Oh, the devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin’ for a soul to steal. He had time to kill, it was no big deal, but someone was gonna eat boot heel.
Or “she” I should still say for now. And Ohio. I think the point here is that I’m not much for song writing, no matter what the occasional group of story commentators might suggest.
I took a small private jet out there rather than driving, because I thought it’d be nice to get somewhere fast for once. I tend to set off a few metal detectors at regular airports, what with all the metal in me. Let me tell you, security really gets suspicious when you take your own eyes out and roll them through the scanner. Don’t even get me started on what happens when you take out someone else’s eyes.
So I flew in with Moai. The flight was mostly uneventful, except for this part where some super kid almost hit us. In no time flat, we got out in Ohio and set about looking for the Powers Mansion.
The main portion of the Powers mansion sustained a bit of damage from a villain called Mary Malady, who normally doesn’t go for property damage. Her powers aren’t well suited to it, but wood still presents a weakness to that germomancer. I don’t think she’s magic, but I really wanted a shorter way to say that. Regardless of the odd choice to have her attack, the Powers estate wasn’t limited to just one house. They live out away from most people on a large plot of land. I scouted it out with Moai, the both of us pulling some hot ninja action to sneak around.
We used the trees and shrubbery to get close. Someone, probably the kid, had one of those little personal drones flying around, but I shimmied up a tree and stuck a stick in its rotors when it tried to fly below. Even when they’re flying around, people still don’t look up as much as they should. I mean, you’d think there’d at least be some sort of primate instinct.
Then again, maybe the only worthwhile primate instinct was destroying the flying drone with a stick while in a tree.
I figured his publicly-available address was the best place to look first, even if it had already been attacked. I didn’t get a good look at the damages, but they could always have another house or two on the property. Rich people do that shit.
Going commando like I did, I discovered that the main house stood in front of a small complex of guest houses. None were as big as the main house, but careful observation and wiretapping showed that the Powers family was still home, they had a shitload of phones, and that at least one person in the house likes watersports.
Ya know, now I’m going to feel bad if I don’t point out to the innocent and naive reading this that the term “watersports” takes on an entirely different meaning when it comes sexuality. And, personally, it’s not for me. Seems like it would take the piss out of a sexy situation and drain it all over someone’s chest.
So they were there, and then I spotted Mrs. Powers strutting her stuff out to the pool, Stacy’s Mom-style, for a tan. She didn’t notice the pool boy ignoring her, though. If I recall correctly, he’s the one handling the Senator’s pool noodle.
And my dear Priscilla was around, too. I don’t know if she was the one looking up naughty things, but I spotted her heading out to the huge lawn and walking around for a bit. She tried a cartwheel, but fudged the end of it. Still working on her leg strength and coordination.
I noticed more movement when I zoomed out from her gymnastics. A muscular man in a button-down and slacks walked out, hand to his ear, and nodded to himself. He stepped over to Priscilla and had a word with her. Security? I checked some of those phones more carefully while spying on the place. It wasn’t just that the Powers had an obsession with electronic devices; I counted a six-person security team staying up there with them, including the pool boy if that glock is anything to go by. That, or he’s got a really dark-colored dick that stretches all the way around and up the back of his pants.
With a lot more knowledge in mind, and having not yet acquired everything I wanted to truly make this memorable, I figured I’d come back later that night.
My timing worked out, too. On the way out, Moai and I had to sneak around a pair of guys dressed more casually than the security guys at the house. Zooming in, their shirts read “CC EW” so it looks like the guards are Constellation Consortium and the drone was part of their surveillance. I followed them to the road, where they sent out a replacement drone and then dragged the one they had inside to repair it.
I’d parked up the road from it, but before the personal street that counted as the Powers family’s driveway. As far as I found on the drive out, they were the only ones.
When Moai and I came back that night, we were better dressed for the occasion, save for me lacking my armor, for reasons I’ll make apparent. We had waited until four AM to come back with a couple of full gas cans. But first, we stopped by the drone surveillance van, where one of the techs stood outside having a smoke and downing an energy drink. I tossed a rock over his head and into the opposite direction. Hearing it land, he jumped and turned toward the bushes it had fallen through. “Is anyone there?”
In my head, I heard the opening notes of “Breath of Death, Jacket Edit” as I silently approached. I waited just behind him, looking for a chance.
“Must have been an animal,” he muttered to himself just before my hand snaked around and grabbed his tongue. His mouth reverberated with muffled yelling, especially once I dragged the nails of my other hand across his throat. The black zirconium cut through and sprayed blood. I stepped around in front of him, some of the warm blood landing on me. I pulled my hand out just before he snapped his teeth shut. Then, when he tried to scream, I held his mouth shut.
I leaned close and asked him through a bloody, smiling visage, “Do you know what time it is?” Heh, private joke. It got more private once he finished bleeding out.
