THE LAST DAY ON EARTH

“Impotent ghetto trash,” muttered Gudrun Sterling under her breath. “That’s all I frigging seem to get anymore.”

Gudrun was a prostitute, plying her trade on the corner of MacHenry Street in the Pigtown neighbourhood of southwest Baltimore. Now age twenty-six, she was noticing a definite lessening of interest among the various “johns” who prowled the area looking for a hook-up. She knew she just had to accept the fact that she could not compete with the numerous teenage hotties walking the streets of what is known as “Charm City”.

Oh, she still made enough money to support herself and her two children -- though just barely -- but Gudrun just found it a bit bloody insulting that the only clients she got these days were lower-class street hoodlums (cruising the area looking for a “white bitch“ and unable to afford the younger ones), their manhoods ruined by narcotics abuse. She tried to remember how long it had been since she had really enjoyed a good, hard shag.

As these thoughts went through Gudrun’s mind and she attempted to smile invitingly at the occasional automobiles that passed by on this none-to-busy evening, she suddenly perceived a strange sensation. It was as if something was crawling up her back. At first she assumed it was an insect, one of the species of large, blood-sucking mosquito that haunt the city nights. However, before she could even move to swat it away she was overcome with the realisation that it was something far worse -- and much bigger.

Gudrun Sterling screamed in mortal terror as she felt the grip of numerous appendages wrapping around her body. But then, even this scream was cut short as she crushed into unconsciousness by the things, and then dragged to the open grating of a nearby sewer.

This was the last ever heard of Gudrun Sterling, single mother and ageing street whore. No trace of her has ever been found. Nevertheless, she was not the only person to disappear mysteriously around that time; a time the locals still refer to as that of the Pigtown Pestilence. …

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of an human being -- a tall, muscular gentleman with dark hair, striking Anglo-Semitic features, and strangely-pale skin -- I am in reality far more than this. For I do carrying within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me various powers and abilities that appear as “magic” to the people of Earth.

Although most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the rest of the Universe, I am one of a secret organisation among our people known as the KOSMIKOS, and am by this dedicated to helping the innocent and to protecting them from any and all who would harass, harm, or exploit them.

I am greatly aided in this by my stunningly-beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, Katrina. Originally a maiden of the noblest Scottish ancestry -- tall and slender with gorgeous ginger hair, lovely azure-blue eyes, and a complexion like purest alabaster -- she has been augmented with powers of her own -- powers that enable her to assist me and to be my companion in my numerous weird and wondrous adventures!

On this particular day, Katrina and I had gone to investigate this so-called “pestilence” in the Pigtown area of Baltimore. Pigtown, so-called because of the slaughterhouses that used to be there, and the pigs that were herded to them from the local train-stop, is an impoverished neighbourhood, know for prostitution and narcotics dealing. The City of Baltimore had at one time attempted to improve Pigtown’s reputation, at least cosmetically, by changing its name to “Washington Village”. However, the area’s predominately-Caucasian population had very much objected to this (thinking it sounded somewhat “Negro”) and so it remained known by the unclean appellation of Pigtown.

Kat and I had left our posh north Baltimore headquarters and headed to the white-trash slum known as Pigtown in our canary-yellow Edwardian roadster, affectionately known as “Lizzie”. I was clad in my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat and jungle boots, topped with dark spectacles and safari hat. My wife was resplendent in a candy-striped dress, riding boots, and a matching short cape.

It was in the afternoon on that cloudy day, and we had only just begun motoring amongst the largely-deserted byways of Pigtown when we suddenly felt a strange tremor.

“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed Katrina. “It’s an earthquake!”

“I don’t think so, love,” I replied, after glancing in the rear-view mirror. “Look behind us.”

For just then a rift had opened in the very centre of the street just behind our car, and from it had burst forth an undulating mass of huge, grotesque, sickly slime-dripping grey tentacles!!

The writhing tentacles reached out for us, but fortunately Lizzie is no normal automobile. I have done some interesting modifications to her. I quickly flipped a switch on the dashboard and we immediately rose up into the air, hopefully out of reach of the waving slimy tentacles.

