Monday, March 28, 2011

Flood of Darkness


...three months ago...

Jack opened his eyes. He had been sleeping for some time. Sensei's training was dwindling out. Ever since their confrontation at the dojo he has been pulling away from Jack. Jack did not know whether this was how Flood training ended or if his master still held a grudge over these past few weeks. It was almost 4 in the afternoon. Dr. Randolph was not in. Jack got his coat on and went for a walk. The street was congested with people. The alleyway was clear. A bright sun lit the hidden urban corridor. But it was still cold out. Jack put his sunglasses on and walked up the block away from the dojo.

He had distracted himself with delusional jujitsu training for long enough. It was time to figure out what he was going to do about Fitzsimons and getting his life back. The Doc said his family was okay. That means Fitzsimons has not gone crazy yet. Either that or he's gone altogether. Jack had to consider all the reasonable explanations. Most of them included the fact that the Storm Harvester still possesses Fitzsimons. Jack knew he was not dead. He knew the Storm Harvester would never quit its search for the Divine Catalyst. And just like it used him to get to it, the unstoppable force would now use Fitzsimons. A lethal combination of sinister intentions and resourceful hosts...the perfect storm of trouble for Jack.

If Dr. Randolph could go and come back without being seen, a trained soldier mastering teleportation should be able to do it with ease. Jack walked down the street. A jeep swerved across the lanes. Three hands with guns came out of the window. Their target was a black man walking down the sidewalk in a long leather jacket and giant golden chain around his neck. He pulled out two guns from his jacket but it was too late. The firing squad gunned him down. All before Jack and other innocent bystanders. One of which was a woman frightened beyond the capacity to move out of the way. Jack jumped for her, shielding her with his back. He screamed in agony as bullets that missed the big leather jacket thug were collected by his back. Jack kept himself from freezing up in pain. He rolled her safely out of the way and the hitmen in the jeep sped off after their target fell.

Jack let her go and checked his own wounds. The bullets were gone and the remaining lacerations were disappearing. He was okay. When he turned back for the woman he found her on the floor. She had been caught by one of the stray bullets. It pierced her abdomen and she was bleeding out on the floor. Jack got down next to her and tried to save her. He pressed his hand on the wound but nothing happened. He tried again, closing his eyes, relaxing his thoughts, and....nothing.

The woman was dead. Jack kept trying to save her. People came out after all the commotion to have a look for themselves. They surrounded Jack who was now trying CPR to get her back. Soon ambulance sirens sounded off. Jack left before they arrived. It was getting dark out. Jack was pissed off. He could not save that woman. She did not have to die. These gangs were out of control. In a dark alleyway, Jack checked his healed wounds. The scar tissue was tightening and expanding. His muscles hurt every day, especially after they were over-exerted. He was finally feeling the effects of Dr. Randolph's diagnoses. Could it be...was he actually going to die? A thought which never crossed his mind while fighting. He assumed it was because of the rush of endorphins in a hectic situation. He always felt better directly after a fight.

Jack got back to his apartment. The whole time repeating over and over again the license plate number of the getaway car. Once inside, he reached under his bed and pulled out a trunk. He opened the giant chest and took out his old army equipment. He strapped the utility belt around his jeans and holstered it onto his belt. He took his Kevlar vest out of his flack jacket and strapped it on over his t-shirt. Jack then took out some eye-black and with his sunglasses still on his face marked himself with urban camouflage. Thick, waving black stripes, only interrupted by the dark glasses. Jack looked at himself in the mirror.

It felt good. Being back in his gear. He even put his boots back on. Jack looked back at his apartment as he stood by the front door. He picked his jacket off the hook and flailed it around as he put it on. The dark coattail made him feel like he was putting on a cape. Jack took his gloves out from the satchel on his utility belt and slowly opened the door. When the coast was clear he crossed the empty street over to the alleyway. Jack climbed the city wall and jumped across the rooftops of the night skyline with disregarded ease.

So started the first night of Jack's new life.
A night that would soon become infamous.
The origin crusade of DarkFlood.

