Prologue: Kor’Thank: Barbarian Valley Girl

A Musing That Bears Consideration…

 

 

What would it mean if reality were infinite?  Truly infinite?  If every permutation of matter, energy, physics, and causality existed somewhere out there in the vast unknown?

A few universes over, Hamlet would be authored by an immortal monkey, banging randomly at a newsroom typewriter.  Fictional heroes would live actual lives in adjacent dimensions.  From what I understand, physicists and philosophers (and please research this for yourself—I’m not a scholar) allow for scenarios where cause and effect do not dictate the expression of phenomena.  Time (which is needed for causality to exist, as condition A requires time to produce interaction B, and is once again needed to express result C from interaction B) is a construct borne from the expansion of the universe, and is affected by factors like gravity and speed.  If you consider this a pie-in-the-sky idea with little to no bearing on your daily life, look no further than your GPS app.  A GPS satellite must account for gravity-borne time slippage, or it will end up sending us faulty data.

Admittedly, what I’ve just described is a cheap trick.  I’ve used my meager knowledge of science to champion my story—to promote the idea that the tale herein might be happening in some where, some when.

To what end, though?  To be perfectly honest, I do it to shore up a ridiculous tale with all the credibility I can possibly muster.  The world in this story is similar to ours, but with an added twist of fantasticality.

Let’s start with the plausible:  a modern-day high school where the teen-queen cheerleaders are just as vicious as a John Hughes caricature.

Let’s push it a little further:  my protagonist is a mad genius.  A high school senior who—through his cutting-edge knowledge of psychedelics and tech—possesses the ability to change the world.

If I haven’t yet lost you yet, let’s go a couple notches further:  within a parallel dimension, there lives a warrior-king similar to Conan.  He swings swords, casts spells, rescues scantily clad maidens from evil wizards…

And oh yeah—he rides velociraptors.

Teen queens, mad geniuses, and raptor-riding barbarians.  What would happen if they actually met?

I’m fully aware that this is a ridiculous proposition.  And I’m also aware that it’s self-serving—that it’s meant to soften your disbelief, so I can stand a chance at telling a farcical tale.  I’ve done my part to set up the story.  The rest is up to you.

So without further ado, I urge you to continue reading…

And revel in the absurdity.

 

 

 

Dear Diary:  OMG!  I was just voted squad captain!  I had to arrange an “accident” where we dropped our current (sorry, FORMER) captain, Lizzy Prendergast, on her stupid fucking head!  Happy brain trauma, bitch!

 

 

—From the high school diary of Holly Dent.  Atherton senior, cheer squad captain, and evil psychopath.

 

 

 

 

Today we killed hundreds and freed thousands.  While we Indashi are brave beyond measure, our courage must be channeled through a strong mind and an iron fist.  Kor’Thank is that mind.  Kor’Thank is that fist.  Amidst a rain of steel-tipped arrows, our king rallied the Reptrix Cavalry and led the charge against Rotskar’s army.

 

 

—From The Legend of Kor’Thank by Krul’Dar Algulis, written in the Seventh Age of Iluvia, fourth Epoch of the Minor Cycle.

 

 

 

 

I just wanna fuck something.

 

 

—From the blog of Chongha Peter Lee

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

“YES!  I ACCEPT!”

Holly Dent bounced in place, clenching her fists up by her chin.  Her cheerleader minions ringed her in, surrounding their queen with shiny smiles.

“Oh my god—”

“Oh my GAWD—”

“—knew you’d be captain—”

“Liz would be so happy.”  This from her friend and evil lieutenant:  Marissa Thompkins.  The overhead lights flickered and buzzed, but no one noticed.

“A-hem!”  Holly adopted a somber expression.  “A-heh-heh-HEM!”

The girls quieted.

Holly laid a hand on her heart and initiated Serious Mode, a tactic she’d learned from her suburb-honed mother.  This is really important, so look super interested and nod a lot once I’m finished.

“Lizzy’s in a coma.”  She cleared her throat and stifled a laugh.  “We have to support our retar—brain-damaged, I mean.  We have to support our brain-damaged sister.”

