by DH Jetson
The last time we left Peaksville, Ohio, six-year old Anthony Fremont had previously wiped out or annihilated everyone on Earth and everyplace on Earth, except for his small hometown! The planet, as it was, and billions of people, were all sent:
TO THE CORNFIELD~
Only 50 local residents of Peaksville remained in the world. Each one lived an existence in total fear that this was the last day or final moments of their life and the lives of the few people that were left in their families. So many good neighbors, trusted friends and righteous citizens were gone. Simply gone, thrown into a Phantom Zone, a great unknown dimension created by the Monster, the Beast: little Anthony Fremont.
Dread fear gripped the residents even more after the harsh snows killed off summer's crops in the farming community because...the Sun never returned. There was only night, an everlasting/ominous darkness over everything. You had better think nice thoughts, especially close to Anthony, and never have a critical thought enter your head. It better be: “Isn't it a nice day, Anthony?” and “It's good what you're doing there, son.”
The Beast enjoyed the dark, the fear and terror he generated and the absolute control he had on his weak and helpless 'playthings,' the ones that (so far) didn't piss him off. He loved a receptive audience. He put on shows over the TV, the boy's version of shows, which always included types of monsters that fought. Townsfolk were credited (not sent to the Cornfield) if they attended Anthony's TV shows, paid attention and also expressed pleasure in the performances. The boy materialized anything that came to his power-mad and twisted, 6-year old mind. He changed the composition of elements, physically altered shapes of things and made bizarre combinations. A few wild, surreal monstrosities from master Fremont's mind roamed the dark countryside until Anthony was tired of them and sent them away.
Over the years, this rural madhouse continued. Food supplies dwindled to nothing and locals feared mass deaths would happen because of no food and no drinking water. It wasn't the case. Exactly like Anthony's house had electricity, the residents were kept alive. Anthony wanted an attentive audience for his 'shows,' so the tiny population of Peaksville remained alive, unnaturally, for years.
It was hell.
A few of the locals had chosen suicide as a way out of the Labyrinth of Lunacy the Beast, the Devil, provided. The Monster knew their thoughts and every attempt at suicide was 'magically' thwarted. No one was permitted to kill themselves. Only Anthony decided when someone would go, and it was always termination via the Cornfield.
Every time a resident tried to murder Anthony, it was also known by the boy and they were GONE.
Number of inhabitants were whittled down to around 30 and held steady during a period when Anthony's teacher made great progress with him. He was older. Helen Foley was always a favorite of the boy and was left alone for years. The Beast treated her differently than all other locals. He sensed unique feelings from her: emotions of love and empathy. His teacher felt sorry for him; it was supreme sympathy; her prayers went out to the boy. She believed she could teach Anthony many important things, real things. For those reasons, she remained untouched and exempt from the mandatory Shows on his “Magic TV.”
Miss Foley came out of the shadows one time, approached the boy. She never viewed him as a monster. She convinced him she'd help him, guide him, as Anthony was now a teenager. She made him bring back the Sun and blue skies and trees and colorful flowers and all kinds of beautiful things!
Peaksville residents were very happy and relieved when their black, bleak world had transformed into a fantastic universe the young man manifested with clear, clean, adult thoughts. Miss Foley showed Anthony love and what he could do with his powers if the energy was focused on good, positive thoughts. She was a big hero with townsfolk who believed the old world would return or an even better one could take its place.
The joy in the universe did not last long.
A few people believed Miss Foley and Anthony Fremont were a little too close, their lessons that extended long into the (normal) night. The young man was conflicted when he sensed the presumptions in a few of their simple minds. He had no comprehension of sex or what those erotic images meant. When Miss Foley, pleased with the incredible wonders “Tony” had manifested in the world, KISSED him...
The confused young man misunderstood her intentions, saw them not as helping but stealing his power...and the one person that gave him love and respect...was sent to the Cornfield! So were the ones that thought those “bad thoughts.” Once again, the Sun was obliterated. The fabulous, bright wonders of nature and much, much more from his rich imagination were gone in a flash. Back was the cold, barren world of fear and darkness.
God was older now. His father had died years ago. And only recently, Tony had killed/wiped out or snuffed out Agnes, his mother! The very last person he wanted to send to the Cornfield from the small, dark bit of what was left of the universe. She had it with him. Finally, finally, the old lady told him off, SCREAMED that she: “Cursed the day I ever gave birth to you” and went on and on! She knew what would happen if she angered the Monster within him. It was her way on ending her life. Gone in fire.
