Derelict Press presents

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                        DERELICT Press Presents

                       The twenty-first issue of

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                            " Bad Dreams "

                        A psuedo-Acraphobe title

._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._.'COVER`._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._._.

Dirmarw lies center cover, a small line of red tracing its way down his
edge. In the reflection of his blade, the reader can see Brittany,
clutching one of her hands. Blood drips from between her fingers.

)()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

        Kismet sat crosslegged in the wreckage of the flight.thingee bay,
humming. The noise moved quietly through the skeletons of the
flight.thingees, persistent and low. It whispered through the fallen
beams and around the holes in the walls, then up through the air to the
moon far overhead, shining down on the roofless wreckage beneath it.
Light spattered the floor in a crazy patchwork, cut by the shadows and
shreds of metal. Half of her left wing was dimly lit, the feathers
refracting the silver moonlight and edging it in gold. But the rest of
her lay in darkness.

        Kismet was tired. She had hunted, and failed. Again. But this
world was strange, and it was different, and she was getting used to
that. The laws here were not hers, and it took time to learn them. The
people here were not those she had known, and it took time to become
their friends.  Maybe even the fighting had changed, in some way she
could not yet see.  She would be here for a while yet, before she had to
sing her way back home, before she even could. Until then it would be the
insect-world, where they lived as ants lived, touched without thought.
She must continue to adapt.

        Kismet shifted, one wing chiming faintly, and stared up at the
moon. A night breeze brushed across her face, and she closed her
eyes. Outside a siren wailed, fading lost into the night.

        She had never seen destruction the likes of this while she was
home. Buildings had never burst from beneath her like live things, and
the horizon had never lit up with the light of a brief, new sun. So many
people here had been hurt. So many had died.

        Like her own people had died, during the wars so many generations 
ago. There was no one alive who could remember it anymore, but the 
histories said that one could walk for miles singing of healing and still 
there would be more wounded to care for. They said that the dead were ten
deep when they were buried, and that the calls of the dying still echoed
in the deepest of canyons in the middle of the night.

        Out there in the city many lay dying. Probably more than could be 
buried, even ten deep. On her world the healers had sung themselves to 
death, one after another, because there were too many to help. The
healers here would probably be doing the same. Kismet closed her eyes for
a moment, and took a deep breath. Savannah said that everyone was the
same inside. Even if the people here lived like insects, they were still
dying. Perhaps she could help somehow. A gesture of good will.

        The moonlight sent gold reflections spinning crazily across the
walls as she rose and moved towards the giant hole in the roof. A bank
of clouds eased across the face of the moon as Kismet crouched in the
center of the bay, then launched herself into the air with a sweep of her
wings. Those that had survived the small sun would be in pain. She knew
songs, simple ones, that could ease pain.

        And there seemed to be many tonight that would need them.

                      -==-             -==-

        Brittany was sitting on top of her desk, carefully replacing the
sticky pad and a pen in the top drawer. Three new notes had been added to
the ramshackle altar slowly growing in one corner of her room.

                        Our seventh battle
                         Us vs. the JBoNV
                        Heroes           1
                        Villains         0

                        Our eighth battle
               Us vs. My other Aunt, and some snails
                        Heroes           1
                        Relatives        0
                        Crustaceans      0

                        Our ninth battle
                      Us vs. the JBoNV again
              (don't they have anything better to do?)
                        Heroes           0
                        Villains         1

        Hmm...they'd won six out of nine battles total. A good record,
especially since they'd tied for the others. Not counting that last one
of course. Well, everyone has their off days. Brit leaned back, chewing
absent-mindedly on a strand of hair. Off to her left something cooed, and
she leaped adroitly to the carpeting. Next to the bed hung a giant
contraption of wires and wooden dowels, the new home of a flock of white
doves. They clustered all over it, most of them sitting quietly, eyes
half closed as if asleep. One sat at its base, nestled securely in a low
plastic tub. Wires showed through feathers at the edges of its wings, and
a circuit hung out just beneath the sternum, brushing against the green
plastic that its little feet rested on. Its eyes were fully closed, chest
moving swiftly in and out as it breathed.

        Brit walked over to the tub and knelt, smiling casually at the
rest of the birds. She picked up her patient gently, holding it cupped in
two hands, then settled it in her lap. The dove looked up at her, beady
black eyes imbued with some incomprehensible form of life. Brit stroked
it comfortingly.

