Conundrum: FIMAS Part Two: Story Time With Tim

Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! I’m happy you could come back for another week of weekly reading! Obviously, I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is another Story Time With Tim! This is part two of Conundrum Featuring International Martial Arts Superstar Quam Vincent. If you haven’t read part one, what are you waiting for? Head on over there and check it out now!

Here, I’ll make it easy for you–> Part One.

See, that wasn’t so hard, now was it? Anyhow, you’ve read the story so far, so let’s not dawdle any longer. Here is part two and I hope you enjoy!

3

Five needle nosed spires reached for the heavens with deadly intent. They were akin to five lances piercing the night sky with four of the lesser lances reclined ever so slightly into the massive center spire. This formed a sort of ‘Qui-dent’ (to coin a term) signifying that the Dark Lord was home and ready to tackle any god that dared show his or her face.

  Within the bowels of this over-compensated structure was the throne room. And upon that throne sat a Dark Lord immersed in shadows so evil that, were they to touch the gentlest of men, he would instantly submit to bestial desires, and rape his dog. That’s how evil this permeating shadow was. Only one cold thing could penetrate this darkness and that was the Dark Lord’s eyes as he spoke menacingly to his minioned soldiers.

  “Say that again?”

  “Dark Lord, please! We know not from whence he came! Yet, he fights with the sanctified passion of ancient gods!”

  Rising in fury, and still cloaked by that menacing shadow clinging to his personage like gnats in a summer heat, the Dark Lord bellowed his irritation.

  “Enough! How can this be!?” In his anger, the Dark Lord grabbed an axe handily resting against the throne and hurtled it mightily at the groveling minion before him, cleaving the hapless creature in two. This drew the exchanged perking of eyebrows between two other minions who could’ve sworn that axe wasn’t there before.

  “The rest of you ingrates, get out of my sight! Find this man! Kill him!” In a similar fashion of cockroaches fleeing before the first sign of light, the minions hurriedly departed the Dark Lord’s presence.

  Aggravated, the Dark Lord resumed his seat upon the throne again. However, he was forced to shift his weight under a certain discomfort which in turn forced him to grope through the eternal darkness surrounding him in an effort to adjust the certain discomfort that had managed to get entangled in his undergarments during his outburst. Glowing eyes almost seemed to smile as the Dark Lord returned to staring menacingly from within the evil shadows again.

4

David Shade emerged defiantly from the shelter in which he had sought refuge. He was a short man, roughly five foot five and had blonde hair and light grey eyes. David couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred and twenty-five pounds. However, he knew he was all attitude. An attitude with a gripping fear of highly charged particles of water vapor culminating in sudden discharges of bright light and ponderous booms informing all upon the Earth that the “Angel’s had just gotten a strike.” How convenient that such a cacophony of thunder and lightning should choose David’s moment of swaggering tall to remind him of the tiny precipice of life in which he stood. Equally convenient was the hole in the ground exposed in the nearby debris.

  David was as quick a coward as he was a braggart. Which, had anyone witnessed David’s panicked expression, would have been noted. Lightning flash. David’s face. Second flash a split second later. David’s feet sticking out of convenient hole in ground. Only to be followed seconds later by a pale face popping back out of said hole and peeping around like a rabbit having got wind of the hunter’s scent.

  Unsteadily, David re-emerged from his rabbit-hole and brushed himself off. He looked around to see if anyone had borne witness and then realized it wasn’t like there was anyone left who gave a damn. And in solemn recognition of this genuine fact, David began his trek to what was left of the local grocery mart.

  Acts of jackassism aside, David Shade had once been a prominent actor. Everywhere he had traveled, there was a legion of fans looking up to him. At least, figuratively that was. Of course, ‘had’ was the key word. Then, that fateful day so many months ago came when the skies darkened and, for a time, it had rained… pigs. David had heard of it raining cats and dogs, and sometimes frogs. But the pig thing was new to him. So much for the flying theory. Apparently, what one had to really look out for was the falling variety. And to top that off, that nightmare citadel in the middle of the city had appeared. That’s when the demons showed up, and those lucky enough to not have been porked to death, were slaughtered wholesale.

