The Executioner: Part 10

Ray hit the power lines hard, ripping two from the crossbar in a shower of sparks, and hitting the utility pole with his back.

His strength made it worse.

When you’re falling, the most natural thing in the world is to reach out, and grab the nearest thing you can as hard as you can.

He grabbed a power line.

Arguably, you could say that disorienting him by blowing out his eardrums with the sonics, and then swinging him around had “worked,” but I hadn’t expected it to work quite that way.

His fingers sank through the covering into the wire, and since his right leg had already hooked over the crossbar, and was still touching one of the lines it had knocked off the crossbar…

Well, I’d managed to create short circuits myself before, and this was similar, but much louder and brighter.

Lightning covered his body, and he moved without any control, breaking the crossbar, and snapping the line he’d grabbed–which made even more sparks.

He fell to the ground as both ends flew away from each other, landing in the road on opposite sides of the pole.

Ray lay in the dirt a few feet from the road. Under his shredded shirt and pants, burns blackened his left arm, and his right leg.

The air smelled of ozone, and burned meat.

One part of me hoped I hadn’t killed him. Another hoped I had.

Then Ray took a long slow breath.

What was I going to do now?

From the road behind me, Gina shouted, “Ray!”

I turned, hoping I had a moment before she attacked, but it didn’t matter.

As I looked over my shoulder, she put down the rifle she’d been using to fire at Sean. When she started to run toward me, the old truck I’d seen in front of the cottage appeared in the air, smashing into her front, carrying her off the road and into the trees.

Meanwhile Ray moaned. I turned back to look at him.

He was shrinking, turning from seven feet tall, and freakishly muscled, into the physique he’d had before the change, but now bloodied and burned.

As he became smaller, some of the blackened skin flaked off, leaving reddish skin behind. Not all of the blackened skin went, but enough that his survival seemed possible.

I wondered why he’d changed back. Did he have to consciously hang on to his acquired powers, or had he run out of energy to keep them going?

Either way we’d need to see Alex, or an ambulance, before I felt sure he’d survive.

I decided to run back to the house and call the police on the communicator I’d left inside. I had some first aid supplies in my utility belt too.

Glancing toward the house, I saw that Rachel had flown out, and hung above the trees near the end of the driveway.

But Rachel wasn’t the only person I noticed.

Wind blew past me as Sean landed next to Ray.

He stared down at him. “You bastard. Do you recognize me?”

Some part of my brain followed it up with a line from an old movie, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

I didn’t say it.


I heard the screech of metal ripping. A few feet down the road, the metal stem holding the sign bent near the ground, and flew into the air.

“Hey,” I said, “you’re not going to–”

It came out of the sky, the thin metal stem first, burying itself in Ray’s chest, leaving us to stare at the wobbling sign. Diamond-shaped, it showed a black figure of a deer against an orange background.

The words on the smaller sign below it said, “Deer Crossing.”

“There, asshole. Remember that. I got you.”

Blood seeped from Ray’s back into the dirt.

“You killed him,” I said.

I killed him? You threw him into power lines. The way I see it, I just finished the job.”

21 thoughts on “The Executioner: Part 10”

  1. Oooo first to post:0, glad I checked my RSS feed.

    Impaled by a deer crossing, could have been worse it could have been a pedestrian crossing sign!

    Now just Gina to deal with, as she also I expect knows the Rocket’s secret ID… and won’t go quietly, guess she could be vegetated;0

  2. I’m sure on some level, Sean understands the difference between killing in the heat of combat and cold blooded murder. Denial is not a river in Egypt, and it doesn’t work as a coping mechanism in the long run.

    He made a hard choice, and not necessarily the wrong one. The last time these guys got out of custody, his family paid the price. The real question is, now that he’s crossed the line, can he find his way back.

    Dun dun DUN!!

  3. @Jim: w00t! Princess Bride reference! And sooooooo appropriate! Made of awesome, buddy.

    @Pangoria Fallstar: I suspect the original Ghost would likely have popped a cap in him, but that the original Rocket likely would have tried to stop her, if he could. Of course, the point would have been moot when the Mentalist was around, because he would’ve just ripped the information out of Ray’s and Gina’s minds, and probably given them attitude adjustments as well.

    @Daniel Blumberg: Worse yet would have been a speed bump sign…. 😛


  4. The contrast between Sean and Nick just hit its ultimate conclusion — Nick did what he had to do and then felt compassionate about the consequences, planning what he would do to preserve human life. Meanwhile, Sean only knows what he wants and to hell with anyone else.

    And honestly, without major mind-altering (which Nick and his friends worry about ethically) this could hardly have ended any other way — Ray had to have his memory changed or die.

    Me personally, when it comes down to that, I’m all for the mind-wipes.