        "Howsa baby doing, huh?" she asked, lifting its left wing and
checking swiftly to make sure her previous job of soldering was still
holding. Most of the repairs had been done back home, by those that were
better equipped to work with advanced machinery like that the dove was
made of. All that was left were minor cosmetics, which Brit could handle
on her own. The dove turned its head to look at her, then went back to
rest mode, the better not to stress oil tubes and circuits that might yet
need to be replaced. Brit put it gently back in the tub, then tossed
herself onto the bed.

        It was late, and she should be asleep, but for some reason she
couldn't concentrate. Something had been nagging at her about the recent
battle with the JBoNV, something important... but she couldn't quite put
her finger on it. Her fingers playing with the edge of the bright green
and orange comforter, Brit leaned back and thought.

        There hadn't been anything very strange about the whole thing,
really. Aside from the whole Censor Girl being alive again bit, and the
fact that she'd finally worked out how to do something kinda cool with
her hovercycle. There'd been a few false starts with the buttons, of
course, but a few mistakes can't be - uh oh.

        Exactly forty-three seconds later Brittany was emerging from the
two main LNHQ doors like a bat out of hell, nightshirt fluttering behind
her. She slammed into the door to the small shed outside the main
building and bounced off, then returned and tried to open it a little
more carefully. After several long seconds of fiddling with the latch,
Brit tore open the door and ran towards her hovercycle. After a few
minutes of messing around with all the compartments she sat back on her
heels and groaned. This was horrible.

        She'd lost the manual.

        It must have dropped out when she was messing with all the
buttons in search of something to stop the JBoNV. If they got their hands
on something like that, why, they could do... well, not much really. But
now she couldn't do anything either. Except driving, and experimenting,
the latter of which Paytan had expressly forbidden.

        Brit groaned. How was she ever going to get that manual back?
Maybe someone on the street had picked it up. Maybe someone would hold it
for ransom. But she didn't have any jellybeans left to trade for it.

        Except the blue ones of course. But nobody liked those.

                      -==-             -==-

        Sunrise found Paytan alone at the window to her room. Well,
almost alone.

        Dirmarw lay across her lap, metal gleaming sickly in the light of
the rising sun.  She couldn't go up to the roof with him as she'd like.
Everyone said it was structurally unstable, and the last thing she needed
was to fall a few stories because of a weak floor. She had enough bruises
nowadays, from whatever skirmish they had been involved in last.

        He still wasn't talking to her.

        "Stupid sword," she whispered, running a hand slowly down the
length of his blade. He still hadn't given a word of explanation, not
since he'd broken off in the middle of a lesson a few mornings ago. And
for all the yelling and barbed comments in the world, there was still no
response. Not even when she fought that sorceress the JBoNV had, and the
last time it took a heavy bout of unconsciousness to keep the sword from
taking over her body and killing the girl outright.

        She didn't know whether to jump for joy or cry. She hated having
him around. He was controlling, cold-blooded, and a total bastard to
boot. If he was an average citizen of his dimension, then the whole thing
_deserved_ to get taken over by demons. And all he wanted was the bodies
of his people buried in the shadow of the Glass Tower. As if the dead
would care. But this silence was eerie, and entirely unexpected. She
didn't know what she'd do if he abandoned her to her memories, and the
demons.

        Paytan shifted uncomfortably, and accidentally kicked Allen's 
Christmas present. Or presents, as the case may be. The whips and chains 
spilled out across the floor as the box she'd stuffed them in tipped 
over. One corner of her mouth turned downwards, and she laid Dirmarw 
carefully on the windowsill and hopped down. She was surprised that the 
net.hero hadn't shown up on her doorstep yet, actually. He probably
didn't know she was back yet, what with Fan.Boy a.k.a. His Source of
Information going through an evil phase. Ah well, at least she wouldn't
have to worry about that for a while.

        Someone knocked on her door.

        Oh no, thought Paytan, speak of the devil. She stood up, then
stopped, considering. If she pretended she wasn't here... No, it would
only delay the inevitable.

        "What do you want!?" she yelled.

        "Open the damn door! UN's got another mission for you psycho 
newbie types!" replied a voice. Paytan started. That wasn't Allen's
voice... it was Fuzzy's. Oh hell. She did not need another stupid fight
on her hands with the villain group du jour.

        "I'm busy, dammit! Tell him to send.. uh... "

        "Do you want to go tell him you're not going to do it? He's in a 
foul mood, and I've seen what his ninja bush can do, unlike you!" the 
door vibrated under the force of a heavy kick. Paytan hauled open the 
door and glared in Fuzzy's general direction, moved slightly by the older 
heroine's argument.  No, she had never seen UN employ his legendary Ninja
Bush attack. But she had heard about it.

