Apollyon City Chapter 3: "It Proceeds..."
Spring finally gave way to Summer across the Allegheny Valley.
Polly Blackbear was glad, for the Summer brought forth the glorious
raspberries she loved to eat.
Polly sneaked out of her village before sunrise, relying on
her keen eyesight to guide her through the foggy dawn. The others
would be coming soon, and she would have to leave. What was
that name they called her in whispers and hushed giggles? Irish
Dog? Polly cursed her fiery red hair and light skin, and began
picking the berries. She had little trouble filling her basket.
The gentle rolling of distant thunder interrupted her thoughts.
The Wise One said it would not rain today. She looked up. There
were no clouds in the early dawn sky, but the steady thunder
continued to roll in an ominous crescendo. Polly grew still,
as the ground itself began to tremble with an increasing fury.
Pollyís first inclination was to run, but found her legs paralyzed
with a fear that beat back her senses. Her arms hugged the crude,
straw basket to her chest. Never in her sixteen years had she
tasted such fear. The virulent screams of angry men rode high
on the waves of deep resonate thunder. Polly sought refuge in
the berry patch.
Just after she secured a safe hiding place, white men rode by
on horses. Not just a few, but many white men. The ones who
said her tribe would have to leave the Village by the Waters.
They were headed toward her home. They passed within ten feet
of her, but were so driven by their purpose they didnít bother
to look in her direction.
Finally, the last one passed. Polly stared after his horse for
several minutes. She wanted to run deep into the safety of the
woods. However, the others would have to be warned. They were
the only family she knew.
Polly rose to her feet, and found her arms and clothing covered
in the dark, red juices of the raspberries she had crushed into
her chest. It looked like...blood! Startled by the sight, she
broke into a run, taking the short cut by which she originally
came. Her mind raced with thoughts of her mother and step-father.
Pollyís mother would be waking soon to breast feed her younger
What was that smell? She was too late! Thick black smoke floated
over the tops of the Sycamore trees. Gunshots rang out! Polly
could hear people screaming. She wasnít sure what to do, but
continued running toward the village. She gasped when she reached
the clearing at the villageís edge. The glorious longhouses
that set her people apart from the others in the Confederation
were engulfed in angry tongues of flame. Men on horses chased
down the braves of the village, who were taken unaware by the
early attack, and shot them before they could mount their horses.
The Wise Oneís broken body lay stretched out on the ground,
his blood and brains spilling to the earth. All around her,
destruction and death reigned supreme.
Once the threat of the healthy men was removed, the white men
turned their attention to the women, children, and elders. One
by one, they fell. One of the young girls who teased Polly about
her red hair, ran from her familyís home. She was naked. A white
man followed after her and forced her to the ground. A small
part of Polly rejoiced as the white man pounded away at the
young girlís womanhood. Served her right!
Polly forced back such wicked thoughts, and crumpled to the
ground. She was both repulsed and fascinated by the scene unfolding
before her. Her heart broke that life, as she knew it, was over.
Tears rolled down her face as she beheld the destruction. She
knew her step-father was dead. He would be fighting if he was
A glimpse of the familiar caught Pollyís eye. Several yards
away, her mother tried to escape into the woods with her baby
"Mother!" It was no use. Pollyís` mother was too far
away and the melee drowned out all but the sound of horsesí
hooves, screams, and gunfire. The brave woman almost made it
into the woods before her lithe body arched forward with the
force of the bullet that slammed into her. As she fell, the
baby was hurled through the air. A large sycamore tree halted
her flight. Her lifeless, little body slammed to the ground.
Polly watched in horror as her family was killed. No, not all!
Her little sister wriggled on the ground as blood gushed forth
from her gashed face. Rushing into the din of confusion, Polly
made a bee line for the baby. Unfortunately, she did not see
the stump from one of the small trees the braves had cut back
to clear land for gardening. She fell face first to the ground,
striking her head on a tree stump. She struggled to maintain
consciousness. Approaching hoof beats rang in her ears, but
she couldnít bring herself to run. Polly turned her head. Through
glazed-over eyes, she saw a manís boot hit the ground as he
dismounted the horse.
The man walked over to where she lay and kicked her lightly,
then pulled her up by her fiery red locks. He pointed a pistol
in her face. "Well, well, I found me a pretty young half-breed!
Whatís wrong darliní? Ya not even gonna put up a good fight?"
The man rolled her over. "Jesus! Youíve done been shot
girl! You ainít no good for what I wanted ya for!" He spit
on her. "Not even worth the bullet it would take to put
you out of your misery!" He dropped her head back to the
The man walked back to his horse. In a moment, both he and his
horse disappeared. The excitement died down. In a few minutes,
it was over.
