the room; a red robe and a red shirt were clutched in his fisted hands. There was no rain patting down on the roof. The storm was gone, all the power dissipated. The Weirdo looked out the open doors, the street was dry and a cold wind was blowing through the warehouse. There was a pile of ash at his feet; Loki’s shirt, pants and shoes were engulfed by the ash.

 

            The Weirdo’s eyes were wide, his body vibrated, the adrenaline rushing though him began to dissipate. The black gun felt preternaturally warm in his hand. His hands shook, and his face was full of shock, his breath came in quick hard shots. He had a problem believing he had done this, but something had been done.

 

            “Wha?” The Weirdo muttered.

 

            “You’ve done it, then?” The Gray Man asked.

 

            “Have I?”

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “What have I done?” The Weirdo let the coat leave his grasp and fall into the pile of ash.

 

            “He’s gone.” The Gray Man kicked the pile of ash, which was caught by the wind. The wind seemed to suddenly kick up for the occasion and carried the ashes away in the swirl, which quickly tore itself apart. What was left was simply the clothes that Loki had been wearing.

 

            He slid the black gun away and discovered that he didn’t feel something when he did so. His chest didn’t hurt anymore, the throbbing had stopped. He placed his hand, looking for Doc’s stitching, but there was no wound. He would later upon inspection find a white line of a scar on his chest. It stayed as a memory of the day imprinted on his body forever, but for now there was no pain.

 

            He looked at The Gray Man, who shrugged.

 

            “You’ll only get a guess.” The gray man said, “You understand that, right?”

 

            “Try me.” The Weirdo answered.

 

            “You’ve changed the universe.”

 

            “Really?” The Weirdo asked. “How?”

 

            “It’s um, quantum.” The gray Man said. “Cat in the box and all.”

 

            “Quantum?”

 

            “Yup, quarks and other such little buggers like that. Up, down, spin one, spin half. Um, I think the strawberry flavored ones are spinning once in the box with the cat. They’ve been observed and there for been changed and the result has changed the whole universe. The cat is indeed alive and asking if it could get out of the box please. Very quantum.”

 

            “You do know that quanta refers to the packets light travels in and that it has nothing to do with cats or boxes right?” The Weirdo said, although he had some suspicion that this wasn’t quite right.

 

            “I said it was only a guess.”

 

            “Well it’s a crap guess.”

 

            “Sorry.”

 

            The Weirdo looked at the floor of the building and saw Excalibur waiting for him. He walked over and pulled the blade from the sidewalk, noticing that oddly the ground had no mark of the sword ever being in it.  He looked back at the clothing, which lay on the floor in the remains of the dust. He placed his hand against his forehead, trying to stop a headache from coming and the clothes burst into flame. They were completely consumed in a few moments and another strong gust of wind took them from the building and out into the world to be scattered.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:00 p.m.

 

            There were children, trick or theaters, running through the streets. They all looked so happy, their hands filled with sacks that were full of candy. They ran from building to building, singing, laughing, and enjoying a premature sugar high.

 

            One child stopped before The Weirdo. She was a small child dressed in a black dress with a black pointed hat. She had eyes like the sky and her hair was of a deep chestnut. Her mother tried to keep up with her, as the small child ran.

 

            “Hi.” She said to him as he walked.

 

            “Hi.” He said.

 

            “Trick or treat?” She opened her sack and smiled.

 

            “Sure.” He said reaching into his coat and tossing a silver dollar into her bag.

 

            “Thank you, Mister Weirdo.” She said, as she and her mother began to walk away.

 

            He nodded and watched as the girl ran back to him. She grabbed his right hand in a gesture that seemed ancient and formal. She kissed the knuckle of his middle finger and then stepped back two paces.

 

            “You did it,” She said “You saved my mommy.”

 

            The little girl then turned and ran back to her mother. The two of them were soon lost in the crowd of faces that were moving about.

 

April 14th, 1865

12:21 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the man, knowing because of the odd path of his travels, what was going to happen. He had always known of course, what school child didn’t? He had actually been here twice already, once with Grant’s Army and once with Sherman’s. It was odd that in order to learn things, he would come to the same war three times. He wished he was with old Cump right now, he would greatly prefer that to this. It was his last day here. In fact he was going to leave in less than an hour. He wondered how much trouble would he get in, if he just told him, before he went.

 

            “Mister President.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Yes Captain?” the president said.

