Written by Gincognifo :: [Friday, 29 October 2021 20:45] Last updated by :: [Friday, 29 October 2021 20:38]
(Written for the 2021 Halloween Workshop)
The change begins in a simple thrift store filled with the discarded flotsam and jetsam of a hundred lives. Not the place one would expect to find an artifact that could forever change the fate of an entire world. But if there is one thing I have learned in all my time observing the countless alternate versions of reality that populate the multiverse, it is that you should always expect the unexpected.
I am The Observer and I observe… stuff that happens. I am not a creep, it is my sworn duty as a guardian of the multiverse. Really.
"What are you looking for?" asked Jane.
Lucy rifled through a chaotic pile of accessories on a shelf at the back of the thrift store. "The finishing touch for my costume."
Jane sighed. "Which one are you this time?"
"I told you, I'm Dark Star." Jane pushed aside a small pile of headbands. "She's the mirror universe counterpart of Bright Star."
"But Bright Star is a dude. I saw the first movie. I heard the second one was kind of lame, so I skipped it."
"No doy. In the original comics, on Prime Earth, Bright Star is a male superhero. On Mirror Earth, everything is reversed, so Dark Star is a female supervillain, and she– Oh!"
Lucy pulled something from the pile and held it out before her. It was a choker made from a wide band of stretchy and silky silver material. A dull black stone, cut into angular facets, slightly larger than a quarter was set in the center of the band.
"This is perfect," she said. "Just like the one Dark Star wears."
Jane snorted. "You could have made that in ten minutes."
"I didn't have the right stone and the craft store is all the way over the other side of town. I can't believe I found the perfect choker."
"It's a Halloween party," said Jane. "Nobody would have cared if your costume wasn't perfect."
Lucy held one hand to her breast in a gesture of mock outrage. "I would have cared."
That evening, back in her apartment, Lucy examined herself in the mirror. She twirled and struck a pose with her back and ass turned towards the mirror so she could check the rear view of her outfit. She was an attractive young woman in her early twenties, of medium height with jet-black hair which she wore in a sharply-cut bob. For a lot of her cosplays, she had to wear a wig, but her current look was perfect for Dark Star. Lucy's figure was slim and toned from regular visits to the gym.
Her costume was a black latex bodysuit that covered most of her neck but left her arms and legs bare. The suit was cut a little higher than she had originally intended, displaying a deep swathe of her slender hips. The tight material squeezed and slightly flattened her small breasts; she hadn't worn a bra beneath the suit, so the pert mounds of her nipples were clearly visible bumps in the slick surface. In the middle of the suit, above her narrow cleavage, was a stylized, five-pointed star in metallic silver. The choker with the black stone she'd picked up from the thrift store went around her neck just where the top of her suit ended.
She had decided not to wear tights with the costume, since it was supposed to be a warm night. She examined her lean, toned legs for any visible flaws and saw none that she needed to address. Lucy had always been blessed with a clean complexion.
In addition to the suit, she wore a pair of black leather, calf-high boots which zipped up the sides and a pair of fingerless black gloves which came a few inches short of her elbows. The finishing touch was a black latex domino mask which she had to lightly glue into place.
She struck another pose, with her arms flexed, and admired her fit body in the mirror. She was every inch the modern supervillainess about town. The outfit was a lot sexier than she was used to wearing – the version of Dark Star she had based her costume on was from the '90s when bad girls in extremely high cut swimsuits had graced the covers of many comics. But what was Halloween if not an excuse to raise the temperature a little?
She was ready to party.
Later, at the party, Lucy found herself in an awkward position with a fraternity guy. Chad was drunk as a skunk on two beers and was starting to get handsy. He had come as James Bond in a rented tux but displayed none of the English Spy's savoir-faire. He lurched forward and reached out to put his beer-free hand on one of Lucy's latex-clad boobs. She stepped smartly to one side to avoid his groping. Chad didn't notice in time that the young woman was no longer in front of him. Expecting her breasts to take at least part of his weight, he failed to compensate for the sudden – to him – the appearance of an empty space before him. He toppled forward and fell flat on his face.
So far, the party had been a big disappointment. Nobody had put much effort into their costumes – the room was filled with women dressed as sexy versions of emergency responders and men wearing Bob Ross wigs. Jane had ditched her to make out with one of the hot nurses and Lucy was suddenly feeling very alone and vulnerable in her skimpy bodysuit.
"Hey," slurred Chad into the carpet, "what's the big idea?"
He rolled over on his back and looked up at Lucy, who was standing over him with one hand on her hip. She had a sour expression on her face.
