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Rune: A New Twist #1
October, 1998

"The Shark and the Vampire" Part 1

Written by Walter Kneeland
Edited by James Pedrick
Rune created by Barry Windsor-Smith and Chris Ulm

Property of Malibu Comics

SYSTEM START |

GENIE ATTEMPTING TO GAIN CONTROL |

GENIE BOTTLED. |

ALL DRIVES AND MODEMS DETECTED. |

ALL SYSTEMS GO. |

[SHAHEREZADE] YOU MAY BEGIN. |

[SHAHEREZADE] LOGIN: USERID |

[SHAHEREZADE] LOGIN: USERID CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON

[SHAHEREZADE] LOGIN: ENTER PASSCODE: |

[SHAHEREZADE] LOGIN: ************

[SHAHEREZADE] LOGIN: ACCESS ACCEPTED

[SHAHEREZADE] GOTO: ULTRA FILES

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[SHAHEREZADE] SPECIFIC

[SHAHEREZADE] SPECIFIC LOOKUP: ULTRA FILES
[SHAHEREZADE] ENTER SPECIFIC: RUNE

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[SHAHEREZADE] GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON


Saturday, July 4, 1998.

        Evening on Lake Erie. Cool, but still fairly warm after the hot day. Clouds rolled in, darkening quickly. The sun set. As it did, in its wake was left a storm. Despite the weather, some people were still out and about. Lightning flashed overhead, as the rain poured down. Doris Beck hurried down the sidewalk, trying to get home before the paper bags she carried got soaked through and tore. Passing the library, she saw she was almost there.

        "Just another block!" she said to herself.

        Suddenly, as thunder crashed, and more lighting flashed, a horrific figure stood before her. Spreading its wings, and advancing on her, she distinctly made out two large fangs, and blood on its lips. Before she could scream, it was upon her, tearing, ripping, shredding. She was one of the lucky ones, to die quickly at the hands of this monster. The morning newspaper would run her story in a small article on page 7.

        This small city has never had the violence of a large city. In fact, it has been years since any murder has taken place here. However, on the day of the city's 50th anniversary, Doris Beck, a local schoolteacher, has been murdered. Police declined comment, but to all witnesses, a large puddle of blood was visible, and still stains the spot where she died. Some have speculated that this is not the work of a human, but of some animal. All parents are urged to keep their children close-by, and to have them home well before dark. Citizens are all asked to keep a watch out for any kind of suspicious animal that could have done such damage to a human...

Tuesday, July 7, 1998. 11:33 am.

        The house has been abandoned only a short time. However, in that time, several children have learned of its abandonment, and taken to playing in it during the day. On this particular day, the children--Bob, Jon, Denny and Kim, ages 7-9, have decided to explore the house more fully. Sneaking in the back door, 9-year old Kim shuts it behind her. Even with no lights on, the windows lack good curtains, and so plenty of light spills in. Her friends have already passed through the kitchen, and as she hurries to join them, she hears something from above.

        "Bob? I think there's something in the attic! Maybe we should check it out?" she asks tentatively.

        "No way!" exclaims Denny. "We'd need a ladder, if we even knew where the door was."

        "O.K., guys, it was just an idea!"

        Quietly, Kim follows them down the stairs to the landing, then on down to the lowest level of the house. Opening the door directly in front of the stairs, they walk in, and find what was once a laundry room.

        "Cool!" Jon whispers. "I wonder if anything still works in here?"

        "Of course it would, Jon! Remember, the Darman family lived here until last month. Why wouldn't stuff left behind work?" Bob explains logically.

        "Oh."

        Kim climbs and sits on the washing machine, watching her friends. As she listens to hear them argue, something else, barely a whisper, reaches her ear.

        "Kimmmmmmm......."

        "What?" she asks impatiently, assuming it to be one of them. Counting all three of them still there, she feels rather stupid for having said anything.

