The Wold Newton Universe site logo1795 - Wold Newton meteor strike: Eighteen individuals "were riding in two coaches past Wold Newton, Yorkshire.... A meteorite struck only twenty yards from the two coaches.... The bright light and heat and thunderous roar of the meteorite blinded and terrorized the passengers, coachmen, and horses.... They never guessed, being ignorant of ionization, that the fallen star had affected them and their unborn." Tarzan Alive, Addendum 2, pp. 247-248. The meteor strike was "the single cause of this nova of genetic splendor, this outburst of great detectives, scientists, and explorers of exotic worlds, this last efflorescence of true heroes in an otherwise degenerate age." Id., pp.230-231.         Artwork by Lisa Eckert


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This page is just for fun. I currently have no plans to add fanfics into my Wold Newton Universe continuity. There are many of fanfics with crossovers, but it would be just too much of an editorial and management nightmare to keep up with all the fanfic on the web that is potentially Wold Newton-related, through crossovers or otherwise, and make decisions about which ones to add or to not add to the Crossover Chronology. So I'm not going to open the door.

An exception to this policy is fiction that is written by professionally published authors, but which goes unpublished for some reason. This exception allows for:

Some items are not easily defined as either fan fiction or professional fiction. In these cases, I'll make the call, and I'm sure it will be arbitrary. Let's just have fun.


by John Allen Small


Midnight on the savanna...
The moon glows bright in the cloudless sky
As I walk alone, seeking the path
That guides me to my destiny.
A bird flies o'er, a soft voice sounds -
I turn, and there you stand;
From where you've come, I cannot say.
But you beckon to me
With upturned lips, free-flowing hair
And eyes as wide as wonder.
The leopard skin half-hides your charms,
But only for a moment -
It falls, softly, to the ground
As I melt into your bronze-tanned arms.
You tease me with relentless lips
And to my thoughts convey
Swift orders that I should gently
Lie you down
Upon the tall, soft savanna grass
And hover there over you,
Whispering words of timeless ritual.
With limbs and arms clinging to embrace,
You give your love to me;
Softly, slowly,
I return the measured madness -
Pausing every now and then
To make you soar
And cry for more,
Inspired by an eager fire.
Our bodies joined,
Our souls entwined,
Two voices pierce the night as one
With the ecstasy such moments bring.
And when at last our energies -
If not our passions -
Have been spent,
I thank you simply
With a kiss upon your forehead
As you drift off to sleep.
Destiny, did I say?
I know now that you were mine
When all the stars were young and
All the universe was new...
I rise
And gently lift you in my arms,
Gazing into the jungle -
My path now clear before me.
Your skin gleams brightly as I
Carry you into those green chambers
And the jungle moonlight
Seems to bless us...

All rights reserved. All text is © 1997-2005 by the author, John Allen Small. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.




by John Allen Small


The sun was still new to the morning sky when Buck Mason silently climbed off his horse and secured it to the hitching post in front of the Flaming Star Hotel and Saloon. He was a mountain of a man, this cowboy – six foot four inches tall and 250 pounds of massive bone and muscle, with a six-shooter on each hip and a Henry rifle under his arm, wearing the dusty garb and sand-burned expression so common to those who felt more comfortable out there riding the trail alone than living in town in the company of his fellow man.

The few townfolk who were there to see him dismount paid him little heed, or at least pretended to. One little boy standing just outside Shackleford’s Mercantile turned to his mother and asked if the stranger was a bounty hunter, and the mother boxed the child’s ear and looked up with a wide-eyed expression, concerned that the stranger might have heard. He had, of course, and he quickly turned away so that the mother wouldn’t see the amused grin that crept across his face.

Mason’s first inclination was to head into the saloon. After all, he’d been riding for days and Heaven knew he could sure use a drink. But the sign in the window of the barber shop across the street advertised baths, and Heaven knew he sure could use one of those even more. Not that he was all that concerned about offending those around him, but he figured a nice long soaking would probably feel pretty good.

Well, it did, and an hour later he set out to finally have that drink. Midway across the street, however, he noticed something didn’t seem right. Something was missing.

His horse.

Wordlessly he strode into the saloon and drew one of the six-shooters from his holster, firing a single shot into the ceiling. The room quickly fell silent as everyone’s attention turned to the source of the unexpected racket.

The cowboy squinted, and in a flinty, forceful voice he asked, “Which one of you dad-gummed sidewinders stole my horse?”

