Chapter 1: Saturday the 14th
The Headline of the Article read; “Camp Blood: Killing’s Resumed at Cursed Grounds”.
Every Friday the 13th was strange in the United States. Those who went to work did so, children went to school, the trains ran as well as they normally did and yet there everyone seemed to feel a strange sensation of anticipation. It was as though an entire population was waiting for the next day, to see the reports and whether it would happen again.
It was the same feeling people had when they were watching reality TV and waiting for the result of a public vote. That feeling of anticipation for things that didn’t really affect you, but for some reason you felt like it was the most important thing and couldn’t want to discuss it amongst your co-workers at the water cooler the next day.
And of course, people who were considered influential or worth having an opinion were often questioned about there feelings and asked to react blindly and on the spot.
On this Friday the 13th, one of the people interviewed was the Hero of Harlem- Luke Cage.
Standing outside an apartment holding a bag of groceries in his right hand and holding his keys in the other, Luke was interrupted from his thoughts by a microphone suddenly appearing out of his peripheral and a voice asking; “Mr Cage, what are your opinions on the once again brutal killing spree that has occurred at Camp Crystal Lake?”
Of course, it was something Luke had heard about. He’d seen it pop up on his phone early that morning but had only skimmed the surface. It was like when a known douchebag said something horrible on Twitter, after a point you just didn’t get surprised anymore.
Staring at the microphone he had remembered letting Claire know when she had woken up in a very apathetic fashion and she had said; “Jesus, that’s horrible…” in the same tone and then they had both begun there day.
It happened so often, it was hard to be completely shocked. Especially as it had been happening for years.
But to give an opinion wasn’t something he had been expected to do when he left the house that morning. The only thing on his agenda had been buying lunch, dinner and some laundry detergent.
Not something the news wanted to know about…
“What’s this about?” He asked, turning on the spot; “Did one of the kids come from here?”
“No,” The interviewer that had the microphone in his face replied, followed by a second holding a camera adding; “it’s just customary to get reactions from famous people in the neighbourhood when tragedy like this happens. Your thoughts?”
At this question a million thoughts ran through his head. A black man in his situation with his level of notoriety and public approval being interviewed had the potential to be risky.
Say the wrong thing on the local news and suddenly he was the subject of a witch hunt, or an internet meme and suddenly nobody would take him seriously ever again. Or perhaps he would end up saying the right thing in a perfect way and suddenly he’d be relied on for future interviews and he’d lose the respect of the people for being a sell-out.
It was a hard line to walk, so he opted for basic and said;
“… My… thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. If you’ll excuse me.”
And with that, he turned the key in the door and went upstairs to the frustrated sighs of the interviewers. It was hardly going to make the evening news, but it was definitely the right answer and he honestly didn’t have enough of an idea to make an informed opinion. It was a national tragedy, of course, and it was sad for the families involved but the Crystal Lake killings were a lot like the ones that occasionally got reported in Haddonfield or Springwood.
Famous, sad, but… expected.
The reality was that, beyond the crimes in the street, there were just some parts of the United States where teenagers just… died.
Luke put the groceries away in Claire’s department and got to work on lunch and checked his phone to see that Claire was working her shift until four that afternoon. A wave of disappointment rushed over him but soon his thoughts returned to the news as fresh alerts erupted on his screen and his eyes met with fresh interviews with the victims’ families.
“We had no idea-”
The only child-
“Why does this keep happening?”
Cries for help as the Police fail-
Luke closed his phone and sighed loudly and alone. His fingers tapped against the kitchen counter, his eyes focused at empty space as though his mind was racing with consideration and then he walked away to the couch to watch some TV- and then immediately without hesitation made his way over to the computer and slammed it open (taking just enough care to not break it).
Since getting out of prison and the events of Midland Circus, Luke had some downtime to grow re-accustomed to normal life. Claire had kept him grounded and he’d had a few odd jobs here and there but then, like a summons, he was called forth by the community to be there when normal channels didn’t work.
The Hero of Harlem had friends and all of them were willing to let him work for his keep and despite how often Claire said that it sometimes interfered with her own work (sometimes by making more of it), Luke had gradually found that he could live and provide for both his community and his girlfriend.
He opened a fresh tab on Claire’s browser for the news and, sure enough to no surprise, the headline that reached his eyes seemed to be one he had been reading for most of his life. It was one of those headlines that had a habit of recurring and the people would grow angry about it, then forget about it, until it happened all over again.
Comments in the article were… varied.
“This happens near enough every 6 months and the government has done nothing to stop it? Insane!”
“Oh right. We’re supposed to believe this? Next, you’ll be telling me the Hulk is real. #FAKENEWS!”
“So sad, but then it is God’s punishment for our sin, so they deserve it I guess... #prayingforthevictims”
“Why doesn’t Captain America or Iron Man do something? Surely it would take them like… two seconds.”
That last one resonated with Luke. This was a series of ongoing murders that were occurring in a part of America and, yeah, nobody was really doing anything?
The Avengers could definitely deal with it, he was certain, but from what Luke had heard and seen their actions seemed more focused on large scale immediate issues rather than on the day to day living of society. At least as far as he knew. Truth be told he wasn’t one to really follow on what Tony Stark was up to and it had been a while since anyone had heard from Captain America or Thor.
Couldn’t they be more like that Spider guy that hung around Queens and help the little guy out every once and a while?
Luke leaned back in his chair and finally closed the laptop lid and opted to have a think as an idea was slowly formulating in his mind.
To do that he went for a walk around the neighbourhood, ignoring the reporters that tried to get a second statement from him as he exited Claire’s apartment, and then walked with his hood up and the music in his ears. Blindly following a route that could be somewhat considered a patrol as he checked in on areas that were at risk and simply showed his presence.
He walked for a good hour and let the thoughts roll through his head as he pieced together the story that had been reported by the lone survivor.
According to the report, under the impression that Camp Crystal Lake was no longer a threat, a tourist trap had been set up by a small start up company to provide cheap thrills. A person would dress as Jason and give the “Voorhees Treatment” to the fans including jumping out at them and chasing them through the woods whilst wielding a machete.
Naturally, the real Jason had turned up and had made the experience all to real until finally one of the visitors had apparently escaped and apparently killed Jason by using his own machete against him. Which would have done the trick if not for the fact that this had happened in the past as well.
But the thing that was making Luke pause for thought was this next part.
Luke was pretty much injury proof.
The idea of getting attacked by a hockey mask wearing psychopath didn’t concern him. He was fairly certain it was something he could deal with it, it was just that he had this inane childlike fear of the man even with his powers hear and now strictly based from the stories he had heard when he was a kid.
Plus, if he did go alone then Claire would without question kill him if he made it back.
So that was that. Nothing he could do. The genuine fear he felt as he walked back to his apartment over the potential of this lone forest dwelling figure was too much to handle on your own. Even for someone like Luke, the sheer scope and size of a man like Jason Voorhees was bigger than he had ever considered dealing with.
Maybe if he didn’t go alone…
He had a thought.
A crazy thought…
And before he knew it he had picked up his phone and was scrolling through.
How crazy was it really? Claire would think it was insane and most people would find it reckless, but if he knew Danny Rand like he think he knew Danny Rand, the kid was likely going to be excited at the prospect.
But it was crazy.
He made his way back home and heard the phone on the other end answer;
“Danny, it’s Luke.”
Claire was going to be so pissed.
Next Time: Immortal & Power
Chapter 2: Immortal & Power
Danny had arrived at his apartment an hour or so later holding two bags of Chinese food and a big smile on his face. Unsurprisingly, as the last time he and Luke had hung out was a couple weeks when Claire had suggested they double date with Danny and Colleen. The idea was more to try and introduce Danny to modern social norms and also to try and have a night that was more mature, as Danny was known for being fairly immature at times.
What had in fact occurred was Danny had found Luke’s old Sega Genesis and the two had played videogames for most of the night.
So, judging by his expression as Luke opened the door, Danny clearly expected more of the same and was disappointed slightly when Luke began to explain what he had in mind.
“I don’t understand what you’re asking.” Danny said in a confused tone and refilling his glass of water; “You… want to go camping with me?”
“Do you not watch the news at all?” Luke said, bringing up the articles on Claire’s laptop and handing them to his friend, however Danny’s face grew slightly pouty and he snapped back;
“Of course I do, Luke! I run a billion-dollar company! I need to stay up to date with current events!”
A slight pause followed as he drank his drink and Luke asked in a low voice; “So… Did you watch it… today by any chance?”
Luke sighed and leaned against the kitchen counter as Danny sat back in his chair across from the several empty bowls in front of him. The Iron Fist cracked open the next container of pork and gestured at it to the Hero of Harlem; “You want some of this?”
“No. Well, yes. But I need to explain what I’m thinking first. See, I’ve got this idea and all I can think about it is that it’s stupid and reckless and that’s… very unlike me.”
The Iron Fist smiled and placed half the pork into a fresh bowl for his friend and slid it across the table; “Jessica always said that might as well be my middle name.”
Luke smiled. That she did.
“…So does Coleen sometimes. And Matt. A lot of people in fact…”
He shrugged and made a gesture for Luke to continue whilst he begun to tuck into more delicious food.
At the invitation, Luke’s his face grew grave and he asked; “Do you remember when you were a kid ever hearing about the Crystal Lake killings?”
Danny thought for the very briefest of moments and then cracked open a fresh container of rice, poured some directly into his mouth and said, covering his mouth with his hand; “Doesn’t ring a bell. But then over the last few years my mind has been influenced by the Monks of K’un-Lun to only allow in the influences that would allow me to become the Immortal Iron Fist and slay the Hand who are, as you know, my mortal enemies-“
“It’s never come up.” Luke interrupted; “Ever.”
Danny chewed for a moment and then shook his head again; “Sorry. I’m interrupting. Please continue.”
“Alright, well, it’s going to sound weird though. Are you okay with that?”
Danny suddenly had a serious expression on his face and he looked like he was going to start a long speech about his duty as the Iron Fist and what he could offer for the world if he was given the chance- but he seemed to swallow what he was raised to say and, with a sigh, went with;
“Luke. We’re friends. I’m happy to listen.”
Luke pulled up a chair for himself opposite the billionaire and sighed loudly. It seemed weird to say out loud, but the second time the pair had met they had fought against an army of ninjas in a board room and hallway.
Normal was relative.
“So, essentially, from what I gather, this guy called Jason died when he was just a kid right? Then his mother went around and took revenge for his death until she was killed in the 80’s. Only it turns out he wasn’t dead at all and had been living in the forest and picked up where she left out, killing people who visited the Camp Site. Allegedly he’s been killed a bunch of times as well, but for some reason he keeps coming back and then in the 90’s the FBI dealt with him, but he somehow returned to life and now every Friday the 13th people seem to be drawn to that camp to see if the legend is true, and every time they end up killed and... I don’t know. It’s kind of like with Haddonfield and that Michael guy.”
Worried that he was rambling, Luke quickly added; “I think there may be something to it? I mean the evidence shows that it is time and time again… Seems like it’s a place with a real threat and I think that we could help. Maybe.”
Danny chewed for a moment and seemed to be lost in thought. Sometimes Luke had to imagine that the kids head must be a fairly unique place. For one, he had been up close and personal with a dragon and punched it in the heart to gain access to the power he had but then when he had been told that aliens had invaded a few years back he hadn’t believed them until he saw video footage and even then, he was still a bit shaky on its validity.
The news about people like Iron Man and Thor had freaked him out a fair bit as well.
This was a tall order in terms of information to buy and all truth told, Luke wasn’t sure he brought it either. He wasn’t an investigator by any means, he had done the cardinal sin of just searching online and finding things out. Jessica was more the type to know how to do this and most of his skill in searching had come from that time they had worked together.
“And you think the two of us can stop him?” Danny wondered, eating a dumpling.
“I was… wondering if you think we should try. I can’t be hurt and this guy allegedly likes to stab people so I’m not going to have any problems… It’s just the image, you know?”
Say what you will about Danny Rand, but the kid had a wonderful way of helping you figure something out. By not understanding it forced you to simplify it, meaning that you typically figured out the answer.
“So, I’m the Hero of Harlem. Not that that means anything, but it’s good for the people here. They have this…”
“Yeah. Someone they can look up to, someone they can rely on and come to if they have problems. If I push myself outside the boundaries of here and start dealing with monsters and bad dudes in the rest of the country, does that suddenly make it look like I’m expanding? Do the people of Harlem then worry that they are too small for me or that I’m too big to even consider them important anymore?”
Danny nodded at this as though he understood and swallowed his mouthful and asked; “This guy is killing people… right?”
“Best count is currently at around 152 people. There are some arguments about some of them, but-.”
Danny cracked his knuckles and shook them out and turned to Luke with a big smile and a thumbs up.
The kid was looking more and more like an anime character every damn day…
“This sounds like a job for the Hero of Harlem and the Immortal Iron Fist to me- besides, from what I’m gathering, this isn’t like we’re going to be walking over to this Camp Site and killing him. Sounds like that just can’t be done. We’re just going to stop him, right?”
“Going through all the data, doesn’t seem like he can be killed.”
“Let’s do the next best thing then. I say we go over there, beat him up and contain him and then deliver him to the authorities. There must be some kind of prison rocking around this planet for people with abilities that I bet he’d fit right in. I’ll make some calls and use my companies contacts to reach out and find something.”
Luke sighed for a moment and deflated slightly, seemingly realising what had just occurred in this conversation.
“So, this is happening isn’t it? We’re going to go and take down Jason Voorhees.”
Danny grinned; “Hell yeah we are. Sometimes we have to have some fun you know? I mean, duty is great and all… Wait!” His eyes grew wide as if he had just realised something extra and he indicated at the laptop in the corner; “Michael?”
“Er, no. As far as I know that laptop doesn’t have a name.”
Danny didn’t laugh but he did repeat his question; “Michael? You said he was a… guy! Mentioned a town. Ah! What was it? Are we sure that this Jason guy is the only one of his kind?”
Luke realised what he meant and replied; “You know, that’s a good point. Jason is the big famous one but there is also Michael Myers as well. Isn’t it kind of that these guys have such name recognition like celebrities, and yet nobody can stop them?”
Danny ignored the question; “Tell me about this Michael guy then. Is he the same deal?”
“Essentially. I’ve not done a lot of research on him but typically once a year in Haddonfield a bunch of teenagers get murdered and this Michael guy is the common offender. The cops try to stop him from what I hear but never quite do… Then he gets thrown in a mental asylum and then breaks out again.”
“So, this Michael guy is a problem as well. Possibly immortal, killed a bunch of people. Man, America got weird…”
“You punched a dragon.” Luke added; “Before you go and start blaming anything.”
“Touche.” Danny replied with a slight chuckle as Luke pondered and did some quick searching on the internet before pulling up an FBI Most Wanted list.
“I suppose we could deal with him as well. Myers is allegedly not as dangerous as Voorhees… But only in so far as he seems to be stealthy rather than a big brutal guy.”
“What’s his deal?” Danny asked, peering over the bigger guys shoulders.
“Kid killed his sister back in 1963 in Haddonfield and then every now and again breaks out of his mental asylum and goes back to the same home. Sometimes he goes after his family, sometimes he goes after… well, anyone.”
“The guy must be ancient!”
“Captain America is over 90 years old.” Luke added, to which Danny shrugged.
They continued searching on the laptop for a bit longer. Occasionally Danny would break away to eat something and then he would come back and pick up where he left off whilst Luke started to track distance and locations to where they would go. Occasionally he would update the Iron Fist with some new trivia that he had learned about the two monstrous men.
“Man, these guys are terrible…” He said after a couple more hours and stretching slightly. Researching for this long wasn’t his ideal of fun and he could tell that Danny was itching to get started. If the billionaire had his way they would travel to Camp Crystal Lake right then and there.
“What’s stopping us from going then? Jason Voorhees. Bad guy. Needs a strong punch. Michael Myers. Also bad guy. Needs just a big a strong punch.”
“Your argument is solid,” Luke agreed; “I’d be more nervous if we were going to Springwood. That place seems messed up.”
“That place in Pennsylvania? What about it?”
“It’s… confusing. We’ll cross that bridge another time.”
Danny nodded and began to pack up his food now that he was finished and with an excited grin on his face continued; “Well, regardless. I’m totally in. My fist is getting itchy. Fichy. Not a thing. Yeah let’s kick these guys asses- OH!”
Danny had had an idea, and Luke was now feeling regret.
“What?” He asked, anticipating ridiculous, stupid or unlikely. Probably all three.
“We should bring in Jessica and Matt! Kill two birds with one stone!”
Yep, all three.
“There is no way they would help.”
Next Time: Jewel & Devil
Chapter 3: Jewel & Devil
“There is no way I am helping.”
The four of them stood in Claire’s apartment.
Jessica Jones and Matthew Murdock were standing closest to the door, having just arrived together a few minutes before. Jessica leaned next to the door whilst Matt was beside a nearby cabinet and holding his cane with both hands.
They had both listened intently as Danny and Luke had explained the reason why they were all there and what they were proposing and hadn’t said a word.
Jessica, of course, was then the one to speak out when they had finished.
“I told you.” Luke said to Danny, who made a face or frustration at the older man’s accuracy, and Danny replied; “Just hear us out! From the sounds of things this won’t actually be a massive problem for us!”
“I’m going to have to agree with Jessica.” Matt added, his calm voice washing over the room; “If Daredevil and Matt Murdock end up in the same place at the same time and do something as highly prolific as this it’s going to make people put two and two together.”
Jessica pointed quickly at Matt and snapped; “Yeah, that is… a good point for Matt but me personally? I don’t want to be going toe to toe with a guy who is known for carving through people like thanksgiving turkeys.” She flinched slightly at her own metaphor and at the expressions of both Luke and Danny who found her irritability so amusing and, crossing her arms, she finished with; “So thanks but no thanks.”
