Having returned to her apartment, exhausted from another long hard day at The Herald Hawk, intrepid and beautiful reporter Holly Hunt set her keys down on the hallway table and saunters into her bedroom. Kicking off her black heels, Holly sighs as she hears voices coming from her living room; she left the TV on again! As she saunters into the living room, picking up the remote control and pointing it, ready to turn the TV off, Holly freezes as the newsreader on the TV speaks.
“This just in: The dangerous criminal Alexander Kovacs, also known as Toymaster, is on the loose again, after having broken out of the Stockholm Klaw Institute. He is extremely dangerous!” Holly rolls her eyes at this last statement. “At forty-eight years old with long white hair, and a matching goatee and the overall demeanour of an innocent little child, Kovacs was found in his home by the vigilante known as The Hauntress, keeping thirty-seven year old Evan Robinson, CEO of Carpenter Industries. Robinson reportedly fired Kovacs for hiding a miniature porcelain figurine that bare an frighteningly uncanny resemblance to Herald Hawk reporter, Holly Hunt. This figurine was hand crafted by Kovacs himself. Kovacs was taken in by The Hauntress just when he was planning to, as the former Carpenter employer put it “configure with his insides.”
Holly switches the TV off before dropping the remote on the coffee table, her heart filled with dreadful disgust at the revelation of Toymaster’s secret obsession. It proved to be even more unexpected and better hidden than the man’s fiendish love of toys.
And to think that Holly had paid a visit to the devious craftsman a couple of weeks ago. Looking back on it now, Holly wishes she’d never had worn something so revealing as a pencil skirt in front of such a madman, but then she’s had that same kind of shtick from the other criminals and fiends she’s talked to, both as Holly Hunt and as The Hauntress.
Sitting opposite Toymaster with her long legs crossed, Holly would ask him questions like what was going through his mind when he tried to mess around with his former employer’s internal organs and what did Robinson do or say to upset him so and yet Toymaster would not say a word, in fact Holly Hunt might as well have bene utterly invisible to him as he chose not to even turn around and face her. When he did turn, it was only to reveal that he was busily yet very calmly handling a puzzle box in his hands, his fingers caressing the corners as he took all his time in unriddling it. Even as Holly sauntered out of his cell, he still kept his attention on the toy box when in fact, maybe he was deeply attracted to Holly yet found himself too shy to even look at her.
Holly fumes through her nostrils upon learning that what seemed like a totally fruitless interview turned out to be part of Toymaster’s patient waiting for her or something. However, she exhales and relaxes, starting to feel tired, and she didn’t feel hungry anyway.
More than an hour later, Holly rests soothingly on her bed, peacefully laying on her left side, still dressed in her long-sleeved white shirt and black pencil skirt. Unknown to Holly, there is a sinister presence in her apartment. A presence that is small, and populous. They come out of the shadows as Holly lies unaware. Toys, nearly one hundred of them, close in on her position. Holly lies limp on her bed as the toys approach but then her arm starts to shift, which seems to startle the toys as they freeze in their step, their cute, some childish, some cartoonish, eyes fixed on the sleeping reporter who then slowly turns around, still asleep, until she ends up lying on her back with her hands resting limply at her sides.
With surprising expressions of relief crossing their plastic and porcelain faces, the toys climb up onto the bed, dragging long thin ropes with them. One toy, a clockwork bear with a wind-up key sticking out its back and a clock placed in it chest, approaches with a large wad of cloth as his mechanical comrades start binding Holly with the ropes, throwing them around her, pinning her arms to her sides. Just as they all slightly lift her up together to secure the ropes now wound tightly around her body, Holly moans softly, slowly starting to come to, only to see a cute, yet freakish-looking cartoon little girl doll glare at her like an innocent child through an abnormally inhuman face. “What is this?!”
