Friday, April 13, 2012

#FridayFlash: Words of Wisdom

And thus concludes the first part…

Words of Wisdom

Again, the beast drew near, and again it was time to run. Mary paused a lot more often than she needed, just to let Eric catch up. On several occasions, she had to stop to help him up or free his foot from a snag. The second time, the beast nearly caught up to them; it wasn’t close enough to see but its mindless advance rained debris on them. They got away, and finally managed to put some distance between it and themselves.

Mary cut down a side street, then turned to look. “Eric! Hurry!” she yelled.

“I wasn’t on the cross-country team!” he puffed; she took off again as soon as he caught up.

“Neither was I, but you either run or die!”

“Why did it get so close? Is it after you?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe.” She dodged through a gaping hole into what was once a fancy restaurant. “I think we can rest in here.” They caught their breath for a moment.

“That’s comforting,” he said, looking at the overturned tables and other wreckage. “Can I look at your drawings again? They’re good.”

Mary huffed, but handed over the sketchpad.

“The one of the beast. How long did you work on it?”

“Three weeks. The others I just did off the cuff.”

“That’s even more amazing, when you think about it. They’re simple, but there’s still a lot of detail. I can draw some, but not that good. Especially the part where stuff comes to life.”

“Yeah.” Eric was kind of a pain — he slowed her down and talked too much — but he didn’t patronize her or try to hit on her. And he seemed to mean what he said about her work. That was nice. She tried to imagine this place the way it was, maybe sitting with Eric at one of the tables. Maybe on prom night.



“If you made it, couldn’t you get rid of it?”


“Yeah.” He held up the drawing of the beast. “I mean, you got the idea for this thing before you knew you could bring it to life, right?” He frowned. “Maybe it gave you that power, and it’s after you because it knows you could undo it somehow.”

“No way.” But his words — his idea — found a way through her armor, reaching the core where all that anger lay waiting, another beast looking for a way into the light. The anger and the idea roiled together inside her.

“Yeah. It let you use the power to get rid of people — the creepy dude and Megan Garner — and they both deserved it, probably. Once it knew you could do it, it just had to wait for you to get mad enough to bring it to life too. So maybe you can draw something to kill it. Superman, maybe.”

“That’s so whack.”

“No more whack than that thing out there. Or any of the other stuff. It’s worth a try, isn’t it? I don’t guess we can outrun that thing forever. If you can kill it, you really ought to. Even if you don’t care about yourself, my Mom always said if you can do the right thing, you should do it.”

She shook her head, but could not deny the logic. “Where is she now?”

Eric looked out the hole in the wall. “We tried to drive out, the first day. She was going too fast and wrecked, about a mile from the apartment. I was okay, but she didn’t make it.”


“Yeah. Sometimes I wish I’d died too.”

She sighed. “Listen, I need to think about this. How to do it.” She started pacing, and Eric retreated into the kitchen to forage. The restaurant shook to the rhythmic pounding of the beast’s feet, but it felt far enough away to be safe a while longer. She righted a table and chair where the light was good. “But maybe the world deserved this,” she muttered, tapping the sketchpad with her pencil. A world full of psycho parents, creepers, and evil students — and the occasional nice guy like Eric, sure. She nodded her head to the vibration.

“I think it’s getting closer,” said Eric, looking over her shoulder. “How — you’re almost done?”

“Huh?” Mary looked down. She didn’t remember starting, but there it was: a shaft of light thrust the clouds aside and shone upon the prone beast. It writhed, not under Superman, but the sword of an avenging angel. The rubble of the city lay all around them. Should I do this? She reached down into that core, found the anger there and strong as ever, but now it spoke different words: It used us! Kill it!

“Almost. Give me a little space. I think we have time.” She bent to her drawing, as Eric retreated. It was almost done, but something was missing. Something for her.

With great power comes great responsibility. At this moment, Eric’s words seemed more true than anything. But she deserved something… something nice. Somebody who cared about her for a change. Making that happen wouldn’t hurt anything, right? And maybe she wouldn’t want to destroy the world again. She sketched in a low hill, with her and Eric standing on it… holding hands. She’d saved his life at least twice, after all.

“We’ve gotta go! Now!” Eric looked wild-eyed at the hole in the wall.

“Okay. Just a few more seconds.” She spoke the words as she wrote: “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.”

“Speaking words of wisdom, yeah. Hurry!”

She stuffed her sketchpad into her backpack, and they ran.