"Look but don't touch," she said.
"You're a tease!" he shouted. "Brody! Skunk! This bitch is a fucking cock tease."
Brody and Skunk were apparently Chad's friends. Judging by their gentle swaying from side to side, they were blessed with more tolerance to alcohol than their comrade, but not much more. One of them was dressed as Rick from Rick and Morty, while the other was one of the hordes of Bob Ross.
"What's the big idea?" asked one.
"You giving Chaddy the business?" asked the other.
"I don't want any trouble," said Lucy. "I'd just like Chad to keep his hands to himself."
"You picked the wrong outfit if you want guys to behave around you," said the first. He tried to blow a wolf whistle but only succeeded in getting his own saliva on his fingers.
"Yeah," said the other. "It's Halloween and it's time to get sexy!" He laughed so hard he threw up in his mouth a little and tried to pretend it hadn't happened.
Chad stumbled to his feet. Lucy backed away from the three young men then realized she was against a wall. If she wanted to get away, she would have to go through the drunkards.
"I take a self-defense class," she said. "I don't want to have to hurt you."
Chad laughed, then did a series of fake karate moves with his hands.
"I know Kung Fu!" he said.
All three men advanced on her. Chad was licking his lips. There was a hungry look in all of their eyes. The music and the roar of conversation were so loud, Lucy wasn't sure anyone would hear her if she called for help.
"Oh dear," said Lucy to herself.
In a nervous gesture, she put her hand to her throat and pressed her fingertips against the black stone on her choker.
"What would Dark Star do?" she asked in a low voice.
The stone felt warm to her fingers. A swirling stream of dark smoke erupted from the front facet of the stone and swirled around her head. A second stream swirled down and circled her body a dozen times. The clouds of smoke circled closer for a few seconds, and then were absorbed into her.
Lucy felt a sudden shock surge through her as if she'd touched a live electrical wire. A cloud of anger fell over her mind like a heavy velvet curtain of pure rage. Her expression became a sneer
Her right arm flashed out and she grabbed one of the frat guys around the throat, tightening the small but surprisingly strong fingers until he began to choke. To her surprise, she found that she was able to easily lift the man with one hand, even though he must have weighed at least a hundred kilos.
"Hey, bitch," said Chad, "put Skunk down!"
"As you wish," she said.
She threw Skunk with casual ease. He flew across the room and slammed into the folding table which held a makeshift bar, sending bottles, red plastic cups, and a large punch bowl full of lurid red liquid flying. There was a crack of bones breaking which Lucy was somehow able to distinguish from the loud sounds of the party. Skunk collapsed onto the table in a heap, then the table gave way beneath him and they both crashed to the floor.
Brody and Chad wasted no time in attempting to avenge their fallen comrade. They swung at Lucy with clumsy, drunken punches. Brody caught her on the chin and Chad's fist hit her in the middle of the gray star emblazoned in her chest. Even with the force of two fit young men behind them, the blows felt like distant taps to Lucy. Her chin didn't move when Brody struck and her chest absorbed Chad's punch as if he'd hit a solid steel wall.
Both men yelled in pain and pulled back their fists.
"My turn," said Lucy.
She struck Brody with a powerful uppercut which hit him under the chin and sent him flying straight up. With a crash and an eruption of plaster dust, his head buried itself in the ceiling. His limp body dangled there for a few moments before falling back to the floor. His head was bent at an unnatural angle and he was no longer breathing.
Before Chad could react, she grasped him by the shoulder with her left hand, then put all of her strength into a single punch aimed at his heart. To her astonishment, her fist went through his chest, pulped his heart, and emerged from his back in a shower of blood, flesh, and bone. The sound was like nothing she had ever heard – a combination of cracking bone, squelching flesh, and explosive power.
She pulled her bloody arm from Chad's corpse and it crumpled to the floor.
"Yup," she said. "That's what Dark Star would do."
The party had stopped. Someone had turned the music off. The partygoers were split evenly between those who had decided to scream and run and those who were screaming and staring at her.
Lucy examined the three men who'd cornered her. They were all dead, their lives extinguished in a matter of seconds. What had happened to her? When she'd touched the stone and the swirling darkness had engulfed her, it was as if she had been transformed, body and soul, into Dark Star. She still had her memories but she had a whole new outlook on life. She looked back on her old self with pity: she had been weak and eager to please. Now, she was stronger than anyone and didn't care about anybody else's feelings, or whether they lived or died. She was a dark goddess and nobody could stop her from doing what she damn well pleased.
From the crowd of panicked onlookers, her friend Jane emerged, looking confused and frightened.
