The Return of a God-King: Season Two of the Bear God is Coming

Originally posted on Abnormal Publishing.


Darkness. All that there is—is darkness.

Then a pale light emanates above something—or someone.

The camera comes close and reveals the silhouette of a figure. A sexy figure—in armor and fur.

The camera then pans up and reveals the sexy beast to be The Bear God wearing night vision goggles. He pulls them off and gives a toothy grin.

“Kept you waiting, huh?”

“CUE THE LOGO!”

The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God Logo

Some announcer guy pops in randomly.

The Bear God sighs. “Woah, woah, spoilers man. Come on now.”

“Sorry, Bear God. I’ll let you *sniff sniff* take over.” Random announcer guy runs away sobbing uncontrollably knocking things over like a noob.

“Can someone go check on Ray? I think he’s butthurt for no reason…again. Right, let’s get on with the show.”

A fire erupts in the fireplace, lighting the room in a soft, warm glow. The Bear God puts on a silk pajama robe and sits down in a luxurious recliner, and sips on an alcoholic drink or whatever the hell it is he’s drinking.

“I know what you’re thinking, ‘Sin, where have you been all this time?’ Well, folks, I am here to tell you that I’ve been busy. Busy doing other things in life and well, living in itself is pretty damn busy. So, sure, we got to Episode Two of The Diary of The Wasteland Bear God and things kind of…dropped off.”

“Like a dingleberry. You’re known for those.”

“As I was saying, some books were being written, a seasonal outline made, and well, the old man upstairs apparently has a lot of things he wants to get done.”

“Like your mom!”

“Ooh, so cool, edgy and new. You really struck a nerve with me there, Maker.”

The Bear God rolls his eyes.

“Do you think normal folks can differentiate between knowing when someone is talking, compared to the script-like description that is also italicised?”

“One can only hope. I mean, it’s been this way for quite awhile. Plus they’d know it’s one of our styles if they bothered to read anything by us, or picked up The Chronicles of Bob: The Chronic Suicidal, The Lodestone Files: Book One and TwoLilah’s Guide to Hoyle (due out June 21; it’s getting touched by another publisher. We’ll see how that turns out.). Anyway, so we’ve had this…break…I guess. However, we’re looking to get back into the game and swing of things. At most, we’ll probably be a once a week kind of deal. We have the Alpha to test out and well when it comes to that sort of thing we’re pretty adamant about criticising. Granted, things may or may not get through when it comes to feedback, but that’s not my boat.”

The Bear God drinks his drink and fills another magically out of thin air. MAGIC-AH!

“We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. While we weren’t gone indefinitely, we know there is a long, long cliffhanger. Granted, it’s not as overdramatic as some other works, a lot of filler has been cut, and the action/story was allowed to keep on chugging that bottle of Oxycontin. Really, folks, it’s going to be a great show. We are going to have new forms, like this super roid rage form I get, with my armor on it and shit. Ah, man.

The Bear God squirms in his chair and tries to not moan uncontrollably.

“Hoo, I feel sorry for whoever is going to have to clean that up. Ah, back to business at hand. What is the purpose of this segment? Well, for one it’s to say I AM BACK, BABY! I am also bringing the whole gang with me. Two, it’s also to say that I can do whatever the hell I want when it comes to making adventures happen. Three, we’re still working on artwork, something to really showcase my beauty. It’s pretty awful when you went from being able to draw for many years…to a long time of not drawing. The pain…and the stick figures. Ugh. Pitiful.

“Agreed.”

“Yeah, you should. You are just a horrible person, and you do horrible things, and you should feel ashamed of yourself.”

“I have zero fucks to give. What about you?”

“And that’s why I love ya. Platonically. Is it wrong to love yourself?”

“We’re sexy, and we know it.”

“Damn right. So there you have it, folks. We will be getting back on with Season Two, maybe a movie, some platonic 69 photoshoots, and then it’s off to Season Three. We will also be working on getting the stream up so we can show off our bits and get flagged for pornography and laugh about it in the office. I advise you to stay tuned and bring some lube, and maybe a towel.”

“You’ll get hit in the neck with a hacky sack, folks. Deathticles. Fear them.”

“Exactly. See you all soon!”

The room fades to black, save for the fire still burning in the background.

“Why did I get a minor role in this? Like usually I do all the talking, and then you do the minor quips. This one felt dumb as fuck.”

“Ain’t my fucking problem—sounds like a you problem.”

“You’re a cunt. Grade AAA.”

“Yeah, we know.”

“See you in the shower.”

Random announcer guy comes in and does a surprise narration. “STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS, NEXT TIME ON WASTELAND BEAR GOD XYZ! Oh, we’re still recording? TURN THIS SHIT OFF ALREADY!”


Last time on The Diary of the Wasteland Bear God: End of Season One [Part One] and Part Two.

Season Two Premiere Episode One Part One and Part Two.

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Ten Years: A Poem

Ten Years [For Zelda]

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney


One

I thought my life was done; when you and your mom almost died.

Two

Darkness took over and nearly ruined my life. I was very blue.

Three

I realized that nothing was going to change by sitting on my hands. I made a change and started to get better. You grew up so much since the last year; I knew the kind of kid you’d grow to be.

Four

I watched you grow and saw how you made people smile. Your laughs were contagious, and soon you’d start school. I still struggled with myself and fought with my mind. The guilt I harbored was massive and cut me to the core.

Five

Your sassiness was profound. You were the perfect blend of your mother and I. Without a doubt, you and your mother brought me joy. I was still wading through the darkness. I’d grit my teeth and fight the pain to stay alive.

Six

Enduring the rollercoaster ride as I stumbled along to keep control. I’d lose my way here and there; fighting myself and getting lost in my abysmal dismal thoughts. Your mom and I struggled to get you the equipment you needed and stood against those who would deny you. It was a taste of something we knew a life this way we would endure, but we knew that together, we could do it. I strayed and started to get lost in alcohol to try to help numb the pain. I had built up a wall with flesh, bone, and despair bricks.

Seven

This was the year when you found out you were going to be a big sister. It would be a new adventure. I wanted to be ready. As hard as I tried, I  know I could have done better. Even as I got help and started to show improvement, I’d take two steps forward and fall two more. I struggled to see the joy of having a perfect family. I often found myself outside looking to heaven.

Eight

Ah, your sassiness was so contagious that your baby sister caught on quick. You slowly opened up to having a sister. I was starting to find my way out of the darkness. My alcoholism would soon be kicked to the curb. I took up arms to further better myself: eating, working out, making an effort to be there for you and your sister. You were growing up too fast for your mom and me. The tears I once shed for the memory of a tragedy, were now tears of joy of having you still. I was beginning to let go all the feelings I had harbored, especially, hate.

Nine

Soon, we would leave our old home and move. It was a new start for us all. I relapsed and retreated into the darkness. I had found some comfort, but the feelings gnawed at me. The realizations and truths uncovered left me scared for us. It would be some time, but I would finally emerge victoriously. I improved my body and mind and would find a balance. I took up the craft that I believed I was destined for. I’ve watched you grow up this far and wonder where has it all gone—time?

Ten

The darkness has subsided and I am myself. I still can’t believe that it’s been ten years. You’ve become such a beautiful girl with a contagious laugh and smile. You’re our world and more, and even though you can be a crabby crab, we love you very much. It’s taken me this long to finally find the strength to cast off my shackles of guilt and blame. I can smile and laugh and be myself. I’ve come to manage my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I’ll keep fighting and being here for you, mom, and your sister. I know it’s just another year to some, but you’ll always be our little bugaboo and pumpkin. Happy birthday to our Princess Zelda on your tenth.


 

For Zelda

Love Dad

Madness’ Sole Soul: A Short Story

Madness’ Sole Soul

A Short Story by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

“I’m sorry, it has to be this way,” he remembered his mother saying. She left him—left them all. Now, they were all being hunted down by an unknown person (or maybe organization?). Rumor was that his mother was collecting other family members to help her purge those that were left and would get in her way of officially taking over the family since his father’s untimely demise. The lands, she believed were hers; as was the town. It was her birthright. That even though the past had tarnished what should have been regulated to her—she was persistent on correcting. Everything would return to her: the land, the town, the family name—everything. It would only be a matter of time until he would perish. So, he supposed on the issue.

It was true, she had left his step-father for an old fling from the “glory days” or what have you. Perhaps to gain leverage in use against her remaining members of the Hessen household. Though he never saw eye to eye with the man he came to acknowledge as a father figure in his life, he felt sorry for him. Vengeance, karma, these things have a way of working out. Order must be maintained in the universe. Time will work its hands the way it sees fit.

The day had come—one he had anticipated. The hitmen (or so he alleged) had come for the step-father, for him, for the rest of them.

“You need to get out of here, John. I can deal with them.” The young man steeled himself with a knife in hand. “Run, run as fast as you can. Don’t look back.”

“What you’re talking about is madness, Eric. Your mother could never do such a thing! Not to us, especially, to you.” John was flabbergasted at the information that had been collected and evidence that suggested his wife had, indeed, put a price on his head and the rest of the family.

“Go before it’s too late! There’s no time to argue. I know you’re not my real father, but I do look up to you like one.” Eric gripped the knife tighter as he clenched his jaw. John nodded and gathered a few things, before hurrying straight out the back door.

Out front, Eric heard an engine approaching. He opened the massive oak door to see a black SUV coming up the drive to the estate. “Typical fashion,” Eric mumbled aloud before closing the door.

He peeked out the window to see the occupants disperse from the vehicle. He knew them all. “My Uncles? Aunts?” He noted two more vehicles coming to the estate. “This…cannot be good,” he said.

A voice came from behind him. “Hello, dear brother.”

Sister.

“Hello, dear sister,” Eric replied, still peeking out the window. “Quite the family reunion we have today; unannounced in fact. Any reason as to why?”

His sister grimaced. “Did you not hear? There’s a high price for you and ‘dad.’ We are all here to collect—it’s nothing personal. I could use the money to take care of a lot of things.”

Eric sighed. “You were always greedy. We have vast wealth as it is and yet, you squander it.” His words struck a nerve. “You do know mother will only kill you after you kill John and I, don’t you?”

“I am aware of that. I have taken precautions. I’m afraid John is already. . .disposed. He didn’t get very far,” she smiled.

Eric grit his teeth. “The man was hardly any threat, let alone needed to be involved. You could have spared him, you cold-hearted bitch.”

“Please, I have been called worse,” his sister laughed.

“And soon you will be dead, all of you. I will make sure of it—mom included. I won’t let any of you live anymore.”

“Bold words, little brother, but remember I am older,” she replied sharply.

“Remember, I planned ahead,” he grinned.

Eric’s sister pulled out a knife of her own and motioned to attack him. “At least you will die with some honor, bitch.” He quickly disarmed her and slashed her arm; sending her to recoil in pain.

“You little bastard,” she screamed.

Eric moved in hastily and stabbed her in the gut and slashed upward, bringing her to her knees and to be embraced by death.

“Sorry, Julie, but it’s nothing personal,” Eric said as he twisted the blade once more into her neck.

The door opened and in came the rest of the family: his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his mother.

“Well, you certainly save us the time in having to find you, son,” his mother stated.

“Mom…”

She looked over at the dead body of her daughter. “I see you took care of your sister. Good job, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree alright.”

“You all are ridiculous. Acting together to kill another of your family? For what? For money? Land? You will all stop at nothing after this matter is settled to make sure you solely get all of it.” Eric shook his head. “Your greed consumes you.” He pointed to his mother. “Your whore ways and betrayal to this family will be your undoing, dear mother. I will kill you all.”

His mother laughed. “You sound just like your grandfather. He used to believe we had some ‘disease’ within us that drove us mad. Granted, that’s what got him locked up. As cunning as he was, he was no match for me. It’s just human nature, sweetie. Kill or be killed.”

Everyone eyed one another, uncertain of who would betray who.

“Kill him,” Eric’s mother ordered.

The cousins were the first to swarm him, and they were the first to die. He effortlessly slaughtered them and left them dead on the floor. Then came his aunts. The one that had a change of heart was only to be stabbed in the back by his mother. They too fell in the bloody heap that was amassing in the house’s grand foyer.

Three uncles and Eric’s mother remained. They spread out around him and slowly motioned towards him. “I wish you a merciless death, dear uncles,” Eric said as he went after his more overweight uncle. He ran and leaped at the man, stabbing him in the neck and under the jaw. Collapsing atop him, Eric stabbed him a few more times in the chest before rolling off him and readying for another attack. The next attacker came, and Eric disarmed him and stabbing him with his own blade; then used his body as a shield against his other attack. He slid on the ground and slit the Achilles tendons of his last uncle, and then sliced up his backside.

“Mother, you are all that remain. It appears things did not go as you had hoped,” said Eric.

“On the contrary, honey. You did the legwork for me,” Eric’s mother replied. She then drew a small pistol from behind her.

She smiled menacingly. “Never bring a knife to a gunfight, sweetie. Thank you for getting rid of everyone for me.”

Eric reached behind him and withdrew his gun and shot his mother in the chest several times, “I knew you would.”

He approached his fast-dying mother’s side. “The only difference, mom, is that I didn’t hesitate and make a big speech before I pulled the trigger. Perhaps now you can be at rest.” He kissed her on the cheek and looked at her dimming green eyes. “I love you,” and then pointed the gun at her head and pulled the trigger once more.

One by one, he went around to each family member and shot them in the head. He called the cleaning service that the family used in cases of messes like these. He gave them all a proper burial, despite them having tried to kill him. Ownership and duty fell to him now. Eric was the lord of the manor, the land, and town that came with it. He was the sole survivor of Hessen Estate Massacre.

He was granted everything, although the attorney thought it to be proper to read the wills and testaments of the deceased. Sifting through the mess, Eric had found a piece of paper that clarified more things for him. He handed it to the lawyer.

Clearing his throat, the lawyer read aloud. “It is hereby declared that under article nine, sub-article three, clause eleven, that in the event of the purge of the household, all assets fall to the surviving heir. Debts will be settled with the provided fund, and any outstanding family members outside of second cousins will cease any violent interaction. Half siblings hold no right, nor just cause, and are therefore exempt of any claim to the family name, land, or township. If so claim is ever made, they will be disbarred, and the assets will become forfeit to the state.”

Eric sighed at this. The lawyer shook his hand and eventually left.

In due course, Eric readied himself to leave the house for good. As he is about to close the door, one by one, his family all appeared before him.

“Eric, can you forgive us,” his mother asked.

“We are sorry. . . We should have been a better family,” an aunt stated.

“Time wasted. . .” an uncle added.

“We all could have been better,” his sister agreed.

“No, it was my fault,” he said. They all looked to him, puzzled. He returned their gaze in spite and anger. “It was my fault. . .for being so weak. You may haunt me and my dreams, but you cannot escape your damnation. Suffer your fates, you wretched kin.” The house trembled and shook, and the spirits vanished; returning to their relics, paintings, and pictures. Slowly he pulled the door behind him, closing and leaving behind it all.

Eric took a seat outside in a rocking chair and rocked in it. He noted the gray sky that seemed to have plagued the day. He sighed aloud.

The family car and chauffer pulled up. He noted his serviceman and driver in black attire, with two cousins that laid claim of wanting no involvement of what had transpired. Slowly, he got his pale self, up and ventured to the car.

The driver motioned for the cousins to get in the car. Eric remembered the driver had made prior claims before that he shared his distaste for the twin cousins. He always thought they were up to no good. To spur a change in the young master’s mood, the driver accelerated and would leave a short distance between them and the car.

“Stop, Thomas. Let them in,” Eric stated.

“Thank you, Eric,” replied the one cousin who sat in front of him. The other cousin nodded and sat next to Eric. The car then rumbled away from the estate.

Soon, down the driveway, the cousin who sat next to Eric, took out a knife and slit his throat, then his brother’s throat, and then his own throat. He had tried to strike the driver but was held back by the serviceman in the back.

“Is he alright, Bennie,” Thomas asked the man in the back who applied a handkerchief to Eric’s neck. “Drive—drive to the bloody hospital!” Bennie looked back down at the bloodied Eric. “Put pressure on it! Hold it, young master!”

Eric could feel the warmth slowly leaving him. He also felt the heat of his dead cousin departing him as well.

“Faster,” Eric gasped.

Eric looked at the rearview mirror from the backseat. Who he saw was not his reflection, but rather his grandfather’s. “Grandpa?”

