Christmas in an Evil Criminal Mastermind’s Bunker

Posted: December 24, 2020 in Uncategorized

(A Christmassy chapter in Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death)

Lilly woke up thinking Christmas in this dump was like putting a Rottweiler into a sugar-plum fairy outfit – only to go to breakfast and find Mr Big had done exactly that. Poor Annie sat at the front of the mess-hall, scratched at her pink tutu and whined, until Mr Big thoughtfully distracted her with an oversized femur – still wearing a sock.

Meaning to disappear as quietly as possible, so she could make the most of her day off, Lilly popped a sleepy Quetzee (see book cover of the cute squirrel , snake hybrid that is Lily’s favourite pet) onto her shoulder, grabbed a plate and started loading it with some tempting treats for them both.

Unable to wait, Quetzee jumped down, hooked a piece of greasy bacon with his claws, and scampered back up her arm. Fortunately nobody seemed to notice.

All she wanted was to escape to her room for a few hours alone time.

As Lilly was trying to make a quiet exit, Squidge ran up to her, bouncing up and down like a particle that’s just experienced fission – or like any other twelve-year-old boy hyped up on sugar on Christmas morning. “Miss, Miss! When do you think Santa is going to arrive?”

“Santa?” Lilly asked. “Um. How do you think Santa is going to get into this bunker? There aren’t exactly a lot of chimneys around.”

“A chimney? What have chimney’s got to do with Santa?” Squidge asked, confused. “You do know Santa’s just a man in a red suit?”

“Yes, Squidge,” Lilly said, wondering if it was worthwhile trying to explain to him the difference between adult condescension and adult stupidity.

“I am so excited,” he burbled. “Last year Santa gave me my very own DNA sequencer, several incubators, oh, and my very own lab.”

“Really? How generous,” Lilly replied, absently cutting Quetzee more slices of blue-mermaid tattooed bacon.

“Imagine Mr Big employing a genius and setting them up with everything they need to make the mutant creatures he wants.”

“Yes, it was lucky Mr Big rescued me and brought me here after my mum and dad died in that very suspicious laboratory fire.”

“Very lucky,” Lilly muttered.

“Yes,” Squidge said without a trace of irony, and raced off because he’d seen a thug in a Santa suit squeezing into the room.

“Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas,” Pinhead shouted from under a skewed white beard. He scratched at it, and glared around the room. “Come and get your presents.”

It sounded like a threat.

Determined to get out of there without raising any more attention – Lilly balanced the plate of treats in one hand, a cup of lousy coffee in the other, and rushed past Mr Big to the door. “Just checking up on your dreadbeast,” she mumbled by way of an excuse as she passed by.

Mr Big’s voice came booming after her. “A moment, Miss Lionheart. I’m sure that the dreadbeast can live one more minute without you. After all, Santa has come all this way.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, forcing herself to breathe in and out slowly – in the way commonly believed to relieve stress – but in Lilly’s experience never seemed to work.

Breathe in. Breathe out. A few more minutes of annoy­ance was a small price to pay for a whole day of peace.

“Hey Santa,” Mr Big shouted at Pinhead. “What do you have for all of us today?”

Before Pinhead could answer, Missy came charging into the dining hall yelling, “Miss! Miss Lionheart! The dreadbeast – it isn’t going ping properly.”

“It seems that our Miss Lionheart is right,” Dr. Deathless said to the silent room.

Missy turned bright red and backed out the door, as Dr. Deathless continued. “Apparently her dreadbeast couldn’t live one more moment without her attention, after all.”

“What!? Seriously?” Squidge dashed out the door faster than a speeding photon.

“Arachnid Anuses,” Lilly swore, trying to ignore the mean laughter behind her as she raced after Squidge, chased in turn by nearly a dozen thugs, Annie, and the boss himself.

As soon as they got to the lab, Squidge rushed over to the AW. Lilly pushed past and peered through the Plastech walls.

It was obvious at first glance that the embryo wasn’t about to make it. And it was also obvious that some idiot had taken it out and tried to revive it – but that wasn’t exactly something Lilly wanted the boss to know, lest he jump to some potentially fatal conclusions.

“Right. What’s happening here?” Mr Big yelled at Missy. “Has somebody knocked over this incubator?”

“Not me,” Missy said with an unsurprising eagerness to avoid admitting to what might be referred to as a terminal error.

“Something must have happened,” Squidge muttered looking at the spilt embryonic fluid on the bench. “What does the video – oof!” He looked across accusingly at Missy, but before he could say anything, Missy interrupted. “Maybe it was that Squirrel-snake thing.”

Lilly didn’t blame her, after all any accident with the Boss’ dreaded dreadbeast was likely to be more universally fatal than she, or anyone else on their team, would like. Still, she wasn’t about to let Quetzee to take the blame. “Quetzee was with me,” Lilly said, patting him reassuringly. She needed to think quickly if she wanted to divert attention from Quetzee, and any incriminating video footage of what­ever Missy might have done wrong.

“Um. Here we are.” She turned off the incubator’s alarm. Everything’s fine.” I’ll just use these electrodes to tweak the nutrient level, and the embryo will be right as rain.”

Squidge opened his mouth. Lilly glared at him and he shut it again.

She fumbled in the drawer for a battery and flicked a small electrical charge into the solution. The creature spasmed, not with life of course, but with electricity. “There we go.” She smiled with false confidence – and hoped Mr Big knew so little science he wouldn’t know electrodes don’t actually do that much for nutrient levels. She even wondered if she could have incanted a magic spell, and Mr Big wouldn’t have known any better.

Inconveniently, he knew a little more than Lilly thought.

“Shouldn’t that machine be going ping?” he asked, point­ing to the monitor. Lilly held in a sigh, and kept the smile plastered on her face.

Squidge opened his mouth. A worrying sign at the best of times, but especially troubling with the boss around – the whole concept of lying was something he seemed to struggle with. “Ah. No—”

Lilly elbowed him.

“Ow.” Squidge looked at her, and then at Mr Big, and something must have clicked. “Um, er. Yes, absolutely. One minute,” he said, and fiddled with the machine’s wires under the boss’ very watchful eye.

That minute stretched out like a year. Lilly hoped Mr Big would leave, but he stood there, unblinking. “Hurry up,” he growled. “I haven’t got all day.”

With a shake of his head, Squidge turned the machine back on.

Lilly cringed. Her throat tightened and her stomach clenched, as time stretched out – seemingly forever.

Worst of all, in the moment she knew they were all about to be exposed as liars, Annie licked her lips in anticipation.


I hope you enjoyed that chapter. Discover if Lilly and her team can continue to fool Mr Big and survive Christmas by buying Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death here. Or on this Amazon affiliate link here.

Christmas in an Evil Criminal Mastermind’s Bunker

Picture is of the book cover "Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death" and Lilly's special pet, a snake, squirrel, rat hybrid called Quetzee drawn on parchment.


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