THE WEB MENDER
“She looks terrible, she’s fading quickly!” Hunter reported back using the transmitter attached to his jacket collar. All he could do now is wait and listen for his orders from the other side and hope Gabe had a rock solid battle plan to save her and everyone else in the Uniplex. Luckily for him, he could not be seen or heard by anyone in the room. Anyone that is, except her and he was hoping above all else that she hadn’t noticed him standing behind her. Besides himself, there were four other people crammed into a converted, stale and dismal sick room. Her husband Marc was aimlessly pacing back and forth at the end of the bed while Dr. Edwards meticulously fingered through some last minute notes he had scribbled in his fruitless search for a clue that might better help him diagnose and then hopefully cure whatever was slowly killing her. Louanne, the visiting nurse Marc had hired to take care of his gravely ill wife sat by the open window mindlessly watching the sunrise hoping to just get this day over with. She didn’t like this room, there was something evil and foreboding about it that made her stomach turn and her head hurt. Lastly, there was Jeb, her son. If there was anyone in the room who might possibly be able see him it would be Jeb. After all, he was the offspring of a human and a Time Bender or as Hunter liked to call them, “Tenders.” Jeb was sixteen and the spitting image of his mother when she was younger. He was tall and stocky with shoulder length blonde hair that seemed to perfectly fall into place no matter how he moved his head and his eyes were either as blue as the reflection of the sky on a sea of ice or as green as polished emeralds depending on his mood. That was a unique trait all Tenders had in common and Hunter had to wonder if Jeb ever questioned why or if he even noticed? But more importantly than that, Hunter wondered if Jeb possessed the most sacred gift of all; the gift to see and communicate with a Web Mender. The time had come for young Jeb to know and embrace his place in the sacred multi-dimensional Universe whether he accepted it or not. Right now, Hunter desperately needed Jeb’s help to repair and close the most difficult rip he had ever been sent to Earth to mend. It was up to him to save the Princess, the future queen of the Uniplex . . . Jeb’s mother! But how?
Her name was Carlena. Princess Carlena to be exact, but in this dimension of the Uniplex everyone knew her as Carla Diangi. Princess Carlena was both a Royal and a Time Bender born to King Novala and Queen Asteria in the tenth sacred millennium. She was next in line to accept the duties and responsibilities of the Uniplex and take her rightful place as Queen. Carlena lived two very different lives in two very different verses by warping time and reality. Only Royal Time Bender’s are permitted to marry or have intimate contact with beings from alternate verses. Just as there are many royal families on Earth, so exists a great number of royals in the Uniplex with the elite being the Masterarchy who, like Carlene’s family, rule over all that is. This of course means there are many factions of Tenders like Jeb scattered about the Uniplex with some who know who and what they are and others who haven’t got a clue. Sadly, some have even committed suicide upon finding out because the reality of it was just too much to handle. The plans for Carlena’s Unification had been set and all the Web Mender’s, Time benders and Tender’s from every dimension of the Uniplex were to be in attendance. The coronation process had been moving forward without any issues until two weeks ago when a band of Gorfum’s from the rebel fraction somehow managed to escape from the Shadowverse and break through the Sacred Web. One of those despicable creatures managed to find Carla as she slept and attached its horrid, deplorable appendages to her soul like a blood sucking leach in an attempt to kill her. Killing Carla meant there would be no entitled heir to the present throne and the Unification of a new royal family would have to be implemented. The next family in line for that title was the Gammatites whose claims of peace and righteousness were a front to hide their grossly twisted, evil, sick minds and their alliance with the Gorfums. If the Gammatites were to rule the throne, then the entire Uniplex would be condemned to an existence of horrible decay and moral destruction. That was something this dimension called Earth already had quite the abundance of and it wouldn’t take long for total anarchy to engulf it like sticky, rancid, tar. Hunter was furious with himself for indirectly letting several of the Gorfums escape because that dubious honor belonged to a Web Mender named Rafter who betrayed Hunter’s trust, love and one of the most sacred birth rights within the Uniplex. To complicate matters even more, Rafter and Hunter had been partners, not in the business sense, but more in the union of two people sense and it was Hunter, who, regrettably shared and trusted Rafter with confidential information and knowledge that eventually seduced and lured him to the Shadow side.