No one answered. The room remained silent for a moment; over in one corner, a flashy looking dude began shuffling a deck of cards with the intent of dealing a new hand to his fellow poker players. Mason calmly drew his other six-shooter and fired a single shot in the general direction of the dude. The bullet missed the dude, but put a neat hole dead center through the ace of spades before embedding itself in the table.

“All right, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do,” Mason said to nobody in particular. “I’m gonna go over there to the bar and have myself a beer. Maybe two. When I’m finished I’m gonna go back outside and take another look. If my horse isn’t tied back to that hitchin’ post by that time, I’m gonna have to do what I had to do that time back in Texas.”

He lowered his voice to a menacing growl and added, “And I really don’t like to have to do what I had to do that time back in Texas.”

Some of the saloon patrons shifted nervously in their seats as Mason walked slowly to the bar. The barkeep already had a beer waiting for him by the time he got there, which he downed so fast that nobody figured he’d had time to even taste it. He straightened his back as if getting ready to turn back toward the door – but instead he motioned to the barkeep for another beer, and seemed content to take a little more time to enjoy this one.

After swallowing the last mouthful he set a fistful of coins there on the bar – the cost of the two beers, plus a generous tip – then turned and walked back outside.

His horse was right back where he’d tied it in the first place, as if it had never been moved. Mason smiled, then went back to the bar and ordered one more beer for himself – and one for the fancy dude whose cards he had shot. The ashen-faced dude tipped his hat nervously as he took a swig, and proceeded to choke as he swallowed it the wrong way.

The barkeep shook his head as he brought Mason his beer. “Sorry about that, mister,” he said. “Some of the boys here have a bad habit of wanting to pick on strangers when they come to town. You’d think they’d have learned their lesson after that half-breed killed ol’ Gum Smith last year, but some of their skulls are pretty thick...”

Mason took a sip of his brew and changed the subject. “Know where I might be able to find a couple of fellas named Orrin Sackett and Dusty Fog? I was told I should meet up with them here.”

“As a matter of fact, I do,” the barkeep told him. “They both been stayin’ in rooms right here upstairs. Been here for about a week... You plannin' on helping them track down Ringo?”

"That's right. Got a wire from the U.S. Marshall’s Office sayin' that the Kid had busted out of the pen. Curly thinks he's high-tailin' it to Kansas after Luke Plummer and his brood, and wants the three of us to try and cut him off."

"Kansas is quite a ride from here," the barkeep observed. "Seems like the Kid's probably gotten a pretty good head start."

"You've obviously never ridden with Sackett and Fog." Mason thanked the barkeep and laid out a few more coins in payment, then headed for the stairway down at the end of the bar.

The barkeep pocketed the money and called out after him. “Say, pardner... just outta curiosity, what was it you had to do that time back in Texas?"

Mason turned back toward him and grinned. “I had to walk home.”


All rights reserved. All text is © 1998-2005 by the author, John Allen Small. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.




by Michael D. Winkle


We had been treating the old man for several weeks, I and the two medical students I had taken on. There was nothing wrong with the elderly gentleman beyond the usual deterioration attributable to age; indeed, the merchant moved and spoke spryly for his four-score years. His hand, thin and withered as a raptor's claw, always gripped mine in welcome with wiry strength; his frame he held erect, though the flesh hanging thereon scarcely hid the skeleton beneath; but what struck one most were his eyes, which were of a cold, steely blue, like the Arctic seas, the irises round and hard, somehow ophidian. To add a note of the grotesque to their power, the right eye was noticeably larger than the left, and he always seemed to stare at one in a conspiratorial fashion.

I believed his vigor to be the result of the medicines we administered to him. They were experimental, and I warned him to reveal their existence to no one, not even to his young partner, who shared the flat above his store. Our meetings took place at odd hours, in the alley behind the store, in the market square, or in my own chambers. The old man laughed at the secrecy, but he could not deny that he felt revitalized.

# # #

We were to meet the merchant in the early morning on a street that intersected his own. As we approached the crossroads, our way lit by West's lanthorn, I grew conscious of a wheezing breath and a soft footfall. Beneath a lone, smoky streetlamp ahead, a corpulent woman of middle years stood wringing her hands. Strings of silver-brown hair escaped her frilly nightcap, and her shawl hung askew over an old gingham dress.

"Oh, good sirs," she called upon seeing us. "Are you constables? Please say that you are!"

I held up my arm, a gesture that halted my associates and silenced the rotund pedestrian.

"What is the trouble, madam?" I inquired.

