Let me tell you folks, it’s been interesting here. Then again, when hasn’t it been? Ah, but I’m pretty much the poster boy for that whole “May you live in interesting times,” combination curse/blessing. Interesting is a double-edged sword, just like me. Are there any sword swallowers in the readership tonight? Anybody? Come on, I look like I got a sack implant from a Smurf.
Ah, don’t worry about it. I’ve been fine this long. It’s all a matter of priorities, and most of the time my priorities preclude scratching that particular itch. In fact, almost all of the time. But enough about my sexual escapades. Who the fuck cares about that anyway?
Y’all care about me going to fuck a woman up. Belle, aka Belle of the Balls.
Which brings us to a lesson for anyone running around with abilities that surpass those of mere mortals. For fuck’s sake, people, name your own damn self! Don’t let someone else decide what you call yourself. This isn’t a philosophical point, either. I heard of this one character from the Eighties once. Had a thing for poison gas bombs. Fellow didn’t leave any sort of calling card or monologues or anything. The press wound up naming him. The Mad Gasser.
Don’t be the next Mad Gasser.
That’s enough present tense verbs for now, though. Let’s take a trip to the past.
Now, before I could go after our dear Belle of the Balls, I was interrupted by the gang, meaning Sam, Max, and Holly. They opened the bathroom door to find me scribbling out a plan on the walls.
“Gecko,” Sam said. “If you’re going to draw on the walls, at least take a marker in with you.”
I grinned a dark brown smile at them, then took the spoon away from the wall to dip it back in my cup of delicious chocolate pudding. “Sowwy,” I said through the pudding in my mouth. I swallowed and then pointed at the plan with my finger. “I have it! You wanted a plan, I have a plan! First, we hit the biggest bank in the city to threaten the money of our suspiciously-quiet friends at Faustus. Then, while you’re distracted, I sneak out the back and go wreck the AllWays Lounge looking for Belle. In the process, I shove something large up Cloned Hitler’s ass. Now, they won’t tell me anything, and I’m considering doing this all dressed as Missile Patriot, but their cooperation doesn’t matter because I know a brownie who knows where she keeps her thongs. He will, out of the goodness of his heart, lead me to her so I can, out of the goodness of my heart, rip out her heart. What do you think?”
Sam was the one who responded, “About the plan to distract us and ditch us? It doesn’t sound like it’s off to a good start.”
I turned to Holly. “What do you think, huh?”
She threw my pants at me and walked back toward the couch. “It’s stupid. It’s not going to get us out of here and away from these people any sooner. Now put these on.”
She’d been a little off since being attacked by that giant canine monster. We had cut her some slack, especially while she healed. Max took great pains to make sure that what he made for her was as completely harmless as could be, which said wonderful things about all the crap he’s dropped around me that he just threw together. He got her healed up physically in no time flat, but mental healing is an entirely different animal.
It’s been said that people who have faced their fears come through the other side stronger. That has been said by people who never had to face their fears. Hell, Miss Tycism tried to throw my fears in my face once. I suppose, had I been a regular person, it would have been a horrifying experience. I mean, it’s not like it was a walk in the park for me, but I’m several steps removed from how regular people think. I knew Holly wouldn’t find herself in possession of a sense of poisoned rationality, but why not go easy on her?
“Alright.” I dropped my pudding in the bowl with a plop and stood up to slip the pants on.
“Whoa, there it is,” Sam said as she turned away, covering up the side of her face so I didn’t intrude into her peripheral vision. “Holly was right, you know? Let’s stay on track here. Even if Faustus, Hephaestus, and the government aren’t sweeping the streets with death squads, they’re getting too much time to react to us.”
She moved over to the couch next to Holly as I zipped up and flushed. Max held the door for me. “What did you think about my plan?” I asked him.
“How would you have gotten the brownie to lead you to her?”
“With complete honesty, I would have promised him her heart.”
