"Abandoned Houses": This story is reprinted from Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #33.

Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing #14 is an issue of the series Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 1997.

Appearing in "Abandoned Houses"

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  • Golden Bracelet


Synopsis for "Abandoned Houses"

This story is reprinted from Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #33.

During a restless sleep, Abby Cable dreams of meeting the brothers Cain and Abel, who give her the choice of entering the House of Mystery or the House of Secrets. The more charismatic Cain, though abrasive, extols the virtues of mysteries, but ultimately, Abby chooses to enter the House of Secrets with Abel. Inside, Abel explains his love of stories, and his love for a particular, circular story which is connected with the strange occurrences in Abby's own life. After digging around some he finds and presents to her a golden bracelet, that he describes as a story. And he begins to explain the story of Alex Olsen...

We learn that Linda, gave Alex the very bracelet as they were celebrating their 2nd year anniversary. His lab partner Damian secretly harbors feelings for Linda, but in their company, he masks this. He was emotionally beaten when Linda chose Alex Olsen over him. We see the scene of Alex caught in the explosion at this lab, and Damian being there to comfort Linda. He then gives us narration about how he had been the one to set the explosion and kill Alex, and drag his semi lifeless body into the swamp to bury it. Though currently she seems withdrawn and distant from him, and he ponders that she's slowly learning of the truth behind the grizzly fate of her husband. So Damian decides to kill her. (the only obvious choice).

After telling her the story of Alex Olsen, an earlier Swamp Thing, Abel reveals that the secret Abby has come to learn there is that Alec Holland was not the first Swamp Thing. He explains that there is no such thing as an accident or coincidence, and that these many Swamp Things have been the result of design. Whenever "sour times" occur, he states, "the Earth feels compelled to create an elemental champion for itself."

With this secret shared, Abel reveals that he and Abby must leave as soon as possible if the knowledge is to be put to use. He warns that they must evade his brother, and have Abby share the secret with the current Swamp Thing, in order to prevent coming troubles. Unfortunately, Cain is waiting outside for them, and demands that they pay the forfeit for attempting to share a secret.

The brothers wrestle, culminating in Cain bashing Abel's head in with a rock. He assures Abby that Abel will be back to normal in the morning, and disappears with the warning that she won't be able to tell anyone the secret that she's learned. Moments later, she wakes in bed, and desperately tries to write down what she learned. She is interrupted by a phone call, and when she returns to her pen and pad, she has already forgotten the secret, and scraps the page she was writing.



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