 “Eric, do you see now? Do you see why I did what I did?” Sadness overcame the old man’s wrinkled face. “I loved my family. Honestly, I did. I loved you all. But what I saw—what I knew that was harbored deep within, I knew it was only a matter of time. Even when shown kindness, we’ve all turned on one another. You know it well, my grandson. We carry a sickness—one that spreads like a plague. It must be contained, Eric. It must be put down.

Eric nodded. “I understand. I will purge them all. I will carry this mantle—this burden. For our family.”

His grandfather smiled and then vanished into nothingness. Eric looked out the window to the cloudy sky and the buzzing street corners. He closed his eyes and greeted the darkness.

Some time passed, Eric stared out at the gardens at the hospital. The sun shined brilliantly everywhere. He caught a glimpse of himself, and his family behind him, all mourning. He grinned as he lightly rubbed his bandaged neck. “I’m not dead yet.”

It begins again. This time the madness will be contained.

Look: A Lovecraftian Horror Short

Look: A Lovecraftian Horror Short

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

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Picture by VViktor

 

My voice is silenced. My breath is still. I cannot look to my left. I see something…maybe even someone… there… lurking. They’re shrouded in mystery. How they came into my chambers, I do not know. By morning’s light, I pray them gone, and this nothing more than a nightmare.


I am afraid.

It remains. Curiosity piques me. However, I dare not look left. It could be many of a thing—things. An entity, born not of this world, but from the void of the cosmos. Darkness covers it wholly, save for strange fluctuations of what may be its eyes. Still, I am to remain here. Someone will surely come for me.


I am… frightened.

One of the clergymen came to me, but I sent them away. The mysterious stranger—they…it…tells me things. Things that do not make sense; they cannot, they remark absurdities. I close my eyes and nod my head in acknowledgment. Hoping to appease it—that by chance they may go away. Please, let this nightmare end!

Still, it lingers. Still, it stares into the very being of my soul. It’s eyes—black eyes (I think it to be; of my peripheral vision. No, no, I dare not look) fixated on mine.

I see movement. From the darkness. Fluid, graceful. Ah, so majestic. No, no, I mustn’t…I mustn’t look!

It speaks to me. It’s…indescribable—the words. They’re profound, and nothing of this world. “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Terror grips me now, and I am frozen. May the light from the morning come and save me from this plight!


I am contemplative.

A day or so has passed and so have the whisperings. Truth be told, I am saddened by the departure of such a mysterious visitor. I never saw them. Still, there is something, there, that lingers in that place where they once stood. I cannot quite put my finger on what.


I am contempt.

They’ve returned! While I was reading some scriptures at my desk, they appeared beside me.  They speak to me now. Their voice is as if a choir of angels was playing a heavenly symphony. Ah, and so beautiful are the words. They promise of an everlasting place and that I have been chosen. Me! Me… A proud man. One of the people. They claim they know me well, and that I have caught their eye. That my spiritual works have warranted their guise and I am to be justly rewarded! Thus, they have visited me and personally offered at His feet.


I am…heartfelt.

My heart is full, and I swell with the belief of His will that has at last chosen me to be His herald. Those once strange words and mutterings that were—so hard—to understand are now fluent and so precise, and second nature; only to eating and sleeping. Still, I dare not look, for I might sully their sight and perhaps disgust them with my mortal shell.


I am dedicated!

The return is nigh! He is coming! He has awakened! Ah, at last everyone will finally see with their own eyes the majesty that is His! The blessed will finally revel and be brought to His house. Such splendor! I cannot wait to share this with the congregation!

I must look…I must!


I am…not quite myself…these days.

My eyes are dark and grow darker. My skin has become gray and rough. T’is the start of His blessing I am informed.

We are all that remain… He and I. The congregation—nay, the village was…not so quick to welcome and accept Him. Rest assured, they paid for their blasphemy with blood. He has been most pleased with my continued service. As such, He has vowed to bless me fully.

These new voices that have come to me tell me that what I did was wrong. That I ate children’s brains, hearts, and strung their intestines around like some misshapen scarf. Pah! Nonsense, I say! The elders and fellows of the clergy tried to intervene, but once I showed them they worshipped a false god—once I showed them His image and He brought down His gaze, they were quick to please. He significantly enjoyed driving them to the path of righteousness; to cleanse them of their sins you see. It was such a spectacular sight. Their flesh and blood will nourish us well for some time.

I have looked and seen the end; humanity was made to serve—to serve Him.

Today, I am to be fully converted by Him.


I…am…terror.

[The rest of the text is illegible and cannot be deciphered]

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Johnny Nightwalker: Beyond Good and Evil

Johnny and Omega exchanged blows with one another. They were evenly matched now. However, Omega still had the fighting expertise and size over Johnny.

“You are nothing more than a gnat to me. Insignificant. Petty. You aren’t even fit to be in this world,” said Omega.

“Obviously, I was the favorite compared to you,” Johnny quipped back as he charged up an electrical attack that landed square on Omega’s jaw.

Omega’s gaze became fiery. He grabbed hold of Johnny and began swinging him around like a rag doll.

“How does it feel, boy? To be second rate, second best? The sloppy seconds? A bastard that was never loved by anyone or anything? You’re nothing but space taken up and wasteful shell of a ‘man.’ You failed your family, your friends, and you failed humanity.”

Omega laughed as Johnny hung limply in his grasp.

I can’t let it end this way. I have to do something. Johnny tried to come up with strategies, but nothing seemed concrete.

Then a blinding light emitted from where he last saw the Guardians fighting. A wave of energy rushed in all directions, vaporizing the nightmarish creatures, and sending Omega tumbling to the ground.