        "Fine. Here I am, a loyal net.hero, at your service. What do we 
have to do now?" A distant part of her mind noticed the mail bag over
Fuzzy's shoulder, and decided not to ask about it.

        "UN wants you to check out the JBoNV, and the rumors that - "

        "We just fought them!"

        "Well, do it again!" snapped Fuzzy. Paytan repressed the urge to 
haul off and punch something.

        "Don't they have to retreat and go plot some other caper before
we go through this again?"

        "UN says they have Censor Girl with them, and he wants to find 
out if there's some connection between her waking up and this crisis with 
Fan.Boy. You, Weirdness Girl, Out-of-It Lass, and Kismet have to go 
investigate. Don't get into a fight if you don't have to - just try to 
figure out what the hell's going on. Got it?"

        Paytan growled in acknowledgement, and glared at Fuzzy's
retreating back a moment before turning back inside her room. Well, as
things stood, they were going to go back and fight a group of people who
had nearly kicked their butts yesterday, and try to replay the whole
scene. She'd have to go find Brit. But first, if they were going to be
running all over Net.ropolis again, she was going to change into an older
pair of jeans. She had so few pairs of untorn clothes left that -


*****************
        Paytan, whispered a dry and familiar voice into the back of her
mind. She dropped the dresser drawer, barely hearing the crash as it
slammed into the floor at her feet.

        "Dirmarw?" for a second she thought she'd been hearing things.

        You have been siphoning energy? asked the voice.

        "Y-yes, I have," Paytan looked down at her feet, in silent
acknowledgement. It was Dirmarw alright. He was glad when she did things
like that. He had to get a taste of someone's blood before he could
drain them... all she had to do was look for a weak point. And there'd
been so many dead and dying when they were out on the street yesterday,
she couldn't help but catch at some of their dispersing lives and pull
the energy in. She hadn't eaten anyone's soul. She hadn't killed anyone
either, which didn't really explain the guilt she felt in hearing the
satisfaction in the Dirmarw's voice. So she changed the subject.

        "Where the hell have you been!? I've been worr - how am I
supposed to learn enough to pull your fat out of the fire when you ditch
me in mid-lesson, you stupid hunk of iron!?"

        I've been... busy, said the sword, its voice growing stronger as
it took some of the energy she'd stored away and drew it into its own
body. And what have you been doing, ungrateful little wretch?

        "I've been getting attacked by carnivorous snails, is what I've
been doing," said Paytan angrily. She pulled on an old pair of jeans,
pausing to knot her hair back and keep it out of her face.  "And the
JBoNV. And I'm about to go out again, with or without you." But the sword
ignored her last comment, choosing instead to focus on something it found
more interesting.

        The Junior Brotherhood? Excellent. This time, with my help, you
will take their sorceress's mind _and_ soul, and subsume her power into
your own. We need more than the crumbs you picked up while I was gone.
Much more.

        "Do you always have to be stuck on this stupid power riff of
yours?" growled Paytan. "What about all that energy you picked up when
you went missing a while back, huh? Evidently you ate a _load_ of souls
then." She shrugged on one of her thicker jackets and turned to glare at
the sword.

        That energy is gone, said Dirmarw.

        "What do you mean _gone_?"

        The energy is gone, repeated the sword. I am here only because at
this point there is nothing more I can do. I need more power. And you are
going to get it for me, wherever it is available.

        Paytan had an uncomfortable moment of memory, of standing over
the nearly unconscious Jynx, sword raised overhead. And the threats
Dirmarw had made towards Brittany in the past. She didn't need this right
now.

        "Why the hell do you always do this to me!?" she yelled. "We were
doing just fine when we got back from hell, then you disappear and show
up again, with this old line - "

        BE QUIET, HUMAN! Do you have any idea of what I speak of? Do you
know what I have been doing, what was important enough that I would leave
you to your own scatterbrained attempts to defend yourself and learn
magic?

        Paytan's answer was a long sullen look, waiting. And for the
first time since she had heard his voice echo darkly into her mind,
she heard a note of fear in Dirmarw's voice.

        They know about us, Paytan, whispered the sword. Somehow the
Greater Demons found out. I don't know how long I can keep them from
finding us, and dragging us into hell together. I won't be able to
protect us there. They're too powerful.

        Somehow they found out.

                      -==-             -==-


Barry?

