The Trials:  For the Love of Osiris Epilogue (Freddy Returns to Fawcett City)

The Trials: For the Love of Osiris Epilogue (Freddy Returns to Fawcett City)

Synopsis:  Freddy returns to Fawcett City after the battle with Isis to begin ruminating over the most recent events.

After everything that happened with Isis I needed a pause a needed a moment to regroup.  I knew the next trial was right around the corner, but there was two, not one city that had been damaged due to the Trial, the Trial of Strength.  I consider all that I learned during the trial about the gods, about Black Adam, Theo Adam, Adrianna Tomaz, her brother, Cassie, Flash, her mother, everyone including myself.  There was a lot to consider, things that would have to be taken a step a time, but rather than rush in I used this moment to take that step back.

I helped with Metropolis’s clean up, which between the three of us went faster than anyone suspected, but then I turned my attention to Fawcett City.  There wasn’t just clean up that needed to be done, but healing.   Debris from the school could be cleaned up, cleared away and dumped, but the blood spilled there couldn’t.   Just because the Trial ended didn’t mean that the effects of the Trial did.  It wasn’t a dream or a game, it was as real as it got.  If someone died they didn’t come back.  It wasn’t all apart of some elaborate test to see if I was good enough and everyone was in on it.  There were innocents involved.

Fawcett City had seen more death in the past two weeks than it had seen in the pasty century.  Too much death and now that death had spread to children.  It was enough to turn someone’s stomach.  Family’s would be shattered, and they needed something to believe in.  True they would never truly know what happened, but they will remember the tragedy of Fawcett City High and the valiant efforts of the Fawcett City Police Department, including Chief Callaghan.

It was another reason why I had to get back as fast I could.  There were memorials and funerals to attend as Freddy Freeman. There was mourning to be had. This couldn’t be washed away with the rain any more can it be covered up with a blanket of snow.  True the citizens of Metropolis were given the truth, but to share that with Fawcett City would draw the type of attention it didn’t deserve right now.  Even in ignorance there was heartache.

Too many gone too soon.  It was repeated many times.   This is what I focused on.  It was a reminder of what came to be, because there were forces at work that sought not only to disrupt the Trials, but continue the rampant chaos that pressed upon the dam or Order that had been put in place in an attempt to bring order to all facets of life.

I considered what Cassie’s mom had said.   This was the time for reflection not in the moment.  In the moment you do what you feel is best while being mindful of all that you had gained.  That’s what I did and now a husband has his wife back, but at what cost?

Where will this all lead?  It’s not offer.  The little boy said that it all changed.   Everything has changed.  It impacts me. It impacts Cassie. It impacts all of magic.   It’s there in the back of my mind, but all I could remember was the sound of the pipes as Callaghan’s body was taken through the streets, it was marched to the church.  From there it was moved to the cemetery.  I didn’t go as Shazam I went as Freddy, because the last thing I wanted was to take away from the reason why we were there.  We were there to honor a hero, a real superhero.

Whether or not he knew that he carried Achilles with him it didn’t matter.  Achilles only brought out what was within Callaghan.  He magnified it for all to see.   He was a leader.  He was a beacon.  Someone that everyone could look to and that is what I told the town when I spoke about him.  It didn’t matter how long the funeral took not one person left the church.  They all took their time honoring and revering someone who gave his life to help people to the very end.  He led a life of service and it would never be forgotten.

The honored dead.  That is what the last couple of weeks meant for me. It served as a reminder of why I was doing this.  Why this was important.  It was never about me.  It was about everyone else.

The next few days were days of service.  Days where I could be a little more visible as Shazam helping. It didn’t really matter what needed to be done I was helping, because I was here. I was out in the public.  The press conference introduced me and Flash to the world so that meant that I needed to be visible.  I might not be walking the streets and knocking on doors, but I wanted to establish a presence and perhaps that was something that we could all do.

Sure, there are times when people wouldn’t know when we were there working behind the scenes when we needed to, but the public needed to know that we were there that someone gave a damn.  So that began a text here and there to the others.

”Hey.  Nothing’s wrong.  Just tossing an idea out there.  Days of service throughout the month. Be there for the everyday things not just the bad.  Call me.”

