Ghost Rider Issue 3
By Luca Joriko Baldassarra
[On the terrace at the charity event]
Alejandra standing in front of Thing in Rider form, he is surprised at what he has witnessed but standing ready for a fight. Alejandra holds her scythe sword in her right hand, with a molten chain dangling from her left.
Alejandra (Rider Form): Benjamin Grimm. You are corrupted by a dark presence. You have been tainted by the Serpent’s touch. What I do now, I do to save your soul from damnation.
Thing: Listen lady, I don’t know how you got the Rider’s powers but what I do know is that you are not getting any where near those people inside with those weapons. Are we going to do this the hard way, or the easy way.
Alejandra (Rider Form): You know as much as I that there is no easy road to redemption Benjamin Grimm. I am prepared to do what is necessary to purge the evil from your heart.
<Spins the chain in her left hand>
[Inside the charity dinner, Spider-Man walks up to Reed who is talking with some of the guests.]
Spider-Man: (Puts his hands on Reed’s shoulder) Excuse me Ladies and Gentleman, I just need a moment of Reed’s time. (Pulls him away)
Reed: What do you need Spider-Man? Is something wrong?
Spider-Man: Ben doesn’t seem to be enjoying his night on the town Reed. He has pretty much taken over the security detail and doesn’t seem to be getting along as well as we thought with the guests.
Reed: I know what you mean. If I have to answer another question about how Ben has been since turning into that monster I’m going to…..sigh……Where is he? Maybe we can go cheer him up.
Spider-Man: Security told me he has been on the terrace for the last fifteen minutes. I’ll grab some drinks and meet you up there. Let’s see if we can turn ol’Rocky’s frown upside---
CRASHHHHH Thing crashes through the doorway leading to the terrace and falls into a table of food. He is smoking with black marks across his suit and body. His FF suit is patchy with burn marks shaped like chains.
Thing: EVERYONE EVACUATE THE AREA! NOW!!!
Fiery chains lash themselves around Thing. Guests are in a panic and escaping through the exits. Alejandra jumps down from the hole left from the Thing’s entrance, landing in front of him with her Scythe held up.
Alejandra (Rider Form): Benjamin Grimm, I will scour the depths of your soul. The evil that hides within you will be judged.
Thing: Listen, you don’t need to do this. The evil inside me is gone, the hammer is gone. I am not that monster!
Spider-Man: NO ONE IS JUDGING ANYONE! Especially some chick with a flaming skull and a leather jacket. I mean, C’mon, this is a suit and tie event.
Reed: Spider-Man, do you notice something about the Ghost Rider? That isn’t the one we know. We need backup, we can’t deal with this by ourselves.
Spider-Man: I sent the signal to Avenger’s Mansion before Thing hit the floor Reed, but forces are spread pretty thin nowadays searching for Cyclops and his supporters.
Reed: This is not good then, a Ghost Rider is not something we can take lightly. We’re gonna need help…
Johnny Blaze running, almost out of breath.
Johnny: STOP! STOPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!
The bus he was chasing disappears down the road. Johnny Blaze is standing in front of a bus stop near the Cathedral. He is angry.
Johnny: HOW DO PEOPLE GET AROUND IN THIS CITY?! I got no Bike, no money, and now there is a young zealot of a Ghost Rider running rampant in New York and I can’t even get a break from a bus driver!
Taxi pulls up instantly near him and stops.
Taxi Driver: Need a ride pal? Just saw you chasing that bus. Figure you need to get somewhere, and I’m just the guy to take ya.
Johnny hops into the car, reaching into his pocket.
Johnny (thought): I don’t have much money on me to pay the guy, but I need to get into midtown. If I have to, I can bust a window and jump out. Hate to do it, but I need to find Alejandra before she strikes again.
Taxi Driver (smirking): Oh don’t worry Johnny boy. I’ll take you straight to your Rider girlfriend. But along the way we have a few things to discuss about our last deal.
Doors Lock and the seatbelts lash Johnny to the seat.
Johnny: Hey! What? What’s goin’ on?! Who are you?!
Taxi driver turns his head around, revealing dagger teeth in his smile.
Mephisto: A bit uncharacteristic of a demon of my position, but I needed a way to get your attention Johnny. You haven’t been fulfilling your end of the bargain since our last meeting. You wouldn’t be trying to get out of it would you?
Johnny (angry): Mephisto…I don’t know what you’re talking about. I stopped Alejandra from turning the world into a bunch of soulless vegetables. I did what you asked. The deal is done.
Mephisto: No Johnny, the deal is not done. I wanted you to stop her, and clearly she has not been stopped. I want you to kill her Johnny Blaze, kill the Rider and take her place. That was the deal. To see that you fulfill your end of the bargain, I will take you to her myself.
Taxi car drives into a nearby tunnel, disappearing into the darkness.
[Back at the charity event, Reed and Spider-Man have finished evacuating the last of the agents. Ghost Rider continues to fight Thing but Thing is now exhausted. Spider-Man and Reed Richards lay motionless, unconscious.]
Alejandra (Rider Form): Your friends. It appears they lack the strength to continue. Somehow you continue to endure, you are strong Ben Grimm. Stronger than you know.
Lashes Thing with fiery chains, binding him.
Alejandra (Rider Form): You are ready Ben Grimm.
Thing: Just shutup and do it already.
Alejandra steps up to Thing, her blade held high over her head.
Alejandra (Rider Form): When this blade pierces your heart, you will experience all the pain and fear that your victims felt. My blade will cleanse your soul of the taint. If you survive, you will have atoned for your sins. Please Benjamin Grimm, have faith.
Alejandra drives the blade through Thing's chest.
Half of Thing’s face begins to change, morphing into the Angir Breaker of Souls.
Angir: RIDER! THIS SOUL IS MINE TO BREAK! YOU….SHALL….NOT……WIN.
Alejandra (Rider Form): No Demon. This soul has suffered enough, and now you shall endure his suffering a thousand times!
Alejandra twists her blade and rips it from Thing’s chest. Thing begins to glow an eerie deep green. The spirit of Angir, screaming leaves his body and Thing is exorcised. Thing collapses to the floor a gaping hole in his chest where the blade once was. Alejandra transforms back to human form and stands over Thing. She stares at the blood on her hands.
Alejandra: Your sacrifice will not be forgotten Ben Grimm.
Johnny: No Alejandra. It won’t be forgotten.
Johnny stands behind her in the doorway.
Johnny: I’m gonna stop you. Whatever it takes.
Alejandra: How do you think you are going to do that? You’re human now Johnny Blaze. You gave up the Spirit of Vengeance. You have no chance against me. Just leave. Live the life you wanted so desperately.
A Fiery Chain grabs her bloodstained hand, Burning her skin.
Alejandra: Ahh! (grunting in pain) How? How could you?
Johnny (Transforming into a Rider): What….ever….it……takes!
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