Posts Tagged ‘Shotgun MacKay’


They’re Here.

-Enigma

It was the message the ended my conversation abruptly with Beth, the new Bionic Knight. She believes that I do not trust her. She has many adventures in missing the point, too many of the young and old have died. Beth needs to be the Bionic Knight, once I have FUBAR’ed this moment in history because some hero has to save the planet.

The rain dribbled off the top of my cowboy hat. In the alley, Agent Regis had the collar of his rumpled trench coat up and a Bogie fedora tilted just right to keep the rain from going down his neck. The call had come in and he had called me as I was heading back to my trailer at the Ashram.

“Bullets in the ground there and there.” Agent Regis points with a laser pointer.

“Were mine.” He looks surprised that I was using live rounds. “He had been around maybe…” I let the last bit trail off, it made very little sense to blame this alien, wanna be hero, for what happened to Johnny. But who said grief made any sense?

“C.O.D?” Regis asked in that cop tone where it makes one want to call their lawyer.

“I would say whatever sliced and diced him like the Ginsu from the old shopping channel on cable. Broken nose, ribs, and some of the lumps are mine, and probably the urine of his running down the drain with the rain. He was scared but alive when I left him.” I wait a beat. “And he also knew he was evicted from the Ashram and off the team.”

Regis stands up from his crouch and looks me in the eye. He pops a piece of gum into his mouth, trying to fight the cigarette demon last I heard. “We are ready for what is to come, you don’t have to fight this alone old man.”

“Pot or kettle on that one, Louie?”

He hrumphs. The graying at his temples betrays his age, there was a time when all of us where on the less salt side of salt and pepper in this game. Those were the days the rain did not make one quite so cold with the wet, and worry about the next mornings aches and pains from a night out in it.  “Enigma messaged again.”

I do believe it was a chortle or maybe a guffaw that escaped Regis’ mouth. “And what does the erstwhile tech ghost have for us.” More a statement of disdain than a question.

“They’re here.” I do believe the coughing fit was due to Regis almost aspirating his gum.

“She ready?” Regis asked.

I shake my head. “Not risking anymore kids. I got this one.”

“Suicidal?”

He could be right in his question. Only so much death one can handle. Only so much of outliving friends and family. But more. Sometimes there is a tiny voice in the back of your mind that challenges you to be better. “Just times up for whatever evil is coming.” Regis simply nods.

He is one of the folks that never got Enigma. The player that came online as the Bionic Knight faded into the background for a bit to have a life. It was the voice guiding the heroes still attempting to stay on track out of the dark and gritty. A voice echoing in the dark to save the world. That suddenly went silent.

My eyes move to the diced corpse of George and the purple blood washing off the cement as Agency Agents and staff clear up the mess and prepare to move the body. “I will let you know when it’s go time.”

“You realize MacKay you aren’t in charge of us?”

“You realize Regis, without the GCF you…well y’know.” I walk back into the shadows and head to my truck. Two new forms right beside it. Took them long enough to show up.

“Dragyn. Bionic Knight.” A crackle of lightning and a clap of thunder. Close together.

THEY’RE HERE.”  I nod to Dragyn’s statement. Remember Rick and George challenging me on the fact that maybe the legend of St. George and the Dragon was wrong, what if the dragon was the hero of the story.

I look to Beth. “We’re here to help.”

“Him. You stay put.” I state. What if the story was wrong, but it leaves open the option that the story was right.

“I’m ready MacKay what the hell are you scared of?! I’m not your son! I’m not my predecessor! I’m not going to die!”

The sawed off 18 gauge is in my hand and the space between us is cleared. The end of the nozzle is in the neck chink of her armour. I can smell her fear. Back like when I used to kill people like her for a living. She could fry me where I stand, but doesn’t know what to do, or is toying with me.

“Simple Knight. Do you really think a dragon and a cowboy are going to save the universe? We’re the distraction. But keep it up and there won’t be a Knight left to play hero.” I slowly pull back the gun.

“Yooo-uu ddon’t scare me.”

“Good, B.K. because when it is all said and done. History doesn’t remember guys like me, they remember heroes like you.”

To be Continued…

A Cowboy and a Dragyn walk into a bar

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Shotgun MacKay is old. (suggested listening: Maren Morris “My Church“). He has taken many shots to the head, and is grieving. Why should anyone believe that he is getting weird analog messages on that old brick flip phone of his tracking the forthcoming alien whatever evil it is? This is what has brought Beth into a back shed of the Ashram.

