War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
The Gift of the Gods
"A Samuel Light Story"
By John Pirillo
Samuel tucked his stomach in, not that he was fat, but it was a tight squeeze. Jimbo was having an even tougher time. He actually had a bit of stomach fat. "You said this would be good exercise." He complained between grunts and screeches of pain as he followed Samuel.
Samuel eyed the distant end of the tunnel, which was actually getting closer, though no less easy to crawl to. "Just a bit more and we'll be there."
"You always say that."
"That's because it's always true."
"Doesn't help my poor body any."
"Stop complaining. If you didn't eat so much..."
"I'll eat whatever I want, thank you. I'll still behind you, aren't I?"
"If I'm a pork butt or not."
Bad mistake. He smashed his head into the rocks above him.
Jimbo's turn to laugh.
Jimbo laughed even harder.
Finally, Samuel reached the end of the tunnel and slipped out of the narrow tunnel or rock and dirt they had taken to get to their destination, and Jimbo followed him a few moments later, still laughing.
Samuel spun around. "How can you laugh and still get through that tunnel?"
Samuel put a finger up to his mouth.
Jimbo was about to speak anyway, but Samuel shook his head.
Jimbo then realized they weren't alone.
He turned slowly and essayed the walls. There were strange scrolls of images up and down them, depicting strange humans with heads shaped like turnips wearing ceremonial garb and other humans bowing at their feet. Just to his right stood some kind of silvery thing, shaped like a gigantic bell, except it had windows in it.
On his left stood rows of cylinders stacked to the ceiling of the room they stood within. The room was hoary with age. Spider webs hung everywhere, and motes of dust danced in the air, lit by recessed lighting that had no apparent electrical connection.
Jimbo bent next to one and touched it.
"Damn!" He screeched, jerking his finger back when an arc of blue energies smashed into it and burned its tip.
"Careful." Samuel warned in a whisper.
"Now you tell me." Jimbo growled, ready to smack Samuel over the head for the oversight.
Samuel again put a finger to his lips.
"What now? An alien werewolf?"
The huge bell shaped object began to shake, as if someone were inside of it, rocking it back and forth violently.
"Or maybe just an alien." Jimbo suggested.
Samuel ignored him and continued to survey the wall to his right, his finger tracing a line of lettering from the top to the floor, then continuing to the right, until he stopped at a juncture where a new set of symbols and scrolling text unfolded. He turned to Jimbo, who had grown antsy and quiet, since the huge bell shape continued to vibrate with some kind of motion from inside.
"Make it go away, Sammie." He pleaded.
Samuel shook his head, again touching his lip.
Jimbo sighed, but said no more. He was getting used to his friend's habits by now, but that didn't mean he agreed with everything the man did or said. He was a free thinker with a mind of his own. Born in Texas, raised in Texas. He had a big heart and a sharp mind. He didn't always understand all the weird boogey boo stuff Samuel did or saw, but he had seen enough by now to trust him in the down and dirty times.
Samuel suddenly shoved at Jimbo to drop.
He dropped. Hitting his stomach hard. He grunted. Samuel threw himself over his friend as the bell shaped object exploded, shooting out metal shrapnel and pieces of some kind of gooey substance that slapped into the walls and began to ooze down it, like thick globs of blood.
Samuel got off Jimbo and helped his friend to his feet.
"How did you know that was going to...?"
Samuel touched his forehead.
"Right. That old third eye biz again."
Jimbo turned around to hide a look of disgust. "Most people can't see with two, and you can see with one in the center of your head. What's this damned world coming to, anyway?"
"Armageddon." Samuel replied.
"Oh yeah, right. This hideous demon is going to rise up and stomp us all to hell!"
Samuel grinned. "No, but his henchmen might."
Jimbo turned on Samuel. "You're kidding, right?"
"Not about the henchmen."
"Who might they be, pray tell?"
"The ones who are in power and misusing it."
"Well, that pretty much shoves the whole bunch into the same picnic basket."
"And that's why Armageddon is coming."
"What! You said you were kidding!"
"Only about the demon devil part of it. If we can't stop these nuts from killing our air, water and food supply, then it won't matter if there are demons and devils, there won't be any of us left for them to haunt and torture anyway."
Jimbo shook his head.
"I don't buy into that end of the world scenario. Someone's going to come up with the solutions."
"And someone else is going to buy them out, force them into poverty and obscurity or..."
Jimbo blanched. "Murder them?"
"And that's why we're here now."
