The Fantastic Four (My Version)

You know whenever there’s a horrid comic book movie most people say they could write a better movie? Well, that’s what I said when the latest Fantastic Four movie was released last August. I didn’t even see the movie, the reviews were so terrible. But I knew as someone who understood basic storytelling, that I could write a better movie than what was being put on screens.

So I did! It took a long time, mostly because I took about a three month break to finish school but in the past few days I went from 52 pages to 91. It’s probably shorter than it should be, but I don’t really have a clear idea on how to write action scenes. So those are probably much shorter than they would be on screen.

(For those curious, the script will be linked at the bottom of the post and in the screenplays section of the blog)

So when coming up with the plot for this movie, I decided that I would ignore licensing issues and write this movie as if it were being included in phase three or phase four of the MCU. The Fantastic Four desperately needs the support of the universe and other movies. Without it, it doesn’t make their conflicts seem threatening. The added weight of what’s come before is extremely helpful.

It also helps with certain characters. One of Doctor Doom’s strongest abilities is his magic. In fact he was the Sorcerer Supreme after Doctor Strange. So instead of giving him nonsensical telekenesis or whatever else he gets assigned in older movies, he has something that ties into the larger universe. When the cosmic radiation hits, his magical powers are enhanced ten fold.

I was also able to layer in a few hints to additional Fantastic Four mythology. Characters like Maria Hill and Nick Fury opened up several opportunities for such things.

Reed Richards and Ben Grimm remain mostly untouched in terms of powers and abilities. I made it so Ben evolves over time due to the level of radiation he receives. So he’ll start out kind of small and grow larger over the course of the movie.

Reed has more personality changes than anything else. He’s definitely as arrogant as always, but it hides a larger weakness in which he’s actually more cowardly than he seems.

Sue and Johnny are the ones I changed the most. I made them twins for starters. I did this so they I could make their powers intertwined. This allowed Sue to be more active in action scenes and for some really fun power combinations.

The basis of the plot involves the usual origin, they group goes to space and gets hit by cosmic radiation that gives them various powers. Only because this film is set in the MCU, it has additional context. They’re going up there to study alien signals and figure out where the portals from the first Avengers came from (and if they could detect others before they happen).

The cosmic radiation is from the Silver Surfer, who is going to earth to prepare it for Galactus. He serves as the main antagonist of the movie. But as I list below, he isn’t featured super heavily in the movie and that’s something I would need to fix in a second draft.

The script isn’t perfect, far from it. It’s only a first draft though. I’ll go back one day and fix the various errors within. But for now here’s a basic list of what’s wrong:

  • Script is very plot driven
  • The rule of threes isn’t as obeyed as it needs to be
  • Not enough conflict between some of the characters
  • Certain motivations need more explaining
  • Characterization needs to be carried throughout the entire film
  • Probably need to drop more hints about Dr. Doom being an actual villain
  • Silver Surfer has…. four scenes? Probably should include more
  • Various dialogue/formatting touchups

These are the eight that I can list off the top of my head.

If you’re curious about a cast, well, do I have a list for you. Though it lacks any explanations because those are boring. This is simply to give you someone to visualize when you read it! You’re free to ignore it 🙂

Doctor Doom

Reed Richards

Sue Storm

Johnny Storm

Ben Grimm

And here’s the script! If for whatever you reason you lose this post you can find the script up in the top right corner area that says “Screenplays”.

Fantastic Four

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Red Candy

Rain.

 

It’s cold. Windy.

 

Drops on her hand.

 

Waiting. Quietly. Stalking.

 

Loud noises. A party nearby. Across the street.

 

She watches. Waits. Brown hair. Wavy. Green eyes. Pale skin. Soft lips. Blue dress.

 

Music dying. Party over. Guests leaving. Target acquired.

 

Famous author. Favorite author. Terrible friend.

 

Letters. Letters. Ignored. Burning anger.

 

Author’s partner. In a cab.

 

Perfect timing.

 

Time to follow. Over the street.

 

Heels on pavement. Clip clap, clip clap.

 

Head straight. Gaze forward. Doesn’t see. Doesn’t care.

 

Best smile. Charming voice. Alluring voice. Seductive. Can’t resist. How could he.

 

Take his hand. Give him whispers. Pleasing words. He hears, but doesn’t know.

 

Lead him aside. Private time. Alone time. He smiles. Agrees.

 

In an alley. It’s dirty. Dark. Cold. Wet. It’s perfect.

 

Feel his body. His hands move, overcome.

 

Waiting. Moment approaching.

 

His face. Buried in her neck.

 

See the dumpster.

 

Brick wall.

 

Take his hair. Grip tight.

 

Seems playful. Doesn’t realize. Doesn’t care.

 

Swing hard. Crack! Bone on steel. He’s dazed. Hazy.

 

A faint smile. This is good. Going well. He can’t stand. Struggles.

 

Heels off. Feet wet. Ground cold. Doesn’t matter. Kick his throat. Make him fall.

 

Hear him cough. Hold up his hands. Attempt to talk. Plead. She laughs.

 

Hair wet against her face. Laughter growing. Uncontrollable.

 

He speaks. Begs. Doesn’t matter. Another kick. He falls.

 

She bends down. Takes his head.

 

Throws it to the ground.

 

Blood.

 

Blood everywhere.

 

Blood on the ground.

 

Throw him again. More blood.

 

Spraying blood. Larger smile. Louder laughter.

 

Bigger splash. Can’t stop. Don’t stop. More crack. More blood. Teeth everwhere.

 

Blood on the ground. Blood in the water. Blood on her face.

 

Still. No longer moving. No longer begging.

 

She still smiles. She still laughs.

 

It’s cold. Raining. Quiet.

 

She stops. She looks.

 

She smiles.

 

Laughs.

