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by The Visitor
This story, inspired by the Evil Dead trilogy of Sam Raimi, was oiginally intended for posting on the Xena Netforum. However, it quickly grew too graphically violent for that, and I had to resort to e-mailing it out. It has now found a more permanent home, here on Tom's page. Some portions of this story, it must be noted, are exceptionally gory and gruesome, as well as featuring the occasional profanity. Be warned...NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!
The Visitor Presents:
Imagine if you will a book...an unholy book, bound in human flesh, inked in blood. Necronomicon Ex Mortis--the Book of the Dead. An evil volume never intended for the world of the living. Filled with demon resurrection passages, funerary incantations, and much worse, the book is lusted after by the armies of darkness that inhabit the shadows of the Earth. Woe betide the unlucky traveller who comes across this tome...
EXTERIOR. An abandoned castle lies in partial ruins, it's blasted walls bathed in the dying glow of sunset. The moat of the castle is all but dried up, and a thick forest of leafless trees surrounds the castle on all sides. From out of the lone trail leading from the forest to the castle emerge XENA, GABRIELLE and ARGO THE HORSE.
GABRIELLE: Hey, what's that sheep doing in that tree?
XENA: Give it a rest, Gabrielle. We're here.
GABRIELLE: Great! Only we still don't know who asked us to come here, or why.
XENA: Well, we're about to find out.
GABRIELLE: I don't know...place looks pretty deserted to me...
Xena and Gab enter through the lowered drawbridge, to be greeted only by an empty courtyard and creeping crickets. Xena tethers Argo near the entrance, and she and Gab walk further inside. Nothing for several minutes, until suddenly, each feel a hand from behind, on their shoulders. Our heroines spin about, only to see...HERCULES and IOLAUS?
HERC: Whoa! Didn't mean to scare you, ladies. Sorry.
IOLAUS: Yeah, but, fancy meeting you two here, huh?
HERC: Don't be silly, Iolaus. Obviously, they're the ones who sent for us.
IOLAUS: Oh! Yeah, right, of course.
GABRIELLE: Wait a minute...don't you have that backwards?
HERC: Excuse me?
XENA: We didn't send for you guys, somebody sent for us. That's why we're here. We thought it might have been you.
HERC: Hold on here---you--didn't--send for us?
XENA: (sighs) No--we--didn't!
HERC: Hey, don't make fun! I'm a sensitive man-God, y'know.
IOLAUS: Ain't that the truth.
HERC: You have something to say?
GABRIELLE: Guys! If you didn't call us, and we didn't call you...then what are we all doing here?
Without further ado, a crossbow bolt flies down from above, embedding itself in the ground 'neath our heroes feet. A thin wire is attached to it, leading up and away at a 45 degree angle. With a grappling hook, a flourish, and a hearty 'yodel-hey-HI-HOOO!', the dapper AUTOLYCUS, KING OF THIEVES slides down and joins the fun.
AUTOLYCUS: The one and only. My dear...(kisses Xena's hand. She smiles, Hercules doesn't)...you're probably all wondering why I've called you here tonight.
GABRIELLE: You mean YOU called us here?
IOLAUS: If I get thrown in jail again because of this...
AUTOLYCUS: Pish-tosh, old man. Spilt milk. I've got BIG news.
XENA: Spit it out, Auyolycus.
AUTOLYCUS: All right, there's not much time, so listen up. I stole something, see? A book, only there are some...people after it. Well, to be quite frank, dead people. They want the book back, and they'll stop at nothing to get it. You have to keep it from them!
HERC: Why? I mean, if it belongs to them...
AUTOLYCUS: (knocking on Hercules' head) Hello, Hercules, anybody home? No story if you don't protect the book, got it?
GABRIELLE: I don't get it...where is this book now?
AUTOLYCUS: Secured in one of the dungeons below...I'll show you...
XENA: Tell me one thing, Autolycus; why did you even bother stealing this...
AUTOLYCUS: Necronomicon. And it was a challenge! After all, I am...(dramatic pause)...the king of thieves.
Xena and Gabrielle swoon ever so slightly. Herc and Iolaus shrug their shoulders and go 'Hmmmmph'.
HERCULES: All right, all right. Let's see this book.
AUTOLYCUS: Right this way, my...uh-oh...
IOLAUS: What is it now?
AUTOLYCUS: We're outta time...look!
Autolycus points out towards the horizon, and everyone looks to see that the sun has gone down...
NEXT CHAPTER: The slaughter begins!
Gabrielle and Iolaus versus the EVIL DEAD!!
The VISITOR Presents:
The sun is down. Darkness settles over the land, and the creatures that lie just outside our comprehension start to go 'bump' in the night...
HERCULES: I have a bad feeling about this...
GABRIELLE: Hunh! Good call!
XENA: All right, let's not waste any time. Iolaus, go with Gabrielle and fetch Argo, and check our perimeter while you're at it. Hercules and I will go below and secure this book.
GABRIELLE: Hold on...where's Autolycus?
IOLAUS: Hey yeah! He was just here, wasn't he?
GABRIELLE: Gone? What, you mean he's dead?!?
XENA: No, no. He's just...GONE, is all.
GABRIELLE: But what do you mean? Where'd he go?
XENA: Drop it Gabrielle, it's not...
GABRIELLE: I mean, I didn't see him go, so where could...(Xena nudges Gabrielle and leans in close)
XENA: (whispering) Bruce didn't want to get typecast, okay?
GABRIELLE: Huh?...OOOHHH! Right, gotcha, no problem!
XENA: Now scoot! See you soon.
Xena and Hercules enter the castle via a stone archway, and descend a flight of stone steps into the blackened bowels of the ancient structure. Gabrielle watches them go, then Iolaus gallantly takes her arm, and together they head for the drawbridge.
IOLAUS: So...how've you been?
GABRIELLE: Good, good. I see you've, uh, kept in--ahem--good shape.
IOLAUS: Ya think? (sticks out his chest, flexes his 'ceps. Gabrielle giggles) Well, you know, when you get into as many scrapes as I do...
GABRIELLE: Hey! Where's Argo?
Gabrielle runs over to the place where, just one short chapter ago, Xena tethered her faithful steed. Now, the reins lie empty on the dirt floor.
GABRIELLE: She was here! Xena tied her right here, I'm positive! How did she get loose?
IOLAUS: I dunno...although, horses can be pretty clever. I remember once...
GABRIELLE: Come on, we have to find her! Gods, Xena's gonna KILL me...
Gabby and Iolaus dash out onto the drawbridge and peer in all directions, their range severely hampered by the dark.
GABRIELLE: Argo! Here girl!!
IOLAUS: Yeah, come on, Argo! We got some nice tasty oats for you!
Suddenly, Gabby and Iolaus hear a strange whistling noise, like something flying through the air...it seems to be coming from all around them. They glance about uneasily...the noise grows louder...pulses race...hearts skip beats...a 'baaaaaaa' is heard...Then, from out of nowhere, two undead, evil, winged flying SHEEP swoop out of the sky and buzz our heroes, almost knocking them into the moat! They curse the humans with their spiteful 'baaaaaaa's and streak away. Gabby and Iolaus spring to action, she clutching her trusty staff, Iolaus drawing his sword.
IOLAUS: What in Hades WERE those things?
GABRIELLE: I think they were...sheep. Evil sheep!
IOLAUS: Oh yeah? Well what do they want with US?
The sheep swoop about, curving down for another run at the humans.
SHEEP#1: Swing around, 'arold. We'll get them on the next paaaa-aaaa-assssss!
GABRIELLE: There they are! Look!
Iolaus looks just in time to see the two sheep swoop into the moat, then disappear. They each start anxiously, but no sound is heard.
IOLAUS: So...where ARE they?
As if in answer, the sheep suddenly burst upwards, right in front of Gabby and Iolaus! They strike the humans dead on, sending them flying backwards. Both Gabby and Iolaus execute several backflips and mid-air somersaults before coming to an unceremonious landing in the muddy floor of the old moat. Their job apparently done, the sheep fly away into the night...
SHEEP#1: Dead by dawn, dead by DAAA-AAAAA-AWWWWNNN!
SHEEP#2: Baaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaaaaa! (roughly translated: what he said)
Deep inside the moat, Gabrielle and Iolaus slowly pick themselves up out of the muck and dung that lines every inch of the place.
IOLAUS: Well, that was fun. Now how do we get outta here?
GABRIELLE: Gimme a minute...Hey, where's my staff?
IOLAUS: Your staff? Maybe you...Hey, there it is! Up there!
Gabrielle looks up to see her staff, lodged in the branch of an overhanging tree. It's WAY out of reach.
GABRIELLE: Oh terrific! How will I get it down from there?
IOLAUS: You don't see my sword up there, do you? I can't seem to...to...
GABRIELLE: Iolaus? You okay?
IOLAUS: I think so...I've just got an itch...on my back...(with a grimace, Iolaus tries to reach his arms behind his back, to no avail)...can't...quite...reach it...
Suddenly, shockingly, horrifyingly, a pair of monstrous clawed hands burst forth through Iolaus' chest! Blood and gore spurt forth as if from a garden hose, drenching a shocked Gabrielle. Iolaus screams out in agony and mortal terror, and it sounds something like this:
IOLAUS: HHOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! EEEEEEEEEAAAAAAA-AAAARRRRGHHHH!!!! SSSPPPPPTTTTTTTT!!!! GGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
With one horrible motion, the evil hands spread apart, shredding Iolaus' torso like so much rotten eggplant. Pieces of him fly everywhere, littering the walls and floor of the moat. Standing there now is a muck-encrusted ZOMBIE, eager now for another taste of human blood...
ZOMBIE: (charging at Gabrielle) UUUAAAAAAAAAA!!!
The zombie grabs Gabby by the shoulder, and pastes a right cross across her kisser. And again! Oooh, another one! I CAN'T BEAR TO WATCH!! Now, as Gabrielle stands bloodied and dazed, he winds up his arm Popeye style, and nails her with a beauty that sends her flying. She lands flat on her back in the muck, and opens her eyes to see the creature charging once again! But with her right hand, she feels something out of place...hard...metallic ...Iolaus' sword! Desperately, she grabs it and races to her feet. But Gabby's no Xena when it comes to swordplay, and the zombie swats the sword right out of her hand. Up, up it flies, until finally embedding itself in the branch of a tree...the same branch holding her staff! Ever so slowly, it starts to wobble...
ZOMBIE: Nyuk-yuk-yuk! (Zombie raises two fingers and pokes Gabby in the eyes)
GABRIELLE: AAA!! Why you dirty little so-and-so, you asked for it!
