Hey it’s Thursday! Who’s ready for their Negative Man fix? I know I am. Oh wait, I wrote this stuff, I guess it doesn’t really do me a lot of good. Well, that’s a shame.
You know what does people good? A new book. This week, The Negative Man: Prelude to Chaos came on out over at Amazon. It is a shortie, only 99 cents too, but it gives us some back info on the whole Jericho and Dark Lion team. Feel free to go grab that one, if you’d like (https://www.amazon.com/Negative-Man-Prelude-Pacific-Vigilante-ebook/dp/B01N0NLD32/).
Enough chit chat, let’s get on with this week’s story…
Issue #13 – A Deal Made
Another newspaper and another headline of death. Unlike crime lord Jim Reno last time, this death was a bit more tragic. The young man, Al, who’d brought me the paper about Reno and the suspicion that Kim was the one who killed him had been found murdered. It had been described as a brutal scene, the young man had been beaten to death by bare hands the police theorized.
The one anomaly that had been presented was perfectly round puncture marks on the face. Harvey Grime’s replacement, Police Chief Brad Woods believed the suspect used brass knuckles with spikes forged on them. My heart broke considering that this might have once again been Kim’s work. I needed to find him and get to the bottom of this.
My first stop after leaving my church wasn’t the comic book shop. Now, I went down a few blocks to the Drive-In Dive, a little dive bar run by local celebrity Lad Blaze. He was an eccentric man who enjoyed his odd hairstyles, but one who kept his ear to the ground.
As I walked in, the television was on and disgruntled Ronald Victory once again making all sorts of statements about the super community. “These people are a threat and if the President fails to see it, then a change needs to be made at the top!”
Blaze saw me enter and hit the mute button. No one was at the bar yet, as it was only four in the afternoon. “Father Mikey,” I hated that name so much, yet my teachings told me to never react, “come by for an early communion?”
“Just a glass of water, please.” Blaze was dejected but got me my usual. “I’m here about a patron, maybe former patron.” I leaned in close. “Has Kim been in lately?”
“Nah man, I haven’t seen him since Diana passed on.” He poured himself a shot. “That was something else, huh? Never saw that one coming.”
I ended up sitting there, talking to Blaze until his first patrons began filing in. He was another soul, lost, that was trying to reach out. His problems were completely different, yet all in the same. I hoped my talk with him helped.
As I left, I noticed a black truck sitting across the street. Where the emblem of the company who manufactured it should’ve been, there was a skull with its tongue out. Covering the front bumper were a set of bars, the kind that looked like they would be used for ramming objects. Something about this truck struck me as evil. So it was an even bigger shock when the black tinted window rolled down and Kim was in the driver’s seat.
He looked awful, pale and malnourished. He quickly waved me over before his window returned to the up position. Against my better judgement, I crossed the street and get into the passenger seat. Instantly, something was very wrong with everything around me.
Kim fired the truck up and pulled out into the street. “I knew you’d never stop looking for me.”
“You’re right.” Up close, his skin looked clammy, like someone who hadn’t slept for days. “Do I even need to ask if you were involved in the murders of Jim Reno and that kid, Al?”
He turned off on to a side street, Coastline Avenue if my internal map was correct. He pulled over to a shaded parking spot and turned the truck off. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”
Each time he said that, it was more and more chilling how similar to my meetings with Jericho these were becoming. “Kim, I don’t believe this counts as confession.”
“You’re a man of God,” he argued. “Make it count.”
Knowing I’d regret this, “What have you done, my son?”
He began to sob. “I’ve killed them, both of them.”
This was becoming a dangerous situation. “Why would you do something like that?”
He pulled his glasses off, showing the full effect of his bloodshot eyes. “Because father, I needed an escape. I couldn’t live like I was. I think I made a very bad deal.”
The passenger door was unlocked, so I slowly moved my hand to the door lever. “What kind of bad deal are you referring to?”
“I met a man who said he’d help take away the pain, for a price.” Kim lifted up his hands and closed them into a fist. Out of his knuckles rose three inch spikes, the same sort of things Chief Woods had said. “He promised me power, but all he’s done is turn me into his own agent of death.”
“We can get you help!” My hand was about ready to pull the door and make my escape.”
“There’s no help for me, father; Kim Krummel is dead. All I am now is Abaddon, the Ravager.”