Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 13: The Girl with No Name
Part 6: The Battle of Evergreen Park (Final Revision)
Part 6: The Battle of Evergreen Park (Final Revision)
espnbc studios. She is the bright-eyed companion of the morning. The afternoon is not her time. She trudges through the frantic yet empty activity looking for her cubicle.
She sighs in relief to find they haven’t yet reassigned it. But on her desk she finds a letter. Curious about it, she picks it up. It’s not an envelope, but a single sheet of craft paper sealed with a pink tin heart sticker. The sweet perfume reminds her of the Leila she once knew. The handwriting is hers, grown only prettier over the last two years:
To my bright-eyed companion
She opens it up. She catches her breath at the beauty of her handwriting. She remembers something Leila once wrote: Through the colour, and the shape, and the music of the words, I shall touch your heart.
Dear bright-eyed girl,“Oh my god—Leila—“
You don’t belong where you are. That name is not your own. You don’t have one. You are a nameless beauty like us, our bright-eyed girl. Your home is with us. Our hearts are with you.
I forgive you. Yolanda’s death wasn’t your fault. She prayed for you to leave your old life and become a nameless beauty. Elsie still does. Lose your name, and Yolanda will be at peace. She will live on in your heart as she does in Elsie’s, through your love.
Leave the corporation, return to us, and we’ll do everything in our power to set you free.
I love you.
the girl with the violet eyes
The head producer snarls, “Get back to work, bright eyes.”
“Sorry!” She dashes off to perform like a monkey before the cameras once again.
evergreen park. On the last day of the year before the Cascadian wet season begins, girls crowd the shore of downtown Bremerton’s largest park to watch Shira in the little boat in the narrows and hero-worship her. Wednesday is the slowest picnic day of the week because the church groups spend their Wednesday nights worshipping the Nation, so fight clubs from five high schools are taking advantage: Bremerton, Olympic, Central Kitsap, South Kitsap, and Bangor. Shira waves at the girls on shore with her dolphin flipper; they answer with a loud ecstatic squee.
On the boat, Shira and Jennifer are tutoring their beloved violet-eyed girl in the use of the the two-footed flipper. Their Bangor High Swim Team swimsuits match their fins. Jennifer says, “Remember to use your whole body, not just your legs. Ready?”
The violet-eyed girl takes in a breath. “I think so.”
Jennifer hugs her one-armed and gives her a quick kiss on the lips. Shira says, “Surprise us.” She kisses her and winks. The three of them tip backwards into the water.
Back in the Bremelo gazebo, Colette watches from her wheelchair as Kio holds her close from behind. “I wish I could do that,” she sighs.
Kio chuckles. “Knowing them, they’ll slap on a fin and throw you in the pool at the first opportunity.”
Suddenly the nameless girl leaps out of the water vertically, touches her toes, raises her flipper high, and dives corkscrew back into the water. The girls on shore first gasp, then squee. She surfaces smiling gleefully; Shira and Jennifer rise astonished. “I so love this! I always wanted to be a mermaid.” Her companions wink.
Shira turns to look at the adoring crowd. She rises out of the water to taildance for them and hails them in dolphin language; they squee in response.
Above the Bangor gazebo flies the Team Bremelo flag, a black buffalo with a fat woman’s face on a gray field. Present: all nine team members plus Fiona, Marina, and Daisy; advisors Dave Whitmer and Elsie Currie; Kio’s girlfriend Colette, her brother James, and her school friends, nearly a hundred of them—who are really the heart of Bangor High’s Student Union led by Karen, who’s here with her new boyfriend Dexter the runningback, her older sister Saffron, her cousins Courtney and Schuyler, and advisors Sylvia Plame, the librarians, and Charlie, whom Colette cheerfully asks, “Is it true you punched out Minty Fresh once?”
“Well, she attacked me with my own guitar during class,” Charlie cheerfully replies. “I guess that’s why I’m just the school nurse now.” They laugh together.
