Fairytales and Firearms
"Get the fuck away from me!"
The front door flings open and Jaclyn Pierrot storms out, Tempest is a few steps behind her. Her bare feet storm across the dirt and gravel.
"No. Fuck you!" she screams, flipping on her heels. Others have stopped what they have been doing to watch, including Pisces. Jacky takes notice, turning to them as she speaks, each one suddenly re-engaged in their previous activity. All except Pisces, whose calm, steady smile seems to enrage her further.
"There's like fifty of you motherfuckers and not one of you has my back?"
Her golden eyes land on Tempest.
"I thought we were a team! Where were you? Where were any of you? You made me look like a fucking clown!" Tempest stands calmly as she continues to rant and scream, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I thought, if anyone, you would be there."
Tempest doesn't respond. Her tiny fists bounce off his chest and she shrieks once more.
"Boo hoo" Pisces snorts. "Poor baby. Looks like the brat finally got what she deserves."
Jacky stops her flailing.
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna.
Tempest's hand reaches out, but the wily clown slips away. She moves towards Pisces, who takes a step back, but is caught by her collar. She tries to get a hand up, but a massive .44 drives itself across her cheek - another causes Pisces consciousness to slip.
Her knees buckle.
There is a crack and darkness. The blows continue to rain down, the woman's face a gurgling mass of blood by the time Tempest can get an arm around Jacky. She shoves him off again, staring up furiously. "I thought you loved me."
He makes one last grasp for her before she rushes towards the black Escalade. The engine roars to life and the car rips out of the yard, swerving as it goes. He turns to Daedalus who kneels over Pisces, his face a mask of concern. Her head turns to the side as she begins to spit out a combination of blood and teeth.
Jaclyn screams at the top of her lungs. Her hands grip the wheel, the needle pushing past the red mark. She wipes away her tears. It was less than 24 hours since she was thwarted by the Bubblegum Princess, Sloane Taylor.
Sloane Taylor who wouldn't lay down and take the win Jacky handed to her. Sloane Taylor who forced Jacky to have to put her own title up to try and make back the money that Bubblegum Bitch cost her. Sloane Taylor who time and time again got in her way.
Sloane Taylor - it's always Sloane Taylor.
Her eyes well up with tears once more. She lays her head against the steering wheel, the vehicle continuing to barrel on. She was no longer a Queen.
No longer his Queen.
Jacky tilts her head back, wailing again as she furiously wipes at her face. She was a failure and what's worse to someone like that.
"He can't even remember my name!!"
Suddenly, a large, blue bear steps onto the road. Jacky slams on the breaks, <err>
The United States, Canada.
It all came sailing past Jaclyn Pierrot's eyes as the vehicle was suddenly lifted from the ground, pinballing all over space and time.
The seven seas, the great pyramids. A spaghetti place on 9th Street with the most delightful truffle-truffle-tr <err/ TRUFFLE SHUFFLE. Spain, France, Belgium. The Netherlands, WHERE I ONCE SPENT A ROMANTIC WEEKEND WITH EARTHA KIT, Germany, Scotland. England, and even the street Robert haunted-e-e-
(VO) Captain 80s as Morgan Freeman as Dead Rabbit
EAT MY SHORTS!!
What the fuck?
The Escalade comes careening down hard, her head ricocheting off the steering wheel. In addition to the expected screeching and grinding of steel and rubber from the impact, there is a blood-curdling scream. Smoke immediately begins to billow from the engine. A moment pases then the driver's door opens. Jacky peels herself off the wheel just as the airbag deploys, pinning her against the seat.
Her flailing increases until she finally is able to wriggle free. There is a faint moaning from the front of the vehicle. Jacky stumbles around and looks down: crushed beneath the front tire is a mess of fashion, cleavage, and gore.
Jaclyn bursts into laughter. Eden's eyes turn towards her - she starts to speak, doing her best to no sell the car on top of her.
“I can't feel nothing at all…" she whimpers.
Jacky sighs piteously, her hand reaching towards her waistband.
Where’s my gun?
She returns to the vehicle, searching the cabin for the weapon.
“I promise I’ll put you out of your misery in just a second!” she shouts over her shoulder.
Eden, instantly over the clown’s shenanigans, struggles and shakes and groans her hatred one last time at the world, before the upper half of her body joins her lower as limp and useless. Jacky pushes away from the cabin, returning to the fallen woman, pistol in hand.
Jacky reaches a toe forward, poking at the body.
She looks down at her feet and then over to the dismembered legs to see a pair of pink Jordan Ones. She considers leaving the corpse to be found wearing shoes of such low class, because Eden, but opts instead to be the bigger person, stealing the footwear.
