Wonder Woman and the Superheroine Serial Killer - Part 43 The Conclusion

Since this is the final chapter of this epic, I want to give my sincerest thanks to my good friend and standup Brit – Norm (norhob44), without whom this story would not have been submitted for your enjoyment as it has. He has been a steady source of encouragement, of enlightenment and of obsessive attention to detail about Wonder Woman’s weaknesses, alerting me constantly to the opportunities available for poking, stroking, prodding and caressing of her irresistible figure. So if you like her torment, tip your cap to him. :yahoo: He is also the reason this story has been delivered in half the time it probably would have taken me. I’m the reason it wasn’t sooner. But my loyal readers already know that about me. :yes:

As for the rest of what’s been written in terms of plotting and dialogue, I’ll take half the blame. The other half goes to the characters themselves. Besides being a chatty group, they are very strong willed and behaved in ways I did not always anticipate. But that’s the joy of writing for me. Finding surprises when you think you know what’s going to happen.

I thank you for your support and emails and suggestions and praise. I was thrilled to be able to talk with some of you and to know that there’s a vast number of you out there who though not having written still have enjoyed the ride. With the conclusion of this loooong story, I would hope to hear from you and know your overall opinion of the work-especially from those who have been shy or recalcitrant or, you know, busy. :D For those who have written in to me on a steady basis, you’re the engine that’s kept this vehicle going. But you know that. I also expect you know I will be looking forward to your usual insights.

And now, without further delay I give you the conclusion of the story.

Once more Jimmy Glendennan struggles to drag his brain to a wakeful state. He slowly sits up in the middle of the second floor hallway, his whole body hurting from the battering he took from the hidden ram in the wall. He knows better than to shake his head again and bring on another faint but he doesn’t feel nearly as weary and disoriented as he did before. It takes him a full half minute but he finally gets to his feet. His gun which was half hidden under his hip gets put into his shoulder holster under his sports jacket. Gingerly, the Irish cop makes his way down the main stairway to the first floor. Upstairs, the SWAT team is setting a small explosive charge to blow the armored window of Pascal’s home office.

Jimmy stands outside the small utility room deep in thought. He’s about to use the secret stairway down to Pascal’s lab to find his partner and try to see what the hell’s happened since he’d been drugged 45 minutes ago. That prick Pascal had lied to him about the poison. Jimmy knows he should be grateful that it wasn’t poison but he’s confused as to why the French fuck would let him live. Because he’s a cop? That doesn’t make much sense. He’s already wanted for the murders of three superheroines. What’s another cop on his resume? Shaking his head, Jimmy walks into the utility room only to be flattened against the wall by a rushing Pascal who’s just sprinting out from the stone stairway.

“HOOOOOOOFF!” The wind is knocked out of the shocked Irishman and he sags down the wall.

Pascal is just as surprised to find himself sitting on his butt staring at the Irish cop. Obviously that sedative he’s used wasn’t the right dosage. It was too light, the mick had woken up way too soon. When Jimmy reaches into his jacket to pull his gun, Pascal’s foot lances out and kicks his wrist knocking the gun to the floor. At the same time, Pascal reaches into his own jacket’s left side pocket and grabs the brass knuckles lying there.

Jimmy dives for his gun and Pascal lunges forward, landing on the top of the smaller man and grabbing for the wrist that’s inches from the revolver. Still stretching his left arm out for his gun, Jimmy slams his right elbow backward hard enough to stun the Frenchman in the side, causing him to drop the brass knuckles on the floor of the utility room with a loud clatter.

Jimmy’s hand has grabbed hold of the gun and Pascal hand engulfs Jimmy’s gun hand. They struggle desperately, a growling, swearing, biting and punching pair of adversaries that are equally matched to a seeming stalemate. No man gives any quarter or is able to achieve any advantage until Jimmy twists his hand in a direction that Pascal doesn’t anticipate. Yanking his arm down, to his side, Jimmy has his arm free with his gun in it, his finger on the trigger. He turns his wrist to point it at Pascal’s belly but the Frenchman is just able to grab the Irishman’s wrist one more time and push the gun down 10 inches before it goes off.

“Merde! You stupid fucking mick!” Pascal has been shot in the upper thigh and there is a sudden splash of blood spraying between the two men. It gets on Jimmy’s face and he briefly turns his head to avoid getting splattered in the eye. Pascal sees the cop flinch and picks up the brass weight from the floor and swings it against the man’s head. The brass knuckles aren’t fitted onto the beared Frenchman’s hand but the hefty weight of them in his palm as he slaps it against Jimmy’s temple is more than enough to stun the detective into a slumped-over heap of barely-conscious cop.

Pascal is about to reach for the gun in the stunned cop’s hand when there’s a small explosion on the second floor. That has to be the SWAT team! Pascal stands up quickly and then falls right back down, his leg giving way and his head woozy from the sudden pain. Shaking it off with teeth gritted, Pascal takes two faltering steps to the second closet in the utility room. Opening it, he picks up a dark blue gym bag. Swinging around too quickly, he winces and then walks over to the stairway that heads down to the lab. Before he heads down, Pascal pulls the secret entrance closed behind him, taking one last angry look at the slumped over cop before he shuts it completely. The man obviously had the luck of the Irish!

It’s a painful walk down the long flight of stone stairs to his lab. When he gets there, Pascal zips open the gym bag, pulls out a t-shirt and rips it in half lengthwise. He strips off his suit pants and suit jacket and quickly fashions a rough tourniquet around his thigh. That done, the sweating Frenchman then pulls out a dark blue pair of slacks from the gym bag and hurriedly puts them on. He also dons a dark blue lightweight jacket over his white shirt. The back of the jacket has the word SWAT imprinted in huge white reflective letters. Transferring his keys and wallet and all his personal items from the jacket and pants into his newly-donned uniform, Pascal zips up the gym bag with its fake passports and twenty grand in hard currency and heads out of the door from the lab to the storeroom.

Limping badly even as he tries to block the pain, the bearded Frenchman walks as quickly as he can toward the walk-in freezer. He unlocks this and pulls open the heavy door with a hiss of pain and a wince.

Merde, do bullets hurt!