“Jess, we’re not asking you to go up against the hockey masked guy.” Luke confirmed, his arms crossed as he glanced at Danny and as if to confirm this Matt added to the room; “That’s true, by the way, he’s definitely not suggesting that.”
“How do you know?” Jessica asked, frowning.
“Human lie detector. I can tell by the changes in your body when someone lies and-“
“Gross.” Jessica cut him off and Matt made the same face he always made when she did with a soft sigh; “Well, if that’s the case Luke. What am I being drafted in for? Clean up duty? Are you expecting me to make sandwiches on the trip?”
“ACTUALLY!” Danny said excitedly; “The planes would be full catered by a team of people who- that’s not the issue.”
Her expression was one of anger. The dragon had been scary, but an angry Jessica Jones was… Well, it made Danny back down for the moment.
“What Danny is trying to say is. We wanted to take on Voorhees since I’ve got the invulnerability and he’s got the super magical hand thing. Together with his martial arts and my inability to be hurt we should be able to take him on without any problems.”
“It does seem like a good idea.” Matt agreed; “From all the information I’ve heard, this guy just hunts people down in his territory, so you’d essentially just have to park up and wait. I doubt he had any formal training and he won’t be able to catch you off guard… I think this may actually be the best option. In theory.”
Jessica gave him a look that Matt could physically hear, and he explained in a low voice; “I watched a documentary on the guy when I was at college. Always wanted to bring him to trial myself.”
“La de da. Still doesn’t explain why we are here though.”
“True.” Danny answered and, with a sigh, explained; “Luke and I were wondering if you would be willing to go Haddonfield instead and deal with… What was his name?”
“Michael Myers.” Luke said, his voice cold as he said the name.
“Michael Myers?” Jessica replied, her voice slightly higher than normal as though she couldn’t believe the absurdity of the request.
“Michael Myers…” Matt whispered, as though the name had suddenly meant a lot to him.
“Oh hey, Mike Myers was Austin Powers.” Danny said, glancing at his phone and then reading the room turned it off with a quick; “Sorry.”
“Are you insane? Why the hell should the blind guy and I go and deal with Michael fricking Myers!? Seriously Luke, I expected better from you. Danny, this is exactly what I expected from you.”
“Consistent.” Danny replied with a grin and made a move for a high five, but the Hero of Harlem ignored him and took a step towards the private investigator.
“Jessica, I’m only asking because Danny and I discussed it and whilst we think we can take on Jason, we really do think you and Matt are best suited for dealing with Myers and if we are right then we have effectively knocked off two huge players in what is essentially a series of annual killing sprees across this country that nobody seems to be able to, or willing, to stop.”
“I think I see where you are coming from…” Matt said softly, causing the others to glance at him; “But I want to hear reasons. Danny is the combat genius in the room after all, so it makes sense he would have assessed us.”
“Darn right.” The Iron Fist said, and with his hands behind his back he took it in turns to gesture at each of the group in turn with a powerful launch of a finger in each of their respective directions.
“Luke Cage. Strong and resilient. Against a super strong guy with an affinity for bladed weapons he is ideal in dealing with killing strikes whilst I, the Immortal Iron Fist, get in close and use my Chi to defeat him. He grew up in the woods, so he has no training in hand to hand combat. He just uses his size and the element of surprise and against us he doesn’t have that.”
He then pointed at Matt; “Matthew Murdock. Daredevil. Against the suburban locale of Haddonfield where a killer stalks and hunts people down, he will not be able to sneak up on anyone with the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen using his super senses to hear and smell him coming a mile off. Coupled with great martial arts abilities and his secret weapon…”
At which pointed he pointed at Jessica; “Jessica Jones. With super strength that even I don’t think I’ve seen the limits of, she would be the force that would take down Myers whilst Matt ensures her safety from any sneaky blade attacks. Between the two of them, he wouldn’t stand a chance.”
He gestured at the four of them and added; “We could do it together, as a foursome, but there is no benefit to that really. It just ensures our 100% victory even further and personally I like the idea of two killers being taken out in the same night and handed over to the authorities.”
Danny then glanced at his phone and then at Luke and added; “According to one of my contacts, they said that if they wanted to arrest super powered people they would need to get in touch with the government in Washington or the Strategic Homeland- something or other. Though that last one may not be running anymore? Or it is but it’s going through some changes? It’s hard to keep up.”
“Logic is sound.” Matt agreed, taking off his sunglasses for a moment and took that moment to focus on Jessica’s heart. She was still hesitant, so he said to her softly; “I’d be certainly up for it. Seems like it’s the kind of thing that we can do and the potential benefits for both communities as well as country morale would be quite impressive…”
“Says the Catholic. If you want to do your good deed for the day, do it without risking my life.”
She made a move for the door and would have easily slammed it open and made her way out, if not for Danny suddenly snapping; “What if!”
She paused, and he quickly fumbled as he searched for an answer, and then said suddenly in a questioning tone;
“I’ll pay your rent for the next year?”
He threw a glance at Luke who made a face that seemed to imply that wasn’t good enough and very quickly the Iron Fist added; “AND! I’ll pay your bar tabs for the next year as well.”
Even Matt could tell that this had grabbed Jessica’s attention as the Private Eye kept her hand on the door handle but slowly turned back to face her three allies and the one in question who had made the offer.
Jessica was hard, sometimes downright unpleasant and potentially the strongest amongst them all but saying that she was also tough in her heart and her desire to do right by people was unwavering. If you were lucky enough to get into Jessica Jones’ good books, you would be protected for life.
She sighed, rolled her eyes and stuck her hands in her pockets and faced him;
“Okay curly. You’ve got a deal.”
“Awesome! The team is back together. Saving people, hunting… things!”
“Hold your enthusiasm.” Matt quickly added; “If I am right you want Jessica and I to make our way to Haddonfield. How do we justify a Private Eye and a Lawyer in that place?”
“…I actually have an idea for that.” Jessica muttered, clearly now annoyed that she had agreed to join but continued before they could make that annoying proud face; “You’re my lawyer. Let’s just say you have to shadow me for a case I’m working on. Rand Enterprises has hired me to hunt down something or other in Haddonfield. It’s lame, but it works.”
“I like that.” Matt agreed; “I’ll bring the suit.”
“Great! Now are we thinking road trip or are we thinking… quick and easy aeroplanes?”
“I’ll need an open bar on whatever we do if I am travelling with Danny.”
“Also, how can I smuggle my armour through customs?”
“Can’t you just wear a scarf again?”
Luke raised his hands to calm down the sudden influx of conversation and stood between the three of them, in the centre of this triangle they had formed in Claire’s apartment. With their attention focused on him he slowly gestured for them all to take it down a notch.
“Guys. Throughout all this, the one thing I’ve struggled with- the thing I’ve struggled with all day- is the idea that somewhere out in the world there are these monstrous people who kill others because they can’t be stopped. Today we are going to do something positive about that and… I’m going to be honest and say that until this moment I didn’t believe it was real. Because of our abilities, we are going to take out two of the most violent people in America and be back in time for work on Monday.”
The other three nodded and they stood confidently around each other, and then finally Danny picked up his phone and checked a recent series of messages.
“Flights are booked for you two.” He said, gesturing at Jessica and Matt; “A couple of hours from now at the Rand Private Air Field we are set to go exactly where you are meant to go… Should take a few hours. Luke and I have a car. Turns out Camp Crystal Lake is… not that far from New York.”
“For real?” Luke questioned then felt slightly embarrassed at the fact he had missed this information in his research, then quickly added; “Thinking about it, some of us should go pack.”
“Fine, fine… I’ll meet you at the Rand airport thing. Danny, text me the details. Murdock, I’ll… see you there I guess.”
And with that, Jessica Jones had left the building. Matt followed, expertly navigating the apartment despite his lack of vision and just as he approached the door he stopped to turn back to Danny; “What do I get?” He asked with a subtle, yet cheeky, smile.
“…Oh! As a reward? Er, how does the satisfaction of stopping a killer that is an affront to your Catholic God and the sense of doing a good deed sound?”
Matt opened the door.
“I’ll take the rent as well. Satisfaction only gets you so far and my place doesn’t cost much.”
“Fine, fine… The things I do for adventure with you guys…” Danny sighed and then smirked happily with excitement.
Then suddenly, Luke and Danny were alone again. Danny with his arms crossed and staring at the door with an energy of excitement buzzing from his body whilst Luke looked more relaxed as he walked to his and Claire’s bedroom.
“Not bad, all things considered?” Danny called out to Luke as the the latter began to pack a bag for the trip.
“I think you got conned to be honest.” Luke replied; “I used to be a bartender remember? I know how much Jessica can drink. Rand stock may take a pretty hefty plummet.”
And for the first time since the conversation about taking on a pair of super monstrous serial killers began, Danny Rand appeared to grow nervous.
Next Time: The Devil’s Eyes
Chapter 4: The Devil’s Eyes
Matt rarely flew.
Airports tended to be noisy, crowded and full of all kinds of terrible smells which said nothing for the aircrafts themselves. The vibration of the aircraft made it feel like his skull was going to shake out of his head and the scents of so many people so cramped and in so many states of hygiene made him want to vomit.
Plus, whenever he flew he always landed with the worst migraine. It pulsed behind his eyes and his already heightened senses were ultra-super-hyper sensitive to every little thing. This was coupled with the fact that when he flew he was separated from the ground and when he touched the earth again it momentarily meant he had to reconfigure his whereabouts and centre of gravity, which was tricky with a brain that felt like it was going to melt out of his nose.
So, whenever he could avoid it, he chose not to fly.
“You hate flying.” Foggy had said, stopping by; “And I can’t believe you’re doing this. I’m putting the picture together in my head Matt and it sounds… stupid. Like, even more than going out and fighting crime in the dead of night.”
“Don’t hold back how you really feel.” Matt replied and opened the box with his armour. The escaping air from the box at it’s most subtle level informed him that all the items were within it and, reaching for a bag, he began to pile all his stuff including a spare change of clothes together.
“How are you going to get your armour through airport security?” Foggy asked, his heart beating with concern.
“Danny says he has it covered and I trust him. Against my better judgement.” Matt said flatly, then held up two shirts; “Which one looks better?”
“The right one.” Foggy answered without missing a beat; “But going up against Michael Myers? Do you not think, out of all your crazy ideas in these last few years, that this might actually be the craziest one?”
“I don’t actually know.” Matt answered, folding the shirt and placing it into the bag; “But I think that Luke is right. Between my abilities and Jessica’s, I think the two of us stand a pretty strong chance of taking care of this man who has been hurting this town for nearly forty years.”
“I’ve met Luke. I was his lawyer. He’s a good man.”
To this Matt said nothing, threw his coat on and walked towards the door- only to stop at the last second.
“He’s a good man and yet he does the same thing that I do-“
Foggy sighed, exasperated; “I see where you are going Matt but Luke’s not my oldest friend. Also, he’s bulletproof. You’re just… a guy. You’re not a symbol like he is. You can be hurt- I’ve seen it happen too many times.”
Matt threw back a passing; “I’ll be back in a few days” and heard his best friend mutter; “See you soon Matty. Come back safe.”
And then he opened the door and left.
Jessica also rarely flew, mostly as she had no real reason to go on vacations. Her job was a near enough 365 days a year affair and taking a vacation ran the risk of losing out on a potential high paying client.
Though given she ran her own hours it wasn’t necessarily a problem to take a couple days off, all she had to do was briefly return home and gather her things before boarding the plane. She also had no intention of letting anyone know what she was up to. No need to tell Trish since she would either want to come with and she actually had a proper job that she needed to turn up to.
She didn’t however factor…
He had stopped by to inform her about another case and she had told him bluntly that she was going to be gone dealing with something else, but to keep her informed if there were any further developments.
“What’s the case about?” He asked holding a file as she tossed a bottle into a bag and paused, recalling the limitations on liquids. She wasn’t sure that applied for a private jet but better safe than sorry.
“Damn… I’ll have to pick some alcohol up at the airport…” She muttered in reply, ignoring his question.
“Is it something cool?” Malcolm pestered, following her as she moved from her apartment and into the hallway and towards the elevator; “I mean, since you’re taking off suddenly? Or are we in danger again? Does Trish know-”
“Okay, stop.” Jessica snapped, turning to put her hand on his chest and instantly stopping him in his tracks; “In order; WE are not in danger. It’s a pretty… cool case, by some people’s standards, and it’s paying our rent for the next year. I’ll update Trish on the way, and I’ll be back tomorrow night or Monday morning.”
“Wait,” Malcolm replied with wide eyes and rubbing his chest from the relatively light impact (for her) of her hand against his skin; “This is paying for our rent? That’s awesome! We can really catch up on old cases, maybe think about expanding Alias Investigations, we could also upgrade the tech in your office! I’ll look at our finances and see what we can deal with on-“
Malcolm stopped as Jessica turned away and pressed the button inside the elevator.
“Wait,” He said in a hurt tone; “Did you mean just your rent? And what’s the case?”
The doors closed.
Sometimes when she had to fly, she would do so without an aircraft and… even then, it was more like guided falling.
Airports were awful. So many people, so many people in a rush and bumping into everyone and not caring about anyone but themselves. Also considering the whole metahuman thing that had cropped up since “The Incident” it sometimes meant more intense checks through security.
However, when she met with Matt, she realised she shouldn’t have worried about all that.
Thanks to Rand Industries the pair of them skipped the standard check-in process and the pair were taken straight to a private plane which was pre-loaded with a crew and the fanciest first-class seats, food and alcohol that money could buy.
Matt was still in a suit and held onto his cane as the flight crew made their final checks and when Jessica sat down opposite him, he shot her a look and seemed to resist making a comment. She let it slide since he looked like he was a bit green.
“Danny may be annoying,” Jessica confessed, engaging in conversation to take Matt’s mind off whatever was affecting him, and she opened a nearby bottle of wine and poured herself a glass; “But situations like this he can actually be useful, you know?”
“Do you mean situations where he’s not around and we are mooching off his stuff?”
Jessica couldn’t help but smirk and poured Matt his own glass. She never did answer the question.
By the time they landed on the other side a mere 2 and a half hours later they were escorted to a private vehicle in the airport car park that was already set up with pre-installed directions on a satellite navigation system leading them to Haddonfield.
Between the pair, though they were loath to admit it, the flight to Illinois was not too bad.
Slight turbulence had affected them part of the way- making Matt freak out slightly when he briefly lost his centre of balance- and Jessica had to stop drinking when she was informed that she would be driving a car on the other side, which had been a cause of frustration for her.
Nobody on the flight inferred or gave any sign that they knew why the two were really travelling to Haddonfield and they didn’t x-ray Matt’s bag.
So, really, there had been no trouble at all.
It was barely nine in the evening and, rubbing his temples from the small migraine that was being soothed by the aspirin he had taken in advance of the flight, Matt joked; “I’ll drive.”
“Another joke like that and you’re in the back seat.” Jessica said sternly as she opened the driver side door.
The car itself was beautiful.
It was purple in colour with splashes of red which flowed together seamlessly like a wave across the outside of it. It was a sports car of some design and manufacturer that the pair recognised as a creation of Rand Enterprises, powerful and sleek in design and everything within was completely automated. The engine, when the key was turned, purred and when Jessica pressed down on the accelerator it roared.
“Cool,” She said, unimpressed; “This is definitely some kind of car.”
“Sounds like it.” Matt said, throwing his stuff onto the back seat and joining Jessica up front.
With the car already pre-set, the only thing left to do was make the move forward and towards there destination. The car burst into life when they drove from the airport and in the cooling night, once they made it onto the highway, they found themselves navigating roads that were nearly empty of all other pedestrians.
Settling into his chair, Matt wondered aloud; “So, what’s the plan?”
“Is this the part where you tell me you’ve not been paying attention?” Jessica asked, keeping her eyes focused on the road.
“I couldn’t focus to much on the plane and we are travelling to Haddonfield tonight. I imagine at this point both Danny and Luke have made it to Crystal Lake and by now they maybe have even interacted with Jason.”
“Man, that’s a sobering thought. Our friends may be dead.” Jessica muttered, listening as she indicated to drive around a ridiculously slow car that was beginning to annoy her.
“Friends?” Matt repeated, to which Jessica just scoffed.
“Don’t read too much into it. My sister is my best friend and I can’t stand her most of the time.”
Matt could tell she was lying but refrained from mentioning it and continued his point.
“We are going in tonight and we made good time in getting here so really we have to look at our options.”
Jessica tapped on the steering wheel; “Ah, I see what you’re getting at. What you’re asking is do we want to scope out the town first or do we just want to go in guns blazing into the Myers house?”
“Exactly,” Matt agreed. The vibrations of the car were strange. It was very smooth and reverberated behind him to such an extent that he was being perpetually updated on his surroundings both behind and before the pair. He was definitely seeing more of the road than Jessica was.
“What exactly do we think we’re going to get out of investigating this town? I read up on the town on the flight briefly and I’ve heard all the stories, same as you, growing up. It’s like Santa. We all know the story of Michael Myers.”
Matt paused in consideration, letting his mind formulate a rebuttal as he listened to the super woman’s heart and recognised that she was willing to hear him out. When he started to speak he was calm, like he was in court.
“Whenever I take on a case I try to understand everything I can about my client. I hear what he or she has to say, I determine how truthful they are being, and I do my own research in my private time because memory is awfully tricky and very easy to manipulate, so I have just had to accept that a majority of what I’ve been told is nonsense. I do my own research into every aspect of the story I’ve been told simply to find out the truth.”
Nodding, Jessica continued for him; “Which is the same thing I do with my clients, apart from the whole… creepy human lie detector thing.”
