~ EL HEAD ~




EL HEAD, THE BUGLE MAN, THE LITTLE BOY,
AND THE BIG LIZARD
Dennis E. Power


THE EL HEAD HOMEPAGE

SECTION TWO   SECTION THREE
  SECTION FOUR   SECTION FIVE   SECTION SIX


~ SECTION ONE ~

Transcription of statement given by Eiko Barnes, a patient of Dr. Hermann Blodgett.
While undergoing past lives therapy in April of 1992 Mrs. Barnes related the following anecdote.


My name is Poul Ichabod, I am a disembodied head which remains in a state of half life. I have been known by several names throughout my long half life, the most prevalent being ,El Head, El Cabezo Diablo and El Jefe. Until the mid twenties I was not certain as to what had caused my condition. I had a general idea of what the substance was called but not of its properties or effects on human tissue. It was radium, that same substance used in modern medicine yet which turned the beautiful Madame Curie into the Vampire Queen of Paris. I was one of the first known freaks caused by radium, at least one of the freaks whose direct cause can now be traced back to radium.

I and four others became blood brothers in the American West when we found gold in a Nevada valley in 1870. This valley was so permeated with radium and uranium that all the dirt, grass, water, air and even the gold in that valley was radioactive. This radiation had a swift and permanent mutagenic effect on us. The sharing of blood was also key to our transformation because one of our number was suffering from mercury poisoning, a factor which affected his blood and ours when the mercury mixed with the radioactive dirt.

My partners attempted to kill me, leaving me a disembodied head with a dismembered and slowly decaying corpse. I had to drag my corpse around with me wherever I went until it disintegrated. In addition to a half life, the radiation had given me mental powers which increased the longer I existed.

Over the next few years, I tracked down my blood brothers and killed them one by one. As my agents in these activities, I used humans who had shared blood with me. They became known as my Headsmen or Head's Hunters. I had discovered by accident, as did my former partners that the act of sharing blood or semen would cause the recipient to become influenced by us, depending the strength of their characters. The fluid exchange also caused mutagenic changes in some humans. We created several mutants in this fashion.

Fortunately, our mutants were not like the victims of Madam Curie's vampirism, where the recipient of the mutagenic change could also transmit the change. Our mutations primarily lasted one generation and most of our recipients were rendered sterile, although some did have progeny.

Even though by the late thirties, I was in the South Seas, I did hear of super powered heroes and villains bursting on the public scene. I wondered how many were related to me by blood.

I left the United States in early 1899 and traveled to the South Seas, hoping that the Head Hunters could give me release from my tedious half life. They could not but it was here that I discovered that I could animate a fresh corpse by tapping into its spinal column. The head hunters supplied me with a supply of bodies and I supplied them with heads.

I became their King of sorts and by the late thirties I controlled many of the smaller islands between the Philippines and Australia. By design I avoided, the more civilized areas, because they were painful reminders of what I had lost. Also to rule a civilized land, you must control so many minds that it takes too much power and eventually everything collapses. I learned that on a smaller scale in Oklahoma when I took over several ranches. Perhaps someone :'n a complete and healthy body would not have as much trouble as I did, but I will get to that eventually.

I came to the Philippines in the 1899 just after the Spanish American war. At the time I did not know the United States would be interested in ruling the Philippines. I found this intolerable. While I did not start the Philippine revolution, I kept the Philippine resolve going by controlling a few secret Headsmen. One of my American Headsmen became US Army Chief of Staff and one of my Philippine Headsmen became the President of the Philippines.

In hindsight, I should have made an effort to expand my influence, to make some headway into the Japanese Empire. My failure to do so cost millions of lives. You who know my history, if there is indeed anyone out there who does, may wonder at my guilt. Yes, I do feel guilt. I went through a long period where human life meant less than nothing to me. I would implement any scheme I thought necessary for my immediate or future comfort, despite the cost in human lives.

Once having mastered the ability to wear fresh corpses, I changed bodies rapidly, often two or three a day. Yet I found that the sensations I felt were fleeting, despite how many bodies I wore. Killing a man so I could taste or touch for an hour or so palled on me after a decade. Eventually I used bodies until they were to the point of disintegration and then I would execute convicted criminals to get another body.

During the late twenties and thirties my ambitions waned as did my desire to live. I allowed my pirate empire to collapse, concentrating my sphere of influence to a few, small islands near Borneo. My people were pirates and would raid for me but I was searching not for power, not for vengeance and not for a new way to live vicariously, but for knowledge. They would stop passenger ships, marine vessels and other sorts of craft and steal books. I studied all I could find about radioactive materials and their effects.

I don't know exactly when it was that I discovered that my mental powers were electro-magnetic in nature. Perhaps about the time that radio finally reached the South Seas. Yet it was only rarely that I could sense radio broadcasts, being far from the range of radio frequencies.

I was unaware of the growing, ambitious power of Japan until it was too late. It was not until I felt the deaths of several of my blood linked in the Philippines that I knew about the Japanese invasion.

Even my island was not immune from Japanese incursions. Whenever a Japanese patrol would land on our island, my head hunters became guerrilla fighters and I wore several Japanese bodies.

I defended my own but did not seek to expand my influence outwards. I worked with the US forces but did not seek an alliance with them, despite one of my Headsman becoming Allied Commander of the Pacific.

I discovered late in the thirties when a plane passed nearby, that for a time I could hear the thoughts of people close to the radio beams. Once I tried using a high powered radio transmitter but soon abandoned it as too dangerous to my people. The Japanese or Americans could triangulate on us and bomb us. Not wishing to put my people in jeopardy I desisted with my experiments.

The war passed slowly and we were never quite certain who held which islands. News filtered in only when I overhead passing radio transmissions and the thoughts of those near the radio beam.

In early July of 1945, I felt a presence I had not felt in nearly twenty years. One of my blood linked was drowning not too distantly from where I resided. Immediately, I sent out a search and rescue party.

That they found him alive and well gratified me, however several members of the search and rescue team were shot down in a surprise attack. This so enraged me that I nearly called for a massive attack on the rescued party but my days of wanton slaughter were over.

My Head Hunters strode into my village a few hours later held at gun point by several men dressed in a combination of US Army combat gear and what looked like costumes out the Buck Rogers cartoon strip I saw in the occasional newspaper. These Americans wore silvery jumpsuits, goggles and earmuffs but wore combat boots and carried M-16's. From their garb, I knew that they were not members of the regular army. Somehow their thoughts were shielded from me. I could not read one thought from any of them. Three of them carried a heavy box with wheels attached to its bottom.

I recognized their leader right away he being blood linked to me. He was a tall middle aged black man carrying a backpack and a fifty caliber machine gun. A cloud of smoke whirled about his head from the large cigar he smoked. It looked like a Luzon cigar being close to a foot long and several inches in diameter, like smoking a small log. He had Captain's bars affixed to the shoulders of his silver suit.

"Phineas Brann, as I don't live and don't breathe. After nearly eighty years of service in the US Army you've finally made Captain?"

Taking the cigar from his mouth, he grasped it in his fist and stabbed at me while speaking "Don't crack wise, Mr. Ichabod. Our mission is to escort you to a destination wherein you will be terminated. We have developed special gear to withstand your mental powers and to neutralize you. You have the option of coming along peacefully."

"I may go peacefully. Tell me who your men are and what's the plan."

"We are a special combat force formed by General Douglas MacArthur back when he was Army Chief of Staff. I was his first recruit. All of my recruits are men marred by your blood or the blood of your partners."

Brann used his cigar as a pointer, starting with a man barely four feet tall and yet seemingly four feet wide. "We got Ray Fuerte, a super strong dwarf known in the wrestling world as the Tiny Terror. He is a grandson of your friend, Dio Fuerte, the Lizard Boy and some woman he raped. Also there is Chock Williams also known as the Bear because he manifests as one when he becomes extremely angry." This was a tall, stocky built man with faintly Indian features.

Next was a tall man with a wiry build, jittery in nature. He was introduced as Willie the Snake, because he could move as fast as one and when he struck at someone his fingers jetted poison tipped darts.

Next was a robust, cheerful looking black man. Captain Brann introduced him as Mr. Morgue. His delightful ability was to stick his fingers into the brain of the recently dead and absorb their memories and learned skills.

The last soldier was a short man wearing glasses. He was called Four Eyes. This was not merely because he wore glasses but because this glasses focused and controlled his natural ability to see in the infrared spectrum, telescopically for up to five miles, fluorescent to some extent and microscopically. Without these glasses his optic nerves were barraged by all four visions at once and the influx of sight effectively blinded him. Least ways this is what they told me at that time.

"We are the members of Company X chosen to deal with you."

"What is this Company X?"

Brann took a deep puff on his cigar and glared at me for a second, then he laughed. "Alright play your little games, Ichabod. We are a special unit formed to deal with the domestic menaces caused by your blood born mutations. After the war started we became commandos and partisans fighting behind enemy lines. Our mission, as if you did not already know, is to capture the man responsible for the start of World War II and take him to his final judgment."

I had to laugh at that, although slightly flattered by such an estimate of my power.

"Because I influenced the outcome of a few battles you believe I caused World War II? I had nothing to do with it. Even if I did, isn't out of your jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence me to death without a trial."

"Do you deny that you were in Europe in 1887?" shouted the dwarf, Ray Fuerte. I saw a lot of Dio in his features. He had the same hatred for the world at large.

His question shocked me. I had thought my visit to Europe was a well kept secret. Needing to leave the Southwest for a while, I had traveled with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as they toured Europe. I had kept hidden except for a few times when I had wandered about in the background. Seeing nothing to gain by lying, I admitted that I was in Europe during the time mentioned.

"We know you were because Buffalo Bill mentioned something about you in his diary. Once your presence had been confirmed, it was simple enough to see your mind controlled web at work." Fuerte continued.

Had I shoulders I would have shrugged. "I do not have the faintest idea of what you are talking about.

"Skunk Man." Brann replied as if this was an answer. He blew a cloud of smoke at me as it punctuated his remark.

"Whom or what is this Skunk Man?" I asked feeling slightly bewildered, for the first time in ages I was not able to read minds past confused conversation.

"He was your blood spawned European puppet during the Great War". said Willie the Snake.

"I have never heard of the man." I said with complete honesty.

"Skunk Man was a British secret weapon during the Great War. He was a freak of nature, one of your freaks. He had the ability to exude noxious and deadly gases from his body, you can image from where. He infiltrated German lines and cut loose with some gas which killed or disabled the Germans. In early 1939, when we were researching the life of one of Skunk Man's victims we traced Skunkman's ability back to you. It was this link that has condemned you." The man named Four Eyes said in a curiously dispassionate manner. No expression could be read on his face and his eyes were hidden behind the dark lenses of his glasses.

"Because some Limey with fatal flatulence and hazardous halitosis kills some Germans in the Great War, I started this war? Stop dancing around, tell me straight out what it is you think I did."

Brann flicked a few inches of cigar ash onto the ground and stared at me as if he could not believe that I was being so difficult.

"Alright. Skunk Man did not come in contact with any radioactive material in his life. The only possible connection we could find was that he attended Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as a boy in London. It was undoubtedly there that you exchanged blood with him and made him one of your creatures.

"During the Great War with few exceptions people exposed to his gases were permanently injured or killed. They did not recover rapidly and then return to their units to finish out the war. However one of these victims did just that. He was a Corporal decorated several times for bravery.

Before the war this Corporal had been a ne 'er-do-well portrait painter and want-to-be architect. He had lived a rather Bohemian life and worked occasionally but spent most of his time going to the opera or sitting in coffee shops. After the war he became radicalized involving himself in right wing politics."

Brann was working himself up into a deep anger, his brown skin flushed to an almost ebony hue. His voice rose and soon he was shouting.

"After the war, almost to the minute after he had recovered from his gas attack he displayed this uncanny, almost supernatural ability to mesmerize and motivate large masses of people. His speeches were bland, almost boring when read as a text. Yet people responded to them almost orgiastically, as if under some massive mind control.

Brann somehow sensed that I had no idea of whom he was talking about. He screamed "His name is Adolf Hitler and he is one of your creatures!

Even in my isolated island, I had heard of Adolf Hitler. If he was one of my blood spawn, I had not known it. I had never felt any connection to him but then I had never tried.

I sat silently for a minute. Thinking back, trying to remember if I could have accidentally given this so called Skunk Man part of my essence without realizing it.

A pistol shot. Yes, that was it. Once I wanted to get a close look at Annie Oakley's shooting and see if there was anything supernatural about it. I had wondered if she were somehow one of us, the freaks caused by radiation. As it turned out I was too close to the plates because one of the shattered plate shards clipped me and neatly snipped off a piece of my flesh. It was not a large piece, perhaps the size of a fingernail clipping.

The flesh tumbled down and I saw it fall into the popcorn box of a young boy. He ate a mouthful of popcorn but seemed to have no ill effects so I figured he must have dropped it or else it had missed the box.

It is possible that I may have indirectly caused Adolf Hitler to gain some sort of power but why should this condemn me to death? Was he worse than any other dictator?"

Phineas Brann gave me a look somewhere between disgust and pity. Pursing his lips, he stared at me in silence for a second or two, taking the opportunity to suck in a cloud of smoke from his burning log. "I guess, maybe you didn't know. I guess the General and I have hated you for so long and for so hard we thought you capable of just about anything."

He looked away from me for a moment, then he back, his face a hard stone mask. "Still, a man has to own up to his actions. If you forgot to set the brake on a car and it went rolling down the hill and killed some little kid, that man ought to be responsible for that crime right?"

"Yes," I answered.

"Get the folder. Show him the photos. "Brann said his jaw clenched and teeth digging deep into his cigar.

Mr. Morgue reached into his backpack and brought out a fat pouch wrapped in oilskins. 'These photos were taken earlier this year in April and May. They are of places called Dachau, Belsen, Treblinka and Auschwitz."

Mr. Morgue stood before me and showed me all the pictures in that pack. I need not detail the horrors that I saw, everyone knows what went on in those camps. The piled corpses, the smoking ovens, the living skeletons, all these foul images swirled into my brain in some hideous collage.

I cursed because I no longer had any eyelids, I could not close my eyes, I could not shut out the constant sickening images. As the horrors piled up one after another, my anguished moans turned into soft screams of rage. For the first time in eighty years I wanted to cry, to wash humanity's filth from my eyes. Yet I felt strangely glad that I had no stomach else I would have vomited for hours.

Had I set the car in motion? Were the deaths of all those children, of all those people my responsibility? Was my blood, even diluted in this great degree the direct cause of this extermination? Were the deaths of eight million men, women and children my legacy?

It had taken me almost sixty years to realize that on the day of my resurrection, I had been given two paths to follow. To use my mental gifts and long life for good or for evil. I had chosen the latter path and it had brought me only momentary satisfaction. Over all the evil path had brought me only misery.

I had tried to escape from the evil that I had caused, to hide away from the responsibility of the deaths and misery I had made. Yet a man cannot run from his conscience, a man cannot avoid the consequences of his actions forever. Eventually they catch up to you and then there's hell to pay.

It was time to pay the piper, the long dance was over and the band was played out.

My motives were not nearly as altruistic as they may sound. I had wanted to die for several years. If Brann and his men could kill me I would allow it. Hell, I welcomed it!

"Very well, Captain Brann. Take me to where ever we must go".

"Just like that?" He asked suspiciously. He also sounded disappointed that he and his men would not get to use their fancy equipment to capture me.

"Just like that. I am tired of living."

"Alright but at the first sign of trouble, I am slapping you in the box." He blew a gray cloud towards his men and then thrust the red hot tip of his cigar through the cloud to point at the box on wheels.

At my request Phineas Brann chopped off one of the heads of my former villagers and then dragged the body near me. He did so with some reluctance. His men regarded me with a general loathing after I had taken up berth in the neck cavity of Sulewa, one of my former friends.

Standing on two good legs again, I followed Company X into the rain forest of my island. Not trusting me, they kept on the goggles and earmuffs. I had no idea of our ultimate destination.

We reached the shore of our lagoon.

Brann snubbed out the remnants of his cigar now down to about four inches in length. He opened his backpack and put the cigar butt inside a waterproof package. Brann told Mr. Morgue to radio the sub that they were ready for pick up. Mr. Morgue took out a small radio set and attempted to call a submarine. There was no answer.

"Four Eyes. Search and locate."

The short man known as Four Eyes took off his goggles. He immediately stuck on a pair of glasses with orange colored glasses. Slowly and in small increments he swept his head around in a semi-circle starting at his left shoulder and ending at his right.

"I don't know if it is ours or not, Captain, but there is a US sub about three miles away and near the bottom. It has been breached. There are bodies floating around it, apparently it was only recently attacked."

Brann's face flushed an even darker shade than it already was

"Suggestions, gentlemen?"

No one had any. I spoke up. We could take one of my ships. Since I don't know where we are going I leave it up to you to decide."

"We could do it, Captain. Maybe something else better will come along and get a faster ride but until then that sounds like our best option. "Willie the Snake said.

"We have twenty four days until zero hour, gentlemen. Unless the Japs are stubborn we will not get another chance."

One of my natives, brought a small fishing boat into the lagoon. I had a plentiful supply of dried foods and gasoline for its small engine. We set off in a north-eastern direction through the South China Sea and into the Philippine Sea.

We chugged and sailed along for a good two weeks. Ships were sparse as were the thousands of vessels from the US fleet. I had expected every inch of these waters to be filled with US ships but they had already moved past this area.

During this time the men of Company X warmed up to me a bit although they still kept their distance perhaps because of the rotting corpse I rode. Still, I managed to learn something about each man and about the Company X itself.

Company X had been formed by General MacArthur back in 1935. he had recruited several strangely powered individuals to secretly assist the FBI and aid in overseas espionage. At the beginning of the war there had been twenty-five members of Company X. Two had were double agents for the Axis and had been eliminated. Ten had been killed during the course of the war, five had retired with injuries. One was missing in action. Two were currently in the European theater of the war, aiding in discovering secret Nazi war criminals.

Ray Fuerte was the prankster of group, he was a lively little man with a sharp, sarcastic wit. He reminded me of my dear friend Dio, his grandfather, yet Ray seemed more adjusted to his size and more at peace with the world. Dio had such a hatred towards the world that he had a god awful mean streak, I must confess I exploited that trait to it fullest extent. Another log added to the pyre built for me in Hell, no doubt.

Fuerte kept the others at ease by joking, insulting and carrying on. He was one of the few members of Company X without a criminal record. He had been recruited by MacArthur shortly after the war broke out. Fuerte had attempted to enlist in every branch of service he could but was rejected because of his size, despite the fact that he could lift one ton and was highly acrobatic.

Willie the Snake was a rather high strung man I found this rather odd considering his former occupation had been a Mafia hit man. Willie was the descendent of Jeff Justice Bolane, Donegal Ryan's second banana. Ryan had been one of my arch enemies and one of the men who had killed me.

Willie was jittery because he preferred killing from ambush not in combat and because he had smoked his allotment of cigarette a few days into their mission. He was a chain smoker who had not only smoked his cigarettes but those of Four Eyes, Fuerte, Williams and Mr. Morgue.

Corporal Williams was a quarter Choctaw Indian. He had been raised as a typical farm boy but his visiting grandfather had urged him to get in touch with his Indian ancestry. He had attempted to go on a vision quest on his own without a spirit guide. Williams had succeeded in contacting his totem animal, a grizzly bear but the bear had marked his soul so that when Williams became angry the Bear would be summoned.

This was what he told me, I later discovered that only the first part of the story was true. His father had regularly beat the boy, often to the point of senselessness. During one beating Williams had fought back and his bearish aura had manifested and tore his father to shreds. Williams had been recruited out of the insane asylum where he had been confined.

Mr. Morgue or Eric Dee Williams was also a criminal of sorts. He had been working as an assistant in the morgue, preparing the bodies for autopsy and other scut work when he accidentally discovered his talent. He said he had been lifting a brain out of a skull to be put in a jar of formaldehyde when his hand had slipped and his fingers had slipped into the brain tissue. He had absorbed the person's memories. Mr. Morgue had decided to improve his mind and had, over the course of two years, selectively drained the brains of teachers, doctors, lawyers and anyone who had an interesting vocation.

Mr. Morgue had begun law school and would probably graduated with honors except that he panicked on the day before he was supposed to take his bar exam, he went to the morgue and drained the brains of a judge and two lawyers who had been killed on a fishing trip. His supervisor had caught him doing the last one.

Mr. Morgue also had been recruited from an insane asylum. This was not as unjust as it may sound. Although, Mr. Morgue put on a happy go lucky face I could sense that he was deeply disturbed. He was having trouble containing all the memories in his mind, despite the fact that he had discarded all unwanted memories. His control was slipping, he would sometimes go to the far side of the deck and stand by himself. His face would go through contortions as if undergoing rapid mood changes. He was a time-bomb ticking away.

Another tormented soul was Four Eyes or Dave Peelers. He appeared to be a tall thin bookwormy type of guy but underneath that facade was a man filled with rage, fear and guilt. I do not know what caused it but I do know that he needed strict structure in his life and expected everyone else to need it also. He lived by an ironclad schedule with no deviations, he played games exactly by the rules with no deviations. He was sullen and close mouthed about his past yet expected everyone else to share their secrets with him and sulked if they did not.

Four Eyes used his telescopic sight to scan the horizon and the ocean depths for any sign of an American vessel we could hitch a ride with.

One day from his perch on the prow, Four Eyes went rigid.

"Sub off the stern, Captain. Two miles distant about two hundred deep. It's a Nipper, Sir."

Brann gestured for his men to gather around. "Counsel gentlemen. Do you believe that it is feasible for us to capture and use this submarine for our own purposes?"

I believe so, Captain said Corporal Williams. If we can get it to come to the surface."

"They have to surface every so often to replenish their air supply. We just have to be nearby when that happens." Ray Fuerte added and cracked his knuckles. They popped like a Gatling gun firing one staccato burst.

Nobody asked the obvious question, who was going to run the damned thing if they ever did get hold of it?

Following Four Eyes directions, our boat trailed the Japanese Submarine. If it took any notice that we were following it, the submarine made no effort to either shake us nor dissuade us in any fashion.

Two days later we were rewarded with the sight of the ocean surface boiling as the prow and body of the submarine broke the surface. Brann asked me how serious I was to make amends for my previous life. I told him deadly serious. He asked if he could make us invisible to the Japanese as we approached the submarine.

I agreed and began concentrating on the task. Although I had not practiced this stunt in about twenty years I discovered that my powers were undiminished and were still quite formidable.

As our boat bumped against the side of the submarine, Ray Fuerte, Willie the Snake and Choctaw Williams climbed the side ladder to the submarine's deck. They each began tapping on a hatch cover until they heard the bolts slipped and the seals broken.

