Blades in Motion

[Power Stone is © CAPCOM.]

It was dark out. The lights were just being lit in the cobble stone streets of Manches. The tall buildings formed an eerie presence at night. Such the night had come to claim the French town for itself, driving all the inhabitants, save the police naturally, into their beds. Don't get me wrong, Manches is a beautiful city, one of the finest in all of France. But things tend to happen at night that only the foolish speak of. For at night, Jack comes out to play…

                In recent events, it has become known that this bandaged knife wielding serial killer has been captured. In fact, Jack's public hanging is coming soon, and the people of Manches, especially the ladies, look forward to it. But the perplexingly odd thing about the whole situation is, well, you'll see…

                Like I told you before, it was dark out. T'wasn't twilight or evening hours, but the hours of the pitch black sky. Only the tiny flickers of the street's flames kept the city lighted. You see, you cannot grasp what I am about to reveal unless you realize that this sort of thing happens only the blackest, darkest of nights. Two women, garnered in lavishing 19th century dresses and parasols, walked into a dark alley. Mind you, they were dearly aware of their surroundings, but they had nothing to fear. For you see, Jack the Slayer, or whom witnesses dubbed the "Mad Clown", had been in Manches deepest dungeon under the tightest of security for weeks. Three weeks to be precise. To get back to the point, these lovely ladies were walking through the ally, for purposes quite uncertain, in the dark. And yet they seemed to have a festive, even giddy aura around their pleasant conversation.

                "Did you hear? They finally caught him!" The blonde woman spoke enthusiastically.

                "Oh did they now? It's been the news for three weeks dear! The constable expects to hang the wretched villain in a matter of weeks!" The brunette laughed.

                "Finally, we can go out at night and not worry." The blonde sighed.

                A shadow rushed over the women's backs, a creature was rushing about. The loud flip flop flip flop of leather boots against checkered marble alerted to someone's presence.

                "What was that?!" The blonde panicked. She brought up her parasol to her bosom for protection.

                "It was just a rat dearie. I'm sure of it…" The brunette scoffed.

                "A-are you certain?! What if HE – Jack the slayer – escaped?!" the blonde's eyes darted back and forth, from lamp post to lamp post.

                "Quite certain. There is no way that he could escape! It's preposterous to even think about an escape from that dungeon!" The brunette huffed.

                "Hehehehehehehehehehe!" A high pitched, squeaky voice echoed throughout the alley. The two ladies instantly wrapped around each other, searching the alley.

                Now you see, this laugh was no ordinary laugh. No human on earth could audit this horrible laugh. No human I've ever met anyways. These women became so frightened, and if you and I were in that same alley that dark and dreaded night we would have become equally or even more disturbed by this chilling laugh. For this laugh belonged to only one soul: Jack the Slayer.

                "S-sir! This isn't funny at all! We know that you are a fraud! J-jack is in prison, and you are nothing more than a mischievous young boy in hopes of frightening a couple of innocent ladies! Show yourself!" The brunette shouted into the dark recesses of the beautiful architecture.

                "I don't know what you mean. Show my self. I don't need to do anything more than laugh and you should know who I am. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!" The same boyish yet devil voice screeched.

                The blonde closed her eyes hard and gripped her parasol even harder. "It's impossible. It's impossible. It's impossible." She repeated to her self over and over, like an incantation to ward an evil soul away.

                However, the trick did nothing more but present a sign to the women. A bright red eye presented itself in a dark ledge high above. The brunette placed her parasol at her side and stood before her cowering friend. "How dare you, you despicable ruffian! I demand that you show yourself! Shame on you!"

                The brunettes eyes were shaking, obviously scared. The red eye, alone in a black world, seemed to reflect a kind of enjoyment.

                "There are two thing in this world that I adore. Hehehehehe. Shiny things and women. Shiny things lead to women. Women love shiny things too. Hehehehehe." The red eye laughed.

In a frightening pace, that very red devil eyeball leaped through the darkness and to the green and white checkerboard floor below. This eyeball now rested within a masked head. Still a lone eye, the head it shared was wrapped completely in bandages, save for tuffs of black hair. The entire body was bandaged like this, clad in bandages and an odd green coat. Those leather shoes were on wrapped feet. The fiend held a most interesting posture and a large dagger in each bandaged hand. As confusing as it was, this was Jack the Slayer.

