Thursday, December 31, 2009

Love : an African discovery


Troubles, left behind swirl, blessed, released, among images of family far from Burkina Faso. Slowly these vanish with a growing sense of morning. Somewhere between dreaming and waking, Mary has a sense of the healing vitality underlying existence, in the improbable corners of states of being. She meant to grasp something from its hold, even while she had little idea what that state is.

Something inside that held her cue to being alive...

From her viewpoint beside a few weary-looking stocks of wheat atop the maison soukala, the flat terrace roof connected to the compound below by a ladder, Mary orients herself to the birds. She rises from her bedding---she is still trying to achieve restfulness, such as she encountered her very first day here as a reaction to the sheer exhaustion of her one way journey to the place her mother visited before ("when I was near her, in spirit?"): a village lying about one hour away from the one airstrip in this part of the country Burkina Faso, former Upper Volta. Like every village for miles around, they call it "Dano."

The radio---a Panasonic, two decades vintage---plays out of the neighboring hut, African pop music from a station in Ougaoudao. In French---a little attention in high school has taken her a long way---a disc jockey excitedly extols a coming film festival. The golden stallions, she'd deduced, were the awards. There was more talk of horses out here than she'd ever associated with Africa, so at first she couldn't be sure. She'd tuned out commercials before, but tucked away in this village, they seemed to present a fantasy of the city, far down the flat dirt roads past the gum tree grove.

With the relief of curving her torso down to her knees in the darkness of the earthen hut, Mary's heart energies flow over her head, blood enriching her tissue with a warm sense of being. Before long, everyone will rise and share greetings; for now, those who gather water, risen early in the well, must walk with earthen pots, to questions of sweet dreams and stories riverside to tell.

Her mind drifts back to the fleet leopards in the W Nazinga Park, spotted out of her periphery during her visit there with Aaron and Wobogo. "It's strange, how there's no place for romantic love, in the usual 'boy meets girl' sense. But Aaron is so different from the villagers in many ways---and his Dagara people in the Ivory Coast might be more Westernized, and he's been a journalist. Who's to say there's not a spiritual connection everyone will recognize, anyway? At least I've had a strong connection! " She realizes she's gotten very identified with the village ways in this new life; already she anticipates having their opinions, help and acceptance should this become a love.

In light of this being her last hurrah, the very idea of loving someone intimately suggests a faith for days to come. What do you know? I've built confidence for a hope in this life.

She imagines, miles distant, the lions sleeping away the day long, except for these mornings, the time of the hunt. Once, she'd watched a wildlife program, cautioning of their possible extinction; yet before her eyes a pride had emerged, evoking singing within her wild self---the very life force that kept her living. No longer was she here to only die in peace. She gazes upon a green mask with stripes of tiger-like energy, Kourgi Kambire's creation, upon the compound wall of the maison soukala, on the side of his closest male kin. She knows that mask is a call towards understanding, a gentleness, acceptance, and ancestral wisdom concerning friendship. Every piece of art has several meanings, a lesson that evolves with the viewer's immediate situation, the sharing of inner selves—a point of rituals.

In the early morning's faint embers, Kulinah passes a cart of yams, fresh from the labors of the day before. Yams, two feet long! The rains, now patiently awaited in these hottest days, had been kind, swelling the plant life with nourishment. As she and Sapla and two dozen others had tended the harvesting together, Desiree had come outside with the newly finished dress for Osun's wedding. The dress, too, had meaning, in the renewal of her relationship. Aside from the opportunity every five days to freshen their commitment in ash circles, the wedding holds a broader celebration of one another. "Every wedding is a chance for the whole tribe to marry," Sapla had said, many times. "Everyone's spirits are wedded!"

At the moment, she sees Sapla, whose sight makes her as happy as cartoons of childhood.

"What sweet thing came to your dreams, Sapla?" she asks with a broadening smile.

"The comfort of a happy friend," she replies, "who's come to join the beginning of the day." Sapla sometimes wakens a little slowly, remembers Mary, who notes sluggishness in her demeanor.

"And Sisquekwo---all ready, gagner petit?" she says, putting a soothing hand to each of Sapla's sides. "Before the ancestors on the other side, baby Thurisaz parle, 'je demande la route' (I'm on my way home!) She immediately realizes a connection in her question and Sapla's state of mind.

"C'est caillon, "she replies, shaking her head. "Yesterday, we thought the child was coming, as well as many times in the night. But she is having trouble breathing and her dilations are not wide enough." Sapla tears up, looks off to nowhere particular above Mary's strong shoulder. "We are trying to keep hope, be wise and strong…but we were not yet sure what type of ritual we'll need, after all."
They embrace a long moment, eyes closed, sensing the touch and the wafting smell of shea butter.

"Mary Kulinah, you are welcome to pray in our thilde when you get time in your chores."

"Je suis en bouill"---I'll go wherever you like. Sapla loads up her lovely red calabash of water and shambles away, as Mary completes filling her calabashes and pots as well.

"Oh, God, no," says Mary, weeping. "Oh, no, please, no, you can't"---the word pours forth from her quivering lips, dissolving into an impassioned sob. "Oh, please, oh, please," she cries pleadingly, to the source of the world inside herself. She pictures some hazy figure, clad in a kaftans robe, standing over Sisqekwo, holding her baby, for whom she's waited since the day the Dano villagers greeted her, acknowledging her, welcoming her, enfolding her into the embrace of the tribe.

"Thur-i-za," Mary would sing, joined in the work of daily life, "little Thuriza…" so happily as a child's heart, when gentleness settles therein. At this moment, many of her fellows come along to collect water as well.

The kindness of people of all ages made Mary celebrate her decision to be here. When she arrived, fresh from the crossroads that took her from incarceration to this village, she'd only sought some way to fill her remaining days with hope. She left behind the betrayal which painted her the "ringleader" of the Robin Hood ploy to cyber swipe money already stolen inside the company---but she could not erase the Crohn's Disease, discovered in her last prison physical. With the 'honeymoon' of culture shock and a friendliness that she considered "down home," she'd begun the great mental distance from fear, captivity.

At first, she'd resisted. Then she watched what belief was doing, how free of unnecessary cares one could become, face to face with cooperation. The fear became her possession through ritual; she began to live from a part of herself beyond disease, beyond death.

Now, at least, she feels better, and someone else feels good. And if sadness is to be, between them all, the separation may not feel so painfully lonesome. In fact, the conditions for a spirit to visit---to be treated as a presence, felt beyond mortal fear---could they be any finer? Everyone would understand. An entire community knows.

The character of fear, the bereavement, could be transmuted---is that the word? Still, she watches the visiting Mossi trader parking his motorcycle, detached, with a bubble of sorrow inflating now, and takes a deeper breath with heavier eyes...

Thurisa, she thinks, willing a thread of power between herself and the baby she wishes to comfort. Here is my life. Take my warmth---please don't be afraid.

(chapter continues; I'll post the rest of it next time)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Over This Hill, a WW II story (2 of 2)

I actually feel myself, leaking my wet life all over my camouflage, staining it with futility. Gritting my teeth, I reach into the unknown of my wound, feeling through my clothes to the stunned tissue.

My back’s ripped open cross-ways, but thank God the bullet’s not buried. Hurts more now with every heart beat, but scares me less. I’m more ticked that my camouflage is ruined. The first nest is spitting distance. Before I can move on them, a grenade lands right beside me. I risk a foot to save my life, punting the damned thing sideways before it blows. The bloodied hunter’s ruse falls aside.

I rise, death come from the unending whiteness, death leading to unending whiteness. I get a clean look at Nazi uniforms, details leaping from the blur, buttons drawing my eyes as I raise my arm to fire carbine rounds. The glorious myth of their racial violence is needless motivation for me. I simply want my platoon to live, David to make it back to St. Clair County. Simple as that. I toss my first grenade into the middle of the nest, amidst startled German cries I don’t understand. Got no quarrel, man-to-man, but I did not come halfway ‘round the world to wait to die. My white makeshift robe of camouflage is the last thing they see. There is no hate, only a heart colder than the French winter.

We do what soldiers do.

Rising costs me dearly in excruciating pain, but from here I can see a fourth nest set behind these three in the distance. My own men will struggle their way up the hill behind me in minutes; they might as well be like East Carondelet: a world away.

Flashes: fear is as much for what I must do as what becomes of me. All of us: trying to live, in the middle of these schemes to take over everything. I make peace with the most personal visitor to all of man, surrender moral luxuries. I choose to meet that impersonal appointment I decide now to bring to those before me. I need never die again, more than in this moment. All is peace in my mind.


Shells fall, metallic banging; machine guns thud, peeling back skin with their sounds, acrid smoke scours eyes and nose.

Weird gratitude for everything in the world fills me.

The hill pulls my steps like cement. Constant alertness, decide instantly: freeze. Dead leaves shatter from beneath the snow. Maybe twelve yards left to the top. Machine gunners open fire right in front of me. We’re ten yards apart. Charge the first machine gun nest between myself and the top, spilling fire beyond me. Their rounds silence in a split second.


