The Sinister Circle Chronicles  Episode II

The Sinister Circle Chronicles  Episode II

The Sinister Circle Chronicles

Episode II: Another Fine Mess

by Spencer Myers

aka 'Canuck'

September 1, 1999

 

 

 

The red-coated British Guards and Grenadiers formed a line in the sweltering

heat and advanced to meet the waiting row of Continental regulars, sunlight

glinting off their massed bayonets.

"Steady, lads," said the big Grenadier sergeant as the American infantry

across the field responded to their own orders to kneel and aim. The row of long

muskets came up, facing the advancing redcoats like a bristling hedge, waiting

for them to come into range.

Atop Combs hill the American artillery captain shouted the order to fire and

the cannon were touched off one by one, filling the air with smoke and thunder.

The weight of shrieking iron and grapeshot split the air where the Grenadiers

were marching, tearing gaping holes in their line, and would have taken my head

off too had I not been imagining the whole thing.

I paused to take a drink from my water bottle and breathe in the fresh air of

the countryside. The May afternoon wasn't nearly as hot as it had been on that

fateful day back in 1778, but was instead the perfect temperature for a good

hike. After another quick look at the visitor map the park ranger had given me,

I continued my walk along the edge of Monmouth Battlefield, in New Jersey.

Now what conceivable reason, you might ask, would a guy from western Canada

have to be wandering aboot in a New Jersey state park? Simple. I'd come here to

play hockey.

No, I wasn't going to play in the park, obviously. Vinnie, a New

Joisey acquaintance of mine, had e-mailed me and asked if I could fly down for

the weekend and play in goal for his team in a hockey tournament at Bridgewater

Sports Arena. I guess he figured that having an authentic Canadian on his team

would terrify the opposition or something. When he said they'd cover my travel

expenses, I readily accepted.

Our first game wasn't until nine o'clock on Friday night and since my flight

arrived on Friday morning I had decided to rent a car and go a-touring. History

being a hobby of mine, I was looking forward to visiting Monmouth and the other

historical sites in the area.

I strolled along the path until I reached the apple orchard and resumed my

mental replay of the battle, removing my baseball cap as I looked to the left

where 'Mad Anthony' Wayne's Pennsylvanians had charged whooping and hollering

across the bridge, only to meet a withering fusillade from the Grenadiers. And

there, at the distant treeline, the British desperately pressing their advance

across the dividing creek into the massed volley of fire from the Continental

infantry and cannon.

I could actually see it, my overactive imagination conjuring up redcoats and

revolutionaries, cannon belching smoke and iron, clods of rended earth thrown up

while soldiers spun and died, the screams and curses of the wounded, officers

shouting orders above the chaos. Men who might have sat down together over a

pint of ale at the local tavern under different circumstances now furiously

tearing into each other with sword and bayonet. (And to think that they were

fighting this war over tea...)

It was breathtaking. I marvelled at the courage of those long-dead warriors

who had stood and fought all day in 100F heat. No medic or hospital standing by,

just the frightening prospect of the surgeon with his bone-saw in the event of a

serious wound.

It was... I don't know, I was simply lost for words. I struggled to find the

right phrase to sum it up...

"If it wasn't for the bloody French poking their noses in, we'd have had

Washington's guts for garters."

The mood was shattered by that voice on the other side of the hill. The

soldiers faded away and the field reverted to its tranquil scene, a light breeze

swirling away the remnant of illusory gun smoke. I put my hat back on, muttering

under my breath at the intrusion, and then froze as I belatedly recognized the

voice, that English accent.

I prayed to God I was only hearing things, but when an American voice

replied, "Ah, we would've kicked your guys' Limey asses back over the pond even

without their help," I knew that I hadn't been.

I slowly turned around just as they strolled into view. I saw the

Englishman's familiar bowler hat peek over the crest of the hill first, followed

by his face with its wide blue eyes and large drooping mustache. He resembled

nothing so much as a startled walrus in a threadbare tweed jacket.

The other fellow wore a blue suit and dark sunglasses. His expression held

all the professional cheeriness of a disgruntled postal worker.

They stopped their discussion when they noticed me.

"Well, I go to hell," said Bardolph, feigning utter surprise and removing his

bowler hat. "If we haven't run into dear old Canuck. I say, what a delightful

chance meeting this is, what?"

But it wasn't. A chance meeting, that is. Not where Bardolph and Cowboy were

concerned, of that I was certain. Nor was it particularly delightful, come to

think of it.

The other time that I'd hooked up with these two fellows things had

culminated in a series of near-death experiences which I was only now beginning

to come to terms with.

They were members of a secret society of lefthanders called The Sinister

Circle which had been founded centuries ago, their sole reason for existing

being to thwart the ambitions of a rival secret society, a dangerous, female-led

group calling themselves The Sisterhood. (As I'd discovered the first time I'd

met them, Bardolph, Cowboy and the other southpaws are actually the good-guys,

their group's name being slightly misleading. 'Sinister' is the archaic term for

'of the left'...)

Being a fellow lefthander I'd offered to help them out that last time, fool

that I was, and soon found myself up to my ears in dangerous subcultural

intrigue, shark infested water and rum, this last being not entirely unwelcome

after having survived the first two...

"Hey pal, what's up?" asked Cowboy, brushing a speck of dirt from his

immaculate suit jacket and scrutinizing me from behind his sunglasses. "Or,

'How's it goin', eh?', I guess is the way you guys greet each other up north,

huh?"

I fled.

I just turned around and ran away from them, following in the footsteps of

the Grenadiers and Guards. The other two came after me.

"I say, Canuck old son," the portly middle-aged Englishman shouted, already

out of breath and falling behind. "Only want to... want to have a word with

you!"

"Take off," I yelled over my shoulder as I approached the stream.

"Hey pally, what the hell's your problem? Jeez, we just happened to see you

there, an' what with you bein' a good friend of ours and all..."

I ran even harder at that, leaping across the stream and continuing my charge

towards the tree line. But then I realised how badly I was overreacting to their

unexpected appearance.

Damn it, if they tried to rope me into helping them with some mad scheme

again, why, I'd just say 'no'. After all, I reasoned, I'm a grown man with

ambitions and debts and everything, and I can't very well go on dealing with

Life's Curveballs (or screwballs in this case) by running away like a scared

rabbit. After all, running away never solved anything.

Thus chastened, I ceased my churlish flight and behaved in a manner which

more properly reflected my inner fortitude.

