The Gods Wager-Part One

The Proposition

Ozmos took a deep breath, steeling his nerves as he soared towards the temple of the First Gods on the back of his colossal falcon.  Though it was Ozmos himself that had demanded an audience with the First Gods, he was mindful of the fact that the pantheon greatly outnumbered him.  Ozmos was also painfully aware that he, having no other gods in his pantheon to rely on, could only ask his faithful to give him the strength needed to confront the First Gods.  As his falcon swooped down towards the ancient temple, Ozmos leapt off the great bird, flipped through the air three times, then landed at the foot of the temple in a crouching position.  Ozmos turned his fierce gaze to the entrance of the temple before slowly rising into a strong, warrior stance.  As he stood there, staring defiantly at the temple, a small figure scuttled out of the shadows of the entrance-way.  As the figure entered the sunlight, Ozmos could see that the figure was nothing more than a short, thin, elderly man that seemed to be in danger of being swallowed up by the thick cloak he wore.

“Ozmos,” the man wheezed loudly, “Son of the Holy Father, Protector of the Unwashed, Defier of the First Gods-“

“I think you’ve covered enough of my titles,” Ozmos barked.  Let’s just get on with it.

“Very well,” the old man said, smiling wryly.  “If you would follow me then.”

Ozmos let out a frustrated sigh before following the old man into the darkened entrance of the Temple of the First Gods.  As his eyes adjusted to the interior light provided by several flaming torches along the wall of a barren hallway he was being led down, Ozmos found his nerves settling by his surging fortitude.  Moments later, the old man led Ozmos through a doorway into a large antechamber.  In the center of the chamber, a large pit of fire burned, sending dancing shadows across the walls and ceiling.  On the opposite side of the  chamber, a robust, middle-aged man with long hair and a strong beard sat on a throne atop a large dais glaring down at Ozmos.  Seated next to the man was a woman of great beauty, her face an expression of soothing calmness that eased the remaining nerves of Ozmos.  Before the dais, a young man in full armor stood, his arms crossed in an expression of defiance as he to glared at Ozmos.

“Dekus,” Ozmos said, bowing his head to show respect to the gods before him.  “I am honored that you would agree to meet with me.”

“Honored,” The bearded god Dekus barked angrily.  “The only reason I agreed to this meeting is to see with my own eyes the petulant child that would dare to request an audience with the father of all the gods.”

“You are the father of all the First Gods,” Ozmos stated bluntly.  “But, you are not my father.  I am not one of your god children.  You would be wise to remember that.”

“You would dare,” Dekus roared.  “You are nothing to me, the First of the First Gods!  You are but a juvenile to me!  A false god trying to claim what belongs to me and my First!”

“I may be a new god,” Ozmos declared calmly, “But I am a god, make no mistake.  My followers give me just as much power as your followers give you, and my the size of my flock increases constantly.  Even as I speak to you now, I gain more followers.  Soon, my congregation might even outnumber yours.  A new dawn is rising, Dekus.  The faiths of man are ever-changing, and you of the First Gods cannot hope to remain relevant in the face of such evolution.  I represent the progress of man from the darkness of the First Gods to the light of the one, true god.  You cannot hope to halt such progress forever.”

“We do not have to stand for such disrespectful boasting father,” the young man in armor shouted.  “Let me face this heathen usurper in combat and I will prove who is the better god.”

“Calm yourself son,” the woman in the throne beside Dekus chided.  “There will be no combat in this sacred temple.  And husband, you let your temper get the better of you again.  Please, allow me to handle this situation.”

Dekus glared at his wife briefly before finding his anger melt before her soothing eyes.  “You are right my love, as always.  Please, speak for me.  I trust your judgement in this matter.”

“Thank you my husband,” the woman said, smiling and placing her hand on the cheek of Dekus.  After a moment, the woman turned her attention to Ozmos, who stood tall and defiant before the First Gods.  “Do you know who I am?”

“Of course my lady,” Ozmos replied, bowing his head slightly.  “You are Ielis, wife to Dekus and mother of the First Gods.  I am honored to speak with you.”

“You come before us speaking of honor,” Ielis affirmed, “but then you proceed to inform us that we are antiquated and obsolete.  It seems you are the god of contradictions, if not the god of good judgement.”

Ozmos let out a long sigh, then lowered his head before speaking again.  “I must beg your forgiveness I’m afraid.  It was not my intention to insult you, your husband, or any of the First Gods.  Nor was it my desire to be the cause of confrontation.  I am not a warrior like your son, Atul, the God of War.  I am a god who spreads the tenets of peace, the words of love, the code of brotherhood.  I have not come to your temple, your home, to attack or threaten you.  I have come only to show you the truth of the world outside this temple.”

“And what truth might that be,” Ielis inquired dubiously.

“A simple truth,” Ozmos replied.  “One that should be obvious to those not blinded by pride or arrogance.  As I have stated, I am new to the role of god.  Once, I was but a mere mortal man elevated to the position of god by those who believed in me and placed their faith in me.  Being that I was once mortal, my followers see me as one of their own.  A god who cares more about the people of the world than about his own power.  I am here to warn you that my followers are growing at an exponential level, converting even those who once followed the First Gods.  As I said, this is the path of progress, and I fear that the First Gods are in danger of being wiped from existence by such progress.”

“And so, you have come to our domain out of concern for our existence?  You are telling us that you are acutally concerned about those that you are usurping?”

“I am not trying to usurp the First Gods, my Lady.  If I had my choice, I would gladly share my faithful with the First Gods.  I am afraid,  however, that such a thing is not possible.  It is the will of the people that the order of the First Gods fade from existence, leaving only myself as the one true God of the people.”

“This is preposterous,” Dekus bellowed, springing up from his throne and waving an angry fist at Ozmos.  “You claim that you are no warrior, yet you are clearly here to challenge us!  And yet, you are but a single, solitary god, challenging a pantheon of many.  Why should we care what you have to say to us?  What could you possibly have to challenge us with?”

“Again Old Father,” Ozmos replied calmly, “I am not here to attack you.  I am here to inform you.  Your days of godhood are waning.  Soon, you will fade away as your faithful are all converted to following me.  Your existence will be forgotten, and you will be nothing more than stories parents tell their children to bore them to sleep at night.”

Dekus glared at Ozmos for a long moment before finally letting out a loud, boisterous laugh.  “I have to admire your fearlessness Ozmos.  I question whether it is courage or foolhardiness that motivates you to challenge we the First Gods, who have ruled the heavens for thousands of years.  You say you are here to warn us of our impending demise, so tell me then, what do you propose.  What is the true reason for your visit here?”

“Despite what you might think,” Ozmos replied, “I do not actually wish to see you or your pantheon destroyed or eliminated.  That is not my way.  I am actually here to make you an offer.  Your reign as gods will be over soon, but your legacy can live on if you choose to join me and my gospel.  I will canonized as the first of my saints.  It is an honor I bestow on only the holiest of my flock.  You will be remembered always as my disciples, immortilzed in scripture for all time.”

Dekus stared coldly at Ozmos, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully as he rubbed his bearded chin.  Dekus then took a deep breath, exhaling it slowly.

“I have an alternate offer,” Dekus said at last.  “A true test of the validity of your statements.  If you are so certain that your flock is stronger than mine, then I propose a wager.  A true test of the faith of our followers.  I propose that we each choose a champion among our faithful to represent us.  These champions will face each other with their faith in their hearts and we shall see whose is stronger.  We each give our champion a set of weapons and armor that is strengthened by their faith and see who’s faith prevails.”

“An interesting proposition,” Ozmos responded, nodding his head thoughtfully.  “And what will be the stakes to such a wager?”

“If you win,” Dekus answered, “then I, and all the First Gods, will agree to your offer.  We will relinquish our godhood and agree to become these saints that you speak of without any further resistance or complaint.”

“And if you should somehow happen to defeat me?”

“Then you will give up your godhood, tell your followers that you are a fraud, and return to your existence as a mere mortal.  I will even allow you to become a legend among our followers.  I will create a parable about you, the man who challenged the First Gods and lost.  Your story will forever be a moral for all to learn from.  How do you respond to my proposition Ozmos?”

Ozmos turned his glance towards the fire pit in the center of the room as he pondered the offer presented by the Old Father.  Weighing his confidence in his faithful against the risk of losing such a wager, Ozmos came to the conclusion that there could only be one possible outcome for his beloved flock of followers.

“Yes Old Father,” Ozmos answered slowly.  “I have as much faith in my followers as they have in me.  The terms you have put forth are acceptable.  I agree to your wager.”

“Excellent,” Dekus replied with a laugh.  “Then let it be so.  Let us now go and find our champions and make our preparations.”

“As you wish,” Ozmos said, bowing respectfully towards the First Gods.  “Shall we reconvene once all is ready to witness the challenge?”

“Indeed we shall,” Dekus replied cheerfully.  “I look forward to the contest.  I must thank you Ozmos.”

“Thank me for what?”

“Existence has been a bit mundane for me of late,” Ozmos stated.  “You have brought a touch of excitement into my life.  No matter the inevitable outcome of our game here, I am at least grateful for this experience.”

“I am happy to breathe some new life in your ancient existence,” Ozmos said casually as he walked out of the antechamber.

Boys Will Be, Part Four

Scottie held his breath as the spaceman standing over him slowly slid his helmet off to reveal his face.  Since the moment he entered the neighborhood Mystery House, on a dare from a bully, Scottie had been  chased by the ghost of a woman, ran into a man cut in half who could still speak to him, fallen down a flight of stairs into a strange basement/laboratory, and was approached by an odd, hopefully human, man in a spacesuit that had appeared in a flash of light.  Now, sitting on the stairs he had fallen down, scared and in pain, Scottie could only imagine what the spaceman would do to him.  The slight hiss of air escaping the spaceman’s suit grabbed Scottie’s attention, and the boy looked up to see the worn face of an older man looking down at him.  Scottie felt a small sense of relief when he noticed that the man did not look to be angry or upset, but rather concerned, perhaps about Scottie’s injury.

“You really shouldn’t be here,” the man said, his tone curiously missing the anger Scottie was expecting.  “Especially not by yourself.  You could get hurt.”

