Clarence walked down the sidewalk with his mind focused inward. His mood was as dark as the night. He moved down a garbage strewn sidewalk with no particular destination in mind. He had been walking through one bad neighborhood after another for an hour as he tried to clear his mind. He was angry, and had a good reason to be.
Three days ago, Clarence had been a Crown City Police Officer. The department was going to Hell in a hand basket, but he felt like he was making a difference. Half of the force was on the take, while most of the rest just tried to keep their heads down. Clarence was determined to not only be an honest cop, but a good one too. That did not set well with some people though. An honest man is the biggest threat to the dishonest, so they were not going to let him stick around.
Following a drug bust, Clarence found himself being accused of cooperating with the dealers. Never mind that the two accusing him were two of the biggest dirtbags on the force. Then again, its not like the chief was any kind of a saint. So now he was stuck on permanent admenistrative leave until it could all be sorted out.
The thought of it was enough to make him grind his teeth in anger. Dirty cops like that were one of the biggest problems with the city. It was being over run with criminals, and the men that were suppose to stop them were the worst of a bad lot. Most took bribes, but it was an open secret that there were more than a few doing the dirty work themselves. He knew, even if he could not prove, that the pair that set him up were working with the West Park gang.
Clarence's sense came alive. He had been wandering and thinking, but part of his mind never lost awareness of his surroundings. Any officer that did that was a deadman for sure. His mind snapped to attention, some sound or other que alerting him to danger. He was passing by an ally that was deep in shadow. The nearest streetlight was a dozen yards away and flickering on the verge of going out. A vulnerable possition, that he should have known to avoid.
A man stepped out of the ally where he had been hidden behind a dumpster. In one hand he held a knife. A quick assessment marked him as one of the thousand young thugs that roamed the streets. The mugger barked at him, "Your wallet or your life!"
Clarence took a step back as the man stepped towards him. He did not want the mugger in too close. "Lets be calm about this, no one needs to get hurt." He knew that the odds of someone walking away uninjured during a mugging in the city were pretty low. Even if he handed his wallet over the mugger would likely cuff him for good measure. He was not just any other man on the street, and the mugger had made a poor choice for his mark.
"Only if you hand over that damn wallet. Now give it to me!" the mugger said as he advanced.
Clarence waited until the mugger was mid step and off balance. His hands shot forward. He grabbed the mugger's forearm to gain control with one hand. The other grasped the mugger's wrist. With a twist the knife was on the ground and the mugger was doubled over in an armbar. Clarence took the man hard to the ground, smashing his face against the concrete.
After pinning the man to the ground, Clarence intended to make a citizen's arrest. He put the call in. It was over half an hour before the promised cruiser arrived, and the two the officers that stepped out of the cruiser were not two that he would have hoped for. Johnson and Axelrod, the men that had framed him.
"Well, look what we have here," Johnson said with a smirk.
"Looks like we got someone pretending they're a cop," Axelrod laughed.
Clarence bitt back a sharp retort. It was not easy swallowing his rage. Instead, through gritted teeth he growl, "Just take this guy. He'll be in good company with you two."
They took the mugger, but did not bother taking a statement. They were barely putting in the effort to throw him in the back of their cruiser. Clarence knew that they would not bother taking him to lockup. As likely as not they would kick him out after a few blocks, maybe extort whatever cash he had gotten from earlier victims first.
Clarence started back towards his home with much more on his mind. He had just stopped a crime, not as an officer, but as a regular citizen. Something had to be done, someone had to take a stand.
It was two nights later and Clarence was again stalking down the streets of another crime infested neighborhood. Tonight was different. He was not trying to clear his head, walking aimlessly. He had purpose. All he needed was for a target to appear. He swept through the night in a hooded long coat, on a mission to find those that lurked in the dark.
He turned the corner and saw some shadows shift by a recessed doorway. For most people, that would be a sign to steer clear. For him, it was just what he was looking for. Clarence continued on his path. As he neared the doorway, two men stepped out. They thought they were ambushing him. The truth was the other way around.
When the first went to grab him, Clarence smashed his palm into the man's nose. The man cried out in pain as his nose was shattered. The man's partner took a swing at Clarence. A quick block wiht his forearm sent the punch wide and created an upercut to the thug's jaw. A strong knee to the abdomen followed, doubling the man over. Clarence had not forgotten about the first man. A kick to the knee brought the man to the ground as he tried to draw a gun from his sagging pants. A straight kick to the face finished the job of destroying the man's nose completely.
In a mater of seconds, Clarence had just incapacitated two robbers. What he wanted to do now was read them their rights and send them off to a lockup. Sadly, he saw that was not a real option. Instead, he stripped each of his assailants of their guns, administering further beatings as he felt necisary to keep them compliant, then unloaded their ammunition and several key parts into the sewer drain. To make sure neither was a threat for at least a little while, he smashed their hands. When it was all finished, Clarence continued on his quest, vanishing into the darkness where he knew evil lurked.