“Aw criminy, guys! It’s the Nightmare! Amscray!”
She had only just landed on the girder and they were already terrified of her. Cape still wavering from her landing, Nightmare looked up at the gallery of goons spread out before her. Salvatore Cagan’s gang had just robbed a laboratory of some valuable and possibly destructive tech. their chase with the police had lead them into a construction zone.
Cagan’s men were organized, making death defying leaps with no fear in their blood. They leapt from girder to girder, swinging back and forth as their weight rocked the chains suspending the steel bars in the air. Eventually, their trail had gone cold.
But not for the Nightmare.
Terrified, the gang scattered like mice. A smirk creased her crimson mask. Calmly, she walked down the girder, sizing up the crew. Five normal goons, one big guy, and Cagan himself…this wouldn’t be too bad.
Looking up, she saw one bearded goon two stories above her making a break for it, one that she immediately pinned as Reginald “Mugsy” Williams VI, one of her regulars. Shooting a grapple onto his girder, she flew into the air, landing gracefully on the steel. All it took for him to skid to a halt was to see her angry eyes through the slit in her mask.
“Aw, man,” Mugsy moaned, shutting his eyes and swinging a punch at Nightmare’s head. Her hand shot out and grabbed onto Mugsy’s, stopping his fist completely. “Go easy on me, will ya?” he cried, shaking so much it was hard for her to keep his arm steady.
Nightmare rolled her eyes and kicked Mugsy in the chest, knocking him off the girder and onto a platform below him. He crashed onto it unceremoniously, completely tapped out. Nightmare scanned the area around her quickly, managing to spot one of the goons aiming at her. Grunting, she threw her body out of harm’s way, inadvertently stumbling off of the girder.
Flowing into her next move like a dance, Nightmare released another grapple line, gliding as smoothly as a shadow. She landed besides the goon that shot at her. Up close and personal, she could see him in vivid detail: Salvatore Cagan, a slick looking man with a goatee and a spit-curl.
Cagan whirled around to get at least one more shot in on the vigilante but a blade she had tossed at his hands interrupted that notion pretty quickly. Rubbing his hands, he grinned at her.
“What?” Nightmare asked as she advanced towards him.
“Just thinking about the well done steak I’m eating tonight.”
Nightmare raised an eyebrow. “You eat your steak well done?”
Nightmare couldn’t see what was happening, but she could feel the weight of a boulder pressing against her. Some tremendously powerful force had slammed into her like a mallet, sending her careening off the girder. She tried raising her arm to fire another grapple line but all she could see was the tank-like body of Cagan’s finest.
Looking down , Nightmare saw the mesh of a platform three stories below waiting for her. Her power suit’s strength enhancers jumped up to maximum levels. Rolling in the air, she managed to flip Rhino off of her, her legs kicking her above him, just in time for him to crash into the platform first.
Nightmare’s body bounced into his, rolling off of him. Clutching her head, barely able to focus, Nightmare witnessed Rhino doubled over in agony, smacking his head to get it together. She only had a few seconds to recover before he’d be back at it again. Rhino was the muscle of the gang, refusing to use firearms because his fists were deadlier.
She checked her surroundings to see where to grapple next, but before she knew it, she found her body lurching around, avoiding desperate swings from Rhino.
Roaring, teeth gnashing, Rhino swung at her drunkenly, threatening to pop her skull open if he were to hit her.
Sweat poking through her cloth mask, Nightmare desperately tried thinking of a way out of this, but her adrenaline forced her to only focus on the fancy footwork she needed to not get broken by Rhino.
A chain rattled on her back. Eyes shooting up, she turned around and grabbed onto the chain with both hands, lifting herself into the air and swung off of the platform. Wrapping her feet around the links, Nightmare clung to the side of the chain like a watchful bug.
Rhino’s fist passed under her as she threw her body onto the chain, shattering the chain links beneath her. Immediately, the platform tilted dangerously under Rhino’s weight, threatening to dump him off. Screaming like Tarzan, Rhino grabbed onto the chain Nightmare clung to, slipping off of the platform and dangling in the air.
Above them, the steel the chains were melded to began to bend downwards, creaking louder by the second. Nightmare began looking for an escape, but then felt the tug of Rhino’s hand wrapped around her leg, dragging her down with him.
Rhino tugged on her like a mischievous child would to their toy. Holding herself up with every scrap of energy she had, Nightmare slipped down one notch of the chain.
Suddenly Rhino’s expression changed to one of loss as he looked out at the other girders. Feeling his grip loosen, Nightmare cringed and nailed Rhino right in the face with her foot, knocking him loose. He fell, fortunately landing on another platform a few yards down.