“It’s not creepy and your way involves more cyber stalking.”
“Well you can’t see computers and I’m not blind. Happy? Now both our feelings are hurt.”
“I- what? That argument- I- Anyway, the point I was getting at and I’m sure you would agree is that we both can read the evidence but it’s a whole other situation to go in and live the experience. So, I’m saying we go in on the ground floor, pretend like we know nothing.”
Jessica agreed, tapping the steering wheel again as she spotted her first sign for Haddonfield. They were making great time.
“Ignore all the stuff that we’ve heard from the news and those reports that they have done in the town as it all may be crap anyway. Try and get the true story.”
Matt followed up; “Then if we feel like everything is going well, tomorrow night…”
“We beat Michael Myers into the ground.” Jessica finished and excitedly the car began to accelerate as she slammed her foot onto the gas. The lurch made the surroundings around Matt explode into activity as the sound burst out. He’d never seen Jessica Jones excited before, least of all since this adventure had started.
“Not to be a downer,” He suggested, correcting his posture and the position of his tie; “It does have a slight downside in that it may extend our work over the weekend, but hey how often do we get out of the city to hunt serial killer monsters?”
“Almost never.” Jessica replied returning to her original expression; “I’m going to drink when we get to the hotel. Did Daniel say if we had an open tab for room service?”
“He’s generally pretty thoughtful so I would be more likely to say that it’s something he’s done.” Matt said, defending the Iron Fist, and then with a resigned sigh also added; “…Also I hope so. It’s been a while since I’ve been out of New York and I wanted to take tonight as a small vacation if possible.”
Jessica glanced at him and shot him a rare smile before returning her eyes to the road.
“Impressive, Murdock. How long were you considering that plan?”
“Pretty much from the get go. It’s why I was happy to go to Haddonfield in the first place. Sometimes you need some space from your life and at least this way I’m absolved from my sins since we’re helping so many people in the long term.”
Jessica nodded and asked slyly; “So will you be joining me at the bar tonight?”
“It’s against my better judgement but I will do my best to keep up with you this evening, Jessica Jones.”
“This might be the most dangerous thing you do this weekend.” She said; “I’m glad the other two are with the hockey mask guy as well. He seems more their speed.”
Matt casually glanced over at her. The ongoing purr of the car was making him a tad sleepy and he asked; “ Are you saying that’s because Luke and Danny are the punchy types and you and I are clearly a bit…”
“Smarter?” Jessica finished; “Because we plan more, we take our time and don’t rush into things like the bulletproof man and the boy with the glowing fist?”
Matt laughed at her review and said; “I didn’t mean to be insulting.”
“Too late. Also you’re wrong.”
“Oh? You disagree?”
“I think you’re wrong to call them both stupid when you clearly are as well.”
Matt laughed harder as the car continued to drive into the cool night.
Next Time: You’re All Doomed
Chapter 5: You’re All Doomed
If it hadn’t been for the fact that they were driving towards a campsite home to a series of grizzly murders from the day before, the drive would have been pretty fun.
The car that had been set up for them was designed, unsurprisingly, by Rand Industries to allow for quick and energy efficient travel and Luke very much enjoyed the noise it made when they opened it up on the highway. The explosion of energy that soared through the vehicle with every tap of the accelerator was unlike anything the Hero of Harlem had ever experienced and he grew worried that he would end up putting his foot through the car if he got too excited.
The drive was literally an hour and a half and after some quick conversation about where they were going Danny then spent a good forty-five minutes meditating in the seat next to Luke (which wasn’t so bad, it gave Luke access to the radio) until he appeared to finish with a stretch.
“You ready now?” Luke asked; “Is… is that how you get ready before a fight?”
Danny exhaled calmly and held up his fist, but it didn’t glow with that classic yellow glow. Instead he just wiggled his fingers.
“My chi is now at its peak and my reflexes are at their fastest. I’m now completely ready for whatever we are up against with this Jason.”
“And all you had to do was sit and think for forty-five minutes?”
“The monks in K'un-Lun-“
“Oh, here we go,” Luke said with a slight laugh and, with only a slight look of annoyance, Danny continued without pause;
“-When they weren’t beating and training us at all hours of the day, taught us that when you go into a situation where you are expected to fight you should take the time to clean yourself internally. Anything you hold onto when entering a fight is like a weight that holds you down and only when you are weightless can you move and fight at your peak strength and speed.”
He relaxed where he sat and activated the heated seat on his side of the car and sighed as it began to warm up.
“Damn,” Luke said after a moment of watching the boy nearly slumbering next to him; “I’m curious about what you have to be tense about.”
“Well, it’s admittedly not much.” Danny said; “Colleen has been great, and the business is doing pretty good and I feel awesome after we beat the Hand out of New York.”
“Plus, Matt’s alive.” Luke added to the list; “He’s the kind of guy who I think needs to meditate his problems away.”
“Nah, Matt strikes me as the kind of guy who needs the self-loathing and anger to function.”
Luke gave Danny a strange look, and Danny quickly added; “To be a fighter I mean, gosh I can see how that would sound.”
“I was gonna say. The guy isn’t here and likely in a plane right now and heading in a completely different direction to us, but I guarantee he heard that. He hears everything.”
“I know, right!? One time, Matt and I got lunch and I asked him if he wanted to take the last dumplin even though I wanted it and when he asked if I was sure I said “yeah man, you have it” and he could tell by my voice that I was lying!”
“Did you do that thing where your voice gets all high when you lie? Because you don’t need super powers to figure that out.”
“I don’t do that!”
“Yeah man, you do.” Luke said with a laugh and, changing the subject (because the last thing they wanted to do was talk about Jessica Jones who would also definitely hear about it), added; “I think it’s cool how you prepare yourself for a fight though. Dragon nonsense, or not. The only thing that I end up thinking about before a fight is figuring out how I can get out of it without my clothes getting damaged.”
“You know we could probably work on something at Rand that would help? Some kind of invincible cloth made out of some crazy particles or something.”
“Make it into a hoodie and I’ll be happy. Black. Double XL.” Luke said; “But let’s focus on what we are dealing with at the moment.”
Danny glanced out the window for a second to stare out into the darkness. Where they were going it was starting to become sparser, the night was beginning to become deeper and the trees were beginning to become thicker meaning they weren’t near the comfort of New York anymore.
This was a whole other world, where the only light was coming from the car or from the stars in the sky and the only sound that would be heard when the engine stopped would be the wind rustling the leaves and animals in the night.
Even the road was beginning to change, losing it’s hard and stable surface and changing into dirt and mud.
“Are you nervous?” Danny wondered, turning back to Luke; “I mean, you’re bulletproof so this guy should be a piece of cake and I’m pretty awesome. But this is a living legend, isn’t it?”
“It’s something.” Luke said coldly; “Something I never thought I’d be doing in my life.”
“But are you? Nervous I mean?”
Luke thought about it for a moment longer. They were going into the den of one of the most prolific serial killers in America, if not the world. This was a man who had been killing people for decades now and every time it seemed he had been stopped he would come back with a vengeance.
This was also a world where crimes like mass shootings happened on a near enough daily basis and people were crying out for something to happen, something to change. The recent killings of the last twenty-four hours were just the latest in a long line and nobody in any sort of government was going to try and stop it permanently.
In all of those recent scuffles Jason Voorhees had also never faced someone like Danny and Luke.
This was something they could do.
“I don’t see how we can fail,” Luke said confidently; “But… Just in case there is something we don’t know about this guy, let’s be careful, okay?”
“Always.” Danny said extending his hands in a fist bump; “Iron Fist and Power Man.”
“Power Man and Iron Fist, please.” Luke replied, and the two fists bumped together.
Around ten minutes later the SAT Nav announced that they had reached their destination.
* * *
It was everything that you would have expected.
After passing the sign that read “Camp Crystal Lake” you found yourself driving a short distance until you reached a set of cabins. All of them made out of wood, all of them the same colour, all of them having stood for the better part of a half century. The car park was empty, save for a couple of abandoned vehicles that had yet to be collected and were surrounded by police tape.
The main cabin, nearest the car park, had a sign that read “Reception” on the front and all the other cabins were separated on either side and extending around a large lake.
The lake in particular was huge, like a giant eye in the middle, with the moon reflected and full. The stars were out in full force also and surrounding the far side of the lake and stretching as far as the eye could see around both the cabins and the car park were dense, heavy trees.
Police tape was everywhere, though now it was mudded and ruined with the elements. Nobody was on duty and all police and emergency response vehicles had been swiftly removed from the premises. A stark contrast to how typical crime scenes were dealt with.
Luke had expected they would have had to try and talk their way through a police officer or something, but as Danny rightfully pointed out; “If a monster stalks these woods that everyone knows about, who is going to volunteer to stay overnight?”
“Well that’s one less thing,” Luke said as he parked the car nearest the reception cabin and turned the engine off; “I’m already going to be fighting Jason, I was in no mood for dealing with cops this evening as well.”
“I hear that,” Danny said, though Luke suspected he didn’t quite understand what he was getting at with his comment.
“Before we get out,” Danny asked suddenly; “Want to get a selfie with the sign? I could put it up on my Instagram account! We’d get massive publicity and I bet we’d even get to the top of Reddit.”
“How is it you don’t know basic social cues and yet you just rattled off all those things at me?”
“To be fair, Colleen has been hooking me up with all my tech stuff- and I’ve been getting better at the social cues! Did you notice that I didn’t mention that I was the Immortal Iron Fist, Protector of K'un-Lun and Sworn Enemy of the Hand once today?”
The pair stared at each other for a moment and then Danny put his hands in his face and whispered; “I’ve relapsed… I won’t be of any use to you tonight Luke. I’ll wait in the car, you go deal with Jack.”
“… Do you mean Jason?”
“Yeah, that guy!”
“… Sweet Christmas,” Luke said with an exasperated sigh and got out of the car. With a slight cheekier grin on his face, Danny followed.
Next Time: Halloween Mask
Chapter 6: Halloween Mask
Haddonfield didn’t exactly have five-star hotels but the one that Rand Industries had put them up in was certainly… nicer than anything a town like this had any right to offer.
The remainder of the drive had been pretty clear until they reached the centre of the town. Traffic appeared to build up as the number of traffic signals increased, though this was completely unexpected for a Saturday night. Streetlights shone down, illuminating a majority of the town as if in defence of the terrible shape that sometimes stalked here.
The occasional pedestrian that the pair noticed as they drove by walked with utmost purpose.
Arriving at the Haddonfield Prime Hotel and going by the suburban nature of the rest of the homes, this felt a lot like the kind of town who didn’t want civilians staying in the centre. There was likely a Travel Lodge or something on the outskirts of the town that was fairly modern, but where Rand Industries had sent them the hotel looked like it came out of a movie set in the 90’s.
“This… is crap.” Jessica said after the woman at the counter directed them both to their room.
“It’s serviceable for our work.” Matt said; “What, were you expecting a spa?”
She ignored him.
According to the clerk at the front desk, Jessica and Matt had the honeymoon suite which was only fortunate for Jessica as this meant she had the massive bed whilst Matt would end up on the sofa.
The reason for the placement of the hotel, as it turned out, was that it was located on Haddonfield’s main street. Everything they now needed to get to was now accessible in a quick and easy jaunt in either the car or on foot.
However, with the lack of tall buildings and the way suburban houses were clumped together it meant that Daredevil would likely be noticed fairly quickly. So, until it was fight time, Matthew Murdock was much stealthier than his masked counterpart.
“Want anything from the mini bar? Danny’s paying.” Jessica asked as she opened the small fridge and pulled out the small bottles and snacks; “I realise I keep saying that, but it is really fun to say.”
“Aren’t we going to the bars to mingle and gather intel first?” Matt asked, placing his bag on the sofa and pressing down against it. The springs squeaked with the motion and he sighed.
It was going to be an uncomfortable sleep.
“Well off course we are. It’s Saturday night in Haddonfield I’m sure this place is lit up with very sad parents of dead teenagers and slightly older young people who had to bury their friends a few years back. Hell, I bet everyone in this town has a story…” Jessica said darkly and, when noticing Matt’s disapproved expression, she quickly added; “…so before we get our information, first I need to pre-drink to be more charming and less… well, bitchy.”
“Naturally,” Matt said, removing his tie. Jessica ignored that comment and shot a finger in his direction.
“Second, you need to change. You scream lawyer.”
“I am a lawyer.”
“Not here you’re not. You did bring some casual clothes right? God, what would that look like…”
“How many of those do you need to become less bitchy?”
“More than this mini bar has.”
“Not surprising. I’ll have you know I did bring casual wear and for the record, it’s not like I wear a suit all the time.”
Jessica had already drunk the first of the small bottles and said; “When you aren’t the red guy you do, like, 99% of the time. I’m not exaggerating. I never do that.”
This time it was Matt’s turn to ignore her as he continued to empty his bag. He placed his Daredevil equipment underneath the bed within the bag and hoped that this would be good enough. They had put on the door for them not to be disturbed so that would have to be enough…
Next he set his glasses on the bedside table so he could rub his temples. Driving had been fine but the after effects of the flight were still getting to him. A few drinks should relax him though.
“I thought of our alibi whilst we were here, I’ve decided that you are Matt Murdock, my brother who-“
Matt gave her a strange look, which was strange for Jessica considering he shot it in her direction though his eyes didn’t focus on her.
“What?” She asked, sitting on the bed cross-legged and eating the snacks. They’d have to get dinner out as well, she thought. Anything but Chinese food. They always seem to have that when they all got together.
“Personally, if we are going with an alibi in this town, I think we need to be more up front about who we are and why we are here.” Matt suggested, taking his suit jacket off and moving over to the wardrobe to grab a hanger. Thanks to Jessica chewing on a chocolate bar his radar sense was bouncing from her and onto the furniture, meaning he could navigate the room perfectly.
“And by that,” he continued as he placed his jacket within the wardrobe; “I mean we should lie with honesty. We are Jessica Jones and Matthew Murdock.”
“When you say our names like that, we sound ridiculous… Way too much alliteration for two people…” Jessica muttered.
Matt continued; “I’m a lawyer and you’re a private eye and we came to Haddonfield because you’re investigating a case and I’m here to be, you know, supportive.”
“Oh, supportive?” Jessica scoffed; “Like the bureaucracy in Haddonfield was so crazy that I had to bring my frigging lawyer with me?”
Matt sighed, trying to stay on target; “I’m just saying that people tend to remember little details. A brother and sister spending the night together in a honeymoon suite is the kind of detail that stands out. Two colleagues spending the night in a honeymoon suite, people start to make their own… assumptions and they don’t look any further into it.”
He could tell that Jessica didn’t like this as she kicked her boots off. The bang against the wall made someone from the other side shout angrily (“Hey keep it down!”), though fortunately as she seemed to be stewing on this information, she didn’t shout back.
Matt assumed that, since she hadn’t argued, she thought he was right.
Though to be on the safe side he didn’t say anything else for a moment.
The impact of her shoes also lit up the entire room in a burst of activity for Matt’s radar sense, like when a large rock was thrown into a pond. The sound rippled out and he had a firm understanding of every single object and the persons shouting was also doubly helpful as it gave him an understanding of the room next door.
“Huh,” He said, opening his suitcase to select some casual clothes for the evening; “The receptionist said we had the best room, right?”
“She did,” Jessica said, her voice still firm.
“Don’t ask me how I know this because you’ll find it creepy, but the room next door is exactly the same as ours.”
“Really? That bitch. Honeymoon suite my ass…”
She was angry, but it was more an amused angry with a tiny bit of pride for the woman at the front desk who had sold them this room. Clearly the older woman was looking to make a quick buck and she had done so quite handsomely tonight.
Matt excused himself to the bathroom and came out a few minutes later wearing smart but casual clothing. Jessica hadn’t changed at all and he knew that she wasn’t going to, since the leather jacket was a look that seemed to work year around. He noticed a slight change in her posture as he walked out that he had “seen” before in people.
It was the; “huh, nice…” position.
He could also tell from her positioning that she wanted to ask him something.
“Murdock, you can like… smell stuff, can’t you?” She asked, finishing her snacks by throwing the wrapper into the bin.
He shot her a smile as he grabbed his glasses; “Not to be too technical Jess, but you can as well.”
“Clever.” She said bluntly; “I’m just asking, what does this hotel smell like for you? What can you hear and smell? It must be very intense if there are people in every room, thinking they are private, speaking normally. If that’s amplified over several rooms and you are just homing in on them like a creepy bat… man thing… what does that feel like?”
It was the most that Jessica had enquired about his powers. Typically, she considered them weird and that was as good an explanation as she wanted most of the time. Once, Danny had tried to properly explain how his fist worked to her and she got so frustrated that she nearly threw him out of the bar they were in. Fortunately, Luke had been on hand to distract the Danny with a game of darts.
Jessica showing an interest in him was way more than he had expected that evening.
“I’ll tell you about it over a drink,” Matt said; “I did say I would be keeping up with you tonight, right?”
Jessica laughed as she picked up the empty bottles in her hotel room and dumped them in the trash as well; “Okay Murdock- but you are a few behind. By the way before we go, I just have one other question.”
“Can you tell how many people are having sex in this hotel, right this second?”
Matthew “Daredevil” Murdock (the man without fear) didn’t answer that question and walked out the door of the room as Jessica pulled her boots back on and followed, laughing and commenting on how red his face was and using that as evidence that it must have been a lot.
* * *
It didn’t take long to find a bar at all. After the hotel bar had proven to be a bust, Jessica and Matt took to walking down the street where, sure enough, a bar was located right on the corner of the main street. It was complete with loud music, busy and bustling patrons and the smell of alcohol and poor decisions.