There were things to do.  Sure help stop criminals here and there, but also show that we as a group meta humans just wanted to help people.  Be regular members of society, but you had to do more than say that you had to show it.  It involved more than streaking through the city and being someone that was far removed.

Sure we wanted our regular lives, but if we were going to step up into the light then we had to find a way to balance that aspect our lives.  We had to do more than try to stop the catastrophes, we had to try and be good global citizens.  Perhaps not something everyone was prepared to do, but to combat the fear you had to begin to fight the rumors.  There were things that people believed, and people worried about.

If picked random days to be out there it wouldn’t be staged, it wouldn’t be photo ops.  Drumming up good will, yes, I won’t deny that, but you start to find out what matters and what people think. You start to engage them.   You make mistakes yes, but you learn from them, but perhaps when there are things that go wrong you won’t fall to fast, to far, and too hard.

I’m not Black Adam, but I did a look up Kahndaq, and what happened when he rose to power.  There were things that he did that the people appreciated.  He became the ruler of a country, but he was a visible presence.  I will say that there was some fear and intimidation there, but the way I think about is that it’s like the cops.   When they’re present people reconsider some of the things they’re going to do.

Will it solve all the problems no, but it will help.  It will also help us be more approachable. Cassie extended the olive branch through the press conference now we have to be available.  Even while juggling our lives.  The Trials aren’t over, but the world keeps spinning.  People keep living and they have to be able to move past the tragedy to the next day and the next.

Most of all they need to know they’re not alone, human, metahuman, god, alien, whatever.   We’re in this together.

Enter Black Adam

Synopsis:  Freddy races to the Wizard’s sanctum through the broom closest in Fawcett High only to come face to face with Black Adam.  After some enlightening conversation the school boiler room is besieged by new group Crocodile People leading to the awe and horror that is Black Adam, a revelation, multiple tragedies and a Pyrrhic victory.

BLACK ADAM: “Welcome, Boy.”

When you think of all the ways to make an entrance? Those two words aren’t likely in it. There are no fireworks. No parade of a theme song. You might even expect thunder and lightning, given what and who we’re dealing with. None of which are present. One moment you’re looking through a broiler room at the basement of Fawcett City High School, home of the Fighting Spartans. You’ve spent a considerable amount of time conferring with the Wisdom of Solomon about what such a ‘Door’ might look like. It never occurs to you that opening the Broom Closet door is going to transport you through time and space.

Leaving you standing at the door to what looks like a Museum of Oddities. The Sanctum of the Wizard is not like the Tales of a Book. In this particular case it looks like something ripped from the pages of a History book. Shazam’s Sanctum would be right at home in Ancient Greece. With all its marble and candle lighting. From experience you know that it’s got several stories and that each one is like a glimpse in to another time period. The Wizard adapted to each Age he was forced to exist in with the passage of time.

But really. None of that is important right now. Because it’s very difficult to get beyond what literally sits right before you. On a throne of books, torn from the walls of the Wizard’s sanctum. His face may be shrouded but nothing stops Solomon from recognizing exactly what Freddy’s seeing. Cloaked though he may be, lightning crackles around him. The sights of just that first room tell Freddy that Black Adam has been waiting upon him for some time.

“I’m afraid the Wizard isn’t at home right now.”

FREDDY:  It happened it all came tumbling in ways that Freddy hadn’t expected. He didn’t abandon Chief Callaghan, not in the least. He left him with a warning that not all is as it seems in Fawcett City to trust his instincts and his eyes. The ones that were connected to his gut. Be that bastion of strength and leadership that Fawcett City knew and depended upon. They needed it, because there was far too much happening just behind the veil that seemed ready to push through and they were going to need people with solid and clear-headed thinking so they wouldn’t panic. However, Freddy was panicked to a degree. He was worried about the Wizard.

When he touched the broach he saw, no he lived everything that happened. From Teth-Adam to Mighty Adam to Khem-Adam. The three faces of a man who touched the gods, walked as one of them in a sense then fell and fell again. How does one begin to comprehend that? They don’t. The compartmentalized. With the knowledge that Solomon allowed him to glean Freddy understood on several levels what was happening which lead him to run out of the Fawcett City police department as quickly as he could into the night and down the alley towards the one once he needed to be.

