Milgram will be on a temporary hiatus while I start a new writing project. I intend to finish Milgram in the future, but my focus has briefly been shifted. I’ll keep you guys updated.
Sorry, no post this week.
Two nights. That’s how long it took for Dale to discover his powers. It wasn’t a shock, the police station not believing his story. Dale had barely made it out of there before they started to ask too many questions. In fact, before they had even asked any questions. The laughter from the thought of time traveling preteens who magically grew up and aged as they moved forward 70 years still rung in Dale’s ears.
On the morning of the third day, Dale decided he needed to steal some more food, fast. The dumpster diving had made him throw up, and he was weak from hunger. But, as Dale stood in front of the convenience store, he realized he couldn’t go through with it.
That stupid cave, he thought bitterly. Dale kicked the side of his dumpster. His eyes teared up as he thought about everything he lost. Home.
“Stupid cave!” He yelled. The next kick was far more violent, knocking a hole into the dumpster with a rusty plume of metal. Dale paused, his mental train of self pity halted momentarily. He stretched out a finger and touched the dumpster again. It rusted and corroded away in the blink of an eye, leaving a hole where his fingertip rested.
Dale had arrived three days ago. In all that confusing time, he had been able to discover one of the most drastic changes in the world. Superhumans. They were everywhere, in newspapers and televisions and the radio.
Dale looked down at his hand and smiled. I’m a superhero!
The next hour was spent in a happy daze of experimentation and delicious treats. Dale discovered he could touch things and make them older or younger. The wrinkled chocolate wrapper from the bin became whole once more, and the apple core rotted away to dust instantly. Dale stuck his finger into the brick wall next to him and swirled it about. Patterns arose from the deep carving, clouds, a sun. His name.
“Why are you different? You are not the same as the other superhumans.” A flat voice, tinged with curiosity called out. Dale jumped up from his crouch and spun around towards the end of the alley where the voice came from.
He was a plain man. Slightly above average height, a dark coat, blue jeans. He had a backpack on, and was pointing a small rectangle at Dale. The portable telephones, right.
The man put the phone away and pulled out a gun from his backpack.
“Why are you different?”
After our heart to heart, I went to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and sighed, looking at the mirror. My neck and face was stubbly, I needed to shave soon. My hair was slightly greasy as well, a shower would be nice.
I left the bathroom, and checked my watch. It was just after eleven, time for an early lunch. I made myself a peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich, and a handful of chips. The food felt good, I needed some energy and fuel. I rinsed my plate and left it in the sink. No point in doing the dishes and I honestly didn’t feel like it, even if the loop didn’t exist.
I faced the door and sighed. Time to get back to Ricky. Time to meet some more villains. I opened it and walked outside. I strolled across the street and knocked on the door. It swung itself open, and Ricky hovered out.
“You okay man? You seemed a little messed up earlier. I thought I heard some crashing too.” He seemed genuinely concerned.
I looked at the ground and shook my head. “It’s ok, I was just working through some stuff. I’m fine now, really.” I met his gaze at the end, and Ricky seemed half-convinced.
“If you say so,” Ricky sighed and we gently rose into the air. “I’m taking you to Darkdom now, to the north. A little bit of advice here, Darkfall isn’t…stable.” I glanced over questioningly.
“He’s charismatic and a good leader, but,” Ricky told me, “He can be a bit loose. Wild. Sometimes, he lets his number two run things so he can have fun. Darkfall came from Texas, Houston, Texas. He’s a real powerhouse, a gravity and darkness manipulator.” An odd combination. “Both are like, really strong. The kind of gravity that moves planets and creates black holes kind of strong.”
I nodded gravely. Not the kind of person we should piss off, we really don’t need any more enemies than Queen. “How does he manage his territory? How does he treat his men?” I asked, both would be good indicators for Darkfall’s personality.
“In Darkdom, pretty much everything is allowed. This is the place where most of the junkies end up, drug use is pretty heavy. Fights break out often, but you can’t kill anyone without Darkfall’s say-so. If you do what Darkfall says, he lets you sleep with his pet duplicator. She’s hooked on drugs, like a mega-junkie.” Ricky explained.
Smart. Seems like he rules with an iron fist, rewards and punishes with impunity. A gang full of scummy, doped up guys like that? I’m sure the sex is a good motivator, and the death a good deterrent. We landed on the street outside of Darkdom. I hadn’t really been paying attention on the flight over.