“Good work, babe!” exclaimed Katrina.

Then, as we flew over the city skyline, something occurred of absolute obscene horror. The tentacles, and the monstrosity to which they belonged, rose upward and began to ascend towards us! It was an eyeless grey creature, of a disgustingly phallic shape about twelve feet long, not including the horrid mass of threescore or more tentacles it had, which tripled its length.

“What is that thing, love?” Kat enquired.

“A Ceresite,” answered I. “An indigenous life-form of the asteroid Ceres. Just a mindless animal. They are very rare now, though some of them evolved the ability to exist whilst travelling in Space, and this one has apparently thus filtered down to Earth. They subsist by digesting organic flesh and the energies contained within it. It is unusual for one to emerge into the daylight, but they hunt by scent, and it must have perceived us -- due to our more-than-human status -- to be a potentially quite appetising meal!”

As I spoke, we continued to pick up speed as I guided Lizzie out and away from the city. We were going to have to battle this Ceresite, and it would be far safer -- in order to avoid injury to innocent bystanders -- to do it in a more open area.

I eventually landed the car in a vacant lot near the small town of Waldorf, Maryland. The Ceresite descended behind us and then the eyeless fiend hid itself in the darkness of a nearby stretch of wooded swampland.

Katrina and I jumped out of Lizzie and turned back towards the woods. Before we could look for the monster, however, we were interrupted by a man running over from the adjoining housing development -- a particularly squalid habitation of the State’s “blue collar” working-class.

“Hey!” he said. “That’s a cool old car! Wish I had one like it!”

He was a youngish White chap of medium height, thinly built with unkempt, mouse-brown hair and a scraggly attempt at a beard. This bloke was of the decidedly inferior type and wore a rather dirty T-shirt, ripped jeans, and sneakers with no socks. His sallow complexion and dull, rather glazed-over eyes bespoke of an addiction to drugs, most likely that most pernicious and ungodly weed known as marihuana.

“My name’s Dustin Gretz,” the imbecile continued. “Who are you?”

“I’m Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” I responded with as much politeness as was possible under the circumstances. “This is my wife, Katrina.”

“’Doctor’?” he responded. “Cool! Where’d you become a doctor?”

“A place called Daemonia Academy.”

“Never heard of it. Is it in Canada or somethin‘?”

“More than likely,” I lied.

“Cool!” Gretz went on idiotically. “I’m a comedian! I did a gig last month in Dundalk at the German Hill Bier Hall! I did a part in a short film called Bloody Tears too! I’m also gonna be the new host tonight on…”

“Look at that, Daniel!” interrupted Katrina. “Over there!”

I turned to the direction she was indicating and saw coming down the road a small bus painted a bright red and white. The lettering on the side of it proclaimed it the official transportation of the “Hadley High School Cheerleaders”.

The hungry Ceresite had already emerged from the woods and was descending upon the school-bus. We heard from it the horror-stricken screams of its adolescent female passengers as the hideous extraterrestrial monster wrapped its slimy tentacles around the vehicle!!

Before Kat and I could even react, the obscenely horrid Ceresite arose and began to fly upwards with the school-bus in its grasp. Apparently, it meant to take the girl-flesh filled vehicle elsewhere in order to consume its meal.

 I immediately activated my Algolitish powers and levitated up towards the monster and its intended prey. Katrina was at my side, propelled by burst of the wonderful vermillion and violet flame that is hers to command.

Dustin Gretz, who had observed these proceedings with open-mouthed idiot awe, suddenly turned and ran away across the field like a scared rabbit towards his low-income home.

“I must be havin’ a bad trip!” he exclaimed amid numerous profane oaths. “Either that or these people are really just a bunch of terrorists or perverts or Muslims or somethin‘!”

I cast a bolt of my orange and blue-black energies at the Ceresite creature. It dodged to the side with lightning-fast speed, still clutching the bus. Katrina attempted to burn it with volleys of her fire, but it managed to quickly avoid these as well. I suddenly noticed a bizarre flicker of four glowing circles within the monster’s upper body as it detected our powers. It seems that Ceresites do have a type of “eyes” after all, which are activated only when its senses detect a blast of energy or firepower!

