"Desert Five O'Clock": William Arcane finds his way to a diner by the side of the road in West Texas, and orders a vanilla milkshake. The man behind the counter is taken aback by the fact that William is wearing scuba gear in order to prevent him from i
- This woman, she is a minion of the rot, and when the time comes, she will bow to that terrible power. Should you stay with her, she will be your downfall, and the downfall of us all.
Appearing in "Desert Five O'Clock"
- Gil (Dies)
Synopsis for "Desert Five O'Clock"
William Arcane finds his way to a diner by the side of the road in West Texas, and orders a vanilla milkshake. The man behind the counter is taken aback by the fact that William is wearing scuba gear in order to prevent him from inhaling any airborne bacteria. He admits that he has come from the Shepherd Institute, but that he left. The man becomes suspicious, and in response, William causes the man's hand to decay and rot, causing him incredible pain. Likewise, he taps into each of the patron's bodies, causing little areas of rot like decaying teeth and dead skin to grow and kill them. Alone, he enjoys his vanilla milkshake.
Later, Abigail Arcane and Alec Holland track him to the diner, but he has already gone. Abby marvels at how strong the boy already appears to have grown. She decides that they should get some rest in the meantime, on the grass where there will be fewer elements of death to be used against them. Setting down on the grass, Alec can't help but stare as Abby removes her jacket. He has memories of being with her romantically as the Swamp Thing. Even so, with the call of The Green so strong in his head, the last thing he can think about is making a move on her.
Falling asleep, Alec dreams of The Green and the Parliament of Trees. The Parliament warns that a kingdom of Rot is being built in the deadlands of the western deserts, and yet he ignores their call to arms. Alec responds that he doesn't want to make the sacrifice - to give his human body up as host to a swamp thing. The other members of the parliament are angered, reminding him that each of them made the sacrifice of their own free will in answer to the call of the Green.
The trees explain that The Rot is the third element, in opposition to both the Green and The Red. Though the Red and the Green would both take the world for themselves if they could, they work in balance to keep the Rot at bay. In the battle, the Green and the Red found no warrior greater than man. It is a great honour to be called to the Green to become a protector and warrior. Despite Alec's reticence, the Parliament announces that it can go on without him as their intended warrior king, but he puts them at great risk by failing to face his destiny.
Alec explains that in his own way, he is fighting by tracking down William Arcane. The Parliament warns, however, that it is not William who is the greatest danger, but Abigail. When the time comes, she will bow to the terrible power of the Rot, and if Alec stays with her, she will be his downfall - and the downfall of all life on Earth. Alec thinks about her, and despite knowing in the back of his mind that they are right, his memories are telling him otherwise. Sternly, the Parliament commands him to kill her before it is too late.
Alec and Abby wake up at the same time, the ground around them split in two with flowers sprouting around Alec and death and decay all around Abby. Clearly, Abby has had a similar dream in which she was tormented by the Rot.
Abby gets up and prepares to leave without Alec, but he insists on going with her. She warns that the deadlands will sever his connection to the Green and leave him powerless to defend himself. He responds that his memories of her from the Swamp Thing's life are so strong that she is the only thing in his life that feels like home, and so he will not leave her. Together, they make their way to the deadlands, while William gathers his army.
- This book was first published on December 7, 2011.
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