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The Link

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BAS79    0

Hello All;

 

I'm completely new to these boards, so please welcome me. I just submitted a short story to a website calling for fan-fiction; funny thing was none of the e-mails posted on the site worked, go figure! Anyway I was pretty happy with it, so here it is...enjoy!

 

Being in the game I’m in...I don’t run into too many super-tights. Any Manhunter-looking, Deathstroke the-terminal-fart-types come knocking on my door, I politely inform them that they are now in South London, then I give ‘em directions to the nearest Gotham City. Would’ve been a sight simpler if that woulda worked this last time out. As it was mate, ol' John had to hike up his pants, tie up his shoes, and wade knee deep into the world of cowls and capes. I’d have been better off in hell.

 

Hellblazer: The Link

 

{Note: For Mature Readers Only. This is a not-for-profit piece of fan fiction done simply for the fun of it. All characters you recognize are owned by Vertigo and/or DC comics. All characters you don’t recognize are created simply for this work, because I’m too damn lazy to find a recognizable character that fits the bill.}

 

How it started, right, was how these things usually do. I’m in a pub mindin’ me own damn business when trouble came callin’. The place was called The Witches Brew. Now, despite appearances mate, magicians do not fancy going there. At least they didn’t by the time I came in. The wankers did leave their stench all over the joint though, before movin’ on to bigger and better scenes. I frequented the establishment whenever I felt like getting away from it all. I could come in, enjoy a pint, and leave without getting caught up in all the fuckin’ rumors and all the shop-talk that floats around the normal trickster’s hang out.

 

Now, being that the place was a former spot for men in the game like meself, I didn’t have to worry about any major hap’nings. My rep had circled the place before I’d ever been there, and any man with his wits about him knew to leave me the bloody hell alone. But see, that was the problem, assuming he’d have his wits. It was a pub, after all.

 

“’Allo mate. Wha’s all this about then?” It was some drunk off his ass black-brit, holding a pint in his hands. He slipped into my booth, without askin’ o’ course, and breathed heavy liquor breath on me. I tried to be patient. I said “What’s that mate?” “You”, he said. “Sulkin’ about like es the end of the worl’”. “None of that old son”, I said. “Just enjoying a fag and a cold one is all. Don’t worry.”

 

“You married?” Fuck was he plannin’ to do? Propose? I said “Not at the moment. Though I might go to the ol’ madam and arrange a wife for this evening. What about yerself?”

 

“’Ow about kids mate. You got any kids?”

 

“Hell be damned if I did”, I said. “Listen, that glass is almost done. Why don’t you get some more-”

 

“You should ‘ave kids”, he said. “Light of my life, little Trey and Alisha.”

 

“That’s nice. If you’ll just-”

 

“Save me from killing myself ev’ry day I tell ya. Wake up in the mornin’ with the feelin’ you don’t wanna get up or eat or even piss and shit anymo’ and you wanna put that pistol to yer head and squeeze it, but you never do it and you know why? Kids. Yer kids is the only thing that stops ya.” He musta went on for ten more minutes, goin’ on and on about how his little kids are gifts from God, and how seeing them play and cheer and laugh and do homework keeps him from slicin’ his wrists up. Had I the knife in hand I’d a done that job for him, after cutting his tongue out o’ course. What made it so much like a good bout o’ torture was that he’d stop for a minute, right? Then he’d look off into the distance silently, like maybe he’d just run outta words and had to leave now. But whenever that happened he’d turn right back to me and start off again with that same...

 

“And then there was that time-”

 

“LOOK MATE! Leave it OUT”, I said. The pub went dead silent. All heads in the room turned toward us. Fuck if I gave two shits. I grabbed a couple quid and slammed it on the table. “Take this and go buy yerself another. Then grab yer mates and get them to take you back to yer little bastard-demon-children you love so much and do em in the ass for all I care just PISS OFF!!” He leaned back and blinked like I just smacked him. I was close, believe me. I said “All I’m trying to do is smoke me Silk Cut and drink me liquor and leave for the goddamn whorehouse, but you ol’ son, have been goin’ on like you want a good kickin’.” He put his hands up. “S-sorry about ‘at mate. Didn’t mean to trouble you a’tall. Just concerned is all. I’m leavin’.” He got up and did a slow little stutter-step back toward the bar, and I decided, right then, that he wasn’t getting off so easy. I waited ‘til everyone turned back to their drinks, then, a quick spell made of cigarette ash and some lines of fancy mumbo-jumbo and the illusion was set. The five foot-six black man from Liverpool became a long legged blond in a tight leather skirt and high heels. He’d go up to that table, shakin’ his little tush, and the bartender, the patrons, hell, even his friends he came with would be in his face the entire night, beggin’ fer a piece. It ought to be one hell of a show.

 

It wasn’t. The blond hair faded into curly black; the long legs were replaced with jeans. The curvy form went away and fuck all if John Constantine was loosin’ the tricks ‘o the trade.

 

 

Back at me gaff I laid down and thought it over. Truth to tell, I had things like that happen to me before. It was never that fast though, that was the thing. I’d noticed that spells didn’t last so long anymore. Tricks that should last days lasted hours. I thought it was just ‘cause I was getting old. But that last bit, that illusion...I’d done that trick too many times to count. No way it shoulda crapped out on me like that. I let the problem go round and round in my head, then asked myself a lot of questions before it hit me.

 

Someone was draining me powers.

 

All actions are done with energy, right? The thing is, when you’re a magician, that energy isn’t yours. It’s Beelzebub’s or Mictlantecuhtli’s, or whatever god or demon or spiritual force you can call on, and have favor with. If I was right, whoever did this was waiting until I called upon higher powers, then diverted that good energy from my spell to his person. I decided I had to do what I didn’t want to do; the one thing I would never do unless I had no other option. I stopped casting spells. Fuck me if it wasn’t like withdrawal. I stayed at me gaff and ordered out. I didn’t leave, not for anything. I figured if I didn’t have any contact with the outside world I wouldn’t be tempted. A whole month I waited. Now, right when the money started to dwindle down, right when I thought I’d kill meself I had to wake up and see those same god awful walls, he came a knockin’.

 

Well, actually he didn’t knock. He punched my front door into so many splinters. Guv’nor was a right big slab o’ beef. Biceps and triceps and quads and all that, bulging under his light purple nighties. He came in, looking here and there through his shiny silver mask, his cape, the same color, swaying to and fro. He picked me up by my collar and glared at me. “This place is a fuckin’ dump Constantine. You need to get out more.” American accent; a fuckin’ yank, should of saw it coming. I said “And who might you be? If you don’t mind me asking?” He stuck his chest out. “You can call me CONDUIT”, he said. “Well aren’t you just as big as life”, I said. “With brains to match I imagine. Tell me, Conduit, where exactly did you get your strength and speed and x-ray vision? I bet it wasn’t at the gym.” He smiled. “That’s a funny question coming from my power battery”, he said. “But I guess you figured that one out already.” “Spot on mate”, I said. “S’Funny. In order for you to get all super-trooper-like due to me, you’d have to be one right powerful mage, and pardon me for sayin’ mate, but you don’t look like yer into reading too many spell books. Or any books fer that matter.” He traded the collar for me throat and lifted me up even higher. “He did tell me you were an ASSHOLE”, he said. “But he didn’t say you were suicidal.” I mouthed the word ‘Who’ over and over but no sound came out. “You don’t worry your little head about that Englishman, you just do what it is you do. I promise I’ll take only what power I need. Trust me when I say that you’re better off by playing along.” “Sod that”, I said.

 

“Oh you will cooperate John, I promise you that. If you don’t I’ll find whoever is near and dear to you right now and cripple ‘em.” I saw a look form in his eyes, a light bulb turned on. “You know what? You’re going to use your magic right now. You know why?” He pulled me close. “You’re gonna need it...to help you heal.”

 

He punched me gut in and I heard something break. He punched me again and one of me ribs punctured me lung, letting the air rush out. He pushed me and I went through me own window and fell, three stories down, luckily only three stories down, onto the roof of a cabbie and then onto the street.

 

Somehow I found the strength to glance upward. I saw Conduit fly out the window and into the night sky. He was right about what he said and it pissed me right off, but I had no choice. I waved a hand, the one that still worked, and muttered an incantation that started the road to recovery. I hoped it’d take effect ‘fore I was run over.

 

 

As soon as I could stand up properly I grabbed what funds I had left and got on a plane. The bastard had come from the States, so that was where the answers were. Thing was, I had to find who cast a spell on the both of us and find him quick. I didn’t need the big lout to hear I was nosing about in it. I figured the best way to leave out the bullshit was to speak to the man that was the only known go-between for the land of the magicians and the land of the capes...

 

Dr. Fate made a gesture and spoke some spell I didn’t recognize. My body glowed with a dark red light. I looked up and saw that the light shot up through the air vent. Glancing out the window I saw that the light made a jet stream like beam in the air that went on into the horizon. Another wave of Fate’s hand, a bit of gibberish and the light faded.

