Wonder Woman in London #4

Wonder Woman was created by Dr William Moulton Marston in 1941 and is the © copyright trademark of DC Comics. My Wonder Woman stories are only fan fiction and based, primarily, on the 1970s CBS TV show (albeit, updated to the present time of writing). However, any resources from adaptations and the comics may be utilised. All characters are entirely fictional. With the exception of Diana / Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, the story and characters are my own creation, unless otherwise stated. In my stories there are no other superheroes in the world, except for Wonder Woman. 

 4. Meet Fadhila Zuma

The persistent beeping from Diana Prince’s cell phone alerted her back to wakefulness. “Oh, Steve, what time is it?” she languidly asked. 

“By London time, it’s six-thirty, Diana. In Washington, it’s only one-thirty – meaning I’m missing out on my beauty sleep – but the message we’ve received is important enough to risk that.”

“What message?”

“It seems Fadhila Zuma wants to meet up with you. She contacted the American embassy in London, last night. She claims to have some important information concerning the heroin in exchange for immunity from prosecution – which we can’t give – but it’ll be worth talking to her.”

“Where and when?” Diana inquired, propping herself up out of bed.

“Two o’clock at London’s House of Wax. I’m sending the message to your phone…”

Diana paced up and down in her white bed gown, listening to the message, and then reconnected to Trevor. “She sounds scared, Steve.”

“Scared or snared, Diana - it could be a trap.”

“I don’t know, Steve? But it’s the best lead we have.”

“I have to agree. Would you like support from the British authorities? I hate the thought of you putting yourself in danger with nothing but wax models to rely on for assistance.”

“Thanks, Steve, but from what I’ve experienced so far, I’ll be better off tackling this one by myself – besides, I always felt a certain affinity with sculpted figures.”

“Ha-ha, I won’t ask…”

Stepping through from the foyer in a conservative black suit, Diana was immediately presented with the House of Wax’s world renowned models. The life-sized accuracy of the figures gave an almost creepy impression of mingling with the famous individuals - past and present - politicians, royalty, movie stars, pop stars, sports people, and even the fictional among them. 

“You’re a little too real for me,” frowned Diana, studying the grim features of Adolf Hitler.

Reflecting off Hitler’s synthetic right eyeball, Diana captured the fleeting frame of Fadhila Zuma. In her revealing white netted dress, Zuma made her way through the crowd. She turned and looked around at the stairs, then descended down to the Dungeon of Horrors. Diana was confident that Fadhila didn’t know her because they had never met in her guise as Agent Prince. She curiously followed her bait.

The Dungeon of Horrors resembled a ghost-train ride, but by foot. A cobbled interior path disappeared in the darkness. On both sides of the arcade were display windows of true and fictional horrors demonstrated by astonishingly real looking rendered figures. Some of them were real; frozen actors in make-up, sporadically, sprung to life to startle the visitors in the name of fun.     

“Need a barber!” shocked one of them, portraying Sweeney Todd.

“Oh, no, thank you,” gasped Diana, but not really shaken. 

Up ahead, Fadhila appeared to stop and look at an open display window of a man hung from an oak tree. As Diana crept up behind her, a figure of a highwayman suddenly sprang to life.

“Oh, you got me,” Diana admitted, placing her hand over her heart. 

The highwayman’s steely eyes fastened themselves on Diana like two foreboding black holes of destruction. Very softly he whispered into her ear, “I swung from that tree and now you’re going to, too.” 

“Yeah, that’s a funny joke and all that, but don’t you think you’re taking this act a little far?”

And then, as if to answer her question, she felt a knife point dig into the back of her black jacket. 

“Oh, right, I see,” said Diana being guided into the display piece from behind.

Inside the open window another figure emerged out of the shadows. 

“Yeah, that’s her – that’s Diana Prince.”

“Hey, Pincho, what a lovely surprise! I thought you might be hanging around here, somewhere,” Diana joked.

The highwayman began tying her wrists with rope behind her back. 

“You’re the only one who’ll be hanging here,” he hissed. He had a most menacing low-croak. Diana could detect an Eastern European accent when he spoke.
Since Diana’s capture, Fadhila hadn’t taken her eyes off her, “You know what we’re going to do with you?” she catechized with a smug smirk on her face, “We’re going to dangle you from that tree, next to the wax figure. The hordes of tourists will watch you struggle and die, and nobody will do a thing about it because they’ll believe it’s all part of the show. They probably won’t even know you’re real, honey. They’ll think you’re just another authentic looking waxwork.” 

Zuma laughed, dispassionately. Diana showed her discomfort at the thought by flinching her glasses with her right cheek.

“Listen,” said Ochieng James, “if you answer our questions, we’ll let you walk.”

“You’re playing the good cop, Pincho?” asked Diana with some sarcasm, as she was led on to a platform beneath the tree.

“No, we won’t let her go,” insisted the highwayman, pulling her jacket down over her tied wrists, “We are going to humiliate the Americans by leaving one of their top operatives hung in public.”

Ochieng objected, “hey, what you talkin' about, man? That’s not the plan, bro.”

The highwayman brought a noose down over Diana’s head, “Shut-up and keep a look out then, if you can’t stomach it.”

Feeling the tension in the atmosphere – not just around her neck – Diana knew she had only a small time-frame to influence events before she was executed. She could hysterically scream for help, but visitors would most likely think it part of the show, and only serve to hasten her demise by her captors. No, her best option was to exploit the perceived psychological tension. 

Grimly, Diana ogled Ochieng, “Are you going to add me to your list? The sixty-second death that you played a part in?”

James tutted, “what are you talkin’ about?”    
Diana needed to speak quickly, as the highwayman was attempting to gag her by forcing a rag around her mouth. 

“I’m talking about the sixty-one victims who died from the bad dope you sold them. The authorities know you were the dealer. Maybe you didn’t know the stuff would kill them, but this is coldblooded murder, Pincho. Think about-…”

The gag was clung into place between Diana’s pearly white teeth.

“Allow me the honours, honey,” Fadhila said coldly, preparing to kick the platform from beneath Diana’s feet.

But Diana’s gaze was fixed completely on James. The big man had frozen in thought for the last minute. Amid the desperation in Diana’s eyes and the crazy glee in Zuma’s, he knew she was only seconds away from publicly executing an innocent woman by barbaric hanging. 

Ochieng snapped out of his trance, “nah, man, nah,” he protested while slapping Fadhila back from the platform. 

The would-be executor screamed, holding her left cheek where she had been struck. Ochieng loosened the noose, and Diana automatically swung herself off the rear of the platform. As he turned around, the highwayman briskly pierced James through the heart before the larger man had time to react. His hefty frame collapsed on the floor.

Not giving her former boyfriend a second look, Zuma rushed away down the cobbled path. The remains of the highwayman’s hat and coat were the only signs of his presence there. Having made her way behind the tree trunk, Diana never witnessed the brutal incident. Still with her hands tied behind her back, she rotated on her stiletto heels.

The blinding lightning flash from behind the oak didn’t even register with the shocked crowd that had formed. Any confusion over whether the spectacle was part of the show ended when a security guard rushed over to James’ lying body and anxiously raised the alarm.

“Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance! I think this man’s dead…”

For Part 5 Click Here