Archer Wilson

Archer Wilson

A Chapter by H.C.

Archer Wilson's background and how he met Neptune


(Tearjerker warning)

The sun rose over Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, trying so hard to filter through the dense ground level clouds. Not a car one on the street as Archer Wilson carefully opened the Venetian blinds of his mother's room, the faint gray light reflecting onto his soft blond hair.

How's that, Mom?” he asked her gently. She nodded her head slowly, as a tube down her throat helping her lungs respirate prevented her from speaking. But he knew her intentions.

His gray eyes meandered onto his mother's heart monitor, which continued to beat on. Wilson sighed through his nose, unsure of what was going to happen next.

His mother Rowena, mysteriously contracted streptococcal pneumonia, and it remitted enough for young Wilson to visit.

She raised him alone in a little house up the road in Pacific Grove; after two failed marriages, Rowena decided to raise her son alongside her job as a nurse. Wilson knew he had a knack for gymnastics when he performed his first cartwheel in front of her accidentally at three years old. On that day, she knelt down to him on the grass and whispered, “Darling, I can tell this is your calling. Nourish this talent. Feel it. Adore it. It's a part of you. Make it your own. Whatever happens, I will always be your supporting anchor.” She introduced him to Fredricka, the next door neighbor with red hair, a pretty face, and a wiry build who happened to be a gym teacher, to nurse his naturally flexible body every day when he returned home from pre-school.

Archery caught his attention when in kindergarten: he read a short story about a young man who saved the world by using an archery set and a Bowie knife. About this time, his limbs grew stronger and more sinewy, akin to that of rubber. Rowena took the gamble and bought him his very first archer set when he turned seven years old, a set of which he still uses and takes very good care of. Every Friday, Wilson would bring his set to school and show a new trick he invented to his classmates. He came in third at the school's talent show that year, something he and Rowena rejoiced over a sweet little dinner, just the two of them. Sure, it wasn't a win, but there was no excuse to be complacent.

He remembered her kiss so sweetly on his forehead that night when she tucked him into bed, and every night for four years.

Sleep tight, sweetheart,” she would say in a gentle voice, pulling the blanket over his strong little body, “tomorrow is a new day to shine, a new day to improve and be beautiful, a new day to be the best archer gymnast you possibly can be. Remember, no matter what happens, you are the love of my life.”

His body began to develop but yet he never lost that stubborn childhood fat around his waist. He eventually became known as that “elastic arrow shooting kid with the fat tummy” but he loved the label at first mention. Within a few days, Rowena collapsed on the floor of their kitchen, motionless and not breathing. Fredricka and eleven year old Wilson took her to the hospital in Monterey. That was four days ago, and right now Fredricka had gone downstairs to the cafeteria for a bite to eat, leaving Wilson alone with his ailed mother.

He planted himself in the chair next to her bed. Her blonde head rested on her pillow, her light peacock eyes wandering across the ceiling as if in a meditative daze. Wilson could feel a slight tingling in the pit of his stomach, unsure if from hunger or from apprehension. He wanted to see his mother healed and nurturing again. He wanted peace of mind, a good life with his mother, to have things return to normalcy…

He could not, however, keep the faith especially when she groaned and winced in pain, the pain in her lungs, the pain of losing the battle and leaving her little boy all alone. Rowena closed her eyes, holding back the tears.

Mom,” Wilson whispered gently.

Rowena opened her eyes just enough to see her beautiful son, with his silky wave of blond hair, soft gray eyes, creamy opaque skin, little boyish face, and handsome, sinewy developing body softened by a sweet round little tummy. He never looked more beautiful to her. She reached out to hold his hand.

Arthur�"” she choked out. He held his breath, awaiting for her next words, unsure if he wanted to hold her hand.

“�"my sweet baby�"”


“�"remember�"I will�"always�"love you�"”

The blue in her eyes glimmered and fizzled out like the last embers in a fire. Her lids closed and everything went black for her. Her entire body fell limp. The heart monitor above bled out a continual shriek. Her heart stopped.

Mom?” he asked her. No response.

Mom, wake up,” he insisted. Nothing.

A nurse entered the room, her eyes wide with concern.

I'm sorry, baby,” she confessed. “She's not waking up. Let's go downstairs to meet up with your neighbor.”

No, she's just sleeping,” he said stubbornly, “she'll wake up any time now.”

No, baby, I'm sorry. She's not waking up. Let's go.”

No, she's just sleeping! Mom, wake up! Wake up!”

The nurse set her hand on his shoulder and guided him away from Rowena, who had left her body right before his eyes. As two other nurses entered the room to tend to her, the initial one took him out into the hallway and to the elevator, past the tall glass windows looking out into the courtyard and the ocean outside. She halted in front of the elevator, pressed the downstairs button, and faced him. She glanced down at little Wilson, his young face warped with concern and his eyes brimmed with hot tears of sorrow.

Come here, baby,” she coaxed him gently, opening her arms to him. He couldn't help it. He wrapped his arms around her slender waist and embraced her as if he had never embraced anyone in his life. He wept into her scrubs like the scared little boy he was, but she saw through that mindset.

It's okay, sweetheart. I know, it's hard. It's going to be hard. But you will be okay, though. I promise.”

It was as if the rest of the day faded out to black. The only thing he could recall was returning to Fredricka's house and her sitting at the dining room table, bawling the loss of Rowena, and Fredricka offering him to stay with him for the night. Wilson sighed heavily as he made his way into the empty dark house next door to retrieve his toothbrush, his towel, a change of clothes, and his pajamas.

The living room had been devoid of life, the fading light from the early evening filtering through the front windows and onto the pale brick mantlepiece, and highlighting their cozy furniture, leaving what was once a warm, welcoming room reflecting a mother and her son, cold and lifeless. Wilson shivered and ambled down the hallway to his bedroom; shadows lined the hallway, creeping over his face and his body. He turned into his room, the only room that seemed to have any embers of life left. The first thing he spotted was his archery set: his bow and his canister of arrows leaned against the table next to his bed.

