Episode 1: Pilot
Hank Bruxton stared intently at the clock. His hands connected together, the sound of the clock ticking ever bearing. Ticking, ticking, ticking. Hank felt as if his life was going to stop once the hands on the clock reached 10:30 PM.
What was the time now?
Only three more minutes before who knows what will happen. Hank Bruxton could feel a sense of nervousness as he felt the sweat trickle down the right side of his head. The fast-paced heartbeats that didn't stop beating and the suspense that was awaiting him, oh dear God, one minute has passed.
His gaze trailed from the clock to the card. The dreaded card that started it all. Usually cards were a good thing for him. Cards could help him win money if he played them correctly. Cards helped him ensure the bond between business partner to business partner. But this card was no card.
This card was a curse.
The card with the dreaded symbol, featuring a demon skull with it's lower jaw completely shattered and nonexistent. The glare that had stared back at Bruxton sent shivers down his spin. Complete with those horns, Bruxton felt as if the Devil himself was staring back at him, abiding his time until 10:30 PM hit, just so he can claim Bruxton and bring him down to the depths of Hell.
He could feel the cauldron now. The sizzling hot fire below and him being cooked alive along with his countless sins. A card like this was just something to fear. Even worse was what was written on the back of the card:
It wasn't a mystery for Hank Bruxton. Such a card was practically infamous for a sinner like himself. 10:30 PM was the time that the Devil's Personal Servants will come for him to make him pay for his sins.
The Devil's Personal Servants.
The ones who come straight from the Dark Veil.
"10:29 and the guy is still pacing back and forth," a voice spoke through his robotic-like skull mask. It's red eyes dilated back and forth as the hooded person with the mask stared at his computer screen, which at the moment, was directed right at Hank Bruxton. "The man needs to relax more in his life. It's not like we're here to kill him or anything."
"Enikma," another voice came through the headset of the robotic skull mask-wearing Enikma. His gloved hands scaled toward his headset microphone.
"Yeah yeah, I know I know," Enikma sighed behind his mask. His fingers flew across his keyboard, changing the screen from Hank to the outside perimeter of a cottage, located within the snowy atmosphere they were residing in. "Check the perimeters. Be the eyes in the sky got it. My eyes are in position."
"What do you see?" came the voice once more.
"2 guys right on the top of Bruxton's little balcony," Enikma noted. "They're armed so you're going to need to take them out quickly. Same thing with the two other guys guarding the front doors, two more guarding the back, two more at the middle balcony, and the four that's walking around the house."
"Weapon?" the voice continued.
"Glock 19s," Enikma continued. "Extremely common for cops since 1982. Extremely easy to disarm. Like seriously, if one of you guys found yourself getting taken out by a man with a Glock, I will shake my head at your lifeless body."
"Good to know," a different voice added. "Time?"
"10:30 PM," Enikma looked at his watch. He took a deep breath under his mask. "Let's get to work."
Time to get to work.
Three similarly masked figures armed themselves with all kinds of self-defense weapons. From the top of a nearby snowy cliff, the three skull-masked figures armed themselves with a grappling hook. The presumed leader of the bunch, who wore a black skull mask that was visibly beginning to rust with all those scratch marks, armed a grappling hook launcher before handing it to one of his cohorts.
"Fire away," the leader had given the launcher to male wearing a skull masquerade mask that covered pretty much most of his face. Though the unique thing about the mask was that the eyeholes had a unique skeleton hand decor, making this member look much more extravagant compared to his brutish cohorts.
Aiming the launcher right toward the cottage, Masquerade Mask could feel the launcher loosen its strength as the grappling hook flew up, landing right toward the top balcony and lodging itself between the two wooden bars. Of course, this didn't go unnoticed by the two patrolling guards right outside the top balcony.
"You missed," Enikma's voice stoically told the male with the Masquerade Mask.
"F*ck you," Masquerade Mask responded to Enikma.
"That's why we have Plan B," Black Skull nodded before patting his other cohort on the shoulder. "You're up Restriktion."
Restriktion on the other hand had a white skull mask, both equally rusting like Black Skull's mask. The mouth was coated with red lines, up and down and trailing to each side, to showcase a type of sinister smile. There was also a notable red X at the side of the mask. Also with some self-defense weapons at his disposal and a black cloak, Restriktion used a makeshift coat hanger as a T-bar. Attaching it firmly to the line, Restriktion nodded at Black Skull and took off, scaling down the line and reaching the middle balcony.
Even though he wore that mask, Restriktion could still feel the cold wind blow across his body as he slid down. The chilling winds and the heat that was beginning to form on his face was a good factor to increasing his adrenaline.
And then he made it to the middle balcony, alerting the two guards who had kept watch on this balcony.
Now came the fun part:
Glock 19s taken out, armed and pointed at Restriktion.
He has to stop them from firing it.
"Hey!" the first guy yells.
A handful of snow is chucked right toward the first guy before he could press the trigger.
The second guy stares at the first guy, a little distracted.
He must be the new guy on the job. That's lucky. Most guys just fire and ignore the first guy. Good. Restriktion takes this chance and runs toward the second guy.
He dashes forth.
Power invested in his fist and oh!
Right in the gut.
The second guy falls and by this time, the first guy's gotten the snow right off his face. He thinks Restriktion is distracted but on the contrary, he's focused. He's in the field. Distraction means nothing to him.
He turns his head.
The gun is pointed at his leg.
Restriktion grabs the guy's hand, twisting it.
The guy cries in pain and drops the gun.
Perfect. Middle balcony is disabled and the other two can get to this balcony safely. Keeping the guy on lock, Restriktion could hear the guy's wrist crack a little. He decides maybe it's time to put this guy out of his pain.
So he let's go.
And he strikes him in the face.
The first guy falls and Restriktion somehow feels hot within this snowy environment. He would take off his mask but it's too risky in the playing field. He taps his earpiece as he tries to catch his breath.
"Middle bal-" Restriktion began.
Restriktion felt a something whoosh past his ear. Jesus Christ, that was close! Desperate, Restriktion hides behind the corner, away from the glass door that had been cracked from the bullet that flew out.
"Sh*t!" Restriktion cursed.
Hank Bruxton tensed up. His moment of calmness was quickly overtaken by that feeling of dread and paranoia. He was sweating even further. That moment, in which his own chills began to feel like hot fire. The nerves shaking and tensing up.
That gunshot and the yells from his guards meant that they were here. For a moment, he felt relieved. He knew for certain they were here. Now he could stop worrying about them hiding under the couch or something.
But at the same time, he still felt fear. Mainly because of the same reason. He knew they were here. And now the next thing he had to worry about was them eventually reaching him and doing who knows what to him.
The shooter slowly crept toward the glass door, hand steady and over his Glock 19. Slowly he stepped toward the outside of the middle balcony, sliding the glass door open and getting ready to shoot whatever comes out.
He was smart.
Instead of stepping out getting taken out like a sucker, the shooter made sure to stand his ground. He got ready to point whatever moved, whatever was in sight. Whatever popped up, he will pull the trigger.
He had already fired one bullet. 14 rounds left in his factory magazine. Unless his aim was off, should Restriktion show himself and attempt to dodge, he would at least be able to hit the guy with 3-4 shots.
The shooter was sure of it.
"I need a little help here," Restriktion hissed at his earpiece.
"Just stay right there," Enikma's voice told Restriktion. "You staying in that spot is getting the other guys to move away from their positions. Konspiracy and Paradoks can just drop down to wherever they want."
"Alright, anywhere but the middle balcony?" Paradoks, the one with the Masquerade Skull Mask, tapped into his earpiece.
"Unless you want the guy to fire 14 rounds of bullets at your body then sure, go drop down at the middle balcony," Enikma's voice retorted.
"...We're dropping down to the back entrance," Konspiracy noted before taking out another coat hanger. Both Paradoks and Konspiracy had coat hangers that they could use as makeshift T-Bars. Only this time, they're dropping down earlier. Konspiracy turned to Paradoks. "Be ready and be on your guard."
"You're not going to shoot me in the back like how those guys from the Dark Knight did right?" Paradoks looked at Konspiracy. It was clear from his tone that he was most likely joking. "You know, the scene in the beginning?"
The cold stare he got from behind Konspiracy's mask instantly got Paradoks to chuckle sheepishly.
"Right," Paradoks chuckled. "Of course you won't."
The two vigilantes hooked up their coat hangers onto the zipline that had still been hooked onto the top balcony. It's a wonder how the two that had been on their guard on that specific balcony have yet to notice it.
Must've been the luck of the draw.
Nevertheless, Konspiracy and Paradoks took this chance to zip down the line, dropping down before they could reach the middle balcony, securing them a spot at the back entrance. Noticing the guards run amuck the building, Konspiracy slid open the glass door.
Restriktion's unplanned distraction caused pretty much the guards of the back entrance to run toward the middle balcony, and thus that meant that in the heat of the moment, both guards practically forgot to lock the back entrance door.
Even if they did lock it, they could smash it open, but both Konspiracy and Paradoks would rather the guards think that only one was coming to attack Green's little cottage.
"We're in," Konspiracy told Enikma through his earpiece. "Where's the target?"
"Two floors above you," Enikma responded nonchalantly.
Konspiracy and Paradoks stared up and noticed the figures of armored guards running up through the stairs. If they had to get to the target, they would at least run into several guards and that would mean having bullets fly toward their body.
"Nice to see the rest of us are safe," Restriktion grumbled as he took out something from beneath his cloak. "Meanwhile, I have to either get myself shot or risk breaking my legs by jumping off this balcony."
"Do it," Enikma challenged Restriktion. "...Just kidding."
"Enikma," Restriktion hissed back at Enikma. "F*ck you."
"I do love to be f*cked," from that tone, Restriktion could easily recognize the fact that Enikma was most likely smirking behind his robotic skull mask. And Jesus Christ, did it really piss him off.
Restriktion took a deep breath, sighing in irritation as he looked at the small marbles he held. Then he slid them across the ground, slyly and slowly, making sure its presence wasn't noticeable to the shooter.
The shooter on the other hand had remained armed and ready to shoot. He knew Restriktion was there. He knew there was no place for him to run. The only question was when he was going to come out.
Hand close to the trigger, he remained silent as he began to become accompanied by four other guards, each with their Glock 19s ready.
At this rate, Restriktion was going to have to worry about 74 bullets flying his way.
Konspiracy and Paradoks walked up the stairs. No ventilation ducts were big enough for them to crawl into and at any rate, it seemed that most of the guards were distracted by Restriktion at the moment.
Thus, the remaining guards should be pretty easy to take out.
Walking up the stairs and noticing two guards heading their way, the two hid behind walls. Both of them heard the Glock 19s clicking, ready to fire at them. The two guards weren't blind. They saw them and one of them was mumbling into a walkie-talkie.
There goes their little frolic to the top.
Restriktion was still hiding behind that wall. He could feel the increase in warmth thanks to all the body heat that had surrounded that one entrance into the home. They were ready to fire. Glancing at the small marbles he had dropped to the ground, he took a deep breath and then pressed a button hidden within his armored bracelets.
Instantly, the marbles began to leak out some sort of fog. Slowly and surely, the entire room inside and some parts of the outside have now been covered with a thick mist. The guards, now blinded, attempting to blow out the fog.
That didn't work.
They were literally in a blind spot.
This was now Restriktion's chance.
Like a falcon swooping down, Restriktion sped around the room.
One by one, the sounds of grunts and groans increased.
A fist flew past one guard.
It didn't hit him.
The guard fired a shot.
Of course he did.
Then a swipe toward his foot.
The guard fell to the ground, still holding his gun.
The fog was beginning to clear. More grunts and groans. The sounds of punching and seeing only a shady figure swoop through the fog. The guard tried to get up, squinting his eyes and trying to find out what exactly was attacking them.
A foot that kept him to the ground. Then peering up, the face of the demon himself. Restriktion's white and bloody designed skull mask. The guard tried to get up. Restriktion wouldn't let him.
Restriktion had socked the guard right in the face, knocking him out.
By the time the misty fog cleared, Restriktion had pretty much taken out every men in the room. He panted and glanced around before touching his earpiece to talk to Enikma. He regained the breath he had lost.
"So, impressed?" Restriktion asked.
"I've seen better fights," Enikma bluntly responded. "Konspiracy and Paradoks are going for the prize. You go for the prize's spa house."
"Don't know what the f*ck that means but lead me to it," Restriktion bitterly spoke.
Konspiracy and Paradoks were still hiding at their respective sides.
The guards still held their Glocks out.
Konspiracy and Paradoks were in a similar situation to where Restriktion was a few moments ago. The only difference was that Konspiracy and Paradoks had allies by their side, each other.
As for the guards, well they were a bunch of smart fellows. Instead of walking forth like any typical guard, they stood their ground, preparing to shoot whatever came out from that wall.
"Alright, Paradoks," Konspiracy glanced at Paradoks. He spoke through his earpiece quietly to Paradoks, just so the guards don't hear what he was saying. "You know what to do in this situation."
"I do?" Paradoks glanced back at Konspiracy.
One look from the leader of the team and instantly, Paradoks remembered what he had. This could help them. However, he had to act fast. Taking out what seemed to be darts, inserting one between his pointer and middle finger of each hand, Paradoks sped out into full view of the guards and instantly threw them like one would throw cards.
Two bullets fired.
One dart hits the the guy on the shoulder, as he cringed at the stinging pain it felt like.
The other dart hits the guy in the stomach, and he feels a worse sting than the other guy.
The two wince as the bullets fly past Paradoks.
Now was his chance.
Dashing forth, Paradoks spun.
He does it.
He lands the edge of his foot right at a leaning guard's face.
Then he does it again.
This time, he punches the other guard right where the dart hit him, lodging it deep inside.
The guard cries in pain.
Paradoks socks the guard in the face, knocking him down.
Both guards are down as Konspiracy trails toward Paradoks, glancing at the guard he had just defeated. Noticing the dart lodged inside the guard, Konspiracy shook his head and felt for a pulse.
"Well, good thing is you didn't kill him," Konspiracy looked at Paradoks. "Bad thing is, he probably won't use that shoulder for a while."
"I was in the heat of the moment," Paradoks chuckled sheepishly.
"We got a man to catch now," Konspiracy walked past Paradoks before heading to the door they were guarding.
Hank Bruxton looked dreadfully nervous. He had heard gunshots right outside his door. Either his men had managed to take down the infiltrators or he was pretty much screwed. Part of him thinks the latter. He knows the Dark Veil and he knows how capable they were.
Hank could only look to Christ now and ask for his forgiveness for whatever hellhole he was going to suffer from.
That wasn't a gunshot. That was his door.
Oh sh*t! Who is it?
The door was knocked down. Konspiracy and Paradoks walked right in, and Hank could see them. The two guards that had been protecting him were now incapacitated right outside his door.
His heart pounded.
Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Quickly crouching down to pick up something from under the couch, Hank felt a sting on his shoulder. He winced. It was the same dart that Paradoks had, only this time, the thrower was Konspiracy.
Hank felt some blood slowly seeping, but nevertheless, he would live. This was just a minor injury. A minor pain. He stared at Konspiracy and Paradoks, mostly at Konspiracy who had kicked the sofa away and grabbed Hank by the tie he wore.
"Hank Bruxton," Konspiracy stared at him dead in the eye. "Leader of a large counterfeiting ring and escaped here to avoid prosecution. Crimes enough to get us to come for your fleeting *ss."
"Listen listen," Hank looked at Konspiracy with scared eyes. "I can give you and your friend everything you want. You want money? I got plenty of it. All downstairs in the basement where money is being produced everyday. Yeah? Sound good?"
"It's illegal money," Konspiracy slammed Hank right onto the wall. "We don't want your filthy cash. We want your head and everything connected to it right in Brimstone Penitentiary where you belong."
"W-What are you going to do?" Hank looked at Konspiracy, his heart beating faster. "Ship me from Washington all the way to Fallon City?"