                The blonde screamed with fright. So loud, her scream, that the crows took flight in a manner of hideous caws of crow language. But not a soul could catch this scream.

                "Mmmm…delicious. I love a good scream. Hehehe. You have many shiny things on you, lady. I take them from you. Hahahaha!" The bandaged aberration chanted.

                "Back you…you fiend!" The brunette struck forward with her white closed parasol, but the seasoned killer easily dodged. To describe of dodging requires an extent of the imagination. Jack's knees bent backwards, whereas Jack leaned backwards till he was parallel with the floor, and yet his lower legs still were upright! The parasol jabbed above his body in a swift manner. Using his knifes as legs, the nimble beast was able to quickly scuttle backwards in an insect manner.

                The blonde was wide eyed with horror. This man may have just broken several bones in his body to parry the stab. And yet he was still moving as if he were in no pain. Jack kicked himself into a twirling leap, straight up. Flying high above the women, the bandaged killer soared with knives out, perhaps for wing purpose. But he soon made an incredibly fast descent right behind the brunette lady.

                And with a quick thrust of the arm the horrid deed was done. The knife flew through the brunette woman's throat. Killed instantly, the lady fell onto the cold ground, her blood staining the French marble. Jack laughed insanely. After a couple minutes of laughing, the bandaged one quickly gathered as many shiny items off the poor woman's corpse. I.E, necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches, buttons, feathers off her hat, even the large bow on the back of her dress.

                Jack, once done pillaging and looting, fixed his gaze upon the blonde lady. In his ungainly posture, he did not do what the fair maiden expected him. He blinked, giggled, and leaped towards the balcony in which he came.

                "Hehehehehehehe! In case you wondering, fair lady I am indeed Jack the Slayer! Fare thee well! Hehehehehehe!" And with that, the green-coated felon vanished into the night.

                The blonde woman fell down on her calves and breathed. She blinked. Of coarse, the realization of the entire scene hadn't sunk in yet. Her friend was indeed lying dead on the floor. And strangest of all, Jack the Slayer, who was in the deepest dungeon as well, performed the heinous act. Could he have escaped?

** *


By Hypes

It was day now. Far into it actually. The sun now brilliantly lighted the alley. The green and white marble shined gloriously. But it was not a joyous scene. The constable, dressed in dark blue with a golden star badge, and several officers investigated the scene. The body was taken to a morgue for a 19th century version of an autopsy. Needless to say, there was quite the number of spectators. Manchians thronged the spot, trying to catch a glimpse of blood or a sign of action. And of coarse, there was the blonde woman. Lady Julia was her name, indeed a noble blooded Frenchwoman. But today she didn't look the part. She was ragged and weary. Dark spots lined her eyes once bright blue eyes. He hair was a disaster. It looked as if she had stayed awake the entire night.

                "Lady Julia. Could you tell us again who you saw that did this horrible crime?" The large constable asked.

                "I've told you a hundred times! It was Jack the Slayer! Bandaged freak with one horrid red eye and a long green coat!" Julia roared. She hurled her teacup of coffee to the marble floor, shattering it into a million porcelin pieces.

                "That's impossible Madam! He's in our toughest most secure cell as we speak!" The Constable reassured her.

                She wasn't buying it. "How many men do you know that can break their bones willingly?! He must have escaped! That is Jack the Slayer and if you don't believe me, mark my words, I'll do everything in my power to replace you with a competent constable!"

                The constable took a swallow. He hated dealing with important noble bloods. They want everything here and now. They don't have a clue of investigative work. He coughed and resumed his position. "No offence madam, but the only way that could be Jack as if he made another Jack somehow! You can even come into the dungeon and see for yourself! He is still there, I even checked myself this morning!"

                "Well see to it that you check again! Despite this industrial revolution we're living in, there are still magical forces at work!" Julia glared at him.

                "Ye-yes ma'am! If you'll kindly walk this way, I'll show you the dungeon and every aspect of it, and prove to you that there is no way that anyone –even Jack the slayer- could break out! It's one of the finest dungeons in all of Europe! Even the Falcon family of Britain has approved of it!" The Constable gestured with his enormous hands.

                "I don't care if king Louis the XIV sprout back to life this very instant and told me that dungeon is the finest in Heaven and Earth! I swear by my ancestry that that was Jack the Slayer!" Julia placed her ands on her hips.

