In the corner of a house there’s a room full of books. Big books, small books, books full of color and books full of black. No one could possibly read every book in this room full of books, surely; there are books about cooking, books about history, books about dinosaurs and books about what Sally did on holiday when she met Harry. No one could be interested in all of these books enough to read them all, cover to cover. But no one minded if no one did, because someone read some of these books and read them cover to cover. A kid.
A kid? Of course a kid, what else but a kid. Scrawny and white, all pale and shy, with dark brown hair and bespectacled eye. A kid in form, in mind and in wit, a kid whose heart and mind was lit by literature and writings, all ordered and free. For no one would push back the pages they read, and no one would pinch or say what they said, for in this room in the corner of a house this kid read alone as hushed as a mouse.
As they read alone in this room so quiet, in their mind the world was a colorful riot- what wonder, what power! What passion, what sorrow! How they smiled at the thought of what words had to follow. This is faith, this is light, this is everything right! So the kid read through each day and waited each night.
Time, though, wraps its chain onto every living soul, and as time carried on so the kid became old. Soon gone were the days that they could fill with written page- the rat race soon came forward for those of their age.
The day that it came the kid ran, feeling dread, for the world was not the way that literature had said. Right had no sway on the evil that walked, and the kid needed teaching in rules that weren’t taught. The way of kindness was hollowed with every mistrust; for every step that the kid took, their faith began to rust. Every lesson took heart until the heart gave no more. The kid wandered and stumbled and never found whatever for.
You should be more like him, but less like them, they said, in a loud and righteous cry. You should worship her and him and be grateful for their time, they said with suspicion and fire in their eye. You should be strong, they said, you should be funny. You should know all this.
Why can’t you be more like them? The kid asked themselves, unable to answer. Why couldn’t you learn? The kid asked again, still unable to answer. Why did you turn out this way? The kid cried, over and over, still unable to answer. What good has come of all the time that you spent? They all asked, again and again, and each time the kid was unable to answer.
Until the heart had enough and took everything it had. It screamed to the kid and drove the kid mad. It chased the kid back to the room full of books. It hid from the sky, and the world, and the looks.
In this room full of books, full of memory and peace, the kid found their smile, and the heart its release. Alone in this room of accordance and dreams, together they could hope, reflect and believe. The kid’s story was written and the kid had grown old, but its words can be read again, and the story re-told. Believe in this heart, wherever it may lead, the kid told themselves. Believe in all the good from the things that you read. Believe and be kind, whether you see or remain blind, for this world will forever remain empty and hollow without a song to be sung and dreams it can follow.
And with that, the kid walked into the world once, knowing nothing of strength or of love, or what for. But the words in the room that raised them remain, and what good is a hero without troubles to be slain?
You know couples? I’m starting to feel like I’m part of one, even though I’m not, because that would make Nibbles a Third Wheel*, and Third Wheels don’t usually share most of the talking…unless they’re married…or in that kind of relationship…anyway, he’s not. I’m not.
I just happen to be morally obliged towards ensuring a certain someone doesn’t get himself killed- by coincidence, by debt and by lack of a better alternative. It’s turning out to be bloody hard work.
My decision? Yeah, thanks. Now I can’t not “help”, because I’ll feel like an arsehole if I don’t.
He couldn’t have picked a more awkward place to do it, either…stupid angelical white bastard…there’s only one way to get down a cliff without any ropes. Obviously he can regenerate, so that soup of melted HD tiger holds no fear (providing he remembers how to find the exit). Ned knows how I “help”.
Maybe it’s fake. Possible, but unlikely. I doubt he’d have bothered with the whole death sentencing shebang if it hadn’t involved any actual death. It smells like death- just imagine throwing that up.
Who are you talking to?
…where have you been hiding?
I’ve always been here. It was surprisingly easy to avoid being noticed during the execution of four caped adolescents in such an expressive location. All I did was stand VERY still a few meters away near that sun-spot, see?
Uh-huh. You’re looking good. Is this known as puberty in engineering terms, or are you past that stage?
Har har. I learnt how to re-program myself, as you have evidently noticed. SOMEONE gave me a body that was quite simply too small. I have revolutionized myself.
