Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 7

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Aa much as I wanted to run out the door to help the Punisher, there was some unfinished business to take care of here first. The fate of an innocent child was far more important to me than the fate of a man who spends his nights on a murder spree. “Why’d you take the boy,” I asked. “Are you, or one of your sons, his father?”

“What,” Cook cried, his face crinkling up in disgust. “God, no. I’ve known her since she was born. She grew up with my kids. She was like a daughter to me and a sister to my boys. It’s just that if I didn’t get him, who knows where they would’ve stuck him. I took him because I thought he should stay with family.”

I let my gaze drift over to Robert, who was studying Cook’s face. Making up his mind, he gave me a slight nod of his head. “Ok, Cook,” I said. “Here’s the deal. From now on, you’re out of the business.”

“Dallos will kill me if I try to back out.”

“After tonight, you’ll never see Dallos again, so don’t worry about it. I’m going to assume that, like McKenzie, you have a number of legitimate enterprises?” Cook nodded, so I continued, “Good. You’re going to focus on those and raising Amanda’s son. You will care for him as much as you do your own. I will have someone watching you at all times, Cook. If you do anything to hurt that boy, I’ll be back and when I get done with you, you’ll look worse than me.”

That last part put a little fear in him. I didn’t have time to stick around and press the issue. Instead, I took the elevator back downstairs and ran outside. A couple was out front about ready to climb into a taxi. Once again, my horrid appearance worked in my favor. Not only did the couple run away upon seeing me, but the driver did too. It was about time something went my way.

I punched the address McKenzie gave me for Dallos  into the GPS and gunned the engine, letting the navigation unit catch up as I went. I knew the general area fairly well, from my own time as a taxi driver, but I didn’t know exactly where. Another throwback to my taxi days was knowing the best routes to take to avoid traffic. It still took longer than I liked to get there, though.

The last few blocks were a little odd. Through the city, I moved at a frantic pace. Out here, among the large estates that made up this neighborhood, everything seemed calm and serene. I started wondering if I had come to the wrong place. That’s when the sounds of gunshots began echoing through the night sky.

A gate barred the entrance into Dallos’ estate, so I plowed the cab right through it. Or, I  attempted to, at least. The gate was a lot sturdier than it looked. It stopped the car flat. Still, the taxi did enough damage to it that I was able to squeeze through it. I ran the rest of the way to the front door. When I flung it open, I was greeted by one of Dallos’ men.

With one look at me, he dropped the automatic pistol he was carrying. “Oh, hell no,” he said as he raised his hands and started walking out the door behind me. “First, the Punisher and now some dude who looks like he’s right out of Night of the Living Dead? Nope. I’m done. I ain’t getting paid enough for this bullshit.”

I watched him go, not knowing what to do. That was definitely a first for me. Shaking it out of my head, I picked up the gun he dropped and went deeper into the house. Trying to pinpoint where the gunshots were coming from based solely on the sound was impossible for me. Having no ears has its drawbacks, folks. So, basically, all I was doing was blindly walking around.

In the second hallway I walked down, I found the billiards room. Going inside, I quickly located the flash drive behind the vent, grabbed it, and put it in my pocket. Before I had a chance to put the vent back, a shot rang out behind me. The bullet tore through my trenchcoat and out of my chest.  I turned to see another henchman standing there with a smoking gun. His hands trembled when he saw that his shot did no damage to me.

“We gonna do this the easy way or the hard way,” I sighed.

He replied by repeatedly pulling the trigger. The only thing he accomplished was putting more holes in my coat. Now, I was angry and he wouldn’t like me when I was angry. One squeeze on the automatic pistol sent a small spurt of lead in his direction. He fell backwards, landing with a groan. I didn’t see any blood coming from his torso, so he must’ve been wearing a vest. There were holes in both his left thigh and the opposite shoulder.

