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Hush! . . . its story time.

Two of our reviewers here at Feo Amante, Mike Oliveri and
Brian Keene, have been published in an anthology that no Phan
of the PHANTASM movies should be without.
PHANTASM: OBLIVION is an underground
cult hit sold only on the internet. Published in the last
half of 1999, the book is already into its second printing.
Since we already have plenty of reviews by Mike Oliveri, and Brian Keene, let's wet your appetite
with a newcomer to the pages of Story Time, Richard Elkin.
From the pages of the Don Coscarelli authorized Phantasm SF/Horror anthology,
PHANTASM: OBLIVION, this is

 

Richard Elkin's
Red Planet

PAGE 1 of 4

In the fourth PHANTASM film, PHANTASM: OBLIVION,
it was clearly established that the dimensional forks of the Tall Man could be used for
time travel, as we saw Mike and Jody travel into both the past and the future.
But for what purposes would the Tall Man be using time travel, and
could these portals in time be used as a weapon against him?
The events in the following tale take place immediately following the conclusion of
PHANTASM: OBLIVION.
Witness as Reggie continues his vengeful pursuit of the
Tall Man through the boundaries of time . . .

Reggie could not remember that his friend Mike lay dying upon the hot sands of Death Valley. Nor could he remember the events leading up to his friend's demise, or his decision to pursue the Tall Man through the dimensional fork after he had ripped the gold sphere from Mike's skull.

A vague echo of a memory may have lingered in the back of his mind, but no clear recollections. And it annoyed him, teasing at him. Random visions of nonsensical, nightmarish things he knew he should write off as fragments of a beer sloshed dream from the night before. But still, it bothered him, and being bothered was the last thing in the world Reggie wanted on a beautiful night like this. He was a young man again, sitting behind the wheel of his ice cream truck, looking dapper in the white pants and shirt, black leather vest and bow tie of his ice cream vendor apparel. The summer night breeze toyed with his ponytail and the canned jingle from the truck tickled his ears.

He felt good, too. His body and mind were free of the aches and scars from the battles with the Tall Man that had yet to happen. He had returned to a time of innocence where all was right with the world.Or was it?As he slowly cruised the empty downtown streets, Reggie caught sight of a solitary young boy standing near the street. He knew who it was instantly, as it was his routine to let his friend Jody's little brother Mike ride along with him on his route. Reggie pulled the truck aside, allowing Mike to climb aboard as he had hundreds of times in the past. This time, though, Reggie could not shake the feeling, however elusive, that something was out of place.

Something was terribly wrong.

As they drove, Reggie became increasingly anxious. He thought he could hear a voice beckoning to him on the breeze. "Did you hear something?" he asked his fourteen year old passenger.

After a long moment of silence, Mike finally responded, "It's just the wind . . . It's just the wind."

There was a distance and uncertainty in the boy's voice that did not suit his usual headstrong, confident demeanor.

Reggie slowed the truck, eventually bringing it to a complete halt alongside the curb. He then flipped a switch on the small metal box mounted at the top of the windshield frame. The canned ice cream jingle cut off into silence. Mike turned to face Reggie, a blank expression upon his face. "Why did you turn the music off?" Mike asked.

"I dunno," Reggie replied cautiously. "Do you want me to turn it back on?"

"Yeah. I like it."

Reggie stared at Mike incredulously.

"You like it?" he asked. "Well, gee, that's funny, Mike, because you never liked that shit before. In fact, every day before now you used to beg me to shut it off."

Mike said nothing and continued to stare at Reggie.

Out of the corner of his eye, Reggie caught a glimpse of a single figure moving in the darkness ahead, just outside of the range of his truck's headlights. It was a man, tall and lanky, with a gold chrome sphere in his hands.

Turning to focus on the figure ahead and identifying him instantly, Reggie's mind snapped back into crystal lucidity. The spell had been broken. The memories had returned in force.

"Oh, shit," he cursed under his breath. He began to quickly search the cab of the truck, reaching behind and under the seats. His trusted four-barreled, 'dwarf killer' shotgun was nowhere to be found, even though he was sure he had it with him when he left Mike behind in the desert to hunt the Tall Man.

The effigy of the young Mike sitting next to Reggie had also shifted his gaze towards the tall figure crossing the street in the distance ahead of them. Though no sound came from the boy's mouth, Reggie watched as his lips formed a single word: "Father."

Horrified, Reggie tumbled out of the truck, landing clumsily on the pavement below. Quickly rising to his feet, he dashed toward the back of the truck, only to stop suddenly as the sounds of growling and rapidly scurrying feet presented themselves.

