8FOLD: Mighty Medley # 9, September 2014, by Messrs. Brenton, Perron & Russell

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Mon Sep 1 04:58:41 PDT 2014

-------------EIGHTFOLD PROUDLY PRESENTS-------------
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------------- ISSUE # 9 SEPTEMBER 2014 --------------
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--------------- Editor, Tom Russell ----------------


"Wetwork" Part 1 of 2, by Tom Russell
Darkhorse in Lemuria. A mercenary illustrates his plans to murder our
heroine. A useful guide not only in how to kill a speedster, but the
expenses involved. In our next number, we will see exactly how that
pans out.

"Space Invaders", by Tom Russell
A difficult story. Difficult to summarize in this space, difficult to
read-- but as with all things difficult, perhaps it too has its

"Beyond the Fields" Part 9, by Saxon Brenton
Offering a fascinating glimpse into the physical and social lives of
the heavenly host, and a more unsettling glimpse into the nature of
the landscape painting. Containing the tale of Taraniel, and the story
of the insidious month of May 1969.

"Original Characters", by Andrew Perron
Four-colour heroism! Five-dimensional villainy! Exclamation points!

"Seven 'Gainst Thebes" Part 8, by Tom Russell
In which Adams attempts to convince Marshal 999 of his innocence. The
pleasures of the English language explained, and, perhaps,
illustrated. Kestrels and windhovers.

-----------------------Part 1-----------------------
------------Copyright 2014 Tom Russell--------------

Melody Mapp's wristwatch gives her super-speed. It's also keeping her
alive. She doesn't have much time left, but she's going to spend every
second on the run as the third, final-- and greatest-- DARKHORSE.

June 2014. Lemuria.
   The ancient Lemurian ceremony is being sung in Ancient Lemurian, so
the afternoon Melody spent mastering their modern tongue is pretty
much useless. But she's pretty sure the fish-ninja bursting through
the stained glass windows aren't part of the act.
   "Death to the pretender! Life to the Blackfin!"
   (Yep, not part of the ceremony. This dweeb is here to kill Terry on
behalf of his power-hungry brother.)
   "Death to the... where is the pretender? He was here a second ago!"
   "That'd be me," offers Darkhorse cheerfully. She stashed him away
about ten miles as the stingray swims.
    The fish-ninja reaches into his belt for his fishurikens. Which
are not there. "Wha--?"
   "Also me," says Darkhorse, using them like cards to do a
self-satisfied accordion flush. "Afraid I was a little clumsy, though.
Sliced your bag of knockout dust."
   The fish-ninja holds up the bag to investigate it. "No you didn't!"
   "Knew I forgot something. Easily remedied." The fishuriken rips
through the bag; a cloud of knockout dust billows forth; the
fish-ninja collapses.

The secret base, just outside Lemuria, of Edvark the Blackfin. "We are
disappointed in you, Fenrick. And your ninja. Your task was to restore
to us our stolen crown. Yet my hated half-brother Terak still lives."
   "He is protected by the human female. If we but wait until she left..."
   "And while we wait, they continue to hound us, and will surely find
us. We must achieve our aim before they achieve theirs. If the woman
is an obstacle, then naturally you must remove her first. Then Terak
will be child's play..."

His terms are simple: ten million you-ess-dee, up-front, no refunds.
Fenrick can barely hide his shock. "Ten million is a lot of your
money, surface-man. Even for a man of your reputation."
   "Murder is an expensive business. Especially for a speedster. But I
think you'll find my prices more than fair." The assassin holds a
bullet between a pair of tweezers. He points it at Fenrick, who
reaches to touch the tip with his finger. His finger passes through
it. "Ghost-shot. Harmless to solid matter; only thing that can tag a
speedster when they're vibrating. One million dollars. Each. Four
   He pulls out a device that looks like a bullhorn. "Less expensive,
just as vital. Vibrational vertigo. A speedster always knows when a
bullet's coming because he can feel it from the second it's shot.
Quarter-mill a piece. I'll need eight. Brings us up to six million
altogether, running total.
   "Then there's the main event." He holds up a small vial, smaller
than his thumb, containing a clear black liquid. The fact that the
liquid is both black and clear isn't the strangest thing about it.
"I'm fast, but not near as fast as she is. Fifteen milliliters of
Hermys will give me her powers for forty seconds. Also shave about two
years off of my life. Three million.
   "Leaving one million dollars, labor. To kill a speedster and die
two years younger? Yeah, for that? A million's cheap. Practically
doing it for free."