"We're counting on that," Konspiracy nodded. "But first, we need to make a stop."
Restriktio kicked open the door leading into the basement. Right down at the bottom floor of the stairs he had to take to reach the basement was a large metal vault. Silent, Restriktion took a peek at the vault itself, noting every single detail was on it.
Then he tapped into his earpiece.
"Metal vault," Restriktion described. "With a keypad. Think you can pick out the code for me to open this thing? And I would use brute force but unfortunately, brute force won't be enough to take down a metal vault."
"Of course," Enikma's voice came through. "You're not the Rock or something with his freakish large muscles. Let me see it."
Restriktion tapped a button on his mask allowing Enikma to see through Restriktion's eyes, and it was pretty much what Restriktion had described for him: metal vault with a keypad.
"Well, looks like Hank Bruxton's not only a shifty son of a b*tch," Enikma noted. "He's a careless one too. Code is 32820."
Tapping the code to the vault, Restriktion had half-expected the pad to tell him he was wrong. Maybe even explode. It didn't. Instead, a beep and then the sound of the vault activating. Impressed, Restriktion tapped his earpiece once more.
"How do you do that?" Restriktion asked Enikma.
"A magician never reveals his secrets," Enikma responded. "Especially to those less smarter than the magician."
"D*ck," Restriktion muttered.
"Thank you," Enikma once more.
Opening the vault after the keypad had unlocked everything, Restriktion opened it too find a whole collection of money. Cash by cash, each one was neatly stacked around this small room. Millions, no, billions of dollars were in here.
"This is the jackpot," Restriktion muttered. "...Too bad they're all counterfeit."
"Maybe someone dropped an extra dollar in there," Enikma suggested. "You never know."
"Wait, shhh," Restriktion shushed Enikma after hearing some noises. He quickly got ready to fight whatever was coming down to get him. Whoever it was, they were going to have to fight a guy who took down like 10 of the guards right on the second floor.
Voices. Loud footsteps.
Whoever these people were, they weren't doing a good job of making sure Restriktion di-
Restriktion saw Hank Bruxton get pushed right down by Restriktion's armored foot. Konspiracy and Paradoks had arrived, having ziptied Hank's wrists together so he wouldn't be able to fight back against them.
"The gang's all back!" Paradoks grinned behind his mask as the three met up together. Then eyeing the billions of dollars in the vault, Paradoks' grin widened. "And with billions of dollars alright."
"Counterfeit," Konspiracy corrected him.
"I know I know," Paradoks chuckled, shaking his head. "But in all seriousness, what are we going to do with these counterfeits? Take it over to the police or something?"
"I have a better idea for it," Konspiracy noted. "Anyone know where the gasoline is?"
"Saw it on my here," Paradoks' grin widened. "Let me go get it."
Once the gasoline had been placed within the vault, all poured out right onto the billions of counterfeit money, Hank looked terrified beyond a whim. He struggled within his tied wrists and tried to squirm into the vault, attempting to clean out the gasoline that was right on those bills and dollars and sh*t.
Konspiracy held out a lighter, staring at all the corrupted sources of cash with a dangerous look.
"N-No," Hank shook his head desperately. "Y-You... Y-You can't do this! Those counterfeits costed so much to make!"
"Should've spent your money wisely," Konspiracy darkly told Hank as he desperately tried to stop the leader. Hank's next attempt to squirm caused Restriktion to hold him back, tightly. "Make sure he watches."
"No..." Hank almost looked crestfallen.
They all do.
Especially when a man in a mask drops a lighter right into a gasoline filled vault with billions and billions of counterfeit money. The fire spread as quickly as one could swallow their food. The counterfeit money slowly began to turn into ashes.
And silent, Hank couldn't help but hear his own heart break. His own soul that was filled with greed just snap into a perfect two halves.
Billions of money all gone.
"Should've moved to Australia mate," Paradoks teased Hank as the three left the basement area. Konspiracy led the way out. Restriktion held Hank tight, making sure he couldn't attempt an escape. Paradoks merely skipped, seeming very satisfied with the turn of events that had just happened. Of course, Hank himself was now unsure on what the three would do to him now.
They burned up his counterfeits.
What was now was Hank being tossed right into the white van, where Enikma sat, staring directly at Bruxton. Hank groaned as Enikma began to help drag the man in. He shook his head.
"So how was the barbecue?" Enikma asked.
"Medium rare," Paradoks grinned.
"What are you going to do to me?" Hank could hear his heart pounding. "You going to kill me? Throw me in the river and let my body never be found. Because if that's what you're going to do then do it already! You already burned up the money I made! I don't have anything left."
The four mask-wearing weapons looked at each other for a short moment before turning back to Hank. Paradoks leaned and looked at Hank directly in the eye. Paradoks saw a scared sinner, realizing now that the sins he had committed have come back to bite him in the *ss. Hank on the other hand saw the Devil.
A good balance between sight.
"You see," Paradoks grinned once more. "We considered killing you but... we think it more fun to have a road trip back to where you came from. Back to Fallon City we go Mr. Bruxton."
"What?" Hank looked at the four, now even more terrified for what was to come.
But then again, he should've realized this was the choice they were going to take. Konspiracy already told him what they were going to do with him. Who was he to question this? It only made him seem more idiotic in the let go. In fact, he should scream right now.
Except he didn't get a chance to scream or say anything else. Konspiracy had already gestured to Restriktion to step forward and instantly sock Hank right in the face. One punch. All it took for Hank to have a broken nose.
All it took for him to black out.
The Dark Veil
"Faith Tadden here reporting on SNK News to bring yet another thrilling story about the mysterious Dark Veil vigilantes who have singlehandedly brought Hank Bruxton back into the city. Hank Bruxton was the leader of a large underground counterfeiting ring who had ended up escaping prosecution for his involvement with the law. Currently, Bruxton is to stand trial for his crimes, but something tells us, he'll be put away in Brimstone Penitentiary for a long long time. In other news..."
The news report being hosted by Faith Tadden, a beautiful woman in her 20s with long silky reddish brown hair, was the biggest attraction currently at Cillian High. With the television sets being placed right near the front entrance, no one was more interested in the news than Grayson Ellis, Nate Narrow, Probo Darians, and Oliver Rueber.
"I still can't believe I nearly lost an ear over some guy hiding in Washington," Probo crossed his arms. His black hair, somewhat neat and still messy, as well as notable white band-aids around his didn't stop his long-time friends from noticing his bitter look. "F*cking Christ."
"Careful what you say about Christ," Nate couldn't help but smirk as he glanced at Probo. His blonde hair which covered one of his eyes and his rather baggy eyes. Though even with his tired look, the smugness in his tone was pretty much unbearable for Probo to even listen to. "He's the Savior of our sins you know."
"If he really was the Savior of our sins, why are still people like this?" Probo glared at Nate. "Bunch of sh*theads and crime dealing motherf*ckers like Bruxton are practically everywhere in this city and we're the only ones doing jacksh*t about it."
"Hey," Nate shrugged, chuckling, throwing his hands up in defense. "That's basically why we signed up to do this right? To do what the common people can't pull off?"
"Nate's right," Grayson's unexpressive look stared at the upcoming news. With his black neat hair and his shades, Grayson merely pocketed his hands. His focus was directly at the news. "The people in this city are too scared to even try to fight back. It's why Dark Veil was created. So we can be the demons to wipe off sin from the city."
"So it was a job well-done last night, right?" Oliver looked at Grayson with a bright smile. He pushed his glasses up. With his light brown messy hair and rather cheerful complexion, Oliver rested his hands around his neck.
"Of course," Grayson stared at the screen. This time, his unexpressive look turned to a look of seriousness. "We caught Bruxton and he's serving the rest of his life behind a sad little jail cell with people like him."
Grayson turned to his three friends.
"Nate," Grayson began. "Who's next on the list?"
"Wasn't aware I was even keeping a list," Nate flatly told Grayson. "But if you want me to make a list off of the top of my mind, I can list off all the targets that are on the top of my mind. The Chartreux. Some sh*t going down off the lower-class areas of the city. Even some big corporations and stuff. There is so many options and so little time to right their wrongs."
"Why are you like this?" Oliver sighed, looking at Nate.
Nate was a d*ck. There was no question about it. Every question, every request, it just makes him feel all mighty and godlike to respond in a not-so-caring way. And in the long 10 years that they've all known him, well, they've gotten used to it. Sure Probo sometimes loses his sh*t, but that's just Probo.
"Just the way I was born," Nate shrugged at Oliver before turning to Grayson. "But seriously, if you want someone else on a list, I'm up for any of the options I listed. Chartreux's been targeting a bunch of museums and stole a bunch of priceless sh*t. The lower-class area is just, the lower-class area. And I hear a lot of rumors coming from the McKenna Oil Corporation."
"Oh look, stuff the police don't do sh*t about," Probo shook his head. "Seriously, why the hell do they still have their jobs? It's downright ridiculous. F*cking sh*t is what it is."
When it came to the Fallon City's police, Grayson, Nate, Probo, and Oliver shared a variety of thoughts of the police. Probo disliked them with a passion. Oliver saw some hope in the FCPD team. Nate thought the police sucked at their jobs. Grayson on the other hand wouldn't dare talk to them.
After all, no one knew who was corrupt and who wasn't. Hell! Maybe everyone on the force was corrupt. How should they know who's under the payroll of some big crime lord or is actually a good cop looking for true justice?
That was the thing about Fallon City.
No one knows and no one could be trusted.
"Whatever the case is with the police," Grayson shrugged before turning to his friends. "We'll take them down."
"Assuming they don't y'know, kill us when we're arrested," Nate noted, crossing his arms.
"Changing the topic," Oliver yawned before looking around the school. "What time is it now? I feel like we got here pretty early."
"7 in the morning," Nate checked his phone. "Somehow we, who stay up longer at night, get to school on time. No wait, an hour before school starts. I feel like we're insulting the people who get here late."
He was right. Somehow, the vigilantes who spend their nights targeting corrupt officials somehow get to school on time. Seemingly unrealistic but then again, that was how goes it. Their sleep schedules were all messed up.
But that goes it for every vigilante right?
Grayson was Konspiracy. Nate was Enikma. Probo was Restriktion. Oliver was Paradoks. One had to wonder how a bunch of high school students, let alone in sophomore year, got their hands on becoming infamous vigilantes.
It wasn't that hard of a question to answer for the four boys.
"Hey Gray," Nate spoke up with a smirk on his face. "Isn't that the girl you've been crushing on since we hit freshman year? Heh, she looks like she's hit second base with that Arthur Sharpe."
The four boys turned to a couple. The male's dirty blonde neck-length neat hair and the girl's long light brown hair were quite recognizable. The girl's hair ties and her rosy cheeks were turned directly to the male. The girl herself was cuddling her head over to the male and well, for Grayson, he wasn't quite sure what to think about this.
"When did they reach first base?" Grayson asked, his voice faltering a bit.
"Couple of months ago," Nate shrugged before eyeing Probo rather dangerously. "And no, I'm not a voyeur."
"Never said you were," Probo chuckled, grinning to himself.
Nate gave Probo a dirty look before staring at Grayson. For Grayson, it was just painful to see the girl he had become infatuated with for two years lock her hand and eyes at another man, and a man they all knew before.
Arthur Sharpe was just that typical high-school student who all the ladies pretty much adored and all the men pretty much hated. Arthur Sharpe could attract the attention of a million girls and yet pick the one girl that nobody thought he would actually go for.
That girl was Sonia Willows, to Grayson, the most amazing and beautiful girl he has ever met, and a distraction that he has to avoid at all cost. Grayson has to admit that when it came to Sonia, it was like messing with thorns. The closer he got to her, the more his body actually hurt. Like the piercing blades of a thousand spears, Grayson could feel each spear slowly impale his heart the more he talked with the girl.
And the moment he fell in love with her was the moment he had to push her away.
Of course, he met this in his mind. After all, Grayson and Sonia were still on good terms and friends. They just only just talked. One would say something that would make the other one smile and then they would call it a day. No one but Grayson's three boys knew about his little infatuation with the girl and truthfully, it hurt seeing her with a man other than himself.
It was for the best that he ignore it.
At least try to.
"There's faces I haven't seen in a long time!" Sonia's voice directly darted toward the four boys. "Probo! Nate! Grayson! Oliver! Oh wow it's been so long!"
"It's only been a summer," Probo chuckled at Sonia. "But then again, that also defines as pretty long. Though maybe someone here probably has seen your face in like elsewhere. Probably in their mind and their dreams."
"Of course, someone who does that is most likely a creep," Grayson pointed a dangerous look at Probo. "And none of us here are creeps. Right Probo?"
"Sure sure, whatever you say," Probo chuckled amusedly.
This was the dynamic Sonia really liked about the boys. They seemed like a fun group to be around. Best friends. Long-time best friends to be exact. Truthfully, for Sonia, this was just a heartwarming sight for her to see. But of course, when it came to the comment about the mind and the dreams, well, it just completely flew over her head as she rushed to pull over Arthur Sharpe.
"Oh, you all know Arthur Sharpe right?" Sonia had held Arthur's arm with a bright smile.
"How could we not?" Nate asked, placing his hands into his pocket. "Arthur Sharpe. Cillian High's greatest celebrity. Pretty much a rich boy with everything he would ever need and gets everything he wants. Oh. And he's your boyfriend too."
"I'm heh, not rich," Arthur looked embarrassed. "I just look rich. I'm as common as the rest of the common-class here so there's no need to worry about that."
"Sure sure," Nate smirked. "I'm just waiting for the day when I save your life. Then you can owe me a Ferrari or even a goddamn helicopter. Because my God, just think of me, flying in a helicopter and crashing it right at our school's cafeteria for making the crappiest food that crap could call food."
"I see Nate hasn't changed a bit at all," Sonia giggled.
"Oh yes, he never changes," Oliver smiled slightly. "We all love Nate don't we?"
Grayson tried his best to avoid looking at Sonia. The last thing he needed was her catching him staring, and right in front of her boyfriend no less. The second last thing he needed was that happening too.
"And here I thought you wanted to plot my murder," Nate rolled his eyes. "Great."
"And what about you Grayson?" Sonia looked at Grayson with a smile. "How was your break?"
Grayson looked at Sonia. He didn't know what to say. When you become infatuated with a girl for two years and a half, you just don't know how to act normal around her anymore. Every word you say just sounds like you're hitting on her. Every action you take you feel like you're embarrassing yourself. And now that she was staring at you, how would you even do in this situation.
"Cold..." Grayson mustered out. "My break was cold."
"In the summer?" Arthur raised an eyebrow.
"Ice cream," Grayson looked away, embarrassed. "Because well, ice cream is... cold."
"Well yes," Nate looked at Grayson with a teasing smirk. "It is called ice cream after all."
"So your break was... cold," Sonia raised an eyebrow before shrugging and giggling innocently. "You haven't changed a bit either Gray. Still the awkward teenager I met in freshman year."
"Yep, never gonna change," Grayson mustered out, his pitch a bit higher.
"Anyway," Arthur cleared his throat. "I gotta get to class. You think you would be fine getting to class on your own?"
"I'm a grown independent woman Arthur," Sonia teased. "I can handle a little walk to the halls."
"Good," Arthur smirked back before heading off to his class. As he did so, he hung his backpack over his shoulders, giving one last smile at the four. Then he walked off to his classroom.
Sonia took a peek at her schedule.
"Well, guess Computer Science is first for me," Sonia smiled.
"What a coincidence," Nate looked at Grayson and gestured to him. "We got the same class as well. Computer science with Mr. However You Pronounce This Name. Eh. Not like I'm gonna remember it anyway."
"First day of sophomore year and you've been nothing but a sarcastic little sh*t for the past 30 minutes," Probo deadpanned toward Nate. "That's gotta be a new record."
"Add that to the Guinness World of Records," Oliver chuckled.
