Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome, Part II: The Reckoning

A few housekeeping items:

First, apologies to all who had checked this blog more than once in the last month or so hoping to see some new material. Our original intention had been to register our own URL and we were focusing on site design for that. However, developments in everyday life have put those plans on hold, so we'll get back to posting material here on a fairly regular basis.

Second, posted below you'll see our first prose feature on The Den of Mystery. "Rick Slade in: The Breaking of the Hour!" Look for more Rick Slade adventures in the coming months, along with some Western material, superhero yarns and, of course, The Buck & Hooper Chronicles.

Once more, we hope you enjoy reading this stuff as much as we've enjoyed crafting it.


Apropo of nothing, my wife and I re-watched The Incredibles over the weekend. I'd forgotten how much sheer joy I get out of watching that film. If you'd told me there's this great movie that's half James Bond, half Superman, I'd have responded with the typical incredulity of the online movie fanbase. But damned if it doesn't work. My single favorite moment in the film has to be when Dash discovers he can run on water. The little giggle he lets out feels so genuine that you can almost feel his exuberance. And when Bob tells Helen that he's not strong enough to stand losing her and the kids...I feel more emotion in that scene than in twenty Oscar contenders. Is it wrong for a 27 year-old man to have this kind of reaction to an animated feature? Perhaps! But nevertheless, The Incredibles is one of my all-time favorite films.


Until we meet again...


Read on, faithful few!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rick Slade in...The Breaking of the Hour!

Rick Slade turned the watch over in his hands. It was a man's watch, squarish and silver, with a smaller face that also showed the date. The band was leather, but the brand was worn off of the fastener. The hands stood still at 2:14, the 12th of some month. He checked his own pocket watch and saw that it was correct there, and the date was the 12th.

Carefully, Slade set the watch down on his table and waited. Gears inside his own pocket watch ticked the seconds and minutes and soon, hours by, a testament to Slade's ultimate patience in all things fantastic. In this, he was rewarded, at 5:00 PM, when the strange watch shuddered and, for just the batting of an eyelid, was gone from sight.

He rose from his chair, slow and deliberate, and took the watch up. The hands rested at 10:10, the date at the 15th.

"Well this is peculiar."

Ignoring all outside distraction, Slade slipped the watch on and fastened it. Nothing happened. Perhaps whatever occurred had just been a freak event, he thought, a mechanical fault coming through-

The room bent on its ear and folded through a ceiling that had shifted to a maelstrom of black and coruscating blue lighting. Like a magician's handkerchief, Slade was twisted and drawn through the opening, the core of him screaming against the impossibility of it all, but his mind grappling onto the cause - to the watch - and its innate realness. This was terrifying and horrific, but manageable.

He'd been through worse.

His perceptions and senses split a hundred times over, until he could discern no more than banded light and a rushing, like a mountain stream. Shutting his eyes, as they were little more than a hindrance, he reached out a hand towards the sound and felt it break some barrier and collide with a surface like hot gravel coursing through his fingers.

Concentrating, he forced his hand to close into a fist as he tried to gain some anchor in the world outside this one (or was he in some great outside?). He fought the colossal battle, opening his eyes to the struggle and saw a gash in the light spiraling around him, and through it was the real world. Cursing wildly in Zulu, Mongolian, Mayan - anything that came to mind - he plunged his other arm through, and as soon as the wrist wearing the watch passed the wall of energy, the madness ended.

Coughing, he banged against a wall, holding on with one hand. He looked up and saw a groove cut diagonal along the side of a skyscraper made of marble and steel and glass and soaring a thousand feet above the streets below. Pain awakened and condensed his fractured senses as he realized it was his hand that had done the damage as it sought purchase.

"I see," he sighed. "At least the worst that can happen is I plunge to my bloody doom."

"Ah, that is what you think, Amerikaner!" a voice screamed from behind him.

Slade leaned back and saw a man standing on a hovering platform, his brown jumpsuit snapping in the sharp breeze. With a stitch of a mustache below the shadow of his nose, dark brown, greasy hair fluttering around his head and the familiar twin lightning bolts on his lapels, this could be only one man.

Maximillian Hitler, time-traveling son of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, grown in the robotic womb of Eva B.R.A.U.N.

"Max, shouldn't you be dead in a Sumatran volcano?" Without active thought, Slade snapped around and pistoned off the building into the floating facist. "Let's see if we can't fix that."

* * *

To be continued next week!

(c) 2007, E. M. Held, all rights reserved

Read on, faithful few!