BRIMSTONE #102 - Encore
Written by Scott A. Williams

Ezekiel Stone hears a radio playing.  The announcer says in a light 
tone, “You know, this may actually be the hottest place this side of… 
Hell, as our record melting heat wave just keeps on climbing.  All right 
now, let’s burn our way back fifteen years, as we listen to the hottest 
hit of 1983.”  Naked Eyes’ “Always Something There to Remind Me” plays.

Reflected in a store window, he spots a convertible.  For a moment, he 
recognizes the people in the car as it turns a corner.  It’s him and his 
friends, back in 1983, before he died.  

He flashes back to himself driving the convertible.  “I think we’re 
going to be fine this year,” he says to his friend.

“I can not believe that you just said that,” his friend says.  Mike has 
dark hair and a mustache.  

“Hey, listen, I’m not saying Kenny O’Brian in the next Joe Namath.  I’m 
just saying the kid’s got a helluva arm.”

“I just wish they’d traded up for Elway.”

“Elway’s overrated.”


“He’s overrated,” Zeke confirms.

“Or at least Dan Marino,”

“Marino, that’s great,” Zeke laughs as he pulls to a stop in front of 
his house.  He honks the horn three times.  “Roz!  Let’s go!”  He honks 

Viv, Mike’s wife, says, “Go up and get her, you bum.”  She wears a green 
baseball cap.

“When have you know my wife to be late for a Jets game?” Stone asks.  
“Roz!” he yells.

“Maybe she’s pissed ‘cause they’re moving to Jersey,” Viv speculates.  

“I know I am,” Mike says.


Inside the house, in a steamy bathroom, the shower is running.  Hot 
water floods over Rosalyn Stone, huddled in the corner, crying.


Zeke gets out of the car.  “Come on, make it fast, will you,” Mike says.

“Hurry up,” Viv calls.

“We’re going, we’re going,” Mike continues as Stone walks up the path to 
his front door.  As his friends laugh, something on his lawn catches his 
eye.  It is a dead bird, lying on its back, feet up in the air.  Stone 
continues inside the house.

Zeke enters the front door.  “Roz?”  The living room is in disarray.  
The TV has been knocked over, and a newscast of Ronald Reagan continues 
to play.  Stone spots a vase on the floor.  It is broken, the base 
cracked off.  “Rosalyn?” he repeats, running up the stairs two at a 
time.  The camera stays focused on the stairs as we hear the voices from 
the bathroom.

“Don’t,” Rosalyn whimpers, “Zeke, don’t touch me.”

“Rosalyn,” Zeke says softly, his shock apparent by the tone in his 
voice.  “Roz?”

Rosalyn cries harder.  “Oh God,” she says.

Ezekiel repeats the plea to a higher power.  “Oh God.” 


A white flash returns us to the present day.  Ezekiel Stone is seated in 
a diner, listening to the news.  Local anchorman Rick Garcia reports, 
“The scene last night at Mile High Stadium in Denver was one Bronco fans 
will not soon forget.  It was there that a frenzied crowd of 65,000 plus 
stood and roared as John Elway led his Broncos to an incredible, sudden 
death overtime victory over Dan Marino’s Dolphins, in a game destined to 
go down as an all time classic led by these two future Hall of Famers.”

“Shows you what I know,” Stone mutters.  

“In other news,” the television continues, “experts at the nation’s 
leading research facility say that more than 1,000 people will die of 
heat related causes.”

“Thanks to global warming, it gets more and more comfortable for me up 
here every day,” the Devil announces, sitting down at Zeke’s table 
uninvited.  He fans himself with a menu.

“Have a seat,” Zeke says sarcastically.

The Devil chuckles.  “But you don’t have the weather on your mind, do 
you, Mr. Stone?  You’re thinking of something else, about a certain day, 
fifteen years ago.”

“Get out of my head,” Zeke says, picking up his fork.

“As if you could wrap your brain in barbed wire to keep me out.”  The 
Devil’s face lights up.  “Ooh!  That is a delightful image, however.”

“It sure is.  What do you want?”

The Devil leans toward him.  “Your every waking moment consumed with 
holding up your end of our bargain.”

“A man’s got to eat,” Stone says.

“A living man, perhaps, but for you, this constitutes recreation.  Like 
these idle thoughts of yours, replaying that sweet bygone day over and 
over, as if expecting a different outcome.  Some people would call that 
insane.”  He watches as Zeke takes scrambled eggs from his overflowing 
plate and loads them onto a piece of toast.

“What would they call having a conversation with the Devil over 

“The outcome won’t change, Ezekiel.  Your beloved wife was raped.  You 
murdered the man who did it, and now you’re dead.  Defunct.  I would 
think after fifteen years, you’d accept that.”

“You would,” Stone mutters from behind his cup of coffee.

“You know, we’ve been calling this your second chance, but have I made 
it clear to you that it’s also your last?”  The Devil picks up a salt 
shaker from the table, and gently unscrews the top.  “With over 100 of 
my escaped souls still roaming the planet, I expect a lot more passion 
from you in pursuing them.”

“Passion?” Zeke mocks.  He looks at the salt shaker.  “What’s that?”

The Devil tilts it slightly, and salt spills out.  “Whoops.”  He smiles 
a malicious smile.

