Big fists and hammerheads punch butt and pummel all over. An endless soundtrack of thumps, cracks and crashes rise up in my consciousness. My tired legs - they buckle into a rubbery useless tangle. I’m flat on my face with the audience battering the life out of me.
‘Call me nothing? Eh? Tonight you motherfuckers get the package deal.’
They keep attacking whilst Youssef observes every move I make.
Lime's voice echoes throughout the playhouse, 'You may project your nocturnal lunacy as a wild grey skinned animal, but you fear the truth...boy-god. Perhaps you're not worthy of the dance?’
I see these cyphers swinging chandeliers to reach me. Then there are horned-trolls, ripping out of the floor hurling seats out the way. Mr Lime’s in-fatigable army of devotees are servants of the limelight that shines out from the stage area. I note the mental connection down as a probable weakness before I’m battered out of a leap toward them.
I roll down the stairs and with an almighty thrust I lift off, back the way I’ve come, sailing over the heads of collective murder.
‘Do you like it? It’s all right here, page thirty four of Forces of Nature. So many plot holes...your life literally makes no sense.’
I roll through the curtained arch back into the balcony overlooking the foyer. And I go over the marble railing. I wake up on the ground below with the enemy meters away from me. I heave myself into the exit doors. I'm pushing the handle but they get me, all of them with green eyes, they motherfucking get me. Before I know it the world is spinning and I’m on my back, pinned down by the metaphysical jaws of a violent stranger.
‘Before I kill you, I want you to know why I respect Spiderfingers enough to have made your death into a show...'
The flags all iced up and prone to a leap, a punch…it breaks apart and each shard that falls down around me is a weapon that I collect with superhuman speed. All this whilst my invisible bad-guy shows off how much he knows about the real me, ‘...The oldest super-hero trope in the book is that the villain can hurt his nemesis through his loved ones.’
Black clad stage-hands cartwheel and backflip toward me as he blabbers on, ‘...But what do I really know about John Clay? I have no idea of the whereabouts of his family. He’s just a name to me, just the way Spiderfingers intended. You should be honored to be his copy.’
I remain flat on my back. Too fatigued to walk just yet, but I’m not too tired to play darts. One by one they all fall prey to the flying of icy sun-flag shards, deadly weapons in my hands.
‘...If I’m going to hurt chaos it won’t be through his human past. It will be through the continual and violent torture of his remnants, here, in the brain of his avatar.'
Then I blow a hurricane breath into the approaching front row of biker O.A.P’s, smashing the enemy through seats and into the rafters. Still my super-hearing collects up all his chatter, the pantomime-villain prattle of Mr Lime, 'Here I get to kill a creature who genuinely believes himself to be the real deal.’
He can’t help himself. He has to talk whilst he's eating - his words are a marinade. His audience are his snapping teeth.
'Who are you?' I ask.
'If you were the real Spiderfingers, you would already know the answer to that, doppelganger.'
'Fine,' I whisper, ‘Burn.’ and the lasers that fire from my vision incinerate the stage curtain, the oncoming theatre-goers, the stalls, the box seats…everything is the colour of hell.
A Handy Andy Club member is dragging his body towards me, half a jagged Budweiser can in hand. Laughing, I make a bonfire out of him. And still, storming relentless, there are the others closing in on me. My world goes dark.
A jerk in the chandelier causes me to grip onto it tight. It’s my hair. My fire for hair is burning the slacks that attach this chandelier to the roof. No time to think now, so I use all my concentration to glide down as a simple leap is impossible. Not unless I want to break my legs. Ironic that my most taxing power – that of flight – is used now, this moment where the great and powerful Oz is gonna get his comeuppance. On my belly I dig my elbows into wood panels, crawling like an angry wounded animal. It pleases me to swat the question-mark-dancing thing out of my warpath. Nothing will stop me killing the wiry haired big cheese, his cackling laughter leaving an aural trail for me to hunt him. I belly-crawl through the cinder and debris, hauling myself up the stairs and onto the balcony.
Down I go into the foyer, following Lime at a speed impossible for humans because I must catch up with Lime, this escapee who has dashed into the snowy night. Lime, he can’t be a simple thrall. Him, a non-thinking minion? He is Lime and it’s my time to shine. More corny lines flow through my brain as I find myself on the entrance steps of the Blunderbus Theatre. Me, using my ice breath to petrify Lime’s legs to the middle of Camden’s busy high-road. Cars circle around him as I drag my ruined mass closer, vengeance clawing inside my demigod heart. In these desperate snarling climbing moments I drag myself up off the orange sludge of grit and snow, hoisting my weight up Lime’s stature. When I get to eye level I scream a victory cry, the success of my palm firmly and ravenously attached to his collar,
His eyes panic at the gathering audience. So, I remind him where to target his fear. A quick slap to the face and he’s looking straight at me, an idea he's learning to fear. The crowd grows as he blurts, ‘Aronson’s achieved the impossible. Now he wants his prize.’
His eyes keep addressing the Camdenites and so I shout,
‘Prophecy? Of course. What would today be without a prophecy?’
‘More info if you have it, or I’ll make a corpse out of you.’
How I’d love to laser his face off but I’m way too close to passing out as it is.
For a brief second my fire goes out. Him noticing it lasts an eternity, ‘In here you get to dance. Out there, you’re the result of what Vicky nicknamed Operation Genie-Bottle. You don’t even exist.’