Bound to the One You Love. "A Cartoon Story." by John Pirillo. Love between a cartoon and a human? Mmmmm!
She first realized she was bound to the one she loved when she had to come to his rescue against the Sea Gnats. They were an obscure life form found only in the lowest dimensions of her world. They obscured people's view of them, much like the legendary Sirens of Johnnie's world. They lured them into their hives, and then ate them.
In their less fettered forms, they resembled giant gnats, with multiple eyes, legs and legs. They had no hands, except as illusions. They were mainly eating machine and cutting machine. Mouths to eat their victims and legs to slash them to pieces.
Johnnie had made the mistake of using his newfound powers to touch one of the older Golden Age Magazine covers in the antique book store they had been looking through for information about zombies. Why zombies? Because that was one of the few creatures that didn't need an invite to enter Johnnie's world. Too many people believed in them and thus a portal was always open for them to charge onto Earth and deal their kind of death and destruction.
The newspapers always reported them as members of cults, or serial killers. Cults reported them as demons that had been summoned by them. But the average person just got attacked and assimilated into their hordes, which had been growing by leaps and bounds since she had entered Johnnie's world.
"Hey Glow!" Johnnie slung at her.
She looked up from the book in her lap. She sat in the dark. She didn't need the light next to her, because her body threw off enough light for a hundred light bulbs when she allowed it. She squinted at him. Her eyes were tired.
"Penny for your thoughts." He told her with a smile, slipping next to her on the couch, and putting an arm around her shoulders. She snuggled into him and told him what she was thinking.
"I can't always come to your rescue."
He turned around, letting go. She felt immediately abandoned, but said nothing.
He looked at her face. "Why would you have to? I can take care of myself."
"But what if one day you don't have a comic book on you, or one that doesn't allow you to become what's needed."
"Don't you believe in fate?"
"Yes. I do. The one we make for ourselves through our freewill."
He sighed, and then slipped further away from her.
"Okay. So I don't. Then I deal with it like I always do."
He got up. She could tell he was disgusted with the turn of her conversation. But she wouldn't let go of it. She was too worried. "You could die." She blurted out.
He stopped and looked at her sadly. "Everyone dies."
"But not the way you might."
He nodded, but went outside anyway, shutting the door behind him.
She shut her eyes, thinking why she had allowed herself to become so drawn to this human. He was still a child in so many ways. He didn't even pick up his socks when he threw them on the floor. Then she grinned. Neither did she, but then, she never wore them.
The front door banged open and Johnnie ran inside. "Get ready!"
She jumped up in alarm.
He grabbed her and swung her up into the air, laughing. "Dinner!"
They took the metro downtown to the Denny's he loved. Chicken sandwiches, thick shakes and curly fries.
"Fries. They're called fries. Curly fries."
"They taste sooooo good."
"It's the salt."
"Yeah. They bury them in salt."
She frowned. He laughed and squeezed her right hand.
"Not literally, it's just that these guys have got the French fry thing down. Give the people whatever they want, but make sure it's got lots of salt or sugar, or both on it, then they'll eat anything and love it."
"That's dishonest." She said, putting her curly fry down.
"But doesn't it make you mad?"
"Sure it does, but it sure tastes good." He said, shoving a handful of fries into his mouth.
She slapped him across his left arm with her handbag.
"Okay." He set down his next handful of fries and faced her. "It's like this. I can't change the world. I'm only one person."
"You can change it one fry at a time."
"Don't eat them."
"You've got to be kidding!"
"I'm not. Stop eating them. At least one of you won't be contributing to the lies."
"But then I'd be lying to myself."
"Because I do like them...salt and sugar and all."
With those words he shoved the rest of the curly fries into his mouth.
Across from them at the counter a tall man turned around. It had a handful of fingers in its clasp and shoved them into its mouth. "You should listen to him." The zombie said with a foul grin. "They do taste good. Salt and sugar and all."
Cartoon slammed from her booth and began hammering the man with her handbag.
Johnnie rushed over and stopped her.
The man rubbed his head and got up from his stool as an alarmed waitress grabbed a phone and began to dial.
"Hey! It's Halloween. Can't you take a joke, lady?"
He marched out of Denny's, his face red with anger.
She turned to face Johnnie. He was laughing.
Then she began hitting him with her handbag.
What was a Cartoon to do with such a rascally human being like him? She hit him again.
Johnnie touched the comic book in his back pocket and his form changed into that of an angel. She gasped and fell back. He gave her an angelic look. The waitress gasped and dropped her phone. The other customers began crossing themselves.
"I'm such an angel." He said. "You really hurt my feelings."
"Ohhhh. I hate you, Johnnie!" Cartoon spouted, and then ran into his arms and they kissed.
And that's what it's like to be bound to the one you love, she thought again as she held him close, savoring his breath and his touch. You just love them no matter what...and...her thoughts grew wicked for a moment...gets ready to clobber them when they get off the train tracks.
But she didn't tell him what she was thinking as he lifted her into his arms, stepped out of Denny's, and then flapped into the air and flew her home. After all, he was her Johnnie Angel. For a time.