Their conversation is interrupted by another news story.  “The rape 
victim, a 27 year old newlywed was treated overnight and released.”  The 
camera pans off of the on scene reporter to another man surrounded by 
cameras and microphones.  “Police say the break and enter assault is the 
first to be reported in the area.  It happened only three weeks after 
she and her husband returned home from their honeymoon.  Police say if 
you have any information on the suspect described, give them a call.”  
The man is angrily pushing his way past the reporters.

“To, um… succeed… in this,” the Devil begins.  Zeke turns his attention 
away from the television; the Devil is holding up the salt shaker and 
placing the cap lightly on top of the threads.  “You must employ the 
same rage that brought you to me in the beginning.”

On the television screen, the man is protesting the reporters’ 
intrusion.  “I’d like these people off of my property, please,” he tells 
two uniformed police officers.  The reporters tenaciously try to get a 
comment.  “Look,” he says, “can you get that microphone out of my face?”

“Like that, right there,” the Devil continues.  “The look in his eye?”  
Zeke watches, transfixed.  “Familiar? No?” 

“Excuse me,” Tim Nowack says on the television screen as he tries to get 
past the TV crew.  “Excuse me,” he says again, before finally losing his 
temper and shoving the cameraman.  

“The despair?  The anger?”  The Devil takes and exhilarated breath.  “I 
can smell it from here,” he announces, “smells like, um…”  He takes 
several exaggerated sniffs, trying to place the scent.  Zeke watches his 
performance, deadpan.  The Devil flashes a look of recognition, and 
grins as he announces, “Brimstone.”  Ezekiel doesn’t laugh.  

The Devil takes a pinch of salt, and tosses it over his left shoulder.  
With a white flash, he disappears, removing his physical being from 
Zeke’s presence, leaving only his influence behind.


	I was a cop…
	then my wife was raped.
	I caught the guy who did it,
	and I killed him.
	(three rapid gunshots)
	Two months later, I died.
	I went to Hell.
                (evil laughter)
	One hundred and thirteen of the most vile creatures escaped.
		They think they’ll beat the Devil.
		Nobody beats me.
	So how am I supposed to send them back?
		The eyes.  Windows to the soul.
		Destroy the eyes, and the damned get a one way ticket 
			back home to Hell.
		But it’s not Hell you should be scared of.
		It’s losing your second chance at life on Earth.
	Time to give the Devil his due.


A woman works alone in her garden.  Her focus is on the flowers in front 
of her, and she doesn’t notice the man sneaking up behind her.  He 
places a hand on her shoulder, and she screams, rising and turning, 
threatening the man with her gardening spade.  She recognizes him, and 
drops the weapon.  “Sweet mercy!” she exclaims as she clutches her 

“It’s me, Ma, it’s just me,” the man says.

“Dear God, Gil.”

“Jeez, Ma, I’m sorry,” he says, taking her by the arm and leading her to 
a chair.

“You just can’t sneak up on me like that,” she scolds him.

“You used to like it,” Gil says.

“Well, I used to be younger,” she replies, fanning herself with her sun 

“I forget.  You look the same to me.”

She chuckles.  “Butter me up now.”

“No, I mean it.  Better with age, even.”

“Oh sweet Gil.  I guess I’m just not all the way used to having you back 
with me.”  She smiles lovingly at her son.  “Not that I’m ungrateful.  
What I did to deserve the miracle of you coming back, I will never 

“Maybe it’s just God’s way of saying thanks for keeping his roses so 

“That is a lovely thought.”

“Then that’s why I’m back.”

“Well, I don’t care anyway as long as I got my little boy back.”  She 
hugs her son, but something gets her attention.  “Oh!  Look at that.  
Damn birds!”  She rises, and startles the invaders by waving her hat at 
them.  “Get out!  Shoo!”  The birds fly away.

“Those little pests still bothering you, Ma?”

“Leaving their messes all over my pretty flowers… on yours too, I’ll 

“No, they don’t bother me too much.”

“So how did you do today?” she asks.  “Finding enough work?”

“One thing that will never change.  People too lazy to mow their own 
lawns.  Three new accounts I got.”  He holds out a collection of bills.

“Well, good for you, boy,” his mother says, leafing through the fives 
and tens.  “Look at that.  And how are you faring out there in this 
dreadful heat?”


“Well, my word, Gil, it’s a hundred degrees in the shade.  Now promise 
me you’ll take care of yourself in this awful sun.”  

“Yes, Ma.”

From over a neighboring fence, a woman appears.  “Are you all right over 
there, Ev?  I thought I heard hollering.”

“Oh, fine, Mary.  It’s just my son Gil, sneaking up on me.”

Mary looks confused.  “I-I thought you said your son was dead?”
Gil puts his arm around his mother and leads her inside.  “She means I’m 
like a son to her.  Nice meeting you, Mary.”


“Look Detective, I’ve got a wife in there, crying her eyes out to some 
counselor she hardly knows.”  Tim Nowack, the man on the news broadcast, 
strides pack and forth on his porch as he continues to rant.  “While me, 
she can hardly look at.”  He points an accusing finger at Ezekiel Stone.  
“So don’t tell me you know how I feel.” 

Ezekiel speaks slowly, “My wife was raped a few years ago.”

