Jon Crawler: Part 4

Jon’s mind is a blur. I’ve killed The Captain plays on repeat in his mind as he comes to terms with what just happened.

But I didn’t! Jon Crawler, a two bit criminal mutant who only wants the serum to become normal, has somehow managed to bring down the most powerful superhero in the known galaxy.

That makes him a super villain. Inside, he feels a sense of exhilaration, tinged with guilt and fear. No one will believe that it has been the serum, the military will deny all knowledge of it. Besides, the Captain did wilt under his blows, all the cameras caught it.
He tunnels aimlessly around the outskirts of the city, too afraid to head home. Above ground, the military and Super League are probably tracking him this instant. He stops to rest for a moment, plucking out the last remaining vial from his pocket. With his night vision, he can see the greenish liquid swirling inside. He could end this now, stop living as Jon Crawler, and become just Jon. That is what this everyone else has died for… right?
But he has only one vial left, one for so many. He pockets the precious serum and continues on his way, brooding to himself. By the time he decides to head home, it is way past midnight. His head pops up in the little compost heap he keeps perpetually in the backyard. It is not the Batcave, but it serves well enough to keep nosy neighbors away. Creeping into the house, he cleans himself off at the sink before changing into his PJs, falling exhausted beside his wife.
Margery stirs, turning around to hug him. She cries as she kisses his face, and pounds on his chest.
“Sorry honey…”
“…Jon, what do you want for breakfast?”
Jon opens his eyes. Margery is standing over him, looking lovely in her nightgown. She cups a loving hand over his face and kisses him on the lips.
“You came home pretty late last night.”
Jon blinks, “Yea.”
“Why didn’t you come back sooner? We were all so worried.”
He winces as he tries to sit up.
“Poor baby,” Margery says, bending over to kiss him. “How does pancakes with strawberries sound?”
Jon smiles and nods, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Take a shower, there’s still blood on your face.”
“Yes dear.”
Margery leaves the room as Jon gets up. He takes a quick shower and checks himself in the mirror. Jon Creedy’s face is clean now. Satisfied, he walks down to the living room.
“Morning dad.”
His two sons, Aaron and Jake are on the floor in front of the TV, watching morning cartoons.
“Mind if I watch the news for a while?” Jon asks.
The boys let out a groan.
“Just for a while kids,” Jon picks up the remote and switches the channel.
“… Remly Manson, loving father and beloved Crime Fighter…”
“The superhero known affectionately as Captain…”
“… Dead! The superhero community is asking for anyone with the whereabouts of the mutant known as The Crawler to…”

Jake, his younger son, drops his spoon, spilling cereal on the table. “The Captain is dead?” He asks, staring with wide-eyes at the television.
Aaron turns around to glare at his father.
Jon flicks through the news channels. CNN, ABC, Fox, every channel is reporting on the same thing. Already a state funeral is being planned. Jon seethes, listening attentively to the commentary. There is no mention of the five people he killed.
Aaron stands up and storms to his room, while Jake sits there and starts to whimper.
“Honey please, switch back to the cartoons,” Margery shouts from the kitchen.
Jon sighs, flipping the channel back to Dora. He stoops over to pick up his son. “Why are you crying Jakie?”
“Cus the Captain is dead,” The boy sniffles.
“You liked the Captain?”
Jake bawls, “He’s my hero.”
Jon says nothing, feeling the wrenching in his gut. “Sweetie, the Captain isn’t that great, he’s just… well he’s like us.”
“Says who!” The boy says, struggling to free himself from Jon’s arms.
Jon bites his lips in disappointment. “Go watch cartoons in daddy’s room Jakie. Daddy needs to talk to mummy.” He lets Jake go and watch as the boy runs up the stairs.
“You okay hon?” Margery asks, bringing out breakfast.
Jon smothers his face in his hands, letting out his frustration. “I did the impossible Marge. I beat the man who cannot be beaten, yet…”
Margery sets down the plates and hugs him. “Let it go Jon, I’m just glad you made it out alive. I was watching the news together with Aaron. We thought you were dead.”
“I’m sorry,” Jon mumbles, reaching out for Margery’s hand. “But it was too dangerous for me to come back.”
“Did you get the serum?”
Jon hesitates before answering, “No.”
Margery looks away, tears welling in her eyes.
“I’ll try again hon, I promise.”
Margery laughs softly. “How? Everyone is dead Jon. How are you going to find the serum again anyway?”
Jon says nothing.
“That little girl they took in, they’re probably torturing her right now, trying to find out who you are.”
“She doesn’t know who I am Marge… None of them do…”
“How about the blood?” Margery says, flustering. “What if they test the blood on the scene and…”
“Enough, we knew the risk when we decided to do this. Talking about it now isn’t going to change anything.”
“I’m just saying Jon, them league-types gets to call themselves heroes while we get branded as the terrorists. It just ain’t fair.”
“Nobody said it was.”
For a moment, the couple sits quietly on the sofa, holding on to each other as they stare at Dora prancing around on the television.