Wilson slipped the bow into the canister, and picked it up and slung it over his shoulder. He picked up his flannel pajamas from his bed and then turned to his closet for a clean shirt and trousers. He then made his way across the hallway to the bathroom to fetch his toothbrush and his towel.

Wilson returned to the hallway a second time before something caught his eye.

He turned his head to the right see his mother's bedroom door slightly ajar, and beyond that a small glimmer at the end of the hallway. Wilson tilted his head to the right, wondering what that could be. His boots suddenly felt heavy, thus he had the challenge of walking silently towards the door without sending shivers through his soul.

He rested a hand on the door and gently pushed it open. He found himself face to face with a pitch-black room, his mother's bed devoid of anything that said someone slept here. Next to the bed was the side table. On the table stood a small reading lamp, a book, and what resembled a black diamond.

Wilson cautiously stepped into the room and eased his way to the bedside table. He moved his towel, toothbrush, and pajamas to his right arm so he could pick up the diamond to examine it: the glittering carbon sides dimmed with a smoky maroon tint. From a distance and in indirect lighting, the diamond was black.

Why would Mom have a diamond and not tell me?

He then picked up the book from the table. The Poems of Emily Dickinson.

I think I'll take this with me, he said to himself, tucking the book underneath his busy arm. He picked up the diamond with his free hand and stepped out of the room, into the hallway.

I can't keep this diamond, he told himself. What would I do with it? I'll be back tomorrow anyways.

He sniffled, setting the diamond on the mantlepiece next to the photograph of him on his eleventh birthday, one in which he wore his white overcoat for the first time, and debuted his pewter buttons of which she gave him. Wilson sighed and leaned against the wall. He gently touched one of the buttons on his coat, one of those pewter buttons with the bubbly spiral design encased within. He bowed his blond head. His stomach carried that heavy full feeling, the feeling of having swallowed down sorrow; his little tummy looked so bloated and distended. He felt sick, his entire body had gone weightless and yet he felt heavy.

Mom… Mommy…

He could hear Fredricka calling him back to the house. He closed his eyes and turned toward the front door. He stepped out the door and closed it behind him, engulfing the entire house in darkness.

His only memory of Rowena's memorial was the preacher saying “she is survived by her only son Arthur�"” and everything else was a gray haze.

It was as if the days had grown drearier and were delving into more shades of gray. Wilson would continue to practice his craft every day after school, but the feelings had changed drastically. He kept expecting to hear Rowena's words of encouragement behind him. At one point, he did, and turned around, expecting to see her there behind him, but she had vanished. He hung his head, wheeled back around and made his way to the target on the other side of the yard.

Wilson halted in front of the target, three arrows jutting out from the red and black rings. He could feel his eyes growing wet, burning like stubborn embers of enflamed water from the corners of his corneas. A firm fullness formed inside his throat, his breathing shortened, and his eyes closed. Wilson folded his arms on the top of the target, and bowed his head, weeping unabashedly.

Within a couple of minutes, he felt Fredricka's hand set on his shoulder. He turned around to face her with tears in his eyes, only to see tears within hers. He proceeded to sob into her sweater; she embraced him, holding him like how Rowena used to do, causing him to sob even more.

His birthday, which coincided with Christmas, was even more lachrymose. Wilson woke up in what was now his bed, at the age of twelve, and could not help but feel he had left his mother behind back in November.

For two years, he became more and more reclusive, retreating into himself. His retrogression crystallized the more he spent away from home and in the guest bedroom of Fredricka's house. It didn't help his body continued to grow fuller and taller. He grew increasingly awkward and temperamental, shuffling about like a chubby newborn colt with the tears of a widower.

From January to July, after he turned fourteen, he stopped shooting arrows so much. He not only had school to fret about, but the joy had dissipated. The rhododendrons which came in bloom this time of the year usually lifted his spirits, but his pleasure principle seemed to have closed up shop.

A handful of school children spotted Wilson sitting on a jungle gym after school one Wednesday afternoon, waiting for Fredricka to come pick him up. He had his knees pulled up to his chest, his arms folded on top of his knees, his chin resting on where his hands met, his gray eyes gray and lifeless. One of the children asked him if he was alright. He never responded. He didn't even hear her ask him. He sighed through his nose. The only thing he did hear was one of them say “cheer up, friend”.

How am I supposed to cheer up when I just lost the only woman I ever knew?

Wilson bowed his head, so that he was staring directly at his belly. He closed his eyes, imagining Rowena's arms around him, but slipping away.

No, don't slip away. Please don't go away from me.

Fredricka still had not showed up to fetch him and take him home, and the damp fog began to filter in from the ocean. Wilson shivered inside his coat. The entire playground was vacant, not a soul one wandered about. How he longed for any contact, any sign of comfort, whether it was his mother or Fredricka or someone else, it didn't matter. The skies melted with the tears in his eyes, the cold ground beckoned his wounded heart.

He never felt so alone in his life. Not a friend in the world.

He didn't remember Fredricka picking him up by the time the sun set, or the bland soup of emotions running through his growing body.

By the summer and by the time he picked up his bow and arrow again by Fredricka's encouragement, Wilson was nearly six feet in height and gained eighty pounds, going from seventy five pounds at age nine to around a hundred fifty seven. His face was round and plump with a soft little double underneath his chin, broad shoulders, a deeper chest, and his little tummy ballooned and rounded into a fat belly. Because he had grown so much bigger, he had outgrown his clothes. He entered the habit of wearing plain white shirts and black and white stripes, with black on black: black bottoms and a black overcoat.

His voice progressed from a little childlike squeak to a lower scratchy voice practically overnight.

