|| Brookside ||
|| Midnight ||
|| Co-Post With @Hitman ||
It was at a construction site, near the docks of Brookside. The night was cool and damp. There weren't that many people on this side of town at this time of night. All according to plan...Or, according to what the plan was supposed to be. It was only meant to be a raid. The cops were busy on the other side of town, and the storage containers were relatively unguarded thanks to having a man on the inside. No attention, meant no hero interference.
They’d declare this to be their turf, establish their gang amongst the others, and a new gang would be born, the Barbarians. It would’ve been the perfect plan...Except they didn’t account for one detail. That missing detail cost them everything.
Phillip ‘Vermin’ Reed, the head of this little operation. Mud covered the rugged man’s face and hands as he used them to weakly drag himself from the scene. Around him was only barely short of a massacre.
Weapons were tossed about randomly. Some taken apart, others broken, and some firearms that didn’t even have a chance to be fired. Bodies littered the ground and near the surrounding equipment. They were either unconscious, writhing in pain, or even completely paralyzed, staring around at their surroundings in shock from the ground.
The battle here, had already been had. Decided in the span of a few minutes. The Hood wasn’t supposed to be real. The guy was a urban legend; one of those creepy lasagnas or whatever the kids called them. The ghost of a hero killed by the Brookside streets. He was only supposed to be a story told to keep dumbass kids from doing shit they weren’t supposed to.
Reed was making a trail in the mud, both of his legs weren’t listening to him. He didn’t think they were broken, but he couldn’t feel them. What kind of freaky shit was this?
Closely behind him, drifted a hooded figure. The shadows clung to his body as his cloak swayed softly with the wind. If it weren’t for the glimmers of the moonlight between the clouds, he’d be almost impossible to see. Which worked fairly well to his advantage.
As he heard the ghastly shadow’s footsteps come closer, he recalled the stories of the past. Rumor had it that only those with the most dastardly of deeds was who he took away. Then, in turn, those taken would never be heard from again. While he went through a laundry list of the things he had done, he found himself suddenly pulled up from the ground. His legs limply hung underneath his torso as the man dare not struggle.
He stared into the void of darkness, only able to make out a vaguely brown-skinned nose and mouth. “You’ve done a lot of things, Mister Reed. The streets call you Vermin because you’re a dirty slimeball whose willing to rat out his own to weasel in and out of trouble. Let’s put that to the test.”
The Hood held Vermin by the wrist, to which the man quickly tried to shield his arm.
“Please! I have a family!” The man cried. It was hard to read the mannerisms of The Hood through his darkened features. Without warning, Vermin’s four right fingers snapped like crackers, breaking little bones he didn’t even know were in there, causing the man to squeal in pain.“Spare me the lies. You sold them out a long time ago, just like you do everyone else.”
The man didn’t protest, but merely growled, foiled. All the while, The Hood pulled a bronze pendant from his pocket with an embezzled double-star on it.“You’ve seen it before. I want the name that goes with it.”
Police sirens were slowly fading into the area. The Hood seemed to snarl under his breath. “If you want your limbs working proper when you go to jail, you’ll talk quickly.”
Vermin weighed his options. “They call ‘im the Red Baron. Scary guy; works in the sneaky corners of Kingsdale. Rumor has it he works for one of the rich fucks living up there. Wherever that trinket is found, bodies are close by.” The Hood let his body slump to the ground and he clenched his eyes shut, as if waiting for more things to be broken.
“Come on man! That’s all I know. I’ll go with the pigs! Just don’t make me disappear!” He pleaded one last time, but when he opened his eyes, the guy was gone. Nowhere to be seen. Yet, he heard the police sirens getting louder, and he slouched to the ground with a small sigh.
Well, looks like the rumors were true. Ya learn something new every day.
On a rooftop overlooking the scene was where The Hood had vanished to, walking off with the newly acquired info surrounding this Red Baron. Just the thought of the guy made his blood boil, more than it already had. The fact that he apparently had business with Kingsdale made the search window much smaller, but it didn’t make it any easier. Background checking through all the names would take forever, but he’d do it if he had to….He owed it to them.
