Jack's was an odd family. He knew it, they knew it, and indeed, so it seemed did everyone else. Among his friends - for strangely he had some - Jack was known as a night owl. He had eschewed bedtime from an early age, instead, escaping to the attic of the old house where he knew his parents would never dream of following. The attic also gave him the added advantage of empire.

By the time Jack reached sixteen the top of the house had reverberated severally to the sounds of punk, classical, prog-rock, emo, and finally trance. Jack liked trance. It appealed to his innate sense of rightness. A rightness that had, after several abortive attempts at coming to terms with the more common or garden religious memes, become fuelled by self designed homemade concoctions of such outrageous and felicitous power that Jack finally left the attic.

Or so his family thought ....

In fact Jack had so successfully designed his latest batch of powdered goodness that when, at quarter past three on a late June morning, he cranked up, tuned in and tripped out, it was to the very fabric of the multiverse itself he went.

As Jack fled the constraints of the worldly to be welcomed into the bosom of the beyond, his last thoughts were for his body. Cute though he knew he was - and Jack was nothing if not vain - he knew that the corporal really didn't matter anymore. After all, a body was simply a vessel for one's 'else' ... and yet, he pondered, what if? So in good scouting fashion he slung a protective shield around his body, just to make sure it was healthily maintained in case he had to return to what he'd long called 'The Attic Fiefdom Of Jack.'

Jack spent millennia travelling the stars and exploring the strange new places and civilizations he came across. Throughout his journey he tried to maintain a light-hearted pragmatic insouciance, but found it hard when most of those he met treated him as a deity. Finally, broken with boredom, fed up to the back teeth with godhood and missing his XBox, he decided enough was quite enough. Fortuitously, it was at this point he remembered he still had a body.

"Jack!" The faraway voice seemed somehow annoyingly familiar. He snorted and rolled over, pulling the duvet close around his shoulders, grabbing his morning wood, and snuggling in. "Jack!" his mother bawled again from the landing below, "Jack, you lazy bugger! If I have to slog up all those stairs to get you out of bed I'm going to be royally pissed. Not to mention you'll miss seeing the sunrise."

Jack tried to rationalize. After all, they'd be another solstice dawn next year and he was so, so comfortable.



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