There were only 16 people that remained in Fremont's World. They were in complete agony and purposely wanted to be sent to the Cornfield. Everyone loudly broadcast such thoughts of Hate at Tony for the sole purpose of Oblivion, totally annihilation, sleep, and ultimate end to a zombie-like state of non-death and dread fear. They wanted to die. The 16 survivors preferred whatever the Hell the Cornfield was, rather than the continuation of madness~
Tony heard/felt each mental blast of vile hatred aimed at him, again and again, and did nothing about them. He didn't send the 16 away. Before, especially years ago, he would have erased them to the Cornfield for the smallest disparaging thought or criticism. He didn't want to be alone anymore. He'd given up his TV Shows years ago. He left the 16 alone. Tony was older, looked older and was not the power-mad tyrant he was as a child. Maybe he'd matured somewhat? Possibly, Helen Foley influenced him after all? Tony felt no hatred for those still within his universe. The world brightened...
In time, the few that remained understood. They wouldn't be rubbed out and there was a chance for a better tomorrow, hope sparked in their hearts. No one blasted thoughts of hatred at Tony and he had changed; the 'man' almost wanted to be human, to be like the others who didn't have the Power.
Life got better in a place no longer called Peaksville, Ohio. Weather, seasons, crops, small farms, streams, trees, animals, fresh air and more. The world very slowly returned. People talked to Tony without fear. They didn't have to 'walk on eggshells' and watch every thought and word. Normal conversations were possible with this omnipotent being without fear of deadly reprisals or any other crazy shit that happened.
Tony told the others to, “Be patient, my friends.” He wanted to proceed with caution and set-up a new world for himself first, then get to each of the 16 and, “We can draw plans from there, then expand outward.”
Now his friends were content; they lived in the town's best homes that had electricity. The sixteen even believed Tony's words. They took them to mean the ones sent to the Cornfield and the rest of the planet would return in time. They weren't quite correct.
Tony Fremont created a beautiful, 10-year old daughter and her name was Ella.
Ella came already with an implanted past, full memories of childhood, school, vacations with a divorced father that raised her, etc. She was a wonderful joy. She was everything good, the perfect child. Townsfolk enjoyed her also. Ella was a blessing to others who hoped one day to see their missing friends and families, as well as everything else on Earth. The madness seemed over.
Tony and Ella were happy for months after her creation. They lived at his old house. She learned many things and grew up fast. He was happy to teach her and be the father. The idea was that he'd learn humanity, love, caring, compassion, all those tender traits Miss Foley believed he possessed. Maybe that was exactly what he needed? A positive life-lesson, then can go about the big job of Earth reconstruction.
A strange thing happened when Ella ran into his room and shouted: “Father! Come see what's on TV!”
“TV? What's on TV? Nothing's on TV, or can be on TV, El.”
“Come with me, father.” The girl ran out of the room like she had run in.
He hurried down the stairs behind his daughter. They wound up in front of the 3 large windows in the TV room and the set. A black and white picture was on the small screen. But the plug was not plugged into the electrical outlet. Electricity didn't power the TV. Tony knew immediately:
Ella was. She had to be, she had to also have the Power...because Tony sure wasn't doing it in a world he utterly controlled. There were signs before that Ella was gifted. The girl read his thoughts and answered: “No, father. I mean, yes, you are right. I have your Power. But I'm not the one making pictures on the Magic Box. It's coming in from Outside. There's more gods in the universe, father...”
“Outside?” Tony wondered. He also wondered about his special daughter who instantly went from child to witch? Psychic little girl? Sorceress? Would she have the sense to use the Power wisely? Tony was unsure and (surprise) could not read Ella's mind. “What are those moving pictures, El? What are we watching?”
“Ha, ha. Look! Get closer.”
Both huddled around a small, old television set that shouldn't work.
Black and white images of a saucer-type spacecraft (Jupiter II) as it hurled through space and dodged a swarm of meteors. Sounds were heard as the rocks impacted the hull of the ship.
Ella expressed, “I saw earlier and I also heard very strange music. An, an words and names were on the TV I didn't understand. I don't think it's real, father. Do you know, uh, what this is?”
“Ella. Of course I know what it is. It's old television. Like movies I showed you in your mind. You said other gods, outside? There cannot be a station in the void, broadcasting...er, can there, El?”
The young girl was excited and 'glued' to the little screen. With big eyes, she said, “Let's just watch and see what happens? Okay?”
“Ha, ha,” Tony laughed and found a cozy spot. “Sure, why not?”
After the meteor storm left the area, the outer space scene transitioned to an interior shot of the ship. Inside was the Robinson family dressed in shiny, silver jumpsuits. Both parents and their two children, a boy and a girl.
“Wait a minute,” blurted out of Tony's mouth. He was stunned when he got a good look at the faces of the family.
“Oh, my God,” Ella said and covered her mouth. She couldn't believe it either...
Will Robinson had Tony's face, long ago when he was little Anthony. Penny Robinson had Ella's face. The parents were Anthony's parents, a younger version of Agnes and John.
What was going on? Who was doing this and why?
Ella and Tony looked at each other in wonder. Silence. They smiled and returned their view to the TV screen.