“I know, I did get hurt,” Scottie answered back.  “I fell down the stairs and twisted my ankle.  I’m really sorry.  I thought this house was abandoned, and I was dared to come in here by a bully.  I didn’t mean to do anything other than explore and look around a little.  I wanted to prove it wasn’t haunted.  But, I was wrong.  It is haunted.  Are you a ghost too?”

“A ghost,” the man scoffed.  “There is no such thing as ghosts kid.  Kid.  What’s your name kid?”

“Scottie.  My name is Scottie.  How can you say there is no such things as ghosts?  You have one in your front hallway.  The thing attacked me!”

“That’s not,” the man began, pausing to let out a laugh, “that’s not a ghost kid.  There is no such thing as ghosts.”

“Then what the hell was that thing?”

“That’s some language for someone your age,” the man said, shaking his head.  “How old are you anyway?”

“I’m twelve,” Scottie replied.  “That’s how I talk when I’m freaked out.”

“I don’t remember swearing like that when I was your age,” the man stated, pausing to reach back into his memories.  “Anyway, I think I need to take a look at that ankle of yours.

Scottie gasped as the man bent down, reached out his hands, and picked the boy up.  The man then carried Scottie over to the metal table in the center of the basement, and sat Scottie down on an empty area.  The man then pulled out something that looked like a smartphone, and began slowly moving it over Scottie’s ankle.

“W-what is that,” Scottie asked, almost afraid of the answer.

“This is something that will magically heal you,” the man answered, flashing Scottie a wide smile.

“Magic,” Scottie repeated in a confused whisper.

The man let out a single, boisterous laugh, silenced it abruptly, then cleared his throat.  “Oh, to be so young again.  In most cases, I have found that what people think is magic is either nothing more than mere illusion, or advanced science that people do not understand yet.  This is a scanner.  I usually use it to scan things I bring back from my trips, but it will work just as well to scan your ankle and make sure that nothing is broken.  As long as it isn’t broken, I will wrap that up for you with some cooling gel, and you should heal nicely.  Then, we can get you home.”

“Yeah, but, what about the ghost?  Or the dead guy up there who is somehow not dead?”

“Dead guy,” the man asked with a quizzical expression.  “What dead guy?”

“Upstairs,” Scottie replied.  “There is a guy lying on the table in the room next to the kitchen that is cut in half.  I thought he was dead, but then he talked to me.”

“And what did he say,” the man asked with deep interest.

Scottie paused briefly, forcing himself to relive the memory in his mind though he was afraid to.  “He pretty much said the same thing the ghost did.  He told me that I shouldn’t be here.”

“Well, he’s right.  You shouldn’t be here.”

“I know,” Scottie shouted in frustrated.  “I found that out the hard way when I saw the ghost and the dead guy.”

The man laughed again, a loud uproarious laugh that shocked Scottie.  “That’s not a man you poor, confused boy.  That is my sidekick Johhny.  He’s an automaton.”

“An atomaton?  What’s that?”

“An automaton,” the man replied, chuckling.  “He’s an android.  an artificial being.”

“Like a robot,” Scottie asked, his interest piqued.

“Well,” the man replied, pondering the question.  “I guess, in layman terms, you could say he is like a robot.  Just don’t say that to his face.  He was damaged recently on one of our journeys, and I am in the process of repairing him.”

“Where did he come from?”

“I built him,” the man replied, beaming with pride.  “Put him together myself.  Well, I did have some help to be honest.  I’m good, but I’m not a robotics expert.”

“You built him,” Scottie repeated, his voice full of awe.  “Are you a scientist or something?”

“Yes Scottie, that is exactly what I am.  I am a scientist who specializes in inter-dimensional exploration.”

Scottie’s mouth dropped at this last statement.  “You do what?”

“I travel to other dimensions, explore them, and study them.  I even take back samples like the rocks on my table here.”

“Other dimension,” Scottie stated.  “Like in my comic books?  Like alternate universes and stuff.”

“Yes,” the man replied.  “Just like that.  I discovered a way to travel to other dimensions, and I built a device to open doorways to those dimensions.”

“No way,” Scottie whispered.

“Yes way,” the man answered back with a laugh.  “It is what I have dedicated my life’s work to.”

“That is so cool,” Scottie shouted.

“Yeah, I think it is pretty cool.” the man said, smiling widely.  “Good news Scottie, your ankle is not broken.  So, I’m going to put some medical gel on it, which will act like ice on your ankle to ease the swelling.  It’s going to be cold, but it won’t hurt.  Then, we can wrap your ankle and take you home.”

“Medical gel?  I’ve never heard of that.”

“That’s because it’s still a prototype.” the man stated as he rubbed the cool gel on Scottie’s ankle.  “It’s not quite ready for the mass market yet.  But, hopefully someday soon.  Anyway, you will be fine, rest your ankle for a few days, and you should be back to running around in no time.”

“That’s good news,” Scottie said, breathing a sigh of relief.  “I still have one question though.  What about the ghost upstairs that chased me around.  You say there are no ghosts, but, I know what I saw.”

Scottie noticed at that moment that the man’s face took on a look of sadness.  “What you saw, was the psychic impression of a woman who used to be,” the man paused, took a deep breath, “a friend of mine.  She passed away a few years ago, and I was able to use a device I had invented to capture a bit of her psychic residue.  It is not really her in any substantial way, more of an echo of who she used to be, but it is all I have left of her.”

“I’m not really sure what that means,” Scottie admitted.  “But it sounds sad, and I am sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you Scottie.”

“Maybe you could teach me more about it,” Scottie said, smiling hopefully.

“Oh, I’m afraid that would take more time than we have at this moment.  You no doubt need to get home now.  I’m sure you have parents that are worried about you.”

“Well, then,” Scottie pushed on.  “Maybe I could come back later.  Like, on another day, and you could teach me about the stuff you have going on here.  It’s all really cool and interesting, and I would love to know more about what you do.”

“You would,” the man inquired, his demeanor lighting up.  “Really?”

“Yeah,” Scottie replied.  “I love  science, it’s my favorite subject in school.  I bet you could teach me a lot more than I could learn in class.  Maybe I could be like your assistant or something.  I could help you out.”

“That’s an interesting idea,” the man said, rubbing his chin in thought.  “But, you are just a kid, so it would be too dangerous to take you out on my dimensional expeditions.  But, you could work with me here in the lab studying the things I bring back from other dimensions.  Would you be up for that?”

“Definitely,” Scottie replied, smiling with excitement.  “I want to learn as much as I can.”

The man studied Scottie for a few moments, rubbing his chin as he pondered the boys offer, then nodded his head slowly.  “Okay, your on.  You can be my assistant.  I’ll even give you a bit of pay for your work, like an after school job.  But, there are a few conditions.  First, we must get an OK from your parents.  Second, you need to keep up your grades in school.  If your grades start slipping at all, then the deal is off.  Of course, you will have me to help you with your schoolwork, so that shouldn’t be a problem.  What do you think?”

“I think we have ourselves a deal,” Scottie beamed.  “When do we start?”

“Well, that will be the third condition.  Before we can start, you need to get that ankle healed.  So, I suggest you rest it as much as you can so it will heal quicker.”

“All right,”Scottie sighed.  “I will let my ankle heal.  But, try not to discover anything too cool while I am waiting, okay?”

“We have a deal,” the man agreed with a smile.  When he had finished wrapping Scottie’s ankle, the man asked him for his address.  Though initially reluctant, Scottie felt he and the spaceman had begun to build a trust with each other, which made Scottie feel better about revealing where he lived.  Armed with this information, the man walked over to the platform in the basement, and began entering keystrokes into the computer attached to it.  A moment later, a bright, oval shaped light appeared in the center of the platform.

“All right then,” the man turned to address Scottie.  “Let’s get you home, shall we?”

“W-What’s that,” Scottie asked nervously.

“This my boy,” the man replied proudly, “is my portal generator.  My own invention, of course.  It is the device I use to travel back and forth to other dimensions.  I have entered your address into the navigation computer, and you can use it to go home.”

“Really,” Scottie asked excitedly.  “You’re going to teleport me home?”

“Really,” the man replied  “It’s perfectly safe.  Just walk through the portal, and it will drop you off right in front of your house.  Now, come along.  You’ve got some healing to do so that we can get you started working with me.”

“This is so cool,” Scottie shouted, hobbling over to the teleporter.  When he reached the edge of the platform, Scottie looked into the light, and was surprised to discover that he could indeed see his home in the center as though he were looking through a window.  Scottie looked back at the man, who was smiling at him and gesturing for him to enter the portal.  “Wait a minute.  Before I go, you never told me your name.”

“Oh,” the man responded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.  “You are absolutely right.  I am Professor Kevin Newton at your service.  It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Scottie.”

“It’s nice to meet you too Professor.  I will see you again soon.”

“Yes, you will.  I will come by your house tomorrow to talk to your parents about your new job in my employ.  Now, run along Scottie.  It’s time for you to head home.”

Scottie turned to face the portal to his house, took a deep breath, and held it as he stepped into the light.  Though he had taken only a single step, Scottie instantly found himself on his street, facing his house as the light he had walked through shrunk until it could be seen no more.  For a brief moment, Scottie wondered if what he had just experienced had been a strange dream, but a shock of pain in his wrapped ankle quickly reminded him that everything had been real.  Scottie smiled to himself as he began limping to his house, excited for what his future with Professor Newton would bring.

Boys Will Be, Part Three

Scottie moaned in pain as he tried to slowly pick himself up off the floor.  A bolt of sudden agony in his right leg made him cry out and reach down to check his wound.  Scottie let out a sigh of relief when he realized that there were no broken bones, but he could tell that he had twisted his ankle.  As he sat on the cold, rubber mat covered cement floor rubbing his sore ankle, Scottie scanned his immediate surroundings to regain his bearings.  At first, Scottie could not see anything in the completely darkened area, and he had to push back the panic that filled his mind.  As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Scottie could tell that he had fallen into what appeared to be a common basement, though he could not distinguish the details of the room.  Scottie reached for the phone in his pocket, turned it on to bring some light to his situation.

“Oh great,” Scottie sighed angrily, looking down at the cracked screen of his phone.  Scottie could only guess that the phone must have gotten damaged during his tumble down the stair.  Though the  screen was cracked, the phone still seemed to be functional, and Scottie was able to activate the flashlight app on the phone to provide a small, focused beam of light.