Sonia, Nate, Oliver and Probo began to walk away. While they headed to their class, Grayson stayed behind. He needed a moment to himself. A moment away from Sonia. Whenever he saw that girl, he just couldn't help but be distracted. He needed a different distraction. A different...
"As you can see fellow citizens of the court," Joanna Rueter, the older sister of Oliver Rueter, stood up proudly as she faced the proud representatives of Fallon City's jury. With long flowing brown hair and a serious professional expression, Joanna was the core of Fallon City's long list of attorneys. "Judge and jury, with the evidence that we have provided, from the statue used to strike the victim to the fingerprints that forensics have conclusively traced back to Mr. Chancel's own hands, Mr. Chancel is indeed the man who murdered his own wife, Sheri Bennett. And not out of rage or under influence, but in cold blood. I ask you this ladies and gentleman of the jury, would you keep a basketball superstar who murdered his own wife, out of jail free, or would you keep a man as dangerous as Mr. Chancel walking through the very streets and corner that Sherri Bennett once walked on?"
Joanna looked at the judge and nodded.
The courtroom they were in were like any courtroom. An American Flag that hung high in the air. A jury gallery seated toward the side. A judge right in the front of the room with his glasses and gavel. Bailiffs at every corner plus two more, one at each side. A prosecution and a defense bench also seated on their respective sides.
Joanna Rueter was no doubt one of the best lawyers this city had to offer. Her mind was fixated on the notion that she needed to find justice and keep the peace for the sake of the city. Erik Chancel was just another step closer to keeping the peace.
After all, the famed basketball all-star Erik Chancel, a sleazy African-American man who was of an average height for many basketball players. That cocky smile he held as he listened to Joanna's argument toward his guilt did not faze him a single bit. Even with all the conclusive evidence, it was pretty much confirmed that Erik was guilty, without a shadow of a doubt.
Erik was guilty and Joanna knew this. She stared directly at Erik, the burning passion of serving justice rigged into her mind. As she headed back to her seat, she sat down next to Lawrence Recht, having ended her closing statement with a deep sigh of relief.
"I think we got him," Lawrence sat back, whispering into Joanna's ear. "Can't wait to see that smug little look wiped off of his face."
"The battle doesn't end with the prosecution's closing statement," Joanna whispered back to Lawrence. "It usually ends once the jury sends out their final verdict."
"Still, got to wonder how Thomas's closing statement will top yours though," Lawrence lightly chuckled at Joanna.
Joanna couldn't help but smile at Lawrence. It was his positivity that has kept her going through hours and hours of extensive law practices. His compliments and his optimism, both really useful characteristics to help her rather messy mindset.
As for Lawrence Recht, he was a blond man almost older than Joanna and looking both charming and awkward in appearance. The optimism in his voice. The supportive smile he gave his partner, all of it were simple characteristics that calmed her down just a tad bit.
But even with that smile, Joanna too, was curious to how exactly Thomas could "top" her closing statement.
Standing up tall, Thomas Nairts was an attorney of middle-regime. He fixed his glasses and his light brown messy hair, turning his body to the jury as he prepared his closing statement. Taking a deep breath:
"Ladies and gentleman of the court," Thomas began, staring directly at the jury. "While it's true, the statue and the fingerprints on the statue do conclusively show that Mr. Chancel did in fact murder his wife, there is still something flawed with the prosecutions reasoning. Yes, we know Mr. Chancel did hit his wife on the head with a statue. But the prosecution has failed to prove that this crime was committed in cold blood. While I attest that Mr. Chancel did in fact murder his wife, I believe that you, the jury, will have to ask yourselves another series of questions before you deliver your verdict. Questions being, 'Was this a crime of passion? A self-defense crime? Maybe he only wanted to knock her out but still accidentally murdered her anyway.' Mr. Chance did murder his wife yes. But out of cold-blood? Only you the jury can determine whether an all-star like Mr. Chancel is a monster or a human being who just made a terrible mistake. That is all."
Thomas nodded at the jury and then to the judge. The verdict was soon to be delivered. Joanna bit her lips nervously, staring at the smug Erik Chancel. She knows he did it in cold blood. She knows he's a monster. She just.. how could she... how could she have not proven that Chancel committed this crime in cold-blood?
"I will admit," Lawrence whispered into Joanna's ear once more. "That was a way better closing statement than yours."
Joanna snapped an annoyed look at Lawrence.
"To the jury," the judge turned to the gallery filled with jury members. "With the facts presented in this very courtroom, I trust that the jury will be able to make a decision based only on the facts and not their feelings."
The jury looked at one another. There was a variety of looks to how they could reach this verdict. Guilty. Non-guilty. Guilty to the second-degree. Guilty to the first. Maybe they may even be hung.
Looking at one another and watching the bailiff help escort the jury members to a different room, Joanna took a deep breath. She really hoped the jury could come to a good decision. A verdict to bring a murderer to jail would be the best thing she would need.
Lawrence laid back on his seat, staring at the files that they had at hand. He looked around the room. Then with his gaze landing directly at Erik Chancel, who was still looking pretty smug and confident with his chances, something in him instantly knew.
Joanna felt the same way.
Both of them knew something was off from the moment Erik's smirk never subsided.
"Hung jury," Joanna stormed out of the courtroom with the files she had prepared for the case. Walking aggressively with her high heels along the marble-coated floor, she didn't bother to stop when Lawrence chased after her. "Hung jury. I almost had him. I just needed one more. One more piece of evidence and that monster would've been sent straight to Brimstone Penitentiary."
"Well with a closing statement like Thomas's," Lawrence hurried behind her, carrying his own copy of the files. "It was pretty much a stalemate anyway. Nothing we can do really."
"You don't understand Lawrence," Joanna groaned in frustration, staring at her partner. She had stopped and maintained a firm position. "If I hadn't forgotten that one last piece of evidence, Sherri Bennett's justice would've been achieved. Now her killer's going out to bathe in his money-infested bathtub and soaking in his achievement."
"Joanna," Lawrence sighed. "You can't keep blaming yourself for each criminal you fail to put behind bars. It's a balance of life. We represent the law and we do our best to achieve justice, but at the same time, we're not perfect. We're bound to fail to put some guy away. It's only human to make mistakes."
"How are you not dreading the simple fact that a man who killed his own wife is going to be tossing balls in a basket next week like nothing happened?" Joanna stared at Lawrence in disbelief.
"Optimism," Lawrence shrugged, looking at Joanna. "Guys like Erik Chancel. They're going to get what's coming to them. It's a little thing called karma. Even lawyers gotta believe that exists."
Joanna stared at Lawrence for a few moments before shaking her head.
"I... I can't believe you," Joanna sighed in frustration, turning and storming off even faster. "Your optimism clashes with actual reality. It's unbearable."
"So I have ideals," Lawrence followed behind Joanna. "When you're trying to uphold the law and establish justice, ideals are the only thing that really keeps me going. Besides, it's a hung jury. We have another shot at this."
"Well how?" Joanna stopped and snapped back toward Lawrence. "By the time we even get to our hearing, millions of evidence indicting Chancel of his crime will be gone. Reduced to ashes and pollution waste."
"That's where the optimism comes in," Lawrence stared at Joanna with an optimistic smile on his face. "We go and collect more evidence in the meantime before they get the chance of even burning up whatever evidence they can destroy. Hung juries are just extended time to initiate Round 2. And my God, we've always done good during Round 2."
Joanna sighed. She turned away from Lawrence. Admittedly, Lawrence was right. There was still hope. How silly of her to just quickly lose hope like that. It was unkempt to her role as the justice-seeking lawyer. She felt ashamed. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Joanna," Lawrence looked at Joanna. "Trust me when I say this. Chancel will get what's coming to him. And we'll be the ones to give him what's coming to him."
Lawrence's optimistic smile gave him hope. That was the charm that Lawrence had. For Joanna, this was... this was fine.
"Speak of the Devil himself," Lawrence's optimistic smile turned to a frown.
Both Joanna and Lawrence had turned to face Erik Chancel, who was being walked out by a series of news reporters and flashing lights. The all-star basketball player who was famous to the point of being almost untouchable by the law. Of course, the last phrase was what Joanna had felt at the moment she stared at this man.
And that phrase was why Joanna couldn't help but clench his fist, bite back every attempt of striking him in the face, and just watch him inch his way over to the two prosecutors who had went against him.
"Mrs. Rueter and Mr. Recht," Erik chuckled as he ignored all the flashing news reporters in his face. "Great lawyer work in there. Really had me on the edge of my seat."
"He says that even though he had a smug smile for pretty much the entire trial," Lawrence muttered to himself.
"It was a hung jury Mr. Chancel," Joanna sighed, looking at Erik. "You may act like you're a free man, but really, we're just waiting for the moment you're back here on the hot seat once more."
That cold gaze she had given him was something Erik couldn't help but smile at. He had to admit after all, this girl had guts. Fiery guts. Guts to even try to take on the case and convict him, a basketball all-star famous for his slam dunks and unstoppable dribbles and other bullsh*t.
"Double jeopardy Mrs. Rueter," Erik chuckled, shaking his head amusedly. "Can't be tried for the same crime twice."
"Except in the case of a hung jury, we have the authority to refile charges, and that does not constitute double jeopardy," Lawrence looked at Erik with a more serious expression. "So, whatever you want to do before we put you back on the hot seat, we'll let you do it. We'll just be more prepared."
Erik looked at Lawrence for moment. Then with a slimy smug look on his face, he leaned forward to Lawrence's ear and whispered:
Erik retracted himself and winked at Joanna, burning her face into a more irritated look. He walked off, the reporters and the flashing lights still following him out of the courtroom.
Good luck to Joanna and Lawrence indeed.
For their eyebrows furrowed as they watched the cocky all-star strut out of the courthouse and onto whatever fancy carriage awaited him. Joanna just hated guys like him. Lawrence was beginning to hope karma would hit this guy hard.
In the end, both their feelings were the same:
Erik Chancel had to go down.
Seating himself into a limousine and ignoring the paparazzi that had desired to gain his opinion on his courtroom endeavors, Erik Chancel sighed in absolute relief. This nightmare of his was far from over. Mrs. Rueter and Mr. Recht made sure of that.
"To think I was going to be off the hook of this entire crime," Erik turned to the man that he had seated himself next to. "Hey Schmitt. Did you know that hung jury means that they still get a crack at hauling my *ss into jail?"
"Very much aware of that Erik," Winslow Schmitt nodded, sitting back. Schmitt was a short white man, ranging at a height of 3'6. Well-dressed and with curly black hair, Winslow Schmitt didn't let anything slide past him, even if he was short. Except this time, Schmitt's actions were pretty questionable, at least in the eyes of Erik Chancel, who had expected his own *ss to be free from all this nonsense.
"Okay, then why the f*ck am I not acquitted as 'Not Guilty'?" Erik looked at Winslow, annoyed. "I need to be innocent. Not innocent for a week before getting my *ss back onto the hot seat again!"
"With the evidence that you left behind, getting a 'Not Guilty' was pretty much going to inconvenience everything," Winslow explained as he examined his phone. "Everyone, even the brainless monkeys who still think WWE is real, will know that there is some foul play involved. I only did the next best thing and that was to extend our time in cleaning up your mess."
"You say that like I had choice in keeping her alive or not," Erik frowned at Winslow. "That b*tch kept hounding me over my little affair. If anything, I had to whack her several times before she understood that she shouldn't have messed with me."
"And you whacking her has gotten us into this little situation," Winslow frowned. Although short, Winslow wasn't afraid of a tall man like Erik. In fact, it was the other way around. Erik himself was pretty afraid of Winslow, especially his connections and all that. Messing with Winslow was like messing with a bull. Sooner or later, messing with the bull will only get you killed or seriously hospitalized. "You are a basketball all-star. A man the Fallon City sports fans can cheer on during the playoffs. What do you think will happen to your reputation when they figured out that you pretty much killed a woman in cold-blood? We're already at a depletion now that there is a chance you could have killed your ex-wife through a crime of passion. Another part of the population thinks you might end up murdering them with a bloody basketball. A basketball! That is an insult to you and me!"
"Well then, what's the plan now?" Erik asked.
"We get rid of the evidence," Winslow said smugly, sitting back. "The next playoff in court will be ours once they lack the evidence that proves your guilt. And then we can finally be done with this entire mess."
"Sounds good to me," Erik nodded. "Got a guy who can go and wipe out all traces?"
"I'm going to have to make some contacts first," Winslow looked at Erik with a serious expression. He took out his phone. "In the meantime, try not to make a fool of yourself in front of the news channel. You've dug a hole but the further you dig yourself into that hole, I won't be there to dig you out."
"Got it big man," Erik chuckled.
Winslow shot Erik a dirty look. Sometimes he had to wonder how this brainless moronic loser even got a chance to be an all-star, let alone be granted with a tall height. Winslow had to admit, he was a little jealous.
But a little jealousy never hurt anyone, let alone both him and Erik. So this was fine. Very fine.
"Gracey!" Grayson came into the small shack he called his home. "I'm home! Brought your favorite drinks and snacks as well!"
The small shack he called his home was nothing more than a small complex with one kitchen, one bathroom, a living room, and one bedroom in which both Grayson and his little sister, Grace Ellis, were forced to share. It may seem like nothing, but Grayson was at least glad there was a roof over their heads. Compared to what it could be like living out on the streets, this little shack of a house was the next best thing.
Somehow, Grayson had to wonder how exactly he was able to afford to keep a roof over there heads. Then again, with Grace's little small bakery business and some small internships Grayson usually assigns himself to work on, the money was achievable.
Nevertheless, Grayson was just glad to be home at the moment. Later tonight, he was going to "work" again, but at the moment, he was just happy to be back at home. Most of all, he was happy to be with his little sister.
Peeking from the kitchen, Grayson could see that apron tied around the adorable creature he called sister. Grace was a young girl no doubt around the age of your average middle schooler. Her black hair was tied back into a ponytail. Her innocent face was also something that warmed his heart every time he saw her. Grayson had to admit sometimes.
Without Grace in his life, he'd probably would not have turned out the way he did today. He'd probably be much more introverted than he was at the moment. Grace was God's gift to him, and he had to thank God everyday for her very existence.
"Gray!" Grace exclaimed with a cheerful smile. "You really shouldn't have bought me anything. We have enough in the fridge. And I still have a big batch of chocolate chip cookies so we're doing fine!"
"I know," Grayson chuckled at Grace. "I just thought that, y'know, I'd buy you something since you're like the big man, er, woman of the house. Speaking of which, what's dinner this time? Better not be that curry you made a month ago. By far, the closest thing to getting us sued and getting this entire roof over our heads removed."
"That curry was a mistake," Grace pouted. "And it was a one time thing. Plus there's no need to bring that up again. I'm not even making curry. I'm making pasta. Fettuccine Alfredo to be exact!"
"Sounds good," Grayson smiled at Grace.
"We thank you God for this wonderful food," Grace placed her hands together, bowing her head with a bright smile.
"No," Grayson smiled, having done the same. The two of them sat in front of one another, their respective plates each containing the creamy Fettuccine Alfredo that Grace had made. With their bowed heads and closed eyes, Grayson continued. "We thank you God for giving my little sister Gracey, the ability to make this wonderful food. Your power is ever in our grace."
"Amen," Grace finished off their small prayer before giggling happily. "Now let's dig in."
"Already done," Grayson had already began to eat the food that Grace had made. If only she was a bit older, Grayson could see Grace man a restaurant of her own. People would kill for food like hers. But at the moment, the food was all his and Grace's.
His and Grace's.
Grayson didn't realize how hungry he was until he found himself nearly finished with the dish. Then glancing over at Grace, he noticed the peculiar solemn look on her face. Silent, Grayson placed his plate down and looked at his little sister. She had something on her mind, and something inside him knew exactly what that fact was. But just in case:
"You going to eat your food or is that plate of deliciousness just going to waste?" Grayson asked jokingly to his sister.
Grace remained silent for a few minutes.
