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Elseworlds: The Nail

By Munawar Mobin


Earlier this week at the RS meeting, while discussing ideas of how to take over the world, we pondered about the word 'geek'. A 'geek' is someone who knows a lot about some subject and shows off about it. In all seriousness, yours truly considers himself a comic geek, and it should be said that Elseworld's 'The Nail' is one of the best ones around. Seriously.

For those who don't know what the hell is going on: Elseworlds is a series which publishes comics with the same regular characters from the comic world but with completely different storylines. The Nail is one such publication. This novel revolves around the Justice League of America. The JLA, as you know, are the super awesome team of superheroes who fight crime and save the day.

The story mostly involves Superman. Everyone knows how Superman became Superman. His planet was having a bad day and decided to blow up, so his parents shipped him to earth in a spaceship. His spaceship was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent in the middle of Smallville, Kansas. He was taught morals and how to curl his forelocks in that farm and then wore underwear over his pants to become the greatest superhero ever.

Here, in this story, a nail gets lodged into Jonathan's truck just before leaving the farm and so the couple decide to stay in that day. They never go out to town and thus they never find Superman. What's awesome is that everything (mostly everything) changes because Superman never makes it to becoming Clark Kent. Luthor becomes president, Batman becomes the leader of the JLA (which isn't half bad) and then the story takes a swing when someone starts killing superheroes and villains alike.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, go read.


Last week, our topic was Clockwork. A plethora of entries turned up, speaking on a variety of themes. But the article selected below was wonderfully written and conveyed quite effectively the clockwork in our lives. For next week, we have an open topic. You can send us anything you want, within 500 words. We would prefer something funny. If not, an interesting fiction. But the choice is still open ended. Submissions need to be sent into ds.risingstars@gmail.com before Sunday noon. Good luck.

A Clockwork Circus

By Rayaan Ibtesham Chowdhury

The platform was neatly adorned with carpets, perhaps Arabian, and numerous lamps. The ring master took frequent glances at his pocket watch, sweat beginning to trickle down the side of his cheek. The performers kept their eyes fixed on his face, looking for a signal. The old man, however, was not showing any signs of budging. The performers drew their breath. Sooner or later, it would come. The puppeteers eyed each other apprehensively. Then, the ring master spoke, “Begin.” And so they did.

Thousands of feet underneath the platform, streaks of sunlight began to penetrate the city skyline. The sunlight grew stronger with every passing second, apparently adding more and more energy to the city as it grew. The puppeteers began to sweat as their fingers worked rhythmically, often colliding with one another. Whenever they fumbled, the ring master shot them stern looks, ones that sent chills down their spine. “Flawlessness,” the ring master kept repeating.

The streets began to draw more people; their numbers quickly rising. The sunlight had grown into a charming glow, kissing the faces of everyone. The people, however, took no notice. They moved at a frantic pace, eyes glued to their respective watches. Someone coughed, and then coughed again. He fell, his watch slipping from his hand. The people kept moving. A few trampled him along the way. The ring master sighed. There was nothing to be done.

Everyone on the platform had begun to tire. It was that time of the day again. The morning rush had faded and everyone had reached their destination. Now was the time when they could take a break. The ring master, though, was not convinced. “Clockwork,” he said coldly. “Clockwork,” everyone repeated.

The Sun grew stronger, moving overhead. The ring master had taught it well. It knew the consequences of disobeying orders. By then, the man who had coughed had been reduced to dust. It had all happened in front of its eyes. It had wanted to help, but the ring master's voice echoed in its head; making it changes its mind. “Clockwork,” the sun said dryly.

At noon, the bells of the giant clock tower at town square began to ring. The sound floated through the air to every individual. High atop the platform, the ring master and his performers gathered together, hand in hand. Down below, every citizen stood next each other, forming a giant crowd.

“To clockwork!” the performers exclaimed.
“To clockwork!” the citizens exclaimed.

The performers bowed. The citizens bowed. The bell stopped ringing.



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