Blondhilda: The Flensing Hour

My writing buddy, Anchorite, wrote a Blondhilda story. His challenge to me was to take what he'd written and continue it. I accept the challenge! Here is the story.

This is Anchorite's beginning:

Blondhilda focused her warrior’s vision on seeing through the fog as thick as the mystical mists of Niflheim. She made out urban lights in the distance, but these had the warm glow of gaslight rather than the more modern lights of contemporary Midgard. The style of the architecture that she recognized suggested Victorian England, which was an environment that she had not seen since Stanley wrote her into the story of “Blondhilda and Sherlock Holmes in the Case of the Missing Crown Jewels.” She had enjoyed that adventure and remembered how Stanley had told her that she needed to venture out beyond her comfort zone into different genres to build her skill set beyond straightforward hack and slash. She had a great time working with the detective and Stanley assured her that he was a public domain character, so he was well within his rights to team her up with him.

Blondhilda wished that she had the detective’s intellectual prowess as she found herself struggling to place her surroundings into which she had been suddenly thrust. She recognized the Victorian cityscape around her, but her boot heels pressed into damp earth. The headstones and mausoleums provided clear indicators that she stood in a cemetery, but how and why did she end up here? She walked cautiously through the thick fog and stopped when she encountered a shrouded figure that materialized in front of her.

The stranger stepped out of the fog as if walking out from behind a curtain. He had the sallow, desiccated complexion of the undead of Hel’s realm but he was immaculately attired in a three-piece tailored suit with a top hat and woolen overcoat. He had an expression like a rictus grin that reminded Blondhilda of her encounter with a giant shark in “Blondhilda at the Beach” that Stanley wrote as his last summer blockbuster. The stranger removed his top hat and tossed it aside to land on an adjacent gravestone and then gave her a gentleman’s bow. Blondhilda confirmed her judgment when she saw that he had a zombie’s lank, stringy hair but on that same note he had it neatly combed. He rose from his bow and then addressed her with an upper class British accent not unlike that of Sherlock Holmes.

“Greetings, Lady Blondhilda. I am Mr. Cad Cadsworth at your service, the Cadaverous Cad and mascot of Pale Cadaver, the heaviest metal band to come out of Jolly Ole England. I welcome you to my humble abode, although I must apologize for the cold and fog that must surely be taking a toll on you with that little two piece number you got on.”

Blondhilda drew upon her knowledge of English etiquette, primarily drawn from her experience at Apricon UK, Europe’s premiere convention for the Apricot Princess fandom. Stanley had been invited as an honored guest and panelist due to his contribution to the latest bestselling Apricot Princess anthology, and he had kindly let her attend even though he did not write Blondhilda into the story.

“The pleasure is all mine, good sir. I thank you for your hospitality and upon further observation; I see that this cemetery resembles the cover of Pale Cadaver’s ‘Beyond the Grave’ album.”

“You are most observant, milady. I thought that you’d be into the Gothenburg metal scene since you’re of Nordic stock, but I’m honored that you recognize my domain.

“That album is indeed the reason why I summoned you here. You are the avatar and champion of the creative spirit of Stanley Chester Brown and if you will, he is your father. I am likewise the spiritual son of ‘Spotted’ Dick Crandall, the lead singer and songwriter of Pale Cadaver. If you’ll indulge me, Dick created me back when he dreamed of forming the hardest rocking band to ever hit England that needed an appropriately badass mascot. His willpower gave me life, so to speak, and my lovely visage has graced the artwork of every Pale Cadaver album. His fortune and the band’s fortunes are intertwined with mine, so it’s in my best interest to see the band succeed. Are you with me, love?

“Pale Cadaver releases ‘Beyond the Grave’ which is well on track to become the band’s seventh consecutive platinum album and the lead single ‘Concordat of Worms’ has reached number one on the charts, which is a feat that not even the title track from the band’s prior album ‘The Flensing Hour’ could achieve. Your father Stanley Chester Brown is a world renowned author, but to pay the bills he also writes freelance articles for various publications and you cannot fault a man for that. No ma’am, where I take umbrage is that your father, one Stanley Chester Brown, wrote an article for a certain music magazine critically eviscerating my father’s magnum opus. He declared ‘Beyond the Grave’ to be total rubbish, gave it zero out of five stars, and declared it to be by far the worst album of the year.”

Blondhilda noted how Mr. Cadsworth’s temper rose as he told his story and he was on the verge of apoplexy by the time he finished. He reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and removed a white glove that he then threw on the ground in front of him.

“Stanley Chester Brown has hurled a grave insult to Pale Cadaver, and I will have satisfaction on behalf of the band and Spotted Dick himself who is a far greater talent than the brainless hack that Mr. Brown described him as being. As you can imagine, Dick was beside himself and on the verge of collapse to hear of such a vicious review. God bless that one ‘Heather from California’ sent a fan letter that refuted Mr. Brown’s nastier points and expressed her undying love for Pale Cadaver’s most brutal of metal. Heather’s lovely note prevented a total breakdown and it’s always wonderful to have such adoration from the fan base, but I am here to avenge my master’s honor. You see Blondhilda, you are Mr. Brown’s champion and I am Mr. Crandall’s so on behalf of our respective masters we shall resolve this dispute with a duel to the death.”

Mr. Cadsworth extended his right arm to show the inside lining of his long coat and reveal rows of sharp metal objects that gleamed in the moonlight.

“You have your sword, milady, so I need the right tool for this occasion. I have a flensing knife, a deboner, a paring knife … let’s see, ah yes, here’s the perfect one, two of them in fact.”

