- SPYGOD stands naked before the burning, twitching corpse of the Flier, strewn across the ruins of the Lost City, and knows peace for the first time in months.
He watches as cyclopean War Spawn heave and slither across the crumbling ziggurats and pyramids, searching for more paralyzed Imago to stuff into their fanged and puckered orifices. In the dying light of the setting, Pacific Sun, they become less things from nightmare, and more like weird forces of nature. Rarely-seen elementals, perhaps -- mighty knots of earth, wind, and water given both form and a voice, however disturbing.
He turns to regard the steaming, stinking mess he's turned the Dragon into, but cannot find any sign of that grotesque act of violence left. Not even the massive, caustic pool of long-withheld god-urine remains, now, to say nothing of the battered lump of plastic, metal, bone, and brain it was so angrily unleashed upon.
All he can find is a large plastic spoon, still in its see-through wrapper.
SPYGOD considers this, and picks up the utensil. As he looks at it, he realizes that it has become night. What he thought the last, wavering rays of the Sun are merely the great, unearthly fires that burn uncontrolled under a dark sky, bereft of Moon and star.
The great white robot is nowhere to be seen, now. The War Spawn have all gone. Only the fires remain, casting their ominous shadows about the cracked surfaces of the Lost City.
Or is it? Now this city has changed its shape, before his eye -- becoming a single, small temple that SPYGOD remembers all too well.
It a small and beetling thing, this temple; a throwback to a truly ancient time in a distant land that was fought over for so long, but for all the wrong reasons. Its towering, rhomboidal entrance blazes with pure white light, and strange and angry noises issue forth along with that pure and brilliant illumination.
SPYGOD doesn't so much walk over to the door as he simply appears before it. He smiles, just a little, knowing that this must be a dream, or else a very skewed memory, and what happens next proves him quite right.
Inside, he sees himself as he was, a little over fifty years ago -- a vision in tight black leather, with not nearly enough guns and knives at hand. He is a man who appears younger than he really is, but has the eyes of an old man who's seen too much. He's just just starting to sag in the wrong places, and really feel the weight of what he's signed up for.
Especially here and now.
He has just shot his way through every doughty, vermillion-robed warrior monk of the temple, perhaps a hundred in all. They all attacked him, as they attacked the one who came before him -- the one he was trying to beat here -- and seemed almost apologetic about trying to kill him. But he had no such sentiments in return, and gladly shot, stabbed, and punched them all into the oblivion they claimed to be guarding against.
(Or served, perhaps? Nothing here was quite what it seemed at the time, he would later realize.)
Now, at the end of his quest, he is carefully approaching their great and only treasure. It sits on a small dais in the center of the main room, glittering every color known to man, and many that are mysterious and incomprehensible.
The Chandra Eye, itself.
"I pity you..." the eldest monk is saying as he bleeds out, not bothering to staunch the sucking wound below his heart: "This burden you must take upon yourself. We would have stopped you, but you alone have proven worthy. For that, we can only apologize..."
"Apology accepted," the younger him says, holding a hand up to his eyes (my god, two eyes!) and reaching towards the treasure: "Now, if you don't !@#$ing mind, I got a world to save, and not a lot of !@#$ time to do it..."
"But do you know what saving it like this will mean? The burden... it will bring upon you?"
"Yeah, well, I got a bad !@#$ing habit of getting burdened. Kind of goes with the !@#$ job description."
"This is nothing like that," his dying attacker says, watching as the man's hand closes around the treasure: "Other things, you could walk away from. Once this is inside you, there is no escape. It will be you, and you it, from now until forever, and perhaps beyond."
"So it's just like Camp Rogers, again," he says, taking the eye from the dais and holding it in his hand. As he does, it shrinks down, becoming exactly the size of a human eye.
"That experience you could understand, my friend. What is to come, however, will constantly confound you. You will slowly learn what it means to be a God, one revelation at a time. And in the ages to come, you will know nothing but change... and obligation...
"And regret..." dreaming SPYGOD says, in time with the last words of the monk, who closes his eyes and slips away.
"Yeah, well, !@#$ regret," the man SPYGOD was says, searching his pockets for the right tool for the job. All his knives are rusty or bloody, and not really good at gouging...
The dreaming SPYGOD looks at the plastic spoon he's had in his hand the entire time, and chuckles darkly. He assumes the right throwing stance, cocks his arm back, and tosses the spoon in such a way that it lands in the very pocket his old self found it in, all those years ago.
"How the !@#$ did that get there?" that one says, looking over where his future, dreaming self stands, as if he can see him, though he cannot.
But a few fevered seconds later, after he's done the bloody and irrevocable thing that spoon needed to be used for, and put the Chandra Eye in the ragged, bleeding socket that action has created, he can.
