Author: Notmanos
E-Mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel and Drusilla are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the arts,
I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!   

"Bullshit,"Logan snapped,clearly as surprised as she was.If that was true,a purse that huge would bring in everybody who could hijack a plane or teleport between worlds.Of course, they'd have to know about it,and get past Volta's people- she'd heard since he took over,the island was exactly 'open access' to demons anymore.It was like an exclusive nightclub:you had to know someone to get in the door.

"I wouldn't fuck with you,mate,"Red said,as smarmy as any salesman.But she was inclined to believe him,if only because Logan's strength had genuinely startled him.One of the few perks of vampdom was supposed to be being one of the strongest fuckers in the room at any given time."The ultimate champion gets ten mill,cash American."

"It's to the death,isn't it?"Logan asked gruffly,obviously suspicious of this whole deal.But that was good,it made the whole thing seem realistic.

"Mostly.Doesn't have to be.Up to the winners."

"There's gotta be a catch,"she insisted,doing her part."Do you have to fight an entire horde of Berserkers or something?"

"Berserkers are pussies,"Logan interjected,sounding like he meant it.Surely he did.

Red squinted at Logan,his blue eyes scouring the mutant's face,and finally he said,"Hey,is your name Logan?"

Logan just glared at him."What the fuck difference does that make?"

"Whoa-you must be Logan the Berserker Slayer!I thought you were an urban legend!"

Logan's glare amped up into a  glower that was toxic enough to make Red attempt to step back,but since he was already flush with the wall that was impossible."I mean,that's pretty cool.Hardly anyone can handle a Berserker,you know.Nasty buggers."

"Get to the point,"Logan snarled,acting like he was losing his tenuous patience.Or maybe he really was losing his patience:he was so good at this it was hard to tell."What's the catch?"

"No catch.You just have to face all challengers until you lose.There's no backing out once you're in."

"Lose,"she repeated."You mean die."

"Or get defeated.As I said,they ain't all to the death."

"Just most,"she shot back.

"So this really is some stupid shit 'Gladiator' type thing,"Logan grumbled,sounding disappointed.

"But for ten mil,quite a deal.I'd be in it if I didn't know I'd get my ass kicked."

"But that's it?One guy wins,gets the money,and walks?You expect me to believe that?"Logan persisted,playing the cantankerous asshole to perfection.She had to concede it probably wasn't an act.

"Well,you get to work for the boss as his champion,but it pays real well,and you wouldn't believe the perks.Cool job if you can hack it."

"So basically it's a job interview,"Logan muttered,rolling his eyes.

"Where is this all going on,and why haven't we heard of it before?"She asked,continuing to play her part.

"It's only on a 'need to know' basis,darling,"Red said,giving her a  grin that he probably thought was roguish.She got the impression he was actually going to try and flirt with her any second now.How dumb was this guy?"And I can't tell you where it's all going down until you agree.Security an' all."

Obviously he was unaware that Bob already got that information,but hell,he was Bob-if he wanted to know something there was no way you could hide it from him,no matter how good your security.

Logan pretended to think about it,never letting go of his dubiousness,and finally said, "We're in.Where is it?"

"Both of you?"He replied,shocked,looking between them."Ya know,the fights ain't segregated."

"Meaning what?"Logan snapped.

"Meanin' if you both get in and survive,you may have to fight each other."

They both glanced at each other,and Logan said,"I can take her," at the same time she said, "I can take him."

They both looked at each other once again,with a veiled glance that seemed to say,"You're kidding,right?"

Red simply shrugged."Up to you two."He reached inside his coat,and seemed to notice how Logan stiffened,because he instantly said,"I'm just getting the card you guys will need,that's all."

Logan nodded,but continued to watch him with intense scrutiny.Red slowly pulled out what looked like a regular white business card,only it was barren of everything,even a logo.He flipped it over,and there was something scrawled on the back in deep black ink:'Coventry Garden',613 River Avenue'.Helga thought she knew the place.

