Mark A Davis
The bells tolled twelve times in the tower of the Cathedral of St. Moses the Black in downtown Frosthaven, denoting the hour of Midnight. Inside the cathedral music blared -- the strains of Slayer's Reign in Blood, blasting from a smartphone with a speaker attached. In the foyer Grandpa Anarchy swung a gloved fist into the flaming skull of Death Medal. The villain, dressed in a black military uniform reminiscent of the SS uniforms of Nazi Germany, flew backwards into a nativity display, scattering plaster sheep and wise men across the marble floor.
The world's oldest hero wore his usual gray suit with the anarchy symbol in silver stitched over the left breast. Beside him his current sidekick F8Wasp (pronounced Fate Wasp) fired two darts at the villain, one of which bounced off his skull. The young woman with long black hair wore a sleek black and silver outfit with a mask.
"What is wrong with you people?" Death Medal exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet. The villain gripped a leather tome in one hand. "Can't a guy plot the destruction of the uninverse in peace? All I'm trying to do here is borrow a book."
"Without permission!" Grandpa Anarchy snarled. "That book belongs to the secret library of the church! Around here we call that stealing."
Death Medal flung baby Jesus at Grandpa, who ducked. The plaster figurine shattered against a marble column. The villain said, "I was going to put it back -- assuming, of course, that I failed in my goal and the world survived. Obviously I wasn't going to return it if I managed to destroy the universe, that should go without saying...."
Grandpa ducked behind another column as the villain produced a pistol and opened fire. Grandpa drew his own weapon and returned fire. "You were planning to use the Illuminated Librum of Clemente Maleficus to destroy reality!" he exclaimed.
"Well, of course I was!" the villain said. "Why write down such a marvelously destructive spell for all to see if you don't expect anyone to use it? But I wasn't going to do it tonight. That's the important part. I was going to wait until Solstice...."
"Nobody is destroying the universe on my watch!" Grandpa roared. He charged the villain, swinging again for the face. Death Medal sidestepped him and sent him tumbling into Mary and Joseph.
"Oh, come on!" exclaimed Death Medal. "Have I even done anything yet? Is borrowing a book a crime? I haven't even attempted to destroy the universe yet. And let's face facts -- arresting someone for attempting to destroy the universe is like arresting someone for attempted suicide -- it's only a crime if you fail."
Grandpa scrambled to his feet. F8Wasp fired two more darts. These sailed straight up and lodged in a beam overhead. "Nice shot," the villain said. "Nearly got me...."
F8Wasp tapped her wrist computer. Light erupted around the villain, painting a pattern on the floor. A large circle of red lines, nearly a dozen feet wide, surrounded Death Medal. There were symbols in bright green and cryptic blue lettering around the inside perimeter. "Laser light magic circle," said F8Wasp. "Can be set up anywhere instantly." She fired two more darts into the walls. "Multiple sources, coordinated by a computer app, so that you can't block all of them and break the circle. It's my own invention. I call it Daemon Quod Absens, which is bad Latin for...."
"Demon-B-Gone, yes, very clever," Death Medal said. "Now, is this really necessary? You're going to banish me to hell, all over a little book? I'd hate to see what you guys do for a late fee. Mind you, since I am demonic, this is only a temporary solution...."
"Hand over the book, Death Medal!" Grandpa exclaimed.
With a puff of acrid smoke and the stench of brimstone, a new person appeared. This was a young woman with red skin, dressed in an outfit that was part Nazi uniform and part Playboy bunny outfit. There were fishnet stockings, high heels, white gloves and a leather whip. There were also curved horns jutting from her forehead.
"Not so fast, Grandpa!" the woman exclaimed. She glared at F8Wasp. "I'd caution you to handle that little app of yours with...."
"Kid Gloves?" Grandpa asked.
"That's Miss Kid Gloves to you!" the woman snarled. The whip lashed out with a crack. Grandpa jumped back.
"You've... changed," said Grandpa. "You weren't part demon before were you?"
"Of course I wasn't," she said. "But a human girl can become a demoness very easily. All I had to do was inject succubus blood into my veins, then chant the Lord's Prayer backwards while having sex with a male demon -- my lovely Death Medal here...."
"Guilty as charged!" the villain replied from inside the magic circle.
"And then do it again for two hundred consecutive nights," Miss Kid Gloves finished. "Easy!"
F8Wasp snorted. "Easy, she says."
"The girl's a super freak in bed by the way," said Death Medal. "Seriously. Super. Freak. Which reminds me, when is some heavy metal band going to do a cover of that old classic? The best I can find is a facebook/youtube band called The Blackout, and it's not bad -- but I want something with more bite."
Miss Kid Gloves blew a kiss to Death Medal. "I'm here to save you, Honey!" she said.
"That's great," said Death Medal. "Just watch out for the...."
F8Wasp fired several more darts into the ceiling and walls, then tapped her wristcomp. Instantly a second magic circle sprang up around Miss Kid Gloves.
"So now you're a demon too?" F8Wasp asked. "Good to know!" She pressed a button on her comp. The music of Slayer ended abruptly, to be replaced by chanting monks. The magic circle made of light brightened in intensity. Smoke arose from the floor and began to swirl around the outside of the circle.
"Wait!" exclaimed Miss Kid Gloves. "I've never actually been to...." The rest was cut off as she was sucked down into the ground.
Grandpa held up his hand. "Book?" he asked.
Death Medal sighed. "Sure, fine," he said, handing the book over. "That spell's only good on the longest night of the year anyway. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to return from being banished so this year's shot. So... this time next year?"
"Or in June, in South America," said F8Wasp.
"Dang," said Death Medal. "I was hoping you wouldn't think of that one."
F8Wasp pressed the button.