"The Face of Me," A Cartoon Story By John Pirillo. Just how big an ego can you get when you have super powers?
The Face of Me
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
"It's really quite simple." Einstein told him as he sat comfortably in Johnnie's chair at the table. He had his pipe in one hand, which he used to punctuate points he was making and Danish in the other, which he ate between words, rolling his eyes with pleasure.
"I must take some of these back with me." Einstein said, nodding at the stack of Danish.
Johnnie looked at the back of the kitchen where Cartoon stood, glowing softly, her eyes lit up with amusement at Johnnie's discomfort. "Uh, Al, I don't think that is going to work."
"Why not?" Al protested.
"Because..." Johnnie took a comic book he had his hand on and flipped it onto the kitchen counter.
"...You're a comic book character and not real." Johnnie finished.
He got up, eyed the missing Danish. "Cartoon, how come he was able to eat these?"
"You made him real. He lives by the standards of your world's physics."
"But he didn't even realize he was a comic book character."
"That's because to people like him, everything's a comic book creation. They can't tell the difference. If you were to go to my world, Johnnie, it'd seem real to you while you were there. You'd also be subject to all the rules of that universe."
"I have and I was." Johnnie agreed. He sat back down and played with a Danish for a moment. He took one, bit a chunk out, and then set the rest back on a small plate in front of him. He grabbed his glass of milk and washed down the chunk. He dabbed his mouth with a paper napkin, then eyed Cartoon again.
She had been waiting for this moment. He could see it in her eyes.
"I want to go to your world again."
"To test a theory I have."
She smiled. "You might be disappointed. Theories have a way of fizzling where I live."
"You live here."
She came over and sat next to him and put her head on his shoulder. "I don't want to go back."
"But you do. All the time."
She sat straight in her chair and then sighed. "I'm a Princess. I can't just abandon my people."
"Gotcha!" He said rising from his chair. "So let's go."
"You need me to help you transition..." She never got to finish her sentence. Johnnie was there one moment and the next...Gone!
Johnnie stood on top a steep hill with flourishes of cartoon flowers of radiant blue, red and yellow dotting its sides. A small pavilion of marshmallows stood behind him. He gazed at the incredible Wizard of Oz type palace that hovered several yards above the plain some miles in the distance. The morning suns cast huge shadows from it, which criss crossed the hill he stood on, casting it in colors of the rainbow.
"Shadows are so neat here." Johnnie said as Cartoon stepped from his world into hers and stopped beside him. He didn't even watch as the opening between worlds closed without a sound.
"How did you do that?" She asked.
He shrugged. "Just sprouted one day."
He turned to smile into her face. It was solemn. Her face.
"I don't know what's going on, that's why I called old Al up. I've been talking to him for about a month now."
She gave him a shocked look. "I thought..."
"I know." He said gently. "But I can't wait for you to wake up, or come back for me to get on with my life."
He waved at the distant city and the hill and the skies, which were like turbulent fields of clouds shifting colors constantly. "I need to understand all of this. Why it exists. Why our world exists. Why..." Here he paused a long moment, searching for the word, then said. "...Why I exist?"
Cartoon took his right hand in hers. "You exist because you do. Why do you need to know more than that?"
"That used to satisfy me. I exist, therefore I am. Therefore nothing more need be said. To paraphrase an old philosopher I read in my Philosophy class, but it doesn't change my innate curiosity about all of this.
"Cartoon, I'm human. You're not."
She gave him a sad look.
"I don't mean in that way. I mean physically. No matter how many times you visit my world, you will always be a cartoon. No matter how many times I visit your world or transform into comic book characters, I will always be...human."
"But the glow you've started to emit." She pointed out.
He held his hands out. "Not glowing now."
She frowned. "They don't glow here."
"Another weird thing to consider." He admitted.
He hugged her briefly, and then turned his attention on the distant city. "It's so beautiful."
"I know. Johnnie, you're avoiding my questions!"
"Actually." He smiled. "I'm avoiding mine."
