Wonder Woman in Rome #7

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. 

07 When in the Tiber

The spitting, scolding clay continued to purge the life out of Wonder Woman as she struggled to keep above head level. She could see Christopher Dalton sprawled out, where he fell, on the rocks above the pit. The recessive chloroform in his bloodstream, from the Lost Siren’s throwing star, caused Dalton to fall unconscious when Mendo struck him with the dagger. Now he was awakening and Diana knew he was her best chance.

“Chris,” she called, “Can you hear me?” 

“I can hear you, Wonder Woman,” Christopher mumbled, “But I can’t help you. Nobody can. This is-is your retribution for Karen Harris.”

Diana sighed. Even speaking was exhausting in the oppressive heat of the clay, furthermore, it was compressing on Diana’s entire diaphragm. 

“Listen to me, Christopher,” she appealed, momentarily, shutting her eyes in discomfort, “The cardinal is a demon who has been manipulating your mind ever since Karen’s demise.“ 

Dragging himself upright, “No,” dismissed Dalton, “You’re the demon, Wonder Woman, whether you know it or not. I’ve read it. I’ve seen it for myself, the way you pretend to abet Diana Prince when you‘re really causing death and mayhem everywhere you go.”

“That’s not true…”

“SHUT-UP!” he bawled, “Where’s Diana? What have you done with her? If you’ve harmed her, I’ll kill you, myself.”

As the blood curdling goo tightened around her, Wonder Woman knew she had only a little time left. Was it this desperate situation, some remorseful fatigue, or just another strategy, which led her to throw off the shackles of concealment?

“You’re watching Diana in trouble, right now,” she stated, tilting her head back, “I am Diana, Christopher.”

“What?” Dalton murmured in a confused disgust, “What are you up to, witch?”

Wonder Woman’s piercing blue eyes were now staring, intensely, at Dalton, “Look,” she instructed, “The stitches in my neck are the same ones you saw when you broke me out of hospital, this morning.”

He did look and see, “How-how is it possible? I can’t believe this…”

“You can believe,” Diana urged, “Look into the ruby of my tiara. Keep your eyes on it. Now, close them. Open your mind. Free your soul…”

As she talked, they closed their eyes, together, and when reopened, Christopher could see Diana was Wonder Woman, all along.

Staggering in astonishment, Chris pronounced, “Diana, you-you really are Wonder Woman. I’ve got to get you out of this muck.”

The thick mud was up to Wonder Woman’s chin. The gooey earth was thickening around her, squeezing every last inch of her being. Her face was raining perspiration on to the hot solidifying clay. Diana was still able raise her right arm up through the gunk. It was a painful process that took several attempts before Wonder Woman’s fist broke through the mold.
“Argh!” she cried, in breathless fury, “Christopher, I’m holding my lasso, can you reach it?”

“Yeah, yeah, baby, I think so.”

Dalton reached down with his good arm. The clay surface had solidified enough to rest a strip of the lasso on the surface. It was enough for Dalton to handle.

Even so, Diana was still sinking, albeit, at a lesser rate; the gunge was over her mouth and she was close to passing out. Dalton needed no further instructions; he yanked the lasso with all the strength he could muster. Diana was raised up to her shoulders. Wrapping the golden cord around his arms, he heaved back. Fortunately, what Dalton lacked in diplomacy, he made up for in brute force, evidently, by Wonder Woman’s body lying on the surface of the thickened clay. However, she wasn’t moving. Dalton let go of the lasso and lifted Wonder Woman out of the pit by her shoulders. The two of them lay on the rocks, injured and exhausted. 
“Diana, Diana, say something,” pleaded her saviour.

“Christopher, I’m all right,” Diana softly sighed, “But I’m still burning. I need to be in the water.”

“Jeez, you’re a demanding woman,” Dalton joked.

He dragged himself to his feet. Wonder Woman was covered in sticky grey clay. She had looked better, but, somehow, he thought her new vulnerability made her more beautiful than ever. He pulled Diana up by her arms and lugged her over his shoulder. 

“I hope you’ll finally date with me after all of this,” he said.

At last, Louis Cesario reached the end of the passage. With only the light of his torch, he tapped the rocks and soon felt an echo of metal. He had discovered a fake rock door and could just make out the key hole. The Divina Key was a perfect fit but, frustratingly, the cast iron door wouldn’t budge.

“Need a hand, little man,” asked a voice in the darkness. 