Ray Fuerte's hatch was the first to open. He sent the Japanese sailor who opened it careening back down the ladder with a smashed face. The sailor knocked over several climbing upon the ladder and Ray jumped inside.

Willie the Snake stood over a hatch in a rather strange pose. His arms were pressed against his sides from the shoulders to the elbows, he held his forearms up and erect, his hands curled forward. Two pink cobra's ready to strike. When the hatch was open, he stood back and allowed the first two sailors to exit. He then flicked his hands downward like a snake's strike. Ten tiny darts shot from his fingertips and struck the two sailors. They fell to the deck's surface convulsing and salivating a vile, green foam.

Willie stuck his hands inside the hatch and rapidly flicked it several times. Screams and the sounds of dying agony followed. A few minutes later he jumped down the hatch.

Choctaw Williams stood above the hatch he had chosen to take. His jaw was set tightly and his eyes grew bright red. Brann told me Williams was working himself into a fighting rage. Williams gnawed his lips until they were ragged and bloody, a pink foam formed on his mouth and about his lips. I guess it was close to a Viking's berserker rage.

The more enraged Williams became the shinier he became. This nimbus of dark red light formed about Williams, sort of like the radiation which had surrounded my horse Brimstone. This radiation took on a definite shape however and it grew in size. Soon it appeared as if Williams were a man encased in a dark red grizzly bear's silhouette.

The first Japanese sailor who poked his head out of the hatch had it removed by one swipe of William's hand. As the headless body tumbled back into the hatch, Choctaw Williams leapt after it, growling and snuffling like a bear on the attack.

In the following few moments we heard growls, shrieks and lots of gunfire. Ray Fuerte poked his head out of one of the hatches and yelled an all clear. We climbed down the ladders and into the Japanese submarine. By this time I found this a difficult task because the body I was using was dry rotting something fierce and the muscles would hardly move.

There were Japanese bodies strewn everywhere.

Choctaw Williams was huddled, shaking and lethargic in one corner. As I watched he slipped into a fitful slumber. Mr. Morgue remarked when Williams summoned the Bear, he had to hibernate for an hour or so to regain his strength.

We discovered that the sub had a compliment of thirty one men. Twenty eight had been killed in taking the submarine and the remaining three had killed themselves. Two junior officers had shot themselves in the head and the man I took to be the Captain had run himself through with his sword.

I yanked the sword out of his body and decapitated a nearby corpse who had died by a blow to the head from William's phantom claws. Sitting the body up I sat next to it and evacuated the old body. No one rushed to aid me so I slithered onto the new body myself and slipped into the fresh corpse. The sudden rush of sensation was intoxicating but the smell of death soon became overpowering.

Ray Fuerte had closed the hatches but no one knew how to operate the submarine.

Mr. Morgue was busily hopping from one corpse to the next, jamming his index fingers deep into their ears. His fingers would sink up to the knuckles and he would shiver and convulse for a moment or so. He would yank out blood painted fingers and move onto the next corpse, ending with the Captain's.

Mr. Morgue's usually jolly expression was gone. His face was dispassionate yet had developed odd twitches around the eyes, cheeks, lips and jaws as if it were trying to mold itself into several different expressions at once.

"I got the knowledge and am processing it now but I ain't gonna be able to keep it all or run this sub all by myself. I never tried to do so many memories at once, I can feel them slipping away. I am gonna have to disgorge some of them but there ain't a one of you whose a mind reader. We done lost Radio Brain and Antenna last mission.

Phineas Brann looked disappointed and then grew angry. "Crud, then all of this was for nothing then." His gaze lighted on me and his face grew even more angrier and worried.

"Can you transfer memories from one person to the next, El Head?" he asked in a rather, imperious tone. Without using blood as a medium?"

"No, I can read thoughts and even relay thoughts from one person to the next but memories are more chemical than they are electro-magnetic, memories need a biological medium."

Phineas Brann slammed a fist against a bulkhead and left the imprint of his knuckles in the metal.

In the space of sixty seconds he made up his mind. "Well, we are on a suicide mission anyway."

Brann had his men fetch a cup from the galley. I cut a fingertip with the sword and squeezed the blood into it.

Brann said, "I cannot in good faith order you men to drink from this cup because while I would order anyone of you to sacrifice yourself for the good of the mission, this is a fate worse than death. If you drink there is a good chance you will become one of his creatures, even with the protective gear. His blood may also cause some drastic changes in you, perhaps negating, enhancing or even twisting the powers you now have."

Pausing, Brann quickly stripped off his protective gear.

"I will tell you this gentlemen, if we do not learn how to operate this submarine we will become sitting ducks for the US or Japanese navies. Nor will our fishing boat get us much further, we are almost out of gas for it."

Noticing the hesitation of the others, Brann said, " I will drink the first sip of devil's brew."

Phineas Brann's form shimmered as he stepped forward. The hand that took the cup from me was not that of a fifty years old man, nor even that of a thirty five year old man but that of a man in his early twenties. Yet it was undeniably Phineas Brann.

Noting the looks he received, Brann turned and shouted, "That's right! I'm aging backwards, this bastard did it to me. In the last two years I have regressed twenty years and the rate is increasing, in a few months I will be a toddler and after that an embryo. I won't be Bugle Man no more, but Fetus Man. I've been using a little of the mental power he gave me to generate this illusion of being forty. I'm willing to take the chance, are you?"

One after another the members of Company X drank, even Williams who had awakened during the course of our discussion. As soon as my blood had entered their systems I could feel them in my mind as extensions of my consciousness.

Brann's anxiety was stark and vivid and cast a weight upon the rest of us. Although I knew I could not end Brann's bitterness towards me, I opened my mind to his and demonstrated that my only desire was to end my existence.

He fell to his knees under the sudden onslaught of my mental powers. A second later he stood up, noticeably taller when he did as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

Mr. Morgue began crying, streams of liquid poured from his eyes and dripped onto the deck forming greasy puddles. This was how he disposed of excess memory, the unwanted memories having been transferred into a chemical format. Drinking his tears was an effective, if extremely rare method of transferring memories, since decoding the chemical messages inside them was a special trait. His tears were fatal to anyone who did not have this ability.

Using our blood link, I searched Mr. Morgue's mind and found all the information about the submarine. I copied these memories into my mind and then relayed this information into the minds of Company X, our shared blood replicated the chemical messages of these memories inside their brain cells.

After comprehending the implanted information about the submarine, Brann began barking orders, commanding his troops to man certain key stations.

Those two members not on sub duty had the pleasant task of collecting the dead bodies and jettisoning them through the torpedo tubes. The sharks had a feast that day.

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

~ SECTION TWO ~

As the members of Company X went to their respective stations I sat and reviewed the memories I had received from Mr. Morgue, from an engineer's point of view. This submarine we had stumbled upon was one of the latest from Japan. It was a Sen-Taka Class I 209 released from the Kure Dock yards in February of 1945. There had only been eight others built in this class but it was one of the fastest and modern of the submarines. The problem was that it had been hastily built. Divine providence, combined with faulty engineering had lead to the submarine surfacing near us. This sub was equipped with a schnorkel, a device attached to the periscope which re-circulated air, making surfacing almost unnecessary. According to the memories of the men I reviewed the schnorkel had not operated consistently from day one.

I examined and took the schnorkel apart. While my borrowed hands were still pliable and coordinated I used the machine shop on board to re-configure several defective parts of the schnorkel.

Once fixed the schnorkel allowed us to stay submerged at a maximum depth of 360 feet. We sped on our way to Japan. I had surmised that this was our destination long before I had shared blood with Brann and the others. I had also deduced what their main mission was all about.

Neither the US or Japanese Navies crossed our paths, the latter was scarce and impotent and the US was preparing for a full scale invasion of Japan.

However on July 28, a small Japanese Submarine off the coast of Taiwan spotted us. When we refused to answer its radio hailing, it threatened to fire upon us. Our torpedoes were already on their way. The Japanese sub sank with all hands on board.

Brann had Mr. Morgue monitor the radio frequencies for news of the gadget, it or Little Boy. Yet we were ordered to maintain a strict radio silence.

Brann would get, if not necessarily news then a few fleeting sensations of thought from a tenuous bloodlink with General MacArthur, the secret Commander of Company X. As of July 30 1945, MacArthur had not heard when Operation Centerboard would go into effect. It was his impression that the Executive Branch was going soft.

Brann angrily refused my offer to boost his link with MacArthur.

On August 1, we were startled into wakefulness by a klaxon horn. Ray Fuerte and Choctaw Williams were on monitor duty. They had spotted an American destroyer. We had wandered into the naval blockade of Japan. Brann called for evasive maneuvers but the destroyer tracked us with sonar and dropped depth charges. Although we were well rocked we escaped without damage or injury, or so we thought.

We stopped all movement and lay still in the depths. Brann jettisoned a can of oil and some trash to look like flotsam. We took the time to search for damage to the submarine but found nothing.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on August 2 three hull seams split open and water poured into the submarine. We surfaced as fast as the sub would rise but the strain tore the submarine in half. We were still fifty feet down when a wall of water poured over us. Somehow we made it to the surface.

Brann had had the foresight to grab an self-inflating raft, I had grabbed some rations, the men of Company X had wrapped their weapons in rubber cloths.

As we were waiting for it to inflate, a slight ghost pain crept up my leg. Looking down I saw a gray flash and the tip of my foot break the water like a boat's prow.

Ray Fuerte screamed as a hole opened up in his side. His innards flooded the waters like so much chum. I found it odd that these sharks were attacking people, they usually would not. However with all the dead sailors in the Pacific in the last four years, some sharks must have gained a healthy taste for human flesh.

We climbed up in the life raft. Our last sighting had been Amami island, we were some 300 miles from Japan. Our radio had sunk with the submarine as had most of our weapons. I had the sword I had taken from the Japanese Captain. Brann and Williams retained their sidearms and Four Eyes had brought up his M-16 with a few rounds of ammo.

The life raft came equipped with rubber sails and aluminum masts. Brann hauled the sail up and lashed it. He went over to the farthest part of the raft and sat facing towards the sail. He reached inside his soaked shirt and pulled out a small waterproof bag and pulled the contents out. Inside were four waterproof maps and two Philippine cigars each about a foot long. One was wet down half its length.

Brann shook his head glumly and split the wet cigar in half and threw it in my general direction. He bit the off of the shortest one and spit the cigar end at me. Sticking the six inch cigar in his mouth Brann said, "Did you know I was a masked vigilante for a while, a so called superhero? When the General figured out what I was doing he ordered me to stop. The papers called me The Bugler. Here's why."

Brann stuck his hands in front of his mouth, one after the other around the unlit cigar. He curled them about the cigar pursed his lips and began blowing, his fingers moving like they were pumping valves. To my amazement a clear, loud bugling sounded, reverberating across the ocean waves. Along with the bugle sound came a blast of a strong wind which filled the sail and pushed us forward a few feet.

Brann spoke around his cigar and through his curled hands. "I can play several songs, "the Charge", makes this wind pushing on anything in front of where I blow. "Taps' will knock out a person standing in front of me when I blow it. "Reveille" levitates objects or people about two feet off the air but that one really takes a lot of my energy. I can also blow "A Mighty Fortress is My God" this makes this invisible barrier around me, making me bullet proof. I am gonna try and blow us to Japan but I can't do it all in one sitting. So I need you to make us invisible again."

