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Fantasticoe 1998 Contents
 
The Balance

Bret Scheidenhelm

 
     "Tom! Tom, I need you to come over. I can't open my pills."

     "Mom, can't you ask one of the neighbors?"

     "No, they're not here. Just take the train and come over. NOW!"

     "Yes mom." Tom grumbled as he put the phone back on the cradle. His gasped as his feet hit the cold floor. "Why do I always have to do everything for that lady? God, she can't do anything for herself." Tom kicked himself for not getting an apartment on the light side near his mothers'. Now he'll have hurry so he could take the train. He grabbed his stuff and headed for the door.

     The artificial lighting of the train made his head hurt. The clicky-clack of the tracks almost put him to sleep. The ride only took ten minutes. He got off at the second stop on the light side. Why does it have to be so damn cold. He made it to the apartment and found his mom hitting a bottle of pills with a hammer. Of course even if she would have hit it a thousand times, it wouldn't have even cracked it. She looked almost as if she were moving in slow motion. Tom walked over and gapped the pills.

     "Damn it mom, these aren't the pills you take at night. What in the hell is wrong with you? I hate this. You need to find someone else to take care of this shit."

     "Watch your mouth young man. I don't want to have anyone else. I won't have anyone else. I gave you a roof over you head for more then 20 years you can help me know."

     "Yeah whatever. Anything else."

     "No, honey."

     Tom ran out before she could give him a kiss. "I just can't take this much longer." On the train ride home he held his head in his hands. His face was alive with rage. He just couldn't keep taking care of his mom. He felt sorry for her, but at the same time he wished she would just die.

     "Are you alright?"

     "Fine," Tom said not bother to move his head.

     "Come on, tell me about it."

     "Sure why the hell not, I have to take care of my age old mom who can't do anything for herself and who is constantly calling me for dumb stuff at all hours of the night. The worst part is she lives of the light side and I have to ride over there all the time." Tom couldn't see the small smile that drifted across the other mans lips.

     "Well, when I've been taking care of my mom, and the doctor told me to give her these and it would calm her down. They really help." At this Tom looked up. The other man had short dark hair and was dressed in a nice suit and coat.

     "What is it," Tom asked as he grabbed for the bottle.

     "I'm not really sure, but you can buy it over the counter, so it can't really hurt. Tom was willing to try anything.

     "How can I repay you."

     The man smiled and said, "You don't need to worry about that, just give those to your mom, and everything will work out fine."

     Tom was about to ask about the smile, but it was his stop so he had to leave.

     "Thanks again."

     The next day bright and early, Tom was over at his mother's house. He cooked her breakfast and slipped the pills into her eggs. He knew that she wouldn't take them, so he had to be a little sneaky. He smiled as he watched her eat. "Maybe I do belong on the dark side after all," he thought. Tom left the apartment very disappointed. The pills seemed to have no effect at all. He then went back to his apartment for a nap and to enjoy his day off. About three hours later he got a call. It was his mother and she said that she needed him right now. Tom swore to himself, but he didn't have anything else to do, so he hailed a cap and rode over to the light side. When he got to the door, his mother jumped on him. His mother was naked as the day she was born so many years ago. The years hadn't been kind.

     "What the hell is wrong with you!?!"

     "I told you I need you now, give your mom a kiss. I want you in me!" His mother came after him again. She backed him into a corner. "Come on, don't you like my body." Tom shivered to look at the wrinkled, sagging, veiny flesh that covered his mom's body. She began to advance on him. He failed his arms for something to ward off his mother with. He grabbed the first thing that found it's way into his hand. It was a large snow dome with two kids in it and a heavy ceramic base. He brought it down hard on her head. That stopped her dead in her tracks. It stopped her too well. She slumped to the ground as her blood stained the rug and pooled on the floor.