Marissa reached out and squeezed her shoulder.  “For sure, Holls.  For sure.”

“Come on guys.”  Holly flexed her throat, making her voice crack.  “Group hug!”  The gaggle of cheerleaders pressed inward.

“For Liz,” she whispered.

“For Liz,” they muttered.

Holly sniffed, gauging the right amount of time to continue looking sad.

A thousand one, thousand two, thousand three…

Good enough.

“Let’s get back to work.”  She stepped back, flashing a brave-in-the-face-of-tragedy smile.  “It’s what Lizzy would want.”

There was a chorus of nods.  Every so often, within a bunch of likeminded psychopaths, a hive mind is formed.  And right now, the hive mind knew it was time to celebrate.

Marissa clapped her hands, squeezing them tightly in front of her chest.  “We are so happy for you, Holls!”

The girls rushed in and lifted Holly up.  Her body went on autopilot—thanking, cheering, yay-ing…inwardly, however, she was the exact opposite.

That’s right you cunts—pay tribute to your queen.

 

 

Kor’Thank, barbarian king, stared into his beer.  His distorted reflection stared vexedly back.

“I am weary, Krul.  I tire of kingship.”

Krul’Dar, his loyal friend and Chief Chronicler, gave Kor’Thank a puzzled look.  “My liege—”

Kor’s eyebrows beetled together.  “Or’goth’s balls, Krul!  We have fought back to back!  Spilled the same blood in the same mud!  Use my name, Crom damn you!”

“I am sorry, brother.  It is just that your latest feat was nothing short of—”

Kor’Thank cracked a faint smile.  “ ’Twas glorious, was it not?”

Krul faced forward, studying the skulls upon the tavernkeeper’s shelves.  He waved a hand from left to right, as if drawing back an invisible curtain.  “The king charged up a full-grown retrorax, sitting astride his velociraptor mount:  the loyal Tongue Render.”

“His name is Bitefighter.”

Krul’Dar threw him a reproachful look.  “As Chief Chronicler, I must convey gravitas.”

Kor’Thank sighed and circled a hand.  “Continue.”

Krul stared again at the tavernkeeper’s goods.  His eyes turned distant, filling with the glow of epic memories.  “He charged up the spine of a fifty-foot retrorax, nocking Blacksear arrows onto his bow.  As he crested the neck he clucked his tongue, commanding his mount to dive left.  At the same time, the king dove right and loosed his missiles, piercing the eyes of the three-headed beast.  One arrow for each head!”  Krul slammed the table with a gnarled fist.  “One man!  One man!”  He brandished a finger and shook it forcefully.  “Never before had one man slain a full-grown retrorax!”  His voice turned reverent.  “The Indashi King had slaughtered Darklight sorcerers, hordes of undead, beasts that could exhale fire, ice, or poison…he’d led hundreds of charges against Orcs and Fell-walkers.  And now, with the death of a retrorax, he took his place amongst the greatest hunters in all of Elithia.”

Krul’Dar looked expectantly at his friend.  “What do you think?”

The king stared morosely ahead.  “What of the long, cold nights?  What of the years we spent prepping the larders, so our kin and company could endure the Freeze?  It is not all glory, Krul—you know that.”

“Your subjects desire inspiration, Kor, not minutiae.”

Kor’Thank gave a cynical scoff.  “Inspiration?  To what end?”

“Your deeds give them a sense of purpose.  And a sense of purpose, more than anything, makes our lives into something worth living.”

Kor’Thank mulled his still-foaming stein.  “I have matched my sword against fearsome creatures, and I have slain them all with consummate ease.  Dragons, demons, liches…yet a gnawing emptiness plagues my soul.  Despite all my accomplishments and countless victories, peace eludes me.”  He stared hauntedly at Krul’Dar.  “What of my purpose, Krul?  Where does it lie?”

“As Alantil said: ‘Nowhere and everywhere.’ ”

“What does that mean?” the king snapped.

“You make your own purpose, Kor.”  Krul looked him squarely in the eye.

“You make your own.”

 

 

Chongha Peter Lee was a wrathful genius.  Eun Yin knew, the former President knew…but aside from those two, no one fucking knew.