Scottie moved the light to his ankle, and was relieved to see that there was no blood or bone protruding from the skin, though the ankle did appear to be swelling.  Scottie then moved the light around the room, taking in the details of his surroundings.  Scottie was surprised to discover that, though he was indeed lying on the floor of a basement, it was more than just a common storage area or work room.

The basement walls were covered with strange looking machines and devices, each one wired to a bank of computers located in one corner of the basement.  In the center of the room was a large, metal table littered with what appeared to be equipment that might be found in some type of science lab, several rocks of different shapes and sizes, and an assortment of plants and leaves.  At the far side of the basement, Scottie could see a strange looking, square, metal platform with an unfamiliar piece of triangle shaped metal object at each corner.

“What is all this,” Scottie whispered, shaking his head in disbelief.

Scottie moved the light back to his ankle, let out a moan that was a mixture of pain, frustration, and utter confusion.  Scottie pushed his fear to the back of his mind, and slowly tried to pull his body toward the staircase he had fallen down.  Though he had no idea how he would get past the frightening things he had seen in the rooms above him, Scottie knew he had to somehow get out of the Mystery House and get his swelling ankle taken care of.

As he continued dragging himself towards the stairs, the lights, computers, and machinery in the basement roused to life suddenly, startling Scottie, who froze in place.  Scottie heard the sound of an electric hum, and he rolled around to see the origin of the sound, despite the fact that his mind screamed at him not to.  A chill ran down Scottie’s spine as he witnessed the platform on the far end of the basement suddenly spark to life.

The odd triangles at each of the corner of the platform began to glow with a blue light, then began spewing forth bolts of electricity.  After a few seconds, the bolts began to converge in the center of the platform, forming into an oval shaped pattern as they swirled through the air.  Scottie felt his heart beating in his throat as the the oval pattern began to glow with a bright, white light.  The light continued to intensify to the point that Scottie had to shield his eyes with his hand, then stopped abruptly.

The machinery in the basement went quiet as Scott continued covering his eyes.  Frightened at the thought of what might happen next, Scottie listened intently for any sound.  Scottie could feel himself shaking as the sound of strange, mechanical breathing filled the air.  Against his better judgement, Scottie uncovered his eyes to determine what horror might be waiting for him next.

A strange man, Scottie hoped it was just a man, stood on the platform, dressed in what appeared to be a type of space suit that an astronaut might wear.  The man’s face was covered by a helmet that had a darkened visor hiding his face.  Scottie realized immediately that the mechanical breathing he was hearing came from the helmet the man wore, that was connected to a pack on his back by a hose.

Scottie tried to remain as quiet as he could, watching as the spaceman moved towards the table in the center of the basement.  The man opened a messenger bag worn on his left side, pulled out a large rock, placed on the table beside the other rocks located there.  The spaceman picked up a piece of equipment from the table,  activated it, and slowly waved it over the rock.  The equipment whirred and beeped as the spaceman moved it over the surface of the rock, and Scottie could only guess what the purpose might be.

Scottie began to relax as he realized the spaceman had not noticed him, allowing himself to release the breath he had been holding.  A moment of panic set into Scottie’s mind as he tried to come up with an escape plane that would allow him to get out of the house unnoticed.  Scottie decided that his only course of action would be to continue his slow crawl up the stairs and hope that the spaceman would be too distracted with his rock to notice.  Scottie reached up to the wooden handrail on the left side of the staircase, and tried to pull himself up the stairs.

The one flaw that Scottie had not factored into his plan was the fact that the handrail on the staircase was quite old, and the wood of the railing was weak and could not support the full weight of a twelve year old boy.  The railing creaked as Scottie put his weight on it, until the old wood could take no more, and it cracked in Scottie’s grip with a loud snap.  Scottie lost his balance as the railing broke, and fell back down to the basement floor with a thud.  As soon as he landed, Scottie whipped his head up to see if the spaceman had noticed his fall, and was disappointed, though not surprised to see that he had indeed been discovered.

Scottie watched in terror as the spaceman looked towards him, turned off the gadget in his hand and placed it back on the table, and began to move towards Scottie.  Scottie scrambled to get up off the floor, and a spike of pain quickly reminded him of his twisted ankle.  Scottie looked towards the approaching spaceman, terrified at what the man might do to him.

“You shouldn’t be here,” the spaceman’s mechanical voice stated through his helmet.

“I know,” Scottie whispered, wishing he had listened the first time he had heard the words.

Scottie felt his heart pounding as the spaceman approached him, wanting desperately to scream yet too scared to utter a sound.  After what seemed an eternity to Scottie, the spaceman stood over him, looking down at the lad.  Scottie felt his teeth chattering in his head as the spaceman reached up and began taking his helmet off.  An infinite array of horrific images ran through Scotties mind as the helmet slid off of the spaceman’s head, but what he was not prepared for was the face that was hidden underneath.

Boys Will Be, Part Two

The plan was simple enough, what could possibly go wrong?  Bert, the bully who spent his days picking on and tormenting Scottie, had put forth a dare for Scottie to sneak into the Mystery House in their neighborhood to get proof that the house was haunted.  Scottie, skeptical that the house was actually as haunted as people said, was trying to find a way into the house when the front door mysteriously opened for him.  With Bert goading him on from the safety of the sidewalk, Scottie cautiously entered the front door.  Initially, Scottie was unimpressed by the stark hallway before him, which contained no decorations at all.  Scottie saw two doors in the hallway, one at the end of the hall, and one to his left side with a staircase leading to the second floor of the house on his right side.  As he moved down the hallway, Scottie was shocked to see what appeared to be the ghost of a woman appear at the top of the stairs.  When the ghostly woman charge towards him, screaming that he did not belong in the house, Scottie found himself frozen with fear.

With his eyes shut as tight as humanly possible, Scottie felt a sudden urge to flee overtake his mind.  Scottie took two step backwards, then tripped on a rug in the hallway, falling backwards onto the floor.  As he hit the floor, Scotties eyes opened, and he watched the ghostly woman float over him, passing the spot he had been standing.  Scottie scrambled to his feet, and looked back towards the front door he had entered to see the ghostly woman floating there, directly blocking his path out of the Mystery House.

“You should not be here,” the woman hissed, pointing her bony finger at Scottie once again.

“Please,” Scottie whispered, his dry mouth preventing him from speaking fully.

“You should not be here,” the woman screeched again before charging towards Scottie once again.  Scottie let out another hoarse scream before turning around and running towards the closed door at the end of the hallway.  Once he reached the door, Scottie frantically reached for the doorknob, turned it, and felt a microscopic moment of relief as the door opened.  Scottie rushed into the room on the other side of the hallway, slamming the door behind him and falling to the floor with his arms covering his head.

When his pounding heartbeat at last settled to a dull throb in his ears, Scottie realized that several minutes had passed in silence with no sign of the ghostly woman.  Scottie slowly moved his arms away from his head, slowly scanning the area around him for immediate danger.  Scottie was surprised, yet relieved to discover that he had landed on the floor of a rather conventional kitchen.  As Scottie looked around the kitchen, he saw an old, if otherwise unremarkable, refrigerator on the wall opposite the door he had entered. To the left of the refrigerator, a sink with a small countertop attached to it had a small pile of dirty dishes peeking over the rim.  Scottie noticed immediately that the dishes appeared to be recently used, which he found extremely odd.  Scottie found himself wondering if the ghost woman that had attacked him was responsible for the dirty dishes, but he quickly dismissed the absurd notion with a chuckle.  A small window above the sink gave Scottie a view of a sparse and empty back yard.

On the other side of the refrigerator, Scottie saw another closed door that appeared unexceptional.  On the wall directly to the right of the closed door, Scottie saw an old style gas stove  with a couple of dirty pans resting on top.  Behind the stove, another window look out onto the driveway on the side of the house To Scottie’s left, another closed door rested on hinges that would allow the it to swing open and spring back to close once again.

Scottie slowly ran his eyes back and forth between the three doors leading out of the kitchen, including the door he had been chased through, trying to decide what his best course of action would be.  Scottie quickly decided that he did not want to face the ghost woman again, which made the decision to eliminate that particular egress an easy one.  Scottie took a deep breath, looked towards the ceiling of the kitchen, then decided to enter the swinging door to his left.

Scottie stepped towards the door, trying his best to be as quiet as humanly possible, placed his hand on the door, took another deep breath, then carefully pushed the door open.  Another small room occupied the space on the other side of the door as Scottie entered, though he could not focus on the details of the room as he could only focus on what lay in the center.  Scottie let out a gasp of horror as his attention was pulled to a large, wooden table directly in the middle of the room.  The table itself was completely unremarkable, but the man laying on the table shocked Scottie to the very core of his being.

Scottie’s first instinct was to flee in terror when he saw the man lying in two pieces on the table, but he forced himself instead to investigate closer.  The unfortunate man, who was clearly dead, was separated at the waist, cut in half by some unknown blade perhaps, with his legs resting at least a foot away from his upper torso.  What struck Scottie as odd, other than the fact that there was a dead man cut in half lying before him, was the fact that there did not appear to be a single drop of blood anywhere on the table, or on the man himself.  Letting his curiosity guide him, Scottie reached out his hand to touch the man, if only to see if what he saw was real.  As he cautiously moved his hand towards the halved man, the man’s eyes sprung open abruptly, causing Scottie to stumble backwards with a scream.

“You,” the halved man hissed, his voice barely above a whisper.

“No,” Scottie cried, continuing to step backwards.  “Oh no!”

“You s-should,” the man stuttered, struggling to get the words out.

“Don’t,” Scottie whispered.  “Please don’t.”

“You should not be here,” the man stated at last.

“I know,” Scottie whispered.

“You should not be here,” the man said again, louder this time.

“I know,”Scottie whispered, his voice shaking.  “I know.”

“You should not be here,” the man bellowed, loud enough to startle Scottie.

“I know,” Scottie shouted, turning and bursting through the swinging door back into the kitchen.  “I know!  I know!  I know!”

Scottie continued shouting as he ran through the kitchen to the one door he had not yet been through.  Scottie opened the door and was greeted by a darkness that he could not see through.  With fear pushing him, Scottie stepped through the doorway into the darkness, and immediately felt himself fall and tumble down a flight of stairs he could not see.

