DCM Vertigo


Moon Knight

Little Deaths
by Drutz

In his dreams, he died. Again. He was Marc Spector, bastard mercenary who didn't care about anything but cash. Only that wasn't true -- he did care and that had cost him his life. Bushman -- the psychotic with the painted face -- had left him for dead. But Khonshu, a long forgotten Egyptian god, had seen fit to resurrect him.

He became the Moon Knight, building not one, but three new lives for himself. Marc Spector was still dead, but now Jake Lockley drove cabs in New York . . . Steven Grant bought and sold fortunes every day from his boardroom, financed secretly by Spector's old earnings . . . and Moon Knight protected the night from evil. Life was good, if confusing. Three lives, each with their own quirks.

Steven had a lover, Marlene, who knew of his other lives, but detested them. Jake had friends, Gena and Crawley, whom Steven would never have been caught dead with. Moon Knight had only one real friend -- Jean-Paul "Frenchie" Duchamp, an old mercenary pal of Spector's. Frenchie was Moon Knight's pilot and confidant. His Alfred, if you will.

But then came changes -- a period of mania during which Khonshu apparently took control of his life. His every move being manipulated by the power of the god. Then the abandonment of his multiple identities and the resurrection of Marc Spector. But Spector had died again . . . only to reborn as the Moon Knight, in order to combat the forces of Sett. Steven Grant and Jake Lockley had returned as well, whole again and alive. And, in his dreams, he was still dead. Buried deep beneath the earth, only this time Khonshu never came for him, Stained Glass Scarlet never dug him up . . . this time he was alone and in the dark. Forever.

Marlene Alraune sighed and sank luxuriously into the bubble bath. After all the darkness, life was good again. Her Steven was back (and that was wonderful, even if it meant that Jake Lockley was back too -- how a change of clothes could so alter a man's scent was beyond her) and, more importantly, her LIFE was back. She hadn't taken well to life without Steven. Frenchie had been a godsend, of course, always supporting her, but she'd had a major hole in her life without Steven.

She realized as she played with the bubbles that she'd been without Steven for a very long time . . . at one point, Marc had 'killed' his other identities and formed SpectorCorp. In her head, she knew Marc and Steven were one and the same but . . . they WEREN'T. Their mannerisms were different, their touch was different, everything was different. Steven Grant was the man she loved, not Marc Spector. Marc Spector could stay dead for all she cared. Dead and buried, and in the dark. Forever. She hoped.

Steven Grant moved from his limo to Jake Lockley's cab, moving from one identity to the other with as much ease. He sometimes wondered who he really was nowadays. Was he Steven Grant, Jack Lockley, Marc Spector or, more worrying, was he truly at home as Moon Knight, The Fist of Khonshu?

Pushing these thoughts to back of his mind he took on the Jake persona, he needed him tonight. He needed information on some call-girls who'd been murdered, four of them. Jake moved in the right circles to get the info without having to resort to the heavy-handed methods of Moon Knight.

There may be a killer out there - a serial killer and he needed to be stopped by any means he could.

Jake Lockley sauntered up to the counter of Gena's Diner, his reaching out to snatch up some of the peanuts that sat in a bowl, just waiting for him. He gave a wave to Gena, who was down at the other end of the counter, taking an order.

"Hiya, Lockley." Gena gave a friendly wave. "It's good to see you're still among the living."

"Always, Gena. How're the kids?" Lockley asked, popping a peanut into his mouth. Gina's two sons were teenagers and like all teenagers, never around.

"Same old, same old. You get any live ones tonight?"

Jake shook his head. "Nah. Been pretty slow." He glanced around the diner. "Where's Crawley?"

Gena raised her nose in the air. "Old coot's done taken his flies out the door. Last I saw of him he was headed over to that Huddle House across the street. Little traitor."

Jake laughed. "He'll be back, don't worry." He turned and began heading towards the door.

Gena narrowed her eyes. "And where are you going?"

"To check on Crawley."