        "We didn't say anything, Kim." says Denny.

        "Kimmmmmmm.......bring to mmmmmeeeeeeee......."

        "Guys? I'm hearing something!" she says slowly, a tinge of fear creeping into her voice.

        "Where would it be coming from? We're the only ones here..." begins Jon.

        A crash is heard overhead, and the children begin to head back up the stairs to investigate. Suddenly, Kim sits on the stairs, wrapping her arms around her knees and repeating over and over again

        "No! I don't like this. Let's just go! It's going to get us all! It's going to kill us....all of us....let's just go, please!"

        Jon pulls her to her feet and proceeds to half-drag her up the stairs. Terrified, she shuffles along behind him, tears running down her cheek. The children get to the upper floor, and file into the main room. Two couches, a TV, an old lamp, and a chair line the walls. An old ceiling fan is bolted to the ceiling. As they watch, the blades spin slightly, or so it would appear. Then they all hear the voice.

        "Kimmmmmmm......bring to mmmmeeeeeeee that which is minnnnnnnnneeeee......"

        "Did you hear that? Did you?!?" Kim exclaims wildly, terrified, as she turns to run for the door.

        "It doesn't mean anything, Kim." Bob says lightly, trying to reassure his friend.

        "What could you have that the wind would want?" Denny asks jokingly.

        "No, not the wind....it's the boogie monster, that got that teacher last weekend!" Jon says, pulling his lips back, trying to look as fearsome as a 7-year old can.

        "No no no NO!!..." Kim rushes for the door, but Bob catches her hand, pulling her back.

        "Kim, we're here together. Nothing's going to get us!"

        Still terrified, and not at all sure of herself, Kim reluctantly joins the others again. Refusing to speak, only staying with them subconsciously, her eyes dart wildly across the room. She puts her hands in her pockets, not wanting her friends to see her trembling hands. As she does, her fingers close around the rock that she found the day before. Curious, she pulled it out of her pocket to look at it. It was a pale yellow, almost translucent, and felt slightly warm to the touch, as if it held an energy all it's own.

        "Bring to mmmmmmeeeeee!!"

        Kim freezes, terrified. Bob looks over from under a table he was investigating, and sees Kim standing there, holding a shiny rock, not moving.

        "Kim!"

        Getting a feeling of dread, Bob begins to sense some sort of evil about the house, and wonders if perhaps Kim was right, that they should leave. Startled into motion, Kim backs away from Bob, then turns to head for the door. Before she can, they hear a scream from down the hall.

        "Denny!" Jon cries, rushing down the hall.

        Moments later, another scream rattles the house, followed by a wet thud. Kim sinks to her knees, to scared to move, as Bob looks at her, a visage of terror etched into his face as well.

        "I....I have to go get them, tell them it's time to go....." he whispers.

        "No........it's too late! It got them! It's going to get us now!"

        Bob turns around to face Kim, and hauls her to her feet, and pushes her to the side around a cabinet, whispering hurriedly

        "Go! Get out of here! I'll be right behind you!"

        Both hear a thud, then, and look over to see Denny's body sinking to the floor where it had been hurled against a wall. Both knew immediately their friend was dead, his head half torn loose from his body, gaping wounds oozing blood, white bone showing in several spots.

        "Bring to me that which is rightfully mine!" a voice says.
`
        Kim looks to her hand, seeing the stone. Suddenly, something wet splashes her, and as she turns, she sees Bob's eyes staring blankly at her, an arm coming out of his back, leading to a dark, muscular body, with wings and fangs dripping blood.

        "No!" she screams, flailing her arms, trying to back away from this creature.

        "Yesss!" it almost hisses.

        Kim turns to make a mad dash, but before she can, a hand dripping blood closes around her wrist and lifts her off the floor. Letting Bob's dead body slump to the floor, it brings its other hand up to stroke her cheek.

        "You will give me what is mine, girl!" it snaps.

