Posts Tagged ‘PenDragon’

Chapter Three

Posted: October 24, 2021 by Ty in Bionic Knight Pulps
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Welcome back dear reader, when last we were in the pulps of the Bionic Knight–Chapter Two and now we rejoin our tale already in progress…

The penny melted into their hand. Greenish oxidized copper vanishing into their palm. Green flames engulfed them, but did not burn or consume. Illuminating the darkness. The Round Table Room and castle are gone, the woman is gone. A man stands before them. Clean bald head, salt and pepper goatee. Old blue jeans, a black shirt, green zipper hoodie under a well worn brown leather bomber jacket.

Piercing green eyes.

It is the eyes Harry connects with. They had seen them many times in battle behind the helm of their nemesis, The Bionic Knight. The face was unfamiliar, but obviously this was the man behind the armour. Judging fromt heir age, it struck Harry, with how many different folks had held their moniker, that this man had become what the world called a hero, as a teenager. The gasp was audible. What was the purpose of this journey?

“Welcome to purgatory, Harry.”

Purgatory? A place of purging. “Why?”

A laugh, a deep belly laugh, the man’s shoulders shook. “Because Camelot with my beloved, and our children, is my eternal rest. Yet, your soul is troubled, all of your known as Killer Face, were always not criminally responsible due to the entity that possessed you, your radicalization and/or your own psychosis or all of the above. Hundreds flocked to the role over time, so much life lost. A burden, you as the last, internalized.”

The man did not lie. The green flames stil engulfed them. What could Harry say. “As I healed, how could I not blame? I had a choice to let it end with me, to end me, and yet…I picked up the knife…”

The man levitated to share the green flames with Harry. The flames engulfed them both. “You cannot blame yourself, for the decisions you made in the past. They were made with the life lived to that point, the coping tools you had, and the wisdom you held. Today is not then. Today the flame chose you.”

“Chose me?”

The man’s crow’s feet crinkled, as he grinned. “Today know peace.”

Harry watched as teh void of blackness was filled with green flame.

The pain.

The past.

Who they had been as a villain.

Gone.

Peace.

Being loved.

A new hope.

As they vanished….

to?

“Welcome home, Harry. A new life.”

An old oxidized penny tumbles out of the darkness, the man steps back into the castle, as the void vanishes.

The penny lands on a sidewalk,

in a town or is it a city

somewhere in Canada?

A struggling soul’s eye catches sight….

Chapter Two

Posted: October 9, 2021 by Ty in Bionic Knight Pulps
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Welcome back dear reader, when last we were in the pulps of the Bionic Knight–Chapter One and now we rejoin our tale already in progress…

Like a bad 1980’s television formatted movie as the flames and fog rolled away, Harry was no longer within the Major Oak. Herne– the Bionic Archer— onece upon a time, PinBall, simply put, John MacCurtis, the crusty mentor of many supra’s was no longere there. Faded into obscurity. Lost to the flames and the fog. They wondered where they were now.

Darkness in the realms. Why would Herne let him move forward? Not decide to step into the now with them. But continue… An act of acceptance? Succession? What was happening? Streams of red light cracked through the darkness. A spot of light, glints off only that green colour one who used to roll pennies could know. The oxidized older penny. Not a penny for their thoughts, but one taking them through the travels of…

“I thought you were dead?” That voice, like Lauren Bacall, Harry was no Bogie, but…

“The rumours of my death were grealty exaggerated.” An old joke, but whether you were on the side of legal or illegal Supra’s and the world they spawned of super powers, mysticism, magic, and science flowing together, it could be an oft repeated phrase because up until the last few years. Death was not permamnence, like the Great Sky Writer, left the door to the Underworld unlocked, or better replaced it with a revolving door even if there was a body, just wait 30 days and see what actually happens.