Tim could care less.  “Well, where does that put me in, some kind of a 

“Look,” Stone says, staring at him, “All I’m saying is, don’t go after 
the guy who did this.”

“I know it this old boyfriend of hers.  I know it.  Two restraining 
orders we’ve had on this jealous bastard.  Son of a bitch.  He deserves 
to suffer.”

“Oh, he’ll suffer,” Ezekiel confirms, “just don’t go there with him.”  


“Look, all I’m saying is, take care of your wife.  You’re no good to her 
in jail, or dead.”
The Nowack’s front door opens, and a black woman comes out.  She eyes 
Tim, but speaks to Ezekiel.  She introduces herself to Ezekiel.  “Laura 
Miller.  I’m a rape counselor with the Community Crisis Center.”

He shakes her hand.  “Detective Stone.  Nice to meet you.”

“How’s Janice?” Tim asks anxiously.

“You just have to be patient with her, Tim.  You can go in.”  He does.

“Detective,” Laura Miller says, “I counsel partners of rape victims, 
too.  Forgive me overhearing.”

“Well… that was a long time ago.”  There is a pause, and he looks 
around.  In the distance, a dog barks.

“How is your wife now?”

“You know, I really don’t think that’s any of your business,” Stone 
tells her, climbing the stairs, brushing past her as he enters the house.


“Now you got to understand, Ma, the big man upstairs, he doesn’t want 
his miracles publicized.”

“Oh,” Evelyn says as she pours iced tea.  “So I did wrong by introducing 
you to Mary.  Well, he won’t take you back, will he?”

“No, no,” Gil reassures her.  “As long as we keep it between us, I’m 
here to stay.  No way do I want to go back.”

“But, Heaven’s a wonderful place, isn’t it Gil?  You almost sound like 
it’s not.”

“Well don’t get me wrong, Ma.  Heaven’s great.  Big clouds, angels 
strumming their harps -- the whole bit.  It’s just that, well, you’re 
not there.”


“And I miss you.”

“That is the sweetest thing,” she says.  “Just think, a second chance 
for my boy.”

“That’s right, Ma.  A fresh start.  And believe me, your boy’s making 
the best of it.”  Gil grins.


Janice Nowack sits in her living room, her face puffy from her tears.  
Tim is there next to her, trying to comfort her.  He reaches to take her 
hand, but she pulls hers away.  She is sniffling as the front door 

Ezekiel enters.  “Mrs. Nowack?  I’m Detective Stone.  I was talking to 
your husband out front on the porch.”

“Another one?” she says to her husband.

“Look,” Tim says, “I think she’s seen enough cops today.”

“I’m sure she has,” Stone agrees.  “Would you mind if I looked around?”

“Go ahead,” Janice says.

Tim stands, angry at this intrusion of another man invading his home.  
He doesn’t say anything, just paces and watches at Stone approaches the 
member from the crime scene unit who is spraying for prints near the 
window.  Stone asks him a question, then wanders back to peer into the 
kitchen.  Tim returns to his wife’s side.

“He wore gloves?” Stone asks.

“Yeah, and a, uh... mask.  An awful devil mask.”

“You must have put up quite a fight.”

“I didn’t hurt him any.  Not until I clawed his face and his eyes.  Then 
he went crazy.”

“This, um, ex-boyfriend, how long have you known him?”

“We split two years ago, but it wasn’t him.  I’d have known.”

“Why are you protecting him?” Tim demands.

“I’m not protecting anyone, I just know it wasn’t him.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I am,” Janice says forcefully.

“How? How could you know?”

“Don’t ask me that, I just know.”

Tim stalks off, leaving Detective Stone and his wife alone.

Upstairs in the attic, Tim looks around until he finds what he is 
looking for.  There is an old chest, which he opens.  An old army helmet 
is inside, and black and white pictures of a young soldier.  Beneath 
these, he finds his prize; a semi-automatic pistol.  He tests the slide, 
verifying that it is unloaded.  Then he tests the trigger, doubtlessly 
imagining his wife’s ex-boyfriend in front of him.


Gil is at work, mowing lawns.  He crosses back and forth across the 
grass, wearing long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and dark gloves, not 
bothered by the sweltering heat.  His expression is trance like.  


Late at night, from outside a home, a window opens.  A man in a devil 
mask climbs inside.

In the bedroom, a woman reads.  She hears the squeaking of floorboards, 
and quickly gets out of bed.  She rummages through the nightstand 
drawer, and finds her gun just as a hand falls on her shoulder.

The man in the devil mask spins her around.  She screams, and he hurls 
her across the room with supernatural strength.  She crashes into a 
glass table, and again he tosses her across the room, this time onto the 

She continues to scream as he jumps on top of her.  She gets a grip on 
the gun and fires point blank into his chest.

The impact knocks him back, but he keeps his position on top of her.  
She fires again, and this time he swats the gun out of her outstretched 
hand.  The shots have had no effects.

Grunting desperately, she claws at his face, knocking the devil mask 
off.  “Watch the eyes, baby,” Gil tells her, grinning.  His eyes flash 
with hellfire.


On the streets of Los Angeles, Ezekiel Stone is searching for the 
Community Crisis Center.  

The Community Crisis Center is crowded.  A lone fan circulates the hot 
air.  The dozens of people inside fan themselves with dated magazines 
and pamphlets.  Stone enters.  Laura Miller is counseling Janice Nowack 
in her office.

