Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Power’


Part of me still thinks I should have killed him. Just firing him doesn’t seem complete enough. Thought it does honour the path my son chose. Joining the Great Crime Fighters to side against the “heroes” that placed themselves as executioners. Siding with the code laid out and lived out by the Bionic Knight (Rick Saturn, my friend, not Beth Venus my protégé).

If the answer of any movement for response is to promote violence, hatred or killing against any person or group it is not healthy. Not only do those outside the movement need to call it out, but those within need to hold their own accountable. Only then can the darkness be removed from the public discourse and placed back in the shadows where it belongs so the light can shine through once more.

-Rick Saturn, The Bionic Knight

Knuckles are sore. Rain washed the rage away. Don’t know if George knows how lucky he was that Rick is still in my head. Quick stop by the Ashram to drop off weapons, the soothing warmth of shower and fresh clothes to replace those from the hunt before a return to the inevitability of the hospital.  My son supposedly in the limbo before life and death, but honestly closer to the Rainbow Bridge than Midgard. It is weird where your mind goes and how life could be different.

It is weird in the shadows riding an elevator up to my son’s death bed at this point what memories flood back from hospitals. Memories from childhood. I know my son fought well, and even left in this state he saved many and changed fate for some. Just like my Grandma did when she saved me. Family demons hide in the shadows through regression, memories fading, aging, and changing dynamics over time. Things can be forgotten. As a child not understanding what she stopped. Watching when the person was no longer there what fell apart until healing and reconciliation by light shining through the darkness. Truth revealed.

In my young mind not knowing how to speak up, for not truly comprehending in grief and death how to share my experience. Never fully understanding the weird dynamic bond created by my saviour for no one truly remembering what could’ve been.

This is what I see as I stand in the doorway of the private room, looking upon my son as machines breathe for him. My Grandma was one shimmering piece of light in a darkness that could have consumed me. That did consume me for a while. A piece of light that Rick, as no more than a kid himself, tapped into for my redemption. A redemption that led me into my shadow self once more.

The rainbow light reflecting through the window. STARS landing outside. My friend, Kyler’s daughter at his bedside. Holding his hand. Thunder and Lightning. Johnny Power and Speedster. Two great legacy heroes. Tears streaming down her eyes.

His hand.

Squeezing back hers.

She looks up through tears to me. “He’s not ready yet.”

I nod. The doctor looks at me. Sometimes a little light shine through before the Rainbow Bridge. To remind us of what heroism is. It may not be surviving. It may be standing up. May be speaking out. Maybe using all you have to squeeze your soul mate’s hand one last time so they know no matter what you are with them.

Epilogue 1:

George was a victim of the system he told himself that night. The shelters were full. They usually currently ran just under or at capacity, but unless it was excessive heat or cold (threat to life) they would not run over. Leaving him to find a spot away from others enough. Close enough not to become a victim of a beating or being lit of fire. Away enough not to have bylaw or the police called on him for the crime of being homeless.

How had it gone so wrong?

His body ached. It had not regenerated yet as his species would after a fight. He still held in his suit pocket the two shotgun shells. MacKay was mad at him for vanishing. He could not get a word in. He knew it was stupid. But Dragyn before getting sick had said he felt “it coming”. He was scared. Very unheroic of him, he ran.

Now he was alone.

The shadows cast by what little street light there was caused him to jump.

A creak.

Fireworks from the festival.

A scream.

He turns.

His voice catches in his throat.

George’s blue blood flies.

As his body is reduced to chex mex in the night.

Epilogue 2:

Kayla holds the Oak Urn in her hands standing on the mountain top. The run was exhilarating. Shotgun had told her to be the one.

Alone.

She could still feel Johnny squeeze her hand one last time.

The team at the Ashram, the family, making dinner to celebrate with cheeseburgers and wedges a life lived heroically.

But now, she stood. “You fought to save life. You fought to know we loved you. Your last breaths by machines allowed for your physical life to give life to others. Your hand…squeeze…I love you.”

She opens the box and lets the wind move…

Prologue 1:

I could blame the tears on the smoke from the BBQ, but everyone would know it was a lie. I miss my kid. I miss my friend. The world is a changing, and I am one of the last I feel.

My phone vibrates. Kayla wouldn’t bother texting her return, she moves to fast.

I flip it open.

IT IS HERE.

-ENIGMA

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Beth was awkward generation Z awkward when she came to see him. Not knowing what to say to either of us as the machines pump life into him…and truly my surly old self just makes her uncomfortable for she believes I see her as a place holder for my friend, not as a hero in her own right. She is wrong on that, but how can you prove something so intangible?