I thought about finishing him off, but just walked out of the room instead. As a general rule, l avoid killing people, especially since they might come back to haunt me. If this guy ends up going, it won’t weigh on my conscience. I gave him the chance to walk away and he chose to shoot me.

I checked my pocket to make sure that the man’s barrage of bullets didn’t hit the flash drive and breathed  sigh of relief when I found it intact. I continued on into the next corridor and hoped that the growing decibel level of the gunshots meant that I was getting closer to the action. I was.

As I rounded a corner, I saw that there were five men firing into an open doorway. Three other men lay dead around the room. Obviously, I had found the Punisher. I raised the automatic pistol just as one of the men threw something into the room with Frank. “Punisher,” I yelled to get his attention. “Grenade!”

The men, hearing my cry, turned their guns on me. My weapon started barking out seconds before the grenade exploded. I glanced at the doorway long enough to see nothing but a cloud of dust come out of it.

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Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 6

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Once again, the Punisher looked pissed that I was having a conversation that he couldn’t hear both sides of. I didn’t care. “Cook took your grandson,” I asked, not really believing. “With you and Amanda both dead, your grandson gives him no leverage over anyone. Why would he do that?”

“I’m a ghost, not a mind reader, you jackass,” McKenzie retorted. “How the hell should I know?”

“He has two sons around that age,” the Punisher interjected with a shrug. “Maybe one of them is the father. Or, maybe it’s Cook himself, if she had a thing for older men.”

“They had better not be,” Robert fumed. “She told me it was some boy from school. I swear if any of those three even thought about touching my daughter, I’ll kill all of them.”

“Focus, people,” I hollered. “Let’s get back to what matters. We have a deal, McKenzie. If you tell me where you hid those files, we’ll go get your grandson.”

“It’s behind an air vent in Dallos’ billiards room.”

“You hid your files in Dallos’ house?”

“If I was trying to hide something from you, would you look in your own house for it?”

“Good point. Wouldn’t he notice that the air flow is being disrupted, though? There’s no way those files are letting air go by them.”

“They’re on a flash drive.”

“Amanda said you kept all your files on paper because you didn’t trust computers.”

“Do you know how many people in this city are in the business? I’d need a warehouse to keep files on all of them on paper. I was forced to make an exception.”

“It’s really annoying when you talk to people who aren’t there and don’t tell me what they say,” the Punisher grumbled.

“It’s not important,” I countered. “Let’s just go get his grandson.”

“I don’t think so. I’m going to Dallos’ house to get the files.” The look on my face must’ve shown my confusion  because he clarified, “I still heard your side of the conversation, genius.”

I thought back. Had I said where the files were out loud? Damn it! I had.

By the time I turned to try to convince the Punisher to change his mind, he was already halfway out the door. “Let him go,” McKenzie said. “We don’t need him. You’re immortal, right?”

“More or less.”

“Then you’ve got nothing to fear from a bunch of guys with guns.”

I stood up and got my gear together. Once I had both of my shoulder holsters on, and full, I put a couple of extra clips of ammo in my pocket. An old rickety jacket was thrown over my shoulders to cover the guns up as I walked out of my office.

When I was around halfway to Cook’s house, I ditched the old jacket in an alley and put on my tan trenchcoat, that I had been carrying underneath the other jacket. I put on the other garment that I had under my jacket, my brimmed hat, and pulled up the collars. My face needed to be as obscured as possible. Once I had it hidden as best I could, I pulled off the magic ring. Immediately, I returned to my actual appearance.

“What did you do that for,” McKenzie griped disgustedly.

“As far as the world knows,” I replied, ignoring the ghost’s tone of voice, “Jonathan Martin is just a regular private investigator. If a surveillance camera catches him entering, or even near, a place right before a gun fight breaks out, his life becomes far more difficult. For tonight, I’m Ghoul.”

“If you say so, pal,” I thought I heard Robert mutter, but I ignored the dead bastard.

