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The Stone Throwers:
A Man-Hunt For Vietnam War Draft Evaders

Thrak meets his author

A bit of background here....Thrak was written about 40 years ago, and published in a fanzine called Shadows of... During that same time frame, I wrote this little article as a side joke for my fellow authors/artists working on the fanzine. They liked it enough to include it in the magazine, so here it is again, 40 years later....

I sat alone at my desk, long slender fingers gently massaging my throbbing forehead. It had been many hours since I last tasted the sweet balm of sleep, and my thoughts were chaotic and mired in the clinging muck of introspection. The blank white paper stared accusingly back from the typewriter before me.

One single line of inky blackness marred the starkness of that page, the words reverberating through my mind in never ending repition. Thoughtfully, I read the line once more...."Shrazzor: The Ultimate Confrontation. Hidden within the confines of my rebellious mind lurked the final chapter of Thrak, taunting me with half seen glimpses.

The powerful figure of the young warrior appeared in my mind's eye, Vindicator flashing in one capable fist. A weary sigh escaped my lips as I whispered, "Ah, Thrak...I am confronted with a problem beyond even your ability to solve. You have become so much a part of me, I am frightened. You are an outlet for the raging torrent within me, but you are assuming a life of your own. I can almost feel your warm brown eyes glaring over my shoulder as I type."

With cruel discipline, I wrenched my thoughts from the path they had trod, and concentrated on creating the final, crowning jewel to adorn my labor of love. The gateways were the key...

In a burst of blinding light the giant warrior appeared, drinking in the sights and sounds of this strange new world. Paintings of battle scenes adorned the walls about him, and calm, gentle music seemed to permeate the very air. Sitting before him Thrak saw the bowed form of an elfin figure, seemingly engrossed in thought.

For a moment the young giant considered lashing out with Vindicator at the elfin figure. The finely boned hands, the tall, slender body, even the air of feyness which seemed to cling to the stranger strengthened Thrak's natural instincts. Surely the being was not human; perhaps it was even one of the creatures which clamored at the gateways of his own world, seeking entrance to unleash its demonic rage. Yet something stilled the youth's powerful hand, causing him to pause for a moment.

With rare perception, Thrak sensed the torment and loneliness which tortured the elfin figure before him. A wave of understanding and all embracing companionship swept over the towering giant. He too had felt the persecution heaped upon him by the masses, and quaffed deep of the bitter cup of haunting loneliness. With wondering pity, Thrak felt the almost overpowering waving of uncomprehending frustration which boiled forth from the elfin figure, bowed beneath his unknown burden. Hesitantly Thrak stepped forward, words of understanding and acceptance framed upon his lips.

In mounting frustration, I tapped the ebony typewriter before me. Perhaps it would be well to end the book with Thrak sorely wounded from his meeting with the arch mage. A stray thought crossed my mind, and I seized upon it instantly. Yes, a ghastly wound inflicted upon him by Shrazzor, striking through the power of the Orb of Omniscience...

Terrible, blinding pain lanced through the young warrior, causing him to stagger momentarily as an involuntary cry of agony escaped his clenched lips. Even through the haze of scarlet anguish, Thrak sensed who had dealt him such a blow.

Grimly, the young warrior readied Vindicator, wincing from the agony of his frightful wound. Fighting back the burning pain which sought to humble him, Thrak sent the enchanted blade whistling towards the elfin figure before him. A gasp of surprise burst from his lips as the sword sliced through the seated figure without leaving a mark.

Dawning horror lurked behind Thrak's steely gaze as he stepped forward, reaching out to grasp the being's shoulder..and ssaw his hand pass through as though it were but a shadowy, insubstantial wraith. Desperately he sought to maintain a hold on his tottering reason as it slowly began to crumble. Which was real, the elfin figure or himself? Was he merely a dream, summoned forth and given a life of its own? Even as these thoughts intruded upon his consciousness, the gateway flared once more, and the powerful giant winked out of existence.

I shivered as a sudden chill swept through me, drawing my robe tighter about my skeletal frame. "No", I whispered, "It does not seem right to have Thrak wounded at this stage. It is a scene of triumph for him, and he will emerge unconquered. Your way lies clear before you warrior. I pray you find the peace we both so desperately crave."

This was posted in Shadows Of... #4, Februrary 1981, accompanied by a sketch showing Thrak with his sword at my throat, while typed pages fell forgotten at my feet. The caption below read "We will discuss your version of the last chapter!"

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