But the last few years, felt like the Bronze Age of comics for Bucky Barnes and Flash (Barry Allen) fans, where there appeared long term permanence to those heroic deaths. The villains were locked away, and could be out in less than a month. Harry remembers reading those tales, and when the sky effect brought the powers, and their visitor was unleashed…the hatred they felt towards the heroes of their city. The Bionic Knight and the sidekick, the Great Crime Fighters, all those that came to follow and take up their name in the desire for carnage and death.

“Get out Killer Face, or cease to be.” the wonderful Bacall voice, she had been one of those damsel types. The voice also caused a cringe, before vanishing into the system, before being cured. They had one last tango, the Knight saved her, they can still feel the crunch of their groin under her cowboy boot heal for the many years of kidnappings.

“Where am I?” The sound of falling tapestry. The rising sunlight bathes the room, stone and stain glass. In the middle a table. A round table. “Camelot?” This trip through weirdness was starting to feel like their fifth grade classroom library.

Now they could see the older woman, her blonder hair streaked silver, some crow’s feet around the eyes, and glowing red enery around her hands. “Yes, Camelot. Now go back to Earth.”

Tears began trickling down their cheeks. The penny glows. Their chest tightens. The energy was warming the room. “Please, I don’t know how to go home.”

In a weird twist they felt the glee within the woman before them. She was looking forward, afer decades of the harm they had done to finally, what was the word, win. But if they ceased here, would they ever return?

And why were they in Camelot?

“Good bye, Harry.” It was a raspy male voice this time…

Green flame danced out of the maple leaf on the oxidized penny.

Chapter One

Posted: August 20, 2021 by Ty in Bionic Knight Pulps
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Welcome back dear reader, when last we were in the pulps of the Bionic Knight– Prologue and now we rejoin our tale…

“Penny for your thoughts?”

The Canadian penny fell into his hand. The voice he heard was gravelly. The house they had been in no longer existed. Green flame and dust replaced with…soil? Sod? Gnarly wiry trees that resembled the sketches from their old storybooks. What was that tree called? Robin Hood’s tree? No that was what the uneducated would call the known historic home and hiding place of the legendary outlaw.

“Major oak?” they gasp out, any strength in their vocal chords gone. “Sherwood Forest?”

A chortle? Or was it a chuckle? It was definately that sound of mirth between a full belly laugh and a simple snort. They struggled for their eyes to focus in the weird reddish orange moonlight. Smoke? Yet no smell of campfire? Where was this timezone? A crunch of leather soul on the ground. The outline of armour? Or rather leather breeches and chainmail with a cloak, maybe the outline of a sheather sword. Had the explosion killed them? Put them in a coma? Was this some rather twisted hallucinagonic Dungeoans & Dragons game? And why the hell did this penny keep turning up? The Canadian government had stopped making them, yet…

The gravelly voice came from a shadowy head that resembled…an elk? Or just horns of a helm? “Yes and no. My home, but not the forest of your realm.”

Realm? A shoulder roll, the middle aged body reminding themselves they were not hte villain they had once been. But this was beyond experience. But truly was it, they had after all been on of many incarnations of villainy. But that was a long time ago, when heroes did heroic things, and villains did villainous things, heroes beat villians and put them in jail, not the new era where there was no hope of redemption arcs for many villains. Mostly due to the hero being a bit anti-heroic with dealing out death.

“Who?”

Under the helm, their eyes focusing a bit better. One good eye. The eye patch, the form. Not the Bionic Knight, but familiar none the less. Is that a quiver? An end of a long bow? “Archer?”

That sound was definately a chuckle. An outstretched arm. “You knew me as Bionic Archer, sidekick of your nemesis, Bionic Knight. It has been a long time, and many realms away since I have heard that name.”

They accept the help up, and lock eyes with the good eye. An emerald green staring back from behind the helm. He pulls off the helm, revealing the scarred bald head and scratchy snow coloured beard. “Killer Face, what number are you?”

