Dr Strange stands in the dark of his bedroom, in the dark of his house, at the back of a neon-lit lane, behind a pool hall no-one uses. He feels every shadow, as if they’re connected. Shadows that span the world, like a web. That people get lost, fight and drown in, cry and hide in. Make love in.
He feels for sex. Every woman’s every man’s. The screams of pleasure, the moans, the rutting, the softest kisses and midnight sighs.
He feels for its hurt, the politics, of body, motion and deed. For sex’s victory, joy. The resented apathy.
For love and other heartache.
For its sweat and honesty and saving simplicity and lies. For the way it shapes breath and closes eyes.
“This explains much,” a voice says, from the darkest corner of his moonlit room.
Eyes closed, taking in the silver rays of light from the dome of protection above him, Strange does not reply.
“You are weaving the Kinetic Energy of Copulation, aren’t you?” the shadowed man says.
Strange feels for sin, for lust, slides down and drinks romance. He bathes with and feeds off it all.
“I have come a long way since last we met, my friend,” the sorcerer says. “These things I do need power.”
He feels, through the dark, for every pick-up line, every bird tweet, every horny insect call and animal howl. For the shudder of first stroke, the release of climax. He smoulders with the afterglow, burns with the post-sex touching, which is still sex. He scrapes a little off it all. That one-second of one shudder, a fraction of endless want, that slight swell of depthless yearning. Not enough for anyone know or care, but, combined, enough to give him enormous fuel.
“Since we last met? I saw you two weeks ago, Stephen,” the voice says.
“Hm...? Yes, I have increased my… travels. They are quite addictive, you know.”
Strange’s face tilts further, to face the ceiling, mouth open, releasing a little, almost orgasmic “Ut…!” He turns to see the Silver Surfer, lounging back in one of his big, parchment, silk and trinket draped chairs, like a hidden king.
The shadows blend into his contours, suiting his sliver frame.
“I have felt your power growing. What do you do with such energies?” the Silver Surfer asks.
“Store it, use it, barter it for knowledge, to learn, mostly. To seek, to build my spheres, to defend. You disapprove?”
“I don’t judge, Stephen. Ever.”
“How could you with the life you have lead?” Strange says.
He motions, casually, with two fingers, and his dome of protection shifts from the ceiling to the wall, so he might see the moon over the city skyline.
“Sex and magic. Using moments in dimensions without time to live forever. To explore. I was wondering how long it would take you to get this far,” the Surfer says.
“You, who can skirt black holes and travel wormholes and pierce stars, to whom time and gravity are but toys?”
“I’m not judging,” the Surfer repeats.
The Surfer is now standing on his board, over Strange, imposing in the shadow and moon glow.
“Why are you here, may I ask? Not that I am objecting.”
“To observe. A conflict with Eternity is inevitable.”
“Words, at least. I am hoping for words.”
“Either way. I feel it. Can you tell me why?”
“I suspect, if I learn enough, Eternity will be scared of my unravelling it, or making it small.”
“How absurd. If I learn enough, I, most probably, will simply become it. A part of it. Is that so bad?”
“I don’t judge,” the Surfer says.
“But you understand the scale of this?”
“As you understand the scale of me, Stephen. If there is a battle, as ever, I will be by your side.”
The Surfer, hunched, arms spread as if his fingers are trickling lines in a stream, passes on his board through Strange’s window, at right angles, without breaking it, talking as he goes.
“You comprehend, Stephen, of them all, the freedom, the animal simplicity of me and my motion, in this haunted life. The sheer, unbridled level of existence I can hide in, of rapture, when riding the cosmic wave.
“This knowledge of yours is as close to friendship as my mind can grasp.”
“Good people might die. And I. Maybe you.”
Outside now, the Silver Surfer’s board elevates, the window following its trajectory, until he is above the house, above Strange and the moon, surrounded by sliver-lined, monstrous dark clouds.
“The things I have seen, Stephen… What care I of death, other than how precious be this moment of life? To me, you are pure. Return to your sex and magic, the shadows that carry them. The sweat and juices you lose yourself in. Your spells. I judge not. If needed, I will be there.”
Strange watches out his window, as the Silver Surfer flies from view, and the moon is slowly consumed by passing black clouds.