The Origin of Demon Jack
DJ Wilde 2012
Carter Henderson grasped a fist full of weeds and pulled them from the well churned earth of his garden. The pumpkins were getting big and soon neighbors would be buying some of them from him. He grew all sorts of vegetables in his garden and shared much of them. After long hours working for the post office, Carter’s way to unwind was gardening.
After pulling a few more weeds he edged forward on his muddy knees to reach some more. No weeds would be choking out his plants this year. The next one was a thick weed. He grasped it and pulled. It resisted. Thinking it must have a long root, Carter adjusted his grip and gave a good hard pull.
In the first split second, his back felt like it was hit with a sledgehammer. In the next split second he saw flames and the sound of the explosion deafened him. With nearly instantaneous results he saw bright fire and knew only searing agony, then darkness.
People around Carter’s block stepped out of their homes wondering at the sound. The column of smoke could be seen for blocks.
“Hey, that’s Carter’s yard!” people exclaimed and from deep in a dull state, Carter could hear them.
Carter moved a leg first, then an arm. He felt no pain, but still saw flames. He also felt something else, something in his mind that moved. It was the strangest sensation Carter had ever known.
Neighbors burst through the gate to the back yard but came to a stumbling halt at the sight before them. The crater was nearly 20 feet across and the garden was gone. Something in the smoke was still burning, and it moved toward them. As it came into view, the neighbors started to scream. What Carter understood even less, was the eerie laugh that seemed to be coming from his own mouth.
Miles away, in downtown, New York City, Larry Peters entered a federal building with a package. He dressed in his usual black leather jacket and jeans. His long blonde hair draped around his shoulders. The receptionist smiled and buzzed him through the security doors. Larry was well known in the offices of the FPA (Federal Protection Agency) as the member of an special response team called PAC (Parahuman Activities Commission). He was better known by the name Blacktide.
Blacktide rode the elevator, wishing they would change the music and soon stepped onto the floor of his office. At his desk he saw a large dark image that looked like a shadowy werewolf with great black wings. Despite the muscular bulk of the creature called Nyhtwulf, he balanced on the edge of a desk on the balls of bare though clawed feet.
Blacktide handed Nyhtwulf the package, “You really need to use a chair,” he teased shadowy partner.
“Chairs and my wings don’t fit so well,” Nyhtwulf said as he tore open the box, “Ah you got just the ones I like!” Nyhtwulf pulled out a handful of foil wrapped cubes of cream cheese and popped them into his wolfen mouth.
“I don’t care what you say,” Blacktide poured himself a cup of coffee, “I am never eating anything with the wrapper still on it; especially cream cheese.”
“But it’s so delicious that way!”
“And it’s all yours.”
|Blacktide and Nyhtwulf|
The balding man at the desk in the large office banged his smoldering cigar into an ash tray as they walked in. “Did I sound like you should take your time? You both need to head to this are of Great Neck right now! You’ve got a live one.”
Larratus tossed a paper across the desk that Blacktide scooped up. As he did the paper disintegrated in his fingers slightly. Blacktide controlled the power of his energy aura in time not to destroy the whole paper.
“Isn’t the wolf in your head to help you restrain that?” Larratus asked.
“Well, yeah, but things can still get singed, Boss. That’s why I still don’t shake hands. We’ll get right on this. Looks like there’s no time for my motorcycle. Nyhtwulf, you’ll have take us.”
Nyhtwulf put a clawed hand on his partner’s shoulder and the two of them vanished like dissolving shadows.
“I hate it when they do that,” Larratus chomped his cigar, “gives me the creeps.”
Back in Great Neck, the first police car screeched to a halt before the haunting scene blocking their way. It stood tall with humanoid arms and legs of green and had huge pumpkin enveloped in fire, hovering over the body as its head. In the pumpkins face appeared a wide mouth with natural and sharp looking teeth. Its eyes were angled in cruel rage but its laughter echoed. Within the view of mouth, nose and eyes, all that could be seen was fire. Unlike a jack-o-lantern, the features were disturbingly natural.
The two officers watched as long thorny vines extended from where they were wrapped around the thing’s forearms. It drew back and arm and sent the end of the vine at the car, like cracking a whip. The impact crumpled the front of the police car and both officers leaped from the vehicle for their lives. Right after that, a jet of fire came from the pumpkin’s mouth and turned the car into an inferno.
From within, Carter watched it all in horror. This was his body and he couldn’t understand how to make it stop. He screamed but the only sound that made it outside was the despicable laughter.
“Geez, who ordered the salad flambé?” Blacktide commented as he and Nyhtwulf appeared on the scene.
“I’ll come in from the air,” Nyhtwulf spread his wings and jumped into flight.
“And I’ll take him from the ground. Let’s wipe that smile off ol’ Jack’s face.” Blacktide couldn’t help but think of a jack-o-lantern as he rushed forward. He could see that it noticed both of them.
“I don’t suppose you’d care to give up?” Blacktide asked as the air around his fists darkened with disintegration energy.
In response, the fiend lashed out another vine that hit a nearby telephone pole. The pole snapped like a toothpick and fell toward Blacktide who just stood there. Blacktide carries an auro around his body that disintegrates any solid object before it can touch him. In the past, it’s been very useful against bullets and other weapons. The remains of the pole fell around him on the ground.