Story. "Hammer Man" The Comic Book Commando has never fought anything so strange. If only he could get some rest.
"Look at this, Cartoon!"
Johnnie's fairy tale princess, made of luminous light and glowing flesh, walked into the living room, her feet hammering the floor with waves of light as she crossed the wooden floor and its single large rug that hugged the furniture in the center. She was dressed to the hilt, glowing necklace, earrings of dazzling diamond moons, sparkling rings that made her hands light up and a smile that would make any teenage boy's genes go from double helix to triple in the blink of an eye.
She sat next to him on the arm of his chair, pushing her golden hair back from her eyes so she could look at what he was reading. Her golden eyes smiled. "Hammer Man. Never heard of him."
For a brief moment he hadn't either as the touch of her skin on his arm caused his neuron receptors to begin working overtime hollering, "What are you waiting for you, dolt? She loves you, you love her. What more do you need?"
"Me either." He admitted, ignoring the pleading of his body. After all he wasn't a jerk, and he didn't believe that sex solved everything. Usually it just complicated things, not made them better. His blonde hair was dropping limply across his shoulders from the shower he had gotten out of about fifteen minutes ago. A cold shower. All the way cold. And during winter time that was skin turning blue cold. "He was doing a lot of those kinds of showers lately." He sighed inwardly.
His blue eyes caught hers for a moment and the obvious love between them flamed for a moment.
He caught his breath and shifted his six foot frame slightly to accommodate the waves of hormones that threatened to overwhelm him. Again! He loved her. She lived in his apartment. Mostly. But he had never...you know. It wasn't honorable. And she would probably have turned him into a toad if he had tried. He wanted to think. Sometimes he didn't know if he was just in denial, or truly wanted the best for her, or both, or...the thoughts were too confusing, like most of those kinds of thoughts are to the young and as yet unwise in the matters of love, so he killed them. Gently.
Sometimes when he woke up before her, he would lie on his side, just watching her breath, her eyelids fluttering as she visited whatever world cartoons went to in their sleep. He would see her chest rising and falling gently like soft surf on a sunny beach. His heart would stop sometimes during those moments and he would catch his breath and then he would feel his eyes starting to water. Usually, she didn't wake up when he felt like that. She must have known he was watching her, she was pretty sensitive to that, but she gave him his moments of introspection and pride and kept him closer to her by doing so. Easier to catch a honey bee with honey than with sour grapes.
Yeah. They bundled. Slept side by side, arms wrapped around each other at night. Sometimes. When they weren't battling zombies, werewolves, vampires, mad doctors, aliens and other assorted human and inhuman beasties, but they did sleep...mostly on the go. Him on a bus to school or work, and her...he wasn't really sure if she ever really slept. He would open his eyes up at night sometimes to check if she was really asleep or not and she would either be gone, or if she was still next to him, her eyes would be closed. But he knew her well enough by now to know she could also be doing something else.
You see, Cartoon, was a Princess from the universe of cartoons. It was a strip of infinite land that bordered our own universe. It had few contact points. One of them had been the burning high rise where Johnnie had rescued her when she was pretending to be a small child so she could test his courage. He had passed the test and he had been granted enormous comic book powers. One day she had sat up beside him in bed, taken his trembling hands...because he still had to fight those hormones, remember?
She told him. "Johnnie, you're now the Comic Book Commando. Fighting for good against evil."
He had almost died on that bed, because he had burst into laughter. Not a good thing when you're seated next to a woman who can turn you into a froggie, or even just slice your head off with her magical sword which she could pull out of the air anytime she needed it. Nice trick he had thought at the time, until she looked ready to use it on him.
Then she had calmed down. After he had promised to cook breakfast for her the next morning and make her favorite waffles and fries. For some reason she loved fries and waffles. Don't ask him where she got that from, but he suspected it was from reading comic books about his world. And yeah, right her people wrote stories about this world and the heroes here. He didn't think such existed much anymore, but evidently her world had a sliding scale of values when it came to heroes that accommodate the earth's sometimes sparse treasury of such.
"Okay! Okay!" He had hollered, clamoring to get her temper down into the more arctic regions, so he could survive the night. "I'm sorry. Look, let me make it up to you. Waffles and fries for breakfast!"
Her sword had wavered over her head, from which it would have descended and struck his head off. (Though she swore afterwards she had only been pretending; he didn't believe it for a minute. No one's that perfect an actor! ) "Really?"
She let the sword slide back into her dimension and slid closer to him. "I'm just being honest with you, Johnnie. You know I can't lie." She told him sweetly.
He looked into her eyes and smiled. But inside he was thinking, right and I'm a horse in sheep's clothing. Everyone lies about something! He had thought.
Immediately the sword reappeared.
"You read his thoughts!" He snapped at her. "That's so...so..."
The sword wavered over his head.
"Scary." He finally said.
She burst into laughter and the sword vanished again. She threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him close. He was reluctant at first. The hormone thing you know, but it's not good to say no to a Princess, especially one with a magical sword that could appear and take your head off at any given moment.