Happy Birthday

“…happy birthday to you.”

The flame on the scuffed-up lighter danced in front of Molly. Behind it was a paper towel that housed a tiny sweet roll. Behind that was the concrete wall that used to be white. Now it was stained yellow and had the claw marks of those who had made attempts at cleaning it. Molly recalled the cement floor being cold.

“Aren’t you going to blow out your candle?” Patricia, her mother asked. She waited a minute for Molly to respond. When she didn’t, her mother nodded sorrowfully. She blew out the flame and put the lighter down on the dirty tray next to them.

Her mother looked expectantly at her. “Do you want some of your cake?” she asked in a hopeful tone.

Molly didn’t say anything, but her eyes shifted down to the sweet roll. Patricia smiled faintly and broke off a piece. She held it up to Molly’s mouth, which opened just wide enough for the small piece. The roll was stale, but there was still sweetness to be found. Molly savored every second of it.

Her mother smiled at Molly again, her eyes welling with tears. “Look at you,” she reached out and touched some of Molly’s hair. It was greasy and hadn’t been cut or cleaned in a long time. Clean water was hard to come by, and what they had was rationed by the spongeful.

“You’re growing up so fast.” A tear dropped down her mother’s cheek. “Sixteen years old now.” Her mother noticed the tear and wiped it away immediately. She smiled bashfully. “Sorry. I know you hate how I always cry.”

Molly said nothing. She went back to focusing on the sweet roll in front of her. Preoccupied with herself, her mother put it aside and leaned forward. “I’m sorry we never got you a present. You know how things have been since we got to this camp. But your father worked very hard to get you that sweet roll. I’m sure you’re grateful for that. Make sure to thank him.”

Molly didn’t say anything. She didn’t even take her eyes off the sweet roll. Patricia sighed and smoothed out her pants. “Well, happy birthday Molly.” She stood and kissed Molly sweetly on the forehead.

Before she moved away, a strong arm swung around them both. “How are you doing?” Molly’s father, Richard asked. He was dressed in his Falconeers uniform and smelled of gunpowder and dirt. A pistol hung on his hip.

Patricia slid out from under his arm. “We’re fine,” she replied curtly. She took a few steps away from him and watched from a distance.

Richard sighed. “Are we really going to do this now?”

Patricia turned around, scowling. “What do you want from me?”

He ignored her and bent down in front of Molly. Her eyes shifted over him briefly before returning to the sweet roll. “Hey sweetie. Did you enjoy the cake I got you?”

Molly didn’t say anything.

Her father sighed and looked to Patricia, who shrugged. He turned back to Molly. “Come on, baby. Can’t you say something?”

Molly didn’t take her eyes off the sweet roll. Her dad huffed angrily and stood up. He put his hands on his hips and paced around.

“She hasn’t said anything today, so don’t bother trying.” Patricia said to him, her arms still crossed as she stood away from them.

Richard shook his head. “Why do I even bother?”

Patricia turned to him, her arms now hanging at her sides. “You know she’s been this way ever since we escaped from the last camp we were in.”

Richard scoffed and waved her off. “How long can someone go without speaking?”

Patricia stepped closer to her father and tried lowering her voice down to a whisper. “With the things she’s seen. Can you blame her?”

Richard sighed and lowered his head. “I just want my daughter back.”

“I don’t want to talk about this right now.” Patricia said, turning away from her father.

He moved towards her putting a hand on her shoulder and twisted her around. “You never want to talk about it!” he yelled.

Her mother looked over at Molly, who had done little else than shift her eyes over to her parents. “We shouldn’t be yelling like this in front of her.”

Her father let go. His arms dropped to his sides. “Whatever.” He walked off without saying goodbye.

Patricia sighed and walked back over to Molly. “I’m sorry about that honey.” She knelt down. “Your father is just stressed. He has been for too long. It’s fried his nerves.”

Molly shifted her eyes over to her mother. They stared at each other for a moment. Patricia’s face searched for some sort of expression on Molly’s.

She stood back up and gave a sigh that sounded a lot like her father’s. “Rory will be over soon. Try to be nice to him.” She huffed and stormed off.

That left Molly with only the wall and her sweet roll to stare at. The sweet roll still looked as appetizing as ever, but Molly was sure it was getting staler the longer it sat over there.

She watched the people walk by, each of them a portrait of oncoming death. They all wore tattered clothes and small leather platforms for shoes on their feet. She couldn’t imagine they kept them very clean. She a looked down on her own feet. They were spotless.

“Hey Molly. How are you?” Rory approached from side of her view. He carried with him a small board. “I hope your birthday is going well.”

Molly’s eyes followed him as he brought the chair around. With the edge of the bed between them, he set down his board. Set on top was a set of knick-knacks and other various pieces that Molly could only assume was used for checkers.

Rory began setting up the pieces. His face was covered in a thin layer of dirt. His eyes moved to the sweet roll. “Have you enjoyed the cake so far?”

Molly looked back up at Rory and noticed that there was a bright yellow flower in his ear. Flowers were rare nowadays, especially ones so brightly colored. It was entrancing.

Rory noticed and smiled. He picked the flower off his ear and handed to her. “Here. You have it. Happy birthday.”

Molly smiled.

Why Are the Roses Alone

A group of small red roses sat idly on the table. Clouds covered the sun, but the roses are tall enough. They’ve settled into the home, the vase.

“Where are they?” The table asked. It was small and round, wearing its favorite blue drape. It was cozy and only used for the most special of occasions.

The twin chairs quivered curiously. They loved to gossip, as chairs went everywhere and heard everything.

“I heard he left her and went drinking. They’ve been fighting after all,” Righty sneered. Righty enjoyed the turmoil. The drama gave him so much entertainment. Such things were needed to keep the ever looming boredom away.