"Lucy?" she asked. "What's going on? What did you do to those men?"
"I taught them a lesson, Jane. Don't mess with me."
"You killed them. What kind of a lesson is that?"
Lucy floated a few inches into the air and slowly flew towards Jane. She put her hand under her friend's chin and raised it so their eyes met.
"Don't question me, Jane," she said. "I don't want to have to hurt you as well."
Tears rolled down Jane's face. The young woman shook with terror. "What's happened to you, Lucy? This isn't you. You're kind and you like to have fun."
"This is the new me," said Lucy. "I enjoy a different kind of fun now."
Sirens blared in the distance, coming closer with each passing second. Lucy backed away from Jane and floated towards the door.
"I'll show you," she said.
Two police cruisers and an ambulance were parked in the street outside the house where the party had been held. Due to the garbled and unbelievable nature of the reports which had brought them to the location, both police and EMS were in no rush to enter the house.
The four policemen tried to get coherent answers to their questions from the panicked young men and women who'd escaped the party but got nothing they were willing to accept as the truth.
Suddenly, the front wall of the house exploded outwards, sending wood and bricks flying across the lawn. The policemen drew their weapons and retreated behind their cruisers for cover. As the dust settled, a beautiful young woman in a black latex costume floated through the hole in the house. She slowly flew towards the police cars with a wide, wicked smile on her face.
"Don't move!" shouted one of the officers.
Lucy raised her arms together and pointed them at the man who'd spoken. A blast of pure dark energy erupted from her fingertips and blasted him. Where the beam struck, it was as if parts of him had been erased from existence. His head and half his torso had simply disappeared as if torn out of reality. The remainder fell to the asphalt in a bloody heap.
Without hesitation, the three remaining officers opened fire. Despite the strangeness and danger, their training held and several of their shots were on target. Whenever a slug was about to strike Lucy, a round disk of dark energy popped into being in the path of the projectile. The slugs hit the energy disks and were erased from existence before they reached her. To the naked eye, it was as if she were bulletproof.
Lucy moved suddenly. One second she was floating half a meter above the front lawn of the house, slowly approaching the cruisers, and the next she was next to one of the crouching officers.
She grabbed the man's gun and pulled it from his tight grasp with ease. She looked him straight in the eyes, raised an eyebrow, and crushed the gun to scrap metal with nothing but the strength of her slim hand.
The police officer's eyes widened in fear. He got to his feet and turned to run. Before he could, Lucy grabbed the back of his belt and launched herself and her unwilling burden into the air. She flew up at ever-increasing speed until the atmosphere grew thin and cold. It didn't bother her but the policeman was gasping for air. She tossed him up and let him fall. She flew around so that he could see her and followed him back towards the earth. Every now and then, she nudged him a little to adjust for the wind.
The man landed at terminal velocity on the roof of his cruiser, breaking every bone in his body and reducing his organs to a bloody pulp. Lucy floated just above him, admiring her handiwork.
One of the remaining officers dropped his weapon and held his hands up in surrender.
"Please," he said, "don't hurt me. I have a wife and kids."
Lucy flew over to him, grabbed his head, and snapped his neck with a casual flick of her wrists.
"Do I look like I care?" she said.
The last policeman somehow held his nerve. He emptied his gun on Lucy, watching with frustration and horror as she somehow absorbed his bullets.
When his gun was empty, Lucy began to stroll slowly towards him. He ejected the magazine and fumbled to slot another into place.
"What shall I do with you?" asked Lucy. "Do you have any ideas on how you'd like to die?"
"Go to hell, bitch," he said.
"People are calling me the 'B' word a lot these days," she said. "I can't say that I appreciate it very much."
She grabbed the front of the man's face with her right hand. She pushed a finger into each of his eye sockets and thrust her thumb into his mouth. She twisted her wrist rapidly to the right and to the left, tearing his face off with ease. He was still on his feet and breathing, screaming in agony. Lucy flattened her right hand and chopped the remainder of his head off at the neck with a simple blow.
More sirens were approaching. The night was young and she was invincible. There would be a lot of blood shed this Halloween night.
A young woman comes into possession of an artifact from another universe which gives her the power and personality of a deadly villainess. With no superheroes in this world, who can possibly hope to stand against her? The quest for a perfect cosplay appears to have doomed this version of Earth to a terrifying apocalypse at the hands of Dark Star.
Or has it?
Jane pawed through the pile of accessories in the back of the thrift store. Her hands alighted on a gold brooch with a dull red stone. Turning it over, she sensed something strange about it. She pinned the brooch to her jacket and touched the stone…