by JSAGL and Martin Maenza
A blond-haired man in a dark brown suit puffed on another cigarette as he sat in the drawing room of an ornate New York mansion. He had come to this place to seek the assistance of one person in particular, only to be kept waiting there by the man’s butler for close to an hour.
The man he awaited finally entered the room. He was a thin older man wearing a yellow turban with a red stone prominently placed in front. His suit differed from the other man’s in that it was more like a tuxedo. “I hardly expected to see you here, Constantine.”
“But you know why I’m here?” John Constantine asked.
Sargon the Sorcerer pulled a small glass container out of his jacket. “Yes, you had sent out your little SOS. I put your message in a bottle, for safekeeping.”
Constantine dropped his head in anguish. “When the bloody hell did you develop a sense of humor? Everyone’s a damn comedian these days.”
Sargon grinned at that. “Your message portends an ominous mission ahead.”
“Yeah, with all the recent changes brought about by the Crisis, the darkness and the light are preparing for war. We may be the only ones capable of tilting the balance.”
“I see — a sort of synchronicity,” Sargon replied. “And the others? Zatanna? Zatara? Baron Winters?”
Constantine dropped his cigarette to the ground and crushed it. “Zee’s out of this one. Favor to the old man. Spoke with Zatara, Winters, Jason Blood, Doctor Occult, and a few others. You in?”
“How did you get Occult? He’s still over on Earth-Two.” Sargon recalled fondly of the world upon which he was born, now cut off by the barriers that kept the five remaining Earths safe.
“Winters’ house has some special properties,” Constantine said. “We figured to do our business from there. That’ll allow Occult to join us.”
Sargon nodded. “What about Zatanna? I cannot imagine you simply accepting her being kept on the sidelines. As I recall, it wasn’t too long ago that you felt that every little thing she did was magic.”
“Will you quit with the bloody Sting jokes, already?” Constantine fumed.
“My apologies,” said Sargon, shaking his head and smiling. “I must be foreshadowing a strange new episode in my life. Of course I shall help. How can I not?”
“Then let’s get the hell out of here,” said Constantine. “You might want to leave a note for your servants. After all, given the gravity of the situation, you may not be back.”
Sargon stared at Constantine for a moment. “Very well, then.” Sargon grabbed a blank piece of paper, which glowed for a moment before he set it on the table. “Do I have time to get my affairs in order before we begin?”
“We can spare no more than an hour or so, but remember — every move you make, I’ll be watching you.”
Now it was Sargon’s turn to groan. After several more moments, the two men blended with the shadows, and then they were gone.
Outside a deceptive tower of a building in Salem, Massachusetts, an occult detective in a tan trench coat waited as the rain started to fall. “He just loves to keep me waiting,” the man said as he flipped up his collar. Between it and his wide-brimmed hat, he hoped to remain dry. “At least he could do is set up some kind of awning or something for nights like this.”
Suddenly, a brilliant flash of light appeared in the air in the shape of a golden ankh. The detective had to shield his eyes as a figure emerged from it, hovering in the air before him. He was dressed in blue robes with a long, flowing golden cape. A featureless golden helmet covered his head and face completely. “Why do you seek me, Occult?”
The ghost detective huffed. “Good to see you too, Fate.”
“I have no time for pleasantries,” Fate’s voice resounded through the air. “Something stirs that seeks my undivided attention.”
“You and me both, brother,” Doctor Occult replied. “I think I picked up on the same thing.” He held up a round object with a dark cross shape down the center. “I’ve received a summons to a little mystic gathering.”
“And that concerns me how?” Fate asked.
“Figured I’d summon all the help I could get from our world. You, the Spectre…”
“You are on your own, Occult,” Fate said. “I must go.” And with that, the magical hero disappeared as quickly as he came.
Doctor Occult shook his head as thunder rumbled in the sky and lightning danced about. “Well, I tried,” he said to himself before opening a slice to the astral plane and passing on through it.