Kayla Storm is mourning hard. Many have told her that it is good to get back up and at `em as advice. She overheard MacKay telling Agent Regis to do something anatomically impossible when the agent suggested the hero suit back up and get out there. Then it really shocked Beth, MacKay actually walked the agent through a lesson on grieving then punched him square in the jaw almost knocking the agent out, clearly stating “and I just buried my kid so get the fuck off my property.” The agent was grumbling about arresting MacKay for violation of the Supra Act of 1984 by donating organs and having the body cremated, but Beth had seen the old redneck get that look on his face before. He had set his face like that during the Siege just before Mayor Kobwash won the election for mayor a few years back. When he charged in, purely mortal, no super powers, just guns with rubber bullets and fists.

Beth was still trying to figure out why the ring had chosen to give her the power. She had almost been killed that day. She knew MacKay had a hard time trusting the younger heroes, at least that’s what she thought it was. Until Beth saw how his son’s death shook him (as he had always presented as crusty and emotionally aloof), and how voraciously he defended Storm from the Agency.

Now Beth was seeking out what it meant to be a hero. Rick Saturn, the previous Bionic Knight, the one everyone points to as the gold standard, kept a written record of his life in journal forms. Rather atrocious penmanship, so reading hieroglyphs would hopefully be a part of her power set.

Basics she had not known, about him coming from a family linked to crime, having them all massacred, raised by an old senior couple, falling in love. The challenges of the Kobwash family. Her parents always fighting to break them up. Even spreading different lies in an attempt to end different career paths of them. The mother-in-law’s attempt once the husband had vanished and grandkids arrived to sabotage their structure to thrive in life. Also attempting to bring known, if unproven, pedophiles around that would have coffee with her when she had the kids. The journals speak to an undercurrent of anger, as Susan struggled to break the link between her and the abusive/co-dependent parent. Rick shows such humanity wondering if the PenDragon would allow him to take a life? Would their lives be better with the mother-in-law dead?

Rick’s funniest story, and Beth could feel the pain. Susan’s aging grandfather, house bound due to health. The man wanting to be apart of church sacraments (Rick had already officially given up his collar due to ableism within the church, and was working hard on journalism again). The church pastors refused to baptize or bring communion because it was not within their “belief” structure. Rick did both, yet when the old man passed away he wrote of the hurt inflicted when the mother-in-law chose the church, and the pastors gleefully stepped in tracking the big inheritance tithe cha-ching pay out. They even spoke at the funeral about how the man was devout getting an at-home baptism and communion.

Beth chuckled. “How did Rick, with his sense of justice even manage to still function seeking community in this dysfunctional religion that kept burning him?”

“Simple kid, you got to belong somewhere.” MacKay’s gravelly voice spoke into the flashlight lit shed where Beth was sitting on a stump squint reading.

“There was no other places?” Beth said.

“Oh, Ricky found belonging in many places, yet the Hrumphs who adopted him were progressive Christians that believed all should belong in church regardless of anything from economics to abilities to orientations to race/culture. That message just stuck with him. Or as Mrs. H once told him…”

“There’s only one God and it’s about love you idiot.” Beth answered, she remembered reading that in one of his journals writing on early battles with Killer Face.

“Which is one of the things he said to me.” MacKay said.

Beth looked at this tired looking fighter. She had forgotten that MacKay at one point was a gun for higher. The echo of the vibrate function on his brick phone.

MacKay flips it opens, sees a message and walks away.

“What’s up old man?” The words ring in the darkness, as Beth’s flashlight illuminates her silhouette in the shed.


Enigma. Damn I wish we had truly figured out who that person was back in the day. His tips never proved wrong. Now the missing, George, the one that brought into existence the understanding of this great menace. The battle the has placed my son at the precipice of death’s door. Lying in a bed, where he is more machine than man.

It brings my mind to the show Rick always nattered on about, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he even ran a discussion group off of it.

Gul Rusot: You’re still a Cardassian, Garak. You’re not gonna kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.

Garak: How little you understand me.

Tacking into the Wind

The rain is drizzling lightly. I roll the two shells in my sheep leather gloved hand, the rain drips off the brim of my cowboy hat-time to kill again. The oil slicker keeping me dry as I wait in the alley and watch. Using the mission Rick founded in his pastoral days to hideout. Rubber bullets. No. Sometimes the old ways are best.