Lefty scoffed, “Please! She’s the one who left. All he gets from her are half promises. It’s bleeding him dry.” Lefty was more the one for a quiet dinner. Things like arguments and fights weren’t necessary in order for Lefty to be entertained.

“That’s not wrong.” Table said. “You’d be surprised how many times he sits here, exhausted after a day with her. The poor boy looks drained. It’s not healthy.”

Righty sighed. “He should buck up then. It’s not like he’s got anyone else to keep him company. He should consider himself lucky.”

“However true that may be, he shouldn’t have to put up with the constant back and forth. The jealousy, the stress. It’s too much.” Lefty said.

The table nodded in agreement. “Perhaps it’s better then, that the roses are alone.”

“Perhaps,” said Righty not entirely convinced.

White Sunburn

Liza twisted the tube until the last bit of paste fell on to her finger. She quickly applied it to her nose and across her brow.

A WEB Medical Drone circled her, running scans and tests seamlessly. The little bot was circular and perfectly smooth except for a little LED light that shown from the top.

“How we lookin’ MD?” She asked. Her reflection crossed her arms.

Moderate burns. Healing cream should clear it up.” The drone responded.

The scans continued until the little ball of metal stopped in its tracks. The scanning light went back and focused in on something near the back of her head.

“Something wrong?”

Her reflection smirked.

The drone scanned her again. “Brain anomaly detected.

Liza blinked. “What’s up?”

Unknown.

“Lovely.” She deadpanned and continued applying her medicine.

“Recommendations?”

See medical attention immediately.

She turned to the medical drone. “Isn’t that what you’re for?” She shook her head and went back to the mirror.

Despite having semi-dark skin, she’d applied so much paste that she could easily be mistaken for an Anglo. The thought made giggle. Her reflection did not laugh.

“You probably should have thought about using that sooner, no?” It scowled at Liza, watching her with disdain.

Liza huffed and rolled her eyes. “I suppose, but I can’t worry about that now.” She went back to rubbing the paste on her face. It soothed the burning, but the color of her skin continued to lighten.

“Careful now,” her reflection said. “You keep doing that and you’ll dye your skin all Anglo-like.”

“That wouldn’t be the worst thing,” Liza commented, continuing to relieve her pain.

“Oh, but what would mother say?” Her words were filled with sarcasm. “How aghast she would be!”

Liza half shut her eyes and raised an eyebrow. She finished up and washed her hands as quickly as possible. Out of the room and away from the mirror, Liza let out a sigh of relief. The uneasy sensation left her stomach…

…Only to return immediately as she entered the kitchen. Her mother let out a gasp and dropped the iron on the table.

“What happened to your face?” She cried.

Liza let out a breath of exasperation. “It’s just some face cream, mom.”

She threw a rag at Liza’s face. “Clean it off, you look like a filthy Anglo.”

“So what?” Liza threw the rag on the table.

“What if the neighbors see?” Her mother rushed to close the drapes in the room.

“Mom they know who we are.” Liza rolled her eyes.

“We don’t need anyone spreading rumors!” Her face glowed red and her chest heaved with heavy breathes.

“Mom, please. There’s nothing wrong with them.” Liza winced. That was the wrong thing to say and definitely the wrong moment to say it in.

“What did you say?” Her mother asked between grinding teeth.

Liza’s mind fumbled for a solution. “Look at Shinji and Amelia. Everyone likes them.”

Her mother huffed, but her color stayed the same. “Shinji is related to the Emperorate and Amelia is ember-haired. You know those are completely different things. Now hush and clean your face already.”

The rag hit Liza in the nose again. “Mom, you don’t happen to have healing cream that isn’t white, do you?”

Her mother turned around, pretending to only half pay attention. “No, that must be your father’s.”

“Then you’re just going to have to deal with it. I’m not going to clean this off because you think the neighbors are going to stop inviting you to parties.”

“Young lady, you will clean your face now!” She’d turned back around, beat red once more.

Liza didn’t care this time. She laid a hand on her head. It was on fire.

“Mother, my face is in pain. I need this!” There really wasn’t any simpler way to explain it.

“I will not have my daughter parading around my house look like a fucking pink-skin!” Liza was sure that her mother was about to burst some blood vessels.

“It’s only sunburn, it’s harmless.” Liza could feel her face heating up with anger.

“Harmless?” The blood vessels across her mother’s forehead were throbbing. “Would it still be harmless when the neighbors report us and you get kicked out of school. Or worse, we get deported!”

Her mother reached for the rag and took a step towards Liza. “Now be a good girl and get over here.”

Liza stood still. Her head throbbed. Why wouldn’t the pain go away?

Her mother grabbed her wrist and tried pull her forward. Liza reached out with her spare hand to grab the iron melting the table cloth.

Swinging with all her might, she crashed the iron into the side of her mother’s skull. Bone cracked and splintered. Blood splattered over Liza and the ground around her.

With a squishy thud her mother hit the floor.

Liza’s head hurt. Her eyes filled with red. She bent over her mother’s corpse and continued to hammer the iron through to the ground.

The air smelled of burnt hair and blood.

Finally, when Liza’s arms ached, she stood.

Her reflection stood next to her and brushed a stray hair away.

“What do you think?” it asked.

Liza shrugged. “I think mom tripped.”

Her head still hurt.

 

The World Eater

Sydni could not sleep. She sat upright on her bed, covers drawn over her knees. She didn’t lack comfort. Her pajama bottoms were soft. The blue tank top she wore fit well enough. Even her blankets and pillows seemed welcoming.

Yet whenever she tried to let them take her, she was denied. Sydni was left to watch the minutes on her clock blink on by. She felt like a waking dream. Her mind was sluggish as it tried to lull her into sleep. But her body rebelled. Everything was fighting against itself and it left Sydni a weak, dizzy mess.