Suddenly static lines appeared that interrupted the stream of signals, then disappeared. All four main characters, in shiny suits, and a Robot in the background...turned from the scripted actions, dialog, and stared directly into the camera...
“Whoa,” Tony reacted and heard:
The father-figure on screen said: “Don't be alarmed, son. I can explain everything...”
Agnes, space-woman of the future, laughed. “Ha, ha. John, look at the look on his face. Oh my. And our granddaughter.” The woman appeared very happy because of the unique encounter.
“...And our granddaughter,” John Fremont repeated, 'pleased as punch.' Tears welled up in the parents' eyes.
After a pause, a breath and a hard swallow, Tony responded with, “Dad! My God. Mom! You...you don't know how good it is to see you, I mean, maybe, maybe you do? Ah.” Tony covered his mouth as tears dripped out of his eyes.
Ella had never seen her father cry. She wiped them away with her small fingertips.
“Okay.” Agnes Fremont took over the conversation. “...We have to explain, Pip. Your real name is Pip. I'm sorry, I can't call you 'Anthony' or 'Tony.' You'll always be...ah...my little Pip. Can't believe how you've grown. And I can't believe how beautiful Ella is, uh...Look how precious she is, John. Nothing like, nothing like we'd imagined...uh, never mind...”
John locked the instruments of the Jupiter II to cruise-control and fully activated the Robot.
Young Will Robinson spoke up and said, “Since you two haven't explained anything to them, I guess I'll have to do it...”
“Tell them, brother,” Penny said and smiled (different dark hair-style than Ella).
The parents turned to Will...
Tony and Ella paid close attention to the Magic TV.
2D image of Will said: “As you know, Pip, you are not like them, the people around you. You are one of us, one of our kind from what was your closest star, Alpha Centauri. Our family are outlaws on our world, and had to...”
“Wait!” Tony interrupted with a question. “Our kind, you said. How am I different? What am I? What exactly are we?”
Penny's image answered, “We are beings that are born, in essence, grow and die much like human beings, but we appear very different. You may not like your actual, true appearance, my brother...”
“What?” Tony asked the screen. He looked at Ella. Did this apply to her? Was she an alien too?
John stated, “We are mental-creatures, son. We live in minds, transmissions through space and on picture-screens in many minds. You are and have always been one of our world's scouts. A product of our Revolution, to escape tyranny and find new roots for us rebels to migrate, to see if we can leave? We are good anarchists against State agencies, powerful Wizards with fantastic mind-powers. Our outlaw family and a few others chose to find a way to leave what had become a State-run madhouse. All good thoughts were gone, ruined, corrupted. No one could leave what had become Prison Planet. When I say go, of course, I mean in the Mental-Sense, free thoughts, to fly anywhere without the influence of evil Wizards, who seemed to control every transmission, even everyone's minds. The nature of what we are cannot physically leave our planet, but we could go and live again...in thoughts made real, somewhere else. Our psi-forces, good/positive Rangers were too little in number; we were no match for the darkness, the powerful Wizards and general bad-vibes on Alpha. So we escaped...”
“Escaped?” Ella asked in a high-pitched voice.
Will Robinson replied, “Actually we stole, er, commandeered this federal saucer...in TV dreams, of course, and was able to plant you on Earth to see if our kind could take root here and survive. That was long ago. Now we have calculated the great damage we've caused, which necessitated our return.”
Tony had another question and asked his black and white 'father': “You said 'scout.' I'm a scout, one of your kind, ah, who was sent to scope out a new world to escape to?”
Father John responded, “Yes, Pip. We had no idea what close Earthlings, the highest species on the planet, were like. We only knew a 'seed' could grow and instead of being anything like our type of lifeform, you'd be born from one of them and look like one of the natives. All the while, internally, you'd have our great mind-powers. You were our hope that we could live again on another world. To be honest, son, you were an experiment. Your loving family are coming for you, Pip. We'll actually be landing in your reality fairly soon...”
“...We've only recently registered the terrible damage you've done to the Earth...what we've done, I should say,” Pip's father sadly said through the image of John Robinson.
“I'm so sorry,” Tony expressed and he sincerely meant those words.
Pip's mother, through the image of Maureen Robinson, told them, “Never fear, my son. We believe we can fix the damage, repair the new world, restore the planet and live again. All is not 'Lost.' Have faith, Pip. Do you remember your teacher, Miss Helen Foley?”
“What?” Tony was shocked when he heard the name of someone he really loved, broadcast over the TV set.
Little Ella asked, “Who?” Then she pictured the woman from her father's past in her mind. The girl actually viewed what Helen Foley presently did in the Cornfield. Ella viewed the entire extent of the Phantom Zone called “Cornfield” and couldn't believe what her inner movie-screen showed her.
