I figured it was about time I got on with this. And so now, Ghost Rider takes on Razorwire, and Centurious sets his evil plot™ in motion…

Ghost Rider is © Marvel


CHAPTER SIX:

COLLISION COURSE

The Caretaker stepped back slowly as Black Rose's blade pressed lightly against his neck. As she directed him, he reached over and opened the thick, steel door into his library. He turned to the sound of footsteps behind him.

"Where is it?"

The Caretaker looked over at the old man. His eyes narrowed, and his bony knuckles tightened around the shovel. "Centurious," he said icily. "How many times have you tried something like this?"

Centurious' hand wrapped around his neck. The powerful fingers clenched around his windpipe.

"The spirit's not in you anymore," Centurious snarled. "Where is it?"

"The casket?" The Caretaker spluttered as he was released. "I don't know what you're-" at a wave of Centurious' hand, he was slammed backwards into the brickwork.

"Do not lie to me," Centurious warned. "If you will not tell me…" he placed his hand over the Caretaker's eyes, "I will simply have to find out this way."

A heavy, echoing scream escaped the Caretaker's mouth as Centurious' mind tore through his. There was a torrent of images; a deluge of one memory after another, brushed aside as Centurious sought out the moment he'd come for.

"There we go," he said, dropping him. "Do you still wish him to be spared?" he asked his companion.

"He could be useful," Black Rose said.

"So where are the rest of you?" The Caretaker coughed.

"Razorwire should be with the Rider about now," Centurious says. "I can't really say I have a clue where Blackheart's gone."

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Yet another one screamed. His body was lifted off the ground by the barbed wire that cut into his wrists and ankles. Then he was silenced as the wire tore out his throat and ripped into his stomach, blood raining onto the floor of the supermarket. When the body was dropped, it joined at least three dozen others strewn around the store.

If this didn't smoke the Rider out, nothing would.

From outside, there was the sound of a roaring engine. Right on cue. Then it became clear that the wheels weren't about to stop, or even slow. They were getting faster… orange light filled the windows, and…

Ghost Rider, astride the blazing hell cycle, burst in through the window. With a flick of his wrist, the chain shot out, wrapping around Razorwire's neck. He was pulled along with it as it turned, burning clean through every aisle and shelf in a burning swath. Then it stopped, and Razorwire's momentum kept up, slamming him into the wall in a shower of broken plaster.

Ghost Rider stepped off, the chain fastening itself round his torso. "You… GUILTY!"

Razorwire made no reply. Instead he simply got to his feet and, with a flick of his own wrist, sent streams of barbed wire towards the Rider. The spirit raised his arms, allowing them to slice into the leather. They tightened round his limbs, suspending him in the air. A thick tangle rose in front of him, the ends of the different chords joining to form a bundle of spikes.

Razorwire paused. Only a fellow demon could tell… but Ghost Rider was smiling.

The barbed wire caught fire in a heartbeat. They turned into wires of flame as the hellfire shot up them, melting the wire in a second as Ghost Rider dropped to his feet. Razorwire shook his hand as the flames reached him, burning at his flesh.

The Rider stepped forward, brandishing his chain. "Back to hell!"

Razorwire and Ghost Rider threw their weapons at the same time. Wire and chain wrapped round each other, the two strugglers tugging at the knot. Each grunted, shifting their feet as a tug-of-war started.

The Rider fixed his hand further down the wire and pulled. Razorwire fell forwards, jerking as he was pulled sharply forward and into the Rider' grip. A leather-covered glove, complete with hellfire-enhanced spikes, rose in front of his face- and punched. Razorwire fell to the ground and the fist fell on him again. The floor buckled, forming a small crater as Razorwire's head was pulled back up.

Ghost Rider's chain fastened around his neck. Razorwire struggled, grabbing at his arm as the chain tightened around his windpipe. Demon or not, it seemed he still needed to breathe. After a few moments, he gave out, a few pathetic groans escaping his throat.

"Where are the others?" Ghost Rider roared, flames rolling in his mouth.

Razorwire grabbed at the chain and looked up at him. He pointed at something. Ghost Rider looked up, and there it was: of all things, a crappy plastic… shovel.

"The Caretaker?"

Razorwire nodded. Then the last breath was squeezed out of him and he fell to the floor.

Ghost Rider removed the chain. Just to be sure, he sent a burst of hellfire into his chest and watched as Razorwire's body turned to ash.

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Roxanne turned over another file, and started on the next one. Her cameraman peered over her shoulder.

"What are you looking for?" he asked.

"All the murders around here lately," Roxanne said. "Vigilante killings have skyrocketed in the last four years, all over the country."

"And this has what to do with us?"

"I'm not sure."

"Great," the cameraman said sarcastically. "Just drag me out at night any time you're not sure whether there's something for us to report on."

Roxanne ignored him, still looking over the reports. She wanted to help Johnny. She always had. But what exactly could she do? "Where are you right now, Johnny…?" she whispered.

The door into the city hall behind them opened. "Sorry," Roxanne said, assuming it to be the curator, "we'll be done in a moment."

"If you're looking for your friend," the man behind her said, "I might know where you can find him."

Roxanne turned round in a whirl. Her brow creased into a confused frown. "Who are you?"

"I'm someone who can help you," the man said. "And I think Johnny Blaze will need your help tonight."

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Centurious hurled away the last pile of earth. Then, with a mad grin on his withered face, he pulled the object out of the ground. It was only a foot long and half as wide, but here it was, covered in bronze images of devils and angels and crucifixes and pentagrams…

"The Spirit Casket," he breathed. "The source of the Caretaker's power."

"You think that trinket will stop the Ghost Rider?" Black Rose demanded.

"My dear Black Rose, even the Spirit of Vengeance can't stand up to this. It's an exorcism tool," Centurious elaborated as he levitated himself out of the grave, "one that will drive the spirit all the way back to the pit. And without him… hell on earth," he grinned.

"You might want to find Blackheart, then," Black Rose said as she turned to the horizon. A mass of orange fire was snaking its way along the old road towards them. "He's coming."

"You're going to stay here?" Centurious asked. "You can't help him now."

"We'll see," Black Rose said as Centurious turned away. "It's time Johnny Blaze and I met again."


To Be Continued!

Next Chapter: Johnny Blaze faces Black Rose, and her identity is revealed- and who is that helping Roxanne? All shall be revealed, true believer…

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