Chapter 1: Discomfort and Bad Music

Can this get ANY worse? Blade tried to find Jester inside the dark suitcase, but to no avail – it was pitch black, and without the formula to give him any movement, he was stuck being tossed back and forth inside the uncomfortable suitcase as it shifted from left to right inside their new master's car.

Blade wasn't exactly cozy – being trapped under Pinhead was incredibly uncomfortable, and his knife was cutting a hole into his coat where it dug into his stomach. As soon as this fool figures out how to activate us, Blade promised himself, I'm going to give his stomach a good slice, see how he likes it. At the very least, I'll cut up that disgusting mustard-colored jacket.

Pinhead, Six-Shooter, Torch, Leech Woman, and Tunneler were all in similarly uncomfortable situations from being halfheartedly tossed into an old briefcase. They had been on display at a pawn shop, as Blade recalled, and the man had walked in, saying he was looking for something to impress a girl – although Blade doubted that he could impress anyone, with both the ugly suit and the matching face – unattractive and unpleasant, with a permanent expression of mild disdain.

After examining the wares with increasing disapproval for around twenty minutes, his eyes had settled on the puppets and their carrying case – which, by the way, Decapitron was still stuck in – and before they knew it, they were crammed into the briefcase, their old home – and formula – thrown unceremoniously into the trunk of the man's car.

They had been travelling like this for over an hour, elbows in faces and feet jammed against the walls of their temporary prison. But even that didn't bother Blade the most, oh no.

What was driving him crazy was the music.

Turn it off! Turn it off! He wanted to scream as "Sugar Sugar" came on for the fifth time. This master had absolutely no taste – everything that had played in the car was incredibly annoying or too catchy to be legal. Blade didn't even want to think about when the man had started muttering the words to "MacArthur Park"…

Fire. Losing my hook and knife. Beheading. Being forced to look at a picture of a pig for the rest of eternity. I don't care what I have to do, Blade thought, but get me away from this man!

BAM! Blade felt the wall of the suitcase hit his forehead as the suitcase slammed against the back of the passenger seat and fell to the floor. Then – a small mercy – the radio turned off, and Blade felt the suitcase being lifted from the car.

"I'm in-to superstitions! Black cats and voodoo dolls!" Lulu was more than grateful that puppets couldn't talk – otherwise, the marionette sitting in the elaborate throne near the stairway would have told everybody about these "karaoke" mornings a long time ago. Lulu threw one hand into the air as she continued singing into the hairbrush. "I feel a pre-mo-ni-tion; Some fool's about to fall!" She twirled around , making her mid-thigh black skirt to twirl around her gray skinny-jean clad legs as her dark-chocolate hair whipped around her face. "I'm in-to new sen-sations! New kicks in the candle-light! I've got, a new ad-dic-tion! For every day and night!"

DING-DONG! Lulu stopped, and groaned as she realized who the visitor could be – the only person who WOULD visit her unannounced. Rupert… Setting the brush next to her puppet Girl-of-the-Nile, Lulu walked over to the door of the large house.


"Nobody's home!" Lulu leaned against the door, glancing at the ceiling and folding her arms over her chest.

"Miss Lulabelle, would you please open the door?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that Could you maybe go to the other side of the city and say that again?"

"I come bearing gifts." Lulu sighed, and opened the door.

"This had better be worth my time, Rupert."

"It will be," the man said as he walked in, carrying two suitcases – his own, and a decorative carrying case.

"You do know I'm still not going to go out with you, right?" Lulu walked over to where he set them down on the table.

"As to why not, I haven't the foggiest."

"Read my lips: I don't like you. The only reason I put up with you is so that I can keep my job."

"Now what does that have to do with anything?"

"Well, seeing as how your father controls half of the city financially and can ruin a person's career at the drop of a hat…"

"Ah, Miss Lulu, you do come up with such strange ideas." He gestured to the suitcase. "But won't you open the suitcase? I'm sure you'll be intrigued."

"If it's a dress, I'm setting you on fire," Lulu said as she undid the latch. "Just so you know."