Hello, chaps. It's time to vote for your favorite story listed below!
This is the 99th time we've done this, which means whoever wins this contest gets to host the 100th contest! Wooh! Let's hope whoever wins has a good contest idea!
This time around the contestants were tasked with creating a sort of 'main hero' akin to Superman, Indiana Jones and such. Essentially a protagonist, but with a central flavor to them.
With nothing else to say let's get to the rules.
- Read the stories and vote for your fave.
- If you wrote, you should vote!
- Don't vote for yourself! (duh).
- The deadline for voting is the 15th of June at 11:59PM London time.
Without further ado let's get to the stories. I was a bit disappointed by the turnout considering it's our 99th contest but eh. What're you gonna do?
The army had fought hard as they pushed up the mountain. They had sacrificed many to get that far, yet unfortunately it hadn’t been enough.
‘Stay together everyone! If we stick together, we can beat him!’
The Dark Lord Doomigon let out a loud sigh from atop his tower. Though he was many, many miles from the climactic battle raging to thwart his Empire he was able to hear the cries and shouts of the one leading the army that opposed him.
‘Why do they always say that when they know they can’t win?’ He asked, casually twirling a sword in his hands as easily as someone fiddling with a toothpick.
By the stairs of Doomigon’s office – he’d designed it to give him an open aired view of the lands that he’d claimed – one of the Dark Lord’s guards shifted uncomfortably.
‘They’ve gotten quite far, mi’lord.’ The guard said. His skeletal form rattling under the loose armour he wore. ‘It’s not often an army manages to make its way to your gate.’
Doomigon took a seat behind his desk and kicked his feet up. As he spoke his words were filled with a very bored tone. ‘That’s only because I let them!’ He moaned. In the distance the sounds and screams of battle could still be heard, no clear victor in sight. ‘The armies of men couldn’t beat me when I had 5% of my power and now, I’ve almost got all of it!’
‘Are you thinking of joining the battle, mi’lord?’ The skeletal guard asked.
The Dark Lord shook his head. ‘No.’ He stated, frankly. ‘I’ve gotta give my army something to do.’ His gaze drifted off to the distance; a smirk appearing upon his face as several large, towering figures stepped into a battlefield of otherwise tiny figures. ‘They never expect the Cave Trolls.’ He chuckled, then paused. An idea came to life and twinkled in his eyes. ‘Bring me the viewing shard, Daniel!’
The guard nodded. He stepped towards the desk where his master was currently sitting and picked up the tiny shard of glass resting next to the Dark Lord’s foot. Before he could pass it over, however, he tripped over a stone sticking out of the ground and fell to the ground but managing to keep hold of the tiny shard.
'Damn it, Daniel!'
The guard ignored this and quickly stood back up, proudly offering the shard over.
‘Here you are, sir.’
Doomigon took the shard and Willed upon it. Normally this single shard of glass would show him an image of whatever he wished to see, however given that it was a single shard it was somewhat inconvenient to watch. Doomigon didn’t like inconveniences, so he used his Will to make the shard grow in size until it was almost as large as his desk.
It hovered in the air before him, scenes of blood and gore depicted upon its surface.
‘Look at that.’ The Dark Lord said, his attention drawn to a blonde-haired figure in shining armour currently cutting through Doomigon’s forces like a warm knife through butter. ‘Facing impossible odds with the same determination of someone who actually stands a chance!’
He Willed the shard to zoom in closer to the figure’s face and the shard did so. The figure was female, Doomigon hadn’t been able to tell because of the armour.
‘What do you think drives them, Daniel?’ He asked. On the shard the feminine hero was busy attempting to shield one of her companions from arrow fire, the attempt was noble but ultimately futile as yet more skeletal hordes charged towards them.
‘I couldn’t pretend to know, sir.’ Daniel said. He had resumed his previous post by the stairs but was able to see the shard from where he stood. ‘Bloody barmy if you ask me.’
‘Why don’t you ask her?’ A voice in the back of Doomigon’s mind asked. It was a dark, sickly voice that had been with the Dark Lord all his life. ‘Get a bit of insight?’
‘Maybe you’re right…’ He scratched his chin and his eyes fixed on the figure. She was surrounded now, all of her allies either “recycled” – as Doomigon preferred to call or it - or about to be. Yet somehow the girl was still fighting, still active and still unbeatable. Her white armour shone like the sun in an otherwise ocean of blackness and she rushed at the skeletal hordes with the same strength and vigour she must have always carried since the time of her birth.
It was to be a marvellous death, but Doomigon Willed it not to be.
Before the girl could meet her end, she instead met the portal that Doomigon’s power tore in the fabric of space in front of her. She charged through it, unable to stop and appeared before the Dark Lord himself falling in a heap directly in front of his desk.
‘Hi there!’ The Dark Lord said, unaccustomed to speaking to people that weren’t bound entirely to his Will. He tried to make himself sound friendly and cheerful, but unfortunately this wasn’t really possible given the complete verbal desolation that was his voice. ‘Nice moves on the battlefield! You REALLY showed it to those skeletons!’
The hero was breathing heavily, her eyes wide as she checked over her environment. She was covered in blood. Not hers though, more than likely it belonged to the allies she had lost on the battlefield.
‘Am… am I dead?’ She asked, slowly beginning to stand up. ‘What cruel trick is this?’
In her hands she was still clutching the sword and shield she had wielded upon the battlefield. Doomigon frowned.
‘Better do something about them.’ The voice in his head said. The Dark Lord nodded in acknowledgment and flicked his fingers, he Willed both of the woman’s pieces of gear to disappear and they did just that, flickering out of existence as if reality itself had just blinked.
The woman stared at her empty hands in shock.
‘You’re him!’ She said, immediately taking a step back. ‘The Dark One…’ She whispered this last part.
