Sunday, August 2, 2020

Die Glocke

Die Glocke
Mark A Davis

Moonlight dusted a seaside warehouse.  Shadows pooled in recesses and crannies about the building.  The air was chill.  Waves lapped against the piers, while the salty scent of the sea wafted on the breeze.

A lone figure in black patrolled the perimeter, machine gun in hand, footsteps ringing abnormally loud in the quiet night.  His armband displayed a swastika.

There was a muffled thwap.  The guard collapsed.

Grandpa Anarchy, world's oldest hero, gripped a pistol with a silencer.  "Okay," he said in a low voice, "when we get inside, remember that the big doohicky is super dangerous, so don't go near...."

"You just shot him!" exclaimed Furious Bandersnatch Boy, Grandpa's current sidekick.  "You killed him!"

Grandpa Anarchy wore his usual rumpled gray suit with the silver anarchy symbol stitched over the left breast.  He also wore a dark overcoat, a fedora, and a black diamond mask.  Furious Bandersnatch Boy wore a suit of red and brown that resembled a furry Domo-kun costume.

"Keep your voice down!" Grandpa hissed.  "And of course I did!  He's a Nazi, so it's okay."

"But you killed him!" the boy repeated.  "Just like that!  No warning or nothing!  How is that heroic?"

"Listen Kid," growled Grandpa, "do you want to stop an evil plot or don't you?  Besides, I have a license to shoot Nazis."

"I've seen your license," muttered Furious Bandersnatch Boy, "and it says you can punch Nazis.  It don't say nothing about killing them."

"Listen, I killed hundreds of Nazis in the war," Grandpa stated.  "The only good Nazi is a dead Nazi.  Besides, if it's good enough for Captain America then it's good enough for me."

"Captain America isn't real...." Furious Bandersnatch Boy began.

"I'm not some modern namby-pamby bleeding heart hero you know," Grandpa continued.  "I fight for what's right."

"We're not at war, Grandpa," the boy said.  "What's right is not declaring yourself judge, jury and executioner...."

"The fate of the world is at stake!" Grandpa exclaimed.  "Or at least a small portion of Frosthaven NJ!  Now, let's go!"

Grandpa dashed across the parking lot and into the shadows which clung to the building's walls.  Bandersnatch Boy followed.  Grandpa opened a door and slipped inside, where he immediately confronted another guard.  Before the man could cry out, Grandpa punched him.  He leaped onto the guard, covering his mouth.  The guard's head went sideways.  There was a crack, and the man slumped to the floor.

"There," said Grandpa.  "You satisfied?  I didn't use my gun."

"You still killed him!" Bandersnatch Boy exclaimed.

"But I didn't shoot him did I?" said Grandpa.  "For someone with Furious in their name you seem quite timid.  Look, if you want to call in the police and wait until they get organized and their search warrants in order then you can go that route, but meanwhile the bad guys will have taken over half of New Jersey!  Now come on!"

Grandpa and Furious Bandersnatch Boy climbed a ladder into the warehouse rafters.  Soon they peered down on a giant bell-shaped object hovering over the concrete floor.  It spun slowly, emitting a low hum that caused the ground and surrounding building to vibrate.  It was approximately nine feet wide and twelve to fifteen feet high, and black as sin.

The air was chill and smelled of grease and tin.  Guards dressed like the Waffen Schutzstaffel, paramilitary arm of the Nazi party, patrolled the area.  At a large terminal near the bell-like device stood two scientists in lab coats, a guard with yellow-green skin and a face resembling a skull, and a tall woman in an elaborate outfit that was part Nazi SS uniform and part skintight snakeskin armor.

"Fraulein Hatra," whispered Grandpa Anarchy, "Sorceress and leader of the Hatra Organization, a secret cabal of German Nazi operatives.  That guy next to her is the Chartreuse Skull, her right-hand man."

"Hold on," said Furious Bandersnatch Boy, his eyes growing wide.  "What is that thing?  That looks like...."  He glanced at Grandpa.  "That's the famous Die Glocke, isn't it?  The legendary Nazi anti-gravity weapon?"

"No!" hissed Grandpa Anarchy.  "If you know what's good for you, you'll forget you ever saw it."

"I've read about the Nazi bell," said Furious Bandersnatch Boy.  "That's exactly what it's supposed to look like...."

"Listen," said Grandpa, "the very concept of Nazi Wunderwaffe -- miracle weapons in development by Germany during World War II -- well it's all complete fiction.  None of that stuff actually existed."

