Chapter 6- Bust
July 17, 2015 according to the World of Animals- I barely remember anything while living in Colorado Springs. All I could remember is how I could be a mischievous, sometimes spoiled, yet fun-loving child. There was also school during my father’s days in the military. Sometimes, I was innocent. At other times, I was a brat. And in these experiences, some adults often don’t understand children, disability or not. I knew at least one adult who pushed “treat others the way you want to be treated” too far, mostly out of waning patience. There is an old saying- “Never mess with the wrong people.”
Anyway, to avoid suspicion from security, I placed my cloak inside my dimensional backpack and blended in. The first thing I was going to do was find a place to eat. Hadn’t eaten since breakfast. McDonald’s would suffice, if they still have it around. No, not the Big Mac. I’m more of a Chicken McNuggets type of person. Been that way about a year before I moved to North Carolina. One of those times I had burgers from fast-food places is usually Sheetz, which I would end up going to years later.
By the time the lights turn to cross, I walked to the other side of E Cheyenne Rd., and I heard a stern voice coming from my left behind me, “Hold up, young man.”
Startled, I slowly turned around with fear in my eyes. It was a Polar Bear in blue uniform and black Roman-style helmet. Those piercing green eyes were frightening. I wanted to run, but I was too terrified to do so. Plus, it wasn’t right to run from the police, judging from the uniform he was wearing.
“Where did you get the backpack?” he asked sternly.
“It was a gift,” I answered. “A gift from a friend.”
“For what, may I ask?”
Long silence came, and I answered a few seconds later, “Community service.”
“And what kind of community service did you do?”
Being a Universal Guardian, I learned from my previous adventures that there’s a time for truth and a time, not for lies, but for silence. Unfortunately, that Polar Bear Officer is not one to take silence for an answer. To keep the truth from him, I responded, “It’s a special community service. Like helping the needy, give people courage, and educational purposes.”
Glaring at me, he said, “Anything else?”
Staring me down, he responded, “You’re not telling me everything.”
“Yes, I did. I told you everything I know. What more do you expect from me?”
“For starters,” he pointed at my dimensional backpack, “what’s in the bag?”
I responded sternly, “That’s none of your concern. If you don’t have a search warrant, you have no right to search my bag.”
“For someone aware of the law, you should also know that refusing to obey a police officer can place you under arrest. Now, show me what’s inside the bag.”
Removing my bag, and unzipping it completely, I gave the Polar Bear Officer a mischievous smile, much to his eye-widening confusion. Opening the bag, I said, “Say hello to my little friends, asshole!”
Popping out of the bag and meowing in rage, Spud, Abbee, Lucky, Gigi, and D.J. attacked the Polar Bear Officer, who reacted dumbfoundedly at the last minute before the kittens overpowered him to the ground. Spud; the cream-colored cat with some ginger on the back and ring tail and blue eyes, bit him on left hand. Abbee; the runt of the litter and black and white cat with green eyes and a black nose, nipped the Polar Bear hard on the nose. Lucky; the black cat with a tiny, yet barely visible, white spot on his chest and green eyes, scratched him across the left cheek and left ear. Gigi; the other black and white cat- whiter than her older sister, with a pink nose and green eyes, bit his right hand. D.J.; the last black and white cat- blacker than Abbee, with a pink nose and green eyes, scratched him on both wrists.
The kittens rushed back inside my dimensional backpack, and before my new enemy could reach for his walkie-talkie, I dashed away from him. I knew this place was enemy territory. Guess not all police officers are as friendly as they look. That police officer was both aggressive, stubborn, and pushing the law too far. Germany was one thing, Italy another, Japan also, but Colorado Springs? This place…this was madness. What’s next- the United States getting another dictator? No time for jokes, speculations, etc. It was time for me to blow this popsicle stand.
While attempting to avoid the police- two branches based on one of the having a picture of a stag’s head on the right armband and the other having the emblem of Colorado in purple, blue, and white on the right armband; I hid among the crowd. Talk about face in the crowd. Criminy. This was going to be harder than I anticipated.
That was until I saw an alleyway. Waiting for the right moment, I moved out from the crowd and into the dark. The police branches were still looking for me. And it looked like I was not going to have a McDonald’s lunch after all. Not with all of the cruel officers lurking about.
