Thursday, July 28, 2011
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
...just a couple of weeks ago...
Turner Sans lights a cigarette with a golden Zippo lighter. Flicks it shut and slides the Zippo back into his vest pocket. DarkFlood stands before him, arms crossed, face drawn on by the alleyway shadow. He finishes hearing what this joker has to say, and gives him his already predetermined answer, "You make an interesting offer, Mr. Sans. But I must decline."
"This will not be the last you hear from me."
"My answer will always be the same."
"The time will come when are roles shall be reversed."
DarkFlood had nothing else to say to him. He wanted to check on the kid. He knew he would be able to as Jack Hanover without causing a scene as DarkFlood. A quick teleport to the apartment and back finally shook this southern hack off his back and returned to the fire, now finally put out.
The kid still rested on the floor, along with his father, Dr. Randolph, Jason, and Moses who had a boy of his own now huddled amongst all of them. The boy who Jack saved from the fire was okay, just still in shock. He continuously gasped for air, as if he was still suffocating in that bathroom. Poor boy was deeply traumatized.
Jack came back over. His wounds were healed. He had stopped sweating. All his tells were wiped clean. He got to Randolph and Jason and asked what happened. They played along well and nobody was the wiser. DarkFlood's identity remained concealed...
Jack got down next to Dr. Randolph, he was still not at ease. Dr. Randolph knew they needed to help more, knew Jack needed to help more. With DarkFlood now gone, he must come up with a solution anyway. Randolph looked around, "Ah..." he speaks up, "This is my colleague Dr. Hanover," He leans over to the boy's dad, Lazarus, and reinforces Jack's existence, "He is a specialist."
"Specialist of what?" squawked Turner Sans, back from the alley.
"I am a brain doctor." bluntly put Jack as he spent no more time with this bullshit. He put his hand over the boys head and could feel the hyperventilating lungs charged with fear. He absorbed that fear and his lungs tensed briefly before returning to normal. The kid breathed easy once again and opened his eyes freely. "Dad..." he said as he raced his hand under the chin of his father, Lazarus. That was all he said and did before he passed out.
"Thank you," Lazarus said to both of them. Jack shook his head and got up, ready to leave with Jason. Dr. Randolph remained.
"If it is okay with you, I would like to follow up with your boy."
"I don't have insurance."
"I will work pro bono just until I am sure he is okay."
"You got yourself a deal, Doc."
Jack walked away with Jason as Randolph finalized a follow-up visit and caught up to them. Jack and Randolph immediately began discussing the fire. "They had cameras, Jack."
"I had no choice."
"I know. We seem to have covered our tracks though. Creating a complete identity for you as a Doctor."
"There's one loose end."
"That hillbilly... He caught me in the alleyway, and could put the two together. He told me something unbelievable, Randolph. I will debrief you about that later though...We have much more to discuss."
"Where did the hillbilly go?" replied Dr. Randolph.
"Was he one of the ones who took a picture?" retorted Jack.
Jason walked ahead feverishly, he had no questions. He only had one thing on his mind...
"I can't wait to see the news tonight."
Dr. Randolph had more pressing matters in his head. He insisted, "You powers are growing. I noticed you are using more than one at a time now..."
"The training has helped me tremendously. I owe your grandfather a lot."
Jason had almost completely forgotten about what had happens just days ago. In the heat of all this action a suitable distraction from all the despair and grief was born. But now it all came rushing back. And for a second the kid blamed Jack. But that also rushed away when he thought about the man that took him in.
The man that is called DarkFlood.
A living superhero.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
...just a couple weeks ago...
"Jason, you're okay..."
Jack and Dr. Randolph tried to console the poor kid after losing his grandfather. After all, he had no other family. His parents were still over in China. When he was only a couple of months old he was sent to America with his Grandfather for a chance at a new life, a better life. Now, at age 15 his Grandfather was dead, and poor Jason was alone.
Jack stood over the kid. He knew what had to be done. Jack would look after him like his own. And one day get him back to his family in China. . .
Dr. Randolph would later put in papers to legally adopt Jason. But for now, Jack took him back to the dojo, one last time, to collect all his stuff and take care of Sensei's remaining affairs. Jack walked slowly through the dojo. He put his bare feet on the mat and stared at the mirrored wall. It felt hollow in here without the Sensei. Dark and dry, the atmosphere was. Jack wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. That is when he saw it. A chest before the wall of weapons and gear that has never been there before. It stands out from the wall, placed there to be noticed.
Could it be? Did Sensei predict his own demise?
