He continued into the town, hearing the cries of the dead innocent from years long gone get louder the deeper he ventured. Ghastly phantasms continued to cross his path, revealing the evil that had succumbed all its residents. He managed his way through actions of murder and insanity, all of which he had seen over the centuries, very rarely though is such a confined location. The smell of death lingered heavily in his throat, his senses being bombarded by the stench of sin.
The sun began to set on the town as he stopped in front of one house. Physically it was no different than any of the other run-down dwellings on the street - mold and decay had claimed it long ago, but something had visited this home. It was faint to his senses, but it was there. It was something ancient. It was something familiar, but unnatural to this plane of existence. He just couldn't quite place it.
His body went immaterial, passing through the laws of physical matter which was the door to enter the home. He was greeted by a still skeleton near the foot of steps, the fracture on its skull revealing blunt trauma and probable cause of death.
"Who is she?" a voice screamed from upstairs. "Who is she?!"
He turned to gaze upward looking for events to unravel. The skeletal remains at his feet faded away as history engulfed the present as yesteryear began to reveal itself to the Spirit of Vengeance. The rot and soot beneath vanished under his feet as the woodened floors appeared brightly as ever. The same happened to the walls as the colors on the wallpaper that had adorned its halls popped vibrantly. The banister began to slowly web together spindle by spindle as he made his way up the stairs until the destruction was made whole once more.
The Spectre had reached the second level of the home as he witnessed the young woman unleash her anger upon her dead husband. Her voice became loud pitches and shrieks of anger, revealing the darkest corner that he had known in much of humanity. She continued the assault, her hand grasping and ramming the dead body on the bottom corner of the wall as blood and brain matter began to spray onto her and through the Spectre's body as he hovered over both. This was the anger of a woman scorned. Even though her husband’s limp dead body remained motionless the attack continued. The body at the door entrance his mistress. He thought many humans denied the existence of the evil corner that lurked deep inside everyone. He knew all it took was a certain trigger to ignite such a beast. For this household it was the revelation of adultery.
There was a sudden quake in the air which appeared like a ripple effect cascading through space and time. The sudden quake brushed away the actions of the past and forced the material present to manifest around the Spectre again. He found the experience interesting as his curiosity peaked. His attention shifted to the tarnished window down the hall. Even through the caked dirt and stain upon the window, he could see a light in the distance. He could see the fire flutter like an exotic dance attempting to lure his own dark corner. He recognized it as a courtesy. An invitation to reveal themselves to each other. It was also something he had to answer.
Time passed differently for the Spectre. Things from the past and the present all blended together before his eyes until he decided otherwise. Now was one of those times, ignoring the phantasms of the past and focusing only on the church.
He passed through the giant wooden doors, now noticing more candles being lit within the sanctuary. A woman scantily cladded was easily seen upon entering. The tattoos which laced every extremity of her body an outside representation of what she represented now that they were in such proximity of each other. She remained seated on the alter steps with her legs crossed, her arms extended while her head rested back on the top step. She was young in body, but he could sense she was ancient. As old as he was yet this was the first time they had ever truly met.
"You are her?” the Spectre asked. "The Jezebel who would tempt Vengeance itself."
Her head rose, her gaze sternly fixed on him. "How do you see me?" she asked.
It was a simple question yet his post-cognitive vision jumped feverishly on request. Her face revealed nothing now, just a blank emotionless shade. Her clothing did change as different eras she had ravaged cascaded through time upon her slender frame. She arose with a devilish and approached, slowly tracing her finger along his cloak and eventually down the side of his face.
“What did you see?”
The Spectre barely moved. “I saw an abomination wandering aimlessly through time. I saw the dust of Babylon at your feet. Civilizations and nations have fallen when you make your presence known. It is much like a plague.”
“Have you not done the same?” She sat her head upon his chest, her hand caressing his chest. “I do recall it was you that went through Pharaoh of Egypt. I spent weeks enjoying the cries of the city.”
“I am the Spirit of Vengeance. I am bound to the divine law,” he said with disgust as she attempted to equalize the two. “I extinguish the fire of the damned. Your deviant spark ignited the fires of Nod or need I remind you.”
“Do not bring up his name. I escaped from him long ago,” she said with trepidation. “I have a name now.”
“What else shall the Spirit of Murder be called?”
She closed her eyes, sniffing the power before her. “They have come to call me Rose Tattoo.”
With her introduction, Rose grasped a hidden blade from her side and shoved it through the Spectre’s chest with lightning speed. A torrent of spiritual force ravaged the sanctuary sending Rose and everything near them flying. A concrete pillar stopped her travel, indenting a large crater within the wall.
The Spectre huffed loudly as he clutched at the exposed site. Rose could see the effects of the attack affect her victim, smiling with glee as she licked her blood which now dribbled down her lip.
“You are quite powerful,” she said loudly as she appeared grasping two blades now. “I can tell though you are restricted from all of your power. Are you having daddy issues?” With speed that rivaled her opening attack, she flipped the blade in the air until her fingers grasped its blade and sent it darting toward the Spectre.
Aware of the threat before him, the Spectre raised his hand forcing the projectile to slow its trajectory until it was drained of forward momentum. The blade fell to his feet as both combatants focused on each other.
“You are an obscenity to this existence,” barked the Spectre.
Rose smiled again as she flung her other blade with greater force and speed as the previous attack. That blade too was halted, but Rose used that distraction to leap in the air toward the Spectre. Her attack would have been a fatal blow to most, but the Spectre dissolved into the floor as her knee made contact with his cloak.