He abandoned us. Rick’s last act before he vanished was to add him to the team. Hate the rain. It creates a natural white noise that blocks out the city. Blocks out the other sounds of the demons of my soul rattling about. All I am left with in the silence. He should be back soon, it will be check in time, and hasn’t been hiding out long enough for any of the staff to start hassling him under the push out for housing model.

Rick. Even when he was the kid hero, though we didn’t know under the armour and mysticism. He was the real deal. All earnest, honest. I thought fake self-righteous and faux humility. But nope. He truly wanted the best even for us.

George.

Stick the shells in my slicker pocket. He is dumb enough to walk past the alley mouth. The pudgy shell he chose to hide in. The collar.

My fist cracks face as I pull him into the darkness. He yelps as thunder cracks. Thunder is new. Blood washing off my gloves. Two six guns on my hips loaded. Shotgun on a holster sling in my back. My steel toed boot tip sends some alien tooth flying out of his mouth. We are into the darkness. The puddles he is splashing around not sure if it is rain or urine.

Boot heel cracks knuckles of his one hand.

Damar: To kill her and my son – the casual brutality of it, the waste of life… What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?

Colonel Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders…?

Tacking into the Wind

He tries to stumble up. Draw one gun. Aim. Pull the hammer back. A crack of lightning.

“My son you son of a bitch.”

He is coughing blood, spitting up blood, think he may have vomited. He has certainly soiled himself in what ways his species removes waste. Johnny. My son. A hero wins or dies. George’s cowardice left him in the world a hero is never meant to be in. Barely a live, awaiting the word if his organs will be viable for donation.

Two shots. His knees are out from under him. He is now crying. The shots stopped in front of him not into him this time he was lucky.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: I tend to look at the Empire with a little more skepticism than Curzon or Jadzia did. I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. We’re talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries-old traditions of honor and integrity. But in reality, it’s willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.

Lt. Commander Worf: You are overstating your case.

Lieutenant Ezri Dax: Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told that it was for the good of the Empire? I… I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron is just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man that I’ve ever met. And if *you’re* willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?

Tacking into the Wind

In the silence, Rick always said is when your true inner Holy could be heard. Your inner self would emerge in and through the silence. The night is still fresh in my mind like it was yesterday. The Bionic Knight had me beat. The others were unconscious. Killer Face was doing his normal plotting. The wife was saying we needed money, didn’t know a baby was on the way.

He offered me his hand.

I had a choice to make in that moment. He had opened up and could’ve been killed.

I gripped the hilt of the Bowie Knife I strapped to my back to draw underhanded and end it.

He just stood there. He moved the helmet slits up. His brown eyes staring at me.

Time to kill him.

George’s reptilian eyes blink at me. Breathing out slowly squeezing the trigger. “You killed my son you coward.” This is who I have always been. In the silence of the rain, you come to understand your true core. Your resonance of self. What are optional connections. What are mandatory.

And who needs to die…

Colonel Kira: Oh, that was stupid.

Garak: Not at all. Damar has a certain… romanticism about the past. He could use a dose of cold water.

Colonel Kira: Well, I could have picked a better time.

Garak: If he’s the man to lead a new Cardassia, if he’s the man we all hope him to be… then the pain of this news made him more receptive to what you said, not less.

Tacking into the Wind

Rick’s eyes. His brown eyes. “I know you are not this man, Wil.”

His gauntlet retracts. Kill him.

Release the knife. Shake it.

George is sobbing. Begging for his life.

Ease back on the trigger.

Ease back the hammer.

Holster the gun.

Remove the two shells and throw them on the ground at his sniveling. “You are no longer welcome at the Ashram.” Damn it Rick, even in transition you still know me better than me.

A night when it wasn’t bullets we needed, but a cuppa with a best friend.


 

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.