Kyla cried. I cried. Shaddup. I am allowed to cry. He is my boy. Thankfully Dragyn came with her, and helped her. Not like his extraterrestrial partner, George, that bailed on us with this looming invasion threat from beyond the stars. The bailing that left my boy alone to fight when the first monster came. Don’t know what is worse the annoying sounds of the machines, his lifeline when others are around. Or in the silence. The stern look of doctors that won’t answer my questions, because well Supras are either to win or die, not be left in the limbo dance of a normal Homo Sapien. The nurses, they are nice, and attempt humour, but as one mentioned on her way out—didn’t expect the leader of the Great Crime Fighters to be such a surly A-hole. I pride myself on that.

As I read to him. Stories of King Arthur, Don Quixote, Lone Ranger, Star Trek, Robin Hood and Agatha Christie. Trying to get him back through the familiar stories. Getting him to latch on to my voice, or when she is up to it, Kyla (Speedster’s). Thought they were just friends, but she broke down and told me they were engaged. Johnny never saw me as the romantic caring kind. I know the one that was left to mentor.

My phone vibrates, I flip it open and click view. Don’t knock the flip phone until you have regressed back to its greatness and realize how much life and money the smart phone sucks from you.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

NEWS TO COME.

-ENIGMA

The weird computer voyeur that shared clues in the past is back. He shared my son’s last moments. The world thought he had died, but no, the Agency had found him barely alive and airlifted him back. His system is trying to repair, but it is sapping his power source to try to repair systems. It aids the additions of machines to keep him alive, as his invulnerability wanes, but he becomes more alive scientifically through acrobatics than through being, alive.

We are at the point where medicine can keep the body going in perpetuity until it can almost begin decomposing, as it is only the physical remains alive, at what point does one know when the cosmic spark has left?

My life was so much simpler before the Bionic Knight. Called him the pissant to further dehumanize him way back when. The odd time it was my scheme was few and far between, usually I was a hired gun by one of the bigger names. I could get away, if I couldn’t always had a breakout plan.

Back when the shotgun used real bullets.

“Wil, are you serious about this hero thing?” Rick said.

“yeah.” I said. As we sat having cokes after another fight out with baddies. Been on the side of angels a very short time, doing covert ops for the GCF rooting out the baddies.

            “Need to switch to rubber.”

“On my boot soles? Hell no.”

            “No Wil, bullets. Heroes don’t kill.” I watch Rick power up and fly into the sky.

Rubber bullets. Real heroes don’t kill. It was a crossroads night. Those times of belief systems people hit multiple times in their lives. Those moments of clarity when the world is not seen in black and white so much as its beautiful Technicolour existence. How I actually dream, in 1930’s animation style. That night was one of those moments, my change up followed shortly. The odd time the Agency would use me as a side gun on the side of angels, but my fists got more of a work out than my gun. My partner in those times of triggering in covert ops for the Agency was…Perhaps if I had stayed with real bullets and not rubber, Johnny would have wanted me with him in the fight. Not seen me as just some aging street fighter.

“Wil, we will take the body when you’re ready.” Said Agent Louie Regis. Standing behind me in the hospital as machines do everything for my son and I watch the mathematical numbers tell me that the cosmic spark is snuffing out. Protocol, Supras bodies are interned back in some vault in Ottawa. Just in case science ever progresses to try to clone a human, they cannot find the remains.

I nod. Watch the reflection in the window as he leaves. A doctor walks in.

“My son is an organ donor.” I say.

“The agent has.” The doctor attempts to interject.

“My son is an organ donor, the agent can be damned. He will die as he lived, how I am not sure he realized I truly saw him. A hero.”

My phone vibrates again.

I flick it open.

GEORGE IS BACK.

LOCATION TO FOLLOW. 30 MINUTES.

-ENIGMA.

“Keep him alive until tomorrow.” I say as I rise.

Time to get some real bullets.


 

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

They found a pulse. Very faint, barely audible. “Thank you, Louie.” Hate saying those words to an agent of the Agency, but Louie Regis, though appearing Columbo bumbling is quite proficient, and pro-Supra (well Pro being a decent human being). He nods to me; his greenish hued eyes say it all. He still is not sure if I am fully on the side of the angels. But he enjoys the fact that the resurfaced Enigma was wrong. Big bad monster taken out. Hero alive, if on life support. The beating “Thankfully” wore my kid out enough that his invulnerability had worn down enough due to open wounds to allow for the needed intubation and IV’s.

