FEET OF CLAY

This story is actually a chapter in a much larger story; I’m writing it now as way to get back into the writing groove. Not to mention as a personal comment on how the idealism has drained out of superhero comics in the past few decades. Please forgive me if this isn’t up to my usual writing standards; I’ll end up rewriting it when I work out the full story later anyway. Hope you enjoy it.


THE INTERDIMENSIONAL VOID: A place that is not a place. More like a state of existence, in fact.

Shifting across dimensions is like changing channels on a TV set; you tune out of one channel (or universe, in this case) and into another. You can no longer see the previous one, or affect it in any way, but it’s still there- you haven’t moved, in time or space. It only looks that way.

Despite all my years of planeshifting, I’ve never truly gotten used to the sensation. I suppose I’m not meant to; shifting universes is probably the most unnatural act ever, scientifically speaking. And THIS particular shift was unbelievably long, as these things go. I’d been shifting for almost half an hour, when most “jumps” take but a few seconds. Such was the ‘distance’ I was traveling.

I hovered in the ‘void’, a blur of colors all that was visible around me, all that could be seen of the universes I was whizzing ‘past’ by. Not that I was looking; my eyes were firmly closed, as I focused on the necessary spells, channeling mana from my surroundings, through my body and across the dimensional “walls”. I hovered in the air, my green cape also floating lazily around me. My green bodysuit fit comfortably over my body, save over my head; my short black hair swayed like seaweed in a mild underwater current.

It was a long, tiring trip, indeed. But I didn’t care, that day. Hell, never in my life was I so happy to planeshift from one multiverse to another.

Because I was going home.

Well, not my REAL home. In the Earth I was born in, magic was disbelieved by most people and feared by the rest. For no good reason; either because of religious fanaticism, or simply out of fear of those who are more powerful than you are.

It wasn’t my fault that I had been born with the Gift of Magic; I just inherited it, from someone in our family… probably some old Spanish warlock. I suppose I can’t be mad at my family for being afraid of it, for not understanding what it meant to me… but the fact remains, that they made me very miserable, when they told me that it was not natural, that I could not pursue it, for society would never accept me if I did. They were probably right; what they never considered was that maybe I would have no need of society and its shortcomings, either.

And they didn’t understand how it FELT.

I could see and feel things around me that no one else could. Not scary things, but WONDERFUL things. Things that I so eagerly wanted to share, but couldn’t. I might have as well tried to explain the beauty of a rainbow to a man born blind. It was SO frustrating, to not have anyone who understood, and worse, to have to hide the truth, to not being able to even discuss it- and to listen to the fears that my own loved ones spoke about it.

But still, I obeyed them. Why not? I was only a child. And this was my own family telling me what to think and do. Surely they knew better?

But then my parents passed away.

That alone was a great blow, of course. I was barely a teenager at the time. But it became worse when I had to move in with my siblings. Oh, they didn’t mistreat me. But, they were so consumed with making their own lives, they barely had time for me. It was then that I realized, that the things in life that I was supposed to get… education, work, marriage, family… just didn’t hold an interest for me. I saw others around me struggle with them, and many never being truly happy with them.

I felt the call again. And since no one seemed to care about me anymore, I saw no reason to continue ignoring it.

Finding books about magic was surprisingly easy. I guess since most people couldn’t use them, they just considered them oddities to be sold on rare bookstores to those people odd enough to want to read them. Most of them were of little use, just for casting luck charms or the like.

But one day, I found it.

The planeshift spell!

I never did find exactly where the book it was in came from, or who had used it before me. My guess is that some poor planeshifter had lost it and it had ended up passing around unknowing hands since who knows how long.

At first I couldn’t believe that the spell could do what the book claimed. Other universes? Invisible but real? Sounded like a fairy tale. Never in my wildest dreams would I have dreamed such things existed.

And then I tried the spell.

Needless to say, it was a success.

