The brilliant scientist, Portage McPeeve, does not want to take over the world.
He’s discovered a way to travel the stars, using them as gateways into other realities. With his Gateway Manipulator, he hopes to rule all the worlds of the multi-verse with an iron fist. However, when his beloved kitten becomes lost through the machine, he does not hesitate to cast plans for multi-world domination aside; instead, he follows her through the cosmos – encountering zombies, higher education for Supers, Greek gods, and killer ninjas along the way.
Will Portage find Mrs. Bumblefrost before it’s too late?
“The Grim Reaper, my lord Hades, has come to see you,” announced the Centurion at the entrance to the throne room. “Thanatos, Escort of the recently deceased, the Dark-”
“Yes, yes, let him in, already,” murmured Hades, motioning irritably at the guard.
Thanatos entered, his black robe trailing behind him. He had time to ponder his appearance before the god, and given his recent – albeit unrequested – presence during the Battle of the Ghost Realm, he felt he should have an alternate explanation other than his unrequited, undying love for the boss’s wife. He didn’t think Hades noticed, but when dealing with gods it helped to be prepared.
He knelt on bony knees. “My lord Hades,” he said. “I have a petition for you.” In honor of the occasion, he used his most official and funereal voice. “In the recent battle against the Ghost Realm, my services were not required. Now, I know we don’t have a union, but-”
“-but you’re going to complain anyway, aren’t you?” came the voice of Charon. The ferryman emerged from one of the throne room’s darkened corners.
Thanatos was speechless. He looked up.
“Death at a loss for words?” said Hades. “Well, well, you do entertain.”
“What’s going on?” asked Thanatos. Shock caused him to forget the melodious quality of doom he always tried to put into his official dealings, but he managed to find his tongue… well, not literally, but speech anyway.
“You didn’t think I’d welsh on our bet, now did you?” asked the ferryman.
“Bet?” said Thanatos, feigning ignorance. “What bet?”
“Enough of that,” said Hades, doing his best to glower. “What petition?”
“Well, it seems that with Charon’s return, my request,” said Death, “is irrelevant.”
“How so?” asked Persephone, joining them. She had changed into a flowing pink ensemble that was hard on the eyes in contrast to the Throne Room’s decor. Her husband leered at her approvingly, but she simply told the fidgeting Thanatos, “Go on, hon’. What’s the problem?”
“My Queen, Lord Hades’s son, Nicholas is… not working out,” said Death.
“Oh, really?” said Hades. “In what way?”
“There have been complaints,” said Thanatos, and if he had eyes, they would have glared at the Charon.
“Complaints?” asked Persephone. “About what, exactly? I mean, he’s only filling in during Charon’s absence. Who in Hades would complain?”
“The souls he transports,” said Death, miserably. “It seems he-”
“What?” asked Charon. His smirk was infuriating, but Death ignored it.
“It seems he depresses them,” said Death.
“How could he possibly do THAT?” asked a shocked Persephone, sitting next to her husband and sipping a grape soda. She waggled the can in front of Hades, but he waved it away.
“He reads them his poetry,” said Thanatos, “and complains about his allergies.”
Hades glowered some more, but there was the hint of a smirk beneath his stern gaze. “Really,” he said. He kept his voice level.
“Yes, my lord Hades,” said Thanatos, bowing low. “Not that your son is not an excellent youth,” he added. “But ferryman may not be the best job suited for his… particular talents. Still, with Charon back as ferryman-”
“Oh, I wouldn’t count on that,” said Hades. “I have other plans for both you and your gambling pal, Charon.”
Now it was Charon’s turn to look shocked.
Persephone giggled. “Oh, husband,” she said, “just tell them already!”
“Nicholas will fill in for another ten years,” said Hades. “That is non-negotiable, but you will also be doing something else during the next decade, Thanatos.”
The skeletal figure shook slightly. “What?” he said.
“Cruising the Caribbean, wasn’t it?” said Hades. “Or was it Charon that wanted to go there on his vacation? I get the destinations mixed up.” He grinned widely, overly so, at the look on Charon’s face. He did his best to imagine the grinning skull of Thanatos looking shocked, but – well, there is only so much you can read from a skull.
“Anyway, I have your replacements ready. Just take a week to train them, and you can go on your vacation. Ten years, and not a decade more, understood?”
“Yes, sir!” said Death, “but-”
“But what?” asked Hades.
“Oh, yes, well… meet your temps. And if they do well, who knows? Maybe they can apprentice under you, and you can take more time off. We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Hades. “Mrs. Bumblefrost! Can you and your companion come meet… the one you will be training under?”
A man in a lab coat, with brown hair that looked like it was trying to escape from his scalp, entered, followed by a small black kitten with white paws and disturbingly intelligent green eyes. “Ah,” said the scientist, having at last come to terms with the situation and resigned himself to madness. “You must be Death. I am Doctor Portage McPeeve, this is Mrs. Bumblefrost, and we will be filling in for you during your absence.” He smiled, thinking of his original plan to rule the multi-verse with an iron fist, with his kitten by his side. “It is my understanding that Death knows no bounds, and I and my companion look forward to harvesting souls throughout the cosmos.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” said Thanatos, already dreaming of Hawaiian shirts and margaritas. He looked at his friend, Charon, who was grinning from ear to ear.
The next decade was going to be awesome.
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**Look for the next exciting installment of Pinholes next Tuesday, same cat-time, same cat-channel… uh, blog. I mean, blog.