There was one way she was able to sleep. Talking with her Friend always helped. It wasn’t because Friend was boring; nothing like that at all. But Friend had a special talent, and that was to make Sydni’s dreams come true. More often than not, that dream was simply to sleep.

The problem was that Friend never really showed up “on time”. Friend just showed up whenever it wanted to. That made things difficult for Sydni, but some sleep was better than no sleep, she would tell herself.

It was because of Friend that she left her window open at all times. And finally with a wisp of smoke and a snake’s rattle, Friend appeared before Sydni.

“Hello, Sydni.” Friend said, smiling at her. An eye blinked at her. Friend’s cream-colored fur curled back into black waves as it floated in front her.

“Hello, Friend.” Sydni said, swaying side to side lazily. She reached out and pet Friend’s “nose”. They’d been together almost all her life, but even after seventeen years she didn’t know its name. She kept being told she wouldn’t be able to pronounce it. She eventually gave up.

“What are you doing?” Friend asked, lips curling at the attention.

“Same thing I always do, silly. Waiting for you.” The answer seemed pretty obvious to Sydni, after all they’ve done this plenty of times before.

“Why do you wait for me?” Friend seemed genuinely curious.

Sydni righted herself and raised an eyebrow over half closed eyes. “You know why. So I can sleep finally.”

“Don’t you dream of more than sleep?” Something in Friend’s voice was different tonight.

“What’s wrong Friend? You don’t seem like yourself today.” Sydni was concerned. More for herself or Friend she was unsure.

“There are forces at work, Sydni. The people I work for. They are…” Friend paused, debating how to phrase the next few words.

“Yes?” Sydni prompted.

“They are powerful.”

“So they are politicians?” The word seemed so big for a time so late.

Friend chuckled. “Nothing quite so small my dear. They are gods. They are the crafters of worlds.”

Sydni rubbed her eyes.

“I think it’s time you met them, Sydni.”

“Why? What good would that do?” All Sydni wanted was sleep. Why wouldn’t Friend give her that?

“Even though your mind is too tired to realize it, you are special, Sydni.”

Sydni sighed. “If I meet them, will you let me sleep tonight? I’d like to at least be more awake than I am now when I see them.”

Friend grinned. “I would be happy to.”

And with that Sydni lay on her pillow. Her eyes closed and she felt a soft breeze over her. Within moment sleep took her, and Sydni dreamed a wonderful new dream.

She floated above the earth, supported by nothing more than her own will. Her pajamas were gone, replaced by a midnight blue dress.

The planets seemed small and that made Sydni smile. The sun was warm and the air cool. Everything felt perfect.

Friend floated beside her. “Are you ready?”

Sydni turned and grinned. “I think I am.”

Friend returned her smile. “Come with me then.”

Friend took her hand and Sydni felt time and space bend around her. She likened it to being pulled through a black hole, the way they described being stretched into oblivion. She felt no pain though and within moments they were somewhere else. A place of darkness and endless space.

“Where are we, Friend?”

“This is where I am from.”

Sydni blinked in awe. Before was a great Obelisk. It was the color of the stars, the most beautiful thing Sydni had ever seen. The Obelisk seemed to hang completely still, unaffected by anything surrounding it.

Despite its beauty, Sydni couldn’t help but feel uneasy looking at it.

“I have spoken to my brethren. They are looking forward to meeting you.”

“It’s safe in there?” Sydni asked. She wasn’t nervous about meeting these new people, but the Obelisk didn’t seem to like her, and that did worry her.

“Do not worry. Everything has been set; you will encounter no issues here.” It felt like Friend was inside her head.

Sydni followed Friend towards the Obelisk. A small arch opened as they approached and swallowed them in seconds.

The interior of the Obelisk was scarcely lit. Tiny lights glowed throughout, like fireflies in the night sky. The walls rippled like the reflections of water. A summer’s breeze blew about the place.

It was perfect.

And it was a dream. At least, that’s the only way Sydni’s mind could process such resplendent manifestation.

“Where are we?” Her voice reflected the awe she felt inside her.

“We are home.” Friend answered as her feet touched the ground.

Walking seemed foreign to Sydni. Her body had become used to the sensations of the flights and floating. She missed it already. The ground looked like a long metal slab, though it wasn’t cold to the touch like she expected.

They continued through what she could only think of as the entrance hall. They ascended through the stairs and into the most elegant ballroom. The jewels that hung from the walls twinkled as they oscillated back and forth. The chandeliers were suspended gracefully on what appeared to be nothing at all. The floor was clear, glass she assumed. Her body didn’t respond with vertigo or any such dizziness. She assumed if she were to fall, she would simply fly.

Sydni smiled, “Where are we?”

“This is where the meeting will be held.” Friend’s voice no longer seemed soft.

Sydni turned back to take in the entirety of the ballroom. It seemed to go on without end. But in the distance she heard noise. It sounded like doors opening.

“They’re here” Friend told her.

“Who is here?”

“The Fallen,” is all Friend said, lips curling into a smile.

Forms moved closer towards them. They were difficult to make out, as if they were being blurred out. It was as if they were fading in and out of existence.

Sydni blinked. When her eyes opened she took a step back in shock. The forms were upon her. They all wore hooded robes that looked like they anchored them to the ground. Sydni felt uneasy around them. Her stomach turned, and suddenly she didn’t feel so happy.

The forms bowed to her. “Welcome, Sydni of Earth Prime,” they all said in unison. “We are the Fallen.”

Unsure of what exactly to do, she fumbled her feet around, eventually bowing in return.

The Fallen rose together. “We are glad you could join us.”

Sydni bit her lip. “If you don’t mind my asking… What is this about?”

One stepped forward from the group. “You have gifts, Sydni of Earth Prime. And we have need of those gifts.”

