“Wait wait wait. Start over. This is all nonsense.”
In the nothing of the abyss sat two figures on a piece of brick wall, their feet dangling over its side.
“Okay okay.” Max took in a deep breath. “So, we killed the prophet, right?”
Megan nodded. “I got that part, I was there.”
“You were there for everything!”
“Fine fine. So we kill the prophet, who was actually the speaker.”
“I’m guessing reentering a looping dimension at different parts of his life.”
“How do you even-”
“Starting it over, usually. Erase everything down to a certain point. Don’t know when that is. But we just saw where it ended! Pretty cool.”
“Yeah, sure. I still don’t-”
“Okay, look. We can either spend eternity figuring this out, or spend it looking for something out here.”
“…Fine. But there’s nothing out here.”
“Well, not here. Its null space!”
“Right, nothing space. I got that. But if its all nothing, then there’s nothing out there.”
“Lies! Were here.”
“Yay. We found us.”
“Oh hush. Just saying. Other stuff too.”
“Then why can’t we see it?”
“Because we aren’t in the same thing.”
“Think of nothing like lots of separate nothings. Since nothing is nothing, you can divide it however you want! Its pretty neat. It makes everything in it feel like nothing, since that’s what it is!”
“This almost makes nonsense.”
“So… How do we jump into other nothings?”
“By making out?”
Megan threw Max a glare. “That line of thought really is going no where.”
With a shrug Max said “worth a shot.”
“Yes it was.” Megan punched Max in the arm. “But seriously.”
Max shrugged. “It’ll happen when it wants to. Which is to say its already happened!”
“Max, when do you even-” That’s when it was happened. “Oh.”
“ I’d just like to thank anyone who took this seemingly looooong journey with me as I wrote this!
Yes! There are plot hole and things don’t make any sense.
Regardless, I’d really like to know what anyone who has read the whole story has thought about it.
THIS INCLUDES ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS YOU WANT TO YELL AT ME.
Yep. And thanks again! For, you know, reading and stuff. And I’ll see about getting my next writing project up here as well when I get about to starting it. ”
The sayer blinked and shook his head a little. He was in a small white room, as well as several other places. But the focus is on the little white room; the expanses of the “multiversal constant” is not something anyone would want to get into. Fourth dimension nonsense and all that. Suffice to say, he was in this room, and that is all we really need to worry about. And it was not a room he was particularly fond of. It lacked the deliciousness that was fried food. Something to do with it corrupting the soul.
There was also a woman in sharp business attire standing next to him, slightly to his left. She furrowed her brow as she examined the expression on the sayer’s face. “Something wrong?”
“I, uh. Hmm. Not sure.”
“Really? That is new. I was under the impression your kind has experienced everything.”
The woman waited a moment before she decided that the sayer was not going to be saying anything. “So? What was it?”
“We had a reformat set in that garbage dimension, right?”
“Yes, though I assume something was going to go wrong. We waited too long for Carmichael to finish his loop.”
“Yeah. Well, something happened. Think they killed the young Carmichael.”
“Well that is troubling, isn’t it?”
“Less troubling than the alternative.”
“Yes, of course. We can’t have such paradoxes out here in the clean universes. But things like that have happened before. Why-”
“…And? While rare, it isn’t unheard of. Especially in such a corrupt-”
“Yeah, one inside the other. One physical and on chronological.”
“Oh? You mean…?”
“Yeah, time travel.”
“Damn it. Wait. Was that what-”
“Dunno. Thing is, we never let anything get out intentionally before before the Prophet project, right? Nobody jumping into restarts of themselves. Nobody leaving before a reboot?”
“Wierd… Something got out.”
“I dunno. Something popped out of the inner paradox before the other ate it.”
The woman began to pace. “That’s a problem, isn’t it.”
“I don’t know. Should just be out in null space. Pretty sure its the safest place for it. Shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Why’d you bring it up then?”
