12-Month Trades #8: "James Bond Jr"

#DateWelcome to 12-MT #8:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
807/29/14James Bond Jr(Blog) (Forum)James Bond, Jr. (1992)(Back) (Next)

I think we all have a favorite title we'd like to see in trade paperbacks. Here's a series I'd like to see:

Proposed Title:James Bond Jr
Collecting 12 Issues:James Bond Jr #1-12
Covers: (click to enlarge)
TPB Cover: James Bond Jr #1

James Bond Jr was a twelve issue series by Marvel, based on the 1991 animated series of the same name. Very oddly, Junior is the nephew of 007, not the son, but what he lacks in familial connection, he more than makes up for in gadgets (many of which are in his watch) and villains with funny names, like Walker D. Plank, Ms. Fortune and Goldie Finger.

Some of the Bond girls from the cartoon included Lotta Dinaro, Terri Firma, Wendy Day and Ruby Slippers. I love a good wordplay (or awful, depending on your point of view) so I loved the cartoon just for names like that.

Why should it get a trade paperback? Because it's James Bond! ...Okay, James Bond Jr, but c'mon, for the die-hard Bond fans out there, they might well be interested in this too- for their kids, if not for themselves. Bottom line on this one: it will make money.

Would you buy this series, if it were reprinted in TPB? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

2 Comments

CCC #28 - Voting Thread

Captain Marvel Bunny (aka Hoppy)

Character Creation Contest #28 is down and done, and now we're on to the voting fun! I cannot praise you folks enough. You wrote some fantastic stories, and I had a blast reading all of them!

This time around, the contestants had to create a villain for Captain Marvel Bunny, and the rules were simple:

  • You must create at least one OC villain for Captain Marvel Bunny.
  • As always, NAME that original character.
  • Absolutely NO HUMAN characters! ALL ANIMALS!
  • And PLEASE, keep it light-ish. Have fun with this one.
  • No word limit.

Voting deadline is July 31st at 4pm GMT (so 12pm EST). And remember:

  • Please read the entries and vote for the story/villain you liked best.
  • One vote per voter.
  • No voting for yourself (it just isn't sporting, chaps).

Again, folks, these entries were fantastic! So let's get to them. In order posted:

Batkevin74:

“My…name…is…Baron…Tomeo…Largo.”

Hoppy looked at the turtle carrying the swag of cash exiting the bank and folded his arms. “So?”

Baron Largo smiled “You…think...I…am…not…a…”

“Threat!” Hoppy interrupted. “You talk like molasses! All slow and…”

“Steady.”

Hoppy looked at the turtle, the wisdom of Salamander not really helping him against this ridiculously slow villain. Hoppy cracked his knuckles and reached out to grab Largo, when Largo’s hand came up and parried it away. It wasn’t fast; it was tai-chi-like.

“What the?” Hoppy wondered how on earth he missed.

“I…wear…the…cream…colour…of…a…t”

“STOP TALKING!” yelled Hoppy as he jumped up and down on the spot in frustration. “Your voice is SO annoying, with that weird Southern drawl!”

Baron Largo chuckled and slowly, very slowly began walking off down the steps of the Fawcett City Bank. Hoppy did a double take and the speed of Monkury, which was kinda overkill, flew in front of him.

“Not so…slowly.” Hoppy wondered if he was going mad “Now drop the cash and we’ll head off to jail.”

Baron Largo raised a hand to his gnarled chin and stroked it; the sound like two granite rocks being rubbed together. Hoppy shuddered at the horrid sound and lashed out to grab him, but again the super slowness of Largo blocked every single grab.

“HOW DO YOU DO THAT?” screamed the magical rabbit.

“Super…slowness…” Baron Largo winked and meandered off. Hoppy watched in disbelief as the turtle in the cream jumpsuit holding a bag with a dollar sign on it, very slowly got away.

“C’mon rabbit, think!” He tried to tap into the wisdom of Salamander but the sight of the turtle ambling off mad his blood boil which counteracts any and all wisdom. “STOP!”

Hoppy flew right at Baron Largo hoping to crash tackle him with the strength of Hogules but the turtle turned and at the pace of a snail sidestepped the attack. Hoppy ploughed heavily into the granite steps like a missile. With stars and tweety birds circling his head, Hoppy tried to shake his head clear as Largo stood over him.

“We…are…natural…enemies.” Largo breathed as he drew a handheld blunderbuss from his belt “I…am…the…predator…and…you…are…the,”

“NOW HANG ON A MINUTE!” Hoppy exploded out of the stairs and into the air “Rabbits and reptiles are not natural enemies! You’re crazy! You’re seriously crazy! The tortoise and the hare is a FAIRY TALE! And besides, I’m a RABBIT and you’re a TURTLE! THAT I HAVEN’T MET, UNTIL RIGHT NOW!”

Baron Tomeo Largo ran his tongue across his pencil thin lips which took about three minutes before speaking “You…make…an…interesting…point.”

Hoppy sighed and glided in towards Largo. “So drop the money and let’s take you to jail.”

The turtle smiled and pulled the trigger “No.”

**

Hoppy came to. He was wedged in the bank wall like…well a super powered rabbit who’d been hit by a cannon at close range.

“WHERE IS HE?” He roared as he exploded out of the wall and up into the air.

An orangutan police officer rolled his eyes and held up a note above his head, waving it back and forth until Hoppy finally flew down. The rabbit landed beside him and sheepishly took the note.

-Marvellous…Hoppy;

Today…you…have…met…your…nemesis. And…his…name…is…Baron…Tomeo…Largo.

Next…time…you…won’t…be…so…lucky-

“He wrote in the ellipses!” remarked Hoppy as he handed back the note as he rubbed his forehead in confusion.

“I know,” said the officer “Took me a while to read too!”

Hoppy looked around, slightly unnerved by the fact he’d been easily trounced by a turtle who moved slower than drying paint dressed in an offwhite onesie.

ImpurestCheese:

The Grievances of the Hammer-Hand Shark

Construction Site, Cub City - 28/07/11

"Ah." The massive anthropomorphic shark sighed as he locked up the site office. "The end to an honest days work." He added as he waddled to the gate. Reaching halfway he suddenly caught site of a humanoid snow leopard, dressed only in a black bustier and bracelets, leap over the fence and towards the scaffolding.

"You'll never stop me Marvel Bunny." The leopard purred as a rabbit dressed in red with a thunderbolt on his chest, not to mention a cape flapping in the breeze flew towards her.

"Snow Leopardess, your criminal cat capers end here!" Marvel Bunny boomed. "Hand over the Diamond Eyes of Onca and the courts will be lenient."

"If you want it Bunny, come and claim it." The Leopardess purred before leaping up to a hanging girder, and slashing through the support cable. Whistling as it fell the girder never reached the ground as a fist, propelled with 'the strength of Hercules', slammed into the steel beam, it's flight hitting a fuel tanker parked at the base of the structure.

"Oh cra..." The shark swore as the building exploded in a flash of orange, the resulting fireball swallowing the battling super-creatures and the unfortunate bystander, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

**

St Solomon Skink's Memorial Veterinary Practise, Cub City - 06/09/11

"We'll me right back with your test results Mr. Asalis." The vixen wearing an incredibly tight nurses uniform stated as she walked out the door. Stretching his arms Mr Asalis, Rod to his friends, looked at the burnt skin that covered 90% of his body. The explosion at the Construction Site had done little damage to Marvel Bunny or the Snow Leopardess but had effectively ended his career after eight long years of dedicated service.

Wallowing in his self pity Rod was shocked out of his misery as the door smashed open and a rust red man sized bed-bug wearing a cape and fuel tank smacked into the chair, the force of the impact sending the bystander sprawling to the floor.

"Finally ze reserves of ze blood plasma are in the claws of ze Bat Bug." The insectile villain snickered. "Now not even le Lapain Marveloux can stop me." Rod looked around, a confused look etched on his face, save for the Bat Bug and himself the only other person in the room was a scrawny kitten of a rabbit. Seconds later he saw the Bat Bug fire a stream of burning plasma at the rabbit, the noise of the firing drowned out by a crack of lightning and one room shaking word. ''SHAZAM!!"

As the noise faded Rod watched what happen as if they were occurring in slow motion, the plasma jet deflected off the newly arrived Marvel Bunny and splashed over the Shark's hand. With a howl of pain Rod watched as his hand melted before blacking out, the pair of super-powered adversaries battling on oblivious to his fate.

**

Undisclosed Location, 29/09/11

"It's not like I don't have a problem with the guy fighting super criminals," Rod grunted as the table rotated into a horizontal position, "I just wish he would be more careful."

"And that is why you sought me out?" A figure seated in a lab chair said in a shrill grating voice.

"Yeah." Rod replied, "I went to Weasel, Vulture and Adder: Partners in Law in order to take legal action against him, but just like that the Sheltopusik Supreme and the forces of Superior Natural Assault Kommando and Execution Unit attacked the finance district. Guess who rescued them forcing them to drop the case?"

"How are your new enhancements?" The shrill voiced creature asked as the straps unsealed from around his wrists.

"Makes me feel like I'm stronger then ever." Rod announced as he cradled the hammer grafted to the stump where his missing hand had been. "Next time that stupid rabbit gets out of line I'll pound some sense into him."

"And what name have you chosen for yourself?" The figure seated in the chair asked as he checked the readout from the monitor screens on the back wall.

"Me?" Rod asked. "I'm the Hammer-Hand Shark, the man sent to deal with that rabbit's lack of respect for the non super-powered people of this city. I mean you would think with the 'Wisdom of Solomon' he would think about the fate of the people caught up in his super brawls."

"Another time Mr Asalis. Your personal grievances can wait for another time, as we speak that 'big cheese' is out there unchecked."

"Sure Doc, now what are you getting out of this again?" Rod asked.

"I Dr Shrewnerva get to plan my revenge." The small rat like figure squeaked as he rubbed his hands in an evil gesture. "And end him once and for all."

Wildvine:

Marvel Bunny awoke to the sound of two strange voices, speaking with an unknown accent. His body was stif and sore, he felt like he had gone ten rounds with Elequake, that hulking elephant villain. His head was pounding, the pain intensefying everytime he tried to think. He opened his sleep crusted eyes with an almost audible creaking sound. The sight made his head hurt more. He was in some kind of glass container, the bright lights of the room beyond were like daggers to his eyes.

"Fascinating." One voice squeaked excitedly. "How did Mr Piecemeal find the specimen I wonder?" His voice took on a hungry tone, and Marvel Bunny could almost hear the speaker licking his lips.

"That's not a wise question to ask Dr Helsmou. Mr Piecemeal as you know is a collector of the rare and exotic. Where he finds his treasures are strictly private matters." This voice was obviously female, and a little annoyed if Marvel Bunny was any judge. "Are the items levels of Seerotox high enough? It is a meta animal with reportedly high stamina."

Its was Helmou's turn to sound superior. Or rather he tried to. "My dear Mrs Slifaux, I have studied meta-physiology for years." Someone patted the side of the glass container, the sound sending daggers of pain through Marvel Bunny's head. "The specimen could not be more sedated if he ws dead and frozen. he won't wake up unless we want him to."

Marvel Bunny had heard enough. Thrusting out both hands, taunt muscles screaming as they flexed, he pushed out, knocking the glass door away with a crash, followed by a gasp and a surprised squeal. He pulled himself from the container, ripping tubes and wires from his body as he did, gradually feeling less like a big bruise and more like the hero of Animalville. "Where am I?" he asked, surpressing a groan as he staggered from the container.

"Can I assume you wanted him awake?" Slifaux sneered. She was tall and slim, her suit was tailored not jusy for her form, but for her long slilky fox tail as well. She was speaking to Helmou, but her eyes never left Marvel Bunny. Helmou, a small mouse in a labcoat was backed up against a wall, his mouth moving but no sound coming out.

"I think.." Marvel Bunny began, before falling to one knee weakly. Whatever they had given him was still working. "I think there has been some... mistake here... and I want to know what's going on now..." Before anyone can answer something large and black flew into the room and slammed itself into Marvel Bunny.

"Tekh-Crow! What took you so long?" Helmou sputtered, having finally found his voice again.

"I do not wait outside the door for you to perform blunders. I have other obligations to fulfill." The huge crow snapped. He had pinned Cap Marvel's arms with his talons, beating him with wings like slabs of steel. "Maybe you want to sedate him sometime soon?" Tekh-Crow grunted just as Marvel Bunny struggled one arm free and landed a thunderous punch to the side of the crows beak, knocking him to one side.

"Bring the specimen under control or it will be all our heads." Slifaux said said shrilly, her cool demeaner having worn off a bit.

"Who are you--" Marvel Bunny was cut off as Tekh-Crow wrapped one talon foot around his throat. The combination of drugs and excertion were taking their toll on Marvel Bunny, and the room began to spin.

"Hold him still." Helmou said, edging close, a large needle on one small hand. "Soon this will just be a dream Mr Bunny. Just an unpleasant dream."

Weak, disoriented, need a way out...

"SHAZAM!" Marvel Bunny yelled, causing a bolt of magic to hit him and Tekh-Crow. The huge bird was stunned by the bolt, and Marvel Bunny shoves him aside. He briefly noticed he hadn't reverted to his normal form before leaping through a window. The city before him is completely unknown to him. Sprawled out as far as the eye can see, and reaching up to rake at the sky. Buildings bunched together, broken streets, pollution and dirty skies.

It was as far from Animalville as another planet would be. Marvel Bunny flew down into a narrow ally, grabbing a trench coat off a clothes line on the way down to disguise himself. Picking up part of a newspaper from a pile of trash, he squinted his eyes as he saw the date near the top of the page.

July 16, 2099

Cbishop:

Captain Marvel Bunny and Invincible The Ibis were fighting a strange reptilian foe- a black snake with a yellow underbelly in the jagged pattern of a lightning bolt. He was as strong as the Captain, but with additional powers the bunny couldn't explain. Even with the combo of The Marvel Bunny's might and Invincible's Ibistick, they were having trouble with this slithery villain.

Invincible raised his Ibistick and fired a magical bolt at the snake, but he coiled like a spring and bounced out of the way. When he came down from his bounce, he trapped Invincible in his embrace. The snake squeezed until the Ibistick dropped from the hero's grip, then grabbed the end of the bird's red turban in his mouth, and coiled around Invincible at super speed. When he was done, The Ibis was a big red mummy.

The snake coiled before the crimson bundle, pleased with himself. Captain Marvel Bunny took that moment to throw a punch at the snake, but it moved at super speed, flying into the air. "Ss-ss-ss-ss-ss-ss-ssss," came the stuttering hiss of the snake's laughter. "You'll never defeat Black Adar, Bunny!"

Captain Marvel Bunny lunged into the sky, shouting, "You don't mind if I try, do y-ooop!" Black Adar had grabbed the Captain's wrist with his tail and flipped him through the air. A deafening crash signaled the Captain's abrupt halt in the wall of a nearby building.

As the Rabbit of Righteousness shook off the stunning blow, the Serpent of Sin asked, "Don't you know I have the same power as you? Do you know what's good about that?" Before the Captain could respond, Black Adar zigzagged his body like a lightning bolt and with similar speed, he struck The Marvel Bunny in the chest.

