Sabretooth: Back to Nature

Issue Date: 
January 1998
Story Title: 
Homicidal Tendencies

Jorge Gonzales (writer), Frank Teran (artist), Comic raft (letterer and designer), Shannon Blanchard (colorist), Jason White (assistant editor), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

While Sabretooth plots a way to get past his restraining collar that prevents him from killing, Wild Child receives information from his former teammate, Puck, about the death of his old friend, Lori. Wild Child learns that there is a serial killer on the loose. Sabretooth has listened to some of the discussion and offers to go with Wild Child who wants to track Lori’s killer. Wild Child is reluctant, but Sabretooth challenges him, so just to prove that he is nothing like Sabretooth, Wild Child agrees to let Sabretooth come with him. Sabretooth also knows who the killers are - the Yevgraf brothers, demented serial killers. Sabretooth and Wild Child arrive in Vancouver the next day, to visit Lori’s sister, Leisl, but she is not happy to see Wild Child, and warns them off her ranch. They start investigating the crime scene, which is difficult for Wild Child. The move on to other places around town and find bodies, and the motel where the Yevgraf brothers were staying. They try to get answers from some of the locals, one of whom gives them a location in the woods. Sabretooth and Wild Child hunt through the woods in the pouring rain, and find one of the Yevgraf brothers terrorizing an old man, who dies. Sabretooth engages the brother, who remembers him from a previous battle. The other brother, called Chop Chop, arrives on scene, and Wild Child engages the machete-wielding criminal in combat. Both brothers flee, so Wild Child and Sabretooth split up to follow them. Wild Child is paralyzed when one of the brothers stabs him with a poison dart. Sabretooth tracks the other brother, Yuri, and witnesses him get shot by a sniper in the woods. Sabretooth wonders if they have a new ally, as he starts to beat on Yuri - until Chop Chop shoves a machete into Sabretooth’s head. Sabretooth falls into a nearby river, and is washed downstream, where he is rescued by Leisl. The rain continues to beat down, as Leisl tends to Sabretooth’s wounds, until she finds out that he doesn’t need her help, as he is a mutant, like Wild Child. Sabretooth discovers that Leisl wants revenge on her sister’s killers, but Sabretooth warns her not to kill them, as that is a path she will never be able to leave. However, he agrees to let her accompany him. Wild Child’s paralysis is over, and he sets off after his foes, though he picks up Leisl’s scent, too, and wonders why she is here. Sabretooth and Leisl have tracked the Yevgraf brothers to an old Slaughterhouse. They split up, with Leisl determined to get her revenge, and Sabretooth wanting something else. Leisl finds Yuri, and is about to shoot him, when Sabretooth prevents her from doing so. Sabretooth battles the criminal and in the process, swallows some of Yuri’s pain killer drugs that he saw him take earlier. This prevents Sabretooth from feeling the pain that the collar sends to his brain as he kills Yuri. Wild Child arrives on scene to see Sabretooth standing over Yuri’s body, but Sabretooth has what he wants, as he steals the remaining pain killers. Wild Child is determined not to become like Sabretooth, and races into the slaughterhouse to find Leisl - and he does - with Chop Chop looming over her. Wild Child attacks Chop Chop and they battle briefly, before Chop Chop races further into the slaughterhouse. He climbs some crates, attempting to reach the skylight. He leaps for it, but finds himself impaled on meat hook hanging from the rafters. Sabretooth arrives in the room, curious as to how Chop Chop died, but Wild Child assures Sabretooth it was an accident, and vows never to be the killer Sabretooth wants him to be. Leisl appears, and tells Wild Child that she is sorry. They start to leave, and Sabretooth soon follows, armed with a supply of pain killers, the weapon he needs to be free of the collar, he vows to be meaner and nastier than ever!

Full Summary: 


Estevan Point, a small costal town located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. In the years since the first explorers and fur trappers arrived in the area back in the late 1700s, the sleepy hamlet has maintained a reputation for being a safe, quiet and friendly place to live. Tonight, in one horrific moment… all that is about to change.

A figure swims through the water towards a boat anchored in the bay. He climbs onboard, and enters one of the cabins, where, alerted by a faint rustle outside, Peter Bedford peers out into the inky darkness, a woman lies in his arms, and he strains to make out the face of the mysterious figure lurking in the shadows. ‘Huh? Who’s there?’ Peter Bedford calls out into the darkness - the response is several tranquilizer darts shot at he and the woman. The darts are not lethal, instead their tips are laced with a paralyzing agent strong enough to immobilize the young couple while still keeping them conscious.

Too bad, as the mysterious intruder steps further into the cabin where Peter and the woman are on a bed. ‘C-can’t move…’ Peter groans. A quick death by poison would have been a blessing, for what they are about to endure is much worse - much, much worse. ‘Be alarmed, comrades - the real fun is about to begin…!’ the intruder mocks, raising a machete over them. ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven…’ the woman begins. ‘My God - you can’t just - please! NOOOOO!’ Peter screams. Accompanied by the bloodcurdling screams of the hapless victims, the unrelenting act of butchery proceeds long into the night….

