Previously in RESUME GOD: Carl McCall is an unemployed graphic designer in desperate need of a job. Unfortunately, he’s got another draw on his time… being the supreme being of the microuniverse of Nataal!


Part Two (of Nine)

Down, down, down… into the world within fell Carl McCall, god of Nataal.

For a shining moment, Carl was one with the world. It was tempting to stay that way, but Carl knew that merely being a spirit aloft did no one any good. Being a supreme being came with responsibility.

Carl used his momentary omniscience to give Nataal a quick once-over. All was not well. Corruption, like an infected sore, broke up the beauty of the land.

Kaerbanus, Carl thought with a similar vitriol he usually reserved for the Dallas Cowboys. The Invader Realm.

Isolating the area, Carl focused his consciousness there. The world grew around him, becoming more real around him even as his connection to it faded. Incarnation wasn’t all it was cracked up to be; it was impossible to take full form in the world and still maintain control over everything. Carl formed a body dense enough to protect him from most harm and kept a string of control over natural forces in a ten yard radius. When he first visited Nataal, he could barely keep enough of a toehold to divinity to pull himself out. At least now he was able to choose how he appeared to his people.

He had put himself together on the top of a small woodhill, soft wildcrystals in elliptical clumps in the mead at his feet. The valley below should have been gently arcing dunes of green, but instead a wide red chasm shimmered with malevolence, the edges of it contorting and warping… here leaking lava like animated pus, there acrid smoke making unnatural and impossible polygons in the air.

Carl didn’t want to get too close. Without his full power, the perverting nature of Kaerbanus’ dimensional nature would affect him just as much as anyone on Nataal. Looking around himself, he made certain no one was there to see. The hill was empty. Steeling himself with a cinematic tooth gritting, he began racing down towards the wound in the world.

As he drew closer, he could feel the wrongness in his gut. Just because the red road ran along the valley ground didn’t mean that it was the only part being changed. The air had the smell of burned popcorn. That was easy enough, at least.

Carl reached out with his mind along the conduit that connected him to the winds, and at his command breezes sprung up behind him. He ordered them to surround the Kaerbani rift. Out with the bad air, Carl thought.

A few minutes of that and the valley was finally a little less nauseous. Carl checked his watch. It wasn’t really a watch, but he kept a tiny thread of power on his wrist that allowed him to mark the passage of time. Time in Nataal moved at the same rate as time on earth, and he needed at least two hours back at home to get enough housework done to look productive for the day. At least this time the incursion wasn’t an attack.

As soon as he thought it, he winced. It wasn’t that his god-power would seize upon the stray thought and make it happen… it was that sheer bad luck would.

And, of course, it did.

Watching a Kaerbani come through a rift was kind of like wearing 3-D glasses on your brain. Two images somehow blended into one as the thing seemed to rush forward without actually moving. Only once it had slid into phase with Nataal did the thing actually begin to advance. Then another. Then another.

Carl knew from experience protecting Nataal that he couldn’t let the Kaerbani leave the valley. Nataal’s beauty came from a careful balance and even one loose Kaerbani soldier could do irreparable damage to that.

Reaching out, a wooden staff spawned from the woodearth responded by flying into Carl’s hand. At least his father had taught him to fight, though Carl found it easier to apply his martial arts training rather than the fencing that had been the elder McCall’s forte.

The staff was able to keep the Kaerbani at bay. Carl drew enough energy from his connection to Nataal to enhance his strength and speed, making him more than able to put down one monstrosity after another. Like ninjas, the Kaerbani followed mook chivalry, never attacking more than one or two at a time, despite the numbers flowing through the rift. Carl figured that was due more to a lack of need than a lack of intelligence; usually only one or two Kaerbani were necessary to overwhelm Nataalian tribesmen.

Finally, the last of the Kaerbani soldiers fell to Carl’s tai chi workout mastery. Commanding the earth to seal up over the dwindling breach took another two hours of work. Even expelling a small incursion like this was like trying to cough up mucus from deep inside your lung… it was not only irritating, but it was pretty disgusting as well. Finally, though, the job was done. Carl checked his watch. It was five-fifteen.

“Crap,” he said aloud, and with mental focus born of total panic, he dispersed the body he was in and his consciousness raced to expand back home. He awoke inside his body, achy from hours spent in the giant chair.

“Hey honey,” Mindy smiled at him covering her worried resignation so well that it took a husband to see it. “Did you get good work done today?”

To be continued…

© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.

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