The Key – Episode 6

The Key

It was like like the flicking of a big light switch.  One moment she was was sitting and listening to Kim’s story about her dog while eating pancakes absolutely soaked with syrup.  She was fighting the urge to pull out her phone.  Pet stories were only interesting to their owners.  The next moment Robin was standing in the middle of the adjacent courtyard on suddenly less achy legs.  She felt like a million bucks which was a lot better than what Other Robin had done to her the night before.  The wind had kicked up and she could feel her hair blowing dramatically to one side.

She looked over her shoulder and saw Kim was standing at their table and shout her name. She could see the words on Kim’s lips but she could not hear them.  All she could hear was a faint ringing as if a bomb had gone off.  She looked across the courtyard and saw that perhaps a bomb had gone off.  The corner jewelry store was now a towering inferno and there was debris all over the street and the courtyard.  In front of the towering inferno, the Doll Girl was standing, its body awkwardly twisted in what looked like rage.

The crowd had cleared out between Robin and the Doll as if they had received some subconscious signal or were afraid of fire for some reason. “You should have helped me!” The Doll Girl shrieked, its head tilted once again at an unnatural angle.  Apparently Robin’s hearing had returned just at the right time. Robin didn’t respond to that because she didn’t know how to respond.  How do you respond to a homocidal living doll?  Its happy face was painted on but somehow it looked incredibly angry anyway. “Now it’s too late.  Now I’ll take it from you!”  Its voice sounded like the unwanted child of a tea kettle and and a condor.  Its eyes began to swirl and twist violently.  “Robin Catherine Clarke.  Robin the Wanderer.  I’ll take you apart, discover your secrets and use them to cure myself.  Or maybe I could rule this city.” As the Doll kept screaming, its jaw became more and more unhinged and its limbs flailed wildly.  With halting, unsteady steps the shuddering, shivering doll lurched toward Robin.

Robin wanted to run away.  It was her feet that refused to budge, at least not in any safe direction.  She started to walk toward the raging Doll Girl which was the last place in the world she wanted to go, of course.  The Doll’s jaw was flapping wildly.  Its words were no longer being shaped by lips.  Still, despite the shrieking, they were as articulate as ever.

“No!  Stay back!  You had your chance, Wanderer!  You will die!  My kind will flourish and humanity will die!”  The words rang kind of hollow to Robin’s ears.  If desperation was a scent you could smell it for miles off of the Doll.  Robin kept her mouth shut and kept walking.

She did not know what she would do when she got within reach of the Doll. She felt like she needed to know the words but did not know the correct words.  She could feel that sensation again.  She began to burn and tingle all over and for a moment her vision blurred and her steps faltered.  She heard herself let out a little moan.  It was too much.  It would consume her.  It would consume her unless she passed it on. Suddenly doll-like creatures made of debris started to crawl out of the wreckage and shamble toward Robin with a stiff and hesitant gait.  They were all shrapnel and glass and looked like they could tear a person apart in seconds.

Robin tried to will her body to back off and get out of there but she kept walking toward the angry Doll Girl and her Dollettes. Other Robin must have a hell of a death wish. Gunshots sounded with a quick series of pops close enough that Robin wished her hearing was still gone.  One by one the Dollettes exploded back into rubble, seemingly harmless once again.  Robin looked to her right and there was the former Beetleman, standing tall with  a pretty large hand gun.  He turned his head slightly to glance at her.

“Are you alright, Robin?”

“How do you know my name?” Robin said with no small bit of shock.

“It’s a long story.  Are you alright?  You kind of have a job to do here.”  He responded, indicating the Doll Girl who seemed to be practically vibrating with anger.

“Um… right.  Time to do my thing.  Whatever that is.”  Robin said as she stalked toward the Doll Girl with a little more confidence.  Everything had mostly worked out with the Beetle Man so why would this be any different?  Once again she felt energy building up inside of herself and groaned with the pain and desperation of that feeling.  She sprinted those last few steps toward the Doll.

“No!  I will eat your flesh!  I will — ”

Whatever the thing was going to say was interrupted by Robin’s palm impacting its chest.  For a second Robin could swear she saw a dark shape flit down her arm.  There was a huge explosion of energy that threw Robin back into a couple of plastic cafe chairs and nearly landed her head on the concrete.  Beetle Man was there in a flash, holding his hand down to her.  She took his hand carefully and pulled herself up.  She brushed herself off and checked to make sure the fall hadn’t dislocated anything major.  Her head was spinning but with all of the strange goings on, she was not sure if this was a side effect of magic or a concussion.

“Was I that creepy looking when I was under?” Robin glanced away.

“No comment.” Of course he had been but what was the use of telling him that?  “The important thing is that you look good now.”  Which is when she blushed because maybe that was over-sharing.  It was true though.  He was tall, dark and handsome and had hair that was just a little long.

“Thanks.  Shouldn’t we go talk to her?”

“Talk to who?” The tall Indian-looking man who had formerly been an inhuman beetle monster pointed over to what looked like a smoking crater.  It was a smoking crater with a great pair of high heels and some shapely legs sticking out of it.  Robin started over toward the woman.  She power walked because she didn’t really want to go over there but she felt she should.  As she approached there was a familiar cloud of black smoke that made a screaming sound as it streamed into the sky and out of sight. Robin hung back for a moment in case there was anything else coming out of the girl.  She was beautiful and thanks to her recent doll form, she was done up a little like a beauty pageant contestant.  It was a little bit out of place in a crater in the middle of Robinson Square.  Unfortunately, the girl was unconscious but Robin could see her breathing which was a relief.  There was finally the sound of sirens approaching and a fire truck pulled up to start putting the inferno across the street out.  Police cars would not be far behind.

“We have to get out of here.” Robin said, looking around. “I’ll carry her. It’s not really her fault.  She shouldn’t go to jail.”

“Thanks.. um…  I’m going to have to call you something other than Beetle Man.”

“What?” He asked, paused as he bent down to pick the girl up.

“Uh… nothing.  My car’s down that way.” She pointed and he followed her easily with an unconscious young woman over his shoulder.  In the continued chaos of the courtyard they were easily missed.  They slipped away and headed back down Sullivan toward Carly’s apartment.  They arrived at Robin’s car without further incident.  “So how do we get her into the backseat?” There was a cough from behind them.

“Excuse me, but I don’t think you should move her more than necessary.  That makes sense, right?”  It was Kim who Robin had completely forgotten about.  They blinked at each other, both in shock for completely different reasons.

“Kim… I… I was going to say ‘I can explain’ but I really can’t yet.”  Robin said and smiled weakly and shrugged.  Honesty wasn’t always the best policy but it seemed best here.

“This is the strangest day of my life, Robin.  I don’t understand what happened but if there’s one thing I do understand it’s taking care of somebody.  I can take care of that girl for you, keep her hidden from whatever trouble she’s in.”

“Why would you do that?  Why would you get sucked up into my crazy life?” Robin asked.

“Because you’re Carly’s friend… and I’m needed.  Come on, I have Carly’s keys.  I, um, came to water her plants originally.”

Robin exchanged a look with the Beetle Man and then realized she hardly knew him enough for that.  She shrugged and followed Kim into Carly’s building and beckoned for the Beetle Man to follow.  Outside the sounds of sirens were everywhere as you’d expect from a city under attack.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: