Adrenaline Issue #2: Passing the Torch – http://wp.me/p6XfjF-1G
The early morning moon still hung in the sky as the sun began to rise over the New Haven Museum. The red and orange of sunrise a beautiful backdrop to the castle look of the building. Its towers rising on the corners merely for look with no functionality. The forest was cold on the dark winter morning as I sat in the dark. There had been several reports of muggings around the museum and I had a feeling that RS would be making their appearance soon.
It wasn’t long before I had gotten my wish. A nerdy young woman with disheveled hair and Birkenstock shoes got out of her prius. A young European male approaches her and pulls out a chrome revolver and shakes it at her. Scared she dropped her purse and her attacker pushes her to the ground. Suddenly from out of the shadows comes her knight in a white van. He chases the male mugger around the corner and the woman scoops her purse and rushes inside the museum.
Quietly I move along the outside of the parking lot just inside the woods hoping I had not lost the mugger and the security officer when I hear rustling of leaves. I stop, listen and as the sound grows closer I can see long blond hair. Calico kneels beside me.
“Did you see that?” she asks.
“Yep, lets see where this goes.”
We move silently around until the white van just comes into view. The officer steps out of the van to the male who is now leaning against the side of the building. The officer pulls out a wallet and hands the man an envelope. I think I am starting to get a picture of what is happening.
The sun continued to rise behind the estate as I approached the front gate. An RS officer waved as I pushed the button on the remote control and the gate opened as my Mercedes glided up the cobblestone drive. My mind raced as everything I had witnessed over the last couple weeks rolled around, bouncing off the walls and trying to comprehend the plan. I missed on major component to this whole scenario. Why? What was Rosu’s endgame? What could he possibly gain from creating such a rouse as to have the city guarded by his men? He couldn’t possibly be making that much money from a security firm.
Bags hung under my tired eyes as I sat down in my desk chair in front of the board I had created in my study. Haze filled my eyes as I tried to make out the plan. Following the red strings from newspaper articles to push pins of RS locations. It made no sense to me.
“Here you go boss,” Eli tossed a newspaper on my desk. “We need to talk, sir.” “What’s on your mind?” I stared at the board, paying him little attention.
He pulled a chair up beside me. “I am going to have to quit.”
“What?” he had my attention now. “Why? What have I done, do you need more pay?”
“It isn’t that sir, I know.”
“You know what?” playing dumb, hoping he didn’t really know, or that it was something else.
“I know what…who you are. Adrenaline.” He said.
I shook my head, not able to force the denying words out of my mouth. I couldn’t lie to Eli.
“Yes you are, all the signs are there, I’ve collected enough evidence that I know. I don’t want to prove it to anyone. Lets just say it would kill me to keep a secret like that with me.”
“I don’t expect you to, I only expect you give me time to fix it.”
“Fix what, Simon? Let the police handle this.”
“They can’t, or won’t, I don’t know.” Standing my bones creak and I grow dizzy and loose my footing. Stumbling gravity pulls me head first toward the board. I never saw Eli jump up, I only felt him grab me as my fall comes to a sudden stop.
“Sit down sir,” he guides me back to the chair. “Relax I am not going tell anyone who you are. I swore to your father that I would protect you and I plan to keep that promise. But that means that I have to ask you to stop. I understand why you went to Mexico, I get why you want to save this city. And I get that you need have something to leave as your legacy like your father. But figure out a way to do it safer, this life as Adrenaline will kill you.”
My ears were ringing and anxiety had my chest heaving in and out. Something in me knew that Eli was right. I knew that I couldn’t live this live this life forever. I am only mortal and have mortal flesh and bone, unlike Dr. Indestructible who was mostly bio-engineering and mechanical parts.
A headline from the newspaper drew my attention away from Eli. LARGEST GOLD DEPOSIT IN NEW HAVEN HISTORY TO ARRIVE TOMORROW AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE. I jumped to my feet and grabbed a pair of scissors and a push pin, after cutting it out I pinned in on the board and looked at Eli.