The remainder of the walk was fairly uneventful. Most people ignored my horrid appearance. I told the few who didn’t that I was on my way to a zombie walk, which they applauded. That’s one of the great things about living in New York City. Nothing is considered weird here.

Unlike Dallos, who had a house out in the suburbs, Cook resided in a fairly swanky building in the city. Swanky enough to have a doorman, anyway. I had a way around him, though. All I had to do was walk up to him and show him my face. Naturally, he freaked and tried to run away, but I  grabbed him by the collar of the ridiculous looking jacket they made him wear and made him open the door first. Once he did, I released him and he ran away screaming.

After I got inside, McKenzie, who had been here many times before, directed me on where to go. I got on the elevator and hit the floor number he indicated. While I was going up, I pulled my guns out of their holsters, expecting trouble as soon as the doors opened. There was none.

The doors opened up directly into the living area, an entertainment room by the looks of it. Cook sat on the couch watching TV, with the infant in his hands. Obviously, he heard me approach because without turning around he said, “It wasn’t supposed to happen like that. Amanda wasn’t supposed to die. But, Dallos moved too quickly. I couldn’t stop him.”

“Where are your bodyguards?”

“I don’t have any. I’m a secret mobster, remember?”

He turned to face me for the first time. To his credit, he didn’t react to my visage. “I thought you were the Punisher,” he admitted.

“No,” I responded, “I’m much more charming than he is. I can, however, kill you just as dead as he can if you keep lying to me. Now, where are your bodyguards?”

“I’m not lying. Not tonight, at least. There’s nobody here but us. Everyone else is at Dallos’ house.”

Uh oh. “What are they doing there?”

“Dallos killed Amanda  because he didn’t believe her when she said she couldn’t get the file for us. He thought she was working with someone else to hide it from us. After he killed her, he said we wouldn’t need to look for her partner because they’d come after him for revenge. So, now he’s got all of our guys, plus some extra muscle he hired on, waiting for whoever shows up.”

Damn, I thought. The Punisher is about to walk into an ambush and I have no way of warning him.

Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 5

 

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As soon as the Punisher told me that he wasn’t planning on killing her, I should’ve known something was wrong. The aura of death surrounding Amanda told me it was coming, but I pushed it aside when I took her away from him. I still felt it, even if I didn’t admit it to myself. Had I listened to it, maybe she’d still be alive right now.

“Hey, Martin,” the Punisher snapped my last name. “What the hell is going on? Why were you whispering to nobody?”

“You know how the Hulk is green and can throw heavy things?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I got the green part down. I just can’t pick up cars. What I can do, though, is talk to the dead, and Amanda’s spirit just came to me.”

“You think you can talk to ghosts?”

“So do ghosts. And I have three of them here that want to talk to you.. A woman with two children. Do you want to talk to them…. Frank?”

If I were in a different situation, I might laugh at his facial expression. It was rage, confusion, and sadness all rolled into one. I didn’t have time for laughs right now. “What’s it gonna be,  Frank,” I asked impatiently. “You gonna talk to them?”

“Fine,” he conceded with a snarl. “You can talk to ghosts. But if you ever bring up that woman and the children again, I don’t care how unkillable you think you are, I will find a way to end your existence.”

Once again, I wanted to laugh. Oh sure, he could blow me up into a million pieces. That would certainly slow me down while my body put itself back together, but he couldn’t kill me. Trust me, more powerful people than him have tried.

“Fine,” I mocked his earlier tone.

“What happened to her?”

“All she said was that she left the place I had her stashed to get her son and that ‘they’ were waiting on her.”

“Who is ‘they’?”

“I’m assuming she’s talking about her father’s associates, Cook and Dallos.”

“She better not be talking about Cook. I made it very clear to him that nothing was to happen to her.”

“What are you talking about? You’re in contact with Cook?”

“I’ve gone up against a lot of gangsters in my time, but McKenzie was one of the smartest I’ve come across. Hell, I didn’t even know about him until about a month ago. The only reason I know about him is Cook. He never said how, but he and Dallos found out about him. They weren’t very happy that their old friend had been conning and using them.