        "What do you want?!?" she fairly screams.

        "You have one of my star-stones. You will give it back now." the creature murmurs.

        Realization dawns, as Kim looks again to the stone in her hand, glowing now.

        "Yes..." Kim fears it can read her thoughts.

        "My star-stone, youngling. It is rightfully mine, and you have it..."

        "T...Take it! Take it!......" she murmurs, barely able to talk through her fear.

        "You never dreamed of what you found, did you, girl? Never imagined what power you held. Your companions here? You could have saved them, had you known the truth of the stone's potential. But you didn't. YOU killed them...!"

        Closing her eyes with fear and loathing, Kim tries to sort reality from dream, praying that all of this is just a terrible nightmare. Opening her eyes again, she sees the horrible face leering at her.

        "I could kill you as easily as I did your brat friends! But though I have no mercy, I am not without my gratitude. I will give you a chance to live..."

        "W....What are you going to d...do...?" Kim chokes out.

        "This!" the creature says, and throws Kim through the window, onto the porch, where she is knocked out when her head hits the railing.

        Moments later, a shadow crosses her, and disappears, as the beast flies away. Still the wind seems to hold a voice, and horrific reality.

        "....YOU killed them......you killed them......killed them......killed them......."


Tuesday, July 7, 1998. 9:30 p.m.

        "The small city of Lakedale is the site of yet another gruesome killing. Three days ago, a woman was murdered on her way home from a friend's house. This afternoon, another attack occurred, leaving three children dead, and a fourth terrified. We spoke with the girl's father..."

        "Kim knows better than to go into other peoples' houses unsupervised, and especially if no one lives there!...She was badly scared..."

        "Three other children died in that house. Kim is the only survivor. How do you feel about that?

        "I'm relieved to have my daughter safe, and I feel badly for the families of these children. I won't say they got what they deserved...."

        He breaks into tears, and hugs his daughter to himself, exclaiming frantically:

        "God...no one deserves something like this...!"

        "We also talked with several police officers, who gave comments off the record."

        
The news reporter is handed a piece of paper.

        "We are now going live to City Hall for an official address from Mayor Turner."

        
The screen fades out, then in on an old man in a faded brown shirt, sitting in a chair behind a desk, looking towards the cameraman filming his statement.

        "Is that thing on? Good. Citizens of Lakedale. We as a city have had little in the way of crime for most of fifty years. Even when we were first founded, crime was a minor annoyance, as this city was peaceful, even then. Now, just into fifty years, we have experienced four savage murders...three of them of our children. I am putting Lakedale on curfew. No one, adult or otherwise is to go anywhere alone. Everyone is to be home--in their CORRECT homes...by 7:30 p.m. As I speak, flyers are being passed out, with numbers to call for assistance. All of these are to be considered 911 for the purposes of assistance. Any abuse of this will be met with swift, severe punishment, as any prank calls could cost lives in this matter. Some of you may feel that these measures are extreme, but I have been advised on the matter, and we know that these are necessary..."

        The TV fades out, turned off. The man sighs, and puts his face in his hands.

        I was designing that fabric armor to sell and make some money, to fall back on. But if it's as strong as it's supposed to be....as strong as I designed it to be.....it can stand up to bullets and knives....but claws....presumably from some creature? And that's what these killings seem to be by....some sort of dark, evil creature. But me? Can I put on the armor and test it myself?


April, 1997. The Lakedale Daily.