     "Now that's something you don't see every day," he muttered as he looked down at his mother's dead naked body. He dropped the dome and it smashed on the floor. Tom grabbed his mom by the hair and drug her to the bath room. He hefted his dead, naked bleeding mother into the bathtub. He'd read Tess of the D'Ubervilles, he didn't want the blood to drip through the floor, and stain the ceiling of the people below him. He knew to take steps so we wouldn't get caught. The next step was to get rid of the body. Tom was impressed he was thinking so clearly. In fact, he don't think he ever thought so clearly. Tom then stripped the close off that were stained with blood and put on some that were left from his father. He then went back to the bathroom to see if his mom was still in fact dead. She was, so he moved on to the next step in his spur of the moment plan. He walked down to the basement of the building and dug though the piles of junk until he finally found what he was looking for.

     He walked back up the stairs, hiding his new found friend under his arm. Upon returning to the room, he went straight to the bathroom. He took the rusted axe out from under his coat. He'd read Crime and Punishment too.
 

     "Cane."

     "Cane," the voice came from the answering machine.

     "UHGHG." The groan came from under a pile of blankets and clothes on top of the bed. Cane snaked his hand out of the pile and grabbed the phone. "What," Cane slurred "What is it. What time is it, hell, what damn day is it?"

     "We've got bigger problems then your hangovers today Cane. We need you down here right now. Get off your ass and get down here." Cane slammed the phone down and pulled himself out of bed.

     "Why the hell is it so God damn cold here." He walked to the kitchen flipped on the radio and went to get a cup of coffee.

     "In new news, there's been a brutal murder on the light side. It occurred late last night. It seems that an elderly woman was hacked to pieces, put in a wooden box and pushed into the river. The body was found on the dark side. Reports are still sketchy at best, but the women's son is being sought for questioning."

     Cane slammed his hand on the radio and turned it off.

     "Just what I need." He went to fill the coffee pot with water, but on picking it up he found it full of a foul smelling combination of old coffee and mold. "Can this day get any worse." Cane put the pot back in the cradle and went back to his bed room. Actually the kitchen and bedroom, and the rest of the apartment were all in the same room. Cane slipped his black boots on. In the inside each one, he slipped his trusty knives. Each were serrated until the last half inch which curved upwards slightly. Each was about five inches long and they folded into black handles. The right knife had no point on the tip. He left that in some one's chest long ago. He then strapped his shoulder holster on. He always felt like he was hog tying himself when he put this thing on. He reached his hand under the pillow and pulled out his "hand cannon." Some people said that he was paranoid, but in his line of work, he couldn't afford not to be. His gun was a rather large desert eagle 350, actually it was over regulation length, but his captain said that if he kept doing his job he could keep it. The gun slid into place in the worn leather hostler. Cane always felt naked without his gun, or his knives for that sake. He grabbed his keys and headed for the door.

     "Damn it Cane where have you been?"

     "Hey, sorry Chief, my car just couldn't hit light speed this morning."

     "Oh look, we've got a regular comedian over here, why don't you take you're show on the rode. Hey, guess who's working the murder case. Ding Ding Ding, that's right the one and only Cane."

     "Thanks Chief.

     "It is my pleasure. Oh, by the way, we're working with the dark siders on this one since they found the body, so watch your step."

     "Hey, that's just what I need today. Aren't you glad Heaven and Hell were so gracious as to revile themselves to us."

     "Oh yeah I thank my lucky stars every day."

     Cane grabbed the address, a cup of coffee, and was gone.

     It has been forty-five years since Heaven and Hell came to Earth. It was the year 2000. It was said that many believed the world would end. Some believe it did. God, and Satan came to Earth they both started to take control of the people. It wasn't like any thought it would be. Fundamentalist Christians every where killed themselves because they thought it was the end. The ones who didn't were upset by the way things turned out. It wasn't the judgement day of Revelations. The population was split between the two, because as you know, the forces of good and evil need to stay in balance. Satan offered money to the poor and happiness to the rich. God offered the people not Earthly pleasure but rather eternal salvation. For there was still an afterlife. The big question now is why they came here. Some think that they want to get souls for the final battle, others think they were just bored. Weird things have happened since they came. Some people have strange powers. Most of these people were driven insane by them. One of the strangest things that happened is technology hit a dead halt the day they came. No one really knows why. Everything is as it was that fateful day.