Mr. Cadsworth removed two wicked-looking meat cleavers from his stash and held one in each hand.

“This ought to do it. These here cleavers will cut right through your delicate flesh. When I’m done with you, I’ll skin you, dress you, and then carve you up. In fact, I have a big hook in my meat locker waiting for you. I can see it now, I’ll start with some liver and onions washed down with a pint of brown ale and then carve you up for chops, steaks, short ribs, and then with that pretty little head of yours I’ll make some blonde head cheese. Waste not, want not, I always say as your bones will be a smashing treat for my bulldog Matilda. The old girl will dine happily tonight.”

Blondhilda drew her sword and took a warrior’s stance. She had no intention of serving as anyone’s dinner. She assessed the situation and noted that with her sword she had the advantage of a longer reach, but Mr. Cadsworth dual-wielded his cleavers and looked well-versed in their use. He was a formidable opponent, but as a warrior of Valhalla, Blondhilda never refused a challenge.

“Have at you, love. I’ll have you know that Jack the Ripper was a rank amateur next to my body count. I’ve flensed many a blonde in my day, and I look forward to one more.”

And here's my ending

Blondhilda put her hand on her hip and tossed her sheet of pale gold hair as Cadsworth crept menacingly toward her. "I'll admit Jack the Ripper was rank, and so are you," she taunted, "but don't think I bother to fight every two-bit challenger who comes along."

At that, Cadsworth lunged, but Blondhilda casually sidestepped, making him overbalance. There was a sharp crack as he tripped, and when he stood again his ulner bone was sticking through his undead flesh at an angle no self-respecting ulner bone would have aspired to. The knife fell from his hand, handle first, into a crack between two paving stones.

Cadsworth cleared his throat and pulled down his cuff, then lunged with the other knife. There was a barren, gray tree above them and Blondhilda sprang lightly into it. She watched Cadsworth as he stumbled over the dropped knife, cutting off much of his right foot and releasing a clot of writhing worms from the bloodless wound.

"Huh, that flensing knife is sharp even if Cadsworth isn't," Blondhilda mused. She settled comfortably against a tree branch."I wonder what 'flensing' means," she said as she turned on the new iPad 2 Stanley had just given her. After a moment, she looked down at Cadsworth.

"Did you say you've 'flensed' many a blonde?"

"Indeed I have," he replied viciously, gathering up his toes with his remaining good hand and putting them in his pocket. "I've ground up their flesh, seasoned it and used their own intestines to make sausages. I have—"

"Yes, yes," Blondhilda interupted, barely looking up from her iPad. "If you could talk a blonde to death, I'd be deader than you by now. I was just wondering if you knew that the Urban Dictionary defines 'flensing' as 'throwing your shoulders back in an effort to hide your man-boobs during sex.'"

Cadsworth staggered back, her words causing him even more pain than his injuries. "No! A flensing knife is a very cool World of Warcraft item. It's also a knife for removing blubber from whales!" He ripped open his shirt. "I don't have man boobs!" he cried. Then he stumbled and sat down heavily upon the business end of the dropped flensing knife. Then he really cried.

Suddenly a heavy metal power chord sang through the air and thundered through the ground. The members of Pale Cadaver magically appeared. Spotted Dick took in the situation immediately, then shook his fist at Blondhilda as the drummer and lead guitarist started swarming up the tree after her. "We'll get you! We're the heaviest metal band around. No one insults us."

Blondhilda leaned over the branch and casually called down to Spotted Dick, even as the two evil-looking men edged toward her. "If you're the heaviest heavy metal band," she asked, "then why are you named Pale Cadaver instead of Copernicum?" She held up her iPad. "The periodic table shows it as the heaviest metal."

The lead guitarist dropped from the tree and turned to Spotted Dick. "That's a good question, mate. That's the name I wanted."

Dick made an impatient noise. "And I told you that Copernicum has a half life of thirty seconds. You think that's a good image for us? Did you want us to be a flash in the pan?"

The drummer dropped out of the tree. "So why didn't we name the band Plutonium 244 like I kept saying? It has a half-life of 80 million years."

Dick rolled his eyes. "Plutonium is used in nuclear bombs. Do you know what would happen if we were named Plutonium? Every time our album sales dropped a little, every time anything went the slightest bit wrong, the headlines would be 'Plutonium bombed.' Why should be set ourselves up like that?"

"I didn't say we should call ourselves Plutonium," the drummer corrected. "I said Plutonium 244. Plutonium 239 and 241 are the ones used in bombs because they are fissile, meaning that the nuclei of their atoms—"

Dick buried his face in his hands, then held up one hand to stop the lead guitarist before he could jump in and talk about the characteristics of other Plutonium isotopes. "Maybe I don't have PhD's in chemistry like you guys," he sighed, "but with my meager Cal State undergraduate degree, haven't I managed to make multmillionnaires out of all of us?"

The lead guitarist looked down at his feet, then slapped Dick on the arm. "You're right."

The men laughed, what did anything matter? They were rich. "In fact," Dick said, looking up at Blondhilda. "Stanley Chester Brown isn't such a bad chap. We got tons of publicity after he skewered us." Blondhilda smiled.

A few minutes later found them all sitting on the ground, gathered round the new iPad as Blondhilda demonstrated the things it could do. "I like it so much," the statuesque goddess almost gushed. "It makes me glad I learned how to read."

"I'm going to learn how to read too!" the bass player said.

Cadsworth walked away.


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