“You’re talking about me as if there still is a me,” Janice says 
angrily.  “There isn’t, not anymore.  He took that.”

“Listen, listen, it’s going to take time.  You’re not going to get past 
this in one day, Janice.”

Janice makes one last sob, then pulls herself together as Laura leads 
her out.  The door is already open, in the hope of allowing air to 

“Detective Stone.  I’m surprised to see you here,” Laura says.

“Yeah, I, um, I’m sorry, your door was open.”

“I’m glad you came.  Will you take off that coat?  You must be dying in 
that thing.”

Stone does, revealing his gray sweatshirt underneath.  He looks away as 
Janice wipes the last of the tears from her eyes.  His gaze finds a 
picture on the wall.  “Is that you?” he asks Laura.

The picture is Laura in a boxing ring.  “Yeah, you like boxing?”

“Yeah, uh, you box other women?” Ezekiel asks.

“So far,” Laura replies.  The two women laugh.

“I haven’t really been following sports much lately.”

“I guess not.  Now if you’ll just have a seat, I was just showing Janice 

“No, I was actually here to see Janice,” he replies,  “I went by your 
house, and no one was there, so…”

“Tim wasn’t home?” Janice asks.


“You know, I see him get angrier and angrier, and, uh,” she laughs 
wryly, “nothing I say seems to make a difference.  And nothing he says 
to me seems to make a difference either.”

The phone in the office begins to ring, and Laura goes back to answer 
it.  “Laura Miller.”

“I just wanted to ask you a few more questions,” Zeke says.

“I pretty much told you everything I told the other detectives.”

“I know.”

“Oh no,” Laura says.  “Another victim,” she tells them.  “Same MO.  I’ll 
talk to you later,” she tells Janice.  As she walks to the door, she 
adds, “Detective, you’re welcome to come with me.”

Janice Nowack watches them leave.  As Ezekiel closes the door behind 
him, she fingers her wedding band.


At the scene, another officer is talking on a cell phone.  “Come on.  
This can’t be it.  You’re going to have to do it again.  No, no, no, no.   
Hold… no, I am telling you, if that goes on the report, I am not signing 
it.  All right?”  He hangs up.  He sees Miller and Stone walking towards 
him across the lawn.  “Hey.”

“Hey,” she replies.

“Who’s this?” he demands, looking at Stone.

Stone badges him.  “Detective Stone,” he says.

“A few miles north of your jurisdiction, aren’t you, Detective?”

“I suppose.”

“It’s okay, Cal,” Laura intercedes.  “He’s with me.”

“All right, come here,” he says.  “The Nowack woman, samples we took 
from under her fingernails.  The labs came back.  Now, I’m… I’m quoting 
here, okay?  They say the samples were an inert matter, with molecular 
structure of human flesh.”

“Inert matter?”

“Yeah, it’s science double-talk to avoid saying, uh… the tissues was… 
uh… it’s not…”


“Living, all right?  They’re saying the tissue wasn’t alive.  It’s been 
dead a long time, as a matter of fact.”

“That’s crazy,” comments Stone.

“You’re telling me.  First thing tomorrow I am personally having those 
lab guys pee in a cup.”

“I should be getting in there,” Laura says.

“Yeah, her name is Marie Tepekian, she’s 34, her husband’s away on 
business, breaking and entering, devil mask, just like last time.  Which 
probably clears the Nowack woman’s jealous ex-boyfriend.”

Laura nods, then remembers Ezekiel.  “Detective Stone, wait here.”  She 
goes into the house.

“What’s with the coat?” Cal asks.  “What, are you in the French Foreign 
Legion or something?”

Stone thinks it over.  “No, I guess I’m just cold blooded.”  Cal mops 
the back off his neck with a handkerchief.  “That report.  Think it’ll 
be published?”

“Not if I can help it.  And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything 
about it.” 

“No, of course not.  Who’s going to believe it anyway?”

“Yeah.  Unless you pair the lab screwup with what this latest victim 

“Why?  What did she say?”

“She claims she pumped two rounds into the guy.  Pointblank.  Didn’t 
even slow him down.”

“Could be PCP.”

“Yeah.  If not for the two spent shells.  Not a drop of blood to be 

“Thinking bulletproof vest?”

“Hoping.  Or I’m going to be retiring early.”

The front door opens, and Laura Miller escorts Marie Tepekian out.  
“I’ll take her in my car,” she says.

“How am I going to get my ring back?” Marie asks.  “He stole my wedding 

“Oh, great,” Cal says.   “A collector we got now.  Took a memento from 
each of his victims.”

Stone is on alert with this new information.  “Was Janice Nowack’s ring 

“Not that she reported.  And that’s not something you leave out, is it?”  
Cal’s phone rings.  “Yeah, it’s Cal.  Yeah, they’re heading in.”  He 
walks off.

Stone looks around the front lawn, and spots something disturbing.  Near 
the tree, lying feet up on the ground, is a dead bird.  He gently picks 
up the limp body, recalling the similar creature he’d found outside his 
own home fifteen years ago.


Stone approaches the Nowack house, his thoughts in turmoil.  Inside, 
Janice is looking at photographs in the dimly lit room, and she jumps 
when Zeke knocks on the door.  After carefully looking to see who it is, 
she opens the door.  “Hi,” she says softly.