-------------------SPACE INVADERS-------------------
------------Copyright 2014 Tom Russell--------------

The y thin k t he Go r go n is be hind it. I don 't k now a bout t
hat; doe snots e em hi s M .O. N or FE V ER' s.
   W ho ever i tis, its tarted a tab outs eve no' clock wit hap op u
la r coo king webs it e. As mall err ants paces mack d a bin them id d
le oft hew or d "pre he at". On e sing les pace w here its ho u ld n
't b et hen as eco n dap pear ed. So on its p read too the r sit e son
t hen et. Byte n, thee n tire intern et, take no verb y s paces.
   D id no t s top the re, wit hour pho ne sand lap to ps. Eve nonce
wed is con ne c ted, t hoses paces pop p e dup al la round: an a log
type writ e r s, new sprint, long h and. T hen, terrify in g, s pee c
hand though tit self.
   We b w ass imp lee no ugh top u tri g h t (norm alf our-co lore s
cap ad e). T hat l eave suss even teen w hoar e d esper ate f ora sol
ut ion. We' real it t le mo red if f i cult. May be imp o s sib le.
Butt hey 'ret r yin g.
   Sow hat 'sit like? Tin y pa us e sin t he bra in. Ma kes thin king,
s pea king, al loft hat as lows t rug g le. C an bar el y ma kes en se
toot hers. F ors o me on ew how rites pro fess ion ally, t h isis un
bear able tome, he art breaking.
   La t el y, If in d my self wrap tin m elan c holy re minder soft
hem an w h ora is ed me. D ad wasabi go per as tar, as wee tan din
credible ten or. M others aids head o red hi s sin gin g fir stand
them an sec on d. In eve r h ear d it; be fore t hey ha d meh eh ad ac
old t hat la s ted form on t h s. W hen h ere covered, hen ever so und
ed t he sam e. Hebe came bit te ran d bro ken. D rank c heap boo zen
early e very after no on, mad eh is v o ices our. Ad ark, bro o ding
she l loft hem an m other on cel is ten ed tow it h rapt ur e. In ever
k new hi m ash ew a sand n ever w ant ed t ob el ike them an I k ne w.
D add is gust ed t hiss on be cause hel et j us tone p art de fin eh
is en t ire s elf. Hel o stone ski l land le tit de s troy bot ho f
the m. Al lo f us. In ever for g ave hi m fort hat.
   Butt here's ad is tin c tan dun be arable pos sib i lit y t hat In
ever w ill w rite ac oh er ent orc om p el ling par a graph eve rag a
in. T hew or d s t ha ton cede lighted m enow rank le, ass on go n ceo
v er whelmed afor me r te nor wit hat err i b lean g er.

-----------------BEYOND THE FIELDS------------------
----------------------Part 9------------------------
-----------Copyright 2014 Saxon Brenton-------------

