As we have seen life on the streets is tough, but for our urban warriors, criminal killers and general n'er do wells the hardest test is about to begin. Yes people let the voting commence. As mentioned earlier voting will close on the 4th of August at 18:00 hours Greenwich Mean Time
Tommy the Hitman wrote;
"Look boss... I'm really not up for all this." Sam said as he nervously walked across the warehouse's walkways.
"Shut up Sam. If we keep this up we'll soon own this town." The boss muttered as watched his men at work below. They were slowly refining a drug which had been making leaps and bounds across the black market. "Even if one of those super freaks tries to wreck us they'll soon learn the error of their ways."
The boss and Sam continued to walk across the walkway until stopping just outside of the bosses' office.
"Okay Sam. I'm going into my office to keep tabs on all those freaks that have been popping up recently. You keep an eye on the men down there. If anyone gets out of line. Shoot em!"
"Sure thing boss."
"Pathetic scum. Criminals.They'll all pay for the crimes and misdeeds they cause others."
Crimson stood crouched in the rafters above the drug publishers. His red cape flapped in the breeze coming from the air vent where he'd arrived from and anyone who saw him and hadn't been paying attention to the news recently would probably mistake him for the devil incarnate.
Crimson quietly jumped down from the ceiling and landed on the walkway.
"I dunno man. After what I heard about what happened the last time someone tried something like this. I'm feeling pretty uneasy."
"What? You're afraid some junky in a cat suit's gonna jump out and start punching ya?"
Crimson pulled one of his ceremonial daggers out and tested the tip with his finger. Sure enough blood welled up from the small cut he'd made. He quietly walked in the opposite direction from where the voices were coming from and prepared himself for a blood bath. He spotted a guard patrolling with an assault rifle in his hands. Crimson smiled and pulled a throwing knife from his belt before throwing it straight into the man's head.
"Sleep tight friend. Maybe HE'LL have more mercy on you then I did." Crimson muttered as he walked over to the body and retrieved his knife. He stared at the blood gushing from the man's forehead and bit into the side of his neck draining all the blood from the man's body. Crimson felt rejuvenated and stood up to his full height. Now that feeding was out of the way, Crimson could finally get back to the task at hand.
"The job's gonna be a lot easier now." Crimson muttered as his eyes turned bright red. He walked onto the walkway railing and announced himself to the room.
"SCUM! You are all in the process of ruining a dozen or so people's lives with this foul substance your black hearts are creating. I've already killed one of you. I give you all the option to walk away and turn yourselves in."
Everyone below and around the walkway stared up in surprise.
"Who the hell is this clown?"
"Did he say something about killing one of us?"
"Hey... isn't that the Vampire guy from the news?"
"Death it is."
In one swift movement Crimson's cape disappeared revealing two very large bat wings. Crimson flew across the entire room so fast that he was almost impossible to see. A quick bite to the throats of each of the men ended their lives quickly.
"Easy enough." Crimson muttered as he wiped his "teeth" clean of the side of a man's neck.
"please... kill... me..."
Crimson turned to see one of the gunmen lying on the floor. For some reason Crimson's bite hadn't killed him.
"What are you?" Crimson asked as he walked over.
"I... I'm like you..."
The gunman's eyes turned red revealing his true nature. Somehow the Impaler's men were starting to infiltrate New York's gangs. Crimson knelt down and snapped the man's neck killing him instantly.
"I... I'm not like you." Crimson said quietly. "I am NOT a monster."
"WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON OUT HERE?!" A fat, balding man yelled from an open door.
"You? Your the one who caused all this. The man I came here to kill." Crimson said.
"YOU?! If I'd known you'd be here I wouldn't have signed up with Vlad at all."
"Ah... never mind."
The man turned to leave. However Crimson teleported behind him in a red mist.
"Don't go just yet. Your going to tell me more. In fact my friend... your going to tell me everything you know about Vlad the Impaler."
"Yeah? Go f£ck yourself!"
Crimson pulled out one of his daggers and quickly cut across the man's cheek leaving a small mark.
"Trust me. Your not going to want to be alive when your cheek starts bleeding. Talk now and I'll kill you quickly. OR don't talk and I'll make a meal out of you for the next few weeks. Your choice."
"What are you? A Batman villain?"
"No. I'm worse."
Crimson stood on top of the Empire State building and overlooked the city below him. Sometimes he marveled at how little people noticed the supernatural around them. What he did know was that, that wasn't going to last. From what the Impaler was planning EVERYONE was going to pay. And dearly.
"There's only one thing for it really." Crimson said to himself. "I'm gonna have to kill Dracula..."