Boys Will Be, Part One

Scottie stood frozen on the sidewalk, staring nervously at the disturbingly quiet house that everyone in the neighborhood commonly referred to as the Mystery House.  For all of his life, that life being only twelve short years, Scottie had heard various unsettling stories about how the house was haunted, how it was surely made of pure evil, and how people would enter the house and never leave.  Scottie new that there were houses with similar stories in neighborhoods around the world, so he initially did not take any stock in the stories told about the Mystery House.  It was this disbelief in such rumors that led to Scottie being taunted by his nemesis, a bully by the name of Bert.  Bert had scoffed at Scottie’s lack of belief in the stories of the Mystery House, convinced that Scottie was lying and just pretending to be brave in front of his friends.  When Scottie attempted to protest, Bert challenged him to enter the Mystery House and find out for himself what was inside.

“Well,” Bert said, his voice laced with impatience, “you goin’ in, or what?”

“This is really lame,” Scottie replied angrily.  “What, you get this idea out of cartoon, or movie, or something?  What are you going to do, sneak in after me and try to scare me while I’m in there?”

“Are you nuts,” Bert exclaimed, shaking his head.  “I ain’t goin’ in there! You might not believe it’s haunted, but I sure do.”

“Fine,” Scottie said, letting out a derisive sigh.  “I’ll go in there and prove that there is nothing weird going on in that house.  But, when I come out, you have to stop picking on me.  If you don’t, then I’m going to spread the word at school that you were too scared to go in there with me.”

“Yeah, fine, whatever.” Bert said, raising his hands in a gesture of capitulation.  “You survive the ghosts in there, and you gain my full respect.  No more picking on you, ever again.  But, you gotta survive first.”

Scottie shook his head in annoyance, and headed up the walkway towards the  Mystery House.  As he neared the front door, Scottie studied the exterior of the house cautiously.  Though the house was obviously old, it was by no means decrepit or dilapidated.  The house was dark brown, with a dark roof.  Scottie tried to peer into each window of the house, the two windows on the first floor, and the three windows on the second floor, but all of the windows of the house were covered in what Scottie could only guess were thick curtains that blocked, or perhaps swallowed up, every possible speck of light that might enter or leave the house.Scottie slowly walked up the three wooden steps leading to the front door, wincing as the planks of each step creaked, protesting each step he took.  Once he reached the top step, Scottie paused, stared at the solid wooden front door, took a deep breath, and raised his hand to knock.

“Yo, Scottie,” Bert called out from the sidewalk in front of the Mystery House.  “What are you doing?  You think you can just knock on the front door, and the ghosts are just going to open up and let you in?  Com on dumb-ass!”

“What am I supposed to do,” Scottie called back turning to face his bully.  “You got any brilliant ideas?”

“Use a window or something, genius,” Bert yelled.  “Duh!”

“Ok, I got it,” Scottie shouted, turning to face Bert.  Scottie opened his mouth to speak again, but was cut short by the sound of a doorknob clicking followed by the creaking of a door.  Scottie slowly turned back towards the front door of the Mystery House to discover that the door had somehow opened slightly.

“Oh shit,” Bert exclaimed in a loud whisper.  “Looks like someone’s expecting you.”

Scottie leaned to his left slightly to peer into the breach of the house left by the slightly open front door.  All Scottie could see on the other side of the door was a dark hallway that gave no indication as to what lie beyond the doorway to the Mystery House.  Scottie took several deep breaths before placing his and on the door, and slowly pushing it open further.

“Hey dingus,” Bert called out, startling Scottie as he took a step towards the door.

“What,” Scottie hissed, turning just enough to see Bert out of the corner of his eye.

“Don’t forget to take out your phone.  Get as many pictures as you can.  Maybe some video too.”

“Fine,” Scottie called back, sighing in frustration and rolling his eyes.  Scottie pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and checked the battery strength to see that the phone was at a ninety percent charge.  Scottie activated the camera function on his phone, raised the phone up to his eye level, and began recording a video of what he saw.  Scottie then pushed the front door of the Mystery House fully open, and cautiously entered the dark hallway before him.

As he walked down the hallway, Scotties eyes began to adjust to the darkness, and he began to see details of the area surrounding him.  The hallway Scottie found himself in stretched out about ten feet before him, with a stair case on his right side, halfway down the hall leading to the second floor of the building.  The hallway itself was rather plain, lacking any sort of decoration or picture on the walls.  At the end of the hallway, a closed door faced Scottie, with another closed door located directly to his left.  Scottie studied both doors, trying to decide which door to investigate first, when he was startled by a flash of light from the top of the staircase.  Scottie looked up towards the flash to see the disembodied figure of pale woman staring back at him.  The woman appeared to be floating in the air, with a faint white glow surrounding her.

“You should not be here,” the woman shrieked, raising a skeletal looking hand towards Scottie and pointing directly at him.

Scottie opened his mouth to speak to the ghostly woman, but found that the words stalled in the back of his throat, choking him.

“You should not be here,” the woman shrieked again, here voice bone-chillingly cold with a pitch that would have dogs cringing.

“I, I’m sorry,” Scottie whispered through dried out lips.

“You should not be here,” another deathly screech.

“I know,” Scottie cried out.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll leave.  I’m sorry.”

“You should not be here,” the ghostly woman screeched again as she began floating down the stairs towards Scottie.  Scottie watched in terror as the woman approached him, her feet never touching the stairs below her.  Frozen with fear, Scottie could only manage to let out a scream, unable to convince his feet to function even though he desperately wanted to run as far away as possible.  A short moment later, the ghost woman was floating right in front of Scottie, reaching out her gaunt hands towards him as she screamed out angrily.  Scottie could only match the woman’s screams as he closed his eyes and prepared for what would come next.

Ever Vigilant, Part Four

RECAP:  After returning from a mission in the wilds of space, the superhero Extraordinary Man learns that something strange had happened to his friend and colleague The Vigilante.  After disappearing for three weeks, The Vigilante returned suddenly without an explanation.  On his return, The Vigilante had become a far more violent and vicious crime-fighter.  The Extraordinary Man, also known by his real name Nathan to those closest to him, rushed to find his friend to learn what had caused his transformation into a savage executioner.  Nathan quickly discovered that the man behind the mask of The Vigilante was not his friend Kurt, but was actually The Cad, murderous arch-nemesis of The Vigilante.  Nathan forced The Cad to explain what he had done to Kurt, and The Cad was elated to tell the tale of how he had defeated and killed his greatest nemesis.  Nathan, filled with rage at the news of his friend’s death, attacked The Cad and began tearing the armor of the Vigilante off of the villain.  The Cad released a cloud of toxic green gas that instantly weakened The Extraordinary Man, leaving him weakened on his knees with The Cad standing over him, his wicked laugh ringing in Nathan’s ears.

“What have you done to me,” Nathan asked, wheezing as he spoke.

“Oh, Nathan,” The Cad replied with mock sympathy.  “You will love this one.  Absolutely love it.  You see, when I took over the mantle of The Vigilante, I discovered all of his secrets.  And boy, did he have secrets.  For example, did you know that your good friend Kurt had studied each and every one of you heroes, and had created plans for defeating you all?  You know, just in case he needed to.  Isn’t that funny?  I thought it was pretty funny.  And his plan for defeating you revolved around a certain element that is your greatest weakness.  I had no idea that such a thing existed.  An element that strips you of your powers and turns you into a weak little shell of a man.  And so, your friend, your closest comrade, took that element and turned it into a gas which he then used to fill several vials with back at his HQ.  Those vials are locked away in his vault, ready to be used at a moments notice.  A moment like, let’s say, you decide to attack The Vigilante and begin ripping off his armor.  At that moment, said gas will deploy and incapacitate you.  I hate to admit it, but that is a pure stroke of genius on our old friend Kurt’s part.  Real genius.  And paranoia too I think.  It really shows that deep down, ol’ Kurt didn’t even trust you, his best friend.”

“I gave that element to Kurt,” Nathan said, coughing as he spoke.  “I told him to keep it in case something happened to me and I needed to be stopped.”

“Oh my,” The Cad responded, laughing again.  “That’s even better!  I bet that when you gave it to him, you had no idea that it would end up in my hands, did you?”

“Is that your game-plan then,” Nathan asked, wiping blood from his mouth.  “You lure me in by taking on the guise of The Vigilante, and then you kill me with a weapon that I gave him?”

The Cad let out long sigh, shaking his head in disappointment.  “Oh Nathan.  It looks like you have an extra ordinary ego if nothing else.  You know, the universe does not revolve around you, despite what you might think.  This isn’t about me killing you.  I don’t want to kill you.  Not any more at least.  Believe it or not, this does not actually have anything to do with you at all.  You just happened to interrupt me while I was out on patrol.  The gas was just me being prepared for any contingency, that’s all.  Just like Kurt would be prepared.”

“Then why,” Nathan asked desperately.  “What is this?  What are you planning?  What is your scheme?”

The Cad tilted his head in a gesture of pity towards Nathan, and let out another long sigh.  “No plan Nathan.  No scheme, no game, no evil plot.  That’s not me any more.  I’ve turned over a new leaf.  I’m a good guy now Nathan.  Just like you.  This city needs The Vigilante, and since Kurt has passed on to fight crime in the afterlife, the torch must be passed on to someone who can keep the legacy going.  This city needs me, and I am going to be there for her.  I am The Vigilante now, and I will keep this city safe from the dregs and psychos that plague her streets!”

“This is a sick joke,” Nathan hissed.  “And I will stop you!  I will not let you do this!”

The Cad leaned  closer to Nathan, and sprayed another cloud of toxic gas directly in Nathan’s face, causing The Extraordinary Man to slump over in pain, coughing violently.

“This is happening Nathan,” The Cad said coldly.  “I am The Vigilante now, and I will bring order and justice to this city.  I do not want to fight you, I want to work with you just as Kurt did.  We can be allies if you just accept me.  But, make no mistake, if you try to stand in my way, I will kill you.  I will kill any of you that try to stand in my way.  Just as I will kill any criminal that dares to sully my city with their presence.”

The Cad backed away from Nathan, leaving him writhing in agony, picked up the pieces of his Vigilante armor, and moved to the edge of the rooftop he and Nathan had been conversing on.