His body was burnt bad. He had what amounted to hopefully a temporary colostomy. Rumour he may have lost his spleen if not some severing of the vertebrae, and yes, the machines were doing the heavy lifting on breathing for him.  But my boy was here. And knowing the pain he must be in I was thankful for pharmaceutical pain killers and opioids being pumped into him. The hard part for a Supra. Always prepare for not coming home from saving the universe, but what happens when you return but almost gave all?

The Great Crime Fighters were getting through the Noro Virus. The enigmatic alien George was sill missing in action. None of that mattered. The short video I got on my tablet coming alive, I believed was the last thing I would ever hear my son say. We had fought through so much in life before the legacy power chose him. Even me being distant, his mother culminating her emotional-spiritual abuse of me and taking off with him so I lost touch until we reconnected when he got the power.

Regis taps my shoulder and nods. “Take care of him old man.”

All I can do is repeat the same phrase. “Thank you, Louie.” He leaves us in the hospital room. The slow-motion safety closure of the door stops the hard thump as it closes. A few moments before next rounds, the lights are already low.

“Tough like his pops Wil.” Said Rick Saturn. I do a double take at the voice by the window coming out of the shadowy dusk light. Rick the missing. Here. This is far to weird.

“You mofo where have you been!” Okay I may be a bit angry that the best hero—ever chooses now to pop back into reality.

The form shimmers a little. Not quite solid. Is this a weird cosmic-Camelot thing? Magic or aliens? When one holds to a belief someone will be real in their time of need, they can manifest them or something like that I remember Zed going on about, Tulpa? “I cannot help in what is coming, but I can help in the now.”

What would I need in the now? How ass backwards is this sitting with my son in ICU watching machines wondering if he will be strong enough to leave? He used to be able to bench press sky scrappers? And now, the cosmic evil that a child may pass before his father? Was Regis saving him a blessing or a curse? The doctors want to know the plan, I don’t have a plan. Super-heroes don’t plan what if they come back in this shape… they only ever come back whole or dead and then resurrect.

“Or crumble under magically induced neurological illness and PTSD.” Says Tulpa Rick. “But I am here for you, you struggle, your child is alive.”

He is right. I do struggle. At what point do I truly know my son is no longer here? Enigma rebooted to send me his “death” only to have him pulled from that fate. There is some warped interstellar thing coming. The alien who can explain it is missing. My friend and his family have vanished.

And I am here talking to the shadow of what my friend once was. Journalist-Activist-Pastor-hero, but what did he always say? “What did you always say?”

“Always the lighting to Susan’s lightning rod and…”

“Father of two amazing twins who will change the world.” I finish.

The machine beeps as it checks vitals once more. Numbers dance, lines squiggle. At one point another teammate years ago tried to explain it all to me. All I cared about was the simplicity, when does it mean they are alive and when dead? The shimmering Rick touches my hand as I sit in the uncomfortable hospital visiting chair holding my son’s massive hand. Wrapped as most of the skin has been burned off when he battled the first wave.

“As long as there’s numbers. There’s life.”

I look up as the setting son darkens the room naturally.

I lightly feel Johnny squeeze that space between thumb and index finger. Not much more strength than when he was first born.

But where there’s simple acts.

Simple breath.

Faint pulse.

Life…my son.

“I’m sorry Johnny, I should’ve been there.” I feel the tears begin again. “I love you.”

 

WE COME.

-Enigma


There has been a long history of computer hackers and brainiacs, artificial intelligences and uber geniuses involved in all layers of super hero and villaindom. Not to mention super spies. The Agency was what had been designed to work alongside, support and if necessary reign in or replace the heroes of Canada. C.D. (Compu-Death) was an erst while teen on the 1990’s computer genius back when it was a challenge, who was given a choice of service to his country or youth corrections and then adult jail. He chose service. One of those genius levels that was never supported enough in school so boredom led to his deviant behaviours.

I take a sip of coffee on the porch of my trailer thinking of the kid. My tablet is ready to click on an episode of Longmire. He served well, gave his life on a mission that, well, saved the world of course. There was also another computer presence that intersected with the Great Crime Fighter’s history. No one knew who they were. Just messages on a screen or a scrambled voicemail, dropping clues like the super heroes own Deep Throat if you will.

