The Night Laughing Jack Stopped Laughing
At No Way House, a mirror swirled in a bedroom closet, and through it came Caprice Swan, dragging after her a horribly disfigured monster that growled and protested the whole time.
"Here he is! The so-called 'guardian angel'" she spat out the word, "responsible for Laughing Jack's existence!"
It was a hideous sight. The monster's eyes were cloudy, hair was matted and clotted with oily sweat that hung off its dented forehead like glue. A shiny red clot hung from an empty tooth socket in its gaping mouth that held a few more clotted red bubbles. Its lower jaw was collapsed and hanging to its chest. A glimpse beneath that revealed a throat that was bruised, and had a hole in it, as if Laughing Jack had done knife practice on it. Its crooked, crippled arms hung loosely in odd twisted positions from their sockets. The digits on the hands were knotted.
It got down on all fours, trying to shamble on its disjointed limbs, away from Swan.
"Good work, Swan." said Hanima as she took hold of the thing's unfurling wing. "Don't even think of it, buster. You're here as long as I say you are, and you will answer for the monstrosity you unleashed on innocent people."
"I don't know what to call you, sir," Hanima spoke, "but you are here to answer for your actions."
"And what did you have in mind?" he challenged. "You know I watched you your whole life, right?"
"1. I'm not that special. 2. You already said that - to the whole internet, so whoever read that post. 3. You can't be everywhere, watching everybody at the same time. 4. You can't name something specific to me that I ask you about my history. Most important of all, 5. You're not scaring me.""
The monster shook his head, baffled. In short order, he found himself dealing with first an impassioned shadow who screamed at him without fear. Now he was confronted by a woman who also showed no sign of fear, only coldness and possibly disgust.
"You are under arrest for stalking, attempted murder, and the creation of Laughing Jack, which you left in one of the worst homes imaginable, without a care."
"I didn't kill anyone."
"You tried to kill Caprice Swan."
"But she was just a shadow." He protested.
"But you weren't aware of that when you tried to kill her, were you? You didn't know you were set up until afterword. You thought you were killing me...Even though you didn't know who I am...as long as you got somebody, anybody."
"To save you, or anybody from Laughing Jack!" The monster tried to reason his way out of it and get himself out of such hot water.
"The way to save anyone from Laughing Jack isn't by killing them, sir," said Hanima, scowling at him. "It's to destroy Laughing Jack himself."
The monster stared ahead, dumbfounded. Apparently, that idea had never occurred to him.
There was a long, awkward silence. It was eventually shattered by a bitter chuckle from Hanima.
The front entrance door opened, and in came another woman, with a small pack, a box she carried in her arms, and a Halloween themed furby sitting atop that. She joined Hanima in the front room. "We have Laughing - " and then she saw the monster. She grimaced. "What the heck is that?"
"Eww! Nasty, nasty!" Pumpkin Jack recoiled in disgust.
"That - " said Hanima, "is the monster responsible for that blight in the box clown doll."
Pumpkin Jack growled.
Beth scowled. "I shouldn't be surprised."
Hanima updated Beth and Pumpkin Jack on everything she knew about the monster, including how he was found out.
"Well," said Beth, "He can't undo what he did to Swan or anyone else he's dealt with directly, but it wouldn't be fair to leave him out of helping destroy this vile piece of crap in the box."
There was a muffled cry of something incoherent coming from the box.
"What was that?" Beth responded. "I didn't catch it."
"But you will, Jack Clown, you haven't got many laughs left!" Hanima snarled. "Before we let Jack Clown and his creator bid a fond farewell, I need to make some adjustments to that little box he's in."
Pumpkin Jack jumped from the box top to Beth's shoulder, and Beth handed Laughing Jack in the box over to Hanima.
Then something strange began happening to the box.
From inside, Jack's lack of view due to the darkness changed. Soon, he could make out a foggy location surrounding his box. The fogginess thinned to a cloudy appearance, and shapes could be made out. Gradually, the cloudiness dissipated too, and Jack found himself face to face with Hanima.
"I've been waiting for this a long time!" Hanima hissed, giving the clown the death stare and shaking the box violently. "You sadistic, torturing, scumbag!"
Beth looked on, concerned. Was Hanima just going to lose control and smash the box right there and then? That wouldn't do if it broke, with Jack remaining in tact, because then he still might teleport away from them, and they'd have to start the hunt all over.
But Hanima subsided quickly. She had expressed herself, leaving no room for doubt in Jack's mind how loathed he was, yet without being feared. She put her face right up to the box and hissed menacingly, "Your game is over. You lose. You don't get to play again."
The monster tried to grab the box away from Hanima. "What have you done with him?" He gasped, "All of his beautiful bright colours, gone!"
"I didn't do anything to his colors, you revolting scoundrel, that happened when he was forgotten by the boy you gave him to in the first place!"
"And I'm the one who gave him his new tattered look." Pumpkin Jack crowed.
The monster forgot all about Beth and Hanima for a moment, and lunged for Pumpkin Jack. "You ruined him!"
Beth sent him sprawling with an energy blast.
Then Hanima was on him, doling out more energy blasts.
The monster writhed and struggled, but his shrunken, gangly and twisted form made it very easy for the elf to hold fast, as she blasted at him several times, until his wings were severed and melted away.
"If you were an angel, you wouldn't have made such a defective toy and left it in a home that helped it go so wrong. You also wouldn't have let me do this to you. A real angel could obliterate me in a heartbeat." Said Hanima breathlessly as she stood back up to retrieve the box.
Laughing Jack uttered something that was probably "Help me!"
The monster sat up, then slowly got to his feet. He approached Hanima and gently took hold of the box. He looked inside at the clown. "You are the most regrettable thing I've ever done." he finally said.
"Nooooooo!" The clown doll howled.
Hanima grinned and chuckled malevolently. "So say goodbye to bad rubbish and we'll get on with it."
The monster worked at the place where the box was supposed to open, but could do nothing. In addition to becoming transparent, the box had fuzed shut.
"Don't bother trying to open it, he's in there for good." said Hanima.
Laughing Jack saw the others around him. His dismayed and disappointed creator. The furby, and the two women, all looking at him with contempt.
"It's time this clown goes up in flames." said Hanima.
"Nooooo!" Laughing Jack screamed from inside the box.
Beth nodded. She took hold of the box at one end, and Hanima held the other.
"One," Beth counted. "Two. Three!"
Fire energy blasts were sent through the box without hurting the women or making the outside of the box hot to the touch. But once inside, the two flames licked all over the evil clown doll, growing in size and color as they did.
The box played one chorus of "Pop Goes The Weasel" and then the music died. The box would never play again.
Laughing Jack thrashed as much as he could as the flames melted and consumed him.
Bit by bit, the box contained less clown doll and less melted debris from him, and more colorful swirling firework display. It was several minutes of fantastic firework display in a box until Laughing Jack was finally completely obliterated, and there was nothing left to burn. Then the flames died away, the dancing light and colors with them.
A few minutes after that, the box was vaporized by a few more blasts from Beth and Hanima.
"You, sir, are dismissed." Hanima said to the monster.
"He scrambled for the front door and was thrown back.
"Not that one, the door down the stairwell." said Hanima, pointing him in the right direction.
He got up and headed for that door.
It was Ghost Jail that met him on the other side, where he was to serve a life sentence for attempted murder.
Tired after all of that hunting, confronting, and blasting, Beth and Hanima were ready to call it a day. But it was not the end of the mission. Laughing Jack was only the first monster successfully brought down.