It was in the small village of Stubno, Poland, in the 60's. SPYGOD was just learning to wield the powers his new eye had granted him, but not fully cognizant of what he'd been given. Krwi was a younger man, with just enough combat magic to make him a dangerous opponent, but not having learned to put his spells and swords together enough to make him truly formidable, yet. And neither of them knew the other very well, or entirely trusted their strange, new ally against a mutual foe; indeed, divided by their political affiliations, insults were traded, harsh words were said, and the mission almost abandoned out of mistrust and exasperation.
(Standard operating procedure when two heroes meet for the first time, it would seem)
Yet there they were, that day, fighting back to back in a series of large, dank caverns under the village. Together, they faced off against mobs of pre-communist Russian vampires, as well small armies of their diseased revenants, swarms of scuttling, blood-fattened vermin, and hordes of their slimy, undead minions.
The duo's ammunition ran out by the second cavern, SPYGOD-vision seemed to have little effect on the undead, and Krwi was too spiritually and mentally exhausted to keep flinging spells by the third. According to the partial map they were following, there were ten more caverns to go, perhaps more, and they had no hope of going back the way they came.
The only way out was through.
So they looked at one another, in a slight lull in the onslaught, and simultaneously realized that all they could rely on after that point were fists and swords, and faith and fire, and the belief, born of shared enemies, that they had each others' backs.
Thankfully, that belief was not in error; they persevered, and the great vampire kingdom of the Carpathians was put to the torch. No longer would this nest of the hungry dead prey upon the people who lived in the mountains' shadow without fear, and SQUASH would no longer be able to use their younger, less degenerate members as nightmare troops against the free world.
The two men parted friends, and would call upon one another, now and again, when an item of mutual concern crossed their notice. Over those decades, Doctor Krwi would become more adept at his combat magic, eventually assuming the role of the world's preeminent destroyer of vampires. And SPYGOD -- as we all know -- continued to learn more of what the Chandra Eye had granted him, putting both his immortality and unearthly senses to work for his country, and the world.
But while Krwi became older and wiser, all too aware of his encroaching age and mortality, SPYGOD -- perhaps too assured by his apparent godhood -- became decadent and reckless. One unfortunate incident in the early part of the new century led the two to re-evaluate both their working relationship and friendship, and may have led to blows had the old man not chosen to leave without saying goodbye. Indeed, in an angry letter, penned some months after the event, Krwi went as far as to tell SPYGOD to never call him again, unless the world depended on it.
According to the secret communication he received from a disgraced and hunted SPYGOD, perhaps a week and a half ago, it did. Hence his presence here, this night -- back to back once more with the man he swore he'd never so much as set eyes on, again, lest they trade more than recriminations.
This time they have come prepared. SPYGOD has learned not to rely on guns, but on his fists, and that the sight of the Chandra Eye can work on the undead if used along a certain wavelength, and then only on younger ones, or their lesser creations. And Krwi has long since created the perfect fusion of sword and spell, using the latter to drive the enemy back, or bring them forward to take the edge of the former.
Still -- to borrow a phrase from this age's enfant terrible -- it's going to be a long, hard road out of Hell, tonight.
One large mob of vampires lies at their feet, turned to dust or rapidly-aging, twitching flesh and blood, peppered with the gristle and gore of untold legions of scabrous, overgrown spiders, bloodthirsty centipedes as long and thick as a man's arm, and cancerous rats the size of puppies. But another group, bolstered by rotting bodies animated by the blood, is about to charge past the columns and coffins that mark the boundary of this area and the start of the next. And their ultimate objective is quite some distance beyond that barrier.
Simply put: it would help immensely if their secret weapon would hurry the !@#$ up and do what he was supposed to do.
But the moment SPYGOD and Krwi hear the evil, otherworldly laughter behind him, they both know that it's time to duck and cover. The Doctor's seen the monster in action, once before, and barely held his mind together in its wake. And as for SPYGOD, he knows all too well that once the creature starts to kill, it's not going to stop.
