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"Darkness Falls"

Darkness Falls

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Darkness Falls

Tuesday, 3:36 am somewhere outside of New Orleans

There's nothing left, it's all burnt to the ground. The young woman walked through the charred remains of what had once been her home. Oh, momma, poppa... Her thoughts trailed off. Behind her on a tree limb the crow sat watching her with its black eyes.

She walked to where her parents bedroom had once been, and looked at the charred pieces of wood which were all that remained. Then she saw a glint in the moon light. Kneeling down, she brushed away the mud and pieces of blackened wood to reveal a tarnished necklace.

When she grabbed it, she fell back as images rushed through her mind. Images of a happy life, tragically and senselessly cut short. Images of a loving family being slaughter by three monsters. Tears rolled from her eyes but still she clung to the necklace, all that was left of her former life. Soon the flashback stopped, after a moment she stood, wiping tears from her eyes and placed the necklace around her neck. Then she turned and walked away, the crow flying close behind.

Tuesday, 6:24 am.

The old man known only as Ethan paused at the door of his small run-down apartment in the seedier section of New Orleans. Carefully, he checked to see if the nearly invisible hair that he had placed on the door had been disturbed. It was his way of making sure nobody was in his place to meet him. After a moment's evaluation, he was satisfied that it hadn't been disturbed.

The door opened with a creak, as it had ever since he'd moved in so many years ago, after his release from prison. He had done time for burglary, done it and been released. And hadn't pulled another job since. Straight and clean, that had been his life.

He stepped into the dark apartment and shut the door behind him. As he reached of the cord to turn on the over head light, he heard something,

A match suddenly lit the room and was brought close to the face of an intruder, who lit the cigarette in his mouth with the flame, casting eerie shadows across his face.

"Long tim', Ethan." Remy said as the old man stepped back in shock.

"Remy... Remy LeBeau, that yu?" A smile as big as the Mississippi formed on the old man's face. Remy reached up and turned on the light. "Howz yu been boy? I'z not zeen yu in earz. Not zince you left de Guild." The old man walked up to Remy and hugged him.

"It's good t' see you again, Ethan. You doin' okay?" Remy said as he patted the old man's back.

"I be okay, Remy." He paused and sniffed the air. "Why don' yu ask yuir lady friend t' join us." He mentioned with a nod toward the kitchen, where Rogue was waiting. "Zhe got zome mighty nice perfume on, neh?" Remy smiled -- Ethan always did have a good sense of smell. After being introduced to Rogue, Ethan fixed a pot of coffee as he and Remy reminisced about the past for a little bit. Although both men's pasts were anything but boring, Rogue began to doze off at the kitchen table, her 24 hours without sleep now catching up to her.

The two men continued their conversation without her. "Ethan, I hate to be a bother, but I need some information. Dere was a boy killed early dis mornin', down near Galvez and St. Philip, you know anyt'ing?"

Ethan may not have been in the business anymore, but he still heard quite a lot. "Yeh, yeh, I know the one yu be talking about. Boy, name o' Swipe, a mutant," he said with a slight hint of disgust in his voice. He quickly added, "Neh offense to yu or the lady, o' course."

Ethan went on to explain that Swipe was a thief working for a new player in town, a mysterious individual named Charisma.

"If yu be tryin' to catch dis woman, yu might try lookin' up zome o' the boyz' friendz. He use t' workz with a lady name o' Joyride."

Tuesday, 8:54 am

Mardi Gras was still going strong. The streets were still jammed pack with people, many in elaborate costumes. If one didn't know better, he might have thought a convention of super-heroes was going on.

Up high on one of the buildings, a woman in black looked down on the crowd, her eyes fixed on one individual, a brunette woman dressed in gray and white.

She called herself Joyride, and she was a mutant.

"Caw... Caw... Caw...."

Joyride looked up at the crow that was perched on the street light, then walked on. It be time for business. With twelve of her best men behind her, she entered the plaza lobby and quickly took out the two security guards. There was a big party here tonight, and the guests had something that Joyride wanted: money and jewelry. As the group made their way up to the floor where the party was being held, they began to prepare themselves. Uzi's, shotguns and automatic pistols were brought out into the open, loaded and cocked, ready for action. Joyride herself pulled out her trademark twin katannas as they arrived outside the party room. All 13 of them grouped quietly around their leader just outside the door. From inside, sounds of music and laughter seeped out.

"On three," Joyride whispered tersely to her men. "....THREE!!" The door was kicked opened, all but two of the robbers filed in as guests started to scream. There was gunfire, mainly to get everybody's attention, although several shots were made to take down those foolish enough to try and play hero.

"OKAY, PEOPLE!!" Joyride shouted over the cries of fear as her men rustled the guests into one corner of the banquet hall. "Be nice and do as we say and nobody be getting hurt." She added the last part with a twisted smile. She knew she was lying, knew that not a soul would walk out that door, except for her and her men.

Joyride watched with twisted pride as her men made their way through the crowd with large sacks that were being filled with the guests' valuables.

Suddenly outside the door there was the sound of a small explosion, and dust began to creep in around the edges. Then the door burst inward from its hinges as one of Joyride's guards was slammed into it, sending both guard and door halfway into the banquet hall before crashing to the floor.

"Dis be a private party?" Gambit asked as he stepped through the now-bare doorway, holding three glowing, energized playing cards in his right hand and smiling.

"Or can jus' any ol' body join in, sugah?" Rogue added as she tossed the second guard to the floor and wiped her hands together, like she was brushing dirt off of them.

