Its back and *MIGHTIER* than ever!


Big BirdTM had taken to calling Mrs. Bilbao's office "The Doodle Pad."

I had spent the last three hours carefully designing some friends for the feathered fury but this time I drew them in pencil first. I figured it was better to be able to perfect the designs before I tried to bring them to life.

The problem is that I am not an artist. I don't really create original, inspired things. I got so frustrated trying to create novel creatures and heroes that I had tried to pass the job on to Mrs. Bilbao. Unfortunately, as we soon discovered, for reasons that I couldn't explain, I was the only one who could lift the stupid pen.

Instead, I had to consult with my two companions about design ideas. Unfortunately, every one of Mrs. Bilbao's ideas had been done by another comic book company.

"How about this," she said, "The Shaman!"

"Done. Marvel's Alpha FlightTM."

"That is a dumb name for a comic book."

"They were Canadian."

"A Californian must have named them. How about 'Mr. E,' a hero with mystic powers. That is clever."

"Done. Vertigo comics."

"This is not a great time to worry about copyright law. If I were you, I would just draw Superman or Jesus and set them on the demon."

I tried to explain that I wouldn't be able to make them look like the actual people they were supposed to look like, citing Chickenman as an example.

As for the paragon of poultry, all of his ideas were chicken or egg themed.

"How about... 'The Eggman.'"


"All right, all right. What about 'Red Rooster.'"


"Ok. Ok. 'Hot Chick?'"

It was monotonous.

After several hours, I had finally design three characters that I thought were original and that would be able to help defeat a demon. I carefully inked them and them named them to bring them to life.

"Minerva Van Helsing, strategic whiz and demon slayer. Teflona, whose skin is impervious to flame and scratching. The Agnostic, former Catholic whose powers of doubt are dismaying to faith based creatures."

"I wish you would have made me a teen sidekick," groused Chickenman.

They rose from paper, one by one, my team of demon slayers

"Greetings, American, how may we help you," purred Minerva, who looked distressingly like Misha now that she was in amazing 3-D.

"I need you to help Chickenman kill a demon."

"I don't believe that," said The Agnostic.

"Where is this demon, American?"

I wasn't sure. Mrs. Bilbao suggested we turn on the radio. Reports suggested that the Demon had been raising something of an army of death metal zombies who were currently tearing up Arizona - and heading north to Flagstaff and us.

"We'd best prepare for this demon. Teflona and Big BirdTM - find a perch with a decent southern view. If the demon on foot, send Chickenman back for help. I'll start preparing the demon banishing rituals. Agnostic, go sit in the other room with Mrs. Bilbao and complain about how none of this is possible."

"Well, it isn't."

"Good work, Agnostic. Good work."

Minerva had really taken control of the situation, and I was very relieved.

"What should I do?"

"I need you to draw some weapons for me."


Two hours later, I had created an impressive arsenal of the arcane for Minerva. I felt for Mrs. Bilbao in the other room who had to listen to the Agnostic listing 100 reasons why God couldn't possibly exist, but she seemed to be enjoying it in her own new-agey way.

And then Chickenman came flying through the roof of Painted Desert Marketing.

"They're here."

"Big BirdTM! What happened to Teflona?"

"Overrun by zombies."

Minerva flew into action. In a single, fluid gesture, she poured some sort of healing salve over Chickenman, getting him back on his feet, and grasped a pole arm tipped with holy silver.

"That's a pretty useless specification," The Agnostic had said as I drew it, but it didn't phase Minerva any.

"Silver is anathema to demons."

As per her instructions, The Agnostic took Mrs. Bilbao into a room that I had reinforced by drawing "demon proof bars" on the walls, then he came out to lend his powerful doubt to the impending battle.

They charged outside, a mighty trio, my creations, apparently not realizing that it would be a good idea to tell me what to do, too. I figured I had started this problem, so I might as well try and help.

When I went outside, I was almost knocked out by the smell of rotting flesh. There were five - maybe six - zombies wandering around the parking lot. I couldn't see my heroes anywhere so, as the zombies shuffled towards me, all I could do was slash them in the neck with the pen and shout, "decapitating wound!" I am sad to report that the bass player of Frayed Corpse was now, well, a frayed corpse.

And then I felt it, around the back of my neck. It felt cold, wet, and just a little sharp. I turned and faced an angry looking woman covered in tattoos holding a red fountain pen, fresh from contact with my skin. Instinctively, I lashed out at her neck with my pen.

Almost at the same time, we said "decapitating wound."

I suspect I turned as pale as she did.

To Be Concluded?
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This was my original "second to last" chapter at Survivorblog. I had to replace it because I bite.