‘Well I don’t like to call myself that.’ Doomigon said, sitting up in his seat. ‘But that Is a nickname that I seem to have picked up over the years.’
‘Have you brought me here to torture me?’
Doomigon frowned. He clicked his tongue as he thought about what was right to say. ‘Not immediately.’ He offered.
‘To kill me?’
‘Kill you?’ The Dark Lord snorted. ‘I haven’t killed anyone!’
‘I just watched you massacre my friends and loved ones!’ The woman spat at him.
‘I didn’t kill them!’ Doomigon said, leaning across the table. He waved around his hands as he spoke. ‘I just removed the essences of them that makes them human and burned away their free will!’ He smiled. ‘So! I didn’t kill them! I just…’ He paused. ‘I just… Daniel, what’s the word?’
‘” Enslaved”? Sir?’
‘I just “enslaved” them! That’s it!’ He turned to Daniel who was stood sheepishly in the corner of the room. ‘Thank you, Daniel!’ The woman briefly turned to regard Daniel but made no comment on him. To her all skeletons looked alike. ‘So, I’m not killing your friends; I’m merely turning them into soldiers for my army! Don’t think of it as killing… think of it as recycling!’
‘And why haven’t you “recycled” me?’ The girl asked. Her cheeks were red with rage.
‘I have a few questions for you.’ Doomigon said. Again, he leaned forward in his seat, eyes fixed upon the now, seemingly fragile figure before him. ‘And I know you don’t really want to answer them, but honestly… who’s it going to hurt? It’s not like you’ve got much to look forward to after this!’
The girl said nothing.
‘What’s your name?’ Doomigon asked. Again, he attempted to sound kind, but his voice was far too deep for that.
The girl looked away from him, her eyes aimed towards Daniel yet staring right through him.
The Dark Lord frowned, his teeth gritting together behind his lips.
‘Alright then.’ He closed his eyes and Willed the answer forward. He didn’t alter or her personality in any way or change the answer so that he knew it. He simply made the girl more compliant.
‘Clara.’ The girl said, head turning back towards the Dark Lord. ‘Clara Janeway.’
‘That’s more like it!’ Doomigon smiled. ‘And why do you want to kill me, Clara?’
‘You’re a blight upon this land.’ She said. ‘Evil incarnate!’
‘Could you be more specific?’
Somehow Clara’s cheeks turned an even darker shade of red.
‘You’ve “recycled” thousands of people!’ She snapped. ‘You’ve sapped people of their free will and removed any independent thought that they have!’
‘You say that like it’s a bad thing!’
Clara’s face fell. She seemed taken aback by the tone of the conversation.
‘You draw dark magic from an Eldritch source that you cannot possibly understand! What you do shall bring destruction upon as all!’
‘Will it though?’ He asked.
‘I’ve been using this power for a long time, Clara.’ He said. ‘I’ve only gotten more powerful as I’ve used it and I’ve never seen any negative side effects from it.’ He scratched at the decaying material that had once been his face.
‘What you’re doing upon the land is beyond evil.’
‘Don’t listen to her.’ The voice in his head said. ‘You’re doing the right thing.’
‘Don’t listen to her, sir!’ Daniel said. ‘She’s trying to play you!’
Clara looked at the Dark Lord with a sadness upon her face. There was fear in her eyes, and she brought herself down to her lowest level to do the thing she’d thought she would never have to do.
‘Please…’ She said. ‘You can’t do this. You can’t turn the whole world into your skeletal hordes… you’ll be taking away our independence!’
‘No.’ Doomigon said. ‘I’m going to take away your free will.’
‘They’re… they’re the same thing!’
The Dark Lord thought about this for a moment. ‘Oh. Yeah I guess you’re right.’
‘Free will is what makes us human.’ Clara said, continuing to beg.
‘Free will is what makes us idiots!’ Doomigon said, his eyes flaring orange as he felt himself growing annoyed. ‘I’m going to get rid of everyone without killing them! Then I can just read my books… and I can eat whatever I like… and it’ll be wonderful!’
‘Then you’re a fool.’
‘You’re a genius.’ The voice in Doomigon’s head said. ‘Don’t worry. There’s no way this can backfire.’
‘How long do you think it’ll be until you miss the company of your fellow man?’ Clara asked. ‘You might hate people now, but I bet you won’t within a month.’
‘Is there a word greater than Eternity?’ The Dark Lord asked. Clara paused, taken aback. ‘Because if there is… that’s how long it’ll take before I miss anyone!’
He laughed at his joke. When he realized he was the only one doing so he Willed Daniel to join him.
‘Your people were the last in the Kingdom, correct?’ He finally asked.
Clara lowered her eyes in complete and total despair. It was answer enough.
‘Then I’ve won!’ Doomigon thrust his hands up into the sky in triumph. A wonderous sensation flowed through his stomach and he couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. ‘It feels just how I thought it would!’ He regarded Clara briefly then turned to Daniel. ‘Take her away!’ He commanded; all kindness gone from his voice. ‘Throw her in the dungeons and give her a cell with a view!’ He smirked. ‘She won’t want to miss the show.’
Daniel did as he was asked, taking Clara by the shoulder. The hero said nothing; sullen in her defeat. She was led down the stairs and that was the last time Doomigon ever saw her.
The Dark Lord stood up from his chair and stepped to the edge of his office. He basked in the silence that flowed from the empty lands all around him and realized suddenly that what had just occurred may have been the last conversation. Everyone else that could have one was gone.
‘Way to go, champ!’ The voice in Doomigon’s head said. ‘You’ve wiped out the whole of Humanity, how’s that feel?’
Doomigon nodded, satisfied. ‘Feels good.’