"...Do you think they would've liked my cooking?" Grace asked, her solemn eyes directed to the picture frame that was hung right on the wall. "Mom and dad? Y'know, if they were here today, do you think they would've enjoyed the food I made everyday?"
Grayson stared at the picture frame on the wall. He swore he could've just covered it up every time they ate dinner. But something inside prevented him from doing so. Maybe it was one of God's commandments or just a form of respect to his parents.
Maybe it's because he didn't want to.
But every time he stared at that picture frame, he wished he did it. He wished he covered that picture frame. He turned his gaze away from the picture and looked at Grace, placing a hand directly on hers.
"Hey," Grayson looked at Grace. "They would totally enjoy the food you make everyday."
"...You're just saying that," Grace looked away solemnly.
"No, I'm serious," Grayson gave his little sister a smile of assurance. "Out of all the Italian restaurants I've eaten at, I prefer yours the most. Because may God damn this country, you make the creamiest most delicious Fettuccine Alfredo God has ever seen. It's why I thank God every time we eat together at the dinner table. Because you're just so damn good at it."
"...At making Fettuccine Alfredo?" Grace looked at Grayson.
"At cooking in general," Grayson smiled at Grace. "I know it. God knows it. Mom and dad wherever they are. They know it too."
"...Even my curry?" Grace looked at Grayson rather shyly.
"Even your curry," Grayson chuckled at his little sister. Seeing that solemn look get replaced by the smile he enjoyed seeing so much, it helped him smile too. Grayson gestured to her plate. "Now enjoy your Alfredo. It's no good cold."
Grace smiled back at her older brother. Then she began to eat her food. And realizing how true to his word her brother was, Grace began to eat her Alfredo in glee. Grayson couldn't help but smile as he watched her. Then slowly he turned his head toward that picture frame.
Every time he stared at that picture frame, there was something in him that just made him... stop smiling for a brief moment. As if time had stopped and he was stuck in a room to stare at nothing but that picture, Grayson couldn't help but feel that same solemn feeling his sister had felt a moment ago.
They were all there.
A picture frame depicting a younger Grayson and a much younger Grace, embraced together by a beautiful woman and a handsome man. Mom and Dad. God knows where they are now. Maybe they were watching over them as Grayson and Grace lived.
Heh. This solemness. This probably what it feels like to miss someone so much.
Only God knows where they are now. Only God knows what happened to them. And only God can give the path for two orphans to walk in these dark times. Grayson knew this. And sometimes, he worried for his own sister...
...Worried that these dark times will eventually catch up to the bright mindset Grace Ellis maintained.
"20 minutes Narrow."
Nate picked up the visitation phone as he sat down on a stool, staring at the eyes of Jay Narrow. He was a blonde haired man with glasses with growing facial hair. Much like his son, he looked visibly tired, but still, that didn't wipe the small smile off his face. As a father, he was proud to see his own son, grown up and now in the next grade. Their eyes met and well, for the first time today, Nate's eyes were filled with solemn.
Didn't help that Jay wore that orange uniform nor did it help that the people next to him were either stronger or more darker looking than he was. Security guards at every corner and the dirty insides of the place that had confined his father made Nate feel glad he was not at the other side of that barrier. At the same time, he felt even more saddened that at the receiving end of this barrier, the barrier that blocked father and son from touching, Jay Narrow was basically on the side of a Hellhole that awaited him.
As soon as Nate held the phone up to his ears, he couldn't decide on what to say. Instead he just felt his eyes start to twitch. Jay must've noticed, because today, he started the conversation with a light chuckle.
"Sophomore year huh?" Jay chuckled at Nate. "I remember my days as a sophomore. Feistiest time of my high school adventure. Girls. Mistakes. Even made some new friends and enemies. Trust me, I think you'll like it."
"Well, so far, it's a bore," Nate couldn't help but smile at his father's attempt at lightening the mood.
"They always do start out like that," Jay tried to smile back at his son. Then he leaned forward and chuckled. "How's the family? Is Steph treating you and Nancy well? I hope she is. I married that women for a reason y'know."
"She's... a complicated person," Nate could only muster out. "But she hasn't done anything bad, yet."
"Put more faith in your step-mom," Jay chuckled. "It might not look like she's trying hard, but she's trying. She's trying hard to be the mother you guys deserve. Especially since y'know, I'm in here and you and her are like, out there."
Nate was silent.
"How's the outside?" Jay asked with a clearing of his throat. "Nate?"
Nate could feel his eye twitch further. He couldn't do this. He couldn't look at his father anymore. Because every time he looked at him, all he saw was a man he cared so much for, hiding his feelings. A man so clearly in pain that he decided to fake it for the sake of his own son.
"You know I can tell that you're not doing good," Nate frowned, his eyes beginning to water. "I can hear it in your voice. I can see it in your eyes. Your entire appearance is... This place is a hellhole and you're, you're sitting here doing a crime you didn't even commit. Why are you trying to act like this is a good thing?"
Jay looked at Nate. Now it was his turn to be quiet. His eyes turned to his son's sorrowful look. Then slowly, he placed his hand on the glass barrier that separated father and son. Jay could feel his eyes water now.
"Son," Jay spoke gently. "Sometimes when things get rough, all you can do to move forward is to put a smile on your face. No matter how rough, always smile."
Nate slowly placed his hand over his father's hand. His eyes watered more.
He couldn't feel it.
He couldn't feel the warm hand that belonged to his father. He couldn't feel the skin that was a part of his. He could only feel the cold glass barrier that separated the two from ever meeting. The barrier between the outside and Hell.
"Not a day goes by that I don't dream about feeling your hand again," Jay looked at Nate, solemnly. "To walk with you, Nancy, and Stephanie and just yell out to the world that, I was a lucky man. A lucky man with a happy family. I know this is hard Nate but, I did a very bad thing and I deserve to be punished for it. No matter how much I want to hold you close and be your dad, I have to come to terms with the fact that this hellhole is my punishment for what I've done."
"You're still my dad," Nate frowned, looking at Jay. "And I know you. Stop telling me lies to make me see you as someone else. I just want to see you. Only you. Not some Joe who looks like my dad but my actual dad. The same one who taught me how to fix my first computer."
Jay had no response to that. Instead, he tightened his palms as he tried his best to get a feel of his son's hand on that glass barrier. He tried to feel something. Anything. Warmth. Chi. Anything that he could feel.
Instead, he just felt the cold barrier that blocked him. The cold barrier that kept him from the world, from his son.
"You know Nancy cries herself to sleep every night?" Nate looked at Jay. "You know I see Stephanie trying to put on a face to hide the fact that she's been crying every morning? We all miss you. I miss you."
"...Me too," Jay could feel a tear trickle down his eye.
"F*ck this barrier," Nate also felt a tear trickle down his eye as well. "I just want to hold your hand. I just want a dad again. I just..."
For the rest of their session, all Jay and Nate did was keep their palms of their hands connected toward. All they could do was just feel the cold glass barrier that separated the two. By the time they had two minutes left, Jay and Nate connected their foreheads together, never letting their tears stop streaming.
And for a moment, both of them could swear that they could feel each other's warmth...
Probo didn't say anything when he got home. The first thing he did was open his front door, head in, close his front door quietly, and head upstairs. He noticed an older man sitting at the couch, having tossed can after can of that Budweiser beer at the nearest television set.
God. The smell of alcohol was a vile stench that just didn't go away. Probo hated it. He hated it so much that he pretty much would rather live at Grayson's than stay at his home for a second longer.
The only problem with living at Grayson's though was the fact that Grayson's home could barely fit a third person given the lower-class home he was forced to live in. Sure Grayson was like a brother to him, but at the same time, he wasn't up for the idea of sharing the same bed with Grayson or even Grace.
Best to keep his dignity intact and live with the Mister, who practically bathes in his stench of alcohol and smoke. God, he hated him. Shaking his head, Probo began to walk up the stairs, but that single creak instantly became something he regretted doing.
"Kid," the voice that belonged to the man in the chair called out. "Come here real sec."
What did he want now?
Probo took a deep breath. He begrudgingly walked over to the man in the chair. Then without warning or cue, Probo felt a jab right at his jaw, forcing him down to the ground. He cursed to himself. He should've seen that coming.
After all, he's lived with this man for all his life now. This should've been a thing he really should've knew was going to happen. What he didn't know was why his old man was so peeved this time.
This old man. This man with the tired look in his eyes. This man with the messy black hair and the dangerous glare. This man he called his father. This man who treated him like sh*t.
"You think you can just waltz on in and not give your pops a little attention huh?" the slurred words from his old man, one Danny Darians. He spat at his face. "Look at you. Looking like f*cking battery acid. Lived with me for 15 years and you still can't take a little punch. Down on the ground you go."
Probo was silent.
"Get up kid," Danny frowned. Probo stayed on the ground. "Kid. What did I just say? Get up!"
Why should he even get up? Probo knew this man. Probo knew this man he called his dad. He knew that as soon as he got up, he'll just be kicked right back down. It gave the old man pleasure. And Probo hated how used to it he was.
"Is that how it's gonna be?" Danny asked, slurring on his speech a little bit. "You just gonna stay on the ground and make me drag you up? Like a dog. Like a f*cking dog you are kid."
Probo felt his face twitch a little.
"Come on," Danny panted a little. Probo could smell his breath. Gross. "GET UP!"
Danny unbuckled his belt now. Probo could hear echoing from his mind. This was all to familiar before. Maybe he should've gotten up. But then again, doing that would result in the same thing. Damn it.
"GET UP!" Danny yelled, louder this time. "F*CKING GET UP!"
This was checkmate.
"GET!" Danny struck Probo on the cheek with his belt. "THE F*CK! UP! GET UP! GET! UP!"
The words echoed over and over again. Get up. Get the f*ck up. Heh. He did get up. But only after getting whipped several times. It didn't hurt as much anymore. Not as much as it did since it first started. Guess this was what they called adaptation.
Probo felt a little weaker sure. But with the amount of scars that he was given that night, Probo could only take out the bandages he kept safely within his cabinet to patch himself up. Looking at the cracked mirror of his room and locking the door firmly, Probo began to apply some alcohol to his wounds before safely wrapping a bandage around it.
Noticing the slash across his cheek from that belt, Probo felt his face twitch. His mind began to scurry. The enveloping emotions he felt within his own head. Conflicting thoughts of hurting others. Hurting himself. Rage.
Grabbing the mirror, Probo tossed it across his room, shattering all the reflective material into bits. He panted. He clenched his fist. His teeth. His strong muscles. Then slowly, he began to calm down.
Anger was a beast just waiting to happen. And all Probo could do now at this point was try his best to contain it. Contain was all he could do. Panting to himself, Probo didn't know anymore.
"A-" Probo gritted his teeth as he felt a burning sensation from one of his scars. Sizzling. Heated. One of his scars was bleeding again. Sh*t. Time to reapply another bandage to that.
If there was anything he learned from this night it was pretty much two things:
One, don't throw your only mirror across the room. Two, getting up is a good thing to do. For Probo, getting up was the only thing he could do. Getting up was pretty much the only thing he had to do.
Oliver got back home with a sigh in relief. The first day of school was always a tough first day. Classes, adapting to the new teachers, new environments, maybe new adventures in school. Nevertheless, Oliver headed inside his own home, placing his backpack down.
"Oliver, Oliver!" a chippy young voice called out to him. This young voice belonged to Oliver's younger brother, Alex Rueter, a young adorable little specimen who was as excited as Oliver practically was in his own life. With his messy light brown hair and chubby complexion, Oliver always found it a joy to carry him and rub his little cheeks, no matter how annoyed Alex can get from this.
"Little Alex!" Oliver grinned, having been met with a hug from his younger brother. "How's your day of elementary school? The big kids weren't being too rough on you right? If they were, make sure a cute girl is watching so she can come to your rescue. That's how superheroes become heroes in the first place. Because of a pretty girl."
"Well, there is one girl in my class," Alex looked down bashfully. "But she only laughs when the big guys mess with me."
"Wrong pretty girl," Oliver chuckled, rubbing Alex's head. "But seriously, those big guys didn't mess with you too hard did they? If they did well, Big Boy Oliver will be there to mess them back."
"They didn't mess with me too hard," Alex giggled. "They just called me chubby and that's it!"
"Well, we all have different body shapes," Oliver shrugged. "Nothing too bad. You don't seem to mind. It's all good. Now, when they start pushing you around and hitting you, then you let me know and I'll do something about it."
"What will you do?" Alex blinked, looking at Oliver.
"Contact the Boogeyman and have him make these big guys pee their pants," Oliver smiled at Alex. "I have contacts with him. Remember?"
Alex laughed at Oliver. He hugged his older brother, laughing all throughout before a new voice entered the occasion. The loud and excited voice that belonged to one Sebastian Rueter, a man with glasses and short light brown hair. He was in his 30s and looking quite boastful as he laughed.
"Hey hey hey, buddo!" Sebastian grinned. "Welcome back home! How was the first day of school?"
"Exactly what I asked Little Alex which he hasn't even responded to yet," Oliver turned to Alex with a rather jokingly stern look. "But to reply, it was fine. Just like any first day of school really. New classes. Teachers. But same old same old friend group."
"Guessing Grayson, Nate, and Probo haven't changed one bit during their summer," Sebastian chuckled.
"Same old same old," Oliver chuckled back at Sebastian. "Grayson still as serious. Probo still as tough. Nate still a d*ck."
"Language," Sebastian looked at Oliver with a flat expression.
"Sorry," Oliver chuckled once more. He had to appreciate his father. He was a swell guy. Compared to the other guys' dad, where one was most likely deceased, one was in jail, one was abusive... Sebastian was a good father. Though if there was something bad about him it would've been-
Oliver sniffed the air. The aroma that was coming out of the kitchen smelled rather... burnt. Oh. Noticing the smoke that had erupted from the kitchen, Oliver's surprised look caused Sebastian to look back into the kitchen.
"Oh f*ck!" Sebastian cried out. "The ham!"
"Language," Oliver called out with a chuckle.
"Sorry!" Sebastian called out as he went to deal with the burnt ham.
By the time Sebastian managed to put out the burning ham, it was already too late. The ham was destroyed. And disappointedly, the family of guys spent their dinner time eating a good salad to replace the destroyed meat.
"So, Oliver, tell me," Sebastian swallowed his salad. "Who are your teachers in school? Anyone I know? Anyone I've ever mentioned before?"
"Dad, the only person you've mentioned is Principal Barrett," Oliver poked his food, feeling a little saddened that they weren't getting a good slab of meat tonight. "And I'm pretty sure she isn't into you either."
"Yeah well, it was worth a try," Sebastian chuckled as he chewed on his food.
Compared to the other guy's, Oliver had a very decent relationship with his family. Though there were some problems of his own, he was just lucky that his dad was at least a kindhearted soul. Funny and filled with joyous dad moments, that was Sebastian Rueter.
"I need to ask though," Oliver turned to Sebastian. "Where's Matthias? Thought he would be home by now."
"Hanging out with friends," Sebastian noted. "That boy doesn't realize how dangerous this city is but then again, he's studying to be a doctor. I'm sure he'll be fine. He's missing out on this salad though."
"Parenting 101," Oliver chuckled.
"I'm serious," Sebastian looked at his sons with a chuckle. "Matthias can handle himself. It's the creed of the Rueter family. We can handle being alone. But together as a team, we're stronger than any family out there. Speaking of team, how are you and... you-know-who."
Sebastian looked at Oliver. That look on his face, the face of a stern and concerned father, Oliver knew that look all too well. After all, he knew. He knew about him and his nights out helping the city.
He was his dad.
He was going to find out sooner or later. And in this context, he found out a lot sooner than Oliver had hoped. But Oliver was fine with it and so was Sebastian. It was their little secret after all. Only they knew and no one else didn't. And the reason for that?
The sound of the door opening alerted the boys to pick up their heads and turn to the door. Instantly, Alex beamed happily when he had seen who walked through the door, looking tired and a bit frustrated.