"Oh Jesus. Not Rhi. Not Rhi..." Renee sobbed as she watched her friend's blue, bloated corpse rotate up and out of the river. She wished she hadn't listed to her now, but it had seemed like such a good idea at the time.

"Nay, over here, quick!" She heard a voice whisper, at the top of the stairs to the mill. She saw hints of a familiar face illuminated in the dancing light of a kerosene lantern. he gestured, then vanished inside the mill.


She ran to the top of the stairs.

"Quick, close the door... He's out there..." he whispered, sitting on the bloody log, still embedded halfway through the blade of the mill saw.

"Keith! Rhi and Brandon, they're..."

"Dead," he said horsly, "I know. The others, too. I think."

"Did... you see them?"

"They looked dead to me."

"No. No. We should never have listened to Mia."

"You're shaking. Come and sit by me."

He moved the lantern to the floor. With the light beneath him, his shadow looked huge on the mill's wall and ceiling. She walked over, sobbing. Her one remaining shoe squished on the floor, as her bare foot was covered with the sawdust and wood shavings and worse from the floor.

"Oh, Keith. Thank God you're all right."

She sat by him and laid her head on his shoulder. Then she saw the bloody hand on the floor behind the lumber, reflected in the flickering light of the lantern. Keith's... class... ring...

She turned to look at the man she was sitting by. It was Keith's face, but something seemed wrong. Impulsively, she touched his cheek and his whole face just slid right off.

"Bitch," said the lumberjack grabbing her by the wrist and rising quickly.

She screamed, of course. For the first time, she got a good look at his face. At first, she thought he was some sort of devil, for it looked like a horn was sticking out of one side of his head, but then she saw its metallic surface reflect the flame.

"You... you did this to me... you and your tree spiking radical friends..."

"No, we're conservatives! Look at our clothes!"

"That's what they all say before they meet the saw."

He hurled her over the log and, despite her struggles, managed to bind her to it.

"I ran a good mill... it was nature friendly... never over logged... used water power instead of gas... never used any gas... and then one of your hippy friends spikes a tree... I knew if I cut enough of them down you'd come back... You'll all pay... every one of you..."

Suddenly, his ranting was drowned out by the sound of the spinning blade. Like a scene out of some old melodrama, Renee was being pulled towards it on the log. Little bits of blood and gore left over from Keith flew from the saw and splattered her face.

Renee twisted and struggled and, somehow, managed to free one of her legs. Lashing out like a whip, her leg made contact with the kerosene lamp, kicking it towards the deranged lumberjack. Immediately, all the sawdust and wood shaving on the ground turned the mill into an instant inferno. The blade whirled. The flames leapt. The lumberjack was ablaze. She felt the heat from the fire and screamed for her life.

Suddenly, she was falling. Somehow, the fire had collapsed the floor of the mill beneath her. The log hit the water and, miraculously, the force of the impact somehow snapped the ropes. Renee found herself dazed, half floating, half walking on the river bed.

She heard a sharp, whizzing sound as the spinning wheel dropped out of the burning mill towards her, missing her by inches. Finally, she crawled up to the muddy riverbank and collapsed. She tried to get up, but all she could do was lie there and cry. She thought she must be going into shock. Suddenly, she heard the sound of feet thrashing through the muck.


The lumberjack, horribly burnt, came rampaging at her - his whole body a mass of blackened skin, the bones of his left arm visible through the sickening, crisp meat.

Renee suddenly remembered that Keith was dead. This monster had killed him. All of her fear and sorrow turned to anger and, somehow, she pulled herself to her feet and charged at him, wielding her remaining black pump. With one mighty swing of her shoe, she knocked the spike the rest of way the way into the lumberjack's head.

He didn't even scream. He just froze, his eyes staring at her with a mix of hatred and shock. He feebly lashed out at her with his good hand, but the force of his swing just made him fall face first into the mud of the riverbank.

Renee didn't wait to see if he was dead. She ran as fast as she could, past the van, past the chopping block, past Brandon's body, through the brush at the edge of the forest, until she collapsed, dazed and sobbing, right before the tree stumps started.

Leaning on particularly wide stump, she looked at the rings in the light of the full moon. Each one, a year in the tree's life. She tried to remember what Mia had told her that the different kinds of rings meant, but all it did was remind of her Keith's ring. She wiped her tears away and struggled to her feet.
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“Does Mrs. Bilbao have a cell phone?”

I figured we could call her and get Chickenman – or Big BirdTM, or whatever he wanted to be called – back here to fight the killer ducks. We were barricaded in the lobby of Painted Desert Marketing, the sounds of little duck machetes and axes at the door.

