53. Son of the Phantom, Part IX   3 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 53: Son of the Phantom, Part IX: Two Hearts

Sundance stood rigid, staring at the burns on Timmy’s chest. He was staring at the reality that Timmy was going to die if he didn’t do something. He knew this, but he was at a loss of what to do about it. If he let Laertes drink from the vial, then he would never get Timmy back. If he stopped Laertes from drinking from it, Timmy would die an agonizing death. This was one of the hardest decisions he ever had to make.

“Tick tock, Sunny,” The Phantom Commander said. “I’m burning through this body at an alarming rate. I used so much power getting past the traps, it’s a miracle it’s held up this long.” He could see the turmoil in Sundance’s eyes. He took pleasure in the pain that he was causing him. There was nothing more tragic than watching his best friend die twice. “But go ahead. Take your time. Timmy may die, but there’s always Astralyn, right?” He watched Sundance twitch as he mentioned Astralyn’s name. “Oh, so you care for her, too?” He let out an evil snicker. “You can’t love them both, you know. You’ll have to make a choice.”

Sundance still had his laser pistol aimed at the Vial of Eternal Life. He was battling against himself about whether he should destroy it. The odds of Timmy surviving as he was were slim. He could doom Timmy to a life as a slave to the Commander or doom him to certain death. His aim started to waver, his hands shaking before he finally lowered the gun. He couldn’t stand the idea of Timmy dying a terrible death.

“That’s a good boy,” the Commander said, reaching for the vial.

“Just save Timmy.” Sundance lowered his gaze to the ground. “Please.”

The Phantom Commander gripped the vial and instantly drank the clear liquid inside. When he had exhausted the contents, he threw the vial aside and let it shatter to the ground. “This is why I waited for you. I could have already drunk the elixir, but it wouldn’t have tasted as sweet if you hadn’t allowed me to drink it. Look at me. LOOK AT ME!”

Sundance raised his head. He saw that the smoke that had been seeping out of Timmy’s body was slowly flowing back into his body. The bruises that were spreading across his chest were slowly receding into nothingness. He watched as Timmy’s entire body started to heal itself.

“YES!” the Phantom Commander cheered. He flexed as he felt the energy of the elixir flow throughout his entire body. When the last bruise disappeared, he stood up tall and laughed. It sounded joyous and malicious at the same time. “Yes! I’m alive! I am whole! I… am… eternal!” He took a step towards Sundance with open arms. “You see, that wasn’t so bad. That was AMAZING!”

“I’ll have to try it sometime,” Sundance muttered.

“You’ve done a good thing, Sunny. You saved two lives.” The Phantom Commander reached for Timmy’s laser pistol. “Now you can die knowing that your precious Timmy will live on in me. Two hearts beat for one!” He quickly whip the pistol out and fired.

Sundance quickly ducked and dove behind a boulder. The Phantom Commander immediately turned and fired another shot while he scrambled to find a boulder to hide behind.

“Shame on me for thinking that you would go quietly,” the Commander said, setting the laser pistol to ‘KILL’. “You gave into me so easily just now, I kinda thought you’d be begging for death!” He stood up and fired a shot at Sundance’s boulder before ducking back down. “You should have let him die, you fool! I’m not giving him back, if that’s what you thought!”

Sundance stood up and fired a shot at the Commander’s boulder. “A moment of weakness, I admit. But you’re right… I am a fool.” He ducked back down and set his pistol to ‘KILL’ as well. He knew he never should have changed it. He mentally kicked himself for allowing himself to believe that there was a way to save Timmy, to save both of them. He always thought of himself as the kind of person who was quick to take action, quick to do what needed to be done. He knew what needed to be done and he allowed his affection for Timmy to question his judgment. That was what Laertes wanted him to do and he played right into his hands. He had to correct this and quickly.

Sundance got on his hands and knees and quietly crawled to another boulder. He peeked over the top of his new boulder and waited.

“At least that’s something we both can agree on!” The Phantom Commander stood up and fired another shot at where Sundance used to be.

Sundance took this opportunity to stand up and fire a shot at him. Inside, he apologized to Timmy. He watched the beam shoot out and fly across the cavern. It hit the Commander square in the chest. He stumbled backward. Sundance took another shot which finally took him to the ground. He waited for a minute.

“Timmy?”

No response.

Sundance, with his pistol ready, he walked out from behind his boulder and tiptoed over to Timmy’s body. He was sprawled out on the ground, eyes closed, not breathing. He knelt down beside him and held his hand. He sighed as he thought that he had done it again; he had killed another partner. He felt a lump materialize in his throat as tears started to well in his eyes. It was terrible, but it was the right thing to do.

“Timmy, I’m so sorry,” Sundance said. “This is not what I planned, but you know me and plans.”

Sundance suddenly felt Timmy squeeze his hand. Joy overcame him. He looked down and saw that Timmy had opened his eyes. The joy was fleeting when he saw the hatred in those blue eyes. “Laertes!”

Timmy’s right arm quickly reached up and grabbed Sundance’s throat. “What part of ‘eternal’ did you not understand?” With a flick of the wrist, the Commander threw Sundance across the cave. Sundance landed hard against the wall and fell to the ground. The Commander stood up and looked down at his chest. There was a bright red spot where the laser had hit him. He touched it and the redness faded. “There’s no killing me now. I am a GOD!”

Sundance struggled to get up, but he was far too weak to stand. His body rebelled against him and called for the rest it desired so badly. He watched as the Commander strode triumphantly to him and towered above him. All he could do was stare up at him and wait for the finishing blow.

The Phantom Commander sneered as he looked down at Sundance. “To think that I looked up to you. Now, you’re just a huddled mass of a man, a quivering puddle of flesh beneath my feet, begging for death. I can grant you your wish, Sunny, because we love you that much.”