Blacktide could see his partner was ready to swoop in on their opponent. Blacktide held back a fist and threw a shadowy projectile at the beast, hitting it in the chest. It staggered backwards slightly with what seemed to be a cry of pain. Nyhtwulf flew intangibly through the creature’s body. Normally, when Nyhtwulf does this, he can scramble brain waves and life force of any living being. This time, he found himself thrown down the street.
Nyhtwulf regain his footing with natural agility and shook his head to ward off the effects of the severe dizziness this attack gave him.
Blacktide watched in amazement as the hole in the creature’s chest sealed up and that distraction cost him. A thorny vine wrapped around his throat and the thorns bit into his skin. They smouldered, but did not disintegrate as most things did. It pulled Blacktide toward it and spoke.
“Must pull the weeds,” Its voice crackled with the roaring flame around its head.
Nyhtwulf flew into the air to rescue his partner and the pumpkin head spun in the flames to face him.
|Fighting Demon Jack|
“Yes, come closer, I’m going to kill him anyway,” it rasped.
Nyhtwulf veered to his partner and grabbed him. Nyhtwulf made his friend intangible just like him and flew him to a rooftop. Blacktide knelt on the roof choking as Nyhtwulf used his supernatural abilities to heal his friend’s neck.
“I think those thorns were poison,” Blacktide said, “I was blacking out. Thanks, partner.”
“My pleasure, you are healed, but there is bad news.”
“About healing me or the Mr. Halloween party?”
“The second one. There are two minds in this creature, one is human and filled with terror. The other is demon.”
“Demon? You mean like you?” Blacktide asked.
“Not like me, but demon all the same. When I tried to fly through it, the combination of life energies repelled me.”
“Great, so we can call him Demon Jack and he has multiple personality disorder.”
“Come back weeds!” Demon Jack called from the street as he lashed away at buildings and parked cars. Thorns flew like bullets and even stuck into brick walls and metal. “Weeeeds!”
“Well, I can’t disintegrate an innocent person, we have to do something else.”
“I don’t think I can separate them, but if you can distract it, I may be able to switch the minds that are in control.”
“Distract it,” Blacktide said, “Great, my favorite part of the job.”
The roof they stood on shook.
“Okay, I’m going to drop through the roof and come out the front. I’ll get Jack’s attention. You do what you can do.” Blacktide increased his disintegration aura so that he dropped through the roof and into the pharmacy below. He rushed past toward the front of the store and noted the fire extinguisher on the wall. He grabbed it on the way out.
Most of the area was evacuated except for a small shop across the street with a crowd of onlookers inside. Blacktide hated it when people didn’t follow emergency proceedures, but he didn’t have time to worry about them now. He ran into the street and came up behind Demon Jack.
It spun to face him with vines reaching like thorny tentacles. “Ahhhh, there you are, weed.”
Blacktide aimed the canister like a fat magic wand instead of bothering with the hose. “Careful, contents under pressure!” With his disintegration ability, Blacktide swiped a hand across the top of the fire extinguisher, releasing everything in it at Demon Jack’s head. It was a direct hit and Demon Jack’s vines flailed in all directions as he fought to get the fire retardant off of him.
Nyhtwulf swooped in and hovered behind Demon Jack. In his intangible form, the vines couldn’t touch him. Nyhtwulf thrust both of his hands into the back of the flaming pumpkin and endured a shock like grabbing a live powerline. He held on and could feel the two minds within. Thanks to the distraction of the fire retardant, the mind of the demon was preoccupied and unprepared to deal with Nyhtwulf’s intrusion. As mystical fire mixed with extinguisher filled the street with smoke. Blacktide had to back up in order to breath. He covered his face with part of his leather jacket.
After agonizing moments, Blacktide heard the wingbeats of his partner, forcing the smoke away to reveal the more humble looking, Carter Henderson. Nyhtwulf had ahold of Carter by either shoulder.
“Oh, help me,” Carter cried, “It’s still in me. It wants to come back.”
“We know of a hospital that might be able to help you, but we have to know what happened.” Blacktide said.
“I don’t know. I just pulled a weed and it exploded in my back yard,” Carter looked around at all the damage, “I couldn’t stop it.”
“Yeah we know, where’s your yard?” Blacktide pressed.
“We don’t have much time,” Nyhtwulf said, “What I managed was temporary.”
Carter hadn’t gone far from his home and led them to his yard quickly. They surveyed the scene of the crater that used to be Carter’s garden.
“I just pulled a weed right here.”
Nyhtwulf flew into the crater that was easily ten feet deep, “It was no weed that did this.”
“What you got?” Blacktide called after his partner.
Nyhtwulf held up a chunk of half glowing stone. “A meteorite. It must have struck just as he pulled that weed. He never knew what hit him. I sense traces of the other mind on it.”
“Oh no!” Carter stumbled backward, “he’s coming!”
Quickly, Nyhtwulf jumped out of the crater and phased a hand through Carter’s forehead. Carter trembled with a few spasms and fell over. “We have to get him somewhere, quickly. I scrambled his brain waves but he will recover soon and change.”
Blacktide nodded. “Take him to the hospital.”
The Powers University Hospital was the place to take people with powers that needed help in anyway. Blacktide had once committed himself there to keep his powers from hurting others. But that was before meeting Nyhtwulf. Now the University took in Carter Henderson and worked quickly to see if they could hold Demon Jack at bay. As for if they did, that is another story.