Sydni didn’t understand. She looked at Friend, hoping for some explanation, or even reassurance. Friend’s face was blank. She couldn’t read him anymore.

“Allow us to explain.” The one closest to her said in a comforting, female voice. The hood fell back, revealing a young woman with short white hair. Her eyes were a pale blue. From within the robes Sydni could see pipes and tubes protruding. They fed into the back of their skulls.

Sydni reached a hand out towards the woman. It was gloved, but the fingers were long and sharp. They were inhuman in sight, yet Sydni felt no malice from them. They exuded a calming nature, a sudden change from what Sydni felt before. She didn’t have time to wonder if that was on purpose or not. The hand wrapped around her shoulder and guided her towards the other members.

“Please, close your eyes.” They asked in unison. She did as she was told and felt a cold, leathery hand on her forehead.

In her mind’s eye she saw the stars. They were floating in space again. Behind her was the Obelisk and beside her was the female Fallen. Friend was nowhere to be seen. Before her was the planet earth.

Only that wasn’t entirely true. When she leaned her head left or right, she could see other planets. Like pages in a flipbook, they were all layered against each other with the faintest edge sticking out.

“What is this?” She asked.

The Fallen woman gracefully swept her hand across. The planets spread out side by side each other. “This one here, was your home.” She pointed to the planet in the center. “The rest could be similar to home you knew, or so far from what you knew you’d never recognize it.”

“What do you want from me?”

The woman took a deep breath before responding. “For the longest time the Builders governed these earths, keeping tabs on their evolution. And while for the most part they were to be left to their own devices… sometimes…” She motioned with her hand again, flipping through the planets like they were files in a cabinet. She stopped on one that to Sydni looked no different than what they were looking at before. “Sometimes they get a little too big. They expand beyond their destined reach.”

“But Friend referred to you as Fallen? What does that mean? Is there a difference?”

The woman shrugged. “To some. We simply believe that our purpose has evolved, just like these worlds sometimes do. With a new purpose should come a new name.”

“And what do you need from me?”

“I want you to focus on this planet. Imagine it spinning or tumbling through space. Whatever you think is proper.”

Sydni blinked. “Why would I do that?”

“Because this is your talent, dear Sydni. Your Friend has been training you for some time. I’m sure you’ve felt it, even if you had chosen to ignore it at first.”

Sydni inhaled. She knew she was trapped. Exhale. There wasn’t anything to do except do what she was told. She closed her eyes and held out her hand. She imagined the planet reversing its rotation. She felt resistance in her mind, like she was pushing a weight. She struggled against it, forcing the object to listen to her commands. Slowly, Sydni could feel its strength lessening. She smiled and pushed harder. Finally the structure gave way, and she could manipulate it as she chose.

“Excellent,” she could hear the woman saying. “Now consume this world. Let its energies feed you and grow your power.”

Sydni understood. The moral quandary didn’t even cross her mind. She was too focused on her newfound ability. The power it gave it. It tickled some part of her brain she hadn’t realized existed until now. To have the lives of an entire world in the palm of her hand. It felt… godlike. Sydni stuck out her other hand, pantomiming a grab. She closed her hands… and pulled.

Within seconds she not only heard, but felt the screams and energies of everyone who was on that world. They entered her mind, filling her with memories, sounds, scents, tastes, and words… touches. All of this flooded her consciousness. She grabbed her head in pain and felt herself floating aimlessly.

“It will pass my dear and soon you won’t feel anything at all. Let us return to the ballroom.”

Sydni felt a hand grab her own and when she opened her eyes they were back in the circle of Fallen. The chandeliers sparkled above her, twinkling like stars.

“I think she’s had enough for one day.” The woman said to her brethren.

“Is she ready?” they asked in return.

“She will be soon. There was no hesitation.”

They all nodded in approval. Sydni simply lay on the ground, her head felt light. She smiled despite the pain.

“Take her back.”

The last thing Sydni saw was Friend approaching her. Then the stars burnt out and her vision went black.

Sydni awoke back in her bed. The sun shone through the curtains. She yawned and stretched out her arms. She felt like she had the weirdest dream last night. Her mind was blank though so she decided to forget it.

She left her bed to get ready for breakfast when she realized she wasn’t hungry at all.

In fact she felt rather full.

Death Meets Dave

The blade felt almost soft. It had been sharpened recently – maybe that was why. The flesh on Dave’s arm parted neatly. The empty space quickly filled with a warm red liquid. He found it beautiful. His skin was pale like a vampire’s; it matched the porcelain of the tub he sat in. The water was warm, peaceful. It was time, all he had to do was wait.

Dave closed his eyes. Time passed slowly. Dave began to feel less lucid, like he had been spun around in a children’s game.

Finally, there was a creak at the door.

“Hello, Dave,” said the voice, weary from traveling.

Dave opened his eyes. He knew who it was.

The man before him wore a black robe. His face bare of all flesh. The bones were milk white and smooth like river rock.

“Hello,” Dave whispered, barely conscious of what was going on. His vision was blurry, from the lack of blood he assumed.

“Speak to me like a man.” His words were laced with disappointment. Death tapped his staff on the ground. It looked made of charcoal and housed a long curved blade.

“I’ve been waiting.” Dave said, his voice now clear. He blinked and his vision returned to him.

“What do you want from me?” Death asked. His tone was undercut with slight frustration.

“Why do you sound angry?” Dave asked confused.

“I feel like we’ve been doing this dance for years. I have work to do, places to be.” Death rubbed the side of his head.

“I have a question for you.”

“Couldn’t you just write me a letter?” His tone was now complete frustration.

“You never gave me an address.” Dave nearly chuckled.

Death sighed, “Dave, you can’t keep doing this. The whole ‘I didn’t mean it act’ will only work for so long. I’ll have to do my job eventually.” Dave couldn’t tell if that was a threat or not.

