Dear readers, tonight with us is a young man abducted in the dead of night by a mountainous thug and a ginger-haired dwarf. He’s here to tell us about the underground bunker where he and a group of other teens are forced to fight an implacable enemy in dream world rife with danger.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island. Lived there my whole life. Well, until a couple of friendly neighborhood abductors came and dragged me out of the house in the middle of the night and stuffed me in the back of their sedan. My parents were British though, so I don’t have the typical Rhode Island accent. That went down real well at school.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Got a stuffed ape I called Ugly. Had him since I was born. There’s a photo somewhere of me as a baby with this thing sitting next to me. It looks freaky, but I loved that little ape. Still got it somewhere in my room. Half his face is hanging off and there are bad stitches where my mom tried to fix him up when I was a kid. My sister hates that thing. Use to scare the crap out of her with it when we shared a room back in the old days when mom and dad were still around. Good old Ugly.
What do you do now?
Most days, try to keep some cosmic god from tearing my head off. Basically, I survive. I run from one danger to the next, trying to keep my head above water and trying to make sense of it all. For a while there I was a Black Stripe, a soldier for the Bunker. Never really got to finish my training though and now I’m something…else. I joined the rebels a while back and technically never left, so I suppose I’m still part of the rebellion.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
It started a few months back. Me and a bunch of other guys, some kids, some my age, we all got dragged down into a secret underground training camp called the Bunker. A dude named Giant runs the place. He told us that there was a war going on and that people were dying in their sleep, getting pulled into a dreamworld city called Rust where some demigod chick known as the Red Queen was planning to invade our world. We were all chosen because we showed an ability to lucid dream. It wasn’t all bad though. I got to meet a chick named Saffron and we hit it off. Then, I got myself stuck in the dreamworld and it all went to hell. I got caught up in a rebellion against the Red Queen and her godling lieutenants. Found myself buddied up with an assassin named Shadowfang—she’s a pretty cool chick, if I’m honest. I think she came from Brooklyn originally. Sorry, what was the question?
What did you first think when you first found yourself in the dreamworld?
Am I allowed to curse? It was amazing and freaky as hell all at once. I mean the city, Rust, it stinks of animals and dog crap and the whole place is filled with red dust and sand from the deserts all around. But, at the same time, it’s amazing, you know? Thousands of people from all over the world, even different worlds, all brought together in this one city; it’s unreal. Crazy animals and messed up mechanical human hybrids; the place is packed with so much stuff you can barely take it all in.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Could be what I saw beneath the Citadel in Rust. That would give Freddy Kruger nightmares! I’d have to say coming face to face with the Red Queen though. I can’t explain what it felt like, but I’ve never felt anything like it.
What is the worst thing about travelling between the dreamworld and the waking world?
My stomach! First few times I vamped between worlds, I immediately wanted to hurl. When your whole view of the world changes so quickly like that…it’s hard to keep things straight. Even if your mind can deal with moving from one place to the other, your stomach can’t. The smell in Rust takes a lot of getting used to as well, kind of sticks in the back of your throat even when your back in the waking world.
What is the best thing about it?
Dude! I can shift between realities! I mean, I can actually move from our world into a completely different dimension or reality or whatever. True, most of the time I’m trying to stop someone from stabbing me, crushing my bones into a fine paste or something like that, but it’s still amazing. I never really wanted to be an explorer, but now that I’ve seen what I’ve seen, I can’t imaging going back to a normal life.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Well, there’s Saffron. She’s amazing. One of the ones that got dragged down to the bunker like me. She’s kind and super pretty and…she’s just great. She made the bunker bearable, at least until I got pushed up to the Black Stripes and we got separated.
Shadowfang is as crazy as they get. I mean, she’s a legit assassin and one of the rebel leaders in Rust. Totally down to earth though and she’s got a sharp tongue on her. Also, she fights like a demon. I’ve seen her take down dudes twice her size without breaking a sweat. Truthfully, she kind of scares me, but it’s cool.
Juniper is…complicated. I don’t…I don’t really want to talk about her.
Don’t really have many other friends really. There’s Basil and Nalin, from the Bunker. They were cool, but I wasn’t with them for long. My old friends, from back in Cranston, I don’t even know where they are or if they’re still alive. A lot of bad stuff has happened since this all started. Amy, my sister, she’s fine though. Well, she’s surviving at least.
I sure as hell wouldn’t count Giant as a friend. Idrus Kane, the guy who leads the rebellion, he’s ok I guess, but he scares me more than just about anyone.
Any romantic involvement?
Yeah, I don’t really want to answer this one. It’s…some stuff has happened, but it’s hard to talk about right now.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Let me give you the list. Giant, Ficus and man-mountain for dragging me down to the Bunker and starting all this crap in the first place. Eva, Calaban and Avernath, the godling rulers of Rust who make Hitler seem like a nice guy in comparison. Mostly Eva, and not just for what she plans to do with he waking world. I hate her for what she did to me and Juniper.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Coke, Blue and anything which involves pizza and a game consol.
What does the future hold for you?
Honestly, I’ve got about a million questions I need answers to. I need to find out who I really am. I need to sort out this whole end of the world business. I need to figure out what the Abyssal Brood is all about. Oh, and I also need to stay alive long enough to figure any of this stuff out. So far I’ve been running from one place to the next, barely keeping my head on my shoulders. So, step one would probably be save the world. Then, if I can take a breath, start working on those questions. Also, I’ve never eaten Lobster. I think I’m gonna give that a try.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I haven’t told anyone this yet. Not sure how I’d even go about telling them without sounding like I’m losing my marbles. They whisper to me, sometimes. The Brood. Sometimes when I get a few minutes to myself, I hear them in the back of my mind. I can’t understand what they’re saying, but I can feel the darkness there, the hunger.
Also, I totally threw Amy’s stuffed bunny into the dumpster when we were kids and blamed it on the dog.
Morgan Quaid is an Australian-based writer of speculative fiction who writes comics, graphic novels, short stories and fast-paced, first-person novels set in epic/fantasy and horror settings. Key works include Whiplash, Rust Chronicles, The Blood Below, Shadow’s Daughter, Enmity, Idle Thuggery.
You can find Jack Flint on the pages of Whiplash.
Join us next time to meet a private investigator working on a murder court case. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.