But getting back to the Hammer Man. He was really cool. A great red suit with blue and white stars on the shoulders, shoes that were solid blue with white stars on their tips, and a great big hammer, even bigger than Thor's. As a matter of fact the hammer could be any size you wanted. He was on page twenty and he had already clobbered a skyscraper with it to get at aliens who had taken it over and killed everyone inside. Just like that! BOOM! The building was history and a cloud of dust dirtying the skies of Chicago.
Did he mention that he was a Chicagoan? That's right. And an ex-policeman who had tried to stop corruption in his department and been framed for the very thing he was exposing. How's that for turnaround. Then one night he went camping out in the woods and a nuclear tipped missile accidentally strayed from an overflying Air Force jet. It had been struck by lightning. Yeah. Big storm. So he wasn't having much fun anyway, except for the display of lightning in the sky. So when he saw the incredibly huge object coming down from the sky at him, he had this hammer in his hands. It was made of a new alloy and he was testing it on the firewood to see if he could split logs with it. Didn't work, but as luck would have it, a lightning bolt struck the nuclear missile. It detonated. But not in the usual way. Instead of exploding outwards, it exploded inwards, but even though he wasn't smashed to smithereens and turned radioactive at least, the energies released from the inversion...for some crazy kind of comic book logic...the energies lanced into his hammer.
Of course he was holding tight to the hammer, and voila, Hammer Man was born.
Cartoon looked at him and shook her head. "Johnnie, you and your comic books."
"Yeah. And don't forget you wouldn't be here if I didn't love them, light bulb!"
It was a term of endearment He had for her. She frowned. She didn't like the implications of being a light bulb, because they can be switched off. "And He would be missing out on the most beautiful, smart Princess in this or any other universe...not to mention He would not be a..." He raised his voice in an imitation of the way TV announces heroes..."THE COMIC BOOK COMMANDO!"
He leaped to his feet and held his hand up, the Hammer of the comic book appearing in it.
Cartoon almost burst her gut with laughter.
He set the Hammer down and gave her a hug. She leaned into me. "Someday."
"Yeah." He sighed.
Guess I didn't tell you either that if we were to have...you know...her connection to our world would be broken. Then kaboom, no more Princess. Gone. Forever. And me, a lonely Comic Book Commando. Very lonely.
He felt a tear wetting his eyes.
She pressed it away gently with her finger. "What's wrong?"
"This is going to sound stupid and silly."
"And everything else doesn't?" She laughed.
He smiled. And just like that she forgot about what he might have told her and he forgot about what was causing his eyes to get moist.
The front door flung open and Laurie burst inside. She's his brunette friend he hangs with sometimes and plays music with. She's got one of me for a boyfriend too, a clone of me. I made two extras of me for her and Koomay. Aren't I nice? She finally discovered it, but she didn't care. He was me, even if cloned. And that was enough. Or at least that's what I hoped when she and Cartoon hung out together without me. God only knows what they said behind his back, which might explain why his ears burned sometimes when they were together and turned red hot when they were with Koomay as well.
Koomay is the other woman in his life at work.
"Johnnie! Come quickly!" She urged in alarm.
"You're about to die!"
He gave Cartoon a blank look, grabbed the Hammer that stay was manifested on his chair and ran after her, Cartoon on his heels, manifesting her sword as she flew along behind me. The Landlord managed to come out of an apartment at that moment, a bottle of Jim Bean in his right hand. He was swigging on it, when we rushed by.
Had he taken the time to look back he would have seen the Landlord empty the bottle, and go back into the room and slam the door. No doubt to sleep off what he thought was hallucinations. He took a moment to worry about the guy, and maybe even pity him, but not much longer. The man was a snoop and a Lech, and if he wasn't also nice in other ways, he would've sent him packing into another dimension or something the way he treated the women sometimes.
Laurie threw open her front door and he ran inside. My clone double was on the floor and a very odd creature was about to swallow him. He was almost all the way inside its throat, when he dashed in. The monster rolled several eyestalks around to look at me, sprouted a mouth with lots of teeth and said. "You're inside me!"
"Not really." He said with a smile, then grew his hammer to the size of a small horse and smashed its tail. My duplicate shot from its mouth and collided into the wall. Laurie ran to him as the creature rolled over to give me its full attention.
"Regards from hell." It bubbled in a strange, wet voice to me.
"Regards from heaven." He shot back at it, then increased the density of his hammer, made it with sharp, wicked little points on its head, then smashed it in the face.
The face sank inwards, but then popped out again.
Cartoon raced in front of me and sliced the head with her sword. The sword passed through it, and then exited the other side. The head squirted some green ichors several moments, but didn't tumble.
"Nice try, chickie!" The monster told Cartoon then slammed her with one its tentacle eyeballs. She flew against the wall, stunned.
He looked at his hammer and thought for a moment, what if...?
The creature leaped at me.
He shoved the hammer down its throat and told it what to do.
The creature's eyes shone with triumph for a moment, thinking it was going to swallow me and the hammer, and then the hammer did its thing. It began doubling in size, over and over and over.
He grabbed his duplicate from the floor where he lay and Cartoon and Laurie helped me carry him outside as the hammer did its job. Laurie shut the door.
The Landlord chose that moment to come out of his door again.
