Heading For Disaster
Originally published under the Prose Challenge of the Week CCXXIV: Operation Ted Bundy - You're a female mercenary paid to go back in time as a decoy to be Ted Bundy's first victim. Your job is to remove him, and return with his brain for study (https://theprose.com/post/453287/heading-for-disaster).
"Ma'am, please help me!" A young man with long dark hair cried out to a young woman walking out of Dante's. The man was only standing due to leaning against the side of the bar.
"Yes, I'll be right there!" The woman replied in a sweet, yet strong voice. Her long black hair flowed as she ran to assist the gentleman. She wore a buttoned down shirt with a low neckline, and black pants that also complimented her figure. She approached the man and allowed him to support himself by wrapping his arm around her back, and she put her arm around his back as well.
"Thank you darling. Something went wrong with my leg, and I need to get some medical attention. Could you help me get to my car and drive me to a hospital?"
"No problem at all sir." The woman said kindly as she helped him walk to his vehicle. "What can I call you by the way?"
"My name is Ted. Ted Bundy." The man said weakly, but thankful all the same. "And what is your name angel?"
"I'm Tanya. Tanya Balencia. It's nice to meet you."
"The pleasure is all mine, thank you for rescuing me Tanya. My car is right over there."
Tanya guided Ted to his car in the dark, quiet parking lot. Ted remembered more light being present before, but didn't mind considering the intentions he had. The cover of darkness would work perfectly.
Tanya helped Ted get into the passenger side of his car, and confirmed that he was comfortable before closing the door. She then walked over to the driver side and got in.
"Ok Ted, go ahead and pass me your keys, and I'll get you the help you need."
"Yes, of course!" Ted said, sounding stronger than he was a moment ago. Tanya saw the crowbar at the last minute as it slammed into her skull. The blow didn't faze Tanya at all, but her sweet smile did turn into a sadistic grin.
"Heh, tough break buddy!" Tanya laughed. "Or I guess I wouldn't call it a break, since that had no effect on me. Oh, being versed in magic is the best!"
"What is going on?" Ted asked in horror. Why didn't that work?"
"Because I was ready for your tricks, and used one of my spells to protect myself from your attempt to immobilize me." Tanya answered, still using her kind tone in contrast to her words. "I come from a time where we already know all about you Mr. Bundy, and all the horrible crimes you commited. I just happened to arrive before you could get started with your serial killing career. You may be famous in my time, but when my work is done, no one here will ever remember you. Guess it is a tough break for you after all!"
Ted attempted to strike with his crowbar again, but Tanya was too fast. Before he could do anything, Tanya pointed at him, and a small electric blast emitted from her fingertip. Ted convulsed upon impact, then fell unconscious....
When Ted came to, he looked around to see swirling colors of purple, neon, and blue. He observed his body floating in front of him sans his head, and also floating before him was Tanya. She now wore a hooded cloak and full body armor, including spiked wrist and ankle bands.
"Tanya?" Ted asked fearfully. "What is going on? Where are we, and what have you done to me?"
"We are between timelines, yours in 1974 and mine in the distant future, and I used my magic to remove your head from your body." Tanya said matter of factly, her kind tone now absent. "You aren't going to die from this - your head is actually still synched with your body, kind of like a wireless connection. Not that you would understand wireless connections, being from the 70s and all."
"Yes, I have no idea what you are talking about!" Ted cried out. "You're saying my head is not attached to my body, but is still somehow connected?"
"Yes, so when I do this you will still feel it."
Tanya kicked Ted's headless body in the groin, and Ted screamed in pain.
"What is going to happen to me?" Ted asked, despite being afraid of the answer.
"I'll explain what I know." Tanya smirked. "Basically, you were set to become an infamous serial killer, responsible for 36 confessed killings, but likely closer to over 100. I traveled back in time to pose as your first victim, trapping you instead."
"So you were sent back to stop me from killing?" Ted asked. "Please put my head back on my body and send me home, I promise I won't hurt anyone, I swear!"
"Even if you were being truthful, that isn't why I am here." Tanya replied smugly. "I don't care about changing history or making the world a better place. I work for money. My client wants to study your brain. I don't know what they plan to do with the knowledge they gain, but as long as the pay is good, they can do whatever the hell they want with you."
"Have a heart, please!" Ted protested. "I'm so sorry for trying to hurt you, I won't be this monster you say I become. I'll change, I promise!"
"Save your words, you sealed your fate when you tried to knock me out with that crowbar." Tanya responded triumphantly. "Fun fact though, one of your kicks was saving the decapitated heads of your victims. I could have just teleported your brain to my client with a quick spell, but I thought sending your head would be more fitting."
"Someone, anyone, help me please!" Ted screamed.
