Author : Duncan Shields, Featured Writer

The Queen came out of the entrance on the far side of the arena floor like some sort of ravenous stick figure scarecrow on stilts, her blind deathtrap of a mouth slavering thick deadly mucous. Her muzzle snuffled the air obscenely from underneath the rock hard carapace of her massive head as acid like hair gel dripped down and lubricated her jaws. It hung off of her in playful long wet strands. They flailed in the wind and sizzled in the dirt where they landed. Her second set of jaws lanced out, stretching in the dazzling sun. Her four arms clutched at the air like dancers as her giant misshapen top-heavy body found balance and settled back into a squat on her huge back legs. Her thick long serrated tail whipped around and stabbed impatiently at the walls. The spear shaped one-ton shovel head on the end of it lashed the dirt, sending fantails of soil up against the safety screens of the front row to their delight. The stalks on her back tasted the air for prey. They soaked up cubic miles of surrounding scent. They blasted out long chemical scent paragraphs in response to what they smelled but no one ever understood those paragraphs.

No one ever understood because she was one of a kind.

She was three stories tall, six tons wide, and a dyed-in-the-wool intelligent killer. Would have been top of the food chain if she wasn’t a sterile albino. She had gestated inside the body cavity of some subterranean pigment-free mammal that was like a polar wolverine. She’d turned out infertile and had eaten nearly every other living thing on the planet she was from. She’d been in a lot of fights and was nearly insane with the need to have children but unable to do so. She was a queen of an empty kingdom. She was a queen without subjects.

Until now.

The white carapace on her head was emblazoned with garish squared off logos from Skemtex, 3M, Macinsoft, Coke and Sheen. Other logos took up space on her long white arms and thick white legs. Like a living billboard of death, she paced around the perimeter of the arena underneath the energy screen, ravenous for the flesh of the crowd. Every morning, they’d shock her to sleep in her room and take the next batch of eggs that she’d spent the night trying to nuzzle into sudden life. Every single one of them held sterile barren slime. Her screams echoed down the corridors, haunting them.

But here in the sun she had no need to restrain her rage.

She triumphed over whatever they found to put in the arena with her. The cloned Tyrannosaurus Rex just pissed on the ground when the lights came up and offered the queen his throat in a pathetic wolfish display of non violent submission. The queen was only too happy to tear his car-sized head off with a staccato four beat swipe of her claws.

Lions, tigers and bears. Armoured cats. Beasts from other planets. Even other Queens. Just the fact of their fertility seemed to send the White Queen into a rage that had no equal or end until the other Queen lay in pieces scattered around the ring. Her ferocity and cunning had outdone them all. She played with them before the kill. She was always fun to watch. She was exhibition only. She was a never fail warm up act for the events that people bet on.

She was alone in the universe. She was the best at what she did. She was a captive. She couldn’t have children. She was angry all the time.

They set three Black Queens on her once. After the White Queen had killed them all in the most exciting half hour metrovision had ever seen, she’d thrown herself screaming against the energy screens until she shorted out one of the quadrants and launched herself into the fleeing crowd. She took out sixty eight people before they shocked her to sleep. The owners didn’t try that stunt again.

Someone had hung a gold star on the thick acid proof door of her lair under the arena. This was her home.

She padded silently tiger like around the arena, baring her crystal teeth, waiting for the other door to open.

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