Chapter 1: Encounters:

Deep in the catacombs of the seemingly condemned X-Factor Compound in Fall’s Edge, Virginia, the man named Victor Creed- better known as Sabretooth - stalks in the shadows. He trudges through the knee-deep water, the man with an appropriate moniker for someone whose physical attributes, which include jagged-edge teeth and razor sharp claws that can tear through flesh with chilling ease, are tempered by a disturbingly violent nature. Possessed of inborn tracking abilities and a remarkably fast-acting mutant healing factor, he springs into action, motivated by an insatiable compulsion to indulge his twisted homicidal urges. For the past several months, Sabretooth has been X-Factor’s unwilling agent - serving as one two resident trackers in the mutant militia group. To keep him in line, they placed a sophisticated restraining collar around his neck. Among other things, it measures Creed’s adrenaline output and brain wave activity. That way, if he should try venting his lethal rage on any human nor animal whose bio-signature has not been encoded into the collar as a designated target, the collar will respond by retaliating with an excruciatingly painful electric blast focused directly along his brain stem to the cervical region of his spinal column, resulting in brief paralysis and complete neural shut down.

Though he has increased his pain tolerance by eighteen seconds, he has as yet been unable to endure it long enough to make a difference. That is - long enough to sufficiently numb his nerves to the electric blast so that he can once again kill at will. Creed shoves his hands into the water and pulls out a snake. He grins and raises his arms, his tongue darts out between his deadly teeth, and he growls as brings the snake to his mouth - but his collar sets off, and he convulses at the pain, dropping the snake, while thinking to himself ‘At this rate, even that Jubilee brat will be old and gray by the time I get myself free of the X-chumps’ leash. And that’s absolutely unacceptable!’

Elsewhere in the Compound, an emergency communiqué has forced X-Factor member Kyle “Wild Child” Gibney to cut short his daily training regimen. He stands in the communication room before a monitor, which displays the image of a former teammate of his, Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Alpha Flight’s Puck. ‘…I’m sorry to be the one to have to break this to you, Kyle, but I didn’t want you to just hear it on the news…’ Puck’s voice trails off, as Wild Child tells him that it is okay, that he did the right thing. ‘How… how did it happen?’ Kyle asks. Puck looks very serious as he informs Wild Child that she and a friend were on a yacht just off Estevan Point, and late at night somebody snuck aboard and murdered them - brutally. He reveals that preliminary reports suggests that it was the handiwork of some psycho-nut madman - and it is more than likely that Lori Bradt and Peter Bedford were not his first victims.

Tears fall from Wild Child’s eyes as he asks Puck what he means by “Brutally” and asks how exactly they were killed. ‘Don’t mince words, Puck - just tell me!’ Kyle pleads. ‘…they were chopped to pieces’ Puck announces. Kyle hangs his head, ‘Oh God…’ he utters. Puck tells Kyle that he is sorry, as he knows he and Lori were very close once. ‘If there’s anything I can do…’ Puck offers. Wiping away his tears, Kyle tells Puck that there is, and informs him that he wants him to gather copies of everything the authorities have come up with so far during their investigation and email it through - coroner’s report, autopsy records. ‘I want everything! You understand me?’ Kyle declares. Puck starts to ask Kyle if he is sure about that, to which Kyle shakes his finger at the monitor and replies ‘Everything! Photos and all, Puck. I mean it!’ Puck assures Kyle that he will do this - that he should consider it done.

‘Anything else?’ Puck asks. ‘No’ Kyle replies, before telling Judd that there is one more thing, and asks if they have located Jeanne-Marie. Puck tells Kyle that they haven’t found Aurora, but they are still searching for her. ‘Don’t worry…we’ll find her’ he assures Kyle about his ex-girlfriend. Kyle tells Puck that he owes him one, but Judd tells him not to mention it, and asks him to promise that he won’t do anything foolish. ‘I won’t’ Kyle replies, before telling Puck to take care of himself. ‘You do the same, y’hear?’ Puck responds, as Kyle turns and walks away, assuring him that he will, while someone stands down the adjoining corridor.

Within the hour, Wild Child is sifting through the information he requested as Sabretooth emerges from the shadows, ‘Why the sudden interest in the macabre, kid?’ he enquires. ‘Eh-? It’s personal’ Kyle responds as he continues to look through the information. Sabretooth asks the younger mutant if he wants to share, but Kyle replies ‘Not particularly’. ‘Too bad… seeing as how I already know about Miss Bradt…’ Sabretooth announces. ‘You were eavesdropping?’ Kyle snarls. Tugging at his collar, Sabretooth claims that he can identify the culprit responsible for hacking her and that other poor slob to pieces. ‘What? What are you talking about, Creed?’ Kyle demands. Sabretooth reveals that the modus operandi reeks of the methods employed by a brute named Komarovsky Yevgraf. ‘His peers call him Chop Chop. Cute, eh?’ Creed remarks. Kyle snarls at Creed and asks him what else he knows. Creed explains that Yevgraf usually works in tandem with his older brother, Yuri, and that both of them are former KGB assassins.