                      -==-             -==-

        They were resting in the burnt-out husk of an old fast food
joint, wasting time. In the corner sat Censor Girl, eyes distant and
unfocused. She hadn't moved for half an hour, not even to breathe.
Whatever she had set out to do, she was doing it. Mr.Fossavellus stood at
the window, enigmatic as always. He was facing the street, keeping an eye
out for any sign of danger. Mr.Exposition and Hooded Ho'od Win were
asleep, lying across each other in one of the plastic booths. Dust,
Rebecca, and Kid Camouflage were stationed at various points in the room,
keeping guard. They all looked uncomfortable. This situation just felt
wrong, somehow.

        Up on the roof, or what was left of it, Explosion Boy sat looking 
at the huge book sitting on his lap. He had seen it fall out of Weirdness 
Girl's bike during the fight yesterday, and managed to sneak back around 
and pick it up without anyone being the wiser. Now that he had it of 
course, he had no idea what to do with it. Heck, he couldn't even read 
most of the thing. Looked like it was written in... Swahili, or 
something. Some of the diagrams seemed to involve molecular physics, too. 
He didn't even know what the thing was for. Then something occurred to
him. He could take it back.

        Not to the multi-colored maniac, no, but to the vision of beauty 
that he had but glimpsed in battle a few times. He hoped she'd liked the 
roses. Out-of-It Lass. It was perfect. He could give the manual to her,
as if a well-meaning citizen had found it and simply wanted to return it
to the LNHers. And it might even give him a chance to talk to her.

        He took a moment to peer downwards into the building. Yup,
everybody was still there. And it didn't look like they'd be going
anywhere anytime soon. Excellent.

        He got a good grip on the manual, then scaled down the back of
the building, and headed off towards the LNHHQ. Behind him, deep inside
the circuits that made up half of Censor Girl's mind, information
flickered across the net according to a pre-set plan, expanding and
moving forwards even as elsewhere Brittany and Co. got ready to move out
into the city yet again.

                      -==-             -==-

        About an hour later Brittany was crouching in the wreckage of an
office building, staring intently at the burnt-out husk of a fast food
joint across the street, and those currently residing within it. Beside
her Savannah was watching Censor Girl, looking for some hint of her real
purpose there.

        "How are we supposed to figure out what she's doing?" hissed
Brittany, "She's just sitting there. Does Ultimate Ninja want us to go up
and ask them?"

        Paytan didn't reply. She was leaning against a broken down wall
with her eyes closed and both hands wrapped tightly around Dirmarw's
hilt. The light of the setting sun served only to highlight the paleness
of her skin. Brit frowned and hunkered down a little further, out of
sight. Paytan had been acting strange ever since she had come up to
Brit's room and told her about the new mission.

        But now wasn't the time to talk about it, with net.villains in
hearing range. When they got back to the HQ though, she'd have to try and
corral the neo-sorceress before she could barricade herself up in her
room again. Right now she had to figure out what the hell was going on
with the JBoNV and Censor Girl. Or at least try.

        Brit fidgeted uncomfortably for a few minutes, shifting her
weight from one leg to another. Nothing much else happened. Finally with
a growl, she started crawling towards a gap in the wall.

        "Brit, what are you doing?" whispered Paytan.

        "They're not doing anything. I'm going to get closer."

        "Idiot." Paytan looked for a moment as if she were going to grab
the tail of Brit's trenchcoat, but she just settled back into the
shadows, staring out at the world around her with half-lidded eyes. Let
her do what she wanted. It didn't much matter anymore.

        After a few narrow misses and darting between wide open spaces
Brit had reached the back of the old fast-food joint, and was peering
into it through a large gap in one of the walls. Unfortunately there
wasn't much going on over here, either. Brit scowled, and scanned the
room. Censor Girl, that weird guy in a black trenchcoat, along with four
of the Junior Brotherhooders... Brit wondered for a second where the
other two were.

        Then she wasn't wondering anymore, as someone behind her screamed
a battle cry and tackled her. A set of arms closed around her neck, and
she was thrown into the wall by the other person's momentum. Luckily so
was the other person, and they both ended up rolling away from each other
with gasps of pain. Brit spun to her feet, drawing a stuffed fish from
somewhere within the confines of her trenchcoat, just as her assailant
faded back into the wall and out of sight.

        "Hey no fair! I can't do that!" Off to the left she heard someone
chuckle, and swung out wildly with the fish, hitting nothing but empty
air.