“Hi,” he replies.  

“Was it him,” she asks, “Was it the same guy?”

“Could I take a look at your hands?” Zeke asks.


“Just, show me your hands.”

Janice complies, holding them out.  Her eyes flick away, not meeting his 
as she displays them.  There is a band on her ring finger.  “What is it?  
What is it?”

Stone sighs.  “Nothing.”  There is a moment of silence.  Janice appears 
to be struggling with a question, unsure if she should ask.  The bruise 
on her face seems darker in the pale light.  Stone glances around, 
thinking quickly.  “Do you… this is a weird question, do you have 
anyone, someone who does your lawn?  A landscaper, a gardener?”

“Sure, yeah.  For a few weeks now.  George.”

“George what?”

“I don’t know.  Smith, maybe?  I pay him in cash.”  Stone turns to go.  
She ponders this line of questioning.  “Are you thinking it’s him?”  She 
steps out from the safety of her doorway and follows Stone to the edge 
of the steps.  

“I don’t know.”  Stone continues to walk away.

“He took hers too, didn’t he?” she asks.

Stone understands who Janice is referring to, but the more personal 
meaning to the question hits him with full force.  He turns back slowly, 
almost afraid to ask.  “What?”

“Her ring.  He took it too, didn’t he?”  She removes the band from her 
finger and holds it out.  “This is, um, junk jewelry.   Tim hasn’t 
noticed yet, but uh, it was his Mom’s ring.”  She sees the impact her 
answer has had on him.  “Are you okay?  What’s the matter?”

Stone stumbles away, shaken.  “Stay here.  Just…” he says.   He staggers 
off into the night.  


Stone walks down a deserted alleyway.  He holds his head, as if in pain.  
There is a pile of abandoned furniture and glass there.

He launches a kick through a window leaning against the wall, shattering 
it nicely.  It isn’t enough, so he picks up the frame and beats it 
against a dumpster.  The rest of the glass breaks, but he continues to 
smash the frame until it breaks in half.  Reversing his grip, he swings 
with the remaining piece and splits it into sections.  “Son of a bitch,” 
he swears.

His next attack is against a fearsome opponent - an overturned wooden 
chair.  After thoroughly crushing the offensive furniture, he leans 
against the dumpster, panting.  He slumps to the ground, repeating the 
phrase, “It’s him.  It’s him.  It’s him.”

Stone cradles his head.  “And you knew it,” he continues, speaking to 
his previous tormentor, “You were just waiting for me to find out.  
Letting that cancer… who raped my wife… get away from you.”

He picks up a shard of glass from the ground, and holds it, knifelike.  
He pulls up the sleeves of his coat, revealing the numerous tattoos on 
his arms.  “I wonder which one of these is Gilbert Jax.” 


It’s a sunny afternoon, and Father Cletus Horn is at a church picnic.  A 
young boy approaches a table near him and takes a warm roll from a 

“Thou shalt not steal, Darnell,” admonishes Father Horn.

“How do you know it’s me?  You’re blind.” 

“And yet I see.  Now, a better man would simply ask for another roll.”

“May I have one, please?” Darnell asks.

“No!” says Father Horn sternly.  Young Darnell is crestfallen.  “You may 
have two.”

Darnell smiles and walks away with two rolls.  “Thank you.”

As Father Horn chuckles, another man approaches him.  “Father Horn.”

“Detective Stone?”

“I didn’t know where else to go.”

“Come,” the priest says, directing him into his parish.

Inside the church, they sit in a pew.  “We should all take the violation 
of women so personal,” Father Horn tells him after hearing about Stone’s 

“It’s more than that.”


“I should never have come here.  I was never very comfortable in 

“I have a sense about you, Detective.  Without the gift of listening-
really listening-I might have missed it altogether.  Don’t be afraid to 
confide in me.”

“I can’t.  Sorry.”  Stone rises and leaves, Father Horn staring after 
him with sightless eyes.


Back in his room, Stone cleans his gun, contemplating his upcoming 
encounter with his wife’s rapist.


The next day, Stone is out, talking to landscapers and gardeners, trying 
to track down his quarry.  

“I think his name is George Smith,” Stone says.

“Yeah, I know Smith.  He outbid me on a job up in Pelham.  Some lady.”

“When?  When was that?”

“This morning.  Look, I don’t like the guy, but I just turn the other 
cheek.  Let the good Lord deal with him.”

Stone is amused at this thought, but asks, “Got an address?”

“You bet.”


“So,” Stone asks, “after George mowed your lawn, did he happen to ask 
for a glass of water?”

“It was like a desert out here,” the woman in Pelham says, wiping sweat 
away from her neck as she leaned against the jamb of her front door.  
“How could I say no?”

“Did you let him in?”

“Just in the vestibule.  I mean, he stayed right here, I’m pretty sure.”

Stone glances around.  “Mind if we, uh, check your windows?”

The woman sighs.  “You, uh, you could tell we what this is about,” she 
says as she leads him around the house.  Without waiting for an answer, 
she continues, “You know my husband?  He said he was going to mow that 
lawn.  For years, he never mowed that lawn.  Finally, I hired someone to 
do it for me, and my friend told me about this guy Geor…  That’s weird.”


