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Pieces of Eight:

A Simple Meeting


Suggested Pre-Readings:

Falling Sky: A Simple Discovery

A Simple Ending by Anthony Harte

Shades of Crey by Anthony Harte

Stormy Knight Errant by Anthony Harte

Collusions of Grandeur by Anthony Harte

Bound No More by Sean McDonald

At the Seams by D. Heikes

The Skulls Strike Back by T.W.

Not the Hero by Anthony Harte

Of Pain and Hate by D. Heikes

A Stitch in Time by Mike Valcarcel

From the Ashes by D. Heikes

& other Pieces of Eight



City of Heroes/City of Villains

Flash Fan Fiction By

Anthony Harte

The scent of a freshly opened ream of paper permeated the air and mixed with the fragrance of toner from the nearby color laser printer. The dusty aroma of business filled the nostrils of Marcus Cole as he penned fresh ink from a quill signing his signature to official Freedom Phalanx documents. He preferred the older style of penmanship to modern ink pens because it applied a more personal nature to the document. Even if the documents were requisition orders for more office supplies. Marcus placed the quill back in the reservoir that sat next to his alter ego’s mask and held the document out admiring the small work of art with a smile.

“Sir, your eight o’clock is here,” a female voice said muffled over the phone intercom system.

“Please send him in,” he responded depressing the intercom button interrupting his admiration of the simpler issues in life.

Marcus rose from his chair quickly donning the mask and debating whether to put on his cape, which hung on a coat rack nearby. He intended to meet the new public figure of the Hero Corps with a good first impression when suddenly he realized he no longer stood in his office but at the entrance of a darkened cave.

Menacing dark grey clouds padded the sky and bone-chilling winds blew from the north causing the hero’s soul to shiver. The frost-blasted mountainside matched the demeanor of the clouds its frozen rocky surroundings sending blades of ice daggers down his spine. He looked to the entrance of the cave noting the thin twisting oak tree and a sister olive tree flanking it. Both appeared to suffer from then never-ending visage of winter and suffering. The trees looked like they belonged to the forests of Croatoa with the grotesque and bizarre twists and turns. Maybe the trees here were suffering.

Another strong icy blast of wind sent the displaced hero into the grotto. There was a bizarre sense of familiarity the further he scuttled into its inky depths. Guessing it was Mount Ida, or more specifically the Dictaean Cave of Crete the birthplace of Zeus, he made his way even deeper entering a great cavern. Centered in the large chamber was a large fagot of wood smoldering in a fire pit with a small thin flame drifting lazily over the surface. His eyes adjusting to the dim interior revealed a large golden dog its fur dull and matted a shadow of its former self. Strangely, he recognized the animal, but not why he remembered it. Moving closer he noted injuries including the bloodied muzzle of the weakly panting beast. The animal appeared to have survived a battle and the sickly beast gasped for air. Statesman could not determine whether it had won or lost the fight.

Movement to the right caught his attention and he beheld a golden eagle equally besmirched and injured. The creature looked like it too had been in battle as it flopped around on a broken wing. Its sullen eyes also gave the impression it suffered from some disease as well. The blood splattered dog stared at the eagle and in a mix of a whimper and a growl Statesman realized the two animals had been the ones fighting. Before he could reach the dog to offer comfort and aid a trumpet blast of air whooshed from the entrance heralding a new threat.

The golden animals writhed in pain before attempting to make it to the back of the cavern before the presence arrived. Statesman turned toward the entrance and listened intently. No noise was heard but a brilliant white light approached. He reflexively took a step back at the approaching danger and actually felt his skin crawl. The impending arrival gripped his spine and locked him into place preventing him from retreating further.

Was this fear, he thought reminding himself who he was. He could not come to terms with the irrational feeling.

The light penetrated the darkness like a newborn from its mother and while not giving out any discernible heat it seemed to remove the grey from the area revealing mottled colors of the earth. Statesman held a hand to his eyes to shield from the intensity of the rays. At first, he saw nothing but white, then he noticed a large humanoid moving inside the glimmering globe. He was unable to determine whether the light dimmed or his eyes adjusted to the intensity. His instincts screamed for him to run, but he found himself fixed in place unable to join the two golden creatures shivering from fright in the back of the cavern.

The figure stepped forward from out of the brilliance. The naked humanoid form stood over eight feet tall topped with yellow horns and the mane of a lion. The face seemed frozen in a snarl as its eyes blazing like the sun stared through him consuming his essence. Statesman felt like he had done something wrong, like being caught with his hands in the cookie jar. He was being judged and found he could only mumble nonsensical words in defense.

The remaining attributes of the creature appeared human, save the reptile like tail. Muscles bugled from the perfect toned form like the statues from the Greek era. It stepped forth and raised its hand…

“I proffer salutations, honorable Statesman,” Occam’s Razar said extending a robotic hand attached to flesh.

Marcus blinked.

“Uh…ah… hello,” he stammered. In the blink of an eye, he had been returned to the office awestruck and frozen. Alternately, it could have been shock. He could never remember being forcibly shifted into another plane existence so easily and without disorientation.

A flash of intense bluish light startled and temporarily blinded him with a canopy of light spots in his vision.

 “Thank you…” Marcus said remembering that the Press was supposed to be present for the official introduction. “It is with great honor I meet you.” With the eyes of the drake continuing to blaze though him, Marcus found he was able to return the handshake.

“I am humbled by your statement,” Razar said bringing his robotic hands together in front of his chest and bowing slightly.

Marcus looked through the phantom blind spot caused by the flash at the Paragon Times ID worn on the photographer’s vest and caught his name. “Thank you, Brian.”

Waiting him to exit he could sense an internal struggle being waged behind the penetrating gaze of the half-dragon, a struggle that might make this simple meeting something completely different. Apparently, he was the only one experiencing the shift in reality.

“Well met, son of Grendel. I hope you find our era worthy of your experience.” He recalled the Discovery Channel special detailing the last drake. The story of Beowulf had actually happened some fifteen thousand plus years ago. Occam’s Razar had made the comment human beings suffered what he called a ‘Darker Age’ when the Saurian curse came to fruition. Humankind had lost the knowledge it had gained and would again repeat the loss over the next few thousands of years.

The private meeting of Hero Corps new public figurehead continued unabated with pleasantries exchanged. Marcus hit all the points of his official addendum and the discussion suddenly shifted. He just felt like he had to clear the air.

“I am not Zeus you know?” Marcus blurted not fully comprehending the reason why he said what he did.

The drake’s eyes narrowed as if a decision from his earlier internal conflict had been resolved.

A long pause filled the room strengthening the tension the hero felt. The look of confusion that swept across the Hero Corps recruits face actually put Marcus at ease.

“Well, of course not.”

“I think that covers the basics then,” Marcus said standing from the comfortable chair.  His muscles quivered in his legs unexpectedly and he found himself anxious to end the meeting.

“Very good,” the ancient young drake said. “I shall locate my own way out and express gratitude for your hospitality.”

Marcus Cole relaxed and breathed deeply. It was finally over and he was still could not fathom why he felt the way he did. Maybe he needed a vacation.

“I find your cave comforting in a way,” Occam’s Razar said looking back before exiting. “Reminds me a little of my home.”

The embodiment of Zeus stood in his office, contemplating what he knew of dragons and drakes. He admitted the hidden history of their kind was lost to even him. Hoping that if the last drake was truly honorable as he felt he was then everything would be fine. If not, maybe Statesman too would end up at the end of his Crey robotic claws. Giving it not another thought, he went pack to his requisition forms and his favorite quill. For a brief instant, he thought he smelled blood in the air.

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