John Jericho: Monster Hunter
By Christopher Owens
EVIL HAS MET IT'S MATCH
Table of ContentsPreface p. 3Quote p. 4Prologue p. 5
1. The Hunter p. 6
2. New Partners p. 15
3. Welcome to JERICHO
4. The Crossroads
5. The Immortal Warrior
6. Kairi's Lesson in Superiority
7. The First Mission
8. The Land of Nightmares
9. Few Clues, More Questions
10. Thrill of the Hunt
11. Old Acquaintances
12. Kairi's Revelation
13. Questions and Answers
14. The Abomination Key
16. Order of Execution
18. Race Against Evil
19. Take up thy Sword
20. Assault on Castle Dracula
21. Warrior's Flame
22. The Monster and the Monster Hunter
23. The Two Kairis
24. Monster's Lament
Epilogue Rain's Requiem
By Christopher Owens
Monster-n. 1. A structurally abnormal or grotesquely deformed animal or plant.2. An animal, plant or object of frightening or strange shape. 3. An extremely vicious or wicked person.
Hero-n. 1. A figure in mythology and legend renowned for great strength, courage and daring. 2. A man celebrated for special achievements and attributes. 3. The leading male character in a story or play.
Villain-n. 1. A wicked or evil person. 2. A fictional character usually at odds with the hero.
What truly defines someone as a hero, villain or monster? In truth, a monster and a villain appear to be the same, but they are in fact two different things. When most people hear "monster" they immediately think of something out of a horror movie, (Vampire, werewolf, etc.). But a monster can be more than some savage beast with a limitless bloodlust. But a villain is no beast; the villain is cunning, intelligent knows what he's doing and enjoys it. A villain lives to invoke pain and suffering upon other people. Some of the worst people in history could be classified as either a monster or a villain.
However, in the looming darkness, there is one force that rises up to stand against the monsters and villains: the hero/heroine. It is a known fact that wherever there is darkness; light is also there to combat it. It's an endless struggle as old as time itself. But a hero does not have to have super powers; a hero could be your local fireman, police officer or even the boy that pulls the blind man out of the way of the incoming car. In fact, at one point in our lives, we all have been heroes for someone somewhere. The hero is the counterpoint to the villain, there to stop them every step of the way, and if need be eliminate the monsters in their path.
But not every monster is evil. Some are just misunderstood, hated and feared due to their appearance. Sometimes, what or who we mistake for monsters can in fact be angels, if they have someone to love and care for them. This begs the question, if a monster can become an angel should they be condemned? My answer is no. The fact is, not every living thing has to be hunted down and slaughtered like a wild animal. In this case, the roles are reversed; the hunter becomes the villain and the one defending the so-called "monster" is the hero. These roles are intertwined in an endless triangle. But even in desperate, dangerous times as this, everyone has a choice. The hunter could choose to give up the chase and let the "monster" go or choose to go through the protector; the protector could turn on the "monster" or choose to confront the hunter as best he can; even the "monster" has the choice of attacking the protector or defending his savior from the hunter. Either way, no one has any power to prevent someone from choosing. That is what makes all of us, monster, hero AND villain the same. So what makes someone a monster, hero or villain? It's not how we appear. It is the choices we make and the actions we do that defines who we are.
"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States
"I have seen many things in my short life. Some beautiful, some pure evil. I have also seen many interesting people. But there is only one… only one that entrances me. He is… very complex, perhaps the most complex person I have ever seen. He is brave, and yet secretly has his own inner struggle against some twisted dark force. He fights against fear, but he uses it as a weapon in his fight. Some people view him as a savior from God; others fear him as a demon from Hell. The Harbinger of Death he has been called before. What this means, I can only imagine, but it seems to be more than just a nickname.
"He fascinates me, this boy appearing to be seventeen but defies age itself. His powers are frightful, his skills extraordinary, and his senses uncanny. His is locked in some endless crusade against an unknown enemy, whom he hates very much. His heart is as cold and frozen and bare as the Antarctic tundra itself. But I can see past this, and I see him for what he truly is. He is a courageous defender of light, an advocate of goodness and the boy I have come to understand and respect. He is the boy I have fallen in love with. He is John Jericho."-
-From the diary of Kairi Valentine
London, England; Monday, February 14; 12:00 AM
Hello there friend, glad you could join me on this "balming" February evening. I can't guarantee you'll understand every aspect of my life. Hell there is still parts of me that I don't fully understand. Gotta hate amnesia. I should warn you though; if you're expecting a story full of "Magical woodland critters" or "The mystical power of nature", then surely this is not the story for you. I would just like to point out that there is NO such thing as magick. Nope sorry, you want magick, go read Harry Potter. But… if you like stories of heroic struggles of light against dark, man against beast, then sit down my friend and enjoy yourself. Although, I am no hero of any kind. At least in the public's eye. I think it's time to switch to a better location, so try to keep up with me as I run.
