Doctor Who Vs Scratchman: Part 2

Image result for tim curry clueImage result for bruce campbell

 

                             Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter

 

“I don’t know why we bothered to come down here.” Yarox said.

“The Doctor said he needed our help to build the machine and for the last few minutes he’s shooed us away every time we get near it.”

“I just didn’t want you to feel left out.” The Doctor said as he tinkered away.

“You just want an audience more like” Elena said with a smile.

Suddenly the Tardis began to groan.

“What’s going on?” The Doctor said with concern.

“How do you expect me to know?” Yarox replied.

“The TARDIS is taking off.” The Doctor said as he burst down the corridors to the main console room with his new weapon in hand.

On the scanner outside the Doctor could see that they had been teleported to an entirely different location. It looked like the top of a mountain and there were over 50 Scarecrows gathered below a gigantic red cloud. There was also at least 20 people tied up to large wooden beams beneath the cloud at the very edge of the mountain top. The human prisoners all looked beaten and bloodied.

“We don’t have time to wait for me to perfect this machine. Whatever they’re doing now they have to be stopped.” The Doctor said as he opened the TARDIS doors. The little girl hugged Elena in fear, begging them not make her go outside. Elena tried to reassure her.

“Don’t worry the Doctor knows what he’s doing, I think.” Elena said to the girl. “Tell me what’s your name.

“Sophie”

“Don’t worry Sophie, I promise we’ll find your parents and stop whatever’s behind this horror.” Elena had no idea how she was going to keep that promise,  but she couldn’t bare to see the little girl cry another second.

The Doctor ran out into the field of Scarecrow’s pointing his machine like a weapon.

“He has arrived, the one the Master told us about.”

“Yes well if you know who I am, you’ll know that I have a knack for improvisation. This machine which I cobbled together in just a few minutes.” The Doctor said boastfully. “Can send you back to the hell you came from, unless you release the prisoners.”

The Scarecrow’s paused for a few seconds. The Doctor had no idea if his weapon would actually work. He hadn’t had time to either test it out, or even charge it for as long as he had wanted.

One of the Scarecrows’ responded by slicing the neck of a young male prisoner open. He couldn’t have been older than 14 years old. As the boy bled to death the red cloud began to grow larger and darker.

The Doctor knowing he couldn’t take any more chances fired his weapon. The Scarecrow’s all clutched the sides of their heads and sank to their knees.

“Its working come on.” The Doctor said as he ran frantically to untie the prisoners. The red sky became more erratic meanwhile. Lightening bolts began to fire from the mass, with one just narrowly missing the Doctor.

“You’re too late” One of the Demonic Scarecrow’s shouted. The mass of flames soon began to form into a flaming humanoid with horns who then began to descend on the Doctor.

The Doctor fired his weapon at the flaming monster which caused it to place its hands at either side of its head and scream.

The Demon swirled through the air, until it became a mere mass of flames. Just as the flames seemed to disipate however, a large bolt of fire came shooting out of the mass and struck the Doctors machine. It didn’t destroy it completely, but the machine was still thrown out of the Doctors hands and shut itself down.

The Doctor ran for his weapon, but more bolts of fire began to strike the machine. Fortunately it was made of an extremely durable metal and the flames did little to damage it.

The flaming mass then tried to strike at the Doctor instead who narrowly managed to avoid the beams.

Yarox and Elena meanwhile were busy untying the prisoners. Yarox was a little shocked at the sight of them at first. Never had he seen so many different looking people gathered together before. Sophie recognised one of the prisoners at the very edge of group as her mother and ran to embrace her.

“Sophie thank god you’re alive.”

“Where’s father?” Sophie said, but her mother couldn’t answer.

“No, please don’t.”

“I’m sorry Sophie they, they tore him apart.”

Elena who overheard the conversation looked over the cliff edge the prisoners were placed near. At the bottom of the cliff were the mangled remains and body parts of the fromer prisoners were kept. Hundreds of them had been slaugthered by the Demons.

Whilst Yarox, Elena and Sophie were distracted, the Scarecrow’s began to rise up again. The Doctor shouted to his companions, but it was no use. Within a few seconds the monsters were as strong as they ever were again, and overpowered Elena and Yarox, effortlessly.

The mass of flames spoke. “You’re trapped Time Lord. We don’t need you alive. We only need your vessel. It would be easier if you did help us, but you will die if you dare to defy the Master any longer.”

“Well” The Doctor said as dropped his weapon and clutched his lapels. “I’m not to proud to admit when I’m beat.”

The Doctor reached into his pocket. “WHAT TRICKERY IS THIS!” The flames screeched as it grew darker.

“Its just a cigarette. Would begrudge me a last request before you take me to hell?” The Doctor said as he put it into his mouth.

“I quite smoking for over  11 centuries you know, but well I’m on my 10th life now so I thought why not. You don’t mind do you? Of course not you’re made of fire.”

The Doctor reached into his pocket again and quickly pulled out his sonic screwdriver this time. Before any of the monsters could react the Doctor used his screwdriver to activate his machine from a distance, incapacitating the Demons a second time.

Whilst Yarox and Elena continued to free the prisoners, including Sophie’s mother, the Doctor headed for his weapon. When he tried to grab it however he burned his hands off of the metal. The Doctor pulled a long cloth out of his pocket, almost bigger than the pocket itself and wrapped it around the machine before hoisting it up into the air. As he tried to fire it again however, the machine’s power began to run down.

The mass of flames meanwhile began to form back into its humanoid shape despite the Doctors efforts. The Doctor however was able to ring the last bit of power out of his machine long enough for Yarox and Elena to get the 20 or so prisoners free, who they rounded up back to the TARDIS. They had to push the first few prisoners into the TARDIS as none of them were willing to go into a tiny blue box! The Doctor covered them all, using his weapon to blast several of the Scarecrow’s back, and as a shield to block the flaming demons bolts of fire.

Once they were safely in the TARDIS, the Doctor tried to take off, but the flaming Demon enveloped the outside of the TARDIS. The TARDIS from the outside looked like it was made entirely of fire!

The Doctor tried to take off, but the entire console room simply shook violently instead. Two small parts of the console even exploded.

“You will help the Master. You will free him from the pit.”  The voice boomed whilst the Cloister bell rang non stop.

The Doctor in desperation wired his weapon to the TARDIS console to power it up again. The Doctor fired the weapon with a range that covered the entire area, but the flaming Demon held on tight. Its screams echoed through the TARDIS, and as its grip around the time machine got stronger, the white walls of the TARDIS began to turn bright red. Blood began to drip from the roundrels which terrified the prisoners who huddled together helplessly. Even Yarox and Elena were beginning to get more visibly frightened. (Which was very unlike Elena.)

“Cheap parlor tricks” The Doctor shouted as he drew more energy into the weapon. “I’d be embarassed if I were you, a Demon from hell and that’s all you can muster up.” Suddenly the roundrels in the TARDIS became transparant and faces began to appear within them. The faces were of men and women, even children. They all looked burned, and mutilated beyond all recognition. The one nearest to Elena, a young boy was missing his eyes, whilst his lips were burned into a hideous grin. She couldn’t stand to look at it.

The damned souls faces started to move out of the roundrels and scream at the prisoners. As Elena, Yarox and the prisoners all backed away from the faces, several rotting arms started to appear out of the TARDIS floor. They tried to pull everyone to the floor. As the Doctor tried to struggle free, he looked up and saw the ceiling of the TARDIS had turned into nothing but fire. The fire slowly began to form into a Demonic face that began to laugh at the Doctor.

“The legendary Time Lord, has such a feeble mind and will. Our master will break you easily.” The face said before bursting into a fit of diabolical laughter.

The Doctor using all his strength managed to pull free from the arms and fired more energy into the weapon. He was worried that if he tampered with the TARDIS core much longer then it would be in danger of exploding, which could consume the entire planet in a time storm! Still the Doctor pressed on as he had no choice. Eventually there was a small explosion within his machine followed by the flaming face screaming in agony. A few seconds afterwards the flames around the TARDIS vanished completely, and the inside of the TARDIS returned to normal.

The Doctor looked on the scanner outside to see the Scarecrow’s had been felled by the machine as well.

When he turned to his weapon however the Doctor saw that it had been completely burnt out.

“Damn the energy from the TARDIS’ core was too much, I just hope it wasn’t too rough on you old girl.” The Doctor said as he tapped the TARDIS console.

“What is this place.” Sophie’s mother said as she cradled her crying child.

“It’s a time and space machine. I’m the Doctor, I’m from the planet Gallifrey and this is Yarox and Elena, they’re both from your future. And if you find that too fanciful, well remember that I just saved you from the Devil.”

“Doctor, please she just lost her husband.” Elena said.

“Right, right I’m sorry for your loss Mrs?”

“Tulloch.”

“I’m sorry what happened to you, to all of you. I wish we could have arrived sooner, but that lot at least looks taken care of for now.”  The Doctor said more gently as he adjusted the TARDIS controls.

“Those monsters”. One of the men at the back interrupted. He was old and withered looking, and covered in scratches and bruises.

“They ripped us from our homes, tortured us,  and started to slaughter us as part of a ritual to bring that, thing into the world.”

“Doctor what was that creature, was it really what it said.”  Elena said noticably more scared than she usually was in these kinds of situations. She wasn’t a religious woman at all, and deep down she knew there was probably a rational explanation for these creatures. Still Elena couldn’t help but think back to how many other incredible things she had seen on her journey’s with the Doctor, that she would have undoubtedly dismissed before.

“No of course not. It’s a creature from another universe. Its just relying on superstition to scare us.” The Doctor said.

“What does scare me is that it knew who I was. It wanted me, or rather this ship for something. I don’t know what, but I can’t help but feel we should leave here at once.”

“We can’t.” Elena said. “If we hadn’t done anything then these people would all be dead right now.”

“I know, I know Elena, but that thing also wanted the TARDIS and for all my bluster well.”

“What?”

“It almost took control of it.”

“How is that possible?”

“I don’t know, but it was. Those weren’t parlor tricks. That creature was attempting in its last few moments in this reality to pull the TARDIS back into its realm. We saw those face because our ship briefly merged with the creatures home reality, but fortunately when its link with our world broke, we were sent back.”

“You mean those faces were real?” Elena said with horror.

“I’m afraid so. Also whilst we may have sent those creatures packing, according to the sensors there is another dimensional breach on the other side of the island. More monsters will be coming through”

“We have to get there now.” Elena said.

“Do we? Or is that what it wants. If we go there, will it just use the TARDIS to rip a bigger hole in reality.”

“If there are people on the other side of the island in the same position as they were, how can we leave them.” Elena said. “Besides even if it is a trap, we’ll think of a way out. We always do.”

She expected the Doctor to respond in his usual chipper tone, but instead she was met with a concerned look. The Doctor was always such a fun, boistrous figure even in the face of death that it was quite alarming for Elena to see him take things so seriously.

“I just hope you’re right” The Doctor said to Elena as he adjusted the controls to take the TARDIS to where the other dimensional breach was.

On the scanner the Doctor could see an old church just ahead.

“Its Liage, the main town on the island. It was the last place to fall to those monsters.”One of the villagers said at the back.

“They came bursting out of the ground. Our village was protected, or so we thought by a large wall. It had been built centuries ago to protect us from Viking invaders. It had become a tourist attraction, but we thought it could hold the scarecrow’s out, until.”

He couldn’t go on any longer.

Whilst Elena comforted the man, who had massive claw marks down his face. The Doctor tinkered with parts from his burnt out weapon.

“What are you doing?” Yarox asked.

“Oh its simple. I won’t have the time fix up another weapon, but with a few bits and pieces of equipment here I might be able to disrupt one of the Scarecrow’s in a different way. They’re just projections into this reality remember. All I need do is disrupt the signal, but this time I’m going to interfere with it. Use it to create a force field around the Scarecrow that will trap it, allow me to control it.”

“You can really do that?”

“Of course! Well….. maybe. Actually it probably won’t work, but still I have to try. If we can get control of one Scarecrow then I can figure out what’s going on around here, who’s pulling their strings, what they want. Scratchman indeed!” The Doctor scoffed.

After putting the gadget together, the Doctor told Elena to stay in the TARDIS and watch over the villagers.

“What? I always go with you. You can’t leave me out now.”

“I’m sorry Elena, but well for once I don’t think the TARDIS will be enough to protect everyone here from what’s outside. I need someone I can trust to look after these people. No offence Yarox but we have just met, and no offence to you old girl.” The Doctor said to the TARDIS console.

“You’re right I suppose.” Elena said somewhat resentfully. “Though be honest you just don’t like a lot of strangers in your TARDIS while your out.”

“Well obviously, but I’m serious Elena. I can’t guarantee that nothing will get in. That Demon managed to rip through the defences of the ship and nearly dragged it to whatever pit it came from. Be carefule. I’d love to just take these people somewhere safe, but you know how unpredictable the TARDIS can be. Again no offence old girl. We could end up on Mars in the year 2525. Please look after them.”

“You have my word.”

“Right come Yarox its time we were off.”

Yarox wasn’t too keen on the arrangement either. Though he wouldn’t admit it, he was absolutely terrified of the Scarecrows and would much rather be the one who was sitting back in the TARDIS. Fear was a new sensation for Yarox in some ways. Back where he came from he was always told that his life was meaningless. He was just a clone after all, and no individual life mattered. All that mattered was the survival of the race, but now in even just the short time he had been with the Doctor and Elena, he had come to enjoy his own life.

After they left the TARDIS, Yarox said, somewhat nervously to the Doctor as they approached the church. “You know maybe it would be better if Elena came with you. You know her better, she has more experience.”

“Now Yarox its fine to be afraid.” The Doctor said.

“Even after all these years and 9 deaths, some of which really, really, really hurt, I’m still scared of every time I step onto a new planet. Still we can’t let it overwhelm us my boy. That’s what our enemies want. For us to be too scared to lift a finger against them.”

The Doctor saw the door to the church was left open slightly, which wasn’t a good sign. He slowly nudged the door open, only to be overcome with the sight ahead of him.

The church was filled with bits and pieces of mangled bodies of men, women and even children. The body of a priest meanwhile was nailed to a the large cross at the back of the room. His guts had also been ripped out and spread on the altar below. The walls were literally dripping with blood.

“What.” Yarox could barely even bring himself to speak.

“Its a house of god, a Church. The monsters whatever they were wanted to desecrate it. But why? If they are aliens, why should they care about a human belief system?”

Suddenly the two time travellers were alerted by the moans of dozens more Scarecrows emerging from the woods behind the church. The Demons gathered around the TARDIS and started to corner the Doctor and Yarox against the church. There was no way they could fight through them, so the only way forward was for the Doctor and Yarox to run through the Church.

As they ran across the blood stained floor however the Doctor slipped on the blood and dropped his gadget. It slid along the floor undet the mangled corpse of an old woman.

Yarox helped the Doctor up. He wasn’t hurt, but he was furious that his fine suit was ruined.

“I’m going to have throw this out!” The Doctor said in disgust. “Yarox can you be a dear and eh get my little gadget”. The Doctor didn’t want to touch the corpse. Yarox didn’t either, but he was less fussy than the Doctor. (He was arguably more used to gruesome sights than even the Time Lord.)

