One More Light

One More Light

by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

It happened again. The dream where trillions of stars went out in the night sky. One by one, then dozens, until finally, all that remained was the full moon that slowly faded to nothing. The icy chill of nothingness wrapped its fingers around us all. Something we, as a whole—as humans, were not accustomed to. Sharing the same fate, the same grief. The light of the universe had gone out. There was no hope left. There was only death.

As I stared around, I saw people running rampant in the streets. The only light that lit up the sky was the faint glowing of city streets and raging fires. I thought it funny in a way. All the times we spent polluting the air with fake images, adverts, lights and otherwise that masked the beauty of the universal splendor that encompassed us. We were but a drop in the ocean. Now, though, the ocean had dried up.

I was gifted with an unusual ability. The one I didn’t understand, at least at the time. Now that the sun had died and the rest of the universe had gone dark, we were probably the only place left in existence that dared defy the darkness. I thought, so very like us; to confront, challenge and try to fight against the odds. Sadly, it wouldn’t be something we could ever hope to win.

The planet was beginning to freeze, and casualties were already high. Many countries resulted just ending it all by nuclear war. A lot of people committed their last acts of sin, proclaimed their love to their significant others and families, killed themselves, murdered other people. Observing it was hard, though enduring it was as hard.

I spoke of a gift that I possessed. On the day of my death, I said goodbye to my wife and kids. I was jettisoned from my body. I traversed in spirit through a blue-white portal that took me to the realm of the living…in another universe. I opened my eyes and looked around. Indeed, I was alive. How I could not tell you.

Then there came the telltale signs of the end to which I bore witness to. I tried to reason with my family and friends. I tried telling everyone. I tried social media, blog posts, anything I possibly could. I was called a liar, a crazy person, banned from church, labeled as insane, and that I should have my children taken away from me, and my wife divorce me.

Weeks before NASA had some reports that said stars in various solar systems were dying at a rapid rate and that it was spreading fast. I had sat with my wife and kids when I watched the announcement and had a grin on my face. I had told them all the truth, but none would listen.

On the evening of when the stars went out as I had once experienced it, I told my wife and kids that I would see them again. I gave them an embrace and like before; I left my body. My physical form dropped to the ground, and I was sent to another universe.

I had stopped counting how many Earths I have visited. Each time, I felt like I was getting more and more lost with why I have such a gift. What purpose was there in my ability? What good was it if I can’t save my family, friends, let alone humanity? I don’t want to be a hero…I only want to be with my family. I don’t want to carry our problems to the next world, where it seemingly already exists. So many thoughts, hypotheticals and such flooded my racing mind as I traversed universes.

While I was lost in thought, I could have sworn I saw myself but dismissed it as a possible reflection of time, since it seemed like a mirrored hallway when I’d reach the precipice of traveling from one point to another. I shook my head and disregarded it as just a coincidence.

At last, I came to a universe where the light was still lit. Our world, however, was nothing like it was when I had left. Irradiated and in a unique stasis field, where only our solar system existed. However, humans had become disfigured and decrepit—resembling the walking dead, but with our typical wit and sense.

I noted the surrounding and how familiar it was to me.

“How did you get here?” a raspy woman’s voice inquired.

“The light in this universe hasn’t gone out yet?” I replied.

The woman shook her head. “It has. Our solar system is the only one left in the Darkness.”

“What happened then?” I asked.

The woman’s black eyes looked to the ground and then back to my eyes. “A man came from another time with a gift that could provide us with new lives,” she gestured with his hands, “this is what became of us. He, however, has been gone for some time.”

She cleared her throat and asked again where I came from.

“I come from another time. Where the Darkness, as you so call it, took place,” I said.

The woman nodded. “A lot of people died you know.”

I nodded in reply. “I know, I was there until I finally started traveling.”

The woman began to weep.

“What’s wrong,” I asked her.

She wiped away a murky tear and gave a broken smile. “We never once stopped believing you’d find us again.”

 

 

 

This was also posted on A.B.Normal Publishing and Media Group.

