Remy LeBeau lay in the hospital bed, his skin pale. An I.V
tube ran into his right arm. Life support equipment was all
that kept him alive -- if you could call this alive. Rogue
sat in the chair next to his bed, holding his hand with her
Remy had been stabbed in the back last night by a mutant
woman called Joyride. As Rogue thought back about those events,
tears came to her eyes. After moments of grief-stricken panic,
Rogue had came to her senses and rushed the wounded X-Man,
the man she loved, to the nearest hospital.
The past morning had become a blur to Rogue. She barely remembered
calling the Mansion and talking to Beast, telling him what
had happened to Remy. Beast had faxed the doctors Remy's pertinent
medical records and said he would be there as soon as possible.
Remy had been in surgery for nearly four hours. He was still
on the critical list. The doctors had refused to let Rogue
see him; only after Rogue punched a hole through one of the
metal doors leading to the intense care ward did they agree
that a little while would be okay.
Remy, please don't die on me.
Rogue looked up as Henry McCoy entered the room. He had the
image projector on so that he appeared normal, and it seemed
funny to Rogue to hear the voice the the blue furred Beast
coming from a man that appeared normal.
"Rogue....." his voice trailed off as he saw more
tears well up in Rogue's eyes. "I'm... sorry. They've
done all they could for Remy here."
"What.. about the Sh....Sh'iar equip..ment... at the
mansion?" she tried saying between the gasps, as she
tried to regain her composure.
"I'm afraid that in Remy's condition, it would be too
dangerous to try and move him." He walked over to where
she sat and placed his hand on her shoulder. "It's all
up to him now." His expression softened as he knelt down
beside her. "Rogue, you haven't slept for nearly two
days. You need....."
Rogue looked at Remy, ignoring Henry, "Don't ya worry
Remy, sug'ah. Ah'm gonna get the bitch that did this to ya."
she whispered as she stood, kissed her gloved finger tips
and touched them to his forehead. "Ah know jus' who t'
talk t'." She then walked to the window, and before Beast
could do anything, she was gone.
Henry stood there looking out the window and prayed.
Outside the window to Remy's room, a crow landed on the branch
of a nearby tree and waited.
It was foggy and Michael Dukes was in a hurry. He had spent
last night in Baton Rouge. He thought back to the young redhead
he had met there last night. The clubs they had hit and finally
"Whoa yeah! She was definetly a screamer!" he shouted
over the blaring music coming from the car radio. Course,
they all are, 'specially when I send them enough psychic feedback
to fry an elephant. He chuckled. The tune on the radio
changed to the Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper,"
and he pounded the dashboard with approval. "Yeah, finally
some damn good music!" Guess she won't be fearing
the reaper anymore. The chuckle returned.
Reaching over, he cranked up the volume. His hands drummed
on the steering wheel. The cigarette he was smoking came to
an end. Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulled out the pack
of cigarettes. He pulled one out, and dropped it.
"Damn it!" he swore as he began to search the seat
with his hand, unable to find it he glaced down and saw it.
"Yeah come to....." he said as he grabbed it and
returned his eyes to the road.
She had appeared out of the fog, running straight at him.
He had no time to think. He hit the brakes but it was too
late. She hit the front of the car, and the force of the impact
carried her over the hood, smashing into the windshield, shattering
the safety glass into thousands of tiny pieces. Her momentum
carried her over the top of the car.
Michael threw the sterring wheel hard to the left, causing
the car to skid and slide. The car went off the side of the
road and the wheels dug into the gravel. The car jerked violently
and then flipped. Inside, Michael could only scream and throw
his hands up in front of his face. The car rolled once, twice,
three times and finally settled on the fourth.
Michael came to, not knowing how long he was out. Looking
around at the totaled car, he started to laugh. "Bitchin'!"
What did he have to worry about? It wasn't his car anyway
-- He'd stolen it back in Baton Rouge.
Then he realized the woman he had hit may still be alive.
Sure do hope so... He rammed his body aganist the door
a couple of times before it creaked open. He still had to
turn sideways in the seat and kick it to get opened far enough
for him to get out.
