Wonder Woman was created by Dr William Moulton Marston in 1941 and is the © copyright trademark of DC Comics. My Wonder Woman stories are only fan fiction and based, primarily, on the 1970s CBS TV show (albeit, updated to the present time of writing). However, any resources from adaptations and the comics may be utilised. All characters are entirely fictional. With the exception of Diana / Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, these stories and characters are my own creations, unless otherwise stated. In my stories Wonder Woman is the only known superhero.Wonder Woman was created by Dr William Moulton Marston in 1941 and is the © copyright trademark of DC Comics. My Wonder Woman stories are only fan fiction and based, primarily, on the 1970s CBS TV show (albeit, updated to the present time of writing). However, any resources from adaptations and the comics may be utilised. All characters are entirely fictional. With the exception of Diana / Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, these stories and characters are my own creations, unless otherwise stated. In my stories Wonder Woman is the only known superhero.
07 ‘N Duiwel se Hart
In the pitch black, finding the way to the Xhosa’s camp would have been difficult if it weren’t for the bellowing djembe drums, rhythmically, vibrating off Table Mountain. A return to the villa was ruled out as too risky by Serena; the guards would be suspicious to see Denton again. Fortunately, she knew another way out, which just happened to be the same exit as Denton had taken with Wonder Woman from the subterranean port.
They trampled through the undergrowth and overgrowth. Ploughing through woodland, in such darkness, it was hard to see objects right in front of them. Serena seemed to be fighting her way through, whereas for Tex – weighed down by ammunition – the spanking branches appeared to be attacking him. He did wonder why – when the Lost Siren had many times the greater strength – she had given him this task, alone, but on reflection, he was just grateful to be still breathing. A discussion on equality of the sexes wasn’t exactly his strong suit, anyway.
The rumbling of Xhosa chanting became plain but still indecipherable to non-native speakers. Their lanterns were alight in the next clearing. Over the far end were some straw huts where the drumming played. White clay painted tribesmen with spears danced around a centre bonfire. Nearest to them was an audience sitting on the ground; among them, Osinov, Dood, and Magoro.
“I want to hear what they’re saying,” said the Lost Siren.
Denton left his bulkier weaponry and followed Rocca. They hid behind the bark of a wild olive tree. They could just about listen in on the conversation between Dood and Osinov.
“I’ve been looking forward to this the most,” celebrated Dood, gulping another generous mouthful of beer.
“I said do not get inebriated,” Osinov reprimanded, “I still need you to verify Hives’ formula. By now, our guests in the conference room, should all be quietly asleep. First thing, tomorrow, you will try the formula out on these guinea pigs.”
“Fear not, Marat, my mind is still as sharp as a needle.”
“If that were true, I wouldn’t be relying on Goldman’s daughter to bring me what you’ve been trying to achieve for the past twenty years.”
Dood frowned, “I’m still not convinced of this.”
Osinov wasn’t hearing it, “But you’ve seen what the Lost Siren did to Wonder Woman.”
“Could have been the chloroform derivative,” Dood sceptically mumbled.
All at once the drumming ceased. The dancing tribesman kneeled to the ground and bowed their heads. A lady in a furry hat with hanging string pieces obscuring her face, and zebra skin cape wrapped around her, came forth. She held a decorative wooden walking stick with a human skull carved out of the handle.
“We’re in the presence of the diviner,” told Magoro, hesitantly, “She will determine whether Wonder Woman is a witch.”
“Relax,” Osinov said, “She is in my debt – just like you, General.”
Following the diviner was a procession of cattle for the slaughter. Four male bulls with enormous horns, brought along on leads by tribesmen handlers, who were armed with broad sweeping, machete-like, panga knives.
Standing still, the diviner shut her eyes and spoke in English, “I praise the gods! I praise the ancestors! Guide us, tonight, as we judge whether witchcraft has been at work.”
“AHHH!” gasped the diviner, holding the stick out in front of her, and slashing it through the air.
“Evil is present here – the uSathane is among us!” she told them, pointing her cane towards Osinov’s congregation, and making them temporarily uncomfortable, before sweeping it in the opposite direction.
“POW!” she puffed.
A centre pyre, piled high with castoffs, erupted into breathing flames, climbing high into the sky, and illuminating Wonder Woman hanging off the now vetical log she had been tied to by her own lasso.
The diviner approached the guests, carrying a straw basket. She stretched out her arms to show them it was empty.
