Chapter 24:

The Dungeon Universe (Fubsy the Clown versus the Ringmaster Part 2)


When Jack recovered, he was in a new world. Bookmark here

He and the others had been transported to a floating island with a circus tent on it. They were floating through what could only be described as a storm of dreams. An infinite number of strange beings, objects, and locations appeared, changed, and disappeared all around them. A man with a revolver for a head shot a woman made of emeralds. She broke apart, transformed into a hermaphrodite with a bumble bee for a head, and shot a volley of stingers at him. A flock of violins whizzed past playing the Spring sonnet of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi. One missed a note and was cut apart by the bows of the others. A world made of flesh and machinery appeared. It seemed like it was going through Sir John Bagot Glubb’s seven stages of empire: the Age of Pioneers, the Age of Conquests, the Age of Commerce, the Age of Affluence, the Age of Intellect, the Age of Decadence, and finally the Age of Decline & Collapse. Then it disappeared.Bookmark here

All the Blue Nasties entered the Zone.Bookmark here

Fubsy the Clown sighed. ‘This cursed place….’Bookmark here

Loco Lobo looked about her and whimpered.Bookmark here

All of the civilians were crying out and huddling together.Bookmark here

‘What is this place?’ said Jack.Bookmark here

The Ringmaster smiled and opened his arms wide. ‘This is the Dungeon Universe! It is a universe between universes, made of psychic energy from every being in the Multiverse! It is our collective subconscious, a means of interdimensional travel, and an afterlife for souls forsaken by the gods! Glorious, is it not?! The little Zone which we use is but a droplet of the Dungeon Universe that we summon forth! This is a realm of boundless potential! Look into the storm! Your subconscious will show you what your waking mind is supressing!’Bookmark here

Jack looked into the storm and saw a first-person view of someone firing a light machine gun into a desert village. Bookmark here

Puck was looking at a locker room full of dead hockey players. Bookmark here

Mezu was looking at a little blonde girl crying over the bodies of her mother and father. Bookmark here

Sam was watching a first person view of someone aiming a revolver at a United States Border Patrol officer. Bookmark here

Billy the Cameraman was looking at a first-person view of someone filming an old man being stabbed to death by a slasher in a smiley face mask. Bookmark here

And Marilyn….Bookmark here

Marilyn was looking at a gold arena in a red desert. A gladiatorial game was taking place. A hundred dark elves, reptilians, cyborgs, and other fantastic beings were fighting to the death with bladed weapons. In the end, there were only two left: a standing vampire and a Grey on his hands and knees. The vampire looked up inquisitively at the first-person viewer. A red hand came into view and gave a thumbs down. The vampire raised his swordstaff and beheaded the Grey.Bookmark here

When Jack turned to look at Marilyn, she was already smiling at him. ‘A nightmare, darling. I’ve seen such gruesome things since the start of the Death Game. Only natural it would play on the mind, no?’Bookmark here

Jack slowly nodded. ‘Sure.’Bookmark here

‘Hold on,’ said Sam to the Ringmaster. ‘Did you say our universe was part of a Multiverse?!’Bookmark here

‘I did!’ said the Ringmaster. ‘You didn’t think that our little Horror Universe made up the whole of reality, did you? The Devil’s Circus and I have toured the Space Opera Universe, the High Fantasy Universe, the Cyberpunk Universe, and many more! The genres of the Multiverse are endless!’Bookmark here

Sam’s eyes lit up. ‘Is there a Conspiracy Theory Universe?!’Bookmark here

‘Certainly!’Bookmark here

Puck raised her hand. ‘Is there a Post-Apocalypse Universe?’Bookmark here

‘Um…maybe!’Bookmark here

Mezu raised his hand. ‘Is there an Anime Universe?’Bookmark here

‘No!’ The Ringmaster scowled. ‘That’s a medium, not a genre!’ He twitched his pointed moustache. ‘Well, I don’t really know to be sure! The Multiverse is like the American Frontier; most of it is unexplored! You can ask the United Worlds if you really want to know!’ He held his fist to his forehead. ‘What are you doing, Charles?! You should be killing, not talking! I’ve been humouring you all for too long! Alice!’Bookmark here

A brunette with reptile scales in a red dress skipped of the circus tent. She was followed by a line of clowns escorted by mimes holding Uzi submachine guns. Bookmark here

