The time passed and the nights got easier. I was glad at the progress I was able to make getting back to the way I was. The nights had their fill and the low-levels never left me with a desire for more. But I knew I had to do more. I was going to have to sooner than I had planned but that was what made me the way I was the first time.
I got off the elevator with a smile as I walked in my white button-up and blue slacks. It was definitely abuzz more so than how it was the days I had worked there. I had told Oliver that I was cleared to come in. He practically screamed through the phone to get me back. Apparently there was a lot of buzz going on about some guy in a mask running around at night beating up guys who were allegedly committing crimes. I had to hold back my smile as I walked into work. It felt good seeing that this is what I caused back then.
“Back from the grave,” A voice said behind me, “Gotta admit you look good after being M.I.A. for so long.” I turned and saw the girl from the front, I later learned her name was Bridget but I didn't know what she was doing there at the time.
“Thanks Bridge,” I said, “What are you doing here?”
“Heard you were making a come back, I wanted to see everything was alright.” She explained,
“Well as you can see.” I said with a smirk as I held my arms out, “I am completely fine.”
“Yes, yes you are.” She said with a small smile of her own. I ignored it.
“MARQUEZ!” I turned and saw Oliver as he made a b-line for Bridget and I. I stood there, acting as if I was surprised he would make his way toward me like that.
“Whoa Chief, everything alright?” He scoffed,
“Alright?!” He exclaimed, “Nightmare returns after years and my paper is getting scooped by every other paper in town.” He said to men, “Can anyone explain to me how that's possible!?”
“Nightmare?” I asked, “Are rappers really getting that lazy with names these days?” Bridget chuckled lightly,
“You don't know who Nightmare is Chase?” She asked, “He's been around for years.”
“I moved around a lot and did some travel back in school. Humor me.” I told her.
“Well from what I know Nightmare was the name of a vigilante that operated in this town.” She stated, “Did everything from stopping purse snatchers to even taking down some high profile criminals, even had a partner from some of the reports but -.” I didn't want to hear about that part in particular.
“So a nutcase with a messiah complex who thought he was Batman?”
“Don't you speak that trash about Nightmare in my building Marquez.” Oliver said, “That man has done so much for this city and he's come back. I applaud it.”
“I'm sure.” I said to him,
Oliver opened his mouth to speak but held up a hand to tell me to wait a moment and held a hand to his ear. “Marquez, Downtown.” He said to me, “Robbery has become a hostage situation and we already have two downed police officers.” I looked to Bridget confused,
“How'd he know that?”
“Bluetooth police scanner.” She replied, “You gave it to him at last years Christmas party remember?”
“Must've been a re-gift situation.” I said, Oliver turned to me confused,
“Marquez what are you still doing here?” He asked, “Go, go, go!” He said, “Take one of the shutterbugs with you.”
“Got my own camera chief.” I said before taking off.
“Keep an eye out, Nightmare is bound to show up.”
“I'll make sure of it.” I said before I entered the elevator with a smirk.
“Hell of a way to make the comeback public Chase.” I said to myself. Getting to the top of the building was no easy task. I had to hop an elevator of an adjacent building and avoid the police that were making their holds in case the thieves turned hostage takers decided they wanted to get to higher ground. I had to put on the suit and ditch my bag in the other building. I made my way to the ventilation shaft and went down, trying not to get myself killed by either alerting the people who were there to my presence or just by hitting the ground to hard. 'TV dinner nothing.' I thought to myself as I crawled through the shaft as noiselessly as possible.
I was able to get in, landing somewhere in the ladies bathroom. I got in there as I heard some voices. Obviously they were the thieves, they spoke in an oddly militaristic fashion. It wasn't like I could play the stealth card in there. What helped however is that there were just two in there which made it easier to take them out of the equation. I took their headset and hoped doing that would help me keep track of them. “12, 10, report.” Someone said over the comm. '12...10...you guys okay up there?”
'So much for it this being simple?' I asked myself as I tried to slink through the halls of the bank. I reached one of the rooms which was used as the bank directors office and saw two people staring out the windows guns at the ready.
I sneaked in to the men and got a cocky. One of them turned. “BREACH! WE HAVE A BREACH!” He yelled. I struck that one in the face and kicked the other in the leg to knock him down while I disarmed and knocked him out as I struck him in the head with the butt of his gun. I took the mag out of the gun and saw the bullets they were using were Teflon.
“Six, eight, report. What is the breach?” The voice over the comm. asked. “Six? Eight?”
“All units! Converge on the directors office!”