"Joanna!" Alex cheered. "You're home! How was being a hero?"
Joanna sighed bitterly to herself as she placed her belongings down before noticing Alex. Noticing his cute little exclamation of her being a 'hero', Joanna couldn't help but push her grievances away and smile at her little brother.
"Not really good," Joanna smiled honestly at Alex. "Almost had him. I really did."
"Don't worry!" Alex smiled happily, like a dog wagging his tail. "You can get him next time! That's what happens to every superhero! They fail the first time and then they win the next time! You'll get the bad guy for sure."
"Thank you Little Alex," Joanna rubbed Alex's little head before heading to the dinner table and noticing Sebastian and Oliver already seated. Smiling, Joanna looked at what was being served and internally cringed a little. "Salad? Again?"
"It was going to be ham but dad burnt it," Oliver chuckled.
"Did he forget to take the plastic off of the ham," Joanna deadpanned.
"Probably," Oliver laughed.
"Okay okay, in my defense, the plastic blended so well with the ham that I didn't even see it," Sebastian excused himself. It was a terrible excuse, but it was certainly the best he could come up with at the moment.
"Sure dad sure," Joanna shook her head amusedly before taking her seat at the dinner table. She looked around. "Where's Matthias?"
"Friends house," Oliver answered as he continued to eat.
"Next topic at hand," Sebastian looked at Joanna, sneaking quick glances at Oliver as he ate. "Heard about what happened at court today. Erik Chancel got away with killing his ex-wife right?"
Oliver perked his head up upon hearing this before noticing Sebastian's glances at him. He was signaling him. Telling him to pay attention with only his eye contact.
"Not really," Joanna shook her head at Sebastian. "Chancel got a hung jury, meaning the DA can refile charges against him and hold another trial for his crime. Lawrence is already up for the refiling, and if we get approved, we got only 14 days later to prepare whatever. 5th Amendment will not be violated and while we're stuck waiting 14 days, Erik's probably going to get some bozo to clean up the evidence we already collected. That's how most of them get away after all."
"Not true," Sebastian shook his head at Joanna. "Most of the time, they get away with 'Not Guilty' verdicts."
Joanna raised an eyebrow at him as he chuckled.
"Just trying to lighten the mood up a bit," Sebastian chuckled, holding up his hands defensively. "But in any case, I'm sure you'll get Chancel. He's just a basketball star. He shouldn't have too much power right?"
"That's what they want you to think," Joanna sighed. "Lawrence says that optimism is the key to these kinds of things but at the moment, I don't really-"
"Stay optimistic," Sebastian smiled at Joanna. "Your partner is right. Optimism is the key to these kinds of things. In fact, I'm betting you Erik Chancel will get what he deserves a lot sooner than you think."
Sebastian snuck another glance at Oliver. Joanna failed to notice this as her eyes had drooped down to her salad. Sneaking a nod back at his dad, Oliver took out his phone. He took a deep breath as he stared at his list of contacts.
Then clapping his hands together, Sebastian smiled at his family members gathered at the table today.
"Now, about dinner," Sebastian smiled. "Anyone still hungry? We can go out for a quick burger."
"Burgers!" Alex waved his hand excitedly.
"I'm home," Nate arrived back home with his backpack slung over his shoulder and his bored expression, oh still so monotone. He had finished his session with his father and had returned to the stoic expression everyone knew and loved. Walking into his home and noticing the worried look on Nancy and Stephanie Narrow's faces, Nate realized he probably walked in at both the wrong and right time.
"Oh my God," Stephanie's worried face quickly flushed down with relief.
"Where's the fire?" Nate raised an eyebrow at Stephanie and Nancy before noticing his older sister storm up to him.
"Enough with your sass," Nancy frowned, as she put her phone to the side. "Where the hell were you?! I was a second away from actually dialing 911. Mom thought you were probably kidnapped and I thought someone might've actually murdered you."
"Well, I'm here aren't I?" Nate asked Nancy and Stephanie with a raise of his hands. "No damage done to me whatsoever."
Nancy Narrow was your typical bratty older sister type that just hung out with the populars. Blonde hair and rosy cheeks, she looked like she had put on a bunch of makeup, but that was pretty much expected of Nancy Narrow, the one who just wants to be the most popular girl at school.
As for Stephanie Narrow, her strict expression and red hair gave her the description of a rather stern woman who most likely worked in an upper-class business. Well, she did. She was a secretary for one of the big companies in Fallon City: Smokes Corporation.
Though, every corporation had it's dark secrets. And knowing his step-mother worked in one of these corporations, well, it was a matter of time before he realized that his mother would be out of a job if Dark Veil ever decided to do something about Smokes.
Course, Stephanie was smarter than she looked. Everyone in the Narrow family were a lot smarter than they looked.
"You went to him didn't you?" Stephanie asked. "You visited your father?"
Nate's expression darkened. Stephanie instantly knew she was on the right track. No. She instantly knew she got the right answer. Nate looked at Stephanie with a frown, glaring at her.
"Why the hell do you even care who I visit?" Nate asked, frowning. "So what if I visited my own dad in prison? Is that illegal or something?"
"Nate," Stephanie stared at Nate, walking over to him. "I care because I'm your step-mother."
"And that's all you're ever going to be," Nate shook his head at Stephanie. "Just a step-mom."
A pause before responding.
"And for you and Nancy a step-mom is the closest thing to a legal guardian whose main priority is making sure you're safe," Stephanie looked at Nate rather sternly. "You hanging out with your father, a criminal no less, how do you think that's going to make me feel? Do you honestly think that there would be nothing wrong talking to a man who did these horrible-"
"Shut the hell up Stephanie," Nate glared at Stephanie. "You're not my mom, so stop trying hard to be!"
Stephanie looked at Nate. She was silent. Silent for a few moments. These words were rather piercing. For her as a mother, Stephanie just couldn't bare with the fact that this young boy who she called her own son stared at her with such distaste. Sighing deep inside, Stephanie nodded.
"You're right," Stephanie nodded. "I'm not your mom and maybe I should stop trying to be."
"Then we're in an agreement," Nate shrugged before preparing to head up the stairs.
"But just because I should stop trying to be your mom, that doesn't mean I won't stop," Stephanie called out to Nate. Nate took a pause when she said this. "You are my responsibility Nate. And I promised that I would take care of you."
Stephanie prepared to head to his side but Nate turned around. He shook his head. Every word she said, he didn't agree. Not at all.
"Promises were made to be broken Stephanie," Nate shook her head. "Forget it and leave me alone. You're lucky you're even living here in the first place."
With these words, Stephanie was snapped into silence as Nate hurried into his room, slamming the door behind him. Stephanie shook her head. What was she going to do with this kid?
Feeling a comforting hand on her shoulder though, Stephanie turned and looked at Nancy.
"That boy," Nancy looked at Stephanie. "Forget him. If he wants to sulk and be in his room all day, let him. He's not going to take back what he said and he's not going to apologize. That's just Nate Narrow."
"...I worry for him," Stephanie sighed, looking down glumly.
Within that stern persona of hers, Stephanie was actually a mother trying so hard to fix this broken family. But without Nate in the picture, how else would this family ever be fixed? Will it ever be fixed?
Stephanie wasn't too sure anymore.
Behind that door though, Nate sat down, sighing to himself. Stephanie doesn't understand. Nancy doesn't understand. His own dad didn't understand. No one understood sh*t! No one could understand what he was thinking at that moment.
He took a few deep breaths before looking up his roof solemnly.
Then he heard his phone buzz.
He took his device out.
Opening it, a new message had appeared for him:
Meet at the base at 2 tonight.
Nate looked up, slightly frowning. He had work tonight. Graveyard shift is what they would call it.
Within the small bedroom he was forced to share with his sister, Grayson Ellis sat back on his mattress. Wasn't as comfy as most beds, but it was better than nothing. Better than nothing.
Heh, that was the life he was in at the moment. A bed where he could keep to himself. A bed where-
...Voices surrounded Grayson as he laid on the sandy bed of the beach shore. The crashing waves and the beautiful night sky. Yes, the moon was bright and the waves, filled with luminescent plankton, made the dark light so much more prettier. Grayson couldn't help but smile as he turned his head to see Gra- His dad?
A grown man with black hair and looking like Grayson had he not worn shades all the time. His handsome look and his bright smile stared at the night sky. His chuckle echoed, mixing with the calming waves. Grayson meanwhile could hardly breathe before he heard his father's voice speak to him.
"The stars look pretty tonight," softly he spoke. "You recognize what tonight's constellation is?"
"It's a Libra," he continued. "Trail your finger across those stars and you get this house looking thing. It's not complete, nor is it perfect. It's corrupted, crooked, and disconnected. One would see it and they would think, man, what a disgusting design but... somehow, people still view it as a beautiful sight to see. A beautiful member of the galaxy's constellations."
"Every star can be connected son," he spoke softly. "You can connect the stars in the sky today and it'll probably be something else entirely but Libra, no matter how corrupted, crooked, or disconnected she might seem, she's still connected in her own way."
Sullivan tried to speak but he couldn't. No sound came out of his mouth as he stared at his dad. The proud look on his face as he stared at one of the galaxy's most beautiful constellations.
"Promise me you will connect her," the man before him spoke once more. "Promise me son."
Then he turned his head.
Suddenly, Grayson's surroundings had no sound but only distant ringing. The heat and chills on his skin began to raise up. And suddenly he was seeing his father's face, bleeding on the pavement of the ground, his eyes bloodshot. Facial features... almost unrecognizable.
"Promise me," distortedly... distortedly-
Grayson shot out of his bed. He panted. He felt his heartbeat pounding over and over again. He panted. He looked at the ground and his surroundings. He was... he was in his home. His sister Grace was still in bed, resting in peace. The only person who wasn't was him..
He had to calm down.
Then the small buzzing noise muffled by his pillow made him slightly jump. He turned his head to the pillow and reached inside, picking out his phone. It was Nate. He was calling him. And the time?
Christ. It was almost time. Grayson looked up before staring at his sister. Remaining silent, Grayson slowly got up and began to quietly leave his sister in the bedroom. He quickly got dressed and exited his home, his frightened expression turning into that of seriousness.
He had to go to "work".
Probo Darians walked down the street, away from the hellhole he called his home.
Heading into the abandoned infrastructure of Walker Weapons Incorporated, Probo looked around, making sure he wasn't being followed. He made sure to steer clear away from the cameras plastered on every corner of the street. Hands pocketed, Probo headed in through the back entrance.
Walker Weapons Incorporated was an old corporation. As the name implies, Walker Weapons once was specialized in creating high-tech weapons. And if it wasn't for the abandoned supplies of weapons left behind within the building, the many gadgets and weapons that the Dark Veil would have had probably would not have existed. They probably would have resorted to guns or common-class knives, weapons unsuited for combat against the crime lords of the city.
Looking around, Probo opened the door to the back entrance and entered, closing it discreetly. Then he headed down the stairs that had awaited him. Only one flight of stairs, not that bad. But of course, there was a keypad.
With a deep breath, Probo typed into the keypad: 6-5-1-6.
A flash and a beep. The door unlocked and Probo walked in, the bright lights within the room he was in being brighter than it normally was. He was here. He was in the Veil. He was in the base of the Dark Veil.
Grayson, Oliver, and Nate were all there. Nate had seated himself at a desk filled with a large arrangement of computers and high-tech software. Grayson and Oliver on the other hand had been standing/sitting still just waiting for him.
All their suits were aligned neatly to the side, each case suited directly for each of them. It was hard to believe all of this belonged to a group of teenagers. But nevertheless, this was their base and it was renovated to look as amazing as it did on their second year of fighting injustice together.
Probo heard the door close behind them. Then stared at Grayson, Oliver, and Nate, he gave a nod.
It was time to "work".
"What's the job this time?" Probo asked. "Corporate guy giving drug dealers enough roofies to turn this entire city into a pot of smoke? Or is it another psycho serial killer that we aren't aware of?"
"No, actually, it's a basketball all-star who got himself a hung jury over a seemingly 'hook, line, and sinker' court case," Grayson crossed his arms, leaning back on the desk. "Oliver's sister tried him in court. The jury came back with an undecided vote. And now we got pretty much got a week to make sure this guy stays in prison."
"Who's the guy?" Probo asked, curiously.
"Erik Chancel," Nate responded, glancing at his computer as he pulled up Erik Chancel's profile. "Apparently gotten himself into several affairs with other women, which is pretty much the reason his ex-wife, Sherri Bennett divorced him. And now he's beaten his ex-wife to death and he knows what being on the hot seat is like."
"Sounds like a pretty much a cut case to me," Probo blinked, crossing his arms.
"Except the jury couldn't get an acquittal and now the DA is ready to continue to file the charges against him again," Oliver nodded. "DA's got a week or so to refile the charges and given the amount of time in between, that gives them enough time to clear out the evidence that was used against Chancel in court."
"Them?" Probo looked at Oliver.
"Probably Erik's managers," Oliver crossed his arms, looking rather serious about the whole ordeal. "If Lebron James was caught using drugs, you would think his superiors would do everything to make sure that fact gets covered up."
"Except this is a murder case," Grayson nodded. "And that just makes things harder for the superiors to keep a big star like Erik Chancel around."
"Alright, so then, we plant a calling card yet?" Probo asked, looking ready to suit up.
"Not yet," Nate shook his head. "We can't really go target them until we have actual evidence of their crimes. Which is why I'm stuck with computer duty: looking into the jury members."
"Thought you liked computers," Oliver chuckled.
"I also like sleeping," Nate stared at the computer screen tiredly. "But instead of doing that, I'm sitting here looking at the profiles of 12 different people with different backgrounds. And it's boring. I don't care if this person had a cat when they were young."
"Alright," Probo stared at his friends before nodding. "So we just going to interrogate all of them or...?"
"Only one," Grayson answered.
Noticing Probo's and Oliver's confused looks, Grayson stepped away from the desk and began to walk around the base.
"If I was going to mess with the jury," Grayson began to explain. "I would only threaten, bribe, blackmail, one person. Only one. Threatening, bribing, blackmailing more than one ends up leaving a trail and makes things easier to trace things back to me. We're dealing with a basketball all-star who's done a lot of sh*t in his life. I'm thinking the manager would know a couple things about making sure they don't leave too much of a trail."
"So if we're going after one person, which one are we choosing?" Oliver asked. "There is like a one out of twelve chance that we might end up getting the wrong person. Maybe we should interrogate a-"
"Interrogating 12 jury members is definitely not how I want to spend my night," Nate frowned. "And by the time we reach the fifth, the cops will already be scanning the entire city. In the end, that's just game over for us."
"Okay," Probo sighed. "So how we go about finding the right guy."
"That's what the computer's for dumb*ss," Nate rolled his tired eyes as he scanned through every profile of the 12 jury members. Ignoring Probo's angry look, Nate scanned through every name that was on this.
"Kami Mizusawa," Nate muttered as he scanned through the list of jury members. "Uric Osseff. Jesse Hawkins. George Lawton. Jack Graffent. Anthony Patrice. Marsha Bergan. Juliet McGraw. Cathy Catarina. Brianna Bardon. Mia Ceese. Angeline Castro. Christ, I know I'm gonna end up bumping into one of these people when I go to Starbucks the next day."
"Just continue scanning," Grayson crossed his arms.
"Yes sir," Nate sighed, scanning through a profile and then finally at a video of the whole trial itself. "Bringing out a video of the trial. If I can't find anything shifty in their profiles, let's find something shifty in the jury gallery itself."
"Whoa, where'd you even get that video?" Probo blinked, looking quite impressed.
Turning his head to Probo with a look of disbelief and slight offense, Nate frowned. He didn't only frown. He raised an eyebrow and looked at Probo as if he was mentally dead inside or something.
"You've known me how long?" Nate asked his friend. Then turning back to his monitor screens, Nate continued to watch the jury gallery closely. His eyes were pretty adjusted to the computer screen.
