LNH20: Bite-Size Tales of the LNH v20 #11: "Ghost Exterminator versus the Shark Storm Beauty"
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Mon Oct 7 10:47:35 PDT 2013
Bite-Size Tales of the LNH v20 #11:
"Ghost Exterminator versus the Shark Storm Beauty"
By Andrew Perron
>From beneath the waves the travelers came. A shimmering encircled them.
One by one they stepped to the shore, dry as though the water never
touched them. A dark man, trenchcoated, girded with mystic regalia;
Professor Penumbra. A blazing woman, gold and red and white and black
with life; Kindle. A formal man, sharp-eyed, quick-footed, with the
strength to haul several large boxes; Kung-Fu Holmes. And a fourth,
dressed in deep purple, an all-concealing mask with white eyes and
silver trim, a moonlight belt trailing behind.
They stepped on the rocky isle, bereft of trees, naught but the
occasional scrub to divide the stone. At the border of earth and sea,
two watched the travelers - mer-vampires of the Abyssal Court.
One nudged the other. "Savelle, who are they? Why are we watching this
parade of net.humans?"
"Quiet, Lito." Savelle narrowed her eyes. "At our Princess's birth, her
mother gathered seven of the most powerful ocean spirits, and each one
laid a separate curse upon her. Though her mother is dead, the curses
live on. Any suitor who desires to marry her must break each of them."
"What of it, then?" said Lito. "These are the tales of tabloid rags,
nothing to do with us."
Savelle gestured to the figure in the mask. "It is rumored that this
one has broken six."
"Six!" Lito bubbled in glee. "The old blacktip must be turning circles
in her deep black grave."
"The Twisted Eye, broken by courage." She stared into the rising moon.
"The Fragile Rose, broken by selflessness; the Mirrored Prison, broken
by truth; the Grinding Columns, broken by blood; the Tempest Unbound,
broken by contemplation; and the Bearer of Grief, broken by peace."
"And the courtly love of fairy tales is what drove this march?" Lito
pulled at her hair. "Who would be willing to endure such labors?"
"That one..." Savelle sunk back into the water. Only her hand, pointing
at the figure in the mask, broke the surface. "Ghost Exterminator."
To the summit of the rocks Ghost Exterminator came, and looked across
the ocean. In the distance, on the horizon, was a dark form, a great
whirling mass of cloud.
Professor Penumbra stepped up behind. "Your journey is at its end,
Ghost Exterminator. The final curse is before you."
The wind whistled, the menacing formation growing closer. Details could
be made out; it was no longer simply a mass, but a humanoid form.
"You have done well. Your mind, your heart, and your will have broken
the curses placed on you by the ocean spirits' magic."
Within the swirling cloud flashed flecks of silver, wriggling, moving
with deadly intent.
"Yet this last curse is upon the Princess herself! Her very form has
been taken from her! She has become the wind - the storm - the fierce
fury of the ocean itself! Princess Caramella has become... the
Now they could see her, the enraged form of the mer-vampire princess
striding across the sea towards the mainland, sharks flying through the
dark clouds of her arms and legs and eyes. She was beyond rational
thought, dark ocean sorcery fueling her literally tempestuous rage.
Ghost Exterminator gave a single nod. Kung-Fu Holmes set down three
long boxes, and together, the four of them assembled a simple wooden
podium, locking it down to the stone of the island so that it would not
blow away in the gale.
Kindle got behind the podium. Droplets of water flew through the air,
but she didn't flinch. Kung-Fu Holmes stood beside Ghost Exterminator
at the other end of the island.
Professor Penumbra spread his hands. "The ritual... begins." With a
flourish, he summoned Circe's Colossal Calliope and began to play a
familiar tune. Ghost Exterminator and Holmes marched to the music up to
"Dearly beloved," she spoke, shouting to be heard above the wind, "we
are here today in order that Ghost Exterminator may ask for Princess
Caramella's everloving hand in marriage. Please present the ring."
Kung-Fu Holmes opened a wide flat box. Within was a ring of ash
branches around which a golden ribbon was woven. He handed it to Ghost
Exterminator. Ghost Exterminator held out the ring like a totem,
walking past the podium, towards the edge of the island.
Great waves lapped against the rocky shore. The dark mass of the
sharkicane was there, hovering, silver bodies flashing in space. The
wind rose to a howl, and the howl was words:
"W H Y H A V E Y O U D O N E T H I S T O M E?"
"Well," said Ghost Exterminator, "allow me to explain!" The mask was
ripped off to reveal the one who sought this destiny - a friendly face,
dusty brown and smooth; the face of Explain-the-Joke Lass!
"You see," said she, holding the ring over her head, "the main thrust
of your political goals lately has been creating ties to the rest of
the world. A marriage to someone who is simultaneously American, a
member of the Legion of Net.Heroes, and connected to the aristocratic
families of the United Arab Emirates would form strong ties and show
that you feel unthreatened by strength!"
Explain-the-Joke Lass turned and pointed the ring at the cloud. "And I
very much want to marry you, because I respect your political acumen,
your devotion to material social change, and you're also a generally
good and funny person, and also you're hot!"
She got down on one knee, looking down, holding the ring in the air.
"And I swear to you that, whether or not you accept, I will join your
quest to overcome the ghosts of the past. Whether you prefer me as your
lady or your knight - I am pledged."
The storm cloud hesitated. For a moment, the wind was simply wind, the
only accompaniment the gnashing of teeth.
Explain-the-Joke Lass released the ring of ash and gold, and it flew
upwards, sucked into the vortex of weather. The gusts blew faster and
stronger as the clouds whipped around each other. Professor Penumbra
thrust out his hands, and a dome of calm air surrounded him; but
Explain-the-Joke Lass remained outside, and she weathered the full
force of the imploding storm.
The tight vortex of the hurricane swept towards her, sharks falling
back into the sea, water and wind as one, until with a final
thunderclap it collapsed. In the fading of the afterimage, there she
stood; tall and regal, a swirl of color. The stormclouds parted, and
sunlight glinted off the golden ring on her hand.
Princess Caramella took Explain-the-Joke Lass's hand and helped her to
her feet. "I think, my lady, we have much to discuss."
Author's Note: Part of High Concept Challenge #39, "Movie Mashups"! In
this case, the mashed-up movies were Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
(overcoming seven obstacles to a relationship), Sleeping Beauty (a
princess who was cursed at birth), and, of course, Sharknado.
The lesbian wedding aspect of this was inspired, naturally, by the
recent kerfluffle over DC not allowing Batwoman to get married to her
Ghost Exterminator's name is actually taken from a public domain pulp
character: http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Ghost_Exterminator In my mind,
the Ghost Exterminator identity would be something like LNH20's version
of Ronin; a recurring secret identity for secret identities. Surely
that's ripe for shenanigans. (Ghost Exterminator's arch-nemesis would
clearly be the Living Ghost:
Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, explosively arrayed!
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