The Sandman: Crimson Tide, Chapter 4: Immortal Beloved

by GDL 629 19136

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The crimson tide had begun.

From out of the tenement houses and the sewers, the newly risen undead stormed the mean streets of New York City. Cars were overturned. Fires were being lit, making storefronts and apartment complexes into blazing torches. The sounds of broken glass and pitiful screams were echoing throughout, all blending into a wall of noise, as if the city itself was in pain.

People were being forcibly pulled out of their homes, as the vampires spared no one; even women and children suffered under the onslaught of the vampires’ attack.

Leave now,” the vampires shrieked, “if you want to live to sssee the next sssunrissse!” Their howls and screams of inhuman laughter lent to the atmosphere of a carnival in Hell.

The vampires turned their attention to the sky. The reddish glow on the horizon of the city was suddenly peppered with winged creatures.

A bloodcurdling cry went through the skies.

Thousands of hawks flew down, tearing at the army of the undead. The vampires could only scatter a few of the avian attackers.

Their master plummeted down with wings almost twice the size of his tall frame. His eyes held a fury carried down from several lives as a warrior. With a swing of his gigantic mace, he battered the panicking undead, his savagery in battle blazing a swath into the infested streets.

Hawkman had entered the battle for New York City.


The JSA airship hovered over the chaotic streets, and the hatch opened. Red Robin and Wildcat leaped out, with Power Girl hovering over them. They were clad in protective bodysuits, with makeshift collars protecting their throats.

Doctor Mid-Nite and Hourman piloted the airship in order to coordinate the JSA’s efforts throughout the city. “Keep together, and use the UV pistols that I gave you — they should work. Rex and I will cover the East Side! Good luck!”

“Yeah, we’re gonna need it!” Hourman said to no one in particular.


In the sewers below the city, a charred form suddenly struck out at the Sandman, slamming him into the side of the sewer wall.

“Ahhh… Sssandman… sssooo kind of you to visssit usss…” Dala mockingly toyed with the battered hero. She grabbed his left arm, and before the Sandman could react, he felt his arm snap, and he let out a scream.

“You aren’t dealing with revenantsss now. How doesss that arm feel?” Dala cackled.

The Sandman grimaced through the intense pain of his fractured arm and uncapped his gas-gun while turned to his side.

“The Batman at leassst gave usss a good figh–” Dala’s words trailed off as the Sandman sprayed the entire contents of his gas-gun tank into her face. Dala gasped and staggered, while the Sandman threw all of his energy into one punch.

It barely fazed her.

The Sandman crawled over to a grimy ledge and turned the current of his wirepoon gun to full power. He had no wire cartridges left, so he threw it into the water where Dala was slowly regaining her bearings.

“I’d tell you to say hello to Bruce, but you’re probably due south from where he is!” muttered the Sandman as Dala’s agonized form writhed and then passed out.

The undead beauty would be out for quite some time, along with the other vampires littering the putrid bowels of the city.

The Sandman lifted himself once more and came to an open door that screamed trap. He approached cautiously.

“Wes?” came Dian Belmont’s voice from within.


The NYPD had thought they were prepared for anything after the Crisis.

Geezus H. Christ! They must’ve bitten half the $%$&*&in’ town!” yelled Clem Burke as he fired shot after shot at the creatures swarming over the streets and into his precinct. The last hour had been nothing but gunfire, trying desperately to stem the onrush of the creatures. “Where’s that %^&*%#$^%#% Sandman now… with a big-a$$ can a’ %^&$$%$*in’ gas?

Burke reloaded while the other officers covered him. “Never thought I’d welcome the $%#$%in’ long underwear brigade…”

The other NYPD precincts were tied down with the influx of the mass civil disturbance; they all needed a miracle.


“Dian?” the Sandman called out as he entered the room.

“Over here, Wes…” her voice rang out from around the corner of the immense room. The voice sounded dazed, as if she was barely awake.

The Sandman crept closer, his body beginning to grow increasingly tired. “Where’s the Monk? Is he still here?” he asked, hoping that Dian was coherent enough to leave through the sewers with him.