“We usually keep this locked.  Then again, my husband, he was supposed 
to lock it before he left.  He’s not always the handiest guy around.”

“Where is your husband?” Stone asks.

“His mother’s.”

Stone sighs.  “Any chance you could join him there?”

She laughs.  “Oh, no, no.  You see, his mother and I, we don’t get 

“I never got along with my in-laws either.”

“You want to tell me what this is all about?”

“Well,” Stone explains, “There’s a serial rapist loose, and your George 
is one of the suspects.  Think you could bear your mother-in-law for a 

“Yeah,” she agrees quickly.  “Sure.”



That night, Stone keeps watch over her house.  He is restless, bored, 
flicking his lighter, pacing, just killing time waiting for Jax to 
arrive.  He is not disappointed.  Gilbert Jax arrives in his truck, and 
heads for the window he tampered with.  He wears his gloves and devil 

Stone follows him, coming around the side of the house to find Jax 
rattling the window, which has been relocked.  “Having trouble, Jax?” he 

“Stone!” he says, shocked.

“I like the mask.  Nice touch.”

“Where the Hell did you come from?”

“Where you’re going back to,” Stone tells him.  Jax stands frozen, and 
Stone raises his gun and fires twice.  Jax flinches as the shots strikes 
him in the eyes, but stands back up.  The mask has been destroyed at the 
point of impact, but his eyes are intact.

“Whoa,” Jax says, “That was different.”

Stone fires three more times, desperation beginning to set in.  

“You went to Hell for killing me?” Jax asks.  “Almost makes my last 
fifteen years worthwhile.”  Stone stands dumbstruck.  “What’s wrong, 
Zeke, they change the rules on you?  Looks like the eyes don’t have it 
today, huh?”   Jax grabs him and throws him through the fence.

Laughing hysterically, Jax picks up the Stone’s gun.  Stone sees this, 
and bolts.

Jax chases him, stripping off the mask.  “Hey, Zeke, don’t feel so 
lucky?  Whoa!” he yells, firing after him. “Not going back without my 
chance to take you on!”

Stone quickly climbs a gated chain link fence.  Jax, following him, 
tells him, “Run, Zeke, run!”  He kicks the gate open, and yells, “I’m 
back from Hell!”

Stone runs through an unlatched wooden gate, and it closes behind him.  
Still laughing and whooping, Jax runs right THROUGH the gate, sending 
pickets flying..  

Stone jumps over a car and through a hedge.  Jax LEAPS into the air, 
trailing blue fire behind him, and tackles the hero.  “Gotcha!”  Stone 
struggles, but Jax shoves the gun in his face.  “My turn, Zeke, my turn.  
He pulls the trigger repeatedly.

The empty gun clicks.

Jax gives a frustrated growl.  They hear sirens approaching, and Jax 
looks, his eyes ablaze with hellfire.  “Later, buddy,” he tells Stone, 
dropping the gun and running back to his truck.  Stone lays there, 
clutching his empty weapon.


Back at Father Horn’s church, Ezekiel Stone is revealing his mission to 
Father Horn.  “…and now my job is to send all the damned souls back to 
Hell,” he concludes.  They walk along the side of the church, beneath 
stained glass windows.

“The Devil -- he appears to you in the form of a man?” Father Horn asks.

“Yeah.  He looks a lot like a kid I beat the crap out of in sixth grade.  
I’m sure that’s on purpose.”

“You realize, if what you say is true, you’ve turned my lifetime of 
Roman Catholic faith into reality.”

“Hate to burst your bubble, Father, but from what I gathered, no one was 
down there for eating meat on Fridays.”

“That was never a mortal sin.  At the very least, if, as you say, the 
Devil exists, that would absolutely confirm the existence of God.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Stone concedes.  He settles himself on the front 
steps of the church.  “Well, I never met him.”

“If I could believe everything you were telling me, this would be a 
remarkable day.”

“No, Father, this is a day on which another woman is going to raped by a 
man who can’t be kicked, punched, stabbed or shot.”

“But you just told me, destroy the eyes and the damned get sent back to 

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  It’s not working that way for 
some reason, I don’t know why.”

“I wish I could help you, Ezekiel,” Father Horn says.

Stone reflects inwardly for a moment.  “You know, the first time I 
killed him, I was so angry.  I was so angry, so enraged.  Now, 15 years 
later, it’s just not the same.”

“This rage, was it soothed by killing this Gilbert Jax?  Did you feel 
any relief at all?”

“What do you want to hear?” Stone demands, defensive. “What do you want 
to hear?  Do you want to hear that I enjoyed it?  That I took pleasure 
in it?”  Father Horn makes no response, so Ezekiel says softly but 
proudly, “You bet I did.”

“Then that was your true sin,” Father Horn tells him

Zeke is troubled by the thought.


“Almost there,” the groundskeeper tells Ezekiel as they stride through a 
cemetery.  He points to a grave.  “So, Are you a friend or a relative?”

“Neither,” Stone replies, looking at the tombstone.  It reads ‘GILBERT 
JAX 1958-1983’.

“So, why are you here?”

“Let’s just say he had a big influence on my life.”

