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by on January 21, 2015

Life is complicated. Seven billion people walk this planet, each one making choices every second of every day, each choice resulting in consequences, each consequence affecting more people and leading to more choices. If a choice goes one way instead of another, an entire universe of possibilities shift. It could be something simple, like ordering one soft drink from the vending machine instead of another. But that choice means that the tiniest bit of income goes to one company instead of another. Tiny bits of income add up. The accounting department begins to worry. One employee is let go; another is hired. The financial problems of the former employee wreak havoc with his personal life. He breaks up with his girlfriend. The child they would’ve had doesn’t exist. Neither does their granddaughter, an extremely gifted astronaut. Her replacement turns out to be a saboteur secretly working for a terrorist organization. A critical nuclear rocket misfires. The asteroid hits Earth. We all die. But pick the other soda, and the Earth is saved. Changes matter.

Some changes are bigger than deciding between sodas. For instance, when Madeleine realized that through some weird time paradox she hadn’t been born, she had assumed this simply meant some problems paying for things. She hadn’t thought through all the rest of it. She was deliberately not thinking about the fact that she still existed, although technically she didn’t. Time paradoxes gave her such a pain. So, when she flew off to help with the latest crisis in her city, she didn’t realize what it all meant. She hadn’t been born. Therefore, she hadn’t become Gaseous Girl. Her arch-nemesis, Hiccup Holly, hadn’t been created either, as Holly hadn’t been splashed by chemicals mixed with super-powered snot. That meant all of their titanic world-in-the-balance fights, with Gaseous Girl pitting her flames against Holly’s sonic hiccup blasts (and usually winning) never happened. That changed a lot. 

Specifically, the night Madeleine had been wiped from the timeline. Something big threatened Edison City. Something very big. The Third Collapsing Ix-Durham Anomaly, to be exact. It was an alternate dimension that, for reasons no one ever knew, decided to open up right over the playground outside Harriet Elementary. Gaseous Girl and Hiccup Holly would have managed to set aside their problems and team up to fight this existential threat. But now Hiccup Holly didn’t exist. Madeleine did (sort of) but she had flown to another crisis in another part of the city. It turned out to be a standard police chase of a burglar in a getaway car. Meanwhile, the Ix-Durham Anomaly went and collapsed the heck out of itself, tearing a merry hole in space-time. Things got loose.


Paul had been a painter. In the new timeline, he was still a painter. He had changed from Episcopalian to Baptist, but nothing else in his life had shifted. He had gone out to the river to sketch some things, while his dear wife Amelia took a nap by his side. As Paul reached for his pencil, he heard a sudden ominous rumble, and then a thud and a dull scraping, like some very big animal pawing at the ground. He looked up, wondering if the local farmer’s prize bull, Old Hector, had gotten loose. That would be bad, Paul thought. Old Hector wasn’t friendly.

It wasn’t Old Hector. A gigantic creature towered above him. Behemoth Bob, the result of an unfortunate alien genetics experiment. He’d been locked up in a temporal prison reality after he ate a small moon. Now Behemoth Bob was out. And he was still hungry.

This post was written for the Grammar Ghoul Mutant 750 Challenge, and is part of the ongoing adventures of Gaseous Girl. Thanks for reading! 

  1. Aw, cool! Behemoth Bob arrives on the scene. I love your characters. Really enjoyed this story–I could read your stuff for hours. 🙂

    • 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed it. I very much enjoyed creating Behemoth Bob myself.

  2. I love the creative characters too…always fun to read.

  3. I picture Jimmy Stewart in the role of Paul, Episcopalian turned Baptist…

  4. Nice Michael.

  5. Pretty deep when we think about how each choice can affect so many other things. Had to chuckle at changing from Episcopalian to Baptist!

  6. I love the first paragraph. It describes the effects and consequences of choice in an amusing and clever way. Now I’m wondering how Gaseous Girl will get out of this fix. I love the last bit with Hector and Behemoth Bob. Great, whimsical names for such violent beasts. With Bob running around, we’re going to need Gaseous girl more than ever! Fun story, as always. 🙂

  7. Moon-eating monsters are the worst, even when they happen to have awesome names, like Behemoth Bob. This story just keeps getting better. 🙂

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