No sooner than she is able to lace them up and tuck away her gun, a stampede of woodland creatures comes tearing out of the forest, singing merrily.
“Ding dong - you killed the bitch.
The bitch is dead.
Which ol' bitch? That Morgan bitch!
Ding Dong! That Morgan bitch is dead."
Despite their size, the sheer volume of animals is able to sweep Jaclyn off her feet, bouncing her along as they sing, heading back towards the trees. As they go, more forest creatures begin to gather around.
"Wake up - you motherfucks, get on your feet, let’s run amok!
Wake up, the Morgan bitch is dead! She's gone where the bitches go,
Down - Down - Down Below-"
“Stop!” the jester shrieks.
She shakes and wiggles free of their tiny paws, pushing herself to her feet. Her eyes, the absolute look of bewilderment, survey the scene before her. Chipmunks, cats, dogs, squirrels, an elephant, deer, raccoons.
Jacky points over at the elephant.
“That’s weird, right?”
A small blue bird lands on her pointer finger.
“Misses Pierrot, we need your help!” it tweets. “Onyx and the Apple Coconut Zooms have come to Earth and have been transforming humans into zoo animals! Drake Mallard challenged them to a tornado tag team match, but that monster didn’t play fair!”
“Please miss Pierrot!” the bird chirps and the rest of the creatures begin to parrot it.
She sits down in place, the animals swarming and flurrying around her. Some sit on her shoulders and others bounce around playfully while she grumbles to herself.
“I must have hit my head. Does it say I hit my head?” she asks.
Reagan Savage looks around the grey MacBook Pro, her hand shoving the fuchsia hair aside. It was well past time to start making an appointment to get her roots done, but she had writing to do.
“Wait, are you talking to me?” She types slowly after consideration.
For a moment, Reagan is unsure where she ends and Jacky begins. After all, this lifelong obsession with clowns is not anything anyone could consider healthy, and now here she was telling a story of a clown who talked to herself, who was now talking to her. That part, of course, being debatable seeing as how she is actually typing both people’s dialogue. This now gets into a bit of metaphysical ideology where we could spend time debating what defines reality, fiction, and subsequently, humanity. There is a long moment of deliberation before Reagan proceeds to go over the planning stages of this roleplay with Jacky. She shows her the post by Ruby.
“Okay, but did I hit my head?” she asks, “Or did you?”
Reagan no longer responds, instead turning back to the actual story and her Mango Loco Monster energy drink. No point in validating this clown by telling her that her grandmother did indeed fall down the stairs with her as a child.
“You’re our only hope," the small bird pleads, "Some wrestlers joined her, but the ones who chose to resist? James Raven, Dickie Watson, Lissie Hope...”
The bird stops for a moment, the creatures all saddened by the loss.
“I guess her name was kinda ironic then.” Jacky blurts out with a laugh.
“Miss Pierrot, this is serious!”
“I’m really not sure that it is."
“I can assure you! It is!” The tiny, blue bird flutters just above her finger for emphasis.
“So let me get this straight. Someone named Onyx and the…”
“Apple Coconut Zooms!” the blue bird whistles.
“Right, that. They are turning the people of Earth into animals so that the planet can become one giant zoo?”
“And to combat this, the world’s last line of defense is a professional wrestler?”
It hesitates before answering, unsure of what needs clarification.
“Give me a second,” she says, holding up a finger.
It was at that moment, there was a knock at Reagan’s door.
Meanwhile at the Coconut Dome...
"Jaclyn Pierrot is alive and has somehow killed my best assassin!"
Onyx pushes away from the glass ball in a huff, his iridescent cape swirling behind him. The Apple Coconut Zooms scurry underfoot as he walks.
"No matter. I have something truly EVIL in store for her..."
"Not so fast!"
The door to the antechamber bursts open. Centurion steps through, flanked on either side by Ruby and Angelica Vaughn. A few Zooms try to fend them off but are pushed back by the pair. Onyx laughs, his scepter coming to rest in front of him.
"Aren't you getting a bit old for this sort of thing?" he asks.
Centurion holds out his hand, pointing his finger menacingly: "You're not allowed to say that about me!"
"Because then I'll say,” There is a dramatic pause before he says with a confident smile, “Gotcha."
"What?" Onyx exclaims, genuinely confused. The door is kicked open again and there is a fresh flood of Apple Coconut Zooms that swarm the group.
"We'll hold them off!" Ruby says, narrowly ducking being stabbed with a butterfly knife. Her fist counters.