Gabrielle hoofs him right in his evil gonads. He reels, and she nails him with a boot to the chest. Just then, as he staggers back, she hears a crack from above, and looks to see...her staff! Falling towards her! Arm outstretched, she makes a mighty leap skyward, giving her best mock-Xena battle cry ala Greater Good.
GABRIELLE: Aye aye aye aye aye aye YIII!!!
A spectacular catch! Gabby lands squarely, staff in hand and ready to rumble. She and the zombie eye each other with disdain.
GABRIELLE: (cocking her eyebrows) Come get some.
The zombie charges, and Gabby makes her move. With all her strength, she levels her staff at the creature's head...and pops it clean off! It flies right out of the moat, but the lifeless body keeps on coming, falling right on top of Gabrielle. It twitches and spurts, viscous green ooze flowing out onto Gabby's face and mouth. She gags and retches, then finally succeeds in rolling the wretched carcass off of her. She scrambles to her feet and kicks her fallen foe.
GABRIELLE: Son of a...that'll learn you...
Gabby is about to try and escape the moat, when she hears yet another sound...this one like something very heavy, landing in the muck behind her. Eyes wide, staff tightly clutched, she turns about slowly...and finds herself staring into a very familiar face,,,albeit a lot meaner than she's ever seen it before.
Argo the palomino stares back, eyes burning red, mane several shades darker than before, her once pleasant horsey mouth twisted into a malevolent sneer.
ARGO: ...Wanna take a pony ride, little girl?
NEXT CHAPTER: Trouble below!
Xena and Hercules in the DUNGEON OF DOOM!!
DISCLAIMER: No one was harmed in the writing of this...this... wait. Okay, Iolaus got a LITTLE banged up in the...sigh. All right, let me level with you. Iolaus was torn to shreds in the writing of this story. But don't worry, ummm, I'm sure he'll... you know, get better. He'll get plenty of rest, that's for sure.
NOTE: This chapter was actually posted on the forum once. It was after this one that I decided it was too gory to continue posting it. The version before you has been lovingly corrected of spelling errors, and boasts a brand new disclaimer, at no extra cost! How's that for service?
The Visitor presents:
As an ebony shroud blankets the land, two legendary heroes make their way through the ancient underbelly of a ruined castle, in search of an artifact that is EVIL itself...
HERCULES: So tell me. Do you think there's anything to this evil book story of Autolycus'?
XENA: We'll know soon enough...look, there's the dungeon.
Xena shoves open a huge iron door, revealing a dust ridden hallway. Several lit torches line the walls, and a forbidding dungeon waits at the far end.
HERC: This must be the place.
XENA: Race you!
HERC: Oh, no thanks, I'm--not much for racing.
XENA (under her breath): ya big wimp...
HERC: What was that?
XENA: I said it sure is damp.
HERC: Here we are...ladies first.
Hercules ushers Xena into the huge dungeon area, a large square room with three cells lining the far wall. A wide variety of weaponry adorns the walls, and a skeleton lies in a corner. Against the east wall of the room is a small wooden table, atop which lies the most nefarious piece of literature in fan fiction history--NECRONOMICON EX MORTIS!! Hercules spots the book and fixes on it, but Xena is more interested in the weapons.
HERC: This must be it...certainly LOOKS evil enough...
XENA: Wow, they have some really great stuff down here! A little rusty, but still!
HERC: You can almost feel it...
XENA: Hey, a morning star! I haven't smacked anyone with one of those in ages! And look at this flail! Boy, that brings back memories...(Xena looks over her shoulder and casts a sly glance in Herc's direction, although his back is to her at the moment) You know, Hercules...Gabrielle and Iolaus may still be a while...Heh, Argo's probably giving Gabrielle a hard time...There are a few things we could do to, y'know, pass the time? After all, you're a man, and I'm a woman...at least, the last time I checked.
Xena turns seductively towards Hercules, who is standing motionless and facing the book.
XENA: Whaddaya say, big guy? You, me, a creepy old dungeon filled with implements of destruction...works for me! (she walks up right behind him, but he still doesn't react) Hercules? You're...awfully quiet.
XENA: Hey, are you even listening to me? What am I, chopped liver?!?
Xena slaps a hand on Hercules' shoulder, and he suddenly spins to face her. What she sees astounds and terrifies her, ...Hercules is no longer human! His eyes, bulbous and green, his teeth razor sharp, his mouth contorted into a grotesque mockery of it's former Chippendale's splendor. The evil Herc spits out a bellow of rage and uppercuts Xena across the room. She hits the wall hard, and slides down to the floor with a thud. She quickly regains her senses, and looks to see evil Herc start to float in the air, newly clawed hands poised menacingly, his head jerking about eerily like a marionette.
XENA: Hercules? What in Tartarus..?
EVIL HERC: FOOL! I AM WHAT ONCE WAS AND SHALL BE AGAIN! I WANT WHAT YOU HAVE...LIFE!! I SHALL FEAST UPON YOUR SOUL!!!
XENA: Holy Guacamole, he's been zombiefied!
EVIL HERC: NOW, MORTAL, YOU SHALL DIE!!!
Evil Herc plops back to the ground and marches jerkily but quickly over to Xena. Leaping to attention, Xena throws a spinorama kick at Evil Herc...which he unfortunately catches, grabbing her leg tight. With a great swing, he hurtles Xena back across the room, colliding her with the table. It splinters to pieces, and she and the book end up in a heap together on the floor.
XENA: Unngghhh...wotta revoltin' development...
EVIL HERC: C'MERE, TOOTS! I AIN'T DONE WITH YOU YET!!
XENA: Whoa boy!!!
Evil Herc descends and grabs Xena tightly around the throat with both hands, and jerks her into the air. Spinning her around, he slams Xena's back into one of the cell walls...ouch!! Xena continues to struggle, but Herc whips her about and she connects equally painfully with another cell! Finally he slams her right up onto the roof of the dungeon, where he proceeds to really squeeze the stuffing out of her. Xena tries to break his grip, but even possessed, still is he...HERCULES! Still is he the son of Zeus! Still is he the mightiest man ever to walk amongst mortals! With the strength of ten ordinary men...
People are safe when near him,
Only the evil fear him,
Kindness in his eyes,
Iron in his thighs,
Virtue in his heart,
Fire in every part
of the mighty
(authors note: I apologize for the preceding deviation from the storyline, but after what I did to Iolaus in the last chapter, and taking into consideration what I'm ABOUT to do to Hercules, I thought it would be nice to do something special for those Herc fans in the audience. Just between you and me...those people are crazy!)
The life was pouring out of Xena faster than you could say 'I have many skills'. Those fingers around her throat were like steel bars, and weren't going to give anytime soon. Xena knew what had to be done...sometimes, when a relationship goes sour, the best thing to do...is just cut it off clean.
EVIL HERC: I'LL FEAST ON YOUR SOUL!!
XENA: Gllkkk...feast...on...CHAKRUM, you lousy creep!
Faster than he could see, Xena flashed her chakrum by and dug a fresh moat in Hercules' windpipe. He lost his grip on her then, and she slammed to the ground gasping for air. As she regained her strength, Evil Herc tried in vain to stem the tide of immortal blood gushing from his new blowhole. Xena stood, reholstered her chakrum, and stared him down.
EVIL HERC: X-Xena...I thought you loved me...didn't you always find me handsome?
XENA: Baby...you got REAL ugly.
Xena connects a haymaker to Herc's head that finished the job her chakrum had started. His demonic kisser ripped off it's moorings and landed in the corner with a wet splat. His body sputtered for a bit, oozing buckets of pus onto the gauntlets of Hephaestus, until finally it took a nosedive as well. Blood gathers in large pools where he falls. Then quiet descends, overpowering Xena. She lets herself start breathing again, and slumped to the floor, exhausted.
XENA: What a night...I hope Zeus isn't mad at me now...
Before she can continue, Hercules' headless body springs upright and goes for her throat once again! Xena screams and leaps to her feet. Herc rises also, and Xena instinctivelyshoots her hands out and delivers three finger blows with lightning speed to his chest and neck. He stands, momentarily confused.
XENA: I've just cut off the flow of blood to your...oh, bugger.
Headless Herc resumes his attack, but she quickly boots him against a wall. Then, unsheathing her sword, she hurls it at him and pierces him right in the breadbasket. It travels straight through and pins him to the wall. He struggles, but seems stuck for the time being.
XENA: All right, all right, I get the picture...
With a sigh, Xena walks over to the weapons on the wall, and carefully selects one in specific. She returns to her prisoner, and he seems to freeze up as the meager torchlight in the room is reflected off of the rusted, but razor-sharp head of Xena's new axe.
XENA: This won't hurt a bit...
...and so forth. Shortly, as the slippery, bloody chunks of meat that once were the Lion of Olympus flop and squirm about on the floor, Xena tosses down her well-broken-in axe and picks up a handful of the shattered wood of the table. Tossing the kindling onto the grisly remains, Xena then grabs the torch off the wall and sets the whole mess ablaze. As she replaces the torce on the wall, tortured wails and ghostly screams emanate disconcertingly from the conflageration. Fighting back tears, the Warrior Princess turns away from the fire. Her gaze falls upon the barren, bloody floor by the barred walls of the cells, and a look of concern crosses her face.
XENA: ...I'm forgetting something...
Xena suddenly feels a powerful yank on her hair from behind, and is wrenched quite painfully back. She wheels about frantically, and sees the disembodies head of Hercules, hanging on to her hair with his grotesque zombie choppers.
XENA: AAAAA!!! For the love of...
Xena tries desperately to swat the intruder away, but the hungry head has a tight grip on her flowing locks. Paying no heed to her direction, Xena steps into a huge pool of blood, and slips. She fals backwards, and shoots a hand out to stop herself. Her hand lands right in the burning remains of Hercules, and that feels every bit as great as you think it does.
Forcing herself up as fast as she can, Xena cradles her grilled hand, then glares at her unwanted passenger with evil glee.
XENA: That tears it! Get ready for the BIG SQUEEZE, little man!!
Whipping around one on heel, Xena poises herself with her back facing the bars of the cells in back of the dungeon. Then, with a mighty YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIIII!! She charges backwards, full steam. Closer, closer, the bars come, and Evil Herc takes notice.
EVIL HERC: nnh unnnhh...
She connects with a bone-jarring slam, and she bounces pff the bars almost as soon as she connected. She lands face first in the dirt, and quickly feels about for the presence of Hercules' head. He's gone! She turns, and sees her ploy worked...his head is wedged tightly between two bars. He rages, but to no purpose.
XENA: Gotcha, you little SUCKER!