The hero was shocked to find that he had been turned back into Hoppy! He went to shout the word that would change him back, but Black Adar quickly coiled around his body, one firm coil over his mouth. "Ah, ah, ahhh," scolded the snake. "We can't have you saying your magic word, Hoppy." The bunny's eyes went wide when he heard his name. "Oh, don't look so shocked. The narrator let it slip seven sentences ago."

!!!...Sorry, Hoppy.

"Fret not, you'll get to change back soon." Still firmly coiled around our hero, Black Adar flew to a spot at the edge of Fawncett City, landing before a familiar burrow. "It was a bolthole like this that led me to the Rock of Eternity, centuries ago," said the snake. "This is how you found him, yes?" Unable to answer, Hoppy just glared at the snake. "Well, only he has the answer you need of how to stop me," taunted the serpent, "but don't think I'm going to make that easy for you."

Swaying his head back and forth before Hoppy, the snake continued, "This is a power that all of us cartoon snakes have, y'know." With that, concentric circles started spinning in Black Adar's eyes, and he leaned close to Hoppy until the bunny's eyes matched his own. "When next you look at this hillside, Hoppy, you will see many burrows, and you'll have to try them all to find the old guy. But don't worry, when you find a wrong one, all you have to do is say your magic word, and instead of changing back, you'll be transported back here to try another hole." Eyes still spinning, the enthralled rabbit nodded weakly.

"But you need to move quickly," warned the snake, "because the contest deadline is almost upon you." Coiling around to one of the bunny's ears, Black Adar confided, "I'd wink at the reader, but I don't have any eyelids." With that, he uncoiled from around Hoppy at super speed, leaving the bunny spinning like a top while he flew away.

Hoppy spun for several seconds, then wobbled, then plopped down on his cottontail. His eyes still spinning and his upper body still wobbling back-and-forth slightly, he put one paw to his head, shut his eyes tightly, and shook his head vigorously. When his body-wobble slowed, he opened his eyes and the hypnotic effects were gone. Hoppy snapped his head around to the hill, now dotted with holes. He immediately shouted, "SHAZAM!" and dove into the nearest burrow.

Earth-8311:

As soon as Captain Marvel Bunny appeared in this reality, he heard maniacal laughter followed by, "It worked! It worked! The Moleholeborer has drilled into another dimension, bringing me a minion capable of defeating that pesky porker..."

"Hey! Big ears here! Kind of sensitive!" the Bunny shouted. He then looked down at a small animal with white goggles and a green cape, and asked, "Who are you?"

"I?!" shouted the villain. "I am The Mole, man! I am the underminer of morals! I am boring into the very fabric of..." and that was when The Captain backhanded him into a nearby tunnel wall.

"You're boring alright," he agreed.

"Hey! Who are you and why are you defeating my villain?" a voice demanded.

Captain Marvel Bunny focused his keen eyesight down the dark tunnel until he spied a pig in a red and blue costume with white eyepatches. "Ah, you must be the pesky porker?" he asked.

"That's Spider-Ham to you, pal," answered the pesky porker. "Hey! That's Spider-Ham to you, too!"

???...Fine, I'll be over here, being quiet. See how far your story gets without me.

"I'm Captain Marvel Bunny."

"I'm your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Ham. I see you've already met The Mole."

"Yes, but I was sent here by a villain of my own and need to get back."

"If anyone can figure out how to travel to another reality, it would have to be Deer Dicharrs, of the Fawntastic Four. Let's drop The Mole off to the police, and we'll go see him."

"Um, I don't know if...wait. What about him?"

"Who? Oh...what about him?"

"Ahem."

Hm? Oh, me? Oh! Oh yeah! <ahem> Captain Marvel Bunny and Spider-Ham...

Spider-Ham nodded approvingly.

Captain Marvel Bunny and Spider-Ham headed to the surface. They were just leaving police headquarters when The Captain looked down the street and started to shout, "Jumping Jellyf...mmf!" but was interrupted by a web muffling his mouth.

"I don't think our lawyers will let us say that," chided Spider-Ham.

The Captain scowled at the hero and ripped the webbing from his mouth. "No! Look!" he said, pointing down the street. "Jumping Jellyfish!" And sure enough, coming down the street were two giant, jumping, bouncing jellyfish, bouncing off of buildings as well as the sidewalk. "That must be what The Mole's Moleholeborer actually brought here! Let's wrap this up quick," said The Captain. He started forward, but another web grabbed his shoulder.

"Touch those slimy things? Are you kidding? I have a better idea." Captain Marvel Bunny just looked at Spider-Ham as he strolled forward with his hands clasped behind his back. "Jellyfish!" he shouted. "That's perfect! Now where did I put my Peanutbutterfish? This will be a great snack!"

The two jellyfish stopped mid-bounce, one in a lean off the sidewalk, the other about to leap from the side of a building. Their bulbous heads turned to each other, they shook, and then both jumped, spinning faster and faster until they disappeared from this reality.

"If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it," admitted The Captain. "Well, time for me to go. Until we meet again, Spider-Ham."

"Until then, Captain," answered Spider-Ham.

The two heroes shook hands, Captain Marvel Bunny shouted, "SHAZAM!" and was gone. Appearing once again before the Hill of holes, he immediately dove into another burrow.

Just Right of Albuquerque:

"Eh, what's up, doc?" asked a naked rabbit. "You must be the temp, while I go on vacation. Heyyyy, fancy duds, doc!" He then chomped on a carrot while he looked the hero over. In the distance, a small brown tornado was moving towards them. "So, Taz will be here in a second. Don't worry, his bark is worse than his bite, doc. Thanks for filling in for me, and I'll see you in two weeks. Tah tah!" With that, the grey and white rabbit dove into the ground and burrowed away.

"What in the world?" asked The Captain.

"Waaaabiiiit!" came the slobbering chatter of the brown tornado, now stopped beside him. Not a tornado at all, he was an also naked brown Tasmanian Devil.

"Excuse me?" asked Captain Marvel Bunny.

"WABBIT!" hollered Taz, as he quickly tied a napkin around his neck and grabbed The Marvel Bunny's arm. Before The Captain could say anything, Taz's mouth opened wide and clamped down on Cap's arm. There was a loud clanking sound, then the teeth cracked, and fell out of Taz's mouth. Taz looked at the pile of teeth, then at the hero, who just shrugged. Snatching the bib from his neck, he quickly scooped the pile of teeth into it, creating a small sack. He then spun and zipped away, trailed only by a, "Yipe! Yipe! Yipe! Yipe! Yipe!"

The Captain just looked after him. "Oh for the luvva...SHAZAM!" Disappearing once again and reappearing at the hill, he dove into another hole.

The World Tree:

Seeing a giant squirrel scurry up the humongous tree, he spied a giant red bird with four eyes, staring at him. "Who dares to intrude on Toucan the Terrible?"

"Oh, heck no. SHAZAM!" and he disappeaeard again.

Hope you got as many smiles and laughs out of this as I did! Don't forget to vote! :)

49 Comments

Would U Buy It #94: "Batman Family: Secret Origins"

#DateWelcome to WUBI # 94:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
9407/15/14Batman Family: Secret Origins(Blog) (Forum)Secret Origins (1986)(Back) (Next)

We all have trade paperback (TPB) collections we'd like to see. Here's one of mine:

Proposed Title:Batman Family: Secret Origins.
Alternate Title:Secret Origins of the Batman Family
Collecting 8 Issues:
  • Secret Origins (1986) #6, 13, 15, 20, 26, 36, 44
  • Secret Origins Special #1
Covers: (click to enlarge)
TPB Cover: Secret Origins Special #1

I am a huge fan of the Origin Story. Who doesn't like to know how a hero or villain got their start? Since DC has released a new Secret Origins title for the New 52, this would be a good time for them to capitalize on their previous title from 1986, which ran for fifty issues, plus three annuals and one special.

This series is good for a number of trade paperbacks, and the best way to start off any DC series is to pull out one of the big guns to get the buyers' attention. For that, who better than Batman? Why, the entire Batman Family, of course!

From the eight issues selected, we're pulling the Bat, his allies, his villains, and a couple of his original team from the 1983 series, Batman and the Outsiders. So we're getting Batman, Halo, Nightwing, Deadman, Batgirl, Black Lightning, Poison Ivy, The Mud Pack (Clayfaces I, II and III), Riddler, Penguin and Two-Face! That's thirteen origins in one fine trade paperback!

For the title, I went with Batman Family: Secret Origins, just to again try to preserve the rights to DC's Batman Family title. For the cover, I'm tempted to suggest issue 44, but I've already suggested that as the cover of Batman: The Mud Pack. So out of all the other issues, the only one that's completely dedicated to Batman and Family is Secret Origins Special #1. I'm not completely happy with that one though, because it shows three villains, and only a shadow of Batman. An original cover may be needed for this trade.

Would you buy it? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

2 Comments

Character Creation Contest #28 (7/3/14)

Hoppy, aka Captain Marvel Bunny

Alright folks, I'm a little burned out on the all-powerful evil sods, world saving super bodybuilders, and bloody gunplay, so now for something a little bit lighter.

Meet Hoppy, aka Captain Marvel Bunny. When he says the magic word he receives all of the Marvel Family powers: wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed. We all pretty much know the powers of Captain Marvel, which is why I chose this funny animal out of all the ones I could have chosen.

Basically folks, I just wanted to see everyone write something different. So the challenge? You guessed it: create at least one new villain for Captain Marvel Bunny! Beyond that, you can use any existing funny animal heroes and villains that you wish- DC or not (but that's not required).

What is required (aka The Rules):

  • You must create at least one OC villain for Captain Marvel Bunny.
  • As always, NAME that original character.
  • Absolutely NO HUMAN characters! ALL ANIMALS!
  • And PLEASE, keep it light-ish. Have fun with this one.
  • No word limit.

DEADLINE is Thursday, July 17th at 4pm GMT (so 12pm EST). If you don't know GMT, Google "what is GMT now," and Google will show you.

25 Comments

Would U Buy It #93: "Wolfpack"

#DateWelcome to WUBI # ?Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
9306/18/14Wolfpack(Blog) (Forum)Wolfpack (1988)(Back) (Next)

We all have trade paperback (TPB) collections we'd like to see. Here's one of mine:

Proposed Title:Wolfpack.
Alternate Title:Wolfpack Classic
Collecting 14 Issues:
  • Marvel Graphic Novel #31
  • Wolfpack #1-12
  • Marvel Comics Presents #11 (Slag story only)
Covers: (click to enlarge)
TPB Cover: Marvel Graphic Novel #31

Hailing from 1987, I think that Wolfpack is one of those embarrassments of the time, but one that's probably remembered fondly by far more than are willing to admit it. Why? Because it was different, and in the 1980's, I think that fandom as a whole, though in love with superheroes, was rabid for new ideas. Although, to be fair, for Marvel, this wasn't a completely new idea.

In August of 1987, when Marvel Graphic Novel #31 was realeased, a then-hit mini-series, Fallen Angels, was just starting the latter half of its run. The problem is that what made Fallen Angels a hit wasn't that they were living like a street gang, it's that it was a team of misfit mutants that was headlined by some of the wildly popular New Mutants, and filled out by Devil Dinosaur and a few unknowns, including the keeper of two mutant lobsters.

This...is in no way...that. It was a group of misfits, and they were living like a street gang...but that's where the similarities end. I think the initial popularity of Wolfpack may have been buoyed by Fallen Angels, because fans were maybe expecting something similar. I mean, come on, it's superhero-laden Marvel Comics. With a cool name like "Wolfpack," wouldn't you expect them to break out with super powers at some point? Someone at Dark Horse must have thought about that when they created Wolf Gang for Comics' Greatest World, and obviously someone at Milestone recognized the potential in a super gang when they created Blood Syndicate. So why wouldn't Marvel turn this cool name into a super team?

Well... it didn't happen.

Have no doubt, Larry Hama is a fantastic writer, and this isn't his first foray into non-powered and/or street level characters. He's written GI Joe, Elektra, Wolverine, Punisher, Warlord, and Conan to name a handful. Here though...I'm not sure why this one failed. Yeah, they're a street gang without any real powers, even if they do have abilities- martial arts, stealth, strength (not super strength, just strength), speed (not super speed, just speed) and smarts (not super smarts, just...ah, you get it by now).

However, Hama did try to inject some of the fantastic into it (and would it be a comic if he didn't?). The Wolfpack were just the latest in a long line of packs brought together to stand against The Nine...an ancient cult whose current plans are centered in...The Bronx. And only a group of misfit street kids can save us. ...Yeah, what went wrong?

It was perhaps a bit overly preachy. After all, we can't have readers deciding that street gang life would be cool. You could do drugs and wind up shot. Oooo, bad! Nevermind that street life was popular movie culture at the time, with breakdancing movies like Breakin' (1984), Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984), and Krush Groove (1985). Rap- seen as street music that made it big, at the time- was at a high point of its popularity, so when you factor in all of the urban stuff being focused on in popular culture at the time, Wolfpack was just something trying to ride a trend.

Still, I remember it as being a fun ride. A trade paperback of this series might be nothing more than pure nostalgia, but isn't that okay sometimes?

Would you buy it? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

2 Comments

CCC Entries by cbishop, Part 2

Intro:
I decided that I wanted all of my Character Creation Contest (CCC) entries in one place. These are the entries as they were posted to the original contest threads, no embellishments, no edits. Up through CCC #13, these entries have appeared individually on the Fan-Fic forum, retitled and edited for better reading (the others will be edited and appear there eventually). I'll update this as each new contest ends. I hope you enjoy them, and as always, thanks for reading. -cb
Yes, it's true: I finally got a notice that my "content is too long," so I had to split this up. For the entries before CCC #25, please refer to Part 1. -cb

All of my CCC entries, from latest to CCC #25:

CCCThemeWordcountNew OCVotesRankingRating
027Mayan Underworld OC986941stT

A bird with a brightly colored beak sits brooding among the branches of the World Tree. He does not look happy.

A squirrel scampers down from the higher branches and stops beside him. He notices that whatever the bird is looking at, it seems to be an infinity away. “Sam?” he asks.

The bird cocks an eye his way only slightly, and greets the squirrel without enthusiasm, “Hello, Ratatosk.”

“What are you doing here?” Ratatosk asked, moving from side to side a couple of times. Sam just looked at him. “Odin wants to know.”

“Odin?” gruffed the bird. “Since when does Odin take notice of any bird besides his ravens?”

Ratatosk scurried to the underside of the limb, as if dodging something. A few moments later he poked his head back around, and looked anxiously at the higher limbs, his head jerking first to one side, then the other as he peered between the branches. Cautiously climbing back to the topside of the branch, he gave one more nervous glance upwards, then stepped a little closer to Sam. “Since the bird is from another pantheon,” scolded the squirrel. “Now I ask again, what are you doing here?”

Sam looked perturbed, and waved his wings towards the messenger. “Oh, quit twitching your tail, tree rat! We all have claim to the World Tree. I know it, you know it, and Odin certainly knows it.” Ratatosk looked horrified, and in a frenzy did a couple of laps around the branch. Sam ignored him as he settled back down on his haunches and resumed his watch into the abyss.