Johnny rolled too. He slowly got to his feet and looked over where the blast originated from. There, in a now broken triangle, rested the bodies of Red, Chico, and Pierre.

He felt the last few remnants of their energy fade as it passed through him, and into the air. He turned around and stared on with tears in his eyes.

“No, no,” he stammered. “No, please, don’t go,” he dropped to his knees and began to sob. “Please don’t leave me alone.”

Omega shook his head and slowly got to his feet. He dusted himself off and set his sights on Johnny.

“I’ll give it to the little beasts, they could pack a punch with that little trick of theirs.”

He stood above Johnny, who continued to cry. “Pathetic. Reduced to a sniveling and whining piglet. Yet, you were to be the better soldier? Ha!” Omega spat on Johnny.

Johnny felt the energy and presence of the Guardians.

Lad, we’d never leave ya. Well, willingly, in any case, he heard Red say.

We’re a part of you now, Johnny, stated Pierre.

“Our power is now yours. Not just us though, everyone. Together, we’ll be what beats Omega… Because you’re the embodiment of all. You can do this, Johnny,” said Chico.

Johnny clenched his fists. Time, it seemed, stood still. The push he needed had at last come. He stood up tall and looked Omega in the eye.

“I am not the Alpha, the Omega, or the Beta. I am the one who walks in the shadows. Where the light does not pierce, for I am the light in the darkness.” Raw energy began to course through Johnny. Arcs of the elements, bouncing, flickering, and colliding. His eyes radiated with the powers he assimilated and that of the Guardians. “I am the Nightwalker!”

JOHNNY “NIGHTWALKER” IS AN ONGOING A.B.NORMAL PUBLISHING EXCLUSIVE STORY BY ROBERT J. S. T. MCCARTNEY. CHECK HERE FOR MORE POSTS.
Previously

The Nightwalker ToC

Excerpt From a WIP [Work in Progress] Piece of Mine.

What follows is a small excerpt from my epic dystopian novel (that is still a WIP). It is a rather large novel, one that will most likely be broken up into parts (while a super mega ultra rare edition will be. . .all parts in one.).

OK, here’s a hint at how massive it is right now. 600+ pages and I have 20 or so pages of outline. It’s in its raw form; unedited, not revised. Just. Raw. *boom*

Anyway, this particular addition is something I came up with the other day and as such, it has found a place within the novel, which serves as a sort of backdrop. A society that is controlled via nanomachines. Where the rich live in biodomes and the poor in slums or radioactive wastelands. Where lies and fear are spread continuously to help control the weak.

It’s up to a group of rebels to take on the organization that overthrew the world’s governments from their original rule and to free the people whose minds have been warped. Can they rebuild society, though? Can they remake the Earth? Or is it all just a fantasy?

It’s Hell on Earth. Here. Now.


Malthus turned his attention back to the computer monitor. His eyes tired from staring at the screen of variables and formulas for so long. Hours upon hours. The calculation was everything—it meant. . .everything.

They have to be exact. Precise.

He felt a vibration in his pocket. Another disturbance. There was no time for more of those.

The computer screen went black. Anger set in. A mighty fist hammered the keyboard.

Malthus sighed heavily. The generator probably finally went.

Then, on the screen there appeared a ghastly man, an old friend and lab partner of his. “Malthus,”

“You—you? It can’t be.”

The man spoke again. This time, his tone more melancholic. “This is a pre-recorded message. I pray when you receive this, you know what to do. Play it. Share it. It is time.”

The man cleared his throat, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath.

“My friends, I have a confession I would like to share with you.”

“You see, I cannot contribute to society anymore; for what it stands for, the people that are placed upon such high pedestals, that will send us to our certain doom. What I can do is call for us to rebel.”

His eyes opened; an inferno raged within them. “Rebel, friends.”

“Let us lead each other into unity and overthrow the corruption that is now. Let us purge this idyllic idiocy that casts its horrible shadow of death and our demise.”

The man’s voice grew louder, almost shouting. “Rise up.”

“Rise up from your decrepit chair of lives lost. Shed the shackles of debt and control. Rip off the blindfold of lies and deceit. Remove the earplugs that kept the truth from ringing in your ears!”

“Be free,” he shouted.

The fire in the man’s spirit raged on, behind his words, and in his voice. “See your brothers and sisters; for we all are of one race. Cast aside the labels: of prejudice, race, religion, sex, and profession. Let the truth ring; let it resound throughout the land! We will not be slaves! We will never be subjective subjects to a corrupt and unruly society and government!”

“We must be fleet-footed, truthful and just. For our enemies are numerous and vast. We must make examples of those responsible.”

His tone changed to a cautionary tale. “Be wary, friends, for there are brothers and sisters who are oppressed and fear for their families and loved ones. We must protect them, our neighbors, the sick, the poor, and our children.”

The man took in another deep breath, while a tear ran down his cheek. “Let our voices carry truth. Let our final cry be heard! Let the world know, we are no longer dumb, deaf or blind to the corruption that plagues us! And we shall strike down those that oppose the will of the People.”

“Enough!” said a stranger in the video recording. “He’s said enough. Now, make an example of what we do. . .to traitors.”

The defiant man breathed heavily. His spirit raged on. “We are the beacons in the dark! We are the Torch Bearers!”

A gunshot resounded and the man still sat up. Focused. Fixated.

The man shouted at the top of his lungs, “WE WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED!”

Gunfire erupted on the scene, and then the man, along with whoever was present were engulfed in flames.

Malthus stared at the screen and stopped the recording. He grinned to himself. “My friend, you did it. You really did it.”


