Tidbits from Gary

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vasher, Savior of Children

“Vasher, Savior of Children”
a short story 
Gary Baker, April 2012
[final revision: December, 2012]

The glass was empty. It was fucking empty and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Not even a single drop of anything could have deemed this container "x-percent" full. No, every last person who viewed it had to look at it as being one-hundred percent empty, and no one would be able to disagree.

Why the hell was this piece of glass shaped into a skinny skyward-arcing dome, and not then filled with something? It wasn't so much the need of a substance within the confines of this object but, rather, the prospect that no matter how he were to describe this scene he would be forced to look at it negatively. But why the hell must he, anyways? Could he not claim that it was more than one-hundred percent full of nothing? or maybe that it was full of air?

Sighing, Vasher set down the multi-dimensional mug with a loud clunk as the thick base contacted the brass countertop.
Quickly he let his hands know that he wanted them to knock on the counter for more, and after a moment of hesitation they listened. He nearly choked when the glass he had just set down fell onto its side, knocked over by his travelling fist, and every last version of it in his splayed vision seemed to forebode the inertia that the next in line would follow.

Then the side hit the brass, with a series of reverberating clashes despite only hitting once. By the gods it hurt, though, that clink-tink-chink that pierced his head with holes of subliminal explosive horror, and when the bartender reached his hand over to grab Vasher's own he knew what was coming.

Three echoes of the lean, beardless mans words reached him as if in a race to reach him first, each one off by just enough to ruin what clarity that should have existed. "I'm s-orry?" He mumbled just barely loud enough for his own ears to hear, though the man jumped back as if struck.

Again, the bartenders voice reached his ears with a race for each alternate reality to claim it was the real one and that the other six twins of the man were the hallucination. "I said: that's enough, Vasher. Where are your keys?"

What Keys? Why did he want the keys? Then Vashers eyes went wide in realization. The stupid man was trying to swindle him! Suddenly Vasher stood with one hand pointing at the several men that were actually one, his fingers like an imagined pistol ready to fire. "Fuck you!" He yelled, realizing only then just how long he had held the 'f' sound.

The bartender scowled, all nine of his eyebrows contorting into a mean demonic grin that rested upon his many cheeks. "Give me your keys, Vasher." The men called with their voices a blur.

Vasher stepped back and the room shifted on its axis -- or maybe the floor was now a ball. It took all that he had to stay on his feet without the rotation of the planet causing him to trip and fall. "I won't stand for this!" He screamed, leaning back towards the countertop to reach for the brimming ale of the man in yellow -- or was it yellow-green -- to his left.

It was the bartenders hand that pulled it away just in time, he could tell due to the man's jade ring; the ring of death. "Of course you won't stand for this, you can't even stand!"

Vasher smiled at that. "Oh really?" As quickly as he had stood, Vasher ambled for the door, with the world shifting to allow him to merely fall in that direction. This was how he would get out of the demons clutches, he decided, he would simply leave the way he had come in while using the demons magic for another cause. Surely the men could never take him on outside of their habitat. At the door, he thrust his arm out to hold himself without the newly shifted gravity pulling him further just yet. "Then how was that?"

When Vasher turned to face the bar, the man was gone. Vanished. Kaput. Just like the contents of the glass had been. All that remained was the other men who had been sitting with him at the counter, to show that this glass was not yet a pessimistic hell-hole. "Think of the children, Vasher. If you go out there they'll die!" Suddenly the man was standing beside him and Vasher leaped away with a yelp to land against the other side of the doorway, panting.

And as he looked outside, Vasher could see the bodies of headless children walking without cause or reason through the inner-city streets. "No!" He took a step toward them, to see what had caused this infliction upon them, and many began to fall to the asphalt with sloshy bursts of crimson gore. "I have to save them!" Bartender's hands grabbed Vashers shoulders and yanked him inside as he fought to reach one of the dying youth. "Let me save them! Unhand me fiend -- I will have your head!"

"Give. Me. Your. Keys!" The man pressed, stepping in Vashers way as he let gravity pull him toward the nearest kid again.

"They're out there! Let me help them!"

But the bleeding children had slowed, each one staring at him through the propped open doorway, those who had eyes watched wide-eyed and every last one chanting: "Give. Him. Keys. -- Give. Him. Keys." The tone went on, droning in a reverberating song of sonorous death.

Vasher wept violently as he reached an arm out for the nearest youth -- or had his arm been out already? -- and he let the salty brine flow. "Oh god they're dying!" He cried. "Oh please, god, don't let them die like this!"

"Yeah," someone mumbled not far off, though in a distant realm, "definitely not just a plain ol' booze-drunk, we got here."

Suddenly Vasher's prayer was answered by a blinding light shining at his face from the upper left corner of his vision. This light never shimmered; it simply was. "Who is dying?" The deep voice boomed from beyond the light. "Tell me who is dying, and I will help them live."

Vasher turned his head to face the light. "Who are you?" But he didn't dare let the figure respond before he made sure it was just a joke; he knew. He had known as soon as the light had shone. With a smile on his lips, Vasher tilted his head toward the deistic brightness. "How is your son? Is he well?"

"Er, -- what?"

Smiling, Vasher knew he had caught the creator off-guard. In reality, who would address him so when the children were all dying just a few strides away? "Thank you, lord god, for answering my prayer."

"Um... right." The voice intoned, sounding confused. "What do you mean, 'how is my son'? I don't have a son."

"Oh," he smiled, winking as best as he could through murky muscles and sluggish bodily responses. It seemed that his body was trying to give in to the dark, and to let the babies die. "I won't let anyone know that I know, I promise." Suddenly he scowled. "Wait -- if you don't want me to call you 'god', then what shall I call you, dear creator?"

There was a pause, as if the light himself was thinking it over and giving a good reason for  others to know him. "Um -- yeah, you can call me Officer Randall. Lets get you outta here, big guy."

When the light turned off, Vasher knew that the children were saved and that Bartender had been returned to the pits of hell where he was born. He smiled lightly and met the cloud-covered floor as gravity suddenly embraced him like a long-lost lover. The subsequent sounds of men shuffling toward him from all directions became the sound of angels singing, and of children joyously thanking Vasher for summoning their god.

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