It’s been a long haul since I started huntin’ the big bads. Now that I’ve saved a couple of hundred citizens and Paragon City itself at least once, I’m startin’ to get some press. The problem is, I don’t need any. I’m not in this for the fame, or the satisfaction a-helpin’ my fellow man. No, I’m in this for the thrill of the hunt.

It all started in the back hills of Kentucky. My father had a nice little shine still up in our holler. We made enough cash to buy used clothes and keep the house fixed up. Shoot, we even had electricty and a TV. We wuz doin’ much better than the other folks up in the holler. Paw decided, though, that he wuz ready for the big time. He started makin’ shine runs over the Big Sandy into a dry county in West “By Gawd” Virginia. It wasn’t too long afore he got caught and sent to lock-up.

Maw and the rest of my kin didn’t have no other means of support, so I took down my Papaw’s thiry-aught-six and went out to get us some food. I found I had a knack for it. After a few days we figured we wuz gonna be just fine for food. Heck I even sold the hides and stuff in town and we wuz able to keep on the electric. I wouldn’t have to miss my favorite show, “True Lives of the Heroes.”

Paw did his time and came back to us after a few years. He wuz a different man. He had spent some time with a former Paragon City Troll. He told us that his cellmate had given him a sample of a new mix of Superdine. If we added that to the old shine mix, we’d have a kick that no other shine in Kentucky could ever hope to offer.

Now I’d seen plenty of episodes of “True Lives” that I knew that ‘Dyne’ was dangerous. I told Paw that it could kill ya if ya took too much. Paw said our shine could do that anyways. So he figured it wuzn’t doin’ no more harm. Besides I think his jail time had made him a much harsher man.

A month or so passed and we were doin’ business like Gangbusters. Paw had me drive the runs now. Money wuz comin’ in, and Maw always got a new Sunday dress and hat every time she started to state her concerns. That’s when we also realized we wuz runnin’ out of our ‘Dyne.’

Paw sent me and a sample of our “Juice” up to Lexington to meet with a supplier. I wuz just a country hick to those gang types. They beat the tar out of me and took the shine before I even got to tell them what it wuz. After they got all hopped up on the “Juice,” they realized I wuz their ticket to a new kick. They appologized and fixed me up. They made it out to be some silly mistake. And me bein’ an ijit kid, I bought it. I led them right to the farm.

It wuz ugly. Paw saw ’em comin’ in with me and ran for the shed. He pulled down his rifle and blew one of the gang boys’ heads clean off afore we got within a half-mile of the house.

The gang dove for cover, and I headed for the woods. I snuck through the brush and got back to the house to get Papaw’s gun. Maw and Paw held them boyz off for a good long while. I even got in a few good shots here and there. The problem wuz, we didn’t know they had brought some ‘Dyne.’

One of the gang boyz starts poundin’ on his chest and growls. He gets this green glow about him. Paw opens up on ’em. The bullets started bouncin’ right off the dude. I knew then that this wuz the end.

The big guy got up to Paw and nearly tore his head off in one punch. I cried out and let Papaw’s old gun fire away. Maw screamed and tried hittin’ the old Troll wannabee in the head with her new fryin’ pan. It seemed to stun him. I took that as an opportunity and charged in. I opened up with both barrels into the “supered”-up punk as soon as I could push those barrels into his snout. Don’t matter how much ‘Dyne’ you got runnin’ in ya. He wuz dead afore he hit the floor.

That’s when I heard the gunshot… the one that got Maw. To this day I’ll never forget that sound. Stupid little 9mm, but it sure did the job. I turned in time to see Maw hit the ground beside Paw. The punk that did the job turned his gun on me and pulled the trigger.

“Click”

He didn’t even get the chance to try again. I plowed into him with all my strength, and we went tumbling into the Shine Shed. I wuzn’t a big kid. Strong enough for farm work, but not a fighter like this guy. He proceeded to beat me to a bloody pulp. I got in a few lucky jabs, but I wuz way outclassed. He finally got me with a sucker punch to the jaw and down I went, crashing into the “juice.”

Maybe he thought I wuz dead. I may have been. All I know is that I woke up in my Mamaw’s bed wrapped in bandages with a big helpin of squirrel and Blackberry Dumplins on a plate beside the bed.

Mamaw told me about Maw and Paw’s funeral. She told me they buried one of the gang boyz in my stead, too. As far as the law wuz concerned James Boyd and his whole family wuz dead. No gangs lookin’ for revenge. No cops tryin to figure out what had happened. The holler wuz gonna be quiet again. Plus side wuz, no more taxes.

It didn’t take long for me to notice the change. I wuz out huntin’ when I realized I could see better than I ever had afore. I could smell the animals afore they smelt me. I could hear the durn squirrels ruttin’ in a tree a mile away. Huntin’ wuz startin’ to become too easy.

I started tinkerin’ with Papaw’s old gun that I now called, “Betsy.” I named her after Miss June 1978 that hung in Paw’s shine stead. At first the tinkerin’ meant simply adjustin’ the sights. Fixin’ the choke on the barrel. Next thing I knew, I’m makin’ all kinds of adjustments that just seem to come to me. Mamaw called it a gift from my guardian angel. I’d seen plenty of “True Lives of the Heroes” to know the ‘Dyne’ and the ‘Juice’ had done somethin’ to me. I wuz changin’ in more ways than just poobertie.

I finished up my schoolin’ and told Mamaw it wuz time for me to leave the holler. I wuz feelin’ cooped up and needed to stretch my legs. I also felt the need to head to Lexington to tie up some loose ends.

Mamaw kissed me on my cheek and told me “Good Huntin’.” Mamaw could always read me like a book.

End Prologue

Tempore, Monsters: Chapter 2

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