“Okily dokily,” I said as I washed my hands. Remember, children, good hygiene is important. Wash your hands after eating pudding on the toilet, and try to take a bloodbath at least once a week. I turned to Sam afterwards. “What’s your plan then?”
That’s why we went back to the headstone shop. “Yep,” I told her as we pulled up again, “Instead of wasting time, how about we go back to the place where we know the thing we’re looking for isn’t?”
“Why is it fixed then?” asked Holly. She had goosebumps already, despite us visiting in the day. We weren’t going to scout unknown territory known to contain at least one monster at night, after all. Holly got lucky and a little stab happy the first time, but our group would seem like a horror casting director’s wet dream for asshole victims. We were only missing a black guy but that was a quota not based on assholery.
Still, the place looking like we’d never fucked it up any was a bad sign. There was another car there, and that wasn’t too good a sign either. “We have to go in there,” said Holly from the backseat.
“All of us?” Max asked, checking around through the car windows for any sign of anything.
“I think it can get at us out here if just you two go in. We need to stick together.”
“Alright then, gang…” I began, “let’s get sticky.”
Those three all burst through the door the same time as I hurled myself through the window. What we found inside was a horde of zombies closing in on Belle, who was now on the opposite side of a room larger than the building it was in. They were the slow-moving, dead zombies with open wounds and all that. Easily killed, but difficult for a human to get through in large enough numbers. In here, they had large enough numbers. This place seriously hated single white females. For me, though, it was only the second time I was glad to see zombies.
“Gex, how do you want to handle this one?” asked Max as he and the women readied themselves for battle. We heard watermelons burst just then and turned to find Belle was throwing her crystal balls at the heads of the zombies. The crystal balls picked up speed and plowed through the skulls of the zombies they hit, then curved back around to her hand. Her other hand was busy doing some sign language that left a glow in the air.
“I’d rather sit back and cheer on the zombies. No way she can get them all. She’s only got three of those things and that wasn’t a very fast attack. Too many brains, not enough balls.”
Without missing a beat, Sam then stated, “I envy her.”
“I have just the thing,” Max said. He stepped out in front of Holly and Sam, checking his jacket. Suddenly, he pulled out a brain.
“You really want to use that, Max?”
“Of course I do. I made this thing for situations like this.”
“Are you absolutely sure, though?” I told him. “That is a terrible thing to waste.”
He scoffed and threw the brain right at a zombie’s head. The zed stopped and turned. Well, began to turn. Slow motherfuckers. Before it could finish, the brain leapt up at it, fanged mouth open and chewing at the zombie’s skull. The zombie fell and its head broke open, revealing two brains growling up at the rest of the undead crowd.
What happened next was equal parts massacre and buffet. The only satisfying part to me not needing to lift a finger to fight zombies was not having to lift a finger to save Belle. Then it was cleanup time. When I asked if Max had come up with a way to contain the carnivorous brains, he just smiled like always and sprayed my armor with something. Next thing I knew, the brains all clung to me, making odd little noises like sighs. I hoped I wasn’t getting mated with, though it wouldn’t be the first time I had a mindfuck.
Belle ran over then, balls swirling back into her hands from the last zombie she felled. When she ran over to thank us, I grabbed her and hauled her off her feet. “Don’t worry, I got this one. Die stinky evil scum!” I pulled back to punch her with my first and the brain sticking on the end of it, but Holly got in the way. She didn’t look good. She looked sweaty and a little wild in the eyes.
“No!” she said, “Enough killing people for the night! She survived.”
“Not my fault she was stupid enough to come here. Were you just resetting your trap?”
“It’s not my trap. It belongs to Faustus, but it’s a trap because there is bait here as well.”
I dropped her. “Explain why my hand isn’t up your ass right now, then.”
“I’d rather talk about this place.”
“It’s kind of alive, but not really. It draws from the public consciousness to best match the fears of whoever is inside, but it works best on one person at a time.”