"But you didn't know what you saw, then, did you?" a familiar voice asks from right behind dreaming SPYGOD as his old self holds his head and screams: "You didn't recognize yourself, any more than you could have recognized me..."
"You...?" SPYGOD says, turning around as-
- he's shaken from dreams by the sound of a shrill and insistent alarm clock that is not is own.
His eyes crack open. His mouth sours. He reaches for the gun he normally keeps by the side of the bed for the purpose of shooting his alarm clock, but cannot find it, and wonders what the !@#$ is going on here.
Then he remembers, and would much rather be !@#$ing asleep.
In the end, he extends his penis out of the sheets, and over to the night stand, where it becomes a giant, meaty fist and beats the living !@#$ out of the offending noisemaker. The sound the device makes in its last seconds on earth -- five considerable thumps into its demise -- is akin to a pocket video game in desperate need of new batteries.
That done, SPYGOD snuggles up to the person in his bed, trying to get back to sleep. But something's not right. The exertions of his motile manhood have disrupted the cozy configuration they were in, and now they can't quite get it back. He moves one way, the other man moves the other. He tries to compensate, so does the other.
And he'd love to wake his partner up and try to coordinate their shared movements, but Straffer looks so angelic when he's asleep, SPYGOD doesn't dare disturb him.
So he just watches him sleep, for a few minutes, smiling as he does. And then he slips out of bed, realizing he's not getting any more rest this morning, and pads naked through his new bedroom, towards the kitchen.
(Their new bedroom, he has to remind himself. Theirs.)
The halls are jam-packed with hastily-packed boxes and things, some of which are marked with where they're going to go. Remnants of an old life, and reminders of a new reality, all stacked atop one another in teetering piles one bad move from crumbling over and down.
He remembers MacArthur leaving Korea, after Truman had had enough. How that stately General had looked at his packed-up office, and then at him, and said "It's the old rule about changing assignments, son. You can't stay here, anymore, but you can always take it with you, one !@#$ box at a time."
"Good thing you've got people to carry them for you, sir," SPYGOD had said. He'd never known if the man had appreciated the joke or not. He was always hard to read, MacArthur.
On the way to the kitchen, he comes across Bee-Bee, who's sprawled atop a tall tower of boxes, snoozing next to an empty bottle of vodka. They got him a new pillow to make up for the one he lost (along with a much better gun than that old, museum piece) but the cat's turned up his nose at both of them, clearly preferring this dangerous perch, instead.
SPYGOD reaches up to scritch him under the chin, but the cat mumbles sleepy obscenities at him ("Eбут выключен, мудак...") and he decides to let the ungrateful bag of fuzz and farts sleep it off.
At last the kitchen, full of thai takeaway boxes and empty cans of Singha. They haven't properly set up in there, yet, but the important things are out. A microwave, plastic silverware, a big block of sharp, long knives.
And, most important of all, a coffee machine that's set at the same time as the alarm.
As he watches the coffee drip down into the pot, SPYGOD thinks about the dream/memory he just had. He remembers how he saw himself, all those years ago, when he put the Chandra Eye in his skull. He also remembers who was standing with him, though he didn't know him yet.
(This changes things, to say the least. Something to look into, when he has the ability, again. Whenever that is...)
Before he knows it, the pot is full. He takes the entire thing with him into the living room, and, staring at the windows with their heavy drapes, absentmindedly drinks the whole !@#$ thing down in two gulps. Then he tosses it onto the couch, and belches loud enough to make the windows shake.
"Ah, !@#$ it," he says, striding over to the drapes: "No sense delaying it."
He opens the drapes up and looks down from his high window, Life of Brian style. It's a beautiful, winter's day. The sun is shining, the air is clear, the snow is new and sparkling.
And someone down below screams "Murderer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and throws a bottle up at him.
She's not alone in this. Before he can even blink that bottle is joined by snowballs, trash, cans, and the occasional moltov cocktail. The massive crowd down there, far below his window, is screaming and baying for blood, holding up signs that scream "Murderer of children!" and "Assassin of the poor" in a dozen languages.
He can count them with ease: two thousand, five hundred, forty-nine -- six more than yesterday. He can tell they come from all over the world, based on their looks and the languages he can hear them using. He can practically smell their hate from up here.
Between the throng and the building is a line of police. They look like they would rather be anywhere other than here. One of them turns and flips SPYGOD the bird, eliciting cheers from the nearby crowd.
And beyond them all, a solid line of news vans, and reporters with video cameras, all happy to lap this up for the constant news feed.
"House arrest, day two," SPYGOD sighs, watching them burn him in effigy, and wondering how much trouble he'd get in for putting out the fire by peeing on them.
(SPYGOD is listening to Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics, by way of Emily Browning) and having black coffee by the gallon.)