The brilliant scientist, Portage McPeeve, does not want to take over the world.
He’s discovered a way to travel the stars, using them as gateways into other realities. With his Gateway Manipulator, he hopes to rule all the worlds of the multi-verse with an iron fist. However, when his beloved kitten becomes lost through the machine, he does not hesitate to cast plans for multi-world domination aside; instead, he follows her through the cosmos – encountering zombies, higher education for Supers, Greek gods, and killer ninjas along the way.
Will Portage find Mrs. Bumblefrost before it’s too late?
The room was filled with panicking supers.
Normally supers like to portray themselves as calm, debonair, suave, and intelligent in the face of a crisis. But none of them had encountered a freaking zombie before.
“Aaaaaaah, craptastic!” screamed Knitizen Kane, cradling his hand with the two missing fingertips. Tears streamed from his eyes. “This friggin’ hurts like the Dickens!” Normally, he didn’t believe in using such harsh language, but he’d never had his fingertips bitten off before. He tried to grab his knitting needles back from the dead man’s eye sockets, but then he retched and ended up making a bigger mess on the floor. He couldn’t bear to look at what he had done.
“What did you do?” cried Feminist. She eyed Her eyes the dead man’s corpse as she addressed Knitizen Kane.
“What did I do?” cried Knitizen. “I defended myself! He bit my frikkin’ fingertips off! How the heck am I supposed to knit now?” He knew darn well that he could still arm knit, but he was too upset about his missing digits to care.
The other heroes were in various states of panic. The Optimist cradled his coffee cup to his chest. Vegan stared into the distance. The twin supers, Raw Power and Armed Justice cried like babies on each other’s shoulders. They each tried to pretend they had not seen what they had just seen. Unicorns and rainbows featured heavily in their imaginations. Even they were less horrific than what they had just witnessed.
A figure emerged from the shadows amid the panic. He was tall, with a grizzled beard and a dark red tunic of Greek design. He had changed from his polo shirt into more traditional robes, since this crowd would appreciate the wardrobe change. He cleared his throat. “Excuse me,” he said.
Two men in the white medical uniforms of ambulance personnel appeared in the doorway. “Hey, who called an ambulance?” the taller of the two asked, a man of black shining hair and dark eyes. “Could someone please direct me to the injured party?”
His fellow nudged him and motioned at the body on the floor with the knitting needles protruding from the eyes. “Him?” he said, then noticed the woman sitting across from him, clutching her knees. “Her?”
“Excuse me,” said Charon. “I need your attention, please,” he said, a bit louder.
Pandemonium continued to ensue. As the paramedics advanced on the woman, the silver android stepped forward to stop the paramedics from touching the cowering woman. “I would not-” she began, her voice modulator increasing in volume to be heard over her fellow supers.
“I SAID,” said Charon, “EXCUSE ME.” He didn’t shout. He didn’t need to. He waved his hands and people froze. The supers froze. Alice, the lone woman clutching her knees, froze. The dead doctor didn’t freeze since his body was already in the first stages of rigor mortis. Somehow, though the volume remained the same, his voice carried enough force to be felt by every living soul there. When an immortal wanted to be heard, he was heard.
“That’s better,” he said. Except for their facial expressions, none of the living people there moved a muscle. Their eyes followed the immortal as he walked among them. “If I might have your attention, please? Yes? Good.” He smiled. “Sorry to pull the immortal card on you, but time is important. Just ask Chronos.” He chuckled to himself. “Just ask Chronos. Hehe, sometimes I kill myself.”
Since the crowd didn’t react to his wit, he cleared his throat and continued.“If I might illuminate things for you,” said Charon. “Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not in any way OBLIGATED to do so, but it’s just manners, right? Plus, why not admit it? I like to hear myself talk.” He smiled. “And I like the looks on mortal faces when I tell them what’s REALLY going on.” And he proceeded to do so.
He told them about the scientist dragging him from the shores of the Styx. He told them about the Underworld. He told them about what he’d discovered, about how Portage had fallen from world to world, and how – though he hadn’t been there for the actual biting – his buddy Thanatos had recognized the fact that the scientist would soon be undead. He told Knitizen that he was now infected, so knitting was the least of his problems, and then he told them the biggest news of all.
“On one of this man’s past travels, he met a centaur named Chiron. Chiron is very trusted among the immortals. He’s a good guy. Anyway, Athena trusted some Gorgon blood to Asclepius who gave it to Chiron to keep for emergencies. He keeps several bottles on hand. Chiron was pretty upset this guy broke one of the bottles. He only had three to begin with! But once I explained the circumstances he let me have one. I think this qualifies as an emergency.”
Charon, motioned toward the corpse; the knitting needles flew out of the dead man’s eyes. The ferryman then poured the flask’s crimson liquid onto the dead man’s head; much of the blood – thinned by wine – trickled down into his coagulated wounds, dripped down into his gouged eye sockets. They fizzed, like a baking soda volcano, hissing and bursting bright foaming scarlet as the flesh filled in, the eyes reformed, the skin closed up and regained its original coloring.
The scientist’s blinked his newly repaired eyes and gazed around the room incredulously. “What happened?” he said. “I-”
“You died, man,” said Charon, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder again.
“Don’t do that!” cried Portage in alarm, but other than his mouth and eyes, he didn’t move.
Chiron the ferryman held up the flask of dark red liquid. “It cures any illness, up to and including death.” The room’s occupants watched but held their tongues.
“Oh, don’t worry,” said Charon, smiling at Portage. “You aren’t dead anymore. I’m not here to collect you or anything. Not my job anyway, but I’m not about to get pulled along with you again either. Let’s just say I hit the ‘pause’ button on your traveling for now, okay?”
Portage’s eyes lit with curiosity and a little fear, but he said nothing, just continued to watch. As a scientist, he was well trained in observing details.
Charon then proceeded to pour more of the liquid over Knitizen Kane’s missing digits. More fizzing, more hissing, and the fingertips grew back. Knitizen, likewise, didn’t move anything but his eyes. His mouth worked, but he was apparently at a loss for words.
“You’re welcome, buddy,” said Charon. “Now, if you guys don’t mind, I’ve got to get this guy back where he belongs. He’s caused enough trouble.” Spotting the bloody knitting needles, he waved his hand at them, and they miraculously became clean. He then waved his hand at Portage and Knitizen Kane. Their clothes became spotless, all the infected blood disappeared. He grinned. ““Better than dry cleaning, eh, guys?” When his audience failed to give the praise he’d expected, he prodded, “Come on! It’s not every day when the ferryman of the dead shows up to save the day for the living, is it?”
“What about her?” asked the frozen Vegan Avenger. She looked pointedly at Alice, whose eyes had grown even wider with fright.
“What about her?” asked Charon.
“She’s out of her… place in the universe, too,” said Vegan. “Or at least, we think so. Her name’s Alice.”
Charon sighed. “Geez, guys. Try to do a good deed.” But his grin took the sarcastic bite from his words. “Fine. Alice, is it? You aren’t THE Alice… oh! Sure, no problem. Happy to help.”
And with a snap of his fingers, the scientist and the woman disappeared, and everyone else went back to normal. The supers – freshly repaired, laundered, and once more able to move – were left in the classroom with two confused paramedics and a pair of brightly shining knitting needles.
**All episodes listed here.
**Look for the next exciting installment of Pinholes next Tuesday, same cat-time, same cat-channel… uh, blog. I mean, blog.