Written In Blood

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The Origins of Dead Meat Part 3:
The Curse of Silverlock
by Kenneth Gallant
Illustrated by Rich Leggatt

The man known as the Spyder Thief was once a low-level thug and thief. He was considered a scoundrel to most who knew him and certainly a nuisance to the authorities in his region. He went by the name of Dean O’Connor and he was probably a born loser in many respects. Out on his own since his teen years, Dean grew into becoming an unsavory sort of fella. He didn’t have many friends and could never maintain any real relationships with the opposite sex. Dean could get violent at times and it didn’t take long for him to end up in a scuff or two.

Dean lacked a formal education, but he would sometimes go into the public library and steal books. Most of the books he took were of stories about other realities and occult esoterica. This was how he discovered the existence of the Spider Gun. It was said to be an occult weapon and it would grant the possessor instant access into portals that led into other dimensions. This would be Dean’s chance to escape his current reality if he could get his hands on it. He was tired of always being kicked to the curb and treated like the born loser most believed him to be.

Eventually Dean went to the library almost every day; read everything he could and it wasn’t getting him anywhere. His frustration level boiled over and he was ready to succumb to a violent outburst. Luckily for him, he had a chance encounter with a man who claimed much knowledge in the areas of occult and other spooky matters. He called himself JOB and he seemed fixated with the Christian faith. He was always going on about Catholic Priests, but he put his personal concerns aside and assisted Dean in his endeavors.

He directed Dean to a local occult shop, whereby the owner knew of the existence of the Spider Gun. Dean was a bit suspicious at first, and he asked JOB what he wanted in return. JOB had told him he would call on him in good time to help out on another matter. Dean conceded to JOB’s wishes, but in the back of his mind he knew the gun would take him to other dimensions and he would never have to worry about coming back here again. Dean and JOB parted ways at that juncture.

Later that evening, Dean went into the occult shop. The man in question who ran the store kicked Dean out when the spider gun was brought up in conversation. Dean couldn’t understand why the man became so defensive, unless he had the gun and was using it to invade other realities. So Dean devised a plan to break in during the night and search the store for the gun. Once inside, he started going through the shelves of books, row by row; searching for anything that might conceal the gun. He didn’t find anything, so he searched the back office of the store. While plunging through the office, he heard the voice of the store owner telling him the gun wasn’t there.

Dean flung around quickly and discovered the owner pointing the spider gun directly at him. Dean’s eyes fixated on the magnificent looking weapon. It was everything

Dean thought it to be; old fashioned looking, but alien in design. Dean lunged forward, but the owner of the store told him to back off. Upon the top of the gun was a black spider that looked to be alive. The owner plucked his fingers on the spider’s back and laughed a bit. He told Dean that this gun was a sentient being hidden in disguise of a gun. He called it Silverlock and said it had the powers of a tornado to suck anyone into lost worlds of its choosing.

Dean didn’t quite understand what Silverlock could fully do, but he wanted it for himself. He jumped quickly and lunged towards the shop owner, only the blast from the gun struck his black leather jacket. In fact several short bursts from the gun landing repeatedly into his chest. He felt the cold sting of the blasts maim his existence, before he fell to the floor in a giant thump. The shop owner presumably left him for dead and called the police. He would tell the authorities that Dean was a thief who broke in to steal his most valued books. They would buy that since Dean was a petty thief to begin with.

Not long after being shot. Dean found himself floating in the darkness. He was awake and hearing a multitude of voices. They were shrill sounding and almost felt like insects scurrying together in large clumps. Dean was freaked by it and tried to stand. Instantly, a hot blast of foul air hit him and he was being pushed forward - presumably expunged from the darkness.

Dean found himself falling forward. He hit the ground of the shop floor and discovered his entire body felt numb. He wasn’t breathing and smelt a foul odor around him. He picked himself up and headed to the front door, but still feeling disoriented and cloudy in his brain. He knew he died, but the blasts from the gun must have brought him back somehow. He left the store and wandered into the alleyway, lumbering along like the way any zombie would. Dean wondered if he was dead, but he was still functioning.