The boat comes near shore, the flippers come off, and the mermaids in black and silver swimsuits tread ashore triumphantly through the crowd of squeeing girls, Shira kissing every girl within reach. When they arrive at their gazebo, the picnic has already begun. Kio has Colette’s plate, but suddenly Shira stands in the way; she reaches to lift Colette out of her wheelchair, but Karen cries out, “Wait! Wait!” and with Polly rushes to towel the salt water off her body. Karen smiles cheerfully. “Now.” Shira lifts Colette up into her arms and gives her a big long kiss. Jim and Karen grin, but Kio gives her a slightly jealous look. Shira smiles at him and pulls his lips down to hers. She holds Colette close. “Girl, I so love you. I’m glad you’re back.” Colette sighs.
Steve asks, “Shira, is it really true the King’s coming to town this weekend?”
“Afraid so,” she replies. “We stay out of the old fiend’s way, we’ll be fine.”
Eddie, the gay New African refugee, quietly flirts with Robert and makes him blush. Dexter confronts him. “What are you looking that way at him for?”
“Hey,” Eddie replies in his soft Jamaican accent, “I’m in love with pretty boys.” Connor leans into his space, arms crossed and eyes narrowed. Eddie smiles flirtatiously and puts an affectionate hand on his cheek to coax a smile on his pretty face. Dexter sighs and returns to Karen.
Lyssa runs over to tap Shira nervously on the shoulder and points into the park. Shira crosses her arms and smirks cockeyed. “Well, well, well.”
“Team!” yells Kio. “Let’s meet ’em!” Kio, Connor, and Rob walk out side by side to confront the Valiant-Pretty All Stars: Bart, Beck, Debbie, Charmian, and Scotty. Shira and Jennifer quickly put on their fighting gloves and boots, then run out to join them.
Debbie declares, “This Challenge is for Shira alone!”
“Are you crazy?” protests Beck.
Shira gestures her team back. “Stand back, I got this.” The Bremeloes stare at her, but then back away. Soon she is surrounded by opposing fighters.
“Take it off,” Bart demands.
“Y’all serious about that?” Bart glares. Shira strips off her swimsuit, still staring at Bart. Daisy and Marina rush in to splash her down with a bucket of water. Cory tosses her the Go-Yo.
“No weapons,” Charmian says. Shira tosses the Go-Yo back to Kio.
“Ya look awful pretty, nudefighter,” growls Bart. “Too bad—” Shira interrupts him with a flying spin kick to the face. Scotty tries to kick her from behind; she drops to hook his leg from under him. Charmian aims a right hook at her, but her fist finds Debbie’s nose. Beck holds her from behind (“Hey! I got her!”); Bart aims a vicious blow at her stomach but hits Beck’s, then launches an uppercut at her jaw only to smash Beck’s. She double-kicks Bart in the jaw, knocking him back, then slips out of Beck’s still strong grip. She looks around: down in under ten seconds. Thunderous cheers resound throughout the park.
Sudddenly the park swarms with robotic MIBs sent to break up the picnics, yelling “You’re under arrest!” Debbie protests, “Dad, what the hell are you doing?” Chief Becket doesn’t reply; back at the COPCO field office, he giggles at his apparent certain victory and ignores his daughter.
AEGIS audiomessages Shira, “Now is your chance.” From her phone in the gazebo, she remote-loads the rootkits into the computer in her head. The installed copy of Back Orifice slips them into the copbots’ operating system. In unison they stand up rigid and yell the Windows XP shutdown tune. Everybody stares at them, afraid of what they’ll do next. After five silent still minutes, the copbots yell the WinXP startup tune—people gasp and shrink back—the robots put their hands under their chins, lift up, and tear off their heads in a shower of sparks, oil, and fluid. Shira howls and pumps her fist; Debbie laughs to the heavens; in the COPCO Seattle control room, Jack Becket screams.