Centurion nods his head. Onyx eyes watch him as he approaches. The veteran wrestler makes his move, taking two steps forward before throwing a haymaker.
Centurion clutches his hand, groaning in pain. He uncovers it, quickly assessing it to be broken. He sets his jaw.
"Time to meet your…"
Centurion begins to throw a desperate left. Onyx lifts the scepter and the wrestler is frozen in space. His allies, rapidly overwhelmed, are dragged forward beside him.
"Final Fantasy right?" Centurion is unable to respond, every muscle and sinew in his body stretched tight. "How cliche."
Hide steps from the shadows, wielding an ax. He stands in front of Vaughn. She struggles, but is unable to pull free as it rises over his head.
"This is your time to pay," he says
"This is your judgment day."
"We made a sacrifice," she counters, defiantly.
Centurion can see her body drop to the floor beside him from the corner of his eyes. Hide prys the ax away. It rises and falls again and the frozen man feels something splash along his cheek.
"You…" he manages to wheeze.
"Bastard?" Onyx points the staff towards Ruby. "Have you tried putting the lime in the coconut?"
Helpless, Centurion watches as Ruby is shoved free in front of him. She looks back at him briefly. The pack of Zooms swarm her. She does her best to push them away, but she is unable to keep her eyes on the entire group. One catches her hair, she turns, wraps him in a suplex and the mass swarms on top of her. Teeth and claws dig at her flesh as they turn the would-be superhero into a makeshift schmorgesborg.
He is helpless to watch, frozen. The only thing that moves is the single tear that slides down his cheek.
"What can't I say, now?" Onyx asks, smiling as he aims the scepter once more.
(VO) Captain 80s as Morgan Freeman as Dead Rabbit
AFTER A POLITE DISCUSSION, JACLYN PIERROT RETURNS TO THE FOREST TO HEAR THE REST OF THE WOODLAND CREATURE’S TALE. THERE IS MUCH DEBATE AND A SHOUTING CONTEST WITH A SQUIRREL, WHICH CAME TO BLOWS. NURSING A SHINER, SHE RELUCTANTLY AGREES.
READY TO START HER JOURNEY, AND GET AWAY FROM THAT NASTY SQUIRREL, JACLYN FOLLOWS THE ROAD THAT LED TOWARDS THE COCONUT DOME, NOW CONVENIENTLY FOUND IN THE GREATER INDIANAPOLIS AREA.
"Choads for Sale!"
A crippled retiree waves his arms around the air, a cigarette clutched between his fingers.
"Get your fucking Choads here!"
There are a number of animals tied up along the side of the road next to a ragged RV. A crowd has gathered, pushing in close to try and capture some of the shade from the makeshift tent he's constructed with old stitched together cloth. He continues.
"I got flappy Choads, snappy Choads, you know each and every one of them is a crappy Choad." The crowd laughs. "Take a look at this one."
They gasp, horrified as one of the donkeys steps forward from the pack. Jacky begins to shimmy through.
"Sing them your song!"
She steps to the front and cannot believe what she sees.
“It’s not funny!”
Jaclyn Pierrot rolls on the ground in front of the donkey, unable to stop herself. While the entirety of the body, legs, and neck are that of a burro, the face is that of Sebastian Everett-Bryce the Third. She sits up pointing at him.
“You’re an ass!” she squeals before exploding once again with her patented honking laughter.
He is not amused.
"You are hilarious. Truly…"
"I said, 'Sing!'" A metal prod against his hind quarters makes him begin, his face red and flushed. "Fuckin' choads."
Reluctantly, the Seb donkey steps forward, awkwardly singing along with a small record player.
"I guess I no longer have any power
Stuck dancing here for hours
I smile through the pain."
He forces a smile on his face. His eyes lock with Jacky.
"And even without my mirror,
I can see my escape is nowhere nearer
If I only had a hand."
He puts extra emphasis on the word 'hand', his head motioning back towards the man. A spark from the prod urges him to continue singing.
"Dancing for his fiddle
He feeds me dirt and spittle.
I'm afraid I'll go insane."
The retired man digs deep in his throat, emptying its contents towards the mule. Jacky sneers at him.
"With a gun at night and some creepin',
You could turn him into Lincoln.
If you only had a hand"
She motions towards his hooves.
"If you aren't the type for bluffin
Would you be so kind as to push him?
I just need him to stumble this way."
Jacky finally catches on. She nods her head, walking around the side of the man as Sebastian continues. His back is to now the man who holds his electric motivator at the ready.
"The momentum it will carry,
My kick will be so scary.
If I only had a hand."