He needed to find the gun to restore himself. He also needed to find the store owner for more answers, or better yet find JOB. He was the one who led him onto this path in the first place. One way or the other, Dean would have his answers. If he was a dead thief brought back to life; then he would wreak havoc on anyone who stood in his way.

That was a promise he vowed that night in the alleyway.

End of first interlude.

The first time Dean heard about the Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter, he thought it was a joke. Maybe it could have been a video game or a bad title to a book; or the slogan any junkie recites before plunging headlong into a coma inducing high. Whatever it meant, Dean was sure keen to find out more about it.

It had been more than a month since he was changed into an undead freak caused from the blast of the spyder gun. He did his best to keep himself covered up from prying eyes. His skin was encrusted in spots; turning greyish black and smelling so ripe. He always turned his gaze away from a mirror to avoid looking at his sick visage. He hardly went out in the daylight hours, preferring to stick the shadows of night.

But on this one particular night, the chills from being a piece of dead meat touched him in ways he couldn’t quite understand. There was something terrifying and gnawing at him; clawing to get inside what little soul he had left. He decided to wander into this club called Netherlord to take his mind off his decaying predicament.

When he came to the door, the big dude standing out front stopped him suddenly. He croaked out something that sounded like a $10 dollar cover charge, so Dean reached into the pocket of his jeans and pulled a wad of crumpled up bills soaked in his decaying body fluids. He shoved the bills into the guy’s hand and kept right on going inside the club.

What greeted him was the cacophony sounds of the first band called Delicate Stench. It was obviously a heavy metal night here at the club, so he had to endure the penetrating sounds of booming guitars and banshee like screams all night long. He liked some metal, but the bands listed on the promo posters tonight were all foreign to him. He glanced over at the poster taped up on the wall near the edge of the bar and scanned down the list: There was Soldat, Chronos Grim, Delicate Stench and Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter.

The last name of the band on the list buzzed hard in his brain. So Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter was a heavy metal band. He tried to concentrate hard on why that name was stuck in his brain from before, but he couldn’t pinpoint a solid reason for it. Did someone whisper this into his dead ear? Did he have a dream about them? Whatever the reason, Dean knew he had to find out more.

He quickly turned away from the bar and made his way through the throng of moshers – pushing and shoving his way towards the back. He was barely able to get through, and when he stumbled to the floor he could see several pairs of feet around him. He looked up and heard someone say:

“Aren’t you a sight for sorry eyes”. Dean looked up and saw a helping hand reach down towards him. He grabbed on to it and was pulled up from the ground. Once upon his feet he could see the man in question. It was the man from the Occult shop.

“We never got properly introduced, said the man”. He then continued, looking over Dean head to toe.

“I can see how the Silverlock has affected you.”

“You don’t know shit, Dean spat out.”

“I know it has changed you, judging by the smell alone.” The man smirked a bit and leaned in for a closer look.

“Why it changed you into a piece of dead meat, I’ll never know.” “The silverlock can be an enigma at times,” he then added. Dean turned away from the man’s gaze and was trying to focus on other things. He wanted to know why the band – Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter was connected into this.

Without any provocation, the man reached over and slipped something into the pocket of Dean’s leather jacket.

“Read the note.” He said and then slipped away into the moshpit. Dean was confused for a second, but he reached into his pocket and retrieved the note. It was too dark to see what was written on the piece of paper, so he made his way to the washroom.

He scanned the contents and it said he was to meet someone at the loading docks in the back of the club. Just who that someone was was a mystery. Dean jammed the note back into his leather jacket and slipped out back.

End of second interlude.

It was dark out back near the loading docks. Several roadies were hustling quickly to cram as much band equipment into the back of the van. The space was small, and everyone seemed to be working quickly to be done with this laborious chore.