“At any rate, I just came here for some perspective.” Sam glanced at the squirrel who had stopped his scramble to look at him quizzically, then added, “And to get away from Xibalba’s blathering.” He craned his neck downwards and shouted into the abyss, “King of the underworld for millennia on end! And still all he can talk about are the Six Houses! Like they’re the only ones who live there! Get. a. clue!” screeched the bird.

Ratatosk gasped, and his eyes got big. “You live in the nether realms, Sam?”

Sam jerked his head back around to the squirrel. “Why is that so hard to believe?” he demanded.

Ratatosk deflated a little, and answered, “Well, it’s just that…that…”

“That what?” bellowed Sam, stepping closer.

“…That…you-you’re…a toucan,” finished the squirrel. Withering a little further under Sam’s gaze, he added weakly, “You just don’t see many brightly colored netherworlders, is all.” Ratatosk reflexively started scanning the lower branches of the World Tree, avoiding the bird’s gaze.

Sam was fuming. “And why not?” he screamed. “Do you know who I am? I’m thre great god Fallayershnozl! I'm the Pied Piper of morning! Children follow me blindly for the promised taste of something I never give them! There’s no cherry in those loops! No orange! No anything! They’re all the same flavor! But they love them! The love me! Then they beg their parents to buy them more! I say, ‘Follow my nose,’ and those kids will follow me anywhere! Anywhere!” Leaning from the branch, Sam screams again into the abyss, “Let’s see Xibalba do that!” As he straightened back up, his tailfeathers fell away, and the skin underneath was red.

“Uh, Sam…” started Ratatosk.

“Do you know how hard it is for someone from the nether realms to get humans to follow them?” interrupted Sam. “It’s near impossible!” he shouted, throwing his wings wide. As he did so, the feathers at his wingtips flew outwards, leaving more red skin underneath. “I not only got humans to follow me, I got other humans to help me! An advertising agency will sell their souls for a buck…and did,” he cooed. “The love of money really is the root of all evil, you know.” He rubbed his wings together, clearly savoring the memory, and more feathers fell from his wings, leaving bright red skin underneath.

Ratatosk laid his ears back a little, and took a few steps backwards. Sam continued to rant.

“Is that good enough for Xibalba though? Noooo! ‘That’s not the way we do things, Sam.’” More feathers fell away.

“‘That’s too commercial, Sam.’” Great tufts fell away, and nothing but bright red skin underneath.

“‘We already have Six Houses, Sam.’” The toucan began to grow as he ranted, towering over Ratatosk like the World Tree itself.

“‘You’re just a toucan, Sam!’” A second pair of eyes appeared just over his first pair, and they started glowing with yellow energy.

“Well? I’m not ‘just a toucan’ anymore, AM I?” he bellowed, shaking the boughs of the World Tree with his thunderous voice.

“Today is the start of Toucan House! Today marks the beginning of the time of Toucan! Beware, Xibalba! BEWARE THE POWER OF TOUCAN THE TERRIBLE!” The giant red toucan roared with laughter, and his top pair of eyes smoldered with energy.

Ratatosk scampered backwards as quick as he could, and started to climb the World Tree. Toucan the Terrible spotted him, and his voice echoed, “Where are you going, tree rat?” His top eyes glowed brightly, and then energy beams lanced outwards and reduced the squirrel to a pile of ash.

The ash pile smoldered for a few seconds, them shifted slightly, and Ratatosk rose again from his own demise, shaking the remaining ashes from his fur. “You know, that’s not very nice,” he said to the giant toucan.

Toucan the Terrible smiled cruelly and chuckled fearsomely. “Be glad I have use for you, Messenger. Scamper back to Odin and tell him to mind his own pantheon, and Toucan the Terrible will mind his. Tell him to hope that I do not decide I want another pantheon as well. Now begone.”

Ratatosk looked on his former friend Sam in horror. Then he bolted up the trunk of the World Tree, tail twitching the entire way.

Toucan the Terrible laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

.

CCCThemeWordcountNew OCVotesRankingRating
026Lady in Red1,6931613rdM

Benjamin "Benny" Factor is not a nice man. He's been a gangster since he was old enough to make his own bad decisions. He began as muscle for pushers, then started dealing himself, and eventually went into moving all kinds of merchandise- chiefly, guns. He was one of the originals to refer to himself as being in "import/ export." That soon became a legitimate claim, just to cover his illegal activities. Underlings wound up running the illegal stuff for him, so he couldn't be connected to anything, and before he knew it, he was a respected businessman, and the cops weren't able to prove jack.

That doesn't mean that his hands were clean. Far from it. His organization- the illegal one- started being harassed by a vigilante known as The Blue Crab. She broke up a handful of important deals with a blue spotlight of a crab claw and a lot of fighting. She dropped off the radar for awhile, but was finally caught by Horace and Harry Fly, when she tried to bust up a weapons deal. They called Mr. Factor in, and Benny put the cap in her himself.

***

Horace Crabb was shocked when the police showed up at his door, and devastated when they told him that Merilyn was dead. He knew that she was The Blue Crab, but a gunshot? After all the crime she had stopped over the years? After all the things she had seen with The Statesmen? He wondered numbly who they would get to represent Maryland now. Then the weight of realization crashed in on him, and he wondered what the hell he was going to tell the girls. They were only four and five. How do you tell children that their mommy is gone? What was she even doing back in costume? She had only been in remission a few months. He slumped into a chair and buried his face in his hands. The detectives made their condolences and departed.

***

Merilyn's death ate at Horace for a year. The police were no closer to answers than they were when she was killed, and the girls were only starting to approach normal again. He was fed up. He dragged a footlocker from the closet, fished a key from the top drawer of Merilyn's dresser, and opened it up. He couldn't fit into her costume of course, but he could make use of her spotlight and her mask. He pulled leather motorcycle pants from the closet, along with a bomber jacket with his Zodiac sign on it. A pair of steel toed boots, his riding gloves, and the gun from his nightstand drawer. It was time for some answers. And this is how Cancer was born.

Horace made more waves and did more damage than his wife had done, in a short amount of time, because he was willing to use more violent methods. He rattled Benny's crew. They knew Cancer was someone out for revenge, because he was using The Blue Crab's old spotlight, and he made it known he was looking for her killer. No one dared give Benny Factor up though.

Anger makes a person careless though. He hadn't been at it a year when Cancer was caught and taken to Benny Factor at one of his dockside warehouses. They got on a boat, motored out past the three mile limit, and unmasked the vigilante. Benny capped Horace with his own gun, and tossed both over the side. Police found him washed up on the beach a day later.

***

Later that night, police showed up at the door, and whisked Annie and Sandy Crabb off to Child Protective Services. A social worker named Terrie, appalled that the officers hadn't told the girls what was going on, found that she now had the unpleasant task of telling these children that their father was dead. Sandy cried, but Annie was numb. She called her sister a crybaby and became angry with the social worker. Terrie let them cry and scream for two hours before they were worn out, and then they were taken to a state orphanage while authorities tried to find next of kin.

The girls were made wards of the state when no relatives were found. This lasted for a couple of years, until a janitor named Jim yelled at Annie for walking across his wet floor with muddy shoes. She scuffed her shoes all over the floor, then kicked the janitor in the shin. He grabbed for her, but she pulled away and kicked him in the other shin. Jim lunged forward, but slipped on the wet floor and fell. On the way down, he hit his head on the corner of the metal wringer of the mop bucket. His neck twisted on the way to the floor, and he didn't move.

Annie grabbed Sandy's hand and ran, and they left the orphanage. Sandy protested, saying they could tell the headmistress that it was an accident, but Annie insisted they had to run. She said they would separate her and Sandy if they knew what happened. So they ran. When they couldn't run anymore, they hid in an alleyway, and at eight and nine years old, this was the beginning of them living on the streets.

***

They had been living on the streets for four years when Benny caught Sandy trying to lift his wallet. When she tossed Annie his watch he was surprised and impressed, because he hadn't felt it come off of his wrist. Harry caught Annie before she could get away. Benny took his watch and wallet back, but instead of getting angry with the girls, he offered them a meal. Figuring it was better than getting arrested, they nervously accepted.

Benny talked to them while they ate. Like any gangster worth his chops, he had cops on his payroll. He knew that Cancer and The Blue Crab were Horace and Merilyn Crabb. So when he learned Annie and Sandy's names, he connected them as the orphaned children immediately, and had an idea. He offered to take them in, promising they'd never have to live on the streets again, and that they could even learn his business if they wanted. Benny figured it would be sweet revenge to turn his enemies' kids into gangsters. When the girls accepted, he smiled to himself. They'd be turning over in their graves.

Annie knew who Benny was too though. And she also had an idea.

***

Benny was true to his word, as it served his revenge. He taught the girls everything about his illegal businesses, and they came up much the same way he did. They started as runners for various things, mostly drugs, and they reported to Horace Fly. Although Benny kept a close eye on what he considered his personal project of corrupting these girls.

Annie didn't like Horace Fly. He had the same name as her dad, but he was a jerk. She called him Horse Fly, which he didn't much care for. His brother, Harry, she liked. He was called Harry the House, because he was so big. Sandy pointed out that this would make him House Fly, and Harry thought that was funny. Harry taught the girls how to fight, and Horace taught them how to shoot.

Annie played Benny's game, and she and Sandy kept him close. All the while, Annie kept focused on the memory of her father talking about Benny Factor and his involvement in her mom's death. Sandy still woke up crying over it sometimes, and Annie had called her crybaby so much that the term had become affectionate between them. So much so that Crybaby had become her nickname. She cried at everything- happy moments, sad movies, and even when she was angry. So Annie kept her eyes and ears open, looking for any information she could to prove that her dad was right. She wanted to give her sister a reason to stop crying.

They were not completely unaffected though. Sandy kind of fell into a bodyguard role for Benny, and Annie became one of his most trusted enforcers. Benny considered their corruption complete when they started killing for him. Sandy only killed to defend Benny from attack, but Annie actually carried out hits for him. She became known as The Orphan.

They worked for Benny for ten years before Annie finally ran across the information she had been looking for. Actually, she didn't find it herself. One of Benny's enemies had sent an enforcer of their own named The Mute to steal the contents of his safe. Sandy was stalking her through the halls of the office when The Mute got the drop on her.

Before she could fire, Annie cocked a gun to her head and said, "I've been made an orphan once. I didn't care for it much. Drop the gun." Taking The Mute's weapon and taking back Benny's documents, Annie leafed through them, and found the proof she had been looking for- pictures. The sick son of a... he took pictures. She let The Mute go.

***

Benny was throwing a party- a charity function for his legitimate businesses. He had to keep up appearances, after all. This was a New Year's Eve party that he hosted every year in his penthouse. It was tradition that he personally set off the fireworks from the roof of the neighboring building. It was there that Annie and Sandy confronted him.

Annie cracked him across the jaw with her gun, and threw the pictures down in front of him. Sandy held him at gunpoint so he didn't try anything. He pleaded. He begged. He bargained. And when none of that worked he became angry. "I've been like a father to you!" he shouted.

Annie looked at him coldly and said, "A father, Benny? I'm an orphan, remember?"

The hope left Benny's face as Annie turned away. He looked up at Sandy again. With fat tears streaming down her face, she looked at him coldly and said, "I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will."

And that was when Benny Factor died.

.

CCCThemeWordcountNew OCVotesRankingRating
025Villain for Raven Diablo2,5871051stM
"Xandra, what am I looking at?"

“Xandra, what am I looking at?” asked Raven.

Xandra’s eyes never left the screen, her brow furrowed deeply with concern. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were looking at your own handiwork, but you’ve never been to the area this happened in. Just look though. This woman was strangled with the yellow scarf you see around her neck, and sliced open with a khukuri.” She pointed to a small blade on the floor, at the bottom of the screen and added, “We know that was the weapon used because the killer lost his Karda in the struggle.” Xandra bit her lip briefly. “Raven, this could be a Gurkha.”

“No,” Raven answered. “Gurkhas would never be so sloppy. They’re stealthy like leopards, and agile like mountain goats.” Xandra looked at her strangely. “What? You’ve never read the Nepalese Khukuri House website? Point is, they’d have left with all their weapons. And besides, they don’t bother with strangulation.”

“Then who...”

“My impulse would be Thug, but this is something else,” said Raven. “This is someone trying to get my attention.”

“What? Why would you say that?” Xandra asked in surprise.

“The Thugee used scarves called ‘Rumal,’ which means roughly ‘yellow scarf.’ The real color was closer to cream or khaki, but I chose actual yellow because it stands out more. It doesn’t match anything the victim is wearing. So whoever left this yellow scarf around her neck was leaving a message for me. Who is this?” she asked, pointing at the picture.

“That’s Anita Child,” Raven’s friend answered. “She deals in human trafficking, but has never been caught until now. Her specialty is…was kids.”

Raven smiled. “So good riddance.”

“The world’s a better place,” agreed Xandra, “but there’s a problem. We were already in the process of tracking her down, because she was suspected to have two missing children with her. A girl and a boy- Wanda Auf and Willie Cumbach. When we found the body, the kids weren’t with her.”

Now this guy has my attention. He’s not going to enjoy it though.” Raven smiled diabolically.

“Yeah. I figured that’s what you’d say. You’re going to need some help though. Someone from outside.”

“Who?” asked Raven, and as if in answer, there was a small explosion at the end of the room and a thick puff of black smoke. Raven immediately unsheathed a knife and threw it across the room.

"I... am Miko the Magnificent."

“WHOA!” shouted a voice from the smoke. As it dissipated, there stood revealed an African-American man in a black trenchcoat and tophat, leaning a bit backwards, and still holding Raven’s knife where he caught it in midair. He looked at the women with a raised eyebrow and with slight exasperation in his voice said, “I come in peace.”

Xandra put a hand on Raven’s shoulder. “Raven, this…”

“Oh please,” interjected the man as he crossed the room. “Allow me to introducemyself.” Holding Raven’s knife by the tip and resting the hilt across his other wrist, he offered her knife back to her. Once she took it, he continued, “I am the cat in the hat. I am the technodelic jazz magician. I am the Shaman of the Vegas Vibe. Iam…”

“…Completely full of yourself?” finished Raven.

The man drew his head back a bit and put his hand to his chest in mock umbrage. His thumb and forefinger stroked the silver skull hung around his neck, then he continued, “To quote the late great Nicol Williamson in Excalibur, I am ‘a dream to some…’” then he threw his hands in the air and declared, “‘…a nightmare to others!’” His voice reverberated through the room like thunder, taking even Raven by surprise. He then took a bow, swept the hat from his head to reveal a salt and pepper afro, and standing, added, “I…am Miko the Magnificent.” Nodding to Xandra, he said, “My close friends call me High Hat. You,” he said, looking pointedly at Raven, “can call me Mister Magnificent.”

Never going to happen,” countered Raven. “Nice trick though,” she conceded.

Trick?!” Miko gasped, the umbrage real this time. With pursed lips, he pulled the tophat back down over his hair, flicked an eye up and down Raven’s form, snapped the lapels of his coat sharply to settle it back onto his frame properly, and silently turned to the monitor with the picture of the dead abductor.

