The Messenger: Supernatural (Chapter Two)

Presenting original in-universe fiction from The Line. This series focuses on the team's resident fanboy The Messenger, and is set slightly before he is invited to join the team, and this chapter introduces the villain Breathtaker.

Read Chapter One


Elsewhere, others were less pleased about Nate Newhaus' nearly universal acclaim. A 60" flat screen TV hung on the red brick wall of a downtown Los Angeles loft, replaying the Messenger appearance when its surface was shattered by the impact of a Logitech universal remote crashing into it.

Across the room, Josh Reagan stood, his bare chest gleaming with sweat as he breathed heavily, a heavy punching bag swinging to his side. He was a muscular man who stood just under six feet tall, his straight brown hair falling around his face in even waves, the simple black sweatpants on his legs loose and striped red down each side.

"I know we grabbed a truck full of those," Luciano Rasmussen said, adjusting his circular wire framed glasses and not looking up from the screen of his Dell laptop, "but we'll never be able to sell any if you keep breaking them." Rasmussen was a stocky white man in his early 20s, a thick cloud of black hair framing his head and the sides of his face as he sat wearing a dark pinstripe vest over a dark maroon button shirt, both barely able to contain his mass.

Reagan glared icily at Rasmussen, who was organizing the laundering of some funds. "One of us matters here, Luke," Reagan said coldly, his ice blue eyes narrowed dangerously. "One of us is a present element in the world of crime, not just a relative to elements of the past. So keep your snide little comments to yourself unless you know where The Messenger is, so I can kill him."

That doesn't seem very profitable, Rasmussen thought to himself, but externally he just raised his hand apologetically and cringed a little, a gesture he hoped looked appropriately abashed.

Reagan paced around the heavy bag, his angry stare like a cloud of fire, and said, "When's our meeting with the Laotians?"

"Six thirty," Rasmussen replied without looking.

Reagan snarled. "That's hours away. Call that service and have 'em send over some girls."

"They said they wouldn't anymore after the bruising on the last three," Rasmussen said absently as he read something on his screen.

Reagan picked up a twenty-five pound dumbbell and hurled it, sending the weight just inches past Rasmussen's nose to smash into a nearby wall.

"THEN GET ANOTHER SERVICE!" Reagan bellowed before stomping out of the room.

Sighing, Rasmussen clicked over to his web browser and opened a new tab for a search.


Justice and Newhaus sat in Nate's MR2 Spyder, zooming west down Santa Monica Boulevard towards their favorite watering hole. Justice tapped angrily on his iPad as he went.

"If your powers misfire and wipe out my playlists one more time ..." Justice growled.

"Look, I said I was sorry!" Newhaus said, chuckling. "It's not like you're not Doctor Backup, with your external drives and all."

"That stuff is time consuming, you goofball!" Justice replied. "Anyway, I ... hang on a sec ..."

Justice turned up the radio's volume. "... reports that there are no new leads on the masked criminal called Breathtaker, whose recent crime spree has gripped the west side with terror. Sources inside the police department say ..."

"They set up a terminal on top of police HQ for me to use," Newhaus gushed. "They even covered it in lead to try and help me. I get email and they let me search their whole database ..."

"... which would help if you had any detective skills," Justice interjected. "However ..."

The car's speakers sounded out a trilling tone, indicating a call was coming through. Newhaus tapped the display and saw a photo of Tara Vasquez, posted up on a park bench while wearing sunglasses and a black tank top, appear.

"Hey Nate," her raspy-sweet voice said. "How's tricks?"

"Hi, Tara," Newhaus responded enthusiastically. "I'm good, just rollin' with Rasul ..."

"What up?" Justice said playfully.

"... about to get some food," Newhaus continued. "Wanna join us?"

"I'd love to, but I have band rehearsal," Vasquez said, her pout clear through her voice. "That's actually what I wanted to ask you. I'm busy right until the show starts, so could you go to iTunes and get a song called 'Hot in Herre' by somebody named Nelly? The new bartender said it was his favorite and I wanna play some of it during the breaks. Make sure it's a Black guy, not a white girl. They're both named 'Nelly' for some reason ..."

"Sure!" Newhaus said enthusiastically, and Justice sighed. "I can put it in a DropBox folder and share it with you! You can count on me!"

"Okay, sweetie," Vasquez said, "I'm late for rehearsal, I'll see you tonight!"

"Bye ..." Newhaus said dreamily as the line went dead.

"You, thir," Justice said comically, affecting a Daffy Duck lisp, "are thhhhhtupid!"

"What? Newhaus protested, his grin wide as he raised a hand in protest.

"I'ma call you Usher, 'cause you got it bad!" Justice accused. "You're always chasing unicorns, dude. You and Tara ain't gonna happen."

"You're too negative," Newhaus said. "She sat on my lap at Broadway 22, didn't she? The first night you sang that Coldplay song you do all the time, 'The Scientist.' Tara's good friends with me, and one day, we'll be hanging out, just the two of us, and the energy's right ..."

"... you'll embarrass yourself horribly as she dashes your hopes against the iceberg of her indifference," Justice interjected, chuckling.

Newhaus tried to muster a frown but laughed instead. Pulling into the lot down the block from The United Kingdom, he fired back, "Man, shut up! Can't you be more sidekick than den mother?"

Getting out of the car, Justice replied, "I'ma side kick you upside your head, you keep tryin' to make me Ebony, Spirit!"

"Come on, that's Will Eisner!" Newhaus protested. "That's not funny, that guy died!"

Justice dismissed Newhaus with a wave. "Lemme guess, you'll be drawing in your pad at Boobs until the show starts ..."

"... while you'll be absorbing dialogue by sitting on the promenade and typing away," Newhaus said. "It's Friday, this is what we do!"

Justice shuddered. "Food's cheaper and better when you're not paying girls to be nice to you ..." he muttered before saying, "Aight, later," and wandering off.

Newhaus grabbed his distressed leather backpack from the miniscule back seat of the silver convertible, smiling already at the tightly packed waitresses who'd hug him while considering his next tip.

Read Chapter Three
Words by Hannibal Tabu, art by Quinn McGowan

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