“What do you see?” He asked. “All I see are a bunch of red lines and newspaper articles pinned to a board.”
“You used to be in the military, if this were a satellite photo of an enemies city what would you see.”
“That’s not exactly what I did in the military.”
“Focus on the red lines,” I pulled all the newspaper articles down except the one I had just hung and the picture became clear. All the lines surrounded the reserve article.
“He is protecting the reserve? But why?” He asked.
“Not protecting it, surrounding it. In preparation for an ambush.”
I had one person that wanted to get the Rosu family as much as I did and I had to convince him that I wasn’t crazy. More to the point I had to convince him that Adrenaline wasn’t crazy. And I would need some help from the girls to help me.
The black sedan sat near the intersection of Grand and Market just two blocks south of police headquarters. Calico and Blur hopped through the intersection jumping from car to car and off onto the sidewalk. A blue minivan, distracted by the commotion, didn’t realize the light had turned red and sped into the side of a red sports car causing a chain reaction. The black sedan became trapped between three cars, boxed in. Detective Henry Parker was just about to step out of the car and assess the situation when I slammed my foot into the door closing it on him. I slid into the back seat and tossed a large envelope into his lap.
He glanced at the evidence and tossed it in the passenger seat next to him. “What is this?”
“I think you know what it is.”
“I don’t ask questions if I already know the answer.” He glances in his rear view mirror. He won’t be able to make out my face for the hood that hangs over my eyes casting a shadow on my whole face. “Adrenaline?”
“In the flesh. That Detective is the latest plan Rosu has hatched. I’m giving you the opportunity to the right thing and arrest him.”
“I’m sorry son but at this point the only person to have broken any laws that I know of is you. I can’t arrest someone on the picture evidence of some vigilante.”
“I’m not ‘some vigilante’ I am Adrenaline. If you and your men will not do something about Rosu and his crime family and make this city safe again, WE will.”
I shot out of the back of the Detective’s car and got lost into the crowd and could see him looking for me. He stood outside the car staring into the crowd oblivious that he was looking right at me.
Nash Industries sat lit up like a Christmas tree atop Commerce Tower in the heart of downtown New Haven, until nine p.m., at that time the lights go out everyday so that is the time I start my stakeout, the girls have been hitting Rosu’s men hard the last few days but have yet to come by Nash Industries. That is until I spot two hyper flexible girls bouncing across the city streets being chased by a half dozen police cars.
I watch as The Blur runs along a raised concrete balcony a few feet above the sidewalk on one of the buildings below. She is like an acrobat on speed, the girl is amazing. The Calico Cat is no less impressive as I watch her scale a nearly flat wall in a matter of seconds. A few moments later they had lost their tails and were sneaking into the parking garage below The Commerce Tower. I quickly make my way back to Nash Industries and watch as they take out two guards with a couple tasers.
I finger the Kali Sticks on my back as I inch closer to the elevator. They should be coming any moment. I can see the numbers counting up slowly reaching me. As the doors open I dart in with Kali Sticks drawn, but it is empty. The elevator dings as the doors begin to close. There is only one floor lit up on the button tree, the basement button. I get a glimpse of Calico and Blur as they dart out of the stair well laughing as I was left to ride the elevator to the basement and then back up.
I didn’t figure my chances were good that I would find them when I got back to the offices. I moved cautiously in a prone position with my gun drawn. Not about to miss these chicks again I pushed the door to my office open and saw them sitting on a couch in one corner of the office, a left over from my father. He liked to do business there while drinking scotch.
“Please have a seat, Adrenaline,” Calico said.
“Why don’t I just shoot you?”
“Why would you?”
“Because you killed someone close to me.”
I charged them.
