Last Omnibus to the Badlands (Part Three)

Last Omnibus to the Badlands (Part Three)

A Story by Wez Hardyn

A Ticket to the Beginning of the End



Chapter 7


‘Hey, this one’s still alive’ shouted Clay, pointing his gun at the alien’s head.

‘Whoa, put the gun down Mr. Harris - we need to talk to it’ said Wez

‘Sonofabitch tried to kill us all, I oughta blow his head off’

‘You said you wanted to know what this is all about, perhaps this guy has some answers’ implored Wez.

Slowly Clay lowered his magnum. They took the alien next door to Pretorius’ office as the sound of police sirens became ever louder.

‘No one else will be here at this time?’ Wez asked Pretorius.

‘No, they should have all gone home by now. What are we going to tell the police?’

‘Best play dumb, don’t answer the door. Hopefully that will buy us some time to question our survivor here’

They laid the alien on a couch in the office and Wez slapped the gas-mask to see if it was conscious. Slowly its intercom crackled out a groan.

‘Can you understand me? We want to know why you’re trying to kill us’

A green gas emanated from the mask as the metallic voice started to speak:

‘We are Thoka, we do not speak with lesser beings’

‘That’s OK with me but a whole lot of ‘lesser beings’ in uniforms are going to be here soon and they won’t be asking politely like us’ responded Wez.

‘I was only following orders’

‘Whose orders? And why?’

There was silence and then the loud sound of sirens and screeching brakes seemed to change its mind.

‘Our Lord Sargon sent us to kill you and Professor McNulty’

‘I’ve heard of literary criticism before but don’t you think he’s taking it rather too far?’

Marjorie returned from the next room:

‘You haven’t read ‘the story’ recently, have you Wez? Sargon wants to kill the two of you because he fears the Meta-Narrative has begun here and that is what destroyed their artistic culture many hundreds of years ago and made them dependent on us for entertainment’ she explained.

‘But if it’s already started then what difference would killing us make?’

‘I think I can answer that’ said the Professor.

‘He believes that if he removes the two main protagonists early enough then the story will lose momentum and fail to become the Meta-Narrative’

‘That reminds me - why are you here Wez?’ asked Pretorius.

‘We tried to get back in time to before I attempted to upload the story but we came here instead - do you know why Twelvetrees?’

‘I do not know. I fed in the exact coordinates you gave me’

‘It’s the damn story - it’s protecting itself’ laughed McNulty ironically.

‘You mean it won’t let us do anything to stop it?’

‘It’s protecting itself against an easy and disappointing resolution’

‘You're saying it’s got artistic integrity?’ said Wez with a fixed smile.

Just then a pounding at the door began.

‘At least it’s cops and not aliens this time’ mused Clay.

‘My Lord Sargon, I would never question you but…’

‘But what, Sennacherib?’

‘Are you sure that employing Scythians is wise?’

‘Would you rather lose more of our brothers?’

‘But do we really need to kill the humans? If we use Scythian mercenaries we can be sure many more humans will die collaterally - Scythians are homicidal maniacs’

‘Believe me, my young friend, if I thought there was any other way I would willingly employ it. Our agents have proven themselves unworthy of this essential task. How many humans would you sacrifice to save our race?’

Sennacherib thought for a moment and then bowed deeply with sorrow in his heart.


Chapter 8


‘It looks as though Sargon is going to employ some professional assassins this time. Do you think you can fight them off Twelvetrees?’ said Marjorie looking up, with undisguised admiration, at the Lakota, from her smart phone.

They were seated in a diner eating burgers and drinking cokes.

‘Don’t you mean can we fight them off?’ said Wez winking at Twelvetrees.

‘I think we’ll need some more firepower’ replied the warrior, ignoring Wez.

‘I know where I can get something that even these Scythians will respect, however maniacal they are. Meet me in the car park over there just after dark and I’ll be back with some formidable ordnance’

‘You gonna start a war, chief?’ asked Clay.

‘That’s right, and if you want to be its first casualty call me chief again’

Clay began to stand up.