Reggie turned again and began to sprint up the street ahead of him. After getting about fifty feet from the vehicle, he again froze in his tracks as the Tall Man casually walked into his path. The beam of the headlights glanced off the highly polished surface of the sphere in his hands, reflecting light upon his face and giving it an even more ghostly pallor than usual.

Properly armed, in this situation Reggie would have considered his odds of survival to be decent. Unarmed, and surrounded by the Tall Man, a sphere and a potential army of dwarves, there were virtually no odds to speak of.

"You've got something I want, asshole!" Reggie shouted at the approaching figure. What the hell, he figured, reflecting on the boldness of his statement. He sincerely doubted he could piss off the Tall Man any more than he had already.

The Tall Man stopped his advance, a hint of a smile tracing his face as he stared at the ice cream vendor in the not-so-distant distance. One of his eyes squinted malevolently as he sized up his opponent. He then lifted the sphere and held it aloft in front of him, challenging Reggie to come forward to try to take it from him.

"Is this what you are looking for, small man?" the undertaker's voice boomed. "I'm afraid that this is all that's left of your friend."

Reggie shook his head. "You're wrong. He's right back there."

Reggie turned to look back at the truck. It, along with the effigy of Mike, was gone, as was the street he had just driven up and the storefronts he had just passed. Only complete darkness and a dimensional fork remained in the spot where the truck was parked. The idling of the engine had now become the dull hum of the energy flowing through the chromed fork.

And still, there was the horrendous sounds of the dwarves, looming ever nearer.

Reggie returned his gaze to the Tall Man before him. The street and buildings ahead had also vanished, leaving the two men standing in the blackened void of oblivion.

"I wish to make you an offer, ice cream man," the Tall Man said sharply, his partially closed eye snapping open for emphasis. "You have become an increasingly annoying . . . inconvenience to me, and I no longer wish to include you in my games."

Reggie chuckled nervously. "Yeah? Well, just give Mike back to me and we'll call it even, okay?"

The Tall Man smiled and lovingly cradled the sphere in his hands, like a pet.

"I am willing to place you back at the time in your history before you encountered me. You will be reunited with your friends and family, and you will never see me again. I will have only been a nightmare which fades with the morning light."

"No way," Reggie replied, shaking his head. "I'm on to your tricks. Nothing you deal in is real. The Mike I was just with, the truck, everything around us . . . it was all bullshit. No, I want something real, not your sick little fantasies. I want that ball you're holding."

The Tall Man's smile diminished.

"The vessel is not yours to take, fool. It is mine. He is mine. I have waited a very long time for this boy." He relinquished his grip on the sphere and it gently hovered near his shoulder. "Perhaps you would like to see a demonstration of his loyalty to me?"

Three serrated, pronged blades sprang forth in unison from the body of the sphere as it took flight towards Reggie.

Screaming, the balding man turned and sprinted for the nearby dimensional fork. The fork was Reggie's only means of escape from the lethal sentinel closing in rapidly from behind and the large cluster of dwarves which, he knew, were waiting for him somewhere in the darkness.

'Only twenty steps more,' he thought, 'and I'm free.'

The persistent whine of the marauding gold sphere had reached a fever pitch, its tone drowning out the hum of the fork which was practically within Reggie's grasp. He resisted the temptation to turn and see how close the sentinel was to him, fearing that as soon as he would turn, the razor sharp blades would be burrowed deep in his skull.

'Almost there!' His mind screamed.

No sooner had he finished that thought than a small, brown sleeved hand shot from the darkness, grabbing his ankle and tripping him to the hard blackness under his feet. Instantly, the dwarf was upon him, savagely clamping its rows of sharpened teeth into the Achilles tendon of Reggie's right foot. Mind-numbing pain swept through his body, yet he did not cry out. He continued to struggle towards the fork.

Adjusting its trajectory towards its fallen target, the sphere arced downward sharply, slamming itself into the soft, corrupted flesh of the dwarf attacker's back. The force of the impact brutally pried the misshapen figure from Reggie's damaged leg, allowing him a precious moment to muster enough strength to plunge headfirst through the portal.

 

Go To Page 2


Phantasm
RED PLANET
is Copyright 1999 by Richard Elkin and is published in feoamante.com and Feo Amante's Story Time with his permission.

Richard also writes under the psuedonym, Richard Dean.
Visit him at
Phantasm/Secrets

MySpace.com/DarkeProse


This page copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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