He called out Shazam’s name to empower him not because he believed there would be danger right then and there only to get him there faster. He needed Mercury with him, the wind at his back to carry him to the Fawcett High School. The Fighting Spartans. He was one of them. Once a Spartan always a Spartan they said as he began to seek out the door that would gain him entry into the Sanctum. Solomon aided him in his search until he pulled it opened and stepped through.

Gone where the locker filled hallways and the drab colors of school. Gone where the homecoming banners and trophy cases. It was all replaced with something that looked straight out of a history book. Perhaps a research room of a classical building of some kind. It’s something Freddy would conjure up from Ancient Greece or perhaps a research room from the Library of Alexandria if it had been erected in Athens perhaps. Marble and candle light. Scroll and quills. Books and jars. It all looked quite beautiful, but beautiful. He wasn’t here to take it in instead he searched for someone, but instead he found someone all-together different it was enough to make Freddy to take a step back.

It was like that episode of Charmed (yes, he watched it) where Phoebe was trying to tell Piper that they were standing in front of the Source who had possessed someone through looking through the enchanted glasses. Solomon didn’t need to whisper in his mind who was in front of him, Freddy knew full well who the hooded man was from the stature, posture and bearing.

“Khem-Adam.” He said his jaw tightening. Definitely not a tea and scones moment.

“Oh. Darn. I guess we missed him. Well, if you’d like me to leave note for him let me get to the ink pot and quill there and I’ll jot one down. Back in town. Thought we could catch up. We need to talk. Hugs and kisses, Teth That about covers it right?”

BLACK ADAM:  “Jokes? The Wizard is Gone. Your Trial is shattered. You stand before your better and the first thing that comes to mind are Jokes?”

If that’s you think that’s the sound of impatience? You’ve misjudged just how annoyed that tone of voice actually is. The ‘Heavens’ actually seem to roll with ominous thunder with the vitriol that slides off the tongue of Black Adam. His reclined posture broken only then, when he rises off his throne of spell-books and sends them scattered with the force his defiance of gravity exerts. There are no footfalls that bring Adam closer, because he doesn’t consider the ground of this place worthy of his own feet. Such is the broiling power that Freddy is standing in the face of.

Bravado only carries someone so far. Eventually you have no choice but to stand face to face with the object of your fear and make a choice. Stand firm or flee. There are no other choices when you are in the face of one such as him. “Surrender the blessings you have and perhaps you’ll live to actually regret speaking to me thus.”

Beyond Black Adam’s bristling is a Sanctum filled with wonders. The signs of it being ransacked are present. Obviously, the books from the shelves have been pilled upon the floor, but so too are the scrolls. Each one unbound and obviously read. Those candles which seem to burn for an eternity are withering down to the wick. How long has Adam been here, waiting? It’s barely been a handful of days since the Bank Robbery, but this looks as if the would-be God has been here far longer.

“Of course, that depends on if you tell me where she is, Boy.”

FREDDY:  Freddy needed the moment precious moments to look upon the room see what needed to be seen.  Was there anything here that might give a clue as to where the Wizard where he might have gone.   Freddy had come to warn but he himself was perhaps a day or two late. There were things that needed to be done.  You couldn’t bust into a police station and demand to speak with the Police Chief or anyone of the sort same goes for any type of law enforcement individual or first responder

Additionally, he did speak with some of the witnesses it’s where he could start as someone not in a kind of official capacity.  He had no fancy Department of Extranormal Affairs badge to flash.  Nor did he want to from everything Cassie told him, but it would be pretty cool.  Psychic Paper would be real handy, but back to the regularly schedule programming.

Interior the Wizard Shazam’s Sanctum.  Our intrepid hero Freddy Freeman has come face to face with the man whose life he just lived moments ago, Teth-Adam, who appears to be rather unpleasant at the moment as he rose from his throne of books.  Game of Thrones much?  He approached Freddy who dared to be an insolent cur in his eyes.  He did not walk he floated towards him appearing ready to rend him asunder if he did not acquiesce.