Mrs. Robinson spoke the truth: “The reason your teacher loved you, respected you, believed in you and you had deep feelings for her, son, was...she was your grandmother, a powerful good witch in her own right, who withered on the vine here on Alpha, but always loved you very much. She watched over you like an angel throughout the years, helped you, guided you, as Helen: It was her Long Distance Call...”
Tony was emotional and remembered what happened in the past. “Then...ah, then, I-I sent her to the Cornfield...” He was about to cry once more. But...
Of all things, the ROBOT stepped center stage on the TV screen and stated to the 'man': “WARNING, no danger, image of Will Robinson. We will, in the dream sense, be arriving within a half hour. No fear, sir. We are here.”
Space family Robinson or the real life transmissions of them used for communications, laughed.
Everyone said their goodbyes. Tony accepted that his Magic TV was utilized for the encounter, not a warning, but a means that announced his true family would soon be with him. Family now meant everything. He wouldn't be alone and everything would be all right for him and his child in the end...after such terrible destruction he had caused. Was redemption really on the horizon? What about tomorrow? He looked into Ella's eyes. He had tears.
She didn't. Ella only had an odd expression on her blank face. She had remote thoughts from a parsec away, unknown to Tony.
The 2D, TV-Robinsons or mental avatars on screen smiled and waved 'bye' to Tony and Ella.
The Robot projected his retractable arms outward, crossed them a few times and transmitted: “That's all the TV there is.”
The screen displayed violent static lines, then the pictures were gone, replaced by a black screen and nothing.
“Huh. Ha, ha.” Tony Fremont, or who and whatever he was, was very happy. Elated, in fact. After horrible eliminations of people and tons and tons of pain and regrets and much more...
It appeared as if all would end well. His real family would be here soon and assist in reconstruction of the Good Earth, a safe place to start again. Maybe many others of their kind would find the New Earth a perfect/fertile place to build, to raise families, grow and expand? Pip (and Ella?) was an experiment fated to save their 'people,' rebels from a totalitarian-type of fascist planet millions of miles away? Tony believed it, anyway. Life was wonderful! Life was grand! He looked down at his child...
Why was Ella Fremont not smiling? The girl had a mean expression on a hard, hard face. What was wrong with the child?
The curtain of lies and deceptions was dropped and the truth was suddenly revealed to Tony:
El (God) La was never his creation. The young child was a mental manifestation of the Other Side, not the Ranger Rebels, valiant 'Knights' against the unfairness of the State, but the evil State itself. A spy, double-agent. Specifically, El was a projection of one particular Wizard, the most powerful one, called Wizard Smith. El was the State; El was the evil Wizard Smith and only now Tony realized it~
The child spoke coldly, in the voice of an old/British man. The Wizard through the girl stated: “So you rebel scum think you can uproot yourself from the haven the glorious State has provided, aye? Think you can leave, just like that, yes?! Be a shining example and have others follow in your wake? Make a whole new garden without our Authority? Well think again, sir!”
“Ugh, Ella?” Tony Fremont gasped.
The child turned into her natural, hidden state; she was always an automaton, 'machina' spy or remote 'drone' of Wizard Smith and in this moment, realized who she actually was, and her full Power.
Tony was frightened. He was frightened for the very first time in his life. He said, “El. I-I know what you are thinking now...”
“You've been permitted to see the truth, seed of rebel scum,” the queenly Wizard proclaimed in certainty and confidence.
Mr. Fremont was weakened by the unexpected twist of current events and said, “I-I know. I know, Ella...w-what you can do...”
She [Wizard] raised her small hand up at her 'father' and, with fire in her eyes, expressed: “Did you know I was going to do this? Pip?” The magician's hand was waved and Tony was sent into the...
...The man instantly arrived and braced for the unknown, or war, demons, monsters, Hell, Hades, rivers of fire and pain and miseries with nothing but millions of suffering souls?
No. Nothing like that at all. He was in the middle of a cornfield...on a bright, cloudless, sunny day. It was quiet, no one near. Cool breeze. It was just lovely. It wasn't Peaksville, Ohio. (There was no Peaksville, Ohio, only a black void or null-space in the location where the farm town stood. This was Pleasantville, Ohio, another small farming town, which stood 30 miles northeast from Peaksville). Corn was everywhere.
Tony relaxed, smiled and broke a cob off one of the stalks. He pulled back green layers and bit into the corncob. Sure felt real and tasted delicious, fresh. Good sign. Slowly, he walked between the rows. It appeared as if it was the middle of the day with a brilliant Sun above. He soon saw a farm house and barn with fences and also other A-frame structures on distant hills. A stream was visible and horses drank out of the water. Tony came to a round, stone well. In a minute, he drank from a container and it was good, cold and clean. The man did not understand. This was the Cornfield? This was the place he'd sent everybody for all those years? Was there a big problem I'm not seeing or haven't seen quite yet? It was beautiful. The world seemed...perfect?