She shoves him forward causing him to tumble forward towards the burro. Right on target, the hind quarters go up and the man goes down hard. The crowd scatters and Jacky frees the remaining animals. Seb stomps to a halt beside her.
"Thanks, I guess. You are all that's left?"
She shrugs. Sebastian scoffs, “Good luck” before rolling his eyes. He starts to walk away. Her hand catches the rope still attached to his neck. She bends down, picking up the prod. Reaching the end of his tether, he feels it grow taunt and turns, just in time to see it crackle to life.
"We are all that's left," she corrects. His eyes look over the device in her hand and then to the rope. "To the Coconut Dome?"
He starts to grumble. A spark shoots from the rod to the hind quarters and he brays and stamps in pain.
"To Coconut Dome," he agrees.
She shocks him again anyway, snorting with laughter before pulling at his rope.
"Hay is for horses!" She giggles, tugging him along. He grumbles again, but reluctantly follows.
He rubs his hands together.
He had a plan! This plan was many things. Devious, expensive, it included at least three costume changes and multiple Twitter accounts to pull off. One thing the plan could be considered more than anything in the world though?
He giggles to himself. In the middle of the highway, he has painstakingly constructed a cut out tree, though unfortunately only from one angle and only about six feet up. Despite the craftsman of the miniaturized tree, the saying goes, location is key. So it should have been no surprise when the pair stopped far from where it was set up. He peers from behind it, his eyes catching the clowns. He ducks behind his perfectly made camouflage, positive he still has the upper hand.
"Why did they stop?" he asks himself. He had built a tree after all and placed it directly in the middle of the road, hiding the large container truck he had parked behind it. He takes another look: gone.
"Gone?" he questions.
He gasps, turning his head only to find himself face-to-face with the clown. He freezes for a moment then makes his move. He rushes behind the constructed tree, before leaping right back out.
"You've stumbled right into my EVIL trap. Fools!" His laughter billows forth. "For the last several months, I've slowly been hatching the most EVIL of plans."
“What’s in the truck?” Jacky interrupts, pointing over her shoulder with a thumb.
“Don’t you want to hear about my EVIL plan, first?”
“Does it involve this truck?”
“No?” he says with a coy side glance.
"YES! And now, I will tell you! I have been posing as a mind mannered psychiatrist to publicly trick the world into thinking I am helping manage the anger of a certain GERMAN superstar." He bites his lip, barely able to contain himself, "When all along I've been secretly harvesting his rage into something powerful. Something."
Proud of himself, he thrust his arms into the air.
This turns into an uncomfortable amount of laughter.
"What?" Sebastian asks finally, and the painted faced man's arms deflate.
"I've been posing as Noah Williams!"
Jacky looks to Seb and shrugs her shoulders
"It's actually very EVIL if you think about it!"
No response from the pair causes the Destroyer to erupt in anger.
"Very well! I have no choice, but to use my ultimate EVIL weapon. Allow me to present the very real and very EVIL," he whips open the large rolling door, revealing a large man wearing terrifying, orange pleather. "Konrad Raab: Master of Heat Edition!"
Content with the success of his EVIL plan, he begins to roar with laughter. However, Konrad, being completely able to hear every word just said, realizes his time at that rehab facility and this bondage therapy were both bogus. It was at this moment, he finally understood how to properly utilize his rage: His massive hands take hold of the tiny tree, crashing it down into the cranium of the Dark Destroyer.
"Help! He's nuts!" The master of evil shrieks, as he scrambles to his feet, trying to scurry away. Konrad's boot lands right between his legs, lifting the man high into the air. "My nuts!"
The Dark Destroyer flees back down the road, stumbling every few feet only to be kicked back upright by the German lord.
"What the hell was that?" Jacky asks as they watch. There is a bark from within the cab. Pulling the door open, a large golden retriever leaps from within. It runs a few yards away, circles for a moment before sitting down to relieve itself. It’s eyes meet Sebastian’s.
With Morgan and Dark Destroyer out of the picture, Onyx was left with little choice. He entered the cursed room and took the cursed stairs to where he kept the cursed box. From within, he pulled out a blue-grey Nokia 3310.
Resisting the temptation to play Snake, he instead moved to his text messages, searching for the last one sent from Robert Ooley. He knew this was the last message he would be able to deliver before the cursed battery finally gave out.
As fast as he could, his fingers flashing through the SMS, Onyx typed only three words:
“Send Mickey Dragon”
The Coconut Dome, white and shimmering, dominates the horizon as the cargo truck pulls into the outskirts of Indianapolis. Things become noticeably more bleak as they draw closer. The doors and windows are barricaded in desperate attempts to keep out the roving bands of thieves, vagrants, and purge enthusiasts.