"Oh, sir, it’s old Mr. Syms, the milliner -- at least, I think it’s he!"

Syms -- the very man we were to meet! Knox gasped behind me, doubtless sharing my thought, but I raised my hand again and he made no comment.

"What of Syms, my good woman?" I demanded.

"Oh -- oh, I heard sounds, sir. Sounds," she answered. Her cheeks plumped up, squeezing tears from her eyes. "My wall is adjacent to his, you see. Tonight I heard him yell out, a shriek to chill your marrow."

She squeezed her hands in a double fist, glancing up and down the avenues as if for additional forces to muster.

"I heard the cry, and thumps, and I told meself, oh, pshaw, Mary, he merely toppled out of bed. But there were more bumps, and the ripping of boards from the wainscoting, and the slosh of water. I fear sommat terrible has befallen Mr. Syms, sir -- I dressed and went looking for help."

I touched my gloved hand to the distraught woman's arm. Her shudder shook my very bones.

"Take hold of yourself, madam. My men and I will handle this affair. Return to your home and worry no more."

# # #

The merchant's young assistant answered our knock with unusual swiftness for the hour. He bade us enter, and he led us to the overhead flat. He was a wiry fellow with fine, jet-black hair, grey eyes shiny and hard in the lamplight, and a broad forehead, more suited to a philosopher than a merchant. I had seen him from a distance several times, but the meetings between his master and myself were secret even from him.

His neighbor's assumption gave me the idea to pass ourselves off, in our heavy rain apparel, as officers of the law.

"We have received a complaint of a disturbance, and of a scream, originating from this building," I told him bluntly. I glanced about the living quarters in the light of the man's candles. "Is this not the residence of Mr. Syms, the milliner?"

The man twitched, but his smile would have disarmed Satan himself.

"Yes; yes; the old man lives here, as do I, for I am his partner in the establishment below."

I exchanged glances with Knox and West. We all desired to hear about:

"Syms, then. Might we speak to the venerable gentleman?"

The fellow had collected his wits now that the initial shock of our arrival had passed. He crossed his arms, and the smile within his sparse beard betokened arrogance.

"I fear the old fellow has taken a sojourn in the country, visiting his nephew and niece in Belfort. If a cry was heard, it doubtless issued from my own throat. I toppled out of bed during the night, you see, and, being somewhat nervous by nature, and unaccustomed to solitude, I yelled in fear."

I nodded, thinking how the actual constabulary might react.

"Perhaps, sir, you would not object to our taking a look about the premises?"

The man absolutely beamed, as if I had hit upon his innermost desire.

"Please, Officer, I have no cause for concern. If it will allay suspicion, you are welcome to search the entire building."

Search we did; it seemed the old man had left in haste, as he had taken few personal effects, and his bed stood rumpled, as if made in a hurry.

We found the wash basin clean and spotless, and the planks of the floor recently scrubbed. West silently pointed out vague stains in the grain of the floorboards. I nodded. I knew blood in any form, however minute the trace.

Syms' partner, meanwhile, dragged several chairs out into the middle of the room. When we finished our examination, I told him I accepted his story.

"Please, gentlemen, sit yourselves down," he enjoined us. "I am, as I said, unaccustomed to spending time in my own company. I would deeply appreciate a few minutes' conversation."

I did not understand the fellow's game, but I admitted we had time to spare on our lonely patrol.

Syms' partner spoke on mundanities at first: the weather, the King, the war. Then he paused, glancing from the corner of his eyes. He gritted his teeth for a moment before continuing, and in that brief pause I heard an odd ticking sound.

The milliner babbled on at an ever-increasing tempo, over any subject he could snatch upon. We made comments at appropriate points, but with any lull in the conversation came the ticking, louder than before. However, it was no longer sharp enough to be called a ticking. It had become a continuous thud-thud, thud-thud.

Syms' partner broke into a profuse sweat. Knox and West looked to me with desperation. The noise, which seemed to emanate from a point near the milliner's feet, grew ever more intrusive -- thump-lump, thump-lump. By the cast of outright fear in the medical students' eyes, I knew they recognized the sound.

I do not recall what I said next, so flustered was I, but at last the nervous milliner sprang up and cast his chair aside.

"Villains!" he yelled. "Dissemble no more! I admit the deed!"

He clawed at the floorboards with his bare hands.

"Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!"

* * *

The following day the madman happily told his keepers how he murdered Syms and dismembered the body. All of the old man's remains were found -- except his heart, in the silver jewel box the lunatic had grotesquely provided to house it.

