Eclipsed In Time
Mark A Davis
"Are we sure this is legal?" asked The Split Second -- a young girl in red spandex with mouse-brown hair and glasses.
"Legal Schmegal," Grandpa Anarchy replied. The world's oldest hero wore a rumpled gray suit with a silver anarchy symbol stitched over the left breast. "When it comes to fighting a villain, you do whatever you need to. This is how it was done in the comic. Besides, there are no laws about committing crimes in the past."
It was June 20, 1955. Grandpa and his sidekick The Split Second, plus a collection of former and future sidekicks including Wayback Boy, Kid Continuity, Magical Midriff, Magical Manic Pixy Dreamgirl, Boy Gravity, You Go Girl, Magical Mimic Cosplay Girl, Quantum Uncertainty Boy, and Suck It Up Buttercup, were all gathered on a hill in the Philippines. It was a bright day, with the sun high overhead -- as well as a near-invisible moon. The calls of lemurs and cockatoos echoed from the rainforest.
Nearby, a shadow creature writhed and howled. Its voice was like that of wind through a canyon. It was humanoid, as if the shape of a man had been cut from reality, and it appered to be pinned to the ground. Boy Gravity -- looking for all the world like an exceptionally well-dressed girl in a white silk blouse and pink courderoy skirt -- had a look of intense concentration. He stared at the creature, his manicured hands raised skyward.
"My Precious!" exclaimed Wayback Boy in a contorted, wheedling voice. Wayback Boy was a young man dressed in World War I flight leathers, with a strange machine strapped to his back. Grandpa stared at him. "You said Smeagol," Wayback Boy added. As Grandpa continued to stare uncomprehending, Wayback added, "Oh, never mind."
Grandpa shrugged. "According to Wayback Boy here," he said, "this day in 1955 is the longest solar eclipse since the 11th century -- and according to Kid Continuity," he nodded to a woman in a white spandex outfit with a sort of squared-off geometric knot on the chest. "This creature of the void is a thing I fought in the Grandpa Anarchy comics, and it can only be defeated by a total eclipse of the sun...."
"It's called the Shadow of Evil," said Kid Continuity. "World of Anarchy issue 102. Cloned from the shadow of Carnival Act himself using a Heart of Darkness replicating machine." As several hands shot up, she sighed and added, "It's a comic, it doesn't have to make sense."
"Is this going to actually work?" asked Manic Pixy Dreamgirl -- a young woman in a rainbow-hued crop top and mini skirt and rainbow-colored pigtails.
"We'll know any minute now," Grandpa replied.
The sky grew dark. A shadow was eating the sun. The shadow creature screamed in pain and terror, its voice like the combined cries of eleven million holocaust victims echoing through time. Shivers went down the spines of those gathered as the creature thrashed and howled. The screams intensified as the eclipse neared total darkness. They could barely see the shadow creature at all now, but it appeared to be coming apart, bits of it tearing away and drifting out into the night. Slowly the screams faded to just a murmur, and then to silence.
After a few minutes, the sky grew light again. Soon they were once again standing in bright daylight. They heard the sounds of the rainforest and felt a breeze as it rustled the grass and trees. The shadow creature was nowhere to be seen.
"It's gone," said Suck It Up Buttercup -- a young black girl dressed in yellow leathers, jacket and fingerless gloves.
"Well," said Kid Continuity, "apparently Joseph Zuzarte knew what he was writing about." She turned to Wayback Boy. "Our work here is done. Shall we head home?"
Several minutes later, the collection of costumed heroes were back in the Anarchy Mansion in Frosthaven, NJ, and back in what they considered the present. They were celebrating. Grandpa Anarchy was making strawberry pancakes for everyone when there was a knock at the door.
Grandpa answered. A humanoid lion stood on the porch, flanked by a gray alien with bulbous eyes and a humanoid cockroach. All three wore uniforms of blue and black that seemed vaguely police-like, although clearly not from any precinct on earth. Behind them floated a blue ball of pulsing light.
"Theodore Harold "Paul" Smith, known colloquially as Grandpa Anarchy?" asked the lion. "My name is Sargent Kosay, and these are Officers Hanzel Selenite, Neostylopyga Rhombifolia and XHEZHANXTLAN." He indicated the gray, the cockroach, and the ball of light in turn.
The ball of light pulsed. "CALL ME OFFICER XHEZ," it said.
"We're from the Eieio (pronounced EE-Yow) Empire Galactic Federation Police, Zendeth Sector, Precinct 27345A. We have some questions regarding the death of a sentient being known as Szillsshallsh. I understand on your planet it may have been referred to as the Shadow of Evil...."