I hope you enjoyed that small piece and that you potentially, look forward to the final product. . .when it gets done. Hoo!

More to come and all that fun stuff. Right now? Dinner! I gotta make this BBQ pulled chicken. 😉

Until next time.

RJM

The Inferno

The phone alarm went off, startling James awake as if some natural disaster siren was going off, signaling the end of times. As he rubbed his heavy eyes, in his head, the moving pictures of people: men, women, and children; they all panicked as they fled in horror in every direction. Some, if not most, streaked through the streets in a kaleidoscope of reds, yellows, and oranges that burned brilliantly, even during the day.

James sighed as the vision had been burned into his retinas, forever imprinted as a reminder of that day. Slowly he got out of bed and went to the broken window. Peering out through the remnants of broken glass, he watched as the dark clouds danced off in the far distance with the wind. Below them, the inferno still raged. Still, it consumed.

He looked down at the small sleeping bag that cradled his daughter. James smiled to himself. Though he was miles apart from his wife, he knew that in the end, everything would be alright. At least, that’s what he kept telling himself. James crept slowly to his makeshift bed and sat down. Beside him, on the floor was a dusty and slightly singed diary. A gift that his wife had given him before she left overseas for work.

He opened it up to where she had written a note to him: I will always be with you. I love you, James. — Mary

Thumbing through the pages, he stopped on a specific journal entry. The day when he had said goodbye to her. He had just picked up his daughter from school when it became “Hell on Earth…” at least the West Coast did. It slowly spread to the east, and towards Mexico and Canada. Most of California was no more, just ashen ruins. Quick sketches and descriptions of how the fire spread, scorching LA, Silicon Valley, Wine Country, everything. There were reports that it was a series of napalm bombs set off during the worst drought the US had ever have. Others claimed that it was the result of a nuke going off. While others grasped at concepts of it being an act of God, aliens, or some other absurdities.

James sighed as he flipped through more pages. One where on another day he and his daughter went to a cemetery that overlooked the land below that blazed. Taking a break from their eastern trip, they sat and watched the plumes add their brushstrokes to the sky; dampening the azure to a dark gray in swift strokes. He had found some ceremonial wine in the abandoned church. Taking one of the paper cups he had saved, he sipped and watched on. His daughter ran and laughed; making sure to visit the graves and apologizing if she stepped on those that were hardly visible.

Part of him was glad it had all happened. Another part of him felt for the families that were displaced, and for the innocence that was snuffed out. He only knew, though that he need to be alive because they needed him.

A few streams of tears rolled down his cheeks. It had been a few days since he had last talked to his wife. Every time they would attempt to communicate, it’d be hard to understand one another. He looked through the last few messages his wife had sent him. Some were from Mary’s business trip in Tokyo when the cherry blossoms were blooming; another was from Paris at night. The most recent were about her coming back to the States and them being together again.

He stared at the contact photo. He ran his right index finger over the photo.

“I miss you…so much,” he whispered, struggling not to cry outright.

He sniffled and tried to maintain his composure. He had thoughts, thoughts that they would meet again, be a family once more, that they would be happy. That they would meet at the airport and see each other at the baggage claim and finally, hold one another. He silently laughed at the thought, believing it to be such a movie script ending.

A beep came over the phone, drawing his attention. I am leaving for Boston today. I’ll try to get a closer flight over from there. I love you and miss you.

He swiped on the screen, replying “I love you and miss you too.”

The phone then got tucked into his pants pocket. He stood up and wrangled on his fireman’s jacket, a relic he kept from “Old California.” He retrieved some canned food from a gym bag and prepared to heat it over a fire outside.

He knelt down and stirred his daughter from her sleep. She smiled at her father and said: “thank you.” He gave her a pat on the head. Together the pair ate in silence, except where in the distance aircraft could be heard flying. They still attempted to put it out. He believed it was a farce and that nature would win in the end. The inferno was something not natural, though, but not anything he had ever encountered. Water had little effect, the fire retardants had no effect, the dirt barriers were ineffective. Everything that they could use to hinder it, stop it, whatever, was useless.

Once they had finished eating, the father and daughter set off to continue their journey. As they walked, he listened to the hand crank radio. There was still no exact cause of the fire, and it was not suspected to be terrorism; though many voiced otherwise. They had no exact method to combat the fire, the death toll was in the millions, and the West Coast was an inhabitable zone and now known as Hades.

Some people voiced concern that this was a stunt for the newly elected president, but things had gotten out of control, and now they had no hopes of containing their mess. Conspiracies from the left and right flew across the airwaves, while cries for help and emergency broadcasts would crackle in and out.

***

Night had come, drowning out the sun. The father and daughter made a small fire near the Oaktree that sheltered them. As he made dinner for the pair, he looked off into the distance at the moon that peered through some of the trees. It nearly resembled a man with crooked teeth smiling back. He chuckled to himself silently.

James dialed his wife’s phone number and talked with her briefly, giving her an update on the day’s travels. He looked to his daughter.

“Heather, do you want to talk to your mom?” James asked, moving the phone away from his ear.

His daughter gave a big nod and set off to taking the phone and talking to Mary, who tried not to cry on the other line. All flights were grounded for now, as the inferno had helped produce some wicked weather that now spread to other parts of the world. It was foretold that we would become trapped on earth, with the sun blocked out by the haze. Fiery Tornadoes were made and observed. There was even a typhoon that carried the part of the inferno across the Pacific. The ocean was soon becoming a sea of fire. All hope that anyone had was now diminishing, fast.

He turned the radio off, and took the phone from his daughter, having said goodnight to her mother.

“Hey…”

“I am sorry I’m not there,” Mary said.