On that day, I realized my destiny. Suddenly my world, which already felt uncomfortably small and mundane, felt even more so.

I realized I no longer belonged there. If I ever did. No, now I knew there was an entire MULTIVERSE out there… an infinity of unseen worlds, waiting to be discovered! What wonders did they hide? More important of all… there had to be others like me there. There HAD to! I had to go. I had to find those who were my true kin- in soul, if not in blood.

I was going to leave my Earth. I was going to become a planeshifter.

It wasn’t an easy choice. I was still a teenager. I still had a family that, despite everything, I cared for. But I knew that they would never understand… just as I knew that my mind was already made.

I told them about it. I felt that I at least owed them that.

They looked at me as if I were insane. Exactly what I expected. “Sure, sure, Sijo, we understand” they said. While secretly whispering behind my back, that I had finally snapped, that the loss of Papi and Mami had been too much for me, that they would have to look for ‘professional’ help now…

I considered for a moment just vanishing in a burst of light in front of all my brothers and sisters. Wouldn’t THAT have been funny? But, no. It would’ve been cruel as well. It might’ve shattered their precious beliefs about reality… or worse, they might’ve concluded that The Devil itself had taken me away.

So, I just acted as normal as possible. I gathered what few belongings I had that I could carry comfortably with me, and that I thought might be useful in my journey. I wrote down my goodbye for all of them, in a note that I left where they could find it. Oh, I’m sure they just thought that I’d ran away, and been terribly concerned, and probably spent a lot of time trying to find me.

I still feel bad about that. Someday, I’ll have to return, if only to make sure they are all well, and let them know that I’m well too.

But I don’t regret my decision. I do not miss that world at all. It had never been my home, not really.

No, my home was a far greater place. Two, in fact. Two places were wonder and nobility went hand-in-hand, where the stuff of legend was as real as everyday people!

And on that day… after a very long time… I WAS going home again!!

NEXT: THE WORLDS OF HEROES!

I would just like to say now, Wil, that while the story is good, it’s weird to see the title, since there’s a Discworld novel with that exact same title. Granted, it’s a somewhat common phrase, but still… might wanna think about an alternate title.

“no, no capes”

That was good. I’m no good at critiquing, so I won’t do it. ^^

I would very much like to see how this develops. Looks like you’re laying an interesting foundation.

Ahh, instead of horribly mangling the plot lines of video games, wil’s chosen a much broader world to mess with, Super Heroes. A shame though, one would of thought wil’d call RPGC home too.

VE: The saying “Feet of Clay” is far better known than all the Discworld novels, trust me (it’s a biblical quote.) Besides, by the end of the story you’ll see why I think it is appropriate.

Kairi: Edna Mode notwitstanding, capes and heroes go together like peanut butter and jelly. And ANY comment is welcome, even a simple “That was good!”, thank you! :slight_smile:

GG: This is only a part of a larger story, but I hope it stands well enough on its own.

VS: Actually, this story takes place LONG before I discovered RPGC, so I couldn’t mention it yet. However, once you read the story, you’ll hopefully understand why I consider RPGC my home these days…

More soon!

I know that, Wil. I tried saying that in my post, but I guess I didn’t provbe it well enough. I was just saying. And personally, my biggest problem with the title is the use of all caps. But I’m just being really anal about this, I think.

Wow Wil that is really impressive. I can’t wait to see just who you encounter in the World of Heroes.

Yes, my homes.

Odd, how you can find the place you belong… by sheer accident?

But that’s what happened to me.

I still remember it clearly, even thought it was so many years ago, when I was still a teenager.

I was shifting through the interdimensional void, like I was doing today. Returning to Earth after a visit to Fairyland, I think. But on that day, I saw the most bewildering thing I’d seen yet (and by then, I’d already encountered things like aliens and vampires!)

…A man in a red costume, running on a treadmill!?!

Moving so fast (in place) that all I could see of him was a red blur?