 

“It’s a linking spell”, Fate said. “Simple but powerful. Whenever you cast a spell of your own, the man at the end of the link can tap into it.”

 

“I figured that bit out already”, I said. “I need to find the twat responsible. The big guy, Conduit he said his name was, he didn’t do it alone.”

 

“No, Conduit’s a Superman foe. From what I’ve heard he’s just a bruiser.” “Fuck me”, I said. “Yer telling me that that big bastard is using me powers to take on Superman! The Superman, as in the same blue bloke you yanks get down on yer knees and bow to?” Fate glared at me through that shiny gold helmet o’ his. Took a minute ‘fore he said anything. “I don’t know any other”, he said. “Unfortunately, these kinds of spells are common in this area of the world. I suggest you start lookin-”

 

“Oh, come on Doc. You can do a sight better than that, can’t you”, I said. “I didn’t come ‘ere all the way from soddin’ London to hear the great Dr. Fate can’t pin it down a bit”. “Mr. Constantine I’m really busy”, he said. “Come on man”, I said. “If not for me, do it for yer mate. For the cape brigade even! I remember when ol’ Doomsday-man snuffed out Supes’ bright shiny star, at least for a time”. Fate froze, and balled his fists. He was either thinking back to that time, anxiously, or getting really, really pissed at me. Hard to tell through that helmet. I said “Yeah, I know those were dark days guv’nor. What if this Conduit gets lucky? Then what? We wouldn’t want those days coming back anytime soon, now would we?”

 

Fate was silent a long time. Then, he grabbed one of his spell books and tried again. “WitchBoy”, he said.

 

“Which who?”

 

“WITCH-Boy”, he said. “We’ve run across each other more than once. I think Etrigan’s more familiar with him.” Now that was a name I recognized. Etrigan the famous hero-demon. This witch-boy must have been one of his regulars. “Okay, great”, I said. “Where do I find this Witch-” “The last I heard he was staying in the Wilhelm former estate on Boston street. Take the 190 east about ten miles, then head north.”

 

A man in a kitty mask poked his head in the room. He said “Hey Doc, you okay?”

“Fine WildCat just fine. John here was just leaving. Right John?”

 

“Right you are old son. Thanks for the poke in the right direction. If ever you need ol’ Constantine, don’t fret to call.”

 

Now, it occurred to me, while leaving out of J.S.A. Headquarters, that Doc Fate may not have wanted to be seen with me. I wonder why that would’ve been.

 

 

I caught a cab up to the Wilhelm place. I was fidgeting through the whole trip there. This driving on the right side of the road bollocks, I’ll never get used to it.

 

The little bastard had some tough wards round the place, but I got through ‘em. I opened the large oak doors and made my way into the main reception hall. There were candles all around, like the twat just held a séance. He was at the far end, little five foot demon boy, standing in front of the fireplace, holding this house cat. He ran his little fingers through the mangy feline’s fur and looked at me.

 

He said “Well, well. If it isn’t the great John Constantine, come to pay us a visit, hmm? What prey tell, is the occasion?”

 

“You know what this is about you little shit. It’s not smart to play dumb with Uncle John right now sunshine, let me tell you. Conduit busted me up, threw me out me own damn window and forced me to come down here and visit you yank fucks. You’re gonna take off this sodding linking spell and then you’re gonna tell me who the hell this Conduit is anyway.”

 

WitchBoy rolled his eyes. “A nothing. A nobody”, he said. “If you really want to know he was just some Intergang screw-up looking for the big time. I only helped him because I found I could stick it to you, Sir John.”

 

“I don’t remember any mean, magic twelve-year-old bastards fucking about in my neck of the woods”, I said. “What I do? Bed your Aunt Alana?” “Why that’s simple”, said WitchBoy. “You exist. That’s what you did.” “Right”, I said. “I see how that could be a problem”.

The little bastard lifted his chin and straightened up in some high and mighty pose. “It is I who should be feared and hated and respected”, he said. “It is I whose name should be recognized across states, countries and heaven and hell itself. And it will be Constantine, it will be. I will be known as the world’s greatest magician and you will live on a mere shadow of your former self. I’ll never end the linking spell, NEVER.” His sanctimonious speech finally done, WitchBoy turned and saw me pissing in the corner of his great hall; he didn’t look too pleased. I said “Sorry about this mate. There really wasn’t much time for a pit stop.” I shook off and reeled it back in. The lad’s jaw dropped. He looked like he couldn’t believe it. “You-you-you...ARGH!!”

