1. The Gates of Horn and Ivory are Closing!
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...And This is How it the World Ended

Discussion in 'Beyond the Sunset' started by EthanDirtch, Jul 20, 2015.

The Gates of Horn and Ivory

Two Gates the silent House of Sleep adorn; Of polish'd Iv'ry this, that of transparent Horn:
True Visions thro' transparent Horn arise; Thro' polish'd Iv'ry pass deluding Lies.

  1. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    It was supposed to be a day like any other. I'd come home from work, and I'd complain about my boss. I'd sit down on the couch opposite the TV and flip through channels, anything that kept the stress at bay for a while longer. I'd take deep, slow breaths to calm myself down as I waited for my wife to come home. She always had energy that I lacked even when her shifts ran long, or when she'd work way too many days in a row. She always had that smile that brightened up her face in spite of the dark, heavy circles under her eyes. Her chestnut brown hair somehow forced to behave in light of it all. And yet I was the one going grey.

    Today was not supposed to be any different, I thought. The week was hectic, the boss on my case, a new co-worker asked too many questions. Wasn't his fault, I knew, but irrational irritation had its way of taking hold. I haven't said anything to the guy yet, but I wanted to. I had to stop. Three long, deep, breaths. Reminded myself I was just like that guy, probably annoyed the hell out of Aaron ten years ago.

    Today I woke up and saw my wife getting dressed. Sharon had just pulled the top of her scrubs down to her waist. The morning light filtered through the curtain just enough to give her this silhouette like in some PG-13 movie that refused to show too much flesh. She turned around, pulling her long straight hair back, bunching it at the base before somehow twisting it all into a tight bun and pinned it. She smiled, grabbed her keys off the bedside table. "Mornin', babe," she said.

    I just stared up at her. Last night was a blur. She was a bundle of stories from her day while I was lost in my own thoughts about not wanting to see my workplace ever again. I remembered the two of us crawling into bed. I wanted to forget the day and tried to get something from her. She kissed me, and kissed me again, before apologizing. She kissed me on the forehead before turning away from me, pulling her white shirt down which I had tried to get off of her.

    On the way to work I thought things I shouldn't have. Maybe I was owed something tonight. Maybe I was going insist. Maybe I was going to play some passive-aggressive thing, guilt her into giving me this bit of pleasure. I sighed while I was stopped at a red light. I knew that was never going to work. She knew me too well. I was the shy one, I was the one that followed. She was never cruel about it, never held it against me, but she knew she had to dictate the action. Maybe she felt what I wanted last night wasn't what I needed.

    I turned on the radio. Traffic was heavier than usual. Honking. Lots of honking. It's New York, but honking this much was kinda unusual. I looked over my left shoulder and saw people getting out of their cars. Shit, I thought. People are going to throw down now? C'mon!.

    "We have breaking news! Around the world people are reporting major weather disturbances. The source of these issues remains un--" the radio got cut off by static. The message was in and out the rest of the way, but I figured maybe this was about that climate change stuff people had been talking about. Maybe--

    "--undetected asteroid! We...it's too late. Folks...New York City is going to...I'm sorr--" and the rest was static. I reached over and turned the radio off, and looked out ahead as something collided with the Empire Statue Building, cut it at an angle from left down to right. Screaming. Lots of screaming. Whatever hit the building had hit the ground. As the building fell that same ground buckled, rose, and gave way. My car fell.

    I never had a chance to react. I froze, held on tight to the steering wheel as if that would have done anything. Before the world went away all I thought about was Sharon. Not if she was okay, not if she was alive. But that I loved her. And that I was sorry for ever thinking those thoughts just now. I loved her more than anything in the--
  2. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    It rained in London. A lot. All the time. This day was supposed to be routine, she thought. Another day on the job, another good deed done. Liz was granted a gift a few years ago. A gift she never wanted, a gift she refused, she cursed, turned away from. Until he reminded her what it meant to have great power. A chance to do good, to do right by people in ways she never could have in her normal life before the event. To be fair she was pretty damned contented with being ordinary. Good living, good husband. Life was good before it got interesting.