He saw the second Johnnie between him, Laurie and Cartoon...Cartoon's glowing skin, which was bright enough to light the entire complex, now that she was emotionally supercharged...and the sword in her hand.
He looked at the second bottle of Jim Bean in his hands, shook his head, and then went back inside. Several moments later we heard a bottle smash against the door of the apartment.
We paused to see if he would come out again. He didn't.
There was a WHOOMPH sound from inside Laurie's apartment and she opened the door to look inside. There was monster all over the floor, ceiling and walls. She groaned. "It'll take me days to clean the place up!"
The Johnnie in our arms stirred, and we helped him stand up. He gave me a quick glance, winked, and then took Laurie by the hand and inside. "Don't worry, honey baby, I'll clean it up for you. He blinked at his hands and they became mop heads gleaming with soap.
Cartoon shut their door and turned to me, after her flaming sword vanished.
She gave him a big kiss and a hug, and all their differences dissolved once more into the heap of memories none of us really want to reinvestigate when it comes to people we truly love with our heart and soul. He could feel her energies melding with his own and while maybe not exactly human as we understand it, it was something he loved and cared deeply about. Something he lived for and would....die for if necessary.
The Comic Book Commando was once more just a normal teen, walking beside the best looking girl this side of the universe. Now wasn't he just the luckiest of guys!
Golden Age Movie Serial. The Phantom Creeps starring Bela Lugosi the star of Dracula. The Final Chapter: To Destroy the World
Golden Age Movie Serial. The Lost City. Chapter 2: The Tunnel of Flame. A lost city in the jungle. Mad Scientist and bizarre experiments.
After a series of electrical storms disrupts the world, electrical engineer Bruce Gordon develops a machine to trace the cause of the disasters. He discovers that the source is in central Africa and, backed by the nations of the world, sets out on an expedition. Bruce learns that the disturbances emanate from an area called the Magnetic Mountain. But unknown to our hero and his pal Jerry, the Magnetic Mountain also contains a super-advanced secret city ruled by the tyrannical scientific wizard named Zolok, who has unleashed the electrical fury threatening civilization as part of his plan to conquer the world. Zolok has under his control a brilliant inventor, Manyus, Manyus' beautiful daughter Natcha and an army of giant African slaves, who follow the dictates of a strongman, Appolyn, and Gorza, a dwarf. Also in the mix are schemers Reynolds and Colton, who plan to capture Manyus and thereby gain control of Zolok's army, and a double-crossing fellow explorer named Butterfield. Can ... Written by Fiona Kelleghan <email@example.com>
Movie Serial. Jungle Jim. 1937. Chapter 8: The Killer Lion with Spanish subtitles. Golden Age Movie Serial Classic!
Golden Age Serial starring Johnny Weissmuller: Chapter One of Jungle Jim: Into the Lion's Den, Spanish subtitles
Jungle Jim is an American Golden Age Serial.
Made in 1937.
Directed by Ford Beebe and Clifford Smith
12 chapters (1-Into the Lion's Den, 2-The Strikes Cobra; 3-The Menacing Hand; 4-The Killer's Trail; 5-The Bridge of Terror; 6-Drums of Doom, 7-The Earth Trembles, 8-The Killer Lion; 9-The Devil Bird, 10-Descending Doom, 11-In the Cobra's, 12-CastleThe Last Safari).
Starring Grant Withers, Betty Jane Rhodes and Evelyn Brent.
The show was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures, and ran in US cinemas from 18 January 1937.
It was based on the character of the stories in Jungle Jim comics, created by Alex Raymond.
Synopsis: Two safaris run around Africa in search of a white girl who is the heir to a fortune. One of the safari, led by Jungle Jim (played by Johnny Weismuller), want to tell you about the inheritance and take it back to civilization. The leader of the other safari want to kill the girl and try to get the inheritance for you. Cast: Grant Withers, Betty Jane Rhodes, Raymond Hatton, Evelyn Brent, Henry Brandon, Bryant Washburn.
Antman, the movie review! Time to geek out on this incredible new Marvel slamdunk hit! Top notch and exciting in every way!
I went to the Antman movie with a certain degree of trepidation, as it just didn't feel quite right to me from the previews.
Marvel can't get them all right? Can they?
Well, yup, they did it again.
Yes, it didn't open to massive numbers, which initially caused me to postpone seeing it, as the number seldom lie.
But in this case, they not only lied, they betrayed me!
Antman is an unqualified HIT!
It smashes all expectations and delivers a movie of immense warmth and great characters, as well as some of the very best special effects I've seen in a long time.
If any of you remember, or have seen The Incredible Shrinking Man, there is absolutely no comparison to the two. A hint at the ending of the Shrinking Man movie was interjected with Michael Douglas warning that if our hero went too deep as he minaturized he would vanish into the quantum realms.
Well, guess what? He did!
I won't tip you off how he got out of or into it, but let's just say that it was memorable and a real eye opener.
The villain of the piece, an old student of Henry Pym, the original Antman, Michael Douglas, is so likable and I love him in his work in the Strain as the beleaguered doctor trying to stop the strain of vampires spreading throughout the world. I had no idea he was so talented, until I saw this movie.