Calico, like a cat, jumped from a seated position to the coffee table in front of her and then in one swift move was in the air, flipping over and then behind me. My head stung as her foot struck me, knocking me to my knees. Blur shot from her seat with her knifes drawn and began slicing them in criss cross motions, bouncing off my armored suit. She throws a roundhouse kick that lands on the side of my face knocking me to the floor. Calico does two quick cartwheels and straddles my shoulders dropping to her knees. She places her right knee to my throat and I feel her muscles tense. Stars began to form in my eyes as my oxygen level drops.
I awaken on the couch unable to move, my hands and feet tied behind my back. My mask sits lonely on my desk. They know who I am.
“Well Simon Nash, I must say I am a little surprised. I had no idea a billionaire playboy was such a hard ass,” Calico said.
“You like the sound of your own voice don’t you?”
“Actually I like the sound of bodies falling to the ground after I cut them down for being the pigs they are.”
“My uncle did nothing to you, I guarantee you that.”
“I didn’t kill your uncle.” She said.
“No you didn’t, your sidekick did. Or are you the sidekick I haven’t figured that out yet.”
“You haven’t figured anything out yet,” Blur said. “I didn’t kill Uncle.”
“It was your knife, I saw it.”
“I won’t deny that, but I was trying to save him from Rosu’s men.” The Blur said. “But I failed.” Her head hangs at her small chest.
“I loved him like a father,” Calico steps into my line of view. She bends down, God she has an amazing body, and her blond hair flows like corn silk. Her green eyes look familiar to me.
She pulls her small blue mask over her head revealing her beautiful face. Katrina Mason had loved him like a father and he loved her like a daughter. A single tear rolled down her cheek and I felt a tug on the rope that tied me down. Then it went slack. Blur stood behind me sheathing one of her knifes. Blur was right, I hadn’t figured anything out. I heard the ding of the elevator and swung around to see the familiar dark figure step out of the sliding door.
“When did it start?” I asked Dr. Indestructible as we sat in my office taking advantage of my fathers scotch.
“That night you were at The White House and Rosu’s goon chased me down. He raped me.” Katrina said.
“That explains why you sliced his crotch.”
“He deserved worse,” Blur said.
“You’re right, he did.” I said. “I’m just lost as to what is going on.”
Richard explained that he believes that Rosu is planning something big in the city, what it is exactly he couldn’t be sure but he believes it has something to do with the Rosu Security Firm. He had under bid or muscled his way into ninety percent of the security business in the city.
Within a week I had discovered that The Romanian had secured the business of Kikomoro Tower, Toro Corp, Nash Industries, New Haven Art Museum, New Haven Hospital and nearly all of the warehouses in the Boneyard District and nearly all the industrial buildings in the Ford District as well as the residential neighborhoods of Saints, Coyote Village, Haven Village and Louis Falls. This gave him access to the whole city and soon his security officers outnumbered the police three to one.
The police looked at this as a blessing, less work for them. I on the other hand had a feeling this was exactly what the Romanian wanted.
Sitting atop the Mia Bella watching the dark building that had once been The White House. It looked lonely sitting there with its windows boarded up.
Two men stood outside next to the door smoking cigarettes and cutting up. They appeared harmless but something in the air felt wrong. Crystal Theater was about to let out its production of Fiddler on the Roof. Tuxedos and evening dresses filled the streets. Soon my attention was drawn to an older man and woman with pearls around her neck as they walked toward The White House. The two men stamped out their half smoked cigarettes and turned to move toward them.
I quickly climbed down the fire escape and talked into my ear piece. “I’ve got two muggers en route to an old couple.”
I pulled the Kali Sticks and jumped to the cold winter street. Just as I made my move on the two men, two Rosu Security Officers stepped out of a dark alley, how had I missed them? I spoke into my ear piece again.
“I’ve got two RS officers in pursuit.”
The officers swiftly and silently take down the muggers just as the couple notice they are in danger. They taser the two muggers who fall to the ground and begin to shake in pain. I watch in silence as the couple run to the officers thanking them the whole way. The officers handcuff the two muggers as the couple climb into their BMW and drive away thankful for Rosu Security. A small cargo van with the newly familiar Rosu Security logo sits next to the theater. The officers drag the two men and throw them in, putting on a show for the snapping cameras and flashbulbs of the paparazzi. I decide to follow as they speed away but lost them within two blocks.
