“Who are you?” demanded John. “Can’t you see that I’m already busy with an intruder? Give me five minutes.”
“Wait John!” cried the doctor. “Josiah is far too strong for you to defeat without assistance. He has greater strength now than he did before, but he also has a weakness, and I’m the only one who knows what it is. You need to –”
Josiah fired a bullet directly into Dr. Graham’s skull, killing him instantly. He didn’t even put down his cigarette, but he did take another long drag, smiling contentedly.
“Now that that little interruption has been dealt with, shall we continue?” he asked.
“I don’t know who that was or how he got here,” said John, “but if I’ve learned one thing from my time being dead, it’s how to finish people’s sentences for them. Your weakness is magnets!”
Josiah was dumbfounded; John knew his weakness! This was quite a bad turn for Josiah, since prior to that very moment, even he hadn’t known his weakness.
“All right John, so you know my weakness. I don’t see how that could possibly help you now, unless you have a comically large magnet hidden somewhere in the house,” said Josiah.
“Maybe I do, Malum,” lied John. “Maybe I do.”
He lunged forward, hoping to knock Josiah out before he could compose himself. Unfortunately, Josiah was already quite prepared, and he fired a shot.
John, however, had great reflexes; and he jumped nimbly aside, the bullet missing him completely. Then he reached into his pocket. Josiah flinched until he saw what John had pulled out: a simple flower, completely black.
“See this, Malum?” asked John. “I picked it from Hades’ garden right before I left the Underworld. Do you know what this is?”
“It’s a flower,” replied Josiah.
“It’s a flower from the Underworld. Do you know what that means?”
“No. And I don’t care.”
Josiah fired his gun and a bullet rapidly made its way toward John’s chest, but suddenly there was a flash of light, and when Josiah could see again, he found that John was completely unharmed; furthermore, he saw that John was now carrying a glistening diamond shield, the same one he’d had at the battle in the Coliseum!
“I am a hyperbotanical engineer, Malum. I know everything there is to know about unusual plants. Flowers from the Underworld have special properties, properties you couldn’t even begin to fathom. This one,” said John, raising the flower, “arms me with whatever weaponry I was equipped with at the time of my death.”
“So that means…”
“Yes!” shouted John, as another flash illuminated the room. “The magical sword is mine as well. Convenient, no? Why, if this were a story I’d even go so far as to call it lazy writing! It looks like this fight’s going to be a bit more fair than you thought it would be, doesn’t it? So what are you waiting for, Malum? Come get some.”
“Impudent little worm!” yelled Josiah, firing three shots in rapid succession.
All of them were blocked by John’s impenetrable shield. John then raised his glowing sword high above his head and brought it down fiercely, attempting to cleave Josiah Malum in two.
Taking advantage of the fact that his bones were essentially unbreakable, he parried John’s slash with his arm, using his other to throw a deadly punch that, if not for John’s shield, would have killed him.
Jeannine, who had managed to stay out of sight for the duration of the battle, saw that Josiah was distracted; and she took the opportunity to leave the house, planning to get help. She ran over to Bill’s (his trail wasn’t hard to follow) and furiously pounded on the door. Bill answered.
“Hi Jeannine! We can’t talk long, cause my mom says I’m not allowed to answer the door. I’m grounded again. What’s up?” he asked.
“John is in trouble! Josiah is in his house; they’re fighting right now! He needs your help! Hi Saul.”
“Sorry Jeannine, I’m not allowed to go outside again. Mom grounded me for staying out too long. She says I can’t leave the house again until I’m 30,” explained Bill.
“You’re 37,” said Jeannine.
“Oh. Let’s go!”
They dashed back to John’s, praying that they weren’t too late.