“But you look at me like maybe
I'm an angel underneath
Innocent and sweet”
Meredith Brooks ‘Bitch’ plays on the radio with Jacky's high pitched voice grinding along. Sebastian has poked his head through the door to the back, while Sloane hangs her head out of the window, doing anything she can to get away from the infernal screeching. They pass a large billboard ad for Vinnie Lane, Creative Director of UGWC, advertising his new OnlyFans brand. Beneath it is a wall covered top to bottom with hand made posters portraying what looks to be a bald general with the words ‘The Baltimore Elite’ stamped along the bottom.
“And you’re sure he knows the way?” Seb asks, trying his best to speak over the siren’s wailing.
“Sing it Sloane!” Jacky cranks the volume, “I’m a bitch!”
This causes Sloane to pull her head back in.
“Has anyone told you how obnoxious you are?”
Jacky continues to sing, poking a finger dangerously close to the dog’s face. “I'm your hell, I'm your dream: I'm nothing in between.” The singing is interrupted by screaming as Sloane Shepard snaps her jaws shut on the jester’s hand. Her nose boops the radio to silence.
“YES, I’m sure he knows the way through communication could be...difficult.”
Seb looks dubiously over to the clown.
The truck makes good time, coming to a stop just outside of the walls of the great Dome by one of its many retention ponds. Piling out, the crew makes their way over towards the shore. Slaone barks for a few minutes before a small, slime green frog surfaces in front of them. It makes a noise.
“It’s not just any frog: it’s <redacted>.”
The frog hops out of the water and onto a rock.
“It’s a bit hard to explain.”
“Give it a shot.”
“No, what I’m saying is, you cannot actually say it’s name. Onyx had it redacted from history.”
“<redacted>” the frog seems to agree.
“Well…” Sebastian says, “Can he at least tell us a way in?”
“<redacted>” it responds sadly. The frog tries to hop away as Jacky reaches down to scoop it up.
“No. When he stormed the Dome, his voice was taken away as punishment, so he could never speak another word.”
“So what the fuck are we going to do with this thing?” The frog leaps free from the clown, landing on a rock. It bounces around to face them. Music hits and despite it being daytime, a spotlight descends. From one side, it catches a top hat, the other, a cane. The three companions look around, confused, trying to find the source.
Just as the music finally builds, the frog opens its mouth to sing.
Open mouthed, the group watches as the fanfare immediately ends. It begins to hop away, leaving the cane behind stopping every few feet to look back.
“I guess we follow the irrelevant toad,” Jacky says with a shrug.
(VO) Captain 80s as Morgan Freeman as Dead Rabbit
THE FROG LEADS THEM TO THE SEWER.
UNBEKNOWNST TO THE GROUP, SOMETHING DISGUSTING, VILE, AND DISPICABLE WAITS WITHIN THOSE WALLS.
SOMETHING FAR OUT, PERHAPS?
[Wouldn’t you like to know you, $%#%@.]
The team treks through the filth and grime. Sloane sits on the back of Seb while <redacted> bounces in front. Jaclyn Pierrot, meanwhile, takes up the rear. She looks into the darkness behind them.
“Did you hear that?” she whispers.
They come to a halt.
[&%*!#! it in your #$%*!&#*!, you &$*!$&!*]
“I heard that.”
They increase their pace, but despite their efforts, the foul disembodied voice grows closer.
Mickey: Hey %&%#!&!
The small tunnel is suddenly illuminated and a bald, sinister looking man saunters forward. Mickey Dragon is flanked by what looks like a small army of Zooms. He grins. Jacky starts to turn, but another pack can be coming from behind: they’re trapped.
Resolute, the group turns back towards Mickey.
“This all you got?” Sloane asks, baring her fangs.
Mickey chuckles. The trio tries to make the first move, but an abrasive wave of filth pours from his mouth. They cover their ears, desperate to get away from the pre-1999 edgelord tirade against inclusion in the Star Wars universe, but his voice still somehow penetrates their hands and respective paws. Even Jaclyn Pierrot, infamous for publicly castrating more than one man, is rendered helpless as they are overrun with minions.
Onyx sits on top of his chair with Ragdoll standing in front of him, her hands suspended above her in chains. Her face is bloodied and Apple Zooms on either side operate her using ropes and chains like a giant marionette. Sloane sits tied to the throne at his feet. He picks at the last of a small plate of frog legs.