“For once, I’m pleased to see you, Serena,” admitted Louis, “Did you ditch Wonder Woman?”

“No, she got lucky,” Rocca replied, powering her muscle into the door.

Even by torch light, it was clear to see the Lost Siren had been part of a ferocious battle. Louis took some pleasure in noticing her once pristine nylons were now ripped right up to her leg, from her boot to the firm curve of her buttock. Blood stains, or dirt, were littered all over the costume. She was also without her belt and mask.

“Wonder Woman got the better of you, this time, huh?” ridiculed Cesario.

The taunt seemed to do the trick, as Serena busted the heavy door right off its hinges, on to the ground. 

“For the record,” said Serena, sternly, “Wonder Woman was helped by another American. He and the Prince woman, later, entered the passage. I followed them. I had the last laugh, as they were abseiling down that cavity, back there, when I untied the rope.”

“Nice work, then and now,” complimented Louis, stepping over the door.

He scanned the room with the torch. There were large chests full of glittering gold and jewellery. 

“Have you seen this place?” 

“Oh, boy, I’m going to be rich, again,” he celebrated. He picked a chain of pearl beads, “I mean, man, look at this stuff. I’ve played another ace here!”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, Cesario,” cautioned the Siren, “Remember, half of this find belongs to the Fourth Reich. “ 

“Sure,” scoffed Louis, holding his cell phone to his ear, “We’ll talk about it later. Right now, I need to get the boys down here…  Damn it, no signal, I’ll try near the gorge.”

“Hope you’re not frightened of the dark, fräulein,” he laughed on his way out.

“I wouldn’t worry about the dark, if I were you,” someone said, elegantly. 

“Who’s there?” Serena shouted in shock.

The light of a candle lit over Mendo’s rat-face, “I’ve been standing against this wall, all this time,” he chuckled, “The dark can make such comfortable cover, don’t you find?”  

“I wouldn’t know, as I don’t hide from anything,” she threatened.

“No, I wouldn’t suppose you did,” charmed Mendo, “I like you. You’re everything your departed partner couldn’t be – straight forward, direct, devoted to the cause rather than your own greed.” 

“Don’t get on your high horse with me, Cardinal. You’ve risked these caves to ensure you get your cut, too,” she countered.

The tall, so-called, Cardinal knelt down and tried to lift the heavy door off the floor, but to little effect, “Do you mind?” he asked.

She obliged with a smug face of superiority. 

“No, no, my dear, you can keep the loot,” he replied, “I’m afraid it is only a load of old jumble, anyway. I’m surprised Cesario couldn’t tell. I suppose you can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.”

“What do mean, you slippery creep?” Serena angrily snapped, dropping the door onto its hinges in the rock. 

“There’s no need for the compliment, Miss Rocca, I won’t leave you in the dark any longer.”

He took a wood lantern off the wall holder and lit it. 

“You see, you’re my lead in a little re-enactment that I’ve prepared,” Mendo announced.

Mendo dropped the lantern on the floor; a circle of flames spread around the treasure chests with Serena in the centre of the fiery circle. The treasure began popping like deadly fireworks. The roof of the room was ablaze, in seconds. 

“What is this?” shouted Rocca, “What are you doing?”

“I’m indebted to you for repairing the door, Miss Rocca - that nearly bodged the whole ceremony. You can now die in the knowledge that you’ve shared the same fate as the original Lost Siren, a thousand years ago.”

Mendo slammed the room door shut with a sinister snigger. The Lost Siren’s forlorn cries for help could be heard right down the tunnel; but nobody came.

Christopher Dalton dunked Wonder Woman, rather unceremoniously, into the water of the subterranean bay. The lukewarm, tepid, stream felt like paradise after the sticky burning clay. It jilted Diana back to a dazed consciousness, as she lay in his watery arms.

“You saved me, again,” she smiled, sleepily, reaching out to touch his face.

“I hate to tell you this, Diana, but that’s not my face,” Dalton shocked.

Wonder Woman turned to see she had touched a human head floating freely in the water, “Its Louis Cesario,” she grimaced.

“Jesus! The guy’s neck has been sliced right through,” added Dalton, “We’ve got to get out of this little shop of horrors, pronto.”

Tying Wonder Woman’s lasso around his waist, and placing her near arm over his shoulders, Dalton followed the current, wading through the water. As they had figured earlier, the stream led out into the River Tiber. It picked up pace as they swam nearer the exit to the cave. The water was deeper with no obvious route to the shore. They had little choice but to follow its mighty flow. 