A glance away in shame. He knew who they were. “A name I haven’t heard for many years myself. I was released, declared cured. A lifepast.” A glance to the penny. Penny for their thoughts? “I’m…” what was their name? It had been so long since anyone had actually cared to ask. Let alone inquire what they were thinking? Upon release he had blended into the background at a shelter ran out of church basement, working for romm & board, some spending cash, as the on-site groundskeeper/janitor. What had pulled him to the house? Seeking answers? Confirmation? Forgiveness? Retritbution? Reconciliation? “Harry.”

“Welcome, Harry. To many in this realm I am Herne, in the next realm I am Robin. But my friends calls me John.” A fog or smoke. Now seated within Major Oak. To high backed chairs, and… “my friend, do not be afraid of the beverage, it is tea. I know you are what we used to call straight edge so no mead.” Another chuckle. The voice less raspy, the voice–

“It was your voice that came to me, calling me to the house.” Harry said.

John smiled as he sipped his tea. Crunched on a piece of biscuit with jam. “Yes, it is part of the plan of the return.”

“The return?”

John stroked his whiskery beard. “Your realm needs a protector, PenDragon or Herne we are unsure. What is sure, is that myself the Knight will not, cannot return.”

“But I am a killer.”

“There is a time for everything under the Heavens, and nothing new within the realms. Is not everyone who is humble, and seeking, allowed forgiveness? If of course you can forgive yourself?”

“Wha?”

A spark of green flame, the same penny once more in the palm of Harry’s hand.

“If I can forgive myself?”

The flame consumed the person Harry in the chair of Major Oak, as John gave a belly laugh.

The fog rolled through.

And this realm moved on

without the one called Harry.

Prologue

Posted: May 28, 2021 by Ty in Bionic Knight Pulps
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The innocuous coin was in a non-descript grey plastic grocery bag, on a bottom shelf, shoved away in the cob webbed storeroom of the 1970’s era split level family home. The chains holding the shelving up were beginning to sag a bit with time. The house was next to what had once been known as the ashram, a simple trailer co-op that had been used as the base of operations for a superhero conclave. After the last of the heroes had vanished, the municipal council had passed a motion to annex the land to build a new multi-purpose housing development, the long boarded up split level, rotting away in the slow death of abandonment on the fog rolling space, was also part of the plan. It is where the new green space and universal designed playground was to go.

Long ago, implosion had been taken off the table, the house would be collapsed upon itself with all contents to simply be plowed over and paved. It was a plan many municipalities had used to repurpose landfill sites in time, to build malls. It was a sound plan; the multi-purpose affordable housing project was part of the land developer’s redemption strategy. Many did not know who this shadow player was, they played their identity close to the vest.

They could not explain what brought them to remove the plywood from the door frame and enter the dust covered house. Even though it was so close to the hero commune, it had been a squatter’s paradise, overrun with mice and insects. Their expensive loafers crunched on the scurrying insects that to the untrained eye appeared as carpet. Moving his pen light to shine upwards the ceiling appeared to be moving due to the high level of infestation. Their eyes scanned the stair way up, though the low drum beat in their ear stopped them from ascending. At the landing they looked down the staircase, on the right and left there was doorways at the bottom. This weird thrumming beat in their ears reminded them of the ear infections they had as a child. Something was guiding them.

The light shone downwards, was that squirrels? The kind introduced to the city that run amuck as too many folks thought they were cute and fed them. Ruffling of feathers, obviously between the influx of woodpeckers in the area, and pigeons, that roosting had begun inside.

The descent, the stairs creaked. The abandonment, and more likely leaks and possible floods over time with some broken windows exposing to elements had done structural damage. They shifted uncomfortably in the expensive designer suit, an ox blood colour with subtle pinstripes, double breasted. They pulled on their tie to loosen the not. The thrumming was louder in their ear, they pushed back the short brim fedora a little. From an inside pocket, pulled on a pair of black leather gloves. The thrumming dulled a little when the looked to the right doorway, so they went through the left, a rotting family room with broken furniture, stepping on mice remnants, a right turn brought them into a laundry room. The mildew and mold from a burst hot water tank, a cannibalized furnace out of the peripheral, about eight feet in a left turn.