I will never forget this man’s eyes. “Baby blue, wild blue yonder.” I think, as I fire carbine rounds straight into his chest. The grenade I’ve thrown follows behind his dropping body, scattering his nest mates like ten pins. If we live forever, how can anything in this world be real? I can’t even consider stopping now. The platoon charges behind me. One war cry, then the next, filters through the clustered net of shrill shelling. Americans pop out from the smoking, shredded woods. Pain stabs my back like a twisted giant.

My carbine reams cut across the top of the nearest nest, sandbags blasted. One grenade. Two. The hell of shouted tent revivals belches into reality from the foxhole dug in haste within. The gunner’s assistant dies. My carbine jams as I charge the position. I jump inside the emplacement, grab the remaining third soldier, and with both arms, back screaming, hurl him, dazed, down the steep hill: need to take prisoners, captain said.

Second machine gun, the ten’o’ clock in the pinchers, looks about fifty yards away. I pick off an M-1 from a fallen soldier, and rush straight for them, now left, now straight again, as the other nests return approaching fire. The M-1 puts the heat on their emplacement. One grenade, pin drops from my teeth; it’s barely inside before I’ve jerked the pin on a second one with a grunt, to hell with my back, the second one takes a lucky bounce for me off the mutilated sand bags. I fall down, rise again, throw another, and another, into the foxhole’s belly.

As soon as that gun is silenced forever, I see Winslett scream like a wounded beast, firing upon the third nest. The third nest, some sixty five yards off, is above me yet. Again I’m crawling, beneath an unyielding hail of ammunition. Friends’ faces, time pours like a glass of lemonade, spilling on the ground, tart and sweet, pulp from life, from the limb. I crawl, dirty snow wiping my face clean of sweat. I crawl, a slithering inevitability, within fifteen yards of the third entrenchment. I must stand, so slowly, it seems. I toss grenades again, with all my remaining strength; this is the last crew.

Stay alive.
Steady. Another.

The fire within is silence, ashes.

I watch David charge the last nest off in the distance, as my men rush past me, Winslett with a strange look of disbelief as I collapse, heaving, sucking the cold air for life’s breath. David fires into the entrenchment, and as minutes pass, as the screams die, I see he still stands.

I feel a hand cradle my stinging, bloody back as I pick myself up to command. I stare downward, swaying, down from one smoking grave, to what, in the distance, could’ve been mine, down this hill. I am utterly spent, but I don’t want to go back.

“Men... we have so much left to do.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Only way to go is up (1 of 2, "Over This Hill")

“Over this hill”

Just flashes, really; uncle Walt passing away, as they say, when I was nine; I first glimpsed the idea that people can leave this life and not come back. David, Mom & Pop, Aunt Viney, the cousins---we sat in a church with little paddle fans, each printed with a Bible verse--- Psalm 34, was it?---and I thought about him coming down to the house every couple of months, how he took a knife and skint some wooden pegs, showed David and me how to cut a notch in the top of them; then he took some tall, tall grass from the field, wedged one end into the notch. We’d swing it around a couple of times, then throw the little missile up into the air, arching out of sight beside the sun. First it would fly its arc, then it would stab the soft clay, spike first, sometimes falling down, sometimes sticking straight up, sunk in deep.

Beside me, the ground blows apart with a dull sound of the air, the peace, violently forced away. You don’t appreciate the serenity of a given spot in the woods until you’ve seen it interrupted with a bombshell---tranquil one minute, a piece of body-destroying hell the next.

So here in the snows of the French countryside, there are only two ways to find peace. You die in rifle fire accompanying these shells into the gulley, or you fight your way over that hill.

Quickly I fall back under the cover of a fallen oak. My eyes scan for our entire platoon, including my brother David, who I watch crawl over collapsing ice just five yards shy of a steady line of machine gun fire, ripping out clots of the frozen dark Alsace-Loraine soil. David, we should still be coon hunting three miles past the creek, in woods an ocean away. But brother, we’re pinned down, hiding in plain sight at the bottom of a dizzying hill, topped with German machine gun nests.

“Winslett! How many nests do you make out?”

“At least two; it’s hard to tell with the shelling. There’s random riflemen in between.”

“Yeah. There’s fire at one o’clock and ten. You still have that mattress cover?”

“I ripped what I could out of that rubbish heap. White as snow.”

Another shell blasts the gulley behind us, already smoking from the hammering of a spot that seems no bigger than a rabbit trap for my platoon.

A voice bellows behind me. “Sir, they’ll get lucky with those shells any minute now!”

I nod. “Only way to go is up.”

I check my uniform pockets, brushing down a dozen hand grenades and a dozen clips of ammo for my carbine, stubbornly caked with snow from my dive for cover. I slap it clean against my boot, three times.
It’s no more heroic to die with a gun in one’s hands than to submit courageously to an overwhelming evil. I am a farmer. I am a son. I am a brother. I am no warrior. But I am a soldier. Now.

“Captain wants a prisoner,” I shout. “But don’t hold back, men.” I pull my knife-tailored robe ripped from the mattress tight around my shivering body, hiding a jackhammer heart. “Die here. Die on the hill. Or kill them. My bull’s eye’s the nest on the left!” I swallow. “If not now, never.”

“Sarge is charging the hill!” I hear Winslett shout. I don’t register him after that; the core of my being consumes every slippery step towards the enemy.

With my white mattress cover gathered round me from head to toe, my boots crush a path winding from tree-to-tree. It’s nearly a football field, a little less, all of it steep. I am a hunter again, smelling the soil, clinging to my disguise to approach my unwary prey.

With burning thighs, lungs sliced by the January cold, I crawl now up the middle, until I am in range to draw a bead on the rifleman dead ahead, reloading beneath a broken branch. As I wound his shoulder, his partner spurts a red gusher into the cruel air, felled by the cover fire coming behind me. A shell nearly shreds me in two; I rise, I trip as I hear its warning whistle, hard to judge from the ringing, throwing a snow drift like parade confetti not five yards to my left.

Amidst the fluttering plume, I crawl, knees and elbows grind slowly, flattened beneath recurring torrents, their recoil popping a staccato chorus of doom.
Then I know they have not two, but three entrenched gunners. There’s the other machine gun nest, about fifty yards right of the one o’clock position, set behind them, further up the hill.

I’ve got to get clear...but I can’t, not in time. The sting in my back shatters my concentration, a red world setting a fire trail up to my brain. I tumble clumsily to the side, the animal in me scurrying to pull away from the attack, the man saying “hold this position!” as I fight for the life of my platoon, against my fear.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Totalitarianism getting you down?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 3:45am | Edit Note | Delete
Here's an example from science:
Cybernetics shows that totalitarianism - and indeed any attempt to control human beings - has some inbuilt flaws. Any system that doesn't allow for feedback will eventually go off the rails, and any authority relationship is one where accurate feedback is not possible - if someone has the power to sack you, or have you imprisoned, or have you killed, you're going to be very careful about what you tell them. Authority breeds lies - the cheque's in the post, the dog ate my homework, it's my grandmother's funeral - and then the person in authority has to make decisions based on those lies. Garbage in, garbage out. (This, incidentally, seems to explain the decisions made by a lot of political leaders, and may also explain the apparent paranoia often exhibited at the very top.)---from A Trout In Milk, posted by Andrew Hickey
Stressed over totalitarianism? Share.

:-) Meanwhile, can organized efforts deal with the worst crises of our time? A few organized efforts have participated in the perpetuation of crisis---but is it making you feel angry and at a loss for agency?

First, love thy neighbor as thyself...

Bear in mind, solutions/ innovations/ creative ideas tend to materialize simultaneously at several places around the world. Don't think a little local solving is meaningless.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to maintain an inquisitive mind without letting your emotions be dragged through the mud; upon examination, much of the discussion is debased by hysteria and presented with very poor logic, both in structure and substantial fact-checking. It's perfectly reasonable to criticize badly reasoned or presented information; it betrays the lack of rigorous analysis or critical thinking. People who can't organize information correctly can spew whatever feeds their paranoia, don't you think? Would you rather not address the whole of the commentary and just take on the part you find antagonistic, thus feeding an addiction to petty argument?
The loss of cordiality can only strain out the conversants into fervent true believers and the rest. If we have an angry "us vs. them" volley of badly-composed sentences, we will miss working out a more fair way of conducting our society, leaving us without oversight or accountability, at the whims of the most ruthless, worshippers of pure profiteering---which, at least, is a credible, if reprehensible and short-sighted, motivation.