The screams of the mortally terrified young damsels in the bus continued, although by now several of them had certainly fainted away in absolute abject horror at what was transpiring. The horrendous and sickening tentacles of the alien monstrosity clutched the vehicle in a constantly shifting mass of absolute eldritch terror.

Above all, we could not allow the extraterrestrial monster to get out of sight. It would quickly devour the pulchritudinous busload of warm, youthful maidens and emerge refreshed and ready to continue it reign of fear throughout the area. Katrina and I had to think quickly and be prepared to do whatever was necessary to save the teenaged cheerleaders and defeat the grotesque Ceresite.

We thus continued to fire volleys of our respective powers at the monstrous creature, but nonetheless it continued to avoid them with deft movements in every direction.

“What can we do, babe?” queried Kat as she hovered by my side, far above the ground there over Waldorf, Maryland.

“I have an idea, sweetheart!” I replied. “We need to be careful not to hit that bus full of innocent girls, but this might just work! Let us attempt to box the monster in!”

My wife immediately perceived the plan, and she then accordingly generated a fantastic semicircular burst of her wondrous, sparkling flame at the disgusting Ceresite creature whilst it was attempting to gain altitude.

Now, I must admit that I am not certain why what happened next occurred. It could be that the Ceresite was overwhelmed and confused by encountering Katrina’s flame. It could be that the creature was angry, or afraid, or -- if this seemingly mindless monstrosity could actually be capable of such thought -- just wanted to spite us. In any event, what occurred next was a terror beyond even all that had happened thus far on that exceptionally fateful day.

The Ceresite suddenly bolted downwards in order to avoid Katrina’s flashing fire. At the same time, it released the hold of its myriad tentacles upon the school-bus. The result was, as you may well imagine, quite obvious and yet dreadful beyond all rational belief.

The bus began to plummet and I beheld, to even my complete horror, that they would soon strike not only the ground, but also a large area of electrical cables stretching across the highway below!!

Can you recognise the absolute supreme terror of this situation, dear readers? For the sake of your continued sanity, I most truly do pray that you cannot.

I immediately generated a wave of my bright orange and blue-black Algolitish energies and directed it to just beneath the school-bus, and thus to just above the power cables. The bus landed on the wave that I had created, and rode across it down to the highway. Fortunately, the driver had the sense to just keep going when they had levelled out on the road, and the bevy of gorgeous teen cheerleaders was saved!

My energy wave then dissipated, and the Ceresite, still attempting to avoid Katrina’s flames, swooped down directly into the power-lines. Its strange senses had not detected the danger therein, and the horrid creature was quickly slain in a burst of electrical power that sizzled and burned the horrifying monstrosity to an unrecognisable husk of black gristly death.

“A bit of a shock,” said I.

The alien threat -- the hideous extraterrestrial monster that had become known as the “Pigtown Pestilence” -- now having been destroyed, my lovely wife and I returned to Lizzie and I drove the faithful car away from the area of Waldorf, Maryland.

Dusk had just fallen as we reached a roadside diner and stopped for a meal. It was a small, privately-owned establishment but seemed clean enough. We glanced at the menu and ordered spaghetti and coffee for two from our waitress, an attractive young Latina whose nametag said “Sarita”.

The pasta arrived quickly and was pretty good, served with a side-salad and warm garlic bread. As we ate our dinner, a radio on the front counter played some “classic rock” tunes broadcasting from a local station.

Nevertheless, the music came to a sudden end when a chat show was suddenly announced.

“Gooooooooooooooood evening, Baltimore!” said an annoying and oddly-familiar voice. “Welcome to Speak Your Piece here on WBUM AM Radio! I’m your new host, Dustin Gretz, and we are broadcasting tonight from our studios right here in beautiful downtown Dundalk!”

“Wait…” whispered Katrina to me. “Isn’t that…?”

“The idiot we met earlier!” I replied.