EVIL HERC: AH, HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! FOOLISH MORTAL! EVEN NOW your precious Hercules is in our clutches! he suffers!!!! you will never survive!! dead by dawn, dead by dawn!!!
enraged, xena grabs a burning stick of wood from the table and runs over to the herc head. with a yell, she jams the fiery poker right into left eye. he screams out, and xena falls back to avoid the potent stench of boiling brains. after a minute, the head falls silent. xena leans up against a far wall, trying to catch her breath, unaware of the evil presence circling the room, waiting for an opportunity to fulfill the dire prophecy that will leave xena...dead by dawn!
next chapter: the battle of the century! Gabrielle versus evil Argo!!
disclaimer: Hercules was possessed, beheaded and dismembered in the writing of this story. however, hopes are high for a complete recovery.
The VISITOR Presents:
A dark night at an abandoned castle, in the middle of of an unknown forest. In the dried up wasteland of an ancient moat, Gabrielle of Potodaia stands frozen in fear, as the age-old drama of Woman against Horse prepares to play itself out as NEVER before...
GABRIELLE: Ohhh, this is so not good...
Argo the Palomino, once Xena's trusted mount, and now demonically possessed by the forces of the EVIL DEAD, rears up on her hind legs, and snorts a blast of fetid, black smoke at Gabrielle.
ARGO: Wanna taste some hoof, little farmgirl??
GABRIELLE: Eeeeeasy, girl...uh, I think I've got a nice, shiny apple in my handbag!
ARGO: Why you runt! I'll have your ugly head for a snack!!
GABRIELLE: Ugly?!? Hey, listen buster...WHOOAA!!
Without further ado, Argo bursts forward and starts charging at Gabrielle, whinneying ferociously. Gabrielle turns on a dime and makes tracks as best she can in the muddy floor of the moat, not making very good speed. She looks back, and Argo is gaining on her quickly, her evil, sneering snout jerking about wildly, as if it were nothing more than a stop-motion special effect. Heart pumping with a beat similar to Xena's battle cry, Gabby stops, wheels about, and charges right at Argo, staff raised.
GABRIELLE: What the heck, it worked in The Prodigal...
At the last possible moment, Gabby plunges her staff into the ground, and vaults up, up and over Evil Argo, flying right out of the moat! She lands on her side, rolling painfully around, finally slamming to a halt on the castle wall. Dazed, she picks herself up and heads inside. She takes a frantic look behind her, then takes off across the courtyard in her finest cowardly sprint.
GABRIELLE: Feet, don't fail me now!
Gab makes it almost halfway across the yard when she hears a sudden noise of air rushing overhead, and a terrible, sinister whinney. The next thing she sees is Argo, falling to the Earth right before her! She screeches to a halt just in time to avoid colliding with Argo's worse half. Argo takes the opportunity, however, to rear up and give Gabby the goods with both back legs. Gabby takes the vicious hit, and gets tossed across the courtyard. Her flight is stopped agonizingly short by the brick interior wall of the castle, and she collapses to the ground.
GABRIELLE: Ow ow ow ow ow...lousy, four-footed centaur reject!
Argo turns and gallops over to Gabrielle's battered form as she tries to haul herself up to her feet. Argo presses the advantage, and buffets Gabby with her front two hooves mercilessly.
ARGO: Nee hee hee hee hee!! WANNA TAKE A RIDE, LITTLE GIRL? WANNA RIDE, LITTLE GIRL??
GABRIELLE: AAA! OOWWW! OUCH! You rotten nag, I'll make glue outta ya! OOWWWW!!
ARGO: I'LL GRIND YOUR BONES TO MAKE MY OATS!!
GABRIELLE: Grrr...choke on this, you manure factory!
Gabby whips her staff upright, and jams it halfway down Argo's throat! Argo backs off, panicking and gagging on the protrusion. Gabrielle follows Argo's erratic path, prodding her staff as much as she can.
GABRIELLE: How does that taste, huh?!? You like the taste of that, do ya?!? There's plenty more, baby!! Plenty more!!!
Argo rears up on her hinds, and most of Gabbys's staff comes loose. Argo chomps down on the last remaining bit, and she and Gabrielle have a deadly tug-of-war going for a moment. Finally, Argo splinters the staff-end in her teeth, leaving one end a jagged, sharp edge.
ARGO (spits the staff splinters out): Ptooie! No more miss nice horse!
Argo starts thrashing about violently, neighing something fierce. Gabby takes a few cautious steps back, ready for action. Argo's coat starts to bubble and rupture, and blood starts erupting out of several lesions on her sides. A black, glistening substance can be seen, shifting just below the surface. Finally, two huge, leathery wings burst out, and Argo gives a few mighty flaps to shake off the gore. Gabrielle is not pleased by this new development.
ARGO: Ever seen a Horse-Fly, little girl?
GABRIELLE: (muttering to herself) This kinda crap NEVER happens in the other spoofs...
ARGO: Up, up and away!!
Argo takes a quick run and takes off into the darkened sky, circling around the courtyard like a big, horsey vulture. Gabby scrambles about, looking desperately for cover, finding none. Argo swoops down and buzzes Gabby low...and clips her with a hoof! Gabby spins about and hits the ground hard. Head spinning, she forces herself up to her feet and sees Argo taking another low level pass. Gabby stands her ground, and as Argo draws near, she leaps up into the air, and lands on Argo's back! Argo is furious, and she rises higher and higher, bucking all the way. Gabrielle hangs on for dear life, making sure to keep a grip on her staff the whole time.
GABRIELLE: WHOOOAA, Nellie!!! (looking queasy) Ooohhh, I shouldn't have had that last kiwi fruit...
ARGO: Let go a'me, you freeloader! No hitchhikers allowed!!
GABRIELLE: Manoman, I'm glad I never got my own horse!
Gabby snatches Argo's mane, and pulls herself into an upright sitting position. Argo continues to buck fiercely, but Gabby holds tight, although not without consequences.
GABRIELLE (bouncing up and down): OwowowowowowowowOW! I wonder if Xena gives butt massages...
Argo suddenly swoops down, just below a horizontal flagpole protruding from the interior castle wall. Gabby sees it too late, and takes a wallop to the face, but hangs on. Argo flies up high, and circles downward.
GABRIELLE: Enough is enough!!!
Gabrielle raises her staff up high, aiming the sharpened end right at Argo's neck. Argo peers about and sees the impending strike.
ARGO: Why you little...I NEVER LIKED YOU!!!
GABRIELLE: The feeling's MUTUAL, you crazy bitch!!!
Gabby closes her eyes and plunges her staff down, hard, right into Argo! It erupts through the front, accompanied by a billowing spurt of black blood that sprays all over Gabrielle. Argo emits a horrible screech of otherworldly torment, and starts a spiral downward...STRAIGHT down...
GABRIELLE: (watching as the ground gets awfully close, awfully fast) Brother...if it's not one thing, it's another!
Seconds before impact, Gabby yanks her bloodied staff free, and leaps for her little life. She lands with a bang, rolling around painfully in the dirt, which clings to her fresh coat of undead gore like feathers to tar. Argo hurtles on her downward course, finally hitting...and EXPLODING in a paroxysmic orgy of splintering bone and shredded organs. Argo here, Argo there, bits of Argo everywhere! Something wet and bloody and remarkeably kidney-like smacks Gabrielle right in the face. When she finally clears the waste from her eyes, the courtyard is covered in horse-bits, and a smoking crater where Argo hit exudes a horrible stench of death...
GABRIELLE: Good grief...Xena's REALLY gonna kill me...
Gabby tries to get up, slipping several times in the Argo-gore all around her. Eventually she succeeds, and is about to retreat into the castle to find her friend, when a sudden noise freezes her. But after a few seconds, she realizes it was a scream...and she recognized it! Dashing out to the drawbridge again, she peers out into the night, in the direction of the now pitch black trail that she and Xena came in on. And again, she hears it..this time, she's sure she has heard that sound before!
GABRIELLE: It can't be!
Without further thought to her own safety, Gabby grabs her trusty, if slightly soiled, staff, and dashes off into the night, moving inexorably towards the sinister forest ahead...swearing she can feel evil eyes watching her all the way...
NEXT CHAPTER: The battle you never expected to see!
Xena versus...(but that would be telling!)!!!
DISCLAIMER: Argo was obliterated in the writing of this story. All the King's horses and all the King's men HAVE been summoned, but their track record so far gives us little comfort.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE DEPT.: Late thanks to Johnny Nash, who wrote the lyrics to the Hercules theme song I sampled in the last chapter. "Newton, my shield!" "Right, Herc! Right, Herc!"
The Visitor Presents:
Ashes billow through the fetid air of a time worn dungeon, as the remains of the legendary hero Hercules smolder away like so much refuse. Eyeing the blaze with resignation, the Warrior-Princess Xena wanders uneasily through the room, weighing mulling over the consequences of her recent actions...
XENA: Okay, so I killed him. It's not like I had a choice, right? It was him or me, and brother, it weren't gonna be...(Xena's gaze suddenly falls on Hercules' head, still wedged between the bars of the cell walls in back. It seems to be staring at her, accusing her silently with it's one good eye)...oboy.
Xena turns and bolts out of the dungeon. She stops halfway down the corridor, and heaves her guts up all over the floor. Trying to catch her breath, she leans up against a full-length, dusty mirror hanging on the wall.
XENA: Wow...that was pretty out of character for me...
(Author's note: It's called creative license, baby, get used to it!)
XENA: Don't you EVER call me baby again.
(Author's revised note: Yes ma'am.)
Looking up, Xena notices the mirror. She lazily wipes some of the dust off, and takes a good look at herself. She is covered with gore, and generally looks like hell.
XENA: All right...get a grip on yourself, Xena...You're okay. Everything's fine...
Just then, Xena's MIRROR-IMAGE leans forward, and puts her hands on Xena's shoulders.
MIRROR-XENA: I don't THINK so...We just chopped up our boyfriend with an axe, then set fire to the remains. Does that--SOUND--fine?
Suddenly, mirror-Xena wraps her fingers around Xena's throat, and starts choking her, laughing a sinister laugh all the while. Xena reels, unprepared for the assault. She closes her eyes for a second, nearly blacking out as the powerful grip cuts off her air. When she opens them again, though, she sees that...she is choking herself! She stops immediately, and stares at her hands in confusion. Then, she glances back at her reflection. It's there, back to normal. She raises her fist in anger to smash the mirror, when she is distracted by a sudden noise...from back inside the dungeon. Instinctively, she hurries back down the corridor, not noticing that her reflection has stayed right where it was...
Xena arrives at the dungeon entrance, and looks anxiously about. Hercules' remains have dwindled down to a mildly smoky pile of soot, the head maintains it's grisly perch in the bars. In a pile of broken wood, the Necronomicon rests ignobly on the ground. Off to one corner lies a solitary skeleton, which Xena now notices is clutching a note in one hand. Several weapons adorn the walls, minus the axe Xena used, which lies on the ground. Nothing seems any further out of the ordinary than before, but Xena stays alert, placing a cautionary hand on her trusty Chakrum.
