I got changed out of my battle gear and headed off to where Spider Man had told me, he seemed like a nice kid. An utter nutcage but nice. But his directions sucked! I’m from Arizona and this city is a twisted labyrinth of people and junk.
I had been stopped by one of New York’s “finest”.
“C’mon tomato boy, I-dent card”
Another racial slur. Was it part of their training?
“I don’t have one” I replied honestly. I looked him straight in the eye, there was this weird energy between us “I’m from Arizona so I don’t think I need one”
The guard looked at me for several seconds, in shock and then burst into laughter, serious belly laughing. I waited until it became apparent he wasn’t stopping and walked away.
After walking for another five hours around this massive city and getting nine different sets of directions to 52 I found a quiet little corner and put this day to bed
Next morning I awoke with jolt. An Iron Soldier was poking me with the end of his pulse rifle
“Get up you lousy bum!”
“I’m not lousy, nor a bum” I said indignantly as I got to my feet. It was 6am and I was still trying to sort out the dream in my head when this idiot comes a swaggering with his gun and badge
“Okay smart guy. I-dent card then hands on the wall”
“As I told your friend yesterday I’m from Arizona and I don’t have one”
He levelled the rifle at my chest “Well then we’ve got a problem”
I could shatter you right out of that armour, turn you into spiders, thunder burst you unconscious...you’re out of your league tin-pants. I was about to go all super hero on him when there was a commotion behind us. A large group of people were standing around an illegal holo-screen column. They were like message boards that sprung up quickly and got shot down as quick but they got info to the people by the various resistances and uprisings. The images on the screen were grainy, hand-held and inspiring. Surrounded by people a man in armour holding a mallet raised his arms declaring “I am Thor!” The crowd chanted his name. The footage repeated from different angles
“Stay there!” the soldier ordered as he marched over to the group “RIGHT! Move along people, this area is closed”
“Do you want me to follow you or wait here?” I asked
“You are starting to get on my nerves!” he said as he turned on his heels and came back at me “I got enough problems without...what are you anyway?”
“I’m Native American”
“Without Native American BUMS giving me lip! You, stay!”
Patronizing metal ahhh he’s actually just doing his job. I stood and watched him head over to crowd. Maybe it was the inspiring holo-feed or maybe his barking or maybe just that New Yorkers had had enough of this crap when he got pelted with bottles and garbage and abuse. He raised his rifle and I stepped in, snatching it off him and he turned at me
“You should move along” I said firmly
He glanced at the angry crowd, back at me holding his rifle then back at the crowd. I watched the dials turn in his head and I hoped this would end peacefully
“If I see you again” he started
“If I see you again Daniel, I’m going to drag you into an alley and blow your head off after I’ve kicked your teeth in”
“That seems fair”
“You and your friends have ten minutes before I come back with MY friends and shut this down”
“Thank you. This is yours” I handed him back his rifle
He walked off as the crowd threw more rubbish at him. And for the next seven minutes we revelled in the fact that Thor had returned, personally I wasn’t fussed I believe in The Great Spirit but I was happy for the people.
I finally got the right directions to 52 street from some new friends. I found it pretty easily a shop called “Hydro...Man”. I walked in to see rows and rows of pvc tubing and a vertibale forest of marijuana growing from it.
“Hello” I called
“Yeah...man” the voice was slow and coming from the back of the shop
I had no idea what I was doing “I’m here for the ring”
I followed to voice to find a guy with no arms, smoking a hookah with his feet
“Hey...man” he replied “Just downstairs”
I walked down the stairs, holding my breath to avoid the stench. At the bottom of the stairs was a door. I knocked and a peephole opened
“Yeah?” said the man behind the door
“I’m here for the ring” I said like it was a password
He looked me up and down “Your funereal man” as he unlocked the door
Inside the room was a giant contraption. It had blades, saws, swords, spiked rollers, a whole plethora of devices designed to kill. In the centre of the room was a pedestal with a ring on it with the devices inert. The room was covered in dried blood and body parts
“What the Stark!” I was mortified
“It’s just Aaron” said the mutilated man who was behind the door “If’n you want the ring, you gotta get past him”
“Is it on?”
“Aaron is always on” he laughed “He’s intelligent”
“A death room basically”
“Well yeah, so far nobodies beaten Aaron”
“How long have you been here?” I asked as I changed into my battle gear
“Twenty four years”
“Why?” I asked ‘Why is this room here? Who the hell builds a death trap and leaves it under a dope shop? And why do you look you’ve attacked with an axe?”
“I just clean the machine man” he said “And why I look like this is coz some bastard threw me into Aaron once to try and distract him while they went for the ring”
“I’m sorry!” I said
“S’okay. Weren’t you”
“Any tips on how?”
“I just clean the machine man” he said with a shrug
I looked at the ring and around the room. It was a purpose made death trap. But my quest led me here so I was going to complete it or get butchered in the process. I drew my knives and was about to launch into the machine when I had a strange thought
“Excuse me Aaron?” I asked the room “The man said you’re intelligent so I’m assuming that you can either see me and hear me. I don’t want to die today. I want to die eighty years from now in Arizona with my husband who I haven’t met yet. I really don’t want to get hack to pieces by you and I know machines can’t really have feelings as such, I don’t think you want to hack me up either...I hope. I just need that ring so I can complete this phase of my quest. So can I please just take it and be on my way and you can, I dunno shut down”
I stepped in and it whirled to life. My plea falling on deaf mechanical ears. What a way to die! I used my knives to parry a saw that shot up from the floor then quickly ducked under whirling series of blades. This was impossible! I ducked and moved and it countered and blocked. I was getting frustrated, my palms started sweating...a goldy liquid!
I felt like I was watching my own body as I dropped my knives and made gestures with my hands as I deftly moved between the blades
“Electricity won’t work!” yelled the mutilated man “He’s shielded. Neither will magnetism or telekinesis”
“How about this?” I said as I thrust my hands out into ‘devil horns’, the gold liquid turning into balls of energy around them and some words not of my own formed in my mouth “By The Hoary Hosts Of Hoggoth, you shall be still!” Beams shot from my fingers and thundered around the room. I couldn’t believe the power coursing through my body, it was incredible!
After a few minutes the spell subsided and I was spent! My whole body ached, blood dripped from fingertips. Aaron the death room was still and silent. I shuffled across the room and carefully picked up the ring, half expecting another trap but thankfully nothing.
“Wow!” said the mutilated man “You killed it”
“I don’t think so” I said as I patted him on the shoulder “I think he’s just shut down”
“Are you okay?”
“I feel strange” The world went upside down and I fell over