From the collar of his jacket, the tiny transmitter erupted in a big blaze of ear piercing screeches that immediately jarred Hunter out of his lonely quietness. He scanned the room to see if anyone else had heard the violent noise, but realized quickly that only he and Carlena were bestowed with that unique gift and she didn’t even flinch. A deep, low, voice rang forth from his transmitter and Hunter immediately recognized the growl. It was Gabe and he sounded tense, no, it was worse than that, he sounded panic stricken beyond words. “Hunter! Hunter, are you there?” Gabe repeated over and over never stopping to take a breath. “I’m here Gabe, what’s going on?” Hunter yelled into the little device that could bend time in any Universe. Gabe’s voice was steady this time, but still filled with a fear that Hunter had never heard before and hoped to never hear again. “The Gorfums are pillaging their way through the Uniplex and heading directly to Carlena. This is it Hunter, they have eluded the other Menders and word has it that they have killed and destroyed hundreds of innocents and you and Carlena are next.” Hunter took a deep breath and exhaled slowly until he was sure he could speak with Gabe without sounding knee deep in fear. “What can I do Gabe, what can I do?” he said in a surprisingly calm voice that seemed wrong for this situation. Gabe shot back a reply so fast that Hunter almost missed it, but he understood the instructions clearly. “You must tell the boy now! He is ours, yours and the entire Uniplexe’s only chance of capturing and annihilating the Gorfum’s. Our future queen must be saved and the Sacred Web mended if we ever wish to see balance, harmony and peace restored to our fragile existence. It must be done!” Hunter knew that Gabe was right, but wasn’t sure how he was going to complete this mission. The transmitter came to life again and Gabe spoke, but this time he spoke with a softness, filled with compassion and hope. “I have sent an army of Menders to assist you, but I’m not sure if they’ll get there on time. The boy is the answer Hunter, he will know what to do.” The transmitter went silent again leaving Hunter alone and confused as to how he was going to reach out to Jeb without scarring him emotionally or even scaring him to death. What if he can’t help, then what?
Hunter turned his focus towards the room of despair and watched as everyone except Jeb left with their heads hanging low and their hearts breaking. Now was the time, he couldn’t wait any longer. Hunter stepped from behind the bed and slowly approached Jeb who was sitting in a chair facing the other way. Hunter prepared himself to communicate with the boy and stretched his right arm out to gently touch Jeb’s shoulder. With the force of a super nova combined with the speed of light, Jeb turned around, flew out of the chair and grabbed Hunters outstretched arm almost ripping it off. His strength was that of a thousand men and in the blink of an eye Hunter was pinned up against the wall with no chance of escape. “Who the hell are you and why have you been stalking us?” Jeb screamed at him clenching his teeth and turning a dark shade of red. Hunter was in shock and wasn’t sure that he’d be able to utter a single word never mind explain who he was and why he was there, but just then a strange calmness came over him and he realized it was coming from Carlena. She was infiltrating his thoughts and giving him the courage and words that he needed to speak. With determination and a confidence he thought he had lost forever, the words flowed from his mouth like a soft cloud sailing across an infinite sky. “Jeb, please put me down, I am not here to cause you, your mother or anyone else any harm. I am here to save her life and the lives of hundreds of millions more. It’s obvious to me now that you know the powers that lie within you, but you are unsure why and how you possess them. My name is Hunter, I am a Web Mender, but I think you already know that, don’t you?” Hunter felt Jeb’s grip on him ease up and it appeared to him that Jeb was on the verge of tears. He must have said something that struck a burning nerve within Jeb’s soul because before he knew it, Jeb had completely relaxed his herculean hold and Hunter’s feet were touching the floor again. Hunter needed to gently place his hand on Jeb’s head, it wasn’t what Hunter wanted, but it was coming from her. As Hunter softly touched the back of Jeb’s head, he turned to Hunter, buried his face in his chest and let go of sixteen years’ worth of tears. Hunter could feel the pain and anguish erupting from Jeb and in that moment felt a bond like he had never experienced before. When Jeb had finally let go of his last tear of confusion, Hunter sat him down and gave him the quickest, most straight forward answers and explanations about the mysteries for which he had so long been searching for, but was too frightened to ask about.