Impurest Cheese wrote;
The Patron Saint of Criminals
The plump Hispanic man dressed in jeans and a ripped t-shirt ran screaming into the church before slamming the doors closed behind him and placing a bar across the door, effectively barricading himself inside the abandoned 'house of god' alone in the dark, save the occasional flash of light as a car drove past. Drawing his pistol he heard a powerful knocking and scurried behind the alter preying that the block of wood would hold long enough for him to find a way out. With a snap the block cracked and the doors were flung open as a well built man dressed in leather and carrying a five foot sledge hammer in one hand and his own pistol in the other. "Juan Caso I know you're in here boy." The hammer wielder bellowed in a Texan accent. "Where are you you filthy little car jacker, you and I have a bounty to settle."
Juan gulped and watched as the man threw the hammer away, the shaft clanging on the floor, the sound echoing around the empty hall. "You know your wanted dead or alive right?" The Texan stated drawing a second pistol. With a squeak Juan got down on his knees and begun to prey to the saints to be delivered from the bounty hunter's clutches safely. "Ah there you are." The hunter announced as he advanced down the aisle and levelled the pistol in his left hand at the back of Juan's head, the cold muzzle causing his quarry to drop his handgun. "Pray to the lord as much as you like, I know he doesn't listen much to thieves like you." He added, "Now do me a favour and come quietly." he ordered as he holstered his second pistol and reached down for a pair of cable ties before aggressively pulling Juan's hands together and binding them. "Now walk." he ordered dragging his captive to his feet and shoving him towards the direction of the door.
As they walked away a shadow moved from behind the alter causing the bounty hunter stopped dragging his hostage in front of him as a human shield. "Your games don't scare Ken Zimmerman. Now come on out before I do something I regret." The Hunter warned the lurking presence. In response a knife ricocheted off the floor and threw the cable ties freeing Juan's hands just enough for him to pull away from his captor and scuttle into the nearest row of pews. "Don't go anywhere boy this isn't a rescue." He spat at Juan as he cowered behind his makeshift cover. Suddenly a shadowy figure sprinted across the front of the church and Ken opened fire, his bullets falling just short from hitting their target.
"This man is under my protection." An imposing female voice told Ken, the sound bouncing from all around the church. "Leave now or suffer the consequences."
"Cute you get your girlfriend to try and scare me?" Ken asked Juan before reloading his pistols, "You are all bluster Miss, and when I find you I will add what your worth to me total tonight."
"And what if I find you first?" The woman stated as Ken turned round to see a pale faced woman with cropped black hair standing behind him, her body clothed in close fitting combat trousers, lace shirt and black Kevlar jacket, her hazel eyes boring into him. Despite the accent she looked Asian and that threw Ken for an additional half a second, one his opponent used to her advantage as a cloud of smoke erupted from her hands, the mist biting his skin and eyes. With a roar that was equal part pain and anger Ken lunged only to be tripped, his momentum sending him flailing into the cold stone floor. Looking up his eyes burning from the smoke he watched as the woman removed a hand bow from her belt loaded a dart and levelled the weapon at his chest. "I am Siwang the Patron Saint of Criminals and this man is under my protection." The woman told Ken before firing the dart into his chest, the toxin on the tip acting swiftly as the once formidable bounty hunter collapsed into cardiac arrest."
From his hiding place Juan emerged cautiously, his head bowed trying to avoid eye contact with Siwang. "Gracias Senora." he mumbled before edging down to the alter to retrieve his gun, his eyes never leaving Ken's body. "If there is anything I can do for you I will be happy to repay you." he added hoping she wouldn't take him up on his offer.
"I have one thing to ask of you." Siwanag said, her eyes boring into his skull like those of a deadly serpent. "Tell your bosses and drinking buddies what happened here today. Tell them who saved you and that they would do well for me to pray for my services and that I am ready to offer them." After that she vanished slipping back into the shadows leaving the stammering criminal alone with his hunter, the sound of sirens far from the church all thanks to his mysterious saviour.
Detective James Grady shook his head as the EMTs loaded the 'dead' bounty hunter into the ambulance. For the last month El Paso had encountered at least eight other incidents were a wide range of people had been shot and killed with darts. The one thing they all had in common were that they were law enforcement figures, mostly police officers but a few bounty hunters and even a paramedic had turned up. All were being linked to the Patron Saint of Criminals, a new 'hero' for the underworld yet the truth was even stranger then the public knew.
"You think it's her?" His partner Gillian West asked.
"Eyewitness accounts show two men entering neither of them carrying the murder weapon." Grady answered, "The first was a carjacker the other was our victim. No sign of the 'Saint' but we are getting somewhere from our snitches. Apparently she is oriental and speaks with a Hispanic accent suggesting that she might be from Macau since we checked every woman who fits the description the first victim gave us before he died on route to hospital."
