“Revenge?” Kirin repeated, “What for?”
“You said my book was terrible,” Zoey Redbird replied. Kirin rubbed her temples.
“You try to gaslight me because I didn’t like your book. Yeah, that sounds like you.” She sighed. “Well, what’re you gonna do?” Zoey bit her lip.
“I hadn’t thought that far, actually. Usually, this is the point where the goddess Nyx intervenes on my behalf,” she said. Kirin laughed to herself. “What? Why are you laughing. You’re supposed to be scared,” Zoey whined. Kirin shook her head.
“It’s nothing, at least, nothing you’d understand,” she said. She strutted past the shocked Zoey and down the stairs with her head held high.
“Uh, Kirin, why are you patronizing the superpowered vampyre? On the list of bad ideas, that’s up there with flaming shark juggling or taunting C’thulhu, or juggling flaming sharks while taunting C’thulhu,” Textbox muttered furiously. They entered the living room through the adjoining kitchen.
“It’s okay, Textbox. I got this,” she said.
“Wait!” Zoey called from upstairs.
“Let’s just hope she doesn’t call your bluff,” he whispered. Kirin nodded. Zoey ran into the room.
“Zoey, do you know why I don’t like you?” she asked. Zoey pushed a stray lock of black hair from her face.
“Probably because you’re just jealous,” she replied. Kirin shook her head. When she spoke, her voice was dangerously calm and she enunciated every word carefully.
“Nope, not in the slightest. It’s because of your wasted potential. You had every chance to be a hero and a decent person, and every time you blew it. For example, in your world, there is obvious and understandable tension between humans and vampyres. As the one chosen by your Goddess and the only one in history to have the powers of all five of the Planeteers, you could have been the bridge between the two races. Instead, you immediately forget that you were once human and decide that vampyres were always superior. The plot of your book is just petty and pointless high school drama that is one big rips off of Mean Girls. In the climax, you do nothing when you know something’s wrong and then you have the gall to blame someone else for your failure to act. You pretend that you’re better than the school queen bee, but you do nothing but insult everyone that isn’t in your little clique. Even when you had the chance to be kind to the outcasts you pretend to be the champions of, you just insult the way they look. You’re nothing but a hypocrite and a bully. I even wrote a three part blog post on how reprehensible a character you are, and still felt like it wasn’t enough to capture how much I hated you.” Her tone, which had grown impassioned, softened. “But maybe that’s the thing. Maybe you’re not not Zoey at all. Maybe you’re just a manifestation of my own hatred, and if I let it go, you’ll go.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. A small smile crossed her face. When she opened them, Zoey was still standing there. She shrugged and said, “It was worth a shot.”
“Oh, don’t pretend you’re so perfect, little miss unicorn,” Zoey countered. “You’re just as bad as I am. What do you do every time something pops up in your house? You run to your room and write, trying to ignore the problem. You make fun of other people’s works even though you have accomplished nothing. You make fun Textbox even though you know he’s just a part of a broken man’s shattered psyche–“
“Hey, leave me out of this,” Textbox whined.
“And worst of all, you have in your possession a book that can save your world, and you’ve done nothing with it. Do you know why I keep writing “incomplete” everywhere?” Zoey asked. The wind began to pick up inside the room.
“You though it would scare me?” Kirin guessed. She slowly backed up against the cluttered kitchen counter.
“No, it’s because your little world makes no sense. You claim to have parents, siblings, friends, and school, but in the past year, only a few people have been to your house. You and your house don’t even make sense. What kind of house has bulletproof windows? Why are there so many weapons here? Where did you learn to use them? How did you have end up with a portal to other universes in your basement? Where do you live? Where are your parents when all this weird stuff is going on?” As Zoey spoke, the ground shook. Kirin’s hand clasped around the spine of a blanket wrapped book.
“You’re right,” she said and unwrapped the book, “I have been mean to Textbox, my world doesn’t make any sense, and I have the chance to save my world literally in my hands, so what the heck? Why not try it out?” Zoey gasped at the sight of the ancient tome. Kirin opened the book and immediately felt it pulsate and burn in her hands. The power of the book seemed to course through her veins.
“Kirin, are you insane?” Textbox yelled.
“Just a little bit,” she replied. Her voice reverberated throughout the living room. “But I also know you’re not really Zoey. You’re too clever by half. Zoey is too oblivious to point any of that out. So, before I send you to the great whatever, what are you and what do you really want?” Zoey chuckled, morphing into a shadow. Her voice lost her whiny edge and was little more than a growl.
“You don’t want to know what I am, for your mind cannot–” the shadow began but Kirin cut her off.
“If you say that my mind cannot comprehend you or your goal, I’ve heard it before and the last time it happened, it turned out that his real motive was stupid. So either tell me what you really want or I’ll just send you there right now.”
“I am death, destroyer of worlds, an eldrich abomination beyond your comprehension and–” Shadow Zoey began again.
“No you’re not. If you were, I’d be dead already or insane. So, once again, what are you?” Kirin was growing irritated. Shadow Zoey sighed.
“Fine. I was sent here as a harbinger and to scout out this world, but could not escape this house. I was awaiting orders,” she explained. Kirin furrowed her brows.
“Harbinger? Of what?” she asked.
“Maybe it’s Santa? Or a Celestial? Or a Celestial Santa?” Textbox suggested. Kirin took one hand from the book to rub her temples. Shadow Zoey flashed them a smug grin.
“Why should I tell you?” she asked. Kirin arched an eyebrow.
“Klaatu Barada Nikto…” she chanted. Shadow Zoey cringed.
“I don’t know, okay? All I know is that it is big, bad, and it sent me here. Please, you have to believe me,” she begged. Kirin sighed.
“Groovy,” Textbox muttered.
“Fine. Come with me,” she said. The two walked to the basement. With a word, Kirin pushed the away the heavy bookcase covering the inter-dimensional portal. She turned to Shadow Zoey. “After you.”
“What?” Zoey’s face was puzzled.
“Go, and never return,” she simply said. Shadow Zoey hesitated. “I said go. I won’t ask again, so either go now, or I learn what this book can really do.”
“Fine. I’m going. I’m going,” Zoey muttered. She walked through the portal. Almost on instinct, Kirin muttered a spell. The wall glowed. When it stopped glowing, she threw herself against it. The wall did not yield.
“Hey, I did it!” she exclaimed as she dropped the book.
“What did’ya do?” Textbox asked. Kirin felt a sudden wave of dizziness and sat down.
“I managed to close the portal. It shouldn’t bother us anymore,” she explained as she rubbed her burned hands.
“How’d you know to do that?” he asked. Kirin shrugged and stared at the book on the floor.
“I dunno. When I was holding that book, it just–I don’t know–whispered to me. I know it sounds weird, but–” her voice trailed away.
“Kirin, I came from a universe of superheroes, vampire cows, and talking ducks. Heck, I’m the disembodied voice in the head of one of those heroes. Weird is relative. Now, who’s up for The Gorgeous and the Graceful?” Kirin stood up.
“Always up for our Soap,” she replied. They made their way upstairs. “You think they’ll finally find out whether Emily’s baby is really Kincaid’s?”
“I figured it was an alien pod creature myself.” The two turned on the TV.
“That doesn’t even make any sense. When have aliens ever been on the show?”
“Now’s as good a time as any,” Textbox replied. Kirin sighed.
“I honestly wouldn’t put it past the writers,” she rescinded. The book, lying forgotten in the basement, glowed slightly, and the image of Kirin etched itself into the cover page.