     Cane went to the murder site. He didn't learn very much. In fact the officers didn't learn anything at all. The only prints were that of the old ladies, and the son's. There were no signs of forced entry. The best bet was that the son had killed her. Cane then went to Tom's apartment. He didn't find out too much there either. He wasn't home, and it didn't look like he was coming back any time soon. The place was torn apart. Some one had left in a hurry.

          Cane walked thought he doors of the dark side police station for the first time in a long while. He walked straight through the maze of desks to the Chief's office. He didn't look around, he looked straight ahead.

     "Hey Cane, how's your dad?" The call came from a desk a few paces to the left. The man didn't know what hit him. With amazing speed, Cane was upon him. All that people could see was the swirl of the long black coat that Cane wore. The man spilled his coffee as Cane grabbed him in a choke hold. Pressing against the jerk's neck was the blade of one of his knives. Cane slowly slid the knife over the man's throat, not cutting him, but pressing just hard enough for it to hurt.

     "What was that, Huh. Because I heard 'Hey Cane, you're a really great guy'. Is that what you said? Shake your head for yes, but don't shake it too much, or your nice clean shirt will be soaked with blood." The man slowly nodded his head. "Good, I thought you would see it my way."

     "Cane! Get in here." Came the cry from the office. Cane flipped the knife back into the handle and put it back into his boot.

     "Dick Head" The man said ever so softly. Cane heard it, slipped his foot under one of the chairs legs and kicked up, hard. This sent the guy spilling over backwards. Cane didn't even lose a step. The man jumped up with murder in his eyes.

     "Sit Johnson." The man slowly picked up his chair and sat down.

     Cane walked the rest of the way to the office without incident. The crack about his father was a huge insult, but not entirely unexpected. He had no father. It's not that he didn't know his father, he had none. His mother was impregnated by a medicine man. To her grave she swore that the man never touched her but rather that he made Cane with his Shaman magic. Cane believed her. There were many things special about him. One was that he was born on the very day that heaven and hell came to Earth, but that he doesn't age like others. He looks like a twenty-five year old instead of a forty-five year old. The most obvious is the fact that his body was covered with birth marks. They were tiny silver/white specks. You couldn't see them in the light unless you really tried. But when he focused his mind, or when a true native of heaven of hell was near they shown like the stars in the sky. In fact, that's what they were. Cane had the entire galaxy on his body. When he was a kid he would focus his mind so that the other children could play connect the dots, or even find the constellations, but he was caught by his mother and severely punished. She always told him not to make his powers trivial.

     Cane sat down across from the Chief of Dark Side Police.

     "I hope that wasn't too much trouble out there."

     "Not at all, I think he learned a little lesson."

     "Well, lets get down to task at hand. What have you found out so far." Cane filled him in on the information.

     "You're turn, what did you find out from the body."

     "Well, the skull was fractured by a heavy object. Most likely the snow dome you mentioned. The body was found naked, but there were no signs of rape. The body was neatly cut up into cracker sized pieces and placed in a wooden box.

     "Very funny."

     "Sorry, just a little humor." That's all we know. I think we're both pretty sure that the son is the killer. I think we should focus on energy on finding him. Full scale media attention on both sides of the line." Cane nodded his head. Something didn't feel right.

     "Right, I'll get right on it. Let's keep in touch with any new developments." They both stood and shook hands. Cane then left the building. People watched him go, but no one said a word.

     Cane had a full day and it was time to get some rest. He went back to his place to catch a quick nap before he went back to work. He woke up at seven the next morning, still dressed in his clothes. He couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. The phone had been taken off the hook and all the lights were on. He looked for his gun, but it wasn't under the pillow. He walked slowly into the kitchen to find a nice breakfast prepared for him. There was also a note.