'Damnit.' I thought as I tried to think of something I could do and quickly. I began to rummage over the bodies of the men I just knocked out and took some of the things they had in their tactical vests. 'This may be something.'
Nine men stormed the room, guns drawn and no target save for the two men that were propped up next to each other back to back. “Sir, six and eight have been neutralized.” One of the men said, “No breach has been detect-?” Two cans dropped to the ground and exploded in large amounts of gas. I dropped down soon after and began to attack each of them. After three went down their guns began to go off. A few grazed through the suit and definitely caused some pain. My wind was getting low. I hadn't completely gotten to the way I was before my break. The smoke began to clear and I was able to knock down the last two that I had thought were dealt with.
'two, four, seven, ten, two in the bathroom...wait.'
'Damnit!' A gun was pressed to the back of my head and even through the mask I could feel the heat of the muzzle. “I can't believe it, it's really you.” A voice said behind me, “When they were talking about how you came back I had no idea I was going to get to be the one to take you out.”
“You really think so?” I asked in my Nightmare voice.
“I took out some cops already, and I'm the one pressing the gun to your head.” He said with a weird cackle in his voice. “So I think the odds ar-?!” I ducked down and sent myself flying back into the gunman knocking him down with me on top of him.
“What was that?” I asked, “Sounded like you were about to say something.” I said turning quickly and disarming him and placing my knee on the man's throat. He looked up at me scared and I just smirked.
The police flooded the office only to find the gunmen all disarmed and still unconscious from the fight with me. No doubt they took them into custody and didn't find out that the leader was the only one missing until later. That was their worry for later however. “AAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!” He yelled as I held him over the ledge of the building as I held the man up by only a single line from my grapnel line.
“Arms are getting tired. Better tell me what I want to know.” I said as I held the line loosely. If I had let go the fall would've killed him.
“Y-ya-you won't kill me man!” He yelled from over the edge, “You got rules, everyone knows it!” I let out a low growl and pulled him back up.
He laid on the ground his leg must have hurt like hell and the blood had to have rushed to his head. I walked over and kicked him in the side. “Listen, I gave you a chance to save some face from those other pieces of scum out there. You would've told them you were scared I was going to kill you and told me out of fear.” I said to him before squatting down to his level, “Now you're just going to tell me what I want to know, understand?” He looked like I was crazy, “I just took out twelve of your friends and not a drop of blood right?” I asked him, “What do you think I'm capable of with just you and my full attention?” My point was made, “Cop killers.” I said reaching behind me and pulling out the mag I pocketed from the first of the gunmen I disarmed, “Where and who?”
“I-I-I don't know him.” He said, “I put out the word that I was planning a job an-and he just popped up said he could supply me with some artillery.”
“Where?” I asked,
“Darry's.” He told me and I lowered my hand to rest on my knees, “All I got was the guy said to call him Link or some bull like that.”
“Teflon's hard to come by these days, how'd he get it?” I asked,
“Said he had some hook up, I didn't ask just paid him and that was it.”
“Good boy.” I said with a smirk, “Wasn't so hard now was it?” He shook his head weakly and I got up walked a little bit and then kicked him in the head, knocking him out. 'I was wondering when I would get to go back there.' I thought to myself with a slight smirk as I pulled out the cell this guy had on him and called Stonehurst PD, I was sure that there were some officers who'd love to have another name to the list of killers.
It was late and I was in “Satan's Bathroom”. It was the slums of Stonehurst and made Detroit look bearable in comparison. I rode the bike in, gave something for the people to look at as I drove by. I normally liked doing things quietly but this was the one place that needed to know that I was back. I had to admit to myself that it felt good to be back there. Dealers ran and homeless chased me. It was like a family reunion.
I wasn't there to reminisce though. I turned off Quesada and Miller which basically was a large passage of alleys with stores inside them for some reason and a few of them weren't littered with squatters. I stopped in front of a place with a faulty neon sign flickering on and off at some of the letters. “Darry's” was the name of the place I parked the bike in front of and aside from stale beer and the nastiest pros that even the most desperate wouldn't have touched, it was the only place you could find anything you needed for a job. Guns, women, booze, drugs, you name it someone in there could get it for you for the right price. So it made good sense this would be the place to find this guy called, “Link.”
I got off the bike and walked up to the front door. It didn't look any different on the outside, a mass of dark brick, stained with graffiti and piss stains. It was an odd feeling, but I was kind of happy about that. The door swung open and two people walked out. Well more like someone dragged another. The door man was new, so was the drunk but it was the same principle down to the visual. Bouncer was big with more emphasis on having an intimidating size which was kind of held back with the bulging stomach. The bouncer threw the drunk; who skidded a few feet, “Hope the concrete reminds you not to touch the girls and pay your tab.” He said with a cross of his arms.
I ignored the sight and began to walked to the bar. The bouncer stopped me after he placed his hand on my shoulder. “There a problem?” I asked looking at the man.
“This ain't no comic store kid.” He told me,
“Thanks for the warning.” I said as I knocked his hand off my shoulder and tried to go in again. This time the guy got in front of me.
“Can't take a hint?” He asked, “You ain't going in.” I scowled at the guy,
“I was going to let you go because you're new. Don't test me buddy.”
“What's a little freak like you gonna do?”
Sinatra played inside, I could hear it from out there and I knew the people there were doing what they were there to do: Drink and be complete idiots. Guess you could say I was there to do the same.
The peace was disrupted after the doorman was knocked through the door, I came in slowly after him. I walked in, focusing on the doorman as he tried to use his legs to push away on his back as he clutched his arm in pain. A small smile played across my face. “Anything else you'd like to say?” I asked. The man growled and was about to spout off more colorful language until I struck him in his face, he went out like a light and I stood up. The smile still on my face
I looked around and saw what I always enjoyed every time I came to step foot in Darry's. The looks of people who thought I was crazy, thought I was after them and the sight of a number of them tensing and stirring. A few started to shake as well and that made me smile more because that meant one thing: Some of them remembered.
I held my arms out to the sides, I already knew what was coming next and actually waited for it. “Come and get some guys.” I said.
Several jumped from their seats and rushed from the bar they stood and few even broke the bottles they held. One rushed in, led with his bottle. I stepped to the side, avoiding the bottle and grabbed the arm and used the momentum of his dash at me and threw him into one of the men who thought they could sneak up on me. I was a little disappointed that they thought that would work.
Three more decided to try their luck and I was happy to show them how it truly was. They were drunk which meant hitting them had to be harder than normal. One must have thought he was a boxer, it was quite funny to have seen the man stumble after a couple of the steps. I shook my head as the man came in with a right cross, avoiding the punch with a twist was easy enough and coming up with an under hooking left uppercut. It knocked him off balance, which I followed with a right straight to the same place, his jaw was more than likely broken.
One came from behind, after a kick to the man's chest I used the momentum of bringing my leg back and kneed the man I punched and knocked him into the other. The third one that came in was the guy I had kicked previously, He came in trying to kick my face. I ducked into a low stance and rushed into the man's open lower body, uprooted the guy causing him fall to the ground and finall I kicked him in the face to finish him off. It was too easy with drunks and honestly was a little boring.
Another came up ready for another punch. I thought I was ready for it, I didn't count on them working in tandem however. One came up behind me and grabbed me in a full nelson. The punch from the other man connected and I remembered why I never thought it was easy in fights. I got sloppy and let them do that. That pissed me off. Another punch came but I allowed that one to hit before I slammed my heel into the shin of the man holding me. With that the third punch came and with the extra leverage I got from the slack from the man who held me I moved and the punch hit the guy holding me. He finally let me go, jumped in the air and kneed the man who punched me in the chest before I did a reverse spin kick to the man who held me and knocked him down.
I knew I had to stop playing around and got into a stance. The smart ones ran, the stupid ones circled me and I thought it was going to be one of those nights.
Everyone ducked and I was the only one who relaxed and stood upright. “Everyone off the ground and either leave or get back to drinking.” The voice still sounded like the same fifty pack smokin' fool I had dealt with for so long. Still looked like Bogart if he had gotten in an argument with a switchblade too. “Was wonderin' when you'd show your sorry ass again.” He said the gun now leveled at me, “It's been a while hasn't it.”
“It has Darry.” I said, it was a canon and he could take me out with it if I weren't careful. “Need info, you have it. I don't feel like spending the rest of my night swimming with the filth you serve here.” There was a moment of silence before he lowered the gun and I gave a sigh of relief. He turned and walked to the back and I followed. I ignored as the people still on the ground watched as I followed him, they didn't try anything for the rest of that night.
I knew Darry wouldn't try anything, while most don't actually follow the whole honor deal Darry followed it to the t; You could see it in the faded old clothes he wore. He worked under a set of rules I had always respected and he respected how I operated with one stipulation: I scratched his back and he scratched mine. Anytime I visited here I left the scum alone and he supplied me with the info that was going to be pertinent to what I was working on. He gave me a pass for that whole scene, I had guessed he wanted them to know I was back as much as I did.
“Not one of them pulled a gun.” I said as I leaned against the wall of his office.
“You left, I lost a safety net. Had them start checkin' their pieces.” He explained, “If not these guys would've blasted for the tiniest thing.” He taped his thigh, “Month after you left caught one right here.”
“Sorry, didn't realize how badly much our arrangement was beneficial to you as well.”
“Bite me kid.” He said, “We ain't the type for pleasantries, it's what made talkin' to you tolerable for all those years.” He added before asking, “What do you want?”
“Someone supplied the group who attempted to rob the bank today with Teflon. Told me they came from someone who called himself Link, got'em from here.”
“Teflon's huh?” He said, “After those shootings three years ago, they're pretty much impossible to get round here.” He told me.
“The fact that the bullets were Teflon were never made public.” I said,
“You and I both know cops don't keep their mouths shut. It was made public later on.” He retorted, “But then again, one could argue that them being illegal in general would be reason enough to keep them from getting into punks' hands don't you think?”
“They don't actively search for them with enough ferocity to make them virtually extinct within the city.” I said crossing my arms. “Anyone with enough cash could've easily bought them out of town...but what I want to know is who the guy that sold them.” I added, “Got any ideas on how to help with that?”
Darry went to his desk and tapped something under it and almost instantly the wall I leaned against started to shift. The wall opened up and out came a console with several monitors showing different vantage points throughout the bar. Darry walked over to the main console and began typing into the keyboard that looked like it was a screen itself to me. 'The age we live in.' I thought to myself. “Give me the time-frame you want and maybe we could try to find who you're looking for.”
I gave him all of what the punk told me and he typed in what he could. We went through several files before something caught my eye. “Pause it.” I told him.
“What's up?” I tapped the screen and my finger rested on the image of the punk I interrogated. He was talking to someone just off to the corner, close to off screen.
“Can you blow this up for me?”
“With what those people who pay me out there do you think I can afford that kind of stuff?” He asked me with a scoff.
“Give me the file.” I told him. He pulled out a thumb-drive and he took downloaded the video to it for me. I took it and began my walk out. “I'll be back.”
“I'll warn my security.” He said with a smirk.
About an hour or so later I was at Gabriel's Point. Gabriel’s Point was the mountain range not too far out of the city. It was the highest point and overlooked Stonehurst. Aesthetically it was quite pleasing to look at. Fortunately though, Stonehurst doesn't have many in the way of nature observers; at least not this far into winter. I pulled out a phone I lifted from one of the punks I took care of back at Darry's and dialed a number. What I was going to do then was dumb but I had to try it at least. I didn't call but I sent a message. I hoped he would understand once he got it.
Soon after a pair of halogen lights shone on me from a truck that was pulling up, 'That's a new one.' I thought to myself as I stayed to the bike looking outwards. “I prayed this would be for something else” He said as he got out of the truck and walked over to me. “I really did, maybe something like you were gonna give me the costume realizing it was a bad idea to even attempt this again.” I didn't look at Houston, just held up the drive Darry gave me.
“I need you to look at something for me officer.” I used the Nightmare voice when I talked to him.
“No, no, no, no.” Houston said, “I'm not doing this again Chase, you and I both know it's not going to happen.”
“This drive holds the identity of the man who sold the Teflon bullets to the gunmen of today's attempted heist.” I told him, “It holds the identity of the man basically responsible for the deaths of two police officers and the injuries of the other officers.” I didn't know why at the time but I was getting upset having to say this to Houston of all people, “I didn't expect I'd have to convince you about this-!” A punch came from the, blocking it was easy enough but I didn't get ready for a follow up.
“That's the other thing!” He was getting angry, “You went into that building with nothing but this! It's a miracle you weren't hurt.”
“Bullets nearly missed my head, hit my arms and legs. That enough to show you that I could use some help on this one officer, no?”
“Not again Chase.” He said, it was beginning to sound like an echo. “I told you I wouldn't help again and I won't.” The door to his truck slammed and he drove off. I stood there quiet as he drove off. 'Damnit...' I thought as I reached back and pulled out my own cellphone, 'Hope we're good enough friends for this to work.' I thought to myself as I held my phone to my head and tossed the other one behind me. “Hey Davey, how are you doing man?” I asked, “Yeah, I know it's late but hey, you think you can help me out with something? It's for a lead...yeah I'll see you tomorrow to drop off the thing, good?” I got back on the bike and started it to take off. Tomorrow was going to be another day.