I remember leading a rather ordinary life until the day I committed suicide. As I recall, that took place in late October in the year 1838. I don’t remember the actual death itself, but I know it happened because it was forty-eight Earth years before I was granted another physical body. I had never had to wait that long before. Not to mention the fact that my guardian angel, Thaddeus, had warned me many times not to make that mistake because it was one of the things the God’s frowned upon the most.
The bride brought only a small bundle from home. Wrapped in a deep blue silk, she carried medicines and a small bone whistle. The bride was from a family of witches fallen from grace in a time of altered belief. Her home was an island dripping warm green forest into a wide magic river.
Henry’s knuckles turned white as he clutched the scarred armrests, listening. The time has come, he thought. The oakwood throne suddenly seemed little more than a pile of firewood.
But the sound died in the halls.
Henry eyed the heavy old door. It looked forbidding, yet it let everyone come and go. Everyone but him, and him only.
Harold Marold was confident his new discovery was going to be big. Really big. Sure, his previous inventions hadn’t all turned out as he hoped. The periscoping contact lenses caused vertigo and motion sickness. His electro-socks to eliminate foot sweat were “shocking” — as he’d found out the hard way. And his chainsaw-equipped drone for trimming high tree limbs had its drawbacks. But his current project couldn’t miss. It was going to bring about world peace.
Jerry Cornelius knelt by the side of his Norton motorcycle, laid his Lee-Enfield over the saddle, and sighted at the airship as it chuffed past, half a mile away. The musket was a new design with a rifled barrel. His shot hit the airship’s boiler and a jet of steam and water gushed out. The rear propeller slowed and stopped almost at once. The ship was at the mercy of the wind, its pilot, Telford Stephenson, would have to land and make repairs if he wanted to deliver the stolen ironclad warship plans to the rebel government in the North. Jerry Cornelius, being an agent of the British Government in London, had no intention of letting Stephenson deliver the plans to York, the Northern Alliance’s capital city.
You’re alone hurrying by under cloudy night skies.
I’m lost in the shadows on the lips of the fetid alley. I’m feverish, near fainting, fading, fading away. You catch a glimpse of me, spy me, eye me, wonder, imagine me. You race away to lock your doors, check your windows.
In your simple underwear you slip between smooth, clean, cotton sheets and dream me, dream me tall, slender, strong.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who wanted to discuss the end of the world with me, but Jeremy Smedley was a bird of a different color. He didn’t have a standard preferred pseudonym, for one. He was willing to speak with me on the phone without turning on any dodgy homemade anti-surveillance devices. Most significantly, I didn’t have to meet him in a church sub-basement, a hidden personal library, or anything one might describe as a bunker. Jeremy felt no need to conceal his galactic insights, instead offering to meet me on a charming grassy hill overlooking an otherwise charmless Midwestern town.