I need to get back into shape, he thought to himself, setting a hand on his protruding midsection. He then picked up his bow and arrow, and pulled an arrow back and fired into the target across the yard. Just missed the bulls eye.

Well, at least my aim is still on track.

He began to stretch more, returning to those muscle memories from when he was a little child. Fredricka introduced him to planks and isometrics to tone his svelte limbs, giving him healthy food every time he had a craving for something that would pack on the pounds. He eventually lost seventeen pounds within two weeks: his face slimmed down slightly, and his arms and legs tightened with strength, but his body remained rather plump, his stomach poking out like a bump of cookie dough.

Neither he nor Fredricka could understand it. Wilson forced himself to skip meals, either eating only once or twice or not at all every day for a whole month. He replaced eating with drinking fluids to keep himself hydrated: the summer that year was unusually warm, the stubborn high pressure combining with the dampness of the ocean. Even though the summers in Pacific Grove were relatively mild, this year proved to be one of the hottest on record.

Wilson found himself resting on the porch swing on the front deck one afternoon, about mid August. His blond hair matted to his forehead with sweat. He was unsure if the heat seeping into his bones caused his fatigue, or something else…

Fredricka called him inside the house because of the heat, and she had bought some granola with dried blueberries and raspberries for him. Wilson set his feet on the warm wooden porch and exerted his weight on his slender legs. He could feel his knees quiver, and then folded. He fell backwards onto the porch; his thoughts melted away into a blur, and then blackness.

The next thing he knew, Fredricka was leaning over him, dabbing his forehead with a cold wet wash cloth.

What happened?” Wilson asked deliriously. Something soft and velvety cradled him like Rowena's arms: Fredricka rested him on the couch.

You passed out, Arthur. That's what you get for not eating and losing a great deal of weight. Can you sit up?”

Wilson glanced down at his arms, which had slimmed down considerably. He drew his arms back and reclined on his elbows, and then pushed himself into an upright position. His legs limply swung over the edge of the dark brown couch, and his body rested against the couch cushions like a half alive rag doll.

Please eat something, sweetheart,” Fredricka coaxed him. “You can't bring your strength back unless you have food in your belly.”

Wilson stared blankly at the wall across from him, unsure what to feel or think. His mind washed out with bleach and his entire body flagged with energy. The heart inside his chest slowed to a crawl. His gray eyes never looked grayer.

What would your mother want?”

She would want me to eat something.”

Then eat something. Please, baby.” Wilson widened his gray eyes in amazement. She never called him baby. That was a term of endearment solely constricted to his mother. Any other woman who called him that better have some emotional tie to him.

It was like something inside him snapped. He shot his arms out and shoved Fredricka down onto the floor. He sprung up from the couch and sprinted down the hall to fetch his bow and canister of arrows, his coat, and the book of poems which he only opened twice since he found it on his mother's bedside table. His strength continued to lag, but he didn't care. He did not want to be a part of a household that feigned that familiar comfort, the comfort Rowena left behind and could never be replicated.

Wilson hurled the canister over his right shoulder, picked up the book and his coat, and proceeded to barrel down the hallway, only to come face-to-face with a cross Fredricka blocking the way. Thinking quickly, Wilson ducked down and somersaulted underneath her spread legs. He shot into the kitchen and swiped the small bag of granola off the counter. He ducked out the side door, into the damp night, illuminated by a low, bright last quarter moon.

He scurried through the dark bushes, running solely on adrenaline. Wilson found himself back at the old house, the yard empty and forlorn, the first time back since that fateful day in 2005. The grass had grown knee high and unruly, glistening with dew. The windows of the house were eerily pitch-black and hollow. That phantom feeling returned to him once again…

Fredricka called his name from next door. Wilson swallowed his nervousness and sprinted across the back deck to the far side of the house, away from Fredricka's porch light and indignation. He paused for a second, swallowing down the bag of granola to keep his strength up for just a while more, until he found someone who could help him. He rushed out into Del Monte Boulevard which met up with Lighthouse Avenue which in turn headed towards town. The adrenaline pulsed through his veins and the roar of the high tide echoed in his ears as he turned the corner of Lighthouse and ducked behind a rhododendron shrub in order to catch his breath and slow his heartbeat. He sank down onto the pavement, his chest heaving and his heart thundering in his ears.

Where do I go from here? he asked himself. He peered down the empty, dark street, which morphed from Del Monte into Alder Street. Two blocks away was the George Washington Park, a tree shrouded park with soft green grass. A line of blue and red lights over the top of the trees caught his eye.

The Jim Rose Circus! Fredricka was going to take me to see them, but what are they doing here and not Monterey?

Wilson picked himself up and ambled to the curb. He glanced in both directions before crossing the two lanes to Alder Street. He meandered down the street to the next block, only to see an incredibly tall man with a dark coat, top hat, and an ebony cane standing on the corner, glancing around. Wilson hesitated for a moment, unsure if he wanted to continue or not. His hunger returned to him like a thief in the night and he wanted a drink of water so much. Cautiously, he neared the tall man.

The man spotted the approaching Wilson, pallid and sweaty with heat exhaustion, and whose height only reached the halfway mark of the man's chest.

Excuse me, Mister,” Wilson called out, his voice hoarse with thirst. The man raised his slender pale eyebrows quizzically.

Yes? Oh, my! You look like death has rolled you over, my boy! What can I do for you?”

Do you have anything to eat?”

I myself don't have any kind of food with me, but I can take you to where there is. Come, walk with me.”

Wilson sighed with relief.

Thank you,” he breathed, “thank you so much.” The two of them strolled down the street to the park, where the circus had camped out for the night. The man set a hand on Wilson's shoulder, only to spot the canister on his back.

You're an archer!” he said, astonished.

Yeah,” Wilson replied, smiling nervously, “I'm also a gymnast. I haven't done much in the past few years because my mom died and I haven't felt up to it.”