‘There’ll be no more conflict, no more violence, no more screaming babies, no more yappy dogs that won’t shut up, no more idiots that don’t realize I don’t want to talk to them, no more people that talk in the Library…’ He placed his hands behind his back and took in a long, calming breath. ‘Finally. I can be at piece.’
Though the sun was shining in the sky, a large, dark shadow began to grow all around the Dark Lord. His eyes flicked open and he saw towering above a vast, ghastly shape that was as black as ink.
‘Yeah…’ The voice in Doomigon’s head said. ‘About that.’
The Dark Lord cursed as the Shape lunged towards him. The ground that he stood upon exploded beneath his feet and he felt himself falling through the air as he was flung from his tower, his eyes flickered open just enough to see the ground rushing towards him and he promptly closed them again.
‘You thought you were using my power as an extension of YOUR Will.’ The Shape said in Doomigon’s mind; voice booming louder than it had ever been. ‘But really? You were an extension of mine.’
Doomigon felt his body smash into the water that surrounded his tower. He felt his lungs begin to burn as he felt himself drowning. He Willed himself to be free, but nothing happened and for the first time in centuries he found himself weak.
‘Thanks for wiping out Humanity.’ The Shape said as it lunged down towards him. ‘It made taking things over a LOT easier.’
As he rose up through the murky depths of the water, Doomigon felt a feeling he hadn’t felt in the longest of times. He felt humiliated. Desperately, sluggishly he swam towards the nearby mound of black land, fully aware that the dark presence he had helped to create would more than likely be right behind him.
Foolishly he turned around.
The Shape had seemed to relinquish its assault on the Dark Lord. Instead it had chosen to bask in its new-found glory upon the very tower that Doomigon had owned mere moments ago. The Dark Lord collapsed upon the beach… and his new situation sunk in.
Doomigon stood upon a hilltop. Around him were the skeletal forces that he had been able to muster over the past few months. He looked upon what had once been his Tower, his home, his sanctuary… he drew his sword.
In the distance, the Shape noticed the approaching forces and rushed forward to meet them.
Doomigon realized he should inspire his forces and knew exactly what to say.
‘Stay together everyone!’ He yelled. ‘If we stand together, we can beat him!’
The irony was completely lost on him. As was his new role of his world’s greatest hero.
Sapphire crashed through the White House roof into the Oval Office and landed heroically crouched. Slowly she looked up at Vatra, the fire-based terrorist who had the President by the scruff of the neck.
“Let him go.” Sapphire said as she rose to her impressive 6ft 8inch height, her metallic skin glistening. “If you don’t like him, you vote him out.”
Vatra placed a burning hand beside the President’s orange face. His wispy straw like hair melting and shriveling from the heat. “Not another step! Why do you even care? He’s a pig! A stupid orange puddle!”
“You’re right, he is a pig. But what gives YOU the right to melt him? How does what you’re…”
“Don’t lecture me b!+^#!” Vatra flung out a stream of flame from his hand that caught the metal maid square in the chest. She flew backwards and hit the floor. Sapphire lay there silently and still. Vatra shoved the President forward. “Go check if she’s dead.”
“I, well, look this isn’t…” He waffled and complained. Vatra shoved him again. The President scurried over. “Um, well, she looks dead.”
Vatra stormed over and shoved him aside. He gazed at her noting her chest didn’t rise or fall with breath; her eyes didn’t move. “That will show all who oppose me that I, Vatra will…”
“And if we stop the tape there, you can see the exact moment Vatra’s life went from bass to soprano!” Noel McHayle laughed, the host of the satirical recap show Day Old Soup. He pointed at the screen as Sapphire’s hand comes up into shot. “Now honestly, we have to thank the leaker inside the White House for this footage, good job Baron!”
The clip continued as Sapphire slammed a metal fist into Vatra’s crotch sending him flying out the large bay window and onto the White House lawn. Sapphire stands and looks at the cowering President. “Are you a baby?
“Um, baby, what?”
“Well you’ve wet yourself.”
“HOOOOOO!” Noel yelled as he rocked back and forth. “First week on the job and Sapphire not only saves the President’s life but hits him with a diss that will follow President Pissypants around for his next two years. Hashtag pissypants.”
“…oman known only as Sapphire marched up the Mall and saved Her Majesty the Queen from the clutches of Spellasaurus!” News host Pierce Morton gushed to co-host Charlie Harkins. “She’s just amazing!”
“She threw the monument to Queen Victoria at him!” Charlie stated. “Part of me is like, oh my god she wrecked the statute, but the other part of me is SHE THREW A FIFTY TON BRICK AT A DINOSAUR!”
“Let’s just watch it again,” Pierce flapped excitedly.
“…you agreeing to doing this, Sapphire.”
“My pleasure, Garry,” Sapphire said as she sat opposite Garry Gink on his show Garry Gink Live.
“What is your real name?” Garry asked as he leant forward in trademark style.
Sapphire smiled and folded her arms. “I thought you were going to be a professional, Garry.”
“Can’t blame me for trying,” Garry quipped. “Last week you saved the President and the Queen of England. This morning, you just stopped an out of control bullet train in Osaka from crashing.”
“Is there a question coming?”
“What are you going to do next week?”
“You call yourself The Hand?” Sapphire looked at the vigilante standing on the building edge. He had a black mask with a white handprint on it, green trenchcoat and wielded a baseball bat. “Do you have extra hands or hand powers?”
“NO! It’s to strike fear in criminals!” He protested. “I’m their worst nightmare.”
The Hand glared at her. “What do you mean how?”
“She caught the bleeped word spaceship!” shrieked the woman. “It came out of the bleeped word sky and would’ve killed all those bleeped word kids if she hadn’t caught it! I didn’t even know you could catch a bleeped word spaceship!”
