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Splitters

by on April 10, 2015

“Oh, joy,” Madeleine Prime said. “Another ditch.”

“Hey, that one demon dude has a sword. Cool,” Evil Madeleine observed.

They were standing at the brink of a wide ditch in what Madeleine Prime believed was the eighth circle of hell. If she remembered her Dante right, they had quite a ways to go. Worse, Circle Eight was divided into a number of ditches, where various sorts of frauds and thieves were punished. Madeleine sighed. “At least the bridge looks okay in this one.” She climbed wearily back into the Zamboni. “Onward, Screwbolt. The quicker we get out of here, the better.”

“Sure thing, love,” Screwbolt grumbled. “‘Appy to oblige.” The little goblin had driven them out of the frozen lake of Circle Nine, and stayed with them into Circle Eight, grumbling all the way. Madeleine Prime wondered why he’d stuck with them. Then again, if one were a goblin doomed to clean up the ice at the bottom of hell, what else did one have to do?

As the Zamboni moved onto the bridge, Madeleine Prime looked down at the sword-wielding demon. Then she saw a figure lurching towards it. “Hey,” she said in surprise. “I know that guy. I voted for him. Twice. Why-”

Whang went the sword. Madeleine winced. She’d never been split in half down to her entrails before, but she figured it had to hurt. Evil Madeleine made a sort of choking noise. “Hey, no fair!”

“You too?” Madeleine Prime said, in some surprise.

Evil Madeleine smirked. “He was cool. Seized power, tried to take over the world, fired off some missiles and whatnot. I helped. I think that was when I took over Australia. Or…maybe that was the year after….I forget. Anyway.”

“Ah. Well, in my world he wasn’t bad. Didn’t seem like it anyway. Said good stuff.” Madeleine, unlike some superheroes she knew, tried to stay out of politics. When one spends one’s nights taking down the Shrieking Tree Demon or prowling through sewers in search of the Baleful Burglar, one tends not to worry about appropriations bills or the tax code. Still, this guy had said good stuff.

She remembered when she’d seen him. It had been a beautiful day. She’d been in a park, having just averted a minor apocalypse involving a mad scientist and a sentient water buffalo. He was giving a speech. She barely paid attention. So many politicians went off with the usual platitudes and slogans. She’d assumed he was the same, just another cutout with a microphone wanting her to mark his name on a ballot. But, for once, he went off script.

Most politicians Madeleine knew were ambivalent towards superheroes. They either attacked them as reckless vigilantes or praised them in such a way that they ended up complimenting themselves more than the person who’d averted the meteor or whatever. This guy, though,he had seen her in the park, and then left his speech notes, delivered an improvised and passionate speech about the heroic superheroes stopping crime and saving the planet, and then asked his audience to applaud her. They did. Madeleine had been quite taken aback.

She’d never forgotten his sincerity. She’d dutifully marched into the voting booth and marked his name. She even remembered when he had died, and for once she’d actually been upset. Yet, here he was down in a ditch getting sliced in bits with a sword, in the eternal punishment of sowers of discord. It figured. Madeleine wondered if she should’ve focused more on what he’d actually done then the good stuff he’d said. “Ah, well,” she said at last, “Next ditch, please, Screwbolt.”

The Zamboni whirred on.

This story was written for the Mutant 750 writing challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press. It is also part of the Gaseous Girl Mysteries. I generally try to keep current politics out of my work; it’s such a messy topic and I hate to lose readers. Feel free to imagine for yourself what party my unnamed politician here might belong to. I have my own ideas, but I’m not telling. 🙂

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One Comment
  1. The complexity of politics, summed up quite nicely. And I’m continuing to love the Dante references. 🙂

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