When I knocked on the van door, I heard a voice call out, “Done jerking off out there?”
I wiped my face off, then opened the door enough to peek in. The guy inside widened his eyes, “Hey, whoa, sorry. I thought you were someone else.”
I held up a finger and beckoned him closer. “Hey,” I said, fluttering my eyelashes. “Want to see a dead body?”
I threw open the door and Moai tossed the dead body of his comrade on him. I jumped in and Moai closed it behind me while I, ahem, disabled the drones. They also had a radio tuned in to the same frequency the other Constellation Consortium guys were using. And this neat little reminder that the drones needed to stay above the motion sensors’ range at night.
Huh. I turned to the back of the van, wondering if I needed any more repairs to get these suckers working. “Hey Moai,” I called out to him, “you any good with a joystick?”
With Moai behind the joystick, I soon soared through the air like the world’s most homicidal fairy princess. Damn drones almost acted like I was heavy, but I had a pair of gas cans with me. At any rate, I didn’t see people scrambling into alert mode or setting off alarms. Then again, the motion sensors might not set off a full blown alarm, in case a wild animal wandered onto the property. Something to test, I guess.
The drones set me down on top of one of the guest houses. I’d have preferred staying on the main house, but it looked a bit flimsy. “Ok, take the others up high except for one. Drop that one in the pool.” I hugged the roof and tried to keep the gas cans where few people could see them.
Ten seconds after it dropped below roof level, someone called up on the radio. “Fitch, Hernandez, you drop a drone in the pool again, I’ll drop you on your neckbeard heads. You hear me?”
Moai lowered a drone down in the pool area, then flew it away low.
“That’s it, I’m turning the sensors off and coming down to kick your asses.” A man in a military sweater stepped out of one of the smaller side buildings and headed around to the front of the house. He cranked up a car and left. Boy, he’s going to get one hell of a shock when he gets to that van. Soon after he left, another man stepped out of that house, trying to whisper loudly in irritation at the first guy for leaving his post.
“Moai, send me a drone,” I whispered, then slipped to the ground, dropping the gas once I’d gotten down. The guard turned when he heard me running. When a drone dipped low, I jumped up, grabbed it, and brought it down on his head, again and again. Then I walked back over to pick up the gas. “When you’re done playing with the one coming down there, head up here and take care of any other mercs you see wandering around.”
Five minutes later, I sat in a chair in the corner of Robert Powers’s bedroom. Just his bedroom. Turns out he and his wife didn’t sleep together anymore. I sat in the darkness, the smell of gas all over the place. “Hello Senator.”
Powers jolted upright. “Who the fuck’s there?”
I lit a match in the darkness, showing him the visage of a smiling, bloodstained woman with black nails. “I am the one who ushers the souls of the dead to the afterlife. I am the Psychopomp, designation Gecko. Do you know where your soul is going?”
I tossed the match onto a very nice Persian rug soaked in gasoline. It lit and ignited a line of flames that raced out of the room, blocked the doorway, and encircled the entire house. Fire alarms started to wail, waking everyone but the dead.
“Tell you what I’m gonna do. You and I are going to play a little game, let’s call it Fried Chicken. First one out of the house loses. Here, I didn’t even come all dressed up, just to give you a sporting chance.”
I stood up and showed off my attire. Dark, camouflaged, but not armored.
Powers threw off his covers and went for his nightstand.
“A gun, Senator? You should know that I’m practically invulnerable to bullets. Unless you were to hit me. Then I’d bleed and cuss a lot.”
He glanced back at me. “Pinkerton told me you’d find a way to survive that bomb, and I didn’t believe them. They said you’d come for me too.”
Whatever he grabbed, he squeezed down on, then turned around. In each hand, he had crushed a metal orb. Some sort of red energy glowed in one hand, and blue energy in the other. Both weaved their way up his body.
I recognized them. The FBI uses something like that to temporarily empower their agents, though I think that was just the one that looked red. A blue one? Don’t know what it does, but I figured I’d go ahead and stop it.
I jumped onto the bed, instantly seeing why kids enjoy that, and dove for his head. He cried in the midst of a transformation that saw him bulking up and turning darker. I jammed my thumbs into his eyes, getting goo under my nails. Don’t you just hate that?
He swung and knocked me back. And by back, I mean halfway into a chest of drawers. I should note he wasn’t done transforming yet, but at least he didn’t have eyes to see how hard he hit me. Good. He didn’t need to see how slow I was getting up or popping my shoulder back into socket. Or the blood.
Gonna be honest, this “Fried Chicken” gag wasn’t working out how I intended. This is what happens when you wait to rub it in before killing someone.
“You call that a hit, you pansy? I’ve had periods leave me bloodier than that!” I yelled after I finally caught my breath.
