ADRENALINE: GOLD RUSH PART 4

Time grinds to a stop when your bored. I really hate sitting behind this desk and pretending to care what goes on in the floors below me. Truth be told I have no idea what is even going on anymore. All I can focus on is the two women in the street a couple days ago. They were good, green, but good.   

I looked up from my computer to see Tyler Dixon, CEO of Nash Industries, standing in my door. His shirt pulled tight and tucked into his pants with his large belly hanging over his belt. Once Dad left, my first order of business was to make a no dress code rule, business casual, I hate wearing suits.   

“You have a visitor, Chrisof Rosu.”   

Oh, I know the name, Mafia Don Chrisof Rosu is very well known in New Haven and a major opponent of my fathers efforts to clean up the city. His real name is not nearly as well known as his alter ego however, The Romanian.   

“I really don’t have time for him.”   

“Well you really don’t have a choice.” Mr. Rosu staggers around Tyler Dixon and waltzes into my office and pulls up a seat in front of me before I can say anything.   

“I heard about your father retiring, wish him a congratulations for me the next time you speak to him.” I do not respond to him. “However, I am here on a business call rather a social one. I would like to talk to you about using my company, Rosu Security, for all your security needs.”   

Blood flowed to my face setting it afire, my blood pressure shooting through the roof. I glance at my wrist watch and check my pulse. Seventy and rising.    “You have some nerve walking into my office after the hell you put my father through offering to ‘secure’ my buildings, are you out of your mind? I will not even dignify that request with an answer. Please show yourself out of my building Mr. Rosu.”   

“Very well Mr. Nash, but I am sincere about your father, please tell him for me.” He stood and tossed a card on my desk, “In case you change your mind.”    Tyler Dixon stood watching through the door. As Christof passed him, his eyes darted to the floor.   

                *      *     *     *    *

….witnesses claim the two masked perpetrators attacked the security guards around twelve a.m. this morning taking them by surprise. They made off with an estimated two hundred thousand dollars in jewelry and cash. They wore matching blue ‘costumes’ and blue masks covering their eyes. They are considered armed and dangerous. Police are urging citizens to stay clear of the two….    

Clicking off the t.v. I had heard enough. I knew the two women in the video surveillance photo’s they placed on the screen, although I didn’t really like the two names they gave them, I really don’t understand media given names sometimes. That is why I had picked my own and let them know. Calico Cat and Blur seemed to be a lot better than the last time I had laid eyes on them.   

Light from my phone lit up the office. I rarely leave work anymore because of all the stuff I have to do as a real job, one that pays the bills, the one that puts food on a lot of people’s tables. I contemplated ignoring it until saw it was from The White House. Not that White House but my uncles bar. I hadn’t been to see him in months and I’m sure is worried about me. Truth is I was worried about him as well.   

“Yes,” I didn’t mean for it to sound so short.   

“Hello, I am calling for Simon Nash,” it was a female voice I didn’t recognize.    “This is he.”   

“I didn’t know who else to call.”   

“What is wrong?”   

“Can you come to the bar?”   

“I’ll be right there.”   

The beeped and the light went out as I turned it off. I turned off my computer and was in my car in a matter of seconds. What was going on? What could possibly be so important that Uncle Ed would have a server call me?

    *    *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Eli La Croix pulled the car to a stop a couple blocks from The White House. He had no choice, police cars lined the streets ahead and the unofficial entrance into Haven Village, was blocked by street barricades and yellow tape. A police office walked up to the window and my driver lowered it.   

“We are sorry but those two psychopaths are tearing up Haven Village.”   

“We need to get over to The White House,” Eli said. “The owner called my boss who is his nephew, he is worried about him.”   

“Go around, up Grand and come in from behind, there shouldn’t be anyone up there.”   

“Thank you, Officer,” Eli said rolling the window up again.   

It took us a little longer to get there but as we pulled up to the bar I jumped out before Eli had the car in park. I was in the bar before Eli was out of the car. I was at the bar before Eli was to the door. I was the first to see him laying on the bar, a knife in his chest. His had clutching a snub nose revolver as it hung limp over the bar. Eli was at my back grabbing me as I tried to get to my uncle. The one man I truly thought of as a father. Blood pooled beneath him and soaked the hard wood bar as it mixed with spilled beer and cigarette ashes.    “Simon we need to go back outside and call the police,” Eli said.   