Excessive emotionality is creating unnecessary division in our country and depriving us of fact-based, humane conversation, capable of genuine, empirical skepticism---and possibly,optimism and good will. If something's worth your convictions, it will stand a bit of analysis; we can't all be brilliant interviewers, but don't be afraid of rigorous thinking, nor confuse it with an indulgence in fear and worry. It's your mind; use it for freedom. Center your feelings and practice kindness, and you will find energy untold for increasing knowledge that illuminates all points of view.---Cecil Lue

Monday, December 7, 2009

My artwork this week

My upcoming story "Remus Sharptooth Regrets...!" has the following scene (along with what I hope you will find to be thoughtful characters, humor and wonder

I haven't forgotten our "D'N'A" strip; here is Dee Cee and Amanda (d& a! Happy serendipity at first)and there's been more thought concerning character maybe we're ready to pick it up again...

I love Paul Smith's brief run on X-Men; it was just before the first battered old issues dave-o ever snuck to me inside a trapper keeper folder in school. Here is an homage to UNCANNY X-MEN #174; I redesigned a couple of panels, in an effort to make myself be original to some degree.

The last panel was kinda my third try, after one out of me noggin' followed by two more deliberate attempts. I took some liberties with the hair, since I could take the time to be a bit more subtle. I sighed and hoped my future work could so strong. We'll see

our Western Surprise character, as inspired by Gil Kane. "Who's gunning for Remi D'Amico?"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who watches the Whatyoumeant?

In the spirit of fun and comic books, the above involves fans having a ball at the expense of beloved Comic Book Conventions (I mean story tropes, though they might also be poking fun at the conventions). At any rate, the art is not related to the subject, but the theme; link lies below. from the minds of IMWAN---thanks, DAvid

Who watches the Whatyoumeant?

I've already shared this with a few friends: it's a refreshing side of ribs from the sacred cow of "graphic novels" the Watchmen, which of course suitably impressed me more than once growing up.

No, I've still never seen the movie, but I'll feel better next time I sit down to write my magnus opus all day and not take myself too bloody seriously. Cause life is fun and then you die. If you hate this, you can follow the links
to other chapter summaries you will hate.
It's the middle of this note and I'm telling you about the summary of ch. 4. of the watchmen.
It's fifteen minutes earlier and I'm laughing my butt off about things I secretly found retarded about the watchmen but forgot were retarded because I bought into the hype and was impressed as a youngster by all the adulty bits.

It's nine months earlier and someone's saying, "Seriously? this is the masterpiece of comics?"
It's nine years earlier and we're laughing at Kooey Kooey Kooey in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL which is at least intended to be riduculous.
It's the end of this note and I am thinking you are going to laugh out loud when you read this.

It's two months earlier andI'm really hoping for leprechauns at the end of the rainbow.
It's the beginning of this NOTE and I am positive my friends will have fun poking fun at the super serious Watchmen.
It's the middle of this note and I am wondering how well this joke will play out, as a riff on issue four of the Whatchumeant and Jon Ostrander's time-skipping perspective.

It's the beginning of this note and I'm relieved to remove the anxiety of living up to the hype of a work that contains clockwork like precision and yet, contains so many ludicrous events that I cannot believe everything needed to be dark and depressing to sell afterwards.
It's the middle of this note and I'm still shamelessly stealing this riff, though at least I'm not plagerizing just stealing the idea.
It's the end of this note and I'm thinking I successfully borrowed this schtick, though it is not half as funny as what you are about to read.-----Ron Jostander, Professor Philadelphia is where I found the above cartoon on; hope you enjoy?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


AS INSPIRED BY THE david anthony kraft ERA (1976-1978)
OF Marvel's 1970s magazine THE DEFENDERS

OR: A wonderful alternative to publishing DEFENDERS #76,

or a concurrent mini-series over the summer of 1979.


A green dune buggy roars down highway five in the Southern California afternoon, spilling sand from its beachside trek. Its occupants: a firecracker Bay Area girl in red tresses, with a hint of jasmine and seawater, hanging out in her home state, showing the palm-tree studded sites within the shade of coastal mountains, to her blonde, half-smiling Norse friend, every inch the Valkyrie, melting just a bit in the easy going company, the newlypurchased clothes, the silver Marc Antonio high heels she took off to feel Ocean Beach, pulled up to the seat.

“Patsy, do you think we are abiding the speed limit?”
“Oh, sure, Val! Whoo-hooo!”
“I only ask because a speeding ticket would cramp your style.”
“Yeah! They hate it when I don’t have a license!”
Patsy Walker shares a common secret with her friend: another name, another life. Every since the day a housewife drop out made a deal for a prowess enhancing costume, she plays the adventurer, Hellcat.

The name suits the lady.
Her friend smiles despite herself.
"Avengers Clearance, right?" says Patsy. "Well, I don't know, Hank tells me about this Gyrich fellow throwing his weight all around Avengers Mansion. Val, remind me to check on that...WOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
“Not nearly as comforting as riding my winged Aragorn, but a rush...” she thinks.
“Ready to go off road? Pumpin’ some Sublime, catching a wheel in the desert---you can say you partied down, Val, in the style of So Cal!”
“Warrior maidens did not go for spin-outs in Asgard.”

“Couldn’t be heaven without a way to fly! But does your tummy tickle in the realms celestial? Like it will when we catch air off this dune? Owww!!!!”
“It’s a little (uh) like training a pegasus, I guess.”
“Haha! “
“Woo-hoo! Mom used to bring me down to Malibu to model, and I’d beg her to let me see the ocean. As soon as I could, I started sneaking down the coast for the weekend! Charm schools never teach ladies a spin out like THiS! “
VRROOM! rrrUNunanunnanunna Vrooooom! SWahhsshh!
“Woooo! Hech-keff! Having fun

“Just remember I’m a good deal more indestructible than you, Patsy!”

“Hahah! I thought those guys were going to strain their necks watching you at the beach. Golly, everybody!”
“How is it again you say this is a good thing?”
“Look, Val---you are almost six feet tall, blond hair, powerful from the inside out, shapely as a statue---you are going to get looks. I get my share, too, and I tell you why that’s okay. They’re giving (
“Sometimes I find the leers less than flattering!”

“Yeah, but look! At least you don’t threaten to run them through with Dragonfang so much anymore! Take what they offer for yourself, asking nothing, and taking nothing you don’t want. I don’t feel like an object, really. It’s just beauty, and I play my part in its appreciation! They are connecting with something, and I have my own understanding of that something---and I let it serve one, big bad purpose...”

“To make you happy.”

“Yeah, you know it! Gimme a hug, girlfriend! You’re gonna figure out this crazy world yet.”

“I will always be an outsider, I think. The Defenders give us a common cause, even if we are not a team... but it seems to have given me something I’ve not felt since my exile from Asgard...”
“A migraine?”
“No...a sister...”
“Aww! Oh, that’s my phone! Hillie, baby, que onda?”

A young man is depicted with short brown hair and piercing but jovial eyes, holding a cell phone.

“Nada mucho, Hellcat! I can’t believe you’re really out here!”

“When you saw me on Dollar Bill’s home page and added me as a friend, you didn’t know what you were starting, huh? Hah!”
“All set to meet me at Castles in the Sand Bar and Grill?”

“Sure! Say ‘hi’ to Val, Hillie!”
“Uh...hello! Cool! How are you?”

“I know the feeling! So Patsy, am I going to meet all you Defenders?”
“Easier said that done, kemo sabe! There’s no membership set in stone, it’s really just whoever can show up when there’s trouble. So if you’re around when That happens, hang onto to your director’s chair!”

“I’m the master of no-budget cinema---I’m sure I’d find some way!”
“If you meet our pal Kyle, though, let’s just say he had a reality tv-type disaster, last time our pal D- Bill shot a documentary...everyone this side of Captain Ultra stampeded his Riding Academy for a membership you might not wanna, you know, bring up the idea...”

“Oh! Hahah, if I can just have a drink or two with you ladies in peace, that would make my month! All I do is edit these days!”
“Well, all work and no play, man...”

“Right! Think you’ll be there around 7?”

“IF we can keep the beach bums from turning our heads, we should arrive in good form! When you hear the royal flourish, roll out the red carpet, okay?”

“You bet, Patsy! Later!”

A woman, standing cloaked, looks up as though from the midst of a great fissure opening so far beneath the earth the sky is but a sparkling crevice.

I cannot identify my location, but only trust my intentions, from when I did knowingly cast my last spell on Earth, to send with the Slave Box we banished the one quality it could never contain: hope! Where, then, is my love, Nicola? I feel you all around me! That is only an answer of sort to one critical piece.

Where, Solskin, my brother? You sealed the Slave Box from Man, but I sense a gulf, like a thousand circles’ journey in every way beside the sun! We are as near as dreams to that world long after we did walk, though fell we there into the mountain’s maw only moments before...if I am near again to the Earth, then, too, my lost brother, what of the temptations and powers within the Slay Box? If already we have given three lives to rid our world of its influence, would that I had but one more with which to strive, with a conceptual force which humanity has never understood...lurking, connecting, drawing once more the power mad pawns and monsters.