"Better not be turnin' traitor like Crawley, Jake. I thought I knew you better than that!"

Grinning, Lockley stepped out the door into the night air.

Becky Golden stepped into the club and tried to keep her revulsion from showing. She'd been on the streets long enough to know that it was best to just pretend you were enjoying -- sometimes the johns finished quicker that way. She was 16 years old, with dyed blond hair and feisty green eyes, but her beauty was fading fast. Needle tracks dotted her arms and her eyes were red-tinged. Sometimes she almost wished she were back home in Jersey, letting her dad feel her up on Saturday nights.


She looked around the dance club, spotting one of her more frequent johns. He was tall and good looking, but weird. Then again, all her johns were weird. Most just wanted quickies, which was nice, but they sure as hell never tipped. And this guy -- for all his fetishes -- tipped every single time.

She began moving towards him. She made sure to put a sway in her hips as she got closer and she saw him make eye contact with her, and then begin the slow, languid trip down her body with his gaze.

"Hi. Thought I might find you in here. You lookin' for company tonight?"

The john smiled. He had a nice smile really, very friendly. He always smelled nice, too. Like a gentleman. There wasn't many of those in the club. "Of course I am," he said. "You're just the person I was hoping to meet here. Are your bruises gone from the last time yet, my dear?"

Becky flinched a little. He did like to hurt her sometimes -- well, a lot of the time. But he didn't mind if she shot up first and that was nice. The smack deadened the pain. Even made it kind of sexy sometimes. Exciting even.

"Oh, yeah," she lied. "I'm all healed up. Ready for some more fun."

The john nodded. "Good. Shall we?" He motioned towards the door with a sweep of his arm and she moved into step beside him.

Crawley stumbled into the alley behind the Huddle House and fumbled with his zipper. God, he had to take a leak. He swiped at the air, trying to drive some of the flies away. Damn things were with him so much he wished he claim them as dependants on his tax returns . . . not that he filed taxes, anyway.

"You know they have places called 'bathrooms' now, Crawley." Jake shook as his head as he regarded Crawley with amusement.

"Ah, friend Jake! So good to see you again . . . I was merely admiring the fine brick work here in the alley and paying my sentiments to the architecture . . . "

"Sure you were, Crawley. Listen, I want to ask you something . . . " He moved forward, producing a twenty dollar bill. "I've heard some working girls have been getting knifed up . . . you know of any details?"

Crawley clawed at the cash and quickly hid it in the folds of his clothes. "Ah! I do indeed, friend Jake . . . I believe there are six dead now."

Lockley's eyebrows shot up at this news. "Really? I've only heard about four."

"No, it's six, Jake. You know how some murders just slip through the cracks in this town."

Lockley nodded. "Yeah, I do. So, what about details -- any particular things you've heard?"

Crawley scratched a sore on his chin. "Well, all the girls are young -- 16-20 mostly. And there are a lot of signs that point to an s&m angle, some from that club downtown . . . and there's no shortage of people into that these days, y'know."

"I know."

Crawley stared at his fingertip for a moment. "It's a sign o'the apocalypse."

"Thanks, Crawley. You can go back to paying your respects to the architecture now." said Lockley, leaving Crawley to it.

"I think I'll do just that, Jake. Keep in touch."

Twenty minutes later, a white helicopter soared over Manhattan. Jean-Paul Duchamp, affectionately known as "Frenchie", sat in the pilot's seat, his mind at peace. Like Marc, the past few years of his life had been hectic ones and nights like tonight -- though they were serious business -- were like coming home. A welcome relief from the other pressures of life.

"Well, Marc, how goes zee investigation?"

Moon Knight moved to the front, sitting down beside Frenchie, surveying the night. "I think I've narrowed the murderer's hunting ground down to a few blocks. I'd prefer you didn't call me Marc, by the way."

Frenchie rolled his eyes. "Oui, Marc, as you wish. You are zee Moon Knight to me."