I knew he was right, I knew that I didn’t need to compromise any evidence that be left behind so I scanned the small bar as quickly as could without moving. It appears to be a burglary gone wrong. His register drawer stood open, no money inside but a trail to the door, he probably drew his gun and fired at the men, firing because near the front door there were two bullet holes in the large storefront windows. Also near the front door, on the bare concrete floor lay two drops of blood.   

Lights and sirens quickly filled the window and it felt like slow motion as the police officer came through the door, we drew his weapon and badge, I could see his mouth moving but I heard nothing, my mind flooding with images of my Uncle standing behind that bar, the one place he truly loved to be.   

I turned slowly and looked one more time at the knife sticking out of my uncles chest, I knew that knife, I had seen it before. It belonged to Blur.   

“Mr. Nash, my name is Detective Henry Parker, I work for the NHPD, I am going to have to ask you to step outside.” He ushered me to the door as the CSI guys came in and started putting numbered cones down and flashing pictures of the scene. I didn’t need photographs, the images would be burned into my memory forever.   

Sitting outside in the cool autumn night I couldn’t help but wonder why would they want Edward White dead? Why did they want to rob him? They had been hitting high end jewelry shops and art galleries. Not small time bars on the north end of Haven Village, they couldn’t have gotten more than a hundred dollars from his register.    There was only one man that I knew could help me, and I knew exactly how to get him.

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ADRENALINE: Gold Rush Part 3

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In the weeks that followed Edward and Katrina had been visited by the goons on several occasions finally forcing him to concede and take the ‘protection’. I sat across White’s on the roof of Mia Bella, a swanky Italian restaurant that all the movers and shakers liked to patronize.   

Unfortunately I wasn’t here for a social call, I was here to watch the goons that had entered my uncles bar twenty minutes ago. Suddenly I got a feel of eyes on me, studying me as heavily as I studied the goons.   

Then I heard the soft steps of a familiar foot. Dr. Indestructible knelt beside me, his voice soft and comforting. He placed his hand on my shoulder and let out a sigh. 

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“You watching over your friends I see.”    “Someone has to.”   

“They’re heating up again. With Gerald gone they feel they have free reign and with the police failing at every turn they may just be right.”   

“I can’t let that happen.”   

“You can stop anytime, Adrenaline. You only got into this for the rush, remember?”   

Too bad he had a point, I had only gotten into this for the rush, the thrill, the high that I got from the adrenaline rush that came from vigilantism. I was nothing like the good Dr., he had to do this, compelled by an inner drive that I wasn’t about to try to understand.

Dr. Indestructible had been the first ‘superhero’ I had heard of in New Haven. He patrolled the streets at night with an iron fist and the respect of the city.  Unfortunately he went too far one day and had to begin to fly under the radar after a goon for a local Italian Mafia family pulled a gun on him and he pulled the mans throat of his neck. Caught on camera Dr. Indestructible became what he fought so hard to destroy. I knew he hadn’t had a choice but the incident became a public relations nightmare.   

“Yeah but things have changed.”   

“That was your handy work in Mexico wasn’t it?”   

“You could tell?”   

“Why didn’t you ask for my help?”   

“I had to do it alone.”   

“Yeah you’ve changed.” He nodded to the bar, “how many men in there?”

“Two.”   

“Piece of cake,” he said.   

His black hood hung over his full black mask and his black gee made him look like a ninja assassin perched beside me. I on the other hand stood out like a sore thumb, blue jeans, a dark grey hoody and a white blood stained hockey mask. My knifes sheathed at my thighs and my gun on the small of my back. I reached for the Kali Sticks that crossed my back as the door to Whites opened and two beefy goons exited counting a stack of cash. The Dr and I stood ready to leap the two stories onto them when suddenly out of the dark alley just below us two figures bolted toward the men.   

One held a sword and the other two small knifes about six inches in length. The one with the knifes moved like lightening, her feet peddling underneath her, in one quick leap she was atop a small car and she bounced to the side of a van with her right foot, she spun in a twist of the body and landed on her feet just inches in front the two men. The girl with the sword strutted up behind the two stunned men.   

“Give us the money,” the one with the knife says.   

The two men laughed and stuffed the money into their pockets. “Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen.” One of the goons, the one that put the gun to the back of my head swung his fist wildly and connected with knife girl’s face which sendt her flying into a cargo van. The alarm began ringing, echoing off the surrounding buildings.   

I started to leap when my friend placed his hand on my chest, holding me back like a mother places her hand across a child when a car comes to a sudden stop. He shakes his head at me. “I think they have it under control.”   

Sword girl swung her weapon landing it behind the mans knees. He screamed out in pain as his body collapsed to the sidewalk. The goon who followed Katrina outside that night turned and raised his hand. A black Colt 1911pointed at her. He pulled the trigger and I could see her chest explode with a burst of power. She flew into the building behind her with the force of an erupting sun. Her head slammed into the brick wall, and she slid down nearly lifeless.   

“It doesn’t appear that they have it under control.” I stood and leaped from the edge of the building landing flat footed onto the roof of a semi truck parked below. Taking another leap I landed about ten feet from the scuffle. Knife girl keyed up and pulled her two knifes, she darted for the shooter, taking a running jump along the brick wall she kicks off into a somersault in the air. Thrusting the knifes downward they bury deep into both sides of the shooters neck. The gun slid slowly from his hand landing with a thud on the ground.   

A rustling turned my attention to the sword girl, her chest held the slug from the shot. I look up toward the Dr. who stood staring, watching like a father lion witnessing his cubs taking down their first antelope. Sword girl stood in her dark blue costume, long blond hair flowing behind her in the breeze and a blue mask covering her eyes. She stepped slow and deliberate, taunting the attacker. She raised her sword above her shoulder, pointing toward his groin. Swiftly with the force of a train, she sliced and blood poured from his leg. His body shivered as he laid on the sidewalk. She severed his femoral artery, he’ll be dead shortly.   

The two women in their matching costumes jet off into the dark, I looked back up at Dr. Indestructible, but he was no longer perched atop the building. The night which had quickly grown silent was broken by the sound of sirens. I decided it best to leave.

Adrenaline : Gold Rush Part 2

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Eli pulled the black sedan to a stop outside of an old warehouse on Euclid in Haven Village. Haven Village was once the industrial epicenter of New Haven. After the industries moved across the river to be closer to the Boneyards (the warehouse and shipping district of the city) the area fell into decay and disrepair. After my father planned the reconstruction of the city Nash Industries offered businesses the opportunity to move to the area at a cheap rate and were offered tax breaks by the local government in order to revitalize the neighborhood. This prompted a rise in the theater and arts, restaurant and nightlife in the area and it turned into the cultural center of the city. I stepped out of the sedan and onto the sidewalk, my foot landing on the damp concrete. Leaning back in I told Eli there was no need to wait on me I would be awhile and would get a cab home.

Taillights disappeared into the dark as I stepped into a little bar that I enjoyed frequenting, The White House. Edward White stood behind the bar drying out a bourbon glass. His long gray hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and his white beard hung to his chest. He wore a vintage Rolling Stones T-shirt and pair of blue jeans. His bar wasn’t a dive but it wasn’t high class either. Few people visited Whites but the ones that did were regulars and Edward knew everyone of them. He sat a bourbon glass on the bar as I pulled up a stool.

“I was expecting you,” he said. His voice was rough like he gargled pea gravel every morning. “Usual? ”

I threw my overcoat over the back of the stool and sat down. “You know what, I think I will have a beer tonight as well.” I downed the bourbon as he pulled a bottle from the cooler and twisted the top. “How’s things been going?”

“Okay, same ol’ same ol’. Business has been steady.”

I turn the beer up and drink  it half down in one giant chug. Katrina steps up behind me and asks Edward for a couple beers.

“Hello Simon,” she says. I can sense some hesitation in her voice. A nervousness that I don’t place immediately.

He hands her the beers and Katrina bounces off. Her red ponytail bobbing back and forth as she makes her way to a table. I haven’t seen the guys in here before.

“What is up with her?”

“These guys have been in here the past four nights and they are giving her the willies if you know what I mean.”

I did, “Have you asked them to leave?”

“I can’t, they are Rosu’s men.”

I knew of Rosu, Christoph Rosu, the head of the Romanian crime family and real nasty piece. After the reconstruction the police force was doubled and the mafia in New Haven all but ran out of town. Only recently a few rogue groups have since grown into power and began testing the limits of the law and authority in the city. The meanest of these were the Romanian Mafia, formally known as the Gypsies.

“So?”

“They keep wanting me to take their protection, for a fee of course.” “Seems to me you don’t need any protection, that is what the law is for.”

“Try telling that to them, Ever since your father announced his retirement the mobs have been making moves. They think with him out of the city things will start going back to ‘normal’.”

As I guzzle down the last of the beer Edward puts another in front of me, “I’m sorry to hear about Sarah, I wish that the Mexican government could have done more or gotten there sooner.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“Listen Simon, if you need to talk to someone I’m here,”

Edward placed his hand on my hand and squeezed. He has always had large hands. As a child he would place those large hands over mine and as I had gotten older I expected them to get smaller but they hadn’t, its like they grew as mine grew.