Jason was inside his room packing all his belongings and clothes. Jack approached the giant chest. It unlatched easily and so he opened its lid. Inside, were stacks of scrolls, rolled together with gold binding. He took them out along with a black katana blade. The katana had a golden emblem on its handle, just like the one from the Triad's High Dragon Leader. Except this one was not of a dragon, but a great wave washing over the Great Wall of China.
The scrolls were almost too many to carry, let alone read right there on the spot. Jack grabbed a gym bag from the floor and placed the scrolls and blade inside, along with some of the weapons and gear on the wall when Jason walked out of his room. He stopped and watched Jack finish packing the bag next to the open chest.
"It appears as though your Grandfather left us his last will and testament. We shall go over it together when we get back to the apartment."
But Jack and Jason would be caught by Dr. Randolph on their way back. Clouds gathered above them. The temperature dropped a couple of degrees. Jack asked Randolph what was wrong. It was clear after Dr. Randolph brought them around the corner, what was going on. The corner market was up in flames. The store was located at the bottom of a tenement house, but next to it was a sixty story skyscraper that was beginning to catch fire.
"Jack, you have to help them."
Jack looked at the Doc, as a fire engine came roaring down the block. "That's what fire fighters are paid to do." The clouds dropped and the pressure in the air grew thin. "Besides," Jack continued, "it's about to rain anyways."
Just then, the sky opened up and thunder blasted the sky. Rain poured heavy on the city, but that did not stop the fire from reaching the skyscraper. The fire had found new food, food that burned quicker. On the street, people screamed as they ran away of the fire and the firemen ran into the building.
"MY SON!" yelled a guy in the smothering rain standing next to them. Jack watched Jason's heart break. Still, for him, the burden of losing his grandfather was all too much to bear. It was too soon. And Jason's mind was directly tapping into the father's fever to save his son. Jack could tell all of this from the kid's eyes and expressions.
Randolph said what Jack was already thinking when the last fire fighter ran into the burning building. "If he can't do something, you must..."
Jack's temptation's flickered. This was not his fight. He is a crime fighter, not a hero. The men rushing into that inferno without any super human healing abilities are the heroes. That is when Jack knew Randolph was right. He teleported and was back in a couple of seconds, now in full DarkFlood gear.
Before disappearing into the shadows of the storm, Jack made one last remark, "If I'm gonna do this... I'm gonna do it right." And DarkFlood entered the fiery wreckage of the crumbling building. Dr. Randolph consoled the father.
"Relax, my friend, your son is in good hands. What is your name?"
"I am Lazarus."
"That is a loaded name."
"I don't understand what you mean?" the foreigner said. He looked like he was from the Middle East. Perhaps Israeli with that name. But his accent put him on the other side of Judeo-Christian background.
"I drive a cab. Me and my son live on the twenty first floor."
Dr. Randolph wished there was a way for DarkFlood to hear this. Instead the caped crime fighter tumbled through the residential floors of the burning building. It was cleared out for the most part. After climbing as far up as where the firefighter's were, DarkFlood jumped ahead to the highest floors and searched for trapped people. When he found someone, Jack would sneak up on them and teleport them to safety, never revealing himself. That is, until he found Lazarus' son on the twenty first floor.
Jack teleported down yet another floor after clearing the one he was on. According to his count, he was down to the twenty first floor. He swept the first couple of apartments and they were empty. When he entered apartment 2121, the fire blew a hole through the wall, knocking Jack to his feet. He crawled under the cinder and drywall burning to ashes on top of him. Lightning carved the horizon out the broken window closest to Jack. He used it for air.
DarkFlood climbed around the fire as it ate through the remaining rooms. He kicked the bathroom door in and found a kid hiding in a bathtub full of water. He could not have been older than five or six. Smart kid. DarkFlood stood before him, frozen, watching above his head...the crack on the ceiling.
The fire breached the roof of the bathroom and it came hurdling down towards the kid and DarkFlood.
Dr. Randolph watched on with other passers-by. "What is going on here?" asked an approaching man with an apron on.
"Just whut we needed...another Muhammad." scoffed a dark, southern stranger, chewing on a lit cigarette.
"I am not Islamic, I am Haitian-American and my name is Moses. I own the store across the street."
Dr. Randolph's head jumped upon hearing yet another odd name.
"His boy is trapped in the fire and none of the fire fighters can seem to get to him." put Jason blatantly.
Dr. Randolph nudged him out of anger as Lazarus sunk his head in utter despair. He tried once again to run into the building. It took Dr. Randolph, Jason, the Haitian deli clerk, the racist southerner, and two others to hold him back.