"I say, Canuck, old bean," Bardolph asked eventually, "are you planning to

sit up that tree forever?"

"Yes."

"Look, be a good chap and come down so we can tell you what's happening."

"Won't."

"Aw, come on," Cowboy said, leaning against the tree with his arms crossed.

"It'll be like old times again."

"That's what I'm afraid of."

"Don't see why you're behaving with such hostility," Bardolph commented as he

tamped a wad of tobacco into his pipe and lit it with a match.

"Well, I have this strange aversion to being shot at, for starters."

Bardolph frowned, puffing smoke out the side of his mouth. "Wasn't as much

shooting as all that the last time, was there?"

"Wasn't as much shooting..." I repeated incredulously. "Look Bardolph, if

Julie Andrews had come twirling past she'd have started singing, 'The Hills are

Alive With the Sound of Gunfire!'"

"Oh, rubbish," he said, his head wreathed in bluish smoke. "And anyway, you

didn't get hurt did you? There you are, then."

Realizing that my destiny seemed to be hopelessly, helplessly entwined with

these two, I finally gave in and climbed down.

"All right," I said with a dramatic sigh. "What terrible danger do you need

me to save the world from this time... ?"

 

 

Part 2

Bardolph and I sat in the shade of the apple orchard while he briefed me.

Cowboy paced up and down among the trees, ever anxious to be doing something

more practical than talking, like shooting someone.

Bardolph explained that their mission was to infiltrate the headquarters of a

company in Manhattan, which was one of many fronts used by The Sisterhood. Once

inside the office they were to steal information regarding an impending hostile

corporate takeover so the data could be analysed by the Sinister Circle's

intelligence department and a counter-plan set in motion.

"But what's so frightening about this particular business deal that the

Sinister Circle has to intervene?" I asked.

"It's who they're planning to take over that concerns us," Bardolph replied.

"So who are they taking over?"

"Microsoft."

"What!?"

"Micr..."

"Yes, yes, I heard you the first time. Wow, Microsoft? No wonder you guys are

worked up. That might give the women a lot of power to play with, not that they

don't have enough of their own already. But surely Bill Gates might have

something to say about all this."

"Ah, there's the rub, you see. The women normally use their mind control

devices to make the deal go smoothly, but as you know, the superior intellect

and more highly evolved brains of lefthanders makes us invulnerable to the

device..."

"And Gates is lefthanded," I concluded, nodding. "So they can't simply turn

him into a puppet the way they normally would."

"Exactly. Unfortunately the tried and true method of blackmail is still

available and they're threatening to make public some rather sesitive personal

information they've got on him."

"So we have to get it from them before he caves and gives up control of his

company," Cowboy said.

Deception being the critical issue for Bardolph and Cowboy on this mission,

they had gotten permission from their inner council to make use of my services

again. It was believed that the women wouldn't have my name or photo on file,

given that I was technically a civilian despite my escapade in the Bahamas last

year, and was therefore less likely to stand out as an imposter.

They'd discovered that one of The Sisterhood's male drone operatives from

their Spanish branch was coming to the Manhattan office on another errand this

very weekend. They wanted me to impersonate the man, enter the office and swipe

the information for them. Despite their nonchalance in describing my role in the

proceedings, I wasn't sufficiently reassured about my safety.

"This had better not be a suicide mission," I warned them straight off. "I'm

not in for that sort of thing."

"Good lord, no. Look, all you have to do is walk through the front door, take

the lift up to the executive suite, flash your credentials, ask for the data and

Bob's your uncle," Bardolph explained with a reassuring smile. "You'll be in and

out before they know what's hit them."

"Yeah, that's what Churchill told the Canadians before he sent them to Dieppe

in '42," I muttered.

"Er, quite, quite," Bardolph said, red-faced and fiddling with his bow tie.

"Aw c'mon pal," Cowboy said, seeing that I was waffling. "If you won't do it

for us, your good friends, then do it for the sake of lefties everywhere. You

oughta consider it a privilege to serve your fellow man like this."

"What a load of shi..."

"Just one last mission, that's it," he went on hurriedly. "We really need

your help to bring this off. It's important."

I ran my fingers through my hair as I weighed the pros and cons.

"Oh all right, but you've got to promise that this is the absolute last time

that you hijack me when I'm on holidays."

They solemnly agreed, but I didn't like the way they grinned each other.

* * *

I drove us into the city in my rental car, crossing the George Washington

Bridge. As I gaped out the front window at the famous buildings in typical

tourist fashion, a car suddenly swerved in front of me, almost causing us to

plunge over the edge.

"They tried to kill us! They must be drones working for the Sisterhood," I

cried. "Cowboy, what are you waiting for, start shooting!"

He just shook his head. "They're not drones. He's just a New York cab

driver."

"Oh."

Cowboy directed me through the maze of busy streets to a parking garage,

where we left the car. We walked the last few blocks to our objective and paused

outside the entrance to the skyscraper.

"Here, you might need this," Cowboy said, giving car rental brochures to

Bardolph and I.

"But we already have a car..." I started, but then, knowing that his

explanation would probably leave me more confused than before, I just shrugged

and tucked it into my pocket.

"We'll wait for you right here," Bardolph said, handing me something that

looked like a beeper. "If they catch onto you before you complete the mission,

press this button. It'll let us know that you've been elimina... er, that you

need our help."

"Thanks," I mumbled, clipping the little unit onto my belt as I pushed open

the large glass door.

The elevator took me to the top floor of the building. I walked down the

hall, trying to compose myself.

"Walk in, show credentials, collect data, leave," I repeated to myself until

I reached the solid oak door with the company's nameplate on it. Taking a deep

breath, I opened it and went inside. There was a man sitting behind a desk in

the large reception area.

He was a thin fellow with a long nose and bristly mustache. He looked up from

his work, his moustache writhing as he scrutinized me over his wire rimmed

glasses.

"Yes?" he said brusquely.

"I am..." I began. Then my mind went blank; I'd forgotten my lines. Oh God,

who was I? Think, damn you! Something Spanish, wasn't it? Juan Valdez? Exxon

Valdese? ...that was a bloody stupid idea too, asking me to impersonate an

operative from Spain when I'm obviously an Anglo-Saxon, for God's... "Francesco

Vasquez!" I yelled at him, suddenly remembering my name. When the man had

crawled out from under his desk, I handed him the requisition form and my

credentials.

