Into The Dark: Sidestepping Across The Multiverse, Part One.

A man walks down the street. It’s a street in a strange world; maybe it’s the Third World, maybe it’s his first time around.

Actually, scratch that, it’s neither. I mean, yes, it’s a strange world, but it’s not the third world he’s been to nor is it his first time around. To clarify, it’s the thirteenth world, no, make that the thirteenth earth this particular voyager has visited and it’s the twenty-third dimension he’s traversed from his own.

And now I’m done with this. As a lifelong fan I can only rip off Paul Simon for a short while before my brain begins to bleed. Now on with our tale.

The days on this specific earth are strange; indeed, it’s cultural, economic and sociological development became stuck somewhere between the Forties and the early Seventies after a war between gods, demi-gods, superheroes and of course, super villains, so you’d only recognize it if you were of a certain age. But I suppose that really isn’t all that important. No, what matters is a certain diner located at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 22nd Street in the neighborhood of Chelsea in the grand metropolis humans across the Multiverse call New York.

It is in this storied establishment that two individuals are about to cross paths and set in motion events that will lead to… well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

“Almost finished, dear?” the waitress with the time-worn luggage under her heavily painted eyes quietly inquired of the youthful customer at the end of the dull grey counter crisscrossed with cracks. This greasy spoon, like the city, and for that matter, the world it was a part of, had seen better days. The row of fractured globes dangling from the ceiling only served to illuminate the obvious: This hash house was long past its prime.

Though it did have one redeeming quality.

“Not quite… in fact, I’ve barely started this delicious burger…” he sharpened his gaze while placing a half-consumed Empire Stack upon its plate before scanning the faded nametag that had been as battered by the ravages of time as her face, “Flo? Seriously?” he inquired back in a not-so-hushed tone.

“Yes. What’s wrong with Flo?” was her response, her hackles fully raised.

“Nothing. I guess you’re a bit behind the TV times on this particular mudball, aren’t you?”

“Not sure that that means, honey, but you’re proving my point.”

“What point is that?”

“You’re freaking my customers out… and people are squirrely enough around this burg as it is.”

The customer pivoted and took a good look around at the collection of peepers that were fixated on him.

Dozens of empty, soulless, organic ocular devices scanned him from top to bottom. The scrappiness that comes from living in a place where you have to fight every day for that last seat on the subway, that spot in line, that last slice of deep dish pizza, was gone. All that remained was… fear. 

This eating house’s clientele was well and truly freaked out by the traveler in the green leather jacket, Aviator sunglasses, a black-as-night t-shirt emblazoned with a red lightning bolt and black jeans and boots. If the traveler was affected by the spineless crowd of patrons, he refused to show it. He pivoted back to the server with the moniker straight out of a sitcom no one on this world had ever seen.

“If it makes you feel any better, I’m not a super villain, Flo,” was the only comfort he could provide, though his next sentence undid all that. “But I’m not leaving, and no one here is capable of making me do so. You see, I’m waiting for someone, and I’ve come a long way to see him. A ridiculously long way.”

“So, you’re not a killer? Like one of ’em? Because they took my sister’s boy… they slaughtered that poor child like his life meant nothing at all.”

“Oh, I’ve killed before. Dozens of times, in fact!” he morbidly retorted with gleeful abandon. “But never anyone that didn’t deserve it.”

Flo looked back at her manager cowering in the kitchen. She was about to offer her unbelievably odd and unsettling customer a slice of pie on the house if he’d reconsider when the jingle jangle of the bell above the joint’s front door rang out as it opened, and it suddenly became clear why this strangely attired young man was there in the first place.

“Should I clear the joint out?” she asked the adolescent who had returned to scarfing down his Empire Special Blend Burger.

“That all depends on him, Flo. Is he as welcoming to tourists as everyone else around here?” was his snappy comeback.

The reason our hero with the dashing sense of style had crossed dimensions answered for himself – but his response was drowned out by the commotion of the weak-kneed cluster of diners fleeing for their lives, convinced they were about to be caught in the middle of their worst collective nightmare: A superpowered donnybrook that would consume everything its path.

They were right, of course.

