Haf of HERO8 – Episode 1

October 7th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

 Somewhere high above the city…

This city is full of darkness. Kind, caring, and evil people alike withdraw from society in back alleyways of dread. New Arcadia City, once a metropolis of sinful pleasure is now a muck-filled boil ready to burst.

The life of an unfinished comic book superhero is tough. But I make do in this dark and sinister city splattered with crime. It’s bulging with death and filthy addiction at every intersection and this town needs a hero who can scrub its track marks clean. 

I am Haf of HERO8 and that hero is me.

I wasn’t always a protector. Halfway through the penciling stage, pre-ink and pre-color, my creator died from toilet paper withdrawal. I was luckier than the other unfinished ones. He’d inked a single panel with me posed in a superhero stance, a speech bubble hovering over my head, and my superhero saying scrawled in Comic Sans:  “Draw yourself caught, punk”. He taped my page in the corner of his drawing table for inspiration. When he spurt out his last gurgle of blood, a mist of his life source sprinkled over me waiting in that corner. It was just enough to make me real even as unfinished as I am.

When I crawled off that page, the only thing I could say was what was in the blasted speech bubble my father had given me. It sounded corny in the real world, but if I were still in my comic book, that saying would be feared. I struggled almost a year learning to say anything else.

A nasty villain with a dirty backside and an evil desire to see NAC break apart at its perforated seams devised a devious plot: Steal the city’s supply of toilet paper and flush everything we know down the sewer. That was nearly three years ago. A decade before, citizens had turned to toilet paper for comfort and cleanliness. After a time, the weak were using toilet paper multiple times a day. But there’s is always a dark side to substance abuse. Within its clingy, quilted surface, toilet paper held a secret. It latched onto the recesses of a user’s mind and controlled their very need to perform even the simplest of bowel movements. Once addicted, abusers couldn’t stop themselves from wiping after every BM.

I had to find the perp and rub his nose in the swirly ruin he’d created. All humans needed toilet paper and to do without was a spiraling path of destruction that no one wanted to witness. I’m a simple stick figure, but I am the only superhero this town has and the police inspector is expecting me to clean up this mess so they can all go to the bathroom in peace. Wiping is no longer optional and people are dying from toilet paper withdrawal all over the city. Something has to be done and I am just the two dimensional line art that will find the villain and make the stink stick.

Down below, under the cover of darkness…

I hear a woman scream from the corner of an alley just off a back street. Perched on the steeple of The Whispers of Our Light church nearly a hundred feet from the surface, I listen. I feel the pain of a once great city broken at its heart. A city screaming in agony. Its soul torn from the pages of history and burned to its binding.

The ink never dried at the end of my stick hand and though my creations were sometimes poor, always simple, and never lasted long, they came in handy if my imagination was quick enough. I drew the rough outline of a hang glider, grabbed on and swooped down toward her screams.

In the alleyway at the end of M Street on the east side of the shopping district, a blonde in a tattered blue dress punched and kicked and clawed at her attacker as he pressed his filth to her. He forced her back against the Acme bricks.


I landed just before my line art faded.

“Let her go and I’ll go easy on you!” I looked to measure her attacker. Nearly six foot, not much taller than me, and he was overweight. This would be easy. It usually is.

He turned toward me. “I’ll kill… What the hell?” he said. She ran, still screaming.

“You’ve never seen a stick figure before?”

He lunged at me. I drew a circle in the space between us and jumped through. It disappeared with me inside before he could stumble to me. I popped out behind him and slapped him in the back of the head. “Not so easy fighting a superhero, is it?”

He spun and swung wildly and looked at me with a disoriented glaze dripping over his eyes like he’d seen a Jell-o ghost.

Hmm, if I could eat, I bet pistachio flavored Jell-o would be my favorite.

Bored of the fight, I quickly sketched a bag under and around his feet. I pulled the edges over his head and the drawstring tight.

“Draw yourself caught, punk.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying it even if I wanted to.

A quick draw on the brick wall gave me a single-button transceiver. I jabbed the push-to-talk button. “Inspector, I’ve got another one for you at the corner of M and Pine.”

I am Haf of HERO8, an unfinished comic book superhero and I’m in your world now.

[ Episode IndexEpisode 2 ]

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©2010 Keith Dugger

  1. October 1st, 2010 at 06:31 | #1

    nice. Lots of cool touches here, “I landed just before my line art faded” etc.

    What do you think about a pus-filled boil rather than muck-filled? Possibly even an inky pus-filled boil?

    Marc Nash

  2. October 1st, 2010 at 11:28 | #2

    Very creative and gritty story. The one liners were great. After all, your not a true super hero if you can’t deliver the memorable one liners! – A.J.

  3. October 2nd, 2010 at 09:48 | #3

    Well, I enjoyed reading this even though I didn’t totally understand it 100%.

    I liked the style it was written in, from gritty to down-dirty funny. 🙂

    Small thing.. when I followed the link from #Fridayflash it took me to your stats page first, some potential readers may choose not to bother going any further than this, and so miss the story.
    This is not a complaint, just an observation.

  4. Keith Dugger
    October 3rd, 2010 at 10:34 | #4

    @Steve Green
    Thanks for letting me know about the bad link. Jon has corrected it.

  5. October 3rd, 2010 at 11:04 | #5

    Happy to help Keith, I wouldn’t want any potential readers to miss this. 🙂

    I’ve just read it through again, and it is just brilliant, I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it before. 🙂

  6. October 5th, 2010 at 12:20 | #6

    This. Is. Brilliant. I’m instantly in love with Haf.

    “Draw yourself caught, punk.” Made me laugh out loud. But that first paragraph got me immediately. I’m hooked, and look forward to the rest.

    Draw yourself a new fan, Keith. 🙂

  7. October 5th, 2010 at 16:46 | #7

    Absolutely loved it, Keith. His random thoughts cracked me up. I love pistachio jello too! I can’t wait to read more. Excellent job!

  8. October 6th, 2010 at 18:04 | #8

    Oh I love Haf. If a superhero can even BE adorable, he is it. “…before my line art faded.” I love it. This is so great.

  9. October 6th, 2010 at 19:37 | #9

    Very different from anything else I’ve read. I found it very entertaining and could hear the character’s voice in my mind easily. 🙂 Good job!

  10. October 6th, 2010 at 22:43 | #10

    I like this a lot. Nice mix of classic comic heroism and “dirty” references.

  11. October 12th, 2010 at 13:23 | #11

    Wee! Bye-bye Fourth Wall! I love this concept and the humor in here is infectious. The animated powers are amazing and I can see this all happening in my brain. 🙂

  1. October 6th, 2010 at 10:52 | #1