He was known as Bill Sixer.
During the great depression he had been one of the most ruthless gangsters of Twilight City. Until his death in 1925, he was the country’s most successful bootlegger, partly because of how he mercilessly plowed the competition down, but also because of his underground storage of booze that could only be reached by getting through an extremely complicated labyrinth of underground tunnels.
His life came to an end after the bordello that he frequently visited was blown to kingdom come with him inside of it.
But not his reign of terror.
Instead of going to hell, where he rightfully belonged, his spirit was trapped in the mortal realm. At first, Bill didn't do much but scaring the life out of the people who came to the graveyard where his very few remains were buried. But finally, after 60 years of boredom, Bill thought himself how to possess living humans. He could now return to his life of crime through randomly selected people. Sure, money didn't do much for a wacked wiseguy, but Bill was bored of his almost not-existing existence and needed a way to kill time for the rest of eternity.
At first, he played cat and mouse with the cops. But then things got a whole lot more interesting after one of those fancy-pants heroes came to Twilight. Time passed, and Bill evolved from a simple spirit to a level ten ghost, capable of possessing multiple targets at the same time.
"You having fun yet, Boneface?! Cause daddy here is having a whole lot of fun!"
The horde of innocents that Bill had possessed laughed in unison as they fired their weapons at the building that Monsieur Macabre, Twilight City’s resident superhero were hiding inside. Macabre took a quick glance out of one of the shattered windows, trying to spot the main possessed, the human host Bill used to control the others, similar to how a radio tower sends out radio waves.
Luckily, Bill never tried to hide.
The man possessed by Bill was dressed in a red zoot suit with matching fedora hat and armed with an old-fashioned tommygun. If Macabre could take him out, it would free the rest of Bill’s possessed victims.
Macabre took a deep breath. He had to use a rather cheap tactic. But luckily, Bill was not very bright.
Once there was a short pause in the shooting since the many guns had to be loaded again, the skeleton dressed in a black suit and a turban stepped out of the door. Then, a gigantic dragon appeared from the sky, landing next to him.
“HA!” All of Bill’s possessed bodies laughed as one. “How stupid do you think I am?! I know your tricks by now, Boneface.”
I rain of bullets filled Macabre with holes, and the dragon-illusion disappeared as damp. Bill found great pleasure in seeing that Macabre actually could bleed, meaning that he was right about his skeleton appearance being nothing but a pretty damn good costume.
Then, someone poked him on his main-host’s left shoulder. As he turned around, Macabre punched his lights out with a left uppercut. As the main-host lost its conscience, Bill was repelled out of it. Bill was back to his natural ghost-form and the rest of his victims were freed from his control, confused by the fact that they were all armed with firearms of some kind.
“What th-” The dead gangster didn’t get to say more as Macabre sealed him inside a silver mirror. Instead of showing someone his or hers own reflection, the mirror now showed you an angry ghost who cursed his captor. Bill had realized that Macabre had hypnotized him into seeing him getting out and creating the dragon illusion. While he was wasting his lead on the illusion, Macabre had sneaked up behind his main host body and king hit him.
Yes, Macabre had saved the city from its most notorious villain.
But what was the point?
Twilight was dying.
After the city had been cursed to never see the light of day and always be covered in darkness, most of the citizens had left as fast as possible. A few stayed, either because they wanted to stay out of a feeling of… loyalty, maybe? Other simply stayed because they couldn’t afford to move out of town. A few people had surprisingly enough moved to the town BECAUSE of the eternal night curse. They were magicians or other types of men and women who studied magic. They were fascinated by the sunlight-sucking aura that surrounded the town and the magical plants that appeared after the curse.
But the magic folks who moved in couldn’t compensate for the great number of people who had left town as fast as they could. Some even did so without selling their home, they just wanted to get out. And those who lived here now were either too scared to leave the home or were busy trying to loot the abounded shops and homes.
So why did Bill even bother showing up anymore? Simple, to mess around with Macabre.
Macabre sighed as he heard a car alarm. He threw the silver mirror with the angry ghost in a dumpster, turned around…
… And almost stumbled into a twelve year old boy with red hair that he could have sworn wasn’t there a second ago.
“Wow, Monsieur Macabre.” The boy said, looking up at the skeleton superhero. “Hey, what’s up with that name, anyway? You French or something? And a turban, seriously?”
Macabre didn’t know why, but there was something… wrong with that boy. Maybe it was just the limited light from the light poles, but something made him uneasy. He decided to hypnotize the kid, making him go straight home before he could get in trouble.
But his hypnotism didn’t work.
“Dude, human hypnotism? Seriously?! That’s cute, man!” The boy laughed. “Hey, wanna see what I can do?”
Macabre gasped as the boy turned into a giant half-dead-looking horse made out of water.
One might think ill of Macabre for running away, but can anyone really blame him? Besides having a black belt in karate, he relied mostly on his ability to trick his opponents into seeing things that wasn’t real. So he had no chance against a monster that could shapeshift.
Especially when that monster was a vampire.
Macabre didn’t get very far before the boy caught him, now in the shape of giant half man half stag monster with four legs and two arms.