  There had been survivors. And, for reasons eluding David, people looked to him for answers. When he had had none to give, expressions of hopeless forfeiture of life were burned permanently into his memory. Even though he had played one in the movies and on television, David wasn’t a fighter. In fact, he wasn’t even that good of an actor. Which was a moot point now considering humanity’s blight and his having been completely out of his element. Most people would call that element, ‘fictional’.

  David hadn’t seen a soul in weeks and it unnerved him to be the only person in the center of such devastation. He hadn’t even seen the demons that had wrought so much havoc. It was as if they had been pulled back in preparation for something even bigger. David didn’t know where they were. He didn’t know if anyone else was still alive. He didn’t even know if there was still a government functioning. ‘Course, he didn’t know if it had functioned much better before, either.

  The only thing David knew was that he was hungry. Therefore, the only thing he could do was stumble down the lightning lit pathways. Once, these had been roads. This scene seemed vaguely familiar to him. Like something out of the movies following a nuclear holocaust. Yet, this felt worse to David. Much worse.

  Several blocks of wanton malevolence later, David rounded a corner towards where he knew the leftovers had been. He slowed his harried pace upon approach as he caught glimpse of something auspicious. Certainty wasn’t in David’s favor, but for some reason it was paying him a visit. On the side of what once was a busy intersection, he barely made out a shape that looked human. In fact, upon closer inspection, he realized it was human. And hauntingly so. It meant someone had been alive and now laid strewn about like so much of the rest of the city remnants.

  David stood a respectful distance from the figure. It was disheartening. He hadn’t seen a body in nearly a month, and wasn’t pleased to have seen the one laying there, on the ground. What he’d been praying for was a live human being. Sadly, life seemed to be into sick jokes and twisted humor. Well, that’s what David was thinking, anyway, until the body groaned, emitted some extraneous and gaseous sound and rolled over on his other side. David stood with his mouth agape. A fully functional human being was sleeping soundly on the side of the road.

  “Holy shit. The son of a bitch is still alive.”

  Rushing to the individual’s side, David began trying to coerce the man to wake up. However, the man was out like the lights in town. So, David turned him over and leapt back in shock. There was an Asian face staring back at him. He knew that face. But it was impossible that that face could be there. After all, David should know, he was the one who made that face up with his very own imagination and slightly elevated and paradoxical sense of humor.

  Which meant he had only one logical response, “What the flying f… !?”

5

Into endless forever, the nothingness stretched. An impassively black field devoid of all life, thought, light, sound, emotion, physical pleasures and rampant carnage. Down the long, foreboding halls of that void, ran a small child. Little feet blazed in a fevered pace never proceeding nor falling behind. He only ran as if he didn’t even notice the dark carpet suffocating freedom’s roaming bliss. Only towards the unforeseen distance did the child look, perceiving nothing more than his imagined destination.

  Shifting and bending, reality warped around the child, fading into the featured depths of a thick forested environment. This was his home. Not the thick jungles of some Amazonian forest, but the collective elegance of a Chinese landscape deep in the mountains.

  It was a village rarely seen amongst the rest of the varied populace of the world. And it was into this peaceful place, hidden from the world at large, that the large man had come. Here it was he had met his future wife. Here it was that they had born Quam Vincent, the innocent, wild eyed child rushing towards his father’s welcoming embrace.

  Quam’s mother had been full Chinese and his father a Chinese American whose own father was a white man from Chicago. However, Quam’s father had had enough of the big city lifestyle and, therefore, moved to the small village where his mother had been born.

  The elder Vincent put Quam down from his embrace and knelt at eye level before his son. There was great love in his eyes and he beheld the boy and smiled. Mr. Vincent put his hand on Quam’s shoulder just as a sudden blaze ripped through the village. Quam was horrified and all the while, his father merely smiled.

  “Father! This isn’t right! What’s happening!? This isn’t what happened when I left! I know you disapproved! That I was only eighteen and knew nothing of the world! But the village was in one piece then! It didn’t burn to ashes! This is some sick nightmare! I just wanted to pursue the American dream, father! I just wanted to be an actor! This… This is too much!!”