Well, I'm sure where you're headed to right now are some helpful words of encouragement on your behalf. Let's get something of nourishment inside you. May I ask, what is your name?”

Arthur. Arthur Wilson, but I'd rather be called Archer Wilson.”

Archer Wilson, I love that! My name is Leonard, but call me Leo.”

Wilson found himself gelling with more tall gentlemen, as well as tiny women with wings and pointed ears, which he soon figured out were fairies, gnomes, people with frizzy full heads of hair, people with exorbitantly long arms and legs but short bodies, people with oddly colored eyes, monkeys, giants, and even a bearded woman. They welcomed Wilson with open arms and platters of food and glasses of water. Wilson introduced himself as Archer Wilson and he usurped that name, totally forgoing the name Arthur.

That first night, while bunking with three fairies and a frizzy haired gentleman named Roderick in a cozy warmly lit tent, Wilson found himself reading the book of poems by Emily Dickinson, the entire time thinking of Rowena. He came to the end of “I'm Nobody! Who are You?” and immediately thought to himself, every performing act I ever do will be dedicated to Mom, until the day I can't do anything anymore.

Archer Wilson was a class act for the Jim Rose Circus. Children far and wide wanted to see this newbie from Pacific Grove, this young man who could stand on his head and fire an arrow into a target, and then fly on the trapeze, and do three backflips, landing lightly on his feet, then turn around and shoot an arrow off of the bearded woman's head. His acts brought attention as far as the government, officials who took their families to watch this young man perform when the circus travelled to Washington, D. C. every year until Wilson turned nineteen; at this point, he had long been nursed back to health, defeating his irregular eating habits and regaining sixty five pounds. He had returned to his full, heavy shape but he was undeniably healthy. His health and prowess caught the attention of one by the name of Pinkie Borland.

He found her to be extremely friendly and amicable when he shook her hand on that fateful day. She wanted him for herself: she saw the potential in this young fellow, asking him if he had any other plans than being with the circus. She asked him if he would like to be head of his own army and Wilson eagerly accepted.

Because Wilson had limited access to the outside world, he had no idea she was in competition to be President of the United States. He was oblivious to her ruthless iron fist, especially when she entered office. It would be another year before he recognized her dastardly ways.

The sun rays peeked through the bedside windows as Wilson slumbered in the bedroom next to his boss' room. He opened his gray eyes just barely to see the sun rising. He closed them again in protest of the sunlight and the day ahead. He was in love with his bed, the warmth of his blankets, and the softness of his mattress. He never wanted to leave his bed for a minute, not to get up to get breakfast, not to get up for his passive-aggressive boss, nothing.

An intercom speaker over his headboard crackled on.

Wilson!” a harsh female voice shouted.

Pinkie,” he grumbled, his voice broken with sleep and muffled by his pillow.

Wilson, it's time to wake up!”

He rolled over onto his back, keeping his eyes closed.

Five more minutes,” he called out for the first time in ten years.

Now is not the time, Wilson. Now is not the time to be down in the dumps.”

It's not that I'm down in the dumps, Pinkie,” Wilson explained, “I just don't feel like getting out of bed.”

Well, too bad, Wilson,” Pinkie sneered. “You're not the one to sleep all day, anyways. Do you want me to take you back to the circus where you were starving your guts out?”

Actually, yeah, Wilson thought to himself. At least Jim Rose didn't wake me up at the crack of dawn using an intercom system when you can just get up yourself and open the door to my room and wake me up like a regular person. God gee golly gosh, how hard can it be?

Well, do you?”

Wilson bit his tongue and fetched up a sigh.

No,” he replied in a low voice.

Okay, then,” she answered. “Now, get up and get moving.” He could hear a low click as she shut off the intercom. Wilson sighed again and opened his eyes a second time. He pushed himself up and slouched on the edge of his bed. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. The intercom crackled back on.

Wilson! Are you up yet?”

Yes,” he replied in a hoarse voice, “I'm just slow is all.”

Well, go faster! Don't make me go all Butt-Watchers on you!”

He snickered at the sound of Butt-Watchers. Pinkie scoffed.

What's so funny?”

Nothing,” he said quickly, still snickering. He got to his feet and strode over to his closet. He slipped on a white T-shirt, then a striped long-sleeved shirt, then his black overcoat. He slipped on matching black bottoms onto his lanky legs, followed by big black boots on his strong feet. Wilson stood upright and examined himself in the mirror inside the closet door. He closed his coat with those big pewter buttons, ones his mother gave him before she departed...

He thought of her almost immediately as soon as he touched those buttons.

I miss mom, he thought to himself. Everyone whom he encountered always told him how much he resembled to her. He had her lovely blond hair, which rested on the crown of his head and then hung down in a thick wave, and her warm skin. He had no idea where his sensitive, dreamlike gray eyes or round face came from.

He thought back to when he was just a young boy and doing cartwheels in the backyard. He even remembered the day she promised to be behind him every step of the way. He vowed to dedicate every archery act he ever did to her. Wilson sighed through his nose and tied his belt around his thick waist. He reached up to the hat hook next to the mirror, picking the top hat off Leonard from the circus gave him as a farewell gift and placing it on top of his head. How he managed to convince Pinkie to keep his black clothing continued to baffle him.

The Jim Rose Circus felt akin to a family; just the way he was welcomed and took him in on his darkest night brought back that yearning for home. They would let him do his own acrobatics and put his contortionism to brilliant use. He entertained everyone who watched him, including President Borland, who just so happened to be there that one day. She noticed his skill in archery and convinced Jim Rose to sign him away to her clutches for a handsome deal.