Just as he is about to enter the cold room, he stops and considers rushing into the bomb shelter and injecting the Italian detective with his bottle of poison. He pats the jacket pocket of the SWAT uniform and realizes he had not taken the syringe or poison. He lets out a loud volley of curse words until he hears voices coming from his lab. The SWAT team is in his lab, clearing it of any threat and continuing to hound him.

This shuts him up and he quickly steps into the freezer and shuts that door behind him. Swinging his gym bag and his bad leg with equal parts pain and urgency, the heavily-sweating scientist walks to the far corner of the freezer and pushes aside a huge red cooler with a sudden shove and a growl. Beneath the cooler is a pine board. When Pascal lifts this up, a steep set of wooden stairs can be seen in the shadowy depths.

Sliding the wooden board behind a set of freezer shelves laden with frozen turkeys, Pascal then turns and drops the blue gym bag to the bottom of the steps and then climbs down after it. He pulls the big cooler back into place over the stairway hole using the special recessed handle he’d fashioned years ago in the bottom of the fake cooler. From overhead, there’s no indication of the secret passage beneath the cooler.

Taking a flashlight he’d left in the wood box next to the bottom of the stairs, Pascal makes his way down the dirt tunnel that had been dug eight years ago between his brick townhouse and the one right next door. This empty townhouse had not found a buyer for over eight years. The owner seemed to want too much money for it. The owner was a dummy corporation that was secretly headed by Rene Pascal. It had been a very costly secret for the Frenchman but at this point, it was worth every penny.

After just a minute, Jimmy shakes off the doldrums of being bludgeoned by Pascal’s heavy brass knuckles and gets to his feet, holstering his fallen weapon he’s picked up off the floor. Just as he does, the muzzle of an automatic rifle points into the door of the utility room and a short, rugged young man in a beard and a SWAT uniform commands him brusquely, “Hands up. Show me your palms real slow, mister and then freeze.”

“Ayers, is that room cleared,” asks a deep voice from the hallway outside.

“No sir, I have a prisoner in here, sir.”

“What?” Immediately, a tall dark-haired man steps into the room behind the young sergeant. He takes one look at Jimmy Glendennan standing there with this hands raised and lets out a huge sigh. “That’s no prisoner, Ayers. That’s one of ours. Detective James Glendennan. Didn’t you look at the pictures of the cops in the briefing?”

“No sir, I wasn’t in the briefing sir, I was back raising hell with the motor pool, sir. Obtaining the release of Proud Mary, sir.”

“Ahh yes, I forgot. James, you can lower your hands. What’s your report, detective?”

“I’m a bit in the dark of the status of the principles involved here right now, Captain...?”

“Meyers. Joe Meyers.”

“Captain Meyers, I was rendered unconscious almost one hour ago by the suspect Rene Pascal. We’d been tracking this man all day as a possible serial killer of superheroines. After we rescued Wonder Woman from this man, he launched a tear gas....”

“Yes, we saw all that on the web broadcast. But there were segments of time missing in the past hour. Do you know where your partner is now?”

“You don’t?” Jimmy’s heart leaps into his mouth.

“I’m afraid not, detective. The last we saw of him he was naked on the floor of some room and a naked Wonder Woman was being carried over your suspect’s shoulder back to the room where you first approached the subject when he was forcing himself on the Amazon.”

“Wait, what? Sal was naked in a room with Wonder Woman.”

“I’m afraid so. Conduct most unbecoming an officer. It certainly appeared that they’d had relations.”

“We’d saved her life. She might have been showing him her gratitude,” Jimmy says defensively.

“In the middle of an investigation with a suspect at large. That’s quite a breach of protocol.”

“Look, Captain, you can ream my partner out some other time but right now I’d kinda like to know if he’s dead or alive. I suspect he’s downstairs. Will you follow me and help provide cover?” Jimmy takes his gun out of his shoulder harness and opens the secret door that leads to the stairs down to the lab.

Meyers grabs Jimmy’s shoulder and pulls him back. “No, detective. I’ll lead you and provide cover. And Ayers will provide cover from the rear.”

“Whatever. Let’s just go find Sal.”

When they get to the bottom of the stone stairs, Captain Meyers cautiously opens the door and nudges Jimmy to his side and then gives Ayers a set of hand motions indicating he should keep his eyes open, stay sharp and go low. Meyers indicates he’ll go high, then turns to Jimmy and gives him the stay sign. Counting down silently with three fingers, Meyers folds down the final finger and the two SWAT personnel rush the room aiming their rifles at each and every shadow before clearing it for Jimmy’s entrance. Both Meyers and Ayers have their rifles pointed at the floor and both are shaking their heads slowly, swearing softly at the sight before them. Wonder Woman’s naked body lies face down on a steel-legged table with her arms and legs shackled to the table legs. Nasty abrasions and bruises on her wrists and ankles tell of an unsuccessful attempt at freedom. But the face of the famous beauty is horrible and upsetting. Bright purple with her tongue protruding, it’s obvious that the renowned Champion of All Women has been strangled to death.

“Goddammit!” Jimmy mutters, his face losing every hue of his ruddy Irish color. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what a clusterfuck. What did you do, Sal? How did you let it come to this?”

“Ayers. I don’t care how, I don’t care where,” barks the SWAT Captain. “But get an adequate cover for that lost soul immediately.”

“Yessir, Captain. I’m on it.”

“Your partner is not in this room, detective. Any idea where this other small storage room might be?”

“I do not but I’m sure as hell going to look. Our suspect is gone, Captain. I can feel it.”

“Until I prove to my satisfaction that that is indeed the case, detective, we go by my rules.”

“No, we go by my rules,” says FBI Agent Carl Bannon as he walks with brisk authority into the laboratory from the secret set of stone stairs leading from the utility room. He takes one look at the ghastly distended tongue and discolored face of the famous heroine and promptly turns about face, rushes up three steps and pukes onto the stone stairs.

“Fibbies. Gotta love ‘em,” says Meyers about FBI agents.

“Some of them spend too much time behind a desk and not enough time in the field,” replies Jimmy. “While the important federal agent is tossing his lunch, let’s go that way,” Jimmy points to the plain door leading out of the lab, “and see if we can find my partner.”

