The sun began to set on Simon as he made his way to the bank. He had dragged himself through a long day's work and just wanted to get his check cashed for the weekend. The city streets were bustling with people just like him, mindlessly trudging their way through their lives. An old beggar reached out to Simon with wrinkled fingers that trembled from his age, pleading for some sign of mercy. He knew better, however, than to give to beggars.
"Have mercy on my soul," the geezer wheezed faintly. Simon pretended to ignore him, walking by with his head aimed straight ahead. Curiosity won in his mental struggle, and, when a good distance away, he peeked back to the old man's whereabouts to find him gone. Figuring the man sought a more profitable location, Simon continued on his way. The illuminated letters of the bank's sign, only five of the seven, broke the weariness of the trip, and his pace hastened as he pushed through the thick mass of people to end his trek sooner. Carelessly making his way through, he suddenly found himself swallowed by shadows as he was pulled aside into a dark alleyway. The thin, disgruntled face of the beggar was staring right into his own. The tramp's wild, yellow eyes peered deeply focused on his victim as his rancid breath rolled across the few, straggling teeth left in his mouth. A frail, bony arm wrapped in dirty rags pressed tight across Simon's throat, cutting off any chance he had to call for help.
"Have mercy on me, young man," he implored with his weak voice with sorrowful eyes, "have mercy on my soul." With a grim chuckle, his mourning face twisted into a guise of pure sinisterness, and his mouth pulled wide open. With a hideous hiss, it felt as though the very breath was being sucked from Simon's being. The hundreds of people passing outside could not see what was transpiring in the shadows, and, if they did, they chose to ignore it with no consequence from their conscious. Simon felt weaker and weaker as all things began to fade to black. A thin stream of vapors seemed to trail into his attackers mouth, tapering off as its end was approaching. The last thing he could see before his vision failed was the old beggar being slammed into the opposite wall in the alley. Collapsing helplessly on to the garbage laden floor, Simon choked for air, never seeming satisfied. It sounded as though a scuffle was going on around him, but his mind was too blurred to make any of it out. He heard growls and roars along side what was possibly the breaking of stone. The fading whimper in the likes of a fleeing dog was followed by a gentle hand being placed on his shoulder as he was rolled to his back. Fuzzy images began to align as something was discerned from his sight.
"Thank you," he croaked before seeing the face of his savior, which prompted a sudden jolt not recommended for anyone in his condition. Simon's hero was a giant, a huge and bulky individual. An unkempt mane of frizzy, blonde hair poured out from all over his face and head. The thick mess merged seamlessly from his hair to his beard, revealing no parts of his face save a large, shiny nose betwixt the large, dark lensed shades over his eyes. This atrocity laid between a brown, wide brimmed hat and oversized, greenish colored coat that barely met its way around the titan's girth. Even worse, he smelled like a wet dog. As Simon's eyes darted around, not sure certain if he was seeing clearly, he saw what remained of alley. Walls were broken in, shattered into loose bricks. The fire escapes had been torn down, wrapped, and contorted into violent shapes. The nearby dumpster had a massive dent in its side which turned out to be a hole large enough for an entire person to fit through. "What the hell?" Simon shouted abruptly.
"You might want to save it, little buddy," the stranger suggested as he threw the limp body over his brawny shoulder. "I doubt I scared away that li'l bugger for long. He'll be back to finish you up. Even though I wounded him something awful, he came too close not to end it." In long strides, the large man raced down deeper into the shade filled alley, seeking out the most concealed paths to take.
"Stop! Put me down," Simon whined weakly. "What are you doing with me? Just who are you? What's going on?"
"I'm trying to save your life," the giant replied while pressing flat again a wall, "not to mention your very soul." A questioning grunt was the most that could come from Simon in his dwindling state. "I'm a good guy, and that is all you have to know about me. That thing that attacked you was a bad guy. I stop the bad guys because-" The hairy brute sighed. "How could I explain this as quickly and easily as possible?" The latter criteria complicated his thoughts. "... Do you know who King Solomon was?"
"The guy who cut babies in half," Simon was able to meagerly answer.
"Yeah, sure, good enough," accepted the transporter. "Wise, old King Solomon was pretty well versed in all things occult, both of God, demonology, and beyond. He also had a shiny, brass ring that could seal away demons and devils. Now, Gwyn Ap Knudd was-" A confused moan interrupted him. "It's not really important that you know him. He was a pagan, Celtic figure. Now then, he was entrusted by God to-" A second, more confused grumble interrupted him. "Yes, God interacted with pagan figure heads. Don't question her actions, I'm trying to tell a story here." The next and loudest of the baffled grunts was ignored. "Gwyn Ap Knudd was placed in charge my God to manage all of the supernatural forces in the world to prevent its eventual destruction," he spoke swiftly. "After years of waging a losing battle, he devised a permanent solution. Acquiring Solomon's Ring, he was able to seal the Gateway between this world and the Otherworld, preventing any crossing between the two realms, allowing the existence of demons and such to fade from human memory and into the stuff of legends. In recent times, however, this Gateway has been breached, and the seal shattered. Nothing is stopping all the creeps and boogies from getting what they want from you mortals. Nothing is stopping them, that is, except for us. What they want is the one thing they lack: your souls. Getting just one can make them whole and very dangerous."
"This sounds like," groaned Simon, getting back some more of his strength, "some cancelled TV show."