A swarm of black particles started to spin around the Commander’s right hand. Red lightning sparked inside the now cannon ball sized cloud of black energy. The darkness matched the colour of Timmy’s eyes.

“Goodbye.”

The Commander raised his hand in the air and prepared to throw it down on Sundance. As his hand came down, something happened. The energy cloud weakened, the particles breaking away and floating up into the ceiling of the cave. Timmy’s eyes faded back to their original colour. Then he started choking. Sundance looked up in confusion and hope.

“What have you done to me?” The Commander gasped. He looked confused and angry. “What have you done?”

Timmy’s body started to convulse. He fell to the ground and continued to shake. Sundance quickly crawled over and held his fallen friend.

“Timmy? Timmy, can you hear me?” Sundance shouted.

Black clouds of smoke forcefully shot out of Timmy and spiraled into the air above them. When all of the smoke was evacuated, Timmy’s body went limp. Sundance looked up at the massive black cloud above them and smiled. Two bright red lights appeared within the cloud and they glared down hatred from above.

“NO! NO! This can’t be happening!” shouted the cloud. “The body is mine! The body is mine forever! I am eternal!”

“I don’t think so, Larry.” Sundance looked down at Timmy and caressed strands of hair off his forehead. “I think you got the name wrong. I don’t think the elixir grants the drinker with eternal, more like a new lease on life.”

“What are you saying?”

“The elixir is a cure all for what ails the body,” Sundance explained. “It repairs what is broken to its original state. In which case, it removed the foreign entity plaguing it… You.” He looked up at the cloud and saw that the particles were starting to disperse.

“No! I was so close!” the Phantom shouted, his voice fading. “I’ll get you for this, Sundance! Mark my words, I’ll be back for you!” He continued making threats until a warm breeze filled the cave and whisked him away. The black cloud vanished into nothingness. Echoes of his voice faded

“I’ll find a way to help you, Laertes,” Sundance whispered. “I promise.”

“Captain?”

Sundance quickly looked down at Timmy and saw that he was alive, awake, looking at him. They both smiled at each other, tears in both of their eyes.

“Timmy.”

“Captain… you came for me.”

“Of course I did.” Sundance let the tears run down his face. “I’ll always come for you. Always.” He lifted Timmy up carefully and hugged him as tight as he could. “Nothing will keep me from you.”

Timmy hugged Sundance back. “I feel the same.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, just holding each other and recovering from their ordeals. Finally, Sundance broke the silence and said, “Say, this is nice and all, but you wouldn’t happen to know how to get the hell out here, would ya?”

“I suppose we can’t get out the way we came in?” Timmy asked.

Sundance and Timmy ended their embrace and helped each other stand. They walked back down the tunnel towards the river of lava. There they found that a bridge had risen from the river and connected the two tunnels together. Sundance slapped his forehead in frustration.

“Of course,” Sundance muttered.

————-

At S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters, Astralyn and Colonel Graves along with the staff from the war room stood on the tarmac as they watched the StarTango land in the hangar. When the ship touched down, Astralyn ran to it and waited for Sundance and Timmy to exit. When the door slid open, the returning heroes were welcomed with cheers and hugs.

“Sundance! Timmy!” Astralyn was the first one Sundance saw when he opened the door. “You made it! Timmy! Good to see you! Why aren’t you guys wearing shirts?” She raised an eyebrow at the two of them.

“Long story, princess,” Sundance said.

Timmy stepped out of the ship and the crew cheered. He sheepishly waved and thanked everyone. He tried not to blush, but he was doing a poor job of it.

“Captain! Lieutenant! Glad that you made it back in one piece,” Colonel Graves said, patting them both on the back. “Good work, gentlemen. Good work.” He pulled Sundance aside while the others closed in on Timmy. “How did you get rid of Commander Battaglia? Are we going to have to worry about him possessing Timmy or anyone else again?”

“The Vial of Eternal Life cured him,” Sundance replied. “And I think we’ve seen the last of Laertes for a while. I believe he’s still out there, but it’ll take him some time to regroup.”

Colonel Graves seemed to like the answer and rejoined the group of people gathered around Timmy. “Let’s bring the party back inside. Let’s let the boys get dressed and then we’ll party in the break room. Timmy, how do you feel about cake?”

“Oh, I like cake, sir,” Timmy said with a smile. “Any kind will do.”

“Perfect!” Colonel Graves laughed as he patted his belly. “I think I can work with that.”

Sundance watched them file back into the headquarters. He stayed behind and looked up at the sky. He wondered where Laertes was now. Was he still alive? Was he pulling himself together again? What was he planning? A part of Sundance hoped to see him again. And he hoped that when he did, he would have been able to fulfill the promise he made. He smiled into the sun and headed inside.

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Posted September 19, 2011 by Xanto P. Jones in Flash Fiction

3 responses to “53. Son of the Phantom, Part IX

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  1. The only way to conclude these things is to slug it out Man O’to Man-O’ it’s a right proper tradition that. That said, Sundance really only won this through either luck or Larry not reading the instructions on the label properly. Am looking forward to the next series.

  2. Hooray Sundance saved Timmy. It’s good that Laertes didn’t read the instructions properly and so helped Sundance to save Timmy even if he didn’t mean to. I think Sundance is a good fellow in that he still wants to help Laertes. Still I guess that’s another adventure waiting to happen!

  3. I’ve finally caught up. This has been a fun little read!

    Loved the evil space chickens — but of course, I think all chickens are evil. I hope they come back so Sundance can fry them with his laser pistol. 😀

    You know, this would make an awesome podcast if you could assemble the voices and SFX. Space opera is meant for radio, after all. Put a little radio static in the background (with lightning crackles during summer episodes) for that ultra-realistic sound…

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