Good Knight Claire
Al Bruno III
(the Acrobatic Flea was created by Tim Knight)
this story is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Sladen
The trip from the United States to England took eight hours. Bill Kane had chosen to travel coach, he kept his bag of carry on luggage in his lap the entire way. The cab ride from Heathrow airport to the city of Muldwych Point took another hour. Once he had checked in to his hotel room he removed the red and blue spandex from the secret lining of his suitcase and slowly put it on. Before he donned his mask and became Captain Hero he added a plain black armband to his costume.
The buildings of Muldwych Point were further apart than he had expected and it took Captain Hero half and hour to find the proper rhythm for leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
The city of Muldwych Point was famous for two things; its cheese and its superheroes. The cheese was a sharp, smoky cheddar variant made exclusively from the milk of fainting goats.
It’s superheroes were no less unusual. There were four of them and they worked together to defend England from dragons, mutants and aliens. They called themselves 'the Muldwych Knights' and there were four of them; the Acrobatic Flea, Girlizard, Dr. Hercules PhD and Grant Mandelbrot.
There were four of them... Captain Hero thought with a frown. He fired a grapple line, made sure it had caught hold of the nearby office building and swung.
He knew he was being followed but he decided to bide his time.
There was a tower in the center of the city. It had been built in the 1960’s to house a computerized telecommunications system. It had been abandoned a few years later after the computerized telecommunications system became sentient and tried to take over the world with giant robots.
Now it was the headquarters of the Muldwych Knights. From the ledge of a nearby apartment building Captain Hero watched the citizens standing vigil. The had surrounded the base of the tower with cards, flowers and other symbols of grief. The spectacle was as heartwarming as it was sad, it hammered home to Captain Hero the utter finality of this situation.
His years of crime-fighting had taught him that superhero deaths were like celebrity weddings- they rarely stuck, but this time felt different, terribly different. This was no hoax or imaginary story, Claire Heath aka Girlizard was dead.
A slender figure dropped onto the ledge beside Captain Hero, bounced a few times and then settled down. He wore a green costume and mask that was complimented by red boots, matching gloves and dark oversized goggles. Even though his mask covered his entire face the little antenna attached to his goggles betrayed his expressions, “If it isn't Captain Mid-life Crisis!”
“How's are you insect?” Captain Hero turned to look at the man beside him, the high-jumping super hero that called himself the Acrobatic Flea.
“Like I want to punch someone.”
“Don’t get any funny ideas,” Captain Hero said. He and the Acrobatic Flea had fought on several occasions, mainly due to misunderstandings or mind control but their last most terrible battle had been over Girlizard. This was the first time they had spoken since.
Of course we both fell for her. He thought. She was sweet and sassy and she could turn into a nine foot dinosaur.
“How are the others?” Captain Hero asked.
The Acrobatic Flea rubbed the back of his neck, “Doc Herc is acting like nothing happened and Grant... well Grant is Grant.”
“And what about you? How are you holding up?”
“I don't...” The Acrobatic Flea sighed, “...I don't know if I...”
The sound of an explosion rocked the night. The two costumed heroes looked to the Muldwych Point bank. “Speaking of holding up,” Captain Hero said.
The super criminal known as Black Pudding waded through the flames and wreckage. He was an obese, pink-skinned nightmare in a dark suit. He extruded tentacles at will, tearing the vault door off its hinges and tossing it casually aside.
The two masked heroes stood near the bank’s ruined entrance. Captain Hero asked as he thumbed through his utility belt, “What is that?”
“Black Pudding,” the Acrobatic Flea said, “he’s a shoggoth.”
“You don’t say?”
Black Pudding grabbed several sacks of money and absorbed them into his bulbous torso. Sirens and alarms began to fill the air. Neither crime-fighter liked to think about the chances the local authorities would have against this villain.
“Last year there was a community theater performance of Macbeth,” the Acrobatic Flea explained, “it was so bad it tore a hole in the fabric of reality and this wanker came through.”
Black Pudding turned to see the two heroes blocking his way, he roared and oozed in all directions. A gleaming black tentacle lashed out at the Acrobatic Flea but the hero was already leaping through the air, his wrist blasters firing.
Since the Acrobatic Flea was going high Captain Hero went low tossing a handful of concussion grenades at Black Pudding’s feet.
The attacks splattered parts of the shoggoth in all directions. In his rage he began tearing the bank down around himself- and the heroes.
Bounding through the flying wreckage the Acrobatic flea pulled the other crime-fighter back out into the street.
“Something tells me-” Captain Hero coughed, “-we’re going to be late for the wake.”
“You know,” the Acrobatic Flea adjusted his wrist blasters again, “I loved her man. Really loved her.”
“I know,” Captain Hero said, “I did too.”
Black Pudding burst out of the wreckage his body swollen and bristling with limbs, tendrils and mouths. He was making all the standard threats but neither of his adversaries paid attention.
“I wonder what she would say,” Captain Hero mused, “if she could see us working together.”
The Acrobatic Flea chuckled, “I think she’d say something like- ‘Kick his ass boys.’”
Laughing they charged into battle once more.