Category Archives: Littlesilverstar’s Fiction

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 6

Princess Katarina sat in her tent, trying to think of a strategy for the next day’s march. Suddenly, her dark brown eyes lit up as she got an idea. She hurried out of the tent and called out to one of her aides. “I want all the company-level commanders to gather for a meeting with me.”

“Just the company-level commanders? Not the senior officers?”

“That’s right.”

“Yes, milady.” He hurried off to spread the word.

When the officers had been gathered, Katarina led them to an isolated part of the camp where the others couldn’t hear them. “Gentlemen, I have called you here for a very important and secret reason. I want each of you to make a list of six or seven men from your companies that are troublemakers, malcontents, or other dead weight.”

The officers looked at one another, not quite sure what was going on, but obeyed her order. When she had all the lists of names, she thanked the officers and dismissed them. She then made her way across the camp, heading for one man in particular.

She found him sitting alone glumly by a campfire, staring off into space with a blank expression on his dull face. He was the fat ex-colonel (remember him, from Amazon Wars Episode 2) who she had demoted to private for his sexist attitude, lack of command skill, and general asshole personality. She tapped him on the shoulder and motioned for him to follow her away from the fire. Puzzled, he obeyed.

“Listen,” she whispered, putting on her best fake smile. “I want to apologize for insulting and demoting you earlier. I am a hot-tempered woman, and sometimes my anger gets the best of me. I have created a new battalion to take the position of honor in the front of the army tomorrow, and as a way of making it up to you, I want you to command it. By the power vested in me by His Majesty, I hereby re-promote you to lieutenant colonel.”

The fat, dim-witted man broke into a wide smile, falling for her act hook, line, and sinker. “Thank you, my Princess. I am very happy to accept.”

“Excellent. Here are the lists of the men you will be commanding.”

“Thank you, my Lady. I won’t let you down.”

“You sure won’t,” she thought to herself, a smirk appearing on her elegant face as soon as he turned away.

* * *

The next day, the battalion of malcontents, four hundred men, with the fat colonel in command, formed up in the vanguard of the army and led the march out as they broke camp. None of the fools in the battalion had the brains to realize what was going to happen. In their arrogant, delusional minds, they thought they were the best soldiers in the Royalist army and were being given a position of honor.

Soon, they approached the mouth of the narrow canyon. The fat colonel and his battalion of deadweight happily and stupidly marched right in. It was only when they had marched several hundred yards in that one of the soldiers in the rear turned around. “Hey, the rest of them aren’t following us!”

“What the…” The fat colonel whirled. “Is this some sort of…AAAAAHHHHH!” He suddenly fell to the ground, writhing in agony. An arrow had pierced him right in the groin.

Then the sky was filled with arrows. Hundreds of men dropped, killed or maimed. The survivors fired their muskets uselessly up towards the sides of the canyon at an enemy they could neither see nor hit.

“It’s no use! Retreat!” shouted a lieutenant. The men who still could began running, but suddenly there came two quick bursts of cannon fire. Cannonballs slammed into the canyon walls, triggering a rockslide that blocked off the escape route. Arrows were still falling like rain, steadily reducing the number of moving male bodies. Trapped and helpless, the men could do nothing but wait for an arrow to find them.

Amazon Princess Livia, watching from high up on the canyon rim, laughed as the slaughter of the battalion was completed. Most of her officers were smirking and giggling at the killing right along with her, but two of them were several yards behind the others, whispering.

“We should have waited until more of them entered the canyon to spring the trap. This is but one battalion of their army, and an undersized one at that,” said one Amazon quietly.

“When they stopped coming, Livia got impatient and gave the order to fire. So impetuous, that one,” the other girl whispered back.

“This might even be a trap on that Katarina’s part.”

“Perhaps, but I can’t see her sacrificing a battalion of her own men. Unless…”

“Unless what?”

“Shh! Here she comes!”

Livia approached them. “Now let’s get our cannons repositioned to…”

BOOM! A Royalist burst of grapeshot exploded among a group of Amazon archers, blowing several of them to bits. Then the massed fire of an entire artillery line began firing into the Amazon army. Screams from wounded and dying women came from all directions.

“TAKE COVER! GET THOSE CANNONS FIRING BACK! FAST!” Livia roared. As the girls ducked, the two who had been whispering earlier gave each other looks of “We told them so.”

Livia, though cocky and arrogant, was still an intelligent tactician. Knowing that even when her cannons were up and firing, she would still have fewer of them than the enemy, she ordered her archers to advance.

“Here they come!” shouted a Royalist officer. “Amazon archers, advancing en masse!”

“Concentrate all artillery fire on the archers!” ordered Katarina. “Kill as many as you can before they get into range! Infantry, advance!”

“What?” said her chief of staff. “My Lady, the infantry will…”

“Suffer many casualties from the arrows, yes. But they’ll get in range with their muskets faster. We have the advantage at long range with our cannons and at short range with our muskets, but at medium range the Amazon archers rule the battlefield. We must make sure that advantage lasts for as little time as possible. In this way, we will suffer fewer casualties in the long run.”

“Yes, my Princess.”

Just like Katarina had predicted, the next phase of the battle started out well for the Royalists. Their cannon fire blew many of the Amazon archers to bits. But then, the Amazon cannons began firing and started blowing up male infantrymen. Still, the Royalists held the advantage, with thirty cannons to the Amazons’ fifteen, until the surviving archers got into range. With howls of vengeance, the girls fired devastating volleys of arrows into the advancing but still out of range Royalist musketeers, the archers’ rapid rate of fire enabling them to inflict far more carnage than artillery ever could.

Katarina winced as she watched many of her men fall. But the army, purged of malcontents and cowards, bravely charged forward until they were in musket range and the survivors could fire back.

Livia watched the scene from the rear of the Amazons’ side of the battlefield. “This is the great Katarina’s plan? Send her musketeers against my archers, who can fire four shots for every one they fire?”

“But their musketeers outnumber our archers four to one,” said one of Livia’s officers.

“And there’s still an artillery duel going on, and they have more cannons than we do,” another girl added.

“Still, it’s not like the enemy to fight a battle of attrition like this,” murmured Livia. “They are soft, they don’t have the balls to fight like that. That girl has something else up her sleeve, I just know it.” She suddenly whistled for her horse. “Cavalry, prepare to charge!”

But suddenly, sure enough, the Royalist cavalry, a thousand men and horses, led by Princess Katarina herself, burst out of the forest and charged straight for the Amazon archers. The Amazons, though taken completely by surprise, reacted coolly and without fear. Half of them turned and began firing on the charging horsemen, while the other half kept pressure on the musketeers.

A cavalry charge against Amazon archers without the element of surprise, without a second force supporting them, or without Princess Katarina would have ended in slaughter for the charging force. But luckily for the Royalists, they had all three of those things. Though fully one-fifth of the cavalrymen were shot down by the girl-archers, the 800 male survivors did what few ever had by reaching the Amazon line, lowering their lances. Katarina, her shield now with three arrows stuck in it, armed with her trusty sword and trusty double-barreled pistol, fired twice, killing two Amazons whose fancy headdresses indicated they were women of high rank, then drew her blade.

The Royalist cavalry crashed into the archers, trampling and lancing them. Katarina cut off several Amazons’ heads with her sword. The musketeers on the other side let out a loud cheer, preparing to advance and finish the trap…

Suddenly, an Amazon war horn sounded and several dozen musketeers fell dead with arrows in their bodies. Arrows fired from much further away. Amazon light cavalrywomen were in the distance, firing with deadly accuracy into the male infantry, who were far out of range with their muskets for shooting back. At the same time, the Amazon heavy cavalry, led by Princess Livia herself, charged the male horsemen. Katarina, knowing she couldn’t leave her riders vulnerable, ordered them to re-form to face the new threat. The surviving Amazon archers swiftly retreated.

The two forces of heavy cavalry charged one another. Katarina, leading her men, and Livia, leading her women, looked at each other as the distance between them shrank, both knowing what they had to do. As the two forces collided, Katarina and Livia drew their swords.

The two female commanders’ blades clashed for the briefest of moments as they rode by each other. Each woman would have easily killed a normal opponent with her swing as she rode by, but both ladies were as good on defense as they were on offense. Livia received a minor wound to her left shoulder and Katarina a small cut on her left forearm, but both girls were otherwise unhurt.

Livia brutally slaughtered every man she passed by as she made her way through the male riders to turn around and charge Katarina again. The sadistic Amazon preferred gut slicing, ripping open men’s stomachs and sending their intestines spilling onto the dirt. Katarina, making her way in turn through the Amazons, made her kills cleanly by cutting off her opponents’ heads or stabbing them through their hearts.

Now facing off once more, Katarina and Livia stared across but twenty yards of space at each other…

Suddenly, a Royalist war horn sounded. From over a ridge, 500 more of Katarina’s horsemen appeared…

Wait a minute, thought soldiers from both sides as they looked at the newcomers. They weren’t horsemen, they were horsewomen! Female citizens of Frederick’s kingdom, they wore a modified version of the blue and white Royalist uniform, consisting of black knee-high riding boots, black leather gloves, low-cut white pants, and blue and white blouses with three-quarter length sleeves and midriff ties, showing off their toned six-pack abs and slender but muscular forearms.

The new Royalist female light cavalry charged their Amazon counterparts, firing carbines and pistols as the Amazons shot arrows back at them. Another fierce battle erupted as the two forces of light horsewomen crashed into each other, swords and axes clanging.

Livia saw that her army was now being pressed hard on all fronts. Not wanting to lose her cannons, she quickly rode back to her lines, slicing and dicing several male cavalrymen to death along her way, and ordered a general retreat while they could still do so in an orderly fashion. The Amazon archers and light cavalry covered the retreat with their bows. Katarina, looking at them, ordered, “Let them go.”

“Congratulations on your victory, my Lady,” said one of her cavalry officers.

The Princess looked around the battlefield, surveying the heaps of her dead soldiers, including many high-ranking officers, and shook her head. “One more victory like this, and we are ruined,” she responded grimly.

* * *

The fat colonel (remember him?) groaned as he crawled along the canyon, leaving a trail of blood behind him. He was alive. Everyone around him was dead, but he was still alive. His right testicle had been pierced and destroyed by the arrow, but he still had his left. He still had his life. And he still had his desire for vengeance. The fat, stupid man had finally realized that Katarina had set him up. He would survive. He would make it back. He would get his revenge…

There was a whizzing sound, like the buzz of a bee, followed by a horrific pain in his chest. The colonel looked down and saw that he had been shot with another arrow. He took a few last gasping, wheezing breaths before expiring.

Livia, high up on the canyon rim, smirked as she lowered her crossbow. It was she who had first shot him in the groin with an expertly aimed arrow. Now, she had finished the job and salvaged some pride from this defeat at the hands of Katarina. The Amazon warrior spat down into the canyon before turning away.

* * *

“1600 men dead. One-quarter of our army,” reported Katarina’s chief of staff.

“Although only 1200 of those are real losses,” said a colonel. “Those 400 who died in the Battalion of Knuckleheads were just dead weight anyway.” Murmurs and nods came from the assembled officers. Nobody had liked those troublemakers, and none of them had any problem with Katarina’s decision to sacrifice them.

“How about the enemy?” asked the Princess.

“The Amazons suffered about 1400 dead. That’s more than a quarter of their force,” said her chief of staff.

“But they can bring up reinforcements almost immediately, while we have to wait weeks for ours to be brought from across the sea,” she responded. “In addition, General Norton’s bad defeat on the other side of the island has put us in a severe position of weakness. We will have to retreat to our interior line of forts despite the casualties we inflicted on the enemy today. Only when we receive full reinforcements can we go on the offensive again.”

“I have to admit, those female riders provided that extra push we needed,” said a general. “They came just in time.”

Katarina allowed herself a smile. “After seeing how well those girls performed in drills, I thought it was time to test them in battle. With their petite weight and fast riding speed, they’ll make an ideal light cavalry counterpart to our male heavy cavalry. All right, meeting adjourned. We’ve had a rough day and it’s time to get some rest.”

* * *

ROYAL AMAZON PALACE, AMAZON CAPITAL

“Fourteen hundred Amazons dead? By the Mother Goddess, Livia, what have you done?” Amazon Princess Jenova said to her sister. “We have not seen slaughter of that magnitude among our people since the days of the civil wars.”

Princess Livia glared at her younger sister. “I killed more of them than they killed ours! And we can get reinforcements a lot easier than they can!”

“War of attrition is not the Amazon way! The Amazon way is to strike fast and hard, hammer the enemy while they don’t know what’s hitting them, and retreat before we get into a situation where we’ll take many losses!”

“You won an easy victory over a MALE commander, while I had to fight a WOMAN, and you think that makes you better than me?! You think defeating a mere MAN makes you a great warrior?”

“Girls, ENOUGH!” shouted their mother, the Amazon Queen. “There will be NO MORE ARGUING! Now, let’s move on to more important matters. Jenova, I understand you have some prisoners?”

“Yes, Mother. About two hundred males, including about twenty officers. I was planning to interrogate the officers as soon as I had the time. The grunts can be inspected, with the strong ones to become breeder slaves and the rest to become slaves in the fields.”

“Let me handle the interrogations,” said Livia, a cruel look appearing in her eyes.

“Mother, please don’t…” began Jenova.

The Queen looked at her daughters. “Quiet, both of you. Just remember, Livia, that the purpose of torture in interrogation is to extract information, not to satisfy a desire for revenge after a battle gone wrong. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mother,” Livia pouted.

“Good. Now since you said there are about twenty officers, I see no reason why both of you can’t work on questioning them. As for me, I will inspect the grunts and personally select those I feel suitable for status as breeders.”

* * *

FORT OSWEILER, ROYALIST COLONY

“A letter from the King, my Lady,” said the messenger, handing Katarina a sealed envelope.

“Thank you.” She opened the letter and began to shake as she read it:

“My dearest sister,

I am deeply saddened to report that our beloved father has died of a heart attack. As you know, he has named me heir to the throne. I am recalling you to the Imperial Capital immediately. Your silly island adventure has gone on long enough. A ship is waiting for you at the Colonial Capital.”

Katarina paused to wipe away the tears. Her father? Dead? Of a heart attack? It couldn’t be! He was in excellent health. No, her slimy brother must have had him poisoned! Earlier, she had been on the fence about being able to obey her brother’s orders, but that had been when she had thought her father would die a natural death. Now that her brother had revealed himself to be a vile sack of shit who murdered his own father, she knew that there was no way she could ever obey him. She clenched her fists, the muscles in her slender but muscular brown forearms rippling, as she continued to read:

“These gentlemen are here to escort you to the Imperial Capital and make sure you get there without any delays or misadventures.

Your brother and YOUR NEW RULER, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT,

King Frederick X.”

The Princess looked up and saw four burly men pointing muskets at her. The messenger lowered his head. “I’m sorry, my Lady. I had no choice. Your brother is holding my wife and daughter hostage.”

One of the men, wearing the uniform of a major, suddenly stabbed the messenger in the back with his bayonet, the tip sticking out of the front of his chest. He withdrew it with a squishing sound as the messenger slumped down. “Yes, and your usefulness is over now. After the king gets tired of them, he’ll give your wife and daughter to us as a reward for a job well done,” the murderer sneered to the dying man. He then looked up at Katarina. “Let’s go, Princess.” He spat the last word.

Katarina looked around. The major smirked. “You think we haven’t thought of that? I have three hundred men here, personally hand-picked by the new king, who are loyal to me and have been specially selected for not wanting to take orders from women. They are all armed and alert, ready to take the unsuspecting men who are loyal to you by total surprise. All I have to do is shout and there will be a massacre. Now I’m sure you don’t want that, so I’m sure you’ll go quietly.”

She looked down at her feet, nodding with a sigh.

“Excellent. All right, men, play it cool. To anyone who doesn’t know, we’re just escorting the Princess. She knows not to try anything.” He began moving towards the exit of the large tent, another man beside him. The other two formed up behind her. Katarina saw out of the corner of her eye that their muskets were shouldered, so not to look suspicious.

She struck with lightning speed, performing a spin kick that struck both the men behind her in the face, knocking them down. She then grabbed the major and his companion and bashed their heads together, stunning them. Snatching up one of the muskets, she stabbed one man in the heart with the attached bayonet, kicked another in the head with enough strength to both fracture his skull and break his neck, and simply beat the third to death with the butt of the musket.

Only the major was left. She stood over him, then suddenly stabbed the bayonet right into his throat.

“All you have to do is shout. Too bad you can’t do that.”

She savagely twisted the point of the weapon, then withdrew it with a squishing sound. Blood sprayed out like a fountain.

She cautiously peeked outside as the major expired. Sure enough, her tent was surrounded by hundreds of men in identical uniforms to those of the major and his three goons. Further in the distance, she saw her regulars, blue-and-white uniformed men who were loyal to her, but they were unprepared. They had no idea what was going on, and being safe in the fort, most of them didn’t even have weapons on them.

Katarina tucked two double-barreled pistols into her belt, making sure they were loaded. She tucked a knife into each of her knee-high black leather boots, sheathed a sword on her hip, and finally slung the musket over her shoulder. She took a deep breath.

“This is for you, Father.”

She slipped out the back of the tent, a knife in each hand. The two men guarding the rear exit had their throats ripped open before they knew what was happening. She quietly shoved their corpses into the tent.

She began making her way as rapidly and silently as she could towards the nearest cluster of her loyal soldiers. If she was lucky, she could…

“Hey, she’s getting away!”

The enemy soldiers, who had been milling about, bored, jerked to attention. Katarina was already in action. She emptied both of her double-barreled pistols, killing the shouting man and three others. Tossing the empty weapons aside and drawing her knives, she stabbed a nearby man in the heart, then hurled both knives at a pair of soldiers taking aim at her with their muskets. Both dropped dead, one with a blade in his throat and the other with one in his eye.

“TRAITORS AND MURDERERS!” she shouted. “LOYAL SOLDIERS, YOUR PRINCESS NEEDS YOU!” There wasn’t time for proper explanations, but the soldiers had already heard the shots. Seeing these new, differently attired men attacking their Princess, the loyal soldiers sprang into action. A quick volley from several of them slammed into a squadron of enemies who had been taking aim at her.

Katarina raced for the cover of a large boulder. Two enemies popped up in her way, preparing to fire. She shot one dead with her musket, then suddenly did a standing layout backflip, being athletic enough to pull off the flip despite wearing a long dress. The second man’s musket ball flew safely between her legs as she was upside down.

She landed elegantly on her booted feet and charged him as he drew a pistol. Lashing out with her sword, she cut his hand off, snatched the pistol in midair, and whirled and shot dead another enemy who had been about to fire at her. She then turned back to the screaming one-handed man.

“No, please…”

She cut off his head, shutting him up.

Looking back again, she saw more enemies advancing. A gun battle had broken out between the loyal men and the traitors, but the traitors had the advantage of preparation and greater numbers. Seeing several muskets being aimed at her, she threw herself into a cartwheel followed by a series of fast back handsprings. Her elegant, blindingly fast backflips in the style of a pro-gymnast allowed her to dodge the musket balls fired at her. She finished her tumbling run with a high back tuck that took her over the boulder to land safely on the other side. She swiftly reloaded the pistol she had appropriated, then began reloading her musket.

She heard a noise behind her and whirled, aiming the pistol. An enemy was standing there, with the tip of a bayonet sticking out from his chest. The weapon was withdrawn and the corpse kicked down, revealing one of her officers standing behind him.

“Thank you, Colonel,” she said, squeezing his hand gratefully.

“Any time, my Princess.” He smiled as she went back to loading her musket.

On the parade grounds lay the corpses of a dozen loyal soldiers who had made a heroic stand. In front of them were at least fifty dead traitors. Still, Katarina knew that she and her allies were badly outnumbered. She alternated between firing her musket and pistol, while the colonel leaned out and fired from the other side of the boulder. Even though every one of their shots found its mark, and more loyal soldiers were firing at the enemy from different positions, there were perhaps twenty of her allies left alive, facing over two hundred enemies.

Katarina and her loyal men shot enemies dead by the dozens, but the enemy pressed on by sheer weight of numbers. One by one her blue-and-white coated allies were shot down. There were only a few left now. Was this how it was going to end?

Suddenly, a loud, clear female voice rang out. “Take aim! Fire!”

Musket balls slammed into the traitors, killing over half of them with a single devastating volley. Sure enough, in the distance stood a company of female Royalist soldiers in their sexy uniforms. The front line of girls knelt down, reloading their weapons and revealing a second line of ladies with muskets aimed.

The surviving enemies, suddenly facing fire from two sides, tried to turn around. They were greeted by a volley from the second female line. Blood splattered.

The few traitors left alive dropped their weapons and either raised their hands in surrender or began running away. The first line of female soldiers, who had finished reloading, coolly shot down the running men with expert precision. The second line charged the surrendering men with their bayonets, brutally stabbing them to death, showing them no mercy and giving the cowardly traitors exactly what they had coming. One enemy ran right by Katarina’s boulder. She stuck out her leg, tripping him and sending him to the dirt face first. Before he could get up, she stabbed him in the back with her sword. She spat on the corpse. A coward’s death for a traitor.

“My Princess,” said the female captain in command of the girl-soldiers, bowing.

“Rise, Captain,” Katarina said, giving her a hug. “You saved our lives.”

“So what happens now?” asked a female lieutenant.

“Little F probably already has an army on its way. Handpicked men who are loyal to him,” said the colonel grimly.

“Well, we…” Katarina began. Just then, a messenger rode up, staring at all the dead bodies.

“I’ll explain later,” said the Princess. “From the look on your face, you have something important to report.”

“Yes, my Lady. Amazons are approaching, two days’ march away. Eight thousand of them. A force of equal size marches on San Sebastian in the south.”

“By the gods,” murmured Katarina. “Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.”

They stood in the already battered stone fort, men and women together, knowing they faced an army of angry woman-haters on one side and an army of angry man-haters on the other. As if on cue, dark clouds covered the sun and a cold wind began to blow.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 5

The two Amazon princesses, daughters of the great Queen, sat alone in the large command tent in the middle of the Amazon war camp. Livia, the older sister, the fiery woman with long straight auburn hair who was heiress to the throne, moved some figurines of army women across a map. “Take three brigades and attack the enemy on the other side of the island. I’ll take these five brigades here and attack that Katarina, that woman who fights for those men, and bring her down once and for all.”

Jenova, the calmer and more patient younger sister, ran a finger through her curly, shoulder-length jet black hair. “Only three? Let’s divide them evenly, four and four. The armies each of us will face are the same size.”

“You have the easy job,” said Livia. “All you have to do is defeat an army led by a man. I have to defeat a female commander. Now get your girls moving. You’ve got a long march ahead of you.”

“Yes, sister,” sighed Jenova reluctantly, departing the tent.

Livia watched her go, then ran her fingers over the map, knocking over the male figurines that represented the enemy. From the reports her scouts had brought her, Livia knew she would be facing perhaps 6000, or 6500 at the most, Royalist soldiers. Her force of 5000 Amazons should be able to defeat them easily. She had won facing worse odds many times before.

* * *

Princess Katarina, daughter of King Frederick IX and commander of the Royalist Army that had been sent to this island to defeat the Amazons, tossed and turned in her tent, unable to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she kept seeing those words from that letter from her father:

“I am naming your younger brother heir to the throne.”

Frederick Junior. Little F. Little Fuck-up. Her younger brother was far too incompetent to ever make a good king. But because of her father’s reasoning – that he feared she would be assassinated by power-hungry nobles who preferred the easy-to-manipulate Little F as ruler if she was named queen – the stupid young Little Fuck-up was being given this undeserved chance.

Despite his misguided decision, she loved her father. She would never betray him. As long as he was in charge, she would fight for king and country. But when Little F ascended to the throne…that would be a different story. Her two choices when that happened – obeying her idiotic little brother’s orders or committing treason – seemed equally repulsive. Luckily, it was a decision she would hopefully not have to make for many years. Her father was getting on in age, but was still strong and in good health.

She yawned. Running her fingers through her long silky black hair, she turned over and went to sleep.

* * *

General Norton sat on his horse, frowning as he surveyed his army. The general had been sent to lead this half of the Royalist relief force while Katarina led the other half. The army had marched out strong, 6000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, the same size as Katarina’s force. He wondered how she was doing, on the other side of the island. He was a capable officer – she wouldn’t have chosen him to lead if he had not been – but no man in the King’s army could match the Princess’s intelligence, leadership, or fighting skills.

His army was not so strong now, he thought worriedly. The small bands of Amazon troops had fallen back before the advance of his large force. But as they marched further inland, Amazon archers had begun nailing the fringes of his army with lethally accurate arrows, targeting officers first and always getting away before the Royalists could mount an effective response. Although the casualties they had taken were relatively light – about two hundred men dead – the disproportionate loss of officers and the fact that the Royalists had been unable to retaliate was crippling to morale. The biggest losses had come from desertion. Over a thousand men had deserted, some from simple cowardice and some tempted by greedy slick talkers who promised them riches and women if they became bandits roaming the countryside. Norton had ordered captured deserters beheaded to make examples of them, but still the desertions continued.

* * *

The band of 30 thuggish-looking deserters, hidden in the trees, smirked as they looked down at the three Amazon wagons passing by on the road below, each driven by a single teenage girl. After abandoning the Royalist army, they had raped and pillaged their way across the countryside, attacking their own citizens. Now, they would attack these girls. They didn’t care who they killed. They had lost all honor, if they had had any in the first place. The men aimed their muskets, waiting for the signal to fire.

But suddenly, all three wagon covers were ripped away, revealing half a dozen Amazon archers hidden in each wagon. With blinding speed and deadly accuracy, they released their arrows. Eighteen shots. Eighteen men dropped dead. At the same time, each of the girls driving the wagons drew hidden knives and threw them. Three more males dropped, blades driven straight into their hearts.

The survivors screamed in fear, panic, and shock. Some began running away, while others fired off their muskets, none of the bullets finding their mark. The Amazons reloaded and fired a second volley.

* * *

“My Princess Jenova. I bring you a gift,” said the slender, pretty teenage girl. She motioned with her slim wrist, bracelets sliding as she raised her arm, and two equally petite girls shoved forward two male captives, each wounded with an arrow right in their buttocks. The girls savagely kicked their victims, then yanked them up by their hair. “Show your faces to the Princess.”

“And what have we here?” asked Jenova.

“Deserters from the Royalist army, milady. They’ve been raping and pillaging their way across the countryside, attacking friend and foe alike. They thought they could ambush one of our caravans. Of course we outsmarted them. There were thirty of them. These are the only survivors.”

Jenova calmly walked up to the first prisoner. “You will tell me everything you know about the strength and position of the Royalist army.”

“Like hell I will, bitch,” he spat at her. Despite having deserted from the army and having no loyalty to it, he didn’t want to talk because he was a sexist pig who hated the idea of obeying a woman.

The Amazon princess, in one fluid motion, drew her sword and cut off his head. Ignoring the blood splattering all over her dress, she turned to the second captive and said, “You will tell me…”

“Yes, yes, of course! I’ll tell you everything!” He was shrieking, sobbing, begging for his life to be spared.

“Squeeze all you can out of him, then use him for target practice,” Jenova whispered to the teenage girl next to her. The girl nodded and smirked. Jenova crossed her slender but muscular arms in front of her as she watched. She wasn’t a sadist like her sister, but cowardly deserters who raped and pillaged even their own people deserved no mercy.

* * *

“The Amazons are coming! The Amazons are coming!” shouted the scout. “General Norton, the Amazons are charging! Cavalry coming up on us very fast! Infantry behind them!”

The general looked off into the distance in alarm. 500 Amazon heavy cavalry were charging the front part of his long column of marching soldiers, their lances already lowered. Further back, he could see a thousand female archers, accompanied by a thousand swordswomen, jogging towards the scene of the coming battle, their fit bodies showing no sign of getting tired. In the rear, Princess Jenova, in command, sat on her horse, calling out orders.

