I am proud to say When Mr. Burns Dies contains awesome artwork by artist Mollie Moniaci. This "rough sketch" to the left is my off-the-cuff rendering of Alderhaben. Sorry, but you'll have to peek into the eBook or paperback to see the final draft.
(The setting: Fresh out of college, Edgar is the young man slated to become President of The Faction upon Mr. Burn's death. The two men are sitting in the office and Burns is in the middle of explaining the handlers. The handlers is the small group who will prevent anyone from interfering with the plan.)
"As of right now, we have a total of five handlers.”
“Only five, Sir?”
“Five what we call, 'Normals.' When you consider each of them is as talented as Zin, five is enough, but we still want Zin.”
Burns wondered, as he rose from his chair, if Edgar could hear the ancient-sounding creaks from his bones and joints. While stepping toward the window, he took a long puff from his cigar without realizing the fire had long ago gone out. This time he pinched the cigar between his thumb and index finger and took it out of his mouth.
“Edgar, this next part of the handler's equation you will have to see to truly believe. You'll question, but what I am about to tell you is completely true. The committee knew from its inception we needed an ace in the hole, powers beyond what the handlers called the Normals could provide. We needed something or someone who would be able to overcome anything done to, as you put it, dismantle our movement. As it turned out, we found a few of those aces to add to the army of handlers.”
“Beyond what the Normals could provide? Sir, are you talking about some kind of superhuman? A superhuman made possible by drugs or hypnotism or something?”
When Burns turned to go back to his chair, he swayed to the left. Trying to control his dizziness, he literally fell into his seat.
“Sir, what can I do?”
“I'm sorry Edgar. This is embarrassing. Give me a few moments.”
The black desktop phone on his desk looked to Edgar to be one from the sixties. It had a dial instead of buttons, and a pigtail line that went from the receiver to the wall. Edgar considered that maybe when the train stopped, it was manually connected to an actual outside line; or maybe it was used for communicating in the train only.
When I take over, the smell of ashes will be the first thing to go Edgar thought to himself. His choice of aromas would be buttercream; the comforting scent his mother burned from her own custom-made candles at home.
“I apologize, Edgar.”
Mr. Burns took a deep breath through his nose then slowly out his mouth. “If it's not a seizure it's a damn dizzy spell. It's embarrassing.” Burns paused a few more seconds to calculate whether or not his spell was over. “So if we can find Zin, we'll have six normals. Now comes the part I still find hard to comprehend once in awhile myself. The handful of Paranormals.”
“Far-fetched sounding I know. Let me fully explain."
On April 26th, 2017...
This page was a stop on the Rave Reviews Book Club Springtime Book & Blog Block Party.
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