  5. Not to say that what Sean did was right, but Ray did kill his father which I suppose makes it understandable at the very least.
    Then again, in Nick’s place I’d have curb stomped Ray just because he was too dangerous to let live.

  6. Um…anyone else want to comment that Sean just committed a crime? I mean, want to or not, deserve it or not, Ray was no longer a threat. He was down, he was hurt, he was not getting up. What if cops went into hospitals and shot gang members while they were down?

    Mister “they think they’re special just because they have superpowers” just exemplified that attitude. Heck, he could have just wrapped Ray in a big metal shell with airholes and it would have worked. Instead, he made a concious decision to exact revenge against a suspect that was just about in custody.

    Considering the way he’s acted before this, could qualify as Murder 1.

    Nick, in contrast, was the equivalent of a cop shooting at a suspect who was shooting back. He had to disable his enemy and extreme force was a part of the situation.

    And personally, my ideas for better signs to kill him with are “Stop,” “Yield,” “One Way,” and “Slow Children Playing”.

  7. Hg: My only hesitation with the Princess Bride reference was wondering how reasonable it is that Nick would have seen the movie. Then I decided that pieces were on Youtube and that I had every intention to showing it to my kids…

    On road signs: It took me a while to come up with what it ought to be. On the one hand, the ideal would be to have something funny.

    On the other, it had to be plausible for rural Michigan near Lake Michigan. Thus “Deer Crossing.” Still, I considered “Soft Shoulder” (which might have been a nice setup for more humor) and I wish I thought of “Speed Bump” or something like that.

    As for whether Sean did the right thing… That’s something I leave to the reader, but, the important thing for the story is that Nick doesn’t think so.

  8. Of course the question remains, did Sean kill him? He had already started to regenerate from umpteen volts of electricity flowing through him…

  9. @PG: “What if cops went into hospitals and shot gang members while they were down?” Despite my usual leanings, I find this statement oddly appealing. Maybe it would just make for a singularly hilarious scene in a movie….


  10. Defenseless gang members laying in a hospital versus superpowered assassins who’ve already demonstrated a complete lack of mercy or pity and are singularly determined to continue their rampage of terror. Not quite an accurate metaphor.

  11. Frankly, you’re not talking about a helpless wounded man, here. Even severely maimed and crippled as he was, the dude had sufficient physical power to KILL someone with one of his pinkies. He was a demonstrated killer, nearly impossible to imprison, and even blinking in his presence at the wrong moment would be a death sentence. He had to die.

  12. Jim, I noticed you on Eli’s blog when he had some really interesting posts about reader interaction; it was mentioned that comments tend to drop off during transitional eps or eps where the story is in progress and hasn’t reached it’s climax yet. That was true; I personally wanted to see how this was going to play out before saying anything.

    And I can now say that this serial has replaced “Three” and “In The Public Eye” as the best ever.

    It really says something that you managed to keep us in suspense for over two weeks and the scene probably covered, what, 3 hours in real time.

    There’s been so much talk about Amanda Hocking, but I personally cannot wait until it’s yours and the Legion of Nothing’s turn in the spotlight.

    Well done, sir.

  13. Bill: Thanks. I’m glad it worked. Ray’s been a fun villain to write, and it would be sad to screw up the ending to this. Mind you, I could always revise, but it’s nice to do it mostly right the first time.

    Everyone: What Bill’s referring to is an article on Novelr about Amanda Hocking. She’s apparently made quite a bit of money selling her books as ebooks for Kindle as well as actual physical copies. It’s an interesting article, and an interesting follow up discussion.

    Well, up to a point. It gets kind of nasty near the end.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, I’m currently editing the first “book” of Legion of Nothing for Kindle/ebook/print. I’ll hopefully be done in a month or two, possibly a little longer.

    I’d been planning to do that anyway, but this pushed me along.

    Once the first one’s done, I’ll start on book two, the one that we’re just finishing. That’ll be bigger though.

  14. “Blood seeped from from Ray’s back into the dirt.”
    Double the from, double the fun!

    Sean is going to be getting condemnation and approval from many sources if the details of the killing becomes public knowledge. It’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out in the future.

  15. This is the one occasion where I prefer Sean’s actions over Nick’s. Nick’s starting to piss me off actually. There’s a time when you have to kill. That time passed about 3 arcs ago, in a years time we’re gonna have to deal with a small super army (and god knows what they’ll do to others in the mean time) because he didn’t do what was necessary and if Sean hadn’t killed Ray we would of had something even worse down the line.

    Either stop trying to be a hero or realise that this business involves hard decisions, otherwise your going to get everyone you care about killed.

    1. To me this ending was always supposed to be something that wasn’t easy.

      For me at least, three things are true:
      1. Ray deserves to die.
      2. The rule of law is better than vigilante rule.
      3. Sometimes the law doesn’t work.

      Much of this series involves living with how messy life gets when item 2 and 3 are both true.

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