"I am here to pick up the blackmail information for the Microsoft merger," I

continued in a more casual tone of voice, trying not to sound like Manuel from

Fawlty Towers.

He squinted anxiously at my credentials for several minutes. Reluctantly

satisfied at their authenticity he went to his safe and withdrew a leather

folder. He returned to the desk, sat down and perused the contents of the

folder, wearing a scowl. I stood there nervously, willing him to get on with it.

"I wasn't notified that this information was to be picked up, but your

documents appear to be in order," he said, not sounding entirely convinced.

"Here are the copies of the agreement to be signed by the other parties, as well

as the data disc. You say you're the operative from Spain?" he asked suddenly,

as if to catch me off guard. Fortunately I'd rehearsed the answer to that one.

"Yes."

"Don't you mean 'si'?" he accused, slashing me to death with the razors of

his eyes. "Don't they say 'si' in Spain?"

"Ah, si, but I am in America now, so I said 'yes', si?... you see?" I

babbled, sweat beading my forehead.

The secretary blinked a few times and went back to scrutinizing the folder

and my credentials, a little suspicious now. He was beginning to get on my

nerves. I wished that he would simply give me the folder and let me get on with

my life.

Five years later he finally stuffed the papers and disc back into the leather

folder and handed it over to me. Then he stopped.

"One moment... what's this?"

He snatched the folder back, pulled the papers out again and re-examined

them, half turning away in his chair to hide them from me.

Finding nothing, he grunted. That was the last straw. I could take no more of

his nonsense, so with a great cry of rage I siezed him and threw him head first

out the window, whereupon he fell to a horrible, painful death on the cruel

street far below. Or in other words I raised my eyebrow slightly to show him

just how impatient I was getting.

He reluctantly started to hand the folder back as if he was parting with his

most prized possession, but even when I grabbed it he wouldn't let go and the

two of us stood there engaged in a ridiculous tug of war across his desk.

"Let go! Let go of it," I demanded, pulling at the folder.

"No! There's something else I have to check," he replied, yanking it back.

We tugged back and forth like antagonistic lumberjacks whipsawing a Douglas

Fir, exchanging insults the whole time. This must have attracted someone's

attention, because an angry voice shouted from the nearby CEO's office and

startled the secretary. He released the folder just as I gave a particularly

mighty tug and I flew backwards, crashing into a forest of large potted ferns,

scattering the contents of the folder across the floor.

The door to the CEO's office banged open and an obviously angry CEO strode

into the reception area.

"What the hell is all this noise about," she demanded, her shoulder-length

brown hair tossing as she stood there with her hands on her hips surveying the

destruction I'd wreaked upon the ferns. Meanwhile the bloody secretary was

standing at attention, giving the appearance of being very dutiful indeed.

I emerged from the jungle of ferns covered in soil, leaves and shattered

pottery, looking more like Stanley Livingstone than a Spanish operative. As I

knelt down to pick up the dropped disc I caught a glimpse of the woman's black,

three-inch-heeled pumps as she strode across the room and stopped in front of

me. My eyes made the ascent up her long, bare legs, over her black-skirted hips

and negotiated the hills and valleys of her red-bloused chest. I straightened

up, casually tucking the disc into my pocket, and looked into her cold blue

eyes. She pointed an accusing finger at me.

"All right, buster, what are you doing careering about among my ferns..." But

she stopped dead as we recognized each other at the same instant.

"Oh no," I whimpered as our eyes locked together in mortal combat. (Mine

lost.)

It was Laura.

The last time we'd met she and two other lady friends had tried to step on

me. I know this might not sound terribly bad, but you must remember that I was

only three inches tall at the time... oh God, she's going to shrink me down to

three inches tall again, isn't she? My knees buckled. I had to get away. I

couldn't go through that again. With trembling hand, I reached for the beeper on

my belt and pressed the button.

"Hey, hands up where I can see them! Now don't you move," she commanded as

she backed over to the secretary's desk and reached for the phone. But, never

one to follow instructions properly, I moved anyway.

Straight out the door and down the stairs.

Which was actually very good timing on my part, as an alarm sounded moments

later and people carrying guns emerged from various offices to track me down...

 

 

Part 3

I stumbled out the front door in a daze and stood in the middle of the

sidewalk.

"They're after me! We're doomed," I shouted like a paranoid delusional. The

New Yorkers who passed by didn't give me a second look.

"You idiots didn't tell me that Laura would be up there," I accused as Cowboy

and Bardolph joined me, having received my emergency signal.

They glanced quickly at each other, startled - so they hadn't known either.

It was just dumb luck that one of only three people in the Sisterhood who could

recognize me happened to be the CEO of the company I had infiltrated.

We saw a group of their thugs come around the corner of the building in front

of us, hands hovering suspiciously inside their open jackets, right where

shoulder holsters would be.

"They've got us cut off," Cowboy said, after we'd done the hundred metre dash

along the sidewalk in the opposite direction and ducked into an alley. "How are

we gonna get our car from the garage with those goons hangin' around?"

"Nil desperandum, chaps," Bardolph said. "I'll pinch one from the street. Be

back in a moment."

After Bardolph had skulked away, Cowboy and I saw a car full of the

Sisterhood's drones cruise slowly past, looking for us, and we retreated into

the shadows. After they'd gone, we took turns peering anxiously around the

corner until the Englishman returned in his newly acquired vehicular apparatus.

"Oh my God, I'm not getting into that thing," Cowboy blurted out when he saw

the car, a puke-beige Ford Pinto. "Jeez, those things are death traps."

"They are?" Bardolph asked as he opened the door and stepped out onto the

street, looking warily at the car for any sign of murderous intent.

"The fuel tank is right under the back bumper. One good rear-ender and we'll

all burn to death!"

"Oh, do stop fussing and get in."

Cowboy shook his head. "Nothing doing. There's absolutely no way I'm riding

in that... that mobile coffin!"

"I hate to admit it, but I'm on Cowboy's side here. What on earth possessed

you to steal a Pinto, for God's sake?"

"Well, it looked like it was good on petrol," Bardolph replied. "You know,

fuel efficiency."

"Fuel efficiency?" I cried, clapping a hand to my forehead. "Bardolph, we're

about to be involved in a dangerous high speed car chase! Why couldn't you have

stolen us a Mustang or a Camaro or a Tiger tank or something?"

"Well I didn't know, did I?" Bardolph sulked, thrusting his hands into the

pockets of his trousers. "It was a reflex decision. In Britain petrol costs a

good few quid."