Jon Crawler: Part 3

Jon blinks, barely flinching as the Captain staggers backwards.

He shakes his head clear and looks up, a stunned expression on his face. “How on Earth?” He lunges forward and tries a bear hug, crushing Jon between his muscular arms.

Jon barely feels the wind being squeezed out of him. With a wry smile, he forces his arms open, breaking the Captain’s grasp. In his head, he begins to understand what has happening here.

“Impossible!” The captain takes a step back and launches a spinning right hook, the same hand that had floored the Mantis and killed Siren only a moment earlier. Using his claw, Jon catches the fist in midair and twists it, sending the proud hero on his knees. The Captain cries in pain. Cameras click and film away. A horrified public watches in silence. No one knows what to do.

Jon launches a bevy of kicks and punches on the helpless Captain. Loss in the heat of battle, he sees nothing, only the face of the man who just killed five of his friends. Five people who will no longer be able to go home and see their families and children, all for a chance to be normal.

“Come on Captain! Someone screams from the crowd, “For justice!” Others break out of their stupor and join him, willing their beloved hero to fight.

The captain looks up at Jon and shouts a battle cry, forcing himself to stand against the pain and throws himself at Jon.

The cameras roll on.

“What did you do to me…”

Jon panics. The Captain goes into a frenzy, clawing and biting at Jon. He is so weak now, that Jon barely feels his feeble attempts. He tries to throw him off, but the Captain hangs on.

“Move in now! The Captain needs our help!”

Across the street, Jon can see the maniacal crowd fighting against the police, trying to force their way towards him. Jon blurts. “It’s not me! It’s the serum! The serum from the lab, it works! He head butts the Captain, knocking him senseless. All he wants to do is to get away now. He shoves hard, and the Captain flies through the air, like a rag in the wind. He feels so light.

Jon staggers to his feet. Looking down, he can see what is happening to the Captain. Slowly but surely, whatever it is inside that serum is eating him from the inside. The Captain writhes on the ground, slowly withering away. He seems to age years in a matter of seconds.

“Captain?” Jon asks, uncertain of what to do.

The Captain breaks into spasms. He lurches his head upwards to gasp for air, staring with wide unblinking eyes at Jon. His hair turns white before falling off, while his face wrinkles like a prune. He reaches out for him, but Jon moves back. With a final wrenching groan, the skeletal form that was once the Captain collapses back on the ground and stops moving.

Jon looks up, standing over the still body of The Captain.

“Keep the camera’s rolling! Ladies and Gentlemen… the unthinkable has happened. The Captain is down. I repeat, the Captain is down!”

Jon stares at his hands and down at the Captain. “No, I didn’t do this. It’s the serum!” He screams to the camera.