"For a notorious serial killer, you truly are pathetic. Normally I don't take my work personally, but even if you hadn't attacked me, I still wouldn't be able to stand you. So before I deliver your head, I think I'll have some fun with you here for a spell."
Tanya pointed at one of Ted's arms and sent a fireball out of her fingertip, igniting it. She then pointed at his leg and froze it with an icy blast. She followed up by making a staff appear in her hand, then shattered his frozen appendage into pieces with a swift strike. Ted screamed in agony thanks to the "wireless" connection he had to his body. Tanya then sprinkled some kind of sparkling dust over his body, restoring his leg and healing his burnt arm.
"Thank you... " Ted said gratefully, feeling hopeful. "Have you reconsidered and decided to trust me as a changed man?"
"Ha ha ha ha, not at all!" Tanya laughed gleefully. "I simply healed you so I can inflict more punishment for your crimes that you'll never get the chance to commit! You were executed in 1989, so I have a lot of time to make up for. Lucky for me and not so lucky for you, we can stay here until I get bored of you, and then I'll end your torture by wiping your memory of this place before delivering your head to my payroll. Ted, you may be considered one of the vilest monsters that ever lived where I come from, but I'm going to show you the kind of monster I can be. Buckle up, we've got all the time in the world. Oh wait, you can't buckle up anymore, can you?"
The One and Only Tanya
Tanya surveyed her surroundings, trying to figure out where she was. She had just completed a mission, but in the attempt to return home, she found herself dazed and lost. When she came to, she realized she was in a giant cage with three perches. The outside world of the cage appeared to be a giant pet shop. In front of her were puppies in another contained section. She couldn't believe how colossal the puppies were, unless she herself had been shrunk.
"Stupid time travel spell, what was Vance thinking buying me that spell book?" Tanya cursed out loud. "Instead of getting back to my time, I'm in this weird ass pet shop...."
"How much is that mage in the cage, la la la?" A random voice sang. Tanya looked and saw another female mage staring at her with glee.
Tanya assumed from the sneer that this mage was probably not here to assist. She was relieved to see that the mage appeared to be the same size as her. She prepared to get information from her tormentor by any means necessary.
"Where the hell are we, and who the hell are you?" Tanya snarled.
"What, you didn't like my original tune?" The mage sneered.
"No, it wasn't even very original. I liked it better when it was about a doggy in the window."
"Oh dear, she knows I'm an unoriginal fraud now." The mage teased. "That's ok, I'll kill you and remove any evidence of my unoriginality!"
"Sure you will.... but first, do you at least have an original name? I'd like to know who I'm about to kill."
"My name is Tanya. Tanya Valencia. And you?"
"Are you fucking kidding me? I'm Tanya. Tanya Balencia. One fucking letter difference.... you really are unoriginal."
"Give me a break, it must be one of those writing challenges where the author has to come up with this story on the fly. Cut the author some slack."
"No bitch, Pen to the Paper is one of the greats! Nick would kick your ass so easily, but I'm fine with doing so myself!"
Tanya B. pointed at the bars of the cage and they split apart enough to make an exit. She then drew her staff, and lunged at Tanya V. She swung and missed, receiving a punch in the face as a response. Tanya B. stood her ground and attempted another strike, clubbing Tanya V. in the neck. Tanya V. briefly doubled over before laughing. She then wove her hand over the floor, causing a platform to come out, sending both of them high up.
"I have things to do inferior Tanya, so let's put an end to this contest." Tanya V. suggested with a sadistic grin.
"What do you have in mind?" Tanya B. asked with a vicious grin of her own.
"No magic, no weapons. A chicken race. We charge at each other and stop when we collide. Whoever falls off this platform lands in that puppy pen and becomes their plaything. The winner finds a way to escape to the world where they belong."
"Wait, this world isn't your doing?" Tanya B. asked.
"Nope, I got pulled here from another world I had traveled to. I'm guessing only one of us can flee. There's only need for one Tanya anyway. So let's crash into each other, and whichever one of us doesn't become puppy chow escapes!"
"Fine with me. Even if I never find a way out, not having to hear you sing again would be a blessing indeed."
"You don't know what you're missing. Ok Tanya, do your worst!"
"There's no way I could do any worse, you are already here!"
The two Tanyas yelled a guttural battle cry before racing straight at each other. After their collision, both fell from the platform. Tanya B. landed right outside of the giant puppies' containment area, while Tanya V. landed directly in the middle of the pack. Tanya B. laughed as she watched her rival get torn to shreds by the puppies as they playfully fought over their new screaming chew toy. Once there was nothing left of Tanya V., Tanya B. rested on the floor and laughed once more.
"Alright author, you can just refer to me as Tanya now that you killed off the useless new Tanya. So, are you going to finish this story by getting me home?"
"No, but I am!" A friendly voice called out as a portal opened.