And then, the monster devoured him.
Out of the shadows came a tall man dressed in black. He had pale skin, yellow eyes and jet-black hair. He looked less than thrilled as he watched the boy finish his meal.
“My lord…” He said. “Was that really necessary?”
“Come on Braz, let a kid have his fun.” The creature said as it turned back to the form of a boy once more.
“Well, I do not mean to tell you what to do, my lord-”
“Then don’t!” The boy burped.
“It’s just… We worked so hard on fooling the humans into believing that they killed us all…”
“Yeah, humans are funny and dumb like that.”
“What if… someone saw us?”
“Not a problem!” The boy said gleefully. “Then we just kill them as well!”
Braz Dolob felt an urgent need of rolling his eyes, but knew that it could cost him his undead life.
“And besides…” The boy went on. “There aren’t that many humans here. Chances are that we really don’t have to try that hard hiding.”
“… My lord… I’ve been meaning to ask… without ANY disrespect… Why are we here?”
“Isn’t that obvious, crackers for brains? It’s night 24/7!”
“But not forever, my lord. Ignis’ curse won’t last for more than seven weeks, and then day will return to Twilight.”
“Unless…” The boy pulled something out of his pocket. It was a pendant with a huge black gemstone. “You have this!”
“… By all that is unholy…” Dolob stared in awe. “Is that… The Heart of Bathory? I thought that was a lie!”
The boy grinned. “Nope, Bathory really had it. I found it in her bathroom after I ate her. The rumor goes that she actually cut out her own back heart and turned it into the gemstone that hangs here. Truthfully, Elizabeth was nasty and powerful enough to do it. And comming from me, that’s saying something!”
“And it… works?”
“Sure it does! With this baby, we can make the night-curse last as long as we want. As long as we can feed the stone once in a while.”
“Feed it with what, lord Pan?”
The boy who would never grow up took in a deep breath. Then, he barked up a huge lump of blood from his latest meal. The blood painted the pendant red. Then, Peter Pan tied it around his neck.
“The blood of a knight.”
It had been six years since the event of the curse. No one would have believed back then that anyone would willingly move to Twilight. But times move on and the eternal night was now yesterday’s news. People needed work and there was work to be found in Twilight after someone decided to build some power plant there with a new sort of technology that some dead superhero had used.
This suited Sarah just fine. After all, she needed people around town to make her living.
But right now, Sarah was in pain.
Her left wrist was most likely broken, her nose was bleeding, she had dropped her knife, and she felt like she had just been slapped by a gorilla.
Sarah was fifteen years old. She had spent the last three years living in the streets. Deciding from the start that she didn’t want charity of any kind, neither did she intend to eat garbage, she had become a rather ruthless mugger, and a pretty damn good one since no one had ever caught her yet.
But right now? Well… she was in deep &%¤.
She had followed a man into a dead end with the intention to rob him and gut him. She could have sworn that he couldn’t have been more than four and a half feet tall. But as she was about to jump him… Well, either she had seen wrong, meaning that she needed some very effective glasses… or he had grown taller in mere seconds. Not only was the man tall, he was big! Like a gorilla! With just one slap of the back of his hand, he had sent her flying straight into a brick wall.
“Still conscious?” The big guy asked surprised as he saw Sarah slowly getting up on her feet. “I have to admit, I’m impressed. You have balls, kid.”
Sarah didn’t say anything. She just picked up her knife.
“Listen, kid…” the man said with his hands in his pockets, clearly not scared. “You have guts, and I respect that, I do. So how about you leave me alone and find someone closer to your own weight class before you ge-”
Sarah jumped on him, stabbing her blade right into the man’s shoulder.
“Why, you little-” A massive hand locked around Sarah’s right wrist and she was slammed down to the ground. She screamed in pain. “What the hell is wrong with you, kid!? P&ss off before I-”
She stabbed him in the leg. But she didn’t hurt him as much as she annoyed him. He kicked her as if she were an old can. That apparently did the trick as she just lied there, moaning in pain. Shaking his head, the big guy turned his back to her and walked away.
… Only to get hit by a trashcan from behind. He turned around and saw that the girl was back on her feet, but barely. She was shaking and looked like she could drop if you as much as sneezed at her.
“Kid…” The big guy crossed his arms and grew two heads taller. “Is my wallet really that much worth to you?”
“Sshe…screw your w-wallet…” Sarah coughed. “I just want to kill you.”
He didn’t notice it before because of the hoodie she was wearing. But now that her head was uncloaked, one could she the lust for murder in her eyes. No uncertainty, no fear, no regret.
“Hehe…” The unnaturally tall man said, as he saw her weakly coming nearer. “You have killed before, haven’t you? In fact, you have done it many times. And you have been successful till now, am I right?”
“Go %¤&# yourself…” Sarah attempted to stab the man one more time, only to feel the massive hand around her wrist once more.
“That’s why you keep trying to kill me.” The man went on while forcing Sarah up against a wall. “You aren’t desperate. You’re angry. I hurt your pride.”
Sarah replied with an angry stare.