‘Come on guys, ease up on the testosterone will you, we’ve got enough problems’ said Wez.

‘So, genius, what’s your next bright idea? You want to escalate this into a friggin’ intergalactic war like our Indian friend here?’ retorted Clay.

‘I’ve got some ideas but I need time to think them through. How much time do we have before the story becomes a Meta-Narrative professor?’

‘Well ‘the story’ is attempting to control the narrative but so far it hasn’t created its own characters or borrowed any from other stories, so we have some time yet’ replied McNulty.

‘So as soon as we see Sherlock Holmes and the Easter Bunny sat at another table eating burgers we know we’re doomed’ said Clay.

His companions couldn’t help laughing - even the Lakota had to smile.


Wez, Twelvetrees, McNulty and Clay were sat in Harris’ camaro the next morning. They had sent the others home in the belief that they would be more of a hindrance than a help in the forthcoming unpleasantness. McNulty wanted to join them but was reminded that he was a target and so must remain. They had been practicing with the new ‘blasters’ that Twelvetrees had provided.

‘How long we gonna wait for these aliens in this god forsaken place?’ complained Clay.

‘I thought it best to meet them out here away from the city to cut down innocent fatalities and, unless I miss my guess, our waiting is over’ responded Wez pointing to the sky.

A massive spaceship was emerging from the low cloud base.

‘Listen McNulty, you crouch down behind the front seat and use that heat seeking missile to take down their mothership if it gets involved. As he spoke four aliens materialized about 50 yards from their car. To the car’s inhabitant’s surprise they were dressed in old western gunfighter clothing which, if it were not for their blue faces, looked very authentic.

‘Looks like the whole galaxy enjoys our history, I suppose we better get out and talk the talk’ said Wez.

‘Greetings earthlings, we’re glad we didn’t get all dressed up for nothing. We thought you’d enjoy meeting death in a traditional ‘gunfight’. I see you’re armed with the latest blasters, as we are. You won’t be able to complain about it not being a fair fight, now will you?’ the alien laughed.

‘So did you come all this way to talk or to fight?’ said Twelvetrees advancing on them.

Wez and Clay spread out as the alien’s expression changed from contempt to anger. The Lakota fired without hesitation and killed the lead alien. There was an exchange of fire that left Wez temporarily deaf and dazzled. He kept firing and fell to the ground, expecting to be hit at any moment. He saw Clay take a blast in his right arm, causing him to drop his weapon. At that instant Twelvetrees ran in front of him shooting down the alien who had wounded Clay. Wez thought he saw one of the remaining aliens take aim at the Lakota and blasted him to hell and gone! He rolled just in time to avoid a blast as Clay returned Twelvetrees’ favour and killed the last of them from the ground. Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion and Clay’s body disintegrated.

‘The damned mothership’ thought Wez. ‘Come on McNulty - do what I told you’

Wez and Twelvetrees blasted away at the spaceship but it was unaffected. They dropped their blasters to the side and looked at each other as the shadow of the craft engulfed them.

‘If you’re about to say that it’s a good day to die, I’m gonna punch you’ said Wez to the warrior at his side.

Twelvetrees smiled: ‘You fought well for a story teller, perhaps we’ll meet again, white man’

At that moment the spacecraft shuddered and a series of explosions tore it apart.

‘Ataboy, professor’ shouted Wez.


Chapter 9


‘I think and I hope that Clay’s death will not have been in vain’ said Wez.

‘What do you mean?’ asked Marjorie, as they sat, subdued, in her living room.

‘You remember that joke he made about Sherlock Holmes and The Easter Bunny?’

‘What about it?’

‘It’s given me an idea’

A communal groan went around the room.

‘Do you want to hear it or just sit here and embrace our fate?’

‘Go ahead’ urged McNulty.

‘Well Professor, who was the greatest writer ever to have lived?’

‘That’s debatable, William Shakespeare perhaps?’

‘You said that ‘the story’ had to maintain an artistic integrity, right?’

‘As the Meta-Narrative it has to believe itself to be aesthetically superior to the stories it will incorporate’ said McNulty with measured words.