Even Jessica could tell that it was her kind of place.
“What’s this place called?” Matt asked as they walked in, following behind Jessica who shot back a; “Who cares?”
The crowd of people that had filled the bar was a nice mixture. You had sitting at various tables a group of older people, engaging in conversation after a busy week of working, and then standing around and filling whatever space you could was the younger generation either doing the same thing or desperately trying to flirt with whatever opposite or same gendered person they could get hold of.
It wasn’t live music, but a steady ambiance of classic rock and roll was playing through the speakers and Matt adjusted his focus completely onto Jessica to prevent his mind from breaking. After pushing through the bar like the expert she was, Jessica turned to Matt and said; “Come on, I’m buying.”
“Heck no,” She laughed; “But we both know who is!”
Beneath his glasses Matt rolled his eyes and followed Jessica where she had already flagged down a bartender and ordered two, from the sounds of it, very heavy drinks. She bobbed her head to the music whilst they were being made and, upon being handed them, she turned to him and asked; “And what are you having?”
“Whisky.” He said firmly, holding his cane close to his chest as he felt the bartender give him a strange look.
“Catholic boy likes whisky? Good to know.” Jessica said and turned back to the bartender, hoping she had heard this information.
“Are you driving him tonight?” The woman’s voice said to Jessica. Her tone was one of concern and Matt could tell that she had been working very hard that evening based on the steady rhythm of her heart. She wasn’t wearing any perfume though she had obviously spilled something earlier because now she smelled of a gin and tonic fusion.
“No,” Jessica replied, leaving it at that and turning to look out at the bar patrons having fun and sipped at the first of her drinks.
“No,” Matt repeated; “We’re staying at the hotel on Main Street.”
“Not too far a walk then,” The bartender said, her voice kind and with a hint of disappointment; “Here you go.” She handed him his drink, ensuring it went into his hands and as Matt thanked her, she said kindly; “Make sure you get back safe tonight, okay?”
“Thanks,” Matt said, toasting to her slightly as he turned and held onto Jessica’s arm as they walked over to a nearby table. She resisted at first, but they had discussed, when in public at least, it was best that he used her as an anchor. Otherwise he’d look like the kind of ass who just wears sunglasses indoors.
“She was into you.” Jessica said with an amazed tone; “I honestly can’t believe it.”
“Is it that surprising?”
“Honestly? The fact that we’ve walked into a bar and you’ve been hit on before me is… probably the strangest thing that has happened to me today.”
Matt laughed as he sat himself down in a chair and tried his whisky. It warmed his chest, perfect, and he resisted the urge to cough. It had been a while since he had drunk anything like this as he was typically out at night doing crime fighting stuff.
It felt good to relax with a friend.
“Don’t feel too bad, it happens when I go out with Foggy as well.” He said as he heard her finishing her first drink and, amused, caught her nearly spit it out. She tried to play it off casually, but he knew. Matt heard everything after all.
“Excuse me?” She spluttered slightly; “I am very different to that friend of yours.”
He knew what she was referring to but, feeling the urge to defend his soon to be married friend, he said; “Foggy is a beautiful man. His taste in food sometimes drives me crazy- seriously, why does everything have to be covered in cheese?- but he’s a good friend and, I should stress again, beautiful.”
The empty glass was slammed on the table as Jessica necked her second drink and, taking a sharp breath as no doubt the strong alcohol flooded her system, she replied; “No offence but you’re blind. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and your eyes don’t work, so…”
Had his comments hurt her feelings somehow? Matt wondered.
“I see more to people than just how they look. I see how they are when they speak. Every inflection has a trace and every decision has… layers to it. You may not think it, but it’s right there in how you present yourself. I can read those layers of decisions that lead to a result to understand someone. It lets me judge who they are honestly, so, I can say that from my perspective, having grown and seen how he behaves and reacts and fights for good natured people, that Foggy is a beautiful man.”
Jessica was quiet for a moment and then, leaning closer, said; “What about Danny? Is he beautiful?”
Matt laughed; “The, er, thundering dumbass I think Stick called him? Ah… Danny means well. He’s a good kid. He feels like he could be really something, but he knows he needs to mature a bit more. But, honestly, he’s harmless. He tries so hard to do good.”
He sipped at his whisky again as Jessica added; “Luke?”
“Sturdy.” He replied; “Strong. He’s almost like a… a foundation, everything he does is for the big picture. Before he does something, he always takes a half second to give it a thought. Even in a fight he hesitates because he’s calculating how much strength he has to put into his hits. He impresses me.”
For a moment they sat in silence and then, her finger trailing over the glass of the drink she had just finished, Jessica practically whispered; “So what do you think about me then, Murdock?”
She regretted asking as the words left her lips and she noticed that beneath his glasses his eyes seemed to focus. She imagined that at that moment he was assessing all the things she had said and done since they had met at the police station last year and how she had behaved in difficult situations. He also knew about her past, about Killgrave, and what she had been forced to do.
To do all that and then to have him focus completely on her? To see who she really was?
His hesitation in answering was obviously because he was trying to translate it in a way that wouldn’t make her feel bad and that clearly meant-
She was beginning to feel uncomfortable.
“This is stupid.”
“Wait, Jessica, you-“
“I’m going to get another drink.” She said she got to her feet and walked over to the bar.
Immediately her mind was beginning to stress and overanalyse. She ran a hand through her hair, aware that whatever she did he would be able to sense anyway.
Standing by the bar she tried to take her mind off the moment the pair had just shared.
“Stupid,” She repeated and, forcing a smile, grabbed the attention of the nearest bartender.
They were here to work after all.
The same bartender was busy and the two drinks she’d had already, mixed with the hotel booze, had made her feel slightly tipsy. A new bartender eventually found his way over to her and, after ordering for both her and Matt a second round, followed by some terrible bar food from the menu, she decided just to bite the bullet and ask;
“So, like, you probably get this a lot, but-“
“Michael Myers?” The man replied instantly, his face less grave than she had expected and more bored by the question. He was a taller guy, muscular and with tattoos and his attitude was that he would rather have been anywhere else that evening than where he currently was.
“So that’s a yes to you getting this a lot then.” She replied, putting on a fake giggle.
He ignored that and she glanced at his hand. Wedding ring. Either he was committed, or she was having a bad night with the flirting.
He handed her her first drink and said, as though it was matter of fact; “Tourists come by every week and inevitably after a few drinks they start to ask about those Halloween nights. So, in order to save you some time, I’ll say to you what I say to them- no I don’t know Michael Myers personally. Yes, a couple of kids at my school got killed by him a while back but nobody I knew personally. It’s a tragedy that seems to affect our town every few years and we shouldn’t be glorifying it and yet everyone here says they have a Myers story, but they don’t. We’re a town where people die and yet we have just got to a point of… accepting it, I guess. Happy?”
“Extremely,” She replied, clearly lying, and then quickly added; “But, like, is there anyone here who maybe has a real story that they can tell me and my friend? It’d be great to have something special to go back home with, you know?”
The bartender thought about it for a moment as he handed her the final drink on her order and, finally, said; “Nobody here tonight has anything true to say, except perhaps Old Gus.”
“Old Gus?” Jessica repeated, turning as the bartender pointed at an old man sitting by himself in the corner. He had a large, heavy, glass of beer that he was gently sipping at and he was staring into space, mind clearly far from his present surroundings. Everyone seemed to be giving him a bit of a wide birth.
“Old Gus probably has the realist stories you will ever hear about Myers, if you can get him to talk to you of course. He comes in here because he’s afraid of the dark and I’ve seen him here every night since… well, since the first Halloween night in 1978.”
The flirting persona abandoned, Jessica grabbed her drinks and dropped a sharp; “Thanks,” and then moved back to the table with Matt and placed them down in front of her and him.
“Did you hear that?” She asked, gesturing at the corner. She knew he could tell where she was pointing.
“I did. I gave this “Old Gus” guy a bit off a once over to see how legitimate he was, as well as the bartender. The old man has been living in shock for quite some time.”
“Seems like it, but as the bar guy said, he may be our best bet of finding out some facts about Michael Myers. You can tell if he’s lying, right?”
“I can. Bartender is legit as well. He genuinely believes that Old Gus has some real stories to share.”
“Good.” Jessica said.
For a moment there was an awkward silence between them, and Matt desperately searched for the right words to break the ice between them. But as though she could tell that he was trying…
“Well, no time like the present.” Jessica said, downing a quick shot and offering her arm to Matt.
There was a slight pause as he hesitated, a pause long enough for her to say; “Come on, Murdock. Lives to save and all that.”
He couldn’t disagree with that.
He took it and, together, they walked towards Old Gus. It wasn’t a great distance by any stretch, but they could tell as they approached the old man that there was a gradual shift in the atmosphere. The other bar patrons, most of whom probably didn’t know who he was, seemed to recognise the aura around him was one of depression and reflection. Terrible memories and PTSD seemed to flood from him like an aura of regret.
The table that he sat at was small and square. Ideally suited for parties of four or less though he sat alone and with his back to the wall. He stared at his drink, unfocused.
When Matt and Jessica sat down at his table, Jessica noticing that his old dark skin up close was extremely wrinkled and his hair was wild and hadn’t been cared for several years. Nasal and ear hair were also prominent, and his clothes were the type that would have suited him probably a couple of decades ago. This was a man who hadn’t taken care of himself for a long time, save for his occasional desire to drink.
He didn’t suggest it outwardly, but Matt could tell that their presence at his table surprised him slightly and he was growing tense.
“Hi Old Gus,” Jessica said after a long pause between the three of them; “We’re… not ones to beat around the bush so if you don’t mind, I’m just going to be blunt. Do you have some experience with Michael Myers?”
The old man took his drink and, as opposed to the sips he had been having before, with shaking hands he drunk as much of it as he could and finally released it from his lips with a heavy sigh as he spoke.
Matt listened closely.
His voice was crackly, like he had spent a long-time smoking. Though, he had given it up a few years back it seemed. His body felt like it ached, perhaps due to the age, but an underline taste seemed to indicate that he was undergoing or had at least until recently undergone chemotherapy. He seemed to be on the mend though, though judging by the reaction in his liver it was unlikely it would be for long.
Despite all that noise, one thing was for sure.
Thump… thump… thump…
He spoke the truth.
He nodded at Jessica. This was the guy to talk to.
“Great. Drinks are on us tonight if you can tell us some stories?” She said, indicating at the nearly empty glass; “For instance. How did you know him?”
The old man finished the last spots of his drink and leaned back, tapping at the glass to indicate he would definitely need more.
“I used to work at Smiths Grove Sanitarium,” He said; “I worked there every time he escaped. I was there when he escaped last time.”
Matt nodded again.
Thump… thump… thump…
Next Time: Hockey Mask
Chapter 7: Hockey Mask
Standing in the car park where a series of murders had taken place just days before was a strange experience for Danny and Luke.
In truth, neither was a stranger to death.
For Luke, his first go in prison had had its fair share of death. After getting out, after his powers had manifested, it seemed like someone was either always in danger or dying whilst he was powerless to stop it.
His father had been a popular preacher, so he understood death like this; if you kill a person with intent, you kill everything they have the chance to be and in doing so you separate yourself from humanity. You have performed an action so heinous that it haunted everything you do, forever.
That one premeditated and irredeemable action was, essentially, responsible for killing two people.
In being honest with himself, ever since he had developed these powers, the concept of death still sometimes scared him. Not for himself, but he did wonder nearly daily if he was doing enough to stop people making those choices that resulted in the ending of a life.
He wasn’t having a midlife crisis, his goal of a safe and peaceful Harlem was clearer than ever in his mind- but occasionally when he read a story of a kid from a neighbourhood like his that been stopped by a cop and killed, Luke found himself afraid for Claire.
For his friends at Pa’s.
For any future children he chose to have.
And, sometimes, of what legacy he would leave behind when he was gone.
Danny however had an interesting history with death.
His parents had died, sure, and sometimes in K’un-Lun people died whether from old age or because limits were pushed too far, but in his fights against the Hand since his return to New York he had been granted the knowledge that sometimes people could come back.
There was magic in the world that could do impossible feats, resurrection just being one of them, and Danny was a being who had access to magic. He had heard tale of the Sorcerer Supreme passing away in recent years and being replaced in New York, which is something he had always wanted to check out, so he knew that magic existed in many forms and there were many paths that could be taken in pushing yourself to grow and become stronger.
Even strong enough to delay the inevitable.
And in truth, whenever he had students at Colleen’s class, he would find himself asking the question; what was training other than to improve and become stronger?
Sure, it may mean that you postponed your demise by being strong enough and fast enough to prevent it physically, but there were other ways to live. By say, becoming a writer or an artist you defined yourself and gave yourself purpose and that purpose kept you going forward. Same with finding any kind of career you loved, or by providing for a family.
So, after he had entertained the students with his questions, he asked a follow-up; were you training to become stronger, or were you training to live your life?
He knew people found him odd and he blamed that mostly on his upbringing. You try telling a boy to become a warrior and fight a dragon, it’s not the same right-of-passage as going to prom!
But one thing he always kept to himself as he was aware it had the potential to alienate the company he kept;
He was not afraid of death.
* * *
As they stopped out of the car, the first thing they noticed was that it was dark. Not that city dark where you could still see due to the orange of the streetlamps highlighting everything, but rather a dark that was an absence.
Turning off the car engine had had a negative side effect in turning off the only main light source that they had and since there was nobody else on the campsite, it meant that all they had was the stars in the sky.
The second thing they noticed was the sound of crickets.
The third was that when they walked, the ground crunched as they crushed leaves.
“We should probably turn on the lights?” Luke whispered as he pulled out his phone and activated the torch. The light shone on Danny who raised his hand to block it out; “There’s probably a switch or a breaker somewhere that would activate the whole campsite?”
“Why are you whispering?” Danny asked in a normal voice; “We want him to find us so, yeah, let’s turn the lights on and get this guy out in the open. Show him that we have nothing to hide!”
“It’s more a case of being subtle for your benefit.” Luke continued to whisper; “He stabs me and I’m going to shrug it off, he stabs you and I tell Colleen about our boys weekend trip to camp that ended real sad.”
“Don’t worry about it, honestly,” Danny said, and Luke was sure he could hear the billionaire rolling his eyes; “There is a big flashlight in the trunk of the car. If you want, grab that until we can turn on the camps lighting?”
Luke walked to the trunk of the car and he opened it up. For a few seconds he was illuminated with a soft light that was just bright enough to reveal a box which housed within it a huge flashlight. Perfect for the time being.
He clicked it and soon Danny was illuminated in a strange outline of light as, in every direction, was a smothering darkness as far as the eye could see. His eyes went red for a moment, in the same way that your eyes would change colour when a flash camera was used, and Danny covered his face and said;
“Seriously man? Turn, that away from me, I’ve got my own light anyway.”
“Your phone?” Luke wondered, but it wasn’t the case.
He closed his right hand and took a moment to focus, feeling the chi of the dragon and the golden light that wanted to flood through his veins and expel outwards-
“What are you doing?” Luke asked.
“Summoning the Iron Fist. It’s bright and also doubles as a way of letting this guy know what he’s messing with. Now hush, I need to concentrate-”
Luke shook his head; “It’s helpful if we lose each other, sure, but don’t waste your energy on that at the moment.”
Danny seemed to consider it and then relaxed his hand. The sound of his fingers cracking was louder than anything else they had heard in the forest so far.
“Okay, good point.” He agreed. No point arguing, Luke Cage was typically a man that made sense.
“Thanks man, now come on, I bet the generator is either in or outside one of these cabins.”
“So, literally anywhere then?”
They walked in silence for a moment, save for the crunching of leaves beneath their feet, and approached the reception cabin first. The torch light didn’t pierce far enough outside to show how many cabins there were on either side of the lake, the cold and dark night being too dense, but upon shining through the window it was more than powerful of revealing everything it could about the reception’s interior.
Fortunately for both men, it didn’t look like there were any bodies remaining, though it wasn’t as if Luke recalled any of the articles stating the whereabouts of the deceased. They hadn’t even checked much of the camp out yet so it was possible they could find plenty of gruesome things.
It did look like this cabin had been a crime scene however since there was some police tape and, worse, some blood.
“So, why were people here this time?” Danny wondered as he tried the door and it opened with a squeak. He was referring to why people returned to the camp after so many terrible things happened. It was typical that someone lived to tell the tale, it had happened plenty of times, and those survivors always told stories about how they had taken down Jason.
Not that they had ever done so permanently, it seemed, but after some time people grew to see the land of Crystal Lake as useful for building a mall or a new summer camp and as a way to capitalise on the history. They normally always lived to regret it.
“The Voorhees legend comes around every Friday the 13th and, for those people who live near here, occasionally someone gets the idea of capitalising on it.” Luke explained; “In this case a young guy who thought it was all a myth advertised online- I think he was from Sweden?- anyway, for people to come by and check out the campsite. All so they could do ghost tours and stuff. Then when people did- Jason turned up and slaughtered them all. Save one, I think.”
“Man, we should have spoken to that survivor,” Danny said as he pushed inside the empty cabin and flicked the light switch. Nothing happened.
Yep, they definitely needed to find the generator.
Luke entered afterwards and, placing the flashlight down so it illuminated the room some more, he began to search once again with his phones light for a map of the campsite.
“Historically, things don’t go well for the survivors.” Luke said, his voice with a sad tone; “Sometimes they end up killing themselves, sometimes they go mad and locked up in insane asylums. Some come back here to confront the demons and they get killed anyway… A few have survived and not gone crazy, but they live very sheltered lives.”
“I wonder what happened to the survivor of this massacre?” Danny wondered, opening a book on the desk where the blood was near.
