THEN A PENGUIN WALKED IN #11
Dominick froze. Not a good idea when walking through the lot of a drive-in. He was nearly run over by a minivan. Once he was safely out of the way, Dominick turned back to the dumpster pen. Harold had asked Vivian earlier if she’d given him, Dominick, the sword. He’d nearly forgotten all about that.
Dominick had always wanted to own a sword, ever since he’d been ten years old and his Uncle Stan had rented a movie called The Beastmaster with Marc Singer. A classic. From that day forward, at least until he started to notice girls, Dominick had turned most anything he could get his hands on into a sword to play with.
But, for all his desire, he could never get his parent’s to actually buy him a toy sword, something made out of plastic or wood, so he’d made do with what he could. Sticks, Tinker Toys, cardboard, whatever.
“You’re still going to give me a sword?” he asked as he stepped back into the dumpster pen. “Arkonus?”
“Arakis,” Vivian said.
“What?” Dominick scratched his head.
“Arakis,” said Vivian. “The name of the sword is Arakis.”
“You will need it when you come to our aid,” Harold said.
“Because you will come to our aid,” Vivian said.
“You certainly will,” Harold said. “It is written.”
“Sure,” Dominick said. “I mean, I probably won’t. Sorry.” He looked down and kicked at an imaginary rock.
“Hold out your hand, Dominick Hanrahan,” Vivian said.
Dominick exhaled slowly, managed to hold in his excitement, and held out his hand. Vivian unbelted the sword at her waist and held it out before her.
“Behold,” she said. “Arakis, the Black Sword of Power.”
She dropped the sword into Dominick’s open hand.
Like with the rings, Dominick nearly dropped the sword as it fell into his hand. He’d expected the sword to grow just as the rings had. The sword, however, had remained pixie size.
“This is the Black Sword of Power?” Dominick asked.
“Well,” Vivian said, looking from him to the sword and back. “Yes.”
“It’s a like a toy,” Dominick said, feeling slightly guilty over the sound of disappointment in his voice. “What am I supposed to do with it, give it to one of my old action figures?”
“Once you have crossed over into our realm you will then be able to access the sword’s power,” Harold said.
“Ah,” said Dominick. “And what sort of power is that?”
“We must return, Dominick Hanrahan,” Vivian said. “Time moves faster in our realm, we have been away too long already.”
“Wait,” Dominick said. “The power of the sword.”
“No time for explanations,” Vivian said. “We must away.”
“Farewell, Dominick Hanrahan,” said Harold. “We shall await your coming.”
Dominick noticed for the first time that Harold wore a ring like the one that currently sat in the bottom of his pocket. Harold turned the ring so that the gem was facing inward, then touched the ring to his heart. A rip appeared in the air behind him, opening with a sound like fabric being torn.
A glow emanated from within the tear, seeping out like too much glue between two sheets of paper. The pixies waved one last time and stepped through the rip in reality. Dominick stood slack-jawed as it closed up behind them. He remained that way for several moments. Long enough that no less than four cars had come onto the lot and ordered burgers and fries.
He could hear the customers as they each took turns shouting their orders at the menu board. They always shouted. If they didn’t shout, the customers spoke at such a low level that a rabbit standing with its ears pressed firmly against the speaker's mouth would have to strain to pick up more than one word. But for Dominick, it all seemed to be happening in some far away world as he looked down at the sword that rested in his palm.
First a lizard man. Then a penguin. Then another penguin. Was he going insane? The two penguins had become teen idols. That wasn’t normal. None of this was anywhere in the neighborhood of normal. And him, the One? The One what?
The questions poured through his mind like water through a hose.
To be continued . . .