Each breath caused the light to change. Paces above the men, a cut-glass chandelier trembled with their speaking. A team of artisans had crafted the light piece by cleaving glass with diamond chisels. Photons flickered like electrons through a circuit board. Standing on the silk carpet, Braeden reached for salvation.
“It doesn’t seem fragile,” he said to Chisolm while accepting the box.
To Braeden, they seemed exactly opposite. Chisolm was pale and soft with an active voice and expression. The box was dense, black, and inert.
Created by James Rubino in 1986, Followers of the All was conceived as a seven-issue mini-series that was first published as an “underground” comic in 1988. In the early 1990s, Rubino suspended publication and decided to rewrite and redraw the entire series. The first of these stories was published last year in a new series titled Archives of the Alien.
“I intended Followers of the All to portray my perception of the direction our world and our society was heading in,” says Rubino. “At the time it was originally released it seemed fantastic to some. Not anymore.”
I see no popcorn in the audience, but they’re eating something. They’re always eating this and drinking that. They always bring their crying babies, even though things can turn dangerous. Secure in their manhood, the thespian-loving daddies are confident they can protect their brood from turns in the plot.
Instead of chatting among themselves, the audience members applaud a bit and actually look to the stage as I pull a .45 auto from my tunic and shoot B (Boy) in the chest seven times.
Even to me, the sound is incredible, and I was prepared for it. The audience goes numb, and now everyone looks at the stage, except the babies, who are looking into the deep blue sky, little arms twitching.
“Hi, Uncle Will.”
“Hi, birthday boy,” I responded teasingly. “Are you having a good day?”
“Yeah, I really am. Thanks.”
Jake is not actually my nephew. He’s the son of my cousin, Tom. Since Tom and I were close as kids and remained so into adulthood, Jake always thought of me as an uncle and he addressed me accordingly. That was fine with me. He seemed to be more of a nephew to me than a second cousin. We had seen a lot of each other through the years.
The desert sands burned with the sun. Footprints melted into gold. Day spun and then died. Night came, but the ghost refused to fade. Instead, he turned and looked at a forgotten world, a world that he once reigned.
The moonlight kissed his bald skin. His eyes held to the darkness, knowing the shadows were his. Every movement was a faint whisper. He should’ve died. Instead, he was here, and he wanted to go home, a stone against his heart.
“Did you ever see the end of The NeverEnding Story, where Atreyu awakes on Falkor and finds themselves lost, drifting around debris with no sight of home or the Ivory Tower?”
“A long time ago.” He barely looked up from his book. “Why do you ask?”
“That’s what it looks like out there. Nothing but debris.”
“Maybe, the nothing really won.” He went back to his reading.
“There are no heroes,” he said, “because they are all dead.”
Morning light soothed the pain of his words. A wink from the waitress tried to give comfort. Voices and laughter mingled, rising louder, but the distraction failed. Even the smile from the silent, brooding man seated opposite him could not wash away the bitterness that those words left behind, and his gaze returned to the older man, who shoveled a forkful of scrambled eggs into his mouth. And the child crumbled up the comic book in his hands.
“Give the kid a break, Steve.” His silence was broken. “Let him dream.”
I used to have nightmares of a dead city. Its beauty would lie broken across harsh streets. No lights could promise hope or dreams. There was only despair. There was only one need, to survive.
Libraries and public schools had become gigantic eyesores. Their vacant lots echoed like a dead past, and the doors were bolted shut. Yellow police tape threatened, “Do not cross here.” We had no use for these relics. Technology was now king.
I remembered Manhattan. I remembered the bustle of city streets. I remembered being a sardine in a tin can that shuttled across the boroughs. Life pulsed and pounded, but now death lingered over pieces of trash that whispered in the air, the remains of what life was once lived. And where were its people? READ MORE.
Curls of smoke chased the darkness away. Its hair-like strand slid down across the night. The ghostly white against the black was like watching the whispers of last night’s conversation. As quickly as the words were breathed, the smoke disappeared.
Snuffing the cigarette out against a decaying, wooden bench, I watched its red light turn to gray. A few embers landed on the ground, still burning deeply. Its light would not go out, but with a second look, the embers were nothing but ash across the grass.
So I was sitting in a Starbucks at this sort of long, skinny table with two stools at it; I was in the one on the right, if you entered the store facing south, and I had a bag on my side of the table, but on the left side of me, so that it might have impinged on the space of another sitting at the table if another were sitting there, and if it had been a larger bag or place further to the left: none of which was the case. That was, until this small middle-aged man came in and went to sit down next to me. “Can you please remove your bag?” he said. “But,” I said, “look, there’s plenty of room.” And he asked me again, would I please move the bag? So I picked up the bag and, “Why don’t I just move it here, to the other side of the table,” I said. READ MORE