When I was nine, Jack and I were walking home from school when we found something marvelous. Something I would never forget, not to this day.

A spaceship.

We found it by accident; it actually appeared from thin air.

I had begged Jack to sing with me almost everyday that year, to practice harmonizing our voices. I was obsessed with harmonizing at the time. I had just started taking choir class and so Jack became my punching bag, my personal test dummy. He was always reluctant, sometimes downright refusing to sing with me, but on this particular day he gave way.

We began to sing to the tune of Mironczarnia, though our rendition was far shorter and sillier, if you can imagine it. The song goes something like this;

    Meh meh, meh meh meh, meh men chuh

    Meh meh, meh meh meh, meh men chuh

    Meh meh, meh meh meh, meh men chuh

On and on, repeating over and over, faster and faster. We would throw in ‘mee mee’ and ‘yeh yeh’ and ‘no noo’ until we built to a crescendo, the part of the song that I had the most fun doing. I would belt out the final ‘yeh’ at just the perfect pitch and key, and that’s when it happened.

Time slowed to a stop.

Sound waves rippled through the air in front of us. The sidewalk, trees, and skyline twisted and stretched. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. Everything around us had suddenly changed and just beyond the treeline to our right we saw it. We couldn’t believe our own eyes. A big silver disc, just like in the movies. Though this one had been abandoned many, many years ago.

We walked right up to it, I can remember feeling my heart pounding in my chest. When Jack reached the ship he put his hand on it and as soon as he touched it the ship made a series of clicking sounds, then a panel slid open and a walkway lowered to the ground at his feet.

We walked through a short, pitch black hallway before finding ourselves standing in the ship’s cockpit. There were no chairs to sit in, and the room was filled with buttons, levers, and blank screens. A thick layer of dust covered every inch of it. I remember looking at Jack’s face, like me, he was speechless and in disbelief.

When I tried to wipe the dust from one of the labels above a big red lever he grabbed my wrist to stop me, I wiped the dust off anyway with my other hand. The label showed a symbol we didn’t recognize.

“Should I pull it?”

He snatched my other hand then too, really squeezing them both hard, “don’t,” he said.

I promised I wouldn’t touch the lever and so he freed me. He would’ve held my arms all the way home if needed.

It was then the ship made the clicking sounds again, the walkway had raised itself back up and the door to the outside had shut closed. We rushed back through the dark hallway to find it a dead end. We pounded on the walls and floor and shouted at the ship, hoping some kind of motion or command would release us. It didn’t work.

We stood still and quiet for a moment, calculating our next move.

It’s then that the ship’s engine turned on and the floor under our feet began to violently rumble.

We rushed back into the cockpit to see that the red lever had been pulled and all the dials, buttons, and screens now flashed blue and green colors. And before we could move or think the ship took off.

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There once was an old lady who killed a homeless man, and as he lay dead in the grass she stuck a blade into his chest, carving around his third and fourth rib. She forced her hand through the opening and pulled out his heart. She held it up to the sky, his blood dripping down her forearm.

She used the homeless man’s heart for many years after that; the blood an ingredient in spells and curses cast upon her friends and enemies.

When she died, she left her possessions to her lifelong servant. A wiry, frail old man named Idris. She also left instructions for when he came upon the bleeding heart. He would bury it in a field behind her home.

Idris did just that.

And on that very night, in the very same spot in which Idris buried the heart, the dead homeless man stirred to life.

The old lady had left his body right there in the field. To be picked apart by scavengers and worms, and to sink into the dirt by the wind and rain. He laid there all this time with his chest bare and empty. Until now. With his bleeding heart returned he rose from the ground, pulling himself up to stand on his two rotten feet, stumbling and limping to the street in pain and agony.

A woman jogging along the road stopped to ask if he needed help, if he needed medical attention. The homeless man attacked her instead. Strangling her to death and ripping out her heart. When a neighbor witnessed the jogger’s death, they called the local police. Moments later a sheriff arrived and pointed a gun at him. The officer fired five shots at him, each round striking the undead man but it did not work.

He killed the officer and three more people in the neighborhood. Tearing into each of his victim’s chest to pull out their bleeding hearts. 

He carried them North and into the woods beyond the town. There he reached a clearing where a giant bundle of kindling, sticks, and twigs had been neatly piled.

He lit the pyre.

Flames burst out and up into the sky. He tossed each heart one by one into the fire and they instantly disappeared. They were immediately engulfed by the flame and replaced by a faint wisp of white light that traveled up the fire and into the night sky above.

He moved to step into the flame, to burn his own body and heart, but a child in the woods called out to him. The homeless man looked to see that the child was really calling for the attention of an angry mob that formed in the town. The crowd followed the child’s cry to see the killer standing at the foot of the inferno.