Hunter knew he had to ease Jeb into his new reality, but conversely, it had to be done expeditiously as the clock was ticking and it wouldn’t be long before the snarling, putrid, Gorfum’s would be upon them and they so needed to be ready and have a defensive strategy in place. Hunter apologized to Jeb for only giving him the crash courses about everything, but told him that after the battle was over he would enlighten him with all the answers to every question he ever had. That was . . . if they were still alive when it was all over. Hunter began speaking quickly, but also with an intensity that demanded respect. “Long before time as you know it existed, there was one supreme Universe that held the secrets of everything. Like your world is today, there was good as well as evil because the laws of creation are perfect. Nothing can exist without an opposite force. A disturbing event took place ten millennia ago and a rip in the fabric of time caused an infinite number of Universes to be born. This would eventually end up being called the Uniplex and it was governed by one supreme deity who in turn created several royal families to administer the perfectly designed and flawless constitution. The royals were also gifted with the ability to bend the delicate structure of time and exist in several, if not all the Universes as one entity with many different tangible bodies. They are known as Time Benders and you are a direct descendant of that family Jeb and believe it or not, your mother is the future queen of the Uniplex. Because you are half human, I wasn’t sure if you were born with the attributes of a Bender, but you have proven to me what I hoped to be true. You are a Time Bender Jeb and I desperately need your help to save your mother. Along with the creation of the royals, an elite group of protectors was established to defend and mend any breaks in the sacred webs that connect and hold each Universe together. I am part of that group Jeb and have been since its incorporation. We are known as The Web Menders and only Time Benders can see and communicate with us. Your mother is in grave danger Jeb and if she dies, life as you know it will be changed forever and not for the better. Evil is upon us Jeb and it goes by the name of Gorfum. They are the reason for your mothers deteriorating health as one has slipped through the veil and embraced her soul making her sick and frail. As disturbing as this is Jeb, the situation is about to get worse because more Gorfum’s are on their way with the intention of putting an end to your mother’s life once and for all. We are her only hope right now Jeb and it’s going to be the most difficult task you have ever had to undertake. It will mean going against your moral beliefs as a human and killing a venomous enemy who has the same ill intent for you. I can’t force you to accept or do this Jeb, but should you choose to fight and we win, I promise you a reward greater than anything you could ever dream of. After a brief silence, Jeb stared Hunter in the eyes and in a voice that was dripping with confidence said; “I have lived in fear my entire life because of what I am. Now that fear has morphed into pure unadulterated anger because I may never get the chance to fulfill my destiny. I know you can’t guarantee if I live or die, but I’m ready to fight, I’m ready to die if it means saving my mother.