“Mama…” The doll cries out innocently with a radio-sounding voice. Holly lets out a scream of terror, as if finding herself in a waking nightmare while the toys pull her back onto her back, bringing her face close to the clockwork bear. Seeing the cloth held in front of her face, with widening eyes, Holly screams again but it only proves a perfect time for the bear to quickly cram the cloth into her mouth while the other toys try clutching at the ropes, ensuring that they’ve bound her securely enough. “Mama!” The little girl doll cries out again after Holly’s stuff gagged, with the bound and helpless reporter nearly choking on her gag.
After taking a quick breather, Holly stops gagging on her gag and makes an effort to kick at her miniature abductors with her legs and bare feet. As if in quick, defensive response, three of the toys, a tin soldier, a clockwork penguin and a teenage ballerina made of porcelain, instantly rope her legs and fete together, now virtually cocooning Holly Hunt in rope.
"GTT MMF MF MMM!!" Holly screams out through her mouth stuffing as the toys drag Holly out of bed, carrying her across the room. Holly continues to struggle and scream into her gag in hope of somebody hearing her but to hardly any avail. The toys carry Holly toward the door, which opens as if by a mechanism. Out in the hall waits none other than the Toymaster himself; clad in his favourite clothing, a white shirt and red tie, and a pinstripe jacket and pants with black, finely made Italian shoes. He also holds a green cane behind his back as he bends down to greet his bound, helpless crush.
Holly looks up at Toymaster in both terror and anger. "YNN!"
"Holly! How lovely to see you again," the Toymaster says, pulling out a long green scarf. Holly works her jaw, trying to dislodge the stuffing in her mouth. "In your natural element. Getting captured must be your greatest strength. You do it so effortlessly.”
Holly narrows her eyes and finally spits the stuffing out and it lightly hits Toymaster on the chin. "What do you hope to do with me, you demented freak?”
"You wound me, Miss Hunt," the Toymaster says mockingly, picking up the stuffing. "I just wanted to spend some... quality time with you."
Before Holly can say another word, her captor crams the cloth back into her mouth and presses the scarf over her lips. "HMM!" Holly chatters furiously as the scarf covers her mouth before her psychotically lovesick yet horrifically devious captor pulls the scarf tightly around her mouth, tying it off behind her head. "Be silent! Be obedient. You are my girl now. Always!”
Holly widens her eyes in fury and yells at her fiendish captor through her layered gag as the toys start to carry her away.
The toys leave the hallway via the elevator, led by their fiendish creator, who gloats evilly above Holly, who glares daggers at him and chatters. “Aw, sweet Holly. You must have thought me so poor, so broken, right? A once lonely, broken middle aged gentleman with nothing but a house by the bay with nobody to share it with but a bunch of dolls and playthings. Then a pompous young man treats me like I’m nothing, instead of showing a slightly older man any respect! And I end up being thrown into the bughouse by that Hauntress!”
Holly narrows her blue eyes anxiously and whimpers through the gag, worried by Toymaster’s insane mood swing and fearful of what he might have planned for her next as he calms down. “But no matter, Professor Gore, the good doctor with the best connections, managed to release me. Before that, however, he did provide me such magnificent tools in order to plan my forthcoming date with you and to bring my friends to life.”
After having to have her long dark hair played with by a kneeling Toymaster, the elevator door opens up to show the rooftop of Holly’s apartment building. Upon seeing where they’ve headed, Holly’s eyes widen while the toys carry her out with their devious leader following behind, his left hand swaying his colourful cane. Just near the edge of the roof there stands a hand cart and soon the poor, helpless reporter is placed in it. As the toys only steps a slight inch back from the cart and its bound cargo, Holly looks around, watching the toys, feeling creeped out by them before finding the strength and courage at last to call out to them.
"KMMP MMWMM FRMM MM YNN LTTLN FRRMKS!!" The toys look at each other, puzzled as they don’t seem to understand muffled speech.
“Keep away from me you little freaks?” Toymaster translates Holly’s muffled exclamation with perfect precision but also slight inquisitiveness. “Mama…?” The little girl doll cries out, also inquisitively. "What's the matter, love? You don't like my friends?"
