Novel Dreamers, ASSEMBLE!

Puns, guns and caffeine overdoses. This is what I promise from this month’s assignments!

Welcome back to Novel Dreamers and the March Challenge. For those of you who are waiting patiently, STOP WAITING AND GO VOTE! For those of you who have voted already, allow me to steal your attention for a further moment.

March’s challenge involves Superheroes. Each of the writers were asked who they would cast themselves as if they were a graphic novel protagonist/antagonist and we got a list of beauties for you.

Leanne Pearce as Dark Phoenix
Hannah Torrance as Spire (See From the Rooftops and A Quiet Drink by Matt Beames)
Picto as Judge Dredd
Paul Rogers as Wolverine
Kirsty Mealing as Mystique
Richard Leverton as Batman
Matt Beames as Morpheus/Dream (yanno the one, Gaiman did it!)

Not only do they now have to write a piece for their chosen heroes BUT they also have to involve another hero in the piece as well. It can be as the villain, the sidekick, it could merely be the two meeting for tea! This has led to me looking at the list and awarding Hannah Torrance 3 bonus points for a sheer ballsy move! Bad enough to write fan fiction for a hero but there’s more info on all the characters chosen but hers…

With this being said, I had to offer my own hero and I already have a fan fiction piece I want to write because of this challenge now but that shall have to wait! I took on Hellboy and decided to take a leaf from Mrs Torrance’s book to challenge Spire. This example piece is brief and open ended as to not affect anything that should come from the Spire works later!

Finally – before we step into the example piece – I want to talk about word count. The last few months have offered the writers 1500 words max to write on the given subject. From this point on, the writers have no defined word count and must choose what they personally feel fits the piece. They are more than welcome to continue the writing challenge of 1500 words but this is a further movement of what I wanted to do with ND and as such, you have picked up your tool kit over the past 4 months, it’s time to start playing with it. HOWEVER! This does not mean you are allowed to go wild, this is a questioning of the editing of your work now; not an excuse to just hand in whatever!

And now, the example piece….

A Brief Waltz

The wind blew back his trench coat, revealing the long tail that protruded from the base of his spine. He stood at seven-foot-tall, dwarfing any of the Fourth Watch that had approached him that same day. It had felt like millennia had passed since the fight with Dr Carp’s experiment – a chimpanzee that had been injected with his blood – and the painful throwing back in time to 1902. Somehow, the story had not followed the path it was intended to and now he found himself walking down a dark cobbled street in a city he knew nothing about.

He had awoken face down in a pool of his own blood, causing lilies to sprout around his unconscious body. It still baffled him that this happened but had been privy to this knowledge since a long mission in which he was tasked to slay the Saint Leonard worm. Had it been the first time this had happened since his fight with Dr Carp, he would be as dazed and confused as he was in the first realm. After each fight he had been flung backwards into yet another time vortex and found himself horns first in the dirt a few hours later in a new place.

The first fight had been somewhat boring to him. He found himself in what he thought was a part of New York with the lights out but turned out to be a place called Gotham. He had been hounded by a grizzled man in a latex suit and was only until finally throwing him into a vat at Ace Chemicals that he was pulled once more into the vortex. He fought a police officer accused of going rogue, a lady who could change form in the blink of an eye, a man who grew claws of metal from his knuckles – a bloody hard fight, even snapped Excalibur – and most recently a red haired vixen with telekinetic and bloodthirsty powers.

During the fights he had started to realise that each of these coincided with the Christian belief of Seven Sins. He had thought Dredd and his sense of pride, Logan had been all but wrath and if Ms Grey was to be seen in a more approachable light…

He coughed and afforded himself what could be called a blush if it were not for his red skin. Hellboy may have been ridiculously old, but his mind was still 15 and a fiery redhead is a fiery redhead. Bringing his mind back to the task at hand, he had two entities left; Gluttony and Sloth.

“Obviously sloth will be last,” he said to himself through a mouth holding the end of a cigar. He had already worked out that Gluttony was the theme of this target. He had spent time lurking around the backstreets of the Lowgrime Quarter, where he happened to stumble upon a tavern housing a rather slant old man. He reminded Red of a reincarnated cadaver he had once had to transport on his back during a mission to take down Rasputin reborn. The man had given the name Cagey and told Red that if he wanted to know about the gluttony of this city, he should find himself a perch on the rooftops of the Merchants Guild that very night.

The autumn wind bit with winter’s teeth as it blew across the rooftops of Clockwork City, underneath a bright, full moon. The wind curled about the chimney stacks and blew across the skyline helping him to pinpoint his target in between the shadows below him. She dexterously broke into and back out of an office and appeared to be muttering about a forced food shortage in the Artist Quarter. Heading off in an eastern direction, Hellboy followed her from above until eventually he had lost sight of her altogether and stopped to gather his thoughts. He was musing to himself that this was the second time a clockwork city had caused his cultural demise when he was blindsided by what felt like a sledgehammer to the side of his face; however, as the weapon passed his face, he noticed it was actually a slight, thin arm attached to a small leather gloved fist.

“Why are you following me?” The voice was calm but commanding, low but feminine. He spun to catch a blur of motion as a boot flew up to follow the fist, though he had a few tricks up his sleeve himself. His tale swooped up and caught the ankle, lifting the girl into the air. Several trinkets fell from her belt and locks of pale white hair fell from underneath the hood.

“Rats, girl! What’s in that glove of yours?”

“Trade secret. Want to put me down you great beast?”

“After you take a swing for me? Oh no, we got to chat about why you slug a guy in the head before taking him to dinner. Now what’s your name?”

“Put. Me. Down.”

“What a charming name. I love old money names! Let’s try again…”

He jolted her with his tail, which she took as her moment to kick out and cartwheel to one side before throwing another punch. The noise of metal on stone rung out across the square, which Hellboy hated because to the reader this would have been a great moment for film when the camera zooms out to show that he had just caught the girls fist with his right hand; The Right Hand of Doom. He squeezed and she shrank before him, sinking to her knees.

“Name?!” He growled.


“Good! Where are we?”

“Clockwork City. It’s an industrial hub just north of the Kingdom’s border. Well I say Kingdom…”

“Enough with the smarts girl! My head is spinning from the first punch.”

“It’s hardly a kingdom without a king now, is it?”

He had let down his guard, thinking she had finally started to play ball and that was his down fall. She winked at him and swept his legs from under him. As she did so the sleeve on her coat slipped to reveal the arm that had caused such mischief. It was metallic, steampunk and – to Hellboy – frickin’ awesome! He landed onto his back and followed the momentum into a backwards roll, grasping the Samaritan from its holster and took aim. She was just as quick; within seconds she had pirouetted and released a clip on her right arm causing a small hand pistol to fling out mechanically into her palm.

“Now here’s the question, monkey man. Is your hand faster than my mechanical arm?”

They had no time to find out. A vortex opened, sucking them both in and they landed on their backs on the same street they had just been fighting on. It felt like their backs, but it also felt like they were standing; it felt like they were on the street but also were just a representation of themselves and they couldn’t move. They didn’t know they were now trapped in a volume of Hellboy that never existed. Sloth was the lord of all that did not exist.

Morpheus closed the thought off in his mind. Hellboy couldn’t win a fight against one of the Endless. There was no trusting a demon, regardless of how pure…


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