There was only blackness. No up, no down, no other purpose than to slip away and enjoy oblivion, a true silent paradise away from the problems of life.
So this was death, Maverick considered.
It sucked that he died being framed for raping his girlfriend just because she wanted to brake up, but perhaps his unjust murder had brought him enough suffering to haunt that bitch’s ass.
Maverick didn’t know what to expect from the next world, certainly not heaven in his case, but at least he expected Hell to be a bit warmer. It felt as if he had come straight out of a freezer
Then, all peace was violently shattered as a crowbar found its way into the side of the crate Maverick was resting in.
With a creak the lid was pulled back and thick unnatural light became like acid as it struck struck Maverick’s sensitive eyes.
“Ahhhhh.” Maverick cried.
Not even Maverick’s eyelids could repel the volatile light as the barest hint of luminescence might as well have been a hundred needles bearing themselves into his retinas.
Even when he covered his eyes with his hands the act of opening just a single eyelid stung like a bastard.
“What the hell?” Maverick used his hand to swat at the light thinking it to be a high beam lamp some jerk was attacking him with, but any and all movement his body could provide was sluggish and uncoordinated
Maverick flailed around like an infant fresh from his mother womb.
An incoherent gurgling nose like a frog gargling popping candy came out.
“Yes.” Came an annoyed voice. “Well it has been in storage for a few million years, but it does appear to be functional, as dose Mister Kenning.”
Another rush of gurgling shot out, this time it did not sound happy.
“I beg your pardon.” The owner of this voice sounded insulted. “I am not cheep. My products are always 100% top of the range. If anything I undersell.”
Even though Maverick wasn’t in full control over his faculties, had no idea what these people were talking about, and was on the verge of a mental breakdown.
He could tell that some thing had gone wrong somewhere. He just didn’t have a clue as to the nature of something was.
It stung like acid but Maverick managed to open one good eye into focus.
With that single burning eye open Maverick discovered that he had been sleeping in a box that was lined in a metallic like foam.
For one moment he thought that he had died and had the luck to be pulled out by the undertaker before being buried alive.
However, rather than explode into gratitude Maverick shrank back as he noticed the features of his rescuer.
Like something out of a horror movie a monster slug with red eczema, it was almost like some mutant janitor as it had on it a blue vest and in its skeletal limbs that were far too long to be proportional with its mucus covered body.
But what caught Maverick off guard was not just the solid looking crowbar in its three taloned hand but that slug thing sported a biker beard made up entirely of white, worm-like tendrils that squirmed and wiggled in a hypnotising dance.
The slug monster cocked its head and viewed Maverick with its array of mismatched eyes, three black pupils on one side and a giant yellow softball sized one on the other.
All four eyes expressed this look fat people did when confronted with a salad.
Yep, it looked like who ever did the human resources of the local graveyard missed something on the resume.
In response to all of this Maverick let out a girlish scream that would cause some horror movie blonds to clap.
A stream of curses followed as the shocked adolescent pushed the monster away and lunged out of the box.
His next step was meant to lead to a run but Maverick’s body was nowhere near co-ordinated enough and all he accomplished was a comical trip to the hard and cold floor.
“Don’t eat me.” Maverick screamed as he crawled on his elbows away from the monster that was giving him three out of four raised eyebrows.
Maverick’s cowardly exit lasted until he came across a set of polished slime green shoes and tailor-made pants.
Having watched his share of horror movies himself, Maverick gradually lifted his head expecting to see a member of the undead.
Sadly he was not so lucky as his sore eye lay before a creature straight out of Lovecraft.
This nine foot tall giant had a large tree trunk body, its blue-ringed tailed octopus skin glistened in the light, where its mouth should have been a curved eagle beak stood in place which caused this freak to permanently carry a pissed off expression.
But what really caused Maverick’s spine to tingle were the demon’s eyes.
Behind such a toxic appearance there was a deep alien intelligence carved into the nightmare’s soul, a beauty and terror that caused all to witness its majesty to either run or piss themselves while they stood in awe.
Maverick stared up at the creature like a baby gazelle facing a hungry lion and stayed perfectly still. Perhaps if he played dead this thing would just walk away and eat somebody more tasty.
Both monsters looked at each other in confusion until the one in the green suit nodded to the one with the crowbar in its hands. “Would you mind” what came out next was seven syllable word that could only be spoken with two tongues and strong stomach muscles. “could you pick up Mister Kenning?”
There came a low set of mummers from the bearded slug as it reached out its long arms and with the strength to pull a car door off, a whimpering Maverick was put onto his feet.
The man octopus monster used his talons to adjust his suit and with a sucking sound he pulled out a slime covered ten thousand page contract out of his jacket like he was some magician pulling a rabbit out his hat.
What followed was a cough that sounded like a fright train hitting a screeching bus that caused Maverick to jump. “As the proud employer of Sydney’s emporium the multiverse’s number one…”
The creature with the crowbar gave a snort.
“Top ten.,,” The octopus continued.
The slug monster cocked his head and made a fart nose from his mouth.
A vein formed on the octopus monster’s brow. “Number hundred and one of the universe’s market for interstellar and paranormal goods. Let me formally welcome Mister Maverick Kennings from Earth, universe 368 A.F. To our lovely family.”
