Haf of HERO8 – Episode 2

October 15th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

2 AM. Town Square. Thunderstorm…

Rain is my enemy; even a lemon-lime spritzer can melt me down. It’s a part of leaving the pages of a comic and walking through the world as inked line art.

My new home is the newspaper stand at the corner of 5th and Meade. It’s a classic stand with a white-haired fat man selling papers, magazines, chewing gum and the occasional Tommy gun. I don’t mind when the scum kill each other, so I let him slide. Plus, old Jimmy has info and sometimes I need info.

Jimmy has a stack of well-read comic books he saves for the homeless kids and those comics are my favorite. In the early morning hours when most of the saints of the city are asleep, and most of the bad guys are dead or done, I slide my weary squiggles between the pages of a random comic. I pretend the toons are my family and I have imaginary conversations with them. I say goodnight before I fall asleep; I pretend they all say goodnight to me.

Yes, I have to sleep and I’m not sure why. It’s a struggle being a part of humanity, isn’t it?

A steady drip of water beat on the plastic-covered Time magazines at the other end of the rack. I only pretend to flatten myself even more and tuck closer to the fold of my bed for the night. The drumming drip echoed though my little head; a staple poked at my side.

Later that morning, across town under an overcast sky…

Kicking through the sludge of a crime scene may sound romantic, but Inspector Angus Klaussner smelled like rotten corned beef or cheap tramp perfume dipped in cotton candy. On bad days it was the mix of the two that made me prefer the two-way to the face to face.

“They cleaned the place out, Angus,” I said. He licked the end of his fingers and patted at his comb-over. It barely covered the anus-shaped shrapnel wound he got in Vietnam. The boys down at the station called him Anus behind his back; they were a stupid lot.

The warehouse was the only holding facility for the city’s TP supply. A torn length of the quilted wipe wisped about in a corner.

Angus bit a hunk out of his pickle and sputtered vinegar my way; I sidestepped the acidic poison and shook my fist. He treated his pickles like fine cigars. “Yessir. A hundred thousand pallets of toilet paper gone overnight. It’s the third time this month,” he said. Ignoring my tap-dance, he examined an empty crate near the middle of the empty room.

I chased the evidence blowing around the warehouse and bagged and tagged it. I held up the evidence bag, let the dust-filtered light shine through and saw the tell-tale markers of Grade-A toilet paper.

“This is high quality. Primo. It’d go for a diamond on the black market.”

Angus swallowed his pickle stub whole. “If they’re peddling it at least the junkies will have a clean butt.”

They aren’t selling it, I thought.

A frantic-talking woman mumbled a static of codes and nonsense across Angus’ radio.

Angus deciphered, “I’ve got a One Three Eight down at Sharon’s Bar. You OK finishing up here?”

I saluted. “I’ve got it, chief.”

He fired a quick scowl my way before he tore out of the warehouse. Chief Inspector Roland may have winked at Angus’ wife a time or two.

I walked the perimeter of the large room, but more evidence would be hard to find. There wasn’t forced entry and it looked like the crooks had wiped down fingerprints. Probably used a roll to do it, too.

Wind tore through the open overhead door at the back kicking up dust from the corners in a mini dust devil. Sound rippled by and a form rushed around the room. Shadows appeared and disappeared as quickly as I could turn to face them. I backed toward the middle.

“You can’t catch me, Haf.” A voice echoed off the metal walls, a sharp whisper of a man.

“Face me and I’ll show you what I can and can’t do!” I turned as I spoke trying to keep the thing in front of me.

Rapid footsteps behind me, shadows across from me, and a stabbing pain hit me at the base of my neck even before I could catch a glimpse of the thief.

# # #

Haf hung from a steel girder by his feet; his ink-shot eyes swelled. They were open, staring into nothing, even though he was unconscious with his head in a 55-gallon drum.

“Haf, HERO8 needs you.” A young girl whispered. “We are lost. Alone.”

“Draw yourself…” Haf struggled for better words. “HERO8 is dead.” He twisted against the tie down straps stapled to his legs.

“Oh, baby. What have they done to you?”

Haf pulled himself up and tried to look over the edge of the barrel. “Get me out of here.”

“I can’t and I’m sorry.”

“What’s that?” Haf heard a trickle of sound. He pulled at the straps, but could only hold himself up for a few seconds at a time. Running water bubbled at the bottom of the barrel, a slow stream from a garden hose spewing its venom that would kill him if he didn’t get free.

SFX: DUN DUN DUN!

Join Haf of HERO8 in Episode 3 as he struggles to free himself before the water rises to his head and erases him from our world.

[ Episode 1Episode Index | Episode 3 ]

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©2010 Keith Dugger

  1. October 8th, 2010 at 04:55 | #1

    continued excellence – ‘anus-shaped shrapnel wound’ is genius.

    My only thought was that the second section reads like absolutely straight scene of crime stuff – maybe you need to inject it with a little of the lunacy of him being a line drawing character that you do elsewhere throughout? It just stands out a little differently from the rest.

  2. October 10th, 2010 at 20:37 | #2

    I was so excited for this, and it was excellent as marc said. But, as marc said… it really did read like straight scene of crime. What happened to the quirky lunatic that was Haf?

  3. October 12th, 2010 at 13:30 | #3

    More excellence. I hope he can unstaple himself in time. 🙂

    Enjoying this very much.

  4. October 12th, 2010 at 14:53 | #4

    Did I already tell you how much I love Haf? Well I do. 🙂 The desription of him tucking himself into the magazine was fantastic. I can’t wait to read more, Keith.