A Shadow Train Story: The Shadow Man

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It was night time. Krylion sat-up quick in his bed, startled by a nightmare. He looked out the window to see a full moon fixed in the sky, shining brightly. He realized he was sweating, and he was cold. Seeing the alarm clock next to his bed he saw that it was 12:30 at night.  His heart was beating fast, and he found himself to be shaking- but, he didn’t know why- for, as quickly as he woke up so did he forget what he had dreamt. Maybe he didn’t want to remember.

He laid his head back down to try to sleep.

Seconds before Kryllian woke up, startled from his dream- SO DID Flana! In his bedroom, right next to Kryllian’s- Startled, he sat-up in bed – scared at what he had just saw in his dream- no, not a dream, A NIGHTMARE! Flana too, felt his forehead and found sweat there. He knew right away he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep for a while. He thought to himself, that it would be a good idea to wait, for, what if he went back to sleep and ‘it’ was still there- what had scared him enough stir him awake- whatever ‘it’ was.
And so he threw his covers off of himself and went to his bedroom door, to go downstairs to ‘rustle up something to eat’ he told himself.

At the same time, in Kryllian’s room, Kryillian had come to the same conclusion- that, it would be impossible to think until he cleared his head-maybe went for a walk around the house.  He too, then, threw his covers off and walked to his bedroom door in his pajamas.
He opened the door, and looked up- to find someone standing there in the hallway.
He looked fast with a startle- to see….. his brother, Flana, standing there in the middle of the hallway, staring wide-eyed back at Kryllian.
“What are you doing up?” asked Kryllian.
“Nightmare,” replied Flana, “you?”
“Nightmare” Kryllian answered.

Then, suddenly they turn to look in the direction of a loud *BANG,* just as the door at the end of the hallway swings open and hits the wall beside it.
They both gasped and jumped closer to each other. Then watching in that direction, there emerged Thoran from his bedroom. Thoran then stopped in his tracks, noticing his two older brothers standing in the middle of the hallway before him, and both staring wide-eyed at him.
“yes? Can I  help you?” he asked the both of them.
“Did you just have a nightmare too?” Kryllian asked.
“Yeah- both of us had nightmares at the same time” explained Flana.
Thoran looked at Flana, then to Kryllian, and said “no, I just had a rumbly tummy and felt the urge to rustle myself something up to eat- I’m thinking along the lines of a sammich.”
“I was just about to go down to the kitchen and rustle a bite–up to eat myself!” responded Flana.
“Huh- imagine that! We’ll make a joint effort of it! Shall we?” Thoran excitedly suggested.
“WE SHALL!” replied Flana right before the two of them happily jaunted off toward the stairs and then down.
Watching them, Kryllian thought to himself “well at least they’re in good moods. A bite of food would be fine with me too. I wish though I could remember that dream—or rather, that NIGHTMARE.” Then at the thought, at the end of this thought  the terrible scene unfolded in Kryllian’s mind once again and he shuddered, and then felt a cold chill run up and down his spine.
A flash burst before him as he remembered a part of the nightmare!

There he was, in the woods- was fog rolling along on all sides of him amidst the dark looming trees. Just ahead of him, a pond illuminated by the light of the full moon. Then he heard it- the train sound- crackling along on the train tracks. Suddenly, just ahead, among the black forms of trees and pushes he saw motion. A figure emerged from the darkness. A man, standing next to the water, just a silhouette of a man, a shadow- Kryllian could see he was wearing a long coat and a wide brimmed hat. He walked directly onto the path ahead, stopped, and turned toward Krylian, framed by the light reflected off the water behind him he stood still, silently.  Kryllian could see the man had his head bowed at first, bet then, started to lift it up- and once he did, Kryllian could see- that his eyes were glowing red!

Kryllian felt panic! “Flana!” He yelled as he reached the stairs and made his way down, stepping very quickly.
He soon found Flana and Thoran in the kitchen, laughing as they chomped down on sandwiches they had just made, all the fixings spread out on the counter.
“Flana,” Kryllian appealed urgently from around the corner.
“What is it brother?” said Flana.
“In your dream, did you hear a train!?”  Flana stopped eating his sandwich, and swallowed hard while looking at Kryllian. *Gulp* “Yes,” he answered, matter of fact.

“Was it the shadow train?” Thoran blurted out abruptly. Flana and Kryllian quickly put their fingers to their lips and both shshed their younger brother. *SHHHH*
“Be careful! You don’t just blurt out that name like that Thoran,” reprimanded Kryllian.
Thoran was the youngest brother, and had not, at this point, been on an adventure deep in the Unknown Forest (which is where they lived), and therefore had not yet encountered the dreaded Shadow Train.