He then noticed the small stream of blood coming from his
"Damn you, woman!" he shouted as he started to
walk through the fog, "You'd better hope you're dead,
'cause when I'm done wit' you, you'll wish you were!"
He hadn't gone more than five feet when he saw the girl's
body crumpled on the ground. "Damn... figured you be
back further than this." He reached down and turned her
He jerked back in shock as her eyes opened with a jerk and
a smile quickly formed on her pale white face. Before Michael
could react, her hand shot up and grabbed him by the throat.
"Michael, Michael, Michael." she said with false
pity, as she stood, still clutching his throat. A look of
pure terror filled his face. "What's a matter, Michael?
Huh....Ya look like ya jus' saw a ghost."
She brought her leg up between them and kicked him, sending
him stumbling back into the car.
Michael looked up and saw nothing but fog. "What the
hell's going on?!" Then he heard the sound of metal scraping
"Michael, Michael...." the voice sung out from
the fog, "...was I that bad? Bad enough that ya had to
kill me twice?"
Her form appeared before him, materializing out of the fog.
In each hand she held a katanna. She scraped one against the
guard rail, creating an eerie screech that sent chills up
Michael's spine. She neared him, and he stood to face her.
In a blur, one sword flashed before him, leaving a deep cut
across his left bicep. She twirled around in a deadly grace
and brought the other sword across the back of his right calf,
slicing deep through muscle and tendon.
"ARGGH!!!" he screamed as he fell to one knee.
His right hand clamped over the bleeding wound on his left
arm. "Damn you, Michael." Anger now filled her voice
as she swore at the wounded man before her, the katanna she
had taken from her encounter with Joyride leveled at his neck.
"While your bastard friend Swipe had his way with me,
ya just sat there, picking through my mind. Making me relive
old memories, pulling the strings on my emotions, and disconnecting
me enough from my body to where I felt everything that bastard
was doing to me and couldn't do a damn thing to stop it. Ya
got off more on fucking with my mind than ya did fucking my
The wounded man looked up into her eyes, a sick smile forming
on his face. "My turn, bitch." He concentrated and
then reached out with his mind. Contact. He felt nothing but
sheer anger and hatered. Within a millisecond he found a memory
of hers, of the night him and Swipe had took her. He then
took that and mixed it with the sexual pleasure he had experienced
the night before, and the nearly nirvanic pleasure he felt
when he killed the redhead and lashed out at the woman
She felt the icy cold fingers of his telepathy brush across
her mind. Old memories flared mixed with a sick pleasure.
She stumbled back, dropping one sword to the ground, as she
tried to stifle the moans of pleasure and then cried out as
her body stiffened.
"You like that, don't cha? Baby." His smile widened.
She lept forward with clenched teeth and backhanded him with
her free hand, sending him spinning to the ground.
"No more!!" she shouted as she raised the katanna
high in the air. "No more will ya hurt anybody else."
He looked up at her, still smiling. The blade dropped, and
his head fell to the ground. She stood there for a moment
and then walked to the front of the car. She moved the sword
across the crumpled hood. Tears filled her eyes. She raised
the sword again and screamed, ramming it down and driving
it through the hood and engine of the car. Then she dropped
to the ground and just sat there, crying like a child. Damn
ya Michael, damn ya. There, scratched on the hood was
the emblem of the crow, and the sword that had took the life
of the man she had once loved with every once of her soul,
plunged through the center of it.
The estate was large and old, and although many didn't know
it, it had been owned by the same man for nearly 100 years.
A man who still looked as young as he did when he first stepped
foot onto our planet, nearly 1500 years ago. A man who now
called himself Charisma.
Joyride had arrived at his mansion shortly before dawn and
was greeted at the gates by Charisma's pet psychic, Syn. Joyride
felt Syn peeping into her thoughts as she was lead to Charisma's
audience chamber. After explaining what had happened the night
before, Joyride stood silently before him waiting for an answer.
The man seated before her could only be described as enigmatic.
Even though he had saved her from the streets and had her
trained in the use of her mutant powers, she still knew little
about him. But she knew enough to respect him, even if it
was a respect born of fear.