"This fight's taking place in a New Age aromatherapy shop?"She asked,with an incredulous scoff.

"No,that's the transfer point to the island."

"What island?"Logan asked.

"A place called Dis.Bet ya never heard of it."

"It rings a bell,"Helga noted drolly.That went over Red's head.

The vampire held up the card,and said,"Know the place?"

"I said I did,"she replied,not even trying to hide her annoyance.

Red nodded,and then snapped his fingers,tossing the card into the air.It almost instantly burst into flame,becoming a thin sliver of ash that wafted down like a tiny flurry of black snow.

"Cute trick,"Logan said."Should a vamp play with fire?"

"It was an enchanted card,"she told him."Not his trick."

Red gave her an approving smile."Too right,sweetheart.Show up at two o'clock in the morning,and don't be late.We got a limited window."

"Window for what?"Logan asked."Teleport?"

Red smiled like he found that really amusing."Somethin' like that.You'll see.Oh,and don't worry about bringin' anything,the boss will see to your needs."

"All of them?"Helga asked,with a  suggestive lilt to her voice.She wrapped her tail possessively around Logan's waist,and pulled him back from Red,so he'd have room to leave.Logan probably wanted to dust him,but until she knew if they needed him for passage or not,they'd best keep him alive.So to speak.

Red's smile became lascivious,and he looked her up and down,undressing her with his eyes.She'd have broken his nose for it,but again,they might need him.As soon as he was expendable,he was in for a world of hurt."Oh yeah,darlin'.Don't you worry about it."

The vampire then walked away,down the end of the alley,and disappeared into the creeping darkness.They waited a long moment before Logan said,quietly,"Something stinks to high heaven about this."

"I know.But we'll crack this thing wide open soon enough,tiger."She slid her arm inside of his,and said,"Come on,let's tell Bob we made contact."

Logan grunted in reluctant agreement,and let her steer him away from the alley mouth,and back onto the street.The first part was over-now the really hard part was about to begin.


In spite of his clear instructions to wake him up if it looked like he was starting to doze off,both Helga and Bob seemed to have better things to do,because they let him.

Logan jolted awake in the chair where he had unexpectedly nodded off,wondering if he had had yet another memory,or a dream.It was so weird he wasn't sure.

He was standing on what appeared to be a shore,and in spite of low lying fog on the water he saw,off to his far right,the skeletal frame of a large bridge:his mind seemed to insist it was the Golden Gate Bridge down in San Francisco,but had he ever been in San Francisco? Anyways,he was standing on a  sliver of shoreline,more rocky outcropping than sand, talking to someone in the water.Literally:someone was standing about chest deep in the cold,grey water of the Bay.He could not recall if it was a man or a woman,and he could recall no details of the conversation-in fact,the whole dream had been silent,as if he had been deafened again.He knew they were speaking,but his mind could not even recall his own voice.So was it a memory,half formed at best,or just a bizarre dream?

When your mind was shattered and your recall simply fragments,how could you tell?

Irritated at not only falling asleep but waking up to such a psychological poser,he checked his watched and saw they only had about twenty five minutes to get down to River Avenue ...wherever that was.All he knew was it wasn't in one of the lower class areas of L.A.,where he felt the most anonymous.

He found Bob and Helga in his office;Logan had been in what Bob called the "back of the back",a sort of private den that Bob liked to use as a 'decompression' area in the bar.Logan had been reading up on Volta nee Renpin,and Chaos demons in particular.All he could figure was the demons lived up to their name:they caused trouble wherever they went. According to Bob they "felt the entropy in the universe,and adept ones can learn to manipulate it for their own ends",but honestly Logan had no idea what the fuck that was supposed to mean.

The most important thing was physically they were not very strong;the most remarkable thing about them was their skin was very much like thick ceramic,according to Bob.They were almost impervious to all weather and temperature conditions, and Bob was pretty sure they could survive in the vacuum of space,although he didn't know for sure.Bob didn't know if they'd 'break',but Logan was eager to find out if he could crack one like a mirror.