He scanned through. His eyes wandered around, like a lion examining a horde of deer and preparing to target the one that was the weakest. The one that he can bring to the dinner table. Ah!
"We got a shifty one," Nate smirked, staring at a male through the court cameras.
The male he had directed was a young male most likely in his late 20s. He looked to be from around the lower-class areas, as the suit he had been wearing that day looked very torn and dirtied. The camera had caught him shaking, shifting his eyes everywhere. Actions most suspicious of a man such as this jury member.
"Hey, he looks pretty familiar," Probo narrowed his eyes.
"Uric Osseff," Nate pulled up Uric's file. "A guy from the slums. Often hangs out at bars. And is a Jewish stereotype who has a couple of misdemeanors that range from petty theft to just basic trespassing. All in all, delicious prey for the family."
"Where does he live?" Grayson looked at Uric's profile picture seriously. His expression narrowed.
"Right around Light Avenue," Nate noted. "As for his exact location, come on, I'm good but not that good."
"Then it looks like Probo's going out to have a drink," Grayson nodded, looking at Probo. "Still got that fake ID with you?"
"Always comes in handy," Probo waved out a fake identification card with a small smile.
"Alright so Probo's going to visit the Pub of Criminals," Oliver nodded before looking at Grayson with a curious expression. "And what are we going to do? The actual interrogating? Because if we are then I would like to be-"
"Only Bad Cop is going out tonight," Grayson looked at Oliver. "Stay here with Nate. Probo and I will be out in the ring to get information from Osseff."
"Boo, I don't want to stay here," Oliver amusedly pouted. "It's boring and staying with Nate is like staying with a sleeping dog. It's not fun and it's much more boring than what I first thought boring was."
"You love me so much don't you?" Nate shook his head before watching Grayson grab the Konspiracy suit.
Grayson was suiting up and Probo was going to have a drink. Nate was going to sit on his chair and Oliver was going to stay put, much to his chagrin. All in all, a fine night for a little interrogation mission.
The Spinning Sailor Bar and Grill was off near the darker areas of the slum. Where the biker gangs and the drug dealers could do everything they wanted without much cops butting into their businesses, it was truly a haven for criminals and the likes.
For the Dark Veil, it was a perfect place to hunt for criminals or at least track someone down.
Walking into the bar, Probo looked around, feeling as if he didn't belong here, which is true since one had to be at least 21 years or older to even be here. But with the area this was located in, it wasn't like anyone would care anyway. Still, Probo kept an identification card just in case.
Seating himself right at the bar, Probo snapped his fingers, alerting a familiar face to him.
"Irene!" Probo called out with a tough smile. "How's my favorite bartender?"
Irene Wilson was rather tough. Her slender body was pretty much the eye of the entire place but Irene learned to ignore it. She's worked here for a long time now. Long brown hair, green eyes, wearing a green tank top, blue shorts, and white shoes underneath that apron, Irene was smoking hot.
There was a time when Irene would love to flirt and have sex with these men. But these men were brainless idiots who don't really know how to function their own d*cks. It was God forbidding. Yuck.
Probo was different than them all. Not just because he was the youngest out of all these miscreants, but because she and him had a unique connection by means of friendship. And that friendship had remained stable. Even if she felt bored or felt tired, at least Probo was there to make her smile... on the inside.
Looking at Probo and leaning forward with a serious expression, Irene shook her head.
"Let me guess," Irene sighed, shaking her head at the younger male with a small smirk. "You're here looking to pick a fight right? Who is this time? Jerome from juvie? Mick from whatever mansion he thinks he's living in?"
"You know me so well," Probo smiled at Irene with a stifled chuckle.
"Of course," Irene looked at Probo. "You don't drink. You don't deal drugs. You don't even get the Happy Hour Special we offer. Hell, you're not even supposed to be here with your fake ID and sh*t. Don't think I don't know you're 15. Only an idiot would think you're 24 years old Pro."
"Guess you're surrounded by them everyday huh?" Probo slightly smirked, looking around, gesturing to the tough bozos that were all around them.
"And I hate it," Irene nodded with a small smirk before looking at Probo. "So tell me what you want. The faster we get this done, the less of a chance I get fired for "giving minors substances they aren't supposed to have till 21"."
"Well, since losing you here as the main bartender would make this place boring," Probo began looking at Irene. "I'll make this quick. Do you know a guy by the name, Uric Osseff? Jewish guy. Petty thief. Trespasses constantly."
"Oh geez, that sleaze?" Irene raised an eyebrow before shaking her head. She took out a cigarette and lit it with a lighter before beginning to smoke. "Yeah I know him. Submissive guy. Total doormat. Look, I'm all for sex. If I'm not bartending, I'm having sex with some Harvard guy who's never touched a woman besides his own mom. But Uric is literally a guy who I just can't have sex with."
"...He tried to climb into bed with you?" Probo blinked.
"Other way around Pro," Irene puffed out some smoke with a frown. "Thought he was cute but with how submissive that guy is, yeah, that's way over. I would suggest picking a fight with someone else because fighting him is like fighting a puppy."
"I see," Probo watched Irene smoke, looking a bit uncomfortable as he was reminded of the smell of his place. "So, know where to find him?"
"Abandoned radio tower," Irene told Probo. "That's where he usually hangs out. If he's not there, he should be here but he isn't so..."
"Then I'll look for him there," Probo nodded before smiling appreciatively at Irene. "Thanks Irene. Knew I could count on you."
Probo began to leave but was stopped by a hand on his wrist. Irene's hand. She looked at him with a serious expression.
"Still need a tip?" Probo turned to Irene with a raised eyebrow.
"He still beats you up huh?" Irene asked Probo, with a gentler expression.
"You can tell," Probo looked at Irene.
"When you live with a family history of drunks you start to get a sixth sense for these kinds of things," Irene nodded at Probo. She looked at him, as if she were examining him. "Where does he hit you?"
"The patches on my face aren't a fashion statement heh," Probo chuckled sheepishly. "But today, it was mainly around my ribs and stomach. Used the belt to whip me. Stings but it's doing better. A lot better."
"Sh*t," Irene couldn't help but shake her head. She felt sorry for him. She understood what it was like. She... "Listen Pro. I'm still offering my place as a safe haven. You don't have to stick around with him anymore. Especially if he's adding new marks to your collection."
Probo was silent for a moment. A safe haven sounded nice. Really nice. But it wasn't something Probo needed at the moment. He's used to the pain. He knows his dad. Living at someone else's place would just be the coward's way of living.
And Probo was no coward.
"Thanks for the offer Irene but, I'm doing fine," Probo looked at Irene. "Thank you."
"Get a Happy Hour Special next time you come here," Irene gave Probo a small smile. "My information won't be for free anymore."
Probo couldn't help but chuckle as he headed out the door.
"I'll consider it," Probo gave one last look at Irene before leaving.
Shaking her head amusedly, Irene could gather many things about Probo. One, he was a good kid. Troubled but a really good kid. Two, his attitude of wanting to be strong was admirable. Irene had to admit that the kid had guts.
What worried her was how far those guts were going to take him.
Especially in these dark times, Irene had to hope that she wouldn't lose another person close to her within the darkness that resided within the slums.
Uric Osseff made a stop right at the abandoned Omen Tower. It was a dirty place now that the entire building had been cleared out leaving only scraps of paper and some empty chairs and desks somewhere within that building.
And like all abandoned and rusting old buildings, graffiti made its home right at the front entrance, reading:
Some dame suggested that. Some idiot actually did it.
Uric didn't care. That was life and that was all life was. At any rate, this abandoned building was his home and a good place to call shelter. He carried a sandwich over to the front entrance, preparing to walk inside.
Dinner time for him.
It was late but that was what he got for trying to steal from a couple of junkies.
Yawning, Uric headed inside and began to take a bite out of his sandwich. Ham. Lettuce. Cheese. How could something so simple be so tasty? Uric didn't know nor did he care to question it. He prepared to take a bite.
The bite never landed.
Instead he felt something drag him away from the front entrance from which he had just entered. Dropping his sandwich, Uric was pinned against the wall. He squirmed, his heart beating fast as he wondered what the h-
"What the, oh God, what the hell are you?" Uric gasped, terrified behind his mind.
Konspiracy had him pinned toward the wall, with Uric's clothing being held tightly by Konspiracy's own hands. Uric shook his head, scared that this freak in a skull mask and a strange costume had him restrained to the wall.
"Look man, if y-you w-want m-money," Uric held his hands up. "I'll g-give y-you it! All of it! Every single p-penny! J-Just p-please! D-Don't k-kill m-me!"
Konspiracy stared at him. Then he spoke.
"You were a jury member for the Chancel case," Konspiracy looked at Uric.
"Oh G-God!" Uric looked much more terrified than he already was. "Is th-this wh-what th-this is about?!"
Konspiracy stared at Uric. For Christ's sake, Probo was right (but then again he got his facts from Irene so in technicality, Irene is right). Uric Osseff was a cowardly bastard. An absolute doormat. Konspiracy hadn't even gotten much of a chance to threaten him and already Uric is bowing down to his feet.
"What do you know," Konspiracy said after a moment of silence.
"L-Listen," Uric looked at Konspiracy, gulping. "I w-was t-told t-to b-be quiet. Th-The p-person wh-who t-told m-me t-to d-do it. He offered me a l-lot of m-money. S-Said h-he w-was g-going to d-drop it off after th-the t-trial w-was f-finished y'see?"
"Who is it?" Konspiracy asked Uric as the latter nervously began to tilt his head away. "Look at me when I'm speaking to you! Who is it?!"
"It w-was a sh-short g-guy!" Uric cried out. "Sh-Short g-guy w-with c-curly b-black h-hair! Th-That's all I know! I swear! Th-That's all I know! Oh G-God. D-Don't l-let h-him know th-that I t-told y-you. I w-won't g-get m-my m-million b-"
Konspiracy had enough.
Socking his fist right at Uric's face, the homeless skank fell to the ground, completely incapacitated. Staring at Uric's unconscious state of mind, Konspiracy tapped his earpiece, speaking out.
"You get that?" Konspiracy asked.
"Next time, ask me that before you knock out the guy," Nate's voice appeared from the other end. "You're lucky the radio tower's been shut down for years otherwise I wouldn't have heard squat."
"Did you get that or not?" Konspiracy asked, a little impatient with Nate's constant jabbering.
"Yeah yeah, I got it," Nate responded. "You can come back now."
Konspiracy nodded and stared at Uric once more. Apparently his hand was only inches away from the sandwich he was ready to enjoy moments earlier. With no expression within that mask, Konspiracy walked past Uric's unconscious body and headed off.
He got what he needed, much easily than he would've expected to be honest.
"The guy we're looking for is Winslow Schmitt," was the first thing Nate had said when the Konspiracy and Probo returned back to their little base. "Short guy. Manager of basketball all-stars. And would rather manage the Arsenals soccer team."
"More of a Scott Sterling guy myself," Oliver chuckled, looking at his teammates to see if they understood the reference. They did not. Oliver stopped chuckling. The confused face from Probo and serious expression from Grayson told him to snap out of that. "Continue."
"If we want to take down Erik Chancel, I'd say we take down his superior first," Nate suggested. "As Chancel's manager, he's the one who can pull the strings in his favor. And once we take out the king..."
"...It's game set checkmate," Probo finished Nate's words with a grin.
"So it's decided now," Grayson nodded, crossing his arms together. "We're going to take him and Chancel down. Now that Osseff pretty much confessed to being bribed by Chancel, we got a reason for the Dark Veil to send our finest calling cards."
Grayson looked at Oliver with that remark.
"Where to?" Oliver began to smile, looking at Nate.
By the time Erik Chancel got out of the shower, he tied a bathrobe around himself. He could hardly sleep a wink last night. Given the fact that he was still morally f*cked thanks to the whole idea of hung jury, Erik was still worried that the evidence would not be cleared in time. In fact, with all that work in his last trial, the last thing he needed was a second trial where he would feel an inch closer to Hell.
Wiping the sweat off of his forehead, Erik heard a knock on the door. Standing still and looking around, Erik tensed up a bit. A part of him thought it was the cops. Another part of him: the lawyers. A third part of him: room service.
"Room service!" called out the bellboy.
Erik sighed in relief. He had nothing to worry about. He needed to stop acting so tense. Heading to the door and opening it, the bellboy smiled at Erik with a small nod before rolling in Erik's breakfast.
"Man, thank you so much," Erik chuckled at the bellboy, patting him on the shoulder. He then handed the bellboy a small tip with a small smile, both filled with relief and joy that it was just food. "Here's a tip."
"Thank you Mr. Chancel," the bellboy nodded at Erik with another smile. Then heading out the door, Erik watched him stop before turning around once more. "Oh yes! I forgot to give you this."
The bellboy handed Erik a card. Looking confused, the all-star stared back at the bellboy, who only shrugged. He looked as equally unsure as Erik was. But to the bellboy, this card meant nothing and could only be from a friend of his or some sorts.
"Some guy wanted me to hand you that card personally," the bellboy nodded at Erik, who was merely examining the card back and forth. There didn't seem to be anything on it but still, it was rather strange someone would just hand him a card and not leave anything on it.
"Must be a fan," Erik shrugged as he smiled appreciatively at the bellboy. "Thanks for this my man."
The bellboy nodded with a smile at Erik before leaving the room. And once he did, Erik couldn't help but sit back and stare at the card in confusion as he opened his food tray. It wasn't a moment later that Erik felt something sticky on it.
Erik didn't bother to touch his rotisserie chicken. Instead, his focus was all directly on the card that he was given. Slowly, he peeled off the sticky paper that had covered up most of the card. It peeled off easily.
Not like the fan who attached this sticky piece wanted it to b-
Erik felt his heart nearly stop when he saw what was underneath that piece of sticky paper. Oh God. It couldn't be:
The Mark of the Demons.
The ones who hail from the Dark Veil.
"They're on to us," Winslow looked terrified. He circled back and forth within his office. Erik Chancel had just given him the news that he was the next target of the Dark Veil. After all, the hauntingly piercing mark of the card was enough to bring Erik to his knees, but Winslow? He was downright horrified by the events that were to come with these demons after them. "As if we didn't have enough problems on our hands. Now everyone's after us! The cops! The DA! Even these vigilantes we're seeing on the news! Sh*t! Sh*t!"
"It's actually them?!" Erik looked shocked. "I was thinking it was some pranksters or something!"
"Some guy gave this card to the bellboy who handed it to you," Winslow stared at his taller client. "They've already put a sticker on it to conceal the mark. And they made sure you would be able to notice it. What kind of prankster goes that far to make sure you get a single f*cking card?"
"A very tactical one?" Erik deeply hoped that he wasn't the target of these vigilantes. If anything, once you're targeted, your life is over. Off to prison you go. Prison guaranteed for how many days Erik's crime is worth: Possibly life-imprisonment?
"What's the time imprinted on the card?" Winslow asked Erik, trying to contain himself.
"There is no time," Erik looked at Winslow. "I made sure to check if there was a sticker on the back as well but..."
"They're waiting for us," Winslow began to hyperventilate a little. This was just too stressful for him. "They're waiting for our next move. If anything, they'll probably attack when we're least expecting them."
Winslow turned to his taller client.
"We're going to need to move," Winslow told Erik. "Beach house. Down at Nanpon Coast. We need to move and move there quickly. Pack your bags. Get there before nighttime strikes. I'll hire a guy to protect us."
"No need to tell me twice," Erik thrusted his hands into the hair defensively. "I'm right on this sh*t."
Erik hurried off to pack his things, exiting Winslow's office. Once the basketball all-star left, Winslow quickly took this chance to pull out his mobile device and begin scrolling through his contacts. Once he found the one he wanted to speak with, Winslow held the phone in his ear.
Heavy pants and trying to calm himself down, Winslow heard a murmur and his name.
"Yeah, it's me," Winslow began. "I have a problem. Think you can hook up a solution?"