Last report of the three sick was that they were almost back to being in the land of the living. Still no idea where George vanished too. Hope Johnny is making a go with the monster, the receiver in my ear went down when…

The screen to my tablet illuminates. Weird. Pick it up. A simple message scrawls across in Comic Sands:

Your teammate’s last words.

A short video clip from the old Bunker, funny enough looks like C.D.’s command centre… Johnny in the midst of whatever burning energy and monster. He’s screaming something before everything goes black.

A garbled cleaned up audio clip comes through the darkness:

I’m sorry Dad..I love you.

Said Johnny “Power” MacKay.

In a scroll across the screen in giant green letters.

FROM

ENIGMA.

In the back of my mind a hollow voice as I feel a tear in the corner of my eye,

WE COME.


Johnny Power was the Thunder in thunder and lightning (lightning being the Speedster)…the muscle in the new Great Crime Fighters before the new Bionic Knight emerged. Third of three to hold the name. The first went down due to a bomb in a singing thong on a giant robot and the second died at the end of the scythe of the supernatural entity finally exorcised from reality who went by the name Ripper (sometimes Jack was the rumour).

This was the third…who stood the ground during the dark times, and cheered a little inside when the O.G. B.K. came back to silence the anti-heroes and renew the heroic age. The rumour that caused two new members, George and Dragyn, and the rumour that it would come. The cause of the extra-terrestrial exodus to Earth. What inevitable caused the vanishing of the weird old man and the mayor (yes he realized that Shotgun pointed out many times the term old was subjective).

BUT the ashram got a case of noro-virus that took out Speedster, the new Bionic Knight, and Dragyn (who knew reptillians were able to catch it?)—and George, well he had a habit of vanishing when needed. Shotgun offered to come to help him, but really what could the old guy with the shogun that fired rubber rounds do to help in this case?

The case?

It came from out of the water. Everyone was looking to the sky, so maybe it wasn’t the big bag prophesied in the McDonald’s. It was a bad though. One that rankled the environmentalist lobby (bunch of wankers who lacked science degrees, but it was all about marketing) who were being ableist with their ban the straw bullshit, while governments dumped raw sewage into the oceans. Oh and let’s not forget the fun hiking clothes they wore and the process of creating stainless steel, but Johnny pulls his mind back from the rabbit hole of anger. The mayor had two special needs twins that if the ludicrousness of the ban the straw had been launched with her around he could only imagine her blasting of it on safety grounds, and the targeting of a specific group via passive-aggressive legislation that showed underpinnings of extremism not usually seen in uber-lefties, but when the alt-right and uber-left circle about they connect in hate stupidity.

Now exploding out of the Pacific Ocean was the end result of uber-hate-stupidity. A giant extra-terrestrial something dripping in human fecal matter and other flushable (not a plastic straw in sight) threatening to decimate the Island. Shotgun scrambled all he had in Johnny. Johnny knew he could do it.

It was his time to shine.

His time to step into his legacy name.

The thing from below was scaly and shiny.

Razor teeth.

Fire in the eyes literally.

“What could you have done to help stop this thing old man. It needs the full power.” Johnny Power whispers under his breath. Although as see monsters went, it was only a step up from the rubber suit of the original Godzillas he had snuck out of bed to watch on late night CBC as a kid. There was some choppers, and voices. The military was rolling out.

His trench coat flapped in the wind as he streaked towards whatever it was. Some were saying it was a new life form. At times like this the lad wished he had the vision powers of Superman, not just flight, strength and invulnerability.  The code of the G.C.F. was fairly clear if it was living, subdue not kill. Part of Johnny hoped it was.

There. As he drew closer. The sound of a gears creaking. It was a robot.

A smile crossed his face. He could only imagine what Shotgun was saying at this moment. Yeah it would be fun to have the others with him, but truly with it coming out both ends, no one wanted them in the field. Even heroes deserve a sick day.

His fists slam into the sternum. He feels metal crunch. Bodily fluids from the ocean slap against him. Johnny grits reminding himself to keep his mouth closed. His mind raced and it unfolded in his mind. It wasn’t just the feces and other flushable had covered this thing. Something had animated the garbage from the ocean. He could feel the energy coursing through it. Shotgun hadn’t foreseen this happening, but he had kept going on about using science to do proper reclamation and cleaning work, well whatever was attacking had found away to use humanities own crap (literally) against us.

But…

Smash into the centre. The energy burned like fire on a marshmallow over a fire pit before being added to s’more completion. Power thanked whichever gods gave him invulnerability as he punched through to the centre. If the energy is drawing crud from the ocean to make its form, what if?