Over Miko’s shoulder, Xandra looked at Raven with wide eyes and shook her head slightly. Raven shrugged apologetically in return, then put her hands up in front of her, telling Xandra both to be calm and that she would behave. Xandra said, "Miko helped us with the Milwaukee Torso Killer awhile back." She then turned to the monitor and asked, “What can you tell us about this, High Hat?”

His voice all business now, Miko said, “I can tell you that nobody will mourn the departure of this blight on humanity.” Raven smiled at that. “But what’s festered up in her place might make them reconsider.”

Raven’s smile disappeared. “What do you mean,” she asked.

Miko’s eyes flicked to his peripheral for a second, but he didn’t turn to look at her. He answered, “You see that half circle just above the edge of the scarf? Xandra, did your people take any other pictures?”

“Yes,” she answered. Three pictures came up on the screen, revealing the full mark below the scarf. “But we haven’t made heads or tails of them yet.”

“Appropriate phrasing,” offered Miko as he touched the screen to enlarge one of the pictures, “because this…” he spread his fingers from the center of the mark, enlarging that portion of the picture, “is from a coin. Or more accurately, a medallion.” The picture showed the profile of a man, with words to either side, following the edges of the medallion, and a date at the bottom: 1757-1822.

“Medallion?” asked Xandra.

Continuing to stare at the picture, Miko answered, “Yes, the Canova Medallion.”

The Canova Medallion?” asked Raven.

Miko looked at her this time. “What do you know of it?”

“The Thuggee were rumored to be worshippers of Kali, so I’ve done some reading,” she offered. Miko nodded slightly and waved a hand towards the screen, telling Raven to continue. As she did, he brought up other pictures on the screen, showing what she was telling.

"The Thuggee were killers, and perhaps the earliest version of 'organized crime.' ..."
"The captured Thug Behram was one of the most notorious..."

Raven continued, “The Thuggee were killers, and perhaps the earliest version of ‘organized crime.’ A group would disperse along trade routes, sometimes for hundreds of miles, and join bands of travellers a little at a time, until they outnumbered their victims. Once they reached a spot along the route of their own choosing, they’d kill their victims, often by strangulation, hide the bodies, and plunder the spoils. The captured Thug Behram was one of the most notorious, claiming to have been present at nine hundred thirty-one killings. He was quite proficient with his Rumal. He could throw it so that a medallion sewn in its lining would land over the victim’s adams apple, making it easier to strangle them. That medallion was the Canova Medallion. It had the face of the artist – Antonio Canova – on one side, and an image of his statue, The Three Graces, on the other.” She looked at the image on the screen. “This is the side with Canova’s image. Someone wanted us to be sure this was from the Canova Medallion. But is it the original or a copy?”

"The real Canova Medallion is in the collection of a private museum..."

The magician answered, “It’s impossible to tell, but you’re right. This mark was burned into the flesh. So someone heated the medallion and branded the victim with it. That had to be done after she was killed. So he moved the scarf, branded her, and then put the scarf back in place. Someone wants to point you in a specific direction, but where?”

“I think I have the answer to that,” cut in Xandra. She was working the screen at an adjoining station, and as she tapped keys and images, she said, “The real Canova Medallion is in the collection of a private museum, bought from the family of Thug Behram.”

“So this is a copy then,” concluded Raven. “It could have come from anywhere then.”

“Maybe not,” countered Xandra. “The real medallion has done some travelling, and is currently in a touring exhibit of famous serial killers.”

“And that exhibit is here, in Vegas,” guessed Raven.

"Why is it always Simon Janus?"

“Bingo,” said Xandra, “and no bets on where,” she said as she tapped the screen again. Miko and Raven joined her at the console.

Raven shook her head, “Damn. Sanctum Tartarus. Why is it always Simon Janus?” she complained.

“It might be more than that,” answered Miko.

“More?” Raven looked puzzled.

“I’ll meet you at the exhibit. You take my hat,” he said as he tossed the tophat on her head. He disappeared in another black puff of smoke, and his voice echoed through the room, “Enjoy the ride.”

“Ride?” asked Raven, and then she felt the hat shift on her head. She raised her eyes towards the brim, and before she could say anything else, the hat got wider and bigger, and fell over her head, resting on her shoulders. She grabbed the rim, but it got wider and bigger again, causing her to lose her grip, and it fell to her waist. It shifted once again, got wider and bigger, and fell to the floor.

Xandra hollered, “Raven!” Her eyes got bigger as the hat shrunk down to normal size, then seemed to fold in on itself and disappear. “Raven!” shouted Xandra.

Inside the hat, Raven tumbled over backwards into a dimension of strange images and sounds. Lights flashed, music played, and she felt herself slipping, no longer knowing which direction was which, which way she fell, or if she was even falling at all. A shadow that might have been a man passed close by to her, and she heard a whisper. “Still think it’s just a ‘trick?’

She was about to scream when a bright light shined through a seeming tear in reality itself, and she landed in a sprawl on the exhibit floor. She took a second to catch her breath, braced her hands on the floor as much to make sure it was real as to push herself up, and then saw a pair of black boots in front of her face. She followed the boots upward to the black jacket, and all the way up to the face of the magician. He reached down with one hand to claim his hat from her head, then offered his other hand to Raven, which she took, and helped her up.

"You can call me High Hat."

They looked at each other for several moments, before Raven said, “M-Mister Magnificent.”

Miko nodded appreciatively at her, leaned towards her and said, “You can call me High Hat,” before placing the tophat back on his head.

Raven gave an appreciative nod back. “Raven, then. You said something about this being more than Simon Janus?”

“Yes. It’s the owner of the Medallion- the one who normally holds it in a private museum. His name is Ali Indigo.”

“Why does that sound familiar?” asked Raven.

“Probably from your reading,” offered Miko. “The British used the son of Behram to pressure him into becoming a King’s Approver against the Thuggee. The son’s name was Ali, and the East India Company ‘gifted’ him the position of running anIndigo factory, hoping they could pressure him into disclosing the locations of his father’s hidden hordes of plundered treasures.”

“So you think that Ali Indigo has something to do with… High Hat!” Raven was interrupted by a yellow scarf being slung around the magician’s neck. Miko barely had time to throw one hand up in front of the Medallion sewn inside, keeping it from putting the full pressure on his throat.

"Thug Behram, at your service!"

From behind him, he heard, “Thug Behram, at your service!” The killer pulled tighter on the Rumal, determined to strangle Miko. Raven unsheathed her kukhuri, but Behram warned, “Don’t try it, girl! I will kill him!”

Raven backed off, but Miko reached backwards suddenly and poked his attacker in the eye. The thug screamed and grabbed for his eye, enabling High Hat to get free. The magician immediately ducked, grabbed the edge of his jacket, and swooped it in an arc towards Behram, like a cape. The killer was swallowed completely by the coat just before it dropped back into place. Miko looked pissed. He seemed to stare into nothing as he pulled the scarf from his neck and shoved it in his pocket. Then he spun, flaring the jacket again, and as the coat snapped forward, Behram was ejected from its folds and thrown across the room into a display.

Raven Diablo looked at the magician fearfully. The things she could learn from this man. She then crossed the distance between her and the killer swiftly, putting her kukhuri to his neck and demanding, “Who are you? And don’t say ‘Behram,’ because that’s not possible! You would be…”

"Sholeh Kaviani sends her regards."

“Almost two hundred fifty years old,” answered the Thug. Raven looked shocked. “Yes, it’s true. If you can’t believe who I say I am though, you may simply call me Phansigar. I took a vow of silence when British justice betrayed me, but not before I made a deal with a devil I knew from Persia.” His eyes narrowed cruelly as he looked into Raven’s eyes. “Sholeh Kaviani sends her regards.”

Raven wasn’t expecting to hear that name, but she was startled enough that she jerked backwards from the Thug a few steps. He did not miss the opportunity. Although he had been resting on his elbows, from his fallen position, his powerful arms pushed off of the ground, and he lunged forward, a kick to Raven’s gut sending her sprawling backwards. Jumping to his feet, he laughed. “She was right! This is a thrill!”

High Hat took a step towards the killer, but stopped when he saw what the killer took from his pocket. It was his Rumal. It was Miko’s turn to be startled. How had he gotten that from his pocket, while he was in the coat?

“Don’t look so bewildered, mage! I told you I made a deal with a devil! And she has powerful magicks of her own! Besides, I am Thug! As much thief as murderer! Pickpocketing is easy for one such as I- even from one such as you. Bah-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!” With that, he unfurled his Rumal, spun it around his head and let it fall around him. As it did so, he disappeared completely, just in time to avoid Raven’s khukuri, which embedded in the display case behind where he had been standing. Only the echo of his laughter remained, and the fading words of a warning. “You will hear from Phansigar again, Raven Diablo!”

Raven looked at the pile of debris that was the ruined display case, and exhaled sharply. “This…is not good,” she said finally.

The End...for now

“You’re telling me,” said High Hat. “I hope he didn’t get anything else from mypockets!” Raven looked at him quizzically. Miko just said, “That…would not be good. Tell Xandra I’ll be in touch.”

“Wait!” called Raven, but Miko had already flared his jacket, spun, and disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.

A voice echoed, “It was good meeting you, Raven,” and then faded from the room.

Raven smiled at nothing, but answered, “You too, High Hat.” She took one more look around, and headed for the exit. She needed to go see Sholeh Kaviani about two children.

Thanks for stopping in, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my entries. Participate in the next Character Creation Contest- we always love having another writer compete! -cb :^D

Read the...Fan-Fic Disclaimer for cbishop

Thanks for stopping in! :^D

2 Comments

CCC #26 - Voting Thread

Lady in Red, by Cintia

Well, folks, here we are, another contest come and gone. The rules were simple- write the picture, and use the line "I wish you could remember this as much as I will" in the story.

We got a few entries, and once again, I found myself posting at the very last minute. It was great to see Delphic enter this time! A regular to the Fan-Fic forum, but new to the CCC, Delphic came in with a strong entry. He's going to give us all a run for our money!

I'm anxious to see how the vote goes, because win, lose or draw, someone else is hosting CCC #27! lol I'm excited! (And I'm ready for the break!)

So without further ado, please read over the four entries, and vote for the one you liked best. Deadline for votes is one week this time- June 9th @4pm GMT (so 12pm EST for my own reference). Two weeks really dragged out last time. One vote per voter. Remember: if you wrote, you should vote! But no voting for yourself. ;)

-cb

Here's the entries, in order posted:

ImpurestCheese:

Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe

Thaliana Broadcasting Studios, Los Angeles, California

“I wish you could remember this as much as I will…” The platinum blonde holding the revolver purred, “…but I'm afraid that you be doing all your thinking in Country for the next ten to life.” She stated as her sidekick, a short man with a fish hook through his lip handcuffed the blonde man lying unconscious on the floor.

“Turn that off will you.” A voice groaned as the credits rolled over the image of the blonde escorting the man outside to the waiting police car. Turning to look down the table, the scrawny man wearing aviators with purple lenses and a business suit removed a cigar from his jacket pocket, lit it and took a deep breath. “Danika darling I love the show but your ratings are down, people like when you're hunting down criminals but you make it look too easy.”

“What do you mean?” The blonde haired woman at the end of the table asked in a Ukrainian accent as she smoothed out the crop-top she wore, the front emblazoned with the logo ‘Danika Sedova: Bounty Hunter Babe’. “You told me ratings were good Mr. Mc Kellum yes?”

“They have been better, have you thought about appealing to the ‘Avengers Generation?” Mc Kellum suggested as he looked over the assorted people sitting at the table.

“I am not wearing anything more skimpy then I already do on air.” Danika hissed. “And I’m not going to start call myself something like Huntress or Blond Bombshell.”

“I don't know I like the sound of Fishook.” The man with the hook in his lip stated as he ran thick fingers over his bald head. “And Tabby could be Gimble while Maurice could be Chaser.”

“No Brian I will not be some kind of show pony for the teenage demographic. I started this show to reassure the public that somebody could reach the criminals the law couldn’t. You now have me chasing after bail jumpers and jaywalkers, I need a challenge.”

“Babe listen your big now, plus you're good looking. “ Mc Kellum told her. “We're not going to risk sending you after the bad guys, there is a certain profit we get from you looking like a supermodel.” As he finished his words were met by the scrape of chair legs as Danika and her film crew got to their feet. “Where are you going babe?”

“We've just decided to go independent.” Danika purred. “You remember my escape clause in the contract I signed for Thaliana Broadcasting, well I'm invoking it unless you can find me a better class of criminal to hunt.”

“Not going to happen babe. Without us your revenue dries up. I give it a week and you'll be crawling back to old Mckellum for your spotlight back.” Mckellum snorted as Danika left the office. “Dames all alike.” He said as he coughed on the cigar before turning the TV back on. “Nice rack though.” He commented as Danika turned and blew a kiss to the camera at the end of the credits.

**

Casa Sedova, Beverly Hills, California

Danika poured herself an iced tea as she sat by the side of the pool at her Beverly Hills estate. While she loved the house she hated what it represented, and while she had no idea what the rest of her crew felt about what had happened she was glad they had gone with her. Between Brian ‘the Hook’ Baldwin, her underworld contact, Tabitha Taylor, her camera woman, and Maurice Cartier, her expert getaway and pursuit driver, they were a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately Hollywood didn't see it that way.

“Hey Danika you've got a visitor.” Tabby yelled from the kitchen. “It’s the man from Texas we met a while back.” She added as a well built man wearing a pair of jeans and a leather jerkin walked in.

“Well if it isn't the little girl from the frontier.” The man sneered.

“Huh takes a walking scarecrow to know one.” Danika hissed as she got to her feet and met the man half way across the floor, the pair of them bumping fists. “You look awful Kenneth.”

“And you look like you've been enjoying the weather too much.” Ken replied as the pair sat at the ornate metal work table beside the pool. “Been catching up on the re-runs by the way. Don't tell me you're happy being eye candy for some studio executive.”

“I never was but up until recently I thought I was doing a public good.” Danika sighed. “Still what have you been up to? Still the nightmare of the cartels down on the border?”

“No, I’ve been in a chemically induced coma for the last few weeks.” Ken answered before removing a box and sliding it across the table to Danika. “Take a look at this; they pulled it out of me. Apparently everyone else died from the toxicity of the weapon but you know what they say.”

“You can't bulls**t a bulls****r.” Danika purred. “What does this have to do with me?”

“I need help; I'm man enough to admit it especially after being out of the game for a while.” Ken answered. “And you, despite what the jealous types are saying, are the best in the business.”

“What’s the profit margin?” Danika asked. “And what do we know about this guy?”

“Girl, the shooter is female.” Ken announced. “We don't know much, but from the E-Fit El Paso Police Department is circulating we know she’s Asian and in her mid to late twenties. As for the reward; the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Aviation Authority. EPPD, FBI and Homeland Security are offering a million each, either for her capture or corpse.”

“And you’re really chasing down this woman?” Danika asked as she removed a black crossbow bolt from the book Ken had given her. “This is crazy even for you Zimmermann.”

“I know what that means.” Ken said with a wide smile as he took

Remove his hip flask from his belt “To partnership.” He toasted as Danika broke the bolt in two.