The year is 2,032; it's been… oh about 11 years since that big mess in the Middle East finally ended. It was a disaster let me tell you. Containment became the biggest problem; attacks spread all over the world, destroying once peaceful cities and towns everywhere. As a result, the world's leaders came together and formed the now so famous "Liberties" Treaty, which stated the world would be in an uneasy alliance to prevent any more mindless death and destruction. Now, in this period of reconstruction, things are starting to come under control. At least, that's what those government dogs tell us free citizens.
If I seem harsh toward governments, I do in fact have a reason. Under the cover of darkness, I, a seemingly lowly seventeen-year-old, travel all over the world just to aid this planet Earth. But, certain things happen… murders, fires, bombings, you name it, it happened. And according to the police, I am the ONLY one leaving the scene of the crime. So, in order to prevent widespread chaos, the world's leaders label yours truly as a, and I quote, "Mindless terrorist, bent on ending our peaceful coexistence and bringing back the times of war". Aren't they nice guys? So word goes in to Interpol to track me down and bring me in, DEAD OR ALIVE. Now I am forced to run for my life, all the while trying to do my job. What is my job, you are wondering? Read on friend, and you may find out.
"I hate winter in England", I mutter to myself as I zip up my blue vest further and wrap my black, sleeveless leather duster closer around my body, "I wish he would show up already." Oh that's right I never told you. I'm here in England tracking a really sick bastard. The guy goes around killing only prostitutes. But he doesn't just kill them; in most cases he practically rips them apart. Most of the time, the internal organs are removed… among other horrible injustices. No one can find any murder weapon, no fingerprints, no tangible evidence of who the guy is, or where he goes. He just disappears into thin air. He had reportedly killed more than eight prostitutes, and in doing so earned a repulsive reputation, even a name that has lived in infamy. But… he has not been seen or heard for almost 200 hundred years. The fact that he has started up his spree once again after such a time leaves me baffled. I read all I could on the case, and managed to track him down to his most infamous hunting ground. Now… all I must do is sit, and wait for the chance to rid the world of such an evil once and for all.
"I guess my psychopathic quarry is not showing itself tonight" I sighed, "I guess I'm just gonna have to-."
"EEEKKKK!" The bloodcurdling scream interrupted me, quickly followed by an evil, ominous laughter. Apparently I had spoke too soon. All right it's time to finish this, I thought to myself as I ran and jumped from shingled rooftop to shingled rooftop, God watch me, so that I cannot be too late. Oh one last prospect you should know. My name… is John Jericho.
Anyway, introductions met, I continued my perilous trek from rooftop to rooftop, hoping to pinpoint the source of the scream. I knew what it was, a scream of terror, of fear. A sound I had heard oh so many times it was like the everyday songs of a cardinal or sparrow. Except it still sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it. Rooftop to rooftop, onwards I run until I kneel on a church spire, scanning the area. I had reached my presumed destination, a town with such a history of bloodshed, violence, murder and mystery its name still lives on in infamy: Whitechapel.
"All right", I say to myself as I adjust my black fedora, "I'm on your home field now." I look around everywhere, but see nothing. "SHOW YOURSELF!!!" I shout out load. Bad move I know, but maybe I could get a reaction. Almost if on queue, I hear a loud sinister laughing over to my left. Gotcha you son of a bitch, I think to myself as remove a weapon from my coat. Single Action Army; old-fashioned I know, (very), but I'm more of an old-fashioned guy. Trust me, from my experience, it's not just about shooting a gun during the hunt, it's about reloading also. But this is no time for relishing historic weapons; someone's in trouble. As quickly and steadily as I can I load six, silver alloy bullets, dipped into holy water with explosive tips, into the pistol, and spin the cartridge into the gun.
"Time to end this before it starts anew", I say as I spin the gun twice around my finger and pull back the hammer. Very quickly I look around, making sure I haven't been seen, and then drop down into the nearest alleyway. Its times like this I take pride in my wardrobe. Aside from my vest and the white shirt underneath, I can blend in completely with the shadows. My coat, gray cargo pants and black combat boots make me one with the night. Making me the ideal hunter. But it is not just black that colors this alleyway; it is also red. Small red streams that lead away from me further down the alley, straight to the unfortunate sight I had hoped not to find.