“Tonight on the show,” continued the imbecilic Gretz on the radio, “we have as our special guest my brother Brandon, director of the new movie Bloody Tears. Later tonight, two more guests will be joinin’ -- err, joining us! They are members of the cast of the American Destination channel paranormal TV show, Ghost Thugs!

"But first,” the moron went on, his voice suddenly taking on a note of feigned seriousness, “I need to report to you something I experienced earlier today, and to expose a dangerous threat to our great all-American community. It is a terrorist and sexual pervert known by the obviously fake name of Doctor Daniel Rumanos! He has been seen in the company of a very young red-haired girl that he has obviously hypnotised to use as his accomplice, and they are known to be part of all kinds of weird crap, just like all Islamists and everyone else who is not one of our beloved and pure All White -- I mean Alt-Right brethren and ummm, sisteren! Just today, this Rumanos character was seen by me to be involved in an act of perverted terrorism with a busload of underage schoolgirls! Lucky that I, your host Dustin Gretz, was there to protect them, which is why people now call me The Dustinator!”

This last announcement was punctuated with the pre-recorded clanging sound of a prize-fight bell before the moronic and deplorable Dustin Gretz persisted.

“Hopefully we have heard the last of this Rumanos sicko,” he blabbered, “but be on the lookout for him -- he looks like he might be a Jew or an Arab [Gretz pronounced it ‘AY-RAAB‘]! Remember, the creep probably will have that redhead with him, who likes to start fires and whose name I think is ‘Cat‘-something! They are very dangerous!”

“Oh my,” said the waitress with a wink as she handed me our bill. “Try not to run into those two.”

I paid for our meal, including a respectable gratuity for Sarita, and Katrina and I left the diner.

We were both silent as I drove Lizzie back to our long-time dwelling, the palatial Rumanos Castle, perched atop a lofty escarpment in the posh Roland Park neighbourhood to the north of Baltimore City.

I prepared myself a glass of malted milk in an attempt to settle my stomach, and Kat and I were soon standing together atop one of the highest turrets of that old gothic mansion which had been our home and headquarters for a so very long time.

“I am sick of this planet, my love,” I finally stated. “I am tired of these people and how they never understand. How no matter how much we try to help them, all they seem to know is superstition and HATE.”

“I know, babe,” said Katrina as she took my hand. “I know exactly how you feel.”

“My sweet little Kitty-Kat, we could do our work for the Kosmikos anywhere in the Universe,” I said, looking into her wonderful azure eyes, eyes as wondrously blue as the skies of Earth once were before humankind filled the planet with pollution. “I am an Algolite, after all. Eternity is my home. We could leave… right now… tonight!!”

I thought of our old Space/Time Ship, the DiTraS, waiting for us in its secret chamber below the house.

“This world is no longer my home either, love,” Kat replied sweetly, her hair shining like red gold in the moonlight. “Let’s go, and we can travel together in infinity forever and ever.”

This World Is Not My Home,” I mused whilst taking my wife, the wonderful and incomparably beautiful Lady Katrina Olivia Rumanos, in my arms. “I seem to remember writing a song by that title once, a long time ago.

“I suppose that is it for Earth,” I pondered. “We will not be able to return, you know, because of the Temporal Parameters. This world and its people are entering a new Dark Age that will last a thousand years. The best of them will be heading for Space themselves during the next few centuries, leaving this planet to barbarism and savagery until a new Enlightenment arises.“

And so was the night of what had been, for us, the last day on Earth; save for some ultimate words of encouragement that my Katrina, the Wonderful Heaven’s Hell, gave me before our departure:

“Don’t worry, love. There will be someone here to help those few good people when they need it. In fact, the ones whom you have inspired and taught how to help: The ESF, MI9, the Analogue, and your students -- The League of the Daemon-Star!”

“Yes, sweetheart, the ones whom we have inspired,” I answered, then continuing with a thoughtful grin; “I say, before we depart I shall leave some instructions for a member of the League; that girl Rosalie. She is one of my top students, and I shall instruct her to pay a visit to the studios of WBUM Radio. The young lady can do absolutely devastating things with a kris knife.”

COMING SOON
WEIRD ADVENTURES IN SPACE AND TIME
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