Corrupted and Content

Four Rounds and a Sedan

March 16th

Slam. Steps. 3rd Floor. 2nd Apartment on the right. Shit, 3rd. Not LA. Sorry. Door Closed. Shotgun Loaded.

After that, it was a while before Dylan had another real thought. He couldn’t tell how long, the one room apartment didn’t have a clock. It was still dark, at least. Not that he thought he would sleep that night anyway. The realization of what he had done that night really didn’t hit him until he was alone, riding home in the back of someone else’s cab. Not the spirit being banished, not the werewolf that had showed up to protect it, not even the 4 rounds he had pumped into that wolf to put it down. No, that didn’t bother him. It followed the rules of the new world he found himself in perfectly. What had crushed him in the back of the cab was that he was now a murderer. Even in retrospect, 3 rounds to the howling beast attacking the Father still seemed like a good idea. It was the 4th, to its back, that bothered him. He didn’t even know if it was still its back when he pulled the trigger. There was the shot, then the hole, then the cab, then a dead man lying where the monster had been. He couldn’t put those in order if his life depended n it, and really, he didn’t think it mattered. He took an action. He squeezed the trigger of a gun. There was a consequence. A man with a large hole in his torso and a bloody mess where his face used to be. A freshman business student could block that action, oldest one in the book.

Shit. He had almost forgotten about the cab. Goddammit Arkady, what the fuck were you thinking? The fucking thing was dead by the time she even got there, and there was a reason they hadn’t used the car in the first place. Pretty generous to be with other people’s shit in chasing your prey. Now they weren’t only without transportation, Dylan would have to come up with something to tell his bosses at the depot, and Vidal wasn’t exactly the best liar in the world. Plus, he doubted they would go for the Superbad excuse, and that was about all he had up his sleeve.

Dylan chuckled to himself at what a bastard he could be. He had just taken his first life, and he was worried about his car and coming up with excuses for work. The more things change, eh? If everything he ever read was true, if he was really a hero, he should be inconsolable right now, sobbing in his secret hideout at the violation of his code and the blood on his hands. But he didn’t feel that. Mostly, he just felt charged. He could try to weep for awhile, but without knowing anyone else in the world to perform for, there was no point in lying to himself. For some reason, what he did hadn’t really bothered him at all, and not even because it was a werewolf on the receiving end. He’d seen enough to know that, wolf or not, people were people. Turning into a wolf, sucking blood, magic; that was just power, no different from any other kind, and they used it in just as evil of ways as any human with power. He knew Hollywood agents that he knew for a fact weren’t vampires who would break their clients bones and suck out the marrow while they screamed if they saw an angle in it. Hell, this one time…

That was it. He knew killing that wolf didn’t bother him. Sure, he had never gone for The Punisher, or any of the Dark Age gore that Image churned out when he was a kid. All of the posters in his room were Superheroes with a strict code against killing; Supes, Batman, Green Lantern, Doctor Strange, Spiderman. But there was one poster that had hung above every bed he’d slept in since he was 12, one man who killed a lot of people, and lived to regret none of it: Che. Dylan wasn’t overly political, his Dad had enough commitment for the whole family. It wasn’t his philosophy or economic policy that drew him to Che Guevara, it was his image. If you didn’t look too hard at the facts, che was a perfect dashing rogue, stealing back to his home in the night to lead a revolution against its corrupt government from the jungle, thinking only of his people. But even more than aping Robin Hood, he had something unique. He was a judge, a man possessed of so strong of morals and so sharp of mind that he knew who needed to die to win the people’s rights, who had committed crimes worthy of death. Che had little power, but he used every scrap of what he could scrounge to serve the people. The people he killed had all of the power, and had chosen to use it to kill, steal, dominate. You get a black and white moral conflict paired with a David vs. Goliath battle, and who doesn’t like an underdog?

After pausing to reflect on the irony of calling oneself an underdog against a literal dog, Dylan smiled. That wolf, whatever his human name and identity, had power. Lots of it. And he had failed to wield it responsibly and chosen to menace children and attack a harmless priest. And Dylan had killed him. Kal-El might disapprove, but this was where Che lived and breathed, and he’s a hero the world over.

So he was a hero after all, Dylan mused as his eyes slowly closed and his grip on his shotgun loosened, he just had the wrong genre. Good to know…

Dylan slept like a baby.


RSHipskind CHarrison

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