ELSEWORLD STORY: THE TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE WAY - Issue #02
She was called Wonder Woman.
But she was far from being anything that was truly deserving of the word; Wonder. Though yes, there was no denying her perfectly chiseled features: Her skin was flawless, with no hints of stretch marks nor blemishes. Her eyes were beautifully almond-shaped windows that displayed the immaculate azure pupils within. Her lips were dangerously full and red which seemed perpetually in a half-seductive pout. Raven black hair rose from her head like a veil of shadows. Her body was impressively sculpted, as if from the finest clay into the most resilient marble, and was just as muscularly compact as it was sensually supple. She wore a golden tiara on her head; its design was golden with a single red five-pointed star on its center. She wore silver bracers; though these were devoid of markings and designs, their simplicity announced one fact – that neither bullets, nor blade, nor energy which had been used against her have even dented them in the slightest of ways. She wore a tight-fitting dress that covered her breasts with a golden metallic breastplate designed to resembled a large eagle (a design which many were to misinterpret its wings looking like two large letter Ws). Red leather and cloth covered most of her back. A golden girdle on the other hand wrapped around her waist while a loincloth of blue adorned with white stars hung below.
But even with her dangerous ability to fight unarmed, her powers of flight, resilience, and strength. Or her jet fighter which was invisible to all forms of radar and detection including the naked eye. There was something else that made Wonder Woman the woman whom everyone else respectfully feared; It was the Golden Lasso that she always carried.
It was the lasso that gave her power to enforce the Truth.
And that allowed her to call herself the Truth.
For in a world where the Three ruled with an iron-fist of control, the Truth was something far too many people hoped to hide from.
Truth, Justice and the Way
An Elseworld Event
Written by Tobie Abad
With a delicate spin, the turnip pirouetted around the tomato and slid down the metal bar separating the two vegetables until it reached the corner of the tray and fell into the area among the leeks.
Timothy Hunter gave a gasp of surprise and rose back to full height, uncertain of what he had just witnessed. He looked around and saw everything else was still as it was. People were moving about, minding their own business as they searched among the racks and shelves for the stuff they wanted. Tim turned to the closest rack and saw the various kinds of fruits that were for sale, each one wrapped with a few others of the same kind, shrink-wrapped to retain freshness. Not too far away, the lettuce and other leafy greens quietly sat in their own areas.
"There is an explanation for all this… a rational explanation," Tim muttered to himself as he clamped both hands back on the shopping cart and pushed his way from the produce and towards the shelves where canned goods were on display. He ducked past a tall nearly bald man who reached for a tin of asparagus that was tucked way too high in the display, then zipped past an overweight blonde who was backing up without looking while reading the fine print on a can of black mushrooms. "There has to be… I’m barely fifteen. I cannot be suffering from hallucinations. Only old geezers stuck in wheelchairs do that."
Tim stopped in front of an old man who seemed to be staring back at him. The old man grunted and motioned for him to keep moving. Tim shoved his cart forwards and finally reached the part of the shelves where various kinds of bottled spices were on display. He looked around for the bell peppers and found the red peppers a few steps away from his cart.
He grabbed the first jar of bell peppers and peered through the glass. The pickled peppers looked old and tired. Worn even. Tim stared in fascination as the pepper seemingly folded in on itself, revealing paper thin skin and dried seeds. Nearly dropping the jar, Tim shoved it back onto the shelf and backed up quickly back to his cart. He wiped an errant bead of sweat away and tried to calm down.
"I am not seeing things," Tim muttered once again to himself.
"You’ll be seeing stars if you don’t shove out of the way," a rough male voice threatened Tim from behind. The young boy turned to see an unshaven blond man staring at him from behind an unlit cigarette that precariously hung on his lower lip. He wore a pair of worn jeans and three layers of shirts. The first two were black and white. The third shirt was a red long-sleeved shirt that had been heavily worn down (probably by repeated washing).
"Move?" he growled in what sounded more like a command than a question.
"Sorry," Tim mumbled and shoved his cart closer to the shelves, "It was not like I meant to-"
"Thank you," the blond guy interrupted Tim and walked on, ignoring Tim’s scowl at his rudeness. The man stopped at the same cart Tim saw the rotting peppers and stared at the display for a moment, as if sensing something. Tim’s eyes widened as the man reached for the very jar he had returned.
"John," a woman’s voice called out from behind Tim. The boy turned to see a woman in a blue pair of jogging pants. She had a white turtle neck on and a black cardigan jacket covering most of her body. A heavy-looking crystal hung from her neck, tied to a black rope that was looped twice and knotted once. She had no make-up on save bright red lipstick and her hair was pony-tailed behind her head. "We already have enough peppers."
"So we’ll have extra, jeez why you being all fussy today woman? You on the rag?"