Kryllian and Flana were well acquainted with the mysterious mechanical supernatural force that had lived in these woods surrounding their house, for as long as they lived there.  No train tracks were ever discovered, or rather, no FIXED train tracks, in the permanent sense. The train tracks used by the shadow train had the tendency to come and go without a trace – to pop up and then out of nowhere; first they’re there, and then they’re gone.
Sometimes, how it happened, is they would stumble across these tracks that had seemingly appeared over night while out on a hike, or, if they happened to travel at night in their buggy they would suddenly come up on them. And then, other times they would be in their house and hear the train clattering along in the distance, as the sound reverberated throughout the forest. And yet still, other times, they would see the large plume of smoke erupting from the smoke stack of a train, heading in a direction- and even sometimes that smoke stack would be heading straight for their house!
Always though, the Shadow Train would appear and disappear just as it had come – without a trace. And always along with the Shadow Train came weird happenings- even weird creatures that would lurk in the forest.

It is for these reasons Krylian and Flana have made it their mission to be prepared, and learn all they can in order to be able to out-think the shadow train, or fight the demons the Shadow Train brings into existance.

They will someday, they had determined,  solve the mystery of the Shadow Train-  which is always trying to trick them.

“I don’t even believe in the shadow train- I think you two made it up in order to scare me,” said Thoran to his two brothers.
Kryllian turned to Flana, and said “I wish we did.” And then, for the first time noticing the sandwich fixings spread all over the counter,  decided to make one for himself.

As he took the bread out, he remembered the second part of the dream- the really scary part, about the man.
Flana continued to chomp, as Thoran, with a full mouth of sandwich continued to express doubt about the existences of such the supernatural mystery “How could train tracks appear and disappear? It takes a long time to lay tracks- a lot of workers have to lay out the ties- and then nail the tracks to them with big spikes, “ he elucidated.
“Flana!” Kryllian suddenly appealed, ignoring Thoran. This startled Flana, who jumped despite himself.
“What is it this time!?” Flana answered with slight annoyance.
Kryllian puts a butter knife down after having finished spreading some mayonnaise on his turkey sandwich, and puts the second piece of bread on top before picking it up.  Now, standing there, holding his sandwich after meticulously having constructed it, he turns to Flana and asks “in your dream, after the train tracks are you on a path in the woods?”
Flana looks wide-eyed at him, once again, and answers “uh huh.”
“And at the end of this path, was there a pond?”
Flana pauses…“uh huh”
“And was it a full moon? And the pond was lit up with the moon light?”
In response to this Flana just shook his head ‘yes,’ and started to shake visibly out of fright.

Kryllian then, sandwich in hand, and remembering the horrible scene, continued his inquisition by asking Flana the following:

“did you- did you see, ….” Kryllian pauses, trying not to show how scared he is “did you see, the Shadow Man?”

Flana’s face turns white, as he recollects his dream, and freezes.
Then, suddenly, breaking the silence, they hear three loud bangs on the door *BANG BANG BANG.* They all three turn in the direction of the abrupt noise- toward the front door.
Flana, unthinkingly drops his sandwich to the floor at the same time Kryllian does- as both sandwiches splatter all over the kitchen floor at their feet. Thoran lets out a miniature screech as he looks on with disbelief.
Kryllian swallows a gulp *Gulp* just as Flana does the same *GULP*.

Then again, at the front door *BANG BANG BANG.*

They look at the window in the front door, and they see a shadowy figure framed by the light of the moon, and he’s wearing a full brimmed hat.
TO BE CONTINUED….

To Be Continued…

EMCoverColor1

About 5 weeks ago, I was contacted by a YouTuber and musician asking if he had my permission to upload a video he had made featuring my comic Elvin Mechanics:

Every Saturday since that fateful day Federico Balducci has been producing a video for each page of Elvin Mechanics- a comic which I had discontinued (despite the lofty claim of “Every Thursday” that will greet you upon clicking the link to the comic page) in 2013.

….just in case, to be absolutely thorough, here is a 12 minute video compiling all 1-6 episodes:

I have so much glowing admiration and praise for Fed that it all sort of gets jammed up in the door, all trying to leave at the same time. Anything I could say is moot, however, in comparison to his videos- you can see it for yourself. He’s taken my comics and realized them in a different medium; he’s transmuted them into a different material, or, refracted them as a prism would a beam of light. They not only retain Their original form and intent, but, have been intensified. Fed’s music perfectly matches the tone of the comic, the atmosphere and the paranoia; his sound-effects and camera movement perfectly encapsulates the mood.