Creed continues, revealing that they have been on a joint globetrotting killing spree ever since the Soviet Union was dissolved back in 1991, and while Chop Chop enjoys using a machete to hack his victims to bits, brother Yuri gets off on smashing and beating folks to a pulp with his massive paws. Creed announces that Yuri is horribly disfigured since birth and blinded in one eye, he is addicted to potent pain killers and a variety of other strength-enhancing drugs. ‘He’s the bigger of the two…though they’re both equally dangerous’ Creed comments. Wild Child assumes that Creed has met the Yevgraf brothers before, to which Creed replies’ Naturally. How do you think Yuri lost his eye?’ as he smiles and holds one of his own fingers near his eye. ‘Figures’ Kyle mutters. Creed tells Wild Child that he knows he is going after them, and suggests that he come with him.

‘Why? What’s in it for you?’ Kyle asks. ‘The thrill of the hunt. I’m getting cabin fever from being cooped up in here for days on end…’ Creed states. ‘I bet! You’ll have to do better than that’ Kyle replies. Sabretooth then claims that he has taken a personal interest in seeing that Kyle’s tracking abilities be honed to their fullest potential. ‘Strictly for selfish reasons, mind you. Even though Forge has paired us off as partners…in my eyes, you’re still a runt’. Creed adds that he wants to make sure that whoever is supposedly watching his back can be counted on to make the cut in a pinch. ‘Consider this a training exercise…’ Creed suggests. Kyle turns away from Creed, ‘Of all the condescending! I don’t need you!’ he retorts. But Creed tells Kyle not to be stupid, as he is way out of his league on this - the Yevgrafs are cold-blooded killers. ‘Like me’ Creed points out. He adds that as the saying goes, it takes one to know one. ‘Or in this case, to find one. You don’t stand a chance of catching ‘em without my help’.

Kyle spins around and points a finger at Creed, telling him that he can tag along, but they need to get a few things straight. ‘You and I are not alike - at least not in any ways that matter. Like you said - you’re nothing but a cold-blooded killer. Without conscience. Without remorse. I’m none of those things. ‘As far as you know, pup. Your old lady-friend’s grisly murder may have changed that…’ Creed suggests, but Kyle quickly tells him that he is wrong. ‘I may be angry and upset by Lori’s death…but I don’t intend to go off half-cocked to kill her executioners’. Kyle adds that he wants them brought ro justice so that they can be incarcerated and punished under the full extent of the law. ‘If I need your help to autochthon…then so be it. But I won’t allow your bloodlust to influence my methods’ Kyle tells Creed. ‘Protesting a bit much, kid. We’ll see…’ Creed replies.

‘No - we won’t see. That’s just the way it’s gonna be. Look - I’m no murderer. At least not anymore, I’m not your friend. And I’m definitely not your cub’ Wild Child snaps at Creed, who turns and starts to walk away. ‘Whatever similarities we may share are only surface-deep. And it sickens me that you should even dare to suggest that I try to take after you’ Kyle adds. Creed tells Wild Child not to get in such a huff, as he is only calling it as he sees it. ‘Believe me, you’d do well to get off your high-horse…cuz the sooner you remove those blinders of yours and stop denying just who and what you are… the better off you’ll be!’

The next day at the Bradt family ranch, on Vancouver Island. The sun rises over the cold morning. Creed and Kyle are dressed in warm jackets. Their breath can be seen rising before them. They approach a woman who is out walking a horse, and Kyle addresses her as Leisl, telling her that it has been a long time. ‘I… I’m so sorry about your sister. If there’s anything I can do…’ he begins, but Leisl tells Kyle that he has no business coming here, and reminds him that it was he who dumped Lori all those years ago. ‘So spare me your sympathy. It’s too little… too late’ Leisl exclaims. Spinning around to face Kyle, she holds a rifle towards him, adding that as far as she is concerned, he is trespassing. ‘I want you and your friend off my ranch. NOW’ Leisl declares. She prepares to fire, but Kyle and Creed turn their backs and start to walk away from her. ‘You sure have a way with women. No wonder Shard’s been dissing you lately!’ Creed points out.’ Shut up!’ Kyle snaps.

Estevan Point at dusk, Creed and Kyle have been here for almost an hour, scouring the yacht where Chop Chop’s victims met their untimely death for any clues that may have been missed by the authorities. Kyle shines his torch on the blood-stained couch and thinks that it reeks in here. Indeed, the stench in the air is almost palpable. Though the corpses themselves have been taken away, little else has been removed from the crime scene. There is blood everywhere, as well as other telltale signs of the horrific events that took place here just over forty-eight hours ago. For Wild Child, the tedious task is too much to handle. He finds himself fighting to keep from gagging as he feels the bile collecting in the back of his throat. In sharp contrast, Sabretooth is unfazed by the putrid smell lingering in the dark. And perhaps even a bit aroused by the sight of so much blood.