"Sir," the boy replied, "the StG 44 assault rifle and the V-2 rocket were considered Wunderwaffe, and those weapons revolutionized postwar weapon design.  And while they were far less successful, the Germans also managed to deploy a Panther tank and a Type XXI submarine...."

"I ain't talking about crap like that," Grandpa said.  "What I'm talking about is that cockamamie thing!"  He pointed at the levitating bell-like thing below.  "It's not the Die Glocke, because no such thing as a Die Glocke really exists.  And if it wasn't for that busybody Igor Witkowski people wouldn't have found out about it!  Now, they want to unleash that thing on New Jersey, so we've got to stop them!  Understand?"

Furious Bandersnatch Boy nodded.

"Great," Grandpa said.  "Now, remember, the kill field around that crazy humdinger extends some 200 meters out.  Plants are reduced to black grease, blood congeals and seperates, and crystals start to form within your flesh.  That's something you never want to experience twice, I can you from experience!"

Grandpa cracked his knuckles.  "Okay," he said.  "Time to ring some Nazi criminal bells!"

Grandpa Anarchy fired several shots, dropping multiple guards.  He leaped from the walkway and landed on a guard.  Grasping the guard's rifle, he fired at two more guards then leaped behind a crate as the rest returned fire.

Bullets whizzed through the warehouse.  "It's time to get Frumious!" yelled Furious Bandersnatch Boy.  His body expanded as he charges forward, transforming into a red-furred beast eight feet tall with arms like those of a gorilla.  He punched one guard, who flew backwards into the bell, screaming.  He lifted another guard overhead and tossed him into two more.

Though outnumbered, Grandpa and Furious Bandersnatch Boy took the entire group by surprise.  In less than a minute the villains were reduced to a couple of guards and the main bad guys.  The Chartreuse Skull snarled and charged across the warehouse for Grandpa Anarchy, while Fraulein Hatra floated into the air and hovered over the bell.

"You ain't fooling me with your imaginary anti-gravity propulsion technology!" Grandpa exclaimed, trading blows with the Chartreuse Skull.

"Anti-gravity technology?" replied Hatra.  "What are you babbling about, you foolish man?  My attack bell uses common jet propulsion, with methane and liquid oxygen propellants."

Grandpa Anarchy paused for just a moment.

"Right!" he exclaimed.  "Because anti-gravity technology doesn't exist, of course!  Wunderwaffe?  It's all lies and poppycock!  Forget I said anything!"

"It is, however, quite deadly," said Fraulein Hatra.  "My attack bell is truly a modern Wunderwaffe!  How convenient that you and your beastly sidekick are here to serve as its first victims -- I shall christen it with your blood!"

Laughing maniacally, the woman pressed a controller button.  The bell spun faster.  The humming intensified.  Lighting crackled.  Blue light surrounded the device.

The Chartreuse Skull held Grandpa Anarchy in a headlock.  Furious Bandersnatch Boy leaped for the control panel.  With one blow he knocked the two scientists away, then brought both fists down on the panel, crushing it.  When this had no effect, he ripped the panel from the floor and tossed it at Fraulein Hatra, floating just above the bell.

Hatra dodged, but the controller in her hand was knocked free.  It skittered across the warehouse floor.  Furious Bandersnatch Boy dove for it, as did Fraulein Hatra.  She snatched it up first.

The entire warehouse was by now bathed in blue light.  The hum from the bell was deafening, as it spun at a furious pace.

"Ha!" Hatra exclaimed.  "I control the device, foolish beast boy!  You can never...."

Furious Bandersnatch Boy punched her in the face.  The woman collapsed.  He picked up the remote and punched several buttons.  The bell spun sideways, crashing through the wall of the warehouse.  It spun out over the dock and then with a massive splash fell into the ocean.

"Our Wunderwaffe!" exclaimed the Chartreuse Skull.  "You've ruined it!"  After another moment he released Grandpa Anarchy.  "Oh well," he said.  "Back to the drawing board...." 

"Not a Wunderwaffe," said Grandpa.  "Just a clever ordinary weapon."  He turned to his sidekick and added, "Nice work, Furious Bandersnatch Boy.  Although I'm surprised you would strike a woman like that...."

"She's a Nazi," the boy replied.  "I didn't kill her...."

"Speaking of Wunderwaffe and Die Glocke," said the Chartreuse Skull, "I worked with Doctor Zero Hour II, and his father Doctor Zero Hour I did, in fact, work on...."

Grandpa punched the man in the face, knocking him out cold.