They reached a low hilltop as a shaft of light split the churning overcast sky.



  1. Nice and pacey this week. Feels like we're closing towards the ending.

    I can't help but feel she's going to regret drawing her and Eric on the hill.

  2. Nice conclusion, mention Superman was a nice touch :).

    And I would think Eric is a super nice guy for forgiving her for being involved in the death of his mother!

    But you're right. The world needs a shake up like this :)

  3. Ah but WHICH angel has she drawn? This could get messy...

  4. Until I realized this was another installment, I was hoping the beast was something humorously inoffensive, like a baby or a golem of marshmallows. Can you draw me a golem of marshmallows?

  5. Mary to Larry: "Don't blame me for this mess. If you'd only given my pencil an eraser, I could have easily erased the beast. So really Larry, you're to blame. Yes, all the hurt, pain and beastly damage is your fault."

    Horribly fun to read. ;-)

  6. I wondered about an eraser. ;) You do a great job of capturing the interplay between these characters (as usual, it's one of your strengths).

  7. Peter, what could go wrong with drawing Eric to her? ;-) Two high schoolers with no parents? Personally, I think she'll get tired of him pretty soon.

    Thanks, Craig — JohnW and Tony both wanted Superman, so I figured he was at least worth a mention. I don't think it's sunk in yet that Mary is responsible for his mom's death… although it could certainly lead to later friction.

    Icy, very good question? And now that she's brought an angel down, is it going to just leave? That gig with the Von Doom corporation is looking better all the time!

    JohnW, I can barely draw flies if I don't shower for a week. A marshmallow golem would end up looking like the Michelin Man — or maybe the Stay-Puft dude.

    LOL, Rachel! I guess it'll be my fault again, when the angel turns Mary over his knee and paddles her!

    Thanks much, Aidan — hm… eraser… but if she writes LET IT BE on a blank sheet of paper, would Nothing happen?

  8. It would certainly make sense to The Beast.. Eliminate the one person who would pose a serious threat.

  9. Enjoyed this ending, Larry. A nice little three-parter. =)

    I know people clamoured for Superman, but from a geek's point of view, since Eric invoke's Spider-Man's catchphrase it might make more sense to have him ask her to draw Spidey.

    Is this really over..? Will an angel born of the same anger as the beast truly bring salvation..?

  10. Oh, I just know shes going to regret that last drawing! Loved the Beatles reference too, btw. :)

  11. Thanks for the nod to Superman, although I also saw the nod to Spider-Man.

    Great way to wrap things up.

  12. A great tone and pace this week - loved his bit about not being on the cross country team - bless him! This is getting intense - more, more more!!!!

  13. I liked the ending, it leaves us wondering if it all worked out. I hope so.

  14. I missed the earlier installments, but I love that her anger fuels the drawings, but like the others said, I'm wondering what kind of angel could be born of anger and I'm pretty sure she's going to regret this.

  15. Really enjoying this serial, Larry. Another great installment. Nice Superman reference too, referencing last week's comments. I did wonder if she might draw Eric's mother for him, and what would happen if she did?

  16. A belated Hey-All!

    Steve, I think it's too late for the beast. But I'm not sure it's the end of Mary's story. Or her issues.

    Thanks, JohnX — I think the beast is done for… but Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? ;-)

    Ganymeder, the "LET IT BE" came first… then I decided to run with it.

    Tony, when two people say the same thing, I pretty much have to work it in!

    Brainhaze, it might be a while before there's more, but I do appreciate the enthusiasm — more it will be, sooner or later…

    Helen, if it worked out, would there be a sequel? LOL

    Danielle, I forgot the links… Let It Be (part 1) and Times of Trouble (part 2). I'll also fix that up top. Yes, Larry's Law ("You can't do only one thing") is in full effect here!

    Jack, have you seen Disney's version of Aladdin? "It's not a pretty sight… I don't like to do it." :-D

  17. "The restaurant shook to the rhythmic pounding of the beast’s feet". The thought of something BIG coming closer is so freaky and scary for me. Good one there. And of course the small possibility of a Superman appereance. But if only :)

    This seems close to conclusion, but I feel it would take more then an angel to solve the problem. The inner voices are strong and so is the anger.

    Great story Larry, superb work. Bravo.

  18. Mary, Mary, quite contrary.

    The anger of adolescence, righteous though it may be, is a dangerous thing. Particularly when wedded with power.

    You're tapped into something deeper than where this started, Larry. And a "page turner" with it.


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