     I hope you slept ok. I mixed a little something in your snack that would let you get the sleep you so deserve. I hope that you don't mind. The breakfast is for when you wake up. Oh, your boss called a lot, he sounded really mad. Anyway, you might want to get back to him before you get fired. You know, you've been awful tired lately. I think you should really let someone else handle this case.

     Cane didn't have one clue as to who wrote this note, but he knew one thing for sure, he had been drugged, and it seemed like it was to get him away from the case. The note was signed with a kiss in deep red lip stick. He took another look at the breakfast and tossed it out the window. He called his boss.

     "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN. I'VE BEEN CALLING YOU FOR THREE DAYS. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU."

     "Chief, calm down, I was drugged. How long did you say I was out?"

     "THREE DAYS."

     "Shit, what has happened. Let me guess, something bad."

     "You're a regular genius. There are four more murders. All on the light side. All with the same m.o. as the old women. The dark side cops have been working with us. Tom's finger prints are all over the place. Most of the bodies have been found. Each cut up and each in a box. People are scared Cane, its almost mass hysteria out here."

     "Look Chief, something isn't right with this case. Someone doesn't want me to get to close. I'll be down as fast as I can."

     At the station, Cane went through all the evidence. Tom's finger prints were found all over the bodies and the apartments. Each elderly women was raped and then cut up. It seemed that the same axe was used.

     "This doesn't make any sense. Tom wasn't a serial killer, he knocked off his mom so he wouldn't have to take care of her. Look, he didn't rape his mom, but the others were all raped. It just doesn't add up." Cane looked up at the Chief who was also going through all the evidence.

     "I know. People are demanding justice. Even light siders want him dead. We need to find him before the dark siders."

     "What did you say?" Cane face was a mask of horror.

     "I said that we need to find him first."

     "No, before that."

     "I said even people who live on the light side want him dead."

     "That's it. The balance, don't you see. He wants to upset the balance. He wants to turn the sides against each other. He set this up so that both sides will fight."

     "What?"

     "Look, there's no time. If we find him, just make sure to protect him. I've got to go."

     Cane grabbed his coat and ran out of the building. One difference between the light and dark sides law is that the dark side will kill and torture, while the light side focuses more on rehabilitation. He got to his car, but the tires had all been slashed. He wheeled around looking for who did this. He saw some one dressed in black fly around a corner.

     "Freeze!" Cane knew that wouldn't work, but it was regulation. He was already running before the words got out of his mouth. He didn't seem to be making any ground on the perp. He caught another glimpse on him in an alley. Cane drew his gun and went after him. Cane was in luck, the ally was long, and he could see the perp. The guy was dressed in what looked like black body armor. "I hope you have armor on the back of you knee dick head" Cane thought as he squeezed the trigger. His gun spoke. The bullet flew toward the guy in black, and caught him in the calf. A little low, but still a disabling shot. The man went down. Cane ran after him. Cane was close, when the thing lashed out. It hit Cane full in the chest knocking him five yards backward. Cane landed in a pile of garbage, opening his eyes just in time to see the thing run away. He pushed himself up and wiped his head with his hand. It was then that he noticed the stars on his flesh were bright. "Great, demons just what I need."

     Cane walked out of the alley and started looking for a cab to get to the dark side, he had a person he needed to see. The only car Cane could see was a taxi, luckily it was coming his way. He brought his badge out of his pocket and held it up. The cab stopped, and Cane hopped in. In the back seat there was a man with a nice suit and coat and short black hair.

     "Sorry buddy, but we'll be taking this cab to the dark side. Police business."

     "No problem Sir, I was going there anyway." Cane sat back and let out a long sigh. "So, you're a cop, are you working on finding that serial killer?"

     Cane opened one of his eyes and looked at the man. "Yeah, I am."

     "Oh, so how close are you guys away from catching this psycho?" There was a sharp ringing from the mans coat. He pulled out a nice cellar phone. It was a Simon.

