It’s time for Jesus to attempt his second coming, but linear time progression doesn’t apply to extra-spatial deities, so he ends up coming “again” long before the first time – the Jurassic period. Once he arrives, expecting to see a bunch of human beings who’ve been waiting for him for two millennial seasons, he is surprised to find himself in a weird civilization full of thunder lizards.
Jesus goes into Predator mode, arming himself to the teeth and slaughtering them wholesale, trying to find someone who’s capable of nailing him to a cross so he can get back home, however, dinosaurs don’t have thumbs. What they do have is the “hum,” a magical frequency capable of shaping the world. They have mythical metals. They have a sensible social contract. They have a bizarre, but seemingly decent civilization going.
Mammals however, are the most disgusting, rotten, violent things imaginable, and they seem to be evolving into something worse with the help of a little cosmic power. Something has been providing them with products that shouldn’t be invented for another billion years or so, from the as-seen-on-tv catalog, and they’re taking full advantage of it. Who is behind this forced evolution, and what could they stand to gain? Is heaven full of heroes, or gibbering lunatics?
It’s up to J.C. to set things right and stop the apocalypse and figure out whether the universe really should be run by a bunch of insane deities, or whether it’s better to wipe out heaven and let them sort it all out themselves! Action, adventure, insanity and good ol’ fashioned heresy.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
J.C. cut a swath through the jungle, tearing long drooping tropical leaves from their branches with the lightning swing of his machete. Around him, the lush jungle foliage drizzled down droplets of moisture, covering the jungle floor in a stew of mud, plant matter, and animal droppings. The ground sucked at his right sandal, and he pulled it loose with a distinct pop before re-adjusting it on his filthy foot. What he wouldn’t give for a nice set of combat boots right about now.
He checked his ammunition, tightening his ammo belt and counting by reflex. Fingering the grenades attached to his utility belt, he paused. The sweat dripping down his forehead was stinging his eyes, and the headband tied snugly around his cranium did little to alleviate his suffering.
He would fight on. He’d suffered much worse than this.
The emerald canopy above him shuddered for a moment, and J.C. went into a crouch, pointing the barrel of his massive machine gun upward at an angle. The treetops shifted with the breeze, high above the ground. Had it merely been a change in the direction of the wind? Or was there something moving up there? The feeling of being hunted had been a constant spear in his side since he’d entered this section of the jungle. His pursuers were far behind him, weren’t they? His bright brown eyes scanned the foliage above. If there were eyes in the air, he needed to knock them out of commission before the commotion attracted undue attention.
J.C. unwound a section of his tripwire roll and secured it to a flexible stick lying nearby. He knotted it in the appropriate way, so that it would slide. He then carefully tied it to the rope from his combat pack and, dragging the other end across the mud, quietly moved into cover. His robes allowed him to slip into a large group of ferns relatively unencumbered. As he peered from the bushes, his pupils dilated and he waited, focused like a laser on the small circle he’d made. With one quick motion, he reached down to his side, where his old wound still gaped, pinched a piece of his own flesh, tore it off and tossed it, wincing only a little. It landed dead center in the circle. Almost immediately, his flesh knit itself back together into a nasty, ragged scar, just above his kidneys. He knew that it would always heal, but never truly be right. In situations like this, it was useful to have a body that would re-generate, at least to a certain degree.
The small piece of meat glistened. J.C. focused his attention on his target, but he couldn’t afford to ignore his surroundings. He had to maintain his tension and absorb everything going on around him, otherwise he could be easily overwhelmed with a surprise attack. He didn’t want to test the limits of his regenerative powers between the jaws of some monster, as it crushed him between rows of its dagger-like teeth.
It only took a few moments before there was a crack from above, and a few small twigs fell from the canopy. Giant leathery wings stretched out as the creature burst through the treetops, carrying with it a shadow that swallowed what little sunlight made it through to the ground, and granted the clearing a twilight condition.
