The End is nigh. It’s not just for preachers to shout anymore.
The Grau gave us as much time as possible, more even. We had to rush a lot of diplomatic shit with my old world, and take in as many refugees as possible from the portal in Empyreal City. In the end, it was time to turn it off.
The Grau had a device for that. Teneceroni actually got the order himself when we were all gathered up at my house. They were still using it as a meeting spot, even after the unfortunate events getting rid of The Perception.
“Ding dong, the bitch is dead!” Captain Lightning celebrated.
Miss Tycism took the beer he’d grabbed out of his hand.
“You’re not happy?” He asked her.
“You’re not twenty-one,” she responded.
I decided against letting them know that Morgan had channeled me into their body. Instead, I decided to play at being Morgan still. I already let the family know. They’re all used to so much weirdness from me already, except Alexander. He’ll learn. And since this body’s not producing milk like mine was, I was feeding the newbie with a bottle instead of a boobie. Morgan preferred it that way, too. So one good thing about losing these portals, no one will be watching this kind of stuff going on.
Anyway, as far as the world’s concerned, Psychopomp Gecko bravely sacrificed herself to trap the Perception. So yeah, I’m hiding the unicorn horn and hooves right now and appear to be nothing but Morgan.
Teneceroni put his communication device down onto his belt. “They’re going to cut the portals now. We’ve given you as long as possible.” And I took steps beforehand. I went to my interdimensional base shortly after reabsorbing my godly powers. I’d used wormholes to meld different places all over the multiverse together for different reason and had to instead use them to quickly excavate a sub-basement and fill it with various equipment, including a lake of medical nanomachines. Then I shut it down.
“Let’s fuckin’ gooooooo!” Max Muscles yelled.
With the power of my returned godly power flowing through my body, I could feel it when the shutdown hit. Knowing what I did about the situation, I checked on the dark stuff: matter and energy. The flow had stopped.
I closed my eyes and reached out. I was going to clear as much of this shit out as possible.
“What are you doing?” Teneceroni asked.
“I can sense the phantom energy. The End may not be an entity in a recognizable sense. It may simply be the influx of phantom energy that causes a Big Rip effect locally, meant to spread outward,” I explained.
“You’re different. What happened to you?” Captain Lightning said.
“Some upgrades from the late, great Gecko,” I explained, truthfully. “She explained what she’d been able to scan for. Dark energy and phantom energy, specifically. They don’t play well with physics and can have some interesting effects, but too much phantom energy is dangerous. While the Ancient Horrors were present, they were able to be trapped because coming here still weakens them. They have to play by our universe’s rules, like the Perverse was talking about. They use loopholes and bend them, but enough dark energy and the rules change, because the universe flips toward their advantage.”
Teneceroni raised an eyebrow. “There are theories, but we haven’t been able to test.”
“Yeah, let’s not experiment on that. I was going to absorb the energy.”
Teneceroni got defensive about that. “It would still be a present and threatening the collapse of the universe.”
He had a point. It would make me amazingly powerful. Phenomenal cosmic power… at the risk of an itty-bitty tiny living space like the Ancient Horrors. And being a Psychopmomp, I suppose that would make me another End.
“Hmm…” I thought it over. Earth had an excess of dark energy. I supposed I could part with some and still be feared. A smile spread over my face.
“That’s a scary smile,” Max Muscles noted. He rolled up his sleeves to show off some runic tattoos in case he needed to magically wrestle me into submission.
“Don’t worry. This is bad news for someone else,” I said.
The objects containing the Ancient Horrors appeared in front of me, floating through the air. The only one not present was the Perverse who, true to my orders, was still lost. And seeing as that was an impossible task for him, he must be really fucking lost.
“This isn’t good,” Teneceroni said. He was right. The close proximity of the contained Horrors, formed of dark matter and the gathered phantom energy were distorting reality. They couldn’t control it in general, but they had just a little bit of an opening. A literal opening. The flash of light was more because of light running away from the tear in reality that appeared. “You need to stop this. Keep them separated.”