 

He threw his striped tabby cat in the air towards me, and it grew. What hit the ground after that was some sort of female were-cat. It flashed its claws in front of its much-too-human face, then ran at me. I leaned back with me fag and took a long drag. What went into me lungs was smoke. What came out was pepper spray. I spit into the were-cat’s face and it hissed. Another helping of spray and the big-bad feline shrunk and shifted until it was no more than a regular house cat again. It trotted away, shaking its head and sneezing.

 

“You’ll pay for that Constantine”, WitchBoy said. He floated up toward the ceiling.

 

The fireplace under him roared. I set my feet and got ready. He gestured and a column of flame shot out towards me. I threw my hands up like a pro and the column of fire parted to either side of me. Been a long time since I’d been faced with that sort o’ attack. Some people may think ol’ John would be lost in that situation. Not to worry, I had the game well in hand, though you couldn’t tell it by WitchBoy.

 

“DIE Constantine, DIE”, he said. “DIE and I’ll bring you back from hell to KILL you all over again!!” By that time, I was pissed. It’s a strain, that sort o’ magic. Me legs were tired, me arms were really weak and me fingers were red hot despite me efforts. I did then just what that little wanker had done to me. I diverted part of his energies elsewhere. A little tunnel of flame shot out of the attack column. It headed right for ol’ tabby. She was burnt to a crisp.

 

He said “NOOOOO!! NOOO, you BASTARD!!!” The flame stopped. WitchBoy fell to the ground, then ran to his pet. He rocked back and forth with the crispy critter in his arms, shaking his head and crying.

“Take the spell off WitchBoy”, I said. “Take it off.”

 

“Never, you asshole. I’ll never do it.”

 

I pulled out the last of me Silk-Cut and walked over to the closest candle. Damn shame it was; the same trick earlier would have cost me just one fag. “Now you know I’m doing nothing right now but filling you’re boyfriend fulla juice”, I said. “Even knowing that, it’s worth it.” I put the pack in the flames and spoke the secret password. WitchBoy’s skin started burning. He screamed, then rolled around on the floor. Guess nobody told him that mystical flames are a wee bit different. His skin burned clean off. Right when he passed out, I walked around and found his bathroom. I came back with rubbing alcohol.

 

I pretty much said fuck the cottony balls and just poured a bunch.

 

“AGGGGHHHH!!”

 

I said “Take the spell off WitchBoy, for FUCK’S SAKE!!”

 

“When you...die”, he said. “Your heart...heart has to stop.”

Great; little fucker put the damn thing on a timer. “Alright, listen up sunshine”, I said. “This pain you’re feeling now? It aint shit to what Uncle John will do I have to come back here. You mess around in it again, I’ll make you wish you were never born.” He passed out, probably before I was done. I hope for his sake he got the message.

 

I know how it went down now. This guy from this Metropolis gang comes to WitchBoy and asks for a power booster. WitchBoy decides to feed him the power I call on, little by little, ‘til he could take on the Man of Steel. I did him one better, and force fed the bastard a ton of it dealing with the little brat.

 

Now, WitchBoy set the trick to last as long as both of us were still breathing. That meant one of us had to go. Figuring out which one was easy enough. Now I just had to ice the bastard.

 

Going up against a bloke that can walk from a battle with Superman is not the smartest move in the world. I figure Conduit would rip my head off before I had a chance to speak a single word let alone set up some complex spell.

 

I figured out that all I really had to do as high tail it to the airport and catch the first flight to Metropolis. If I got lucky, maybe I’d get there in time.

 

The place was a futuristic, space needle, alien-looking load of technological crap! I hated it. Where was all the smog? Where was the ol’ style street lamps and dark corners? For fuck’s sake, where was the local pub? Ah, maybe I was just pissed ‘cause there’s no place like that in London.

 

I walked far into the center of the city. A roadblock was the first sign of what I was looking for. Bunch of Metropolitans, or whatever, hopped out o’ their trolleys and stared high into the sky. I looked up too. Sure enough, they were there. I’d made it.

 

I suppose I didn’t have to go up, but I did. I rode the elevator of the highest building around to the top, then I opened a large window and sat down on the ledge outside to enjoy a bit of the show. Ol’ Conduit had run out, just when his power peaked, to tackle the Man of Steel. Poor sap, he didn’t suspect something was up. Watching their mid air fight was a lot like watching the last Matrix movie, only better. You could actually feel the vibrations coming off the blows in waves. Conduit was holding his own I guess, but what could he do? There’s only one Superman.