Before she could respond to that a huge shadow crossed over them. They spun around. Without thinking Cartoon pulled her glowing sword from its scabbard, which had appeared when she crossed into her own world and prepared for battle. Johnnie just stood there looking at the huge face examining them. It looked somehow familiar, though he couldn't place it yet.
"Different." The face said to them.
"Nah. We're like two peas in a pod." Johnnie retorted, grinning devilishly.
Cartoon wanted to give him a hug and kiss at that moment. It was what turned her on so much about him. He could joke in the face of danger. He wasn't being stupid, or silly. Just being himself. Amused at the life strokes he was dealt.
The Face frowned. "What are peas in a pod?"
Johnnie shrugged. "No big thing really. So what's up, Dude?"
The Face frowned even more deeply. "I am not...a Dude!"
Johnnie shrugged again. "No offense meant, just a turn of the tongue."
The Face's eyebrows knotted together angrily. "You play with me, mortal?"
Johnnie's eyes narrowed. "Then I have to assume you're some kind of god."
The Face lost its anger. "I am that which I am, even as you are what you are."
Cartoon suddenly brightened. "Johnnie, it's..."
"I know. Me!"
The Face smiled, revealing spiked teeth. It eyes were not human at all. "I am not...you!"
"True enough." Johnnie said, eyeing the face uncertainly. "But you sure got the curiosity of me."
"What is a me?"
The Face recoiled as if struck. "I am not me!"
Johnnie broke into laughter. "I'm sorry, but this is just getting more and more ridiculous by the moment. Please excuse me, Cartoon; I've got to return home. Got a job at the diner to do."
He winked out of existence.
Cartoon stood there looking at the Face. "Why have you come here?"
"I am always here." It paused, its eyes rolling in thought. "I am always there."
Cartoon frowned deeply. "I think you should leave now."
"How can I leave when I was never here to begin with?" The Face asked and vanished.
Cartoon stood there uncertain and fearful a moment, and then she stepped between the worlds.
Johnnie was gone. She went to the front door to look out. The Landlord stood there, his eyes wide as saucers."You won't believe what I just saw leave your apartment!"
Cartoon smiled kindly at the lecherous old man. "He was kinda in a hurry."
"A giant face?" The Landlord blurted out, then shaking his head, he headed for the stairway. "What are these kids on these days?" He froze for a moment, halfway down. "Hell, what am I on?"
Cartoon blocked the laughter from issuing forth and shut the front door.
Johnnie stood framed in the bedroom. She gave him a startled look. "But I thought..."
"Oh that!" He smiled.
"I figured it out."
"Figured what out?"
"Who the giant face was." He held out a comic book. "The Super Ego Monster Strikes!"
She took it. This gigantic face floated above a helpless city while it hurled thunderbolts against it.
"Found this at an antique store. It never made it past this issue. I guess people get enough big egos in their lives. Don't want to read more about them on top of that."
Cartoon shoved him back towards the bedroom. "We've got to do something about that ego of yours. It's getting too big to handle." She quipped.
He gave her a hug. "How about we take a rain check on that ego buster fix you got in store, gotta rush or I'll be late for Al's Diner."
She crossed her arms, angry at him as he rushed to the door, but when he looked back, all the love she saw in his eyes and the warmth of the smile on his lips blew all her anger away. He blew a kiss at her. "Keep the motor running. I'm ready for a wild ride!"
He shut the door.
The Screaming Statue Sherlock Holmes Story By John Pirillo. Monsters are not always so easy to spot. Will the real monster please stand up?
The Screaming Statue
Sherlock Holmes Story
By John Pirillo
James stood by the window overlooking Baker Street, musing about the recent past. Watson sat comfortably on his chair near the fireplace, sipping his usual tea and munching on a scone that Mrs. Hudson had brought up especially for him. They were becoming like creatures he thought to himself. Anticipating each other's needs. He wondered sometimes if that were ever possible for him as well. Ever since he had been lost to Lilith his world had been filled with heady adventures...but his soul felt this vague emptiness, and when he was honest with himself, it was the Fairy Princess. The one woman who had loved him no matter what.