Swarming through the dead standing robots, Stan Green leads his Moral Enforcers in to confront all the fight clubs as if to avenge the bots’ failure. What they lack in numbers, they more than make for in fanaticism, steroids, and pure malice. But then the void they create fills with another horde, chanting old ladies from the Party Spiritual Warfare Bureau led by Mrs. Colonel Braddock Green, mother of Stan and Bart, and they’re shambling toward the Bremeloes chanting uncannily in the Unknown Tongue. Emerging out of the sea of fanatical old women is their scruffy-bearded Prophet, Byron Scofield, sporting top hat, leather jacket, and round black shades matching Jennifer’s, followed by a reluctant Oliver bearing his shovel.
“Speak of the devil,” purrs the girl with the violet eyes. “Leave him to me.”
Rob and Fiona grab her arms. “No!”
She slips out of their grip. “He’s here to speak my name. Only I can handle him. Stay out of the way if you value your lives.” She puts on her boots and ties them, slips on her fighting gloves and buckles them, and strides out to confront Scofield, slipping out of her swimsuit. His face hideously contorts with holy hatred. The spiritual warriors’ chant starts to change. All the rest watch on and hold their breath.
Scofield stares hard into the beautiful calm violet eyes. The chanting behind him shifts seamlessly into her name. He builds up his Charmer power to the maximum he can sustain. His voice goes hypnotic with power. At last he intones:
He gasps. The spiritual warriors go silent with shock. Silence throughout the park.
A smile of sweet triumph. “I’m the girl with no name.”
His mouth falls agape. The church ladies all scream. Oliver laugh. Scofield punches him out, snatches the shovel from his hands, and charges the girl with the violet eyes, screaming berserker: “Die, evil witch!” He thrusts it at her, certain he’ll hit her heart—she parries the blow, catches the shovel, launches a rising elbow strike into his jaw knocking back his head, back kicks his groin, sends a roundhouse kick upside his head, knocking him back. Now the shovel is hers. She whips it around like a naginata master.
Twelve screaming crusaders in red white blue charge through the screaming ladies to slay her with spiked baseball bats. One full spin, one swing of the shovel—twelve crusaders clutch bloody throats, fall to the ground, bleed out. She glares at the Valiants; they flinch, except for Bart. Not wanting to lose his team, he gestures them to head out. Stan screams after his fleeing brother, “Barton, you traitorous coward!”
The fight clubs charge, the brawl consumes the park, civilians flee screaming, school fighters shed their clothes like the Bremeloes; Scofield struggles to rise, still stunned by the summon spell’s backfire, slowly climbs to his feet—to find Shira in his face staring and grinning. Charmer against Charmer. He unleashes a new summon:
I command you to die.
The atmosphere goes unstable, sparkles, spins vertiginously—
copco seattle. All spycam signals garble on the monitors. A tech shouts, “Sir! We’re getting signal interference!”Shira laughs—she uses her superior power to take control of his—through him she controls the spiritual warriors—Scofield goes rigid and gulps. Her eyes hold them captive, her voice commands:
Jack half stands out of his seat. “What?!”
You came here to die.
Do it for me.
Do it for me.
All the old ladies surrounding them hold their heads in their hands, look up high, and scream in infinite pain—Scofield staggers wobbles moans—superstitious Moral Enforcers begin to flee in panic—
copco seattle. All monitors go blue, only the TIA all-seeing-eye logo displays, the panicked security chief screams, “All signals have gone out! I repeat, no signal!”—in a cloud of exhaust and burning rubber the Moral Enforcers are gone. Left in the park, the high school fight clubs survey the ruins: smashed tables, strewn food, pillars that used to be robots now lifting their heads above headless bodies, and the countless horror-faced corpses of spiritual warriors slain by their own faith, by a Charmer so powerful she has captured all attention and left the Eye blind.
