Friday, March 8, 2013

Insert Bad Superhero Name Here (part 1 of 4)

Rhia slammed the door behind her as she walked in from Real Life. Her angry mutterings were of a somewhat surprising subject. "Yes, Mother, I'm on academic probation. No, mother, I did not slack off during semester." She rolled her eyes and stuck her head in the fridge door. She took her head out after a moment and slammed the fridge door, as well. "Need more eggs." The glass bottles inside could be heard rattling around. Clanking and small crashes rang out as Rhia pulled out various bowls and cooking implements. She didn't know what she was going to make, all she knew was that it was going to be long, involved, and include lots of violent movements. And perhaps long, sharp knives. Yes, now would be a good time to break out that new knife kit. Rhia eyed the new-looking package on the table. Yeap, today was the perfect day for those babies.

It was well into whatever the Library's resident chef was doing when a knock sounded on the door.

"Come in!" Rhia yelled over her shoulder.

Willie, of all people, sauntered in. Since the attack on Willie's society—of which he spoke very little—Willie had changed quite a bit. His skin had turned very sallow, and had gained quite a few new scars, some of which were visible on his face. His normal battle regalia was much more involved, but for now he was just going for a simple black, full body armor suit and 'Sweeny Todd'-esqe razors at his hips.

"Heya Rhia, what'cha doin'?"

"Willie? What are you—" Rhia looked over her shoulder at him, intending to at least look in his general direction while talking, but the meat in front of her sizzled the wrong way and so she had to keep her full attention on it. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, just bored. Was hoping I could watch you work."

The woman hissed when the chicken in front of her continued to disobey her commands. "Yeah, sure."

Finally, after some violent prodding and the promise that the chicken's descendants would feel what she would do to it if it didn't behave, the chicken decided to brown the way Rhia wanted it to. She turned to prepare some vegetables for a separate dish, and bumped into something. "Willie, what are you doing there? I thought you wanted to watch, not hover."

"Hmm? Am I too close? Sorry."

"Look, just… not so close? I know it's hard to see anything around me."

"Okay." Willie shrugged.

More time passed, and the work in the end seemed to be shaping out into an actual dish, and not just pieces randomly put together. Chicken curry with a vegetable bed and a brown rice side. Rhia sighed in relief when she saw that it was coming together nicely when she noticed a flicker of blue-purple flames shoot in a reflection in a pan. She whirled around and saw Willie tossing a globe of Hellfire back and forth between his hands.

Rhia glared. "I thought you wanted to watch me work."

Willie looked up. "Oh, I am." The sphere of Hellfire disappeared.

"If you're gonna play with magically induced fire, I think you should go somewhere else. I don't need a fire in my kitchen that's harder to put out than normal."

Willie frowned. "Fine." He crossed his arms and sat on the edge of the table. Rhia arched an eyebrow at him but turned back to her work.

Five minutes later Rhia's bad mood was back. "A watched pot never boils," she grumbled as she stared at one of her pots on the stove. And then winced when she heard the echoes of Shirley's scream. "Oops. Forgot." She ran off to the door with a huge chunk of cedar in the hopes of appeasing the resident Cliché Stick.

She opened the door a crack and shut it again quickly when a claw forced its way in. "Arrg! Lemme in!" Shirley growled through the door.

"Shirley, now, be reasonable about this."

The growling stopped. "I'm listening."

"I can't keep giving you cedar chunks if you rip my spine out."


"So, look, I've got a larger than normal cedar chunk right next to me. I'm gonna open the door, hand it to you, and then close the door. In return, you forget I ever said anything cliché-y in the first place."

"Basically, a bribe."


A pause. "Deal."

Rhia opened the door, slowly, just in case Shirley was thinking of attacking anyway. When the door was open completely and Shirley hadn't moved from her spot, Rhia nudged the 2ftx2ft block of wood out the door and shut it just as slowly. Shirley was a bit more interested in the wood than Rhia, at this point in time. The door clicked closed and Rhia let out a breath.

Now, Shirley usually didn't go after her. When she did come out with a bad pun, it was usually small enough that Shirley would ignore her in favor of Ben; or Dave, who had become Shirley's new play toy, for some reason. Man wouldn't learn to keep his mouth shut. Either way, Rhia was not one of Shirley's main targets.

