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Adventures Of Oakheart, Issue #004

June 26, 2013 in Adventures Of Oakheart Tags:

oakheart cover
Issue #004 – – – – – controlled by Wayne Gildroy – – – – – Credits 90

Oakheart wanted to intervene, he really did.  But he could not see how it was possible.  Unlike some of the other heroes that frequented the city Oakheart could not simply remove a mask, take off a cape or put on a pair of spectacles and lose himself in the crowd.  Oakheart was a living tree.  The words ‘inconspicuous’ and ‘living tree’ are seldom seen together, unless you’re in a forest or a jungle.  Neither did he want to lose himself in the city park.  It was a large area and he had no doubt he could avoid the authorities for a long time, but eventually they would track him down.  Even rooted (and he wasn’t keen to do that again, who knew how long he’d sleep for this time!) they’d have some method of detection of other.

Meanwhile, the very young man who apparently went by the name Park Defender looked like he planned to resist arrest.  “You said you’d been hired,” he told them.  “So you aren’t cops.  You don’t have any powers of arrest.”
“We got all the powers we need,” buzzcut sneered, waving the silver baton thing in the air, “might makes right.”
“Listen, young man,” the woman who had appeared to be a victim, but now appeared to be in charge said: “It doesn’t have to get unpleasant.  It’s much easier for us if you go quietly.  We get paid the same either way and I don’t have any interest in causing you pain.”
“You’ll get enough of that at The Institute,” one of the others laughed, before a steely gaze from the woman silenced him.
Apparently deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, Park Defender vanished.  Invisible!
The woman sighed.  “Get him,” she said.

Abruptly, the air was full of gunfire.  Bullets whined and whistled through the air.  A crackling energy beam burst from the end of that mysterious silver rod.  The quiet night became a scene of noise, bright light and chaos, but only for a few very loud seconds.  Then all was still again for a moment, before a thump on the path indicated that Park Defender had slumped to the ground.  There, he re-materialised, a sorry little figure riddled with wounds, curled up in a foetal position on the hard tarmac path.  A pool of dark red blood grew around him.

“Shit,” the woman sounded slightly regretful.  But only slightly.  “It didn’t have to go down like that, kid.”
The group moved forwards and stood around the fallen would-be hero.  “Bag him,” she said.  One of the group produced a black canvas sack, apparently from a hiding place in the darkness of the underpass.  They unceremoniously stuffed his body into the carrier and then loaded that onto a simple stretcher made from two metal rods and some stiff netting.  Oakheart saw that his face was covered.  Clearly the young man was dead – or they didn’t care enough either way to check.

Oakheart stared in shock.  It had all happened so quickly.  He had never expected they would just gun the young hero down.  He simply couldn’t believe what had just happened.  Should he have intervened?  Perhaps – but his logic was flawless.  Until he knew what was going on he couldn’t afford to make too public a display.  Somebody like him was just too easy to find.  Nevertheless, as he looked at the small, sorry-looking form inside the sack being carted away by the group his heart felt heavy.  He felt – responsible – somehow.   Still, there was nothing he could do.  Quietly, sadly, Oakheart blended back into the darkness and foliage of the park.

Oakheart spent the remaining hours until dawn exploring the park, with particular focus on its boundaries.  Given its central location, the City Park gave access to three distinct parts of the city.  At one end it was overlooked by the glitzy hotels and neon-lit nightspots of Helix Point.  At the other it opened into the run-down, dingy and often downright strange streets of Downtown.  While a small part of the Western edge, where the Duck Lake drew fisherman and families on sunny days, was a direct access to the The Port.  Truth is, with the exception of Madden Heights, there wasn’t much of the city you couldn’t quickly reach from the park.

The hero was still struggling to piece his memories together.  Not given to pointless pondering, Oakheart decided not to dwell on how his mind had become so scrambled.  He was fairly sure that, now he was aware again, answers would begin to emerge.  Instead he was trying to get a picture of how the city itself had changed.  It was dramatic.  Oakheart had vague but fond memories or a colourful, lively metropolis – with it’s problems, sure, but still a positive and upbeat place to live.  That place had gone.  In its stead was this new dark, strange city full of ominous buildings, drenched in shadows.  Oakheart, being of the natural world in a way, was well-tuned to the sort of atmospherics that humans could not detect.  What he was picking up was a dark kind of menace.  An oppressive heavy gloom that seemed to hang over everything like a terrible storm cloud.

“Hmmm,” Oakheart pondered.  His mind kept going back to that pool of dark, dark blood that had spread around the Park Defender.  He couldn’t shake the image from his mind.  He was standing in a place he had always enjoyed, a small clearing with an old fountain in the middle.  There was no path to it, it was a secret that Oakheart and only a few doughty park explorers had stumbled upon, but it was surrounded by a palpable sense of peace.  There on the stonework Oakheart could see the old graffiti he’d noticed many times before.  Two names inside a crude scratched love heart.  Sarah and Alan.  Except, Oakheart was fairly sure they weren’t the same names.  Hadn’t it once said Sarah and Pete?  Even the dreamy promises of timelost lovers had no security or conviction anymore.

He sighed.  Everything was different.  Was he different too?  Would the old Oakheart have sat and watched a young man be murdered?  Would he have been content to just let the chips fall as they would?  Clearly, Oakheart had some decisions to make.  Would he remain here, lurking in the shadows of the City Park, unable to take action for fear of the consequences?  His situation was unique.  If he was going to get involved with the world again – he was a hard target to miss.  But somehow he had to.

2 Responses to “Adventures Of Oakheart, Issue #004”

  1. False Bill Says:

    No side kick for Oakheart then.

    But what is the Institute and will Oakheart look to avenge the Park Defender?

  2. Fraser Machin Says:

    Things are going to be difficult for those of us who kinda stand out, some hard decisions for Oakheart


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