My best buddy Bitefighter (a 10 lb. Terrier and an 83rd level intellect) and I have just been locked up for eating a shitload of magic mushrooms, then zooming around naked through the streets of San Francisco on a jet-powered skateboard (I know—this being SF, there was a 50/50 chance we’d either be given a medal or sent to the Big House. I guess when the judge flipped the coin, it came up tails).
So far, prison isn’t bad. Me and Bites spend our time working out and thinking up cool stories. He’s used his cuteness to score us a steady supply of pizza and mountain dew, and hey, the only way you can beat pizza and mountain dew is by piloting a massive robot spaceship that descends upon your enemies and burns them in a fiery haze from which you collect their bones and fashion them into a polished throne of skulls where your all-seeing eyes gaze sweeps across the vast swaths of charred remains and you think that all is good, for you are now Deathlor, the undisputed Lord of—
Just kidding, haha! There is no WAY you can beat a steady supply of pizza and mountain dew!
Anyways, Bites is quite popular among the inmates; they’ve taught him the intricacies of prison tattoos. He’s applying some ink on me (I’ve requested a Voltron made of dinosaurs across my right shoulder blade), when suddenly, we hear the unmistakable strains of Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” blasting through the halls.
“Bom Bom Bom. Bom BOM Bom Bom Bom….”
“Oooooo-ooh ooo-ooh. Oooooo-ooh ooo-ooh….”
I turn my head towards the direction of the music, curious as to what the source is, and I see inmates in their cells, talking amongst themselves in frightened whispers.
Over the speakers, Kanye intones, “We at war…”
Three long shadows stretch across the ground, darkening the passageway that runs between our cells. One of the three silhouettes in the middle of the hall is unmistakably topped by a bob haircut. I know that bob from somewhere…
Kanye: “Je-sus. Walk. (God show me the way cos the devil’s trynna break me DOWN) Je-sus walk with me…”
Then I see the shadows recede. Martha Stewart shuffles into view. Giant manacles droop from her wrists and circle her ankles. Rather than providing a sense of relief that she’s been restrained, these clanking monstrosities only serve to increase my fear, for they are MASSIVE. Apparently the rules don’t apply to her; she’s torn the sleeves off her orange prison jumpsuit, and her enormous, atrocity-hardened arms bulge and ripple as she traverses the long gray corridor. Kanye continues to sound ominously in the background.
Her eyes slide from side-to-side, reptile-like, as she takes in her fellow inmates, who flinch instinctively back when they meets her gaze. She’s accompanied by a pair of fully kitted-out, four-man teams of guards. Each team look to be staffed with consummate doorkickers (kind of like a smaller-sized athletic linebacker; a dude who can throw his weight around but is still super agile), but through the glare of their tactical eyepieces, I can see that each guard is trembling, coated in fear-sweat.
Because this is the most dangerous woman to walk the face of the planet.
By her side are Padma Lakshmi and Rachael Ray; her assassin-sorcerer lieutenants. Both women wear an insolent smirk. They glare at the inmates as they trail their mistress, and I instinctively grasp the truth of the situation: prison is not a punishment for these three.
It’s a vacation.
Martha stops before my cell, still facing forward. In a low-voiced rumble that would make Marsellus Wallace and Emperor Palpatine soil themselves in terror, she utters one word.
The guards unlock her restraints, then Padma’s and Rachael’s. Coils of chain fall to the ground, and I can’t help but wince at the deafening clatter. She raises a clenched fist to ear level, and the music cuts off. She turns left and fixes her ball-shriveling gaze directly onto me.
I can’t help but leak a bit into my underoos.
She jerks her chin at Padma. “Home Slice.” Then at Rachael. “Crackpipe.” She looks into my eyes again. “Open the fucking door.”
They grab keys from the guards, who stay notably still, and unlock my cell. The bars slide sideways in a creaking sprawl.
At this point Bitefighter and I are hugging each other, quivering as we shrink back into the corner of our cell. Martha trods forward, and Padma and Rachael follow. In the dim light of the cell, I see two blobby trails of ink clearly displayed on her face; they start from the corners of her eyes and flow down her cheeks. It takes me a second to realize what they are. In certain criminal circles, a teardrop tattoo signifies that you’ve killed someone. But let’s say you’ve killed dozens. Or HUNDREDS. Then that trail of tatooed tears starts to look like a messy blur.
Exactly like the ones Martha has.
She cracks a malicious grin. “Kent Wayne. My favorite Man Whore. Let’s be cellmates, shall we?”
I can’t keep my voice from shaking. “I’ve fulfilled my contract with you, Martha. The deal was that you spare my friends and family, and that I’d—”
She snorts laughter, turning towards Padma and Rachael with a derisive grin, as if to underscore how stupid I am. They chuckle and grin back. She turns to me and her face grows serious. Shadows creep across as it as she leans in close.
“Well it’s time for a new contract, bitch. You’re done when I say you’re done, capisce? Open your mouth, Kent. I have treat for you.”
I will my teeth to stop clacking and open my mouth. She inserts a small biscotti between my jiggling lips and puts her index and middle finger under my jaw, pressing up so that my mouth closes around the pastry.
My eyes well with tears as I bite down on a perfectly formed mouthful of crunchy delectableness.
“Now that I’ve fed you, you owe me, Kent,” she whispers. “And I’m gonna get paid in full. How’s the biscotti?”
Tears stream freely down my face. In between sobs, I blubber, “Omnomnom…oh god it’s delicious!”
She grabs me by the throat and turns my face up. “What was that?”
“Martha, I can’t..ak! Please! Can’t…breathe…”
She smacks me across the face and clenches down on my cheeks with her Hulk-strong fingers. Spit and biscotti flow down my lips and onto the floor. “YOU BREATHE WHEN I TELL YOU TO, BITCH! YOU UNDERSTAND???”
At that moment, Bitefighter reaches into my pocket and opens my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
Batman, Superman, and the entire Elven army from the Lord of the Rings bursts through the walls, flooding the prison with batarangs, heat vision, and +7 enchanted blades. Martha roars with rage and starts beating a veritable legion of Elvish ass. Padma and Rachael jump in, snarling as they tear the legs off Legolas, then the arms off Tauriel. They both scream and collapse into a limbless, bloody heap.
In the midst of the chaos, Batman turns to me and yells, “GET OUT OF HERE, KENT! SHE’S FAR TOO POWERFUL!”
Me and Bitefighter make a break for it, running through the gray corridor, now flooded with water. Somehow, Martha’s eldritch powers have activated the sprinkler system. I chance a frightened look back. Martha’s raising an Elven swordsman above her head.
“I’M COMING FOR YOU KENT!!!”
She flexes her arms apart and tears the Elf in half. A burbling, blood-choked scream rips from his mouth. I see a long coil of intestines fly from his torso and dangle grotesquely across her face.
“I’M COMING FOR YOU!!!!”
Sobbing uncontrollably, I dash through the prison and make my escape. There are no words to describe the unbelievable horror that courses through me. Yes, there’s no denying that her cookies are delicious.
But at what cost?
God help us all.
At what fucking cost?
Are you in danger of becoming an ultrapowerful Food Network celebrity’s prison bitch? Never fear! 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 #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book