He stalked in,and after taking a look at him,Bob said,"Even you need some sleep sometime."

Logan just glared at him."Just 'cause you know everything doesn't mean you know anything about me."

"I think I can find a flaw in that sentence,"Helga replied.She was sitting on the edge of his desk,one of her favorite spots.She seemed to prefer tables and desks over chairs,possibly because none made any accommodations for her tail.

"No,he's correct,"Bob told her,much to his surprise.He was in his usual seat,behind the desk."I know more about him than he knows,but not as much as I'd like."

Logan continued to stare at him.That almost made sense.He shook his head,not interested in having an elliptical argument with Bob that would probably (knowing him) never quite make the sense it should,and looked to Helga instead."Don't we have some place we have to be?"

"Don't worry,hon,we'll get there in time."

"I don't want to get there in time.I want to get there early and check the place out."

Bob smirked,planting his hands firmly on the desk before levering himself up to his feet. "You've got to respect a man's paranoia.Come on,love,let's saddle up."

"I thought we were going to check out the aromatherapy place,"she replied,giving him a lascivious grin.

Bob winked at her,and rubbed his hands together eagerly."When you get back,I'll have the spurs ready."

"I'll be waiting outside,"he snapped,turning to go.Obviously they thought their banter was funny,but he wasn't in the mood for it.At least he hoped it was simply banter.

"Mister Grumpy,"Helga commented."We never should have let him sleep.Is he worse when he sleeps?I swear he's the opposite of most people."

"I'm a mutant,"he shot back at her from the doorway."Of course I am."

Helga met his eyes,frowning sourly."That's not what I meant,and you know it."

"Come on-I don't need you two at each other's throats right now,"Bob said calmly, pretending to be the voice of reason.And maybe he was:Logan just felt wound really tight and wanted to just get on with all of this.It was better to do something and be too busy to think about anything,nonetheless the butchered,surrealistic nightmare of his own past.

He had to remind himself the only concrete evidence he had of his own past seemed to indicate he was a killer;circumstantial evidence pointed to the fact that he had worked for the very people that had mutilated him.He didn't know which was worse: the fact that he just might be a deeply evil man,or the possibility that he was simply a very stupid man. Maybe a combination of both,and wasn't that the worst of all possible worlds?

Before he could escape out into the hall,Bob looked at him,and said with great sincerity, "I'm sorry,Logan."

He almost asked for what,but when it came down to it,he didn't dare.He decided to pretend it was an apology for letting him sleep."Just don't let it happen again,"he said,and then went into the hall,heading out towards the bar.He just needed to throw himself into something and start the forgetting now.

Bob and Helga  soon followed him out,strangely somber,and they went out to Bob's beloved GTO 'muscle' car,parked off in the neighboring alley and concealed by a small glamour,so only Bob could actually see it.Still,Logan knew where it was-he coughed,and listened for where the sound seemed to 'rebound',because sound did 'bounce' off objects,as sonar proved.Of course most humans couldn't do that,as they didn't hear that subtle shift, that slight alteration of sound and air waves when impacting an object,but he was not most humans.

Briefly he wondered how he knew to 'find' objects he couldn't see or smell,but that was yet another thing he had no answer for.It seemed like reflex,but who the hell knew what it really was.Certainly not him.

Bob drove,Helga  sitting next to him in the passenger seat,while Logan sat in the back, trying to will himself to be patient,be calm.He was pretty sure he could do it;he seemed to remember a little something about what Bob described as Zen meditation techniques,and while Logan assumed that was some residue of his samurai training,he still couldn't quite believe that shit.There was no fucking way he was an actual 'samurai',whatever the hell that actually was-where had that shit come from?Maybe he had been delusional as well as evil and stupid.The great insanity triumvirate.