“And to breaking the woman whose death is our next pay check.” Danika added as she clinked her glass against Ken’s flask. “Now let’s go hunting.”

Batkevin74

Larry looked at the placard. His face said what words couldn’t express. “I don’t get it?”

“What’s not to get?” Darren crossed his arms defensively; face contracting like he’d just eaten a chilli lemon. “It’s pretty self explanatory.”

Larry’s eye shifted from the picture to his designer and back again as if it was a ping pong match. “You’ll need legal to clear it.”

“Why?”

“Because,” Larry rubbed his moustache “She looks like Jessica Rabbit. Either that or Betty Boo?”

“She does not?” Darren huffed.

“If I say she looks like Betty Rabbit, then she LOOKS LIKE BETTY RABBIT!”

Darren paused, step forward gingerly “It’s Jessica Rabbit, not…”

“I DON’T CARE!” roared Larry making the office shake. “Now explain it to me.”

Darren adjusted his tie and gestured for his boss to take a seat. He’d been working for Larry for eight years now and nearly every presentation had the same circus attached; it was like a game but one Darren had grown tired of very quickly. He grabbed the placard and set it back on the easel.

“This is for our client Hubel & Wiesel trying to increase market share in…”

“Neurotic plasticine” Larry added looking pleased with himself.

Darren groaned, if this was a sitcom the canned laughter would’ve erupted…but it wasn’t a sitcom. “Neuroplasticity.”

“That’s what I said, neuro-plastic-city.”

Darren often wondered how Larry was a partner in the firm with his name on the door, probably because McMann was a very hands off partner. “Neuroplasticity. They have invented a game that helps with brain training, like a workout.”

Larry smiled “And you have a woman with a gun because…”

“Sex sells. A desirable woman of mixed origin to catch the widest demographic of males but holding a gun showing women a capable of doing men things so hits a wide area on gender and ethnicity.”

“Okay, but the slogan?”

“I wish you remember this moment as much as I will.” Darren tapped the speech bubble “Written in red, like the dress to catch the eye inspires and signifies passion. A longer phrase than some of the snappier fast food phrases…”

“I’m loving it!” chuckled Larry.

“But market research indicates products with red in their logos sell better. Because it’s also an educational game you’ll notice the swirl in the bottom corner.” Darren pointed to it, “It’s actually a stylised QR Code that’ll launch smart phones directly to their website.”

“You’re a wizard!”

“You’re thinking of my wife,” Darren smiled cheekily “The woman, who is named Avabella, which were two of the top names in 08 mashed to create a new name which tested through the roof with focus groups of teens who will be naming their kids that especially in the African-American and Latino communities.”

Larry stood up applauding “Great job!”

“I haven’t finished,” said Darren as Larry slowly stopped his ovation before slinking back into his seat. Darren waited until he was seated and then a few seconds longer before continuing “We’re also working with Stella McCartney who’ll produce a range of Avabella dresses because smart girls need to dress smart and be sexy, a portion of sale going to some animal sanctuary she likes along with a sizeable donation to John Hopkins Neurology which raises their karma credit in the eyes of the public.”

“Good things,” said Larry not with any insight just because he felt he need to say something as Darren steamrolled along.

“We’ve started a Twitter account for Avabella run by the PR department of Hubel & Wiesel and she’s killing it and on target to being in the top 100 of most followed people by Christmas.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about but I LOVE IT!” Larry exclaimed as he got up from his chair. “I’ll bring them in. Do what you did just now for them.”

Larry bolted from the room. Darren rubbed his forehead and looked up to the corner of the room to see an old woman in flowing purple and green looking down on him.

“Derwood,” she sneered as she floated to the floor.

“What do you want, you old witch?” he snarled as his hand went to his pocket.

“To see my daughter and grandchildren!”

Darren sneered as he pulled out a locket from his jacket pocket and dangled it watching her recoil in horror. “You can see them when I say you can see them,” he sneered “Now get out of here before I do to you what I did to that idiot Bombay.”

In a puff of smoke accompanied by the sound of a kicked harp, she was gone. Darren smiled and put the locket back safely.

“You $%#^d with the wrong mortal Endora.”

Delphic:

Remembrance

Life was such a peculiar thing. No matter where you go people always seem to look at it differently. Some see life through rose colored glasses, where everything is made up of sunshine and rainbows. Others see life through the grime colored spyglass of cynicism, always itching for that next horrible thing to happen. What about about a man who saw life completely different from every other human being on the planet? A man who had always lived his life seeing things that others could not. Feeling what they could not. There was once such a man, and his name was Jack Spade.

It was a hot day, and despite all the open windows, and the electric fan blowing in the corner of the room it seemed like there was no rest from the hellish heat of the summer. Jack sat behind his desk, loosened his tie, and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. Sweat poured from his brow, so Jack took the already damp handkerchief he held in his hand and dabbed around his forehead. He sighed praying for some sort of relief to come soon, perhaps it was late in the day, and before long that damnable sun would set. He looked at his watch and groaned when he saw the hands seemingly forever perched on 1:45 PM. It was turning out to be a long day.

Jack looked up in time to see a silhouette appear on the other side of the window of his office door, and straightened his tie. His office was on the fourth floor of the building, and the only people who had any reason to be up here where potential clients, or at least that was what he hoped. It could be some fool that had managed to get themselves lost on the way to the accounting offices on the floor below him. When he heard a knock at the door he smiled.

“Come on in. It’s open.” Jack called out feeling almost as happy as a kid at christmas. It had been a slow month, and for a private eye to pay rent you needed clients. What Jack had expected from what he had seen through the window was someone’s old lady. Another poor dame that had suspected her husband of having a mistress. Work like that was usually boring, but a broad’s money was just as good as any other schnook that walked in his door, but what walked in caused Jack to sit up straight and lean forward, eyeing the spectacle before him like a dog that had just been presented to a prime rib.

The dame was a knockout from head to toe, and where most broads would cover themselves up to hide their purpose when visiting his little abode, this lady held no shame. The heels made a distinctive click as she took each step into his office, and the scarlet dress that came halfway down her thigh showed enough leg that would have made any school boy fall to his knees to beg for just a moment of her time.

“Is this Jack Spade’s office?” She asked with a voice that sent chills up his spine, and he couldn’t help but notice how her dress clung to her curves leaving little to his imagination. “Is everything all right?”

Suddenly Jack looked up realizing that he had just been gawking at the woman like a putz. He shook his head to bring himself back to his senses, and stood up quickly, nearly knocking everything on his desk over, causing the woman to chuckle. Damn, she was cute when she laughed too, this woman had already shaken him more than he liked, and his gut told him he better quit acting like schlub, and do his job.

“You’re in the right place ma’am. Please have a seat.” Jack smiled and motioned toward the chair in front of his desk. When she sat down and crossed her legs Jack had to force himself not to look down. Dresses like that didn’t like keep things to themselves, and it was obvious to him that this woman, whoever she was, was really trying him. Instead he did his best to keep eye contact, and conduct himself in a business-like manner.

“I’m Jack Spade, what can I do you for Mrs?” Jack asked reaching his hand across the desk to shake her hand.

“It’s Miss.” the woman replied as she returned the handshake, “Miss Cordelia Brown.”

“Well Ms. Brown. It’s nice to meet you, so what brings you to me?”

“I’m looking for a man.” She replied, looking down at her purse.

“You’ve got a name?”

“No, but I have a picture.” She said as she opened her purse and pulled out the photo. She looked up directly into Jack’s eyes, as she slid the photo across the table. Suddenly Jack started to get an uneasy feeling in his gut, and when he grabbed the photo he felt even more uneasy.

“This is Bob Peters. He was my partner back when I was a cop.” Jack said looking at a family photo of an overweight balding man, his wife, and two kids. “Where did you get this photo? It looks like the same one Bob’s wife keeps in his living room?”

“It is?” Cordelia replied followed by the sound of the hammer of a revolver being pulled back. Jack looked up to see Cordelia standing over him the gun aimed right at his head.

“Hey now wait a minute!?” Jack raised his hands up, “What’s the meaning of this?”

“Ten years ago, two little girls were victims to a kid raper. One of the girls was my sister, and I guess you can figure who the other was.” She said as she grimaced at him never once moving the gun. “You’re buddy Bob he took care of the sicko, but he saw me, and just couldn’t help himself. He had his way with me, and my she tried to stop him, but your partner put two in her chest, and you just watched.”

“What are you talking about!? I’ve never saw Bob hurt any kids.”

“No, you sat in the car, and watched the front door of the house. Even when the gunshots went off, you just sat there and watched, and now you get to watch again, as I do to you what I did to Bob Peters.”

“What did you do to Bob!?”

“You can ask him, when you see him in hell, though you might not recognize him.” Cordelia grinned. Jack sat there unable to move. Not sure of what to do. If he attempted to grab the gun he would die, and if he waited too long he would die.

“I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will.” Cordelia grinned as she pulled the trigger. Time seemed to slow down for Jack, as he heard the cylinder turned, and saw the bright light appear down the dark tunnel of the barrel. It was in that brief moment Jack went back to the time that he was looking out the window of a car. The world series was on, and it was the bottom of the ninth. When he heard a loud noise he looked up just long enough to see a girl’s face through the basement window of the house she had been crying, her face full of fear. How did he forget that? Why didn’t he get out of the car?

There was a loud bang. It was funny how dying never seemed to hurt.

Cordelia lowered the smoking gun, and breathed a sigh of relief. Years of long awaited revenge had finally been finished. Bob Peters and his whole family was dead. Including the kids. Nothing good could have came from that man, so she had done the world of favor by slicing little Jimmy and Susan’s throats. Also that joke of a wife, a belly full of buckshot had finished her off, but as for Bob she took her dear sweet time with him. She made him feel the pain he had been feeling for years.

Jack Spade had been the last part of the tale that she had so long desired to see to it’s conclusion, and now she looked at too lifeless eyes and a gaping hole right between the sicko’s eyes. Cordelia put the gun back in her purse and took one last look at the man who liked to watch. His eyes were still open, still watching her. She wanted nothing more than to just cut them out, but she didn’t have time. The cops would be here soon, and she had plans to be out of town before dark. She looked down at the corpse of Jack Spade one last time, and remembered how she had seen him out in the car that day. The day her sister died. The day that man raped her. The day Jack Spade had just sat by and watched.

Cordelia spit on Jack’s corpse before turning around, and heading toward the door. She took two steps when suddenly something grabbed her shoulder. She stood frozen to the spot, cold chills running all over her body. The only thing that was behind her was a dead man. Nothing should have been able to sneak up behind her. Then tears rolled down her cheeks as she heard the voice of Jack Spade saying:

“I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will.”

Cbishop:

Benjamin "Benny" Factor is not a nice man. He's been a gangster since he was old enough to make his own bad decisions. He began as muscle for pushers, then started dealing himself, and eventually went into moving all kinds of merchandise- chiefly, guns. He was one of the originals to refer to himself as being in "import/ export." That soon became a legitimate claim, just to cover his illegal activities. Underlings wound up running the illegal stuff for him, so he couldn't be connected to anything, and before he knew it, he was a respected businessman, and the cops weren't able to prove jack.

That doesn't mean that his hands were clean. Far from it. His organization- the illegal one- started being harassed by a vigilante known as The Blue Crab. She broke up a handful of important deals with a blue spotlight of a crab claw and a lot of fighting. She dropped off the radar for awhile, but was finally caught by Horace and Harry Fly, when she tried to bust up a weapons deal. They called Mr. Factor in, and Benny put the cap in her himself.

***

Horace Crabb was shocked when the police showed up at his door, and devastated when they told him that Merilyn was dead. He knew that she was The Blue Crab, but a gunshot? After all the crime she had stopped over the years? After all the things she had seen with The Statesmen? He wondered numbly who they would get to represent Maryland now. Then the weight of realization crashed in on him, and he wondered what the hell he was going to tell the girls. They were only four and five. How do you tell children that their mommy is gone? What was she even doing back in costume? She had only been in remission a few months. He slumped into a chair and buried his face in his hands. The detectives made their condolences and departed.

***

Merilyn's death ate at Horace for a year. The police were no closer to answers than they were when she was killed, and the girls were only starting to approach normal again. He was fed up. He dragged a footlocker from the closet, fished a key from the top drawer of Merilyn's dresser, and opened it up. He couldn't fit into her costume of course, but he could make use of her spotlight and her mask. He pulled leather motorcycle pants from the closet, along with a bomber jacket with his Zodiac sign on it. A pair of steel toed boots, his riding gloves, and the gun from his nightstand drawer. It was time for some answers. And this is how Cancer was born.

Horace made more waves and did more damage than his wife had done, in a short amount of time, because he was willing to use more violent methods. He rattled Benny's crew. They knew Cancer was someone out for revenge, because he was using The Blue Crab's old spotlight, and he made it known he was looking for her killer. No one dared give Benny Factor up though.

Anger makes a person careless though. He hadn't been at it a year when Cancer was caught and taken to Benny Factor at one of his dockside warehouses. They got on a boat, motored out past the three mile limit, and unmasked the vigilante. Benny capped Horace with his own gun, and tossed both over the side. Police found him washed up on the beach a day later.

***

Later that night, police showed up at the door, and whisked Annie and Sandy Crabb off to Child Protective Services. A social worker named Terrie, appalled that the officers hadn't told the girls what was going on, found that she now had the unpleasant task of telling these children that their father was dead. Sandy cried, but Annie was numb. She called her sister a crybaby and became angry with the social worker. Terrie let them cry and scream for two hours before they were worn out, and then they were taken to a state orphanage while authorities tried to find next of kin.

The girls were made wards of the state when no relatives were found. This lasted for a couple of years, until a janitor named Jim yelled at Annie for walking across his wet floor with muddy shoes. She scuffed her shoes all over the floor, then kicked the janitor in the shin. He grabbed for her, but she pulled away and kicked him in the other shin. Jim lunged forward, but slipped on the wet floor and fell. On the way down, he hit his head on the corner of the metal wringer of the mop bucket. His neck twisted on the way to the floor, and he didn't move.

Annie grabbed Sandy's hand and ran, and they left the orphanage. Sandy protested, saying they could tell the headmistress that it was an accident, but Annie insisted they had to run. She said they would separate her and Sandy if they knew what happened. So they ran. When they couldn't run anymore, they hid in an alleyway, and at eight and nine years old, this was the beginning of them living on the streets.

***

They had been living on the streets for four years when Benny caught Sandy trying to lift his wallet. When she tossed Annie his watch he was surprised and impressed, because he hadn't felt it come off of his wrist. Harry caught Annie before she could get away. Benny took his watch and wallet back, but instead of getting angry with the girls, he offered them a meal. Figuring it was better than getting arrested, they nervously accepted.

Benny talked to them while they ate. Like any gangster worth his chops, he had cops on his payroll. He knew that Cancer and The Blue Crab were Horace and Merilyn Crabb. So when he learned Annie and Sandy's names, he connected them as the orphaned children immediately, and had an idea. He offered to take them in, promising they'd never have to live on the streets again, and that they could even learn his business if they wanted. Benny figured it would be sweet revenge to turn his enemies' kids into gangsters. When the girls accepted, he smiled to himself. They'd be turning over in their graves.