"...the Ford Pinto was a Commie plot, you knew that right...?"

"All right Cowboy, I think he gets the point."

At that moment a black GMC Jimmy came screeching around the corner with Laura

at the wheel. She had two other women with her, a Mediterranean goddess whom I

recognized as Celeste, and a longhaired blonde who could only be the homicidally

beautiful Christine. A couple of carloads of gun-toting drones followed behind

them to make the day complete.

Our critical analysis re: Ford Pinto As Suitable Conveyance came to a rapid

conclusion as we jumped inside.

"I'm driving," Cowboy announced as I made a grab for the wheel. "You

Canadians are way too polite to drive in a car chase and Bardolph'll just forget

where he is and drive on the wrong side of the road or something."

"But if you drive you won't be able to shoot at anyone," I pointed out.

"Oh yeah." Relinquishing the wheel he drew his pistol, a Smith and Wesson .44

Magnum, and climbed into the back seat.

The chase was sort of anti-climactic for a while as we drove back onto the

George Washington Bridge and inched our way across, the women and their thugs

stuck in the traffic farther behind us. Once we turned south on the New Jersey

Turnpike however, things quickly heated up.

"Here they come," Cowboy warned, kneeling on the back seat and pointing at a

white Buick. A stream of bullets thudded into the trunk as proof.

I swerved ahead of a dump truck, trying to keep it between us and our

pursuers, but the truck was moving too slowly and the other drone car, a red

Toyota, moved around to our left. Meanwhile, the Jimmy had accelerated ahead of

us and was now moving into our lane to box us in. I managed to squirt past them

on the shoulder of the outside lane, earning several rude gestures from the

driver of a car I'd nearly run off the road.

I drove with grim determination under bridges and past oil tanks, dock yards

and other smoke belching industrial facilities that characterized much of

northern New Jersey, while high velocity slugs and things zipped past or chopped

into our car. And adding to our worries, Christine and Celeste were firing their

shrink ray pistols at us too, their bright blue beams flickering past too close

for comfort. I could only too well imagine what our fate would be if our car got

shrunk down to 1:35 scale in the middle of the Turnpike. It was very

disconcerting, somehow.

"This is twice now," I said, suddenly very angry and fed up with everything.

I had to raise my voice to be heard over Cowboy's barking .44 Magnum. "Twice

that you've interrupted my holidays...." I flinched as my side mirror was blown

to smithereens by a burst of Uzi fire. "...and I'm not putting up with it any

more. Well, I'm not! You just can't go on commandeering innocent bystanders like

this, at least not me..."

The rear window exploded inwards as one of the pursuing drones fired a

sawn-off shotgun at us, showering us with broken glass.

I wagged an admonishing index finger at Bardolph. "Damn it all, a man's

entitled to enjoy his vacation time without being constantly subjected to terror

and violence. That's not too much to ask for, is it...?"

All the while Bardolph sat there beside me either nodding or shaking his head

depending on the required response as if he were genuinely sympathetic, the

bastard.

Seeing an exit approach, I cranked the wheel hard over in an attempt to lose

our pursuers, but they stayed right with us. The exit road meandered for a while

until it reached a row of toll booths. I sped past an unoccupied one, with a red

light above it and no cars lined up waiting to pay, and veered off to the right.

Weaving in and out of traffic, I saw that we were now on something called the

Garden State Parkway, a monstrous five lane affair, heading towards Newark. I

put the pedal to the floor and the engine screamed like an emasculated goat as

we exceeded 70 mph.

The red Toyota pulled in behind us and I heard the rattle of small arms fire

and the drumroll thudding of more bullets striking us. A 9mm slug came whistling

through the back window, plucked gently at my right sleeve and smashed into the

dashboard. The radio's volume knob spun around to 'high' before detaching itself

from the panel and bouncing out the window to safety.

The radio show hosts, a couple of humorous vulgarians named Opie and Anthony,

had just finished up a ribald sketch about Chinese Viagra and started playing

Led Zeppelin's 'Rock and Roll'. The song's high energy drum and guitar lead-in

was deafening.

"It's been a long time since I rock and rolled," Robert Plant hollered in my

ear. "It's been a long time since I did the stroll..."

Celeste leaned out the passenger window of the Jimmy and fired her shrink gun

again, the blue beam narrowly missing us and engulfing a van in the lane beside

ours. It shrunk out of sight, and looking in the rear view mirror I saw the

little vehicle vanish under the Jimmy's left front tire.

Then the white Buick pulled up level with us and riddled the front of our car

with Uzi fire. I swerved into them to make them stop shooting, jarring both

vehicles violently.

"I say, steady on, Canuck," Bardolph said, looking ruffled. "You'll give us

whiplash."

"Whiplash?! I wish all I had to worry about was a goldarn case of whiplash.

But noooo, my life can't be that simple can it? No, first you send me on a

suicide mission - after I specifically asked not to be sent on one, might I add

- then you re-acquaint me with those three murderous women, and now several

carloads of people are shooting at me," I shouted, pounding my fist repeatedly

on the wheel and fuming at the sheer bloody injustice of it all.

Cowboy leaned forward as he reloaded his pistol. "Hey, look on the bright

side. At least things can't get any worse than they are now, right?"

A wasp flew in through the window at that moment.

"Argh!" I cried, flinching as it buzzed past my ear. I almost drove into a

stone bridge as I tried to avoid a nasty sting.

As the wasp flew circles around Bardolph he tried to smite it with his bowler

hat, but this only enraged the stinging insect further. Apparently she was

already having a bad day and probably even had PMS to boot, knowing our luck.

She buzzed angrily into the back seat to have a go at Cowboy. He screamed and

flailed his arms, looking remarkably like Kermit the Frog after he'd introduced

the weekly guest on the Muppet Show, but he finally managed to shoo the wasp out

of the car.

Moments after we'd run another toll booth the engine began to make alarming

grinding noises.

"I say, Canuck, the needle on the oil pressure gauge is beginning to drop,"

Bardolph pointed out helpfully, shouting over Jimmy Page's screaming guitar. "I

think the oil line might be leaking, old chum."

"Well, it probably has something to do with all those BULLETS HITTING US...!"

I took the next exit off the parkway before the engine seized and stranded us

in the middle of nowhere, and we found ourselves hurtling through the streets of

Newark. We hadn't gone far when one of our much abused front tires blew out.

I'd only just regained control of the car when more shots stitched across the

front right fender and the engine ignited with a woof!'. Long red flames licked

out from under the hood.