And it was driving him insane.

He threw projectiles at Holly’s picture (after the first hour he switched from darts to ninja stars), then reached under his bed and withdrew a quantum-encrypted sat-phone.  He pressed his thumb against its genetic spectro-scan and pushed a tritium button marked SEND.

“Peter!  How you doing, man?”

“Things are fucked B—they are fucked.”

The former president let out a sigh.  “They were always fucked, Peter.  Hands get shaken, bribes get made, and the gears keep spinning.  I score a book deal along with a warning:  ‘Tell the public about Grays or Insectoids, and we’ll scramble your brains with a .308 bullet’ ”

Peter rested his brow in the crook of his thumb and forefinger.  “She killed my dog, B—my fucking dog.  I’ve blackmailed billionaires, reverse-engineered alien tech, run logistics for tier zero hits…and I can’t take revenge on Holly Fucking Dent?  For fuck’s sake, she’s a fucking cheerleader!”

“Her dad’s connected.  He’s got a lot of pull over at…well, you know I can’t say it—they might be listening.  Sanctioning Holly is a definite no-go.”

Peter flopped on his bed and violently itched his scrotum and penis.  “She killed my DOG!”

“Yeah, but you dosed her with an experimental psychedelic, two thousand milligrams of THC, and a dangerous amount of lab-grade adderall.  Did you ever stop to think you were creating your own worst ene—”

“THE FUCK I DID!” Peter screamed.  “It was an innocent prank!  I was five years old and—”

“So was she.”

“She KILLED BITEFIGHTER!”  Peter stomped to the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and blotted the hate-sweat off his face.  A deep breath later, he said, “Sorry B, I didn’t mean to—”

“No, Peter—I should apologize.  You’ve sacrificed a lot.  You deserve some peace.”

“You do too.  You should get some kind of—”

“Just because I tried…it doesn’t mean I actually made a difference.”

Peter leaned on the sink and stared in the mirror.  “Everything we’ve done looks good on paper, but nothing’s changed—people are still just a bunch of rabid chimps.  We’re stuck in a horror movie and no one seems to care.  Hell, no one seems to know.  All you gotta do is read the news, but—”

“At least you’re young.  Think of the cock-holes sitting in Congress.  McConnell resembles an old-ass turtle.”

“We’re surrounded by primates who can’t overcome their stupid—”  Peter ran into his room and punched the wall.  “Fucking—”  Another punch.  “CHIMP INSTINCTS!”  He threw two more punches, and a pair of knuckle-dimpled dents joined legions of fist-marks.  “The ones you dealt with wallow in bribes.  The ones I deal with jerk it to hashtags, or jockey for meaningless titles like Homecoming Queen.  Yo—you know Atherton’s mascot is a chimpanzee?”

They both broke into gales of laughter.

The former president gasped, “Oh God, oh God—I…I…”

He was overtaken by another fit.  It wasn’t that funny, per se, but both Peter and B understood that hysterical laughter was the purest tribute you could pay to the absurdity of life.  And these two—the former President of the United States and a high school senior caught in a web of adolescent malice—were uniquely qualified to pay that tribute.

Peter wiped away tears.  “They named him Fido, but I call him Reptar.”

B’s voice rose in alarm.  “Wait—your school is housing an actual chimp?  Does the faculty know how vicious they—”

“No one cares.  Reptar was Holly’s idea, and since her dad is heading up special projects over at—”

“OPSEC, Peter.  Like I said:  assume we’re tapped.”

Holly’s father was a high-ranking manager at the evil-ass agency known as ANOS:  Advanced Neurorobotics and Operational Sciences.  ANOS had started as a federal entity, but over the years, it had become increasingly dependent on corporate contractors.  Now, it was impossible to tell where business ended and government began.

“Anyways,” Peter said, “Thanks to her dad, she’s turned the faculty into a bunch of PTA-servicing dick-whores.”

“The chimp—how does a high school pay for its upkeep?”