Alice curtseyed and spoke with an English accent. ‘Time for a tea party, Hatter? Jolly good!’ She beamed at Jack and the others. ‘What a lovely unbirthday cake!’Bookmark here

She unsheathed an obsidian dagger and slit the throat of the first clown in the line. A giant satyr crawled up from the side of the floating island. It bit down on the torso of the dying clown, sucked the soul out of their body, and tossed the corpse into the storm. The next clown in the line came before Alice, and a new one emerged from the circus tent.Bookmark here

Mezu shook his head. ‘If there’s a God, he’s sick.’Bookmark here

The Ringmaster bowed. ‘You’re too kind! So long as Alice keeps on feeding Pan, I can remain here indefinitely! Fubsy, Lobo, assorted slashers of the Death Game, you have no chance! Now die for art’s sake!’ He cracked his whip in the air. ‘Dungeon Special: Chimera Chaos!’Bookmark here

A dozen giant chimeras came flying out of the storm. Bookmark here

Jack pushed Marilyn down and fended off a hyena-lion. Puck chopped a bear-gorilla’s arm off. Mezu ducked beneath a crocodile-shark. Sam ran away from a spider-scorpion, reached the edge of the island, turned around, and sliced it in half. Fubsy the Clown withstood the headbutt of a killer whale-octopus. Lobo traded a hail of strikes with a honey badger-armadillo.Bookmark here

The chimeras flew back into the storm.Bookmark here

By the end of the attack, all of the civilians were dead.Bookmark here

Sam screamed. Bookmark here

She was looking at one of the bodies: it was Billy the Cameraman!Bookmark here

No one had thought to protect him! They’d always taken no notice of the guy!Bookmark here

Marilyn knelt next to Billy the Cameraman and touched his cheek. ‘Billy?’ Bookmark here

His head rolled away.Bookmark here

Puck pointed her bladed hockey stick at the Ringmaster. ‘You’re dead!’Bookmark here

Jack wanted to butcher the Ringmaster too, but he couldn’t without endangering Marilyn.Bookmark here

Fubsy the Clown blocked Puck with his arm. ‘Leave this to Lobo and I! We’ve been preparing for this for years! Zone Special: Clown Clones!’Bookmark here

Out of Fubsy’s belly burst a thousand Fubsy clones. They rushed at the Ringmaster. Bookmark here

The Ringmaster cracked his whip at the Fubsy clones. More chimeras flew out of the storm and attacked the oncoming army.Bookmark here

The Fubsy clones spoke as one. ‘You can’t defeat me if you don’t know which one I am!’Bookmark here

The Ringmaster sneered. ‘There’s an easy way to find out!’ He cracked his whip at Loco Lobo. Bookmark here

All the chimeras swarmed on her.Bookmark here

‘No!’ The real Fubsy the Clown leapt and pushed Loco Lobo out of the way.Bookmark here

A dozen chimeras impaled him at once.Bookmark here

Loco Lobo howled.Bookmark here

The Fubsy clones disappeared in puffs of smoke.Bookmark here

Marilyn shrugged. ‘Mission accomplished, I suppose.’Bookmark here

The Ringmaster spat. ‘Fool! Such a waste of potential!’Bookmark here

A spiked mallet bashed his head in. Fubsy the Clown had snuck up behind him! He must have climbed across the underside of the floating island!Bookmark here

The chimeras flew back into the storm.Bookmark here

Loco Lobo barked happily.Bookmark here

Fubsy the Clown laughed. ‘That was easier than I expected!'Bookmark here

A king cobra ripped his throat out. Queen Cobra has snuck up behind him! She must have come out of the circus tent! Bookmark here

Loco Lobo snarled and bounded towards her.Bookmark here

Marilyn pointed at Queen Cobra. ‘It’s the Slasher Slayer!’Bookmark here

Blood streamed down from the top of the satyr’s head. It fell into the storm. The floating island began to crumble beneath them.Bookmark here

Queen Cobra ran back inside the circus tent. Everyone followed her lead. Loco Lobo dragged Fubsy the Clown along in her jaws. Bookmark here

Jack snatched up Billy the Cameraman’s camera. Bookmark here

He had been dedicated to his work, you had to give him that.Bookmark here

Jack ran into the circus tent.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.