“I lost them,” I said into my ear piece. I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.
“I haven’t seen anything tonight,” Dr. Indestructible said. “I think we call it a night.”
Cool early winter air filled my nostrils. Standing atop Louis Mountain overlooking Coyote River I could hear nothing but howling wind as it whipped in from the canyons below. The sheer rock cliff that stood before me was an out. A way to let it all go. A way to never care about Nash Industries, never care about those that I’ve lost, never care about Christof Rosu and his Romanian Mafia. I have no true friends, and no family that cares about me. My father left me in charge of a company I give two shits about and the responsibility of a city that doesn’t want my help.
Gravity began to tug on my shoulders as I leaned over the edge. The moon full hung high in the sky and all was calm. It seemed for an instant the world stood still. The force of the planet pulled harder on me as I bent my knees and extended them with a great force.
I instantly felt the wind whip against my face and I was free. Nothing for me to do except fall. Edward was gone, Russell was gone and New Haven was gone. They all had been left at the top of that cliff. I thought about nothing but the fall, the helplessness and the freedom of sky.
I closed my eyes for a second to feel the adrenaline as it pumped through my veins.
It lasts for only a second and I pull the cord to the chute and I come to a sudden stop, popping back to reality. Base jumping was truly an escape for me.
I maneuver the chute so I am headed toward Nash Estates with its high wrought iron fences. Beyond to the fences stood a large blue Colonial with white trim and white pillars. The mansion stood over looking the Coyote with New Haven in the skyline to the front and Louis Mountain in the back of the mansion.
A white cargo van with the RS logo on side sat just outside the gate. It had been part of the contract with Nash Industries for the Rosu Security to guard Nash Estates as well. Needless to say I was growing a bit uncomfortable with my new bodyguards. I think I would stick with Eli, who was waiting for me at the mansion and as my feet touched the roof of the house.
I checked my watch, heart rate fine but I’m a full thirty minutes late. I guess its a good thing he works for me and not the other way around. Inside my home office he had the things I had asked for, a large map of New Haven, post its, thumb tacks and red string.
After placing all the items on my office wall I began placing thumb tacks on all the locations that I knew had procured the services of Rosu Security. Next we began to string it all together and a red web appeared on the map. The city was completely covered with red string.
His company literally had eyes on the whole city. But all that work done and I still couldn’t see what he was up to. And I knew Rosu so I knew he was up to something. I left Eli to stare at the board after it had given me a headache.
The upper middle class neighborhood of Coyote Village didn’t look the kind of neighborhood where a superhero would live. But that is exactly where one lived, Dr. Richard Thomas aka Dr. Indestructible.
Richard Thomas had been a noted bio-engineer who worked for Nash Industries when he was shot by a man he experimented on, he gave the man his sight and the man tried to take his life. Richard and my father were best friends and Gerald Nash gave him a new body, the real Six Million Dollar Man, more like six billion, but who is counting. Dr. Indestructible sat behind his kitchen table with his wife Mary and his two daughters. I sat across from him. Munching on carrots sauteed in brown butter we glared at each other. Something told me that if he had answered the door and not Mary I would still be out in the sedan with Eli munching on celery sticks. He didn’t speak, he only glared. After we finished our awkward dinner and Mary took the kids upstairs to get them ready for the evening, Richard showed me to his office. I had been here many times. Richard had been the one to take me under his wing when…when it happened.
“How could you?” I demanded.
“Do what Simon?”
“You know what. You killed my uncle.”
“I assure you I did no such thing.”
“You might as well have. Your little proteges did.” He rushed me placing his large had over my mouth and pushing me back hard against his study wall. His black eyes stared into mine, they blinked with lights inside them. I knew that Richard was in there somewhere but I really couldn’t be sure how much of him was real and how much of him was android.