And there’s more:

Obviously Fed is insanely talented and creative, but he also realizes what I’m going for, and takes it further.

I don’t want this to stop. I want to see more videos. After being blown away each Saturday over the course of the past month and a half watching Fed’s videos I decided there’s no other way around it (especially if I want to see this thing keep on going) but to continue Elvin Mechanics.

Recently, I finished the cover (seen at the top of this article) and page 7. Not a day after I posted it did Fed have a video hot off the presses:

Fed is a prolific artist, and deserves your attention, as do you deserve some it (Dear Reader). For now, please stay tuned for more Elvin Mechanics- there is a lot more to come.
And Be Well,

Mark

News Clippings concerning the CLOWN MENACE:

ClownsWelcome

Here are some recent news clippings we here at Refractor Industries have gathered, showing the propaganda being churned out by local news outlets concerning the growing CLOWN MENACE:


A local man reported seeing a couple of men dressed as clowns on Tuesday afternoon, emerge from the woods near his house. That’s right, clowns, in full make-up, big red nose, polka-dotted jumpsuits and comically sized shoes, reported the local man. There he was, on his property listening to music and having a drink when he was accosted by the costumed men who refused to leave the property when asked. The local man called the local police once the altercation turned violent. After he refused one of the clowns a drink, the man said the he was assaulted. Shortly thereafter local police arrived on the scene to take a report. No clowns were found in the surrounding area.

—-

CybroTech had their annual company picnic at local Pichaunauk campground Thursday, when picnic goers were treated to an unexpected surprise. Several people dressed in full clown costume reportedly walked out of the woods. It was assumed initially by all attendees that the clowns were invited, when they apparently had suddenly began to emerge from the woods. Most were mute, and other communicated using horns much to the delight of the children. Some clowns juggled balls, others put on mime shows, while still others, oddly enough did not participate but hung back opting to remain with the tree line instead of interacting with the picnic goers. When asked about the clowns nobody affiliated with the company’s management had any idea about the appearance of the clowns. Soon the clowns appealed for food and were fed hamburgers and hotdogs. Some clowns, reportedly, were however not so jolly in appearance, and others still had a stench. After all was said and done the clowns walked back into the woods from where they had came.

—-

Yet another local man has gone missing starting Wednesday when he did not make it home from work to his worry stricken fiancé. Searches had been carried out late into the night, and still more the next day to uncover no trace of the local man. This is yet another missing person in a line of several within the past month. During a town hall meeting, some in the community demand an extensive search be north woods be carried out, while others stress caution citing the appearance of some odd newcomers to the community around said area. Questions as to where to, or why the young man has gone missing along with a list of others remains unquestioned at this time.

—-

Clowns! Yes clowns have made their presence known in down town recently. They were first reported sighted walking along back roads and alongside busy rte 10, all, apparently, making a pilgrimage toward town. Any attempt however to questions the growing group of clown folk has proven to yield no information about who they are, if they are with a circus company, or where they have come from. Some have embraced the appearance of the newcomers, while others remain skeptical. What has been confirmed however concerning the clowns, is, that they are hungry, and in need of basic needs such as food, shelters, and bathing facilities. A town hall meeting has been scheduled Saturday at 9PM to discuss the situation.

—-

Increasing tension between locals and our newcomers have been exacerbated over the last week. Clown advocates cite numerous accounts of bigoted violence from locals recently. Police officers have been encouraged to patrol areas known as “clown hangouts,” where the newcomers tend to congregate as to make their presence less burdensome to the local townsfolk. Advocates however have blamed inhospitable persons in town for unfairly targeting the local clown population, in efforts of intimidating them. As a response the local Clown Advocate Action Group (CAAG) have began outreach campaigns to spread awareness, to curb hatred and promote tolerance. An increasing amount of townsfolk are doing their part to make life in town more comfortable for the incoming clown population, and CAAG encourages everyone to their part.

