Thick gnarled fingers gripped a beer mug and brought it to a stout man’s thick lips. He tilted his head back and drained the whole thing with some sloshing down the front of him. He slammed the mug down hard, breaking the handle off. He ran his hand over his bald head as he turned and surveyed the scene in the wrecked bar. They didn’t think of him as a loser now. Bodies of men and women were strewn throughout the dive biker bar. Tables were overturned and chairs lay in jagged pieces.
Ted turned around on his stool to admire the wreckage he created. He reached over and picked up the golden and ornate scythe leaning against the bar next to him. It was what made all this possible for Ted. The fancy man in the top hat said it would bring him great power over his laughing peers. Ted was skeptical only until he took the weapon in his hands and felt its surging power for himself.
“You all hear that?” Ted said as he stood up with the scythe. “That’s the sound of none of you ever laughing at me again! Oh yeah! You all laughed at big dumb Ted and his ideas! Well now look at ya! You’re dead all over the place and here I am! You all said that cockroaches wouldn’t let me in on their jobs! Well, now all the jobs are mine! I’m in charge here!”
Ted gazed lovingly at the long gleaming blade of the scythe. “I’m going to run all of Texas with you.”
As the first team of heroes were on their way to Chicago; a second team left, headed for a few miles south of Texarkana, Texas. While still in New York, Commander Larratus shook his head as he read over new reports. With the sun blocked out, crime was on the rise. Reports of robberies and looting were escalating at an alarming pace. The longer it took to get a grip on this situation and bring the sun back, the worse it was going to get. Commander Larratus looked to Traveler, who stayed behind to open the portals and bring the teams back.
“I hope we can trust this Doctor Vampire of yours, not to mention you.”
“I can only give you my word on that. You will have to see for yourself,” she responded gently.
Out in the dusty desert, in the parking lot of the bar called, Dirty Deeds, the second team stepped through a portal. Dr. Vampire, Sandstorm, Lonestar, Anubis, Kyte, and Nightfall observed the outside portion of the mess. Some motorcycles were knocked over and a few bodies lay on the outside ground.
“Are we too late?” Sandstorm asked.
“For them, yes,” Doctor Vampire responded, “I sense one life form inside and the scythe.”
“Interesting for a bladed weapon,” Sandstorm said, “I don’t see any blood.”
“That’s the danger we face, my friend. This blade doesn’t have to touch you to kill you. Everyone get ready.”
Kyte’s body covered with dark shadow and he flew up into the darkness where he couldn’t be seen. Sandstorm’s body dissolved into sand and dirt as he prepared to use surprise as well. Lonestar drew his sword and he sent his white falcon up into the air to watch over them.
“I’ll go in first,” and Anubis flew to the front door of the bar before anyone could stop him.
“Your friend is a true rookie,” Doctor Vampire said to Nightfall as he dropped intangibly into the ground.
Nightfall drew her blaster, “Then let’s keep him covered.” She ran to a front corner of the bar away from the door while Lonestar positioned on the opposite side.
The sight of far more bodies inside the bar, gave Anubis pause after he burst through the door. It reminded him of his fight with zealots that killed his first love. He wondered if what he did really looked as atrocious as this.
“Just what the hell are you?” Ted’s booming voice snapped Anubis out of it.
“Oh, hey! Props to you for not mentioning that I look like a dog. It seems like a real trend with bad guys I meet lately. I’m Anubis, Big Guy and you’re not supposed to have that. How about you return it?”
“I’m Ted and this is mine now, Dog-face!”
“Okay, I take it back. No Brownie button for you!”
“Shut up! No one laughs at me anymore!”
“You call me a dog again and I’ll bite you like one. Now give me the scythe. It’s not meant for you!”
“Well come on, Dog! Bite me!” Ted swung the scythe and a wave of force tore through the bar, launching Anubis through door and wall like a rocket. Anubis tumbled in the dirt across the parking lot. His lance stuck in the ground half way across.
Ted emerged from the giant hole he made. “No one is taking this from me! Not you! Not anybody! I killed them all and I’ll kill you too!”
“Anyone can abuse power like that,” Lonestar said to get his attention. “How about you try metal against metal instead?”
Lonestar lunged with his sword and Ted brought the scythe up quickly to block the attack. The two magical weapons clashed with resonance that broke nearby windows of building and car. The sword of a Starknight carries its own blessings, making it more than a match for any artifact or weapon. The two of them pressed together with the weapons for a moment before Ted lashed outward and tossed Lonestar backwards through the air. Holding the scythe made him stronger than any of the heroes expected.
Nightfall took a shot with her blaster, hitting Ted squarely in the back. It had no effect. Ted turned to swing at her, but a heavy boot dropped in from above and struck across his jaw. Kyte wasn’t one to ignore an opening.
“If you want a real fight, I’m glad to give you one!” Kyte shouted over the beating of his wings. As a master combatant, Kyte landed several punches and kicks before Ted could respond. While Ted’s response was slower, it was still stronger. Kyte was knocked backwards as well.
A pair of giant stone hands rose from the ground on either side of Ted and clapped together over his body with a crash. With a shrug of power, Ted shattered them and still stood there.
Doctor Vampire rose out of the ground in front of Ted in intangible form.
“Time to try something else, Ted. Look at me and pay attention,” Dr. Vampire took off his sunglasses, revealing piercing yellow eyes. “Time to rest, Ted. You’ve fought well and you’ve won. Time to rest.”
“NOOOO!” Ted lashed out with the power of the scythe and hurtled Dr. Vampire’s body across the parking lot. “No one messes with my head!”
Doctor Vampire landed next to Anubis who was just picking himself up.
“Hey, Doc?” Anbus went to him but there was no response. “Oh no, Doctor, are you okay?”
Doctor Vampire was dead.