Fan Fiction: First-Hand Accounts
The Midnight Ride
My name is Jonny Algot Rider and my hopeless twin, Mick 'da wrench' Rider has finally gotten us in over our heads. What my beloved enthusiastic barely older brother had gotten us into, I do not know. Nor do those leveled gats, Thompson submachine gun, and a single massive automatic exactly make this conversational appropriate.
I just assumed that we were in it deep, as deep as one could
be in a field full of cow pies. Mick wanted to leave the homestead soon
as he could run, and me, I'd followed as I always did. Often as not fishing
his sorry tail out of those same cow pies that we were trying to avoid.
At sixteen, we struck out from the open, wild prairies of home only to
end up in a different kind of wilds: The city that never seems to sleep,
the concrete jungle of New York City.
Fortune favored us, two dunder-head farm boys from the west.
We found a place, an old garage with a grandfatherly landlord named Guther
whom took pity on us. He took us in and gave us a chance to thrive, thus
Rider Express was born. And in his death, he left us everything. That was
a week ago and now we find ourselves facing gun-wielding maniacs. It would
seem the old man was a serious thorn in the local mob's side.
"Here's the deal," the thug with one of the two revolvers shifted
his aim. "You!" He waves his weapon towards me, "We're going for a ride."
"We?" I inquire, my graze shifting warily towards the one with
"Yea," he snarls in reply, "we…" I heard Mick swallow nervously,
and I knew we were seriously up a creek.
"Ok," was my only answer.
Me, and at least one other thug pile into the sleek Ford Cord;
Runner, as I called her, certainly wouldn't win any beauty contest, but
man could she run. My hand barely twitched towards the ignition when I
felt the cold iron of the unmistakable barrel of the automatic against
the nape of my neck. At least it wasn't the Thompson, I shuddered at that
"You'll drive," stated an impassive voice, "and you will listen
to what the boss has to say…" He pauses, pressing the massive gun a little
deeper. "Try anything," there was a slight hiss to his tone, "And you will
not be the only one who will suffer…" One glance in the review mirror and
I understood the veiled threat all too well. Mick was shaking like an autumn
leaf in cold remorseless winds, cowering beneath that accursed Thompson
and sole automatic. I finally felt Runner settle with the full of weight
of three men, then.
"Drive!" It was an order, which I obeyed, turning the cord over, then slipping Runner out onto the rain slick streets and dark night.
The pressure of the automatic lessened, allowing me to shift
gears and drive, but it was still there not allowing my thoughts to wonder.
The first few moment that silence, that stillness held the cord's interior
in its unrelenting grasp, then he spoke.
Jonny Algot Rider. To my surprise it was the
one whom currently held me at gun point. Except his voice had taken on
an authoritative quality, yet that sibilant whisper, that haunting eerie
tone I recognized immediately. I doubt there was not an American who could
not identify that voice and tone. It belonged to one man and one man alone.
And he held me at gun point. Suddenly I was more afraid than the time Mick had double dog dared me to go into the Witch's Woods back home. I was a good man, and so was Mick, then...
Why? Came The Shadow's tone as he had divined
my thoughts, and at this exact moment, he probably had. I nodded, unconsciously
keeping to the darker streets and avenues.
Guther, he pronounced the name with a thick
Germanic accent, was an ally, a very old friend. He paused,
and for a second I believed even something as mythical and legendary as
The Shadow could feel remorse. His death was inexcusable.
Such hatred, such anger causing me to grip Runner's wheel with white-knuckles.
Left. I took the curb without question, not
because of the gun--but who held it.
Turns out his death had been designed. The Shadow
continues once the whimpering from the other passenger subsided, by
our good friend, Benny here.
Benny the Fink. Guther told where and how to avoid him, but never why. Suddenly I knew why I was driving and was glad. Nothing good could be said about Benny. Thief. Pan handler. Crook…and now: murderer. What astounded me was that fact he knew; The Shadow knew and he acted upon such acknowledge.
Right. Again I took the direction and found
the coldness of those infamous ..45 automaticwas no longer against my skin.
Benny. Again there was the pitiless whine, had
been led to believe that your benefactor, Guther, knew my lair.
There was a pause, and perhaps my true identity...