"Which one?" smirked the carrier as he darted into another shadowy passage.
"Wait, I think I know how this goes," Simon declared, with some strength returned. "You're part of some black-ops government agency, right?"
"Seriously, do you think your government could put anything like that together?"
"... No," he admitted defeated. "So, that thing was ... a demon? And he actually was removing my... my soul?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure what type of demon. Most blend together, sadly," the giant told.
"So, all of those stories... about monsters," continued to question Simon, "are... real?
"I'd hate to admit it, but yes," the titan confirmed, "although people didn't keep good records back when." After a few more long strides through the darkness, he spoke up again. "You seem to be taking this rather well. I was expecting at least a little bit of disbelief from you." He felt a weak shrug from his passenger. Darting a suspicious glare to his cargo, he noted a wisp of fumes slowly wafting into Simon's mouth. "Oh no, your ether is returning rather quickly. That must mean its close by. I have to get you to our shelter before-"
It was too late. The thin frame of the devil crashed down from above, spilling the giant and the passenger to the street below. Striking the concrete hard, Simon felt as though more than a few of his bones were shattered. His "savior" seemed to handle the attack better as he was already lifting himself from the ground. The only visible damage seemed to be that his glasses were knocked clean from his face and shattered. His glasses, that is, and his nose. Throwing a feral gaze at the demon, the guardian revealed his true face. Large, saucer like eyes laid lost in a tangle of yellow fur. There was no nose in the middle of his deformed face, only two slits. It remained hidden before, but a long, winding tail poured out from the concealing overcoat, its tip laden with rigid, bone spikes stick out in every direction. While mistaken for gloves and footwear before, but he now plainly saw them to be webbed digits with a rubbery appearance. The fur trim was his own shag protruding from his garments. The hell thing had scaled a building to retreat from the revealed beast and now sprawled itself out high on a high wall, snarling in return.
"Why do you fight me, brother," it hissed loathsomely, "when we could dine together?"
"I ain't your brother, fiend. I'm just a Plumber, and I am nothing like you," the hairy giant roared defiantly. In truth, there was no difference between the two. One was an evil spirit, the other was an evil water spirit, a Fuath. It all came down to which side they fought for. The demon's eyes widened as the hero threw up a hand with a clutched claw. The walls of the building shook as water lines broke through the wall. He mended and twisted them to his will, commanding that the pipes seek out the hell spawn as they spilled their contents. While they had it distracted, his squat legs contracted and released a powerful bound that soared him stories high. Catching on to the pipes he had released, he tore off a segment of the lead and smashed the devil's face in. As its body was slammed against an opposing wall, it sprung back full force, crashing the hairy giant through the several segments of fire escapes. The iron, his weakness, seared against him as he broke through the flights of rails. Rolling himself off his affliction, the fiend had come down to meet him on ground level to finish their bout. Letting a few, hard fists strike him in the face, the Plumber coaxed the demon into a trap, jabbing it in the gut with the end of his pipe. Bringing it over head, he beat it to the ground. With it pinned, his body revolved in the air as his mace like tail hammered down upon the fiend, breaking it through to the sewer below. Dropping down, he landed a devastating elbow drop on the devil. The waters swirled and pushed away from the giant as he stood, forming an impassible wall around the two.
"Repent now," he ordered, holding up a gleaming, brass ring to the thing he held tightly around the neck.
"What good would it do?" the creature wheezed through the vice like grip. "Your Lord cares not for our kind?"
"None, I just like demeaning you." Smashing the insignia of the ring onto the beings skull, its entire body was withdrawn into the symbol as a gleaming ball of light. Taking out a small, copper bottle from his pocket, the evil essence was imprisoned within the vessel. "Well, Simon, the remainder of your soul should return to you shortly," he shouted up as he gathered a spout of water to carry him back to the surface. "Pretty soon, you can go back to having an ordinary day like any oth-" His heroism came to a crashing halt as he saw Simon hanging lifelessly from the arms of the swollen, disgusting blob of a man with a face covered in piercings. The last traces of a soul fled into its greedily opened mouth, equally studded with golden refinery. "Son of a bitch! Another one?"
The extraction of Simon's ether had rendered it vulnerable and, moreso, inviting to any other demons in the vicinity. It was all too tempting for a ravenous Mammon, a being of pure greed. This breed stuck out in his mind as they were not your run-of-the-mill nuisance to take care of. This was a powerful breed fueled on man's own greed and selfish desires. Dropping the soulless body, it looked at the Fuath with its beady eyes, mocking his efforts. The squat being barely seemed human with its round form and long, spindly arms and fingers which were slathered in stolen watches and rings. People would probably think something was wrong with him if seen in public and ignore it if not secretly admiring his bravery. The hideously deformed shape was wrapped in a fine suit, despite being a few sizes too small, and the latest in foot apparel, all pilfered, most likely. Charging the epidome of avarice, the Plumber was too slow as they now fully powered demon leapt away in the blink of an eye with its loose change filled pockets jingling on its withdrawal.
"Butcher, this is Plumber, do you read me?" he called on a communication device, which was actually a cell phone. "A target has gone full. I repeat, full. It is heading in your direction. I suggest you get backup for this one. I'll try to keep up." Slinging the lifeless body over his shoulder, the Plumber started in pursuit of his quarry. "Don't worry, buddy, we'll get you back."