It was a relief to escape from the sinister tunnels, though freedom couldn’t be secured until they were safely on land. Wonder Woman was still in her rare state of infirmity - a mere damsel in distress - with her arm wrapped around Dalton, while he battled to keep the two of them afloat. 

As they approached Ponte Garibaldi, the river divided into precarious short rapids. Dalton only had been swimming with one arm and was beginning to tire. He couldn’t control their position in the current. He was suddenly alarmed to feel the lasso slip away from his waist. To his relief, he saw Wonder Woman fling it at the nearest bush on the embankment. They pulled themselves along the line, upon to some shrubs, near a car park.

The wet couple lay, relieved, on their backs. Much of the muddy clay had been dispersed. Wonder Woman’s costume was darkened by the grey slime, but was still intact. Dripping wet clay ran off her glistening golden girdle - blessed by the gods - for which played such an important role in keeping Diana under their immortal protection.   

“Was it you or I who saved us last?” asked Christopher.

“Who is even counting any more?” replied Diana with a wry smile.

“Diana, when I didn’t know who you were, I felt such hatred towards Wonder Woman,” he confessed, peering over her, “But I don’t hate you, now, I love you, Diana. I loved you since the first minute I met you.”

Before Diana could respond, Dalton’s lips touched hers - she didn’t resist. For a moment, they both closed their eyes in an exulting union. 

He lay back down and asked, “You know what I don’t get is why Mendo didn’t kill us when he had the chance.”

Diana never answered; he could tell she didn’t want to say by the look on her face. It was the same dreadful penetrating gaze, he saw in her steely blue eyes, when Karen Harris knew she had no choice but to leap to her death from the Eiffel Tower. 

“You know, don’t you? Tell me, tell me,” Dalton demanded.

“No, Chris, I can’t tell, the consequences are too grave” she responded.

“If it’s really that grave, then, I should know,” he astutely reasoned.

Momentarily, there was a reflective pause, before Wonder Woman explained, “Demons like Mendo gain power from energy, such as emotion. Ordinarily, humans only have so much between themselves, but with me they have more. This is why I was targeted, waiting for a time like on top of the Eiffel Tower.“

She found the strength to get up and hold Christopher, “I believe you always loved me, Chris. That’s why Mendo could harness the energy. It is the ambiguity of love and hate which he uses to his advantage.”

“How can we stop it?”

With her head down, she stated, “We can’t stop it until the bond’s broken, for such ambiguity festers in the shadow of all human unconsciouses.”

“Look at me, look at me, damn it!” Christopher insisted, “By broken you mean by dead, don’t you?”

Diana looked into his eyes, “Let’s not say it,” she said, softly, with almost unimaginable vulnerability.

“I know the one who is immortal - the one who is most valuable to this world,” he informed.

She struggled to meet him on his feet. He swept his hand over her wet soiled hair. “Go and get 'em, kid,” he said.

They savoured a kiss for one last magical embrace. Then, without hesitation, he was back swimming in the Tiber. He dived down and was gone, never to resurface. Wonder Woman dropped to her knees, like a meteor crashing from the sky, or was it raining fire on Rome?


  1. Again great work. Diana very human, emotional and vulnerable in this chapter. Now the final showdown between Wonder woman and Mendo. Only one small regret: I would have liked to see more from the Lost Siren: looks like Wonder Woman didn't score a definitive ko last time. In any case the Author (please note the respectful capital letter) is king !!!

  2. I intentionally left the door open (no pun intended) for Serena Rocca, as I quite enjoy dusting off characters from previous stories. Thank you, as always, constructive feedback is a great incentive.

  3. Morning after thoughts. A lot of questions for a thrilling conclusion.
    - who killed Cesario (in such a piratesque way) ?
    - where are the Italian cops ? will they have a role in the final ?
    - do Mendo has goons / allies ?
    - speaking of paranormal, will the original Lost Siren make an appearance ? whose side will she be on ?

    Only time (and the Author) will tell ?

    I'm wondering where the next story will be located. I would put my money on a certain city (based on a clue that I think ti have noticed) but I do not want to spoil the surprise for the other readers ....

  4. Thoughtful questions, but what I can I say:

    Well done!
    Yes, one character, in particular.
    Unlikely, but nice idea!

    Actually, I was thinking of using other geographical titles, than just cities, in future stories. After all, not everything is city based.