“HA! You can’t be much older than 16, but you are already a coldblooded murderer. Listen to me, girl… How would you like to work for me? Or I could snap your neck, it’s your choice.”
Sarah hesitated. “… What kind of work?”
“Nothing you need a clean conscience for.”
“… Fine, sign me up, dude.” Then, she passed out.
The man picked her up and placed her over his shoulder. Then, he knocked Pop Goes the Weasel on one of the brick walls in the dead end. The brick started to move around like cockroaches, and a gate was formed.
“Alright, I better get you a healer. And you will address me as Mr. Rabbit, not dude .”
Around the oval table sat four men and one woman. The men looked less than pleased, as if someone had replaced the sugar for their coffee with salt.
The red-haired woman in a black pant suit who sat at the end closest to the window was Rebecca Hecox. She was the famous owner of the Twilight Lunar Power Plant that converse moonlight into electricity. The plant was the main source of power Twilight City. Not only did it provide environment friendly energy, it was conceivably cheap as well. The power plant had saved the cursed Twilight City from being a ruin, created jobs, made people move back. Hecox brought life to the once abandoned town, rebuilding it, made it better than before and had in record time become one of the riches women in the country and the unofficial empress of Twilight.
Some would say that she was a savior.
But that was hardly true. And the four men that had accompanied her in her office was the proof.
"Gentlemen…” Hecox said while smoking a hookah. “I'm pleased to see that you could all make it in time. I realize that you are busy men, so I won't take too much of your time. You are an importation lot of men. You run the rackets, prostitution, the gambling, and the guns in Twilight. But there is a problem; your number. Yes, I do realize that you have your treaties and agreements but there have been conflicts between you far too many times. And I believe that the best thing for this city would be if there was one leader of all the criminal activity of Twilight. This would end the conflict for control."
One of the mob leaders took a sib from his coffee. "Let me guess... you?"
"Listen up, Toots." Another one placed his feet on the table. His name was Jack Duran. "The only reason to why any of us came is because we know that YOU are the one who keeps sabotaging our business, killing our boys."
"I know." Hexoc blew a smoke ring. "I had to prove to you that I was to be taken seriously."
"Well congratulation!" Jack Duran grinned. "We have the entire building surrounded by our boys. All your hired guns should be dead by now. Your office is surrounded. You are all alone."
“Yeah.” One of the men laughed. “So how about you try and give us a reason to let you live?”
"I’m all alone, eh?" Hecox said calmly, still smoking her hookah. “All those hired guns you mentioned? I only hired them so that you would waste your time killing THEM instead of my REAL bodyguard. By now he should have killed all of your worthless goons while we-”
Someone knocked on the door.
"Oh, speak of the devil and he shall appear. Come in."
The door was opened, and a man stepped inside the office. The four crime lords of Twilight gasped as they saw a man whom they knew from rumors. He was dressed in a black turtleneck sweater with pants and gloves of the same color. He held two long swords in each hand. Blood dripped from them. He was wearing a yellow mask that covered his entire head. There was drawn a happy face on it.
"Holy %&¤$! It's the Smiley!"
"I thought that guy was a myth!"
"We have to get out of here!"
"Remember what I told you." Hecox said. Then, she sat back and took a deep puff while watching the four most powerful men in Twilight City desperately trying to get out with their lives intact.
The four grown men who hadn’t shed a tear for years cried like children as they realized how doomed they were. Smiley butchered them in mere seconds.
Except for one.
Jack Duran was terrified, yet confused as he starred at the blade that was inches away from his throat. The Smiley kicked him, forcing him down on his knees in front of the table. Then, Duran was grabbed by his hair and forced to look up at Hecox who now stood in front of him.
“… I… I don’t understand?”
“Well, Duran…” Hecox said, looking rather satisfied. “I might just let you live. You see, I just removed three out of the four crime lords of Twilight, making it easier for me to take control over this town. But I could spare you. But if I do that, then you have to work for me.”
“Yes, YES!” Duran gulped as the cold steel got a tiny bit closer to his throat. “You’re the boss, I get it! I work for you, no question about that!”
"Good boy.” Hecox padded his left cheek. “Then I see no reason to why you should… No wait. Sorry, dearie, but I simply have to ask; does the name Bill Hecox mean anything to you?"
Duran looked confused. "... Bill Heox... No, I don’t think… Hey, wait a minute, Stonehand Hecox? Yeah, I knew him, but that was years ago. He was-" Something clicked inside Duran's head and he came to a terrifying revelation. If Duran had been scared before then he was about to have a heart attack. "Oh crap... The red hair... you are-“
Duran didn’t get to say more than that as the Smiley beheaded him. Hecox looked satisfied. Then she took a quick glance at the room. It was filled with blood and dead meat that not long ago had been human beings.
“Thank you.” She said to the Smiley. "I don’t know what I would have done without you. Now, we better get rid of this mess, don't you agree?"
Smiley nodded in agreement.
"And you already prepared the explosives?"
The Smiley nodded once more.
Hecox smiled. "This is the last time, I promise. No more killing for you." She padded the Smiley on the shoulder. "Come, let’s go home. We need a bath and something to eat. I don’t know about you but I'm starving!"