“World, where are you in time? No moment for surrenders!
Earth, I cry to end this crime:
Who Call You Now, Defenders?”

“Ripped Open Dreams”
written by Lue Lyron
Featuring art by Lue Lyron, with Marc Kane
Hellcat, the Valkyrie, Doctor Banner, Kyle Richmond, and Machine Man are all trademarks of Marvel Comics. Gnomlins appear courtesy of Danny Johansson, from his upcoming domain, SEMIECARDIA, copyright 2009 Dark Poet Trees; Remus Sharptooth and Corpse Flower created by Cody Guinon and Lue Disharoon, copyright 2009 Cody Guinon; all other characters and photographs copyright 2009 Integr8d Soul Productions. Edited, produced by C. Lue Disharoon

A man and woman sit, eyes closed, hands clapsed, middle of the woods. He appears dressed in silks and a cloak and hide boots like a Viking; the woman is dressed in a smart variation on the flapper skirt with a playful yellow and orchid pattern, and bangles, suggesting the Roaring Twenties. A supernal darkness seems to imbue every living thing with an eerie luminescence, as the Viking snaps his eyes open and says...“I could hear her...she senses me, but she sees me not...”

His face is filled with a mournful sadness, but the grief washes away before Emma Johansson’s eyes, as he looks earnestly into them. “She senses this world is where the peril of Slay Box has fallen. She believes, if we could only locate her brother...did you see?”
“I believe I can sense who we are looking for,” she replies. “The energies of the spell, similar to those of you, its one survivor...”
“And I, but a shade at that! Your mercy provides me my one hope, that we see this banishing through...” He reaches out to brush her cheek. “I do not know why you have been called to summon me to consciousness, Emma Johansson. All I can promise you is a glimpse at madness, and provide such dangers as my thousand year leap from one side of time’s channel, to another!”

“It doesn’t matter if I understand,” she replies. “All I can do is promise to help you find your partner...and pray that together you can summon the power to subvert this otherly intelligence that precedes you from the Dark Ages.”

“And pray, also,” she thinks, “ I do not foolishly lose my heart by your side, for you love another...”

Deep in the woods, outside San Diego County, California:
A National Guard soldier and a Canadian Royal Mountie are situated around a fallen tree. As night descends, the Mountie has switched on his flash light.
M: And now, to liven up our mixed unit guest wild fire patrol for the golden state of California---
Pvt. Holt: Beats sitting in my tank, tho...
Mountie Dave raises his voice and places his hand beside its glow, to effect a primitive puppet.
performing live for American and Canadian audiences...Joyous!

Holt: You sound like Mickey Mouse, dude! Okay, I’m game. What...eees...the strategy! For the Hobgoblin volley ball team, in the second half?
“Joyous”: well, they really need to bomb them in the back court!
Holt: What! Eeees...the plan to use gliding?

“Joyous”: Here is Hobgoblins Captain: we are going to see sparks fly! The gliders are our best defense against their spikes! We’ll have them climbing the walls!” Thank you, Hobgoblin Captain!

Holt: Joyous, What! eees .....(dismayed) what the---focus THAT?!?

The Trome(a misshapen being, not a meter tall, with massive hands, approaches on hairy feet and spiked bracelets, its inhuman face obscured by a miner’s helmet-style flashlight on his head): Hob? Narr? Sniffer? Anomaly? You Gnomlins need to get back to the ...Hutch...! (voice trails off, subdued by sight of humans)
Pvt. Holt: Dave, it’’s a gnome...
Mountie Dave Blancley: Or a troll...
Both: It’s a Trome...
Pvt. Holt: And it’s running away...
Mountie Blancley: That’s okay with you, Sgt. Holt?

Pvt. Holt: Okay by me, Mountie Blancley. What if it starts a fire?
Mountie Blancley: Sure, then you report it---here.

*yes, he calls him Sargent, like Sgt. Rock, it’s their joke---don’t bother me. Editor

Holt: Let’s just be cool, finish up the patrol...
Blancley: How do you go about calling this in?

From the dusk, two orbs, red-laced with yellow, glow fiercely from the countenance of a human face, resolved by its inner light. The machine man steps forward...
Machine Man: I’m not trying to be a smart ass...
The soldier and the Mountie look stupified.
Machine Man: But have you seen anything weird come this way?
Listen...if you want to open fire, when it comes to soldiers and me, that’s about par for the course.

Holt: it necessary?

Machine Man: Huh! Not for me.

Blancley: Oh. Then we’re good.

Holt: I do reserve the right, though...if that’s cool. And I do have a tank.

Machine Man: Look, there is an escalating upsurge in energy levels about 475 yards north, as well as minor seismic activity, for which you may need the National Guard, the Mounties, the Geological Society, and maybe every Marine at Camp Pendleton. But I’m going to check it out and hopefully there will be nothing but souvenirs when your brass gets there. Say...what is a Mountie doing in the California woods with a National Guardsman?

Holt: Being grilled by a really nosy robot? Did I say that out loud?

Machine Man: rescue & recovery project--- online feed. Well, if you were killing boredom, I sincerely hope you will have lots more; I don’t know WHAT these guys are or what they are up to...and I sense you are about as reluctant to get involved as I WANT to be...I am sending a distress signal to bring the rest of the local constabulary to the perimeter...and I hope the rest of my dealings with the military will be as courteous as these, gentlemen.

Blancley: Okay. Now, you know when we say we were grilled by a really nosy robot, all bets are off.

Machine Man: Well...”just remember only You can prevent forest fires.”
heard in background, as Patsy's social network gives her a quick spill..

“What the heck?” says Patsy, with some disgust. “This is my friend’s girlfriend, I think. ’Please be good to him, I hope you can make him happy?’ Is this a joke?!?”

“She thinks you are together?”

“All we do is chat about his projects and my...well, whatever you call what I get up to! We’ve never even met face to face before tonight! I think it’s because he put me up as his Special Someone on the Avatar Alternalife thing! “ Brrmbumbumbum....

“It plainly says I’m his dern friend!!! I’m like, 17 people’s Special Someone, from Play Granny to Faerie to Play Daughter to Twin---I just make friends like ants make hills. I just listened, helped him with whatever he was going through. I offered to be her friend, too. Just ticks me off (click) ‘cause she could do the same thing but all she hits him up for is...oh!” ba-doomp.

“This is the place Val!”

“Castles Made of Sand Bar and Grill.”

“Yeah! Kicky name, huh? Let me get this tweet before we go...oh, cool! Kyle says
that friend of his from Sri Lanka---the refugee housing consultation he took when he visited there?---he’s like practically around the corner, staying at the brownstone we passed coming in, and could he walk over and crash our party?”

on jukebox

“Righteous. Okay, now we gotta find my friend Hillie...”

“Feels like everyone is looking at you like they know you.” “Ah- heh! Maybe I just...look like a lotta people’s friends? Hopefully not one that owes them money! Did I tell you about that?”
“He’s the one waving?”

“OH, totally! Hillie! C’mere, boy!”
“Hey, Patsy! You smell like the ocean! And honeysuckles!”

“Yeah, I kinda ran into a bush earlier.”


“Hillie, this is my buddy Val.”

“Wow! You’re striking.”
Hellcat nudges Val, and leans over smiling to say, “Lucky for you, not literally!
Val blushes. “Ahem...perhaps I can get someone to clear us a table?”

“Sounds good!” “Yeah...I didn’t know how many our party would be.”
(Hellcat inaudibly leaned over to Hillie, while Val walks up to the hostess to say,
“We’ll be four, please.”)
Hillie: Oh! I’m disappointed. I’m sorry, Patsy...I’ve really been pouring everything into the success of my projects, my web-commercials, finishing things I’ve worked on in some cases for years...the thing that bothered her in the end was that I am so married to my work at this point, then you popped up in my documentary work.
Shayde’s a talented actress, I’d be happy to shoot something new for her...first, I thought I might cross the line taking from real life and making people uncomfortable...but I kept believing I could make my ideas relevant, fed with the concentrated moment!

A sad young man, his spirit so low he nearly disappears before the eye, so low is his sense of self. (Looks down into beer glass quietly) I’m not one to shed a tear in his beer, like the Hanks sang...I thought she’d lost interest, in things that take every available minute or they feel like they’ll just stop moving forward...if that happens, I feel like it’s, you know? Going to explode inside me! Normal people live lives of quiet desperation...
Patsy: Golly, a little sprinkle of normal’s like an occasional bowl of chocolate ice cream! But I understand, finding your own vision for yourself, and living it through.

Hostess: The dishwasher’s coming out now; here you’ll be juuust a minute...
Val: That busser is terribly familiar...

Hostess: David just started here two weeks ago...kinda gentle, contained dude.
Val walks back over to Hilly and Patsy, as she gives him an auntie type hug at the bar.