Regina White had been his sister and my mother. Uncle Edward has always been there for me, after my mother died two years ago he pulled me from the gutter outside of this bar and took me to his house. As much as he hurt himself his concern was my my wellbeing. He wouldn’t tell my father where I was hiding. My protector, my gaurdian. I wished there was something I could do to return the favor.

Katrina bounced back toward the bar, her green eyes glowing in the dim light of the bar. “Edward, I have an emergency, is it okay if I go, its just those two guys and my shift is over anyway.”

“Sure dear, be careful going home, okay.”

“You know I will,” she leaned across the bar and gave him a peck on the cheek.

In a second she had her jacket and was out the front door. The two men stood, one following her and the other coming toward the bar. He stood behind me and placed his strong hands on my shoulders, I could feel his tenseness. He slammed my face into the bar and pulled a pistol from his pocket. Then he  placed the barrel to the back of my head.

“I wouldn’t move from that stool if I were you,” his eastern European accent was thick and barely understandable, but I got the gist. “Listen carefully to me old man, if you do not take the protection I will make sure that everyone you care about suffers. Even Mr. Pretty Boy here. I saw you on the t.v. standing next to your father man thees afernoon. Don’t think you are going to follow in his footsteps, we are taking back our city.” He pushed the barrel harder onto the back of my head.
My fists clenched as I could hear Katrina scream, her shrills echoing off the old brick buildings. My eyes darted as I saw Uncle Edward’s hand sliding under the bar, I knew he kept a sawed off shotgun under there, Ol’ Susy he called it. I just hoped he wised up and left her under there.

The goon turned and walked toward the door, the sound of his heavy footsteps growing quieter as he reached the door. I looked and Edward who looked at me and I gently shook my head and mouthed the words, ‘not now’.

Edward pulled his hand back as the door slammed shut and the screams of Katrina quieted. The sound of a loud sports car drowned out anything else in the city. Blood poured out of my nose and soaked my white shirt and blue tie. I turned and to my surprise a battered Katrina staggered through the door and collapsed to the floor.
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Should writers use concept art?

Working on a project like the Adrenaline series has made me think a little about concept art. When I’m writing a crime drama like A New Man or some of the other stories set in the Pine Bluff universe it is fairly easy for me to visualize what I want a character to look like. For the most part it is a “real world” story and I see folks like I picture in the stories on a daily basis.

However, with a story like the Adrenaline series and the Perfect 200 series I have a harder time keeping hold of an idea of what the characters should look like. I know how they act and their emotional drives and goals but their looks, which may or may not play a role in the story, seems slip away at times. That is why I decided to try something new for me as a writer. I wanted concept art of the characters near me when I’m writing so I can get a feel for the characters, or to get inside what they are thinking and I thought that a picture of the character would help.

But where do I get a photo of a vigilante super hero with tracking down an artist? Two problems, 1 I couldn’t afford to pay one if I found one, 2 what ever concept they came up would still be their vision.

I thought about trying it myself but I have NO artistic ability, I couldn’t draw a straight line if I had to. Then I thought about photoshop. However, I am on the go a lot and I only get time here and there to work on either stories or the artwork. I found two apps that work pretty well I think. Check out this concept art of Adrenaline.  I will show the progression and let me know what you think.

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First I found this picture on a free stock photo site, I do not advocate stealing artwork and they offer free stock photos for non commercial use as long as you manipulate it in some way, which I am doing. I am only posting the original to show the project from start to finish.

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Next I found this one.

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Next I cut around the mask to get rid of the black sheet on which the mask is laying.

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Then I brought the photo into an editing app and added shadows and dirt and a little more blood splatter and saved it.

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Next brought the first picture back into the same photo editing app.

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I double exposed the mask over the mans face, softened the edges, added a few more shadows and a key light, and finally added a hint of smoke. I wish I could have softened the edge on the bottom of the mask in the chin area, but it isn’t bad. (Note 100% of this project was done on my mobile phone)

All in all it took about 90 minutes of total time.

I haven’t tested it in the writing process yet. I have completed Adrenaline: Gold Rush (read part one if you havent, rest will be up soon), and at the moment I am working on a couple other projects but I have several more stories planned for that universe.

So please let me know what you think. Do you like it, not like it? Would this benefit you as a writer or is the 90 minutes better spent on actual writing?

Apps I used
*pixlr (photo editor)
*edge tracer (removes unwanted areas from photo)

A decent site of free photos is morguefile.com