Across the chamber, Travis Pierce and Gabriel Baal continue to go through a series of challenges on an unending loop for the entertainment of the Apple Coconut Zooms. Bobbing for apples, UGWC Monopoly, no stone has been unturned as the pair is shifted from costume to costume to the delight of the crowd. The game of pin the tail on the donkey had lost its flavor and now Travis and Gabriel were on their fourth straight hour of sack races.
Travis, exhausted, drops down, the burlap sack sliding past his knees. “The truth…” his face hits the hard marble floor, “hurts.”
He knows why.
Baal looks grimly behind at the fallen man, doing his best to maintain his pride, even while wearing an oversized baby costume. One of the Zooms grabs him by the hair, forcing his face into the bobbing station water. Baal tries to find an apple, but only finds water. He chomps and bites, his lungs desperately seeking air only to find a fresh wave of water. After a brief struggle, he sees the face of Morgan Eden. He stops thrashing.
“Hello dear,” the two take hands and his body ceases it’s movement, laying still in the tepid water.
Jacky’s head lifts, though not of her own volition. Her eyes dart around the room: Sebastian lays still, a half-dozen paper tails stabbed into his rear. Sloane’s spirit was stripped away. All hope lost, she feels another tug from the bindings and groans in pain.
“Jacky saves the world!” Onyx laughs, tossing one of the amphibian bones her way."Hardly!"
Ropes swish and sway and the Ragdoll dances for him, her face grim despite the jester's smile.
“Not so fast!”
(VO) Captain 80s as Morgan Freeman as Dead Rabbit
IT WAS AT THAT MOMENT THAT CHLOE “THE MINIDEMON” HAWKHURST ARRIVED!
Flanked by members of the Baltimore Elite, an underground rebel resistance led by none other than Ken Davidson, the young hero steps into the room.
“Deus ex machina,” Jacky manages to whisper before the Zooms let go of the ropes holding her up causing her to slam into the ground.
The room is a flurry of activity as woodland creatures from all over, inspired by the strength and honor of young Chloe, begin to fill the room. Bears and bats, cats and chimpanzees all work together to begin slowly picking apart the Coconut Apple Zooms.
Pandemonium and Carnage™.
The Elite find themselves face to face with the likes of Hide and Mickey Dragon. Blows land in both directions. Hide manages to shove Kyra through the window, only for her to catch hold of his chains, dragging him with her. Mickey almost manages to subdue Ken with his mouth, but a well placed boot dislocates the menace’s jaw. With his foot trapped ankle deep, Ken quickly becomes overrun.
Onyx swats away a seagull as Chloe steps in his path.
“It ends here, villain,” she says.
Onyx looks her over, before laughing, “Aw aren’t you sweet!”
Like a handful of Sour Patch Kids in reverse, that’s when she becomes a savage. Right, left, followed by an ExCHLOsion, she pushes him back. Chloe can feel the pain shooting through her fists as his flesh turns to hardened gemstone to help absorb some of the shock. Still, she presses forward.
Emboldened by their leader’s fury, the animals begin to gain the advantage. One by one, the Zooms slowly begin to fall, but Onyx still stands.
“Enough,” he says, lifting the staff. Chloe freezes in place, her muscles feeling long and tight. He flashes a grin. “Time to send this demon back where it belongs.”
He draws back his weapon and she closes her eyes, her thoughts going back to Dorian.
“I’m sorry, father,” she whispers.
She looks up. A large hole now dominates the majority of Onyx forehead. He and Chloe both turn to where Jaclyn Pierrot now stands. Chains dangling from her wrists, she holds the large smoking .44 magnum in her hand. A squirrel sits proudly on her shoulder.
“How did you know…” he gasps, a thick black liquid bubbles from the wound, beginning to melt away his own flesh, “My one weakness was being shot in the face….”
He falls to the ground, dead.
"Seriously, Reagan?" Jacky asks. The remaining Zooms, their leader no more, begin to scatter. She pulls the remaining bonds from her body as she begins to leave. Chloe steps in front of her.
“Jacky,” says the smaller superstar. The clown turns, squaring off with her. The last time she saw her she was going toe-to-to with the great Donovan Hastings at the Massive Melee and now here, giving her everything to try and save the world.
“My name is Chloe Hawkhurst,” she says determinately. She's spent months now repeating these words. “You may remember my father?”
“My father was Dorian Hawkhurst, ‘Demon of’-”
“We got beef?” Jacky interrupts. Chloe steps back, startled.
The clown waves the gun at her, “Let’s put a pin in that, kid, alright? Raincheck me - I’m tired.”