"Did he?" I immediately clamped my trap shut cursing my own curiosity. Momma did always say it would be the death of me. Yet, all I got from the darken backseat was a laugh. Mocking, cold as any wintery wind I'd ever known. Even though, I was not his prey--I could not help but to shiver.
It was a ploy, Jonny, The Shadow stated coldly
as the echoes of his blood curdling laugh fades, One that worked,
far too well… Again there was no regret and somehow I knew Guther
would not want us to regret.
Right. Another command, obeying it brought us
to first lit thoroughfare, yet somehow he'd managed to stay enshrouded
in the gloom of Runner's rear.
Speak. He broke the stillness that once more
had ensnared the cord's interior and I could not help but comply.
"I don't." I hesitated, my own deep woody tone sounded rough
and uncertain. I took a breath like I used to right before I took that
terrifying first leap into our favorite watering hole then said:
"I do not see, Sir," I took a hand from Runner's steering
wheel and waved about her conformable interior. "What any of this has to
do with us?"
Guther, he broke the quietness that loomed for
breath, Spoke highly of you… The Shadow paused, then corrected
himself, Of both of you. There was a sigh, accompanied by
I did and to my amazement we were right in front of the local precinct.
As to you, Benny! The tone alone would've sent
me running, instead I held on to Runner's wheel for all I was worth. I
give you a choice. To this, the door on Benny's side opened of
its own accord.
The Law. In a petrified awe I watched the gathered
shadows, the very darkness itself pointed toward the building. Or,
The Shadow stressed the next word as if to drive it home:
ME! Benny the Fink fled like a frighten hare
before the hungry fox and I could not blame him. The door slammed shut,
jump starting my heart, then came another command.
Drive. I did without contest of any kind. There
was stillness once more within Runner, broken only by The Shadow shifting
to occupy the entire seat.
"My brother," I said, not daring to look into the review mirror,
"what of him?" Again he laughed as I heard something, I never heard before.
A click, then a drawer being drawn out.
One life for two. The Shadow stateed calmly,
bits of light catching him as he drew that enshrouding cloak about his
shoulder, then donning that wide-brimmed slouch hat.
"Meaning?" I ask, trying to sort through all those un-cooperating
thoughts, failing miserably.
That you, Jonny Algot Rider, there came an odd
chuckle from him, for the first time in your life you hold not only
yours… He paused, then stressed, but your brother's life
in your hands. The Shadow left it at that ,allowing me to actually
think. I considered much: what had just happened, what could possibly happen--then
I thought about Mick and finally about me.
"Whatever, it is. Sir," I did not lament as I said, for the first time I had no reason to, "you have it."
Obedience. The tone causes me to straighten
"You have it, Sir." I said without a thought.
Then, I finally heard that hidden drawer close, you and
your twin brother shall have a life. The Shadow paused, only to
proclaim, One with honor, but certainly not without strife.
I shrugged stating
"What's the point in living without a little pain?" Suddenly
I got an impression (don't ask me how) that The Shadow may had actually
smiled at that statement.
Indeed. At this he shifted into view, emerging
from the gloom which concealed him like living shield and I got my first
good look at The Shadow, himself. What the light hadn't caught reflected
in my review mirror was the crimson scarf, the harsh angles of the face,
nor their sternness. But, these were nothing when compared to his eyes
were drowning pools of azure fire. Cold. Calculating. Deadly. Only a glimmer
of blood broke their soul searing hold.
Not blood. A gem glinting, sparkling from a simple silver
band upon his left ring finger. What it was, it too disappeared into night's
realm as we passed back into the dimness of poorly lit roads.
Jonny. I nearly jumped at my name.
Rider Express. To this I could not help but
to smile giving Runner all she was worth. The cord did not disappoint,
she never did, but this night--she even surprised me.
Stay. Was the command and I wasn't one about
to argue. I fancy I saw his silhouette creep towards the garage, but I
couldn't be certain. Seconds became minutes and minutes hours. My only
companion was Runner's thrumming engine. I jumped when the front passenger's
door open and in slid Mick. I nearly let out a whoop of joy and relief,
then I noticed for the first time that he was silent and still. I nearly
voiced my inquires when the back door opened and in slid The Shadow. Both
doors slammed shut as somewhere in the distance of the night, a bell began
to toll the hour.
I could help the irony of smile, one that crossed my lips
as I took all of us for the midnight ride.