“Spread the word Nathan,” The Cad called out, turning to face The Extraordinary Man.  “Tell your friends, tell your colleagues, The Vigilante is back in town, refocused on his mission for justice.  Tell them all to stay out of my way Nathan.  Tell them all that I know all of their weaknesses.  When next we meet, let us hope it will be under more pleasant circumstances, shall we?  Say, do you guys some kind of monthly club meeting, or something like that?  I’m looking forward to that.  I will be waiting patiently for my invitation.”

Nathan could only let out a pathetic whimper as he watched The Cad fall backwards off of the rooftop, and then swing away on a grappling hook, laughing hysterically as he disappeared into the night.

Ever Vigilant, Part Three

RECAP:  After returning from a mission in the wilds of space, the superhero Extraordinary Man learns that something strange had happened to his friend and colleague The Vigilante.  After disappearing for three weeks, The Vigilante returned suddenly without an explanation.  On his return, The Vigilante had become a far more violent and vicious crime-fighter.  The Extraordinary Man, also known by his real name Nathan to those closest to him, rushed to find his friend to learn what had caused his transformation into a savage executioner.  Nathan quickly discovered that the man behind the mask of The Vigilante was not his friend Kurt, but was actually The Cad, murderous arch-nemesis of The Vigilante.  Nathan forced The Cad to explain what he had done to Kurt, and The Cad was elated to tell the tale of how he had defeated his despised nemesis.

“It was brilliant,” The Cad beamed, throwing his hands towards the sky in a gesture of victory.  “My finest hour!  I planned, and I planned, and I was so certain that he would beat me yet again, as he had so many times.  But this time…..This time, he did not beat me!”

The Cad let out a devilish laugh that sent a chill down Nathan’s spine.  Nathan clenched his fists, suppressing the urge to beat The Cad senseless.

“This time,” The Cad continued, chuckling enthusiastically.  “This time I beat him!  Can you believe that?  After all these years, I, humble little ol’ me, finally defeated my one true adversary.  In a moment that will live on in my mind until the day I die, I beat The Vigilante!  Oh, and I also recorded my entire genius plan digitally as well.  Would you like to watch it?  It is quite entertaining.”

“You psychopath,” Nathan spat.

“Right again Mister Extra Ordinary Man,” The Cad laughed.  “Does that mean you don’t want to watch the video?”

“Where is he,” Nathan growled.  “What did you do with him?  Where are you holding him?”

“Holding him,” The Cad asked, letting out a long sigh.  “Now, I thought you were smarter than that.  I guess extra ordinary really does apply to you, doesn’t it?  At least as far as your mind goes.”

“Cad,” Nathan barked, grabbing the villain by his chest-plate.  “Where is The Vigilante?”

“Don’t you get it,” The Cad replied abruptly, chuckling dementedly.  “I created an elaborate scheme that pushed him to his limits and beyond.  I used those closest to him as bait, and he skipped right into my trap like the hero he is.  Or was, I should say.  He had no clue that I knew his secret identity, so it was pathetically easy to use that against him.  I’ve known his true face for years, but I always kept that from him because I didn’t want to ruin the game.  But this time, I had become frustrated from him beating me time and time again, so I finally decided to use his secret identity against him.  And, you know what, it worked!   I wore him down physically and mentally until he reached his breaking point, and then I broke him!  It was my finest moment  I broke The Vigilante!  And then, after I broke him, I cut off his mask, looked him right in the eyes, those cold, calculating eyes, and stabbed him in the throat!  I stabbed him, I stabbed him, and I stabbed him again and again!  And then, just for an extra measure, I slit his throat and washed my face with his blood as I watched him bleed to death.  Just picturing it in my mind now makes my heart swell with pride and joy.  And, just to make his last moments pure Hell, I told him how I was going to kill his loved ones that I had captured.  I tell you, it is a story that will will be passed on from generation to generation for centuries to come!”

Nathan shook his head slowly, his jaw hanging open in a mixture of shock and disbelief.  His mind suddenly flooded with a host of thoughts and images that rendered Nathan completely speechless.

“No comment,” The Cad asked, sounding disappointed.  “Nothing to say at all about my greatest moment?”

“You animal,” Nathan spat, his eyes narrowing angrily.

“Well, yes, we are all animals now, aren’t we,” The Cad asked nonchalantly.  “Some of us are just a bit more animalistic than others.”

Letting his anger take control, Nathan lifted The Cad into the air, and began ripping the armor of The Vigilante off of his gnarled body.

“What are you doing,” The Cad howled.  “You can’t do this to my armor!  This is unprofessional!”

“It isn’t your armor,” Nathan shouted.  “It belongs to The Vigilante, and I won’t let you desecrate it!”

“I am Vigilante,” The Cad roared.

“You are a murderer, and I am taking you to justice!”

As Nathan continued ripping pieces of armor off of The Cad, a green cloud of gas began to emit from underneath the pieces.  A moment later, Nathan began to feel weak as he inhaled the gas.  Before long, Nathan no longer had the strength to hold onto The Cad, and his grip on the villain loosed.  Nathan began coughing violently as he dropped to his knees, grasping his chest tightly.

“I am The Viglante,” The Cad stated coldly, glaring down at Nathan.  “Kurt is gone, and I have picked up the mantle in his place.  It’s a new world now Nathan, a violent world full of violent criminals.  Kurt was too weak to fight all that violence, and he was swallowed up by it.  But now, there is a new Vigilante in town, and he is up to the task of scouring the criminal element off of the streets of this city.  Permanently.”

“No,” Nathan wheezed, choking as he spoke.  “You can’t do this.”

“Can’t do it,” The Cad scoffed.  “Look at me Nathan.  Take a good, long look.  I’ve already done it.  And who is going to stop me?  You?  Look at yourself.  On your knees, choking and gasping for air.  You can’t stop me.”

Nathan’s heart filled with dread as he listened to the sickening sound of The Cad’s fiendish laughter ringing in his ears.

Ever Vigilant, Part Two

RECAP:  Upon returning to Earth from a journey to outer space, Nathan, also known as the superhero Extraordinary Man, learned that his friend and colleague The Vigilante had gone through a disturbing change.  After mysteriously disappearing for a brief period of time, The Vigilante continued his crime-fighting duties in a far more violent and lethal manner.  Nathan, knowing that The Vigilante had sworn an oath to never kill, decided to confront his friend in order to discover what had changed in the heart of The Vigilante.  During the confrontation, Nathan removed The Vigilante’s mask only to find that the man standing before him was not who he had expected to find.

Nathan shook his head slowly in disbelief, his ears ringing with the sickening laughter of the villain standing before him.  The villain, a monster known as The Cad, glared at Nathan with demented eyes as his maniacal laughter dissolved to an repulsive chuckle.  Feeling a surge of anger overtake him, Nathan grabbed The Cad by his chest armor, and lifted him off the ground, holding the madman in front him.

“What have you done with the Vigilante,” Nathan shouted, shaking The Cad’s body like a doll.  “Where is he?”

The Cad let out another long, boisterous laugh before replying to Nathin’s query.

“He’s dead,” The Cad spat out.  “He’s dead!  He’s dead!  He is dead!”

“You’re lying,” Nathan shouted, fighting the urge to throw the villain off of the rooftop he stood on with The Cad in his grip.

The Cad began bobbing his head from side to side, coldly repeating the word dead over and over again in alternating tones.

“Stop that,” Nathan roared.  “He’s not dead!  That’s impossible!”

“Now see,” The Cad said, turning his head to stare off into the distance blankly.  “That’s what I used to think too.  You can’t kill The Vigilante.  That’s impossible.  He can’t die.  But, you know what, he can die.  He is not a god, or a monster, or a mythical creature.  He’s just a man.  Just a vulnerable, mortal man, and he can die.  It’s kind of disappointing, really.”

“How,” Nathan began, his voice barely above a whisper.  “How did…”

“How do I know that” The Cad interrupted, finishing Nathan’s question.  “Take a wild guess.  Give up?  That’s right genius, I killed him.  Little old me.  Little old crazy, some might say insane, homicidal maniac, me.  Wanna know how I killed him?  Of course you do!  You are going to absolutely love this one!”

“Tell me what you’ve done Cad,” Nathan growled, pulling the villain closer.  “Or, so help me, I will-“

“You’ll what,” The Cad scoffed, interrupting Nathan mid-sentence.  “Beat me up?  Torture me?  Kill me?  That’s not your style cowboy.  Don’t worry, if you want to know how I killed him, I’ll gladly tell you.  Not because I’m afraid of you, but because I want you to know.  I want to tell this story.  I want to scream it out to the world, but I can’t.  But I can tell you at least.”

“You’re mad,” Nathan cried.

“No I’m not,” The Cad said, his expression softening.  “What have I got to be mad about.  I have done what few other supervillains have ever been able to do.  I killed my rival!  I’m going to go down in history for that!  Except, no one can ever know about it.  But, that makes me sad, not mad.”

“What are you talking about?  You’re not making any sense at all!”

The Cad let out another deranged laugh, a sound that pierced Nathan’s mind like the cold steel of a knife.

“You don’t know me that well,” The Cad snickered, “do you?  The Vigilante would tell you that I never make any sense.  I never did to him anyway.  But, alas, the man we both called friend has moved on to the next plane of existence.  Which one do you think he went to?  Up, or down?”

“You were not his friend,” Nathan shouted.  “How dare you try to call yourself his friend?”

“Yes, I suppose you are right,” The Cad said, his demeanor turning dour.  “What we had was more than just a common friendship.  I loved him like a brother.  And I think, deep down, he felt the same way.”

“You are insane,” Nathan whispered, shaking his head somberly.

“Now you’re getting it,” The Cad exclaimed.  “You’re not the first one to figure that out my friend!”

“I’m not your,” Nathan began, but then stopped himself when he realized the futility of his statement.  “Tell me what you’ve done to The Vigilante.”

“I told you, I killed him.”

“I know that,” Nathan shouted, his voice echoing off nearby buildings.  “Tell me your damned story.”

“Finally,” The Cad sighed.  “I thought you’d never get around to that part, dancing around the subject the way you were.”