Wilson closed the closet door and made his way out of his room. Above his head was the pearly white ceiling lined with magenta marble. The floor mirrored the ceiling with bright white tiles that nearly blinded him with their ferocious reflection and bright pink marble linings on either edge of the hallway. Wilson squinted his eyes but managed to stroll down the harshly-lit hallway towards the spiral staircase, another place with harsh lighting reflecting onto pink and white marble.

He carefully strode down the stairs: the glare was so intense and so sharp on his gray eyes, it was difficult to discern one step from the other. He grasped onto the marble banister and slowly descended the stairs.

He approached the bottom and found himself in the foyer, a magenta carpeted space leading to the kitchen. Wilson's gray eyes were temporarily blinded by the light. He stood in place at the front of the foyer, at least until his eyes adjusted to the change in light and then proceeded down the foyer. The smell of eggs and bacon beckoned him into the dining room, a matte gray room with far more intimate lighting than the exorbitantly harsh lighting on the upstairs hallway and the staircase. Wilson ambled into the room. He froze in the doorway so his eyes could continue to adjust from the intense lighting behind him. He soon found Pinkie seated down at a perfectly square heavy, white wooden table. He recognized her pixie pitch-black hair with a shock of pink on the top of her head, her amber complexion, and her piercing blue eyes. He also recognized her boxy build and regal disposition, her pink overcoat and magenta bottoms, her pink boots and top hat. He spotted a silver platter full of breakfast food right in front of her and a pair of pink candles.

He raised a puzzled eyebrow.

Where's my breakfast then?” Wilson asked her quizzically.

Right here,” Pinkie replied flatly. She gestured to a plain white bowl of what resembled soaked dry cat food.
“What's that?”

Breakfast. It's oatmeal. It'll stick to your ribs and keep you going for a good portion of the day. I have a mission for you, by the way.”

Wilson seated himself down at the table in front of the white bowl. He took a glimpse to see if her chefs bothered to top the oatmeal with anything. All he could see was a mass of plain, watered-down oats. No brown sugar, no blueberries, nothing to add flavor.

His gray eyes swept over to her side of the table, where she had a plate full of food: eggs sunny side-up topped with pepper, Canadian bacon, sourdough toast with melted butter the same as in a breakfast restaurant, and sided with a bowl of fresh, perfectly cubed fruit.

Wilson picked up his spoon and dipped it into the oats. He gently blew onto the lump of oats prior to taking a bite… so utterly and completely bland. It was like trying to consume a mouthful of autumn leaves. The oats scraped the inside of his cheeks as if they were stale. He choked it down and shuddered. Pinkie noticed his reaction with surprised wide eyes.

Is everything alright, Wilson?”

Needs salt,” he said quickly.

It has salt in it, though,” she said defensively.

Has no flavor, though,” he continued, “it's a little hard to eat.”

Tell that to the chefs, then,” she replied curtly, “they're the ones who made it.”

He glanced at her plate of hearty food and frowned.

May I please have a bite of your eggs?” he asked politely.

She took a large bite of toast and chewed with her mouth open.

No, you may not,” she answered in a slight condescending tone. “Now, shut up and eat your oats.”

He sighed heavily and choked down another bite.

You said you had a mission for me?” he asked her as she began onto her bowl of fruit. Her face lit up as she remembered what she had in store for him that day.

Yes!” she said excitedly. “Just let me finish my cocktail and then come with me to the underground library.”

It only took a handful of minutes for Pinkie to finish and set her spoon down. She motioned Wilson to follow her to a nearby bookcase on the wall opposite to them. She pushed a pink button on the shelf, and the bookcase rotated to the side, pushing them into a pitch-black narrow cavern. Wilson glanced around him and all he could see was darkness.



Up there,” Pinkie pointed at a zipline going down into the darkness. Above their heads were two titanium hangers, held in place by small titanium brakes. Wilson reached up and gripped onto the one in front, and took in a deep breath. She shoved him down the zipline. He clung onto the hanger for dear life. He couldn't help but yell all the way down. The cool air inside the tunnel whirred past his ears into a deafening roar. His loud voice echoed off the walls into an indefinite cacophony: Pinkie's “watch out, Wilson!” was drowned out completely.

Wilson felt the zipline curve upward into a tight spiral. The hanger lost momentum and he found himself hanging upside down for just a second. His feet entangled in a wad of line balled up on a ledge. Within seconds, he was hanging upside down from his ankles. He clung to his hat as Pinkie floated past him. She let go of the hanger and stumbled onto a dark ledge. Wilson heard a click and an overhead light clicked on above the ledge, flooding the tunnel with bright white light. He pinched his eyes closed and then slowly opened them in order to adjust to the sudden bright light. He pulled his spine backwards into the bridge position so he could face Pinkie in a right side-up position. She fiddled with her ring of keys in order to find the right one. He spotted a heavy wrought iron door in front of her.

Wilson, what are you doing right now?”

Pretty tied up and hanging upside down, what else would I be doing?”

Okay, just asking. There's no need to be snippy.”

I wasn't being snippy?

A second click caught his ear and the door opened to a room engulfed in darkness. She flicked another light inside the room. Pinkie turned to face him bent over backwards, hanging from the ceiling.

See, this is why I kept telling you, 'Wilson, watch out!' but you couldn't hear me because of your screams. The best way to get untangled is to reach up to the wire�"yes, just like that�"and pull the wire out from under your feet, and you should slide right out. Don't worry because there's a floor beneath you, and�"”


Wilson landed flat on his back on the dark floor. He threw himself onto his feet and fixed his hat in one fell swoop.

Right this way, Mr. Acrobat,” Pinkie gestured into the room with a slight sarcastic tone.

Wilson stepped into the room, a vast chamber lined with high bookshelves towering up to the ceiling. He glanced down to see a rectangular table covered in extraneous papers and a map of what appeared to be the Pacific Ocean. A pink stained glass lamp hung over the table, casting bright white light so everything could be read clearly. He was stunned the sheer amount of stuff in this room, he missed Pinkie walking past him to the table and he leapt back.

