It begins with the telling of a story. A story told within the comfort and confines of a rundown saloon. A rundown saloon on the edge of a small, desolate town. A small, desolate town on the edge of Civilization itself. It is here, at this dirty speck on the fringe of a fringe, that our epic begins.
“Atlanta Kay! He’s the one all right. The $100,000,000,000,000 man. They say that’s one dollar for every man he’s killed … or was it one cent? Hell if I can remember! But you’ve all heard the stories I’m sure. Atlanta Kay, a lost soul, he wanders from town to town killing everyone in sight. Hell, they say the whole town is in flames by the time he leaves. Nothing’s left standing! Well, nothing but the piles of bodies, of course. And why does he do it? Why does this crazed killer cause such destruction? Well nobody knows, ya see. Maybe he’s after something. Or maybe he just wants to see the world burn… Regardless though, every bounty hunter in the land is out looking for him. Dead or alive. And for a price of $100,000,000,000,000 who could blame ‘em? But you wanna know what I think? Well here’s what I think. I think Atlanta Kay will kill every one of them poor bastards. Hell, he’ll probably enjoy it too. I swear that man has made a deal with the Devil himself, I tell ya. He probably kissed the Devil’s ugly ‘ol ass and was given the power to kill all who walk this wretched land. It’s just a damn shame the Devil didn’t keep him in Hell where he belongs!”
The toothless bartender concluded his tale, and the saloon’s inhabitants murmured their agreement. Even the drunkard slouched in the corner hiccupped in response. The desert sand blew wildly beyond the swinging doors. A storm this powerful would rip the flesh off a man’s very bones if he dared step out into the open desert. Since travel was impossible, the saloon’s stranded inhabitants passed the time drinking and swapping stories. From the card players, to the piano man, to the drunkard in the corner, all listened as the talkative, toothless bartender continued:
“But ya know what the worst thing about Atlanta Kay is? The thing that really keeps me up at night? Well the worst thing about Atlanta Kay is that nobody knows what the hell he looks like. They say all who see his face end up a corpse. Hell, I even heard he killed his own family so they couldn’t rat out his identity. And that’s the scariest part of it, not that he has slain armies by the million or destroyed half of all Civilization, no… The worst part is that he could be in this very town, hell, this very bar, and we wouldn’t even know the Angel of Death himself, Atlanta Goddamn Kay, has graced us with his presence.”
Rather than a murmur of agreement, the bar’s inhabitants remained silent and still. Eyes darted from person to person as the saloon was paralyzed with nervousness. The tension was finally broken by the dull slam of the drunkard’s head hitting the floor. Now asleep, the bar let out a laugh of relief at his expense. But at that very moment, the door was kicked open.
The saloon resumed its silent and still state as all heads turned to the silhouette of a man in the doorway. For what seemed like five frightening minutes, the man stood there, shrouded in shadow. The only visible feature was his glowing, blood-red eyes. The man slowly pushed past the swinging doors and walked into the saloon, revealing his appearance. He was a muscular giant. He wore an armor chest plate, and though his arms were left bare, this was only because no greaves could contain his exploding biceps. While his red eyes remained cold and dead, a grin grew as he looked upon his newfound prey.
There was no question in anyone’s mind that this man was a killer. What gave him away you ask? Perhaps it was the broadsword he carried in his right hand and the broader-sword he carried in his left. Or perhaps it was the necklace of skulls he wore around his neck. Maybe it was the wicked way he asked, “Who’s prepared to die?” Or maybe it was the way he cut the piano man in half as he made a terrified dash to the door. Regardless, as blood splattered across his front, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this man was a killer. And with a roar of laughter, “HAHAHA what a nice story bartender! I see my reputation precedes me! I am Atlanta Kay, and I have killed more men than there are grains of sand in the desert! My swords have tasted more blood than there is water in the ocean! For I am Atlanta Kay, and my laughing face will be the last thing you see before you die!!! Why do I kill? Why do I destroy? Because it is so much fun! There’s no greater joy than stealing the one thing all men hold most dear—THEIR LIVES!!! I love the look in a man’s eyes, the look of hopeless desperation that appears only moments before I cut them to pieces. The regret, the sadness, the acceptance of death—I LIVE FOR IT ALL!!! I AM ATLANTA KAY, AND I KILL FOR THE SAKE OF KILLING!!!”
