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Author Topic: Parallel II  (Read 1544 times)


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Parallel II
« on: July 21, 2007, 08:54:25 am »

.....I have redone the prologe to my Parallel story- partly because I wasn't completely satisfied with it- but mostly to make room to plant a few seeds that would later grow into plot complications. I hope that I haven't edited away all of the storie's virtues- such as they were.

.....RVM45      :thumbsup:



   When I was little, I’d tried to find a list of the tenants of Bushido spelled out like the ten commandments. Never found the list; but nonetheless, when my inner sense of right and wrong forced me to take the hard way out; I’d always tell myself that it was Bushido- the way of the warrior.

   The gangbangers I’d taken on had been armed like they were all gonna star in the next action movie- ARs; AKs; riot shotguns; and machine pistols. But the one who finally tagged me- after I’d accomplished my self appointed mission of vengeance; and had been leaving; he’d had a lever action- probably a .30-30; judging from the effects on my right scapula. I didn’t expect to live. It would have been far easier to have lain down and bled out. It had been Bushido to keep going; just as if my life mattered.

   I hadn’t gotten more than five miles from the site of the shooting; and I’d run into the Maestro. Hadn’t seen him in over thirty years. Didn’t expect to meet up with him then. He’d offered me sanctuary and I’d accepted. Figured the old bastard owed me that much. Oddest thing though; by his own account; he’d been in his early nineties when I was a teen. Thirty some-odd years later; he hadn’t aged a bit.

   The Maestro had had a great granddaughter who’d called herself “The Virgin Queen”. She always spoke of herself in the third person. She’d been a big; broad shouldered masculine girl; with very bad teeth. She wore thick lensed glasses. Her hair was straw colored; and wiry. Once I’d asked her how often she’d changed the oil in her hair; and she’d insisted I touch it. I’d protested that it made me queasy to look at it; asking me to touch it was going a bit far; but she’d persisted. I’d learned that some very dry hair looks moist and greasy from a distance.

   She’d been a couple years older than me. The Maestro was always training her- saber fencing; I’ve witnessed many martial arts in my life- but I never saw anyone else use the Maestro’s style. He taught her to shoot Colt single action armies from the hip; How to use a Blacksnake whip as a weapon; unarmed combat; tactics; meditation; and a peculiar language that I mastered; but never heard anyone else but the Maestro and The Virgin Queen speak. She claimed the language was Romany; and that she and the Maestro were Gypsies. That was bullshit. I’ve learned enough of the Romany language and customs to be convinced that whatever peculiar people they belonged to; it wasn’t the Gypsies.

   I’d hung around watching the training enough; that the Maestro had asked me to be her regular training partner. She was home schooled back before most people had even considered the idea; and I attended publik shule; nonetheless, between the ages of nine and nineteen; I spent several hours training with the Maestro and The Virgin Queen almost every day.

Prologue II   

   On my own, its hard to imagine being able to survive at all. If somehow I’d survived; I’d almost certainly lost the arm. If somehow I’d kept the arm; it wouldn’t have been good for much. But the Maestro’s healers were subtle and gifted- and highly unorthodox. After a few months of their bizzare physical therapy; massage; and meditation exercises; my wound had almost healed.

   I’d never know the Maestro to have bodyguards or an entourage. In fact, the only other people besides me; The Virgin Queen; and a few other kids who sometimes trained with us; in an off-hand; on and off again type way; was the Maestro’s grand daughter. She was a hefty woman with jet black hair; and a big gold ring on every finger. When she wasn’t chain-smoking cigarettes; she was sitting in the floor; smoking a hookah. She never spoke more than a sentence or two at a time in the Maestro’s tongue; and steadfastly refused to comment one way or the other; when asked how true the Maestro and The Virgin Queen’s improbable tales were. Here in the compound that he’d brought me to however; he always had at least three bodyguards with him at all times; and sometimes secretaries taking dictation; and other sycophants.

   I was in the middle of my “Physical” therapy. Right at the first, the Mage had grabbed my arm and pushed it far past its normal comfort zone.

   “Really man, be for real” I ejaculated in my best hippy tone and voice. “Damned nation, if your going to cause me beaucoup pain; at least warn me; so I can brace myself!”

   “Sorry, but that’s the last pain I’ll inflict upon you. We’re almost done with your therapy.”

   “He put me through about an hour of meditation and visualization exercises. He had a boxful of tuning forks. He’d play a tone; and asked me what it looked like; tasted like; smelled like; and or felt like. It seemed that a large part of his therapy was developing a sort of synthetic synesthesia. The oddball therapy seemed to be stimulating the healing process remarkably.