"Cop killers are the worst." West stated, "I can't believe she's lasted so long, usually the cartels are looking for ways to stay in the department's good graces to get a few extra favours when we bust their enforcers and traffickers."
"What can I say criminals are weird people?" Grady told her as he headed inside, "I'm just going to look inside." he added ducking into the church and heading into a confessional booth. Sliding the slat back he saw Siwang staring back at him clad in a hood. "I hope you used the Tetrodotoxin like the others?" he asked before watching her nod. "Good did you make any progress?"
"The Cartels are talking about me." Siwang stated, "I'm close to getting inside and once I am you will have their entire operation."
"Just be careful." Grady told her but by the time he had finished she was gone vanished back into the shadows."
The Paladin of Crime
The skinny twig, Johnathan Richards sat in the grimy alley gnawing on a week old chicken bone. He looked over and saw a pocketknife, his only use of defense. He'd been mugged three times in the last week. He was fed up with it. He snatched the pocketknife from the ground and sprinted down the alley. Every twist and turn led him to the mugger's "Lair" which was just a vacant apartment complex. Two M-16's sat beside the front door. Again, like the pocketknife, he snatched one up. Making sure the gun was ready, he pulled the trigger. Ugh! A grunt, maybe two. Johnathan ran in. The mugger lying on the ground, two bullet holes in his chest, dead. Not did he like it, he wanted more blood, more bullets to be shot, this was just the beginning.
Two Weeks Later
Just an alley boy Johnathan Richards was now number one on the worlds most wanted list. Eighty-six muggers had been found dead on the streets of The Bronx. Johnathan Richards wasn't no alley boy any more, he's a criminal, an outlaw, a paladin of crime.
Danny and Karl slumped into the ‘Bar with no Name”, half laughing and half shaken.
“Did ya see the long legged freak sock me, crack” jested Karl, through exasperated breaths and demonstrating a karate kick on his way down to sit on a stool. ”It’s your round, grab me a cold one pal” instructed Karl to Danny.
Danny eased himself up off the stool he’d just sat on and headed to the bar.
Both Danny and Karl where low level street rats, they hadn’t much success in the criminal game but had managed to work their way up to pushers of M.G.H. (Mutant Growth Hormones).This was the peak of what little criminal career they had.
They both were your stereotypical hood. Flat cap wearing, leather jackets, heavy smokers and terrible posture. It’s hardly surprising they hadn’t progressed up the criminal family tree given every beat cop and traffic inspector had crossed their paths at some point. Be it urinating in public, dice games, counterfeit jeans and more often than not drunken disorderly, which leads back to the first point.
“Hurry up with those beers Danno I gotta takes a leek”. Karl slouched off to the men’s can and Danny returned to the table with two frothy beers.
Danny’s hands were still shaking and the froth of the beer spilt over the table they’d previously acquired. He’d lost the merchandise during the altercation on the way to the bar and hadn’t broken the news to Karl. This was their big break and chance to make an actual name for themselves. Eloganto was supposed to meet them in here shortly and inform them of the drop off.
The merchandise Danny had lost was a specific designer M.G.H. One of the X-men (a class 4 Mutant) had recently been incarcerated for a short while and samples was taken from the holding cell and mixed with regular class 1 Mutant M.G.H. Most likely Owlsley’s. Given the sample was small, this was one of a kind . Eloganto was due any second and Karl and Danny were screwed.
Manuel Eloganto entered the establishment and surveyed the room to look for Karl and Danny. Once the greatest bull fighter in all of Spain, his own arrogance led to his demise and to a path of crime. He spun a toothpick around his lips, adding to his swarthy look, as he surveyed the bar.
The bar was relatively empty and hosted a small number of degenerates. He quickly found Danny who was sat mopping up the froth of his beer he’d just spilt. With a confident flick of his toothpick, Eloganto headed over to where Danny was sitting.
Half getting up, half sitting, Danny stammered a greeting to his visitor “Eeeeloganto, great ta see ya pal. Me an Karl just got heres. Let me grab ya cold one”
Eloganto raised his right hand signalling his disinterest in the beverage still spinning his toothpick in his mouth. Eloganto raised a knowing eyebrow to Danny who had now sat back in his seat looking more guilty than normal.
“De product. You have, si?” questioned Eloganto in a soft accented voice. Danny began to perspire and fumbled his response once again” Yyy yeah sure, s’all good mm man” .
