Richard Denzien paced back around his house, mind busy. There hadn’t been new Nightmare-class metahumans in the states in years. Not since the Rose of Thorns first made her debut in 2000. And now there had been two new Nightmare events in the same city in one month. And his son, Will, was right in the middle of both.
He’d tried calling. During the first one Will had picked up and assured Richard that he was fine. But this time, there was no response. Not even voicemail. Just “your call could not be completed as dialed.”
The TV was on, volume up so he could hear the broadcast throughout the house. He’d given up on actually watching it. A warbling tone echoed through the house as the landline rang. It wasn’t Will, he would have called Richard’s cell phone, but Richard was too nervous to care.
When he snatched a corded telephone from the wall, a female voice said,
“You are receiving a call from Stonewall Penitentiary. Would you like to accept?”
Richard’s stomach lurched and he immediately started to say, “no,” but thought better of it.
“Yeah,” he said, throat tight.
“Richard,” said Baron Denzien. He’d never lost his Polish accent, though he’d even changed his name from Bazyli to an english version.
“What do you want?” Richard said.
“I want to know that Will is safe.”
“I don’t know!” Richard exclaimed. “His phone-
“Maybe I wasn’t clear,” Baron interrupted. “I don’t want to know if he’s safe. I want to know that he is.”
The line went dead as Baron hung up. Richard stood there holding the phone for a moment, before gently placing it back in its cradle. Without a word, he walked to his bedroom and opened the closet door, then pushed through the hanging clothes and lifted the hidden latch he’d installed himself some years ago. The purple bodysuit was just as he’d left it. God, it even smelled the same. Like gunsmoke and cash. Like a life of crime.
He still didn’t understand how he’d never been caught. It had come close, sure, but even when Baron Denizen’s identity became public, nobody had investigated his son, or even given him a second glance. Perhaps the Denizen of the Dark’s reputation was more powerful than he’d realized.
Richard made his decision. Fifteen minutes later, he threw a small suitcase into the back of his car and himself into the driver’s seat.