With a flick of his thumb Hubert Malloney (referred to as “the devil” by some) lit a cigarette, bringing in a long drag as he shook the match out. He brought his scarf back over his mouth and let the smoke waft out from his nose. Today was a good day, not something a man with usually such grim tasks could usually say. But today was a possible turn toward a new future. Years of research brought him to this point, this meeting. To think that a young girl would be the mind behind time travel, a concept that has eluded science for the ages. A concept that would be quickly ended with a knife if certain someones could get their hands on it. The IPD never liked anything they couldn’t control, especially if it could erase their whole little project from existence.
Malloney took in another long drag letting this one sit in his lungs, burning them. Nothing quite like getting cancer in a garbage dimension. But where else would such prospects even be allowed to flower? One in millions of a chance. And here, oh and here it was, at the exact unknown millionth.
Down the alleyway Malloney could hear the voices of a man and a young girl. He dropped his cigarette onto the ground, squishing it with his heel. It was almost-
At the corner of his eye there was a strange warping sound, followed by a flux in the air. Had they found him? No, it wasn’t a crack like would be expected. And there was no flash light, just a waft of darkness. Malloney carefully looked up, and there wavered a figure: pale, his head bandaged and his eyes sunken. In one hand he held a briefcase, open where its odd contents shown to the world as well as… his arm? He looked to make sure his was still connected (and it was) and new thoughts rammed through his head. Panic. Who was this man? And why did he have his gun. Oh God, in his other hand was a gun, pointed at him like he had pointed at so many people. More people that he even knew. But the pale man obviously did.
As the pale man’s form solidified, it jerked a small smile across his face as he pulled the trigger. Bam! The sound echoed and the sound of a little girl’s scream could be heard right behind him. Malloney grabbed at his chest, smoke beginning to filter through a chasm in it. “Hah.” He coughed blood. “I… did it.” Even though Malloney was about to fall over dead, the pale man shot him again, his head nearly exploding from the impact. Another scream, this time the pale man heard it and slowly turned around after he watched the body fall to the ground. To the scared man with a child crying into his stomach, the pale man looked happy and sad.
Then he spoke in a familiar voice. “I’m sorry Jacob, and you’re welcome.”
The man’s eyes buckled. “Charles?” But before he could question any further, the pale man vanished.
It wasn’t long before a detective in a trench coat arrived (although he didn’t ever hear sirens) to usher them off.
“What do you mean?!” The prophet shouted at the shrugging sayer before he began pacing again up and down the alleyway rubbing at his temples. Thoughts snapped in his head as he snapped back pointing an angry finger at the sayer. “No. No! I have worked too hard to- I can’t die here, I’ve seen me, I know I live.”
The sayer wrapped his fingers around his greasy beard, wringing all the oils through them. “Is the problem, ain’t it?”
“I… I demand to be recalled! This will not stand under code B17-”
“Code Null000 says yeh can’t. Too much corruption.”
“I’m done with you, I want to talk to Sehnaji. Now!”
“She’s right here mate, listenin’ to the whole mess. ‘My condolences, Mr. Whilington.’ What she said.” The sayer gave a nod to confirm.
“Fuck… No. Fuck her. Fuck this whole God damned project! And for good measure, why don’t you go ahead an fuck-” Three figures appeared at the end of the alleyway, their silhouettes thrown by a crash of lightning. The avengers who had followed the not so quite easy to miss shouting in an otherwise silent city. “-Me.”
“Don’t mind if I do!” One of the figures drew a gun as they all moved down the alleyway.
The prophet, the father… he had only one last ditch effort, not that it would mean much, but still. “Stop him,” he shouted, pointing his finger briefly before attempting to jump over a fence.
He didn’t make it. There was a crash of gunfire followed by a man hitting the ground hard into the one working alleylight. The three figures walked into it, revealing themselves. Adeline was holding the gun, Max was slamming a fist into his palm with a menacing smile and Megan… she just grinned. “Sorry, a little slow there. Let me stop her for you.” Megan took the gun from the reluctant Adeline, pointing it at the prophet. “I’ll do it.”