As Yarox reached under the body, the Scarecrow’s advanced on them. The Doctor picked up a nearby chair and waved it at the Scarecrow’s, but in the process the Doctor slipped on the bloody floor again and landed on his back.

The Scarecrow’s just laughed at the Doctor.

“Glad I could amuse you all in my humble little way.” The Doctor said. He then reached into his pocked and pulled out a few tennis balls and started to juggle them. Some of the Scarecrow’s started to giggle.

“I’ve had thousands of years to practice, but even with that in mind I’m still a natural.” The Doctor then three the tennis balls at the Scarecrow’s before picking up a nearby chair that he then threw out into a huge Stain glass window at the back of the room.

The Doctor and Yarox (who had managed to find the gadget while the Demons were distracted)  quickly ran out of the window. (Though the Doctor nearly slipped again!)

Outside of the window was a graveyard. In the distance, the Doctor and Yarox could see a scarecrow digging a grave. It noticed the two time travellers and smiled, with is firey grin. They didn’t have time to worry about it now as several more of the Scarecrow’s started to crawl through the broken window behind them.

The Doctor and Yarox ran out of the grave yard and into the village behind. It was completely deserted. All of the windows in the buildings had been smashed, the doors were also kicked in, and there bodies littering the streets.

The Doctor and Yarox quickly took refuge behind a nearby alley. They watched as the horde of Scarecrow’s ran past, screaming bloody murder.

After a few minutes the Doctor felt it was safe.

“We need to try and isolate one of them from the rest of the group.” The Doctor said to Yarox.

“Quick hand me the gadget.”

Yarox obliged but the gadget was covered in blood.

“Oh god you could have wiped it first.” The Doctor said.

Back at the TARDIS, several Scarecrow’s kept clawing at the door.

Inside the villagers were getting frantic at the sight of the monsters, but there was little she could do to reassure them.

Many of the villagers were somewhat scared of Elena herself. They were all unnerved to some extent by her large single eye.

Elena was used to it. Even in her home time, the 31st century, she much like her mother tended to stick out in a crowd.

“Look don’t worry those doors have withstood horders of Cybermen trying to smash their way through I’m sure.”

Elena was quickly interrupted by the cloister bell.

“Oh dear” she said to herself. The TARDIS doors suddenly opened. Elena tried to close them. (During the many years she had been with the Doctor, he had taught how to operate certain parts of the TARDIS, though he could never teach her, or indeed any non Time Lord how to operate it properly.)

She tried again and again to shut the doors, but it didn’t work and the Scarecrow’s soon entered the TARDIS, smiling with sadistic delight at their cornered prey.

To Be Continued

 

 

The Circus Master: Journey To The Centre of Evil: Part 1: Demons of the Earth

 

“Please stop torturing yourself. We haven’t heard anything from them in 2 weeks. I’m sorry, but.”

“If they’re not back, I don’t care if your little contraption works or not. I’ll have no reason to go with you.”

Hiliseia’s two children had been part of a rescue mission to save the last few survivors of the city of Paloeska. Paloeska had fallen a little over a year ago to the same monsters that had been terrorising Hiliseia’s people for several thousand years. It had existed at the very bottom of the ocean and had been the Rysteians last sanctuary for many generations.

Now however the monsters had finally found and decimated it, just as they had done to all of the Rysteians great civilisations.

What was once was a thriving and highly advanced race had now been reduced to just a few unlucky survivors, huddled together, not even sure why they were bothering to linger on.

Suddenly a message came in. Hiliseia jumped up, pushing anyone who got in her way aside.

“Please, please answer, Kile? Is that you”. Hiliseia shouted in desperation.

“Mother, mother can you hear me?”

“Yes Kile, thank Meser you’re alive.”

“Please listen to me you have to escape now. All of you. One of the things that destroyed Paloeska is heading your way!”

“Ah finally we’ve landed” The Circus Master beamed proudly. The journey had taken a few weeks, but in that time Denika and the Circus Master had managed to completely repair the ship after the Hylexans spell.

Whilst most of the magic, outside of the engine had been destroyed, small traces of it had survived, and Denika and the Circus Master had managed to rebuild large sections of the ship from those tiny specs of magic (as well as Carlene’s Beehive.)

The toilet, below the first floor had been the first room they had rebuilt, naturally followed by the Kitchen. Carlene meanwhile had spent almost all of the journey training Ashlei who was making great progress. Ashlei wasn’t a natural fighter, but she was a fast learner.

Keptis and Florence on the other hand had spent almost all of the journey together. The Martian had opened up to the Siren to a far greater extent than before after his torture at the Hylexans hands. The creatures had fooled the Martian into thinking his family, his people were still alive, causing him to go through the pain of losing them again. This time however, Keptis didn’t have to go through the pain alone. Florence more than anyone else had been there for him. The others had been too wrapped up in their own troubles, to even notice what Keptis had been through.

As always The Strange Boy meanwhile had simply sat through the entire journey staring into space.

As the rest of the Circus Folk got ready for whatever mission they had been sent here for, with Keptis firing up his flaming saw, the Circus Master stared into the fountain. What he saw deeply troubled him.

“What’s wrong darling?” Carlene, noticing the concerned expression on the Vandal’s face, asked. He didn’t answer and so she looked into the fountain too.

There Carlene saw the image of a hideous, gigantic, bat like Demon swimming through green waters before emerging through a portal. She then saw the Demon come bursting through the ground of what looked like London, followed by images of similar creatures emerging from major cities all over the world, Paris, Rome, Bangladesh etc. They then saw the image of a barren wasteland, an orange dead world, and thousands more dead worlds before the image faded away into nothing.

“Bloody hell. What does that mean? You’re the expert love.”

Again The Circus Master didn’t answer. He had an idea but it was too horrible he didn’t want to share it yet.

“I’m not sure” The Vandal said somewhat unconvincingly. “I do know where we are and I have a feeling about what we’re up against.”

“Well?” Carlene asked.

“We’re on earth. Specifically we’re at the core of the planet.”

“What you mean outside is just fire and lava?”

“No, not at all. The earth is hollow. Its filled with an ocean, far deeper and denser than any on the surface.”

“I take it there’s something down here we’ve got to stop from getting out then? That what all the images of London, Paris and those worlds being destroyed were then?”

“Yes it would appear so, but”

“But what?”

“Nevermind” The Circus Master said as he went to a nearby chest and pulled out a small, silver box.

“What are you doing?”

“If we’re going outside we’ll need some form of transport. Inside this box is a condensed submarine.”

“A condensed submarine?”

“Yes the magic is able to reduce its size until I open it that is. We have reduced vehicles of all kinds. How else would expect me to fit it all in here.”

“Let me guess your handywork” Carlene said to Denika, who was still tinkering away on part of the ship.

“No this came from the planet Palison whose population had grown so considerably they were forced to turn to magic for resources and space. You’d could get entire cities of people stored inside of them stored inside something no bigger than a pee.”

“That sounds quite fun, I’d like to visit that planet.” Carlene said.

“Trust me you wouldn’t” The Circus Master replied. “They don’t half love to boast about their techology. I was glad to swip this from them, arrogant bastards.”

The Circus using an enchantment caused the top of the tent to open. Above the Circus Folk could see water, though it didn’t fall into the Tent. A forcefield kept it out. The small box meanwhile floated above and through the forcefield to outside, where it opened. The gigantic submarine above then parked itself with its hatch being placed directly above the Tent. A ladder then descended from the hatch straight to the floor.

The Circus Master then handed Keptis and Ashlei pills.

“Relax don’t worry these are magic. They will alter your body to allow you to survive the pressures of the ocean and function just as well beneath the waves. Here’s hoping we don’t have to swim, but you never know?”

Ashlei still wasn’t sure, but a little reassurance from Carlene was enough to convince her, something which angered The Circus Master. “I’m supposed to be the leader here.” He thought.

“Well lets get started shall we, we have an entire ocean to explore.” The Circus Master said, somewhat abruptly.

The Circus Folk quickly ascended to the sub, which soon sped off through the green oceans. Out the porthole, Ashlei got a sight of the Circus at the very bottom of the murky green depths of the ocean

“I’m just glad we don’t have to put on any kind of Circus act on this mission.”

The others looked offended.

“And what’s wrong with our act?” Florence said angrily.

“Oh eh nothing, I just dont like to perform” Ashlei said somewhat nervously.

“You never know Ashlei” The Circus Master said. “There are many undersea civilisations, even on your planet, and they know good entertainment when they see it!”

The submarine was massive, ironically larger than the Circus Tent that they had used to travel here. It was shaped like a manta ray, and bright blue, though at the top were two yellow flashing lights that helped to light the way. The waters looked absolute poison. There were very few life forms, but the few they did see were hideous, Demonic fish like creatures that hurled themselves at the ship. Some were no bigger than goldfish, whilst other were three times the size of a Great White Shark!

“Don’t worry our hull should hold.” The Circus Master said. “Still remember if need be we can always swim.”

“If you think I’m even going to swim in that green filth, well I’d rather get eaten!” Florence said.

“Oh please the waters you did swim in were just as polluted.” The Circus Master said as he piloted the ship through the growing mass of sea creatures.

Suddenly all of the creatures began to scatter.

“Why did they suddenly flee?” Keptis asked, somewhat concerned.

“Maybe they just realised who they were dealing with.” The Circus Master awkwardly joked.

Below the Circus Folk could see what looked like the remains of an old city. Most of the buildings were broken and decayed and there were no signs of life whatsoever. Still the Circus Master took the sub down to get a closer look.

The submarine got closer to what looked like the ruins of several more submarines outside of the city, all of which looked as though they had been torn apart.

“Battlefleets” he said. “What could have done this?”

“That Demon we saw in the vision was huge. It was bigger than Big Ben”. Carlene said.

Just then the communications device started to pick something up. A hazy message started to come through. It was of a strange, humanoid creature with green skin, webbed hands and a long, drooping face, with large white eyes with no pupil.

“There’s no sound.” The Circus Master said as he tried to adjust the set. Suddenly the image broke and a massive roaring sound came piercing through the sub. The Circus Folk to their horror could see a gigantic hand begin to tear itself from out of the sea bed where the graveyard of submarine war ships lay.

The hand alone looked far larger than the entire submarine. The Circus Master sped it off in the other direction, straight into the ruins of the city. Up above however the radar started to detect another gigantic creature coming their way.

“I hate Demons, even I am one technically” The Circus Master said as he tried to swerve the ship around. The Circus Master headed for the sea bed. He hoped to conceal himself in the ruins of one of the large buildings. The giant Demon above however was wise to his game and started to smash all that was left of the once great city.

The Circus Folk got a good glimpse of the giant above as it slowly cornered them on the sea bed.

It was so so gigantic that they couldn’t even see all of it through the window. Carlene, Florence and even the Circus Master all felt a strange connection with the beast. They couldn’t quite put their finger on it, but for a few seconds they started at it, almost in a trance.

The Strange Boy meanwhile went completely crazy. He jumped around the room, shrieking and hissing. When Keptis tried to calm him down, the Srtange Boy threw him across the room.

Ashlei meanwhile quickly roused the Circus Master from his trance.

“I’m sorry I don’t know what came over me.” He said as he tried to swerve past the monsters gigantic clawed hand. He managed to just barely get out of its way, but just as the Vandal thought he was in the clear, the beasts gigantic wing came swinging forward and knocked the ship flying backwards. The crew were sent hurtling all over the room until the ship ground to a sudden halt.

The Circus Master looked up to see the eye of the beast staring into the front window at the tiny creatures inside.

“He’s got us” The Circus Master said in terror.

To Be Continued.

 

 

My Favourite Heroes: Batman: Part 1: Why Do We Love Batman

Image result for batman

Batman is arguably the most popular superhero of all time. Originally created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939 for National Comics (later known as DC Comics.) Batman is a masked crime fighter who operates in Gotham, a city rife with corruption and crime.

Batman’s civlian identity is billionaire Bruce Wayne, who uses his vast wealth to fund his crime fighting career. He has no actual super powers of his own and instead relies on his gadgets, and fighting and deduction skills to tackle criminals.

Bruce Wayne is motivated to fight crime by a personal tragedy from his past. At the age of 8, Bruce’s parents were gunned down in front of him by a mugger. Vowing to never let the same thing happen again to anyone else, Bruce honed his body and mind to become the perfect crime fighter. He adopted the mantel of the bat to strike fear into the hearts of “cowardly and superstitious” criminals.

Image result for batman criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot

Over the decades Batman has amassed a large array of colorful villains and supporting characters. The most notable of his enemies is the evil, psycopathic clown, the Joker, whilst his most famous sidekick is Robin, the Boy Wonder. Much like Batman, the various versions of Robin over the years have often been inspired to fight crime due to the loss of their parents.

Over the decades Batman has been adapted to film, television, animation, video games and even a broadway musical. He has managed to conquer just about all mediums and is alongside Superman one of the two quintessential comic book characters, though recent decades have seen him arguably eclipse even the Man of Steel in popularity.

In spite of the recent record breaking success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no individual Marvel character can match Batman’s dominance in popular culture either. The only Marvel movies that have been able to match or eclipse the most successful Batman films, such at the Burton Batman, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises in terms of commercial success and cultural impact are the Avengers movies; which feature multiple Marvel heroes (practically an entire universe’s worth in Endgame.)

There are many reasons for Batman’s enduring popularity which we will explore in this article as we look at why we love the Caped Crusader.

First and foremost Batman has one of the most effective designs of any hero. He has a strong outline that is instantly recognisable, even in a crude drawing.

Batman’s design also in comparison to other heroes such as Superman and Spider-Man has a more menacing and dangerous aspect that instantly draws you in. Spider-Man’s costume is just to conceal his identity, whilst Batman’s is designed to strike fear into his enemies hearts, which lets you know more about the man underneath.

At times Batman can look even more frightening than the criminals he catches. This can best be seen in the opening to the classic Batman the animated series where the Dark Knight drops from the sky like a Demon and pounces on several helpless criminals.

At the same time however Batman’s design is not without its colourful and appealing aspects too. With a little readjusting, some versions of Batman can look as friendly and as colourful as your average superhero.

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As a result Batman can still be a character kids can dress up as, can still be slapped on lunch boxes and turned into a toy. His design is the perfect balance of being inherently more fearsome than the average superhero look, but not actively monstrous so that children are too scared to even look at him.

Batman despite his status as a millionare was also somewhat more of an underdog than other super heroes. Whilst the likes of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and even Superman regularly face enemies that are more powerful than they are, Batman in a way is always vulnerable due to his lack of super powers.

Even when facing ordinary muggers, though the Batman can often easily take them down, there is still a chance that he can be killed. (One issue of The Brave and the Bold does see Batman get shot and killed by an ordinary crime lord, only to be revived by the Atom who literally runs around his body fast enough to revive his brain stem!)

