Breaking the Narrative
By James Hornby, what a lovely fellow. You'd really think this wasn't his first 10,000 Dawns credit. Why didn't we bring him on before? Probably because Wylder is running the company and couldn't handle having the smarter handsomer other James around.
Art by Bri Pi, who deserves one of those boats that floats down a river with people fanning you on it while you sit on a throne? Do those have a name? Look, they deserve that.
It was getting late. Another day at Brightstone Farm had come to an end. Closing the latch on the barn door, Redacted Pinorva drew in a deep breath. The lush smell of the meadow filled his nostrils, carrying all the gentle flavors of summer. It was days like this he would remember for the rest of his life.
Strolling back through the fields towards the farmhouse, he saw his uncle, Uncle, stride out to meet him.
"Redacted, my boy." Uncle greeted him with a warm smile, his face as old and haggard as the trees in Hayseed Wood. He placed his arm around Redacted's shoulders and together they headed for home. "You've done me proud today, boy. Not only did you stop that pesky Xiz invasion, you also managed to get my tractor fixed." He tapped at his chin. "I think I'll make your favorite for dinner tonight."
Redacted's eyes lit up. "Chicken masala with extra chapattis?"
Uncle scratched his head. He coughed awkwardly. "No. Spinach. Now get inside and eat your greens!"
Grumbling, Redacted ran into the farmhouse. Uncle stopped at the porch and took one last glance at the sky. He smiled at the setting sun, well aware it was one of the last he would see.
At the edge of the farm, the peace was about to end. The barn door rattled. The latch leapt up and down. Something inside wanted to get out; the cows were all too happy for that to happen.
They didn't have to wait long.
With the hiss of a Zolar ray gun, the barn door disintegrated, and five people stepped out.
"Here we go again," said the Tourist, taking in her picturesque surroundings. "Another narrative to subvert."
The five intruders strode across the rolling fields heading for a solitary farmhouse, where a family sat down for dinner.
"How was that?" Uncle asked as he gobbled down the last piece of spinach on his plate.
Redacted's face screwed up into a ball of disgust. "Fine, Uncle. Though I don't quite know how you can forget what my favorite meal was."
"I'm sorry, my boy," said Uncle. His head hung low in shame. "It was so long ago I just forgot."
Redacted looked confused. "Uncle, we had chicken masala last week!"
Uncle chuckled. "Perhaps when you get to my age you'll understand."
Redacted's confusion quickly turned to concern. "Are you sure you're alright, Uncle? You've seemed ever so distant recently."
Uncle's face grew grave. He left the dinner table and walked over to the refrigerator. When he opened the door his face was bathed in a pool of golden light, much brighter than that of a normal refrigerator. For a moment Uncle seemed mesmerized. He quickly snapped out of it, and returned to the table with two bowls of rice pudding. "I hope this will help you forgive me for the curry incident?"
Redacted smiled, pulling the bowl towards him with hungry eyes. "All is forgiven, Uncle."
Uncle smiled, watching his nephew eat with pride in his eyes.
Uncle's eyes darted to the door. I can't remember this part!
Before either of them rose to answer their late night caller, the door opened. Five women stepped into the kitchen, dressed in all manner of strange clothes. They looked like rejects from a prolific book series. Uncle had a sneaking suspicion they were.
Their leader stepped forward. "Hey guys! I'm the Tourist. These are my friends; Miranda, Ashlyn, Shona and Pathway. I hear you two were both neglected by your author. We've come to share our sympathies. You see, we too were scrapped, or sidelined in the creative process. We're actually quite pissed about the whole thing. We're popping from reality to reality to give our creator the middle finger. Hope you understand."
Redacted and Uncle found themselves nodding even though they had no idea what the strange lady was saying. Alien invaders were weird; these people were freaks!
"Hope you don't mind me doing a spot of redecorating?" Miranda raced around the room on her roller-skates, dousing the walls with spray-paint. "There. Much better!"
Redacted leapt up from his seat. "Stop that. This is our home!"
Ashlyn held out an arm to calm him. "Never you mind about that. What's your name?"
"Redacted Pinorva," Redacted replied.