The biggest roadie out of the bunch finished getting the amps in and when he turned around to grab more equipment, he was startled by the grim and dead-like visage of Dead Meat. He shrieked out, before grabbing the roadie and flinging him away from the van.

“Where is it?” Dead Meat croaked.

“Where’s what?” The roadie asked.

“The Silverlock,” snapped Meat.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” quipped the roadie. Dead Meat reached down and pounded the man’s face his decaying fist. You could literally see the man’s head bounce back up from hitting the pavement, as Dead Meat swatted at him again.

“Please stop,” the man gurgled out, but Dead Meat could care less about the roadie’s desperate pleas. All he cared about was getting his hands on the Silverlock.

Dean came out of the shadows and caught the violent struggle between Dead Meat and the Roadie. He wasn’t sure what was going on and he considered turning around and leaving, but Dead Meat stood up and called over to him.

“You smell as foul as me, only I know what’s been done to you,” Dead Meat declared.

“Are you connected to Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter?” Dean asked him.

“No!” Roared Dead Meat. He moved closer to Dean and grabbed him by his head, forcing the hoodie back. What he saw was a pitiful looking man, broken down and coming across so pathetic.

Dean brushed his hand away from his face.

“Are you satisfied now?” Dean asked.

“The Silverlock transformed you. Now you are like me, but I’m still the prettiest,” Dead Meat laughed.

“Where’s the Silverlock?” Dead Meat then asked him.

“I don’t know. Everything has been foggy, since the day I got shot from it.”

“Help me find it and I will see that you get restored,” Dead Meat said to Dean.

“What’s in it for you?” Dean asked him.

“It’s going to open some doors…”

With that said, Dean and Dead Meat’s conversation was abruptly interrupted. The back door to the club slammed open and out walked this musician covered in tattoos and decked out in shinny black leather. The side of his head was shaved, and the words Open Mind were tattooed in a deep shade of red ink.

“Everyone must be ready for the open mind,” he declared.

“Who are you?” Dead Meat asked.

“My name is Dorian Wynter, singer and blood poet extraordinaire. You might have caught my act on stage earlier. I front Open Mind for the Temporal Slaughter.”

“I don’t care about your act.” Dead Meat proclaimed aloud.

“If you have the Silverlock I want it!” Dead Meat added.

“I’m not giving it up to no one,” Dorian replied.

“The open mind is ready for deep exploration and I’m going to stand at the precipice of new worlds! He roared aloud. He lifted something from his side and pointed directly at both Dead Meat and Dean. He had the Silverlock in his possession.

Dean couldn’t take his eyes off it. He knew how potent this gun could be and what extent of power might be unleashed upon the human soul. But without warning, Dead Meat pushed him aside in one violent thrust as he lunged at Dorian.

Dean hit the ground hard, his vision started to blur, and he felt like he was going to black out. All he could hear was the two shouting and a chorus of grunts and groans, coalescing into a raucous affair.

Then he heard the blast of the Silverlock going off, followed by a few screams. He had no idea what was going on and he was struggling to maintain consciousness, but it didn’t take long to succumb to darkness.

When he eventually awoke, the van was gone. There was also no sign of Dorian or Dead Meat either. He was trying hard to piece together the events, but the only logical conclusion was the gun had taken them both. Dean felt a chill run up his decaying spine, while pondering where his future might take him.

End of third interlude.

Dead Meat was somewhere in the Hybrid world of stars and nebulae, home worlds of alien races, distribution of lifeforms and advanced artifacts no human had ever laid eyes upon before. The world was strange, and starkness filled the air, stinging his nostrils.

He didn’t know where the Silverlock and Dorian disappeared to. Worse yet, he feared the notion of being trapped here in a world so foreign to him. He knew it was time to raise hell and do the things he did best in his undead life. It was time to rock the hell out of this planet…

To Be Continued

By Kenneth Gallant for HMS

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