Moon Knight ignored his friend's jibe. "Set me down near Club XTC. Several of the girls who've been picked up were either regulars there or worked the streets around it." Suddenly he let out a cry of pain and grabbed his temples under his cowl.

Frenchie opened his eyes with alarm. "Marc! What is ze matter?"

Moon Knight shook his head, as if trying to clear the cobwebs. "Nothing. Just a headache."

"How long have you been having these?"

"Not long," Moon Knight lied.

"And Marlene -- does she know?" pressed Frenchie.

Moon Knight shook his head. "No!" he said firmly. "And she won't until I find out what's causing them. The club is up ahead. I'm taking to the ladder."

Frenchie frowned as Marc moved to the door of the copter. He had seen Marc keep secrets too many times in the past. He didn't want to see it happen again.

Moon Knight threw open the door to the copter and felt the cold air rush past him. His head ached and stars flashed in front of his eyes. What was wrong . . . ? What was causing these? He tossed out the ladder, watching it fall. His hand shook as he reached out to grasp it . . . but darkness swirled around him. Suddenly he felt strong hands clasp his waist.

"Frenchie . . . ?"

He turned his head to see who was supporting him but he what he saw made him gasp. Holding him was Khonshu himself -- looking exactly like the statue that resided in Grant Mansion. "Your day is done, my Knight. The time has come for a new warrior . . . Die the Eternal Death!" Khonshu shoved Moon Knight forward, and the white garbed warrior lost his footing fell into open space, his mind reeling.

"No . . . ! I don't want to . . . die!" he screamed.

But as the wind rushed past him, he knew that his dreams were going to come true. He was going to die. Again. Maybe for the last time.

"No . . . " Moon Knight's voice sounded far away. The wind was rushing past him and his long white cloak fluttered wildly. For just a moment he saw the visage of Khonshu, staring down at him. But then the pain passed in his head and the vision faded. He was staring up into the moon, a bright full moon.

Marc twisted himself, letting his glider cloak spread out. It slowed his fall but he realized that he was low, very low. He was going to hit something -- and hit hard. He relaxed his body, angling his fall towards the awning in front of Club XTC. He folded his legs up and hit the awning, bouncing up into the air. A twist in mid-air and he landed with a thud in front of the club, while a dozen or so S&M fans ogled him. He stood unsteadily, his legs aching.

A young man with a safety clip in his nose moved forward. "Hey, Moonshine, you need some help?"

"No thanks, kid. I do this all the time." answered Moon Knight, regaining his bearings.

"Maybe you shouldn't, then. You look like hell."

Moon Knight frowned. "Thanks for the advice," he replied coldly.

"Marc? Are you okay? I saw zee fall . . . what happened?" Frenchie's voice drifted to him via his comlink in his cowl.

"I'm fine, Frenchie. Set the copter down on the roof -- I'm going inside."

"In costume, Marc?"

Moon Knight glanced at the gaudily dressed clubgoers. "I'll fit right in, Frenchie. Don't worry." he said, grinning under his mask.

Jean-Paul Duchamp shook his head, as he brought the moon copter in for a silent landing. Marc was keeping secrets again. "Why haven't you learned your lessons, Marc? How many times do you have to die?"

Jean-Paul didn't voice his concerns, but he silently wondered if Marc Spector really cared for anyone . . . but himself.

The beautiful redhead drummed her fingers on the tabletop. The man across from her was grotesquely fat, but strangely enough, it all looked solid. He smoked a fine cigar and considered her calmly. "I do not often allow outside interests in my city . . . " Wilson Fisk blew smoke in the woman's direction.

"I am not just any 'outside interest', Mr. Fisk. I am Plasma, I am the leader of the army of Khonshu."

"An army, you say?" The Kingpin slammed his fist down on the table. "All the more reason not to let you into my city . . . !Your petty schemes do not fit into my overall plans."

Plasma stood silently, her face breaking into a smile. "I came to you out of mutual interest, Fisk. You see, I seek an alliance. I have certain . . . agendas. But I need financing for those. In return, you have my troops . . . and me . . . at your disposal. Surely you would like to see some of your enemies disposed of?"

