My name is Stephen Nelson. I have some stories to tell, and some great and talented friends to help me tell them. If you like a strange story, if you enjoy a twisted tale, sit down, stay a while, and listen! Someday soon, we hope to transform our stories into comics which you may purchase, so as to bear happily home to you demented domiciles.

You might not want to let Mom see them, though.

Projects my friends and I are currently conspiring on include my macabre fantasy adventure/comedy Rat's Tooth, Rita Gorgoni's awesome Dark Fantasy tale, Iron Head, and The Children of Pollut Un Roone, a dark fantasy tale written by myself, illustrated by Stefano Cardoselli, and set in the incredible fantasy world of Brom Kah, created by Garrett Adderly!

So please come in, look around, and we hope you enjoy our Stories! Unpleasant Dreams!

Thanks go out to lots of folks, including Alex Johns, who designed the logo you see above for me!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gently Down the Stream

Although the character of Lennard Cromkow, the man who beleives he is Death, was created at least fifteen years ago, Gently Down the Stream was written just a couple of months back. It is a "Free Floating" story, quite separate from the Main Rat's tooth narrative. I'm beginning to ponder trying to find a pen and inks-slinger to try to turn it into a short comix piece. It may turn up as a back story in some issue down the road somewhere...I'm in no hurry, though, as I'm not especially fond of some of the verbiage in Lennard's freak-out...it still sounds a little off...
of course, Lennard IS crazy...

Gently Down the Stream...

A Rat’s Tooth Tale

Stephen Nelson
with Jeremy Le Roque

Scene: Lennard sits on a stone under an oak tree on the edge of a steam. The leaves of the tree are beginning to turn red and yellow with October color. He watches the water flow by. A leaf falls from the tree branches above and gently comes to rest on the face of the water. Lennard watches it spin off downstream.

Lennard hears children singing somewhere close by. “Row, row, row your boat….Row, row, row your boat…gently down the stream…gently down the stream…merrily, merrily, merrily…merrily, merrily, merrily merrily….life is but a dream…life is but a dream….Row, row, row your boat…”

Something like a smile appears on Lennard’s face. He sits up and looks off-panel toward the sound of the noise.

The sound of singing continues to drift across the panels as Lennard stands up and walks toward the edge of the little wood the stream runs through. Where the wood ends, there begins a field of ripe harvest wheat, standing in gathered bushels. Lennard follows the sound of the singing across the stubbly field toward a cottage surrounded by a white fence. He looks over the fence. Two children, a boy and a girl, are sitting in a toy boat. Some white geese are walking around in the dirt near the boat. The boy is pulling at the toy oars, the ends of which are dug into the dirt of the yard outside the cottage. The girl is sitting in the prow with a toy parasol over her shoulder. The children look up suddenly as the shadow of Lennard and his huge scythe fall across them.

Lennard: (rearing up above the fence and staring down at them with his crazy eyes, a huge and dark figure cast against the grey autumn sky) “I heard you calling me.”

Kids stare up at him, eyes huge in their little faces, mouths open.

Lennard: “And I have come.”

Lennard leans over the fence toward the kids, cringing in their boat. “It is not a rhyme which I have heard before. Still, it is very fine. Yes…you know what it means, don’t you, poet? (looking at the boy, who stares back at him in awe…) How can it be that we spend all of eternity in the state of nothingness, and then, for just…a flicker…as if in the space of time a star takes to leap across the black eternity of the heavens, we…“live“? And then are swallowed up again by our true state of being, which is in nothingness? (getting excited) Verily…Verily, then, one can say…why does a man row downstream…???!!!! Is the river of life not already sweeping us irrevocably toward the black pit? (boy’s lower jaw has dropped somewhere down around his kness by now) “Perhaps, poet, you imply by this that, the harder we try to live, to strive, to achieve in this nightmare, this lie of an “existence“, the more we doom ourselves? That there is only one direction in which, ultimately, we can row, and is that direction not…The End???”

(Kids stare at Lennard in growing horror)

Lennard: (screaming, now, like Nietzche, at his own fist) Life??? Life!!! Life cannot be our natural state…(freaking out, his pale hands rising, claw-like against the sky) IT IS AN ATROCITY!!!! It is against nature and our true state of being!!!! It is in death, DEATH that we are truly awake…LIFE IS BUT A DREAM! And it is when we die that we truly awaken!!!!!!! This is what you were trying to say in your verses, poet, is it not???? IS IT NOT???!!!!!”

Lennard leans, terrifyingly, over the fence and down upon the children, his face contorted, his eyes blazing and insane….

Kids stare at him a moment more…

Kids: “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

They vanish, leaving only an overturned boat, abandoned oars, and a few disturbed oak leaves hanging in the air to mark the spot where they stood a few moments before. Lennard stands alone near the white fence. His expression is unreadable. The autumn wind stirs his robes in a suitably melodramatic fashion.

(voice from off panel) “HEY!!!”

Lennard: (startled) “Hm?”

A plump, middle aged woman and a mangy cur have emerged from the cottage. The woman throws shoes and pears and things at Lennard.

Woman: “Get out of here! What’s wrong with you??? Why ye have the come around here mekkin miseries fer people?” she shouts.
The dog runs up to Lennard and bites him. A pear bounces off Lennard’s head.

The woman and the dog chase Lennard down the hill toward the wood. The dog pulls at the hem of Lennard’s robe, trying to drag him back into the clutches of the woman.

Back at the cottage, the children and a young scarlet haired woman who is probably their mother lean out the door and watch the proceedings…

Old Woman: “Get out of here!!!! Why can’t you leave decent people alone, blast ye?”

Lennard breaks away and vanishes into the autumn oak trees.

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