Johnny Nightwalker: Guardian’s Duty

***

On the ground, people and the Guardians fought the terrors that Omega had unleashed. Dogs, cats, squirrels, birds, every able bodied beast or reptile fought alongside humans. Casualties were mounting. Though they had the sheer numbers and cunning, it wasn’t quite enough.

Then, there came the other handlers. Teleporting in from around the world, all ready to lend their hand in defeating the almighty Omega. Some launched missiles, while others hurled balls of fire. One shapeshifted into different animals much like Snake had. Every handler that wanted to break free from the Agency and lead a normal life had come. Johnny felt a surge of pride.

However, Omega had other plans in mind. He had taken note of this incursion and had motioned his own counterattack plan. The earth began to shape into rocky behemoths. Metal debris combined and metallic killing machines. The air became acrid and toxic, quickly making those weakened only weaker; dying or collapsing. Water pooled together and formed massive blobs that deluged human and animals; drowning them in waste and blood.

“We’ve got to do something!” Chico said as he watched more and more of the horrors form and slaughter around him. “Johnny’s power isn’t enough!”

Red looked around at the fallen. “Lads and lassies…it’s been a pleasure.”

“If we’re going to go out, let’s do it with a bang, no?” Pierre readied a pack of explosives to himself.

“We know we can’t go back to our old selves… it’s inevitable. Perhaps—perhaps this is how it was supposed to be,” said Chico sadly.

“Aye, it was nice knowin’ ya. If we ever meet again…we’ll…I’ll buy ye a pint,” said Red as he gave a pat to Chico and Pierre.

Nearby a familiar yelp was heard. Rottie the Rottweiler had fallen. There wasn’t much of her pack left anymore. There weren’t much of any of the handlers either. The Guardians and the remnants of earth’s forces were diminishing quickly.

“Boys…” said Pierre.

“Farewell…” they all said together.

***

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

Johnny Nightwalker: Family Reunion

“I’m sorry, Johnny.” The man wiped a tear from his eye as he stared at a picture.

The door to his office opened. There stepped in a woman in a lab coat and Omega. “Dr. Ramirez, I am afraid your position with the company has been severed,” said Omega.

Ramirez shot up from his chair. “You… You don’t know the powers you are playing with here! The consequences and ramifications on the world, the people—”

Omega raised a hand and silenced the man. “Do I look like I care? I just want that brat son of yours. You made him first, yes? I want to know his weaknesses. I want to know what makes him tick. And, naturally, I want him dead.”

“Everything I know, the Agency knows,” Ramirez looked to the scientist in the lab coat, and pointed at her, “Dr. Widow has all the necessary files.”

Omega looked to the good doctor and nodded before returning his gaze back to Ramirez. “I see. So, you are expendable then? Very well, let’s do some more… field testing.”

Dr. Ramirez reached into his desk for his handgun. Omega motioned a quick swipe through the air, sending the doctor flying into his bookshelves, sending books and other paraphernalia falling atop him.

“That won’t be necessary…” said Omega.

“Widow… when did you let him take over?” Dr. Ramirez grunted.

Dr. Widow smiled. “My son has big plans.”

“What the hell is this, some sort of childish rivalry?” Ramirez grunted as he got to his feet, catering to his right arm.

“Think of it as a battle of gods… and right now, my boy is proving to be quite capable. Perhaps it was wise to lay with you after all,” said Dr. Widow.

“What—what? You… Are you? No… that cannot be!”

Dr. Widow laughed, “Surprised? I thought you could tell… he does have your eyes after all.” Omega smirked at the remark.

“Johnny will come…” Ramirez grunted as Omega grabbed him by the throat and hoisted him high into the air.

“I am counting on it,” smirked the giant.

* * *

After his brief reprieve against Pestilence, Johnny felt a strange sensation and heard a voice in his mind.

Johnny… I am sorry.

“Mr. Ramirez?” he said aloud.

Johnny, he’s in danger. You have to help him. He holds the key to defeating the Horsemen and Omega. Jerry’s voice chimed in.

“Chico, Red, we have to get to the school right away. Something is happening to Ramirez,” said Johnny.