The reporter names Lynna Banks ignores his protests and continues. “…history in the making. This villain is the first known man to ever defeat and kill the Captain…”

Across the street, chaos breaks out as the stunned crowd howls in rage. “Oh my god… the Captain is dead! The Crawler killed him!”

Jon looks up at them. “No, I didn’t mean to. He threw himself at me, I just wanted the serum for myself!”

A large squad of armed men suddenly appears on the other side the building, carrying assault rifles. A man walks behind them, his face hidden by a pair of sunglasses. His voice booms over a megaphone, “Engage with extreme caution. Weapons are now free, engage, engage!”

Shots are fired. Jon goes to ground as automatic rounds pepper the rubble around him, showering him in dust and debris. “I didn’t mean to kill him dammnit!” He screams, crawling behind cover.

The lady reporter and her camera crew brave the barrage of bullets flying overhead and make their way over to Jon. “Crawler! How does it feel to be the first villain to take down a member of the Super League?”

Crawler looks at her, then turns his head to the camera. “I keep telling you it wasn’t me, it was the serum!”

“What serum?” The lady asks, crawling on the ground now but pointing the microphone at him.

“The thing we stole from…”

“Lady move!”

More shots ring out around Jon. He feels the wind from the bullets whizzing by. In front of him, one of the men moves in close enough to toss a grenade.

“Shit!” Jon kneels on the ground and starts to dig.

“Wait, Crawler! Do you have anything to say to…?”

The ground above Jon explodes in a brilliant flash of white.


End Part 3


– The traffic in San Francisco is the ABSOLUTE worst I have seen in my life. It’s amazing how close people live to the perpetually jammed highways.

– The people here are amazing though. Makes you think twice about what you should aspire for in life. Is money everything? I’m talking to you Asians here, if there are any.

– Going to a South Bay club tonight. Sexy boogie time!



Jon Crawler: Part 2

 “Just doing my job Lynna,” The Captain beams, posing for the cameras and running a hand through his jet black hair. Below him, Jon squirms a little, trying to bury himself deeper in the rubble.

“Captain…” Lynna moves the microphone closer to his face. Thud! It strikes against his force field, causing it to flicker. “Sorry, do you mind lowering that for a moment?”

“Certainly,” The captain says, allowing the blue field to fade away.

“Tell us Captain. Who are these villains, and why did they try to attack this military facility?”

The captain laughs.

“A criminal mind never needs a reason Lynna. Sometimes, scums like these just want to watch the world burn. That’s why it’s up to the league members like me to stop them.” He flexes his arm towards the camera for dramatic effect.

Jon breathes in sharply. This buffoon doesn’t even know why we’re here! He grips the vials tightly in his hand.

“Captain, our sources say that the government lab here is working on some sort of serum that could spell an end to mutant powers. Do you have anything to comment on that?”

The Captain flashes a grin. “That’s one for military Lynna, you have to speak to the general about that. Superheroes like me… well, we’re just ordinary citizens trying to make the world a…”

Jon tunes out of the conversation and peeks out from behind his goggles. The scene is flooded with police now, checking through each of his fallen comrades. Of the six, only Chronoblonde is still alive, cradling her limp wrist as she cries out against the rough hands manhandling her.

One of the officers looks over, spying Jon lying behind the Captain. “Hey, the last one’s over there.”

The Captain turns and addresses the man. “Allow me officer,” the dashing hero says, playing for the cameras as he leaps into the air and glides down to stand directly above Jon.

Lying motionless on the floor, Jon screws his eyes shut and tries desperately not to breathe.

The Captain shouts to the crowds, “Who want to see me unmask this nefarious villain who threatens the peace of this city!”

Jon swallows as a thunderous roar of approval rings out across the crowd. It takes all his willpower not to change out into his form and lash out at the Captain.

The Captain smiles and waves, feeding the adoring fans. “Fair warning though, mutants can sometimes be quite monstrous behind their masks.”

Jon quakes in his boots and bunches his hand around the vials, ready to make his last stand.

Stooping down, the Captain claws into Jon’s face, wrapping his fingers around the goggles.