Looking straight at Osinov, she asked, “What wicked deeds do thou so?”
She picked a handful of broken, dirty, bones and dropped them in the basket, “Ah, I see the chicken that lay the golden egg.”
Dood scoffed, “This is not Xhosa. She is a fraud.”
Osinov appeared more informed, “Hand over Wonder Woman’s belt.”
The doctor was confused, but did as he was told. Opening his medical case, he puffed, “IT’S GONE!”
“I haven’t let this case out of my sight, Marat.”
“You’ve had your face in your beer all night!” snapped Osinov.
“No need to be alarmed, gentlemen,” the diviner reassured.
Puring shells into the basket and giving it a shake, the diviner, amazingly, lifted out the Golden Girdle of Gaea to the astonishment of the guests.
The diviner asked, “If we blink our eyes in order not to see a wicked person, how shall we be able to see a good person?”
She pulled the tied knot of her zebra cape, and it fell to the ground, revealing the diviner in a bovine skinned bikini top and traditional short skirt. Seemingly out of place was her black, matt finished, latex gloves and thigh high boots. Unlike her Xhosa counterparts, she had white dye on every part of her body.
Raising the gleaming girdle up above her head, the drumming resumed on cue, as the diviner began to twizzle her long gangly frame. From behind the dangling strings of her hat, the diviner’s face lit up with a devilish glee, as she gyrated her hips to the jungle beat. It was a surreal moment, watching the diviner salsa her way across the camp to settle Wonder Woman’s fate.
At the same time, two Xhosa men began to pull the wheel cart, containing the blazing pyre, forwards toward Wonder Woman.
Denton whispered, “Looks like they plan to tip the flames on Wonder Woman.”
“I’m going through the woods to get her,” Serena informed, “As soon as you see me, fire the flare guns along the camp – it will cause panic and confusion.”
The diviner was given a small pot of mixture and she, in turn, handed the girdle on a silver plate to a hefty Xhosa guard with a crooked mouth.
“Ah, let the earth’s herbs cleanse and release the spirit. This devil’s claw cocktail is to be ingested – and the witch inside will be cremated alive!”
The throbbing hand-patted beats escalated into a crescendo a climatic expectation, preparing for the final act. Lifting Diana’s chin with her gloved fingers, the diviner’s lips hovered over Wonder Woman’s.
In a whisper, she advised her, “Drink this, dear, or you’ll burn all the way to hell!” Pulling the sickliest smile, “This is my compassion – which is more than you gave my Laing, or my vater – or me.”
Like a suckling baby on a bottle, the diviner carefully began dribbling the mixture between Wonder Woman’s pristine lips. Eager to empty the whole pot, some of the grey liquid spilt off Diana’s chin, and ran down her chest into her bustier.
“Open your eyes, Wonder Woman,” she demanded, “I know you can hear me.”
Without delay or resistance, Diana’s glistening sea blue corneas were now burning brightly in the reflection of the oncoming inferno. Blood shot, but still magnificent in their splendour, with her pupils, astutely, focused on her tormentor.
“Ah, there she is,” softly spoke the diviner in anticipation for her next set of cunning. “How does it feel to obey your own lasso?”
Turning to the Xhosa, she shouted, “PREPARE FOR THE SLAUGHTER!”
A final drum roll began. The herdsmen raised their panga knives over the cattle. Two tribesmen wheeled the blazing cart within a few feet of Diana; the diviner stood aside.
Taking off her hat, the diviner taunted, “I shall be the last face you’ll ever see alive, Wonder Woman!”
Gripping her own lumpy nose, she plunged her fingers right therein and yanked it right off in her hand. Then, sticking her hands into the gaping hole, prized the sides of her face apart. Unveiled from her disguise, laughing in menacing rhapsody, was none other than Del Hives, aka, She-Devil, herself.
She screamed, “NOW, DIE WITCH!”
The cattle reacted in terror; they started cavorting back and forth on their front and hind legs. Their handlers weren’t prepared for this simultaneous outburst and were caught off guard. A couple of beasts directly behind the cart broke away from their handlers and ram-raided the two tribesmen, who were about to tip the blazing pyre on Wonder Woman.
“No!” cursed She-Devil.
She tried to pull the wheel cart leaver, herself, but her hands were met by those of another on top. Hives turned to see the Lost Siren’s browbeating gaze glaring back at her. They stood down and faced one another.
