Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fiction for December 12, 2008

For Friday Fiction this week, I thought I would post an excerpt from one of my stories that I hadn’t directly featured in this blog before. While “Penance” back on August 15 was based on the situations and characters from “The Daedalus Child”, it wasn’t an excerpt from the actual story.

“Penance” mentioned that Daryl and Geneva Malach had genetically modified their son. What they did was to engineer his arms to become wings, much like a bat would have. If he stands straight, his elbows will rest near his ankles, even while his wrists are up by his shoulders. Only his thumbs look normal; his other fingers are all elongated to support the membrane of skin that creates the wing surface, and when he stretches his arms out, the tips of his index fingers will over twenty-five feet apart.

The story really begins after the government has declassified his existence when he’s around fifteen years old. Advised to get an agent, he agrees to let Toby represent him, and ends up with a contract allowing his image to be used for a new cartoon superhero named Daedalus, with provisions for him to make appearances at the entertainment company’s park as the character.

Now sixteen years old, Bobby is struggling to find his own identity as the popularity of his animated character takes off.

Becoming Daedalus
From the novel, “The Daedalus Child”
By Rick Higginson

The pilot episode premiered a few weeks later, following a popular show to guarantee it the best exposure. Bobby was able to review each subsequent episode before it was aired, though it wasn’t long before he had little to say concerning the content thereof. It still felt strange that all he had in common with his cartoon persona was his shape and the ability to fly. Other than that, he wasn’t any more Daedalus than his grandmother was.

Along with the preview discs, he also received weekly reports on how the show was doing. The popularity of Daedalus was climbing at a rate that was almost skyrocketing; bolstering the already popular show ahead of it. Viewers were watching the other show because Daedalus came on next.

“You’ve arrived,” Toby told him, bringing up a webpage on his laptop. “You’ve got Fan-Fiction being written about the Daedalus character. It’s not just kids, either; the polls are showing a strong viewership among the mid-teen to young adult sector as well.”

He read over one of the pages of fan-fiction. “Wow; some of this stuff is pretty strange.”

“Yeah; it can get that way, but it’s also an indication of your popularity. People want more Daedalus stories.”

“But it’s not my popularity; it’s the popularity of a fictional representation of me.”

“Bobby, it is as much you as you want it to be; you can stay here and keep telling yourself you’re just Bobby Malach, or you can go for it and tell everyone you’re Daedalus. It’s a role you can play for all it’s worth, and if you get into it well enough, it will carry you as far as you want to go.”

“So you’re saying I should go ahead and act like Daedalus?”

“No; don’t act like Daedalus; be Daedalus. If you just think of it as an act, so will everyone else. Don’t tell the world you’re Bobby Malach playing Daedalus; tell the world you are Daedalus, and they’ll eagerly embrace the fantasy with you.”

“Be Daedalus; you make it sound so easy.”

He smiled, and called up another website. “Daedalus discussion forums; I’ve already reserved the Daedalus log-in for you, and your password is Malach. Go ahead; log-in and introduce yourself. Some of the people are going to call you a liar, but you know better. Just keep being Daedalus here, and when we’ve got your first appearance scheduled for the Park, drop a hint. The execs aren’t going to announce it; they’re going to surprise the public with you. You, however, are going to be subtle and let the folks in this forum know that you’re going to show yourself, and when you do, they’re all going to know it really has been you all along.”

“But it isn’t me; it’s Daedalus.”

“Bobby, repeat after me; ‘I am Daedalus.’”

“I am Daedalus.”


“I am Daedalus.”

“Get up and come with me.” He led the way out the door, off the porch, and towards the hill. “Say it again.”

“I am Daedalus.”

“You still don’t believe it. Say it like you mean it.”

“I am Daedalus!”

“Say it as if you were saying it to that girl you keep writing to.”

“I am Daedalus!”

“Jump off this hill; feel that rapture of flight that only you can feel, and shout it to the people on the other side of this mountain.”

He dove off the crag and pulled hard with his wings for altitude. He circled over the hill, catching the small thermal that sometimes rose from the rocks. “I AM DAEDALUS!”

“Make me believe it!” Toby called up to him.

He climbed higher, heading a short ways downwind of the hill. He pulled his wings in short, and swooped back towards the small figure of the man below. He squeezed his eyes almost closed against the onrushing air, and as he drew close to his agent, he pulled up in a strafing-type pass. “I – AM – DAEDALUS!!” he screamed as loud as he could.

Rolling as he climbed back over the hill, he felt an exhilaration he had not experienced in many years. Toby was whooping and cheering, and he let out his own exuberant cry. The mythical Daedalus had used fabricated wings to carry him away from exile to freedom, and with the thrill of revelation he understood that his wings could also carry him on that same path.

He looped back around and descended to land back atop the hill. “I’m Daedalus, Toby; I’m really Daedalus.”

“Yes, you are; and that, my boy, will make the world your oyster. Now; let’s go tell all those fans in that forum who you are, and let them start guessing what we’re up to.”


Sara Harricharan said...

WOW!! This is amazing. Two whole exclamation points of amazing. Wow, wow, wow. You never cease to amaze me with the wonderful stuff you write. I loved this little glimpse here and the ending with the oyster, that cracked me up. This was very, very well done! Excellent!

Catrina Bradley said...

This story leaves me feeling unsettled. Bobby is talked into becoming someone he's not - someONE he's not. A sign of your great writing, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing your character's "beginnings". Good reading!

Joanne Sher said...

Exceptional, Rick. I was caught up in the whole identity thing. Definitely makes me want to read more. great stuff.

Dee Yoder said...

So this "non-sci-fi" fan wants to read win! This is an exciting beginning to your story and the descriptions of this character are awesome, Rick. When you describe his flight, it feels like those dreams when I can "fly"...same mechanics!

Patty Wysong said...

Oh, Cool-EO! A fun read, that's for sure! LoL--and I'm so not a sci-fi fan! LoL