tagNonHumanSomething Evil...Like You!

Something Evil...Like You!


Another hard day working in the big city. Toronto Police Service Constable Jean-Louis Stephens took off his boots and collapsed in bed, clothes and all. Silently the young man thanked God for sparing him earlier, when a gun-toting White guy with tattoos walked into Scotia Bank, shouting at the clerks to point him to the safe. When the shit hit the fan, Jean-Louis or J.L. as his friends call him was in the parking lot of a nearby Tim Horton's restaurant, wolfing down his sandwich and hash browns while his partner, constable James Hoffman, used the washroom.

J.L. stepped out of the squad car after radioing to dispatch, informing them of the situation. Of all the times Hoffman had to pick to go take a dump, why now? Figures. The chubby White cop was busy when his partner needed him the most. J.L. drew his service revolver and stepped into the bank, where the suspect had his gun aimed at a shivering plump White female clerk. J.L. took a deep breath, then yelled "police! freeze!" at the top of his lungs. The gunman whirled around, cursing and firing. J.L. fired and the bullet slammed into the gunman's chest, stopping him cold. The guy dropped to the floor, and lay still.

J.L. took a look around the bank, noting with relief that the gunman had acted alone. He looked into the faces of the bank tellers and clients, ordinary men and women with the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Smiling in a way he hoped was reassuring, J.L. checked on the still-breathing perpetrator before telling everyone to stay calm. Then he called for an ambulance. Moments later he was joined by constable James Hoffman. The chubby cop looked at J.L. then at the gunman. What did I miss? He asked sheepishly. J.L. groaned, and shook his head.

As J.L. tried hard not to think about the day's events, he tried not to think about what would have happened had he gotten shot. His secret would have been out, and his life as he knew it would be over. Being who and what he was meant a life of discretion. The ordinary mortals around him couldn't handle what they didn't understand. After all, even in a vast and multicultural metropolis area like Toronto, he still got stared at simply for being a six-foot-three, dark-skinned man of Afro-Caribbean descent. The humans were obsessed with differences in skin color, nationality, religion and sexual orientation. In the Middle East, Christians were persecuted by Muslims and the two faiths clashed in countries like Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. In South Africa, even after Apartheid ended, Blacks and Whites were still distrustful of one another. In Somalia, gay men and lesbians were routinely rounded up by crowds of intolerant creeps in their own hometowns and either stoned, beheaded or burned alive. Yes, the human race was savage indeed. What would they do if they knew how truly different he was from them?

J.L. remembered how truly frightened he felt the first time he realized he was different. He was still in Montreal, Quebec. Just another faceless and nameless dark-skinned youth abandoned by his family to be raised by the system. So many African and Afro-Caribbean brats got abandoned by their biological parents that the system didn't know what to do with them. His foster parents, Louis and Michelle Tremblay, well they were the truest examples of redneck Quebecer, and not in a good way. Some people become foster parents because they care, others do it for the money. The Tremblay couple fell in the latter category. All Jean-Louis was worth to them was the paycheck they got every month for his upkeep. They treated him like shit, and called him slurs, the racial kind. Parents of the year, those two.

Since his home was pure hell and nobody gave a damn about him, J.L. hung out with some guys from the neighborhood, Joel Sanderson and Miguel Fernando. They were roughnecks his own age, from the wrong side of the tracks. They were definitely no angels but they were the only friends he had. Joel was half White and half Jamaican and Miguel was Hispanic, originally from Colombia. The three of them were hanging out by the train tracks, smoking cigarettes and talking about girls when six White guys walked up to them. They were with a radical group that advocated not only Quebec separatism but also the removal of all visible minorities from French-Canadian communities in Canada. So they didn't like three minority guys hanging around their lily-White neighborhood, to say the least.

