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Monthly Archives: June 2011

I felt like James bond in “Goldfinger”. The laser crept ever so slowly; inch by horrible inch.

“Do you expect me to talk?”; “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

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In my situation the laser wouldn’t cut right thru me, but it still had the capabilities of shredding me to bits. The red dot stayed fixed on my baby maker, it barely moved. The gunner had incredible control of his weapon. He wore black cargo pants with military boots. An olive-green t-shirt and sunglasses completed his ensemble. Yes, sunglasses in the dark. He was a self-proclaimed badass. Oh, he also had his automatic machine gun-rifle-thing pointed at my frank & beans…still.

“So, when I make a cheap gold jewelry joke, that’s grounds for your man to shoot my junk? I don’t think the punishment fits the crime.” Benjamin remained in the same position, holding up the wall with his vertically challenged frame.

“I do not appreciate rude. I could have killed you, dismembered you, and wouldn’t have lost any sleep over it.”

“You could have left me where you found me.”

“It’s true I could have. But then again, if I did, when you came to you would seek out your vengeance.”

He’s right. I would very much want to hunt down the person or persons that bested me. I would invoke the best 2 out of 3 rule.

“Then why keep me here and be so cryptic about it?” I tried to adjust my posture, putting more weight on one side than the other. Trying to alternate sides the best I could. My wrists and feet were now rubbed raw. Little trickles of blood dripped to my cement bed below, forming half-dollar sized pools for any vampire bugs that happened to inhabit this room.

“I keep you because you interest me. A vigilante, a do-gooder willing to risk his own life to get involved with the likes of me. It’s fascinating.” There it was that criminal smile back where it belonged.

I figured out how to get out of my chains by the time he finished his sentence. I wasn’t ready to unleash my plan because combat boy still had the dot of destruction on my twig and berries. I was forced to hope they would leave the room, and then I could get out of these restraints and fight my way to freedom. A simple plan, it should work…I think.

“What were you doing that was so bad that I tried to interfere?”

“You really don’t remember? Fine, I will tell you.” He pushed away from the wall and grabbed he chair by the lamp. He sat down on my right side.

“There was a building, some explosives, and me. You’ll understand if I don’t tell which building. If you truly don’t remember then my plan shall proceed.”

I didn’t tell him I remembered. It came back to me in the middle of our chat. The memory was just there, one second it wasn’t the next it was. There was no stroke of genius to it, no epiphany that made it come back. It just came back.

He had been alone walking towards a pawn shop. He had a satchel on his back and an evil look in his eye. He went around back and put his pack down and pulled out army grade C4. I can only assume that G.I. Cool over there had a supplier for the explosives. I happen to be in the right place at the right time, like I thought; I always seem to be somewhere when I’m needed. Or there’s just so much crime and evil in this place that the odds are with me to run across something anytime I am out and about.

I approached him and then that was it. There was nothing left to remember, but I bet my head remembers the butt of that gun. I hadn’t been cautious nor had I been patient. I’d been careless and paid the price. And still paying for it.

I caught the break I was looking for when another man came in to tell the boss he had a phone call. With a nod of his head he left the room, and the dot disappeared from my groin when the soldier dispersed with him.

I focused my power on the locks instead of the chains. I was able to grip them in both hands and sent my will through my fingertips, into the key holes. With a pop the locks opened and with a little effort I was able to free my hands. I did the same with the lock around my feet.

Barely able to stand I fought my way to the lamp and the desk. A cane was propped up in the corner; the penguin was very fashionable indeed. I leaned heavily on the cane and went out the door, looking around before I continued.

I heard footsteps closing in; they were coming from the other end of the hallway. I might not have been able to stand or walk fluently but I sure as hell could knock these bastards out.

The plump man and the soldier came into sight.

Before the guard could raise his gun I let loose with mine; it wasn’t an actual gun but it was deadly. My power ripped the air and sent ripples down the hallway. My force lashed at the two men and sent them back the way they came. My face must’ve been a mangled mess of emotions. Fear, rage, and pain were the most prominent.