Brann began blowing the "Charge". He played for two hours with three two minute rests between each set. In little spurts we sailed to Japan. I concentrated on keeping us invisible. Williams and Four Eyes had to keep tacking the sail and keeping the lifeboat's rudder on a steady course. Willie the Snake kept guard. Without the lively Ray Fuerte to spark things up the crew was a pretty solemn bunch. Four Eyes and Willie the Snake played poker with invisible cards. They both won and lost millions of dollars from each other.

By mid-afternoon their rations were gone, so I dangled my arm outside the raft when Four Eyes spotted a shark. As the shark took my arm, Williams summoned the Bear and killed it with ursine punch to the head. They dined on raw shark meat, I was glad I no longer needed to eat.

We traveled some hundred miles that day, making it to the southernmost tip of Tanaga island. We hid in a secluded cove. The island literally crawled with Japanese military, this island being fortified for the forthcoming invasion of the Japanese home islands.

By nightfall I suffered from the effort of maintaining an continuous invisible shield about us but I persisted despite the returning agony of a brain strain I had not felt for years.

Although quite reluctant to do so I disengaged myself from the body of the Japanese sailor and had Four Eyes shove it into the drink.

Brann ate huge portions of the shark and fell into an exhausted sleep becoming comatose for nearly nine hours.

Next morning was August 3 and we awoke shortly after sunlight. I should say they awoke because having disposed of a body, I no longer needed to sleep.

After a breakfast of fruit and ripe shark Captain Brann sounded the "Charge" and we began sailing for Japan.

A Japanese patrol boat heard the bugle and raced after us. Although I could shield our sight from the minds of the pursuing Japanese, the sounds of the bugle were something I could not disguise, not to so many at once. The Japanese laid down a barrage at the sound of the bugle, several hit near the life boat forcing me to drop our aura of invisibility and erect a mental barrier which kept us from harm. Each shell impact weakened the barrier so I could not withstand the shooting for long and told Brann.

Blowing taps, Brann swept his invisible bugle across the Japanese patrol boat three times in quick succession before all the Japanese had slumped over unconscious. We had neither the time nor the temperament to rescue two of the Japanese sailors who fell overboard.

When we reached the Japanese island of Honshu we would have to sail silently, supplemented by rowing. Brann bugle would have every patrol boat in the area chasing us. By mid-morning we reached the coast of Honshu, Brann collapsed into a deep and restless sleep. Mr. Morgue, Willie the Snake, Corporal Williams and Four Eyes rowed upstream on a rotating schedule.

By noon we were just outside of the mouth of the Bungo Channel.

No one but Brann knew which way to go. He was so deep in an exhausted sleep that it took the best part of fifteen minutes to wake him.

Brann stared at us with half lucid eyes.

"We need to know where to go, Captain." Williams said softly. He knew how sound carried on the water and did not want to alert anyone.

"There are four target sites. I don't know which one they have decided upon."

Not knowing of any other way, Brann reached out and contacted General MacArthur through their blood link. I used a good portion of my mental powers to supplement Brann's telepathic link, the rest was spent making certain we remained invisible.

MacArthur was surprised at the clarity Brann could mindspeak with him. Recognizing my mind pattern, MacArthur unconsciously revealed a deep and abiding contempt and hatred for me. He told Brann that the target city was Hiroshima and broke contact, eager to get my presence out of his mind

Brann frowned at hearing this name.

"Hiroshima is the most difficult of the projected targets, so far as we are concerned. Our mission in the other cities, Kobe, Tokyo or Kyoto would have been to locate and free the prisoners of war before Operation Centerboard took place.

"Hiroshima does not have a prisoner of war camp but since it is a major manufacturing city and a major communications hub it is heavily manned by military personnel and is heavily fortified. Our mission is to disable the anti-aircraft capabilities and the communications network."

Staring at Brann I asked, "When are they going to drop the bomb?"

"Goddamn you, stay out of my mind.'" screamed Brann. His voice echoed across the sun bright waters.

"I did not read your mind. I had deduced the nature of your mission from the first day. Despite having been on a tropical island, I have kept abreast of modern science and knew it was only a matter of time before a fission bomb was built. I had heard that Germany and the US were in a race to make one and so with Germany out of the picture, the US won the race. Being a rather parsimonious nation, I know the US would not spend so much time and finance on a weapon they did not intend on using.

"As for my involvement, since nothing else has seemed to destroy me, why not try what had created me, atomic radiation. MacArthur believes that this will be a good way to dispose of me and to his surprise I concur. So when is the due date for the birth of the new age?"

"Two days, provided the weather cooperates." Brann remarked, I could feel his distrust of me singing through the air like a high tension wire. He motioned for Williams to begin rowing. He sat back and lit his cigar with two matches and lay back puffing. His clouds of cigar smoke drifted out of our invisibility shield and hung over the ocean like a mist before slowly dissipating.

Having little time to waste, we set off immediately, sailing up the narrow, Bungo Channel. The Channel was very crowded with marine vessels and we had to sail and row without conversing. The trip was mainly a blank for me because almost all of my concentration was used in maintaining an invisible shield. If we were detected, the results could be fatal not only for the mission but for the US war effort. The nuclear strike was needed to end the war and save a million or so American lives.

After being inside the Bungo Channel for a few hours I began experiencing some very strange sensations. My powers faded steadily, then suddenly blossomed forth stronger than ever and slowly faded again. My companions noticed this waxing and waning because we fluxed in and out of visibility.

At first, I had trouble concentrating because there was a constant itching, buzzing crawling through my brain and a thousand of scrambled, jumbled discordant voices filled my ears with a distant static.

As we moved further into the Channel the buzzing became a hissing, growing steadily into a shrill, piercing whistle which filled my ears and mind with solid, white noise babble. The sound became solid spikes driven into my eardrums. My eyes watered leaching out the remnants of moisture in my head, specifically from my still vital eyes and brain. I realized that if I could not stop this process I would dry out, yet I would still live in some paralyzed, half life existence even worse than the one I already had.

Dropping the invisibility shield, I concentrated on the sound, investigating it telepathically. The sound became visible to my eyes, it was a flowing ocean surrounding us, an ocean of multicolored waves, particles, beams, webs and flickers of light.

"Four Eyes switch to infra red or ultraviolet eyes and tell me what you see."

Four Eyes did so and shrugged. "I just see a lot of radio transmissions and the radar net.

Having never been so close to such a massive outpouring of electro-magnetic energy I never thought that it would affect me so. This vast field of electro-magnetic energy shorted out my powers. I had unconsciously attempted to override it but without the proper energy signatures, it was like shoving to magnets with the same polarity together, all you get is repulsed.

Instead of going against the current, I had to find my way into the current and flow along with it.

We sat exposed along the side of Eta Jima island, in the Hiroshima bay for about a half an hour before I found the proper way of entering the energy field.

Once I flowed with the field, the pain and the pressure in my mind disappeared. The energy field throbbed beneath my mentality like rapids pushing a raft along towards a waterfall. The problem was keeping my mind from being swept along and over the edge. After a few moments I discovered a way of riding the currents without being sucked up by them. The energy field changed in my perception. It was not so much as a river or ocean but a vast electrical current like a light socket and I was a bulb ready to plugged in.

With some sense of excitement and fear, I plugged my mind into the electrical field.

My mind became a burning flame yet I felt no pain. A tidal wave comprising a million thoughts and sensations rode over me but like a surfer, I steered my way around them and rode the wave out.

The world became transparent and fluorescent at the same time, I could see the molecular, electrical, anatomical, atomic and chemical structures of everything surrounding me. Every mind near me became an open book. The power in this energy field was too much for my mind to utilize so I backed out of it, creating mental dampers letting through the amount of energy I needed.

Using but a small fraction of the electro-magnetic field, I crated an impenetrable invisible barrier and siphoned energy into my fatigued companions. My skull, they tell me. sat on the floor of the raft and glowed a brilliant pale green as my eyes burned with blinding blue lights.

This episode left me with a great deal of unease, if this little bit of energy could fill me with such power, then what might the power released from nuclear fission do to me? I wondered if we had all miscalculated. Being at the center of an atomic explosion might not kill me at all, it was conceivable that it might prolong my half life, driving me further into madness, filling me with unfathomable power, corrupting me even further.

For the sake of my soul and for the sake of the world I prayed that this would not be the case.

With renewed vigor, my companions rowed towards Hiroshima proper. We traveled along the west coast of Eta Jima Island and across Hiroshima bay.

Captain Brann had pulled out one of the four waterproof maps he had kept on his person.

One map showed Hiroshima and highlighted Company X's mission targets. Hiroshima was composed of six deltaic islands, looking much like a human hand, the fingers being the various islands. Eight rivers separated the islands from the mainland and from each other. About a hundred or so bridges connected the islands to one another. The Aioi bridge stood out because it connected the three middle islands in a T-shape, the commander of the bombing run had selected this bridge as his Aiming Point.

Not only was the Aioi bridge centrally located but it was quite near the Chugoku Regional Military Headquarters, the Hiroshima Communications Bureaus, the Kempei Tai (Secret Police) headquarters and Hiroshima Castle which contained ammunition and supply depots and the civil defense headquarters. Also in this general area were stationed some 40,000 soldiers.

Brann's mission was to cripple the communications and defense capabilities of the city prior to the attack. This was to ensure the safety of the bombers and to prevent a military evacuation of the target site, rendering the strike ineffectual.

Once their mission was complete Company X was to get as far from the city as they could and hole up until the invasion or surrender. There was a good chance they would not escape in time but they were willing to take that chance.

Their orders concerning me had been to capture and transport me to the target site. The lead lined box I was supposed to be imprisoned within was to be dropped into the Aioi river just under the bridge. MacArthur hoped I would be vaporized when the bomb detonated. However since I had volunteered to go along with my execution, Brann offered me to choice of being dropped off at the bridge or accompanying them on their mission.

I told them I would decide when we reached the Aiming Point.

We reached the mouth of the Motoyasu river at 10:00 p.m. on July 5, 1945. My companions rowed slowly and silently up the river. Four Eyes kept a close look out, using his night vision. I maintained the invisibility shield, a mere child's play with all the energy at my disposal. The difficult part was in not pulling into much energy or to lose my mind in the barrage of a million thoughts swirling about in the energy field.

"Captain, I thought Hiroshima was on the no hit list." Four Eyes asked. He referred to cities not bombed by U.S. Planes.

"Yeah, it and the other possible target sites. why?

"Looks like somebody bombed the mess out of them. They got all this rubble just piled up in big, fat rows."

"Ain't bombing, its a firebreak. They got three of them in the city. They know its only a matter of time before they get bombed, Hiroshima being a major port and industrial town.' Mr. Morgue informed us. He answered Williams stare. "The submarine we took over was named INSIDE SEA and that refers the area around the Hiroshima. The Captain was from Hiroshima and knew what was going on in his home town."

Brann told Four Eyes to give him a running commentary of what he saw and for Mr. Morgue to interpret it. Brann reasoned it would give us some current intelligence.

The Motoyasu river had been a densely populated area but with the devastation of homes pulled down to make fire breaks, the river banks were mighty thinned out. Four Eyes saw very little road traffic. Mr. Morgue explained that all private autos had been confiscated for metal as had all taxis. The only vehicles allowed on the streets were military vehicles, transportation and supply trucks and bicycles.

Mr. Morgue said that the naval blockade and the loss of the Chinese territories showed how badly the war was going for the Japanese home islands.

Very few supplies were being shipped into this major port, except for military supplies. The ordinary people were subsisting on a bowl of rice and a few vegetables a day. They had taken to eating reeds, brambles or sorrel as a rice substitute. Grubs, beetles and worms of all kinds were roasted and eaten. Coal for heating was becoming scarce and balled up and charred newspapers soaked in water were used instead. Clothing was so scarce that men and women wore the same sort of outfit, a high necked buttoned jacket and trousers. The only available soap was made of rice bran and caustic soda.