In a tussle to the ground, the Haitian and the Southerner ended up fighting each other as Randolph pinned down Lazarus.
"Get off me!" screams the Haitian as he pushes the hick off and gets back to his feet.
The southerner pats the dirt off his vest and points his finger at the Haitian, "Touch me again, shine, And I kill ya." The rain stops just as quickly as it started and the clouds part. And there, in the gleaming sunlight of the thunderstorm's afterglow, comes an event that would forever go down in history, as the genesis of the Super Hero. . .
The Haitian and the redneck run back at each other, but right before they collide, DarkFlood appears holding Lazarus' son in his arms.
They all stop and behold the sight of a caped and masked stranger appearing out of thin air. He stands with the boys body laying limp in his arms before the emerging sunlight. He lays the boy down on the floor and lets his father tend to him. The rest awe at DarkFlood. Some take their cellphones out and take pictures. Some even take video of DarkFlood. Not many before he disappears once again. . .
Back into the blazing inferno.
Dr. Randolph and Lazarus try to get his son to breathe. Nothing seems to be working. Dr. Randolph screams for Jack. DarkFlood reappears above them and kneels down before the boy dying on the floor. He holds him with both hands and closes his eyes. The shock and the burns and the smothered lungs are absorbed by Jack, he bleeds under his suit. His disguise hides it well. The kid wakes up and DarkFlood vanishes again.
Later, when the coast is clear. Jack reappears in the alley and takes off his DarkFlood gear. The southerner walks out of the shadow and flicks his cigarette into a puddle. The rain has stopped. "I got you."
Jack looks up, startled.
"Don't run. I just want to talk."
Jack decides to hear him out and not teleport away immediately.
"My name is Turner Sans and I have a very unique set of skills. I can help you. I'm sorry, I didn't catch yur name . . . . . ."
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
...one month ago...
They were taken from the room with one light, taken away from Sensei's remains. As Jack walked still bound and gagged, he took his observations in great detail. They appeared to be in the boiler room of a building. After that they were brought to an elevator and taken to the top floor. This building was over a hundred stories high. They got off at floor 169 and brought to the master suite.
Once inside, Jack found the Dragon Leaders waiting. The entire outer wall of the suite was glass. One giant window revealed Manhattan in all its infinite glory behind the Triad Crime-bosses. There were seven of them, along with over twenty armed guards. They sat amongst the guards in over-stylized chairs and couches. In a crescent they awaited the prisoner's arrival with an empty sacrificial altar.
Jack had no doubt in his mind. This was kill or be killed.
Dr. Randolph and the kid were brought to the altar along with Jack.
"Mr. Hnvr...please....do...smthing..." the kid cried under his gag.
Even Randolph tried nudging Jack to do something. But Jack was too busy concentrating. He was placed at the center of the altar. Randolph and the kid were placed on both sides of him. They were forced on their knees and the bounds and gag were taken off of Jack. Bad mistake. The Dragon Leaders must have wanted an explanation first.
They would never get one.
Jack grabbed the kid and Randolph and teleported out of the room. All the men in the room gasped. The guards held their guns up at no target. Jack teleported back into the room for a split second before leaving again. He left in the suite, a massive orb of light that exploded, knocking all in the suite to the floor, and shattering the giant window to a million pieces.
The man holding the silver pistol with the golden dragon was the High Dragon Leader, the head of the Triads. He put his hand over his brow when a profile silhouette appeared before him. A cape waves in the sporadic winds. The blinding light of the explosion fades and there stands DarkFlood.
The guards open fire on him. Stone armor comes up under the Kevlar vest, and the bullets that do get through are absorbed. They empty their clips and the room, except for the winds, gets quiet. DarkFlood turns invisible, hiding behind his camouflage and teleports. When he reappears behind the High Dragon Leader, Jack is still invisible.
He is learning to use more than one power at a time.
DarkFlood slips the silver pistol with the golden dragon emblem on its handle into his utility belt. He teleports 6 times. Jack reappears in the center of the room, on the sacrificial altar before the High Dragon Leader. He drops the 6 hearts of the Dragon Leaders on the altar.
The remaining Triads open fire on DarkFlood as he vanishes behind his cape. They all gather in front of the High Dragon Leader as he now fears for his life. He pulls a samurai sword with another golden dragon on its handle off the wall and watches DarkFlood finish off his men.