XENA: Come on out, boys...there's plenty for everyone...
Xena hears the tiniest 'clink' of metal on metal from her left, and spins about to see a Sword, once resting comfortably on the wall, now flying straight at her head! With lightning speed, she whips out her chakrum and deflects it. It veers off and embeds in the ceiling. Then, a trio of daggers leap off the walls, and make a beeline for her as well. She rehooks her chakrum and draws her sword.
XENA: Oh Yeah? You want a little?!? Come and get it!!
Xena expertly strikes down all three possessed pigstickers, shattering their tiny metallic spines into countless shards. She fails, however, to notice the leathery bullwhip snaking along the floor. It stabs out for her, wrapping around her legs and yanking her to the floor with a bang.
XENA: OOWW!! Ambush ME, will ya?
The whip continues to constrict Xena's legs, and the handle end rises up and waves itself happily in the air, taunting the fallen heroine.
XENA: Listen, skinny...unless your name is Gabrielle, you are NOT allowed to wrap yourself around my legs! Now beat it!! The whip makes a sudden, jerky gesture in Xena's direction, which she takes to be the closest it can come to flipping her the bird.
XENA: You little creep! Don't say I didn't warn you!
Xena raises her sword to slice and dice the offending armament, when she sees, from out of nowhere, a heavy iron Mace hurtling right at her noggin!
Slowly, painfully, Xena opens her eyes...and sees the moldy roof of the underground corridor. In a flash, all her memories come crashing back, and she scrambles to her feet. Grabbing her chakrum, she glares excitedly in all directions. She sees several weapons lying in disarray on the ground, but none of them are displaying any signs of life.
XENA: Rotten little backstabbers!! Come on and take it!! I've got PLENTY for everyone!!!
Xena waves her chakrum in the air, then pauses...silence. She waits tensely a few moments, then lets her arm slump back down along her side. She lets out a deep breath, and puts a hand to her aching head.
XENA: Criminy...What a way to run a...a..whatever the hell in ancient Greece corresponds to a railroad...
But Xena only has a moment to rest, when she feels a strange sensation. A tugging, in her right hand...or more specifically, her Chakrum. She yanks it up before her eyes, and witnesses a bizarre sight. The metal shell of the weapon itself seems to bubble and crack, and strange, black lines--veins, almost--crop up all along it's surface. It starts emitting a weird, high-pitched whining sound, that changes pitch all the time...almost like it's talking! And it starts to move on it's own, tries to break free of Xena's grip...as if it were possessed by a mind of it's own...a mind whose sole thoughts are those of PURE EVIL!!
XENA (eyes wide in horror): You...BASTARDS! You--took-my-CHAKRUM!!
The Evil Chakrum whines and struggles, and it's all Xena can do to keep it still. She drops to her knees and slams it against the floor, in a vain effort to drive the spirit out of it. It fails.
XENA (eyes now getting a little misty): ..give..me..back...my.. CHAKRUM!!!
Suddenly, the Chakrum leaps into action! It makes a sound, something like 'yip yip yip!', and flies off into the dungeon, with Xena still hanging on. Our hard-luck hero flies onto her stomach, and gets dragged off across the filthy tomb.
The Chakrum shoots across the dungeon like a thing possessed (appropriately enough), hauling Xena behind. A huge dust cloud stirs up as Xena digs a furrow into the rotten earthen floor. Ash and dirt choke her lungs, but she holds fast. The Chakrum takes a sharp turn at the cell walls, and whips around, zig-zagging all across the room. Xena crashes unceremoniusly all over, shattering the skeleton in the corner and getting a face-full of well-done demigod remains. Finally, the chakrum reverses course and zooms out of the room again, making a straightaway down the long corridor.
XENA: AAAAAA!!! Lousy piece of tin, where are ya takin' me?!?
Halfway down the corridor, the chakrum makes a sudden turn straight up! Xena follows along, but the chakrum then makes a swift jerk backwards, and Xena flies right up and impacts fully with the roof. Stunned all to hell, she loses her grip and crashes back down...bang!! Ignoring her pain, she leaps up and looks for her ex-weapon. Not seeing it, she spins around...dear Zeus, it's headed STAIGHT FOR HER!!! No time to act...or even RE-act! The deadly discus nails her dead-on, right between the...well, let's just say, between her two OTHER deadliest weapons, nudge, nudge. Xena's armor falls to the ground in two pieces with a clank. Barely moving a muscle, Xena slowly peeks downwards, and sees her chakrum embedded straight up and down within her abundant cleavage. And yet...no pain...no blood! The chakrum, at first giggling with wicked delight, now utters confused mumblings. Suddenly understanding, Xena lashes out and wraps her hand about the chakrum and yanks it free. A familiar object is attached to it, lodged well within the blade of the possessed weapon. The chakrum squeals with frustration.
XENA: Breast dagger, talgamite-for-brains. Don't leave home without it.
The chakrum goes berserk with rage! Xena grabs it tight, with both hands now, trying to keep it still. The breast dagger goes flying as the chakrum shakes about violently. Xena holds on, but the chakrum fakes her out, and slashes her right shoulder! She yanks it away, but it sneaks her again, and takes a chunk of flesh out of her left thigh this time.
XENA: AARRRGHHH!! Enough is enough!!
With all her might, Xena hurls the evil chakrum down the length of the hall towards the dungeon. It stops itself just before the doorway, and floats in mid-air, glaring at it's former mistress with it's single empty eye. Xena draws her sword and stares it down defiantly.
XENA: All right, you demonically-possessed, evil, round killing thing...
The chakrum makes a high-pitched squealing sound, almost like fear.
XENA: ...Let's party. YIP YIP YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIIIIII!!!!
Xena launches herself down the hall, racing towards the hovering chakrum at top speed, sword ready to strike. The chakrum, too, starts flying at Xena, doing the best war-cry it can, being metal and all. They get closer...and closer...and CLOSER...finally, mere inches apart, Xena STRIKES! The air is split with a terrible resounding clang of metal on metal, as she lands a cataclysmic blow! The chakrum goes flying back, back, and another massive clang rings out, as it finally embeds itself into the iron bars of the cell walls. In desperation, it squeals and shudders, but it's stuck but good. Xena dashes into the room and resheathes her sword. Quickly, she reaches into one of the cells and yanks out a length of chain, wrapping it through the chakrum and binding it tightly to the bars. She ties a splendid knot, cause she's Xena, and she can TIE knots in metal chains, and pulls it tight. The caught chakrum whimpers to deaf ears.
XENA: Gotcha, you turncoat! Enjoy your new home...until I can fire up a forge, that is. I'm gonna make a kettle outta you! Think you'll like that, huh?!? THINK YOU'LL LIKE...
Xena's cathartic ranting is interrupted, when her voice is suddenly drowned out by a shattering symphony of breaking glass, just down the hall...
NEXT CHAPTER: And now for something COMPLETELY Different! Salmoneus versus THE TREE!!!
DISCLAIMER: A chakrum is not a toy. Kids, play it safe and have an adult present when attempting to behead a schoolyard rival with YOUR round killing thing. Nothing ruins recess like a self-inflicted head wound.
The VISITOR Presents:
Surrounded by a dismal forest of barren and ancient trees, the sod and earth that comprise the sole path through this bleak forest have borne thousands of unwary travellers over the centuries. On this wicked night, only one such unfortunate makes his way along the twisted trail, closely watched by an unseen presence...
SALMONEUS: Brother...the things I do for Hercules. He'd better appreciate this. This rotten little jungle gives me the creeps. Doesn't he know I'm allergic to mosquitoes? It's so dark! I hope there are no wild animals in here...brrrr! Hercules!! Are you here?!?
And so on, in a similar manner as Salmoneus fumbles his way along on his way to the castle, unaware of the gruesome spectacle that awaits...should he arrive at all. For, at that moment, far out in the woods, a strange and ages-old force, something not so much seen as it is FELT, begins moving. Slowly, at first, then picking up speed, a horrible low moaning sound exuding from it's wake. Louder, faster, LOUDER, FASTER it grows, speeding it's way inexorably towards...
SALMONEUS: For the love of Zeus...how much farther could it be?!? My feet hurt. I sure hope there's food waiting at this castle. I wonder whose castle it IS, anyway? Maybe he could use a man of my reputation and skill...he definitely needs to work on his access routes, if he wants those tourism dinars. I could...
The hair on Salmoneus' body starts to bristle, and he suddenly is struck by the certain sensation that he is no longer alone...
SALMONEUS: (scared stiff already) W-Who's there? That you, Hercules?
In the woods, the evil starts approaching the edge of the pathway...
SALMONEUS: Listen...I'm a close, personal friend of Hercules...that's the son of Zeus, y'know...So back off, if you know what's...
It bursts through the treeline, and barrels up the trail right for Salmoneus...
SALMONEUS: (staring right in the direction of the presence) Homina homina homina...
Sal turns and bolts, inadvertantly scrambling into the forest in his bid for self-preservation. Faster and faster he scoots, tripping constantly on his toga, the foul force never more than a few paces behind...
SALMONEUS: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I don't wanna die, I don't wanna die, please don't kill me, I don't wanna die...
Dashing frantically, Salmoneus trips on a thick tree root, and goes flying headfirst through the air. He naturally expects to come to a sudden stop, but instead lands at the top of a steep incline, and bounces and rolls chaotically all the way to the bottom.
SALMONEUS: Ow!! Oohhh, my widdle head...
Suddenly recalling WHY he was running, Sal scrambles to his feet and shoots anxious glances in all directions. Panic practically oozes out of his every pore, and he's on the verge of fainting when he realizes...it's gone! Slowly, he begins to calm down.
SALMONEUS: (clasping his hands together and looking skyward) Oh, thank you! Thank you for sparing your faithful little Salmoneus! I won't forget this!! You'll see, I'll be a new man! No more sleazy schemes for me, from now on I devote my life to...
Just then, a pair of gnarled old tree roots spring out of the ground and wrap themselves around Sal's legs. With a yank, he is dragged to the ground, and the roots start dragging him along the forest floor, taking him who knows where.
SALMONEUS: Forget what I just said!! Some divine intervention THIS turned out to be! HERCULES!! HAAALLPPP!!!
Quicker and quicker they go, several other branches slinking around, and grabbing hold of Sal's arms. Poor Sal is buffeted by twigs and stones as he continues his mad journey through the forest, finally drawing to a sudden stop in front of a massive tree, as old as the forest itself. The aged tree emanates an evil aura. Sal is lifted off his feet into the air, facing the mighty tree. Several branches start snaking along his legs, working their way up, under his toga...