There in the center of the alley, is the body of a young girl, at least 20 years old. I kneel next to her body to check her pulse, but I already know what the outcome is by the blood oozing onto my fingers. Her throat had been slit, her head almost completely decapitated. Examining further, I realized her heart had been completely removed. Even in all of the years I had been doing this job, it still took a lot of self-control in order to not vomit. But the most disturbing image in this canvas of horror was her eyes; they were open in a look of pure terror, like she had seen the worst possible sight imaginable. Slowly, I closed her eyes and said a silent prayer for her besieged soul that it may find peace. Then something caught my attention. I saw a small stream of blood leading away from the body in a somewhat zigzag pattern.
My eyes followed the blood trail further down the alley… right up to the shining tip of a serrated knife blade, smeared with red blood. The knife slid up out of sight into the sleeve of a black trench coat. The coat covered a tall slender figure, around 6"2. I couldn't see anything else about him because he had his back to me, except for a tall black top hat upon his head. In a twisted sense of fate, I knew that I had found the man I was looking for.
"STOP RIGHT THERE MURDERER!" I yell as I rose to my feet. The figure stopped walking and instead turned to face me. The figure wore a black vest under his imposing coat. The black pants and dress shoes he wore only complemented his already shadowy appearance. But his face… his skin was a pale gray, a thick black mustache resting on his upper lip and short black hair protruding from underneath his hat. His eyes were a dull red, blood red. His lips curled back into a horrid evil leer.
"You're out of your league here boy", the man said through his smile. Suddenly, all round me, I hear loud whistles… and sirens. Damn it, I thought to myself, the cops are here. "Oh and tell the uniformed officials Jack is back. Catch me if you can." I tried to run at him, but with a wave of his hand a small canister fell to the ground, with clouds of smoke billowing out. When it cleared, the man was gone.
"Damn smoke grenades", I muttered to myself, "I gotta get out of here. I won't let the cops get me." As the sirens grew closer, I knew I had nowhere else to go but up. Carefully, I placed my fingertips on the side of he nearest building. Slowly but steadily I began to climb up the side of the building, until my feet were completely flat and I was horizontal to the ground. Yes, in case you're wondering, I was standing on the wall. No time for games, I thought to myself, I have to get this bastard before he kills again. As quickly as I could I ran up the wall and jumped onto the roof. Off in the distance, I could see what appeared to be a large black mist flying north. I took off like a bolt of lightning, hopping from rooftop to rooftop, dodging chimneys and antennas in my effortless chase, fully intent on catching my prey.
I was so close to catching him, oh so close, when out of nowhere I heard a gunshot and a bullet pierced my arm with such force that it threw me off the roof! In a last attempt, I stretched my hand out as far as I could and dug my fingers right through the brick. Thankfully, my fingers stuck. I almost managed to kiss the dirt. Not that it would have affected me. While I hung on, I used my free hand to dig into my arm and pulled out the green pulsating bullet. Instantly, the flesh that had been pierced by the small projectile began to sew itself back together, the blood reversing it's flow back into my veins, until there was no longer a bullet hole at all. My body had repaired itself on its own. A healing factor truly is a beautiful thing.
After my would be "surgery" I climbed back onto the roof, ducking behind a nearby chimney for cover, and pulled out the Colt SAA.
"I didn't know if you would survive that!" A voice yelled from across another building.
"Oh it takes A LOT more than sonic bullets to take me out, Detective!" I shouted back. Out from the shadows and into the moonlight stepped the figure of Detective Victoria Marshall. I have to admit she seemed to have an almost perfect looking figure, perfect hourglass shape, her jet black hair tied back into a long shoulder-length ponytail. Even in the moonlight her blue eyes sparkled with brilliance. She wore a small black coat to keep her protected from the chill, her black pants holstering a 9mm handgun, a semi-auto rifle at her hips. Emblazoned upon her coat was a bright golden badge labeled INTERPOL. Even though she's around 20, a few years older than me, she can't resist flirting like a teen whenever she gets a chance. And she can play a mean hand.
"I was beginning to wonder if you would ever catch up to me", I said with a devilish smile.
"Wasn't hard", she replied, "Just follow the screams."
"Are you insinuating something, Detective?"
