Secret Lives


By WBHunk

I blinked once….twice……the world at first fuzzy, then sharpening bit by bit….OW, my HEAD…..I reached up involuntarily, only to cry out as sharp metal edges bit into my wrists….handcuffs… the dusty dimness, a chain shining dully, wrapped around a thick metal warehouse post….what in the –

“Ah, so you’re waking up,” came a liquid, haughty voice from off to my side. The owner walked into view; fiftyish, a thick shock of silver hair, tanned, whipcord-slim, a dark Armani suit – and the lean hungry look of a weasel eyeing a piece of meat. His eyes sparkled with a predatory gleam in the brownish haze – the picture-perfect Hollywood rendition of a gigolo fallen on hard times.

I gagged and spat, the bile heavy in my throat. “I don’t know who you are, but you just made one hell of a mistake.”

“Big words from a man in shackles,” he sneered, circling me, his heels clicking on the concrete floor. “I assure you, this is no mistake – when I go hunting, I always use the finest bait to lure my quarry.”

“Bait? Quarry? What on earth are you talking about?”

“Think of it as a game,” he said, looking me up and down. “It started when I found out there was a trophy. An object of incredible power, and it by rights belongs to me. But it was given away by someone who was out of their mind, and its current possessor doesn’t want to give it up. So this has been the game – to draw him out, to study him, to discover his weaknesses. It’s been a hard slog, staging accidents, crimes, anything to get his attention….but I have finally found the perfect way to get what is mine back. You.”

Wait a minute….staging accidents….”You….you didn’t….you COULDN’T…”

“Crash a Muni bus? Oh, that was easy,” he said, almost gleefully. “One quick-acting mickey in a Big Gulp, and it was all over from there. The hard part was timing it so that it would crash in the Castro. You won’t believe how many times I had to experiment on people to get the dosage down correctly – and how some people just can’t handle a few chemicals. Puts them into terrible comas, I tell you. Fortunately, you just dump them in the Bay and–“

“You – you -- BASTARD,” I groaned, yanking futilely at the cuffs. “You put innocent lives at risk and KILL people – and you call it a GAME? What could you possibly want so badly that you would --”

“Don’t play the innocent with me, pervert,” he snarled, grabbing me by the jacket front, yanking me to my feet, his eyes blazing with hate. “You know full well what I want and who has it, and it’s –“

“Me,” came a rumbling from the shadows, a massive form moving into the wan light coming through the filthy windows, fabric rustling as his cape rippled. Superbear!

He stared at the man in disgust, his fists clenched. “Why did you take him?”

“Leverage, ‘Superbear’, leverage,” the man smiled……and I felt cold round metal up against the base of my skull. “Now, we can do this very simply….” he shoved the gun barrel into my neck….”or we can do it in a very messy fashion. You have something that belongs to me, and I want it.”

Superbear’s face creased as he saw the gun. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“The name is Milan, ‘Superbear’…..Caldwell Milan.” His voice hardened. “And I want the ring.”

Superbear flinched. “I….I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Too late to bluff, faggot,” Milan growled. I gasped as he shoved the barrel deeper into my flesh, smiling evilly at Superbear’s reaction. “I know everything about that ring – where it came from, how you got it, and what it can do. It’s an easy choice; give it to me or pick this ‘cub’s brains up off the floor and try to stick them back in what’s left of his head. Granted, you’ll permanently lose your powers in the process, but I think that’s a small price to pay for a cub, don’t you?”

Powers….no….”Superbear, don’t,” I gasped, wincing as Milan ground the gun barrel against my skin. “He’s lying – he’ll kill us both. Don’t worry about me – get rid of him before he hurts someone else. He’s the one who crashed that Muni bus—AGGGGHH,” I screamed, as a blackjack cracked against the side of my head….feeling a warm liquid start to run down my ear, the world going into, out of focus as I fought to stay conscious.

“Shut up, ‘cub’,” Milan said coldly, “or I’ll give you worse – and I’ll make him watch.” He turned towards Superbear. “Well? What will it be? Your powers or your cub?”

Superbear stared at him with a gaze of pure hatred……..then, with a sweeping gesture, held up his right hand…..suddenly, in a dazzle of light, a golden ring appeared on his finger.

Milan smiled. “Excellent, Superbear. I knew you’d see reason eventually. Now…” his smile became a predatory sneer….”take it off”.

“Superbear….no,” I croaked, gritting my teeth against the pain in my head. “You can’t – think of all the people you’ve helped, you can save --“

He shot me a look that was strangely tender and filled with longing….then back at Milan’s leer….and squared his shoulders…..”Sorry cub….I have to.”

He reached up…….and pulled the ring off his finger. Suddenly the room was filled with a blinding flash….obscuring his form for a second...then back to the dusty haze. My eyes adjusted back…staring at where Superbear was standing…..oh my God…it…it can’t be……

“Jimmy!” •

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