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Mr. Nobody, Part 2: Gone.
The most famous of heroes are those left unheard.
I never did like myself. There was never anything to like, until now. But this isn’t me. I don’t do these things. Something takes over, helps me. He calls himself Mr. Nevermore. Me? My name is Van Wolf. Some people know me as Wolfgang, some people know me as Mr. Nevermore, and some people even know me as a super hero. I don’t think I am. There’s nothing super about helping people. But, perhaps, there is a certain level of ability involved…
Right now was one of those instances where my abilities were most definitely involved.
I made a soft noise as my foot found its way out into the alley. It hurt a little when he ran into it, but it must’ve hurt him more. I heard the sound of his impact as he scraped across the ground. My leg hurt still, but I didn’t let it show as I stood over him, blocking the sun, a black tower of fear looming above him.
“Wh-wha-what are you?” He stammered, too shocked to speak coherently.
“I am Mr. Nevermore.” I replied, calm and collected as always, “You picked the wrong day to be stupid, kid.”
I grabbed his collar and pulled him to his feet, only to punch him down again. He spat out a mixture of spit, blood, and unintelligible syllables. Finally, he found some intelligible ones.
“How many of you freaks can there be?”
“Just one.” I said calmly, “Quoth the raven…” I kneeled by him, putting my hand on his neck, squeezing strategically as I pushed him slowly from consciousness, “nevermore.”
I picked up the leather wallet, walking it back to its rightful owner, also passed out in the dim alley. I dropped it by him as I heard the sound of sirens. Drawing my coat around me, I walked out past the small crowd beginning to gather as the cops started taping off the area. They didn’t look at me. After all, they couldn’t see me. You would think being invisible would be fun, but I quickly learned to stay out of it, if possible. It pretty much started with a stranger…
I’m not gonna lie, she was a hot stranger, but I wasn’t paying much attention to that. I wasn’t paying much attention to anything, really. There had been a shooting at my high school. She was on the ground in the hall, bleeding a lot. I was scared to death, I’d never even heard a gun fire before, and never in my life had I seen so much blood. Still, she called me over, said she needed something.
Somehow I found the ability to go to her, slowly but surely I made my way over. Once I got to her, she pulled me in and kissed me. It’s not like I enjoyed it; honestly, I didn’t really have time to. As soon as our lips touched, something slimy and wet flopped over my tongue and down my throat. As I exited the school, I quickly discovered my new abilities. At first, it was fun. I’ll admit that I did my fare share of wrong while invisible. Until, that is, I discovered that time moves almost twice as fast when I can’t be seen. Now I only use it when I have to.
I don’t know quite why I do what it is I do. I guess it’s just like ol’ Uncle Ben put it: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And I suppose it’s not really because it’s the right thing to do, either. I do it because I have to. This little ball of slime, the thing that pushed its way down my throat, it lives inside of me, and it forces me to help in most cases. I guess I was always capable of doing the things I do, I just never had that “push” to actually do any of it.
Now I guess I’m some kind of hero, saving lives, and having a little fun doing it. I guess I can be a little witty if I want to. Unfortunately, every criminal I’ve put away must think I’m some kind of nerd-gone-superhero for quoting Edgar Allen Poe every chance I get. My favorite work of his to quote is “The Raven”, I don’t know why, but I always was a little fascinated by it. That’s what I always say as I take them out, “Quoth the raven, nevermore.”
I practiced karate for a few years, so I know a few points on the human body that can do a little more for me than them. It doesn’t matter who they are, if you know what you’re doing you can put ‘em out in ten seconds or less. I personally find it easier to knock them out that way, then actually getting into a fight, but if I have to, I can fight just fine, whether they can see me or not.
So back up to date, now, it’s my favorite part. The cops show up, tape it off, get the crook and justice is served. Of course everything has to be processed, and the guy has to be put on trial, and the cops treat him the same as the other guy, because he was a victim too. All in all, I’m a wanted man. Although, I’m not the only one, I don’t think. I used to think I was, but recently there’s been stories in the news, almost the same kind as me, but I never did any of the things those stories talk about. Plus, that man today asked me how many of “us freaks” were there… I guess there might be someone else like me after all.