Sal Abato’s cheek is cold and numb, so are his naked balls and naked ass cheeks. What’s more, his nose itches but there’s not a fucking thing he can do about it. The curare continues to nullify all his gross and fine motor skills. So he lies helplessly on the basement floor. The area rug gives very little warmth over the cold cement and he’s laid out like a carp awaiting for either a shark to come by and swallow him whole like Pascal or for some nice friend like Jimmy to come and carry him away to safety. Or best yet, for the feelings to return to his fingers and toes and face and legs so he can stand up and save himself. He can’t even sigh. All he can do is blink.

And blink he does, several times, when (after a seeming eternity) he sees his partner Jimmy come walking through the open doorway to the bomb shelter. Jimmy goes white thinking he’s dead but Sal furiously blinks his eyes until Jimmy gets the message he’s not dead. The big Irishman rushes over to Sal kneels down and kisses him on the top of his bald spot and then assumes a more professional demeanor. One second later a SWAT captain enters the room and takes a look at a very immobilized Italian police detective and a widely grinning Irish cop and shrugs his shoulders.

“What a fucking pair, you two are!” Reaching to his shoulder microphone transmitter, the SWAT Captain calls for the EMTs and a stretcher. But Meyers isn’t smiling yet. “So where did our perp run off to. Anybody got a clue?”

“You got the place surrounded?” Jimmy asks as Sal listens.

“We do,” says Meyers.

“Well, he’s got to be here somewhere, ain’t that right, Sal?”

Sal blinks twice for yes.

“We have an important update on the two detectives who tracked Wonder Woman’s murderer to his house there in Chevy Chase,” intones Bryce Camden, the newsman with steely blue eyes and incredibly-smooth bronzed skin. He’s been anchoring this breaking news story with all the gravitas his stylist and vocal coach have imbued him with over the years. “Heather Wells remains there at the scene. Heather, what can you tell us about Detectives Salvatore Abato and James Glendennan?”

“Bryce, the boys in blue here and their brave brothers-in-arms in the fire department just let out a resounding cheer a few minutes ago when it was learned that both the detectives are alive. Both have suffered some injuries from their ordeal inside the Pascal house but nothing life threatening I’m told.” Heather brushes the hair off her face as the wind picks up.

“Detective Abato we have learned was attacked and injected with some sort of nerve agent that has caused complete paralysis. But the emergency medical technicians I talked to feel it’s quite possible that this paralysis is a temporary condition that may dissipate over the course of the next several hours. They’re not guaranteeing that but they remain hopeful that is indeed the case. As for Detective Glendennan, he has suffered severe back trauma as well as small cuts and defensive wounds including bite marks when he took on Dr. Pascal himself in two separate scuffles with the French professor.

“Since I last reported from here, the news media has been allowed slightly closer to the residence now that the crisis seems to be winding down. That brick townhouse 50 yards away,” the camera zooms in on the structure as Heather waves her arm behind her, “that is Dr. Pascal’s residence and as you can see there’s a ring of blue, as it were, of police from Chevy Chase as well as DC officers forming a cordon around the building.” Another wind gust has Heather holding her hair in one hand and her microphone in the other. A flash of lightning in the distance is followed by rolling thunder. Heather pauses to allow the sound to dissipate before she beings to speak again. Spattering rain drops fall from the sky which quickly turns into a steady drizzle.

“There’s still no sign of Dr. Pascal and the feeling seems to be split down the middle that the suspect has fled the scene or is still hiding within the confines of his house somewhere. They are conducting an exhaustive floor-to-ceiling search of the structure even now. I’ll tell you, Bryce, if he’s still in here and they flush him out, you can be sure that with more than 80 armed officers including SWAT team members like that diligent one checking out that neighbor’s house next door, it will be next to impossible for the alleged killer to escape this ever-tightening ring of justice. Here in Chevy Chase, as the rain begins to fall in earnest, I am Heather Wells for Channel Four Action News.”

The sudden steady rain has given Heather’s pink blouse a wonderful cling that shows off the magnificent curves of her braless 37 C breasts and her cold-enhanced nipples to a suddenly very attentive viewership. She doesn’t even try to draw her powder blue suit jacket over them. She can’t control the weather after all and it should do wonders for her focus group numbers.

When the live feed is done, Heather does pull the jacket close around her and buttons it, then looks over the grounds and wonders if she should try to get a stand up interview with one of the cops. She waves to the lone SWAT officer in the distance and he grudgingly waves back but then he moves off in the opposite direction toward where the team’s assault vehicle “Proud Mary” is parked. Maybe that greenish-looking red-headed FBI agent would go on camera with her. She heads over towards him and pulls her jacket open to show off the girls so she can get her interview.

The rookie Chevy Chase cop is miserable in the rain as he stands by the huge armored Hummer dubbed “Proud Mary” because she ‘keeps on rolling.’ When the SWAT team member with the pointed chin comes up and tells him the vehicle isn’t needed anymore and he’ll be taking it back to the garage, and to go get a cup of java, the young man looks appreciatively at the coffee truck parked 30 yards away with an awning. He salutes the SWAT officer and walks off.

Pascal smirks to himself as he backtracks to a nearby tree, picks up his blue gym bag hidden behind it and walks back to the mammoth truck. He climbs up into the Hummer, turns the key left in the ignition and drives off down the street and away from all those very busy policemen searching his now abandoned house.

Three miles away, the French scientist parks the vehicle in an empty parking lot next to a Metro station, strips off the SWAT jacket and leaves it in the vehicle. He straightens the toupee rubs his chin where his beard once grew and shrugs apathetically about the necessary changes required to get away clean. He hops on the next subway train that takes him to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Inside a stall in the men’s room he transforms into a tourist with camera bag, fishing hat and a southern accent and buys a one-way ticket to Atlanta. From Atlanta he books a flight to Micronesia by way of Sydney Australia. 22 hours later, he connects with his banking contacts in the small city of Weno and checks into a hotel. The following day he will look for temporary housing to rent while his mansion is being built. With no extradition treaty with the US, the quiet western Pacific island country should be a paradise for him once he starts spreading his millions around.

The now steady downpour in the nation’s capital lends a depressing air to the search of Pascal’s house. Nervous DC cops and hyper-alert SWAT officers are very twitchy as the lightning and thunder play havoc with their nerves. They’ve been told the place has booby traps and a few like an electrified rug and hidden battering ram have been located and neutralized. But it’s slow going as the men in blue search the premises with extreme caution.