—-

At first Mary Pinker, 33, didn’t recognize her new husband huddled around the group of ClownsFolk, but as soon as she did cries of joy could be heard. Howard Pinker, 36, had gone missing 2 weeks ago without a trace. But, responding to a rumor she heard about one of the new comers resembling Howard peaked her curiosity and so Mary made her way to the recently constructed New Comers Welcome shelter. There, huddled among a group of ClownsFolk, was Howard, sure enough. She threw her hands around him and rejoined her husband. Once a report was written by local Officer Darren Schmitt Howard was taken to his home. The local chapter of the Clown Advocate Action Group (CAAG) has released a statement regarding local man Howard Pinker’s newly discovered identity, saying “it seems Howard did not feel welcome in our community, he did not feel safe ‘coming out,’ so he hid his true self, and ran off. Our heart goes out to Howard, and everyone like Howard. If you feel as though you will be treated with hatred, or bullying for becoming who YOU really are, please give us a call, or talk to one of our representatives. We’d be overjoyed to welcome you into OUR community.”


Read more

Stay tuned for more.

~RI

The EXHIBIT

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The line of mothers went around several blocks for the sign-up; some hadn’t slept the night before because their little one was screaming excitedly about the event into their ear. “DON’T FORGET!”

It went fast however, they all had filled out the form, printed off the internet and simply had to hand the piece of paper over.

Some signed up themselves, showed up with their papers- a guardian’s signature wasn’t needed since children gained full rights.
The available slots were filled rather quickly as the line filed-in and out.  Plastic figurines of this year’s monster was given away, the movie had already been seen by every single child in the country, and everyone was a fan.

Then it was done, and invitations were sent.

Samuel Cain sat by the door all day, in his mother’s 15th story apartment when the mail light lit red.  He sat frozen.  His mother came hurriedly over “oh boy Sammy,” she said as she swung open the door, and left.
A scene starring Prixel, one of the main characters in the last movie, had her head crushed, Sammy remembered vividly. She had a doll in her tent, he happened also to recall.

At once the door swung back open and mother was dancing an envelope side to side in her hands crouching to Sammy’s height. Sammy remained sitting, recognized the glee on his mother’s worn face and smiled.

“Here it is Sammy!”  The anticipation was moot since every child was accepted as a participant in the yearly event.

“You…MADE IT!” She jumped slightly up and down to show excitement. Sammy stood and opened his mouth, raised his eyebrows and let out a silent nothing. She put the piece of paper down on the counter in the kitchen area, and walked off to the other room.
The tv shown a cartoon green figure, slicing and dicing with his claws and metal horns that shot out of his shoulders.

A week later Sammy joined who he recognized as kids from his building in line to participate in the yearly “Exhibit.” More kids he had recognized from around his neighborhood were also there.  It clicked for him that this must always be the way;  the children in the movies always automatically knew each others’ name.

The warehouse was on the outskirts of the city. Large, made of metal,  rusted, over grown in spots outside, in the parking lot where nature has reclaimed. A large surrounding parking lot cracked with grass, and a burnt out car rest just off the main entrance, where, he and his mother now waited in line. Holding her hand as his mother chatted with Dorothy’s mother, who he presently waived to. She eked out a smile, that wrinkled the sides of her eyes – she waved back with a doll in her hand. “Just like Prixel” he laughed. She laughed too.

Sammy remembered Dorothy telling him that Prixel was her favorite after all. Sammy showed her his bike, as his one object he was allowed to take in with him.

Inside the massive warehouse rest a large metal box, on criss-crossed beams.  Lining above the walls of the warehouse were windows that went all the way around.

Tents lay scattered throughout the warehouse floor, outside the large box of which the officials termed “the museum.”
The Official who took the paper once Sammy and his mother reached the entrance said he would be escorted to his tent, that he was assigned to. It was a shared tent, he was told, and his tent partner was a boy who lived in his building named Jared.
Jared was the closest Sammy had to a best friend. This excited him, and his face lit up. The Official saw this and smiled broadly. “I knew you would like that,” he said.

They were led-in to the great warehouse. It was mid day and the sudden shade of the place forced Sammy’s eyes to adjust rapidly.

Jared was already there at the tent, and, not surprisingly too brought his bike, which Sammy parked his right next to.
Sammy looked around for Jared’s mom, who must’ve dropped him off and left already. Jaredy presently looked up, saw Sammy and tightened his lips to a smile, got up to walk over to him.

The Official who escorted the both of them in, finished up talking to Sammy’s mother, who  leaned down and planted a kiss on Sammy’s forehead “I’ll be watching. Bye.”
“Bye,” Sammy replied before turning to his friend and excitedly waddling over to him.

“Everyone is now here!” a booming loud speaker suddenly broke out “Its time, for THE EXHIBIT TO BEGIN!”

Sammy looked toward the large warehouse door, as it began closing – the mothers waiving, slowly faded to silhouettes, until disappearing behind the great door. Then the big hard metal door clamped shut with a reverberating bang.