Dave thought for a moment. “I need to know about Craig.”

“What about him? He did what you did, only he meant it.” Though Dave knew it was impossible, it looked like Death was getting flustered with him.

Dave sat up and curled his arms around his knees. His skin becoming stained with his own blood. “Was it my fault?”

Death raised an eyebrow – or lack thereof perhaps. “Does it matter?”

“It’s why I brought you here,” said Dave.

Death sighed again and leaned against his staff. Dave wondered for a moment how many people have done the exact same thing to Death. Dragging him here with no intention of actually leaving. All they want is for him to answer something, make them feel at peace for a change.

“It was,” Death finally said.

Dave nodded, surprised at how calm he was to hear that.

“Now what?” Death asked. He lay down the toilet cover and sat on it.

“I wish I could apologize.” Dave said, staring out into space.

“I’ll tell you what,” Death cleared his throat. “I’ll let you apologize to your friend, but in exchange…” Death pointed a bony finger at him. “You come with me.”

Silence.

“It’s either that or you go back to your life, and you live with your guilt.” Death shrugged.

Dave thought about what Death said.

~Fin

Edge

The midnight breeze was crisp. The night was clear, illuminating the sweeping view in front of him. This was good – precision was required for what he was about to do.

James Haven activated the comn-link on his left wrist. “Sam, you ready?”

Static crackled in his ear before an answer came, “Let’s see. Suit, check. Gun, check. Seems all good here, see you on the other side.”

“Do you really think you’ll need that gun? There isn’t even anyone in the building.”

“You never know.”

James switched off the device and began the countdown. Sixty seconds. He grabbed the cable set near his feet. After a swift click it set into place around his ankle.

He checked his wrist watch; nearly there. He touched the center of his gravsuit. The neon blue lights switched on as electricity coursed through its veins.

He drew in a deep breath. This part always made him nervous, no matter how many times he’d done it before. He closed his eyes and took a step off the ledge. His foot hit the side of the building as if he were walking on solid ground. He took his other foot off and followed suit. The gravsuit quickly readjusted to support his upper body.

James checked the timer. Thirty seconds. He took off down the left pane of the building. Sixty-four, sixty-three, sixty-two. He counted as each floor passed from under him. James checked the clock again. Eight seconds.

Finally he reached the sixtieth floor. He took a miniature laser cutter from the hip pocket of his suit and attached it to glass. On the highest speed it took less than two seconds to cut out a section of glass big enough for James to slip through.

He pushed the glass circle in and jumped in. His eyes went blurry and his head felt light. James felt his head smash into the ground as his body tumbled over him.

The clock went off, signaling the end of the sixty seconds he had allotted himself. James shook his head, trying to steady himself. He stood, and brought the communicator to his mouth.

“I’m in. You?”

“Same. What’d you make it in under?” Asked Sam, his partner in crime.

James thought for a moment. “A little under five seconds.”

A chuckle came through, “Not bad. I made it above seven.”

It was James’ turn to chuckle. “Show off.”

“I’m reaching the office now. How close are you?” Sam replied.

James looked around him, realizing he hadn’t moved since he landed. “I’m on my way.” He started making his way down the office hallways. He needed to get there quickly, an office was waiting to be broken into.

James switched off both the comn-link and the gravsuit, darkening the room around him. The building was currently owned by Maximillian Looush, the famed creator of the Blackbriar Grid on which the city currently ran on.

The grid controlled every method of transportation, moderating speed, distance, and energy consumption. The only exception to the Grid was flight, which was so pointless nowadays it was more of a luxury that only the bigwigs used to show off how rich they are.

Their mark was Looush’s office where he kept a rather rare artifact that was given to him by another rich CEO. If Sam’s source was correct, it should be an Old World artifact, something worth a lot on the black market, and even more to the right museum curator.

James arrived at the office to find Sam already inside, sitting behind the main desk. His face was illuminated by the screen of the computer. He was typing furiously at the keyboard.

“It’s good to see you’ve made yourself comfortable.” James said as he strode into the lavishly furnished office without a care in the world.

They were open about what they were doing because Mr. Looush never bothered hiring human guards. He preferred everything to be automated when possible, which meant that everything could be hacked.

“Just downloading another piece of code. “ Sam replied without looking up from the screen.

James hadn’t known Sam for very long, in fact they’d only started working as a team for the past six months.

“What’s all that for anyways? That’s the fifth one you’ve grabbed this month.” James said.

“It’ll come in handy, trust me.” Sam said.

There were many times James wasn’t sure he could trust Sam, but they made a decent enough team to not get caught so far. That was good enough for James. Perhaps Sam was just another thief working a second job. Either way it was probably none of James’ business.

“Come on, we don’t have much time before the backup system kicks in.” While James was feeling confident they would get in and out with plenty of time to spare, he didn’t want to waste time with pointless tasks.

Sam pulled the thumb drive from the machine. The room darkened as the computer screen dimmed. Sam stood up from the chair and pushed in the center of his chest. The core of his gravsuit put forth a beam of light.

“What are we looking for again?”

“I believe it’s a book… or newspaper. I’m not sure.”

James rolled his eyes, “I thought you said your guy was good.”

“He is. He’s just never seen the thing for himself.” Said Sam.

“Lovely,” James went to the other end of the room and started looking.

“Did the blueprints show a safe? Or some sort of storage unit?”

“Not that I saw,” was James’ reply as he felt the walls for a hollow inside. “He probably had it built once most of the building was put together.” He knocked against the wall again, the sound echoed within. “Sam.” He called.

Sam sprinted over and knocked against the wall. He heard the same thing. He started running his hand against the wall. “There should be a panel around here somewhere…”

James tapped a button on his gravsuit. His right forearm lit up and he opened his hand, releasing a pulse of white-blue energy. It poured through the wall, quickly revealed the electrical organs of the room. He quickly traced a path to the panel. Sam opened it and the wall slid down.