“She got sent back home to be with her family. Time will tell how she copes…”
There was silence for a moment as both men continued to search and then, with his fingers tracing the words in the book he was reading, Danny asked;
“I should invite her to train with Colleen and I… clear her mind with some martial arts. Will she find out that we stopped this guy?”
Luke paused at that question. He wasn’t planning on advertising on a large scale that they had stopped Jason Voorhees, but then how was everyone to know that there was nothing to be afraid off anymore? Tony Stark would go up on stage and advertise that he had saved the day and win awards, but Luke Cage liked to keep things a bit more grounded out of respect for what had happened and the message it would send to Harlem.
“Maybe Rand could make a press release?” He offered; “Say they sent out some private contractors or something to deal with it?”
Danny pointed at Luke with a big grin on his face, having not considered that option, and then resumed searching- only to laugh a second later as he turned the book around and revealed a series of instructions.
“I know how to start the generator!”
“Any idea where it is?”
Luke laughed, he couldn’t help it after the enthusiasm the billionaire had shown and said; “Well fortunately I think I do. There is a map here and it looks like there is an area that’s off limits to the kids. I bet you good money that that’s where the generator is.”
“What’s good money for you?”
“I’m not answering that question.”
The area in question was behind a few cabins to the left of the one they were in. The map suggested that the reception area had been placed dead centre so that the boys would go in the cabins to the right and the girls to the left and the rest of the site leading towards the lake had a series of activities. Heading in the opposite direction, towards the forest, had further activities. The off-limits area was nearer the trees that it was the cabins, but close enough that power would run through it and over the entire site. A logical setup.
They walked slowly through the darkness, once again keeping quiet as they approached the cabin that they assumed was the right one.
“Maybe we should have brought Matt?” Danny suggested with a chuckle; “Can’t believe we didn’t think that one through. The guy can hear if you sneeze ten miles away and says bless you when you meet up.”
There was a crunch as a stick snapped beneath Luke’s foot and Danny turned on the spot with his arms raised. Nothing.
“No special Ki powers to help you in the dark or anything like that?” Luke wondered, shooting the flashlight suddenly to the side of them as they steadily moved further into the undergrowth. They were past the cabin now and heading towards what looked like a metal fence.
“Sadly not. I could turn my hand on?”
“Sure. That didn’t sound strange at all.”
Danny didn’t but they continued to walk and pushed the gate open and sure enough, within was a generator.
“This is going to get loud,” Luke muttered, leaning down to activate the machine but Danny instead put his arm out and stopped him.
“If that’s the case shouldn’t you go outside? We know he’s not inside here so if he tries to sneak up, he’s just going to get a big surprise if he tries to mess with you.”
Luke sighed and agreed; “I accept this, I’m not happy with it, but I accept it.”
“You’ll be pretty happy when we kick his ass.”
The generator activated seconds later, roaring to life and causing the lightbulb above Danny to turn on with a flash of yellow light. Soon, around the campsite, the spotlights and lights within the cabins all activated one by one as the energy made it to them in a steady current.
“I think we’ve officially announced our presence,” Danny said as he exited the shed with the generator and brushed his hands clean.
“Brilliant,” Luke said; “Let’s go hunt a psychopath.”
* * *
“So, tell me this guys story again?” Danny asked after forty-five minutes of casual strolling through the campsite. So far, they had checked every cabin, the mess hall and also a couple cabins where they stored the sports equipment.
And so far, they had found nothing save for the occasional blood splats.
“You want more to the story of the guy who hunts and kills people whilst wearing a hockey mask?” Luke wondered as they turned towards the lake. The next plan was to walk its entire perimeter. It seemed like a good idea as a way to cover some ground at least.
“There has to be more, right?” Danny wondered; “You said the kid drowned but really he hadn’t and lived in the forest whilst his mother killed counsellors to avenge him. But that’s stupid! Why didn’t he just go out and try and find her? He was a kid and from the sounds of things loved his mother, so…”
“You’re putting holes in the backstory of a guy who, according to rumours, has died repeatedly and come back to life to keep up his deadly mission of vengeance. I’m not sure trying to make sense of it will help us out any.”
“But the coming back to life thing does make sense to me,” Danny pointed out; “People can come back to life. We know this. We’ve met people who have done it.”
“Yeah but that was with some crazy dragon bone thing. Are you thinking that Jason came back the same way? Do you think the Hand would keep some dragon bones out there in the wild?”
Danny pondered this for a moment and, relenting in one aspect, said; “Okay, but his backstory is still stupid because, if it’s true, he had no reason to live in the forest. He should have just gone home. It just feels like Jason or his mother needed very little persuading to suddenly go out and start stabbing folks.”
“I see what you are saying.” Luke said. Legitimately, he did. Perhaps in the real world there was more to the story, perhaps Jason had been injured or got amnesia and that’s why he didn’t go home, and the grief that Pamela had experienced manifested itself over several years- decades perhaps- before she finally started murdering people. There was no way to know for certainty.
“Thanks,” Danny muttered; “Anyway… I bring this all up because I’ve been doing some thinking.”
He waited for the joke about his intelligence and, not hearing it, continued;
“I’ve mulled this over for a while. I’ve heard of a place called Kamar Taj which deals in all sorts of mysticism. According to the monks I was raised by-“
“Oh, you were raised by monks?”
Different joke. Kind of a funny one as well.
“-They said that it was a place where they had a huge library of magical artefacts and books. Things which, over the years, were gathered and stored to prevent them from harming people in the world. A place where they could be controlled.”
“That is interesting to know about if it’s true, but I fail to see the connection.” Luke said, nodding as he shone his light towards the heavy trees. Even this close as they walked around the lake edge it was still hard to see through the forest.
“I’m thinking about timelines.” Danny said, checking behind them. Nothing. He continued; “You said that this Michael guy that Jessica and Matt went to check out popped up at some point in the late 70’s, right? And then this Jason guy started killing people in the 80’s?”
Luke nodded, slowly; “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
“And didn’t you mention something about another town? Springfield?”
That had been back at the apartment, they had touched on it briefly. Everything Luke had tried to find out about it was odd, as if records had been scrubbed clean. It was as if the town was trying hard to either not exist or, when it had to, maintain an illusion that it was the most boring place on the planet.
Aside from all of the strange disappearances.
“Springwood.” Luke repeated; “I don’t know much about it, but-“
“But I bet it started in the 80’s, right? And I bet there is other stuff out there that all started to happen around the same time, but these three are some of the biggest?”
It took a moment as they continued walking but, eventually, with his feet causing that crunch beneath his feet, Luke nodded.
He knew at least that much was true.
Springwood, Haddonfield, Crystal Lake were the big three. There had been more as well that Luke had touched upon in his research but avoided delving too deep for fear of falling down a rabbit hole.
The clown in particular…
Feeling validated, Danny took a few steps forward and stopped Luke in his tracks to explain; “So what if, what if, there was something or someone out there who had existed a few decades ago that was using some kind of mystical artefact to make these monsters!”
It was a deduction that Luke had never considered. He knew that Michael and Jason existed, there was a Netflix documentary about them released near enough every Friday the 13th or Halloween, but the concept of them being linked had never crossed his mind.
Danny continued; “What if Jason Voorhees, this Michael guy and the thing in Springwood, what if they are just the actions of someone else? Someone trying to inflict pain upon humanity for some reason?”
“Danny, I think that’s a compelling theory, but-“
There was a snap of a twig. A snap that hadn’t belonged to either of their feet.
Both their faces moved towards the treeline where the sound had come from.
Luke felt his breath catch.
Danny felt his adrenalin spike.
Emerging from the darkness, as if he had been waiting precisely for this moment, the figure brought the machete down, swinging with strength that would cleave a man in two easily.
There was no mistake. In that split second, both Danny and Luke saw the white hockey mask.
Jason Voorhees was here.
Ki ki ki… Ma ma ma…
Next Time: The Curse of Thorn
Chapter 8: The Curse of Thorn
As it turns out, a couple of rounds was more than enough to loosen Old Gus’ tongue.
At the start he had been shy. He observed Jessica and Matt with a mixture of mistrust and disgust, perceiving them originally as mere tourists who had come here for the sole purpose of getting some stories from a crazy old guy solely so they could put them on the internet. They were a pair that wanted to capitalise on the tragedy of the life of a man and score some cheap points. He even mentioned a couple who had come by once for some podcast they had wanted him to be on before trailing off.
A couple pints of heavy liquor however and he was, whilst slurred and occasionally still angry, began to expand on the history of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. How it was created by the Illinois government one hundred and fifty miles north of Haddonfield to house it’s most dangerous and insane patients. How the grounds had been cold, the patients had been mistreated on occasion, but it was also a different time and mental health facilities weren’t what they were now.
They hadn’t understood mental illness, he protested whilst Jessica drunk her drink and stewed on her anger. Matt kept her calm, asking the right questions and doing his best to keep Old Gus on track but Jessica was starting to see the small gaps of information.
He went into great detail. He started talking about the staff. About how, after he had graduated medical school and started working at the asylum, he had gotten to know them all. He mentioned a few repeated names. Sartain, Carpenter, Hill, Rogers, Loomis, Wynn.
How at the age of twenty-eight, in 1963, he had been on call as Michael Myers, aged 6, was brought in following the murder of his sister.
“Things changed around the hospital after Michael came.” He said, his voice low; “The staff… everyone… suddenly it felt like most of them wanted him to be there. Like they had been waiting for him. See, with the patients, it was a tragedy that they were there… They were broken and we would fix them by any means.”
“I’ve heard,” Jessica asked after a hard swallow, swirling her drink in her hand; “That Michael was a model patient.”
“He was great.” Gus agreed, nodding his head too much; “Great. Great. He was great. All he did was just… sit there. Nothing phased him. He was never too hot, never too cold, and nothing got to him. It’s like he was waiting for…”
He pointed at the pair and then, opened his hand as if to say “well, who knows”.
“Halloween.” Matt said for him, shifting in his chair; “He was waiting for that night, when he escaped.”
“Fifteen years later! Can you imagine that? Waiting so patiently for a night for… some… twisted reason?”
“Wasn’t he after his sister?” Jessica asked, shooting Matt a look. They’d had to correct him on his line of thinking a few times. The man was honest, but he had his own conspiracy theories and the facts were sometimes blurred as he became more open with them.
“His sister that got away!” Gus said, laughing; “I can’t tell you how many times he tried to kill her… I can’t tell you how many times he escaped from the madhouse… Some accounts say he was successful, that he got her, but I think she still lives. Probably out in the forest somewhere, living away from it all, preparing for him if he comes for her again.”
“Let’s not lose track.” Matt said, pouring part of his drink into Gus’. So much for matching Jessica, she was way ahead of him; “Michael was brought back to Smith’s Grove several times over the years and he also broke out repeatedly like it was a revolving door. Never once has he been transferred out of state to a higher security prison. Any idea why that is?”
“This man isn’t a man.” Gus mumbled; “He’s a shark. Loomis used to say he had demon eyes, evil eyes. He’s probably right about that. Probably. Was probably. Bless his soul...”
“Okay, I’m starting to think-“Jessica said, her tone irritated, but suddenly Gus snapped;
“Loomis knew! He always knew that there was more to everything. To the night. The symbol. He tried to take them down… I’d never been invited to join them, no, but I had suspected something…”
Matt felt the rush of the heart rate. This was something new. Sometimes when people admitted things for the first time, truths that they had hidden from themselves, it caused an increase of adrenalin as if the admission was as crucial as life and death. Sometimes he overheard conversations of people admitting to adultery or admitting the truth about who they were. It was as if they were turning the key on something that they would never get back.
This was one of those moments.
“Who?” He asked, not realising his voice had lowered until it came out. He was channelling Daredevil now. Jessica seemed to notice, he realised based on the reaction on her skin, the hair standing on end, the flexing of muscles, it was in surprise that he had done it.
Gus reacted also, his consciousness was blurring with the amount of alcohol in his system, but he felt the pressure and certainty of the question.
“They.” He answered, looking at his empty glass with disappointment; “There were more of them than not. Doctors, nurses, for a time even patients were transferred out of state to stand as representatives and worshippers…
He sighed; Matt knew that this was the moment; “To stand with the Cult of Thorn as disciples of darkness…”
“A Goddamn Cult? Really? Come on…”
“Is he lying?” She flatly.
“He believes it.” Matt replied; “Can’t say I’ve heard of a… Thorn Cult. What did they practise?”
“More.” He said, throwing his glass onto the ground sloppily. The noise of the bar dimmed for a moment as everyone stared in his direction and Jessica traded looks with the bartender. He was resting both his arms on the counter and staring over at them, annoyed.
“I’ll go work damage control.” She whispered; “Plus order another round.”
“Water for me.” Matt said; “Maybe a coffee for him. Sober him up some before he loses his focus completely.”
“Oh, so catholic boy can’t handle- woah- his whisky?” Jessica joked as she tripped slightly on her way towards the bar.
Probably for the best that she walked away. There came a point when niceness wasn’t getting the job done and Jessica would likely object to what he was going to do next. Daredevil was willing to get information by threat; Murdock should be willing to do the same as well sometimes.
“Well, while she’s sorting us out with more,” Matt said, leaning close; “Tell me about the Thorn cult. Just between us.”
“The Thorn Cult…” Old Gus repeated, as though hearing the words for the first time. His eyes widened, as if he now realised what he had said and with a stammer mumbled; “N-No, I don’t think I-“
Matt’s voice barely rose over a whisper, but he knew the old man could hear him.
“People have died over the decades. I’m not even sure the full number. But you’ve been wallowing here in self-pity, knowing something about the reason why they died. You’ve kept it all to yourself just to protect some dead people who you worked with? How about a consideration for the victims? Now. Tell me about the Thorn Cult or I swear to you, your wrist is broken and that’s just where I will start to hurt you.”
“Y-you can’t threaten m-me…” The old man mumbled, though Matt had no idea why he thought that.
“I can and I will.” He whispered, demanding; “Tell me about the Thorn Cult.”
The tremor in Gus’ voice and the way his heart jumped indicated he was scared beyond all reason, but he definitely wasn’t lying when he spoke.
“They were a cult dedicated towards the idea of, of, of the tribe… They created champions to defend them, champions through sacrifice to give them greater strength.”
He reached for a glass of something that didn’t exist and, resting his gaze on Matt, felt it best to continue.
“The idea was that you sa-sacrifice a family in order to create a single-minded monster dedicated to the whims of the group…” He lowered his head, running a hand through his wispy hair; “From what I understood at least…”
“So, Michael as made into a champion?”
“The Myers family was chosen because the more family members sacrificed, the greater the strength of the champion would be. Strength, purpose, immortality allegedly… All these were gifted to those inflicted with the Curse of Thorn.”
Matt mused on this for a moment. Looking at it a different way, if you took out the magic and curse aspect of it, it seemed more likely that this was a boy who had murdered his sister likely on a whim or an undiagnosed mental health issue. He was then taken to an asylum with a group of fanatics and then moulded into being their perfect servant. Fifteen years later he escapes and, knowing nothing else but his home and the desire to kill, he goes and seeks out whatever family he had left.
Sure, that was the logical way of looking at it.
“How do you know all this?” Matt asked, listening closely to the man’s heart.
“They never invited me to join them, God above, but I knew they existed… I never would have joined…”
Thump… thu-thump… thump…
Matt let that one slide; it wasn’t important yet.
“So, this Cult made Michael to serve them and they sent him out every few Halloween’s? For what purpose?”
“He broke away.” Old Gus clarified; his eyes wide with horror; “He never listened to them. Never. He was his own monster. A shape in the darkness… Last I heard he had wiped out the Cult back in 1995. The asylum changed after that, brought by new owners and I was let go…”
He swallowed and Matt knew this was near the end of the story.
“After that he just disappeared, appearing now and again to either try and hunt down his surviving sister and family members, or in places where you would least expect it.”
Matt swore he heard the man whisper; “…Dangertainment…” as Old Gus placed his head on the table, but that must have been a mistake on his part.
“So, he could be anywhere in the world?” Matt wondered, leaning back on his chair; “He just appears on random Halloween nights when it suits him?” That would be problematic for Luke’s weekend of taking out legendary psychopaths.
“You can believe that if you wish,” Gus mumbled; “He has a house here, still. The Myers house… 45 Lampkin Lane… It stands to this day, a legacy of a cursed Halloween town…”
“Legacy of a murderer, maybe.” Matt thought; “Does anyone ever go in? Ghost Tours? Stuff like that?”
“It’s condemned. Asbestos. Lead. So they say.” Gus explained; “Don’t believe it myself… I see it as the house that breathes…”
Talking nonsense, but not lying.
“Learned anything new?” Jessica asked, returning to the table holding two large glasses of beer.
“He’s useless to us now.” Matt said, standing; “He won’t need those either. He’s too drunk to probably even remember much of this conversation tomorrow. Good for us at least.”
“Oh, these weren’t for him. After all that nonsense he was spouting I felt like we earned these.”
Matt handed Jessica her jacket and he could tell she was disappointed not to be staying at the bar. Relenting however she placed the two glasses on the table in front of Old Gus, who was awfully close to snoring peacefully, and pulled her jacket over her shoulders.
The bar was winding down. It was later in the evening, after midnight, and a lot of the younger people had moved on and a lot of the older patrons were staying and would likely remain until the early hours of the morning. The bartenders were starting to clear things away up front and a steady steam was pouring from the back where a dishwasher was hastily cleaning dishes.
“So where are we going next?” Jessica wondered, putting her hands in her pocket and gesturing for Matt to hold onto her arm.
Matt took it.
“We’re going to check out a house.” He said.
* * *
It was a few blocks to what Google maps had affectionately referred to as “The Myers House” and during that time of walking and checking the map, Matt informed Jessica of everything that Old Gus had mentioned about the Thorn Cult and how it related to Michael Myers.