Val: Pardon me...Patsy, do you recognize the fellow clearing our table for us?
Patsy: Waitaminute...’scuse me, Hill, this guy looks just like a dear bud of ours...
Val: you seem to have caught the attention of this fellow approaching by mistake...
The gentleman in question, about Patsy’s height, with Indian features and contemporary clothing and aura, walks up to shake the hand of Patsy walker.
“Ah, hello, you might be a friend of a friend I’m looking for...”
“Oh! Oh, yeah, hey man! “ she replies, quickly giving him a full on embrace. “Uh, you’re Bali, from around the corner, Kyle’s friend?”
“Yeah!” he replies, shaking his head vigorously with surprised, benevolently bugging eyes.
“That’s Val and Hillie, my friends,” she says, pointing. “Sorry, I’m trying to get a look at this fellow here before he ducks back into the kitchen! Be right with ya, good to meet ya, ho-ho-hold on!”
Bali turns towards Hillie and Val, unable to suppress a glee that escapes as a private giggle.
Suddenly, a voice booms drunkenly out of the booth next to the busy busser:
“A toast! A toast, then, to the children who cannot smile today. Never forget’em. I want them to LIVE through me...I wanna remember them. I want ER’y One to remember ‘em...!”

on jukebox

Startled, Hellcat turns in the same direction as the glances of the entire section of the dining room.

From the booth, a distraught, angry, sad young man has bellowed his toast, while across the table from him, a sturdy hand comes across to touch his arms. His companion, with steely eyes and a friendly smile, turns quickly to Patsy, in whom he sees sympathy. “Well, we two must have the reddest hair in this whole place, do we not?!?” he offers cheerfully, in an Oklahoma accent.

Patsy plays off his nonchalance, while the brooding fellow takes a deep sigh. “That we do, that we do! So how are you doing there, Oakie?”

“Oh! My accent’s telling on me!” he laughs. “Where I’m from? They would say I don’t have one!”

“You do out here, my fellow carrot TOP!”
“We have a big space here if you and your friends would care to share?” Oakie says.

By now, Hillie’s watching Val move up behind Patsy, as Bali’s eyes follow Val wistfully with intimations of Love at First Sight.
The busser breathes in a cleansing fashion, as he lifts the tub full of used dinner ware to his chest, then cocks his hat back and swiftly heads back towards the kitchen entrance beside the bar back door. But he shoots a smile back towards Patsy Walker, who recognizes her friend Doctor Banner, relieved by the return to early evening din and classic rock.

“Hillie, would you put some John Denver on the juke box? It’s for a friend of mine,” Patsy says, as she passes a dollar to her friend. “We’ve got a pretty big party, Oakie, with more to come...but you Are hogging one of the bigger booths, you know...”

“Oh, I DO know!” says the Oakie. “Room for everyone, ain’t that right, Teddy Bear?”

“Sure,” he replies quietly, calmed now by the energy supporting him.
And so, we leave Bali sliding in across from Val so he can watch her talk, as she sits beside Teddy and Patsy pulls up a chair for herself to sit on the end and leave the booth open for Hillie to sit down next to fly as the crow flies, into the woods just out of reach of the revels of the Castles Made of Sand Bar...
Emma Johansson, surrounded by a glow, now sports a distinctly 20’s hat with flat feather-type triangles of fabric poised in green above her dark bob hair cut, as she gathers the edges of her faded orange trench coat to step barefoot across a patch of dried grass beside a breeze blown hickory sapling.

I reach out with my perceptions, and make my walk my meditation...I put aside my feelings---how can one love a spirit? No, how does one Fall in such love? His feelings, his heart’s stirrings---they are the empathic thread that pulls at me, weaving me deeper into the woods before the sun prepares its setting...
She touches her brow.
Such an array of impressions from nature...but in the middle is this anomaly...
Emma cups her hands to her mouth like a megaphone.
“Oh, Ann-Omm-aLeeeee! Come out, come out, wherever you...are!”
Emma looks pleased with herself.

“Hah! If only it’s that simple...”

So she continues stepping over a branch stealthily and weaving beneath a mimosa bloom along a dirt path into the darkening twilight...

...unaware that there is ONE who has answered her call, after all...
“You...want’ed meee? “

Foreshadowed, forlorn, is a sad-eyed, yellowish-green humanoid cross between a goblin and a gnome, with some form of human clothing---coveralls---standing over a yard. There is a smile, though.
“Some one...or some thing.
By now, distracted, ahead...EMMA:
There’s more than one presence, but what they think with just barely passes for minds, or maybe
It’s just a cross-species thing---I’m 25, I have discovered I do not know Everything, but I will probably realize Everything in time nonetheless. Shut y’self up, now, what’s this? The other stuff seems like...alien bodies...but This! It’s a mind, and a human one, at that, if I’m reading it right...but where’s the body? I don’t sense a flesh and blood brain! What kind of creation of the future are you, my friend? I think perhaps I will bring up the rear of this strange little party...and hope that Nicola will find whatever
he’s looking for in the dangers of the forest of which I can but guess.

Even in this darkest of veils, I have a light, provided me by my unseen love. I draw closer now to the world that needs my aid, and should we now find Solskin...

Curious. I sense the mind of a defender such as we Dragon’s Line might need...yet puzzling almost as much over some communication with a woman as the mystery of the aliens before him! I see his turmoil: he thinks, but not in the body of a man. He is an idol come to life; the spells and plans and directions of his making expand my mind into a world changed much from the lifetime that seems only a few hazy steps ago...His thoughts are carried over huge lore of information, moved by people the world over with other machines, yet no machine so alive as he!

Clearly, curious...I observe what I now may, for Knowledge is my only ally, and Time, I know not what side on which you shall draw your line in the sand...

The waves! They emanate, ripple through the valley of humankind, heralding the dreams locked within, ideas dismissed in a cold, damp devotion to the only life they know...

...but soon, the choice to ignore their dreams ripped open will be longer.

Brother! In my heart, ever I knew where you could be found, and always, near enough that we might save one another, and many soldiers’ steps did I, sister secretly to all but you and the prince my darling, take into the unknown corridors of the mind and straights of the sea. I plunge my hand into misunderstanding once again, and...
No! Now sense I three other defenders, but I become quickly as torn by these emotional currents as they!

The people gathered here are privy to one anothers’ ghosts’ returned, paranoia--- given surface, and the elation at discovering themselves suddenly beneath one the other’s skin collides now with the subconscious, suppressed visions, absorbed helplessly by each and every patron!

This man, dropped to his knees before the shambles of his dish pan: in him, I sense, dwells a raging spirit.

And now, too terrified to articulate, a mob begins to see the aura of death about the Valkyrie, a true one such as never have I seen so in the flesh! I sense that is what she must be, for there is a special connection to the world beyond that is hers, that has not yet become understanding to these victims of highly advanced magic!

And this last one, her best friend: she must act quickly, or someone will be hurt!

She thinks about the pain in the head of this one here, this man...she has been gifted with powers of extra-perception, in the past, and now, if only she could... short-circuit the crowd (these strange new ideas).

I will help you, beautiful one, with latent potential energies ambient to those who would support you: you open your limited abilities, now, and connect with the chronic pain in your new friend’s head...

And we will..”broadcast pain live” much more than they are used to! Their consciousness---snuffed like a candle upon a boat prow in open seas...those awake still, crippled, dazed by the blow this man endures within his own skull! Perhaps I can devote a touch to healing him; these common people, as the prince said, are the true fountainhead of heroic deeds, truly less selfish than those heroes frozen in deeds of another time, who have given already their all for the life in which they return to us.

(and on the floor of the Castles establishment)
Oakie: My damn headache knocked everybody for a loop! It’s...
Patsy: Are you all right???
Oakie: Heh! That’s one time... it was good for we were all, er,...
mixing up with each other’s private perceptions, I guess chronic pains were the ingredient that burned out the blender!

Patsy: Sounds right to me. Listen, I dunno what’s going on, and I don’t like that one bit. Call this cell phone number---okay? I might need to call and ask what’s going on, or tell what I find---in which case we might need someone persuasive enough to initiate a sanctioned evacuation of the area, if there’s anywhere to run.

Bali: Ouch! You could very well be talking about me...
Patsy; great! Uh, Hillie, looks like you get to tell your ex-girlfriend a) don’t try to blame me for her ignorance of you, and b) you got to see me change outfits!

Hillie: Uh...oh well:-)

Val: Now Doctor strange would be a great assistance.
Patsy: Texted him automatically! But I think he’s on some occult history of America tour---in real American History! I’d hate to see the bill for messaging to the year 1776!

Banner: I might as well be with you...whatever’s causing this, I have that feeling there’s nowhere to run, and I’ve kept control thus far with your “knockout” in there...I might be indispensible to

Patsy: Don’t have to sell me, Doc! Cop a squat, we’ll take Della Dune Buggy as far as she’ll go; she’s no specialized super-wagon, but skreeech!
she can off-road better than a Bat-Mobile! Vrrhrhhrrnnn!