“So, they decided to start making some side deals on their own. The problem with that was they weren’t as smart as McKenzie and they caught my attention. I busted in on a deal that Cook was making with the Russians for some guns. He started cowering when the shooting started. After I killed everyone else, he tried making a deal with me. I played along with it at first, but eventually we came to an understanding.”

“And what was that?”

“He’d tell me everything he knew in exchange for me not killing his two sons when I took down the family. They were low level guys who really hadn’t done much anyways, so I was ok with giving him that one. That’s when he told me about McKenzie and what was in his files.”

“Sorry, but I  kinda tuned you out when you told me what was in there earlier. I was shocked when I saw Amanda walk in. What’s so important that’s in those files?”

“Dirt on every mid to major organized crime figure in the city. I don’t know how he did it, but he got incriminating evidence on all of them. That way, if anyone pushed too hard to find out his true identity, McKenzie would blackmail them into backing off.”

“Well, I’m sorry to say, but I think that file is lost. McKenzie wouldn’t tell me where it was, and Amanda didn’t know.”

“How can you be sure that she doesn’t know where it is?”

“Because she hired me to find it. I asked her dad where it was, but he wouldn’t tell me.”

“I’ll tell you now,” a voice interrupted. Robert McKenzie stood behind the Punisher, staring at me. “But, if I do, you have to do something for me.”

I held up a finger to stop the Punisher before he started talking. “What do you want me to do,” I asked him.

“When they killed my daughter, Cook took my grandson. I  want you to get him back.”

Ghoul Fan Fiction Part 1

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Things have been a little on the boring side ever since I came to this world. Well, boring compared to my old life anyway. I used to run with a couple of superpowered teams. My first gig in this universe was my old standby of driving a taxi. Even when sitting in traffic, and experiencing other people’s road rage on a daily basis, it was never quite as exciting as battling it out with a bad guy. My power, however isn’t very useful in a fight. So, I’ve stayed out of all of the superpower business. Somehow, I even managed to keep myself out of that whole Civil War mess.

Still, I felt like my power was going to waste. My old pal Dane, the Black Knight in case you didn’t know, suggested that I become a private eye, specializing in finding things thought to be lost when a loved one passes away. I don’t always see eye to eye with him on everything,  but he was right about this one. Not only does it let me use my powers, but I make pretty good money doing it. There’s also a sense of satisfaction when I’m able to find what the client is looking for. If I’m able to give them something  from a deceased loved one, it helps bring a little closure for  both the client and the person who passed away.

The things I’m asked to find fall into two categories. The first is sentimental, a personal object that reminds them of the person that they lost. The second is monetary, money or jewelry that the person had stashed away somewhere.

At first, this case seemed like both.

******************

There was something unsettling about this place. I didn’t know if it was because I had never been in a closed restaurant before or something else. All I knew is that I didn’t like it here.

“Mr. Martin,” she said, breaking my uneasy thoughts.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I was trying to get a feel for this place. What did you say?”

“I asked if you had any questions for me.”

“Right,” I mumbled, turning my attention back to her. “Ms. McKenzie…”

“No need to be formal. Call me Amanda.”

I wanted to point out that she had started the formality by calling me Mr. Martin, but I held it back. “I’d like start by saying I’m sorry that you lost your father. Was this place special to him?”

“Very. He owned this place and was here just about every night.”

“And what is it of your father’s that you’re wanting me to find?”

“Any and all documents that have to do with this restaurant: recipes, supply lists, financial records. Things like that. None of it was kept in the safe deposit box along with his will.”

“Shouldn’t things like that be on his computer?”

“My father didn’t trust computers. He said that they get hacked too easily. Everything in the restaurant was done on paper.”

“I’ll see what I can do for you, Amanda. Now, is anyone else in the restaurant right now?”