    She patrolled the streets. Her weapon of choice a whip of her own making. A part of her gift. She never hid her identity, not unlike some folks over in the States. Never understood the need for masks. Rather than work outside the system she worked within it, and now she was a special tool in her Majesty's arsenal. One to be deployed against threats to her kingdom both within and without.

    She still did the hero things; stop muggings, be visible during protests, cats from trees, that whole thing. She was a fixture, tabloid fodder, but she paid it no mind. It was easy to do when you had power like she had, when she saw the bigger picture, separated herself from normalcy. Her husband grew distant, and it hurt at first, but she understood. And perhaps that understanding was what really pissed him off in the end. That maybe I no longer cared.

    But, this morning was supposed to be routine. He was at work, she was at work. Her plain, black uniform pressed and proper. Crisp. Her long brown hair woven into a braid that rand down to the middle of her back. She was professional, not like Nicky over in Hollywood. Nike liked to show off. This power did things to all of us. Made us all fit, strong, beautiful. Was this just a result of the power itself, or did he mold us this way? In the fashion of his comic book heroes?

    She wasn't hideous before, she thought. She still had old photos of herself. She wasn't a runway model or a movie star by any means, but very few people were anyway. If she had been all those things she'd might've been called out to Hollywood like Nicky. Liz sometimes wondered what Nicky had looked like before all this. Was she just projecting after an entire life being unnoticed by photogs and filmmakers? Was she showing that vaunted cleavage and shaking those hips to make herself feel good, or to flip the bird at all those that left her in the dust? Liz was happy with how she looked before. She felt good about it then. She's indifferent about how she looked now. But there was no turning back. All she could do was cover up as best she can and force people to view her for what she did for them not for how much "perfection" she flaunted.

    But, again, today was supposed to be routine. Her power offered her some resistance to pain, to damage. When the first rocks had crushed Big Ben and peppered the city the shockwaves ripped the land apart. She clung onto rubble as she was sent flying for God knows how long. The ringing in her ears told her she was alive; but beyond that there was an eerie silence. Some sobbing, but mostly silence. She blinked through the light that came down from the heavens. Something heavy was on top of her, restricted her breathing. Something wet ran down the left side of her face. She reached up with her hand and saw that it came away with blood. She would heal, she knew, probably within the hour.

    Looking down a wall had collapsed on her, or perhaps had flown with her when the rock had hit. With a grunt and a curse she pushed up at the wall with both her arms and her legs. Well, one arm in any event. The right one gave way. Broken. That had never happened, before the event nor after. It was new. Made her feel mortal.

    Some yells over to her right and she heard feet shuffling. Men and women surrounded her and helped her get the wall off of her. Someone said, "on the count of three!" and counted everyone down. Together they pushed. Up, then over to the left. The wall toppled and she heard it...continuing to fall. To crash, to break.

    "Up and at 'em, miss," a middle aged man said as he gingerly lifted her up around the shoulders. She yelped and held onto her right arm. "Sorry, sorry," the man said.

    "I'm fine, thank you," Liz said with a calm that unnerved even her. In pain, helpless, and still the calm one. "How bad is it? Not the arm, mind."

    The man she realized was covered in dirt, in cuts, and probably bruises all over. His hands were in rough shape, probably from digging people out of this or that. "Miss Elizabeth...London, it's...it's gone, miss."

    She made it onto her feet. That calm she held onto left her then. Mere feet from where she had lain was the crater's edge. Fires raged where London had been. Buildings crumbled in real time before her. Dust and debris floated in the sky. Her knees buckled and she would have fallen over had the man not been there to catch her. And for the first time since before she got her powers she prayed. Prayed for him.
  3. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    Everything had happened to quickly, even for him. He, like the whole world, was caught unaware. Where was Phil? Phil had caught the last rock to have visited Earth. Maybe Phil caught it now, but it was too close and pieces of it fell. Whatever the case, Nathan floated several miles away from Japan.

    He had come here to collect himself, to re-energize. It was a thing he shared with Phil, the need to meditate after expending so much...power. The past year had been unkind. Foreigners from another planet, people of power who decided to do wrong. Nathan's power made it difficult to cut loose, like Phil's. The two of them were quite possibly the most powerful individuals in existence. They did things that defied the natural order, more so than just healing quick, or lifting cars. Even flying. No, they fiddled with the very laws of physics. Short of traveling through time or curing cancer, they did things no one else could. Maybe Thanor came close, maybe Max. Even Nicky, but all of them fell well behind himself and Phil.