I hobbled down to the two men laying on the ground, trying to kick-start their bodies. I grabbed the rifle from the soldiers shoulder and returned the favor he had bestowed upon me earlier. He was out cold. Stumpy hadn’t regained enough strength to stand, or maybe he was standing, the light was dull in the hallway.

I caught his eye and held his gaze.

“I believe the score is now 1-1. Until we meet again…” I raised the cane in my right hand and brought it down with as much force as I could muster on top of his bulbous head. I put the two unconscious men together as two lovers would embrace; my final parting shot to them both.

I didn’t run into the third man or anybody else on my way up and out of the building. I was in an abandoned part of town, not too far from my own residence. It was a good thing too because I could barely walk. When I finally made it home I called the pawn shop and told the owner, Eddie what went down and to keep his eyes out. It was the best I could do at the moment. Eddie could look out for his own; I wasn’t too worried about that.

Gizmo met me at the back door and jumped into my arms. I still had the cane; it was nice, old, and sophisticated. I’m sure I would find another time to use it. It’s the simple things in life.

…and it continued…

 The man with the evil eyes was short, plump, and he kind of waddled when he entered the room. He kept his greasy smile plastered on his face. He must’ve known something that I didn’t. As he casually rolled into the room I checked the restraints once again; I was still in them. A wishful thought crossed my mind; this was just a dream, a nightmare that would wake me up just before my heart would stop beating. Unfortunately, it was not the case. It was real: the blood, the chain, and the evil penguin were very, very, real.

My capturer settled on the wall in front of me, leaning against it without a care in the world. This was a normal day for him, or that’s what it looked like anyway. He wasn’t at all appalled by what he saw. A man chained to the floor, bleeding, and waiting for his sentence. He was the judge and I was the felon. Let’s hope this wasn’t my third strike.

                “Hello,” the penguin squawked, “my name is Benjamin Strong, but don’t let the name fool you; I can barely lift a full glass of red wine.”

As he finished his sentence, his smile was stamped back on his face. He was trying to lighten the mood, but the only thing I need lightened was the chain on my limbs.

                “Why am I chained up?” I asked him directly, not wanting to waste anymore time.

                “Because you pose a threat to me and my objective if you were not subdued.”

                “Why am I a threat to you? I can’t remember the events that led up this. I’m hoping you could help me with that.”

                “You, my dear sir, are a threat because you are a good guy and I am a bad guy. It’s very simple really. And you are in your present state because you interfered with my plan. You left me no choice but to take drastic measures.” He finished talking and once again that cheesy smile surfaced. I could see him in the western days, lighting up a long cigarette and inhaling it with a smokers ease. He was calm, cool, and collected…and short.

It’s frustrating not knowing what happened before. It makes it very difficult to assess the current situation I was in. I would be guessing to think I was just in the right place at the right time, but no one has gotten the best of me like this before.

My head still hummed, but my blood had stopped running. My arms were numb from the position in which they were hung. My shoulders burned with the pressure and my feet ached with the chained wrapped so tightly around them.

“Where are my shoes? Were they a threat to you as well?” The menace in the short frame chuckled; it delighted him to have such a conversation.

“Your shoes are on the street where we snatched you from. They fell off in the fight. You took quite a hit and still stood, so another hit was required. The force was tremendous, probably why you can’t remember. I wouldn’t steal your shoes, and in case you were wondering, your jacket is in the corner, in the dark.”

I was wondering where my pea coat was; it was my special coat; my only coat.

                “How long does it take?” I asked.

                “How long does what take my good man?”

                “How long does it take to wash the green off of your skin from those cheap ass gold chains?” I must’ve hit a nerve, there was no smile this time.

A red dot appeared on my chest and slowly tracked its way to my special area, my sensitive area, my please sweet mother of Mary don’t shoot me in my balls area. I flicked my eyes to Benjamin Strong, my capturer, the bad to my good, and I waited for the command.

