DCM Knights
Detective Comics

Seduction of the Past: Part II
by Chip Caroon

The door creaked open. The man in the bed opened his eyes, startled. He lay on his back, listening.

Footsteps. Coming closer, but ever so soft. If his senses had not been heightened by fear, he would not have noticed.

Soon, he saw a large black mass standing on the other side of the bed. He heard a muffled sound. He looked at his wife who was lying next to him. She looked so peaceful, but . . .

He put his hand on her forehead and felt the warm, sticky blood pouring from the gaping hole. Turning her head and lifting it off of the pillow, he saw a large red stain growing by the second.

He felt the gun press against his back of his head and heard the voice of the gunman whispering to him. "You'll be dead in a matter of seconds. And the last thing you'll ever hear is me. You think you're going to see a white light? It's not salvation. It's the blinding fires of hell, waiting to greet you."

The man gasped, unable to breathe. The gunman pulled back and pressed the trigger.

He didn't have time to scream as the bullet shattered his skull and penetrated deep into the brain tissue. He could feel the suddenness of his soul being forcefully ripped from his body and leaving the mortal vessel behind.

And then it was over. His body fell limp and lay beside his wife.

A girl ran in. She was grown, but barely an adult. The gunman only had a second to act before the scream erupted and the light came on. His mission accomplished, and not wanting to harm the girl, the gunman quickly shot the lamp beside the door out. The girl collapsed to the floor, not wanting to be shot herself. The gunman quickly ran out of the room . . .

Steve woke up, startled. His body felt moist, like he had been sweating in his sleep. He lay still for a full minute, trying to get the horrific images out of his head. Those images had haunted him in his dreams for years after the incident, but he thought he had finally overcome them.

Slowly, he turned his head to the left, and saw Mary sleeping peacefully beside him, her face buried in the pillow. He rubbed her bare back ever so gently, and started to lift himself up. The sun streamed in through the slits of the window blinds, and obscured his vision for a brief instant.

In a matter of minutes, he had gotten out of bed, and dressed himself in another white shirt and black pants. He walked downstairs, and picked up the phone, dialing the number for the office.

"Murphy and Miles, Miles speaking," came the answer.

"Nick, it's me. Mary Ward is here."

"She is? Why?"

"I thought you might know. She came here last night, obviously under some sort of stress, but collapsed before she could tell me anything. I want to know how she knew where I live."

"Beats me, I haven't seen her since she left the office yesterday."

" . . . Thanks, Nick," Steve said, hanging up the phone. He turned to find Mary standing at the entrance to the parlor, only wearing a pink fluffy robe.

"Morning," she said. "I, uh, found this beside the bed. I hope you don't mind . . . "

"Not at all," Steve replied. "I set it there for you when I got up. It was left here months ago. Thought it might come in handy some day."

Mary walked over and put her hand on the left side of Steve's face and pulled it down to her own and planted a long, slow kiss on his lips. After a few seconds, Steve grabbed her shoulders firmly and pushed her back. Mary had a look of shock and confusion on her face.

"You never did answer my question last night," Steve said. "How did you know where to run to?"

"Ellie gave me your address," Mary answered, sheepishly. "She said that I was only to come in case of absolute emergency. Well . . . "

"Hmmph," Steve muttered. He was interrupted by the doorbell before he could say anything more.

"Get behind me," he said, motioning for Mary to stand behind the door, and mostly out of sight. Mary obliged. Steve opened the door to find two plainclothes detectives awaiting him.

"Detective Cardona," he said. "And you have a new partner."

"Things change, Steve," the detective on the right said. "You should know, since you set my last partner up."

"That's bullshit," Steve replied. "He knew full well what he was getting into."

"The morgue for one," Cardona muttered. He pointed to his partner. "This is Scott."

"We have reason to believe you're holding a suspect in our case in your house," Scott added.

"And who would that be?" Steve asked.

"Ms. Mary Ward."

"Then it would not be your case. She came to me to find her brother."

"Except that we already found him. Dead," Cardona said.

Mary tried to hold back a sob, but failed.

"What was that?" Scott asked.

Steve looked behind the door, and carefully calculated his situation. He pulled Mary from behind the door and put his arm around her waist.

"Oh, I see," Cardona said. "Sleeping with the clientele again. Why am I not surprised?"

"Do you have a warrant?"

"Well, actually . . . no."

"Then get the hell off my property," Steve said through gritted teeth as he slammed the door.

"What do we do now?" Mary asked.

"Go upstairs," Steve said, walking back into the parlor. "Get dressed." He picked up the phone and dialed.


"It's me," Steve interrupted. "Robert Ward's been murdered. The cops are on the case. I want you to find out everything you can before I get to the office. I'll be there in twenty minutes."

"What do we have?" Steve asked quickly, walking into the office. Mary followed behind him.

"It's all here," Nick said, handing Steve a sheet of paper. He saw Mary. "Oh, hi." He then furrowed his eyebrows, sensing something familiar. "Wait a minute, didn't Gwen wear a dress just like that to - ?"

"Yes," Steve replied. "It came in handy, and was clean."

"Oh." Nick realized what was going on. "Anyway, I couldn't find out much, just the basics on the when, where, and maybe how."

"Outside of a bar," Steve whispered.

"Not just any bar. Martini's."

Steve looked up from the paper. "Benny."

"I was headed there now."

"He'll listen to me," Steve said, walking out of the office.

"You need backup," Nick replied, following him.

"Sure, just let me do all the talking."

Steve drove past Martini's bar. The cops still had the front blocked up, and traffic was still affected. He continued around the block and parked in the alley behind the bar.