Since there was security all over the place, I had to looked around my surroundings to make sure I wasn’t spotted. I would be screwed if one caught me on tape with the incident with the Polar Bear Officer. Now I know how George Taylor felt when he evaded the Gorillas in Ape City on Planet of the Apes. Oh, great! Now, I’m sounding Rick Riordan when he wrote his books, and I know how influenced he is by Joss Whedon, pop culture reference-wise.
Speaking of pop culture, whenever someone is hiding from danger, unexpected things happen. And it happened to me when I felt something touching my right shoulder, startling me as my eyes widened in fright. Before I could scream, my mouth was covered by a left hand- dark brown fur with fingers black.
“Shh,” whispered the voice. “You don’t want to alert both the Alberic Guards and the Colorado Secret Police.”
“Say wha?” I muffled in question.
“I’ll explain everything when we’re away from the public, but trust me on this. You can thank me later.”
Then, I felt the base of my neck at the right shoulder getting pinched hard. I neither felt pain, nor screamed, only winced. Everything went back as I almost collapsed on the ground.
Waking up, I noticed that I was in a white room with a brown pinewood floor. The cross was hanging over the black bed, the white dresser drawer was at the left side of the bed, and from there to near the door were the book case and the computer desk. At the other side of the door was a black miniature entertainment center beneath the widescreen television set. Stunned, I thought, What the? A PlayStation 4? Could Michael be right about this? I mean, I have a PS3, but not a PS4 before. I wonder when that console was released.
Then at the computer desk, there was a White-Tailed Deer sitting on his chair typing on his black laptop, a Stag based on his antlers- eight-racked. His fur dark-brown with black fingers and cloves and white tip of his snout near his black nose. He was wearing a black short-sleeve shirt with blue jeans and gray cloven hooved shoes.
My eyes widened in realization as I looked at his left hand. Tightening my eyebrows downward, I scolded upon standing up from the bed, “Hey! You just pulled a Spock on me!”
Turning around and glaring at me with his brown eyes, as well as revealing a scar grazed across each side of his snout, the Stag responded sternly, “It does have a name. It’s the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.”
“Who do you think I am- Jim Kirk?”
“So, you’ve seen Star Trek?”
“The movie, yes. Last year.”
His eyes widened, and he said, “Last year?”
“Long story, but before I tell you, I have a few questions,” I crossed my arms over my chest and raised my eyebrows back up. “Who are you? Where am I? Why is Colorado Springs going Star Wars? And what’s this about this Alberic Guards and the Colorado Secret Police? Is it just this city, or the whole state as well?”
Standing up from his chair and walking to the bed to sit down, he looked back at me with a somber expression. He answered, “This is a long story on my part, too. But since you’re new around here, I might as well tell you.”
Sitting down next to him, he introduced himself as Ryan Jacob Watson, and the place he brought me to, while unconscious on his back, was Alberic Manor, home of the Supreme Leader of Colorado- David Sean Alberic. It all started when he won the Colorado Springs Mayoral Election eight months back. When he won, the first things he did was both ban the Talford Family and those married into it from ever residing in the entire state and merged both Leon Corporation and Alberic Industries into Leon-Alberic Incorporated. Anyone affiliated with the Talford Family and still living anywhere in Colorado either left or joined David’s side. Those who refused either one ended up imprisoned, and he started with Colorado Springs City Council, except for Elsa Price; whom she moved away with her husband, youngest son, and relatives after she lost the election.
With the council out of the way, the only governing body of the city, as well as the state, was the Supreme Leader’s company. The other representatives and the second Senator of Colorado did not approve of David’s autocracy, and so they were given three choices- join him, stand down and leave, or face treason. Even his financial advisor is making certain that neither the U.S. Congress, nor the Vice President could do a damn thing to stop him. That’s when Colorado became a police state, hence the Alberic Guards and the Colorado Secret Police working together to control people through fear.
The worse part about David’s dictatorship over the entire state is that he mingled federal laws with religious laws, defying the 1st Amendment via violating the separation of church and state, making Christianity the only religion to be legal with the rest, as well as atheism and agnosticism, being demonized. He also condemned equal rights of women, LGBT communities, and any non-conservatives. Not to mention free will was labelled the Original Sin, much to my outrage.