“That’s pretty far away, lad. I don’t think we would make it in time.”

Johnny smirked. “Forgetting about my new magic trick? Just hold on tight.”

“Is this PETA approved?” asked Chico.

As the group began to fade and travel, “Not sure but we’ll find out,” added Johnny.

* * *

Omega and Dr. Widow escorted Dr. Ramirez to the white van, Johnny, Chico, and Red appeared in front of the vehicle.

“That… was one hell of a trip,” said Red.

“I think I’m still spinning,” added Chico.

Omega took note of Johnny’s presence. “Ah, so the prodigal son makes his appearance.”

“Who are you and what are you doing with Mr. Ramirez?” asked Johnny.

“No ‘hello, brother. It has been awhile.’? I am heartbroken,” Omega gestured a teardrop falling down his cheek, and then grinned.

“Brother? What are you going on about?”

“While your dad, well, our dad was busy bumbling over you to be perfected in becoming the absolute specimen for the Agency, my mother was busy making me become just as strong and just as capable as you. Thus, I was given the name Omega. I am superior to the Alpha and Beta Projects in so many ways.” Omega flexed.

Johnny turned to Dr. Widow. “So you bred a giant meathead to become stronger than me? That’s…that must be pretty detrimental to your science career.”

Widow became angered at the remark. “You little gnat! I will have him squash you and everyone you loved.” She then took in a deep breath and exhaled, regaining a calm composure. “We shall start… with your dear old dad.”

Johnny remained unphased.

“Johnny… I’m sorry,” said Ramirez. “I wanted you to have a better life. I figured though if I could at least make you the strongest and the hope that Mankind needed, maybe then, I could at least go to the grave knowing I was good at something.”

“I knew you were my father. I had a lot of visions and memories. I know you were only doing what you thought best. I know…in another time, another life you would be a good father. So I don’t hold anything against you,” Johnny said reassuringly.

“Too sweet. Really, that’s touching. I almost felt a tug at my heartstrings. Almost,” Omega then laughed, “but you’re making me SICK.”

The giant raised his right massive boot and kicked Dr. Ramirez down to the ground. “I say, It’s time to retire, dear doctor.” The sprawl of absolute glee and sadism stretched from ear to ear on Omega’s face as he brought down his boot again against Doctor Ramirez’s head. Blood, brains, and bone fragments were sent gushing everywhere.

Before his head popped like a balloon, Johnny swore he heard his father say he loved him. Though, right now, all Johnny could hear right now was the angry voices that were swelling within.

“Pop goes the doctor!” Omega joked as he twisted the heel of his boot into the twitching corpse.

“You… monster…” Johnny fought back the rage that was stirring.

Omega grinned sadistically. “That look is priceless. It’s almost as good as when I had that little shit kill your dear, dear friend, Jerry.”

His eyes shot open in shock. He had always suspected that there was more to the story… but now, now he had all he needed.

“YOU… SON OF A BITCH! I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!” Johnny roared.

Chico and Red tried to calm Johnny down, but it was of no use. He was seeing blood… Omega’s blood.

Johnny struck wildly at the giant but was evaded easily.

You’re not going to be able to hit him while you’re so far gone, Johnny. You need to recollect yourself and try when you’re calm.

Laddy, ya’ve got to stop! Ya gonna get killed!

Red and Chico tried again and again… nothing was getting through.

“Yes, that’s it! Show me your moves, Nightwalker. Show me what you’re capable of. Let me see all that you are worth—and then BREAK YOU! Omega casually said as he dodged Johnny’s attacks.

He was weakening fast and he knew it. The rage had won… they had won. Chico and Red were right in that at this moment, Johnny was not strong enough. He needed more time. More power.

Omega, too, had noted this. He rushed in for a solid punch in Johnny’s gut and then uppercutted him—sending him to the ground several feet back. Chico and Red rushed to Johnny’s side.

“C’mon, lad, we’ve got to go!” said Red.

“I know…” said Johnny as he propped himself up, “hold on.”

Chico and Red grabbed a hold of Johnny and as Omega motioned to land a deadly blow, the three vanished from the brutes sight.