SALMONEUS: WHOOAAA, NELLLIIEE!!! TIME OUT!!!
TREE: (surprised) What the...HELL-LOOO! What's this?
The offending branches quickly withdraw, apparantly none too pleased with what they found.
SALMONEUS: Listen...what's the big idea?!?
TREE: I'm...I'm terribly sorry...
SALMONEUS: You're SORRY?!? What's going on?
TREE: Well, the thing is...I'm REALLY sorry, but I thought, well,...I thought that you were a lady.
SALMONEUS: I beg you pardon?
TREE: Well, you know, it's dark out, and that toga looked like a dress off in the distance...And a body gets LONELY, out here in the middle of nowhere for centuries.
SALMONEUS: I take offense at that! I take pride in my masculinty!
TREE: Like I said, I DO apologize...
SALMONEUS: (tugging at his beard) How about this? Seen many LADIES with manly facial growth like...like...waitaminnit. Just...WHAT...were you planning on doing?
TREE: What do you mean?
SALMONEUS: Just now! With those branches up the wazoo and everything...if I had been a woman, what were you gonna do?
TREE: Well, you know...ships that pass in the night...
SALMONEUS: But you're a TREE!!
TREE: Hey, my bark's still got plenty of bite, if you know what I mean.
SALMONEUS: Oy Vey...
TREE: Hey, watch it!
TREE: Well, I could be mistaken, but weren't some people on the Forum a mite...touchy about that phrase?
SALMONEUS: Ancient history, pal. And besides, we're not on the Forum.
TREE: What do you mean?
SALMONEUS: Just that. We're not on the Netforum.
TREE: But this IS a Xena satire, isn't it? Her or Hercules, anyway?!?
SALMONEUS: One of them. But no, the authour took it off because it was too violent.
TREE: I BEG you pardon?
SALMONEUS: Too graphic for a family forum was his logic. We're on e-mail now.
TREE: My big moment...
SALMONEUS: Well, back to the story...
TREE: What a pussy.
TREE: You heard me! The writer's a pussy! Too graphic indeed...where are his cojones?
SALMONEUS: Would you please watch the language?
TREE: Why?!? Wasn't the whole purpose of removing this story so that he could be as offensive as he wanted? Am I wrong?!? Pussy, puss-sy, pussy pussy pussy...
SALMONEUS: Listen, would you PLEASE cut that out? There are ladies present!
TREE: Really? Where?!?
SALMONEUS: Not HERE. The readers, I mean. They're almost all women.
TREE: Really? Why do you suppose that is?
SALMONEUS: Hmmm...hadn't given it much thought. I suppose...
Just then, GABRIELLE dashes in, bloody, splintered staff in hand.
GABRIELLE: (whispering) What are you guys DOING?!?
SALMONEUS: US? Ummm, we were just, uhh...we were...
GABRIELLE: Yeah yeah yeah. Well, I think you've shattered the third wall enough for one chapter, thank you. Back to business?
TREE: Fine. SALMONEUS: No problem.
GABRIELLE: All right, then. (clears her throat) Salmoneus?
SALMONEUS: GABRIELLE?!? Oh, thank goodness! SAVE ME!!
TREE: NEVER! NONE SHALL ESCAPE!! DEAD BY DAWN, DEAD BY DAWN!!!
GABRIELLE: Listen, buster, I'm in a pretty lousy mood. Now, unless you'd like to see exactly what I do to trees when I'm grief-stricken, I strongly suggest you put my friend down...NOW!
TREE: Oh, all right.
The tree retracts his branches and Salmoneus falls to the ground with a thud. He quickly scampers over to Gabrielle on his hands and knees and hugs her.
SALMONEUS: Oh, thank you!! Whatever you want, name it!! A nice cape, maybe? How about a horse all your own?
GABRIELLE: NO!!! (then whispering, to the tree) is that IT? We're SUPPOSED to have a big fight here!
TREE: (pouting) I'm sorry, my heart's just not in it anymore.
GABRIELLE: What a shambotic sketch THIS turned out to be. Come on, Salmoneus, let's get to the castle!
SALMONEUS: Right behind you!!
Gab and Sal dash out of the forest. The Tree remains, crossing his branches in front of him and just generally being huffy.
TREE: I'm getting my agent to call Democratus first thing in the morning...
Shortly, Sal and Gab are entering the clearing just before the castle. They close the distance speedily, but just before they arrive, a strange fog seems to fall over the castle. They stop, and in the mist seems to appear a sort of face, accompanied by a horrible, hypnotic wailing.
CASTLE: ...JOOIIINNN...UUSSSS....JOOOOIINNNN UUSSSSSSS......
SALMONEUS: THIS is the castle?!?
GABRIELLE: If that's the worst thing that happens to you here, consider yourself lucky. I'll tell you all about it, but first lets get inside.
SALMONEUS: Inside that? The castle of the damned? Uh-uh, no way!
GABRIELLE: You wanna stay outside? After what just happened?
SALMONEUS: Well, apparently, it could get worse in there!
GABRIELLE: Listen, Xena and Hercules are both inside. Once we meet up with them, we'll figure out what to do.
SALMONEUS: You sure? I don't know...
GABRIELLE: (sighs) Salmoneus, look over there.
With her staff, Gabby points to the moat. Sal is hesitant.
GABRIELLE: Go on! Take a look!
Salmoneus wanders carefully up to the edge of the moat, and peers in.
SALMONEUS: All right...now what am I looking..for...
Sal's gaze suddenly falls on the grisly remains of IOLAUS, the blasted remnants of his face twisted into an eternal mask of horror, staring up at Salmoneus.
SALMONEUS: BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! I'm COMING I'm COMING!!!!!
Sal races as fast as his feet will carry him into the castle courtyard, Gabby jogging behind. Halfway though, Sal slips on something and falls onto his butt with a splat. He looks around, and notices he is sitting in a pool of blood. Little shredded bits of meat and hair float in small clumps. Off to one side is ARGO, or at least his head, minus the jaw.
GABRIELLE: Oh, yeah,...that. (laughs nervously) Come on, Let's get inside, quick!
SALMONEUS: Good idea!
Gabby helps Sal up, and they both finally enter the castle. Grabbing a torch off the wall, they descend into the deep underbelly of the castle, following the path that Xena and Hercules took so recently.
SALMONEUS: They HAD to go into the basement, didn't they?!?
GABRIELLE: Sshh! I think I hear Xena! Listen...
Sal and Gab strain their ears, and soon, they both make out the distinctive voice of XENA. Neither of them, however, are prepared for the bizarre context of the sound...
GABRIELLE: ...What the Hades?
SALMONEUS: Maybe I'm not hearing this very well...is she SINGING?
NEXT CHAPTER: Together at last! Xena and Gabrielle...REUNITED! But someone's crashed the party!!
DISCLAIMER: The imaginary third wall between fiction and reality was pretty badly busted up in the writing of this story. Repairs are underway.
OTHER STUFF DEPT.: Most of you DEAD BY DAWN fans out there have already seen ARMY OF DARKNESS, as well as EVIL DEAD II. However, due to it's relative scarcity, some of you haven't been able to see the oruginal EVIL DEAD, from which one major plot point in this chapter was lifted. If anyone was a mite confused, allow me to explain.
The original Evil Dead movie was, for the most part, a pure horror movie, although Sam Raimi's over thee top style was in clear evidence. In this film, Ash, his girlfriend Linds, and several of their friends travelled to an abandoned cabin in the woods together. There they found the Necronomicon, and unwittingly unleashed the Evil Dead. Ash's friend Steve did most of the work, until his untimely demise near the ned, when Ash was forced into action. However, in perhaps the film's most memorable scene, one of the girls in the group was wandering outside, when she was snatched by tree branches and dragged into the woods. There, she was...well, quite frankly, she was raped by a tree. It was every bit as odd as it sounds. This was the inspiration for the Sal/tree exchange in this chapter. Hope you liked it!
Evil Dead II is not so much a sequel as a remake. Raimi injects a lot more of his humor into the second one, and all hell breaks loose in Army of Darkness, or MEDI-EVIL DEAD, as it was originally called. I recommend the first one for viewing, but be warned...it's a lot scarier than the other two.
The VISITOR Presents:
In it's day, the old dungeon had been home to thieves, murderers, butchers, and worse. The scum of humanity once wallowed within it's impenetrable stone walls, and the solid iron bars of it's cells. Now long abandoned, the dusty keep has once again become a nesting ground for the purest evil...a fact which Xena, Warrior Princess, keeps in mind as she creeps into the hallway, where the sound of breaking glass has captured her attention...
Leaving her possessed Chakrum embedded in and hog-tied to the cell bars, Xena slowly makes her way into the hallway, sword in hand. The limited light provided by the torch on the wall reflects off of several shards of glass now littering the ground, in front of the hall mirror. And just behind it, Xena swears she can make out the outline of a human form...a woman...
XENA: Who's there?
The figure says nothing.
XENA: Talk to me...is that YOU, Gabrielle? What's going...
As she draws nearer, Xena catches a glint of light from something metallic on the figure's chest...armor! Xena holds up and gets ready to rumble.
XENA: Come on out, whoever you are! The only thing in this dungeon more foul than the stench of burning corpses is MY MOOD, and I'd be perfectly happy to just slice and dice first and ask questions later! Now SHOW YOURSELF!
Calmly, the mysterious figure ambles into Xena's view. Her eyes nearly bug out at the sight...
XENA: Those boots...that leather...those LEGS...You're...ME!
Indeed, the new arrival is the spitting image of Xena...or rather, the MIRROR-image. She waltzes up face-to-face with the original warrior princess, a pleasant but mischievous grin on her face.
MIRROR-XENA: Small world, Xena. (eyes her disapprovingly) Tsk tsk...looking a little worse for wear, aren't we?
XENA: It's been a busy night. Listen, am I...going crazy?
MIRROR-XENA: HA! Baby, you're there!
XENA: I TOLD you not to call me that!
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: It wasn't me!)
XENA: All right, all right. Listen, what are you DOING here?
MIRROR-XENA: Well, it gets pretty boring cooped up in a mirror all day...I just wanted to reach out and TOUCH somebody!
With that, Mirror-Xena leaps at Xena, arms outstretched.
The two combatants grab each other around the neck at arm's length. The momentum of the attack knocks them both back, and they wrap their ankles one around the other. Their makeshift circle of bodies rolls back, back, until finally entering the dungeon, where they explode apart, leaping to separate sides of the room. Xena assumes a battle ready stance, a look of wild panic in her eyes. Mirror Xena calmly picks up the Necronomicon and leafs through it.
XENA: I have had it up to HERE with this evil dead crap!! Let's do it, right here, right now!! Come on!