She turns and heads for the door, the stunned mini-demon left with no choice but to watch her go. She was beaten, sore, and exhausted. Sure, she saved the world, but what did that matter? She was the last wrestler on Earth besides the kid, so if she wanted to become a champion.
The door swings shut behind her and she stands still. Her eyes drop to the gun in her hand. The World Champion.
The Final Fantasy.
She laughs out loud to herself, putting it away before continuing down the hall. After all, no reason to end on a cliche and it was a long walk back to Indiana.
There's no place like home...
Her eyes look down at the rubble. It had all been burned down. Bodies of Creeps and Zooms alike could be found in the charred remains of the farm. Her home. Their home.
She clutches the mask in her hand and her eyes fill with tears. She found him surrounded by bodies, Bunny clutched in one arm, her knife Pagliacci in the other. He was filled with bullet holes. He died a warrior - her hero until the very end.
I thought you loved me.
Her throat grows heavy.
The magician. The gang. Jordana.
Daedalus and Kosner?
"My god," she whispers. She had found a small mountain of bodies around his remains.
Did I kill her? What was any of it about? Titles? Pride? Did any of that matter? Why hadn’t she been there?
She looks down at the mask. She saved a world, but not hers. Hers was gone. If home was where the heart was then that meant there would be no place like home ever again.
Jacky slides the mask over her face. The smell brings back a flood of memories. His hand around her waist, his lips against her neck.
I love you.
She mouths the words, pretending just for a moment they had their chance to be happy: the Spider King, ever patient, and his Bratty Queen, the perfect bait.
Jaclyn Pierrot looks up at the moon and they share a moment before she screams her pain into the heavens. It silently mourns with her. With it's best friend gone, the moon has no more words. Her body gives way to the pain inside and she doubles over, her body curling into a ball.
There's no place like home.
He tried, but she just was never good enough for him. The Spider King: her King.
There's no place like home.
She pushes herself up onto her knees. Her hand feels for the weapon at her waist.
And there's no place for Jacky.
She did her best, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t good enough.
"There's no place like home," she whispers, again to herself. "There's no place like home."
She clicks her heels. It works in fairy tales.
There's no place like home.
There is a different click. Home is where the heart is and Jaclyn Pierrot was once again homeless.
Her eyes shoot open and she looks towards the noise.
Tempest stands on the ground, a handful of rocks, waving up at the Escalade. She looks around. She's in her car again, but…
Am I in a tree?
Sure enough, the #3 Escalade is wedged between the middle of two branches of an ancient oak tree. Her face is sore and as she moves it she can feel the crackle of dried blood. The airbag had at some point deployed, broken her nose, and partially deflated. Her key was in the ignition but the battery had long since died.
“Did I hit my head?” she wonders but is still unable to get a straight answer from the author. She considers using the context clues around her: she can feel her forehead beginning to throb like a hangover after a bender in Vegas. The pictures in her mind, a moment ago so clear, now but a fading memory.
"Tempest!" She cries out, forgetting for a moment where she is. She flings the door open, immediately falling to the ground below. Tempest holds his arms out catching her.
Just like a fairy tale...
“Should I ask?” he grins down at her.
“Would you believe a bear did this?”
The vehicle above them creaks and groans and the two are barely able to leap out of the way before it comes crashing down behind them. Tempest lands on top of her, doing his best to cushion the landing. She starts to giggle.
“Why did you leave?” He asks suddenly.
She hesitates. “I lost my belt.”
“And I can’t be your Queen anymore without a crown.” She pouts. He looks her over, unsure if she’s serious, but the tears forming in her eyes confirm his suspicions.
“Jacky…” he begins laughing softly. He pulls her close. “The belt doesn’t matter. None of it matters. All that matters is you and me.”
“Really?” she sniffs, wiping away the tear formation.
A guitar begins to whisper the first licks of the song as he pulls her into his arms. Between the magic of the moonlight and the twinkling of the stars, Tempest’s song ‘The Only Thing Worse Than Saying I Don't Love You Is Admitting That I Still Do’ stands out as a tiny miracle.
The tune was haunting, yet beautiful and the lyrics put even the great John Lennon to shame. It ebbed, it flowed, and was truly a work of art. It was nominated for a Grammy and subsequently, 'Fairytales and Firearms', was nominated for both an Emmy and a Tony. When interviewed on Chris Page podcast Reagan said it was 'almost like I didn't even write it.'
When the final note hits, he pulls her tight into his arms, dipping her back. She slides the mask back, revealing his disfigured face and whitened eye.
"Can I still be your queen?" she whispers, her heart racing.
