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Some items are not easily defined as either fan fiction or professional fiction. In these cases, I'll make the call, and I'm sure it will be arbitrary. Let's just have fun.
Midnight on the savanna...
The moon glows bright in the cloudless sky
As I walk alone, seeking the path
That guides me to my destiny.
A bird flies o'er, a soft voice sounds -
I turn, and there you stand;
From where you've come, I cannot say.
But you beckon to me
With upturned lips, free-flowing hair
And eyes as wide as wonder.
The leopard skin half-hides your charms,
But only for a moment -
It falls, softly, to the ground
As I melt into your bronze-tanned arms.
You tease me with relentless lips
And to my thoughts convey
Swift orders that I should gently
Lie you down
Upon the tall, soft savanna grass
And hover there over you,
Whispering words of timeless ritual.
With limbs and arms clinging to embrace,
You give your love to me;
I return the measured madness -
Pausing every now and then
To make you soar
And cry for more,
Inspired by an eager fire.
Our bodies joined,
Our souls entwined,
Two voices pierce the night as one
With the ecstasy such moments bring.
And when at last our energies -
If not our passions -
Have been spent,
I thank you simply
With a kiss upon your forehead
As you drift off to sleep.
Destiny, did I say?
I know now that you were mine
When all the stars were young and
All the universe was new...
And gently lift you in my arms,
Gazing into the jungle -
My path now clear before me.
Your skin gleams brightly as I
Carry you into those green chambers
And the jungle moonlight
Seems to bless us...
All rights reserved. All text is © 1997-2005 by the author, John Allen Small. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.
The sun was still new to the morning sky when Buck Mason silently climbed off his horse and secured it to the hitching post in front of the Flaming Star Hotel and Saloon. He was a mountain of a man, this cowboy six foot four inches tall and 250 pounds of massive bone and muscle, with a six-shooter on each hip and a Henry rifle under his arm, wearing the dusty garb and sand-burned expression so common to those who felt more comfortable out there riding the trail alone than living in town in the company of his fellow man.
The few townfolk who were there to see him dismount paid him little heed, or at least pretended to. One little boy standing just outside Shacklefords Mercantile turned to his mother and asked if the stranger was a bounty hunter, and the mother boxed the childs ear and looked up with a wide-eyed expression, concerned that the stranger might have heard. He had, of course, and he quickly turned away so that the mother wouldnt see the amused grin that crept across his face.
Masons first inclination was to head into the saloon. After all, hed been riding for days and Heaven knew he could sure use a drink. But the sign in the window of the barber shop across the street advertised baths, and Heaven knew he sure could use one of those even more. Not that he was all that concerned about offending those around him, but he figured a nice long soaking would probably feel pretty good.
Well, it did, and an hour later he set out to finally have that drink. Midway across the street, however, he noticed something didnt seem right. Something was missing.
Wordlessly he strode into the saloon and drew one of the six-shooters from his holster, firing a single shot into the ceiling. The room quickly fell silent as everyones attention turned to the source of the unexpected racket.
The cowboy squinted, and in a flinty, forceful voice he asked, Which one of you dad-gummed sidewinders stole my horse?
No one answered. The room remained silent for a moment; over in one corner, a flashy looking dude began shuffling a deck of cards with the intent of dealing a new hand to his fellow poker players. Mason calmly drew his other six-shooter and fired a single shot in the general direction of the dude. The bullet missed the dude, but put a neat hole dead center through the ace of spades before embedding itself in the table.
All right, Ill tell you what Im going to do, Mason said to nobody in particular. Im gonna go over there to the bar and have myself a beer. Maybe two. When Im finished Im gonna go back outside and take another look. If my horse isnt tied back to that hitchin post by that time, Im gonna have to do what I had to do that time back in Texas.
He lowered his voice to a menacing growl and added, And I really dont like to have to do what I had to do that time back in Texas.
Some of the saloon patrons shifted nervously in their seats as Mason walked slowly to the bar. The barkeep already had a beer waiting for him by the time he got there, which he downed so fast that nobody figured hed had time to even taste it. He straightened his back as if getting ready to turn back toward the door but instead he motioned to the barkeep for another beer, and seemed content to take a little more time to enjoy this one.
After swallowing the last mouthful he set a fistful of coins there on the bar the cost of the two beers, plus a generous tip then turned and walked back outside.
His horse was right back where hed tied it in the first place, as if it had never been moved. Mason smiled, then went back to the bar and ordered one more beer for himself and one for the fancy dude whose cards he had shot. The ashen-faced dude tipped his hat nervously as he took a swig, and proceeded to choke as he swallowed it the wrong way.
The barkeep shook his head as he brought Mason his beer. Sorry about that, mister, he said. Some of the boys here have a bad habit of wanting to pick on strangers when they come to town. Youd think theyd have learned their lesson after that half-breed killed ol Gum Smith last year, but some of their skulls are pretty thick...
Mason took a sip of his brew and changed the subject. Know where I might be able to find a couple of fellas named Orrin Sackett and Dusty Fog? I was told I should meet up with them here.
As a matter of fact, I do, the barkeep told him. They both been stayin in rooms right here upstairs. Been here for about a week... You plannin' on helping them track down Ringo?
"That's right. Got a wire from the U.S. Marshalls Office sayin' that the Kid had busted out of the pen. Curly thinks he's high-tailin' it to Kansas after Luke Plummer and his brood, and wants the three of us to try and cut him off."
"Kansas is quite a ride from here," the barkeep observed. "Seems like the Kid's probably gotten a pretty good head start."
"You've obviously never ridden with Sackett and Fog." Mason thanked the barkeep and laid out a few more coins in payment, then headed for the stairway down at the end of the bar.
The barkeep pocketed the money and called out after him. Say, pardner... just outta curiosity, what was it you had to do that time back in Texas?"
Mason turned back toward him and grinned. I had to walk home.
All rights reserved. All text is © 1998-2005 by the author, John Allen Small. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.
We had been treating the old man for several weeks, I and the two medical students I had taken on. There was nothing wrong with the elderly gentleman beyond the usual deterioration attributable to age; indeed, the merchant moved and spoke spryly for his four-score years. His hand, thin and withered as a raptor's claw, always gripped mine in welcome with wiry strength; his frame he held erect, though the flesh hanging thereon scarcely hid the skeleton beneath; but what struck one most were his eyes, which were of a cold, steely blue, like the Arctic seas, the irises round and hard, somehow ophidian. To add a note of the grotesque to their power, the right eye was noticeably larger than the left, and he always seemed to stare at one in a conspiratorial fashion.
I believed his vigor to be the result of the medicines we administered to him. They were experimental, and I warned him to reveal their existence to no one, not even to his young partner, who shared the flat above his store. Our meetings took place at odd hours, in the alley behind the store, in the market square, or in my own chambers. The old man laughed at the secrecy, but he could not deny that he felt revitalized.
# # #
We were to meet the merchant in the early morning on a street that intersected his own. As we approached the crossroads, our way lit by West's lanthorn, I grew conscious of a wheezing breath and a soft footfall. Beneath a lone, smoky streetlamp ahead, a corpulent woman of middle years stood wringing her hands. Strings of silver-brown hair escaped her frilly nightcap, and her shawl hung askew over an old gingham dress.
"Oh, good sirs," she called upon seeing us. "Are you constables? Please say that you are!"
I held up my arm, a gesture that halted my associates and silenced the rotund pedestrian.
"What is the trouble, madam?" I inquired.
"Oh, sir, its old Mr. Syms, the milliner -- at least, I think its he!"
Syms -- the very man we were to meet! Knox gasped behind me, doubtless sharing my thought, but I raised my hand again and he made no comment.
"What of Syms, my good woman?" I demanded.
"Oh -- oh, I heard sounds, sir. Sounds," she answered. Her cheeks plumped up, squeezing tears from her eyes. "My wall is adjacent to his, you see. Tonight I heard him yell out, a shriek to chill your marrow."
She squeezed her hands in a double fist, glancing up and down the avenues as if for additional forces to muster.
"I heard the cry, and thumps, and I told meself, oh, pshaw, Mary, he merely toppled out of bed. But there were more bumps, and the ripping of boards from the wainscoting, and the slosh of water. I fear sommat terrible has befallen Mr. Syms, sir -- I dressed and went looking for help."