Standing at the edge of the rooftop was the tall, muscled, unmistakable silhouette of Hugo Powers. He was standing precariously on the eaves of the apartment building, clad in a formal black suit, his shirt unbuttoned, showing the edges of a tattoo and a gold necklace with a locket on the end dangling there loosely. His arms were folded over his chest, his deep brown eyes finding their way over to the Hood. He stood there silently for a few moments, contemplating his words, before eventually speaking. ”So you’re the one that calls himself the Hood, then? It’s nice to be able to meet you. In the flesh.”
The Hood stopped, unnerved that he let his thoughts get in the way of monitoring his surroundings. His head turned in the direction of the ever so famous Hugo Powers of the HERO organization. There were many mixed emotions over seeing this man. Rage nestled with silent admiration, and disappointment with a familial sense of respect. However, The Hood couldn’t let his past lack of action see the man in a more favorable light.“What do you want…?””I think it’s pretty obvious what I want, vigilante. Or should I call you Zhaire? Zy?”
Powers watched Zhaire closely, his large figure looming over Zhaire, who was tall in it of itself. ”I’ve seen your capabilities. I’ve seen what you can do. I want you to come to HERO.”
He tapped his foot, arms still crossed. ”I want you go to down the right path.”
Zhaire bit the inside of his cheeks upon hearing his own name. Figures the man would know who he was. Something told him that he wouldn’t have popped up here for nothing. He’d save the runaround of pretending not to be the vigilante for someone else. Thus, Zy pulled the hood from his head, brown eyes piercing into those dark ass sunglasses. How blunt Hugo was about it kind of took him aback, but he didn’t show it much.”The ‘right path’ huh?”
The younger man scoffed. ”What has the right path done for me so far?”
Powers pursed his lips. ”You have reason to distrust me. I have made mistakes in the past. And I admire what you’ve set out to do. But right now what you’re doing is skirting the law. I’m giving you an opportunity to get out of this vigilante bullshit and help make a bigger impact.”
Zhaire crossed his arms in similar fashion, the two standing across in a mirror like fashion. Young and determined clashed with aged and experienced. He was right that Zy damn well had reason to mistrust him. He was also right that he was skirting the law, because to be frank, sometimes the law just didn’t get the job done.
Still, he’d want to avoid a direct confrontation with Hugo in the future. Perhaps it was the kid in him that still looked up to the war hero in some ways. With that, maybe he’d be able to get more information related to his search for the Red Baron.”For the sake of blood, and the people of these streets, we’ll play it your way. But don’t get too comfortable.”
Zhaire conceded, letting his arms drop for his features to be consumed once again beneath the cloak. ”I’m never comfortable,”
Powers said expressionlessly, removing a piece of paper the size of an index card from his wallet and handing it to Zhaire. Written on it was a date written out, along with the address of Hero One, though anybody with half a brain could find their way there. ”I don’t intend for you to be putting on the spandex and repping HERO, but I think that the two of us can make something work. Hopefully I’ll get to see more of you soon.”
Powers turned away, looking over his shoulder again at Zhaire. ”I’ve missed you, kiddo,”
he added, his voice softening for a moment to accommodate a gentle tone, before he turned back forwards and jumped off the building. There was no impact sound on the ground. Powers just vanished.
Zy watched him and his lips twitched a bit, but nothing more than that. How he managed to pull that off with his size, weight, and sunglasses in the middle of the god damn night, the grown boy would have to decipher another day. Still, he eyed the card handed to him, debating even after the verbal agreement. All he needed was a reason. If things somehow went sideways again because of Powers’ complacence, he’d leave The Hood no choice.
Zy gave the scene he left one more glance; watching the Brookside police swarm the area before he pulled the hood back over his head. Once again consumed and concealed by the comforts of darkness...