The True Nature of Betty McGregor Episode Two
By Robert Adam Morrison
Mighty Girl battles toe-to-toe with a new foe known only as Skullcracker
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The True Nature of Betty McGregor
Episode Two: Skullcrusher Busts In!
October is a month of falling leaves and autumn tones. In Canada, Thanksgiving comes early in the month, and Halloween at its end. The days grow short and the nights get cold. More times than oft does the first signs of winter’s nearing come. Kids go to hockey practice; adults stead themselves and prepare for the coming Yule.
Betty McGregor took in the fall atmosphere. She always had enjoyed the orange, red and brown tones that nature took in this season. It was getting colder, even for the time of the year, and Betty made that an excuse to wear the red sweater she had been saving for months. She loved the way the sweater kept her warm and the way it felt against her skin. She almost hugged herself to get a better feeling, but her friend, Gennifer, gave her a confused stare.
‘You all right, Betty?’ Gennifer asked, concerned.
‘He he.’ Betty laughed nervously. ‘Yeah. I just love fall! Soon, it’ll be Halloween, and Christmas will follow not long after that.’
‘Okay. You need professional help.’
‘Sorry, Gennifer, but this season gets me all warm inside.’
‘You reeealy need help!’
Betty and Gennifer were walking home from school. Gennifer was dressed in a purple long-sleeved shirt that matched her dark skin nicely and wore blue jeans that had seen better days. Both girls had on sneakers. The grass was covered with fallen leaves, and the city had managed to clear the roads and sidewalks of leaves.
After a few minutes walking, the two arrived at Betty’s house.
‘So, Betty. Remember that we’re helping organize the city’s Thanksgiving Day dance tonight.’
‘Oh, Right! The dance is tomorrow. Argh! I keep forgetting.’
‘Hey, you get busy and forget things. You Might do that, Girl!’ Gennifer said, accentuating the pun.
‘Ouch. Yeah, I’ll be there. Eight o’clock, right?’
‘Right. See you then.’
Gennifer waved, and ran off towards her own home. Betty returned the wave, and then jogged up to the door of her house.
City Hall was an old, classic building that had seen better days. But with the continuing renovations and the stable tourist economy, the city had managed to keep the structure clean and presentable. It was an octagonal building with a double-doored entrance located on the second level. A single tower rose from the center of the sloping roof. The tower held a clock that was painted blue. It was functional and didn’t lose much time, but no one with any sense set his or her watch by it.
There were many rooms and halls in the building, and the space inside seemed larger than the apparent space from outside. The floors were marble and the walls were plaster with dark wood beams. Council members, officials and other local politicians kept officer here. But the place was also a social center, and held functions and events in the larger chambers of the building.
One such event was being prepared for that very night. The Thanksgiving Day dance was to be held the next day, so volunteers hasted to ready the main hall for the event. Banners and streamers were being hung. Paper turkeys and cutout pilgrims were being arranged.
A good number of the volunteers were teens, but there were a few seniors and a handful of parents. And of course, Betty and Gennifer were there.
Betty and Gennifer were setting up tables on the sidelines of the floor. They struggled with the folding tables, but had managed to get one set up. A number of tablecloths were folded nearby, ready to be placed on top the tables.
‘These tables suck!’ Gennifer quipped, clenching her teeth as she wrestled with the steel legs of the table.
‘One second as Mighty Girl, that’s all I ask!’ Betty said under her breath.
‘Ssshhh.’ Gennifer cautioned her. ‘Idle ears pass juicy facts!’
Betty blinked and stared at Gennifer.
‘That’s a new one. C’mon, let’s get working… what is it?’
Gennifer was staring over at the entrance of the hall. She motioned to Betty, and Betty noticed someone had come in. The figure was garbed in a trench coat and casual clothes. No longer wearing a fedora, the girls could now see his black hair, cut short at the neck, but long at the top. It was Detective Jonathan Wiles of the police department.
Dt. Wiles scanned the room with a furtive look. He appeared to be serious and alert. It was obvious he wasn’t there for pleasure or to help. He hailed the old woman in charge of the organization and once he was up to her, he started talking.