I touched my gloved hand to the distraught woman's arm. Her shudder shook my very bones.
"Take hold of yourself, madam. My men and I will handle this affair. Return to your home and worry no more."
# # #
The merchant's young assistant answered our knock with unusual swiftness for the hour. He bade us enter, and he led us to the overhead flat. He was a wiry fellow with fine, jet-black hair, grey eyes shiny and hard in the lamplight, and a broad forehead, more suited to a philosopher than a merchant. I had seen him from a distance several times, but the meetings between his master and myself were secret even from him.
His neighbor's assumption gave me the idea to pass ourselves off, in our heavy rain apparel, as officers of the law.
"We have received a complaint of a disturbance, and of a scream, originating from this building," I told him bluntly. I glanced about the living quarters in the light of the man's candles. "Is this not the residence of Mr. Syms, the milliner?"
The man twitched, but his smile would have disarmed Satan himself.
"Yes; yes; the old man lives here, as do I, for I am his partner in the establishment below."
I exchanged glances with Knox and West. We all desired to hear about:
"Syms, then. Might we speak to the venerable gentleman?"
The fellow had collected his wits now that the initial shock of our arrival had passed. He crossed his arms, and the smile within his sparse beard betokened arrogance.
"I fear the old fellow has taken a sojourn in the country, visiting his nephew and niece in Belfort. If a cry was heard, it doubtless issued from my own throat. I toppled out of bed during the night, you see, and, being somewhat nervous by nature, and unaccustomed to solitude, I yelled in fear."
I nodded, thinking how the actual constabulary might react.
"Perhaps, sir, you would not object to our taking a look about the premises?"
The man absolutely beamed, as if I had hit upon his innermost desire.
"Please, Officer, I have no cause for concern. If it will allay suspicion, you are welcome to search the entire building."
Search we did; it seemed the old man had left in haste, as he had taken few personal effects, and his bed stood rumpled, as if made in a hurry.
We found the wash basin clean and spotless, and the planks of the floor recently scrubbed. West silently pointed out vague stains in the grain of the floorboards. I nodded. I knew blood in any form, however minute the trace.
Syms' partner, meanwhile, dragged several chairs out into the middle of the room. When we finished our examination, I told him I accepted his story.
"Please, gentlemen, sit yourselves down," he enjoined us. "I am, as I said, unaccustomed to spending time in my own company. I would deeply appreciate a few minutes' conversation."
I did not understand the fellow's game, but I admitted we had time to spare on our lonely patrol.
Syms' partner spoke on mundanities at first: the weather, the King, the war. Then he paused, glancing from the corner of his eyes. He gritted his teeth for a moment before continuing, and in that brief pause I heard an odd ticking sound.
The milliner babbled on at an ever-increasing tempo, over any subject he could snatch upon. We made comments at appropriate points, but with any lull in the conversation came the ticking, louder than before. However, it was no longer sharp enough to be called a ticking. It had become a continuous thud-thud, thud-thud.
Syms' partner broke into a profuse sweat. Knox and West looked to me with desperation. The noise, which seemed to emanate from a point near the milliner's feet, grew ever more intrusive -- thump-lump, thump-lump. By the cast of outright fear in the medical students' eyes, I knew they recognized the sound.
I do not recall what I said next, so flustered was I, but at last the nervous milliner sprang up and cast his chair aside.
"Villains!" he yelled. "Dissemble no more! I admit the deed!"
He clawed at the floorboards with his bare hands.
"Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
* * *
The following day the madman happily told his keepers how he murdered Syms and dismembered the body. All of the old man's remains were found -- except his heart, in the silver jewel box the lunatic had grotesquely provided to house it.
Knox and West crowded around the examining table, watching the grey-pink mass of muscle pulsate, thump-lump, thump-lump.
"'Tis uncanny, Doctor!" cried Knox in his Scottish accent. "Still beating after eighteen hours, with na' brain to order it nor body to nourish it!"
I lifted the pump-organ and carried it to the waiting vat of saline solution. It squirmed in my grasp like a newborn infant.
"It's beautiful," I proclaimed with husky reverence. "And it was to be expected; the point of our experiment, after all."
I placed the disembodied organ into the vat. The warm liquid within pressed heavy and cloying against my skin.