Outside, on the building across from the plaza, the woman in black leapt from the edge of the building as the crow took to the air. She reached out and grabbed the cable of lights that stretched between the buildings. With a crack, the cable snapped from the sudden added weight, and she swung through the air over the crowd of people below -- many of whom did not even notice her -- straight towards one window in the plaza.

There was a crash and glass flew into the hall, along with the newest of uninvited guests.

"What the hell?!" Joyride exclaimed, raising her arm to shield her face.

The woman in black crashed to the floor and rolled, coming out in a kneeling position with two 44. mag desert eagles drawn. Two shots were fired into a thug off to her right and another two into the one to her left.

The guests screamed in terror, and some tried to flee. Gambit leapt foward to avoid the spray of bullets, flinging the three cards from his hand. Two struck one thug and sent him crashing backwards into the buffet table, while the third struck another guard, knocking him unconscious.

The crow landed on the widow sill and watched. "Cherie!" Gambit shouted to Rogue over the sounds of screams and gunfire, "That be her!" Two more cards flew from his hands.

Rogue looked over to the woman in black, who was emptying the desert eagles into a group of three thugs and then caught another with a reverse roundhouse kick to the face. She tossed the empty guns to the floor as two more thugs appeared in front of her and fired their weapons. The bullets ripped into the woman, sending her flying backwards.

"Oh...ya know that's gotta hurt." One thug laughed to the other, then turned his attention to Rogue, a sneer on his face. "And as for you. beautiful..."

Rogue felt the sting of the bullets strike her as they tore through her costume, but she dared not move because she was between the thugs and some of the guests. It would take more than regular small arms fire to get through Rogue's nearly invulnerable skin. Suddenly, behind the two thugs, the woman in black flipped to her feet, machete drawn.

Rogue watched in utter disbelief as the woman swung the machete with a deadly grace, separating the heads of the two thugs from their bodies.

The woman then turned her attention to Joyride, even before the two bodies had fallen to the floor. She walked with a determined pace through the melee, taking down whoever came within her path with ease. Joyride stood her ground, katannas ready.

"Time to pay for your sins, murderer!" the woman in black shouted as she swung the bloody machete at Joyride.

Joyride had been trained by some of the best swordsmen in the world, and with her mutant agility and ability to telepathically scan her opponent for their next move, she was nearly unbeatable in combat. But whoever this mysterious woman was, she was better than Joyride, and within minutes she had Joyride disarmed and at her mercy.

"This is for my family, bitch!" The woman raised the machete high, but never had the chance to bring it down. Rogue flew across the room and tackled the woman, slamming her into the wall.

" 'Nough o' the killing!" Rogue yelled as she tried to pin the woman to the wall. But somehow she twisted herself in Rogue's grip and rammed her fist into Rogue's jaw.

Then it happened.

The woman's flesh touched Rogue's flesh. Rogue's mutant abilities kicked in, draining the woman's memories and abilities. Rogue screamed in terror as the woman went limp. In an instant, Rogue lived the young woman's life, but instead of just gaining her memories, Rogue experienced every emotion she had felt -- even the horror of being forced to watch her parents slaughtered, then of being raped -- all the time fully aware but not in control of her own body. Finally, she felt the pain of dying, of being too weak to struggle as the swampy waters dragged her under, trying to breathe but getting nothing but water. And then she felt the pain of being reborn. She saw in the woman's memories the crow that had brought her back for revenge. And she understood.

Rogue turned, her face now twisted with rage, and faced Joyride.

"Ya murdered my Momma and Poppa!" Her voice wasn't her own -- it was that of the woman in black. She picked Joyride up and threw her across the room. Walking over to Joyride, Rogue picked up a shotgun off the floor, slipped a round into its chamber and pointed it at the stunned woman as she approached her. "Ya murdering mutant bitch!" Rogue placed the barrel of the shotgun against Joyride's forehead and slowly began to pull the trigger.

"ROGUE, NO!!!" Remy shouted as he lept toward her. He knocked the gun away just as she fired. She caught the Cajun in mid leap and held him in the air, her hand clutching Remy's throat.

"I told ya to stay out of my way," she said with a growl. Remy felt her grip tighten -- and then loosen. "Re...Remy?" Rogue said, shaking her head in confusion. Her psyche was beginning to take control again. "What am ah doin'?" she said as she lowered him to the ground. "Oh was awful... what they did to her. It was...."

Rogue was trembling. Remy held her, trying to comfort her, but she continued on about the things that had been done to the woman in black.

Joyride stared at the woman who had just attacked her and watched as her personality changed. Reaching into her boot, she pulled out a long dagger and got to her feet. Unnoticed, she snuck up behind the man and plunged the dagger into his back, between the spine and left shoulder blade, an evil smile forming on her face as she twisted the blade.

Rogue screamed as Remy went limp and started to fall. She caught him in her arms. Blood began to run out of his mouth. She looked and saw the woman leap out the broken window.

"Remy... Remy... No...Oh god no, Remy......No..." she cried, her voice barely a whisper, as she dropped to her knees cradling Remy in her lap.

Remy looked up at her, his eyes weak, "Ch..che..rie, lov....." then his eyes closed.

"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!" she screamed


Continued in Part Three

Disclaimer: all Marvel characters are copyrighted by Marvel Comics and are used without permission.
Disclaimer: The Crow and all Crow related material is copyrighted by James O'barr and is being used without permission.
But other than that this story is a product of my own warped mind and thus is copyrighted by Allen Sumner, 1996.
This is a non-profit piece of fan ficiton done solely for fun
Send comments\messages to: ASumner@Highland.Net


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