Stone flashes back to the night fifteen years ago when Jax’s life had 
ended.  He’d struggled with the younger man, pinning him down on his 
bed, trying to inject him with the needle containing the overdose.  Jax 
had fought for his life, but Stone was energized by his quest for 
vengeance.  Finally, he’d succeeded.

Back in the graveyard, Stone asks the caretaker, “Who brings the 

“His mom.  Every week for 15 years.  That’s the worst, you know.  When 
the parents outlive the children.”

“Maybe it is,” Stone replied, getting an idea.


Stone walks down the street, pensive.  A red convertible pulls up along 
side of him.  “You look dead on your feet.  Want a ride?” the Devil 
asks.  “Let me guess.  You’re angry about the eyes.  Upset?  Confused?  
You’re thinking, ‘Here I am, just your average working stiff trying to 
do my job and the boss is screwing with me.’  Am I right?”

“You changed the rules,” Stone says, continuing to walk.

“It’s my game, I can do anything I want to.”

“How do I take him out?”

“Have you no sense of sport?” the Devil asks.  “I haven’t really changed 
the rules, I’ve just added a little twist.  Just this once.  Because 
this one is personal, isn’t it, Mr. Stone?”

“A twist?”

“Mm-hm,” agrees the Devil.

“What if I just quit?” Stone shoots back.  “Do your own dirty work.”

The Devil laughs in his face.  “Well, what a big fat lie you just told, 
Ezekiel.  You couldn’t possibly quit now, not with Gilbert Jax back, 
doing what he does best.  Not that you have much of a chance of stopping 
him anyway.  Although I do appreciate the spirit behind the attempt - 
Denial.  Pride. Self-righteousness.”  The Devil grins.  “Who knows, 
maybe the next time we bump into each other it’ll be back home?  May the 
worst man win.”  With that, he peels out, leaving Stone alone.


Stone continues to walk the streets.  He goes by some kids playing under 
a hydrant.  As he walks, a car pulls up behind him.  We recognize the 
driver-it’s Tim Nowack.


Evelyn is in her garden, working with her roses, when she hears a knock 
at the front door.   When she opens it, Ezekiel Stone is standing there.  
“Mrs. Jax?” he asks.

“Who are you?” she asks.

“A friend of Gil’s from work.”

“Oh my God, is he hurt?”

“No, he’s fine,” he reassures her.  “We were going to grab a bite later 
together, he told me to meet him here.”

Evelyn relaxes, and opens the screen door.  “Please, come in.  I always 
like meeting Gil’s young friends.  Mr…?”

“Smith.  George Smith.”

“Really? Well, you know, he worked with another George Smith in the city 
years ago.”

“Yeah, he told me.”

“Well, you’re much better looking than he was.  Go on in,” she says, 
motioning him into the living room.  “You know, I’m afraid that Gil ran 
with a rather shady crowd back then.  You’re not into the drugs, are 

“Too much to live for,” Stone tells her.

Evelyn is pleased by his answer.  “Now that’s the message I want Gil to 
receive every single day.  In my heart, I know he’s determined to be a 
much better person this time around.”  She realizes her slip.  “I mean, 
now.  A much better person now.”

“He’s certainly trying,” Stone says politely.

“Well, why don’t you sit down, I’m going to get you a glass of my iced 
tea.  It really beats the heat, you’ll see.”  Evelyn starts off to the 

“Thank you.”  Stone looks around the room.  There are many pictures 
there, of a young Gilbert Jax and his mother.  

“Funny, I havn’t heard that ‘Mrs. Jax’ in such a long time,” Evelyn 
says, continuing their conversation from across the hall.  “I went back 
to my maiden name after Gil’s father left us.”

“He died?” Stone asks, spotting a picture of the family.

“Not soon enough,” Evelyn says bitterly.  Then she chides herself, “Now 
that wasn’t a very nice thing to say.  He ran out on us just after that 
picture was taken.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, now, George, you go ahead and sit down.”  Evelyn sits down also.  
“Yes, he… he took my wedding ring one day, he said he wanted to clean 
it.  Well, he got enough money to run off to Mexico with this Jezebel 
from the office.  A married one, too.  I bet she wouldn’t let him pawn 
one of her rings.”

“Why’d you leave the picture up?”

“Well, you try to give your children a sense of family.  I never wanted 
to show Gil how bitter I was about everything. But, I guess I didn’t 
have too much success, considering… I’m just dithering.  Well, that was 
then, Georgie.  My Gil is a good boy at heart.  And he’s going to prove 
that to everybody.  You’ll see.”

“I’m sure,” Stone agrees, even as he knows the truth.

The front door opens.  “I’m home!” Gilbert calls out.

“Speak of the Devil,” she tells Stone, her face lighting up now that her 
son has returned.  “Oh, hello, sweetness.  Your friend Georgie Smith and 
I are having the nicest chat.”

“Well, that’s interesting, Ma,” Jax replies, immediately suspicious.  
“Considering George Smith died three months before I did.”

“No, no, the new Georgie from work.  He’s in the living room.”

“Oh, the new Georgie from work?” Jax parrots.  He reaches up above an 
ornate door jamb and retrieves a shotgun.  

Evelyn cries out at the sight of it.  “Oh, God in Heaven, not again!”

Jax opens fire, destroying the TV.  Stone dodges as Jax fires several 
times.  “Stone, you bring my mom into this?” Jax calls, firing again.  
To his mother, he demands, “Get in the bedroom.”