Holly glances at the girl doll, anxiously guessing what she and her fellow toys must be thinking, before glaring up at their creator. "WHHT DNN YNN WNNT?!" Toymaster chuckles and takes his hostage's chin in hand while Holly just looks him in the eye in terror. "Just a little moment with you. Or I could let my friends work you over..."
Holly whimpers before turning her head to see the doll. “MAMA!!!” The cute doll’s radio voice turns from innocent baby whines to an infernal and terrifying roar of pure hateful anger as she and the rest of the toys, who had previously seemed almost inoffensive, whirr to life with blades and drill heads. Holly Hunt shrieks into her gag before chattering desperately, trying to cry out. “Okay! Please, I’ll do anything!”
"That's better," the Toymaster says with a leer as the toys’ killing devices stop whirring Toymaster feels up Holly's slender form while she glances down at his twisted, fiendish hands "Whht mrr ynn dnng?!" She asks in a muffled whimper.
"Ssshhhh," hisses the Toymaster, placing a hand over Holly's gagged mouth while squeezing her breast with the other as she whimpers yet again, closing her eye sin some feeble hope that all this may just be an insane nightmare. The Toymaster laughs malevolently and starts teetering the hand cart, Holly still on it, near the edge of the roof. Feeling the cart going close to the edge, Holly frantically chatters and shouts through her gag in a panicked state, shaking her head in utter horror. "NNN!"
"This will be your last story, Holly Hunt!" gloats the Toymaker. “Nobody, not even The Hauntress, can save you up here!”
Just then… “Wanna bet, Kovacs?” A beautiful voice pipe sup after a whoosing noise fills the air. The fiend stops short, turning to look only to find none other than Ravenstar, clad in her blue outfit and matching boots and mask.
"So, the harlot arrives," he sneers.
“Give yourself up, Toymaster!” Ravenstar calls out to Toymaster before glancing past him to see Holly, bound, gagged and surrounded by death traps for toys as the reporter looks back at the superheroine and yells, “HLLP MM!"
“Even if you put me back, I’l still gonna have more fun, Ravenstar!”
Soon the toys start attacking Ravenstar, who bravely fights them off. The Toymaster pushes Holly ever so closer to the edge while the teenage ballerina grabs the superheroine in blue’s ankle before she violently shakes her off. Holly whines in panic as she looks past her shoulder to see that it’s a long way down. She calls out to Ravenstar as she feels herself teetering halfway over the edge. Ravenstar strikes down wave after wave of toys as she rushes toward her imperiled friend. Just as she reaches the Toymaster, he gives that final nudge... “Whoops.”
Holly shoots a fearful glare and screams at the top of her lungs through her gag as she falls off the cart, her rope bound body flipping as she falls through the air. With one quick karate chop, Ravenstar knocks out the Toymaker before jumping after Holly, giant metallic wings quickly spread out from behind the superheroine’s back and a whooshing noise emits form inbetween the metal wings as Ravenstar soars into the air after Holly Hunt. The helpless reporter's fall is cut short by strong but slender arms wrapping around her bound form.
Screaming for help one minute, Holly can only let out a high-pitched squeak as she finds herself in the arms of Ravenstar. Her blue eyes glare at the superheroine in relief and rapture at the touch of her female rescuer. Ravenstar smiles at Holly and says, "It's all right, Ms. Hunt. You're safe now." As she says this, the superheroine flies toward a safer place.
Holly Hunt manages to stand upright on her own bare feet, bound head to foot as she is, before she quickly starts to topple over and fall on her back. “Hmm!" She grunts in frustration while looking up at her costumed saviour.
"I'm sorry!" exclaims Ravenstar, who crouches and starts untying Holly. "Are you hurt?"
Holly pulls her arms apart from her sides, throwing the rest of the ropes off her body before pulling the green scarf off her mouth before gently pulling the wad of cloth out of her mouth., gasping as he does. “Thanks, Ravenstar. I knew I could count on you.”
"Are you okay?" Ravenstar asks with concern as she unties Holly’s bare feet before gently helping the formerly captured reporter.