 

            It was odd, so many actors, through out all of movies, played him with such a deep stentorian voice. The actual voice was such a different thing. He’d never make it in the future, not with his voice. He was so gangly, and he was a bit clumsy as well. These were the sort of things that made him love the man though. There really was something that made you want to follow the man, as far as The Weirdo went anyway. He felt an intense loyalty to this man, like the loyalty he felt for Cump and Sam.

 

            “Don’t go to the theater tonight.”

 

            “Why not my good man?” the president asked, a smile creasing his face.

 

            “The actor, John Booth, is going to shoot you if you go tonight.” The Weirdo had said it so simply that the tall man stopped to look at him. “I’m leaving soon, and I won’t be there to save you. If you go you’ll be shot in the back of the head. Booth has some conspirators, I’ve already alerted the other men.”

 

            “Is this a premonition Captain?”

 

            “No sir.” The Weirdo said. “It’s worse than that, it’s history sir.”

 

            “Then perhaps you shouldn’t go.” The president said.

 

            “But I’ve got to sir.” The Weirdo said putting his hat on. “I hope you get the nation you want.”

 

            He didn’t salute, because Old Tuck had told him that he was never to bow nor salute a man again. It had seemed out of order to many, but a man who has been knighted in that system had no one he needed to bow to. This had somehow stretched in his mind to saluting anyone. Once you get it into your head that you have no superiors, simply equals and subordinates, it becomes hard to salute anyone.

 

            “So do I.” The president said as he turned away.

 

            The man didn’t go to Ford’s theater that night, and thus the President of the Re-United States died on April 20th from a knife wound to the throat. An ex-soldier while resting at a hospital for confederate wounded had leapt up and stabbed him. The Weirdo had read the news later, and it was then that he realized some people were meant to die. He wouldn’t be able to save some people and they had to die for the course of history.

 

 

October 31st, 2002

6:21 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo walked into his home, feeling as if he might like to sleep for a week. Bagheera and Minga walked up to him and ran against his legs. The striped cats then walked towards the kitchen and meowed to him as he walked behind the small black and brown creature and next to the giant gray tiger.

 

            “Yes, yes.” He said walking behind the cat.

 

            “Hello, there.” Tommy said to The Weirdo who was getting a steak from the fridge.

 

            “Hello.” The Weirdo said. “How are you?”

 

            “Not bad.” He said. “Say, something happened today, maybe you know something about it.”

 

            “Really?” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Yeah, we were killed, and all life on the planet was wiped away and then replaced. And we weren’t dead any more. I can only recall slightly even being dead.”

 

            “You don’t say.” The Weirdo said pushing the bag of meat into the microwave. “Did that really happen?”

 

            “I’m not actually sure if it did or not.” Tommy said. “Would you like to tell me what really did happen?”

 

            “Apparently there was a cat in a box, and it was either alive or dead.” He said setting the steak on a plate and looking for other ingredients. “And some idiots claimed it could be both, even though the cat is either alive or dead and cannot be both. And apparently the cat was dead earlier.”

 

            “I see.” Tommy said.

 

            “And now the cat is alive, and wants to get out of the box and claw the damn scientist face off and explain to him that it’s not half dead, it’s bloody furious.”

 

            “You sit around and think about this stuff don’t you?”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “That is the explanation I was given.”

 

            He took the sword out from under his coat, placing it on the kitchen table before he took his coat off and hung it on one of the hooks by the door. He began to roll his sleeves up as he walked back to the counter where he was to begin cooking.

 

            “What is that?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Excalibur.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Of course.” Tommy said “How silly of me. Excalibur. What else would it be? Sure. Excalibur. Why not?”

 

            The Weirdo got out an onion, and a green pepper and set them down on the counter. He opened the fridge and got out the teriyaki and soy sauces, as well as a bottle of Tabasco sauce. He got a few bottles of Mrs. Dash spice mixes out and set them down on the counter next to the green pepper and turned on the stove.

 

            “Could you get me the rice?” The Weirdo asked getting a wok and a small pot from the cupboards.

 

            “Sure.” Tommy said.

 

            They got their parts out and put them on the counter. Tommy rinsed the rice quickly and put it in the rice pot, put in too much water as usual and started the pot going. The Weirdo checked over the items on the table, and pointed to each one as if going over a mental list.

 

            “So what did happen?” Tommy asked.

 

            The Weirdo took a bottle of thick soy sauce from the fridge and set it on the counter. He took a knife from the magnetic holder on the wall and began to cut the onion into small chunks. He put the chopped onion into a bowl and then cut the pepper into chunks as well.