Ashlyn batted her eyelashes at him and gently placed him back in his chair.
"Redacted Pinorva? That's a weird name."
"His first name was used by another intellectual property," Shona explained. "Happens all the time when the author doesn't finish their work quick enough."
"And what's your uncle called, sweetie?"
"Uncle," said Redacted, like it was obvious.
"Uncle?" laughed Pathway. "What kind of name is that?"
The Tourist joined in. "Your author couldn't even be bothered to give you a proper name!"
Tears formed in Uncle's eyes. "I think you'll find I DO have a name. I'm just not allowed to tell him!” He thrust a finger at his nephew.
"What are you talking about, Uncle?"
Uncle glanced at the intruders in his kitchen and rolled his eyes. "Well since you lot have barged in and broken the narrative, I may as well tell you." Rising from his chair, Uncle leaned over the table. "I'm you, Redacted. You from thousands of years in the future. You after a terrible war wipes out our people. You shortly before I slip back into my ship - that fridge over there - and usurp the throne of the Eternal King in order to break the laws of time and pluck you out of the War before its devastating conclusion. In the process you become the sole survivor of said war, and a cyclical paradox is created that ensures the survival of our race. Happy?"
Redacted's jaw fell open. "Geez, Uncle. Spoilers much?"
"Sounds quite a complicated story we've got going on here," said Ashlyn. "I'm surprised this idea wasn't made into a series."
"The author got bored," the Tourist explained, "preferred to write space adventures about the Roc's Feather and its crew's battles against the Voltron."
"Voltron!" Uncle squawked. "They're B-movie villains at best. They were nothing compared to the villains from my adventures. I stopped the Aubrite from rewriting reality!"
"Actually, on that note." The Tourist pulled a distress beacon from her pocket. "We're actually here to do just that. We're here to draw the attention of the powers that be. Figured destroying this reality might work. This distress beacon may look small, but it has the power to call upon every hostile ship in the universe. Well, this universe anyway. If there's anything that'll get our creator's attention, it'll be blowing up the main setting of one of his worlds."
Shona held up her hand. "But doesn't this Earth belong to another author? We were literally just talking about how that guy couldn't be bothered to name anyone around here."
"Hey!" shouted Pathway. "You never said anything about destroying the entire world!"
The Tourist groaned. "Not now, Pathway, I'm busy. This is all besides the point. Now we've gone to the effort we may as well blow this place up anyway." She turned her attention back to Uncle. "I'd invite you along for the ride but you're a tad… past your prime." She shrugged. Seeing Redacted's hurt look she added: "And you're too inexperienced. Sorry!"
The Tourist pushed her thumb down and the distress beacon activated. Already the world seemed different, like a countdown had begun on a quick march to zero.
Opening the front door, Ashlyn ushered everyone outside. "Come on, we may as well observe the spectacle while we're still here."
The five miscreants stood in the middle of a field, staring up to the sky. Redacted and Uncle followed, unable to form a plan quick enough as their world ended around them.
They watched as every conceivable invasion happened at once. Helicron, Xiz, Draxi and Voltron ships reigned down from the skies. A Solari pilgrimage vessel collided with an Artari sunskipper. The warpdrive of the sunskipper was hit, sending a devastating blast of Iglix radiation into the stratosphere. Every ship in the sky was caught by the shockwave, turned into molten fireballs of doom. They descended. The apocalypse had begun.
"Better be quick before the blast gets us," said Miranda.
"Hop in," said the Tourist, throwing her pyramid-shaped transport onto the grass. It grew to the size of a small shed. As her companions entered, the Tourist cackled to herself. "If this doesn't get their attention I don't know what will."
Seconds later they were gone. The crashing ships hit the Earth. The world ended.
Copyright 2020 Arcbeatle Press and James Wylder
Any resemblance to persons living or dead, fictional or real, or events past or present is either purely coincidental or done firmly within the grounds of loving parody.
Any attempt to use this story to make weird claims on a wiki argument thread should probably be grounds to ignore any other arguments from the user making those claims forever. Just saying. It's an April fools story, I mean really.
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.