“Gilbert, no!” she protests, but he shoves her back into the bedroom.  
He slams the door shut and breaks off the door knob with the butt end of 
the shotgun, effectively trapping her inside.

Jax turns his attention to Stone, and heads into the living room.  Stone 
is waiting there, just around the corner, and he grabs Jax.  They 
struggle, and Stone throws Jax through a window into the back yard.

Stone manages to get control of the shotgun.  He points it at Jax’s 
face, and fires, pointblank.  Nothing happens. 

Jax sits up, a little smoke rising from his undamaged face.  “Not this 
time, Zeke.”  He knocks Stone to the ground, pinning him.  “Your old 
buddy Jax’s winning.”  

The back door bangs open.  Tim Nowack comes through, holding the gun he 
found in the attic.  “Over my dead body,” he tells Jax.

“Oh yeah?  We’ve got two here already, I’d be happy to arrange for a 
third.”  Jax gets up and approaches Tim, stopping at the bottom of the 
stairs.  “Huh, what’s the matter?  Oh!  Looking for this?  Do I have one 
of your rings right here?” 

Jax pulls a chain out from underneath his shirt.  On it are many rings, 
perhaps two dozen.  “What are you going to do?  Shoot me ‘cause I raped 
your wife?”  Jax grabs the barrel of the gun, and holds it to his heart.   
“Come on, I raped your wife,” he taunts Nowack.  “She liked it.”

“Get out of here, Nowack,” Stone says from the ground.  Nowack still 
will not fire.

“Yeah, Nowack, get out of here,” Jax tells him, grabbing the gun and 
punching him.  Nowack crumples.  Jax looks at the gun in his hand, then 
at Zeke.  “Huh.”  He drops the gun.  

“Zeke, which one of these is yours?  Huh?” he asks.  “Did I ever tell 
you that your wife was one of the best.  You know why she was so good?  
I think she really got into it.  I think she liked it.”  The taunting is 
getting to Stone, and he starts to become angry.  Jax is unrelenting.  
“Did you guys ever do it again after we were together?  After, you know.  
Did you do it?  Huh, did you do it?”

Stone reaches his boiling point.  He charges, knocking Jax to the 
ground.  He lashes out at Jax, breaking the chain that holds all of 
Jax’s trophy rings.  Jax laughs hysterically, still believing that he is 
immune to Stone’s attacks.  Stone spots the gardening spade that Evelyn 
had left behind when she answered the door.  He picks it up, holding it 
high above his head, even as Jax continues to laugh.  

He flashes back to the shattered vase that he’d found in his home, the 
way the beautiful flowers were strewn on the floor.  He remembers 
Rosalyn, the love of his life, and how he’d found her alone in the 
shower, crying.  Gilbert Jax was the first domino in the series of 
events that brought his world crashing down.  It would have to end here.  

He still holds the spade high above his head.  “Never, never again,” he 
swears, an oath before God and the Devil that Jax will never violate 
another woman.  

The spade flashes, infused with power.  Stone brings it down, fueled by 
the same rage that had driven him fifteen years ago.  This time, as 
Stone strikes Jax in the eyes, he succeeds, shattering the windows to 
his soul.  

The explosion of light and energy is so fierce that Stone is knocked 
backwards through the air.  Jax’s laughter turns to a scream, and he is 
sucked back to Hell, leaving a shiny spade in the scorched earth.  Stone 
watches as another tattoo burns off of his arm.


Inside the house, Evelyn McNabb comes out of her room, still holding the 
screwdriver that she used to pry the lock open with.  “Gilbert.  Oh.  Oh 
my god.”

She comes out the back door, and sees that her son is not there.   She 
sits down heavily on the steps, still clutching the screwdriver.  “Oh… 
he’s gone, isn’t he?”  She begins to cry.  “Well, it’s just as well.”  
She sees Stone searching among the rings.  “Are you some kind of angel?”

“Something like that.”

“Well, he just hadn’t changed one bit,” Evelyn admits.  “Sent back to 
heaven where he belongs.  Right?”

“Yeah… Heaven,” agrees Stone, not heartless enough to tell Jax’s mother 
about his crimes.  “Right.”


In an alley, the Devil kneels before a sleeping homeless man.  He ties 
the shoelaces together.  “Nice work, Mr. Stone.  See how effective a 
little anger can be?”  He stands, proud of his Hellcop.  “Now that’s the 
old Zeke Stone I’ve been looking for.”

“Glad you enjoyed the show.”

“Didn’t you?  I mean what could be better than killing your worst enemy 
than killing him twice?”

“I don’t like being manipulated.”

The Devil chuckles.  “You should thank me.  You needed a little boost.  
A little fire in your belly.”

“You always got to be playing games with me,” Stone protests.

“What do you expect, Mr. Stone?” the Devil asks, holding up his hands in 
mock protest.  “I’m the Devil.”  The Devil disappears into the night, 
dancing a little jig as he leaves.   

In his old life, Stone had worked on the side of justice.  He had tried 
to protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty.  As he stoops to undo 
the Devil’s prank, he reflects on his expanded role.  Instead of a 
single city, the whole world is his precinct.  One soul at a time, the 
cosmic scales must be balanced.  

Stone walks off into the night, ready to continue his mission.

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