Rubbing her face to take away some of the stress there, Rhia looked up at her stove and nearly had a heart attack. Bright purple and blue flames raged across the stove, reaching over the borders and licking the counters. Anything that wasn't ceramic or steel immediately went up in smoke. The ceramic and steel tools got hotter and hotter until they started to melt. And in front of it all was Willie, trying his hardest to put the Hellfire induced blaze out.

"Willie, Willie, no! Get away from there!" She dashed up and grabbed Willie by the shoulder, dragging him away from the blaze. Still holding on to Willie's shoulder, she slammed down a large, red button that was on the doorjamb. A loud flush of hydraulics was heard and two panels came out of the wall and folded out into a box shape, which descended on the fire like a snuffer.

The snuffer stayed down for longer than they might have for a normal fire. When it retreated back into the walls, the damage made Rhia freeze in shock and Willie start to inch away from her. She staggered to the heat-warped lump of metal that used to be a stove. A small whimper came out, and then she squared her shoulders and grabbed a spare pan off a hook on the wall. Rhia turned to Willie with an angry snarl.

"Get out of my kitchen. I asked you nicely, and you continued to poke around. Just get out."

"Why should I? This Library is for everyone. Just because your name is on the door doesn't mean you can boss everybody around once they step through the doorway!" Willie crossed his arms.

"Yes it does! My name is on that door for a reason! I worked for it! No one else even dares try to do what I do! I let you in because you knocked, and then I asked you to leave when you wouldn't stop looking over my shoulder and prodding things. That Hellfire of yours? Apparently it loves gas stoves! I have to get a new stovetop now, it completely ate this one! Get out!"

"No!" He brought out his razors in response to Rhia's gesturing with her pan.

"Get out!" Rhia swung for his head and he dodged.

Willie slashed at her and she blocked it with the backside of her pan. She kicked him towards the door and Willie staggered back and bent over his middle with an "Oof."

He leaned forward to charge her, and had taken the first few steps when a hand grabbed his collar from behind. "Urk!"

"Calm down, both of you!" Hati yelled. She planted herself between the two angry agents and put her hands on her hips, the very image of an annoyed Society Leader. "I don't care what's happened right now. What I do care about is that two Society agents were fighting each other! Save it for the Sues!" She turned to Willie. "We are going to have a talk about who's got authority where." Harriet turned her gaze on Rhia. "And you know better!" Both agents were both by now looking down at the floor and scuffing it with their shoes.
"Willie, out!" Hati commanded. Willie walked out, dragging his feet the whole way. Harriet followed him with a frown on her face.

Rhia closed the door behind them and slid down the back of it.

'My day's gone from bad to worse. First I had to break the news to my Mom that I'm on academic probation. Oh that was such a wonderful conversation. Then Willie sets my stove on fire and melts it! I don't think I can take anymore today.' She groaned from her spot on the floor. "A break would be nice," Rhia said to the empty air. "To whatever deity that's listening, just a simple, worry-free day, that would be absolutely wonderful." She dropped her face in her hands. "Who am I kidding?"


It was quiet in the Library. This fact in and of itself was very, very odd. Someone was always breaking the Fourth Wall, or there was an explosion in the labs, or someone was chasing someone else down the halls. This kind of peace was unusual. Not to say it didn't happen, it did, it was just off kilter from the crazy that was Standard Operating Procedure for the Library.

Of course, this is a Library. One would think that quiet was something those inside it would want. Nah. The people inside were just waiting for something to shatter the peace.

Shirley the Cliché Stick twitched, and vowed to get her claws into the author of this story as soon as she could. The Fourth Wall rumbled.

Tyler yawned and stretched his arms. "I think it's time for a snack. Now, I know I kept a few things around here somewhere…" He walked over to the nearest bookshelf and started shuffling through the books. Now, he had a small habit that he didn't tell anyone else. He hid snacks here and there throughout the Library. How else was he supposed to appear as though he was always eating something?

He pulled a book off the shelf and all the lights went out. "That wasn't supposed to happen." He put the book back, turned around and immediately ran into another wall. "I meant to do that."

Elsewhere in the Library, Phoenixia's fingers were flying over the closest computer console. "(a) is in my computer system. AGAIN!" Phoenixia growled. "Whoever didn't clean their hard drives properly is gonna have guard duty with the Sues for a week! I mean it! She's causing havoc with the security protocols and she practically ate anything to do with the lighting system. All the lights are out in the Library. All of them! Her appetite is worse than Tyler's! And that's saying something, seeing as he pulled a Klinger and ate half a car once!"

"A Klinger?" Michael asked from next to Phoenixia.

