Villain thwarted by hero. The Writers Cramp, 1000 words.
ick a card, any card!" The magician held the fanned cards out to the small group of late-night revelers, that had been forcibly gathered in front of her. She wore a red sequin half mask on her face, a top hat on her head, a form-fitting black tuxedo with a red cummerbund.
“C’mon, c’mon, don’t take all night!” The magician snapped at them.
One emboldened young lady stepped forward and pulled a single card out of the deck, the magician folded the fanned cards back into a deck and said, “While she reviews her selection, please feel free to hand over your wallets, watches, and jewelry to my Assistants.”
The four women who surrounded the group wore fishnet tights, red sequin body suits, red sequin half masks, and long white gloves. Two of the women had automatic pistols and two had canvas bags. The bags were thrust out to the crowd which threw their valuables into the bag.
“OK, look at your card and remember it,” the magician said, held the deck out and added. “Now slide it back into the deck.”
The young woman did as instructed and the magician shuffled the deck several times and handed it to the young woman and asked, “Now take a card off the top of the deck for every year of your age and place it face down on my palm.”
The young woman complied as the Assistants stepped back. The magician deftly flipped the cards in her hand over, allowing one card to flutter to the street.
“Is that your card?” She asked.
The young woman looked at the card and said, “Yes.” Just before the area filled with colorful smoke. When the smoke cleared the magician and her assistants were gone. Only the deck in the young woman’s hand and the card on the street remained. She squatted quickly to pick up the card. It was a 5 of diamonds. The only card missing from the deck was the 5 of diamonds.
ay stood and stretched. He was in the basement of an office building. He had inherited the room from the original Trojan superhero when that man retired. The room had a trophy case on one wall, a secure vault for really dangerous items and a couple of workbenches at one end. There is a wall splitting the room with a door in it just beyond the vault.
Ray passed through the door and twenty-five minutes later he has a gleaming brass helm with a black, brushed horsehair crest, a gleaming brass chest, and backplate, vambraces, girdle with black leather kilt, gleaming brass shin guards. His left hand held a shield and his right a mace.
The Trojan turned and passed through the only other door in the room to the street outside.
“Trojan!” A quiet voice called, urgently from the shadowy alleyway.
The Trojan didn’t hesitate from stepping into the darkness of the alleyway.
“Vidar!” the Trojan said when he saw who called to him. The helm allowed the Trojan to see almost as well in darkness as light and added a little infra-red to it also. Vidar gave off almost nothing in the infra-red spectrum which made the Trojan believe he was more than just human. But it didn’t matter they worked well together as a team. Vidar was at least as strong as the Trojan and definitely faster.
Vidar wore a leather covered steel helm that had a built-in mask that covered the upper part of his face. He had a simple leather tunic with a broad belt at his waist from which hung a two-foot cudgel. Vidar was tough enough and good enough with his fists that he mostly didn’t need the extra weapon but it came in handy against sword and knife wielders and the occasional villain that was exceedingly tall.
“Just saw that ‘5 of Diamonds’ heading down this alley about 3 minutes ago. You want to shut her down?” Vidar asked.
The “5 of Diamonds” had been robbing late-night revelers 3 or 4 times a week for the last 6 weeks. The police have been spread too thin to handle her themselves. The perennial problem of Knickerbocker City is that it attracts talented people and lunatics, in pretty much equal numbers.
“Yes. Let’s make this her last show.”
The two men took off at a run down the darkened alleyway, dodged bins and piles of trash. At the next street, they took a quick look and ran across to the next alleyway. The next street they found them.
Half a block away they can see the 5 of Diamonds surrounding a group of 4 people.
“She likes to use smoke. My helm filters that out and I can see through it. I will focus on her, you take out the ‘Assistants’,” The Trojan said.
They took off at a run toward the group. Vidar swung over to the other side of the road and continued running toward the Assistants on that side. The Trojan charged right at the magician and yelled, “Last show, villain!”
he magician turned, cursed and threw the playing cards at the Trojan. She grabbed a small ball out of her vest and threw it toward the Trojan. It blossomed smoke. The Trojan flung out his left arm with the shield and hit the assistant nearest the magician which knocked her into the other one. They went down in a pile. The Trojan plowed through the smoke and zeroed in on the backpedaling magician. She pawed at her vest but she was too slow. The Trojan trips her and she fells to the pavement; before she could voice anything, she had her hands cuffed behind her. The Trojan looked up and saw the two assistants he knocked over had untangled themselves and booked down the alleyway. Vidar had rendered the other two unconscious.
The magician’s muffled cursing is all that can be heard.