Knox and West crowded around the examining table, watching the grey-pink mass of muscle pulsate, thump-lump, thump-lump.

"'Tis uncanny, Doctor!" cried Knox in his Scottish accent. "Still beating after eighteen hours, with na' brain to order it nor body to nourish it!"

I lifted the pump-organ and carried it to the waiting vat of saline solution. It squirmed in my grasp like a newborn infant.

"It's beautiful," I proclaimed with husky reverence. "And it was to be expected; the point of our experiment, after all."

I placed the disembodied organ into the vat. The warm liquid within pressed heavy and cloying against my skin.

"We begin assembly tomorrow, gentlemen, and this time -- this time we shall taste the sweet nectar of success.

"So swears Victor Frankenstein."


[This curious document, found folded up in an old, yellowing copy of Blackwood's Magazine, answers some questions but poses new ones. Edgar Allen Poe's eerie tales have a timeless quality due to their being tied to no particular date or place. However, we may now pin down the account he called "The Telltale Heart." There are two medical students mentioned in "His Hideous Heart," "West" and "Knox". West is no doubt an ancestor of the experimental necrologist Herbert West of Miskatonic University. Knox, I believe, is none other than Dr. Robert Knox, the infamous employer of William Burke and William Hare, the murderous body snatchers of Edinburgh in the years 1827-28.

[Robert Knox was born in Edinburgh in 1791. He took medical classes at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1814. In 1815 he was attached to a military hospital in Brussels, where he attended soldiers from Waterloo; this began several years of military service which ended in 1823, when he returned to Edinburgh. He would have been an assistant to an established surgeon circa 1813. I therefore suggest that the events of "Hideous Heart" and Poe's "Telltale Heart" occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, around the year 1813.

[But one question remains unanswered. The original Victor Frankenstein was long dead by 1813 -- wasn't he? So who is the narrator of "His Hideous Heart?"]


All rights reserved. All text is © 2001-2005 by the author, Michael D. Winkle. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the author.




by Ric Bergquist


It’s taken me some time to compose this. Actually, it’s taken some time to compose myself. If I had had any real understanding of what I was about to get into, I would haveKane never done it. He, Kane1, had of course learned of it when I began my researches on “The Man with No Name” 2. If I am not dead, it is merely due to his whim.

The two people who had made the contact were old associates of his, an aging Vietnam-era vet called Blacklight, and his daughter, Klesst. They took me to the meeting place and left me with him. It is the one day of my life which I shall never and can never forget.

He lounged back in his chair, graceful as a panther that has just finished eating its kill. His golden red hair, curling languidly about his ears, was darker than I had thought it would be, but he seemed to have been inside a lot lately. His complexion was whitish. On the other hand, he was powerfully built. I could almost feel the iron of his muscles thru the loose clothing he wore. His movements, as he smoked or sipped at his bourbon, were fluid yet seemed somehow thought out. When he turned his head toward me it seemed so deliberate and so calculated, I knew that he meant for me to feel fear. And I did. When those eyes locked on me, those cold blue killer eyes, I did feel fear. Fear that paralyzes my memories to this day.

But he laughed. And it was as if a spell had been broken and the lock on my mind loosened. “You know who I am, correct?” he asked. “Yes,” I almost stuttered. “You are Kane.”

“Kane” he murmured. “Not the name I was born with it.” His face turned directly toward me. “But a name I have used often over the last two thousand years of your civilizations. I was flattered by what you wrote about me. It was quite incredible how many of the facts you got straight, given the lack of records.”

He looked off into space. “The intuition of the writer. It is the one talent I’ve never been able to develop in myself. But I do like their company.” He turned towards me once again, “But I know that you are curious. And that you have questions. But our time here is limited. There are things I must do and this really is just a pleasant little diversion for me.” Then his eyes bore into me again. “I hope you are prepared.”

“Yes, I am. What are you doing now?”

His face darkened. “Don’t be stupid! And do not anger me. What I am doing is my own business and I do not intend to let it be ruined by babbling like some stupid-ass crackhead!”

My heart went cold but I continued. “Then can you let me know if you are Vandal Savage?”

His face froze and I thought that this was it. But he chuckled and I knew I was going to live a little longer. “Comic books,” he said. “Why grown men read such nonsense is beyond me. But yes, I was at least the inspiration for the character. I was drunk in New York one night and ran into this man. Another writer, like you. We hit it off well and he took away quite a lot from that conversation. When I learned later about it I was surprised at how much I must have actually said. I usually am more close-lipped that that. But,” as he took another sip of his drink, “Jim Beam is smooth and pleasing to the old warrior. Don’t you agree?”

