Deep in the Himalayas, there’s a windblown monastery named Lhapsa Destructo, a fabled place of sheer awesomeness where aspiring writers can be injected with a dose of novelty that will drip from every sentence written, every word scribed, every manuscript composed. After months of trudging through sparse landscapes and fighting off lions and yetis with nothing but my wit, tenacity, and my gigantic, pendulous scrotum that can double as a weighted whip or a garrote depending on the circumstance, I’ve finally arrived at Lhapsa Destructo.
Liam Neeson greets me at the door.
“Mr. Wayne. We’ve been expecting you.”
I raise my hands into a Leopard Paw stance, 70% of my weight on my back leg, my front leg ready to check or kick. “Is this gonna go down like it did with You-Know-Who?”
He tosses his head back and roars with laughter. “Please Mr. Wayne—you’re not seeking to become a one-man army that destroys a nest of corruption within a crumbling metropolis, are you?”
I let my hands fall. “No—I’m just a writer. But like my predecessor before me, I seek to make myself more than just a man…to become something else entirely.”
A knowing grin. “You seek to become a legend, Mr. Wayne.”
He turns and strides briskly away. “Follow me.”
For the next half hour, I’m led through a musty series of ancient corridors. Intricate bas-reliefs protrude from the walls and the ceiling, depicting fantastical creatures that I’ve only read about, as well as some that I’ve only heard hinted at—tentacled horrors that defy the imagination. Eventually, we arrive at a large stone hall. At the end of it is a gem-encrusted throne. On the center of the throne is an eReader.
Liam Neeson turns sideways, bowing slightly and extending his arm toward the throne.
“Your destiny awaits, Mr. Wayne.”
I give him a suspicious look and carefully make my way forward. By the time I stop in front of the throne, my palms are slick with sweat. I throw a hesitant glance over my shoulder.
Liam Neeson is standing with his hands behind his back, gazing steadily at me. He gives me a nod.
I take a shuddering breath, turn back to the eReader, and open it with trembling fingers. Displayed on its screen is an eBook called Echo.
Blazing talons of light arc up from the screen, reaching dozens of feet skyward before hooking back down and plunging into my eyes. My arms shoot out to the sides and I levitate off the ground. Every one of my orifices ejects a torrent of radiance.
“I KNOW EVERYTHING! I AM EVERYTHING!!!”
My words meld into a wordless scream as both of my eyes erupt with blinding glimmer. Eventually, the flux of energies dwindles and fades. I collapse to a knee, breathing deep and heavy. Data pours through my perception, and while I can’t yet see the dancing, subatomic matrix that makes up the illusory world we’ve decided to instantiate as a collective mycelium of conscious love, I see glowing text surround whatever I focus on. I intuitively recognize the writing as possibilities, connotations, and the symbolic value of any given object within my view. Instead of engaging in hours of contemplation teasing out layers of meaning behind whatever I see, it’s all revealed to me in a single glance.
Liam Neeson walks over with a small tray, holding two cups of tea. He smiles amiably at me.
“Did you find what you were looking for?”
I blow a small gust of air into his face, causing him to blink. I’ve deliberately disguised this as an out-of-breath exhale.
“I did,” I reply, taking one of the cups. “I now know what to write.”
We both take a sip.
“Good.” His smile widens, then grows shark-like. “Unfortunately, we can’t allow you to leave. No one but you has survived the transmission you’ve just received. I’m sorry, but from now on you’ll spend life in a stupor while we psychically feed off the novelty you generate. Any second now, you should be getting extremely sleepy. Your tea has been—”
“—poisoned?” I ask. I return his grin. “I know—I switched the cups when I made you blink.”
His eyes widen in shock. His cup drops from numbed fingers, shattering against tile and darkening it with liquid. He looks at me like a fish out of water, mouth working in soundless gasps. Eventually, he croaks, “You…you…” but words fail him as the toxin cuts off his speech. A second later, his eyes roll back in his skull and he collapses to the floor, a string of drool trailing out from his mouth.
I take a moment to honor my predecessor and say in the best damn Batman voice you could ever imagine:
“Always mind your surroundings.”
And that’s the origin story of Kent motha duckin’ Wayne!
After gaining access to eons-old secrets, make sure that you too don’t fall prey to jealous disciples of ancient evils! The cup-switch was inspired by the great Mr. Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book