‘Ooh. It’s that dish of a detective the you dote over!’ Gennifer alliterated.
‘Stop it! He’s way older than me.’
‘So, go over there, eavesdrop and see why he’s here! Remember the business we’re really in!’
‘Gotcha boss. Geez, what a slave driver!’
Gennifer cautiously made her way over to the Detective. The Detective’s back was turned to her, and he was in conversation with Mrs. Camberton, the dance organizer. As she came close up, he could hear him spout:
‘Now listen here! I’m just hear to warn you we got some anonymous warnings that a crime’s going to take place right here at city hall. You’ve got to clear these people out of here.’
‘That’s ridiculous.’ Mrs. Camberton said. ‘An anonymous tip? You’re causing a disturbance because of an anonymous tip? Does this happen every time you get one?’
‘We’ve reason to believe that this is very serious. Just get these people out of here!’
The Detective turned around suddenly to face Gennifer.
‘And you shouldn’t eavesdrop! I was trying to have a conversation. An important one.’
Gennifer put on the most innocent smile she could muster.
‘I was just interested, Detective.’ Gennifer said coyly. ‘So was my friend, Betty. See!’
Gennifer pointed across the room to Betty, who was looking for a place to hide.
‘Cute kid. Listen, something’s going to happen around here, so you folks better get ready to…’
Before he could finish, there was a terrible boom and the building shook. Decorations fell to the ground and the windows of the hall buckled. People stumbled and an old man fell to the ground. He was helped up soon after, and there was a general commotion in the hall. People spoke randomly:
‘What was that?’
‘An earthquake? In Ontario?’
Dt. Wiles pulled out his badge and flashed it over his head, turning so everyone could see. He gave a shrill whistle that got everyone’s attention.
‘Excuse me, everybody!’ the Detective shouted over the confusion. ‘My name is Dt. Wiles. I’m with the police. I want everyone to calm down, and then exit the building in an orderly fashion. If everybody keeps a cool head, we can get over this!’
‘We don’t even know what “this” is!’ Gennifer snapped.
‘Shhh.’ Betty retorted, stepping beside her friend.
‘Enough of that!’ Dt. Wiles was losing his patience. ‘Everyone needs to get out. Everyone has to…’
There was another incredible vibration. Most of the people in the room were knocked off their feet. A few windows shattered and a couple of tables collapsed. The ceiling bulged and shattered into a twelve-foot wide hole. Pieces of lumber and plaster fell to the floor. Some of the larger pieces landed on two unfortunate teens, injuring them.
The rubble was soon followed by a large figure that landed feet first on the ground. The character was a large man of nearly seven feet in height. He had enormous arms and legs. Enormous pectoral muscles jutted out from his chest that spoke strength. He wore a costume of dark blue with two deep red stripes than ran down the front of the costume. A web belt with steel clasps rounded his waist. A pair of fingerless black leather gloves covered his hands. A mask of dark blue covered his face. White eye slits hid his eyes. The only part of his head that was exposed was his short brown hair. It gave him an eerie, monstrous appearance. A solitary white skull with a crack in was positioned on his chest.
The brute was crouched over, but soon straightened up and searched the room, carefully examining its inhabitants. He moved with a cool grace that belayed his huge frame. Muscles and veins moved under his skin-tight costume with each movement he took.
Wasting no time, Detective Wiles pulled out his automatic pistol and pointed it at the behemoth.
‘Hold it right there, Santa Claus!’ he shouted. ‘You’re under arrest!’
‘Skullcrusher holds for no man!’ the villain bounded over towards the Detective with a great leap.
The Detective panicked, and quickly emptied the eight-shot clip of the pistol into the chest of Skullcrusher. The bullets traveled with great speed and force towards the villain, but merely pinged off the huge muscles of his chest. Skullcrusher whipped the back of his open hand across the Detective’s face. The Detective’s head snapped back, almost breaking his neck. Dt. Wiles slumped to the ground, thoroughly unconscious. Gennifer gasped and Betty stared with hate at the villain.