The killer’s red eyes twinkled as he turned and swung his massive sword. With one swing, the muscular giant sent the heads of the four card players souring through the air. He let out another laugh as they rolled across the floor.
“HAHAHAHA! More! More! MORE!!! I WANT TO CUT MORE!!! You’re next bartender, and after you I’ll kill every person in this sad excuse for a town! This whole town will be stained with blood by nightfall and burned to the ground by dawn! It’ll be a pile of rubble, another memento of Atlanta Kay’s awesome power! Well my poor bartender! Take one final drink, say your prayers, and cry for your mother, BECAUSE YOU WILL SOON JOIN THE TRILLIONS BEFORE YOU WHO HAVE DIED BY MY SWORD HAHAHA!!!
But at that moment, a hiccup echoed from the corner of the room. The drunkard rose to his feet, looking both intoxicated and confused. He staggered to the door, but was promptly blocked by the giant.
“What? You’re alive? I thought you were already dead? Well bartender, enjoy life for a few more seconds while I dispose of this trash … ”
The giant man toke a step forward and swung his sword once more. However at that very moment the drunkard stumbled, lowering his body just below the swing of the blade. Then the muscular man swung downward, but the drunkard stumbled out of the sword’s reach. Again and again, the drunkard’s unsteady movements evaded the massive broadswords. Finally the killer stopped. Panting and bewildered, he exclaimed:
“IMPOSSIBLE!!! WHAT ARE YOU?!?!?! NEVER HAVE MY SWORDS BEEN UNABLE TO DRAW BLOOD!!! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?! I AM ATLANTA KAY!!! THE ANGEL OF DEATH!!! ALL WHO CROSS MY PATH END UP DEAD!!! AND YOU, YOU PITIFUL DRUNK, ARE NO EXCEPTION!!!”
The infuriated, red-eyed man raised both swords to the ceiling. For a second he remained perfectly still, towering over the swaying drunkard. Then with an enraged laugh, he slammed both swords to the ground. A crash louder than thunder boomed as the saloon was flattened. The unrelenting sand storm blew around the killer and his opponent, making vision impossible. But over the storm a yell was heard:
“HAHAHAHA A DIRECT HIT!!! I KNOW IT!!! NO MAN ALIVE COULD DODGE SUCH AN ATTACK!!! I don’t know who or what you are, but you were a fool to think you could rival my power! I am Atlanta Kay, the $100,000,000,000,000 man! People flee at the very mention of my name!!! And to think, I was challenged by a mere drunkard… I can’t allow a rumor like this to spread… No, none must ever know this fight happened! None must know you ever existed! And so I will tear apart your body, limb from limb, cell from cell, until there is absolutely nothing left!!! FOR I AM ATLANTA KAY AND I-“
At that very moment the sand storm calmed, revealing the outcome of the battle. There stood the drunkard, surrounded by the fragments of two shattered swords. But he no longer seemed to be a drunkard at all. He stood tall and unwavering, his calm eyes steadily focused on the killer before him. Either this man sobered up instantly, or he was never drunk at all. The killer’s eyes widened as he let out another yell, but this time a yell of fear.
“No … NO!!! IT CAN’T BE!!! YOU’RE HIM!!! OH GOD PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!!! YOU’RE REALLY HIM!!! YOU’RE-“
Crash. A bottle struck the killer in the back of the head, and he fell to the ground dead. Where did the bottle come from you ask? Well hopefully you didn’t forget about the bartender. Though the bar he tended was now destroyed, he did manage to escape the collapsing building. Once talkative, he stood there in amazement of his own courage and strength, now completely speechless. Finally, he mustered the resolve speak three simple words:
“Who are you?”
At last, the not-really-drunkard spoke. His voice was steady and strong, as if the sound vibrations of his words made your very bones rattle.
“After a while you have to ask yourself a question: Why keep dodging attacks when a direct hit wouldn’t hurt you anyways? This man was an imposter, and nothing more than a common thug. My name is Atlanta Kay.”
And with those words, the real Atlanta Kay walked away, heading toward the vast desert that bordered this small desolate town. And the bartender? Well let’s just say his mind was blown. Literally. His brain was physically unable to withstand such a surprising turn of events that it exploded, killing him instantly. And so, lying atop his demolished saloon, the dead bartender and his six dead companions would later be identified as the six most recent victims of Atlanta Kay’s wrath, even though Atlanta Kay didn’t actually kill any of them.