If you haven't watched the Strain yet, you're missing out there as well.
I give Antman two thumbs up, five stars and a hearty recommendation to go out and see it.
If you don't see this movie, you'll really regret it someday.
Following this article is a short slideshow of some events and posters from the Antman movie.
Glow! A Cartoon Story by John Pirillo. She's the light of his life and he's the light of hers. But monsters don't like that!
A Cartoon Story
By John Pirillo
"Take that!" He said, tossing the huge garbage bag into the dumpster behind Al's Diner, the place where he made his living while he worked his way through college. His name was Johnnie and he was a Comic Book Commando. Some months back he rushed to the rescue of a young girl in a burning high rise building. She would've died without his help. He saved her, but a strange thing happened during the rescue. One of his arms had stretched like plastic to grab a railing to save him and the girl from a fatal plunge.
Ever since that day he'd been working with the girl of his dreams...a forever young looking Princess from the land of Cartoon. And her name was, appropriately enough, Cartoon. Everyone in her world looked like cartoons. She did too at night. Her body gave off a golden glow. During the day, not so much, barely visible. Most people wrote it off to t he sunlight in their eyes. She wasn't just a Princess, but a damned good warrior as well. This to her credit saved his bacon from the fire many a time.
But today was Mister Normal day, not super comic book hero guy. Behind the dumpster and to the right was the old warehouse where all kinds of fruit and veggies were packed and stored. A very small wood and wire cage held a guard dog in there during the day. He roamed the warehouse at night to protect it from intruders. He was a terribly mean and nasty guard dog accordingly to Al, but Johnnie hadn't had any problem with it.
The first day he'd seen the dog, he'd fallen in love with it. He'd found some scraps left over from a meal, and shoveled them into the dog's cage. It had run up with teeth bared at first, but Johnnie just smiled. It lost its grimace and shoved its nose and mouth to the wire and began licking at him through it. He had put his face closer and felt the wet tongue roll across his cheek, and then he had pulled back and carefully put his hand inside and stroked the dog's neck while it ate hungrily at the steak and eggs he had provided.
Some trucker had been in a rush and just eaten his Danish and bacon and left the rest. Bad luck for him. Good luck for the dog.
"Good boy." He told the dog, who looked up a minute, licked its chops, wriggled its tail happily, and then returned to eating.
Johnnie went back inside, where he caught Koomay watching him. She hurriedly put her hands back into the sink where she was cleaning bacon for the next rush of customers on the morrow. "You're pretty good with animals." She told him, not asked. Told him.
He shrugged. "Do unto."
She giggled. "Well you do unto pretty good, Johnnie boy."
Without another word she returned to her cleaning and he to his.
At the end of the day he hung up his gloves, apron and dragged the ribbed rubber mat back inside where he laid it down behind the counter. It accumulated all kinds of dropped food and dirt from the constant back and forth of Koomay and Al while they worked. It was a small diner. Al did the cooking and she did the serving and waitressing mostly.
Johnnie was the go to man. What they couldn't do. He did.
He rushed to the front door after he'd finished cleaning the windows, then waved at Al, who grunted with a smile, and Koomay who gave him a lovely dimpled smile, then exited.
He was in a rush to get to the comic book store. There was a new comic book hero coming out and he wanted to grab the first edition copy. His apartment had a whole closet filled with first run copies. He figured someday they'd be worth a fortune.
Cartoon looked into it one day and made a face, until she saw the look on his face and he said very patiently. "You wouldn't be here today if I didn't collect these...and now...he looked at a hand that suddenly sprouted a rose. He offered it to her.
Her eyes widened. "I can actually smell it!"
"Yeah. I've been working on my skills." He answered, and then walked away part of his hand missing. But in a few seconds the rose sprouted wings and a face, then flew after him and rejoined his hand. Cartoon giggled. She loved it.
He had promised to take her on a walk along the levy that night. The one that ran parallel to the Sacramento University. And he intended to keep his promise.
He probably could have used his Plastic Man comic book and changed into a car and driven her there inside his body, but that would be revealing a bit too much. He'd been spending a lot of time saving lives lately and only the simple face mask that he sprouted now every time kept his identity secret.
Most of the time people didn't even know they were in danger when he saved them. From giant insects, zombies, vampires, werewolves, psychotic robots from Mars, twisting globs of gooey monster that sucked you dry and other adverse and not so chummy things. So he was able to work the little miracles of his comic book commando life without them even realizing he had a hand in it. But like that Mall Incident last Christmas where there was a zombie invasion, that time he couldn't hide. People got all kinds of photos of him on their cells. Fortunately for him, he never stayed still long enough and it was dark enough no one got good clear shots.
That's when he and Cartoon decided they needed disguises. She could change into anyone she wanted to look like, but for him, he had to have a comic book handy. Like in his hand or pocket. But sometimes, he and Cartoon couldn't figure out why, sometimes he was able to transform or initiate a change without a comic book nearby.
And that's what they were discussing when they got off the transit and walked up the sidewalk into the school grounds. Students were still streaming from the Library and cafeteria where late snacks were available. A couple guys were playing guitars in front of the Library and a team of Cheerleaders were practicing on the grass quad as the sun descended from view.