“I don’t know… Where are you, Wes…?” Dian called out drowsily from the shadows.

“Dian…” The Sandman feared the worst as he saw Dian get up from the floor.

Her eyes glowed a fierce red as she stared at the Sandman like a hungry beast. She seemed to float across the floor toward him.

“Wesssley… why, don’t you want to sssave me?” Dian’s lips pulled back, revealing two elongated canines.

The Monk’s hoarse laughter echoed from the edge of the room. “You’re just in time for the final conversssion, Sssandman!”

“No. Not Dian, please, no!” The Sandman struggled to stand as his lifetime companion moved in for the kill.


The screeching sounds of thousands of birds caused Lieutenant Clem Burke and his fellow officers to pause.

The Hawkman swooped down, angrily bashing the fledgling undead mercilessly. Armed with an ancient mace, he weaved between the madly leaping vampires, battering them so hard that even the police winced.

Burke had never seen Hawkman up close, and even to his jaded eyes, the winged warrior was quite a sight.

“#$!@&@&!” was all that Burke could muster.

As the area cleared for a brief moment, Hawkman hovered over the awestruck policemen.

“Who’s in charge here?”

Burke was pointed out, as all of his superiors were lying in the streets, either torn apart or drained of life.

“The JSA are coordinating efforts with the other precincts. Hopefully we will…” A vampire flew behind Hawkman who, without missing a beat, swung his mace back, driving the revenant into the side of a building. “As I was saying, hopefully we will soon have this under control.”

“What the ^%#% are you talking about? They’re everywhere! We need some big guns here!” Burke was past any pep talks.

“Patience. We have a plan.” Hawkman hoped that he could convince the police that there was hope, especially since he wasn’t too sure, himself.


The transformed Dian Belmont loomed closer to the Sandman, gazing at him like a ravenous beast.

“Wes… you don’t know what thisss feelsss like! I can’t dessscribe it! Come with me… join usss…” Dian stood just a foot away from the horrified Sandman.

“Dian, fight it!” The Sandman stood his ground.

The Monk stepped out from the shadows, mirthlessly cackling. “She’sss almossst there, Sssandman! Once ssshe tastes human blood, the processss will be complete! And, better yet, since I haven’t turned her like those revenantsss outssside, once ssshe croses over, ssshe’ll know what sshe is — and what ssshe’s done!

“You bastard,” the Sandman cursed, interrupted by Dian floating over him, preparing to strike.

Then Sandman tore off his mask. “Dian, remember who you are!

Dian stopped for a second with a dazed look on her face.

“Remember us.”

Dian continued to gaze at Wesley Dodds with a puzzled look.

“Remember all of our friends that you’ll condemn to Hell if you allow this continue. Think about Sandy.”

Dian smiled.

Do it! Do it, you ssstupid woman!” the Monk shrieked, now standing next to Dian.

Dian gently nudged Wes’ head to the side, exposing the jugular, then opened her predator’s mouth wide…

…and with all of her strength, she threw the Monk toward the adjoining wall, to land on a wooden table, smashing it to pieces.

The Monk rose up, his features twisted in utter fury. “Now you both will die!” he said as he flung himself toward the two.

The Sandman clicked his heels together, and a stream of pale green gas enshrouded the Monk. Dian began tearing at the dazed Monk, taking advantage of the gas’ effects.

Wes braced himself against the wall, groping around in the dim light for something to defend himself with. His vision was nigh-useless without the goggles in his gas mask; his spare glasses had been crushed in the sewer debacle. His hand rested on the broken chair, picking up one of the sundered limbs.

The Monk was stuggling with Dian, who furiously clawed at him. Dian was suddenly lifted up and savagely flung to the ground.

The undead figure, breathing heavily and covered in blood, pulled Dian’s head to the side. “You could have been immortal, you ssstupid creature, with the full powers of a vampire. Now you’ll jussst be–”

The Monk’s monologue was cut short by a sharp blow to the head with a chair leg.

“Ha-ha-ha… sssilly man!” He turned toward Wes, who had thrown the chair leg and held another, ready for the attack.