   They went to a restaurant and ordered coffee and cake.  For what
it's worth the body that Joan was currently manifesting didn't need to
eat or drink.  However she was capable of digestion, and moreover had
functioning taste buds, so the angel wasn't adverse to eating an
occasional light meal when socialising with humans.
   "So how have you been doing?" asked Deirdre as the waitress left
their table.
   "I have some information about the painting," Joan replied,
referring to the landscape signed by Adolf Hitler that Deidre had found.
   Deirdre allowed herself a lopsided smile.  "I meant personally."
   That was unexpected, but Joan didn't let it phase her.  Long
experience had taught her that sometimes mortal thinking ran off in
unexpected and impulsive directions.  "I am fine," she replied.  "It's
always nice to get back to the celestial Jerusalem, even for a brief
topover.  Most of my immediate friends are also doing well."  Then
she added, "Taraniel is unfortunately still in the equivalent of a
coma, but he's expected to recover soon.  Without going into too many
details, he was on mission to stop a Hell-wrought scheme, and things
escalated out of control."  She gave Deidre an arch smile. "He managed
to put a stop to it all right," then she sighed, "but there were a lot
of explosions involved, and he took some trauma when his body was
   Deidre nodded, seeing the bittersweet gist of the otherwise
triumphal story.  He would have respawned on the spiritual level, but
for some reason been left unconscious.  She also wondered what 'soon'
might mean in the context of an immortal's point of view, but didn't
get to ask because that was when the food arrived.
   They paused the conversation for a moment to eat a few bites.  Then
Joan put down her fork and said, "But back to the business at hand.  You
remember how we were thinking that the painting was a physical but
non-material representation of the neo-Nazi world view, and was acting
as mimetic virus?"  Deidre nodded.  "Very well then.  The forensic
scanalysis indicates it doesn't consist of a comparatively simple
memeplex, nor that it's spreading it with a shallow 'follow me' type
fascination effect.  Apparently it has a holisticly stored template of
an entire world.  I think that's why we saw that police dinosaur outside
   Deidre stated at her.  "So it's not just an idea of what someone
wants the world to be like.  It's from a somewhere else where the world
actually is like that."
   "Well, crap.  Okay, next question: Was the dinosaur out there made
of matter or was it another iconic manifestation?"
   "From what I could see it was made of atomic matter," Joan said.
   "So whatever's happening is starting to physically change reality."
Deidre tsked with her teeth.  "That's bad.  Not even the attacks by the
Summer of Love went that far..."
   Joan recognised the reference to the few occasions that the month
of May 1969 had turned up, calling itself the Summer of Love, and tried
to impose the zeitgeist of the late sixties on whatever time period it
was manifesting in.  And not the pleasant, touchy-feely stuff either,
but instead the post-post Woodstock, helter-skelter nightmare.  "The
Seven Wonders usually put a stop to those quite quickly, as I recall,
but you're right.  During all those incursions there weren't any
reports of physical manifestations - other than what the people affected
by it made with their own hands."
   "Yeah.  I had a brief look at those events, just in case there was
anything useful..." Deidre said.  She stood up.  "Let's pay the bill
and go for a walk out in the open where we can get some privacy.  I
need to think about this."
   They did so.

--------------- ORIGINAL CHARACTERS ----------------
-----------Copyright 2014 Andrew Perron-------------

   September First, Nineteen Seventy-Seven!
   Susan Lincoln and Patrick Argyle step out from a lecture hall in
the film department of Jolt City University. "So for our project this
semester," Susan said, "I've been thinking about this little story
about a flower growing on an alien planet. We could do it in
stop-motion with clay."
   "Eh, I dunno." Patrick shrugged. "I don't want to piggyback off
everybody else suddenly being so into sci-fi."
   Susan snorted. "Well! Aren't you Mister Originality?"
   "No, but I am!" In a bursting flash of multicolored light, a
strange figure appeared. It was like the outline of a man, with weird,
compact proportions, filled in with a shadow that held hints of
kaleidoscopic, shimmering light. It looked absolutely flat from
whatever angle you viewed it. "I'm here to help you with your BO -
Being Original!" The figure clapped its hands, or rather, its outline
shifted as the noise of clapping rang out. "It looks like you're
having trouble creating new things on this timeline!"
   "Uh..." Patrick looked around for the hidden cameras. "I guess,
Mister Originality. I just don't have any ideas!"
   "Looks like what you need is a change of perspective!" Mister
Originality waved the outlines of his hands, and Patrick suddenly
snapped from three dimensions to two, his eyes wide, his figure
   Susan was already running. She called up the police, who dialed the
secret number of Jolt City's greatest four-color hero - the Green
   The Green Knight arrived, with his sprightly sidekick, the Acro-Bat, in tow!
   "Careful!" said the Green Knight, scanning the situation. "I
believe this fellow is but a three-dimensional aspect of a
five-dimensional being. It's bound to be mercurial and tricky, as
different aspects of its five-dimensional nature intersect with our
   "If you say so, Pops," said the Acro-Bat. "So how do we beat him-- it?"
    "I hypothesize that it's much like the tendrils of a sea anemone.
Without conscious effort, they curl up when they are poked. Therefore,
if we can 'poke' the right 'spot' on this being, it may 'curl' back
out of our dimension!"
   "Hot-diggity-dog! What deduction!"
   "I'll take the first crack!" said the Green Knight.
   "Just a sec, boss!" The Acro-Bat's eyes were bright! "I got an idea!"
   "Hmmmm! Your youthful brain may be more unpredictable! Very well!"
   The Acro-Bat flipped up to the weird being! "My name's Luke, and I
have a question about being original! If I have three ideas I copied
off a movie, and a fourth I came up with myself, which should I use?"
   "Ho, ho, that's easy! You should use the fourth, Luke! ...Luke.
Luke. Luke." The figure's glimmering stopped, then began to grow. "No.
No. NO NO NO NO NO" The 'NO's rose higher and higher in pitch until
they were unintelligible. Mister Originality's outline turned,
rotated. The glimmering intensified, until the figure was a line
blazing with light - and was gone!
   The flat figure of Patrick snapped back to 3D reality. "Wha-huh?"
   "And you said those movies would rot my brain!" laughed the Acro-Bat.
   "Nice work - but don't get cocky!" said the Greek Knight. "The next
one might not be swayed by something off the top of your head!"
   "Geez!" said the Acro-Bat. "Can't a fella catch a break?"