Batman’s motivation for fighting crime was also perhaps somewhat more flawed, yet more human than many of his contemporary superheroes, all of whom fought crime simply because it was the right thing to do. Batman in contrast arguably fought crime more because he wanted revenge. He does still ultimately want to see justice carried out, but there are times where you wonder if Batman cares more about doing what’s right, or simply getting back at the criminals who took his parents.

In these respects, Batman’s more flawed personality and greater vulnerability compared to the rest of DC’s rooster made him more of a precursor to the later Marvel heroes than any other DC character.

Batman’s tragic origins also give him a tremendous edge over other comic book or even genre characters. Sadly comic books even with the popularity of the MCU are still somewhat looked down as childish and silly. Obviously I am not going to deny that a lot of comic book stories are primarily aimed at children. Still ultimately comic books are a medium, not a genre, and there is no reason they can’t be used to tell adult stories, or even just stories that can be enjoyed by adults as well as children.

Characters like Superman, Spider-Man, or the X-Men are no more ridiculous or fanciful than characters like Robin Hood, King Arthur or Hercules. If the likes of Hercules and Robin Hood can appear in both childish and more mature stories then so can any classic comic book hero like Wonder Woman or Iron Man. Its just complete snobbery to suggest otherwise.

Sadly however the stigma does exist, but Batman was perhaps always able to overcome it to some extent, by having one of the most tragic origins of any popular hero. Its not just a question of Batman loses his parents. He sees them die right in front of him, when he is utterly helpless as a child, and in the most brutal way possible.

Even the most skeptical critic of comic books has to acknowledge the potential for drama in Batman’s origins. Superman in contrast loses his entire planet, which though effective, is not something that anyone can really imagine. To those who aren’t sci fi fans and used to larger than life stories and concepts, it might come off as being too fanciful. (Superman also never knew anything about his planet either having been sent away as an infant.)

Wonder Woman’s origin’s from an island where women have isolated themselves from men meanwhile can come over extremely goofy if not handled delicately. Other superheroes origins tend to be linked to larger than life scenarios of being caught in an accident and gaining superpowers, like the Hulk or the Fantastic Four, or the Flash. Again to those who aren’t interested in sci fi, it might be easy to dismiss these origin stories as being too over the top.

Spider-Man does have an element of tragedy in his origin through the death of his Uncle Ben (which he is partly resonsible for), but even then Uncle Ben’s death is not quite as brutal and up front as Batman. Spider-Man at least doesn’t actually see his Uncle Ben’s murder happen before him, and he is a lot older and can process it better. When you’re a child your entire world revolves around your parents.

Even most other folk heroes don’t have quite the same level of tragedy to their origins as Batman. Sherlock Holmes for instance is just a lovable eccentric. Robin Hood in most versions is just a skilled archer. The Doctor meanwhile in Classic Who was an eccentric scientist who wanted to explore, whilst New Who attempted to give him a tragic origin of his planet being destroyed, which again is too large a tragedy for viewers to comprehend.

With Batman everyone can imagine themselves in his position to some extent. Sadly those who have lost parents or loved ones as a child can relate to the feelings of loss Bruce experiences, whilst even those who haven’t can still imagine the horror of losing people so important to them. Finally Batman’s origins aren’t linked to aliens, or monsters or super powers. Its a very real human tragedy that befalls Bruce, and the monster responsible is an ordinary human too.

These scenes alone destroy the myth that comic books can never be used to tell stories with more depth to them, as the tragic origins for Batman were present in the very earliest Batman strips.

Another key reason for Batman’s enduring popularity is his massive rogues gallery.

Batman’s most iconic enemies are not just colorful and exciting characters in their own right. Many of of his most prominent villains present Batman with a unique kind of challenge, and as whole they span different genres which in turn gives Batman a broader appeal.

The Joker, Batman’s archnemesis is essentially a horror movie character. He was based visually on the title character from a classic horror movie “The Man Who Laughs”. (This character Gwynplaine was ironically not evil. He was a tragic character whose mouth had been cut into the shape of a grin as a boy. Still his terrifying visage would prove an inspiration to the Joker.)

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Whilst some versions of the Joker attempted to downplay the horror aspects of the character (out of fear of frightening children.) Others have positively revelled in it, and given the Joker a much more gruesome and terrifying appearance.

Examples of this include the Heath Ledger version of the character who had a Glasgow smile carved into his face, or the proto Joker, Jerome Valeska from Gotham whose face was cut off and then later stapled back on, only to be punched off by Commissioner Gordon!

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The Joker is the precursor to all monster clowns from popular culture such as Pennywise.

No matter what the version, the Joker is always depicted as a thoroughly iredeemable character. In some interpretations the Joker is given a more sympathetic backstory such as the Killing Joke, whilst others such as the Tim Burton movie, and the DCAU depict him as having always been a ruthless mobster who was simply pushed further into madness. Some depict him as a mysterious character whose origins are shrouded in mystery which in some ways makes him more frightening.

Whatever his reason for going insane, the Joker always presents Batman with the biggest challenge simply because of how evil he is. There is no low the villain won’t stoop too and Batman is often pushed to his limits not just by the threat of the Joker, but in whether or not he will have to actually commit murder to stop him.

One of the Jokers most heinous crimes, the crippling of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in front of her father Commissioner Gordon who he later attempts to drive insane by showing pictures of Barbara’s bleeding, naked body.

Its no surprise that the Joker is the villain Batman and Robin have killed the most in other adaptations. Examples include in Batman 1989, where Batman throws the villain to his death from a building, an Elseworlds comic called The Nail, where Batman beats the Joker to death after the Joker uses stolen alien technology to flay Batgirl and Robin alive right in front of a captive Batman.

Finally in Batman Beyond Return of the Joker, Robin shoots the villain through the heart (after enduring months of torture at the Jokers hands until he was driven insane and turned into the Jokers twisted idea of a son, Little J.)

Even more surprising is that Batman and Robin have almost always killed the Joker not in self defence, but out of revenge! Whilst the earliest comics did feature Batman killing his enemies, this aspect of his character was dropped very early on, (though a few versions have returned to it.) Generally speaking Batman never kills, and if he does its almost always in self defence.

The Joker is the only villain that can push almost any version of Batman to murder out of sheer rage. For this reason confronations between Batman and the Joker are always the more exciting than those with any of his other foes. I’d actually go as far as to argue that Batman and the Joker have the most intense and exciting feud of any two characters.

Almost any combination of Batman and the Joker is guaranteed to be exciting. We have seen the Joker confront Bruce Wayne as an ordinary civilian, Batman encounter a pre Joker, Jack Napier in the Burton movie, Batman and the Joker fight each other as the only two non super powered beings in a team full of aliens, gods and metahumans in Justice League. We’ve also seen the two face each other as old men in Frank Millers The Dark Knight Returns, and finally even as teenagers in Gotham, via Bruce Wayne and Jerome.

Any variation of these two characters is a winning combination as their core personalities are so strong they shine through at any age and in any situation.

The two have also been depicted as everything from warring brothers in Gotham, to love rivals in the 89 Batman, (in the Jokers twisted mind) to father figures battling it out over a son in Batman Beyond Return of the Joker (again in the Jokers mind) to representatives of two warring ideaologies in The Dark Knight.

There’s no other villain/hero combination that can be cast into quite as many different combinations and be just as effective each time. Holmes and Moriarty for instance could not be recast as teenagers, neither could the Doctor or the Master. The original Green Goblin, Norman Osborne, meanwhile could never be made the same age as Peter Parker. He only works as a middle aged or older man, whilst the Harry Osborne version similarly has to be younger like Spider-Man.

Superman and Luthor do work in many different roles too, but even then they lack quite the same viciousness that the Joker and Batman do in most of their confrontations. There have been some classic Luthor/Superman showdowns, and in one instance in the Justice League animated series Superman was even driven to kill Lex in an alternate universe. Still generally speaking we won’t see as many gritty confrontations between the two where Superman cuts out Luthors eye, or punches his face off!

Batman and the Joker are perhaps the greatest example of the archenemy trope, and the Joker overall has to stand as one of the most nightmarish and frightening villains of all time.

In complete contrast to the Joker is Mr Freeze. Freeze is more of a sci fi character than the Joker. He is a classic mad scientist, who is mutated in a lab accident and turned into an ice man. Whilst originally introduced as nothing more than a goofy B-movie character, the animated series gave him a tragic origin which was later incorporated into the comics.

Here Freeze was depicted as a loving husband who simply sought revenge against Ferris Boyle, a ruthless businessman who was responsible for the accident that not only turned Freeze into a monster, but also seemingly killed his beloved wife Norah.

Unlike with his other enemies, Batman can actually empathise with Freeze. Both lost people they cared about, and both initially sought to kill the monster responsible. However whilst Batman never went as far as Freeze who was willing to hurt innocent people, ultimately Batman lost less. Freeze didn’t just lose his wife, but his ability to ever have a normal life as well. In this respect Batman doesn’t judge Freeze the way he would his other enemies and feels genuinely sorry for him.

Ra’s Al Ghul, often regarded as Batman’s archenemy after the Joker is a totally different type of villain yet again. Ghul is a fantasy character. He is a warlord who has been kept alive by exposure to magic pits, known as the Lazarus Pits for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. He and his League of Assassins have helped shape human history, and the character is the biggest threat of all of Batman’s enemies. His endgame is often to use the Lazarus pits to destroy most of human civilisation and then rebuild it from scratch.

Ra’s is also a match for Batman in every way. He is as skilled a detective (and is able to deduce Batman’s secret identity before he even meets him) and he can match him in physical combat as well, unlike most of Batman’s other enemies.

Despite all of this however Ra’s is somewhat more sympathetic than say the Joker. Though he is a far bigger threat, Ra’s does at least have a code of honour, and genuinely respects and admires Batman.

A classic example of the key differences between Ra’s and the Joker can be seen in the animated movie, Under the Red Hood. Here Ra’s hires the Joker to distract Batman. The Joker however naturally goes too far and brutally tortures Robin to death with a crowbarr. Ra’s is so overwhelmed with guilt, that he engineers Robin’s resurrection with the Lazarus Pit and vows to never cause trouble for Batman or Gotham again to make amends for his role in the boys death.

Ra’s reveals his shame to Batman at having caused the pointless death of an innocent child through working with the Joker.

Ra’s Al Ghul gave Batman a new type of enemy in every way. He brought in magic and the supernatural to the franchise to a greater extent than ever before. He was an enemy that on the one hand was a global threat (and even regularly took Batman out of Gotham) yet on the other was actually capable of showing clemency and even respect to the Batman.

Two Face meanwhile represents another totally different type of enemy. Two Face is a more low level gangster, but has a deeper personal connection to Batman. In all versions Two Face was once a close friend of Batman, before being horribly scarred down one side of his face.

Batman has more of a vested interest in rehabilitating Two Face and carries a tremendous sense of guilt at not being able to help his friend.

 

The Scarecrow presents yet another type of challenge to the Batman. The Scarecrow’s main weapon, a special kind of gas that makes people see their worst fears gives us a deeeper insight into Batman’s personality than any of his interactions with other villains.

The Scarecrow’s fear gas makes Batman see his worst nightmare.

The Scarecrow was able to attack Batman in a more psychological way than any of his other enemies.

The Riddler presents a more comical enemy for the Batman. Though some portrayals have been darker such as in Gotham, the Riddler is generally depicted in a more humorous way. His entire gimmick and persona is ripe for comedy.

Here we have a man so insecure about his own intelligence that he has to prove his superiority to Batman by giving away vital clues to his crimes, which he could probably carry out otherwise successfully. There’s plenty of humour that can be exploited from his ridiculous Riddles, his stupidity in giving away clues, and his own neurosis at proving he is smarter than Batman (which always blows up in his face in humiliating ways.)

The Penguin meanwhile as an enemy is a return to Batman’s roots as a crime fighter. He is an ordinary gangster overall. No super powers, no plans for world domination, no desire to prove his genius to Batman or Gotham. He is a much more practical villain and one who can be used, despite his flamboyant nature, for grittier more down to earth stories.

Penguin stories have involved wars between crime families, and corruption in high places. The 60s series and Gotham both featured the Penguin running for Mayor. (As did Batman Returns which featured a more monstrous version of the character.) The character is also often depicted as presenting himself as an honest night club owner, who uses his wealth to cover his tracks. Batman often isn’t able to simply arrest the Penguin as easily as his other enemies.

Once again the Penguin not only represents a different challenge to Batman, of a villain who can cover his tracks, rather than flaunts them, but he covers a different genre too; with the Penguin allowing Batman to star in more traditional crime stories.

Bane on the other hand represents yet another type of challenge to Batman. Bane is able to bring Batman to his knees. Ra’s Al Ghul was a match for the Batman, but Bane completely dominates the dark knight and humiliates him in combat. We aren’t used to seeing Batman in such a vulnerable position physically. Despite his lack of powers, Batman is usually able to thrash his enemies in combat easily. Most of Batman’s enemies don’t even try to fight him one on one because they know it would be pointless.

Bane on the other hand laughs at Batman’s attempts to frighten him before delivering the most humilating and painful curbstomp to the Dark Knight.

Its a testament to how strong a character Bane was that he could emerge in such a well established rogues gallery and become so prominent in such a short space of time.

Finally the Catwoman represents yet another type of enemy with a completely different relationship with Batman. Catwoman is in love with Batman and therefore takes the Batman universe into the realm of romantic fiction. Batman and Catwoman are undoubtly one of the most famous modern love stories.

Catwoman is also the only one of Batman’s enemies who is not evil at all. In fact in many stories Catwoman has even helped Batman take on a greater threat, such as in The Dark Knight Rises, where Catwoman actually kills Bane just as he is about to finish the Batman and helps the Caped Crusader save Gotham.

Still most of the time Catwoman is on the wrong side of the law. Whilst her crimes are less vicious than say the Joker or Penguin, she is ironically a greater match for Batman physically than most other villains. She can also ironically hurt Batman in some ways more because she is closer to him.

An example of this can be seen in The Dark Knight Rises when Catwoman betrays Batman to Bane, or in Batman Returns when Bruce is devastated to discover that the same woman he has fallen in love with, also helped to frame him for murder!

Over the decades Batman and Catwoman’s relationship has gone through many significant changes, from enemies, to frenemies, to lovers, to finally even husband and wife.

The earth 2 versions of Batman and Catwoman (who were the original versions) got married in the 70s, and even had a child, Helena Wayne.

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Batman and Catwoman’s getting married.

Helena Wayne would later become the heroine known as The Huntress following her mothers death.

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Its sad how little known the Huntress, an engaging hero in her own right, and the daughter of two of the most famous fictional characters of all time is. I guess having famous parents isn’t always a guarantee for fame.

Catwoman has certainly shown us a different side to the Batman than villains like The Penguin ever possibly could. Through his relationship with the Catwoman we have not only seen a more romantic side to the Batman, but we’ve also seen him question his devotion to the law, suffer heartache, become a devoted husband and later a loving father!

When you look at the major villains from most other heroes rogues galleries you won’t find as much variety in terms of genres or the different type of threats they pose to the hero.