Kyle covers his mouth and nose, his body starts to break into cold sweats and he cannot stop swallowing. He knows he has to get a grip and pull himself together before he loses his lunch. He shivers involuntarily, both impressed and repulsed at how Creed’s intuitive understanding of the killer’s mindset has allowed him to reconstruct the events leading up to and following the murders in such agonizing detail. ‘…snuck aboard and paralysed ‘em both with his blowgun - then took his sweet time’ Creed reveals. He drops to the floor and checks the gouged-out scratches on the wood which he remarks are in a definite pattern - more than likely Chop Chop started with the limbs, and then moved on to the more vital areas. ‘Our Russkie pal can be very meticulous when he wants to be…’ Creed points out. ‘My God - that’s gruesome! How could anyone be capable of such a thing?’ Kyle asks. ‘Do you really have to ask that?’ Creed smirks. Kyle turns and rushes out of the cabin, covering his mouth he declares that he has to get some air.

A short time later, Creed and Kyle are standing on a pier as the rain pours down. They are both sniffing the air, as Kyle tells Creed to give it up, as the trail is cold - too much time has passed, there is no way he will pick up Komarovsky’s scent now. ‘That ain’t what I’m smelling for. I wanna confirm something’ Creed replies as he takes another sniff. Creed reminds Kyle that the police report stated that the actual killings took place about thirty yards off-shore, which means Chop Chop probably swam out to the yacht from this very pier. ‘So? What are you getting at?’ Kyle asks. Creed doesn’t answer, he just dives into the water. ‘Hey - come back here! Where are you going?’ Kyle calls out after him. He then follows Creed into the water and swims after him. They make their way to some shallow water filled with spindly tree trunks, ‘Bingo. Just as I’d suspected all along…’ Creed calls out. ‘Wha-?’ Kyle gasps as they see a body lying in the marsh. Creed holds the body up and remarks that Chop Chop wasn’t alone - this is brother Yuri’s handiwork. Creed assumes that it would be too risky to stay along the coast - not many places to hide. ‘Our prey has headed inland…’.

Committing to memory the faint traces of Yuri’s scent embedded on the retrieved corpse’s fingernails, the seasoned trackers resume the hunt. They have a red jeep and drive through the rain, on Sabretooth’s insistence, they head northward, stopping at every out-of-the-way lodging place along the way. The rain continues to pour down as they pull up outside a motel room at the edge of Sullivan’s Bay, led there by Creed’s instincts, where they uncover telltale signs of Yuri Yevgraf’s lingering scent. ‘Our boys were here…’ Creed remarks as he growls and breaks the front door down. The small room is messy and someone has carved markings into the wall. ‘Oh, man…’ Kyle utters, while Creed announces that one of the brothers was injured - nothing too serious by the looks of it, but enough to warrant homemade stitches. ‘What do you mean?’ Kyle asks. ‘Doped up like they were, Chop Chop’s victims were incapable of putting up any sort of fight. The man we dredged up out of the water, however, is another story’ Creed replies.

Creed runs his hand along the bathroom sink, and then licks his fingertips, ‘You saw for yourself. The condition of his body told the tale. He definitely fought back’ Creed remarks, adding that he put up quite a struggle, too, until he got his skull smashed in. He supposes that Yuri got careless, either that, or he was on one of his benders when they did the deed - he has been known to be a sloppy drunk. They head back out into the rain and get into the jeep as Kyle asks ‘So where to now?’ Creed tells him that they will check out all the seedy watering holes in the area, and have a chat with the local drug dealers. ‘Like I told you before - Yuri can’t resist his addictive compulsion. Especially now that he’s hurt. Chances are good he stocked up on pain killers before they moved on’.

Three nasty bar brawls later, Creed and Kyle are in a bar called the Bucket of Blood. One man is thrown out the front doors and another through a window. ‘Maybe I’m not making myself clear, dirt bags…I’m not taking NO for an answer!’ Sabretooth exclaims as he slams a bottle over one man’s head and shoves another aside. Kyle sits at the bar and stares ahead, while Creed continues his rampage, ‘You got that, bucktooth? This ain’t no social call. I wanna see those bloody gums of yours start flapping…now…before I get me a mad on!’ Creed warns everyone. ‘Awright…aright! No more…please! I’ll talk…’ a man who is being held up by his head calls out. Creed addresses him that is more like it and calls out to the bar tender, asking for a shot of Jack for this lowlife. ‘The two guys you’re looking for were here last night…’ the man remarks. ‘And?’ Creed snarls, slamming his face into a table. The man is bleeding but is able to reveal that he overheard the bigger one telling the other fella that they were going to lie low for a while, and take shelter up in the woods near Hullen Falls after they gathered some more supplies. ‘That’s all I know…I swear it!’ Creed lets the man sit down, ‘Good enough, sport…you get to live after all’ he tells him, before calling out to Kyle and suggesting they get out of here.