 

            “You’re not going to tell me?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I don’t know.” The Weirdo said as he began to cut the piece of steak into one-inch pieces.

 

            “Well what do you remember happening?”

 

            The Weirdo finished cutting the steak and put it in a larger bowl, washed his hands quickly and picked up the bottle of thick soy sauce. He poured the sauce over the meat and stirred it with a wooden spoon, letting it cover.

 

            “I went, I fought him.” The Weirdo took the bottles of spices and sprinkled a little of each onto the steak, stirring it. “And I lost, I mean by all fair accounting methods, I lost.”

 

            He turned the burner on high and put the wok over the fire. He walked to the refrigerator and got out a pack of bacon, which he sliced up into squares and began to toss into the wok. He did this because while he has heard of healthy living he wants to truck with it. He held certain views about cooking you see?

 

            “He was about to cut my head off, and then something happened. He told me he had killed Shannon and time stopped.” He stirred the bacon, making sure it didn’t burn, and then tossed the meat into the wok, stirring it as well. “I don’t know exactly what, but it was like time stopped for everyone but me, and I was moving faster than I should have been.”

 

            When the meat was mostly browned on the outside he tossed the vegetables in and sprinkled more spices over the concoction. He kept stirring quickly, tossing a few times with the help of the wok. After a little while he added some soy sauce, and teriyaki. After a bit he tossed a tiny splash of Tabasco in.

 

            He stirred the mixture a while and looked at the rice which was going to take longer to cook than the mixture would most likely. 

 

            “I had the sword in my hand and I stopped his sword, then I whooped him. I think I did. It’s kind of fuzzy. We fought for a while, swords, and then fists, and then…”

 

            He stirred the rice in the cooker, using a little tiny bit of magic to make it cook faster, and then went back to the stir-fry. He swished in some more soy sauce and a little more teriyaki. He sprinkled just a half-teaspoon worth of cornstarch into the mixture to thicken the sauce.

 

            “Then we were back in that warehouse, I was soaked to the skin. It rained, a lot. I mean it was a rain like you wouldn’t believe.”

 

            He looked out the window at the bone-dry landscape beyond the window. It hadn’t rained in days, that much was obvious. He stirred the rice again, and then took the heat off both pots. He spooned the rice into a bowl and then scooped some of the stir-fry onto the rice. He picked up a pair of chopsticks and began to eat.

 

            “I remember rain.” Tommy said, taking a bowl of rice and stir-fry.

 

            “And then Loki tried to shoot me with the black gun, but it wouldn’t work.” He chewed on the steak for a long moment, looking out the window.

 

            He looked at the sea beyond, the city couldn’t be seen from this window, just the sea. He ate a piece of pepper and chewed that, thinking about the things he was saying, trying to get it right. Tommy could wait patiently now that he had food, he’d be quiet with steak in his mouth. There had been no rain. The sky was overcast sure, but no rain. The light was fading away, and there were only the gray clouds and the sea. There had been no rain though, the storm hadn’t happened.

 

            “I remember taking the gun from him. I hit him a few times with it I think, and then I shot him. I put the barrel right under his chin and I shot him. I remember that, oh yes. That I remember.”

 

            “You do?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I think that nothing I have ever done has given me more satisfaction, than killing him.” The Weirdo said. “You don’t forget stuff like that.”

 

            Tommy ate quietly as he did not wish to share his thoughts on killing Loki. He didn’t think he could have done it at all if he had been in his friend’s shoes. Maybe The Weirdo didn’t see himself in that face though. Maybe The Weirdo made no connection between the two of them, but he doubted it. He felt that possibly there was more to the joy he took than one would like to speculate on.

 

            Tommy was considering something else as they sat and looked at each other. He figured he was going to have to mention it, or things would get troublesome. If he didn’t the newspapers would pick the tale up, some might already be doing just that.

 

            “There is something else.” Tommy said.

 

            “Oh?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said. “You were dead.”

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said nodding.

 

            “For three days.”

 

            “Was it three?”

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “Oh.”

 

            “It’s just, you know what that means don’t you?”

 

            “I’m all better now?”

 

            “Does three days signify anything to you?”

 

            “Three is a magic number.” The Weirdo said. “It’s in all the books, three this, three that.”

 

            “Yes.” Tommy said setting the chopsticks down and looking at The Weirdo. “But who else do we know who was dead for three days?”

 

            “Well no one as far as I know.” The Weirdo said. “I mean apart from Jesus, no one springs… to… mind. Shit.”

 

            “Yes.” Tommy said nodding. “Do you have plans of what to do once they’ve declared you the risen Christ?”