“No. The chefs won’t be in for another hour or so to start their prep work. We’re all alone.”

That last sentence was said in a way that was very inviting. Because being dead puts a serious hurt on any romances I might have, I wear my appearance altering ring as if it were a wedding band to try to prevent situations like this. Before I died, I would’ve loved being hit on by Amanda. She was an attractive girl, somewhere in her college years. Nowadays it is just a nuisance.

“Good,” I said, making a show of playing with my ‘wedding’ ring. “Could you please leave as well? I need some time to look the place. Just give me ten minutes.”

If she was offended by my refusal, she didn’t show it. “How exactly are you going to find anything in ten minutes,” she asked instead.

“I can’t tell you that,” I replied. “The secret of my success will stay with me.”

She shrugged her shoulders and began walking towards the front door behind me. As soon as she passed me, the uneasy feeling I’ve had since I got here exploded in my stomach. It began radiating upward, so much so that I had trouble breathing for a few seconds. It was then that I realized that the feeling wasn’t coming from this place. It was coming from Amanda herself.

Now, it doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while my powers will flare up like this. It only happens when I’m in the presence of somebody who is going to die soon.

My powers won’t tell me exactly when, but given the intensity of the feeling, it was going to be soon. Very soon. Amanda reeked of death.

Ghoul Fan Fiction- Prologue 

My name is Jonathan Martin and my life became a lot more exciting after I died.

I was just a normal guy until I  came into contact with the Theta Virus. Everyone who was exposed to the virus reacted in one of two ways: they gained super powers, or they died. Except for me. I did both.

The virus gave me the power to talk to the dead, but it also turned me into something undead. I was able to retain my mind, but it made my body into something straight out of a zombie movie. From that moment after, every time someone looked at me, it felt as if they were waiting for me to start shuffling around muttering, “Brains,” over and over again. And that’s only if they didn’t run away screaming.

I spent some time with a group called the Exiles. It didn’t end well. Some people died…. I don’t like talking about it.

After that, I hooked up with a group called Ultraforce. I had an on again/off again thing with them. When I was off again, I drove a taxi to pass the time. I was able to do this because I was given a magic ring that allowed me to look, and smell, like a normal person. It was a good way to prevent potential fares from fleeing at the sight of me.

The last time I came across Ultraforce, they had just saved the world. A doorway to another dimension had opened up. The Black Knight, aka Dane Whitman, leader of Ultraforce, said that the doorway led back to his home universe where he was once a member of a group called the Avengers. He said he was going and asked if anyone wanted to join him. I was looking for a fresh start, so I decided to join him.

I’ve been on this world for a while now, living my life as a normal person would. Sure, I’ve had some interesting times, but nothing that compares to what happens next.

Looking Back: Moon Knight 

This post gets to be both a Looking Back post and a Marvel Unlimited post. The reason it’s not just a Marvel Unlimited post is that, like my previous Looking Back posts, I now view Moon Knight in a whole new light than I did before I started reading his books on Marvel Unlimited. The other comics I’ve reviewed for Marvel Unlimited are books I still have the same opinion on.

Back then: Moon Knight was cool superhero character.

Now: Why the hell did I ever like this guy?

To be honest, I didn’t ever actually read a Moon Knight comic until a year or so ago. For some reason, before then, I just really liked the character. I don’t know why. I just did. All I really knew about Moon Knight was his origin story.

Marc Spector was a mercenary hired by archaeologists in Egypt to guard their expedition. He was betrayed by his partner Bushman who shot him and left him for dead in one of the dig sites. That particular dig site was actually a temple of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Khonshu resurrected Spector to be his champion on Earth.

Sounds like a cool story so far, right? I certainly thought so. That origin story is all I based my Moon Knight fandom on. A couple of years ago, when I first started at my job, there were other comic book guys there and we would talk about the characters we liked and those we didn’t. They began telling me bits and pieces of what happened after the origin story.

