Copyright disclaimers at end.
THIS TIME ROUND: THE SUBSTITUTE
Adric pulled a razor-sharp throwing spatula out of his chest and
sighed. When she worked in costume, she got all the details right.
And, he had to admit, for an obsessive and dangerously psychotic
biotechnologist, she looked really cute dressed as an okonomiyaki
chef. But just now, he had other worries.
"What do you mean, you're leaving?"
"ONLY FOR TWO WEEKS. THE HUBLANDERS ARE
GOING TO SACK ANKH-MORPORK, AND I WILL BE
TOO BUSY TO ATTEND TO YOU."
"Just great. What happens when she kills me tomorrow?"
"YOU THINK THAT SHE WILL?"
Adric just looked at him.
"WELL, YOU NEED NOT WORRY, MY FRIEND. A SUBSTI-
TUTE HAS BEEN OBTAINED TO HANDLE YOUR CASE
UNTIL MY RETURN."
"What, a substitute Death? Who subs for Death? Scrofula?"
"UMMM... ON OCCASION, YES. BUT FOR YOU, WE HAVE
OBTAINED A DEATH FROM ANOTHER UNIVERSE."
"How marvellous for me. I feel so honored," he said flatly.
"I MUST GO NOW, BUT THE NEW DEATH WILL BE HERE
SOON. SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS." Death called this last
from over one bony shoulder as he rode away.
Adric suddenly remembered something.
"Hey! Wait up a minute! You forgot to punch my card!" he
yelled, waving said item. But by this time, Death was too far
"Bugger. I'll just have to wait for the new guy to do it," he
thought. It turned out that he didn't have to wait long.
First he heard the footsteps, a steady, measured, inexorable tread
of heavy boots that seemed to send terrifying echoes up through
his feet and into his bones. A moment later he could see the fig-
ure dimly through the mist: a battered cowboy hat; a long coat
that blew about the figure's knees; crossed belts full of pistol car-
tridges; a pair of frighteningly large holsters.
Adric fought the urge to run. "I'm already dead," he told himself.
"What do I have to be afraid of?" But he was scared just the same.
The man did not become less frightening with proximity. Narrow
eyes glared out of a lined and craggy face, seeming to glow with
a light born in Hell. On his hips rode a pair of huge revolvers,
ancient-looking things that carried an aura of pure menace.
He looked Adric up and down slowly, then barked a laugh, the act
twisting his mouth into a snarl.
"They brought me out of Boot Hill for this?" The voice was a
grinding whisper, Arctic-cold and dangerous.
"Uhh-- uhh-- yes. I guess." Adric's wits were reluctantly return-
ing. "I'm, uh, Adric, Mr. Death, sir--"
The slitted eyes narrowed further and bored into Adric's own.
The hate-filled stare would have stopped the Alzarian's heart, had
a spatula not already done so previously.
"The name is Saint of Killers, boy. Don't ye ever forget."
"Saint of Killers, right. Got it. Saint of Killers, yes sir." He held
up his card. "If it's no trouble, sir, could you punch a hole in this
for me, please? I need it to--"
There was a tremendous blast, and the center of the punchcard
was vaporized, along with two of Adric's fingers.
The Saint holstered his pistol, expression unchanged, while Adric
sucked at his bleeding hand. The boy sighed. It was going to be
a _long_ two weeks.
Doctor Who is property of the BBC.
This Time Round is the creation of Tyler Dion.
Death is from the "Discworld" series, property of Terry Pratchett.
The Saint of Killers is from the "Preacher" series, property of Garth Ennis
and Vertigo Comics.
Nyssa's outfit is that of Ukyo Kuonji from "Ranma 1/2", property of Rumiko
Takahashi and a huge gang of corporations.
The author is property of the Confederate States of America's Department of
Silly Fiction That Uses Other People's Creations.