The insane vampire flew at the Sandman, and faster than he could think, Wes raised the chair leg in defense. With a hellish shriek, the Monk fell to the floor, clutching at his impaled chest.

As the horrified pair of Wes and Dian looked on, the Monk disintegrated into dust. The pile began to softly scatter, its peacefulness belying the horrific menace that was the Monk.


In the concrete jungle above, the battle had been going badly.

The swarm of vampires were gaining ground, and the JSA members that were available to fight it were growing increasingly fatigued.

Hourman and Doctor Mid-Nite watched the grim picture from the airship; even the combined might of Red Robin, Power Girl, and Wildcat weren’t sufficient to stem the onrush of the undead invasion of New York City. Below, the three JSAers had made their way to Burke’s holdout at Police Headquarters.

Red Robin was frantically firing UV blasts at the waves of vampires, trying to stay in close proximity to his companions.

Power Girl had fired her last shot and threw the gun. “Enough of this!” she yelled, and began wading through the vampires, holding several aloft at a time, then tossing them into sides of buildings.

“Kara, no!” Red Robin cried out, knowing that if the vampires got through the protective clothing, Power Girl — like her Kryptonian cousin — would be helpless against them.

Wildcat had leaped up onto a fire escape, firing down at the creatures. “Ya crazy broad! Geddoudahere!” he yelled in his characteristic sensitivity toward the female population.

Power Girl fumed, “I am not — a broad!” Her anger made her even stronger, as she flung two or three vampires at a time, but unfortunately, her clawed-at armor was starting to tear.

Suddenly, a shadow loomed over the street. Power Girl was suddenly plucked up into the sky. Luckily for her, the captor was friendly.

“Hawkman! Put me down!

“Not a chance, P.G.,” Carter Hall chuckled as they soared above the crowd, then swooped down to collect Red Robin and Wildcat. “Our ace in the hole just showed up.”

A lone figure streaked toward the city, shrouded by the cover of night.

“Heh. So he finally decided ta come!” Wildcat said, grinning.


Wesley Dodds and Dian Belmont held each other for support as they made their way through the sewers, treading over the remains of the undead opponents.

“Dian, are you… all right?” Wes had managed to croak out, the shock of his fractured arm jabbing like hot knives.

“I… I don’t know, Wes. I don’t feel much different.” Dian struggled not to linger in her gaze at the blood trickling down from Wes’ many wounds. “C-can anything be done for me?” Dian desperately prayed to herself.

“I… don’t know, but… I’ll never rest till we can help you.” Wesley wasn’t too sure himself. We can only hope that the others are being taken care of, thought Wes as they reached the ladder to go up the manhole.


Above, in the night sky, a lone figure hovered.

He was the survivor of a doomed planet. He was the first of his kind, the inspiration for all the heroes that followed.

He had finally come.

The vampires and the police glanced up in the awe, even after all this time, he still commanded by his very presence.

“Superman,” the crowds whispered.

He remained aloft, far out of the reach of the vampires.

“Surrender. Now.” He spoke softly, yet was heard throughout the entire city.

Clutched in his arms was an ornate device with strange dials and sharply defined ridges. A large-domed dish was attached to the top of it.

The vampires were divided on who to follow. “Master?” they whispered, but the Monk, as well as Dala, were no longer able to answer them.

As some retreated, the majority began to climb the buildings, hoping to get close enough to spring at the last son of Krypton.

With a weary sigh, Kal-L turned a dial on the device. “Those who choose to surrender, you’d better get below,” he added, before holding the device above his head.

His eyes began to glow.


Wes and Dian heard the manhole lid creak open, then piles of vampires flew down through the opening.

They crouched down, the two of them wrapped in Wesley’s tattered cloak.


“Better cover the peepers, Doc,” Hourman joked to his friend above the airship.

The comm-links had warned the other JSAers as well.

The air suddenly blazed with the intensity of the sun.

Vampires howled in pain as they began to collapse to the ground. Some instantly turned to ash, while others fell unconscious.


The few remaining vampires in the sewers quickly scattered, running in all different directions to safety.

Wes and Dian — who was whimpering in pain — leaned against the filthy walls of the city’s bowels.

“Charles… he did it.”

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