“Opportunity,” I said. “They want us to play by their rules. Let’s return the favor. Conventional matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only change forms. Of course, dark matter and energy don’t play by the same rules necessarily, with things like negative energy values and negative mass. So, why don’t we use these properties of dark matter and dark energy, and create some positive energy and baryonic matter.”
Floating in front of the portal, I gathered as much of the matter and energy together as I could, including the objects containing the captured Horrors.
A wave of pure blackness swept out at me and wrapped around me. After a moment, it settled into a bunch of arms all grasping, clawing, and punching me. “My house, my rules,” I muttered to it. One arm reached out and plunged into Teneceroni’s chest without disturbing the flesh or clothing he wore. The awestruck alien fell to the floor. I stopped him telekinetically and raised him back up, restarting his life processes. He and everyone else with some sense retreated. Even Captain Lightning, with his teenage hotheatedness, used some of that magically-endowed wisdom and backed off. I suppose after this show of power, I’ll need to gentle massage some memories into not making the connection between Morgan and the Unicorn Goddess persona I used.
The arms grabbed the edges of the portal that hung in midair as an impossible gap in reality and pulled. The darkness that emerged coalesced into a pale form in a black robe with the fabric wrapped around its face except to show where a pair of eyes looked out. “Now I get it,” I told the thing. “You’re not the End like the inevitability of death. You’re just hungry for the life force of the living.”
“You cannot contain them and myself,” the End growled.
“I don’t have to,” I said. “You want life, right?”
“Why is there music?” Miss Tycism asked. She was hiding behind my turned-over dining room table, chugging the beer she took off Captain Lightning. No time like the present.
“Big Bang Attack!” I yelled, shooting the collected ball of transforming energy through the End and into the portal. The End bent double, then stood up and felt himself.
“I’m…” he started.
“Mortal. Let there be light, motherfucker,” I finished for him. Then I walked up and kicked him through his portal. It was shifting now as things on the other side changed. Anyone able to observe the dark matter and energy would have noticed a shift as the flow of any of that from the portal completely stopped. We were actually a little lower on the ambient stuff, but not enough to cause actual issues. I just wanted a little extra oomph for this particular thing I did. And speaking of oomph, I forced that portal closed.
“What was that?” Teneceroni approached.
“The magic was shifting the nature of the energy you gathered,” Captain Lighting said.
“Yes. Shifting dark matter to conventional, what we call baryonic matter. Same for energy. Massive amounts of matter that breaks the rules of conventional physics, suddenly converted into an even larger amount, packed into the smallest possible space. It’s making quit a big bang over there.”
So yeah, when they say, “In the beginning, there was the Word,” the Word was “motherfucker.”
“You’re converting where they live into a space more like the universe,” Teneceroni observed.
“Yes. At the very least, I’m trapping those entities that threatened us in it. Except for the Perverse, I guess. So now, we have to pass through a universe to get to another universe in our multiversal cluster, if we reopen the portals. Which we actually could do safely now if we so choose.”
“No. Not yet,” Teneceroni declared. “Not until we study what’s going on. What you just did is unprecedented.”
I nodded. “To put it mildly, yeah,” I laughed. “I don’t know if it fully ended the threat from these things. I think it’s a shift in existence they’re going to spend a lot of time getting used to, but change is inevitable. And the truth is, even as many differences as well had here,” I looked especially at Captain Lightning and Miss Tycism, who I think figured out what had happened and who was now occupying this body. “This wouldn’t have been possible without all of us. Even without Gecko, the world still managed. It doesn’t need any of us, as individuals. But maybe it just needs people altogether fighting for their world. And maybe a little luck, no offense to our alien friends.”
It was awkward. That was like a speech out of nowhere, and one that didn’t make sense unless they knew, I think. I followed it up. “So that got weird. I just think I’m going to take some time off now. Anything else we need to do here?”
“No,” Teneceroni said.
I headed out to the backyard.