Outside, Sal has been set up on a steel-folding cot with a canvas sling bed under a bright orange nylon cover as an EMT out of the District of Columbia continues to monitor and assess his condition. Jimmy stands nearby under the same cover watching the proceedings like a mother hen.

“Can you feel this, detective?”

Sal and the medical technician have established the simple code of one blink means no, two means yes. Sal blinks twice.

“How about when I do this.” One blink

“This?” One blink and a glare.

“Can you feel when I touch your leg here” Two blinks.

“Okay, great. I’m encouraged,” the 40-year old tech says. “I haven’t seen a lot of cases, since I’m not a doctor but I think you got a dose of curare or something like it.”

Sal blinks furiously. Pascal had told him he’d used curare but without an ability to speak or move in any way, communicating that information had been impossible.

Jimmy speaks up. “He’s going bat shit. His eyes are twitching like he’s on an acid trip.” Jimmy walks over and squats down beside Sal. “What is it, pal. Is it curare? Did Pascal tell you that’s what it was.” Sal stops the crazed blinking and his breathing calms immediately. He slowly blinks twice at Jimmy.

“Yup, that’s what the prick gave him,” Jimmy nod firmly as he straightens up. “Curare. Is there any antidote?”

“An ambulance is scheduled to come and take him to Walter Reed. They might be able to treat him there with something that’s faster than anything a local place can give him,” the EMT answers, “but I just don’t know for sure.”

“And all these ambulances just sitting here,.” Jimmy waves his arms angrily, indicating the flashing lights and immobile emergency vehicles in all directions, “they don’t work?”

“Army procedure, Detective. What can I say.”

“Say no more. I spent two years with the Army.”

“But how are you feeling, Detective Glendennan? How’s the back? I can suggest to the army ambie driver that you should go to Reed with your partner. I think we could swing that.”

“I’ll ride with him, but I’m fine.”

“Whatever you say, detective.”

Just then two figures hurriedly carrying another figure on a stretcher through the downpour come closer and closer to the bright nylon oasis. The local Chevy Chase EMTs carry the figure under the protective tarp. They stand there for a moment, silently deciding whether to lay the stretcher directly on the ground or not.

The body is fully covered by a burgundy sheet, the very sheet that Sal and Diana had made love on just barely 80 minutes ago. The rain has soaked the sheet and it clings to the figure like a second skin. This is a female. The hand that drapes off the stretcher, sticking out from under the sheet shows a wrist that has nasty abrasions. There’s no question that this is Wonder Woman’s body. Sal’s eyes fill with tears that run down his cheeks. Jimmy’s throat closes up and he turns away to try to collect himself. The two EMT’s decide to lower the stretcher to the ground after all and they do it like they’re handling nitroglycerin.

“Oh damn,” says the older EMT who then squats down to wipe away Sal’s tears with a handkerchief from his breast pocket. Sal’s body, though incapable of any controlled movement is shaking and a grunting sob bursts from his mouth.

“Is there anything I can do for you Detective Abato?” The EMT is the soul of propriety.

“What’s your name, technician,” Jimmy says, putting his hand on the squatting man’s shoulder.

“Pierce, sir. Simon Pierce.”

“Can you give us a minute, Simon. I’m sorry to ask you to go out into the rain but I must.”

“Not a problem.....uhhh....?..”

“Jimmy,” answers Glendennan to the unspoken question.

“I’ll be by the coffee truck if you need me, Jimmy.” The EMT dashes off through the pelting drops to the truck 20 yards away.

“What do you want me to do, Sal? Do you want me to turn your face away from her?”

One blink.

“Towards her?”

Two blinks.

Jimmy gently turns Sal’s head to face the pathetic figure draped in the soaking wet burgundy sheet. The body under the sheet is still an amazing thing to behold. The clinging fabric accentuates the female form like an artist’s tribute. And Sal’s tears, with his face turned to the side now flow down his face to the canvas stretched beneath him. Such a loss. Such a needless loss. He can feel Jimmy’s hand squeezing his shoulder. He wants to remember to thank him for this moment. And when he recovers he wants to remember this moment on the very day he faces Rene Pascal in person and puts a bullet in his heart.

Four minutes later, the Coroner’s vehicle shows up and the body of Wonder Woman is loaded into the back of the black hearse and is driven away. Ten minutes after that, the ambulance from Walter Reed arrives and Simon Pierce helps Jimmy and the army driver transfer Sal’s limp form from the cot to the stretcher to the ambulance. Jimmy sits toward the front of the rear cabin talking to the driver through the portal window. Just before Simon shuts the rear door to send the two detectives on their way, he leans over and speaks softly to Sal.

“I kind of think I know what you did for Wonder Woman, detective. I was watching that website at the station. I saw how she was before you two went in that room and I saw how she was when she woke up afterward. She was stronger for what you did, sir. I would remember that. You did a good thing.”

Sal gives Simon two slow steady winks. And then Simon closes the ambulance door.

Murray Banks walks into his autopsy room with a very heavy heart. He’d woken up after a peaceful Sunday night’s sleep only to discover that his world had exploded. The marvelously vibrant Wonder Woman who he was just starting to be friends with, who had just opened up to him this past week after three years of righteous aloofness had been killed during the night.

It was his job as the department head and senior M.E. to do the most critical autopsies. And he had to cut into not just Wonder Woman but Destiny as well. That wasn’t something he could hand off to George Constantine, although the bright young man would be assisting him. He was nervously pacing in the hall outside. Banks had asked him for a minute alone with the two women.

This will be the hardest work day of his life, hell, the hardest any kind of day in his life. He opens one of the holding doors and slides out the drawer. The body of Destiny lies before him on her back. She is completely naked as every body is in these drawers. She is the ideal of feminine beauty: blonde hair, smooth, glowing skin and a remarkable figure of obvious athletic grace even in deathly repose. The wound in her stomach is pretty nasty though. That’s not beautiful at all.