‘Now listen here!’ Skullcrusher’s voice boomed throughout the hall. ‘I’m in charge here. You’re my hostages, and we’re gonna have a nice little stay here. So no one try anything: no heroes, you know!’
Skullcrusher was almost laughing. He seemed to enjoy the control he had over the normal people. Nevertheless, a young teenaged boy who was a track member darted for the door. Skullcrusher noted that the teen was nearing the doorway, but didn’t react drastically. He merely crouched to the ground, grabbed a piece of lumber, and tossed it like a javelin at the youth with the speed of a plane. The wood connected with the back of the boy’s head, driving him into unconscious and giving the boy a concussion.
Again, Skullcrusher chuckled at the ease of his disposal of the teen. Betty and Gennifer gave each other knowing looks. Gennifer made a few motions with her finger over her palm. Betty nodded, and the pair went into motion.
‘Hey, uglee!’ Gennifer teased the brute. ‘If you like picking on puny weaklings, how ‘bout trying me?’
‘You gotta be kidding me. Just lie down there like a good little girl!’ Skullcrusher said in a mocking tone.
Gennifer noted that Betty had disappeared from view. Gennifer steeled herself up, leapt up and prepared for a double-kick attack.
Not too much power, she thought to herself, just enough to knock him over. Don’t want to give anything away!
Gennifer kicked out with both feet, and laid a modicum of her power into the attack. However, the effect was noticeable. Skullcrusher stumbled back with the blow, and fell on his bum. Gennifer could see Skullcrusher’s face contort with anger, even through the mask he wore. He growled lowly with anger and sprang to his feet. Gennifer could feel the anger he radiated, and decided to make haste.
Still not using her full potential, Gennifer ran towards the doorway at high, yet reachable speeds. Thinking with anger rather than reason, Skullcrusher ran after her, rather than resorting to throwing debris.
Gennifer managed to make it through the doorway and make a sharp left, just as Skullcrusher came barraging through the doorway himself.
Geez! Gennifer thought Betty get here soon, or I’m town chowder!
Skullcrusher made a small leap towards Gennifer, bringing both his fists up, preparing to strike down on top the black girl. Gennifer seemed almost to freeze as she could feel the incredible pressure that was about to come down on her.
The brute brought down his fists towards Gennifer, but at the last moment she opened up with her speed, and darted like a hummingbirds away from Skullcrusher. His hammer-like fists landed on the ground, splitting the marble floor into shards. Skullcrusher growled in great anger and frustration, but Gennifer had disappeared from view, running like a cheetah on fire.
‘I’ll get you, you little…’ Skullcrusher began shouting, but was stopped. He felt someone tapping on his shoulder. Without thinking, he turned around.
Standing behind him, garbed in costume of red and yellow was Mighty Girl. Although not as tall as Skullcrusher, she seemed to stand at his height. Strong legs were clad in red boots. Her thigh muscles pulsated with the power that could propel her miles into the air. Her bosom rested proudly on a chest of great strength. With every breath, her chest moved to and fro, showing the muscles of her pectorals. Large and rippling abdominal muscles covered her torso. Her shoulders arched from her neck, able to support great weights. Arms that bulged with huge muscles were posed, her strong hands resting on her hips.
Her costume covered her neck, torso, pelvis and most of her legs. A single belt that was a simple accessory rounded her narrow waist. A single mask of red covered her eyes, with white slits allowing for sight, but concealing her identity. Her long golden blonde hair was tied up in a ponytail. Her beautiful face smiled a confident smile.
‘Who you suppose to be?’ Skullcrusher asked sarcastically. ‘Steroid Girl?’
‘Oh, you are going to pay for that one!’ Mighty Girl said, keeping her cool. ‘I’m Mighty Girl, and I’m gonna stop you!’
Mighty Girl lunged forward and swung at Skullcrusher with her powerful fist. Her arm muscles rippled and moved as she swung. The fist connected with the brute’s chin, and as Mighty Girl followed through, Skullcrusher flew back through the air and landed on his back. He nursed his chin and stared waringly at Mighty girl.