City Hall. Mayor Susan Kobwash-Saturn’s office.
It’s raining. Lightning dances, as the gods goat hooves rumble through the sky. Why is it always raining on night’s like this in a story? Some cosmic writer must believe it sets mood or something. The office door creaks open, as lightning, and LED light illuminate the darkened room.
“Who the hell are you?!”
Should have expected that response. The day Susan became mayor, her and the council forced the administration to allow flow of ease for citizens in what her hope stated was “reclaiming the people’s buildings.” So things like check points, metal detectors, forceful non-loitering policies were cast aside. And her personal assistant knew me, so by the time I got up here he just let me in. Though it looks like he forgot to inform the deputy mayor before going home for the day.
“Deputy Mayor Lola.” I remove my hat and nod my head. “William MacKay at your service.”
“I go back to the original question, who the hell are you?” said the deputy mayor. She obviously did not keep up with news of most kinds if that question was till hanging. I point to a picture on the wall of Mayor Kobwash-Saturn, with the G.C.F. Her eyes go to the picture.
“Oh, you are one of those.” She states as she moves across the room, and glides into the seat behind the large mahogany desk. “So what do you want?”
I chuckle. Where to begin? The fact she was acting mayor for the next few months because of the Saturn family vanishing without a trace. Yet she had not filed papers yet to run. “Because the wolves are ready to devour the sheep, and you are on the sidelines watching.” Before Susan ran for office, the mayoral battles, like most elections within our province had been a vote against or to stop something. Not for something. She gave the citizens something to vote for.
I was battling the siege of the hatred and the darkness that tried to take deep root in this city on the vote day. It was not pretty, it was messy, but the vote rolled through. Hope won more than one battle that day. She had gone on to challenge the status quo. To get multiple levels from blaming one another in the round about avoidance game, to begin working together. To get county and civic leaders working together across the urban and rural divide. The politics of unity are not as lucrative as the politics of division. The capital on hate is a lot higher than hope. When she vanished, many were happy and started coming out of the woodwork.
“A bit melodramatic. The mayor will return, run and win. Another checkmark in a few months.” Deputy Mayor Said. Her eyes though fixate on the greying whiskers and jagged scar across my face. She really has no clue about who I am.
I wink at her and she seems unsettled. “I would suggest you google me. I am not prone to the melodramatic. Mostly I am called uncouth or a curmudgeon. I mean this with no disrespect.” I figure she must be interested as I am not being tackled by security, or the police constables I know had been assigned to each member of council since the vanishing. “I am not locked away as a dangerous offender cause the chap in the armour in that pic vouched for me. Trusted me to mentor the younglings that protect this city and this world. We are prepping for something that is major bad ass coming our way, but I like to multi-task.”
She laughs at that. Her android phone is out, and I see the tapping. She literally is googling me. Damn I’m old. I see her eyebrows arch in shock. “So, Mr. Mackay was it?”
“Wil is fine.”
“Wil. Why the visit if this big bad is coming, why multi-task over a civic election?” The Deputy Mayor is not stupid. She understands it looks ludicrous, technically municipalities have no constitutional rights or jurisdictions. “I mean we oversee roads, builds, emergency services, and waste disposal. What does it matter?”
“Simple Deputy Mayor. Susie, well, whether it was a hit, a kidnap, a cosmic or extra-terrestrial event or bloody magic—is gone. The void is there. We can either keep hope moving forward. Be the pebble in the pond with the ripple outwards, that may cause change further outwards to other levels of governance or we can let the ripples stop now. You believed in her?”
Deputy Mayor Lola pushes her hair back and tucks it behind her ear. Her young brown eyes fix on me. Studying my facial creases and crow’s feet. Probably wondering how one gets such bags under the eyes, cauliflower ears, and a nose that defies description. Very few scrappers left on this side of the ground. “You know the answer to that, Mr. MacKay.”
“I know what your actions showed, but now it’s time for you to act. Are you ready to step into the big shoes, or are you still Acting Mayor Rajni Lola?”
“You pretentious asshole my friend is missing!”
I pull a cigar out of my storm rider pocket, snip the end, and begin lighting it. “She was the only person that ever truly believed in my redemption. She is gone. So, will you be her legacy?” The Acting (Deputy) Mayor slumps into her wingback Corinthian Leather chair, looking very young as the lightning dances. “I am here for my friend, asking you to do what she cannot right now. Will you be the voice for the people against the wolves at our gates?”
I turn and begin leaving the office. I know the puffing cigar annoys the no smoking polices and I don’t really care. Was this whole people’s revolution of hope truly only propped up by one person? A very soft voice reaches my ear. “I believe in hope, Wil.”
I nod as I walk out. Who knew multi-tasking could work?


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.