The pen light beam cut through the thick dust and cobwebs onto the rotting wooden shelves. Was that a skunk huddling in the corner? No movement, if it was, it had long since expired. The penlight scanned ripped open debris, and remnants of a family’s life heirlooms. A father, wife, and children. The light fell on a picture that had a young married couple; a heart drawn with Rick loves Susie. Their footsteps on what they think is a sheet, they squat and look closer, it’s a ripped tapestry, an image of a dragon and a knight pulling forth a sword from a stone.

A crack of thunder outside. Rain was coming. Too often the city felt like it was England or a bad Sherlock Holmes novel. The light beam glances on the shelf, the plastic bag. They walked up to it. An old journal falls off the shelf when they grab at the bag. They glance the flashlight off an entry.

May not have passed that psyc test to the best of my ability. Taking the ancient languages is tripping me out, but the push for funds having me re-look at where to go in university. Thankful to pick up writing gigs. The pain though, is that they are back. Why does society always pick up moment from the darkest elements and sidelines hope? Final’s week is not the time for a new killer mystery, maybe an old standard bearer like Killer Face or Ripper, really do not need a new BK rogue.

They smirk. Really? Their light goes back to the picture. “All these years, and your name was Rick?” They chuckle, the thrumming is louder, so much that they are not able to focus. They lift the bag, it bursts, coins and old paper money fall over.

It lands on top of their loafer. An oxidizing Canadian penny, glowing slightly.

                “A green flame?”

Lightning crackles outside the window.

                The cracked picture frame of the wedding picture bursts outward.

A piece of glass slices through their suit, a bit of blood drops on the floor.

As the thrumming becomes a word.

PenDragon.

To Be Continued…


The Ashram. My front porch. The kid and me, two cups of coffee.

A plot of land I quasi-inherited, squatted upon with the demise of the immortal alien life essence that was Zeus existing as a bi-sexual Zen monastic. I wish I could say the history of life in this City got easier as the story went along, but well, it has been a journey-quest—what is more than a quest? Mystical experience of the super hero operatic variety.

The weird questions being the mentor of the new generation of hero. The Ashram is 3 double wife trailers, one is mine (that is, the home of William “Shotgun” MacKay as the papers call me, when I used to be the villain killing for a living, and for the past 20ish years being the hero). The other two are split between the young heroes that make up the Great Crime Fighters. Canada’s super heroes. They have had many incarnations, and there is the dark time, that brought back the core that then passed on their legacies before their own transitions. Our greatest hero was the Bionic Knight. He was a punk ass teenager I attempted to kill many times, before he helped me become a hero. As a middle aged man, PTSD due to a life of literally saving the universe and mourning took hold of him. He was struggling through some neurological challenge as well that we were never too sure if it was magical or electrical. The power source that made him a hero, check that, that gave him the super powers of Camelot (yes that Arthur bloke) was the PenDragon force. It found a new host. A new punk ass kid, working through her own mourning as the Opioid crisis claimed her little brother, almost lost her with that. Rick talked her back. That was his real name, Rick Saturn, the first husband of our city’s mayor, Susan Kobwash-Saturn, father of two beautiful special needs twins.

A few months ago in a McDonald’s two aliens revealed themselves, George and Dragyn, because what caused the exodus of the stars to earth was coming. A few scant weeks after that Rick vanished.

Not only him, but his family. A few months left on her term as mayor. A successful run.

“Shotgun, why me?” I take a sip from my coffee, leaning on the porch rail, Beth Venus, she’s the new punk ass with the power of Camelot. Also, very anxious and unsure of why she was chosen.

