Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the Founder returns

I sat up and watched quietly as the crimson light erupting from my unconscious son's eyes and mouth coalesced into the translucent spirit of might floating above him. I knew the form all too well. The burning eyes and chalk-white skin striated with ancient black battle-scars. The distinctive facial markings of an Ereb'ai prince, copied by Japanese actors centuries ago in their plays. The arc of defiant horns. And of course the majestic red expanses of skin that stretched from his broad shoulders across batlike wings. The very being that wrapped his hand around my throat and, through those burning eyes, held up a mirror to my corrupted soul.

I swallowed, trying to gether the strength to address him. "Darien...he lives?"

"Yes," rumbled the demon, "he shall recover...and I am freed from his toxic prison."

I turned my gaze to the grassy soil of the marsh, which I expected would soon be a barren circle from my instant cremation.

"At least I did something right."

"Jeremiah," he said calmly. "Gaze upon me." Either he was getting larger or he was drifting towards me. "Yes, in your chemical madness you tried to conquer the world. As a vengeful ghost, you and the other Fallen of your kin tried again and failed. Twice resulting in the death of your own grandson."

"WE REMEMBER THAT!", shouted Vortex from the portal above the altar.

I nodded slowly. "That is true, Founder."

"However, you did save this world from the Fires of Apollo." He was referring the nuclear weapon I tried to disarm with Professor Antfarm. "In addition, you repaired this son after your other son stole his body."

"I remember that, too!", laughed the Vortex. I caught a telltale maniacal giggle in his voice.

"Marcus?" I turned to stare at the composite being leering at me from the depths of Hell. "What have you done?"

"Koen abandoned the Vortex collective, and Marcus took his place," Bloodwing explained with a note of disgust, "and in so doing defeated the Hydra. He...they...have earned the throne."

"Indeed we have, Father! And since you're not challenging our will to power I'm willing to invite you to..." Vortex paused as a buzzing drone grew in intensity from from his side of the portal. "Wait Poppa Legba what do you mean 'look behind me'? GYAAAAH!!" The portal instantly snapped shut in a flash of light and a lingering sound that pierced the eardrums as it slid beyond human range.

Bloodwing grimaced as he held his ears, continuing to suffer lightly from the broken portal. "What was that, Poppa Legba? A giant wasp, you say?"

I was startled again by the screech and squawk of the portable radio-wave receiver that lit up from where it lay on Darien's knapsack, placed just outside the summoning circle. Through the interference I could easily discern Qlippothic's slightly metallic voice, clear and measured even in her obvious distress.

"Mayday-mayday, invasion fleet intercepted at following coordinates..."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


As best as I can remember...

One minute I am disarming a nuclear device. Then Mr. Antfarm's magic rucksack bites off my hand. Death came so fast I wondered how I survived the atomic fire. That is when I realized I did not. The sack, however, did. And part of my soul was still in there. This is what has survived. This is why I am here.

Where am I?

Nowhere. Where do you want to go now?"

Home. Just home...

I was swatted across time and space like shuttlecock in a game of cosmic badminton. A felt a moment of comfort on the carpet of my room in Miss Burton's barn. How long was I going to live like this? Another second or two? She burst in.

She thought Antfarm was me. She was the landlady. She declared it his home, not mine. The spell backfired.

Your previous home was New Erebus.

But it's gone!

Old Erebus, then!

The very damn center of what used to be the Empire. The Throne of Hades, shredded as it was. I grabbed the tail to keep from getting sat on. Marcus and the Vortex shoved me into a lead box. When it reopened I leaped and grabbed the first thing I could...

I couldn't let go. The rush of reanimation serum, a thousand times worse than when it warped my mind. Pain screaming through every nerve as stretched and knit around bone and organ and muscle and skin.

My body was complete...almost. My hair was a bit shorter. My nails as well. That means I didn't overdose at least. I look down at the body...a splitting image of myself.

"Darien? DARIEN! You had enough reanimation fluid in you to regrow me from just a hand? Damn Founder, boy! I was never crazy enough to...Darien?"

I heard the Vortex's voice from a glowing portal behind me.

"Ha! You killed him after all!"

I knelt over him, compressing his chest. My shouts of DAMMIT BOY LIVE drowning out that cat-demon's taunts. All my work seemed to do was drive him deeper into the swamp mud. Without warning he let out a sharp gasp, drawing in the stifling damp air.

"That's it, boy. Breathe. Just breathe."

His eyes opened, glowing so angry of crimson in the darkness I had to look away. I knew that glow. It was the last thing I saw in New Erebus. I fell back, too weak to fight. I collapsed in the mud, waiting for Bloodwing to smear blood over the last line of the tragedy of my life.