Sidestepping Across The Multiverse: Part Eleven.

Your average costumed crusader’s biggest concern is a persistent arch-enemy who… just… won’t… quit, constantly escaping from prison or evading capture altogether.

The Joker springs to mind, of course.

(Though if Batman had any real guts and a true sense of morality he would’ve ended the Clown Prince of Crime decades ago, thus saving thousands of lives in Gotham and the world.)

Tommy Preston, a.k.a. Golden Lad, had barely survived a global conflict during which he saw all of his superpowered counterparts – good and evil – apparently perish. He spent the next few decades taking down petty criminals in a New York that had become a shadow of itself.

Mysterious, breathtakingly-beautiful, her true identity a closely guarded secret, Madame Strange spent the golden age of heroism carving out a specific niche for herself: Dispatching fearsome foes with names like Bohlog, Bonza, Dingo Bill, and The Octopus

(it was a different age, so don’t judge)

who constantly threatened America’s far-flung air outposts and naval stations. Her recent past is an enigma, though it’s clear she’s graduated from military base defense to Multiversal maintenance. 

And William Nemesis? Well, he’s been busy traversing the Multiverse dismantling the infrastructure demi-gods known as The Dark established on various parallel earths like Tommy’s.

But none of these paladins, even the dimension-hopping Nemesis, was prepared to face the most recognizable member of the Great Old Ones.

Terrifyingly-Fun Fact: The Great Old Ones are primordial, inhuman beings of unfathomable power who once presided over various realities. They were, in fact, the beta version of The Dark, The Light, and The Grey, creatures that God Herself found too uncontrollable and dangerous to be allowed to roam free in the vicinity of her prized creation, humanity.

They are things that give the nightmares under your bed, in your closet, in your head, nightmares. The dark things all dark things are modelled on.

And so, rather than admit to having designed flawed deities, the Big Gal hid the Great Old Ones hidden away beneath the earth and in pocket dimensions. In time they became myths to be used as fodder for scribes and worshipped by doomsday cults.


Though I’ve already described him as a humanoid monstrosity with a squid-like face and wings, Cthulhu, like most cosmic entities, is too abstract by human perception to be accurately described. He (it?) is infamously known for his grotesque appearance (picture a Kardashian without the Botox) and variable gigantic size (picture a range between The Rock… and Asia), as well as another charming trait of his: The ability to drive any mortal unlucky enough to gaze upon his form to madness.

Fortunately for our heroic triumvirate, Cthulhu appeared to be having a bad day, at least by leviathan standards. His clawed hands trembled, his leathery wings vibrated, and his tentacles elongated and shrunk – all in unison. However, he did not advance towards our heroes, not an inch.

“Why is that… thing… just… standing there?” Golden Lad whispered to Nemesis, who was, quite frankly, freaking out.

“Strange…” William ignored the Lad and instead addressed his reluctant teammate in a low voice, as if a higher tone would anger the inexplicably immobile, silent colossus. “You have any idea why we’re still coherent and not a pile of blubbering goo right now?”

Equally mute as their newest opponent, Madame Strange was perplexed; Cthulhu’s most well-known plan of attack was to simply let loose a psychic attack so potent it rips through a human mind like a navy destroyer plowing through a pond. In some cases the mere sight of this beast is enough to incapacitate a mere mortal.

But instead of unleashing a mental howitzer, Cthulhu… did nothing.

After sixty excruciating seconds Strange finally spoke. “He… is resisting.”

“Resisting? Then let’s kill this thing and get on with it!” Golden Lad blurted out in a particularly bloodthirsty tone.

“How do you propose we do that, Tommy Preston? This is one of the most ancient beings in existence! He should be able to tear this world apart in seconds! None of us should have survived the act of gazing upon his visage for an instant… never mind the minutes we’ve spent blabbering!” was all Strange could say as her feverish mind raced through one doomed scenario after another. “What say you, William Nemesis? What does the great strategist propose we do?”

Once again, William refused to answer, focusing instead on an intermittent shimmer beside the paralyzed titan. It seemed to alternate between Cthulhu’s left and right sides.

“Well? What have you?” the Madame demanded once more, in her best turn-of-the-century detective voice.

For his part, Nemesis remained silent – vocally, at least.

A moment later, Madame Strange twitched slightly before firing a burst of crimson lightning from her nimble fingers. Nemesis reached out telekinetically and sent a pile of debris toward Cthulhu – though slightly to the right, while Strange’s lightning strike veered to the left. To Golden Lad it looked like his companions had struck out – until a bizarre set of screams echoed out from what appeared to be empty air.

An unbelievably tense moment passed and the oxygen in the chamber became electric and heavy. The smell of rotting cabbage permeated the trio’s nasal cavities and optic nerves.

“Damn it!” Nemesis shouted as frantically wiped tears from his eyes. “Get ready to fight, you two! They won’t be vulnerable for long!”

“Who?” was Tommy’s response as he used his cape as a giant handkerchief, wiping a river of tears away from his magically-transformed face.

Strange rushed forward, answering the Lad’s query as she did so. “The 고도깨비; high dokkaebi!”

“Korean goblins,” Tommy hissed. “I hate these things.”  산수귀문전

“That’s a bit racist, but how -” William suddenly realized there wasn’t time to ask the Lad where he acquired his knowledge of the crimson-scaled supernatural creatures they were about to face.

Especially with a wave of arrows rushing at them, their tips a mix of white, black, red, blue, and yellow, the five colors of the Obangsaek, the traditional Korean color spectrum.

“Say what you want about theses little guys, at least they’re patriotic devils,” Nemesis thought to himself as he projected a TK blast at the deadly  projectiles rushing at himself and Tommy. The bolts hit the invisible shield and were instantly pulverized.

For her part, Madame Strange gestured and opened a wide portal directly in front of her. The arrows whizzed right into the aperture and disappeared from view. A second portal instantaneously materialized to the rear of the other-dimensional diabolical duo. Their own weapons, their trajectory and properties now altered by Strange’s voodoo, collided with the floor behind them, erupting with demoniac force.

The Korean goblins were tossed about like Hacky Sacks – but Hacky Sacks with little horns, razor-sharp claws, golden fangs and beady eyes. And Hacky Sacks that exist only to drive mortals beyond the limits of sanity.

“KILL THE LITTLE BUGGERS! GRIND THEIR BONES INTO PASTE!” Tommy wailed, completely lost to bloodlust.

Madame Strange wasn’t quite so murderously inclined. “Stay your hand, William Nemesis. These foul creatures have knowledge that will prove most useful.”

“I’m not concerned about the inner workings of this place, Strange,” William countered. “They’re all laid out the same from world to world. These ‘supreme overlords’ have no imagination.”

“I’m referring to how they controlled the Great Old One… or have you forgotten about Cthulhu?”

Golden Lad and Nemesis gazed at the primordial leviathan still struggling to break free of his supernatural bondage.

“Oh yeah… that guy,” they said in pitch-perfect stereo.


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.
This entry was posted in Hotel Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sidestepping Across The Multiverse: Part Eleven.

  1. Doug in Sugar Pine says:

    “Oh yeah… that guy,”
    That, Mr. Hook, was a stroke of brilliance.

  2. “A Kardashian without Botox”? I know it’s science fiction, but you could’ve kept it a little closer to reality. I mean, despite there being an infinite number of universes, there’s no universe in which there’s a Kardashian without Botox.

  3. Jennie says:

    “Oh yeah…that guy.” What a hook (pun intended)!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s