DarkFlood pulls his army knife out and teleports in between the guards, ripping their throats out with his blade and tricking them into firing on each other until they are all dead. All except for the High Dragon Leader and his samurai sword...
Jack shoots a pulse blast out at the High Dragon and he cuts it in half with the samurai sword.
How could he know Flood Technique?
"The same way I knew your Sensei..." answered the High Dragon.
"How did you-"
"The Flood is much more powerful than your Sensei taught you..." interrupted the High Dragon.
"It wont matter in one second!"
Jack drew his gun and the High Dragon tried to do the same. Only his silver gun with the golden dragon emblem on its handle was not in his hand but in Jack's. He fired the gun once. Before the bullet went into the High Dragon's head, the High Dragon used his telepathic power to transfer a part of his own psyche into Jack's head. Jack would not be aware of this for some time to come. The High Dragon would have to regain his strength first. But to Jack, the head crime-boss was dead. The Triads were no more. DarkFlood dropped the silver pistol and cleaned the crime scene of any proof that him or his friends were there.
Jack teleported back to his apartment where Dr. Randolph was tending to the kid. He was hysterical. Jack felt responsible for the death of his grandfather. Jack also knew what it felt like to lose one's grandfather. And so Jack decided to take the kid in and watch over him. Which meant he would finally have to learn his name...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
"Remember all that I have taught you, DarkFlood..."
...one month ago...
The damp Triad holding room shines one ceiling light on Jack, Dr. Randolph, Sensei, and his grandson. The room was stale and hot. Everyone was sweating over their bounds and gags. Sensei was preoccupied with making sure his grandson was okay. He had no time for instructions. Jack looked over at Dr. Randolph. He twisted out of his muffle and yelled, "What are you waiting for!?" Jack knew what he had to do. But when he checked with his Sensei, he realized...
This was not the time to reveal his power.
Randolph kept flipping out. Jack was trying to figure out what the Triads had planned. The last he had left it they were thriving in a hood now vacant of any other gang. They should be thanking Jack, if anything, not punishing him. Maybe they thought because Jack killed every other crime family in Chinatown, they better strike first or risk being next on Jack's list.
He could not risk the lives of his friends. He must do something before they come back in. He knew the next time a Triad walked through that door, someone would die. It was up to Jack whether or not it would be one of his friends of one of the guards. Jack still could not believe this was happening.
Jack was under the impression that the gangs of the kingpins that he assassinated would come for him before long. Never in his wildest dreams, did he imagine the Triads being responsible for the early termination of DarkFlood. Jack could not sit idly by and let this happen. And yet something was keeping him from releasing his super human abilities.
"They will take us away."
"Away where?" Jack asked the old Chinese man.
"They will take us before the Dragon Leaders for our execution."
"...." Jack put it together, "...You want me to unleash my fury then?"
Sensei nodded his head. He closed his eyes and exhaled. He was tired. Jack looked deep in the old man's eyes. All of the long exciting years of the quiet Sensei's life had finally caught up with him. As if he was already defeated, or accepted something Jack did not know. He continued talking to his student, "Then we will have put an end to all of this..."
"...Once and for all..."
Jack took inventory of all his abilities. First there was his ability to heal rapidly. Or as Dr. Randolph deemed it, "Catalization." Next there was the Flood Martial Arts technique that Sensei taught him. Next was his camouflage. After that was the tumors in his body responsible for his super strength and reactive stone armor. And last was his pulse blasts from his palms. Combined his almost had a full outfit of useful wartime abilities. If used together, both the defensive powers of armor and healing, and the offensive powers of super strength and pulse blasts would make Jack unstoppable.
Right now he could not use them. He must save up all his power for the showdown Sensei had foretold. Jack sat in his seat and began to gather the energy and fury from within. This would be his biggest triumph yet. Once he laid the Triads to waste, Chinatown would be free of crime. Jack remembered his fight at the Slaughterhouse, it would be nothing compared to this. Sensei watched on and Randolph and Sensei's grandson began to comprehend what was happening.
The door unlocked. The echo of the key pivoting within the door echoes in the small dark room. The door swings open and in walk five men dressed in black suits and red ties. They are armed with SMG's, tiny machine guns that make almost no noise; except for one. One walks a silver pistol with a golden dragon on its handle over to Sensei and fires it through his head.
The blast knocks the old dead-man's chair to the floor.
His brains slide across the blood to the side of Jack's boot. Sensei is dead. His grandson cries, strapped to his chair. Randolph screams for Jack to do something. But he just sits there, in awe. His mentor is dead. First his Grandfather, now Sensei. All he could do now, is follow through with Sensei's last requests.