Hillie: I know we will get killed probably, but is there anyone...?

Oakie: Way ahead of you, there, man! Ted, pull round the pick-up for four, would ya please?

Bali: It’s green, a dune buggy!
Teddy: Should be able to hear that sucker! Shot gun, me!
And not too far away, Hellcat’s dune buggy has run out of trail to pass, beginning a footrace...

Hellcat: It feels like another wave of mind-bending is just---pulsing there in the woods beyond, at the foot of the mountain!
Valkyrie: Better we Defenders face the peril, without submersion in the confusion of others.

Hellcat: It was wonderful and terrible at the same time---but it’s like throwing people who are afraid to swim in water with some who have just learned!
Valkyrie: Indeed! A’fear’d of creatures that may lurk in waters of others’ minds---the fear of being forced to share the head space of another without warning or remedy! That, I would spare any being---if I but knew where to begin!

Banner: You won’t be too startled then when I say: I think the beginning is shuffling our way!
Ann Alma Lee the Gnomlin steps forward, coming just above Valkyrie’s knee, with hands wide open.
Ann: People with you?

Hellcat: Uh, hello!
Valkyrie: Small one, why do you ask?
Ann: Be! (shakes head, then asserts:) BE people with you?
Hellcat: OH! Oh, Sure! (leans down, catching Valkyrie’s steely, watchful eye) What’s your name? What are you called?

Ann: Ann...A gnomlin...nom-ul-LEE?
Hellcat: Ann! Okay---Cat! Okay, Ann?
Ann: Oh, kay.

Hellcat: Ann, would you take us to your home?
Ann: Take the Hutch! Awf, grof! Sneerdie, Sneerdie-woo!
Ahead in the encroaching starlight, at the Hutch, Machine Man settles into the brush, where with telescoping eyes he observes...

Machine Man( thinks) : Is this some kind of ball game? They’ve been building something in this location that, from my energy readings, probably hasn’t been cleared with the zoning commission, to say the least...
They’re using what I guess is their building tools to improvise a game! They’re not completely stupid...maybe grotesque by human standards. But who am I to assess?

Better slip into their little shanty garage and have a peak...If anything, I’m glad tracking these creatures has taken my mind off---I won’t even think her name---why do I think I can talk to human women online and ease them into the idea that they are chatting with a robot? Where is the window to That discussion? “Do u have webcam?” they ask. “Oh, I have one built inside me! I can probably come over and fix your drivers, girl, by having a nice cup of tea with your hardware!” Anonymous contact for fun, what could go wrong?

Blast! I’ve gotten too good at this human-style self-absorption! There’s something volatile brewing here, even if I haven’t figured out its purpose...and here comes the crew...

A voice booms from within the recesses of the Hutch...

Gnomlins! The time has come for the finishing touches! Why do you delay?
Narr, a jackass-looking Gnome/Goblin person of yellowish complexion tinged with green:

Hoopty-blarp! It’s gonna blow when it’s done building up, there’s little else we can do, Nyir

The voice: More coal to the steam portion of the chamber, Hob! The cosmic radiation filter needs polishing, too! Inexcusable! Where’s Sniffer?
Sniffer is a serpentine, lithe yellow creature smaller than Hob.

Behind him, Gnoll the Trome opens the back of a large exo-skeleton/ construction device.

Sniffer: I was just about to climb into the vent and see if that delicious sulfurous oxide has reached critical! But there seems to be a robot clogging it a bit.
Gnoll the Trome (in armor that makes him bigger than a person: steam-release valve on the shoulder, flaming furnace in the chest, a great waldo clamp hand on the right and something akin to a tig welder on the left arm): I didn’t lose any robots!!!
Nyirogongo(booming voice, from inside other room): That! Is the department of that...Anomaly!

Sniffer: Probably off making contact with the humans! Remember the “yard sale”?
Narr: You know, I am afraid this is going to blow sky-high...but I can’t wait for it to blow up! But I’m afraid!

Sniffer: Such a conflict happens to creatures of mixed nature, I imagine. It happens to gases, too!
Gnoll(in clunky armor, employing the grip of his helpful waldo): I’ve got it.
Machine Man: So what are doing with it? Maybe I could simply join in? How do I apply?

Gnoll: I’m not sure I understand, but can we please first take you apart?
Sniffer: Does he explode? He doesn’t smell like anything I know.
Narr: What if he explodes? Yay!

Sniffer: Careful! He might explode!

Narr: Oh, Nooo! Well, here’s the welder...

Machine Man: What is this place for? Quit attacking me, why don’t you?
Sniffer: Well, the point of it is to quit working and explode!

Gnoll (rolling forward on tread; a furnace belches smoke from the chest cavity): He’s got a flame, too! Hot enough to melt my armor!
Narr: How does he move? I wanna get under the Hood of this baby!!!
(Narr uses his arc welder on Machine Man’s head to little affect except to damage his face)

Machine Man( shrugging off Gnomlins, extending his hand towards the control panel on a tube telescoping from his wrist) : That does it! If this whole place is nothing but an elaborate bomb...!

Narr: He’s gonna explode!
Sniffer: Yay! I mean, NOOO!! It’s all going to explode any minute!
(The battle crashes noisily through to a previously concealed chamber, where the last gnomlin, their foreman, sits high atop a stool over looking all, before a type of patched-together megaphone.)
Nyirogongo (the tiniest Gnomlin, lizard-like, has lifted off his heels screaming):

I!! AM! ! GOING TO...EXPLODE!!! Blrbbllrrrb!

Narr: Anomaly! What are you doing with humans, you witzbold Gnomlin?

Hellcat and Valkyrie come in to the sight of Machine Man being smashed through the floor by Gnoll the Trome in his armor, which is being outfitted on the left arm with a cannon, of the field artillery type, cobbled together by the Gnomlins.
Hellcat: Cheese and that the Machine Man that fought in Times Square? Val!
Trome quickly opens fire close to point blank on the Valkyrie, catching her square in the chest.
Gnoll: So! They laugh about the Trome, the only one of his kind! No Champion, no Philosopher---no couple to birth his race! And snigger when they whisper of how Gnoll came to be! But I shall be my own Champion! My own Philos—
Valkyrie stands up, looking very perturbed,


and hacks into the joint of his cannon and arm with Dragonfang, her sword, using a double handed over head cut.

...I will not abide the crisis of your existence at the harm of my own!

Behind all this, Doctor Banner has ducked into the guage register area, where he has fathomed:
Incredible, the way they jury-rigged this place to be one massive energy collector---from pressurized gases beneath the earth to siphoning pipelines---probably of the local energy companies! It’s mostly old-fashioned, by Earth standards---like some crack pot Thomas Edison built it! But there’s clearly no effort to extrude any of these energies...they build without relief! And not only are the extraction devices about to stop working...this entire place seems primed to---no!

But some two miles away...deeper into the recesses of the mountain...the spirit of Nicola holds the hand of Emma Johansson, as she tells him:

Emma: This is it, my ghostly prince...your empathy for your friend’s spirit has guided us to this cave.

Nicola: Now you must wait here a moment, my friend Emma...there is still something
uneasy, though I feel Solskin so strongly, our magicks are activating our inner selves...I am beginning to manifest as my partner Abril, who is Solskin’s sister...

Emma watches, amazed, as the Viking prince before her shifts form amidst a warm, egg-like glow; then there is a purple flame burning all around the figure, as it resolves into a smaller, robed figure---a woman, who pauses, and speaks.
Abril: A ward, then, for the quenching of my suspicious nature...
(thrusts her fingers in a gesticulation off to the side),
...and now...
walks over and then touches Emma’s hands and says,
No matter what, thank you for everything.

Then she walks deep into the cave, saying this aloud:

The Box seems to be manifesting some further distraction a few leagues away...I nearly missed your manifestation, for it seems in spiritual eyes you reside in crystal, a strange suspension. Have you been alone, my brother? --- gathering strength to return here, when we could meet again to thwart the world’s perils? I have missed you so!

A figure emerges, and by purple torch light frame, appears to be the tall, lanky, reckless and brilliant brother she calls Solskin, seeming to wear a long coat colored by her glow.

Abril: You, who caught me from our dying mother, how could you not speak to me the day we disposed of Slave Box? You have never been so closed in such a time of peril...and such a spell, cast hurriedly when the ice cracked beneath us, risked Slave Box becoming trapped within our magical minds! Such I thought may have been what left you crystallized...

“Solskin”: Well, my sister, I smile, and tell you there will be a new openness...
Abril: By what magic did you manifest here?

“Solskin” (changing form, becoming lupine):

Questions, questions, sister.
Abril: By my heart!

