Pause( )

‘And he said to them “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”‘*

~

“There is-” HH fell without grace, “there is a demon-” without dignity, “there is a demon inside my mind.” and without hope. “There is a demon telling my story for me-” And while he fell, “living my life-” he saw not the sky retreating or the ground advancing, “making my actions, forcing my hand.” nor heard the wind roaring past him. “There is a demon,” HH only focused only on the voices…

inside of his head.”

“You are telling me to say that,” he told himself, “whatever you are, you’re making me think this.”

HH continued to fall towards Gotham, “only because you made it so,” he argued. Now the skyscrapers were starting to outreach him. The entire Earth rose to greet him.

“Cut it out!” He shouted. “I’m going to die because you’re telling me to do it. How about telling me how to fly?!”

As last words go, he knew he wouldn’t be going down in history. But he was certainly going down, and out, with a very large splat. One millennium alive and it was going to end, arguing with himself. Questions and defiance. All thirteen bodies really had come round full circle.

“You seem to know a lot about me,” he said to himself. Priorities be damned, HH had to have the last word even against his own mind. How suitable for such an egotistical, arrogant, imperious-

“Will you just STOP!”

.

..

I heard myself. Several Gothamites below heard me, looked up, pointed, a few yelled. The Q.U.A.R.K on my wrist heard me. And it then seems even Time itself heard me.

Wait a sec….me! Me, myself, mine and I, one, yours truly, strike me down and call me a Jedi, I’m BACK! Whatever this third party powerhouse is, it’s good, it is very, very, very good but Time, it seems, is still its master. This must be some ability that FutureHH mentioned all those adventures ago. What is the Q.U.A.R.K reading?

Pause( )

Ned, that’s impressive. Fully formed localised retro&prospective indefinite chrono-stasis! Or, in my usual words,

“Time’s stopped.”

Below me, the citizens are statues watching my fall, the cars are life-sized life-less models, litter previously dancing in the wind is now just scatter in the air. Gotham is still, and silent, for the first time in forever. No-one even breathes.

‘Cept me, of course. I’m the upside-down, suspended-by-the-ankle puppet hovering a few feet from a face-first-fatality. Time’s the boss of everything else and still powerful enough to stop me in my tracks, but the question now is if I can still mov-

“Ow.”

Yes. Yes I can move. But at least now it’s a slice off terminal velocity. Check. A bruised forehead beats hitting the floor at 200kph. I can’t wait to try this trick out elsewhere – how many people have been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Well, not many since the aliens moved in, but that’ll make it so much more the fun.

Well done, Future Me. Time Pause but with full privileges. My very own Bernard’s Watch. Can’t wait to see how I figured THAT one out.

“HH?”

I’d like to say I remained dignified and cool, but hearing someone speak in this time-frozen world did make me flinch. Quite badly, I’ll admit. Badly enough that my hat fell off. Upon retrieving it, I look up and see someone walking towards me. And of course there’s only one person it can be. Someone who disobeys Time’s rules as much as I. Someone who has always lacked in sense what he mores than makes up for with defiance. Someone who is, for whatever reason, wholeheartedly NOT a penguin any longer.

“Womble?”

He nods. Not only has he come back as an all-walking, often-nodding human, he’s even got a guard’s uniform and….clawed feet. Yup, back to business as usual.

“What’s going on?” asks he.

Ooh, let’s see. The third party demon. Freeze ( ). My still burning desire to kill four Robins. And then there’s you, of course, my good Wombleness.

“That. Is an excellent question.”

HH

*I agree, I didn’t think I’d ever do a Bible quote either. HH is not Satan and he sure as hell** doesn’t move with the dignity and awe of lightning. But whatever’s possessing his mind, it would easily accept the challenge to lock demonic horns with King Lucifer himself

**…rather suitably…

~

Elsewhere……

Millions of light years away, Arjak collapsed once again, this time clutching at his shoulder which was gushing with fresh blood. His veins were full of hellfire, running with his master’s telepathic anger. Vision swimming, he could just about see his master, snarling at the book he’d been writing in. As his anger grew, his form started to distort, no longer being the smooth soft shape of his enemy, but sharpening into a mass of fangs, spines and claws.

WHAT. IS. HAPPENING?!

Arjak eyes screwed shut and he screamed. He couldn’t help it, he waited for the punishment to come and doubted he’d even feel it alongside the pain already there. His master’s rage was boiling him from the inside.

His master, for the first time ever, ignored his pitiful noises. His master’s attention was on the book it was still holding. Unlike before, when new and chosen words were forced in by its claws, the enemy’s story was now writing itself again, new sentences appearing on the page by an unseen author. Were it a normal book, it would have combusted in the grip of the monster. Instead it remained as it was, intact and back in control, quietly smug.

The creature composed itself, slowly shrinking back into the featureless, colourless shadow-copy of HH. It read the new words with interest, learning more about his enemy’s new ability to stop Time itself. In that moment, it knew. This Timelord was more a formidable foe than he had anticipated…

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