‘So if we can provide it with an aesthetically superior resolution that incorporates its own demise then we can finish this nightmare’

‘And if you can get the world’s greatest writer to compose this ending then we have a chance’ continued Marjorie, ‘But how will you incorporate the ending into the Meta-Narrative?’

‘Easy, remember I created a resourceful character - myself. And I’m positive that by using my avatar I can copy and paste anything into the beast, considering it was my creation originally’

‘Like a child recognizing its real father - a Frankenstein moment’ she mused.

‘Of all the hair brained nonsense I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot in the last few days, this takes the biscuit’ said Pretorius.

‘What have we got to lose, I’ll fire up the time machine while you figure out the place and date’ called Twelvetrees as he walked out of the door.

‘Print out a hard copy of ‘the story’ would you Marjorie’ requested Wez checking his blaster.

‘Are you going to threaten the Bard with that?’ said a horrified McNulty.

‘Relax Prof I’m sure it won’t come to that’


They entered a candlelit room and could just see a dark figure at the back seated at a desk.

‘Excuse the intrusion, but are you Mr. William Shakespeare?’ asked Wez.

‘What’s in a name, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ said the dark figure.

Wez couldn’t help laughing.

‘You dare laugh at me sir?’

‘Sorry, can we get some light in here; I have something for you to read’

‘Oh no, not another aspiring poet, go away sir’

Twelvetrees lit another candle and illuminated their reluctant host. To their astonishment they were in the presence of a black man.

‘I can see you weren’t expecting a Moor’ said Shakespeare.

‘Well no, not really, not that it makes any…’

‘Relax, I’m just fooling with you’ said the Bard wiping makeup from his face.

‘I was just trying to show these ‘actors’ of mine how to play an authentic Moorish Prince’

‘Well sir, we’re in a bit of a hurry, if you could read this we would be eternally grateful’ said Wez handing over the printout.

‘I see from your weaponry that you would not allow me to decline this literary invitation’

‘If you do not find it interesting we will leave immediately’ lied Wez.


The great man read in silence and finally, after what to Wez and Twelvetrees seemed an eternity, he spoke: ‘Not bad for an amateur but it really needs a little more emotion, some semblance of humanity faced with artistic Armageddon’

‘Yes, yes, but will you do it, will you give us an ending?’ implored Wez impatiently.

‘Only if you take me to meet Cleopatra, I’m thinking of writing a play about her’

‘DEAL’ said Wez and Twelvetrees simultaneously.







Hi, Wez here - not the character but the writer. I’ve always wanted to write an epilogue like they used to have in old 60’s TV series, you know, like The Fugitive and Perry Mason. Anyway, you’ll want to know what happened. It turned out that Wez, the character not me, was correct and as soon as Shakespeare decided to end ‘the story’ it gave up and stopped writing itself. His ending could have been rubbish, of course, but it was his reputation alone that managed to intimidate the potential Meta-Narrative. Next time you’re intimidated by a post-modern threat just mention the Bard and it will climb back under its rock. Wez, the character, did regret not getting back to the bus to liberate the passengers but, as you might well imagine, most writers would be reluctant to return to such a narrative after, seemingly, putting the lid back on Pandora’s Box!



© 2016 Wez Hardyn

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Was wondering if the plot was going to hit the boiling point and foam out to the burner. I see you reigned it in and drew a conclusion, before it exploded. The entire premise folds back on itself to justify the muse.

Posted 5 Years Ago

Very interesting Wez... a little convoluted but very interesting. I like the idea of a self writing story but I think self aware characters presents a multitude of problems. It makes the story difficult to hold in ones head. I like the epilogue. I think Aliens in western garb was inventive... I was fond of your line about Sherlock Holmes and The Easter Bunny... very funny.

Posted 7 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on September 12, 2016
Last Updated on September 18, 2016
Tags: Science Fiction, Adventure


Wez Hardyn
Wez Hardyn

Cambridge, United Kingdom

I've had some success publishing my essays on politics and I want to try my hand at fiction. Having already started my first novel I am very interested in what others are writing - especially novices .. more..