The Wrath of Women
The Vampire tapped her foot impatiently. She checked her watch. Then she glanced up with an annoyed look on her face.
"Where is he?"
The Black Belt switched her gaze from the book she was reading to her own watch. "I'd imagine he'd be home from school about now," she answered.
The Vampire grunted in vexation. She paced with furious strides. Then she grumbled, "It shouldn't take him very long to get here. Once he finds out we've taken his mom, he'll hurry here to rescue her." She glanced at Mrs. Purn in the car and tied with a bed-sheet.
"I'm curious though." Black Belt put down her book. "Why here of all places?"
The malicious ex-reporter gave her a strange look as though she expected to reason to be obvious. "Lonely Road is secluded. It's a good place to beat Superkid to a pulp without any witnesses."
"It's quite a ways from Poolington," the karate woman observed.
"It's only ten minutes away," Vampire objected.
"By car," Black Belt added. "Superkid isn't old enough to drive."
"He'll find a way," Vampire said after an awkward pause.
After about a half hour of impatient waiting, a figure appeared on the road. It was short with a long cape fluttering behind it.
"He's here," the Black Belt announced.
The Vampire, who had been dozing in the car, leaped out and blinked confusedly. After she managed to focus on the shadowy form coming up the road, she smiled and said in a low voice, "He's here."
The two women watched as Superkid approached them. The Vampire had a pointy-toothed smile that said clearly, "Here comes my victim." The Black Belt had a thin-lipped frown that said obviously, "Here comes the no-good brat."
Then, unexpectedly, a loud voice behind them demanded, "Where am I?"
The two women turned to find Mrs. Purn sitting up and struggling against the bed-sheet tied around her. She shot a furious glare at the two villainesses and demanded, "Why are you doing this?"
"Oh don't worry," said the villainous ex-reporter with an evil grin. "You can go just as soon as we're done settling business with Superkid."
Mrs. Purn snarled, "You crazy people! What have you got against my son? You really think you're a bunch of supervillains and that my son is a superhero? You belong in an insane asylum!"
The Vampire rolled her eyes and tried to ignore that ranting woman. She turned back to Superkid who was now ten feet away from them.
"Well," he said, glaring at them. "Here I am." He spread out his arms and legs.
With the sun hanging low in the sky and sending out brilliant rays behind him in his orange and yellow costume, and with his cape fluttering slightly in the breeze, he looked pretty heroic.
The Vampire had to admit that she was impressed. But she wasn't going to say it out loud. Instead, she narrowed her eyes and sneered at him, "Superkid. You know why I brought you here."
"Not really," replied our hero.
"You don't?" the Vampire said in surprise. "You didn't figure out that after what you did to me I'd come back for revenge? You should know me."
"But I only met you for about ten seconds," Superkid told her. "That's not enough time for me to assess your character. Besides I didn't think you were clever enough to escape from jail."
The Vampire clenched her fists and she hissed, "Still the obnoxious smart-aleck I see. When this day is done, that will be fixed."
"You mean you actually learned something from the last battle?" Superkid asked in mock surprise. "Or is this going to be a rerun of last time?"
This really steamed up the vindictive woman. The Black Belt empathized with her. It was true then that Superkid was insolent. All those hateful things that the creepy woman had told her that he had said about her must be true. She dropped her hand to her belt.
The Vampire, meanwhile, was about to reply with a witty bad guy remark but Mrs. Purn interrupted her with a shriek, "You're not telling me you actually hurt a woman?!"
Superkid had to refrain from letting out an exasperated sigh. "It was an accident, Mom. She slipped off and broke her leg when I flew into the air. I didn't even touch her."
"I did not teach my son to fight when someone disagrees with him!"
"She tried to kill me!"
"That is no excuse! You should have simply walked away!"
"Is that what you want me to do now, Mom? Walk away and leave you at the mercy of these crazy women?"
To Superkid's amazement, this actually made his mom pause for thought. The Black Belt and the Vampire turned to her and they all waited for her to come up with a solution.