"Yeah. Thank you. That was just so trippy. Like a nightmare. I just never would have guessed that such an awkwardly unfeeling man as Kovacs would have such strong feelings for me, like sexual attraction.”
"Well, don't worry, I'll make sure the Toymaster never terrorizes you again."
Holly shakes her head. “Even you can’t keep him incarcerated. You see, Professor Gore of the Klaw University and Institute managed to release Kovacs with the best connections. That’s how he was able to leave. It’s more than that, he was able to provide Kovacs with more than enough resources to plan his terrible plans and tinker with his toys.”
Ravenstar nods intently, listening to every word before kneeling down and grasping Holly’s hands, looking her in the eyes. “I understand, Holly. I’ll do whatever it takes to see Toymaster brought to justice for good eventually. And Professor Gore and all the connections he has. If any of the most dangerous criminal scum should ever break out, I’ll know about it. All of my friends will. Gore’s marked for life.”
"Yeah. The world needs more people like you. Man, I wish I could be like you." Holly looks back down while Ravenstar bites her lip thoughtfully.
"You might already be," says Ravenstar, giving Holly a quick, gentle kiss on the cheek. "Please don't let this night haunt you."
Holly glares at Ravenstar and her eyes widen while her mouth hangs open. "How..?"
Ravenstar smiles coyly and winks, flying away with her great, metallic wingspan.
Back on the rooftop of the apartment building where Holly resides, Toymaster slowly comes to and tries to get u, seeing all his hand-crafted creations almost destroyed. “NO! My toys! My beautiful, wonderful toys!” He runs his hands through his white hair in sorrow and anger before he turns around to find Ravenstar. The brunette superheroine grabs the distraught fiend by the front of his elegant jacket before he can have a chance to strike, shoving him against the side of the platform where the elevator is, clenching her gripping fists tighter. Toymaster whimpers like a frightened little boy.
“Tell me this, Kovacs, who was it, alongside Gore, that helped secure you release from Stockholm Klaw? Who was it that arranged for you to have the resources to design your friends?” Ravenstar pushes him hard against the wall. “Answers! Now!”
“All right!” Toymaster raises his hands defensively, his voice trembling. “Luke Farrell. That’s who helped me get out of the bughouse, okay?” Ravenstar glares at Toymaster intently, keeping her fists clenched, holding Toymaster’s jacket. “The billionaire, Luke Farrell? You’re kidding, right?”
Toymaster shakes his head. ”He came to visit me in my cell, said he agreed with what I planned to do with Holly Hunt. He paid big money for me to build my beautiful little friends. He made arrangements with the Professor. They go way back.”
Ravenstar narrows her eyes. “Tell me more.”
Back in her apartment, Holly steps back into her bedroom. Feeling cared about and safe, Holly Hunt ponders still, this time not about Toymaster’s psychopathic crush on her, but this time at how someone like her could be found out by Ravenstar…..
Back on the rooftop, after having secured Toymaster with special thin cord and zipties, Ravenstar lifts her gloved fingers to her ear, pressing them lightly against a small earpiece. “Ravenstar calling The Hawk.” No reply. “Ravenstar calling The Butterfly. Do you copy?”
A slightly younger female voice answers on the other end, greeting a smiling Ravenstar. “This is Katy Katt. Over.”
"Where's The Butterfly? He should be at his communication post." Ravenstar asks with a slight hint of annoyance.
"He kept hitting the sack." Katy Katt replies. "Had to let him go."
“I just caught Alexander Kovacs in the process of committing a terrible crime; kidnapping and attempted murder. Got him knocked out and restrained. He shouldn’t be waking up for a little while. He said that the billionaire Luke Ferrell had a role in his release from the Klaw Institute. Professor Gore too.”
“TBH, I think THEY’RE the ones that need to be locke dup in that bughouse!” Katy says with disdain.
“Whatever.” Ravenstar replies, rolling her eyes. “The point is, I got what I needed out of Kovacs and I’m waiting for The Hawk to come and collect us.”
“Roger that, Rave.”
“Also, I think we may have found someone who can help us.” Ravenstar concludes with a playful grin.
To Be Continued….