"We begin assembly tomorrow, gentlemen, and this time -- this time we shall taste the sweet nectar of success.
"So swears Victor Frankenstein."
[This curious document, found folded up in an old, yellowing copy of Blackwood's Magazine, answers some questions but poses new ones. Edgar Allen Poe's eerie tales have a timeless quality due to their being tied to no particular date or place. However, we may now pin down the account he called "The Telltale Heart." There are two medical students mentioned in "His Hideous Heart," "West" and "Knox". West is no doubt an ancestor of the experimental necrologist Herbert West of Miskatonic University. Knox, I believe, is none other than Dr. Robert Knox, the infamous employer of William Burke and William Hare, the murderous body snatchers of Edinburgh in the years 1827-28.
[Robert Knox was born in Edinburgh in 1791. He took medical classes at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1814. In 1815 he was attached to a military hospital in Brussels, where he attended soldiers from Waterloo; this began several years of military service which ended in 1823, when he returned to Edinburgh. He would have been an assistant to an established surgeon circa 1813. I therefore suggest that the events of "Hideous Heart" and Poe's "Telltale Heart" occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, around the year 1813.
[But one question remains unanswered. The original Victor Frankenstein was long dead by 1813 -- wasn't he? So who is the narrator of "His Hideous Heart?"]
All rights reserved. All text is © 2001-2005 by the author, Michael D. Winkle. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.
me some time to compose this. Actually, its taken some time
to compose myself. If I had had any real understanding of what I
was about to get into, I would have never done it. He, Kane1, had
of course learned of it when I began my researches on The
Man with No Name 2. If I am not dead, it is
merely due to his whim.
The two people
who had made the contact were old associates of his, an aging
Vietnam-era vet called Blacklight, and his daughter, Klesst. They
took me to the meeting place and left me with him. It is the one
day of my life which I shall never and can never forget.
He lounged back
in his chair, graceful as a panther that has just finished eating
its kill. His golden red hair, curling languidly about his ears,
was darker than I had thought it would be, but he seemed to have
been inside a lot lately. His complexion was whitish. On the
other hand, he was powerfully built. I could almost feel the iron
of his muscles thru the loose clothing he wore. His movements, as
he smoked or sipped at his bourbon, were fluid yet seemed somehow
thought out. When he turned his head toward me it seemed so
deliberate and so calculated, I knew that he meant for me to feel
fear. And I did. When those eyes locked on me, those cold blue
killer eyes, I did feel fear. Fear that paralyzes my memories to
But he laughed.
And it was as if a spell had been broken and the lock on my mind
loosened. You know who I am, correct? he asked.
Yes, I almost stuttered. You are Kane.
he murmured. Not the name I was born with it. His
face turned directly toward me. But a name I have used
often over the last two thousand years of your civilizations. I
was flattered by what you wrote about me. It was quite incredible
how many of the facts you got straight, given the lack of
He looked off
into space. The intuition of the writer. It is the one
talent Ive never been able to develop in myself. But I do
like their company. He turned towards me once again,
But I know that you are curious. And that you have
questions. But our time here is limited. There are things I must
do and this really is just a pleasant little diversion for
me. Then his eyes bore into me again. I hope you are
Yes, I am.
What are you doing now?
darkened. Dont be stupid! And do not anger me. What I
am doing is my own business and I do not intend to let it be
ruined by babbling like some stupid-ass crackhead!
My heart went
cold but I continued. Then can you let me know if you are
His face froze
and I thought that this was it. But he chuckled and I knew I was
going to live a little longer. Comic books, he said.
Why grown men read such nonsense is beyond me. But yes, I
was at least the inspiration for the character. I was drunk in
New York one night and ran into this man. Another writer, like
you. We hit it off well and he took away quite a lot from that
conversation. When I learned later about it I was surprised at
how much I must have actually said. I usually am more
close-lipped that that. But, as he took another sip of his
drink, Jim Beam is smooth and pleasing to the old warrior.
Dont you agree?