“No. Can’t you just draw another superhero? Maybe Super Duck Hunter or something?”

I explained to Misha that I was a little reluctant to draw anything new. Who could guess what I would release into the world? Sure, maybe he would be a benign goofball like Chickenman, but it could also be a raving lunatic like Happy Jack.

I saw a glint of metal out of the corner of my eye as one of the ducks managed to work an axe head through the front door. I could see his beady little duck eye peering madly through the crack.

“Well, we have to do something, baldy!”

Misha and I pushed her desk up against the door, but that was going to be a temporary measure at that.

“What about an inanimate object? Surely that wouldn’t destroy the world. Some kind of anti-duck weapon?”

“I don’t know how to fight!”

“Then design something for me.”

It was a good idea, I guess. It would really depend on what we named it. I don’t know why my mind flashed on it, but I was suddenly reminded of the origin of Iron ManTM. See, they needed Tony Stark to make a weapon, so he designed this suit of armor. This seemed like a great idea.

I sat down and took a good look at Misha. Attractive, slim, and – I guessed – Japanese. I drew this great suit of samurai like armor for her. It showed a lot of leg. She didn’t seem to appreciate this at all.

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s, uh, magic samurai armor. See? It sprays deadly shooting stars from the wrists and, with the jet pack, you can fly. Also, the helmet is hooked up to the Interweb so you can access any information you want instantly.”

“You have made me Japanese stereotype armor. You are a complete ass-hat.”

I guess I was, but my being an ass-hat was about to save us from the ducks. The armor rose up off the page.

“Look away. I won’t be able to put this on over my clothes. Sexist ass-hat.”

Yeah, I guess I had made it skintight. I was beginning to realize that I found Misha kind of hot. Maybe she thought I was a jerk now, but I was sure that, in time, she would come to love me, especially if we were co-workers. To be honest, I believe most women I am attracted to will come to love me if given time. While this has almost never proven true, I figure this is just because I have given it enough time.

“All right, I’m ready to face the ducks.”

I turned around. She looked pretty hot in the red and white armor. Well, and pretty pissed off. I admit, though it was metal, it didn’t really leave much to the imagination. Actually, now that I thought about it, it also left an awful lot of flesh exposed to attack.

“This is completely impractical. There wrist bands weigh a ton, my left leg is completely exposed to duck sized attackers, I can barely see through these goggles and I’m afraid that if I bend over to kill one of them, I’m going to completely fall out of the top of this. I mean, what the hell?”

There was no time to respond, because at that moment, the ducks burst through the front door. Misha immediately release a burst of throwing stars, which cut through three of them.

“You should make a joke about Peking duck now,” I joked.

“Shut up or you’ll be eating star next. Jesus Christ.”

She turned to face the remaining two ducks. The meaner of the two came flying at her with a little chainsaw, which didn’t even nick her armor, though it did take a chunk out of her exposed arm.


She activated the rocket pack on the back of the armor, which fried the duck, which had landed right behind her. She also screamed in pain and collapsed to the ground. Apparently, the flames from the rocket pack were able to burn her exposed left leg. Oops.

The last duck, enraged by the deaths of its friend, came at her with his axe, but she must have been in shock or something because she didn’t move. Not knowing what else to do, I leapt at the duck and made a slash across the length of its back.

“That’s a deadly wound,” I yelled.

The duck turned away from Misha and start to approach me.

“Quaaaaaaack. Quaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.”

I tripped over the cooked body of his companion and fell backwards. With a quick flying hop, the duck was on my chest, raising its axe. I figured this was the end. However, just then, blood and organs started flying out of the opening wound on the duck’s back.


It fell over dead. I looked at the pen, and then got up to check on Misha.


“We couldn’t get the armor off of her, I’m afraid,” said the paramedic.

“Its, uh, magic. I think only she can take it off.”

“We don’t go in for magic around these parts,” he said.

Misha was taken off to a burn unit at the local hospital. As the ambulance drove away, Chickenman and Mrs. Bilbao returned from their date. From the grim look on her face, I guessed that Mrs. Bilbao was none too happy about the destruction of her front office.

“I’m sorry about this,” I said, “ we had a problem with ducks.”

“That isn’t important right now,” said Mrs. Bilbao, “that demon you created attacked a death metal concert in Phoenix and killed a bunch of people.”

“We have to stop it. We’ll need help,” said Chickenman, with a determined frown.

“What band,” I stammered.

“I think their name was Frayed Corpse.”

Frayed Corpse. My friend’s band. The one for whom I had originally created the image of the demon. Now, he might be dead and it was my fault.

“What sort of help?” I shot, pulling out my notebook.

To Be Continued

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