“There you have it, this is Adrienne Chang for Canada Prime in Saskatoon, Saska…”
“There are bleeped word spaceships! The woman grabbed the microphone again. “Big bleeped…”
Starlight tossed the AK-47 across to sapphire. “You think you can do better?”
Sapphire caught the weapon. “Just point and shoot right?”
“Yup!” Starlight peered over the icy ridge. Below them were waves of henchmen from the terror cell The Wave. He and Sapphire had discovered these guys attempting drop a nuclear barrage on Paris, Berlin and Moscow; they didn’t like that and had sent everybody out to get them. He had a feeling he was going to die, considering he had three bullet wounds already, just three clips of ammo left and they were in the freezing cold of the Rockies. But Sapphire was his partner in crimeffighting, and she was pretty awesome.
Sapphire stood up and sprayed the area with bullets. Her wild spray hit seventeen guys, thinning the charging horde. “Like that?” She tossed the weapon back to Starlight.
He smiled, reloaded and threw it back. “Yup.”
Starlight knew he was in the company of someone special from the day he met the majestic metal woman. They both responded to the same alarm coming from the Natural History Museum. After that, they stopped some capes holding a shopping centre hostage...
“Hey!” The gun whacked Starlight in the face. “Reload!”
“But I love you, Sapphire!”
“I’m sorry, Starlight. I…just can’t!” Sapphire turned and leaped off the top of the Burj Khalifa tower to the sand below as the orchestral music picked up.
“That was a glimpse of the upcoming bio-pic Sapphire: Forged In Fire from TigersGate Films.” Ryan Seachest said to camera, his hair and teeth perfectly aligned. “This is going to be huge! But I’m not sure about how accurate it’ll be.”
“What do you mean, Ryan?” asked talking head and all round bag of air Kate Kimmin.
“Well, none of this is endorsed by Sapphire herself. It’s all taken from snippets and clips and…”
“And that book by Starlight’s ex-wife!”
“The book, yes!” Ryan clicked his fingers. “So, will it be accurate, probably not but it will be the first film to crack two billion at the box office.”
“I’m going out there early, Kate.”
“LET MY DAUGHTER GO!” Sapphire roared at Deathhawk who dangled the infant by the foot over the ravine.
“Really?” Deathhawk pretended to drop the child. “Like this?”
“I swear that…”
“Just shut up, tin t!+’s!” He snapped. “You’ll get your brat back when you bring me the Gem of Velaafi. I’ll make the United States bow before me. Once they bow, the world will bow.”
“Watch your tone!” Deathhawk lowered the baby. “Bring me the gem, Sapphire. Or should I call you mummy?”
Sapphire’s eyes welled with tears. She looked at the floor in despair.
“What’s your answer?”
Sapphire looked up and kicked the rock at her toe. It flew at bullet speed hitting Deathhawk in the forehead and exploding out the back of his head. Sapphire charged forward and grabbed her daughter before gravity kicked in. The villain's body bounced off the canyon walls all the way to the bottom.
“It’s okay, Amber, mummy’s here,” she hushed. “It’s okay, it’s all going to be okay.”
“What are you doing?” Sapphire stood behind her daughter who was using the Gem of Valaafi to scry into the past. The image faded into smoke. It was awkwardly silent.
“You won’t tell me anything!” Amber yelled. “You keep saying it’s too dangerous or I’m not old enough!”
“Firstly,” Sapphire closed the black box on the gem. “You don’t use an ancient Polynesian crystal like You’dTube! Secondly, you are not allowed in here! This is my cavern of solitude and reflection, it’s not a playroom.”
“I wasn’t playing! I was looking for answers!”
“I don’t have time for this!” Sapphire grabbed her daughter by the arm. “You are going upstairs while I deal with…”
Amber’s skin took on a metallic hue similar to Sapphire’s and she stood her ground. “No.”
“I’m been trying to tell you for weeks, mum!” Amber cried. “I’m scared and I don’t know what to do! My skin’s all weird, my fingertips ache, I can shoot lasers from my eyes!”
Sapphire pulled her daughter in tight and held her. “Oh baby, I’m sorry.”
A klaxon alarm breached the tender moment. Sapphire looked at her. “I have to go save the world.”
“Want to come along?”
Amber shrieked with delight. “Can I? You’re joking? You’re not joking! Oh my god!”
Sapphire took her daughter by the hand. “Listen to what I say. Not just yes mum, I mean it. We’re going to Rio to stop a rampaging sea monster.”
“You follow my lead and you listen! Okay?”
“Okay!” Amber beamed with delight.
“You can shoot lasers from your eyes?”
“Hands, eyes, mouth! It’s insane! I blew a hole in the mirror this morning when I yawned.”
“Your father would’ve been so proud,” Sapphire hugged her.
Sapphire brought her fists down on the skull of the massive snake with a crack, sending the beast into the ground like a spike. Amber had watched clips of her mother and known who she was, even used a magical gem to see private things, but seeing her in action; side by side was something totally different. It was awe inspiring. Sapphire was a one-woman wreckingball. The Incan sea beast was soon trounced. Sapphire had once again saved the day. Then during the press storm in the aftermath, was humble enough to allow Amber now calling herself Crystal to shine upon the world stage.
She was truly a hero, both in action and character.
“Good Afternoon Agent Glass. My name is Abigail Brand and I’ll be handling your debriefing today.”
Sat at a metal table in her white form fitting armor, Abigail Brand-McCoy, daughter of the legendary Abigail Brand, Director of SWORD sits with one leg crossed over the other and her hands folded over her metal white kneepad. Under the dim lights, Abigail’s slim white armor was drew the light in the small cement room that resembled more of a tech-free, unobservable torture room. The faint distant smell of ammonia took Abigail’s mind to unsavory places as she starts paying more attention to the room.