  To this impassioned outburst, Quam’s father continued to smile and spoke benevolently. “Remember, son, the Whiteman is evil.” And then promptly smacked Quam across his cheek.

  “Wh, what…?” Quam started, only to be slapped again.

  Wide eyes stared in astonishment at this act. And Quam bore witness to his father’s face dissolving into the impending nothingness giving way to white light. That white light revealed another face taking the place of Quam’s father in a reality unwanted. And that face was white. The person who owned that face, proceeded to slap Quam yet again in the hope that, this time, he’d come fully awake.

  “Hey, man. What the hell gives?” The Whiteman spoke. Quam, startled by current events and his father’s damnable warning, immediately skittered backwards awkwardly from the man leaning over him.

  “Huh? Wha… I remember now,” Quam spoke, putting his left hand to his brow. “…I was tired. So, I laid down to rest. I guess I must’ve fallen asleep.”

  “In the middle of the road? … Or, what passes for a road these days? Look, man, whatever… you can’t have that face.”

  “I don’t… What?” An expression of utter perplexity crossed Quam’s visage. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” Rising unevenly with staggered motions to his full height, Quam looked down on the still daring man. “Evidently, you must be, understandably of course, deranged from the ensuing chaos brought about by savage demons from Hell. But my face, is mine. I inherited it from my parents as a keepsake. So, to speak. Strangely, though, I was just dreaming about them from my past… But the village…”

  “Burned down. Yeah, I know. I got enough crap from the critics for rewriting that history. I wrote that shit because just moving to Hong Kong and then pursuing the ‘AMERICAN DREAM’,” The strange man made quotation marks with his fingers in the air while Quam just stared with his mouth slightly open, ” was retarded! I needed another motivation for my characterization! Not just dumb luck!”

  “It is MY past!” Quam shouted slapping his chest in irritation.

  “You don’t have a past!” The white man got closer to Quam’s face and stuck his finger within slapping distance of him, “You’re a fucking figment of my imagination!”

  “Are you smoking crack!?” Agitation over this heated conversation pierced Quam’s mind and he was in no mood for twisted jokes. To his credit, the strange little man, with arms still spread wide, spoke calmly.

  “Here. I’ll prove it to you.”

  The strange man actually swaggered half a block over to the remains of some store, a video store by Quam’s reckoning. Therefore, Quam decided to humor the man and follow him through the wreckage.

  They walked over to a display that somehow still had a working television with a working VCR which made Quam come to the only conclusion that he could, which was demons apparently liked to watch TV, too. Having sifted through a pile of mangled tapes, the man pulled out a selection, amazingly enough still useable, and plugged it into the VCR. The title of the movie appeared, ‘Flaming Ninja Man’, and Quam witnessed himself strut across the screen. He looked over at the smaller man, who was smiling victoriously. But perplexion was all Quam could muster.

  “That can’t be me. I was never there. I never made this movie. Who is this?” Quam pointed his finger at the man on the screen.

  “It’s me. Can’t you tell? I’m an actor, so I act. You still don’t get it yet, do you? I AM Quam Vincent.”

  “Impossible! You cannot be me! I am me! I AM Quam Vincent! International Martial Arts Superstar! …Why is that not-me kissing that man?”

  “Look, it’s part of the script …And that whole ‘International Martial Arts Superstar’ mumble jumble coming out of your mouth sounds stupid. I’m going to have to change the wording to that. But, as far as you go, trust me, you don’t exist.”

  “It cannot be. I am standing right here. Are you blind? Besides, I’m Asian! You’re not! And so’s that…” Both men stopped and stared at the two figures Quam’s pointing finger was indicating and bore witness to the characters engaging in highly involved fraternization. “…man.”

  “Yeah, it wasn’t the best of my movies. But, if you look closely, you can see the masque lines right… there. At the chin…” Quam looked closely at where the man’s finger was pointing.

  “Masque?”

  Pulling something out of his jacket pocket, the man donned a mask over his head. Suddenly, Quam was staring at an eerily accurate likeness of himself… only smaller. David staged a short, martial performance making himself look more inept than anyone could have guessed.

