Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wither The Vain: Lost Cities Part 3


There’s always someone trying to jam their fingers into the gears. We had only just begun to discuss how Anubis would be dealt with when this little gem arrived via owl. For a moment, we thought it was going to be good news. Should’ve known better. It’s never good news here.


Danny Corsair trailed his fingers over the surface of his bathwater and shivered (twice) before dropping in the hair dryer. Every nerve grinned and giggled as the wriggling electric worms squirmed through his body. The sweet juice pouring through the hair dryer cord only lasted until the breaker blew but that was long enough for Danny. He slumped back in the tub and smiled a twitchy smile, every muscle still jerking.


Erika Corsair, his wife of five years. Mother of four year old daughter and two year old son. Samantha and Joey. Both his.

“Yeah E?”

She was in the bathroom doorway. Shaking. Not like Danny. Sobbing, white-knuckle, “if you aren’t dead I’ll kill you” shaking.

“Yeah? Is that all you can say? Yeah? Christ Danny.”

Danny sat upright and turned to look at his wife.

“Are you an idiot? Of course I’m fine. Why don’t you go do something useful like reset the breaker.”

“You can’t keep doing this Danny.”

“Why not?”

“You’re electrocuting yourself. Do you think that’s healthy? Use your head.”

Danny slumped back and closed his eyes.

“What happened this time? Car acting up? Somebody cut you off?”

“I’m fired.”

Danny heard Erika’s eyes flip flap open. Like wooden blinds. Her mouth creaked and squeaked on its hinges. Danny slid further into the tub and kicked the hair dryer, wishing it would just come back on already.

“What the hell happened?”

“I took a break to get a drink.”

“What kind of drink?”

“Vodka and vodka.”

She’d be sighing now. Holding her head and refusing to cry. If the kids weren’t awake yet, they would be soon. She wouldn’t want them to see tears. At least she still had some function, even if she was too stupid to just reset the breaker.

“Jesus Danny. What is this? The third time you’ve been fired for drinking on the job? It’s a wonder anyone will hire you.”

“Let me finish you brainless bitch.”

She’d step back in horror, like she always did, hand over her mouth. Offended. Danny smiled and imagined what worms would look like squirming out her nose.

“They fired me when I hit Steve, that piece of shit new foreman they hired. He grabbed my arm, I bit into my saw’s power cord, and decked him. He didn’t get back up for awhile.”

“You didn’t.”

“Of course I did. Nobody touches me without a price. Don’t worry, he’ll live.”

Danny paused.

“But he won’t use that arm again.”

He heard Erika close and open her mouth. Little fishy gasping for air.

But before she could speak, thunder rocked the house, and Danny could hear the kids squealing and squalling.

“Storm coming.”

“Don’t even start Danny. It would’ve been on the news if anything big was coming. The Corps wouldn’t let it blindside us.”

Danny stood and stepped out from the bath. He wiped his feet on the mat and grabbed Erika by the throat, slamming her against the wall. His eyes bubbled and squirmed, a thousand crushed stars swirling within them.

“It’s a storm, bitch. Now get my coat. I’m going for a walk.”

He threw her at the clothes hamper and staggered into his bedroom. Danny heard her fall and heard the cheap plastic hamper crack. Danny heard the plastic cut her open and heard her blood drip onto the floor. Danny heard her stand and heard her finally start crying.

Danny loved salt water.

He picked black boxers, jeans, an oily gray t-shirt, and his black cap. He grabbed every one of his rings out of their wooden box and jammed each and everyone onto his fingers. As he turned to go, Danny looked in the mirror. He had already been paper white, but now he was starting to turn blue.

Danny smiled and headed for the kitchen.

A six pack of cheap beer waited for him there. He spent his last cash on the vodka, so they’d have to do. Danny grabbed them and headed for the door.

Instead of his jacket, Erika was holding Joey and Samantha’s hands.

“I’m leaving Danny. I can’t take it anymore.”

Danny grabbed his jacket and shoved Erika aside.


He walked down Vista Drive for three blocks in the rain. Erika sped past him in the van after the first block and was gone from sight. Good.

He took a left at Citrus Avenue and headed down towards the beach. The waters were already rising, devouring the sand. Danny walked down the winding driveway and through the parking lot, ankle deep in rebellious tide.

It was coming.

Danny could see it rolling towards them. Not just clouds, not just rain. It was getting nasty and The Judges were finally making their way over to him; finally noticing the strange pale man come to play on the beach in the rain.

