Authors: JD Lovil
Tags: #murder, #magic, #sorcery, #monsters, #parallel worlds, #tyr, #many worlds theory, #quantum jumping, #heimdall
Tom was just about to discuss the matter with
Bailey, when Bailey interrupted the process by emitting a low
growl. His doggie face was pointed straight down the hill in the
center of the trail. Looking down in the little valley, under a
half full moon, he saw the man that he met at the Coop standing at
the crossroads of this road with another road. The man had just
begun to unbutton his shirt, having already taken off his shoes. As
he was removing his clothing, his frame was starting to shudder and
Another moment, and the man was kneeling in
the center of the crossroads contorting in obvious agony, and his
face and limbs were starting to deform. It may have been a trick of
the light, but his body also appeared to be covered by a light
carpet of hair that did not exist a moment before.
Finally, the man looked almost like a large
wolf, with just a suggestion of the human form left, and second by
second, the metamorphosis was being completed. Bailey went crazy
when this occurred, barking loudly and frantically as he leaped out
of the open side window of the van, and rushed down the hill to
meet the wolf.
Goddamn it, hound, get back
here!” Tom yelled. With a momentary concern that the wolf might
injure or kill his travelling companion, Tom started the engine and
gunned the van down the hill in pursuit of the dog. Bailey was
standing just out of reach of the wolf, barking defiantly at the
wolf and dancing around the bigger animal.
Tom impacted the wolf with the corner of the
van, causing some structural damage to the headlight and fender on
the right front side of the car, and throwing the wolf a good ten
feet to impact against a nearby ironwood tree. Tom got out of the
van, and cautiously approached the wounded animal. The wolf
appeared to be stunned, almost unconscious, and Tom took the
opportunity to cut the animal’s throat with the nice silver knife
that he still considered a mystery.
Bailey had calmed down and was sniffing the
corpse of the wolf. The wolf did not seem to have any intention to
change back into the young man anytime soon, contrary to most of
the werewolf movies that Tom had ever seen. Tom searched the
abandoned clothing of the man, managing to rescue almost three
hundred dollars and a small 32 caliber handgun from the pile of
clothes. The Zippo went into his right front pocket as well. No
more lighting his cigs with Bics until the lighter fluid burned out
on this Zippo.
Just as he straightened up from his task, the
sound of wolves howling seemed to erupt from everywhere around
them, although none of them sounded closer than a mile. It was time
to leave. It took him and Bailey about thirty more seconds to pile
into the van, and begin a decent acceleration toward the
interstate. This town could keep its werewolves! Most of the people
here must have been turned by now, anyway. The question is; did
they know it?
They spent another hour on the road before the
radiator started to steam on the van. Tom pulled off to the side of
the interstate, and raised his hood. About two minutes later, a
very nice RV pulled off just in front of them. The driver came down
to see if they needed help. It turned out that the Hawaiian shirted
family man was headed to a Florida vacation, and had his thirteen
year old boy and his wife with him on this trip.
An hour later, Tom was cruising down the
interstate in the RV with Bailey, having made an even trade with
the former owner. Tom now had the RV, and the man was in possession
of the van, where, along with his wife and kid, he now occupied the
back cargo area of the van. Tom had found a small swampy area close
to a hidden creek to park the van, where the man and his family
should not be disturbed for some time to come.
Tom sat back down into the driver’s seat of
the RV. He had been parked at the rest stop for about an hour now,
trying to figure out exactly what had happened to the world. After
driving down Interstate 10 and failing to find any sign of San
Antonio, or anyone who knew where it was, or even that it existed,
he reached the ramp to Interstate 35, which should go to Dallas. It
should, but once again, the signage did not mention Austin or
Dallas or Ft. Worth, or any other city that Tom knew lay on that
route. The signs declared the existence of Mildew, and Norfed, and
Deadhead, and other cities that Tom had never heard of, and that
were not on his maps.
Tom had also heard from a fellow Rest-stopper
that crossing into Mexico was a very bad idea nowadays. Apparently,
the Mexicans had built a continuous border fence to keep those
North Americanos out of their country. The Mexicans didn’t want our
kind coming across to use their superior medical and social support
systems. Tom felt that he must be sadly out of date. The last he
had heard, it was the United States that had those sentiments, and
far less resolve than the Mexicans had displayed.
Tom lit another Pall Mall while he
contemplated his next moves. The RV was proving to be a most
satisfying way to travel. He had a momentary twinge of regret at
the sad end of the providers of this fine vehicle. The next time he
was in a bar, he resolved to drink a silent toast to his unknown
Tom had spent all of yesterday driving, and
didn’t pull over to get any sleep until almost dawn. He had noticed
another peculiarity about the roads. The interstates were the
familiar ones, but they didn’t seem to have most of the familiar
landmarks and cities along them. Also, Interstate 10, and so far,
Interstate 35, seemed to be a lot longer than they were supposed to
be. From the odometers of the old van and this shiny new toy, they
had already gone almost three thousand miles on this trip, which
was much further than their positions justified. It should have put
them somewhere off the Florida or Georgia coasts.
Relax while you can, he had always said. This
was a nice place to kick back for a few more hours, stocking up on
a couple of good meals and a good long sleep before proceeding to
the next listed city, another unknown one called Elkskull. Tom
grabbed the nearby Bailey, and gave him an affectionate ruffing up.