Sammy and Jared talked all night. They reminisced about the time they had shared in the building they both lived in, and riding bikes in the parking lot. As the full moon, seemingly peering-in through the window, shone down brightly. They spoke of the intricate bus routes they’ve taken in the past, miraculous, it seemed whenever they would actually make it to their desired destination.
Abruptly the boys caught a glimpse of a figure in the darkness, just away from them, emerging from the darkness beside the warehouse wall , lurking. A man, they could see, in an old filthy dress coat, stopped, and turned toward them. The boys were sitting up, straining on end, looked on, adrenaline pumping. The man turned his head, toward them, his edges illuminated by the lunar light, enough so though to make out his dour expression, and middle to later aged face. He then slowly turned back toward the trajectory of his path and shuffled away.
A moment of silence had passed when Jared remarked “that’s an old kid.” To which Sammy broke out in raucous laughter at.

The next day the large vid screen shown what they were to encounter inside the “museum.”

“Inside the museum, as you can see there is a platform, and ladders. Bathrooms are located on this platform on the western side.”
Images of a large, shiny new appearing steel room, with diamond pattern floor and railing leading all around the cat walk second tier. On this second tier platform, on the western side of the square was one large bathroom, inside, the vid screen continued to show, four stalls and one large water basin.

“As you see, breakfast is waiting for you on the killing floor,” on screen, a table covered in fruit and pastries, eggs and bagels and other breakfast fair lie waiting on a table on the first floor of the museum.

Just then, the doors at the top of some stairs flicked open, sucking into the walls on either side of the entrance leading to the killing floor.

After breakfast, each day, Sammy and the other children found that there was nothing to do in the large space allotted to them, besides, sit, wait and interact socially. Images flashed on the enormous vid screen showing the cocoon, hidden somewhere within the compound, where, the dreaded monster was to hatch.
They’re whole lives they, each one of the children, saw the movies as they were shown on the public vid network in each of their apartments.  Each time, the children were brought to the compound; the cocoon was eventually found, always too late. The plot had always run the same course, with different variables here in there.  Different characters of course were presented, of whom the viewer was welcome to relate to.
Sammy thought of himself as Arnold. Arnold in the latest “Exhibit” movie had the most screen time. He lasted the longest, as it were. Until, he was at last, the sole child survivor. Always at this point in the movies, aside from scrambling about to recover the green orbs, which extended their time and paralyzed the monster momentarily, an option to escape would appear.
In the last “Exhibit” the escape option appeared in the center of the killing floor. The bodies of the slaughtered children lay strewn around it, floating there in mid air seemingly. It was shown to Arnold on the large vid screen, that could be seen from anywhere in the warehouse. It was a framed photograph of a man, always, in the movies it was a cherished possession from the character’s history to bid the child to go recover. In hopes of escape, Sammy recalled vividly, the boy teary eyed, came out from under a pile of bodies and a collapsed tent, when suddenly the monster who had camouflaged itself against the wall bounded toward him. He ran, but was taken down before he could get to the stairs leading up to the museum, killing floor and thus escape.
Sammy’s mother let out a “oooohhh,” at the moment, the scene in the movie. “Too bad.”

Sammy already knew what his “bait for escape” would be. A ring from his uncle, given to him.

The bathrooms, after several days were disgusting, excrement everywhere. Fights broke out frequently. Children were dirty.
Jared wondered aloud most nights, contemplating the logistics of the place. How did they replenish the food on the killing floor? How is it the cocoon just appears right before its hatching?

Sammy didn’t know.
Every night the inevitable deaths plagued Sammy’s dreams. All he could do was assure himself he would not be one of the first to go, once the killing starts.
As the day approached, Sammy fell silent along with the rest of the children. No longer did anyone look at each other in the face. They became despondent. It was obvious the most optimistic ones, in the movies, were the ones to survive the longest – knowing this however did little to lift anyones’ spirits.

Sobbing was frequent. Most of the boys had explored the whole place by now.
Then, the green digital numbers appeared on the vid screen: 20:00. Quickly changing to 19:99, and descending.

Later, a boy ruddy-faced and smeared with built-up dirt, with tear treads marking his cheeks ran up to the tent of Sammy and Jared sometime early morning, before sunrise.
Sammy and Jared lurched awake, and alert to the rustling at the tent.
They saw Jinksy, a little boy they both had played games with in the past, panting out of breath, breathing out an incoherent, urgent, and dire apprise.

“I found it!” he breathed out, wide-eyed and alarmed.