“So, that’s it then?” Sam asked, following after me while carrying little Alexander. My girlfriend wrapped me in a one-armed hug. “Or were you just lying?”
I shrugged. “Maybe this is a good place to end my supervillain career. I’m on top, we’re safe from oblivion, and I got a couple kids need raising. Maybe the world needs a healer, instead of a DPS or tank. You still going to love me when I stop punching people? I mean, folks like Captain Lightning have pretty good reasons to hate on me.”
Sam rolled her eyes and brushed some stray, teal hair out of her eyes. “I’ve yet to meet anyone who isn’t a fucked up person. I’m fucked up, my parents were fucked up, and my best friend is fucked up. You got all the power in the world and instead of sitting on your hands, you fixed things. And when you get wrong, you try to be right. You’ll even apologize and admit you’re wrong. You are a rare, fucked up gemstone.”
“You’re a gemstone,” I told her, getting some warm fuzzies.
Her watch’s alarm went off. “Come on. Let’s go pick our daughter up from school.”
“Our daughter?” I asked, eyebrow raised.
Sam smiled. “That girl’s going to rule the world some day and she’s going to call me mom.”
When we were leaving the house, the whole gang of mystic heroes had finally vacated from farting on my furniture and eating my food. They were standing out on the front lawn, staring at a magical projection of a large robot in rusty red armor, dripping lava, with a pair of bony girder bat-wings on the back. All around it, demonic figures streamed out of the hole it had clawed its way out of, all in the middle of L.A.’s Melrose Avenue.
“Aw shit,” I said. “Here they go again.”
“Are you coming, Axinomancer?” Teneceroni asked. I doubt he was oblivious to the fact situation.
I shook my head. “No, y’all have fun. Have a nice life.”
There were some lingering looks, but they vanished out of there after a spell from the alien mystic.
Sam and I walked on to go get our daughter, trying to have a normal day. We passed a house where one guy was receiving a package. “What, my eccentric recluse of an uncle? And all he left me was a weird glowing ring?” asked the man at the door from a delivery guy who was just doing his job. At the Burrito Bell up the street, a woman and a dinosaur appeared in a staticy burst of electricity, right in front of a pair of plumbers I recognized as former heroes. She threw one a heavy ion rifle and they started grabbing their tools to go with her. Passing a basketball court, I watched as a couple guys played nonchalantly while some teenagers wandered over toward a reflective orb hanging in midair.
I gotta say, it was a good day.
And so there was one last, tiny portal to open for the purposes of giving people some closure. It’s maybe not a good ending, but at least for now, it’s where this ends for now. I mean, a person’s story isn’t over until they die, and even then they can leave a legacy. Sometimes a complex one.
“Oh, I should fix manicotti. You think the others would like manicotti?” I asked Sam.
See you, space cowboy.
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I had a feeling this was the end (Unless this is a clever fakeout in which case I wasn’t fooled at all).
It’s been a fun ride, it was great seeing the progress in the writing, the character developments. I loved how much of an unapologetic kitchen sink of a world this was. Mutant powers, magic, alternate universes, time travel, super science, aliens… It was fun seeing it all interact.
Thanks for sticking around so long. I know it definitely saw a lot of development in my ability and in the character.
I embraced the mishmash world of comics as far as throwing all that stuff in there together. And I could have kept going, I suppose, but this seemed like the place to end it.
I hope you keep writing, even if it’s something different and even if you don’t decide to post it online.
I’ll see about it. I’ve had various ideas, but follow-through has been difficult for anything that wasn’t WDiR.
Wow. I guess I got done catching up right around when you got done writing it.
I remember seeing you in Worm’s comments, getting curious about your stuff, taking breaks and never being up to date.
And now here I am.
I even figured out some things about myself over the years, and I’m pretty sure our villainous, heroic friend had a part in all that.
It’s been a wild ride.
Thanks for having me on it.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. I’m glad this strange, twisted journey also helped you along in your own, too. Never would have thought I’d have been a part of that for someone else.