Maverick nearly wet himself as the octopus thing took his hand and shook it. The feeling was equal to putting your hand in the bottom of a celebrity’s used undies draw.
In this case rather than be thanking the monster for such an opportunity, Maverick was too grossed out to vomit and praying to God that he didn’t catch something.
The slug monster shook his head and moved off to complete some other task, it was clear that he didn’t have as much faith in this company as the octopus monster.
“Oh, I get it now.” Maverick said feeling slightly light headed. “This is a dream.”
He looked around but all he saw was a concrete room with a bout a dozen or so wooden creates around, “Hmm. So when do the four titted bikini models turn up?” Maverick like many people never obtained such wild dreams but it would have been a nice change.
The octopus monster stood straight. “I’m afraid this is no dream, Mister Kenning, you signed a contract and now you must help me restore my work place to order.”
The octopus handed Maverick the slime covered contract and pointed to Maverick’s signature which looked as if a shaking hand had painfully wrote it.
“That’s not my signature pal.” Maverick pointed out with a laugh. “Unless I was like three years old and knicked off with one of my dad’s beers.”
The octopus averted his eyes. “I admit, you were in some would call a complicated state when you made your signature, but my law department said the contract was legal and binding.”
A hazed memory of the hospital bed and a pen returned, which caused Maverick’s eyes shoot open. “You son of a…”
He stopped himself as he realised that perhaps shouting and cursing at a nine foot tall monster that looked to have eight long tentacles as thick as flag polls for hair might not be a good idea, dream or not.
“I was in a hospital bed, I was just poisoned. Y.you… I was under duress!” Maverick was unable to his the cry of outrage.
“I did inform you that I was very open to negotiations. I just took your screams of anguish for cries of joy at the opportunity for paying work. It was a simple misunderstanding.”
Maverick’s jaw dropped, this was one sucky dream.
If he had been a psychologist he might assume this figment of his imagination was what he assumed all people in business wear were a pack of poisonous, slimy, puss rags. “Let me guess, you sold me a second-hand car while I was swallowing my tongue too?”
The octopus monster stood firm. “Mister Kenning, as your employer I am telling you that you are not making a good first impression.”
“I want a lawyer.” Maverick protested.
For some reason, though the monster was unable to express a smile due to its beak like mouth, Maverick had the feeling the octopus thing was smiling.
“If you like you can activate the escape clause in your contract.” The monster said.
Maverick knitted his eyebrows. “Some how I’m not going to like it am I? You going to eat me or throw me in jail?”
“Jail might be a possibility.” The octopus thing said matter so factly. “But before that you would most likely die due to being poisoned.”
“As the contract states, should I retire you or should you have the desire to quit, I put your consciousness back in your body the exact moment the contract was signed and you have no memory of this ever happening.”
Worry hit hard as Maverick remembered exactly where he had been and the mind numbing pain that came with it. As for this talk about consciousness… With curious eyes Maverick admired his hand.
The skin colour and texture was all wrong.
Instead of the healthy bronze tan that came with playing footy and riding his bike, the tone was a sickly grey. This body was also wearing some form of skin tight leotard with alien barcodes printed over it.
“What?” Was all Maverick could comment on his new appearance.
He looked like one of those horribly bad villains out of the fifties comic books. Those lame’o ones who battled the hero because somebody stole their parking space.
Was he to be the great Barcode-man, the man who robbed banks with a electronic scanner and poisonous lay-by tags?
After a deep breath the octopus started to explain, it was always so difficult dealing with creatures from the lower planes of existence.
Maverick’s body was too damaged to be of use to the creature’s plans, the human was not up to code and was far too frail for Sydney’s goals.
Therefore, the creature decided to solve a number of problems in one swoop. Maverick was now in what was called a Grey.
“So, I’m in the body of an alien?” As much as Maverick considered that the idea was cool it was also scary.
Any other time Maverick would have been up for a couple of rounds of debating the existence of aliens. Before today Maverick would have been those heavy sceptics, of course, yesterday he thought vigilante nurses were an urban legend.
He also understood that not only did aliens exist but he was having a conversation with one. “Um. Can I like spit acid or move things with my mind and stuff?”
“Ah, no.” The monster confessed. “Grey’s are genetically engineered bodies created by a race that is… how can we say… Physically weak but excel mentally. Now a days it is standard to have psychic powers, but not yours.”
The shrewd bastard was obviously not taking an chances with his new employee.
The Grey’s body was about an inch taller than Maverick’s old body and without looking in a mirror Maverick could tell this thing he was in was totally ripped, the best part was that it didn’t coast him a single hour in the gym, there was just one problem. Well two if you counted being hairless as a deformity.
When Maverick decided to check his neither regions with a curios scratch that he hoped was natural, something was missing, “Am I a fucking girl?!” he shouted.
“No.” The monster said firmly. “Safety measures are in place by the company that made the Greys. No breading, no chances of anomalies occurring.”
It was hard to tell but the creature was suspicious of something.
“Now that you mention it, when the company changed over to have their synthetic life forms with genitals, these old models were replaced rather quickly. The ones with multiple penis, vaginas, and mammary glands have been selling pretty fast. Could you perhaps tell me why? You think its a fad?”
Maverick’s only reply to this was to drop to his knees and scream “Nooooooo!”