They three went to it. In the scant moonlight they could see it undulate underneath one of the ladders that led up along the north side of the ware house to locked doors, around twenty feet up. They stood around it, feet balanced on the beams, holding onto the ladder;  the three of them, around a large glistening, beating sack. Green and gross, stuck to the wall. Jinksy held his hand out toward it, Jared said “Don’t!”
“OW!” Jinksy spouted, retracting his hand, blood running from the gash.
“Don’t you remember? They’re spikey.”
“oh yeah.”

It made a wet jostling sound, as they watched,  it vibrating against the reverberating sheet of the wall.  After so long, the three boys clambered down the ladder.

Sammy looked up at the vid screen to see the latest time, it read: 01:20.

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Shadow Train: Part 1

shadowtrain

Here’s a cute story I wrote for my nephews. It’s about reoccurring characters in a series of stories I tell them called the “Shadow Train” series.  It’s basically horror for young kids.  The purpose is to be scary, but to also communicate to the kids that the world is ultimately knowable, when utilizing certain tools (reason, logic etc.).  Thanks ~Mark
——————————————————————————–

It was a beautiful day in the Unknown forest, where Kryllion and Flana, two brothers, live together in a house out in the woods with no road leading up to it, or surrounding houses.
These two brothers found this house, one day, on a hike through the Unknown Forest, so called for being completely unknown. Which is how the unknown forest got its name in the first place. It is quite simple really, it had never been explored, and therefore considered “unknown.” Hence its name.
You get the idea.
This is also the same reason why our two heroes decided one day to hike to, and through the Unknown Forest.

Our two heroes, the brothers Kryllion and Flana had heard about this vast unexplored expanse of earth while at a breakfast restaurant one morning. They were brought there by their mother and father one Sunday morning before church that day. The family sat down in a booth, where from Kryllion could easily do some eavesdropping on two elderly gents sitting in the next booth over. Before that had come to mind however, Kryllion decided to order the waffles, “with extra syrup please” he told the waitress; and Flana also decided to get the waffles “and please add extra syrup, thank you” he too told the waitress.
The waitress then left to tell their and their mother and father’s breakfast orders to the cook. This is when the aforementioned two gents entered the restaurant, and sat down in the booth adjacent to theirs.
Mother and Father were sipping coffee out of mugs, and discussing something they called a “mortgage,” while Flana sucked on a straw in a cup of chocolate milk; while Kryllion also sucked from a straw in cup of chocolate milk.
Then, Kryllion overheard from behind him, where the two gents had taken up seating, one of them say “well? Where is it? Have you brought the map?”
To which the other replied “ahh, let me tell you.”
“I made doubly sure, even TRIPLEY sure to bring it!” The first gent began to say.
“For last night I placed it intentionally on the kitchen table so as not to forget to bring it here to our weakly meeting at Fran O’ Hans Breakfast Nook “best waffles in town,” where we’ve meet every week now going on 8 years now-”
“Sure have. And so?” The other interrupted impatiently.
“Yes, well” he continued, “when I left the house this morning I checked my pocket for the map once outside the door, and did not find it there! So I went back inside and there it was on the table, intentionally placed there so I would see it on my way out the door and therefore remember to have on my person, at the time of, and for the very purposes of this very meeting, here right now.”
“Yes yes I’m listening” the other gent encouraged.
“Yes well, then , while inside, the phone decided to ring. And so I answered it, and Ho should it be? But YOU of course, dear friend, calling to remind me to ‘not forget the map, see you in ten minutes’ to which, I replied ‘ten minutes! Well look at the time,’ and so I hung up the phone and promptly left the house.”
“Yes I remember, that was 13 minutes ago, and the map?.”
“I’m getting to that. So then, I decided to stop but again, in order to check to see whether or not I indeed carried the map, as you had so implored me to do.”
“And?”
“And it wasn’t there! I had forgotten it yet again!”
“You forgot the map!?”
“Let me finish my story!” The kindly gent insisted.
“Alright then,” the other, more impatient gent accepted.
“Well, I then had the thought ‘I had better go back and get the map,’ so I went back inside, and then when I had emerged a third time, I checked my pocket, and: no map.”
“Well what had distracted you this third time from securing the map?”
“Huh? Oh, well, nothing: I just plain forgot.”
“Oh good gracious man! This is getting ridiculous!”
“But not to worry old friend, I went in a fourth time see! With the express purpose to pick up the map! And here it is.”
Kryllion heard a crinkling sound of paper, and imagined a large piece of old paper being unfolded.
At this that moment Kryllion stopped listening to the bickering of the two old gents, and looked over at his brother Flana, who had been blowing bubbles into his chocolate milk with such veracity that it was erupting out of it and getting all over his place mat.
He looked up, caught Kryllion’s eyes and they both had a laugh.
Father told Flana to stop it and wiped most of the spilt milk up with a napkin, before going back to talking with Mother.
This is when Kryllion started to think to himself “I don’t think the waffles are ever coming.”
So Kryllion waits, and starts to listen in on, once again, to the conversation of the two gents at the booth behind him.
“Wowee! This is amazing! This map depicts a wholly unknown forest that is quite large that is entirely unexplored!” The first gent exclaimed. Apparently looking at a map spread out on the table before him.
“Not only that my dear friend,” the second gent begins” but there is also much lore and legend about this forest from the surrounding towns. It’s not for no reason there hasn’t been any manned explorations into this area! I’ve heard tales of monsters, magic, and some mysterious presence in the woods the townsfolk refer to as ‘the shadow train’.”
Just then a plate filled with wwaffles is placed down in front of him smothered in delicious syrup; and for a time all thoughts concerning the two gents and the “unknown forest” is forgotten as he focuses all his attention on the task at hand, which is to devour waffles.
Flana finished his waffles before Kryllion did, and was now sitting back, when it occurred to him that he and his brother hadn’t been on an adventure in a long time.
“Hey Kryllion, I think in order to continue to serious ‘adventurers’ we’ve got to go on an adventure soon.”
“I agree dear brother,” Kryllion said just as he finished his plate and pushed it away “we’ll have to be on
Been on any adventures recently.
“Ya know Kryllion, if we ever hope to be taken seriously as adventurers, we’ll have to go on more adventures. We haven’t been on one for quite some time now.”
“Right you are oh brother mine.”
The waitress came and left, mother and father settled the bill and then it was time to go.
Kryllion glanced over at the neighboring booth where the two gents had previously been. Funny, they must’ve left recently, Kryllion thought, because their table hadn’t been cleared yet. Spying the table as he passed, he noted a rather crinkly folded-up piece of paper with strange markings beside one of the place mats.
“Flana, I think I may have already found an adventure for us.”