        The headline reads "Super-armor Created by Locals".
        "Two local Lakedale men have created a technological wonder. Using several years and an unmentioned sum of money, they have created a bullet-proof material, thin as normal fabric used in common tee-shirts. In a risky test, one of the men, a Dan Sintse offered this reporter an eyewitness viewing. He put on the suit of armor, which covered from neck to toe, and put on a bullet-proof mask. His partner, Tim Daniels then fired off six bullets. Sintse jerked back at each shot, obviously hit. However, no blood showed, and when the armor was removed, he was left bruised, but otherwise unharmed. Several medical examiners were called in, and ran some tests, and came up negative on internal injuries. With this armor, the only injuries were six small bruises, from six bullets. In talking after the demonstration, I learned that the "get-up" of the full suit of armor and protective mask is called 'The Shark', for it's durability, and that the wearer would be able to withstand much punishment while dealing savagely with a target. Sintse said the armor is hoped to be to the standards of the government, to be sold as a protection to troops. Daniels offered no comment.


Monday, July 13, 1998.

        Night. After checking the site of the creature's first attack, and the house of the second attack, he found nothing physical. However, he found a sense of dread and horror, and repulsion. Whatever it was, it most certainly was not human. He could sense its evil, and knew he had to do something. He donned the armor he helped create. With it, he took an advanced gun. "A damned Star-Trek laser shooter!" it had been called. Along with the gun, he wore a sword. Not unlike normal swords, this sword was made of a combination of several strong metals, and nothing had been found that could break it. It had a blade sharp enough to cut through solid steel, however roughly. Making it more than a sword was the circuitry built into the handle. In addition to conventional uses, the sword also had technology on its side.

        Heading to the park, he feels that he may be getting close. The sense of dread creeps over him, and tempts him to turn back.

        "No." he says to himself.

        "No!!" he yells to the world, but it is lost in the wind that has kicked up.

        He opens his bag and pulls out the mask...the helmet. Putting it on, he bonds it to the armor, sealing himself in almost fully. He feels for the Laser gun, and the sword. Both are within easy grasp, without hindering his movement greatly. As he prepares to move again, he hears something behind him, and turns slightly before he is thrown to the ground.

        "Foolish mortals!"

        Turning to try to see what hit him, he feels a great weight push on him, and can almost hear some of his ribs break.

        "Do you really believe that you can do anything to the Prince of Void?!?"

        A savage kick sends him several feet to slam into a tree. He pulls out the laser gun, and fires it at his attacker. It doesn't do anything. The creature takes it, and crushing it in his fist, slams the back of his hand against the man's masked face, sending him onto his back on the ground. The man rolls to the side, and struggles to his feet. The creature looks amused.

        "So, you still live, mortal? You should be laying on the ground in pieces, your life given to ME!"

        The sword flashes out, and the man stands ready to defend himself.

        "I was caught unprepared before, beast. Do not think you can do so again!"

        "Foolish Mortal!"

        He rushes towards the creature, and swings the sword to take its head off. His blow stops half-way, as the creature catches his wrist. He is shoved back into the tree, and the creature advances. Quickly dodging the attack, he swings the sword at the creature's back....and then he sees its wings. The blade grazes a wing, drawing a thin stream of blood.

        "You shall DIE for that, mortal...SLOWLY, and painfully!"

        "I do not intend to die this night, beast. You, on the other hand..."

        He is slammed to the ground as the creature flies straight at him quickly. Standing up, he squeezes the handle hard, pushing a certain point. The sword seemingly lights up, and his hand feels a buzz, almost as if being mildly electrocuted. Knowing that this is a do-or-die situation, he charges at the creature, then darts to the side and then swings the sword down, pointing it at the creature.

        "What?!?"

        The sword lights up with a brilliant flash, and then His hand is jerked back as the sword releases a tremendous electrical blast--straight at the creature! It hits square in the chest, sending the creature against a tree, where it slumps to the ground. Striding quickly to the creature, He kicks it, and not realizing where in the park he is, the creature slides into a pond. Hearing the splash, knowing it can get away if it can swim, he decides on a course of action. Aiming the sword at the pond, he activates it again, draining its battery, thrusting a large charge of electricity through the water. An unearthly scream pierces the night, and He is satisfied that he has succeeded in stopping the creature. He can go home now.

Continued in Rune: A New Twist #2

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