Flood of Darkness


...almost five months ago...

The dojo was empty on this hazy day. He sat there, facing the mirrors. Looking at himself, alone with the early morning sun. Sensei greeted him with his traditional sneak attack. The old man flew at Jack with a heavy kick. Jack absorbed the shot, letting Sensei hit him, grabbing his leg and using his momentum against him, tossing him across the mat.

"The Flood knows not impatience..." Sensei foretold, "Use the gifts given to you and absorb, then react. You are the one prophesied about. The one who cannot be killed. And much much more..." Sensei leaped at Jack again. Kick. chop. Jab. Jab. Jab. Kick. Roundhouse. Jack caught the old fighter's kick and slammed in onto the mat. Sensei jumped back up. Jack could swear that he heard his body crack. But the Sensei continued to jump around him on the offensive while he preached, "You are the one legend foretells of, and in the days of 2 Suns shall save the Earth."

Jack stopped for a second, "What was that last part?"

Sensei takes the opportunity to attack, double spin kicking Jack in the chest; knocking him off his feet. The Sensei walked over to him scrambling on the floor. "Don't worry, the times leading up to you are described as the Flooded Days. If the temple of the Flood have actually predicted something of that magnitude, we have something much more to prepare for."

"Is there actually a prophecy or are you just messing with me, Sensei?"

"What have I been teaching you since the day you saved my grandson?"

"Flood technique, Sensei."

"Correct. That is no fairytale. This technique derived from a temple deep in the hills. The Temple of the Flood it was called. They taught an ancient time when forces ruled the world. When the forces began to die out, man would rule the Earth. Until the day when the Earth is reborn and both the forces of old and mankind are propelled into the future."

The Sensei had now settled down and began stretching, preparing for meditation. "Do you wish, Jack Hanover...for me to tell you everything right now?"

"No Sensei. No offense, but I can take only so much 'ancient legend' every day."

"All you need to know for now is they call upon the one who cannot die to bring the world together, and you're not going to be able to do that if you're just fighting me every day..."

"Why should I protect them? What would they do for me if my life was is in the gutter?"

"You mustn't think like that."

"How must I think, Sensei?"

"Think what you want, Jack Hanover. Know this...If you never want to be anything in your life keep going on... excusing your actions at the mercy of others."

"You really know how to tell it, don't you, old man!"

The meditation was cut short. Jack looked up in his prone, at ease stance. Sensei was coming down hard on top of him. Jack was punched twice in the face, a penalty for being caught off guard. Tossed forward and kicked back to the ground. Jack got to his feet sliding across the mat. Disrespect was not tolerated inside the dojo.

Sensei swung back around low on Jack, both feet kicking in his knee, shattering his knee cap. Jack fell on the broken knee, and struggled to get back up. The pain was not subsiding. Every time he got hurt his threshold was not diluted by his altered state. The Sensei kept him on his wounded knees with a couple more jabs to the face before he relented. Jack laid beaten on the mat, trying to gather enough strength to take a defensive stance.

Sensei walked away from him and Jack stared up from the floor. He was done. Too exhausted from all the training. Now he knew, when he gets physically tired, he cannot heal himself as quickly as he can normally. "I Learn somethin' new every day about myself, Sensei."

"Good, Jack Hanover."

The Sensei knew exactly what he was doing, what he did not know...was that he would help one of the greatest members of the human race fulfill his destiny and become a global savior. He blindly followed the teachings of the Flood jujitsu, but never thought the prophecies of old would occur in his time.

A Flood is coming, one they say is unstoppable, and it will change the world forever.

Flood of Darkness


...five months ago...

"What do you mean...I'm dying...?"

"You have tumors growing in almost every organ of your body, including your muscles and skin...I didn't believe it myself, but the scans don't lie. In a week they will grow so big that you will feel them all over. In a months time they will become visible, deforming your body. After that its only a matter of time before their irregular accelerated growth overloads your body and kills you. Its just a question of which major organ will fail first now."