MIRROR-XENA: Hmmm...look at this...recipe for Maggot Scampy...I haven't had that in YEARS...
XENA: (Running a hand through her hair) Oh, brother. Look, what in Tartarus ARE you? Are you me?
MIRROR-XENA: (tosses the necronomicon into the corner, where it lands in a heap on top of the shattered skeleton) Well...you see...I'm BAD Xena. (points at Xena) And you're GOOD Xena!
XENA: (raised eyebrow) There's a difference?
MIRROR-XENA: (In a sing-song voice) You're goody little two-sandals...Goody little TWO-sandals...(nails Xena with a slap to the face)
MIRROR-XENA: (now doing a little jig) Goody little two-sandals...(punches Xena in the gut) Goody little two-sandals...(hits Xena with a roundhouse kick to the head)...Goody little TWO-sandals...
Mirror-Xena suddenly turns, and sees Gabrielle, levelling her staff at her! She lets'er rip, and whacks Mirror-Xena right in the kisser. She reels back until the back of her head collides with the iron bars. She staggers about for a moment, then falls in an unconscious heap on the floor. Gabby whips her staff over her shoulder and walks over to her fallen foe.
GABRIELLE: Good...bad...she's the one with the sidekick.
GABRIELLE: XENA! Thank the Gods!
Xena and Gabby rush towards one another and collapse into a big hug. Peering around the corner, Salmoneus judges it to be safe to finally enter.
SALMONEUS: Pheeeeww! What died in here?
XENA: Salmoneus! What are you doing here?
SALMONEUS: And a pleasure to see you again too, my dear. I'll have you know, I'm here on official business. A lad in a neighbouring village told me that Hercules was summoned here mysteriously, so I naturally had an obligation to follow. I'm writing his official biography, you know.
XENA: Oh yeah? How are you at epitaphs?
SALMONEUS: (laughs nervously) Uhh, that's a joke...right?
Xena turns around quickly, and when she returns she is holding the head of Hercules in her hand, right in Salmoneus' face.
XENA: This look like a Joke to you, Seltzer-boy?!?
SALMONEUS: Gleep! (predictably, Sal faints here)
GABRIELLE: Oh, no! Xena, what happened?
XENA: Ahh, you'd just think I'm looney...Gabrielle, where's Iolaus?
GABRIELLE: Uh, well, let's just say that I know how you feel...and if you're looney, so am I.
XENA: (tossing Herc's head behind her) So much for a romantic interlude.
GABRIELLE: You know, we COULD always...
XENA: Gabrielle, please, I don't have the strength for a flame war right now.
GABRIELLE: It was just a thought. Say, what's the story with her (points at the unconscious Mirror-Xena) anyway?
XENA: I dunno. My worse half, I guess.
GABRIELLE: So...what do we DO with her?
XENA: I really wish you hadn't asked me that...
Xena crosses the room and wearily hafts the axe, still heavily spattered with the blood of Hercules. She walks back to Gabrielle and hands it to her.
GABRIELLE: Wwwaaaiiiiit a second. WHAT am I supposed to do with this?
XENA: Take a wild guess. Don't worry about your "blood innocence" thing. Technically speaking, I think it's already dead.
GABRIELLE: Small comfort! Xena, I can't chop you up with an axe!
XENA: It's not really me, Gabrielle.
GABRIELLE: You know what I mean! Why don't you do it? You're good at this...kind of thing.
XENA: Gabrielle, please...I've already had to slice my would-be-boyfriend into giblets tonight...If I have to do the same thing to MYSELF, I'd be ready for the nuthouse.
GABRIELLE: But I...I..
XENA: Look, just pretend you're mad at me...a little stress relief.
GABRIELLE: But I'm not...
XENA: I said PRETEND! Like, I just patronized you or something. Come on, get into it!
XENA: "Gabrielle, you'll have to stay behind, it's JUST too dangerous."
GABRIELLE: Hunh! How many times have I heard THAT...
XENA: "Don't be stupid, Gabrielle, you'd be killed. I'LL do it!"
GABRIELLE: Y'know, that WAS pretty aggravating...
XENA: "Don't you EVER touch my horse..."
Gabrielle halts herself in the nick of time, in mid swing.
GABRIELLE: What?!? What is it?
XENA: Sorry. Just wanted to get her armor first...mine's kind of busted.
GABRIELLE: Well, hurry it up!
Within seconds, Xena has transferred the Mirror-Xena's armor to herself. Then, Gabrielle proceeds with her dark chore. Hack after horrible hack, the wee bard effectively dices the demonic doppelganger. Finally the deed is done. Gabby slumps over the axe, breathing heavily. Xena walks over and pats her on the back soothingly.
XENA: There...that wasn't so bad, was it?
Gabby's head snaps up, and she stares at Xena with her eyes...eyes that are no longer human! Say it ain't so, but it's true...Gabby has been TAKEN by the EVIL DEAD!!
Gabrielle lays a powerful blow into Xena, knocking her back against the wall. Before Xena can recover, Gabby picks up the axe and takes a big overhead swing at her, which Xena narrowly avoids by dropping to the floor. The axe lodges into the wall, and Gabrielle struggles angrily to free it. Wit a quick fist, Xena shatters the axe handle. Gabby stumbles back and glares at Xena.
XENA: Gabrielle...not you too!
GABRIELLE: I'LL SWALLOW YOUR SOOUUULLLL!!!!
XENA: (and I know this is out of character, but...) Oh, shit.
Gabrielle attacks, buffeting Xena mercilessly with the axe-handle. Xena acts defensively, trying her best to block the blows.
XENA: Gabrielle, I-OW-Won't-OUCH-fight-OwwwwWWWW-YOU--STOP THAT ALREADY!!!
Gabrielle continues her barrage, as behind her, Salmoneus rises shakily to his feet.
SALMONEUS: Ohhh, what a terrible dream...
Gabrielle spins about and glares at Sal, hissing at him ala Callisto. He takes one look into her possessed peepers, and falls right back down.
Gabrielle turns back to Xena, who is standing in a battle ready stance. Gabrielle moves to lunge, but hesitates.
XENA: Come on, Gabrielle, fight it! Remember the good times, Gabrielle...remember...remember the Greater Good? Boy, you sure kicked some ass in that one!
XENA: And...and hey, how about those Monty Python spoofs? Those were sure fun, weren't they?
XENA: And what about Talus? He was quite a...
XENA: I mean BEFORE he died!! Okay, okay, bad example! How about...
Suddenly Gabrielle rushes forward and wraps her li'l fingers around Xena's throat! Refusing to fight back, Xena falls to her knees, silently quite annoyed at how many times she has been strangled so far in this story...
As Xena starts to black out, A strange look flows over Gabrielle's face...an appearance of sudden realization...regret, anguish, and then she releases her grip on Xena, and falls straight back, collapsing in a heap on the floor. Moments later, she slowly rouses, to see Xena's face mere inches above hers, staring into her eyes, now happily human again.
XENA: Gabrielle. Are you...feeling all right?
GABRIELLE: Yeah, I think so.
XENA: You're not, you know, possessed any more?
GABRIELLE: No, I feel fine now.
XENA: You're sure?
GABRIELLE: Sure I'm sure.
GABRIELLE: Yeah, yeah. Really!
XENA: That's all I wanted to hear. (Xena gets up, taking away her sword, that had been positioned directly over Gabby's throat. Gabby notices it as Xena resheathes it)
GABRIELLE: Hey! What were you gonna do with THAT?
XENA: Just a precaution. Nothing personal.
GABRIELLE: (Rising to her feet, holding her throat) Sure SEEMS personal! (then, sheepishly) Xena?
GABRIELLE: Sorry about, y'know, trying to kill you and stuff...
XENA: Hey, don't worry about it.
Xena and Gabby give each other another big hug, as Salmoneus awakens a second time.
SALMONEUS: Suffering Sappho...
XENA: What was that?
SALMONEUS: Oh, nothing. Listen, what's going on around here? Why are all these...ZOMBIES running around? I tell ya, this is no place for a coward like me!
GABRIELLE: It's all because of that stupid book!
SALMONEUS: What, this one here? (Sal picks up the Necronomicon from beside him. It's open, and as he lifts it, several pages fall out)
XENA: Hey, you break it you bought it, pal.
Salmoneus picks up the loose pages and starts reading through them.
GABRIELLE: What? Don't tell me you can actually READ that stuff?
SALMONEUS: Hey, I'll have you know I'm quite a man of the world! Did I ever tell you about the time I sold travel guides in the Caucasian hinterlands? Now there was a challenge in...
XENA: Salmoneus, what's so interesting?
SALMONEUS: Huh? OHH! The pages, right. Well, it says here that if you read this certain incantation, the evil presence surrounding the book will be given physical form, and then a great rip in space will appear, and suck the evil away through time.
GABRIELLE: Really? That's great! Can you read the incantation?
SALMONEUS: Sure, no sweat. But wait, you're not actually thinking of...
XENA: We'll do it in the courtyard. If this thing is going to be given physical form, I want to have some room to move around.
SALMONEUS: WHY do I even open my mouth?
GABRIELLE: Let's go!
XENA: Hold on, Gabrielle. There's something I want to do first.
GABRIELLE: What, Xena?
RINCH RINCH RINCH
SKREEK SKREEK SKREEK
TOK TOK TOK
Shortly, Xena stands before a thick wooden bench in the hallway. With a powerful sweeping motion, she swings her hand down towards it, or rather, the studded ball and chain that is now firmly attached to her right wrist gauntlet. The ball connects, and shatters the bench handily. Several large pieces go flying into the air, and are then speedily swatted by Gabby's quick staff, now with sharp dagger points lovingly secured onto either end. Both gals hold their new weapons up to eye level, and gaze on them approvingly.
XENA AND GABRIELLE: (in unison) Groovy.
SALMONEUS: You ARE gonna protect me out there, right?
GABRIELLE: No worries, Salmoneus! (Gabby shows off a bit, whipping her staff through the air) Ready, Xena?
XENA: As I'll ever be. Salmoneus, you carry the book.
SALMONEUS: Right, right. (Salmoneus grabs the book, and all it's loose pages) How do these things always happen to me?
XENA: All right, let's go. Everyone be careful. (The trio start heading for the outside, when Xena suddenly stops and looks at Gabrielle) And Gabrielle?
XENA: Don't you EVER threaten my immortal soul again.
GABRIELLE: (Embarrassed) Right.
And off they go, heading up the stairs that lead to the courtyard, and a deadly, potentially fatal confrontation with the forces of evil, while far below, in the dungeon, a disembodied hand starts itself a'twitchin'...