I took another
hit off the drink that had been offered me and smiled in
agreement as the whiskey burned at the back of my throat. I
had wondered of course when Dennis Power brought it to my
attention. The similarities, even down to the drug operations,
were so close to how Karl Edward Wagner portrayed you in his
later tales. It was just a little too uncanny to be
For a second
Kanes eyes lost their insanity. He looked distant at that
moment. Yes, my friend Karl. An artist with a little too
much talent and too much heart for his time. He seemed to
shake himself and he looked thru hooded eyes towards me.
And what of you, young man? You asked me what I had been up
to. I know youve been nosing around. What have you found
out about this ancient savage?
I knew I had to
play it careful and I felt that he knew that I knew. I
didnt have much to lose at this point. If I didnt
count my head. Which brought up a question. Well, the one
thing that I am fairly sure of you is that you had some kind of
dealing with Connor MacLeod. Even if the Highlander tales that
most of us know are fictionalized, its pretty apparent that
you were the intended bad guy of one of those stories3.
MacLeod, chuckled Kane. A pathological liar of the
worst sort. His own stories dont make sense to themselves.
Granted, hes a very good storyteller and a fine swordsman.
But you could no more believe what he says
smiled at me as he said this,
than you can
necessarily believe what I tell you. He sank back into the
armchair he was nestled into and sipped deeply from his drink.
But there is a difference. I lie for my own purposes. While
smaller men lie as a matter of course. He passed the glass
under his nostrils, inhaling the heady vapors, and then looked
toward me again. Youve read Sun Tzu?4
Yes, I replied, in full understanding.
He continued on.
That man, Connor, is such a disappointment. He is, of
course, one of my bastards. They litter the pages of history like
Coke cans on your squalid highways. Not all of my children carry
the immortal gene, if that indeed is what it is. But enough have
and enough will that someday it shall become the birthright of
all humanity. Casca, John Carter, so many of them, but so few
with insight or intelligence. I actually prefer the ones who take
after me only physically.
I looked at him,
noting how much his dark-red curling beard looked like mine.
You mean the red hair and the blue eyes? He smiled
back at me. Of course, my son. I could tell by your
western article that you knew your history. So where
do you think Ive been?
not hard to guess, I replied. Ireland, Scotland,
Montenegro. And probably innumerable Indo-European tribes
scattered from the Russian steppes down into northern India5.
I suspect that you are actually the Rudra of the ancient tales;
Siva in his cosmic dance of life and death. But Ive got to
ask. You sound as if you know what our future is.
future, he droned, as if by rote, is a set of
possibilities. It is the opposite of a river. If you were to
travel up your own Mississippi, you would see many smaller rivers
flowing into it. The future is like that. Many branches off main
streams. And how would you know that, I
retorted with a little too much bourbon in me for my own good. He
scowled back, but made no move in my direction. I once had
need for a way to cross space and time. And I found it, aided by
a poor wretched albino6 set on his own doomed course.
With that device, I traveled the great expanses and have seen
more futures for Earth than you can imagine. Many of them spring
from this time. Another of my bastards, Lazarus Long7,
will be instrumental in this. And in the long course of
time, he now looked dreamy again, the people of Earth
will find a world that will give them the key to true
immortality. In some time streams that world will be called
Norstrilia8, in others Arrakis9. But in all
those time streams a price will need to be paid. A great
his reverie. What of the Lord Sathanas? He broke out
of his thoughts and stared at me. Another product of the
time streams. Hes actually a time traveler from one of your
own futures10. I didnt even know what he was at
first in my ignorance. And yet Im responsible for him too,
I guess. He enjoyed traveling back and forth thru the time
streams, impressing the natives and the so-called
great ones of history with his presence. It was really quite
disgusting, like a 19th century Englishman turning up
in the darks of remote Africa to impress the so-called savages
with his godlike powers. How I hate them
follow this. What
I began, but he cut me off.
have something else you want to ask me?
I felt death
whisper to me at that moment. I adjusted and asked the next
question I had come in with. One of the big problems I had
with my earlier researches was whether you were up to your usual
troubles, or whether you were just enjoying yourself out West.