"Slow down, slow down!" Bardolph cried, wrenching at the door handle as smoke

seeped through the vents and into my lungs.

"Speed up, speed up!" Cowboy countermanded, observing the Jimmy making

another run at us.

Flaming oil spurted onto the window, obscuring my view. I tried to clean it

with the wipers, but they didn't work. Nothing worked on this car except for the

God damned radio.

Our other front tire exploded as the Jimmy sideswiped us and forced us onto

the sidewalk where we scattered pedestrians and smashed through mail boxes,

newspaper stands and the patio tables of a restaurant, the metal rims of our

rubberless wheels sending up a glorious bow wave of sparks.

Since the steering wheel and pedals were no longer responding, I simply hung

on while the car slewed around crazily to the right, bounced off a parked car

and finally collided with a lamp post just as John Bonham's drumming finished

off the song on the radio.

I suspected that we were next on the list of things to be finished off...

 

 

Part 4

I crawled from the wreckage and hauled myself to my feet as the women and

their henchmen got out of their cars.

Celeste, Laura and Christine charged at us without waiting for their drones

to back them up and were quickly able to subdue Cowboy and Bardolph, who were

both stumbling about like drunks after the crash.

I, however, vaulted over our smashed car and fled purposefully in the general

direction of Tuktoyuktuk. Celeste came after me, her flat sandals slapping

loudly against the pavement, her dark hair streaming out behind her. She could

run like the wind I discovered to my dismay as the distance between us narrowed.

"Get away from me," I warned as I scooted behind a large bush, abandoning my

flight. "I'll defend myself. I swear to God I will."

Celeste stood across from me in her mid-thigh length white skirt and matching

top, her dark eyes positively glowing. In that instant I understood how the

antelope with a gimpy leg feels when the lioness shows up for dinner.

"Don't make this harder than it has to be," she purred as she went into a

fighting crouch, clearly hoping that I would make this harder than it had to be.

I jumped back as she lunged forward to grab me. Then she chased me around the

bush, changing directions occasionally to confuse me.

"Look, there must be some other way to sort this out," I offered reasonably,

manoeuvring to keep the shrubbery between us. "I mean, this is a bit

undignified."

"Sorry," she said (she didn't sound sorry), and launched herself across the

bush in an acrobatic flying tackle. I wound up flat on the ground, the wind

knocked out of me.

"Ow! My arm doesn't bend that way," I protested as she sat on my back turning

me into a pretzel.

"Stop struggling and you won't get hurt," she said through gritted teeth as

she resisted my efforts to resist. She hauled me up, my left arm twisted behind

my back as leverage.

"Unhand me, you ruffian," I demanded as she frogmarched me back toward the

circle of cars. Cowboy and Bardolph were being covered by an assortment of guns

and things so no help would be forthcoming from that quarter, and the numerous

people who'd come out of their shops and houses to watch the fun didn't seem too

inclined to render assistance either.

They lined us up beside the Jimmy and Christine strolled back and forth in

front of us, her high heeled strappy sandals clacking on the sidewalk. She was

undeniably attractive in her short white summer dress, but her large blue eyes

were like sunshine in the middle of an arctic winter morning - clear and bright,

but giving only the illusion of warmth. She smiled as she teased us about the

wonderfully sordid things she was planning to do to extract information from us

back at their headquarters.

Before the women could stuff us into the Jimmy however, we heard the sirens

of approaching police cars.

"What are you gonna to do now, Laura?" Cowboy asked with a smirk. "You gonna

shoot at the cops? I think you'd better let us go, unless you know of some other

way to keep them from seeing us."

"You're right, Cowboy," she replied, pulling out her shrink gun. Bardolph and

I closed our eyes and groaned simultaneously. "I guess we'd better do something

to keep you guys out of sight for a while."

The other two women pulled out their shrink guns too and took aim, but for

some reason Cowboy didn't look worried.

"Remember the Alamo," he whispered.

"I fail to see how that statement should reassure us, since the Alamo

garrison was completely ANNIHILATED," I shouted.

"No, the Alamo car rental company... remember? I gave one of their brochures

to each of you in Manhattan. They're coated with a substance that'll deflect..."

But the women fired just then, the high-pitched whining blasts cutting him

off. The blue beams lanced into us, but instead of the sensation of confused

grogginess as my body began to diminish in size, all I felt was the merest

tingling against my chest. A split second later the beams, now turned bright

red, were reflected back onto the astonished women.

So we didn't shrink. I was just about to congratulate Cowboy and start waving

down the approaching police cruisers when the women began to grow. The smile

froze on my face and slowly melted into a look of horror.

They grew proportionately as tall as we would have shrunk down in size, so

that after they'd stopped they were over one hundred and fifty feet tall.

All of us, drone, civilian and Sinister Circle agent, stood there together,

gawking up at the women as they loomed over us. Christine shifted her weight,

inadvertently stepping on a car. It was crushed flat beneath her high heeled

sandal, crumpling loudly in the shocked silence. She glanced down at it and then

spotted us a moment later. She laughed, like thunder rolling overhead.

"Look, there they are way down there! Can I squish 'em, Laura? Can I,

please...?"

I turned to face my two sinistral associates, drawing on a long-suffering

expression.

"Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into..."

 

 

Part 5

Much to my dismay, Laura gave the giant blonde permission to rub us out like

cigarette butts.

Christine took two thundering steps forward and stood with one foot on either

side of us before we could even think about running away. She tilted her right

sandal back on its spiked heel and casually swung her foot over top of us as we

cowered in her shadow, laughing at us as we threw our arms up in a futile

attempt to protect ourselves.

"Ooh, I've wanted to do this to you guys for sooo long," she said

breathlessly, slowly pressing the ball of her foot down upon us. "Bye-bye,

little lefties!"

She gave a moan of pure cruel pleasure as the sole of her sandal met the

pavement and slowly crushed us flat, her heel lifting off the ground as she

pressed even harder. Our pitiful screams ended abruptly in a spurt of red goo

from under her toes, and with a horrible grinding noise she twisted her foot

back and forth on top of us, smearing our tiny bodies into pulp.

She turned to face Laura, grinning wickedly. "Well, that's the end of those

little pests."

Or it would have been, if she had actually stepped on us instead of three of

her own henchmen.

"They must not be able to tell us apart very well from that height," Bardolph

said, as Christine lifted her foot off of her former soldiers and crouched down

to inspect her work.