To Be Continued…

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DQThurman LARPs in NetherWorld

dqnetherworld

I had been paralyzed, my hands linked tightly in my lap, the coal black rocking chair frozen, cemented to the floor.  A distant gun shot blast lingers, faintly hanging in the air. I mechanically hinge to my feet, my knees creaking like wood. The front door is there in the darkness, in this empty cold room. “How long have I been sitting there..” the question begins to formulate in my mind. Walking past the window: in between the thick black lines of a grid the carnage continues. Slimy red, slithering bodies mingle and over lap, writhe and undulate across the street. Gnawing and gnashing, explosions of black liquid bursting, forming puddles, and this is on display, in the front lawn to the house across the street.. I’m stepping one foot after the next, four times when: the door is knocking. The window in the door is bloted out by shadow.
I reach out and turn the door knob, swing open the door, a long quiveringly suspended in-the-air tentacle holds a revolver to my face, shakes then fires.

I see myself being dragged, the revolver wobbling by a tentacle, others wrapped around my ankles pulling me resolutely through grass. There is black liquid pouring from my forehead filling up the contours of my placid face.
So I look up and look at the stars, I look back down and see the scene smaller, there I go.
Looking up again, at the stars, they become visible, larger- some 5 pointed, others 6, others 8.  I feel a platform under my hand, my body is pressing against it, I look around, and its a wooden circle.  Bolts here and there, I feel my body, the buzzing of the platform, lifting me ever upward, reverberating, mechanically humming; the sound fades in.
I look up, bluish mist, still more distant stars, closer cut-out stars sway next to/around my head, I can see the fishing wire. The platform stops, and jostles slightly like an amusement park ride; many large basketball-sized plumes of cotton lay on either side of a path like bushes, the path itself is matted with layers of glitter. I step out onto a plastic step with factory grooves in it, up 2 more and then arrive on the glitter path.  I hear the fart of cloud machines- PshFfff- and on either side of me jets at first, of grey cloud turn into fluffy atmosphere rising into the air, tiny poison crystals of which land on my tongue.
I walk down this path, when I come to an opening, a large concert hall draped in black curtains, 3 beams of light direct and focus on me. As I walk, I see on either side of the path, now made of wood: small red light bulbs screwed into a line along the path; they light-up row by row as I walk past them to the stage. On the stage a large 5 sided star shaped throne sits, the body of which, from the top prong down to the bottom two form the shape of a rocket ship, while the side two just kind of point out like underdeveloped fins.  Sitting there, on a pillow, in a large oval mouth carved out of the side of the ship, sits God.  As I walk closer, I can see that he is a tall adolescent, with a fake beard, and a robe made of canvas that had apparently been soaked in tea or something to give it a rustic look.  Slowly, deliberately, he looks up and feigns surprise at me standing there, all spotlit.  He rises to his feet and out-stretches his arms, contorting his face not convincingly into a fatherly DeNiro like expression.
He walks towards me mumbling incoherently, then surrounds my mid-section with his arms, like a hug, pressing the side of his head to my chest.  Suddenly,  I’m lifted upward by a belt that has appeared around me, squeezing my guts, burning my skin, tightening, pulling me up! I realize almost immediately that I’m being lifted by some hitherto now hidden crane, maybe having been draped in black curtain.  I look down at a shrinking god who is waving, waving at me from the stage, then turns and walks back to his pillowed star throne.