You know there was a really complex individual who caused a lot
of trouble around the turn of the century. They called him
Professor Moriarty. Was there some connection there? Could
you have actually been James Moriarty?
son-of-a-bitch, he smiled. No, I wasnt him. But
I was his real father. And thanks to the stupid Irish bitch who
bore him, he half believed that I was the Devil himself fathering
myself on a degenerate humanity for their benefit. It was one of
the grandest jokes of my career. At this he laughed so
heartily that I wanted to join in myself. But my
education kicked in. Wasnt Moriarty a
ignorant bastard, he continued, laughing. Even the
other writers mining the same vein youre working on realize
that there is a secret war going on. Dont you know
that? I stared back at him stupidly. Ive never
bought into conspiracy theories.
Sherlock, just because You dont believe in conspiracies
doesnt mean that they dont happen. Most of what
youve been told about recent history, and most especially
about the mutant gene in the human race is propaganda which is
spun first one way by one side in the struggle, and then another
way by the other side. Im going to tell you something now
that you may not want to hear, if you think you can take
it. He sneered, and continued, What about it? Are you
afraid to go where few have gone and lived?
I swallowed and
spoke, Go ahead. John Clayton, he stated,
was the father of the second of the Moriarty sons. But the
first was mine, inflicted upon one Katie Morcar Noonan, an Irish
maid in the service of a Polish nobleman near Krakow. She would
later marry a Moriarty from whom her three sons would take their
name. But that first son was known in 19th century communist
circles as Ifreann Noonan Columlkill Gregorovitch Papadiabolus
Chortovitch11. He would pass himself off in English
society as James Moriarty, the legal name of his younger brother.
It was, in fact, this younger brother, who would die at the hands
of Sherlock Holmes in 1891. But he would continue to direct
the activities of the greatest criminal organization in the world
until his death in Galveston, Texas, in 1930. And that
organization continues to this day, following a genetic
hell are you trying to say? I blurted, my impatience
short-circuiting my survival instincts. Kane swerved from his
armchair and his eyes flared like a solar flare, obliterating all
in its path. Stupid fuck, why should I expect you to see?
Ifreann Chortovitch set up an organization bent on nothing less
than the destruction of civilization, as you know it. His
children continue to this day in the purpose that I directed
them! A world unhampered by morals and dichotomy.
stupidly, like a sheep staring at its butcher. He looked back and
laughed wildly. Maybe when youre stronger. Lets
go on to pleasanter subjects since we have only limited time
here. Ask away. I know youve got a list there.
I said weakly. Can you fill in any of your western days for
me? Not a problem, he replied. As
youve already guessed, some of my exploits have been
recorded by Forrest Carter, Brian Fox and Joe Millard. But most
of them are rather bad transcripts and shouldnt be used for
chronology. There were a few films made in Italy with a Tony
Anthony impersonating me also. And then there was your own
surmise about the origin of the Callahan name. There were some
films made about a Macho Callahan12 that
did paint the truth of the matter though they failed to capture
my identity. And your sons? I questioned.
Yes, they were quite a brood, he said. Coming
out of Appalachia where I had been holing up in the early 1800s,
they were quite outstanding. Will Kane, my grandson Kwai Chang
Caine, Lucas McCain, Rowdy Yates, John McBurney, Billy Kane, and
Django13? I asked. I took it that he was
another of your aliases. After all, wasnt High Plains
Drifter just a remake of Django the
one you have me, he stated. The similarities between
the two movies were remarkable, but entirely coincidental. Django
was not I. But I think that he somehow, unconsciously, meant to
back to the beginning, he said, once again with that
dreamlike look in his eyes.
sir, tell me more, I said. He looked at me with surprise in
his face. Kissing ass doesnt set well on your
shoulders. Drop it before I feel the need to kill you.
And you dont mean to now? I retorted. His eyes
scanned me like a steel blade poised over the object of its
creator, and he said it like it was bile coming up in his
throat, brought into being several beings of varying
capacity. If I, and he suddenly looked old saying this,
am the best in cleverness and strength, there is another
who was superior in intuition and energy. And, he looked at
me clearly, if I was given physical immortality, this one
was given another type of immortality.
think that he may have been reborn as Django, looking for
you? This was not a thought that had occurred to me and I
followed it like a hound upon the trail. He has followed me
many times across the ages, Kane said wearily. My
brother, my friend, my enemy. It is true, I was known once as
Rudra or Shiva. He was with me then, looking for my redemption,
calling himself Vamana, or Vishnu. And we have run into one
another again and again down the ages. More recently he was known
as Duffy14 here in your own country. Working with a
man known as X, he began what he thought would not only be the
salvation of the human race, but also
This I had not
expected. Weakness? Remorse? Indecision? I opened my mouth, but
he anticipated me. Thru eyes tired and old suddenly, he simply
stated, Change the subject.
know what to make of it. I struggled for the words but knew it
was beyond my power. And so, cowardly, I changed the subject.