"Depends, are you responsible for that mishap back there?"
"No." I say to her honestly. That's the thing I like about Victoria, even though she's assigned with bringing my carcass I, DOA, she is one of the only authoritative officials that I trust. That and she's just too much fun when she's around.
"Alright Jericho, I believe you. So what was that… thing that you were chasing after?"
"I could tell you", I said as I jumped over to her rooftop, "But you'd never believe me."
"Try me", Victoria replies with a smirk. But before I can even begin, I hear a loud scream behind the detective, closely followed by loud laughter.
"Damnit! I don't have time to explain Viki, this is serious!" I turn to leave.
"Jericho wait! Let me come with you, I can help!"
"No Viki, I'm sorry this is to dangerous for you. Stay here it's safer." Lightly I kiss the detective's cheek before continuing my perilous rooftop trek to the only place the man could hide: his old stomping grounds.
It is almost 1:00 am in the ancient cathedral. The candles illuminated the beautifully ornate stained-glass windows that adorn the walls and ceiling. The priest begins closing the building for the evening; the worshippers and the alter boys gone home to bed. It had been another good day to worship the Lord. The old priest smiles to himself; he is happy that even in these times of reconstruction and healing, people still have their faith.
However the old chapel was receiving an unwelcome visitor. The priest heard a sharp laughter behind him. This was no good laugh; it was a laugh of pure evil with dark intentions on one's mind. The priest turned slowly to see a tall man, draped in a black trench coat with a tall black top hat. The man's face was a hideous pale gray color, with a large black moustache covering his upper lip, and blood red eyes shimmering with dark intentions. Next to the man, locked in a deadly grip, was a young girl, maybe early twenties, struggling to break free. But the stranger was quite strong.
"Evening, Padre", the stranger said in a gravely voice.
"Who-who are you", the priest asked in a terrified voice.
"Me? Oh… you can call me Jack", the stranger said through a crooked smile as a long red tongue snaked it's way out of his mouth and licked the cheek of the frightened girl, who screamed in agony.
"Please… let the girl go", the priest begged, "This is a child of God-." The priest was interrupted by a loud, harsh laughter from the stranger.
"Don't fool me with lies priest", the man barked, "There is no God. If there were… then the girl would have been saved. But the night is still young, and I want to enjoy myself."
The girl screamed in terror at what she knew was about to come. But the stranger was interrupted from his pleasure by a loud knock on the cathedral doors. The knock resounded throughout the entire house of worship. The knock came again, but no one moved. Suddenly, a large hole emerged right through the solid wood of the door, followed by a hand. The stranger turned; he hadn't expected to be followed so easily. But he was prepared for this. With a snap of his fingers, the doors exploded in a shower of wood, flames and smoke. The stranger laughed horribly as he did so. But suddenly the remainders of the doors came sailing through the air straight for him! Instinctively, the stranger dropped the girl and jumped out of the way, leaving the girl still in the way of the incoming debris! But some unseen force sped by, picked her up and placed her in the arms of the priest, just as the splinters of wood demolished themselves upon the organ pipes. The whole action took 5 seconds.
Out of the smoke in the threshold, a figure stepped forward. The figure's black duster billowed in the wind, his Fedora secure upon his head. I blew out the few flames that were living on my coat, before throwing a menacing glance at the stranger, who was getting to his feet with a mocking smile on his face.
"So the rumors are true about you… JOHN JERICHO!" he yelled my name in half defiance, half laughter. The girl's tear-filled eyes grew in the new terror, the priest clutching her closer to him, a shocked look on his face. The surprises and shocks were just coming one after the other for him.
"Jack… the Ripper", I announce as I walk towards the people, "Close to 12 counts of murder you've accumulated over the years. Never been caught, no murder weapon found. Quite an impressive record you've got running for you, Jackie boy. But… it still stands. You slaughtered innocent women just because you were ashamed of who you are, and what you could never get."
"None of them were innocent back then", the Ripper smirked, "They were whores all of them, seeking pleasure for money or lodging. Unfortunates they were called. But I've had… a change of heart. I prefer my kill fresher, and with more to offer."
"You are a sick bastard aren't you", I scold, and "You truly are a monster. It disgusts me to even stand in your presence. You should be rotting in a cell right now, if-."
"Don't talk like one of them because you're not!" the Ripper interrupted, "You and I have more in common than you think Johnny. Hunted for years, horrible crimes on our heads, dubbed 'monsters' by the media. We could almost be