“Captain, can you look up for a moment, for the camera!”


“Lower your shields please, smile!”

Jon opens his eyes and sees the smiling face of the Captain looking away. Without hesitation, he twisted towards him in the rubble and sends his hand with the vials smashing hard against the face of the Captain.

The Captain grunts in agony, as the glass tubes cut into his flesh, allowing the serum to seep into his blood. He swings his arm and sends Jon sailing through the air.

“Ooffpph!’ Jon lands hard, but not before he mutates his arms into his massive claws and curls his head inside. He lets his shoulder take the brunt of the impact as he rolls across the rubble in a ball.

“Seize him!” The officers on the ground made a beeline for Jon as he staggers up. Across the destroyed lab, he can see the Captain writhing away on the floor, in obvious agony. The cameras and reporters remain trained on the fallen hero, as a horrified public watches on in stunned silence.

Jon, battered and bruised, turns his attention to the officers bearing down on him. The one closest to him goes down with a bloody nose as Jon blocks a baton with his claws, returning the favor with a ferocious head butt that left his own head spinning. More men approach, but Jon turns away to claw into the ground, churning a steady stream of rubble that knocks the approaching men senseless.

From a distance, the remaining officers change their tact, hunkering down behind cover to fire their weapons. Jon dives into the hole he has made and tunnels rapidly, digging directly towards them. They fire wildly at his trail, shooting at the moving rubble, but Jon knocks them off their feet and emerges from behind, smashing their faces in with his claws.

Jon looks up. Across the ground, the Captain, with half his face cut and burnt by whatever it was inside those vials, is back on his feet. He gives a mighty roar and charges toward Jon.

Shit! Jon shield himself, expecting to break every bone in his body as the Captain hurtles towards him like a truck.

End Part 2

Authors Notes (Probably more interesting than the story):

– My first time: Shucking Oysters at Tamoles Bays Oyster Company rocks. The fact that they were the biggest and freshest oysters in my life made me a big oyster fan. Strangely, there were more Asians than locals there.

– My first time: Watching mother and father duck lead their gaggle of ducklings to cross the road at the duck crossing is pretty surreal. Note ducklings aren’t yellow, they’re some weird algae color.

– The Korean food in South Bay beats anything you can ever find in Singapore. Galbi Soup, Tofu Soup, BBQ… yummylicous. Makes me notice how poorly I was eating in Singapore.


Jon Crawler: Part 1

Jon Crawler is on the floor, pretending to be dead.

With a half-opened eye beneath cracked mining goggles, he watches on haplessly as the Captain pummels yet another one of his associates into oblivion. What remains of the Grey Mantis now lies within a crater, his feeler-like hands quavering in the air.  The Captain smashes down again. Four down, three to go.

Across the street, a huge crowd has gathered around the destroyed lab to cheer on the epicly one-sided battle between the Super League representative and the mutant misfits. Phones and cameras jostle for position, trying to capture the action. A hero in spangly blue tights and a red cape beating the crap out of seven would-be criminals in public is primetime fodder. Jon can only imagine the number of hits this will get on Youtube.

A high-pitched scream goes out, and Jon cringes. Lady Siren is laying it on the Captain now with her supersonic vocals. Jon burrows his head deeper into the rubble at the unbearable squawk. Everyone else, villains left standing included, moves their hands to their ears to try and shut her off, as a chorus of boos goes out in the audience.

The Captain seems only vaguely annoyed by the screeching. Always a people person, he obliges the voracious crowd by picking up a brick and hurling it straight at Siren. He takes her head clean off in a single throw, drawing wild applause and howls of delight. Playing to crowd once more, he pulls the classic Bruce Lee taunt, swiping his nose with his thumb and flicking his fingers at the remaining villains, goading them to attack him together.

