Real Ultimate Power: Breaking the Fourth Wall
There was something strangely soothing about hearing the agonized screams of tortured souls. Mostly because no matter how bad a day one was having, you were reminded that there were always those worse off.
Oftentimes, writers will begin a story, only to lose interest part way through. Little do they know, that while the story may have ground to a halt, the characters do no such thing. While the author gallivants away with a new story, the characters he creates get left behind… and are sent to the worst place imaginable.
Development Hell. They don’t know whether they will live or die; rather, these characters are trapped in a limbo, unsure if their stories will ever be finished. It’s a grim place, to be sure. Once a character enters Development Hell, there is very little chance of them ever escaping into the outside world again…
These are but a few characters trapped in this wretched existence.
These are their stories.
THIS… IS REAL ULTIMATE POWER.
“And then I was like Kedra: WE CAN REBUILD HIM. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!” Alton’s laughter boomed loudly across the small floating island, dislodging some small chunks of rock, sending them tumbling into the chasm below. The little flying island had been chipped away slowly by such outbursts, sending it slowly crumbling into the abyss below.
“Wow, Alton. It’s not like we haven’t heard this story before.” Nathan said wryly, sipping at his martini as he pompously fingered the lapel of his duster.
“Ah, whaddyou know you little sonofa-” the rest of Alton’s words were lost as smashed his beer bottle down against the counter of the bar, sending flecks of glass spraying everywhere. Alyk lunged forward, grabbing him around the waist before he could lunge for Nathan’s throat.
“Easy, Alton! He’s just a kid.” Said Alyk reasonably. Alton struggled to escape from his bear-hug howling obscenities and thrashing like a dying snake.
“A kid who drinks martinis! What are you, like sevenursomethin’?” slurred Alton.
“Fourteen, actually.” Said Nathan dryly. He turned back to the counter, rapping it with two knuckles. The demon who was tending the bar sauntered over, a malicious grin on his face.
“I dunno, buddy… you look a little south of proper. I’m gonna need to see some I.D.”
Nathan sighed patiently.
“We’ve been over this, Jeremy. I haven’t had I.D for the first 1000 years I’ve been here; I’m not sure why your expectations seem to keep resetting every time I order a drink.” Jeremy laughed… which sprayed fire everywhere, melting several glasses.
“Ah, common bucko it’s a joke! Lighten up.” He snapped his fingers, and Nathan’s glass refilled itself. He drained this one in a single gulp, sighing in satisfaction.
“You know, that really can’t be good for your liver.” Said Zethor matter-of-factly, looking up from his card game. Nathan sneered at him.
“Well, forgive me for trying to drown myself in a glass rather than talk to a bunch of losers like you. And we’re in hell; I’m pretty sure I don’t even have a liver anymore.”
“What do you think Kedra, do we have a liver?” Asked Zethor eagerly. A little too eagerly. Nathan sighed in disgust. Was he the only one thinking with his brain in here? Kedra looked up from her book, frowning.
“I don’t know. We don’t really need to eat down here, so I guess all rules kind of go out the window.”
Alyk groaned, smashing his head against the bar with a dull thunk.
“One of the few decent things about this body was that I don’t need to eat…and that doesn’t matter now. On top of that, we’re stuck here, forever, and I can’t even order a drink or I crack the goddamn glass.” He stared at his gauntlet mournfully. Alton put a hand comfortingly on his shoulder.
“Dude, I can totally sympathizeandstuff. Now remember; there are going to be times when having that body will drive you nuts, I mean really fuckin’ nuts. And you may have an urge to hurt people, Godsforbid… when and if that day comes, I need you to remember one thing. It wasn’t my idea. It was Kedra’s.” Alton snatched up Nathan’s martini before he could grab it and downed it in one gulp.
“That’s horrible! I just want everyone to know that I would never do such a thing to a lady!” Zethor said quickly. Nathan sighed, jerking his hand in an inappropriate fashion towards his mouth. Alton snickered.
“I appreciate the chivalry and all, but really, I’ll be fine. I can handle Tin-Man over there no problem.” Kedra said dismissively.
“Wait… what?” Alyk said reproachfully.
“You heard me, douchebag; I could take you any day of the week!” Kedra laughed, tossing her book aside. Alyk stood rigid for a moment, mouth opening and closing like that of a dying fish. Alton looked up to his friend, whispering in his ear.
“Are you gonna take that shit from her? NO. Now go get her, Rocky, I got your back!” Alton jumped up on the bar counter, striking a Kung-Fu pose and screaming like an excited seagull.
“Alton, what did I say about feet up on the counter?” Jeremy scolded. Alton rubbed a hand on the back of his neck, embarrassed.
“Uhh… not to have them up there…”
“And where are your feet now, Alton?” Jeremy said, hands on his hip horns.
“… On the counter…” he said miserably. He hopped down, sulking. Meanwhile, the trash-talking between Kedra and Alyk was heating up.
“You really think you could take me, bitch?” Alyk spat, cracking his knuckles. Kedra grinned at him.
“I don’t usually hit women… but when I do, I fucking DESTROY THEM.” Alyk charged, bringing his armored fist back.
“FULL NELSON!” Kedra screamed. Alyk crashed to the floor, paralyzed.