The sun came out. Through heavy eyes, Polly stared up at its
morning radiance. "...vengeance...." At last, Pollyís
eyes mercifully closed.
A Cell Somewhere in Apollyon City, Sometime
"No! No! Please, let me out! I've changed!"
The cacophony that was Morris Peel's own voice filled his ears.
The warden regarded his prisoner with contempt. "Go to
jail! Do not pass go! Do not collect two hundred dollars! What
part of that do you not understand, Peel?"
Peel tugged helplessly at his cell doors. "Warden, please.
I served my time! I'm a banker now, a community man."
The warden's gold teeth reflected the light from the single
fifty-watt bulb that lit Peel's cell. "Yeah, you served
your time alright, scum. What was it? Five years? Out on parole
in three? For cold-blooded murder?" The sinister warden
leaned into his prisonerís taut face. "You were the trigger
man all along, weren't you Peel? You did it, and now you'll
face justice! My justice!"
"J-J-Justice was served. I-I-I did the b-b-books. H-H-Hank
was the muscle!"
The warden pointed to a gold Star of David hanging from his
neck. "Yeah, and my family's real big on Christmas! Of
course you did it, Peel. You managed to keep it hidden all these
years, but I know. I know everything about you. That's most
unfortunate for you, too. See, I intend to be your judge, jury,
Peel's eyes grew large.
The warden laughed. "You'd better look out your window
at the sunshine, banker man. It's the last daylight you will
Peel fell to his knees. "No! Please!"
Gotham City, Offices of WGBC, the next morning
Bob McNamara paused at the opulent wooden doors. Should he knock,
or just go on in? He was never quite sure. Mr. Scott didnít
like to be interrupted while watching his old films. His boss
could sure be a strange man at times. Why couldnít he just use
a VCR like everyone else? He was just like his father. Bob sighed.
Though still unsure, Bob thought it best to knock. His knuckles
rapped against the heavy oak doors, sounding more like a child
knocking than an adult. No one replied.
Bob leaned into the left door and pushed. Slowly, it yielded
to his weight, and what little muscle he carried on his wiry
The Screening Room was dark. The only light emanated from a
single 35 mm projector high overhead, and splashed onto a large
screen at the front of the room. The clackety-clack sound of
film winding through the projectorís antique gears filled the
room, every bit as much as the action on the screen. A black
and white film flickered on the screen at the front of the room.
The crown of Mr. Scottís head was barely visible above the back
of the plush theater seats that sat in two neat rows of twelve
each. Bob approached him slowly. "Excuse me, Mr. Scott?
Weíre just about ready to get this room now."
Alan Scott jumped, startled by the noise. "Oh Bob, you
scared the wits out of me! Didnít hear you come in!"
Bob could feel the heat rising to his cheeks. "I- erĖthat
"Oh come on Bob! Youíve worked here too long for that.
Spit it out!"
Bob nodded. "I...er...knocked. I guess you didnít hear
Alan laughed. "I guess not. Here, let me cut this thing
off." He stood and walked to the back of the theater where
he ducked into a small projector booth. The images and sounds
faded away. There was a moment of silent darkness, before the
lights slowly came to life. Alan yelled from the projector booth.
"Now, whatís that you were saying?"
Bob tugged at his necktie. "Weíve packed up everything
else, sir. The movers are ready to start in here. That is, if
you donít mind."
Alan stepped out of the projector room and shut the door. He
picked up his briefcase and met Bob in the aisle. "Mind?
Bob, do you know the first movie I ever watched here in my little
Bob winced. Oh no! Not a pop quiz! He would have to hire an
assistant to keep up with such things! He shook his head. "No
sir. I donít."
Alan looked around at his theater. "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
Fine movie, you ever see it?"
"No sir. It sounds...."
"It was the movie I just turned off."
Bob put his hands behind his back and cracked his knuckles.
Oh great! He just ruined a moment! "I didnít mean to interrupt..."
Alan put an arm around Bobís shoulder and patted him on the
back as they walked toward the doors. "Nonsense. Iíve seen
it many, many times. Nothing goes with change like a good Jimmy
Stewart picture. Just give me a few minutes to wind the film,
and say goodbye to the old place."
Bob pushed against the oak door once more. It seemed a little
lighter this time. He turned to tell Mr. Scott about the new
screening facility in the Apollyon location, but decided instead
to leave him with his memories. .