I took another hit off the drink that had been offered me and smiled in agreement as the whiskey burned at the back of my throat. “I had wondered of course when Dennis Power brought it to my attention. The similarities, even down to the drug operations, were so close to how Karl Edward Wagner portrayed you in his later tales. It was just a little too uncanny to be coincidental.”

For a second Kane’s eyes lost their insanity. He looked distant at that moment. “Yes, my friend Karl. An artist with a little too much talent and too much heart for his time.” He seemed to shake himself and he looked thru hooded eyes towards me. “And what of you, young man? You asked me what I had been up to. I know you’ve been nosing around. What have you found out about this ancient savage?”

I knew I had to play it careful and I felt that he knew that I knew. I didn’t have much to lose at this point. If I didn’t count my head. Which brought up a question. “Well, the one thing that I am fairly sure of you is that you had some kind of dealing with Connor MacLeod. Even if the Highlander tales that most of us know are fictionalized, it’s pretty apparent that you were the intended bad guy of one of those stories3.”

“Connor MacLeod,” chuckled Kane. “A pathological liar of the worst sort. His own stories don’t make sense to themselves. Granted, he’s a very good storyteller and a fine swordsman. But you could no more believe what he says…” and Kane smiled at me as he said this, “…than you can necessarily believe what I tell you.” He sank back into the armchair he was nestled into and sipped deeply from his drink. “But there is a difference. I lie for my own purposes. While smaller men lie as a matter of course.” He passed the glass under his nostrils, inhaling the heady vapors, and then looked toward me again. “You’ve read Sun Tzu?4” “Yes,” I replied, in full understanding.

He continued on. “That man, Connor, is such a disappointment. He is, of course, one of my bastards. They litter the pages of history like Coke cans on your squalid highways. Not all of my children carry the immortal gene, if that indeed is what it is. But enough have and enough will that someday it shall become the birthright of all humanity. Casca, John Carter, so many of them, but so few with insight or intelligence. I actually prefer the ones who take after me only physically.”

I looked at him, noting how much his dark-red curling beard looked like mine. “You mean the red hair and the blue eyes?” He smiled back at me. “Of course, my son. I could tell by your ‘western’ article that you knew your history. So where do you think I’ve been?”

“It’s not hard to guess,” I replied. “Ireland, Scotland, Montenegro. And probably innumerable Indo-European tribes scattered from the Russian steppes down into northern India5. I suspect that you are actually the Rudra of the ancient tales; Siva in his cosmic dance of life and death. But I’ve got to ask. You sound as if you know what our future is.”

“The future,” he droned, as if by rote, “is a set of possibilities. It is the opposite of a river. If you were to travel up your own Mississippi, you would see many smaller rivers flowing into it. The future is like that. Many branches off main streams.” “And how would you know that,” I retorted with a little too much bourbon in me for my own good. He scowled back, but made no move in my direction. “I once had need for a way to cross space and time. And I found it, aided by a poor wretched albino6 set on his own doomed course. With that device, I traveled the great expanses and have seen more futures for Earth than you can imagine. Many of them spring from this time. Another of my bastards, Lazarus Long7, will be instrumental in this. And in the long course of time,” he now looked dreamy again, “the people of Earth will find a world that will give them the key to true immortality. In some time streams that world will be called Norstrilia8, in others Arrakis9. But in all those time streams a price will need to be paid. A great price…”

I interrupted his reverie. “What of the Lord Sathanas?” He broke out of his thoughts and stared at me. “Another product of the time streams. He’s actually a time traveler from one of your own futures10. I didn’t even know what he was at first in my ignorance. And yet I’m responsible for him too, I guess. He enjoyed traveling back and forth thru the time streams, impressing the ‘natives’ and the so-called great ones of history with his presence. It was really quite disgusting, like a 19th century Englishman turning up in the darks of remote Africa to impress the so-called savages with his godlike powers. How I hate them…”

I didn’t follow this. “What…” I began, but he cut me off.

“Do you have something else you want to ask me?”

I felt death whisper to me at that moment. I adjusted and asked the next question I had come in with. “One of the big problems I had with my earlier researches was whether you were up to your usual troubles, or whether you were just enjoying yourself out West. You know there was a really complex individual who caused a lot of trouble around the turn of the century. They called him Professor Moriarty.  Was there some connection there? Could you have actually been James Moriarty?”