Clearing her throat, Abigail pulls her thoughts together, focusing at the task at hand which is sat across the metal table, William Glass. Although decked in a black body suit made of oddly woven black fibers, it was obvious he took care of his slim yet very muscular body. Most agents did, but immediately she could see it was his priority. His naturally low brow held his piercing blue eyes behind the strands of his overgrown pale white hair; and they remained fixed at her – unsure and defensive.
However the silence in the room was palpable.
Psychologists were supposed to be patient. However, Abigail’s mother was the one and only Abigail Brand, Director of SWORD and she was as patient as a bullet coming out of her gun on Monday. She had her father’s intelligence; after all, Hank McCoy was a scarily insightful geneticist. But she had to psychoanalyze a man, so she would tap into her mother ideology. After all, she would say ‘with passing minute of silence, people become harder to crack’.
“I don’t know about you but, I like spy-games.” Abigail states, “One in particular from the old Mi5 days. In order to figure out if they have friend or foe, they would ask the spy to tell a truth of himself, the other spy replies in kind. Once we’re both are on equal footing, they deduce. Whoever is more accurate gets full disclosure. So, I’ll start.”.
“My name is Abigail Brand-McCoy, born July 3028 on the Moon. My mom was Director of SWORD, my father was a mutant, your turn.”
“This is stupid.” William bluntly replies, “I’m not doing this.”
His deep voice and absolute tone causes Abigail to draw in a deep irritated breath through her nostrils. His face was resolute and his eyes still fixed on her as if trying to mentally push her away. Glancing down at the large tablet before her, she smirks before closing her eyes, carefully selecting her words before returning her gaze back to him with assurance.
Abigail leans forward with her hands folded, “Do you understand what’s happening here?” she pointedly asks William who simply folds his arms and leans back in his seat.
Nodding at his silent answer, Abigail leans back, “I’m trying to work with you here. I’m the best at my job but I would hate to be left with ordering your execution simply because you refused to cooperate, but again it’s up to you. Plenty of agents choose suicide by no cooperation, and you wouldn’t be the first.”
Looking up at the ceiling with an air of frustration, William rolls his eyes, “I’m William. William Glass, as you well know.” He begrudgingly replies, “Birth date unknown, birth place, Madripoor. My parents are two dead humans. ” He callously states before letting out an exasperated sigh and then, extend his hand, “Your turn, Abbie.”
‘Abbie’ rings in Abigail’s ears, causing subtle frown to appear on her porcelain white face.
“It’s Abigail.” She firmly states, pursing her lips. “I am the Psychology Director for the Strategic World Organization and Response Department. I evaluate galactic agents. Your turn, Willy.” She coyly finishes.
“I’m a Specialist for the Time Variance Authority.” William states, “I stop bad guys or good people from doing bad things.”
Abigail arches her eyebrow, “Want to try an answer not meant for a twelve year old?” she asks, “Or does truth make you look bad?”
William rolls his tongue in his mouth while narrowing his eyes at Abigail “Let’s start the deducement.”
“Fine, so we’re done with conversing.” Abigail states, “What can you surmise of me?”
“About you Abbie?” William asks with a smug grin before quickly looking up over from head to toe, “Well for one you use words like ‘converse’ and ‘surmise’; so your intelligence is a problem, as well as your looks.”
Abigail smirks, intrigued as she folds her arms and sits back, “Go on.”
William leans forward, brushing aside the strands of his white hair “And true that can be up for debate but, not all women are from espionage royalty like you, are they? Because of that, you worry you won't be taken seriously. So you overcompensate – check-off pristine masculine armor that' hasn't seen the day of 'field work', check-off prickly white-entitlement demeanor soak power-trips – that’s your mother. It stops others from questioning you, but your thought of as arrogant…”
“No…” William corrects with a raised finger, “…you’re gifted and confident, that’s your father, maybe. Hence why you studied psychology because that intelligence, as much as it is your greatest asset, it does disconnect you from people. Hence your desk job and not field work. Analyzing spies and agents you excel at because you relate to that since that’s what your mother was which helps you, indentify who you are. You’re the perfect product of your environment. And its sad.”
Abigail Brand watches William lean back in his chair with a boyish smile, “Your turn…Abbie.”
His piercingly sharp blue eyes held in his low brow rested on Abigail since she entered the room and for the first time, she could see he felt as if he was at an advantage. Glancing down at her tablet, Abigail scans the report but cannot help but smirk at William’s deduction. His analytical skills, tactical, intelligence were off the charts definitely made him agent material, directors would have practically made a ring of fire and fought over him if he went through the proper channels. He was neither correct, nor wholly wrong, he understood exactly what she wanted him to deduce from her false attitude, that she now knew. What was missing was his emotional stability. That his records said nothing of and where her curiosity piqued.
Looking back at William confidently sat in his seat, Abigail nods, “Not bad.,.but it’s my turn.”
“Go on Abbie.” William goads.
Abigail draws a deep breath before shutting off her tablet and rubs the bridge of her nose with her two fingers, “You say you’re a Specialist, but by the quality of that black bio weave suit your being modest.” She states, “Specialists do counterintelligence, but you? You’re black-ops or something like that. Your attitude speaks to it, attack versus caution and evade. But you wear that suit with such disdain. In my profession it’s a sign that you’re here but not by choice. Your life out of TVA is shattered. Now, you said I was disconnect from people, but I think that’s how you are to your own life, no?”
Abigail pauses, watching the color drain from Williams' face.
“Interestingly, you also seem very comfortable in that suit.” Abigail surmises, “Which means you almost never get out of it, so that means there’s no going back to whatever life you had – you work twenty four seven." she surmises.
Raising a finger, Abigail Continues, "That work ethic, screams that you came from nothing and people beat you with it, thus your reference to my ‘espionage royalty’ and 'white entitlement' which I take offense to having a 'bi-species' parents but you must take offense you, are mixed aren't you? Hence that hateful tone. Wherever your from, they know it too, so you experienced prejudiced despite being fair skinned - your a minority."