Jessica took it well.
“What a bunch of shit.” She snapped, hands in her pocket as she walked.
“It’s fairly… out there.” Matt agreed; “Criminal organisations I can understand, but a full-blown cult sacrificing a family in order to… empower someone to be some kind of Frankenstein servant of death? It’s just not what I expected when I came here, and I expected something weird.”
“Frankenstein’s monster.” Jessica corrected, adding; “That old guy bugged me. The idea that he would just sit back and stew on this when a criminal investigation could have been done… I mean, how long did it take for us to find out all of that stuff? We’re talking an evening of just asking questions and getting a man slightly intoxicated. If anyone cared to find out why it wouldn’t have taken long.”
“There was nothing “slightly” about the amount of alcohol you were giving him.”
“Oh please.” She scoffed; “You said you were going to keep up with me and I definitely noticed you bailing.”
She had actually been looking forward to that. It would have been an opportunity to see Matt have some fun for once rather than brooding.
She had seen him talking coldly to Old Gus when she was at the bar and the discomfort on the old man’s face as he rattled off information for Matt made her look at him in a different way.
Sure, when she needed information from someone being difficult, she was more than willing to throw her strength around. Maybe bend or break a few things just to show her informant what she could do. But unless she absolutely had to, she never tortured information out of people.
Most of the time. There were… Killgrave level exceptions.
She hadn’t seen how Matt worked when he was wearing the red suit solo, but she could make assumptions. Based on the brutal way that he fought, the son of a boxer, perhaps he was willing to get a little rougher every now and again if he desperately needed information.
“I never drink, normally, when I’m on the job.” Matt admitted, following as they turned into another block. “I like to make sure I’ve got my wits about me. It makes me wonder what you would be capable of if you trained and didn’t drink all the time.”
Jessica laughed, walking ahead slightly.
“Let’s pray you never find out Murdock. I wouldn’t want you out of the job as I became the single force that wiped out all the crime in New York City. Sober and trained Jessica would be a force to be reckoned with.”
“You joke but if you think you had that level of capability Danny or I could train you or-”
“Yes, yes, join your little Karate club... He’s made that same offer. A bunch of times.”
The last time he had offered to pay her, and she had considered it based on the salary, but at the end of the day she wasn’t sure she could handle sticking around with Danny Rand for several hours a week. Not when there were so much better things to do and cases she needed to work on.
If Colleen had offered, it may have been a different result.
“No thanks. I’ll leave you and Danny to learn all the fancy moves and Luke and I will be the untrained powerhouses. Sounds good?”
Matt laughed; “I see what you’re saying. I should, er, stick to my lane?”
“Exactly… Well, maybe more like the handicapped zone for you.”
They both laughed at that. Walking through the dark streets of Haddonfield suburbia with only the occasional streetlamp illuminating them.
Occasionally a few cars drove by and an ever-rarer actual person would appear on the street walking a dog (bizarre for this late in the evening, but then they both lived in New York where much stranger things had transpired).
It seemed that past a certain time, people in Haddonfield liked to stay out of the dark.
Nobody could blame them for that really.
For a few short moments they walked in silence. A soft breeze flicked between the streets and rustled the tall trees that made up both sides of the road. Jessica had taken back her arm from once they were outside and Matt hadn’t pulled out his probing cane. For a brief moment, if anyone had looked outside, it just looked like a man and a woman walking back from a night out.
After a moment though, mulling topics in his head, Matt finally spoke again.
“You know, about what happened earlier at the bar. When you were asking about my powers-”
“Oh God, please don’t bring that up.” Jessica groaned as if he had just harshed her buzz.
“I just wanted to say if you think I was overthinking things, or if you think I was-“
“You really, really, don’t have to do this Murdock.”
“You took me by surprise is all I was going to say.” Matt said honestly. She had surprised him with wanting to know. For a woman who made a career in herself of gathering information for clients, she was surprisingly reluctant to get to know anything about the people she was… friends with.
Though Matt couldn’t talk, Jessica considered him to have quite a tall wall as well. This was a man who wore a costume to hide his appearance, who hid his ability to observe things at a much greater level than anyone she had ever met and then he spent his entire life, twenty four hours, seven days a week, hiding that he could do it.
“Yeah, well…” Jessica mumbled, shivering as a breeze brushed over them; “Curiosity got the better of me I suppose.”
That was a lie, but Matt didn’t want to tell her that he knew that.
“I won’t bring it up again.” He said as they continued; “Not unless you want me to of course.”
“Sounds good to me.” She said, swiftly adding; “I think… if my phone is right, we are here. 45 Lampkin Lane, right? The world-famous Myers house?”
In comparison to the other houses on the street, it sure looked like the kind of house a serial killer would be raised in.
From the outside it was a wreck. A two-story suburban house with a horizontal wood pattern from the front. It was greyed, weathered by time and a lack of care compared to the other homes which were white, clean, and had advanced with technology. The windows were boarded up and through the cracks it seemed like the inside was darker than the night itself. The front garden was completely dead, instead of fresh grass like the rest of the neighbourhood it was covered in weeds that seemed to be struggling to remain alive.
This house looked like it had died in the 60’s.
“How does it look?” Matt asked.
“I’ll take your word for it.”
Jessica walked up the pathway towards the front door, the garden path was non-existent anymore. Given the old style of the front in comparison to the rest of the neighbourhood, it was incredible that this home wasn’t just demolished. But then, given that news of a fresh Michael Myers killing spree reached the news all the way in New York, perhaps there was a slight tourism justification for keeping the house standing.
“Look at that,” She said, standing on the porch which creaked loudly as Matt followed up; “Figuratively speaking.”
On the front door was a poster listing all kinds of issues with the property and the dangers for going in. Nothing about asbestos or lead, but it did have quite a chilling skull and crossbones that either meant the place was full of pirates or that someone in city planning had decided to make it clear that this was a bad, bad house in the most juvenile way possible.
“This place is totally condemned.” She said, throwing the piece of paper onto the ground.
“Foundation feels unbalanced. It’s got some water damage and a draft… but it doesn’t feel like a true abandoned home.”
“Colour me curious Murdock, what do you mean by that?”
Abandoned properties were devoid of life. The dust clung to open space and held on tight and you could tell how long it had been since someone had been here by the way that the dust particles moved through the air. If all the dust was equal, everything would be the same level.
The Myers home, he could feel, wasn’t always static.
On the inside, it moved.
What had Old Gus said? This was the house that breathes?
“Could be nothing, could be squatters, but maybe- maybe- there is something inside.”
“Good enough for me.” Jessica said and, with a hard kick, broke the door open.
Next Time: It’s Got a Death Curse
Chapter 9: It’s Got a Death Curse
As Danny saw the hockey mask the first thought that went through his mind was; “Huh, I guess this Jason guy was real after all.”
This was about as much time for Jason Voorhees to burst from the trees and, with a powerful swing, bring the machete down towards Luke’s arm in an arch.
The aim was to go through Luke’s arm, through his torso and likely out the other side. Effectively cutting the Hero of Harlem in half, leaving behind his best friend to mourn him and a girlfriend who was going to be pissed at Danny.
Luckily, this didn’t happen.
At the impact of the machete upon Luke’s skin there was a moment where sparks erupted furiously, shooting outwards with the kind of anger seen only when welding. The edge of the blade slid harmlessly along the skin, Luke barely budging with the force of the impact.
When the swing ceased and all power from the assault lost, Jason seemed to stand there dumbly, as if trying to compute with what happened.
As was practically tradition at this point, the only damage inflicted was on the hoodie that the Hero of Harlem wore. A large gash on his left sleeve where the blade had sawed through, which was a shame. He loved this hoody.
Jason glanced at the machete, giving a look with just the movement of his head that seemed to imply confusion, but Luke didn’t even look at his arm. Whereas in the early days of using his powers he would sometimes wince, anticipating pain when it should have occurred, now he had trained his body to simply know that it wasn’t going to happen.
With the shock of the moment now over and safe, he punched his assailant square in the chest.
Messily, Jason was pushed backwards, stumbling backwards and trying to regain balance as he slid along the dry campgrounds. His feet kicked up leaves that crunched beneath his feet, heavily.
The impact hadn’t been at Luke’s full force. Over the years he had understood how much of his strength to use against someone to knock them unconscious. Normally a tap to the head was enough to give a minor concussion at best. The only times he had used his full strength at its absolute peak was when he was facing someone enhanced like he was.
As such, not quite understanding how Jason would… feel, his first strike against hadn’t been at his full strength. He had tried to not hurt the hockey mask wearing murderer out of concern that maybe, just maybe, he was some crazy normal guy who lived in the woods.
“This the guy?” Danny asked, stepping forward in a fighting stance- but Luke put his arm out and moved Danny back.
“Yeah,” He said, his voice cold as he put the flashlight down; “This is the guy.”
Jason Voorhees was still illuminated thanks to the spread of the light.
His clothes were tattered and brown from months/years in the forest. Likely a mixture of mud and other liquids (and it was best not to think about what those other liquids were) that had soaked into the fabric. He was tall, just a bit taller than Luke, and his skin was ravaged and decaying from what little off it was on display.
The machete he held was long and slightly blunted on one side now thanks to the impact of the strike. Despite how heavy it looked he wielded it with one hand almost casually.
Of course, on his face, was a hockey mask. Scratched in several places but tight on his face.
His eyes beneath were… odd. They looked like a decayed blue.
He made no sound like he was breathing and yet his chest rose and fell, silently, as he stared at the two men in front of him as though daring them to run.
“What’s the matter?” Luke said, stepping forward; “Not expecting us to just stick around?”
Jason made no indication that he had any response to those words.
“Well, we’re not running.” Luke said coldly; “We’ve come a long way just to kick your ass. Hope you’re ready for it.”
And with that Luke Cage rushed forward, not even bothering to dodge as this time Jason swung the machete towards his head. The impact of the blow against his neck, whilst it didn’t cut the skin, did knock Luke’s momentum slightly- but he was able to right himself.
“Just letting you know, that’s not going to work,” He said, grabbing the blade and shoved it away with his bare hands.
Not holding back, Luke then punched Jason hard in the chest.
The blow struck Jason and, this time, he flew backwards. His arms and legs were outstretched as for a moment he left the ground in his entirety and when he slammed against the cold, hard surface of the grass, he did so with his limbs at his side and his eyes staring at the sky.
If an undead zombie man could speak, Luke imagined he’d be saying; “…what?” right about now.
No holding back this time.
“I’m almost hesitant to think that this is over,” Luke said, glancing at the unmoving body; “What if we got it wrong and this was just some Jason copycat guy?”
“Well, he tried to kill you first. Twice. So, I think we’re good.” Danny said, stepping forward; “I’m just bummed I didn’t get a chance to face him…”
He shouldn’t have been.
A normal person, having taken an impact like that and surviving, would likely be in hospital for at least a few months as they recovered. Bones would have been broken and organs would have been ruptured. The idea of him doing anything for a while, other than receiving operations and transplants, was… impossible.
Jason was not a normal person.
Instead, as he slowly began to pull himself back to his feet, Luke and Danny heard the crack of bones that were forcing themselves back into the correct position. They heard the pops of joints returning to their rightful spots. He pulled himself back to his feet, swaying only slightly, in a way that only a monster that was rebuilding himself could.
As Jason stood tall, he seemed to take a single deep breath and Luke heard the crack of several ribs against the monster’s lungs. Then, he looked back at Luke and Danny with a quizzical tilt of his head that said he was fine.
Jason was a legend, it seemed.
“Well.” Danny said, stepping forward; “I guess it’s my turn.”
“Have at it,” Luke said, stepping back; “If you need me to step in, let me know.”
“Nah, I got this.”
Danny began to stretch, shaking his arms and legs as he kept his eyes on the serial killer before him. His foes eyes were trained on him, like a true hunter.
“Do you reckon he would just stop if we just explain the situation?”
Jason glanced at his machete suddenly and, looking at the blunt edge, turned back to Danny and made a few practise swings. Each blow made a whooshing sound as they cut through the air. He seemed to be satisfied, as he turned back to Danny and focused his gaze.
The look in his eyes seemed to say; “Okay, this one I can cut.”
“Historically,” Luke replied; “I don’t think explaining anything to this guy has ever worked.”
Danny paused as Jason began to slowly march forward; “So, you’re saying there is a chance?”
Luke grimaced; “If I’m being honest, I doubt it. Go with the original plan.”
Danny frowned and positioned himself into a fighting stance. The first strike against Luke had given away one thing about the Voorhees fighting style, if you could call it that. He was very much a one and done kind of fighter, no technique, just raw power. His method of dispatch was to use speed coupled with surprise.
Against the might of the Living Weapon that he was and thanks to Luke taking the first strike, the element of surprise was eliminated entirely. Therefore, most of his opponent’s strength was gone. Now all he had was untrained brutality, telegraphed movements and a dumb mask.
Which meant, for the Iron Fist, this was going to be easy.
“Maybe he’ll listen to pain, then…” Danny said with a cocky smirk and behind him Luke chuckled and shook his head.
“You’re such a dork. Kick his ass, Dragon Ball.”
Voorhees marched forward and lunged at the last second with the machete, reeling it back and launching it in a downwards motion that was aimed to slice through Danny’s left shoulder and come out of his right hip.
Danny was faster. Focusing his chi he leapt with a unique strength up and over his opponent and casually landed on the other side, avoiding the swinging blade in its entirety.
“Dragon heart!” He snapped, frustrated at what he believed to be Luke’s misunderstanding; “I punched the Dragon in the heart.”
Jason turned with surprising speed to slash at Danny once again, the leaves on the ground reacting with the wind pressure, but once again the boy billionaire had maneuvered himself out of the way of the strike by bouncing backwards.
He understood Jason’s range. He understood his speed. He was learning more with each attempted strike of his enemy.
He hopped on the spot, his sneakers kicking up dirt, and awaited Luke’s reply.
“Well, no.” Luke said, looking at his phone; “Dragonheart is a movie from the 90’s but, let’s be real, that’s got nothing to do with anything… We’ll talk about this after you hit him.”
The blade shot forward like a bullet and would have penetrated between the eyes and gone out the back of the head with no delay in speed. Fortunately, the Iron Fist ducked to the left and raised his right foot into a powerful kick that slammed against the elbow of his assailant.
Jason kept his grip on the blade and moved with the impact, reaching over with his free hand to grab his prey. Danny moved, ducking low so that he was beneath the serial killer, and the open hand grabbed the open air.
His opponent was now wide open.
Danny rose, placing his left hand on Jason’s shoulder and his right on his opponent’s inner left thigh.
In the same second his left hand went down his right went up and suddenly Voorhees was off balanced and horizontal in the air. Danny finished the flip, careful of the machete, turning Jason upside down completely and watched as his opponent slam into the dirt headfirst.
The impact caused dust to shoot out and the machete to slam into the ground, useless.
“If we are comparing how he feels to fight, he’s not as… solid as you are.” Danny explained to Luke, stepping over the body and walking back to his friend; “You have this weight to you. I think it’s because you are alive? He’s… soft, unfocused, but it feels a bit like he channels all of his strength into those moments where he-“
Luke pushed Danny to the side with a heavy blow as the machete slammed against his shoulder with a loud thudding sound. Luke’s body moved with the impact, but the blade spiralled into the air and out of sight leaving no damage to the Hero of Harlem.
The blade stuck in the ground and Danny glanced over at Jason who was now sitting up and in the position of having thrown his weapon.
His breathing seemed to be heavy, though he made no sounds.
“He’s pissed,” Luke said, looking at his shirt which had a huge slash mark now in the upper right shoulder; “So am I.”
“Oh, I’M sorry!” Danny snapped, rising to his feet, his clothes slightly muddier and pointing at the serial killer; “Did I upset you? No need to throw things! That could have killed me!”
“That was probably his intention if I’m being real with you, Danny.” Luke added, putting his hands in his pocket; “Want me to take over? I’m getting a vibe that the longer we drag this out the harder it gets to put this guy down. I’ve read the stories, you know?”
Danny sighed and closed his eyes; “No, no, I said I’ve got this, and I do... Let me just…”
He closed his eyes.
He felt the strength of the universe and the calm eyes of a dragon and soon a rush of energy began to flow towards his right fist. The warmth of the energy from K’un-lun, the peacefulness of the city in the mountains, the will and strength of his people, it all came together through the earth travelling through and into his body.
The energy began to build in the low light of the campgrounds as Jason marched forward. He wasn’t going for his weapon, instead he was almost Frankenstein like as he raised his hands up and curled them into fists.
If Luke could hazard a guess, Jason was probably thinking he was going to pound Danny into the dirt and despite his instincts to step in and help his friend out, he knew he didn’t have to worry. He instead watched, knowing how this was going to play out.
Danny was zen as he walked towards Jason, his body calm. His opponent didn’t seem phased by the chi emanating from Danny, the energy moving outwards in soft pulses with his heartbeat.
As they met, Danny’s eyes opened, and everything happened in slow motion.
In the instant that Jason brought his hands down, aiming for Danny’s shoulder, the younger man reached back and curled his hand into a fist. Instantly it began to glow with a fiery yellow, the veins highlighted with a soft red, and the skin began to harden. All the chi suddenly materialised into one spot.
Harder than metal, harder than dragon scales.
He threw the punch towards the face of Jason Voorhees with all the speed and strength that he could muster.
The impact and the sonic boom that followed was deafening. Like the sound of a cannon firing.
The ground sizzled and an explosion of energy surged in a radius around the ground zero of the strike. Dust, dirt, rocks and leaves rushed outwards with the force and even the trees began to wave violently as though they had been hit by a gale force wind.
Yellow and gold energy floated from around Danny’s body and fell to the ground like light snowflakes.