Wilson!” she snapped.

He awkwardly stepped back into the room where Pinkie, looking slightly annoyed, leaned over the map of the Pacific in anticipation.

I have a plan for you,” she told him curtly, “and I can't tell you if you keep trying to avoid me.”

I'm not trying to avoid you,” he said truthfully. “Why would I do that?”

You know, you've been acting rather strangely this morning,” she pointed out, “and I can put you probation so quickly, your head will spin in circles.”

Wilson swallowed apprehensively. She had those penetrating eyes, those eyes that seemed to watch everyone's every move, and there was no way anyone could hide from her. One could try to dodge away from her hawk eyes, but the truth quickly became clear that big sister was always watching him.









Wow, there's no need to snap at me. I'm coming back when you calm down.”

Pinkie strode back to the door to leave him alone in the room. Wilson was befuddled. She brought me down here for an assignment and now I snapped at her, but it was her doing, though.

Pinkie, is everything alright?” he blurted out. Wow, where did that come from?

She turned to face him with a sharp glimmer in her eye. Pinkie loomed closer to him. Wilson leaned against the table, alarmed. He instinctually prepared for the worst…

She lowered her voice lower than he had ever heard before, “I hope you realize that every villain was a good person at some point, my dear Wilson. Remember that. Because when your kind, you freaky, overtly strong Janus-faced people, make it difficult for us�"we Pinks, especially me, the ultimate Pink�"to live by asking stupid questions and rubbing us the wrong way, that's when something within us snaps and all I want to do is to make you feel the way you've made us feel for way too long. You have made me into a villain, the slave-owner this time. You are my slave now, Wilson, and that's why I'm asking you to invade the Binki Atoll.”

Binki? “Bikini you mean?” Wilson raised an eyebrow.

Whatever!” she barked, throwing her hands in the air and backing off. “I want you to invade that place in the South Pacific.”

She pushed past him and rested her hands on the map of the Pacific. Wilson turned to examine the map himself. He spotted the dark blue amoeba-shaped hole with BIKINI ATOLL written directly above in big blue lettering. Pinkie smirked devilishly.

There's a huge colony of merpeople who can also walk on land down there.”

They're amphibious? Well, there's something you don't see every day,” he said aloud.

But of course,” she continued, caressing her long fingers over the map on the table, “but that's why they live and thrive there. They were introduced by the magenta and yellow fairies who live there, and then eventually the merpeople formed lungs inside their chests and the ability to shake their tails on and off at whim�"what is so funny, Wilson?”

Nothing, I swear!”

Anyways… the reason why I'm asking you to round up the Shark Army and invade Bikni�"”


“�"is because there is a sacred three thousand-year-old whale bone trident hidden there. Whoever is in possession of the trident is in control of the oceans of the world. Any of the merpeople could have the trident with them, and that's why I want you to invade that… that place in the South Pacific. Those amphibious merpeople cannot be trusted, they're a tricky and conniving folk. Whoever has the trident should especially be sacked and then exiled to Pluto. If you can, take the trident for yourself and bring it back here, and then I will be in control of the world's oceans. Thus I will have complete control over the Earth and all of humanity. Just think about it, Wilson: fabricated clouds, acid rain, droughts… it's all enough to make humanity bow down to me!”

She then glanced over to a bemused Wilson, who only wanted to go back to bed.

Just remember, Wilson,” she lowered her voice to where it crept up his spine and sent shivers down his limbs to each of his phalanges. He directed his gray eyes at her in fear. “If you fail, then I will strip you of your title of Lieutenant and have you exiled to Pluto with whoever has the trident. Should it happen, though, make sure you ask one of the Sharks to get the trident because they only know we're invading Bininki�"”


“…right. But remember what you have to do. Get the trident and sack whoever has it. Now, get going, Lieutenant. I have a meeting in Pennsylvania.”

Right!” Wilson piped up; it took him less than a minute to realize the zipline only traversed in one direction.

How do we get back upstairs, Pinkie?” he asked her.

That's for me to know and for you to find out.” She reached back into her coat and unsheathed a remote control with a big red button. She pressed the button and the two of them were ejected up towards the ceiling. The room bore the second highest ceiling Wilson had ever seen. As they sped towards the ceiling, Wilson spotted a hatch. The hatch opened and they rocketed out. The hatch closed and the two of them landed on the blinding white marble tiles of the foyer.

Pinkie placed a hand on Wilson's shoulder.

Get going, the Sharks are waiting.” He nodded his blond head and carved a brave face into his warm skin.

Wilson stepped out into the cool morning air towards the dock. He strolled down the vast, perfectly trimmed perfectly green lawn and then onto the heavy wooden dock. As he neared the water, dozens of tiger sharks came to view. One laid face down on the dock to greet Wilson. The shark had an immense white body shrouded with deep black stripes, dorsal fins as big as a human head, and teeth so large and razor-sharp, Wilson's boot-clad feet cringed at the sight of them. It had wrapped two belts around its body to from an “X”. The shark pushed itself up to salute Wilson.

Lieutenant Wilson,” the shark greeted him, raising a fin to its right eye. Wilson froze in front of the shark, his spine aligned and his chest filled out. He raised a hand to the right side of his head.

Commander Great Tiger,” Wilson replied confidently despite his voice squeaking a bit from the lack of water he had that morning. He set his hand down next to his side.

The fleet's all ready, all you have to do is board the tugboat,” the shark explained.

Okay,” Wilson confirmed. “Do we all know how to get there?”

Coordinates are set,” the shark confided.

Right then. Let's move on out.”

Wilson turned to his right and strode down to the boarding ramp, which led up to the tugboat. He marched onto the starboard side and stopped in front of the railing at the front of the boat. He glanced down to spot his cannister of arrows and his bow both leaning against the rail. The boat jolted forward and he did, too.