Or put on weight. You sure it’s easier being that size? You’ll have to stoop to get on buses, you won’t fit on a normal seat, and they’ll definitely start charging you adult fares- probably parking tickets too. What’s the point of translating anything when you’re big enough to stomp things?
It’s my body and I will do with it what I want! What are you doing, anyway?
Deliberating over the definition of “help”. Does it count if I write a eulogy?
Damn. Any ideas that don’t involve changing my wardrobe to suit the occasion?
HAR! I think you need to jump.
That’d suit you, wouldn’t it? No thanks. You try it, it’ll take a lot longer with all that added bulk-
Didn’t you see the…thing…take HH into it? They didn’t die, they disappeared. It’s like a leap of Faith.
I don’t have any Faith!
That’s the point! You, sort of, get Faith by jumping…I think…
What do I have is this uniform, some copper’s badge, a packet of cigars and…a small flask that says “Drink me”…huh. HH must’ve put it there on the way in. He must have. Unless I’m reading myself again, like the time I sang happy birthday to myself-
-or the Joker put it there-
– or it’s just a hipflask. It could be that.
It could be dangerous.
Wha- you were telling me to jump into a flaming lake of lava just a second ago! Don’t tell me I can’t “try” this! Stick to what you’re good at, as I alw-
-ays say. I never thought I’d say this, but the old Nibbles was an improvement. You couldn’t interrupt me back then. It was nice.
So you’re drinking it?
Why not? If it goes bad I can always “try” both, after all. Cheers!
…just a hipflask filled with vodka. Not bad, vodka, but it doesn’t help either.
Immolation is your only choice then.
Yeah, yeah, sugarcoat it NOW why don’t you! You coming with, or are you going to paint a picture?
Maybe I will, he he he…
If you do, may I suggest that the lava needs just a touch of Burnt Umber, barely a smidgen, just enough to add crisp to the flecks of ash dotting the surface layer, do you see?
…you’re insane. Genuinely insane. And yet, saying that, of course I’m coming with you…
In case you turn into a bloody penguin again. Besides, I liked HH. He was someone I recognized who wasn’t you.
If this does turn out to be a leap into death, you know, I won’t be too unhappy. Anything to shut you the heck up.
Oh bite me. Now, on the count of- wait a second! Wait!
Bit late for that now, flying through the air like a bucket full of bricks. I really, really hope this is going to be worth it. I don’t fancy the idea of meeting Death because THIS seemed like a good idea.
As it transpires, all I manage to hit is darkness. Completely bloody darkness, thicker than a lobotomized shed, visible exclusively in every shade of impenetrable black.
I don’t think I’m dead-
“Do YoU waNt To eAt Me?”
*Which is never as useful as the notion of having a third- additional, extra -wheel suggests. It’s actually rather awkward.
If I were one of those kind of people who indulge in a spot of Phenomenon-Spotting*, I could cross out a rarity with downright satisfaction right now.
Faith Technology. I never thought I’d actually see it. Particles suspended in fixed existence by power of sheer dominating thought. Basically, because Towels knew how to keep a house that could never stay up in-tact, it did so. Building equipment, cement, bricks, mortar – not necessary when you just know how. Immense intellectual power and development. Like I said, I never thought I’d see it.
And now it’s my fault it’s gone. One little “I don’t know”, advantage: us, and the good Captain’s out. What we basically have sitting in my chair is a drooling leather sack wrapped in a towel. I think at his stage, all his brain power was a bunch of upright dominoes. All it took was a little flick.
Oh, and Womble isn’t happy. Funny how the right thing to do isn’t always the Right thing to do. As I’ve said, I didn’t see why he had to die as well, though looking at him now, I think even he’d disagree. Perhaps now the Faith is ended, his way of combating mortality will catch up with him.
As ever, I’ll make it up to you, Womble, after one little stop. I’m taking us to the Last Days Retirement Home-slash-Asylum. I don’t know which he needs more. Still, one rock darkened by the blood of two birds.
Besides, what else do you do with a Fallen God? Or, at least, the next best thing?
Sorry, Towels. For everything.
*Why should all the fun go to the bird, train and douche** varieties?
**Douche-spotting is very much a real thing I invented. Play it at the beach during a hot summer. Reaching a winner will not be easy.