Friday, May 27, 2011

Top Hat

A top hat.

Brendan could have sworn he had seen a top hat moving through the thick of the green trees to his right. He moved along the trail that he frequented on his daily run, through the massive park in the middle of the busy city.

And as he looked to his side, through the layered backdrop of oaks, elms, and pines, he caught sight of a black top hat moving parallel to him. Just a top hat. He could see no one wearing it. It simply seemed to float along, moving beside him and moving in on him.

He slowed to catch a better look and saw that it was moving right toward him through the greenery. Just before cresting the edge of the tree line where the worn path ran; just before he began to back away from the seemingly levitating hat, a face appeared bellow its thick brim.

The smiling face of a curly haired young man greeted him as the figure stepped out of the trees and onto the path. Dressed in a fine, black velvet suit and long, red-lined cloak, the handsome young man tip his head in a friendly nod.

Brendan was taken aback but managed to nod his hello back as the man seemed to float to him and passed, continuing to the other side of the path and towards the treeline to his left. He followed the man's movement with a quizzical look and the man in the somehow impeccably clean suit turned his head back to look at Brendan with a grin and another nod.

He moved back in through the tress and Brendan watched as the figure of the man under the top hat seemed to fade into the foliage, while the black top hat continued to move through the trees and bushes.

Soon the hat was out of sight and Brendan gave his head a shake as he started to jog along the soft dirt path again. Every so often he would look back at where he had been, but no one was there. He turned back to face forward, and he ran into a looming skeleton figure, wearing a black top hat, and a wide, toothy grin.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Zurn Industries

Looking out from his tall tower of glass and steel, he surveyed the cityscape; his cityscape. A smirking smile pulled his face even more taut than it already was as he watch all the people going about their lives; each one unsuspecting, each one in his grasp; under his control.

He clasped his hands behind his back as he stood at the floor to ceiling glass of his massive office at the topmost corner of the highest building in the city he had watched grow over the years, under his guiding hand.

His gray, tailored suit fit snug against his broad, muscled shoulders and chest. His shaved head and piercing blue eyes added to his commanding stature. Those that had had the rare occasion to meet him face to face, were awed by not only his intimidating form, but by how he looked only to be a man in his late thirties. Yet he was much older than that. Older than anyone would possibly dream.

Everyone, but one that is. The man who now stood on the other side of his big desk, staring at him; not awestruck, not afraid, not even intimidated, but with hatred.

He could feel it, and he relished in it.

“For millennia,” the larger man said in a deep, room shaking voice, not taking his eyes off the scene outside the window. “I had sought to conquer this world. Time and time again I have tried. And never have I quite closed my grip. And always you have arisen to stand against me.”

He turned to face the younger man standing a full head shorter than him, leaner and a little less solid, but only compared to the larger man in the gray suit. His brown suit set off his blazing green eyes even more than they already were aflame with seething hated.

The big man scoffed as he smirked again.

“But this time I have won, my old friend.” he said confidently. “This time you cannot stop me.”

The younger man sneered and hunched his shoulders like a stalking cat. “This time I do not mean to just stop your plans.” he almost snarled with disdain. “This time I have come to destroy you.”

Laughter boomed from the big, bald man as he lean his head back slightly with amusement.

“But you see, that is the beauty of what I have created,” he said as he shook his head with a knowing smile. “I have built this society up to sustain itself only upon that which I give to them. The lives they lead, the goods they buy and consume, the games they play, the idols they drool over, the entertainment they mindlessly give worth to; the business, the money, the religions they worship; I gave them. They are are all me. I have corrupted them and manipulated them so that even those that they think they have put in power, to rule for them, and over them, only do so because I have allowed it.”

He gave a self-satisfied smile to the seething young man in front of him; the same young man he had been facing over and over again through the eons. And this time he was finally going to win.

“I will put an end to your evil once and for all, Zurn.” The man in the brown suit spat. “And the world will finally be free of you. Even if it means my end as well.”

Zurn straighten himself even taller at the sound of his name.

“Foolish.” Zrun shook his head sadly at his ageless opponent. “Do you not see? Even if you kill me, my empire is already built. And it will go on after I am gone, the Children will see to that. My empire is the world! ”

His voice boomed at the end of his speech and he quieted himself again. “So you see, Aiel, either way. I have already won.”

Zurn began to laugh once again and the sound caused Aiel to snap. With a shout he dashed forward and leapt from the desk toward the massive figure of Zurn.

Zurn cut his merriment short and rushed to meet his eternal opponent as he leapt toward him with fists clenched.

The two shouted like mad men as they came together. Aiel's angle carried him careening into Zurn with enough force to send the big man reeling back, and with the smaller man upon his chest, they smashed through the glass of the window and fell out into the sunlit sky.