  “What is this!?”

  “I told you. You’re not real. I’m Quam Vincent. Well, my real name’s David, anyway. Look, I can’t explain it. Somehow, you’ve left the world of the movies, my movies, y’know as in the ones that I ‘make’, and came here.”

  “You mean, like ‘Last Action Zero’ or something?”

  “Something like that, I guess.” David shook his head sympathetically while Quam simply laughed his amusement.

  “This is ludicrous! Do you know how insane that sounds? There is no way that could happen let alone this nightmare!” Quam motioned to the buildings crumpled around them. “And I’m flattered that you’re such a big fan of mine, but the face is going too far…”

  “C’mon, don’t you find it a little strange that you have such a perfect, American accent?”

  “Nice try, fanboy. But my father was a Chinese American.”

  “And you’ve spent most of your young life in China! A small village at that, for Crissakes!” David countered, making jerking motions in the air with his right hand, emulating the stroking of a cylindrical object. “You know what, just go back to where you came from and let me handle things, ‘cause, frankly—”

  All sadistic stroking motions ceased as the talking masque attached to David’s face went still in horror as its gaze locked beyond Quam. David saw the gory minions of Hell advancing towards them. He did an about face in the time it took to blink, and, before Quam could even inhale to speak, darted off in the opposite direction, letting loose high-pitched screams of terror. Quam watched the dust trail disappear around the corner in the distance.

  Turning around deliberately slow, Quam readied himself for a battle. Demons splintered off into groups of four and surrounded Quam. He looked around steadily, gauging the numbers against him. Thoughts of being some lunatic’s hallucination quickly stashed themselves away for further pondering at a later time. Demonic forces advanced as Quam sprang into definitive action.

Lunges, thrusts, kicks, punches, dives, rolls, parries, fierce manglings, crotch shots, eye gouges, jump kicks, leg sweeps, claw marks, head smashes, bone breakings, and varied flailing limbs represented just a few of the day’s more enjoyable activities. Screaming minions flung themselves away from Quam’s onslaught only too late. Many pled for mercy. And, of course, found none considering they had started the fight. Others fled in terror once the first opportunity of escape was achievable. This wasn’t many.

  Then it was down to one. Bleeding from various orifices and screaming like a lunatic Banshee on steroids after an all-nighter at Shenanigans, this particular demon decided that prayer was suddenly in order.

  “Oh, My Lord!! Help us! Help us all!! He’s unstoppable!! Why, Dark Lord, Why!? Have I failed you so miserably!? Come! Come save us from this invincible tyrant of pain!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” The demon screamed one final scream as Quam’s fist silenced his impious tirade.

  Quam stood silently for a moment, deep in contemplation and gathered his breath. As he did so, massive tremors shook him from his revelry. Earth sunk. Remnants of structures submerged into quickly widening gulfs of empty space.

  From one of these voids, came a throne-like structure, upon which sat a dark figure mired in a strange fog of darkness. Evil oozed forth readily from this being as his gaze fixated on Quam. Quam stared back at the featureless monstrosity born of shadows.

  “You… you’re the one who did this! Why!?” Quam inquired of the four-story behemoth, clenching his fist and standing his ground while the creature just across the street glared at him with intense, crimson eyes.

  “Why?” The creature calmly repeated as if the question were rhetorical nonsense uttered by one of his many minions. “You, an insignificant mortal, a man, dare inquire this of me? Who do you think you are?” The Dark Lord stared at Quam in what would seem like an eternity for the average man.

  “I’m the best there’s ever been. Now, answer the question.” Standing his ground firmly, Quam stared right back at the devil.

  “My. Aren’t you a ballsy little man. I think it’s time for a neuterin’.” The temple throne seemed to fling away back into the pits of Hell as the Dark Lord stood and placed his right hand out into the air before him. A staff of mystic proportions materialized out of thin air. And the Dark Lord charged.

Fear started to grow, but faded away as Quam found a hidden strength within him to face this champion from the deep. He bolted out of the searing staff’s way as air gushed by in the wake of the Lord’s first thrust at everyone’s favorite hero. A spinning jump kick connected with the Dark Lord as his back remained to Quam. The Dark Lord recovered from his strike, did a quarter turn, and then made another attack on Quam. The Dark Lord’s staff connected with Quam’s body, sending him hurtling backwards into rubble half a block away.