ChronoBlonde and El Diablo hesitate as they watch their comrades fall in battle one by one. Fight or run, they know the Captain will bring them down. Their eyes communicate briefly. With a nod, they leap in to attack. Polite applause breaks out as some in the crowd show their appreciation. At least they are making the effort.

Chrono, with a quick burst of speed, goes in with a lightning quick punch that even the man himself fails to check. The only outcome of that exchange however, is Chrono shattering every bone in her hand as her fist comes up against the Captain’s force field. She lets out a whimpering cry before falling to ground, holding on to her broken arm.

El Diablo follows up quickly as the force field around the man flickers. With a mighty roar, he conjures a fiery blast straight out of the depths of hell and hurls it towards the Captain. A collective gasp goes out in the crowd when they feel the wave of heat. The Captain merely grins. With a gentle pursing of his lips, he produces a gale strong enough to send the wall of fire back against El Diablo, turning him instantly into a pile of steaming ash.

The crowd, silent for a moment, suddenly goes wild. The Captain has executed the double takedown without moving a muscle. They chant his name as the hero busks in the attention, waving appreciatively to the adoring public. News crews already on site start rushing forward to get the first exclusive with the Captain as he circles the makeshift arena of the destroyed building. Still waving to the crowd, he comes right next to Jon, who tries his best to hold still.

“Captain, Lynna Banks from the Evening News!”

Jon peeks out. A female reporter he recognizes from the nightly news is running towards them. The Captain turns his head and smiles.

“Roll the camera! This is Lynna Banks, standing in the aftermath of the latest battle between Remly Manson, better known as the Captain, and a group of mutant terrorists. Once again, single-handedly, the Captain has saved our fair city from imminent threat!”

End Part One

Author’s Notes (Probably more interesting than the story):

– On a public computer, unable to insert images sadly. Will try to do it via my iPad later. Some Indian old geezer is surfing porn on Tumblr beside me. I keep giving him a knowing look and he keeps ignoring me.

– Essentially same structure as my previous stories, trying to make it move faster though, to recreate a sort of comic-like vibe. I strongly believe in the open with a action scene if your story allows crowd.

– Would it matter if I used a name for a hero for a VERY small part? i.e. El Diablo. That’s a throwback to one of my favorite PC games of all time, Freedom Force, and not the DC comic.

– I’m getting a lot of views from my home country Singapore lately. Like more than the views from USA. Kindly identify yourselves, thanks! i.e. Diana

– West coasts burgers suck. In-and-out is the most overrated burger ever. I miss Pawley’s back in Columbia, South Carolina.

– Go Golden State Warriors!

Masked: Superhero, Supergoodness


A couple of days ago, I decided to write a short story featuring a superhero. That got me thinking about why no one seems to be writing any super hero stories. We seem to be getting a lot of them in the movies, so why not books.

A quick search on Google and Amazon, revealed this gem hidden amongst a small selection of other superhero works available. Reading the extremely short preview, I was instantly hooked by the introductory paragraph of the first story. Just to be clear here, this is fiction, or more accurately put, science-fiction where instead of aliens and guns shooting lasers, you get mutants and eyes shooting lasers. That’s about as different as the genre gets.

To give you an example of what type of action-packed writing grabs me. The first story “Cleansed & Set In Gold” started with this:

I’m on the ground trying to breathe through a chest full of broken ribs. The only reason I’m still alive is because I happen to be invisible  at the moment. Verlaine is dead. His body is twitching, trying to patch himself up, but the thing that killed him is chewing on his heart, its long tongue flicking. I can hear Verlaine’s fingernails scratching against the rocks.

We all thought Veraline was immortal. He wasn’t.

This super-amazing first story focuses primarily on the super hero, his powers and his fight against a seemingly unbeatable foe, and is worth the price of the book alone in my opinion. But for the most part, the rest of the stories chose to write about how their super-strength protagonists meandered their way through society. It’s a varied lot to be honest, you get your super-villians using their talents to to rob a bank, the gay superhero who tries to fight injustice in more ways than one, and other societal themes that seem to be a general trend throughout the book.