Later that night, a news broadcast confirmed my suspicion.
“Eye witness Even Bell has this to say: ‘I saw him; he was like, some sort of superhero or something. He jumped off the roof. I didn’t think he’d make it, I thought he was like, suicidal or something? But man, he nailed that guy right on the head, and they both went down, but then the jumper-dude got back up and scared ‘em off. I tried to talk to him, asked him his name, and he told me it was Mr. Nobody.’
“And there you have it, Mr. Nobody – Long Island’s own super hero? We’ll have more, after this.”
I guess there wasn’t more to it than that. There was another guy out there, who could do what I can and then some. I wasn’t worried so much as I was anxious to meet him. I wondered if maybe our paths would someday cross. Oh how little did I know…
The very next day, I was doing my usual routine. I would almost patrol the area, looking for crime, pretty much. I don’t exactly live in a ‘low crime’ area, so it’s not usually that hard, when I saw something that looked like a mugging in a dimly lit alley, the usual stuff. I leapt into action, ducking into a different alley so that I could go invisible without any suspicion. As I neared the mugging site, however, I saw something; well, a little different than the usual stuff.
A man was standing over the would-be mugger with a mangled arm. The mugger, the victim, and I all watched as the arm slowly twisted back into shape and he regained complete mobility. I was amazed, and if I hadn’t been unseen, everyone would’ve seen my jaw drop straight to the ground. The guy who was being mugged gagged a little at the sight, then turned and ran from the alley. The mugger was too stunned to move, lying paralyzed on the ground. It was about then that I realized the man standing over him had been speaking this whole time.
“…I’m Mr. Nobody’s help.” He finished, just as I had tuned in.
He knelt down and punched the guy’s lights out, then began to calmly walk away. I ducked into an ally and re-appeared, as not to push my self-set time limit, and began to follow Mr. Nobody back to wherever it was he came from. I walked on the other side of the street, so as not to be too obvious, and patiently followed him back to his house.
He lived in an apartment in downtown. I caught up to him before he stepped inside.
“You’re Mr. Nobody, that right?” I asked before he could open his door.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He replied, without even looking up from his keys.
“I’m Mr. Nevermore.”
That seemed to get his attention. He looked at me a while before he responded.
“And what can you do, Mr. Nevermore?” The skeptical tone in his voice was piercingly obvious.
I decided show was better than tell, and snapped my fingers for a dramatic effect as I vanished before his very eyes. I waited a while, watching his expression change from skeptical to shocked, then reappeared before my time was up. I only allowed myself ten minutes a day, and I had used at least six in the alley.
“So,” I asked casually, “is healing your only ability?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess.” He said, still a little shocked, “Why, do you have more than that?”
“No, just the one. My real name’s Van Wolf.” I held out my hand for him to shake, but he didn’t seem to notice it.
“Sweet name, ever thought about getting a wolf side-kick or something?”
I looked at him a while, trying to gauge whether he was serious or not.
“I hate wolves…” I finally replied, suddenly thinking that meeting up with this guy wasn’t such a good idea.
“Of course you do…” He said plainly.
“Well… What’s your name?” I asked as nicely as I could. I figured if we’re saving lives in the same city, we might as well be friends.
“James, James Roy.” He said, taking my hand firmly.
Oh sure, I thought, now he shakes it.
“Listen,” I said, “I was thinking since we’re saving lives in the same city and all, maybe we should keep in touch. You know, team up or something. It could be pretty helpful one day.”
He looked at me a while, thinking it over, then finally replied, “Yeah, sure thing. Got a phone?”
“Always.” I said, handing him my cell, as he handed me his.