Finally, she said, "I'm sure we could arrange something. Women are usually more reasonable than men."
"We'll see about that," said the Vampire. She marched over to the door and yanked it open. Then she heaved Mrs. Purn out and threw her to the ground.
"Ow!" Mrs. Purn protested. "You can't handle me like this!"
"I can handle you any way I want," sneered the malicious ex-reporter. "I'm a villain and villains do whatever they want."
Superkid thrust his finger at the Vampire. "You leave my mom alone!"
"Why don't you come stop me?" the Vampire challenged and kicked his mom in the side. Mrs. Purn gasped in pain. Superkid started to charge but then his mom yelled, "Don't you dare!"
Our youthful vigilante skidded to a stop. He cried, "But they're hurting you!"
"You don't hit girls!"
"What should I do then?"
"Try reasoning with them!"
"Reason this," growled the Vampire and kicked the strict mother again. Mrs. Purn gasped in pain.
"All right, that's it!" Superkid bellowed. "Nobody kicks my mom and gets away with it! Even if they are woman!" He charged forward.
"DON'T YOU…" Mrs. Purn began.
The vindictive ex-reporter kicked her again and then turned to face her enraged opponent. "Come to Mommy," she said as she bared her long sharp nails.
Superkid leaped at the Vampire. The Vampire swiped at him… and nearly lost her balance. She had missed, for Superkid hadn't actually lunged at her but jumped into the air and blown into the hose dangling over his shoulder, which inflated his cape into a miniature hot-air balloon. Now he was slowly rising away.
"Get back here!" the Vampire shrieked, jabbing a jet-black nail at the rising superhero. "That's what broke my leg, you coward! Get back here or I'll hurt your mom again!" She raised her foot in warning but Superkid didn't seem to have heard her.
"Yah!" She stomped hard. She gasped as a jolt of pain shot up her leg. As she hunched over, she discovered that the brat's mom had disappeared and she had stomped into the hard ground. She hissed in pain and fury and limped to the side of the car. She snapped at her cohort, "Find that ugly old hag! It's the only thing that will bring the brat down."
But Black Belt had other plans. Ignoring the Vampire, she calmly untied her belt and pulled it out of the belt loops. Then she snapped the belt, which Superkid suddenly recognized as the giant spider's whip that she had taken.
"Uh-oh," he said and blew into the tube hanging over his shoulder. From a set of vents in his back, the rush of air pushed him forward like a rocket… and then he was pulled back like a fish on a reel. The Black Belt had managed to wrap her whip around his ankle. He landed on the ground with a gut-wrenching, "Oof!" that left his lungs feeling as though they had been vacuumed out. Then the Black Belt began to reel him in.
"He's mine!" the Vampire screeched, coming at him with her claws extended.
Superkid swung his leg to the side, using the whip to trip the vampiric woman. She landed with a cry and then screamed bloody murder. As the Black Belt turned to her accomplice in alarm, Superkid reached down, tugged the whip loose from his ankle, shook it off, and then jumped to his feet.
"What happened?" Black Belt asked her coconspirator.
The Vampire, still screaming, raised her fingers to reveal broken nails. Then she jabbed her jagged nail at Superkid and screeched, "THAT IS IT! YOU'VE BROKEN ME FOR THE LAST TIME! TIME TO DIE, SUPERKID!" And she lunged at our hero.
He leaped backwards out of reach. She stumbled but caught herself and lunged for him again. He leaped backwards again as she clawed for him. The Black Belt followed behind, coiling her whip.
The plan was working. Our youthful vigilante hadn't wanted things to be this delicate but at least the plan was working. He had distracted both villainesses and now his friends could make their move.
Their move found them crawling in the ditch. The ditch was thick with weeds though, so they had to be careful not to make sound. There was also the problem of prickles getting under their clothes and Derrick was trying his hardest not to complain. He was glad when they finally crawled out of the ditch and hurried to the car. He picked off the prickles and tossed them grumpily. "Stupid things," he grumbled.
