Dann the Mann, Part 1
Posted on Sat Dec 22nd, 2018 @ 1:38pm by Category V: Supervillain Frederick Hollywood
The Villain's Spire
Location: The Spire, NY, Orlando Florida, Chattahoochee State Hospital
Timeline: The Year of the Apocalypse
Lorde had been alone in his office at the Spire checking up on how his latest gift to Bethany had been received when Ariel appeared behind him. “My Lorde, I believe I have something that requires your attention. At the very least it is something requires me to make sure you have been fully informed of,” she said in a ‘you better sit your ass down’ voice.
Ariel hardly ever interrupted him when he was working. Also she rarely sounded quite so serious. He turned to look her over. “So what's on your digital mind?”
“When you created me you left a list of names you wished to avoid and for me to periodically check into just incase those people fell on hard times. I believe this person may require your help either now or in the future.” She feigned taking a deep breath as the little imp sent the information to his tablet.
As he looked at the name, Frederick felt as though he would have been better off if he had heeded the tone of Ariel’s voice. Staring at him was a name he had not heard for so long, a lifetime and worlds before now. “How long?”
“Your friend has been in there for just over twenty years.” The creature of light couldn’t help herself. The golden goddess placed a hand on her master’s shoulder. She could see how lost he was in his thoughts, but there wasn’t time for that. “There is more. Something strange is also going on there. For one, Sato Corp was sent an email from that location with one word: Help. Just that one word. Also some of the other inmates or patients came up as mutants with criminal records. It seems the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee was upgraded by SHIELD as far back as the seventies.”
“Dann the Mann, what the fuck did they do to you?”
Even a young boy Dann Bentley had always felt the spiritual world much like most folks take the physical for granted. His time as an altar boy defined what he had been seeing, at least in the eyes of God and the church.
Just after his thirteenth birthday, just as his last year of middle school had started, the young athlete, his best friend, and his brother in law walked out into the forest behind the family home. They were all young and stupid and the call of the supernatural seemed too good to pass up. The three of them had already used a ouija board together and gone into a few of the local haunted houses and other abandoned buildings with mixed results.
“Do you think they will come?” Dann’s best friend and team goalie piped up.
He wanted to tell his friend yes, that he had that feeling in his guts that he would get when he was torn from sleep in the dead of night. “I hope so.”
“This is gonna be so wicked! Right, guys?” Hank tried to bolster his young companions.
“Yeah, dude, sure as hell is.” Zack had helped research the works of Aleister Crowley with Dann. The idea of getting angels to come and help with the quests the boys would frequently undertake just felt right.
When they reached the clearing Zack drew a massive circle. Hank placed wood in the center and prepped it for burning. Dann began to draw the symbols he had learned about from the books they had studied. Once everything was set up they took places at points of a triangle.
All three boys raised their hands to the sky. Dann called upon Gabriel. Zack called for Michael. Hank had decided on Raphael. In unison they asked that the warriors of heaven come down to that place and protect them from evil.
As the last word was spoken Dann was flung to the ground, his long red hair going everywhere. His body writhed as though he was having some sort of spasm.
“Oh, come on, man!” Zack shouted as he instinctively went to his life long friend’s side. As he knelt down he could see the pale boy’s eyes had rolled into the back of his head. Just as he reached out to shake his friend’s arm to see if snapping him out of it was an option, words came forth from Dann’s mouth that were not his own. In a croaking voice, “Do you hear it, Zackariah?”
Zack and Hank listened for a moment. Just before they could take it no longer it sounded as if the trees began to groan, as if they started to bend and start to snap.
“Do you know why humans fear the dark?”
The fire went out as a gust of cold wind whipped around them.
“They fear the nothing.”
Zack yelled out, “If there is nothing then nothing can hurt us.”
“It's not the dark. Not the nothing they should be afraid of. It's what lives inside of it. We are what dwell in the nothing.”
After that day Zack quit the team and didn’t come around anymore. Hank had started to have nightmares, and after telling Dann’s sister what happened she moved out of the family home. She had told her father that for her to return something would have to be done.