Annie knew who Benny was too though. And she also had an idea.

***

Benny was true to his word, as it served his revenge. He taught the girls everything about his illegal businesses, and they came up much the same way he did. They started as runners for various things, mostly drugs, and they reported to Horace Fly. Although Benny kept a close eye on what he considered his personal project of corrupting these girls.

Annie didn't like Horace Fly. He had the same name as her dad, but he was a jerk. She called him Horse Fly, which he didn't much care for. His brother, Harry, she liked. He was called Harry the House, because he was so big. Sandy pointed out that this would make him House Fly, and Harry thought that was funny. Harry taught the girls how to fight, and Horace taught them how to shoot.

Annie played Benny's game, and she and Sandy kept him close. All the while, Annie kept focused on the memory of her father talking about Benny Factor and his involvement in her mom's death. Sandy still woke up crying over it sometimes, and Annie had called her crybaby so much that the term had become affectionate between them. So much so that Crybaby had become her nickname. She cried at everything- happy moments, sad movies, and even when she was angry. So Annie kept her eyes and ears open, looking for any information she could to prove that her dad was right. She wanted to give her sister a reason to stop crying.

They were not completely unaffected though. Sandy kind of fell into a bodyguard role for Benny, and Annie became one of his most trusted enforcers. Benny considered their corruption complete when they started killing for him. Sandy only killed to defend Benny from attack, but Annie actually carried out hits for him. She became known as The Orphan.

They worked for Benny for ten years before Annie finally ran across the information she had been looking for. Actually, she didn't find it herself. One of Benny's enemies had sent an enforcer of their own named The Mute to steal the contents of his safe. Sandy was stalking her through the halls of the office when The Mute got the drop on her.

Before she could fire, Annie cocked a gun to her head and said, "I've been made an orphan once. I didn't care for it much. Drop the gun." Taking The Mute's weapon and taking back Benny's documents, Annie leafed through them, and found the proof she had been looking for- pictures. The sick son of a... he took pictures. She let The Mute go.

***

Benny was throwing a party- a charity function for his legitimate businesses. He had to keep up appearances, after all. This was a New Year's Eve party that he hosted every year in his penthouse. It was tradition that he personally set off the fireworks from the roof of the neighboring building. It was there that Annie and Sandy confronted him.

Annie cracked him across the jaw with her gun, and threw the pictures down in front of him. Sandy held him at gunpoint so he didn't try anything. He pleaded. He begged. He bargained. And when none of that worked he became angry. "I've been like a father to you!" he shouted.

Annie looked at him coldly and said, "A father, Benny? I'm an orphan, remember?"

The hope left Benny's face as Annie turned away. He looked up at Sandy again. With fat tears streaming down her face, she looked at him coldly and said, "I wish you could remember this moment as much as I will."

And that was when Benny Factor died.

Thanks for reading, and for voting! Don't forget: voting ends June 9th @4pm GMT (12pm EST). :)

28 Comments

Grandma's Instinct

#DateWelcome to my blog:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
5005/31/14Grandma's Instinct(Blog) (Forum)Off-Topic(Back) (Next)

I ran across this video on Facebook a couple of days ago. I guess I'm a bit more sensitive to these types of stories now, since grandma had dementia before she passed, but I was truly struck by the last line in this video:

"Amazing what's possible, when love becomes an instinct."

And by what the wife said just before that:

"...I just broke inside. I just said, 'Thank you, thank you,' because I saw his heart."

I was struck by that, because I have experienced that. I've mentioned before how I got to hear "I love you" from my grandma again, not long before she died. I can't overstate how important that was to me. In the midst of everything else, there it was. From Grieving For Grandma:

If I did any bargaining, it was brief, just before the end, when I was sitting at grandma's bedside. It wasn't for "one more day" though. I just wanted her to acknowledge me. I just wanted to hear her say she loved me. I just wanted some sign that she hadn't forgotten me completely. And I got it. When everything else was painful to the touch, bringing about a weak, "ow. ow. ow. ow. ow..." she held my hand. I held one of her hands in both of mine, very carefully, so that she didn't "ow. ow. ow.," and then she put her other hand on top of mine, just patting it a little, or maybe her hand was just shaking. She did that for awhile.

When she was even weaker, eyes not even open, about to fall asleep, we went to leave, and I told her, "I love you, grandma."

She didn't open her eyes. She just said, "I love you too, sweetheart." I got to hear that two more times before she died, and...I think ...I'm pretty sure... that was the last thing I ever heard her say. Not a bad memory.

To say how very heartbreaking that was doesn't really do it justice. You can sympathize with what I'm saying, but unless you've actually experienced it, you just won't really understand. You might think you do, but trust me, you don't. I can say this authoritatively, having been on both sides of that understanding. But anyway, yes, very heartbreaking.

I will carry that "I love you too, sweatheart" with me throughout the rest of my life. Why? Because when she was lost to me... when I once had to introduce myself to her seven different times in an hour, and she responded like she didn't know me... when I had seen the strongest woman I knew deteriorating before my eyes... when her mind was retracing old memories in a neverending loop... I still got "I love you too, sweetheart." Because love was her instinct, just like the man in the video.

I think something else that struck me about that video was just how much I was struck by it. Obviously, I'm not done grieving grandma. Maybe I never will be. Maybe I just need more time. Damn I miss her.

I think it's just because the more I think about it, the more I realize how much she really did love me. I've said in previous blogs that I realized grandma was really the only one who ever supported my love of comics. She loved some of 'em too. She would pop in on me just to go to lunch or dinner somewhere. She even went to the movies with me several times. She let me live with her twice, and let me stay in a house she had sitting unoccupied, when I needed it. If I stopped by to see her, she was going to fix me dinner before I left... There's just so many little things that compound the fact to me that my grandmother loved me... Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn I miss her.

...I want love to be an instinct for me. I don't want to go through dementia, Alzheimer's, or anything that will take my mental faculties away- I really don't think I'm strong enough for that. But I want love to be an instinct. I want the people in my life to know that I love them. I want people to talk about how much I loved them, after I pass away. Assuming I ever get married and have kids, I want them to be able to look back and say that I supported them in the things they loved to do. ...It's not like grandma didn't have flaws, but mostly, she loved me...and I want to be at least that loving for someone else. And I want someone to love me at least as much as I loved her.

Dammit, I miss her.

17 Comments

Character Creation Contest #26

Simple contest this time around. Here's your picture:

Lady in Red, by Cintia

No word limit, and there's only two rules this time:

  1. Name your characters!
  2. You have to use the line from the picture somewhere in your story.

Deadline is Monday, June 2nd @4pm GMT (so 12pm EST, for my own reference).

90 Comments

CCC #25 - A Villain For Raven Diablo: Agent of Kali - Voting Thread

This was CCC #25, folks:

This was the pitch:

Raven Diablo: Agent of Kali...Convicted for running over a kidnapper...and then backing up and doing it again...a sympathetic judge sends Raven to a very special "nursing home" in the desert outside of Las Vegas, where she serves the residents, and learns from them as well. She's schooled in everything a good hero needs, and what emerges on the other side of her sentence is Raven Diablo: Agent of Kali.

This is the 25th contest folks, and I wanted it to be special. It seems like everyone has been itching to write a bad@ss villain the last few contests, so that's what this contest is about- creating a villain for Raven Diablo.

I realize you probably don't know the character, but for this contest, that's okay. Here's some links to RavenDiablo.com, where you can find out the minimum on the characters:

...I've been telling Miko that Raven Diablo is full of potential. What I'm asking you to do is find some of that potential. Don't worry about what the characters are like in the books. Just read the information and run with it.

These were the rules:

THE RULES:

  • Of course, Raven Diablo has to be in the story.
  • You have to create an OC villain for Raven Diablo.
  • It's not required that you use the other characters shown on the website, but supporting cast is always a plus.
  • No word limit.
  • It is currently April 17th at 11:44am GMT. Deadline is two weeks (and a little): May 1st, 11:59pm GMT [yes, PM] (so 7:59pm EST, for my own reference).

Miko Montgomery is a friend of mine, y'all, and seeing his dream get published has been the inspiration that keeps me pushing towards my own dreams. Help me give a little back to the man, and show his characters some love. (It won't be exactly what you created, Miko, so don't freak out.)

And these were the entries, in order posted to the contest thread:

Batkevin74:

As the smell hit NSA Agent William Posters nostrils he promptly threw up his bagel and coffee from breakfast down the wall of the hotel room. The crime scene technician in their head to toe white suit shook their head in frustration.

“Someone cordon off the rookie,” came the muffled unisex voice “Before he ruins the whole site.”

“Sorry,” muttered Posters as he wiped his mouth. The smell that clung to the air like an unwanted hug was if someone filled a four day old hamburger with sulphur, onions, baby vomit and parmesan cheese, force fed it to a cancerous dying cow and then made an aerosol spray out of the subsequent faecal matter. He was trained but this smell wasn’t in the manual. Posters took his glasses off and wiped his eyes and saw the room thankful that he’d already emptied his stomach.

The pristine alabaster walls of the suite in the Mandarin Oriental were splattered with yellowish congealed pus as if a gigantic sneeze had occurred in the room. Lying in the centre of the room was the headless, armless torso of a large man with a bent machete embedded in his chest.

“So…” Posters said gingerly as he edged forward to the technician.

“Do you have clearance to be here,” the tech looked up and read his badge “Agent Posters.”

Posters scoffed “I’m with the NSA.”

“LEE!”

Another white suited person bolted upright like a lemur and quickly crossed the room “Yes?”

“Verify Posters clearance for me. If he doesn’t check out, feel free to toss him out a window.”

Posters hand instinctively went to his sidearm under his left arm as he tried to peer into the visor to work out if he was talking to a male or female or a…

“All clear!”

The technician shook their head and turned to the Agent. “You’ve already contaminated my site. Try not to be a further pain in my ass.”

“So what ha…”

The technician tapped him on the chest “Don’t ask stupid questions would be my first piece of advice. How about y…”

“How about you show me a little bit of respect?” Posters growled “We’re on the same side trying to find out who did this! I don’t need you treating me like a child.”

The technician muttered something inaudible and wandered off to the body “Put a suit on and try to keep up.”

**

“Male, homo demonicus, Kaviani muscle, approximately thirty five in appearance but a cellular analysis will probably place him around the one twenty to two fifty year range…” The technician looking at Posters waiting for a response.

“I’m familiar with the hybrid of humans and demons,” replied Posters as he took notes “Go on.”

“The deceased was surprised as the door was kicked in but any clues or DNA from the attacker was lost due to…” A gloved hand pointed at Posters vomit. “Judging by the cut, the left arm was amputated first then the right but it doesn’t overly matter as the decapitation killed him.”

“Is that sword the murder weapon?” Posters asked.

“Actually no, it’s a khukri or Gurkha blade,” replied the technician derisively “But no, it’s a calling card.”

“Of the Agents of Kali.”

The technician stopped “How do you know about them?”

“We’re the NSA, we know everything.” Posters smiled smugly.

“Really?” The room went awkwardly silent. When it almost became beyond painful the technician continued “Yes the Agents of Kali. But how it all ties together, well that’s your job. I just process the scene.”

Posters strolled around the room when he spied an ornate black rectangle just under the couch. He crouched to get a better look. “Do you have an evidence bag?”

“What did you find?”

“I don’t know,” Posters said “It’s…”

“Mine.” The voice rumbled through the room. Posters drew his gun and pointed it at the pale man in an electric blue suit, black hair in a crew cut wearing sunglasses standing in the centre of the room.

“NSA put your hands up now!” barked Posters.

The man looked over the top of his sunglasses, his red eyes meeting Posters’ gaze. “Oh no, it’s the feds.” He mocked.

“Last warning!”

“As for the Agents of Kali,” he said pointing at the technicians “You will…”

BLAM!

The man moved as if the world was molasses. He drew a khukri of his own from his sleeve and slapped the bullet back at Posters which hit him in the shoulder and sent him to the ground.

“Need to do better than that,” he snarled as he jumped at the closest technician who was shedding their suit. The khukri caught sailed through their neck like butter. He turned to the other three who disrobed revealing three female agents.

“Ladies, you will all join your bitch god today!” he snarled as he set upon them like a cat amongst pigeons. Posters shuddered on the ground as he fumbled for his phone and hit record.

**

Raven Diablo stood next to Xandra as they watched the phone footage Posters had captured. The man in electric blue slaughtered the three remaining agents before turning to Posters.

“You will give the bitches a message little man,” he snarled “Mafdet does not forgive. Mafdet does not forget.”

The screen went red as the screaming began.

“Who is Mafdet?” asked Raven as she paused the film. “And what does he want with us?”

“That isn’t Mafdet,” said Kim Desmond via the video link up “That’s Haze, he works for Mafdet.”

“Care to enlighten us Kim?” Xandra took a seat.

“Mafdet is a sect who worships the cheetah goddess Mafdet,” Kim replied “They tried to steal some artefacts from the British museum a few years ago and…”

“Let me guess, some of the girls stopped them?”

Kim nodded “Spot on Raven. Seems they’re back from revenge.”

“Do you have any idea what this is?” Xandra held up the black rectangle for Kim to see.

“Looks to be possibly a Norn stone,” Kim shrugged “I’d need to see it in person to tell you properly.”

“Mafdet. Bad enough we have to deal with Janus, The Kaviani and every other thing from a netherhell,” stated Raven “Now a cat cult out for revenge.”

“I prefer to call it justice!” stated Haze as he materialised in the room. “Mafdet does not forgive. Mafdet does not forget.”

“CLEAR THE ROOM!” yelled Raven as she leapt the table at him. Haze leapfrogged over her and ran up the table, khukri drawn heading for Xandra. Raven grabbed the table and flipped it making Haze somersault off.

“How did you get in here?” barked Xandra as she drew a large calibre hand gun and trained it on him.

Haze glanced at her then at Raven who was stalking closer. “I go where I please. And your secret society may as well be an open tent.” He lunged at Xandra who fired. He smiled as he batted the bullet towards Raven who in return hit the bullet into the roof.

“Is that the best you have?” Raven laughed which soon changed as the khukri came hurtling towards her face. With supreme skill she caught the blade in the clap mere millimetres from her face. “Again yo…”

Raven stopped as she watched Haze sink his teeth into Xandra’s neck. Blood squirted everywhere as he chewed on her neck as dog would a bone.

“NO!” Raven crossed the room and belted Haze in the face sending him flying into a wall. Xandra clasped her neck trying to stem the tide. Raven looked at her boss who nodded emphatically. Raven charged towards Haze, he met her attack parrying her arms. Every attack she made was countered but only just. Raven was amazed at how fast he was whilst he was impressed by her skill.

“You will die by my hand!” Raven stated as she pressed her attack.

“If I had a dollar for every time someone said that,” chuckled Haze as he rolled out of harm’s way and snatched up the rectangle from Xandra’s hand. “I’ll take that.”

Raven kicked up his khukri into her hand and threw it at him with a mighty grunt. Haze smiled and caught it by the handle “Thank you.”