To Luke, in the span of the second it took to observe, the strike always looked like a storm of lightning.
Within the epicentre, it always reminded Danny of the fiery breath of a dragon.
Upon the impact against his face, the mask of Jason erupted and atomised. His face was pushed back and soon his body was spinning through the air as the neck snapped unnaturally. He spiralled, bones breaking, limbs smashing into the ground as he spun and was only stopped with a slamming splat against a nearby old oak tree like an exceedingly old orange.
From there he didn’t stir, at least for the moment, and the forest began to settle.
“Good work.” Luke acknowledged, covering his eyes from the dust that had kicked up as Danny sighed and shook his hand as some more chi began to drift from it like soft sparks.
“Thanks,” Danny said, putting his hands in his pocket; “Now what do we do with this guy?”
“We have to restrain him somehow,” Luke said, running over to peel Jason from the tree. The splat had reminded him of a cartoon in some respects and he added; “I imagine he’ll be up and in action again soon… Not sure what we do after that. Call the authorities?”
“Killed the hell out of his mask as well.” Danny added, strolling over casually and after noting the slight look of confusion from Luke, he added; “I was kind of hoping to save it as a souvenir. What’s the worst that could happen, right?”
The impact of the body had been harsh. It wasn’t stuck inside the tree precisely, but it was clear that Jason’s organs and bones had been slammed hard with the impact and most of them had ruptured. Bones were also broken and his mangled face, which they had seen several times in the images prior to their arrival, was more puss and ooze than skin and features.
“Let’s… drag him on his face.” Luke said as he turned him over; “Man, if I didn’t know for a fact that he was going to heal, I’d almost feel bad for the guy.”
Danny shrugged and between them the pair pulled the large man down from his tree impact and began to drag his broken body back towards the car. They would see about some way of restraining him on the way and then they would contact someone to deal with him.
In the quiet, saved only by the crickets and the dragging of the body, Danny asked with a relaxed tone;
“I wonder how the other two are getting on?”
Next Time: The Night He Came Home
Chapter 10: The Night He Came Home
The Myers House was a testament to a forgotten time. Frozen in the past whilst the world outside moved on, frozen in horror at the events that had transpired here.
Frozen with blood.
The house sat with most of the same furniture that Peter and Edith Myers had purchased back when they had had moved in, way back in the forties. By all accounts, they had had a healthy and loving relationship with the same problems and issues that plagued every couple. Peter had served in the war, though saw very little action, and returned home no worse for wear and married his sweetheart, Edith. Spurred by the momentum of peace time, the couple had their first daughter in 1947, Judith Myers, and then ten years later had a boy whom they decided to name; Michael.
The rest is pretty well established.
Now, house abandoned, it stood untouched as if it was tainted. Residents of the town reacted to it as if it was radioactive, as if breathing near it was enough to infect you with its toxicity and mark you for death.
The floorboards, the sofa, the old television sets and the tables and chairs- everything was coated in such a thick layer of dust that, upon the violent entry thanks to Jessica’s kick, the fresh air that rushed through the interior caused heavy dust particles to wash over the furniture like a wave and remnants to hover in front of the new visitors.
As a convenient side effect, it caused Matthew Murdock to see further than he had anticipated. With each particle of dust floating in the air mixing with the wind, the vibrations of doors and open windows bouncing with the new pressure on the ground floor and upstairs, and the sounds of Jessica breathing, it painted a picture of most of the home. Through his radar sense, the two-story home was constructed in Matt’s mind like a map and after a handful of seconds he was confident he had understood everything about where they were.
The wind rattled through the old home and, in the uncomfortable silence, it seemed like the house was breathing.
Jessica had turned on her phone and, standing there coughing, turned back to Matthew as he closed the door behind him.
“Sense anything?” She asked, shining the light on the stairs and gradually following them up, step by step.
She felt tense in her chest as she realised where in the world she was standing.
This wasn’t the den of some ninjas or the home of a client who had been cheating on his wife, this was the home of a killer. The likes of which had become so legendary that he had etched his name into history with each victim.
She was as far away from New York as she had ever been and, as the light ascended, she half expected to see the shape of Michael Myers standing at the top of the stairs with a knife, ready for them.
Instead, as the light reached the top, all she saw was plain walls that had been savaged by changing temperatures and ill-care from over half a century.
“I can sense everything.” Matt said, pointing in the directions of each room in turn; “Everywhere is empty. If we discount the front door, it feels like there is a draft is coming from the back and there are some gaps upstairs as well letting fresh air in. Likely a broken window or something.”
Jessica turned and began to walk in the direction of the living room, her footsteps causing an echo which highlighted a pressurised circle around her. Matt could feel her heart rate increasing slightly and, deciding he would begin his search in the kitchen, turning his focus towards it as he heard her ask; “So… we are alone right?”
To say no would have been a lie.
There were clear signs of rats. He could hear them scurrying in several locations along with a heavy number of insects that were nestled in the walls. Termites were going to cause severe issues to this house in a few years, he suspected. Plus, it felt like he could smell the remains of cat or dog leavings, along with an unmistakeable smell of birds that must have nested here over the past few decades.
Trouble was, as he pushed his senses and walked, he could… feel that in some spaces there was abnormalities. Vibrations through Jessica breathing or stepping yielded shapes in his radar sense that were unmoving and unmistakeably the same as dead animals. The shapes of them were… unique as well.
Like they had been eaten.
Worse, some seemed fresher.
Plus, there was the odd absence that he felt when he walked. The floor beneath them was hollow, with pressure extending outwards and revealing not a basement but rather what felt like a network of tunnels. Though this was normal when he walked around a suburban home or even on the street, it was likely underground tunnels or sewers, so normally he didn’t pay them any mind.
But in truth, considering what Jessica was really asking; he didn’t sense anyone.
“We’re alone.” He said, turning with a smile; “Do you want to take upstairs?”
“Good for him then.” She replied, starting up the staircase and muttering to herself; “Wouldn’t want to scare the guy…”
He was pleased to hear that her heart rate had deceased, slightly.
As Jessica walked up, her feet thudding loudly, she made sure to keep her phone light pointing at the top of the stairs. This time just to make sure he, if he was there, wouldn’t just come around the corner and surprise her.
Like anyone growing up in the last half a century, she was aware of who Michael Myers was because every Halloween something came out about him. Whilst the Halloween holiday remained wholly separated from the man, the industry making sure not to create anything licensed that would tie into Myers, fact was that an aspiring film-maker or writer could be sure to drum up some hits in the month of October by creating a Netflix documentary or a retrospective of the years he had been responsible for mass killings.
She had been made aware of the mass-killings and reacted like the rest of the country with a mixture of shock and outrage but had never considered that she could do something about it until today. It always seemed far too separated from her world, a world that already had had Its fair share of monsters.
She had heard about people he had killed; the survivors had appeared on TV interviews to talk about the experiences and one or two made quite a good career out of providing support for those who had suffered trauma. She had looked into it briefly after her time with Kilgrave and had fallen down a rabbit hole for a good while watching these people share stories on daytime talk shows. Seeing the broken men and woman who were paraded out on TV every October and seeing them look more and more haggard taught her, very quickly, that for a lot of people there was no moving past trauma.
There was only living with it.
And now she was standing in the home of another monster.
She knew what she was capable of and what she could handle.
She’d once fought Luke and, whilst he was strong, she had proven that she could hold her own quite capably. Those guys who worked for the Hand with their martial arts and swords had been tough and dangerous but again- nothing she couldn’t handle. Martial arts meant that you learned how to block a punch, but there was no way of blocking a punch that was so hard that it would throw you through several walls. The force alone would likely knock you to the ground.
It would be the equivalent of blocking a moving truck.
So, with all that in mind, she was pretty sure she could handle this guy- if he didn’t stab her first, and truth be told, that was what worried her the most. The idea that she wouldn’t notice or react in time due to shock and he’d be just that bit faster and… get her.
But then, that was what Murdock was for.
Ironically enough, he would be her eyes and she knew he’d be able to tell the second something reacted in this house.
She trusted him.
Reaching the top of the stairs she shined her torch down the hallway and illuminated nothing but a few huge spider webs and lots of dead insects across a dusty carpet. Where doors would have been, separating bedrooms and bathrooms, they were all gone now, and Jessica wondered if they had been taken down over the last few decades or as part of the initial murder investigation.
She poked her head through each doorway, gently tearing through the spider-webs with only a small murmur of discomfort and hoped that she didn’t have anything crawling all over her. The upstairs was, unsurprisingly, completely empty. Very little furniture remained in the biggest bedroom save for the actual double bed and chest of drawers (she tried the mattress, pressing down on it and it felt wet and soggy, almost mouldy) whilst the smaller rooms had even less. The bathroom smelled horrible and somehow had leaves on the ground, and there was a definite funk that labelled each room that she wasn’t sure she wanted to investigate thoroughly.
It was like rotting meat.
Convinced the upstairs was fine, she contemplated returning to the ground floor and re-uniting with Matt, only to pause as she glanced up and noticed the faint outlines in the ceiling indicating an attic.
“Oh, come on…” She said out loud, knowing Matt would hear her. This was horror trope number one for crying out loud. If she was in a movie she’d end up in that attic and then, bam, she’d be turned into a pumpkin thanks to that Halloween asshole.
No string hung down, nothing to give her access, but she knew one way of getting up and placed her phone in her pocket, though with the light still shining.
She bent her knees.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Matt had successfully wandered through the house and had identified that in most rooms there was nothing to report. He felt the vibrations that indicated the tunnels continued to spread beneath him but hadn’t been able to discover an entranceway despite looking and following what trails of absence that he could.
Just as he finished walking through what seemed like once upon a time had been a wonderful living room back to the front door to find Jessica, he heard the crash from above of wood splintering and immediately broke into a run.
“JESSICA?” He shouted, reaching the top of the stairs and spinning on the spot to get into a fighting position, but then paused as he noticed that Jessica was no longer on this floor.
In fact, she was above.
Poking her head out from the new absence she had created in the roof and said, almost cheerily; “I couldn’t find the chord to open the attic. So, you know, I made a hole.”
Matt sighed heavily, his heart hammering in his chest, but now with the fuzz of adrenalin fading he could admit that he was relieved.
“Brilliant,” He said, sighing; “You’ve lowered the property value. Now this place will never sell.”
“Well if it wouldn’t before…” Jessica muttered, leaning down to offer Matt her hand which he took without hesitation. With not even a grunt she lifted him through the hole she had created and placed him on his feet, the floorboards of the attack creaking with the new weight.
“What do you see?” Jessica asked, whispering to herself; “Figuratively.”
Wooden beams extended between the inside of the tiled roof and floor. There was a prominent gap with a breeze coming from one side of the roof which had been covered with a tarp. Judging by the very prominent damp smell, the roof had been another victim of the weather and extremely dry leaves brushed across the floor and Matt could feel through tiny vibrations the softest little taps of insects moving across spider webs or along the ground.
There was no furniture, no boxes, the attic was completely bare- though there was one thing.
“What can you see?” He asked; “Literally.”
“The dry and damp inside of a house that definitely needs to be torn down.” Jessica admitted, kicking a small wooden plank down into the hole she had created. The impact lit up the house and Matt was relieved to say that nothing had changed in the Myers interior.
They were still alone.
“Yeah, I see the same.” He admitted, crossing his arms; “I’m beginning to think that this place doesn’t have what we’re looking for-“
“What about this?” Jessica asked, moving across the wall to the furthest wall. Her footsteps lit up the ground in soft circles and Matt recognised what she was referring to.
“Well that’s not right…” He admitted, following.
The furthest wall was, again, wooden but as they approached something about it stood out as being odd. For one thing, it ended too early into the house. The wall of the attack should have stopped over the main bedroom and bathroom, descending slightly, but instead the wall went flat against the back. It’s possible that this was a design choice, but the other side of the attack had the dip as the tiled roof descended so it wasn’t like it was a quirk of design.
Jessica tapped the wood.
“It’s harder,” Matt confirmed; “It’s… newer than the rest of the house.”
“Sweet.” Jessica said bluntly, smashing her fist through it with a loud clatter. Matt didn’t react this time. He was used to the explosions of wood breaking apart around Jessica by this point, as this was her third in essentially fifteen minutes.
“Are you enjoying doing that?” He asked as she reached through the other side and pulled the wall open.
“It’s always fun.” She admitted as the wall clattered to the ground, splintering the attic floor, and a strong draft suddenly washed over them both as the airflow began to change direction. It was so strong that, whilst Matt could sense it further, even Jessica acknowledged that something had changed up here and drew up her phones light to extend over the new area they had opened up.
“Oh shit,” she said; “Do you sense that?”
“I do.” Matt said, recognising what they had discovered.
Earlier he had felt the tunnels under the house but had assumed they belonged to the sewers, but now he felt a new path open up as though his mind had put together a jigsaw. He could feel an absence that crawled through the house, through the inside of the walls, beginning with this hole and then descending beneath the Myers house.
What was stranger, the inside of the wall and the tunnels had rivets. Something had carved into them, creating a ladder that they could climb.
Jessica poked her head through the gap and looked down with her torch, confirming this and noting; “It’s a bit of a tight gap.”
“Yeah,” Matt agreed, sensing the space as he removed his jacket. It was going to be quite a squeeze to get through and either of them were likely to get stuck.
“Luke definitely wouldn’t fit.” He joked, removing his glasses.
“Aint that the truth.” Jessica admitted, removing hers as well and throwing it on top of Matt’s; “If we leave this town without getting this back, I’m punching all three of you.”
“We all know that your jacket is the most important member of our team.” Matt admitted, looking down; “It’s almost like our team mascot.”
“You joke, but-“
The shift in air pressure. The dust that so perfectly caked the entire house. The heartbeats of the two that were interacting the space of the attic.
Matt’s heart skipped a beat as a new sound entered the house and he raised his hand to tell Jessica to be quiet. She followed his instructions immediately, stepping away from the hole and raising her fist, and watched intently as Matt focused and made as little sound as possible.
His radar sense scanned over the house, trying to locate whatever it was, but struggling due to how faint it was.
But something was there. Something like…
“A heartbeat.” Matt said, glancing down the hole and then stepping away; “It’s not down there.”
“Where is it, then?” Jessica wondered, picking her jacket up and holding it out, fearful of spiders.
“Not down there.” Matt whispered; “In the house.”
“In the house?” Jessica snapped with a low voice; “Lie to me and tell me it’s not Michael Myers, okay? Do me that favour. What’s in the house?”
Matt rarely looked people in the face. After so many years of blindness people expected him to not look at them and with a perfect circle of his radar sense focused around him it always felt like he was looking people in the eye even if he wasn’t. This was different though, Matt turned to Jessica and focused intently, ensuring she understood the situation.
Next Time: Today is His Birthday
Chapter 11: Today is His Birthday
Jason Voorhees had been killing people for over 30 years. in that time, he hadn’t needed to adjust his style much.
People were simple enough to dispatch.
A knife here, an axe there, a hammer, or a spike or the tried and true (and personal favourite) machete were all simple and effective methods of making sure that someone was no longer on this realm of existence.
Heck, even if they wore body armour, Jason had an uncanny ability to know just where to stick someone so that when they died- they died, and it hurt.
Back when he had returned from the grave the first time and his already freakish strength had increased, nothing really changed. It wasn’t like after he had died and been resurrected that suddenly the spines and necks of victims had evolved to be able to withstand much tougher punishment.
No, if anything, the force required was the same, Jason just had a lot more excess and untapped force that he’d simply not been using.
To put it another, more amusing, way; for near twenty years, Jason Voorhees hadn’t even been trying.
What was the point? A simple swipe of a machete could chop a normal man in half and unleash a fountain of blood. If they were lined up just right, he could carve through multiple people with one swing and then keep moving forward onwards to the next, usually screaming, victim.
He also could punch someone’s head clean off the body, stealth his way into groups without them even knowing, and in the event that someone knew what they were doing and tried to take him down- he could then take ungodly amount of punishment in return (that one time against that guy with the knives on his hand, that had been rough).
And if you were lucky? And you killed him?
Sure, that was an option, but that was just… a delay.
It brought you time, but really what was that time giving you?
Death always caught up to you and, in its purest form, in his home of Camp Crystal Lake; Jason was death.
So, as his skull gradually reconstructed itself as he was dragged through the forest on his face by the man who could not be cut and the man with the fist of fire, a connection between two points were made in Jason’s brain just enough that for the first time in a very, very long time, Jason had a thought.
If he couldn’t cut the man with the hood, he would simply have to try harder.
Try other methods.
He’d never had to try before so, next time, he would.
As for the man with the glowing hand, he was fast, but his regular blows didn’t hurt. He was likely as squishy as a regular human being based on how he avoided getting hit, so he wasn’t like the other man.
He in particular could be hurt.
But for now, Jason understood it wasn’t time.
For now, as he was dragged through the darkness of his home, Jason played possum.
Ki ki ki… Ma ma ma…
* * *
“So now that we’ve got this far, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure what to do next.” Luke said, dragging the disgusting body through the well-lit campgrounds. Danny was keeping his distance, standing out of reach of the unconscious/currently deceased killer (and the fact that there was some confusion about this would be digested a lot later), not because he wanted to but because Luke had insisted.
Just in case Jason wasn’t as dead as he seemed. Just in case the rumours of him being able to come back were true.
They had just made their way to the outside of a couple of the cabins and nearing the reception point where they had left the car in the first place. During the journey back, they had remained relatively quiet and peaceful. They were soaking in the atmosphere of the environment, hearing the crickets chirping or the occasional cry of a bird or another animal.
