Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stakes and Lies

Approaching the deadline for this year's River of Mnemosyne Challenge, here's my fifth entry, "Stakes and Lies:"

    The goat cried out from her spot in the backyard. It woke him up, but he didn’t immediately get out of bed to check on her. He knew she had plenty of food and water, she just wanted company. Of course, being three o’clock in the morning, he wasn’t in the mood to provide any.

    He thought he could do it, for the Goddess, just one sacrificial goat and all his troubles would be over. But when he got her in the garage and looked at her there, bleating before him with those big eyes, he lost his nerve. Over the next few days he built her a pen in the backyard and bought himself a few books on goat raising. The neighbors had not been pleased, but there was nothing illegal about keeping a goat, so they could just complain amongst themselves.

    He had even gone so far as to name the goat Hope. It seemed fitting since she was almost a sacrifice to Hope for his own petty purposes. His obsession had almost driven him to do something unspeakable. He knew the stakes were high, and he had already enveloped himself in a web of lies and half-truths, but he drew the line at death.

    In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it was the last thing Hope, both the goddess and his fictional character, would want him to do. He subconsciously imagined that Hope would be pleased with his decision, giving his new pet goat the hope of a good life with him. But, with his whole future still at stake, he knew he had to do something to assure his success.

    The days passed, and he researched other, safer rituals in his occult books. Finally, after a few weeks and multiple frantic calls from his publishers, he found something that might be useful to him. He found a binding spell.

    This particular form of binding ritual would allow him to infuse material with the essence of the Goddess... if it worked. He’d never really tried any sort of occult magic before. Maybe it was all a lot of hokum and nonsense. But he still aimed to try.

    He put off his publishers another few weeks claiming rewrites and another attempt at better artwork, pulling the artist card was always good for a brief extension on deadlines. If you claimed your artwork wasn’t quite good enough yet, who were they to argue? With more lies in place and an extension locked in, Kirby Lee started making his preparations.

    He already knew exactly what items he wanted to imbue with the essence of the Goddess; first there were the two maquettes he’d had made for his own use as character reference. He had created Voom’s look and sent his sketches to a friend who was also one of the most talented sculptors working in the comic collectible field at the time. There were two poses he wanted, Voom’s power stance and Voom in flight. It seemed fitting that these would contain a part of the Goddess to make them truly as powerful as they looked.

    Next he had selected the ink and paper stock he would use on his own original pages of the first two issues. He wanted the Goddess to flow through each page with the stroke of his ink pen.

    The final piece was actually an element he would send to the publisher as part of his own “quirky artist’s” request, a special vial of ash that would then be mixed with the ink used to print the first run of Voom comics. This way, he could be sure that the fans would each hold a little bit of the Goddess in their hearts, keeping her alive.

    Of course, this was all still wild speculation on his part. Who knew if this ritual would even work? He had contacted as many occult experts as he dared to find out how likely these magics were to be real and not some elaborate hoax to sell books, and had been met with both assurances and doubts in equal measure. It seemed to be about a fifty-fifty split, and those were not good odds. Still, he was determined. And really, what could it hurt? If it didn’t work, he had just wasted a little time and worked all the harder on the finished product, maybe that would be enough for his book to succeed.

    And there was always the chance that it would work, that it would actually would bind the essence of the Goddess Hope to the character and comic of Voom, and put him back at the top of the comic book game.

    McFarlane had his angels and demons, but how did that compare to the ancient power of a goddess?


    Somewhere in the infinite recesses of the void, Hope shined brighter than she had in eons. As that tiny little Earth man started the ritual, she could feel herself strengthening, and the slightest tug began to pull her from the darkness.

The End... for now...

Well, I've already made it further than any past challenge, so yay me. Hopefully I can get one more before the night is through.

William the Bloody Satisfied With Where He Made It This Time Around Redd


JeffScape said...

This is starting to remind me of Weird Science, except it's "Weird Religion."

Which seems like it would work if, you know, YOU FINISHED THE DAMNED THING!


Tom said...

ah, holy crap. 5 chapters in and liftoff! This could be good, and illustrations would be fun too

Ute Orgassa said...

There should be more.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I kept wanting him to talk with the goat, even if only one sided and him imagining the rest. Could be me, but this is a great beginning of the unwinding of Lee and his internal images, hopes and nightmares.

Baino said...

So much potential for this, you got me hooked then let me flail. But yes, you should be satisfied that you made it more than half way :)