Holy Calamity (part nine)

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(excerpted from Weird Luck, book one in the City of the Watcher trilogy)

 

…Aleck felt a tugging at his foot; glancing down, he saw his shoelace had wound itself in the gears. He braked hard, skidded, and fell over painfully. He disentangled himself from the bike as he rose, kicked off his shoe, and limped up to the wrecked ship. Broken Herax bodies lay strewn across the cobblestones.

Minister Apraxos floated in the air directly above the wreck, his robes flowing.

“Ah, it’s our Earth-boy!” said Apraxos.

“Cannibal-King!” shouted Aleck. The man and woman glanced back at Aleck, the man keeping his rifle trained on Apraxos.

“I’m busy,” said the Cannibal-King.

“I need to talk to you!” said Aleck.

“Looks like you have the same dog we do,” said the freckled, red-haired white woman with the face of the Nymph, pointing at Akaz with her chin.

“People are murdering each other in there,” said Aleck, pointing at the Circus. “Your revolution is going genocidal!”

“Our dog’s inside him right now,” said the woman, gesturing towards the Cannibal-King. “Want to meet him?”

“Uh, don’t do that,” said Akaz, backing away.

A wolf’s jaws burst forth from the Cannibal-King’s mouth, and snarled, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Oh, shit,” said Akaz. “What are you doing here?”

“You aren’t supposed to be here yet!” snapped the Cannibal-King’s wolf-jaws. “Get out of here!”

With the Cannibal-King momentarily distracted, Apraxos flew away towards the Herax Zone, robes flapping. The woman fired after him with her pistol. The Cannibal-King’s wolf-jaws retracted. He aimed his rifle, lowered it.

“Oh no,” said Akaz, “goddamn it, go get him!”

“You have to stop those maniacs in the Circus!” Aleck shouted at the Cannibal-King. “They’re eating people!”

“What?” said the Cannibal-King.

“Yeah,” said Aleck, “you’re the Cannibal-King, aren’t you? What do you expect?”

“Fuck!” shouted the Cannibal-King. “I made every goddamn one of them vow not to do that!”

Old Aleck and Beth rode up, both unsteadily perched on her bicycle. “Aleck,” said Beth, “come on. This is much too risky.”

“No no no,” said Akaz, backing further away. “This is bad! Get the hell out of here, you idiots, now!”

“Freeze!” blasted an electronically amplified voice. “Reality Patrol!” A dozen soldiers in black riot armor appeared in a circle around them. Most of the squad pointed silvery rifles; some consulted instruments.

“Two temporal recursions,” said one of the technicians. “One foreign; one local.”

“Two entirely foreign parallel recursions,” said another technician, “with a local-slash-mixed trine parallel — correction, that’s quincunx — hold on, I’m registering an error….”

“I’m registering an error as well,” said a third technician. “It’s off my scale; filtering for ECSS…. Oh my God! They all have Weird Luck!”

“Hold your fire!” blasted the amplified voice. Then, a burst of static, and “—fire!”

A beam of light flashed into Old Aleck’s chest. He fell backwards, knocking down Beth and the bicycle. A wisp of smoke rose from his robe. “Aleck!” screamed Beth.

“Train Wreck!” shouted Akaz, flattening himself to the street with his paws over his head.

Doors and windows up and down the street flew open, each revealing a different scene: rooms and streets, woods and beaches, barren wastelands and cities on fire.

Aleck watched the Cannibal-King draw in a huge breath and spit a blazing gout of fire across several Reality Patrolmen. As light-beams flashed and gunfire erupted, Aleck dove through the nearest doorway, slamming the door behind him.

Naked under his Keeper robe, white-haired, scar-faced, and with one shoe, Aleck found himself on the stoop of a ruined shack, hand on the rusty door-latch, gazing through the trees at the wrecked Camaro.

Beside it, on the shoulder, sat an ambulance, the red light atop it turning lazily. Aleck snuck up closer, keeping his hood up. Two paramedics held a stretcher with Mikey on it. Billy stood beside him, looking unscathed.

Mikey reached up to poke Billy in the chest. “We should call you Doomer,” he said.

“Gonna call you Cripple if we don’t get your legs fixed up,” said Billy.

Aleck stepped out of the woods and dropped his hood back.

“Who’re you, Fuckface?” asked Billy. The paramedics looked over, and Mikey looked up from the stretcher.

“Che fuckin’ Guevara,” said Aleck, “who’d ya think?”

Billy and Mikey’s eyes went wide.

Aleck shrugged.

 

continued in the Aleck Woad adventure

Time Traveling Blues in the City of the Watcher

 

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