Hunter wanted to grab him and tell him that everything was going to be fine, but that would be an unfair lie. Instead, he approached Jeb, placed his hands upon his head and closed his eyes. Jeb’s eyes appeared as though they were going to explode from his head as Hunter downloaded secret knowledge into his already overtaxed mind. Jeb turned to look at his mother and immediately became ill. There on top of her was this hideous creature with a twisted and boil infested body. Its mouth was filled with rows and rows of sharp, vomit green, teeth with a tongue that was as pointy as a well sharpened pencil. Jeb wanted to both throw up and kill the despicable beast at the same time, but wasn’t sure what and how to accomplish this. Hunter knew right away what Jeb was seeing and offered up his support. “Patience my son, use the power of your mind to your advantage and stay true to the greatness inside of you. Jeb inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. As he inhaled, a white, scorching, bolt of divinity descended from out of nowhere and entered him through the top of his head and then blazed through his body before powerfully and forcefully exiting through his feet and grounding him to Mother Earth. This cosmic power surge filled him with the energy of a dozen quasars and granted him a strength that had never been bestowed upon any other Time Bender in recorded history. It was all the knowledge and mystical powers of every royal and every Time Bender that ever existed. Jeb turned to Hunter to say something with his eyes wide open and his body still quivering when the stench of death and decay hit them like a tidal wave. Before Hunter could even open his mouth to belt out a warning, the gang of Gorfum’s were upon them like swarming locusts. With every bit of strength he had, Hunter screamed for Jeb to go protect his mother as he, himself fought off three of the horrid beasts and Jeb obeyed bringing a half dozen Gorfum’s with him. Jeb could only think of one thing and that was getting to his mother before they did. Jeb struggled as one of the Gorfum’s wrapped a decaying, bony, arm around his neck and stabbed him in the back of his head with its javelin like tongue. The pain in Jeb’s head felt like hot lava and all he could smell was the rotten, venomous, breath of the Gorfum saturating his face. In unison with his Gorfum brother, another one of the insidious creatures began to climb the inside of Jeb’s leg digging its claws deep into his thigh and ripping his flesh with ease. The world around Jeb was beginning to spin wildly out of control and he was sure that his noble attempt at saving his dying mother was going to be an epic failure. Five more Gorfum’s had piled onto him and his knees began to buckle. He half glanced at Hunter looking for a hero to save him, but Hunter was being held down by a large group of Gorfum’s and taking a generous beating himself from some other strange man. Jeb closed his eyes tightly and in a weak, small, voice whispered; “Sorry mom, I tried.” Just as he finished speaking the last syllable, a voice in his head that he clearly recognized as his mother’s screamed out; “Jeb surrender to the light, surrender to the light!” Not understanding why, but somehow knowing it was the right thing to do, Jeb took what he thought would be his very last breath and confidently yelled to the air; “I surrender to the light!”
Without warning, a cataclysmic eruption of the most volatile white light filled the room like a million exploding suns. Hunter was temporarily blinded, but was instantly freed from the brutal assault he had been the center of only a moment ago. He was suddenly aware of a euphoric peace he hadn’t felt since he was first ordained as a Web Mender. As the brilliant light faded into a gentle, sparkling, hue, Hunter repositioned himself and dropped to his knees. There in front of him, arms stretched out as far as they could go and floating above his mother’s bed was Jeb. He was shining like the beacon of a lighthouse and the air around him seemed to be almost glimmering. Hunter glanced around the room and felt a monumental weight leave his body. There on the floor, entwined together like some freakish orgy, lay every putrid Gorfum that once terrorized the Uniplex.Page | 5 They were all dead and dripping a serum of rotting, black, ooze, but it was the body at the very top of the pile that made Hunter put his head in his hands and weep uncontrollably. Bent in a position that was surely not possible for any flesh and bone and looking as though he had just spent a spa weekend in an electric chair was Rafter. Hunter watched through swollen, bloodshot, eyes as Jeb calmly lowered himself to the floor like some futuristic hover craft and strategically dropped his arms by his side. He was still glowing white, but it was more like a subtle radiance than a nuclear meltdown. Hunter managed to stand himself up, painfully limp over to Jeb and wrap, well, more like throw, his thankful arms around Jeb’s still vibrating body. “How did you do . . .” Hunter’s question was quickly cut off by Jeb who only said; “All in good time my brother, all in good time.” Hunter understood what he meant, but it really didn’t matter right now. What mattered was Jeb had done it, he had destroyed the evil that threatened their very existence and lived to tell about it. Jeb released his hold on Hunter and knelt beside his mother. The Gorfum that had been attached to her was gone and she appeared to be glowing exactly like Jeb. Taking her by the hand, he whispered something in her ear while placing his other hand on her forehead. The light within her began to intensify and just as the sun rises from the horizon, Carlena opened her eyes to a brand new world. By now, tears of joy and gratitude were streaming down the cheeks of both Hunter and Jeb and the room was filled with the scent of roses. The Uniplex had been saved and a new order of Time benders had been born. All was as it should be and the Web was finally mended.