Chapter 2: Lost

Good responses for the first chapter, thanks to all.

Samantha awoke to a crash down the hallway, and was thrown into a panic by the sound of another crash. She sat up in her bed, frozen stiff from fear as she heard high-pitched, but very quiet pops. "What's the combo you fuck?!" She heard an unfamiliar male voice yell, a few seconds later, another pop.

"Mom? Dad?" Sam heard her sister ask from right on the other side of her door. A pause, then more pops and a thud.

She heard another crash. "Get out!" She heard her brother yell, then more pops and another thud.

"Yo fuck this shit man, I we's in the wrong house" She heard the same voice that demanded a "combo" only seconds earlier say.

"Markus said the safe was built into the wall in the bedroom, tear down the artwork" said a different male voice.

Minutes passed as Sam listened to the intruders tear apart her parents' bedroom. "Yo there ain't no safe" a third male voice said.

"Shit nigga this the wrong house!" The second voice said.

"Fuck it, just get back to the car, we's outta here" The first voice said.

She waited a handful of minutes until she was convinced the strangers were gone, Sam stood up from her bed, she was barefoot and as she walked over to her door she stepped in some kind of liquid. She turned on her light to see it was blood sliding along the hardwood floor. She reluctantly opened the door, as she feared; there was her sister, face down in a human-size puddle of crimson blood, three exit wounds in her upper back.

She looked to the right to the other end of the hall to see her brother in a similar situation; he was face up, leaning slightly against the wall, a sickeningly large blood streak on it accompanied by an ever increasing pool below him.

In a state of shock, she softly walked down the hall towards her brother and parents bedroom. The door was open and she looked inside, her mother and father were on the bed, which was drenched in blood. Her mother was closest to the door and she was lying face up, her face was gone, replaced with bullet holes.

Sam looked around the room, it had been tossed thoroughly, she then walked over to the other side of the bed to see the condition of her final family member, her father. He was oddly clean, no wounds in his body, except on the side of his head. His eyes were open along with his mouth; Samantha put her hand on his chest, and didn't notice his heart was still beating.

"Sammy?" He asked quietly, not looking around. "Sammy is that you?"

She couldn't control her voice, and cracked out "Dad?"

"Sammy… Take care of your… Brother and sister…" He stopped talking and his heart stopped beating.

Sam's entire body was shaking, tears hadn't formed in her eyes yet, she wasn't past the shock stage yet. She left the bedroom, stepping over her dead brother and walking down the stairs, then out into the summer night.

Hours passed by as she wandered the dark streets of New York, wondering why God, who she had loved, believed in and worshipped for so long would let this happen to her. She was on thirteenth, and passed by the subway station she had gotten off at every Sunday since she was born, then she remembered her sighting yesterday.

Becoming angered, she descended into the subway station, made a left and lowered herself onto the tracks. Still being barefoot, the gravel was painful against her feet but she barely noticed, she walked down the tunnel, looking for anything that looked unusual. She found such a thing eighty yards from the station, a trap door off to the side; it was slightly ajar with an eerie blue light emanating from it. She grabbed hold of it, finding it to weigh almost as much as her, it took every ounce of her strength just to lift it open and let it fall to the side with a loud bang.

Frank Castle was sleeping; even the Punisher needed rest, until he heard the loud rapport of one of the entrances to his hideout being opened. Instantly alert, he jumped out of his cot, grabbing his custom Smith and Wesson five-hundred revolver from a cleverly hidden compartment under the cot. He then ducked behind a vertical support beam and waited.

Samantha crawled down the ladder, finding herself in the Punisher's armory slash home. She scanned the room, not seeing any form of life, assuming, incorrectly, that he was out doing his thing, she walked into the hideout, heading for the weapons.

"Stop right where you are!" She heard a male voice yell from her right. She looked over to see Castle's laser sight being aimed right at her head. "Who are you?" He demanded.

Samantha didn't answer.

"I said who are you?" Castle repeated, now moving closer to the young girl. She still refused to answer as he got closer to her, stopping only just out of arms length. "What are you doing here?"

