Category Archives: A Figment’s Tale

A Figment’s Tale part 12

Joshua and Happy’s conversation was interrupted by a visitor, which they didn’t expect all the way up in the clouds above the Indian Ocean. Another dragon approached them, but it didn’t attack like the last one. It had a flatter face than the previous one, with forward-facing eyes and a short snout. Its intelligent and wise appearance put Joshua and Happy Face at ease, as did its small size. It was about the size of a housecat.

“Good day, o mighty ones,” it said. “I wouldn’t dream of attacking you after what happened to the last ‘representative’ that was sent to you. I come from a team of imaginers who work for the Global Bureau of Celestial Events.”

“Did they send the last dragon?” Happy asked.

“I apologize for that. It was a miscommunication within the Bureau. It won’t happen again, I promiseĀ  you. It couldn’t possibly, since the people who sent it are now in comas. They overestimated their own strength.”

“So why did they send you?” Joshua asked.

“Yes, of course. The Bureau would like to extend an offer of employment. in exchange for your cooperation and services, they’ll pay you anything you want.”

“What do they want us to do for them?” Happy asked.

“First, they want to scan you to gauge your strength. It’s really just aiming a device at your head for a few seconds, not painful at all. Then they want to put you–the figment–through some training exercises.”

“My name is Happy Face,” Happy told him.

“Oh, you have a name already? That’s interesting. Anyway, after the testing and training, you’ll be sent out on assignments about once a month. Nothing dangerous, just reconnaissance. We investigate the formation of gods in new religions. I gather you know by now the truth behind gods.”

“They’re figments like me,” Happy said.

“Yes,” the dragon said. “When people gather together for a common belief, they can give form to what they believe in where there was none before. There is a delicate balance of power among the current gods and goddesses, and new ones have to be worked in gracefully to prevent war. When you fought the Catholic god, the Bureau was afraid that a war had broken out. We couldn’t believe it when we found out it was the figment of a single individual who had challenged him and nearly won.”

“Hey!” Happy protested. “I did win!”

“From what our agents observed, I’d call it a tie. You both used a lot of energy and emerged from the fight extremely depleted. The god you fought will take centuries to recover, while you seem to be back at full strength.”

“What do you mean he’ll take centuries to recover?” Joshua asked.

“What I mean is that half of the world’s Catholics are in comas because of the beating you gave their god.”

Joshua and Happy Face were stunned. They never meant to hurt anyone, let alone millions of people.

“I didn’t know,” Happy said sadly. “I never meant for that…”

“What can we do to undo the damage?” Joshua asked.

“You can’t do anything for them,” the dragon said. “Their minds took a heavy blow, but they’ll recover eventually. The children will awaken first, then the adults, and then hopefully some of the elders.”

“Hopefully some of the elders?” Happy asked. “What does that mean?”

“We don’t expect many of them to ever come out of their comas. But like you said, you didn’t know. This isn’t your fault.”

“Of course it’s my fault!” Happy shouted. “And I don’t understand why you’re so unemotional about it. Don’t you care?”

“I’m not connected to my creators’ emotions like you are. I’m a product of their intellect. They don’t sincerely believe in me. They’re just projecting me so I can talk to you here. So will you join us?”

“We’ll consider your offer after we find a way to help the people we’ It’ve hurt,” Joshua answered. “How can we contact you?”

“You won’t need to. We have eyes and ears everywhere. When you’re ready, you’ll see me again.”

The dragon disappeared, leaving Joshua and Happy to ponder what he’d told them. They communicated to each other through their emotions. Happy was beside himself with grief for what he did, and Joshua wanted to comfort him, but it really was pretty bad.

“What can I do?” Happy asked. “I can move things, but I’m not telepathic except for projecting a few illusions like this body and clothes for you.”

“When I’m totally asleep, you’re extremely strong,” Joshua said. “And when you needed to rest, I was able to do things I can’t do when you’re awake. Maybe if you go completely dormant, I can use my telepathic abilities to help the people.”

Happy smiled, the fog of his despondency lifting. “Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re telepathic. Maybe you can go into their dreams and wake them up from there.”

“I don’t think people dream while they’re in comas. It’s not normal sleep. But maybe I can go into their minds and fix the damage. That would take forever, wouldn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Happy said. “You’d have better luck healing Catholic Yahweh and healing everyone through him.”

Joshua smiled at his figment. It was the best idea he could think of, and they could use their new connection with the GBCE to contact the version of Yahweh believed in by the world’s Catholics and undo the damage they did. He stood up and shouted to the sky, “We’re ready to join you now!”

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A Figment’s Tale part 11

A fireball came at Joshua, Happy Face, and Michelle and exploded against a barrier that Happy hastily constructed. He’d seen the projectile coming from behind Joshua mere seconds before it would have fried them all. But even though he blocked it, it still felt like it singed their skin.

“I’m burning!” Michelle cried.

“The fire wasn’t real,” Happy replied. “Look at your arm. You’re fine.”