“Muy bien” responded Eloganto giving his tooth pick another confident flick
Karl stood in the open doorway of the toilet entrance with a look of death on his face. His eyes darted around the bar in a panicked manner searching desperately for his friend who was now concealed by the back of Eloganto.
The loud re-entrance from Karl had snapped Danny out of his panic, and concern for his friend had taken over “ Yo, Karl everything all good pal?” he questioned, peering from around his visitor.
“El el elo oo ga ga gantooo, he’s inna here, he’s ddddead” stammered Karl
“What the hell ya on man, he’s right…..” Danny’s response to his friend had stopped mid-sentence. A cold rush of blood engulfed his body as he froze. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the toothpick his visitor had been spinning so confidentially had torn away the side of a latex mask at the side of his mouth. Quite apparent now this swarthy amigo was definitely not who he seemed. A dark, knowing and sinister smile crossed his visitors face………….
I took time and pleasure in the slow painful death I administered Manuel Eloganto. Being in his skin, mirroring his moves. It was pleasurable to choke his disgusting life. Unfortunate I had to end his minions and the other degenerate scum in the bar so quickly.
my name is Brock. i have lived in the guttermost of my life, today is the last day. there is a scum who runs this town, Big Dave, and its time I chatted to him man to man, fist toface! He lives in thenice part o town, I stand out like the bals on ana dog. I march cross town, crowbar inn one hand, shotgun in the other. Poeple gasp as i pass by, don't care.
“Excuse me mister Juggernaut sir?”
The unstoppable magical behemoth turned to the voice that caught his ear. He looked down and finally locked eyes on a skinny barefoot teenage girl in a Dazzler t-shirt, a pair of gumboots in her hands. He smirked at her and rubbed his helmet.
“So you’re gonna stop me huh?” he chortled “I’ve just run through Thor, Colossus, that shield wielding grandpa and that fuzzy clawed bastard, along with two dozen other costumed losers!”
“Yes mister” she whispered nervously.
“You a psychic?” he asked cautiously as he raised his fist “I keep getting done over by them, gets old”
“No mister Juggernaut”
He eyed her up and down and then looked around, wondering if this was a set up “So girly, what you going to do? Freeze me? Send me back in time? Or hit me with a magical gauntlet?”
“No” she gulped “I can’t do any of that. Sorry”
Juggernaut furrowed his brow “Do I know you or something? You’re not a daughter from the future come back to show me the error of my ways?”
“No” she looked down at the ground to avoid his eyes “I’ve never met you until now. But I want you to stop, please”
Juggernaut burst into laughter “You’re polite, I’ll give you that kid. Now…” Juggernaut looked at the ground around him “What’s that?” Surrounding his feet was this yellowish pool of liquid.
The girl took a slight step back “That’s my super power”
“Wetting yourself is a super power?” laughed Juggernaut.
“No mister Juggernaut” she replied sheepishly “I’m a mutant. My power is the ability to produce slippery grease like liquid from my toes. I can only do it when I’m scared though…and me standing here, in front of you, is well, the scariest thing I’ve ever done!”
Juggernaut looked around at the pool he was standing in “Your power is that you have bad feet?”
“Yes sir. It kinda sucks” she replied “But it’ll stop you”
“Yeah right, got things to smash sweetheart” Juggernaut crouched and leapt into the air, but his feet slipped in the liquid and he performed a flip, landing flat on his face, the street shaking at his impact.
“Why you little…!” Juggernaut tried to get to his feet but kept slipping in the pool which was now coating him like a second skin. The massive man slipped and stumbled like an elephant caught in a bog “I’m going to kill you!”
She took three giant steps back “The more you yell and scream at me, the more I produce, then more you fall over.”
“YOU’RE DEAD!” he roared as he flailed like an infant trying to stand on ice.
“I’m going to go now” she said “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to embarrass you, I just wanted you to stop smashing up my city” She sat and pulled on a pair of gumboots “I am very sorry mister Juggernaut” And with that she skipped off as the battered Avengers and X-Men gathered to watch the big man humiliate himself wondering how it had happened.
The priest shouted when I threw the door of the confessional open. I grabbed him by the the neck of his robes, pulled him from the compartment, and threw him roughly to the floor. “I told you I need answers!”
Father Figyuor held a shaky hand up in front of his face, and stammered, “I c-cannot tell y-you his c-confession! It’s…”
I slapped his hand away and bent down in his face. Through the skull mask, I shouted, “I don’t want his confession! I want yours! You knew what happened to my sister, and you said nothing! Nothing! Who was he? TELL ME WHO ‘UNCLE’ WAS, DAMN YOU!”