"Now and forever," he says, and just before their lips meet he stops. For the first time, Tempest looks into the golden sea of insanity and tells Jaclyn Pierrot:
"I love you."
“If I told you a scary story, would you believe me?”
She dips the marshmallow into the flames.
“Probably not right? It’s easier to believe the things that make us happy. After all, nobody ever wants to be sad. Nobody ever talks about the bad times.”
She pulls the marshmallow out of the flame, blowing it out and then plopping it into her mouth. She chews around it as she speaks, spearing a second one.
“Well, let’s talk about ‘em! I lost. You beat me. You saw your chance and you took it and who am I to hold you at fault right? After all, that wasn’t my title, I was just borrowing it. That was my run, right, I was just standing in line?”
She stomps her feet onto the ground, one after the other, an exaggerated pout on her face. She laughs, jamming the marshmallow into the flame.
“You stupid son of a bitch: do you know what you have done? It’s one thing to come at me face-to-face, nose-to-nose, but to use such underhanded tactics! It’s foolish! Foppish! Almost clown-like!”
Her honking laughter continues.
“Who do you think you are, buddy?!” Jacky tries her best to put rage behind her voice, “Me?”
She doubles over, the marshmallow still sitting in the thick of the flames. As she sits back up, her face is solemn and sober.
“What a laugh. What a legacy: the legend crawled its way into the dragon’s lair, stole it’s treasure, and snuck away. Some hero.”
She lifts the marshmallow from the flame, it is burnt and charred. She watches it for a moment as it burns before scraping it off into the fire.
“It’s one thing to steal a treasure and another thing to slay a dragon. You got me. I let my guard down. I let you slip into my lair. I let you sneak away and Sloane, you did your part and let me tell you, no good deed goes unpunished, but for you and your friends to laugh about it? Well...who’s laughing now? You have my attention. I’m awake.”
The sinister grin spreads across her face and she spreads her arms.
“And I’m angry.”
The breeze kicks up causing the leaves and dirt to swirl and scatter. She begins to cough, waving her hand furiously offscreen.
Jacky gags for a minute, rubbing at the dust in her eyes. As they are cleared she looks around to test out her vision before settling back on the frame.
“With that belt, I had a purpose, a goal, a vision - a path. I had a handle on life and now? It’s broken, unhinged, and deadly. You thought people were afraid to get in the ring with me before? Buddy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” she giggles, “See I had a dream and you were there and you, Sloane and even you Sebastian, flat face and all. It was in this dream that I began to realize that this time and this place was no dream at all, but merely a story, a step, a stage, nothing more and certainly, nothing less. After all, what kind of person would I be if I strapped so much of myself to something so little when there’s something so large on the Horizon?”
She leans back on the log, her hands helping balance her.
“So, here we all are, or rather, here I am and out there you all are. My back is against the wall and it would take a delicate operation to try and capitalize on the key. After all, there’s three of you, guarding the gate. You’ve been plotting, planning, and preparing: your defenses are strong. Well...little pigs, little pigs, let me come in?” She bats her eyes playfully. “I can not wait to introduce my fist to your chins.”
She covers her eyes, then reveals them.
“Can you see, or are you three blind mice? Will your eyes be open, like you made mine, or will you try to feel your way through things blind?” she shakes her head. “No. I bet Peter and Pauline Rabbit think they’re real clever: they saw someone get over on ol’ missus McGregor and so they think they’ll do it again. Missus McGregor, she knew much better, so when she watched them row? She loaded her gun and ended their fun ‘cause that’s just the way these things go.”
She kicks her legs out in front of her.
“Moral of the story, kids? This isn’t fiction and fantasy and I’m no longer playing the fool. See, I quite enjoyed my time playing Kings and Queens with Tempest and keep-away with all of you, so why not play it with the biggest prize around?”
Jacky pushes herself to her feet.
“Let’s face it: we all want a fairy tale ending and you all showed me what you’re willing to do...well me?” she draws her pistol, “I’m just getting started and I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your brains out if that’s what it takes.”
Her gun lowers.
“Welcome to my Happily Ever After,” she smiles, aiming the revolver once more.
Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, Washington
Keeper of the Keys
(VO) Morgan Freeman as Dead Rabbit:
There once was a girl named Jacky,
She had many a story that was wacky.
She was quick with her gun,
But always had fun.
Even though some said her tales were tacky.
A black Escalade with a white #3 spray painted on the side pulls into the lot. It's windows are tinted jet black. The car slows to a stop and engine is cut. A man steps up to the driver’s door and pulls it open.
A pink pair of Jordan 1’s enter the frame and everything cuts.