Prologue + Chapter 1
Case File #117
James Woods hated his job. He was a night watchman at a maximum-security prison on Syn Island. James stood at about 6 foot 2 (182 cm), had black hair and a very denim based fashion sense. It wasn’t the angry convicts incarcerated for ruthless crimes against humanity that put him off. It was criminals that should be put away for ruthless crimes against humanity who tried to free their ‘brethren’ every night that did it. In his own words, “There is only so much shit you’re willing to take for $12 an hour, and I’d filled the quota at the start of my second shift.”
Incidentally, his second shift started 4 months, 6 hours and 47.3 minutes ago.
On several occasions since that day, Mr. Woods had headed up to the head office to resign his position as night watchman but, unfortunately for him, an uprising had started almost every time he reached the door. On the one occasion he made it into the office and handed the head of the prison his letter of resignation, the head was killed and the letter burnt to a crisp by a large bomb which exploded in the office. The head of the prison at the time had a fascination with unexploded bombs, and spent most of his life collecting them. His last purchase was a dud, as far as unexploded bombs went. Special mention of the irony was made at the funeral of the delivery boy.
I feel it is not an inappropriate time to mention that the prison where James Woods works houses criminals with supernatural powers and there are only six prisoners. The attempts to break them out have had very little to do with him. He does, however, feel that it’s the principle of the thing that matters. The thing, of course being that he works in a place that gets attacked on a near daily basis. Well, this is, of course, just what he would say if ever asked. The truth is that he dislikes his job because he has to guard a man named Warren Barclay Aka Comfort Zone (a name that makes less sense when you find out why he’s there). Comfort Zone’s power is that he can make the people around him see whatever he wants them to see. (Warren came up with his villain name himself ... to date no one knows why.) So you could be standing in your office, but if Comfort Zone is there you could think you were standing on a beach in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of a hell fire. Fortunately for Mr. Woods, Comfort Zone’s power cannot hurt you. If you are standing in the before mentioned hell fire, you won’t heat up or burn. Of course, no one ever told this to James. This is why we all feel that it was at the start of his second shift that he blames his hatred for his job. In case you were wondering, at the start of his second shift is when he first started guarding Mr. Barclay. When James says, “Work was hell today!” most people who know him take it as a sort of fact.
This brings us to the start of our story, which, sadly, doesn’t have too much more to do with Mr. Woods or Comfort Zone. Our story today starts in a bar on the edge of Syn Island, in the middle of a long morning. Sitting at the bar with his head in his hands, feeling very sorry for himself, is our hero, known to many as Jones and to very, very few as... well on second thoughts I’m not going tell you. If I did it wouldn’t be known to very, very few would it? It would be known to many. Anyway, our hero had rather a late one last night and is about to wake up.
The doors to the dockside pub were thrown open as a disgruntled man walked through them shouting, “I’ve had enough! I’m just not going in tomorrow.” Slamming his hand on the bar he called out, “Bartender, I need a strong drink, NOW!”
The man was about 6 foot 2, and dressed mostly in denim. Jones woke with a start, leapt to his feet and punched the shouting man in the jaw before he really realised where he was or what he was doing. As the man in question fell to the floor Jones took the opportunity to leave without paying and head back to his office.
Jones or rather Mr. Jones (which makes you think, doesn’t it?) was a private investigator, and quite a good one at that. Well, normally. He had gotten himself into one of those slumps PI’s get into from time to time. He had no real reason for it other than that he had been in the game for a few years now and felt it was time. He had been in the slump for about a week now, and was getting rather bored with the whole idea. He spent his time in either his office waiting for ‘that one case that changes your life’ to walk through the door, or in the pub talking to the piano player and getting drunk. Occasionally he would sigh and say something along the lines of, “If I don’t get out of this slump, there’s going to be a lot of scotch in my future.”
He was never really sure why he said this, and neither was the pianist. Jones didn’t drink scotch. But both of them would simply let the comment pass as one of those things PIs say when in the slump, likewise when the pianist would say, “You’ve gotten out of worse situations than this, Mr. Jones. Remember the Wakens incident?”
Being that he had only met Jones a week ago when the slump started. But that never stopped them quietly nodding their heads in silent affirmation.