Nathan sucked in a deep breath, and held it in his chest as he closed his eyes, trying desperately to push down the ball of rage welling up inside him.  In that moment, Nathan realized why The Vigilante hated his rival with such passion.  Beside the fact that The Cad was an insane, maniacal killer with no regard for the lives of other, he seemed to genuinely enjoy tormenting The Vigilante with the nefarious games and pranks he would play.  The enormous amount of patience that The Vigilante had to employ to keep from losing his own mind while dealing with The Cad had always impressed Nathan, but never had he realized the true extent of that patience.

“Just tell me the story,” Nathan said slowly through gritted teeth.

“Ah yes,” The Cad said, his mouth twisting into an exuberant grin.  “The moment we have all been waiting for.  Let me tell you the grand tale of how, after years of constant struggle, I finally managed to kill my greatest enemy once and for all.”

Ever Vigilant, Part One

“What is this,” Nathan asked, glaring at the computer monitor in front of him.  “Is this real?”

“I’m afraid it is Nathan,” Helena replied soberly.  “This is footage recorded off of someone’s cellphone two nights ago.  There are other videos like this on the internet as well, all of them just as violent and disturbing.”

“I don’t understand,” Nathan muttered, shaking his head in disbelief.  “I know I was away for a while, but I was barely gone for two months.  You are telling me that, in that amount of time, Kurt disappeared for, how long?”

“Three weeks,” Helena replied.  “He was gone for at least three weeks.  At first, we were all so busy with our own lives, that we didn’t even notice.  Plus, you know how secretive he is.  Sometimes he just disappears for days at a time.  After a week or so, I started to suspect that something was wrong, so I went looking for him.  I searched every inch of that damned city, but I couldn’t find a single clue to his whereabouts.”

“Not surprising,” Nathan scoffed.  “If Kurt doesn’t want to be found, then he is almost impossible to find.”

“Unless we have your powers,” Helena added.  “Unfortunately, you were off-world.  No need to apologize, I know you were taking care of something vitally important.  But, without your help, I could not find Kurt at any of his usual haunts, or anywhere else in the city.  None of his associates were able to find him either.  I was about to extend my search globally when Kurt suddenly reappeared, returning to his crime-fighting as if nothing had happened.  At first, I shrugged it off as typical behavior for Kurt, but then I began to see these videos popping up online.  They started slow at first, but then began to increase in frequency as Kurt continued his crime-fighting.”

“I’ve known Kurt a long time,” Nathan said grimly, “and I have never seen him act so violently.  Yes, he uses his fists to make his point, but this is going beyond street fighting.”

“Way beyond,” Helena agreed.  “Nathan, he’s killing people.”

“No,” Nathan exclaimed, shaking his head furiously.  “Kurt doe not kill.  Kurt has never killed to my knowledge.  Never!”

“Look closely,” Helena instructed, queuing up another video.  “This video is the most disturbing one I have seen yet.”

Nathan stared at the computer screen in disbelief as another video began to play.  In this new video, Nathan watched as his long-time friend, dressed in his full Vigilante gear, attacked a gang of common thugs who had been robbing a small jewelry store.  Nathan was horrified as he watched his friend, who had sworn to never kill anyone, began beating each thug into unconsciousness.  Within moments, Kurt was surrounded by a circle of thugs, and it was clear that the Vigilante was far outnumbered.  A moment later, Kurt pulled a gun out of his utility belt, and began shooting wildly at the criminals circling him.  Nathan gasped as he watched thug after thug drop as each one was hit with a killing shot from the gun in Kurt’s hand.  Kurt began to laugh as he shot each thug, a macabre  sound that brought chills to Nathan’s spine.   A moment later, the remaining hoodlums began to run away, and Kurt responded by pulling a large knife out of his belt and chasing down every thug he could catch, and stabbing them viciously.  Once the thieves had been dispersed, Kurt turned his attention towards the person recording the incident on their cellphone, and charged towards them.  As the cellphone fell to the ground, Nathan could no longer determine what was happening to the owner of the cellphone, but the blood-curdling screams echoing off the surrounding walls filled his heart with dread.

“I don’t,” Nathan whispered, pausing to gather his thoughts.  “I don’t understand this.  This is wrong.  This is not Kurt.  This is wrong.  I have to stop him.  I have to stop this.”

“I’ll help you Nathan,” Helena said.  “We can call the Coalition together and confront him.”

“You call them together,” Nathan said bluntly.  “I’m going after my friend.  I’m going stop him.”

“But, Nathan,” Helena began.

Before Helena could complete her thought, Nathan rushed out a nearby window, and took to the sky.  Flying as fast as he possibly could, it took only a few minutes for Nathan to reach the city his friend Kurt called home.  Overwhelmed with a mix of panic and confusion, Nathan frantically flew around the city, using his enhanced vision to search for the man known as the Vigilante.  Though it seemed like hours, Nathan’s search ended minutes later when he at last spotted the Vigilante running along a rooftop.

“Vigilante,” Nathan bellowed, his voice echoing across the cityscape.  “Hold up, it’s me, the Extraordinary Man.  I need to talk to you.”

The Vigilante looked up towards Nathan, cursed under his breath, then jumped off the roof he had been running on.  Nathan let out a gasp as he rushed down towards his friend.  As he reached the rooftop, Nathan spotted the Vigilante swinging on a grappling hook towards another building.  Nathan shook his head, and flew towards Kurt, grabbing his friend by his arms, and carrying him to a nearby rooftop.  Once he reached the roof, Nathan released the Vigilante, and landed near his friend.

“Kurt,” Nathan exclaimed, shocked at his friend’s behavior, “why are you running from me?  What is going on with you?  I know you have gone through something recently, and I just want to talk to you.”

“Leave me alone,” Kurt spat, turning his back towards Nathan.  “I don’t have anything to say to you.”

Nathan paused after hearing Kurt’s voice, his enhanced hearing immediately signaling him that something was wrong.  The sound of his friend’s voice had changed, now sounding foreign and unsettling.

“What’s wrong with your voice,” Nathan asked suspiciously.

“Nothing,” Kurt replied, clearing his throat.  “Got a cold.  Now, go away!  I’m busy!”

“No,” Nathan replied, staring at his friend skeptically.  “You’re not sick.  Your voice is different.  It’s like you are…”

Using his enhanced speed, Nathan rushed towards Kurt, grabbing his friend and tearing off his mask to reveal the identity of the man underneath.

“You’re not Kurt at all,” Nathan shouted, shocked by the unsettling face staring back at him.

“No,” the man who was not Kurt replied with a villainous grin.  “I guess I’m not.”

Nathan released his grip on the man who was not his friend, and retreated in horror as the man began to cackle wickedly.

My Comic Book Submission To Oni Press

There is a comic book publisher called Oni Press that has been publishing comics for nearly twenty years.  Back in May and June of 2015, Oni Press sent out a call to writers, artists, and other creators that they would be having an open submission.  It has always been a dream of mine to be a comic book writer, so I thought I would give it a shot.  Unfortunately, I did not find out about the open submissions until the middle of June when the deadline was nearing, but I would not let that stop me.  I spent every moment I could, when I wasn’t working my day job or sleeping, working on my submission, and I ended up completing it the day before the deadline was up.  The submission was based on an idea I have had in my mind for several years that has evolved over time that I had titled Psi-Fi.  I know, that is not the strongest title in the world, but when I originally came up with it years ago, it gave me a chuckle, so I stuck with it as a “placeholder” title.  I probably should have come up with a better title for my submission, but I could not think of one in the time I had to complete the submission.

And so, with one day left before Oni Press’ deadline was up, I sent in my submission as I held my breath.  Keep in mind that there are a lot of aspiring comic book writers out there, and so it took some time for Oni Press to get to my submission and answer me back.  As I waited, my nerves eventually subsided, and I continued on with my life, all but forgetting that I had sent in the submission except for the occasional moment when it would briefly pop into my mind.

Then, on August 14th, I received the following reply from Oni Press:

Dear Derrick Nadeau,
Thank you for sending us “Submission for the comic book series Psi-Fi”. We know how hard pitching can be and we appreciate your earnest effort, your willingness to put yourself out there, and the opportunity you gave us to read it.
Unfortunately, this pitch is not a fit for us at this time. We encourage you to continue honing your craft and developing new stories. A passion for storytelling should never be extinguished by a rejection and we sincerely hope you are able to find the appropriate outlet for your work.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of submissions we have received, we are unable to give feedback on specific submissions.
Thanks again and best of luck.
Oni Press

So, there you have it.  My first ever submission to a comic book company was rejected.  To be honest, I was not really saddened or even disappointed by the news.  In fact, I kind of suspected that this would be the end result of my submission, so I was not even surprised.  It is, unfortunately, the nature of being a writer that we must be subjected to rejection, and it is up to us to us writers to not let such rejection dissuade us from our course to realizing our dreams.  Unfortunately, Oni Press was not able to offer me any feedback, so I don’t have anything to work with to improve my next submission (Yes, there will be other submissions, fear not.), but I have gone over my submission and made my own notes on what I could improve on.

One thing I thought would be a good way to help myself improve is to post my submission here on my blog, and let others see it and perhaps even offer advice or helpful criticisms.  With that being said, feel free to read my submission and comment on it if you have any tips you would like to offer.    The submission is posted exactly as I sent it to Oni Press without any changes or revision made, Though it has been condensed for this blog.  Looking at my submission now, I see so many things that I wish I had written differently.  If only I had heard about the open submissions sooner, I could have spent more time fine-tuning my submission.  At least I have learned something for the next time I send in a submission.

And so, without further adieu, here is my comic book submission to Oni Press.

Logline for the comic series Psi-Fi

Psi-fi is the story of a peacekeeper with psionic powers tasked with investigating the violent deaths of his fellow psionics.  The investigation leads to the discovery of a powerful psion who is killing his brethren and stealing their energies to turn himself into the most powerful being in the world.

One Page Synopsis for Psi-Fi

Psi-fi is a book that takes a different approach to the fantasy genre.  The setting of the book is similar in appearance and technology level to that of the Old West, while the main character of the book, Hurai, and his Saan brethren are closer in tone to the samurai of feudal Japan. Rather than using magic, which is already prevalent in most fantasy stories, the Saan in my book are a society of psionic user users living among the normal citizens of the world.

The main character of the book, Saan Hurai, is a peacekeeper for the Saan.  During the course of the story, Hurai will investigate a series of savage murders, discover a greater plot behind the murders, and even fall in love as he uncovers a conspiracy that will directly affect his life, and the life of his family.