I can think of no one else who can clear this up finally
and clearly. Why doesnt the Hyborian Age fit into the
history we know?
He looked up,
light coming back into his eyes. Why? Because Robert E.
Howard was Celtocentric to a fault. You identify, dont
you? I nodded knowing all too well that I thought my own
Gaelic ancestors a gift to the world. Kane smiled benignly like
the father I had never known. Howard correctly saw
Conan. He just couldnt interpret him historically. Europe
was covered in ice at that time. That was really the world of
what he termed the Aesir and the Vanir. The real world of the
time was in North Africa. Farmers Opar tales display this
world much more realistically. But you can still see thru
Howards Celtic weave to the truth. Opar and Ophir are one
and the same. Koth represents this Saharan world in its
centricity, which Howard continually skirts almost to the end. In
Farmers tales you see the end of the ancient matriarchy.
Howards tales are set a few generations later when the
ancient goddess, whom he called Ishtar, is fading into
into being before that world, didnt you? I asked.
He looked at me.
Was it love or loathing I saw in that glance? You know I
did. And now you come to the main question, dont you?
Yes, I answered back.
he echoed, Now we come to it, dont we. As he
said this, I saw that he reached into his boot and withdrew a
blade, shining and sharp, seeming to reach to the heavens for its
strength and its purpose. He set the blade upon the table between
us. We now reach the parting. If you stand up now and walk
away, a life stands before you. Are you sure of what you wish to
ask? Yes, I said. And waited as the hand of
fate rose above me.
thousands of years ago, a being came to our world who felt a
desire, a wish. And what he found was not to his liking. He
himself owed his existence to the forces of the outer spaces. He
was powerful and wise to a level that even he could not
understand. And he came into the ancient world looking for
something which didnt really exist, but which he expected
to find. If he had only gone a little further north, he may have
found what he was looking for: the fay folk, ancient wise
humanoid beings with a zest for life and living. But he came
instead to Africa out of some longing which only he truly
talking about the Old Ones, about Cthulhu15 I
spurted out, my anticipation outrunning my intelligence.
he spat out. They were history long before my time. And
yes, they did create the ultimate foundations of life from which
we all evolved. But they were history long before the ancient
apes began their evolutionary path. I crossed paths with their
minions many times in my wanderings but their strength was not
yet up to the challenge. And at this he chuckled. Not
at least to the strength that your kind have lent to it.
I said, we come to the ultimate question. Many believe that
you are in rebellion against the God that created you, in
ultimate arrogance against the one who gave you being and life.
And then there are those who think you are a pawn of those
ancient beings. Go ahead, kill me, but tell me now! What in
Gods name are You? and I rose up from the table,
spilling drink and smoke and everything.
Kane now looked
at me and laughed. You pup. Do you really want to
know the truth? Do you really want to know why you even
around me like the first snows of November. And as the silence
fell, I knew that everything I thought I knew, everything I had
just learned in the last half hour, was only a preamble to
insanity, to the loss of all that I had spent my adult years
learning. And I fell silent; knowing all too well that life, as I
had once known it, had ended.
himself up. Only now I realized the full size of the man.
We were simple in that time, he said. As he said it,
I could see his brows furrow and, as in a dream, I looked upon
the world of Neanderthal times. A world of stoop-shouldered,
powerfully muscled beings with sloping foreheads and massive
arms. But their huge heads seemed of more import than the
fantastic musculature of their arms and legs.
came, Kane mused, from a far long distant time. And
he looked upon us and found us lacking. But that did not confound
him. He himself owed his existence to a meteor that had
transformed his genes into something that had never existed
before. But he came back, across the eons, following his dreams,
to find things little above the level of apes.