“I created you,” Del told her, “I was the one who finally gave you the strength you always craved. Now help me destroy Wonder Woman for good and you, alone, will be the world most powerful human on the planet.”
The Lost Siren’s reply was forthcoming, “Not this way – it is without honour.”
“In that case…” Hives said, playfully, “I shall have to extract the honour out of you!”
The pugnacious gambit suddenly became a grounded possibility when a blade extended from Hives’ walking stick. She began, threateningly, waving the stick about with her left-hand.
No matter how strong you are, an assailant with a bludgeoning blade demands respect. Serena also didn’t trust the tip, which looked oily, like it had been coated with a poison – and the Lost Siren should know about that – though her own throwing stars weren’t an option in this situation.
Fiercely, She-Devil lunged forward. Rocca’s broad physique wasn’t built for evasion, but she managed to sidestep the cane by a whisker. Serena knew next time she might not be so lucky; she had to close Hives down.
Getting excitedly manic, Hives whisked the blade through the air, joyously howling in momentum. Serena kept her distance, her composure, and picked her time. Another jabbing stab of the stick gave Rocca the opportunity she had been waiting for. Narrowly avoiding the lunge, again, Serena grasped the cane when Del was too slow to withdraw it. The Lost Siren steered the blade down into the earth and stamped the stick in half with her left-foot. She quickly smacked the impending She-Devil away with the back of her right-hand. Hives fell, and lay flat on her back, looking somewhat dazed by the blow.
Kneeling over her defeated opponent, Rocca said, “Now, you’re going to answer some questions.”
Watching the fight take place, Diana knew this could be her only chance for escape. Weakened by a cocktail of poisons, and snared in her own lasso, it felt like it was going to take the strength of Heracles with the skill of Houdini to free herself of the binds. She started digging her heels into the ground and pushed back the trunk. It was no good; the log was firmly fixed into a hole in the ground.
A higher position would give her a better leverage. Wonder Woman’s long legs could just reach the tow rail of the cart. She managed to wrap her booted feet around the sides of the centre coupler and heaved backwards. With the pyre ablaze on the cart, the heat was too intense to keep her legs there for long. The downward pressure placed on the cart by Diana also risked tipping the whole towering inferno upon herself. However, there was also hope on hearing the cracking of the trunk.
Once more Wonder Woman pushed downwards against the tow rail. This time the cracking in the log was visible. One more momentous effort would do it. Diana gritted her teeth, straining, sweating under intense heat. The cart was perilously tipping forward, from the applied pressure, and the pyre began precariously wobbling. Then, at last, the log split in two, and Wonder Woman toppled backwards onto the ground. The sudden loss of pressure to the cart caused it to springboard, nudging the burning timbers over the side and engulfing the splintered stump where Wonder Woman had been captive moments before. Fortunately, Diana precipitously rolled away to the side, almost by reflex. She slid her lasso off the splintered log end and untied her hands.
Free of her binds, but drowsy, Diana was still in the middle of chaos. Flares were firing overhead from out of the woods. Many Xhosa tribesmen had left to round up the fleeing cattle; an instinct that Wonder Woman had placed in their minds when her captors had thought she was simply unconscious. The remaining onlookers were taking cover in the huts.
Although getting her girdle back would be Diana’s priority, she was curious to witness the outcome of the altercation between the Lost Siren and She-Devil. Peering over from behind a tree, what she overheard would be most disturbing.
“What do you mean, you created me?” said Serena, holding Del by her bra straps.
She-Devil howled in deviant laughter, “Ah, you don’t know who I am? Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Del Hives. I created the serum in my lab – only I didn’t really create it – more borrowed it to be exact.”
Del was dabbling in the kind of cryptic word play Serena couldn’t bear. She yanked She-Devil up, eyeball to eyeball, “Just tell me what you mean!”
“Hahaha!” Del squealed with delight, “It’s very simple, darling. When I incapacitated Wonder Woman, while in Antarctica, I took a blood sample. I added an aggressive replication sequence to her plasma. It became the serum you were injected with. Want to know why you are as strong as Wonder Woman? It’s because you share the same blood!”
Fazed by the news, Serena ponderously eased Del back down onto the ground. Oddly, Hives immediately began abrading her gloves off one another.
“You also share the same weaknesses,” She-Devil said with venom.
She wistfully blew grated dust out of her hands. Seconds later, the Lost Siren dropped on her back next to the fiend.
For Part 8: click here