The Change

Summary: the world is wicked, the world is cruel. No one knows this better than humanity's emotional sewer system, Johnny C. But floods are a thing of the past, and the world is spiraling out of control, and it seems like maybe, this time, the lights have gone out for good.

Story:a crossover of Johnny the Homicidal maniac, "Dies the Fire", Invader Zim, and misc. names and places. In which the old world ends, and a new world begins.

Leading characters
: Johnny C., Devi D, and Todd 'Squee' Castil.

Warnings: Murder, language, references to cannabalism, speculation on religion, and of course Johnny C. himself.

Death and the Lady rode through the hills,

Like a bowshot in the dimming light...

March 15th, 1998

The street was empty and silent, like a madman absorbed in his own mind—a calm before the storm. Lights burned in more than one window despite the late hour, their torch-glow reflecting off wet pavement. A lone figure broke the stillness. Johnny C., dripping in blood, gallivanted through the quite neighborhood, looking wildly terrified or furious, depending on how much you knew about his last half-hour.

His door flew open, and Johnny charged into his own house with all the delicacy of an avalanche. The door crashed closed behind him, pulled to by his hoofed boots. Safe at last from the itching horror of the outside world.

"Interesting night?" snickered a voice across the room. "Did poor old Nny bite off more than he could chew?"

"Shut the fuck up," he shot back, preoccupied with the blood on his gloves. "I'm still not talking to you."

"Which means," the voice countered, "I'll be doing the talking for both of us."

There was, Johnny reflected, really no rest for the wicked. The murderer strode across the floor, all things forgotten in his irritation. He snatched an evil looking pig statue off his desk, and its grin- impossibly -seemed to stretch wider, sucking away what little warmth filled the dank room.

"I am so tired of you yakking away all the fucking time! Here I thought I was supposed to be getting saner, and yet still you talk, like a windup doll from the lowest depths of Hell! Cut to the chase for once in your miserable existence!"

Twin lights burned in the ceramic monster's eyes. "Oh, I dare say that the chase is coming. Wait a little longer, Johnny-boy. But I do have a warning for you—a last bit of advice, seeing as we'll be parting soon, and I would so hate to leave you empty handed after all that we've been through."

"You're leaving?" The insomniac's eyes flew wide open, uncomprehending. Freedom? The concept dangled over him suddenly, like Tantalus's fruit hanging above a starving man.

"Indeed I am. Wasn't that the first thing I told you? 'Our time is short'. Of course, it lasted longer than expected, but all for the better. So here's my last bit of wisdom. Heed it or don't, it's your funeral. I hope you will, though, in light of all the progress we've made on your emotions."

'We'. Johnny snorted. The horrible little thing would like credit for that, wouldn't it? He might have been forced to reconsider his stance the whole 'emotion' subject (and grudgingly at that), but he certainly hadn't caved into the Reverend's obscene insistance.

"You see, Nny, the world is about to go crazy. So very, utterly mad, that you're going to look like a Girl Scout by comparison. My advice to you is this: go buy some astronaut food, for the love of God. Steal some edible plants. You might want to clean out your basement too, just in case you need somewhere to hide." And then the statue cackled.

The murderer was silent for a long moment. "…Are you fucking kidding me? Should I go out on the street corner and carry a big sign that says 'The End Is Near! My headvoice told me so!'—is that what you want?"

"Don't be so melodramatic. Think of it like this: I'm leaving for good. All these things I'm telling you to do are payment for having a clear head. I can't leave until you're prepared."

Was it telling the truth? Fuck. There was no way to tell. But if there was one thing Johnny knew, it was that he wanted to be the only one inside his head for once in his life. He wanted to know what it felt like. Some knives and dehydrated food were definitely worth that.

"Fine." He dropped the statue back onto the table with a dull thud. "Though how you know this, I can't imagine."

"Trade secret!" The vile thing laughed.

Johnny left the room.

Dear Die-ary,

I've been having these flashes lately. It's unsettling. On the one hand, I feel saner than I ever have—rational, self-controlled. On the other hand, the Rev. is still as loud as ever and now he's telling me to stock up for the post-apocalyptic-world-of-tomorrow. On top of all that, there are the flashes.

Sometimes, they feel like memories. Maybe they're from my past. They're simple things, old fashioned things. Like I was some kind of Amish person before I lost my mind. Plowing and planting. Hunting, carriages, churning fucking BUTTER. There's a woman and a kid, sometimes. I don't know if they're my family or not. I kind of hope not. The woman was dead once.

Other times, they feel like scenes from the type of movie that I might go to see. Yesterday, one hit me. I was looking down at my hands, white and skeletal and long. Not much different, I guess, except for the skin tone. I had a scythe in one hand, and there was grass all around me. Maybe it was wheat. I've never even seen wheat before. I swung the thing, and I knocked off the fuzzy parts of the stalks. Then the field started screaming. I swear to god, the plants were shrieking and cursing at me, and I didn't know what was going on except that I had to keep harvesting, no matter how many screams I heard.