Raven drew her pistol as Haze positioned himself in front of the bleeding Xandra. “Go ahead, shoot me!” He waved her on. “Because when you miss, you’ll kill the bitch!”

Raven’s eyes narrowed. She knew she was deadly accurate but this guy was good, real good. An errant shot and Xandra would get a face full of lead. Raven holstered the pistol with a smile.

“Giving up so easy.” Haze chuckled.

“No,” snarled Xandra as she rammed a piece of broken glass into his back “Just letting me get in position!”

“BITCH!” roared Haze as he backhanded her across the room with a sickening crack. Raven did a jump kick hitting him square in the sternum and sending him flying across the room. She raced to Xandra’s side. It was eerie seeing her so pale, so still.

““Mafdet does not forgive. Mafdet does not forget!” He barked as he staggered to his feet.

“Oh shut up!” Raven quick drew her gun and opened fire, the bullets passed through him as he faded away chuckling like a sick clown.

Raven scooped her boss up into her arms “C’mon you old cow, don’t die on me.”

**

Raven paced the floor as the onsite doctors operated on Xandra behind the glass. She replayed the fight over and over again in her head.

“Agent Diablo.”

Raven stopped to see Agent Sappho with a worried expression on her face.

“What?”

Sappho snapped back to reality “Gaspar.”

“I am in no mood for guessing games Sappho,” Raven said dismissively.

“He’s here.”

“WHAT?”

**

Raven marched to the vault like doors the led into the Agents of Kali’s headquarters flanked by forty other agents armed to the teeth. She waved her hand and slowly the doors hissed and unlocked. Standing there was Gaspar Kaviani, one of the heads of the Kaviani criminal network. His piercing eyes clocked the weapons trained on him but he could hardly care less.

“You have seven seconds before I kill you.” Raven spun her weapon in her hand. “Seven…”

Gaspar slowly bowed his head “Have you ever heard the phrase the enemy of my enemy is my friend? We have a mutual problem.”

Raven knew the answer before she asked it “Mafdet.”

“Mafdet.” replied the demon.

The end…for now

ImpurestCheese:

The Raising of Phorcys

Whack City

“What do you know of the Elder Beings?” The tanned and incredibly beautiful woman asked the equally good looking man as he reclined in the ornate throne carved of bone and mummified skin.

“The Elders are the forerunners of the modern gods and the sires of the demonic hordes including our partners the Dalkhu.” The man answered. “Why do you ask Sholeh?”

“We swore an alliance with the Dalkhu, but as we have experienced that ‘loss prevention specialist’ could be a threat to our plans.” Sholeh stated. “We need a creature that can defeat her and pave the way to victory.”

“Summoning an Elder would take more power then bringing the Dalkhu into this world.” The man answered. “And then the emerging creature would be too powerful to control. We are talking about the primal forces of nature here Sholeh. To consort with such beings is folly.”

“Oh Gaspah you forget that some remnant of the Elder’s power remains on Earth. The one known as Phorcys had his daughter Medusa turn him to stone on the eve of the New Gods awakening.” Sholeh lectured. “That stone just needs to be broken and the primordial lord of the ocean will raise from the depths.”

“And you plan to do this how? I remember the myth of the King of the Abyss, the he could only be released by the splitting of the island that formed on top of him.” Gaspah hissed. “I can think of only one person who could do such a thing and she doesn’t work for anything less then a king’s ransom.”

“You speak of the Scarab.” Sholeh stated. “True she demands a high fee but there is another way to win her services. I have already taken steps to ensure her loyalty; all we need to do is be on site when Phorcys awakens from his slumber.

**

Insula ex Fumma, Mediterranean Sea

Raven stood stock still under the makeshift jetty as the two soldiers walked towards the massive Zubr Hovercraft that took up a large portion of the bay. All the personnel she had seen wore the same rag-tag uniform of loose fitting armoured plates over grey combat trousers, light weight Kevlar tops and a helmet with a golden scarab emblazoned on the side. Silently she went over Xandra’s briefing on what she would find on the ‘Island of Smoke’. The small spit of rock, at just over twelve miles wide had been taken over by a mercenary engineer known as the Scarab a few days ago. Born Zara Hussein, the Scarab had immigrated to England when she was just a child and trained alongside the Royal Engineers before going mercenary alongside a selection of loyal followers.

As bad as the army guarding her was, what the Scarab planned to release was worse. Raven had seen pictures of Phorcys and by all accounts he would be a potent threat if unleashed, one that rivalled the power of Kali flowing through her body, one that if left unchecked may even be greater then her guardian goddess. Phorcys had been ancient when Kali had been born, and while she and the other new gods had imprisoned most of the Elder Beings, it had been a long hard struggle. Now there was a plan to release Phorcys, one that Raven would stop even if it took her last breath. Silently she reached over the edge of the jetty, pulled herself up onto the decking, and slashed out at the soldiers backs, the blows killing them instantly.

Continuing up the path pounded into the rock Raven saw the main work station suspended on cables that ran across the island, a trail of steam emerging from the chasm already cut into the rock. Attached to the work station were four massive solar panels that fed energy to the solar cutter boring through the stone. The whole platform was crawling with guards and engineers but Raven knew from reports of her reputation, that the Scarab would be leading her men in the field, and not relaxing in some office. Silently Raven dropped into the chasm and edged along the side, thick drafts of steam enveloping her. Most would contribute it to volcanism but she knew it was really Phorcys taking his first breaths in over a millennium.

“Stop right there.” An accented voice ordered above her. Raven looked up to see a sleek woman dressed in thick protective work-clothes standing above her, armed with a long handled spade and a quiver of thick metal spears. “You can’t go near the Solar Cutter while it’s activated.” She added turning away from the chasm. “You may hold all the cards but I won’t risk the safety of my men, not because you refuse to follow proper safety protocol.”

“Your protocol is flawed Ms Hussein,” The familiar voice of Gaspah Kaviani replied. “As we speak the families of you and your workers are undergoing a metamorphosis. We are taking particular interest in your daughter; children are such interesting subjects when infused with demonic energies. Unlike adults their entire body changes, right now she’s pleasuring a business man back home with her new lease of life.”

“You’re a monster.” Hussein hissed. “I had come to terms with my daughter’s disease until your sister gave me hope, but it was a false hope. I would rather see my beloved Allison dead, then a filthy creature shaped by Lucifer himself.”

“Lucifer? Lucifer!!” Gaspah cackled. “A new god that was consumed by shadow, what I serve is the reason he fell from grace. And what we unleash today is older and darker still. Now tell me how long will it be before the cutting is complete?”

“Two days, the Solar Cutter is a delicate and unique piece of machinery. If we push it to hard it will break, and then we’ll have to resort to hand tools, something that will extend the demolition to an entire life time.”

“Funny you mentioned pushing hard.” Gaspah hissed. “I imagine that’s what your daughter is doing now. Finish the job by nightfall or I’ll tell Sholeh to make the change permanent.” He added before walking away towards the nearest ladder up to the platform. With a sigh Hussein slammed her spade into the ground, the force sending shockwaves spiralling out across the island. With a gasp Raven began to slip before pulling herself up straight next to where the Scarab stood.

“Who are you meant to be?” Hussein asked as she eyed Raven’s kukri and moved her spade into a defensive position.

“I’m here to stop this operation.” Raven answered. “Surrender or be destroyed alongside your equipment.” She added as several red targeting lasers danced over her head.

“Put down your weapons.” Hussein called to the guards, her words followed by the clack of dropped rifles.

“That was sensible of…whoa.” Raven begun to say, only for Hussein to lash out with her spade, the blade whizzing over her targets head as she ducked at the last moment.

“I can’t let you interfere.” Hussein spat as she swung the spade down again, only for Raven to slash through the shaft with her kukri.

“You’d sacrifice the entire planet for one person?” Raven snarled as she followed up her cut with a kick, only for Hussein to block it and pull out a spike from her quiver. “How can you be so selfish?” She asked as Hussein slammed the spike towards her, only for the weapon to miss and strike the ground, the rock vaporising as it made contact.

“Allison is everything to me.” Hussein spat as she drew another spear to block Raven’s counter attack. “I would die to save her!!” She screamed as she parried the blow, only for her lithe opponent to slip under her guard and slash the strap holding the quiver. Standing up insider her guard Raven delivered a vicious head butt to the Scarab, stunning her for a second, just long enough to throw the spike away and knock Hussein to the ground.

“You are not my enemy and I will not continue this fight.” Raven told Hussein as she picked up the spike and twirled it in her hand, before turning to face the platform, the guards looking on in horror. Seconds later they were swarming towards the exits like vermin fleeing a sinking ship, as they realised what Raven was going to do. As the last one leapt clear she threw the spear, the tip embedding above the Solar Cutter before detonating, the entire structure vaporising in an amber flash and a rain of molten steel.

“You b***h!!” Hussein screamed as she got to her feet, a pair of carpenters hammers in her hands, “You heartless b***h!!” She snarled before banging the hammers together, a shockwave radiating out from the tools and throwing Raven into the chasm. “I am the vessel of Path, forge god of Egypt and I will have vengeance on you and the Kaviani Demons. Go tell Xandra that I am coming for her as well!!”

**

Agent of Kali Safehouse, Czech Republic

“Zara Hussein.” Raven stated as Xandra’s face swam into view on the flat screen computer monitor. “You didn’t mention that she was like me.”

“She isn’t.” Xandra answered. “She serves the God of Technology Path. Or did before she became a servant to greed.”

“She’s still the avatar of a New God!” Raven yelled her hands clutched around her kukri. “Can I expect to run into Thor or Athena on another mission, will they be working for the enemy as well?”

“No only the most vain of gods put power into mortal flesh.” Xandra explained. “Kali focused on her need to slay evil, but as a god she couldn’t act on her own, so transferred power to a mortal to quench her addiction. Path was obsessed with steel, but when the gods transcended he could no longer feel the bite of iron and the smell of the forge, so he created a vessel to siphon those feelings to him.”

“So we’re bongs or cigarettes then?” Raven stated. “Way to make a woman feel good about herself.”

“You misunderstand.” Xandra stated. “You were created out of vanity, but maintained out of a sense of honour and duty. Whatever your origin was it’s nothing compared to the good you will do and the lives you will save. Raven Diablo the fate of the world rests with you and you alone.”

Poze:

Raven Diablo: Agent of Kali

Sorrow of Happiness

“Raven pleas come here.”

Xandra was sitting on her turning chair sipping on her green tea in front of her desk.

Raven walked towards her holding her sword.

“Yes Xandra? Any demons?”

The elder woman looked worried.

“No even worst! I know your degree in demonologies is phenomenal but there is one thing you did not learn about, since I thought it would never happen.”

The demon hunter rubbed her neck.

“What do you mean?”

“Mmmh well I am talking about the union of an Angel and a Demon, an Asura! They are created when an Angel and a Demon agree to share their powers and host it to an unborn baby. That child must have been made when the mother felt negative emotions and positive emotions at the same time. Asuras are really powerful that even the Zavada brothers could not kill them!”

Raven looked quite surprised

“And what am I supposed to do against something like that?”

“Well Raven we located the pregnant woman and you have to go and kill her before she gives birth!”

“Are you sure?”

“It is the only way! Or we are doomed.”

“Good…”

She walked off.

*

Two hours later the agent was on the roof of a building in front of a dirty building far away from the shining party life of Las Vegas. She looked threw a window in the fifth floor, a young pregnant woman was curled in to a ball next to a dead body. She knew that a jump would take her directly in the room. Then she just did it, she was crashing threw the window protecting her face with her arms. The young woman didn’t seem to care a lot. But she looked up with glassy eyes petting the mans dead face, his eyes were missing.

“Who are you..? Are you coming for my baby..?

“Yes, how do you know about it?”

“Well I always knew that she would be special!”

Raven looked at the young woman, she was not older then eighteen or seventeen, with long fair hair, blue eyes wearing a dirty light blue dress.

“Who is this man?”

“What is your name?”

Raven was surprised by that question. Normally she would not answer this question but since the girl would die…

“Raven Diablo”

“Raven?! Like the bird?”

“Yes like the bird”

“It’s beautiful! I will call my baby Dove then to make a contrast with your name.”

The girl was smiling. Her smile was sincere but some thing made Raven sad about it.

“Eh… Thank you.”

“Call me Maria. And this” she pointed her stomach “Dove.”

She laughed out loud. Diablo was concerned about the girls mental state she felt pity.

“And who is this?” The agent pointed the dead body.

Maria’s cheerful voice turned down and sounded really serious.

“Oh… This is my uncle… “

“Why is he…dead?”

“Well a few years ago uncle Julian took me away from mommy and daddy… I was sad and angry but kind of happy since I love my uncle even tho he did strange games to me that I really hated. But since it made him happy I let him continue. He told me never to go out of here since outside are bad monsters! And one day when we were playing he told me that he wanted to make a baby, this game was really brutal and violent and uncle kept on hitting me… But it made him happy and me to since he gave me Dove.” She rubbed her big belly. “To day he came home he smelt a lot like beer, he started to say mean things and hit me... and Dove that made me cry and angry! Dove in my belly started to glow red and uncle’s eyes popped out… then he felt down. I’m really sad he is gone but at the same time I miss him…”

She started to cry. Raven kneeled down and told her.

“I am sorry Maria but I have to kill you.”

The young woman looked up at her with her sad eyes.

“Whe..whe..why?”

“Dove is dangerous. I am really sorry…”

“Dove?! Dove?! Dove is not dangerous! Stop saying silly stuff! Don’t say that! DON’T!!!”

Her belly started to glow red and blue her left eye turned blue the other one red. With some kind of magical choc she pushed Raven against the wall net to the broken window. The girl started to float slowly at her way.

The agent took out her gun pointing it at the girl’s stomach, she took a deep breath but Maria started to tremble and talking in a weird mixed language between English the angelic language and devilish language. The words in English she could catch were “Stop it! Dove no! And!”

Maria started to cry blood and she seemed to gain control of herself.

“Raven… Doves can fly right?...”

Before Raven could do anything Maria jumped out of the window.

*

Raven was standing next to the dead girl. A small tear was rolling down her cheek.

She turned the dead body around just to see her face but she realized that the dress at the downer part of her body was full with blood. She looked at her stomach; it was flat.

The baby was gone.

Raven got a call.

“So did you finish your mission?”

“I am sorry Xandra…”

She turned her device off and kneeled down to Maria and whispered in her ear.

“Yes Maria, Doves really can fly. Sadly.”

The End!

4donkeyjohnson:

"Oh I'll kill her, I just need to know why?"

Sholeh Kaviani tossed her black hair over her shoulder as she looked at the dark skinned man who sat awkwardly in his chair. "Because I'm paying you to."

"Good enough for me lady," replied the dark skinned man with a variety of guns, knives and trinkets hanging from his belt. He jingled when he breathed.

"Can you kill her?" She muttered into her wine glass as she drunk the remnants.

"Lady, you've hired Boko!" He smiled broadly "I killed the werewolf of Devon. I impaled the vampire of Prague. I blinded the minotaur of Nicosia."

"Blinded?"

"It's what the client wanted." He chuckled "It had taken his grandfather's years ago, so a bit of recipricity."

"Reciprocity," corrected Sholeh as she raised an eyebrow over her hazel eye "Your target isn't a monster per se."