“Ultimately, he took me away from my family and made my sister his slave just to prove how inferior woman are compared to men,” he said in fury.
“That’s sexist!” I reproached.
“I know,” he looked at the front and continued, “He believes in the Bible, but he’s taking it too far, interpreting it in a stereotypical manner,” he looked back at me. “He doesn’t care about the consequences for stereotype, nor has any intention to. As long as he has money, power, and followers at his side, there’s no stopping him.”
“Ryan, don’t talk like that. There’s always a way to defeat a tyrant. No matter how difficult it can be, there’s always something, somewhere to stop him.”
“Well, not everyone shares your optimism.”
“And not every hero gives up.”
“What makes you so sure things will be different?”
“Because…” I lifted my right short sleeve, revealing the Mark of the Guardian to the Stag, much to his eye-widening surprise, “…I’m one of the chosen protectors of the multiverse.”
It took me a while to explain myself to Ryan, and I started with my first time in another universe to the last battle against Lucifer and the Dark Society back at the Tetraverse. I kept it short so that I wouldn’t bore him to death, let alone try to take too long. If where we’re at was indeed David’s house, then I wouldn’t want to stay here any longer. I didn’t want to risk getting caught.
After bringing that up to Ryan, who was astonished by what I told him, he said, “No way, dude. Curfew will come into effect in fifteen minutes, and there are surveillance and patrols everywhere in the state. If you get caught, you’re fucked.”
“Hey!” I reprimanded. “Watch the F-Bomb.”
Eyebrow raised up and smirking, he responded, “How old are you?”
“Then, you’re allowed to use that word. Just don’t do it in public places, let alone people under 18 years. Now, let’s get you into your night clothes, and I’ll help you out of Colorado in the morning.”
Picking up my dimensional backpack, I was allowed to use Ryan’s closet to change from my street clothes to my night clothes- white nightshirt and black sweatpants. He helped me sneak into the bathroom so that I would brush my teeth in peace. Once that was done, he opened the secret floor door under his bed, leading to a hidden room that half as large as his bedroom. It was all made of wood, and there was a bed at the right corner with the two secret compartments for him to hide the bookcase and entertainment equipment. He told me David doesn’t like books outside the Bible, nor does he like video games and movies unrelated to it. They were all black marketed after those products ended up banned by the Supreme Leader’s orders.
Tomorrow, I’m to leave Colorado and go on a real adventure. For the time being, the room beneath Ryan’s bedroom was my only sanctuary away from the cruel environment. And so, as I tucked myself in, I drifted into a deep sleep.
In the Dream World, in a room filled with billions of stars, I encountered Jesus, who was in the form of a lion- same gold fur with light yellow on the snout, fingers, and toes, a brown mane and tip of the tail, bluish-green eyes, and in a red tunic with a blue cloak and sandals. He was sitting on a boulder, glaring at me. That left me a bit nervous at first. Finally, he said, “Merlin, I get you don’t approve of the changes going on with your family. Yes, Olivia was not herself as of late, and yes, Joseph and Percy did let their loyalty to her get to their heads, but they do love her.”
“I do, too, but she didn’t act like it. She even threatened to abuse me if I act up again, whether I’m making the right call or not,” I responded irritatingly.
“Yes, I was there when she said that to you. Even when you make mistakes in the past, I also know that sometimes, you’re a slow learner. But you’re also a late bloomer. That wasn’t your fault. Some things are just beyond our control. But when Olivia was living under Gillian’s roof, before she met Joseph, she knew only fear, anger, hate, and suffering. Your grandmother used fear to control people, like she did your mother, your uncle, and your aunt. Trying to prove yourself is one thing, but creating a clone and running away like that is very irresponsible.”
“How so? Like going against Honor thy mother and thy father? Last I checked, abusive parents, even the mentally-ill ones, didn’t do things worth being honored.”
“That’s only the literal term, that’s true. But figuratively, if parents both abusive and mentally-ill, or one over the other, can’t change their ways, it’s better to respect the way they are, even move away from them and never look back. You can still love them, but their actions, as you pointed out, can’t be tolerated. However, the 5th of the 10 Commandments are only the byproduct of your actions for going to another universe. What’s at issue is your newfound attitude the moment you reached adulthood. By doing so, you failed to realize the consequences of your actions.”