Darrin peeked into the car but he didn't see Superkid's mom anywhere. He hissed, "Mrs. Purn! Mrs. Purn! It's me and Derrick. We've come to rescue you!"
Derrick jostled him for a peek into the car. He suddenly pointed and said excitedly, "Look there!"
"Where?" Darrin looked.
"There's gummi bears in there! A whole bag of them!"
Darrin elbowed Derrick, who gasped and then cried, "What?"
"Sometimes, Derrick, you can be such a blockhead. We've got to find Aaron's mom so we can rescue her."
"I know, I know," Derrick grumbled. "So where is she?"
"Under here," came a muffled voice.
Darrin spun around to find the voice. "Under where?"
"Ha!" Derrick suddenly blurted. "You said, 'underwear'!"
"Is there anything else to be under?" the voice said irritably. "Under the car!"
Darrin went red. "Oh, right." Then he bent and peered under the car.
There was Mrs. Purn tied with a bed-sheet.
"We're going to help you out," Darrin told her as she rolled toward him.
"And hurry," said Mrs. Purn, "Aaron is going to beat up those two women."
"Well actually," said Derrick, sounding pleased with himself, "He's not actually going to beat them up. He just lured them away so that we could sneak in and free you."
"After I cut these sheets," Darrin said, wielding a penknife. He reached down with it.
"NO YOU DON'T!" Mrs. Purn bellowed. "Those are my good sheets! I did not pay fifteen dollars for you to cut up my beautiful sheets!"
"Okay," Darrin said, holding up his hands in surrender. He slipped his penknife back into his pocket. "We'll just untie it then." He knelt down and studied the knots for a moment. Then he seized a knot and began working on it.
"Let's get to these knots," he told Derrick.
"You're doing fine," Derrick told him.
"Help me with these knots."
"I'd only get in the way."
"HELP ME WITH THESE KNOTS!"
With a resigned sigh, Derrick slowly bent down and began helping with the knots.
Meanwhile, our hero was still luring away the two evil villainesses and not really enjoying it. The Vampire's hobbling was slowing her down, but the Black Belt was keeping stride with him. He had not anticipated the Black Belt bringing a whip and, worse, knowing how to use it. The last time he had seen her using it, she had been lashing it, blind with rage. She was now in full control of herself and snapping the whip with deadly precision. She had even managed to lash his arm, leaving a deep cut.
She's getting too close, he thought. Time to make my escape.
He took the hose dangling over his shoulder and blew into it. His cape expanded into a balloon and lifted him into the air.
"He's getting away!" the Vampire screeched.
The Black Belt leaped into the air and threw with her entire shoulder. Her whip lashed upward and wrapped around Superkid's ankle. She started to pull him in.
Superkid blew more air into his balloon. Soon, the Black Belt could no longer tug him down and was in fact starting to come off the ground. But she didn't panic. Instead, she turned to her cohort and commanded, "Grab onto me."
"No way!" said the Vampire, turning pale. That is, paler than usual. "The last time I grabbed onto the brat when he was going into the air, I fell and broke my leg! I'm not doing that again!"
With a disgusted huff, the Black Belt snatched the Vampire's wrist. The Vampire shrieked, twisted out of her grasp, and backed away.
Without the Vampire to help anchor the Superkid, the Black Belt was being lifted into the air. She had no other choice. She began to climb.
Superkid looked below. He saw his former sensei climbing toward him hand over hand with a look on her face that our young hero knew she meant business. He had hoped that by lifting her into the air, she would jump down like she did last time. Either she had a plan for getting down or she planned to kill him if it was the last thing she did. Either way, he was in trouble. He had to find some way to shake her off.
So he pulled on his hose. They stopped rising and very quickly began to drop, but when he checked below him, the karate woman was still climbing. So he blew as hard as he could into his hose. They jerked to a stop and then began to slowly rise again. He checked below and, wouldn't you know it, she was still climbing. As a matter of fact, she had reached his ankle.
