Superhero by Bader A. Shehab

When you’re neither the last on this damned land, no one to clamber on nor a last stand.

You’ll wish the demon’s soul to possess you again, a reoccurrence of the prowess in a single gun’s chambered vein.

The will of a single man shall overcome armies, for history is written by the victor’s hand.

You may outrun the devil’s posse and time itself, but the last count of a pistol’s grasp lets a man with none to lose; a prey to the tomb’s last engrave.

Frequent rogue howls from the fathoms of hell, upon this earth’s damned, no one to clamber no last stand; parting meal of the paroled, of soup bread and their blood.

Sound off your final blues of breath, across this damned land;

For Heroes always stay behind five minutes longer than the rest.

Captain Dev Jackal

It was a moonlit clear sky out, the slightest hint of light at once in a solemn darkness so tranquil that you’d only hear the occasional paper play even at a distance. Other than flying paperweights and dust, my boots sounded off echoing against buildings across streets and alley ways, there is no one left here after the last raid; evacuated, dead or hiding probably eyeing my sole presence through barricaded windows and doors. Turned a corner carefully making sure none of them are left, but just as I was about to call in my radio for a recon drone, couldn’t help but hear beats and slight drums from right down the street. withdrawing my Beretta, kept the sights trained at the empty street’s corners and alleys, got closer to the sound of music I recognized it as Louis Jordan’s “Cho-choo Ch’boogie”, it was one of my favorites to listen to while sipping moonshine with Judie back at base. Walked up half a block and the music got louder, noticing the only opened bar with lights almost brightening the entire street, holstered my pistol and pulled an Armalite high-velocity rifle and turned the safety off, if anything this could be a trap. I approached the door carefully and stepped in, no one was inside and just as the song came to an end, the sound of a grenade pin coming loose took over and the sleight of a hand tossing it right near my foot across the room behind a counter.

Kicking the grenade instinctively and evadingly jumping over the bar on my left and getting into a fetal position to brace for explosion; the entire place illuminated in green phosphorous element, eating wood, metal and glass alike leaving out nothing but bits of anything in its blast radius. I was instantly covered in dust, shards of shot glasses, alcohol and shrapnel that dug to the back of my neck and right through my Kevlar. This was immediately followed by gun fire from every direction and angle possible; I scrambled away as fast as I could and hugged back my rifle. Then took cover behind what’s left of a thick kitchen door, got my bearings back and made out two of them across the room and more guns firing at the direction of the bar outside across the street. Slipping away through the back door while dialing my heads-up display satellite drone; my eyes and ears of the sky gave me a distinct timely advantage. She was 3 kilometers away and approaching; used the time to turn back around the block and try to flank the enemy. “Kept you waiting, huh?” my radio went off as Judie, the drone pilot hovered the craft into position right above me, “took your sweet time, like always. Give me a sit-rep”. The drone’s infrared vision pierced the darkness below and tagged two rogues walking around the block where the bar is and three more inside looking around for me, “you’ve got five rogues, three heavy, two light; 12 o’clock low, let me guess? You don’t want backup” The sarcasm in her voice knew my answer, “I’m gone, need to refuel and re-arm, good luck” maintained radio silence as the drone hovered above and flew away North of here, where Lockwood Greene is, mother base. Can’t bother to call back up as I was out on my own and all patrols are on hold since we are at the brink of war.

Snapping a sound suppressor on my rifle and putting on night vision goggles, readied myself for a counter assault; squared out two gas grenades and a concussion shocker, I pulled loose the pin on both smoke grenades and threw them at either entrances of the bar across the street while getting out of cover, that got their attention and frantic howls were heard. Then stuck the butt of my rifle against my shoulder, trained the sights at the bar and turned on my thermal goggles clearly making out the heat signatures before me; one of them came out from the smoke in my direction, let loose a double tap from my semi-automatic and he fell like a heavy bag, gun fire was followed and took cover quickly behind a car adjacent to the shop. The concussion grenade was next, pulled the pin and tossed it into Tommy’s East Hudson Bar & Grill, or what’s left of it; it went off nicely and one of the rogues came out staggering holding both sides of his head as if it was bleeding, at this point the smoke cleared and I set my rifle on full automatic fire, pulled the trigger aiming center mass nearly flying him backwards from the armor-piercing rounds. Three more left inside and with more gun fire at my direction I was forced back to cover, rolled away and flanked them around the block then entered the back door and took them out one by one. The last rogue member was crawling back to its gun desperately, walked towards the thing while taking off my goggles and withdrawing my own pistol, kicked it in the gut and it grunted, turned to stare dead at me, it mumbled something before spitting out dark blood. The cold barrel, silver as the lining of my eyes in the dark, let loose a .45 caliber hollow point, exploding in its skull and letting out a gush of thick brain fluid behind instantly killing it. Recuperated in a stall, cleaned out the shrapnel wounds and headed out to the North Gate Bridge towards Manhattan Island. On the far end of the isolated metropolis more activity buzzed and came to life as I arrived at mother base, Lockwood Greene.

Descended into an underground facility which houses a barracks, multi-level armories and a fully operational command center. Nodding at a few friendly faces I tossed my duffle bag into my quarters and placed my pistol and rifle square on my desk, a pre-lit Cuban cigar sat on an ashtray slowly fuming an aromatic smoke. Grabbed it and reclined back on my makeshift bed as I puffed on the thick Cohiba, the best of its brand. I got some good shut eye for a few hours, until I overheard the speakers go off, they’re connected to the entire base and they sound off when the morale is down playing quotes from Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. Operation Dark Winter will commence tomorrow and all the men are nervous, an entire company last week A-walled with an all-out war is just around the corner. This time, President Roosevelt got on the speaker phones addressing all personnel for one last boost of morale before the assault.

“Stand before you today humbled yet proud, efficient yet helpless, like you I am a soldier behind a gun and no more when faced with the threat of our enemy. We are of one power and a single unity, and today, before any day, we stand together to tackle this great enemy with every last breath and strength. Today we march to glory and beyond, with every step a new hope and milestone bringing us closer to our goals. I know the great obstacles we must overcome, the great enemy we are to face but I assure you with our weapons, tactics and capabilities we are to crush them to below our firepower. I have trust in each man and woman of the United Global Nations, and if there is any man I would want to raise the final flag, our prominent battle leader. Take my word, from your president; follow and aid Captain Jackal for he is our last hope against a rising enemy, he is our super-hero against an army of villains, tomorrow we get out there and avenge our earth. The will of a single man will overcome armies, for history is written by the victor’s hand!” Shouts of cheer and cry could be heard throughout the barracks and walls.
I am Captain Dev Jackal.

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