The lady slapped John soundly on the face. Tim decided it was none of his business and turned to leave. But it was that very moment the lights flickered and the sound of something like a bomb falling from the sky shattered the glass windows of the market place.
All eyes turned towards the shattered windows before each ducking down to find a place to hide behind for safety. It was clear to everyone what was happening that very moment. The staccato sound of gunfire merely punctuated more their suspicions.
Someone was about to be face to face with the Truth.
* * *
Back in the house, Tim’s father was once again soundly asleep. Hands folded in front of his chest, the slumbering man had once again left the television on even while his attentions were more focused on the shows his dreams shared with him.
The screen showed a middle aged man, whose hair had been slicked back, holding a large top hat in one hand and a long black cane which had a white tip in the other. He smiled a cheshire cat smile and tapped the cane to the tip of his dark shaded glasses. "Friends, true believers and most faithful fans," the man called out to the studio audience with the bravado expected of a showman, "Today I shall show you a trick unlike anything you have ever seen before."
The audience applauded upon Mister E’s announcement and fell silent once he motioned them to do so. He spun the top hat in his hand and stopped to hold it with the opening facing the ceiling. He tapped his cane against it and mumbled a few strange arcane-sounding words, "Flippendo Fellatio and all that jazz!" and bowed to the audience’s applause when a healthy white rabbit suddenly leaped up from the somewhere inside the hat to land on the ground with a heavy thud.
"Oh no, my dear friends," Mister E shook his head, "No no no.. this is far from what I am planning to show you. You see there are three kinds of magic, my dear faithful audience. The first kind, like this rabbit, was done using illusions and what we magicians call smoke and mirrors. Misdirection, so to speak."
Mister E grinned an almost feral grin; white ivory teeth all displayed like a lion baring its maw of sharpened fangs. He then tossed the hat towards the audience but suddenly pointed the cane at it. The hat burst into flames, dissolving into colored dust faster than an eye blink. "Then," Mister E continued, "There were those who fell for what we would call Preparation. Many very convincing tricks require a lot of planning before hand. Be it earlier treated cloth to carefully concealed pockets, a larger degree of tricks belong in this category. Few that have been prepared are not given the proper training to learn first the basics of Misdirection. Without properly knowing the ways of Misdirection would give away any Preparation made before hand."
The audience collectively shared a gasp when two magician assistants carried onto the stage a large velvet chair that had been given the same restraining capacities of an electric chair. Leather straps to bound the arms and legs were present in the chair’s design. A large black cloth was left hanging on top of it, presumably to cover the face.
"The last, however, is the true tongue of magic. And I am afraid it cannot be taught or
stolen. For it is something that innately manifests among those intended to be counted among the practicioners of True Magic," Mister E grinned and sat down on the chair, allowing the two asisstants to carefully strap him in. He let go of the top hat, not seeing another rabbit pull itself out from its dark depths. "Behold," Mister E called out to the audience, "A glimpse of true Magic!"
And without warning, Mister E was gone. The crowd went wild, clapping their hands rapidly as the assistants spun the chair around to show that Mister E had indeed disappeared!
Half a city away from the studio, Tim Hunter’s father stirred long enough only to realize that there was someone in the room with him. But he never got a chance to wake up. The urge to drift deeper into sleep overwhelmed his sense of self-preservation. Straightening up from what seemed to be an awkwardly taxing journey through the television set, Mister E patted his suit down, stared at the now deeply dreaming Mr. Hunter once more, and checked his silver pocket watch for the time.
"Not much time, Mister Hunter," Mister E spoke in a disturbing sing-song manner, "Come out whenever you are…"
* * *
"You won’t be taking me to the Gulag," the man screamed out as he unleashed another volley of bullets at the policemen who were pinned behind their waywardly parked cars. The semi-automatic rifle in the man’s hands roared out fire as he shattered glass windows, windshields and nearby store windows with its deadly hail of bullets. Not too far away, crouched behind shelves of canned spices, Tim Hunter peered out and fought the urge to run further away. Almost everyone else in the shopping center were on their hands and knees, crawling away from the shattered window that faced the armed man and the police. Everyone knew that the Truth was bound to come out into the open. And everyone knew that when the Truth came, there was no stopping the inevitable.
John Constantine and Zatanna were moving away from the window like everyone else when John noticed Tim Hunter still by the shelves where they had bumped into him. Muttering a quick curse towards Zatanna (who scowled at him for cussing at her face), John shoved his lady love to the ground and made for the shelves as quickly as his squatted figure could permit.
"John!" Zatanna whispered as loud as she could, "What are you doing?!?"
"The boy," John replied and left it at that. He waited for the next sound of gun fire, and broke into a sprint to the shelf the moment the cascading sound of bullets erupted into the air. He was certain the gun was being discharged in a direction away from him.