Chapter 2: The Hunted

Hullen Falls, at dawn. The rain continues to fall, as Creed and Kyle trudge through the thick forest. ‘I’ve got something’ Creed reports as he sniffs the air. ‘You sure? I’m not picking up any -’ Wild Child begins, before they hear someone scream. ‘You were saying?’ Creed replies. Kyle rushes off ahead, but Creed tells him to stay close, as this ain’t the time to be showing off his increased agility. Wild Child just grunts in response but comes to a stop when they reach the location of the scream - and find a huge hulking figure standing over a man who has been hung upside down from a tree. ‘Play time’s over, Yuri’ Creed shouts. Yuri Yevgraf turns his head, ‘YOU!’ he shouts upon seeing Creed. They move towards each other and Creed slashes at Yuri, knocking him back. Wild Child pulls the man down from the tree, who speaks to him in French. Kyle sees that he is in a bad way and is slipping into shock. There isn’t much he can do with him. Kyle tries to comfort the bloodied man, and speaks to him in French, too.

Yuri is hunched over, and reaches into his jacket pocket while Creed declares that he has news for him: ‘You’re gonna need a lot more than a bag full o’ pain-killers to survive a bout with me’. Some of the pills falls out, but Yuri shoves a handful of them into his mouth. ‘We’ll see about that!’ Yuri boasts as he punches Creed, knocking him back. They continue to battle as the rain pours, and Kyle looks around to see more bodies scattered on the forest floor. The man dies in his arms. ‘Another innocent ruthlessly butchered. Like Lori…and God knows how many others. This can’t go on…’ Kyle thinks ot himself. Suddenly, ‘What’s happening here, Yuri? I - eh?’ a voice calls out and Kyle looks up, to see Komarovksy enter the small clearing. At the sight of Lori’s killer, Wild Child snaps. Horrific images of the tortured girl’s last living moments racing through his head. ‘You’re mine, Chop Chop!’ Wild Child exclaims. ‘You her me!?’ he shouts as he leaps up and races through the rain towards Chop Chop, who raises his machete - but Wild Child dodges it, and slams into Chop Chop’s back, where he starts to whack him.

‘Your nasty little killing spree ends here and now, you sick -’ Kyle begins, but in a flurry of motion, Chop Chop reaches back and flings Wild Child off his person with surprising ease. Then he sets his sights on a frenzied Sabretooth, who is oblivious to the imminent danger approaching from behind - and as Chop Chop slices his machete into Creed’s shoulder. ‘Creed!’ Wild Child calls out, while Sabretooth just growls. ‘Scatter!’ Yuri tells his brother as both men start to run whne Sabretooth and Wild Child are distracted. ‘Touched by the concern, kid - but I’ll be okay in a sec…’ Wild Child sees that their opponents are splitting up and tells Creed to take Yuri, but he is going after Chop Chop. ‘Suit yourself’ Creed replies. ‘If we sit here and argue, we’ll lose ‘em both’ Creed remarks as the two savage mutants rush after their prey.

Wild Child leaps at Chop Chop and kicks him to the ground. Not missing a beat, Chop Chop pulls out a handful of poisoned darts and shoves them into Wild Child’s back. Kyle cries out in pain, and falls to he knees, paralyzed. ‘Just like he did to Lori…before he chopped her into pieces…!’ Kyle thinks to himself. His heart pounds like a jackhammer, helpless, Kyle shudders involuntarily. Then faints in relief as his would-be killer disappears into the brush when Chop Chop hears three gun shots. ‘Yuri!’ he cries to his brother.

And, a short distance away, Yuri looks at the bullet holes in his arm, and Creed realizes that there must be a sniper hiding in the woods. ‘Looks like we’ve got us a new player on the scene…maybe even a possible ally!’ Creed thinks to himself, deciding that whoever fired that rifle did him a favor by taking a few pock shots at Yuri, and that he better make the most of it while the Russkie is still disorientated. Creed then slams his fist into the side of Yuri’s head, and Yuri falls to the ground. Suddenly, though, Creed cries out in pain once more, as Chop Chop’s machete lands in the side of his face. ‘Let him go, Sabretooth… now!’ Chop Chop orders. Creed’s vision starts to blur, but tells his foe ‘You want him… you gotta get through me to get him!’ ‘If that’s the way you wanna play it, Tovarish, that’s fine by -’ Chop Chop begins when suddenly, a bullet lands in his leg. Knocked off balance, Chop Chop falls back as a stunned Sabretooth loses his equilibrium, and tumbles down a steep embankment into the river below. ‘Cripes! Now I can’t see squat! I’m freaking blinded’ Creed tells himself as he lands in the river.

Creed’s limp body is violently tossed about as it is carried downstream by the turbulent rapids. Half-drowned and barely conscious, he desperately grasps onto some rocks near the shore. He coughs and splutters, and smells a girl in the bushes. He can’t see her, but her scent is strangely familiar. The girl walks over to him and helps pull Sabretooth from the water. Creed sniffs her and exclaims ‘Leisl Bradt?’