Michelle calmed down and looked at her arm. As Happy said, she wasn’t actually burned. As soon as she realized that, the pain stopped as if it had never started. Her relief was short lived, though, because in the middle of her sigh of relief, a terrifying roar shook the trees.

Without even looking up, Joshua said, “And that would have to be a dragon.”

Happy looked and confirmed that it was, indeed, a dragon. It had to be the size of a standard school bus, and it had green scales, red, glowing eyes, and a long mouth filled with dagger-like teeth. Its wings were each as long as the dragon itself, and they flapped with seemingly great power to keep it aloft.

“Is it real?” Joshua asked.

“Of course it’s real!” Michelle yelled. “Just look at–”

“It’s a figment,” Happy interrupted, causing Michelle look at him incredulously. “It can still do damage, though, so let me handle it.”

Happy charged at the dragon and hit it right between the eyes with the force of a nuclear bomb. It sent a shockwave in all directions, causing trees to shake and animals to flee in panic. Joshua and Michelle held their hands to their ears just in time to save their hearing. When they looked up again, they saw Happy standing in the air and no dragon.

“That got rid of it,” Happy said proudly when he rejoined them. “I wonder who sent it.”

“They’re going to have a giant headache,” Joshua said. “Probably not the kind of thing we’ll read in the newspaper though.”

“I know you never invited me to be a part of all this,” Michelle said, “but could you tell me what’s going on now?”

Intending to tell her it was too dangerous, Joshua took his first good look at Michelle and lost the desire to discourage her from being part of his adventure. She didn’t look afraid. She looked excited.

So they explained everything to her. The excited look never left her face as she listened. She didn’t even notice that her friends were on the ground looking for her. Their voices barely reached where she was, but she’d have heard them if she’d been listening.

While Happy was talking about how dangerous their life was, Joshua peeked down and saw Barry walking by. He shouted for Michelle, and Joshua quickly moved his head back.

“Uhh, Michelle?” he said. “Your friends are looking for you. Barry is right down there.”

“Oh yeah, them,” Michelle replied. “I probably should let them know I’m all right. And make sure they’re all right after that dragon attack. I sure hope this is my life now.”

Happy took them down to the ground, and they met up with Michelle’s friends, Barry and Sarah. Michelle told them that it would be dangerous for them to know everything that was going on. Of course, they didn’t accept that, and they asked questions that weren’t answered as they returned to Barry’s Jeep.

“So are you coming back with us?” Sarah asked.

“No, I’m going with them,” Michelle told them

“What?” Barry asked. “You just met this guy. All you know about him is that he has magical powers. He is not the Doctor, Michelle, and you are not Rose Tyler.”

“He’s kinda right,” Happy said.

“What? But I thought you wanted me to come with you.”

“This isn’t about what I want,” Joshua said. “You shouldn’t throw away your life to go on adventures with someone you don’t know. It could be extremely dangerous. What are you studying anyway?”

“Photography,” Michelle told them. “I want to travel the world and take pictures of everything.”

“Why don’t you have a camera now?” Joshua asked.

“Rivers are wet, duh. It’s in the Jeep. Would you mind posing for a picture?”

“I don’t show up in pictures,” Happy said. “Besides, we should probably get going. Keep studying and traveling, Michelle. Maybe we’ll run into you when things have calmed down for us.”

They took off before Michelle had time to yell, “No, wait!” Happy didn’t hold back on the speed, so they were far from Malaysia when they stopped a few minutes later. They sat on top of a cloud above the Indian Ocean, hoping they wouldn’t be interrupted this time.

“I hope I don’t have to beat up Allah now,” Happy said.

“Don’t even think about it,” Joshua replied. “Who knows how many imaginary gods are out there? We’re not god slayers.”

“What are we exactly?” Happy asked.

“Nothing yet. We’re still recovering from your adventure last night. Are you well rested at least?”

“Yeah, I feel pretty good now. I’m glad you’re not mad about leaving Michelle behind.”

“Kinda sad, but not mad. Our life is too dangerous right now to be toting other people around. So what are we going to do about that organization that wants us?”

“Well, the easiest thing to do would be to let them find us and find out exactly what they want. They might have information that we can use.”

“Information about what?”

“Gods, angels, figments, stuff we might encounter out there in the world. Knowing about it could be helpful.”

Joshua thought about it, which was the same thing as talking to Happy about it. He didn’t want to be a lab rat, but Happy would be able to protect him if they tried anything like that. But what if they’re prepared to deal with powerful figments? There was no way they’d be able to subdue a figment as powerful as Happy. But how could they really know what they had in mind?

Figment news

I put out chapters 1 and 2 within a few days of each other, and one mistake that I often make with these things is that I get all gung-ho for a while and then lose my enthusiasm. I want to avoid that and really make this into a thing, because this is a story I’ve been crafting for more than half of my life. So in that spirit, I’ll just be posting new chapters once a week. Chapter 3 is in the works, and it will come out on September 2nd and every Wednesday after that.

Happy reading!