The veered away from the busier parts of the campus and found the footbridge that crossed over the American River. They reached the other side and began walking the levy, still in a contemplative conversation about the changes.
"I don't see how it's possible, Johnnie." She told him in exasperation, letting go of his right hand for a moment to smooth her golden hair back behind her shoulder again. She had been letting it grow longer and longer. Even though in public when working with him she looked kind of like a Japanese power ninja girl, in private and at times like this she reverted to her normal look. Which was tall like him, narrow hipped, long flowing golden hair and eyes, and skin that was bronze and glowed a soft white or yellow depending on her mood. When she was angry in battle her glow would turn a violent red or a disturbing black color. When she was sad her colors would fall back into a kind of dull olive green.
Tonight it was golden, just like the golden girl she was.
"Maybe someone out there likes me." He kidded.
She rolled her eyes. "Please. Don't go pulling one of those Norse god legends on me."
"No, I was thinking more along the lines of a President Bush, or Clinton."
She laughed and then punched him on his arm. "You're terrible, Johnnie!"
"Yeah. But you love it."
"No. I love you." She promptly pointed out. "And that's a whale of a different color."
My turn to laugh. "Where in the world did you pick up that old term?"
She blushed. I got it. "You read my grandfather's yearbook."
He smiled. "He was something else." Then he saddened. Felt his eyes moistening. "I loved him so much."
She stopped and threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. "Oh Johnnie! You big baby!"
She gave him a sweet kiss, and then pulled back. "Don't ever stop!"
"Fat chance." He quipped, and then burst into a run.
"Johnnie!" She cried after him.
"Catch me if you can!" He hollered over his shoulder.
She screeched angrily, and then cut out after him. In a few seconds she had caught up. He stopped, grabbed her by the waist and tossed her round and round like you might do a child in play. She laughed and laughed, her sweet voice warming the chill night air.
Then he froze. Rising from the river next to them was something large and glowing. It had two huge eyes, four tusks and eight ears up and down its body. It was segmented and had a face like a human and a tail like a fish.
"What the..." He gasped.
He set her down and she turned to look. She gasped too, took his hand. "We must leave. Now!"
"Why? I've got just the thing on me for a creature like that." He reached back into his pocket for his Superman comic. He had picked it up at the comic book store when he couldn't get a copy of the new super hero one. It had sold out when the store opened, much to his dismay.
He reached for the comic, and then went pale as a ghost.
"Oh crap!" He swore.
"I must have dumped it on the path when I ran."
They looked back. There was the comic book about fifty yard back, lying on the asphalt pathway, its pages fluttering in the breeze.
From the river came a horrendous sound. They turned to face it. Cartoon summoned a wicked looking sword into being and eyed the creature as it reached the bank and began to crawl up it. "Behind me! Now!"
He didn't argue. He was defenseless. He didn't have anything to fight with. He looked around as Cartoon tensed for battle. Nothing. Not even any large rocks to toss. He turned back in frustration.
The monster came closer. Its human eyes and mouth crinkled in a wicked smile. "I am for the Comic Book Commando, not you Princess."
"Over my dead body." She shouted, raising her sword.
The creature's tail lashed out and caught the sword, wrenching it from her hand. It tossed it into the river. She summoned a second one and a second time its tail lashed out, taking the new sword away as well.
Johnnie was thinking as hard as he could of something, anything he could do to help, as she summoned an even larger sword and rushed the creature.
"Die then!" It admonished her, opening its mouth wider and wider.
Johnnie's body suddenly grew as bright as the sun.
Cartoon's glow was washed away in the harshness of the glow.
The giant centipede like creature recoiled from the light and began sliding back into the water, its eyes sightless, its skin beginning to smoke. It cried out like a small child in pain, and then slipped out of sight into the depths of the fast rolling waters of the river.
Cartoon spun around, the sword vanishing from her hands as he turned to look at him.
The incredibly bright glow vanished, but not entirely. Now his skin glows a soft golden color like hers.
"What's happening to me?" He asked. "I'm starting to glow like you."
She came up and wrapped her arms around him. "I was so frightened for you."
"But it was going to eat you." He protested, not her arms about him, but her sense of sacrifice.
"No. I cannot die in your world from such as that."
"What was it?"
She didn't answer at first, and then she said. "I need to prepare you better. Next time it may not be so simple to scare it off."
"Hell, Cartoon, I didn't just scare it off. If it had been a human with pants, it would've dropped its pants and had a dump right there and then!"
She laughed, and shook her head. She gently caressed his cheeks. "This is why I love you so much. You're such a hopeless romantic."
She gave him a really great kiss and that was all folks that night as far as he was concerned.
"I think we need to go home." He told her, his blood boiling.
She smiled. "Not really."
That night the moon's glow was bright, but not nearly as bright as that of the couple beneath it at the water's edge, lost in the glow of love and friendship.
"Ghostly Things." A Samuel Light Junior Story By John Pirillo. Their intent was to eat the girl. His intent was to save her and them!