Murray sighs and turns around, then opens the next door over. He slides this drawer out and views the naked body of Wonder Woman. Murray is shocked to discover that a length of yellow nylon rope is still cinched around the famous Amazon’s throat. This was a gross error in standard procedure. All bodies were to have any weapons or items not integral to the body removed and sent to the lab for processing. As George was the one responsible, Murray is about to call him in and give him a harsh and pointed refresher course in his lab’s body-handling protocol. But the senior ME stops himself and calms his nerves. This was not the way to start the day. Not one that was going to be so emotionally draining.

He looks at Wonder Woman and tries to be objective. The face was, of course, hideous in its appearance. Even though the noose had been slackened somewhat during the transport, the color was still nasty, a pale blue from the usual hideous purple when choking victims ultimately met their deaths. The tongue still draped out of the mouth like a dead fish. But the rest of the naked body before him, as if trying to apologize for the face, was still magnificent. The dark beauty of a goddess as compared to the lightness of Destiny next to her. The physical perfection of these two women was something Murray could deeply appreciate. He’d had famous movie stars on his tables and supermodels and even some physical fitness video queens. None of them measure up to the standard of these two. The tragic waste of it burns Murray’s soul. He half hopes he never gets the body of Rene Pascal on one of his tables. He’s not sure his fierce anger wouldn’t overrule his professionalism. It would be a close thing.

With a sigh, he finally does call in George Constantine to the autopsy theater. When the young Greek doctor comes in, Banks points to the gold noose attached around the throat of WW.

“Why is that noose there, George?”

“Neither I nor any of the other night shift doctors or trainees or even janitorial staff were able to remove it, sir.”

“What?! You have multiple hands all over this body?”

“Mostly just the neck sir, and some pressed against her shoulders. I apologize, Dr. Banks.”

“Do you realize that you’ve compromised this autopsy already, Dr. Constantine. This is an inexcusable breach of procedure. And on Wonder Woman no less! Probably the highest profile murder victim ever to be examined in this state with the exception of John F. Kennedy over at Walter Reed!”

“There was no removing the rope, sir. Again I apologize. I didn’t know how to proceed.”

“You don’t ask the guy who cleans the toilets to take a crack at it! That’s how you DON’T proceed!”

Murray turns away and strides off, once again trying to calm himself down. He was overwrought having to see WW’s face so horribly contorted and the reason for it still wrapped around her throat. He talked with this woman himself on Saturday morning. Just two days ago. He walks back and leans over the rope. The shine of it is unlike anything he’d ever seen except for.... “My god, this is her lasso. Her golden lasso.”


“That’s probably why you couldn’t remove it. It’s got incredible magical properties. I’m not even sure how it works.” Fretting at the noose with nervous fingers, Banks makes an effort to unknot the noose but every time he tries his hands seem to slip. He wipes them on a towel and tries again.

“Yes, I tried that, too, sir.”

“George, give it a rest. Let me see what I come up with.”

“Yes sir.

After 10 minutes of pulling and tugging and no success, Banks utters one indignant curse and gives up for the moment, turning his attention to Destiny. Banks presses his fingers against her wrist checking the skin for elasticity. It’s far above average, especially for a dead person. That was one of the first aspects of the body to break down.

Looking at the wound, Banks then lifts his head at his assistant standing by and watching his mentor. “I hate to ask this, George, but did you treat or in some other way tamper with this stomach wound?”


“Calm down, George. I’m not accusing...well, I’m trying to ascertain if you broke procedure in any way on this person’s remains. If you did, it’s best to have it all out now.”

“I didn’t sir, the body was removed from the disposal site outside the Aeronautical Museum and brought here directly. Standard procedure was followed from there to the drawer, sir.”

“Then how can you explain the closure of a 10 centimeter gap at the bottom of the wound? Dead bodies don’t just heal themse....Whoa! Give me that Retinoscope please, George”

Handed the instrument, Banks leans over Destiny’s face and peers through the scope at her retina. He pulls his head away, blinks, and goes back to looking into her eye.

“This can’t be. Her retina’s still active after two days. This woman is alive!!”


“The wound closure, the lack of blood lividity, the active retina.” Banks grabs the folder off the side table with the police report in it and scans it quickly. “She’d suffered direct shotgun blasts and there’s only the tiniest discolorations from the pellets. It happened less than an hour before her death. I can’t believe the scarring wouldn’t have been worse than this even with her physiology.

Banks paces back and forth between the two bodies of the naked women, then stops back and faces Destiny’s side, pointing at her with a shaking finger. “I don’t know how but this woman is not dead. Now how to we reanimate her?”

“Poke her. Hard?” Constantine is serious.

“Poke her?! You graduated from Johns Hopkins right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Were they passing out medical degrees on the corner that day?”

“Hardly, sir. You know, a sharp blow to the diaphragm has been known to work for drowning victims past the five minute mark.”

“I know the research but....you really believe it’ll work?”

“It’s worth a try. Shall I make the effort sir?”

Banks stands back. “Be my guest, doctor.”

George Constantine walks up to the other side of the beautiful naked body before him, winds up and gives her the hardest shot he can deliver with his punched fist just below her rib cage. The body jerks but there’s no gasp of breath, no nothing. Except George is shaking his fist in the air and wincing.

“That was dumb,” he says, “really dumb.”

“I can’t disagree,” Banks says, looking at the pale body that isn’t dead. “What kind of force do you suppose is needed against her diaphragm to create the reaction we’re looking for?”

“Hell, probably a jackhammer.”

Murray Bank’s eyes light up. “They’re prepping that area one block south to build the new children’s wing. Time for a field trip, my boy.”

Thirty minutes later, with a disgruntled and disbelieving construction worker in jeans and a hard hat in tow, the two doctors explain what they want the unionized ground worker to do.

“Is this Comedy Central’s Prank Parade?”

“I assure you, it is not. Can you do this?”

“It’ll kill her.”

“We don’t think so.”

“Not doing it unless you sign a waiver.”

“Is that all? No other hurdles?” Banks gives the man a severe look.

“That will do it as long as...Fuck me!” The beefy man just notices the other body lying in the room.

“What?” Banks asks alarmed. Was there some other thing the man had forgotten?

“Is that Wonder Woman lying naked over there?”

“Damn,” barks Banks. “I’m so used to naked bodies I don’t even see them anymore. George, some decorum for the heroines.”

George strides over to a drawer in a nearby steel workbench and pulls out four cover sheets used when relatives are brought in to identify their loved one’s remains. He covers up Wonder Woman and Destiny.