…to be continued…

Abruptly, my dream ended, as most dreams do. It wasn’t much of one to begin with, but it had been comforting. It had slipped through my fingers and escaped my feeble attempts to regain its warm embrace. Simple, dark, they were always dark, but never the same. This one had felt strangely familiar; it felt welcoming.

I opened my eyes. My head was pounding, as if my heart grew ten times in size and my temples were the drums to which it beat. The left side of my face felt slick; a drop of what I hoped was sweat, fell into my eye. My sight started to focus, but there was nothing much to focus on. I was in the middle of the room. Cement walls on every side I could see, a small light beamed in the far corner next to the door. Instinctually I tried to wipe the fluid out of eye. I couldn’t move my arm. I tried the other one. Chained to the floor, on a cement slab, my body lay in a crucified position, except no nails through any part of my extremities…not yet anyway (I’ll take that as a good sign).

Blood. That’s what’s in my eye, not sweat, but blood. I knew it felt too thick. I tried to scan the rest of my body the best I could. My t-shirt was ripped and stained with something all too familiar. My jacket was nowhere to be found and the same for my shoes. Who takes someone’s shoes?

It was cool in this room, most likely a basement or cellar of some sort. There could be hundreds of buildings, abandoned and withering, that have rooms like this one. They call them kill rooms. I think in my case its torture-first-then-kill room.

My memory still wasn’t all there. I clearly had been hit hard, but it looks like I put up a decent enough fight. I wonder how many of them I took out before they got me. I think 50 sounds about right. Yes, 50 men and or women; I’m no chauvinist; women can be bad too. If you’re shooting a gun at me, your gender is the last thing I’m worried about.

I wasn’t going to lie around and wait for my kidnappers return. I centered my will and power into the end of my left wrist, hoping to blow the lock on the chains that held me. With a push of focus I sent the burst of energy out of my hand with an audible pop. The chain slammed upward but fell back down on my wrist…hard. It didn’t feel very pleasant. A new idea, a new idea, I need a new idea.

Thump-thump, thump-thump…someone was about to grace me with their presence. I just hope they would fill me in on what my mind was keeping out. I settled back into the coldness of the cement and saved the strength I had left. There was no use fighting the chains when the person who had the key might be coming through the door.

My blood had started to dry and my heart still beat against my head, but it was still beating nonetheless. I was alive for a reason; I might as well find out why.

The door lock turned and unlatched with a metal on metal sound. The knob turned and pushed open. Cautiously, a shape entered my concrete chamber, assault rifle at the ready, behind him another man emerged; the man flashed a smile but his eyes gave away his nature–it was evil–he was evil.

…to be continued…

…and it continued…

A soul is a terrible thing to waste–having it ripped from your body, bit by bit is far worse. Every movement the figure took brought it further out into the light, slowing it but not stopping it. With each second that it stayed in the dim light, the more transparent it became. The Dark and the Light have been enemies long before the existence of mankind, before the dinosaurs first roamed the earth, before there was anything else to fight over. I’ve always remained more in the grey area. I dabble in the light and have been known to partake in the dark. It’s a fine line to tread, but I am ever so graceful.

Gizmo found a beaten down newspaper stand to hide behind. They stopped delivering to this area long ago, long before I had come back. They stopped after the city started to turn.

The creature crept slower towards me and I held my ground. There was only one way to end the existence of a shadow man and that required it to get really close to me. Not something I was terribly excited about.

The only thing you can do to kill a shadow is to turn on a light–a very bright light. If this had been a normal town, with normal clouds, this scenario would not be taking place. The sun would have exterminated it before it came anywhere near me, but also it wouldn’t have existed in a normal town. Normalcy, what do I know of it? Maybe this is normal and the whole world has slipped from the grips of sanity…and into the mouth of madness.

By the time the darkness had reached me, it was nearly see through. I could make out a broken fire hydrant and a rusted child’s bike through the hollow chest of what used to be a man. The tassels on the handle bars were flaking off piece by piece with every gust of wind, sending them to a better place.