So before heading to the Florida State Hospital Frederick decided on an outfit to try and keep things a bit more low key. He picked up a suit. Not too cheap, but well with in range of screaming ambulance chaser. Also he decided on extremely thick black rimmed glasses. No real lenses, of course. Velcro leather shoes that looked like penny loafer knockoffs. Lastly, one of the most important pieces of his ensemble, a briefcase filled with paperwork claiming he needed to see Dann, check on his well being, and inform him of some things about his parents estate in both Kissimmee and Buffalo.
Just walking up to the gates of the sanitarium gave the impression of something out of a horror movie. One could imagine this being the kind of place that Batman left his enemies to die.
Lorde pressed the intercom. “Chattahoochee State Hospital. May I help you?” came a very deep, yet monotone, voice.
In his nerdiest tone the time traveler replied, “My name is Frederick Townsend. I am here to see my client, Dann Bentley. I do believe my secretary sent word yesterday.”
No answer, but after a loud buzz the gate opened. As Lorde walked towards the main building he could see a few people on the grounds, mostly in chairs and mostly so out of it not to take notice of him. When he reached the main doors there was a rather large man in all the ways that counted standing in front of it. He was wearing a white uniform with a label that just read STAFF.
“Hi, are you here to escort me to see Dann?” Frederick said in a chipper voice.
After grunting at the puny man, the orderly said, “Just don’t upset the other patients. If you have any weapons make sure you hand them over. We don’t need them getting into the hands of our residents.” After the practiced sounding words the staff member just turned and led Lorde through the facility. Some of the rooms were filled with people, most in the same shape as those outside. One room was filled with cards and board games. The few in that room who even seemed aware enough to play had to drive to do so, like life had been sucked out of them.
Finally they came to an area where all the rooms looked like solitary confinement prison cells. Each room had only a six by six window that had a steel door over it. Once they reached room two hundred and thirteen the large man opened the little door and asked, “Is this who you are looking for?”
Frederick took a deep breath and looked inside. Then he looked back at the guard. He showed the staff member a picture on his pad. “I have never met the man, but I believe so. This was the last photograph taken of him.”
At first Dann’s life in Orlando seemed to take a turn for the better. His grades went back to normal, As and Bs. He was on the varsity basketball team and volleyball team. This went on for just over a year. This was when Big Dann, Dann’s father, found a house in Kissimmee. Funny enough, Mister Bentley was shorter than his son by a few inches. Also, as little Dann was a change of life baby, he was quite a bit older than some might expect for a man with a teenage son. To Dann it felt like starting all over again.
In the new house the tall redhead became very isolated. He didn’t try out for the local teams. Most often he could be found alone in his room playing on his Nintendo or listening to his favorite heavy metal band.
That was until the day he met Ron. Ron was from the wrong side of the tracks. Both his parents had been on drugs for several years. Quite often he would get into trouble to work in the lunch room so he could take food. Once his father had kicked him out over stealing crack from the family stash.
If Ron wasn’t stealing from school he would take things from the local convenience stores. One day the small pudgy boy took an entire display of brownies and put it under his vest. He even offered some to Dann. That same day he took a case of beer off the back of a beer truck and shared it. This was the day Dann started drinking again.
For his part in the corruption, Dann began to show Ron some of the books and spells he had from New York. Often they would sit by the lake by the small boy’s house and test them out. Unlike his family and friends back in Buffalo, Ron seemed fearless, either out of ignorance or because he had a bit of a death wish.
Just before Christmas that year Dann’s father had enough. He could smell beer on his son quite often. This he could overlook. When Dann would wake up in the night screaming that the demons had come for him, Mister Bentley figured he might be on drugs. Again he could overlook this. It was when he found the spellbook and dagger in the garage with a dead cat that pushed the old man over the edge. When his son walked in hearing his father scream the one time Navy man kicked his son in the stomach.
Dann fell to the ground after crashing over the weight bench. He struggled to get up.
Big Dann just kicked him down to the floor again. “What the hell is this! We left home for you!”
Dann had no words. He moved away quickly from his father, not wanting to be floored again.
“Don’t you understand we left everyone?” His father's eyes filled with tears, his voice hoarse with rage and bile.
Dann simply placed his hands on the dresser where his father had found his hidden truth.
“Why don’t you say something?” his father yelled at the top of his lungs.
Dann reached into the top drawer and spun back around on his father so fast his father wasn’t sure if he had seen him move. “No more time for talking,” he whispered into his father's ear.