Fisk narrowed his eyes. "Better people than you have tried to eliminate my enemies, my dear. But your offer intrigues me. Very well, my men shall draw up a contract. Your organization will get the funding it needs -- within reason -- but you will have . . . duties . . . to perform in return."

Plasma held a hand across the table and Fisk took it. "Thank you, Mr. Fisk . . . you won't regret this."

Moon Knight stepped into the club, his eyes adjusting to the dim glare. Hard industrial music pumped into the club and he saw figures -- most wearing leather -- gyrating on the dance floor. A row of girls -- prostitutes -- stood in a line near the entrance, eager to earn their night's dollar.

He walked towards a young one whose eyes had lit up when he had entered. She looked young, with dyed blond hair and half-stoned eyes. "Someone's killing your friends . . . seen anything that might help catch him?"

The girl sniffed twice and shook her head. "Don't think so . . . you're Moon Knight, right? You need company?"

Moon Knight shook his head, putting his hand on the girls shoulder. "No thanks . . . you sure you haven't seen anything?"

"I have." Moon Knight turned to see a young brunette. She was wearing a choker and a leather bodysuit. One of her eyes was darkened with a bruise. "My friend Becky left with one of the usual johns last night . . . she didn't come back last night. We share an apartment together, y'know . . . and, well, what with the murders and all . . . I think she might be in trouble."

"I understand. What was his name?"

The girl looked worried, chewing on her bottom lip. Moon Knight knew he would lose her if he didn't press her.

"I can't help you, if you don't help me!"

"Julian. Julian Moor. I don't know anything else."

Moon Knight started to move away. "I'll find your friend. If she's safe, I'll drop her off at your apartment personally."

The brunette nodded slowly. "And what if she's not . . . ?"

Moon Knight paused. "Then I'll avenge her."

Marlene Alraune couldn't believe her ears. "You've been keeping this from me?! And you admit it?!"

Steven Grant sat across from her at the dining table, enjoying his poached eggs for breakfast. In the kitchen, Samuels ignored the harsh words. It wasn't unusual.

Steven glanced up from his newspaper. "Yes, I've been having headaches. Bad ones. And yes, I've kept it from you. I'm sorry." He looked back down at his paper.

Marlene came over and slammed her hand down on the paper. "Damn it, Steven . . . I love you. How DARE you do this to me again? It's bad enough you dress up like a ghost every night to try and carry out the orders of some damn statue! I just got you back . . . " She pulled her hand back and shook her head.

Steven glanced up and nodded. Standing, he brought her head to his chest. "I'm sorry, Marlene. I'm . . . I'm scared, too. I feel like my luck is going to run out on me sooner or later . . . and these headaches have been bad. I nearly died last night."

Marlene looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "Go to a doctor, Steven . . . please. I'm asking you to. Take care of yourself this time."

"I will. But not today, okay? I've got to meet with someone from Warhammer Construction today. I want my new office building downtown built as soon as possible . . . "

Marlene sighed. "Okay, okay. Tomorrow then. But please do it. I love you."

"Love you too, Marlene. Forever."

Steven Grant stepped out of his limo and walked inside Warhammer Construction. It was a fairly new company, but one with a rapidly growing reputation. He hoped his dealings with them would be pleasant ones.

His mind ran over what Marlene had said this morning. Perhaps he wasn't taking care of himself like he should. More than ever he needed to do that. He'd died so many times, he'd lost count, but how many times would Khonshu resurrect him? How many times before he really would be replaced?

These headaches, with the hallucinations, had him thinking about a possible brain tumor. Perhaps all those strange visions he saw, we're from some other time . . .

He would contact a physician this afternoon, he decided. Better be safe than sorry. The last thing he needed was another spell during a Moon Knight mission or while Jake Lockley was behind the wheel of his cab . . .


