The Power of the Dark Lord

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2010

 

 


Chapter XV

As Stan, Alee and Akuta crossed the grand hall of the white tower they were
hailed from the gallery.  Looking up they saw Faylar and Alex heading for
the wide staircase to the ground floor.  When the two caught up with them,
Alee asked Faylar what he was doing out of the halls of healing.  "I have
been officially released by the healer.  I was coming to report to you, my
lord captain," he said to Akuta.

"We are on our way to the human world," Alee blurted out.

"Although not a secret mission, I would appreciate some discretion in the
telling of our plans," Akuta said sternly to Alee.  The young elf looked
down to the floor, feeling appropriately chastised.

"Well, if we're going, let's go," Alex said.

"I would prefer you stay here, my love," Akuta responded.

"Nothing doing," Alex said as he grabbed his lover's arm.  "I almost lost
you twice.  I'm not letting you out of my sight again."  He reached up and
kissed the blond guard.

"Oh my God!  Are you guys fags?" Stan said.  His eyes widened in surprise.

"Now why do you think they're called fairies?" Alex retorted with a sweet
smile.

"Oh jeez!" the black man said in shock.  He looked over at Alee
suspiciously.  "Why didn't you tell me, man?  All the time I thought we
were buddies, and you were just after my ass."

"I understand not what you mean," Alee replied.

"So that's why you were so glad I brought your friend back to you," Stan
continued, looking at Faylar.  "Man, this place is weirder than I thought."

"What troubles you, lord?" Alee asked as he stepped close to Stan, reaching
out to touch his shoulder.

"Get your damn hands off me!" the black man said.  "If you two want to
screw each other that's your business, but leave me out of it!"

"Dark lord," Akuta said sternly.  "I fear you mistake my mate's jest.  He
and I are reversals; they are not."

"What?"

"I was only kidding," Alex admitted, trying to explain.  "Akuta and I are
gay, but Alee and Faylar are straight as they make 'em."

"You aren't queer?" the black said to Alee.

The young guard was beginning to catch on.  "No, dark lord," he said.  "I
desire the female with which to couple.  Faylar and I are best friends but
we do not join with each other.  Nor am I after your ass.  I know not why I
should want it."

"Sorry, man," Stan mumbled in embarrassment.  "It just came as a shock.
The head of the army here is a queer.  I can't believe it."

Alex flushed with repressed anger.  "Let's get something straight, if you
know what I mean," he said quietly and quickly.  "I don't like bigots and
we won't call you the 'N' word.  Okay?"  Stan bit his lip and clenched his
fists, trying to fight down the anger at hearing the implication of that
old insult.  It had been a long while, but it still dredged up all the
buried feelings.

Totally unaware of the charged emotion that was flashing between the two
humans, Akuta stepped in to correct Stan's misconception.  "I am not the
head of the army.  I only act as temporary captain of the guard until my
friend Rood is recovered."

"Is he...that way too?" Stan asked.

"No, he's not gay," Alex replied.  "In fact, you should have seen how
pissed Scott got at the way Rood screwed around when we were in California.
You'd have thought Scott was his mother."

"Now which one's Scott?" Stan asked, a little confused by all the people he
had recently met.

"He is the consort to the king," Alee volunteered.

"The consort...you don't mean..."

"Yep.  The king's a fag, too," Alex said proudly.

"We have a mission.  Let us be about it." Akuta said.  "Unless the dark
lord has changed his mind and would rather not help us now that he realizes
we are reversals."

"No, it's cool," Stan said.  Akuta nodded and led them across the hall to
the small stairway that led to Elnar's chambers.  As they walked Stan
managed to draw abreast of Alex.  "Look," he said quietly.  "I'm sorry I
called you a queer.  I never really thought about it being the same kind of
insult as...well..."

"It's okay," Alex replied.  "Sometimes I'm just over sensitive.  It comes
from years of oppression."  He smiled at Stan.  "Something you wouldn't
know anything about."

"Right," Stan smiled back.  "But what about the word 'fag?'  Isn't that
just as bad?  And yet you use it."