Remember it was a bit of the same conversation I had with Rick after my conversion to the light, and he shared who he was. He shared at 16 years old receiving the power scared the crap out of him, having to find his way. Thinking it was like a maze, but really it was more like a labyrinth. Only one path, however winding, to the source at the centre. A metaphor I have shared with Beth many times, but she is not used to long journeys. Like most in our technological age, she wants it now. Who knew there would be a time when I would think Johnny (Johnny Power- flies, invulnerable, super strong) and Kyla (Last name, Storm, her father Kyler was the Speedster, she is of the same super-speed, with an attention span to match, though Johnny’s can be worse).

“The PenDragon knows who it chooses, your path is to walk the inner Labyrinth to find the dragon within.” Believe that is the way Rick phrased it to me once, hopefully it sounds Yoda enough.

“Quit with the Spock crap. Why me?! Do you think I wanted to be the hero of all the multi-verse?!” Beth screams. Nights like this I am happy the Ashram is on its own little hill away from other neighbours.

Remember the argument when Susie (Susan, Rick’s wife) decided to run for Mayor. John MacCurtis, Rick’s best bud formerly PinBall, formerly Bionic Archer (of Herne and Hood variety) who gave his all had left vacant. He had started a path for a just city. Susan had the passion to complete it. Her concern was Rick stopping being a hero so she could do it, he trusted the power to find th te right host.

“Find you, and the power will co-operate.” I know great pep talk take away for a teenager. Find yourself. The purpose of adolescence.

Susan leveraged every connection she had made, John had politically and Rick had as a former journalist, politico and pastor. The Bionic Knight came out in favour of her, which also helped, and the G.C.F. backed her too. It was time to fully leave the dark, it was time to embrace the light. The Council and Administration were excited over more positivity where every person was seen as a citizen who shared the same rights of Canadians promised in our Constitution and Charter for a just society.

She moved beyond tweet policies, and quick solutions. She pushed for solutions that worked for the individual in community. Moving the conversation from simple accessibility and inclusion to belonging. From housing to homes. From work to vocational purpose. From debt to actual living wages and thriving. From reaction to pro-activity in building a world. Reconciliation and restoration not vengeance. Not looking at integration or reintegration for those who are coming from institutional life whether it be medical, mental health, addiction, corrections or shelters but true connectivity, belonging and living. She pushed hard (and had the death threats to prove it) to all levels of government that any relapse, recycle, recidivism or re-housing/re-shelter rate that was not absolute 0 had to be re-framed for what it was:

A RE-TRAUMATIZATION rate of the person and community.

Susie got the we were all in this together.

Beth is nervous because the council is pushing forward her agenda of transformation and other levels of government are working it as well with her missing. But the forces of darkness and hate are brewing.

“Fuck Will. Incels, Alt-Right, Whiteass sympathizers, So-Cons, its going back to the non-heroic age. We can’t keep the keel.” I love Beth’s passion for nautical movies.

The non-heroic age was a time when heroes rose up based around vengeance, where they played at being judge, jury and executioner. Where it was fuelled by institutional hate, misogyny, and more money makes right, privatization over public good… and every problem could be solved by the taxpayer paying low taxes, and when hit with a road block of any variety by bucking up and pulling themselves up by their boot straps. For you see we are not connected at all, we are all only individuals swirling in this world.

“And why does it matter to you girl? Just toss the ring, let it find another then.” I say.

Beth looks down at the Celtic cross ring on her righthand ring finger. She had ben through the ringer. She knew why her brother succumbed to drug use. The constant emotional and verbal abuse he had endured, and the non-heroic age, non-just society answers peddled onto him. The lack of belonging sapped him to the point of being nothing more than the chemicals that remained in the body after his soul had long crumbled into the darkness.

 

“Because I see through the political correct titles placed upon bullshit movements that basically mean, bully, abuser, Nazi asshat.”

“And?”

“And…I want the world we are building not the one we deconstructed.”

I simply nod. It’s coming, and these kids, may all the gods be with us, for what ever is coming looks to have taken the big guy off the board.

–and that scares the piss out of me.


