Fear the Unknown

Chapter 1: Brave, not Bold

(Disclaimer: all characters are copyrights of DC Comics, a division of AOL- Time Warner. I don't own any of this stuff, sadly.)

Los Angeles, CA

In a city like Los Angeles, there is always noise in the background of life. Cars, radios, people bustling about in the streets, in lobbies, in the hallways outside of apartments. That noise becomes a background buzz, something blocked out during normal times, but missed when it is absent, like an old blanket. Sometimes, though, that noise can mask something out of the ordinary, something. ominous.

Peter Langford was one of hundreds of thousands of people across the country that loved the show "Friends". Being a Thursday night, like the rest of his kind, he was firmly entrenched in front of his television set. So engrossed was he in the show that he didn't hear the oh-so-soft sound of the fifty year old lock on his door being forced open. Peter Langford worked for the district attorney's office, and he was quite an ambitious man. So ambitious that he opened old unsolved case files from the police archives and tried to see if he could solve them. He even went so far as to make his own phone calls. However, he failed to take into consideration that for every unsolved case, there is an un-convicted criminal. When he opened the five year old case on the Darren Hawtley murder, he had made some phone calls. He'd questioned some of Hawtley's acquaintances, even talked his old girlfriend into revealing that Hawtley occasionally took book on horse racing. Unfortunately for Peter Langford, word was out that he was close to solving the Hawtley murder. The man at his door was determined to see that this did not happen.

Peter stretched as the show went to commercial, taking a deep breath as he did. That breath was then firmly wrenched from him as two strong hands latched around his throat and dragged him up over the back of his recliner. Working late hours meant that Peter hadn't been to the gym in quite some time, and he offered little real resistance to his burly assailant. He was dragged across the room and only managed to breath again when the arms released him, throwing him through the large plate glass window.

Peter made no sound as he fell, as he had been rendered unconscious by the throttling hands. In his state, he never felt the sudden jolt as his body was caught in a sudden freak whirlwind of air, which lowered him slowly to the ground. In the empty street below, a blonde-haired man in a black trench coat put two fingers to Peter's neck, feeling the pulse there. Satisfied, he moved the man from the street and rested him against the building wall.

In the apartment above, "Burly" Billy Warren was looking out the shattered window in shock. The lights were out in the apartment, so his silhouette was not visible against the window. Billy turned in shock when he heard a voice from behind him.

"That wasn't smart, Billy."

A slim man in a black trench coat was standing before him, his face concealed in the darkness.

"They would've worked it out, you know. Langford's secretary knew what he was working on. Then it would have been linked to the Hawtley case. Either way. you're going to prison."

Warren was clutching the wall for dear life, looking at the man in abject fear as his right hand began to glow with a green light.

"I know what you are! You're an agent of Satan! A warlock!"

"No, Billy. I'm no warlock. I'm something far more dangerous." A beam of emerald energy shot from his hand and pierced Billy's skull, and the man stood open-mouthed before the window. "You're going to forget you saw me Billy. When you wake up, the police will be here. Good night." He dropped his hand and Billy dropped face-first to the floor.

There was a brief rush of air behind him and another voice.

"So? We done here?"

"Is Langford all right?"

"Yeah. Cushioned his fall with a wind-tunnel. Can we go now? I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry."

"Yeah, well, that's the way it works."

"Sure. Let's go."

The two men took the elevator and walked out the back door of the apartment building, barely noticing the sirens that were approaching from the distance. They'd done what they came to do, and had left no trace. Security cameras were wiped, and no witnesses. They could live another day, make another dollar, and lead their lives. As long as no one knew. They both knew what happened to those caught using "Satan's power". They had always known, as everyone did. The stake. It had been that way since the first great Tribulation at Salem. They were no witches, but that wouldn't matter. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan could burn like anyone else.

(to be continued.)