Title: Nosferatu – Out of the Shadows, Part 1
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Nosferatu gripped the concrete ledge firmly with both hands, gazing out at the Paragon City skyline as he had done every night before since his return to the famous city. His thirst for justice had not subsided even though it had been a few months since he’d started on his quest to bring Crey Industries to their knees. He knew brute force would only be so effective against them so he set his first task to find the infamous head of the operation. However, Countess Crey was no where to be found. With all the power he’d been granted through Evan’s research, he still felt helpless. How could this one person elude him?
Nosferatu let out a deep exhale. He hadn’t slept for days…the dreams were coming back. Like the pain an amputee has of a phantom limb, the memory of Sarah’s death ached. He’d changed so much since it happened, in body and in mind. There was once love in his heart, but now it wasn’t really love anymore.
There was a slight breeze and a chill came over him. Slow and steady, he took in and let out a breath then closed his eyes.
“What’s wrong, Julian?” Sarah asked, a touch of concern in her face. She was sitting on the couch in the family room of their loft. She’d been watching television when she’d heard him come in.
Julian took off his gun holster and badge and laid the items on the counter. “Nothing,” he muttered and went for the fridge, taking a beer out. He twisted off the cap and took a long drink. He wasn’t looking at her but he could feel her eyes on him. She always knew when he was full of it.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said, after another swig from his beer.
He looked her in the eyes. She hadn’t said anything more to him and she didn’t have to because he knew what she was thinking.
“Sarah, I just want to relax. I’m tired.”
She turned back around and focused on the television. “Ok,” she said, not pressing him any further. “C’mere.” Julian walked from the kitchen to Sarah and sat next to her. She leaned over and put her head on his upper chest. A slightly sweet scent permeated the air and Julian inhaled slightly. He felt calmer.
Sarah embraced him. “Julian?” she asked. “Do you love me?”
“What kind of question is that, Sarah?” Julian replied, taken aback. “Of course I do.” He gently brushed her hair away from her face.
Her head moved off of his chest and she looked at him. “It’s just…you’ve been so distant lately…”
Julian got up from the couch and walked over to the window. He gazed at the streets of New York City below, still alive at 11:34 in the evening. “It’s work. Every day it gets harder.”
“You can’t save the world, Julian, you’re only human,” she told him, getting up from the couch and wrapping her arms around him from behind.
“I became a cop because I wanted to make a difference, Sarah…”
“You are making a difference,” she said, turning to face him. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Putting her hand on his cheek, she felt a tear. “Julian?”
“Nick’s wife is in the hospital,” he said, looking her in the eyes. The feeling of anguish was apparent in his face as he recalled his fellow officer’s pain.
“Oh my god,” she said, her voice trailing off.
“Some guys mugged her and roughed her up,” Julian told her. “Nick was in pretty bad shape. I was with him for a while, but I left when his parents showed up. He kept telling me that he should have been there to protect her. I tried to get him to snap out of it, by saying there’s nothing he could have done to prevent it, but the more I told him the more out of my mind I became. That could have been you lying in that hospital bed…I didn’t even want to think about it.”
“Sarah, if something ever happened to you, I don’t know what I’d do.”
She kissed him on the lips, softly. “Don’t think about that right now.”
“I’ll always be there to protect you, Sarah. I promise.”
Nosferatu opened his eyes and stood up. He scanned the alleys below. It had been quiet thus far that night. Aside from another failed attempt at locating Countess Crey, there hadn’t been much going on. Nosferatu’s ears perked up at the sound of crickets chirping. The sound echoed through the alleyways with a hollow ripple. Suddenly, the chirping stopped and was replaced by the sounds of conflict. Nosferatu, once again, fixed his gaze on the alleys below. He spotted a young woman with long, reddish-brown hair, probably in her late 20s, fleeing from a number of pursuers. Her hair flailed wildly as she desperately tried to elude those that were chasing her. Her high heels hit the pavement with a frantic rhythm as she looked over her shoulder. The pattern of sound her heels made quickly ended as she stumbled and fell to her knees. Nosferatu was finally able to see the pursuers, three men of a lesser sort. They closed in on the woman, hooting with a sinister pleasure. She tried to get away from them, crying hysterically, but she could not get very far. It appeared she had sprained an ankle and she was unable to regain her footing. This whole scene seemed oddly familiar to the hero.