  Dust skittered out from under Quam as he rose up and took note of the rampaging Dark Lord with his sights set on painting the town red with blood. Most notably, Quam’s blood.

  So much for invincibility. Took for granted those weak ass demons. With time not on his side, Quam scrambled out of the way of another wicked blow from the Dark Lord’s staff. He could still stand and fight, but Quam had been seriously winded by that last blow. He had a feeling that the next one wouldn’t be the love tap the one before had been. Therefore, Quam did the one thing that came naturally, he ran like hell. Of course, the Dark Lord wasn’t about to let Quam abdicate his unspoken claim to the ‘demon ass kicker’ throne so easily, and pursued him through the remnants of fallen alleys.

  Several tiring blocks later, Quam exited an alleyway. He had somehow managed to dodge the foreboding attacks of the satanic being. However, Quam knew he couldn’t keep it up forever. Now, he found himself upon a massive pile of rubble strewn about from the collapse of a massive skyscraper. There were a lot of directions to run. However, there was that time issue that kept getting in the way.

  Building walls that still stood, bounced away from the aggravated assault of one burly Dark Lord as he pushed his way out of the alleyway. Quam stood there breathing heavily not sure what to do but knowing that this may very well be the end. The Dark Lord, Prince of Darkness, Lucifer, Demon-spawn, Shithead and/or Satan approached with staff extended and maddingly widened eyes gleefully depicting their joy in Quam’s impending doom.

  Then, something strange happened. A jingling sound emitted. And the Dark Lord stopped short, dropping his staff and peering around him with an expression reminiscent of a moron who just realized that the fence he’d been pissing on was electrified and currently in the ‘on’ position. More jingling sounds emitted. Quam looked around but couldn’t find the source of the ringing bells. When he looked back at the Dark Lord, the satanic being had excused himself from the fight and disappeared without a trace.

  “Huh?” Quam looked down as half a dozen cats rubbed against his leg.

  Quietly and magically, dozens of felines emerged from the rubble and purred contentedly, licking whatever happened to be in the vicinity of their mouths.

  Cats. Quam looked with surprise at the many cats that he guessed were responsible for driving away the Dark Lord of the underworld.

  A beam of light, from the heavens above, almost seemed to spotlight Quam. The clouds parted, just enough for a stream of sunshine, and then, he saw them. The people who had survived. They stared at Quam in renewed hope. The Dark Lord had fled in terror before him. They were saved. Quam looked at them, a dozen or more, and felt sorrow. He hadn’t done anything more than get lucky.

  Half an hour later, Quam found himself back at the video store. He seated himself on some concrete and slowly turned a video tape in his hands. It turned out to be another movie that featured him or some cretin pretending to be him.

  “‘Master Quam and the Shadow Cue Gang’… These titles suck.” Dropping the tape, he placed his hands to his face and felt for the first time a great burden cross his soul.

Alright! We’ve made it through another week and I hope you had fun in the process! It’s true, I don’t usually say a whole lot in the beginning or at the end of these postings. Mostly because I prefer to let the working speak for itself. Also, you don’t want me rattling away on some sad tangent trying to explain why I did this or why I didn’t do that. It’s all a bunch of yadda yadda yadda, anyhow. I have separate posts for that sort of thing!

Anyhow, I hope you’ll come back next week for another entry of Conundrum FIMAS. If you’ve stuck around this far, I’m sure you’ll be ready for the next part! Or, you could skip ahead of all of that and just purchase it through the links below. I won’t argue with you if you do decide to do that. After all, it’s only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle! So bust out your kindle and finish this sucker up!

See you next week, folks!

~Timothy S Purvis

Conundrum: Featuring International Martial Arts Superstar Quam Vincent is available within the pages of:

Or, you can just drop a buck and purchase the novella right here:

And don’t forget to check out my author’s page over on Amazon Kindle! Just click on my name and the link will take you straight there–> Timothy S Purvis

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