Swamp Thing is in the swamp when he hears laughter and senses something. He calls to the swamp to talk to him, but gets no response. The plants turn away from Swamp Thing, and he finds Will's camp but no sign of Will. A crocodile glares at Swamp Thing, and it backs away from him when he tries to communicate with it.
A man, Professor Mephisto, steps out and greets Swamp Thing. Lightning flashes and Swamp Thing finds himself outside a manor at night. Mephisto invites him in, and Swamp Thing finds himself on the streets of Houma. People walk by without noticing him until Mephisto points him out and says that Swamp Thing is dangerous. The townspeople throw things at Swamp Thing as Mephisto smiles triumphantly. Swamp Thing insists that he's a human being like them, but is forced to run.
Swamp Thing takes refuge in an alley, and a police officer pulls up and calls on him to come out. When he sees Swamp Thing, he opens fire as Swamp Thing runs off. The wounded Swamp Thing finds himself back at the manor, and hears Tressa calling to him for help from inside. He enters and sees a glowing door at the top of the stairs. Tressa's voice calls from a downstairs room, and Swamp Thing goes in and finds himself in a cage. Arcane is there, and tells Swamp Thing that escape is futile.
Tressa is with Arcane, and Swamp Thing insists that it's a mental trick. Arcane stabs Swamp Thing in his wound, and says that it's real. Swamp Thing tells Tressa that Arcane took Jim, but Tressa doesn't believe him. She tells Swamp Thing that he's giving his life to science, and walks off with Arcane. Swamp Thing calls to Mephisto, demanding to know why he's imprisoned. Mephisto appears and says that they build their own cages, and tells him that they all have powers.
Mephisto vanishes, and Swamp Thing finds himself back in the swamp. Swamp Thing demands to know what he's done to deserve such agony, and Mephisto tells him that the answer is all around them. Mephisto vanishes again and Swamp Thing reaches down into the water. The muck washes off, revealing a human hand. Swamp Thing realizes that he's abandoned by the swamp, and calls to Will. A storm comes up and Swamp Thing enters the Kipp house.
Will is looking at a photo and crying, and tells Swamp Thing that he can't help him. He finally says that he talked to the consulate general, who said that Jim is dead. Swamp Thing tells him that it may be some kind of trick, and offers to trade places with him if he could. Will says that it's too late for a lot of things, including his life, and he failed Jim.
Will disappears and Swamp Thing looks outside to see Mephisto. Mephisto appears at the table, and then he and the table teleport to the swamp with Swamp Thing. He invites Swamp Thing to end the dream, saying that he has the power, and tells Swamp Thing that he's not wanted in the swamp anymore. Mephisto disappears and the vines pull back from Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing asks if he's somehow let the swamp down, and he has nowhere else to go. Alec appears and tells Swamp Thing that it's about time that he realized that.
Swamp Thing points out that he and Alec are the same thing, but Alec says that Swamp Thing is a mutation and only remembers what Alec remembers. He tells Swamp Thing that he has nothing without him, and that Swamp Thing told himself that he was Alec to justify his existence. Now Swamp Thing must live forever as a monster.
Swamp Thing brushes past him and walks into the swamp, and remembers everything that happened. He enters the manor, demands to see Mephisto, and smashes through the upstairs door. Arcane is there with Will and Tressa, and threatens to kill them. There's another door, and Arcane threatens to kill the others if Swamp Thing doesn't stop. Swamp Thing tells them that they don’t exist, and goes through the door.
Mephisto is waiting and tells Swamp Thing that now the fun can begin. He explains that he's a purveyor of fear and says that he spoke of Swamp Thing a hundred years ago, talking about how a creature half-man and half-plant destroyed everything that he loved. The mutation disappeared into the swamp, and the legend based down through the generations. Mephisto tells Swamp Thing that he could take his soul anytime he wants, and walks through Swamp Thing. He says that Swamp Thing's terror is his own.
Swamp Thing and Mephisto reappear in the swamp, and Mephisto says that fear can kill a person. He reaches into Swamp Thing's chest and pulls out his beating heart, and says that Swamp Thing lives in terror of never becoming human again. Swamp Thing insists that it harms no one but him, but Mephisto tells him that the fear multiples as Swamp Thing lives. The creature says that the swamp knows no fear and he's guided by the balance of nature.
Mephisto congratulates Swamp Thing on assuring his legend a long life. He says that he only comes when beckoned, and it was the swamp that summoned him. Swamp Thing realizes that his fears could have caused an imbalance, and wonders if he was too human. Mephisto thanks him for being his greatest story of all time and disappears, and Swamp Thing regains his connection to the swamp. He says that it's good to be home and walks off. Mephisto watches and says that fear only brings defeat to the natural order... and brings him as well.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 24, 2017