Monday, November 9, 2015

DCU: The Society - Chapter 04

Fawcett City - A hot summer's night in 1921

"Prohibition boys. That is the way into the future."

Cyrus Gold leaned over and placed his palms on the table. His dark, sharply cut suit made for an impressive figure when combined with his bulky, muscular form. His tiny eyes, crooked nose and square jaw made him as ugly as he was dangerous.

"That's why we're out here in the swamp outside of Fawcett City," he continued.

Ace, one of the hoods who followed Gold struck a match on the table. He used it to light himself a cigarette and tossed it away. "You telling me we're going to cook booze out here?"

"Yeah, Ace. That's what I'm telling you."

Cyrus Gold was with his crew, six dangerous men who sat around a table while he stood at the head of it. A single lamp hung from the ceiling, spilling yellow light down on them while the rest of the desolate cabin was drenched in complete darkness. Nerves, the runt of the group, fiddled with his bowler hat.

"I don't like being out here boss," Nerves said. "They say there's something out here, some kind of thing in the swamp. They say it hunts men and drags them under the water to drown."

"What a load of bull," Gold replied. "Out here we can produce alcohol and sell it to the speakeasies in town. It's easy money, boys. We'll be living like kings."

Ace took a drag of his cigarette. "I don't know anything about making booze, boss. I don't think any of us do."

"Then we find someone who does," Cyrus Gold said. "We're smart guys, I'm sure we can figure something out if we put our heads to it. The rednecks in the Smoky Mountains have been making moonshine for years. If those hillbillies can do it, then us cultured city gents sure can."

At that moment, something slammed into the side of the cabin from outside. Cyrus Gold turned on a heel towards the noise. Ace slowly raised to his feet, his cigarette dangling from his mouth. The other men pulled their guns out of their holsters and stood up as well. When something else slammed into the other side of the cabin, Nerves leaped to his feet, knocking over his chair.

"Something's out there," Nerves shouted.

"Shut up!" Cyrus Gold hollered back. "There ain't nothing out there but some chemicals that I brought for the distillery."

The glass pane of the east facing window suddenly shattered. Cyrus and the rest of his gang spun to look. A powerful wind began to blow through the cabin, causing the lamp to swing wildly back and forth. Noticing that his feet felt wet, Cyrus looked down and saw water coming up from beneath the floorboards.

"The cabin's sinking," he said.

Ace didn't hear Cyrus. He moved over to the shattered window, awestruck by a glowing green light out in the swamp. "There's something out there, boss," Ace said. "Something is glowing out there."

Everything went quiet. The silence was eerie. There were no crickets or insects. No wind. It was all perfectly still. In that deathly silence, the floorboards started to creak. The floor began to rise and fall, slowly as if it was breathing.

"We need to get out of here," Nerves whispered.

The floorboards in the middle of the cabin exploded. The table was thrown across the room and the gas lamp fell and went out in the rising swamp water. The hoods stumbled back from the explosion point, the cabin now completely dark except for the bit of moonlight that came through the shattered window.

Out of the fury and confusion in the heart of the cabin, something rose. A great, hulking mass of plant and man roared as it broke its way through the floor into the cabin. Nerves turned and fled, busting out through the door and making a mad sprint for the car. The others in the cabin opened fire with their guns, but the bullets had no effect on the swampy horror that terrorized them.

The monster swung its tree-like arms at the hoods, hitting each of them with a deadly force in turn. Their bodies were whipped and thrown about the cabin like toys. Ace opened fire but a vine snaked through the shattered window and snapped itself around his neck. The vine yanked back and dragged Ace through the window and into the swamp screaming. The only man remaining was Cyrus Gold, who let out bloody war cry and charged the creature.

His shoulder slammed into the monster's stomach. His anvil like fists hammered and pounded at the creature. The thing grabbed Cyrus by his jacket and threw him with such force that he broke through the cabin wall and fell into the water outside. After a second or two, Cyrus managed to get back onto his feet just in time to see Nerves drive off in the car. Cyrus spit blood in the swamp and then turned back towards the cabin, fist clenched and ready for a fight, but the monster did not appear.

Cyrus turned, looking around the swamp. He saw the glowing green light that Ace had mentioned. Curious, Cyrus started moving towards it, wading through the thigh deep swamp water. As he got closer to the source of the light, he began to feel something in the water. It was some kind of power. He neared the green glow, becoming enchanted by it, but the spell was broken when the thing burst from the swamp water in front of him. Cyrus reared back his fist, ready to strike, but the creature was quick. The monster plunged its hand into Cyrus Gold's chest and ripped out his heart.

Meanwhile, racing down the dirt road, Nerves could barely keep a grip on the steering wheel. He checked the rear view mirror, but could only see an empty darkness behind him. His knuckles were white, his eyes were wide with fear and his heart felt as though it was about to burst through his chest.

The car's headlights began to flicker. Nerves hit the dashboard, hoping that would keep them on. They flickered again, so Nerves hit the dashboard even harder. They flickered a third time. Nerves looked down at the dashboard, screamed and slammed the side of his fist into it. When he looked back up, he saw the swamp monster standing in the road in front of him. Nerves let out a terrified scream and yanked the steering wheel as hard as he could.

The car swerved, missing the creature but Nerves couldn't regain control. He was almost out of the swamp and onto the highway when the car hit a bump in the shoulder and spun out of control. It crashed and rolled several times, glass breaking and flying everywhere. Nerves was thrown about the inside of the car until it finally rolled to a stop.

By some miracle, Nerves was still alive. He kicked out the driver's door window and started to climb out of the wreck. He had broken an arm and several ribs in the crash. A light appeared behind him. A train whistle blew. Nerves turned and screamed as he saw the late night train from Central City come roaring at him.

The engineer pulled the brakes, trying to stop the train but it was no use. The train hit the car with maximum force. Half of the car was obliterated while the other half was caught under the train itself. There was the sound of scraping metal and screams and then a loud crash as the train derailed and smashed into the swamp.

He didn't know how he got there. The last thing that Alan Scott remembered was falling asleep on the train. He found himself in the swamp outside of Fawcett City. Scott was hurt, but he could walk.

He was wet from the swamp water that he found himself sitting in, his back resting against an old tree. Scott stood up and looked around in the darkness, trying to get his sense of direction. That is when he saw it, the glowing green light coming from the swamp. Without knowing why, Alan Scott began to limp his way towards it, moving slowly through the swamp water. As he neared it, he felt a change around him. There was a strange power coursing through the swamp, something ancient and mysterious.

Alan Scott came to the source of the glow. He reached into the swamp water and pulled from it an emerald ring. He slid the ring into his pocket and reached back down into the water again. His hands gripped something solid, something that felt metallic. Alan Scott pulled it from the water and held up a green lantern, it's magical glow bathing his face.

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