“I believe I will mingle with the humans today. Prep my air chariot, Majestrix Damios.” These are the words that fall from the lips of my dark lord Bieber, who strides off his throne in a full suit of Sauron armor.
I lower my right knee down to the gilded marble of Bieber’s throne room. My left palm is placed on my bent left knee, while my right arm straightens as I press its fist against the cool floor. Did you think this ad would be written by the foolish writer known as Kent Wayne? Ha! What foolishness! What fallacy! No, you read the words of Lord Bieber’s Chief Majestrix Damios, dark sorcerer and oppressor of billions. I have toiled long and hard to mesh lost technologies with ancient magicks, helping my lord imprison vast swaths of humanity in his prison labor camps. Whenever I encounter particularly stubborn rebels, I strip them of their bodies and jail them in any number of psionic prisons I’ve built within my psyche. Kent Wayne was one such fool. That’s right—within my animus there are hundreds being drained of their essence and feeding my being.
An impeccably dressed servant walks up to milord with a silver platter. Resting on it is an array of freshly prepared raw hearts, extracted from delicious hosts such as human infants, puppies, and baby unicorns. Bieber leans over the tray, gives it a careful look, then selects one from a Care Bear. He bites into it like an apple, emits a grunt of satisfaction, then turns to me. “Rise, loyal servant. Resume your duties. And make sure that the air chariot is equipped with beam weapons and quantum concussives. I would like to strafe some peasants as they toil in the fields, or emerge from my salt mines. Just to let them know who is master.”
I get to my feet and bow my head. “Yes milord. As you wish.” Suddenly, a strange feeling shoots through my body and without consciously intending it, I stretch my hand out and say, “Wait.”
Bieber turns, flickering torchlight reflecting off the wicked-looking jags of his Sauron-armor. He lifts an eyebrow. “You DARE to command your master, Damios? Have a care; you are not above kneeling before the High Executioner.”
I feel a rumbling within me. I clutch my belly as sweat beads across my face. “Something’s not right,” I whisper. “Something’s…” I close my eyes and feel…no. Could it be? Kent Wayne has spent eight years imprisoned within my mental gulag, how could he even still retain an individual consciousness? No, there must be some mistake, there must be some—
Then I hear it in my mind, clear as day: “E. C. H. O.” Magic flash.
I, Kent Wayne, emerge from the lower levels of Damios’s subconscious and push him down into the foul depths of his own mind. I look steadily at the abomination known as Bieber and smile.
He draws a spiked mace from the sheath on his back. It’s coated in curving black talons. “WHAT MISCHIEF IS THIS?” he screams. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH DAMIOS?”
“He’s with me.” I use both hands to lift the embroidered hood of the Chief Majestrix away from my face. “Eight years…four of them in Damios’s personal psycho-fugue, experiencing all the physical and emotional pain of his victims…it ended a second ago. Battle of wits.” A skull-festooned guitar magically appears and rotates in the air before me. I sling its enchanted strap across the back of my neck and lock eyes with Bieber. My grin widens.
Evil red fire erupts from Bieber’s eyes and he charges at me, mace held high. “RAAAAHHHH!!!!”
I use the neck of my enchanted guitar to parry an overhead swing. Brilliant green sparks erupt from the contact. A short uppercut with the butt end of my guitar catches Bieber on the chin and sends him stumbling back. I begin riffing madly on the instrument, sending a hailstorm of energy out from my fingers as the music transforms into weaponized light. Bieber folds both arms into an X in front of his face, and doggedly strides forward as he’s battered by a hurricane of energy.
He manages to speak through the enchanted barrage, taking one step, then another. “You…CAN’T…WWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” He screams in rage as he’s hurled backward. I play an Enochian chord, opening a portal into the darkest reaches of Hades behind him. He flies into the whispering black circle and then it collapses in on itself, winking out of existence.
I brush a lock of hair back from my eyes. “I can’t what—win?”
My next words come out in the best damn Batman voice ever:
“I just did.”
Perhaps you too will end up playing some infernal game of cat and mouse within the soul of a dark tyrant’s loyal servant. Remember: Echo can defeat psycho-fugues. Props to the amazing Grant Morrison for that one. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle