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Tom Hayes

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Full name:

Thomas Hayes

Nicknames:

Tom

Gender:

Male

Previous jobs:

Architect

Near-death experiences:

Cancer

Shade:

Poltergeist (later Orphan-Grinder)

Lament:

Sleeper (later Spirit)

Tom Hayes is one of the signature characters from Orpheus, as well as a Storyteller character.

Before Orpheus Edit

Tom Hayes' life started out in an unspectacular fashion. He was married to his beautiful wife Jasmine, and had two children, Tom Jr. and Sarah. Life was fine and normal until Tom's brother Eric molested Sarah when he was supposed to be watching her. This experience shattered much of Tom's faith in others. Nonetheless, he and his family survived the experience and managed to keep together for over a decade.

Then, Tom was diagnosed with cerebral cancer. The tumor was fast-acting, and Tom was given six months to live, if that. Jasmine became inconsolable, turning to pills and alcohol for comfort before committing suicide. Tom lost his job at the firm as his treatments caused the insurance premiums to go too high. With no job, failing health, and a dead wife, the state stepped in and took the kids into state custody, where they were eventually given to Tom's sister.

But Tom had long since lost track of them, as the tumor caused black-outs and memory loss. He came very close to death during these periods, and it was due to these experiences that the Orpheus Group persued him. Orpheus investigated and found the cause of Tom's misery to be a Spectre...or so they told him. After offering assistance in the form of a job, health care, and life insurance, he signed on as an agent.

Orpheus and Fugitive Edit

Tom became a sleeper after being unable to master the art of skimming. Sleeping ended up being more beneficial anyway, as his constant flatlining slowed the cancer's progress. Six months ended up stretching into three years. But Tom could not remain content. His wife was not among the ghosts, and he began to suspect that Orpheus had engineered his cancer and his family's subsequent miseries.

But before he could get any answers, NextWorld raided the Orpheus Group's compound. Tom, projecting at the time, was forced to leave without his body, which unfortunately went up in smoke when the explosives went off. He became a spirit, determined to protect his children and find out the truth about Orpheus. He continued to work with the now fugitive agents that had survived the destruction, chief among them Kate Dennison.

In all the commotion, he was completely ignorant to the fact that Sarah had become hooked on pigment, a highly addictive drug that had come into fashion because of its ability to allow the user to see ghosts. It was while indulging at pigment at a rave that Sarah also consumed some strychnine that someone had decided would make a good addition to the drug. She died as a result, moments before her father and the rest of the Orpheus fugitives, tipped off by Radio Free Death, arrived at the rave. Spectres had entered the rave in the meantime, grabbing the confused, newly made hues, including Sarah, and dragging them off to build the first of many Spectral hives. Tom searched in vain for his daughter, but she was long gone.

It was almost too much for him to take. Tom finally decided the only way he could get his daughter back was to enter the hive. But the only way to enter the hive was to become a Spectre. It was a sacrifice Tom was willing to make. Despite the best efforts of Kate, Tom allowed his rage and darkness to consume him and he turned, only remaining human long enough to allow a trapped Kate to escape. Afterward he disappeared, only turning up to commit one unspeakable deed after another.

Orphan-Grinder Edit

Several months after Tom's transformation, the remaining Orpheus personnel had gathered to form a new company, Lazarus Redux. While continuing their work, they had discovered that Spectres could be redeemed. The next time they came across Tom, they managed to capture him. The company had converted two old beer brewing tanks into a holding pen for ghosts and Spectres, and Tom went into one of these. Kate worked for days, trying to remind Tom of who he was and what he stood for. Despite her best efforts, he managed to escape his holding cell and rejoin the hive. However, a seed had been planted.

When a Spectral hive bloomed, John Carruthers spotted Tom among the Spectres. He followed and confronted him, only to find Tom was no longer a Spectre. Triggered by Kate's words and understanding, and frustrated by his inability to find his daughter among the Spectres of the hive-mind, he had turned back into a ghost, albeit an Orphan-Grinder. He eventually returned to Lazarus Redux to assist them in their oncoming battles with Grandmother. He eventually hears of Sarah's whereabouts, used as a lure by a Lawgiver to get him into a trap, but he has to figure out how to free her from the Spectre she became as well. He also gains an odd ally, a strange Spectre named Mr. Jigsaw, who works for a Malfean. It is Mr. Jigsaw who ends up providing many of the crucial pieces that Lazarus Redux will need to defeat Grandmother.

Like many of Orpheus signature characters, Tom's final fate is unknown at the end of the line. Through the books, his experiences are perhaps the most tragic and trying of any of the Orpheus characters, as much of what he endures mirrors the events unfolding in the Shadowlands.

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