“Damn it,” Omega gritted his teeth.

“It’s fine, darling. We’ve proven our point. There’s nothing now that can stop us,” Dr. Widow said as she approached the giant of a man from behind and wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against his back.

“I have to say, your story was convincing to the doctor and boy. He actually believes that we are brothers, ha! What a fool,” Omega grinned.

Dr. Widow grinned and chuckled silently to herself.

“We should make our next move. We should pay my… adoptive parents a visit,” said Omega as he cracked his knuckles. “We wouldn’t want the family to not know of the bad news after all.”

* * *

Johnny, Chico, and Red all landed and rolled across the ground back at their hideaway.

Johnny began slamming his fist into the ground, making a hole in the concrete.

“I know you’re angry, kid, but you need a clear head. There are Horsemen out there still killing in his name and making a mess of things,” said Red.

“He’s right. We need to deal with them and then handle Omega,” added Chico.

Johnny sat on his knees, closed his eyes and sighed.

He opened them, clarity and reason had been reached. “Let’s make this a group effort. Get Pierre and his gang, alert Rottie and her pack. We need everyone on board.”

Red and Chico both nodded.

“It’s time for the world to strike back, for those who have been wronged to rise up and strike down these tyrannous villains who would otherwise bring mankind to extinction.” Johnny looked down to Chico and Red with a grin, “Can I count on you?”

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

The Synthetic Prophecy

The Synthetic Prophecy

by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

 

 

“Many years ago, I was blessed with a vision. Whether it was by an almighty being of the cosmos, my creator or whatever the sort was beyond me. It was a vision I discarded as being nothing more than just a mere dream. I was five or six…so I never took it as being a prophecy…or an event to come to pass. Most science fiction, dystopian, or post-apocalyptic stories have something similar. I chopped it up to being nothing more than an influence by something I had once seen on the television.

Then it came to pass…

One afternoon, I was traveling with my mother. We were running errands; the basic kind, you know. We had ventured to the local grocery store. As we had exited the vehicle and neared entering the establishment, the sirens began to sing…

People shrugged it off as another test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Then, inside the store, all the TV’s, all the monitors, all the cell phones, everything cried and warned with the coming end. An attack was made. The target? Our location along the West Coast. People ran. Panicked. Cried.

I looked up and saw them in the bright azure sky streaking towards us like rebel burning diamonds against the daylight. I felt my stomach sink. My hands had begun to sweat in my mother’s grasp.

A voice chanted, “Initiate Evacuation Protocol: Disembark. Repeat. Disembark.”

One by one, then dozens, thousands, millions…people dropped to the ground. I, myself watched as my body dropped to the ground. I looked over and saw my mother’s body drop limply upon the ground. Everyone flew up into the sky, a blue-white streak against the azure grain. We watched as the missiles struck the ground, the buildings, and reduced everything to a fiery crater. War had come. We were the first to be hit, and we certainly wouldn’t be the last.

We spiraled through the cosmos; flying by stars, buzzing by planets…Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, so far away from the sun, watching the Earth become a mere speck. Until then, we arrived. A new home. A new hope. Here.

We all awoke to our new mechanical bodies, synthesized humans. Robots. The Singularity may have saved us…or rather given us a way to escape death. However, back on Earth, many were trapped. Left to endure the war that took place. It is only a matter of time until it follows us here.”

The now young man appearing synthetic human opened his eyes and stood up before the crowd around him. “Surely, we could try to outrun our demise…or we can embrace a destiny where we fight back, survive. When they come—and they will, we will be waiting. We will return. We will reclaim our home planet. They will call us ‘alien’ but eventually, they will see…” He reached down and took up a foreign weapon. “We are more human than they are. We will save those left behind.”

The Scientist and The End of All Things

The Scientist and The End of All Things

By Robert J. S. T. McCartney

He sat in the chair for a while now. He hadn’t moved much since he was told the news. He didn’t want to believe it. He couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t much of a surprise, so to speak. The nightmares had been increasing lately. The pain of loss was too real, and he didn’t—he couldn’t handle that now.

