Chapter 65:

Den of Evil


Their new friends all gathered around the sisters, vying for their attention. One wanted to show them how the place was laid out, another was already trying to add their info to the registry. Dozens more were asking a million questions they didn’t know how to answer- mostly regarding the publications of Tough Boys Comics. Before they knew it, they were being tugged at from all sides with no way out.

The struggle was mercifully ended when extremely long-haired woman, more persistent than all the others, suddenly pulled them aside. Herself dressed in an elaborate gothic costume, the cosplayer seemed particularly interested in their clothing- as Frankie looked down amidst the chaos, she was already being sized, a tape measure wrapped tightly against her.


“So sorry!” The dark princess perked up, freeing the girl. “I’m Anita. Would you like some new clothes?”

“Oh! Really?” Katie asked in excitement. “We’d love some!

Frankie eyed the smiling woman suspiciously. “Why do you ask?”

“I can tell you don’t have much other than what you’re wearing now. Is that right?”

The younger sister blinked, embarrassed. “How’d you know…? D-did we forget to wash our stuff?”

“No, no! Don’t worry. I just have a special eye for the fashion-stifled. It’s not that these clothes are bad, far from it… but you look so bored. The way I see it, antibody should be just positively overjoyed by the act of wearing clothes that truly excite them. By the looks of it, you’ve had to put those on again and again for days. I’m gonna make you two something, okay? Come see me in an hour!” The eccentric woman ran off in an instant, scurrying to her sewing machine.

“Well, that was…” Frankie began, before she was stopped by the words of a loud, loud young lad.


He looked at least twenty judging by his great height and impressive beard, but his demeanor made it quickly apparent he wasn’t any older than sixteen. The bounding golden retriever of a boy was dressed in perhaps the most unique way out of all the legion, pairing a long, stained fast food t-shirt with black widow-print tights and a chapeau à bec, still mostly managing to fit in with the red-on-black color palette- except for the giant gold shackle glaringly strapped to his neck, extending down into a long chain ending in a claw-like spider figure.

“Oh, we went to that place yesterday!” Katie noted at his choice of torso garb.

“Yeah, Hatter hates it. He doesn’t want us supporting the park, but I don’t see him providing any alternative with the same greasy goodness.” The wild child popped a vitamin capsule.

“What is that thing on your neck?” The younger sister questioned.

“This?” He lifted up the shining arachnid on his chain. “Clifford, one of my inventions. I’m kind of a mechanic. I use him to bug Kyrie sometimes.”

“And what’s with all the bugs?”

“Oh! Well, you know, spiders. Cause I’m Spider Hood. That’s my villain name. You like it?”

“Uh… sure, I-“

“Just kidding. I don’t care if you like it. It’s the best one ever created, so it doesn’t matter either way.”

Seemingly wanting to use this declaration to punctuate and therefore end the interaction, the lad threw himself into a nearby spinning chair and rolled off into the crowd whilst laughing maniacally.

“He seems nice!” Katie granted. “I wonder who’s next.”

Looking around, there were a lot of people already about to approach them now that they noticed Spider had retreated, but they all immediately backed off as soon as a single woman emerged from the sea of eager rebels.

“My name is Kyrie.” She said flatly, offering a hand only to Katie. “Arsene’s second-in-command. Don’t worry, they won’t bother you anymore.”

“It was fine, really!” The older sister shook her plain, bare nails, feeling the coldness of her skin. “You guys are fun.”

“It’s not all fun. Gets old fast when you’re asked to babysit the bunch all day.”

“How long have you… like, been doing this?” Frankie asked, eyes lingering on the other members returning to their duties.

“It must’ve been at least two years ago at this point. S’when Arsene called me up… and told me what happened to Missile Man.”

“The comic? I didn’t know something happened with it.”

“Yeah, guess you wouldn’t have. I mean… Missile Man is Missile Man, everybody and their oldest known ancestor knows that. But what they don’t understand… is how Bozo butchered him. After 5654 issues of greatness… the decisions he shoved in killed the series in an instant. With his interpretation of the character… came the death of everything the story had going for it.”

“5654…? Isn’t that… enough?”

“Frankie!” Katie exclaimed sternly. “They probably really cared about that comic!”

“Yeah, we did. But… it’s okay. You’re right. 5654 is a lot. Anyone else… they’d be complacent enough to accept that. Maybe even me, given the right circumstances. But Arsene… he chose to take a stand. Arsene Hatter was gonna be the name that tore down Coaster Bozo’s rule, and bring Tough Boys Comics back into its former glory. His dream… his conviction… is what keeps us all going.”

Kyrie’s knowing brown eyes turned to their leader on the other side of the room, staring at him in admiration.

All of a sudden, the regal rioter turned to look back to her. Blessing his second-in-command with a smile, he once again exercised his jubilant, inspiring tongue:

“Alright, villains! You've had your chance at an introduction. Now… allow me to announce our very next mission… the plan to humiliate Coaster Bozo beyond all recovery!”

Steward McOy