I passed it back after I had put in my information, and he handed me mine. We both put down our real names. Good thing, I guess. We talked for a little while on how we got our powers. Same way, only he had to kiss a guy. Guess I was luckier than I thought on that part. Apparently both our powers speed up our aging, too. Only problem is he can’t control his, it just happens when he gets physically injured. Sucks to have his power, I’d say. Although, being invisible doesn’t stop bullets. Pro’s and con’s, pro’s and con’s.
I woke up to my obnoxious ringtone. I tried setting it to something else, but I never could figure out how to get it to anything but the preset ringtones, so I was forced to stumble out of bed and grope my way through the dim room until I found my cell on my dresser. It took me a while to wake up enough so I could answer. MAN I wish I could set a different ringtone…
I answered with a half-awake mumble, followed by an almost unintelligible “What?”
“I think this is something you should see. Turn your TV to Channel Twelve News.”
“Uhh…” I replied hazily, still not quite coherent enough to form too many words. I picked up the remote and flipped from my usual Channel Eight to Channel Twelve News.
“Okay, what am I looking at?”
“Shh, just watch it.”
I stared at the screen, and then realized I had it muted. I pressed the button on the remote then listened to the broadcast.
“…the only footage of the bank robber from the back of the building.”
I watched as a man dressed in all black with a ski mask pulled over his face walked slowly up to the back wall of a bank, leaning back against it and looking cautiously around. Then he pressed himself up to the wall and disappeared.
“So you think this guy has your same powers?” James asked me over the phone.
“Don’t think so… If he did, he’d have had them for a while if he planned to rob a bank. He should know how they work. If he turned invisible, why wouldn’t he go into the bathroom to do it, why risk cameras?”
“So what do you think, maybe he teleports?”
“No… Can you rewind and stuff on your TV?”
“Play it back again, and watch as he disappears, he doesn’t really vanish, he sort of falls back into the building. His feet give it away, he takes a step back. I think this guy’s a wall walker.”
“Sweet, but I thought these blobs forced us to do good things?”
“I don’t know, maybe they’re just like people, maybe they have a choice on what they do?”
“I guess. So what do we do now?”
“Catch this guy.” I responded, “He’s too dangerous for the cops to handle. If he can walk through walls, I’m guessing he can have anything he wants pass through him.”
“Sweet, our first super villain, this should be interesting.”
I hung up my phone and fell back into my bed, glancing at my alarm clock. It was already ten o’clock. I guess not having windows can really mess up your time sense. I hadn’t lived here long, it was my first house, but the bedroom had absolutely no light unless you flipped a switch. I thought it’d help me sleep, and boy was I right.
After I got breakfast, which I guess was lunch by the time I ate; I headed out to do my new patrol. I had agreed with James that we shouldn’t overlap each other’s routes, so we plotted new courses for each of us, dividing the city into two separate parts. I never have much to do but think on my patrol, so I let my mind wonder on the events of the past few days.
There were too many questions and not enough answers. First of all, Mr. Nobody, Mr. Nevermore, and now this new super villain. How many of those blobs are there on Long Island? And why aren’t there any in any other places? Well, I guess there could be some in other places. After all, Mr. Nobody isn’t exactly the most discreet person in the world, but I’ve never been even suggested at. Perhaps there are more than we know.
That line of thought would have to wait, however, because I just saw three cop cars go whizzing by. I began to jog after them, soon becoming out of breath. I was glad that they were already on the right street, and it only took a few blocks for them to come to a stop. As I caught up with them, I heard my phone go off.
“I just saw a few cops with sirens going into your section.”
“Yeah, I see ‘em.” I said, walking up across the street and trying to make out what was happening.
“Look up behind you.”
I looked, and as I did, I saw Mr. Nobody standing a few stories above me on a rooftop.
“Thought seven police cars deserved a little backup.”
I watched his lips move faintly as he said it, then I looked back at the scene across the street.
“Can you tell what’s happening?” I asked, unable to see what was going on through the people and cop cars.