Tony smiled and slowly walked into the large opening of a barn with wide eyes. He heard noises from above, where there was a loft and hay. Someone tossed hay from one place to another with a pitchfork. Then he saw who it was...
It was Miss Foley in jeans and white top and a bit older. She appeared strong and happy. Helen moved closer to the edge and, strangely, wasn't surprised to see...
“Anthony! Look how you've grown! God, you look great.” She threw the pitchfork, which stuck in a bale of hay. She hurried down a wooden ladder and surprised the man with a big hug and kiss on the cheek.
Wow. Not what I expected, Tony thought. He loved every second of it. Was the Cornfield a dream? A place where wishes came true?
“Wait. Helen, Helen, I have to ask you. Are you my grandmother?”
“Ha, ha. Close. That was in the other world, my friend. This place is the other side of the Mirror, in a sense. Your grandmother, Glinda, doesn't influence me anymore. That was on the other side. She was sweet, one of a kind, but gone now. I'm left here to live my own life, in this place, and I couldn't be happier, Anthony. I have you to thank. We have you to thank.” She hugged him even tighter this time.
He was dumbfounded. Tony responded to her embrace and caressed her back. He held her close and the feeling was divine. His eyes looked up and confusion was on his face. He didn't worry. He smiled. It was lovely. He smelled her hair, the hay and wondered: “So, Helen. You, you...like it here? I mean, sending you here was a Good Thing? It was good I did that?”
“My God, yes! My life is beautiful on the farm. We own quite a bit of land.” Bright sparkles were in Helen's eyes. “You know this is Pleasantville?”
“Really? I was five and remember we drove through Pleasantville a few times. I remember. What about the others, all the others I sent here?”
“Ha, ha. They exist. The whole world is here in its place, even better than it ever was. You created a virtual utopia on this side, ha, and you don't even know it. Oh. Something told me you'd be coming today, switched over to our side.” She looked directly into his eyes, eyes that so many people had feared. Helen said, sincerely, “I do hope you'll also find peace and contentment. You're a hero to us. No one hates or fears you here, my friend. They love you. Find happiness, Anthony...”
The man felt her emotions and knew he could be happy in this world that didn't hate him. He knew he could be very happy with her, his former teacher. Then a negative thought occurred in his mind that disturbed him. He asked: “Wait. You said 'we own quite a bit of land.' What did you mean, Helen?”
She let go of him and hit him with the cold truth: “I'm not Helen Foley anymore. I'm Helen Cartwright. I'm married now. Joe's repairing fences up at the north 40; he's not here right now.”
“Joe? Your husband?” The man was stunned and dismissed his plans of a future with her.
“Yes. You made it all possible. All of Earth is back and people are happy, things work, our leaders are good, caring people. There are no wars. There's no hunger or poverty or crime anymore! People help each other. Cornfield is like a dreamy heaven in the real world, a beautiful fate. You'll find your destiny, Anthony, here on the other side. I just know it. Give it a chance, eh? Oh, I misspoke. The whole Earth is not back. Peaksville doesn't exist here. There's like a void or black space where the town was. It's weird. People stay away from it. That might be the only thing we fear or worry about...”
Tony asked, “Why?”
“Oh, because of the unknown, I guess. It's like a doorway. We don't know if monsters will emerge out of it and endanger the perfect peace we've experienced? You came from there. Are you a monster, Anthony?” Helen expressed seriously and in ominous words.
He was silent, frozen, and didn't know how to reply.
She answered. “Of course, you're not!” Big smiles. “Not on this side. No monsters on this side! Ha.”
The man relaxed his stance and asked, “Could I see this black void you mentioned? Can you take me there, Helen?”
Through the barn opening, she saw that Joe had finished his work and headed for the main farmhouse on a horse. He'd be here soon.
“Certainly. We'd be glad to show you.” Helen was pleased and sure that all would turn out fine, like it was supposed to happen.
Tony wasn't so sure.
Helen introduced her husband to “Tony.” The man from Peaksville was treated like a god, a super celebrity. Joe was overjoyed at the encounter. He repeated a few times: “It was very good you did this, Tony. Such a great thing, for all of us. Thank you. Thank you.”
They took the family car and it sped along an old country road in the direction of Peaksville.
The Cartwrights' car was familiar to Tony. He searched his amazing mind and discovered that the vehicle was a television-car, one that he remembered from long ago. This was the Green Hornet's car and Kato drove it on the show. At the moment, Joe drove it and two happy people were in back, Tony and Helen. Tony smiled again and almost believed his life would end well.
More minutes passed. Evening approached. More rough roads were traveled. Nothing significant was revealed in the conversation. Their heads were filled with wonder, magic and curiosity. What would happen next?
At first, the small/black splotch was viewed at a distance, over a hill. Gradually, the “portal” or gateway grew larger and larger in their eyes. Tony only gasped and caught his breath. It was hard for him to swallow and he had to get out of the car soon!