A Samuel Light Junior Story
By John Pirillo
"Sammie." Jimbo's voice hollered.
The underground tunnel opened up, allowing him to move more safely through the stinking corridor of waste and disposal that ran beneath Vegas. It was low now. Winter was the slower month through the seepage, but if it had been summer, they would have been to their knees in the stinking sludge.
He found Jimbo eyeing a side corridor. The walls went straight up for about ten feet, where they met a semi-lit ceiling with deeply recessed fluorescents every hundred yards, leaving deep pools of shadow between them. The walls were coated with a softly glowing green light. The floor was free of flow; it was higher than the one they currently stood on. Stacks of crates lined the walls on the right and seemed to go endlessly up the corridor towards some distant loading platform.
"What do you think it is?" Jimbo asked, his thick eyebrows surged together in a storm of perplexity.
Jimbo was his huge Texan friend. They had grown up together. He lived mostly in Vegas and Texas. His parents were ranchers. They spent half their time in Vegas. Half at their ranch. Mostly, they let Jimbo stay in a boarding school. A private school where he terrorized the teachers and chased the girls. He also went to Samuel's high school, where he was on the football team. Not many wanted to go up against him. They usually got stomped.
To look at him you'd think he was death on wheels, but he had a heart of gold and no better friend was possible for Samuel. Likewise Jimbo saw his gangly, think friend the same. They were batter buddies. Veterans of the occult and the paranormal and even the occasional gang war as well. What they couldn't finesse with their brains, they sometimes resorted to other things...like Samuel's ability to raise powers that could drive an opponent into their own past to see why they had become such jerks.
"You think they took her this way?" He eyed Jimbo.
"Look there, Mister Detective Man." Jimbo sneered.
Samuel spotted what he had overlooked at first because of the floor being so clean. Footprints. Next to the right side. Not that so much caught his attention as the occasional mark on the wall, which was like a "Hello, I went this way."
"I guess they must not be paying much attention." Jimbo commented.
"Let's hope not. Remember the last time you said that we almost got our asses kicked."
Jimbo smiled. "Yeah. Those were the good times."
Samuel shook his head. "Not really."
"Okay, partner. Let's agree to disagree and go kick some ghostly butt."
"Agreed." Samuel grinned.
They rushed along the new corridor, their flashlights scoring the walls and floor for clues as they ran. It felt good to Samuel to be moving again. It had been a long year at school. One final after another. Late nights up. Early mornings up. He was tired, but not hurting when they found a twist in the corridor that branched into four different directions.
"Holy crap." Jimbo cursed.
"Nothing holy about it." Samuel said.
Samuel looked at Jimbo. "You still have her scarf?"
"Never leave home without it." He said, plucking it from his thick cotton shirt pocket. He handed it over.
Samuel touched it and...
Eyes. Big eyes. Much bigger than they should be. The eyes were hungry. Very hungry. So hungry she could feel them savoring the thought of ripping into her soul and tearing her apart. She looked around. It was a very dark room, but the door to it showed a very, very bright light and there was one word on it...Superintendent."
Samuel staggered and dropped the hanky. Jimbo deftly caught it and stuck it back into his shirt pocket. "Well?"
"Wait a second while I come back into my body." Samuel urged.
Feeling stable again, he eyed the four different corridors. He pointed to the middle one. "That way!"
"What did you see?"
"How we're going to catch them." Samuel said in a grim tone.
Samuel swept his blonde hair out of his eyes and smiled at Candace, the cheerleader he was friends with from 7th grade. They lived on the same street and used to walk to the same elementary school together. She was a fun girl to be with. He remembered when she used to weight quite a bit more, but then she read up on some diets and found one that was healthy and applied it. She never put a stray pound on again. She usually scalded Samuel when he ate sweets or drank a Coke, but he ignored her friendly jibes. He knew what his body needed.
Somehow, it was like an inner voice was talking to him all the time. It wasn't scary like those ones you hear in the movies, or get when you're about to do something really dumb. No, it was warm and friendly, like you were holding hands with yourself kind of. That voice always pointed him at what he needed at any exact moment. It might be asparagus. It might be an apple. It might be a hamburger, which he didn't really like. But when the voice pointed, he complied.
And each year he grew stronger, taller and brighter. Least that's what his Mom always told him. The only reason why he believed the first two parts was because he and Candace had been the same height in 7th grade, but by the time they reached 9th, he was a foot taller and he could lift her without any effort, when she wanted to practice some of her cheerleader work.
They hung out together after school, using the after school activities to have some fun and wait for their respective parents to come home. Her Mom and Dad both worked for the Water Company and his Mom...well, she worked wherever she could now that Dad was gone. That thought always brought a twinge of unhappiness in his heart, so he would quickly dart in another direction so he didn't dwell on the past.
"I hear a new Indiana Jones movie is coming out next week." She gossiped.
He nodded, eyes on the book in front of him. He was studying for lit. She put a hand over its pages. He looked across at her. The library was quiet, except for the sound of keyboards by computers where kids were surfing the Net, or doing homework of their own. One printer was singing its humming song as it nicely printed out sheet after sheet of homework.
"I need to do this."