NEXT AND FINAL CHAPTER: This is the one you've been waiting for! Xena and Gabrielle versus the ARMY OF DARKNESS!!
DISCLAIMER: Gabrielle's soul was tarnished by the dark forces that haunt the nether regions of human existence in the writing of this story. Folks, if this should ever happen to you, remember to let a smile be YOUR umbrella.
The VISITOR Presents:
Emerging from the hell below into the dank, lifeless air of the old castle's courtyard, Xena, Gabrielle and Salmoneus tread carefully indeed. For soon, they shall be confronted by an evil UNIMAGINABLE...and they shall not all survive the experience...
XENA: Salmoneus, get in between Gabrielle and me...
SALMONEUS: How I've longed to hear those words under more pleasant circumstances.
XENA: Gabrielle, cover our rear. And be careful, we don't know wh--WHOOOAAAAA!
Xena suddenly trips on something beneath her feet, and falls clumsily to the ground. She is surprised to find that the floor is somewhat...gooey.
XENA: What IS this stuff?
GABRIELLE: Xena! You all right?
XENA: Fine. I just tripped over this...leg...this HORSE leg... Gabrielle...
GABRIELLE: (a little scared) Oh, gee! I, uh, wonder how THAT got there? Heh...heh?
XENA: (looking about, and spotting various little bits of Argo strewn across the yard) GabriELLE...
GABRIELLE: It was an accident! Honest!!
XENA: First you get possessed and try and strangle me, and now this?!? Now I understand why everyone asks me how I put up with you!
GABRIELLE: Aw, don't be that way! Look, it was...unusual circumstances!
XENA: I oughtta make you clean this up!
GABRIELLE: Oh, big talk, Miss I-just-hacked-Hercules-into-confetti!
XENA: Why you little...
SALMONEUS: Excuse me!! A little focus here, ladies! Now, no one enjoys a good cat scrap more than me, but I think we've got bigger fish to fry here, hmmm?!?
XENA: No, you're right. Gabrielle, help me up.
GABRIELLE: (holds her hand out for Xena) Are..are you still mad at me?
XENA: (Stands up, and gives Gabby a mild version of THE LOOK) We'll talk about it later.
SALMONEUS: Assuming there even IS a later...
Xena leads her small group into the approximate center of the courtyard. They stop, and survey their surroundings. The bloody soil of the yard stretches out around them, halting at the massive stone walls of the castle itself. The air is thick with the hoary stench of death.
XENA: Let's get this over with...Salmoneus, the pages!
SALMONEUS: (fumbling with the book) All right, all right! Can I just say how very disturbed I'll be if I die here? I mean, REALLY disappointed...
SALMONEUS: Got'em! Now, let's see, where does it...start ...Hello, what's this?
Salmoneus pulls out a single sheet of paper, of different size and texture than the others. Xena takes it off his hands and examines it.
XENA: Hold on...I remember now. This was the note that skeleton in the dungeon had in it's hand. Must've gotten mixed up with the others in all the confusion.
GABRIELLE: Lemme see!
XENA: Sure, but stay alert.
SALMONEUS: Okay okay okay, I think I've got'em in the right order. Shall I, uhh, begin? Plenty of time to reconsider, maybe opt for some more...CAUTIOUS line of...
XENA: DO it, Salmoneus!
SALMONEUS: Well, why can't SHE do it?? (points to Gabrielle) She can read all these languages too, y'know!
XENA: Because I want Gabrielle free to help me fight off whatever it is we're about to bring down on ourselves. Now READ!
SALMONEUS: (sighs) We who are about to die...AHEM! Nosferatos...
GABRIELLE: "My name is Knowbius..."
XENA: Not you, Gabrielle.
GABRIELLE: Oh, but Xena, this is so sad! Listen; "I am the last survivor of the castle of Kandar..."
GABRIELLE: "...The mysterious plague has taken all of my countrymen,..."
GABRIELLE: "..And soon it will take me as well. There will be no one left to bury me..."
GABRIELLE: "...As I have just finished interring the last of my fellow villagers..."
SALMONEUS: Kelamon Kanda...
GABRIELLE: "...In the soft dirt floor of the castle courtyard..."
Suddenly, the very ground begins to shake and tremble...the Earth itself groans and heaves, as if about to split asunder. Our three heroes..well, TWO heroes and one comic relief player, struggle to stay on their feet. The heavens, too, join in the upheaval, as huge black clouds cover the skies, and bolts of lightning start stabbing down from above.
SALMONEUS: What's happening?!? Ohhhhh, I knew this was a bad idea!
GABRIELLE: Calm down, Sal...Whoops!
Gabrielle stumbles and falls, landing right on her li'l rump. She is about to get up, when from out of the ground below, a decayed, maggot-filled pair of hands burst forth from the dirt and grab her around the waist!
GABRIELLE: YYEEEEOOOWWWWWW!!!! XENA!!
Xena starts to move to help Gabrielle, but at that moment, all over the courtyard, the same scene starts replaying itself with frightening speed. Dozens, maybe HUNDREDS of rotten corpses begin emerging from what should have been their eternal resting places, to extract a final, terrible vengeance on the world of the living. Xena, Gabrielle and Salmoneus can only stare in abject horror and desperation at the terrible sight...the ARMY OF DARKNESS has awakened!!
XENA: You may have been right about this being a bad idea.
SALMONEUS: You see? You see?? People never listen to me!
GABRIELLE: Just keep reading or we're ALL dead!! WHoaaa!
Another pair of undead hands wrap themselves around Gabby's face, hauling her down. Xena leaps over and lops them off with her sword, then hauls Gabby to her feet.
XENA: Back to back, Gabrielle! We have to protect the book!
SALMONEUS: And Salmoneus! We have to protect Salmoneus, right?!?
XENA/GABRIELLE: (in unison) KEEP READING!!
SALMONEUS: I'm reading, I'm reading!!
Soon, the courtyard is filled to bursting with the undead citizens of Kandar, all in various states of decomposition. The foul stench of the grave is so thick Xena and Gabrielle nearly choke on it. Slowly, the demonic hordes close in on our hapless heroines, who steel themselves for the assault. Their hearts pound as never before, unaware of the potentially GRATER terror happening at this moment, far below in the dungeon...
A severed hand twitches...
An eye blinks...
Chunks of meat and flesh realign crudely...
Shattered bones knit...
And soon, a gruesome figure rises to her feet once more...Now but a twisted mockery of the buff barbarian heroine she once mirrored...Appalling in her resurrection, but still imbued with the deadly power of the evil dead...the monstrosity speaks aloud...
EVIL XENA: I...LIVE...again...
The Courtyard...the battle begins!
XENA: Take no prisoners, Gabrielle!
GABRIELLE: You don't have to tell me twice!
There is no shortage of foes, as the undead denizens move in from all sides. A trio of skeletal heaps attack Xena head on, and she lets fly with her wrist-mace, shattering the first two into so much powder. The third one slips past her attack, and grabs her in a bear hug. Xena is surprised by it's strength, and has trouble breaking it's grip.
XENA: Grrr...I HATE uninvited guests!
Xena nails him with a head butt, knocking him loose, but not without some damage to herself as well.
XENA: OWWW! That HURT, you bony creep!
Xena leaps up and boots her foe right in the head, taking it clean off. It soars a country mile, clearing the castle walls. Gabrielle, meanwhile, squares off with four slightly more meaty foes, obviously more recently deceased.
GABRIELLE: Step right up, you evil scumbags...(swishes her staff menacingly)...ol' painless is waiting...
All at once, the ghouls charge at Gabby! With a yell, she makes a huge roundhouse swing at the lot of them with her newly improvised bayonet-style staff. Shortly, all four of them stop, bewildered for a moment. Then, one after another, their necks split open and lean back where Gabby successfully slashed them. All four heads fall pathetically back, and the remaining bodies stumble about in chaos, bile and larvae streaming out of their gaping wounds. Gabby gives the first one a solid kick, knocking it into the others, who fall over like tenpins. She allows herself a brief smile, but stops when she spots seven more of the fiends moving right for her! She glances back to Xena, who is similarly occupied.
GABRIELLE: Xena! I--I don't think we're gonna make it!
XENA: Keep fighting Gabrielle! We've got to keep going until Salmoneus finishes the chant!
Xena's brave words are cut off when, taking advantage of her distraction, ten undead zombies leap onto her, piling on high until Xena literally vanishes from sight! Gabrielle is horrified, but can't help. She focuses herself, and runs at her foes, swinging her staff with a vengeance. Here and there, she fells one of the evil buggers! She cuts, she slashes, but to what end? For every one she takes down, three more seem to attack! And her thoughts keep returning to her friend, buried alive beneath a mountain of the walking dead...
Salmoneus, for his part, tries not to watch the massive pile up of evil, continually pressing down on their warrior princess prey, hitting, poking, gouging, tearing, never letting up, showing no mercy. All seems lost! But, as Salmoneus trues to overcome his chattering teeth and continue his reading of the centuries old incantation, a sound reaches his ears...a familiar noise...why yes, I hear it too! Like a scream, or a cry...a BATTLE cry? Indeed, it is! Soon, the entire castle is reverberating with the awe inspiring AYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI!!!!!!!!!! of Xena! The pile of assailants overtop her seems to explode from within, and soon they are all flying off in all directions! Amidst the madness, Xena leaps to her feet, bruised, bloody, and mad as all get out. The assembled undead seem to pause as she casts her livid glare all around.
XENA: All right...that's it. NOW you've done it
The Army of the dead seem to collectively realize they have erred quite badly.
XENA: NOW you've PISSED ME OFF!!
Xena launches herself at the legions of Darkness with unbridled fury. Sword slashing, mace swinging, the warrior princess gives new name to carnage! Heads fly, arteries burst, limbs are hacked to bits, blood flows freely as if it were rain from the sky, bones are vaporized, bodies are carved like jack-o-lanterns, all under the unmatched intensity of her one-woman onslaught! The zombies are returned to the underworld faster than they can be counted. Salmoneus is forced to stop reading temporarily, as a thick, greenish blotch of human waste splatters his eyes. So impressed is Gabrielle with her companion's attack, she doesn't see the still-animated skeletal torso, crawling up behind her...
GABRIELLE: Go Xena!! Give 'em what for!! Yeah, do it!!! Oooooo, THAT's GOTTA hurt! That's it, you've almost got...AAAAOOOOWWW!!!
Gabrielle feels a sudden terrible stab of pain! Turning, she looks down, and sees her skeletal antagonist, hand still wrapped around a dagger, now firmly embedded in her lower left leg! With a wince, she collapses to the ground. Her foe yanks the dagger out mercilessly, and starts climbing overtop of Gabby to administer the killing stroke.
SKELETON: I'll cut yer gizzard out, little girlie!