The shadow extended both of the masses that resembled arms, towards me, and I didn’t move. I half thought that they would have just passed right through me, like a ghost through a wall, but that was not the case. It grabbed me firmly and pulled me closer. I didn’t fight it. My vision went dark and I blinked rapidly to make sure I hadn’t just shut my eyes out of instinct. No, they were open and the deep darkness of the shadow had engulfed me. My skin crawled and tried to break free from my body, trying to filet itself in hopes of leaving the darkness behind. My teeth chattered and clacked together furiously wanting to join my skin in their great escape. My body felt like it was being pulled from all directions, being torn from the very essence of who I was. But I stood my ground. It would have a hard time finding my soul to steal. That was already sold to another.

I’ve had enough fun and this thing was getting crazed with anger over its failed attempt to feed its hunger. I grabbed it tightly around me and it couldn’t break free. All I had to do was flip a switch and bring light into this abyss. The carvings on my arm erupted in a blaze of light, tearing through the dark. My will, my power flowed around us. Again it tried to break free, tried to find its way home, back to the comfort of the dark. My grip was unbreakable. Brighter and brighter the world around us became. The light cut through the thin being and white fire erupted, burning the evil beast as only fire could. It couldn’t scream, but I could feel the pain it was enduring and it comforted me. I represented the good side, or most of it anyway and another beast slain is another win for the home team.

The thing from the shadows, that once was a man, fell to the ground in a heap of ashes. Smoke rose, carrying hundreds of souls with it; hundreds of bodies would be finally at rest, hopefully at peace. The wind picked up and scattered the remains, along with the pieces of tassel from the bike to a better place, but not with my soul.

Gizmo rushed to my side when it was over. I bent down and gave him the affection he was after. We couldn’t even take a walk anymore without running into trouble, but that’s why I was here, to take care of the trouble. After all, it was my destiny to come back. To stop the city from turning. To right the wrong.

This is my town now. This is Heretic Valley

On my usual, mundane, morning walk with my dog, Gizmo a chilling wind picked up, slapping me in my face. I pulled my jacket tighter around me, flipping my collar up around my neck. Gizmo, a beautiful brown and white Boston terrier, didn’t take notice to the hateful wind. His tongue stuck out, daring it to do its worst.

The street was abandoned. It has been that way for a long time. The shadow men of the night have retreated back into their corners, resting and waiting for full dark to come once again. Well, most of them anyway. A dark figure crept alongside the broken down shamble of a house adjacent to us. Out of the corner of my eye I could see his movement with quick glimpses of his body through the silhouettes of the buildings he was hiding behind. He was rubbery and rigid all at once. He could bend his body to stay hidden but could go stiff as a board when need be. He dripped what looked like black tar as he went, or maybe it was my mind giving me that illusion of it as I watched. To look at it, you feel the evil, like a predator looking for prey. But this thing would soon find out that it was looking in the wrong direction this morning.

I told my dog to hide on the other side of the street and he did. We have a bond and communicate better than most. He’s most likely smarter than me, but I’d never tell him that.
I waited in the center of the mostly unused street. There may be a stranger from time to time wander through, lost and looking to get the hell out as fast as they could. For me, I was safe in the street–except for that long shadow sneaking closer. I waited for IT to make a move, gathering my strength and power.

The creature was scared to leave its home and the sweet security of the dark. Reluctantly, it finally emerged, showing me the full, misshapen feature that it was. Standing seven feet tall, slender not unlike a Festivus pole, and its face, its face was the worst part. There were eye sockets, but no eyes, just sockets. The round holes were somehow darker than the rest of its thin body. The mouth had been stitched together with material that looked like fishing line. There were no fingers, no feet; just matter that connected to the rest of its body. I was wrong before when I called this merely a thing. I knew what it was and I didn’t like the answer.

Staying in the shadows for so long will change a person, change who they are, or even what they are. The valley can be cruel like that. It’s a harsh place to live for people so easily deceived. They get promised everything they’ve ever desired and in return they get everything they’ve ever feared. This thing could only live off of one substance now—souls. It eats souls, or more accurately it absorbs them.

To be continued…

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