It all started when Jake entered his Lair for the last time. He called it that
in a tribute to every comic book hero ever- they all had that secret place to
go, to be themselves. His was piled with computer parts, stacks of back issues
of Batman, X-Men, and other, more interesting, less known series. There were
floor to ceiling stacks of books, and he'd been trapped in an avalanche on many
It was his place, where he could be himself, take off all the masks, his Work
Self, his Street Self, and in all honesty, his Married Self. He loved his wife,
very much indeed. But even the best marriages need a moment of escape, a refuge,
a Lair. The Jakecave, as his wife would put it.
The last time he entered his lair, his feet sloshed through the puddle of blood.
Blood poured down the old stacks of Batman's, the well thumbed copies of Stephen
King books. His wife lay on the stacks, one hand clutching at his computer
mouse. Throat slit, skirts torn free.
He never entered that lair again, and never really was himself again. It started
as a quest for vengance, and eventually, became his life. The Work Self, Street
Self, Married Self, and any other self Jake ever was were all eaten alive by
what he saw in the Lair that last time.
In their stead, the solitary gatekeeper of the mind rose up, the Killer.
There was training, gods was there training. A cold fusion blast welled up in
him, powering the former desk jockey comic book fan into a frenzy. He couldn't
have learned it alone, but he had trainers. A steady stream of them, and most of
them vanished before long, frightened away by the steel he showed them. But one
man understood the power of that steel.
It was that teacher who came flying into the room when Jake stood over the man
thatkilled, raped, violated his wife. The man that destroyed all of the many
things that Jake was. Jake's large revolver was pressed against the back of the
man's skull, and the man sobbed, asking for forgiveness, absolution, divine
intervention- just about anything to keep a few ounces of lead from
spraypainting the walls with his brain.
"Jake! No!" The teacher shouted, but stayed back, so that he wouldn't force an
action that could be prevented.
Jake shook his head, pulling the gun back and ramming the barrel into the man's
skull. "Like hell teacher."
"So that's how it ends then? Just going to kill him! That'll make you no better
than he is!"
Jake pulled the trigger, and the murdering, raping bastard's head exploded in a
gout of blood, coating Jake's right hand in gore. As drops of red fell from his
hand, Jake looked at his teacher, smiling. "Life's not a competition. I don't
_have_ to be better than he is."
Jake's teacher drew his sidearm, hoping to atone for the monster he had created
perhaps. Or perhaps, realizing that Jake was a machine now, not a man. Whatever
it was, he drew, but Jake saw it coming, and ventilated his chest three times
before the gun was out of the holster. The big-bore slugs tore the teacher
apart, leaving exit wounds on his back the size of small plates.
Jake stepped over the raping, murdering bastard. The first body he created. He
then stepped over his teacher, the second body. And then Jake walked out into
the world, two guns at his hips, with no direction, and nothing to live for.
It's a sad state for a man to be in, but the money he got from being a