Nate placed his tray of cafeteria garbage right on the cafeteria table where Grayson, Probo, and Oliver were seated upon. Sitting down and looking at his friends in the eye, he gave a nod and a small smirk.
"Found out where they're going to be tonight," Nate smirked. "A local beach house down at Nanpon Coast. They're getting some top notch security so you guys are going to have to be on your game while I sit in the van drinking my stash of lemonade."
"When did you have a stash of lemonade?" Probo blinked at Nate.
"Better question, are we not going to talk about how Deus Ex Machina Nate is every time we want to get something done?" Oliver looked at Probo and Grayson. "Either he can twist the universe with his own hands or he's a really good hacker."
Nate stared at Oliver bluntly.
"Why yes, just let me grab my gloves and Jolly Ranchers and then I'll wipe out 50% of our universe," Nate sarcastically nodded at Oliver, seeming a little offended by Oliver's last remark. "Who needs the Dark Veil when you have a janitor accessory and candy?"
"Getting back on track," Grayson sighed, smiling slightly at his friend's antics. "When is the appropriate time we'll attack? I'm thinking 1 in the morning. But I want your suggestions first."
"1 is fine with me," Oliver nodded.
"Nothing better to do from 9 above," Probo shrugged.
"I sleep at 4 anyway," Nate shrugged.
"Then 1 in the morning it is," Grayson nodded. "We'll meet at the base at, let's say midnight and we take a drive to Nanpon Beach. And then we go ahead and attack once 1 AM hits. Sound good?"
His friends nodded.
It was a good plan. Simple plan really. Meet up, drive, and attack. Simple plan accordance that everyone could agree upon. Then eating the garbage that was their school's cafeteria food, Grayson stopped eating and ignored everything around him when he landed his eyes right on that one girl who seated herself at a much larger table.
That girl was of course Sonia Willows.
She was talking enthusiastically with Arthur Sharpe. She was surrounded by her other friends, her gal pals as she would call them. In all honesty, Grayson felt envious. He felt envious that Arthur Sharpe, the man who could have everything in the world was the one who got the one girl that he himself wanted deep inside.
It pained him more to know that she had chosen to be with him.
Envy was a sin that Grayson himself didn't want to cross. But seeing their happiness, it didn't help him one bit. Of course, his friends noticed his hopeless stares, even behind those shades he usually wore.
"Hey buddy," Probo patted Grayson on the shoulder to catch his attention. "Gray."
Grayson turned to Probo before watching Sonia laugh with Arthur together.
"Distractions like her," Probo looked at Grayson with a serious expression. "The only time they will ever hook up with us is if they ever find out who we really were. And if they would ever accept us. She's happy with that guy. Might as well, leave it alone."
Grayson felt his heart pound. He could feel the saddened pounding of his own heart as he sighed. He turned to Probo and nodded. He looked at Nate and Oliver, who looked solemn at the fact that even they weren't going to be able to gain some form of love even if they were found out to be a bunch of vigilantes fighting for the city. Taking a deep breath, Grayson nodded.
"You're right," Grayson looked at Arthur. "The farther she is from me, the better and less of a chance I'd have to worry about her getting hurt."
"The logic for every superhero in the comics," Oliver smiled at Grayson and Nate. "And yet, so true. If anything, we have each other. And together, I say we just relax and get our mindset ready for tonight."
"Not the type to say this but," Nate placed his hand in the middle with a shrug. "Let's bring it in."
Slowly, the other three joined their hands together and then for a few moment later, they nodded and smiled at one another.
Love may not be the best path for them.
But they had each other. And that was all that mattered. That was all that mattered.
Right when the clock hit 11 at night, Winslow and Erik had stood at the entrance of their beach house, watching black cars by black cars pull up, drop off men and then drive off.
Winslow stood firm and as tall as his short height could let him. Erik stood similarly, only he was already tall, his arm over his basketball.
Together, they stood firm as they watched the latest and probably the last car of the night pull up, and drop off a third major player into the field. With his tall athletic build, this player wore black stylish but comfortable pants, a black shirt, a black military-style jacket with silver linings and black combat boots. Also noted was his black leather mask, remnant of that of the Mask of Zorro.
"So the Mask of Zorro is going to protect us?" Erik blinked at Winslow. "Is this some kind of joke? We are dealing with actual people who have taken down Russian mobs and crime lords and the best person you can find for the job of protecting us is some cosplayer down from Mexico?"
"I guess this is also a bad time to tell you that Mr. Johnny Matabre prefers to be called Inigo," Winslow sighed, looking at Inigo. The hired bodyguard merely looked back at Erik as Winslow looked back at Inigo. "My apologies Mr. Inigo, but perhaps Mr. Chancel needs a demonstration."
Inigo nodded at Winslow before revealing the sheathed rapier he had hidden from their view. Taking out the rapier, Inigo, swiped it a few time before retracting the sword with that non-changing expression.
Like something out of a movie, Erik finally felt the effects of the sword that Inigo had swung in his direction when his basketball suddenly deflated from several deep cuts from the sword. Even more bewildering, the blade had not even touched his skin once.
"...Colored me impressed," Erik nodded, looking at Inigo.
"Still think he's some sort of joke?" Winslow glanced at Erik.
Turning to Inigo, who's cold aura handed Erik his answer, he only shook his head. He turned to Winslow and patted him on the back. Inigo was fine. He was fine. There was nothing to be scared of when he's around.
"You do you man," Erik spoke to Winslow, patting him on the shoulder.
From afar, a white van was parked right in a more hidden spot behind a string of palm trees. The Dark Veil members were all dressed up in their respective suits. Grayson as Konspiracy. Oliver as Paradoks. Probo as Restriktion. Nate as Enikma.
They were ready to strike their targets. As ready as they will ever be.
"So, the plan," Paradoks began. "We crash in there. Enikma finds out where Kobe Bryant and his little short friend are. And then we fight and beat our way through the crowd of annoying people. Is that right?"
"That's pretty much the gist of it," Konspiracy couldn't help but nod. "We all got our little defense weapons ready right?"
"Won't leave without it," Restriktion nodded as he tucked in all the necessary combat weapons he would need for the fight within the beach house. "Speaking of which, how many you read Enikma?"
"10 men circling inside perimeter," Enikma noted. "Plus a really different guy. Watch out for the different guy. From what I can tell, he's not going to be easy as the rest of the bums these people hire."
"And are we going in stealthily or?" Restriktion looked at Konspiracy for clarification.
Konspiracy didn't say anything. Instead he smirked behind his mask.
That smirk gave everyone the answer. Instantly, the three, Konspiracy, Restriktion, and Paradoks crashed into the front glass door of the beach house. This pretty much alerted every guard stationed around the beach house.
Konspiracy had this all planned out.
Cause that loud commotion to get everyone all riled up. No doubt about it now with the sounds of people yelling out to one another, this commotion was what they needed to get less men away from the target prize: Chancel and Schmitt.
Konspiracy, Restriktion, and Paradoks prepared to wield out their darts, getting ready to throw them right at the first guards they see. Konspiracy turned his two partners and nodded.
"Split up," Konspiracy told Restriktion and Paradoks. "Find the prize. And get him to spill the beans."
"Normally splitting up is a bad thing but I see more positivities splitting up than sticking together," Paradoks noted, gesturing to the amount of darts each member were keeping in their hands. "I'll take the hall up ahead."
"We'll take the upstairs," Konspiracy and Restriktion nodded at one another.
Then the three separated.
"Guard coming down the stairs," Enikma told both Konspiracy and Restriktion, who had to stick together to climb the stairs as there was only one set of stairs leading to the top.
"Restriktion," Konspiracy called out.
"On it!" Restriktion raced up.
Meeting the guard who was too slow to even see it coming, Restriktion lunged a fist right at the guard's face.
A hole in one.
And the guard groaned, falling down the stairs fully incapacitated.
The two continued up the stairs before noting two full directions to go. Konspiracy and Restriktion nodded at one another before splitting up. One went one way. The other, the other way.
By the time Paradoks walked into the hall, he found himself stopping dead in his tracks. Turns out, he had an uninvited obstacle: Inigo. The man dressed in all black with his Zorro-like mask had been waiting for him.
"Hey look, it's the very different guy," Enikma told Paradoks who merely cursed to himself.
"Well sh*t," Paradoks muttered as he prepared the many weapons within his arsenal and got into a fighting stance. "My name is Paradoks Not Montoya. You didn't really kill my father or anything so prepare to be defeated."
Inigo took out his rapier. A duel was to be held. Paradoks versus Inigo.
"Wait, I don't have a sword," Paradoks blinked, gulping slightly.
Inigo trailed his rapier around like it was a wand.
He walked forward.
He stopped once.
Then he dashed forth.
Paradoks narrowly dodged it.
Paradoks narrowly dodged that one too.
A slash right toward Paradoks' chest.
Paradoks caught the blade with the back of his armored bracelets.
Paradoks was panting. He narrowly got a cut from that rapier. In fact, judging from the thin piercing blade of the rapier, he imagined that a single hit from that sword could easily leave a mark on his body armor. Nothing too deep, but three slashes and instantly he would leave a trail of blood, evidence.
The blade was released.
A swing toward his neck.
Paradoks quickly kicked Inigo's wrist.
The rapier had fallen to the side.
Fight was pretty much even.
Inigo was going to focus on that ra- Maybe not.
Inigo had swung a kick at Paradoks.
Paradoks laid down, dodging that kick.
It was his turn.
He struck his heel right at Inigo's kneecap.
Instantly, Inigo lurched down. Reflexes. Getting hit right at the kneecaps just got him to groan slightly, making his first noise for a while since his appearance. Standing up and regaining his stance, Inigo ran toward Paradoks once more, his boots tapping the ground in a syncopated rhythm.
When he turned around, Paradoks felt an ache right at his ribs.
Inigo had pounced and landed a kick right at that spot.
And down Paradoks fell to the ground.
Oh God. This wasn't easy.
Restriktion meanwhile had a blast as five guards came his way, armed with classic Glocks. For Restriktion, he couldn't help but sigh, recognizing the brand of gun ever so discreetly.
"Why is it always the Glocks?" Restriktion asked before one man fired at him.
It was time.
Restriktion sidestepped, narrowly avoiding the bullet.
He chucked a dart.
It hit a man right in the chest.
With a flail in pain, he fired his Glock right at the wall.
Restriktion tossed more darts at the guards who fired their Glock.
One scraped his cloak.
Another one hit his cloak.
Another bullet scraped his armored leg, leaving a mark on it.
The darts that he tossed missed some of the guards who fired at him.
One dart scraped a man's cheek, causing to bleed.
Another dart hit a guard right on the shoulder, but he was still ready to fight.
Restriktion needed to duck for cover.
He had already gotten some hits on him, luckily nowhere near his vital parts.
Restriktion hid beside the hall's wall, groaning unsure where to go now that the guards were going to circle in. Glocks were ready. Jesus. He could hear Enikma laughing at him now. No wait. He wasn't laughing, he sounded very critical.
"Did you seriously get scraped and hit by Glocks?" Enikma criticized. "Jesus Christ Restriktion. Thought you were better than this."
"Enough criticism," Restriktion frowned behind his mask. "Just give me the details on the guards. What are they doing right now?"
"Give me a moment to check," Enikma noted. "This won't take long."
"Hurry," Restriktion hissed.
Two more guards turned the corner and instantly took out their Glocks.
Konspiracy dashed forth.
He slid down to the ground, landing his heel right at a guard leg.
Instantly, Konspiracy could feel the leg move farther than it should've.
He dislocated it.
The guard cried in pain, falling to the ground.
The other guard pointed his gun at Konspiracy.
At that point in time, Konspiracy took his time to take out a dart.
The guard fired.
Konspiracy moved his head instantly.
The bullet flew right into the ground where his head just was.
Another fire from the gun.
Then he shot out his dart with a flick.
The guard groaned.
The dart flew into his arm.
He dropped his gun.
It was a fist fight now.
A fist fight the guard was clearly not winning.
Getting up and dashing toward the guard, Konspiracy kicked the guard right on the hip.
The guard cried out once more.
Then a sock to the face.
The guard fell to the ground, knocked out.
Konspiracy couldn't help but catch his breath for a moment. Of course, he had forgotten someone. The guard on the ground with the dislocated leg. He still was conscious and he had that gun directed at Konspiracy.
Though with the pain, he couldn't aim.
He fired once.
He fired again.
Konspiracy walked up to the guard.
The guard tried to fire once more.
Konspiracy wrapped his hand around the Glock's head and moved it away from the next bullet's trajectory.
Wrestling out the gun, Konspiracy looked at the guard with the dislocated leg. The look of hate on his face. Heh. Yeah will, f*ck you too.
Konspiracy whacked the gun right on the guard's head, knocking him out cold.
Then he turned the corner.
Paradoks groaned, as he tried to soothe the pain that Inigo had given him.
Then he saw an upcoming heel heading right for his face.
He needed to move!
Paradoks rolled over to the side.
The heel hit solid ground.
Paradoks took this chance to get up.
Then he felt the speed and adrenaline.
A fist came his way.
Paradoks dodged, moving back swiftly.
The fist landed right directly into the wall, leaving a dent.
Inigo silently stared at Paradoks before grabbing a nearby vase.
He chucked it at Paradoks.
With a yelp, Paradoks dodged the vase.
The vase hit the ground. It shattered, leaving sharp shards on the ground. Paradoks groaned, shaking his head as he stared at Inigo with a shake of his head.
"Haven't you heard the phrase, 'You break it you buy it'?" Paradoks frowned.
Another vase headed straight for his head.
Paradoks yelped once more and ducked, the vase missing and hitting the back.
Paradoks took this chance to grab out some darts.
Then he tossed them at Inigo like he would toss cards.
Inigo moved his head away from one dart.
Then he caught the other dart that had headed straight for his face.
Paradoks was dumbfounded.
"Well f*ck," Paradoks blinked.
Smirking to himself, Inigo tossed the dart back.
It landed right onto his chest.
Although he was armored, Paradoks could feel the amount of force Inigo put into that throw. It was a powerful throw. A throw that almost knocked him back onto the ground. Paradoks attempted to take out the dart. He couldn't. It was lodged in at the moment.
Inigo inched his way over, stepping on the shards that had been from one of the vases he threw at Paradoks.
What was he going to do?
What was he going to do?
Paradoks stepped back.
Then he glanced at the shards on the ground.
This was a fight between life or death.
And with the idea he had...
Life was going to suck.
Restriktion was still ducking for cover, noting the bullets that had grazed him a few times. He tapped into his earpiece before hearing Enikma's voice once more. Hopefully he had some useful information and wasn't trying to f*ck him over.
"They still have their Glocks out and their preparing to turn the corner," Enikma noted. "But they won't be close to the wall. That's for sure. You're going to have to do something to take them down and avoid getting shot."
"Smoke Marbles?" Restriktion suggested.
"You'll be shot before the mist comes out," Enikma said.
"Then f*ck it," Restriktion gritted his teeth before arming himself with darts.
He dashed out, ignoring whatever Enikma was going to next.
Sliding out, he launched two darts right at a guard.
Both of the guard's shoulders were hit and the guard fell to the ground in pain.
Restriktion got up.
He dashed forward.
The bullet hit Restriktion's shoulder.
It dented the armored shoulder pad he had.
Taking out more darts, Restriktion kicked another guard in the chest.
This one missed.
He launched a dart at another guard.
It hit the guard right at his chest, knocking him down once more.
Then he launched another dart at the final guard.
Then he took out one more.
He flicked it toward the guard once more.
It hit the guard's thigh.
Gritting his teeth, the guard tried to fire once more.
Restriktion landed down his fist right into the guard's arm.
He dropped the gun, wincing in even more pain.
He looked at Restriktion.
Then finally, Restriktion ended it with an impactful fist to the guard's face.
The guard was down.
Restriktion had to catch his breath before touching his shoulder, noting the dent on his shoulder pad.
