Having had a long sleep, Holly Hunt opens her eyes to find once again that Joel West is not in bed as she awakes. Feeling some form of dread and worry in her soul, Holly gets up and searches the house; first she goes downstairs, to the living room, the kitchen, peeks out the windows into the back yard but no sign of Joel. Every door, open and closed, Holly peeks through without any luck and finally she searches the one place that Joel could spend most of his free time: The dark room riddled with newspapers of fires and death. Very slowly, she pushes the door open and steps in only to find nobody inside. Just the newspaper clippings plastered and layered all over the walls. Holly folds her arms, sighing. Maybe he went for a walk; his car's still in the driveway. The dread that haunts Holly so badly, unless proved irrational, could be that of losing the man she loves so dearly.
As Holly steps into a shower, feeling the warm water spraying down her long brunette hair, the dread is still there but then it only gets worse as one person pops into her head: Dr Griffith Lovecraft. He promised that once the Hauntress has dealt with Alexander Kovacs, whom the good doctor refers to as the Toymaster, that he'd come to her with all the answers; the truth of what really happened to Holly, what happened that led to her waking up naked in the gutter, gripping an old hobo's hand and almost breaking the bones with newfound physical prowess as well as leaping great bounds. But it has been a week since Holly helped the police arrest Kovacs and now the name of the Hauntress is sullied as a hero; in spite of the initial controversy this dominatrix-y vigilante has received from the police, the press and the politics of this run-down city, Holly has developed a new reputation, though nobody else knows it, as a reckless, determined reporter by day and a fierce, more reckless costumed heroine by night and more citizens have rooted for the Hauntress as a new symbol of hope.
But Holly isn't the only woman that's set out to protect the city in a mask and outfit as just last night on the B-graded news station OTM (On The Mouth) News a photograph was taken at the Grand National Bank of two young women in costume; one a tall woman with long dark hair, clad in a blue bodysuit with a matching domino mask is bound with a slightly shorter woman with very similar hair and dressed in a green costume with a yellow domino mask and yellow gloves. Both costumed women are bound together, face to face, with Neon purple ribbon or tape, the blue-clad heroine is gagged with a strip of tape over her mouth, the tape gag matching her own costume while the petite heroine sports a firm green tape gag. Both women were caught with looks of embarrassment on their faces at the moment that the photo was taken. Reportedly, the blue-clad woman may be the powerful female blur that has been spotted for the last few weeks performing heroic deeds while the petite green and yellow woman is none other than Katy Katt, the junior partner to Countess, a most recent costumed superwoman with unparrelled super abilities, among them telekinesis, phenomenal cosmic powers and the ability of anticipating a person's next move. Countess only made on public act of heroism alongside her younger partner before she suddenly turned a new leaf and recently stated a string of robberies and high profile crimes, the first supervillian, a villain that the Hauntress could never hope to defeat....yet.
The dread slowly started to subside as Holly's wandering thoughts of the other superheroines making themselves known made her feel both anxious but also excited and maybe a little amused. Maybe these women in their civilian identities could be rendered captive or helpless but their superhero personas wouldn't be put in such predicament. After all, Holly should know as her civilian side has been the only half of her to be in captive danger, not the Hauntress. And, especially if this blue-clad woman in the photograph is the superpowered mystery girl, a superheroine getting captured just isn't becoming of such a compelling symbol of hope and justice.
Later, Holly Hunt arrives at the office of The Herald Hawk, clad in her white long-sleeved buttoned-up shirt, dark pencil skirt and black high heel shoes, feeling a little more optimistic that Joel will turn up. Just then, Bill Kane, the stocky, muscular chief editor, steps out through his office door and spots Holly. "Hunt." Holly turns around. "Yes boss?"
"I need a word with you a second." he casually steps back in before Holly follows.
Soon, Bill and Holly sit opposite each other, Holly sitting up, her hand folded in her lap while Bill sighs. "You understand that if a matter as serious as this would concern you, I would tell you first?"
Holly nods. "yeah, I do." Slowly, the dread comes back.
"Holly, it's about Joel. Now I don't wish to jump to any assumptions but I think Joel's been abducted."
Holly's face drops. Now the feeling of dread that's been with her all morning was for real. "H-how can you think this?"
Bill hands a piece of paper to Holly. She unfolds it to reveal a letter that reads:
I have the photojournalist.
Give me the damsel reporter or the Hauntress by 8:00pm tonight
or he DIES!!!
"What do you think it means?" Kane's deep voice asks, causing Holly to look up. "I don't know."
"I would just prefer your honest thoughts, Holly. Right now, there is no wrong answer or right answer." Kane states candidly.
After a breath of silence, Holly then replies again. "I think that this GL is Griffith Lovecraft, who was a teaching assistant at Klaw University, a place of education that's also a place of imprisonment and rehabilitation for the mentally ill, at least those mentally ill enough to be harmful to themselves and others."
Kane looks at Holly with narrowing eyes of intrigue. "You still believe that Edward Gore and his assistant are up to something....unethical?"
"I saw armed thugs in a warehouse prepare frozen corpses. Cryogenically frozen bodies ready to be shipped to the institution. If you really want my opinion, Bill, even if Gore was working on some unethical experiments Lovecraft might be a loose cannon, running off on a more deranged scheme, with OR without his mentor's knowing."
"What really happened to you that night?" Kane's sincere query suddenly becomes a blade through Holly's heart; as the question ring sin her ears, her mind's eye begins to see intense yet unknown blurred flashes of shaking, her teeth biting into the palm of someone's hand before screaming violently and then flying in for a bloody kill. The final flash in Holly's mind depicts seeing a gorgeous slender brunette in a dark alleyway, wearing blue lingerie. Puzzling, troubling, trippy and nightmarish all at once.
"I was laid out on the table, strapped down. There he was, Griffith Lovecraft, looming over me and gloating his ass off. He was about to inject a serum in me with a needle and then, just when the tip of the syringe touched my skin, The Hauntress called out to Lovecraft in her modulated voice, ordering my release before the good doctor ran scared. Then I saw her, she placed one gloved hand on my forehead and slowly undid the straps around my wrists with her other hand. She then told me that she was here to make sure that people like Lovecraft and Robert Finger would never hurt me or anyone else again."
Kane sits back. "It seems she's made good on her words so far." He turns his head and pulls open the top drawer of his desk to reveal a framed photograph of his grown-up daughter Mia. "In more ways than we could imagine."
Licking her lip for a second, Holly adds. "There's something else. Something that we haven't told you, Joel and I." As Kane looks back up at her, Holly hesitates. "We-um.....We know how to contact The Hauntress herself. We've known for a while."
"How can you reach out to her?"
"Sorry, Bill. That's for me to know and for The Hauntress to share when she feels she can trust you more."
"I see. I guess you won't tell me who she is under that mask either."
Holly shrugs earnestly. "She didn't even share that secret with us."
"Fair enough." Kane remarks more light-heartedly. "Just promise me something, Holly."
Holly nods. "Do whatever you can to find a new story and then when it's time to clock out just head straight home. Okay?"
"All right, Bill. I promise."
With that, Holly Hunt leaves Bill Kane's office feeling hopeful that her nightly alter ego is now looked upon more as a hero but also worried that Joel West, the man she loves, may actually be in harm's way because of her.