So he tried a different tactic. He blew into his hose again. The jets in his back suddenly erupted with bursts of air that propelled him forward, which he hoped would startle the martial artist into letting go. With the Black Belt's weight below him though, this plan didn't work out quite the way he wanted. Besides the fact that she slowed him down, the sudden burst only caused her to swing behind him, which brought him facing the ground where he took a sudden dive. When she swung forward, this brought him facing the sky though the weight and rapidly depleting supply of hot air prevented them from going up. Then she swung back again, bringing him facing down, and swung forward again, bringing him facing up. In this strange pendulous descent, which was getting faster and faster the further they dropped, Superkid became disoriented. He couldn't grab his hose and blow into it to prevent them from crashing.
The Black Belt was the first to land and she landed cat-like. Our youthful vigilante didn't land quite so gracefully. In fact, he slammed into the ground harder than he would have naturally, for you see, this diabolical martial artist had actually thrown him into the ground. The breath was knocked right out of him and he choked for breath.
The Black Belt planted a firm foot on his back as she yanked her whip free from our hero's ankle. Then she drew back her arm, reading to give him a lashing he wouldn't soon forget!
But just as she was about to crack her whip, she was shoved aside. At this moment, some of you probably have this crazy idea that Darrin or Derrick had returned and come to rescue their pal from certain doom. And some of you may have the even crazier idea that it was actually Superkid's mother defending her boy from evil threats. I hate to disappoint you all but it wasn't either of these. It was actually the Vampire who had saved his skin.
Wait, what do you mean I'm crazy? …No, of course she didn't have a change of heart! She hadn't even been trying to save his life! If you'll just give me a minute, I'll explain what happened.
Just as the Black Belt was about to crack her whip, she was shoved aside. "He's mine!" the lecherous ex-reporter rasped. She crouched down and flipped the kid hero onto his back. Then she grabbed him by the front of his costume and slowly lifted him into the air.
"I've got you now," she hissed, flashing him a most demonic grin—sharp fangs and all. "At last, I can have my revenge."
Superkid tried to pry her fingers off of his costume but they were like iron claws. She shook him and rasped, "Do you know how much pain you caused me? You broke my leg!"
"You tried to kill me," Superkid retorted.
The Vampire wouldn't hear of it. "Because of you, I spent miserable weeks in a cast and in jail."
"I just help to enforce the law. It was your decisions that landed you there!"
The Vampire hissed angrily and brought him close to her face. Superkid thought he could smell garlic in her breath when she spoke, "I vowed revenge on you, so I plotted and waited for the right time… I went through a lot of trouble to get to this moment. I escaped from jail, hunted down this pathetic woman, researched everything about you, kidnapped your mom! All for this moment with you in my clutches." She chuckled menacingly.
"Sounds like a lot of trouble for some punk kid," our hero said derisively.
"You took everything from me! What else did I have to strive for? Besides, no one likes a smart-alecky kid. I'm just doing everyone a favor." With that, she threw him to the ground. Before he had time to even say, "Ouch," she slashed at him with her jagged claws, leaving four scars in his cheek.
He gasped in pain and clapped a hand to his cheek. She swiped again and grabbed his wrist. She dug her broken nails into his arm. Beads of blood welled up around her nails.
"Had enough?" she grinned, gripping his arm tighter.
"Like I'd be stupid enough to say no," our hero replied with a grimace.
"Ah, but there is one last phase to my plan. I'm going to do to you what you did to me…" She planted a foot on Superkid's chest and then grabbed his leg. She pulled it up.
"I'm going to break your leg," she said and then began to pull on his leg with all her might. He resisted, pushing his leg and trying to prevent her from following through with her revenge. But she was too strong and his leg was slowly being bent in the way it wasn't supposed to.
All of the sudden, there was a shriek behind her, "What do you think you're doing to my son?"
The Vampire turned and found Superkid's mom glaring at her with her hands on her hips. The lecherous ex-reporter turned to the Black Belt and snapped at her, "What is she doing here? Weren't you supposed to keep an eye on her?"