"About time Vance, your time travel spell you got from that black market merchant sucked. You won't believe the ridiculous shit I just went through."
"Hey, this location portal spell from the new book I just picked up seems better. It found your grateful ass, didn't it?"
"Fine, thanks Vance, what would I ever do without you?"
"Apparently you would have spent the rest of your days with giant puppies. But thanks to me, you can hop through that portal and come back to our world. I've even got a new mission for us, with a crazy new place to visit."
"Very well, hope your hype doesn't disappoint." Tanya smiled sheepishly, as she vanished into the portal, leaving the pet shop Tanyaless once again.
Mission At The Clown Hotel
"A clown hotel? Seriously Vance? That's the crazy new place you want to visit?"
"Why not, I think it's a perfect job for us Tanya!" Vance said defensively. "It's a huge hotel full of weird clown memorabilia, and apparently they have a killer clown problem. I figured you would love to slaughter a monster like that!"
"I have never liked clowns, so getting paid to destroy one does sound tempting." Tanya replied thoughtfully. "But isn't there already a place like this in Tonopah, Nevada?"
"Yeah, The Clown Motel!" Vance said excitedly. "Apparently this place is even bigger, an eight story hotel that has all the bells and whistles complimenting its clown obsession. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it, it's really grown in popularity."
"Well, a murderous clown on the loose will likely cause a hit in their business. Serves them right for ripping off the place in Nevada."
"Actually, their reservations have increased since the killings began." Vance responded. "People are buzzing over staying in a nice hotel where they feel like their life is in danger."
"People are so stupid." Tanya lamented. "They deserve what they're signing up for. But then again, if the management wants this clown killer taken care of, I suppose they do actually care about their dumbass guests. Is the pay for the job worth the trouble?"
"Oh yeah." Vance grinned sheepishly. "We would be sitting pretty for a good few months."
"Fine." Tanya conceded. "I'll kill the damn clown."
Tanya and Vance stepped into the expansive lobby of The Clown Hotel resort. Tanya observed four leather couches, a welcoming fireplace, a shelf filled with books, a popcorn machine full of with complimentary caramel corn, and in the distance a buffet area serving all foods imaginable. All throughout clown memorabilia was present, including life size clown dolls.
"Welcome, and thank you for coming to help us." An elderly gentleman said as he approached the pair. "I'm Blair Daniels, the current owner of this hotel."
"I'm Tanya Balencia, and this is my partner Vance Rogues. We understand you have a killer clown that is causing trouble in your resort?"
"Yes, I wish for this monster to be disposed of for the protection of our visitors. Per our security footage, the clown was last seen on the sixth floor. For your assistance in this matter, I would like to offer the two of you a complimentary stay in our luxury jacuzzi suite, along with the agreed payment once the creature has been disposed of."
"That would be great!" Tanya gushed as Mr. Daniels handed her the room key. "Go ahead and get the jacuzzi set up for me Vance. I'll have this clown annihilated before the tub is full."
"Hey, I'm your partner, not your servant!" Vance protested as Tanya ran to the stairs, ignoring him. While she ascended she waved her hand over herself, switching her casual clothes to her hooded cloak and full body armor, including spiked wrist and ankle bands. Before she knew it she was on the sixth floor, and she opened the door and began her search.
The hallway was well maintained and all the room doors looked inviting, even if the clown decals decorating them were a bit creepy. Every few feet Tanya observed more life size clown dolls. Although she found them weird, none of the dolls looked intentionally scary. Except for one at the end of the hallway with bright red glowing eyes.
Tanya waved her finger and a crystal ball appeared in front of her. Within the crystal ball Vance looked at his ally.
"I hope that jacuzzi is ready for me Vance, because I think I found our clown. He didn't really make much effort to hide himself.... he doesn't strike me as the sharpest tool in the shed. I'm gonna have a little fun with him before I destroy him, then I'll grab our payment and be lounging in the hot tub within the next 15 minutes."
"Please don't be reckless." Vance protested. "We may be on a roll lately, especially after our recent high profile time traveling job. But we don't know enough about this clown to underestimate him."
"Trust me, he's toast." Tanya laughed as she made the crystal ball vanish. "All right stupid, I can tell you're my target! Face me and show me what you can do!"
The red eyed clown laughed and stood up, showing Tanya three metal balls. He began juggling them, following up by throwing each metal ball at Tanya. As the balls flew at her, razor shaped spikes popped out of the balls.
"How simple minded." Tanya chuckled as she dodged each projectile. "Hope you can do better than that!"
"Ha ha ha ha!" The clown laughed as he stuck his middle finger up at Tanya. His finger grew into a sword, and he charged at her with his finger sword swinging. Tanya made her staff appear in her hand by thought, and struck the clown on his wrist as he came closer. She then pointed at his finger sword and sent an icy blast out of her finger, encasing the sword in a block of ice. The clown stumbled forward as the ice weighed him down. Tanya then struck the ice block with her staff, shattering both ice and sword.