Take Spider-Man for instance. Spider-Man has one of the greatest rogues galleries of any hero, but ultimately most of Spidey’s enemies are rooted in sci fi as opposed to Batman’s who cover everything from horror, to sci fi, to crime, to romance, to psychological thrillers, to spy and espionage stories. Many of Spidey’s enemies are also experiments gone wrong, such as the Lizard, Morbius, Scorpion, Doctor Octopus, etc. Others are ordinary men with access to hi tech weapons or a super powered suit like the Hobgoblin, The Vulture, Mysterio, Chamelion, Shocker, Rhino, Scorpion etc.

There are some villains who don’t fit the mould. Kingpin is not a sci fi villain, nor is Kraven the Hunter. Still ultimately the villains all mostly threaten Spider-Man in the same way. The Scorpion, Rhino, Doc Ock, Carnage, Shocker, Electro, Hobgoblin are all a danger to him from a purely physical point of view. In contrast, very few of Batman’s enemies like the Joker, the Penguin or the Scarecrow can threaten Batman physically. Instead they all have to find their own unique ways to threaten the Batman.

Spider-Man’s relationship with his various enemies are for the most part straight forward. He tends to view the likes of Kingpin, Shocker, Electro, Hobgoblin etc as just villains. There are no villains who respect him like Ra’s Al Ghul, who he feels sorry for like Mr Freeze, who he is love with like Catwoman etc. (Black Cat who has often been compared to Catwoman is not an enemy of Spider-Man’s)

There are a few of Spider-Man’s enemies who find unique ways to challenge him and have a more unique dynamic. Venom knows more about the wall crawler than anyone else, Harry Osborne much like Two Face was once one of his friends, whilst Norman is the father of his best friend. Carnage meanwhile much like the Joker pushes Spider-Man to his limits because of how evil he is.

Still overall Spider-Man’s enemies to tend to fit into a pattern, and cover similar themes more than the Batman’s enemies do.

Similarly most of Superman’s enemies are rooted in sci fi and most of them are simply his enemies too. Luthor who in some interpretations is his former friend aside, there are no villains like Mr Freeze or Ra’s Al Ghul in Superman’s rogues gallery that he can genuinely respect and even have empathy for.

The Doctor meanwhile similarly though having one of the greatest rogues galleries, his enemies tend to fit a pattern more than Batman’s too. The Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and the Ice Warriors, though all unique characters, still all fit the role of alien invaders, all dedicated to their cause above their own individual lives; whilst his single enemies such as Davros, the Master etc, tend to be megolamaniacal would be conquerors.

The Doctor similarly views all of his enemies with contempt. There are no villains that he could be said to have affection or sympathy for. (The 21st century version of Doctor Who did try and have the Doctor develop affection for the Master, but it was very clumsily handled and ended up making the Doctor look like a total hypocrite. The Master historically is a totally ireedemable villain on a par with the Joker, so to have the Doctor who normally kills his enemies go easy on him undermined both characters. I’d go as far as to say how the revival handled the Master was arguably the single weakest aspect of the revival.)

Ultimately there is more variety among Batman’s enemies in terms of the genres they touch upon, the type of threat they pose to the Dark Knight, and their relationships with the hero which range from respect, to neurotic obsession, to empathy, to love, to seething hatred.

The large variety of Batman’s enemies ultimately represents what I feel is the single most important aspect of Batman’s enduring popularity. His versatility.

Batman can be incorporated into a larger variety of stories than any other superhero. In fact I’d argue that Batman can be incorporated into a larger variety of different stories than any other hero, save the Doctor and Xena (who we’ll be examining in later editions of this series.)

Batman can flourish in both drama and comedy. His tragic origins as we have seen can give the character a real sense of gravitas and dramatic integrity.

At the same time however Batman’s ultra serious nature, coupled with his larger than life qualities make him just as ideal for comedy. All superheroes if not handled right can seem silly. (They are by their very nature very over the top.)

Still Spider-Man and many other Marvel heroes have a sense of humour, which gives them a greater self awareness when placed into comedic situations.

Batman on the other hand is totally serious. Whilst some versions may have a more sarcastic streak, generally speaking Batman takes everything completely seriously, which makes it all the more hilarious when he is placed into a ridiculous situation.

This was the key to the Adam West Batman’s massive success. West played his part seriously. At no point did he ever acknowledge how ridiculous he looked, even when he was being pelted with fish by the Joker, or using Shark repellent Bat spray!West always made sure the character had no self awareness.

How many characters could star in two such radically different scenes and remain largely unchanged? West’s Batman at his core is ultimately the same character in that he is just as devoted to fighting crime, takes his job just as seriously, and in his own universe is just as competent.

The comedy in Batman also has a very broad range too. Some of the comedy can be very camp as seen with West whilst a lot of the comedy can also be very dark.

Black comedy has actually always been one of Batman’s strengths. Growing up the Joker was always one of my favourite characters because he could do the most horrible things and make me laugh at them.

This scene from an 80s comic called “Dreadful Birthday Dear Joker” I think demonstrates the strength of the black comedy in Batman better than any other.

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Jack Nicholson himself said that the Jokers sick humour more was what attracted him to the role, and indeed it ended up becoming the defining and most praised aspect of his performance.

Its not just with the Joker however that there is potential for black comedy.

The Penguin, the Riddler, even more obscure Batman villains such as the Professor Pyg can all be amusing and vicious at the same time.

As Batman and his villains are such extreme characters then the comedy involved with all characters can be as outrageous as it wants.

Arguably the real key to Batman’s versatility is his lack of super powers. Batman can be placed into almost any type of perilious situation because he can be vulnerable enough when need be, yet thanks to his gadgets and fighting skills Batman can still keep up with actual super heroes.

Batman can star in gritty crime stories. He has a real motivation to deal with ordinary, street level threats, and unlike Wonder Woman or Superman, or even Spider-Man who can all deal with criminals in a second. Batman is always still vulnerable to ordinary criminals to an extent.

One of the best Batman stories of all time is Night of the Stalker. This comic sees the Caped Crusader track a group of ordinary muggers who murder a young boys parents in front of him, through the woods outside Gotham.

The story shows Batman at his most vicious in his relentless pursuit of the crooks. In certain moments you wonder if Batman is actually going to kill the criminals. The papers even refer to him as “savage Batman” the next day. Batman is also drawn to be much more menacing and forboding in this story too.

At the same time however we also see Batman at his most vulnerable in this story too. For all his years of crime figthting and trying to make Gotham a better place, Batman ultimately fails to stop another young boy from enduring the same tragedy he swore no one else would ever have to go through and it almost breaks him. We even see Batman cry during two parts of the story.

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You simply could not do Night of the Stalker with Superman, or even Spider-Man. They’d take care of the crooks in 5 seconds with their powers. Neither would have quite the emotional gravitas when dealing with just simple criminals either.

At the same time however there are elements of sci fi in Batman’s character. Batman’s famous Batcave alone features advanced technology that strays into science fiction territory. One of Batman’s most famous trophies is a gigantic robot Tyrannosaurus Rex!

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Many of Batman’s most iconic enemies are sci fi characters. Mr Freeze, Manbat, Clayface, The Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Doctor Hugo Strange etc. Some of his supporting cast are sci fi characters too. The Huntress, Batman’s daughter comes from an alternate universe, Earth 2 where he married Catwoman. His other child, Terry McGuiness, who becomes the second Batman (and is mentored by an elderly Bruce) comes from the far future and lives in a complete sci fi environment of robots, hover cars, mutants and aliens!

Some of the most celebrated Batman stories are rooted in sci fi such as Heart of Ice, or Batman Beyond Return of the Joker.

Batman has also become a prominent sci fi character through his association with the Justice League, one of the first superhero teams. As a member of the Justice League Batman has helped to battle alien invaders, travelled to other universes, and faced gigantic killed robots!

At a first glance Batman who lacks any kind of superpowers may seem like a bad fit for the Justice League, a team that consists of the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter etc. Batman however again is able to overcompensate through his scientific genius and deduction skills. He is often able to work out the villains plan, key weakness or hideout first, he supplies the League with their technology, and his gadgets and fighting skills can allow him to go toe to toe with super powered characters. (Which he does regularly in Gotham with characters like Mr Freeze or Manbat.)

A classic example of this can be seen in the Justice League cartoons where Batman is the one who brings down the alien invaders known as the Imperium. The Imperium’s technology is able to cancel out the Leagues super powers, but Batman is able to deduce their weakness, sunlight, and reprograms their machine that blocks out the sun.

Horror and fantasy meanwhile are just as important a part of Batman’s character. Visually Batman drew from classic horror characters like Dracula, whilst Gotham itself always had a gothic look of large forboding cathedrals, creepy looking gargoyles.

The original two Tim Burton Batman movies play out more like old classic, Universal horror movies than anything else, just as much as the Nolan movies embrace the gritty crime fighter elements, and Return of the Joker embraces the sci fi elements.

From the very beginning Batman faced supernatural creatures. One of his earliest recurring enemies was the Mad Monk, a hypnotic Vampire who attempted to sire Batman’s then fiance Julie Madison. Ra’s Al Ghul of course would later bring fantasy straight into the heart of the Batman mythos for all time. Another of Batman’s major enemies with a supernatural twist is Solomon Grundy, a Zombie of a gangster dumped in a mystical swamp outside of Gotham.

Various other Batman stories and adaptations have dealt with the dead being brought back to life such as Gotham and Under the Red Hood.

Batman can also be used for great love stories too. The fact that he is such a closed off, tortured character allows his love stories to be somewhat more intense and tragic. Unlike Spider-Man or Superman, Batman doesn’t want a normal life. He doesn’t want to juggle having a wife and kids with fighting criminals (earlier stories did give him a fiance, but she was quickly written out and the character has remained single more or less since. Whilst he’s had his love interests, there has never been a constant figure in his life like Mary Jane or Lois Lane.)

Batman wants to only focus fighting crime, so if he meets someone who might actually take his mind off his mission then things are going to be more complicated for Batman than they’d be for your average hero in love.

This scene from the Mask of the Phantasm shows Bruce Wayne who has recently fallen in love apologise to his dead parents for taking his mind off of his mission to avenge them. The tragic irony is that they would both have rather their son move on and have a happy life instead.

Batman’s love stories will almost always end in tragedy in some way due to his reluctance to give up on his duties. Even the earth 2 version of Catwoman sadly met a grissly end, though this trend was seemingly broken at the end of The Dark Knight Rises which featured Bruce Wayne and Catwoman eloping to Europe to (hopefully) live a happy life together.

Batman as a character is extremely adaptable overall.

Most superheroes can’t star in gritty crime stories like Night of the Stalker, whilst at the same time most heroes without super powers can’t go on the fantastical adventures Batman does.

Robin Hood can’t stop an alien invasion. Sherlock Holmes similarly can’t star in an adventure where he travels to another universe and stops his evil counterpart from destroying every universe.

Batman meanwhile did in Justice League on Two Earths, which features Owlman, an evil version of Batman who travels to the original world that all universes sprung from. Owlman attempts eliminate all of creation by destroying earth prime, believing it to be the only decision that would matter, as all other decisions have been played out in the multiverse, only for Batman to face him in a one on one duel for the sake of every universe!

And Batman thought the Joker was crazy!

Even other comic book characters without powers such as Green Arrow are not quite as adaptable as Batman. Green Arrow does not possess the scientific genius Batman does, and his gadgets are not quite as advanced as Batman’s. Its one thing to have some fancy arrows, its another to have a cave full of fighter jets, and robot T-Rex’s. Sci fi and fantasy generally don’t have as much of a place in Green Arrow’s world. When Arrow, the live action version of Green Arrow attempted to bring in magic and have the character take on a global threat it was met with a negative response. Many fans and critics felt that it was straying too far from the purpose of the show, and so later versions brought the character down to earth.

Daredevil similarly can only fight street level thugs. You couldn’t imagine Daredevil single handedly bringing down an alien invasion like Batman either.

Batman’s lack of powers, coupled with his scientific genius and gadgets allow him to star in the widest range of stories from crime noir, to sci fi, to horror, to fantasy. For this reason Batman naturally appeals to much wider audiences than almost any other superhero. There’s everything you could want in a Batman’s story comedy, drama, horror, even romance and that among other reasons is why Batman is so beloved.

In the next article we will be taking a look at the history of Batman.

 

Doctor Who Vs Scratchman: Part 1:

Image result for tim curry clueImage result for bruce campbell

                             

                               Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter. 

 

John Ferguson hadn’t moved in hours. He sat almost frozen in terror in his rocking chair, holding his rifle up, waiting for one of those abominations to strike at either the windows or the doors.

He couldn’t figure out why they hadn’t made a move? There were hundreds of them in the woods. They literally sprang out of nowhere, like Demons from hell, though they looked more like Scarecrows. Scarecrows with flaming red eyes and clawed hands! John had only barely been able to get away from the monsters on his tractor when they first attacked. He had been forced to leave a young family he had spotted on the other end of the fields, cornered by those awful things against a tree. They had even called to him for help, but he had no choice but to leave. There was nothing he could have done, but the image of the helpless family pleading with him would stay with John for the rest of his life, however long that would be.

John had been forced to abandon his tractor in the struggle. When he tried to drive it through a field,  the monsters quickly swarmed his vehicle, stopped it in its tracks, and turned it over. John was able to crawl out unseen and get a good head start on the creatures into the woods however. Once John made it back to his farm, he noticed the creatures were no longer following him. In fact they were nowhere in sight.

The only village on the island was three miles away and he would have to go through more woods along the way. Ferguson felt it would be better to hold up in his house for the time being until the authorities could deal with this crisis.

Now however several hours had passed and there was no change. Had those things been dealt with? Had they overrun the island? Had they just forgotten about him? There were too many what ifs and eventually it got to the point where John couldn’t take it anymore and he peeked outside.

It was completely pitch black outside, but even with that John was still sure there was no one there. For just a second however he thought he could see his own scarecrow standing in the middle of the field move, and he even shot at it.

“I must be going crazy” he thought. “Scarecrows don’t move. Something made of straw couldn’t lift up a tractor!” This must be some kind of ridiculous prank. The young punks from the village playing a joke on us country folk? I don’t believe in magic”. He tried to reassure himself

Suddenly however Ferguson heard a scream from his cellar, enough to make him jump and drop his rifle. He thought about making a run for it, but where would he go?

Holding his rifle firmly in his hands, John Ferguson ventured into his cellar, more terrified than he had ever been in his life.

John crept down the stairs, pointing his gun ahead at all times. The cellar was pitch black and he could barely make out anything ahead. As he searched around, John suddenly felt something grab him by the leg for a moment before he pulled free. He turned around only to see nothing, though he could hear a hideous, high pitched scream echoing through the darkness. Suddenly John heard the door to cellar slam shut, and he quickly ran back to the stairs, only to see two piercing red flaming eyes at the top of the staircase.

John lifted his rifle. “Stay back, I, I, I mean it. I don’t want to hurt you, but”. The figure didn’t respond, and instead slowly moved down the stair case.

As it got closer John could see that it resembled a Scarecrow, just like the creatures in the woods. Its face was a bag, with red firey eyes with no pupil in the sockets. Its mouth was also twisted into a hideous, rictious grin, whilst its fingers ended in razor sharp, metal claws stained in blood.