Rose looked around, looking for the next possible attack as the Spectre’s cloak slowly melted into the cracks of the floor. Many had fallen by her hands throughout time. Many had fallen by just the mundane objects in the sanctuary alone, yet she knew the Spectre was more than any subject she had killed before. The excitement alone made her spine shiver.
“You dare try to strike down Vengeance itself, Rose Tattoo!” The voice was clearly of the Spectre, but it resonated from every direction, as if he was the church itself. A shadow began to expand from behind her as she quickly turned to see no one. Her attention shifted to the main church glass mural above her position. Where once a cross with random patterns of reds and purples formatted the design was but a memory to Rose as only the green cloak of her adversary formed the design upon the mural now. Slowly each other mural in the church contained images of the green cloaked Spectre. She tried to stay focused but with every instinctive blink the images changed until they all pointed at her.
A sudden explosive force filled the room as all the glass murals shattered, sending thousands of shards of glass downward. Rose sought cover from the falling debris as her arms guarded her face. The shards continued to fall as if they were rain drops from a storm. Across the sanctuary a pile of glass shards began to take form of the Spectre. The hooded form’s cowl arose as his eyes locked once more with Rose. His hand rose, her heart skipped. He summoned a giant shard from the ground and with a gesture it hurled itself at immense speed across the room. She turned to defend herself as the shard imbedded itself into her back. He clenched his hand shut commanding the wooden bleachers to crash into each side of Rose. She snarled at the attack only for it to be snapped into a small scream as three more shards impaled her body. She could not defend herself as she noticed now that the glass shards were dancing in the air at the command of the Spectre. Another shard sliced across her leg as he dropped to a knee. Another shard pierced her achilles tendon forcing both knees down to the ground. Each attack were small cuts but they came with no end. Each slice tearing a piece of skin until only muscle showed and continued until nothing but a skeleton remained in a pool of her own blood.
The shards of glass stopped their attack with a command from the Spectre. He walked upon the remains of his adversary, his post-cognitive vision gazing upon the skeletal remains before him. His vision was different this time as the face of the woman he had just battled revealed a life not connected to what he had encountered. The battle may have ended as her body had failed yet the spirit itself continued somewhere else. He would meet this spirit again. He could feel it, but it would not be tonight. Tonight, only the Spectre remained.
The day had ended like most days for Charles Neubert. He exhaled a sigh of relief as he finally made it home. His mind was focused on just pure relaxation to recover from his exhausting day. He had envisioned himself jumping into his sofa, kicking his feet on the coffee table and just vegetate on hours of Netflix binge watching. As he entered the house he was greeted with a fresh aroma of burgers and hotdogs originating from the kitchen. He followed the enticing trail to witness his long-haired beauty await him.
“You read my mind, Hun!” He said as his stomach began to rumble from the smell. “I was starving.”
She leaned back against the counter, giggling as she tossed a hand towel at him. “I thought about going out for Italian tonight, but at the last minute I just didn’t feel the urge to get dressed.”
“I know that feeling all too well,” Charles snickered. “You ready to eat?”
“You can eat but I am still making my salad.”
“That sounds like a plan to me,” he replied as he took a seat at the table while preparing a plate. “I don’t really think I could have lasted another hour waiting in line to get served.”
“How about we go to eat tomorrow though?”
Charles merely gestured with a nod as his mouth was full of food. He closed his eyes with extreme satisfaction as he enjoyed every bite. Before he could swallow and take another bite, the sense of sharp metal raced across his neck. His eyes opened wide, as he could feel the warm sensation of his own blood race down his neck and his hands as he attempted to stop the bleeding. He fell to the floor, wondering what had just happened. He turned to see the woman he loved stand over him with the bloodied blade in her grasp.
It was something in her eyes that was different. Something almost inhuman. As he tried to cling to his own life he could tell this was not the woman he loved. She walked over his body as if the pooling blood on the floor was but a nuisance. His vision began to blur and then there was nothing.
She walked into the bathroom, grabbing a pair of scissors and began hacking chunks of hair off at a time. When finished she stared at her own reflection, her hair just gracing her ears in length now. She wiped her bloodied hand over the mirror, stepped back and just smiled.
“My name is James Corrigan…”
“Anything else?” the officer asked.
“That is all I know,” He said with a desperate tone. He bit his bottom lip as his eyes were on the brink of tears. “I swear to you that is all I know. I could never do this.”
Two detectives watched the interrogation through the two-sided glass that separated the rooms. The man they stared at claimed amnesia. He was also the lone surviving man in the middle of human graveyard with blood covered all over him. He carried no identification and every database on the known planet came back with nothing on the man. Either this man committed their crime or the universe completely screwed him and placed him at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“How did you get there?”
He placed his head into his palm, his other hand trembling with fear on the table. “For the eighth time, I do not know. I just know my name. I do not know how I got there. I never do.”
The officer perked at his last sentence. “Never do?” he said aloud. “This type of stuff happens to you regularly?”
Jim Corrigan couldn’t respond as he could feel his throat tighten with the answer. He merely nodded the confirmation. The lights in the building began to flicker as his eyes opened wide, fear causing him to sweat profusely. Both his hands clenched his hair as he feared the inevitability he had witnessed countless of times. He would be flung from one part of the world to another, not knowing how he got there. He would get to a certain moment in a place and then it happened. Everything after a complete blank slate.
The lights flickered more intensely as the interrogation room went completely dark. It was two seconds but Jim Corrigan was gone. The two detectives looked bewildered. The man was in a locked room in hand cuffs and two seconds was all it took to vanish before them. The hairs on their arms began to rise while both of their spines shivered as if both sensed something unnatural. Something did move, something barely able to grasp a description from either of them. They knew something was there. Something definitely was there.