Bob,of course,sang on the way;luckily it was a short drive.He swore he sang along with "Everything's Zen" to mock his thoughts,the second song was probably worse-a song with the wonderful title of "Prison Sex"."It took so long to remember just what happened.I was so young and vestal then,"Bob crooned with a sort of unnerving cheerfulness,as he did a u-turn and cut down a  street that intersected with River Avenue.There was no sense in announcing their presence just yet."You know it hurt me,but I'm breathing so I guess I'm still alive,even if signs seem to tell me otherwise-"

"You'd think a  song with sex in the title would be cheerier,"Helga noted wryly,tapping Bob's shoulder with the tip of her tail.

Bob grinned as he parked the car in front of a lamp post bearing the sign 'No parking at any time',killing the engine and thankfully the radio at the same time."The Tool boys saw the grunge angst challenge,and decided instead to be morbid.Can you blame them?"

"Yes,"Logan said,getting out of the car.Actually,he kind of liked Tool-good aggressive music to spar to-but he just felt wildly combative tonight.That was probably going to serve him in good stead in Dis,if that was in fact where he and Helga were going.

"I think Logan needs a Prozac,"Helga opined,also getting out of the car.When he scowled at her,she gave him an exaggerated scowl back,probably mimicking him,and then grinned broadly,obviously not taking him seriously.

"Actually,I think he needs a  vacation.Perhaps on a desert aisle full of asses in desperate need of kicking-oh hey."Bob then gave him his patented shit eating grin,and gave him a wink as he climbed out of the car and kicked the door shut."Funny how the world works sometimes,isn't it?"

Logan sighed,ready to give up."Can we just get this over with?"

Bob nodded,and then held out his arm in a sweeping gesture towards a back alley that cut directly over onto River. "Absolutely.Come on people,let's get stupid."

Helga  gave him an amused grin for that,but Logan just shook his head wearily."You know, I know a  man with poison fingernails,a woman who channels electricity like a gigantic circuit,a vampire who claims to have a soul,and a guy who shoots beams out his eyeballs, and yet somehow,Bob,you are the strangest person I have ever met."

Bob smiled broadly,as if that had been a compliment."If it's anything,Logan,you're the strangest person I've ever met.I mean,a human with claws-what's up with that?"

Logan turned away and flipped him the middle finger over his shoulder as he started down the trash strewn alley (better part of the city or not,it still had litterers).He heard Bob laugh heartily,and he wondered if he would ever get that man's sense of humor.

Not quite two in the morning,these streets were quiet,but you could hear the echos from distant streets:revving engines, loud drunks,the usual collateral noise of people having a much better time than you were.

River seemed to be a 'boutique' street,lined with small shops striving to be 'quaint',and the mother of all 'quaint' stores, Hallmark,held down the end of the block,the store looking as graceful as a water buffalo next to all these dainty shops with small front windows and delicate,decorative awnings.Logan could almost feel the sugar coma coming on.

But the funniest thing of all was all this sugar coating couldn't quite hide the malevolence underneath.In fact,he heard this tiny noise,so high pitched even he could barely hear it,and it seemed to cut deep into his brain like a dentist's drill.There was something so intrinsically wrong with that noise that it sent a chill down his spine,even though he wasn't sure why.

He shook his head,trying to banish the noise,and Bob asked,"What's wrong?"

"Don't you hear that?"

He cocked his head and attempted to listen,as did Helga,but after a moment Bob shrugged helplessly."Sorry mate,I'm getting bupkis.But I am feeling...something weird."

"Like what?"

Bob had to think about that,his brow furrowing in concentration,as Helga looked between them dubiously."You know,you both could be just nuts."

Logan took a deep breath,scenting their surroundings,and along with the usual Los Angeles stink,there was something else lingering in the warm night air.It was like ozone and sulphur,but it wasn't quite either.

"Insanity is the easy way out,"Bob quipped,before scratching his head."I think there must be a Chaos demon around,or a sorceress-I'm picking up a major disturbance."

"In what,Yoda?The Force?"Logan snapped,still trying to figure out what he was smelling.He didn't like it,he knew that much.

"Crabby you are,"Bob replied."Crusin' for a brusin' you are."