"Hey, it wasn't them," she said, recognizing the grey, gore-spattered

uniforms of the squashed drones.

"There they are," Celeste said, seeing us dash towards an alley and striding

forward to intercept us. The ground shook violently with each enormous step she

took, sending up clouds of dust. The asphalt cracked under her tremendous

weight. Window panes in nearby buildings shattered. Leaves were shaken from

trees. Terrified people screamed and tumbled to the ground around her, and

several of them who didn't move quickly enough were crushed underfoot when she

walked over them.

"This way," Bardolph shouted, and ran towards the abandoned Jimmy. For once

Cowboy and I didn't argue with him and we all piled into the vehicle.

I found myself behind the steering wheel again and somehow managed to control

my fear long enough to start the 4x4 and pull away with a squeal of tires.

I saw Celeste's sandalled feet stomping after us in the rear view mirror,

quickly gaining on us. I wrenched the wheel to the left and headed down a narrow

alley between two office buildings, plowing through garbage cans and cardboard

boxes, and turned left again onto the other street.

Undaunted, Celeste simply stepped over the two-storey building and planted

her foot down across the road in front of us. I managed to avoid a head-on

collision with her instep and swerved around her foot, but she was able to

pursue us all too easily. She would have flattened us in short order had Laura

not called her off.

"Let them go, they can't do anything to us now," she said contemptuously, her

voice reaching us as if on a PA system. "The time has come to demonstrate the

real power of the Sisterhood to these vermin. And when we have their undivided

attention, we'll force the government to surrender complete control to us, state

by state if necessary."

With that, she put her foot on the roof of a small convenience store and

collapsed it with ease. As clouds of dust from the ruined building swirled over

them, the crowd of people snapped out of their shock-induced trance and began to

run.

They stampeded blindly through the streets in a hysterical, ever-growing mass

as Laura, Celeste and Christine walked slowly after them, smashing the

stragglers into paste under their shoes with each gigantic step.

Unsure of what to do, we followed in the Jimmy, keeping several blocks behind

them so we could watch them surreptitiously. With numerous buildings blocking

our line of sight the giant women were only visible from the thighs up, but we

could see the clouds of dust and smoke from the destruction they left in their

wake. Gas lines exploded in some of the shattered buildings, adding to the

mayhem.

Turning a corner, we saw a policeman standing next to the flattened, burning

wreck of his squad car. He was talking into a public telephone. We pulled over

beside him, got out and waited for him to finish.

"...Yes, that's right. Three giant women are roaming around the city," he

told the party on the other end. "Yes. No, I'm not on drugs. I'm not! Look,

you've got to..."

We flinched as Celeste stamped down several times on an office building

several blocks away, kicking it over and reducing it to rubble. Faint, terrified

screams carried over the noise as Celeste finished with the building and paused

to exterminate the few people who'd escaped the destruction before moving off

again after Christine and Laura.

"Look, you've got to send in the national guard, call the President, do

something," the cop continued. "They're going to raze Newark to the ground.

Nothing will be left here!" He paused, shook his head and hung up the phone.

"Who was that?" Cowboy asked.

"Governor Whitman."

"What's she going to do about...?" He nodded at Christine, who was peering

intently at the ground and stepping down suddenly every so often, accompanied by

a cheerful, 'Gotcha!'.

"Nothing," the cop replied. "She thinks it's a hoax."

"Well, what did she say when you told her that Newark would be completely

destroyed?"

"She said, 'Woo-hoo!', and hung up on me."

"Brilliant," Bardolph mumbled. "Well, looks like the Sinister Circle will

have to deal with this."

Thus galvanized into action, he pulled out his cell phone and dialled a

number.

"I'll put a call through to our research department," he said, covering the

mouthpiece with his hand. "We heard a rumour a while ago that The Sisterhood has

been working on a growth ray to compliment their shrink ray, and our lads have

been developing an anti-growth gun to... Oh yes, put me on to R and D please.

'ello, Bruce," he said when the line was answered. "Bardolph here, old chap. How

are things, you irreverent Aussie, you? Well we're in Newark, New Jersey. Yes.

No, didn't go quite as we'd planned I'm afraid. Listen, here's a joke for you."

A joke? Cowboy and I glanced at each other, confused.

"Look, Bardolph, don't you think..." I began, but he turned his back on me.

"So Bruce," he went on, "there's this Englishman who wants to move to

Australia, and the Immigration bloke down under asks him if he has a criminal

record. So the Englishman replies - get this Bruce - the Englishman replies,

'Blimey, I didn't realise you still needed one to emigrate!'"

He burst out laughing, and slapped his thigh several times. We could hear the

tinny sound of Bruce swearing at him over the line.

"Mad Cow disease," Cowboy whispered to me, nodding at Bardolph.

"Oh dear me, that was good wasn't it?" Bardolph said, wiping tears of mirth

from his eyes. "Anyway Bruce, we need the prototype Anti-Growth guns your lot

have been working on. I'm afraid Laura and her sidekicks have turned themselves

into giantesses. Yes, bit tricky, what?"

After he'd arranged everything, he put his phone away and turned to us.

"Well, Bruce is sending down three of the weapons for us. Be here in, oh, an

hour or so."

"What do we do till then?" I asked.

"Follow the women around, make sure we keep close to them."

The women, as it turned out, made that task a lot easier for us than we would

have liked...

 

 

Part 6

Laura stood with her hands on her hips and a satisfied expression on her face

as she surveyed the destruction they'd wreaked upon the city.

Three separate trails of smoke and devastation extending for miles. Cars

crushed flat in the street or kicked aside like toys, others abandoned by

terrified drivers, bringing traffic to a standstill. Little patches of red

everywhere marking the last known position of many of Newark's citizens. A

continuous dusty haze hung over the part of town they'd trampled across.

I saw all this for myself, since the four us us were now skulking along

behind them at a safe distance. (The policeman had joined our intrepid band,

since we were the only ones in the city who appeared to be doing anything

useful.) When the roads became impassable we'd had to abandon the Jimmy and

continue on foot.

"Now this is the way to do things," Laura's voice thundered. "None of this

sneaking around, trying to take over the world when nobody's looking."

"Yeah, I just wish we could grow the rest of the girls too," Christine said,

toying with a tiny man down by her foot. He was on his knees, begging for mercy.

"Think how much damage we could do if all of them were helping." The man popped

under the weight of her shoe and she turned to look at her boss. "Too bad our

scientists can't figure out that last little problem with the growth ray, huh?"