"Well, I guess some people would think so, but it doesn't bother me as
much.  I guess it really depends on who uses it and how it's used."

"Like my mom always said, they're just words."

Alex smiled at the black man beside him.  "You're right."

* * *

Sharon continued to sit in the shadows of the room.  A cool breeze entered
from the window opening in the stone wall and tugged gently at the linen
sheet that she had pulled up over her patient.  It made her feel better to
cover him, partly because she felt like it was a protective gesture that
any good nurse would perform, and partly because she would no longer have
to look at the almost painful beauty of his physical body.  She began to
wonder if all of the inhabitants of this dimension were so physically
perfect.  She had to admit that so far she had not seen anyone who wasn't.
Didn't they have any deformity?  Did nature and accidents not play the
cruel tricks on these people of maiming injuries or intense physical
handicaps?  What of birth defects?  And consequently, if physical
perfection was so commonplace, how would the people react to less than
perfect humans?  How do you judge beauty when there is no ugliness with
which to compare it?

The breeze again brushed her cheek.  She thought to close the window, and
then realized there was nothing to close.  It was only an opening in the
rock wall.  She wondered how the people coped with the insects that must
fly inside with no protecting screens to keep them out.  But come to think
of it, she hadn't noticed any insects to speak of.  Sharon wondered what
these people did when winter came.  How did they close off these openings?
Then again, she was judging this world by the standards of her own.
Perhaps winter never came.  She had no deep knowledge of the physical laws
of this place, or even this planet's relation to its sun.  Was she on earth
or wasn't she?  Perhaps it was always summer here.

The shadows grew and deepened bringing with them a curious sense of
foreshadowing.  Sharon knew the sun was setting.  It would soon be dark.
She wished that she could turn on a lamp or even light a candle.  Some time
soon she would have to make a point of examining someone's eyes.  She
wanted to know how they were different, why these people didn't need light.
They seemed as at home in the dark as in the bright sun.

Sharon looked back again at the patient.  The man was in a coma and seemed
totally unresponsive.  She wished she could do an EEG on him.  For all they
knew he might be brain dead.  It would be helpful to have some modern
diagnostic and monitoring equipment.  She might even be able to save his
life if they were in a normal hospital.  As she sat thinking these thoughts
she was startled out of her reverie by a sound.  The patient drew a long,
shuddering breath, causing his chest to move visibly.  Sharon got up and
stepped to the side of the bed, leaning over Rood and watching closely.
This could be a major turning point.  Either he was coming out of the coma,
or his body was dying and this was the infamous death rattle.

As she looked down at the man on the hard, wooden pallet, his eyelids
suddenly and without warning popped open.  It was now Sharon's turn to
gasp.  There were no pupils there where Rood's eyes should be.  Only a
solid green glow glared back at her, as if someone had removed the eyeballs
and replaced them with fiery balls of glowing, green phosphorescence.  As
Sharon staggered back in shock, the body sat up from its reclining
position.  Now that the sun had set, the darkness of the room only
accentuated the eerie glow of the eyes.  As Sharon watched in stunned
horror, Rood turned and dropped his feet to the floor, then slowly rose
from the pallet, letting the sheet drop limply to the ground.  He turned
his body and head together as if he were an automaton, and then took a step
toward the frightened girl.

"You're not well," she managed.  "You have to get back in bed."  But Rood
seemed not to hear her.  "Now come on or I'll have to call a doctor," she
said bravely and stepped to his side, blocking his path.  The fairy raised
his arm and swung, cuffing her violently with the back of his hand and
knocking her against the far wall.  The back of her head struck the solid
stone and she slumped to the floor.

* * *

"In there?  We're going to climb into a piece of furniture to get back to
my world?" Stan asked incredulously.  "What does it do, fly?"

"It is but a doorway," Elnar said proudly.  "It will take you to the other
world."

"And will this flying cupboard bring us back with the stuff we need when
we're done?"

"I have a homing crystal," Alee said cheerfully.

"A what?"

Alex smiled at the black man.  "A magic rock."

"I don't believe any of this," Stan grumbled.

