Chapter Six

"Whoo-hoo, choo-choo, baby, yeah!" Harley Quinn shouted, entering the rattling train car where she was greeted by the tired, wasted eyes of her friends both old and new. "I blew that big bald asshole up with a rocket launcher!"

"Where were you hiding a rocket launcher?" said Catwoman, leaning against a steel pole.

"In my clown car," said Harley, slapping her own ass. "Nah, the Joker threw it to me."

Catwoman and Ivy's eyes widened. Ada, Claire, and Sherry looked confused. Leon looked asleep. He'd lost a lot of blood.

"Harley," said Ivy. "Come on..."

Shaking with fury, Harley patted herself down and prayed to find a spare .357 shell for her revolver. Thinking she'd just pistol whip Ivy instead, she drew the gun from its holster.

Catwoman cracked her whip, scaring the hell out of everybody in the train car. "That's enough! You say you saw the Joker, great. It looks like everyone got what they wanted, so let's call it a night and enjoy a nice, uneventful train ride out of this hell-hole."

"My parents worked in the labs," Sherry said under her breath.

Catwoman blushed a bit as everyone in the car remained silent amid the clacking of the train over its rails. It was pitch black outside the car's tiny windows, revealing nothing about where they were or how far they'd gone.

Harley holstered the empty revolver and leaned against one of the seats near the back. "So, how many G-virus samples are we holdin' here? Catwoman, I know you got yours. Ada, how'd you make out? Hey, Ivy, did you manage to sneak one out, too?"

Catwoman and Ada looked at each other sideways, reaching some sort of wordless agreement in silence. Ivy shook her head, looking tired.

"Did we every figure out who shot the pig? I mean the rat-bastard cop? I mean this jackass?"

There, that did it. Claire, who'd been kneeling beside Leon, stood up along with Ada. Catwoman even came away from her pole, not losing her balance in the slightest despite the moving train. "Ivy, are you going to interfere?" said Catwoman.

"No, go right ahead," said Ivy. "I'll box up whatever is left and take it back to Gotham."

A cold smile spread across Catwoman's lips as she extended the razor sharp claws on her gloves. Ada's face was a mask of cold menace, while Claire, clearly new to this particular brand of violence, looked equal parts pissed-off and scared. Even Sherry looked like she might offer a kick or two once the stupid clown-lady was down.

THUMP.

The train lurched sideways, throwing them all off balance, even Catwoman.

"What the hell was that?" Catwoman said.

"Something hit the train," said Ada.

They all waited for a second THUMP, but none came as the train kept clacking down the track, perhaps a little slower than it had been.

"Should we go check it out?" said Claire.

"No, we should stay right here," said Catwoman. "Harley can go check it out."

"What!? Why me? I've had to do all the boss fights tonight, you jerks aught to take one."

"Go, or we're going to kick the crap out of you," said Catwoman.

"Ivy, baby, help me out here!" Harley pleaded. Ivy crossed her arms and looked away while the others inched closer to Harley.

"Fine, screw all of you. You'd better hope there's no self-destruct button on this train, 'cause if I find it I'm gonna stand on it!" Harley shouted, hitting the black button on the door behind her that made it slide open.

The air in the dark tunnel was warm, even as it whipped through her hair and over her skin. Harley grabbed the first thing she saw that she could use as a weapon, a fire extinguisher. The spray might make for a good distraction, and she supposed it would work alright as a club if need be.

I aughtta go back in there and spray those bitches with chemicals. That'll cool 'em down, she thought bitterly as she went through the train cars. Many were devoid of seats, built to move freight. She hoped one of the sections would be the dining car, since she hadn't eaten a damn thing all night.

The next car she came to not only wasn't the dining car, but what it contained made her never want to eat again. "Well, there's your problem right there," she said, beholding a blob-like monster that looked suspiciously like a gaping vagina lined with teeth.

No joke, it was a massive blob of red and blue flesh with a slit down the center filled with teeth. At the top of the slit was a face, bone white and inhuman, flanked on either side by massive yellow eyeballs. The eyes rolled around, then focused on Harley as tentacles, each as thick as her leg, pulled the blob across the floor.

"Well, goodbye!" said Harley. She turned to leave and discovered that the doors had been locking behind her the entire time. "Sonofaaaahhh!"

A tentacle latched onto her foot, pulling her off balance. She fell to the floor. Still clutching the fire extinguisher, she pulled the pin near the handle. "Here's sodium bicarbonate in yer eye!" she shouted, spraying the mutant's big yellow eyes, hoping the foam would act like Mace.

It didn't. That, or the monster liked being Maced. It opened its gaping maw, eager to swallow Harley.