Darkdom was a swirling mass of what looked like airborne ink. It stayed inside a sprayed painted black border, though. It swirled and tangled, showing flashes of the inside territory. As I watched, the darkness gathered together to form a figure separate from the roiling mass.
It stood in a clear circle, with the rest of the blackness staying nearly a meter away from the figure. It beckoned to me with an arm of midnight.
I looked over at Ricky and asked, “Is this Darkfall?”
Ricky nodded. “Yeah, like I said, he’s got some serious power. Darkness and gravity, don’t forget it. Just follow the projection over there and stay close.”
I stepped over the black line and into Darkdom. Immediately, I felt lighter on my feet. I definitely weighed less than before. Right, gravity control.
The walking shadow turned around and ghosted away. I followed him, the bubble of calm staying close to it. I tried to peer through the roiling blackness on the outside of the bubble, but the inky swirls stopped me from seeing any details. If there’s darkness all around me, then how can I see anything? Powers are weird.
It was silent, the figure ghosted over the ground making no more noise than a shadow. I tried to keep my footsteps silent, they sounded eerie in the small bubble. I couldn’t tell how long I had been in the shadowy area, so I checked my watch. Damn, five minutes already?
We continued through the territory, never stopping or slowing down. As we navigated, I felt small changes to the gravity. A couple steps, and I weighed more. A couple steps, my feet bounced off the pavement. Hmm, the gravity fluctuations, the darkness everywhere. My guess is this territory is one giant booby trap. If Darkfall can sense and manipulate the shadow enough to make this projection, than he can probably monitor all of Darkdom.
After another ten minutes, I started to think we were going in circles. It would make sense that Darkfall would try to confuse and disorient me. It’s still a dick move though. A real man wouldn’t have to hide behind all this shadowy shit. A smart man would know that there’s no security in a prison full of lunatics and killers. He’s just trying to protect him and his people. I had a tiny bit of respect for that.
Finally, the wraith stopped walking. Floating. Gliding. Whatever verb darkness did to move, it stopped. The globe of calm began to grow as the darkness around us shrunk and boiled away. The figure I had been following started to dissipate too.
I was standing in a cul de sac. The tree lined street stretched behind me, into more shadow. The darkness in question had withdrawn to a few meters behind each of the three houses. To my left was a red one, in front of me was a white one, to my right was a blue house.
A small black path of the now familiar darkness extended from the center house to me. Well, I guess I know where I’m going now. I walked down the new path.
Another transfer, huh? The man thought. He had gone by many different names throughout his life. Truman. BrightBoy. Ricardo. Swordslight. He got a new one every time he got moved. Army. CIA. FBI. And now, a new task force. A new Operation.
His luminescent fingers lightly brushed the top of the manila folder. In a small, clipped, font it declared Operation: Shift Search. He opened it up. Stapled to the inside cover was a single piece of paper with the bare bones of his new alias.
No real name this time, I guess. Above his picture sat his assigned code-name. Crocea Mors. Yellow Death. That’s appropriate.
The rest of the file composed of a series of blurry photographs taken from different cities. And a single, clear picture of a teenager’s face. He had seen enough death to know that nobody survives a gaping head wound like that.
Underneath the teen’s face was a long segment of blacked out text. Several words were not crossed off, however. Dale. Temporal Manipulation. Claimed to be from the past. One of ten.
The man remembered Agent Montgomery’s last words to him before the man got the slim file. “This is only a teaser of the mission. They’ll fill you in later, once you meet with the rest of the team.” Montgomery’s face had gotten deadly serious, and his voice had grown flat. “Believe me when I say that this group of children could change everything we think we know about superhumans. Useful information for your predicament.”
The man shut the file and looked down at his glowing hands.
Hello again, my (hopefully) faithful readers! This is just a brief heads up. Milgram will be continuing in a week from today. To hold you over until then, I’ll post a short interlude.
I’d like to start off by saying that when I write hiatus, I don’t mean an indefinite one. I’ve enjoyed writing Milgram, and I like to think I’ve gotten better. I’m going to take a month off to do some rewrites, to rebuild my buffer, and to generally get over some writer’s block I’ve been experiencing. My next post will be on Monday March 2nd, 2015.
Honestly, this has been a great experience. I never thought so many people would read my writing. But still, my busy ass schedule has caught up to me. So I promise you, my faithful readers, that I will be back.
Thanks, and see you in a month!