--------------SEVEN 'GAINST THEBES------------------
----------------------Part 8------------------------
------------Copyright 2014 Tom Russell--------------

   "Now, Marshal," said Adams, approaching him gentle-like, "murder is
an awfully strong word. Because if we're talking about those-- well, I
hesitate to call them gentlemen-- piled up near the hanging tree..."
   "We are," said Three-Nine.
   "Well, sir, there you are wrong, because I did not murder them. I
snuck up on them, shot them in the back, and killed them, and there is
a difference."
   "Killed; murdered: it is the same."
   "Adams," cautioned Silke.
   "I got this," said Adams. "Begging your pardon, Marshall, but it
seems plain to me that you are a mechanical man, an automaton, what
has a mechanical brain?"
   The Marshal's head tilted slightly and with a groan in an imitation of a nod.
   "Seems to me I read something once, one time, about a man what had
such a brain. And they-- and I don't rightly know who they is, but
they did it-- they put something like a thousand words in his brain. A
thousand don't necessarily seem like a lot, but it was enough,
apparently, to teach him ten thousand facts, which he could recall
with perfect memory. Also could do sums quicker and better than most
people. A marvel, or so it said in the article.
   "A thousand words, and that's all they had room for, so they had to
practice concision, which incidentally is not one of the words for
which they had room. When there were two words, or three, or ten, what
meant near the same thing, they used just one. Which is a shame,
because the charm of English is that it allows for style and shades.
Best language there is, I think. Certainly the best for cursing. Come
to think of it, French might be better for... well, for something I
ain't comfortable mentioning in mixed company." He looked to Hank. "By
which I mean the Marshal, of course."
   Three-Nine spoke. "I am both acquainted with and equipped for human
fornication. I am also growing impatient." His pistol made a whirling
   "Adams," said Silke.
   "Trust me," said Adams. "Marshal, I am rapidly circling around
something resembling my point. And that is that there are words what
mean near the same thing, but the key thing is that nearness. They
ain't the same, just very near, and it always makes a difference.
There's a bird that some folks call a kestrel, some a windhover, and
some something like a windhover, but a trifle more indelicate. And
they are the same bird, and I suppose it don't matter to the bird what
you call it, except maybe it don't want to be called the third thing.
The words mean the same thing, mean that bird, but yet they don't mean
the same thing. One woman calls that bird a kestrel, another calls it
a windhover, I'm going to be partial to the second, maybe even try to
kiss her, because she has poetry in her. Poetry makes things
interesting. I don't know if whoever made you had room to put poetry
in your tin noggin. Hoping so.
   "Murder, kill, they mean near the same thing. But there's that
nearness again, and this time it's not just a matter of poetry. I did
indeed kill those men, but I did not murder them. They was attempting
to hang this lovely, uh, man. If they had succeeded, they would not
have killed him, but murdered him. Shades of meaning, Marshal. Near
the same, but different. By killing, I did prevent a murder from
taking place. Therefore, I did not commit murder."
   Three-Nine looked at the noose around Hank's neck, and lowered his
gun. "You did it to save another. That is sufficient and supported by
evidence. You could have said that and only that, and it would have
been sufficient."
   "I suppose so," said Adams mournfully. "I suppose you call it a
kestrel, too."

-----------------SEE YOU NEXT MONTH-----------------

All stories are the copyright of their authors.

All characters are the creations of their authors, unless otherwise noted:

Green Knight and Acro-Bat created by Tom Russell, and used with
enthusiastic permission!

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