Kindergartens and middle schools were closed, the children drafted into volunteer brigades to pull down houses and add to the firebreaks. Children from twelve upwards and all sound and healthy adults were drafted to work at the munitions factories.

The peak population of Hiroshima had been 340,000 due to forced evacuations there were now only 280,000 left. 70,000 homes had been destroyed to make the firebreaks.

This was a nation on the verge of collapse. To Four Eyes remark on this matter, Mr. Morgue said that this was quite probably true, however the military faction in power would not surrender so easily. They were training the common people to fight a guerrilla war if necessary, children were being taught to make and throw soda bottle bombs and old folks were training with bamboo spears. An invasion would be costly in Allied lives.

As we neared the Aioi Bridge, I felt the energy field increase about me. More effort was required to dampen the energy flowing into me and to keep errant thoughts from creeping into my mind. Distantly a flicker of a familiar thought pattern passed by my mind. It was not someone I recognized but amongst the thousands of minds thinking in Japanese, someone was thinking in English. Extending my consciousness, I experienced the emotions of fear, anger and despair. Ghost pains shot through my mind as I established a slight mind link, he had been badly beaten and was in serious pain. Nearby I found several more similar minds.

"Captain Brann, there are American prisoners in Hiroshima." I whispered in my bodiless voice.

"What! There's not supposed to be a camp here."

"There isn't, they are the remaining members of a flight crew shot down a few days ago. They are being held in the Castle."

"Damnation! Well we can t let them boys get blowed up if we can help it. Mr. Morgue, you and the Bear do what damage you can to the communications and defense capabilities. Four Eyes and I will try and get them boys out."

"Find me a body and I will go with you, Captain Brann. ' I said, feeling caught up in the patriotic moment.

Brann gave me a look like he swallowed something bitter. "Very well, once we are ashore, Mr. Williams procure a body for El Head. Four Eyes proceed to the radar and defense stations disable them discreetly. Mr. Morgue disable what vehicles you can and the cable car line. Snakeman eliminate the Mayor and any Commanding military officers you can find. Corporal Williams, take out what anti-aircraft positions you can locate. Since time is short, we will not make a rendezvous. As soon as you complete your missions, head for the hills as fast as you can. Godspeed to you all.

The members of Company X discarded their distinctive jump suits and headgear, wanting to be taken as downed servicemen rather than spies. By now they knew they had nothing to fear from me. They shook each others hands when we reached the Aioi bridge. Mr. Morgue sank the boat while Williams lumbered off. In the dark distance we heard a roar and a scream. Williams returned carrying a body under his left arm. It was a young soldier about seventeen years old.

Captain Brann hewed off the head and the others held up the body and placed me upon it. As I adjusted to my new body, the three noncoms of Company X hurried off to fulfill their missions.

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

~ SECTION THREE ~

Brann and I hurried up and into Hiroshima Castle. There were rows and rows of military vehicles parked before the Castle, each gleaming in the moonlight. Brann whispered that the war effort evidently was not going all that badly for the Japanese if they could maintain these cars.

I pointed out that the tires of many of them had creases in them from sitting there for a long time. According to my borrowed memories these cars were only very rarely used, there being a serious lack of fuel.

Since I maintained an invisibility aura around us, we were able to walk around in the dark castle unhindered. There was not central directory of prisoners so I had to locate each prisoner by mind signature, seeking out minds with an American stamp to them.

The prisoners were scattered through out the castle to keep them isolated from one another. After I located one, Brann and I would travel to his cell. Brann would curl his fingers around his mouth and blow an imaginary bugle. The tune he played was something to do with Joshua blowing down the walls of Jericho, I do not recall the exact title.

Even though he blew softly, the notes still pealed out in the dark hallways. This tune he directed at the doors locks and after a few notes they crumpled to dust, then we pushed the doors in and got the serviceman without causing alarm. Had I been able to let go with my heightened powers it would have been no problem for to have maintained an invisibility shield around all of the prisoners and ourselves, but being restrained, after six I felt some strain.

When we had collected ten of the prisoners my mind seemed to be straining at the seams to hold us all in. I told Brann we would have to make two trips, that after we picked up the next prisoner we would have to secure them somewhere.

It was on the eleventh prisoner that I made a serious error.

I located another American mind and Brann blew the lock on the door. I dropped the invisibility shield on Brann. we pushed the door in only to find ourselves face to face with a Japanese officer. Seeing Brann, the Japanese Officer knew we were not Japanese. Shocked I scanned his mind. He did have an American mind, he was a Kibei, an American born Japanese who had been sent to Japan for education and had been caught there after the war began.

He was also working as a spy for America but could not let us jeopardize his mission. The Kibei officer shouted for guards. Brann blew taps and Kibei fell asleep. The damage was done. I snapped on the invisibility shield and we ran from the Castle. A few minutes later the Castle was on full alert. It was 9:22 p.m., Radio Hiroshima broadcast an air raid full alert. People ran from their homes to shelters. The Castle was put on a full alert and this hindered our rescue efforts. I allowed myself to dip into the brimming well of energy surrounding me, drinking near the edge of a waterfall, drinking until the current swept me along and I hovered on the brink.

This sustained my mental energies for a time allowing me to erect an invisible shield around all the prisoners, Phineas Brann and myself until we had reached the Aioi Bridge. A side effect of taking in so much energy in one dip was that it increased the entropy on my borrowed body, that is it rotted real fast. From the reactions of the prisoners and Brann, I could tell I was quite ripe by the time we had reached the bridge. We hid the prisoners under the bridge. Brann was reluctant to leave any prisoners in the hands of the Japanese but was also unsure as to when the bomb would be dropped. He told the prisoners that if we had not returned by sun rise to make their way towards the hills.

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

~ SECTION FOUR ~

Brann and I returned to Hiroshima Castle after the all clear had sounded at 10:15. We succeeded in rescuing all of the remaining prisoners and brought them to the Bridge. I was exhausted but afraid to dip into the energy well pulsing about me for fear of decomposing my body into dust. I did not think Brann would go for killing another person just to provide me with a mount. I was not too thrilled with the prospect either. My head throbbed with pain. After a bit of rest however, I soon realized the throbbing was not so much from pain as it was from someone trying to reach me telepathically. It was Mr. Morgue, the others had also tried but could not get through.

Mr. Morgue and the other three were on their way to meet us at Hiroshima Castle. when I told Captain Brann about this, he paused in lighting his last cigar and asked if they had finished their missions. My contact with Mr. Morgue had been brief but I had gotten the impression that they had not.

Brann cursed as the match flame singed his fingers. He flapped it out and flicked the burnt match away. Reluctantly, he put his cigar back into its waterproof bag.

Company x assembled outside the castle.

Brann asked for immediate status reports.

Williams had discovered and destroyed two anti-aircraft batteries.

Four Eyes had located one radar station. He had killed the technicians manning it and disabled it.

Willie had only killed two high ranking officers by poison dart before Mr. Morgue had contacted him.

Mr. Morgue had disabled several cars by ripping out distributors and he had begun to wreck a rail car track when he had been spotted. Mr. Morgue explained that he had killed a high ranking Jap officer who had challenged him. Mr. Morgue drained the Jap's brain discovering that this officer had been in charge of a secret weapon project, one located in the bowels of Castle Hiroshima.

This project had to do with a death ray which could knock the propellers off of planes or it could kill the crew by disrupting their cellular structures. The team of scientists were poised to test this weapon the very next morning on any plane which flew over Hiroshima.

Laughing, Mr. Morgue said that sometimes he got jumbled impressions from draining brains too rapidly, because the Jap officer had also had a vivid impression of trying to revive a giant lizard with the death ray.

I felt a sudden chill crawl down the remnants of my creaking and crumbling spine.

"My God, it sounds as if they found Gojiro. I exclaimed in dry, whisper.

What the hell is Gojiller?" Brann asked.

"It is an ancient South Seas legend. There is this giant lizard which periodically terrorizes the Pacific regions, including Japan and China. Purportedly he is shaped like a Tyrannosaurus Rex but has the ability to project rays of some sort from his eyes or some type of magical fire from his mouth, depending on the accounts you hear. He usually only rampages for about a week or so before he runs out of energy. Then he hibernates in a volcano or at the bottom of the sea, again depending on the story.

"What does this fairy tale have to do with us?"

"Am I fairy tale, Captain Brann? Or are you or Four Eyes or Bear or Mr. Morgue or Willie or even Madame Curie?"

Brann stared at me with a look of such vehemence that if it had force I would have been knocked on my butt. As if I had something to do with Gojiro being real.

"If either this death ray or this monster exists, then they represent a threat to Operation Centerboard, so we have to find them and destroy them, if we can." Brann said and started on down the hallway. He gestured for Mr. Morgue to lead the way to the secret laboratory.

Mr. Morgue lead us to a unmarked door with a combination lock on it. He opened it swiftly and stepped inside silently, gesturing for us to follow him. We emerged into a long, white tiled and brilliantly lit hallway, at one end was a large set of double metal doors also painted white. Off to one side of the doors was a soldier sitting at a desk. He was fast asleep. As we approached closer to the door my exhaustion abruptly increased, I reached into the energy field but I could no longer feel it, much less tap into it.

"Damned place must be shielded, I can't keep us invisible," I whispered as I felt my power fade.

Brann did not even pause when I told him this. Sticking an unlit cigar in his mouth, he increased his step and raised his hands up cupping the cigar, forming his invisible bugle.

The dozing Japanese soldier awoke with a start. Unfortunately he was one of those rare individuals who awaken instantly alert. Seeing us he raised and fired his side arm.

While Brann the Bugler blew "Taps" Choctaw Williams howled in pain as two bullets stitched across his stomach.

The pain of the deadly wounds unleashed all the restraints on Williams, knowing he was dying he allowed all the rage and ferocity in his soul to burst forth onto the surface. His aura flared into visibility taking on a blood red tincture. It quickly formed the shape of the grizzly and surrounded Williams like a form fitting bear shaped fog.

In two bounding leaps Williams reached the desk. With a howling roar, the Bear ripped open the Japanese soldier's belly, the aura around Williams hands having solidified into large claws. Radiant red fangs formed around Williams teeth and were given temporary corporeality by Williams' will and desire to rend and kill.

The Japanese soldier's throat exploded in a kaleidoscope of red. Blood founted around the glowing crimson jaws of the Bear.

The Bear dropped its prey and with a angry defiant roar, he charged the white double doors. The doors creaked and bent under the tremendous weight of the enraged Bear but they did not give, not the first time nor the second. On the third try the doors popped open like a jack in the box lid.

A deafening roar sounded as the Bear charged into the room beyond the double doors.

It was shortly after midnight. Rapid gunfire followed the Bear's entrance into the other room. As we rushed to follow we

heard shrieks and the thick, meaty thuds of flesh being torn asunder.

Fifteen Japanese soldiers were firing at the Bear. Williams was so riddled with gunshot wounds that bones, organs and exposed blood vessels gleamed out from a lattice work of tattered flesh. That he was alive and standing was amazing but the aura that sustained him also held him together so that he had not disintegrated from the force of the blasts

Six Japanese soldiers were already dead and two more were dying at his claws and teeth when we caught up with them.

Williams fell after several more shots hit him. The bearish aura snapped off as if controlled by a light switch. His body hit the white tiled floor, splitting and crumbling like so much red, white and pink cheese.