"And so, young Joyride..." The rose from his chair,
which looked more like a throne. "You wish for my protection
from this...woman. Even though it was your our own deeds --
deeds that you committed after you left my flock -- that put
you at odds with this..." he paused a moment and looked
deep into Joyride's eye, "this...Avenger. Is this correct?"
Joyride turned away from the man's smug face. She hated Charisma,
but he was the only person she could think of to help her.
Her back to him, she said simply, "Yes."
Charisma gave a slight smile -- if it could be called a smile
-- and sat back down in his chair. His long reddish-brown
hair draped over his silk-draped shoulders. A neatly trimmed
goatee surronded his mouth as he brought his fingers up and
caressed his chin in thought. He then laced his fingers together
he turned his attention back to Joyride.
"Mother Ju Ju," he called out, still staring deeply
at Joyride. From the shadows, an elderly black woman dressed
in robes and beads stepped into view.
"Yes, my lord." Her voice sounded ancient.
"Find out who is after young Joyride here, and have
your minions bring them to me."
Mother Ju Ju's private chamber was lit only by candles. She
stood over a small table, arcane talismans carefully placed
around the bowl in the center. She was chanting words that
to most had no meaning, but to her and her faith could easily
strike down a distant foe or foretell the future.
She lifted the shiny knife from its place on the table with
one hand and lifted the bound chicken with the other, high
above the bowl. Her chanting grew louder and more intense.
In a instant, the head of the chicken fell to the table as
its blood poured into the bowl and over the small objects
that had only moments before been tossed into it.
She tossed the dead chicken to the side and picked up the
bowl. Tilting it from side to side, she carefully studied
the contents. Then she saw something. She nearly dropped the
bowl as she turned and walked from the room.
Outside, she found Joyride sitting in a gazebo. Joyride sat
on the bench, her arms wrapped around her knees, her mind
wondering why she felt like she had just made a deal with
the devil himself.
"Child." Mother Ju Ju said as she neared the mutant,
"De woman who attack yew... yew say she had bird wit'
"Yeah, I think so." Joyride said, kind of confused
by Mother Ju Ju's line of questioning.
"Tell Mother Ju Ju, tell her what kin o' bird dis be."
"Ah... Some kind of um.." Joyride tried to think
back to the events she would rather forget, "um... black
bird.... hell, I don't know."
Mother Ju Ju grabbed her arm, twisting it with a strength
that a woman her age should not possess. "T'ink hard
child, Mother Ju Ju must know. Would it be a... crow?"
"Yeah, I guess."
Mother Ju Ju released her and turned, rushing back to the
The man known as Gambit stood in a large open field. Looking
around, he saw a lone tree off in the distance. Something
was perched on one of its branches. And it beckoned to him.
Mist covered the ground of the graveyard, leaving only the
tops of the tombstones visible. The woman in black stood before
a smaller one near the back. Behind her on another the crow
sat quietly and watched.
"I've got two of them, momma. There's only one left
now...," she softly whispered in a sweet voice that seemed
so opposite from that which she had used earlier. "But
not for long. Soon I'll be with ya." She brought her
fingers up to her mouth and kissed them, then pressed the
kiss to her mother's headstone. She repeated the movements
for her father's headstone.
Suddenly through the crow's eyes she saw the airborne woman
land behind her. It was the same woman from last night. A
stranger who knew more about her than most.
"Hello," she said, not bothering to turn to face
Rogue. The hard edge had returned to her voice. "I guess
you're wondering what is going on?" Slowly she turned
to face the X-Man.
"Yeah, Eliza, Ah am. But that doesn't matter. Remy's
dying, and Ah want Joyride."
"I'm sorry for what happened to him, I truly am. But
Joyride is mine."
"Ah don't care 'bout ya're vengence. Tell me where t'
find Joyride, or ah'll find out mah way," Rogue said
as she removed her glove.
The two women tensed, each one waiting for the other to move
There was an inhuman screech from the nearby trees, and hundreds
of small dark forms rushed towards them. They were about two
feet in height and had red glowing eyes. In an instant the
two women were overwhelmed as the swarm of creatures desended
Continued in Part
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 used without permission.
Blue Oyster Cult and the song "Don't fear the Reaper"
are copyrighted by Sony Tunes Inc.
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
Send Messages and Comments to: ASumner@Highland.Net
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