He unleashed a roar of pain and anger and totally not having any eyes because I stabbed them out and finally slid out of bed. I finally left my comfy chair made out of broken drawers and ducked into the next room, the living room, hearing the comforter rip behind me without it breaking his stride. His underwear, yes, but not his stride. Yippy, I get to face Flappy Dong.
Just a tip, readers. If you ever do fight someone named Flappy Dong, or Super Dong, or Giant Dong, or even King Dong, don’t try to scream. Don’t even open your mouth. It’s just common sense.
In the next room, I saw Priscilla, her mother, and her brother all fleeing the house, the guards holding the door for them. One of them raised a gun at me, then brought it up to fire at the giant Senator behind me. Before he could fire, his eyes glowed blue and he brought it back down toward me. I ducked, but he fired anyway. Like, really slow reflexes. Then again, wouldn’t make sense if someone was a master of their powers just after getting them.
Still, blue. Something psychic, maybe? The red ones seem to involve physical transformation. Like how Senator Powers now stood nine feet tall, bulged with what could be muscle, and had a serious problem with body hair. Dude looked like a sasquatch, except for this curled horn sprouting from the middle of his forehead above the eyes. He growled, but I heard words anyway, just in my ears, or maybe in my head. “I’ll rip you limb from limb, or die a martyr trying!”
“Now now, Senator, let’s not be cockwads in front of the children. Do you think they should see you being so hypocritical?” I rolled out of the way of a downward blow that cracked the hardwood floor and sent him off balance. Another shot rang out, but it missed again.
“Why can’t I see inside you?” the voice in my head asked.
I dove over a burning couch and grabbed a bar stool where the living room became a bar and kitchen area. “Because no man has blinded you. Polyphemus want a cracker?” I swung up and for the fences as he charged and tripped over the couch. Lucky me, it gave the hit a little more oomph. Didn’t seem to break his skin, though. Crap.
It did give me time to duck in case the guard got an itchy trigger finger, but I looked over and noticed him shaking his head, then running. Can’t blame him. Shit’s on fire, yo. That’s why I tried to stay low, below the smoke and the really hot air. Which also gave me a way to beat the Senator in his new and improved form.
I couldn’t hold back a cough anyway as he fought back to his feet, but that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. Mostly a bad thing, but not entirely a bad one. He perked up, then looked down at the couch he’d failed to step over. It levitated off the ground without him touching it. Telekinesis, too, but he wasn’t using it to feel out the place.
When he threw the couch, I hopped up and jumped on it, rolling over the back to rest on the cushions by the time it slammed into the refrigerator I’d stood in front of. “Ooh, ya got me! Ya got me right in my pelvic splanchnic ganglia!”
“Shut up!” he tele-told me.
“Oh come on, you can’t say you didn’t expect some annoyance like this when you started all this mess.”
I saw him lean his head and horn forward, so I jumped up and hopped over the bar. He charged straight forward, to the right of the bar, and embedded his horn into the refrigerator. I sunk down on the other side of the bar, still trying to handle all this smoke better. Should have grabbed a rag and wet it in the kitchen.
“I was going to make this world perfect!” A roar reverberated alongside the telepathic voice.
“You and everyone else. What, your god tell you to make a utopia?” I hurried up the last of the sentence when I felt a cough coming on. I had a smudge on one of my eyes, too. I crawled, then hopped over a line of flames on the floor, getting clear of the bar I’d been hiding by. Good thing, too. The Senator waded into it, punching and kicking and tearing it all up.
“They showed me…” he trailed off in my head as he calmed down. He wobbled a little. Crap, the smoke inhalation starts getting to him just when he could be telling me all about someone’s evil plan that involves all its pawns thinking they’re building a utopia of some sort.
He never got to finish. Senator Powers fell unconscious onto the debris.
Well, that was an anticlimactic end for people fighting in a burning house, but one I counted on after it became clear I couldn’t get under his skin physically. He probably had some sort of super modifications to his lungs in that form, which is why he lasted that long with nothing but smoke, but even he couldn’t stand it forever. And from my coughing, it was time for me to skedaddle as well.
But first, I had something important to grab from the kitchen.
Moai stood sentry near the rest of the Powers family, all of them watching the house. Clobbered and unmoving guards rested nearby, some with sweet dreams and probably a couple in piece. They all gasped as I stepped out, my clothes sooty and burned, my left hand a little crispy for the second time in recent memory, and grasping something of importance. I hopped over the flames blocking the doorway and took in a lungful of fresh air. After hacking up ashy phlegm, I raised my left hand to my mouth and started chomping.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said between mouthfuls. I showed off the graham cracker, chocolate, and blackened marshmallow I’d brought with me, lest they thought I’d developed a taste for autocannibalism. “But that fight left me wanting s’more.”