Miguel and Joel wanted to fight even though they were quite outnumbered, but J.L. wanted to turn tail and run. The last thing he needed was a beating from these racist punks. Besides, the police in Quebec always sided with White people when it comes to conflict with ethnic minorities. Racism was alive and well in la belle province. Anyhow, as J.L. and his buddies turned to leave, the punks attacked them. One of them, a burly guy with red hair and tattoos, swung a baseball bat at J.L. That's when it happened...something inside J.L. just snapped. His body began twisting, changing. Without warning, he surged forward, growling like an animal. All he remembered was running at the nearest assailant...the rest was a blur.

When J.L. came to, he was in his bed. In Le Journal De Montreal, his favorite newspaper, he'd read about a vicious multiple homicide which left dead eight people, six of whom were identified by police as members of the radical organization known as Purete Du Quebec ( purity of Quebec ). The other two were a pair of young men from the wrong side of the tracks. That day, Jean-Louis realized with horror what he'd done. He'd accidentally released his inner beast, and killed eight people, including his only friends. At least, that's what he initially thought. What he didn't know was that he was a monster. One of the last true monsters left out there.

The eight people he killed that night didn't stay dead. In the movies and poorly written novels, if a vampire, a werewolf or a zombie bits you, you become one of them. Basically everyone starts off as human and then becomes something else. J.L. was different in that he was never human, he simply thought he was. So he subconsciously suppressed his inhuman side. Of course, he didn't know those things when he woke up that morning. He had no way of knowing that he was the last of a race of ancient monsters that walked the earth long before the ancestors of humans came down from the trees. Whatever he was, he only turned into it in times of stress or danger. The rest of the time he was human.

J.L. decided to return to his normal life, going to school and ignoring his foster parents jeers and taunts as much as he could. He missed Joel and Miguel, and felt profoundly guilty for their deaths. Imagine his surprise when he read about a string of grisly murders all over Montreal. He had a sickening presentiment he knew exactly who was committing these murders. The victims were found eviscerated, usually with their hearts and various other body parts missing. The police speculated that this was the work of a serial killer or a vicious animal. They were wrong, of course, and in a way they were right. Something with animal ferocity and strength and human cunning was killing people all over Montreal. Somehow, J.L. knew it had to have something to do with him, and the raging beast that dwelled within him.

One night, while walking through the streets of Laval, he ran into the resurrected Miguel and Joel. There they were, the only people in all of Montreal who ever showed him friendship or anything close to love. In a fit of rage he killed them, along with the racist punks they tried defending him from. And now, thanks to the poison in his blood, they were alive again. Well, halfway there anyway. Miguel and Joel were unusually pale, and their eyes were bright red, and their teeth a bit too white and too sharp to be natural. They stared at him, and angrily cornered him when he tried to flee. Then they reminded him of what he did to them, laughing when he apologized.

Miguel and Joel had a talk with Jean-Louis that night, and they asked him to join them. Ever since he bit them and they died and reanimated, they discovered they were nearly invincible. Bullets couldn't kill them, and neither could knives or even being run over by a truck. They healed within minutes from any injury. Aside from the craving for fresh meat every few hours, there were no side effects to their transformation. Miguel and Joel had a proposition for Jean-Louis. They needed his help to take out the other six sons of bitches he iced that night, the racist guys from the Purete Du Quebec radical group. Beyond shocked by this proposition, J.L. ended up taking them up on their offer. He teamed up with his old buddies against the creeps who attacked them that unforgettable night, setting in motion a series of truly unfortunate events.

They didn't have any difficulty finding the Six, as their counterparts called themselves. Apparently, something about whatever they had become enabled them to sense one another across great distances. It was like a magnetic pull. They went to the warehouse which was the Six's lair, and there, they fought the Quebec separatists-turned-monsters. They discovered many things that night, namely that their 'kind' were exceptionally hard to kill. After a fierce battle during which Miguel was beheaded, J.L. and Joel set the warehouse ablaze, destroying the Six. Then, they left. Joel and J.L. went their separate ways. J.L. ended up leaving Montreal that night, and wandering all over Canada. He worked in the oil sands of Alberta for a while and then ended up in Toronto, Ontario. He earned his GED, then enrolled at the University of Toronto, where he studied criminology. He'd decided to become a police officer.

