51. Son of the Phantom, Part VII   3 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 51: Son of the Phantom, Part VII: Obstacle Course

Sundance stepped out of the StarTango and closed the door behind him. He had been smiling when he left, but he didn’t feel like smiling. He was about to go confront his old partner that had taken possession of his best friend. It was a crazy situation.

How had it come to this? How had Laertes taken control of Timmy in the first place? His memories led him back to the Helios Space Station. When the virus attacked them, it had targeted Timmy for some reason. Was that Laertes? It had to have been. Everything that had happened to them since the Space Chickens had been because of him. As Sundance looked at his laser pistol set to ‘KILL’, he decided that today it was going to end one way or another.

He took a deep breath and pushed forward into the jungle. He thought about trekking up to the top of the volcano, but he knew that the entrance he used previously was gone. He also knew that Laertes would have known that too. He looked at the jungle that lined the volcano and knew instantly that Laertes had been there. He took off running into it, eyes scanning the way for obstacles. He ran until he was a quarter of the way around the volcano. He stopped to catch his breath. He looked up at the volcano and searched for something that looked like an entrance. There wasn’t anything that indicated that such a thing existed. He shook his head as he realized that he needed to keep going.

Sundance started running again, his eyes darting back and forth from the jungle floor and the side of the volcano. He allowed himself the illusion of shaving time and distance behind Laertes. With each step he powered himself forward, thoughts only of Timmy’s safety.

He stopped running when he finally made it to the back of the volcano. He looked up and saw a recess that had been carved into the side. He panted and laughed at the same time when the realization that finding it was the easy part. Now he would have to hike up the volcano to get to it. His body begged for rest, but Sundance knew that there was no time for such a luxury.

Sundance stepped out of the jungle and into the sun. He begin his climb at a runner’s pace. He did his best not to become one with the mountain side by keeping his eyes focused on the ground. His boots were exactly designed to go tramping up volcanoes. The hardened ground was smooth enough not to cause many problems.

With a lot of determination and inner fire boiling in his gut, he finally made it to the landing. He collapsed on the ground and gasped for breath. His mind was screaming for him to get up and head inside. Laertes was just beyond the gateway. The door was already open, all he had to do was walk through it. The mind was willing; the body just wasn’t having it.

“Get up,” Sundance panted. “Get up. Get UP!”

Sundance mustered all of his strength and fought through every ache and burn to stand up. He was dirty and sweaty, but he didn’t care. He slowly walked through the archway into the dark room. He instantly reached for his flashlight and shined the light all around the room. There was nothing else to look at except the tunnel that laid ahead. He carelessly ran ahead until he felt his foot sink into the floor.

He froze on the spot. He suddenly remembered what Astralyn had said about the Massi People building traps. He wished that he hadn’t sent Astralyn away so quickly.

Sundance waited for swift retribution, but the only painful thing was the expectation of something terrible happening. Nothing happened as far as he could tell. He carefully lifted his foot from the sinkhole and waited for something to happen. He heard something snap from above. Sundance glanced up with the flashlight and saw something falling towards him. He quickly dove into the tunnel just as a large boulder flattened the spot he been occupying. Sundance slapped his forehead as he registered the fact that that could have been him. He cursed his luck as he stood up.

“Okay, booby traps, check,” Sundance said.


Suddenly, the tunnel was filled with pink light. Sundance stood up and covered his eyes from the bright luminescence. When his eyes adjusted, he saw that there were pink laser beams shooting down from the ceiling into the ground. Not only that, they were swinging from left to right in a pendulous fashion. From what Sundance could tell, there were six of them to pass.


There was no other choice. He took a deep breath and sucked in his stomach and took his first step into the tunnel. He watched the first laser pendulum closely and got in sync with its swings. He took two swift steps forward and cleared the first laser.

The second laser was swinging at a faster pace. Sundance studied it before he dared to roll past it. He stood up and saw that he still had all of his parts. Maybe this isn’t going to be so hard, he thought. Just then, the laser behind him singed the back of his shirt clean off. Sundance quickly tore his shirt off and threw it into the third laser, disintegrating it at once.

Sundance studied the third laser’s swings, which were quicker than the last’s. Just as he felt confident to move forward, the laser switched up its game and started to shoot horizontally. Sundance stared at it incredulously. Sundance clutched his laser pistol and without even thinking about it, he shot at the walls where the lasers were emanating from. The pink laser flickered before it dissipated into the ether.


Sundance didn’t hesitate to promptly do away with the remaining three lasers. He didn’t even register just how crazy their swings were. He was just happy that they were gone. He triumphantly marched down to the end of the tunnel. It ended abruptly at a river of lava separating him from the tunnel on the other side.

Now what do I do? Sundance asked himself. He frantically looked for an easy way across the river. There were stones sticking out of the river that looked like they were just big enough for a person to step from one to another. He did not like that option. He looked for another way across. He looked at the ceiling in the hopes of a rope swing of some kind. No such luck.

How in the world did Laertes make it past this? Then a frightening thought came to him. What if Laertes didn’t get by? What if he had succumbed to the challenge of crossing the river? Then both Timmy and Laertes would be gone. The idea made Sundance weak in the knees. He shook his head and pushed the thought out of his mind. He had to believe that Laertes had made it. He had come too far to give in to fear.

It appeared that there was no other way to cross the expanse river of lava. He would have to take his chances with the stones. He collected his courage and stepped onto the first stone. It was wide enough to fit both feet. He felt comfortable for a brief moment until he felt the stone start to sink into the lava.


This episode is dedicated to my dear friend, John Edward Sator. I miss you so much!


Posted September 5, 2011 by Xanto P. Jones in Flash Fiction

3 responses to “51. Son of the Phantom, Part VII

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  1. Oh move quickly Sundance,! The action is going full rate – will he make it?!

  2. Get him, boy!
    Sundance is a man on a mission. I love the tone of this episode.Fast pace with attention to detail. And then the few moments of doubt, very deep.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You should be writing comic books my man. This zips along with enough pace and action to justify the medium fo’sure!

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