SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN is a special serialized novella presented in weekly installments every Saturday. Click here to read chapter 1, click here to read chapter 2, click here to read chapter 3, click here to read chapter 4, click here to read chapter 5, click here to read chapters 6 an 7, click here to read chapters 8 and 9, click here to read chapters 10 and 11, click here to read chapters 12 thru 14, click here to read chapters 15 and 16, click here to read chapters 17 and 18, click here to read chapters 19 thru 21, click here to read chapters 22 and 23, click here to read chapters 24 and 25, click here to read chapters 26 and 27, click here to read chapters 28 and 29, click here to read chapters 30 thru 32, click here to read chapters 33 and 34, click hereto read chapter 35, click here to read chapter 36, click here to read chapter 37, click here to read chapter 38 and click here to read chapter 39.
Elwood slammed his scythe arms into the creatures many mouths, but each time he chopped off a limb, three more grew back in its place until Elwood was complete immobilized by the creature’s slimy tendrils.
The two tumbled through the chaos of the alien entity’s mind as the creature shoved more and more of Elwood’s body into its largest mouth. He was now devoured all the way to his chest.
As a last ditch effort to save himself, Elwood willed himself to catch fire.
The tentacle monster howled in pain and rage as its skin boiled. The flames took on a soft, emerald hue as it burned. But the spots on its flesh that blistered simply turned into new new eyeballs or fangs, not slowing down its consumption of Elwood’s body for even a moment.
After a short time, both of Elwood’s long, sharp arms had been devoured. All that remained of his psychic body was his head and it too was being slowly pushed into the creature’s hideous wet mouth.
“Die now, little man. And stay dead forever,” the mouths of the tendrils said as they pushed his head further into its gullet.
Elwood’s thoughts turned to Kiana as his face was pulverized by squishy tongues and razor fangs. She had to make it to the brain if his plan had any chance of working.
A moment later and his consciousness met oblivion as the starfish-shaped beast swallowed the last of his mushed up brain.
But when he woke, Elwood was not inside the entity’s mental nexus as he’d planned. He was in a brightly lit room. Sterile. Lined front to back with shelving. Bottles and beakers and canisters and boxes cluttered the shelves, all except one which housed nothing but ancient, crumbling texts. The pages of these books were yellowed and crumbling. Some were held together with rope and other bindings.
And in the center of the room lay several medical tables. They were stainless steel as were the walls, the floor and the ceilings. Everything in the room was made of metal.
Even the bodies on the tables.
Robots. The things on the tables were robots.
Their bodies lay in various states of disrepair. Each of them was a different size and shape with vastly different forms, albeit they were all more or less humanoid in construction.
One lacked a head, its neck wires and cables laying down across its chest. Another was missing arms and legs with jagged, charred pieces of metal jutting out from where its multiple appendages should have been. And so on down the line.
These robots looked as though they’d been damaged in some kind of violent conflict. Elwood admittedly had not ever ventured out of Hopp’s county but even on the internet he’d never seen human-like robots this sophisticated outside of science fiction movies. Was he in some sort of secret military lab? Why had he woken up here and not inside the entity’s brain as he’d intended?
The answer burst through the lab’s double doors.
“Lock it! Lock it now! Do not let them inside!”
Two robots rushed inside. The lead robot clutched a large rectangular container to its chest and rushed over to one of the empty medical tables while the other spun around and entered a code into a small numerical panel on the wall, causing a hissing sound as gas escaped from two huge columns of steel which extended from the floor and ceiling, meeting at the middle of the door, presumably sealing it off from whoever the two robots were running from.
The first robot had a head shaped like a hammer. Where its face would have been was large, round and flat. A red light emanated from this circle, subtly changing color when it spoke from speakers in the sides of its head. That head tapered down in the back into a point, giving the head its hammer shape. This robot didn’t have legs. Instead it gained ambulation through a set of two treads, like a tank. Four arms jutted off from its flank, all various different sizes with a multitude of tiny gadgets extending off the end of its limbs where hands would have been on a person, all bound together in a chaotic knot of tubes, wires and cables.