I did what I could to form a defensive shield and Captain Brann blew "A Mighty Fortress on his invisible bugle.

Mr. Morgue and Willie the Snake rushed to the front. Mr. Morgue fired his M-16 and Willie the Snake threw his poisoned darts in quick flinging handfuls. Japanese soldiers fell but several more rushed from the far doors at the rear, reinforcing the fallen soldiers.

The fire fight in the enclosed hall was deafening, thunder boomed back and forth as slugs whined and careened with piercing whistles and screams.

Cordite smoke and dust from pulverized ceramic tile filled the air creating a fog and giving us a smoke screen to hide behind.

Our defensive shields were not adequate to the task. Although slowed considerably the bullets punched through. The strain of maintaining the shield was telling on me, sharp daggers of pain stabbed at my eyes and temples. The shields began to crumple. Mr. Morgue was hit once in the leg and out of ammunition when he leapt off to the side to re-load.

Mr. Morgue landed badly and he screamed as his leg crumpled beneath him. He slammed hard against the white tiled wall and slumped into a heap.

Willie the Snake was hit with a full barrage of gunfire. He made one contorted double handed wrist flip forwards as dozens of impact and exit explosions shredded him. His final deadly fistfuls of darts found three victims who fell a second after he did, their dying convulsions mirrored his to some extent, although they not smear the tiled floor with sanguinary giblets.

Four Eyes gave out a sound between a gasp and a sigh. I turned to see if he were hit. He was crying, the tears leaked Out from the rims of his dark glasses. Willie had been his best friend. Jerking the glasses from his face, he screamed in agony as his eyes burned. Through our bloodlink I felt his pain. It was the most pain I had felt in nearly a century. Perhaps I had never felt pain that intense.

Not even a second passed before his eyes glowed with a glossy, reflective black like chips of obsidian glass. Twin beams of black energy shot from his eyes. The black rays crackled through the air obliterating air molecules in their path. Nothing was safe, even light was somehow drawn into the black rays and dissolved. The air in the room grew thinner and the room became dark and shadowed as air and light were sucked into the destructive black beams.

As the beams hit the Japanese soldiers, they were not drilled through like the Buck Rogers lasers instead they seemed to instantaneously shrink, collapse, dissolve and disappear, leaving behind absolutely no trace that they had ever existed.

In a matter of seconds the deadly eye beams swept across all the remaining soldiers and they were gone.

All the while his eye beams had destroyed the Japanese soldiers Four Eyes had screamed in a raw, discordant inarticulate ululating shriek of agony. When the last soldier had vanished, he slapped the glasses over his face and fell to his knees. Four Eyes sobbed freely, yet it was blood which streamed down his face and collected at the point of his chin, a beard made up of dripping, crimson bubbles.

Captain Brann grabbed Four Eyes elbows and lifted him to his feet. He guided Four Eyes towards the doors further down the hall.

Mr. Morgue shook himself from his stupor and collected himself. He stood up shakily and limped over to us, using his rifle for support. He had been nailed through the calf of his right leg. One of his talents was quick healing so the bleeding had ceased.

Brann remarked that Four Eyes would be blind for a while and had Mr. Morgue lean on and guide Four Eyes.

We reached the doors at the end of the hall only to find them locked. Brann formed his bugle and blew "Jericho" After three times in quick succession the door cracked in half. Brann blew the charge and the doors flew inwards.

We found five Japanese scientists inside, oblivious to the mayhem, still working on far into the night on their secret experiment.

The death ray was a huge glass or plastic coil about eight feet high and ten feet in diameter. Inside the coil were rows of vacuum tubes. wires and valves. Several wires lead from the coil to a small console on wheels and from there to a large portable generator.

There was another coil similar in size and shape but pointed inside a large hole in the far wall.

For a second the Japanese scientists stared at us in surprise. Then one of the younger ones snapped on a switch on the console of the coil and swung the coil in our direction.

Energy swarmed over me like a ants over a rotting carcass. The energy was so overwhelming, so immense that I could not dampen it, I could not get a fix on it. I was swept along a current of power like a leaf down the Niagara.

My borrowed body dissolved into dust and I hit the floor hard, my skull bouncing along the white tile like a tennis ball. I was beyond noticing any of this, yet was aware of all that went on about me.

As the invisible ray struck Mr. Morgue, he stood paralyzed, his body broke into a thick sweat. Bulges formed all along his shaven skull. Grayish polyps sprouted out of his dark brown skin like mushrooms after a summer rain. The polyps quickly grew in size, mushrooming to the size of apples and then to melons.

They were not polyps but brains, all the brains he had sucked dry burst forth from his head. His head became obscured by the growths and the weight of them forced him to his knees and then forward onto his face, as if kowtowing to the coil.

With a scream, Four Eyes pulled his glasses off. The twin beams of black entropic energy shot forwards, singing their way through dissolving air. The eye beams hit the coils, spun around inside them and shot back at Four Eyes. Four Eyes shrank and disappeared leaving no trace of him behind.

Black light exploded from the coils of the death ray enveloping four of the scientists. The light imploded silently and collapsed upon itself vanishing without a sound. Gone also were the death ray and four of the Japanese Scientists.

The Death ray had affected Phineas Brann also. He had told me that a side effect of being one of my blood brothers was aging backwards. He had been about twenty before the ray struck him, now he was about ten years old. His shirt dwarfed him, flopping down to his knees. His pants were looped around his feet.

Brann took no time for recriminations or regrets. He picked up the large pants in his tiny fist and searched through the pockets. Pulling out a knife he sawed off the legs until they were a suitable length. He took the hacked off pieces and cut them into strips which he made into a short rope. Brann tucked the shirt tail into the pants and tied the makeshift belt about his waist. Picking up his waterproof back he stuffed in it inside his shirt and buttoned it up tight. This entire process took about two minutes.

When the ray shut off the massive cluster of brains weighing Mr. Morgue down receded. They shrank until his smooth skull was dotted with dozens of pinkish gray fungoid like growths about the size of an average toadstool. Mr. Morgue stood up and shook his head violently as if attempting to dislodge the conflicting thoughts I felt swirling around in his head.

Mr. Morgue tried to weep away the memories but could not. He had never truly wept any of the memories away, merely dislodged them from his consciousness. Once he sucked a mind into his own, the chemical memories were imprinted on his brain tissues. The act of weeping them out merely caused those memories to become dormant. Now they were all fully activated and the conflicting memories were driving him mad. Only the force of will which had allowed him to keep these minds dormant kept him sane, for the moment. I could feel his ego crumbling under an assemblage of personalities fighting for dominance.

His normally ebullient face was set in a grim mask of rage and hatred. He launched his large bulk at the remaining Japanese scientist. Phineas Brann attempted to stop Mr. Morgue but was swept aside by a powerful arm.

Using both of his large hands, Mr. Morgue grabbed the screaming and slightly built man by his temples and squeezed tightly. Mr. Morgue plunged his thumbs deep into the man's eyes, thumbnails slipping through the eyeballs as if they were gelatin. Blood, aqueous humor and vitreous humor squirted past his thumbs like foam from a shook up soda bottle.

The Japanese scientist convulsed and screamed as pain ripped through his body. Mr. Morgue echoed the very same motions with own body as his victim's thoughts became his own.

With a final convulsive seizure the Japanese scientist stiffened and collapsed. Mr. Morgue withdrew his gore and gray matter caked thumbs and sucked them clean. Licking his lips, he stared at us blindly, his eyes throbbing as information was decoded and stored in his brain. Before our eyes another pinkish gray mushroom, shaped like a tiny brain on a stalk, blossomed on his skull, this time directly above his right eye.

Slow tears began to leak from his eyes as he giggled. The new acquisition had triggered the memory dumping mechanism in his system, but I feared it would only dump this current victims unwanted memories.

Mr. Morgue giggled wildly and said, "This was unnecessary. The death ray does not work, it will not even kill a pig much less a man nor does it affect solid matter, so it could not knock down planes. These scientists had lied about the weapon to their superiors to save face.

"The ray sure affected us. What about this gojiller monster?" Brann asked.

Mr. Morgue expression went slack for a second, then it suddenly contorted wildly and a hoarse, shrill laugh brayed out from his throat. "Let me show you," he said and started for the other death ray coil.

"Wait!" I shouted. My naked vocal chords had nothing to amplify my voice so it sounded like a loud whisper. "Get me a body."

Brann gave a look of utter loathing. I found his disgust and hatred even more disturbing coming from his childish face, it was a deep chill against my soul. He picked my sword out of the skeletal remains of my former body and chopped off the head of the Japanese scientist Mr. Morgue had just killed. This action

demonstrated that despite its childish appearance Brann's body still retained a supernatural strength.

"Come and get it, El Jefe" Brann said sarcastically as he and Mr. Morgue walked towards the death ray coil set into the far wall.

Although it had been quite a while, I snaked across the room using the trachea, larynx and spine trailing from my skeletal head. Upon reaching the headless body, I lashed the spine, hopping myself into a reclining position. My skull hit the white tile with a loud clink and the spine and vocal chord slid into the neck hole connecting themselves to the neural and vocal apparatus of the borrowed body.

Tactile sensation returned with a rush and for a time I felt the vitality of a fresh body.

Sitting up, I followed Brann and Mr. Morgue over to the door next to the death ray coil. They had waited, albeit impatiently, for me to join them. Luckily, years of experience and hundreds of borrowed bodies had made the joining and take over of bodily functions almost instantaneous.

Pointing to the death ray coil, Mr. Morgue said, "The death ray affected us because we all were already irradiated in some degree, our genes and blood carrying radioactive traces. The ray merely amplified our radioactivity and produced more mutagenic changes.

Smiling a wry smile, he continued, "This is why they did not dare release Gojiro. Some Japanese forces found Gojiro hibernating in a dormant volcano on some pacific island. They brought him here hoping to revive him and use him as a weapon

against the Allies.

Of all the things they tried on him, the death ray was the most effective, however it only awakened him for a few seconds at a time with deadly results. One of the results of the death ray treatments is that it left Gojiro a restless sleeper. He awakens every now and then for a few seconds and reacts as if in a hostile setting.

They planned to use Gojiro as a last ditch weapon should an invasion come. To awaken him they would give him the full power of three death rays.

"I still don't get it why wouldn't they use him otherwise. Brann asked suspiciously.

Mr. Morgue opened the door next to the death ray coil. We walked through a small hallway to another small doorway. Stepping through the doorway we exited into a vast, clammy darkness. Mr. Morgue moved ahead of us a few steps and snapped on a light switch.

Bright, stark light from several flood lights, revealed us to be in a cavern. We stood on a vast expanse of a teak, some four hundred feet long. The teak floor pitched and listed slightly as if it were in constant motion. In the center of the teak floor was a huge bundle some three hundred feet long and about fifty wide, covered completely by black tarps. Dozens of mooring cables and anchor chains crisscrossed the width and breadth of the tarp covered bulk and were fastened in huge rings set in the teak floor. On the side nearest to us a rectangular frame of metal was bolted to the floor.

Mr. Morgue pointed to the rectangular frame and said, "There is one on the other side and one aft. Those are the frames for the death ray coil devices.

"Where's this Gojiro beastie at and what's that thing they got so wrapped up.

Look at the tarps, don't you see them rise and fall? Can't you feel the motion under our feet? That big lump over there is Gojiro, his breathing is causing the rocking under our feet. We are on the biggest raft in the world, a converted aircraft carrier deck.

"I thought you said, he was only fifty to seventy five feet tall!" Brann said, turning and boring his eyes into mine in an accusatory glare.