Still moments.  This is what Freddy needed.  He used all his power of observation to gather what he needed.  No blood.  No flesh.  No pile of ash or charred corpse.  The Wizard was not here.  He beat feet.   When?   How long had he been gone?  The Sanctum had been invaded.   When how?  Was it Adam’s doing, another or both? He considered that for a moment wondering when Black Adam arrived.

Freddy considered all of this stared into the dark star itself.    Most would turn away.  You don’t stare into the sun, but in this case he had to.  He wouldn’t say he knew this man, but perhaps he did.  Bless you Solomon, he thought.   There were somethings you could be told, some things you could be shown, but sometimes you had to live them.  To live them is to know them. To breathe them.  To breathe them is to know why.

As commanding and authoritative as Adam was being at a moment.  This would probably be a bad time to tell him that he probably would make a really good Dom, Freddy thought, there were two things that crossed his mind probably to Solomon’s delight, because let’s face it Freddy had odd thoughts, inappropriate ones at all the time.   The candles, the height of them told a store.   As did the state of the room.  He flashed back to the Bank the desperate search that Isis made.   Oh, how that picture and the events swirled in his mind very much like that scene in Jumanji the first movie (there’s going to be a new one!) when the tornado sucked everything that emerged in the game back in.  It was like he could see it all before him.

Husband and wife pick up some of their habits.  Isis was true to her namesake desperate to bring her husband back to life, but in a different sense bring him back to the life that he had grown accustomed to.  Stripped of what he was she bargained for him with the gods of Egypt to restore what had been lost.  Give him the life that had been stolen by the villain in this story…the Wizard (more on that to come).  Freddy needed to be focused.

There was no sign of Isis after the lightning strike. They escaped.  Solomon told him to flee it was Zeus.  Zeus you fool.

Confidence.  Perhaps, but Freddy finally let his eyes settle upon Black Adam.  There was no arrogance in his eyes.  Cold hard facts.  Confront the brutal truth.

“She broke the rules.  The board was reset.”   Where she is?   There was no escape from the bank.  There was no banjo playing as Aunty Minerva and her crocodile boys drove away.   She was so close to claiming Osiris…not her husband but her son. A mother desperate to reconnect to bring him back to life as she had been to correct a terrible wrong. To give the Wizard and all the gods a big middle finger.  Yet there was the Wizard and there was always Zeus who was to his part trying to keep this fair.

“My Trials remains intact.” Trial. No. Trials.    Party’s not over yet.

BLACK ADAM:  In approaching Freddie, Adam has put himself momentarily in the path of the young man’s vision. That changes in the span of mere heart-beats though, in demonstration of Black Adam’s own version of the same power that Freddie knows first-hand. Speed which is used to grasp the young man. Strength which is put to pulling him up in to the air several inches. Turning and holding Freddie aloft like a small child that is too repellent to be held close. Yet what Adam does then is perhaps unexpected. He shows Freddie something more.

While the Sanctum is in tatters, there is a certain harmony to the chaos. Books, scrolls and ancient items are strewn all around, but the discarded pile of books which Adam sat upon is different. There the tomes of knowledge all have a common theme. One that Solomon can’t help but whisper in to Freddie’s head about: Osris, Resurrection. Eternal Life, Hades. This theme binds each of the items together. Whom ever did all of this was searching for information in a veritable treasure trove of it. Whether the knowledge that was sought was found or not? Hard to say.

“She came back to me. Rose from the sands of Khandaq. She showed me many things, Boy, but most of all she showed me her disdain for this world’s butchery of our people. We sought to change it, to make it better, but the moment she touched the Amulet of Isis, she was…different. Her disdain for has spread, consumed her.”

This might seem strange. Having a sort of ‘story time with Black Adam,’ but this is no heart to heart. No confession of guilt. There is no remorse to a single word he speaks. No spark of hope that might come with some indicator that Black Adam is here to help. His cruel tone only breaks when speaking of Isis, of her plight and her intentions.

“You think your Trials are intact? You are but a boy, who is a fool. Solomon of not. My Wife has broken your Trials, Boy. You have done nothing but delay her. Already she has stolen the strength of Zeus’ son and eaten the heart that fueled the God who holds the world upon his shoulders. You think Isis needs those powers for her own self? They are but fuel child. No different than the Wax of these candles. Once burned out they are gone. Lost forever.”

“Give me the Amulet, Boy. Give me the Blessings you hold. You are a Mouse, standing before a Lion. Give them to me, before she …”

He was quite clearly ramping up to something when the Sanctum trembles to it’s very foundations. Even Khem Adam is brought to a sort of stunned silence at such a thing. Freddie is discarded, tossed among the rubble of the books on the floor as the lightning begins to course across Adam’s features. Another tremble sends a caress of air through the Sanctum, blotting out the candles and bathing the two ‘Champions’ in utter darkness. Until the door that Freddie just entered through opens once more.

If Black Adam fears whatever tears open the door to Shazam’s Sanctum? It doesn’t show. There is not a split-second of hesitation before he surges with unspoken speed at the first intruder that enters. Freddie gets but a moment to see a horde of Crocodile Men ready to fight their way inside, before Adam tears through them. Even before they’re out of sight he’ll hear the response of gunfire. It sounds like an army is on the other side of that door…

FREDDY:  Freddy has cards to play.  Cards that present themselves with each passing second.  Every word spoken is like another card presented and he can either hold and treasure it or discard it.  Was he aiming to win or hold his own.  Perhaps a bit of the latter than the former.   He could try and reason with Adam, but he couldn’t begin to until he got a little information and the only way to get information sometimes was to play the information you had and frame it into what you believed to be the truth.

Truth is highly subjective, but with a little work the subjectivity can be stripped away and replaced with objectivity until enough information was provided and only the facts remained.  Cold hard facts.

One of which Adam believed the Trials to be broken and over, but if that were the case Freddy would have failed and the world would hold a new Champion good or bad.  Freddy whether he was wrong or right had to hold onto the idea that the Trials were still in play that he could earn the blessings of the other gods, the other Lords of Magic.  Why?  The world tilts between order and chaos.  Despair and hope.   What was has been broken and must be put right one brick a time.

Hope empowers.  Not only mortals, but the gods, because Freddy knew from the moment he was tossed about by Isis that not only were mortals in danger, the gods in danger which means magic is danger. This is what he was training for.  This is why he was on the trials to protect magic from all.  Whether people believed it or not the one that was chosen was meant to protect mortals from magic and magic from mortals.  Whether it be mortal or god.  Right or wrong he was meant to protect them even if they felt they didn’t need defending themselves.

As quick as Adam was Freddy steeled himself.  He focused on Callaghan how he steeled himself through the chaos and remain the bastion of calm and strength.  It’s not that Freddy meant to impart that on Adam, but he sorely needed it for himself.  He could not allow himself to succumb to chaos and emotions.   Freddy lacked the Wizard’s guidance and Solomon only could provide so much, but Freddy was smarter than your average bear.   He took in all he could clung to the gifts that Adam lavished upon him in only the way Adam could through fear, intimidation and anger and yes, a little bit of a hate.  Hate goes a long way.

He was a foolish. Foolish boy, but even a foolish boy can hear the pain, the agony, the loss.  Despite everything that happened the capacity to feel these things were present which whether the Wizard would admit or not or the gods themselves would is the key. The heart of what makes a champion a champion.  Pure. Innocent. True. Honorable.   These are things that make a good champion, but what makes a great champion.

Empathy.   Somewhere Adam lost his.  That one moment when you make a decision that darkens your heart.  All is not lost, but when it is allowed to fester and only grow as more and more are made then all is lost unless someone intervenes, but who intervened for Adam?

Empathy is what Freddy feels despite the fact that this is not a heart to heart between him and the terrible Black Adam.  No empathy is what Freddy summons, because he has to be able to cut through to the fact.  Not the power of a god, but a boy, a human a lowly mortal. The most pedestrian of all things when compared to the power of a god or is it?

Adam has unleashed a Pandora’s box upon the world by trying to right what he felt was a terrible wrong.  Unite his family.  Fix what had gone wrong, but could he had considered what would happen when he presented his wife with the power to right the wrongs that had befallen their people.  Instead of empowering magnified her power, her pain and suffering blending it with the pain and suffering of another who knew loss.  Freddy could be wrong, but given the few brief seconds to consider it’s where his mind went.