The prophet stumbled into a standing position, hobbling toward a wall gripping his blood soaked leg. Another crash echoed through the narrow way as a whole ripped into the man’s chest towards the bottom of his rib cage. He took in a gasp of air that was half breathing, half gurgling.
Max walked over to the man, gripping him by his collar (to no real effect. The man was not struggling and Max wasn’t tall enough to actually lift him off the ground). He got real close to the man’s face and angrily whispered “What the hell?” The man smiled, his teeth red with blood. “Oh hell naw.” Max took a step back and round housed the man in the head sending him spiraling across the lap of the sayer. Who was, for the lack of a better word, surprised.
He old, greasy man spoke, his eyes still cocked and slightly out of their sockets. “I believe a man is breathing on me.” He slowly looked up and to his left. “No no. I think these young folks will deal with it.”
And they did, flipping the prophet over and off the sayer’s lap. The prophet who still hung onto life, for some queer purpose. “Give me the gun.” Adeline motioned with her fingers, still starring at the man.
“I don’t think so.” Megan dropped to a knee and witnessed the broken man before her. “Who the hell are you?”
The man wouldn’t have told her anyway, but the punctured lung and broken jaw were good excuses. Megan stood up and pointed the gun down. Bang. A hole appeared in the head. There was not much of a mess other than the bloody pool forming below his head.
Megan stood up and passed the gun to Adeline as she drifted by blankly.
“Sorry about the mess.” Max looked between the body and the alley for somewhere to stash it.
“No bother. This world is about to end in a few moments anyways. No need to clean up before hand.”
Max’s brow furrowed. “Huh?”
The sayer shrugged and Adeline nodded. “I’ve been trying to tell you. Now, grab me and lets go.”
Adeline threw her arms around Max. “Your happy place. We need to go. Now.”
Megan turned around at this new development and Max met her eyes. Max was grinning as he turned back to Adeline. “Noooope.”
Now it was her turn to say it. “Huh?”
But before she could even shake the confusion Max slipped out from the loving grip and barreled down the alley, grabbed her by the hip and ran themselves both into a wall.
“No no no!” Adeline tried to catch up, but she could only catch the bodies as they fell to the ground.
And then everything blinked from existence.
The loud splish-splashing of three foot falls echoed though the dark backalleys. The rain had stopped momentarily, but the thunder rose with flashes of light in the distance. The city’s power grid seemed sketchy at best, lights beginning to flicker and fade. It was this reason that the three of them nearly missed the speaker who was curled up in between a couple bags of trash. But Megan, she stopped. There was a sense of unease twitching at the back of her neck, and she knew she had to stop. That’s when she heard the muffled coughing. Max had to yank at Adeline’s wrist to get her to stop pulling him along. Max shouted back to Megan who was looking at the man. “What’s up?”
Megan knelt down and placed her hand on the speakers shoulder. He began to uncurl, his sickly looking yellow eyes wavering. He rose a shaking hand up as if to touch her face. In a raspy voice, he said “come closer,” as he attempted a sitting position. Megan helped him sit upright and then he pulled her ear to his mouth, gripping at the back of her head. Suddenly she was face down onto the wet ground, it smelling of mildew and sulfur. Before either Max or Adeline could react, the old man had flipped open a knife with his free hand and jabbed it into the back of Megan’s neck. He dropped the knife and immediately plunged his dirty, shaking hands into the wound, pulling something out with a bit of a spark.
At this time, Max did react, driving his foot into the side of the speaker’s face, his weak, elderly bones crackling like popcorn. Adeline drew her gun and shouted for Max to move. He didn’t at first, and then dove after he looked down to see the blood. One shot to the head, Adeline’s low caliber bullet making a clear hole in the old man’s head.
Max rolled over to Megan, who was already rolling over, her hand on the back of her neck. “What the hell?!”
