The last few of these things were written long after I stopped contributing to the Never-Ending Board at comicbookresources.com, but I honestly can't remember if I ever actually posted them anywhere. There's still a couple more after this one, because evidently I still got off on writing fan fiction, but this might be the first time they've ever been published anywhere...
I still miss you, Hatman.
"I wish I was a bullet," whispers Dr. Skin, lying in a pool of his own vomit, encrusted on the steps of the staircase he's collapsed upon, the smell oddly tantalizing. "Given a purpose, given a goal, I think I could accomplish anything."
He's not sure if anybody's listening, and he's beyond caring. He can't remember how he got into this situation, but that's hardly surprising. He's shut off inordinate sections of his past, locked up beneath trivia and pop-culture, unreachable by any mortal means.
He wants to cry, he wants to laugh, but it's all too much effort. He settles for inertia, and counts his blessings. What else can he do?
"Wake up and smell the roses," whispers a soothing female voice in his ear. It sounds so familiar, but he can't place it. It reminds him of tall hills, of cool winds on a hot summer day, but he still doesn't recognize it.
"W-what?" he manages, eloquence at its peak.
"Listen," continues the voice. 'You've taken a drug called Krono. In it's current form it annihilates all the time lines, and you're given access to all sorts of possibilities. Anything is possible, and it's all real. But you've got to fight through that shit, transcend it. You've got to pull yourself together."
"No!" groans Skin, falling back inside himself. It's almost a physical sensation as all individuality and personality flees for warmer climates. He feels like he's falling. But more importantly, he feels like he's free.
Just another Saturday night.
Wrong, Professor! Dead Wrong!
ThEraPeutIc SKIn JobS #16
All Of This Is Mine
"I feel so fat and uncool", whispers Skin in his misery. He hasn't opened his eyes yet, and he's in no hurry. He know he'll only regret it.
"Open your eyes, scum," hisses a voice in his ear. It's harsh and authoritarian, but he can't help obeying.
Eyes open and the first thing he sees is the hundred foot drop beneath him. His legs dangle lazily, swinging in the wind. He feels no fear, and faces the man holding him up with obvious strength. Skin's brow furrows in confusion as he tries to see the other man's eyes, but they're hidden in the dark shadow of a fedora brim.
"What is all this about?"
"Shut up. You know perfectly well what you did. You shouldn't have come here, punk. This is my place."
Skin tries very, very hard not to smile, but it's no fucking use. His lips spread in a wide grin as he replies. "Don't I know you from somewhere?"
The stranger pulls Skin in close and whispers in his ear. "I'm Hatman."
Dr. Skin turns to somebody who isn't really there and scoffs. "Hang on. This isn't the way things are supposed to be."
Too fucking right!
World Famous On J Street
Skin kneels, head bowed in silent prayer to Gods who don't have anything better to do. His sword rests by his side, always in reach, always in readiness. He waits for the Buddha to come through the door. He waits for the inevitable fatality. He waits for his own personal revelation.
He won't get it.
Faster, Faster, Kill, Kill!
Cradling the baby in his arms, Dr Skin wraps his coat around the innocent, steps back and takes a deep breath. The building is falling apart around him, fire eating at its foundations, flames destroying its interior. He chokes on the thick black smoke and briefly considers that taking a deep breath wasn't such a good idea after all.
He can't dwell on the situation, and starts running towards the window. Behind him, a fireball explodes down the corridor, the heat of the inferno vaporizing the hairs on the back of his neck. He'll lose all intuition with this, but that's the least of his problems.
Three steps away from the window, he flips over, hitting the glass with his back, shattering it as he carries through with his somersault, the cold air of the outside world hitting like a cement truck with a blind alcoholic at the wheel.
He breathes in gratefully and considers the next step. He'd been on the seventh floor of the apartment building and he's got less than three seconds to come up with a plan before he hits the cold pavement below, shattering his skull and turning the crying baby in his arms into innocent raspberry jam.
The jam reference seems familiar to him, and he wonders why he's suddenly thinking of nuns. He quickly gets over it and considers his options. Two seconds.
He looks below and sees a dozen ways to survive the experience, deciding on the one that will make me look coolest.
All the time in the world.
Thank Fuck For Superman
Each transition comes with consummate ease, washing away the memory of the previous experience in an instant. It doesn't matter. Nothing really matters.
Standing on a staircase that stretches into infinity, Skin can't help but see the resemblance to the one in 'A Matter Of Life And Death'. He turns around, expecting to see David Niven below him, but there's nobody there.
Suddenly it feels like his head's about to explode, a sharp migraine instantly cutting his thoughts in two. He staggers back and a fist with filthy fingernails flies out of nowhere and smashes into the side of his skull, intensifying the pain in his skull at an exponential rate.
His knees suddenly feel like they're full of marmalade, and he falls, tasting the acrid bite of the stairs as his face slides down a couple of steps. He wants to be sick, but there's nothing in his stomach and he retches dryly, the heaving noises adding to his discomfort, the strain cooking his brain.