Before them was a room made of white cubes. In the center was a display case that housed their mark. Sitting in a glass case was an old, weathered book. James couldn’t get close enough to see the title, but from what he could tell, it would fetch them a pretty penny.

His heart skipped a beat and he felt himself smile. The discovery of the prize never ceased to get his blood pumping. It was why he did what he did. The rush was like nothing he could experience elsewhere. That and the money was good.

Sam tried to take a step forward into the room, but James put his hand out to stop him. “Something’s not right here.” He said. He leaned towards the room, focusing closely on the glass case.

“It’s got a laser field around it.” He said with a sigh.

“What? How do you know?” Sam asked.

“There’s a shimmer around the glass. If we so much as reached for the book an alarm would go off.”

“But we disabled everything. Why is this one still active?”

James looked towards the ceiling. “It must be powered by a separate station, one we didn’t account for.”

“Perfect. How do we get in?”

James sent another pulse throughout the room. He followed the tubes protruding from the lasers.

“We’ll have to go up one floor.” He turned back to Sam. “The field is being powered by a station above us.”

“I guess Looush does have some brains. Having the vault’s security powered by another station isn’t a half bad idea.” Sam said.

“Come on, we have work to do.”

James led the way back to the window he had entered through. They both activated their gravsuits and climbed out through the glass. With their feet securely fastened to the side of the building, they made their way up a floor. It was business as usual entering the building a second time.

They moved quickly once inside. While security was disabled, it was only a matter of time before someone monitoring the system discovered something wasn’t quite right.

They entered the room above Looush’s office and begin to search for the security station powering the laser grid. Several sat in the room before them, but there was a good chance all but one were decoys.

“Any idea how we figure out which one we pull the plug on?” James asked as he paced through the room.

“Couldn’t we just shut them all off? Leave no room for errors?” Sam looked around the room. If they could shut everything off at once, then they wouldn’t have to worry about triggering any alarms.

“How do you expect us to do that?” James asked with a tone of annoyance. “We’re only two people. We’d never be able to shut them all down before we got trapped in here.” He figured James would know something like that since he seemed so computer savvy.

“I don’t suppose we could just leave and come back another time could we?” Sam asked, already expecting the answer.

James didn’t even bother responding and instead kept looking through the room. Sam considered just leaving James here, but that would no doubt prove pointless later. Sam ran the USB drive he used earlier between his fingers. There was a chance they could get out of here and still get what they came for.

“Alright, I’ve got an idea.” He pushed passed James and walked towards one of the computers.

“Hey, what are you doing?” James asked reaching for Sam.

“You’ll see in a minute.” He knelt down near a station and plugged the USB drive in. He typed a few commands and suddenly the room went dark. Everything was shut off.

“What… just happened?” James looked all around him. Everything was dark.

“No time to explain, let’s just grab the thing and get out of here.” Sam said heading for the door.

“Right…” James followed him out.

 

Grabbing the book was easy after the lasers were deactivated. The book was untitled as far as the pair could find, but there was no doubt some curator who knew what the book was, and would pay quite a bit to get it.

They quickly made their way back out the entrances they created for themselves and headed back to the top of the complex.

Sam was sitting with the book in his lap by the time James had arrived. “You wanna explain yourself?” He asked.

Sam barely looked up from the book. He was carefully flipping through the pages, curious about what made it so special.

“Sam.” James called.

Sam finally looked up.

“You’ve been acting really weird over the past month. Well, especially weird. Every time we hit a place you’re always diggin’ through their computer files. How did that USB code shut down all of those security stations?”

“It’s a kill switch.”

James blinked, speechless. “What?” was all he got out.

“These pieces of code that I’ve been collecting over the past few months. They’re part of a kill switch for the Grid. It’s able to take control of it, and I can shut down any part of the city I need to.”

“But why would you need something like that?” James asked, taking a step back from Sam.

“Well it saved our asses today didn’t it?”

“Yeah, sure, but there are ways around that kind of thing without using a code that could take out the entire city.” James didn’t know what to think. Something so dangerous… “How did you know how to put it together?”

“Friends in high places is all you need to know.”

“Need to know? What’s going on here, Sam?”

Sam stood and took out the gun he’d been carrying all along. James stared it at, unable to breath. He couldn’t believe this was really happening. “You’re kidding me right?” He smiled shyly, trying to laugh it off as some kind of sick joke.

“I need you to walk to the edge of the building.”

“What?”

“You didn’t think I’d let you leave here knowing what I’ve been working on did you?” He took a step towards James. “Sure, I could have just left you there in that security room, but you’re very good at what you do Mr. Haven. I know you’d find me eventually. So this is what it comes to.”

“You don’t need to do this.” James’ heel teetered over the side of the building.

“Unfortunately I do, I better do it fast as I seem to be monologuing. Apologies, Mr. Haven.”

There was a quick flash of light.

No sound.

No pain.

Just light.

Then there was nothing.

Confession of the Fallen

(Feat. Great Hymn to the Atem)

Father Tagget’s morning was one of simplicity and routine. That’s how he liked it. He awoke, washed, and dressed. His breakfast consisted of a boiled egg and some greens. He’d been having health problems recently and the automated doctor recommended something a little lighter to start the day off with. He convened with the other priests to get an update on what was going on in their lives and the life of their church, Saint Thomas’.

“Confessions are being held today after mass.” He was told via the hologram of the other priest. It was going to be a long day then. It took a while for people to admit their sins, even to the Lord.

 

How manifold it is, what thou hast made!

They are hidden from the face of man.

O sole god, like whom there is no other!

Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,

Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,

Whatever is on earth, going upon its feet,

And what is on high, flying with its wings.