‘No, I was warned about you. I’m stronger than you! I’m gonna put you away!’
‘Stop talking like a wrestler, and fight!’ Mighty Girl snapped and leapt onto Skullcrusher. As Mighty Girl landed, Skullcrusher held out his hands reflexively, and Mighty Girl grabbed them with her own hands. The two struggled on the ground, Mighty Girl staring down on Skullcrusher. Her arms strained with the effort, her triceps flaring out. Striations appeared all over her arms as they pulsed with power. But Skullcrusher held his ground. His own arms were wrapped in muscles. Neither opponent gave an inch to the other.
Finally, Skullcrusher managed to work his lake up to Mighty Girl’s torso, and he kicked her up into the air. The force of his kick caused her to crash into the ceiling. In an instance, he was up on his feet, but a quick shrug of her body freed Mighty Girl from the ceiling. She swung down with both fists outstretched. Taken by surprise, Skullcrusher was unable to dodge the strike, and both fists connected with his chest, knocking him back a few feet.
Mighty Girl was quick to follow up, and she jumped with her legs separated in flight. She connected with Skullcrusher’s neck, driving him down and pinning him. Legs with the strength of pneumatic presses crushed down on his shoulders. Skullcrusher struggled, but he lacked the leverage to push Mighty Girl off of him. She began to apply more and more inward pressure, pressing against his neck.
‘Gagh!’ Skullcrusher managed. ‘I’ll… urk… get out of this!’
‘You like that, bully?’ Mighty Girl gloated. ‘This’ll teach you to pick on people weaker than you!’
‘Like you?’ Skullcrusher suddenly said, in a voice that was neither in pain or struggling.
Mighty Girl’s expression changed to surprise, and suddenly she was pushed back to the end of the hallway. She landed in the wall, making an impression in the plaster. She pulled herself off, but Skullcrusher was on her in an instant. He made a feint with his left fist that Mighty Girl dodged, but this caused her to move into the path of his right fist, which connected. His fist slammed into her midsection, knocking her further into the wall.
Skullcrusher was about to continue the attacks, but suddenly Fasttrax was there, clad in her costume of red and yellow that contrasted her brown skin. She was moving at high speed, and ran at unimaginable speeds around Skullcrusher. He tried to reach out at her, but she easily dodged his relatively slow grabs.
With a grunt of frustration, Skullcrusher suddenly struck out his left arm in the area were Fasttrax was running. Fasttrax, unable to change her path, careened into the arm. She slammed against the strong flesh and was whipped back. She groaned as she collided with the adjacent wall. Although not unconscious, Fasttrax was thoroughly dizzy, and stayed on the ground for the moment.
Skullcrusher turned towards the recovering Mighty Girl. She had gotten to her feet, but was walking unsteadily. Skullcrusher grabbed her right arm.
‘Here we go!’ Skullcrusher bellowed.
He began raining fists down onto Mighty Girl. Keeping her in place, Skullcrusher drove blow after blow into the Girl of Strength. She reeled with the blows, but was unable to move, dodge or even concentrate. Skullcrusher almost delighted in the pain he was causing her. Mighty Girl was forced onto her knees.
Suddenly, Skullcrusher felt a weak, feeble blow across his back. He turned around to see Dt. Wiles holding a splintered piece of wood that he had just broken across the steely back of Skullcrusher. Dt. Wiles was bleeding from the mouth and was standing unsteadily, but stared at the brute with grim determination.
‘Ohhhh!’ Skullcrusher licked his lips underneath his mask. ‘You are gonna squish reeeeal good!’
But this was just the distraction that Mighty Girl needed. With movements sure and true she leapt onto Skullcrusher’s back and grabbed his torso with all her arms and legs. She wrapped her left arm over his left shoulder and grabbed it with her other arm, which she wrapped under his right armpit. Her legs clenched around his waist, biting into his haunches. Skullcrusher struggled under the pressure Mighty Girl was applying.