Helga laughed,and when Logan shot Bob a dirty look,even he looked like he was trying to keep from laughing at his own joke.Man,how did he ever end up stuck with the spaz brigade?Oh,wait-they were back in New York.Okay,the L.A. branch of the spaz brigade.

"A disturbance in the fabric of reality,mate,"Bob said,managing only to snicker."Maybe that's what you're hearing."

Even Helga gave him a funny look for that."Dimensional rifts make noise?"

Bob shrugged."Well,I've never heard one,but we don't hear as well as Logan.It's possible they do make a noise,but it's too faint for most of us to pick up."

That sounded doubtful even to Logan,but the noise-as well as the smell-seemed to be emanating from the shop with 'Coventry Garden' scrawled across its front window in pseudo-calligraphy script,a tiny store with a pink and purple awning,wedged between a used bookstore and a shop selling Japanese anime.

There didn't seem to be anyone else in the street,and whatever security precautions it had were so low tech he wasn't picking them up from here."The coast is clear,"he told them."But I don't trust it."

"Don't blame you,"Bob said."Neither do I."

"For once,wouldn't it be nice if something that looked clear actually was?"Helga commented wearily.

Logan shrugged."It would,but then we'd be normal people with normal lives."

"Normality sucks,"she replied,obviously meaning it.Logan would never know,so he figured he'd have to take her word for it.

They crossed the darkened street,illuminated only by the headlights of passing cars bouncing off dead windows at the end of the block,and Bob trailed behind the both of them,trying to be a living shadow.If anyone could be,it was him.

When they reached the glass door of the shop,they saw a pair of glowing red eyes swim out of the darkness inside the store,and ogle them through the window."I'm not here,"Bob pointed out,and surely that was true.

A visage sort of formed in the darkness,broad and oval,and either he had a very bad skin condition,or a kiln had blown up in his face."Names?"He hissed/growled,sounding like a  snake with a  sore throat.

"Logan and Helga,"Logan said,only then remembering that Helga had never told Red his name.But Red knew his name,and hopefully that would be good enough.

After a moment,it was.They heard scrabbling against the glass,and a gnarled hand undid the locks.The door swung open, revealing nothing but a deeper darkness beyond.

But the smell was so overwhelming it hit him like a punch to the face,and he staggered back a step,trying not to gag. "What?"Helga asked suspiciously,giving the mutilated Igor the evil eye.

"God,it fucking stinks in there,"he said,trying to breathe through his mouth,but that didn't help much.The smell of lavender and rosemary and about two dozen other very pungent herbs seemed to stab through his sinus cavities like icepicks.If smell could be used as a weapon,he was about to go down for the count.

"It's an aromatherapy shop,"Igor hissed."It always stinks."

Helga put a comforting hand on his shoulder."Think you're going to make it,tiger?"

He nodded,for the first time in his life feeling like he was in true mortal danger of tossing his cookies.He wasn't even sure his body was capable of vomiting."Yeah.I'll hold my breath."

"I was wondering if this might pose a hindrance to you,"Bob admitted.

"Thanks for the warning,Chester."

"My name isn't Chester,"Igor snapped,having not heard Bob at all.But of course he wasn't here,and the invisible didn't talk.

Logan leaned over and rested his hands on his knees,waiting for the strange,almost alien sense of nausea to wash through him,and Bob stepped forward and said,"Is there a psi detector on the premise?"

Igor answered,hearing Bob this time,as of course he would:choice never came into it. "Yes.A Ferrick demon downstairs."

"Shit.How are they being taken to Dis?"

"A temporary portal."

"That explains the disturbance,"Bob said,as if this all made sense somehow.

"Is it safe?"Logan asked,straightening up.He felt a little better,but the smell still seemed brutal,a sensory battering ram straight to the head.

"It should be,"Bob assured him."Just like teleporting,only slightly less disruptive to the body.More disruptive to reality,but hey,you can't have everything."

"I guess this is where you get off,huh?"Helga said to Bob,and Logan found one of the interpretations of that statement troubling.

