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One in a Million – Chapter 25

The Gang’s All Here

Rhonda’s apartment was glowing bright pink when Larry and Holly and D.J., Leslie, Jane and Hazel pulled up in Larry’s van. Tendrils of swirling mist played along the ground, and the whole street smelled of sugar and cloves.

“Well, that’s different,” said Jane. Hazel gawped, and D.J. clutched his forehead.

“What’s wrong?” Leslie asked.

“Headache. Just now.”

“It’s the taint of magic, my friend,” said Larry in a low, rumbling voice. He slapped D.J. on the shoulder. “You’ve experienced it before. You just don’t remember.”

“Oooh kay,” said D.J.

“You probably shouldn’t discount that opinion,” said Jane. “After all—I’m standing right here, aren’t I?”

D.J. looked at her and said, “You know, you’re right.” He stopped rubbing his head. “Wow, it went away. That’s weird.”

“You get used to it,” said Hazel.

Leslie gasped and pointed. “Omigods, there she is! Rhonda!”

It was Rhonda, standing naked in her wide open windows. Turk was behind her, also naked. She was glowing from within, a peach-colored light that seemed to be emitting from her head.

“We’re too late!” cried Larry. “She has completed the ritual!”

“Go, Turk,” said D.J. under his breath.

“Go, Rhonda,” said Holly, just as quietly. “Is he carrying an ear of corn between his legs?”

“This is no laughing matter!” Larry whirled, his expression a mask of anger. His eyes were almost glowing. Clear blue. Volcanic. He threw his arms out and said, “She is not made of godly material. The energies she’s directing into her will destroy her. Do you understand that? Violently destroy her. She cannot control this power. And when it destroys her, it will destroy everything around her.”

“Oh, shit,” said D.J.

“Now you understand,” said Larry. “She is searching for a sphere of influence to bind her power to her followers. The only reason she has not come undone yet is because she is meddling with godlight that is in opposition to her goals.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Leslie shouted. “You’re not making any sense, Larry! Is she going to blow up or not?”

“If we don’t interrupt her bid for power, she will die,” Larry said.

“So, what do we do?” Holly said.

“I have no idea,” said Larry.

“WHAT?” came the chorus.

“This is beyond my realm of knowledge. That is why I have summoned you, their friends, to aid me.”
“Maybe we can talk her down,” said Leslie.

“Just ask her to give up god-like power?” scoffed Holly. “This is Rhonda we’re talking about.”
The apartment building screeched, shuddered, and began to elongate, stretching upward, past its own foundations and basements, until it was an actual tower. Bricks melted and concrete became liquid and as the Con-Dorks and the Sisters watched, a statue of The Rhonda rose up where the front stoop once was: seven feet tall, exquisitely sculptured, standing in a Venus-like pose with her hair flowing conveniently over her breasts and her hands covering her waist.

“Yes, Holly, this is The Rhonda you are talking about,” said the statue.

Leslie fainted. Hazel just managed to keep her from banging her head on the sidewalk.

Larry thumped his chest and struck a defiant pose. “I am Stercutus, God of the Sewers, Patron of Manure, and Guardian of the Great Underground Canal! I demand that you release the power you have stolen from me and return it to the cosmos from which you drew it!”

“Eww, gross,” said the statue. “A poop god? You sure can pick ‘em, Holly.”

“Rhonda, this isn’t you,” Holly said. “You’re not like this.”

“SHUT UP!” The statue screamed, and cracks formed in the base. “You never liked me! All I ever wanted to be was your friend! But it was always your shit comes first! You were the queen bee! Well, I’m my own queen bee, now, Holly, and I don’t need you anymore!”

“Rhonda that’s not true!” Holly said. She looked to Leslie to back her up, but Leslie was still groggy. “Dammit, where’s Linda when I really need her?”



Burt and Linda came running up, eyes wide, expressions amazed. “What’s going on?”

Leslie and Hazel pulled them aside to explain the situation as best as they could.

“We’ve got to hurry!” Larry said. The building now had energy tentacles sprouting from it at strange angles, grabbing onto power lines, cable lines, and anything else they could tap into, like a technological cephalopod. “She’s drawing more power!”

D.J. turned to Burt. “Come on, man, you’re usually the voice of reason, here!”

Burt said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we should call the cops.”

“I can’t believe I’m agreeing with you,” Linda said. “Fire and EMT, too.”

“How do cops stop something like this?” D.J. said, gesturing wildly at the building.

“Maybe they don’t. Maybe they just try to keep everyone else from getting hurt.”

“Go, call ‘em,” said D.J. Burt and Linda whipped out their phones.

“Now we’ve got to get Turk out of there before Rhonda explodes…” it was the wrong thing to say, and D.J. knew it as soon as it left his mouth. He blocked Leslie’s punch with his forearm and moved away from her.

“What about Rhonda!” she screamed. “I’m not going to let her blow up, Deej! That’s not a fucking option!”

Holly moved to comfort Leslie and got a dirty look from Hazel. The group was on the verge of turning on itself when Jane said, “Oh boy, this is nuts.”

Everyone turned to see what she was looking at. Mike Bretz was flying overhead on an intercept course with the building. He had covered most of the distance when an energy tentacle swatted him away like a tennis ball. Mike went rolling through the sky, his bell thoroughly rung, but he managed to cling to consciousness and in doing so, stayed aloft.

“That’s Mike B,” said D.J., dumbstruck. “Does everyone I know have super powers but me?”


About Author

Mark Finn is an award-winning author, playwright and essayist who is active in Robert E Howard studies. His biography, Blood & Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E Howard was nominated for a World Fantasy award, and will be re-released in an updated second printing later this month. His comic books SCOUTS! Premeires in March from Ape Entertainment.

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