Outline for Psi-fi

Although I do not have an exact issue count for Psi-fi, I do have a specific beginning, middle, and end for the book which I will describe in this outline.

The story begins with the savage murder of an artist.  Initial autopsy of the artist reveals that the mind of the artist has been completely wiped away, which seems to be the cause of his death.

The hero of the book, Hurai, a peacekeeper for the psionic organization known as the Saan, begins to investigate the murder of the artist.  This investigation leads Hurai to the horrible discovery of a clan of former psionics whose minds have been warped to the point that they are nothing more than mindless, savage, animalistic creatures that attack other psionics and syphon all of their psychic energy, killing the victim in the process.  The Saan decide to call these creatures “psionic vampires”.

Hurai continues his investigation, tracking the psionic vampires to a frontier mining town.  As Hurai investigates the town, he is struck by the abnormal behavior of the townsfolk that live there.  With his suspicions aroused, Hurai decides to spend the night in the town.  Hurai wakes himself late in the night to quietly investigate the town.  As he investigates, Hurai quickly discovers that the town is empty, and tries to discover what has happened to the denizens of the mining town.  As Hurai continues his investigation, he discovers the townsfolk inside the mine, all gathered together, sitting silently and staring blankly at a single man standing before them, performing a strange ceremony.  Hurai attempts to use his astral ability to move closer to the gathering in secret, but is quickly discovered by the leader of the gathering.  Hurai is then attacked by a large group of psionic vampires, and has to fight his way out of the situation, barely escaping with his life.

Hurai then returns to his superiors, and gives his report on the situation.  Hurai’s superiors determine that the strange ceremony was a forbidden ritual performed by an exiled Saan, thought to be dead, that will allow the man to control the minds of the townspeople.  Hurai learns that the man, named Kier was exiled because he was attempting to learn and use Saan abilities that could directly read and control people’s minds, abilities that have long been outlawed as dangerous by the Saan.

Armed with this knowledge, the leaders of the Saan peacekeepers decide to team Saan Hurai up with a woman named Janea, who is a Saan Judicator.  The Saan Judicators are a small group of Saan specifically chosen and trained to read minds for the purpose of judging criminals innocence, without affecting those minds in any way.  Janea is chosen to assist Hurai in his investigation so that she can teach him how to combat and repell any mental attacks that Kier might attempt.  During his training, Hurai and Janea see inside each other’s minds and begin to fall in love.

Once Hurai’s quick training is complete, he and Janea head back to the frontier mining town to confront Kier.  While making camp one night, Hurai’s mind is invaded by Kier, who has been waiting for his return.  Janea wakes the next morning to find Hurai missing, and tracks him back to the frontier mining town where she discovers that Hurai’s mind has been taken over by Kier.  Kier commands Hurai to kill Janea, and Janea defends herself by entering Hurai’s mind and tricking him into reliving a childhood trauma.  Hurai breaks from Kier’s control, and he and Janea then manage to defeat Kier.

Hurai and janea return to their lives as their romance grows, thinking that Kier has been eliminated.  What they don’t know, and what the audience will discover, is that Kier is still very much alive, and has spies in the Saan organization, including Saan Hurai’s commanding officer, Saan Raon.  We learn through a secret conversation between Kier and Raon that Kier has had visions about Saan Hurai giving Kier the power he needs to become a psychic god.  A plan is then set in motion by Kier and Raon to use Saan Hurai as a pawn to accomplish their goals.

From this point on, the story will focus on Hurai and his various adventures as Kier and Raon watch and guide him from behind the scenes.  As Hurai hunts down roaming psychic vampires and other Saan criminals, he marries Janea, and the two eventually have a son.  The birth of Hurai’s son is the moment when Kier sets the next stage of his plan in motion.

Kier kidnaps Hurai’s newborn son, holding the boy hostage as he performs another outlawed ritual on him.  Hurai, along with some of his Saan squadmates and Raon, who has kept his allegiance with Kier a secret, hunt down Kier and rescue his son from the villain.  The story ends with Hurai interrupting Kier’s ritual and confronting him.  During the course of the battle, it appears that Hurai kills Kier, who is weakened from the ritual.  What Hurai does not know is that Kier has actually managed to transfer his consciousness into the mind of Hurai’s son, where he will remain dormant until the child joins the Saan Academy.

At this point, the story will jump ahead several years to the point where Hurai’s son, named Surou, is a teenager and is enrolled in the Saan academy.  While at the academy, Surou begins to see visions of a man who wants him to learn the outlawed Saan abilities to read and control people’s minds.  The man in Surou’s vision is of course Hurai’s old nemesis, Kier, beginning the next stage of his plans, the corruption of Hurai’s son, Surou.

As Kier tightens the grip on the young lad’s mind, Surou’s personality begins to darken and change.  Surou begins practicing with his newly acquired abilities, using his fellow students as test subjects.  When the academy finds out what Surou has been doing, they confront the boy, which results in Surou using his new abilities to kill one of his teachers.

Surou is punished for his crimes not only by being exiled from the Saan academy, but also by being banished to the Wraith Forest.  The Wraith Forest is a “haunted” forest where the Saan send their criminals for punishment.  The ghosts that haunt the forest are, in reality, the psychic essences of the Saan that have been exiled there.  When a Saan is sent to the forest, the wraiths of the forest attack that Saan and rip his psychic essence from the Saan’s mind.

Surou, with the power and abilities he gains from his connection to Kier, not only survives the Wraith Forest, but also learns to control the wraiths of the forest as well.  Surou leaves the forest, and comes across a group of people that need help.  This group is from a small town that is under attack from a force they can’t handle, and are seeking assistance with their troubles.  Surou decides to help the town with their problem, and then uses the wraiths he is now controlling to take over the minds of the townsfolk in order to begin building an army.

Once he has his army, Surou sets a plan in motion that he and Kier have created together.  The plan involves the capture of Saan Batteries, those who have no real abilities of their own, but who have an abundance of psychic energy that they can pass on to other Saan.  As Surou and his army continue kidnapping Batteries, the Saan send Hurai and his squad to investigate.

Hurai is devastated to discover that it is his son, who he thought dead after being exiled to the Wraith Forest, who is kidnapping the Saan Batteries.  The reason Surou is kidnapping Saan Batteries is so that he can syphon their energies to gain the power needed to release Kier from his mind, allowing Kier’s own mind to become so powerful that he becomes a psychic god.  This leads to a confrontation between Saan Hurai and his son, Surou, which results in Hurai being forced to kill his own son in order to prevent Kier from becoming so powerful.

What Hurai does not realize is that by sacrificing his son, he has unwillingly helped Kier complete his plan.  Kier escapes the dead body of Hurai’s son, Surou, and becomes a being of pure psychic energy, a being the Saan refer to as a psychic god.

As God-Kier begins to wreak havoc and spread chaos across the land, Hurai calls on his wife, Saan Judicator Janae to help him stop God-Kier.  Janae and Hurai determine that the only way to defeat the God-Kier is for them both to sacrifice themselves and use the same procedure Kier used to become psychic gods themselves.  After an intense battle, Hurai and Janae are able to destroy God-Kier, but at a great cost to themselves.

The defeat of god-Kier is the end of the story for Saan Hurai and his family, and is the finale I have planned for this series.

Psi-Fi first scene script

I have included two scenes from the first issue of Psi-Fi in my submission as requested.  The first scene, a short, three page scene, is the opening prologue of the first issue, and introduces the reader to the world of Psi-Fi

Page One

Panel 1: This is a full page splash of a lush forest with large trees of various types.  The floor of the forest is covered with an assortment of bushes and different types of flowers and plants.  In the center of the panel, a path stretches from the bottom of the panel out into the forest.  There is a man named Mathus walking down the path into the forest with his back turned to the reader.  Mathus is an artist, and is dressed in simple clothes that are covered in splotches of various colors of paint.  Mathus is carrying various paint supplies as he heads into the forest, an easel, a canvas, paints, brushes, etc.  As he walks, Mathus is looking up towards the tops of the trees and we can see the side of his face.  He is obviously happy and content as he takes in the beauty surrounding him.

  1. Mathus (speaking to himself):                     This right here is my idea of paradise.
  2. Mathus (speaking to himself): A quiet forest to enjoy, and not a single soul around other than me.
  3. Mathus (speaking to himself): I can feel the energy flowing through this forest and                reaching out to me.
  4. Mathus (speaking to himself) :                               I should be able to create an amazing piece in this place.

 Page Two

Panel 1:  Medium shot of Mathus as he is setting up his easel and canvas in a small clearing in the forest.

  1. Narration: As Mathus sets up his canvas and paints, he reaches out with his mind to harvest the psychic energies of the forest and its inhabitants.

Panel 2:  Mathus sits down on the ground, with his legs crossed, facing his easel and canvas.

  1. Narration:                  As a Saan Artist, Mathus utilizes his psychic skills to create his art.

Panel 3:  Close up on Mathus’ face.  His eyes are closed, and it is obvious that he is now in deep concentration.

  1. Narration: The Saan are a race of psychically powered humans that use their mental abilities to enhance their functions in society.

Panel 4:  Same close-up on Mathus, but this time, there are two paintbrushes floating beside his head.  Each brush has a different color of paint on it. 

  1. Narration: There are Saan from every walk of life, including warriors and healers, as well as artists and craftsmen.

Panel 5:  Close-up of the canvas as Mathus paints on it.  There are a couple of paint strokes on the canvas as the two brushes place more paint on it.  All the painting is done psychically by Mathus without the use of his hands.

  1. Narration: To create his art, Mathus pulls the psychic energies surrounding him to find inspiration and to influence his work.

Panel 6:  Back to the close-up of Mathus’ face.  Now, his face is contorted to show that he is suddenly appears to be in pain.

  1. Narration: When the surroundings are peaceful, Mathus is capable of creating serene images of pure beauty.    But a forest is not always at peace…

 Page Three

Panel 1:  Medium shot of Mathus on the floor of the forest.  He is doubled over in pain, clutching his head.

  1. Mathus: Hyaaarrrggghhhh!!!!

Panel 2:  Close up of Mathus.  He is throwing his head back and clutching at his temples.  His eyes have rolled back into his head, revealing the whites of his eyes.  There is foamy spittle shooting out of his mouth.