“It’s OK. It’s not your fault,” James said.

“I know, but I just really want to be home with you two,” Mary choked out. “I don’t even know if they’re going to let flights even take off anymore with all the stuff they’re saying in the news.”

“Don’t listen to them. We’ll find a way. If anything, you could try to take a boat,” James said calmly.

“Yeah, yeah I guess,” Mary said, trying not to cry.

 “We’ll be alright. Everything will be alright.” He said, hoping his words would encourage her, though he contemplated them otherwise.

“I hope so,” she said exhaling. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Get some sleep. I’ll call tomorrow,” Mary said.

They both stayed on the line. James held the phone close to his chest, knowing that Mary couldn’t sleep. He stayed awake for a while before hanging up, figuring she had fallen asleep.

He whispered, “I love you,” before disconnecting the call.

James took the hand crank charger and plugged it in the phone. He cranked until his arms tired and he slowly fell asleep. The last sight was the man with the crooked teeth waving him goodnight with the gentle breeze.

***

When morning came, there was the sound of crackling and the familiar smell of wood burning. James scrambled to his feet and searched for Heather. The flames were abnormally close. He looked to the sky that was dark gray, a storm had come and had helped fan the flames eastward, hot on their heels. He dashed over and woke his daughter and together, they gathered their things and set off in a rush.

As they wandered eastbound, James noticed there was a message from Mary. I found a charter that will take me across the Atlantic. I’ll see you soon. Stay safe. I love you.

The message was from several hours ago. James smiled to himself. Even amidst the chaos, he still clung to some hope. He, like many others, had prayed for rain, but it didn’t matter. The fire kept going strong, and by the news reports on the radio, there were very few places that were untouched. The supposed safe zones were around the various mountain ranges. Still, James kept this hope; not only for himself and his family but for others…for humanity.

They came across a road that was quiet. It probably hadn’t been traveled on for a while now. Few vehicles littered the sides. He was more familiar with the highway being lit up, with the passing cars mimicking beacons. James wagered he could perhaps get one of them to work, and they could drive the rest of the way versus walking.

One by one, he tried the automobiles and trucks. None of them had life remaining, and he was ill-equipped even to service any of them. At the very least, they could offer shelter from the fast approaching storm.

“Parts of the Midwest are now gone. With firefighters trying different strategies to keep the fire from spreading past the Rockies. The western coast of Canada has been scorched and is now part of Hades. The cold temperatures seem to have some effect on the fire, leading some scientists to propose using liquid nitrogen to help combat the fire. The first field test will take place tomorrow morning as the coming severe storm system is giving the fire great strength in spreading.” The man reported over the radio broadcast.

The voice changed to a more determined tone, “For those still trying to escape eastward, there is still hope. We are still fighting. Don’t give up.”

James turned the radio off and looked in the rearview mirror to his now sleeping daughter. He glanced out the driver side window, noting the streaks of gray, black, and intermingling white. Off in the distance, he could see the orange glow of the pursuing inferno.

***

James awoke some time later to the light of a passing car. He attempted to get their attention by flashing the high beams on the car. The car slowed down and reversed in his direction. He conversed with the driver who was taking his family of four. There was little room, but they could spare a little room and take him and his daughter to the nearest refuge center.

He picked up his sleeping daughter and sat in the back cargo area with her. He reached for the phone in his pocket to send his wife a text message. We got a ride from a family to the evacuation camp in Colorado. Denver is still taking flights. I’m going to sleep for a little while. I love you.

James tucked the phone back in his coat and closed his eyes. Thankful for the chance of being able to ride instead of walking. His chest swelled with hope. Maybe…

***

The van arrived at the evacuation center. Guards asked for IDs from the man driving and from anyone else that was present in the vehicle. Once cleared, they were instructed to park at a designated mass pool, where it resembled a junkyard almost more than anything.

There were crowds of people. Some worked at the medicinal tent, while others worked at the food center, and others worked at servicing vehicles. People were helping people; this is what he was used to. It was something he was familiar with, being part of a unit.

A military personnel approached him. “Excuse me, sir, but are you a firefighter?”

“Yes, sir, I am, LAFD,” James replied.

“Great. We need more volunteers, and especially those with firefighting experience. Can you come with me, please?” asked the militant.

“Sure, but what about my daughter?” James asked.

“She will be watched by one of our matrons. Don’t worry; you’re not being deployed…yet.”

James nodded and gave a look over his shoulder, Heather still slept.

***

The center’s firefighting unit was massive, some thousands of people all lined up in rows. All poised and ready to take back from nature.

A well-dressed and medal heavy colonel stood and addressed the masses. “Ladies and gentlemen, you are going to be taking part of the field test of Defense of the Rockies tomorrow morning.”

A lot of chatter erupted, with some saying they didn’t sign up to be shipped out so soon, while others cheered. The man raised his hands, “I thank you for your service, as does your country…as does the world. We are hoping that the liquid nitrogen bombs, coupled by your fire suppressants, will be enough to weaken or extinguish the flames.”

The colonel stepped down from the podium and continued his address. “We are the last line of defense for the East. Other countries are taking extreme countermeasures; some even going as bold as nuking affected areas. While those are effective, to a degree, we are not going to throw away lives callously.”

He paused as he looked at the crowd. “I believe we will win the war against this…Inferno, that we are the snowball chance in Hell. It is in these dark times, where we are our strongest, putting aside all differences and striving for the greater good.”

Some members of the crowd chanted back, “the greater good.”

“Tomorrow, we will stand victorious. I wish you all well. Dismissed!” the colonel said, following up with a salute.