"Let us go quickly," Akuta said and pulled open the door on the armoire.

"We can't all fit in that thing," Stan said, skeptically eyeing the narrow,
wooden interior of the wardrobe.

"We shall go first," the big guard replied and stepped into the box,
closely followed by Alex.  Elnar pushed the doors closed and waited for a
moment.

"Well, what happens now?" Stan asked.

"You go next," the wizard replied as he opened the doors again revealing an
empty interior.  The black man was even more astounded to see that his two
associates had disappeared.  He stepped close to the box and felt the
interior, rapping his knuckles on the wooden back panel.  "In with you,"
Elnar said and gave Stan a shove, tipping him off balance and causing him
to fall into the empty wardrobe.  The wizard quickly shut the doors.  He
waited for a moment, and then opened them on the empty interior.  Alee and
Faylar eagerly climbed into the cabinet and followed their companions.

Akuta and Alex were cautiously looking around the room as they remembered
their last trip through the magic doorway.  Akuta slipped to the window and
looked out around the shade.  It was bright daylight that greeted him, but
he saw no one anywhere around that might be observing the building.

"What the hell are you doing?" came a loud voice from the closet.  "Let me
out!"  The door popped open and Stan tumbled onto the floor.  He looked
around at the unexpected setting, then quickly closed his eyes.  "Now I
know I've gone completely crazy."

Alex stepped over him to shut the closet door.  As he turned to offer Stan
a hand up, the door reopened and Faylar and Alee entered.  "Where are we?"
Alee asked.

"Just what I was going to say," Stan responded as he climbed to his feet,
ignoring Alex's outstretched hand.

"This is the dwelling of Scott and Jennifer," Akuta replied.  "Come, let us
go check below for watchers."  He crossed to the hall door and left the
room, quickly followed by the others.

"You mean this is the same old house I was watching?" Stan asked as they
started down the stairs.  "The one with the garage out back, where I got
into all this in the first place?"

"That's right," Alex said.

"Then it's really true.  There really is another world," Stan marveled.

"So where did you think you just spent the last couple of days?"

"I was hoping it was all a dream."

"No such luck, big boy.  Now how do we get the explosives you promised?"
Alex asked.

"My partner, George, has a cousin who owns a construction firm that does a
lot of road work.  I figure they'll be able to supply what we need.  What
is he doing?" Stan had noticed how Akuta was carefully checking out the
exterior of the house, peeking around the casings of the windows as if he
was afraid of being shot.

"He's making sure your military pals aren't out there waiting to lock us up
like they did the last time we were here," Alex answered.  Before he could
react, Stan picked up the phone in the drawing room and began dialing.
"That may be bugged!" Alex said anxiously.

"Relax," Stan replied.  "It takes too much paperwork these days to get
permission to tap a line."

"Since when did the guys you work for need permission?" Alex quipped.

Stan just shrugged his shoulders as he listened to the receiver.  "George,"
he said when another voice answered.  "May I speak with him?" he then
added.  A few moments later his partner's voice came on the line.  "Hey
buddy, it's good to hear you."

"Stan?" the voice asked incredulously.  "Where the hell are you?  And where
the hell have you been?"

"Man, you wouldn't believe me if I told you," he said into the phone.
"This has been the weirdest three days of my life."

"Never mind the last three days.  Where have you been for the last half
month?" the voice came back.

"Half month?  George, I've only been gone for three days."

"No.  You disappeared fifteen days ago," George said.  "Where are you?  Do
you need help?  You want me to call for assistance from the locals?"

"Locals?" Stan asked.

"Our team's pulled out, Stan.  I stayed behind for a while on the chance
you might contact us somehow."

"When did they leave?"

The voice paused for a moment.  "Where are you, buddy?" George asked again.

"I'm at the old house on the river, the one we had under surveillance.  But
can you bring a van and come alone?"  There was no response.  "I'm okay,"
Stan said, "but I'm really serious on this.  Please, do me this one favor.
Don't call anybody.  Just bring the van and get over here."

"Okay, pal, but I don't think..."

