"Waiting for the Man": Ten-year-old Gemma Masters lingers in the park, rather than go back to her new home in Liverpool. She is upset because her parents, Cheryl and Tony have recently become involved in a cult known as the Resurrection Crusaders. As a result, they
- I was waiting, you found me. I don't know what I was waiting for, you don't know what you found. Now, do you fancy me or not?
- -- Zed
Appearing in "Waiting for the Man"
- British Boys
- Cheryl Masters (First appearance)
- Tony Masters (First appearance)
- Harry (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Waiting for the Man"
Ten-year-old Gemma Masters lingers in the park, rather than go back to her new home in Liverpool. She is upset because her parents, Cheryl and Tony have recently become involved in a cult known as the Resurrection Crusaders. As a result, they had to move away from Gemma's friends and uncle John in order to return to the Lord's influence.
In London, John Constantine is having a bit of luck at billiards. Meanwhile, Chas Chandler is having less luck with a slot machine, grumbling that John managed to also win a bet on a horse race as well. Grinning, john pops a coin into the machine and allows his friend to collect the ensuing jackpot.
Feeling pleased with himself, John optimistically thinks that one never knows what one might find around the next corner. As he does, he looks around the corner of the next alley and sees a strange young woman.
As the night begins to fall, Gemma fights the impulse to go back home. There's little incentive to go back, as her father has taken away her Madonna cassettes and prohibited television. In television's place, her family is allowed only to watch Pyramid of Prayer videos produced by the Resurrection Crusaders. She is surprised suddenly by the appearance of three older girls in the park. The girls are impressed with Gemma's maturity, and they invite her back to a house owned by a certain man to whom they are all apparently married. Gemma is intrigued by the thought of never being told what to do, and wonders if this man will marry her too as she follows them back.
John takes the strange woman to dinner, where she reveals that her name is Zed. Apart from that name, she isn't particularly forthcoming with information about herself. In fact, she urges him to do away with social protocol and suggests that if he fancies her, they should go somewhere more private together. Not wanting to back out of his winning streak, John accompanies her back to her apartment.
After a long walk, Gemma and her new companions take her to a house in the middle of the woods. Despite the promise of freedom that comes with marrying the man, every time the girls say "he" in the way that they do, Gemma feels a shiver. She suddenly feels overcome with tiredness, and the girls allow her to nap with them in his bed. Sitting with them, Gemma notices a sore looking mark on one of the girls' necks. The girl explains that it is her "wedding ring."
John is impressed with Zed's apartment. She has the walls painted with a mural of faces she has seen on the street - including his own. She approaches him, and the magnetism between them makes him feel amorous. However, they are interrupted by the sudden sound of her radio turning on by itself. The radio broadcasts a news report stating that Gemma Masters has failed to return home this evening. When the announcement adds that three other children have gone missing in the area, John knows that he has to get involved, and asks Zed if she can drive. Gemma is his sister's kid.
Despite the promise that thousands of fellow Resurrection Crusaders have joined in a Pyramid of Prayer for Gemma's safe return, Cheryl Masters is distraught. When she becomes so angry as to slap a representative from the Crusaders across the face, he asks that her husband restrain her.
Zed drives John toward Liverpool through Birmingham in a car borrowed from Chas. John explains that while Cheryl and Gemma are smart girls, Tony Masters is the fool who got them involved in a fundamentalist sect. Caddishly, John decides to nap for the rest of the trip, leaving Zed to drive alone.
At the house in the woods, the older girls dress Gemma up in a wedding gown.
John and Zed arrive at the Masters' house, to Tony and his colleagues' perturbation. He leaves Zed to console Cheryl and forces his way past Tony to Gemma's bedroom. There, he uses some items collected by Gemma that are special to her in order to find out where she is. He dangles a little wooden crocodile that he gave his niece as a gift over a map, and it points out a location. Meanwhile, Zed is not without her own abilities. She rattles Gemma's marbles in her hands and uses automatic drawing to sketch an image of the house where Gemma is being kept.
At the house in the woods, the man appears and his presence gives Gemma a thrill. She wishes so much to be his wife just at hearing the sound of his voice. When he asks her to marry him, she eagerly says yes. He takes her down into his basement and prepares to conduct the ceremony.
Elsewhere, John and Zed question the locals about the house in the drawing, and for a small fee, a local boy takes them through the woods to the house. John gives him another fiver, telling the boy to deliver a message to Cheryl that they found the place.
The man takes a length of cord and wraps it around Gemma's neck. John and Zed have already made it inside, and they are disgusted to find the corpses of three girls in the man's bed, having been long dead for quite some time. The "wedding ring" wrapping around Gemma's neck - it will only hurt for a short time, and then it will feel really nice. The man has been murdering the girls he's kidnapped. John rushes down into the cellar, and though he is not a physical match for the man, Zed's help proves invaluable.
With the man unconscious, John and Zed carry Gemma's unconscious - but still breathing - body up the stairs. Before they leave, Zed notices that the man has "Damnation Army" carved into his chest, like the opposite of Resurrection Crusaders, perhaps. Zed suspects that he is part of a cult of murderers.
After getting Gemma back to her parents, John is disappointed to find that Zed has made herself scarce. He catches up to her and they stay at a motel together. John knows that Zed knows more than she lets on about the Damnation Army and the Resurrection Crusaders, but he's happy enough just to be with her.
- This issue is reprinted in the Hellblazer: Original Sins trade paperback.
- This issue includes a letter from John Constantine to magazine writer Satchmo Hawkins, which contains the lyrics to "Venus of the Hardsell", the one-hit pop single performed by John's old punk rock band, Mucous Membrane.
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