Here, my stand is simple. That’s NOT a good approach. To sum up how I feel, let me quote one of the buyer reviewers – Patrick O’Duffy

Too much kryptonite, not enough super-writing

There’s an interesting mix of comics writers and prose writers here, but there’s also a strong deconstructive tendency from the non-comics authors. It’s not enough for them to simply write a superhero story; it has to be one that critiques the genre and its conventions, and usually in a way that finds those conventions wanting. The comics authors, on the other hand, were more interested in following those conventions to find a story that respected them while still working within a different medium/form. Those stories tended to be better, if only because I could read the story without the chip on the author’s shoulder getting in the way.

Anyway, before I go into my rant, I highly recommend the first story in the novel. The fight scenes were EPIC. I wish I could write half as well as the author.

Thoughts on presenting the superhero genre

While everybody appreciates a good storyline that tries to go deeper beyond “Hulk smash!”, there has to be a balance between trying to humanise the hero, while still trying to present him as a world-saving hero. Most of these stories focus too much on the emotions and thoughts of victimised heroes standing alone in a depressed world, instead of shooting lasers and generally, just kicking ass.

Here are some quick thoughts on how to write a superhero book.

Stay Physical

Superheroes and what they do are meant to be very physical. Wolverine gets angry, he slices stuff up. He gets sad, he slices stuff up. He gets hungry…. you get the drill. A brief glimpse into the inner demons he’s battling inside might make for good story fodder, but it should not ever detract from the “slice stuff up” aspect. To me, if the author made this mistake, then he shouldn’t be writing science fiction.

Focus On Action

Honestly, your genre allows you to use face-melting beams and heroes who can fly without explanation. USE IT. If I want to read a story about how the good guys tried to sneak their way in or talk their way out of a confrontation, a different setting like WW2 would be better. I want to see cars flung in the air, impossible somersaults that befuddle the cops giving chase, and as much furniture breakage as possible. Like the example of the first story above, the author went into quite gory details about the fight scenes and deaths. The end result of which was actually quite stupendous.


If you need your character to be less like the invincible Superman and more vulnerable, try going the Batman route with gadgetry instead. This puts him in a position where he can be very weak, but once he gets his stuff on, he can beat up the guys who were chasing him just a moment ago. Trick is to make him still play out like a superhero instead of a decked out James Bond. Often, this requires the author to give him a deeper persona or agenda that separates him from a typical spy.

To end it off, I really hope more writers will start picking up on using superheroes in their stories. It’s honestly quite good fun. I’ve about had it with vampires and the undead.

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Super: Part 2

Action Sequence. Kinda uncertain if I should be using any descriptive terms here at all. Just want the action to flow.


Super: Part 2

“Since when can you fly!” Williams shouted after the Captain, as he disappeared into the clouds.

In the air, Eric enjoyed a rare moment of solitude as he allowed the magical gauntlets to pull him above the clouds. A loan from Wonderkid, who was enjoying his paid time off sipping mai-tais down in Hawaii, they chugged a little at the heavier frame of the Captain. Other than that, it was something that Eric could seriously get used to.

Blessed with super strength, super speed, super agility and a whole array of heightened senses, the one gift that Eric wished he had as well was the power of flight. If nothing else, it was the one way he could get a little solitude in this city of eight million. Sometimes, Eric wished that the agency could have gotten him a gig elsewhere with a little more peace and quiet. Somewhere less of a target for the super-villains of the world.

But that would have to wait for now, as the financial district loomed large before him. Shifting his fists downwards, he started his descent towards Central bank.

The Captain landed outside a barricade of squad cars surrounding the bank.  Without waiting for an introduction, he walked up and seized a megaphone out of the hands of a awe-struck officer.

“Alright Hawk. Fun times over, come out nice and easy and no one gets hurt.”  He waited for a response, but none were forthcoming. “Last chance Stevens,” he said, calling out the Hawk by his real name.