Not even for him.
There are two coffins nearby, being used as furniture. SPYGOD rips them open, tosses out their mummified and violated occupants, and lets the old man jump in. Then he slams the lid shut, puts the other coffin on top of it, jumps in, and pulls the lid down shut on top of himself.
As he does, he catches the slightest glimpse of Crazyface as it surges from the dark hole that its owner/victim disappeared into, a few bloody moments ago. Its' true nature is difficult for him to process, given that the Chandra Eye allows him to see reality from so many different angles, but the dizzying, rushing spiral of trans-cosmic darkness that comes along with it almost causes him to vomit from motion sickness.
It is not mortal being, anymore; it is a plague of metal space-locusts in the shape of a man, given rough form by a body wracked by its dire proximity, and given hideous purpose by what little remains of it's host's mind.
As SPYGOD holds the lid down from the inside for dear life -- even for him -- he hears the horrible noises outside, as the angry, bloodthirsty shouts of the oncoming hordes of vampires and their slaves turn into screams of terror, and then agony, followed by mewling cries for pity in the face of the fanged maw of a creature called up from the limitless depths of an unknown and hostile universe.
And above the screams and cries, and the rending of limb and life -- or its pale, deathly shadow, at any rate -- the monstrous noise of a million buzzing, steel insects let loose upon the world.
* * *
The screams and cries get louder, almost drowning out the otherworldly drone of the spacegod they've let loose on the Vampires of Cuba. The coffins insulate them from having to see the full horror, but the terrible sounds -- and otherworldly vibrations -- churn their stomachs and make their minds reel.
The old man's seen the being in action once, and only long enough to know that he needed to get away from it. He locked himself into the house's basement, and did not come out until well after the buzzing had stopped, and the immediate, almost-paralyzing horror of what he saw was gone from his mind. And when he opened the door again, there was just Gilligan, laughing and kicking a man's head around the dining room like a soccerball.
As for SPYGOD, he's danced this tango before. He knows not to come out until well after the buzzing's stopped, just to make sure the cloud didn't hunker down to chortle over a fallen foe, or something. Haste makes blowback in cases like this.
Carefully, and with all due consideration, he opens up the coffin lid, and looks around at the massacre that took place. Then he quietly climbs out, and with as much stealth as he can, takes his coffin off of the other, and lets Krwi out. He gestures to the old man that they should refrain from speaking, and need to go where the vampires were coming from. There lies their objective, apparently.
The catacombs have become a gruesome canvas for CRAZYFACE. The bodies of the undead are everywhere: spread across the walls and floors, smashed into the ceilings and columns, and arranged in grotesque, yet darkly amusing tableaux. There are neat pyramids of heads to sneak past, and knee-high mazes made of severed arms and legs. Some of the less-decayed dead have been stripped and turned into hideous pornography: their bodies roughly violated by centipede, rat, and spider. A ring of corpses are laid out on the floor in a strange, geometric pattern that reminds SPYGOD of a snowflake, or perhaps something he'd rather not remember, right now.
Chamber after chamber reveals even more disgusting and intricate blasphemies, especially when they get to the area where the vampires let their revenants attend to their meals. Innocent victims were locked up in iron cages suspended above the floor, waiting to be led to upright, metal coffins with retractable spikes lining their insides. Such doncellas sangrientas -- "bloody maidens" -- were used for torture, feeding, and amusement by the vampires of Iberia, and taken along with them to the New World to keep their sadistic traditions alive.
Crazyface has left nothing alive, here; Living prey and undead predator alike have been brutalized, killed, and used as toys. Indeed, the possibility of playing with living things, with all their squishy, wet insides and warm blood, brought out a crueler, even more depraved display from such a meaty palate.
The things on display in this room are truly warped, and the Doctor's fury at what he sees can only barely be restrained. But still SPYGOD motions for him to remain silent; They can argue about this later, he seems to say through sad eyes -- right now, they must be quiet, or they too may die.