“I’ll call you back…”
With that, I heard the click of him hanging up. As I closed my phone, I looked up to find him using his phone to videotape what was happening from a bird’s eye view. I heard a few gunshots and whipped around to watch again, but I could see nothing. I decided to fall back into and alley and disappear, but I couldn’t get out of the crowd as fast as I’d have liked. I finally got into one of the back alleys and ducked behind a dumpster.
I ran out from there, moving around the crowd and ducking past a few policemen to look at the man from the news cast that morning holding a few bags filled with what I guessed was cash, walking calmly out of a bank. The cops were shooting at him, but the bullets seemed to go right through him.
I watched as he aimed his own gun at the cops and fired a few shots. He didn’t hit anyone, but he did a number on one of the cop cars. I’m no guns expert, but whatever he was holding was at least a semi automatic.
I saw a blur as the robber and another man fell onto the ground. It was Mr. Nobody; he had jumped from the building across the street and hit the man’s hand that was holding the gun. Exactly, I thought to myself, he can make certain parts of himself intangible, and maybe the cash to get out of the walls, but his gun has to be tangible to hurt people with the bullets.
At least now I knew how to beat this guy. The cops stopped shooting as they watched, wide-eyed at the spectacle before them. Mr. Nobody got up, wearing some sort of make-shift ski mask of his own. Wise, I guess, he wouldn’t want anyone to know Mr. Nobody was really James Roy. James threw a few punches, but they all seemed to phase strait through the criminal.
“Pathetic. And they call you a super hero.” Came the crooks mocking tone, “You’ll never defeat me, Mr. Master!”
So, he’s got a name too. I thought, I wonder if he grows old like us, as well.
Mr. Master fired two rounds straight into Mr. Nobody’s Chest, causing him to fall to the ground, a small bit of blood dripping out, before he regained himself and stood back up, taking two more swings at Mr. Master. Unfortunately, they went through again.
I decided it was high time I intervened, sprinting up behind Mr. Master, and then taking my own swing at him. He fell to the ground, but got right back up, shooting wildly behind him. I had already gotten out of the way as he emptied his rounds into the air where I had stood. The clicking sound of his weapon told me he was out of ammo, and before he could reload I ran and grabbed it from his hands, flinging it away towards the cop cars.
“What? How did you…!”
I reappeared in front of Mr. Master as he lay on the ground, stunned by my sudden entrance.
“Games over, Mr. Master.”
“There are two of you? I see…” He said as he stood up.
“Fortunato, Fortunato, in pace requiescat.”
As I quoted Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” Mr. Nobody had time to charge up behind Mr. Master, but as he tried to slam his elbow into him, he fell through and landed hard on the ground.
“Nice try, but I don’t think I’ll be taking any chances this time.”
I pulled Mr. Nobody to his feet as Mr. Master pulled a pistol from his belt.
“In pace requiescat, vigilantes.” Said Mr. Master, mocking my own line.
He fired three rounds, two hitting Mr. Nobody and one piercing my own chest. I fell to the ground, choking on my own blood as Mr. Nobody knelt beside me.
“We can’t do this, not like this…” I coughed out, as blood addressed my lips.
“But I don’t see how…”
I pulled him down closer, not quite sure what I was doing until it was done. I felt something spasm out of my throat, flopping it’s way over into his mouth. I grimaced at the taste of the thing, and then fell back onto the ground. I watched, blood flowing freely from my chest as Mr. Nobody vanished. Mr. Master had retrieved his original weapon and reloaded, and was now firing anywhere he thought Mr. Nobody might be.
I saw the gun ripped from Mr. Master’s hands, and then vanish. A few bursts of light as bullets emptied into Mr. Master, blood covering the ground where he fell, limp and lifeless. My last sight was of Mr. Nobody, stepping on a small green blob that fell from the dead man’s chest, squishing it dead beneath his heel. Then, as Mr. Nobody faded from sight, so did the rest of the world, as I closed my eyes. I heard nothing. I saw nothing. There was nothing to hear, nothing to see. It was done. The shell had died, but the legacy would live on. As for me, I, was gone.