Monday, July 1, 2013

Co-Created by the Mystery Man: Chapter Two

Twisted branches climbed out from the window's center a hundredth of a second before they pushed forward, raining sheets of sparkling glass into the now-lit office. Mystery Man pulled his fingers off the round bulb, and tumbled against the wall on which the window once stood. He reached into his chest and pulled out a small handgun and a pair of binoculars which had been hastily fashioned onto a series of twisting tubes. He peered into one end, wrapping the other around the window frame and out into the night.

"Let me out! I want out!" Fists hammered the closet doors. "Let me out, now. I ain't want to die here. Please, come on, I'll do anything. Let me—"

Mystery Man rolled his eyes and leaped beyond the broken window. Thyme's pathetic pleas were behind him now. Before him was the city, its streets rushing up to greet him. Without panic he&mash;

"What the hell. What the hell? Guy, guy, dude, author, I can't fly. You know I can't fly. Why the fuck did you make me jump out the god damn window? I'm going to die. You killed me, you stupid sonofa—"

—replaced the bizarre binoculars within the depths of his costume and emerged with an equally strange gun firmly in hand. He pointed it up and pulled the trigger. There was a crash and a hiss as a torpedo swam through the cloud of gunpowder smoke. Its fang made short work of the building's outer walls, blasting a pair of spikes from its sides for extra grip. The black cable being towed along suddenly snapped and became rigid. At once there was a reeling whine, and the would-be hero found himself being hauled towards the distant rooftop, his target now visible to the naked eye.

"You need to start warning me before you do crazy shit," Mystery Man quipped as he kicked against the wall. "Seriously, write it on a notebook or something so I at least know what to expect. I trust you and all, but you're just doing this on the fly and I am not having very much fun."

Like a shadow, Mystery Man silently scaled up the wall. He—

"And who's going to pay for that repair? There's a huge hole in the wall now. And I might have dropped that harpoon thingy. That won't hit anyone down there, will it?"

—spotted his prey beating a hasty retreat. With the knowledge that no innocents would be maimed by his careless actions, Mystery Man was free to think only of the pursuit. Gravel crunched as he dashed over the roof, cutting his way towards the edge. Without a second thought he jumped, briefly becoming a silhouette over the moon before rolling into a tight landing on the shorter building head. He&mash;

"I reach for the trusty handgun in my pit. No time to admire its bizarre yellow and black paint job, my target is getting away. Not for long. I take aim as I dash over buildings, squaring the sights between his shoulders. With a smirk I pull down, watching with satisfaction as the bee buzzes out. It fies fast and steady, stinging him just below the neck. It's so pretty. You should see it. Like the Fourth of July. Or Pikachu or something. I didn't know this shit really happened. I mean look at it! He's all wrapped up in little blue lightning bolts! It's like a web of electricity is just all over—he's down. He's still alive, right? Did I—is he dead?"

Knowing full well that his enemy had only been stunned by the shock bullet, Mystery Man moved quickly. He returned the gun to its otherworldly holster and found a pair of handcuffs which made short work of the would-be assassin's free hands. Another pair for the ankles. The man, dressed in plain clothes and a ski mask, turned a frightened eye upon our hero.

"Hey, wait. Th-this is my job. What the hell are you doing?"

Mystery Man stood over him, the full moon beaming proudly at his back. "You're my job."

"Wait. No. You can't. I'm part of the Guild, you hear? You can't touch me! They'll take you down, man. All the way to Hell."

With a smile Mystery Man grabbed a shotgun from his infinite armory. "Let's see if we can go a bit deeper."

The gun's nose prodded at the assassin's forehead. With a nudge it tugged away the mask, revealing the man's frightened face. His eyes flicked impatiently, sweat poured down his cheek. Words mixed with dry heaves as the gun traces down his lip.

"You're just an intern," Mystery Man said, placing a heavy foot on the man's shoulder. "Where's Nudist? This was his gig."

The man spat, or tried to. What he really did was cover his right cheek in sparkling, white goo. "I talk I'm dead. I'd rather you just be dead."

The gun pressed into his cheek. "You don't talk you're dead. Maybe you should talk."

"Either way, I'm dead."

"Sounds like."

"Fuck you."

With a sigh, Mystery Man returned the gun to whence it came. He bent down and grabbed the man up by the collar of his jacket, hauling him up over his shoulder like a potato sack.

"Where are you taking me?" the man asked, nearly sobbing.

Mystery Man marched over to the edge of the building, surveying the streets below. It was late, but the trucks didn't seem to mind. They roared and rumbled through the city, dutifully pulling their loads. Mystery Man stepped one foot out onto the short wall separating gravity and himself. He bounced the man on his shoulder playfully.

"What are you doing?" The man demanded, squirming wildly. "Stop!"

"Police."

"What?"

"Couldn't you have written him smarter?" Mystery Man glanced up into the sky. "I'm taking you to the cops, bud. That's what we do with killers."

"Y-you're joking."

"Nope."

"But you're—"

"Retired."

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