The crane takes me to a balcony booth, one of many openings in the wall surrounding the auditorium; craning one’s head back,  allowed the view of a huge blown-up and pasted-on photograph of a galaxy spread-out on the surface of the vast dome-shaped ceiling.  As I arrive, I see two robed figures march passed the black draped rows of seats of the booth; four red dots fix on me. Still suspended my shoes feel the lip of the balcony as gravity applies my body to it. I feel around the thick leather belt presently clinging to me, find a square buckle a little to my left side and start to finger it. When I am set on by these figures, snatching at me with two pairs of leathery black grabbing hands.  I’m grappled so fiercely I fall back a little, as their squeezing arms get hold. I struggle violently, then look down into red singeing eyes, inside black cloth masks. Trying to make sense of what they are, I rule out that they are any sort of human.
I realize, suddenly that I’d been freed from the crane’s belt, I fall, wrestling and groping into the two black figures. I elbow and punch them, constantly turning out of their persistent grip. Studying them now, I see that firstly, they’re bodies are short, maybe five feet, hunched, contorted into an almost S shape. Their eyes:  solid black O’s like a bear’s, only, at the center lies a rotating fiery red gear. They snort, and make feral noises. I struggle, they are faster, but weaker than me; are too close to hit me with any force, but can take several blows from me, without any result besides more grunting and snorting.
Then, the back of my head tingles, and my hair stands on end; so I look back over my shoulder, and down to see a glowing blue circle start to form, the light of which glowing increasingly stronger; inside it a white swirling begins. Soon a steady lightning flash, and a bright and shimmering portal bursts into existence halfway between a sea of black draped sheets below and the balcony above. I cling to the edge, resisting being pulled away, deeper into the balcony by the two black robed diminutive minions.
I kick one of the grabbing goons in the face with the heel of my shoe(it felt featureless/no bumps), he howls and falls backwards. The second one grabs me around the neck and pulls forward. I grab his neck and push back.  His eyes inflate, growing into horns, then finely twisting into two red hot pokers the heat of which I could feel on my face.  I get hold of one of his thumbs and twist it viciously the wrong way, it gives and crackles like a stock of corn. He howls.  I leap backward into the air, twist around in time to belly flop right into the middle of the blue dancing lit-up portal.
Blue liquid, swirling…
I wake up in the guts of a small cabin, facing the front door, on a dusty wooden floor.  A coat of dust bunnies and spider webs fall off my back like a blanket as I rise to my feet.  I walk creakily to the still, front porch, where everything hangs in thick shades of darkness. A bright full moon stuck in the sky, and crickets fill the night.
The white face of a face-mask, that of a child peers out of the darkness, white golf balls for eyes.  It glides closer to the edge of the line of moon light, and slithers further.  A smiling young face connected to a body dressed in a tailored tux in one world, and a slithering winged beast made-up of swollen slug-like tentacles in this one, emerges.  Sitting atop this hideous body,  allowing the strange to peer his head into this shadowy world us a bright oval coupling. A personal portal as it were, for the boy. Upon further contemplation of the strange being, smiling, slithering and curiously staring at me with wide-eyes, I conclude any further analysis might in fact drive me insane (or more so).
I lock the door, latch the wooden inside shutters, find the bed in one of two rooms, ratty and filled with dust, the other littered with clumsily stacked furniture draped in ancient sheets.  I close the door to my new bedroom, latch it, beat some gritty clouds out of the blankets, lay down, and quickly fall asleep.

The End

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