I guess it was a dream or something. These dreams scare me more than any I've ever had. And I can't stop them by not sleeping. Fuck, I wish I could. I wish I knew... something. Anything.

I'm gonna go buy some fucking astronaut food.

-March 16, 1998

"I've lost my mind. Or whatever's left of it," Johnny muttered to himself, standing in line at the Wall-To-Wall-mart.

"No kiddin'," snorted the guy behind him.

Johnny turned to see a black-haired youth—early teens—with a gravity-defying upswept lock of hair. His thoughts jumped back to his vision of the scythe in the wheat field. Could he use this guy's hair as a weapon? It would be a nice change of pace. He'd always wanted to kill someone with their own hair.

The kid must have noticed the maniacal look, because he took a small step back and grimaced apologetically. "Sorry," he said, "that sounded really rude. I thought you were making a joke. Sometimes I just talk without thinking- you can ask my sister. Honest to Cthulhu."

An apology. Hm. Apologies were very unusual outside of his basement, and he hadn't even hurt this guy yet. The old Johnny probably would have killed him anyways, but the new Johnny…

The new Johnny was a nearly free man with an arm load of astronaut food.

The kid would live.

So he reached the front of the line, purchased his water bottles and dried food, stabbed a door attendant for first assuming that he stole those things and then making a crude comment about hiding in a bunker with stocked foods and magazines of the illegitimate kind, and went home.

As he walked through the streets with bags in hand, he glanced up at the sky. A lovely March day, sun shining, crust of snow glittering and dissolving on the grass. The world was actually a beautiful thing, when you took humanity out of the equation. A model of efficiency, everything evolved to virulence, balanced and counterbalanced.

And then some asshole across the street screamed something about fags with shopping bags.

'Rotten', Johnny thought to himself for the thousandth time. 'The whole world is rotten. If only the people would just… go away. Things would set themselves right.'

Well, maybe not all the people. He didn't want to die again, and there were some people in the world who deserved to live. He knew one or two personally. He'd even killed one.

The memory, faded and fractured, made him sigh sadly. If it hadn't been for that fucking wall, none of this would have happened. He'd have more to hold on to than some bitter memories and a burning hatred of humanity.

Another sigh. He was too depressed even to go across the street and kill the asshat who insulted him.

Instead, he walked on.

Dear Die-ary

It would be different if I actually was a fag. Or a shoplifter. Or a Satanist. Or one of those other insults. I mean, I'd still kill them, but at least they'd be accurate. Instead they make all these fucking assumptions. They don't know me, they have no right to judge me. Especially if they're going to judge wrongly. I feel like I've been running in circles for thousands of years. I'm so done with this shit. I bought a Marilyn Manson CD today, because some lady on the street corner told me not to. I showed it to her, then I used it to slice her head open. But the songs are kind of decent. It's not Ode To Joy, but it's not rap. Am I more coherent than I used to be? It feels like it. Or maybe I'm worse than I ever was. I need some skettios.

-March 17, 1998

The TV blared at mind-numbing decibels, casting the tattered couch with a bluish light. The only light in the house, actually. And on the worn seat lay Johnny, spaghettios in hand.

"There is darkness about! It blocks out the sun! What is it?"


The murderer laughed wildly. He wasn't even sure what he was laughing at, except that he felt compelled to. Typical evening in number 777. The television set glowed red and the announcers grew louder—the show was back on. Johnny changed the channel.

Pain! Like a shot of the sun in a black cave, like blinds sprung open the morning after a hangover-

Without warning, a white light flashed through his eyes, literally through, brighter than a thousand suns. Pain shot through his body like millions of nails driven in at once. He had a half second to wonder if this was how his victims felt, before both the pain and light subsided into nothing.

He was alone, unharmed, and his house was completely dark.

A thousand questions ran through his head. Why? What exactly just happened? Would his television be okay?

That sort of thing.

Eyes quickly acclimating to the dimness, he skittered into his kitchen for a candle. He liked candles, but he never had a reason to use them, so they tended to build up in one drawer or another. And in his refrigerator. The wick was lit, and he returned to his couch to finish off those spaghettios, and stare blankly into space wondering what that light had been.

It hadn't been 'light' exactly. It came at him from every direction, brighter than anything he'd seen before, even when he'd visited Heaven.

If he really had visited Heaven.

Eventually, curiosity got the better of him, and he dared to venture forth from the safety of his living room, past the swinging noose and all the way to his front door. Now here was the dilemma: in the last two days, he'd been out of his house as many times. He often went a week before leaving. Was it really a good idea to get out into the world a third time?

What the hell. It was just his front porch.

The door creaked open, revealing an odd sight. The oddity did not lie in the addition of something foreign—oh no, it lay in the lack of something so common place, so menial, that the mind cannot even comprehend its discrepancy for a few precious seconds.

The lights were out.

And maybe, a side of him wondered, alone in the all-too-natural darkness, just maybe, they're out for good.