Max stood up, offering Megan a hand as he and Adeline shrugged.
Megan repeated herself at a higher octave as she rose to her feat and approaching the woman with a smoking gun. “What the hell?!?!”
Max looked down at the ground. He want no part of this, even though he knew it was the right thing to do. She was being attacked! Adeline, however, just shrugged again. “What did he say?”
“No, you do not just get to make this so… so casual.”
“I make a lot of terrible things casual. Ask Max some other time. But for now, what did he say? Its obviously much more important.”
As Megan held the wound on her neck, Max realized by the amount of blood that it didn’t seem to be a very serious injury. And she was walking too. So instead, Max wandered to the dead old man and took whatever he cut out of Megan’s neck. He looked at it and was rather confused. Adeline was obviously done with this. She just wanted to shoot a different man. “Fine, don’t tell us, but we’re on a pretty tight schedule here and-”
Megan’s eyes glossed over as she remembered the words. “He is me and paradox will set us free.” The words obviously shook her.
Max began to walk over with the thing in hand. “Deep.”
Adeline grabbed his collar. “More like ‘Deep shit.’ He caused the paradox that were about to experience.”
“I mean, duh. They’re the same guy from different points in his own timeline. Pretty obvious, with that nose and all.”
“And we have to kill the earlier one?”
“…Which means the older one couldn’t have ever existed.”
“Or maybe there was an even older one in the same universe, which means that we-”
Riddled with a bit of anger and confusion, Megan slapped Max on the back of his head with her free hand. “What?!”
“Uh, silly things about time travel and the ending of a dimension through paradox and some other stuff. We can try and explain it on the way but…” Max looked over to Adeline, who was a little angry for Megan slapping Max. “You have a bandage or anything?”
“Of course.” Adeline roughly applied the bandage, bopping it when she was done. “Okay. So. Long and short is the world is ending and we got shit to do before that happens. Yeah? Okay. Lets boogie.”
Patton hadn’t been able to answer the devil’s question. In his head, the question had changed, altered, magnified, transposed and then taken itself way out of context. But it was there in that vaguely obtuse, red, upside-down pixel that had once been his understanding if everything that he had hatched an answer.
Of course, Patton did have to give the devil an answer. One he’d accept. “Nothing. I have nothing, expect nothing since there is but nothing left.” Utter defeat, his head hung low, up turned hands in his lap sitting in that uncomfortable chair. And it was true. Oh it was true, as Patton had felt absolutely nothing. And it had to be true, else the devil would never believe him. And this sorrow had to be so complete. It was required by the plan that the blanket of sorrow would hide. And the hate! Oh the hate, how that had to be buried beneath an entire abyss filled with junk emotions, his true intention being hid from all reality. So much hate. So much God fucking terrible hate that would leave to one thing, and that only. To truly answer the devil’s question: what would Patton gain from anything? To see the bastard’s head on a pike floating through this abyss he called his home.
Patton sat in the white, sterile lab with the aluminum case open revealing all its intricate wiring and various switches. And the two bulbs. Tools were scattered about every which way in their respective places. There was no need for them, but Patton just wanted to throw them in such a pattern that the Devil might think it more than intentional. And so that his impatience would increase. But not so much as Patton’s stare. What felt like hours had he stared at that little red switch next to the dark bulb. Such a silly concept: how much death had happened for something as silly as a bulb that makes darkness? Ah, but the ramifications were so intense, that only this much death would be a worthy sacrifice to its creation. And destruction.
“So?” A voice broke the silence, projecting from a small box in the corner of the room. Up above was the devil himself viewing from a glass observation deck. “Are you just going to look at it? Waste precious time?”
Patton made no gesture at a response. Maybe he didn’t hear. His finger and thumb just rested on the red switch.
“I don’t believe just looking at the device is going to fix it, my dear Patton. Unless you have some how managed to develop telekinesis as well? Oh, how I am going to enjoy digging through your corpse.”