                "Yes madam. You shall see for yourself." The Constable assured.

                "Yes. Oh! And be sure to fetch my cook, Gourmand, and tell him to ready Luncheon. I am absolutely famished." Julia commanded.

** *

                The Dungeon was dark. Only torches along the walls made light for any to dwell within. Several guards with the best rifles of the age stood watch between every cell. The dungeon tunnels were nothing more than brick veins underneath the earth. Each cell held a vile disgrace for a human being, each reaching their pitiful hands as far as they could outside the metal frames of the doors. Each hand lunged and attempted to grab Lady Julia as she passed, moaning and shouting in despair and lunacy. The noble held a disgusted look upon her pail face with every pass of a man. These confines were inhuman, brutal, and destructive. And yet were so the criminals that dwelled within. The constable had to whack a couple stray palms with his nightstick. The dungeon seemed to sprawl underneath the cold hard earth forever. But at the very bottom was the cell they were looking for. Few torchlights brought light to the last floor. Several groups of guards watched every inch. And at the end of this despicable hallway was a heavy stone door with a tiny rusted porthole. From down here, you could not tell what time it was, for it was always dark. Oh so dark…

                "Sir." The last group of guards bowed and stepped to the side as Julia and the constable walked forward. The constable placed his hand on Julia's shoulder, silently telling her to stop.

                "Is the Slayer still in the cell?" The constable asked.

                "Yes sir. Not even a roach could get through here without any one of us noticing here sir." A guard replied.

                "There you have it, my lady. But if you do not believe his word nor mine, maybe you should see for yourself." The constable said.

                "Look! I knew who I saw! And I swear as God as my witness, that Jack the Slayer killed my friend last night!" Julia shouted. The fire danced upon the torches on the wall. Julia blinked. She knew she was right.

                She placed her beautiful face near the porthole. This door was specially crafted for this cell. The door itself was a great stone block, and the porthole was from a ship. Rusted and decayed, three iron bars replaced the round glass. Julia's blue eyes looked back and forth, searching for something in the darkness within the cell. For all she could tell, there was nothing in there. She gave a weak smiled.

                Julia turned back towards the constable. "There is nothing in there constable! Nothing but the dark air!"

                The constable didn't even raise an eyebrow. "Place your sapphire brooch between the bars."

                Julia frowned. She placed her white-gloved fingers upon the blue brooch upon her red and white dress. She took a moment to feel it, recalling thoughts of it and her past. She blinked and scowled her eyes. With a quick nudge, she dislodged the brooch from her bosom and gently placed it between the bars.

                She once again turned to the constable and his men. "There. This had better be good!"

                "Just wait my lady." The constable replied.

                Julia turned back to the port. Ever slowly, she became closer and closer til the brooch before her chin was just millimeters from the sapphire. She watched it carefully, as if a phoenix were about to hatch from the stone. Slowly, I stress this for you cannot imagine how long this felt for Ms. Julia, something in the darkness stirred. Between the three iron bars, a white, bandaged hand slinked from the darkness and gently felt the brooch. A red eye opened within the cell. The hand carefully moved over every square millimeter of the sapphire, feeling out every nook and cranny. The eye became excited. Julia couldn't move. She was too afraid, too overwhelmed. The hand that killed her best friend was a millimeter before her face.

                "…Hehehehehehe. Pretty, shiny. Jack is pleased, no? Haha! Hehehe! Shiny…" The same childish, squeaky voice laughed.

                Julia threw herself backwards, away from the port and brooch. She stumbled into the constable's arms, falling over everything in sight.

                "Are you alright madam?" The constable inquired.

                "Let go of me you giant baboon!" Julia screamed. She was able to pick herself up and onto her own feet. She dusted herself off and struck the brick floor with her parasol.

                "…I told you he's been here the whole time. There is no way he could have gotten out. A snowball has a better chance in hell." The constable reasoned.

                "Are you calling me a liar?! There's got to be a way Jack got out! I know what I saw!" Julia stammered.

                "Pretty lady has met other Jack no? Hehehehehehe!" The infernal voice squealed.

                Julia glanced at the port to see the bandaged head and one eye of Jack on the other side of the bars. Yet there was something different. Julia caught herself staring at the malformed creature. She immediately inquired the constable.

