Lazarus Tremaine ran through the sewer. He had to get away before he crumbled into a pile of dust. That stupid creep. Where did he get off interfering like that?
He heard laughter behind him and knew he was not done with that meddler. Turning, he unleashed several of his blue flame bolts down the sewer. At last he would rid himself of this pest once and for all.
But only laughter greeted his volley. “Missed me,” said the bright voice of the Creeper. “Now you got to kiss me.”
“I will kill you,” vowed Tremaine, hands on fire.
“Everyone says that. Can’t you come up with something original?”
Tremaine snarled in fury. Grabbing the nearest pipe with his flaming hands, he threw it at his mocker blindly, not even caring that exposed electrical wiring fell into the mucky water he stood in.
Agony raced through his body as thousands of volts of electricity crackled around him. His blue flame exploded outward, turning the water into steam. Laughter followed him into darkness.
“What a marooon,” the Creeper said from a perch at the top of the sewer tunnel. He climbed over the floating, burning corpse and gently lifted the cable from the water to stop the current. “Too bad the idiot let the exposed ends hit the water,” said the vigilante. “But at least he saved the state a trial.”
The Creeper dragged the corpse out of the sewer by the scruff of his neck. Tossing the body down in front of the approaching policemen, he swung himself to the roof tops using a light pole and a mighty leap. He vanished before the police could put up a net to capture him.
Jack Ryder sauntered back to his news van with coffee in hand moments later. “What happened?” he asked, eyeing the activity. At least the camera and sound was recording everything.
“The Creeper busted in and caught the guy,” said the sound man. “Then he got away.”
“Let’s film that spot,” said Ryder, straightening his tie and putting his coffee down at his feet.
Lazarus Tremaine awoke in the ambulance taking him to the morgue. The emergency medical technician was too shocked to shout or move as flaming blue hands leaped at his face. His skull showed through his burning flesh after the undead man was done.
The creature crawled to the front of the vehicle. One bony hand clamped on the driver’s shoulder. He looked up, fear on his face.
“You will drive to the television station that was at the scene of my loss,” he said in his echoing voice. “I will let you live. Disobey, and I will have you for dinner. Am I understood?”
The paramedic nodded rapidly.
“Good,” said Tremaine as he sat down beside the EMT in the passenger seat.
The ambulance rolled to a stop behind the TV station. The driver tried to get out and escape his captor, but Tremaine grabbed the back of his skull and loosed a blast of flame through flesh and bone. The undead man pulled the body into the back of the vehicle, then ripped them to shreds as he consumed them.
Next would be the news crew. Then he would find somewhere to hide from the sun. This station would be the perfect hunting ground for him.
He would return again and again to restore himself, and no yellow meddler was going to stop him before he drained the station staff dry.
The white news van pulled into the parking lot of the station. Jack Ryder’s brow furrowed when he saw the empty-looking ambulance there. It stood out like a sore thumb among the other vehicles. His curiosity began to demand an explanation.
“You guys go ahead,” Ryder told Wallace as the van pulled to a stop. “I want to sit and think for a moment.”
“Sure thing,” said the cameraman, leading the way into the station.
As soon as his crew was out of sight, Ryder pushed a hidden button to call forth his alter ego to find out what was going on.
The Creeper bounded from the news van in all his yellow glory. He leaped over to the ambulance, then onto its roof. As he peered through a window in the back door, only a crisped, grinning skull returned his searching gaze.
The vehicle appeared to be empty of anything but its deceased drivers. The hero pulled the door open quietly. The smell of burnt flesh wafted into the night.
The Creeper bounded to the news station. He did not wear his usual smile as he burst through the doors into the building. A scream alerted him as he paused to look around.
The scream had come from an editing room beyond the reception area. The receptionist was missing, noted the suddenly serious hero, as he passed the desk. He threw the door to the editing room open with a hand.
That thing he had fried in the sewer was here eating his producer.
The Creeper was not one to pause to think about what he was going to do. He leaped across the room, devoid of wisecracks for once as he swung a left at the animated corpse. The burning skeleton flew against the far wall, dropping the morsel he was chewing to the floor.
Tremaine pulled himself from the wall, skull showing through the melted skin on his face. “So, you are here to interfere with me again,” he said in a whisper.
“Eating people is not allowed,” said the Creeper. “Time for you to report to your casket.”
“Enough, you yellow poltroon,” Tremaine roared as he unleashed jets of blue flame at his foe.
The walls of the editing room caught fire as the Creeper leaped out of the way. The yellow crusader bounced off a wall of screens and landed a kick against the undead creature’s diseased-looking face. Tremaine stumbled but regained his footing instantly. He swept a burning hand through the air, trying to grasp his enemy to him.
The Creeper rebounded away, avoiding the hand. He wondered what he could really do against this monster. He dodged two more of the flame bolts. This side of the building was dangerously close to collapsing due to the eruptions from the ghoul.
Time to get serious, thought the Creeper as he did a classic rebound triple flip and wound up behind the flaming ghoul. Tremaine tried to turn, but his decayed body was no match for his enemy’s superhuman reflexes. A series of hard punches sent him into the wall. As he looked up, a red boot sent him flying through the wall. He crashed to the floor beyond. Debris fell around the undead man as he slowly got to his feet.
The Creeper launched himself at his foe. He had to keep hammering the guy and couldn’t let up for a moment. This guy couldn’t get another chance to kill.
Tremaine saw his foe hurtling at him and raised a hand. Blue flame licked out, sending the Creeper into the floor. The ghoul staggered for a moment. The fight had taken more than he had thought. He had to get away to rest and try again to renew himself. At least the meddler was dead, cooked to a crisp.
Insane laughter made Tremaine stop and start to turn. A gloved hand grabbed the remains of his face. Another grabbed the back of his exposed skull. He raised a hand to blast this insect away and felt a crunch as his neck began to separate from the rest of his body.
Lazarus Tremaine looked up into the face of the grinning Creeper. He could not speak or move. He realized dimly that the madman had pulled his head from his body.
“Look, ma, I got a new football,” the Creeper said. “Punt!”
Everything went black for Tremaine as a red boot kicked him into the ceiling.
Jack Ryder surveyed the carnage. He had done a live report to explain the loss of the station from the air. He hadn’t seen this much suffering since he’d left Gotham City. How did guys like Batman handle this kind of thing?
Maybe it was time to get out of the hero business. Maybe he should retire to a place where monsters didn’t exist to eat people. That would be nice after all this.
A police scanner started squawking on a shelf. Ryder ran for the window, already touching the device built into his wrist to unleash his fearsome alter ego for men to beware the Creeper.