Julian Moor smiled at himself in the mirror. Handsome, so handsome. To die for, really. He chuckled at that. The girl Becky had been fun, but unsatisfying. He'd toyed with her too many times before he'd made the kill . . . she was old news. Time for some fresh blood. A real challenge. He looked over at the clock -- 9:30 p.m. Time to party. Time to prowl. He checked his hair one last time and stepped out of his apartment building.

He nodded to the doorman and stepped up to the curb. He smiled as a cab pulled up immediately. It was going to be a good night. A lucky one. He slid into the backseat.

"Where to, pal?" The cabbie was a dirty sort, a ruffian. Julian hated the type. He'd grown up in the bronx, surrounded by this type of blue-collar worker. Disgusting. Just the man's rough voice angered him. He would have to work off some tensions later.

"Club XTC."

The cabbie turned and winked. "Hey, no problem, pal. You into that kinky stuff? Whips and chains?"

Julian frowned. "Do you harass everyone who rides with you?"

The cabbie laughed. "Yep, sure do. Part of the job." He turned back around and began driving.

Julian stared out the window, hoping the man wouldn't talk further. His hopes were in vain.

"You from around here, pal?"


"Oh, too bad. I love locals. Name's Lockley, Jake Lockley. What's yours?"


"You like hurtin' girls, Julian?"

Moor looked up sharply. He saw Lockley watching him through the rear view window. "What did you say?"

"Just askin'. I mean, y'know, with you going to XTC and all. Or you like being hurt?"

Julian sighed. He didn't like this cabbie. At all. "Drop me off, please."

Lockley pulled over. "You sure, pal? We're blocks away and this isn't the nicest neighborhood . . . "

"This is fine." Julian tossed his money in the front and stepped out. He hurried away. What had the cabbie meant . . . ? He didn't like it. Maybe he should just return to his apartment and skip tonight?

Jake Lockley picked up a small communicator. "You there, Frenchie?"

"Oui, Marc. I see him. He is still moving in the direction of the club. Should I notify the police?"

Jake thought it over. "No. I want him. Keep tailing him. I'll join him in a few minutes. I'm going to change identities first."

"Oui, Marc. I shall not let zee killer get out of my sight."

Julian saw the club up ahead. He'd thought it over and decided that he would play tonight after all. No killing, though -- just playing with the prey first. He saw a shadow descend upon and when he looked up he saw what appeared to a ghost falling upon him. He fell to the ground, the ghost holding up by his collar.

"Becky . . . what did you do with her?" The ghost spoke in a rough voice.

Julian fumbled in his pocket, pulling forth a razor blade. It sprang to life. "I killed the little whore . . . what she deserved, the trash!" He brought the knife up, cutting deep into Moon Knight's arm. Julian pulled free.

"You're not a ghost . . . you're that Moon Knight!" Julian grinned. "I don't usually go for boys, but you'll certainly be a challenge . . . "

Moon Knight ignored the gash. He'd lost more blood than this before. He blocked Moor's slash, bringing a knee up and driving it hard into the killer's chin. He fell backwards with a grunt, blood flooding from his mouth as his teeth clamped down on his tongue.

Moon Knight grabbed Julian by his hair. "You're a murderer . . . an animal."

Julian slashed with the blade again, cutting across Moon Knight's chest. Moon Knight grunted as Julian pulled away once more, running quickly away. Moon Knight pulled out two crescent darts and threw them. They landed deep in Julian's legs, bringing him down.

Moon Knight walked slowly over to the killer. Once, in another life, Marc Spector would have blown this man's head off. But Marc Spector was several lifetimes ago. "Frenchie . . . ? Call the police. I have a gift for them."

"Oui, Marc."

Julian gibbered. "No, you can't put me away in there . . . not in prison. I'll die . . . "

Moon Knight stared at him. "You might, but not by my hands. You'll reap what you've sown. That's what we all do."

Next Issue: Plasma begins making Moon Knight's life a living hell, while Steven Grant goes to the doctor . . . and discovers that the answers he gets may not be the ones he's been looking for . . .