***

Back at his assigned tent, James spoke to Heather. “I am going to go tomorrow, to fight the Inferno, to help beat it.”

“Are you going to kill it finally?” she asked cuddling with her stuffed teddy bear.

“I hope so,” he said with a smile.

“When will you be back?” she asked.

“Hopefully tomorrow, unless the test fails,” he replied.

“What about Mama?”

“I will talk to her and find out,” he said patting her on the head. “For now, get some sleep. I need you to be strong, alright, sweetie?”

“I will,” she said.

He gave a kiss on her forehead, and tucked her in, “I love you, sweetheart.”

“I love you too, daddy.”

James walked outside the tent and searched for his phone buried in his coat pocket. He took it out and dialed his wife’s number, with it going to voicemail.

“Hey, honey. I wanted to call you and let you know that I am going to the field test to help fight the fire. The military said they’ll watch over Heather via matron and other volunteers. I’ll let you know when I get back. I love you and hope you got over safely.” He ended the phone call and sighed.

James put on his earbuds and listened to the news. He stopped on the headline where a ship had sunk in the Atlantic recently, due to a crack in the hull. James’ heart immediately sank to his stomach. He frantically called his wife’s phone, only to hear it go to voicemail. There was nothing he could do. He had already felt far away from her as it were, with these last few months being in chaos. Thousands of miles in between them, events kept them separated. It seemed to be the will of someone or something wanting to drive the wedge in deeper and deeper. He could handle walking, hell, even crawling to her, but the distance now…it was so much farther than ever before. The only thought he could muster was that he needed her close, and now. But, it was all for naught.

James went to sleep that night crying silently. With the images, he had of their trips, family photos, voice recordings to help keep his sanity. He still had a job to do, and a life to live. Not for him, but for her.

***

Men and women of various ages stood shoulder to shoulder with James. They all were equipped with oxygen tanks, masks, hoses, shovels, and so on. They dug a trench that was miles long and cleared brush and materials that would help fuel the blaze. Overhead, planes flew, circling, ready to release the payload on the ordered mark.

One by one, the firefighters retreated to the alleged safe distance and watched as the bombs fell from the sky. It sounded like glass shattering and soda pop fizzle. Ash and dirt were kicked up and mixed with the dust. They peered through their masks, all that hope that swelled. The fire was no more. Cheers erupted from the crowds. The word was out; victory was at hand.

Hours passed, and the news around the globe was that the fire was being combated, pushed back to extinction. It would take a few days, but the job would be done, and humanity would stand as the victor. James felt happy that he had been part of the solution and in combating the inferno. Also, though, he was sad because of the gnawing loss that still ate at him.  He couldn’t bear to bring the news to his daughter and constantly deflected the notion. He would have to come to terms…

***

Back in his tent, Heather asked the question he had wanted to avoid so much. “Daddy, when is mommy coming home?”

“Honey, mommy…mommy isn’t coming home,” he said with tears falling.

“What do you mean?” Where’s mommy? What happened to mommy?” she asked, the millions of questions he knew she would be asking.

He hugged his daughter tight, “I’m so sorry, sweetie.” He struggled to keep composure as he told her the story of the ship going down in the ocean.

The pair cried together, while the crowd cheered and congratulated one another on the job well done.

***

A day had passed, and there was not much left of the Inferno. Efforts were tripled, and soon, the West Coast had been reclaimed, and countries around the world began rebuilding. Plans for memorials and finding out the exact composition of the Inferno, and how it came to be were put in motion.

James and Heather remained at the evacuation center for a short time. There was a rumor he heard from some military personnel that there were some survivors of the sunken vessel. One, in particular, happened to be making their way to the Denver airport.

After some hours of conversing and negotiating, James was able to arrange transportation to the airport. Together the father and daughter ventured, clinging to hope. Once arriving at the airport, they thanked the soldiers for the ride and set off for the perhaps finding the alleged survivor.

Hours passed, the day turned to night. His daughter fell asleep, with her head in his lap. James’ eyes were heavy, but the thought of seeing his wife fueled him to stay awake. A woman’s voice came over the intercom, declaring the flight from Boston had arrived. He continued to sit and wait, hoping.

All the passengers had departed, but none of them looked like her. Hope seemed to leave him. Reality slowly began to set in. She was gone.

As James slowly reached his feet, cradling Heather, and began to walk away, one more person got off the plane.

“James?”

That voice, he knew it belonged to only one person. He turned around and saw Mary. They ran to each other and embraced; a family reunited at last. They hugged one another tightly and cried. Some people in the airport clapped and cheered. They were whole again, and everything was going to be alright.

*Inspired by the music of Death Cab for Cutie

The New Entertainment Series

Hello, folks.

So, shortly after posting my update on my future titles and such, some of you may have seen the new entertainment series on A.B.Normal Publishing, Johnny Nightwalker.

This series is going to be a different approach on superheroes and also the struggles of a grieving young man…namely Johnny. Without going into too much of the details, so as to not spoil the fun for those interested in it, it’s going to go from one extreme to the other. Some will probably love it. Some will hate it. However, that’s the point; one extreme to the other, because that’s what happens when you have emotions, raging hormones, and traumatic events that occur in your life.

You’ll also meet some interesting characters, read some savory…and unsavory dialogue. This story was originally supposed to be penned as a comic; however, that will come at a later date. Perhaps if/when, I get an artist. To which could be the same for the Bear God and Bob. Small steps. Small steps…

I do hope that those who have taken a gander at it have enjoyed the first bit. Don’t worry more is coming, and it’s going to be an interesting story. Have a good day and rest of your week.

Cheers,

RJM