     "Ah good," The man said with a small smile. "Keep up the good work." The man closed the phone and put it back in his pocket.

     "I thought they only sold Simon cellar to other countries?"

     The man smiled again. "Lets just say that the owner and I are very close."

     Cane was about to ask when the driver came to a stop. Cane got out of the car and looked back.

     The man rolled down the window. "Um, Sir, what's wrong with your skin?" Cane's stars were glowing brighter then he had ever seen it. "A word to the wise Cane. Stay away, Stay far away."

     The cab rolled away. Cane stood there, his mouth hanging open. "Holy shit, I think I just met the devil." Cane shook the thought from his head and went to look for his friend. He went straight to the large house on the corner. He knocked on the door and was let in by a servant. He was known here. The man Cane wanted to see came slowly down the stairs.

     "Oh, no, I'm not telling you anything."

     "Really?"

     Cane lunged at the man and grabbed him. He dragged him upstairs, looking for a room that was dark and tossed the man in. He then removed his shirt, picked the man up so they were on eye level and then focused. The man saw the stars on Cane begin to grow intense. They became bright, and then they started to slowly move.

     "No, stay away." His voice was small and weak, like that of a hurt child. His request did no good. The stars slowly began to move. They began to wrap around him. The man couldn't see anything but stars. He looked all around, but could see nothing but the silver/white stars. For a moment, he couldn't feel anything. He was floating with all the stars, then he was shocked back into this world. Both Cane and the man instantly vomited on the floor. Cane hit the floor hard. He spit, shook his head and stood up.

     "Sorry about the floor thanks for the info." He got the information he needed. Cane found the ability to probe people's minds very helpful in his line of work. Tom was in the hands of the dark side police. They set up the clues to frame him. He had only killed his mother, not the others.

          Cane ran out the door and headed for the dark side police department. He had to get Tom out of there, before all hell broke loose. Tom was in luck. There was a subway that ran near the station. Cane couldn't sit still the whole way there. It took four stops to get the station. On the second stop two men in long trench coats got on.

     "God can't Satan find some one a little less cliche," Cane thought to himself. These guys were right out of some movie. They had "thug" written all over them. Cane got off at his stop and tried to lose himself in the crowd. He ducked around some beams and shot up some stairs. After losing his tails, he headed for the lock up. It was a tall building next to the station. Dusk was falling as Cane crept around the building. Two guards stood at the back door. Cane was glad that he hadn't tried the front door.

     "Excuse me gentlemen, can you point me toward Tom Derilick's cell?"

     "Just who the hell do you think you are?" The two men started to walk toward him with hate in their eyes. Cane caught the first with a upper cut to the stomach. Grabbing hold of that guards arm, he landed a side kick to the other mans side. He flipped the first man who landed hard on his back. The second man was amazed by Cane's quickness. In fact, he was so amazed he didn't see the punch coming toward his face. After that he didn't see very much of anything for an hour or two. Cane ran up the stairs as fast as he could. Suddenly a smell stopped him dead in his tracks. It was the smell of gun powder. Cane pulled the gun from his holster and pulled cocked the cannon. He reached the highest floor were Tom was being held. He slowly made his way to the door. He pushed it open and crept in. The level was one straight hallway with cells lining each side. There were two men standing in front of one of the cells. One was holding out a gun with a silencer. The other man took one more drag off a cigarette and tossed it in the cell. Cane could have killed both right then, and if they would have walked his way, he would have. The men left out the other door. Cane ran to the cell and hit his head on the bars when he saw Tom in a pool of his own blood. The sound made a sound like a church bell.