Konspiracy found a door at the end of the hall. Unlike the other two who had their fair fights with either a really skilled bodyguard or a bunch of guards with Glocks, Konspiracy only had the two guards.
He opened the door, waiting to see what awaited him in the room.
Perhaps that is where the target was.
What awaited him in the room were two Glock-carrying guards pointing their weapon of choice directly at him. Sh*t. Konspiracy closed the door and dashed away, dodging the bullets that had been fired through the door.
"We got you now," the guards' voice was heard.
Konspiracy could hear them. He could see them. They were right behind him. The guns were pointed directly at his back. Any movement and Konspiracy was going to have bullets hit his spine.
Konspiracy remained perfectly still.
"What are you doing?!" Winslow yelled out. "Shoot the guy!"
Konspiracy rolled away from their line of attack.
Two gunshots were fired as Konspiracy rolled ahead.
Bullets hit the ground and only the ground.
Then Konspiracy got up, squatting down and staring at the guards with a dangerous look underneath that mask. The guns were now pointed at his direction. Then they fired once more.
Konspiracy tossed his darts.
He overthrew one.
A dart hit the guard in the cheek, lodging itself within.
The guard screamed in pain.
He couldn't concentrate on shooting now. He had a f*cking dart in his face.
The other guard was still going to shoot.
This was easy to dodge now.
There was only one person.
A sidestep dodge.
A gunshot again.
Konspiracy grabbed a hold of the guard's hand, trying to aim the gun away from every inch of his own body.
The bullet hit the guard with the dart in his cheek right in the leg.
Konspiracy was going to have to do it now.
He twisted the guard's arm back.
The gun was dropped.
The guard himself began to open his mouth in pain.
One thing to do now.
Konspiracy held the guard's head.
Then he pushed it straight into the wall.
Down the guard went, knocked out.
Inigo inched closer.
Paradoks took a deep breath.
He was going to have to do this.
He was going to have to do this.
Paradoks dashed forth.
He kicked out his leg right toward Inigo's face.
Inigo moved his head.
Paradoks did it once more.
Inigo moved his head once more.
Then Inigo grabbed Paradoks by the neck.
Paradoks could feel the air that had been entering his lungs only a few seconds ago start to train. For a guy who dressed like the Mask of Zorro, my God he was strong. Paradoks was pinned against the wall. His access to air was slowly diminishing.
Paradoks needed to think quick.
What else could he use?
The dart in his armored chest.
Inigo was too focused on choking the life out of him.
This was perfect.
Paradoks took his diminishing strength, gritting his teeth and began to pull out the dart lodged in his armored chest. Feeling it slowly break free, Paradoks turned his gritted teeth into a gritted grin.
Inigo raised an eyebrow.
Then he felt a painful jab right under the arm that had Paradoks pinned the wall.
The jab felt like a sting from a bloody wasp.
Inigo let go of Paradoks, noting the dart that was stuck under his arm.
Inigo cursed silently.
Now was Paradoks' chance to both regain his strength and regain his fighting chance. He clenched his fist. Now that Inigo was distracted, Paradoks took his chance. He dashed forth.
With a hop into the air, Paradoks landed another kick right at Inigo's chest, knocking him back.
Inigo bumped into the wall.
Paradoks then took this chance as well.
He grabbed Inigo by his jacket and tossed him toward shelf.
He landed face first onto the shelf.
Inigo felt his nose pop a bit.
Paradoks had broken Inigo's nose.
Inigo struggled to get up for a bit, but once he was up, he was up. He got into a fighting position.
Paradoks caught his breath as he saw a fist head his way.
Then he punched Inigo in the face.
Then he punched Inigo again.
And a good kick.
The final kick was the kick.
Inigo stumbled back.
And then he fell.
Right on top of the shards from the vase he had thrown at Paradoks a while earlier.
Inigo cursed. The jagged shards were now stabbing into his back. He was bleeding. He tried to get up, but all he could was roll 180 degrees over before groaning. Inigo was done for now.
Paradoks had won the fight, but not without a wince in slight pain and the amount of shards were stuck and lodged in Inigo's back.
Paradoks turned around.
Then he noted that the hall led into a dead end.
The target wasn't even here.
Up the stairs he goes.
Konspiracy walked into the room the two guards were at. Winslow Schmitt was there, looking beyond terrified as he held up his hands in fear of what Konspiracy was potentially going to do to him.
Marching forward, Konspiracy stared curiously at Winslow. Then he remembered something.
Konspiracy launched his fist out to the side.
And he felt his fist punch a face belonging to an African-American basketball all-star.
Turning his head to the side and noting how he managed to knock out Erik with a single hit, Konspiracy remained silent. Then he turned his head back to Winslow Schmitt. The only thing he could do now is smile sheepishly.
"Winslow Schmitt," Konspiracy stared at Schmitt. "You got a crime to pay."
"And you got a visit back to Hell," Schmitt said.
Konspiracy realized it too late.
Schmitt pulled out a gun: A Magnum .44 caliber. A gun that was efficient enough to pierce through his armor. Konspiracy stood still before he heard it. The sound of his cohort. Aw yes. He's here.
"Step away!" Paradoks called out, tiredly.
He flicked out a dart.
The gun was fired.
The bullet missed.
But the dart hit Winslow Schmitt on his right arm.
The gun was dropped and Konspiracy took his chance.
He grabbed Winslow by the hair.
Then he dropped his head right onto the table.
Winslow felt dizzy now. He wasn't knocked out and Konspiracy didn't want to knock him out. Instead, he was stuck feeling the pain rush to his head and to his bleeding arm, whimpering in pain.
"What took you so long?" Konspiracy asked Paradoks.
"I wanted my father back," Paradoks muttered. "That son of a b*tch."
Glancing at Winslow, who attempted to struggle out of Konspiracy's grasp, Konspiracy nodded at Paradoks who in turn tapped into his earpiece. He took a deep breath. This was it. This was what they came for.
"Start recording Enikma," Paradoks whispered to Enikma.
"The Sherri Bennett case," Konspiracy kept Winslow firmly restrained. One hand was forcing Winslow's hand behind his back. The other hand was kept right on his head, keeping him still. "What do you know about it?"
"It's not true," Winslow growled out at Konspiracy. "Chancel didn't kil- Agh!"
Winslow felt his hand slightly snapping.
"Agh," Winslow cried out. "Okay okay! Yes he did murder Bennett! He did!"
"You were going to get rid of evidence weren't you?" Konspiracy asked Winslow.
"N-No, I- AGH!" Winslow screamed out.
Konspiracy twisted Winslow's hand slightly further. The bone on his wrist. How it felt like it was slowly sliding out of his arm. Konspiracy was going to dislocate. And my God, that was going to hurt like Hell.
"Okay okay!" Winslow screamed out. "Yes! I was going to get rid of the evidence! Erik Chancel!"
"Erik Chancel what?" Konspiracy asked Winslow.
Winslow began to cry in pain. He whimpered.
"Erik Chancel what?!" Konspiracy yelled at Winslow.
"Erik Chancel did kill Sheri Bennett!" Winslow exclaimed. "Her murder was in cold-blood. And I helped with it! I helped plan out the murder and Erik Chancel carried it out! I bribed that jury member to make it a hung jury! I didn't want anyone finding out about Erik's multiple affairs. He would be ruined!"
"Wow," Paradoks shook his head. "You are one big idiot. You ruined your client's career much more by having him murder his ex-wife. Honestly, should we even feel bad with we break his wrist?"
Konspiracy was silent for a moment. He looked at Paradoks.
"Did Enikma get all that?" Konspiracy asked.
Paradoks tapped into his earpiece.
"Did you?" Paradoks asked.
"Yep, very loud and very clear," Enikma told Paradoks.
In return, Paradoks looked at Konspiracy and nodded. Then Konspiracy stared at the whimpering Winslow. He shook his head. This was what these scumbags get for ruining innocent lives.
"Then we shouldn't feel bad," Konspiracy answered Paradoks earlier question.
Slowly, Konspiracy began to dislocate Winslow's wrist, moving that bone away from where it was originally attached. As Konspiracy did so, Winslow couldn't help but scream in pain.
Hearing for that... Oh. There's that snap.
Winslow was sobbing at this point.
It was too much to bear.
It was too much...
Watching the police take care of all the bodies that had been dropped today (they weren't dead of course; they were just incapacitated and seriously injured), Konspiracy and Enikma watched from their white van hidden within the trees, staring at the scene they had caused taking out two people.
Erik Chancel and Winslow Schmitt were being hauled into police ambulances, tending to their wounds, especially Winslow's whose wrist was now dangling away from where it was originally attached.
He was still sobbing in pain, and Konspiracy felt a sense of justice seeing that dangle.
"Jesus," Enikma blinked behind his mask. "I'd expect something like this from Glock Fest over there but you? Remind me to never get on your bad side."
Of course, by Glock Fest, Enikma referred to Restriktion, who had extended a finger toward him.
"What about the confession?" Paradoks was currently checking Restriktion, seeing if he had suffered any wounds. But aside from a few bruises, Restriktion was fine. Sure there were some dents and some bullet holes in his armor, but nothing a little sprucing up could fix. "That should be enough to convict those bastards right?"
"I made sure to keep it concise and specific," Enikma shrugged. "Either case, we're done here."
Starting up the car, Enikma drove the white van away from it's hiding spot.
Job well done.
"The mysterious Dark Veil vigilantes have struck again, this time, taking out Erik Chancel, who had evaded his trial based on a hung jury as well as his manager, a Winslow Schmitt. According to evidence found at the scene of the crime, it seems that Winslow Schmitt was the true mastermind behind Sherri Bennett's murder. A trial is to be awaited for both Erik Chancel and Winslow Schmitt's crime, but we can certainly be rest assured that justice has been achieved for Sherri Bennett."
"That's another one down," Probo smirked, rubbing his knuckles. "Well, two of them. Rest assured now Oliver, your sister will probably be happy to see this guy's face behind bars."
"Maybe," Oliver chuckled before turning to Grayson and Nate. "Who's next?"
Grayson and Nate both shared the same small smile on their faces. They were glad they brought some people to justice. But at the same time, the two of them could only think about what this year could hold for them. Regardless, Grayson answered.
"We'll see," Grayson slightly smiled. "Whoever needs a little visit from the Dark Veil, we'll give it to them."
"And we'll make sure their *ss gets rightfully handed into prison as well," Nate nodded in return. "School starts in fifteen minutes. Where do you guys want to go and what do you want to talk about for the time being."
"How about the fact that I got to fight Inigo Montoya?!" Oliver grinned at his friends. "Sure he had me a couple of times but wow! I didn't think I would've won that fight."
"How about something other than the events last night," Probo suggested.
As the four walked off, Grayson stopped for a few moments before noticing two familiar faces. Friends. A man he envied but at the same respected. A woman he loved but at the same time, he had to leave.
Sonia and Arthur were hugging each other by the nearby vending machine. Both of them looked like they had just gotten married, and smiling to himself, Grayson couldn't help but be happy to see her smile.
He was happy that she was happy.
This was all that mattered.
"With new evidence coming to light and a high possibility that the basketball all-star known as Erik Chancel will no longer serve the city as the best all-star in Fallon City, it's safe to say basketball will never be the same again."
"What did I tell you?" Lawrence smiled at Joanna, sitting back in the office they were at. The TV had shined in front of them, detailing the events of the night prior. He himself looked happy, compared to Joanna who merely stared at the television blankly. "Optimism. Karma. Erik Chancel got what he deserved and we get to take him down with all the evidence that was uncovered."
Joanna stared at the television for a few more moments before snapping out of her small daze. She looked at Lawrence.
"It would seem so," Joanna forced a smile.
It didn't take a doctor or a psychologist to understand that Joanna was feeling pretty conflicted. On the one hand, a murderer has been caught and has a high chance of being given a severely harsh punishment for his crimes. On the down side, Joanna couldn't believe it:
The law had to be exacted through the hands of vigilantes.
"As for the Dark Veil vigilantes..."
Grayson stared at Grace after returning home from school, her head collapsed onto the table. From the looks of it, today had been a rough day for her. Of course, the bakery business was always a rough business, but... at the very least, Grayson had to admit, Gracey looked her best when she was sleeping.
Absolutely in peace.
Smiling, Grayson wrapped a blanket over Gracey before staring at the picture frame that hung on his wall. The one with his mother and father. Mom and Dad. He may be with his sister physically, but deep down he knew, they were probably still with him...
"One would have to wonder if the they will continue to serve the city..."
Nate furiously typed at his computer screen. His tired baggy eyes stared intensely at the bright screen that was at some point going to burn off his retinas. He frowned. As he dragged his mouse around and narrowed his eyes, Nate stared at the mugshot of Erik Chancel.
He sipped his drink.
Then dragging a red X over Erik Chancel's mugshot, Nate exited the screen. His tired and irritated look was replaced by something more solemn. A sadder expression as he stared at his computer's wallpaper.
For he saw himself, a younger Nate and his old man, Danny Narrows. Double clicking a file with an even more solemn look, Nate continuously read the big headliner words:
FATHER OF HAPPY FAMILY CONVICTED FOR MURDER
Needless to say, Nate's night became much more depressing than he anticipated.
"Or eventually become as dark as the veil where they come from..."
Probo sat down bitterly in the small confinement he called a bedroom. He was shirtless. And although he had that notable bruise on his face, what was more interesting were the scars on his back. They were fading, but they were still visible enough to be a recognizable trait.
He drank from a carton of Hi-C Fruit Punch before chucking it out the window. His eyes narrowed, looking serious as he felt the bandages on his body and face. The smell of alcohol was invigorating. Came from downstairs but man, it was strong.
And whenever Probo smelled alcohol, well, that only meant hell for him.
"Only time will tell."
Oliver found himself watching the news with his family, specifically with Sebastian Rueter and Alex Rueter. Joanna was off at her law work and Matthias had been off doing stuff with friends once more. It was a smaller family now but he was happy. Happy being with his father and little brother. Seeing Erik Chancel and Winslow Schmitt being taken in for their crimes, his father shared the same bright proud smile as he did.
Patting Oliver on his shoulder, it was clear Oliver's dad was proud of him.
Proud of knowing that justice was being served.
"This is Faith Tadden, coming back at you Jonathan."
The TV shut off as darkness befell the room. The clocks ticked back and forth. Time was of the essence, and for the man that seated himself in the room with the fancy expensive decor, time meant so little to him.
Time meant so little.
The man that had seated himself in the room merely tapped his head, right on that X-shaped scar that was over his left eye. He was silent. He didn't say anything. Except, he just stared at the closed television, silent.
There was nothing to say for him.
Instead of speaking, he just stood up and exited his desk, grabbing a sharp knife lodged on the wall along the way. Silent, mysterious, the man himself couldn't help but clench his fist as he stared intensely at the bulletin board in front of him.
The bulletin board had pins, each aligned like one would see in a crime television series. A string of connections that could be connected somewhere, someway. Like an interlocking web that the man had yet to solve.
Something had to be done.
For the man, he gripped his knife. Still silent, the man just wanted to let go. Let it all out. Yes. Let go of his irritation. Let go. Then he shot his knife right at the middle of the bulletin board. Right on empty space that resided before he took out a newspaper clipping and attached it firmly within place.
The newspaper clipping at hand?
Mysterious Vigilantes Strike Again...
Right square in the middle of this large web of connections. The man couldn't help but listen to the whispers all around. The whispers that he himself muttered. The whispers that began to echo louder and louder in his room.
Whispers talking about the Mark of the Demons.
The ones who came straight from the Dark Veil...
To be continued...
Joanna Rueter created by Omakin
Lawrence Recht created by Otterplay
Winslow Schmitt created by Noel Batsworth
Erik Chancel created by Noel Batsworth
Irene Wilson created by MrAwesome1999
Jonny Matabre/Inigo created by Rach123
Hank Bruxton created by LaViolaViolaRosa