Sifu was right, I only could only train for so long. Tomassi and his people were all running around and knew I had already made an attempt against them. It was only a matter of time before they came after me. I wanted to be ready and wanted to make sure I was good enough. And to test to see if I was good enough, I tried something completely stupid.
I made my way back to Century Storage. I didn't spend time talking to the owner and made my way straight for the locker itself. I threw open the locker and just short of ran into it. I made my way to the box where I grabbed the first piece and opened it. I plunged my hand in and my arm started to shake again. 'You really want to do this again?' I asked myself, 'Throw your life into harm over just a little bit of revenge?'
The voice was mine but it didn't feel like me talking. “This isn't about revenge.” I said to myself as my hand gripped tight onto what was in the first junk box. 'It's not?' The voice asked, 'What you're planning isn't revenge?' I said nothing, I tried to block the voice out. 'Then what is it Chase?' It was demanding to know, 'What could possibly be so great a cause that you would go through this much pain and sacrifice so much?' It was becoming clearer what that voice was that spoke in my mind. 'Thrills? Notoriety? What is it that you would risk dying for?' My hand moved out of the box slowly. “None of that...” I said, “It was never about that and I knew that...” I held my hand in front of me as I looked on at what I held in my hand. It was a piece of cloth. One that I had worn for years and knew all too well. It had two holes in it and anyone who saw it knew what it was exactly. A mask.
More importantly, it was the mask to something much greater and something that would be the be the change my Sifu was talking about. I looked at it smiling, my arm had stopped shaking and I felt like a part of me was starting to come back. “Well...” I said as I turned my gaze to the other boxes labeled “junk.” “Looks like tonight's gonna be a fun night.” I said with a smile.
The night air felt good through my hair. Even for as wrong as the city was, it looked good at night. The lights covered up the blemishes it had. I looked at myself and couldn't believe how good it was to be in the suit again. The gloves, the tactical top with sectioned Kevlar pieces, the boots and the hoodie; especially the hoodie. The tail end of it; despite it not being that long, still whipped lightly in the wind. I reached back and grabbed what I had stashed between my belt and my pants. The mask. I held the mask in my hand and memories came rushing back.
The memories were short lived however; I shook my head and tried to clear it. A part of me still argued with me about doing this and all I could think about was how I already dug the suit out.
I tried to shut out any voice in my head. What was coming wasn't Chase Marquez, the guy with the mind three years behind, or the ace reporter who had a fiance. No, the one who came was the one who would find out who killed my brother. And it meant I had to delve back into the nightmare.
I slipped the mask on my face and like that I was gone. “Feels good.” I said. A scream interrupted me and at once I smirked, “Let's see if I still got it.”
The scream came from nearby and as I ran across the edge of the roof I had prepared myself for the jump and possible fall. One, two, three rooftops finished in a moment, then I stood above something I thought had went out of style. A small group of men had cornered a woman into the alley. I smirked as I looked above them and grabbed something from the back of my belt. “Game on.” I said before jumping from the roof. I had dropped some feet and the ground was coming close before I threw the hook I withdrew from the back of my belt. It latched on and I thanked god for that. I landed as one tried to go after the woman. The noise the boots made as they hit the ground surprised them. I could've been quieter, but I didn't want to.
“The hell's up with this idiot?” One of the men asked, five of them, each one was varied in size and shape. 'What better way to warm up?' I thought as I looked at each of them. They soon decided that I wasn't worth their time, well most of them anyway. One kept glancing at me and I recognized that look. I started with him.
I dashed, and once close enough jumped and knocked the one who kept glancing at me in the head with a flying side kick. I landed and rolled forward to stand in front of the woman. She said something, I didn't listen. One came in from the side with a wild right. His arm was dislocated soon after and thrown into the next one near by which I followed up with a kick to the face of the man I had thrown one of them into. One of them tried to run, he didn't get far after I had thrown one of the lids of the trashcans at his legs. I picked up another one and blocked one of the punches from one of the bigger men with it.
The punch dented the lid but it caused a loud bang when I bashed the side of it against his head. It threw him off guard and I followed up with a scissors lock to his legs. Took him to the ground and rolled so I was in the right position to kick him in the face to knock him out. I got up and walked over to the one who tried to run. He tried; poorly, to crawl away. I kicked him over and stepped on his chest. “You know who I am don't you?” My voice was deeper, gruffer. I tried to come across like a stone on sandpaper. He nodded. “Good.” I said stepping off his chest, “Tell them...everyone who can and even won't listen to a scumbag like you.” I knelt down and grabbed his face to look at me, “Time's up for everyone of you.” I told him, “The dream you've all been living without me is over. The Nightmare has returned.” I got up and kicked him back to his stomach and he took the opportunity to get up and hobbled away as fast as he could.
“Thank you.” A voice said weakly, I turned and saw the woman who could've had something very bad happen to her. I shook my head,
“You don't have to thank me.” I told her, “Take Keane street, it's well lit and the cops have a unit patrolling every few hours. I suggest you call some for these guys.”
“Who are you?” She asked, I shook my head; so few people ever got the concept of the mask.
“No one.” I told her, “This is just a Nightmare.” And with that I took off. It was a fun first step. It let them know that the game had begun. I had no intention of losing either.