“That’s what you get when you play the home team… oh and by the way; I did mess with your junk.” Kedra fist pumped into the air as the souls of the damned cheered. Nathan, usually so composed and cynical, even seemed impressed.
“I had no idea she held such power… that’s… kinda hot…” he muttered to himself, face turning red. He quickly downed another martini.
“Tell me about it, kid, and they aren’t even married! Lovecraft my ass; this is real horror!” Alton laughed; he had apparently overcome his sulkiness given another four drinks. Paradoxically, those same drinks had also made him more sober.
“I find that a sexist comment, and I object to it thouroughly and completely!” Zethor cried, glancing sidelong at Kedra, who was still victory dancing. She took no notice of his pathetic efforts. Alton stared at him for a long time.
“… dude, who the hell are you and why are you here?”
“Hey! I’m the first character this author ever wrote about, okay! And why the hell do you think I’m here? My story got cut short.”
“I think the term ‘character’ is being a little generous in this case… let’s be serious, you have more personality here than you did in your little book. What was it called? Oh, that’s right, I can’t remember, because I never read it.” Alton smirked, looking highly satisfied with himself. He always looked pleased about something.
“Picking on others doesn’t make you cool. It makes you a bully!” Said Zethor huffily. Alton shrugged, nonchalantly picking his teeth with Alyk’s still paralyzed gauntlet.
“Sorry about that buddy, but that apple skin was killing me… and whatever you little dork. You might not think I’m cool… but Kedra sure does.” He gestured over at Kedra, who was busy high fiving all the skeletons. She turned at the sound of her name.
“Whaddya mean?” She frowned. “What are you saying about me?”
Alton grinned, wishing at that moment he had a pair of sunglasses.
“See, she totally digs me… I say ‘Kedra’ and she lights up like Nathan after a breakup.”
Nathan made a rude gesture in Alton’s direction.
“Shut up. I can quit anytime I want man…” He said, fumbling for another cigarette. “Werewolf needs to suck ash, werewolf needs to—ahhhh…” he sighed happily as he blew smoke rings between Jeffrey’s horns.
“There’s no way she… but how in the… you’re a total jerk!” Zethor stuttered. Alton gave him a thumb up as he lit his pipe.
“Bingo. I’m a jerk. And if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that ladies love jerks. All of them. At least in the fictional world, anyhow…”
“But that makes no sense!”
“Dude, I’m a witch and your name is Zethor. I don’t think Kedra digging me like Long John Silver's stache of buried treasure isn't the weirdest thing going on right now.”
They heard a loud clink as a shot glass was slammed down on a table behind them.
“At least you have a name… I only got one today. And it sucks.” Spat Janus bitterly. Alton sighed.
“Just ignore him… he’s just grouchy.”
“So wait, why does Kedra like you? Supposedly.” Zethor finished quickly. Alton grinned, blowing a puff of smoke into Zethor’s face.
“Well, let me see… I’m tall, I’m a badass, I’m a good fighter, I’m jacked, I have magical powers, I brood a lot, I have dark hair and smoldering eyes which you can just get lost in… oh, and I threatened to kill her and gave her a nervous breakdown and shit. Bitches love nervous breakdowns.”
“This is one girl who disagrees!” Said Kedra angrily. “And I have nothing but the deepest loathing for you, you miserable little cretin.” Alton sighed, producing a leather bound book from within the folds of his robe.
“Odd, because that’s not what this says…” He flipped to a random page, his grin growing wider than was humanly possible. Kedra shifted nervously.
“What is that? Let me see!”
Alton waved her off, his grin threatening to break off from his body and grow a mouth of its own. With which to grin.
“Oh, nothing… just a little book called ‘Hour of the Witch’. You may have heard of it.”
Kedra turned a shade of white which hadn’t existed previously.
“No… you didn’t… we don’t…. we can’t!”
“Oh, we do… and it happens on page too! It even gets a bit raunchy… I didn’t know our little author had it in him.” He cleared his throat, and began to read.
Alton began disrobing, hesitantly at first, and then more quickly as excitement overcame his hesitation—
“Not… with… kids… here…” grunted Alyk, who was only barely able to move his jaw. Nathan quickly stepped in.
“No, no, really, its fine. Keep reading.”
“GIVE ME THAT.” Kedra grabbed a barstool, hurling it in Alton’s direction. He skipped out of the way, hooting with laughter. Zethor sighed. What he would give to be viciously assaulted by Kedra…
“Well, I might be awkward and my name might suck, but at least I have a name in the first place…” he sighed. Janus growled at him, his grizzled mane making him look like an angry bear.
“Look, you little shrimp, I got a name in the end! And I’m twice the character you’ll ever be… I killed my brother. Yup, my own brother, and you know how much I agonize over it? For like, half the book. That automatically gives me more depth than your pansy ass!”
“I kill my brother apparently as well… good times.” Alton sighed dreamily, keeping Kedra at bay lazily with one hand as she groped desperately for the book.
“I…survived…death…for…this?” groaned Alyk despairingly from the floor.
“You know, I think maybe you should go back to that earlier bit. It sounded like the author was making some pretty good use of plot twists and all that… stuff. You know… literary whatnots.” Nathan said hopefully.
TO BE CONTINUED