“Where were we, ah yes, the waivers.”

Another 45 minutes later, with the city’s lawyer present and all papers signed, the doctors lay Destiny down on a sheet on the floor to give the worker the best possible angle to her diaphragm. The rest of her body is covered with sheets. Everything but her head.

“Here goes nuttin,’ gents,” the man in the hard hat says. With both fists firmly wrapped around the handle of the gas powered non-hydraulic jackhammer, the man with the big belly starts up the machine and points the tip where Banks has drawn an X with a non-permanent magic marker. The noise is deafening in the enclosed room but the results are immediate. As soon as the jolting tip slams back and forth into Destiny’s diaphragm, the blonde heroine convulses and jerks to a 90-degree angle off the floor with her eyes wide open.

“What the fuck!” Destiny screams out and Banks and Constantine start cheering, link arms and dance in circle.

The construction worker stops the machine and after their mutual jig, Banks pays the man the $100 he promised him for his hours time. He goes on his way and the two doctors help a slightly disoriented Destiny up from the floor. She’s wrapped herself in a sheet and is shaking her head to clear out the cobwebs. They’re about to help her sit up on the autopsy table when she looks across it to see another figure lying on the table opposite her.

“Oh gross, who’s tha.......” Destiny’s eyes suddenly well with tears. “Oh no, oh Lord in Pleavallah, is that Wonder Woman? Who did this. Wait! There’s only one asshole I know capable of such cruelty and the power to make it stick. This is Rene Pascal’s work. It is, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” says Constantine first.

“Point me at him!”

“Well, nobody knows where he is exactly,” says George. “For now anyway.”

“Well, I’m just the girl to shove a GPS up his ass.”

“Before you go off on your mission of vengeance, Destiny. We need your help,” Banks say solemnly. “With Wonder Woman’s body. We can’t get that damn noose off her.”

“Hey! That noose, it’s her lasso!”


“How long has she been dead?”

She was brought in around 2 a.m. and I haven’t run any tests to determine TOD, sorry, time of death yet, but I think the news broke about her death between 11 and midnight, depending on what channel you were watching.” The two doctors put their heads together jabbering happily that they’d been able to effect a miracle here today. They’re sharing questions together they want to ask her about Bylangian physiology. What did she have in her body that let her live.

Meanwhile, Destiny clutches the sheet around her and walks over to the prone body of the Amazon warrior. She looks into the eyes of the woman she had known for so short a time and for whom she’d developed such affection and admiration. The bulging eyes aspect from the choking was no longer present, but the limp tongue and blueish color still prevailed.

“Oh Diana,” she whispers too softly for the doctors to hear, putting her forehead against her heroic sister’s own forehead. “How hard you must have fought only to have it come to this. I know. I faced this monster and I will take up your banner, sister. And I won’t rest until Rene Pascal suffers for what he did to you.”

She looks at the coiled noose with a mixture of disgust and tenderness and grabs hold of the dangling end of it and clutches it to her breast. She knows there is magic in this smooth golden cord but she’s not sure how to draw its power. So she simply speaks her heart, looking down and focusing on the words. “But in truth, Amazon, I wish it was you who still lived. It’s only right that you would be the one to avenge this travesty. Are you still lingering in the area, Di? You’re still needed. You still have a role to play. Don’t give up on us. Don’t give up on you. You deserve to live. Believe it.”

Destiny looks up again and forces herself to search the glassy eyes of the hideously blue face before her. Well, it’s not really blue but blueish. The tint of is blue there but at least it’s not purple. If anything, actually the blue has a touch of pink within it. And then peering at the pupils, Destiny sees glassiness in the fish eyes shift and fuck her if there isn’t actually a spark of intelligence there. The wheezing, rasping wind from the throat of the woman before her actually flutters her lashes and Destiny begins to cry softly. “She’s not dead.”

“What?” Banks head comes up from the intense conversation he’d been having with George about who exactly had handled the body of Wonder Woman and whose DNA had to be accounted for in the autopsy results.

Had he heard her correctly? Could there have been two miracles today in this building? He looks over to see Wonder Woman’s face. There’s not a tinge of blue about it. It’s pink and the eyes, they’re slowly fluttering. “She is alive! What have you done? She’s alive!” Banks rushes over to the autopsy table and puts two fingers on her wrist and bows his head in concentration. There is a pulse!

“It was the rope I think,” Destiny says, weeping. “I just wished she was alive. I prayed for her to want to live and well, it worked.”

“...was........the......Lasso...of......Truth....” Wonder Woman’s voice is nothing but a weak croak but it is enough.

“But how?” George Constantine asks.

“No, don’t talk, Wonder Woman. Wait, you need to rest. You’ve experienced horrible trauma. George, get her some tepid water. Not too much.”

Wonder Woman looks at Destiny and mouths the words, “How did you know?”

“I didn’t,” admits Destiny. “Well, I knew it had magic. I just asked you to care. To believe.”

It’s 20 minutes and 20 small sips from the glass of water before Wonder Woman’s voice has the strength to explain the reason behind the miracle.

“You were right, Dee, it was the lasso that killed me and saved me at the same time. Pascal so wanted me dead while he was holding the lasso that he willed me to death before I actually died. He wanted me to orgasm and I did that too. His will overpowered me so completely because I was so weakened that he was sort of hoisted by his own petard. He willed me to death. If it had been a normal length of rope, I wouldn’t be talking to you now.”

“Well, then it’s cause for celebration,” Destiny declares. “Together we will search the Earth and make Pascal pay. And in your redemption, you will rise to your greatest glory ever.”

“No, Destiny. I am done. I am no hero. No champion. I will never be one again.”

“Come on, Wonder Woman, you’re upset. I’m sorry. You need to rest. This is not the time to discuss this.”

“This is the best time to discuss this. I am going home to Themyscira. I want to. I need to. For how I behaved. For how the world sees me now. I have no power to influence anyone anymore. The littlest girl will be told of my disgrace. My lewd acts. My undying shame. There is nothing left for me in Man’s World. As sure as this lasso compels the truth, so does my heart compel me to face the truth. And that truth is I am damaged goods and will forever be. So yes, you take up the torch and carry it high. My days wearing the power of the eagle on this chest.are over. I only wish to go home and...and...beg that my heart forgets. But I am sure it won’t.”