                "Constable! How long has Jack had that bloody splotch on his bandages!?" Julia demanded to know.

                "The one on his forehead? Oh, he's had that the entire time we've had him. He had that before we caught him!" The constable recalled.

                "That's strange, Jack didn't have a bloody scar like that last night…" Julia put her elegant hand to her chin in thought.

                "That's because Other Jack doesn't have bloody forehead. Other Jack has clean forehead. Hehehehe. Other Jack is different from I. Other Jack is not same…Hahahahaha…" Jack spoke as he laughed.

                "Shut up fiend!" One of the guards shouted. Jack immediately pulled away into the darkness of his cell.

                "What's he talking about Constable?!" Julia swiveled on her heel to meet the officer.

                "I don't know. He's been babbling on and on since he got here about "Other Jack". He's just a damn loony." The constable revealed.

                Julia picked up her dress and walked as quickly as she could over to Jack's porthole. She peered inside. "Who is "Other Jack"?"

                Jack's red eye lit up again. The eye drew nearer so that the bandaged face came into the light. "Other Jack is other Jack. He is not I. I have been put in dungeon for Other Jack's killings. Hehehehehe. What would a pretty lady want with Other Jack? Other Jack kills pretty ladies. Hehehe…"

                "Are you saying that there are two of you?" Julia asked the one eyed Frenchman.

                "Jack and Other Jack are two different people, yes. Other Jack is not I. I get blamed for Other Jack's actions." Jack remarked.

                "…Where ...Where did Other Jack come from? Is he a brother of yours?" Julia inquired.

                "Other Jack is not my brother. I have no brothers. I have only myself. Hehehehehehe." Jack laughed. "Other Jack comes from shiny stone."

                "Shiny stone? …Do you mean a power stone?" Julia asked.

                "YES! That is it. MY power stone. My lovely power stone. BUT HE took it away! HE took away my lovely power stone!" Jack lunged forward, gripping the iron bars with all his might. Julia stumbled backwards.

                The constables rushed forward, raising their nightsticks. Julia picked herself up again and placed herself between the guards and Jacks wrapped fingers. "Stop!"

                "My lady, what on the good green earth do you think you're doing?! This is a mass murderer here!" The constable flared.

                "This man is innocent!" Julia explained. She calmed herself down as the guards lowered their sticks. "I'm not very knowledgeable in legends and myth, but there is a story in my family that dates back as far as my lineage dates. This story speaks of a stone that can make anything happen. The power stone!"

"Everyone knows about the power stones! But it's nothing but legend! You're saying that we should let a serial killer out because a mythical stone created a second one that is actually doing the killings. I should think not madam." The constable defended.

"Look here Constable! You're talking to a noble! You should know better than to speak to one better than your self in that kind of tone!" Julia frowned.

"When it comes to other peoples lives, I have to follow my own path. I'm sure the next constable you get will feel the same way. My men won't let him out." The constable sneered.

Julia placed her parasol in her hands firmly. "Look, I've got an idea. We summon any adventurers with experience of the power stone. Jack is the only one that can get rid of this "Other Jack". You have them keep tabs on Jack and we get rid of this other man who is causing the killings."

"You won't find a man that has experience with the power stones. The power stones are nothing but myth. There is no Other Jack, 'tis just a copycat of Jack. And even if it were another Jack the Slayer, several of my men could easily take him." The constable said.

"If Other Jack truly is born from the power stone, than he is much more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Only proper adventurers and Jack here would be able to stop him. And I shall see clearance of this man, under my watch." Julia eyed the constable.

"Your doing nothing more than ensuring the deaths of more innocent girls. Do not tell me I didn't warn you." The constable opened the far door to the hall they came through. "Go get your own clearance papers yourself."

"Harumph. I shall. Good Day!" Julia scoffed. She then turned towards Jack inside the cell. "Do not worry. We shall put a stop to this "Other Jack"."

"…Hehehehehe. Pretty woman is brave but foolish. I cannot fight Other Jack alone. Ohohoho." Jack warned.

Julia turned her face up high and walked out the door. The Constable watched her go and then closed the cell room door. The guards resumed their posts.

Jack held the sapphire into the torchlight. "…Shiny. Shiny items and fair maidens are what Jack loves. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

** *