Ferguson pointed his rifle right into the beasts chest, but it didn’t back down. With no choice, Ferguson fired at the Scarecrow three times, but the creature wasn’t even phased. It simply grabbed Ferguson’s rifle and snapped it in half.

The monster then dug its claws into Ferguson’s stomach. He screamed in agony and was brought to his knees as the monster twisted its hands deep into his guts. He tried to fight back, but it was no use. The creature was a lot stronger than its withered frame would suggest.

After digging in deep the monster pulled hard tearing out Ferguson’s insides. Ferguson collapsed onto the floor, with the few organs left inside his stomach, dropping out. Everything faded to black, with the last sight the farmer saw being the Scarecrow wrapping John’s intestines around its neck like a scarf whilst smiling and blowing a kiss at him!

Just a few seconds later however Ferguson started to wake up. He wasn’t in his dark, dank cellar however. The place he awoke in was unlike anywhere he had ever been before in his life. The ground was burning hot, the sky was nothing but fire, and the entire landscape around him was completely red, the massive rocks, even the sand. The huge, seemingly never ending lake just behind John however was bright purple. All around were the deafening and pitiful screams of damned souls.

“Where am I, how did I. What is this place!”  John shouted in panic. Deep down, however he knew where he really was. A place that had terrified him for his entire life, but that he never actually believed in until now.

“No, no, no it can’t be. I’m not dead, I’m, I’m a good man. I’ve never done anyone any harm, why am I here!”

Suddenly several hideous creatures began to emerge from behind the rocks in response to John’s anguished cries. They were all roughly six feet tall, with black skin, 6 limbs, 2 arms and 4 legs, as well as two heads. They all had long sprawling tails, each of which ended in spikes, whilst their heads all ended in two spikes at the back. Their faces were long and ended with mouths filled with sharp teeth and three, piercing blue eyes, each with a long thin, green pupil.

The monsters scuttled towards John pushing him back to the very end of the lake. There was nothing John could do to defend himself against the creatures, yet he didn’t fancy his chances in the lake. The farmer tried to run through the Demons, but one of them quickly batted John backwards with its tail, sending him head first into the lake.

The water burned John’s skin. The pain was absolutely overwhelming, and he struggled and struggled to swim back to the shore. The monsters meanwhile were laughing at John’s pain and taunting him. Still Ferguson was determined not to give up. He fought through the pain and paddled harder to the shore, but just as was within a few feet of it, a woman, with a burned, mutilated face emerged from the water in front of John and tried to shove him under. John fought back, but more figures emerged from the waves and started to push him down too. After a few minutes of struggling, they eventually dragged the hapless farmer beneath the surface of the burning lake, where he would remain forever.

“Ah Elena my dear, have you seen Yarox?” The Doctor said as he walked out of the Library.

“He’s down in the garden again as always.”

“Well in all fairness to him, he’s never seen an actual sky before. He’s never seen a landscape or trees or anything but cold, empty corridors and rooms.”

“I’m amazed its taken this long? We must have been travelling for a month.”

“What do you expect? We were at the very end of the universe itself. Besides I told you the TARDIS journey’s are completely random. Still we’ve landed now, can you please tell Yarox while I check and see where. I hope its somewhere nice. You never forget your first alien planet.”

Yarox had spent almost the entire journey in the Doctors garden. The Doctor’s garden was made up of vegetation the Time Lord had gathered from all over the universe, though the sky and landscape were merely just a projection. The Doctor tended to change the projection every regeneration. Yarox however had changed it just about every day since he joined the Doctor and Elena on their last journey.

Yarox how come from trillions of years in the future, in a time when most of the stars and planets had gone. His people were the final descendants of the human race and various other species throughout history. The indomitable will of humanity had helped them endure through countless wars, alien invasions and even home planets and galaxies burning out. By the time of Yarox’s people, humanity and the other species who had cluttered together and interbred into one new race, had finally begun to wonder why they had bothered for trillions of years.

They had struggled and struggled through so much, and what for? To live in a cold, desolate spaceship, still struggling to survive every day, with no future in sight, except to sit and wait for the last sun to burn out?

Yarox joined the Doctor more to escape his awful existence back home than anything else. He was still quite fond of the old man and especially of his companion Elena in particular, who was unlike anyone he had ever seen. In Yarox’s time humanity were a clone race, and there was very little distinction between most people, as they were all created from the same few batches of humans. Most individuality was erased both physically and mentally in the cloning process. It was an attempt to ensure that there would be no infighting during such desperate times. No prejudices, no individual desires, or goals that weren’t for the good of the species were allowed to emerge among Yarox’s people.

Yarox looked exactly the same as his other 10 thousand brothers. Elena who had a single gigantic eye at the centre of her head, and long flowing, orange hair meanwhile, looked like a monster to Yarox’s people when she and the Doctor first visited their vessel (and saved them from the last of the Daleks.) The Doctor who always dressed in the most emaculate, sharp penguin suits was also somewhat striking to Yarox’s people too.

From the start however, Yarox could see that the Doctor and Elena though different, were good people. Granted that was only because they had saved him from a cull. In the far future due to the finite resources, there were regular culls of people. The culls grew larger every year due to the resources depleting.

After joining the TARDIS, Yarox had used the Doctors projector to create images of the skys of all of the worlds his people’s ancestors were said to come from. He’d spend entire hours just staring at the beautiful alien sky’s and imagining what it must be like to set foot on an actual planet.

“Yarox” Elena shouted.

“I’m here, have we landed!” He replied excitedly.

“Yes finally. Who would have thought it’d take so long to journey to the end of time and back” She joked.

“Come on, the Doctor thinks we might have landed on earth.”

“Is it during your time?”

Elena had come from the 31st century, long regarded as one of the greatest periods in human development. She’d told Yarox all about her upbringing and it had utterly fascinated him. Even the more ordinary mundane details such as the fact that she could choose when she wanted to eat, and had parents who genuinely cared for her, fascinated Yarox. He wanted to visit her time more than any other.

“Sorry I’m afraid he thinks we’ve landed during the early 20th century. Its a, eh interesting period in human history to say the least.”

The Doctor waited patiently by the console. According to its readings, they had landed on a small island just off the coast of Scotland. “It will be nice to get some fresh air.” The Doctor said to himself. “I don’t know how he coped all that time cooped up in that dreary ship. I wouldn’t have minded if it had been cosy like you old girl.” The Time Lord said with pride as he tapped the TARDIS console.

“Ah Yarox nice to see you again, I was starting to wonder if I’d just dreamed you travelling with us?”

“I’m sorry Doctor I just had to see all of those different landscapes. They were so beautiful.”

“Yes well now you’ll finally get to see the planet at least some of your ancestors came from for real.” The Time Lord said with a massive smile on his face, barely able to contain his glee. He always enjoyed his companions first trip to an alien world the most.

Outside the TARDIS was a fairly dull landscape. Nothing but a field with a scarecrow stuck straight in the middle. At the end of the field there was a massive forest.

The sky was grey and cloudy and there was also fierce wind in the air. Still to Yarox it seemed like the garden of Eden. He got on his knees and touched the grass for a few minutes.

“I knew you’d like earth. Come on lets see if we can find a better spot” The Doctor said as he headed towards the forest.

Yarox was a little confused by the Scarecrow. It didn’t look like a real person, but then again neither did Elena. When they reached the edge of the forest Yarox asked the Doctor about the strange figure in the middle of the field.

“That, that man back there, he looks like he’s tied up, should we not help him.”

The Doctor laughed. “Don’t worry he’s not real. Just a bag of straw to scare off some primitive animals. Nothing more.”

“But I saw him move!”

“What?” The Doctor said, preparing to believe it, considering the type of things he’d seen. The Doctor quickly ran back to the scarecrow and examined it.

“You must have been mistaken Yarox. It really is just a bag of straw. Come on”

Yarox still wasn’t convinced. He was sure that just for a moment he not only saw one of its arms move, but its eye sockets flash red! Still he felt it was best for the moment not to question the Doctors judgement.

The trio wandered through the Scottish woods for about 20 minutes or so, not encountering anything particularly interesting. Though Yarox was still marvelling at the sights around him. He must have spent 5 minutes staring at a small robin in the distance before the Doctor and Elena noticed he wasn’t behind them.

“Finally some signs of life” The Doctor bellowed. The trio had stumbled upon a small cottage, surrounded by a field.

“It looks boarded.” Elena said, somewhat concerned “Whoever’s in there doesn’t want anyone coming in

“Well even more reason to investigate. Come along.” The Doctor replied.

“Are you crazy? Whoever’s in there could shoot you before you get within ten feet of it.”

“True, but if that house is boarded up, don’t you want to know why? Whatever they want to keep out is roaming the woods, it could be round any tree.”

The Doctor approached the house slowly calling out to anyone inside. When he reached the door however he saw it was open.

“Looks like it was broken into. I just hope that whatever did this isn’t still inside.” The Doctor, Elena and Yarox investigated the house. Inside it was seemingly deserted, but most unusually there was a line of straw from the door that led to the cellar.

“Please don’t go down there. You won’t want to see it”

The Doctor, Yarox and Elena looked around to see a young girl, no more than 13, hiding behind a nearby sofa.

The girl was a little taken aback at Elena’s single eye, but Elena quickly reassured the girl that she was here to help.

“What’s down there?” The Doctor asked.

“The remains of old Mr Ferguson. Those things they, they tore his guts out. They left him to rot.”

“What things?”

“The Scarecrows.”

“Scarecrows?” The Doctor said?

“They suddenly came alive. They attacked us. Me and my mum and dad we were on a picnic when those things, they.” The girl started to sob, and Elena hugged her.

“Please don’t cry, you’re safe now.” Elena said as she tried to comfort the young girl.

“No, no they’re all around. I managed to run away, and I’ve been hiding in here for the last few days, but I hear them. Every night, they shamble about in the woods. I hear them howling and screaming, wondering when they’ll come for me. They…”

She paused for a few seconds.

“They what?” Elena asked gently.

“They said they were from hell itself. When they dragged me and my parents away, they told us they’d burned in the fire, and that we would too.”

“Where’s hell?” Yarox asked.

“Its a mythological place where the souls of the worst people go when they die. I like to keep an open mind, but I’ve always found the concept rather fanciful.” The Doctor said as he clutched his lapels.

Suddenly the the trio were alerted by a screeching noise from outside.

“They’re here, they’re here” the little girl screeched as she hugged Elena more tightly.

The Doctor looked outside to see 4 Scarecrows standing in the field. The creatures eye sockets were flaming, whilst their claws were solid reinforced steel.

“We have been waiting for you. You will free our master from the pit and he will burn this earth to cinders.” One of the monsters chanted as the other three cackled.

The monsters advanced on the house, with two breaking their way in through the windows, and another coming in through the door. Elena tried to overpower the monster that came in the front door but it was no use.

She kicked it in the chest, but it didn’t even make it flinch. She tried to punch it in the face, but she burned her hand off its flaming eyes.

“Get her out of here now, get the girl to safety” the Doctor said to Yarox as he tried to fend off one of the Scarecrows with a chair only to be hopelessly overpowered.

Yarox however couldn’t leave the Doctor and tried to grab the Scarecrow from behind. Unfortunately another one of the beasts grabbed Yarox from behind and lifted him into the air. He kicked and kicked at the monsters chest, but again it didn’t even phase the monster.

In desperation the Doctor ripped the bag from the Scarecrow’s head. Underneath was a hideous, rotting face. Most of the flesh looked burned off, its hair was thinning, whilst one of its eyes was missing. Its teeth meanwhile were broken and rotting which it revealed as it smiled.

The Doctor tried to punch the monster in its rotting face, only for his fist to go straight through its head. The monster laughed at the Doctor before throwing him into a wall. It then tried to ram its claws into his chest, but the Doctor quickly dodged the monsters attack and used his body to ram the Scarecrow into the monster attacking Yarox.

Elena meanwhile was able to overpower her Scarecrow by flipping it over her shoulder out of the front door.

The little girl had sat at the back, too terrified to make a move against the monsters, or even run away in case more of the creatures were waiting outside.

The Doctor Elena, and Yarox ran towards the little girl. The three Scarecrows were blocking the door and the only way out was down into the cellar, or up the stairs. The Doctor chose the latter option, but as he ran up the stairs, he could see the 4th Scarecrow waiting for him at the top, smiling whilst licking the blood from its claws.

With no choice the Doctor told them to get back to the cellar, but the little girl refused to.

“We have no choice, we’re surrounded” Elena said to the screaming girl, as the monsters on both sides closed in on them.

The Doctor had no time to argue and so he simply ran down the stairs to the cellar, knowing his companions would follow.

Down in the cellar the Doctor could see the rotting remains of the house’s former owner. The young girl couldn’t look at it. She had known Ferguson in life. He and her father were great friends, and he even used to babysit her. She couldn’t bare to see him like this for a second.

The Doctor noticed a window at the top of the cellar.

“Quick get the girl through that window. I”l hold them off.”

“How on earth will you” Elena said, before the Doctor cut them off.

“I’ll win them round with my charm just like I did you two, now go” the Doctor said firmly.

As the Scarecrows came tumbling down the steps to the cellar, Elena didn’t question the Doctor any longer and crawled through the window. She needed to make sure there were no monsters outside waiting. Yarox then helped to push the girl through the window, before following whilst the Doctor stood in front of his companions as the Scarecrows drew nearer.

“Now then you told me that you were waiting for me?” The Doctor said with a faux confidence and bluster to cover up his fear as he clutched his lapels.

“What may I ask for?”

The unmasked Scarecrow spoke.

“Our master, Scratchman was sealed in the pit millions of years ago. He has been clawing at your reality, peeking into its dreams, stealing souls. Now he will finally walk this earth thanks to you.”

“Scratchman?” “You mean…. the Devil?”

“That is what you would call him. He has always been our master. Though he is the master of you all.”

“What on earth do you mean?”

“You are all destined for his pit one way or another.”

“Well if that’s the case why does this Scratchman fellow need to come here then? Also what about heaven? If there’s a hell, then shouldn’t there be a heaven?”

“Heaven is a lie told by the master to give you all false hope that you can escape his grasp” the monster sneered.

“Well that’s a rather bleak view to have of life.” the Doctor said in an awkward, humorous tone.

“Still whoever your master is I don’t intend to help him escape. Judging from you lot, it seems whoever locked him in the pit had a good reason too. I’d thank them if I could.”

“Stop wasting time. The Master waits.” The unmasked Scarecrow shouted as it attempted to grab the Doctor, who quickly ducked and grabbed John Ferguson’s rifle from the floor and shot at all three monsters to no avail.

The monsters laughed at the Doctor who backed into a corner.

“The Master awaits. You will suffer for making him wait longer than he needed to.”

“You should tell Scratchman that’s no way to get people to do him favours.” the Doctor replied before shooting at the ceiling above the Scarecrows burying them under rubble for a few seconds. The Doctor quickly ran past the monsters to the window.