"Rather glum this morning." Sherlock noted over the puffs of his favorite meerschaum pipe. It had been a gift from the good Queen Mary of Scots for the help he had given her in clearing her name of the crimes she had been accused of in their last case. Funny, how even the most exalted and beloved of figures could fall from grade, he mused, while waiting for James to respond.
James turned to face Sherlock, a light smile on his lips, but not reaching his face. He felt good to be with his friends he loved so dearly, but the weight of his heart kept his smile from burning to his face and lighting it up. "Did you know that the rate of rainfall is no more or less than the rate of a man whom falls the same height?"
"No luck in finding her then?" Sherlock went straight to the point of the matter, obviating the need of James to obfuscate the issue by bringing up raindrops as a side discussion.
James sighed. He sat opposite Watson, who looked up from his usual morning paper and folded it in his lap to listen. "It's as if she has vanished from the face of the earth." He finally said, his face strained with fear and doubt.
Watson patted him on the knee in a gentle touch. "Dear James, not all thunder is preceded or followed by lightning."
Watson glared at him.
"I was just being..."
"Metaphorical." Sherlock jumped in. "Yes. Yes. I know, but the man needs more than philosophy at this moment, am I not right, James?"
James gave Sherlock a look of relief. "You'll help me then?"
Sherlock rose and went to his coat rack, slipped off his morning jacket and on his overcoat for traveling. He took his cap and slid it over his scalp and tucked his looser hairs beneath it. "I see no reason for putting it off any longer, do you Watson?"
Watson began sputtering. "But breakfast..."
Sherlock gave Watson the hint of a smile. "Will not be missed by that stout figure you now present, dear fellow."
Watson glanced surreptitiously at his stomach which was a bit larger than it should be, then hurriedly at Sherlock, then James. "For God and country then."
"What about the Queen?" Sherlock added.
"God knows she well enough protected." Watson shot back, a bit more testily than one would have thought he might.
James did his best not to laugh. The camaraderie between these two was tremendous. It was as if the original Sherlock had never died and left Watson on his own before James came into the picture. He still remembered their first day of meeting when Watson and Challenger thought he was the Moriarity who had killed Sherlock. It had taken every effort of his intellect and his being to convince them otherwise, but he had done so, and over time become a valuable member of the Brotherhood of Baker Street, but a willing and good partner to Watson as well, who did not let Sherlock's legacy wither beneath the dread wings of time.
James slipped his jacket on. He didn't prefer capes like Sherlock, but rather the more long double breasted style worn by the upper level classes of the Britains. "I'm sure this is a waste of time."
Sherlock shrugged. "Perhaps. But if it helps to lever you into a better position of using what intellect you allow yourself these days, then..."
"Then?" James urged.
"....Then it will have been worth it." Watson finished, looking with regret back at the stack of scones beside the teapot and the cup he had been sipping from. On impulse as the others began down the staircase, he ran back stuffed his own overcoat with a handful of the scones, and as Mrs. Hudson came up as he was going down, he gave her a quick swipe of his lips on her cheek, then hollered over his shoulder. "The game's afoot!"
Mrs. Hudson turned to watch her fiancée exit. "There's always a game afoot with you three!" She shook her head and continued up the stairs.
The one thing the Thames provided Londoners that no other river in history had was easy access not only to the Atlantic and thereby the main continent of the Europes, but also an ongoing source of a strong trade supply route. Britain, while advancing in aeronautics and its newer Tesla vehicles, still relied heavily on water transport for most of its trade and travel.
So it came as no surprise to anyone, except James, that Sherlock would start his search at the docks of the local merchant ships, where burly sailors hefted barrels of pork, wine, salt and exotic oils to the docks where they were sorted out by local merchants with their crews and then distributed to various warehouses along the dock, and some more directly to the actual establishments themselves.
James braced himself against the stiff Northerly wind of that morning, his nose tingling from the biting cold of the bracing wind. Watson shrugged deeper into his overcoat, and finally, disgusted with the temperatures, tugged on a pair of warm gloves.