“You will not speak of my life inside my home, you know the rules Simon and just because your uncle died doesn’t give you the right to break that sacred bound we had.”
He released me but I knew he would be on me in a second if I mentioned it again. But I had to. “I’m sorry, know that, but I have to know why they would want Uncle Ed dead.”
“It wasn’t them, I can promise you that.”
“I saw her knife, the one they are calling The Blur. Who are they Richard, tell me.”
“I will not, It is our bond, just as I will never tell your secret.” He sat down behind his desk.
“Do you remember why I came to you?”
“And what did I tell you?” He asked.
“That you would die before you gave my secret.”
“That’s not the only time I’ve made that promise. You will never get it from me. Think about why you came to me, think about how we have ended up here. You will figure it all out. Trust me when I tell you that your origins are closer than you realize. You can show yourself out.” He said as he pointed to his study door.
Leaving Richards home and driving back to mine I couldn’t help but think of Russell.
We left The White House at two a.m. one summer night. After a few drinks I was feeling bulletproof. “When are we going back up? I cannot wait to jump again.” I said.
“Dude it’s your building, you tell me when,” he was along for the ride.
Being the best friend of a Billionaire surely had its perks but the truth was that I wouldn’t have had any other friend and Russell never wanted anything from me. I guess that always made me want to offer it more.
“There is something about the feeling of falling. The feeling just before you pull the cord that I can’t explain. When you going to jump with me?”
“Man that is your thing, I will continue to pick you up when you jump, but I’m not jumping from a building.” We laughed and hugged each other. He rubbed my head like I was his little brother and I had just done something to make him proud.
Screams suddenly filled the night air as we made our way through Sherman Park. We knew it was dangerous to walk through the park at night with the upsurge of violence lately, but it was one more thing for me to get an adrenaline rush from. Besides my father had paid extra police force lately to patrol the area. That however didn’t explain the scream.
High pitched shrills grew louder as we crossed a small creek and got to the heart of the park. Suddenly a rustle of leaves caught my attention to the right.
“Man I told you we shouldn’t have come this way.” He said.
“Oh don’t be a pansy.” I teased.
Screams echoed throughout the park and I bolted into the woods. I could hear the heavy foot of my friend running behind me then suddenly I heard nothing and saw nothing.
When I woke up I could feel a wet warm and sticky substance on my face. I pulled my hand across it lifted it to my face, crimson blood filled my fingertips.
“Russell,” I tried but I didn’t hear myself, the words were quietly falling out of my mouth. All I could hear was a piercing ringing in my ears. I must have been blindsided with a something. Someone must of hit me in the head.
“Russell, where are you?” I stood up and staggered around, searching the woods and the path where we had been but found nothing. I reached into my pocket for my phone to call the police but found only an empty pocket. Searching all my pockets revealed the same thing, I had been mugged.
After I crossed the small creek again it grew so dark that I couldn’t see. I stumbled over something, my foot dragging across something soft. I bent down to get a closer look and found myself staring right into the eyes of Russell, his dead blue eyes.
….yet another jewelery heist has led to the death of a Rosu Security Officer near the Boneyards in New Haven…CLICK…Rosu Security Officer stabbed in heist is only the latest death in the crime spree…CLICK….this marks the seventh Rosu Security Officer to be attacked in a crime spree officials are calling the worst the city has seen since Gerald Nash introduced his bill….CLICK…”they are going down, we will catch these criminals. And that is exactly what they are, just because Mr. Rosu has ran some less than ethical businesses in the past there is no evidence that this business is anything other than a legal up standing business.” That was Detective Henry Parker, the head of the new ‘Anti-vigilante task force set up by Mayor Natalie Blume…CLICK…
I find it disconcerting that everyone thinks that The Romanian has turned over a new leaf, this business is far from legal, it has to be a front for his extortion scheme, the one that most likely cost my uncle his life. He had nothing to do with Rosu other than he was just one more victim of his greed.