 

            “I will not be worshiped Tommy.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Might be hard to stop it.” Tommy said.

 

            “A coma.” The Weirdo said suddenly. “I was never dead, I was just in a coma. My body wasn’t stolen it was taken by you guys and the stolen story was just a newspaper fabrication.”

 

            “Coma.”

 

            “Coma.” The Weirdo said. “Why not? We just let it slip that my being dead would be silly, and that I was probably in a coma, or something. You don’t know that I wasn’t in a coma or something. We don’t lie, we just use words that would allow them to misinterpret. The only people who know anything aren’t going to say anything.”

 

            “Besides that it was a coma that was misrepresented?” Tommy asked.

 

            “That’s right.” The Weirdo said. “Or something. We simply explain that of course I wasn’t dead, because I’m not dead because I’m here aren’t I?

 

            “What would be wrong with being worshiped?”

 

            “Everything.” The Weirdo said. “There will be no Church of The Divine Weirdo. I will not have it. No. We’ll squash this before it begins. I was in a coma and we were kind of busy what with a demented woodchuck trying to kill everyone in the city.”

 

            “Which now seems not to have actually happened even though it sort of did.” Tommy said.

 

            “Right.”

 

            “Okay.”

 

            “Good.” The Weirdo said. “Jack take Rutherford and Amy trick or treating?”

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said. “Since it turns out we never actually had to fight a gang war, they went a while ago. I’m sure by tomorrow the kids will be sick as dogs.”

 

            “How sick are dogs? I mean we don’t have any so I can’t check, but their usually pretty healthy animals aren’t they?”

 

            “It’s just an expression.”

 

            “But what’s the derivation of that expression.”

 

            “I’m sure you’ll find out if you remain interested.”

 

            “No, I’m bored already.”

 

            “And yet we’re still talking about it.”

 

            “Amazing isn’t it?”

 

            “Damn straight on the skinny side, G.”

 

            “Word up.”

 

            “I heard that.”

 

            “You Betcha.”

 

            “Yup.”

 

            “What are we talking about again?”

 

            “I have no idea.”

 

 

November 1st, 2002

6:01 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked down at his hands, and then at the rising sun. Would his body disintegrate, would the nuclear and magnetic forces holding his atoms together suddenly loose their grip on things? Would they suddenly spiral away or perhaps, if each micro particle was really a miniature universe within a miniature universe, would all the stars suddenly supernova? What would happen to him? Would the laws of the universe suddenly demand to know what the hell he was doing? For that matter, would the laws of ancient folklore demand to know what the hell he was doing?

 

            The dawn is when things that have no business being alive are supposed to be gone. It had been overcast yesterday, so the rays of the sun never touched him. The sun had not been able to cast him out of the living world, but now it was clear. If things were to be believed, his actions had made the weather so clement now. The clear sky was apparently of his making.

 

            And what would be the reason that sunlight would cast him away? Would chemical reactions begin with solar radiation, reactions that would cause him to melt? What would be the logical build up of chemicals that could cause them to build a body or hold a body together and then go to shit with the light of the sun? Was it a kind of evil photosynthesis?

 

            Maybe he would fade into dust because of folklore, a subject he was finding he needed to pay more attention to in the last few days. He always had but then he had also come to realize that perhaps the old rules didn’t need explanations, they were like the laws of physics. You couldn’t really get a good handle on them unless you spent you’re whole life examining them and nothing else. Once you’d found the answers, you’d be too engrossed to explain them anyways.

 

            He wasn’t sure how much he believed that but it had to be at least partially true, everything affects everything else, this is how you can extrapolate the universe from a bit of foam cake. He wondered how he was affecting the universe, by being in a world that had no place for him anymore. Maybe it did, but logically it didn’t.

 

            The time for questions was over though, the sun was rising, and doom would come now. The Weirdo looked at his hand and thought that he was just a little weirdo, in a wide world after all. He didn’t think he could claim to be a noble Swedish knight playing a game with death. His hand was the first thing to be struck by the light in fact.

 

            Eight minutes ago, a trillion atoms of Hydrogen became merely five hundred billion atoms of helium in the core of the great star. When the atoms were crushed together to perform this act, one photon of light was created for each atom that was generated. Those photons collected together in to quanta’s, which then rocketed towards the earth at a very high speed. At this very moment, those quanta’s of light tore through the atmosphere of earth and landed on our hero.