In the aftermath of the fight and the rush of adrenalin that had filled them both, the two men were choosing to be rather restrained and reflective, until at least this moment.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Luke continued, stopping to drop the arm he was using to drag Jason with; “I’m glad we did this, but we’ve got that sports car. He’s not going to just sit comfortably on the backseat on the ride home, checking out the view, not a care in the world. Nobody likes the backseat.”
“Yeah,” Danny said; “He seems like the kind of guy who would get travel sickness.”
“We really should have brought a truck or something.” Luke said to himself; “If we were thinking practicality over style…”
“Hey man, it’s going to be okay.” Danny said, pulling out his phone; “This here is the latest in Rand technology and cellular services. With this, I can get access to near enough every organisation in the country, if not the world, and let them know what just went down and what we need. So, with just a few presses of the buttons I can-“
He paused and lifted the phone into the air, waved it around for a few moments, and then frowned; “No signal.”
“Your super smart phone doesn’t have signal?”
“Stupid Hammer Technology… I swear, if we didn’t have that pre-existing engagement with them, I’d honestly cancel all our contracts and go with Stark Industries instead. Team-up of the Iron Guys! We’d probably have so much in common.”
Luke shook his head.
“Sweet Christmas… Well, I suppose the lack of phone signal would explain why the kids who were in trouble never phoned for help. This place must be a dead zone for cell service… So how do we let Rand know that we need an evac? I assume, that if you don’t check in after a while, they’ll send people out to find you, right?”
Danny continued to play with his phone and, replied with a nod; “Likely. If not them, then Colleen will probably turn up all angry and with her katana to help us out. Really, we just need a vehicle…”
“We didn’t look around the campsite for big vans or anything?” Luke suggested, clicking his fingers; “Something that would have been used to carry a bunch of kids in, or the guests on that Ghost Tour thing? Like a mini-bus, or something that was used to bring food in…”
“Something with four wheels and bigger than what we’ve got already. Brilliant. I’ll go search,” Danny said, placing his phone back into his pocket and broke off into a light run to check on the other side of the campsite. With the true threat dealt with, this location had lost a lot of its fear factor and Danny turned back mid-run to shout back to Luke; “If he starts to move, just crush his head again! That seemed to work well last time!”
“That it did,” Luke admitted to himself, looking down at the lifeless body of Jason Voorhees. He looked ugly without the mask for sure and the back of his head was a ruin of crushed bones and sludge, but he also smelled like rotten, wet meat.
Occasionally, it looked like his chest was rising as his back would move, but that could have just been a trick of the light or an effect of the wind ruffling over the body.
It didn’t take long for Danny to arrive on the other hand of the cabins and very quickly began to weave in and out of them, searching for any sign of any kind of vehicle. It wasn’t exactly going to be hard to find something he told himself as he ran, searching in the well-illuminated areas and touching base with the darkness that the light didn’t cover. Between the cabins, the trees and the car park where they had arrived earlier that day where their car still sat, nothing stood out with immediate effect but then he hoped he would turn a corner and at least be surprised.
Luke meanwhile stood back with Jason and took a moment to reflect on the battle that had taken place around half an hour previously.
Reflecting, he considered that not many times since he had gained his powers had he been hurt.
Sometimes it had taken mystical means. A golden fist to the face or herbs converted into a gas, things like that had brought him down in the past.
Other times it was through advanced technology. A Judas bullet penetrating his skin and exploding with the aim to damage him internally, or the feel of a bullet at close range causing a small burn and an uncomfortable tickle.
But, when he had battled the Hand and occasionally sparred with Danny, he had noticed that a few of them had been able to prevent his advancement with some well-placed pressured strikes. They sometimes would use his momentum against him, or strike at him not with an aim to injure but to redirect him. Nothing that did the trick of hurting him, but actions that were capable of rendering him off balance or even knock him backwards, which made Luke think that perhaps his biggest weakness was momentum.
It had happened before, when he had thrown himself at Jason to throw a punch, a strike against his neck with the machete had made him lose his momentum slightly and he’d had to adjust. Perhaps it was something with vibrations, the machete blade that had bounced off his shoulder when he had saved Danny had done the same thing. Heck, even in Harlem, the wiser gang members who wanted him taken off the board would resort to hitting him with a vehicle to at least move him away from whatever fight he was about to take part in.
“You and I need to have a serious chat about racism, as well.” Luke said down to the body as it continued to lie on its front; “For one thing, you went straight for me rather than Danny.”
He received silence in response.
“Don’t get me wrong, you’re a serial killer and that’s terrible, and you made the right choice in the moment gunning for me instead of Danny. Plus, I’m confident you were acting on no reasoning or that you even have the capability to think anything, heck, you might literally be unable to notice the difference between races and genders- but still. The fact you aimed for this brother first is still a bit problematic. Nod if you understand.”
The body remained still, and Luke considered going into further detail but, realising he was only going to be chatting to the air, decided to turn away and look out across the campsite.
Were campsites even still a thing anymore?
Luke had never been to one. Church meetups, the kind with lots of food and his dad preaching, were more his thing growing up. He was confident that Danny may have touched base with a campsite or two in his time before being taken in by the monks, but nowadays? He couldn’t imagine a kid wanting to come somewhere like this where they couldn’t play videogames or hang with their actual friends.
He wondered if Claire and he would send any of their kids to camp one day, or if they would even want to- and realising where his train of thoughts was going, he swiftly jumped to a new topic.
With his back turned to Jason, he didn’t notice that a pale blue eye opened and stared at the grass with renewed focus and stewing anger.
But he waited.
After a few minutes with nothing but his breath cooling in the air, Danny returned with a light jog and slightly irritated by his lack of result.
He approached the body of Jason and Luke, his feet crunching on the ground, and said with his arms outstretched; “Yeah, nothing.”
“Damn.” Luke said, turning; “I’m not sure what to do now.”
“We could lock him in the trunk of the car and then go for a drive?” Danny suggested; “I don’t like it, most because there isn’t a lot of space, but the more damage we do to him the longer it takes for him to come back right? So, maybe that’s the method, just keep him knocked out or dead until we can hand him over…”
“And then we drive back to New York? Parade him around? “Jason Takes Manhattan”.”
Danny laughed and stepped closer; “Like the muppets? Awesome. Anyway, I say we detour ourselves straight to the Avengers Compound. Rock up with Jason Voorhees and say; He’s your problem now and then we make our way back to my place for some Chinese food and find out how Jess and Matt did.”
“It’s an idea,” Luke said; “Though, if we’re being sensible, I’d suggest we stick him in the trunk and then we drive until we get some phone signal on your super technologically advanced phone, and then you call someone. Then we just wait wherever we end up for those people to come get him.”
“It sure is the boring idea,” Danny muttered, stepping up to Luke; “But, If you think that’s the best idea-“
Ki ki ki… Ma ma ma…
Jason’s hand grabbed Danny by the ankle and squeezed as a blinding pain shot through his body. The pressure was way too much.
Rising with a messy yet uncontrollable rage, the Crystal Lake killer didn’t hesitate and launched the Iron Fist with all of his might through the air and into the ground several metres away.
Danny hit the ground hard.
No chi-control this time let him hit the ground gently, this had been an unexpected strike that taken him off guard and with the pain in his ankle distracting him. When he hit the ground his right shoulder and leg were unprepared and, with the force of the impact rocking through his body, he suffered because of it.
He rolled slightly, blinding pain continuing to vibrate through his body, and then with the adrenalin and rage kicking in he forced himself to his feet.
That was a mistake, he buckled over as his ankle gave way and fell to his knee as he watched across the campgrounds as Luke moved forward and threw a punch at Jason. He was screaming Danny’s name as his fist hit Voorhees in the chest, sending him backwards across the ground but not in the same way as it had before.
Rather than collapsing onto the ground, arms and legs outstretched, Jason had expected the level of force and learned how best to respond to it. His feet skidded across the ground, kicking up dirt and grass, and then he stopped.
No worse for wear.
He seemed to exhale heavily as he curled his hands into fists.
Without the mask, he looked even more disconcerting. His teeth were in a strange position, his eyes were at an odd angle and one of them was covered by a growth that was forming over most of his face, and he had a strong overbite. Also, there were the maggots and the broken flesh and bone that was still recovering and healing from the Iron Fist strike from before.
But he was back up, conscious, and ready for Round 2.
“You looked better with the mask on,” Luke said, turning over to Danny who was still kneeling; “You alright man?”
“I’ll be fine,” Danny said, rubbing his shoulder; “I landed rough, but I can fight-”
“No way, you stay out of this one,” Luke said and stepped forwards with both hands raised like a boxer. Boxing may have been Matt’s thing, but a flick to the forehead wasn’t going to take this guy out. He’d have to be a fighter this time.
The blue eyes of Jason Voorhees were focused and furious and as Luke advanced forwards these same eyes tracked him. The first punch launched out, striking against Jason’s jaw, and a second smashed against his chest. A third and fourth, uncontrolled haymakers, slammed against the side of Jason’s face and the body rocketed with the strikes and fell in each direction.
But, with each impact and the lull in the aftermath, he returned to his standing position.
Blue eyes focused.
“I wouldn’t let up,” Danny said from his position; “The longer you drag this out-“
“I know.” Luke said, squeezing his fists tight and clenching his jaw.
He was hitting hard. Harder than he had against anyone else, save perhaps Diamondback, and yet this guy with his poor stance was just taking his full force punches and looked like he was barely feeling it.
Before, a messy punch at half strength had sent Jason onto his back.
Was it possible? Was he learning how to fight against them?
Luke pushed forward, shoving Jason backwards to hopefully throw him off balance and then grabbed him by his soggy, meaty body and lifted him high into the air. Much like how he had done to Danny, Luke threw Jason Voorhees up and over and towards one of the nearby cabins and watched, satisfied, as the body slammed into the ground with a hard, messy, thud.
“Nice.” Danny said, but there wasn’t long to celebrate.
With barely any hesitation, Jason began to return to his feet.
The broken body cracked as bones returned into the correct position and, as he stretched, the body seemed to flex itself back into his standard, standing, position.
The blue eyes not shifting from Luke at all.
Luke was rushing forward now, arm behind him and ready to throw as he grunted angrily. The blow went forward, swinging hard and collided with Jason on the jaw-
Those damn blue eyes.
-and then Jason reacted by grabbing the full momentum punch with both hands and shifted his own bodyweight so that, this time, he threw Luke behind him and straight against the nearby cabin.
The explosion of wood that followed as the indestructible man burst through the first wall and then slammed through the second made it seem like the building had been hit with a heavy force of TNT.
Wood rained down Jason, who stood unimpressed and staring at what he had caused.
Landing at his feet, as if through divine retribution of the worst kind, was a small sack that must have been inside the cabin. It instantly caught his attention as he tilted his head to look at it.
As though it was destiny, a single hole existed on one side and when Jason leaned down to place it upon his head it lined up perfectly with his good blue eye.
“Yeah,” Luke said, walking out of the ruins of the cabin stretching his arm whilst he walked towards the serial killer; “That looks a lot better.”
They traded blows at that point, Luke striking Jason against the chest and jaw, this time careful not to be thrown and Jason in return striking a wild and uncontrolled punch into Luke’s chest. The impact caused a tremor, certainly, but it didn’t hurt.
At this point the fight became quite simple as Luke Cage and Jason Voorhees danced across the campsite, punches being thrown and either deflected or taken with little to no observable damage. Even the likes of Luke’s hoodie, which had been coated in sawdust, didn’t seem to be too badly affected as the blows were shared between the two fighters.
Without the benefit of an easily read expression, Jason just seemed to be accepting the punishment he took, and Luke was certainly handling the blows that were coming his way as the vibrations of the impacts coursed through his body and limbs.
The blow against Luke’s chest caused a vibration, but this one was deep. The right hand that had struck was heavy and, unable to control himself, Luke lurched with the impact. He felt his muscles tense as his internals shuddered and spasmed. He knew he wasn’t bulletproof inside and this equally freakishly strong guy had, seemingly, learned that also.
Luke moved to lift his arm in a rising punch, but his buckled over form had been all Jason needed as a punch to his forehead sent him backwards and he hit the ground, resting on his back.
Again, he wasn’t hurt, but he was off balance and at the mercy as Jason stared with that single blue eye beneath the sack. He prepared to move, ready to get back to his feet-
The foot came up and then it came down in a stamping manoeuvre that would have crushed a man’s head. Instead, Luke saw stars as the impact caused a tremor and the ground beneath him to sink. He felt his eyes and head shudder, and a pain that had only been felt once before after Jessica Jones had shot him in the head reverberated across his entire body.
The stars parted just in time to see the foot once more.
It came down again, harder this time. Jason Voorhees was trying to find the right pressure. Luke tried to regain his balance, more desperate now, pushing his hands onto the grass and dirt to push up and away, but the foot came down again.
And this time, as it drew away, Luke gasped and felt the smallest trickle of blood drip down his nose as the single blue eye stared at him.
The foot came down-
“LUKE!” Danny screamed, leaping into the side of Jason with a glowing fist poised for the heavy impact against the Crystal Lake Killers back. He had run, limping, but the adrenalin and fear of the moment being more than enough to push him forwards to where he needed to be.
By his friends’ side.
The plan was to send Jason forward, towards the cabin, and away from Luke enough that it would buy his friend a chance. Hopefully it would have blown a hole from the walking zombie and, perhaps, knocked him into dead town long enough to get him into the car so they could get out of Crystal Lake and call for some backup.
But this didn’t happen.
Jason had moved to the side, stamping his foot in the ground next to Luke, and instead turned and grabbed the leaping Danny Rang by the arm and by the leaping leg. With the full force of an undead, unfeeling monster- Jason then turned his victim in the air and, almost like a Judo throw, slammed Danny into the ground next to Luke.
As hard as his earlier hit was, this one was even worse.
Danny coughed blood as he landed on his back, the wind knocked out of him as he felt his body scream in pain. He felt Luke sit up to turn to him and say; “Danny-“ but there was no mercy as a foot came down against the side of his face and Luke was knocked aside by the blow.
Jason had figured them out.
He had hammered at Luke like a chisel, each of his blows figuring out the strength required to eventually cause a spasm that would bring him down. From there it would have been a simple case of applying enough pressure, over and over again, disorientating him with blows to the head to the extent that he couldn’t even muster the thought to fight back. Eventually, with enough time and patience, Jason could kill him.
Danny, meanwhile, was over-emotional and as he leapt to his friends defence, injured and wild, he wouldn’t have considered Jason would have been waiting for that flash of orange and gold and that all it would take was waiting for that moment to hammer the Iron Fist into the ground. There was a lack of technique, just the belief that the attack would be enough, and that had been Danny’s mistake.
“Luke- get up!” Danny cried out, coughing as the pain in his back grew and he froze as he watched Jason stand over him with both hands curled into fists.
Defiant, Danny squeezed his hand into a fist and hoped.
There was a way to win this, he knew it, he just had to buy time for Luke and then-
There was no chi.
The pain was too distracting.
His hand didn’t glow.
Staring up, he watched as the fists came down, ready to tear him apart-
Ki ki ki… Ma ma ma…
The ground shook and suddenly Jason was launched across the ground. He slammed into the dirt on his back, skidded slightly, rolled, and then stopped with his body facing upwards and at the sky.
Footsteps beside Danny indicated that someone had arrived, and he watched as a woman walked towards Jason with her hand outstretched. She was wearing a uniform, some kind of leather full-body suit that was black and not representative of any organisation he had seen before. From behind he could see she had long brown hair, and she walked forward confidently.
From behind, dazed, Danny emitted a soft cough.
Another set of footsteps now, this one from a man wearing a suit and, whilst that could have described Matt, it wasn’t.
The man stepped forward, clean shoes crunching on the dried terrain, and he crouched down by Danny and looked him in the eye.
“I’m afraid not. They’re still in Haddonfield, Mr. Rand. By the way, it’s great to finally meet you both. Especially you, Mr. Cage.”
“Who…” Danny coughed, leaning up; “Who are you?”
The man was older. He was white with a small amount of brown hair atop his head and his smile, whilst kind, seemed to hide a lot of secrets behind it. The suit he was wearing was blue and he seemed to have sunglasses in his pocket that he wasn’t wearing.
He gave Danny a look that said he’d heard that question before.
“Phil Coulson,” he replied, standing up to look at the woman who had just finished walking towards Jason; “That’s Daisy Johnson. We call her Quake.”
Danny was about to ask why, and then the ground vibrated once again as a powerful force slammed into Jason who shook on the ground before collapsing into a small crater. The impact travelled into the water, causing a huge wave to rise and hit the other side of Crystal Lake. The man in the sack mask lay on the ground, lifeless, at least for the moment.
Daisy Johnson turned back to look at both Danny and Coulson and shouted over;
“He’s contained. At least, for now.”
“Good.” Coulson said, checking his watch; “Evac is here.”
“Luke, are you awake?” Danny asked, looking up at the sky with wide eyes.
“I am- are we- urgh- are we still alive?” Luke replied, rubbing his eyes and turning back to look at his friend as they lay on the dirt of crystal lake. Danny glanced at his friend and saw his eyes were bloodshot. The impact must have been severe as Luke seemed concussed. Danny had never seen him like that before.
“I think so.” Danny whispered, as above him a strange jet that was unlike anything he had seen before, suddenly appeared. It was as if it had been hovering silently, invisible until the last possible second.
The ground around them began to kick up wind and dust as it landed on the grass near enough to where Daisy and Jason were situated and, with its arrival, a series of extra personnel began to run from the craft and got to work on the task of restraining Jason Voorhees. They talked excitedly amongst themselves and Danny and Luke watched, amazed, at what had just transpired.
Coulson looked down at Danny and Luke and said; “Good work here today, gentleman. Now, let’s go pick up your friends.”
Next Time: You Can’t Kill the Boogeyman