Fantastic artwork by Scott D.M. Simmons
This is some fan-fiction I wrote using my friend Gabe's characters, The Red Phantom and The Quiet Man.
The Quiet Man was one of the most agile people The Red Phantom had ever met. And because he rarely uttered a sound it was like chasing the wind. Carrying a quiver on his back and a bow across his body didn’t slow him down at all. He leaped from object to object like a circus acrobat but instead of a trapeze he grabbed flag poles, exhaust pipes, or any other part of a building propelling him across the city.
The specially designed bow looked like it had been made from scratch and the quiver looked like any you would find at a sporting goods store except for the unique markings and a special hidden system that kept all his arrows from falling out even as he flew threw the air. Those were his tools of the trade.
The Red Phantom’s physical shape rivaled that of an Olympic athlete but it took everything he had to keep up with the stoic archer. At one point he had pulled out his revolvers in an attempt to stop the Quiet Man but it was to no avail since he moved way too quickly, many times dodging behind objects in a hap-hazard pattern. It’s no doubt that he could hit him but the Phantom didn’t want to take the risk of mortally wounding the archer. The Quiet Man had too many questions to answer.
When it seemed like the rooftop chase would never end The Phantom got the break he needed. They had reached a section of the city that was littered with abandoned warehouses. They reached the last warehouse which had only open yards to the right and left and the river was at the rear of the building. But as the Quiet Man raced across the old roof he suddenly dropped into a hole and disappeared.
The Red Phantom was mere seconds behind him and dropped into the same rooftop hole as he reached into his jacket and pulled out his dual pistols. As he landed on the rubble - covered floor below the only light was from the full moon outside as it shined through the old glass windows. Faint footsteps could be heard ahead.
The Red Phantom knew that something had to be done quickly or he would lose his quarry and he’d come too far for that to happen. He holstered one of his guns, reached into his jacket pocket a pulled out a small marbled stone with strange cryptic symbols carved into it. It gave off a strange yellowish glow. With his gloved hand outstretched he began speaking an incantation in Latin.
“Cut this darkness like a knife.
Fill the structure with the sun,
From the other side of the earth”
A beam of light shot out of the rune and engulfed first the room and then the entire building with sunlight. The Phantom could now see that he was in some kind of office that led to a corridor. The corridor opened into a balcony that over-looked the open storage area of the warehouse. The Quiet Man had just reached the balcony.
With one fluid motion the archer stopped in his tracks, pulled an arrow from his quiver, and fired. The arrow was heading straight for the Phantom’s head.
The Red Phantom dropped the rune and pulled out his second revolver but there was no time to fire. Instead, he crossed his guns together in front of his face and forced the speeding arrow up and away from him – a feat a normal person could never pull off.
Instinctively, Phantom fired at the silent archer hoping to disarm him but the bullets whizzed past the quiver as The Quiet Man leaped over the railing into the storage area.
Throughout the night, the Phantom was impressed by The Quiet Man’s fearless antics and this was no exception. Even as he raced towards the balcony The Red Phantom was ever cautious. Nothing could be taken for granted when it came to his foe.
Twisting in mid-air and facing the balcony he let loose with his arrows again. One entered the gun turret of The Phantom’s extended pistol and the other was heading for the opposite shoulder. The Phantom managed to twist his body to evade the second arrow. The arrow had found a home on the wall behind him as The Phantom felt a sharp pain.
“Damn it.” The Phantom whispered as he glanced at the aftermath of the arrow’s trail. The weapon had left a deep gash and was bleeding heavily.
Meanwhile, The Quiet Man had continued his fall and contorted his body again as he hit the floor. In a sort of ballet, he was able to roll away and use his momentum to get to his feet and ready an arrow in his bow. He focused on the balcony above pulling the cord taut.
The Phantom had braced himself against the wall, staying out of view. He looked across the warehouse floor and there behind The Quiet Man was a huge metal bin filled with coal and an access hatch in front. The Phantom aimed and fired a barrage of bullets at the padlock holding the hatch shut.
Once the archer had turned to find the target of Phantom’s shots it was too late. The hatch dropped down and released a sea of black stones engulfing The Quiet Man covering him up to his shoulders.
Pushing past the pain in his shoulder The Phantom leaped from the balcony and grasped a pulley cable hanging from the ceiling. Quickly he slid down the chain as he felt the friction burn through his gloved hands. He couldn’t afford to take the silent archer’s situation for granted.
The Quiet Man had managed to climb above the coal, frantically trying to pull his legs free. For the first time he had left himself defenseless and The Red Phantom was not going to let it pass. As he landed on a large crate next to the opened coal bin he quickly reloaded his pistols and fired. The lower portion of the archers quiver was blown to pieces as was all the tips of the arrows within.
The Quiet Man had finally reached the wall of the empty bin and launched himself into the air landing in front of The Phantom. With incredible speed he used his bow to knock the Phantom’s pistols away and into the coal followed with a hand thrust into the wound on his shoulder.
Blinded by pain The Red Phantom took several steps back while The Quiet Man just stood motionless. Then slowly The Quiet Man reached up and adjusted the red bandana that was always wrapped around his eyes maybe as an act of arrogance or something more. As he lowered his right arm a hidden knife slid out from his sleeve into his hand.
With a characteristic ratcheting sound The Quiet Man opened his navaja, a special folding knife made in Spain. Emotionless and determined the silent archer lunged toward The Phantom.
“I don’t think so” exclaimed The Phantom as he blocked the knife and followed with a punch to Quiet Man’s face. The archer rolled with the punch only to meet with another to his gut.
Dropping down, the silent archer tried to sweep Red’s leg but missed as The Phantom kicked down on The Quiet Man’s thigh. He grimaced in pain but never uttered a sound. Without hesitation, he countered with a slash across The Phantom’s stomach.
Another punch, this time hitting The Quiet Man’s wrist as the knife fell behind the crate. The Red Phantom looked down to find his tie cut in half and his jacket sliced. If he hadn’t pulled back at the right moment his guts would be on the floor.
The two combatants just stood facing each other as some sort of mutual respect. They were too evenly matched and they both knew it.
Just like a candle about to burn itself out the light in the warehouse began to flicker. The spell was never meant to be permanent and it’s time was running out. Realizing his time was short The Phantom had to end it.
“Thanks for the dance but you’re coming with me.” The Phantom cracked his knuckles and then put his fists up.
The Quiet Man simply shook his head slowly in defiance. The Phantom ran towards him as the archer reached up and ripped his bandana off. With a side-step The Quiet Man wrapped The Phantom’s wrist tightly and kicked his feet from under him.
While the Red Phantom wrestled to untie himself The Quiet Man reached down, grasped his bow and leaped towards the window facing them. The glass shattered as he escaped into the night.
The Phantom finally removed the cloth from his wrists and rushed the window as the spell finally ended and the warehouse went dark. Looking out the broken glass all he could see was the river below and the moon’s reflection on the water.
The Red Phantom looked down at the red cloth in his hand. “We’ll meet again, my friend” he proclaimed and then dropped the bandana out the window as the wind took it over the water.
The Red Phantom and The Quiet Man is copyright Luis-Gabriel Leal Ramirez