The funeral appears to be over,” Eli said as the few people that had came dispersed. I stepped out of the car and walked slowly through the falling leaves to the hole that held the box that held my uncle. My father hadn’t even came back for the funeral. He said he had too many things to finish up at the ranch.
I bent down and picked up a hand full of dirt and tossed it into the open grave.
“He was very proud of you.”
Her voice was sweet. I turned to see Katrina standing a few feet away leaning against a tree. Her blond hair blew in the autumn breeze and her short black skirt showed her firm legs. I had forgotten until now that Ed had told me that she used to be a gymnast in college. She was beautiful and her Eastern European genes showed on her small frame. She certainly was stunning.
“I know, I only wish I could have helped him.”
“You did your best Simon. He would have never blamed you for anything.”
I thanked her and was on my way. I was headed back to my car when I realized she would be without a job. What an odd thing to think. I couldn’t let that happen, he loved her like a daughter. I turned to her, I dug the keys out of my pocket and tossed them to her.
“What is this?” She asked.
“The White House.” I said.
“What about it?”
“He left it to me. I don’t want to work it, it’s yours, I don’t think I could step foot in there again.”
She tossed them back. “Me either, thank you though.”
“Will you be okay, money I mean?”
“I’ll make it.” She said.
I walked back to her and handed her my card. “My cell is on there, call me sometime, I mean if you ever find yourself needing a job.” She wrapped her long slender arms around my neck. Then a small framed woman walked up beside her.
“Simon, this is Allison Berry, my roommate.”
“And girlfriend,” Allison added casually.
“Oh, I had, I mean…” I stammered.
“It’s okay, really,” Katrina said.
We all parted ways and I went to my estate across The Coyote in the Hills.
Staring out my window onto the city I found it difficult to concentrate as my mind flowed from Ed to Russell to the vigilante’s and to Dr. Indestructible. What had he meant about our origins? How could I be remotely close to these women, these murderers, these thieves? I had to have answers and I had only one idea on how to get them. I had to ask them. The buttons beeped as I dialed the number from the card I held in my hand.
“Hello, I have reconsidered your offer.”
“Oh, well I’m glad you have come to your senses Mr. Nash, I will swing by your office tomorrow to work out the details. I’m sure this will be a fantastic working relationship.” His voice was like nails on a chalk board as I thought about sleeping with the enemy. But partnering with The Romanian seemed the only way to draw The Calico Cat and The Blur to me.
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.
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.
Next I found this one.
Next I cut around the mask to get rid of the black sheet on which the mask is laying.
Then I brought the photo into an editing app and added shadows and dirt and a little more blood splatter and saved it.
Next brought the first picture back into the same photo editing app.
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
The sting of the cold wind slaps against my face as I hit terminal velocity (it is a big long complicated equation but believe me when I say it is 120 mph) is when I feel the most alive. Falling with nothing between me and the earth but air and fear. My gloved finger tickles the rip cord, I am afraid, but not of falling or dying, or even worse, living, if I were to survive a hit to the ground or the side of the mountainp. No, I am afraid that I will pull the cord before I get a few more seconds of freedom and loose the feeling that I have right now, that feeling of excitement and fear and adrenaline all pumping through my veins.
Racing toward the mountain at 120 mph I have zero room for error. One centimeter too low and I might clip the mountain, one centimeter high and I might over shoot my target and that would be just as bad. With my arms pinned to my side and my legs together I shoot through the air like a bullet aimed at a target. The aerodynamics of my body allow me to build that speed to terminal. Suddenly I push my arms and legs against the force of the wind to spread them out to make a falling X. Thin sheets of fabric shoot from between my legs and under my arms connected to my side. I look like a flying squirrel. My “Wingsuit” blends with the black night sky as I glide in, still flying at roughly 100 mph I raise my body to create more drag and in turn slows me down. I did this for two reasons, one, I don’t want to pull my chute if I don’t have to, and 2, hitting one of those bastards is going to hurt bad enough I don’t want to hit him at 120 mph.