"Don't think, just do it, please."  Stan then hung up the phone.

"Now we're in for it," Alex said.  "You think this friend of yours will
just come over here in a van and not tell any of the goons you work for?"

"You don't know George.  We went through a lot together.  He'd cut his arm
off for me if I asked him to."

"I hope you're right," Alex replied.  They all settled down in the drawing
room to wait.

Fifteen minutes later a grey van pulled up in front and a tall, balding man
in his late thirties climbed out.  He looked around uncertainly, then
headed up the sidewalk and onto the porch.  As he reached for the bell, the
door opened and he was yanked inside.  It slammed shut again behind him.
"What the..." he began, and then quickly got his bearings.  "Stan?  It is
you!"  The man hugged his friend.  "I was really worried about..."  He
stopped short as he saw the others standing a little way from them in the
foyer.  "What is this?" George asked, quickly tensing.

"It's cool, George.  These dudes are alright.  They just need our help.
Let me introduce you to some real, honest-to-God fairies."

It took quite a while for Stan to convince his partner that he wasn't
brainwashed, on drugs, or psychotic.  The strangely dressed group with
their odd assortment of weapons showed George their pointed ears, and Alee
even pricked his finger to let the skeptic see the unusually colored, blue
blood.  After enough evidence he finally seemed partially convinced, and
after all, George had no explanation for where Stan had spent the last
fifteen days.  But George wanted to call Dr. Westfall and report the whole
story.  It took even more persuading to convince him not to do just that.

It seemed that their mission had been scrubbed.  There was no concrete
evidence of any alien presence.  Aside from Stan and a couple of missing
scientists, everything at the institute seemed pretty normal.  Westfall had
been called back to D.C. to report on the apparent hoax that all this had
turned out to be.  Rumor had it that Dr. Strahan and Dr. Gates had
masterminded the whole plan just to bilk the government out of more money
and they disappeared when General Armond sent Westfall and his team in to
investigate things.  The only really loose end was Stan.  Everyone feared
he had been kidnapped and possibly killed by Strahan and Gates.  George had
stayed for a while just in case anything turned up, but now he too was
scheduled to ship out in a week.

"So, buddy, don't you see.  These guys will validate the whole story.  I
mean, now we got the proof that there really are aliens."

"No, George," Stan argued.  "We can't do that to them.  These are okay
guys.  We can't turn them into circus sideshow acts or have them cut open
just to make Westfall look good."

"But, Stan, what about our duty to the government we both work for?" George
asked.

"What about life, George?  Human life?  Okay, maybe they aren't quite
human, but they're still people.  And, George, you don't really think our
not turning them in is going to hurt the United States government, do you?"

"Well?"  It was obvious that George was very confused.  Some of what his
friend said made sense, but a lot of it didn't.  Yet Stan really looked
alright, not crazed or disturbed at all.  "Okay, we'll do it your way.  But
if I get wind of anything shady going on, I'm calling the Pentagon myself.
Clear?"

"Clear," Stan said with a grin and rubbed his pall's bald head in fun.

"So what are they doing here, and why did you want me to come over in a
van?"

"We need some explosives, TNT, and a lot of it."  The man stood up slowly
from the couch in the drawing room where he had been sitting.  "Look,
George, your cousin ought to have it on hand at one of his construction
sites."

"You're crazy!" George said.  "I'm crazy for listening to you!  I'm calling
the cops."  Stan and Alex had to do some more fast talking to try and
dissuade Stan's partner.  They finally calmed him down enough to talk
rationally.  "It's a controlled substance, Stan.  You think we can just
drive up and say, 'Jack, fill the back of your van with TNT for us?'"

"Look, George.  It's really important.  I promise you no one is going to be
hurt.  But if we don't get it, a lot of good people may die."

"So how do you plan on convincing Jack to let you have the stuff?" George
asked.  "He isn't as soft in the head as I am.  I don't think he's going to
fall for this 'other world full of fairies' story."

"Well, I had an idea, but you aren't going to like it," Stan said.

"I don't like it already," George answered.


 

 

 

 

 

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