As glass hit the sidewalk at the base of the skyscraper in shards a few people looked up in time to see the two struggling figures falling toward them and they leapt out of the way. With a sickening splat, the two bodies hit the ground and were nearly obliterated by the force.

Everyone on the street stopped as the busy traffic skidded to a halt, all trying to see what had happened.

Some ran screaming at what they saw, others got sick as they turned away from the horrid scene. But most simply crowded around and took out their Zurn devices and took pictures and videos; within minutes the entire incident could be seen world wide on the Zurn Network.

Everyone watched; everyone talked; until the next day. Then everyone found something else more interesting to watch, to talk about. While Zurn Industries grew silently, the Children of Zurn working in shadow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Elevator

William entered the elevator, which three others were already sharing. He nodded to them and pushed the button for his floor as the doors slid closed quietly.

The elevator rose swiftly and slowed at the next floor where two of the passengers got off and another got on with a tip of their hat.

The doors closed again and they ascended the next three floors, where the last two of his fellow riders exited, leaving William to himself in the wood paneled lift.

He had never been uneasy inside of elevators, aside from the small queasy feeling in his stomach when they rose and stopped too quickly.

However, for some reason, a creeping feeling came over him, like something, somewhere, was amiss. He looked over his shoulders as if there were someone still in the elevator with him, but he was alone.

As it raised to the next level of the building, the lights at the top of the lift's doors lit up as they reached the next floor.

The light on Williams' floor lit up, but the elevator did not stop.

He pressed the lit button on the panel for his floor but to no avail as the elevator continued to rise rapidly.

Panic came over him quickly as it neared the topmost floor at a great speed and he frantically pressed the emergency stop button. But that too did nothing.

The light on the ceiling began to flutter as William felt the speed of the lift somehow increase, and he back himself into the corner, holding onto the railings with a vice grip. The entire unit began to shake and rattle with speed. William began to scream.

He did not know how long it went on for, an impossible amount of time it seemed; when, the flickering lights, the shaking, the speed, all stopped.

There was no lurching of the sudden cease of movement, everything just instantly went back to normal.

William, who was crouched on the floor in the corner, stood up slowly and the indicator bell dinged. The light on his floor lit up again and the doors slid casually open.

He stepped gingerly out into the hallway; his hallway. The elevator doors began to slide shut so he stepped fully out as he looked around. Everything seemed normal.

As he walked to his apartment he looked back at the elevator. Its closed steel doors standing like a menacing monolith with a dark crack down its center.

He was going to take the stairs from now on, he thought to himself as he took out the keys to open his door. But when he brought them up to the lock, he saw that there was no keyhole. It had been replaced by a flat, silver panel. He tried the hooked handle but it did not budge.

Confused, William looked around at all the doors along the hallway. They all had the same flat panels instead of keyhole locks.

Maybe the elevator had brought him to a different floor after all, but which?

He started for the stairwell at the other end of the hall and, with a look back at the elevator, began to run. Slamming the stairwell door open, he sped down the steps.

As he made his way down, he counted the floors he descended, and when he had reached the ground level it would seem that he had been on his own floor. But what had happened to it?

He pushed on the door leading to the lobby and it swung open into a marble atrium with a fountain and a concierge desk that had not been there before.

The lobby was filled with people in odd clothing, carrying luggage, with bellhops helping them to the elevator at the far end of the high ceiling room.

Some that were closest to him turned to stare at William as he came to a startled halt.

What were all these people doing in his building? This was no hotel.

The young woman behind the desk turned her attention to William and started to ask him if he was in need of any assistance, but he began to push his way through the crowd, making his way to the revolving doors of the entrance. The revolving doors that had not been there before either.

He pushed himself through the doors and out into the bright street. There, he stopped dead in his tracks.

The street was abuzz with noise. Strange looking automobiles crowded the road, their honking horns echoing around the buildings that rose, towering above him. Dwarfing his own building, which had been one of the tallest in the city.

A group of young boys moved noisily down the sidewalk toward him, on flat boards with wheels on the bottom. Their hoots and hollers snapped him out of his stare and he moved swiftly to get out of their way as they rolled passed. They all wore tight pants and had long shaggy hair.

He bumped into a newspaper dispenser and he looked down at the picture on the front page inside the glass case. It was an image of a war ravaged city street, with bodies strewn about as others ran blurry passed in terror. It was horrific, but the thing about it that grasped Williams' attention was that it was in colour.

He looked from the gory image slowly to the date at the top right hand corner of the paper.

His head swirled as he looked at the year.

Looking up at the sky as an impossibly massive plane flew loudly above the high reaching buildings William took hold of his head in his hands as he tried to steady himself.

It had be 1951 when he entered the elevator a few short moments ago. It had not taken him six floors up, but rather it had carried him six decades, into the future.

The small figure of William on the city sidewalk yelled out in terror and fell to his knees as others just passed him by; another poor, unfortunate victim of modern society, they think as they hurry along their busy way.