It feels like a hot steel blade slicing through the neck of a living chicken. Unfortunately it is neither a sensation within a chicken alive or dead, but rather what is shooting through the immortal’s scrotum. Another jerk and his arms pull upwards to the ceiling as a new IV is added to him. This one is in addition to the four drawing out spinal fluid.
The doctor with the monocle and the slight hunchback is looking on. On his left forearm they had branded Subject A. Not even a name anymore. The days have run together. He cannot remember how long he has been in here, or how long since his chalk white skin has tasted the sheen of moonlight.
He believes at one point he also had a name, but for the life of him, he cannot recollect what it is. The one behind the keyboard on the raised platform smiles as a robotic tentacle moves with a sharpened point towards his left eye. “please…stop…”
“Awww, isn’t that cute, it speaks like it is human.” The sharpened end of the tentacle plunges into his left eye and the shriek would have been deafening if the room itself was not sound proof.
Electricity singed his fur as he rolled back against the wrought iron at the back of the cage. Bare the fangs and growl. The guardsmen dressed in black and white camouflage laugh as the cattle prod hits the bottom of his paws.
The tiger-man’s fur is mangy, and moulting in certain areas. Time was running together, no idea how long he had been in the cage, or worse when they took him out of the cage to the lab room.
His feline eyes move to his right arm where a brand that simply says Subject B, but he knows at one point he had more of a name.
* * * * *
The rain drizzled lightly on the city street. Miles above where pain reined, and names were forgotten. Names were remembered by one, standing outside of the small church, on the streets of Gothic City, as the rain drizzled. The lone figure tugs their hood up over, and the collar of their jacket.
The figure steps into the darkened church building.
It was a darkened building, but it wasn’t the first time the figure stood in this darkened church. She lowers her hood. It was her church, or at least the one she had grown up in. The one before everything went so wrong so drastically wrong. She stepped into the sanctuary with the wooden pews, and peeling linoleum.
She slips into a back pew and looks at the familiar wood carved scene of Jesus upon the cross, a San Damiano crucifix that also had many people around the out stretched arms.
“Speedster.” It had been a long time since that name had rung in her ears. At one point she had been the super speed heroine of Canada, known as the Speedster. At one point she had been a member of the team known as the Prophets.
That point ended about ten years ago.
“It’s Susan now, just Susan.”
The minister smiles as he takes a seat in the pew beside her. “Susan, what brings you here after all this time?”
That was a good question, after almost a decade why would she come back here? It had started with the dreams. She begins to tell the story to the tonsured bearded man, that she had known most of her life.
The life that she had believed she had always wanted had crumbled away due to recurring nightmares. Voices from her past crying out for help, “Clay and Tigorr, I swear they are still alive and calling for help. They are being held somewhere.”
Tuck patted her shoulder. “When we deeply care for people the grief cycle does not always end, it comes up at different points and time in our lives. We can actually believe they are still alive and speaking with us, but that is just grief. They died with Rick in the blaze.”
Susan nodded. The blaze, such a nice word for the final battle of the Prophets, only her and Jonny Power survived…or so she thought, the battle with the Dragyn that ended when Rick, PenDragon, snapped Excalibur in half and let the blaze destroy The Dragyn. The death saved Gothic City and the world, but cost so much.
“It was magic, white and black doing battle for the soul of the world. How can we be so sure that death is well dead?”
Tuck looked upon the wood carving behind the altar. Then at the woman that he has known for her whole almost 40 years. He had after all baptized her as an infant. “But there was nothing left.”
“First rule of super heroics Tuck, can’t find the body, and sometimes even if you do, don’t think they’re dead.”
“Why are you here?”
“You know why Tuck, you can reach him.”
“You’re not talking about God are you?”
“You’re a good enough priest that I know I don’t need you to talk to God. You know who I need…” Tuck in the darkened sanctuary noted the puff under her eye.
“Power. I will see what I can do, come back tomorrow.”
Susan raised her hood up and left the sanctuary. Tuck rose and watched his disciple leave. As the building’s door closed, thunder rumbled across the sky, and a flash of lightning illuminated the darkened sanctuary.
Power. A name he had not heard spoken of for 10 years. Not since the blaze. The day the Prophets died. Speedster went into retirement. Power vanished, or so the citizenry thought. But he was still out there.
But could she be right? Could they still be alive? And if so why had they not come back to the forefront?
“Clay, Tigorr, you immortal bastards where are you?”
Tuck moved from the sanctuary to the outer foyer, grabs his rain coat and walks out into the night.
A short walk of a few blocks in the rain to a small bungalow, with lions at the picket fence entrance, the sand that replaced the grass muddied up by the rain. It always humoured Tuck that he would put in a mass sand garden in the rain capital of Canada. But that’s what one gets in the make shift Zen monastery. Occupant: One.
Tuck knocks on the door. A chime is heard, he hears rustling. The slight form of a Gandhiesque man opens the door. “Tuck.”
Tuck leans in and kisses Zed. “Welcome home.” The door shuts behind Tuck as he steps inside his home, and wonders if his husband will be willing to make the call he knows he has to ask him to make.
* * * * *
The phone was ringing. Susan exhaled slowly as she rolled over in her bed and rustled on the floor in her jeans for her Blackberry. She squinted in the early morning sunlit bedroom the number was not recognized.
“Zed said you wanted to talk to me. Timmy’s on your corner 15 minutes.”
The line was dead. Susan rolls out of bed pulls on her jeans and throws on a hoody, slips into a pair of flip flops and heads out the door. Tuck does good work, or rather Tuck’s husband does good work.
The left eye blinks and a crooked grin forms on his lips. “As I live and breathe, you actually are alive the monk wasn’t lying.”
“Nope, not like his vows of celibacy.”
The laugh that came out of Jonny Power, former hero of Canada, was from the very toes. “True dat. So how can I help you?”
How could she word this, as they moved up the line and ordered their XL double doubles and moved to a small table in a corner. Susan noted that his usual super heroic attire had been replaced by hiking boots, jeans, a Habs hoody and leather coat. Definitely would not be recognized as the hero of a nation, the only guy that went toe to toe with Superman and came up with a draw. The one that was at the centre of the explosion of Excalibur, and all that was scratched was the loss of one eye (and six months in traction, but it kind of detracts from the story).
“It’s simple Jon, Clay and Tigorr are alive.”
* * * * *
Subject B feels the straps dig into him. Leather, but with metal spikes that pierce his skin, a skin that normally heals but the spikes inside him hold tight so the syringe can extract samples.
The hunch backed and monocle doctor laughs.
End Part One
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