His home.

The prairies.

The story of the abandoned bunker just outside Balzac.

Time for flight.

A loud grunt. He feels something oozing over him as he flies upwards. Took about an hour to make it, so if adjust for weight. A 90-minute flight back to the province.

Clearing into canola country and the land of oil.

The bunker would be coming up. The monster’s energy had continued increasing the heat. Battling to hold its form together.

Johnny’s eye stung. He did not want to know what had mixed in with his sweat that ran into his eyes. A shriek into his brain that drove through like a hot dagger through flesh.

“WE COME!”

Johnny and monster fall downwards, into the sealed bunker he feels the energy burn. But he cannot burn.

The stop.

The form collapses.

A slew of sludge, garbage and other debris.

Not realizing he had been holding his breath as he crumbles to his knees Johnny exhales.

He looks at the burns on his hands. Pulls the smoking fecal covered coat off him.

“I did it.” Legacy. “I really am Johnny Power.

The dagger shot into the brain again.

“THE LAST OF YOUR KIND.”


Stories are a slice of life. A set time span in the character’s existence. That is why characters can exist for so long with minor or major aging all dependent on when the writer wants them to exist. As I have shared previously, my Bionic Knight character was the first super hero character I created circa 8 years old. 31 years on he still is starring in pulpy hero adventures.

Recently over the past 6-7 months the story has been laid out of his struggle through health issues, and PTSD symptomology caused by his exposure to environments, stimuli and circumstances in his life in religion, journalism, outreach, and super heroics. It has led to him being “shelved” as another hero took up the mantle. In the lingo of super heroics, a legacy character stepped in.

Mostly it is the youngster that take over, as we have noted with new Johnny Power, Speedster and Bionic Knight within the transformation of the Great Crime Fighters. With the “Weird Tales of Rick Saturn, formerly the Bionic Knight” (for this and other arcs enjoy the Bionic Knight Pulps category); two new aliens were introduced. But these five characters are not the thrust of this point in Saturn’s lifespan. It is the interplay between William “Shotgun” MacKay and Rick Saturn.

For it is the closing on one chapter in the book of one’s life journey, and officially opening oneself up to what is possible to come with the new chapter starting. Literally an epilogue to one life, and the chapter one of a new book. For when folks ask why I put this four-part story together that did not have much action, it was simply showing that transition and acceptance can happen. Hope can spring forth.

Or in the observation of Rick at the end of part four:

Shotgun stepped back into the restaurant towards George and Dragon. “Look, we have a need to fill on the team with a few more members. Since you both appear to know of this imminent threat, how would you consider joining the newbies?”

Rick had to grin as he heard his friend extend the “offer”, how often he had those conversations over the years. The best conversation to have with a new or old hero, to find belonging and community. To become part of something bigger than themselves.

The world was in good hands. Rick knew it was about more than simply him, it was about taking his new life. His new book of life, one chapter at a time.

Simply a new chapter, watch for future adventures/mysteries as Rick transitions into who he is meant to be now in his life. Who knows where the stepping stones have led, and where the new chapter…new first word will lead him.

 

 

 

 


Old familiar. Man, never believed there would be a time in my life when side stepping into a magical pocket dimension would ever be referred to as that. Talk about a letter to my 16-year-old self moment. But it is what is needed to coral the crazy that is over taking my replacement. Ashley, I will learn her last name later. Young teen girl, whose even little brother is the latest victim of the opioid crisis that the Alberta Government refuses to declare.

What people fail to realize in the hero that is the Bionic Knight is two souls doing a cosmic dance. The soul of the host and the PenDragon. The dragon that literally dwelt within Uther, then his son, Arthur. The hero source that has traveled down through the centuries always finding a host to stand in our world between order and chaos. Or to be blunter, save humanity’s collective ass from itself.

“I am sorry Ashley, he is dead.” I said.

ASHLEY IS NOT HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON EXISTS.”

The most annoying piece about the two souls, is that the PenDragon cannot exist independently, but if it takes primary drivers seat, well back in the day the reading of the tales of Camelot was part of elementary school English I am not sure if it still is. But Arthur, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, Lancelot, Guinevere and Merlin quite a mess.

“Ashley if you let the power overwhelm you. You won’t be honouring the life your brother could’ve had before the darkness seized him. He wouldn’t want you to hide in the recesses of your own darkness.” Says the broken ass hero who can barely hold his own memory together. Why did I let Susan convince me that me, Rick Saturn, should play Merlin to a new age Arthur?

