Out of my Hands

Nope.

Sorry.

That’s it.

I’m retiring.

Alice, a hired gun. Womble, shot. And me, recovering from zombie-itis. I’ll admit I’ve seen a grand scheme of things, but this is getting bloody ridiculous for Ned’s sake.* I mentioned before that I’d like to retire, and there is all the more reason to right now. Maybe I’ll go to Italy in the 25th century. Take up watercolours. Or just relax on a beach somewhere and for once not give the good glorious f*ck about the rest of creation.

And y’know, I would. I really, really would. But…I can’t. I just can’t, somehow. Call it a God complex**, Hero’s Syndrome or general habit; THIS is my life. My tattered, exhaustive, endless life.

One day, there’ll be watercolours. One day.

Anyway, Alice is still armed and perfecting her murderous glint. And then there’s Womble, dying…possibly. I don’t know. Sorry if I don’t come across upset or anything, I just never know with him. The whole violet light thing could be a recovery process. At any rate, I hope he allows a little research. Just a smidge.

Focus, HH. The murdering little hitchhiker. Priority one.

“Alice…”

The gun goes off before I can get any further. Her hands had been shaking more than her lips, so I’m not too surprised she missed. Glad, too. This is my last body after all. I’d rather not lose it to a minor whose face is 90% streaked make-up.

For reasons, probably known only to him but even that might be pushing it, Womble then decided to explode. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Well, I think the bullet may have ricocheted, but no handgun bullet makes a whatever-the-hell-Womble-is burst into light, several chunks and then nothingness…I’m guessing.

For all I know, he IS dead and this is just what whatever-universal-race-he-is does when it’s been shot six times. Given his explosive exit, I wouldn’t have been too surprised to have seen birds flying away from him.*** That, or he’s pulled an escape attempt so perfect – and, let’s be honest with me still here, selfish – that Houdini would vomit with envy.

Also, and yes I know this is harsh, but he’ll be getting an earful in hell if he’s managed to get red on my coat.

“He exploded?”

Ah, humans. So naive. Believers in the obvious. “Looks like it. He does do this sort of thing every now and then. Throws red herrings at me then arrives half an hour later looking for sushi.”

I sound calm. Shock, perhaps? Or my atrocious past really has reached a point of desensitisation.

No.

Womble is alive. I know it. I knew it when we were separated in Rapture. He’ll appear. Some time, someplace. With a story to tell. All I need to do is make sure I make it there.

“Alice, who-”

Oh, for…maybe I’ll actually finish a sentence around here sometime soon. To be fair, Alice now seems a bit too distressed for an interrogation, but whatever that is, it’s not helping.

A short distance to my right, some kind of gateway has opened up. Or wormhole. Or teleportation matrix. Or tear – I don’t know, it’s science fiction all over. Basically there’s something wrong with reality, and I’ll bet I’ll have to clean it up. Come to think of it, this may well be Womble on his return trip. There is somebody stepping through from elsewhere in time/space/both. Maybe he’s back from the world of fleeches, sligs, paramites and…

And…

“Who the hell are you?” If this is the chump who hired Alice, she sure knows how to make an enemy. So, who’s Mr InterDimensional Traveller here for, me or…

…is that a sonic screwdri-

<THUMP>

HH

*I got Womble’s permission to start saying this. Up until now, I’d just use the regular. Anyone who got the impression that I, HH, am religious in some way, nope, not the case.

** ^Ah, the irony.

*** Big points to anyone who gets this reference

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