Past the feeding and breeding pits for vermin, and the filthy, bone-strewn warrens where the monsters slept the sultry, Cuban days away, and the great meeting hall where they sat on thrones of skull and femur, ribcage and pelvis, and made merry, there is a final area. This great place, unholiest amongst unholy things, contains the greatest treasure of the Vampires of Cuba, and is sealed with an appropriately impressive barrier. It is an iron wall, engraved with the same angelic and demonic scenes as the door that led into the warren, itself, only with even greater detail, and certain parts engineered to swing inward when opened with the correct key.
It is a door that Crazyface's host was told to leave alone. From the looks of things, he obeyed that order, at least.
SPYGOD looks to the Doctor, who, with red eyes brimming with tears, nods and makes a series of arcane gestures, muttering mystical words as he does. His hands begin to glow, and then he places them upon the moving parts, which also begin to glow. Krwi holds his hands there for a count of ten, and then takes them way, and as he does the door unlocks and swings inward.
The large chamber beyond reminds SPYGOD of ancient, Spanish cathedrals, only without the joy or hope. Stone ribs are its ceiling, with columns like great femurs holding them up. Iron chains dangle from those ribs and columns, with skulls filled with the red, pulsing, light-giving substance at their ends.
In the center of the room is a great pit, and the smell that comes from it is truly obscene. Before the pit is a stone lectern festooned with bones and skulls. Beyond the pit are stone beds, each containing a supine figure, covered with a red, moldering silk sheet.
As they come closer, they can see that the pit is filled with the dried, exsanguinated bodies that the vampires are done with. Slowly crawling amongst those bodies are the most ancient of vampires -- the elders who were quite august when they boarded ships for the New World, and who simply cannot consume the massive amounts of blood needed to maintain their youth and vigor. Fully awake and aware, but barely able to move, they lounge like dying cats, whispering delicious memories to one another, or remembering times gone by as they wait for the forever sleep to take them.
And in the center of that pit, luxuriating in such rotten filth, is a massively bloated thing that looks as though someone had taken a healthy, pink-skinned child, amputated his arms and legs at the torso, and then blown his stomach out to immensely gargantuan proportions -- a ball of skin some ten feet in diameter. The child's eyes are sewn shut, and his mouth held open by a large, iron funnel. The belly is supported by a lattice of iron and bone, which creaks under the heavy weight of the blood.
Inside the stretched, taut skin of the boy is nothing but blood, and in that pool of blood languidly swims a young, slim figure. He sings to himself a truly old song, apparently unaware that his inner sanctum has been invaded, and his kingdom all but dead.
And this, then, is the King of the Vampires of Cuba: the most ancient of them all, and given all the blood he needs to retain his youth and vigor. This is done so he will not succumb to the ravages of age that have taken his fellows, who slowly slink below him, waiting for a Sunday feeding, or to lap up the occasional spill of their master's blood.
SPYGOD nods to Krwi, and waves a hand at the monstrosity. This is what he's promised the old man for his participation in this venture, and this is what he's earned. He doesn't really want to see it, though. He's got other, more important things to do.
He walks past the pit over to the stone tables, where the figures lay. He finds the one that's still breathing, and pulls the sheet off it to reveal none other than Fidel Castro, himself.
"(Who...?)" the dictator asks, his eyes fluttering open. He looks younger than he has in years -- almost as he did back in the Revolution -- but his eyes are still an old man's eyes, full of burst blood vessels and set within wrinkled lids.
"Heya, !@#$beard," he says, putting a foot down on the man's chest before he can get up, and turning his button off so the man knows who he is: "You really do know the best spots in Havana."
"You?" the young old man stammers.
"Me," SPYGOD says: "Let's talk, shall we?"
(SPYGOD is listening to Violence (Pet Shop Boys, album version) and drinking momentary triumph)