"Boy's Games": Hiding near the pig pen at the slaughter house, Mercury feels as though she is near the Fear Machine again, as she watches Martin Acland withdraw from himself. The shock of watching his father slaughter every pig in the pen wit

Quote1.png It's his violence, luv -- his disease. Don't you catch it! Quote2.png

Hellblazer #38 is an issue of the series Hellblazer (Volume 1) with a cover date of February, 1991.

Appearing in "Boy's Games"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Archibald Acland
  • Charlie

Other Characters:

  • Elsie Acland




Synopsis for "Boy's Games"

Hiding near the pig pen at the slaughter house, Mercury feels as though she is near the Fear Machine again, as she watches Martin Acland withdraw from himself. The shock of watching his father slaughter every pig in the pen with joy has paralyzed Martin with fear.

While the pleasure that Archibald Acland derives from killing has been stimulated, the slaughter was over all too soon. Now, he and his companions still lust for cruelty, and their attention turns back to Martin. At Archie's order, his friends begin hanging the boy up by his ankles - just like a pig for the slaughter - and they zap him with a cattle prod. They warn that if he struggles now, his father's lust for violence may go even further. Then, they douse him with buckets of pig's blood. Sadistically, Archie Acland cuts his son's clothes from his body with a hunting knife, and has his friends hose Martin down before leaving him hanging while they play a round of cards.

Seeing the treatment dealt to Martin fills Mercury with outrage, and she can't help but cry out for them to leave him be. Menacingly, the men turn on her, fixing to do the same to her as they did to Martin. Archie gets too close, and she shocks him with the cattle prod she picked up. Angrily, he calls his ravenous dog Churchill to savage her. As the dog charges her, she takes a submissive stance, which prompts Churchill to change his demeanour completely.

Archie looks to see his friend Charlie helping Martin down from his noose, saying that the joke has gone flat. Mercury takes the boy aside and helps him to his feet, keeping the dog close for protection. Grumpily, Archie comments that both his dog and his son are fanny-struck. Attempting to shift Archie's focus, Charlie suggests that they hold a dog-fight between their two dogs, and wager on it. This allows Mercury the chance to get Martin back to the van.

Martin is too shaken to even speak to her, and Mercury finds herself struggling to find a way to reach out and touch him. As she urges him on toward the shower to bring him 'round, she has a sickening sense that this is just the thing her mother had done for John Constantine some nights before.

Back at the slaughterhouse, Charlie's dog easily rips the throat out of Churchill, prompting Archie to mercilessly kill his own dog and toss him in among the pig carcasses. He wonders if Charlie might let him win back his money in a game of cards. The phone rings, and Archie treats his wife poorly, stating that for all he cares, Martin might as well be as dead as the dog. Still very angry and drunk, Archie demands to have the keys to the truck full of guts, and drives off with it.

At the van, a sudden bright light fills the road nearby. Mercury hopes that it is John and Marj come back, but the outline of Archie's truck becomes clearer as it approaches. The truck, with blood oozing out the back, reverses toward the van, and Martin realizes that his father plans to tip. Within seconds, a shower of guts and unused pig meat rains down on the van. This proves to be more than Martin can take. He rushes out of the van screaming, grabbing up a pig's leg from the mess. He condemns his father's behaviour and begins beating the man down with the bloody, severed limb.

Mercury grabs his arm and shouts for him to stop it. She warns that this violence is Archie's disease, and Martin shouldn't catch it. Martin explains that his father needs to be taught a lesson. Mercury responds that resorting to violence will only make the man respect him - but there's a better way. Looking into Archie Acland's eyes, Mercury determines what he fears most.

Some time later, Mr. Acland drives back to his home, and he intends to show his wife just how he feels about women, lately. Mrs. Acland hears the truck outside the shop and realizes that her husband will come for her soon. She seeks a place to hide, and chooses her son's bed, finding the smell left on his sheets comforting.

Rabidly, Archie stumbles up the stairs to his bedroom. Drooling, he peers through the door and undoes his belt. He calls out that it is time for him to show his wife who's master. When he realizes that she's not in the room, he trips over his dropped trousers and crawls along the floor searching for her. He believes that he's found her in the cold room downstairs, with all the cold cut meat.

Deeper in the cold room, Archibald Acland finds himself faced with a disturbing site. A woman's form, clad in dominatrix's garb, with the head of a pig. The creature forces him to admit that he's been a bad boy, and he tries to apologize - but sorry isn't good enough. He will have to be punished. She opens her corset to reveal a gaping maw in her torso, with sharpened teeth all around. The mouth closes around his head as the pig's head hangs from its slit neck, and bleeds all over him.

the next morning, John and Marj return to the van to find that it has been covered in offal. Fortunately, Mercury and Martin spent the night outside. Marj is somewhat enraged about what's happened, as Mercury doesn't explain the night's events. They drive Martin past town, and he asks to get off, because he can't leave his mother alone with his father. As they drive, they spot a woman waiting by the bus stop, and Martin realizes that it's his mum. She explains that she's left his dad, as she found him this morning three parts inside a pig carcass in just his underpants. She left him with the doctors, and plans now to stay with her sister Ethel in Norwich. Marj is grumpy to have yet another person boarding their van, but she lets it pass - again.


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