 

Time flowed quickly throughout mass. Tagget didn’t give the sermon himself, but he did tune in. Their speaker was a special guest who was streaming from across the globe.

It was about skepticism of the Lord, a subject that always fascinated Tagget. It seemed that everyone else was as enthralled as he was. Though whether this was due to the technology (which people still weren’t used to, despite being around for several years), or the actual content of the sermon Tagget didn’t know. He was willing to bet the former though.

 

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,

Thou settest every man in his place,

Thou suppliest their necessities:

Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.

Their tongues are separate in speech,

And their natures as well;

Their skins are distinguished,

As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.

Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,

Thou bringest forth as thou desirest

To maintain the people of Egypt

According as thou madest them for thyself,

The lord of all of them, wearying himself with them,

The lord of every land, rising for them,

The Aton of the day, great of majesty.

 

Dressed in his robes, he entered the priest’s side of the confessional. It was one of the few things in the church still made out of real wood. It was more than antique now, but Tagget and the congregation liked it because it felt more “real”. They thought it would help people feel more “at home”, whatever that was nowadays.

He spared a look at the line before entering. They all looked inspiringly normal, save for one with a hood over his head. The jacket was normal enough; it looked like it had some kind of emblem on the front. Dread crawled through his skin as he stared at it.

 

You are in my heart,

There is no other who knows you,

Only your son, Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re,

Whom you have taught your ways and your might.

Those on earth come from your hand as you made them.

When you have dawned they live.

When you set they die;

You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you.

All eyes are on your beauty until you set.

All labor ceases when you rest in the west;

When you rise you stir everyone for the King,

Every leg is on the move since you founded the earth.

You rouse them for your son who came from your body.

The King who lives by Maat, the Lord of the Two Lands,

Neferkheprure, Sole-one-of-Re,

The Son of Re who lives by Maat. the Lord of crowns,

Akhenatrn, great in his lifetime;

And the great Queen whom he loves, the Lady of the Two Lands,

Nefer-nefru-Aten Nefertiti, living forever.

 

Within nearly seconds of the door closing and Tagget sitting down, the door on the other side opened and closed. A chill traveled through Tagget’s spine. He shivered. Thump. Thump. Thump. His heart sped up and pound through his chest. He felt his breathing getting heavier.

Quickly he cleared his throat, trying to focus on the task at hand. He waited for the confessor to speak, but when nothing was said he thought to start the conversation.

Tagget took a deep breath. “Have you ever been to confession before?” He was sweating now. Was he having a heart attack? Maybe he’d caught a fever and was only feeling it now?

No.” a deep voice said on the other end.

“Well it’s alright to be nervous.” The priest did his best to smile, though now even such a simple act brought him intense pain. Father Tagget took a deep breath to steady himself and wiped his brow with the sleeve of his robe. “Shall I begi-“

There is much I have to tell you, Father.” The man’s voice echoed off the walls.

“Please,” Tagget said. “Tell me what you must.”

I am… unsure how to say this.” For a moment the voice sounded somewhat human. Tagget couldn’t tell if he was dealing with someone wearing a mask, or suffering from a medical issue, or maybe it was someone playing a dirty trick on him.

“I am not here to judge, only to forgive.”

Listen carefully then. We will soon see if you can bring yourself to offer such gifts to me.” The man took a breath. Tagget felt the air leave the room around him.

My… people. They have done things. I have done things for them, in belief of our mission.

“What sort of things have to done?” The words felt strained, but curiosity was getting the better of Tagget.

We have… Ended worlds. People are no more because of us.

“You’re saying you’ve killed people.” If only this situation could be so normal, he thought to himself.

In a manner of speaking.” The thing (Tagget could no longer think of the speaker as human) took another breath. Tagget felt this one in his lungs, like they were pulled physically.

I thought they were doing this for noble purposes. I was proud to help them. Their way is lost; they just haven’t realized it yet.

Tagget was ready to leave. Curiosity or not, his heart felt like it was going to burst and his veins ached of pumping blood so quickly.

He tried to move. He tried to tell his legs to move. They ignored him, continuing to be still.

You cannot leave, Father Tagget. I have not finished.” The voice almost sounded like it was laughing at him. Like it couldn’t believe he would try to leave.

“What do you want from me?” Tagget asked. Panic continued to well up inside him.

I want you to listen. I am unsure of what to do and you “Fathers” are well respected by your people for their advice. Are you not?

“We are.” His teeth clenched.

I thought as much.” It seemed satisfied.

“So you’re asking me what you should do about your people?” Tagget was finding it easier to breath, but his body still could not move.

I gave my life to them in service of the mission. I was an equal to them. They have lost their way, they have become… Fallen. I do not know how this happened, or why. It is beyond my capabilities to know this. Something must be done. I cannot sit idly. It would be a disservice to all that has been accomplished thus far.

Tagget was silent. Out of fear or out of a complete loss for words he did not know, but he was sure it was both.

What do you think your god do?” The voice on the other side asked.

Tagget swallowed, his tongue dry as sand paper. “He would ask you to do what you can to bring your friends back to the light, so that no one else is hurt.”

Is that what he says to you?” It sounded vaguely like sarcasm.

“God will forgive you for what you have done because you have seen the error in your ways. Now you must do the same for the others so that they may be saved as well.”

Something sounding not quite like a sigh came from the other side. “Is this the only way?

“It’s only way to absolve you of your guilt.” Tagget said, still as a rail.

Another deep breath. Tagget felt himself gag on the lack of air in the room. His head felt dizzy and light. His lungs could no longer bring him air.

Thank you for your service, Father. Our discussion has been… enlightening.” Tagget heard the wood creak, the creature was standing. Tagget felt the end coming and began to recite a prayer in his mind.

We will meet again, Father, in time I’m sure.

Darkness reached out and overwhelmed Tagget.

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