Ever Vigilant, Part Two

RECAP:  Upon returning to Earth from a journey to outer space, Nathan, also known as the superhero Extraordinary Man, learned that his friend and colleague The Vigilante had gone through a disturbing change.  After mysteriously disappearing for a brief period of time, The Vigilante continued his crime-fighting duties in a far more violent and lethal manner.  Nathan, knowing that The Vigilante had sworn an oath to never kill, decided to confront his friend in order to discover what had changed in the heart of The Vigilante.  During the confrontation, Nathan removed The Vigilante’s mask only to find that the man standing before him was not who he had expected to find.

Nathan shook his head slowly in disbelief, his ears ringing with the sickening laughter of the villain standing before him.  The villain, a monster known as The Cad, glared at Nathan with demented eyes as his maniacal laughter dissolved to an repulsive chuckle.  Feeling a surge of anger overtake him, Nathan grabbed The Cad by his chest armor, and lifted him off the ground, holding the madman in front him.

“What have you done with the Vigilante,” Nathan shouted, shaking The Cad’s body like a doll.  “Where is he?”

The Cad let out another long, boisterous laugh before replying to Nathin’s query.

“He’s dead,” The Cad spat out.  “He’s dead!  He’s dead!  He is dead!”

“You’re lying,” Nathan shouted, fighting the urge to throw the villain off of the rooftop he stood on with The Cad in his grip.

The Cad began bobbing his head from side to side, coldly repeating the word dead over and over again in alternating tones.

“Stop that,” Nathan roared.  “He’s not dead!  That’s impossible!”

“Now see,” The Cad said, turning his head to stare off into the distance blankly.  “That’s what I used to think too.  You can’t kill The Vigilante.  That’s impossible.  He can’t die.  But, you know what, he can die.  He is not a god, or a monster, or a mythical creature.  He’s just a man.  Just a vulnerable, mortal man, and he can die.  It’s kind of disappointing, really.”

“How,” Nathan began, his voice barely above a whisper.  “How did…”

“How do I know that” The Cad interrupted, finishing Nathan’s question.  “Take a wild guess.  Give up?  That’s right genius, I killed him.  Little old me.  Little old crazy, some might say insane, homicidal maniac, me.  Wanna know how I killed him?  Of course you do!  You are going to absolutely love this one!”

“Tell me what you’ve done Cad,” Nathan growled, pulling the villain closer.  “Or, so help me, I will-“

“You’ll what,” The Cad scoffed, interrupting Nathan mid-sentence.  “Beat me up?  Torture me?  Kill me?  That’s not your style cowboy.  Don’t worry, if you want to know how I killed him, I’ll gladly tell you.  Not because I’m afraid of you, but because I want you to know.  I want to tell this story.  I want to scream it out to the world, but I can’t.  But I can tell you at least.”

“You’re mad,” Nathan cried.

“No I’m not,” The Cad said, his expression softening.  “What have I got to be mad about.  I have done what few other supervillains have ever been able to do.  I killed my rival!  I’m going to go down in history for that!  Except, no one can ever know about it.  But, that makes me sad, not mad.”

“What are you talking about?  You’re not making any sense at all!”

The Cad let out another deranged laugh, a sound that pierced Nathan’s mind like the cold steel of a knife.

“You don’t know me that well,” The Cad snickered, “do you?  The Vigilante would tell you that I never make any sense.  I never did to him anyway.  But, alas, the man we both called friend has moved on to the next plane of existence.  Which one do you think he went to?  Up, or down?”

“You were not his friend,” Nathan shouted.  “How dare you try to call yourself his friend?”

“Yes, I suppose you are right,” The Cad said, his demeanor turning dour.  “What we had was more than just a common friendship.  I loved him like a brother.  And I think, deep down, he felt the same way.”

“You are insane,” Nathan whispered, shaking his head somberly.

“Now you’re getting it,” The Cad exclaimed.  “You’re not the first one to figure that out my friend!”

“I’m not your,” Nathan began, but then stopped himself when he realized the futility of his statement.  “Tell me what you’ve done to The Vigilante.”

“I told you, I killed him.”

“I know that,” Nathan shouted, his voice echoing off nearby buildings.  “Tell me your damned story.”

“Finally,” The Cad sighed.  “I thought you’d never get around to that part, dancing around the subject the way you were.”

Nathan sucked in a deep breath, and held it in his chest as he closed his eyes, trying desperately to push down the ball of rage welling up inside him.  In that moment, Nathan realized why The Vigilante hated his rival with such passion.  Beside the fact that The Cad was an insane, maniacal killer with no regard for the lives of other, he seemed to genuinely enjoy tormenting The Vigilante with the nefarious games and pranks he would play.  The enormous amount of patience that The Vigilante had to employ to keep from losing his own mind while dealing with The Cad had always impressed Nathan, but never had he realized the true extent of that patience.

“Just tell me the story,” Nathan said slowly through gritted teeth.

“Ah yes,” The Cad said, his mouth twisting into an exuberant grin.  “The moment we have all been waiting for.  Let me tell you the grand tale of how, after years of constant struggle, I finally managed to kill my greatest enemy once and for all.”

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