Bob smiled and pushed the door open. Once in the lobby, he retrieved
a small, black book from the pocket of his jacket and pulled
a pen from his shirt pocket. In the book, underneath his grocery
list, he wrote:
Note to Self:
Rent a few Jimmy Stewart movies.
Mercy Hospital, Apollyon City, Room 347A, 10:51 p.m.
The Sentinel watched the miserable worm of a man as he writhed
on the hospital bed. What could have reduced an otherwise intelligent
man to this broken heap of humanity? Of course, Peel's condition
was much like Stinsonís the night before. The Sentinel shook
his head. Something was missing, but what?. "Is there any
link between Peel and Stinson?"
"They both serve on the city council," Chief Westingmore
replied. "Could be coincidence, but maybe not. I have some
men checking it out already."
The door to Peelís room opened. A young, fresh-faced officer
Chief Westingmore excused himself from the Sentinel with a glance,
and acknowledged the young officer. "You got something
The young officer peered to first his superior and then to the
Sentinel several times. He cleared his throat. "Y-Yes sir!
Mr. Stinson....passed away ten minutes ago."
Chief Westingmore donned his coat and hat. "Dammit! Now,
we have a full-blown murder investigation!" He turned to
the officer. "You may go, Tanner."
"Sir, thereís more. The mayor and two more council members
have been found and seem to be affected by the irrational fear
The Sentinel stepped forward. "Sir, do you want me to..."
Chief Westingmore nodded. "To be honest, Green Lantern,
Iím in a tight spot here. I can use all the help you have to
Westingmore looked confused.
"Sentinel. I donít mean to be rude, but Iíve been the Sentinel
for some time now."
Westingmore blushed, but recovered well. "Iím sorry. Sentinel
it is, then. Right now, I would take Impulse."
Apollyon City, La Belle Cuisine, 8:30 p.m. the following
"To new success!" Alan Scott raised his glass and
smiled at his wife.
Molly lifted her glass in accordance with her husbandís toast.
"To success," she echoed.
"Iíve been all over Apollyon now, Molly. I think youíll
like the city. Thereís a little park on the east side of the
city you may find interesting. Thereís a few monuments that
show life here in the pre-Apollyon days. Did you know this was
once Iriquois land? As far as the eye can....Molly whatís wrong?"
"I feel like a fish out of water, Alan. This is all so
different for me. I know Gotham, but this place is so...different.
I donít know..." She wanted to tell him how badly she missed
their apartment back in Gotham City, and how her friends were
there. Everything that made her feel young was in Gotham as
well; her old haunts, the spot where Alan admitted years later
to falling in love with her; her family home. Now, she would
spend her days in that soapbox Alan found at the last minute.
Still, if it would make him feel useful again, it would be worth
it. Besides, Apollyon was a wide open television market.
Alan took a sip of his Merlot.. "Of course itís different.
Itís smaller. The architecture is newer, the..."
Molly shook her head. "No. I mean..." She looked around
the room. She cast her glance in the direction of their waiter.
"There! See our waiter? He couldnít be a day over twenty-five.
If this were Gotham, he would soon be collecting Social Security.
This city is so...young, Alan. Why I bet he...."
Alan began to fade away as Molly spoke. She pushed her chair
back from her table and screamed. "Alan? Alan?"
The young waiter rushed to her side. "Excuse me Míam can
I help you?"
Molly fought back her fear. Alan always referred to such incidents
as "work hazards". Damn! She looked at the young man
and collected herself. "No, thank you. Iím fine. My ...
son must have stepped out to the restroom while I wasnít looking.
Heíll be back in a few minutes." Molly crossed her fingers
underneath the table.
Alan Scott was enveloped in darkness. He lay flat on his back
on a hard surface. Focusing his will through his ring, he illuminated
his surroundings. The thick darkness continued to mock him,
but at least he could see, if only faintly. Still, he was unsure
where he was.
"Welcome, Alan Scott! Or should I call you the Sentinel?
Such a pretentious name! I liked Green Lantern much better!"
The voice was cold and malicious to Alanís ears. Chill bumps
raced along his spine. "Letís cut to the chase, whoever
you are. Whatís your game?"
"Game? I donít play games Alan Scott. As for my name, men
call me Beelzebub! Now where was I? Oh yes, I remember. What
is that weakness again? Magic? No. The color yellow? No! No!
Thatís the other Green Lantern! Wait! I know! Wood! Like the
pine coffin I placed you in to prepare you for burial!"
So that was it! Alan pushed against the sides of the coffin.