    Had he seen the rock coming could Nathan have done anything about it? Perhaps. He could have cut away at it. He never possessed Phil's physical strength. His power lay with his mind, and its ability to create and alter. Perhaps he could have guided it away. But, all of this meant he'd have to have seen this rock coming years ago. But we missed it. We all did. Even Phil.

    He looked over his shoulder, and even from here he saw Japanese men and women, people from other lands who called Japan home, stunned into acceptance. Nathan was their only hope. Nathan knew he would survive all of this. There was no rage in him, but sadness. He would do what he could, but understood that this was not going to have a happy ending.

    He looked straight ahead and prepared himself. A wall of water came at him from one of the rocks hitting the Pacific. He was perhaps far enough ahead to save most of Japan. Maybe. Or maybe the water would just find another way. Perhaps it would wrap around him, or perhaps it would just roll over top. But, he had to try.

    He extended his hands out in front of him, closed his eyes, and focused. Focused on building the largest, strongest, wall he ever dreamed of. He felt his consciousness expand far out in all directions. He took it all in, everything around him, inside him. It was old hat by now. His body, always coiled in a gentle white energy. They called him ghost, a man that wore a form fitting white sheet beneath an all white ensemble of a loose long sleeved shirt and pants. This was an extension of his being, of himself.

    And this extension of him never showed emotion. Never lost composure. Not until now when he cried out as the water crashed against the barriers he erected. He cried out as he tried to force the water back. Too much, he thought. I can't... He cried out again as blood trickled down from his nose and from the corners of his eyes.
  4. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    Kyle ripped the driver's side door off. He reached in and felt at the man's neck. Pulse. Barely, but alive. He looked up and saw the hole where east 33rd had been. "Fuck, man," he said under his breath. He wiped dust off his brow before returning to driver to try and get him out. This was his city, his home. He was supposed to watch over it. To protect it. Not that he could have done anything against a fucking asteroid, but that didn't mean he felt any less shit about it.

    It was 5 years ago when he got his powers. When Phil came back home from...wherever. He never clarified that with Kyle. He was just "away". And he said it like Superman did when he pretended to be Batman. Well, at least Kyle got it. And it annoyed him. Phil was both serious and still a kid at heart. For all the good Phil did, Kyle knew he was living his dream of being a hero. Of being Superman.

    But where was Superman now?

    "Sh-Sharon..." the driver stirred.

    "You going to be okay, buddy, just hang tight. Gotta find a way to get you outta here." The reassurance was as much for himself than for the driver. The guy was crushed behind the front of his car, broken legs for sure. There were other people scrambling out of their vehicles, some from beneath rubble. Crying. For themselves, for the dead.

    A voice came down from above. "Still alive, Kyle!?"

    "Yeah, Kell, but how's it up there?"

    "Could be a lot worse. Let's get you out--"

    Boom! Another rock had hit somewhere. "I think that was Jersey," Kelly yelled down.

    It was a few minutes later when Kelly found them all a way up. Kyle went first as a few emergency personnel took over getting people out of that trench that used to be a city street. He was needed elsewhere, elsewhere in his city.

    Buildings were knocked over, and the potholes were the size of city blocks. "Where's Phil?"

    "Don't know. Got in touch with Liz, though," Kell got quiet. "London's gone. And a big chunk hit the Pacific. Nate's in Japan, but..."

    "Maybe Phil's out in Vancouver. His home, after all."

    "Maybe. The world's fucked."

    "Don't know. The world's pretty resilient. Us, on the other hand..."

    "Us? You mean humanity, right?"

    Kyle looked over at Kelly then. Kelly had streaks down from his eyes through the caked on dirt. "You know, you always disliked people," Kyle said as he patted Kelly on the shoulder.

    BOOM! The shockwave threw Kyle and Kelly off their feet. Glass rained down on them and on the people finally climbing out of that hole. He somewhat heard Kelly screaming, but the world was just pure chaotic noise. He looked up and realized a building was going to come down on them. And the only thought in his head was, Phil, you fucker!