Believed orphaned at a young age…taken in by elderly loving folks

The PenDragon found him in his teens

His opposite twin survived also

Lancelot-Arthur renewed in Ionics and Bionic Knights

Battle joined

For this earth, country, province, city and community

For one soul

Tethered to earth

By another

A partner with hair of gold

Whose family’s power lust proved their destruction

A hero he was

Redeemer of villains

Survivor of cosmic wars

Class clashes

Villains of the week

And matinee monsters

With a laugh in his throat, a smile beneath his helm,

His best friend at his side, with bow drawn…

Great Crime Fighters

New generations tamed,

Legacies created.

Winning with one’s pure of heart…

Until John didn’t.

A death…one of many…but a quest struck…

That saw magic die or did it

As John chose to remain locked away so Camelot ended

His brother, James, knight of Ion

Redeems the faller of Camelot as the lost soul Lancelot

Giving his life

To save the world.

Both stand know upon the roof in ethereal form.

As Rick ponders,

Splitting dagger dragon pain in brain

Trembling side of left

Quiver and cracking voice

Salting beard and temples…

Anger outbursts that leave his twins bewildered…

His lightning rod now rules as mayor…and in her lightning eyes…is that pity he spies…

As he stands a top city hall.

The once proud hero,

At time’s end.

To make a choice

To join James in the Abyss

Or John in cosmos blessed.

Both call his name…

A rattling of the door knob.

A step closer to the ledge in his confused eye

Vision blurs…

Upwards John’s hand outstretches from beyond time and space

Down into the darkness, James’ hand reaches upwards to pull his brother down a final victory of unredemption.

When the door swings wide…and his lightning speaks…

All three call out

His name simply,

“Rick!”

And the hero steps

Into his final destiny….

32 years ago on April 1 a short little story of mine was published called Sir Arthur…that little gem as a child was the genesis for what has been now 32 years + 1 day of Bionic Knight stories, for those that enjoyed them…thank you.

Saint George is a military saint/martyr that is known across many different countries and religions. Very many patronages. Foremost a protector (and that whole patron saint of England, but moving on) … the most famous story of this Crusader involves a little tale of a dragon.

The story of a little-known village tormented by a dragon, where sheepily sacrifices were offered up to keep it satisfied, until the livestock ran out and the dragon’s insatiable appetite persisted. The ruler came up with a lottery to offer scrumptious offering of human sacrifice. The only problem was that the King’s daughter “won” (if one could call becoming the dinner of a Dragon winning). Hence the chaining to the rock probably, for the Dragon to come and have dinner to save the township.

A crusader night, humbly named George as the legend goes came up on the scene, and with his lance (that some say Churchill dubbed a bomber after in World War II). The fight was on …

Legend says he vanquished the dragon, saved the town, and rescued the princess…

What if the dragon was not the evil that needed to be vanquished?

 Rick stood up from behind the high bench table, why any design team though that was comfort was astounding. “I think you missed a space memo.” He stepped forward walking towards the croc-hunter. “I am no longer the heir, there is someone new.”

                The smoke in the thing’s nostrils began to glow, almost a flame. Rick focused on that, the stabbing added to the temples as well as the top of the head. The feed back sound became a white noise which started to trip his brain out.  He froze in place fighting in the void of darkness unable to move. The croc-hunter leveled his weapon at Rick.

                “You are a coward to hide behind a child as heir. Good Knight.”

                The trigger squeezed…

Pieces of tempered glass crunched beneath a tasseled loafer. George was out of shape, showing the middle-aged spread, and a bad comb over. All in all, a very good alien camouflage job. How else that many centuries ago would a simple crusading knight have been able to defeat a dragon?

“Dragon put the damn gun down.” George said.

Rick’s eyes fluttered rapidly, as his head slumped forward. Slowly he chewed his lips as his brain rebooted. The weapon—some would call a blaster or a phaser dependent on whether you were a Star Wars fan or Trekkie leveled at him. Rick fought through brain fog and re-focused on George. “Aren’t you Dragon?”

George chuckled. “I have allowed it to become my last name, but we were more partners.” George said.

