Week 43.4 – The Final Gambit

Previously: The Ghost possessed Twain’s body and seized Digger by the throat, strangling him into helplessness. And now…

“Come on, pry the crystal from my hand,” the Ghost told Digger’s limp form. He gave Digger a shake, causing his arms to swing vaguely in the direction of the Ghost’s other hand. “No? Not even a vain attempt?”

The Ghost opened his hand and let Digger drop to the ground. Digger moaned weakly, disoriented by his brief moment of unconsciousness. His arms moved vaguely, and his eyes looked around without focusing on anything, like a prizefighter in the moments after losing a bout by K.O.

“You’re the hero of the world?” the Ghost taunted. “You’re the man who saved everyone from a lifetime in hell? And now look at you! Helpless at my feet! You’re pathetic!”

“And you’re gonna get your ass kicked any second now,” Digger mumbled. He rolled over painfully and tried to push himself to his feet.

“Your bravado never ends!” the Ghost said. “”How will you defeat me when you can’t even stand up?”

The Ghost kicked Digger in the ribs and sent him flying back against a pile of collapsed rock. “Well? Tell me, hero of the world. How will you defeat the strongest man in the world?”

“I never claimed to be some great hero,” Digger groaned. He tried to push himself up on shaking arms. “I just punched this douchebag in the face.”

“Then why does the world worship you so?” asked the Ghost.

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]“I never claimed to be some great hero,” Digger groaned. “I just punched this douchebag in the face.”[/blockquote]“They don’t,” Digger said, waving off the idea. “I mean, look, the dude needed punching, and I was the only guy in the room–you know, other than the guy in the coma–so I stepped up and did it. And the whole world saw it happen, so they’ve kinda’ had to be nice to me ever since. But here’s the thing: everyone wants to tell themselves that they would do the same thing if they were in the same situation, but a lot of ‘em, in their heart of hearts, know they really wouldn’t. So I think as much as they admire me, they also resent me. They don’t worship me; they just never had a good opportunity to say so. This whole mess, with the bank robbery and everything, will probably give them that reason. The internet trolls are probably all over it already, and by the time I get back, I’ll be last week’s flavor. And by the way, you are welcome to step up here any time now.”

“You want me to ‘step up?’” the Ghost asked. “Are you in a hurry to die?”

“Actually,” said a voice from behind the Ghost, “I think he was talking to me.”

The Ghost Twain turned and saw Cole Chen standing behind him. He snarled, and his right hand came off.

As blood sprayed from the stump, the fist bounced on the ground. The fingers opened, and the crystal came out. Twain groaned and clutched at the stump to stanch the flow of blood.

“Sorry, dude,” Metalord said, “but I had to get him out of you.”

Jeez, what is it with me and cutting off hands in this story? Don’t miss the next episode, because at this point, I have no idea how many episodes I have left in the tank!

To read from the beginning, click here

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