He was sixty-five feet tall when they found him, Captain. The death ray does wake him but it also makes him grow. The research team calculated that the require dose of death ray radiation needed to fully wake Gojiro from hibernation would double his present size. That is why they never used it, they had no way to control him once he was awake. His massive bulk and huge size would wreak devastation where ever he walked.

Yet they were willing to destroy the coastal cities by unleashing him on the US armed forces , Brann said and shook his head in wonderment. "Can we kill the beastie?"

"It is invulnerable to all known weapons. Mr. Morgue said with a sour expression. Perhaps we can shoot it through the eye or the nose"

Captain Brann nodded. We followed Mr. Morgue to the aft section of the raft. He explained that this raft was floating on a man made lake underneath Hiroshima Castle. When the American Invasion started the Japanese planned on floating the raft out a tunnel and into the Motoyasu river and out to Hiroshima bay. Once there the scientists would start up the death rays and wake Gojiro. He pointed to a large U-handle switch by the door. That was an emergency release which would unloose the raft moorings and open the sea door allowing the raft to float out of the chamber and up to the river.

Mr. Morgue lifted a section of the tarp, revealing a craggy, expanse of dark green material remind me of glossy lichen covered pebbles set inside polished green wood. This was Gojiro's scaly hide. Mr. Morgue had Captain Brann and I take hold of either side of a crack in the hide and pull. Using all our strength the hide parted, revealing the slick, glassy surface of Gojiro's eyeball.

Mr. Morgue fired a burst from his M-16 directly into the eye. The eye did not burst into a fountain of goo as we had hoped, nor did the bullets ricochet as we had feared. The bullets were caught in the surface of the eye like flies in amber. With the acrid stench of molten metal the lead and brass trapped in the skin of the eye dissolved in several puffs of smoke.

"Oh, shit! " Mr. Morgue exclaimed.

The huge eye glowed faintly then grew in amber radiance much like a vacuum tube does when it is warming up. Brann and I let go of the eye lid and leapt to one side. A lambent beam shot from the eye and caught Mr. Morgue full on. He glowed yellow for half a second and then burst apart in millions of glistening particles which winked out a second later.

Lying prone, Captain Brann stuck his last cigar back into his mouth. It was huge to his little' boy's mouth. Forming his invisible bugle he blew Taps just as loud and fast as he could. The huge eyelids quivered and then slowly slid closed.

Brann stood up cursing a blue streak. The cursing sounded odd coming in his child's voice. He would have liked to kicked Gojiro for all he was worth but was afraid of reviving him.

"We'll just leave him right here. Hopefully, the bomb will destroy it." He walked back to the door leading back to the laboratory, expecting me to follow. I did so after a minute but before doing so I looked at the vast, sleeping bulk of Gojiro.

Another victim of radiation, as was I. Another freak of nature as was I. I made not a conscious decision but a decision of conscience. When I walked past the doorway leading to the laboratory, I reached over and pulled the emergency release lever.

Hearing the clamps holding the raft loosen I walked out the doorway.

Brann was waiting for me in the corridor outside the laboratory. He needed me for my invisibility shield, otherwise he would have left me behind.

Brann and I made it to the Aioi bridge without any problems.

Brann dismissed the prisoners, telling them to make their way furtively and quickly towards the hills outside of Hiroshima. He told them that he had one more mission to accomplish and that hopefully one day he would see them in the good old USA.

He was lying to them, verbally and visually. Because he did not want them to react to his new biological age of ten he had me create the image of his older self for them. He lied to them verbally because, his mission was over, he had decided to die.

I also wanted to die but was feeling severe pangs in my underdeveloped conscience. Certainly, if I was the cause, either intentionally or inadvertently of the mass produced death in the German concentration camps, I deserved to be executed.

My soul was stained with the blood of those I had killed in vengeance, for convenience and by accidentally creating monsters and I knew I deserved, and wanted, extinction. Yet, what of the innocents who would be killed achieving my execution, what of the civilians surrounding the atomic flash which exterminated me.

Was this not a holocaust in a different form? I knew that there were differences, this was not the cold, calculated methodical gassing and shoving of people into ovens but the end result was the same except that thousands would be incinerated in one huge atomic oven.

My soul, I felt for certain was damned but what of the soul of my homeland? What of the soul of America, could it withstand such a blot, could its collective conscience ignore the thousands of innocent dead? I wondered. Certainly such an act would have dire consequences. Perhaps, not at once but eventually the guilt would consume the nation as a whole and America would turn on itself in self-loathing and despair. Violence would beget violence and overwhelming and unacknowledged guilt would shatter society and culture. Social classes and generations would fight amongst themselves until only chaos reigned.

This one unthinking act of mass murder could be the death of America. I wondered how I might prevent it and save America from its own folly.

My thoughts would not be understood by Brann and I knew he would prevent me from stopping the bombing if he could.

Brann and I took cover under the Aioi bridge and waited for the bomb. We sat invisible waiting for the bomb to drop. He scratched a match on the stone of the bridge and lit his last cigar. It was truly a bizarre sight, seeing a ten year old child smoking the last eight inches of a foot long cigar, he could barely get his mouth around it.

Shortly Brann fell asleep. I thought about killing him but could not bring myself to do so. For all my crimes, I have never killed a child and despite his chronological age, he was a child. This put him beyond the line I had drawn for myself.

As it neared dawn the huge raft carrying Gojiro floated past us. I hoped this was a way of getting Brann out of my hair for a while. When the raft was barely in visible range, I nudged Brann awake and showed him the raft floating down the river.

Brann rubbed sleep from his eyes and stared at me with luminous child-like eyes. "You bastard! What the hell did you set him free for?"

"There will be enough innocents killed today. Why should there be one more?"

Brann stared at me silently for a second, grabbed his partially smoked cigar and took off running. I knew he would never catch the raft.

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

~ SECTION FIVE ~

As the city began to wake around me I plugged into the energy field surrounding me. The field had been more powerful at night, solar radiation seemed to dampen it a bit. The energy field was still immensely powerful, certainly powerful enough for my purposes. To get a better view of the city and to be closer to dropped bomb, I walked up to the bridge and sat on one of the stone spans, couched in invisibility. Extending my consciousness upwards, I listened to the radio waves and radar pulsations.

Although tuned into the airwaves, I silently watched what transpired around me. The bridge became a hub of activity, as people began traveling across it and going to work, as civilian clerks in the Castle or at the Shima medical clinic down the road.

A group of children trooped past me and towards the firebreaks on either side of the Aioi bridge. They were supposed to continue tearing down homes and building the fire breaks. I hoped for their sakes and for the sakes of the other innocents I could stop the bomb.

One little girl did a double take as she passed where I sat shrouded in an invisibility aura on the bridge span.

At 7:10, according the wrist watch of the Japanese scientist whose body I wore, the air raid sirens sounded over Hiroshima. A single plane circled once over Hiroshima and left.

This plane was the STRAIGHT FLUSH, the scouting plane for the bomb plane. I heard a bit of their conversation whenever they were struck by radio waves either from radio stations or from radar. There was a huge cloud cover over Japan, yet just over Hiroshima, there was a rent in the clouds some ten miles wide.

Sunlight shone down through the rent and upon Hiroshima like a beacon of light from heaven. The fliers took this as a good omen that God wanted them to blast the Japs. They sent a coded message, "Advice: bomb primary target"

At 7:31 the all clear sounded in Hiroshima. I felt some measure of sadness and impotence when I saw a Kempeitai patrol leading ten of the escaped American Prisoners of War back to the Castle. They were quite brutal in their treatment, several of the men seemed to have been beaten severely. I wished I could do something but needed to reserve my strength.

At 8:00 I heard a great commotion coming from the grounds of Hiroshima Castle as many of the 40,000 soldiers stationed there began their morning calisthenics.

At the opposite end of the Aioi bridge I saw a flamboyantly dressed officer riding a white stallion ride towards the bridge at a gentle trot. He would soon cross the bridge and pass directly in front of me.

At 8:13 I felt the radar pulsations in Chugoku Regional Army Headquarters pick up three large enemy planes, heading west from Saijo towards Hiroshima. They were about ten miles away.

At 8:15 Hiroshima radio throbbed through my ears announcing that the three planes were over Hiroshima.

I saw them diving towards the ground.

The flamboyantly dressed officer was halfway across the bridge, still trotting leisurely.

On the fire lanes, supervisors blew on their whistles warning the children working outside to seek immediate shelter.

One of the airplanes dropped a deadly seed.

Throwing caution to the wind, I dove into the energy ocean and let it carry me over the edge. The power ripped away my invisibility and I shone with St. Elmo's fire.

The horse saw me and reared, the rider spun and grabbed its reins to bring it under control.

My mind dove into the falling bomb. I could do nothing about the radiation but I saw that there was a slight chance I could stop the bomb from detonating. The bomb was equipped with several fail safes and my understanding of the bomb's workings was almost nonexistent but there was a chance.

Once all the fail safes had been triggered the detonator was activated, the detonator was built much like a gun. A charge of gunpowder would propel an uranium slug down a fifty two inch barrel at nine hundred feet per second. As the slug traveled its short trip down the barrel a small device of polonium would emit neutrons starting a chain reaction in the uranium slug. The activated and charged uranium slug would then slam into a ring of uranium and create atomic explosion.

Using all the power at my command, I encased every particle of gunpowder in the bomb casing with a telekinetic shield and did not allow one electric particle to reach it.

I also surrounded the bomb itself with a telekinetic shield which would cushion its landing.

The bomb fell with a tremendous subsonic whine.

At 8:16 nine foot long bomb plunged into the fire break, leaving a huge impact crater. The force of the impact traveled back through the energy field and slammed into my brain with the concussive force of a sledge hammer against my skull. My mental grip on the bomb shattered.

Blackness descended for a second. Pushing the pain aside I resumed my mental hold on the bomb. The concussive shock had torn away my powers.

The officer on the white stallion screamed and charged me, cavalry sword flashing in the early morning sunlight. I was quite visible and my skeletal head atop a body wearing a bloody smock must have looked demonic.

Drop-kicking the officer off of his horse, I stole his mount and urged the white stallion into a gallop towards the bomb crater, determined to reach it before anyone else could monkey around with it.

I would have to finish disarming the bomb by hand.

While riding towards the bomb a tingle crept across my brain as the bomb's radiation revived my powers to some extent.

The chatter of the American planes overhead tickled my ears. "Little Boy was stillborn. Repeat, Little Boy was stillborn" This code informed their home base that the bomb was a dud.

At about 8:17 I arrived at the bomb crater seconds before anyone else, although some children were running towards the thing. Despite the impact crater's size, the bomb was still intact, thanks to my force field about it at the time of impact.

Jumping off the horse, I slid down the baking hot dirt of the impact crater. Tapping into the city's energy field, I felt only a trickle of the vast power I had experienced before.

The field had not changed, I had. I was aware of it pulsing in a vast ocean of power but I could only hand dip out of it. Channeling a bit of energy into my fingers I plunged my fingers into the black and green metal of the bomb's skin and ripped the casing open. After tossing the torn metal away my hands plunged towards the bomb's innards but a large rock smacked into my right hand breaking it.

Foolishly, I turned and was hit with another large rock, this one careened off of my skull and broke my concentration.

The little girl who had spotted me as I sat on the bridge stood at the lip of the impact crater shouting down at me.

I felt her power strongly then, she was linked to me by my blood. I do not know how or why, just that she was. She called me an Ini, a demon, and rained stones upon me. Ducking a stone thrown directly at my eyes, my borrowed heart skipped a beat when the stone hit the open bomb casing and sparked the gunpowder.