Solomon’s there pushing him to look upon all the things that were searched through.  Was it Adam or another.   Either way it all of it pointed to death.  Life and death.  Isis is life. Osiris god of the afterlife connected to death.  Death for life. Life for death   An atom bomb ready to go off.

Fuel Adam called it and Freddy felt his blood run cold even as he was carried away through the air discarded like a used tissue by a rather odious individual.   Freddy landed, but the words pulsed through his mind. Not only his, but Isis’s as well.  <i>”The Power of Gods can be used for more than Championing.”</i>

When silence had come to Adam and darkness fell Freddy moved to his feet. Even in darkness he knew where he was not because he could see in the dark, but because he had an eidetic memory.  Blessing of Solomon. He knew where he was and knew to move for cover quickly not from Adam, but whatever brought him to silence he moved to a column pressed his back against it ready to act however it was Adam that went forward when the door opened. The light spilled forth and there was a crocodile man and next there was gunfire.

Freddy moved to get closer towards the door in an attempt to catch a glimpse of what was occurring but not offering himself up as a target.  Black Adam fully empowered.  Freddy Freedman power of two.

The fact that Adam wanted him to give up his powers wasn’t lost on him, but he didn’t seek them for Isis. Perhaps his son? Perhaps himself, but he did have a thought.  A cold thought along with an insightful one.  If Isis wasn’t in a penalty box and was searching for more power apparently a god of underworld, the god of the dead.

This is where having the Wizard here would be awesome.  Think like the wizard.  Recreate what he would say.

”Khem-Adam you fool what have you done!   She’s taken her over and now you seek my knowledge to undo what you have done!  She will ravage the gods themselves to restore Osiris!”  It takes power to raise the dead.  ”You thought to empower your wife and now she has become possessed by Isis.”  Well, maybe that’s what the Wizard would say.  Gone was the wife who had the same name of the god he thought to gift her wife like she was a god damned Pokemon and now she’s on a got to collect them all to get Osiris back.

Black Adam’s been jilted and double-crossed? Not the time to spin it Freddy gunshots and divine empowered ex-champion out there who may come back to wrest Solomon and Mercury’s blessings from him.

STORYTELLER:  Beyond the door is no mystery. It is a horror show. Freddy peers through the door in time to see Black Adam at his finest or perhaps his worst. Depending on how one looks at it. A Crocodile Man’s throat in one hand and another upon his back. They do to him as they had done with Cassandra in the bank. It’s a swarm of a pack that prey upon the weak. One on one they stand no chance in all of creation against one empowered such as Adam. In small numbers such as the bank job, they stood against Wonder Woman. In the sheer volume of them that lunge at Adam from all directions, there is a true chance to overwhelm any normal man. Even one with the Power of the Gods.

If only Khem Adam was normal. If only he was a man who would fight them, knowing as Freddie does, that these are somehow creatures transformed by Sobek. That beneath the crocodile exterior these are normal people. Perhaps students or teachers of this very school. If Adam were someone like Cassie Sandsmark or Freddy Freeman, the numbers would eventually catch up to him. But he is most assuredly not like them. The sickening crunch of esophagus actually overpowers the other sounds of battle. A fist completely skewers another. While the one upon his back ends in an explosive furry of blood and gore, when Adam flies backward at a super-sonic speed and impales him upon the broiler.

There is no Numbers Game to be played when Black Adam kills each Crocodile Man he touches. Their numbers dwindle before they’re able to overcome him. Maybe Adam knew that. Maybe some spark of reason told him that it was ‘Do or Die.’ That might be what Freddie tries to tell himself later, when he’s replaying his perfect memory of the scene before him. But he’ll never shake the look upon Adam’s face. The cruelty in his eyes, that betrays a small smile when he quite literally pulls a crocodile man in half.