  1. Mathus: Gurrrrrggggg!

Panel 3:  This panel will take up a large percentage of the page.  It is an aerial shot of Mathus sprawled out on the forest floor.  He is now dead, and his body is contorted to show that he died in great pain as if his brain has exploded in his head.  There is blood oozing from his eyes, mouth, and nose.  His eyes are still rolled back in his head exposing the whites of his eyes.

Panel 4:  This will also be a large panel similar in size to panel 3.  This panel will be a close up shot of the painting Mathus had been working on.  It is a dark image of a demonic looking face.  The colors are all deep blacks and greys except for the eyes of the face which appear to be glowing blue.  The mouth of the face is snarling and full of fang-like teeth.

  1. Narration: Some forests house sinister energies.

End First Scene

Scene Two Script

This scene from the first issue of Psi-Fi is six pages long, and is the introduction to the main hero of the book, Saan Hurai.

Page 1

Panel 1:  Sann Hurai sits on the ground against a tree and closes his eyes.  The other four members of his squad take positions around him, standing guard over Hurai as he concentrates.

Panel 2:  Mirror panel one, with the addition of an astral projection of Saan Hurai leaving his body.

  1. Narration: Hurai focuses his psionic energy to create an astral projection of himself.

Panel 3:  Wide shot of Hurai’s astral form heading towards the outlaws’ hideout.

  1. Naration: Using this mental projection of himself, Hurai will scout the interior of the outlaw hideout.

Panel 4:  Close up of the front door of the outlaw hideout.  The astral projection of Saan Hurai is now phasing right through the door.

1:  Narration:                                      Once his scouting mission is complete, Hurai will return to his body and relay the information he has learned to his squad.

Panel 5:  Mirror panel  4, but this time, Hurai’s astral projection is exiting through the front door.

  1. Caption:                Minutes later

Panel 6:  Medium shot of the astral projection of Saan Hurai returning to his body.

Panel 7:  This will be a thin panel running across the bottom of the page directly under Panel Five and Panel Six.  It is a tight close up of Saan Hurai’s eyes snapping open.

  1. Saan Hurai: I have returned.

Page Two

Panel 1:  Medium shot-  Saan Hurai’s squad leader is turning to face him.  The expression on the leader’s face is stern and serious.

  1. Squad Leader: Report.

Panel 2:  This will be a medium shot of Hurai speaking with his squad leader.  The two men will be on either side of the panel with the word balloons appearing between them.

  1. Hurai: Sir.  There are six occupants in the house.
  2. Hurai: Four men sit at a table in the kitchen of the house playing cards.
  3. Hurai: Our suspect occupies a large bed room in the upstairs of the house.
  4. Hurai: He lies in bed, sleeping, with a woman sleeping beside him.

Panel 3:  Close up of the squad leader.  He is rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

  1. Squad Leader: Excellent work.  And there is nothing else to report?
  2. Hurai (off-panel) No sir.
  3. Squad Leader: Then let us begin.

Panel 4:  Wide shot of Hurai and his squad running towards the outlaw’s hideout.  They are moving as quickly and quietly as they can to remain undetected.

Panel 5:  Medium shot of Hurai’s squad taking positions around the front door of the hideout.  Hurai kneels down in front of the door, preparing to pick the lock.

 Page Three

Panel 1:  Close-up of Hurai placing his hand over the lock of the front door and closing his eyes in concentration.

Panel 2:  Close-up of Hurai’s hand on the lock.  His hand has a faint green aura around it.

Narration:                                           As a scout, Hurai is able to use his psionic energies to easily pick any lock.

SFX:                                                       Click

SFX:                                                       Click

SFX:                                                       Klakk

Panel 3:  Medium shot of Hurai with his hand on the doorknob of the hideout.  He is looking up towards the direction of his squad leader.

  1. Hurai: We’re in.

Panel 4:  Close-up of the Squad Leader.  He is waving his hand to signal his squad to move into the building.

  1. Squad Leader: Quietly now. Follow Hurai’s lead.
  2. Squad Leader: Go!

Page Four

Panel 1:  Medium shot of Hurai and his squad quickly sneaking in the front door of the hideout.  They are trying to be as quiet as possible while also trying to be as quick as possible.

Panel 2:  Medium shot of Hurai and his squad, now inside the hideout, taking positions around another door.  This door leads to the kitchen of the hideout.

Panel 3:  Close-up of Hurai kneeling in front of the kitchen door.  His eyes are closed, and he has his left hand resting flat against the door.

  1. Narration: Hurai reaches out with his mind, taking a psychic reading of his surroundings.

Panel 4:  Close up of Hurai.  His eyes are open now, and he using his hand to signal to his squad that there are four men on the other side of the door.

  1. Narration: With this ability, he is able to detect the life signs of any human or animal in his vicinity.

Panel 5:  Close up of the Squad Leader.  He is signaling another member of Hurai’s squad to come forward.

Page Five

Panel 1:  Medium shot of Hurai’’s squad-mate, Stoffe moving into positon beside the kitchen door.  Stoffe is a tall, thin man with a long face.  He has a short beard and dark hair.

  1. Narration: Hurai’s squad-mate, Stoffe has developed the ability to manipulate weaker minds so that they will not see things that Stoffe does not want them to see.

Panel 2:  Medium shot of the kitchen door.  As Stoffe kneels down on the left side of the door with his eyes closed and his hands raised towards the kitchen, Hurai and his squad begin to rush into the kitchen.

  1. Narration: Utilizing this ability, Stoffe is able to hide the presence of his squadmates from the outlaws in the kitchen as they move in to incapacitate them.

Panel 3:  A thin, wide panel that stretches across the page underneath panel 1 and panel 2.  It is wide shot of the interior of the kitchen.  It is a standard looking 1800s old west type of kitchen with a wood stove and large basin sink in the background.  In the center of the room, there is a square, wooden table.   There are four men sitting on each side of the table.  These men are  outlaws, and are all rough, burly, and appear to be rather strong.  Each man is dressed in plain, dirty clothes, and each has a revolver holstered on his hip.  Hurai, his squad leader, and his two remaining squadmates are each standing directly behind a different outlaw.

  1. Narration: So powerful is Stoffe’s ability that even when Hurai and his squad are standing directly behind a man, they are still not detected.

Panel 4:  Mirror the wide shot of Panel 3 with Hurai and his squad standing behind the outlaws sitting at the kitchen table.  Now, each member of Hurai’s squad has activated their psionic blades, and are holding them in a ready to strike position over the outlaws.

Note-The psychic blades of the Saan are swords, or sometimes daggers, made of pure psychic energy, and should look like they are made of pure energy.  The blades are focused through hilts made of crystal.  Each hilt is carved by its owner out of a crystal that helps to focus psychic energy into the blade.

The crystals are translucent, and glows slightly from the energy passing through it.  Each member of the Saan can determine the color of their blade.  Saan Hurai, for example, will have a bright green colored sword, similar to a Japanese Katana.

Page Five (Continued)

  1. Narration: Every Saan warrior learns to channel their psionic energies through a Psion Crystal to create a weapon of their own choosing.

Panel 5:  Medium shot of Saan Hurai attacking the outlaw in front of him with his psionic sword.  Hurai is washed in the glow of his sword as it strikes the outlaw.

  1. Narration: A Saan uses his psychic blade to incapacitate an opponent. The blade can stun anyone it strikes by temporarily shutting down their brain synapses.


Panel 6:  Medium shot of the now unconscious outlaw sliding out of his chair and hitting the floor.  Saan Hurai has deactivated his psychic blade, but is still holding the hilt in his hand.

  1. Narration: If need be, a Saan can also increase the power of his blade to permanently shut down their opponents brain, killing the foe in the process.

Page Six

Panel 1:  Full shot of a large bedroom.  There is a Wardrobe cabinet on one wall of the room, and a dresser with a mirror attached on another wall, near the door of the room.  In the center of the room is a king sized bed.  Everything in the room looks fancy and expensive.  There are two people sleeping in the bed, a man and a woman.  The man , who is on the right side of the bed if you are standing at the foot, is young, in his mid-twenties, and very handsome with short, blonde hair and chiseled features.  The woman, who is on the left side,  is also young and attractive, early twenties at the most, with long brown hair.

  1. Caption: Upstairs.
  2. SFX: Click
  3. SFX: Click
  4. SFX: Klakk

Panel 2:  Medium shot of Saan Hurai and his squad rushing through the door into the bedroom.  Hurai and his squad leader enter first, igniting their swords and taking defensive positions at the foot of the bed.  The squad leader is pointing towards the man in the bed as he is barking an order.  The man and woman in the bed are now awake and sitting up in the bed.  Both appear to be naked with the man being shirtless, and the woman covering herself with the blanket.

  1. Saan Squad Leader: Saan Jerotte, you are under arrest for violating Saan Law! Come along peacefully, and you will not be harmed!
  2. Man in bed (aka Saan Jerotte) What….What is going on here?

Panel 3:  Close up of the Saan Squad Leader.  He is still pointing and shouting at Jerotte.  His face has an angry expression.

  1. Saan Squad Leader: You are in violation of several Saan laws, which include fraud, racketeering, and using your psionic abilities to influence and abuse non-psionic citizens.
  2. Saan Squad Leader: Come along peacefully, or we will use force to subdue you.


Page Six (Continued)

Panel 4:  Wide shot of the bedroom from the perspective of Saan Jerotte.  The back of Jerrotte can be seen in the foreground, raising both of his hands towards Hurai’s squad who are standing in a defensive formation around the bedroom.

  1. Saan Jerotte: No!!

Panel 5:  Mirror the behind the back wide shot from panel 4.  Jerotte is still holding his arms up towards Hurai’s squad.  This time, Hurai’s squad is being thrown back against the bedroom wall, the result of Saan Jerotte using a powerful telekinetic push against the squad.   The squad is obviously surprised by this attack, and it shows on their faces.

  1. SFX: Crash!

Panel 6:  Close-up of Saan Jerotte getting out of bed.  He is using his right hand to steady himself while continuing to point his left hand towards the squad who are trying to recover from their crash into the bedroom wall.  Saan Jerotte has an evil smile on his face as he stares down his opponents.

  1. Saan Jerotte: No. I don’t think I’m going to make it so easy for you.

End Scene Two

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