“Uh huh. Gotcha. And the bait?”
“Faustus has an underground storage area below it. I was just trying to find the elevator, which is hidden somewhere behind a display grave marker.”
“I didn’t notice anything like that in…” I trailed off because all of a sudden, we weren’t in a huge room full of dead zombies. As near as I could tell through all the brains, we were actually a little cramped in a room with one door out to the parking lot. No windows. Lots of gravestones all around.
All of them had my name on it.
“So… I don’t think this place likes me too much.”
Max concurred. “It certainly seems to be imagining you dead.”
“Alright, Belle…you get a reprieve on account of us not having a damn clue and on account of you helping us find the right marker.”
Sam was looking along the wall. “Hey, look at this one. ‘Here Lies Psycho Gecko, Like A Dog.’”
“Check it out,” Holly said with a grin on her face, running her hands over a tombstone with my helmet carved into it. “Psycho Gecko. He died as he lived. Up someone else’s ass.”
“Not nearly clever enough. How dare they think they could bury me under that?” I said, looking around. There were plaques, tombstones, even some statues. Yeah, even angels, though not your normal solemn-looking ones. There was one that looked like it was laughing. Another was mooning downward where I would have been buried. I was quite flattered by one nice, large one that featured a crowd of angels and demons standing guard with weapons drawn. One of them manned a cannon. “Now that fucking thing is nice. I could see this on a grave. All it needs is a few stripper poles.”
“What does it say?” asked Max.
I had to maneuver my head through a stone guillotine to get a good look at the inscription. “Whosoever disturbs this sleeper shall swiftly know ‘Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo.’” A metal blade fell, biting into the back of my armored neck and knocking me down, but not penetrating or breaking anything. “Nice try, evil headstone shop, but larger buildings than you have tried.”
“I think that’s it,” Belle said. I caught a glimpse of her looking into her smooth, shiny balls. “Everyone else, stand on this thing.”
They all gathered around me while Belle felt around on the statue. I couldn’t see what she pressed, but suddenly we were all moving downward. After a couple of minutes, I figured I needed to ask, “Hey, guys, I’m started to get a cramp here and there’s a heavy metal blade on the back of my neck. Can I get up now?”
“No,” Belle answered quickly. The others all nodded, but I couldn’t see their expressions. I suspected that it was completely unnecessary for me to lay there.
Finally, we broke into a room. I could make out three men sitting at a table. They weren’t expecting trouble based on how slow they reacted. Max was able to put two of them down before they even pulled their firearms. The last one managed to get a handgun out, a crude-looking thing of black iron with glowing runes on it, but he took a ball to his crotch, then another to his head.
Alright, so Belle was going to live after all.
With the threat down, I reached up, trying to lift the guillotine blade off me. Max’s voice made me stop. “Here he is.” Max was standing there in front of Moai. Moai was held behind three incredibly shiny metallic bands.
I powered up the muscle enhancers and threw that blade off. Standing, I charged up the energy sheaths around my fists. I was in a hole in the ground full of magical artifacts of untold power. Worthless crap. I kicked aside the table and the swelling purple bodies of the guards. Then I skipped, ducked, rolled, leapt into the air, and brought my fists down hard on the bands holding my Moai. The top one crumbled apart as the energy discharged through it. I swiped at the bottom next, but it didn’t break. The enhancers in my legs could jump me far enough to break my legs and spine. With the lower band weakened, they were enough to break my kneecap and that band. I charged up my fists again and pulled on the last one. As I pulled, the excess energy transferred to the metal. I didn’t know what it was, but the energy flowed into it, exciting atoms and causing them to bounce further apart, weakening their solid form.
I settled my legs on the wall on either side of Moai. It was a hard split, even harder with a busted knee, but all together I was able to break the damn thing. I fell on my back, groaning in pain. Moai then fell on me. After a moment, it shook itself and stood up, with me clinging to it in a hug.
I had my pet rock back.