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Five Minute Adventures Presents: Mister Sunshine

"Continued from the pages of Raccoons Robbing Rail City"
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Published 8 years ago
He was a tinkerer ever since he could remember; plastic bricks, tiny fake logs, that’s how it all began. Since then, he had graduated to bigger and better things–they weren’t actually very big things in any literal sense of the word, but definitely much better, definitely more serious, definitely more important.

It sparked and sizzled out between the cold, steel tongs holding it in place. This one failed, again.

If it were his millionth go around at it, he would’ve been frustrated; he probably would’ve even gone insane. But it was his second millionth go around at it, and he managed at least twenty small successes since he hit the one-million-attempts mark. They were terrible odds, twenty out of a couple million, but they were the best–and only–odds.

So he took a deep breath and smoothed a hand through his hair. The static electricity from the friction of the rubber gloves he was wearing made his hair stand on end. He began, again.

The often fickle lights of helium and hydrogen fusion danced in front of his eyes; in half time, slow and unbelievable magic-turned-science was at work in a waltz, and the two elements danced how they danced, one bowing to another and so on. The two courting elements were making a tiny ball of energy now and they began to expand, and their light–its light–grew more intense. The tinkerer’s eyes grew in matching proportions, and he knew this time it would work. This time would be like the twenty times before.

Then, as suddenly as the little thing of energy had expanded, it contracted. That could still be a good sign, he thought. It kept contracting, its energy–from gravity, or something else–pulling its mass in tighter. Yes, he thought, it needed to become denser, but not too dense. He couldn’t have another black hole on his hands. He didn’t like thinking about that first time he made a black hole, accidentally.

The light’s contractions slowed, and he knew this time he would be successful, and he smiled, and he chuckled and rubbed his hands together, and then…and then it fizzled again and vanished. He sighed, peeled his goggles off his face, then stood up. He needed a break. It had been days since he had a break.

He went over to the refrigerator, opened it, and pulled out some tuna salad he made a few days ago; then he grabbed a loaf of wheat bread and reached into the pantry for a jar of peanut butter. He was a tinkerer, after all, in the most practical way he could be a tinkerer, even with food. It was about efficiency. It was about quick nutrition, quick fuel. That was the logic that invented the peanut butter and tuna salad sandwich. It doesn’t do much good to anyone to try and imagine how it tasted.

Then he went back to his workbench in his lab, sat down, and munched on his sandwich, staring at the original. It sat as a paperweight in a jar, still radiant, still beautiful, and slightly blue. This one he didn’t make. This one he found, and it changed everything.

He was walking home one evening when it happened. He passed people on the street, and they said “Good evening,” and he said it back, but it was a pointless gesture. No one put much stock in “good mornings” and “good evenings” anymore. Not the way they used to. Just a few moments after returning a “good evening” to a tall man in a really nice top hat–the rest of the man’s clothing didn’t match the formality of the top hat–the tinkerer tripped. Inexplicably, he tripped, and the tripping flung him forward, to the cement, flat on his face, but not before his nose broke his fall, and the fall shattered his glasses. And as the tinkerer lay there, with unfortunate broken nose and everything, he felt something hot under his leg. Really hot.

He quickly rolled over, and looked at what was burning his leg. It was a tiny blue ball of light, and he’d never seen anything like it before; if he had, he would’ve remembered. He tucked his hands in his shirt sleeves and tried to pick the shiny object up, but even then, it was still too hot. He looked around for something to pick it up with, but his quick search proved unsuccessful. There was only one thing he could think to do; he took his backpack and scooped the little orb into it. He was surprised by how dense the little thing must have been, the extraordinary way it made his bag so heavy, but he managed to heft it onto his back despite its weight. It didn’t contain the heat all too well. He could feel it burning through the bag to his backside, and so, with little time left to waste, he ran home.

Passersby stared at the odd man, who was a bit shorter than average height, with golden hair standing on all ends, running home in a hurry. His bag now blazed a blue that illuminated an entire block with incredible light. They had never seen such a thing before, and if they had, they didn’t remember.

When the tinkerer got home, he hurried to find some sort of container for the thing that nearly burned a whole in his bag. He found a little glass jar, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough–not on its own. So he ran to his bathroom, and quickly filled his bathtub with cold water. He put the burning orb in the jar and put the jar in the tub. He knew the water would eventually boil, and he would have to replace it with new, cold water, but for now, it seemed to work. Relieved, the tinkerer sank to his knees on the bathroom linoleum, and stared at his remarkable find.

That was seven years ago. The water doesn’t boil anymore, and he only needs the one jar.

The tiny ball has shrunk in mass, slightly in volume, and almost completely in heat and intensity. It’s now a dying blue. And despite all of it, it’s still remarkable. It’s still beautiful.

The tinkerer set down his sandwich on the table, and looked around at the twenty other filled jars in his lab. Scattered around, some on shelves, another on the television, they flicked around colors of red, orange, and yellow, but never blue–only the original was blue. They were so luminous that he stopped using his light switches a long time ago, stopped using artificial light altogether–he didn’t need it anymore.

He opened up a window and leaned out of it, looking up at the dark and empty sky, forever frozen at one season, forever frozen at midnight–the worst kind of midnight. It hadn’t been filled with light in so long. Almost no one remembered what it was like before, and perhaps it was for the best. It would be a truly sad thing to remember something as beautiful as the light of the stars, and to have to remember that they disappeared long ago. It was surely better to forget the sky and all its contents then to mourn for its loss. At least, that’s what he used to think.

There was a time when all of it–that forgetting the stars, and even the sun–was the proper thing to do. But that time was no longer. The Forever Night brought far darker things to Rail City, to the world, and it needs saving now more than ever. The tinkerer was going to do it. He was going to the save the world this time. He was going to bring the sun back.

knock knock

He quickly shut his window, and then proceeded to cover his twenty stars-in-a-jar with loose blankets and towels–it would never be enough to totally mask the light, but it did dim them.

knock knock knock

“I’m coming. I’m coming!” He hollered.


He opened the door.

There was a man on the other end, covered in a black suit from head to toe, except for his mouth and chin, and his ruby red goggles, and the orbs on his chest of the same ruby color. There were tears in his suit in random places, and one of the lenses in his goggles was shattered. The also-ruby orbs whirred and flickered, randomly, without any kind of intent, without any kind of sleight of hand that produced their normal magics–they were dying. He was dying.

Captain 12AM tumbled forward, through the doorway’s threshold. Then he looked up, at the tinkerer, and he spoke, “I have come to you, my arch nemesis, because there is no one else. Mister Sunshine, I need your help. I–I think I have done something terrible.”

And then he passed out.

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