    Nicky Darling. That was her name, or at least the name she gave herself in front of the world. Her real name was Sandra. She was going to be a physicist. She was going to follow her girl, her love, Tess to the LHC. They were going to find the questions to ask the next generation of scientists. But, that was before she got her powers.

    She flew. She was strong. She fired bolts of light from her hands, her eyes. She always took care of herself, being a California girl. A beach bunny with Tess they were the 'hot geeks'. But getting these powers meant she no longer had to watch her diet, to hit the gym all the time. She got the looks she always worked hard for, but without the work. It was in her genes now. It was the same for everyone who got powers.

    She became a symbol. She stood out from the others who viewed being superhuman as a chore, as a job. She was a hero. Some saw her as a cheesecake; a hero for the pin-ups and calendars. She did the photo shoots, the covers. She did movies, she went to the parties, and rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in movies, television, and stage. She got everything she wanted, deep down: the attention. And she told herself it was to show the world that women were powerful, were sexy, even when saving the world. But she knew now she was only kidding herself. She just liked the looks. The costumes, the feel of them hugging every curve. The mask allowing her to be less inhibited. Tess never said much to dissuade her (sometimes she even asked her to leave the mask on...), but Sandy knew Tess wished they focused more on the science. Maybe if Sandra spent less time looking in the mirror she could have been the one to see this rock coming.

    Instead she was chasing an airplane that got clipped by a piece of an asteroid that somehow everyone in the world missed. She got in touch with Tess and Tess and the other brainier heroes figured someone turned off something they shouldn't have, that someone blinded us to this threat on purpose. But now was not the time to be hunting shadows.

    Nicky Darling fired energy to incinerate what was left of the wings. When she circled the plane she saw people were still alive, banging on the windows to get her attention. How does Phil do this again? She's only ever seen him catch a plane once (in fact, it's only ever happened once...planes don't often crash this spectacularly).

    She took a deep breath and braced herself against the nose of the plane, hugging its surface. "Arrrrrrrgh!" Closing her eyes she pushed back against the vehicle just enough. The hope was to get it to lose its kinetic energy bit by bit so that her pushing didn't cause the thing to crumple into an accordion. She realized then that Phil must be doing something else on top of just physically pushing...cause the ground was coming up way too fast
  5. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    Kyle wanted to keep his eyes open. To see the building crush him. It was almost like he was daring it to. The whole time he was cursing, and cursing, and cursing. Kelly was trying to pull him, to drag him to safety. But he knew it was too late. Neither of them had superspeed. They were done, and he fucking hated it.

    Oh, you asshole, Kyle thought as something caught the building. Someone. Phil. That same old silver helmet with lines down the middle and across the eyes; the white duster coat, the silver boots and silver chevrons along the side of the pant. Superman himself, as people have called him. Phil never called himself that. Phil told him it was too much baggage, too much to live up to. Others called him Prometheus for bringing to Earth a new source of energy. "Fire from the heavens" and all that jazz.

    Right now Kyle wanted to punch him. To yell at him. "Where have you been!? The world's ending!" etc and etc.

    Feats like these always stunned him. Stunned everyone. Even Kelly stood there speechless. Phil lowered the top of the building slowly, and people parted from beneath him. He always wondered how Phil caught things and kept those things from ripping apart from the force he exerted on them. Tactile telekinesis? Magnetism? Phil was as much an energy manipulator as he was Kryptonian-superstrong. Whatever it was, he was glad for it. And glad that that building was evacuated already.

    By the time Phil set the building down Kyle had rounded on him and then punched him across the helmet. If he was normal his hand would be broken. "Where have you been!? The world's ending!"

    "Sorry, Kyle."

    Kyle knew Phil. Knew that this whole shit situation hurt him more than anything ever possibly could anymore. If Phil didn't see that rock, if Phil didn't catch it, it was for a very good reason. A bad good reason...someone must have got to him, kept him occupied, kept him from seeing the rock, maybe he was on another planet. Another job for the Planetary Society out in Europa? Maybe. There was no way Phil would have simply let this happen.

    "Phil, your family--"

    "Taken cared of. Sorry, Kyle, but..." they both stared up at the rock now visible in the sky. "I'll explain everything later."

    "Do your job, Phil. Save what we can. And, Phil...it's not your fault. Just saying."