Screeching, the monstrous thing dove down and opened its talons. With pinpoint precision, the flying creature snatched the piece of meat, but its talons raked the ground just enough for the supernatural reflexes of J.C. to spy his opportunity. He pulled the rope quickly, causing the loop to close and ensnare the creature’s right foot.
“I have bound thee! Thou shalt not hunt me, for I am the predator, and thou art the prey!” J.C. leapt from the fern he had been perched in and grinned at his prize, but without hesitation, the creature continued its flight path and took off into the air once more. “Oh, no.”
The immense wings flapped and J.C. felt like he was holding onto a tornado. He felt his feet being dragged through the sticky mud, and his shoulder muscles and arms strained trying to keep the creature from taking off. With a squawk of protest, the flying thing turned its pointy head and glared at J.C with beady, mean little eyes. Now, at the end of the rope, it flew in a wobbly circle around J.C. as he desperately tried to wrangle the monster’s weight and power.
“Thou shalt not!” cried J.C. as he flexed his biceps and pulled his arms into his chest, throwing his weight opposite the monster’s flight path, but it did little good, as he felt his sandal catch a rock embedded in the soft ground. J.C. stumbled, losing his sandal somewhere in the filthy muck and fell to his knees awkwardly. The rope slipped through his hands, as he desperately tried to get a grip. Rope burns flared up on either side of the holes through his palms, and he instinctively let go, cursing bitterly. (If he had been ready for things to go awry, and felt particularly reflexive, he might have gained the advantage by tying a bowline knot through one of his palms. However, the last time he’d done that, he’d ended up starting a small robe fire due to the friction, so he was less than enthusiastic about repeating that scenario.)
With a triumphant caw, the leathery flyer soared upward, trailing J.C.’s rope behind it like a mocking tail. J.C. could do nothing but watch, as the creature blasted through the treetops, parting the canopy above, and disappeared into the sky with his only rope.
The gun clicked into position and fired rounds into the sky, as J.C. waved the massive weapon back and forth, screaming. Flocks of tiny lizard-like things exploded skyward, trying to avoid being struck down by a wave of hot metal shards. His temper was usually easy to keep under control. He had been a man of peace, once. Now, he hated the idea that his name might be synonymous with war and destruction, but his boiling point had been reached. He jerked his finger from the trigger and let the gun drop to his side, feeling tears of frustration run down his cheeks. This didn’t feel right. None of this felt right.
He looked down and sadly realized that his sandal was likely to go unrecovered. It had sunk into the foulness somewhere nearby, and the time it would take to find and retrieve it wasn’t a luxury he could afford. Lopsided, with one sandal, rope burns, and an itchy wound knitting itself together at his side, J.C. sighed and muttered to himself. He couldn’t lose focus now, despite this setback. He still had his guns, his ammo, and a large portion of his equipment. Most of all, he had his resolve to find someone capable of helping him get back home and fix this situation before things got worse on a cosmic scale.
No, it definitely was not supposed to be like this. That much was certain.
Listen to Michael Allen Rose speak to Max Booth III on the Ghoulish podcast:
Unpack the respectful blasphemy here with the Matters Of Faith podcast hosted by Jay Wilburn:
Michael Allen Rose is a writer, musician, editor, and performance artist based in Chicago, Illinois. His published books include The Indifference of Heaven, Embry: Hard Boiled (Eraserhead Press), Party Wolves In My Skull (New Bizarro Author Series), and Boiled Americans. His stories have appeared in The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Ghastly Gastronomy, Forbidden Futures, and Tales From The Crust among other anthologies. Support him on Patreon where he releases monthly chapbooks for fans. Having studied theatre in the frozen wastes of North Dakota, Michael’s plays have been produced in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Portland. He hosts the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown at BizarroCon each year, spent time in the conservatory program at Chicago’s famed Second City, and has taken the stage as a burlesque performer. He releases industrial and experimental music under the pseudonym Flood Damage, and contributes to compilations such as Riveting Protest. He lives with an awesome cat, helps his girlfriend make internet porn, and enjoys good tea.
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