Wilson gripped onto the rail. He spotted the sharks swimming all around the boat like a school of fish. All he wanted to be doing was sleeping in his own bed. He knew the trip would be a long one if he did not try to enjoy it in the least. He glanced back into the central housing unit, where Pinkie's associates set up a smorgasbord of hors d'oeuvres and�"water!

He picked up his cannister and bow, and carried both into the building. He found himself in a blanched rectangular room with two tables: one to sit at, and one with the smorgasbord: cakes, cookies, brownies, fruit pies, fruits, veggies, and�"water! Wilson picked up a plastic cup and a pitcher of water. He poured the water into the cup and downed the cup as if he had never had water in his entire life.

I needed that so much,” he breathed, setting the cup down. He poured himself another cup and then took a smaller swig. He took a brownie and then sat down at the second table, which had reclining chairs.

Two hours surpassed as the Army trekked across the Pacific from Oahu to Bikini Atoll. Wilson took advantage of two brownies, several cookies, a stalk of celery, a slice of cake, and then followed it all with a short nap. He reclined back in his chair and tugged his hat over his eyes to block out the late morning sun. He dozed off for a few minutes before a jolt sent him stumbling to his feet.

The boat stopped in place.

Wilson got to his feet and picked up his cannister of arrows and his bow. He slung the cannister around his shoulder and hurried to the door, and stepped out onto the deck. A cool sea breeze caressed over his warm face. He peered down to the water to see the sharks aligning into a massive spearhead pointing straight ahead. He lifted his gaze to see the Bikini Atoll, the series of islands adorned over a vast deep blue ocean. On the island in front of them, he could see hundreds of merpeople, all of them had shaken their tails off and thence stood on their bare feet on the beach.

He took a deep breath and leapt over the railing onto a metallic disc below, right behind a blue button and a half-inch slit in the metal. The disc splashed a bit until he noticed three tiger sharks carrying him above the water. The sharks strolled to the tip of the arrowhead and then tredded water in place. He knelt down and pressed the button, and a pink hologram of Pinkie projected into the air. She was cut down to the size of the Wilson's cup.

Wilson!” she snapped, her voice clouded by the transmission: she sounded as though she was speaking through an aluminum can.


Anyone who tries to stop you and the sharks, shoot an arrow into their face.”

He swallowed nervously and nodded in affirmation. Pinkie pushed a button and her hologram dissipated back into the slit. Wilson climbed to his feet and stepped forward. In front of the disc was the Commander Shark: Wilson did a backflip and landed onto the shark's back. He examined the amphibious merpeople until he spotted an elderly one with an iron sickle directly in front of him. The leader, perhaps.

Wilson reached behind his head and unsheathed an arrow. He propped the arrow onto the string of his bow and pulled the string back carefully, until the feathers of the arrow touched his right cheek. He aimed the arrow right at the elder one's forehead.

People of Bikini,” Wilson announced, “do not try to defy us. We are here by World President Borland's orders to invade you. If you abide by us and do not fight us, we will not hurt you. If you refuse, we will be forced to destroy you and take you captive�"”

A giant blur of green, white, and indigo rocketing up from the ocean in front of him cut him off. The merpeople gasped in shock. He gazed up in awe at a merman flying up into the air and then dipping back down into the water. He set his bow and arrow down slightly to watch the merman splash back into the water.

“…I was not expecting that,” Wilson muttered aloud. The merman then shot up against the shoreline, beaching himself onto the sand.

He picked up a definite roundness about the merman: he had a full, perfectly oval, boyish face, as milky and soft as the moon, lined by a soft but prominent double chin, and crowned with a dense mop of dark emerald hair. His deep eyes penetrated the soul with a beautiful but subdued violet. His arms were chubby, but ropy and powerful. His deep chest was completely bare and bone china smooth. His potbelly hung out shamelessly, cradled by full hips shroud in an electric indigo tail shimmering in the midday sun. Wilson spotted the creamy orange whale bone trident in his right hand pressed against his chest, which he then lowered onto the side.

He knew Pinkie wanted this merman to be banished to Pluto. She wanted the trident, and she wanted Wilson to sack whoever had it, or rather, fire an arrow into their body to wound them which would weaken them, and ensure that the help they receive on Pluto is help half-deserved. He also knew this merman was very young.

There was also something about this merman in particular.

Was it his baby face? His skin? His deep eyes? His strangely beautiful midsection hanging out shamelessly like how Wilson wanted to hang his blond hair out shamelessly because it's a bit warm out? Was it the way he shook his tail to bring his legs, clothed in filmy black bottoms, out so he could stand on his two feet? Wilson dedicated every act with his bow and arrow to his mother, and he knew if she continued to breathe the air that she did not want him to break that porcelain skin, that softness, those violet eyes staring back at him with a bubbling internal rage because it seemed as though facing this army was harping onto his every last nerve.

He swallowed his heart back down into his chest and put his bow up back in front of him. He pointed his arrow straight at the merman's navel, what he automatically assumed was his weak point. He only wanted to stay in bed on this day, not break the skin of this rather lovely merman.

You've got some meat on those bones, don't you?” he muttered to himself. His hand shook nervously and he sensed his heart racing inside his chest. He could hear his mother crying in the back of his subconscious when�"


The merman gripped onto the trident and pointed it at the surface of the water. He channeled his rage into the water. Wilson could feel the sea shake and quiver below his boots. He lowered his bow and arrow to see what the merman was doing, holding his hands out as if he was prying open two doors, keeping the trident tight between his thighs. Wilson watched the sea split down the middle, right before his eyes. The water gave way from beneath the Commander Shark. Wilson's knees buckled and he lost his balance. He faceplanted right into the damp sand, his top hat sliding down over his eyes, and his bow and arrow landing right next to him. The shaking stopped, and Wilson was left lying face down in the continental shelf, his heart still racing. He could hear some faint talking above on the shoreline.