   The last couple exercises he had two assistants. He’d have me listen to two different notes- one by either ear- at the same time. We’d only started that the last couple sessions. Finally I ended up listening to one note by my right ear; and another note by my left. I managed to hold both images In my head at once- though I couldn’t tell you how or where. Lefty looked just a bit bigger than a holy-boly marble. He was yellow green and sour; downright tart- like biting down on a green crabapple. Righty was almost as big as a tennis ball. He was a very mild blue-green; and had a bland taste- like unsalted; unsweetened oatmeal. Then they very abruptly switched ears with the tuning forks.

   It was almost a transcendental experience; and like all such experiences; it can’t be properly described. Suffice it to say that the balls morphed and merged into a single geometric entity- a cube; but an odd sort of cube- covered with a swirling mixture of red orange; and yellow orange. Tasted kinda like very bitter, bittersweet chocolate. None of the plane intersections were more acute than 90 degrees- as per the definition of cube. Yet they all seemed razor sharp somehow though. I cut the non-material fabric of my mental fingers again and again; tracing those sharp vertices. When I explained my experience to the Mage; he smiled; bowed to me; and said that there was nothing more that he could teach me. He said my arm and shoulder would heal itself completely; but that practicing the healing meditations would speed the process. He also told me that with very little more work; I’d be a Mage myself. That failed to excite me too much; amongst other things, I hadn’t a clue what a Mage was or did.

   Sometime halfway through the Maestro had walked in with his entourage. The Mage and his assistants left. One of the Maestro’s body guards noticed my cocked and locked .45 Auto in its holster and Gun belt; on a wall mounted coatrack. He picked the Gunbelt up.

   “No one is allowed to be armed in the presence of the great one” He said.

   “Put the pistol back to where you found it; or I’ll kill you” I hissed through clenched teeth.

   The quick up-welling of anger took me by surprise. Nonetheless, I had a four inch .357 Magnum- a Smith and Wesson Model 19; Mag-Na-Ported; with rounded butt; narrow smooth trigger; bobbed hammer; nickle plated; in a lefthand inside the waistband Summer Special holster. I fully intended to blow the bodyguard’s brains out; unless he put my .45 down.

   The Maestro gestured impatiently; and not only was my gun put back; but everyone in the entourage left the room; with many startled faces; and unhappy glances at me.

   “Boy, I’m disappointed in you. I thought that I taught you to live with honor. You killed thirty-seven people including four Laws. Didn’t I teach you better?”

   I was surprised that after all these years; I was still angry with him. Harsh words leapt from my mouth- harsher by far, than I’d dared allowed myself to speak; or even feel; back when it still had relevence.

   “You don’t know the circumstances you old putz; yet you presume to judge me. Screw you!” I said.

   “Please, enlighten me.”

   “There was a drug dealer named Goldstein. He was rich and connected enough to be outside the law. There was a little mulatto girl. She was only fourteen years old. She’d had a hard life. Her mother was a crack-head; and a lesbian; but once, for a brief while, she loved a man- long enough to have a daughter. She tried to get off the crack; but it was too much for her. Its too much for anyone; unless they learn to lay it all on the Lord.”

   It all came out in a hostile rush. I Cringed a bit at the last statement. It sounded hypocritical coning from a mass murderer; but old speech patterns; and old thought patterns die hard.

   “The little girl was a genius. Her mother tried to do right by her. Some drug addicts do try to do right by their kids. Her father scrapped up enough money to send her to private school. She had singing lessons; martial arts lessons; spent summers in the country; went fishing and hunting with her father. She was going to be somebody.

   “Well Goldstein had other ideas. He wanted to have sex with her; and then put her out on a street corner. The last time he came onto her; she turned him down once too often; and He gouged her eyes out.”

   The Maestro was a little taken aback; but we still weren’t on the same page.

   “Last I heard, you were preaching the gospel; and working with addicts. What caused you to go on a vigilante berserker? That’s quite a career change.”

   “Sabrina was my daughter. Are you shocked and disappointed old man? I wasn’t good enough to marry your granddaughter; so don’t you dare look down on me; because I’ve developed an attraction to black women. So she was conceived out of wedlock- I’ve repented...”

   “None of that is important. What matters is: did you avenge her? Is this animal dead; or do I need to finish the job?”

   “Yes and no. Goldstein isn’t dead. That’d be too easy. I cut off both his hands. Now when he sees himself in the mirror every day; he can wonder if he’s worse off than Sabrina. But then I worried that I was being too easy on him. So I cut off both his big toes. He’ll have a nasty gimp.”

   “Somewhere along the line; you’ve learned cruelty. Did I teach you that?”

   “We’re all fallen beings. Don’t sweat it old man.”

   But he’d seen the anger in my glance; before I’d choked it down. I was surprised at the anger; and the depth of the hurt myself. I had no idea what had possessed me to want to marry The Virgin Queen. As I said; she had bad teeth; bad eyes; and bad skin; and she was daft. We’d spent hours every day fighting- bare knuckle boxing; wrist locks; fencing. I had an old fashioned schmeis- a dueling scar- on each cheek. She’d given me one. The maestro had given me the other. The trick is: when you get a long enough cut; to fill it with salt so it will scar. They’re nowhere near as accidental as you’d think. I’d given her one on each cheek; and the Maestro had given her one- so she had two scars on her left cheek.

