The Power of 10 - Chapter One
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The Heavens
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The Power of 10 - Illustrated Novel

© 1999 Tobin James Mueller, Steven Hägg Ståhlberg, John Spirko, Danny Falch, Ian Brand,
Fred Simmons and Kim Vanderhyden.

The Power of 10:
A Collaborative Illustrated Novel

The Power of 10
Power of 10 - Part One Image
Trixi and the Idd

Chapter One
Witherferd shifted his position slightly...and all hell broke loose.

The entire room puckered, as if God had just swallowed a lemon rind. Witherferd wondered if this was what the Gates of Heaven looked like just before they opened. With what he figured was his last dying thought, he whispered into the swirling chaos, "I hope my computer is okay."

He never should have started praying. Bargains with gods always seemed to end like this...

All he had asked for was, just once, a really good dream. His dreams usually played like old Star Trek reruns: Aliens in bad makeup jobs decked out with tons of cool weapons they never used, speaking perfect English and insisting on engaging in fist fights that Witherferd was forced to view from weird camera angles. Sometimes, very rarely, cute female ensigns in tight miniskirts would take notes off to the side. These were the better dreams. As if slugging through maple syrup, Witherferd would sidle over to say hi, but that was usually when the dream stopped.

That's why he was praying for better dreams this time.

Perhaps he shouldn't have asked for so many ensigns. Or maybe he should have offered something more in trade, like a continued life of total celibacy. (As things had been going so far, that would have been a pretty easy promise to keep.)

Tobin James Mueller

"Shifting Thoughts"
Witherferd's Bed (draft)
Steven Ståhlberg

WItherferd's Computer
"Now in 3D"
Witherferd's Desk
Danny Falch

From the middle of the intrusive pucker shot tongues of vibrant static electricity. Or, at least, that was what Witherferd thought it was. Except they were purplish and didn't tingle when they lashed his bare legs and were accompanied by an otherworldy smoke that reminded him of a mixture of ozone and a rare Swedish-Manchurian cigar his weird uncle sometimes chewed on, the Ufla Feng.

Witherferd would have prefered different types of tongues. In fact, he would have prefered a different kind of pucker altogether. But beggars can't be choosers - unless you're a Socialist, like his weird uncle - and, at this point in his life, Witherferd had no political leanings whatsoever.

Time seemed to dilate, making the lightning lick at his combustible posters in fascinating slow-mo. He realized he was going to get a lot more "last thoughts" than originally planned, so he settled into the whole experience, making it a sort of Zen thing.

In an irresponsible teenage sort of way, Witherferd thought this unexpected light show was pretty cool. Definately a change of pace to end the day. It broke the otherwise boring nature of one more Friday night home alone.

Tobin James Mueller
(with Steven Ståhlberg)

The Collected Illustrations of
Witherferd's Dreams
(still being drafted)
Don't get the idea that he was just an ordinary 16 year old getting off on a close encounter with the Twilight Zone. No, his intrigue over what was happening to him went deeper than that. You see, Witherferd Fehlter Hardling III was not your typical teenager.

For one thing, he liked school. And as he lay near death, or so he mused (with a rakish grin), he thought of school and how, as a disembodied ghost, he might miss it.

Not the school lunches. Nor the frightening and incomprehensible rituals of high school social life. Witherferd liked learning stuff. Plus, school had a ton of computer gear that nobody else knew how to work. (Except the janitor, but he comes in later...) Witherferd thought he would miss all the time goofy around after school when teachers acted like like regular people and he got to use all that gear to work on special projcts.

Liking school made Witherferd kind of embarrassed, so he kept it to himself. Just like how he kept everything else he thought to himself. Of course, all the other kids knew it, anyway.

In fact, Witherferd was the school nerd. "Ferd the Nerd." "Withered Witherferd." "Hardly Hardling." "Feelly Fehlter"... you get the idea. He also stuttered, had a lateral lisp, wore braces, was terrible at ball games, and was a bit shorter than the other guys. This made him shy, but resilient. And, in a way, it made it easier for him to pursue his own interests, like computer programming and studying the origins of necrophilia. He'd learned to put a neutral expression on suffering. He'd also learned the value of being a good guy, and the evil of causing others pain.

This entire room-puckering thing was doing a great job of taking his mind off of his otherwise ubiquitous embarassment of teenhood and, in a fundamental sort of way, was opening new doors for his imagination. His mind was racing. As he watched the world collapse around him, he smiled to slow motion.

Maybe the Gates of Heaven had opened afterall...

Tobin James Mueller
Steven Ståhlberg

More Illustrations of
Witherferd's Dreams:

"Dreaming of Discovery"
Ian Brand and
Tobin James Mueller

Click here to go to Chapter 2,
in which Ferd meets Trixi and dreams become reality.
NOTES: Witherferd's favorite music is now available from ArtsForge. As a teenage genius and soon to be Inter-Dimensional Hero, his home burned CDs will most certainly become bootleg classics. Order yours now! Click here to learn more.

POWER OF 10 T-SHIRTS also alvailable! Click here to order.
T-Shirt Image

The Power of 10 is an Online Collaborative Illustrated Novel project, bringing together artists, storytellers, animators and musicians. See below for links to the virtual notebook pages used for this ongoing collaboration:

For a detailed Plot Discussion, click here!
For discussion of Flatlanders, click here!
For discussion of Feng Shui Chins, click here!
For a verbal Storyboard of upcoming Illustrations, click here!

For a list of Collaborators, click here!

See VisionForge for more collaborative visual arts projects.
See WordForge for more collaborative writing projects.
See MusicForge for more collaborative music projects.

All words and images appearing in VisionForge Projects
are the property of the creating artists.
click here for automatic updatesAll rights reserved.

"The Power of 10" © 1999 Tobin James Mueller, Steven Hägg Ståhlberg, John Spirko, Danny Falch, Ian Brand, Fred Simmons and Kim Vanderhyden.

(click here for automatic updates)