The Royalists were in panic mode, despite the attacking Amazon force being only half their size. Some fired their muskets wildly, but the ragged shots had no chance of stopping the powerful charge of the horsewomen. As they frantically tried to reload their muskets, they froze in fear as it became clear that the Amazons would crash into them before they could fire their second shots. Some of the men dropped their weapons and raised their hands in surrender. It did them no good. The sexy warrior maidens, showing no mercy, rode into them, impaling male soldiers with their lances or simply trampling them to death. Other men tried to run away, but they were swiftly ridden down by the girls or slain with well-aimed axe throws to their retreating backs.

“FORM SQUARES, YOU FOOLS!” roared General Norton. “FORM SQUARES!” The Royalist soldiers finally began forming up. It was too late for many of them, who were slaughtered by the Amazon riders before they could get into formation, but the surviving infantry managed to group themselves into four large squares of a thousand men each, with the commanding officers clustered in the center of each one. A thousand infantrymen already lay dead on the field.

General Norton and his staff officers, on a small hill to the rear of his army, barked more orders as he continued observing the scene. “Artillerymen, get those cannons set up, and start blasting the enemy! Cavalry, hold but be prepared to charge at a moment’s notice!”

The Royalist force was well-equipped with 20 cannons, but the slow, clumsy weapons took time to set up. Meanwhile, Jenova, recognizing the danger the squares would pose to her cavalry despite never having seen those tactics before, uttered a sharp command and through a rapid relay of signals, her horsewomen retreated under orders and regrouped in the rear.

In their place, the female archers marched up and began firing into the squares with their powerful longbows. Despite being outnumbered four to one, the longbow-women were able to dominate the field with their long-range weapons, which could kill at 300 yards, while the Royalists’ muskets had an effective range of only 100 yards. Slowly but steadily, male bodies began dropping with arrows impaled in them, while the musket balls they fired back at the enemy fell short into the ground.

Finally, the cannons, set up in four rows of five each, were ready. They began blasting the girl-archers with grapeshot and canister. The longbow-women’s arrows couldn’t reach the cannons, but they continued firing into the musketeers, who still couldn’t hit back with the shorter range of their weapons. “Infantry into line formation. Prepare to advance,” ordered General Norton.

Jenova scowled as she watched the scene. Livia had refused to allow her to take any of the cannons the Amazons had captured with her army, saying they had to march quickly across the island and the artillery would slow them down too much. Now she would have to make do with what she had.

She knew she had to act fast. As the blue-coated Royalists shifted from one formation to another, she gave a signal with her fist. Immediately, the thousand Amazon swordswomen charged straight at the male infantry with spine-chilling warrior cries. As soon as they got within a hundred yards, they threw their athletic female bodies into cartwheels followed by back handsprings, elegantly backflipping at incredible speed towards their targets.

The male soldiers were not yet properly formed into lines, and their musket fire was ragged and ineffective, only scoring a few lucky hits. The cannons fired into the charging swordswomen, but the Amazons were charging in a loose formation instead of being densely packed, limiting the effectiveness of the artillery. In less than twenty seconds, the rapidly flick-flacking girls crashed into the male soldiers, forcing the cannoneers to stop firing so they wouldn’t hit their own men. The swordswomen, each wielding a blade in each hand, easily sliced and diced their way through their male victims, the Royalists’ bayonets being no match for them. Slowly but steadily, they began chewing up the much larger male army.

Then a war horn sounded. The Amazon heavy cavalry were charging again. General Norton barked more orders. “Cavalry, intercept the enemy riders! Artillery, soften up the horsewomen, then switch to the archers when our boys ride into them!”

At first, it seemed to be working, although the cannons weren’t able to do much damage to the Amazon cavalry because of the speed of their charge. But the Royalist cavalry attacked their female counterparts, seemingly pinning them between the infantry and themselves…

Suddenly, 500 light horsewomen charged out of the nearby woods where they had been hiding. Jenova had kept them in reserve, waiting for a situation just like this. Now, the Amazon light cavalry attacked with arrows and thrown spears and axes from the other side, making it the Royalist cavalry’s turn to be facing a double-sided attack. Panicking, the surviving male riders urged their horses away in a rapid retreat until they were under the covering fire of the cannons.

Now freed, the Amazon heavy cavalry rode straight into the mass of male infantry, lancing and trampling everything in their path and splitting the Royalist force in two. They, along with the swordswomen, completely surrounded the far half of the male army, while horse archers and longbow-women fired over their comrades’ heads and into the trapped men. Meanwhile, Jenova detached part of the female infantry from the main Amazon army and personally charged forward to lead the small force of swordswomen and archers to attack the other half of the Royalist army.

“Retreat!” shouted General Norton. “First line of cannons, keep firing! Cover the retreat and hold off the enemy for as long as possible! Get the rest of the cannons hitched up to the horses and get them out of here!”

“My lord,” said one of his staff officers. “What about the men on the far side?”

The general shook his head. “They’re lost. All we can do now is save the other half of the army.”

“And the front line of cannons?”

“Better to lose five cannons than twenty.”

The staff officer gulped and nodded, glad that he was not one of the expendables.

Men, horses, and cannons hurried away from the battlefield as fast as they could. When they had passed, the soldiers manning the front line of five cannons that had been ordered to cover the retreat were left alone on a ridge, firing desperately at the screaming, charging Amazons led by sexy Jenova.

An explosion of canister blew several Amazons in the front rank to pieces and splattered Jenova with blood. Some of the younger girls began to hesitate, but the Amazon princess, with a shrill shriek, drew back her bow and fired a perfectly aimed shot right into the heart of a man just before he could light the fuse to another cannon. With cheers, the Amazons, now in archery range, fired a devastating volley into the cannoneers. The survivors turned and ran, but were all shot down by a second volley.

General Norton took one last, sad look at the scene below him before turning his horse away. In the distance, the surrounded men were screaming, begging, pleading, their horrified cries audible even at the great distance. He shook his head. It was them or the whole army.

“Secure these cannons!” Jenova ordered. “Drag them back to our lines. Archers, cover them and drive off anyone who tries to take the cannons back, but do not pursue.” With that, she rode back to the main force of Amazons.

In the middle of the deadly trap, there were only a few hundred men left alive, surrounded by piles of male corpses. The highest-ranking Royalist left, a colonel, raised a white flag of surrender.

“What say you, milady?” the commander of the archers asked Jenova. “Do we take prisoners or slaughter them all?”

“I’ll handle this,” said the Princess. “Cease fire!” she ordered. The girl-archers looked at her, most of them wanting to continue the massacre, but obeyed their Princess’s order.

“Drop your weapons!” Jenova ordered the men. “Form one line, facing me! Officers, stand in a separate group over there!”

The terrified males quickly obeyed her command. Because the Amazons were wearing their traditional leather uniforms of short shorts, tank tops, and knee-high boots, showing off their tanned, muscular bodies, many of the men had hard-ons despite their fear. Some of the men who were badly wounded remained on the ground, moaning. Even some of the wounded males had erections.

Jenova, smirking to herself at the men “standing at attention,” addressed the line of enlisted men. “Starting from this end, every third man step forward!”

Again they obeyed. The Amazon Princess raised her arm, then lowered it. A perfectly aimed volley of arrows slammed into the soldiers who had been ordered forward, each arrow striking its target right between the eyes. A hundred men fell dead in complete unison. The males still standing quivered in terror. Some wet their pants.

Jenova addressed the survivors coldly. “I am capable of showing mercy. I will never show weakness. That demonstration was to assure you that what I am showing now is the former and not the latter. You are now the property of the Amazon Nation. Accept your fate, and you will live. Resist, and you will die.”

Unarmed, she walked fearlessly up to the line of men, most of whom were taller than her and all of whom were heavier than the slender girl. She strolled in front of them, looking straight into the frightened eyes of each captive she passed, and stopped in front of one. “What are you?”

“I am a soldier of the Royalist army, loyal servant of His Majesty, King Fred…”

With lightning speed, Jenova performed a standing backflip, kicking the speaker in the underside of his jaw. Her backflip kick was so powerful that it broke his neck instantly with a sickening CRACK. The odd angle of his neck as he fell to the dirt left no doubt that he was now a corpse.

The Princess’s face remained expressionless as she landed perfectly on her booted feet. She turned to the next man. “What are y…”

“I am a humble male slave, the property of the Amazon Nation!” he cried in panic. She smirked. Looking at the other men, her gaze was met with submissive lowerings of heads. She nodded in satisfaction, then, with a series of elegant standing back handsprings, made her way back to her officers.

“Shackle the men and march them off with the other spoils of battle,” she ordered. “Keep the officers separate, I’m going to interrogate them later. Any man who is wounded too badly to walk…put him out of his misery.”

* * *

Princess Katarina’s army marched through the green, rolling hills towards Amazon territory. Like she had earlier, Katarina rode up and down the column, checking in with each of her high-ranking officers, making sure that everything was all right and keeping a sharp eye out for any Amazon ambushes.

Suddenly, there was a commotion from the rear. “A messenger!” came a shout. A haggard-looking soldier rode up and handed the Princess a sealed envelope.

“For your eyes only, my Lady.”

“Thank you.” She found a private spot to the side of the column, then opened the letter. She cursed as she read it.

Katarina rode over to her chief of staff. “Norton suffered a bad defeat. He lost half his army and five of his cannons. The survivors have retreated to our fortifications at San Sebastian, licking their wounds.”

The male officer shook his head. “Perhaps if I had been in command of that force…”

She gave him a hard stare. “Most likely, your army would have suffered the same fate. It appears that it takes a woman to stand up to the might of these Amazons. I hope you are not questioning my decisions on who to appoint as my division commanders.”

“Of c…course not, my Princess. I’m sorry.”

“That’s what I thought. Now, back to business. If we can defeat the enemy on this side of the island, we can secure the northern flank of our territory, then march south again and intercept any enemy that might be coming to attack.” She raised her arm, bracelets sliding down her slender wrist. “Messenger!”

The haggard rider hurried over. “Yes, milady?”

“Get a message to my father. I want two full divisions of reinforcements from the mainland. And one more message, this one for the Colonial Capital.” She whispered into his ear and he nodded.

“Yes, my Princess.” He swiftly rode off into the distance.

Katarina turned back to her chief of staff. “Until we get those reinforcements, with Norton’s losses we simply don’t have the manpower for large-scale offensive operations. After this battle we’ll have to confine ourselves to defending the part of the island between San Sebastian in the south and Fort Osweiler in the north until fresh troops arrive. Keep Norton’s defeat secret, I don’t want the men’s morale to drop into the toilet. I’m going up ahead to talk with the scouts.”

Katarina rode up to the scout commander. “What have you to report, Captain?”

“This open country continues for a little while longer, my Lady. However, sometime tomorrow the main route would take us into a narrow canyon. It would be…you know.”

She nodded. “Way too easy for the Amazons to ambush us there. We’ll have to come up with an alternate plan.” She looked at the sun, low in the western sky. “Keep on for another hour, then we’ll make camp for the night.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Girl With Gun 2: Horrible Boss

Lissette was having a good day.

Mostly because it was Sunday, and she didn’t have to work. She had slept in until about 9:30, then gone out for a three-mile run. After that, it was workout time in her basement, lifting weights and practicing her punches and kicks on the big bag she had hung down there. Next came a filling and delicious but healthy brunch, followed by an appointment with her hairdresser to get her long black hair coiffed.

Now she was at the shooting range, practicing with her trusty .45 pistol. Taking aim, she imagined that her target was her asshole boss who had lied to his boss and tried to blame her for a mistake that he had made. She fired five rapid shots, paused and adjusted her aim, fired five more rounds, and ejected the now empty magazine. She reeled in the silhouette target and smiled with satisfaction. Five perfect shots to the heart, five perfect shots to the head.

She saw a couple of male stares out of the corner of her eye and smiled to herself. Although she was used to getting male attention almost anywhere she went, it was particularly common at the range, since so many guys were into girls with guns. Lissette had a model-like, high-cheekboned face, large dark brown eyes, a deep Latina tan, and a slender, athletic 5’7″, 120-pound figure. Although she was a tomboy and loved masculine things like shooting, football, and kickboxing, she knew how to be graceful and feminine as well. Her new coiffure, along with her outfit of a long, elegant, sleeveless red dress and knee-high black leather boots, emphasized her beauty and femininity.

She turned towards the men who had been staring at her. They blushed and quickly looked away. She giggled. The good thing about being hit on at the range was that the guys were always polite, respectful, and cautious to her there. Sometimes too cautious. When she was in the mood for a little flirting, sometimes she found herself having to make the first move.

Lissette swiftly and expertly loaded a fresh magazine into her gun and chambered a round. She went back to shooting, going through four more full magazines, each resulting in the same deadly accuracy on her targets as the first one. As she was leaving, she noticed that many of the men there were giving her looks that were a combination of sexual attraction and intimidation. She simply walked out with a calm and confident smile.

After a quick stop at her house to clean and put away her gun and wash up, she headed out to the local sports bar to meet up with her friends, watch Sunday Night Football, and enjoy beer and various deep-fried foods. Three hours later, as the fourth quarter wound down and the Green Bay Packers (once again) celebrated a victory over the Chicago Bears, she and her friends cheered. Yes, today had been a good day. If only tomorrow could be as good, she thought to herself as she drove home. Tomorrow it was back to work. Back to her obnoxious boss.

But it didn’t have to be that way. It didn’t have to be bad. She thought back to that moment with the road-rage asshole who had chased her. She remembered how good it had felt when she pulled her gun on him, when she slowly closed the trap around him as he begged for mercy, when she finally finished him with a shot to the head. The thrill, the rush, the feeling of pure power. Not to mention the feeling of delivering justice to someone who had been arrogant and abusive to everyone around him his whole life.

Her feelings were not without some caution. After killing him, she had been paranoid for several days, wondering if she would get caught, wondering if anyone knew, wondering if there would be a sudden midnight knock on her door. But after weeks had passed with no sign of the police, she had allowed herself to feel more confidence. She had gotten away with it.

It wasn’t that she disliked who she had been before. She was Lissette the athletic tomboy with a feminine streak, Lissette the ex-cheerleader, Lissette the intelligent, ambitious young woman with the degree from Stanford. She liked being all those things. But she had always wanted to be something more. And when fate had placed her in that situation with the road-rage asshole, she had discovered it. Now, she could be Lissette the skilled assassin, who could still blend into mainstream society. She could go from charming saleswoman in business attire to gun-toting badass in two seconds. She could be the kind of woman who performed better than any of the men around her, whether the situation was having the best sales numbers or surviving a zombie apocalypse.

As she parked her car in her driveway, she took a deep breath. Did she really want to go through with this? She had done one killing and escaped detection. She could quit while she was ahead. But then she would just go back to being Jane Doe instead of Sarah Connor. She would be fair, she decided. She would give her boss one last chance to repent and admit he had been wrong. If he didn’t…

Satisfied, she nodded to herself. No matter what, she would get a good night’s sleep tonight.

Monday morning found Lissette and her boss, Kirk, meeting with Kirk’s boss, Aurora, to try to resolve the situation. Lissette scowled as Kirk told his side of the story, continuing to lie and blame her for causing a client to cancel a large order, when in reality it had been all his fault. Well, she had given him his fair chance and he had blown it. Now, she would feel no guilt about taking the Sarah Connor path.

When it was her turn to speak, Lissette calmly defended herself, holding in her anger at her asshole boss. She went on to question why Kirk had been promoted over her in the first place, pointing out that her sales numbers consistently had been better than his, and wondering if maybe, just maybe, the fact that the company’s executive vice president was Kirk’s uncle had anything to do with it. That brought an angry shout from Kirk and a sharp warning from Aurora. “Quiet, both of you.”

Lissette looked over at her. Aurora was known as a tough but fair supervisor with a very rational, non-emotional personality, much like Juror No. 4 from Twelve Angry Men.

Aurora sighed, running her fingers through her hair. “Listen up. I hate this part of the job. I hate playing referee, especially when all I have is a he-said-she-said situation with no real proof of anything. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to hand out any punishments. I’m going to trust both of you to do the best you can in dealing with our clients. Any talk of business lost or gained will wait until the next quarterly review. I think we’re done here.” Aurora stood up and walked out of the small conference room without another word.

Lissette gave Kirk an icy glare. “You know what you did.”

He simply smirked. “Yeah, but they don’t, and that’s what counts.” Snickering, he exited the room cockily.

Left alone, Lissette clenched her fists, causing the muscles in her slender but muscular forearms to ripple. He was going to pay. He would pay the ultimate price.

That afternoon, Lissette knocked on the door of Kirk’s office. “Come in,” he said. He scowled when he saw it was her. “What do you want?”

She gave him her most seductive fake smile. “Look, I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier. I really like this job and I really want to do well. If you could give me a good evaluation, I could do something for you in return…” As she spoke, she undid the top button on her white blouse, giving him a tantalizing partial view of her small, firm, darkly tanned 34B tits. The scowl on Kirk’s ugly face was immediately replaced by a look of sexual attraction, and a bulge appeared underneath his pants.

“Sure, I can do that,” he said, lewdly licking his lips. Lissette resisted the urge to roll her eyes. He was so predictable. So fucking easy.

“How about tonight at your place?” she asked. “I want the two of us to be completely alone. I don’t want anyone to disturb us or find out what we’re doing.”

“Oh, trust me, we’ll be alone. I’ve got a lot of ideas I want to try out.” He turned to look out the window, pumping his fist in what he foolishly thought was victory. She took the opportunity to roll her eyes for real.

“I’ll be there at eight then. Make sure to bring that with you.” She pointed at his bulge, causing him to look down and blush with embarrassment. Buttoning her blouse back up, she smiled in triumph as soon as her back was turned to him. He had no idea that he had only a few hours left to live.

Lissette examined her reflection in her car window one last time. She was wearing thigh-high black stockings, black ankle boots with razor-sharp stiletto high heels, a black miniskirt, black leather gloves, and the white blouse she had been wearing earlier. Her long, slender, muscular killer legs were on full display. The sleeves of her blouse were rolled up to her elbows, showing off her slim but well-muscled, heavily developed, tanned brown forearms with prominent veins. The top button of the blouse was once again undone to display her cleavage, and she wore neither bra nor panties. Her trusty and lethal .45 pistol was securely strapped to her right thigh underneath her skirt. Satisfied with her looks, she grinned wickedly to herself. This was going to be fun.

She walked to the front door, making sure no one saw her, and rang the bell. Kirk opened the door. His eyes bulged out when he saw how Lissette was dressed. Something else lower down bulged out too. “Come in. Wow, you look amazing.”

“Thank you,” she replied with her best fake smile. “By the way, on the drive here I was just thinking…I know this great makeout and fuck spot on a bluff overlooking the lake. I discovered it when my high school sweetheart and I were looking for a new place. It’s completely secret. No one else knows about it. I think it would be so sexy to do the naughty there…”

“Wherever,” said Kirk. “Just as long as I get some of that tight pussy.” His erection was straining to get out of his pants. Girls in thigh-high stockings drove him wild.

She tried to hide her disgust. “Great. Get in my car and I’ll drive us there.”

Thirty minutes later, Lissette parked her car on the deserted bluff. Kirk had tried to fondle her breasts on the way over, but she had successfully stopped him by saying she didn’t want to get in an accident. She got out and stood on the grass, the moonlight illuminating her beautiful body.

Kirk was debating whether to demand sex from her on a regular basis in exchange for continued positive evaluations, or simply use her sexually for one night and then betray her by not following through on his promises. Although the continued sex was tempting, he still resented her for standing up to his bullying. Fucking and dumping her would make him feel like a big man for once.

Although Kirk drew a reasonably good salary, his unattractive looks, lack of athletic ability, lack of intellect, and ultra-obnoxious personality made him highly unpopular with the opposite sex. He tried to pretend to his coworkers that he was a “player,” having loud phone conversations with imaginary girlfriends, constantly boasting about nonexistent hot dates, and other lame tactics. Once he had seen a couple of sexy stewardesses at the mall, doing a promotion for a new airline and posing for pictures with passers-by. He had gotten the idea of taking a picture with one of them, then showing it to everyone at work and telling them she was his new girlfriend. But the hot flight attendants had somehow known exactly what he had been planning to do. Not only had they refused to pose with him, they had also loudly announced his failed plan to the entire crowd of people there. He felt his face redden as he recalled the public humiliation. Sometimes he feared that his coworkers knew he was bullshitting. (His fears were justified).

At least he wasn’t a virgin, he told himself as he tried to cheer himself up. Even though no girl had ever actually agreed to have sex with him. Kirk’s mind wandered back to his only sexual experience. At a college party, a group of basketball players had drugged a girl’s drink, then taken her upstairs and gang-raped her. After they had finished, he had snuck upstairs and “lost” his virginity by raping the almost unconscious girl. He was incredibly insecure about his lack of sexual success, and he constantly replayed the disgraceful sexual assault in his mind. In his twisted way of thinking, it was the only thing he had. Even the basketball players would have beaten him up if they had found out what he had done.

He looked over at sexy Lissette. Finally, an incredibly hot woman was throwing herself at him. After tonight, he would finally be a man. She looked back at him, her dark brown eyes seeming to pierce right through him. Although at 5’10” and 165 pounds he was bigger than her, with her three-inch high heels her eyes were on the same level as his. In addition, he could see how muscular, athletic, and tanned her body was in comparison to his flabby, out-of-shape, pale one. That fact gave him a strange mix of insecurity and sexual attraction towards her.

She smiled at him seductively. “Close your eyes,” she whispered. Thinking she was going to strip and reveal herself to him nude, he obeyed.

He felt her place her hands on his shoulders. Then, suddenly, a fiery pain erupted in his groin. His eyes flew open and he collapsed to the ground, clutching his badly brutalized family jewels. Sure enough, Lissette was standing over him, her stocking-clad left leg still raised after her devastating knee to his crotch. “Uggghhh…what the fuck?” he groaned when he was finally able to speak.

She glared down at him. The phony warmth had vanished and was replaced with cold, icy hatred. “Are you seriously that fucking stupid? Did you really think I would EVER have sex with a vile, disgusting creep like you? You thought you were going to screw me? Well, you’ve screwed me over for the last time. I lured you out here where there were no witnesses, and you fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Now, I’m going to have my revenge. Now, I’m going to screw YOU. But not in the good way.” She viciously stomped on his face with her razor-sharp stiletto heel, leaving a deep, bloody wound on his left cheek.

Kirk stumbled to his feet. All the air seemed to have rushed out of his body. Once again, a beautiful woman had tricked and outsmarted him! Once again, he had to be reminded of how undesirable he was to the opposite sex!

His shame turned to anger. Arrogantly, he thought that the mere fact that he was a man and she was a woman meant that he could defeat her in combat. “Bitch,” he growled as he swung a punch at her face. She blocked it easily with her slender but muscular forearm, then drove her right fist into his flabby gut. As he doubled over and lost his breath, she punched him in the face with her gloved left. The impact from the rough leather opened up a bloody cut on his right cheek.

“Wimp,” she taunted him. “I’m more of a man than you could ever be.” She bounced up and down in her trained kickboxer’s stance, knowing he didn’t know how to fight, knowing how easily she could dominate him.

“Fucking cunt!” he roared, finally getting his breath back. He swung another wild punch at her. She danced out of the way easily and kicked him in the chest, knocking him backwards, her heel making a small but painful hole in his torso. The pretty Latina then became a brunette blur as she executed a cartwheel, kicking him in the head with both feet and knocking her victim down with the force of her exotic cart wheel kick. She kicked him hard in the side as he was down with the toe of her boot, breaking one of his ribs.

As he looked down at his bleeding chest and felt the pain from his broken rib, an icy chill came over Kirk. Slowly, he was realizing that this thin, hot chick was fully capable of killing him. For the first time, his brain began processing the cold fact that he was in mortal danger. He had to escape. He got up, grunting and cursing, and began to run.

Lissette smirked. Spinning around, her long black hair flying behind her, she began doing a series of standing back handsprings towards her fleeing opponent. Each time she was upside down, her bare crotch with its pubic hair neatly trimmed down to a landing strip became visible. She was slowly catching up to him, elegantly backflipping with a skill, grace, and speed that would make any Olympic gymnast jealous.

Kirk looked over his shoulder and was puzzled to see the attractive brunette back flipping towards him instead of running. Still, she was moving incredibly fast. He tried to turn on the jets and increase his speed. Unfortunately for him, he was already a slow runner, and his injuries slowed him down even more. The distance between them shrank slowly but surely as Lissette continued to execute her back hand springs, her muscular wrists and booted feet rhythmically landing on and pushing off from the grass. Flick-flack, flick-flack, flick-flack. She caught him after fifteen hand springs, crashing into him and knocking him down.

She sat on him, wiggling her ass, rubbing it in, humiliating him, and laughed. “I’m a girl and you’re a man, and I was doing back handsprings and you were running. And I was still far too quick for you!” Despite his fear and shame, Kirk felt his rod stiffening in his pants. He had always had a fetish for girls who could do back flips, much of it motivated schmoe-style by the knowledge that he could never be athletic enough to perform moves like that.

Lissette felt his hard-on underneath her and glared down at him in disgust. “You fucking pervert. Don’t tell me you’re also one of those douchebags who has a fetish for gymnast girls! I had enough trouble with those types when I was a high school cheerleader practicing my flick flacks.” She punched him in the face several times with her leather-gloved fists. When she was done, her helpless victim had two black eyes, a broken nose, and three loose teeth. Lissette used a kip-up to athletically get back to her feet. “I bet that’s another thing a woman can do that you can’t,” she mocked him.

Sure enough, Kirk got up with a slow, clumsy stumble. As soon as he had finished standing up straight, she unleashed a devastating cheerleader-style high kick to his face, ripping a long, bloody cut from chin to forehead with her high heel and sending him to the grass once again. She spread open the fallen male’s legs, then kicked him in the groin with her booted feet several times with all her strength, sending his testicles back up somewhere into his body.

Kirk had passed out from the sheer, vicious power of her brutal kicks. Smirking in triumph, Lissette yanked down his pants and underwear, then flipped him over, leaving him on the ground with his vulnerable ass exposed in the air. Reaching underneath her miniskirt, she drew her .45 pistol and waited.

Kirk awoke with a moan. He began trying to turn over, but stopped cold when Lissette pressed the barrel of her gun into the back of his skull.

“I love guns,” she said casually. “I love the feeling of power I get when I fire them. I love knowing that I can beat most guys easily at a shooting competition. And I love knowing that I can use them to solve problems.” At that last sentence, a shiver ran down Kirk’s spine.

“Please, Miss Lissette,” he begged. “I’m sorry for everything I did to you! I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll resign from my job and let you have my position. Just don’t kill me!”

“You have your phone with you?” she demanded.

“Right pants pocket. My iPhone’s in there.”

She took it out. “Give me your email password. Your job for your life.” He recited a series of letters and numbers, which Lissette entered into the phone. She nodded as his email inbox opened up. “Don’t bother with writing a resignation letter, I’ll write it for you.”

“Okay. You got what you wanted. Are you going to let me go now?”

“No.”

“WHAT?! But you promised…”

“I lied.”

“You bitch, how could you…”

She hit him in the face with the gun, hearing the satisfying crunch of a facial bone somewhere breaking. “Spare me your self-righteous bullshit, cocksucker. First of all, we both know that if I let you go, you’d immediately run to the cops and try to get me arrested and your job back. And second, not that I was ever going to do it, but if I had given you sex, I have a feeling that you would have betrayed me and not kept your end of the bargain.” The guilty look that appeared on Kirk’s face confirmed her suspicions.

The defeated male quivered. “What are you going to do to me?”

“What you were going to do to me.” With that, Lissette suddenly shoved the gun barrel up his ass. Kirk let out a soulless scream of terror.