GABRIELLE: Aaaaa..owwwww....sneaky...bag of bones...XENA!!
SKELETON: She can't help you now! Yer comin' over to our side!
XENA: Guess again!
The skeleton lifts his gaze, in time to catch a split-second glimpse of Xena's fist, just before it sends him flying off of Gabrielle! Not letting up, Xena leaps over Gabby and stands angrily over her bony target.
SKELETON: Errr...ummm...uhh...I'll swallow your soul??
XENA: AHHHH, SHADDUP!
Xena leans down and drives her bloodied fist into the skeletal head, shattering it, and driving the bony shards a good foot into the ground beneath! She lets out a deep breath, and yanks her fist out. She stands to her full height, and surveys the battlefield. It is a scene out of anyone's worst nightmare. You can't walk a foot in any direction without tripping on some body part or other. Blood and gore coat the grounds, pooling to over an inch thick in places. Xena herself is covered head to toe in the stuff. But the battle itself, she tells herself, seems to be over...
XENA: Gabrielle! (Xena runs back to her friend and leans down) Are you all right?
GABRIELLE: (laughs painfully) No! I've been stabbed in the leg, silly!
XENA: (grabs a strip of cloth off a nearby corpse, and starts dressing the wound) You'll be fine. I THINK the worst is over.
GABRIELLE: Oww! I sure hope so! Is Salmoneus finished yet?
The gals look over and see Salmoneus doubled over on the ground, heaving his guts out. Xena lifts Gabrielle to her feet, and helps her hobble over to him.
SALMONEUS: I can't WAIT until Joxer becomes the official second-banana character on this show...let HIM deal with this...
XENA: Salmoneus, you okay?
SALMONEUS: OKAY? That's a joke, right?
GABRIELLE: Hey, we did all the work!
XENA: Salmoneus, hurry up and finish the incantation. I'd REALLY like to get outta here.
SALMONEUS: (rising to his feet) Pushy, pushy! Now where was I? Oh yeah! Just finished the part about giving the evil...PHYSICAL form!
All three wait anxiously for something to happen...
GABRIELLE: Nothing...nothing is good!
XENA: Keep going Salmoneus. Finish it!
SALMONEUS: Yes Ma'am! Kanda Pamantos...
Just then, the Earth shakes again! This time with a jolt so great the ground itself almost splits under the strain!
SALMONEUS: I can't take it! Just kill me now!!
XENA: Salmoneus hurry up!!
GABRIELLE: Xena... XENA: What is it Gabrielle?
GABRIELLE: Ummm, I REALLY hate to tell you this...
XENA: Gabrielle, you know you can tell me anything.
GABRIELLE: Well, it's just that...well, the castle walls are ...moving.
XENA: Come again??
Xena whips her head around in the direction of Gabrielle's gaze. She is somewhat disturbed (AUTHOR'S NOTE: That's an understatement, kids!) to see that a huge section of the castle wall has literally uprooted itself from the rest of the structure! The thick mortar and stone it is comprised of slowly contort, and seem to be taking the shape of a huge hand! Elsewhere, the rest of the castle starts shifting as well, terrible groans and otherworldly wails accompanying the terrifying and impossible transformations.
SALMONEUS: IM READING IM READING!!!!! Kanda demondu...
GABRIELLE: Xena...what do we do?!? We can't fight THAT!
XENA: Gabrielle...this may be the end. I...I just want you to know that, well, the time I've spent with you has been the most special time of my whole life.
GABRIELLE: Really? Well, uhhh....thanks!
XENA: Thanks? That's it? Aren't you gonna say that you feel the same way about me?
GABRIELLE: Well, yeah, sure, I guess...
SALMONEUS: Ala salaya...
XENA: You GUESS? How can you say that? What about all those meaningful glances, sensitive dialogues, all those double entendres?
GABRIELLE: Well, gee whiz...that's just what we call pillow talk, Xena...
XENA: WHAT? You'd better be teasing me, you little...
SALMONEUS: Asadeen ird...UUURRRRKKK!!!!!
Xena and Gabby turn to see Salmoneus, pages in hand, eyes wide. Slowly he begins to topple forward, falling face down into the muck with a splat! Embedded in his back is Xena's chakrum.
GABRIELLE: Well, that figures! (Gabby tosses Xena a dinar)
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Xena bet Gabrielle off-screen that Salmoneus wouldn't survive this story.)
XENA: Now how the hell did that thing get loose?
EVIL XENA: Everybody needs a little help from their friends SOMETIMES, Xena!
Xena looks and sees the resurrected EVIL XENA standing at the edge of the courtyard, near the entrance to the dungeon.
XENA: Oh, this thing's just never gonna END, is it?
GABRIELLE: What do we do?
EVIL XENA: You will DIE, foolish mortals! We shall feast upon you souls!!
XENA: Bitch, you're going down! YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIY!!!
Xena leaps a dozen feet up and across, landing right in front of Evil Xena. They immediately start trading blows.
GABRIELLE: Be careful, Xena!
XENA: Gabrielle!! Finish the chant!! HURRY!!!
GABRIELLE: The chant...RIGHT!! (Gabby leans down and grabs the pages of the book out of Salmoneus' dead, bloody fingers)
GABRIELLE: Now where was he..?
Gabrielle feels a sudden shock, knocking her to the ground thanks to her one bad leg. She lands gracelessly atop Salmoneus' corpse, gashing her wrist on the now-silent chakrum in his back.
GABRIELLE: OWW! For crying out loud, what now??
Gabby looks out, and sees the massive hand that has formed out of the castle wall...reaching for her!! She looks at the page...can she read faster that a demonic castle wall can move??? Let's find out!
GABRIELLE: Ala asadeen amamnaon...
The hand draws ever closer...CLOSER...
GABRIELLE: Irdray....wait a second, what's that word?
TOO LATE!! IT'S GOT HER!! Stony fingers as thick as tree trunks wrap themselves around the tiny bard's torso, squeezing tight! She screams in pain as she is lifted up off the ground, and pulled towards a final destination...The newly formed MOUTH of the castle, teeth and all!! Frantically, she studies the final page in her grasp!
GABRIELLE: AAAHH!! Leggo a'me, you architecture, you! What the TARTARUS is that word??? Candle, candy...nonono... it's....KANDA!!
With that one magic word, the malevolent masonry suddenly releases it's bonecrushing grip on it's helpless prey, and withdraws! Gabby falls to Earth painfully. And then, all around her, and thought the whole area, something...happens. A great wind starts blowing...dust swirls everywhere...and in the air, a great vortex slowly opens, a hole in the very fabric of reality! A great suction starts to build, as everything in sight begins being inexorably drawn towards the great nothing within it's vaporous clutches! Gabrielle claws her way desperately towards Xena, who, even now, is locked in mortal combat with her cthulic counterpart! (not a misprint!)
XENA: I--am--SO far past having enough with you it ain't funny!!
EVIL XENA: GRRRRRR!!! Your little wench succeeded in opening the portal, Xena! But you're comin' WITH me!
XENA: Not on your afterlife!!
EVIL XENA: Just give it up, you Wonder Woman wannabe!!
XENA: AHHH, bite me, you....CALLISTO wannabe!
EVIL XENA: WHY YOU..!
Evil Xena swings a mighty blow at Xena, which she deftly ducks. Grabbing onto Evil Xena's hair, Xena rolls onto her back, hauling Evil Xena over her. At the crucial moment, Xena back-kicks Evil Xena over her...up, up...right at the vortex! In she flies, screaming her curses at Xena the whole time...
EVIL XENA: I'LL BE BACK!!! I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL!!!
XENA: Aaaaahhhhh, take a number!!!
And into the vortex flies Xena's dark copy, condemned to who knows what fate. Xena's victory celebration is short lived though, as soon she too feels the powerful pull of the otherworldly vortex! She resists the yank of the vacuum, even as she watches Salmoneus' lifeless form fly away into it's void. She is about to find a safe port, when she hears a familiar call for distress...
Xena whips about, and spies her friend, clinging for dear life at the bloodied soil of the castle yard. Without another thought, she sprints over to her and grabs hold of her little friend. As the pull of the vortex grows stronger, Xena unsheathes her sword and drives it deep into the ground. She wraps her free arm around Gabrielle, and holds on tight! Both gals are soon pulled off the ground by the very strength of the vortex! Xena tries desperately to maintain her slender grip on the hilt of her sword.
XENA: By the Gods, Gabrielle...how do you STOP IT?!?
GABRIELLE: How should I know?!? Geez, I wasn't expecting the spanish inquisition...
In sweeps Michael Palin as Torquemada, accompanied by several red-robed cardinals.
TORQUEMEDA: Nnnnnobody expects the Spanish....HHWWWUUUAAAAAA!!!
Into the vortex go the Spanish Inquisitors.
XENA: Well, that's SOMETHING, anyway.
For agonizing minutes, Xena keeps her grip on both Gabrielle and the sword. But slowly, SURELY, her fingers weaken. One goes...then the second...now a THIRD...and now...
With a loud popping sound, Xena and Gabrielle both suddenly flop back down to the ground. The air around them settles. All is silent. Several minutes pass before either of them move again, then finally, they rise cautiously to their feet. Xena and Gabby take a gander around them. The vortex is gone, as is most of the castle. The ground about their feet has been picked clean of it's meaty debris. The walls of the ancient castle have been dismembered, stone by stone. An empty wasteland greets their sight. And as they survey the scene, a sliver of light brightens their view. The first light of day, as the morning sun shyly rises over the horizon. Gabrielle's face explodes with delight!
GABRIELLE: Xena, we did it!! We made it, we survived!!
Xena stands calmly, letting out a deep breath. Then, she turns and looks at Gabrielle.
Xena reaches out and grabs Gabby around the waist, and hauls her in tight.
XENA: Gimme some sugar, baby.
LIKE, FADE TO BLACK, MAN!!
XENA AND GABRIELLE: DEAD BY DAWN
The Ultimate in Pre-Hellenic Satirical Horror
Was conceived and written by
This story dedicated to all my subscribers, and all fans of Xena fiction everywhere.
I couldn't have done it without you.
HOT TIP DEPT.: If you all are really Army of Darkness fans, then I strongly advise you to head to your local comic store and track down the Army of Darkness three-issue comic adaptation from Dark Horse comics. It features spectacular moody art by comic legend John Bolton and, because it was adapted from the ORIGINAL screenplay, it features a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ENDING, one which I think is WAY better than the one in the movie! Check it out.
DISCLAIMER: Good taste was tarnished beyond repair in the writing of this saga. To anyone who cares...WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS???
Have Xena and Gabrielle seen the last of the Evil Dead? Only time will tell...
banned for life from the Hercules and Iolaus fan clubs,