(Typing this on my IPad so please forgive me!)
If the Devil is real, than he can only be a man.
There was a time, not too long ago, where I believed that there was goodness in everyone, no matter how small. I stood at crime scenes covered in blood, filled with hope that wasn't deserved, I only gave murderers and rapists an inch of the punishment they'd given their victims, and every single night, after my work was done for the evening, I'd return home like a statue, a piece, a tiny piece, chipped away whenever I stepped outside. Eventually it all started to build up, a boiling kettle about to explode, until it got to the point where I just couldn't forgive the monsters anymore and stopped taking any chances.
The reason I stopped taking chances is sat across the room from me, laughing as his acolytes and the finest madmen money can buy lay into me, fists hitting the same spots and body parts that have been struck a thousand times. Eventually, once I'm beaten and bloody like a raw steak, Death itself gives the order for his men to back off, giving me a chance to catch my breath, which I do by quickly unravelling the lower part of my mask.
"Do you believe me to be evil, Ghoul?" Father Cross asks from his seat, smirk peering out from under his white, handlebar moustache, old skin looking like it's about to collapse, just like his eye sockets did the last time he crossed me and I gouged his goddamn eyes out.
Shifting in my seat, blood covering my clothes and most of my face, I somehow manage to pluck up the strength to respond.
"Buddy..." I gasp, stubborn grin breaking out from my mouth. "You sure ain't Mickey Mouse..."
Cross starts to laugh, it's a beautiful thing, one finely tuned from choir practice every day. It's the only decent thing about him, and the technicolor robes he's wearing mix with the blood in my eyes and makes me wanna puke. The man sends his goons at me for another beating, at which point I think I black out for a couple seconds, but even then I can still hear the Father talking, prattling on with religious sermons and other speeches that he's surely been preparing for this day, all of which contain words that are too long and smart for my battered brain to try and decipher. Somehow the only thing that crosses my mind is how much longer this is all going to take, than I blink and suddenly the room's empty except for me, the Father.... and Wyatt, the man I'm here to see. Plus whoever's keeping me pinned to the chair, gripped by the arms with steel like determination that cannot be broken.
"The child still lives, Ghoul." Cross says, carefully stepping across the room with help from Wyatt, guiding his steps. The @&;%€$#¥ leans in close to my ear, smelling of expensive, foreign perfume, and chuckles slightly before speaking once again. "But not for much longer."
I'm too far gone to say anything, instead I just stay still, waiting to be put down like some kinda dying animal, but knowing these monsters they're gonna have some fun before they kill me. Kids pulling the wings off flies are more merciful than these psychos.
"Father." Wyatt says, voice prim and proper with the utmost respect towards his mentor. In my eyes he looks like death himself, dressed all in black, a golden cross pinned to his collar, with a pasty white head that reminds me of some sorta cartoon skull. "I think we should take off this fool's mask."
Something lights up on Cross' face, he grins, revealing his stinking, rotten teeth, hidden under his pure image, and he begins to nod feverishly.
"Excellent idea, son!" He laughs, backing away from me to give Wyatt room to reach forward. "An excellent tribute to our Lord Morningstar!"
The scum begin to claw at my mask, scratching my already smashed goggles, and leaving bloody marks on my flesh that'll probably take awhile to heal. Their hands cover my eyes, tarantulas hunting prey, and all I can do is watch.
It's as if a whip cracked through the air, instantly the gleeful insanity that had overtaken these zealots is gone, replaced by the fear of whoever it was that just spoke. Blinking to regain my vision, I see Wyatt and Cross looking towards the door, in Cross' case his head's turned that way, and than I see their visitor and understand why they're so scared.
The Nazis call him, Colonel Hans Offsteder, but the name we use, and the one he's adopted, is Colonel Twilight. I don't know his story, I doubt anyone other than the Fuhrer even talks to the guy, but as he's standing in the doorway, looking infuriated in his aviator helmet and tight metal suit, I understand why he's been giving the Allies so much trouble.
"If this is why you've called me here, to this stinking, putrid city, I will not be happy."
There's an odd hum whenever he speaks, his Austrian accent is very noticeable, and as the Colonel steps fully into the room, hands behind his back like he owns it, I realise how beneath him everyone in this room is. The man's a god amongst men. "Why am I here?" He asks, impatient and proud, very proud of himself, for reasons I don't know.
It's Wyatt who plucks up the courage to speak first, a peasant trying to barter with a king. "We..." he clears his throats and picks himself up. "We caught the Ghoul, sir."
Then Twilight looks at me, and I stare back and wish I hadn't. There's something in his eyes, a flash of gold beneath his helmet that makes me rethink everything I know about humanity. He studies me briefly before snapping back to Wyatt.
Wyatt steps back, scared for his life, so Father Cross tries to pick up the slack, keeping both hands together like he's begging.
"The... Ghoul, Colonel! A superhero! He's responsible for the capture of that Nazi spy ring last month! He's a powerful, powerful enemy of your empire!"
Twilight regards me again, raising his nose up slightly, unimpressed and not in the mood for such trivial matters.
"He sounds dangerous." The Colonel sighs, looking back to his allies. "You should probably shoot him."
Father Cross steps towards the Colonel, hunched over and scared, a rat that's just learned there's someone far mightier than him.
"You... you came for the ceremony, Colonel?"
"The Fuhrer seems to think it's a worthy investment of my time, so I am here."
Wyatt stands in the corner of the room, having forgotten completely about me and scared out of his mind at how close to death he might be.
"Well." Cross says, attempting to regain control of the situation. "Well if you'd like to follow me-"
The Colonel reaches forward, grips Cross by the hand and the two disappear into a crackle of electricity, gone like will of the wisps, God only knows where.
Wyatt's just as shocked as I am, but he tries to play it off like this whole thing's a part of the plan. "'Probably' shoot him." He mutters before giggling like a ten year old girl, the man smiles a cracked smile and starts to move towards me. "Linda. Jerry. You two can go."
The two kids holding my shoulders let go, believing me to be down for the count.
"You sure?" Jerry asks while moving to the door, asking purely out of formality, rather than any actual real care.
"Yeah, yeah go ahead." Wyatt tells them, standing in front of me, acting like some kinda triumphant warrior, rather than the slimeball he actually is. "Just... ah... just pass me the revolver from the table."
The gun gets passed, well kept and shiny, it's been used often. Wyatt's companions leave the two of us alone, and then the man of the hour crouches before me, and then he tells me every sick, depraved thing that he's gonna do to me.
"Shoot you fulla holes and leave you for the cops." Is what he finishes on.
Then I spit out blood and laugh as the smile on this kid's face disappears, that's when I take a page outta his book and tell him everything that's about to happen to him. He panics, thinking I have a plan, and points his gun at my skull, so I headbutt the damn thing to my right and spring onto the fella, before regaining the use of my arms and cracking him across the face with a solid right hook.
It's nice to know they underestimate me.
So then I put Wyatt in my chair, and ask him the same thing Father Cross asked me, and before he can respond I beat him up a little, till he's bloody and bruised and learning just how badly he messed up. Then I ask him a few questions, and he talks, squeals like a goddamn pig. He tells me they're at the Docks, tells me where they're keeping Josh in the place, talks about their alliance with Germany, the guns they'll be getting... and I just laugh and beat him again.
That's when he asks me what else I'm gonna do.. and I tell him.
"I'm gonna beat you some more, and then leave you for the cops."
He starts to cry... and then I look at my hands, covered in blood, and realise that I'm the Devil.