As he climbed through it however, one of the monsters, the unmasked Scarecrow jumped up and grabbed the Doctor by his foot as he was almost clear. The Doctor tried to pull free, but the monsters metal claws dug deep into his ankle. Fortunately however Elena and Yarox quickly came to the Doctors aid. It was still no use however, as the strength of the Doctor and his companions combined was no match for the monster. Elena quickly grabbed the Doctors gun and started to hit the Scarecrow over and over again. She didn’t hurt the monster but she distracted it long enough for the Doctor to wiggle his foot free and kick the monster in the chest knocking it back into the other Scarecrows.

“Thank you” the Doctor said as he rubbed his foot.  “We need to get back to the TARDIS now”

“Please, find my parents” the young girls cried.

“I will do all I can for them” the Doctor said. “I just need to get you back to the TARDIS. You’ll be safe there while I look for your parents, and figure out what is going on.”

“What do you mean the TARDIS?”

“You’ll see when we get there. Come on.”

The Doctor and his companions quickly ran back the way through the woods. It was beginning to get dark and more and more Scarecrows were crawling around the woods. The Doctor and his companions kept hidden from the monsters behind several trees. Elena pointed her gun at one of the brutes as it wandered closer, in their direction.

“No, it won’t do any good, trust me. We need to be cautious” the Doctor said as he crawled through the undergrowth, careful not to alert any of the Demonic Scarecrows.

The foursome managed to crawl their way back to the large field where the TARDIS was.

“That blue box?” the young girl said perplexed?

“Trust me its a lot tougher and bigger than it looks. You’ll be safe in there.” The Doctor said confidently.

The foursome ran across the field when suddenly a metal hand came bursting out of the ground and grabbed Yarox by the foot, causing him to trip.

The Doctor turned round, only for two more sets of metal hands to burst out of the ground in front of him.

Several more metal, clawed hands came bursting out of the field all around the Doctor, Elena and the girl.

The Doctor looked back into the woods to see several more Scarecrows emerging from the woods, brandishing their claws, roaring and hissing. Dozens of Scarecrows suddenly came bursting out of the ground.

The Doctor quickly grabbed the gun from Elena and used it to knock the nearest Scarecrow in front down by hitting the monster’s legs with the butt of the gun.

The Doctor then used the butt of the gun to hit the monsters hand that was grabbing Yarox by the foot until it eventually released him.

The foursome quickly bolted into the TARDIS, slamming the doors shut before the Scarecrow’s could follow.

The monsters clawed furiously on the door screaming at the Doctor to let them in.

“Fool you could flee to the end of the universe and he’ll still claim your soul. You’ll have to die one day!” One of the Scarecrow’s shouted.

The little girl was so scared of the monsters taunts that she almost hadn’t noticed how massive the inside of the TARDIS was compared to the tiny blue box she’d seen in the field.

“Don’t worry. None of them can get in here now. We’re safe, for the moment at least.” The Doctor assured the young girl as he checked the console.

“What are you looking for?” Elena asked as she hugged the young girl.

“Signs of an interdimensional disturbance. Those monsters said they wanted me to free their master from the pit wherever that is.”

“Its hell.” The young girl shouted.

“Well wherever it is, I think its most likely another universe. Those creatures whatever they are, must have created a rip into our reality. I might be able to track it here.

The Doctor messed around with the controls for a few minutes. whilst the monsters continued to shout and claw on the doors.

“What is this place?” the young girl said somewhat frightened.

“Its a time and space machine.” Elena said to the girl.

“A space ship? Are you, are you aliens!”

“I’m not. I’m as human as you. Well more or less” Elena said. “Yarox is part alien, and the Doctor over there is an alien, but don’t be scared he likes humans.”

“They’re my favourite species alongside the Therons of Venus” the Doctor said proudly as he adjusted the controls.

“Humans have better music, but Venusian food is better.”  He joked, though none of the others were exactly in the mood for humour.

“Aliens and Demons? I can’t believe this is happening she said.”

“Well trust me those things out there are aliens too. They’re dishonest about where they came from, but well hopefully we can find out the truth.”

“Ah, I’ve located it. There’s a tear on the other side of the island. Just as I thought. It looks like its splintering. Very soon there will be more rips on our side.” The Doctor said as he left the room.

“Where are you going?” Yarox asked.

“To whip up something to severe those monsters from whatever’s projecting them into our reality. When I unmasked one of them in the house, my hand went through it. They’re projections. Projections given enough of a boost to affect this reality, but that’s all they are. If I can interfere with them then we can stop the monsters. Come on, you can help me. Better than just sitting here and listening to those things moan.”

The others followed the Doctor, though just before she left the console room, Elena looked on the scanner. She could now see what looked like hundreds of Scarecrows all amassing outside of the TARDIS.

“I hope he’s right about those doors holding” she thought to herself.

On the other side of the island meanwhile the Scarecrow’s had almost finished their blood ritual.

“Please, please stop.” Mary one of their sacrificial lambs begged as the leader of the Scarecrw’s sliced into her stomach again.

“Why, why are you doing this” she pleaded, only for the Scarecrow to laugh at her pain.

The Scarecrow’s claws suddenly became red hot.

“No, no please” Mary screamed as she struggled to get free.

Fortunately just as the monster was about to sink its burning hot claws in, a red whirlwind appeared in the sky, causing all of the Scarecrows to bow and chant in unison.

“He has come forth. Oh praise him!”

To Be Continued

 

 

 

Professor Fang: The Demon Within: Part 9: Gods and Demons

 

“STOP! That’s enough. None of you fools have any idea of the danger your in.” The Professor shouted as he jumped in between a group of Maliaks and Demons tearing into each other.

The aliens and the unholy monsters paused for a few seconds before simply continuing to fight.

The Professor quickly overpowered one of the Maliak soldiers and grabbed his gun. He then shot at the ceiling causing some rubble to fall, scattering the Demons and Maliaks.

“Good now I have your attention.”

“Who are you?” One of the Demons shouted. “You’re not one of these freaks.”

“I’m just a lowly traveller who got caught up in your mess. Like I said both of you have no idea the danger you’re in. The Maliaks false god is a sore loser.”

“How dare you blaspheme our god you.”

“Your God is a Demon. A filthy, evil Demon like these monsters, only worse. He’s also got something really nasty in store for all of you.”  “Ever hear of the Garisja?” The Professor said to the Demons in particular who all froze in fear.

“No it can’t be.”

“I take it you have. He said it was a hell even for Demons, and that’s where the Maliaks Gods plan to send us.”

“You’re lying.” One of the Maliaks screamed at the Professor.

“Am I? Why did your god never allow you to set off your weapon? A weapon that can destroy any Demon and would have allowed you to win the war in a second?”

“He was afraid that it was unstable and would harm us.”

“So he never thought to try and perfect it? Test it out? He just abandoned it. Besides the way I see it, this can be a test of faith. You can either take a chance and let your world be sucked into hell, or you can come with us and see if I’m lying. I think that deep down you must doubt your God too. Look at what’s happened to your world? Look at how he treats you?”

The Maliaks didn’t respond to the Professor. Instead they spoke to the Demons instead.

“This changes nothing in the long run you understand.” The Maliaks said to the Demons.

“We know. Once this is over we’ll still wipe you all from the face of the universe.” The Demon replied.

“You as well freak.” The Demon said to the Professor. “Once this is over we’re going to tear you apart.”

The Professor simply smiled mockingly at the Demons threats.

The Maliaks God had sealed himself away in a special chamber below the base. None of the Demons or his own followers would find him down here, or so he thought.

The God had almost finishing carrying out the ritual to suck the planet into the Garisja. He had been preparing the ritual since he had first arrived on the Maliaks home planet. All he needed was to sacrifice a few more natives of the planet to begin the process. The God had captured 5 female Maliaks, 5 males and two children. Unknown to them, the God had been preparing these Maliaks for years to be part of the final ritual to send this planet into the hell he had come from.

“Such a shame.” He thought to himself as he calmly slaughtered the 5 males first.

“I really did have such high hopes for the Maliaks. Still there is an infinite number of worlds out there for me to mould.” The ritual would ensure that the God would be the only being not to be sent to the Garisja universe. His magics would then carry him to another planet where he could start over again.

Lindsey fought back against the prisoners as best she could, but it was no use. They bit her, scratched her, and beat Lindsey to the floor. As one of the savages bit into her neck, Lindsey started to black out. She was quickly jolted awake a few seconds later however, by the sound of a laser cutting down the savage prisoners one by one.

“Kirsteen thank you another second and those things.”

“No, not Kirsteen. Have you forgotten your old friend so quickly? Of course you haven’t why else would you be here.”

Lindsey looked up and saw to her horror her former travelling companion, Hilioma.

Hilioma dropped her gun and ran to hug Lindsey.

“I never thought I’d see you again. I should have known that you and the Professor would never just abandon me. When I saw that familiar black bat fly through the sky, I knew that this nightmare was finally over.”

“How long have you been here.” Lindsey said.

“I don’t know exactly. The days tend to blend into one another in this wasteland. I lost count at 40 years.”

“40 years, Hilioma I’m, I’m so sorry I.”

“It doesn’t matter, now you’ve come back for me. That crazy old Vampire eh. I should have known he’d dream something up. I always used to say there’s nothing he couldn’t do if puts his mind to it.”

Lindsey couldn’t bare to tell Hilioma the truth, but she didn’t want to give her false hope for another second.

“Hilioma I.” Hilioma, almost as if she knew what Lindsey was going to say picked up her gun.

“Well shouldn’t we be going.” Hilioma said with a large, awkward smile. She looked like she could snap at any second. Clearly the years in the Abyss had driven Hilioma mad. Lindsey would have to play this very carefully not to join her.

“Right we need to reach the control panel. A quick regeneration spell should bring it back. Come on we need to move now.” Lindsey said.

The Demon slammed the Maliak and Kirsteen against a wall.

“I’m telling you I just joined them, I have no idea what the hell is going on here.” Kirsteen said. The Demon didn’t listen. It almost didn’t care. The rock Demons belonged to a particularly nasty breed of Demon from the planet Olexia. They were created through the very darkest magics and were almost indestructable. They had overrun Olexia and turned it into a hell world that was avoided by all of the other planets in the galaxy.

They had been kept out of the alliance against the Maliaks until recently as a result, but when the Demons found out just how dangerous the Maliaks God was, the alliance was forced to turn to them out of desperation. These Demons more than any other had given the alliance the final push it needed to overcome the Maliaks army.

As the monster slowly squeezed the life out of its two prisoners, Kirsteen noticed a tiny hole in the Demons armour near its chest. It was a scratch created by the Mystellan in their brief scrap in the hall.

Kirsteen quickly dug her nails into the hole. To her surprise the monster doubled back in pain and sank to its knees. The Demon ironically had a non existent pain threshold as it was not used to pain in the slightest.

Kirsteen and the Maliak soldier quickly ran past the Demon and out into the hall, with the Maliak grabbing his gun in the process. To their surprise there were dozens of humanoid creatures surrounding in the halls. Like the prisoners who had attacked Lindsey these prisoners were feral and vicious, and the Maliak leader didn’t hesitate to shoot them when they got near despite Kirsteen’s protests.

Lindsey and Hilioma meanwhile had managed to make their way to the back engine. Hilioma had been utterly ruthless in dispatching all of the prisoners she came into contact with. She had undoubtedly killed them, as they had killed her many times before anyway.

When they reached the room Lindsey started to chant the spell, whilst Hilioma held off the prisoners. One of the prisoners however was a large pinkish, slimy Demon that was immune to the effects of Hilioma’s gun. The rays did cut through the monster but the wounds healed instantly. Hilioma knew the monster well. It was one of the most feared creatures in the entire Abyss. It had even personally killed Hilioma several times before now.

Hilioma aimed for the creatures eyes and whilst it stood around blinded for a few seconds, several of the other prisoners seized their chance and jumped on the monster and started to tear chunks out of the Demon. The Demon’s wounds quickly healed however, but it was too distracted by the hordes of prisoners to bother Lindsey and Hilioma again.

Suddenly the ship started to move.

“Finally after so long its over, its really” Hilioma’s joy was cut short when her gun fell out of her hands and she started to notice that she and the other prisoners were beginning to fade into nothing.

“What’s going on? Lindsey?”

“I’m so sorry Hilioma. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do. The ship can’t take you or any of the other prisoners out of here. The Abyss holds onto you literally.”

“No, no, please, you can’t come this far and just abandon me.”

Lindsey was silent.

“Oh I see. You never came here for me. You had just abandoned me.”

“Hilioma if there was anything I could.”

“You coward, both of you are cowards. After all we went through, you’re just going to leave me here at the mercy of those things, to die over and over and over!”

Lindsey burst into tears and looked away. In a matter of seconds the ship was back in the vortex again with all of the prisoners being left behind in the Abyss.

Hilioma looked around at the same black pit that had been her home for the past half a century. She had waited so long for her two friends, people she had once loved as a family to come and save her. Now she knew for sure they would never come. She didn’t give up on escaping the Abyss however. If anything Hilioma felt more determined than ever to crawl out of this black hole and get revenge on the people who in her mind had betrayed her.

The Maliaks God had almost finished its ritual. Only the 2 children remained. They all huddled together in fear as the God, who had morphed into his true, monstrous Demonic form, and was dripping in the blood of his previous victims, stood over them.

“Don’t cry. Compared to the rest of this planet. You’re getting off easy.” He taunted them.

Before the Demon could carry out the final part of its gruesome sacrifice, the Professor came smashing through the roof using his Vampire strength, followed by 4 Demons and 3 Maliak foot soldiers.

“How did you find me.”

“I’m a Vampire. My sense of smell is advanced. I can trace you for miles. Mind you I could probably track you for miles without it. Just because you’re a God doesn’t mean you don’t have to bathe.” The Professor said.

The Demon flew into a rage and attacked the Professor. The Professor couldn’t possibly hope to actually harm the Demon, but he was faster and was able to dodge its attacks and keep the monster preoccupied whilst the Demon and the Maliak foot soldiers rescued the children.

The Demon/God tried to grab one of the children from the Maliaks, but the Professor jumped him from behind. The Demon quickly threw the Professor off, but the Vampire had distracted him long enough for the Maliaks and the Demons to escape with the children outside.

The Demon turned to fight the Professor in its anger, but the Vampire managed to evade his attacks and distracted him for another few minutes before the Demon/God started to follow the Demon and Maliak soldiers. The Professor tried to distract him again, but this time the God simply batted him away.

Outside the entire planet had become a warzone. The Demons the Professor had worked with contacted the command centre to tell them of the danger they were in. Whilst the Demons had then attempted a temporary truce with the Maliaks, most of the Maliaks still refused to believe their God was really a monster.

Worse than that however, as the God’s ritual was nearing completion, several Demons from the Garisja universe began to bleed into the Maliak’s home planet. They were giant, hideous creatures, who made even the fearsome Demons from Olexia cower and tremble. The sky of the Maliaks home planet itself began to tear open. There was virtually nowhere for the Demons and the Maliak soldiers to get the children to safety.