It was there for a second, only a short “distance” from where I was standing. Then it was gone!

“EH!?” I blurted out. Had I REALLY seen a man in a red outfit running on- one of those treadmill exercise machines?? In the middle of (literally) nowhere?? Or, was I going crazy? Maybe I’d been shifting around dimensions a little TOO often…

But then, I felt something else unexpected:

Vibrations!

Yes, I could feel some type of “vibrations”! Coming from the “spot” where the… vision had been!

I approached the spot. Yes, I could definitely feel some kind of vibrations coming from there!

This was even ODDER. Never before had I felt vibrations in the void.

Whatever these vibrations were, I could feel them “pulling” at me. Not so hard I couldn’t resist, but I could tell they were going… somewhere. As if they were some sort of trail left behind by the red man.

I decided to let them pull me along. I didn’t know if it was a good idea, but I didn’t care. I have always been curious, especially back in my younger days. I HAD to follow that trail… find out if what I had seen, was real, and where the trail led!

So I did. By simply shifting my mental “focus” I used the Planeshift spell to follow the red man into…

… A house?!

Well, THAT was anticlimatic.

The treadmill laid in front of me. No costumed man, however.

I looked around. Everything looked pretty normal. Well, maybe a little old-fashioned, but otherwise, pretty much like any other modern house.

I approached the machine. It had some odd writings in its control devices, but I couldn’t make sense out of them. I decided NOT to touch it.

I went around the house, tiptoing carefully. After all, I was in somebody’s house uninvited. I was ready to shift out if I was discovered.

After a few minutes of not finding anything, I got bored and was about to leave, when I saw the red blur again!

Outside, through a window!

I rushed to it to try to see it, but the blur just ran down a highway towards some city in the horizon.

So what was going on here? I wondered. Was I following a super-fast red man?

And why did he look… familiar?

I decided to walk to the city. It wasn’t that far way. Besides, I had NOTHING to do back in those days, just wander and wander. So why not follow a red blur into a city I’d never seen?

Actually, the city was farther away than it seemed from the house. Fortunately, as I walked down the highway, a bus passed by and stopped, allowing me to climb on.

As I sat in the back on the near-empty bus, I wondered which city this was. I had already visited all of the World’s major cities by then (since I could choose where to “land” whenever I planeshifted, I usually stopped by on a different city when I returned from another dimension.) I didn’t recognize this one, however. The plains around us made me suspect -correctly, as it turned out- that I was somewhere in the American Midwest.

And then I saw it: one of those giant billboards they place near highways for the benefit of tourists:

It read: “Welcome to Central City. Home of The Flash!!”

*THE FLASH!?!" I gasped mentally. Of course! THAT’s who the red man was! I’d seen him in a cartoon once!

Wait. The Flash isn’t real. He’s a COMIC BOOK CHARACTER! I continued to wonder. And yet- I HAD seen him -or almost seen him, anyway- and I was now entering a city -that I’d never heard of, by the way- that proudly proclaimed itself to be its hometown!

It occurred to me that this could all be just a dream. But I thought, What the heck, I’m following him anyway. Should be fun, either way.

The bus stopped in mid-town and let its passengers out.

OK, I’m here. Now, how do I find a super-fast man in a city of millions of people?

I suddenly realized how stupid I’d been. I should’ve waited IN HIS HOUSE for him to return. But hey, I was a kid back then. Too impatient.

Fortunately, luck came to my rescue.