        Meanwhile Paytan had risen to her feet while Savannah panicked
quietly behind her. Junior Brotherhooders were emerging from the
fast-food building and heading in their direction. She grabbed Savannah
and began to sneak quietly around the edges of the wrecked building,
Dirmarw humming alertly in her hands.

        Even as Dust charged ahead towards the noise of fighting, Rebecca
slowly drew to a stop. It was those LNHers again, the same ones as last
time. The ones with the blood sorceress. She could feel it in the air,
the greasy sense of stolen lives and power used by one it did not belong
to. Rebecca's eyes narrowed, and she clenched her fists, rallying her
powers in preparation. There was a kind of respect between magic-users,
even if they were from different schools of thought or practice. But
blood-users were the lowest of the low, stealing power from the lives and
souls of others, unable to train with their own. Vermin. And one of the
vermin had nearly killed her last time, laughing. Rebecca smiled grimly.
They were both novices, but blood-users tired easily, and she was
well-rested.

        Paytan came around the corner at a run, just in time to see Brit
club Kid Camouflage with a stuffed fish before being tackled by Dust. Why
did they always end up in these stupid fights? As if it accomplished
anything these days.

        I sense her, said Dirmarw, prepare yourself. Paytan took a deep
breath and began to gather her energies. She felt the power in her gut,
wafting slowly up, and she spun it into a slim cone, then began to draw
it out into her limbs. At which point everything went black, and the
fourteen year old boy stumbled back onto the stage of her mind,
screaming. Paytan froze, letting the power drop away. Dirmarw cursed in
the back of her mind, and suddenly the boy was wrapped inside a cocoon of
neon green. He only screamed louder, as the light melted his hands away
and began to crawl up his arms.

        "Stop it! Stop it! You're hurting him!" Paytan screamed at the
sword.

        Little idiot! Did I not teach the proper way to gather the life
energy? You got a part of his personality along with the power, and now
it's trapped in your skull. If I wasn't here to get rid of it then it
would have grown and -

        Suddenly Dirmarw was gone, the boy and the darkness dissolving
into an unending patina of red, and the JBoNV sorceress screaming
something about payback.

        Paytan was thrown into a wall by the force of the blast, her
vision going all fuzzy for a moment while she tried to regain her
equilibrium and bring up her shields at the same time. Dirmarw ricocheted
off a cement wall and was sent into the ground almost twenty feet away,
and she could feel him in the back of her mind, still pulsing with anger.

        She sent out a feeble blast, enough to keep the other girl busy
for a moment, and braced herself more securely against the wall, shields
fluttering around her like birds. This was bad. She was weaker than she
had thought, and being thrown against the wall hadn't helped any. She
wasn't sure if she could handle another blast like the last one, let
alone win the fight.

        With an effort of will she managed to regroup and pull the first
couple of shield layers onto a firmer foundation. But the second crimson
blast knocked them all out of commission, leaving her defenseless and not
a little battered.

        Brittany almost didn't look up in time. She and Dust had rolled
to a halt against an outthrust slab of concrete when she heard the
echoing ring of steel against stone, and Dirmarw had landed a few feet
away. All she saw of Paytan was a dim form within a ball of fiery red
light, forced against the wall.

        When the light died away all that was left was Paytan, laying
limp against the concrete. Rebecca stood twenty or so yards away, another
series of chants slowly building to a climax. And Paytan looked up
slowly, with a gaze so bereft of hope or anger that it could only mean
one thing. If that next blast came through she was dead.

        "PAYTAN!" screamed Brit, slamming Dust's head into the cement.
Paytan turned towards her just as the villain went limp for the necessary
second of escape. Brit lunged toward the sword, clenching her hand around
it and swinging with all her might to launch it hilt-first toward her
friend.

        It hurtled toward her as if shot from a bow, and Paytan reached
out her arms just as Rebecca's chanting stopped and another red bolt
howled in her direction. The hilt smacked into her palms and a halo of
green light flared around her, parting the red like water. The halo
expanded into a protective sphere with Paytan secure at its center then
faded into invisibility.

        For a second all was silent, as if both of the combatants were
pausing to catch their breath. Until one noticed that Paytan's stance
turned stiff, and a little unbalanced. Like that of the possessed.

        She smiled, all wrong, her lips pulling back from her teeth like
an angry dog's and spoke in a tired, emotionless voice. "Now then, little
sorceress, shall we play a slightly different game?" She fell into an
eerie run, closing the distance between herself and the JBoNV sorceress
in seconds. Rebecca barely had time to throw herself out of the way as
the sword cut through her shields and into her left shoulder, sending a
spray of blood onto the white cement.