They basically turned him into a Batman wannabe.

Batman’s costume was all black. Moon Knight’s  was all white. Batman had Batarangs shaped like bats. Moon Knight’s were shaped like crescent moons. The Batplane was shaped like a bat. Moon Knight’s Mooncopter was shaped like, you guessed it, a crescent moon. Batman had a European butler, Alfred. Moon Knight had a European pilot, Frenchie.

In order to try to distance him from Batman, Marvel gave him a character trait that was supposed to make them different. They gave Moon Knight Dissociative Identity Disorder, or in other words, multiple personalities. One was Steven Grant, millionaire. He had money saved up from all of his mercenary gigs that allowed him to do this. Another was Jake Lockley, a cab driver, who gathered information on the street.

Hmmm…..

A millionaire persona and someone who gathers information from the streets. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s also something Batman does as Bruce Wayne (millionaire) and Matches Malone (street information).

The only difference is, as far as I know, Bruce never had a problem with thinking these were separate identities. Well, that, plus Khonshu was always a voice in Moon Knight’s head.

Now, about a year ago, I stumbled across the Brian Michael Bendis run on Moon Knight from 2011-2012 at the library. In it, Moon Knight had ditched the above personalities and moved to Hollywood to work on a TV show based on his mercenary adventures. Instead, he had the personalities of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine in his head. He hires a former S.H.I.E.L.D tech to build him gadgets that will allow him to simulate the fighting styles of the three heroes in his head. By the end of the 12 issue run, he had defeated the main bad guy of the series, Count Nefaria (a powerful Thor villain), with the help of these gadgets.

It wasn’t bad, so when I got Marvel Unlimited, I read some of the newer Moon Knight stuff. I was not a fan. The first few issues weren’t bad. It was a continuous story about Moon Knight falling out of Khonshu’s favor and the moon god choosing a new champion. Not a horrible story, but not great. Also, they were now saying that he didn’t have DID. It was brain damage from Khonshu sharing space in his head.

After that, it all went downhill. It was nothing but a bunch of one-shot comics that were just complete crap. One story had him fighting a guy who abused dogs until they went out and stole valuable merchandise for him (No, I’m not making that up). Another had him fighting a guy that could capture ghosts in a special glove that he wore.

I haven’t read any of the current volume of Moon Knight, but from what I’ve heard, it starts off with him waking up in a psychiatric hospital thinking that his entire life as Moon Knight was just a figment of his imagination. Considering he has been a part of at least a couple big crossover events, I don’t see the whole “your Moon Knight adventures are all in your head” thing sticking.

If it were up to me, I’d get him away from all the mental health problems and get him back to mythology side of things that started the character. I actually have a story worked up that would actually usher this in. Now, I understand that nobody at Marvel will ever read this here blog, but it would be cool if I could at least pitch this idea to them. More than likely, I’d be shot down, but I could at least say I tried.

Someday, I may come back and read this new volume of Moon Knight to see if they made him better, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. I’ve got other things I’d rather read now.

Character Renderings

One of my great regrets is that I’m not a better artist. I would love to be able to be at least decent at drawing. There are so many ideas I have for comics that I would be able to see to fruition if I was able to convey the images I see in my head onto paper. I’ve tried so many times and it has yet to come out right.

Recently, I got an idea for a character after having a Facebook conversation with everyone’s favorite dinosaur, Ra. Normally, an idea is as far as it goes, since I am unable to properly draw the character. This time, because Ra is so awesome, I decided to go ahead and try out the drawing thing again. As she is the one who made the picture at the top of this here blog, I even went as far as to try to style my drawings after hers.

In the end, I finished with 3 different images.

Here he is standing in front of a door.

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Here he his standing in front of a window.

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And, lastly, here he is in his backyard.

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Well, there you have it, folks. Those are the first renderings of Tom, the invisible man. What do you think of my pictures? Do they really capture the essence of the character?