The doctors and blonde dynamo Destiny stand beside the seated raven-haired woman in shock. All the light and excitement and joy of the two women’s resurrection has been eclipsed by the cloud of despair surrounding Wonder Woman. She stands and asks if there are any clothes that she might borrow. George goes to a locker filled with castoffs from the bodies of the deceased. Wonder Woman takes the pile and retreats to the ladies room to change.

“Do you think she’ll reconsider,” Banks asks Destiny.

“I can’t say for sure, but I’ve never felt such a sense of absolute defeat in my entire life. I think she means what she says.”

“It’s such a shame,” Constantine says. “All the good will and love and power she’s spread through the years and one man brings it all crashing down in the course of a day.”

Wonder Woman walks back in the room wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a old moth-eaten red sweater and pink platform shoes. She’s heard George’s comment.

“You’re right, Doctor Constantine. And the lesson in that is that when we are so haughty that we think nothing can touch us, than evil has an easy way in, like a lit runway pointing out where to land, where to hurt us, how to destroy us. We can hope to be better than that, stronger than that, wiser than that but it probably won’t happen. Good bye doctors. Good bye Destiny. I thank you for my life, sister. I just wish it had been worth saving.”

And with that Wonder Woman walks out of the autopsy room, out of the medical building and out of Man’s World as a superheroine forever.

Later that night, Diana Prince is packing the few things she cares about returning with to Theymiscira. Some favorite sandals, a few tops, a stuffed rabbit she’d won for herself at a carnival on the first weekend she’d ever come to Man’s World. There’s no makeup in her case, no pictures of friends, no wallet size photo of Steve, no trinkets or mementoes of her triumphs or tragedies during her years as America’s champion of right and might.

The phone rings and she sees it’s Steve’s number. She considers not picking it up but she supposes she should give some lame excuse for her disappearance to her boss.


“Diana, it’s Etta. Where have you been all weekend? Do you know what’s happened.”

“Yes, I heard Wonder Woman died. Etta what are you doing at Steve’s apartment. This is his number.”

“I have lots to dish girlfriend. First, Wonder Woman’s not dead. It’s been in the news since this afternoon, silly. And that other heroine Destiny isn’t dead either apparently. Some miraculous thing about her having this special Bylangian preservation gland. I guess it kicked in after she got stabbed.”

“Why are you at Steve’s Etta?”

“That’s the thing, Diana. Steve’s kind of going through a hard time right now about Wonder Woman. He blames himself for her death and....”

“Where was Steve all day,” Diana interrupts with cold anger. “What was he doing while I...while Wonder Woman was going through hell?”

“We were in his office trying to track down possible suspects, using a cross list of...”

“All day? Even when it was clear who was behind this? Didn’t Steve think he might be able to help Wonder Woman somehow by showing up? Showing some concern?” Diana’s voice reaches a high pitched whine by the end of her tirade.

“Well, gee, Diana. Who put your panties in a bunch? It’s not like she died after all. Anyway, I think we, well he wanted to go,” Etta answers cooly.” but that Detective Abato said it’d be too many cooks spoiling the broth I think. It was his jurisdiction and stuff.”

“Abato waved him off on purpose?”

“Pretty much, Di. But here’s the thing. Even though Wonder Woman’s not really dead, Steve isn’t quite processing that information. He’ll be going to a sanitarium tomorrow. IADC is picking up the tab. I’m helping him get packed. He’s pretty out of it right now.”

“You’re a good friend to him, Etta.”

“Well, that’s another little news flash, Di. When Stevie gets all better, we’re going to be an item.”

“When did all this happen?” Diana stands in her apartment phone clutched to her ear, stunned by this news.

“It was our long day together. Let’s just say that we got a little worked up watching that webcast while Steve was trying to locate the source of it.”

“You guys had sex because you thought Pascal raping Wonder Woman was hot?!”

“Well, gee, Di, it kinda was - - a little. You know how it is.”

“You know how it is, Etta. How it really is? You’re nothing but a sick little whore hound who couldn’t hold onto a man with a leash around his cock! Burn in hell, fat ass!”

Diana Prince slams the phone down and then rips it out of the wall by the cord and throws it out the window. Her life in Washington, D.C. is now officially over.

Diana Prince is woken up on Tuesday morning by her ringing cell phone.

“Should have thrown that out the window too,” she mutters, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and stretching as she reads the screen on her phone. D.C. POLICE DEPT


“Hello Diana, it’s Sal.”

“Hello, Sal. Can you answer a question for me before we get down to what you want?”

“Oh...uh sure...what’s up?”

“Why did you warn off Major Trevor from coming to help me, you, us on Sunday?”

“Well Diana, at the time we still weren’t sure if Pascal was the guy. In fact Pascal sent us on a wild good chase all over the metro area to keep us from getting to his house. Major Trevor was supposed to cross-check a list of chemical suppliers which I’m not sure he ever finished. Once Pascal started up the website, it was clear it was him”

“And once that it was clear, did you warn the Major off again?”

“What’s this all about Diana?”

“Answer the question, Sal.”

“I didn’t want him tromping all over the place and scaring off the suspect but I don’t think I warned him off at that point. I don’t’ remember specifically, It was a crazy day.”

“For everyone, Sal. A hellish day.”

“I know that. I know Wonder Woman took a hell of a....”

“Wonder Woman doesn’t exist anymore. Forget her. Thanks for the info. Goodbye Sal.”

“HEY! Diana, WAIT!” Sal’s shout stops Diana from disconnecting. “Jimmy and I would probably have been there at least two hours earlier if it weren’t for Trevor!”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean we were about eight minutes from Pascal’s place when he told us his guys had pinpointed the source of the website signal. It was up in Bethesda. Not that far from where he lived but it was a huge abandoned factory right next to the building he owned, the building he took out Destiny in, as it turned out. It seemed like a solid lead but it took us forever to check and clear that huge warehouse. That’s why we weren’t there to rescue you earlier. It was Trevor’s fault.”

“And then he still never came to the house once you two were inside with me. Nor did he send any agents,” Sal can hear the ice forming on Diana’s words.

“Yeah, I don’t know what was behind that.”