"With a Ferrick around,I guess so.Take care,look after each other.I'll be in touch."

"You'd better be,"she replied,and then gave him a steamy kiss that Logan looked away from, not wanting to invade their privacy.Also,he didn't want to feel nauseous again.

Finally,Bob left,giving him a friendly pat on the back before he could turn away.Logan heard him walking back across the street,singing quietly to himself."-did you exchange a walk on part in the war,for a lead role in a cage-"

Bob finally let Igor go,and the demon with the patchwork face (no lie;his skin seemed like fragments of various types of flesh loosely and clumsily sewn together and worn as a mask) simply looked at them as if nothing happened."Are you ready?"He asked peevishly.

Logan nodded,holding his breath,as Helga snaked her tail around his arm."Absolutely.Let's go."

The door closed behind them as they followed the raggedy demon deeper into the shop,its shelves making abbreviated aisles, and then they passed through a fabric curtain,into the shop's tiny storeroom.Igor moved what looked like a crate,then pulled up a trapdoor where a bright,unearthly light instantly streamed out and almost blinded them.

Logan had once seen himself in a mirror in the dark,and saw,to his horror,his eyes were almost completely black:the pupils had dilated almost completely, like a cat's eyes in dim light,the pupils opening as wide as possible to let in what tiny bits of light it could.
People's eyes dilated in response to darkness,yes-that was how your eyes 'adjusted' to it -but not like his,which is probably why he could see better than most in utter blackness.Of course he also had help from his other senses;sound and smell alone could give him a decent impression of a room,enough so that sight was sometimes superfluous.

But while his eyes adapted more rapidly to darkness,they also adjusted to change quicker as well,and he wasn't 'blinded' for long.The light seemed to move,as if the source down below was rotating,and Logan was roughly certain that was the case, although since when did any place in L.A. have a basement?Hello,earthquake central here.

Oh well-it was too late for things to start making sense now.

It still smelled bad,but it was more tolerable here-he could stand the scent of the almost ozone,which was so strong here it overpowered the smells of all the noisome essential oils and salves,and it was honestly a relief.It stank to high heaven,but it wasn't as cloying and brutal as the others.

"After you,"Igor said,gesturing down the hatch.

Logan crept forward,peering down into the light.There was a narrow staircase leading down to a packed dirt floor-although he could see that spiraling light,he couldn't see the source from here.He saw shadows as well,two of them,but because of the sharp pseudo -ozone smell he caught no scents.He started down warily,sure he could take anyone he might encounter,but he wasn't sure about all this portal nonsense.

Helga followed him down,with Igor taking up the rear and shutting the trap door behind them,and Logan saw it was less a basement than a root cellar,with a large swirling halo of light taking up the bulk of the tiny room,hovering about a foot off the ground.As soon as they were downstairs,they were approached by a woman in a  black cocktail least she looked like a woman from the neck down.From the neck up,she looked like a gargoyle, with leathery grey skin and two yellow horns curving up from her temples,while eyes the color of piss glared at them.She seemed to scrutinize them both,and then said to Red,the other person down here,"No,it's not them."

"What's not us,Gorgon?"He asked,guessing she was the Ferrick demon.

She scowled at him for that,pushing back some of her rat's nest tangle of curly brown hair that got caught on her horns."I sensed a tremendous source of psychic energy.Did you come alone?"

He scoffed derisively at her."No,we brought the fucking UCLA marching band with us because our car radio's broken.What the fuck do you think?"

"I told you he was charmin',"Red commented,tossing his cigarette butt to the floor and grinding it out with the toe of his boot.

"Are we going to do this thing,or are we going to play 'Twenty Questions'?"Helga asked sourly.

"Well,one thing,Hairy,"Red said,still sounding smug enough to hit."I need to know the exact nature of your mutation."


"Because anyone with a projection mutation is disqualified."At his questioning look,Red elaborated."You know,if you shoot icicles from your eyes,or fart fire,or spit death rays,that kinda stuff.The boss only allows mutants who can fight hand to hand.I'm guessin' yours is strength,facial hair,and a sunshiney 'tude."