Suddenly, the air was filled with arrows. Steel-tipped shafts that sliced through cars and flesh alike. The men standing closest to Eric suffered a multitude of wounds and went down immediately.

“On the ground now!” Eric ordered, as everyone around him threw themselves onto the tarmac. The ring of cars offered absolutely no protection against Hawk’s projectiles as the arrows shredded through men and cars alike.

“Christ! That man’s crazy!”

“Help, I’m bleeding!”

“Someone get a medic!”


In a moment, the barrage stopped. Several officers got up and ran to pull their wounded comrades to safety. Others got back to defensive positions, training their weapons on the bank.

“No, stay down!” Eric ordered, but it was too late. An explosion ripped through the air as scores of men were knocked to the ground by the flaming fireball. One of the squad cars flipped backwards into the air, and threatened to crush the helpless officers hiding behind.

Eric sprung into action. Running between the men and the car, he delivered a fierce right hook into the burning wreck and stopped it dead in its tracks.

“Thanks Captain!” the grateful officers echoed.

“Get out of here!” Eric barked as he got ready to move in. The only problem now was getting close to Hawk without being turned into a pincushion. And for that, he needed a diversion.

Picking up one of the squad cars, Eric spun around once and flung the vehicle towards the doors of the bank. As expected, the Hawk countered with his own incendiary arrows and blew up the car as it hurtled towards him in the air, blinding everyone looking at the explosion.

“Cover me!” Eric shouted, as he leapt over what remained of the barricade. Immediately, another volley of arrows came directly at the Captain, but he nimbly rolled under the advancing projectiles. Hawk was shooting blindly now, relying more on intuition more than sight. Eric ran in a zigzag pattern towards the broken doors of the bank, and side-stepped another wave of shafts before finally making it into the bank.

Throwing himself behind a counter out front, Eric tried to provoke the Hawk into revealing himself, “Drop your weapon now Stevens! It’s over!”

“You’ll have to catch me first,” came the hidden voice from the back of the hall.

Eric lunged for the next nearest cover, counting to himself as he went. “One..two..dive!” Just in the nick of time, as a steel-tipped arrow flashed past his head.

“What’s the matter Hawk, arm getting tired?”

Eric heard the thud of an arrow striking wood, and he instantly tried to scramble clear as the desk behind him exploded in a rain of splinters. His ears were ringing from the blast, disorienting him for the split-second. It was all the Hawk needed to get a clear shot off.

Eric somersaulted acrobatically as he tried to dodge the arrow but it struck him cleanly on the shoulder. “Damn it!” the Captain grunted as he rolled towards the next desk. More shots came close as he scrambled behind cover.

Looking at his wound, Eric saw that the arrow had missed the bone. He Captain grimaced as he pushed the arrow further into his flesh, until it exited through his body. He snapped off the arrowhead and extracted the shaft. Years of condition had taught him how to block out pain.

“Having fun now Eric?” The Hawk said, mocking the retreating Captain. “You know you try so hard, but you don’t even know who you’re fighting for anymore, do you Eric?”

Eric did not bother with a reply. He dashed towards the sofa in the middle of the hallway and pushed it like a battering ram towards the location of the voice.  Several arrows pierced through the leather and cushioning, and one managed to slice him  below the ribs. But he ignored the pain and charged. He was at the end of the banking hall.

And then he saw his adversary, perched atop a table drawing yet another arrow. He was dressed differently from the last time Eric saw him, taking the Robin Hood reference a little too far with a matching green suit and matching hood.

Unimpressed, Eric heaved mightily and flung the shredded sofa towards him. He was rewarded with a satisfying “Oofph!” as his shot connected.

“Give it up Stevens!” Eric roared as he rushed forward to close in on the Hawk.

But Hawk still had plenty of tricks up his sleeve. He launched another arrow into the ground in front of Eric which exploded with a loud bang, filling the air with a thick cloud of powder.

And then he was gone.