Bailey reacted with a smidgen of surprise, having been awakened by
He pulled out the fifth of Scotch that he had
under the seat, and poured a nice double shot of it. It was just
starting to rain outside, and in combination with the drink and the
smoke; it was providing a relaxing environment for
He adjusted the side window so that he could
feel the rain without getting a lot of water on his arm. He settled
back in the seat and gave Bailey’s willing head a pat, just as a
black crow landed on the framework of the side mirror just beyond
his window.. It stared at him for a few seconds, let loose with a
gravelly ‘caw’, ejected a copious stream of white crap down the
side of the RV and flapped off into the rain. So much for respect
from the universe at large.
And it was indeed a strange universe, he
reflected. As he had noted before, the interstates seemed to be
much longer than they were supposed to be, and the lands that they
led to were different than what geography specified. There were
things living out here, and events happening out here, which were
totally different from what was supposed to exist out
This seemed to be different from the blindness
of others to the causes of events. The further away from home that
one travelled, the more the world seemed to be different. For
instance, this area seemed to be a rolling, mountainous area,
whereas the central Texas of the normal world was a flat or gently
rolling area of soil, not rock.
Tom considered himself to be one of the more
perplexing aspects of this new world. He had tried to remember his
past, and realized that his memory started to get a bit foggy
somewhere around fifteen years ago and he could not remember
anything from twenty years ago. He considered himself to be an
alright guy, but he was having a hard time squaring that with the
ease with which he had snuffed out four, maybe five people’s lives
in the last week.
Tom wasn’t quite sure what he was on the road
for. Maybe he was just seeking a nice, normal place to settle down
without the unsettling strange events that constantly deluged him.
Was the world all like this, or was there a place of normalcy out
there somewhere? Maybe he was seeking a way to fix the world, to
make it normal. That seemed a bit more heroic than he considered
himself, but you never know what sort of drivel could be dredged up
from your subconscious minds.
Bailey whined to be let out to use the big
outdoor litter box, and Tom opened the passenger door for him.
Bailey scooted out into the rain, and started industriously seeking
the precise spot with the pristine holiness necessary to accept the
donation of the dog excreta. More than five minutes, and almost six
minutes, Bailey was gone, and when at last he returned he was not
A long haired man in his mid-twenties slipped
into the passenger seat with Bailey at his side. Tom almost
dispatched him by reflex, but at the last minute, he restrained
himself due to curiosity. Why had Bailey brought this man back to
the RV? The dog was usually a good judge of character, and he
seemed to like this lad.
The young man stroked his long hair backward,
and then extended his damp hand to introduce himself. Tom reached
behind him and grabbed the towel that was there, in compliance with
the Hitchhiker rules, and threw it to the dripping newcomer. The
guy took a moment to towel himself relatively dry, and then he
extended his hand once again for shaking.
Hi. I am George.” The guy said.
“I am just passing through this burg, headed east. My car blew a
head gasket in this fine town, and hitchhiking doesn’t seem to work
in Texas.” He grinned and gave Tom’s hand a vigorous shaking,
similar to the shaking given to a new found possum by any
self-respecting hound dog.
Hi, I am Tom, and you have
already met Bailey.” Tom said. “We are headed east ourselves, going
for a much needed vacation in my Uncle’s RV here. Why are you
George gave Tom a dubious and slightly
secretive look. “I heard that there is some sort of spiritual Sage
over in Arkansas somewhere that has answers. I was told that those
that seek the Sage will find the Sage. I decided to check it
Tom gave a little chuckle, and pulled out the
bottle of whiskey, and passed it to George. George took a swig and
passed it back to Tom.
Don’t believe everything you
hear. What is this ‘Sage’ supposed to have answers to?” Tom asked.
He took out two more Pall Malls, and offered one to George, putting
the other one in his own mouth.
I have been seeing some weird
stuff, strange creatures and such, which seem to be behind a lot of
the things that most people see as normal events.” George said. “I
am looking for why I see these things, why the average person does
not, and what we can do about it all.”
Join the party. That is pretty
much why we are traveling as well.” Tom said. “Between intelligent
storms, unseen clawed creatures in the night, spontaneous
combustions, transformative diseases and Lycanthromorphs, my days
have gotten way too exciting to suit me. Well, if you want to
travel with us for a bit, I guess Bailey has already placed his
vote.” Bailey thumped his tail twice against the floorboard in
Thanks. I would be happy to
travel with you.” George said. “When are you planning to get going
I think that we may stay here
tonight, and get started early in the morning. I love rain, and I
don’t want to waste it on driving.” Tom said. “Why don’t you go on
back there and find yourself a bunk for the night?”
Sounds good to me.” George
sighed. “I am getting a bit sleepy now.” George got up and headed
back into the bed area of the RV.
Tom continued to sit and enjoy the rain for
the next hour and a half, when it finally cut to a drizzle, and
soon after, it stopped. By this time Tom had a pleasant buzz going,
and so he sat and watched as the skies cleared up. It was well into
the evening by that time, and the stars were bright and
As he watched, several of the point source
lights that he had assumed to be stars began to move around in the
heavens, some moving slow, some moving fast, moving in circles and
moving in grid patterns, moving straight up, moving as things
alive. After a while, one of the lights descended, until it was
hovering just a few tens of feet above the rest stop, before
finally zipping off at extreme speed to the west.
After a while, the lights in the sky found
somewhere else to be. Tom went back to the little bedroom he had
picked out to call his, and Bailey did his best imitation of a dog
rug at the foot of the bed. Tom mused about the events and changes
brought about by the day, and soon he was sleeping.
Tom is sitting in shadow, and a
Shadow speaks to him. “You will find some Truths with your company,
and after, you will find other truths in other company. This is not
the time to try to steer your destiny.”
Tom sees light and darkness, flame
and ice, he hears silence and thunder, he feels pain and pleasure.
All of these things, and others that he cannot define he
experiences in the shadow of the speaking Shadow.