“Bay Area real estate, man.  Biggest taxes in the goddamn country.  Atherton High gets enough cheddar to fund a mercenary army; it’s pretty easy to hire some zookeeper staff.”  Peter shrugged.  “I can’t complain.  Aside from you and Eun, Reptar’s my only other friend.”

“Peter, they cripple their prey!  They bite off extremities, gouge eyes—”

“—and rip off ballsacks,” Peter finished.  “Yeah, I know.  But at least they’re honest about it.  The rest of the school—the rest of society, come to think of it—tries to do the same damn thing, only with laws, norms, and peer pressure.”

“There’s a big difference between shady legalities and tearing off your—”

“Not to me,” Peter hissed.  Then, in a more reasonable tone:  “Don’t worry—he only gets mad when someone interrupts our afternoon playtime.”

“Jesus, you play with him?”

“We grapple.  I’m antisocial; I’m not gonna go to an actual jiu-jitsu school and—”

“Jiu-jitsu?”

Peter sighed.  “It’s not ideal, I know.  In an actual fight, my moves wouldn’t work ’cause he’s so damn strong, but I need a partner who can put in the time.  It’s all good—his joints and limbs approximate a human’s.”

“Peter, he’s a fucking chimp!”

“We’re all chimps B.  We’re all chimps.”

There was a long, hanging silence.

The former president said, “Well, we certainly act like it.”

A beep sounded from Peter’s computer.  It was followed by a flashing square of text:  TODAY’S OBLIGATIONS INCLUDE AN HOUR OF WORK DEVELOPING THE BITE MOBILE, AS WELL AS NINETY MINUTES REFINING THE FUCKRISING. 

Peter shut off the reminder, then plunked back down onto his bed.

“Gotta go, B.  The Bite Mobile—”

“Peter, it’s a decrepit unicycle fitted with circuitry.  I’m not sure that ‘mobile’ is an appropriate suffix.”

“You’ll see.  Also, I gotta work on my new project:  the Fuckrising.”

“What are you talking abo—Never mind.  I’m afraid to ask.”

“The Earth has gifted us with mind-expanding substances:  entheogens.  They can help us ditch our evil monkey ways.”

“Be careful, Peter.  I did LSD back at Columbia, and—”

Peter cut him off with a harsh bark of laughter.  “The Fuckrising is no mere hallucinogen.  It’s gonna set things right.”

“Don’t be stupid.  That’s all I’m saying.”

“That ship sailed a loooong time ago.  Take it easy B.”  Peter hung up.

He lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling, studying a mural of a Super Mario Brothers mushroom.  Unbeknownst to many, the video game power-up was based on an actual psychedelic:  the amanita muscaria, chosen because it could induce the sensation of physical growth.  It had also inspired the Santa Claus myth:  a red-and-white entity who delivered presents or punishments, depending on the quality of someone’s character. 

Long ago, Peter had believed that magic mushrooms could save the world.  But as things stood, the world was too far gone.  It needed something stronger.

The Fuckrising.

When Holly murdered Bitefighter, it created a schism in Peter’s mind.  He admired her ruthlessness, but couldn’t forgive her for killing the shit out of his best fucking friend.  He had never felt so weak, so powerless, so…so…

Small.

He reached under his bed, withdrew a crinkled lump of plastic, and mated it with a hose that led to a pump.  He turned on the pump, and a loud drone filled the room. 

The plastic blew up into a human figure.  In less than a minute, a facsimile of Holly was kneeling on his bed, completely naked and ready for doggy style.  Her eyes were ridiculously big, her mouth rounded into a cartoonish “O.”

Peter yanked off his shorts and knelt behind the doll.  He began thrusting.

You shouldn’t have made me feel small, Holly—you SHOULDN’T HAVE MADE ME FEEL SMALL!

Veins bulged from his head and neck.  This was his nightly ritual, and it was a distinctly dismal one; he was unable to cum through doll-sex alone. 

After he vented his pent-up rage, Peter fell on his side and masturbated furiously.  Tears of frustration leaked down his cheeks.

You will pay.

He blasted his sheets with gross, stinky sperm.

You will all pay.

Then he fell asleep in his own filth.

 

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:  Kor’Thank:  Barbarian Valley Girl