William clenches his jaw.
"Which takes me to the left-handed compliment of my genius." Abigail states, "That definite jab at my entitlement issues. Distain for what you even wear everyday. All that anger has brewed inside of you to render a choice bottle of resentment you sip daily. All in all, it tells me that, regardless of how you got here, there's a chip on your shoulder and an emotional struggle that runs you like a clock and….”
Abigail pauses again glancing at this knuckles and faded ring tan.
“While I can’t label you as a cold-hearted killer, I’d say it’s not a stretch to imagine that your marriage fell apart because you can’t navigate your feelings well, huh?” Abigail asks, watching William gulp as his gaze lowers to the table, “Lastly, you mentioned my mom, but mentioned my dad with uncertainty, so my guess is you know your mother but your father is just gone if not dead but in your head, it kills you.”
Abigail watches William for the first time look away from her. Shame. Disappointment. Regret. All wash over his face as he tries to collect himself.
“Now, I’m only going to ask you once.” Abigail states, “Play games with me and this session, will just be the warm up before I go to work on your psyche. Cooperate with me though, and I can help you.” She states as William glassy eyes look at her reluctantly.
“So, first and last question…” Abigail says, “…what happened in the past twelve hours that was so bad, it got a Director of Psychology from another agency, to a non-existent agency, just to help you?”
William clenches his jaw and rubs his face, “My uh…” he pauses, feeling the words get stuck with unexpected emotion. Taking a deep breath, William tries again, “My partner was killed in action.”
“Your partner was killed while in action.” Abigail repeats, lowering her gaze to the table in deep thought. Abigail mulls over his statement like a chef savoring the mystery flavors of a morsel of food.
Turning on the tablet, Abigail eyes scan his digital file, causing her to shake her head, “You have no partner mentioned here. Handlers are mandated to mention…”
However Abigail pauses, feeling the proverbial lightbulb illuminate in her mind as a breath escapes her before looking at William, “You had a relationship with your partner…” she states, “…and your partner was your handler.”
William jaw clenches and he shifts in his seat, keeping his gaze to the table, “It wasn’t supposed to…”
“Oh save it.” Abigail snaps, pushing the tablet away while leaning back in her chair, letting her mind wrap around this as she looks at the cement ceiling, “We’re way beyond ‘it wasn’t supposed to happen’. Let’s just stick with what ‘did’ occur. What mission were you on, how did things go sideways? Answers. Now.” She demands.
William draws a deep breath as he feels the words formulating in him to explain, “I was after a serial killer. The serial killer is an organism. It takes ‘host’ bodies and hunts specific ‘multiverse’ individuals to feed on their power. She’s responsible for the destruction of three planets. I’m the last of a group, assigned to eliminate her. I was pulled off when our group was killed. But I couldn’t let it go. So I convinced my handler…”
“Girlfriend.” Abigail corrects as William looks at her stern expression.
“…girlfriend, to come with me – we had a plan.” William sighs as his eyes drift off in reminiscence. “It would’ve work, I mean, she’s very…I mean, was, very capable. In some ways more than…”
“Out of respect for her death…” Abigail interrupts with a raised hand, “…let’s save the embellishments because typically those who follow stupid people are held in lesser regards. So continue.”
William clenches his jaw, biting his tongue as he fights to continue, “In any case, we went to Earth 1051. It was the last location of the serial killer. We split up as planned. I impersonated an Internal Affairs officer as I normally would on any earth. Gives me great latitude of enforcement and access without anyone daring to check my credentials.”
“So what happened when you arrived?”
William sits up in his chair, folding his arms, “She killed two masked powered individuals, one a hero, but it worse. She staged it as if they murdered themselves.”
“And that was abnormal?”
“Very.” William firmly replies, “It was…see, she’s an organism ultimately. She has a maturity stage. Each world she lands on, maturity stage starts all over again. I was hoping to get her before her maturity enhanced her intelligence and recalled memories of me. So I had to act fast, especially because she’s a shape-shifter.”
“That changes things.”
“It does. But when I got there, I she escalated things way too far for me to not assume she was already advancing. Plus I was concerned that she didn’t ‘flee the scene’ but was hiding in plain sight as a cop and then I was offered a ride back to the Precinct to review the case, which too was odd.”
‘Well, what kinda cop offers an Internal Affairs officer a ride and not bother to even ask his name?’
Sitting in the cushioned front passenger seat of the old Crown Victoria, William unbuttons the top button of his white shirt and loosens his black tie. Rubbing his hands as the cold seeps into his bones, he rests them on the warm heating vents. Looking out the window, William’s clear eyes observe the wonderment of the gothic buildings overhead this Earth’s version of Chicago.
“So uh, you a fresh grad or something’? asks Chief Officer Bratton, glancing at William momentarily before paying attention to the road.
William Glass looks over at the older overweight Irish Police officer beside him, “Something like that, how long you been a cop Officer Bratton?.”
“Freakin’ decades.” He replies before pressing on the horn, “MOVE IT YA ANIMALS!” he shouts, repeatedly honking the horn at the traffic.
Glancing into the rearview mirror at the much younger rookie, Williams looks over to the younger officer sitting in the back seat, “You new?”
“Yeah. I’m Shawn, it’s my first case.” He replies, “That murder scene had a lot of blood.” He says, before covering his mouth, feeling the urge to vomit.
“I swear you vomit in this car Shawn…” Bratton threatens.
William nods, “Yeah most scenes do. We have a lot of cases like that back in the office.”
“Aint you already got case files back in the hole you’re from?!” asks Chief Officer Bratton, “Why botha getting’ a peek at ours? We all cross our ‘tee’s and dot our I’s!”