Shotgun pushed himself up to a standing position and stumbled forward. He felt the bruising coming through in his back, and was sure he had probably broken or the very least bruised a rib or two. His hope was for a break, at least those had a healing time frame, bruising was a pain that lingered over time.  Unfortunately seeing the weapon trained on hi friend, and sadly the only person appearing able to stop the vaporization is an old alien.

“Dragon.” George stated.

“Yes, George.” Dragon said.

“The Knight needs to die.”

“No, like they misunderstood our name, we need this Knight to be ready to rise again.” George retorted.

“Wait, you’re St. George from the legend?” Said Rick.

“What did you think the S. before my name stood for?” Rick shrugged at the response. “You were the reincarnated PenDragon and this is causing a confused facial expression?”

“The legend says you killed the guy with the blaster on me. What was up with that princess…”

George laughed. Shotgun just looked confused, the sirens were there. Dragon looked at Rick. “Why do you think the town had to chain her up?”

If it was a cartoon, a light bulb would’ve appeared over Rick and Shotgun’s head. “The Princess was the monster.”

“Yes, she was eating others in the township. They chained her up and…” Dragon paused, searching for the words.

“Hired you, because you are some sort of bounty hunter.” Rick said.

“He’s a hired assassin, but you make it sound so heroic, Rick.” George said.

Shotgun chimed in finally, “so the big intergalactic bad coming back is the princess.”

“Bingo cowboy.” Dragon said as he released the trigger and holstered his weapon. “We just don’t know when.”

Shotgun walked to the gaping hole and motioned to the police. Rick watched as Shotgun did what he used to do in the armour, sort out the issues.  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.

The New Beginning…

 


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


Polls are closing.

Vote counts rolling in.

Commentators in shock as the incumbent for mayor is still leading in the count over Susan Kobwash-Saturn. Despite the day starting with him being arrested and taken to jail.

“Are the people of this city this apathetic? An actual man arrested on election day is so far leading in the counts.” The reporter was of the old school variety on the television. Pragmatic not ideologue. Been through many election cycles, and seen many an upset, but has also managed to survive conglomeration and transformation into infotainment from information and critical thinking.

Susan stands on the front step.

“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight.” William McKay thought she was nuts not having an election night party, but she pulled the plug.
With the Siege, the arrests, the vanishing of the beacon of hope.

Her press conference announcing to get the vote out, but then to go home, hug your loved ones, and live into hope.

The old nursery rhyme tumbled from her lips as she looked up. The twins asleep. “I wish I may I wish I might.”

“Where ever you are Rick, know I love you and the porch light is on always.” She pulls the oversized hoody of her husband’s around her more as she watches the stars of the sky.

She twitches the corner of her eyes for she swears she sees the darkness ripple

In the pocket universe.

The darkness has wrapped itself around the form of the Bionic Knight. Rick feels it seeping through the seams of the armour, and clawing through to his orifices.

Mordred the living darkness cackles. The light of hope that his father wielded at Camelot finally being snuffed out. The great return prophesied for some many centuries by the Welsh crumbling.

Much of what history stated as they had abandoned the body of the field of valour.

Rick feels his left hand begin to tremble.

His eyes rapidly flutter.

The solid darkness filling his ears,

His nostrils,

His mouth.

He can taste the decay of death.

A faint voice breaking through.

Barely audible.

Something about a porchlight.

The voice.

Feels like it should be familiar.

But the darkness stripping away.

Why await. Why struggle. Simply give in and let it win.

A glimmer of light…like on a front porch.

“As more polls report in there has been a change in the wind. We were expecting 4/14 ward councillors to be new because incumbents were not running, but it is looking like what social media has hash-tagged Vote Hope has caused a massive shift in which we are seeing incumbents falling behind in all but the mayoralty race.”

                The reporter just shook his head. Trying to hide his astonishment that a mayor actually arrested on the morning news could still be leading in votes.

