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Dr Archeville

Unbalanced: Supercape's Oct 2010 Vignette

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October 3rd (Sunday), evening.

The Second death of Doctor Glow

One of the most tragic occurances in Freedom City University was the death of Doctor Gordon Glow, nuclear physicist, last year. Professor Quill (the masked superhero known as Supercape) was his replacement, and much admired, but there was always the sadness of Glow's death.

Gordon Glow had, accidentally, been exposed to a massive amount of radiation in an experiment - the cause was never truly understood despite intensive investigation. Perhaps a hazard of the job, for Glow had always pushed the boundaries of nuclear physics.

One year on, Quentin Quill had decided to attend the memorial service, and went to the graveyard where Glow had died. His wife and only child were there, as were several members of the university, some friends, and a few extended family. Glow had been popular. The tone of the service was sombre. Despite his strict athiesm, Quentin was moved by the speeches, even when they had a religious overture.

As the crowds began to depart and the sun began to set, Quentin lingered a little, exchanging a few words with Ms. Glow, a rather longer conversation with some university colleauges, and no words at all with Liebniz, although he conceded that even Liebniz had seemed fond of Glow, and had refrained from using this occassion to try and get some research grant or academic leverage. Perhaps replacing Glow was the reason Liebniz was always at Quentin's throat. Perhaps not.

As more people drifted away, Quentin felt something that, at first, he dismissed as his mind playing tricks on him. The sun had nearly set, and the mood had been emotional. The shadows were long, and he was tired. Neverthless, there it was again. Some small flicker of energy, right where Glow had been buried.

Quentin made his excuses and wandered off as the sun set, and the night became almost pitch black. He could barely see, but guiding himself by the faint flicker of energy and his uncanny mental ability to sense the matter around him, he strode back to the grave, his clothes reforming themselves into a jet black colour. Last thing he wanted was to be caught grave robbing, either as Professor Quill, or indeed as Supercape.

He bent down to the grave and put his head right to the earth. Could he detect a slight scratching sound? yes? no? he put his ear to the ground.. no, nothing.

The wind suddenly blew a cool chill across his face, and a skeletal hand shot out from the grave, all dust and fury. It was glowing a palid blue-green, a cross between an old ghost movie light and the centre of a nuclear reactor. Vast and unknown radation streamed from the fingers as the hand grasped round Quentin's neck and tightened.

"Take my chair, would you!" rasped an earthy voice, as the skeletal and rotting remains of Glow burst forth from the earth, glowing its horrible radiation.

Quentin was choking, but not helpless. "Pl..ease... I did..n't... I had... it was... empty..." he croaked, all the time focussing on the particularly strange atoms of the skeleton and disentangling them.

The glowing face pressed itself against Quentins, so close he had to erect his quantum field to prevent his face being burnt. Even so, he could feel his eyebrows singing. "I want my chair back" groaned the grinning skull.

"Do you now!" croaked Quentin, forming a mallet of heavy Quantum matter in his hand and bringing in down on the now paper thin arm that held him by the throat.

The bones shattered in an explosion of light, only for the dusty remains and splinters to whirl and reform as a semi-gaseous wisp of luminescence. "YES I DO!" roared the undead beast, and suddenly a mass of bones and horrible light was upon Quentin.

Despite the protection of his force feild and special clothing, Quentin was overcome and struggling. "Come on man" he pleaded "Think of your wife, your children... I know you are in there somewhere! whats become of you man!"

The bony mass howled with horror. Quentin continued "I spoke to them, I spoke to them all today, Gordon. How much they admired you. How much they grieved for you. I don't know what's come back, but please, please, this is an affront to the man!"

The bony heap collapsed, glowing still. "Ju...Juliet....Ma...Mathew" it uttered, forlorn. "Something...in me... restless... waking me...make it stop... MAKE IT STOP!" it wailed.

"Quentin stood up, coughing dust (he hoped it was dust anyway). "How? I dont know what it even is!" he replied.

The creature looked at him, emitting gaseous green light. "Stop the light! Stop the light!" it moaned, still fighting whatever possessed him.

Quentin was no expert on the paranormal, but physics he could understand. Perhaps if he nudged a few atoms this way, a few that, after all, the streams of energy emitting from this creature were clearly the same form of radiation that had killed Professor Glow. Maybe by absorbing it, or nullifying it.. yes, yes... and as the jigsaw of quantum and atomic states fell into place, the air cooled and heated, and the light died.

The bony ragged thing fell to the floor, barely moving. Feebly raising a hand, it whispered its second final words to Quentin. "Tell my family I loved them, they were everything... everything. Love is what gives life meaning..."

And with that, professor Glow died his second death.

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