Chapter Three: Hide & Seek

Temporarily blinded until his healing factor can repair the damage to his almost-severed optic nerves, Sabretooth allows Leisl to lead them across the rough terrain to a relatively safe place where they can take a few moments to catch their breaths. The trek is exhausting and slow-going, but eventually the couple finds refuge in a hidden grotto tucked away in the side of a hill. The rain beats down still, as Sabretooth growls and tells Leisl not to touch him, as he is fine. ‘You don’t look fine from here, mister…and you’ve lost a lot of blood’ Leisl replies. She asks him how he can be so calm, and whether he is in pain. ‘For Heaven’s sake, that maniac made a huge gouge across your face with his machete -!’ she exclaims.

Leisl backs away and holds her rifle up as Sabretooth tells her to relax, and explains that his eyesight will be back soon enough. ‘Hurts like the dickens…but I can handle the injuries. I heal fast’ he adds. Leisl gasps and asks him if he is a mutant too, like Kyle. ‘Yep’ Creed replies, before asking Leisl how she found them. ‘Your being here a coincidence?’ he enquires. Leisl replies that it isn’t, and informs him that se had some of her ranch hands follow him after his visit. ‘When I got word of the lead you uncovered at the Bucket O’ Blood, I picked up the trail myself…hoping to reach Lori’s killers before you did’. Creed grits his teeth and asks ‘What for?’ as Leisl spins around and snaps ‘What for? Justice demands their deaths!’ to which Creed asks ‘An eye for an eye, eh?’ ‘That’s right’ Leisl declares, warning Creed that he and Kyle had best not get in her way.

Leisl aims her shotgun at Creed’s face and tells him that come hell or high water she is going to be the one that sends those two to their graves. ‘Your attitude’s a turn-on, but I don’t buy it. If you’re so intent on going solo…why save my butt back there?’ Creed asks. Leisl claims that she couldn’t have just let them kill Creed, as that would have been right. ‘Look, babe, I know you’re burling, but you’re wrong if you think killing a pair of scum like the Yevgraf’s is the answer to your troubles’ Creed tells her. ‘Sure you may be playing the revenge-seeking role to the hilt…but you don’t fool me none. You’re no murderer. You don’t have the killer instinct’ Creed declares, suggesting that she wise up and listen to someone who is all too familiar with the stench of where she is heading. ‘Don’t got there’ he advises, adding that that path is a one-way ticket - and once you get on it, there is no turning back.

‘EVER!’ Creed roars as he pushes forward, knocking Leisl up against a tree. She is unable to react with her shotgun. She looks at Creed’s claws which are buried into the tree trunk close to her face. ‘I don’t care. They killed my sister! When I get my hands on those butchers I’m gonna make them pay for what they’ve done!’ Leisl exclaims. Creed tells her to suit herself, as it is her soul. ‘What about you, you hypocrite? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I’m not stupid. I can tell what kind of man you are…what your intentions are!’ Leisl retorts. Creed pulls his claws away from her, but doesn’t harm her. ‘Me? Heh? Don’t you concern yourself with me, honey. I don’t matter none. I’m already damned. And the less you know about me, the better’ Creed replies, before suggesting they get moving, as his vision is starting to come back.

Meanwhile, Kyle is annoyed at how long it took him to shake off the paralyzing effects of Chop Chop’s poisoned darts. He gets to his feet and sniffs the air, his prey is nowhere in sight, but he hopes the trail is still fresh. Kyle picks up four distinct scents all heading in the same general direction - Sabrerooth, the Yevgraf brothers and - ‘Leisl? What’s she doing here?’ Kyle wonders, concerned. But he realizes it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, she must be after her sister’s killers. Kyle would like to know what Leisl was thinking, as she doesn’t stand a chance. He knows he has to reach her before she becomes the Yevgrafs’ next victim, and with a renewed sense of urgency, the worried young mutant quickens his pace.

Hours later, Sabretooth and Leisl stare down at a complex, cordoned off with a high fence. Creed points out that the sun is starting to set, and that it looks like their boys have taken shelter for the night. Leisl asks him what he means, and Creed sniffs the air, explaining that he can smell them down there in the abandoned slaughterhouse. Leisl asks Creed how he can tell that is a slaughterhouse way up here, to which Creed replies that even from this distance, the stench is pretty unmistakable. ‘Oh’ Liesl mutters. Creed looks at her and tells her this is where they part company. I may have let you tag along this far…but now you’re on your own. I’m nobody’s babysitter’. Leisl exclaims that she resents that comment, and reminds him that she was the one who pulled his fat out of the fire earlier today. ‘Obviously I’m more than capable of taking care of myself’ Leisl exclaims. ‘Whatever. Do what you will… just stay out of my hair’ Creed snarls as he starts down the cliff towards the slaughterhouse.