“You clever son-of-a-bitch,” he smiled. “No, I wasn’t him. But I was his real father. And thanks to the stupid Irish bitch who bore him, he half believed that I was the Devil himself fathering myself on a degenerate humanity for their benefit. It was one of the grandest jokes of my career.” At this he laughed so heartily that I wanted to join in myself. But my ‘education’ kicked in. “Wasn’t Moriarty a bastard Clayton?”

“You ignorant bastard,” he continued, laughing. “Even the other writers mining the same vein you’re working on realize that there is a secret war going on. Don’t you know that?” I stared back at him stupidly. “I’ve never bought into conspiracy theories.”

“Well, Sherlock, just because You don’t believe in conspiracies doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. Most of what you’ve been told about recent history, and most especially about the mutant gene in the human race is propaganda which is spun first one way by one side in the struggle, and then another way by the other side. I’m going to tell you something now that you may not want to hear, if you think you can take it.” He sneered, and continued, “What about it? Are you afraid to go where few have gone and lived?”

I swallowed and spoke, “Go ahead.” “John Clayton,” he stated, “was the father of the second of the Moriarty sons. But the first was mine, inflicted upon one Katie Morcar Noonan, an Irish maid in the service of a Polish nobleman near Krakow. She would later marry a Moriarty from whom her three sons would take their name. But that first son was known in 19th century communist circles as Ifreann Noonan Columlkill Gregorovitch Papadiabolus Chortovitch11. He would pass himself off in English society as James Moriarty, the legal name of his younger brother. It was, in fact, this younger brother, who would die at the hands of Sherlock Holmes in 1891.  But he would continue to direct the activities of the greatest criminal organization in the world until his death in Galveston, Texas, in 1930. And that organization continues to this day, following a genetic imperative.”

“What the hell are you trying to say?” I blurted, my impatience short-circuiting my survival instincts. Kane swerved from his armchair and his eyes flared like a solar flare, obliterating all in its path. “Stupid fuck, why should I expect you to see? Ifreann Chortovitch set up an organization bent on nothing less than the destruction of civilization, as you know it. His children continue to this day in the purpose that I directed them! A world unhampered by morals and dichotomy.”

I stared, stupidly, like a sheep staring at its butcher. He looked back and laughed wildly. “Maybe when you’re stronger. Let’s go on to pleasanter subjects since we have only limited time here. Ask away. I know you’ve got a list there.”

“Okay,” I said weakly. “Can you fill in any of your western days for me?” “Not a problem,” he replied. “As you’ve already guessed, some of my exploits have been recorded by Forrest Carter, Brian Fox and Joe Millard. But most of them are rather bad transcripts and shouldn’t be used for chronology. There were a few films made in Italy with a Tony Anthony impersonating me also. And then there was your own surmise about the origin of the Callahan name. There were some films made about a “Macho Callahan12” that did paint the truth of the matter though they failed to capture my identity.” “And your sons?” I questioned. “Yes, they were quite a brood,” he said. “Coming out of Appalachia where I had been holing up in the early 1800s, they were quite outstanding. Will Kane, my grandson Kwai Chang Caine, Lucas McCain, Rowdy Yates, John McBurney, Billy Kane, and many others…”

“What about Django13?” I asked. “I took it that he was another of your aliases. After all, wasn’t “High Plains Drifter” just a remake of “Django the Bastard”?”

“On that one you have me,” he stated. “The similarities between the two movies were remarkable, but entirely coincidental. Django was not I. But I think that he somehow, unconsciously, meant to find me.”

“What do you mean?”

“This goes back to the beginning,” he said, once again with that dreamlike look in his eyes.

“Please, sir, tell me more,” I said. He looked at me with surprise in his face. “Kissing ass doesn’t set well on your shoulders. Drop it before I feel the need to kill you.” “And you don’t mean to now?” I retorted. His eyes scanned me like a steel blade poised over the object of its affections.

“My creator,” and he said it like it was bile coming up in his throat, “brought into being several beings of varying capacity. If I,” and he suddenly looked old saying this, “am the best in cleverness and strength, there is another who was superior in intuition and energy. And,” he looked at me clearly, “if I was given physical immortality, this one was given another type of immortality.”