Suddenly, Mighty Girl spoke bold words under her breath:
‘Power… Mighty… STRENGTH!’
Suddenly, her body seized up. Her grip on Skullcrusher tightened, and he groaned with pain. Mighty Girl’s arms and legs seemed to balloon. The striations on her muscles etched deeper. She lifted her legs and wrapped them around his upper legs, pushing against the inside of his thighs. Skullcrusher cried out in pain. Mighty Girl’s back widened, her chest broadened and her shoulders billowed. She applied more and more pressure to Skullcrusher.
Suddenly, after many moments of agonizing pain, Skullcrusher slumped in Mighty Girl’s crushing grasp. Mighty Girl leapt off his back and let him teeter off. Skullcrusher swaggered back and forth in a daze, blinded with pain. Mighty Girl turned him around and faced him.
‘This is for the books!’ Mighty Girl said in a deep and bold voice.
She wound up her right fist behind her, and then let it fly forward. The fist impacted across Skullcrusher’s front. There was a great sound and Skullcrusher was propelled through the air. His body careened down the hallway until it was deposited halfway into the wall at the end of the hall. His legs stuck out from the plaster wall.
Mighty Girl stood a little battered but triumphant. Her muscles pulsated and moved with energy. She breathed heavily in and out, causing a heaving motion over her body. Her huge, super-powered muscles flexed with each breath. She wiped the sweat from her brow and took a deep breath.
To Detective Jonathan Wiles, she was an impressive sight. He couldn’t help but stare at the hypermuscular teenager standing in front of him, reeking with power and strength. He was simply stunned. He couldn’t speak or move.
Fasttrax dusted herself off and got up to her feet. She was only superficially injured, her own athletic build helping her avoid the lasting effects of the injury. She stared with awe once she saw her partner’s current state.
‘You okay, MG?’ Fasttrax asked skeptically.
‘Feel… really good!’ Mighty Girl said between breaths. A moment later, she shuddered, and her body returned to its normal, albeit still megamusculared frame.
‘Well, let’s get out of here. Our work is done!’
Dt. Wiles managed to shake himself out of his reverie enough to say something:
‘Just wait! There’s some questions I’ve got to ask.’
‘No time, sorry.’ Mighty Girl said. ‘Just take care of that bruiser. He’ll need special housing during his time under lock and key.’
‘And away we go!’ Fasttrax said, and the pair hustled out of the building. Once outside, Fasttrax got on Mighty Girl’s back, piggyback style, and Mighty Girl leapt up, carrying the duo into the sky.
Dt. Wiles managed to rush outside in time just to see them leap off. As he fumbled for his radio, he managed to say one thing as they disappeared from sight:
Once again, Mighty Girl and Fasttrax stood in the laundry room of the McGregor household. They removed their costumes carefully, piece by piece.
‘Again.’ Fasttrax said. ‘You missed a golden opportunity again!’
‘I didn’t have time.’ Mighty Girl replied. ‘We had to go, or there were questions to be answered.’
‘Sure there were. Questions like: “Are you free tomorrow night?”, “Do you have a boyfriend?” and “Would you like to do the wild thang?”’
‘Gennifer!’ Mighty Girl was shocked.
‘Well, that’s what he wanted. Especially seeing you all hyped up like that! What was up with that.’
Mighty Girl stopped and thought about it. She removed her mask.
‘I just knew how to do it. It just came naturally.’
She paused to think again.
‘It felt good to do, but I don’t think I could hold it for long.’
With that, Mighty Girl concentrated, and her form shifted and shrunk. Once again she was a normal teenaged girl, merely five feet tall and with little muscle tone. Fasttrax also concentrated, and changed back into her normal form of Gennifer Brock.
After a couple of minutes, the pair had changed into their normal clothes, hiding their costumes in the special compartments of their backpacks. They left the laundry room and climbed the stairs to the main floor of the house.
The hall clock chimed ten times. Gennifer counted the tones, and then swore.