The sky has darkened further, and Leisl walks around the high fence surrounding the slaughterhouse. She holds her rifle and comes to a part of the fence that been sliced open. She steps through it and hears a scratching noise as she enters the building. She puts her back up against a wall as she realizes someone is around the corner. She slowly rounds the corner, ‘This is it, girl. Moment or truth…’ she thinks, when she sees Yuri with some pills. His back is to her, but a tear falls from Leisl’s eye as she brings the rifle viewer to her eye. She shakes from a bad case of nerves and aims at her unsuspecting target, desperately trying to muster the willpower to shoot him in the back. She knows that her stomach is in knots, but decides that now that she is here she is not sure she can go through with it. ‘I never killed anybody before. Maybe that mutant was right about me…!’, but she think the opposite, ‘What’s the matter with me? I’m psyching myself out. Of course I have to go through with this!’

Leisl tells herself that she has to, for Lori’s sake, and those of all the others who were so brutally murdered. ‘No more indecision. No more rationalizations. I know what has to be done. So get it over with already and just do it!’ she thinks to herself. Ever so slowly, she squeezes the trigger, more tears falling down her face - but then, ‘Sorry, doll…but I can’t let you do this!’ Creed declared as he grabs the gun and pulls it away, as it fires. Leisl falls to the ground, ‘My God…I almost…’ she utters, while Yuri spins around after hearing the gunshot. ‘Not while I still want this piece of meat for myself’ Creed tells himself, while Leisl starts to sob. Creed lunges at Yuri and bits his side. Yuri screams and falls to the ground. ‘You bit me? You sick sonuva - you actually bit me!’

‘What can I say? I pulled a Tyson’ Creed replies, and adds that now that he has had a taste of him, he has a craving for that second eye. ‘Get away from me! I’m taking no more abuse from you! I’m warning you, Creed…stay away…or I’ll crush every bone in your miserable body’ Yuri threatens Creed, adding that he will rip his heart out. Creed lets Yuri get to his feet and watches as he runs out of the building towards the high fence, panting as he runs. ‘You’re all talk, Yuri!’ Creed exclaims as he follows his prey and punches him in the back, causing Yuri to fall into the fence. Creed pulls Yuri’s legs back and realizes that the Bradt chick pegged Yuri good with her rifle, as he still has bullet fragments in his arm from the earlier attack in the forest. Creed realizes that Yuri is still so strong, when he should be useless because of his arm.

Creed picks up some of the pills that have fallen out of Yuri’s pockets and supposes that Yuri would have passed out from the pain if it wasn’t for all the drugs Yuri has taken. ‘That’s a good sign…let’s see what these pills do for me’ Creed decides as he puts some pills in his mouth. Yuri is able to sit up and he starts lashing about. Cree realizes this is because he is so doped up, and this makes him more dangerous than usual. ‘So enough with the foreplay…’ Creed thinks to himself, when suddenly, Yuri gets in a punch, knocking Creed’s head back. Creed just laughs, ‘…and get to the good part’ he thinks to himself as he shoves his claws into Yuri’s face. Spurred by the realization that, as he’d hoped all along, Yuri’s painkillers are actually allowing him to stay conscious while his collar emits its retaliatory blasts, Creed is driven into a berserker frenzy.

With a sickening wrench, Sabretooth delivers the fatal blow and snaps Yuri’s neck, ignoring his collar’s continuing blasts. ‘You’re dead, Russkie! DEAD!’ Creed shouts while his collar still sends charging blasts into Creed’s body. He stands over the mangled corpse of his foe, a satiated Sabretooth lets the sweet euphoria sweep over him, reveling in a perverted form of ecstasy. For the briefest of moments, Creed was once again free to kill at will. He growls, and already he can feel his mutant healing factor cleansing his system of the nerve-numbing pills’ effects. ‘Excellent. Plenty of painkillers left’ Creed thinks to himself as he bends over and picks up some of the pills. He decides that there should be enough pills here to carry out at least several more kills without feeling any pain from the collar’s fail safes. He puts them into his pocket, knowing that he cannot let anyone discover he has found a way to bypass his restraints, as he is not quite ready to play his hand just yet.

Creed starts to drag Yuri’s body, knowing that he has to make it appear like his death was an accident. But just then, Wild Child emerges from the dense woods and rushes towards them, instantly horrified by the sight awaiting him. ‘My God, Creed - what have you done?’ Kyle calls out. ‘Wild Child! I didn’t do nothing. I -’ Creed begins, when suddenly, they hear a scream, coming from somewhere inside the buildings, and Kyle worries that it must be Leisl. ‘Creed…how could you leave her alone in there with Komarovsky?’ Wild Child calls out as he rushes into the building, with Creed following him. ‘Don’t give me any lip, boy. I saved her life’ Creed replies. ‘Oh, yeah? Why do I sincerely doubt that?’ Kyle mutters, before gasping as they find Chop Chop standing over Leisl, his machete raised high, while the girl screams. ‘’Get away from her. You sick -’ Wild Child declares, lunging at Chop Chop, he slices his hand and causes him to drop his machete. Chop Chop realizes that he is out of darts, while Kyle grabs him by his arm and breaks it, thinking that he should kill Chop Chop here and now.