I saw Laura pause for a moment and think about that.

"They might not know the final solution, but those pesky little south-paws

obviously do," she mused aloud. "Damn it, why didn't I think of that sooner?"

She called out in a loud voice for her drones, several dozen of whom had been

sent as reinforcements by the other members of the Sisterhood in New York when

they'd discovered what was happening over in Newark.

When they'd assembled in front of her, she ordered them to fan out and begin

searching for us, house by house. The women headed back in the direction they'd

just come from, walking behind their drones and scanning the area for any sign

of us. The streets in this part of town being now completely abandoned, the task

of finding us was that much easier.

A squad of drones ran through the back yard of a house only a block in front

of us and kicked open the gate. They swarmed onto the front lawn and moved

quickly down the street in our direction, weapons sweeping back and forth in

search of targets.

Laura stepped on the same house a moment later, reducing it to a heap of

broken lumber, her once-shiny patent leather pumps now scuffed and covered with

dust. She took another earth-shaking step and a tall tree groaned and bent under

the weight of her shoe like a flower, its thick trunk snapping loudly. As she

stomped closer to us Cowboy turned and gave me a terrified look, but I didn't

need it; I had one of my own already.

We tried to get away, but she soon spotted the four of us scuttling along and

directed the drones to our location. Unable to outrun them, we dashed into a

restaurant and hid behind the bar, peeking over the edge of it like nervous

gophers. Glasses and bottles shook and rattled, crashing to the floor around us

as the giant women approached. We could see their feet through the shattered

front window as they stood outside.

"We know you're in there, boys," Laura said in a sultry voice. "If you

surrender and come out before the count of ten, we'll be gentle with you...

NOT!" They all laughed, mocking us. When the laughter subsided, she ordered the

drones to capture us.

"Go gettem, boys. But leave your guns out here. I need them alive for

questioning."

The first drones charged obediently inside, only to be shot down by Cowboy

and the policeman. But before they could reload their weapons more of the

henchmen poured through and it quickly turned into a hand to hand battle.

Cowboy clubbed one of the drones with the long barrel of his .44 Magnum, then

turned to grapple with another. The cop swung his night stick back and forth,

trying to keep them at bay.

"May the Sauce be with you," Bardolph shouted, flinging a jar of Ragu Thick

'n' Chunky across the room to smash against a drone's skull. The injured thug

reeled back clutching his forehead and was pushed aside as more of his fellows

pressed home the attack.

I broke a chair over the head of the first drone to come close, then hefted

one of the chair's broken legs as a club, bashing another goon as he stepped

over the body of his fallen comrade.

"We have to get out of here," the cop shouted.

Naturally we were all in general agreement with this statement, but one look

through the window revealed that the three giantesses were still out there,

patiently waiting for us. And I much preferred duking it out with a dozen

dimwitted drones my own size to dealing with even one of those giant ladies.

With a final clout, the last drone fell to the cop's night stick and we stood

waiting for the next onslaught. But instead, after a few minutes, the women just

walked away, their ground-shaking footfalls receding.

"They're gone," the cop shouted, heading for the shattered bay window and

jumping through. "Now's our chance..."

With blinding speed, Christine's high heeled sandal swung sideways like a

monstrous pendulum, knocking the man flying.

We shouted at him to get up, to get back inside, but it was too late. After

giving him a quick once-over and determining that he wasn't one of us her foot

stepped down on him with a grisly crunch. She twisted her foot left and right a

couple of times and lifted it off again before we'd had a chance to help him.

"Jeez, I bet he won't have the guts to try that again," Cowboy quipped, while

Bardolph and I looked on in horror. I hadn't seen Christine or the other

giantesses crush anyone up close until now, and I was both shocked and morbidly

fascinated by the idea that a delicate and sexy high heeled sandal could be so

murderously destructive.

"I don't think they're falling for it," Christine called to the other women,

who'd only walked a short distance away to lure us outside. "Let's just tear the

roof off and scoop 'em up."

Fortunately something distracted her before she could act on her suggestion.

Over the background noise of screaming people, wailing sirens of emergency

vehicles and burning buildings we heard the sound of gunfire. Christine turned

and stomped down the street, forgetting about us for the moment. We peeked

cautiously out the window to see what was happening.

To our astonishment, there was a large crowd of civilians in the street

several blocks away, hiding behind a hastily erected barricade of cars. They

were dressed para-military style and were suitabley armed for the role too,

blazing away at the three giant women with pistols, shotguns and assault rifles.

"Must be some kind of underground defense organization, like the Minutemen,"

Cowboy mused, shaking his head in disbelief at their brave stance.

The giant women, stung by the bullets, walked back and forth over the tiny

gunmen, grinding one or two of them underfoot like toy soldiers with each step,

but they stubbornly continued to shoot back.

Of course their tenacity in the face of these impossible odds shouldn't have

surprised us; the average American's will to resist has always been strong,

especially when threatened by overwhelming forces of evil such as British

Imperialism, International Communism or the Metric system.

While the women were busy crushing the resistance, we climbed through the

broken window of the restaraunt and skedaddled.

We hadn't gone very far when a car pulled up beside us and Aussie Bruce

hopped out.

"G'day, mates," he said. "Brought you some goodies."

He popped the trunk and distributed the three prototype weapons to us. They

looked like oversized toy guns loaded with darts the size of toilet plungers.

He took my gun and demonstrated its use.

"Put the dart in the barrel like so, making sure it locks in place. Pull the

cocking 'andle back, switch the safety off. Now she's ready to fire, right?

Right."

We nodded, absorbing the information.

"Now, as we know, a growth ray's energy affects matter at the molecular

level, causing its mass to expand, right? The Anti-Growth system in turn works

on the affected matter. You just 'it one of them big sheilas with the dart, and

it releases a burst of Normalising Energy which will shrink her to her original

size. Questions?"

"But doesn't that go against the law of physics? I mean I'm no scientist, but

I thought that you can't decrease the size of mass because the excess energy has

nowhere to go and thus causes, oh, fiery cataclysms or something," I said.

Cowboy rolled his eyes. "That's all a bunch of crap. Those hi-brow physicists

don't know what they're talking about. They probably just sit around all day

playing solitaire and making up 'theories' because they don't know how else to

explain things."

"Yes, spot-on Cowboy," Bardolph agreed. "So now that we have the guns, how

should we..."

"So you're saying that all this talk about relativity, black holes, and

quarks and things is all nonsense?" I went on, ignoring him.