The wind grabbed the suit and my fall slows slightly and I could see the house atop the mountain about a mile away, doing a quick calculation in my head I should be right on target. As I glide closer I could see three flashlight beams surveying the area, two in the front of the house and one in the back. I should miss the roof by inches and be on target for the stationary flashlight in the back. He stands still, waving the light in a wide arc back and forth.
I came in just as I had planned, narrowly missing the red clay shingled roof top of the two story Mexican Villa. I pull my chute and slow drastically, but not enough to land, lifting my legs I outstretch them as my legs connect with the guards back. His flashlight goes flying across the back of the compound but he lies on the ground and never made a sound. I pull back on the handles and slow more, releasing and dropping to the ground my chute continues its descent down the mountain until it tangles in a tree.
Checking my pulse I noticed its 70, a little high, my wingsuit hits the ground as I peel it off next to the body of the guard, I think he’s alive but I can guarantee he will never walk again. I felt his spine crack the second my boot connected. I have two more to take care of around front or I could head in through the back, the way I see it the less guns I have to deal with later the better. I might as well take them out while I have the upper hand.
A bag I carry on my back held my all my life support essentials, gun (I don’t use unless I have to, not that I have anything against guns I just prefer stealth), two fixed blade knifes about seven inches long and two Kali Sticks (black batons). I slide the knifes into their homes in the sheaths on my legs and place the gun in its holster on the small of my back. The Kali Sticks, they rest comfortably in my hands.
The Alvarez Drug Cartel is housed in this Villa which Diego Alvarez stole from the Medina family. No I am not Military, Enrique Medina happens to be a very good friend of the family and I decided that I would take care of his little problem, also Enrique’s beautiful young daughter is being held in an upstairs bedroom of the home. Sure the Mexican Police should be in charge of getting it back but with all the gun power and the corruption in the police force there they were having a hard time.
Do I think of myself as a vigilante, sure, but do I think I am doing anything wrong? At times, but at times not, who would help these people if I didn’t. Plus I have that little phobia problem.
As the light of one of flashlights comes within inches of my face I quietly charge one of the guards and with a left and right and the left uppercut of the Kali sticks the guard went down with a hard thud. My eyes quickly surveyed the scene and I realized that I have lost sight of the third guard and I no longer see his flashlight beam. Then I knew where he was the instant the barrel of the gun touched the back of my head.
He chattered something in Spanish that I can vaguely discern as “I have an intruder,” and then he got a reply from a hand held radio that tells him to bring me into the house. “Drop the sticks,” he said in his native tongue.
I did as I was told and the metal batons clank as they hit the concrete walk. Then he taps my knifes and I do the same, next he pulls the gun from my back and I don’t hear it hit the ground, must have kept it.
The long walk into the center of the house with a gun to the back of your head isn’t as fun as it sounds. Large Oak doors that stood on the south side of the central courtyard I recognize as Mr. Medina’s office, I guess Diego has taking that over as well.
The large Oak doors slid open revealing two armed men and a Senor Diego Alvarez sitting behind a large pine desk, it was stained blond and matched the cream stucco color of the walls, unfortunately the cream walls had bright red splatters. Too many men, and probably women, have lost their lives in this room. Hopefully little Sarah was still alive upstairs.
“Well what is this Halloween? Because you don’t look like you are a Lucha Libre.”
“You referring to my mask Senor Alvarez?”
“This hardly seems fair now does it? You know who I am but I have no idea who you are?”
“My name is Adrenaline,” I said
The room roared with laughter.
“I guess you are here for the bounty on my head. Ever since my home land has betrayed me and placed a price tag on my head I have had to deal with vigilante’s like you. But you see all those blood and brains on the walls. That is all that is left of the ‘vigilante’s’ that have tried to take me in. Kill him.” He says with the wave of a hand.
“Wait,” I said. “I’m not like those other vigilantes.”