Sherlock was the only one apparently untouched by the extreme weather.
Touches of snow glistened on distant rooftops.
The sun barely peeked above the horizon, its arms of light reddening the cloudy sky with threats of rain.
The grimy, salt laden planks of the dock greeted their feet as they made their way across them towards the Queen Ann of Lathethrop, a smaller merchant vessel. While appearing small, it actually had quite a deep hold, thanks to its triple tiered construction. Jules and Wells had loaned their building technologies to the local shipwright, Sir Amroy Smith, a jolly older man with a tummy twice the size of some men. He was a source of endless tales of the sea as well as nautical knowledge, of which Holmes had the need at that moment.
They boarded the small vessel, some of the sailors recognizing Holmes and doffing their caps to him, or waving two fingers in the universal salute of friendship.
Amroy stood at the wheel of the ship, a large map spread on a portable table next to the wheel, which was carved of fine ivory and had tiny figures of deities and mythological creatures inlaid into it. "Ah, Sherlock!"
Sherlock took his hand and shook it, then turned to his companions. "I would like to introduce my good friend and partners, John Watson and James Moriarity."
At the name of Moriarity Amroy stiffened.
When it came time for James to shake, Amroy withdrew his hand.
James didn't take it badly. Instead he laughed. "I'm sorry to have laughed, Sir Amroy, it's just that I am nothing like the man whom you believe me to be."
Amroy turned to Sherlock, who nodded. "James here is an emigrant from another part of...shall we say...our world...and is a very, very distant relative to the late Professor Moriarity...though unrelated in every way but looks, of course."
Amroy lost his defensive attitude and smiled. He offered his hand again. "In that case I am sorry for my belligerent attitude, James, please forgive me."
"Happily given." James said, thus completing the disarming of Amroy's hostility in its entirety.
"I see you have been examining the map I secured." Sherlock pointed out, a finger touching the rather antique looking map, which had mythological creatures at its four corners signifying the quadrants of direction and 9 continents. One of which was Fairie.
"Sir Amroy." James spoke up. "Nine continents? I thought there was only seven of renown."
"Indeed, there are, but as you and..." Here he winked at Sherlock and then Watson. "...I'm sure your companions must realize...not all continents need to be physically present to exist."
"Ah." James said, understanding. "I have been to this." He stabbed Fairie. "But this other..."
Amroy glanced at Sherlock. "It is the place that Sherlock and I both believe your friend to have vanished to."
James face went suddenly still. He seemed frozen for a moment, as if he couldn't believe his own ears. "You're saying she is there?"
Sherlock shook his head. "James, the screaming statue did."
"Screaming Statue?" James asked, totally perplexed by the words.
Inside the Captain's Cabin Amroy stood next to an elegant desk made of highly polished rosewood and iron, gelded with gold and silver and inlays of pearl and semi-precious stones. "Don't mind the desk, gentleman, and a gift from a Rajah of the India Isles. This...this is what you seek?"
Amroy gestured to a rather large unveiled object shrouded in a purple cloth in the center of the desk. This is the Screaming Statue.
"I hear nothing." James noted.
Amroy gave him a friendly look of forgiveness. "That is because I have covered its eyes. It cannot stand seeing the world about it."
"What's wrong, Watson?" Sherlock asked, alarmed at his friend's reaction.
"I do not feel any good will come of this. And this thing, whatever it might be, it does not belong of this world."
"That is so, Doctor Watson." Amroy agreed. "And that is precisely why it should help in your..." Here he nodded to James. "...In the discovery of certain informations."
Before Watson could respond Amroy plucked the cloth from the object and a huge head mounted on a gold base stood revealed. The head was made of some kind of exotic metal that looked like gold but had flecks of green and blue that seemed to shiver in the candle light of the cabin.
"I hear nothing." Watson declared, relieved to find only a brutish looking head instead of some kind of monstrous thing.
Then its golden eyelids opened wide, revealing eyes like that of a snake. The eyes looked first at Amroy, then Sherlock. It ignored Watson, but when it saw James it began to scream!