"Yup," Cowboy confirmed. "Oh, they announce their 'theories' with a straight

face and a superior expression so the rest of us will be too intimidated to

question what they tell us, but it's all b.s."

Bardolph nodded sycophantically. "Yes, very good Cowboy, but now we have

to..."

"No, really, I know the Sinister Circle has a large resource pool to fund its

own research, but I just can't believe that all the other scientists in the

world are mistaken."

"Suit yourself pal," he said with a shrug, adding spitefully, "I didn't

really expect you to understand anyway."

"Why not?"

"Everyone knows that Canadians are, well, sort of simple folk..."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Well, everyone in your whole frozen country sits there gawking religiously

at the t.v. while grown men in funny short pants skate after a small rubber

disc. What do you expect us to think?"

"It's better than you guys with baseball," I shot back. "Sitting there

transfixed for ten minutes while the batter knocks the sand out of his cleats.

Then he swings and misses, so he has to take another ten minutes' rest break to

knock more sand out of his cleats. At least hockey has constant action."

"Yeah, and constant fighting, assault with deadly weapons, dismemberment..."

"I say, Cowboy old chap..."

"There's more to hockey than fighting!"

"Is not."

"...Look here, Canuck my lad..."

"Yes there is. And for your information, Canadians don't approve of

fighting."

"Do so."

"No, we don't."

"You do so, you all love fighting."

"No we don't, and if you say that again I'll punch your lights out!"

"Any time you're ready, tuque boy..."

"Attention, colonies!" Bardolph finally shouted, making both of us look up

sheepishly. "Blimey, we leave you unsupervised for two-hundred years and look

what happens."

"Thank-you Bardolph," Bruce said. "As I was about to say, the dart gun has a

range of less than two-hundred feet."

"Jeez, that's not much higher than the top of Christine's head."

"Correct, Cowboy. Which reminds me, you have to hit these ladies in the

middle of the forehead with the dart. Anywhere else has no effect. Got it? Oh,

and you only have two darts each, so try not to miss. Cheers!" With that, Bruce

got in his car and drove off.

Cowboy and Bardolph quickly came up with a mad plan of attack that I really

didn't want any part of, but since my only alternative was to hang around

waiting to do my impression of a squashed insect, I decided to give it the old

college try...

 

 

Part 7

I drove cautiously around the corner, alone in a car that Cowboy had

hotwired, and spotted Laura moments later.

The giantess was standing in the street a couple of blocks away with her back

to me. She had chased down and cornered the last survivors of the doomed militia

unit and was in the process of crushing the last soldier to a pulp when I got

half-way out of the car and blasted the horn to get her attention.

She put her foot down heavily on the terrified militiaman and dragged her

shoe backward, leaving a horrific red streak across the road, and then turned to

see who was foolish enough to be honking at her.

Laura glanced down and spotted my car at once. She took a step forward and

was about to simply crush me without a second thought when she realised who I

was.

"You!" she growled.

I jumped back into the car and sped away before she could reach down and grab

me.

"I've found one of them again," she shouted at the other two giantesses, who

were striding towards me now too. "Don't let him get away!"

So now I had all three of them to myself. They stomped after me, trampling

flat the houses, cars and trees that I drove past, quickly gaining on me. I took

a corner without slowing down, tires squealing, almost rolling the car over, and

continued down the street.

Now, was it here that I had to turn or...

My car was bounced into the air as Celeste stepped heavily into the road less

than a block in front of me. Her massive sandal with its spaghetti straps

cris-crossing up the length of her calf filled the entire front windshield as I

drove towards her. Not daring to slow down, I faked a swerve to the left, then

quickly spun the wheel back to the right as she lifted her foot and placed it

down again where she thought I was going to be. I sped between her legs and saw

her turn around in my rear view mirror and stride after me.

To my left I saw Christine and to my right was Laura, the earth shuddering

under their footfalls as they both converged on me. My knuckles whitened on the

wheel as I drove on, wanting nothing more at this point than to be back in the

safety and serenity of the hockey rink, where I could skate softly and carry a

big stick.

I led them towards the Rutgers University campus, losing sight of the women

momentarily behind a tall building. As the three of them walked around it, I saw

two of them, Celeste and Christine, suddenly shrink out of sight in my rear-view

mirror. Laura promptly forgot about chasing me and turned to see what had

happened.

Grateful for the reprieve, I pulled over, got out and stood there watching

what I hoped was the end of the giantess' rampage.

Cowboy and Bardolph were on the roof of the building I'd led the women past,

both frantically reloading their dart rifles. Laura realised what had happened

and was furious that they'd been ambushed so easily. She took two steps forward,

intent on knocking the building over, but when she saw them raise their weapons

again she changed her mind and made a run for it, quickly moving out of the dart

guns' range.

Without thinking I got back in the car and followed her before she could get

too far. There was no time to wait for Cowboy and Bardolph.

It wasn't until I'd caught up with her that I realised the folly of my

reckless pursuit; how the blue blazes was I supposed to hit her in the forehead

with a dart from down here, even if she stood still long enough for me to take

aim?

Laura demolished an entire block of houses and then continued taking her

anger out on some tiny people in the street who hadn't gotten away in time. When

the last of them had been twisted into paste under her shoe, she looked around

and spotted me again. She was out of control now, obviously no longer caring

about finding out the secret of the growth ray. The ground shook as she strode

towards me.

I didn't have time to think, just wrenched open the door, grabbed my rifle

and tumbled out of the car as her foot came crashing down on top of it, crushing

it flat.

As I rose unsteadily to my feet, my head pounding from the headlong dive into

the street, a massive shadow slowly crept forward and engulfed me. Slowly

turning around and craning my neck as far back as it would go, I met Laura's eye

as she stood with her hands on her hips, glaring down at me.

She was not amused.

She kicked me, her massive shoe knocking the wind out of me as I landed a

dozen yards away. My rifle had gone flying, landing well out of my reach, and

Laura ground it under her heel, crunching it flat. Wonderful. All I had now was

the single reload dart tucked into my belt, which, without a gun to fire it, was

of little use to me.

Seeing that I was now unarmed and therefore more or less harmless, she toyed

with me for a while, carefully stepping down on me and rolling me under her

shoe, threatening to squash me like a worm. I struggled frantically against her

foot, but was helpless against its weight.

Then she took her foot off me and leaned down, hands on

The Sinister Circle Chronicles  Episode II

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