‘It’s certainly no less than you deserve for what you did to Lori and the others’ Kyle decides, slamming Chop Chop into a barrel. ‘God help me…it would be so easy to go ahead with it. Mere child’s play’ Kyle thinks to himself. He tells himself to ignore his anguished cries and keep pounding until Chop Chop is dead. He slams his head into the floor again and again while the temptation, the sheer rush is exhilarating to Kyle, and frighteningly overwhelming. More slams, and Chop Chop goes still. Kyle stares down into the glazed-over eyes of Lori’s killer, he hesitates as he struggles against his long-suppressed impulses - then positions himself to deliver the fatal blow.’ What are you waiting for Wild Child? Finish him off!’ Creed calls out. ‘No! I can’t do it’ Kyle thinks to himself.

Suddenly, Chop Chop punches Kyle and gets to his feet, he starts to run away. Sabretooth calls out to Wild Child, who tells him to put a lid on it, that he doesn’t care what Creed thinks of him - but he refuses to stoop to his depths of depravity. ‘and I swear, but all that’s holy, I won’t let you goad me into becoming something I’m not’ Kyle assures Creed as he chases after Chop Chop, he warns Creed to stay out of this, as Chop Chop is his - and he is bringing him in alive. Chop Chop is climbing up some crates, meat-hooks hang from the rafters above. Wild Child realizes that Chop Chop is trying to reach the skylight. He stands on the top crate. ‘Almost there’ the villain thinks to himself, and he leaps upwards towards the skylight - but his knee gives out and he doesn’t make it far - instead, he falls into the meat-hook which catches him in his neck.

‘Is he…?’ Kyle’s voice trails off as he turns to Creed who is smiling and looking up at Chop Chop, swaying on the meat-hook. ‘Deader than the proverbial doornail, kid. You did good’ Creed replies. ‘Yeah…right’ Kyle mutters, before asking Creed how Yuri died. ‘An accident. Same as Komarovksy. The old coot tripped over the fence and keeled over - breaking his neck’ Creed lies. ‘I bet! What cheap game are you playing, Creed?’ Kyle demands. Creed tells him that he is playing no game, just telling him how it is, honestly. ‘You were right all along about me having hidden motifs for wanting to tag along with you on this mission - but it had nothing to do with my vendetta against the Yevgrafs. I had other reasons’ Creed tells Kyle. ‘Such as…?’ Kyle asks. ‘Such as wanting to expose you to some of the real nastiness that’s out there. Make sure you’re not going soft on me’ Creed explains.

He adds that in their line of work, you have to learn to be sneakier and more ruthless than the other guy or you ain’t gonna remain among the living for very long. ‘So did I make the cut?’ Kyle asks. ‘You sure did! I’m proud of you, boy. Something happened to you during the hunt. I can smell the change in you. Maybe we’re a lot more alike than you’d care to admit, pup’ Creed replies. They stare up at Chop Chop’s body, still, as Kyle tells Creed not to count on it, and not to call him his pip. ‘You know, you’ve really got a warped sense of logic, Creed. How many times do we have to go over this? I’m not bloodthirsty psychopath. I’m not like you’. Creed looks down at Kyle and tells him that he knows that. ‘As far as you remember, you’ve never had the guts to embrace your homicidal urges’. But Creed tells Kyle that he can’t deny that the potential is there, waiting to be nurtured. ‘And exploited to my advantage’ he thinks to himself.

Creed’s words sting like daggers, and Wild Child stifles a sudden chill, he tells Creed to put a lid on it already, as he has had enough of him and his spook tactics to last a lifetime. ‘Kyle…?’ Leisl asks as she gets to her feet, rubbing her head. Kyle rushes over and embraces Leisl as she tells him that she is so sorry. Kyle assures her that everything is fine now, while Creed decides that Yuri’s death was just a means to an end, a way of getting proof positive that if he sufficiently numbs his nerves, he can successfully bypass his collar’s failsafes. Kyle leads Leisl out of the slaughterhouse, and with a pill in his mouth, Creed thinks to himself that now heh as his own stash of pills, those X-chumps better watch out, because his days of playing paddy-cakes with Forge’s band of inept misfits are coming to an end.

‘You’re starting to turn a ghastly shade of blue, Chop Chop. Here. Take as many painkillers as you want. Compliments of your brother Yuri’ Creed jokes. ‘No guts to comment, eh? Heh!’ he laughs and follows Kyle out of the slaugherhouse, while thinking that soon, he will be free of this infernal collar once and for all - and back on the loose - meaner and nastier than ever!

Characters Involved: 

Sabretooth & Wild Child (both X-Factor)

Puck (member of Alpha Flight)

Leisl Bradt
Lori Bradt
Peter Bedford

Chop Chop / Komarovsky Yevgraf
Yuri Yevgraf

Various bodies

Story Notes: 

This story takes place between X-Factor (1st series) #135 and #136.

Aurora was last seen in X-Man #27-28 and will next appear in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #12.

Written By: