Thousands of souls whipped through the tunnels of eternity, screaming, moaning, or crying in joy, fear, or confusion. In the middle of this hubub, a man walked across, feet slapping against the pavemant simply. He was African American, bald, with well-muscled arms and body.
Suddenly, there was a flash, and the man reappered in the mortal world, the realm of mortals. He stood, looking around, and then spoke clearly into the inky blackness of the alley.
"Come. It's time. I need you."
Immediatly black tendrils seemed to shoot out of the ground, grabbing the man, covering him, forming a second skin. When his eyes where covered, they shown out in an eery green.
"Now... it should be.. here." he said, stopping the slow gate he had adopted. The blackness covered his entire body. He looked down at a small scorch mark, still there after years... he would miss this life. Or unlife.
He raised his hands, and green energy arced forth. Suddenly the same energy shot from everywhere in the city. It collected in an emmense beacon in the sky. Most of it went to his hands, which were shaking with the power of the energy. The beacon vanished, all the energy in his hands. He raised them, shaking, to his face.
Wanda, he thought, Cyan, a tear leaking down his cheek. Then he rammed his energy filled hand into his face.
Light exploded outward, flashing around the alley. The man's hands fell to his sides, and the green light slowly faded into mist. An inhuman shriek filled the air. The man, now headless, dropped to the floor, green blood spilling.
Church jolted awake, sweat pouring down his face. He looked around frantically. The room was black. He was in bed. IV needles where imbedded in his arm.
What just happened? he thought, looking around. And why couldn't he remember who he was? Things didn't make sense. All he could remember was that his name was Church.
"What's going on?" he whispered. Suddenlly the door cracked open, just a crack. Church slumped back down, staring at the door. A nurse, a pretty redhead, strode in. Her gaze fell on Church, and she froze.
"Help me," Church gasped, his thoat suddenly raspy. Something strange, something dark, seemed to be filling his chest. What was going on?!
"He's awake," the woman whispered, then turned around as another nurse arrived. "He's awake!" she cried. The other nurse gasped, then ran.
"What?! When?! Never mind, I'll go get the doctor!" the other nurse called back. The woman continued to stare at Church. "It's the answer to my prayers..." she mumbled slowly.
"I don't understand it..." the doctor said, in his office. The nurse, along with several others, surrounded it. "When we brought him in," the doctor began, "he was a wreck, near death. Now, he's perfectly healthy. Completely healed, overnight..."
A janitor outside heard the news urgently, and reached in his pocket to pick up a phone.
"I can't believe it," the nurse said, sitting at the foot of Church's bed. He looked away. The feeling in his chest had gone away, but something was still happening, still changing, inside him. He felt like he was having a weird operation.
"I was praying, ever since they brought you in," the nurse went on. Church looked back.
"I was praying that you would wake up... healthy. And here it happened." the nurse looked up, smiling, "like a real miracle."
Church thought for a moment, then spoke. "What's your name?" he asked. Sure, it was cheesy, but it was the only thing he could think of.
She smiled some more. "Allison," she said, "people just call me Tex."
"He's awake? You're not making this up?" came the voice on the other end of the line. The janitor said yes. A cuss echoed on the other side.
"Don't you dare take this to the newspapers. Or I'll pay a little visit to your daughter. Elizabeth, I think her name was?" The Janitor froze, agreed to comply.
The phone went dead.
The man on the other side, a respected lawyer, slammed the phone, cussed again. He reached for the phone, dialed a new number.
He paused for a minute, then spoke. "Yes," he began, "you wanted to know when he was awake. Yes, I'll send the appropriate... help. Yes, I won't call again."
He hung up, scowling. Then, he reached into a drawer, pulled out a gun. Tears running down his cheeks, he pressed the barrel into his forhead.
And he pulled the trigger.
A black coated man stood outside the hospital in the rain. He stared at the sign for a while, then tossed the coat off. His body was almost completely naked, except for a loincloth and several cuffs. And his head was made of flames.
He strode into the hospital, growling.
Church stirred. He felt... something. Something strange. Raising his hands, he stared at them for a few moments. For an instant, he saw black coverings, with red gauntlets. He shook it off.
And then the feeling returned. Suddenly, he knew what it was. The nurse walked in.
"Are you okay?" she asked as he put his hands down, "there's some disturbance at the entrance-"
"We need to get out of here, now." Church rolled off the bed, standing steadily. He walked over and gently steered Tex out.
"What's going on?" she asked. And then an explosion was heard. Smoke burst into the hallways, and the flame-headed being lunged in.
Terror Demon, Church thought, I... hate... Terror Demons. For a moment he wondered how he knew what it was, and how he felt about them.
Where is he? the creature howled, maybe you could tell me...
He advanced toward Tex, who stood her ground. And then Church stepped in front of her. "Leave her alone," he said, an inhuman growl added to his voice.
The creature laughed. I'd like to see you try to stop me, puny human. It reached for him, and then something shifted inside.
His eyes began to spark and burn green. A black tar-ish substance began spreading from his legs up. He felt power course through him, power he had never felt before. He smiled as the substance covered his face. A black and white costume soon covered him. Red gauntlets emerged from his wrists. And the area around his eyes was pure white.
"Foolish demon," he growled, voice warped, "You want to dance, then let's dance!"
He thrust his hand forward. Chains sprang forth, wrapping around the creature's arms. When it pulled back, he used it as momentum to leap over, landing on it's back. He swung his gauntlets as spikes slid out, cleaving large gashes in the demon's chest. Green blood gushed forth.
It roared, and thrust it's hands foward. Church leaped up, coming down on it's other side. The chains that followed sprung spikes as well, and when they struck the creature's neck, slicing it's head off. The flame died, and the creature hit the ground, dead.
A strange whirring noise came from it. And in that instant, Church knew exactly what was going to happen next. He darted foward, lifting Tex up, and leaped out of a window.
As glass rained down, he pulled her closer, tucking in his arms and legs to shield her from the falling shards, which just bounced off him harmlessly.
They came down, Church extending his legs to touch the ground just as the hospital wing behind them exploded. Church steadied himself, then slowly let Tex down. She stood shakily, and slowly walked to join the other nurses.
Paramedics from other hospitals surrounded the place, and Church felt the energy drain out of him. The black substance slid off in the rain, and his eyes returned to normal. His eyes rolled up into his head and he collapsed.
The paramedics carried him off moments later.