The Green Hornet car screeched to a stop at the edge of the black void, only a few feet away from the perimeter. The null-space appeared as a very dark and irregular-shaped dome, a few miles in each direction and about 300 feet high.
The three of them got out of the vehicle.
“How bizarre,” Tony felt better and stated. He asked, “That's exactly where our hometown was located, right Helen?”
“That's right, my friend.”
The Cartwrights, like everyone on the planet, feared the black spot that was Peaksville. But today, with Tony, there was a different feeling in the clean air. The married couple believed there were reasons things happened and all would turn out 'happily ever after,' like in the movies.
Tony asked, “When sent to the Cornfield, here was the door they emerged out of?”
Joe responded, “Individuals or small groups, yes. That was when the world here was very small, only a little/fertile patch in the beginning. As more were sent to this side, this place grew and grew. And when you sent everyone here, that was when our world EXPLODED into existence and the whole freakin' planet appeared! What a world: a caring, loving Earth where people are good and treat each other with gentleness and understanding. Not hatred. People give, they don't take. Thank you again, Tony.”
Helen declared, “Human beings are meant to live this way, in a beautiful garden where all life is precious, yes? Why did you want to come here and see this place, Tony?”
“I-I don't know, huh. Maybe something called to me?” Tony Fremont took a few steps closer to the void-space and was only feet from the edge.
Joe warned, “Ah, ah, I wouldn't do that, my friend.”
“Why not?” Tony asked, innocently, as if he was a child again. He stopped in his tracks.
“Better safe, than sorry, eh?” Joe responded.
Tony Fremont was confused. He thought about it and held his chin in his hand. “But I didn't come out of this place, earlier today. I emerged inside a real cornfield, your cornfield, not far from your house and barn. My daughter, or who I thought was my daughter, sent me to the Cornfield. Strange, huh?”
“Don't worry about it, dear.” Helen grabbed onto Tony's arm and pulled him back a little from the black (Twilight) zone. “You don't know about the surprise. Well, I'm going to ruin it because your parents are well on their way, they'll be in our area soon. That's why we have to get back to our place. We plan a swell dinner with them tonight and you'll have to act surprised when you see them, Okay? You can do that, right Tony?” She yanked on him again and turned him in a different direction.
“Parents?” he said to Helen's face. “Oh yeah, coming into my reality. The Robinsons?”
Helen and Joe laughed.
She explained, “No, no. Ha, ha. Television was only used for the psychic communication. Agnes and John, your birth parents, will arrive within two hours. We have to get back, boys. I'm making ham.”
“...If television was only a communication and not reality?”
Tony remembered and pointed at Joe, “But you're from the Ponderosa. And the car, (pointed at the vehicle) it's Green Hornet's car. This can't be the real world. Every single person is good and gets along with every other person in the world? How can that be real?” The former monster, the Beast, conjured up a black spot of fear in his mind. Terror was on his face. “This can't be real?”
Joe didn't know what to say. “Ponderosa?” He'd never heard of it.
Helen had good intentions and wanted to remove the fear in her former student's mind. She calmly asked, “Tony. Don't you want to see your loving parents who miss you very much and have a nice dinner with them?” She shook his shoulders a little and meant every word she said.
He replied, “Of course I do.” His eyes were misty. But. Before tears rolled, Tony turned around and faced his fears, faced the great unknown square in its one big Eye. With a serious tone, he said, “But what if I...?” He marched straight into the mysterious void and really did not care about the outcome~
The man instantly arrived and braced for the unknown. He discovered, everywhere around him, war, demons, monsters, Hell, Hades, rivers of fire and pain and miseries with thousands of suffering souls! This was Peaksville or what was left of the universe. From a high mount, Tony saw horrible creatures in the distance. They fought, fucked, tore each other to pieces, disappeared, appeared...as far as the man saw. A dark nightmare world of black, stormy skies and absolute HORROR in the air. Intermittent screams in the distance as well a few cries of awful pain nearby. Terrible smells. What had happened?
Then Tony knew this was the result, not of his child, but of Wizard Smith who had total control of whatever manifestation 'Ella' was. She ruled here as God and every monster of the underworld was her helpless 'plaything,' to do anything she desired. Tony understood power. He was once Number One God. He still had power. He knew he could destroy, up in flames, up in smoke, any vile creature that threatened him in Oz. But. Could he destroy the great and powerful Wizard? His 'child' he knew resided at the top of Skull Mountain and in the highest tower of Black Castle? Was there actually a 'yellow brick road'? The man stared more intently into the bleak, barren distance? He focused. There was.
A Giant Squid attacked the man! It fell from a large, creepy, dead tree.
SMASH, THUD, BLAM!
Its horrible face faced the other direction while its massive, dark green tentacles firmly grasped its prey. Tony would have been snuffed out in seconds if he was a normal man. He didn't know that in Pleasantville, he had no supernatural abilities. But here, in the darkened hell of the changed Old World, on this side of the Looking Glass, he was his original self, a powerful magician from a family of rebel magicians.