        Paytan laughed then, and sword began to glow an unholy neon green
while Rebecca's blood spread to cover the entirety of the blade. A pale 
smoke began to leak from Rebecca's shoulder, and she screamed and grabbed
at the wound as if to hold it in. Paytan crouched above her on a piece of
fallen building, the hound's grin still plastered across her features.

        "Die for us, sorcerer girl," hissed the sword with Paytan's
voice. "We need this power more than you do." The smoke began to pour
from her in thicker streams, flashes of color appearing here and there
amongst the wisps. Rebecca screamed again, pleadingly this time, and
stared into deep brown eyes void of pity. Or humanity, for that matter.

        "You are mine," hissed the sword, just before Kid Camouflage
slammed into Paytan, knocking her off her perch and onto the ground. The
impact caught the sword unprepared, and KC managed to get on top of
Paytan before the weapon could regain control of her reactions. The
net.villain held a large rock over her head.

        "You do one more thing to Rebecca, and I drop this on your skull,
net.hero. It'll crack you open like a coconut. Now let my teammate go.
Stop doing... whatever the hell it is you're doing," she demanded. Paytan
bared her teeth angrily.

        "Release me, human, or -

        "Or you'll what, glare at me too hard?"

        A blast of neon green flung KC into a wall like a broken doll,
and Paytan swung eerily to her feet. She turned, eyes narrowed, but
Rebecca was gone. Only a dark stain on the pavement remained. An angry
growl crawled out of Paytan's throat, and her head swung from side to
side, searching.

        She spun to find Brit leaning casually against one of the doors
to the building. Dust was nowhere in sight. Even KC had faded away,
seeming to disappear into the pattern of bricks behind her. She could be
anywhere now. Paytan screamed in frustration, and pointed the sword at
Brittany.

        "Where are they, false one!? Do you realize what you've taken
from me? What you've taken from Paytan!?"

        Brittany shivered against the door, hands held behind her back.
If she could have backed up anymore, she would of. "The JBoNV was
leaving anyway, all they wanted to do was get Censor Girl away.  They're
gone now. You would have killed her, Dirmarw," she whispered. "Paytan
would never have forgiven you."

        "You are not the one to judge what Paytan would or would not
forgive, Brittany Marcelyn Reeves! Since you lost us the villain
sorceress, we will have to take something else in - "

        "NO!" yelled Paytan, and dropped the sword. She fell to her
knees, fingers digging into her skull as she concentrated. "No,
Dirmarw... I won't do this! I threw you off the roof once, when you went
too far, and I'll do it again, dammit! And this time I'll mean it! You
will not hurt my friends, and unless I let you you won't be able to
anyway!"

        Oh really? whispered Dirmarw. Paytan froze, then looked slowly up
at Brittany. Brit was still leaning against the door, arms folded behind
her back. Only now did Paytan realize how scared her friend looked, and
how pale her skin was. The bottom of her stomach fell slowly away,
opening into a gaping world of fear.

        "Brittany, show me your hands." Brit smiled weakly.

        "You know Paytan, it's really not all that bad - "

        "SHOW ME YOUR HANDS! Now," yelled Paytan, her voice climbing into
the higher pitches at the end of the command. Brit brought her hands
slowly out before her, covered in blood.  Dirmarw must have cut right
into her palms when she threw him, the edge of his blade slicing smoothly
into the skin like a well-honed knife.

        See? hissed the blade. I _own_ her now Paytan. I have tasted her
blood, and I don't NEED your power to suck Brittany's soul free of her
body. And because she is your friend, I own you now, too. No more hurling
me from rooftops, Paytan. You will do as I command, and we will both
emerge from this alive. Object in any way, and that bitch over there is
dust on the wind.

        Brittany and Paytan's eyes met across the empty alleyway. Dirmarw
began to glow a pale neon green, the light leeching across the shattered
blacktop and throwing everything into shadow, the slabs of pavement
standing on end like symbols, or markers.

        Like gravestones.


________________________________________________________________________
Binky, Dirmarw, Kismet, Mr.Fossavellus, the Junior Brotherhood of
Net.Villains, Out-of-It Lass, Perdition, Weirdness Girl, copyright
Jennifer Whitson, 1995. Censor Girl is Public Domain.

Next Issue:

      Dirmarw needs to get Brittany away from Paytan, and for that
        purpose he takes a dive into Brit's mind. Wonder what he finds?

      The weirdness of the Fan.Boy Saga continues, so go over to Fan.Boy
        #18!

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