"Look at me," says somebody above him, but he can't raise his head. He can't move at all, and a boot connects with his torso, spinning him over.
Lying on his back, misery personified, Skin looks up at his nemesis. He is disappointingly dirty, with old flesh wounds that never healed properly scarring him for life. He stinks of piss, sweat and leather, and his clothes look like they haven't been cleaned since the Triassic age.
Skin spits, splutters and manages to get a few words out. "Do I know you?"
The other man sneers, exposing hideous teeth and ruined gums. "You should. I'm one of the dozens of rejects from the unknown fourth Mad Max film. You killed me."
Deja vu washes over Skin. This is all terribly familiar, but he can't quite place it. The Unknown Reject isn't impressed, and raises a gun, pointing it directly at Skin's head.
In his state, Skin is trapped and escape seems impossible. But then he remembers everything, remembers what's really going on, and a retreat appears in his mind like a flower. Just as the trigger is pulled, Skin slips into the space between words and…
You Know You Want To
He suddenly picks up the keyboard and rips the cord out of the back. Taking it in both hands, he smashes it down on the desk, shattering it into a thousand pieces. The keys are rudely ejected from their designated perch and fall to the floor, each piece coming to rest face up and combing to form words that look like spastic scrabble attempts.
He's not done and reaches for the monitor. He grabs it, raises it high over his head and throws it out the nearest window. It remains intact as it shatters the glass, but the two story drop onto concrete does it in, splintering the expensive piece of hardware into worthless shards of plastic and metal.
The mouse never did anything to him, so he leaves it alone and moves onto the box, the source of all evil. The brain of the computer hums along merrily, unaware of its imminent doom. The brief burst of activity has weakened him, and he can't be bothered getting creative with this destruction. He settles for the comfort of a good kick, booting the machinery as hard as he can and watching it fall apart with each successive strike.
Breathing heavily, he falls back into his chair, reached inside a pocket for a lighter and a pack of cigarettes. Lighting one, he inhales deeply.
"Ah," smiles Dr. Skin. "That's better."
Never Ending Apathy
Thrust. Parry. Duck.
"God knows, I'm not the first person to lose interest."
Flip. Jump. Scream.
As he picks up his cards, Skin screams on the inside. He's got exactly what he needed, and now he's got these fuckers exactly where he wants them.
"I'll raise you ten," he says smoothly. The preacher opposite him eyes him carefully, looking for any cracks in the façade, but Skin tunes him out, sucking on his mantra for all its worth. It's deceptively simple, stolen wholesale from 'Run Lola, Run', but it'll do.
Bob, the player on his right, frowns in concentration as he stares at his cards. He's been drinking steadily for hours, and is barely conscious as he throws in his money, matching Skin's demand.
The preacher, who introduced himself as Walker, throws his cards down. "Well, I guess I'm out," he says with a sigh, turning to the final player. "How about you, Doc?"
Skin looks at this last man, but can't make out his features. His eyes stand out, impressively old and impossibly blue, snaring their fair share of the observer's attention.
"I'll see that," he mutters, his voice sounding like an ancient wind. He turns to Skin, and recognition finally flares.
"Bloody hell," whispers Skin. "You're the Doctor."
The Doctor smiles, illuminating the room with his pleasure. "Why, yes I am. But so are you."
"What are you doing here?" asks Skin, suddenly feeling like there's nobody else in the room. "This isn't your story."
"No," replies the Doctor. "This is your story. But it's become tainted. Do you understand?"
Skin feels like a little kid, and answers accordingly. "No."
"Excuse me?" interrupts Walker. "Are we still playing a game here?"
Skin looks at him, his expression haunted, his demeanor resigned. "I don't know anymore."
Do YOU understand?
And just like that, he comes out of it. One minute he's trapped in the infinite sea of possibility, the next he's totally aware of his situation. Kristine cradles him in her arms. That's all that really matters.
"Is it over?" he croaks, his mouth dry and filled with a nasty, lingering taste. "Am I back to normal?"
"You're never normal," she whispers back, her tone subtly tuned toward recuperation, the vibrations of her voice duplicating the purr of a contented cat perfectly. "But this is as good as it gets. How do you feel?"
Skin ponders before answering. "Good. I just…. I just didn't think it would end like this."
"Nothing ever ends."
Doctor Skin knows what she means. He's heard it often enough and after so many repetitions, it's bound to sink in.
"Making it up as you go along is all well and good," muses Skin, "but everything had a point. Everything could be explained, if only somebody bothered to ask. The last line was nicked from 'Performance', for God's sake. Even the bits in between mean something."
"Can you stand?" asks Kristine, ignoring this last comment for the forth-wall bullshit it is. "I'd like to go now. Can you get up on your feet."
"Of course I can," smiles Skin, finishing off the only way he knows how. "I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I am the epitome of willpower. I am direction, I am power, I am the end. I am the bullet."
THIS IS THE END.