BOOM

The train shook; the windows glowed. The labs had exploded, flushing the tunnel with super-heated air, pushing the train along like a bullet in the barrel of a rifle. The windows glowed brighter, started to melt. Harley's fire extinguisher was spent, but she didn't think it would do her much good anyhow given the entire car was about to be incinerated.

The monster didn't appreciate the severity of any of this and opened its toothy vagina-shaped mouth wider to admit its anticipated meal. It was then that Harley decided to plagiarize Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Walt Disney Pictures, 2006). She hoped up onto one foot, the other still being held tightly by the tentacle, and dove straight into the fleshy maw, praying she'd at least bypass the teeth and suffocate inside its airless stomach before burning to death. If I'm lucky, there'll be a magical land inside there where I'll chill until it's time for the sequel, she thought. Just like in the movie. And I'll be paid billions of dollars, and...

She made it past the teeth and was welcomed by walls of hot flesh that stank of lab chemicals. She breathed as deeply as she could, figuring she might at least catch a buzz before she died. Outside the monster's GI tract, things were getting hot. Harley heard the woosh of the explosion overtake the train, felt it all come off the rails in a resounding shriek of tearing metal.

It was kinda nice inside the mutant, she had to admit, like being inside the womb again or a big old whoopee cushion. She soon discovered that the mutant's insides were more habitable than she'd thought; if she twisted and turned enough there were all sorts of folds and stinking pockets full of air to inhale. She'd vomit later for sure, but right now it was what she needed.

And then it got warm. Warmer. Hot! She heard the thing's flesh crackling and crisping, felt the warm walls shudder and twitch as nerve endings died. How many feet of mutant meat was between her and the all-consuming fire outside she didn't know, but she knew wasn't near enough to keep her from being cooked alive inside the world's shittiest turducken.

"Oh, what a world, what a world, what a world," she cried, gurgling the words through the foamy fluid that had filled the creature's internal cavities.

888

She woke up on the floor by the shipping container the Tyrant had thrown her against. Cracked ribs, definitely a concussion. The Tyrant stood on the other end of the loading floor roaring in triumph. It would take its time killing her. Of all the things its creators had stripped from it, memories, emotions, humanity, they'd left vindictiveness and a crude sense of cruelty.

The rocket launcher fell from the ceiling, landing a few feet from Harley. Mr. J! She looked up to see him, that white face, that green hair, that absurd purple pinstripe suit... nothing but darkness. Long shadows dropped and slithered like a long cut of cloth, a cape. A bat cape draped over a bat-man. Batman!

She woke, this time for real. At least she'd never have to wonder what it would feel like to fall asleep inside a half-cooked chicken nugget. She took in a deep breath of warm air that smelled like a cadaver's armpit and crawled through oozing, dead mutant flesh towards an opening in the creature's hide.

In the stale, dusty air of the train tunnel she felt born again. It was awful. Covered in drying slime, she stank like the floor of a poorly kept mortuary. Every step was a struggle but what kept her going was up ahead, maybe a mile or so off, was a tiny dot of light. Daylight.

There would be people out there, all kinds of 'em, firemen, paramedics, bystanders... friggin' cops. That was fine. She'd broken out of prison before, she'd do it again. What she really wanted was one of those plain gray blankets and hot cocoa in a little white Styrofoam cup, the stuff they gave people at the end of action movies after all the asses had been kicked and cars and buildings blown up. She looked forward to having a nice long sit in the back of an ambulance, a little time for herself to not think about anything, like how the train had come apart, why Ivy had been such a bitch, and who'd really thrown her that rocket launcher in her battle with the Tyrant.

Up ahead there were people. She could see the coming towards her. They moved like a SWAT team, quick little baby steps so as not to jostle the guns they had pointed at her. She probably looked like a zombie in the beams of their flashlights. Hopefully they were fairly new to the whole zombie scene and wouldn't plug her on sight. That hope got dashed when she saw the Umbrella Inc. logos on their yellow hazmat suits.

"You're gonna need a bigger boat," she said as the team surrounded her.

Thwip.

The dart hit her in the neck. She instinctively pulled it out only to have two more put into her chest and stomach. The tranquilizer worked fast and she collapsed. Unable to move her head or feel anything, she was only dimly aware they were dragging her along by her arms.

"...tissue is heavily damaged..."

"... explosion caused..."

"... not getting in. Report back and let's move to the extraction point..."

"...tag this one, we'll send her to the Rockfort facility."

The Rockfort facility, Harley thought as she was taken out of the tunnel on stretcher and carried briefly under a blazing sun. Maybe I am gettin' my big-budget sequel after all.

The end.