"You need to talk to me, Samuel. You haven't been yourself all week!"
He sighed, and then shut the book. "Okay. Jimbo's moving."
"Holy, Mother Mary, Son of God and Lord of Heaven, that just can't be!"
He laughed. "Candace, Mary was not the Son of God."
"You get it."
He sighed again. She was agnostic. And didn't care what she blurted out. But he loved her anyway. Not in a boyfriend girlfriend kind of way, but as you might a sister or brother. "It's killing me."
"Don't worry, Sammie, it'll be fine. It always is."
And that's the last thing he heard from her mouth as she got up to leave. "See you at Nina's?"
She smiled, gave a circular wave, and then exited the library.
School flew by and he wandered over to the B section where Jimbo was unloading books into his locker as a loudspeaker urged everyone they only had two minutes until the buses left.
"Hey!" He said.
"Right back at you, little buddy." Jimbo shot back.
Samuel actually was taller than Jimbo, but he didn't argue with it. They were pals. Pals could and do stupid things like that.
Jimbo eyed Samuel. "Sure. Best fries in town. When?"
Jimbo looked worried a moment, then nodded. "Sure anything for my little pal." He put an arm around Samuel's shoulder, then let go.
Samuel snapped back into the present. Ahead, he could see the lights brightening. "We have to slow down here. We don't want them hearing us?"
"Do they do such things?"
Samuel nodded. "They might be dead, but they still have ears."
"Sammie, I still find it hard to believe that dead people could hold Candace hostage."
"They're not. They plan on eating her."
"By shoving her out of her own body."
"That's not very sporting of them."
"You'd rather they actually ate her?"
Jimbo squirmed under Samuel's gaze. "Uh. It would make more sense. You know how hard it is for me to believe in all this ghost stuff."
"Even after all these years?"
"Especially after all these years." Jimbo admitted.
Samuel shook his head, put a finger to his lips, and then moved forward.
They sneaked to the side of a huge shack built in the corridor. Above the shack was a huge opening with the scoop of a mechanical digger hanging in plain view. "That's the Superintendent's Office." Samuel pointed out. "She's in there."
"Where's the construction crew?"
"Hey, it's Sunday, remember?"
"Oh yeah. Right."
They flattened against the shack and Jimbo looked to Samuel. "Now what?"
"Now you're going to close your eyes and when I say run. Run!"
"Run, but we're supposed to be rescuing her!"
"Just trust me."
Jimbo shrugged, made a sigh of disapproval, and then shut his eyes. "The things I do for God and my country."
Samuel kicked him.
"That's not playing fair."
Samuel pressed his hand against the wall of the shack and shut his own eyes.
Inside the shack Candace sat up suddenly, her eyes alert. The four figures that were hard to focus on gave her a sharp look. "Man, you guys are in one helluva lot of trouble now!" She shut her eyes.
The interior of the shack lit up brighter than the sun a moment.
Unearthly screams of dismay.
Candace jumped to her feet, flung open the shack door. Samuel was there. He grabbed her into his arms. "You okay?"
"Now." She said.
Then the four figures inside stopped screaming. They rushed the doorway.
Samuel nodded and pulled Candace aside and from view along with him. Jimbo burst into view and ran like the football hero he was for the ladder which stretched upwards into the fresh air above.
The ghostly figures burst outside and chased after him. They suddenly stopped. They turned around. Samuel shut the door they had come through and put a hand on it. It glowed for a moment, then the building.
The ghostly figures rushed towards him, howling like demons.
Candace, behind Samuel, screamed in terror.
The ghostly figures were within inches of Samuel when they bounced back as if striking an invisible barrier. They looked confused a moment, then rushed him again. The same thing happened once more.
They realized they couldn't touch him and turned around. Jimbo stood there with a huge work light, which he switched on. The ghostly figures screamed again.
Samuel stepped into their midst and hugged them to him. They struggled to break free, crying out over and over, as if in the worst of pains, then suddenly they relaxed and went limp. Samuel stepped back. Jimbo stepped back. Candace stepped back.
A huge tunnel of white light opened up before the four ghostly figures. They turned to look into it. What looked like a small group of normal folk stood in the light, smiling and waving. The four ghostly figures rushed into the light and it vanished with them.
Jimbo shook his head. "How in the world do you fake those illusions, Sammie?"
Samuel didn't answer. Jimbo just didn't want to believe his own eyes. He turned to Candace. "Ready to go home?"
She wiped tears of relief from her eyes and nodded. Jimbo stepped up and took her right hand. "Then let's get you home, you sweet bundle of joy."
She giggled, gave Samuel a grateful look, and then leaned into Jimbo as the two of them went to the ladder and the way back up to the surface.
Samuel smiled, if a bit sadly. His friend always got the girls. Always. But you know what, he thought to himself. I get something much better. He didn't know what it was just yet. But that voice inside him told him it was what most people would have gladly given their lives to have. Peace of mind. With that thought floating in his mind, he went to the ladder, grabbed the middle rung and began hauling himself back up to the open air, knowing that four souls were no longer lost in the darkness.
The Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks is back in Chapter 10: The Chamber of Death...more cliffhanger fun!