“And you think that he may have been reborn as Django, looking for you?” This was not a thought that had occurred to me and I followed it like a hound upon the trail. “He has followed me many times across the ages,” Kane said wearily. “My brother, my friend, my enemy. It is true, I was known once as Rudra or Shiva. He was with me then, looking for my redemption, calling himself Vamana, or Vishnu. And we have run into one another again and again down the ages. More recently he was known as Duffy14 here in your own country. Working with a man known as X, he began what he thought would not only be the salvation of the human race, but also… of me.”

This I had not expected. Weakness? Remorse? Indecision? I opened my mouth, but he anticipated me. Thru eyes tired and old suddenly, he simply stated, “Change the subject.”

I didn’t know what to make of it. I struggled for the words but knew it was beyond my power. And so, cowardly, I changed the subject. “I can think of no one else who can clear this up finally and clearly. Why doesn’t the Hyborian Age fit into the history we know?”

He looked up, light coming back into his eyes. “Why? Because Robert E. Howard was Celtocentric to a fault. You identify, don’t you?” I nodded knowing all too well that I thought my own Gaelic ancestors a gift to the world. Kane smiled benignly like the father I had never known. “Howard correctly saw Conan. He just couldn’t interpret him historically. Europe was covered in ice at that time. That was really the world of what he termed the Aesir and the Vanir. The real world of the time was in North Africa. Farmer’s Opar tales display this world much more realistically. But you can still see thru Howard’s Celtic weave to the truth. Opar and Ophir are one and the same. Koth represents this Saharan world in its centricity, which Howard continually skirts almost to the end. In Farmer’s tales you see the end of the ancient matriarchy. Howard’s tales are set a few generations later when the ancient goddess, whom he called Ishtar, is fading into oblivion.”

“You came into being before that world, didn’t you?” I asked.

He looked at me. Was it love or loathing I saw in that glance? “You know I did. And now you come to the main question, don’t you?” “Yes,” I answered back.

“Yes,” he echoed, “Now we come to it, don’t we.” As he said this, I saw that he reached into his boot and withdrew a blade, shining and sharp, seeming to reach to the heavens for its strength and its purpose. He set the blade upon the table between us. “We now reach the parting. If you stand up now and walk away, a life stands before you. Are you sure of what you wish to ask?” “Yes,” I said. And waited as the hand of fate rose above me.

“Tens of thousands of years ago, a being came to our world who felt a desire, a wish. And what he found was not to his liking. He himself owed his existence to the forces of the outer spaces. He was powerful and wise to a level that even he could not understand. And he came into the ancient world looking for something which didn’t really exist, but which he expected to find. If he had only gone a little further north, he may have found what he was looking for: the fay folk, ancient wise humanoid beings with a zest for life and living. But he came instead to Africa out of some longing which only he truly understood.”

“Are we talking about the Old Ones, about Cthulhu15” I spurted out, my anticipation outrunning my intelligence.

“Fool,” he spat out. “They were history long before my time. And yes, they did create the ultimate foundations of life from which we all evolved. But they were history long before the ancient apes began their evolutionary path. I crossed paths with their minions many times in my wanderings but their strength was not yet up to the challenge.” And at this he chuckled. “Not at least to the strength that your kind have lent to it.”

“Then,” I said, “we come to the ultimate question. Many believe that you are in rebellion against the God that created you, in ultimate arrogance against the one who gave you being and life. And then there are those who think you are a pawn of those ancient beings. Go ahead, kill me, but tell me now! What in God’s name are You?” and I rose up from the table, spilling drink and smoke and everything.

Kane now looked at me and laughed. “You pup.  Do you really want to know the truth? Do you really want to know why you even exist?”

Silence fell around me like the first snows of November. And as the silence fell, I knew that everything I thought I knew, everything I had just learned in the last half hour, was only a preamble to insanity, to the loss of all that I had spent my adult years learning. And I fell silent; knowing all too well that life, as I had once known it, had ended.

Kane drew himself up. Only now I realized the full size of the man. “We were simple in that time,” he said. As he said it, I could see his brows furrow and, as in a dream, I looked upon the world of Neanderthal times. A world of stoop-shouldered, powerfully muscled beings with sloping foreheads and massive arms. But their huge heads seemed of more import than the fantastic musculature of their arms and legs. 

“He came,” Kane mused, “from a far long distant time. And he looked upon us and found us lacking. But that did not confound him. He himself owed his existence to a meteor that had transformed his genes into something that had never existed before. But he came back, across the eons, following his dreams, to find things little above the level of apes.”