“Scream as loud as you want,” she cooed. “There’s no one to hear you for miles.” She used her considerable strength to force the weapon further in, ripping and tearing his rectum, taking sadistic pleasure in his cries of agony. Past instances of sexual harassment and crude, lewd behavior from guys flashed through her mind. Now she was getting revenge for it all.

“Didn’t you say you wanted to use me to try a bunch of different sexual things?” she sneered at her victim. “Did you want to fuck me up the ass? Well, now YOU know how it feels to get fucked up the ass. After screwing so many people over at work, it’s fitting that you’re now learning what it feels like to get screwed.” She thrust the pistol in and out as she spoke, simulating an ass fucking.

“Oh my God, baby,” she taunted. “I just can’t hold it back any longer! I’m going to shoot!” Kirk’s eyes went wide with terror as he prepared to meet his maker.

Lissette pulled the trigger ten times in rapid succession. The large-caliber bullets did devastating damage, ripping through his internal organs, destroying everything in their path. Her strong wrist easily handled the recoil as she fired the weapon one-handed. When the gun finally clicked empty, she withdrew it with a squishing sound and turned the body over. All of the bullets had gone completely through him and he now had ten large, bloody holes in his torso. Three of the rounds had penetrated his heart. His dead eyes were still frozen in an expression of pure fear.

Lissette felt her heart rate slowly return to normal. She scanned her surroundings carefully, looking and listening for any sign of another person. Nothing. Sighing in relief, she looked at her gun, now covered in blood and shit. She quickly cleaned it with water and paper towels she had thoughtfully brought along. She would do a more thorough cleaning later, at home. She then swiftly and expertly reloaded the weapon, just in case she ran into any trouble. She looked down at Kirk’s corpse. “So was it good for you too, baby?” she couldn’t resist saying.

Getting back to business, she took out a bag and a short length of rope that she had also thoughtfully brought along. She placed the dirty paper towels in the bottom of the bag, then collected several rocks and loaded them into the bag as well. Finally, she tied it securely shut and used the rope to tie the bag to the body. Dragging it across the grass, she shoved Kirk over the edge of the bluff, watching as the weighted corpse swiftly sank into the lake.

She picked up the phone and quickly sent an email to Aurora supposedly from Kirk, stating that it was his screw-up that had led to the client canceling his order, he had lied and wrongly blamed Lissette for it, he was resigning effective immediately and wouldn’t show up to work again, and he wanted Lissette to have his old position as atonement for his sins. After sending the message, she tossed the phone into the lake.

Reholstering her pistol underneath her black miniskirt, she took one last look at the cold, dark, unforgiving waters of the lake, then climbed into her car and headed for home. Kirk had been such an asshole that he had no real friends. No one was likely to discover that he was missing for weeks, maybe even months, and even then they would have every reason to believe that he had just gone off to start a new life somewhere else after his mistakes at work. No one would suspect that he had been killed.

The next day at work, Aurora called Lissette into her office. “I got an email from Kirk,” the older woman informed her. “It seems you were telling the truth and he was lying. He’s the one who screwed up the order, and he confessed to falsely blaming you for it. He said he felt so guilty about it that he’s resigning.”

Lissette, an excellent actress, looked surprised. “Well, I’m glad he finally decided to come clean. I hope he’s more honest at his next job.”

“Yes,” said Aurora. “Anyway, there’s now, naturally, a vacancy in the manager position that Kirk occupied, and on his recommendation I’m promoting you to it, effective immediately. Congratulations, you’ve earned it. Your sales numbers have always been excellent and you’ve consistently shown strong leadership skills.”

Lissette’s heart was beating rapidly with triumph, but she kept her true feelings well hidden. “Thank you,” she said calmly.

“Kirk said that he didn’t want to come back here, he was so ashamed at what he’d done. Do you mind moving his stuff out of his office so you can move yours in?”

“Not at all.”

“Great. Well, congratulations once again and good luck in your new position. I know you’ll do well.”

As soon as she had exited her boss’s office, Lissette pumped her fist in victory. She had gotten away with a kill. Again. Another notch on her belt.

But if she could have seen the suspicious look on Aurora’s face as she stood alone in her office, Lissette wouldn’t have been quite so happy…

THE END?

Girl With Gun: Road Rage

Lissette was having a bad day.

It had started that morning, when she had woken up with a terrible headache. Then, going outside to pick up the newspaper, she had stepped in a pile of poo. Some asshole had let his dog take a shit right in her driveway.

It hadn’t gotten any better at work. At noon, she had opened the refrigerator to discover that some jerk had stolen her lunch. When she had gotten back to her desk, she had found that her stapler and scissors had also disappeared. And at a quarter to five, she had checked her email and found an angry message from her boss’s boss. Apparently, her boss had fucked something up and rather than own up to it he had instead blamed HER for it. And to top it all off, her headache had not gone away despite all the medicine she had taken.

So naturally, when Lissette got in her car for the drive home, her fuse was short. The unusually heavy traffic on the freeway didn’t help matters.

After a wearying hour-long drive, she was finally almost home. Two more exits and she could get off this damn freeway, then it was just three blocks to her house. In anticipation of getting off the freeway soon, she was in the far right lane. The traffic in every lane was slow, moving at about fifteen miles per hour.

Suddenly, she heard the roar of a car traveling at high speed. She saw a silver Pontiac Grand Am zooming along the shoulder of the road. She shook her head at this reckless and illegal behavior. The car went by her on the right, slowing down, and tried to cut right in front of her.

On any other day, she would have let it go, decided it wasn’t worth a fight, and let the driver in. But not today. She had had it with assholes getting away with shit.

She kept very close to the vehicle in front of her, not giving the silver car any room to get in. The driver, a fat, swarthy, obnoxious-looking man, glared over at her. He began pounding the horn with his right hand while giving her the finger with his left. All the while, swear words and threats were flowing liberally from his mouth.

Keeping the gap tight, she slowly moved past him, giving him the finger back as she passed by. His threats and curses became louder, and he was still honking his horn. Finally the noise became fainter as she passed him. As she approached her exit, Lissette leaned back in the seat, feeling better. She smiled as she broke loose from the freeway traffic and sped onto the offramp.

Suddenly, she heard the roar of a familiar car engine. She looked in the rearview mirror. Sure enough, the silver Pontiac was behind her and coming up fast. As she made her way onto the surface streets, the asshole driver kept right behind her, still swearing and giving her the finger. A wave of anger swept over her. This jackass had started the whole situation, and was now following her in a fit of self-righteous rage.

She was approaching a fork in the road. She knew that not far down the left fork was a police station. She could drive there, and be safe, and…

And what? Run and hide like a stereotypical girl and wait for a man to save her? Let the asshole driver most likely get away, or at best get a fine and a slap on the wrist, and let him do it again and again to other drivers? And surely he wasn’t an asshole only on the road. Guys like him were exactly the kind of jerks who let their dogs shit in other people’s driveways, stole people’s lunches and office supplies, and blamed others for their own failures. She felt her rage grow as she thought of the other bad things that had happened to her that day. Her headache increased in pain as well.

She knew two other things. She had a gun in her glove compartment. And the fork on the right led to an isolated area. A very isolated area.

On any other day, she would have taken the left fork. But today was not any other day. She took the right…

She drove along the road, watching as the houses thinned out. She drove fast, as if she was frightened and trying to get away. Glancing in the rearview mirror, she smirked. The silver car was still following her.

Soon, there was nothing but trees and bushes alongside the road. Lissette put on a burst of speed, whipping her car sharply to the right and onto a dirt turnoff. The turnoff dead-ended after a couple hundred yards. She stopped the car and reached into the glove compartment. She put on a pair of black leather gloves and took out the .45 pistol waiting inside. She chambered a round and flicked the safety off. She also kept a thigh holster in there and she now used it, quickly and efficiently putting it on and strapping the compact but lethal handgun to her thigh underneath the skirt she was wearing. She then got out of the car, face expressionless but heart pounding.

The silver Pontiac appeared. The driver smirked to himself when he saw Lissette trapped – or so he thought – at the dead end. Turning his car sideways to block the only way out, he screeched to a stop and climbed out. The look on his face was one of self-righteous rage. At 5’10” and 220 pounds, looking like the thug he was in his torn jeans and dirty wifebeater, he arrogantly thought he could have his way with this slender, pretty young woman. Her elegant yet professional outfit of a black miniskirt, knee-high black leather boots, and white blouse accented her 5’7″, 120-pound figure nicely and stood in sharp contrast to his trashy appearance.

“Suck my dick, bitch,” he growled as he advanced on her.

She smoothly pulled out the gun from underneath her miniskirt. He froze and a look of pure terror appeared on his face. Sweat dripped down his brow. “What was that?” she asked. “Say it again.”

His mouth opened, but no words came out. He took half a step backward.

“What’s the matter? Don’t want me to suck your dick anymore? Cat got your tongue?”

He managed to squeak out, “Please…I’m sorry, I’ll go…”

“You’re not going anywhere,” said Lissette, aiming the gun right at his head.

He raised his hands. “Please! I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have done that! Please have mercy, I’m begging you!”

“Shouldn’t have done what? Driven illegally along the shoulder? Tried to cut me off? Given me the finger? Cursed at me? Threatened me? Chased me? Boxed me in here, thinking you’d trapped me?” She began advancing on him, keeping the gun aimed right between his eyes.

“Yes, all of those things! I was wrong on all of those things! Please don’t kill me!”

Lissette shook her head. “No, you’re only sorry for one thing. You’re only sorry you got caught.” Now she was almost upon him. She suddenly did a cartwheel, one-handed, her other hand still holding her gun, impacting his face with her big black boots one after the other and sending him to the dirt. Landing elegantly, she kicked him in the side, cracking one of his ribs. Her thighs, although slim, had visible muscle tone from her years as a dancer, and her kicks were very powerful.

“I know assholes like you all too well,” she said, kicking him again, in the head this time, giving him a terrible headache. “You think you’re better than everybody else. You think the world owes you everything. You think you don’t have to play by the rules. And you always blame others for all your own problems.” She kicked him hard in the back as she finished speaking.

Rolling on the ground in pain and clutching his cracked rib, the man began begging and pleading again. She simply stood over him and waited for him to finish his whining. She made a show of rolling up the sleeve of her white blouse to look at her watch, a silver man’s Rolex that hung loose on her slender wrist and stood out nicely against her darkly tanned forearm.

“Oh, you’re begging me now. That’s interesting. I wonder what things would be like if I didn’t have this.” She waved her gun. “I wonder what you’d be doing to me if you’d trapped me for real. I wonder if you’d listen to my pleas.” They both knew what the answer to that would be. He hung his head in shame.

The road-rage asshole was now quivering with fear. Begging wasn’t working. Running wouldn’t work. Fighting wouldn’t work. The sickening feeling of finality began to sink in. He was out of options, and out of time.

“On your knees,” she ordered.

He obeyed, trying to plead for mercy with his eyes. She ignored it. “Open your mouth.”

He opened his mouth. She approached him, holding her gun, still aimed at him, right in front of her crotch, as if it was a surrogate phallus. He wet his pants as he realized how it was going to end.

Shoving the barrel of the pistol into his mouth, she spoke the four words he knew were coming. The words he knew would be the last he would ever hear.

“Suck my dick, bitch.”

She pulled the trigger.

Lissette discovered that her headache was now gone. She looked dispassionately at the blood pooling from the corpse. She scanned the dirt road to make sure no one else was there, then collected the spent cartridge from the ground. Reholstering her gun underneath her miniskirt, she bent over the body, fishing in the dead man’s pocket for his car keys. Still wearing her black leather gloves, she moved the Pontiac to give her enough room to get out.

Putting his keys back in his pocket, she gave the body one last glance before heading back to her own car. As she started the engine and unstrapped her pistol from her thigh to put back into the glove compartment, she thought of the trouble she was in at work and her asshole boss who had gotten her into trouble.

She looked at the gun in her gloved hand, and smiled.

THE END

The Flagpole

Monica, a professor of history at the local university, sat in her office, pecking away laboriously at her computer as she worked on writing her next book. Across the small room was her graduate assistant, boyfriend, and now fiance, Todd. The shy graduate student had had a crush on Monica for a long time and had eagerly said yes when she had asked him to marry her. Todd was currently busy grading the papers written by the students in Monica’s undergraduate Spanish history class. The two of them periodically looked up from their work to smile at each other.

Monica’s cell phone rang suddenly. As she answered it and listened to the voice on the other end, a frown appeared on her elegant face. Todd looked up with concern. “My mother was just in a car accident,” she said as she hung up the phone.

“Is she okay?” Todd asked.

“She’s fine. But I’m still going to need to get out there.” Monica glanced out the window at the darkening sky. It was late Friday evening and the sun was setting. “Do you want to walk out with me? You can leave those papers for Monday.”

“Thanks, but I think I’d better finish these,” Todd answered. “Midterms are coming soon and there’ll be a whole lot more to grade. I don’t want to let the stuff pile up.”

“Good point,” said Monica as she stood up and grabbed her purse. “I’ll leave the office key on my desk so you can lock up. When you’re done, come over to my place. I should be done taking care of my mom by then. I’ll have everything in the bedroom warm and waiting for you.” She winked.

Todd got an immediate erection. “Thanks, Prof- I mean Monica. I’ll see you soon.”

The two scruffy-looking young men furtively approached the Social Sciences building of the university. One of them took out a wire and went to work on the lock on the main door. “The way I figure it, Rusty,” he said as he picked the lock, “is that a lot of students are worried about the upcoming midterms, and they want some reassurance. And we can provide it to them. We break in, steal the answers to all the midterms, and sell them for twenty bucks a pop. The students pass their tests and we rake in the green.”

“Good thinkin’, Jimmy,” said Rusty. Rusty and Jimmy were a pair of twentysomething punk kids who had formerly attended the university but dropped out due to laziness. Now they shared an apartment in the college town, and spent most of their time playing video games and smoking weed. They also liked coming back to loaf around the campus and look at attractive girls. They worked occasional odd jobs, some legit, some criminal, for money, but they always seemed to be short of it. This operation would get them out of the red for a long time.

The door clicked open. With smirks on their ugly faces, Jimmy and Rusty walked into the building. “We’ll start on the top floor and work our way down,” said Jimmy.

With a ding, the elevator doors opened onto the top floor of the Social Sciences building. The two young thugs got out and started down the hall…then stopped short when they saw a light coming from one of the offices. “What the fuck?” said Rusty. “You said there’d be no one here this late on a Friday evening.”

Jimmy paused. “I don’t hear any voices. Must be someone working late alone. We can take care of him.” They walked quickly but quietly down the hall until they came to the office with the light. Jimmy peeked in and grinned when he saw only the small, scrawny, and oblivious Todd seated inside, still busy grading papers. Jimmy gave a thumbs-up to Rusty and both men stepped into the office. “Good evening, buddy,” said Jimmy.

Todd whirled around in surprise. “Who are you?”

“That don’t matter,” said Rusty. “What matters is we have a job to do, and you’re in our way.” He strode over to a visibly frightened Todd. Rusty was far bigger than he was, and even Jimmy, though not as large as his comrade, had a decent height and weight advantage over the small grad student.

Rusty suddenly punched Todd in the stomach, causing him to double over in pain. Struggling to stand back upright, he swung his fist back at his opponent, but Rusty dodged it easily and laughed, then punched Todd in the jaw, stunning him. “Tie him up,” Jimmy directed.

“With what?” asked Rusty, looking around the small office for something suitable.

“Use his shirt,” said Jimmy. Rusty ripped the shirt off of a still stunned Todd, then used it to tie his hands behind his back.

“Where should we put him?” Rusty asked.

A sudden smirk appeared on Jimmy’s face. “I’ve got just the thing.” He whispered something into his friend’s ear.

Rusty grinned evilly as he heard Jimmy’s plan. “Guess what, you nerdy little wimp,” the big thug announced to Todd. “We’re going to attach you to the flagpole with your pants. Then we’re going to hoist you up so you’ll be dangling there in your underwear.” Both goons laughed loudly.

Rusty grabbed Todd roughly, while Jimmy began yanking his pants off. Todd struggled and cursed until Rusty shut him up with another punch to his face. Once Jimmy had Todd’s pants off, Rusty began frog-marching him out into the hall and down the stairs. Jimmy followed, still carrying Todd’s pants. They had gone outside and reached the front lawn where the flagpoles were when suddenly a female voice called out, “What the hell is going on here?”

Monica stood there, looking beautiful but dangerous. The sexy female professor was in her mid-thirties, but easily passed for younger. She stood at 5’6″ and 140 pounds, with shoulder-length brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a deep golden-brown tan. Her low-cut pants showed off her athlete’s hips and slim waist, and the sleeves of her white blouse were rolled up, displaying her thick, muscular forearms. Her wrist measurement was over seven inches, and the slightest movement was enough to make her superbly well-developed forearm muscles ripple.

“None of your business, bitch,” growled Rusty.

“Yeah,” added Jimmy. “Now get out of here if you know what’s good for you.”

Monica stood her ground. “If *you* know what’s good for *you*, you’ll release that…Oh my God, Todd!” she shouted as she recognized her man. “That’s my fiance you’ve got there,” she snarled. “Now I’m really going to put a hurting on you assholes.” She raised her fists.

Rusty laughed. “A little girl like you?” At 6’2″ and 215 pounds, he towered over Monica. He dropped Todd on the grass and kicked him in the head to knock him out. At that, Monica let out a growl of fury. With a high-pitched warrior cry, she launched her muscular body into a tumbling pass towards him, starting with a roundoff and then going into a series of extremely fast back handsprings. As she perfectly executed backflip after backflip right at him, Rusty froze like a deer in the headlights. Monica plowed into him, her booted feet kicking him in the face and knocking him down.

Jimmy picked up a fallen tree branch and began sneaking up on Monica from behind. Although at 5’9″ and 170 pounds he was larger than her, he could see that her massive forearms were bigger than his. But with the branch, he could…

“Oof!” Jimmy grunted in pain as Monica suddenly fired a perfectly aimed donkey kick into his stomach. As he doubled over, she turned to face him with her leg raised, kicking him in the head as she spun. A wicked one-two combination of punches from Monica’s leather-gloved fists broke his nose and blackened his right eye. Laughing at her ability to dominate men physically, she headbutted him, knocking him to the ground. As he fell, he dropped his branch, which began rolling away.

Monica performed a front tuck somersault to take herself over to Rusty, who was just getting to his hands and knees. She kicked him in the side, breaking one of his ribs. Cursing with pain and anger, he finished standing up and tried to punch her, but she blocked the attack easily with her thick forearm, then punched him in the face, her leather-gloved fist creating a cruel, bloody cut on his cheek. A spinning back fist nailed his other cheek. Balancing on one leg, she kicked her victim in the face several times with lightning speed with her other, sending blood spraying with each impact. A cartwheel kick from her booted feet nailed his head and knocked him down.

Monica heard Jimmy getting up and approaching her from behind. She calmly waited until he was at just the right distance, then did a perfect standing back handspring, viciously crashing right into him and sending him to the grass again. As he was down, she stomped on his face with her big black boot. She followed that up with a savage kick to his stomach. Leaping on top of her helpless victim, she punched him in the face several times with her big fists, knocking him out.

Rusty was just getting up again. Monica used a kip-up to get back to her feet. She smirked at him and beckoned with her finger, taunting him to attack. He obliged with a growl, charging at her. Monica elegantly pivoted and stopped his charge with a side kick to his chest, laughing as he ran into her outstretched leg. Before he could move, she broke another of his ribs with a roundhouse kick. She then punched him twice in the stomach and once in the jaw, sending new waves of agony through his midsection and knocking two of his teeth loose.

“This is for my fiance,” she said quietly but coldly. With that, she drove her knee into her opponent’s crotch. Rusty let out a high-pitched scream. As his hands flew to his pulverized testicles, she cheerleader kicked him in the face, knocking two more of his teeth out.

“And this one’s for me.” Monica performed a perfect spin kick on her victim. Her booted foot impacted the side of his head and sent him to the ground, unconscious.

Monica grinned wickedly as she looked down at her brutal and bloody handiwork. She ripped off the shirts of both men and used them to tie their hands behind their backs. She then untied poor Todd, who was just waking up. “Are you okay, honey?” she asked.

Todd sat up with a groan. “M…Monica. You’re here.” He felt his head. “I think I’ll be okay.” Looking around, he saw Rusty and Jimmy out cold and tied up. He looked back at his fiancee. “Wow. I wish I had been awake to see you beat the crap out of those assholes. You’re such an amazing fighter.”

Monica blushed slightly. “Thank you, sweetie. Come on. I’ll help you stand up.” Todd got back to his feet, leaning on Monica. He put his shirt back on, then retrieved his pants, which were a few feet away from the unconscious Jimmy, and put them on too. “So what happened?” she asked.

He told her the whole story. “I guess they busted in to steal something. They said they had a ‘job’ to do. Then they…they …” Todd’s voice began to shake.

“It’s okay, hun. I’m here for you.” Monica squeezed his hand.

“They ripped off my shirt and pants and tied me up. Then they …they said they were going to hoist me up the flagpole in my underwear!”

Monica’s dark brown eyes flashed with rage. “Those fuckers.”

Jimmy groaned and opened his eyes. Monica, noticing, approached him with a determined look on her high-cheekboned face. “Todd told me about your cowardly attack on him,” she growled. “Now you’re going to tell me why you broke in.”

“Like hell I am, bitch,” he sneered.

Monica rammed her knee into his face. Blood sprayed out, staining her pants. “I’m going to keep kneeing you until you tell me what I want to know or lose the ability to talk…permanently. Your call.”

He simply glared at her. Monica kneed him again, the blow landing dead center on his nose. More blood sprayed out. She began raising her knee a third time.

“No! Enough! I surrender!” Jimmy cried out. He confessed his plan for stealing the midterm answers and selling them to the students.

Monica looked at him with disgust. She had a very low tolerance for anything that disrupted academic integrity. “You and your buddy are going to deserve everything that you’re about to get,” she snarled.

“Should I call the cops?” Todd asked.

“Not yet,” said Monica, a cold and determined look on her face. Jimmy trembled in fear.

Rusty chose that moment to wake up. He tried playing the tough guy for about five seconds, but a punch to his face from Monica’s big, leather-gloved fist shut him up. “Todd told me what you assholes were planning to do to him. Well, now we’re going to do the exact same thing to you.” With that, Monica quickly ripped off Jimmy’s pants, then did the same with Rusty’s. Both men began begging and crying like the cowards they were. A snap-kick to Jimmy’s head and a stomp on Rusty’s face shut them up.

Monica then dragged Rusty over to the big flagpole that normally held the American flag. Attaching him to it with his pants, she hoisted him all the way up. When Rusty was at the very top, dangling there in his underwear, she moved over to Jimmy. Picking him up in a firewoman’s carry, she attached him to the smaller flagpole that held the state flag and hoisted him up too. Both men dangled in their underwear, crying and humiliated for all the world to laugh at.

“Now you can call the cops,” Monica said to Todd.

THE END

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 4

Early the next morning, as the army was on its way again, a squadron of scouts rode up to Roslyn. “My Princess. I think you’ll want to see this,” said their commander. They led her to a group of seven male heads, decapitated and impaled on pikes. The heads were those of Prince Antonius and his six generals.

“Bury those quickly, and don’t let the rest of the men see them,” she ordered. Roslyn shook her head. She knew she was “supposed” to feel sorrow for the loss of her brother, but he and his twin had been nothing but arrogant jerks to her all their lives. She just wasn’t feeling much at all.

It was around noon when it became clear that a major battle would start soon. The two sides’ cavalry had been skirmishing all morning, with the action steadily increasing in intensity. Finally, the Amazon horse archers approached the Imperial army en masse, preparing for a full-on attack.

The teenage Amazon princess whose little force of 2000 women had effortlessly slaughtered 20,000 men smirked arrogantly as her horse archers approached the enemy. She had cockily refused her Queen’s offer of reinforcements for the next battle, thinking that if her small army could exterminate 20,000 so easily, what was 9000 to them? Unfortunately for her, she had no idea that Roslyn was in command.

“This is it, men,” said Roslyn, riding back and forth across her force’s lines, trying to comfort and encourage the soldiers who knew what this girl-army had done to their comrades. “Stand strong. For the Empire! Archers, prepare to fire on my signal.”

And so it began, 1500 Imperial crossbowmen versus 1200 female horse archers. The crossbowmen readied their Mark VIIs. Roslyn’s trained eyes watched the enemy horsewomen ride closer and closer. When she judged the distance to be just right, she shouted, “FIRE!”

A volley of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. Many fell short and many missed the petite, fast moving targets, but several dozen riders fell off their horses and hit the desert floor hard. The Amazons fired a volley of arrows in response, but the lesser range of their bows caused them to fall short.

“NOW! SHIELDS!” screamed Roslyn. The crossbowmen removed the massive shields they had been carrying on their backs and planted them into the ground. Ducking behind cover, they reloaded their weapons as the Amazons, whose bows could be fired much more quickly, sent another shower of projectiles.

The Amazon Princess cursed as she saw the arrows slam harmlessly into the shields. And she couldn’t order her force to ride around and attack the enemy from behind because the river was covering their rear. A lesser force, a force of men, would have ridden away. But the Amazons were women with balls (not literally, of course). The riders charged closer, screaming war cries. The crossbowmen fired another volley, dropping several dozen more Amazons, but now the girl-archers were in range themselves. Some of the fastest and most accurate markswomen were able to kill Imperial targets as they popped out from behind their shields to shoot.

Both Princess Roslyn and the Amazon Princess quickly ordered their troops to begin firing at will instead of using volleys. A nail-biting archery duel developed. At first, the Imperials had the upper hand thanks to the greater range of their weapons and their shields, but as the horsewomen drew closer, they were able to fire their bows at steep upward angles, avoiding the shields and nailing men in the backs of their necks or tops of their skulls. And the Imperials’ Mark VII crossbows, though much faster to fire than the Mark VIs that Antonius had foolishly used, were still a lot slower than the Amazon horse archers’ bows. Soon, male bodies began dropping much faster than females.

Roslyn was ready. “Cavalry charge!” she ordered, preparing to lead them herself. Trumpets blared as she led her 1500 light horsemen against the Amazon horse archers. Blocking an arrow with her shield, she killed the shooter with a well-aimed and powerfully thrown spear. There was a brief further exchange of arrows and thrown spears, resulting in a few dozen casualties on each side, before the Amazons retreated. Seeing the 800 Amazon heavy cavalry waiting in the distance, Roslyn ordered her own force to retreat as well.

“Now what?” asked one of her generals.

“We wait,” she said simply.

The Amazon commander cursed again as her horse archers retreated. “Attack! Attack, you cowards!” the hotheaded teenage girl screamed.

“My Princess, please,” said a middle-aged woman, an advisor who had been sent by the Queen to prevent the fiery princess from getting herself or her army into too much trouble. “They would have been caught between the enemy cavalry and the crossbows. They had to retreat. They had no choice.”

“Then send the heavy cavalry to attack!”

“My Lady, the enemy has spears backed with crossbows. It would be suicide. They outnumber us almost five to one. We must send for reinforcements. Then we will be able to defeat them.”

The teenage Amazon growled angrily. “We were able to defeat them effortlessly when they outnumbered us ten to one! Why do they fight like they have balls all of a sudden?!”

“I think I can answer that, my Princess,” said one of the horse archers. “I saw their commander. It’s a woman.”

Nods of understanding came from the Amazons at that. “But why would a woman fight for those males?” asked the Princess.

“That question will have to wait,” said the advisor. “Right now, we need to focus on getting those reinforcements.”

As the Amazons retreated into the distance on their horses, the Imperial army let out a loud cheer, whooping and hollering. Roslyn was about to remind them that all they had done was run off a force barely one-fifth their size, but stopped herself. Let them have this, she thought. It would be good for morale. The men certainly seemed happier and less frightened as they were setting up camp, the Imperial Princess thought as she stepped into the command tent that evening for a meeting with her senior officers.

