by Earth Elemental 99, with Martin Maenza
The trans-dimensional star-gate portal created by the scientists of New Genesis known as the Boom Tube had been initiated. But this particular space/time warp tunnel had been sealed at both ends by a Mother Box unit that was no longer functioning. Regardless, it had calculated its preset coordinates to reopen eventually at its point of destination. On that day, the planet Earth would regain something it had lost.
The Swamp Thing continued to sleep, his disembodied intelligence centered deep with the spiraling tunnel world of celestial energies. His mind remained at rest, recovering from the ordeals of his perilous journeys through the unknown universe. The memories remained but did not beckon upon a free and closed-out perspective.
Gone now were the thoughts of the places he had visited, of the lonely blue world, where fantasy and solitude were all there was to reality, and where the hint of despair was the death knell of doom.
Gone was the legend of Rann, the sense of hope incarnate in the presence of a hero, in the deeds and words of the one named Adam Strange, in the salvation of a promise made, and in the life’s journey yet to be completed.
Gone was the time shared with a disenchanted Green Lantern. It was Medphyll, weary in his ways yet still forging on ahead, who proved that any crossroads in life may lead to new horizons. One needed only to have faith to follow the emerald light.
Gone was the vision of a new world that sought to create new life, a world of endless possibility that would exist and thrive in the eons yet to come.
Gone were the cold and calculating machines that haunted the universe like mechanical ghosts of the living beings they’d originally been modeled after — Brainiac, the living computer, whose very existence was a string of data, and the Manhunters, who avowed themselves as superior, amassing staggering hidden empires across the stars to unmask their fatal designs.
And lastly, gone were the space gods themselves — Darkseid, the ruthless tyrant of the known universes, Metron, whose cold, calculating mind was ever in a search for knowledge, and the one final war of the New Gods that must one day be fought, but that for the moment was not even remembered.
In truth, the dormant Swamp Thing’s disembodied mind was clear of all these concerns, so much so that he did not notice something that was very much out of place within the confines of the Boom Tube: a postcard.
The card that Abby had sent him a month ago had arrived but went forever unnoticed. For the spectral recipient of this gift did not have the eyes to see it, nor the comprehension level to read it. Only his return to Earth would restore his various strengths, skills, and attributes.
The postcard continued to drift through the void, unnoticed. Eventually, it reached the end of the tunnel-world and was annihilated in the spiraling energies. In a single moment, the unread postcard was utterly destroyed. It had Abby’s words, her gentle touch, her feelings embedded lovingly within it. Now it was gone. But the message of the lover’s devotional valentine to the celestial elemental was not lost. For, in the throes of Alec’s tormented mind, one thing had kept him sane throughout these experiences: his love for the woman he considered to be his wife. The bond between them would never be severed. Not even the stars themselves could forever stand between them and their undying love and affection. This was what made them who they were.
“Abby…” he spoke, then drifted back to sleep.
Someday soon, he would awaken whole and return to the world of his creation. Until then, he rested peacefully as he healed. For he knew that the woman he loved awaited his imminent safe return to his domain. It placated him tremendously. She was waiting for him, and he knew it.
“Abby… my love…”
And for Alec Holland, that tender knowledge was more than enough to set his thoughts at peace.