“He was too busy fucking his secretary.”


“I’m sorry Sal I’m leaving town today and I won’t be coming back, so if that’s all, I’ll say thanks for doing what you could.”

“Diana, we don’t know where Pascal is yet but we’re trying to build a case against him. For when we do find him. Can you meet me at his place. I’m going there now to search for clues. Is there anything there that would help?”

“You don’t have enough evidence for god sake?”

“The DA wants it to be air tight. And he wiped his hard drives on every computer in the place before he split. All the tapes he had of you and him, all that’s completely fried. At least everything in this place.”

“How about the fact that his face is in photo sets raping my ass that teenage boys are buying by the thousands? Isn’t that enough evidence?”

“There trying to do block any chance he can plead insanity so if there’s something that shows intent over a course of time....

“There is something!” Diana says with a touch of cold revenge. And I’m the only one who knows where it is.”

“Great, I’ll meet you there in 30 minutes, if that works.”

“Make it an hour,” says Diana. “I have to pick something up on the way.”

Sal is wandering around on the first floor of Pascal’s townhouse, looking into closets and banging on the walls for the hollow sound of a hidden wall safe when he hears the front door open. He goes to see if Diana has crossed the police tape and gotten past the guard stationed there to protect the crime scene. He is stunned to see Wonder Woman walk through the front door.

“I thought you were done with all this. A lot of rumors flying around...” Sal waves at the outfit then notices that it’s not nearly as form fitting as he recalls from just a week ago. The top sags a bit and the starred briefs are a little granny pants in style. “What is that a spare costume?”

“Well, the other one got so totally destroyed I had to go to a store for this.”

“Why did you bother?”

“Because I wanted to use this lasso,” she says. “And I couldn’t come in here as Diana and use it out in the open in case there were other detectives here trying to help you build your case.”

“What did you need the lasso for?”

“We’ll get to that in a minute,” Wonder Woman says, “let me show you something that will go a long way to proving that Rene Pascal systematically used his skills at neurologic chemistry in experiments on reducing brain function in unwilling coeds for years.”

“Shit, you have that?”

“Follow me.”

The costume might be second rate but following behind Wonder Woman as she walks up the stairs to the second floor even in blue granny panties was a joyous symphony of motion to behold. At the top of the stairs, she turns left and walks into Pascal’s study. Lifting up the snow globe of Paris she sees the memory stick lying underneath. When Sal goes to reach for it, the statuesque raven-haired beauty slaps his hand away.

“You don’t want to do that,” she says. “I don’t know how long the compound lasts but he treated that stick with a neural chemical inhibitor that started me on the road to ruin on Sunday. Made me foolish and impetuous and inept just when I couldn’t afford to be. I’m pretty sure it was how he took down the other three heroines, at first anyway.” Snatching a simple tissue from the box on the desk, Wonder Woman wraps it around the memory stick and puts it in Sal’s pocket.

“What’s on it?”

“Numbered experiments from years prior showing the effects of his inhibitors. Subject names, addresses, the works.

“That should stop any insanity plea on the spot,” Sal says. He puts his hands on Wonder Woman’s forearms and she backs away but not roughly and not angrily.

“Not here,” she says. Downstairs. In our room.”

Sal’s eyebrows go up and the two of them trek down to the basement by way of the secret door in the utility room. The lights are off and Sal is leading the way down the stone steps.

He just steps into the lab when he hears a whish behind him and Wonder Woman’s lasso falls over his head and is cinched around his chest.

“Hey, what’s this all abo....”

“Be quiet until I tell you to talk.”

The costume might be fake and it may look a little cheesy but the lasso is 100% Grade A magic. Sal shuts up and waits for her signal.

“What’s the real reason you told Major Trevor not to come to this house. You may answer the question.”

Sal tries to think of a way to put it nicely but the truth isn’t always pretty.

“I thought that the Major was a screw up and he would do something to either damage our case or get somebody hurt, including you. Especially you.”

Wonder Woman considers this, her heart beating a bit faster. She knew many people thought Steve lacked a certain edge of success, and that was true, but then again, his heart always seemed to be in the right place. And that always swayed Diana’s feelings. That and his good looks and attractive physical presence. She had a blind spot when it came to Steve, but that was over for good. When he got so hot watching her getting fucked by Pascal that he fucked Etta, that cleared up that little blind spot forever.

“Do you really not like me?”

“I do like you. I love you. And when I thought you’d been killed, I cried like a baby.”

The lump in Wonder Woman’s throat makes it hard for her to breathe for a moment. Here was another man whose heart was in the right place. And he had come to try to save her. Steve had nothing but excuses and it was eating him alive. Sal had acted at the cost of nearly his life and his partner’s. And when she most needed comfort and solace and humanity, it was Sal who provided them.

“Will you get over me when I leave Man’s World forever?”

“It will be hard. You’re an incredible force of nature and I am drawn to you. But I understand why you are leaving. You’ve been hurt too deeply. Your soul is torn and not yours to give anymore. It may never heal. Pascal has damaged it that much by making you do things to protect what never really needed to be protected. You could have shed Diana Prince at any time and created a new persona. Or not taken one and simple existed as Wonder Woman. The world would have gone on well enough. I don’t want to but I will get over you. The more important question is: Will you get over you?

Wonder Woman’s eyes fill with tears and she reaches forward to release the rope that pulls the harsh truth out of people. It falls off of Sal’s chest and falls to the floor. He steps forward and takes Wonder Woman in his arms and gives her a long sweet reluctant goodbye kiss. Her body relaxes into his and she squeezes him tightly, enjoying his shorter body, the heft of it and the absolute commonness of it. When he releases her, he steps back and turns to head up the stone stairway up into the light.

“Goodbye Diana. I hope you can forgive yourself. The rest of us can.” And then he is gone.

The mighty Wonder Woman stands there, looking around the space where her life ended as she knew it. Her lasso trails on the floor and her silhouette is framed in the doorway, her head drops to her chest with a sigh, a sad forlorn figure with a rope in her hands and the only thing in her heart is the sad truth. She will carry the burden with her home to Themyscira. She doesn’t know if the burden will break her or not. She doesn’t think she can bear it but you never know. She looks up again to the light filling the stone passageway. You never know. People can surprise you.

The End