Nightmare looked back up to the other mobsters only to find them missing; The Amscray Gang had amscrayed. Dammit…
Dropping down to Rhino’s platform, Nightmare saw him lying down on his side helplessly. She approached the tank of a man cautiously, ready to cuff him. Then Rhino did said something she didn’t expect.
“Those guys suck, huh?”
Nightmare froze. She had heard Rhino’s voice before, mostly translated through grunts, screams, and roars, but this was new. His voice was so tiny. Her hand retreated back to her utility belt, handcuffs clinking against her thigh.
“I figured they’d at least wait up, y’know?
“Yeah…” Nightmare nodded along, sidestepping around Rhino.
“I’m not gonna attack you, don’t worry,” Rhino said softly.
“Well, y’know, I’d feel a little better if I, uh…”
“Alright, fine, I get it,” Rhino rolled onto his back, pathetically raising his hands above his head. She snapped the handcuffs on, more gently than usual.
“Can I be real for a second, Rhino?” Nightmare asked, crossing her legs and taking a seat beside him. His neck craned over to look up at her. “You’re in a gang of high profile mobsters. Of course they’re gonna ditch ya.”
“Yeah, I know,” Rhino mumbled. “But just the other day I helped Mugsy beat one of the dungeons in Ocarina of Time.”
“Water Temple?” Nightmare chuckled, leaning her cheek against her open palm.
“Nah, Forest Temple,” Rhino explained with a grin.
“The hidden key that’s on the pillar at the beginning?”
“Yeah!” Rhino twisted his body, shoving himself up into a sitting position. “You’d think that’d mean something, right?”
“No, yeah, I get it,” Nightmare said, her awareness of the sheer height of the drop around them fading. “I have team mates who blow me off sometimes, but you know—we’re not here to make friends. We’re here to, um—well you’re here to make bank I guess.”
“I guess,” Rhino frowned. “But y’know…you risk your life to save someone else’s and you’d think they’d at least care about you a little bit…”
There was a warm glow in Rhino’s eyes that Nightmare had never noticed before.
Rhino laughed, shaking his head. “God, Sally would get so mad if he knew I was talking to you right now.”
“Yeah, my Boss would too.”
Nightmare let out a deep breath she didn’t know she was holding inside her.
“Y’know, I do all the cooking for them. And man, they’re going to have to eat out tonight and we don’t have the money for that,” Rhino shook his head.
“Steak!” Nightmare cried out, “Cagan said he was going to get a well-done steak tonight! Y’know—“
“Yeah, I don’t get it either.
A warm glow in Nightmare’s eyes. “Hah, yeah, I was gonna say, if you’re not cooking, where do you think they’ll get the steak?”
Rhino raised an eyebrow at her, leaning towards her. “You’re doing down a dangerous road asking me that.”
“C’mon, they don’t have to know,” Nightmare playfully nudged Rhino’s arm. He couldn’t help but smile.
“Okay, you know the Texas Roadhouse in Downtown,” Rhino explained.
“Got it,” Nightmare cheered, knowing exactly where he was talking about. “They’re gonna do take out, yeah?”
“Hm…delivery…they deliver? I didn’t know that.”
“No, dude, those guys are all about the apps! Sally likes Post Mates a lot.”
Nightmare, holding onto her knees, thought this one over. “I got a guy in Post Mates.”
“Should I feel bad about doing this?” Rhino asked, his face paling.
“Nah, you’re good,” Nightmare patted Rhino on the back, getting to her feet and pulling out her communicator.
“Hold up,” Rhino burst. Nightmare paused in typing in a phone number and looked over to him. “I did one for you, you do one for me.”
Oh, of course. That’s where this was going. Nightmare mulled it over in her head, swaying nervously, then let out a deep sigh. Throwing her hands onto her hips, she said, “Okay, what?”
“The Fire Temple, right?” Rhino said seriously. “Mugsy’s been lost for hours.”
Nightmare looked at Rhino for a long time, trying to figure out how anyone could possibly get lost in the Fire Temple of all places.
“That ledge!” Nightmare pointed out excitedly. “There’s like—that ledge in the room where the fire chases you! And like—it looks way too far away to jump it.”
“Yes!” Rhino grabbed his toes, leaning back, his laugh like a dog barking. Then he became quiet and pointed at her with his cuffed hands. “You get me our copy of the game, okay?”
Nightmare hesitated, then nodded. She could pull that off.
“Alright,” Rhino said smugly. “I lied by the way. They’re going to be ordering from the Outback Steakhouse at the edge of Koreatown.”
“You play ball good, Rhino,” Nightmare shook her head as she dialed for the police. “Catch ya on the flippity.”
“Right back at ya.”