Badger Mae adjusted her garters and scratched at a section of exposed rib. The flesh had been ripped open during her last performance and now the skin dangled off bone and stale blood. She looked at her Frankenstein face of glowing green, the stitches around her mouth looked like they needed cleaning. She took a q-tip and dipped it in rubbing alcohol, then proceeded to swab the metal seams of her split cheeks. She put on a heavy top coat of bright blood colored lipstick and smiled. Her teeth were gleaming white. At that moment Jeremiah Danger burst through her dressing room door with his heavy Colt pistol drawn. He was wild mustang musk on the painted deserts of the west, dust sloughing from his rustic clothing.
“Come on Badger baby, we gotta go!”
“I’m not going anywhere with your damn dirty self JD, until you tell me what in the hell nation is going on!”
“Would you believe me if I told you I was set up at a card game and now there are some awful angry folks on my tail?”
“I believe you’ve gotten yourself into trouble over a card game, but I’m sure that was your own stupid fault.”
“Babe we gotta get out of here! They’re gonna bust this place up any minute!”
“Over my dead sutured body they are! How much do ya owe ‘em Danger?”
“More’n you got sweetheart, but that sure was a lovely gesture.”
“We’re not leaving Danger. I have a show in a few minutes and I never miss a performance.”
“Aw come on Badger! Look, someones gone and tore some of that pretty emerald skin, I need to stitch that up before you can go out there.”
“Hush, I like a little exposed bone, and so do my patrons. The show will go on!”
“NOT if those boys come in here and shoot up the place, which is what’s about to happen any damn second!”
“Go let out Demon.”
Jeremiah’s eyes popped like two corn kernels in a pot of hot oil. Badger never let the Demon out. Thank god she never let him out, it was hell to get him back in there and lord knows the damage he would put the town through this round.
“Ba-baby, I don’t know if this is a Demon situation . . .”
“Men are chasing you,” Badger said firmly annoyed. “They’re coming here, to my hard earned establishment, to shoot holes in my walls, and scare the shits out of my paying customers. Get fucking Demon out, now.” Her eyes lit fire at the last syllables and Jeremiah didn’t object twice. He knelt down and pulled up the oriental rug in the middle of her dressing room, exposing a heavy stone door. His hands shook as he reached around the rusted iron ring and began to lift the barrier between humanity and hell. Badger sat on a Parisian stool and calmly brushed out her long ebony hair.
“How do I get him to come out,” Jeremiah whispered softly.
“Whistle, you dolt.” She pursed her lips and blew a high pitched steam train siren. Then the ground started to shimmy.
“Goddammit Badger! This is bad idea, I can taste it!”
“Stop losing at cards, Danger, and I won’t have to do these things,” she ruthlessly spat at him, coal embers simmering in her corneas.
Jeremiah loved his beautiful corpse of a woman, she was spit fire and gumption, tougher than nails and sharper than any tack. She was lovely and different, seductive and supernatural. He was not afraid of her, not normally, but when she wanted to be, that lady could put fear in Anubis himself, she was outright the terror of all the universe. When Danger first met Badger, he was in a jam, running from Johnny Lawless and the Six-Finger Gang. They had him licking dirt and choking on his own teeth, regurgitating pieces of his lower intestines. Then something came along, something other worldly, and pulled the assailants from his bruised and beaten body. It was Miss Badger Mae, and all he heard after that were the gut wrenching screams as she eviscerated each one of them. She took good old Johnny’s head clean off with nothing but a straight razor and her undead strength. He came to and laid eyes on the love of his life, sitting pretty and licking blood off her black lips, holding a chunk of some unidentifiable internal organ in her hand. Her divine olive skin, stitched together, her long inviting legs and jet flowing hair, evil eyes, and that million dollar porcelain smile, stained crimson from her latest meal. Jeremiah knew that this was a daughter of the Dark Lord, and he was going to be hers. It didn’t take long for Badger to introduce him to her prize pet, the damn whipped cream on her sundae, Demon, and well that fucker was first child of Lucifer.
The pungent smell of sulfur bristled on the air, and Badger Mae spread that flawless grin. Within moments the temperature of the room rose to a stifling oven heat that put Jeremiah on his ass, and out came the Demon.
At first you were unsure that anything was really there, you just smelled the acrid air of brimstone, souring your lungs. Then you realized that the dark shadow stretching out before you overtaking creation, was actually alive. Roughly the size of a horse, with claws of obsidian extending from his four feet, Demon was a behemoth of torture. He had the head of some reptile monster and a flicking forked tongue, with eyes that matched his master’s: two solid pieces of flame.
Jeremiah curled tightly in a corner while Demon greeted Badger with all the love and obedience of a faithful mutt. She patted his black head and scratched under his outstretched chin, you’d swear she was petting a house cat, not the spawn of evil incarnate.
Badger hissed something at the Demon, something sinister and ancient, something only Sodom and Gomorrah knew about. The beast twitched his whip of a tail, spraying sparks across the dressing room, and let out a guttural acknowledgement. Then a bullet shattered Badger’s good Venetian mirror.
“Get on out here Danger, The Reaper’s come a callin’ and he don’t want to ask twice!”
For a split second Jeremiah toyed with the idea of facing his demise, just to keep the Demon out of it, but Badger Mae’s face was all rage and wrath. No one ruined her nice things, and nobody but nobody made a demand on her man’s life. Even Demon shivered as she stomped towards the door in her shiny high heels. Outside of Badger’s club, The Necropit, was a group of leather clad cowboys, swinging their shotguns and spinning Bowie knives. They got their first real look at Badger and the horses spooked and bucked, throwing their riders and trampling some of the men in the process. Suddenly the boys didn’t have such high spirits, and their confidence only fell further when a black shadow descended on the party. Badger hissed and hell broke loose.
The Demon split one man straight down the center, with a lightning fast flick of his claw all those vital parts came pouring out like a bloody pinata. Another tried to run, but the creature pulled him back with his tail and left just a neck stump where the head used to be. The massacre lasted no longer than a few minutes, but the ground was muddy with the mix of blood and dust. Demon was fed, and Badger had picked out an intact heart among the carnage. She walked into her dressing room, frowned at her mirror, then bent down and kissed Jeremiah hard on the mouth.
“Now, that wasn’t so bad was it, baby?”
“Damn it all Badger, if you ain’t the most stand up woman a fellow ever knew.”
“I’ve gotta get out there for the show, sweetheart, will you stitch me up afterwards?”
“Sure as shit, beautiful.”
“Thanks, lover,” she leered at him.
“What about . . . that?” Jeremiah motioned to the heart still clenched in her hand.
“Oh, this? Well I was thinking tonight everyone gets a special show. Tonight Badger Mae’s gonna eat their hearts out,” she winked at him, and sauntered on stage holding the bloody muscle tight with anticipation.
By Emily Smith-Miller