    "I blame him," Kelly piped in. Kyle punched him on the shoulder. "Just kidding!"

    Phil looked down, then looked at his hands, before looking back up again. "I don't know about this time, if the world can come back from this. But, I still gotta try, don't I?"

    "It's what superheroes do. Try, even if it's stupid to do so," Kyle replied.

    Phil crouched low. The concrete began to splinter beneath him. "Step back," he told Kyle and Kelly. The ground continued to buckle, and then Phil was off, rocketing towards outer space.

    "Think he can do it? The first one he caught wasn't this close, and he didn't need to push that much," Kelly asked.

    "I think he can. Well, or die trying." Kyle's words were hollow. Phil will do this...and probably die in the process. When Phil said, "if the world can come back," Phil really meant, "if I can come back."


    "Satellite feeds have returned and we are giving you views from around the world," Ellie Stanford said through the tilted TV. "Reports from London are grim as the city has been completely devastated. No official word from its resident hero Elizabeth Jameson as of right now but we did get some twitter photos of her organizing folk over there.

    Over in Japan fishermen have managed to get Nathan out of the water and onto dry land. He's not regained consciousness after stopping the massive tsunami headed there. People over on the eastern coast of China and Russia were not so fortunate, same could be said of the Philippines, and the western shores of the United States.

    New York City's been hit pretty heavily as has California which saw an amateur video of celebrity hero Nicky Darling's daring plane rescue that would have hit downtown Los Angeles. No word on her whereabouts, but in spite of her heroics there most of California was hit hard by a tsunami opposite the one that headed for Japan.

    As for the asteroid video around the world show the giant rock brushing against Earth's atmosphere, and a bright streak of light believed to be...well, Superman, for lack of any name. He simply calls himself Phil, and he saved the world once again. The questions now are, where is he? Is he alive? Where was he? And who is to blame for missing such a large cosmological threat?"
  6. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    I tried to post it all in one big text, but apparently I can't post stuff more than 100,000 characters >_>
  7. Umaeril

    Umaeril -o-}}}X{{{-o- Staff Member

    First off I have to read this. Next we should talk to Chris about the amount of characters. Perhaps that is to discourage spammers.

    I will read this later, I am very excited to see you write something here but I am working right now. So yay!! Glad to see it!!!
  8. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    It was a mess to write cause it was 3 in the morning and I couldn't sleep so I was like, 'what the hey' and wrote it all in one go. I haven't even gone back to read it after the fact XD
  9. Umaeril

    Umaeril -o-}}}X{{{-o- Staff Member

    Wow, actually this is quite good. I read the whole thing this afternoon and it kept my interest all the way through. I wonder where you are going with it. I like the characters! Do you actually have a plot for this sketched out? Very nice. Some parts you need to go through and edit it better, I can tell you wrote it hastily, but overall the writing is very good!
  10. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    lol, I don't really have a plot for it, no. I couldn't sleep, and when I tried to sleep my imagination just took off and I just wrote it down as fast as I could remember what it was I saw in my head. Not even sure an approaching asteroid could partially disintegrate and its pieces cause that kind of havoc like that. I was debating a giant space rock, an alien menace, or the Cascadia Subduction Zone going. I went with giant rock since it was something the hero 'Phil' could deal with physically. Aliens would've needed explaining I didn't have the brain power at that time to provide, lol
  11. Umaeril

    Umaeril -o-}}}X{{{-o- Staff Member

    This is really great that you were able to just get that out like that. I like how the characters all are different. I was not too sure about the use of "Superman" as a sort of meta-knowledge that the story has, i.e. a story within a story. If you can write stuff like this then you can do anything. *nods*
  12. EthanDirtch

    EthanDirtch Canuckle Head

    Eh, yeah, I wasn't happy with giving him a name, but I had to come use something. I figured if something like this happened in the real world where a man can fly and has incredible strength and does what's right all the time I'd imagine people would call him Superman, lol. What else would you call him? At least I didn't write this guy to be wearing a cape and blue, red and yellow spandex XD
  13. Umaeril

    Umaeril -o-}}}X{{{-o- Staff Member

    I would not refer to him at all. Or refer to "that comic book guy" so people know he is not really of this world.

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