"Ha ha ha ha!" The clown laughed, standing up straight once again.
"Is that all you can say?" Tanya asked mockingly. "It's hard to believe that a joke like you could cause so much trouble for this hotel. Guess that doesn't say much for the clientele here. Anyway, let's wrap this up. You are a very boring clown, and there's a jacuzzi calling out to me!"
Tanya pointed at the clown, and a stream of orange acid shot from her finger onto the clown.
"Eyaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" The clown screamed as his body melted into a grey pile of goo.
"So you can make another sound besides that obnoxious laugh, how delightful!" Tanya cheered. "Too bad for you that your days in the clown business are over!"
The goo began laughing before projecting itself onto Tanya.
"Hey, get off of me you disgusting bastard!" Tanya screamed as the goo enveloped itself around her. The goo continued cackling as it absorbed its latest victim completely....
Once Tanya was self aware, she found herself walking into a circus. Her Mom and Dad stood on either side of her, each holding one of her hands. Everything at the circus seemed larger than life, including her parents as she looked up at them.
What's going on, did that clown shrink me or something? How am I at a circus now? And how are my parents alive again?
"Mommy, Daddy, why aren't we at the hotel anymore? And where is Vance?"
"Tanya honey, your imagination is running wild again!" Tanya's mother laughed. "We just came from home, and you don't even know a Vance."
"Let's go visit the concessions sweetie, you can get whatever you'd like!" Tanya's Dad said happily.
This must be a memory from my childhood that I pushed in the back of my mind, long forgotten after everything that happened to us! Or did I get sent back in time again, to start over? Well if that's the case, I'm staying here! After all, I think this is the last time I was ever truly happy!
"Tanya, can you hear me?" Vance's voice cried out. "Hang on, don't turn into a clown!"
The scene before her disappeared, and Tanya found herself back in the hallway of the hotel again. She was back in her grown up body again, although half of her body looked like one of the clown dolls she had seen throughout the hotel. Vance held his hand over her, emitting a blue glow from it. Tanya watched as the artificial clown features of her body reverted back to her true form once again.
"Tanya, are you ok? That was a close call!"
"Vance, what happened? Where's the goo that I turned that clown into?"
"Apparently the clown was as good as dead, but for his grand finale he was about to transform you into one of those creepy dolls they have decorating this place. It's a good thing that I got here when I did, otherwise you would have been no better than these other poor souls that are part of the decor."
"So all of these dolls.... were actually people?"
"Not were.... are. I used my magic and found out that these dolls are actually alive. The people that they are made up of are trapped in endless looping memories. Unfortunately if I tamper with these fully formed dolls, the people trapped within will die. I learned that one the hard way."
"Vance.... I saw them again.... my parents."
"Yeah.... it seems like the clown at least picked happy memories for his victims. Hope you don't mind me bringing you back from the last time you were likely happy in your life."
"Not at all. I want to live in my real life, not in a long gone memory. Even if that past life was much better, I prefer reality any day."
"I figured you'd feel that way." Vance smiled. "Well, maybe the jacuzzi will give you some happiness too. But first, we need to get our payment from Mr. Daniels, and press him for information on where he got these dolls from."
"Thank you for ending the terror that the clown unleashed here." Mr. Daniels said gratefully as he wired the payment to Vance and Tanya's account. "Feel free to stay in the suite. and enjoy our other amenities as long as you wish."
"Thank you sir." Vance replied with a smile. "There is one more thing we need to know. Can you tell us where you got the life size clown dolls from?"
"Oh, I have an Amazon contact that has been selling me them. His name is ClownFanBoy5412, but that's all I know about him. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, it's just that we're clown enthusiasts too. I may buy some products from him in the future as well. Thank you again for your kindness Mr. Daniels."
As the pair walked away, Tanya asked Vance a question once they were out of earshot from Mr. Daniels.
"So that's it? We're leaving the dolls be?"
"I'll keep an eye on the Amazon account in question. If there is no further activity, then I think we can assume that the clown is truly gone and won't be turning anyone else into a doll. Mr. Daniels seems like a kind soul, and I don't want to traumatize him by telling him that his decorations are actually alive. However, I will steal a couple of them before we leave, and try to find a way to reverse their transformations when we are between missions. Does that work for you Tanya?"
"Fine by me. We got paid, and I'm about to enjoy a nice soak. I have no complaints here."
"That was how I figured you'd react. Very well."
As the pair disappeared from Mr. Daniels sight, he smiled and looked over the lobby of his resort thoughtfully.
"Well ClownFanBoy5412, it seems like you won't have any more products for me. Oh well, it was a good run my boy...."