“Lindsey, Lindsey” Kirsteen shouted as she and the Maliak Leader raced down the corridors. They had managed to lose the Olexian Demon, but they had no idea where he had got to. The beast could have been round any corner. Eventually they found Lindsey still in the back up control room, sobbing.

“Lindsey, what’s wrong, what happened.”

“Who were those creatures.” The Maliak leader said more forcefully.

“Time travellers” Lindsey said through the tears.

“People like us. Like I told you before Kirsteen. Time cannot be changed. That place we visited its where time travellers who have changed history go. The Abyss.”

“Oh god. I’d hoped, however small it was that the Professor was lying when he told me about that place.”

“He wasn’t. I can assure you. I just got a little reminded of the reality of the Abyss, which I hope I never do again.”

“Come on.” Lindsey said as she stood up and wiped the tears from her face. “We have a planet to save.”

“One of the Demons is still loose on the ship” The Maliak leader said.

“Well don’t worry about him. Once we set the bomb off he’ll fry along with the rest of those monsters. ”

“But how will we get the ship past the fleet.”

“We’re not going to.” Lindsey said.

“The ship is going to take us back to the Maliaks home planet.”

“You can’t do that. You’ll risk us all. The God said that weapon wasn’t safe.”

“He’s a liar. According to the Professor, your planet’s already being sucked into hell. We might be too late.”

“I will not risk my people!”

A whirling noise interrupted them.

“We’ve arrived.” Lindsey said as she walked down the hall, ignoring the Maliak’s screams.

Suddenly the rock Demon appeared from around a corner and grabbed the Maliak leader from behind.

It slowly squeezed his neck. Kirsteen just as before reached for its wound, but this time it batted her away.

Lindsey went for Hilioma’s weapon and started to fire at the rock Demon. She managed to get a lucky shot in and hit the tiny hole in its armour. The heat ray cooked the Demon from the inside and killed it instantly.

Kirsteen went to help the Maliak leader up.

“You saved my life. I suppose I owe you one for now.”

The Demon and Maliak soldiers carrying the two children had been cornered by a gigantic Demonic monster from the Garisja.

It was a gigantic Snake creature with a hideous, frog like head at either end. The Demons held the monster off whilst the Maliaks ran for cover with the two children. Unfortunately however, whilst the Maliaks retreated with the children to behind the remains of a nearby wall, the Maliaks God soon sneaked up on them. In a matter of seconds it killed all of the Maliak soldiers before turning its attention to the two children.

Once again however the Professor was able to intervene in time. He quickly pulled the children away. The Demon/God chased the Professor, but the Vampire was able to catch him off guard, and flipped the Demon/God straight into the larger snake Demon. Before the Demon/God could even react the larger snake Demon swallowed him whole.

The Demons and the Professor burst out laughing at the sight, but their joy was short lived as the Demon God not only burst out of the larger Demon, but also ripped it in two.

The Demons and the Professor all descended on the God/ Demon, but he effortlessly batted them all away.

As all seemed lost, the Professor’s ship appeared in the sky. Lindsey had programmed it to take her to where the Professor would be.

Lindsey prepared to teleport the Professor onboard, but as soon as the ship had arrived several giant winged Demons from the Garisja dimension started to attack the ship. Many of them were almost as large as the vessel itself and they were more than powerful enough to destroy it.

Lindsey tried to activate the teleportation device in the commotion, but she couldn’t get a fix on the Professor.

“We can’t wait any longer”, Kirsteen shouted as the ship was rocked back and forth.

Lindsey knew she was right. She couldn’t put the Professor before an entire world and with extreme regret, she activated the bomb. In a matter of minutes a purple light swept across the entire planet. All of the Demons who were engulfed in it began to collapse in pain. The Demon/God, having easily overpowered the Professor had been seconds away from killing the children and sending this world into hell.

With the winged horrors incapacitated, Lindsey was able to teleport the Professor. He had only been in the rays light for under a minute, but his flesh was badly burned. Even in the ship he still wasn’t safe as the bomb continued to eat away at him.

“We’ll never be able to make it away from the blast in time.” The Maliak leader said.

“No which is why we’re going forward in time.” Lindsey replied as she sent the ship forward 2 weeks until after the radiation from the bomb had died down.

The last sight the God saw as his body was eaten away by a weapon created by the very race he had built up was of the Professor’s ship vanishing through time.

It would take the Professor a day to recover from the effects of the bomb. His Vampire healing powers were great, but the bomb was capable of destroying even the most powerful Demons.

After the Professor had recovered, he, Lindsey, and Kirsteen took the Maliak leader back to the surface of his planet. They arrived rid in front of the former God/Demon’s corpse, distinguished by its cloak.

The Maliak leader sunk to his knees at the sight. It really had all been for nothing. His entire life had been a lie. So many of his friends, even his family had happily given their lives for a monster. The leader picked the charred skeleton of his former God up and started to tear it apart. He ripped its skull off and crushed it under his boot. He tore several ribs and both its legs off and threw them against a wall. He shattered its entire spine off of his knees and ripped the Demon in half.

“ALL LIES” he shouted in despair.

“Yes it was.” The Professor said. “You’re race isn’t the first to be duped by a charlatan. At least you’ve been given a second chance now. Its your job to show your people a new way. Reject everything that monster taught you. It won’t be easy. Even without his influence, no species likes to imagine its not special. You’ve got a long road ahead of you.”

“You can’t leave us now. You’re a genius.”

“Why thank you”.

“You need to help us rebuild. You need to help me convince the others.”

“I’m afraid not we’re constantly on the move.”

“But what about the alliance? Surely they’ll come after us again?”

“I don’t think so. The bomb took care of their Demon army. If they want to attack again they’ll have to do it themselves. I’m not saying it will be easy but there’s a better chance of peace with the alliance rather than their Demon thugs. If you tell them the truth and make it clear you’re of no threat to them. There will be peace.”

The Professor got Lindsey and Kirsteen into position as he prepared to teleport up.

“Thank you.” The Maliak Leader said. “I’m, I’m sorry for the way I treated you. All for that monster” He said as he kicked what was left of the former God’s skeleton.

“You can thank us by tearing down what’s left of his legacy.” Lindsey said.

“Before we go you could also tell us your name?” She continued.

“Individual names weren’t important when he was around. We were just tools to him. I am Grassilous.”

“Well Grassilous. Good luck. Make sure everything we did today wasn’t for nothing” Lindsey said as she, Kirsteen and the Professor teleported back up into their ship which quickly sped off through the vortex to another time and place.

On the ship Lindsey was quiet, which troubled the Professor and Kirsteen.

“Do you think there is a chance for the Maliaks?” Kirsteen said, trying to break the silence.

“Oh yes, I think so” The Professor said as he adjusted the controls. “As I told, what’s his name down there, they’re not the only race to be taken in by a charlatan and made to feel special. Its sadly an all too familiar pattern among sentient creatures.”

The Professor approached Lindsey.

“I’m sorry you had to visit the Abyss Lindsey, I don’t.”

“I saw her.” Lindsey said.

The Professor never liked to even think about Hilioma. He felt more responsible than anyone else as he had invited her to join him.

“I had to leave her Professor. I saw her fade away as I left her in that godforsaken.” Lindsey burst into tears as she collapsed into the Professor’s arms.

Kirsteen didn’t know anything about Hilioma, but she couldn’t help but be disturbed at what she was hearing. She fully understood now that she couldn’t go back to her old life, but what would become of her now. Would it always be this dangerous? Would she eventually make a mistake like their former companion and end up in this hell hole. She felt like breaking down herself at the thought of it all.

Grassilious had gathered before a crowd of Maliaks who were shouting and screaming and fighting. He held up the former God’s cloak to the crowd who suddenly stopped in their tracks.

“Our God was a fake. He was a Demon, just like the ones who ravaged our planet. Except he did more harm to us than those monsters ever did. He turned us into the monsters. He’s gone now. Burned with all the other Demons, but his stain infects all of us. We have to wipe all traces of him from our culture, our history.”

The Maliaks below started jeering and screaming and so Grassilous threw their former Gods cloak into the crowd. They all scattered at first, but eventually one of the Maliaks, a young woman went near the cloak and picked it up. She started to wear it and even danced around, mockingly in the God’s cloak which caused the crowd to burst out into laughter.

Little did any of the Maliak’s know their God was completely dead. His body may have been destroyed, but his soul lived on. He watched the crowd, seething with rage. Fortunately there was nothing he could do yet. Even his spirit had been weakened by the bomb, but he would bide his time. Sadly his influence over the Maliaks and other races in the universe was far from over.

                                                     The End

                                              Next Adventure

                                           The Hopping Dead

Professor Fang: The Demon Within: Part 8: The Abyss

(Sorry for the delay. This ended up being longer than I thought. The final part will be up on Monday, and next week all 3 series will return to normal and there will be more opinion pieces.)

The Professors vessel went hurling through the vortext, throwing Lindsey and the three Demons all over the place. Lindsey however in the confusion managed to crawl out of the room and sealed it shut behind her. It would probably only hold the Demons back for a few minutes once they got back on their feet, but that might be enough. As Lindsey ran towards the weapons cabinet, she could hear the moans and screams from outside.

She had a feeling she knew were they had landed but it was too horrible to admit. Still she had to be sure, so Lindsey first went down to check the scanner which was just below the room with the weapons cabinet.

To her horror Lindsey saw where they had landed. It was in the Abyss. The Abyss was an area of time and space where time travellers who had changed history were taken by hideous creatures known as the Guardians.

Time could not be changed in any way shape or form. Doing so would create a paradox that would threaten to poison the timeline and destroy the universe. The Guardians job was to fix any paradox’s and imprison time travellers who created them.

Time had no meaning in the Abyss. Anyone who was imprisoned there would remain so forever. The Abyss itself was nothing but a large, dark, empty wasteland. Prisoners were not made to suffer by the Guardians, but at the same time there was nothing for them to do. Prisoners couldn’t have children in the Abyss, there were no resources for them to even build houses or shelters, just endless sand. There were certainly no luxuries or forms of enertainment either. Life in the Abyss was just an endless tedium which would almost always drive its occupants insane! Many of the occupants would attack and kill each other just to have something to do.

It wouldn’t take long for the Guardians to notice a time ship had crashed. They would most likely just return it to the vortex, but Lindsey didn’t want to take the chance that they might see the Professors’s ship as a rescue attempt and decide to just imprison her anyway. You did not want to be on the Guardians wanted list. No time traveller had ever escaped the monsters. Their power was beyond comprehension.

Above all else Lindsey hoped to escape before her former friend, Hilioma found them.

Hilioma was the travelling companion of the Professor and Lindsey before Kirsteen. She came from a world that had been conquered by the evil Hylexans. She had seen her family slaughtered by the monsters and had endured years of torture herself at the monsters slimy tentacles.

Though The Professor and Lindsey were able to repel the Hylexans and free her people, Hilioma would later attempt to wipe the Hylexans from history. She had been given fair warning from the Professor and Lindsey about changing time, but she refused to listen to them. When the three time travellers visited the Hylexans world at an earlier point in their history when the Octopoids had first mastered magics, Hilioma would deliberately sabotage one of the Hylexan’s spells to destroy their world.

Just as the Professor could have predicted, the changes Hilioma had created lasted all of 3 seconds before the Guardians arrived, undid her actions and sent her kicking and screaming into the Abyss. Hilioma had never taken the Professor’s warning seriously. She believed that if push came to shove, he and Lindsey would have to find a way to save her from the Guardians.

Sadly there was literally nothing the Professor could do. No power in the universe could even harm the Guardians. Lindsey had pleaded with the Professor to try and help Hilioma, but he always refused which nearly led to her leaving the Vampire.

In time however Lindsey came to understand, but she would still be haunted by the image of the Guardian pulling her friend through a black hole. The Guardians were absolutely revolting creatures. They had completely grey bodies, with long thin fingers, covered in slimy suction cups. Their bodies had a rougly humanoid shape, though they appeared to be somewhat slimy and maleable. When The Professor tried to punch one, his hand just went clean through the monsters chest without even harming it.

They also appeared to have the power to change their bodies to any size and shape they wished. The Professor speculated if they only assumed humanoid shapes to communicate with humanoids.

The Guardians bodies looked wet and the flesh was lumpy. Their faces had just one large, green eye with a black pupil and a massive mouth filled with sharp, yellow, pointed teeth, that was locked into a hideous grin.

On the top of each of the monsters heads were 4 long tubes which writhed constantly.

Outside the Professor’s vessel, Lindsey could see in the darkness, several humanoid figures from races all over the universe gathering around. They had all once time travellers like her who thought they could change their destiny in some way for the better and had paid a heavy price for it.

Many of the prisoners had been driven mad to the point where they simply jumped around the time machine like animals, but a few began to inspect it. Lindsey so wished she could help them, but if she even lifted a finger for any of the prisoners then she would join them in a second.

Lindsey quickly went for the weapons chest and pulled out the largest weapon she could find, a Gylsegion canon. The Gylsegion’s were vicious warrior Demons who had weapons built into their bodies. The canon was a trophy from one of the Professor’s greatest victories in stopping a Gylsegion invasion of a world in the Heavenly realm. He ripped it from the leader of the Gylsegion’s arm, though it had taken the Vampire ages to scrape off the last bits of Gyslegion flesh from the canon. The Professor generally tended not to use his weapons chest unless he had too.

He didn’t have anything against using them in defence. The Professor, much like Lindsey preferred non violent means, but was willing to use them if need be.

Still the Professor often felt that his weapons got in the way more than anything else. The Professor felt his spells which he could recite from memory, were often more effective in dealing with magical creatures. His spells unlike the weapons could not be disarmed or taken away from him, and were easier to hide.

Nevertheless Lindsey was glad the Professor hadn’t thrown them out now. She quickly ran back down the corridor to where she had left the Demons, but they had already broken out of the control room and were waiting for her.

Lindsey quickly raised the Gyslegion canon and shot at the first rock Demon. The canon was so strong however that she stumbled back a little when she fired, and hit the monsters shoulder instead.

The blast was strong enough to take the Demon’s shoulder and arm below clean off. Lindsey quickly fired a second shot into the Demons chest, blowing a hole in it. The Demon then sank to its knees, where Lindsey delivered a final shot to its head blowing it up.

The other two Demons fled down a nearby corridor. Lindsey tried to run after the monsters, but she suddenly saw three humanoid figures standing at end of another corridor beside her. They were all dressed in ratty clothes, with a confused look of despair on their faces.leading.

“Help us. Please I can’t take it anymore. I’ve been a prisoner for.” one of them said before Lindsey raised her canon. The prisoners, (who had been able to enter through a hole in the ship the Demons had created with their weapons) very presence here could make the Guardians think Lindsey was helping them.

“You need to get out NOW.” She said with regret. The woman got on her knees and started begging Lindsey. She hated herself for it, but Lindsey rammed her canon into the young woman’s ribs.

“I mean it.” She said more forcefully. The young woman began to back off somewhat as did the others.

“I’m sorry, I really am. I wish there was something I could do, but if you don’t leave you’ll doom me and my crew.”

“Misery loves company.” The young woman said whilst smiling. Suddenly a large figure appeared from behind and grabbed Lindsey in a bear hug. Lindsey struggled to break free, but its strength was immense.