Tim watched as the armed man stared at the sky for a moment, then unleashed another hail of bullets at the still pinned policemen. "Puppets! Scared useless puppets! That’s what you all are! Do you even realize how much you have fallen apart?" the man cried out in anger. He shook visibly with anger and frustration. His long brown hair seemed to move uncomfortably as he raised both hands towards the sky, "They shouldn’t be in charge of us! Can’t you all see that?!?! They are not even from our world!"
"You have said quite enough."
Her voice was unmistakable. She descended from the sky with a golden trail behind her. She stopped an inch from the ground, arms on her side with one hand gripping the golden lasso and the other clamped on her lap. It was the Wonder Woman.
Tim Hunter nearly shouted in shock when John clamped both hands on his shoulders and dragged him back out of view.
* * *
Mister E walked down the hall with his cane before him at all times. The sound of the applause from his very own show was fading in the distance as he walked away from the television and towards the staircase leading up to the rooms. He reached the steps and for a moment, stopped, then realized what he had felt was not merely paranoia or worry.
"You are here," he called out to the room and the room did not reply. Mister E crossed his arms in a show of disapproval. "Do not assume I am like the rest of these mortals. Though physically blind, I see far more than they can ever dream of."
"Fitting choice of words," a figure in the darkness replied. Stepping into view, the King of Dreams allowed himself to be seen, "Which I would assume was intended to strike me as having been noticed by you."
"The King of Dreams walks the Walking Lands," Mister E mused, "Not a common sight with the exception of certain events in the past and the future. Like love. Like missing siblings. Like vengeance."
"Enough," the King of Dream’s eyes shone brighter, like stars against a moonless sky, and contained within them an anger that threatened to burst like a super nova. Mister E’s talent for peering into the time stream had given him ammunition to speak against one of the Endless. Such advantages were best used sparingly.
"You come for the Hunter?" Mister E asked the King of Dreams. The pale man in dark violet robes that danced with the flittering shadows of children playing did not give a reply. Instead, he brought both hands towards his nape and allowed a great helmet of ivory and bone to manifest and adorn his head. A brilliant emerald came into view upon his chest.
"You wear your garments," Mister E observed, though he was blind, he saw the events that were to happen like they were things a man normally saw, "You prepare for battle. But not against me."
"No," the King of Dreams spoke frankly, "We are not the only ones here."
The two turned to another corner of the room. There, hidden by long unspoken anger and wrapped beneath a deceptive veil of concealed rage, the third figure allowed itself to be seen.
"The Spirit of Vengeance itself is among us," The King of Dreams acknowledged his presence. "Let us speak then our true minds on why we are all here. Surely, we may still speak like men even if we are all far from being such mere things."
"Yes," the Spectre admitted, "Let us speak. For now. But soon, know that there shall be upon this land a reckoning. And when that happens, neither restless Dreams nor misguided Mysteries shall be the road which the Hunter shall take to find his prey. Vengeance shall not be denied."
* * *
Tim angrily shoved John Constantine’s hand away from his shoulders. With a determination to see the events transpiring outside in the street fueling his actions, the young man stomped an insolent foot down upon John’s toes and used it as the very stepping stone to leap forwards towards the windows.
"Son of a-" John cursed as he fell to his knees, eyes gone all teary in pain.
Tim slid beneath the broken window and peered over the edge to see the Truth herself swing her golden lasso around the gun man. To his surprise, the gun man did not even one attempt to dodge the magical rope.
"Tell me your name, criminal, that all may know of you whom have threatened their peace and livelihood!"
"I have done no such thing, you cruel and heartless Amazon!" the man hissed back.
"SPEAK YOUR NAME," the Truth demanded and by the power that was intertwined within the very lasso that had been woven from the threads of the Girdle of Aphrodite and Gaea. That same moment, the false hairpiece fell from the man’s head.
"My name is Lex Luthor," the man proclaimed, "And I shall be the catalyst to your downfall."
And for the first moment in many years, the Truth felt a touch of something long alien to her. Gifted as she was with the incredible beauty from Aphrodite, the wisdom of Athena, the power and stregth of Demeter, the sisterhood with fire from Hestia, the rapport among the beasts from Artemis and the gift of speed and flight from Hermes, she had long had not known this alien feeling that now struck her heart.
For none who were entangled within her lasso could speak any falsehoods.
The Truth knew that what Lex Luthor had proclaimed would be without doubt and absolutely for certain a truth.
End of Issue #02
Title: Truth, Justice and the Way
Tim Hunter is destined to be the greatest wizard of all time, but in a world where magic is nearly dead, and three immensely god-like despots are the Authority over the world, will he be brave enough to embrace his destiny?