Week 39.5 – The Last Time, Probably

Previously: Digger returned from the past to find the exchange student waiting for him. And now…

“You know him?” Twain asked.

“Yes!” Digger said. “This is the dude I took the crystal from in Berkeley, the one we stole from Caveat. He followed me through time.”

He turned back to the ex-Czar. “How did you do that, any–whoa! Put your pants back on first.”

The ex-Czar narrowed his eyes, but made no move to cover himself. “That was you? Fifteen years ago, in the Frog mask?”

“Yes, it was me,” Digger said. “And on the skateboard, and… wait a second. How did you know it was fifteen years ago? If you followed me through time, shouldn’t you think it just happened a minute ago?”

“Digger,” Twain said. “This is the Cobalt Czar. I took his powers away with the mask.”

“Wait, you mean he…?” Digger turned to the ex-Czar again. “You told me you decided to become the Czar after some guy told you that people were assholes. I… That was me. I just did that.”

“You’re telling me you created the Cobalt Czar?” Cole asked.

“No, I didn’t create him,” Digger said. “I, whatayacallit? I inspired him, sort of. I mean, I was just trying to make, um, what’s your name?”

“Bogdan,” said the former Czar. “Bogdan Zolnerowich.”

“I was just trying to make Bogdan feel better, but he got it twisted around somehow.”

“You’re saying that was you also?” Bogdan asked. “They were all you?”

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]“You’re telling me you created the Cobalt Czar?” Cole asked. “No, I didn’t create him,” Digger said. “I, whatayacallit? I inspired him, sort of…” [/blockquote]“Yeah, it’s a long story,” Digger said. “It’s this whole thing about how I keep getting sent back to the same time and place, like I…”

“Like you what?” Cole finally asked.

“Like there was something I was supposed to do there,” Digger said.

“Looks like you finally did it,” Twain said.

“You’re saying it was my destiny to create the world’s worst super-villain?” Digger asked.

“Hey,” Bogdan said. “I’m not the bad guy.”

“Yes,” Twain said. “Just like it was my destiny to take his place.”

“What do you mean, take his place?” Digger asked. “And no offense, but did you get… bigger?”

Twain was almost seven feet tall now, and broader in the chest and shoulders. His pants legs were bound tightly around his thighs, and his skin had taken on a strange sheen in the blue glow, as if it were fluorescing under black light. Twain switched on his flashlight and turned it on himself. The fluorescence disappeared, but his skin had definitely turned blue. Paler than the Czar’s, but blue nevertheless.

“The power of this place is mine now,” Twain said, his voice taking on a deeper timbre that seemed to rattle from the rocks all around them. “You should never have come after me, Digger. Look what it got you. Your powers are gone, as well as the Cobalt Czar’s. Who has the power now? I could kill you both right here and rule this part of the world with no opposition.”

The blue glow flickered, and all around them, the crystals resonated with an otherworldly vibration that sounded oddly like ghostly laughter.

That sounds ominous. We’re moving into the final few weeks, so don’t miss a single chapter (and yeah, I understand the irony of saying that when I can’t seem to meet a schedule to save my life right now…), especially the next one!

To read from the beginning, click here

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