“I know, but I need to check your records against ours, be sure we didn’t miss anything.” Williams politely replies.
“Miss what?” Bratton comments, “You got all you need. Spider-girl killed while saving city from a maniac murderer and rapist.”
“True.” William nods while cracking his knuckles, “But think about it. Daredevil was what most of us would say is an ‘amplified human’, true?”
“And?” Bratton asks, hoping there’s an end to this conversation so the rookie would shut up.
“Well…” William continues as he notices rain drops slowly falling on the windshield as they make a left on another avenue, “…it’s hard to reason that Daredevil would have ‘fought’ Spider-girl so long, being the fact she was ten times more stronger than him yet somehow, he ripped out the street a piece of rebar and shot it through her torso.”
“Kick.” Bratton answers, “Kick drug has been slung around these streets long enough to give some a deadly two hour superpower high. He probably got an edge off it. But we should wait for toxicology.” Bratton snaps before looking at the rear view mirror at Shawn, “Don’t forget, this guy is Internal Affairs, he’s testing you buddy, he wants to see if you slip up in your duties.”
A smirk sneaks its way across William’s face, “How do you account for the 2.4 millimeter hole at the base of Spider-girls spine, is that in Daredevil’s wheelhouse?”
William looks at Abigail shaking her head in confusion, “A hole? At the bottom of her spine?”
“Spinal fluid is rich in proteins.” William explains, “Said proteins contain nutrients needed for anti-bodies to be sustained for duplication, rebirth, copying. It’s a meal for year.”
Abigail nods, “Or for an organism to survive?” she deduces.
“Exactly.” William agrees, “Like a caterpillar, you feed enough then turn into that cocoon. Our serial killer fed enough, but I just didn’t realize the rapidness of her maturation rate.”
“What do you mean, ‘maturation rate’?”
William's eyes open wide as he takes in a deep breath.
Officer Blackwell rubs his bushy pepper grey mustache as he comes to a stop in the traffic. Sitting back in his seat with disgust he looks over at William unbuckling his seat belt, “So you think, another player is involved here?”
William glances over to Chief Officer’s Bratton wiping the beads of sweat away from his receded hairline and forehead before looking at Shawn through the rearview mirror.
“Shawn at the best angle in the car. He could technically shoot me in the back from the rear seat, but I was banking on the partition being bulletproof although at such a close range it was debatable. I was sure he was the serial killer at first. The only issue was, Shawn seemed so intrigued, not defensive – it threw me a bit, made me unsure.”
“What do you think Shawn?” asks William.
He shrugs undecidedly. “I dunno. Sounds like to me, you were a detective in another life.”
“Before his promotion he was.” Bratton grumbles.
William shakes his head, “Wrong on both counts. I was a Biology Major, I interned in med labs.”
“No way!” Shawn exclaims.
“Yeah.” William smiles, “I worked with virus and frozen diseases.”
“You what?” grunts Bratton.
“Simple. Diseases always change, someone has to study them.” William answers as Bratton rolls his eyes. “I mean, we all know about Flu’s, Colds, but there some viruses and bacteria out there that, well, they have a life of their own. They’re advanced, we don’t know until they get to interact with everything we’re familiar with. Sometimes nothing happens, others, they come alive, grow and walk among us.”
“That’s a load of crap.” Bratton exclaims.
“SSSHH! Let’em talk” Shawn exclaims.
“I was studying what they called ‘The Life Virus’. It was a myth at first. A virus that could hack any lifeform, take its mind, thoughts and neutralize anyone or thing. They’re attracted to the people with powers. They hunt them, absorb their stem cells and bodily proteins …”
“LIKE THE CASE.” Shawn exclaims.
“Yeah in a way.” William agrees, “Could be a virus we’re after and not a person.”
“ALRIGHT” Bratton huffs as he brings the car to a stop at the red light, “You’re just makin’ stuff up now to distract us from the case. There ain’t no virus that walks among us. That’s Twilight Zone crap.”
“Well you know what they Shawn…” William says to him, looking through the rearview mirror, “…the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, was convincing the whole world that the devil…”
William turns to Officer Bratton nervously staring straight ahead into the busy intersection of fast moving cars.
“…doesn’t exist.” William finishes.
The eerie silence in the car hangs between William and Bratton as Shawn watches his superior officer close his eyes and let out a sinister chuckle.
“Wow.” Bratton laughs before coming to a sigh before looking at John from the corner of his eye, “Aren’t you the dog with a bone.”
William smirks, “Not the first time I’ve been told that.” He says while slowly reaching into his inner jacket pocket.
Bratton nods, “I’m sure.” He replies, before slamming his foot down on the gas pedal!
“BRAAATAAAHHN!” Shawn hollers in his panic as they’re all sucked into their seats and helpless sped straight into the busy intersection!
Within milliseconds, William watches Bratton change before his very eyes. His Irish face jiggles and becomes smooth. His aged saggy eyes tight and become smooth. Brown eyes shift to bright purple. Grey hair grows long and back while Bratton’s entire body quickly shrinks to the size of a small teenage girl! However the sound of a deafening horn fills Williams ears, making him turn around and raise his arms at the brightening oncoming headlight from a truck careening towards them!
Springing out of her seat as if on a spring-coil, the young girl tears through the roof of the car in one leap, grabbing hold of the cold metal traffic light suspended over the busy intersection as the police car’s T-boned by the truck! The deafening sound of the rubber tires fill the air with noise, causing all the crowds of people in the street to stop and scream at the sight of the car police car being launched through the air and crashing onto on three cars.
“Question.” Abigail interrupts with a raised finger, “Why didn’t you shoot her in the car? You had a perfect reason to engage.”
William sighs, “That’s hard to answer.”