“What does that mean?”
He sighed for a moment and answered, “It means you placed your own life at risk.”
Raising my right eyebrow, I asked, “I did?”
“What you did to Commissioner Demeter this morning, you exposed yourself, catching the attention of both the Alberic Guards and the Colorado Secret Police.”
Aggravated, I reprimanded, “Ryan saved my ass, even if I’m hiding out in his master’s house!”
He stood up and scolded back “But he didn’t tell you everything! He kept one other part of the truth from you!”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I asked, “And what other part of the truth are you referring to?”
“David Alberic is not just his master!” Jesus calmed down, but still disappointed. “David Alberic…is Ryan’s father.”
My eyes widened in disbelief. That wasn’t even possible, but knowing the Savior, he wouldn’t lie about anything. Sure, he had his share of mistakes during his time, but he would never deceive anyone. If that were the case, then I believe him. Uncrossing my arms, I said, “Then, why didn’t Ryan escape himself?”
“Because David won’t let him,” he answered. “He seeks an heir to help him control all of Creation. Not just the city, or the state, or his company for that matter.”
“Merlin!” said a voice, catching mine and Jesus’s attention before the latter had a chance to tell me everything else.
Waking up, I noticed Ryan sitting on the bed I was sleeping in. I glared at him, leaving him confused. He asked me why, and I answered sternly, “You didn’t tell me everything, Ryan.”
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“David is more than your master, isn’t he?”
Frozen and dumbfounded, he lowered his head with his eyes closed. Ryan responded, “It’s true. David is my father, but I never acknowledged him as one. How do you explain the scar on my face?” he looked at me and pointed on top of his snout. “A real parent would never do something like that,” he placed his arm down. “Now, get dressed. We have to get you out of here.”
“Hold on!” I got up from the bed and crossed my arms over my chest. “Is there anything else you’re not telling me?”
“I’ll explain after I help you escape.”
“Because David is here in the house, and we don’t have much time.”
Rolling my eyes left to right to up to back at the Stag, I responded after a long silence, “Good call.”
I rushed over to my dimensional backpack to get dressed. Removing my nightclothes, I put on a purple short-sleeve shirt made by ECU, blue shorts, and white street shoes. Cleaning my glasses and putting them on after putting my watch on my right wrist, I put the backpack on my back, and Ryan led the way upstairs to his room.
Just when we got to the door, however, we were busted by another Stag. He was at least 8' in height, short black hair spread apart and a little bit spiky, brown eyes, dark-brown fur, white tip of his snout near his black nose, ten-rack antlers, and he wore a light-blue business suit with a white dress shirt underneath and a dark purple necktie. Looking into the malevolent-grinning Stag’s eyes, I was as terrified as T.J. Detweiler when Miss Finster caught him trying to steal food from the cafeteria refrigerator during Recess’s first episode. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he told me about the consequences for running away into another universe, especially travelling there for personal reasons.
The grin faded, and the Stag looked at Ryan and said aggressively, “It’s unwise to bring strangers into my house, son.”
“I told you before, David!” he scolded. “I’m not your son!”
In response, the Stag called David backslapped him across the face, much to my mouth-gaping shock as I saw Ryan fell on the ground. Staring the older Stag down, I rebuked, “Hey! Leave him alone!”
Grabbing me by the right wrist, much to my eye-widening fright, David glared at me and said, “I’m his father! I can punish him however I want!”
“That doesn’t give you the right to abuse your authority! If you want to punish someone, punish me instead! Leave Ryan alone!”
Giving me another cruel smile, he said, “You got spirit, boy, I’ll give you that,” he looked at Ryan as his smile faded once more, “but his punishment is only the beginning. Ryan Jacob Alberic, you will stay in this room until you learn to respect me and see things my way.”
Staring his master down, Ryan gave him the bird. In response, David smacked his son’s hand and told him that his recent action denied him any meal for the entire week. And to make certain that the younger Stag wouldn’t try to leave the house, the older Stag locked him up in his own room. I was dragged downstairs against my will.