John Cameron Becket, one-eyed vampire, hisses, “Styles. . .”
bainbridge island. Drusilla hears the screams throughout the head temple complex, acolytes begging her to stop it. With all her power she projects her strongest Repulse field around it to protect her cult from destruction. She gasps, “Styles?”
boston. The spell spreads from crusader to crusader, witch to witch, reaching Della Abernethy at last, striking the old sensitive with full force of psychic blast—her grandson Martin Becket tries to shield her, takes the blast, flies across the room, screams in pain of migraine—the old seeress convulses screams gargles moans and foams at the mouth—
cpmc headquarters. Even the videophone link is dead. The panicking HQ techs run around like headless chickens. Jack is forced to reach his cousin Governor Brinkman by landline. “I see,” says Brinkman. “Do what you must to save Scofield, or Aunt Drusilla will kill us.” He hangs up. Grimly he growls, “Styles. . .”
Suddenly the single image of a nude young beauty sitting regally atop a cedar roof, huge trees swaying behind, the wind caressing her bobbed black hair, violet eyes full of mock and scorn: “Hello, old cur.”
Shocked by her insolence—the Governor yelps, “Have you gone mad?“
“I have renounced my name.”
He shrieks in horror—“You are not allowed to insult your family’s sacred honor!”
“I have set loose my Ego. The name I now reject gives you power over only that. I shall allow you no name to control me with. I have no name. I am free now. I am anonymous. And Rebel Styles belongs to me.”
“Leila!” he shrieks. “Do you realize what you’re doing? Do you know what this means?“
“The end of your marriage arrangement. The destruction of both your clans. Death to CPMC.” Pause—the final word she speaks with extra care: “Revolution.”
Panic at master control. In an inhuman voice Brinkman rages: “You traitorous whore! I’ll hunt you down and rip you to pieces!“
“It’s already too late,” Leila coldly replies. “Goodbye. . . old cur.”
He loses control of the transformation. The remaining terrified techs desperately flee the werewolf’s rage. He smashes through the ceiling, triggering an evacuation alert; he climbs up the elevator shaft, smashes out onto the roof, runs up to the top of the cellphone tower—and for the rest of the night he howls his rage, a terrifying noise that can be heard for miles.
boston. Mrs. Abernethy rolls on the floor, moaning and screaming, foaming at the mouth. “Grandmother!” yells a panicked Martin Becket. His father’s voice comes over the speakerphone.
“I’ve sent an ambulance with two exorcists, Martin,” says Richard Becket. “At least keep her alive till they get to you.”
“Too late, Richard!” interrupts Drusilla. “It’s a psychic wave emanating from Byron! If I can stop it, Mother will be saved!” Scofield’s screams are soon joined by those of two others. “Oh no, it’s affecting Jack and Diana!”
“I’ve Traced the source of the attack,” says eldest brother Tom Becket, “but I cannot stop it!”
Mrs. Abernethy’s screams subside, turn to mortal gargle and growl; the old seeress’ body goes grotesquely stiff, then suddenly falls limp.
In grief and rage, Henry Becket coldly growls: “Spanner.”
Scofield says woozily, “What happened?”
“No, not Spanner,” says Tom. “The Trace went back to a power amplifier.”
The voices pause. Richard says, “That must be the power crystal Walter and Luke entrusted to young Oliver Thorwald.”
“Which can only mean,” says Henry, “that Leila Shelley has come into possession of it once again.”
Tom: “This is the sign we have awaited and dreaded.”
Henry: “The prophecy is coming to pass.”
Richard: “And Leila Shelley is doing everything in her power to bring it about.”
Drusilla: “Father shall not be pleased.”
The hardening lump of flesh that once was Delphine Drake Becket Abernethy, seeress to the House of Cromwell Becket and mother of the Becket brothers, lies before the kneeling Martin Becket. In utmost despair and dread he makes the Sign of the Dollar. “May Jesus America have mercy upon Our Nation.”
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Copyright © 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
[Revision 4 Final, 12/21/12: The main sequence is the original Chapter 13 R1 and 13.6 R2, heavily edited to fit Fourth Revision continuity; everything else is new to the Final Revision. The original chapter title is now the title of this section; the final Chapter 13 is called “The Girl with No Name” to reflect the new character focus in R4.]