And now, those words we all love and dread…


Hook’s Note: A lot has happened these last few weeks that I should probably share with all of you, but honestly, I’m just not in a proper headspace to do that right now.

So please accept this piece of fiction, set in my Infinite Crossover Crisis universe. It’s taken a monumental mental effort for me to crack my writer’s block and create/share this with all of you, so please… be kind but honest.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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44 Responses to Into The Dark: Sidestepping Across The Multiverse, Part One.

  1. humbirdheart8 says:

    Very intriguing I like it!… And of course, my friend, whenever you’re ready to tell the other parts of your story, you know I’m here to hear it… Meanwhile, have a pleasant evening.

    • The Hook says:

      I’ll get there, my friend.

      I’ve just been through one of those life-changing gauntlets that is simply too big to process and write about.

      But sooner or later…

  2. Her name had to be Flo!

  3. I thought it was the beginning of the next Dr Who series. Good to see a post from you Robert. Hope you are OK. It’s been a while……………..

  4. nbratscott says:

    I just wish you could see the smile on my face!!

  5. Doug in Sugar Pine says:

    She says
    “Oo-oo-ooh, my storybook lover
    You have underestimated my power
    As you shortly will discover”

    It’s good to hear from you again Mr.Hook.

  6. I appreciate the effort, my friend. You’ve once again woven a tapestry worthy of being inspected by Lord Clarence McDonald himself.

  7. Good to see you on the old word piano, Hook. Love the story. Want more.

  8. Yay!! So glad to know you are writing again. Keep going!!

  9. I love that the waitress is named Flo! Please educate me – what’s a donnybrook?

  10. granny1947 says:

    Great to see you back.
    Can’t wait for the next episode.
    Love this one!

  11. Frank Thomas Croisdale says:

    Hallelujah! Now stop worrying about how many people bought your book and write for the ones that were touched by it.

  12. Absolutely fabulous
    With diamonds on the souls of your shoe-ing on to write more!!!

  13. 1jaded1 says:

    Always good to see you. This has me hooked. (pun intended?)

  14. So glad to see you are writing again Robert. I know it has been a tough couple of years. It’s been a sucky one for me. I would say good riddance to 2022, but I said that last year to 2021 and I can’t help but feel it stuck it’s middle finger up at me and said “Oh yeah! Wait til you see what I have waiting for you next year!” But in the grand scheme of things, I don’t have a right to complain… so many are in so much more pain and are enduring much worse hardships so I won’t gripe. Good to see you my friend. Seems some of us have come back from a blog hiatus lately. ❤

    • The Hook says:

      Good to see you too, old friend.
      It has indeed been an unbelievably challenging few years but we’re both still standing.

      Of course, I’m currently standing with a cane.
      But that’s another story…

      • 🥺 aww… I’m sorry. Would like to know that story. But in the meantime I will add you (again) to my prayer list ❤️🙏 I pray you will be ok…

  15. Your ability to paint vivid pictures that make the reader feel like they are actually sitting there knee to knee with your characters blows me away. I can actually feel the textures, smell the cooking and taste the food. It took me awhile to set aside the time so I could enjoy this as I knew it should be, and of course now I want seconds! Way to break that block, Hook! Congratulations!

    • The Hook says:

      The Empire Diner exists in the so-called “real world” version of NYC, Michelle, and I’d love to visit it someday myself.
      And Golden Lad is a public domain superhero whose time for reinvention has come, in my opinion.

      Thank you so much for reading and weighing in. More to come as soon as I continue to chip away at that block…

  16. Jennie says:

    Well done, Hook. See, once a writer always a writer. It never goes away, not really.

    • The Hook says:

      You’re right.
      It was just buried under tons of self-doubt and life’s many challenges.

      I’m going through a MAJOR physical challenge now that has affected my mental and financial well-being but ironically, it’s given me time at home to finally write again, though very slowly.

      • Jennie says:

        I knew it was there all along 🙂. I’m sorry that you’re going through so much stuff (Hubby is, too.) It sucks, yet it’s weird that something good actually comes out. I find that fascinating and healing. Clearly, you were meant to write.

  17. Pingback: Spread the Love – Part 44 1/4 « 33 Grams of Blog

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