Freddy Freeman has seen enough. Before he can look away there are other details far more important to be seen here. Not all of the Crocodile Men wear the tattered clothing of children. A flicker of golden light catches the eye. The blood scored shape of a badge. Mixed with the gunfire that spatters the room. The Chaos of the Broiler Room is confusing for anyone. Even a trained soldier. But it’s impossible to miss that some of these Crocodile Men were, at one time, Police Officers. As if Freddie needed the confirmation of that…

Chief Callaghan, covered in the gore and blood of the fight that is pressing ever closer to the doorway to the Sanctum, shoves Freddie back. Away from the door, in to the Sanctum. For the second time in as many moments, Freddie finds himself skidding to a halt on his bum. Only this time he’s holding an Amulet. The Amulet from the Bank Heist.

“We tailed you here, Kid, I thought you were part of the problem. Being the only one who seems to not have forgotten what happened at the Bank. We were trying to figure out how you got out of that Broiler Room when the Crocguy from the Bank showed up. He tore through my guys, said he wanted this…”

Half way through the Police Chief’s rambling Solomon kids in to ear again. Only this time he’s showing Freddie something else. Something hidden. Out there beyond the door, people are fighting. Savagely. Black Adam is killing anyone who touches him. Sobek empowers more and more of them to join the fray. But there is a finite number of police officers to turn in to wanton creatures of destruction. As the Chief speaks his hurried explanation, Sobek appears for only as long as it takes him to slash Chief Callaghan’s back. As gruesome as it is to see, Solomon makes Freddie watch as the Chief’s life begin to shift and his skin darkens in to scales. A hue, glowing power forms all about him. Flittering essence flees the Police Chief just as he too becomes one of the Crocodile Men.

.. don’t be afraid…

And with the last vestige of Courage, Callaghan slams shut the door to the Shazam’s Sanctum. Leaving Freddie to sit in darkness while the power of Achilles enters him. Freddie was right. The Trials are not over. So too was Adam right. They have been Broken. When Freddie summons the courage to open the door once more? He will not step in to the Broiler room of the Fawcett City High School, but in to the pristine Labyrinth of Metropolis’ City Library. A television screen is displaying the news, like in most libraries. Only today the News is dominated by reports, coming in live. Of the massive broiler room melt down at Fawcett City High School. A devastating explosion. Unknown amounts of Casualties.

That door to the Sanctum is gone. Physically destroyed. He’s safe. From the Crocodile Men. From Black Adam. From Isis herself. For now. For how long that remains true, seems to depend upon the Amulet that Police Chief Callaghan gave his life to put in to Freddie’s hands.

FREDDY:  Unlike most Freddy wasn’t repulsed.  He took no joy in this.  It wasn’t revelry that spread through his mind it was memory.  Memory of Adam in his prime in the past not that he looked past it right in this moment, but the last effects of what he had seen of Adam’s life was strong with in him.  It was like raw power unchained and he would not stop until ever last crocodile man dead.  The crocodile men were attacking him. They were standing in the way of what was to come.  He was no friend to them.  Not an ally.   Another piece of information that Freddy gathered.

If only that was the only thing that he gathered.   The way divined empowered man moved it was a sight to behold it was like being there again, in the past, but he focused on the present.  The present that brought into focus that those crocodile men that he was tearing through were wearing clothing, football uniforms, school clothing.

The horror of it settle in as the sounds of bone breaking and flesh rending did nothing to deter the one-man crocodile people killing machine that was Black Adam.  Magic like most things in life wasn’t always pretty. It was pain and destruction a ballet of chaos that gave way to nightmarish visions.   Unlike the Crocodile Men that he and Cassie face when Adam hit them they stayed down.  He didn’t mean to stop them he meant to kill them.   They weren’t getting up never again.

Freddy took it all even as Crocodile men came apart at the hand of this man.   He could feel his hands balling into fists.  There was culling that occurred in the boiler room and only Adam was going to walk away from it unscathed.   Still as Freddy continued to look on wanting to yell, but what he could he say all he could do was watch as they kept coming and slowly the clothing changed they changed from that of high schoolers to the police.

The police.  The thing about is that they didn’t talk they didn’t even mouth off they were more wild and feral than the crocmaggia like they lost themselves to the orgy of death that they thought they would rain down upon the man instead he was the one sending them to early graves.  Compartmentalize.   It was all Freddy could do until he found himself being pressed back face to face with the bloodied and gore covered face of Callaghan.

