Davy looked at the giant warehouse in front of him. There were no windows. Only massive door in the front.
He turned to Olivia. “How are we supposed to get in there?” he asked.
Olivia looked over the warehouse, scratching her head. “Normally, I’d find a way to sneak in, cut the lights, attack from the shadows, and strike fear into their evil hearts, preferably in that order,” she answered. Her face lit up with an idea. “Unless…”
She looked around the docks, which prompted Davy to do the same. The entire area was strangely deserted. Olivia motioned for Davy to follow her as they approached the large, white door at the front of the warehouse.
When they got there, Olivia looked down at the bottom of the door. There was a minute gap between the door and the ground that maybe an insect could fit through.
Olivia looked at Davy and grinned. “Watch this,” she whispered. She held up her left hand and rotated it, showing Davy the front and back. “Nothing up my sleeve,” she continued. She then held her hand over her left eye. After a second, she whisked her hand away, twirling her fingers like a magician. Her eye was gone, only an empty patch of skin remained. She then moved her left hand, the back side facing Davy, up in the air and gestured towards it with her right hand. “And….presto!” she finally exclaimed. She rotated her hand, there was now a large eyeball on her palm.
Davy responded with an exaggeratedly polite golf clap. Olivia bowed as her hand further morphed into a tendril with the eyeball at the end. “Thank you, thank you,” she said. “Don’t forget to tip your waitress.”
She bent down and crouched on the ground. Her tendril arm slithered through the gap under the door. Olivia closed the one eye that remained on her face as her hand fumbled around on the other side of the door. Eventually, she retracted her arm, and in one fluid motion, it morphed back into a normal hand. With a pop, Olivia’s left eye reappeared on her face.
“There’s no one there,” she told Davy. “All the lights are off.”
“So we can just go in?” Davy asked.
Olivia shrugged. “I guess so,” she said. “Maybe we’ll find your friend in there.”
The two of them grabbed the bottom of the warehouse door and lifted it up. They stepped inside into the darkness.
The door immediately closed behind them, leaving them in a pitch black void.
A voice rang out in the darkness. “I’m so glad you were able to drop by,” it sneered.
A solitary light at the other end of warehouse turned on. The Librarian was standing there, next to something covered under a tarp. “I heard all about your scuffle at the bar. I knew you were on your way to see me.”
“So you were standing here in the dark waiting for us this whole time?” Olivia replied.
“No,” the Librarian said after a pause. “No I wasn’t.”
The Librarian regained his composure. “Anyway, since I knew you were coming, I thought I would prepare a little challenge for you, Night Retcher. I’m sure you’ll want to participate, if you want to save…your brother!” He pulled the tarp off the object next to him, revealing a man tied up to a chair, his mouth covered with a strip of duct tape.
Davy saw the confusion on Olivia’s face. “Who is that?” she asked.
The Librarian gestured at the man. “Your brother. Lance Whitlock?”
“I don’t know who that is,” Olivia replied.
“Are you saying that your secret identity isn’t Gerald W. Whitlock then?” the Librarian asked.
“Do I look like a Gerald W. Whitlock to you?” Olivia shouted back.
The Librarian looked at Lance then back at Olivia. He grunted to himself in irritation. “Fine, no matter. I’m still going to kill him.” Another light to the side of Lance turned on. Davy could see a giant book, leaning over above Lance. A single rope connecting the top of the book to the ceiling was all that was keeping it from falling over and crushing Lance.
The Librarian cackled. “Oh, yes. I’ll kill him, unless you complete my challenge. You see, I have a quiz for you designed to see how much you really know about classic literature.
A series of lights turned on in sequence. Each light revealed a new, large barred gate stretching up to the ceiling. The last gate was revealed to be about ten feet in front of Davy and Olivia.
“Ten gates, ten questions,” the Librarian said. Each gate is electrified, and will only open if you answer the correct trivia question at the corresponding terminal.” Davy saw what looked like an ATM by the gate in front of him.
“Get the question right, the gate will open, get it wrong, and you’ll get a new question. You must open all ten gates within five minutes or this man will go the way of the dodo. Your timer begins now.” The librarian pressed a button on his wristwatch. A giant screen behind him turned on, displaying a timer counting down from five minutes.