A huge castle of dark stone was melded with a mountain of similar stone. The crest of the mountain was a vast crater that spewed sulfurous smoke and thin curtains of bright fires. The mountain shook and trembled very lightly. The windows of the castle were dark, except for one. That one was lit brightly from inside. A woman looked out the window at the cone of the mountain. As she did the mountain spit a larger glob of fire.
She turned her attention away from the dark skies and shrouds of sulfurous smoke and eyed the door that shut her into the room. The room was sparsely furnished. A bed. Two chairs. A fireplace that was cold. A small table with a rotting piece of bread and a bowl of brackish water. It had been her home for quite some time now.
She sighed, and looked back out the window. No matter what they threatened her with, she had not given in. She would not marry the monster who ruled this dark kingdom.
The door flung open and she gasped, startled by the abruptness of it.
She turned to look as Professor Moriarity came into the room, his face dark with a subtle kind of evil that went beyond his good looks. An evil that withered the soul and blackened the heart of those who kept close to it. She had refused to do such. Perhaps that was what kept her alive. She didn't know. Wasn't sure.
He gave her that quiet leer he always wore for her sake and smiled, coldly and with much malice. "Soon." He said. "Very soon now. You shall give me what I want!"
He pulled out an odd shaped rod from the pocket of his jacket and stabbed it at her so quickly she couldn't dodge it. She screamed as her body was wrapped in coils of blazing yellow and green energies.
James cast the purple cloth back over the head and it silenced.
Watson rushed out the cabin door to vomit over the railing.
Sherlock stood there, his face grim.
Amroy turned to them.
"It's worse than I thought." He offered gently.
James turned to Amroy. "You know how to get there?"
Amroy stabbed a finger on the map he had brought inside and laid upon the table. "Here. Here is where she is."
"But that doesn't exist in England." James noted.
Amroy nodded. "Not this England. Not this..." Amroy shrugged as he gestured about them.
Sherlock went outside to see to Watson, knowing the case was now in good hands with James. James leaned forward and examined the map more closely. "The entrance to this ninth continent is in England?"
"Actually." Amroy said touching a spot where a light x had been marked. "It is here."
James looked up. "The Queen's treasury?"
"But there is nothing there but the royal crown jewels. I myself have seen them!" James declared, his face boiling with uncertainty.
"Yes. I'm sure that's true. But what of the other side of the room. The part she has not shown you?"
"There is more?"
Amroy nodded. "Yes. Much, much more. I myself and my crew helped to build that wall. We have been sworn to secrecy to discharge its knowledge to no one in this realm or any other."
"Then you are defying the Queen's command."
Amroy leaned closer. "No, James, I am helping a man find the woman he loves."
"When can we leave then?" James asked.
Amroy smiled and clapped James on his shoulder. "First thing in the morning. Morrow."
James paced before the window at 221B Baker Street, watching for the Tesla that would bring him, Sherlock and Watson on the journey that he dreaded. For even if he entered the other kingdom safely, there was no guarantee they would survive the adventure there. Professor Moriarity was a dark soul. And he had recognized the one in the castle. He had been the one who tortured James over and over. He would never forget that duplicate Moriarity. He clenched and unclenched his fists, his face dark with anger.
He felt a hand go upon his shoulder.
He didn't turn.
Watson stood beside him, watching the street as well. "We will find her, James. We will set her free."
Sherlock stepped to his other side and nodded. "Or die trying."
James looked first at Watson, then at Sherlock. "And that is what I fear for us, for her. For we are her only hope. We must not fail!"
And so they waited, facing a future that was uncertain at best, dark and deadly at worst. Had they been aboard the good Sir Amroy's ship at that moment, in his cabin, they would have been even more greatly fearful when the Screaming Statue shrugged off its purple cloth cover and startled Amroy as he was about to exit the cabin.
He turned to look.
The Screaming Statue did a very, very strange thing. It didn't scream. Instead it smiled.
Sir Amroy crossed himself and slammed the cabin door shut, leaving the cabin in darkness.
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!