"Itíll do you no good," Beelzebub mocked. "Still,
struggle is you must. I sense that your struggle is more with
the darkness itself. What is it about the darkness that haunts
Inside the box, Alan allowed the emerald flame to outfit him
with his Sentinel uniform. He formed a pry bar with his ring
and set the teeth in the small crack between the lid of the
coffin and the coffin itself. The stubborn lid didnít budge.
Beelzebub laughed. "Did I mention that the box is shrinking
each second? I wonder what happens when youíre too big for the
box? Will you be crushed? Or will you just shrink away?"
Alan pushed against the coffinís lid with his own strength.
Sometimes he envied the Green Lantern Corpsí rings. Wood was
so common, but then again, so was yellow.
Beelzebubís laughter filled the air. "Soon my shadow will
fall over this city, and all will know what it is to fear me.
You will not take what was promised to me!"
Inside the coffin, Alan continued to push against the stubborn
coffin lid. Either it was budging, or his shoulders were breaking.
He wasnít sure. "I donít believe you understand how things
work in this country, Beelzebub! The people of Apollyon own
the city! Whatever rights you claim are null and void by the
will of the people," Alan replied through clenched teeth.
The coffin shrank smaller.
Another roar of laughter escaped Beelzebubís lips. "The
will of the people? They ceded the city by an act of their own
Inside the coffin, Alan smiled through gritted teeth. Beelzebub
unwittingly reminded him of the first rule of the super-hero
business. Work with what you have. Alanís ring was ineffective
against the wood, but it was his will that focused the ringís
energy. Maybe he relied too much on the gift destiny bestowed
upon him those many years ago. Alan allowed the glow of the
ring to fade and darkness to reign in his coffin. He pushed
against the lid of the coffin with all his might. No, with more,
his will. He was well-versed in focusing his will through the
ring, but now he channeled it into his muscle. The lid would
move, and he would be free!
"You have grown silent, Alan Scott. Have you accepted your
fate and my destiny?" Beelzebub taunted.
The coffin lid flew into the air! The Sentinel raised from the
box with the emerald flames of justice burning in his eyes.
"Not in a thousand lifetimes, monster!"
Over several decades, Sentinel had witnessed many faces of evil.
In all those years he never encountered a being as physically
intimidating as Beelzebub. Silhouetted against a burning backdrop
of orange tongues of flame, he was nearly twelve feet in height.
His head was crowned with two long horns. He stood on cloven
hooves. A long, thick tail coiled around from his backside and
lay curled in front of him to his left. The tail branched off
into three serpentine coils, each with a human head at the end.
Large, dark wings stretched from his backside and spread out,
eclipsing Sentinel in their black shadow. Eclipsed in the demonís
shadow, the Sentinel tasted his deepest fears welling up inside
him. He fought to force them back.
Dark rows of razor-like teeth appeared in the demonís mouth.
"So your will is everything it is said to be. Yes, youíll
do just fine. Now away with you, until I call for you again!"
In an instant, Alan Scott materialized in a restroom stall.
He could hear light jazz filtering in from the adjoining room.
He looked down to find himself clothed in the same clothes he
wore earlier. He was back in La Belle Cuisine. He exited the
stall and caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Satisfied
that he looked presentable, he returned to the dining room.
Molly was still at their table. She saw him from across the
room. She looked relieved. Alan reached the table and took a
"What happened where did you go?" Molly asked.
Alan shook his head. "Iíve been to hell and back. We need
to leave. I have an old friend to look up." Alan left a
generous tip on the table and more than enough to cover the
Coming in Issue #4---"It Abides" Rounding out the cast,
Alan and Beelzebub Part 2, and an appearance guaranteed to bring
a little "magic" into your life. Be here!
So youíre still with me? What the heck was all that at the beginning
of this issue, and how does it tie-in to the "It" arc?
Questions? Comments? Feel free to send them and Iíll try to answer.
First, I want to answer a couple of them for you.
1. Whatís going on here Dave? Donít you know Alan doesnít use
a ring anymore?
Of course I do. I will be addressing this question soon. Hopefully,
youíll enjoy it.
2. Issue #1 stated Apollyon was a new city. Issue #2 and up
show it being seven years old.
Whatís up with that? I would love to offer a sense-shattering
answer, but the truth is I just didnít notice until #2 had already
went to press. I rushed the story in to save the series from cancellation
and somehow missed that tiny little detail. I prefer my version
of the story. I donít believe it will hamper continuity too much
to retcon that trivial piece of information. After all, at seven
years old, Apollyon is still very much a "new" city.
That pretty much wraps things up for now. Send your questions/comments
to An "oops, wrong company no-prize" to the first person
who can give me a plausible out for my second point above.
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