I'm done, he thought to himself. I failed. Pinkie is going to be livid, discharge me, and can my archer-brandishing circus freak behind up to Pluto. But I spared this kid's health, though. That was so awesome, too! And yet I wonder what he meant by “I've had it”, though.

Wilson pushed himself up and adjusted his hat. He gazed up at the merman, who was completely illuminated by the sun, and had a coral and shark tooth crown sitting strong and high on top of his head. Behind him, Wilson could see the rest of the merpeople, dropping to their knees in his honor.

Poseidon,” he blurted out in a hushed voice. There was no way on Earth a kid this soft and plump could part the sea with such power and such passion unless he was Poseidon in some way, shape, or form, because the trident fit him like a glove, which augmented his power over the ocean. The merman slowly turned to face him, a soft expression plastered onto his young face and the sun illuminating his bare skin: he looked radiant, like royalty.

My name,” he spoke in a full, masculine voice, and reached up and cocked his crown to the side, and Wilson spotted a dark insignia in the form of a trident on the front of the crown, “is Neptune.”

Wilson gaped up at him, awestruck. Neptune! Not Poseidon, Neptune!

His hologram monitor crackled and Pinkie beamed up with her pink hologram.

Wilson! Did you sack Binkinini yet?”

He turned his head to see her hologram and scrambled towards her on his hands and knees. He gaped at her in befuddlement. His mind began to race as he searched for the right words.

No, I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I�"I couldn't,” he stammered.

Why not?” she demanded, widening her eyes.

Because�"this kid�"this chubby kid�"Pinkie, he parted the sea!”

I don't care if a sinkhole opened up and swallowed the entire atoll, sack his fat tail and have him exiled to Pluto!”

Wilson furrowed his brow and scowled at her.

She woke him up when it was the last thing he felt like doing. She wanted him to take down an innocuous-looking merman for a three millenia old trident, and for what? So she can exert even more power over the world she hates so much and continue to abuse his kindness and his assistance? She took him away from his people, the Jim Rose Circus, to be her helper, and all she does is treat him with cowardice and a freakish obsession with control. She continues to betray his confidence, his strength, and undermine his abilities, and not to mention, his heart. He, like Neptune, had had it with this nonsense.

I will do no such thing,” he said bluntly.

What!” she barked. “Wilson, don't be obtuse. If you refuse, I strip you of your title, discharge you from the military, and banish you with him! Now get him!” Wilson choked down his fear of her abuse of power and pressed forward against her.

Go ahead and discharge me,” he continued, “I will not hurt a kid.”

Pinkie pulled back from the hologram screen, surprised. She stared at him loftily.

Then I have no choice,” she confided softly. “You're fired, and under arrest. Sharks, take him and said merman to the rocket site.”

The hologram monitor crackled off. Two tiger sharks picked Wilson up by the arms and pulled him to his feet.

Let's go, Wilson,” one of them informed him. He picked up his bow and arrow, slipping both back into the cannister on his back. They walked him to a rope ladder which lead up to the tug boat, which was now coordinated to go to the launch site; the boat teetered on the edge of where the water stepped out to the continental shelf. Wilson knew he had to take precaution otherwise the boat would fall on top of his head. He intook a deep breath of ocean air and proceeded to climb the ladder. He glanced behind him to see Neptune saying farewell to his parents. Wilson's heart sank as he remembered his mother.

I wonder how old he is, he thought to himself. I'll ask him when he and I are on here together.

Wilson gripped onto the railing and pulled himself on the starboard side of the boat. He glanced back to see Neptune embracing his mother one last time. Wilson took one last glance and then realized it was futile and painful to cling onto the memory of his own mother. He ambled across the floor into the central housing unit. He took a third brownie and stepped back out onto the deck, the port side. He leaned on the rail and gently bit down into the brownie.

The boat tilted towards the starboard side. He lost his balance and fell onto the seat of his pants. He stuffed the rest of the brownie into his mouth to free his hands. Wilson reached for the rail to balance out the tipping boat: his powers of contortion helped him managed to reach past his feet and grip onto the rail. He reassembled his balance and slowly climbed to his feet like a newborn foal. The boat then balanced out towards the port side. Wilson knew Neptune was onboard, this kid, this chubby kid who saved his people from invasion, and he had to meet him.

Wilson hurried over to the front bow of the tugboat, and found himself face-to-face with Neptune, a few inches taller, a lot rounder, and forty pounds heavier than the hefty himself Wilson. The latter cleared his throat and tried to smile kindly, but he was so nervous.

You're a hero,” he said to him. Neptune blinked and smirked back at him.

So are you,” he replied. Wilson shot out his right hand.

I'm Lieutenant, no longer Lieutenant Archer Wilson,” he introduced himself, “but I just go by Wilson.”

I'm Emperor Neptune,” he greeted him, taking his hand with a strong but gentle grip, “but I just go by Neptune.”

Wilson dropped his hand and sighed hastily.

Hey, I'm sorry if I hurt you,” Neptune said kindly.

Nah, you didn't,” Wilson reassured him, “caught me off-guard, but you didn't hurt me. There's a smorgasbord inside if you like something to eat.”

Oh, yeah, I'm famished,” Neptune agreed, setting a hand on his bare belly, “especially after parting the sea and trying to chase down my sister. That's what I get for being lazy.” The two of them stepped towards the door of the central housing unit.

You're telling me, I didn't even want to get up this morning!” Wilson declared as they stepped into the building.

That's me every morning,” Neptune confessed.

© 2016 H.C.

Author's Note

*long post warning* and like it says at the beginning, this is bit of a tearjerker

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Added on May 4, 2016
Last Updated on May 4, 2016
Tags: archer wilson, science fiction, fiction, sadness, tearjerkers



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