Susan watched the rippling darkness. The voice of the newscaster had become white noise, it was not looking hopeful for her chance to become mayor. Although maybe this is what Rick had been talking about as the PTSD set in.  That the heart may have hope, but the brain trips out and brings in hopelessness.

Which can the soul cling to?

“Follow the light my Knight.” That’s what she said.

The light.

Eyes flickering slowing.

Tremor in left hand slowing.

Gag reflex as the blackness goes down.

The words begin to ring in his head…waiting on a woman

Front porch light

His kids dressed like Superman…the song rings anew from when Christopher Reeve broke, by Hal Ketchum. Hang in there Superman

#VoteHope

Rick closes his eyes. He sees Pen move into his heart.

The energy surges.

The darkness ripples

As the light rips through.

Susan watches the sky as light bursts out of the dark.

The old grizzled newscaster’s voice reaches her ears. “Quite a shock, with the final votes counted… The city voted for hope.”

The voice is raspy behind her with the scabbed hand touching her shoulder. “I love you.”

She turns

Blue energy sparks

As their lips touch.

Lightning rod.

The Adventure Begins Anew…

 

 

 


Suggested listening while reading Brad Paisley’s Love and War

The siege.

Blue energy.

A city about to awaken to a vote.

One that literally had a yin-yang decision to make. Could apathy overcome and overthrown the corrupt incumbent?

Could his lightning rod pull off the upset?

Gone from the fray into the unknown where the heart of the PenDragon took him and the heart of evil.

A pocket dimensions.

But a new trap for himself.

A flood of memories.

Where victories should be what he holds on to.

But within the heart of evil he comes to realize… it is not K or Mystery. It is something more sinister. The darkness that Morgan le Fey used to destroy Camelot.

Mordred.

The bastard son.

That is the heart of evil.

The pope of the Church of the Killer Face.

The heart of darkness pocket dimension that the PenDragon heir was now trapped in. Slowly humming the last time for everything

Trapped in the darkness.

Reliving each defeat.

Each life left unsaved.

Each one that died in his arms.

The family he watched executed from his hiding spot under the picnic table as a child.

As a reporter, a pastor a super hero…the lives lost. The battles that were launched, yet undone by those he thought was allies.

Those wounds were the deepest, those that were supposed to be allies, that he trusted yet when the time came to live into and destroy the shadows with the light, the other lights went out.

His hand tremors. His eyes move rapidly as his lids are closed. His body jerks. His head weaves. He cannot focus.

Memories flashback into reality. Conscience clicks out. Brain reboots.  The healing work done…does not always reboot.

The Mind Palace’s foundations are cracked in some spots, rotting in others.

As the pain moves from mental to physical to emotional.

Tears should heal, but not when they come on each time with nothing left to dam up the emotions. The old scar tissues that were fading are freshly gouged and bleeding.

The Heart of Evil cackles. The PenDragon is breaking.

The bastard son is on way to victory.

Rick rolls into a fetal position in the darkness whimpering and trying to roar.

But the crush of emotions is devastating.

The goal was to make his corner of the world a little bit better.

Unfortunately, those who march in the light tend to eat their own.

Battles for equality, death threats, assaults, deaths.  Suicides unable to stop. Friends lost.

John.

Can’t even get a province to move completely from its eugenics past in seeing children with complex learning needs as fully deserving of getting to school on time, and having a full day of school that meets all their needs including educational. His twins.

His wife.

“Die father.” The Heart speaks.

The blackness crushes more.

500.

That is the known losses that he has celebrated lives of personally.

His eyes see back into the siege.

The collapse.

Amid despair.

One word rises in his heart.

A tiny dragon crawls around his neck.

The word swells a bit more.

The word is still there.

His ears here the voice of his true soul.

Words more true never spoken.

“For hope.”

That word rings in his heart.

Hope.

Mordred, the heart of evil laughs as his darkness overruns the heir of the PenDragon.

“Live the loss Rick Saturn.”

To Be Continued…