by Martin Maenza
A few weeks earlier in a swanky apartment suite in midtown Manhattan, an attractive woman posed for herself in front of a large, full-length mirror. She wore a low-cut purple dress with a rather short skirt. She ran her hands through her luxurious mane of ebony black hair, the front of which had two pure white strands. “You look fabulous, darling,” she said to her own reflection and then blew herself a kiss with her lush, ruby-colored lips.
Suddenly, there was the sound of the doorbell. “I wonder who that can be,” she said, hurrying to the door and glancing out the peephole. “Oh!” Recognizing the person on the other side, she undid the locks and opened the door.
Standing there was a tall, well-built man with long blonde hair. He was dressed impeccably in a hand-tailored, forest-green suit with matching silk tie and a white shirt. Underneath his arm was a small box tied with a bow. “Well, to what do I owe this visit?”
“Sabrina, darling,” the man said as he stepped into the apartment. “You look marvelous.” He glanced about the room at the lavishly decorated dwelling. “I see things are going well for you again.”
“Yes,” Sabrina Sultress said as she closed the door. “My career is on the rebound once more, and the offers are pouring in. Covers and catalogues, interviews and such. There’s even talk of a fashion-oriented cable channel starting up, and they’ve approached me to host one of the programs. Can you believe it, Mr. Nero?”
Nathan Nero smiled. “Oh, I can,” he said coolly. “It’s everything you wanted, now with that whole ordeal you went through behind you.”
He, of course, referred to the incident where she had been possessed by a demon from the netherworld in order to capture young male specimens to serve as hosts for his demonic hordes. The Justice League had put an end to that, and Sabrina’s modeling career had gone into a nosedive thanks to the negative publicity from the court case. (*) She had be reprimanded by the courts to serve time in a psychiatric institution for further observation; she had not cared for it at all.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Siren Song of the Satin Satan,” Justice League of America #179 (June, 1980), “A Beautiful Evil,” Justice League of America #180 (July, 1980), and Justice League of America: Times Past, 1983: Trial by Hellfire.]
The model that the media had once dubbed the Satin Satan picked up her silver case, pulled one cigarette out, and lit it with a matching silver lighter. “So,” she said as she exhaled, blowing a perfect smoke ring, “what brings you here, Mr. Nero?”
The man smiled. “Sabrina, I’ve told you before you don’t need to be so formal. Please, call me Nathan.” Something about his voice was soothing, melodic, and almost hypnotic.
“Fine, Nathan,” she said.
“Good,” Nero replied. “As for why I am here, I have something for you.” He held out the box he had tucked under his arm. “A little present to mark the date of our first meeting over three years ago. I meant to get it to you last autumn, but I got sidetracked with some other business.”
Sabrina Sultress took the box from the man cautiously. It had been a long time since she had seen the lawyer, after he had helped her get an early release from the institution she was placed. With all the things going on with her career the last year or so, she hadn’t even thought once about him. It was rather odd for him to show up now.
“You shouldn’t have,” she said, being courteous. The box was a bit heavier than she expected, so she put it down carefully on the dark marble table that ran behind the sofa. With her long, red-painted fingernails, Sabrina carefully undid the red ribbon that held the box closed. She then lifted the lid.
Nero smiled as the woman folded back the tissue paper and lifted out the object inside.
“It’s lovely,” Sabrina said as she held the object up to the light. It was a small statue, less than a foot tall in size, of a bald man in some kind of flowing robes. The statue was made from crystal, carefully carved and well-crafted. She took a moment and examined the facial expression; it was one of agony, as if the figure was screaming out. “It’s certainly interesting.” For a second, she thought she saw something shimmer within the crystal; she dismissed it as the light refracting through the material.
“Do you like it?” Nero asked. “I got it from an old acquaintance named Azgore. A rather ancient one with a fiery temper. I thought you might have a use for it.”
“Well,” Sabrina said, trying not to be rude, “thank you.” She placed it down on the table next to her.
“You might want to keep that with you,” Nero suggested. “You just might find it very useful.”
“For?” Sabrina asked.
Nero smiled. “Sabrina, when we first met, we talked quite a bit. Do you remember? You told me there were two things you wanted most at that time: your career back and revenge against those who took it from you to begin with.” He looked deeply into her eyes. His gaze pierced down to her very soul. “Tell me, you have the former, do you still desire the latter?”
Sabrina bit her lip slightly. She felt a wave of anger well up in her that she thought had been long since buried. Yet here it was, once again gnawing at her like a starving person would given a mere crust of bread. “Yes!” she said. “Yes, I do still want my revenge!”
Nero smiled again. The man was willing to help her achieve her goal, and he outlined what she could do for him in return.