"I'm going in. Nick, you wait by the back door. Only come in if you hear trouble."

"What about me?" Mary asked.

"You're staying in the car."


"Fine, you can stay with Nick. But just don't come in."


Steve closed the car door and walked up to the back door. Slowly, he opened it inward. The back room was unusually dark. He continued in.

Steve entered the main room of the bar. It was also darkened. Steve assumed that Martini wanted to save on the electric bill, and only had lights on all the way during business hours. He saw Benny resting his head against the bar.

Musta known I was comin', Steve thought. Then he realized that Benny was too still. He walked closer and was going to pull Benny up by the shoulders when he saw the large wet spot on the back of his head. The hair was matted down and sticking to his head. Part of his scalp was missing, and brain matter was exposed. Steve took a couple of steps back.

Suddenly, all of the lights in the bar were turned on. Steve saw the bodies of many cops laying on the floor. The way they were carefully placed led his eyes straight to the well dressed older man sitting, very relaxed, in a chair. He smiled cruelly at Steve.

"Dad," Steve whispered.

"I've been waiting for you," Carl Murphy said, standing up.

Steve walked closer. "You set it all up. You wanted to get back at me."

"You cost me a lot of money and manpower, boy. I told you you wouldn't get away from me that easily. This is what you became? A detective? Some sleuth you are. Even I could have seen this one coming from a mile away."

"I would have figured the extra hundred dollars would tip him off," a female voice said from behind.

Steve turned his head to see Mary entering, holding a small handgun.

"Nick . . . " Steve started to say, concerned for his partner.

" . . . is fine," Mary finished. "For now. Although he's going to have one hell of a headache when he wakes up."

"So, Robert . . . ?" Steve asked.

"He's very much dead," Carl answered. "Killed him myself. You know how it works. I hate when people doublecross me."

"So, what'd he do?"

"Tried to play me, and then turn me over to the cops. Only, I've seen those tricks a million times. I own this city."

"I noticed," Steve said. "Seems every crook I've cornered has some connection to you."

"You were one of those crooks, once upon a time."

"I saw the light. Too much needless killing just didn't sit well with me."

"A girl walks in at the wrong moment, and you have a change of heart. Never quite understood that one myself. But I'm loving the irony. That girl became your lover."

"We're not lovers," Steve growled as his left hand slowly reached across his body, meanwhile looking at Mary out of the corner of his eyes.

"Darling, you hurt me," Mary said.

"Hardly," Steve replied, quickly pulling his gun from the holster and firing in Mary's direction. She ducked and fired her own gun. Both shots missed horribly. Carl wasted no time pulling his gun out and aiming at Steve.

"It seems we're at a stalemate," Carl said with an evil grin on his face.

Steve looked at his father, who was pointing a gun at him, and then at Mary, who was also pointing a gun at him.

"Not quite," Mary said, quickly changing her aim and shooting Carl straight through the heart. "That's for my brother, you bastard."

Steve lowered his gun, and looked at his father's body. Then, in a fit of rage, he aimed for his father's head and fired four times.

"You really had parental issues, didn't you?" Mary asked.

Steve quickly aimed for Mary. "I still have one bullet left."

Mary walked up to Steve, and stood directly in front of him, her head less than two inches away from the gun. "You don't need to use it."

Nick came stumbling in. "What happened?" he asked. Then, he noticed the situation. "Wait a minute, she knocked me out!"

"Sorry about that," Mary replied. "Business hazard."

"But what business?" Steve asked.

"Look, I'm on your side. I tried to tell Robert not to get involved, but he knew that Carl was responsible for our parents' deaths, and thought he could bring him down from the inside. But then Robert got caught."

"How did you get involved?" Nick inquired.

"Carl was over for dinner a few times. I wasn't privy to most of the information until one time I accidently overheard their business conversation. Robert convinced Carl I would be a valuable asset."

"By helping set the trap up for me," Steve interjected, angrily.

"Not at all. I didn't know exactly what was up," Mary responded.

"You weren't running from anyone last night. My father came to you and set up the trap."

"It wasn't quite like that. I figured you would be able to take him down."

Steve kept quiet for a minute. Finally, he said, "You don't understand. I may have hated my father, but there was never any passion behind that hatred. I just didn't care. I never intended to kill him. I only wanted to atone for my sins."

"Have you?" Mary asked.

"I'm looking them in the face."

The bar was silent, almost an eerie quality.

"What are we going to do?" Mary finally asked.

"I'm leaving," Steve said. "You're staying here."

"But - !"

"I can't help you anymore, Mary."

"What about us?"

"There never was any 'us'. There was you trying to get to me through emotions to play a part in a larger scheme. Have a nice life. And I hope the cops aren't too rough on you." Steve walked out of the bar.

Steve had already started the car when Nick got in.

"That was pretty harsh," Nick said.

"That's life," Steve replied. "I don't like being played."

"I guess we have a whole new stack of paperwork to deal with now," Nick sighed.

"Just another day in the life of a private eye," Steve added as they drove along back to the office.

Next: Some time has passed . . .

Writer's Note:

At one point, this was going to be a Martian Manhunter story. You see, I found this story on my computer that I had written for a college class years ago. I thought I would be able to just change some names and a few words. But then I realized that changing the story to fit John Jones or any of the DCM characters would alter the structure too much. So, I just kept it as originally written.

My main goal at the time was to capture the mood and feel of a film noir. I think I accomplished that because several classmates noticed that with just the first few pages written.

Therefore, don't try to figure out who any of these characters are. They're not based off of any DC or Marvel characters (although I might have slipped an Easter egg in with Cardona).

-Chip Caroon