Mike Cole's entire world was pain. He tried to scream, but he only swallowed more water. His lungs felt as if they had been set on fire. Bright spots swam before his vision. He struggled furiously with the bonds holding him to the weight. Damn them! Damn those bastards! What had he ever done to them, or to anyone for that matter? He was just a normal kid that got picked on! He would kill them! He would kill them all... and then, blackness...

Mike was walking home from chess-club along the street-light lit sidewalk by the lake his books tucked under one arm. He wore a pair of round black glasses which had earned him the nickname "Harry Potter" and a red sweatervest. He hummed "Ode to Joy" to himself as he walked next to the water. It was a cool, clear night, perfect for a stroll, he thought. How wrong he was. He heard the engine of a car and then saw the headlights come around the bend. The car, a red Mustang, screeched to a stop. A boy of around seventeen hopped out of the driver's seat. He had long black hair and handsome features. He was clad in a black leather jacket with a white tee underneath, blue jeans and a pair of knee high black leather boots. Three other kids left the car as well, but it was obvious he was the leader.

"You're dead, Potter," said the one who looked like a greaser.

"Look Mark, I can explain," stammered Cole. "It was an accident!"

"I don't give a damn if you're dog did it," he said. "I'm gonna cut that tongue out of your overstuffed head and make you eat it! No one embarrasses Mark Micool." He jerked his head to ne of his sidekicks. "Tie 'im up."

Two of them grabbed Mike under the armpits while a third, a huge, muscly guy, grabbed a length of chain and a weight from the back seat of the Mustang. He walked up to Mike and wrapped the chain around him, pad locking it and hooking the weight onto it. He then stuffed a filthy rag in his mouth. It tasted like it was covered with crap. And, he realized, it probably was.

"You've pissed me off one too many times, Cole," he said as he drew what looked like a switchblade from his pocket. It was. He flicked it open. "And now you're gonna pay."

He walked up to the blubbering and crying Mike and slashed the blade across his face. His cheek hung down from his face in a severed flap and blood poured from his left eye, which had been cleaved in two by the blade. Mark slashed again. And again. And again. How long it went on, Mike didn't know. When it was over, his face looked like a random assortment of bloody X's. Finally, Mark wiped the blade on Mike's shirt and closed it. "How's that feel, nerd?" he asked. "See ya Potter. Toss him in."

All three of the other boys heaved Mike over the side and into the lake. That was where the nightmare ended and hell began.

He sat up, coughing up a mixture of murky water and his own blood. His usaully neat, immaculately combed hair hung down over his forehead in sopping strings. His blood stained sweatervest was soaked. The chains were gone, and so was the gag. He looked around. He was sitting on the pavement of the street where the kids had thrown him into the lake. "I was wondering when you'd come around," said a voice from behind him. He turned to see a tall, slim figure leaning against a nearby lamppost, smoking a cigarette. He was wearing a black vest and a gray t-shirt emblazoned with a giant hand in the process of flipping the viewer off. Underneath this cheerful image was a line of text reading "Have a nice day!" The man's face was lost in shadows, but Mike could see his long hair hanging down to his shoulders. But no. That wasn't quite right. Mike could almost make out his features, but it seemed almost like the was an invisible barrier over them. It was as if whatever this man's face, if it even was a man, nature simply would not allow his face to be seen.

Mike shuddered. "Who are you? And did you save me?" he asked.

"Dunno," he said, flicking the ashes off to the side. "I forgot my name before you were born. But yes, I saved you."

"Thanks," Mike stammered. But deep within, he almost wished he had died rather than be saved by this, this thing.

"No problemo, Mikey-O," he said in a high, cheerful voice that seemed friendly, but underneath his jovial tone, Mike sensed an immense amount of evil and hatred. He never even wondered how this strange being knew his name. "Glad to be of service."

He walked towards Mike, tossing the butt of his cigarette to the pavement. Mike tried to crawl backward, but he was frozen in place. The figure leaned in close to Mike's face, and he nearly screamed, but no sound came out. The face was there, but at the same time it wasn't. There was something, but there was also nothing. It was as is he were staring in the face of Chaos itself, ever shifting, ever changing. He saw eternity reflected in that no-face, and he also saw death. At that moment, whatever was left of Mike Cole's sanity snapped. He stared upward, eyes blank and vacant. "Do you want revenge, Mike?" he asked in that horrible sweet-evil voice. "Do you want to kill them for what thew did to you? Of course you do." He removed two things from inside his vest. One was a black metallic gun. An Uzi. The other was a round white mask with two eye holes in it and nothing else. "These are yours now. Take good care of them, okay buddy?"

And then he was gone. The thing that had once been a kid named Mike Cole, called Harry Potter by his enemies, looked down at the two objects in his hands. Where did he get them? He couldn't remember. Yes, there was something... all he could think of was a middle finger pointed up at the sky. Oh well. It didn't matter. He tucked the handheld machine gun in his shirt and raised the mask to his face, and he never removed it. He got up in a daze and walked forward with no clear idea of where he was going. That was when he saw he poster. It was blowing along in the cool night wind. He bent and picked it up. It was a poster for the school dance on Friday. He fingered the weapon in his shirt, and under the hideous thing which covered his even more hideous face, his scarred lips smiled. They would pay. Oh yes, they would pay.

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