by Matthew R. Krevat -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Return of Pain
The sun sets over New York City. Kyle sits on the front steps of the brownstone he rents a room in, and looks up at the sky. "It's funny," he thinks to himself, "The one thing I really miss about California is our sunsets, all that smog really made them beautiful. Alex always loved the irony in that." He stands up and shakes his head, as if trying to erase the Etch-a-sketch of his mind, removing the thought of Alex, and the pang of guilt and pain that always accompanies her memory.
He reaches down for the picnic basket that was beside him. Just as he picks it up, a convertible spins around the corner and comes to a stop in front of him. He gets in, putting the basket in the nominal back seat (the kind only there to stop the insurance rate from going through the retractable roof). He leans over and kisses the auburn haired driver. "Hiya Chris," he says, letting his gaze fall over her perfectly flat stomach and long tanned legs, both revealed by the combination of a sexy cut off leather top and leather shorts.
Chris giggles a response, and floors it. The convertible peels off down the street. "I found a great spot for our picnic! I was in a photo shoot the other day for one of those `I'd rather go naked than wear fur ads' in Central Park, and it was so beautiful."
Kyle just leans back and smiles, "She has it all," he thinks, "A model, and into all the right movements, heh." A shadow passes over them and Kyle glances up to see a blur of color race over the skyline. His fist involuntarily tightened, and he could imagine his ring was glowing, his body beckoning him into action. "Not my business," he thinks, "Today I'm Kyle Rayner, not Green Lantern."
A few minutes later he was appreciating the view as Chris crawled around on all fours straightening out the blanket they were going to use for their picnic. She arches her back and lays down on the blanket, kicking her high heels off. "Well, aren't you going to serve me?" she purrs.
Kyle kneels at the corner of the blanket and opens the picnic basket. After removing the traditional paper plates and napkins, he pulls out the food Chris had specifically requested: Vegetable samosas, garlic and onion nan, palak panir, aloo gobi masala, and a container of khir for dessert. As he opens the containers and prepares their repast, she comments on how "in" Indian food is. He smiles at her, and pulls out his contribution to the menu, a bottle of California Chablis.
Before long, most of the food and all the wine is gone, and two slightly drunk young people are sharing the flavors of the meal, as tasted on each other's lips. It's understandable then, that neither of them hears the muggers coming out of the bushes into their secluded hideaway. Perhaps if Chris had her eyes open, she would have seen the crowbar coming down on Kyle's head; as it was she only hears a crack and feels Kyle's full weight bear down on her suddenly.
As if in a fog Kyle heard Alex screaming. Major Force was beating her, he could see the shadows on the wall, enacting the scene. As his vision started to clear, he saw that Major Force and Alex DeWitt were standing in a refrigerator, eerily lit by a green glow. He knew that only he could save her, and with grim determination he looked down at the weapon in his hand. All he had was his sketchbook and a pencil. He heard Alex scream again, and again...
...Kyle awakes to the sound of Chris's scream, which suddenly ends. He sees one of the muggers standing over her, his legs on either side of her chest, holding her up by her halter top, she is hanging limply. Suddenly Kyle realizes that the way an unconscious body hangs, and the way a dead body hangs are not the same. He screams with rage, and bursts into a green blur of action.
Less than five seconds later, Kyle is cradling Chris's dead body in his arms. "I got them Alex, I got them," he whispers to her. Around him are the crumpled bodies of three muggers. Unfortunately, he didn't count on the fourth, and his head meets the crowbar again. As he sinks into unconsciousness he hears sirens in the distance.
Return of a Lantern
"What's the story doc? Is he going to be okay?" The questions come from a large black man, and are directed at a middle aged Asian woman in a white lab coat. She glances at her chart, and then back at the man.
"Mr. . . . Stewart was it?" Dr. Miwa asks, and waits for his nod. "Mr. Rayner has suffered a severe trauma, and can only see relatives. I hate to state the obvious, but you don't look like a relative."
"Listen doc, I'm the closest thing the kid has to a relative in this town. And to be frank, there are enough people out there to fill a Brownstone waiting," he jabs a thumb over his shoulder to indicate the waiting room, outside of Dr. Miwa's office, "and they won't take kindly to hearing that I don't have anything to tell them about their friend" he finishes with a glare.
Dr. Miwa has given presentations to audiences of hundreds of glaring professors and doctors. She grew up with a demanding Japanese father who never settled for anything less than the best from her. Her first husband was a Marine drill seargent who could make a cadet lose bladder control with just a glance. She could face them all and stare them down without a moment's pause. But this man is different. She doesn't know that he has been to more planets than she has been to cities. She doesn't know that he has faced entire alien armadas single handed. She doesn't know that he commanded task forces of alien heroes who were ready to lay down their lives at his command. She doesn't know that he was a Guardian of the Universe. She doesn't know any of these things, but she leads him into her patient's room and lets him in alone. Something in his demeanor doesn't take no for an answer.
John pulls a chair up to Kyle's bedside. He notices Kyle is still wearing his ring and he smiles a half smile, "Just try to separate a Green Lantern from his ring," he thinks. "Well kid," he says to the prone figure in front of him, "You certainly got the raw end of the deal this time. I wish Kilowog were here to help you out. Heck, I can think of a dozen Lanterns that could have had you up and around in no time. But that doesn't help us now." With his hand on Kyle's hand, he falls into a tired sleep.
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