He swung his wild eyes upon me. “Don’t you see? He came back thru the ages to improve the original stock and didn’t even find that stock. It was a fantasy, an illusion. But did he let that stop him? No. He took those apish men and made them over into his own image, again, with the help of a meteor strike. He made us as much like him as he could!”

I trembled and stared and tried to speak. I felt my voice whimpering, almost pleading. “Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth?”

And my last memory of that fateful day: “No,” he answered. “It was not some fucking alien looking for a landing spot. It was the man from the future. The gray-eyed man with the flowing black hair. He traveled back thru the ages to find true humanity. And when he did not, He created it.”

Kane’s eyes locked on the heavens above him. “And I spent eons, millennia, looking for him. Hoping for the day that I would put him out of my misery. Make him pay for the pain that he inflicted upon me and mine!”

“Please,” the last thing I remember saying.

His eyes now locked with mine for the last time.   “Yes,” he cried. “I killed him. Though it took millennia, I tracked him down and I slew the lying son-of-a-bitch.”

My last memory of that day, his triumphant eyes upon me: “I killed John Clayton, Lord Greystoke. God, and Tarzan of the Apes!”


1 = Karl Edward Wagner, “Gods in Darkness” and “Midnight Sun” for the authentic Kane sagas.

2 = Ric Bergquist, “The Man With No Name” (

3 = “Highlander – The Final Dimension”

4 = Sun Tzu,The Art of War”. Thomas Cleary’s translation brings out the universal applicability of this ancient Chinese martial philosophy, including the use of lies and spying as a strategy.

5 = J.P. Mallory, “In Search of the Indo-Europeans”, and Jaan Puhvel, “Comparative Mythology”, for some glimpses into the Indo-European past that is alluded to in this article.

6 = Elric of Melnibone. Series by Michael Moorcok, though the story being alluded to, “The Gothic Touch”, is by Karl Edward Wagner.

7 = Robert A. Heinlein, “Time Enough for Love”, and other works for the story of Lazarus Long.

8 = Cordwainer Smith, “Norstrilia”, and other works for the Instrumentality of Mankind timeline.

9 = Frank Herbert, “Dune”, and other works for the House Atreides timeline.

10 = Michael Moorcock, “Elric at the End of Time”, and other works for the many identities of Lord Arioch.

11 = R.A. Lafferty, “The Devil is Dead”, where the heretofore secret story of Ifreann Chortovitch (Papadiabolus or “Papa Devil”) is revealed. This is a seminal work for understanding the secret wars of the 19th and 20th centuries.

12 = The Stranger films starring Tony Anthony are “A Stranger in Town”, “The Stranger Returns”, “The Silent Stranger”, and “Get Mean”. The Macho Callahan films are “A Fistful of Death” and “Macho Callahan”.

13 = Django is remembered as a half-Indian gunfighter involved in some matters of family vengeance, who later took to bounty hunting, oft times using the alias of Cat Stevens. His tales have been popular in Europe for nearly 40 years. The two most authentic Django stories are “Django” and “Django Strikes Again”. Others of more or less authenticity are “Django Kill”, “Django the Bastard” (“The Stranger’s Gundown”), “Keoma”, “Texas Adios”, “Massacre Time”, “Vengeance”, “God Forgives, I Don’t”, “Ace High”, “Boot Hill”, “$100,000 Blood Money”, “Viva Django”, “Some Dollars for Django”, and “Any Gun Can Play” (which seems to depict the deaths of Django, the Man with No Name and Colonel Mortimer, aka Sabata, aka Sartana). I also suspect that Django was the mysterious gunslinger of “Once Upon a Time in the West”. The confused chronology of these stories is even worse when you add on the 35 or so other films that were released as Django stories.

14 = R.A. Lafferty, “More Than Melchisedech, a work which the opposition has kept just short of being published, details the life of Melchisedech Duffy. Three other Lafferty works, “Archipelago”, “The Devil is Dead”, and “Dotty” recount the lives of the people that Duffy secretly brought into being.

15 = H.P. Lovecraft, “The Best of H.P. Lovecraft” and “At the Mountains of Madness”, for the prehistoric chronology of Earth under Cthulhu and other extraterrestrial beings. Robert M. Price’s edition of “The Necronomicon” is also valuable for its inclusion of all that infamous book’s known fragments and has an illuminating commentary. But it is marred by the inclusion of some substandard Lovecraft-inspired tales. George Hay’s edition of the same book is frightfully intriguing but there is a heated controversy concerning its authenticity.


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