TICK, TICK, GLOOM
The third unfortunate event in a series featuring TOMB co-creator Ian Mondrick.
I’m in Texas, buried deep within the twisted metal insides of the state’s largest oil refinery. Small explosions shake the ground around me, charges designed to block the inroads and prevent fire crews from containing the eventual blaze. But they’re just an appetizer for the big meal: the 100 lbs of plastic explosive wired up directly in front of me. My fingers, slick with sweat, fumble with my tiny motorized screwdriver as I attempt to remove the faceplate. From a speaker buried inside, a voice thick with radio static crackles into life: “There’s less than a minute to defuse the bomb, you idiot,” really putting some hurtful english on the last part. “You may as well make peace with your god, because time…is running out!” My concentration is immediately broken, and I speak directly into the speaker, perhaps mistaking it for a webcam.
Time is running out on our campaign for TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE as well! We’re down to the last week of funding, and are pleased to report we’re on track to make this the most successful Kickstarter of the series! So far we’ve raised over eleven thousand dollars and gathered over three hundred and thirty backers to bring our tale of the apocalypse to life! There are still some awesome rewards available including a print set (featuring cover art by Kim Myatt) and SHROUD by co-creator Benjamin Æ Filby! There’s still time to back the book at TOMBCOMIC.COM and we’re sure you’ll be blown away by what we have in store fo-
Another, larger explosion interrupts my screed. One of the containment tanks has blown, a dark orange cloud tinged with black rockets up into the sky, a petroleum smell blanketing the surrounding area. I wrench the faceplate off of the bomb, only to be confronted by a THOUSAND white wires, all crisscrossing in a rats nest fashion. The speaker buzzes to life once more, a vicious cackling filling my ears. “Oh ho ho, even if you could stop this from happening, it is not our only plan. You will not prevent us from reaching our ultimate goal, which is-”
I interrupt with scalpel-like precision. Oh, I know ALL about goals! The TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE Kickstarter has already unlocked one stretch goal, (a digital, 66-page mini-anthology featuring 11 short comics from the TOMB co-creators) and we’re well on our way to our SECOND, a three-pack of TOMB stickers, in a variety of shapes and styles! All physical backers will receive these if we hit our goal of $13,000 and I really feel like we can make it happen! It’s a perfect time to up your pledge to the physical tier, or simply help by sharing the campaign with friends and mutuals! If we can raise the alarm that the campaign is ending, hopefully we can find some additional-
As we tick under a minute, a comically large red siren begins to ring, superglued to the top of the bomb’s casing, and interrupting me once more.
Where did you get this? It’s like a Looney Tunes bomb I say, fishing the wire cutters out of my utility belt.
“Never mind that, you fool! We’ll never reveal our true plan, never give away the details of our loca-”
I straight up stampede over his line of thought. Ooh! We’re doing a giveaway, too! If you back the TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE campaign at the physical level BEFORE we hit 350 backers you’ll be entered into a giveaway with a chance to win one of TWO anthology bundles! Featuring YULE: DREADFUL TALES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON curated by Grant Stoye, THE GOOD FIGHT: TAKING A STAND AGAINST RACISM AND BIGOTRY curated by Adam Ferris, and MEMOIRS OF THE MORBID, curated by Grant Lankard! All three feature stories by me, as well as some of the brightest stars of indie comic art!
There’s a notable lack of response from the radio, and my eyes drop down to the timer, which reads ":02" in that digital red that just makes you think it’s angry at you. I shrug my shoulders for comedic effect and start snipping wires at random. Couldn’t hurt right? The siren begins to wind down, the lights of the bomb dim, as does the sun, rapidly fading us into full darkness. My elation at defusing the bomb turns to suspicion when I realize that with the sudden nightfall comes a complete lack of stars. My head pivots around, snapping back and forth with owl-like swiftness, searching for some logical answer for the global dimmer switch being flicked.
A skeletal hand falls on my shoulder, so cold I can instantly feel it through my clothes. A voice, raspy and whispering, but penetrating as the arctic wind passes past my ear.
“The explosion consumed your flesh. What remains of you…must follow me”.
I turn to face the bone-white maw of death itself. A black robe encircles an infinite frame, starlight from the beyond glittering in the folds. I feel lighter than air, floating as I raise my head up to meet his gaze, a dumb, familiar smile crossing my face.
Cool cool, but do you have a minute to talk about the TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE? It’s live on Kickstarter right now…