Werewolf: By your heart, indeed! (produces a hatchet, which he plunges into Abril’s astral form)

And by this motion, it is your astral form that no longer moves upon the fifth dimension...
(the woman shatters into a bright white light)
So you are trapped by the wiles of Remus Sharptooth...who must pay homage to the power of
Sulinar Vix, my source for purloining this world! The waves reshape the consciousness of these people, diminishing their ability to distinguish one another’s minds!
From within cave shadows: and amidst this chaos we will emerge like gods! An actual wolf, but with malevolent eyes, flowing with yellow streams of ectoplasm, comes to his side.
Remus Sharptooth: A god, yes, my lovely Corpse Flower...but in a better world...once we’re done! For the energy of the explosion will be mystically harnessed now by the embryonic Fire Dragon, one of the five elements themselves!
And at the site...(Banner rushes out, to a waiting squadron of National Guard reservists, fronted by a fat-necked stocky man and Pvt. Steve Holt from earlier, nervously approaching the Gnomlin built-free standing garage of doom known as the Hutch.)
Banner: Get back!!! There’s about to be a terrible calamity!

Neberhart: Sgt. Neberhart of the Georgia National Guard! I advise you to stand down!

Banner: Please! People are going to die if y---(Neberhart cold cocks Banner with the butt of his rifle)
Neberhart: You have no authority here! We are going to conduct a proper investigation ...

Mountie Dave, who happens to be standing by with a couple of his Royal Mountie brethren:
Geez! Are you all right, guy?

Valkyrie (charges out of the Hutch, flashing her sword and grabbing Pvt. Holt says):
Run! Run, you fools!!!

Pvt. Holt: I—I love you.
Valkyrie heaves the soldier into the trees with graceful might---only to be spewed out of the Hutch in
a ball of flame herself a second later!

The Hutch falls to pieces...and the thing that arises, as the gusts of stinging heat shatter its cradle, is remnant of a promise, that may now be fulfilled---to literally change the face of Earth itself!

Next: The Four Armed Men! Nighthawk! Hulk! Doc Strange... and Corpse Flower’s terrible secret of a future star-searching people, oppressed by the same destructive forces that dwarf the Defenders! The conclusion of our blockbuster, with the offbeat title of the year:
“Remus Sharptooth Regrets...!”

Here's where the Defenders picks up:

hopefully, I will complete my adaptation substituting all original characters over the next month---but this was fun---C Lue

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Skinny writing: an answer of some considerable lumination

Only continued spiritual growth can make that behaviour outmoded and thus, discarded by you.

So: the answer.

There is basically a duality that arises within us: one part is a voice full of unreality, not all malicious but nonetheless without substance; and the other is a peaceful, wonderful beacon of truth, which provides everything of substance, and the joy empowering each task we undertake for its own sake.

That true self is the one that observes the emotional states, the other is the one that becomes absorbed into them and confuses the self with the reaction, thus creating the illusion that we, the we that we feel we are being, is the reaction. Yet if that reaction is not filled with love, sharing, humor and wisdom, it's like confusing the cloud with the actual disappearance of the sun.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Immortals in Training

Immortals in Training. It's everybody---everybody. The viewpoint from which I am returning has given me the stomach of the person about which I am next writing, and that is the proper level at which to write. Once we read through the story "Holy Terror, Holy Pity", or the sequel to "So the Truth May Survive" we will have an illumination into the version of our dual nature as the universe and as humanity told in the colors ringing of truth.

I am committed to remembering the sanctity of all life and releasing illusions so deeply held beneath our subconscious concentration that they may elude our understandings, and with it, our peaceful negotiation with one another in these times.

I am proud of the pains that have brought this story to life, as I find faith in its voice. I will occasionally demonstrate how we often have no real measure of how much we are loved, having chosen at times to forget our identities as loved ones. You would not be now here reading this without the love of someone, however much you might judge their efforts.

When I realize the greatness of the force that motivates these words, my chaotic preparation to become this writer becomes a more humorous collection of lessons, as I have learned to enjoy my grim tales in art, with the need to constantly expand the warmth of tones and the fidelity to the beautiful long sentence and the down-to-earth conversations we hear in our favorite characters.

Before "I" prepared this ---you, my future reader, seem to be in on this at the very moment it's written, that's why it feels like you could easily have had these thoughts on your own. I'm excited that you will have thoughts on your own, and while I encourage a positive tone for our mutual benefit, I will certainly take in any you share with me, until such day I confess to being too behind to keep up with all the fan mail, at which point I'll then promptly develop the super-power to hear you anyway! I say, welcome aboard ASAP, the longer we're friends, the more happy I can be to see messages coming in from old friends! To say the least, it's simply never done without you.

Honestly? I didn't think "Sunstrike and Valkyrie Maiden" as a title did justice to their equality as characters nor did it give any hint of the importance of the twins at the center of observation ("Name the Twins" is hereby closed, as I've finally realized nobody else will probably feel comfortable to submit any idea that isn't a raucous joke---or do you have the burning inspiration to break my expectations?). So: whether it be in graphic novel form, or in its movie script or book or floating verbal cloud, Immortals in Training will be the title by which to find the adventures of...well, what starts in the present versions (!) as a teenage girl visiting family in Denmark getting mixed up with a thousand year old vampire and a champion of Luxitica, born of Earth and recently returned to wander the world, on the site of a lost museum of the Dark Ages. I've previously referred to it as inspired by a domestic situation crossed with the fantastic, and it's gotten more interesting growing into a life of its own. I hope that helps you understand why I think it'll have something for anyone and will remain a written child of my heart for you to revisit any time you seek that special motivation that lets you know, right in the stomach, you're in for the entertainment of your life! Hope you enjoyed the sketch; it'll always remind me of "Marker Day"...but that's another story.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So Truth May Survive

“So the Truth May Survive”
“Azuthar!” he calls from emptiness. He awaits a demon of the eighth dimension.

Sylvane’s eyes peer into the darkness, as he opens to the auditory place of Azuthar, a place where they co-exist and know each other---the dimension inspiring music to the human realm.

Across this seventh dimension bringing us sound, the archetypes idealize emotional portals that convey a sense of ourselves in the cosmos, but not so close to unity as to be subject to perfection (those of the ninth dimension are known as few). “zx..”

Colors seen in the fifth dimension, not meant to be paired with words without surrender to their intoxicating magic, open to create a spherical dial. He watches its surface rolling, effortless, inevitable, and then a glimpse into the pastiche of all realities seen if one’s consciousness dwells in the sixth dimension (so Oslar Bran had taught him when Sylvane visited the Citadel of the Children on the planet of earthly borne tomorrows, Kolpar. That time spent in the college invisible to mortal eyes had required the greatest price yet, until the one now at hand.

The harmonic, metallic voice, like an electric guitar, casts the sound of the spell, as the candles burn around the hotel room, barely lit here further in the sky than any window above the sea, lapping dark and eternal with our secret origins evolved divergently as it flows without difference to the air and all lands.

Peacefully, Sylvane waits for Azuthar to communicate---to open. The mercy he has upon his own soul balances him as he attracts a most tempermental and brooding personage, whose aggressive form required knowledge lest Azuthar sunder all one may hold dear.

So: as Sylvane begins to detach from words, he seeks his friends amidst the cosmos: the unheralded champion of Luxitica, Sun Strike, known before as Clay Alexander Reaves, in days when Sylvane made him laugh as they pretended their invulnerability, before the one who could help Clay most brought him the other two---his sons--- who would help him change the world with something better despite its insistence to test with pain and pain again.

Still Sun Strike maintains his power, there reaching out three hundred years from the place of his birth; he takes solar radiation, and, self-luminous plus expanding the sun ray focus, shines down upon the colony on a true moon, where his immortal sons pierce the secret to never-dying by the fountains unspoiled by many visiting without knowledge, searching the world standing in their father’s power.

The Valkyrie Maid appears astride her horse, thunderous to the mortal mind which beholds her. Winged for the stars, a super-hero of sixth-dimensional portions, Valkyrie Maid approaches Sylvane cold and icey as the vacuum itself. She sees Sylvane’s mind open to place he wishes to reach, his destination that would return him to his origin as well.

He knows the ability to see demons, for she has fended off many in her journeys between the courage on the battlefield and the lies made in place of the brave fallen ones, ever taking the battle-slain to their glory in what she calls Valhalla. With her Odin-created sword, she points to the direction in the void that clarifies Sylvane’s intention to meet with Azuthar, seen dancing like flame in his mind. She points, for were she to go in that direction herself, she would battle Azuthar furiously.

For this reason, Valkyrie Maid’s glare pierces Sylvane’s heart, and looks to what he holds dearly to his breast. Within Sylvane’s robe lies a block, which floats free across the void, making it obvious they would physically be face to face. He waits for recognition to light her face. Finally, the block rests between her fingers, sword sheathed as an after thought, and then is touched on four sides by her hand.

From each point arises a bright sphere of thirty points of light spreading out equally. The other three points unite and spin as one, orbiting the fourth. With their part in the spell, their extra-dimensional counterparts spin free of the spheres, in sixth dimensional bodies of legend themselves. Those forms wait, their presence giant in the distance here on the dark side of the moon. They prepare to safe guard Sylvane’s soul there on the outer rim of comprehensible existence.