 

            The orb of red was climbing in the sky, and he was still here. He had wondered, but here he was. He looked at his hand, the red light shining on it. He didn’t appear to be turning to ash or melting away like a bad dream. He slipped on his sunglasses as the sun rose. He smiled at the sun, which had let him stay.

 

            “So it wasn’t just one day.” He said.

 

           

November 1st, 2002

12:01 p.m.

 

            There was a small stream that ran through the estate, it wasn’t very wide, but it was pleasant. A small white stone bridge stood over the stream, and was more a place to stand and look out at the ocean than anything else.

 

            Kestrel sat on the balustrade of the bridge, her legs tapping the supporting columns of it. She looked at The Weirdo who leaned against it, his eyes watching the city in the distance. She looked at the city, and at the ocean.

 

            “What will you do now?” He asked.

 

            “I don’t know.” She said. “What do you think I should do?”

 

            “Stick around if you like.” He said. “There’s no shortage of rooms, and we could always use another face around the place.”

 

            “Just like that?” She asked.

 

            “Just like that.” He confirmed.

 

            “I’m not sure if I could do what you guys do on a regular basis.”

 

            “Who asked you too?”

 

            “Well.” She shrugged.

 

            “Hang around, see what happens.” He said. “We’ll find something you can turn your hand to.”

 

            “You’re sure?”

 

            “Yeah.” He said. “We’ll figure out something for you to do.”

 

 

November 1st, 2002

1:22 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked out the window and wondered at all he had seen recently. He was beginning to look at things in a new light. At least as far as his life had been concerned. He had slept last night, and there were no faces that floated into view. He had managed not to be haunted for a whole day at a stretch so far.  As he walked through the house, he happened to notice the sword Excalibur resting in a corner.

 

            “I think maybe you need to be where you belong my friend,” he said as he seized it up. The sword hummed as he walked out the door with it.

 

 

England

The time doesn’t matter at this point.

 

            The Weirdo stood on the bank of the lake. He looked at the sword and at the water, which was blue and bright under this new sun. He felt clean somehow, like there was some great weight which had been lifted off his shoulders. He looked at the sword and with the best backswing he could muster, threw the blade out over the water. Before it could break the surface of the water, a hand sprang up from the lake and grabbed Excalibur by the hilt. It slowly lowered under the silvery blue of the water.

 

            “So, now it is complete.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Is it?” The Gray Man said. “I would think that it’s only begun. Now that you are complete.” He turned and disappeared behind the trees.

 

            The Weirdo watched as the mist filled in the space where The Gray Man had stood. He began to fly away, letting the winds pick him up and carry him. He flew over the water; something not short of joy was what carried him. He landed in an upstate cemetery. He said good-bye to a soul whose body rested in the ground. He watched as a small bird, a Sparrow Hawk, flew from one of the trees and began a flight.

 

            He flew into the air and followed it for a time before losing sight and going higher into the air. He flew high enough to touch the sun, he was sure. Then he came back down, to lay in the warm grass of a warm spring day. Suddenly stuck by the absurdity of everything, including the fact that he was even still alive, he began to laugh. The laugh wasn’t the sort of evil chuckle that he normally indulged in, but a laugh of joy. He laughed so hard that he didn’t noticed for a few moments that he had left the earth and was flying from the sheer power of his happy thoughts.

 

            “I knew you’d find one.” Peter said as he floated over him. “You only needed the one, and you really have so many.”

 

            “Peter, my friend.” he said “For an eternal child, you are remarkable perceptive.”

 

            In the end, one can’t be too harsh with The Weirdo for what he’s done, because that’s what heroes do. They save mommies and daddies and people who can’t save themselves. If they do it in a manner that some might find objectionable, well then those who object should do the job. If you can’t, let heroes do what they do.

 

            He was going to have to examine that a bit, what he was going to do. He had no idea what great things he was meant to do, but he was sure that he hadn’t really done them yet. He had simply performed the preparatory task, to prove he was ready to begin to do the things. He had no idea what he was going to do next, for the first time he had no plan. There was nothing left of what had been The Weirdo, besides all his memories and the body. He felt that he was a different Weirdo now, that he had some how been burned away and born anew. No, that was silly, he had just gone through a life change was all and he’d have to figure things out from here.

 

            He flew off towards home. Mrs. Pendleton was making Saur Brauten and spatzel tonight, his absolute favorite. If he hurried, he might even get to sample some spatzel with fresh gravy early. It was these sorts of things that made life worth living.

 

            He thought, he might even get to have a nap, might get some sleep.

 

            Nah, no one can be that lucky.

 

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November 6, 2013 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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