The Black Belt didn't dignify the Vampire with a response but instead glared at her. She didn't take kindly to being treated like a half-wit minion. She didn't appreciate being called pathetic either. And she definitely hated being manipulated just to satisfy a crazy blood-sucker's thirst for revenge! The last straw though was when that deprecating hag snapped at her, "Don't just stand there like a useless slug! Take care of her!"
The Black Belt snapped her whip. The Vampire shrieked in pain, falling to the ground and cradling her hand. With the Vampire off of him, Superkid flipped backwards onto his feet. Then he turned to his former sensei and said, "Thanks Ms. Amb…"
The karate woman snapped her whip, clipping a lock of his hair. "That's Black Belt to you. Just consider this your lucky day. That miserable louse tricked me into this and she is going to pay. I will not give her the satisfaction of using me to exact her revenge—even if it's on you. The next time you and I meet, however, I will see you punished."
Superkid brought his arms to his sides and gave her a small bow. "'Til next time, then."
She gave a curt nod and then turned her attention to the Vampire, who was watching her from the ground. The ex-reporter's eyes grew wide and she squeaked, "No. No! Please! You can't do this to me! Think about revenge!"
The Black Belt snapped her whip and the Vampire shrieked. Scooting backwards, shielding her head with an arm, she pleaded, "Wait! Wait, don't do this to me! After everything I've done for you!"
"Cool!" Derrick said as Superkid joined with his friends. "Girl fight!"
Just then, their shoulders became burdened with a heavy weight. They looked behind themselves to find Mrs. Purn giving them a seriously serious look.
"I think now is a good time to get going," she told them.
Rather reluctantly, the three of them followed her down Lonely Road back home, leaving the two villainesses to duke it out. About three miles later, Mrs. Purn began grumbling about getting a car so that they could get home faster. The three boys couldn't have agreed with her more.
Mrs. Purn had intervened on the boys' fun. But since we're free from her curfews, let's get back to the supervillain battling, shall we?
But I should correct myself, it wasn't so much "battling" as it was Black Belt whupping the Vampire black and blue as she shuffled backwards on the ground.
"No fair!" the lecherous ex-reporter screeched above the cracks of the whip. "No fair!"
Still the Black Belt cracked her whip. The Vampire felt that she couldn't hold out much longer. But then there came a sound—a sound that she never thought she'd be so grateful to hear before.
The Black Belt heard them too. She turned her head toward the sounds and then turned back to the Vampire and said, "Let that be a lesson to you. Don't mess with the Black Belt!"
The Vampire lowered her arms tentatively. Her voice wavered as she cried, "You're crazy!"
The crazy martial artist snapped her whip, startling the broken Vampire. Then with a toss of her head, the Black Belt hurried to her car and zoomed away.
It wasn't too long until the police arrived. They found the bedraggled woman huddled on the road, whimpering.
"Is this the Vampire, do you think?" one of the officers asked.
Another officer pulled out a sketch and held it next to the woman's face. It wasn't quite an exact match. For one thing, the sketch showed a woman with a pale face (never mind that sketches are usually black and white) and the woman huddled on the ground had a face streaked with blood. For another thing, the sketch showed a leering woman sporting long teeth and the woman huddled on the ground was close-lipped and hiding her teeth—though there were two suspicious points pressing on her lower lip.
The first officer shrugged. "Eh, close enough. Bring her in. We'll question her down at headquarters."
So they hauled her away. Eventually she was positively identified as the escaped convict known as the Vampire and then took her to the Piner City Penitentiary—a facility that was reputed to be more secure.
Guess we won't be hearing about her for a while.
And so ends the tale of the villainous Vampire and her attempt to wreak vengeance on the Superkid. And to make sure you were paying attention, here's one last quiz:
Before she became the Vampire, she was known as:
A. Melinda Eberhart
B. Zelda Fitzgerald
C. Rachel Meranst
If you answered B then you must still be thinking about that history test. Or more likely you just don't have a clue because you never actually read the first edition of the adventures of Superkid! If I didn't know any better, I'd say that you read through this book without reading the first book just to spite me!
You did? Why you…!