“We lost slightly more than 200 men. The Amazons lost a little less than that,” one of her generals reported. “However, because their force was much smaller, proportionately they suffered a much greater percentage of casualties. They can’t sustain that, so I wouldn’t expect any more attacks until they get reinforcements.”

“Conventional attacks, yes,” said Roslyn. “But they may try more sneak attacks at night.” She had already ordered double sentries looking out over the desert and triple sentries on the river. “We’ll continue to advance along the river towards enemy territory. The big battle is yet to come.”

Suddenly, a man wearing the uniform of an Imperial Messenger burst into the tent. “My Lady,” he said, bowing to the Princess and handing her a sealed envelope. “From the King himself, for your eyes only.”

Roslyn thanked and dismissed him, then opened the letter. Her eyes widened as she read it:

“My dear daughter,

Your brother, Albert, has returned to the capital with the tattered remnants of an army, most of which he squandered in foolish suicide attacks against the barbarians of the north. That was the last straw. With the lack of intellect of both of my sons and the death of Antonius, I am naming you the heir to the throne. I know you will make a strong and wise Queen when it is your time.

Good luck in your battle and know that win or lose, a crown is waiting for you upon your return home.

Love, Father”

Roslyn pumped her fist in triumph, then noticed that all the men in the tent were staring at her. “You are dismissed,” she said quickly.

Three days later, a scout returned with the news the Imperials had all been anticipating. “An Amazon army marches on us. Their numbers match ours. Nine thousand men…er, women.”

“Thank you,” said Roslyn. She nodded to herself. Now would be the real test. Fighting against these lethal Amazons in numbers equal to her own.

The plain of battle was hot, dusty, and dry, with the fierce desert sun beating down on both armies. The Amazons had formed up in a strong defensive position to the east of Roslyn’s army, with the river covering one of their flanks and a mass of cavalry guarding the other. The girl-warriors were simply holding and making no move to charge. The Imperials would have to attack with the sun shining right at their faces.

“Clever,” Roslyn murmured. “They can outwait us. Our supply lines are longer and we don’t know this territory as well as they do. They’ve forced us onto the offensive in a disadvantageous postion.”

“Shall I order the men to begin advancing, my Lady?” one of her generals asked.

“Not yet. Give the sun a little time to rise further so it won’t be right in their eyes. Hold a defensive position for now in case they attack.”

As they waited, Roslyn ordered her light cavalry to use their spyglasses to gather as much information about the enemy as they could. “They have heavy and light cavalry massed at the north. Swordswomen lined up two deep facing us to the south of the riders, with archers right behind them and the main body of swordswomen in the rear,” came the report.

She nodded, looking at the sun. The angle wasn’t too bad now, and if she waited much longer it would get very hot. The heat would impact the heavily armored, cold-climate-dwelling Imperials much more than it would the lightly armored, darkly tanned Amazons. “Thank you. General, prepare your men to advance. Crossbowmen, load. Prepare to fire on my order.”

The Imperial crossbowmen, locked and loaded, marched forward. Roslyn’s trained eyes judged the distance as it grew closer and closer, waiting to deliver the first volley at their exact maximum range.

But suddenly, a barrage of arrows came flying at the crossbowmen. They slammed into the front ranks of males with devastating efficiency, dropping many dead and others with gory wounds from the thick, massive arrows. The Amazon archers, tall, ultra-muscular women with the enormous strength needed to draw back their lethal long-range longbows, laughed triumphantly and prepared to fire again.

Chaos erupted in the Imperial ranks. Some of the crossbowmen loosed their bolts, which fell short of the enemy. Others began to turn and run. “What devilry is this, bows with a longer range than ours?” cried an officer.

“Now is not the time to wonder about that,” said Roslyn, urging her horse forward. “HOLD, YOU FOOLS!” she screamed at the crossbowmen. “DON’T RETREAT! HOLD YOUR FIRE AND USE YOUR SHIELDS!”

Her strong leadership restored order, and the crossbowmen planted their shields into the ground, hiding behind them as the female archers fired another volley. Some men were too slow and dropped dead, but most of them were safe behind their shields this time.

“In range! NOW! FIRE!” she shouted. A barrage of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. It was not as efficient as it should have been, since some of the men had foolishly fired earlier and were still reloading, but she knew that they had to get a first volley off before the enemy reloaded. Several dozen Amazons fell to the ground.

“Fire at will!” ordered Princess Roslyn and the commander of the girl-archers to their respective armies. Again an archery duel erupted. The Amazon longbows could fire ten arrows a minute compared with the Imperial crossbows’ four. At first, the males’ shields evened things out, only allowing the Amazons to hit them when they popped out to fire, but as the armies drew closer the female archers were able to shoot at steeper angles, sending arrows over the shields and into the men’s skulls. Once they were able to do that, the Amazons’ superior firepower and markswomanship meant that three or four males were dropping dead for every female.

Although few knights had traveled with the army, their leader, Duke Larssen, a fat fool who was called Duke Lardo behind his back, was there, along with about 80 other mounted noblemen. The duke growled, annoyed at having to serve under a woman and wanting glory for himself. “Prepare to charge!” he ordered his knights. “We’ll sweep those archer bitches off the field. Swordswomen just two ranks deep in front of them? We’ll mow them down like grass.”

“Crossbowmen, retreat under shields!” Roslyn ordered. “Infantry, first division, advan…what the fuck?”

With a roar, Duke Larssen and his 80 knights were charging across the plain. The Amazons pumped arrows into them. By the time they reached the enemy line, 60 of them were dead. The 20 survivors prepared to ride into the front ranks of swordswomen, but the girls suddenly picked up long spears that had been hiding in the dirt. The knights rode into them and were impaled and slaughtered to the last man. A slender teenage girl with dark brown skin and long silky black hair cut off the duke’s head with her sword and impaled it on a spear.

“Fucking idiots,” said Roslyn. “Now, back to real war. Infantry, first division, advance!” The Imperial infantry marched forward. Arrows slammed into their shields. Other men were not so lucky, as arrows nailed their heads from above. Behind them, Roslyn re-formed the crossbowmen. They fired over the infantry’s heads and into the Amazons, reducing the pressure somewhat.

In the front of the Amazon ranks, 150 teenage girls with swords and spears formed a thin brown line, guarding the Amazon archers firing over their heads behind them, standing with balls of steel as thousands of Imperial heavy infantrymen drew closer and closer. Though outnumbered 20 to 1 and occasionally being hit by bolts from the crossbowmen, they showed no fear.

Suddenly, with perfect coordination, the girls hurled their spears at the faces of the front ranks of Imperial infantry. Only a few men moved their shields upward in time and over a hundred males dropped stone cold dead. The girls then hurled themselves into cartwheels followed by back handsprings, elegantly backflipping towards their enemies with incredible speed. They finished their tumbling runs with high back tuck somersaults, flipping right over the first rank of Imperials, landing perfectly on their feet right behind them, and wreaking havoc with their swords on the men’s vulnerable backsides. With their speed, most of the girls were able to kill several men each before being cut down.

Meanwhile, the Amazons had moved the rest of their swordswomen to the front, with the longbow-women behind them. When the maneuver was complete, the survivors from the girls who had penetrated the male ranks quickly backflipped away.

As the two main bodies of infantry clashed, the Amazon cavalry charged. The Imperial light cavalry intercepted their Amazon counterparts, a bloody battle of arrows and thrown spears followed by hand-to-hand combat with swords and axes breaking out. Meanwhile, the Amazon heavy cavalry rode around the Imperials, preparing to attack their rear.

Roslyn gave a signal with a whistle from her full, pouty lips. A detachment of reserve infantry, shields and spears at the ready, formed up to guard the rear. Behind them, a force of crossbowmen moved into position, ready to fire over their comrades’ heads. She then rejoined her staff officers.

“Shit. Heavy cavalry to the west, light cavalry to the north, infantry to the east, and the river to the south. They’ve got us surrounded. We’re trapped!” a young officer panicked.

“Quiet, Major,” Princess Roslyn ordered him. “We’re surrounded. We’re not trapped. Spears backed with crossbows guard our western flank. Their cavalry can’t get past that. We are meant to *think* we are trapped, so we will panic. But we will not panic. Right, Major?”

“Right. Sorry, my Lady.”

From a small hill overlooking the battle, the hotheaded teenage Amazon princess in command of the female army smirked. “They’re surrounded. They must be panicking. Heavy cavalry, charge the line. They’ll turn and run. Then we can hit their main force from the rear, double envelop them, and finish them off.”

“My Princess, please,” said the middle-aged advisor. “If they *don’t* run, our girls will ride into a wall. Let’s just contain them for now and tighten the noose slowly.”

“Morwen, please,” said the Amazon Princess. “I’m in command here. They’ll run. Now give the signal to charge.”

800 Amazon heavy cavalry charged the western Imperial line. Roslyn rode over to her men. “Steady, boys. They’re trying to scare us. Don’t run.” The men, facing Amazon war horses thundering towards them, probably would have run if she hadn’t been there, but her presence was enough to bring calm and strength to them.

As the enemy riders entered crossbow range without turning away, she ordered, “Give them a volley.” A barrage of steel bolts flew towards the Amazons. A few dozen riders fell off their horses and into the desert sand. The cavalry commander wisely turned the rest of her girls away.

Meanwhile, in the main infantry battle, although both sides were taking heavy casualties, the heavy armor and large shields of the Imperials were actually doing some good. They were slowly pushing the Amazons back. “By the gods,” breathed one of Roslyn’s generals. “Could we actually win?”

Roslyn’s heart was pounding. She forced herself to remain calm, concentrating on keeping an eye on every part of the battle, not counting her chickens before they hatched.

The Amazon Princess scowled as Morwen gave her a look. “Don’t give me that ‘I told you so’ look,” she growled. “I’m going to win this battle, one way or another, and annihilate the enemy. Queen’s Guard! Forward, with me!”

The Amazon Queen’s Guard, a hand-picked elite corps of 300 ultra-lethal female warriors, the best of the best, who had each personally slain at least 50 men in combat, began advancing in perfect formation as the hotheaded princess dismounted her horse and joined them. The other Amazons parted to make way for them. Morwen sighed. She had no choice but to pray that this would work.

Roslyn raised her eyebrows as she noticed. “They’re going for the whole enchilada. They’re going to try to smash our lines. Imperial Guard! Forward, with me!”

The Imperial Guard, a hand-picked elite corps of 400 men, veterans of many wars and the best soldiers in the Imperial army, formed up and began advancing. Roslyn turned to the colonel who had survived Antonius’ foolish ambush. “Besides myself, you’re the strongest leader here. Protect our rear. Don’t let the men panic, and don’t let anything break this line. If it does, we’re doomed.” As an afterthought, she added, “No pressure,” hoping the joke would relieve the tension. It worked, as all the men laughed.

Turning serious again, Roslyn dismounted, exchanging her small round cavalry shield for a large, rectangular infantry one. She patted the sword sheathed on her hip, covered her head and face with a helmet, grabbed a spear, and hurried to catch up with the Imperial Guard, positioning herself in the front rank.

The regular Imperial infantry, who had been slowly pushing the enemy back, gasped in shock and fear when the lines of Amazons suddenly parted and 300 incredibly beautiful and muscular women were coming at them with elegant aerial cartwheels followed by whipbacks. They backflipped with lightning speed, crashing into the still-startled men and slicing, dicing, and decapitating their way through the male ranks. Now the momentum was reversed, with the female army advancing and the lucky men retreating – and the unlucky men dying.

The Amazon princess roared with laughter as she cut a man’s head off, sliced another in half, and slit the throats of two more. Men were slaughtered by the hundreds, and still none of the Amazon Queen’s Guard had suffered anything worse than a minor cut.

The regular male soldiers gladly parted to make way for the Imperial Guard. All of a sudden, Roslyn and her men were facing the Amazon Princess and her women. Two elite forces, the best of their respective armies. They stared at one another for a second.

Then they both charged, spears, swords, and shields clashing as they collided. Roslyn blocked a spear thrust with her shield and stabbed her attacker in the foot with her own spear. With a cry of pain, the Amazon’s shield dropped. Roslyn impaled her through the heart, then kicked the body off and slit another Amazon’s throat with the razor-sharp end of her spear.

A girl’s blade flashed. Roslyn moved just enough to avoid having her right arm cut off, although she still received a nasty gash on her shoulder, the pain causing her to involuntarily drop her spear. She lashed out with a kick, knocking her opponent back long enough for her to draw her sword. They battled, swords striking each other’s shields for a few seconds, until Roslyn suddenly backflip kicked the Amazon in the face, stunning her. Before she could recover, Roslyn cut off her head.

She glanced around, quickly guesstimating the dead on each side. Although the Imperial Guardsmen were much better fighters than the male regulars, she still counted two dead men for every dead woman. And her side only outnumbered the enemy 400 to 300. This wasn’t going to work. Already the men were being pushed back. If the Amazons broke through, the Imperial army would collapse.

She looked over at the Amazon Princess, who was gleefully slaughtering men left and right with incredible skill. If this had been a movie, she would have challenged her to Noble One-on-One Single Combat (TM), but this wasn’t a movie. The Amazon leader had foolishly and arrogantly not bothered to hide who she was. Roslyn, on the other hand, equipped with the same weapons and shield as her men and wearing the face mask, looked like any other soldier, though smaller. Still, none of the enemy knew who she was. If they did, she knew she would have been immediately targeted.

No, it was time to end this, once and for all. Snatching up her spear, she hurled it with perfect accuracy at the Amazon Princess. The weapon impaled her right in the throat, the tip sticking out of the back of her neck. She stood ramrod straight for a second, then collapsed. The Amazons froze in shock for just a split second. That was enough. With a high-pitched shriek, Roslyn led the Imperial Guard in a counterattack.

A piercing whistle cut across the battlefield. The surviving Queen’s Guardswomen began backflipping away like pro-gymnasts. A few of the men who had been standing too close had their necks broken by the powerful backflip kicks.

All across the battlefield, Amazons moved away in a calm and orderly retreat. “Let them go,” ordered Roslyn. “They have archers covering them, and we’ve been pounded enough.” She examined the wound on her shoulder. Nasty-looking, but not really serious. She could still swing her sword and throw her spear.

A ragged cheer went up from the bruised and battered men as the enemy disappeared into the distance. One of her generals rode up to her. “Congratulations on your victory, my Lady.”

Roslyn looked around, surveying the heaps of her dead men, including many high-ranking officers. “One more victory like this, and we are ruined,” she responded grimly.

In the fortified Imperial camp by the river, Roslyn met with her surviving senior officers in the command tent. “I have the count,” said a general. “2000 of our men are dead. 800 are wounded too badly to fight if the Amazons attack again, and another thousand are wounded but capable of combat.”

Roslyn shook her head. “One-third of our force is out of action, many of them permanently. How about the enemy?”

“We counted 1200 Amazons dead on the field. That’s all we killed, they didn’t have time to carry off their dead. We don’t know how many of them are wounded but the number will probably be lower than ours.”

“So not only do they outnumber us now, but they can get reinforcements quickly, while ours will take weeks. In addition, their foolish commander who made mistakes is dead and has in all likelihood been replaced by someone far smarter.” Roslyn wondered if she should have left the hotheaded Amazon alive, but it was only her death that had stopped the elite Amazons’ charge. It had been a no-win situation.

“Gentlemen, it’s time to face reality,” Roslyn continued. “If we fight them again, our chances of victory are very slim.”

“So what are we going to do?” asked a colonel. “Just retreat?”

“No,” said Roslyn. “If we did that, they would probably follow us. Most likely invade our territory. No, I think it’s time for a parley.”

“A parley? Those Amazons slaughtered the men from our first army who tried to surrender,” said a general. “I don’t think they’ll be very open to negotiation.”

“Not with a man. But I don’t believe they will harm a female emissary. And with that hotheaded princess dead, cooler heads should be in command now. I will send one of my female servants over to their camp with a flag of truce.”

“An enemy rider approaches! He carries a white flag,” an Amazon scout reported.

“He is a fool, then,” said a muscular female archer, reaching for an arrow.

“Wait,” said her commander. “The rider is a woman. Let’s see what she wants.”

* * *

“My Lady,” said the servant, bowing as she entered the Imperial command tent. “The enemy commander has agreed to a parley with you. Tomorrow at noon.”

“Thank you,” said Roslyn, squeezing the girl’s hand. “You were very brave. You will be rewarded for this.” She turned to her officers. “It is settled then. Tell the sentries to stay sharp. I don’t think they’ll try anything now but you never know.”

The night passed without incident, however. The next morning, the two armies formed up on the dusty desert plain, ready to fight if the negotiations went bad. The tension was thick as the forces faced each other. “Don’t let any of the men do anything stupid,” the Princess instructed her senior general.

“Yes, milady.” As she began riding away from her lines, he added, “Good luck.”

Roslyn looked at her counterpart as the two women rode towards each other. She was tall, slender, and beautiful, with long light brown hair and an elegant, high-cheekboned face. Though she was an older woman, probably in her forties, her hazel eyes still sparkled with energy.

The woman dismounted elegantly despite the long dress she was wearing. As Roslyn dismounted as well and looked into the other woman’s face, she saw a long scar running down her cheek, looking like it was from a battle many years ago.

“Princess Roslyn. I am Morwen, senior advisor to the Queen of the Amazon Nation.”

“It is good to meet you, Morwen,” said Roslyn formally.

“You may dispense with the pleasantries. I only agreed to this meeting because you are a woman in command of these men. If you have something you feel is worthy of my time, then speak it.”

Roslyn took a deep breath. Her opponent was clearly powerful and cunning. She would have to play this just right. The fate of thousands lay in her hands.

“If that is your wish, then so be it. We did not want a war with the Amazon Nation. This conflict began when one hundred of our men were slaughtered in an outpost on our own territory, without provocation.”

“Without provocation? I guess the one man our girls left alive just long enough to tell the story didn’t tell the whole truth. He didn’t tell you that those soldiers at the outpost decided to entertain themselves by sailing down the river into Amazon land and attempting to rape Amazon women. Of course that ended in the invaders being slaughtered. Then we nailed the rest of them at the outpost in retaliation.”

Roslyn stared in shock, then clenched her fists in anger. Those stupid fools, thinking with their cocks. They had gotten thousands killed. And their idiocy had placed her in a very difficult position.

“My Lady, I am sorry. I did not know. If I had known, things would have gone very differently.”

“Would they now.” Morwen’s tone showed no emotion at all.

“Yes. But at any rate, whether you believe me or not, that is in the past and cannot be undone. We must focus on the present. Many have died on both sides. Both our armies are battered. There is no need for more killing. I offer a treaty of peace.”

“Are you still under the command of your father?”

“Well, of course. He is the King…”

“The Amazon Nation does not sign treaties with men. However, I have an offer of my own. Join us. Become a general of the Amazon army. You know everything about those men. With your knowledge and our fighting skills, we will become an unstoppable force.”

“Treason?! I will not!”

“Why do you fight for a nation that regards women as inferior?”

“It is not quite so simple as that. This is my nation. This is my blood. There are many good men here. There are many men that I love. Including my father.”

“We will not treat with a land under the rule of a man. Now unless you have anything further…”

“I do.” Roslyn took out the letter from her father. “The King has named me his heir. I will become Queen.”

Morwen read the letter, appearing deep in thought. Roslyn could see the wheels turning as her counterpart went over possibilities and consequences like a chess player. Finally the Amazon said, “Under these circumstances, I can treat with you. If you can convince your father to leave the Amazon Nation alone, we can have peace. But this is contingent on you remaining heiress to the throne. If not, the treaty will become null and void.”

“Trust me,” said Roslyn. “You won’t have to worry about that happening.”

* * *

“Well?” said one of her officers excitedly. “How did it go, my Lady?”

“We have signed a treaty with the Amazons. The borders remain the same. The desert is a neutral zone. Anyone entering the desert does so at their own risk, and killings in the desert will not be considered a declaration of war. Both armies are to retreat immediately.”

The news was greeted with mixed emotions. Some of the men still wanted to fight the Amazons, but others recognized that the treaty was probably for the best, since they most likely would not have been able to defeat the female army. One loudmouthed officer shouted, “They butchered 20,000 of our men and we’re not going to take vengeance?!”

“Vengeance?” said Roslyn sharply. “Did you know that the soldiers at that outpost started this whole war by entering Amazon territory and trying to rape their women? The attack on the outpost was not unprovoked. THAT was vengeance.” The officer hung his head in shame.

As the army began preparing to move out, Roslyn thought about the offer Morwen had made. She had rejected it immediately. There was no reason for her to accept it, since her father had named her heir to the throne. But what if he had not? What if the idiotic Albert was to become king? She was willing to follow her father’s orders because he was an intelligent man. But could she have followed Albert’s? If it had come to that, Morwen’s offer would have been very tempting…

She snapped herself out of her thoughts. The Princess was sure of one thing. She was glad she wouldn’t have to make that decision. “All right, men,” Roslyn called out. “Let’s go home.”

“You surrendered to them? You coward!” spat Albert at his sister. “Daddy!” he whined. “This is why GIRLS shouldn’t be rulers! I should be king!”

“Shut the fuck up, you fool,” Roslyn snapped at her brother. “I didn’t surrender to anyone. I signed a treaty as an equal. And I saved thousands of lives. Maybe even yours.”

“Albert, calm yourself,” said King Frederick III.

“I will not! In fact, I will not accept this! Roslyn, I CHALLENGE YOU!” Albert drew his sword.

Roslyn drew her own blade. “I was hoping you’d say something like that.”

“Roslyn,” said her father. He had a tone of warning. She looked at him and read his expression. It said, “Don’t kill him. He may be an idiot but he’s still my son.” The king knew that Albert was no match for her and had no chance of winning. She smirked to herself at the thought. She nodded to her father and he nodded back.

“Well, bring it on, Fat Albert,” Roslyn taunted her opponent. The prince stared down in shame at his fat gut, wishing he had toned abs like his sister.

The fight didn’t last long. The Princess blocked her brother’s wild swing easily, popped him in the nose with her free fist, and gave him a small cut on his arm with her sword, causing him to drop his own weapon with a yelp. She then did a standing back handspring, kicking him in the jaw and sending him to the floor. Landing elegantly on her feet, she stood over him dominantly, her blade right in front of his face. “Some challenge,” she mocked him. Everyone in the room was laughing at the stupid prince.

When King Frederick III died five years later, Roslyn was crowned Queen Roslyn I. She stripped Albert of all his lands and noble titles, and forced him to live as a peasant commoner. The fat earl (remember him?) who had said that girls couldn’t fight and the loudmouthed officer (remember him?) who had wanted vengeance on the Amazons after the treaty had been signed received the same treatment.

Her reign was long and prosperous, and under her the Empire grew in size, although of course she respected the boundaries with the Amazons. No conflict occurred between the Amazons and the Empire during her rule. She fought many wars on other fronts, however, personally leading her soldiers in combat and winning stunning victories over larger enemy armies time and again.

On the domestic front, Queen Roslyn instituted an intelligent and workable policy towards sexual equality that combined real change and a genuine desire to make things better for women with respect for tradition and recognition of the realities of a medieval monarchy. The powerful trade guilds and the Imperial army became open to women, although both remained majority male.

Eventually, she married the smart colonel (remember him?) who had been the only survivor of Antonius’ doomed army. They had two sons together, and when they grew up, she declared her younger son to be her heir, as he was smarter than his older brother. He was eventually crowned King Frederick IV.

Although Frederick IV continued his mother’s policies of sexual equality, they couldn’t last forever. Only seven years into his reign, the new king was killed in battle against the barbarians of the north. His children were too young to rule directly, and the council of “advisors” that ruled in their place, after putting down a bloody coup attempt by Frederick IV’s older brother and beheading him, swiftly rolled back all the reforms that Queen Roslyn had made. Unsurprisingly, war with the Amazons erupted again. But that is a tale for another time.

Time marched on. Years, decades, centuries. Great sailing-ships were invented, along with cannons and muskets. The Empire began expanding across the sea, finding new islands to explore and conquer. The line of kings and queens continued, finally reaching King Frederick IX, father of Princess Katarina.

Katarina closed the journal. “Fascinating,” she said out loud. She loved history. Outside, the rain was still pounding her tent.

Another commotion came from outside. She opened the flap. “It’s okay. I’m still not sleeping.”

It was a Royal Messenger this time. “From your father, for your eyes only, my Lady,” he said, bowing and handing her a letter.

“Thank you,” said Katarina. She retreated back into her tent and opened the letter. She began to shake as she read it:

“My dearest Katarina,

It breaks my heart to say this, but I have decided that your brother will inherit the throne. Although you would make a far better ruler than he would, I have heard whispers of assassination should you become Queen, from evil men who do not want someone of your strength with the crown. I would much rather have you alive and not ruling than have you as a dead Queen. I know it will be tough, but in time I hope you will come to understand my decision.

Love, Father”

The Princess put her face in her hands. How could he?! She risked her life time and again in battle against REAL enemies. How could her father be more worried about POSSIBLE assassins?

Katarina remembered what she had just read, about Roslyn wondering if she would have switched sides and joined the Amazons if she had not been named heir to the throne. Well, now SHE was going to have to do more than wonder. She was going to have to make a decision…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 3

Raindrops pelted Princess Katarina’s tent in the dark night. Unable to sleep, she sat up in her lightweight but comfortable travel bed as the thunder boomed again. How was she going to defeat these Amazons?

Suddenly, she heard a commotion outside. “No one is to disturb the Princess while she is sleeping,” came the voice of one of the guards. “I don’t care if you outrank me. I wouldn’t care even if you were a four-star general. I have my orders from the Princess herself.”

Katarina opened the flap of her small tent. “It’s okay, soldier. I wasn’t sleeping anyway.” She turned her gaze to the visitor, recognizing the military historian. “Major. Do you have something for me?”

“Yes, milady,” said the major. He held up a journal, bound in leather. “I think you’ll find this very interesting.”

“Come into the tent. Let’s keep that thing out of the rain and see what we’ve got here.” Katarina’s dark brown eyes widened with fascination as she opened the journal. “Why, it’s a war diary from my ancestor, the great warrior queen, Roslyn the First! Where did you find this?”

“I was digging around in the basement archives of the library in the Colonial Capital. As soon as I found it, I rode out here as fast as I could. I knew you’d want to see it.”

“Indeed I do. This should prove to be very valuable. Thank you, Major.” As the officer bowed and exited the tent, Katarina opened the journal and turned to the first page…

Princess Roslyn was the oldest child and only daughter of King Frederick III. She had two younger brothers, twins, named Albert and Antonius. Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as many, including herself, called them behind their backs. Both were incompetent, dim-witted louts.

Because sons came before daughters, regardless of age, in the line of succession, Roslyn was only third in line for the throne. And because her brothers were twins, they were constantly competing with each other to impress their father enough to get officially picked to be his heir. This competition led to both brothers taking many foolish risks in battle and needlessly sacrificing the lives of many of their men.

When a small outpost near the southern border of the empire had been overrun and its garrison of a hundred men massacred by unknown attackers, Antonius had eagerly volunteered to lead an expedition to find and punish the mysterious assailants. Albert, who was currently away on an expedition to the north, would be so jealous when Antonius returned with a triumph to celebrate his victory, the arrogant prince thought. The king accepted his son’s offer and provided him with a massive army.

Roslyn sighed as she was forced to stay home once again. Although she was an expert archer and swordswoman, and had received the same education at the military academy that her brothers had, she had never been granted the honor of leading military expeditions to the fringes of the Empire. All of her combat knowledge had only been put to use a few times in small skirmishes with bandits and raiders. She longed for the chance to prove herself in a real battle. But her father always said that her military education was for emergencies only.

Prince Antonius rode out of the Imperial capital at the head of a huge army, cockily proclaiming that if there were any survivors from the enemy force after he was through with them, he would bring them back to the capital in cages like zoo animals. He had 15,000 heavy infantry armed with spears and large shields, plus 3000 archers armed with modern crossbows. But the pride of the army was the heavy cavalry, a force of 2000 knights. These riders were all noblemen who were constanly seeking more battles to gain more riches and glory.