Though she did remind me that the super hero life was the easiest for me. Whether I was an activist, a geek, a pastor, politician or a journalist I chose to take stands for peace, human rights, inclusion, home and community. Took my lumps, my death threats, but finally got completely disillusioned with my own faith over how the supposed children of God have kept Alberta’s eugenics history towards the differently abled alive and well. How members and clergy felt they could barrage you with how the child did not belong, how they were not a person only a diagnosis, shaming you as to why you would have let them come into this world and other Nazi ass bull shit. Yeah it was an open wound, yeah it saw me fired from a few callings before I had my own kids fighting the battle of inclusion. Once I had my own, saw us sitting in an annual general meeting where I sat as the congregation effectively voted to downsize me and in another instance when a new community was to ordain once I saw their beliefs around my babies surrendered and walked out on principle.

But now here I am as the interloper in the green flame pocket dimension arguing with that which I kept at bay for over 20 years because of my own neurological issues that triggered PTSD, but hey, here we are.

NO! SHE IS RIGHT TO HIDE. SHE FAILED. WHAT GOOD IS SHE AS A HERO IF SHE COULD NOT SAVE HIM? HER OWN FAMILY. My little brother.” There. That change in voice. Ashley is still trying to assert herself, and that is what I need to touch base into. That searching for the light it is what Susan calls it, and why even with all the bull I keep trying to find that diamond in the rough faith community because no matter what I search out the light in the darkness, because as she has noted I like to believe the best in people, even the monsters and those that try to kill me. When I attempt to argue she tells me to go for coffee with Shotgun and laughs.  Sarcastic one she is.

“The hardest part of being a hero is…” Fight the crack in my voice, the tear trailing down my cheek. One name ricocheting in my brain that I kept missing each time. John. Best friend. “losing those you love.”

“then why do IT? ASHLEY IS NO LONGER HERE. ONLY PENDRAGON.”

“Bullocks Pen. You were my pen sized magic pet. Ashley will learn to control you or we all perish here. You know it, I know it. The PenDragon power either supports or extinguishes, and if I recall the last time you were in complete control was Camelot.”

then why shouldn’t I just perish with it here?”

“Part of it is self preservation, I do not want to die yet. I would like to grow older with my wife, and see our kids flourish even more.”
Selfishness does not seem very heroic.”

“It’s not, it is part of my answer. The other part is the power chose you to replace me. It chose you because you are pure of heart. It may sound corny, Ashley, but you got this. We have no control over other’s choices, lives and sadly, deaths. But….” The right words? Do I even believe what I am saying anymore? “And it is an important but, you have the choice, the moment this moment to become a hero that can make a difference.”

“Not in his life, his life is over. So why shouldn’t mine end?”

The eternal heroic question.

“Because the only life you are responsible for is yours. The only thing that matters is end of the day, beginning of the day when you wash your face can you look at yourself in the mirror.”

“And what if I can’t?”

Time to play the card I hate to play, because to stare into my own sorrow means to let go the dread and guilt I carry about John.

“Ashley, take a breath, look into your heart. What would your brother tell you at this moment, right now?”

Silence. The green flame is getting hotter. PenDragon is trying to seize control even though the entity knows it means its own destruction inevitably.

The green flame is crackling out the eye holes in the helmet. Her gloved hands are releasing the latches, she pulls off the helmet. A child.

Maybe 16 if she is a day. There was a time I looked that young and naïve. But there it is. The flames are going out. Tears coming down the sides. PenDragon is taking form on her as she powers down, the armour evaporates and the tiny dragon is on her shoulder as she slumps to the mystery ether we hang out in.

“That if I have a chance to be a hero. Be a bad ass hero and save the world.” Ashley said.

“And that is why the Dragon chose you.” The flames vanish.

The parking lot of the hospital reforms around us.

The peace and quiet is eerie. Until the boom.

Shotgun’s gloved hand on my shoulder. “There she goes.” I said.

I watch as Johnny Power lifts Speedster and flies after. The new generation of heroes. New hearts. Less baggage. Same heroic age. Simply trying to make a difference despite and in spite the sludge of life that can pull you down.

“Rick I…”

“Your welcome old man. Coffee?”

William simply nods as we head back to his truck. I do not know what is wrong with me, but I am learning to live in my new reality. Part of the new reality will see moments when these new heroes will need their wizard not their guru. In those moments, Shotgun knows where to find me.

Finale