Jack sat back down on the bed. "..." His thoughts jumped in and out of focus. He struggled to get his head wrapped around one long enough to say, "...But...I feel great?"

"That, I still can't explain. All the tests I took on your rapid eye re-growth came back inconclusive. I don't know what to make of it. Will it prevent the tumors from killing you? Possibly. Could it be the reason you have tumors to begin with? Just as likely."

Dr. Randolph sat down at his desk and put his elbows down, holding his head in his hands. The poor doctor seemed distraught, utterly spent. He had no more answers for his patient. He had no more theories for himself. Dr. Randolph had never felt like this before. His patient defies the laws of nature and science.

Jack got up. The mere thought of someone caring about his own sake to be this upset was compelling. It made Jack feel differently about his fate. He patted Dr. Randolph on the back as he walked by him. Dr. Randolph felt a sudden and brief sensation. His frustrations disappeared and reappeared like a flash. Jack walked out the front door. His Sensei was leaning on the wall beside him. Jack looked forward at the fleeting night. "My powers are growing."

"You will go...through...many changes before you reach the extent of your powers."

"I think...I can heal...others..."

The Sensei stood next to him, as he peered down the same alleyway across the street that his grandson was originally saved by Jack from being mugged. He muttered his next words very carefully, "Let's find out." Sensei nodded Jack's attention down the alleyway. A young girl was being chased and beaten down in the shadows. Jack sprung into action. He ran down the alleyway as they clawed at her clothes, laughing amongst themselves, screaming at her. Jack saw one of them undo his belt and pants. Jack teleported himself before the helpless girl, grabbing the thug's neck and hurling him into the air. Jack elbows the other thug next to him. One thug falls from the air as the other pulls out his glock. Jack turns around to see if the girl is okay. His only mistake.

This gives the thug enough time to fire one shot from his gun. Jack punches his chest and sends the thug into the wall behind them. Both of the abductors lie on the floor, out-cold. The bullet singes the girl's shoulder. She is fades in and out of consciousness, sobbing quietly. Jack gets down, he fixes her shirt and picks her up. Sensei approaches them down the alleyway. A rain cloud moves in above them and opens up. Jack puts the girl down. They are drenched within seconds.

"We should go get Dr. Randolph."

"No. This is your time."

"She could die." The rain splashes his words.

"It is up to you...whether or not she dies."

Jack gets down next to her. She was a young Asian girl. What business could she possibly have for being out here at such a late hour. He puts his hand over her wound. Sensei now stands above him. He hums a meditation for Jack's concentration. Softly he begins to speak...

"Go back to the days of your first encounter with the gift. How it felt to be harmed...and then healed from it. Now you are the healer. It is your turn to deal out miracles. Give this girl the feeling of being healed."

Jack raised his head with his eyes closed and a blue light left his hand, covering her wound. The light bounced off the raindrops and lit the alleyway, revealing the rising the sun. She gasped and woke up. All that remained of her traumas were the blood stains on her clothes. Her shoulder was fine, her conscious clear. Jack and the Sensei helped her up and escorted her home.

"Get some sleep," ordered Sensei, and both him and Jack went home. Jack walked into his apartment and walked past Dr. Randolph, asleep at his desk, as if he had not moved. Jack got in his bed and got some much needed sleep. He did not worry about the tests or his predicted death. Instead, he wondered about his new teleportation and healing powers. He felt like a comic book superhero he used to read about when he was a kid. More and more, Jack considered the possibility of fighting crime...devoting his life to truly becoming a super hero.

What the hell? He was dying anyway...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flood of Darkness


...five months ago...

The night cast a murky shade over the downtown area. Jack Hanover scales the silhouetted city skyline after his mentor.