The massive force moved southward, sweating in their armor under the hot sun. They moved slowly, hampered by the Prince’s insistence on taking many luxuries with him. Finally, after several weeks, they reached the outpost where the massacre had occurred. After the Prince’s servants had set up his large, luxurious tent and all his furniture, Antonius and his staff met with the commanding officer of the force that had discovered the massacre to make their battle plan.

The officer, a colonel, bowed to the Prince and his six staff officers, all generals. “My Lords. I fear we are dealing with a much more serious situation than we thought. We have examined the corpses of the men that were slaughtered. About half of them were shot with arrows. Every single shot was either straight to the heart or right between the eyes. I’ve never seen marksmanship like that. The other men were either impaled with spears, again always straight through the heart, or had their skulls split open with axes, or were chopped into many pieces with swords.”

The staff officers, all of whom were old, overweight aristocrats, gulped in fear. Prince Antonius, however, still had a cocky, arrogant look on his face as the colonel continued. “One man was still alive when we got there. He had been expertly stabbed in a way that would keep him alive for a while, but ensure that he would die eventually. He was insane with terror when we found him. The only thing he could say before he expired was, ‘They’re girls. An army of girls. Incredibly sexy girls who can outfight any man. Those girls are demonesses from hell…’ Then he died.”

The other men in the tent looked at one another doubtfully. Finally, the Prince banged his fist on the fancy, heavy oak table. “Preposterous! The idea that one hundred men of the finest Empire the world has ever seen could be massacred by a band of GIRLS is utterly ridiculous. You yourself said that this man was insane with terror. His information must be inaccurate. We’ll find out who really did this and punish them.”

“As you wish, milords,” said the colonel, aware of what fools these men were but knowing he had to obey orders. “My scouts have followed the assassins’ tracks into the desert. Far to the south, beyond where any of our explorers have ever gone, they report that the inhospitable desert turns into fertile land once again. There lies the kingdom of the enemy. If we follow the river, we can be there in three weeks.”

“Three weeks? We would waste so much time, following that meandering river. If we march straight south, we can be in the enemy’s territory in ten days. We’ll just fill our water kegs here,” said Antonius.

“My lord, I would advise having a continuous supply of water handy. You never know what might happen. Also, if we follow the river we can use it to protect one of our flanks.”

“That’s enough, Colonel. I am in command here, and what I say goes. We march straight south through the desert. Tell the men to get busy filling those water kegs. We leave tomorrow at first light.”

“Yes, my lord.” The colonel sighed, hoping that the prince’s arrogance wouldn’t lead the army to doom.

The attacks began on the third day. One moment, the massive column of soldiers was marching along in complete peace. The next, fifteen men dropped dead, arrows sticking out of their throats, chests, or heads.

The others looked around in shock. There was nothing but a faint cloud of dust on the horizon. Some of the crossbowmen fired bolts uselessly into the distance, wasting precious ammunition. A squadron of knights rode off to investigate, returning to report only that the enemy consisted of light horsemen…or horsewomen … who could easily outride them.

From that point on, the attacks continued, the only change being that they grew in size and frequency. The second strike came from the other side. This time, twenty-five men were shot dead with perfectly aimed arrows. After surveying the corpses with a curse, the Prince ordered the crossbowmen to prepare for an archery duel.

They didn’t have to wait long. An hour later came the third raid, from both sides this time. The crossbowmen began shooting back, but there was nothing to shoot at but clouds of dust. The mysterious attackers would ride into range, expertly fire their bows just as they were turning, and vanish before the crossbowmen could acquire their targets.

“I thought our bows had a longer range than any other in the world,” grumbled one soldier as he reloaded his weapon. “Maybe they do, but those riders are so fast they can dart in and out of range before we can h…ugh!” The man who responded was shot in the chest as he was speaking. The arrow penetrated his armor and drove straight into his heart. He was dead before he hit the ground. When the attack was over, forty more male soldiers were dead. The crossbowmen had fired many bolts and hadn’t been able to hit a thing.

Prince Antonius ordered a dozen of his servants to go out and retrieve the bolts. A few minutes later, a solitary servant returned, empty-handed. “I’m sorry, my lord,” he reported. “They hit us while we were trying to collect them. We had to flee. I’m the only survivor.”

“Not for long, coward!” snarled the Prince, drawing his sword and decapitating the servant. It was the only kill any of the male soldiers made that day.

The mood when the army made camp for the night was one of fear and dread. Things only got worse the next morning, when it was discovered that a hundred men had had their throats slit in the darkness by mysterious attackers who had snuck in and out right under the noses of the sentries. The killing wasn’t over yet, however, because Antonius ordered that the surviving sentries, a total of 200 men, all be executed for their failure. The executioners, though reluctant to kill their own men, were worried that they would become the next targets if they refused to obey their prince’s orders. After the sentries had been decapitated and their heads placed on pikes, per Antonius’ wishes, the army set off again.

It wasn’t long before the first attack of the day came, arrows whizzing through the air and embedding themselves in male flesh. This time, Prince Antonius ordered the knights to respond in force, two columns of a hundred riders each. Two hundred proud, heavily armored noblemen rode out into the desert. None of them ever returned. In addition, sixty more men were shot dead in the main column. The vast army still hadn’t managed to kill a single enemy. The Prince screamed and stamped his feet, having a tantrum like a little baby.

When the next ambush came, it was deja vu for the men…or so they thought. Enemy arrows came flying in, the crossbowmen shot back uselessly, and then, in a flash, it was over. “How many hit?” came the call.

There were murmurs and whispers, then the response. “Looks like none, sir.”

“None? But…”

Suddenly, a soldier pointed to a water keg, pierced with an arrow. The powerful shot had cracked the wooden barrel and all the water was long gone and rapidly sinking into the desert sand. The men looked around in panic. Every other keg was in the same condition.

“NOOOOOOO!” roared the Prince. “COWARDS! Come out and fight me like a man!”

“I don’t think they are men, sir,” said one of his staff officers, holding one of the Empire’s new inventions, a spyglass. “The figures on the horses looked like girls to me.”

“Girls?!” Antonius sputtered. “How could mere girls…ugghhh…”

The colonel who had found the men massacred at the outpost rode up. “Beg pardon, sirs, but we should focus on the big issue right now. Our water supply.”

The Prince was still in tantrum mode. “We’ll charge right at them, slaughter them, and drink their blood!”

“My lord, please. We’re six days from enemy territory and the only water we have left is the tiny amount in our canteens. We’d never make it. We’re four days’ march from our territory, and few if any can survive four days in the desert without water. Our only option is to head for the river. We can get there in two days, rest and recover, then follow the river to enemy territory and make our attack.”

The Prince, by now a broken man, wanted to scream at his subordinate and tell him off, but even he knew that the colonel was right. “Fine. Make it so,” he sighed.

But they never made it. As the army changed course and made for the river, horsewomen began following them, staying just outside of crossbow range. The men gulped the last of their water in their canteens and desperately but uselessly quickened their pace. The number of hoofbeats behind them increased.

“Why aren’t they attacking?” wondered a young junior officer.

“They know the river is our only option. They know exactly where we’re going. They can wait for the right moment,” his superior responded. Everyone within earshot gulped upon hearing that.

It was early afternoon when the final attack came. One second, there was uneasy silence. The next, there came a spine-chilling, high-pitched, distinctively female warrior cry in the distance. Then came the arrows, this time over a thousand of them fired at once, all aimed at the crossbowmen. Lightly armored and with no shields, they stood no chance. Over a quarter of the crossbowmen were killed by the first enemy volley. Many others were wounded, in agony from hits to the leg, arm, stomach, or groin, and unable to fight back. Those who could shoot back fired their bolts ineffectively at the distant female figures darting back and forth on their ponies. Then it was time to begin the agonizingly slow process of reloading.

The Empire’s warfare doctrine emphasized heavy infantry, heavy cavalry, and responses designed to counter enemies who emphasized the same. The archers were currently armed with the Mark VI model crossbows, which, although very powerful and capable of piercing the heavy plate armor worn by knights, were also very slow to fire, taking close to thirty seconds to reload. Though the Mark VII crossbow, which could fire twice as fast while being only slightly less powerful, was available, Prince Antonius had elected to stick with the Mark VIs under the mantra of “more power.”

The Amazon horse archers, on the other hand, used compact but powerful bows that were small enough for mounted troops to use, powerful enough to penetrate almost any armor, and capable of rapid fire. Trained in markswomanship from the day she was old enough to ride and hold a bow, a girl-archer could defeat even the most heavily armored opponent by aiming for the weak points in his armor, then finishing him off with her hand-to-hand combat weapons, generally axes or short swords, if necessary.

Each female horse archer could fire a dozen arrows per minute, and three more devastating volleys finished off the rest of the crossbowmen before they could finish reloading. In less than twenty seconds 3000 of the Empire’s best-trained, well-equipped male bowmen lay dead or dying on the hot desert sand, slaughtered by girls, most of whom had not yet seen twenty winters.

The beautiful Amazon princess, just eighteen years old, in command of this force, 1200 horse archers and 800 heavy cavalry, tiny compared to the vast Imperial army, laughed at the carnage her girls had just inflicted. She had been sent out with her little force with orders from her Queen to harass, delay, and weaken the enemy. But after seeing the vulnerability of these males and the incompetence and arrogance of their commander, she had decided to launch a full-scale attack to annihilate them.

With a coy giggle, she ordered her archers to fire into the main body of enemy infantry. A volley of arrows came flying, dropping several hundred men to the dirt. “Infantry into turtle formation!” ordered the Prince. “Knights, charge those bitches and run them through!” The Imperial infantry moved into their turtle formation, shields covering all sides and the tops of their heads. Hundreds more men died before the maneuver could be completed, but the remainder now seemed relatively safe, though occasional cries of pain came from men hit in an exposed arm here or an exposed leg there.

Prince Antonius, cowering in the center of the formation along with his six staff officers, finally thought he had things under control. His knights, heavily armored and armed with lances, would ride right into the lightly armored horsewomen and end this humiliating barrage of arrows striking the shields like rain.

But it was not to be. As the 1800 knights charged the female horse archers, they turned their attention to the new attackers. Though the arrows could not penetrate the thick chest plating the men wore, the Amazons, with their expert markswomanship, fired into the joints and other weak points of the suits of armor, piercing knights in their armpits, hips, and groins. Men fell off their horses with cries of agony, stopping the momentum of the charge. Some girls were such good shots that they could hit their opponents in the eye-slits of their face masks, killing them instantly.

“Rally to me!” cried a high-ranking nobleman, gathering the unwounded riders and preparing another charge. “AAAAHHHHHHHH!”

Suddenly, hoofbeats thundered from the left. The 800 Amazon heavy cavalry were charging them, lances lowered, from the males’ vulnerable side. The Imperials were unable to turn in time to counter this new threat and were brutally ridden into, female lances utterly impaling and penetrating them. The Amazons then rode into – or onto – the wounded knights on the ground, simply trampling them to death, laughing as their victims begged for mercy. Knights were used to being captured and ransomed in battle instead of being killed, but the Amazons were not interested in gold. They were interested in slaughter.

One of the infantrymen on the edge of the turtle formation thought he heard hoofbeats. He peeked out from behind his shield, thinking the allied knights were returning after a job well done. The rain of arrows had stopped, after all. But instead, the last thing he saw before he died was a beautiful brown-skinned woman leading several hundred others in a heavy cavalry charge. A second later, the girl’s lance popped his skull open like a smashed watermelon.

The turtle formation, effective against enemy archers, left the men using it vulnerable to heavy cavalry attacks. With brutal efficiency, the 800 female riders lanced, sliced, axed, decapitated, and trampled everything in their path, riding right through the formation and dividing it in two. Over two thousand men were killed.

“SHIT! Prepare to receive cavalry charge!” shouted the Prince as the Amazons turned around and re-formed their line. The men formed up as well, spears ready to impale any horse that dared charge into them. But instead, the horse archers began firing again, dropping hundreds more men dead as arrows rained down from above onto their now exposed skulls.

“FUCK! What can we do?!” moaned one of the staff officers. “Those cunts have an answer for everything!”

“Hold!” roared the Prince. “Arrows run out! They can’t keep shooting at us forever!”

But just then, a sqaudron of girls rode up to the horse archers. They began handing them packages from their heavily laden animals. Though it was too far to see, the men knew what was in them. Arrows. Thousands and thousands more arrows.

As the incessant rain of lethal projectiles continued, the survivors, without waiting for orders, re-formed the turtle. And sure enough, the Amazon heavy cavalry came crashing into them again, slaughtering thousands more men.

The sun sank lower in the western sky. The Imperial soldiers who were still alive knew that it was the last time they would ever see it. Command broke down completely, with the Prince and his generals simply crying and whimpering, unable to issue any orders. The slaughter was methodical and efficient, alternating between arrows and lances. Hour after hour passed and the killing went on. Finally, the sun reached the horizon and turned blood red, matching the new color of the desert sand.

The smart colonel, the only man of high rank in this force who had any sense, lay in the middle of a pile of male corpses, an arrow sticking out from his chest. He opened his eyes and looked around. It was dark now. In the distance, he could see the torches of the Amazons and hear the pleas for mercy from wounded men as the girls finished them off, but around him, all was quiet. Everyone else was dead. Some of the soldiers had been finished execution style with arrows right between the eyes or good old-fashioned decapiations. He removed the arrow that he had broken and attached to himself with a wad of chewing gum, another of the Empire’s recent inventions, to make it look like he had already been shot. Then he began crawling away.

The Imperial scout peered through his spyglass again, wanting to confirm the strange sight. A man was floating down the river towards him on a piece of wood. Bruised, battered, and sunburned, he wore the tattered remnants of an Imperial uniform. “Colonel? Is that you?” asked the stunned scout as he recognized the officer.

“Yes. It is I. Alive, though not by much,” said the colonel as he beached himself on shore. “Gather the men. I have urgent news about the…let’s say the Amazons.”

Princess Roslyn and her father, King Frederick III, were having dinner in the palace dining room when the door suddenly burst open and a messenger entered. The King raised an eyebrow. “I’m going to assume this is important from the manner of your entrance.”

“Yes, my lord. I’m sorry. But it is important.” He handed Frederick a letter. The king paled as he read it, dropping the turkey leg he had been eating.

“Roslyn, come with me. I’m calling a council of war. Right now.”

“I cannot believe it. Twenty thousand of His Majesty’s finest soldiers, completely and utterly annihilated by a force but one-tenth of its size?” said a duke.

“Believe it, sir. I was there, and I’m the only survivor,” said the colonel who had made it through so much.

“The size of the enemy force is hard enough to believe, but an army of mere GIRLS?!” a fat earl grumbled. “Preposterous!”

Roslyn felt her blood becoming hot. “Perhaps you would like to see a demonstration of what a girl can do in combat.”

As the earl opened his mouth to make an angry retort, King Frederick spoke up. “Enough!” he shouted. “I called this council to plan a way to defeat the enemy, not engage in fighting amongst ourselves. Earl, you will show respect to my daughter. Roslyn, you will control your temper. Now, Colonel, do you think these…Amazons will attempt a full-scale invasion of our territory?”

“They already attacked one of our outposts without provocation and after exterminating a huge army of ours so easily, I fear it is very likely that they will feel arrogant and aggressive enough to do it, my lord.”

“Then we must raise what forces we can as fast as possible. Roslyn, you will be in command.”

Roslyn felt both excitment and apprehension. It was what she had always wanted – but against such an unknown and lethal opponent? She truly would be put to the test.

Princess Roslyn sat on her horse, reviewing her army as it prepared to march out of the Imperial capital. This time, there were no shouts of jubilation or dreams of glory, just a cold sense of duty.

The army was much smaller this time – there just weren’t enough men who could be pulled off of other duties to create a force as massive as the last one. The impact of Antonius’ defeat had been devastating – one-sixth of the Empire’s military had been wiped out in a single battle. Roslyn had 6000 heavy infantry along with 1500 crossbowmen, armed with the new, faster firing Mark VII bows at her insistence. Only a few knights had the courage to go up against an enemy that preferred extermination to ransoming, and because of the power of the nobility, the king couldn’t force them to go. Just as well, thought the princess. She had no use for cowards in her army. The bulk of the cavalry would be provided by 1500 light horsemen, armed with a variety of swords, spears, axes, and bows.

Many of the male nobles had grumbled at the idea of a woman leading an army into battle, but none of them had the balls to do it themselves after the Prince’s epic fail. And her other brother, Albert, was still off in the north, thank the gods. She knew that he was as dumb as his twin, and only would have led a second army to its doom.

They moved much faster than the first force had, Roslyn knowing well just how quickly she could march her men without tiring them too much to deal with a potential ambush. It also helped that she was a low-maintenance young woman who, although she enjoyed the luxuries at the palace, was perfectly capable of traveling light in the field.

The sun rose on the Imperial camp as the army, now at the southern border of the Empire, prepared to move out to meet its destiny. As the men formed up, the Princess looked into their frightened eyes and began a quick, impromptu speech.

“Soldiers of the Empire! For a thousand years we have been the most powerful force on this continent. Through the strength of our soldiers and the innovations of our scientists we have defeated all those who sought to destroy us. Will that streak be broken on your watch?”

“NO!” came the answering roar of thousands of voices.

Roslyn raised her tanned and toned right arm, decorated with many bracelets. She loved dressing feminine, and since she had to dress like a man for battle, the bracelets at least added some femininity to her outfit. “Then let us advance! Now, this kind of goes without saying, but we follow the river this time.”

As the men laughed, she turned to the colonel who had survived the massacre, who was riding next to her. “If anything should happen to me, you are to listen to this man and do what he advises, even if you outrank him. Is that clear?” She looked at her generals in turn, receiving an affirmative salute from each. She nodded and smiled.

A band of scouts rode up. Their leader approached her, bowing. “Any sign of them?” she asked.

“None, milady. It’s as if they’ve vanished into thin air.”

This time, the attacks began on the fourth day. A humming sound broke the monotony and stillness of the desert heat. A second later, a dozen men dropped dead with arrows in their chests or faces.

Even as the bodies were still falling, Roslyn was shouting orders. “Cavalry, split up and pursue! Try to cut them off! Crossbowmen, be ready to fire, but DO NOT shoot without a confirmed target!”

The army waited, tense, as the riders disappeared into the distance. Finally, the sound of hoofbeats returned. The crossbowmen readied their weapons, but thanks to the princess’ instructions refrained from being trigger-happy. It was a good thing, as the riders were their own men.

“Report, Captain,” said Roslyn as the soldiers rode up to her.

“We split up and managed to cut four enemies off and trap them between two of our forces, Princess.” She nodded. Light cavalry was needed to catch other light cavalry. Her dim-witted brother had brought no light horsemen, only heavily armored knights who had been far too slow to catch the Amazon horse archers. “Anyway,” continued the captain, “they fought to the death, killed five of my men and wounded four more, but we finished them off. And we acquired four of these.” He held up a bow.

Roslyn took the weapon and examined it with fascination. It was incredibly light, lighter than the small bows her own cavalry used. Yet it could fire from such a long range, much further than the Imperial cavalry bows and almost as far as the much heavier, slower firing crossbows, which were too big for mounted troops to use.

“Put two of them in the wagons, one in the front of the column and one in the rear. At least one must make it back to the Empire for our innovators to reverse engineer and eventually mass produce. Give the other two to your two best marksmen.”

“Yes, milady.”

“And for the record, just so everyone can hear and all these doubts can be put to rest once and for all. They WERE girls, correct?”

“Yes. Four young female warriors. I’ve never seen women fight that well. Except you, Princess.”

She giggled. “Thank you. Now let’s move on. Everybody keep a sharp eye out.”

The next time, the Amazons attempted an attack from across the river. Horsewomen fired a volley of arrows, but they fell short into the water. “Crossbowmen ready! Pick your targets!” ordered Roslyn as the female riders urged their horses into the river, trying to get closer.

A group of crossbowmen fired their bolts. Most of them missed, as the weapons were at the limit of their range, but two women fell off their horses and into the water. The others quickly retreated.

A loud cheer rose from the men. “Victory! We drove them off! For glory! For the King! For…”

“Uh…guys?” said Roslyn. Everyone stopped shouting and looked at her.

“Perspective, gentlemen. Keep it in perspective. Yes, we drove them off, but we only killed two of them. This can’t even be called a skirmish, much less a battle. Good job, but let’s keep going, you know?”

The men nodded. In truth, Roslyn wanted to jump up and down and join in the celebration, but she knew the dangers that overconfidence would bring. Still, it was an important victory. There were no more attacks from across the river.

The hit-and-run ambushes continued from the other side, but with cavalry patrols able to concentrate on guarding one flank, their effectiveness was limited. Ten more Imperial soldiers were shot dead, but seven Amazons died as well, and the cavalrymen managed to capture three more Amazon bows. When they made camp for the night, the mood was decidedly different than it had been when they had set out. There was still a lot of apprehension, but the fact that they had been able to hold their own gave the soldiers a much needed morale boost.

As she watched the sun sink beneath the western horizon, Princess Roslyn ordered the sentries on double duty. “They’re going to try something before the sun comes up, mark my words.” In her small but comfortable tent, the princess read a book by lamplight until she drifted off to sleep.

She awoke with a start some hours later. Popping open the tent flap, she judged it was around midnight from the position of the stars. The moon was full, giving a ghostly illumination to the vast desert. Everything was peaceful. Too peaceful. She had a gut feeling that something was about to happen.

She began checking on the sentries, who all reported the same thing. Nothing. “With the moon this bright, we’d see them coming a mile away,” said one soldier.

Roslyn nodded. There was truth to that. She turned her gaze to the river…

The river! She tapped the man who had spoken on the shoulder. “Every second man is to follow me!” she whispered. “If they come, they’ll be swimming the river. We need to reinforce that side.” She darted into a supply tent, grabbed a Mark VII crossbow and a quiver of bolts, and tucked a small axe into her belt. Her sword was sheathed on her hip. “Now let’s go,” she whispered, loading a bolt as she spoke.

But before she and the reinforcements were halfway across the camp, she saw female heads rise like spectres from the surface of the water. As if it were a nightmare, muscular female arms drew back the strings on bows. The sound of expertly aimed arrows driving into their male targets, silently slaying an entire row of sentries on the river side of camp, reminded her that this nightmare was all too real.

“ALARM! ALARM! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” she screamed. Even as she shouted, she fired, her crossbow bolt nailing an Amazon right between the eyes.

Bells clanged and war horns blew as soldiers raced into action. The sentries she had alerted managed to shoot down several Amazons with their crossbows, but then the others were slashing into tents with their swords, intermingling with the men and making it too dangerous for the sentries to fire without hitting their own side.

Some men woke up at the alarm, only to be met with a blade straight through the heart at the hands of a brown-skinned woman. Others stumbled sleepily out of their tents, right in front of waiting Amazons who shot them down or simply decapitated them.

“Keep the other sides manned! They might have forces waiting while we’re distracted!” Roslyn shouted as she finished reloading her crossbow. She popped out from behind the boulder she had used as cover and came almost face-to-face with a bow-wielding Amazon. The Princess was faster and shot her opponent straight through the heart. Roslyn then drew her sword in her right hand and her axe in her left. As she stepped around the corner of a tent, two enemies charged her. She brained one with her axe and decapitated the other with her sword.

Screams came from a large tent. Leaping inside, she saw a trail of bloody male corpses. Near the back, two Amazon girls, each with a long dagger in each hand, were slowly pushing back the survivors, who couldn’t match the female warriors’ speed and skill.

She hurled her axe and was rewarded with a satisfying THWACK as the weapon buried itself in the back of one of the girls’ skulls. The other Amazon whirled, throwing one of her daggers as she turned. Roslyn just managed to block it with her sword.

The Amazon let out a shrill scream and tumbled towards her with a roundoff followed by a series of ultra-fast one-handed back handsprings. Roslyn stepped to the side and attacked with her sword, but the Amazon dodged with a full twisting layout and landed perfectly on her feet. With a superhumanly fast kick to Roslyn’s arm that sent her sword flying, the Princess suddenly found herself unarmed.

The Amazon drove her dagger straight at Roslyn’s throat. She barely managed to block it, receiving a cut on her right forearm. Her opponent drew the dagger back again, but the Princess suddenly kicked her in the face, breaking her jaw and stunning her. Roslyn then cartwheel kicked her, knocking her down. She stomped down hard on the Amazon’s throat with her military boot, crushing her enemy’s windpipe.

Roslyn let out a sigh of relief. “You guys okay?” she called out to the men in the back of the tent.

“Yes, milady. Thank you for saving us. How about you? You’re hurt.”

She touched the wound. “It’s just a scratch. Now come on and join the fight.”

As she led the men outside, a shrill whistle echoed through the night. The surviving Amazons began backflipping away like pro gymnasts, with incredible grace, elegance, and speed. The men fired their crossbows at them, but thanks to their blazing fast tumbling most of the shots missed. In less than a minute all was quiet again.

“I have the count,” an officer reported, when all the bodies had been lined up. “77 of our men are dead, and there are 24 dead Amazons. We also have a few dozen men wounded too badly to fight who will have to be transported in the wagons.”

Roslyn cursed. “I should have known better. I should have had the river side guarded more heavily from the start.”

“Don’t blame yourself, milady,” said the officer. “Without your warning, hundreds of men would have died.”

The Princess nodded, but she knew she would have to take responsibility for this one. She hadn’t ordered the camp guarded as well as it should have been. But the lessons she learned that night would go on to serve her very well in her long military career.

She looked up at the stars, then out over the vast desert. The Amazons were still out there. Waiting. So far, she had just been sampling a few appetizers. The main course was yet to come.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Girls Vs. Zombies

The sign at the edge of town read, “Welcome to Paradise Valley. Population 1706.” Despite the number, not a soul seemed to be stirring. There was no sound, just an eerie quiet. A dense fog clung to the ground, and a light drizzle was falling.

The silence was broken by the sound of a car engine. A black SUV with five people inside appeared on the horizon and headed towards the town. Danielle, a pretty girl with long wavy brown hair, was at the wheel. Her boyfriend, Larry, a short guy with glasses, was riding shotgun. In the back seat sat Misty, a sexy Asian girl with long jet-black hair. Next to Misty was her boyfriend, Greg, a big blond guy with the look of a simple-minded surfer. Finally, there was Rania, a Middle Eastern beauty with dark brown hair that went down to the middle of her back. Rania had just gone through two very violent experiences and didn’t feel quite ready to get back to dating and boyfriends just yet, preferring quick, casual one-night stands at the moment. All five of them were nineteen-year-old college sophomores on their winter vacation. Danielle pulled the vehicle into a gas station. “We’d better fill up here.”

Greg looked around. “Dude, there’s, like, nobody here,” he said in a surfer voice. “This place is like, deserted.”

“That’s weird,” said Rania in her slight Lebanese accent. “There should be *somebody* around. But the whole town looks empty.”

“Something just doesn’t feel right about this place,” said Misty. “It’s creepy, like something out of a horror movie.”

“Yeah,” added Larry. “We should get out of here as soon as possible.”

“We’re not going much of anywhere without more gas,” said Danielle. She swiped her credit card in the slot, then removed the gas pump and inserted it into the tank. “Well, this works, at least.”

“I’m gonna see if anyone’s there so I can get a bag of chips,” said Greg. “Any of you want anything?”

The others shook their heads. Greg headed towards the gas station mini-mart. Larry walked off on his own, shaking his head as if to clear it.

Danielle’s elegant face was expressionless as she pumped the gas. “So do you want to talk about it?” Rania asked her finally.

“Talk about what?”

“Oh, come on, Dani,” said Misty. “We’ve all noticed it. The way you’ve been down and depressed these past few days.”