It took him some time but Jean-Louis Stephens slowly crafted a new life for himself. He went from orphan and drifter to university student, enrolling at the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto and working as a security guard on weekends. While at school, he made a few friends. He'd never been good at that before, making friends and socializing. The only friends he'd had in his life, Joel and Miguel, well, they didn't turn out too well. Associating with him hadn't exactly been good for their health. Nevertheless, he was determined to leave his past behind and make a fresh start. At school he met a tall and curvy, absolutely gorgeous young Haitian woman named Marjorie Honore, and the two of them became an item.

Having gotten himself a new school, a new job, a new place to stay and some new friends, Jean-Louis Stephens officially declared himself a worthwhile member of society. When he graduated from the University of Toronto, he didn't have any relatives to celebrate with so he celebrated with Marjorie. A month later, he received a letter of acceptance from police college. He'd gotten in. He underwent intense training for months, and finally he completed the program. Now all he had to do was get a job. Fortunately, with the Toronto metropolitan area increasing in population, new police officers were needed to maintain order. He was one of one hundred and seventeen new recruits added to various precincts of the Toronto Police Service that year.

J.L. and Marjorie got themselves an apartment in Mississauga, not far from their old campus. Marjorie decided to go for her MBA and got a job working as a teller for CIBC. For a while, everything seemed perfect. Jean-Louis had his life under control. He had greater control over the beast that dwelled within him. He didn't simply shift into his bestial, hairy, yellow-eyed and sharp-clawed alter ego whenever he felt angry or threatened anymore. He could access his power without changing, and it came in pretty handy while working for the Toronto police service. A cop with superhuman strength and speed, sharp senses and accelerated healing powers sounds like a nightmare for criminals. So says every comic book ever printed. Well, Jean-Louis Stephens wasn't a superhero but he could easily become one if he wanted to. The thought made him smile. Was the world ready for superheroes? Especially if one of those superheroes was a Black man with super powers? Nope. Absolutely not.

Many times J.L. considered telling Marjorie and his new friends the truth about himself. He'd made close friends with Jake Landers, a young Jamaican guy he met at the University of Toronto whom he helped out during a bar fight. Jake introduced J.L. to his family, most notably his sister Jacqueline and his mother Beatrice. Once, Jake invited J.L. and Marjorie over for thanksgiving and J.L. had such a great time at the Landers house that he was moved to tears. Not for the first time he realized how much he missed out by not having a family, people who cared for him. Holding Marjorie's hand, he brought it gently to his lips. He promised himself that one day, he'd have a family of his own. If only he knew where this line of thought would take him...

For the longest time, J.L. wandered where he came from. Whatever he was, he wanted answers. Was he a freak of nature? Some kind of mutant? An ancient monster? An extraterrestrial life-form from beyond the stars? So many questions, and he didn't have any answers. He avoided thinking about those answers because, well, he was honestly afraid to find out. Who was he? What was he? He went back to Montreal, and looked up certain hospital records. He was found at the doorstep of a hospital in Montreal on February 2, 1989. He was only a few weeks old, according to the hospital records. Unable to be placed with adoptive parents due to 'issues', he bounced around the foster care system until he ended up with the Tremblay couple in Montreal.

Nothing about his birth parents or where he came from. As far as he knew, he could have come for anywhere, or nowhere. As far as he knew, with the exception of his old buddy Joel Sanderson out there, he was the only one of his kind. He could create more like himself if he wanted to, but why curse other people in this manner? He'd never been particularly cruel. The world was plenty cruel to him already, as a man and as whatever else he was. All those things ran through his head as he lay in his bed, tired after a hard day at work. His phone buzzed, another text from his sweetheart. Marjorie was starting to talk about moving in with him. Great. What next? Marriage? He cared for her deeply. Part of him loved her. Could he commit to her, being who and what he was? What about when she wanted to start a family? Too many questions and too few answers. Go back to sleep, he told himself, and did just that.

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