Mel and back
Our rumpled yellow-haired hero has been
through plenty since he lost his motel along with everything
else but his red hooded sweatshirt in a poker game. Then,
following a harrowing series of misadventures, Mel recently finished
up a relatively tranquil thousand-year sabbatical in a tropical
paradise. Now he finds himself living in a murky future with a whole
new set of otherworldy adventures about to unfold. Here's part 43:
swirling patterns of energy settled and resolved themselves to the
stark outlines of the cell. Inside was the mystery man, slumped
in the corner. Duncan could see nothing of the man's face, only
the top of his blonde head.
"A fine morn to you, sir."
Nothing. In the Goggles' sight, the man appeared dim and faded,
as would a person who slept without dreaming.
He tried again. "Are you hungry? There is a service of popkins
on the desk in there."
There was still no change, and he thought he would try one last
thing. "Why did you call for the Lady Anne?"
The man's head snapped up and he was looking right at Duncan. In
the Goggles, he suddenly changed. He was glowing red, and when he
stood and pressed himself against the bars, he appeared to be nothing
less than a horned fiend, looming over Duncan and filling the room
with a fiery glow.
"Where is Anne?" As the man spoke, his radiance increased
until Duncan was forced to tear the Goggles from his eyes. The world
returned to normal, and the man was staring at him expectantly.
Duncan was not sure he should answer, until the King's men had arrived,
but something about the man compelled him.
"She resides in the London Tower, 'sieur. In your delirium
I understand you were awfully familiar in your speech about the
Gloucester's chosen lady."
The man bared his teeth in fury. Duncan was glad he did not have
the Goggles on.
Suddenly, though Duncan was not in arm's reach of the cell, he
found himself smashed against the bars, held tightly at the throat
by the mystery man. The gorget protected his neck, but just barely.
He felt fear, rare for a sheriff, as the man's hard-boned face loomed
The man was about to scream at Duncan, then his eyes wandered to
the back of the sheriff's neck, and his expression changed. "Where
does a fella get one of those hoodies? And I'll take some popkins,
if those are food." He sounded almost pleasant, and released
The sheriff drew rapier and main-gauche as he fell backwards. All
in the same second the man had reached out and grabbed the broad
dagger from Duncan's hand, cutting his own as the main-gauche's
blade sliced his palm. Duncan expected the fingers to be running
with blood, but instead something strange happened.
A black liquid ran from the lacerated fingers, and instead of the
copper of blood, there was a strange smell. Licorice and currant,
perhaps, with a hint of spice. The drops ran over the mystery man's
wrist and dripped on the floor, where they burst briefly into flame.
As the sheriff watched, the cuts disappeared and so did the man's
Still holding Duncan's dagger, the man turned it over and examined
it. Then he proffered it through the bars, hilt first. "Here
Duncan, is it?"
His name was there, of course, spelled out in gold wire hammered
to the blade. He took the dagger from the man and stepped back carefully.
"Somehow you have the advantage of me, 'sieur. Might I ask
The man thought for a moment, then slumped into the corner again,
with a cough.
"Mel. Now can I get some popkins, or do I have to call Amnesty