Logan scowled at him,although Helga snickered and probably deserved it even more."I can heal fast,and I have hyper acute senses.Also,I have these."He held up his fist,and popped the claws,which made both the Gorgon and Red jump back a step.

"Whoa,"Red said in awe,creeping forward warily,but keeping out of slashing distance."Are those natural?I mean,they're metal."

"I didn't have 'em gilded,if that's what you're askin'."And that wasn't a lie,because he didn't voluntarily get the adamantium added to his skeleton.

Red frowned in thought,his red eyebrows meeting over his sharp,Roman nose,and after a moment,he said,"Well...some demon with claws are in the fight,so I guess it's okay."

The Gorgon was still glowering at them."What the hell did I sense?"

"Maybe you're hallucinating,"Helga suggested,unable to keep from smiling.

Logan retracted his claws,and asked,"Can we go now?"

"Yeah,I suppose.Candy,do your stuff."

The Gorgon's name was Candy?Well,why the hell not?

She turned towards the disc of brightly colored,swirling air,and held up her hands,saying a few words in complete gibberish, and the spiral seemed to swell,growing larger and larger,winds spinning and kicking up dust in the cellar until it felt like there was a miniature hurricane swirling around them.Logan thought he could see something bright down the funnel like portal,and maybe it was a place,he couldn't really tell.

The Gorgon moved aside,and Logan asked,"Now what?"

"Now we jump,"Helga shouted at him,over the increasing roar of the growing portal.

"Lovely,"he shouted back,not really liking the sound of that.But still they went forward,and together they leaped into the disc of coruscating light.

The things he did for people.


There was a strange sense of weightlessness,a feeling like the bottom had fallen out of reality and his stomach,then there was a reassertion of gravity,and the light became a solid yellow as he turned in mid air,his instincts having a better idea of where he was in space than he did,and he landed on his feet on a sandy stretch of land.Helga landed two feet away from him,although she was unable to catch herself quite as quick as him,and landed on her butt.

Looking around,the portal was gone,and they seemed to be in front of a white washed,clay roofed building that looked like a ziggurat under a bright noonday sun.

"Welcome to Dis,"a man's voice said behind them,as Logan gave Helga a hand up.

They both spun around,ready to fight,but the man was so slender and slight they could have pulled him apart like fresh bread.He was pale enough,almost milky white,that he could have been a vampire,except he was standing in a swath of sunlight and had yet to burst into flames.

"I'm Pym,I'll be your guide,"the slender,wraith like man said,extending a long,pale hand towards Logan.He just looked at it,then-out of curiosity more than anything else-he shook it.The man's hand felt like a slightly damp sponge,clammy and pliable,and Logan was sure with a minor increase in pressure he could crush every single bone in his malleable hand.
"Logan,"he finally offered as he pulled his hand away,and Pym then shook Helga's hand as she told him her name.

Pym was like a walking piece of string cheese:hairless,soft,and pale,he was so slender and straw like it was hard to believe he had a proper skeleton.His eyes were hidden behind black sunglasses,and Logan figured that was for the best.For some reason he imagined his eyes were milky white,as if afflicted with cataracts,but that couldn't possibly be the case ...could it?

"Please,follow me,"the man said,and Logan caught what might have been a hint of a British accent.

He exchanged a curious look with Helga before they both shrugged and followed the wan, vermicular demon (?) in the sky blue suit into the vaguely pyramidal shaped tower.

It had several floors and mezzanines,all arrayed around a central,wrought iron spiral staircase that seemed to lead all the way up to the peaked roof,although the spiral had several ancillary 'breaks',like small filaments breaking away from a double helix.The symbolism did not escape him.

"This is where the mutants are quartered,"Pym said,his faint British accent becoming more pronounced."I hope you don't mind,Miss,but it seems best to keep the purported Humans and demon populace away from each other outside of the arena."

"Purported?"Logan repeated.