It’s body was draped in ornate robes, but they were tarnished, ripped and covered in oils and fluids of various colors. The robes indicated some kind of royalty or high position in society.
It set the container on the table and manipulated another numerical panel. The panel beeped, causing the robot to curse. It used one of its hand-like instruments to pop the panel loose and zap the circuit board inside, causing the panel to smoke and the locks on either side of the container to release.
“What are you doing, 91765! You can’t open that box! Are you insane?!”
The second robot had an entirely different design. This one was round like a barrel and had six pneumatic legs, three on each side which moved it along. It only possessed two arms ending in claws with four grabbing tips on each hand. Its head was wide, egg shaped and flat on top. It had two yellow glowing eyes in the front of its face which gave it a perpetually surprised look, seemingly matching its personality as it flailed around screaming at the first robot for opening the container.
A long tube filled with some kind of glowing fluid extended from its back and attached to a much smaller robot the size of a small dog. This small robot had 8 legs like a spider and four large stalks on the front of its egg shaped body that glowed the same color green at their tips, indicating eyes of some kind.
This spider-bot rode atop the second bot’s wide shoulders, always scuttling, never sitting still.
“Relax 41789, by the time they get in here, I’ll be finished,” the first robot, the one named 91765 said. “They can do what they want with me. My creation will be free.” It said this last part in a whisper, reverence heavy in its cadence.
“Do what they want with you? I’m in here with you! You never said anything about opening the box! Oh no, oh no, oh no! You fucked me, 917! You fucked me!”
A loud bang rang out as something large smashed into the doors from the outside of the room, accentuating the strange robot’s frantic cries.
41789 scampered over to a set of monitors along the wall to the right of where Elwood stood. Monitors Elwood hadn’t yet noticed in the room. On one screen a mob of robots smashed, scratched and banged against the doors. Elwood was surprised to hear so little of the commotion considering how many robots stood directly outside the laboratory. The walls must have been extremely thick inside. In fact, the bang that had reverberated inside the room had come from a gigantic robot running down the hallway, smashing its enormous bulk into the doors, an act which it performed again as Elwood and 41789 watched the screen.
“They’ll be inside any moment! The penalty for possessing organic material on Alpha-Prime-470421A is DEATH!”
If Elwood hadn’t already figured out he was inside another of the entity’s visions by the existence of the ridiculously technologically advanced robots, or that they utterly ignored him as they went about their business, the fact that Elwood did not truly exist in the same space and time as the peculiar robots was solidified when he looked at the second monitor on the wall.
The camera was obviously stationed away from the compound they sat in now, pointed away from its front doors at any who might approach. A megalopolis loomed on the screen. A titanic city, all made of steel, all the denizens zooming around were self-propelled robots.
Not a tree, a patch of grass or even dirt existed from the gate at the front of the compound to the horizon in the distance. Even the moons hanging in the sky, which were many, were made of metal.
Alpha-Prime-470421A was a metal planet. Elwood knew now, of course, because the entity knew. The knowledge of the planet and the beings inhabiting its surface came to Elwood just as effortlessly as everything else he’d learned about the alien being since his consciousness had been sucked up into its body.
But why was he here? Why now? In the next moments, the answers to those questions played out in front of his eyes in all their brutal and violent glory.
“Stop your whining and get me the book off the shelf, 417! We don’t have time to waste! If I do this right, we won’t have to worry about those backward thinking bots outside!” 917 turned to his accomplice, his face plate glowing bright. In his hands he held a mound of flesh, slowly pulsing.
Its color, black as night. Every beat emanating a soft green glow.
And then Elwood knew exactly why he was there. Why this moment was so important for him to see. This was its beginning. This was the birth of the entity.
Check back next week for chapter 41!