Bolt and Kane
by Terry Schott
As Halloween approaches, we all remember the only super powered human to have ever existed.
Known simply as Bolt, the ageless, handsome, indestructible man with faintly glowing blue skin and the ability to levitate and shoot deadly bolts of lightning from his palms, he became the world’s first super hero.
At least for the first twenty years of his career.
Over time, most of the population began to condemn him for his efforts. Finally unwilling to accept the growing hatred aimed at him, Bolt decided to quit, vowing that he would no longer waste time, “trying to help weak, fearful citizens of a world focused on destroying each other.”
Bolt resurfaced five years later, wearing the same distinctive costume, but this time embracing a life of crime and lawlessness as he sold his services to the highest criminal bidder. His reign of terror and destruction seemed unstoppable, but one man stepped forward to stop him. Agent Kane from the International Security Sect of North America appeared on the scene and, through methods still unknown, sent Bolt back into hiding.
There has been no sighting of either Bolt or Agent Kane since their final showdown fifteen years ago; except once each year. Sort of.
Every Halloween, people all over the planet dress up as either Bolt or Kane. Encounters between the two factions often results in violence. Last year was the bloodiest Halloween in memory, with over six hundred Kanes mortally wounded and two thousand Bolts slain in altercations.
We hope that this during this Halloween period the numbers will not be so high.
“Your costume is perfect.”
The man dressed as Kane — Kane for the remainder of this Halloween night — sipped his whiskey without looking up. “Thanks,” he said to the man dressed as Bolt. “So is yours.”
“I mean it. The clothes, the hair, even your eyes and hands match the original Kane. Your outfit is a home run.”
Kane looked up and gazed at the person sitting beside him through the bar mirror. “What do you mean by, my eyes and hands even match the original?”
The reflection of the man dressed as Bolt shrugged. “I pay attention to detail.”
Kane twirled his whiskey glass. “Me too. That must be why I have all the details down.”
“Must be.” Bolt rapped his knuckles on the bar and held up two fingers. “Another drink for me, and one for my new friend please.”
The bartender hesitated. “There’s not gonna be any trouble between you two is there?”
“None,” Bolt assured him.
“How bout you?” the bartender asked Kane.
The bartender watched Kane as he poured whiskey into two glasses and placed them in front Bolt. “I’m not sure if I believe the one dressed up as Kane.”
Bolt passed a bill across the bar and pushed the change into the groove reserved for tips. “I’m sure we’ll be just fine.” He lifted his glass and clinked it softly against the other. “What do you think of my costume? Truly?”
Kane noticed a pretty red haired girl in the mirror and turned away from Bolt to get a better look at her. “I already said you looked perfect.”
“Yeah, but that was just to be polite. You haven’t really looked at me. Closely, I mean.”
Kane turned and squinted his eyes. He leaned closer and then reached out to touch the man’s blue tinged skin with a finger and wiped downwards.
“Damn, your skin makeup is perfect. None of it comes off and the glow is just right.”
“Thank you,” Bolt was pleased by the compliment. “Good enough to be the real Bolt, don’t you think?”
“You don’t think so?”
“Yeah, good enough to be the real thing,” Kane admitted. “Even though you’re not.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because,” Kane’s gaze was cold. “The real Bolt is dead.”
Bolt drained his glass and smacked his lips loudly. “Okay, mister, I’m bored. I thought at first you were gonna be interesting since you were character and playing the part fairly well. It’s starting to wear thin, though.” He stood. “Thanks for the bit of entertainment. Have a great halloween.”
Kane watched the young man walk away through the mirror. “You believe you’re him, don’t you?”
Bolt stopped walking. “I’m just a guy dressed in a costume, same as you.”
“No. You’re not.”
Bolt returned to stand beside the empty chair. “What about you? You’re him aren’t you? The real Kane.”
The man dressed as Bolt sat down and rapped his knuckle on the bar once more. “Two more drinks, bartender.”
“Bolt started out as a great guy,” Kane’s eyes were flat, his voice monotone. “Then he turned into a grade A prick. Started causing all sorts of trouble.”
“Until you came along and stopped him.”
“I used my own special ability to shut him down.”
“What? I’ve never heard of Kane having powers.”
“It was kept top secret.”
The man dressed as Bolt looked around before leaning in to whisper. “What’s your power?”
“What the hell. I may as well tell you.” Kane held up a palm and a milky white energy appeared. It formed a pulsing white shaft two inches long and one inch in diameter. “I can make these.”
“What is it?”
“Whatever I want it to be. I shove this into someone’s head and then I control them. What they do, what they think; their entire life experience is mine to recreate.”
“I’m confused,” Bolt said. “How did you kill Bolt with that?”
“I didn’t. I can kill an average person with it. I deliver the pellet and convince him or her that they are having a heart attack. A few moments later, the heart stops beating and they die.”
“Yeah,” Kane grinned. “It’s an effective power, but I couldn’t get Bolt to die. I think his own powers prevented that particular suggestion from working.”
“You said he was dead when I asked you earlier.”
“As good as dead. I was able to make him forget who he was. Took away his powers by erasing the memory of them.”
“Not as cold as the some of things he did.”
“Where is he now?”
Kane looked at his watch. “The pellet wears out. Only lasts a year. Every year I have to find him and reapply the treatment.”
The man dressed as Bolt frowned. “You’re a sick, cruel bastard.”
“Yeah.” Kane smiled. I decided the best way to set it up was on Halloween. Bolt’s skin starts to glow blue as the pellet effects fade, and if people saw him like that they would know he was still alive. It would cause a panic. On Halloween, thousands of people are dressed up, complete with blue skin. He can walk around without being detected.”
“I also build a compulsion into the treatment that makes him come looking for me. We’ve got it down to a routine. When the time is right, he wanders into this bar and sits down beside me.”
Bolt’s hands started to shake as he finished his whiskey. “It’s me.”
He set the glass down and placed his hands on the bar. “I’m starting to remember.” He looked at Kane through the mirror. “Any chance I could convince you not to do this? Can’t you let me go free?”
Kane shook his head. “I can’t risk it. You’re too dangerous.”
“So I just keep living like this? Walking around not knowing who I am. Until I die?”
“That’s the best I can do.”
“For me?” Bolt’s eyes began to sparkle with white electricity.
Kane’s hand moved faster than the eye could follow and slammed the white pellet into the centre of Bolt’s forehead. It disappeared as soon as it made contact with the man’s skin. Bolt slumped forward, his head hitting the wooden bar with a dull thud.
Kane stood and checked the man’s neck, feeling for a pulse. “Not for you, Bolt,” he said. “It’s the best I can do to protect the world.”
He walked to the front door and exited the bar, deftly manoeuvring his way through the crowd of people dressed in Halloween costumes.
“Nice costume, Kane!” someone called out from nearby.
He ignored them and kept walking.