Tony blinked and Architeuthis turned into grey-matter dust in a flash! Threat over.
The man was pissed. He breathed heavily. He felt very strong. He marched toward the one, bright, thing in hell, a golden path that wound serpentine up Skull Mountain. He'd destroy every demon and ugly minion of HER that stood in the way. There was going to be a war of wizards in the high tower of Black Castle. Her lair, the heart of evil. Should be interesting?
Hours had passed. He made it to the zenith. No guards were posted, no soldiers or monster Balroqs greeted the brave knight as Tony crossed the moat-bridge and entered the main (open) gates. The mighty sword of Excalibur was in his hand. Before this point, Tony Fremont battled more than a hundred creatures of the night and defeated every one. He wore the scars of those wars as he climbed stone steps, closer and closer to what waited for him at the top of those stairs. He knew he had to win just one more battle, but it would be the most difficult challenge of his life. Everything was at stake. Two worlds.
His eyes witnessed such gross depravities along the Golden Path. Mordor seemed more preferable. Here was no Emerald City, but only the infamous and wretched home of the powerful Queen Mother. More cold, hard steps were scaled. In the shadows, barely visible, were countless eyes. These monster minions were not poised to attack. Instead, they comprised a grand gallery, a hideous audience behind the scenes for the big battle to come.
Steps terminated and opened into a huge, royal throne room only lit by candles. The throne itself was made of gigantic, black bones from some twisted creature. They radiated out in every direction and all pointed to the she-Beast that comfortably sat on the seat, in total control of everything in her world.
Wizard Smith appeared sexy, hot, in a red, shiny, tight suit, horns, and even a tail, an older version of Ella. She raised her hand with long nails and with one, small motion of an index finger...
Tony flew to her! The warrior was made to kneel directly in front of the Bone Throne.
“By the way, I willed you back, my boy. If I exiled you, that would be the end of it. And where's the fun in that, aye? Also. I've come to a great conclusion. It was because of your daughter's image and my stay here in this place. Dark Earth is simply marvelous, don't you think? Well, it is now. A perfect place for our State to be replanted here. You scouted for us, my boy. Good job. We've taken over and will have absolutely no opposition here on Dark Earth. Ah, lovelier and lovelier. Ha, ha,” sexy Smith said, snakelike and overconfident in that femmy voice of the old Wizard.
Tony was bound to the ground, knees fixed to the floor and helpless. He tried to speak...
Queen Smith yelled: “Don't speak! You won't be able to! You're wasting energy, Pip. War of wizards, you thought? It's no contest, my boy! Surely you see that? Yes?” the High Wizard, planted a parsec away, expressed. “We know what's transpired in the Cornfield. A mirrored version of our world here. How fucking sweet. Peace and Love reigns supreme, ha! You actually think you can make two worlds good and positive, you little monster?! That's not how mirrors work, boy!”
“My God,” Tony said.
“That's about the size of it! I am your God, you bug, you infestation and...hey, wait a tick, you're not supposed to talk?”
“That is about the size of it,” Mr. Fremont expressed with a smile on his face. Then he stood up, on his own two feet. “Surprise.”
“Let me explain something to you, Doctor, I mean Wizard Smith. You're not in command here. Well, you were, aye? But not anymore. You see, my family has just arrived,” Tony, the prince, the knight, told the Wizard the truth in a calm, confident manner. “And my family is very strong together. We've forced you down a few pegs, eh? 'Long Live the King' and that ain't you anymore...your majesty.”
The worried monarch stood on her two long, red legs, then quickly looked up at the high ceiling.
Black Castle shook. The top part of the mountain vibrated. A loud “whirrrl” sound was heard.
Queen Smith screamed in terror and fear and felt some of the pain that the Wizard had inflicted: “Wot was that? Who's there?!”
“I told you,” Tony, winner of wizard wars, declared. “My family is here, in the Jupiter II. This is the real world now. Didn't you know? Ha. Ha. It's over, you lost.” Tony smiled, victorious.
Image of Wizard Smith, as a hot devil-woman, disappeared in a puff of smoke, never to reappear on Earth again. Before he/she evaporated, the Wizard shook a fist and shouted words that penetrated Tony's mind, words he never forgot. They were: “You'll pay for this, boy! You'll pay dearly for what you have done!!”
There was no more Dark Earth, but a clear/clean, much brighter planet. A second or third chance to start over. Throne room from hell and Black Castle instantly transformed into a bright, colorful ballroom atop a gorgeous White Castle.
The long-awaited arrival was spectacular...
In walked three human beings in shiny, silver, race car outfits: dad, mom and sister. Maybe this side of the Mirror was where dreams came true? Wonderland and a beautiful Oz. Reality was magical.