He gets to the top of the tenement. Jack reaches up to the corner of the wall he's climbing and the roof he's climbing to, grabs a good hold, and pulls himself up. Jack rolls over the edge and sprawls out on the roof, gasping, trying to get his breath back. His Sensei is on his feet next to him, bouncing back and forth between his right and left legs. He snaps into a sprint across the span of the rooftop. When he reaches the edge of the other side, his pace maintains haste. The Sensei leaps into the spread of empty space above the alleyway. He points his right foot out, almost like a kick, as his momentum carries him down. With the tucking of his shoulder, the Sensei rolls safely onto the next building. He comes back around to his feet and turns back for Jack.

Jack is speechless. It had to be some forty or fifty feet across. The Sensei waves his hand for Jack to follow him. He peers over at the alley gap and back at his mentor. Jack back-peddles himself over to the far corner, where Sensei started his run. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and remembers his training. Visualize the landing, attack the jump...

Jack opens his eyes and moves forward into a dead sprint. He runs as though the reaper himself was nipping at his heels. He reaches the edge and unlike the Sensei, Jack has a brief moment of doubt. Although auto-corrected by his stride directly after the hesitation, his momentum is thrown off balance as he flies into the air.

Gravity takes Jack and pulls his body down, slamming his side into the corner of the next building over. He is winded and can't concentrate on grabbing a hold. He slips off the edge and is grabbed by his Sensei who lunged over the side after him. He pulls them both up. Jack tries to get to his feet, after being saved by his mentor. He could feel his ribs were cracked. Each one, starting from the bottom, snapped itself back into place. And Jack could feel it each time. The healing inside him was not natural nor was it pleasant. It was random and specific, as if it had a mind of its own.

Jack had no doubt in his mind that the Divine Catalyst was inside of him. He had been thinking about it ever since his return to Afghanistan. He was the plant now. Did that mean he could heal others? What was the extent of its power? Jack bounced back up and brushed his shoulders off. He ran across the next rooftop and jumped before looking at the next building over. His feet left the roof and crossed into the empty alleyway space. Ahead of Jack was brick, a wide wall spanning twenty stories over Jack's head. He cringed his eyes closed and braced himself with a shot of shiver. In his mind he went back to his visualization of the jump, landing on the rooftop. The impact of brick wall shoves Jack's head into motion. The pain shakes out but the impact is no longer there.

The momentum shifts in a direction unfamiliar with his path. Matter pressing under the soles of his feet. Jack opened his eyes and found himself on the roof of the twenty-one story building. He fell to his knees. The air in his chest was lost. Jack panicked and blacked out. He woke up screaming, a concrete wall going through his shoulder. The pain was excruciating and in its blistering degree showed Jack control. He cringed his eyes closed again and launched himself into the alleyway.

There a man was being beaten up. Splashing around in a dirty puddle along with the kicking legs of his three attackers. Gang related violence, it was clear. Why is it up to Jack to prevent this? They are rats, separate two from fighting and they will just go on to steal. He felt no compassion for these thugs. They were no different from the scum he fought against in Afghanistan. Same criminal, different country. Jack cringes and changes location. He leaves the alleyway, and the beaten up man is left unconscious. His face submerged in the puddle, his body carved out.

Jack's placing shifts out once again and he moves on.

He gathered and was falling down a building side. Clawing at the rising river of brick, looking for a grip. The floor rushed towards him, about to gobble him up before he awoke one last time. Instead of the cold hard alleyway floor, he landed safely on his bed in his apartment. Dr. Randolph was just getting in.

He took off his trench-coat and walked over to his desk, placing a folder next to his computer. Jack caught his breath on the bed, mumbling to himself "...I can teleport..." And then got himself up to greet his friend, returning after almost three weeks of being away. When he stood up, Dr. Randolph was facing him, a grave look on his face.

"What's the matter, Doc?"

"I went home to Oklahoma to get the results of your tests. I had to be careful. As you know we did not have the proper-"

Jack grabbed him and asked, "Did you see my family? Did you see my wife?"

"Yes I did. They are fine."

"Thank god," Jack released the kind Doctor and he went on.

"The results of the tests..."

"No bullshit. Just give it to me straight, Doc."


"...well..." the Doctor stopped to find the right words.

"You're dying."