 

They separated. Superman flew off in the distance, swung round, then headed back full speed toward Conduit. I decided the time to do it was right then. I put me fag out in me hand, and took the pain willingly. A little dab of blood on the ledge next to me, a little ash and some spit to seal the deal, then I made a couple funny criss-cross signs and it was done. I’d cut off the line. It’s quite simple to do, really. Once you know who set up the linking spell the task is easily done. It’s only temporary, mind you, but it works.

 

I watched Superman and Conduit come together in the distance. Supes hit him with a right and Conduit’s head turned completely around, Exorcist style. “Nice”, I said. His body dropped leaving a blood trail in the air above it. He fell all the way down while a shocked Superman just floated there and watched. I swear, from where I was I could see him turn beat red.

 

The body struck the ground and the head popped off. Just about everyone screamed. Parents covered their kid’s eyes while reporters snapped photo after photo. I wasn’t sure if they’d show that death on the six o’clock. One thing was for sure, Supes would never forget it.

 

No, he never saw me. Lucky I was at that. Come to think of it, I suppose he did spot a man in the distance, but he was too shocked and embarrassed to pay too much attention. Anyway, I hopped on a few planes and got my ass back to London, fast as I could. I never knew what became of WitchBoy. Never even heard about him again.

 

Ok, so I’m not the nicest bloke you’ve ever met... But, I do me best.

 

THE END

 

Comments? Questions? Praise(hopefully)? Drop em here: BAS79@adelphia.net

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Hiya! I'm just an ex-lurker trying to become a more active poster. Don't mind me.

 

Anyway, I read this a few nights ago but was too lazy to comment. I remember liking your fic overall, although the English Brit speak grinded on me a bit and the dialogue being boxed together like that in places made it a little hard to read. Not sure if it's "format-correct" since I grew up with starting a new paragraph for every new speaker but have seen otherwise in novels (someone correct me if I'm wrong, please). It's a nice shot from writing John in first person, reminded me of him in Swamp Thing, or that I have been reading too much of it playing "Spot-the-John" not too long ago. As someone who has attempted ficcing from both first-person and third-person, I find first-person easier to move the plot along but kind of hard to get him "right." I think you pulled it off just fine.

 

Hope you write more in the future! HB fanfic is nice.

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BAS79    0
...I read this a few nights ago but was too lazy to comment. I remember liking your fic overall, although the English Brit speak grinded on me a bit and the dialogue being boxed together like that in places made it a little hard to read. Not sure if it's "format-correct" since I grew up with starting a new paragraph for every new speaker but have seen otherwise in novels...

 

First of all thank you for breaking the ice and replying! I'm really glad you liked it. Sorry about the bunched text, it's a concession to those who'd rather print it out, it takes up less space. Plus, I feel a little guilty posting a 4,000 word short story, especially if it takes up two web pages, being put in these small post boxes. So, I didn't follow novel standards. Anyone want a copy with text that has a little more breathing room, feel free to e-mail me. If you decide to kick it around your office or whatever, GREAT, feel free to print it out. I'm kinda like Russell Crowe in Virtuosity-I need an audience.

 

You can also find The Link in the Yahoo Urban Fantasy League Group under files. You have to join the group to view the files, but joining's free, it just takes time for the guy to get you in the roster. Of course if you want to skip all that just e-mail me and I'll send 'em to you in .doc or .htm format. Along with The Link there's also a two part story (each part about as long as this one) featuring Marvel's character The Falcon. It's called "Opposing Forces" and it also stars the OTHER Scarecrow. That's right Marvel has a Scarecrow. How both Marvel and DC have a Scarecrow without lawsuits going on beats me; but I get to retell his origin.

 

Now, I love Brit-speak from both Hellblazer and British film so if anyone read The Link like FireGriffin, and feels like I'm off a sentence or two, please pick them out. ("No, he would not say 'Sod that' there!") That means you too FireGriffin; but thanks again for your initial reply!

 

I'm also curios as to what was liked and disliked by all. How'd you all like the brief Superman cameo, and his little embarrasing moment? How was The Plot overall? Did the dialogue sound natural in places, but forced in others? Again any feedback is good feedback, so when you get a chance, either post 'em here or e-mail me at: BAS79@adelphia.net. 'Til next time.... :)

 

Brian Anthony Seals

 

:)

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BAS79    0

post-500-1137762837_thumb.jpg

 

A sketch on a new character called Mr. Hollow. I did this for a podcast group called Comic Geek Speak-now I seem to have trouble uploading the image on their forum. Anyway, let me know what you think...

 

 

Brian.

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