Did I just hear whispering? Zip thinks as she jogs past Count Nemesis’ desk. Nah, must have been my imagination, she rationalizes as she rounds a corner and arrives at the office copy machine, located in the center of the workplace, outside the kitchen.

Zip plops down a stack of papers into the top loader of the copier and jabs the start button. She stands with her hands on her hips, impatiently tapping her foot. The copy machine is working just as fast as any normal copy machine should. But Zip operates at a different speed than “normal.”

“Come on, can’t this hunk of junk go any faster?” Zip complains to no one in particular. She gives the Xerox machine a swift kick in its side. CRUNCH! As if responding to Zip’s attack, a mechanical uproar erupts from the belly of the automated beast. It sounds as if the appliance is tearing itself apart from the inside.

The copier continues to suck Zip’s papers into its innards but refuses to spit out any duplicates. “No! No! Stop eating the important tax documents you stupid machine!” Zip yells as she kicks and shoves the copier like a pinball machine. Sparks arc out of the device like flaming projectiles launched from a catapult. “Ow!” Zip cries and jumps away from the tantrum driven contraption.

Giving up on assaulting the device, Zip simply screams out, “BOLT!”, who appears uncannily fast.

“You rang, your majesty?” Bolt sasses.

“Quit with the sarcasm, kiddo. The copier is on the fritz again.”

“Hmm, this unit has been getting a lot of complaints lately. I recommend we open her up, doctor,” Bolt quips and pulls out his electric dagger. A stream of electricity wiggles down the length of the blade. Bolt lowers the dagger toward the copy machine, ready to plunge the pulsing knife into the plastic shell, when suddenly a sheet of paper ejects into the tray.

Bolt picks up the paper and inspects it. It reads: WAIT! in giant bold font. “Wait? What does that mean?” Bolt asks Zip. Before she can venture an answer, another page shoots out of the copier and misses the tray. It floats down to the ground between Bolt and Zip. The paper reads: I’M ALIVE!

The story continues in Chapter 8, which will be published this Thursday!