The fourth sphere of thirty points becomes 26 symbols of chromosomes, and chooses to manifest now as a slightly glowing version of the human Frida Dylan-Reaves.
“You can use the block now to free the human selves of your family, while their spirits create my vanguard here at the edge of sanity. At least, I think we’re still on the fringe of the knowable.”

“Not that I’m not glad ta see ya, fuzzy wizard,” she says, “but why are you out here?”

“In your valkyrie form, you pointed out the way to the demon I must meet soon.”

“Yikes, man!” she says, shrugging. “But if I’m here, my man and my boys have got to be close by.”

“Couldn’t be closer,” Sylvane says, smiling. “Do you remember the adventure that led to you and Clay assuming cosmic forms?”

“Aw, it all started when we followed the Triplets back to that crazy world where my kids were baby-sat whenever fate transformed Momma into Valkyrie Maid.”

“It will come back to you more and more once we get you guys back to normal,” Sylvane says, “You’ve merged with powerful, superhuman forms starting with your vision of them in both cosmic energy and perfectly healthy human bodies. You all ended up three hundred years in the future, but I can provide you the thread back to your lives on Earth in the 21st century while your exalted forms guard my foray into madness, or perhaps wait to destroy me if I am corrupted by Azuthar.”

“Heavy!” Frieda says, whistling (how?). I know I’m going to regret asking, but why Azuthar? Sounds like a demon or supernatural power.”

“I have only asked one thing of Azuthar in my desperate summonings,” Sylvane replies, gazing off at the distant quasars beyond the M-class star floating with the moon base and its planetary body in its swirling tow. “I see your concern: I agree he is not to be commanded by any human under illusions as to his good, yet he plays a part in development of humankind, and his understanding will help complete the role of my cycle.”

“When appearing in the physical realm, he’s much less powerful---tho he seems brutal to most observers with the distinct displeasure of his company. Yet he plays in the lower frequencies, and so he has played a part in one final connection with my sister.”

“Are you …?” Frieda begins her question, then deletes its intention. “I hope Vado is doing well. Wasn’t she leaving the Dome Tribe for a journey, like her namesake?”

“She has,” he replies. “And this time, she must face her adventure alone, save for the kindness of one who will find her shortly. Her travel is a labor of great physical skill, and her survival depends on her keeping the path to Kohlit Gamma close at hand. She is willful and curious, and somewhat addicted to times of sadness, which cause her to explode with bitter frustration.”

“That is something that comes with being human,” Frieda says.

“Well, it’s learned more often than not in that state,” Sylvane replies. “But she has out grown her radio station and vegetable garden, and like a pot in need of transplanting, the need for her roots crushes her confinements or threatens they wither. She faces a journey now where I cannot help---I only seem able to harm with words, so I choose to be faithful to the vision of her success and fulfillment, empower that possibility. Before we discuss this any further, I think your memories return enough to strip the mask of concentration from your brow…”

“Yes,” she nods, “it’s coming back to me: I’m a valkyrie soul who chose to tread the world of Midgard to learn of the world of the slain heroes and their ways. And in that time, I was a normal girl, with a family…and even after the king of vampire kind revealed to me my nature and bond with death and life beyond, I still looked for the same thing…and took a hus---Clay! And my boys! Do you know…?”

“Let your soul sphere self free once again,” says Sylvane, “so that it may cleave to the others and present once again the man you help to make and the children to whom you gave birth.”

From Frieda’s closed eyes flow winds of cosmic generation, and before they again open, particulate globs create white silhouettes of bodies, while two sparks fly like meteors from their presence to rest in the slowly-forming water planet further out in the solar system. The single remaining energy divides in two, but not completely; at their stem of unity, a man begins to grow from a microscopic source, as the energy balls rush together with him at its center.

Together they join as one, producing a human version of Clay Reaves. The singular energy floats on, sending x-rays and gamma rays as they twist and combine and flow against the heavy, dark matter background, black crackles of energy radiant about their nimbus.

Their immortal sons stand in the waters of worlds without man.

With this honor guard to watch over his soul, Sylvane then turns his attention back to the floating human beings before him. He decides to provide a spell in connection with the witch from the borders of cedar town, the mysterious but generous D. C. Sharlet. Queen of hearths and homes, with a friendly smile she arrives on a cycle spinning star dust in her wake. “Who says these things are only stationary?” she chuckles. “Hullo, Fuzzy Sorcerer!”

“Hullo, D. C., “he replies. “is all gentle in the many eyes of the peacock?”
“She sends her cuddles,” D.C. says, slipping in a hug that envelopes Sylvane in a presence of great safety and nurture. “I thought I’d find you if I could pick the right moon of Saturn---it’s your ruling planet in your star chart, you know!”

By this inspiration, the magic in his heart and her special abilities evoke the human forms of Clay Reaves and his twin sons, restored to child form, tumble forth, also lit in glow, impervious to the rigors of space.

“I called upon your power to fondly grant these weary souls a time when they can be together and grow, if only for a few years of Earth time. Someday, it may be Me who needs that magical hitch, but now, I want to work with their cosmic forms, while they enjoy the human peace and love I hope one day to be mine again.”

D.C. the Witch turns towards her charges, the family of four floating freely.

“The power to return home,” D.C. intones warmly. “I remember when that ability was my great struggle. But just as I learned how to return home---to find dreams where I have a full life and home in more than one parallel world---I can help you maintain the dream link to this place where you have the power to seek immortality. But just the same, if I’m not mistaken, your heart’s desires are for home cooked meals and beds calling softly---to face another day on earth, passing time as a family while dreaming of immortal seekers.”

“Thank you,” says Sylvane. “Please take this necklace, the one with the red pearl in the middle.”

“How did you know I had a birthday coming up?” she says coyly.

“That red pearl is also a beacon,” he begins...

“A present and a favor request,” she replies. “You are getting the hang of this wizard thing.”

“Vado journeys alone,” he continues, “and this time she must remain alone, so that she might also decide the course of her life for all years to come. Not even Cary Jewel Kinder, nor friends from childhood, Zazook, Pinneypoppa, or Yaybob---in this one thing, there are none that may stand at her side, save in her heart. She will have one beloved friend, going forth to meet her as she travels, though he may be disguised at first. Eventually she should arrive at Kohklit Gamma Island.”

“Aw, you want to me to be there to bless her with a way home?” she says. “Okay. Your sister’s so crazy, Sylvane. Maybe the monkeys will carry her up into the trees.”

“If they have wings, they will probably be working for her,” he snarls sarcastically, shaking his head. D.C. laughs uproariously. They turn again to the Reaves tribe.

“Could I bid them farewell a moment?” Sylvane inquires of D.C., “before they go?”

“Should be okay,” she replies, stepping backwards into her beaded veil, closing slowly as an orange oval, contracting over a mist-filled area now containing the sorceress. “Don’t keep them out here in abstract-land too long, and tell’em take this beacon back through Misty Hazel’s Garden. The twins ought to know the way from there and take the same exit from there the Triplets take when the kids swap places.” Then she is out of line, safely back in her grove, where the hummingbirds grow hearty and evade the swift cats that prowl the yard.

Sylvane, heavy at heart, wants to tell them so much, but with a pass of his hands, instead clears a channel for their words, before he passes beyond the realm where words may serve. His old friend Clay speaks:

“Sylvane! So…what took ya so long?”

“You were really expecting me?”

“I wasn’t really expecting anything,” he replies more seriously.

Sylvane quickly repeats D.C.’s instructions, finishing with, “the portal’s relay, the one the Triplets used to swap places with your children in dangerous circumstances.---from there the portal should take you back within a week or so of when/ where I last traveled the woods with my sister.”

That sounds great,” Clay replies. “I could stay out camping by that lake forever!”

“Well, good luck man.”

“I’ll have you with me, trust me,” Sylvane replies, waving. “I’ll be stopping by for a Kopi Luwak some day soon.”

“I’ll look that up,” Clay replies, “and we’ll probably just have Dr. Pepper.”

“And don’t forget, children who eat more candy as kids are more likely to be arrested for violent crime as adults, so…buy comic books…”

“Yeah, way to mess with trick or treat, ya b—“ the taunt finishes in a stopper-like pulling shut of the area where the four formerly floated, swirling away down the other side of the contracting orange oval that receives their human, protected selves.

“I am glad,” he says to no one remaining, “hearth and home can be for someone.”

After a pause, he thinks: “this heaviness must leave my heart; I am called to many strands across many facets of reality---and I have languished before all of them, at too low a vibration to affect any of the struggles that compel my aid, for my all-too-human feelings fluctuate my resolve. Now I go to face the demon I’ve called forth, to lay aside that heaviness...and to face death, and the end of death...”

In the distance, the strength of his friends stands guard, as Sylvane reaches out into the final darkness.