“The Sigil of Justice! We have been waiting for you,” said Dr. Death has he summoned his horde.
Casey turned to engage Dr. Death but a mass of gruesome faces rushed into the Necro-tron. Sparky was back on his feet and shouting for the horde to kill Sigil.
Dr. Death ascended the brass staircase towards the control area for the Necro-tron and from above laughing maniacly.
“Sigil, I knew my dolt of a child couldn’t kill you. All part of the plan,” said Dr. Death.
“It ends tonight!” Casey screamed.
“I suspect you didn’t come here thinking you could end me with your fists,” said Doctor Death.
“That’s the plan!” replied Casey and sparked his gauntlets.
“Then I won’t be needing these!” he said as he pulled a lever on the command console.
The four sarcophagi that circled the room angled up and their lids popped off and shattered to the floor. As the dust cleared, Sigil could see living people tied up inside. Hostages.
“The weakness of every hero, you can’t kill the innocent!”, said Dr. Death.
He had watched innocent people die for two years. He couldn’t change the past, but could he save these people? He looked at their living faces, such a rare site. The mother and daughter he had saved, were here. Something began to slip in him, a movement in the heart. The tremor that foreshadows the quake.
“We need to launch the Necro-Sanctum now, before he can sabotage it,” said Sparky and ordered more of the horde in.
“He will not murder them, at least not in front of our new guest,” he said with pleasure.
Casey bashed the head clean off the first to enter the room. His gallant armor was covered in guts and sinew. He turned to crack the skull of the next one and stumbled back in horror. The living corpse of the Great Crusader stood before him. The corpse rushed forward and pinned Casey to a wall.
Dr. Death laughed and laughed as Casey screamed and the Crusader exhaled putrid blood across his young apprentice’s face.
“He was just wandering around out front. Here you are the father and the son, it’s destiny my boy, this is how it ends, under the teeth of your mentor, helpless, and bereaved.”
Malachi Morgan only knew hunger, and he knew that there was food before him. His hearing however was not yet so dulled as the rest of his body. He heard that laugh and knew it well. When he had died, that laugh had been the last sound to chase him into the dark. The laugh of Dr. Death. His head turned, but the hunger was too great, and he turned again to Casey.
Casey soul-screamed from the deepest point within him, his body and mind struggling to keep the Great Crusader.
Dr. Death, giggling, returned to his control panel and started pulling levers and twisting dials as he unleashed the final leg of his plan.
The roof of the Necro-tron exploded open and huge dull balloons began to fill with an angry hiss. Four helium spheres expanded and began to tug on the Necro-Sanctum. Another series of levers and iron and teeth released the inner workings and the Necro-Sanctum began to rise.
Casey kicked the Crusader back and Sparky leapt in to strike with a Necro infused fist. The three battled as the Sanctum began to rise over the shattered body of Chicago. The Death Storm, which had held the world away began to spiral in and tighten around the Sanctum, forming a gray and green cyclone with them at the center.
Casey spun around and ripped the helmet from Sparky then cracked him solidly in the gut with a shock fist. Sparky stumbled back upon the staircase unconscious or dead. Casey turned to face his foe, but Malachi paused.
“I’m sorry,” said Casey.
Malachi Morgan, the Great Crusader, hero of Chicago, heard his young friend’s words. He couldn’t see him but he knew he was there. He always knew Sigil would come for him. He held back the hunger to try and speak.
Casey knew what he had to do. Driven by tears, and with one solid hit he drove his fist through his mentor’s face. Malachi slid down and Casey tried to hold him. His heart was breaking. His arms were clutched around the remains of the closest thing he had to a father. The platform rose up, and for a moment, there was nothing to stop it. Slowly, his sorrow shifted to fury. He looked up to defy the Dr. Death, but he wasn’t at the controls.
Dr. Death, with all his scientific brilliance, needed nothing more than a fractured pipe for this task. He came from behind and plunged it through Sigil’s back, screaming maniacally. Casey looked down at the bloody pipe and beyond it the dead Crusader.
Sparky stumbled forward bloodied and beaten. He stood quietly next to his father.
“Such devotion, such love. If only I could have had such from my own spawn. Now, Sigil, you shall witness my genius. I will stand in the beam of light and my consciousness will change reality. One wish to be fulfilled, one single thing in the past changed,” Dr. Death cried out.
“That’s what this was for, to erase a mistake?” Casey gasped with blood filling lungs.
“A mistake that brought about the great Depression. A mistake that killed my wife.”
“Father, momma died giving birth to me,” Sparky said cautiously.
“Shut up fool and power up the device! When we are done all shall be right.”
“You destroyed the city, you killed millions… I must stop… you…” Sigil was fighting to remain conscious as the blood flowed down the pipe protruding from his torso.
“No, you never could,” he said in a soft raspy tone. “They all will live again. Just like my wife. I killed her. She had complications in her pregnancy. I gave her the serum, the same one I gave you. I thought it would make them both stronger, but it killed her and made my son an idiot. If only I could change that— and I can!”
“You’re insa…” gasped Casey with his last breath. Dr. Death gently and slowly set the boy down, a sadness crossing over him. This lad was pure. This was the son that he had wanted.
Then unseen steel traps clasped as the machine engaged. A pillar of light ignited in the center of the platform as the maelstrom howled. Dr. Death stood up to take his place in the beam, but saw Sparky standing there already.
“Sparky, Charles, what are you doing?” Dr. Death shouted.
“I know you blame me for momma’s death, but I am not going out like that. I wish… I wish YOU were never born!” The light responded and flickered and reality began to change.
“No, no, no you fool I wasn’t going to wish you away, I was going to wish you were born healthy! I only want…..”