The armored figure walked into Mickey’s Bar, his eyes glowing a murderous red. The patrons, which included several high-ranking members from the criminal underworld, four on-the-take police officers, a Judge, a Deputy County Prosecutor, and the head of the Local 453rd, all stopped as if possessing one body and stared in disbelief. Mickey, who was tending bar himself this evening, momentarily considered reaching for the shotgun he kept under the bar, but the last time he tried to shoot The Sheath, things hadn’t worked out so well.
For several seconds, no one moved and even The Sheath, his steel-alloy armor reflecting the dim light inside the bar, merely moved his head slowly from side to side taking in the scene as if deciding who to kill first.
Finally Vinnie Russo, underworld kingpin and reputedly the most powerful man in the city, stood. He was trembling, which was uncharacteristic of him, but given the circumstances, quite understandable. The cigar he had been smoking dropped unnoticed from his mouth.
“You…you’re dead! I killed you myself! I pulled off your helmet and put a bullet through your brain!”
The voice of The Sheath was metallic, as if being transmitted by radio into an echo chamber, as if the voice was coming from the other side of the world. “When you kill the last hero on Earth Mr. Russo, I suggest you make sure the job is really finished.”
“So…so what? You planning to take me in?” Russo knew he wouldn’t be in jail an hour before his mouthpiece sprung him.
The laughter issuing from The Sheath’s helmet was ghastly. At least three bar patrons wet themselves and another did something even worse in his pants.
“No, Mr. Russo. You have the cops and the courts in your pocket. There is no justice to be found there. I haven’t come to arrest you. I’ve come to send you to Hell.”
The Sheath raised both ferrous-clad arms. Twin machine guns sprang up from the forearms and began firing as the mysterious metal being moved from left to right, dropping bodies in wholesale slaughter. Only Russo was spared.
The room was filled with death and decorated with abundant amounts of blood, entrails, and brains as The Sheath walked over to where Russo was still standing. The sound of his heavy boots echoed in the otherwise silent room. Mickey’s Bar had become a morgue.
The massive armored hero from a bygone era stood only inches from the mob boss. “Time to pay for your crimes, Mr. Russo.”
To his credit, Russo was no coward. He figured he’d have to pay the piper sooner or later and he knew tonight his luck had finally run out.
“If you’re expecting me to beg, you’re out of luck, Sheath. Just do it and get it over with.”
“I’ll be fair, Russo. You intended my death to be quick so I’ll return the favor.”
Two gleaming gauntlets quickly reached out, grabbed Russo on either side of the head and abruptly twisted, snapping the neck of the underworld chief. Vinnie Russo dropped to the floor like a sack of dead cats.
The crimson eyes of The Sheath flared once and then dimmed to black. He reached up and removed his now unneeded helmet. There was nothing inside.
A voice, now a whisper rather than an echoing roar, spoke from the other side of life. “Now we’re even, Mr. Russo. Now I can have peace.”
The headless armored figure collapsed and fell apart revealing only emptiness in armor once proudly worn for the cause of justice until the last day of his life by the man once known as The Sheath.