By Jeff A. Hatch
About the Author

What's Gone Before: Blane Trask designed the prototype Defender suit only to have it secretly redesigned by his false father, Anthony Trask, for purposes of his own.  Inheriting the mantle of the superhero Eclipse from his dead grandfather, Blane Trask once again encounters the Bloodstone Gang, this time defeating them with his smoke bombs and infrared goggles, and sending a message to the criminal elements of Necropolis...that Eclipse is back.
Now, in the home of his co-worker and friend, Lane Briggs...

Episode Five:

A Visitor in the Dark

Lane Briggs awoke in the middle of the night. He was alone; he had decided not to go out this evening as he was tired from doing Blane's work.

"That's two you owe me," thought Lane.

The air was cold and moist in his room. He sought the reason and found that the window was open. The drapes flapped in the wind and rain streamed in. As Lane got up to close the window, he realized that he was not alone in the room. From behind the curtains came a figure in black. The figure wore a cloak-like trench coat that whipped around him in the wind.

The figure approached Lane who was paralyzed in fear. Lane did not recognize the figure immediately, but, as the figure began to speak, he knew that he was Eclipse.

"Lane Briggs, you must come with me," boomed out the ebon-cloaked avenger.

Actually, Lane's imagination was working overtime and he only thought of the voice as booming.

"W-Why d-do you want me?" Lane got this out as best as he could considering he was fighting a battle with his bowels right now.

"Because," answered the mysterious Crimefighter,"you are my only friend."

To punctuate his sentence, Blane removed his mask to show his friend his true face. Lane almost fainted.

"Blane!" he exploded. "What the living hell are you doing in that get up?"

Blane looked straight into his friend's eyes and spoke with all the determination he could summon. He explained as fast as possible what had happened to him in the last twenty four hours and what he had done earlier. Lane seemed to accept everything, though he looked like it was too much for him to take in.

"Lane, you are my only friend. I can't even go to my father; he probably sent those thugs after me in the first place." Blane sat on the edge of Lane's bed and spoke softly now. "I have to figure out what to do with all this -- I...We need to find someone who will listen to the truth," said Eclipse.

Lane looked at his friend thoughtfully and then responded: "You could go to the police. Don't you have some contacts there?"

"I don't know who to trust anymore, Lane. You are the only one that I think is beyond my father's control." Blane said this searching for an answer which Lane quickly supplied.

"Of course I am, buddy. We've been friends through lots of good times, why not some bad?" There was genuine concern in Lane's eyes, the first time Blane had seen anyone show real emotion for him in a long time.

"I'm going to go to my old place and pick up some things, then I'll meet you at the Trask Building."

Blane spun and headed for the window. Lane rushed to the window only to see his friend gliding down a thin wire to a car waiting below. Lane couldn't help but feel that things were going to get complicated in his life real soon...

Blane whipped from the Nightmobile and moved quickly to his apartment. Blane was still garbed in the voluminous costume of Eclipse. The thick black cloak felt somehow comforting to him, like a warm coat on a cold day. It was late so he walked proudly up the steps and slipped quietly into his rooms.

The deluxe Victorian apartment seemed to have become quite mundane to him. Looking around Blane saw nothing that he could be proud of. He saw no trophies, no awards for excellence, nothing. Blane felt proud, though -- he was wearing the last legacy of his family. He hoped that he would live long enough to make his dead grandfather proud.

It was then that he noticed something: a slight electronic hum in the air, that sort of feedback you get inside of an electronic store. Instantly Blane launched himself towards the window. The glass broke, bouncing harmlessly off of his armored cloak. His sense of hearing seemed to vanish at that point; he felt warmth and then the crash of his body hitting a parked car beneath his window. Again the impact was lessened by his armored coat. Blane rolled and looked up to see that his apartment had exploded. Several ounces of plastique had been used, if Blane had estimated correctly.

As far as Blane was concerned, there was no time to sit and cry over a place that no longer seemed like home. Eclipse cast his eyes about and strained to hear the sound of anyone possibly harmed by the explosion. There was nothing.

Blane raced to the Nightmobile and gunned the powerful engine. The finely tuned machine leapt out into the street and Blane guided it towards his new home. The sun was raising about the time that he wheeled into the underground parking garage and parked his car. There was no one near the hidden elevator so he raced to it, finding it waiting, of course.

The doors opened to The Night Loft. Blane stepped out of it already drawing his hat and mask from his face. The adrenaline from the events of the evening left him and he fell onto the couch exhausted.

"What the hell have I gotten myself into?" he asked aloud. There was no answer -- as if he thought there might be.

Blane looked in the kitchen and found that there was some food. He thought there would not be, but he reminded himself that it had only been about a day since the previous owner had vacated the place. Blane quickly made some eggs and potatoes and a glass of OJ. The food hit the spot and speeded him off to the eventual sleep.

Next episode....Dead and Gone!

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Necropolis is copyright 1999, Jeff A. Hatch. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)