Such inspiring words. But oh how helpless the devil must have felt, two failed experiments staring each other in the eyes, so to speak. It must have reminded him that he did not, in fact, control every fabric of reality. So then who did? “Me,” Patton announced under a breath.
“What was that?”
“Come here.” Patton hadn’t moved a muscle, still staring at the dark bulb.
The devil’s frustration manifested in every pore of his being, which of course meant you couldn’t very well tell. He flashed into the room. “What?”
The devil leaned in. “What am I looking for?” He straightened back up. “Damn it man, just fix it.”
“Can’t… Too weak.” And it certainly looked like it. The dark circles under and in Patton’s eyes had nearly reached his lips, and with his recent surgery, he certainly didn’t look well for wear.
“Fine.” The devil leaned in again. “What am I looking for.”
“Just look.” Patton flipped the switch on, then off.
“No. Look again.”
The devil approached closer, leaning further and further in with every flip of the switch. There was something there that apparently he couldn’t see. How was that even possible, given his eye augmentation for ten times zoom. And how could this… neanderthal see it with his natural eyes? More psycho nonsense? Likely. Regardless he peered in further. Inch by inch. A certain entrancing effect. Had this been why the man hadn’t moved in hours? No, that wasn’t it. What was- A trick.
But before the devil had the chance to react to his new thought, Patton had grabbed the back of his head and slammed it into the light bulb of the device, cutting half of his face off with its heavy glass. The devil pushed the weak man off of him, bleeding profusely from his right eye socket and temple. His eyeball fell to the floor with a squishy, hollow bounce as it sparked and fizzled.
“Nobody, NOBODY! Lays a hand on ME!” The devil pulled his gun from his holster, his one good eye and shock making it a bit difficult to train its sights on Patton. To hell, he had more than enough bullets to kill him. He fired two shots, both misses to either side of what appeared to be a lifeless Patton on the floor.
Until it started laughing. Subtle at first, a couple chuckles under his lifeless form, and then turning into a hysterical nonsense as he rolled over to see the bleeding man above him.
“Shut up shut up SHUT UP!” Three more shots, one finding its mark in Patton’s leg. The pain did not stop the laughing, though it did slow it down. With a snarky smirk that only a villain could possess, Patton pointed with a lazy index finger upward. “No. You shut up.”
And shoot yourself. What? I didn’t think that. The devil turned to his right, as if someone would be there. What was that? Nobody. It wasn’t Patton. It sounded like- Bend elbow. He did so. But why? He didn’t think such a thing, but it was him. It was his thoughts telling him this, only he didn’t think these thoughts, and there was no way Patton could get through the- “Oh dear-” No time for talking. Elbow up, gun at temple. “No no no no nonono.” Pull the trigger. “No. No no nononono.” Shut up and pull the trigger. No. I’m too strong for- Pull it. Pull the trigger. Pull the trigger you useless piece of God fucking trash. No body has ever loved you. You have spent a lifetime building an empire of hate and fear, now live in it. Fear yourself. Hate yourself. Hate everything you’ve ever done, fear yourself. No no no. The devil’s knees buckled, tears beginning to stream down his unbloodied half face. Pull the trigger. No! Pull. The. Trigger. It is the only good you will have ever graced the world with.
The gunshot echoed through the room, the devil’s lifeless head hitting the floor the only thing louder and more satisfying. Patton smiled.
“ Hey, if any of you need things to read inbetween updates, I just released a tumblr for stories that I’d mostly finished (or finished in case of the first one) a long time ago! Like, a couple of years ago. Whatever.
Filling the small Church of Grace was the busy silence of robed figures being escorted into police cars and officers talking to exasperated followers. Megan sat int the corner wrapped up in a wool blanket starring blankly at her robes which currently sat below where her feet dangled. Max’s blood was stuck to its very fibers. They had taken his body fifteen minutes prior. Megan would have gone with the body, but Lee wanted to see if he could get her coherent enough to explain what the hell was going on.