Danielle looked around furtively, then whispered, “Well, it’s just that…I’m going to break up with Larry.”

“What? Why?” asked Rania. “Are you guys having problems?”

“No,” Dani answered. “Not really. It’s just that…we have so little in common. Sometimes I find myself wondering why we got together in the first place.”

“Hey, I don’t have much in common with Greg,” said Misty. “I mean, look at us. He’s this blonde surfer dude who says ‘dude’ a lot and I’m the stereotypical nerdy Asian girl. But we have fun together.”

“Well, Larry and I don’t,” said Danielle. “Not anymore. We…” She stopped suddenly. “They’re coming back.”

“No one was inside, and the place was locked,” reported Greg. “Weird.”

“Let’s get out of here,” said Larry.

“Agreed,” said Danielle, replacing the gas pump and closing the gas tank door. She looked over at her boyfriend, still trying to decide how she was going to tell him.

They all piled back into the car. Dani turned the key in the ignition, but it didn’t start. “What the hell?” she said, after trying several more times without success.

“Maybe the gas pump wasn’t working after all?” suggested Greg.

“No. I saw the gas flowing. Anyway, even if it didn’t work at all we still had a little in the tank from before.”

“Pop the hood,” said Rania. “Let me take a look.” Rania knew a fair amount about cars and fixed her own when it had trouble. But after examining several different things, she had to admit she was stumped. “Everything seems to be in perfect working order.”

“Crap. The car’s busted and there’s nobody here,” said Larry.

“We could try calling somebody,” suggested Misty. She took out her cell phone, then frowned. “That’s funny. No service. There should be service. We’re not that far out into the middle of nowhere.” Everyone else took out their cell phones. None of them had any service either.

“You were right, Misty. This is just like the beginning of a horror movie,” said Danielle. “Everything going wrong at once, including the whole town disappearing…it can’t be a coincidence.”

“We could be stuck here,” said Greg. “Unless…we took someone else’s car.”

“Greg!” scolded Misty, playfully slapping him on the ass.

“Just sayin’…”

“Maybe we should try knocking on some doors,” said Rania. “Maybe someone is here. We can ask them for help.”

They began walking around, but none of their knocks elicited any response. Suddenly, Larry gave a shout. “Check this car out. The key’s in the ignition.” He tried the door. “And it’s unlocked.”

“Small-town trust,” murmured Danielle.

“Let’s knock on the door of the house first,” said Misty. But there was no response to the knocking. Greg peered in the window, but reported that the house seemed empty.

“Shall we?” he asked, pointing to the car. “I mean, we’ll, like, bring it back, of course.”

“Fine,” said Misty with an exaggerated sigh, but breaking into giggles and kissing her man on the cheek.

Everyone climbed into the car, with Greg behind the wheel. He turned the key…and it didn’t start. “Uh-oh.”

“This is just how the movie would go,” said Danielle. “I bet none of these cars work. We’re stuck here. And then there’s gonna be the part where the monsters come.”

“There’s no such thing as monsters,” said Misty. “But we are in deep shit.”

“Looks like we have no other choice, guys,” sighed Rania. “Let’s get our stuff from our car and start walking. I remember it was about twelve miles to the next town. If we start now we should be able to get there before dark.”

They went back to the SUV and gathered what they needed. They then started hiking out of town. “Damn, this fog’s getting thicker with every step we take,” commented Larry.

“What was that sound?” asked Danielle suddenly.

“I didn’t hear anything,” said Misty.

“Stop and listen.” A low but spine-chilling and inhuman growl came from the distance. It was impossible to tell which direction it was coming from. The fog was everywhere. “See!” said Dani. “It’s the monster!” She began shrieking with nervous laughter.

Rania came over and held her. “Relax, Dani. It’s probably just an animal.”

“Probably a bear,” added Greg. The growl came again, closer this time.

“I have to admit, that doesn’t sound like any bear I’ve ever heard,” said Misty.

“Uh…guys?” said Rania. Her normally deeply tanned face had gone very pale. She pointed to the left. Through the fog appeared a pair of glowing red eyes, advancing on them. As if on cue on a movie set, all five of them, including the guys, let out high-pitched girlish screams at exactly the same time.

“I hate to say ‘I told you so’, but this time, I really did tell you so!” said Danielle, her teeth chattering. She turned to move in the opposite direction…and stopped cold when she saw another pair of red eyes coming at the group.

“Shit. They’re everywhere,” said Larry. Red eyes were coming at them from every direction. The closest pair of red eyes emerged from the fog, revealing the eyes to be attached to a savage-looking creature that appeared to be…a zombie?

Determined to be a masculine hero, Greg charged forward with a roar, kicking the zombie in the chest. It was knocked backward, but came at him again and bit him, taking a large chunk of flesh out of poor Greg’s neck. He fell to the ground, bleeding and screaming. More zombies appeared and began feeding on his body.

“NOOOOO!” screamed Misty, charging forward, determined to avenge her fallen man. She high-kicked the nearest zombie in the face and was rewarded with a sharp CRACK. Her kick had broken its neck, turning the undead creature dead again.

“Let’s help her get these fuckers!” said Rania, performing a front tuck somersault to take her closer to the zombies. She punched one’s head with her leather-gloved fist, pulverizing its skull into bloody pieces. “See, they’re not so tough!”

Fists and feet flew as they fought back against the monsters. Suddenly, a high-pitched but male scream rang out. “Larry!” shouted Danielle, still showing concern for her man even though she planned to break up with him. Larry had disappeared into the fog. Dani charged in the direction of his scream, but a snarling zombie blocked her path. She tripped it to the dirt, then finished it off by kicking its skull, causing blood and gore to erupt from it. She continued running, trying to save her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Rania and Misty were almost surrounded by zombies. Rania did a handstand, splitting her legs 180 degrees. She then spun around, kicking all the zombies around her and knocking them down. Leaping back to her feet, she began stomping zombie heads into mush. For the final creature, she raised her right leg in a full vertical split, then brought it down onto the zombie’s head with tremendous speed and force, utterly destroying it.

Misty was facing three zombies, two in front and one behind. She performed a standing back handspring, kicking both of the zombies in front of her and breaking both their necks. She then thrust her elbow behind her, impacting the third creature’s skull and pulverizing it.

“Dani! Where are you!” shouted Rania.

Danielle emerged from the fog, her black leather gloves dripping with zombie blood. “I killed a bunch of them, but Larry’s gone. They must have carried him off.” She let out a sniffle. Misty knelt down by Greg’s corpse (the parts the zombies didn’t like, anyway) and covered her face with her hair. Rania hugged both of the other girls tightly.

More growls came from the fog. “Come on. We have to get back to town,” said Rania. “We’re too exposed out here. We need to find shelter.”

Misty stood up. “And some weapons,” she added, in the mood for killing after having watched her boyfriend get eaten alive.

“Three girls against the zombies,” said Danielle. “Just like in a cheesy horror movie.”

“Except we’re NOT going to get eaten,” said Rania. The three young women certainly made a sexy and powerful picture. They were all wearing tight, low-cut jeans and tight white T-shirts. The combination of their short-sleeved shirts and black wrist-length leather gloves showed off the girls’ slim but very well-toned arms. Hints of six-pack abs were visible between shirts and jeans and the ladies’ asses looked great in their tight pants. The girls were well-proportioned also. Rania was the tallest at 5’8″ and 125 pounds, with a very firm pair of 34B breasts. Danielle stood at 5’6″ and 120 pounds and had an impressive 34C rack. Misty was the smallest at 5’4″ and 112 pounds, with a perky pair of 32B’s.

They made their way back to town as fast as they could. On either side of the road, red eyes glowed through the fog, indicating the presence of more zombies. Finally they reached the outermost buildings of the town.

“In the movies, there’s always a gun shop conveniently located nearby for the heroes to grab weapons from,” commented Danielle. “Let’s see if we can find one.” All three girls, because of their tomboyish natures and their non-aversion to violence, were well-trained with weapons.

The girls began looking. They encountered a few stray zombies along the way. Rania reached out with her gloved hands and broke one’s neck. Danielle punched another’s skull into goo. Misty broke yet another’s neck with a well-aimed spin kick. “The growls are getting louder,” noted Misty. “More are coming. We’d better hurry.”

But a search up and down the streets revealed no gun shop. “This town is probably too small to have one,” sighed Rania.

“Uh…guys?” said Danielle suddenly in a squeaky voice. A large group of zombies was advancing on them. The girls gulped and ran for the nearest building, which was labeled “Paradise Valley Historical Society.”

“The window,” said Misty. She ran up to it and twirled her body sideways. She then fired a powerful side kick into the glass, shattering it. The girls quickly climbed inside, then dragged a heavy wooden cabinet over to cover the opening.

Rania let out a loud sigh of relief. “We should be safe in here.” She turned around…and came face to face with a zombie with very sharp teeth. “Yipes!” she cried out. The zombie growled, but before it could bite, Rania had kicked it in the head so hard that its brains splattered all over the wall.

“You okay, Rania?” asked Misty.

“Yeah, killed the bugger before it could nail me. C’mon, let’s clear out the rest of this place.” The girls explored the building, but didn’t find any more zombies.

“Hey, look what I found!” Danielle shouted. Rania and Misty hurried into the room Dani was in, which was labeled “Military History.” On the walls were various weapons, including swords, daggers, axes, flintlock muskets, and a crossbow.

Misty’s dark eyes lit up. “Now we can really get to killin’,” she grinned.

Rania examined the guns. “These are all old flintlocks,” she said. “Slow to fire, clumsy, and unreliable. Plus I don’t see any gunpowder around, which we’d need to fire them. There are arrows for this crossbow, though.” Rania was an expert archer and bow hunter. She picked up the crossbow and a quiver of about fifteen arrows. She also took an eight-inch dagger in a sheath, which she attached to her belt.

Misty, who studied swordswomanship as part of her brand of martial arts training, picked up and tested several swords before finally selecting one she decided was the perfect weight and feel for her. Meanwhile, Danielle chose a medium-sized battle axe and performed a demostration by using it to decapitate the statue of a general, which was standing in the center of the room. “Should we hole up in here?” asked Dani.

Misty said, “We should cover up all the other windows before the zom…” Her statement was interrupted by the sound of glass breaking and the roars of many hungry zombies.

“Too late,” said Misty, Dani, and Rania at exactly the same time. Despite the seriousness of the situation, they couldn’t help giggling when they realized what they had done.

“Go, out this window!” Rania shouted, turning deadly serious. Danielle smashed the window open with her axe and she quickly leapt through, followed by Misty. Zombies began pouring into the room.

Rania took aim with her crossbow at the zombie in the front. The arrow flew through the air, went right through the first zombie’s skull, and embedded itself in the head of the creature behind it. Both zombie heads exploded, sending blood and gore everywhere. The Lebanese beauty looked down at the weapon in her hands, impressed. As the two now-headless zombies fell to the floor, Rania began reaching for another arrow, then stopped. A mass of zombies was approaching rapidly and there would be no way to recover her arrows. She turned and jumped out the window after her friends.

The girls regrouped outside the museum. “It’s like they know exactly where to find us,” said Misty.

“In the movies, zombies can smell human flesh,” said Danielle.

“This isn’t a movie, Dani,” said Rania. “Misty’s right. There’s something suspicious about all this. Also, zombies don’t just arise out of nothing. I think somebody created them.”

“If that’s true, we’re in even deeper shit than we thought we were,” Misty sighed, tightening her grip on her sword.

“Let’s think positive,” said Rania. “Whoever’s behind this is going to learn the hard way not to mess with three sexy girls with lethal weapons.” That brought cheers and warrior cries from Misty and Danielle.

“We could try escaping from town, but if those zombies caught us in the open and surrounded us, we’d be done,” said Dani. “We’ve got to find someplace solid and easily defendable.”

A growl came from behind them. Three feminine, brunette heads whirled around, long silky hair whipping behind each. Rania shot the zombie standing there in the head, then went over and retrieved her arrow, pulling it out with a squishing sound. “Which way?” she asked.

Her question was answered by loud zombie growls. The girls hurried off in the opposite direction. They rounded a corner and came face-to-face with two zombies. Misty beheaded the first with her sword. Danielle hurled her axe into the other’s skull.

The young women kept moving. Zombie growls came from all around them. At first they only bumped into one or two zombies together, which they dispatched swiftly and easily, but soon they were running into groups of eight or ten.

They quickly found an effective way to deal with them. The girls formed themselves into a “V” shape, with Rania in the back center position. She would fire arrows into the center of the group of zombies, splitting the survivors into two groups. Dani and Misty would then each finish off a group with their weapons. When all the zombies in the little mob were neutralized, Rania would collect her arrows and the warrior maidens would move on.

“We can’t go on like this forever,” Misty said, casually kicking the head of a zombie she had decapitated like a soccer ball, sending it flying a good forty meters. “The zombies are coming at us in bigger groups every time. One of them grabbed my throat and I had to cut its arm off before I finished it by stabbing it in the head.”

“What’s that?” said Danielle suddenly.

A large gray building loomed out of the fog in front of them. “This could be the solution,” said Rania. A sign in front of the building read STATE PRISON. “We might be able to find some guns in here, if they haven’t been taken away. Even if they have, this place has solid walls. It’ll be hard for the zombies to break in.”

The girls used their athleticism and gymnastics skills to leap over the barbed-wire fence and onto the prison grounds. “Look out!” shouted Dani. A zombie was standing on the roof of the prison. It had a red fire axe in its raised right hand, ready to throw. Rania whipped her crossbow around and nailed the creature with an arrow right between the eyes just before it could hurl its weapon.

“Damn, girl,” said Misty, impressed. She affectionately patted Rania on her firm ass.

Rania blushed a little. “Thanks, but the distance was only about 80 meters. Pretty easy shot…uh-oh.” Several more zombies appeared on the roof, each with an axe or billy club in its hand. Rania began shooting them as fast as she could, but some of them managed to throw their weapons before they died. One axe came flying straight at Danielle. She did a standing back handspring as it came at her. The axe flew safely between her legs as she was upside down. Dani landed elegantly on her feet and sighed in relief. She picked up the extra axe and threw it right into the skull of a zombie.

A club flew right at Misty. She reached out and actually caught it, then hurled it back at the zombie that had thrown it. The heavy club slammed into the zombie, knocking it off the roof to its death. Soon all the zombies had been dispatched and the girls high-fived each other. Rania frowned as she counted her remaining arrows, knowing that she couldn’t recover the ones on the roof. “How many left?” asked Dani.

“Only nine,” sighed Rania. “C’mon, let’s get inside.” The door was locked, but Rania kicked it down.

The prison was dark and damp, and had a terrible stench. A lone zombie came out of the shadows. It was wearing a prison guard’s uniform. After shooting it with her crossbow, Rania examined its equipment as she was retrieving her arrow. “No gun. Just a club. The guards inside usually don’t carry guns because it’d be too easy for prisoners to grab them.”

Two zombies in orange prison uniforms appeared. Danielle cut one’s head off with her axe. Misty sliced the other in half at the waist with her sword and watched as the upper half began crawling towards her. When it got close enough, she stomped its head flat. “I guess that confirms it,” said the Asian beauty. “The whole town turned into zombies…or more likely, *got* turned into zombies.”

“Let’s find a room that’s easily defendable,” said Rania.

“And one without this awful odor,” Dani added. They walked down the corridor. Cells were on each side. They rounded a corner into another long corridor…and stopped abruptly. At the far end were a dozen zombie dogs. They snarled and salivated when they saw what they thought was fresh meat. Then they charged. “Oh, fuck,” said Danielle. “This is straight out of Resident Evil.”

Rania began shooting them, but they were very fast. She managed to take out half of them before the other half were upon them. Dani swung her axe in wide arcs, braining two dogs. Misty used her sword like a fencing champion, cutting off three canine heads. Rania threw her dagger into the last dog’s eye. The young women caught their breath. “That was actually one of my favorite parts of the video game,” said Danielle finally. “Oh, and the movie too.”

They continued through the prison. As they moved, zombie prisoners and guards began following them. Soon a large group was after them. There were still nothing but cells on either side of them.

At the end of the hall was a door with a large glass window built into it. Danielle tried the handle. “Locked.” Cursing, she punched the window with her leather-gloved fist. As the glass shattered, she reached in and unlocked the door from the other side.

“Nice punch, Dani,” said Misty.

“Thanks, but we gotta go,” Danielle replied, gesturing behind her. The delay had allowed the pursuing zombies to get very close. Rania, still in the rear, put all her strength into a donkey-style back kick. Her boot struck the lead zombie in the neck, breaking it. The now dead again undead creature fell, knocking three more over. By the time the surviving monsters had recovered, the girls had gained twenty meters.

One more door, this one unlocked, and the young women found themselves in the prison exercise yard. To the right was a high concrete wall, and a guard tower was visible in the distance. To the left, the open yard stretched away in inky blackness. Another door was visible directly ahead of them, across the yard. Rania kept watch with her crossbow while Misty and Danielle dragged over a heavy steel shelf full of sports equipment and pushed it against the door they had just gone through. “That should hold those fuckers,” said Misty.

“Uh…guys?” said Rania in a small and frightened voice. The other two girls looked up, following Rania’s pointed finger. From the open space on the left, a huge mass of zombies was advancing on them. Meanwhile, the zombies that had been chasing them began banging on the door behind them.

“MotherFUCKER!” shrilled Dani.

“RUN!” shrieked Misty. They ran for the other door. Misty tried the handle. “Shit! Locked!”

Rania kicked the door with a high-pitched scream. “It’s steel! I can’t kick it down!”

The pretty girls looked at one another. “Looks like this is the part where we make our last stand,” said Danielle.

The three of them touched their leather-gloved fists together. “Together to the end. Now let’s hunt some orc…er, zombie,” said Rania. Dani and Misty smiled despite their fear. All three ladies were big fans of “Lord of the Rings.”

Rania, standing in between and slightly behind the other women, fired shot after shot from her crossbow into zombie skulls as fast as she could. Danielle began braining zombies with her axe. Misty sliced zombie heads with her sword. Monster after monster fell to the skills of the lethal beauties, but more kept coming to take their place.

Rania, out of arrows, shouldered her crossbow and drew her dagger. Stepping forward, she began stabbing zombies in the head. At the same time, she punched zombie skulls with her other fist, pulverizing them into red goo, and unleashed high kicks from her booted feet, each blow breaking a zombie neck. Dead zombies were piled high in front of the girls, but there seemed to be an endless number of the creatures.

“We have to kill them faster!” shouted Misty. “Let me try something.” She took a couple of steps forward. Rania and Dani stared at her. Misty took a deep breath, allowing the zombies to come closer and closer. She had to time this just right. When they were at the perfect distance, she raised her sword to neck level and with lightning speed swung it in a circle around her, cleanly decapitating six of the creatures. She waited for more to approach and repeated the move, cutting off five more zombie heads.

Misty’s daring attack gave the girls some breathing room, and they went to killing with even greater efficiency. “You’ve got balls of steel, girl!” said Danielle as she cleaved a zombie’s head in half. “In a feminine way, of course.”

“I think we’ll all have nuts of steel after this,” replied Misty, slicing her way through a zombie’s thighs and stomping its head into paste as it fell.

They continued fighting for what seemed like hours, although in reality it was only a few minutes. As another wave of zombies pressed in, Rania suddenly stared, hoping her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. They weren’t. “Look!” she shouted excitedly.

Sure enough, this was the last wave of zombies. Behind them was only empty space. With feminine warrior cries of passion and excitement, the girls finished off the rest of the zombies. When the wave had been stopped, Danielle and Misty began moving among the corpses, stomping flat the skull of any zombie that showed any sign of movement. Meanwhile, Rania picked up her arrows and shot down a few stragglers roaming around the yard. When they were sure all of the creatures were dead, the girls took deep breaths and stared at the gory scene they had created. At least two hundred dead (again) zombies were piled on the ground. There was blood everywhere, including all over the girls’ clothes. “Wow,” said Dani. “Did WE do ALL that?”

“We sure did!” said Rania, thumping Dani and Misty on the back.

“We are so good!” Misty sang out. After whooping and shrieking and celebrating for a few moments, the young women made their way cautiously across the exercise yard, weapons at the ready. At the far end they found another door. It was locked too, but as it was made of wood Rania was able to destroy it easily with a fierce cheerleader-style kick.

Inside, there was a set of steep, narrow stairs, and also a zombie wearing a uniform that read WARDEN. Misty walked up to it, positioned her sword low in front of her between the zombie’s legs, and jerked it violently upward, slicing the ex-warden in half from crotch to head. Blood flew everywhere.

They went upstairs. On the second floor, three passages branched off. The middle one was labeled “To Guard Tower.”

“Guess we can try it,” said Dani. The stairs to the guard tower took them outdoors again. On the way up, two zombies rushed them. Rania cut one’s head off with her dagger. Dani simply grabbed the other and threw it off the stairs to its death. They reached the top and looked down – and gasped. Hundreds and hundreds of zombies were on the ground around them.

“This must be the whole fucking town,” groaned Misty, yanking her black hair in frustration. “How are we ever going to deal with THAT many?”

Rania’s dark brown eyes suddenly lit up. In the tower, bolted to the floor, was a 7.62mm machine gun. “With that,” she said excitedly. Misty and Danielle turned to look and their eyes lit up too.

Rania took aim and opened fire, mowing zombies down by the dozens. She let out a high-pitched warrior cry as she pumped hundreds of bullets into the helpless creatures.

“Hey, I want a turn,” said Misty.

“Me too,” Danielle piped up.

Rania reluctantly stepped away from the gun. Misty jumped forward into position. Dani gave her a dark look.

“Well, I *did* ask first,” said Misty.

“Fine,” sighed Dani. “Just leave some for me.”

Misty began slaughtering zombies, laughing sadistically as she cut them down. When her bloodlust was finally satiated, Dani took over. She machine-gunned zombies until the weapon clicked empty.

“Only twenty or thirty left now,” grinned Rania. “Let’s finish ’em off and go home.” The others grinned too, but all of their smiles turned to frowns when a gunshot rang out and a bullet slammed into the wall six inches from Danielle’s brunette head. All three girls dropped to the floor as fast as they could.

“Don’t tell me zombies can shoot guns now!” Misty growled.

Rania, peeking through a gap in the tower wall, spotted a uniformed man on the next roof over. He was armed with a sniper rifle and was taking aim again. A split second later, another bullet crashed into the wall above them.

“Nope, it’s a man!” said Rania. She drew her crossbow and inserted an arrow. She waited for the sniper to fire another bullet, then, as he was working the bolt on his rifle, popped up and fired a quick but expertly aimed shot. The arrow nailed him right in the heart.

“Looks like we’re starting to find the real evil here,” said Danielle coldly. She gripped her battle axe tightly. “This is going to be even more fun than killing zombies.”

The girls swiftly made their way down the stairs, on the alert for any more snipers. Re-entering the main prison building, they rounded a corner…and almost bumped into three men in camoflauge uniforms.

The men had guns and tried to draw them, but the sexy women were much too quick for them. Misty impaled one right through the center of his chest with her sword. Danielle raised her axe high over her head and brought it down with tremendous force onto another man’s skull, splitting it in half. The third man tried to run, but Rania shot him in the kneecap with her crossbow. With a cry of agony, he fell to the floor. Danielle and Misty dropped their medeival weapons and each picked up a pistol from a dead man. They pointed them straight at the third man’s head.

Rania re-shouldered her crossbow and smiled wickedly at the thug. “All right, asshole, now you’re going to give us some answers,” she snarled.

His only response was to spit and growl, “Fuck all you cunts.” Rania looked around and noticed a loose brick on the ground. She picked it up and tossed it into the air, then unleashed an ultra-powerful palm strike into it, pulverizing the brick into hundreds of tiny pieces. The man began trembling in fear. How could such a slim and beautiful girl be that strong and lethal?

“Don’t let my slender body fool you,” she said with a cold smirk. “My body is perfect for three things: fucking, torturing, and killing, and you’re only going to be the recipient of the last two. If you don’t start talking, I’ll do a palm strike on your arm. Care to have your arm bone end up like that brick? Then I’ll keep doing them until you start talking or run out of bones to break, whichever comes first.”

Instead of answering, the man bit down on something, then keeled over, choking and turning purple. Rania recognized the scent of bitter almonds. “A cyanide capsule.”

“Wow,” said Dani. “Whatever it is they’re hiding, it must be big.”

“Let’s keep going,” said Misty. “We can capture another one and make sure to get rid of his cyanide capsule. Then we can make him talk, and then we can kill the fucker.”

“A good plan,” came a smooth and refined voice from behind them. “Too bad you’ll never have the chance to implement it.” The distinct sounds of a pistol being cocked and a shotgun being pumped accompanied the voice. The girls all groaned, disgusted with themselves for getting caught with their pants down.

“Yeah,” sneered another, rougher voice. “Now drop your weapons.” Having no choice, the girls obeyed.

“Now turn around,” said the smooth voice. The girls did so and saw two men standing there. One was an average-sized guy in a white lab coat, armed with a pistol. The second was a big man in camoflauge, carrying a shotgun.

“You young ladies certainly are amazing,” the man in the lab coat said in his smooth voice. “I never thought you’d kill so many zombies. But it doesn’t matter. You’ve reached the end of the road.”

“Who are you?” said Rania.

“My name is Dr. Birkenstein. This here is my captain of mercenaries, Mr. Pike. I and my associates are entrepreneurs.”

“And just how the fuck does that work out, with you and your zombie army?” Misty demanded.

“Such bad language. Naughty naughty,” Birkenstein chuckled. “But seeing as how you’re going to die anyway, I don’t mind telling you. I have created a virus that turns people into zombies. I tested it on this town and it worked spectacularly. I’m going to unleash it on several more towns, then sell the antidote to the government for the very reasonable sum of $1,000,000,000.”

“You fucker,” said Dani.

“Watch it, bitch,” growled Pike in his rough voice, pointing his shotgun at her.

Rania, despite being scared, was thinking hard, her mind spinning like a top. “You isolated this town for your little ‘experiment.’ You probably have a device that jams cell phone signals, right?”

“Indeed I do. Smart brunette. I also have another machine that produces a chemical fog. Not only does it reduce visibility, it also prevents any motor vehicle’s engine from starting.”

“I figured it was something like that. But if you wanted this town so isolated, why not keep us out? You sounded like you were expecting us.”

Birkenstein chuckled again. “You may think I’m a greedy bastard, but money isn’t my only love. I also enjoy watching girls fight monsters in horror movies. Then I realized that I’d have the opportunity to do something even better when I created the zombies. I’d be able to watch girls fight monsters in real life. A little side experiment, if you will. So with the help of a familiar face, I lured you in here.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Misty.

The doctor called out behind him. “Please step forward now.”

Another man appeared. He was short and wore glasses. He was… “LARRY?!” said all three girls, their mouths dropping open.

Larry sneered evilly. “That’s right, bitches, it’s me.”

“But WHY?” cried Danielle.

“I read your diary,” said Larry. “I knew you were going to dump me. Well, no one dumps me and gets away with it. So I decided to get revenge.”

“You read her diary?” said Rania. “Sheesh, you were an asshole even before you did all this.” Larry gave her the finger.

Danielle was seething with rage. “You COCKSUCKER!” she screamed. “You faked your own death and let me get all emotional over it! You made me risk my life trying to ‘save’ you! I can’t believe I ever thought of you as boyfriend material! I’m going to rip your fucking head off and shove it up your ass!”

“You ain’t in no position to do that, cunt,” Larry snapped, but there was fear in his voice. He turned to the other two men. “Let’s finish them off.”

“Yes, let’s,” said Birkenstein. “For all the trouble you’ve caused us, you’re going to be eaten alive by zombies. We’re just going to leave you here and let in a whole bunch of z…” He paused, considering something. “You know, I don’t want to take the chance of you girls using your martial arts skills and actually beating the zombies. You’re just a little *too* good. Pike, go get some rope and tie them up.”