   Anyway, few guys would have said she was their ideal dream date. But there’s something to be said for propiniquity. I’d talked into forgetting her “people’s” crack-brained plans for her- that is if she had any “people” besides the Maestro and her mother- who was lukewarm about the whole thing; to say the least- and eloping with me. She’d agreed; but it was a timid; half-hearted; tenatative sort of agreement.

   Then the Maestro had caught us leaving. He’d called her to one side; and the dozen words he’d spoken must have had power; because they’d convinced her not to go. He’d told me that I had ‘till morning to either change her mind; or challenge him to a duel- it being understood that my victory would win me the girl. He’d left me alone with her. I’d begged; pleaded; threatened; and wept- all to no avail. Then he’d come at dawn; and asked me if I wanted to meet him with sabers. He was the better swordsman by far; but I’d had no fear of dying. He’d taught me that it was cowardice to weigh the odds. I didn’t want to fight him; because I’d loved him; and I might have won; and I loved his grand daughter; and couldn’t see us happy together after I’d killed someone we both loved.

   He blocked the door long enough to tell me he had no hard feelings; and I was welcome to come back to train; or visit any time. I’d left for college a few days later. I’d never seen him, or The Virgin Queen again. I’d never so much as went out on a date; ‘till I’d met Sabrina’s mother over twenty years later. That was another four star debacle; Sabrina being the only lasting goodness that had resulted from our brief love for each other. Now I was astonished how much hurt and rage I still carried around.

   “You know that you’ve pretty much blown your welcome around here- this country; this world” he added as he saw my. eyebrows raise. I thought momentarily that he meant at his compound.

   “Do you know what we do?” he asked.

   I Shook my head once, to answer “No”.

   “We are a society; a brotherhood; a syndicate- if you will- that travels between alternate possibilities. You don’t have to believe; and please spare your sarcastic comments. I stand ready to prove what I say; no faith required.” He Paused momentarily.

   “We are the binding force between twenty seven different worlds. All human worlds. Some very similar to this one; some very different. The thing is; if they’re not remarkably similar to this one; we’ll never be able to snag them. Twenty seven; that’s an amazing number; yet we’re a people in decline. The legends tell us of long ago times when we held hundreds of worlds close; and it was far easier to cross over.

   “You’re too old to be taken across a barrier. You’d have to consciously will yourself to a known location. You don’t have the control for that. What you could do, is go fishing for a new world. Power and focus counts for more than control there- and you’re one of the most powerful wills I’ve encountered.”

   “So you propose to teach me to teleport between alternate worlds? Two comments: what did I ever do to you ?; and do you have any more of those pills you’re taking? I mean like really man; be for real!”

   “That cube that you’ve just learned to visualize is a hypercube. The colors and flavors are a way your mind uses to cope with the extra dimensions. Eventually you’ll be able to envision it more geometrically- though the other sensations never fade either. Being able to visualize a hypercube is the key to drifting.”

   “Why? How?”

   “Well obviously whatever transports us is an artifice- something created by an intelligence; and a clearly envisioned hypercube is a combination that the artifice reads. Never mind. We know next to nothing about the artifice and the designer. There are a huge number of possible worlds. There are some very complicated mathematical proofs that they cannot be infinite; but for all purposes; they might as well be infinite. You try to envision a world; in all its complexity. The artifice will find you the closest fit. Give me a well known fictional world.”

   I shrugged indifferently. “Oz.”

   “Okay, say that you really wanted to go to Oz- you’d have to gradually build a mental picture so vivid and so powerful; that the artifice would transfer you there. Have you read any of the Oz books?”

   “No, Saw the movie as a small boy.”

   “I never read any of the stories either; but I understand they described a noticeably different place than the movie. So tell me; what if two people; a reader; and a movie watcher both set out for Oz. What would happen?”

   I shrugged.

   “They’d end up going to different worlds. The artifice finds the best fit- down to several decimal places- so long as there are no logical contradictions. If we had two fishers connecting to two such similar worlds; we’d soon have a half-dozen or so variations. Thing is, we haven’t had a successful fisher in over three thousand years.”

   I shook my head.

   ‘Don’t let that bother you. The process isn’t risky; if you can’t leap; you just sit- no harm done. But you have power. To someone sensitive to power; you’re like a beacon. Pick you out a place. You’re most likely to suceed with a picture built up from literature- a favorite book or series...”

   I really didn’t believe it at first; but he had many things to show me. I began to believe. I decided, that like Elmer Keith; I wanted to go to Africa- only I wanted to go to the Africa of Edgar Rice Burroughs.   






There are only Two Types of People in the World:

A.} Folks who are after my Guns;


B.} Folks who Are Not after my Guns.

Nothing Else Matters.
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