“Oh, how is that?”
“I don’t care about the money. As a matter of fact I’m not even claiming it. I don’t like money, and I have more than I know what to do with now. You see I’m going to kill you and take this house back and give that little girl upstairs back to her father.”
“Oh, she isn’t a little girl anymore.”
Again the room explodes in laughter, and I take the opportunity to duck down and swivel around, sweeping the leg of a goon. I grab the gun from the man that was holding me hostage who now lays curled in the fetal position and pull the trigger placing a bullet between his eyes. I find my gun tucked in the front of his pants. I raise both arms out like I’m hanging on a cross and pull the triggers taking out the two armed guards. I quickly turned the guns on Diego and to my surprise he has pulled a sawed off shotgun from under the desk and raised it on me.
As I stared down the barrel of the shotgun I wonder how I’m getting out of this one. I see his finger the trigger. “I guess your just another stain on the wall.”
I can hear footsteps running up behind me and I dive to the right and close to the door just as he fires right into the gut of the one of his henchmen. I scurry through the blood soaked floor and out into the courtyard. Up to the left on the second floor a pretty young girl wondered out onto the balcony eying all the commotion going on downstairs. Her thin silky night gown clung to her dark skin. She is as beautiful as the day I met her, I remember spending several weekends with her at our ranch in southern Texas and my heart pounds at the sight of her. I check my pulse 81, getting higher, but I have to get her out of this nightmare.
“Sarah,” I yell. She jumped, startled by the sudden eruption of gunfire again. Two guards begin shooting in my direction and I bolted for the stairs to try to get to Sarah. I fire the guns at the guards coming down the stairs and take out kneecaps and bodies fall all around me. Sarah turns toward me but seems as scared by my appearance as she does her captors.
Her white nightgown explodes in red and she clenches her stomach and she falls to the floor of the balcony.
“No,” I scream as I dart for her. I rip off my mask and she looks into my eyes.
“Am I going to be alright?”
“Yes, I promise.”
“I wouldn’t make promises you can’t keep,” Diego’s voice came from above me.
I looked up and the barrel of the shotgun sat pointed at my forehead. With movement like lightening I move my head to the right and grab him by the wrist and twist the gun from his hand. I turn it on him and pull the trigger, landing the shotgun blast in his chest. He stumbles backwards and over the railing.
I pulled Sarah into her room and close the door as I hear sirens filling the rising dawn. I kiss her on the forehead as she struggles to breathe.
“I have always loved you.
“I have always loved you too. I wish things had been different.”
“Thank you for…” her voice trails off and I can hear her last breath escape her lungs.
I am holding her head in my lap crying as the Mexican Police bust in, guns drawn.
Paying off the Mexican Police to forget that I was there hadn’t been a problem. In fact it had been easy, one could say that it had been their idea to keep the reward on Senor Alvarez. After they had seen my handy work they determined that it was in their best interest to let me walk out of the country a free man, and with all of my body parts that I had entered with.
New Haven, my home, felt empty now. I had planned to bring Sarah back with me but…anyway. New Haven once was a dark bleak place and I had hoped that her light would brighten it just a little more. I stood in my office atop Commerce Tower in the Nash Industries Vice President office looking out over The Coyote and down at my city. Looking out over the river I became lost in the skyline and it should give me great pleasure, it should send waves of pride pulsing through my bones. I should look down on her in amazement at how one man was able to drag it out of the gutter and polish her until she shined. How he took this decrepit city and revived it into a commercial and artistic center of this country. I should be proud because that man was my father.
Gerald Nash stood behind me with his hand upon my shoulder, “It is your city now son. I am not only leaving Nash Industries in your hands, but New Haven as well. It is your city to guard and protect.”
“I can’t do what you have done, sir.”
“I only ask that you protect what I have done, but I have no doubt you will make your own mark on her as well.”
He patted my shoulder and left the office. He would be on a plane to Texas within the hour and Nash Industries would be my responsibility. But first I needed a drink.