“Yes, boss,” said Pike. He handed off his shotgun to Larry and hurried down the hall, reappearing a few moments later with several lengths of rope. Approaching Rania from behind, making sure to stay out of the line of fire, he prepared to tie her first.

Rania noticed that while Birkenstein was still covering them with his pistol, Larry was simply holding the shotgun and not aiming it at them. She tilted her head slightly, signaling Misty and Danielle to be ready.

Rania struck with lightning speed. She whirled around and grabbed a shocked Pike, then threw him over her shoulder in a classic judo throw. Pike flew through the air and crashed right into Dr. Birkenstein. Both men went down in a tangled heap of arms and legs. The doctor’s pistol went flying across the room. Dani and Misty leapt into action with the skill and speed of elite commandos. Misty raced towards the pistol, while Danielle did a roundoff followed by a series of back handsprings directly at her ex-boyfriend.

Larry had just been standing there, thinking his comrades had everything under control. When Rania launched her sudden attack, he was taken completely by surprise. Now, seeing his stunning but furious ex-girlfriend backflipping at him at lightning speed, he froze like a deer in the headlights. Finally he began raising the shotgun, but it was too late. Dani kicked him with both feet as she backflipped right into him, knocking him to the floor and sending the shotgun sailing. Landing perfectly on her feet, Danielle picked up the shotgun and aimed it right at Larry’s head. Meanwhile, Misty had picked up Birkenstein’s pistol and was now pointing it at the doctor and Pike, who were sitting up and groaning.

“Well, well, well,” smirked Rania in triumph. “Looks like the tables have turned.” She walked over to her crossbow. Picking it up, she inserted an arrow and aimed it at the doctor.

“Now now, let’s be reasonable,” said Birkenstein. His voice was still smooth like a used car salesman’s, but there was an element of fear in it as well. “If you let us go ahead with the plan, we can cut you in on the profits. Ten million dollars each. Doesn’t that sound nice? You can have everything you ever wanted. Isn’t that a lot better than viol…”

He was interrupted by Misty, who walked over to him and kicked him in the stomach so hard that he doubled over and began dry-heaving. “Nah, I like violence better,” she said.

“Then go ahead and shoot us,” said Pike.

“Oh no. You cocksuckers aren’t getting off that easy,” snarled Rania, backhanding Pike across the face with her gloved fist and grinning when she saw his blood spilled. “Your deaths are going to be much slower and more painful. We’re going to show you the same mercy you would have shown us.” Turning on Birkenstein, she backhanded him too and said, “That was for assuming we’d ever be dumb enough to believe that you’d let us live, much less share in your profits.” The guilty look on the doctor’s face indicated that he had indeed been lying through his teeth.

“And for you,” hissed Danielle, glaring furiously at Larry. “You traitor. You are the most despicable little dick in the history of the universe. I can’t believe anyone would sink as low as you did. The pettiness, the cowardice, the betrayal…” She shook her head. “Let’s beat and stomp these fuckers. This dipshit’s mine.”

“I’ll take the big guy,” said Rania, advancing on Pike.

Misty grinned wickedly and pointed at Birkenstein. “I was hoping you’d be mine.”

The girls tossed their weapons aside and raised their fists. The men climbed to their feet, all trembling in fear. They had been watching the beautiful women go through zombies like a knife through butter and knew that their chances of survival against these lethal martial arts vixens were basically zero.

Misty and Birkenstein approached each other cautiously. The doctor faked a left, then tried swinging a right. But Misty was too fast and too smart for him. She blocked the punch easily with her slender forearm, fired a jab to his cheek with her left, and blackened his eye with her right. Kicking him in the chest to knock him backward and set him up at the perfect distance for one of her specialties, she then unleashed a devastating aerial cartwheel kick on him. Her size 7 boots smashed into his head one after the other, knocking him to the floor. The Asian hottie kicked him in the side three times while he was down, breaking three ribs in rapid succession. She laughed as he howled in pain.

Pike decided to try being the aggressor and charged at Rania. She waited calmly as he rushed closer and closer, then suddenly stepped to the side and smashed her elbow into his head when he reached her. Pike saw stars and before he could recover, Rania slugged him in the gut, then broke his jaw with a high kick to his face. She kneed him in the groin, headbutted him, and finally fired a spin kick into the side of his head, knocking him down.

Larry was trembling in fear. He had neither Birkenstein’s brains nor Pike’s muscles, and unlike the other two, he was facing a bloodthirsty ex-girlfriend. He actually wet his pants like a coward, causing Danielle to break into laughter. “Pussy,” she taunted him. He tried to run away, but Dani caught and tackled him easily. She grabbed him by the hair and pounded his head against the hard floor several times, then turned him over and bitch-slapped him across the face several times with her leather-gloved hands. Soon she turned to punching instead. She first concentrated on his jaw, hitting him again and again until eight of his teeth had been knocked loose. Moving upward, she broke his nose with a single punch. Standing up, she savagely kicked him in the head.

Birkenstein staggered to his feet and was greeted by Misty’s knee being rammed into his midsection with extreme force. This time, instead of dry-heaving, he actually threw up. The petite girl laughed at how strong she was. She pummeled his gut with rapid but powerful punches, then fired a fierce low kick to his nuts. As the doctor screamed like a girl, his hands flying to his wounded family jewels, Misty did a handstand and kicked him in the face. Blood sprayed out as her boots made contact. Liking the effect, she repeated the move. She followed that up by balancing on her right leg and kicking him in the head ten times with her left in a series of machine gun kicks. The final kick knocked him down again.

Rania stomped on Pike’s face as he was down. Cursing in pain, he climbed to his feet, but met no relief, since as soon as he finished standing Rania greeted him with a brutal uppercut. She stepped back a little to be at the right distance for some leg action. She did a low roundhouse kick that broke one of his ribs and a high roundhouse kick that slammed into the side of his head. As he stood there, dizzy, she performed a perfect backflip kick on him, sending him down. Leaping on top of him, she drew back her fist. “My arms may be slim, but check out how toned and veiny they are,” she bragged. Displaying her strength, her punch knocked three of his teeth loose. Two more punches gave both of his eyes shiners.

Danielle, taking out her rage, went into a frenzy of kicking and stomping the downed, helpless Larry. Her kicks battered his skull, broke his ribs, pounded his internal organs, and sent fragments of bone into his lungs. After dozens of kicks and stomps, she did a double knee drop onto his chest, then punched him in the face 20 times in a row. By the time she was finished, her black leather gloves were utterly red and bloodsoaked. Performing a back tuck somersault to launch herself off her victim and back to her feet, Dani began kicking him in the groin. Her relentless barrage of ultra-powerful kicks gradually turned his testicles into unrecognizable paste.

“Finishing time, Doc!” Misty sang out. Birkenstein tried to sit up, but he was in too much pain. His eyes widened in pure fear when he saw the little Asian girl coming at him with her sword in hand. With a smirk, Misty cut off Birkenstein’s arms, then his legs, and left him to bleed to death.

Rania grabbed Pike by his hair, lifting his head. “You’re going to be the next victim of my trademark fatality,” she proclaimed. “I first did this one on the asshole who murdered my sister.” With that, she began kneeing him in the face with extreme strength and speed. Pike’s already bruised face was turned into pulp as her knee smashed into it again and again. After a dozen brutal blows, she prepared a final, ultra-powerful strike to his weakened skull. Her knee drove right through his skull bone, splattering his brains everywhere.

The semi-conscious Larry had seen what had happened to his comrades and literally shit his pants. Dani, standing over him, laughed. “You’re not going to get off as easy as they did,” she snickered. She picked up his bruised and battered body. The slender 120-pound girl was strong enough to carry him easily. Taking him outside, she threw him off the ledge. The two-story fall didn’t kill him, but he broke several bones upon landing, including both his ankles.

Growls came and red eyes appeared in the fog. Larry’s face turned white with horror. Sure enough, zombies appeared, moving towards him hungrily. He tried to crawl away, but he was in too much pain to move. A few seconds later, the zombies were upon him. His screams went on for several minutes as he was slowly eaten alive. Dani watched the scene with satisfaction. Soon all that was left of her ex-boyfriend was the parts the zombies didn’t like. “Burn in hell, cocksucker,” she snarled as she spat down on his remnants.

Rania and Misty joined her on the ledge. “Got it all out?” Rania asked.

“Now I do,” Danielle answered. She put her head in her hands. “I can’t believe I picked such a loser for a boyfriend. And I can’t believe anyone would sink that low. He had this coming.”

“They all did,” said Misty. “That Birkenstein must have no soul, doing what he did. And the same for the mercenaries who went along with him.”

“We stopped him. That delusional scientist got stopped by three teenage girls. I hope that was the last thing running through his mind before he died,” said Rania. She shook her brunette head. “The evil in this world…”

“Well, we still have work to do,” she went on. “There are still zombies left.”

From the safety of the second-story ledge, the girls finished off the remaining thirty or so zombies. Rania used her crossbow, Misty used the shotgun, and Danielle fired a pistol in each hand. When the last zombie fell, the girls looked at each other in satisfaction, then held each other in a tight hug.

A search of the premises revealed the cell phone jammer and the fog machine, both of which they turned off. They then made their way back to the car for the long ride home. To their great relief, the engine started perfectly this time.

They drove out of Paradise Valley and never looked back. The next day, the state police and the FBI swooped in, but found no answers, only questions. Even in death Birkenstein had covered his tracks well. The zombie bodies had decayed into dust and only the bodies of Birkenstein and his men remained. The authorities were never able to solve the mystery of the vanished townspeople. It was a secret that only Rania, Misty, and Danielle would ever know.

THE END

Chase Me Faster

“You’re all set!” said the salesman. “The cabin is yours for a week. Enjoy your vacation, Miss…” He looked at Rania’s last name written on the paper, not sure how to pronounce it.

“Just call me Rania,” she said with a smile in her slight Lebanese accent.

He smiled back. She was quite hot. She had a slender and athletic body, standing at 5’8″ and 125 pounds. Her eyes and long hair were both dark brown, and her skin was nicely tanned. Her small, firm breasts looked like 34B’s and she wasn’t wearing a bra. “Enjoy your vacation, Rania.”

“Thank you,” she replied, taking the key he held out to her. She picked up her backpack and headed out to her car.

Rania was a 19-year-old college sophomore. As she drove out to the cabin, she thought about how much she needed this break. A few weeks ago, her sister had been murdered by a man with diplomatic immunity. She had gone through many days of rage and agony before finally being able to team up with three other lethal women and going on a mission to kill the murderer and avenge her sister’s death.

She now had peace in her dreams, but when she had returned to college she had discovered that the contrast between being a female commando/assassin and sitting in a lecture hall was just too great. But perhaps a vacation, she had decided, would help her settle back into her regular life. She had rented an isolated cabin for a week, many miles away from civilization. It would be perfect, she had thought.

After an hour of driving, the road, which had changed from paved to dirt long ago, ended in a pile of loose rock. Rania parked her car and put on her backpack. It would be a four-mile hike from here to the cabin. Just her, all alone, for a week. Or so she thought…

U.S. Department of State Agent Bender sat at his desk, smoking a cigar. The corrupt agent grinned as he read the email offering him a large sum of money in exchange for allowing a terrorist group to smuggle weapons into the United States. This kind of deal was very familiar to him. He typed a quick reply agreeing to the deal and had just clicked ‘Send’ when the door to his office opened and his aide, Tim, entered, carrying a piece of paper.

“You’re supposed to knock,” said Bender.

“Sorry, boss, but I think you’ll be really excited to see this,” Tim replied, handing him the paper.

As he read it, his eyes indeed widened in excitement. Bender had been the agent who had protected the murderer who had killed Rania’s sister from having any chance of being stripped of his diplomatic immunity. He had done it partly out of greed, as he had been paid a large sum for that, but also because he had a domineering mother and an ex-wife who made more money than he did. He was jealous and resentful towards strong women and in his mind, helping people with reactionary, Stone Age views towards women, such as Islamic extremists, made perfect sense.

When Rania had come to meet with him, Bender had sassed her and treated her disrespectfully. He thought he had won, but when the murderer (and a large army of his henchmen) had mysteriously turned up dead, he knew she had been responsible and became enraged. To him, it was a slap in the face, an insult to his manhood, and he couldn’t let that stand. He wanted revenge on her, and waited for his opportunity. Now, it seemed to be literally within his grasp, as he read the paper again. “So she’s going to be all alone at that isolated cabin for a whole week? No witnesses, no help, out in the woods where ‘accidents’ can happen very easily?” Bender grinned evilly and looked at his aide. “You know what to do. Get a team together.”

“Yes, boss,” said Tim, taking out his cell phone as he left the office.

Rania smiled as the cabin appeared in the distance. The four-mile, mostly uphill hike was a little tiring even for someone with her fit, muscular body. She unlocked the door, tossed her backpack on a table, and looked around. The cabin was small and cozy, with a bedroom, bathroom, and combination living/dining room. A stove was at the far end of the dining area. The living area was decorated with a painting of a waterfall on one wall and a large moose head over the fireplace.

She quickly unpacked the few things she had brought. A low-maintenance, tomboyish girl, Rania liked to travel light. When she was finished, her attention was drawn to a large trunk in one corner. Curious, she opened it and found a longbow and a quiver of arrows. “Hunters must use this place sometimes,” she thought. She picked up the bow and tested it. It had a heavy draw weight, but thanks to her slim but strong arms she was able to handle it without trouble. “Maybe I’ll play around with this sometime,” she thought. Rania had taken archery lessons when she was a younger girl and had done quite well.

The dingy, smoky bar was a popular hangout for mercenary types and general thugs and buffoons. Tim sat at a table with six rough-looking mercenaries. He handed Zeke, their leader, a large envelope. “Here’s the advance payment,” he said. “$50,000. You’ll also find maps and all the other information you need in there. You’ll get the other $200,000 when the job’s done. Oh, and the boss asked me to tell you that if you want to have some fun with the target before you finish her, he strongly encourages it. When you see her picture in there, I’m sure you’ll like the idea.”

The mercenary leader grinned evilly. “Well, ol’ Zeke always likes to have fun with his chow before eatin’ it, don’t he, boys?” he chuckled. Loud laughter came from the group. “Don’t worry, we’ll get her done, and get her done right.”

The black SUV pulled up to the end of the road and the six mercenaries got out. One of them looked at Rania’s bright red sedan. “Nice ride,” he said. “Who wants to roshambo to see who gets it after we kill her?”

“We can talk about that later, Ormsby,” said Zeke. “Right now, we have a job to do.” The thugs readied their weapons. Three carried Uzi submachine guns, and two had M-16 assault rifles. Zeke had a 12-gauge shotgun and a .45 pistol. They headed up the trail towards Rania’s cabin.

Rania was hiking in the woods, at peace and not yet aware of the danger that was targeting her. Suddenly, she heard heavy footsteps and deep voices off in the distance. Her sixth sense caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand up. She hid behind a tree and peered through the greenery.

She saw six men in camoflauge clothing, slowly coming closer. At first she thought they were hunters, but then she noticed what kind of weapons they were carrying. Assault rifles and submachine guns, things that no legitimate hunter would carry. A chill ran down her spine. These men were coming to murder someone, and the only someone here was HER.

She thought about what to do. The men were between her and the road, and there was nothing but wilderness in every other direction. But the men had no idea she had seen them. They would go straight to the cabin. If she just circled around and headed for the road through the forest, she could escape. It would be a difficult trek off the trail, but she had a compass. She could get to her car. She would be safe.

Rania moved back through the woods silently. She had enough of a head start to get back to the cabin, grab essential supplies, and hide in the trees before the men got there. She hurried inside the cabin and grabbed food and water. The compass was already in her pocket. She then went over to the chest and took out the bow and arrows. She was glad someone had left them here. If worse came to worse, she wouldn’t be helpless.

Scurrying out the back door, Rania darted into the woods. She made good progress despite the thick trees, checking the compass periodically to make sure she was heading towards the road. The sound of voices and footsteps drifted to her again. She stopped to look and saw the men marching towards the cabin, guns slung over their shoulders. She turned in the direction of the road again, then paused, staring at their guns. The men were about 200 yards away. And three of them had submachine guns and one had a shotgun – weapons that were ineffective at that distance. But her longbow wasn’t.

A wave of anger began building up inside her. These men were coming to murder her, and if she ran away, they would probably get away. She didn’t want to let that happen. She wanted to kill them, but not before finding out who hired them. She was sure it had something to do with her killing the diplomat who had murdered her sister. “I’m tired of running,” she thought to herself.

But did she really want to do this? “Safety,” came the voice of caution inside her. “Protect yourself. Run away. You can get to your car. You can escape.”

“No,” said Rania, covering her mouth when she realized she had spoken out loud. She looked at the men. They hadn’t heard a thing. “No,” she thought. “Not escape. Vengeance.” She took out her bow and inserted an arrow.

She took aim at the man at the back and let the arrow fly. It whizzed through the air…and embedded itself in a tree trunk one foot away from him. “Fuck,” she thought to herself. “Dammit, Rania, you’re out of practice. You’re not as good as you once were.” She thought she was in deep shit now. Maybe she should have run away. But…

Collins, one of the mercenaries, paused. “What was that whizzing sound?”

“Must have been a wasp buzzing by,” said Ormsby. “Damn woods are crawling with those things.”

“Come on, time’s a-wasting,” said Zeke. “Let’s keep moving, men.”

As the men moved on, Rania sighed in relief. She drew another arrow and aimed at the same man. She knew she had shot slightly to the left the first time and adjusted her aim accordingly. This time, the arrow sailed through the air and drove itself with cruel force right into the center of his back. The power of the longbow sent the arrow right through the body armor he was wearing and straight into his heart. His corpse slumped to the ground.

The heavy boots the men were wearing made loud crunching sounds as they walked through the fallen leaves. None of the five remaining men heard their comrade fall. Rania smiled grimly at her luck. Inserting another arrow, she fired at the next man. Again an arrow drove right through body armor and into soft male flesh. The mercenary fell, but just before he died, he let out a faint cry of pain.

Collins, who was walking just ahead of him, whirled around. His eyes widened in shock as he saw two of his comrades dead on the forest floor. His shout echoed through the woods like a trumpet. “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!!” All four mercenaries whipped out their guns and began shooting wildly.

“FUCK!” cursed Rania. One of the survivors had a rifle. As his weapon had the longest range, Rania fired her next shot at him. The arrow slammed into his thigh and the man fell, screaming in pain and dropping his weapon.

Ormsby realized the futility of using his Uzi at that range. He dropped it, picked up the wounded man’s assault rifle, and began shooting. Collins picked up the second M-16 from beside one of the dead men and began firing as well. Outgunned, Rania had no choice but to retreat. She darted off in the direction of the road, swearing loudly at every tree in her way.

“After her!” bellowed Zeke. “We have to stop her before she gets to the cars!”

“Reddington’s hit,” said Collins, bending over the wounded man. “He can’t move. I’ll stay here with him and…”

“No,” said Zeke. “We need maximum firepower concentrated on her. I don’t want to take chances with just two on one.”

“We can’t just leave him here,” Collins argued. “He’s losing a lot of blood. We have a real serious problem…”

Zeke drew his pistol and executed Reddington with a shot to the head. “Problem solved. Now let’s fucking MOVE.” He raced after Rania, Ormsby right on his heels. Collins stared at Reddington’s corpse for a second, then ran after the other two, shaking his head.

Rania ran through the woods as fast as she could, compass in one hand and longbow in the other. She could hear heavy footsteps pounding behind her. Occasionally, a burst of gunfire would rip through the leaves. She rounded a large tree…and suddenly came face-to-face with Zeke and his shotgun, which was aimed right at her head.

“Uh-oh,” said Rania.

Ormsby and Collins came up from behind, each aiming an M-16 at Rania’s slender back.

Zeke smirked evilly. She was even hotter than her picture had indicated. He was going to enjoy raping her before he killed her.

“I don’t suppose we can talk about this?” offered Rania in a small voice.

Zeke’s response was to whack her in the face with his gun. She cried out in pain. She raised her right hand to touch her bleeding face and flipped Zeke off with the middle finger of her left.

Zeke sneered. “You’d better watch the attitude, girlie. We have all the guns here.”

“Yeah,” said Ormsby. “Now drop that bow of yours.” Having no choice, she let her weapon drop.

“Now drop your pants, bitch,” snickered Zeke.

“WHAT?!” growled Rania.

“We’re going to gang-rape you, you hot little Lebanese cunt,” said Zeke, laughing loudly. “You have such a fit and slim body, I bet your pussy is real tight. I’m boss, I get first fuck.”

Ormsby turned to Collins. “I’ll roshambo you to see who gets second fuck.” He held out his hand to do rock-paper-scissors.

Collins had steadily been growing more and more outraged at the actions of his comrades. He had become a mercenary because he expected to be shooting bad men. He hadn’t signed up for executing his own side or raping a teenage girl.

“Roshambo this,” he snapped. With that, he kicked Ormsby right in the groin. Ormsby fell to the ground, clutching his wounded family jewels. Collins then began aiming his assault rifle at Zeke, but the mercenary leader was faster. Zeke blasted Collins with his shotgun. Collins dropped dead to the ground, a gaping hole in his head.

Rania moved with lightning speed. She tackled Zeke before he could aim at her. Her training and athleticism allowed 125-pound Rania to take down 200-pound Zeke. His shotgun went flying as the Middle Eastern beauty landed on top of him. Her fist shot out and nailed his jaw with a vicious punch, stunning him.

Ormsby, still on the ground, reached for his rifle. Rania snatched Zeke’s .45 out of his holster and shot Ormsby twice in the chest. Ormsby cried out in pain, but continued to move towards his M-16. Rania realized he was wearing body armor under his camoflauge clothing. Her arrows must have gone right through the armor of the men she had killed earlier.

Rania began aiming the pistol at Ormsby’s head, but suddenly Zeke punched her in the face. With a curse, she involuntarily dropped the gun, which bounced away down a slope. Zeke rolled his heavy body on top of Rania’s petite one. “Just where I like to be, on top of a pretty woman,” he sneered. His breath reeked of tobacco. He punched her again, his big fist smashing into Rania’s right eye, turning it black. Meanwhile, Ormsby, groin-hurt and crawling, had almost reached his assault rifle.

Rania was not going to go down quietly. She headbutted Zeke, hard, then thrust her body upwards, throwing him off of her. She swiftly kipped up to her feet. Zeke growled, but she shut him up with a kick to his head.

Ormsby had reached his rifle. Picking it up, he began aiming at Rania. She saw the danger and threw her athletic body into a dazzling sideways aerial cartwheel. Several bullets flew safely between her wide-spread legs as she was upside down. Rania landed elegantly and picked up Zeke’s shotgun. She aimed at Ormsby…

Ormsby aimed his rifle at her…

Click.

Click.

Both weapons were empty. Ormsby ejected the empty magazine and reached for a fresh one in his vest pocket.

Rania had noticed the box of shotgun shells in Zeke’s pocket earlier. She bent down and snatched the box. The shells had to be loaded one by one, but one was all she needed. She finished loading her single shell just before Ormsby finished reloading his weapon. Pumping the shotgun one-handed, she blew Ormsby’s head off. Her heart beating fast with triumph, Rania turned back to finish dealing with Zeke.

He was no longer there. “Oh, shit,” said Rania. Sure enough, a split second later Zeke crashed into her from behind, tackling her to the ground. His eyes burning with rage, he began choking her as he lay on top of her.

Losing air fast, she put all her remaining strength into a punch. The blow hit Zeke squarely on the nose, breaking it. As his blood began flowing, his hands flew to his injured nose. Rania breathed in a deep lungful of air, then threw her opponent off of her just like she had done earlier.

She stood up and kicked him in the side as he was down, cracking one of his ribs. A second, well-aimed kick to the same spot broke the rib completely. A third kick cracked another rib. As Rania drew her leg back for a fourth kick, Zeke suddenly tripped her. Rania began falling…and turned the motion into a back handspring, landing perfectly on her feet. Zeke, who had been about to laugh, scowled in fury instead.

She laughed at him. The mercenary leader, holding his battered ribs in pain, stood up slowly. Rania, on the other hand, was much faster. She performed a front tuck somersault towards him, landing right in front of his face. She punched him in the eye, giving him a nice shiner. “That black eye’s payback for mine, dirtbag,” she snapped. She pummeled him in the stomach several times with her fists, then rammed her knee into it. Zeke gasped for breath and felt like puking. Rania turned sideways, then suddenly elbowed him in the head. As stars appeared in his eyes, she side kicked him in the chest. She then roundhouse kicked him in the side of his head, sending him flying. His back crashed into a tree trunk.

With her victim pinned against the trunk, Rania balanced on her left leg and fired lightning-fast high kicks from her right into his face. Blood and teeth flew as she kicked the crap out of him. Finally, she paused, blew him a kiss, and performed a spin kick. Her boot slammed into his head, knocking him down and out.

When Zeke woke up a few minutes later, he saw Rania standing over him. She was now wearing his .45 pistol on her slim right hip. She smiled down at him coldly. Grabbing him by the hair, she yanked him up to a kneeling postion. “Now it’s time for a little Q and A,” she announced. “Be thankful I’m going to be generous. If you cooperate, I won’t shoot you. Who hired you?”

He spat at her. Rania rammed her knee into his face. Droplets of blood stained her pants. “Now, who the fuck hired you?” she demanded.

“Fucking bitch,” he said, spitting again, but spitting blood this time. Rania kneed him in the face three times in rapid succession, putting a little more strength into each successive blow.

“I kneed a guy’s skull in once,” she said. “I can do it again.” She began raising her knee.

“No!” cried Zeke. “Enough! I give! This guy named Tim hired us. He’s with the State Department.”

“State Department. Those traitors. I knew it,” Rania muttered.

“Now that I know who it is, I know why,” she said. “This Tim guy, was he the big boss? Or was he working for someone?”

“He was working for a guy named…”

“…Bender,” Rania finished, remembering the rude State Department agent who had sassed her after her sister was killed.

Zeke gasped. “How the fuck did you know?”

“That’s not important. Anyway, I’m asking the questions here. Now, you guys look well-equipped. Cell phones don’t work out here, but I assume you have some method of communication that does?”

“I have a satellite phone,” Zeke admitted.

“Good,” said Rania. “Now, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to call Bender and Tim and tell them the mission was successful. You’re going to have them meet you in an isolated location to pay you whatever they haven’t paid you yet. And you’re going to give a very good and very convincing performance, because if you don’t, I will blow your brains out.” She tapped her .45 threateningly.

The mercenary leader trembled in fear. “If I do this, do you promise you won’t shoot me?”

“You have my word of honor as a lady,” Rania answered.

“All right. The phone’s in my pocket.”

“Take it out. Slowly.”

Zeke took out his phone and began dialing. “Hey, Tim, it’s Zeke. Mission went off without a hitch. We capped the bitch and made sure to fuck her good before bumping her off. Where can we meet to get the rest of the money? I want someplace more isolated than the mercenary bar. Don’t want those other guys getting their greedy eyes on the green.”

There was a pause as Tim responded, then Zeke said, “It’s settled then. Over and out.”

He turned to Rania. “Pretty convicing, huh? Tim and Bender will be at the third bench on the north side of the pond in Snowmane Park in Washington DC, at noon the day after tomorrow.”

“Good job,” said Rania. Zeke sighed in relief.

“And now, it’s time for you to die,” she added.

Zeke wet his pants. “What?! But you promised you wouldn’t shoot me!”

“I know. I’m going to break your neck.” With that, Rania wrapped her slender but muscular thighs around his neck and twisted her boyish hips 180 degrees, killing him.

She spat on the corpse. “You were going to gang-rape me and you expect me to let you live? Fucker.” She spat on Ormsby’s corpse too, then knelt by Collins’ corpse and covered it neatly with leaves. “Thanks for saving me,” she whispered. “Rest in peace. The rest of you mercenaries, burn in hell.”

