"I had a dream last night / The world was set on fire

And everywhere I ran / There wasn't any water

The temperature increased / The sky was crimson red

The clouds turned into smoke / And everyone was dead

(but) There's a smile on my face . . . For everyone

There's a golden coin . . . That reflects the sun

There's a lonely place . . . That's always cold

There's a place in the stars . . . For when you get old"

Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo/Just Another Day

The Fall of the Middle Lands

The moment she disappeared the throng of demons cheered and rejoiced. Simon stood with his hands in the air, the hand that had pressed on Jan now glowing with an eerie iridescence. It was all that was left of her and as Phil watched it fade until it was gone too. He could not move, pain racked every cell of his body. He lay there curled up on the floor, all but ignored by the hysterical crowd his blood flowing like a river around him. He hoped they took his soul too. He wanted to go where Jan went, even if that meant following her into an eternity of nothingness. What was the point now? What did any kind of existence mean if it didn't include her? "We are victorious, my friends! Soon the Middle Lands will be no more and then the Earth will crumble soon after. We will rule once and for all!" Simon held up the torch in the air. "Now go up into the light and take the Middle Lands for your own. Dispose of everyone you find. Take their souls the quick way then leave them to fade on their own." He looked down at Phil. "Make sure you take the children first and make the parents watch." Phil felt his responsibility was the children, he always had even in life. How could anyone be that cruel? Simon could, he was born to it. Phil wasn't quite sure how Jan's 'death' would fulfill their plan, but he did understand the concept of the earth crumbling if the Middle Lands disappeared. If there was no Middle Lands then the dead would not have a place to go. There would be no light doors, no safe haven, no way up to 'heaven' anymore. The Earth would become a place haunted by every poor soul left stranded. Soon there would be no room for the living.

"Very good Philip, you're a very smart guy for someone lying in a puddle of his own blood." Simon hopped down and knelt next to Phil. "Does it hurt much, buddy?" Phil didn't answer. Simon delivered a kick into his side, "Hey you, funny guy, can't think of anything funny to say right now can you?" Phil didn't move or say anything, as much as he wanted to he wouldn't give Simon the pleasure. "Okay fine, be that way, let me tell you a goodnight story since we are so cozy right now, and we will be sending you to permanent dreamland very soon." Simon was enjoying this immensely. "Once upon a time there was a place called the Middle Lands, the place where the souls of the pathetic little newly dead went after giving up the ghost, so to speak." He laughed at his choice of words, "Then one day a pretty little maiden came to town, lonely and lost because her lover left her to die alone…" Phil didn't know which hurt more, his wounds or Simon's words. "But luckily she met this handsome knight in shining armor who took pity on her plight and began giving her what she wanted the most, companionship. Oh, and a great fuck too. Anyhow, this pretty little damsel in distress was to be the mother of a child who grows up to be a fine politician, a rarity in any place or time. Follow along now Phil, cause it gets mighty interesting.

Part 29