“Actually it’s not.” Abigail counters, “Either your gun jammed, or you froze.”
“You’re pulling on a tender thread here.” William mumbles.
“Tender threads have truth on them.” Abigail retorts, as William clears his throat, hesitant to answer.
William grows silent, borderline brooding as his gaze lowers to the table.
“Answer the question.” Abigail insists, as William irritatingly closes his eyes and balls up a fist, “You’ve killed before, so why is this one oh so different.”
William slams his hand on the table in frustration before glaring at Abigail, “BECAUSE it’s hard to shoot your daughter Miss Brand!”
Abigail’s green eyes open wide in shock as William’s stern glare.
“But I think you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you Abbie?” William spits as Abigail sits back, blindsided.
to be continued...
cbishop - The Race
It was early on a Saturday morn', before the sun had shown.
I was cruisin' in my GTO, headin' on my way home.
The chrome was shined to the nines, and glowed in the full moon's light,
While the paint was just so blue and dark it nearly blended with the night.
These wheels of mine had tamed this road; we'd run it down for years.
We knew every last twist and turn, and in a race we had no peers.
But when you're king, you know one thing: someone wants your crown,
An' when they're beat, this here street will bring someone new to town.
It had gotten so I would just know when a challenger was game.
Sure enough, this road is rough, and today would be the same.
I looked up in my rearview mirror, and whatta you think I saw?
A phantom, hellbound eighteen wheeler, rollin' outta the fog.
The cloud that it was shrouded in seemed to come from its two stacks,
And the driver, if it had one, was hidden behind a window tinted black.
It's wheels were barely touching pavement, it's paint so red it gleamed,
And it just kept comin' down the highway, slowly gainin' like in a dream.
As it got closer, I got colder, but I managed to keep control.
I pushed my gas just a little harder, and let my two-door roll.
I looked back up into the mirror, and said, "You ain't gettin' me."
As if in answer, a shriek of laughter came over my CB.
Well that was all it took my man! A chill ran down my spine.
I slammed the shifter, and I punched the gas, and I let my car unwind!
We were screamin' down the highway, and I whispered, "What's your game?"
The CB crackled to life again, and said, "Tell me boy- what's your name?"
"Who are you callin' 'boy'?" I spat as I grabbed the CB mic,
And I answered, "My name's American Muscle, and I'm the king of this turnpike.
So if you wanna race this is the place, but don't think you're gonna win.
I'm gonna beat your ass so bad, you won't never show your face again!"
Fire spat from the truck's twin stacks, and it came roarin' up the road.
It got so close I got a gander at what it was carryin' for a load.
It was like a cattle car enclosed in bars, jam packed with souls he'd fought.
That's when I knew, "I just can't lose, and I damned sure can't be caught."
The driver blared his horn and laughed, and started tauntin' me:
"You think that you can outrun hell? Your loss is meant to be!"
I leaned my head just out the window, and shouted at the air,
"You're dreamin' son! It can't be done! I don't lose, and I don't scare!
But put your money where your mouth is. My car against your rig!
If my stake's my soul, then it's only fair your stake is just as big!"
The static crackle of the speaker became the laughter of that trucker,
Then he said, "You're already dead, but what you after, sucker?"
I gripped the wheel, took a breath, and said, "Those souls. I want 'em all.
Everyone you've chased to death; when you lose, I get your haul.
You're so sure you'll win? Let's bet then, because no one beats me behind the wheel.
Tell me, devil, if you're on the level... do we have a deal?"
The radio went silent, but that truck stayed there on my ass.
And for just a moment when I glanced, I saw eyes glowing in the tinted glass.
I couldn't help but smile as we ticked off miles, no sounds except our engines.
I knew for certain he must be hurtin' with the pounds of his decision.
Finally he roared, long and loud, over both radio and wind,
"Fine! We have a bet! But know this race will be your end!"
"From here to where the highway curves," I said, knowing he could hear.
"Last one there makes our bet square. While I'm waiting, I'll have a beer."
"You're all mine!" he howled as he made gears grind. "Another soul for my collection!"
"You're wrong," I said, "and about to get schooled. I call this course 'Correction.'"
Then just as planned we reached the span where the road becomes one section,
And I slammed the brake, and jerked the wheel, and shot in the other direction!
The driver laughed, "What have you done? I've already won! You've given up so fast?"
"Just keep thinkin' that," I answered back, "'Cause that laugh will be your last."
"What do you mean?" the devil steamed. "You've gone the other way!"
"I told you, demon, I am the king! So kiss my ring! The crown's still mine today!
I said 'from here to where the highway curves.' Well, that's back the way we came.
You better know who you're dealin' with when you try to run this game."
The truck jackknifed, and he howled for my life, because he was losin' face,
But it was too late, I was runnin' great, and I was about t'win this race.
Then the truck burned red like a furnace, and it flamed up like a rocket;
A last ditch effort to catch up, but this race was in my pocket.
The sun peaked over the horizon, this night about to become the past.
Just a few miles up ahead was the curve, and it was comin' pretty fast.
I can't lie, I was surprised, because that demon started gainin',
And I knew he had somethin' t'do with the way it started rainin'.
It came down hard, poundin' glass, and made it hard to see,
But this was my road, and I knew it well. My win was meant to be.
We reached the end, and I slammed the brake, driftin' through the curve.
That devil couldn't make that move, and screamed when he lost his nerve.
The truck went through the guardrail, and flew towards the risin' day,
But it couldn't stand the light, and it just up and faded away.
The souls that truck was carryin' swirled into the east,
And a joyous sound was heard as they were finally released.
So if you ever come to race me, just remember one last thing:
It's a waste of both our time, because on this road, I am the king.
Right! Those are our entries, ladies and gentlemen! Make sure you vote for your fave and live long and prosper!