The first lightning strike caught him off guard as it drove itself into his right pinky. The next three came easier. Danny pulsed and glowed as the juice poured itself down his veins. He licked his rings as the lightning hit them, his nerves squealing for more.

It was coming.

The Eye of the storm wasn’t far now. He could see its silver iris and golden pupil.

Danny lowered his arms as the lightning hammered into his ballcap, blowing it apart. He was floating now, even as the water struggled to swallow him, he was barely ankle deep in water as he stood at the edge of the Gated Gulf.

“Come to me.”

Danny reached out with both hands and the lightning leapt from his fingers. The ropes of heaven’s fire lashed themselves around the storm, cutting deep into the bloated clouds. The pair of piranha guards patrolling the beach that had finally come to investigate were cooked where they stood.

His blood bubbling and gurgled its approval. His eyes wriggled, trying to reach each other to clap for him. Danny grinned and his teeth ground against each other in glee as more lightning erupting from his blackened fingertips.

The fish were dying.

They floated up next to him, reeking of three days. Danny drank it in and swallowed the stench. It tasted good with salt.

Danny kept walking, never sinking past his ratty shoes.

More fish came and more fish died. They leapt from the water and fell dead as they crossed the lightning pouring out of Danny. Mullet first. Then came grouper. And rays. The Judges were coming as well but they were scared. They were still people after all. People who had made deals with fish in order to survive the war. They were still the cowards they had been. But the fish knew and the fish came and the fish died.

Danny giggled as they were turned to ash as they came between his lightning and The Eye. Jellyfish lashed themselves around his ankles, cooking themselves as they tried to drag him down.

Lemon sharks coursed through the water for him and died before they could touch Danny. As his lightning kissed and straddled and violated the storm, more fish came.

Sharks and squid and creatures from black depths came now. Two-ton grouper opened their mouths to swallow Danny and died the same way, sinking back into the ocean as scaled corpses. The big Judges were finally trying their hand at assaulting him. Harpoons burst from the water and were flung away. Octopus men waved their hands and tentacles and the water made fists to lash him with.

All was shattered and broken as the lightning coursed through Danny and into the sky.

The Eye looked at Danny and whimpered.

Even as more lightning drove itself through Danny’s heart, it burst from his fingers, blackening his arms up to the elbow.

The Eye erupted and the mist of the storm tore itself apart, crashing into the sea. The floating graveyard of sizzled fish sank beneath the waves.

And in the distance, a head rose. Great white and gleaming scales through rows of teeth and lizard eyes.

“Why why fight with with us? We hate we hate humans humans. Wash wash clean, make fresh, make new. Clean. Why why?”

“They’re too easy. And so are you. I came out here for a challenge. And am greeted with weakness.”

“Weak weak not weak. Will eat will tear crush crush crush you.”

Danny did not answer. He walked across the waves, kicking off his shoes as he crossed. The white head rose and a body with it. Danny couldn’t see its tail, but he saw its parking garage mouth and kept walking, arms flung backwards.

It came, Leviathan, King of the Sea, Lord of the Tides, mouth gaping.

Danny watched its cavern throat as it breached the water and came down atop him. All along the shore, all the late-watchers and nowhere-to-runners stared as Leviathan came straight down atop Danny, swallowing him whole. Its body followed its arc up and back into the Gated Gulf.

And the waters were still.

Until the sea erupted, bursting into the sky, a new cloud forming from its foam.

And it began to snow. Great flakes of glittering white.

And as they landed on Erika’s van, Joey and Samantha began to giggle.

“What? What’s so funny?”

“Daddy’s gonna find you Mommy. The big fish is sinking now and Daddy’s gonna find you. Stupid bitch.”

And their eyes sparkled in an orgy of crushed embers and wayward ashes.


The mother turned them into at to the nearest Judge security team. It’s unknown what happened to the mother but spies how told us that the daughter was taken captive. The son was able to escape. At first, this all sounds good. Big hurt on the fish, the nut balls captured, nice and easy, cut and dry.

It isn’t. See, both the father and the daughter escaped less than a week ago. We say escaped but it sounds like they were turned loose. What’s worse, it sounds like there are others like them. Others with powers that put fear into damn near everyone in the Council.

This is what happens when humans have no one to believe in but themselves. They become their own Gods. And how in the hell do you stop a God?

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