‘Damn! I gotta get going or I’ll be in real trouble. I don’t want to take too many chances if I want my parents to back my way into University.’
‘Brown-noser.’ Betty snorted.
‘Says the girl who never goes out past twelve.’
‘Ouch. That stung.’ Betty said sarcastically.
‘Anyways, I gotta get moving. I’ll see you later!’
The two waved at each other, and Gennifer left the house through the front door. She ran off, just using a little edge of her powers.
‘Betty, you home?’ the voice of Betty’s mother came from upstairs.
‘I heard there was some police at the city hall. Anything wrong?’
‘Just a terrorist. I’m okay, though.’
‘You got a call from a Dt. Wiles. He wants you to call him.’
Betty started. She stood shocked for just a moment.
‘He wants to get a statement from you.’
Betty breathed out in relief.
‘Also, that nice Gilmore boy called. He wants you to call him.’
‘I didn’t say anything to him. I swear!’
‘Yeah, right.’ Betty said, and headed to the phone. She dialed the number of the police station. After a ring, there was a click, and a woman’s voice came on the line:
‘Stratford Police Station. Lt. Mills speaking.’
‘Dt. Wiles please. This is Betty McGregor. He wanted to speak with me.’
There was a extended pause. Betty gathered her thoughts and steeled herself up. Suddenly, the line became active again, and there was a familiar, male voice:
‘Dt. Wiles speaking.’
‘Detective, this is Betty McGregor. You wanted to speak with me?’
‘Yes. I just need to confirm where you were tonight.’
‘I was preparing for the Thanksgiving Day dance at city hall.’
‘There’s a little discrepancy in your story. You’ll need to come down to the station, please.’
‘At this time of night?’
‘Yes. It can’t wait. I’m sending a police cruiser to pick you up.’
Betty exhaled and swore blue murder under her breath.
‘All right. I’ll go.’
‘Thank you, Miss McGregor. I’ll see you later.’
‘Okay, bye!’ Betty said with exasperated tones. She hung up the phone and picked up her pack.
At the same time at the police department, Dt. Wiles set the handset of his phone down on the receiver. His motions were mechanical and staggered. His office was dark, with only a single desk lamp shedding light. A dark figure loomed in the shadows. Dt. Wiles turned and spoke to the figure:
‘I have done it, master.’
‘Good.’ Replied the figure in the shadows. His voice was deep and unmistakably male. ‘I’ll lure her right into my grasp. Then, nothing will stop me! I’d laugh maniacally, but it’s beneath me!’
‘Should I, master?’
Betty put on her coat and slung her pack over her shoulder.
‘Mom!’ Betty yelled up to the second floor. ‘I gotta go downtown to the police station.’
‘Okay, dear.’ Her mother responded. ‘Don’t be out to late. Just do what the police say, okay?’
‘Okay, mom. I’ll be okay.’
Betty grabbed her keys, put them in her pocket, and opened the door. A police cruiser was waiting right in front of her house. Betty was surprised, and her intuition told her something was up. She left the house and closed the door behind her. She ran down to the police car, and the policeman inside opened the right-side passenger door for her.
Betty climbed in. The burly policeman inside had a moustache and a second chin. He kept his eyes front wards, not even turning his head. Betty closed the door.
‘Well, let’s get this over with.’ She said.
‘Yes. Dt. Wiles wants to talk with you.’ The policeman’s voice was oddly stagy.
‘So I heard.’
‘The master wants to speak with you as well.’
The policeman turned to face her. His eyes gleamed with an odd, ethereal blue glow. The sight unnerved Betty.
‘Yes. You will speak with the master!’
The cop turned around, put the car in gear and zoomed off into the night…
TO BE CONTINUED.
Next Episode: Who is this mysterious figure only known as the master? How can he so easily control the police? Is Dt. Wiles under his control. Is Betty in trouble, alone and without Gennifer to help her? Who’s this Gilmore guy who Betty’s mother is trying to push on her?
Questions to be answered in the next episode of The True Nature of Betty McGregor.
Cheers and Verb Up!
Robert Adam Morrison