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Oh, precious, sweet crossbow. So good to have you in my arms, so good, so good. Because they're coming, you know. The manholes. They're coming. They're always coming and coming and coming and they keep on coming, coming for me, coming for everyone, coming for all of us! They're coming!

Except it's different now.

I have a crossbow now.

Figure 1: Crossbow

But they're still coming but I have a crossbow so it's alright, right? Because I have a crossbow.

Crossbows are these things, see.

Weapons. Protection. Save me from the plants, the plants that are coming, coming for me, coming for all of us. Or all of me. None left but me. None...

But weapons can save... save me. Just me.

I can fight back.

Fight back with crossbows. Load the bolt into the shaft, prop the notch and crank it up, and then let fly. And aim. Aim at the horrors that are coming, aim well, and shoot well and hit and no more coming. Not that one. Only the others.

More coming.

Always more.

So load crossbow. Load a little bolt, a little angel, pop it into place, crank it back, let the angel fly.

Sweet violent whisper of death.

One less man-eating plant coming for us all. Coming. Coming.

One less.

It wasn't always like this, you know.

Figure 2.1: Manholes coming

In the beginning, we didn't have anything.

It was a horror. They were coming then, too, of course. They were always coming. Always will be coming. But back then, it was just us and the manholes. First there were a few thousand of us. A town.

Then we went mad. We thought we did, at least; the manholes came. Insanity. Ludicrous.

But it happened.

And then we were less. The town was gone. We were wrong, not mad, not mad at all, just manholes. Manholes.

Those that survived, all we could do was run. No weapons, no means to fight back, only us and the manholes and the manholes won. They always won, these infernal plants. Always won. Always came. Always won.

Figure 2.2: Manhole problem

Then Abernafle changed everything. He was a genius, see. Utter madman, utter great man, he focused, even as the manholes were coming.

He saved us.

Abernafle invented the Bow.

For us it was new, for we who had fled the manholes, always fleeing, always in terror and panic and despair with no hope, only death, only manholes... it was new.

It was hope.

Yet they were still coming. Still coming. Coming for us, for me, for Abernafle, for all of us, coming, coming, coming for us all. They were coming and all we had were bows... but we had bows so we raised them and drew them... but we were weak. We had been running too long. We could not draw them and the manholes came...

They came...

It was the end of us. The manholes came and our puny bows could not stop them, no, not by a long shot and they came and they slaughtered us all. Only I escaped, perhaps some others and perhaps not but the manholes were still coming so I couldn't check, noone could check because the manholes were coming! So even if there were more who survived, the manholes were still coming.

Always coming.

But there was still hope. Hope of the bows, the idea of the bows, the bows that had failed us before the might of the manholes, the coming manholes, always coming, always coming... always coming...

But it was a Great Idea.

From the Idea came the Crossbow.

Figure 3: Crossbow solution

I was alone. Surrounded? Cornered? Crouching in the dark as they came, the manholes coming, always coming, always, always... coming. They were coming and I knew they were coming and I heard them coming and I felt it. I felt in my bones, in my liver, my spleen; they were coming! Always... coming...

Did they know I was here? Too dark to tell, too dark...

Then I remembered. Just like the glorious genius, madman? Thoroughly mad Abernafle had done, remembered. Bows were simple but elegant weapons, so sweet and precious, perhaps even saved the ancients from manholes as well, oh the manholes, such madness.

I had to think. I had to be brilliant, be mad, be utterly... utterly... stop the manholes.


Need power.

Just a bow. Add support and... yes, yes... power! Add a shaft... crank... bolts, and suddenly it is all so simple. So precious. Suddenly my angels were born, my dear sweet angels of whispering death that streak across the sky... another manhole no longer coming.

Even with a Crossbow...

But it's too late! I took too long and they're all too dead and even if the crossbow is perfect, even if it stops them, stops the plants that are coming, they are still coming, always coming! For all of us... or for all of me?

It's too late.

All already dead, all already gone in the horror and the madness and the manholes are coming.


But I do have a crossbow.

Stop a few. A few more not coming. A few less coming. A little hope. A little death.

A little sweet revenge?

Figure 4: Revenge

Crossbows kill.

Sweet, precious crossbows, they work so well! I never would have imagined. A little madness, a few hundred bolts, a whole lot of cranking and they kill. They stop the coming, they stop the plants, the manholes, oh, the manholes...

But they're still coming.

But they are fewer. They are fewer. And they are not coming for me, not for any of me. Not anymore.


I am coming for them.

I have a crossbow and I am coming for the manholes.

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