Davy turned to Olivia. “This is really stupid,” he said. “Are you able to fit through between the bars in the gate?”
Olivia shrugged nervously. “Normally, sure, no problem. But if these bars are electrified? Electricity doesn’t work well with me. It kind of janks with my shape-shifting.”
“I get it,” Davy replied. “But I guess that means we gotta take his stupid quiz if we want to save Lance.”
“Poor Lance,” Olivia said. “He’s got to be having the worst day.”
The two of them walked towards the terminal. Davy saw text on the screen.
Which classic John Steinbeck novel was published in 1939?
A. Of Mice and Men
B. East of Eden
C. The Grapes of Wrath
D. Travels with Charley
Davy smiled. “Hey, I actually know this one.” He pushed the button next to option C. A large red X appeared on the screen. The terminal played a buzzing noise as the screen switched to a new question.
Davy was incensed. The Grapes of Wrath was the correct answer. He stepped away from the terminal and called out to the Librarian. “Hey,” he shouted. “Your computer’s broken!”
“Please,” the Librarian shouted back. “You just can’t admit that you’re not as civilized as you thought you were.”
“No really,” Davy replied. “It asked what John Steinbeck book was published in 1939, I said The Grapes of Wrath, and it told me I was wrong.”
The Librarian frowned. “Okay, hold on,” he groaned. He reluctantly pushed the button on his wristwatch, and the timer above him froze.
Davy and Olivia watched him as he pulled a key out of his pocket and fiddle with the gate closest to him. He got it open then went through to the next gate. He repeated this sequence at each gate, slowly working his way to the front of the warehouse. Finally, he opened the gate closest to Davy and Olivia. He walked past them to the terminal. He began pressing different buttons while muttering to himself.
“Okay…open previous question…yes, that’s it…John Steinbeck, 1939…The Grapes of Wrath…and–”
The terminal emitted the same buzzing noise that it played for Davy. The Librarian threw his hands in the air.
“Shoot,” he shouted. “This is what I get for outsourcing!” He turned to Davy and Olivia and have a nervous smile. “How about this?” he began. “I can administer the quiz orally to you, would that be acceptable?”
Olivia thought it over. “That sounds fine,” she said. “Or, counter proposal, we could–GUT PUNCH!”
She launched herself at the Librarian and socked him in the stomach. The Librarian wheezes then keeled over on the floor. Seeing that he was already incapacitated, Olivia ran off to the other end of the warehouse. “I’ll get Lance,” she shouted to Davy. “Try to get him to tell you where your friend is.”
Davy looked down at the Librarian who was whining to himself, curled up in a fetal position. Davy had never interrogated anyone before. He wasn’t sure how to go about this. Should he play nice or should he use force? If he used force, did he risk going too far? What if the taste of power he might experience while forcefully interrogating the Librarian turned out to be so alluring it would send Davy on a dark path, eventually reaching a point where, though his intentions may be good, his actions had long since rendered him as despicable as the villains he was trying to stop?
Davy considered that he might be overthinking this. He kneeled down in front of the Librarian. “You kidnapped my friend,” he said. “Where is he?”
The Librarian managed to pause his whining and looked up at Davy. “You’re the kid from the bus station,” he replied. He gave Davy a strained sneer. “What makes you think I’ll tell you anything?”
Davy pulled out his golf club and began poking the Librarian in his side.
“Ow. Ow. Stop that. Stop it,” he grunted.
Davy noticed a strange feeling creep up on him. We worried that it might be that burgeoning lust for power he wanted to avoid, but then he realized it was probably just gas.
After another minute of moderate poking, the Librarian finally relented. “Okay, okay! I sold him to the Mother. They’re keeping him at the Catfish Grove Theater next to the steel plant. Just stop poking me!”
Davy put away his golf club, glad to be done with his moral quandary. Olivia swooped back over to him. “I got Lance untied,” she said. “I got him away from the warehouse, and he should be able to get home.” She looked down at Librarian then back at Davy. “Did he tell you what you needed?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Davy answered. “He’s at the Catfish Grove Theater. It’s by a steel plant.”
“Cool beans,” Olivia replied. “I’ll let the police know there’s a supervillain that needs to be picked up.” She grinned enthusiastically.”And then we can mount our awesome rescue operation. It’s going to be so badass.”