That wasn’t ever going to happen.
Lee sat down next to Megan and handed her a cup of cop coffee, which she took in both hands, not even glancing up at Lee’s concerned face. She was too focused on the blood. Max’s blood. Why?
“Ready to talk?”
Megan just shook her head “no,” staring through the cup.
“Well… I am. Its all kinda strange. This doesn’t surprise me in the least.” There was a certain sadness in his voice, like giving a eulogy at your great-grandparents funeral, and you didn’t really know them well enough to sat anything, but there was a deep, concerned emotion. “Always knew he’d go early, the way he acted. I tried to keep him out of trouble, but he… I dunno. Was just drawn to it.” Lee tried to smile at his next thought. “I always figured he’d go because he was tied to a rocket by an evil scientist and being shot at the moon or something. ‘You won’t escape me this time Ma-”
Megan cut him off as she dropped her cup between her knees and wrapping her arms around the bastion of worst comforter ever. Not that she’d tell him that, her face was buried into his shoulder.
Lee carefully put his cup down next to him and gently rubbed her back while looking out the door. Kind of weird. He was seeing things. Guess he was grieving more than he thought, if he thought he just saw- There it was again. “Max?”
Megan raised her head and punched Lee in the chest, still coughing up tears. “Don’t you even-”
“Oh hey! Lee! Leeeeeeeee!” Max was jumping up and down at the front of the mob that was growing the the dying storm outside, just behind two burly officers who saw the look on Lee’s face and let the strange boy pulling at the arm of a pale woman with deep red hair along behind him.
Lee… didn’t have anything to say. He was sure this was some serious grief. He guessed that he had taken for granted everything he’d ever-
“M- Max?” Megan turned around to see Max: all smiles and giving her a little wave with his free hand. Tears trailing behind her, Megan punched Max as hard as she could in the shoulder. “God dammit Max!”
“Ow, what was that-”
But the facade fell and Megan wrapped her arms roughly around him.
Thank God she’s seeing it too. Lee wanted to say something, like that he had actually missed the runts antics and a bunch of other stuff he would not have even thought to think not thirty minutes ago. However, the only thing to make it out was “What. The. Hell.”
Megan seemed a little more coherent as she stopped embracing and punched Max again in his other shoulder. “You don’t fuck with people like that!”
“I didn’t mean to!”
The pale woman, who was still holding Max’s hand quite tightly, cleared her throat in an effort to dispel and mood that might have been brewing.
“Uh. Right. Megan, Lee? This is Adeline. She’s helping.”
Megan raised an eyebrow. “…With what?”
Lee also raised an eyebrow, but his was more a failed attempt at being suave. “I could think of a few things.”
Adeline too raised an eyebrow. “What? No. Gross. Max, you didn’t tell me your friends were tactless.”
“Just Lee. Though I do suppose that’s like a third of my friends. Anyway, doesn’t matter.” Max turned back to the other two. “Where’d the prophet go? We don’t have much time left.”
“To shoot him.”
“Wait, what?” Lee seemed to be the only one who was not okay with what was just said. Megan had already thrown off the blanket to the floor over the bloodstained robe that she could forget about now. Lee wave his hands in front of him. “You can’t just-”
“You aren’t stopping me.” The glare in Adeline’s eyes gave Lee a terrible tremor down his spine.
Max smiled. “Its true, she’s got a laser gun.” Megan was about to say something, but Max interrupted. “No time to explain. Megan, you think he’d go back to the warehouse or something? Maybe ask the old man?”
Turning to Lee, Max held out his hand. “Lee. Keys.”
“I can’t just- You don’t even know how to drive.”
“I do.” Megan in a deft maneuver walked by Lee and in the process managed to pilfer his keys from within his jacket pocket.
As Max ran by Lee, he shouted “Sorry Lee, not enough time left,” and knocked off his hat in an attempt to slow him down.
Max, Megan and Adeline ran out the back door with gleeful blood-lust on their faces.