Lindsey looked up to see that the figure was a member of a race of creatures known as the Mystelians. Mystelia was a dead world. At least by the time the earth had formed. It was one of the oldest planets in the universe. Lindsey had never visited it. Nor had the Professor. Its timeline was so closed off that virtually no time traveller had ever been able to visit it. However the Professor had managed to obtain a few artifacts from a pod sent from the dead planet. The pod had come from an early point in their timeline, when the Mystelians were first branching out into space. It was sent out to represent their culture to other potential races, but had instead become lost and somehow survived for possibly millions of years until The Professor had found it.

Lindsey had actually enjoyed reading the novel that had been left in the pod, which was regarded as the greatest work of fiction, at that point, that their race had ever produced. The novel itself was actually fairly mediocre, but Lindsey felt it gave a fascinating insight into this lost race. To now actually see a Mystelian in the flesh was incredible even for a time traveller like Lindsey.

Lindsey stared at the creatures strange reptillian face for a few seconds before it tightened its grip on her.

“All I wanted was to save my people. Yet here I am condemned to this nightmare forever. If you can travel here, then you can leave. Take us with you.” The Mystelian said.

Lindsey didn’t even respond to the alien. She simply tried to struggle free, but it soon shoved her against a wall and grabbed her by the throat.

“You will help me. You will help my people. Its all that’s kept me going in the thousands of years I’ve been locked up here. As long as I live there is a chance for my people.”

Lindsey gasped for air as the beast throttled her, but she soon relieved, ironically to see the two Demons she had chased away earlier sneeking up on the alien.

They both grabbed the Mystelian from behind and pulled it away from Lindsey. The Mystelian however proved to be stronger than anyone there thought as it tossed both Demons away with each hand.

One of the Demons charged at the Mystelian, but the alien easily overpowered the rock monster and quickly tore its head off. The other Demon quickly fled, but whilst the Mystleion was distracted Lindsey quickly grabbed the Gyselgion canon and fired it at the Mystelion, blowing it too pieces. Death had no meaning in the abyss, and within a matter of minutes the Mystelion’s body would reform again. If you were a visitor and you died in the Abyss however then you could never leave without dying on the outside.

Lindsey quickly ran to the communications area on a lower level of the ship. The other humanoids dared not to follow her out of fear and any others she encountered she quickly warded away with her weapon. In the communications rooms was a magical device which could allow Lindsey to communicate with the Professor wherever he was.  Assuming he had remembered to bring the amulet. She couldn’t remember if he had under that cloak. He could be so absent minded.

“Professor, Professor.” Lindsey shouted through the communicator that was a giant glowing purple sphere in the centre of the room.

A voice came through the sphere, faint, but clear.

“Lindsey will you please keep it down. I’m trying to stay hidden from a group of Maliak’s and Demons fighting up ahead.”

“Thank god you’re alive. I need your help.”

“Yes well I could be doing with some help myself right now.”

“Its the engine. The Demons blew it out. The repair unit should fix it, but I can’t afford to wait that long. The ship’s been blown into the Abyss.”

The Professor’s blood ran cold at the mere mention of that place. “I’m going to need a more powerful spell to repair the engine. Its completely destroyed. I can only remember the basic regeneration spells”

“Now Lindsey I’ve tried to make you remember all the regeneration spells. If only you listened to me just once in a while.” The Vampire moaned.

“Yes well you can bore me with this later, but if you don’t mind I’d rather not spend an eternity in this wasteland. Even one of your lectures is better than that.”

The Professor started to repeat the spell, whilst keeping his eyes on the warring Demons and Aliens up ahead.

“Thank’s Professor. We still have the bomb. When we get back to the Maliaks home planet we’ll set it off after we’ve teleported you back on board.”

“You’ll have to detonate it as soon as you arrive on the planet Lindsey.”

“Professor you’re a Vampire, a Demon, the spell will destroy you.”

“Yes I’m aware of that.” The Professor said impatiently. “The Maliaks so called God is planning to suck this entire world into hell. As evil as the Maliaks may seem they’ve just been lied to by a false god. There are innocent civilians, even children among their ranks who’ll  suffer eternal torment if you don’t act as soon as possible.”

“Professor I.”

“No but’s Lindsey I’ll expect you to do all you can to save the Maliaks.”

Suddenly in the middle of their argument the door was broken down by horde of moaning prisoners of the Abyss. Lindsey lifted her cannon, but the prisoners swarmed her against a wall, making her drop her weapon.

These prisoners were more wild and feral. They started to bite, kick and scratch at her. Lindsey tried to fight back, but she was soon overwhelmed by a sea of dirty hands.

Back in the medibay the Maliak commander and Kirsteen grew impatient and scared. They could hear the sounds and moans of the prisoners.

“What the hell is going on out there.” The Maliak Leader said.

“I don’t know but I’m starting to think it was maybe a good idea to leave us in here.” Kirsteen replied somewhat nervously.

Suddenly the door came crashing down and the last of the rock Demons emerged.

“Maybe you both can tell me what is going on here? Or I’m going to have to get rather unpleasant.” The Demon said as it cornered its two helpless prisoners.

To Be Continued

 

 

Professor Fang: The Demon Within: Part 7: The Demon Fleet

 

The Demons started to fire at the ship rocking it back and forth. Kirsteen struggled to get Lindsey out of the room as the control panel started to explode. Outside Lindsey started to wake.

“We have to get to the medibay now.” She said in a faint and weak voice.

The leader meanwhile having been burnt from the explosion grabbed one of the guns from one of his fallen comrades and cornered Lindsey and Kirsteen outside. He could barely stand he was so weak from the pain and blood loss, but the soldiers determination drove him on.

“You freaks. You’ve doomed us all.”

“Why don’t you just pray to your god.” Lindsey said mockingly. The leader raised his weapon and Kirsteen got in the way of Lindsey begging him to stop. Lindsey quickly pushed Kirsteen out of the way however.

“STOP!” Lindsey said. “If you kill us both now, you’ll die and your whole world will die too.”

“I knew neither of you would face death with dignity.” He sneered.

“We have a medibay with healing magics.. It can patch up your wounds. Either you let us help you, or you die now and fail your false god.”

The Demon hesitated for a few seconds, more because of the pain it was in than anything else. It almost blacked out before quickly raising its gun again.

“Alright but any tricks and I’ll make sure you all die with me.”

The Maliak leaders and general had been waiting for half an hour for their God to show up. They always dreaded these meetings. At least a few of them wouldn’t make it out alive. Normally when things weren’t going to plan, the God would take his frustrations out on a few of the leaders, often just to serve as an example to the others.  The God naturally always loved to make his servants wait for long before he turned up. Fortunately for the Maliaks, these meetings were rare due to their diminished numbers. Still now that the war had ended so badly, they all felt they were for the chop.

The God came bursting into the room in a surprisingly good mood for once.

“He must have something really nasty in mind for us to be that happy.” One of the leaders thought as she gripped her chair in terror.

“You’ve all failed me miserably.” The God said to his followers. “You’ll all suffer for what you’ve let the Demons do to this planet, but don’t worry. You may not have the deaths of your entire species on your conscience. Bring him in.”

Two Maliak foot soldiers dragged the Professor in before leaving.

“That feeble old creature?” One of the Maliak leaders said, almost not sure if their God was joking, though he quickly stopped laughing when the God glared at him.

“This creature has an intellect far beyond any on this planet. He can build weapons that can allow even a miserable race like the Maliaks to actually win in a fair fight. Imagine that.” The God said mockingly.

“What do you want of us oh master.” One of the soldiers said sheepishly.

“Oh nothing. That’s the point. I just wanted to let you know why you were all being replaced. I only felt it was polite. Now goodbye.” A portal suddenly began to open in the centre of the room, causing several Maliaks to fall into it. The others scrambled for safety but a magical barrier prevented them from escaping.

“You’ve heard of the Garisja haven’t you Professor.”

“Its one of the most heinous hell dimensions. I take it that’s where you’re from?”

“Exactly. Even for Demons its a hell.”

“Please oh lord show mercy.” The last of the leaders said as it clung to the edge of the floor over the expanding pit.”

“You fool. I’m not a god. I’m a Demon. A lower level Demon actually from the pit you’re about to fall into.”

“No, it can’t be you’re lying, this is a test of loyalty.”

“I’m afraid not.” The false God said as it morphed back into its original Demon form much to its servants horror. The last Maliak leader let go of the ledge and fell into the hell its master had come from. It wouldn’t have survived much longer anyway, but it couldn’t bare to see that the God it had devoted its life to was nothing more than a phoney. It was a worse punishment than anything the Demons below could do to him, and the false God always loved to let its minions who had failed know that before it killed them.

“Now then lets see about you helping me win this war then shall we Professor?”

Lindsey, Kirsteen and the Maliak leader made their way to the medibay. The Demons had stopped firing on the ship and were attempting to break their way in.

“I don’t know how long it will hold them.” Lindsey, who had repaied her leg completely with magic said as she used a similar spell to heal the Leaders wounds. The leader kept his gun on the two time travellers at all times.

“Now that we’re alone and since we may only have a few minutes left anyway, why not be honest with us here.” Kirsteen said.

“When me and the Professor first met you, you doubted that God of yours. Now you’re desperate to prove your loyalty again? Are you just a coward? You don’t seem to be one?”

The leader was silent for a few moments. He didn’t seem to even acknowledge Kirsteen before she prodded him again. He raised his gun to her in response.

“I do not have to answer anything to you, I”. Suddenly the Maliak started to feel faint. “What have you done to me.” He said as he dropped his weapon.

Lindsey quickly grabbed the gun and pointed at the former leader.” Oh I forgot to mention, since we control the magics in here, and they’re now fused to your body, I can kill you in an instant if I want.”

“You slimy treacherous, cowardly.”

“Relax, I didn’t say I would kill you. Unlike you I don’t believe in senseless slaughter. Its only if you lay a hand on Kirsteen. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to see if the back up control panel is still working. For your own sake both of you stay here.”

“Wait a minute I save your life out there, you can’t just leave me here.” Kirsteen protested.

“Okay Kirsteen. You know how to reprogramme a magic time machine?”

“Well no, but.”

“Trust me you’re safer in here. Two’s a crowd.” Lindsey said before quickly exiting the room and shutting the door behind her.

Kirsteen was furious. “Honestly if she gets shot in the leg this time who’ll bail her out.”

The Leader just rolled his eyes. “God must really be testing me if he locked me in a room with you.”

“Yes about that why are you such a born again? Don’t worry I won’t tell. We’re both probably going to die anyway.”

“What would you understand. You live your life without any reason.”

“Well my life hasn’t exactly turned out as I planned, but at least I haven’t based it around a liar.”

“He is not a liar he’s.” The Leader froze for a few minutes before speakng. He was almost trying to make sense of his behaviour to himself more than he was to Kirsteen who he didn’t even bother to look at. “I had a crisis of faith. For my entire life I believed our God that we had been chosen to cleanse the universe of his mistakes. For forty years we always triumphed until this war. When the Demons crushed us it was more than just a defeat. Everything we had fought for seemed like a lie. Our God appeared weak. We were weak. All of the enemies we had slaughtered. I started to wonder if they had deserved it. If we were not the supreme beings, who were we to have judged them. Then it hit me. God was testing us. Until now he had given our race everything we needed. We had no reason to be truly loyal except out of gratitude. This was to test our mettle to see if we were truly above the others. We had to stick together, still believe in him even through strife when all of his other races wouldn’t. I failed him, but clearly the Maliaks passed his test as now he has delivered your craft which will allow us to win the war.”

“I can assure you us coming here had nothing to do with that thing.”

“Of course it did. You may not know it, but he guided you here. Why else would you have come at this time at this place.”

“I just have the worst luck That’s why. The fact that I’m on this ship in the first place is proof of that.”

“You are part of his plan. We all are. I was a fool not to see it.”

“You’re a fool now. Actually no you’re not. You just can’t admit that your life has been a waste. When you thought you were going to die it didn’t matter but now?”

“Shut up.”

“Its sad in a way. You’ve been duped into thinking you’re above the rest of us, and none of you have been able to choose your own destinies. You all follow what someone else wants.”

The leader tried to strike Kirsteen only to collapse to the floor.

“The magics remember. Our magics kept you alive whilst your God sent you to die. ”

Lindsey reached the emergency control panel. It was damaged, but not to the same extent as the first control panel. With a little magic she might be able to accelerate its self repair unit.

Lindsey tried to remember the spell, but suddenly the alarm went off. “How did they get in here? Its not possible.” She thought to herself.

The Professor was carried down the hall to the main lab of the facility by the Demon/God itself. The Professor made sure the Demon had to carry him every step of the way. He dug his claws into the ground when the God tried to drag him. The Demons strength dwarfed that of the Vampires, but the Professor loved making it difficult for the Demon as much as he could.

When they reached the lab, the Demon beat the Professor for his insolence. “Oh how I wish I could just kill you here and now.” “I have a talent for being annoying. Its one of my many skills.”

“I want you to look at our weapons Vampire. Together we should be able to cobble something together to stop those.”

Just then the whole room began to shake, and a Maliak came running into the room. “Master, Master the Demons have found us. They’re attacking.”

“It can’t be. There’s no way they could have…. What news is there of the bomb.”

“We’ve lost contact with them.”

“Well then I’m afraid that is it for the Maliaks.”

“What do you mean?”

The God responded by tearing the minions throat out. The Professor meanwhile slowly reached for a crude weapon on the table whilst the Demon was distracted.

“I don’t always enjoy it you know. Centuries I spent building these creatures up. I genuinely thought they were the ones. I hate to have to do this again.”

“You’re just a sentimental guy aren’t you.” The Professor said mockingly.

“Well on the plus side I don’t have to keep you alive anymore.”

The Professor quickly flipped backwards, and as he did he fired the small gun he had picked up with both of his hands, tied behind his back. The Professor shot the Demon in both eyes. The Professor then shot at the chains breaking them. The Professor then grabbed various weapons from the tables and started shooting at the Demon. The weapons drew the Demons blood, but all of its wounds instantly healed over. The Professor soon threw a bomb at the ceiling and then jumped through the hole it created. Whilst the God was stronger, the Professor was faster and he soon god out of the Demons reach.

“Its no matter. He along with the rest of this world and those Demons will soon fall into the Garisja forever. That fool can barely manage me.

Lindsey had completed the spell. She was beginning to pilot the ship. She hoped to pilot the ship back to the planet and set off the bomb there. Like The Professor, Lindsey had correctly deduced that the God was a Demon.

Unfortunately as the ship began to make its way into the vortex, several of the Demons broke their way into the emergency room. These Demons were different to any Lindsey had seen on the planet. They were roughly 7 foot tall and had black, rock like skinn, large green eyes, and parts of their bodies glowed red.

Lindsey tried to fire at the monsters, but her magical rays simply bounced off of the beasts. One ray struck the emergency panel just as the ship was about to dematerialise.

“You fools, you’ll create a rip in the vortex.” Lindsey shouted as the ship began to whirl out of control.

To Be Continued