"Monster, zombie, human, angel, demon; don't matter to me." Boko pulled out a large machete and began cleaning his fingernails "You hit them hard enough, often enough, they die."

Sholeh was beginning to have her doubts. "Really? That is your strategy?"

"Do I tell you your job?" he said as he scrapped the black muck from his nails off the blade onto the table edge. "I got an enchanted machete from the Volcano Prince which can cut through solid stone like butter. Used it to circumcise a gnat once, long story don't ask. Besides she's one of them Agents of Kali."

"Yes, yes she is."

"Meaning I put a bunch of kids or women in harm's way and when she comes to rescue them, WHACK!" He slammed the machete down which split the table in two and embedded in the floor "Headless Raven."

Sholeh ran her tongue over her teeth, the plan was devilishly simple, ingenious almost. Slowly she got up from the mess Boko had created and handed over a black velvet pouch. "Inside is a quarter of the payment. The rest when you deliver her head."

Boko snatched up the pouch with glee and peered inside, giggling like a naughty schoolboy. Sholeh shook her head and snapped her fingers, activating the teleport glyph sending her back to her stronghold. Boko looked up to see he was alone in the empty restaurant and smiled.

Cbishop:
"Xandra, what am I looking at?"

“Xandra, what am I looking at?” asked Raven.

Xandra’s eyes never left the screen, her brow furrowed deeply with concern. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were looking at your own handiwork, but you’ve never been to the area this happened in. Just look though. This woman was strangled with the yellow scarf you see around her neck, and sliced open with a khukuri.” She pointed to a small blade on the floor, at the bottom of the screen and added, “We know that was the weapon used because the killer lost his Karda in the struggle.” Xandra bit her lip briefly. “Raven, this could be a Gurkha.”

“No,” Raven answered. “Gurkhas would never be so sloppy. They’re stealthy like leopards, and agile like mountain goats.” Xandra looked at her strangely. “What? You’ve never read the Nepalese Khukuri House website? Point is, they’d have left with all their weapons. And besides, they don’t bother with strangulation.”

“Then who...”

“My impulse would be Thug, but this is something else,” said Raven. “This is someone trying to get my attention.”

“What? Why would you say that?” Xandra asked in surprise.

“The Thugee used scarves called ‘Rumal,’ which means roughly ‘yellow scarf.’ The real color was closer to cream or khaki, but I chose actual yellow because it stands out more. It doesn’t match anything the victim is wearing. So whoever left this yellow scarf around her neck was leaving a message for me. Who is this?” she asked, pointing at the picture.

“That’s Anita Child,” Raven’s friend answered. “She deals in human trafficking, but has never been caught until now. Her specialty is…was kids.”

Raven smiled. “So good riddance.”

“The world’s a better place,” agreed Xandra, “but there’s a problem. We were already in the process of tracking her down, because she was suspected to have two missing children with her. A girl and a boy- Wanda Auf and Willie Cumbach. When we found the body, the kids weren’t with her.”

Now this guy has my attention. He’s not going to enjoy it though.” Raven smiled diabolically.

“Yeah. I figured that’s what you’d say. You’re going to need some help though. Someone from outside.”

“Who?” asked Raven, and as if in answer, there was a small explosion at the end of the room and a thick puff of black smoke. Raven immediately unsheathed a knife and threw it across the room.

"I... am Miko the Magnificent."

“WHOA!” shouted a voice from the smoke. As it dissipated, there stood revealed an African-American man in a black trenchcoat and tophat, leaning a bit backwards, and still holding Raven’s knife where he caught it in midair. He looked at the women with a raised eyebrow and with slight exasperation in his voice said, “I come in peace.”

Xandra put a hand on Raven’s shoulder. “Raven, this…”

“Oh please,” interjected the man as he crossed the room. “Allow me to introduce myself.” Holding Raven’s knife by the tip and resting the hilt across his other wrist, he offered her knife back to her. Once she took it, he continued, “I am the cat in the hat. I am the technodelic jazz magician. I am the Shaman of the Vegas Vibe. I am…”

“…Completely full of yourself?” finished Raven.

The man drew his head back a bit and put his hand to his chest in mock umbrage. His thumb and forefinger stroked the silver skull hung around his neck, then he continued, “To quote the late great Nicol Williamson in Excalibur, I am ‘a dream to some…’” then he threw his hands in the air and declared, “‘…a nightmare to others!’” His voice reverberated through the room like thunder, taking even Raven by surprise. He then took a bow, swept the hat from his head to reveal a salt and pepper afro, and standing, added, “I…am Miko the Magnificent.” Nodding to Xandra, he said, “My close friends call me High Hat. You,” he said, looking pointedly at Raven, “can call me Mister Magnificent.”

Never going to happen,” countered Raven. “Nice trick though,” she conceded.

Trick?!” Miko gasped, the umbrage real this time. With pursed lips, he pulled the tophat back down over his hair, flicked an eye up and down Raven’s form, snapped the lapels of his coat sharply to settle it back onto his frame properly, and silently turned to the monitor with the picture of the dead abductor.

Over Miko’s shoulder, Xandra looked at Raven with wide eyes and shook her head slightly. Raven shrugged apologetically in return, then put her hands up in front of her, telling Xandra both to be calm and that she would behave. Xandra said, "Miko helped us with the Milwaukee Torso Killer awhile back." She then turned to the monitor and asked, “What can you tell us about this, High Hat?”

His voice all business now, Miko said, “I can tell you that nobody will mourn the departure of this blight on humanity.” Raven smiled at that. “But what’s festered up in her place might make them reconsider.”

Raven’s smile disappeared. “What do you mean,” she asked.

Miko’s eyes flicked to his peripheral for a second, but he didn’t turn to look at her. He answered, “You see that half circle just above the edge of the scarf? Xandra, did your people take any other pictures?”

“Yes,” she answered. Three pictures came up on the screen, revealing the full mark below the scarf. “But we haven’t made heads or tails of them yet.”

“Appropriate phrasing,” offered Miko as he touched the screen to enlarge one of the pictures, “because this…” he spread his fingers from the center of the mark, enlarging that portion of the picture, “is from a coin. Or more accurately, a medallion.” The picture showed the profile of a man, with words to either side, following the edges of the medallion, and a date at the bottom: 1757-1822.

“Medallion?” asked Xandra.

Continuing to stare at the picture, Miko answered, “Yes, the Canova Medallion.”

The Canova Medallion?” asked Raven.

Miko looked at her this time. “What do you know of it?”

“The Thuggee were rumored to be worshippers of Kali, so I’ve done some reading,” she offered. Miko nodded slightly and waved a hand towards the screen, telling Raven to continue. As she did, he brought up other pictures on the screen, showing what she was telling.

"The Thuggee were killers, and perhaps the earliest version of 'organized crime.' ..."
"The captured Thug Behram was one of the most notorious..."

Raven continued, “The Thuggee were killers, and perhaps the earliest version of ‘organized crime.’ A group would disperse along trade routes, sometimes for hundreds of miles, and join bands of travellers a little at a time, until they outnumbered their victims. Once they reached a spot along the route of their own choosing, they’d kill their victims, often by strangulation, hide the bodies, and plunder the spoils. The captured Thug Behram was one of the most notorious, claiming to have been present at nine hundred thirty-one killings. He was quite proficient with his Rumal. He could throw it so that a medallion sewn in its lining would land over the victim’s adams apple, making it easier to strangle them. That medallion was the Canova Medallion. It had the face of the artist – Antonio Canova – on one side, and an image of his statue, The Three Graces, on the other.” She looked at the image on the screen. “This is the side with Canova’s image. Someone wanted us to be sure this was from the Canova Medallion. But is it the original or a copy?”

"The real Canova Medallion is in the collection of a private museum..."

The magician answered, “It’s impossible to tell, but you’re right. This mark was burned into the flesh. So someone heated the medallion and branded the victim with it. That had to be done after she was killed. So he moved the scarf, branded her, and then put the scarf back in place. Someone wants to point you in a specific direction, but where?”

“I think I have the answer to that,” cut in Xandra. She was working the screen at an adjoining station, and as she tapped keys and images, she said, “The real Canova Medallion is in the collection of a private museum, bought from the family of Thug Behram.”

“So this is a copy then,” concluded Raven. “It could have come from anywhere then.”

“Maybe not,” countered Xandra. “The real medallion has done some travelling, and is currently in a touring exhibit of famous serial killers.”

“And that exhibit is here, in Vegas,” guessed Raven.

"Why is it always Simon Janus?"

“Bingo,” said Xandra, “and no bets on where,” she said as she tapped the screen again. Miko and Raven joined her at the console.

Raven shook her head, “Damn. Sanctum Tartarus. Why is it always Simon Janus?” she complained.

“It might be more than that,” answered Miko.

“More?” Raven looked puzzled.

“I’ll meet you at the exhibit. You take my hat,” he said as he tossed the tophat on her head. He disappeared in another black puff of smoke, and his voice echoed through the room, “Enjoy the ride.”

“Ride?” asked Raven, and then she felt the hat shift on her head. She raised her eyes towards the brim, and before she could say anything else, the hat got wider and bigger, and fell over her head, resting on her shoulders. She grabbed the rim, but it got wider and bigger again, causing her to lose her grip, and it fell to her waist. It shifted once again, got wider and bigger, and fell to the floor.

Xandra hollered, “Raven!” Her eyes got bigger as the hat shrunk down to normal size, then seemed to fold in on itself and disappear. “Raven!” shouted Xandra.

Inside the hat, Raven tumbled over backwards into a dimension of strange images and sounds. Lights flashed, music played, and she felt herself slipping, no longer knowing which direction was which, which way she fell, or if she was even falling at all. A shadow that might have been a man passed close by to her, and she heard a whisper. “Still think it’s just a ‘trick?’

She was about to scream when a bright light shined through a seeming tear in reality itself, and she landed in a sprawl on the exhibit floor. She took a second to catch her breath, braced her hands on the floor as much to make sure it was real as to push herself up, and then saw a pair of black boots in front of her face. She followed the boots upward to the black jacket, and all the way up to the face of the magician. He reached down with one hand to claim his hat from her head, then offered his other hand to Raven, which she took, and helped her up.

"You can call me High Hat."

They looked at each other for several moments, before Raven said, “M-Mister Magnificent.”

Miko nodded appreciatively at her, leaned towards her and said, “You can call me High Hat,” before placing the tophat back on his head.

Raven gave an appreciative nod back. “Raven, then. You said something about this being more than Simon Janus?”

“Yes. It’s the owner of the Medallion- the one who normally holds it in a private museum. His name is Ali Indigo.”

“Why does that sound familiar?” asked Raven.

“Probably from your reading,” offered Miko. “The British used the son of Behram to pressure him into becoming a King’s Approver against the Thuggee. The son’s name was Ali, and the East India Company ‘gifted’ him the position of running an Indigo factory, hoping they could pressure him into disclosing the locations of his father’s hidden hordes of plundered treasures.”

“So you think that Ali Indigo has something to do with… High Hat!” Raven was interrupted by a yellow scarf being slung around the magician’s neck. Miko barely had time to throw one hand up in front of the Medallion sewn inside, keeping it from putting the full pressure on his throat.

"Thug Behram, at your service!"

From behind him, he heard, “Thug Behram, at your service!” The killer pulled tighter on the Rumal, determined to strangle Miko. Raven unsheathed her kukhuri, but Behram warned, “Don’t try it, girl! I will kill him!”

Raven backed off, but Miko reached backwards suddenly and poked his attacker in the eye. The thug screamed and grabbed for his eye, enabling High Hat to get free. The magician immediately ducked, grabbed the edge of his jacket, and swooped it in an arc towards Behram, like a cape. The killer was swallowed completely by the coat just before it dropped back into place. Miko looked pissed. He seemed to stare into nothing as he pulled the scarf from his neck and shoved it in his pocket. Then he spun, flaring the jacket again, and as the coat snapped forward, Behram was ejected from its folds and thrown across the room into a display.

Raven Diablo looked at the magician fearfully. The things she could learn from this man. She then crossed the distance between her and the killer swiftly, putting her kukhuri to his neck and demanding, “Who are you? And don’t say ‘Behram,’ because that’s not possible! You would be…”

"Sholeh Kaviani sends her regards."

“Almost two hundred fifty years old,” answered the Thug. Raven looked shocked. “Yes, it’s true. If you can’t believe who I say I am though, you may simply call me Phansigar. I took a vow of silence when British justice betrayed me, but not before I made a deal with a devil I knew from Persia.” His eyes narrowed cruelly as he looked into Raven’s eyes. “Sholeh Kaviani sends her regards.”

Raven wasn’t expecting to hear that name, but she was startled enough that she jerked backwards from the Thug a few steps. He did not miss the opportunity. Although he had been resting on his elbows, from his fallen position, his powerful arms pushed off of the ground, and he lunged forward, a kick to Raven’s gut sending her sprawling backwards. Jumping to his feet, he laughed. “She was right! This is a thrill!”

High Hat took a step towards the killer, but stopped when he saw what the killer took from his pocket. It was his Rumal. It was Miko’s turn to be startled. How had he gotten that from his pocket, while he was in the coat?

“Don’t look so bewildered, mage! I told you I made a deal with a devil! And she has powerful magicks of her own! Besides, I am Thug! As much thief as murderer! Pickpocketing is easy for one such as I- even from one such as you. Bah-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!” With that, he unfurled his Rumal, spun it around his head and let it fall around him. As it did so, he disappeared completely, just in time to avoid Raven’s khukuri, which embedded in the display case behind where he had been standing. Only the echo of his laughter remained, and the fading words of a warning. “You will hear from Phansigar again, Raven Diablo!”

Raven looked at the pile of debris that was the ruined display case, and exhaled sharply. “This…is not good,” she said finally.

The End...for now

“You’re telling me,” said High Hat. “I hope he didn’t get anything else from my pockets!” Raven looked at him quizzically. Miko just said, “That…would not be good. Tell Xandra I’ll be in touch.”

“Wait!” called Raven, but Miko had already flared his jacket, spun, and disappeared in a cloud of black smoke.

A voice echoed, “It was good meeting you, Raven,” and then faded from the room.

Raven smiled at nothing, but answered, “You too, High Hat.” She took one more look around, and headed for the exit. She needed to go see Sholeh Kaviani about two children.

Voting Rules:
  • Please read the entries and vote for the story/villain you liked best.
  • One vote per voter.
  • No voting for yourself (it just isn't sporting, chaps).
  • Once again, the entries are kind of long, and last time, we had some procrastinators on the vote that missed or nearly missed the deadline. I also want to try to get Miko himself involved in commenting on the entries, and he's hard to pin down via e-mail. So I'm giving two weeks for this vote. Deadline is May 15th, 11:59pm GMT (so 7:59pm EST for my own reminder).

Thanks for showing my friend's characters some love folks! -cb

Picture/Character Credits:
There are multiple uses of images from the Raven Diablo and Miko Montgomery websites, both here and in the CCC #25 Contest Thread. Those are copyright and owned by Miko Montgomery, and were only used here to add a little pizzazz to the contest entries. Ditto for any characters used from those sites. -cb
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