     "That was a good idea Cane." Speaking out loud was a good idea too. All of a sudden all the people there started yelling. "What a day." The men burst from the other door, that was their office. They came out, saw Cane and started firing. Cane was a easy target, there were bright points of light all over his body. Cane throw himself toward the door. The bullets were shot in hast, and didn't come even close to the target. The bullets smashed into the wall, one even hit a prisoner. Cane rolled over and returned fire. His bullets were better aimed, but still not on target. The large gun sent the bullets screaming towards the dark siders. The bullets took huge chunks out of the wall. While the two men dove for cover, Cane made it the rest of the way to the door. He pulled himself on his feet and bolted down the stairs. It couldn't have been more then ten seconds before the two men were on his trail. One came after him and the other shot at him. One of the shots nailed the railing Cane was gripping. Cane throw his legs over the railing and slung his body to the next set of stairs. While in air, he took one shot at the man shooting. The gun filled the hallway with thunder. The shot hit the man who was leaning over the railing. The man flew backwards, he wouldn't be shooting any one again.

     The other man was screaming for the guards to get off their asses and get this guy. Cane was almost to the ground floor when the back door flew open and one of the guards came through. Cane took the last set of stairs in one leap. He crouched when he hit the ground and went for his knife. He flung himself at the guard bringing the knife up fast. The knife made a huge gash in his wrist. The man went to grab his wrist, but Cane slammed him against the wall. Cane pushed his gun right up against the man's wrist and pulled the trigger. The large gun blew the rest of the guard's hands off. Cane then slammed his fist into the man's face.

     Cane shoved the hand in his pocket and bolted toward the door. He hit the street and never looked back. He ran for what seemed like forever. When he was a safe distance away he caught a cab. He hopped in the cab and the door closed behind him. He looked around and realized it was too late to get out of the car. In the driver seat's was the man who Cane shared a cab with before (not to mention the man who gave the pills to Tom). In the seat next to him sat a huge hulk of a man. Cane started to go for his gun.

     "I wouldn't do that Cane. I wouldn't want my associate here to blast you before we're ready to ditch your body. You see, you are the one who killed Tom. They'll find your body in the river that separates light and dark side. The dark side will think the light side set you and be pissed off. The dark side will be pissed that they didn't get to carry out the sentence. The balance will be upset and the two will fight. And that's what I live for. Cane sat back and closed his eyes. The stars began bright and started to swell. They filled the cab. That's a lie, the star's replaced the cab. "Simple tricks and magic won't save you now Cane."

     "I know, but it did distract you." With his right hand he drew is gun and with is left his knife. The bullet eradicated the thug's face, and the knife found its way into the driver's neck. The stars disappeared suddenly and all the riders of the car filled the car with vomit. The car swerved out of control and slammed into a tree. Cane slowly pulled himself out of the broken cab. He wanted to get out of there. Cane knew he couldn't kill the devil, but that didn't work the other way around. Cane might have knocked him out, but he would be after him soon. Cane stumbled ahead. He could see light side and used all his strength to get there. Once he got across the river into light side, he caught another cab. Actually he commandeered one. He knew he would get his ass chewed for that, but he didn't care. He took his new car to each of the crime scenes. He used the hand to plant some finger prints in obscure places. He then went back to his place for some much deserved rest. Before he went to sleep he made a call to his chief.

     The next day he woke late in the afternoon. Upon opening his door he found a package. It contained the head of the man Cane had extracted Tom's were about's from and a note.

     Nice job Cane. It's not often I'm beaten. I'm proud of you. If you ever want a job, don't hesitate to call. The balance is safe, for now. You're friend from the cab.

     The man who Cane had mind probed wasn't really a man. He was an angel who's greed drove to the dark side. The angel had a high ranking job in the dark side police department. He was a good source of information. Cane would miss him. He flipped on the radio and went to get a cup of coffee.

     "New development on the old women killings. A light side police chief has found new evidence. It seems that a corrupt cop on the dark side framed Tom for the murders. The dark side police claim the officer worked on his own, and that they had nothing to do with the murders."

     Cane laughed as he turned the radio off. He picked up the coffee pot and saw the mix of mold and old coffee.

     "Damn, I really need to clean this thing." He put the pot back and went to work.



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