She shook her head. "M*A*S*H reference. Main character was trying to get out of the military by proving his insanity, so he tried to eat a jeep."


The door to the left slammed open. "Who's in here?"

Michael turned toward the sound. "Michael and Phoenixia. Who're you?"

"Marcus. A scream was heard on the opposite side of the Library, near the Japanese history section. I'm going to check it out but it might be serious. Thought I should let you know. I'm checking on everyone as I go past them. And what's with the lights?"

"@'s in the system again. Keep going, I'll catch up in a minute."

"Right." The door slammed shut again.

"Phoenixia, keep going with the lights. I think we'll need them soon."

Phoenixia didn't hear him. She was too busy muttering curses at the computer screen and battling (a) to pay attention.

Marcus came to the next door in the hallway. "Anyone here?"

"Yeah. What's going on?"



"@'s in the system and eating at the lighting programs. Phoenixia isn't happy."

Tash snickered. "I can imagine."

"You heard that scream a few minutes ago?"

She nodded, realized he couldn't see it, and verbalized it. "Yeah, I did. Was about to go and see what it was, but it was taking me longer than normal to get out of here. Don't want to use my fire ability around a bunch of books."

"C'mon. Let's—" At that moment the lights flickered back on.

"Woot for Phoenixia!" Tash cheered.

"Let's go." Marcus had a bad feeling about this.

The two ran to the next door, which was the public kitchen. Tash opened the door and came face to face with a surprised Harriet, Valerie and Monika.

Harriet opened her mouth first. "You hear the scream?"

"Uh-huh." Tash nodded.

"Have you found who did it yet?" Monika asked.

"No, but the next door is Rhia's domain and she might know."

Monika frowned. "Now that I think about it, that scream sounded a lot like her."

The four turned to head down the hallway, but Marcus was already there, opening the door. He stepped in, stopped in shock, and promptly split into his two halves. Emotion Marcus started to shake and Thought Marcus turned around to slow everyone else down.

By this time, the news had gotten around that there had been a scream and someone might be hurt. Agents were coming in from all over the place.

"B-back up, everyone. B-back up." Thought Marcus blocked the doorway with his body.

"What's the hold up?" Michael yelled from the back of the crowd. He had been in the monitor room when the lights went out and was having a hard time getting through.

"YOU NEED TO SEE THIS." Emotion Marcus said without turning to face him. The way his voice carried, he didn't need to. "TASH, HARRIET, VALERIE AND CRISTOPH SHOULD AS WELL." All of the agents immediately made a path from one end of the hallway to the other. Something was up. The leaders were only called in when the situation was critical. Valerie meant that someone was injured, and Cristoph meant that the injured agent was Rhia. The whole Society knew that Cristoph and Rhia had feelings for each other, but they refused to see it, or act on it. If Marcus thought that Cristoph should be there, then something was very, very, wrong.

Harriet was the first in past Marcus, she stopped, put her hands over her mouth, and backed up against a wall. Valerie was second in, and she rushed straight in, her face a solid mask. Tash was third in; she whimpered and rushed after Valerie. Michael was fourth in. "Shit." He hissed in a breath and spun around. Cristoph was fifth in, and was stopped by Michael. "What is wrong, Lord Michael?" His eyes narrowed.
"Brace yourself, Cristoph," was all Michael said, and turned to the side.

He slid past the other three, and his eyes went wide.

There was Rhia, sprawled out on her kitchen floor. A couple of pans were scattered on the floor. Her best kitchen knife was next to her, covered in blood. Her throat was slit, blood pooled under her, stained all down her shirt, turning it rust red. Her hands were covered in it, like she had tried to stop the flow herself. Her eyes were open and staring at the ceiling, the pupils completely dilated.

Cristoph fell on his knees next to Rhia's left side. Valerie had long ago stood up and backed away. There was nothing she could do. Tash was on Rhia's right, clutching her hand and crying silently. "No," Cristoph whispered. His hand reached out to her face, he touched her cheek. "No." He rubbed cupped her head in his hand and rubbed his thumb in small circles on her cheek. "My Lady Rhiannon…" Her face was still warm. She hadn't been dead long.

Cristoph's eyes were dry, though he was breathing heavily. He stood up and faced the crowd. Every agent was outside the door looking in. "Who did this?" His voice carried, and every agent heard the venom. His eyes were steel. "I will find them, and they will regret this. They will regret this, and then they will die." He left the kitchen, mindless of Rhia's blood on his hands. No one followed him.

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