ZAAAAATT!! a huge, bizarre sound suddenly startled me, and everybody else in the street. It was followed by blinding sparkles, like reflected sunlight, coming from somewhere in the sky. The city suddenly got hotter, as well.
-"What is going on??- a neatly dressed women next to me screamed.
-“It’s MIRROR MASTER!!” another man -also dressed very neatly- answered. “I just heard it on the radio!! He’s taken over the Central City Convention Center!!”
Mirror Master? What kind of lame name is that? I asked myself.
-“Don’t worry!” another neatly-dressed man said. (Yeesh, does everybody in this city dress like they’re going to a formal dinner in the middle of the afternoon? It’s like a 60’s tv show!) “I saw The Flash heading towards the convention center! He’ll take care of him!”
-“Yes, he always does” another neatly-dressed woman said, confidently. “You’d think the fool would just stop trying to commit crimes in this city!”
-“Bah, he and the rest of The Rogues are just doing it for the publicity, I say!” the first neatly-dressed man commented. (I was starting to fear that my casual T-shirt-and-jeans combo would attract unwanted attention. But it didn’t.) “They don’t care if they’re captured as long as they get known as members of ‘The Flash’s Rogues Gallery.’” he continued.
Ookay, THIS I wasn’t going to miss I thought, excited. But, how do I find the Convention Center?
ZAAATT!! again. This time, I could see the golden rays clearly coming from a tall building, not far away.
Thanks, M&M! I chuckled, then ran in that direction.

You know, for a guy who can run at the speed of light, Flash can be REALLY slow sometimes.

It took me a few minutes to reach the Convention Center, but the battle was STILL going on when I arrived. I was afraid Flash would have M&M tussled up like a Christmas turkey by the time I arrived. But no, they were still at it.

MM looked even worse than I expected. He had a GREEN and ORANGE costume. I’m hardly a fashion expert, but even I could tell that clashed! Plus, he didn’t have any mirrors ON his costume (he carried them in his pockets). He should’ve called himself “Generic Super Villain”. Sheesh.

(See for yourselves)

I STILL couldn’t see The Flash clearly, thought. He was a red and yellow blur (the yellow coming from his boots and belt; I hadn’t noticed that until I came close enough -as part of the mob of people watching the battle- to see him better) and he basically kept coming at MM- and then the crook would pull out some type of small mirror-like device, and he would say, “THIS will stop you FOR SURE, Flash!!” -and it WOULD, but then Flash would do something -too fast for me to tell exactly what- to free himself, then he would approach MM again- and then it would start all over again.

Man, this was frustrating to watch. It was like reading a comic book that had no thought balloons to let you know what the characters were doing! And whose dialog did MM steal, anyway, Skeletor’s??

Anyway, after a few more moments of this, the battle ended when MM ran out of trick mirrors, and Flash ran up to him and hit him him in the jaw, knocking him unconscious (and FINALLY shutting him up!) He then stood there while the people cheered, finally allowing us to see him well.

I cheered for a moment, too, and then I realized that the whole thing shouldn’t be real. There was no Flash, no Central City and Mirror Master that I knew of- they were all comic book concepts! So, I tried to approach him and ask him about it-

Whoosh!

He was gone again.

Crap.

(More soon!)

AAAARRGHH!!!
I can’t believe I just accidentally deleted the NEXT segment of the story just as I was going to post it!!! :hyperven:

Now I’m going to have to WRITE it all over again!!

Sorry about that, gang. I promise I WILL finish this story, and soon- there are only 3-4 more parts to go. I’ll definitely be done before I start my big Xmas Story.

:thud:

As I always say when you are writing Wil, take your time. Writing should be something you do at your own pace, not the pace everyone else wants.

But still, I do want to see how you finish this thing off.

That has happened to me several times as well.
I usually try to write really long posts in notepad or something and the copy/paste them to the forum, to avoid that happening.

Ohohohoho, this is good. A nice piece of Wilfredo writing it seems. Can’t wait till you post more.

Sorry I haven’t continued the story yet, guys. As usual, just when I get really involved in fan writing, I get tied up with work! I won’t be able to post the next part until Friday… but as I said, there are only a few parts left, so I WILL finish this before I start RPGC Saga. (Take it as a chance to join before I start the story!) :slight_smile:

Simple and sweet. Though… it seemed a little too broken up, you know? But maybe you ment it to be simple. ^^