To put an end to all of this once and for all. . .
Friday, July 8, 2011
Chapter 4: Hickory Hill
The Gunslinger looked up at the hill. It was covered in brown grass and breaching the sky. There were few trees alone along the hilltop. Charlie admired his new rifle. Little did he know, it was a beacon for all of those he crossed paths with. A beacon of Porter's Lake royalty. . .
"Do you know what this place is?" he asked Charlie.
Charlie looked up the hill. He followed the stone tabs up to a house made of thin wood planks, and a charcoal colored roof. There was nothing else but the house on Hickory Hill. Charlie finally answered the Gunslinger...
"That's right. We shall replenish our supplies and continue on to the Run."
"So you do know the road?" Charlie figured out.
"I have been studying this mountain and its inhabitants for years."
"Gunslingers think they rule the world."
The Gunslinger stopped walking up the stone tablets and approached Charlie harshly. Charlie stumbled back and blurted out, "That is what they said!" The Gunslinger stopped.
"That is what who said?"
"The men I met inside the house on Hickory Hill."
Charlie thought he would have asked more questions, not just turn around and briskly walk up the hill to the house. Then he realized...The Gunslinger meant to kill whoever was in that house.
"NO!" he screamed after him. "IT WAS YEARS AGO!"
The Gunslinger did not break his gate. He pulled his guns and raised them up along with his heel. The Gunslinger kicked the door in and before those inside could pull their guns they were defeated. He turned around and looked at Charlie, keeping his guns pointed at the men.
"Are these them?"
Charlie looked at each and every one of there faces. He thought back to that time. He could remember it so clearly, the manner in which they talked of the Gunslingers always kept it fresh on his memory. Coming into company with one he could not help but mention it. Now he was the center of a line-up hold-up.
Charlie remembered the first guy. How his brow dropped just over his nose. He remembered his personality resembled it. He was frumpy and odd. He kept to himself and laughed at the other men. He had to be eight feet tall.
The other two guys looked like every other outlaw or cowboy that comes through here, dirty and drunk. They talked too much and made fools of their kind. Charlie tried to remember specific physical features. 'One guy', he recalled, "had what he thought was makeup over his eyelid, but after careful examination he realized it was gunpowder. Someone had fire a revolver at such close range to his eyes that the blast got under the skin of his lids.' Charlie tried to identify the last guy in the bar that day. He opened his eyes back up from thinking.
Charlie looked around and saw the three of them. It did not matter at this point. Two of the same and one generic outlaw rounding out the trio...
The Gunslinger rolled to the center of the room and open fired. Charlie freaked out, arming his rifle but thinking about fleeing for cover until the Gunslinger does his work. The Gunslinger killed the two outlaws, both with two shots each to the chest and head. He picked them apart.
The giant was left.
It threw its gun at the back of the Gunslinger's head and rocked him off his feet. He stumbled forward as his caught himself on his gun-hands and rolled back around. He fired off his remaining four rounds into the body of the giant, but it barely slowed him down. It kicked him before he could get back to his feet, and launched the Gunslinger into the wall across from the doorway.
Charlie stood with his rifle cocked and loaded and watched the Gunslinger tangle with the giant. It grabs at him writhing on the floor and Charlie swallows his fears. He pulls the trigger and it goes wide right and the giant continues to try to pick up the Gunslinger. He reloads. Charlie holds the gun up again and this time drags his eye-line down the barrel of the gun.
He lines his eye up with the barrel and the head of the giant and pulls the trigger. The bullet blows the giant brains out all over the ceiling as he dies and lifelessly pins down the Gunslinger beneath him.
Charlie does not know whether or not to help him out. Twenty minutes ago he was about to kill him over a saying. Was this man a hero or a maniac? What gives Gunslinger's the right to take lives without consequence?
Charlie put down the rifle and pulled the dead giant off of the Gunslinger. When they got back up, the Gunslinger thanked him and brushed the dirt off his coat and vest. "Gather ammo and food and lets get outta here."
"Another place wasted. You leave a desolate trail for a man, Gunslinger."
"Then ask yourself, Charles..." the Gunslinger said, "Why are you following it?"
Charlie stood on the road as he said that, frozen stiff. He looked ahead as the Gunslinger walked further down the hill, further down the road. 'This was the last time', he said to himself, 'that he would doubt following the Gunslinger.' Either Charlie left now and parted ways forever, or he sticks this out and commits completely.
He stood on the road and looked ahead at the Gunslinger.