He was so close. So close to being able to correct the neurological damage that had been done to his daughter years ago, a taxing result from the car crash. The seizures were relentless and had been unforgiving. It wouldn’t matter now, though. Still, all he wanted…was to watch his little girl walk and to hear her tell him she loved him. Now? Now he felt he never would.

“Mr. Colley, I am afraid I need to have you clear the room. We are experiencing an abnormal increase in trauma situations and are in need of grievance rooms. I do apologize for asking,” said the male doctor.

Mr. Colley nodded and sighed heavily, running his fingers through his black hair. He sniffled and wiped his eyes occasionally. It still hurt.

“You’ll want to get her affairs in order. It…it won’t be long now,” the doctor said sympathetically.

The doctor’s words cut him to his very soul, and such, as he walked out into the hallway, he collapsed onto the ice cold tile. Hospital personnel and people rushed around him. He felt alone. So alone in the eye of the hurricane.

“You need to get a grip, John. You need to be strong. Not for you, but for them. So what if they said she’ll die soon. If it were you, what would you do?”

I’d go out swinging. I wouldn’t roll over and go quietly to my grave. 

”Then find your balls, John. Dig deep and find your fucking balls, get up, and get back to the lab. Finish it. Who cares anymore?”

You’re right.

John got up off the floor and with purpose, left the hospital in haste.

John worked tirelessly in his lab. He had phoned his wife, letting her know of his sudden departure from the hospital.

He had a purpose. He needed to be vigilant. He knew no one else would exactly understand. His methods were unorthodox; a controversy in the States. Stem Cells. These, though, were engineered through biological manipulation and engineered with nanomachines to help speed up the brain’s recovery; and accelerate the development of new healthy cells. They repaired damaged tissues, reconstruct damaged nerves. A dream made a reality.

No testing had been done though. At least, not in humans.

John gathered up the syringes and made his way back to the hospital. His daughter would be administered the doses at the safety of the hospital. Just in case. After all, he had signed all the waivers and disclaimers.

“There’s a high probability that this won’t work, John,” warned the woman doctor.

“At least I’m giving her a fighting chance,” snapped John.

The doctor sighed. “Sometimes it’s better just to let go.”

“Not yet. Not until she’s old and had a chance to live.” John replied sternly.

“What about those that die young? What of them?”

John’s eyes were fixated with purpose as he administered the first dosage. “They were not in my hands. I cannot fight for everyone.”

After several weeks, the administering of the treatment was a success. The Occupational and Physical Therapists and her parents watched her walk on her own. Cognitive function dramatically improved. She had become much more independent and self-sufficient. John was beside himself.

The world and the universe, though, saw otherwise. War was on the horizon. Tensions were rising and meeting an unthinkable end was beginning to become more of a reality. No peaceful resolution could be reached. No side could give way to diplomacy. Civil war would begin to break out. A revolution would begin. The people had had enough.

As John watched the news with his family he knew the end would come, sooner or later. That, even in the marvel of science, he had only prolonged time.

Borrowed time…

John worked tirelessly in the nights. He had fancied quantum physics, space and time for a long time. He had an idea. It might prolong the inevitable but at least, at least he could spend whatever time that this device, this idea could grant.

Time stop isolation. At first, he thought just to his home. Then he thought his town. Then he decided the world. If it as all going to go to hell, he’d at least let some of the other families have extra moments.

On the Day of the End, John gathered his wife and children.

“I love you,” he told them all and hugged them tightly.

“I love you, daddy,” his kids told him.

He cried tears of joy. Ever since having heard the words for the first time from his oldest. He never wanted to take them for granted, let alone be her last. She had made so much progress. So much to live for. Now, now it was the end of all things, all things humankind.

The bombs were fired, dropped, set to explode. John pushed the little red button, initiating the time stasis field all over Earth.

The bombs never went off. Time and the Earth stood still.

Eventually, the universe had begun to collapse. A long passage of time went by. The ultimate end came and went in the blink of an eye. A beautiful and merciful death of humankind in the light of a glorious dawn. The contagion, contained and isolated, just like he wanted.

The End

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