“Chief!”  It was the first thing he said the only thing he could say.  Freddy was desperate to save someone anyone.  “Chief get in and close the door.  Get in and close the door,” he said talking over him. He got it. He understood why he would think he was responsible.  We’ll face this together…” He pleaded before felt the amulet pressed into his hand as he was pushed back causing him to fall back.  He had wanted to grip.

Looking up he stared he couldn’t look away because there he was.   It was the composer and conductor of this symphony of death in key of Blood and Gore minor. <b>SOBEK!</b>

Had this been any time Freddy have had a moment of triumph.  He knew it! He got something right, but he watched as Callaghan’s hand was torn open by the slash of Sobek’s claws turning him from a pillar of the community, a leader into one of Sobek’s minions.  Most would turn away, but Freddy was compelled to watch to see.  He couldn’t look away.  He was on the floor looking up crying out in frustration as the one person that he could trust with all of this someone that knew what Fawcett City was and could be was taken away from him.

Someone he could look up to someone that Fawcett City could depend on. He was taken from them with just a touch and with that touch his death all but certain by Adam’s hand.

“NOOOOOOOO!”  Freddy made his way to his feet, but even with his speed he couldn’t reach Callaghan the man was no longer there, but what he was, who he was fled the defiled flesh settling into where he was meant to be.  The glow lasted for a moment, but it settled in his flesh bonding itself to the others.   He knew immediately who he was.   He was a hero.  He was a warrior.  He was the bravest man he knew.  He was Chief Callaghan the vessel of Achilles he died doing what he did best protecting people.   Shutting his eyes Freddy took a moment, the sound and smell of death had vanished.

Walking towards the door he reached for the handle opening it and found himself miles away from home as he stepped out into the sprawling expanse of the Metropolis Public Library, but he couldn’t escape the events that transpired.  It was right there on the flat screen to see. Gripping the amulet tightly he took deep breath.


STORYTELLER:  News outlets around the world will tell a story tonight. It will be a tale of tragedy; a school in mid-central America that was under funded and ill-equipped. Some will say it was children playing where they shouldn’t. Others will talk about how some ne’er do wells always used the broiler room to deal ‘The Drugs.’ Yet the prevailing story will be about a school’s broiler room malfunctioning. It will be the Tale of a Police Chief and his loyal team that went in to try to get every child out they could. And they did. Many still live because Chief Callaghan followed Freddie Freeman to that school. He did so under the suspicion that Freeman was peculiar. He did so because he thought the young man was connected. Though in the end he was right, he had known in the end that he was also very wrong about Freddie Freeman.

The News won’t tell that story. Strangely enough though, it isn’t like the Bank. There is no cover up to speak of. No clandestine group that went in to wipe the minds of the surviving witnesses. Mostly because the only survivors are the ones that Callaghan’s people saved before things took a turn for the worse. Then another turn for the disastrous. While the Reporters and the Police will never know how it happened, the voice of Solomon can shed some light upon it for Freddie. He had witnessed Black Adam flicker across the room, colliding with the Broiler. He’d seen the desperation of Sobek to get access to the Chief and the Amulet, desperate enough to turn more and more in to his creatures and send them against Khem Adam. In the end there had been no Hope for the Crocodile Men. Not after the Chief closed the door.

Among the news reports is a small sliver of information that few would pick up on. The storm that came, that brought the rain that helped ease the resulting fire. Few people would take notice of the young Egyptian man in the crowd of onlookers. Few outside of Freddie Freeman and the Wisdom of Solomon. Whether Adam caused the explosion to bring an end to all of the Crocodile Men or Sobek did so in a last-ditch effort to stop Adam’s blood lust? It would seem that Black Adam lives.

Out of all of this comes one fleck of good news. Freddie Freeman has passed his third Trial. The Avatar of Achilles has gifted him a blessing. One step closer to being the World’s Champion. One step further away from answers. Was Sobek dead or did he too survive? If Black Adam is searching for Isis too, then where is she? Why was he telling Freddie to surrender the Blessings he already had? These answers and more soon.

S H A Z A M!