Rania felt her heart rate slowly return to normal. She was safe now, but she still had a job to do. Before heading back to her car, she looked through the mercenaries’ packs. Among other things, she discovered several small land mines. An idea popped into her head.

Rania stood in the Washington DC park, hiding behind a tree and waiting for Bender and Tim to show up. She rolled up her sleeve and looked at her watch. Sure enough, right at noon, the two men appeared. They walked towards the bench they had indicated. Closer…closer…she waited until one of them stepped in just the right place…

Tim stepped on a mine. It was well-buried and he didn’t notice.

Rania leapt out from behind her tree and aimed the .45 she had appropriated from Zeke at them. “Freeze, assholes!”

Both men stared in shock. “YOU!” shrilled Bender. “How the fuck did you…Where the fuck’s Zeke?! He said…”

“Never mind that. The important thing is that I’ve planted land mines all around here. When you step on one, as soon as you step off it’ll blow you to kingdom come. So hold really still and listen very carefully.” Bender and Tim trembled in fear. They both nodded.

“You,” she growled, pointing an elegant finger from her left hand at Bender. Her right was still aiming the .45. “You’re a big cheese at the State Department. You’re corrupt and you know who else is corrupt. Give me the names of every corrupt agent you know. If you refuse, I’ll kill you. If you cooperate, I promise I won’t shoot you or make you step on a mine.”

“You swear to it?” asked Bender.

“You have my word of honor as a lady,” Rania answered.

“Okay,” said Bender. He began rattling off names, which Rania committed to her excellent memory.

“That’s the last of them,” said Bender. “Now remember your promise.”

“Oh, I will,” cooed Rania. She smiled wickedly…and shifted her aim and shot Tim in the head. She then holstered her pistol and began backflipping away, doing back handspring after back handspring in rapid succession.

Suddenly realizing where the mine must be, Bender grabbed Tim’s corpse, trying to keep his weight on the mine. “YOU DIRTY BITCH!” he roared. “Motherfucking cunt! I’ll get you for this! Gaaaahh!”

Bender struggled. He held Tim’s weight on the mine for as long as he could. His muscles burned with agony, but that was nothing compared to the pure terror in his mind, with the knowledge that he was going to die and there wasn’t a fucking thing in the universe he could do about it.

It may have been his body that gave in first. It may have been his mind. But whatever it was, Tim’s corpse slipped loose from Bender’s grasp and both men blew up in a spectacular explosion.

Rania, watching from the trees, smiled grimly. “Vengeance is mine,” she said in triumph. She then whipped out a notebook and wrote down the names of the corrupt agents that she had memorized.

THE END

Immunity, Part 2

Abby picked the lock of the mansion’s back door and she and Natalie slipped inside. They cleared the rear first-floor rooms quickly, finding only two guards along the way. Abby cleanly decapitated one with her sword. Natalie shot the other from behind in the hand with a poisoned arrow. He was down and foaming from the mouth within two seconds.

Rania and Angela split up as they began going through the rooms on the front side of the first floor. Angela went through empty room after empty room until she finally came to one where three men were playing cards for money and drinking whiskey. Three AK-47s were piled on the floor near them. “Dirty hypocritical bastards,” she thought to herself. “These politically connected types make laws against drinking and gambling that oppress the regular people, then break the laws themselves because they can get away with it.” She was going to enjoy killing these fuckers.

Angela, unnoticed by the men, stepped through the doorway and killed one man with a perfectly aimed throw from her dagger that sent the blade right into his right eye. Before the other men could go for their assault rifles, she was upon them, launching her muscular body through the air in a flying kick. Her booted foot impacted the second man and he in turn was knocked into the third man, sending both of them down. She swiftly finished the second man with a kick to his neck, breaking it. The third man, dizzy, sat up, his back to her. She knelt down and grabbed him in a choke hold from behind, her tanned and toned arm cutting off his air. Her muscles bulged as the athletic blonde vixen choked her helpless victim to death. When he was gone, she did a back walkover to get back to her feet, then casually pulled her dagger out of the first man’s eye and wiped the blood off on his shirt before resheathing it.

The lethal beauty continued her rampage. When she rounded a corner and almost bumped into two guards, Angela simply reached out and used her superhuman wrist strength to snap both men’s necks one-handed. Moving on, she again almost bumped into a guard. She dealt with this one by performing an ultra-powerful backflip kick on him. The kick was so strong that it not only broke his neck, but nearly decapitated him as well. The corpse’s head was now loosely attached to the body at an odd angle.

Rania, after going through several small rooms that were empty, heard voices speaking in Arabic coming from a larger room. She paused and listened. Several voices were ranting about their desire to kill “the infidels.” What surprised her, however, was a female voice among them speaking the same words encouraging violence.

Rania quietly opened the door – and found herself staring directly into the face of a guard who had been standing there. Though both of them were equally surprised, Rania reacted faster. She punched him in the jaw with all her strength, knocking him to the plush carpet. She then bent down, wrapped her slender but muscular thighs around his neck, and twisted her slim, boyish hips 180 degrees, snapping his neck. She looked up. The others were so engaged in their angry conversation that they hadn’t noticed her silent kill.

She drew her silenced 9mm and let out a soft whistle. Four heads, three male and bearded and one female and headscarfed, looked up at her. She began shooting them, one perfectly aimed bullet to the heart for each. Rania had killed the three men and was about to kill the headscarfed woman when she suddenly cried out in broken English, “Please no kill me! Me victim of bad men!”

Rania looked at her coldly. “I might believe that…if I didn’t speak Arabic,” she said, emphasizing her Lebanese accent. The woman’s eyes widened in panic and a dark spot appeared on the crotch area of her ankle-length dress. She had wet herself. Rania, shaking her brunette head in disgust, did a vicious crescent kick to the woman’s face that knocked her to the carpet face first. She then finished her victim with five swift kicks to her head from her heavy boots. Blood and brain matter flowed from the mutilated skull. “That was for all the REAL victims of bad men!”

Suddenly, she heard soft footsteps padding up behind her. She whirled around, gun at the ready, but relaxed when she saw that it was only Angela. “I heard,” whispered Angela, giving Rania a hug. The blonde turned over the body with her boot. “You were doubly right to kill her,” she added.

Rania looked over. Outlined under the dead woman’s dress was a pistol, and near it was the outline of her hand.

Rania and Angela met Abby and Natalie at the bottom of the mansion’s grand staircase. They could see faint lights upstairs, and a crack of light coming from underneath the closed door to what appeared to be a grand ballroom. “Have you checked that out yet?” Angela asked, nodding at the ballroom door.

Natalie and Abby shook their heads. “Take a look and take out the people inside if you can do it quietly and there aren’t too many,” Angela instructed. “Rania and I will go upstairs.”

Abby and Natalie approached the door. “Sounds like a lot of people in there,” whispered Natalie.

“But there’s no way to tell without opening the door and being discovered,” Abby sighed.

“Maybe there’s another entrance. I’ll go around and look for one,” said Natalie.

“Okay. I’ll stay here by the door.”

Meanwhile, Angela and Rania padded silently up the stairs. Two guards were at the top, their backs to the girls. Angela stabbed one in the back, her dagger finding his heart with expert precision. Rania smashed the butt of her shotgun down onto the other’s skull with all her strength, killing him.

They entered the upstairs hallway. “Let’s check all the dark rooms first to make sure there are no suprises,” said Angela. “We’ll save the room with the light for last.”

The first two rooms they tried were empty, but the third contained a pair of guards smoking marijuana. The ladies quietly snuck into the room, unnoticed by the high men. “Hey, fuckers,” said Rania softly in Arabic. The guards whirled in shock and tried to go for the guns in their holsters. The women were much too quick for them, however. Rania reached out with both hands and snapped the first man’s neck. Angela snapped the second man’s neck one-handed.

Rania stared at her companion. “Wow!” she whispered excitedly. “I wish my wrists were strong enough to do that!” She compared her slender forearm with Angela’s thick one.

“Honey, they probably are,” Angela whispered back, ruffling Rania’s long dark brown hair. “You just haven’t tried it yet. C’mon, let’s check the next room.”

Downstairs, Natalie returned to Abby. “Couldn’t find another entrance. I was thinking about slipping back outside and trying to peek in one of the windows.”

“Good idea. We’ve got to get a count of how many people are in that room.”

Upstairs, as Rania and Angela left the room where they had just killed the two weed-smokers, a flash of movement came from their left at the far end of the hall. A guard was there…and he had seen them. He raised the AK-47 he was carrying, but before he could take aim, Rania shot him twice with her silenced pistol. She breathed a sigh of relief as he fell…until in his death spasms his finger jerked the trigger of his weapon. Several bullets went into the ceiling. The sound was incredibly loud. “Uh-oh,” said Rania.

“Never mind that, get ready for a fight,” said Angela. She whipped out her AK-47. Rania drew her shotgun and pumped it one-handed.

At the ballroom door, Natalie was just about to leave when the gunshots were heard. “Uh-oh,” she said.

“Never mind that, get ready for a fight,” said Abby. She removed the suppressor from her high-powered rifle and attached the bayonet in its place. Natalie drew her Uzi. The girls took kneeling positions and aimed at the door.

Two seconds later, the ballroom door burst open and men began pouring out. Abby fired off well-aimed head shots into the men, while Natalie dispatched any Abby didn’t get with short, controlled bursts from her submachine gun. Together the two ladies slaughtered ten men before they stopped coming. The girls then advanced into the room. They stopped and stared when they saw dozens more men inside. “Please!” begged one man in broken English. “We unarmed!”

“That evens the odds then,” said Natalie calmly. “After all, there are only two of us.” She flicked her Uzi to semi-auto and killed the speaker with a single shot to the head.

With animal roars, the rest of the men charged Abby and Natalie. Abby killed five more men with her rifle before it clicked empty. Natalie flicked her weapon back to full auto and cut down several men with a single long burst before it too went dry. “Now we get to the fun part,” said Abby. Bayonet ready, she charged straight at the crowd with a high-pitched warrior cry.

Natalie stayed back as several men rushed her. There wasn’t enough time to reload her gun, but there was just enough to draw her crossbow and fire a single shot into the chest of the man nearest her. The others ran around the dead body and as they converged on her, she got into a fighting stance.

Meanwhile, upstairs, men began pouring out of the room with the light. Bullets from Angela’s assault rifle and slugs from Rania’s shotgun cut them down with brutal efficiency. Although these men were armed, their female opponents’ lethal firearms skills brought them down before any had a chance to shoot.

The flow of men stopped. Angela still had a few bullets left, but she ejected the magazine from her AK-47 and inserted a fresh one with a full thirty rounds. While she was reloading, Rania, her shotgun emptied, kept her pistol trained on the doorway. When Angela was finished, Rania holstered her pistol and swiftly reloaded her shotgun as Angela trained her weapon in turn towards the door.

Angela noticed a grenade attached to the belt of one of the dead men. With a wink, she picked it up, pulled the pin, and tossed it into the room. There was a loud BOOM. Angela and Rania stormed into the now smoke-filled room, guns at the ready. Two men were just standing up dizzily. They had been stunned by the blast, but were not hurt as they had been hiding behind a couch ever since the shooting had started.

Rania let out a hiss when she recognized one of them as Abdul al-Razizi himself. “At last,” she growled. “You murdered my sister. You thought you got away with it because of your diplomatic immunity. But now you’re going to face justice.” Al-Razizi simply glared at her coldly. His assault rifle was on the floor a few feet away. The second man, a big, burly fellow who looked about 6’3″ and 240 pounds, looked at his AK-47, which was on the floor near him.

“Don’t even think about it, asshole,” snarled Angela, aiming her own AK-47 right at his heart. The big man raised his hands in fear.

“Both of you fuckers, kick your weapons away!” Rania ordered. A growl from the slender brunette and a wave of her shotgun spurred both men to obey her. Angela then searched the men while Rania kept them covered. Angela found a revolver in the big man’s pocket and a knife strapped to al-Razizi’s leg. She threw both weapons away as the men cursed in Arabic.

“Who the fuck are you, anyway?” said Angela, addressing the big man. He hesitated, but spoke up when the blonde woman’s finger tightened on the trigger of her AK.

“I’m Salim, chief bodyguard for al-Razizi.”

“Oh, are you now? Well, I’m glad you’re here.”

“Er…why?”

“Because now I have someone to beat to death while my friend Rania here takes care of the asswipe who murdered her sister.”

“Yeah,” growled Rania, her shotgun pointed right at al-Razizi’s head.

“Go ahead, bitch. Shoot me,” spat the murderer.

“Oh, you don’t deserve to die that quickly. I’m going to make you suffer as much as you made Leila suffer.” Rania tossed her weapons aside and raised her fists.

Al-Razizi broke into a grin and advanced on her. “Like a skinny little girl like you can beat me. After I beat you and before I kill you, I’m going to rape you just like I did your sister.” At that, Rania screamed in rage and charged. Angela tossed her weapons away and advanced on Salim.

Meanwhile, down in the ballroom, Abby bayoneted one man in the heart and another in the throat. She stabbed a third man in the center of his chest. As he screamed, she raised her rifle upward, lifting him into the air. He was impaled on her bayonet like a piece of meat on a stick. Holding his weight up with one incredibly strong arm, she drew her sword with the other. She spun her helpless victim around and in rapid succession cut off his legs, his arms, and finally his head with her sword. Dropping the rifle, limbless and headless corpse still stuck on the bayonet, she readied her sword for the other men, who were now all trembling in fear.

Natalie was facing five men. She leapt into the air, splitting her legs and kicking two men in the head. She grabbed two more men and bashed their heads together. An athletic aerial cartwheel kick from her knocked the fifth man down. Four dizzy men were still up. She knocked two down with a crescent kick that struck both their faces. A lethal spin kick to the side of another’s head broke his neck with a sharp CRACK. His falling corpse crashed into the only man currently standing and knocked him down too. She raised her leg over her head in a full vertical split and casually but swiftly smashed it down onto his skull, shattering it and sending blood and brain goo flying all over the place. “There now, three against one, seems a little more fair!” she laughed brightly.

Abby sliced one man in half at the waist with her ultra-sharp sword. Hearing another try to sneak up behind her, she donkey kicked him in the gut, then spun around and cut off his head. Picking another victim, she stabbed him in the heart, then killed another with a powerful roundhouse kick to his head that both cracked his skull and broke his neck. Moving on to another man, she simply cut off both his arms and left him to bleed to death. The remaining men began running away from the sword-wielding vixen in fear. Some of them had wet their pants, and two had soiled themselves. Laughing mockingly, Abby did a tumbling pass towards them, starting with an aerial roundoff and then a set of whip backs. She caught up to them easily.

Rania, charging al-Razizi, suddenly threw herself into a one-handed cartwheel as she got near him. The murderer was unprepared for the unconventional attack and Rania’s boots kicked him hard in the face in rapid succession as she cartwheeled. Before he could recover, Rania had landed neatly on her feet and sent a wicked one-two-three combination of punches into his face. The third punch from the slender but muscular 5’8″, 125-pound girl sent the 6’1″, 190-pound al-Razizi to the floor, hard. “Not bad for a skinny little girl, huh,” she mocked him.

Angela’s 5’7″, 135-pound frame looked very small facing big Salim. Fully confident in her abilities, however, and not afraid in the least, Angela easily dodged two of his attempted punches, then sent a punch of her own right into his nose, breaking it. As he howled in pain and his hands flew upward to his bloody face, she doubled him over with a vicious fist to his solar plexus, straighted him with a powerful uppercut, and finally sent him flying backwards with a kick to his chest.

As Rania approached the downed al-Razizi, he tripped her. The slim Lebanese girl began falling backwards, but used her athleticism and cheerleader training to turn the motion into a standing back handspring, landing perfectly on her feet. Cursing at his failure, al-Razizi stood up and charged her. She expertly stopped his charge by pivoting and firing a side kick into his chest. She then aimed a little higher, doing another side kick into his face. As the diplomat’s right hand flew up to his wounded face, Rania performed a cheerleader-style high kick. Her booted foot smashed his hand against his face, breaking several small bones in his hand. She laughed sadistically as he howled in pain. Moving in close, she rammed her knee into his stomach, then headbutted him hard enough to knock him down again.

Angela did a tumbling pass of a roundoff followed by two back handsprings to bring her close to her opponent. “I’ve studied your culture, if you can even call it that. I know you guys like to do this to your women.” She viciously backhanded him across his face. “Hurts, doesn’t it? Well, this is going to hurt worse.” With that, she delivered two roundhouse kicks to him, one on his left side and one on his right. Each kick broke a rib. While he was rendered helpless by the extreme pain, she moved in close and drove her knee into his groin three times in rapid succession, pulverizing his genitals. She then stepped back slightly and knocked him down with a kick to the face.

Downstairs, one of the men Natalie was fighting heaved himself to his hands and knees. She kicked him in the head with her powerful leg, breaking his neck. “Two against one!” she counted down mockingly. The two remaining men climbed to their feet. A swift side kick to one’s gut sent him doubled over, gasping for breath. The second swung a punch at her elegant face, which she easily dodged. She responded with a lethal palm strike to his face that drove the cartilage from his nose into his brain. She laughed. “Finally, one on one!”

Five men were running away from Abby. As she finished her tumbling pass and caught up to them, she smirked, “Don’t any of you cowards have the balls to face me?” Two men turned around and charged her. She rammed her sword into the throat of one, swiftly pulled it out, and stunned the second man with a quick kick to his face. As he stood there, dizzy, she held out her sword in front of her, positioning it under his crotch. She then raised her sword arm upward. The blade sliced him in half vertically from groin to head. Blood flew everywhere.

The last three men were still running away. Abby hid her sword behind her back by tucking it into her pants. “Hey, guys!” she called out, raising her hands. “I don’t have my big scary sword anymore. Wanna come and fight now?” The men turned. Seeing her empty hands, they ran at her and surrounded her. With a wicked grin and lightning speed, Abby drew her hidden sword, raised it above her head, and spun around like a ballerina, brutally decapitating all three men. “Suckers!” she laughed.

The guard Natalie was facing was now the last man alive in the room. He looked around and trembled in fear upon seeing all the corpses. In desperation, he swung a punch at Natalie’s stomach. Seeing it coming, she tensed her abs. The man screamed in pain as his fist impacted her rock-hard six-pack. Unhurt, Natalie giggled. “Wimp. I’m a girl and I have better muscles than you.” She saw Abby, having slaughtered all her opponents, watching her.

“C’mon, Nat, finish him off. I want to go get something to eat.”

“Yeah, I’m hungry too.” Natalie grinned wickedly at the guard. “This will be quick but painful.” With that, she slammed her left fist into his eye, turning it black, then drove her right into his jaw, breaking it. She did a fierce low kick to his knee, breaking it too and sending him to the floor howling in agony. His howls only got louder when she stomped down hard on his broken knee with her black leather boot, mutilating and grinding down on the bones. She jumped onto him and began punching him in the head with her gloved fists. Blood flew as the slim but lethally strong girl pummeled him, smashing through tissue and bone, cracking and penetrating his skull, and finally bashing his brains in. Thirty punches later, all that was left of his head was a mass of blood, gore, and pieces of bone. Natalie and Abby walked up to each other and gave each other a hug. Both stunningly hot girls were covered with the blood of the helpless enemies they had mercilessly slaughtered.

Looking at the gory scene of death, Abby smirked, “We are so good.”

“Yeah, we’re the best.” Natalie rubbed her toned abs. “C’mon, let’s go upstairs and see how Angie and Rania are doing. Maybe they’re done and we can all go out to eat.”

Angela and Rania were doing just fine. The same could not be said for their opponents, however. Angela peformed a front tuck somersault to take her to the downed Salim. He climbed to his hands and knees as she reached him. She knocked him down again by driving her elbow down onto his head. “Finishing time, honey,” she said in her slight Southern accent. She wrapped her ultra-muscular thighs around his skull and began squeezing. Salim, crying in pain, tried to pry her thighs loose with his hands, but she was far too strong. He thrashed and struggled helplessly, feeling agony and crushing pressure he never thought possible from a woman. Angela squeezed harder. Soon she heard cracking sounds as her opponent’s skull began to give way. Salim’s eyes closed and he went limp. The cracking grew louder. Finally, with a horrible squishing noise, Salim’s skull caved in completely. Bloody goo rolled off of Angela’s thighs.

Meanwhile, Rania was standing over al-Razizi, who was still on the floor and dizzy from the petite girl’s powerful headbutt. She stomped hard on his face with her black leather boot. “That’s for harassing me.” She then began kicking him in the groin with all her strength. The first kick sent searing, white-hot pain through him. By the third kick, he had permanently lost the ability to be a father. By the tenth kick, his gonads were no more than messy paste. “Those were for all the other girls you harassed!”

Al-Razizi was in unimaginable pain and crying like a baby. Rania reached down and lifted him by the hair. As the Lebanese beauty looked straight into his frightened eyes, he began begging for mercy. Rania glared at him with hatred and scorn.

“You want mercy? I bet Leila begged for mercy before you raped her! I bet she begged for mercy before you slit her throat! I’ll show you exactly the same mercy you showed her, asshole!” She dragged him to the nearest wall and placed him against it in a sitting position. He was too wounded to move and could only continue to make feeble pleas to be spared, which Rania ignored.

“This is for Leila,” she said softly. With that, she rammed her knee into his head. Blood flew, splattering on her black pants. Al-Razizi shrieked in agony. Again she drove her knee into him, striking him with expert precision in the middle of his forehead. His cry of pain was fainter this time as he began losing consciousness. She smashed her knee into his forehead again and again, cracking and weakening her victim’s skull. After several blows, he was mortally wounded, blood from his brain oozing out. Rania looked at him with a smirk and prepared one final knee strike, putting every ounce of strength she had into it. Her knee impacted his forehead with devastating force, driving right through the skull bone and deep into his brain. Rania stood up straight, heart pounding, as she looked at al-Razizi’s corpse. “Leila, you are avenged. Justice is done,” she whispered.

Angela came up and gave her a tight hug and a long kiss. “Good work, Rania. How do you feel?”

“I feel like I have closure now. I think I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight.” She looked over at Salim’s mutilated skull. “What did you do to him?”

“Crushed his head with my thighs,” said Angela.

“Wow, you’re so strong,” said Rania admiringly.

“You’re strong too, especially for someone as thin as you. Even most men don’t have the muscle to do what you did.” Angela stroked Rania’s back. “C’mon, let’s find Abby and Natalie.”

“We’re here!” sang out Natalie’s voice as she and Abby entered the room. Natalie looked around. “Looks like you guys did some good work too.”

“Yeah,” said Abby. “We almost tripped over some of the corpses in the doorway. So is everyone finished off?”

“Yep, all the men in the house are dead,” Angela confirmed.

“Great!” said Abby. “Nat and I are really hungry.”

Angela looked startled for a second, then nodded. “I guess we can go out to eat. No one’s going to find these bodies until tomorrow, and we’ll be long gone by then. But we should change first. Luckily we have clean clothes in the Explorer.”

Rania looked down at her clothes, looked at Angela, then at Abby and Natalie. “Sheesh, you guys are COVERED in blood. Angela and I have some, but you two…What did you DO downstairs?”

“To be fair, most of mine I got from Abby when I hugged her,” said Natalie. “She was a machine with that sword of hers.”

Abby, laughing, drew her sword, twirled it, and resheathed it. “Yep! Those guys didn’t stand a chance.”

The women headed out of the mansion, stopping downstairs to look at Abby’s and Natalie’s handiwork in the ballroom. Rania gasped when she saw dozens of corpses. Some had been shot or had their necks broken, but others were decapitated or sliced in half. One corpse, which was armless and lying in a massive pool of blood, had a look of pure terror frozen onto its face.

Angela shook her blonde head in amazement. “There were this many and you did all of them? Wow. I never thought there would be so many. Something must be up. Maybe Danica will know when we get back.” They exited the house, Natalie and Abby walking ahead, already chattering to each other about what they wanted for dinner.

Rania whispered into Angela’s ear. “Are they always this…casual about killing?”

“Yes, they are, pretty much,” Angela whispered back. “They’re natural born assassins.”

“I don’t think that’s the life for me,” said Rania. “I mean, I’m glad I killed al-Razizi, but that was a personal case of revenge. I can’t imagine living the way Nat and Abby do. I’d rather get back to college.”

“That’s perfectly fine,” Angela responded. “The assassin’s life isn’t for everyone. And even if it is your way of life, you don’t have to live it the way those two do. Take me, for example. I’m a professional killer, but I don’t make fun and games out of it.” She paused. “But I want you to know, any time you want to go on another mission with us, you’re more than welcome.”

“Thanks,” said Rania, squeezing Angela’s hand.

After an excellent dinner at one of the fine restaurants in Kurtaria City’s Diplomatic Quarter, the girls boarded the cargo plane for the long journey home. On board, Angela called Danica on the plane’s radio. “Mission accomplished, Dani,” she said with a grin.

“Excellent,” crackled Danica’s voice. “We’ll do the full debriefing as soon as you land.”

It was 2 AM Pacific time when the plane landed at the secret base. Danica was waiting for them as they disembarked. She gave each of the women a hug. “Luckily it’s night so I could sneak onto here,” she said. “I could have scheduled this during my normal off hours but I like to do these as soon after the mission as possible. Feels funny sneaking away from a regular Army base where 99% of the soldiers don’t know about this secret one. Anyway, let’s go into the basement room and you can give me all the details.”

Inside, Angela did most of the talking, summarizing the mission from start to finish. Abby and Natalie occasionally interjected with boastful but true statements of their kills. Rania talked about peronally finishing al-Razizi off. Danica gave her a kiss when she said that. “And so after we made sure there was no one alive in the mansion except us, we went out for dinner, got back on the plane, and here we are,” Angela finished.

“All wrapped up nice and neat,” said Danica.

“Actually, I do have a couple of things,” said Angela. “One, why were there so many men there? And two, will there be any international repercussions over our going to a foreign country and killing a bunch of people?”

“People who had it coming,” said Natalie.

“Agreed, they had it coming,” said Angela. “I was just saying…”

“Anyway, who’s going to know it was us?” Abby asked, interrupting her.

“They could guess, based on what al-Razizi did,” said Rania. “But there’s no proof against us, and frankly, they did have it coming. And not just al-Razizi himself. They were all associating with him. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

Danica raised her hands for quiet. “I can answer both of those issues right now. It seems that the Shah of Kurtaria is a reformer who wants to modernize his country, and the Kurtarian reactionaries don’t like that. Some of them were plotting to overthrow and murder the Shah, and al-Razizi was in on the plot. All of those extra men at his house were conspirators who were to provide muscle for the coup. If the Kurtarian government ever finds out it was us who ‘took care’ of al-Razizi and his men, I’m sure they won’t be anything except very grateful.”

Angela broke into a wide smile. “Wonderful!”

“Would you ladies like a drink before you head off to the airport to catch your flights back home?” Danica asked. “I have some excellent tequila here.”

“I’d love a drink right now!” said Abby.

“Yeah,” added Natalie. “We couldn’t have any booze at the restaurant because alcohol is banned in Kurtaria.”

Danica smiled. “Incidentally, that’s one of the things the Shah is trying to change. He wants to legalize alcohol.”

“Can’t he just make it so?” asked Angela. “He is the Shah.”

“Laws have to go through the Kurtarian parliament, and it’s full of reactionaries,” said Rania. “Democracy in this case is actually a roadblock to freedom. People shouldn’t have democracy unless they’re smart enough for it. In countries where they aren’t, a benevolent dictator is actually better.”

“I’ll drink to that,” said Danica. She poured shots for everyone. “To freedom. True freedom,” she said, raising her glass.

“To a clean and successful mission,” said Angela.

“To victory,” said Abby.

“To kicking some serious butt,” said Natalie.

“To vengeance…and closure. To Leila,” said Rania.

“To Leila,” the others echoed. The girls downed their shots and leaned back, content.

THE END