"Why didn't you stop them?" She asked angrily.

"Stop who?" Castle asked.

"Them… The ones that killed my family!" She screamed.

Frank's memories started to flood back again, his own family, all murdered in cold blood, and now the same happens to this girl. He lowered his weapon. "Who killed your family?"

Sam shook her head, she didn't actually know who it was that had invaded her house. "I… I don't know…"


"No… They, they sounded more like gangbangers…"

"Latin Kings? Crypts? Bloods?"

"Not Latin Kings…"

Frank thought for a moment, trying to think of other criteria to narrow down who might've done it. "Were they wearing red or blue?"

"I don't know"

"Did you get a look at them? Did they leave a symbol behind?"

"Not that I saw"

Under other circumstances Frank would be beginning to lose patience, but this was a special case. He took a deep breath and asked another question. "Did they mention a name?"

Sam thought back, and thought hard, it was difficult to try and remember such painful things, then she recalled a name. "Markus… They said something about a Markus…"

Frank now had it narrowed down to two, the Bloods or the Crypts, each had a high ranking member by the name of Markus. "A last name?"

Sam shook her head.

"Okay…" He said. He turned and walked over to a laptop computer; he typed something into it then walked over to where he stored his weapons. He put the Smith and Wesson away and retrieved an MK 23 .45 caliber handgun, setting it to the side. He then pulled his heavily modified Beretta M9's and put them with the other handgun.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked.

"I'm going to track down your killers" he said, pulling a PSG-1 sniper rifle off the rack.

"And then what?"

"What do you think?" He asked, inspecting the powerful rifle.

"Not without me you're not" Sam stated.

Frank dropped the sniper's magazine upon hearing those words. He looked at her and said; "Excuse me?"

"This is personal… I'm going to be the one who gets back at them for what they did".

Frank briefly wondered how long this girl had been procrastinating before finding him; she seemed to be past the denial and acceptance stage and now on the anger stage, seemingly having skipped the mourning stage. "Listen kid, the last two people who helped me in the field… one ended up with a bullet in his temple and the other an ax in his chest, you're not following me down that road…"

Sam lowered her head in thought. "Why didn't he send you to protect us?" She mumbled to herself.

"Who?" Frank queried.

"I've always been so loyal to God… And I thought he was watching over me, my family never did anything to deserve such a thing…"

Frank put the rifle down and walked over to her, leaning against the nearest table. "What are you talking about?"

"Nobody in my family ever sinned; we lived our lives by the bible, to the letter… And now he lets that happen to my family… Why?" Sam asked, tears now welling up.

Frank shifted and crossed his arms. "I'll tell you why…" He began, Sam looked him in the eye. "…Because God isn't what the bible says, all we are to him is entertainment".

"But… I thought he loved us all…?"

"If he did he wouldn't have given us free will, if he's so perfect he would've known what would happen when he gave us freedom of choice, and now look where we are" Frank said, pushing himself off the table and returning to his laptop.

He looked at the screen, having accessed the crime database to get information on the two gangs he was looking for, on a mental coin flip; he chose to look up the Crypts first. "Markus Lyles… A captain in the Crypts gang… No known place of residence, closest accomplice a Wayne Johnson, also no known place of residence…" He read aloud to himself. He kept looking, connecting the dots and continuously moving down the food chain of the Crypts gang, figuring out how he's going to get to them. After several minutes, he finally found his way in. "There we go…"

He walked over to his armor, slipping it over his head and donning the rest of his protective suit. He then loaded his weapons, picked up some spare ammo and started towards the exit to his hideout.

"I told you this was mine personally" Sam said as Castle began to climb the ladder.

"And I told you that you're not coming, stay here, I'll let you know how it goes" And then he disappeared into the subway tunnel.

Sam was bombarded by a mixture of sadness and anger at the situation, she wasn't about to just stand on the sidelines while Castle did her job. She climbed the ladder, he wasn't getting rid of her that easily.