The living room was a vast library, with books that are both the Bible and books containing Biblical references and connections alone, and nothing else. No magic, no equality, no fictional gods of any kind. I guess David is not of fan of C. S. Lewis, nor of J. K. Rowling, nor of J. R. R. Tolkien, etc. He wasn’t even into Lauren Kate either, labeling her both a heretic and a traitorous hypocrite, as he told me.
I was going to ask him about his opinions about other fiction writers, but he insisted to “not get off the main subject of our heart-to-heart.” The last time I had a heart-to-heart with a villain, I nearly got killed. But that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s get back to the main subject.
After a few minutes of interrogation and reassurance, I said to David, “Look, I already told you. Your officer started it. I was being a law-abiding citizen and tried to reason with him. He may be the part of law enforcement, but that didn’t give him the right to be abusive of his authority, let alone be overzealous about it.”
“And yet, you attacked him with your cats,” he responded irritatingly.
“He didn’t give me a choice. If he did, we wouldn’t be having this so-called heart-to-heart.”
“Still, you assaulted a police officer.”
“In self-defense. Just because he’s a police officer doesn’t make him above the law. If it weren’t for Ryan, I would’ve been thrown in prison unfairly.”
Angry, and standing up with his eyes wide open in outrage, he responded, “Unfair?! Let me tell you what’s unfair,” he walked toward me fast and cornered me like a rat. “Having my company’s reputation ruined by a delinquent, a brainiac, and a broken boy from a broken family! Now that I’m the mayor of this city, they will never come back!” he calmed himself after taking a deep breath and going one step back. “As for Ryan, he’s not just weak-minded, but he’s also weak-willed, and too stubborn to accept it. His so-called adoptive family are the same way, and they’re the reason he’s too soft for his own good.”
Staring him down, I asked, “Did you also know that Salome was adopted?”
“As a matter of fact, I did, but she’s not Ryan’s twin sister. She’s his half-sister. Same mother, different father. In fact, unlike my real firstborn son, Salome was a product of adultery alongside her older twin brother, my false heir.”
“Is that why you made her your slave, to punish her for what her mother did behind your back? Why not punish her instead of her daughter? She can’t help being born. Her existence was not Salome’s fault.”
“Then you haven’t been paying attention to the Doctrine of the Original Sin, even if it is an invention of Catholicism,” he crossed his arms over his chest sternly. “When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their sin gets past down from generation to generation. Innocence ceased to exist before we were even born, and therefore, evil is no longer made. It is born. Good, however, is not born, but made through baptism. Even when newborns are born without the knowledge of good and evil, they are still born sinful regardless.
“Those who claim to be born innocent, and deny being born evil through Adam and Eve's disobedience, must pay the ultimate price for their blasphemous vanity. That is the will of God, the very being all of Creation have to both worship and fear, lest they be damned into the fiery pit until Judgement Day wipes them all from existence with the elected being the only ones left. That is the true side of reality.”
“Dude, you’re pushing reality too far in this case. If you believe I’m really born evil, why not just get it over with and put me in prison regardless of self-defense?”
Smiling deviously, he answered, “I like how you’re capable of being humble, but that’s not going to save you. As for imprisonment,” he raised his arms up like a priest in church, “THIS is your prison now,” he pointed at me, “and you’ll be my servant.”
Outraged, I said, “Don’t you mean slavery? Last I checked, slavery was banned in the United States.”
“Because people like Abraham Lincoln was too weak to understand the value of slavery. Hagar was Sarah’s slave, Zilpah was Leah’s slave, and Bilhah was Rachel’s slave. Therefore, slavery is not all evil as some originally claim. Without it, progress can never be achieved, and there would be no sacrifices for the good of the city and the state. And so, young man, your time in slavery will be showing you the true nature of reality. Starting tomorrow, your servitude begins.”
This was really bad. Percy was right, but for the wrong reason. I wasn’t ready to be on my own. I was reckless, arrogant, and selfish. Wondering off on my own as a child was one thing, but that was out of ironic, yet newfound curiosity. But doing so as an adult, that was a completely different story. Because of my recent actions, I became David’s personal slave. Because of me, my life is in serious danger. And so, I was forcibly sent back to Ryan’s room against my will. The next day, welcome back to Hell, Merlin O’Toole.