“Son!” John (Leto) ran in and was first to embrace Tony (Pip/Paul). Next, his mother (Jessica) joined the big hug and kissed her son again and again. Last, was his sister (Ghanima) who marched in and wrapped her arms around all of them.
Happiness. Happiness was this moment. Things changed.
They discovered that the spaceship was gone. Television shows and crazy thoughts were no longer mixed with the real world. Earth wasn't wicked, surreal, jumbled and a piece of clay that could be molded by the highest god. It was stable, solid, static and no one had super powers. Everything was real and true. Billions of people had returned to the planet and no one remembered that anything weird had ever happened. And there certainly wouldn't be any mass-invasion by strange creatures from a parsec away.
The Fremonts took residence in Pleasantville and so did the 16 neighbors from the 'other town.' Odd that Peaksville didn't exist, did not return with the rest of the planet. The 16 and the Fremonts still possessed memories of passed events. The only ones. Each were happy, greatly relieved that a better world, the old world, replaced the terrors of before.
The Fremonts had a collie named 'Lassie.' All was well...
But something was wrong with Pip.
John and Agnes saw that he was alone, sat on top of his favorite grassy mound and stared off into the distance. He did that too many times, always by himself. They were worried and felt that Pip was greatly troubled. Why did he seem so sad and removed from everything? Maybe billions of Earthlings will never know what he'd done, restored the world, but they knew, the 16 locals and his parents. They praised Pip and genuinely cared for him and their new families. Pip hid bad feelings, his pain, but now they were known to John and Agnes.
For the first time, they disturbed his quiet solitude of what they thought were his meditations and walked up the mound.
Pip sat in the grass and was surprised. He wiped away tears from his face as they approached. “Mom. Dad. Hey, what's up you guys?”
“What's wrong, son?” John asked, sincerely.
Agnes was down on the ground and put her arm around him. “We want to help. Pip. Please tell us what's wrong and why you are crying?”
Pip smiled, brushed his reddish hair back and smiled again. He thought he'd start with a joke: “What's funny is you still look a little like Zorro to me, dad. Ha.” He laughed and then he cried.
“What?” His parents were clueless about the reference and wondered why he suffered?
He covered his face, ashamed, frightened of what he had done. Words of the old Wizard beat in his brain, a fear that never went away. Pip now understood what he meant. Maybe this world was better, but what of the other one?
“I'll tell you what's wrong, why I've cried each time I've come up here...”
“Tell us,” mother urged.
“Yes,” father also.
“...There's no Peaksville...is there? Not anymore. There's no Cornfield...is there, mom and dad?”
Dad asked, “What do you mean?”
“I can't send anyone there.”
Mother asked, “Why on Earth would you want to?”
“Because it was wonderful. Helen was there. She's not here is she, mom, dad? Hm? No Ponderosa. No dream.” Their son got to his feet, looked them straight in the eyes and expressed, “You want to see Peaksville? Well, I found it. Days ago and have come up here ever since. He was right. That bastard, Wizard. Huh. Here's Peakville's Cornfield, right here. Catch, dad...” Pip quickly reached into his pocket and tossed a black rock at his father.
He caught it and said, “Huh? Wha...um. Looks like obsidian.”
Mother asked, “What's this mean, son?”
“That's Peaksville. And the Cornfield was beautiful on the other side. Don't you understand? We're fine, but they're not. They're...they're...gone. All gone. Dreams shattered. My fault. That's all there is...for them. I am so sorry, Helen, ha...and Joe. It was a nice place. It was a good life. Oh, God, ugh.” He cried harder and shook all over.
Father hugged him and mother held him closer.
With tears in her eyes, she said, “There, there. It'll be all right.”
Millions of miles away, a parsec, in fact...
Anthony Fremont Tony Pip Paul Will Robinson, or whomever he was, did a phenomenal thing. He didn't just save or restore the Earth. He also made possible an escape for a few Alpha Centaurians. You see?
They were carrots. Big, powerful, intelligent, psychic, telekinetic CARROTS. That was their real appearance, deeply-planted in the purple soil of AC-3. The visions, transmissions in space, thoughts and photonic movies all came from the 'Great Vegetable Rebellion,' where oppressed, thinking carrots were not permitted Free Thoughts anymore because of a race of tyrannical, psi-warlord Wizards, which suddenly sprouted and took total control. 'Snakes' in the Garden. After forced fascism upon the masses of Alpha, good carrots protested, organized and rebelled. The Ranger anarchists were utterly wiped out by dark forces (thoughts) aligned with the New State and the terrible, new laws. Almost...
The only hope was the rebels' transmissions through space in search of a new home to colonize. A new home was found on the third planet of the closest solar system. There would be an escape, a better place to thrive and grow for many generations. There was an invasion of Earth. A good one.
A human family that was once lost, but now, they were found.
What you've just read is an excerpt from a future novel by DH Jetson, aka TS Caladan.