Julian and Sarah crossed the street that cold and clear evening. They had just finished dinner at a little italian place and he sound of Sarah’s laughter echoed in the quiet neighborhood where the restaurant was located.
As Julian put the key’s into the passenger side lock, his senses perked up.
“Sarah,” he said, evenly, “get out of here. Now!”
Sarah was taken aback. “Hold on a minute, Ace. What’s going on?”
She knew better than to ask again. She moved away from Julian and took off running down the street. Out of the corner of his eye, Julian saw a man take off after her. Instinctively, Julian dove and tackled him. The man returned the favor with a elbow to the face. Someone grabbed Julian from behind pinning his arms behind his back. He struggled to break free but was unable to do so.
Further down the street, Julian watched as Sarah stumbled and two other men, who had been chasing after her, caught up and seized her.
A voice came from behind Julian. It was deep and raspy, think with sinister charm. “Don’t try to be a hero, Mr. MacGregor. It will only make this more…painful…for both of you.[/i]
The leader motioned to the woman’s jewelery. “Hand it over, lady,” he demanded, retreiving a pistol from his jacket and pointing it at the woman. “I won’t ask again.” He cocked the weapon. The other two men moved around the woman, surrounding her.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a gruff voice said from the darkness behind the man. The leader spun around and beheld the shadowy hero. The man tried to squeeze off a round but Nosferatu was too quick for him. Grabbing the man’s arm, he snapped the bone swiftly. The man roared in pain as Nosferatu grasped him by the neck and tossed him out of the way.
One of the other men was armed as well and drew his weapon. He fired, but instinctively, Nosferatu dodged. The bullet grazed his upper right arm, but that did not slow down a counter attack. Before a second shot went off, Nosferatu launched into a spinning kick, disarming his foe. A swift roundhouse sent the thug into a nearby dumpster. Nosferatu spun around to face the third thug only to see him turning tail and running away. Nosferatu took off running after him and lept into the air, landing several feet in front of him. The man was looking over his shoulder, while he fleeded and did not see Nosferatu’s new position. The man collided into Nosferatu’s towering frame and then fell backwards. Nosferatu picked the man up by this jacket lapels and hoisted him off of the ground.
“Now I’m going to give you two options…Option A is you never do anything like this again. Option B is that I make sure you never do anything like this again…permanently.” Nosferatu paused and glared at the thug, who was noticeably shaken. “So what will it be, option A or option B.”
“O-o-option A…” the man stammered nervously.
“Good answer…” said Nosferatu, letting the man down. “Oh just in case you forget…” Nosferatu’s right cross connected with the man’s jaw. He fell backward like a rag doll.
Nosferatu made his way over to the young woman. In the darkness, she didn’t realize who was approaching her and thought it was one of the thugs again.
“Stay away from me!” she screeched, trying to crawl away.
“It’s ok ma’am, I took care of them…”
The young woman breathed a sigh of relief.
Nosferatu gently helped her to her feet. “Are you ok to walk, ma’am?”
She nodded then took a step forward and winced. Nosferatu acted quickly and swept her off her feet and into his arms. The young woman was a bit taken aback at first.
“I think it might be best for you to stay off that foot.”
The young woman smiled. “Ok.” She put her head on his shoulder. “Thank you.”
“Just doing my job, ma’am.”
“Do you have a name?” she asked.
“Nosferatu,” he replied.
She nodded, looking a bit perplexed. “Interesting name for a hero.”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’m sure it is.”
Nosferatu carried her out of the alley and stepped onto the sidewalk. He saw two police officers coming out of a 24-hour coffee shop and called to them. They ran over to him and asked what happened. Nosferatu filled them in and asked that the young woman be taken to a hospital. The officers agreed and moments later she and they were gone.
Nosferatu breathed a sigh of relief, quietly thankful that he was able to save the woman. It felt good to do something right…it’d been so long since he had that type of feeling. The sound of a church bell rang in the distance. It was 2 AM in Paragon City.
Nosferatu yawned. “I think it’s time to call it a night, my boy,” he muttered to himself.
With that, Nosferatu launched himself into a leap to a fire escape ladder in the nearby alleyway. He climbed up to the roof and made his way to his studio apartment. It wasn’t long after he removed his costume that he was fast asleep.