He swung his
wild eyes upon me. Dont you see? He came back thru
the ages to improve the original stock and didnt even find
that stock. It was a fantasy, an illusion. But did he let that
stop him? No. He took those apish men and made them over into his
own image, again, with the help of a meteor strike. He made us as
much like him as he could!
I trembled and
stared and tried to speak. I felt my voice whimpering, almost
pleading. Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth?
And my last
memory of that fateful day: No, he answered. It
was not some fucking alien looking for a landing spot. It was the
man from the future. The gray-eyed man with the flowing black
hair. He traveled back thru the ages to find true humanity. And
when he did not, He created it.
locked on the heavens above him. And I spent eons,
millennia, looking for him. Hoping for the day that I would put
him out of my misery. Make him pay for the pain that he inflicted
upon me and mine!
the last thing I remember saying.
His eyes now
locked with mine for the last time. Yes,
he cried. I killed him. Though it took millennia, I tracked
him down and I slew the lying son-of-a-bitch.
My last memory
of that day, his triumphant eyes upon me: I killed John
Clayton, Lord Greystoke. God, and Tarzan of the Apes!
1 = Karl Edward
Wagner, Gods in Darkness and Midnight Sun
for the authentic Kane sagas.
2 = Ric
Bergquist, The Man With No Name (http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Articles7.htm#NONAME)
Highlander The Final Dimension
4 = Sun Tzu,
The Art of War. Thomas Clearys translation
brings out the universal applicability of this ancient Chinese
martial philosophy, including the use of lies and spying as a
5 = J.P.
Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans, and Jaan
Puhvel, Comparative Mythology, for some glimpses into
the Indo-European past that is alluded to in this article.
6 = Elric of
Melnibone. Series by Michael Moorcok, though the story being
alluded to, The Gothic Touch, is by Karl Edward
7 = Robert A.
Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, and other works for
the story of Lazarus Long.
8 = Cordwainer
Smith, Norstrilia, and other works for the
Instrumentality of Mankind timeline.
9 = Frank
Herbert, Dune, and other works for the House Atreides
10 = Michael
Moorcock, Elric at the End of Time, and other works
for the many identities of Lord Arioch.
11 = R.A.
Lafferty, The Devil is Dead, where the heretofore
secret story of Ifreann Chortovitch (Papadiabolus or Papa
Devil) is revealed. This is a seminal work for
understanding the secret wars of the 19th and 20th
12 = The
Stranger films starring Tony Anthony are A Stranger in
Town, The Stranger Returns, The Silent
Stranger, and Get Mean. The Macho Callahan
films are A Fistful of Death and Macho
13 = Django is
remembered as a half-Indian gunfighter involved in some matters
of family vengeance, who later took to bounty hunting, oft times
using the alias of Cat Stevens. His tales have been popular in
Europe for nearly 40 years. The two most authentic Django stories
are Django and Django Strikes Again.
Others of more or less authenticity are Django Kill,
Django the Bastard (The Strangers
Gundown), Keoma, Texas Adios,
Massacre Time, Vengeance, God
Forgives, I Dont, Ace High, Boot
Hill, $100,000 Blood Money, Viva
Django, Some Dollars for Django, and Any
Gun Can Play (which seems to depict the deaths of
Django, the Man with No Name and Colonel Mortimer, aka Sabata,
aka Sartana). I also suspect that Django was the
mysterious gunslinger of Once Upon a Time in the West.
The confused chronology of these stories is even worse when
you add on the 35 or so other films that were released as Django
14 = R.A.
Lafferty, More Than Melchisedech, a work which the
opposition has kept just short of being published, details the
life of Melchisedech Duffy. Three other Lafferty works,
Archipelago, The Devil is Dead, and
Dotty recount the lives of the people that Duffy
secretly brought into being.
15 = H.P. Lovecraft, The Best of H.P. Lovecraft and At the Mountains of Madness, for the prehistoric chronology of Earth under Cthulhu and other extraterrestrial beings. Robert M. Prices edition of The Necronomicon is also valuable for its inclusion of all that infamous books known fragments and has an illuminating commentary. But it is marred by the inclusion of some substandard Lovecraft-inspired tales. George Hays edition of the same book is frightfully intriguing but there is a heated controversy concerning its authenticity.
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