Dr. Mercury wasn’t in the habit of going through the personal possessions of corpses, but there are always special circumstances. She rarely dealt with the death traps that surrounded her island at all, as she had designed them all to be self cleaning. But every so often, a death trap jammed, some clot of gore in a pipe or bit of bone stuck in the maw of a giant spider and Dr. Mercury would have to go down to the trap and unclog whatever had been stuck.

With a wet crunch, Dr. Mercury pulled what appeared to be a femur out of the maw of the spider-queen Gloris. Black ichor dripped from the offending bone, and Dr. Mercury patted the head of the poisonous spider, who rubbed against her arm with a screeching purr. As the spider skittered back towards the center of its web, Dr. Mercury noticed the backpack that was hanging around the torso of the half eaten corpse that was hanging on the web.

The corpse itself was uninteresting, another wanna-be hero in tights, come to take on the Doctor, his yellow cape hanging over his head like a shroud. But the backpack was swinging in the island breeze, and as the spider shook her web, a book fell out of the backpack with a clunk.

Perhaps it was the cover image that caught her eye – veins and a red sun, or maybe it was the word Bloody, cast in red, or maybe it was just the tantalizing idea of a new book, one she hadn’t read yet, but Dr. Mercury leaned down and picked up the tattered book. The cover was spattered with dried blood and the insides were well worn, with underlined passages and notes in the margins that read things like “ask about this” or “important”. The book was the story of Dr. Mercury’s known life, the villainy, the kidnappings, the explosions all laid out in little chapters, with headings like “Deathtraps” and “Psychological Motivations”.

Turning to the title page, Dr. Mercury saw that the authors name was Carson, and it was signed with a wide, rolling script. The cursive was messy, as if was written quickly, but it made Dr. Mercury smile.

Don’t go, read the inscription, or you will die. There are many ways to be a hero. It was signed, “Mag Carson”.

The Doctor hummed a little song to herself, a half-remembered melody from her mother, and walked back to ash beaches of her island, book tucked under her arm.  

Previously: From the Diary of Maggie “Mag” Carson