Before the mob could reach the homeless man, or the homeless man could reach the mob, someone else came running from the darkness of the woods. They ran directly at the undead man, throwing their body at him, kicking him in the chest to send him flying into the blaze.

The shadowy savior was Idris the servant.

He and the angry mob watched as the undead homeless man burned. His heart caught fire and burned brightly too, a white strip of light climbed to the top of the fire and when it reached the very top a powerful blast of energy erupted from it, sending a shockwave through the darkness all around.

The pyre was no longer ablaze, and standing in the ash was the witch, returned.

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Adam lifted a little red box from off his desk and flipped open the case, inside is a small red button. He pressed it with his thumb.

He flipped the case closed and put the box back in its place on his desk. Then he picked up a thin black notebook and slipped it into the hidden pocket of his wool coat.

Finally he walked over to the middle of the room and waited patiently.

A moment later, Henry came swooping in through the only window. He flew into the make-shift lab and landed perfectly on his two feet, not a hair on his head askew.

Adam joined Henry by the window where they locked arms. When Henry lifted off the ground, Adam did too. They went flying out and up into the sky, they flew over downtown Aventura and across the Johns River in the North.

They landed at a quaint and shaded cemetery, at the grave site of Adam’s daughter, Wendy.

He stepped forward and spoke softly, “hello, my loves. I miss you everyday, and I’m always thinking about you.” He stepped to the grave next to Wendy’s, where his wife Julie laid. “I had a big breakthrough, like a really big one. I’m not even sure what it means, it’s something…well it’s something I wish I could talk to you about.”

Henry shifted his weight to his other foot.

“But have no fear, you’re always in my heart, and that’s enough for me,” he clenched his fist and held it over his chest, where the black book was hidden.

Adam stepped back and the two men stood side-by-side for a while, watching the sun set over the river. The water sparkling and shimmering.

Henry shifted his weight again, “if there’s anything I can help you with, I’m here to listen, or lend a hand in…”

Adam smiled, “I appreciate that, thank you. It’s complicated. I want things to be just right. I’m afraid it will…well, afraid of what it could do, what it could change.”

Henry glared at the half-sunken sun, “change is inescapable my friend.”

Henry dropped Adam at the front of his apartment building, he said good-bye and then disappeared into the night sky. Adam took the opportunity to check his mailbox, finding two letters amongst his junk mail, one from Glory containing blueprints to a new suit and another from Serene reporting results on an upgraded blaster.

He rode the elevator back to the 13th floor and when he opened his door he found that his home, and laboratory, had been destroyed. Every single item had been turned upside down and thrown to the floor. And there were large strips of burn marks throughout the apartment, across the floor, walls and ceiling too. Like strips of fire and electricity had been thrown about.

He stepped over his belongings, heading straight for his overturned desk, looking for the little red box with the red button inside. As soon as he saw it laying on the floor he was struck from behind. A powerful force sending him to crash into the kitchenette. His body laid flat on the ground.

Ray stepped out from the bedroom, his fingertips glowing red, and he calmly walked over to Adam’s desk to pick up the little red box. “Looking for this?” He crushed it in his fist, throwing the pieces at Adam.

“I’m not here to play games.” He squatted down to Adam, looking him square in the face, flexing his bulging muscles. “Give it to me.”

Adam didn’t move – he couldn’t move.

Ray noticed the book sticking out from Adam’s coat. He pulled it out and flipped to the very end. He looked at the design written on the page, a schema outlining the components to a very powerful, and controllable EMP.

“You know you shouldn’t trust them, right? Your little resistance is filled with snakes.” He stood up and continued to read from the black book.

Adam’s muscles had relaxed, he could move his arms and legs again. So when Ray’s back was turned he collected the remains of the little red box. All that was left was the sensor, the button, and the wire that connected them. The small battery was gone.

He scanned the floor but couldn’t find it.

There was a silver fork within reach though. He took the fork and wrapped the loose wire around it, and when Ray came pacing back around to the kitchenette, he pressed the red button and stabbed the fork into his foot.

He screamed in agony.

And he released a powerful burst of energy, fire, and electricity throughout the apartment too.

Then he lifted Adam from the bloodied floor with just one hand, his eyes filled with rage. He choked the life from him, squeezing his neck tighter and tighter with his fist. As everything began to turn black for Adam, the walls around him closing in, he saw Henry come swooping in through the window.

He punched Ray, sending him across the room. And when Ray released another powerful burst of energy, Henry was there to absorb it and release it back onto Ray, knocking him unconscious. Henry twisted Ray into a pretzel and collected the black book.

He handed it back to Adam, “I think it’s time to see Ace.”

Adam nodded in agreement, “take me there.”

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