The uranium slug slammed its way down the barrel. Using all of the minute mental energy I could muster I placed a barrier between the uranium pieces. Ignoring the constant barrage of abuse and thrown rocks from the little girl, I concentrated on keeping the uranium pieces apart. The chain reaction had already started so I siphoned the excess energy into myself, making me glow with a radiant blue aura. Shutting out the world I pushed the uranium pieces even farther apart as the chain reaction increased.

A particularly large rock hit the base of my neck, popping me from my borrowed body.

For a split second my powers cut off. It was a split second too long.

The activated uranium slammed into the uranium ring.

Instead of wasting time attempting to stop the inevitable explosion, I concentrated on saving the one life that I could. My mental shield reached out and covered the little girl, I dove into the energy field hoping to somehow bring in the little girl and shield her from the effects of the bomb.

A pinprick of purplish red light, with me at the center grew hundreds of feet wide. The energy field around me was swept aside as a tsunami of energy crashed upon me.

My eyes saw only white light. A second of immeasurable pain and my eyes and brain melted, my spine and vocal chords sizzled away and my skull bones charred into carbon dust. I became ash, ashes which were vaporized into atomic nuclei, yet I remained conscious and aware.

As the nuclear explosive force obliterated me I held onto my consciousness. In the center of the explosion, in the fission fissure, many things became clear to me at once. You could say I had an explosive insight.

On that day in 1870, when my partners killed me I had ceased to exist as a physical being. My mind, my soul, my will had unconsciously used the radioactive forces in the air, earth and water to make myself into a being of energy. I had never been tied to my body, I had become what many people mistakenly call a ghost. It was only superstitious attachment and a deep dread of dying which had bound me to my body.

On that day in 1870 I could have left my old life behind, I could have left this world and wandered the cosmos, exploring the universe in all it's glory. Instead, I had dreamed small, I had thought only of revenge and had lost my chance for enlightenment.

In the lingering second after the explosion, I knew that I still had options to continue my existence as an discorporeal energy being or save as many innocents of Hiroshima as I could.

By using the explosion's own energy I could, if not prevent it, alter it so that the casualties would not be so high. My consciousness, the energy of my very being would fuel this process which would strip me atom by atom to nothingness.

The child I held in stasis sobbed, opening a floodgate of my memories.

My four partners and their associates, all their faces contorted in the agonized deaths I had gifted them.

Hundreds of bodies lying on the ground, the bountiful harvests of my ambition and callousness, the massacres at Little Big Horn, Wounded Knee and a dozen other sites of carnage I had manipulated into being.

There came before me a parade of men whom I had beheaded and whose bodies I had stolen for mere conveyances.

The photographs of Treblinka, Belsen, Auschwitz and other death camps, which I had unwittingly caused.

Finally I became aware the destruction that went on at that very moment.

From the impact crater outwards for the distance of a mile, everything was vaporized. Some 120,000 people vanished in the blink of an eye. Flash fires started at the distance of five miles, everything combustible in that range, including living flesh, burst into flame. Screaming, living torches ran through the streets, through an inferno of miles of flaming buildings.

The shockwave leveled buildings as far away as ten miles. Thousands more would die as the buildings crumpled.

All told, of the 320,000 people in Hiroshima barely ten thousand survived the blast. Most of these would die of radiation poisoning in the days to come.

Reaching out with my consciousness, I felt Captain Brann near the Army airfield. He was burnt alive, his skin a living pyre yet he did not die. My blood link which had strengthened him, given him youth and vitality, now kept him alive as his flesh was incinerated, enveloped in a unquenchable fire. He would slowly die over the course of

several days as the flames, moving at the pace of a coal fire, charred and cindered his tissues to ash.

Gathering my will and strength, I encased the vast burning energy at the core of the mushroom sun inside my being. The heat was hotter than the core of the sun and I felt as a man dropped into molten metal must feel, only I did not vaporize, my agony continued, growing with every second.

Channeling the energy, I pushed the inferno in on itself and thrust upwards. I cannot describe the physics of what happened, since there are no formulas to explain it, besides it was impossible by any current theories of physics.

While containing the explosion, I pushed it upwards away from the ground.

Slowly the explosion rose and in doing so it contracted. As the explosion collapsed upon itself, the core grew hotter. To prevent another fission reaction, I siphoned more of the excess heat into my consciousness now composed of energy waves and particles. The excess heat devoured my energy as my dampening kept the heat from expanding.

I noticed something peculiar, as the explosion slowly rose the devastation reversed.

Slowly the disintegrated and burning buildings faded back into being as they lad been before the explosion. Atom by atom vaporized human beings reappeared. It was a film running backwards and developing all at the same time.

I was not so much negating the effects of the explosion as I was reversing them. As the explosion moved upwards, energy collapsed in on it, including the temporal energy which Einstein had theorized but never isolated.

Time moved backwards as the explosion moved upwards.

As I pushed the explosion upwards, the core shrank even more rapidly, the core burned ever more hotter increasing the rate at which I was being destroyed.

At a eight hundred feet, I had to eject the little girl, Fushida Eiko from the energy field, although I maintained enough power about her to shield her from the explosion. She lay there unaware of anything transpiring, since she had been taken out of the temporal loop earlier she would find her self standing in front of Shima Hospital without knowing how she had gotten there.

At a thousand feet above the ground, my energy, my being was shriveling away, the scorching torture nearly ripped away what little control I retained. Yet I strove onward and upwards, feeling more of myself obliterated with every inch the bomb explosion rose.

Each of my atoms destroyed was stripped of its energy and bonded to the fission reaction before becoming annihilated, feeding the very explosion I fought to contain. The agony was unbearably and exquisitely intense and yet, so seductive. I wanted to give into the pain, let my consciousness be consumed, consecrated and consummated by the atomic flame in one last resplendent burst of being.

Although certainly overheated, I did not succumb to passion, my mind's particles continued flaring into a brilliant scintillas before vanishing forever into entropy. A living string of firecrackers, I hoped I would finish my work before the final pop.

At fifteen hundred feet I knew I would not be able to lift the bomb high enough to prevent any damage at all. I hoped that it would be high enough for damage to be minimal.

At sixteen hundred feet my cohesion faltered, my mind was literally becoming scattered and lost. Desperately, I used the girl's mind as template and as an anchor, holding myself together just a bit longer.

At seventeen hundred feet only a few flecks of me remained, the bomb's energy was just too vast, it had annihilated almost every particle of my being.

At eighteen hundred feet all but one particle of my being had flared into oblivion. Using the girl's mind I melded the residue of my consciousness into hers and gave the bomb a final push.

At eighteen hundred and ninety feet I was entirely annihilated. Only the ghostly imprints of my consciousness in the girl's mind sustained the shield about her.

The explosion I had held in check burst forth anew. It was now once again 8:15 a.m. My final thought is that I hope that somehow, some way the girl will remember me.

Below me, a baby cries in a familiar trumpeting wail.

Distantly, I hear three planes fly away.

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

~ SECTION SIX ~

STATEMENT BY DR. HERMANN BLODGETT

The first thing one must ask when a patient reveals an episode such as this in past lives therapy is it a true memory of a past life or is it merely a symbolic fantasy. Here are a few pertinent facts, Mrs. Barnes was indeed a survivor of Hiroshima. She was found inside the blast zone without any apparent injury or radioactive contamination. Blood tests revealed that she did indeed have a form of the Curie Factor.

The factor was named after Madame Curie who had been transformed into a form of vampire as an unforeseen side effect of her radium experiments. The Curie Factor is now known as a dormant genetic anomaly which, when activated by radioactivity, gives certain individuals powers or transforms them into freaks

As for the other elements of Mrs. Barnes story, they can be seen as deriving from several sources. She has admitted to being a fan of the El Head series of novels by Grant Faust and of seeing four of the six El Head Movies. Her favorite El Head was played by Burt Lancaster in the three films he did in the sixties, A PRICE ON THE HEAD, HEAD HUNTERS OF THE WEST and THE VENGEANCE OF EL HEAD.

While diligent research carried out in the late 1980's has revealed that El Head or Poul Ichabod did exist, he did in fact perish in the Arizona desert in 1899. He was, according to all historical records, never present in the Philippines.

The US Army denies that there was ever such an organization as Company X, they vehemently deny that General and later President MacArthur could ever have been influenced by such an insidious creature as El Head.

There were American POWs in Hiroshima castle but most were killed along with the other people in the castle. Four were believed to escaped from the Castle after the blast. One was killed by a mob of Japanese and the other three perished of radiation sickness.

While it sounds like the most implausible part of the tale, the Japanese were indeed working on a death ray. However there is no record of a secret laboratory in Hiroshima Castle nor is there any record of death ray research being done in Hiroshima, this was centered in Osaka.

As for Gojiro, or as Americans know him Godzilla, while there are indeed legends about a fifty foot giant lizard known as Gojiro, it is thought to have been a surviving dinosaur species which remained alive in the Pacific era until the modern era. When the 500 foot monster appeared in 1954 the Japanese named it Gojiro because of the legendary monster, there is no evidence that they are one and the same. Most scientists generally agree that Godzilla is either a mutated Komodo Dragon or Monitor Lizard, certainly not an unknown species of dinosaur. Nor is there any record of the Japanese capturing and experimenting on a giant lizard during World War II.

Mrs. Barnes was no doubt influenced by the Godzilla film series just as she had been by the El Head series. Another manifestation of her avoidance syndrome.

There is the strange case of the Negro baby found in an Hiroshima hospital during the American Occupation. Some Japanese sources claim that the baby was found directly after the blast.

These reports can be dismissed as spurious although the case did get some play in newspapers of the tabloid sort. More than likely the child was the result of a Japanese girl and a Negro soldier during the Occupation, perhaps delivered prematurely.

Mrs. Barnes has merely concocted a fantastic explanation for the baby, claiming this was Captain Phineas Brann, a person the U.S. Army denies existed. The baby grew normally into childhood, although he was sent to the United States and disappeared into the foster home system with a new name.

Finally about the bombing, according to the testimony of the men aboard the Enola Gay and the other two planes the bombing went off without a hitch. Several physicists have told me that the feat which Mrs. Barnes has El Head doing, containing the explosion on the ground and pushing it upwards is not only impossible but ludicrous. They were however strangely intrigued by the fact that this act also purportedly reversed the time flow around the explosion.

Mrs. Barnes is a Hiroshima survivor and is afflicted with a deep and unacknowledged case of survivor guilt. She feels deep shame and despair because she lived while thousands died. Her guilt is compounded by the fact that she was kept from any physical harm at all by some quirk in her body, activated by the very radiation which killed and maimed countless others.

Mrs. Barnes needs to acknowledge her guilt and deal with it, then she will overcome these symptoms of insomnia and vivid waking dreams

TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE

THE EL HEAD HOMEPAGE



~ EL HEAD ~




All the material on these web pages or any other material relating to the character of El Head are copyrighted by Dennis E. Power
1996-2009 Dennis E. Power. All Rights Reserved.
Concept of El Head 1996 created by David Rush. All Rights Reserved.
All of the persons, places and items on the El Head pages are imaginary. Any resemblance to any existing place or product is done only for purposes of fictional verisimilitude and should not be taken as an endorsement of said product or place. Any resemblance to any person living, dead or somewhere in between is merely coincidental,
and unfortunate.

Website Construction ©2009 Krapepark.com
Desert Images ©2009 Jeff Wheeler