“I CAN’T!” screamed the priest in fear. “He confessed! To me! If I tell you his name, it’s as good as telling his confession! The Seal of the Confessional is inviolable! I cannot tell you! Even at pain of my own death!” The priest shook visibly, breathed hard, and had raised his hands as far as he dared, in a weak gesture of self-protection. He looked into the face of my unmoving mask, his eyes searching for some sign of my intent.
Still in his face, I grabbed one of his wrists in one hand, and shoved my other hand into my suitcoat pocket, making him flinch. I withdrew it slowly, and put the skull rosary, my namesake, into his hand. I drew my gun and added, “Memento mori, Father: ‘Remember that you must die.’” He gasped, and I smacked him once in the face with the gun-butt. If he could see beneath the mask, he would have seen a cruel smile. Perhaps he saw it in my eyes, as I stood up.
The priest found his voice again as I walked away. “I beg you not to pursue this! Think of your immortal soul! God is watching!”
I kept walking, but called back, “God is going to do for me what he did for my sister, Father – He’s going to look the other way.”
“God is always with you, son! He never looks away!”
“Then perhaps He should start.”
A few minutes later, I slipped back into the church, and listened to a hushed phone call. His voice still shook, “Yes, this is Father Figyuor for Father Sinsovde. Please, it’s quite urgent!”
Sinsovde. Now I had a name.
Delica’s funeral was today. In the movies, it always rains at funerals. It wasn’t raining today. I wish it had, because the noise of it would have muffled my mother’s crying, and broken the awful silence otherwise.
Mama found her in the bathtub a few days ago, when she woke up. Her screams woke me and papa. I caught only a brief glimpse of blood, before papa shoved me out of the doorway and closed the door. Mama came out moments later, clutched me to her so hard I could barely breathe for a minute, then nearly dragged me to the kitchen, where she called the MP’s. They came with the medics, who carried my sister away.
She had left my parents a note on the kitchen table, which one of the MP’s found, before they did. My father read it and became enraged. My mother wailed even louder than when she found my sister’s body. In it, Delica told of the things she had been victim to, at the hands of “Uncle.” She said that she endured them in order to protect me. Me! And I had been blind to it and unaware, all this time. Why would she keep it all a secret? Why?
The medics gave mama a sedative to calm her down, and papa held her until she went to sleep. He laid her down on the sofa, then shut himself in the bathroom and scrubbed away all traces of the blood. While he was in there, I heard him sobbing. It was the only time I had ever heard my father cry.
At the wake, the priest who would perform the funeral rites for my sister found me brooding, out on the front porch. When he spoke to me, I turned towards him, but then my hand darted out and grabbed the rosary beads hanging around his neck. He caught my wrist before I could yank them away from him, and I let go. When I told him that they looked like the ones that belonged to “Uncle,” he looked distressed, and he quickly took them from his neck and stuffed them in his pants pocket.
I asked him why my sister had to die, and he took a different set of rosary beads from the pocket of his suitcoat, and handed them to me. I had never seen ones like these before- they had little skulls for the beads. He called it a skull rosary, or a Memento Mori- he said it means, “Remember that you must die.” Father Figyuor gave me the beads, and told me that my sister was not meant to die like this, but eventually, we all must, and all we could do now was pray for her soul.
A friend of my family's used to come to the military base we lived on, where my papa was stationed. I don’t remember his name- my older sister, Delica, and I only ever called him “Uncle.” He would visit with my parents for awhile on Sundays, and always, before he left, he would offer to take me and my sister to the PX, where he would buy us candy. He could get us into the PX, even when it was closed to others.
Uncle would turn out the lights, and play hide-and-seek with us there. We would run down the aisles, grabbing candy from the shelves, while trying not to get caught. I would stuff the many pockets of my church clothes, and my sister would hold her dress up to make a bag with the folds, and drop in handfuls of candy at a time.
Delica would always get scared of the dark and cry before too long. I would always find her in the same place- sobbing hard and rocking on Uncle’s lap, candy scattered all around her. Sitting there in the floor, leaned against the ice box, he would have his arms around her, shushing her gently, and urging her not to cry. He would look at me sorrowfully, and say, “We should let her finish.” So I would go find some comics and eat some of my candy while I waited for my sister to finish crying. Sometimes, she cried for a long time.
On the way back home, Uncle would cry too, rolling his rosary beads under his thumb. Just before we would get out of the car, he would always tell us to keep our game a secret, or we wouldn’t be able to get candy anymore. He never walked us to the door- just dropped us at the curb, and drove away. My sister, tired from our game, would usually go to bed without being told, just after we got home. I would stay up a little longer, reading my comics.
We did this every Sunday, for a few years.
Let the Voting commence