Jimbo turned to look at the smoking remains of the bell like object. "What was in that thing anyway?"
"Well, according to the Paiutes, this was deposited here back in prehistoric times by the Builders."
"An ancient race that flew from the stars to nurture mankind from its bestial ways."
"Yeah. That sure happened, didn't it?"
Samuel laughed. "You can't expect so many people to leapfrog through evolution like a bunch of mad mating bunnies!"
"And what does that look like?"
Samuel started to answer and Jimbo shut him up with a scowl. "What I mean is that they came all this way to save us, so we can blow ourselves up, or contaminate ourselves to death. What a waste of gas."
"They had to try. Just like we have to try."
Jimbo surveyed the damage in the chamber. "Well, the lights still work. So there might still be something useful in here."
"Don't care about the lights." Samuel said, heading for the back of the chamber where a great seal with scrolling arrows stretched over a crude symbol of the earth was drawn with semi-precious stones.
"What's it say?"
"Inside is the secret to happiness and the way to bring peace to our planet."
Jimbo frowned. "It better be. I've left a lot of my precious behind on that tunnel ceiling back there to get here."
"And probably more on the way back." Samuel agreed.
"So why should there be anything we want in there? Looks to me like whoever was guarding this place didn't do too good a job, judging from..." He nodded towards the fleshy remains on the various walls that continued to ooze towards the floor.
"It wasn't a guard. It was something else."
"What kind of something else?" Jimbo asked warily.
Samuel looked at him. "You don't want to know, but this..." He turned back to the symbol on the wall. "This, however..." Samuel pressed his hand against the symbol and the back wall of the chamber slid upwards with groaning sounds of effort.
Jimbo pressed forward to see what was being revealed, and then he began to laugh.
Inside the exposed new chamber was barrel after barrel of grain. Grain that hadn't aged since they had been deposited there.
Samuel looked at the grain, his face stone cold frozen.
Jimbo broke into laughter, turned around and headed back for the tunnel. As he did so, the lights in the chamber began to flicker. Their power failing at last.
Samuel took a few grains and stuck them into his jeans pocket, then followed after Jimbo. They sweat and cursed their way back to the end of the tunnel, finally emerging onto the plateau the tunnel had been dug into.
Jimbo sat down on a ledge overlooking the deep valley below. He smiled. "Least the view was worth it."
Samuel sat beside him, and then took out a grain.
The ground shook behind them and the tunnel was sealed up as tons of the plateau shifted and moved, almost knocking them off their perch into the valley below. Samuel lost his grip on the grain as he held onto the edge and it dropped onto the bare earth to his left.
When the shaking stopped, Jimbo gave Samuel a look that said it all. "That was one helluva ride, Sammie boy."
"We're alive. That's all that matters."
"Sam, look!" Jimbo said, pointing to Samuel's left.
Samuel twisted to look and as he did so, he saw the grain wriggling on the ground, and then it sprouted roots that dug into the hard rock of the plateau, shattering it and probing downwards. The top of the grain sprouted green arms and stretched towards the sky, trembling like a new born happy to breathe and laugh. It grew taller and taller, sprouting more and more arms, until it became so tall and thick that Samuel and Jimbo had to back away from the edge for fear of being knocked off by the now gigantic plant.
Just when they thought it would go on forever like Jack's beanstalk, it stopped, trembling for a moment, and then stilling.
"Look at that, won'tcha!" Jimbo suggested.
Each arm of the sprout had sprouted heads of corn. The entire growth was about fifty feet tall and carried hundreds of rows of corn, all open and ready to eat, their golden kernels shining in the rays of the setting sun.
Jimbo licked his lips. "I bet that would make a monster bag of popcorn."
"Or feed a small town." Samuel suggested.
They both looked back at the collapsed tunnel.
"Maybe those Indians were onto something after all." Jimbo suggested.
Samuel nodded, feeling the remaining grains in his jeans pocket. Did he dare reveal them to the world? Was the world ready for this and if it was, how would this new form of genetically modified corn be accepted Would it lead to the feeding of the poor and removing poverty, or just end up shoved back into a closet where no one could find it, locked away so that a selfish few could continue to dominate the world for its wealth?
He didn't know what would happen. He only knew what impress he now felt. He took the remaining grains and held them out over the valley below.
Jimbo looked at the outstretched hands, saw the grains. "Sammie, if you're thinking what I'm thinking."
Samuel smiled. He wasn't. He let the grains tumble from his hand.
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!