Earth 2: Part 45

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Mr. Smith found himself sweating. This one most delicate thing, had possibly exited his control, and he needed to keep a lid on this. He needed to get to Jude, before anyone else could. Jean’s message was vague and unsure, but the possibility that this plan was about to go off the rails could not be tolerated.

His contact had been very vague about what to do, but he knew he needed to find out what Jude knew, if anything. Other than that, his instructions had only been to ensure that everyone goes to solve the problem. He didn’t think that any other scenario was likely, or even possible.

He entered the foyer, and much to his surprise, saw Jean and Vanessa sitting alone. “Vanessa! How are you doing? How are you holding up?” He started to ask his next question, but caught himself. There was time to be a good father in more ways than one.

Vanessa looked down. A certain coldness surrounded her. Vanessa’s face cracked into a sea of tears, as Mr. Smith moved closer to her. Vanessa tried to control herself as much as she could. “Paul… Paul’s…” she broke out into even more tears, “Someone’s kidnapped Paul!”

Mr. Smith sat down next to her, and pulled her in close. She moved to crying into his shoulder. “Now, now. It wouldn’t make any sense to charge in ahead of the group, would it? We’ll just wait for Jude to get here.”

Jean began to mouth something, but Mr. Smith’s attention was taken away by Vanessa again. “Dad, you don’t understand. I told them to go without me. I can’t. Last time I could’ve died, but why do I feel so awful about it?” She looked up to him, with her makeup running down her face.

A decade’s worth of thoughts went through his head, all simultaneously. He had been given specific instructions to ensure everyone went, but he didn’t necessarily want his daughter charging into death. This worked better when she was confident in herself, when nothing he could say would ever change her mind. It came to him what he needed to do.

“Vanessa, darling, look at me.” He made a pause for emphasis. “Not long ago, I couldn’t bare to see my baby girl charging off into superhero battles. I was terrified for you. But now, I’ve seen you work at it. For about 3 months, you’ve worked your ass off every day, until you proved to be strong. That feeling you get, is what heroes have. No matter what the cost, they have to act. Firefighters, policemen, human rights activists, and now you.

“I am more than confident in you. You have everything you need. You’re a hero now, and I need to let you go. You’ve made that so much easier, by showing me how insanely capable you are.” He paused a moment to gauge her response. Her crying turned into a look of resolve. “Now go out there, and kick some ass!”

Vanessa looked down again for a moment. Her tears stopped, if for a moment. Her face contorted, and her clenched fist turned white at the knuckle. Suddenly, she looked Mr Smith in the eye, with a steely look that even cut him to the bone. “I’m going to get Paul.”

Mr. Smith was caught off guard by that look. This didn’t sit right. He debated calling after her, but decided against it. He watched as she went out of the room.

“Very good, sir.” Jean nodded.

He stared off towards where Vanessa had gone out. It took him a moment to register that Jean had spoken. “Thanks, Jean, I tried. Now, I need you to ensure that nobody who knows anything can say anything. Go with her, and keep this contained. Call me as soon as anything changes.” He patted his shoulder. “Oh, and Jean? Keep my girl safe.”

He watched on, as Jean exited the room. His phone, as if on cue, began to vibrate. He pulled it out and pressed answer. “Felix, everything is under control on my end. I’ve done all I can.”

“Very good.” Felix entered. “I will be watching.” The call clicked to an end.

 


 

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Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. I hope you’ve had a lovely week, and continue to have a lovely weekend. We’ve crossed the threshold into holiday season, so I do hope you’re holding up alright. I had a lot of help this week from my friend, and I desperately needed it. If you’re reading this, thanks James!

Earth 2: Part 44

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Click here for part one.

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Anastasia sat in the foyer as Jean looked her over. Vanessa sat on the bench across from her. She had run the whole way here, and her chest felt like it was tightening. Her hands were shaking, no matter how hard she tried to steady them. She had finally begun to catch her breath, when Jean stood up.

“Alright, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of major injury.” He rested his hand on her shoulder. “Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a physician when this is all over.” He leaned towards her ear and whispered, “Just breathe.”

“Thanks Jean…” She tried to focus on breathing, and it helped a little. She heard the door open and slam shut. Jude stepped into the foyer, clad in his Dayspring uniform.

“Have you found Paul?” He looked between the three of them. His expression was completely focused.

“Yes, they’re located in the sewers.” Jean pulled out his phone, and tapped on it for a moment. “I’ve sent the location to your cell.”

“Alright, thanks.” He looked down for a moment, and his expression softened. He looked between Anastasia and Vanessa. “Alright, this is different than anything you guys have done yet, especially you, Anastasia. I understand if you don’t want to come, but I’m going to get Paul.”

Anastasia didn’t have to think about it. “I’m going with you.” She stood up.

Vanessa stared down at the floor, and her eyes went wide. She ran her hand through her hair and looked up. She had tears in her eyes, and she stuttered for a moment. “I… Can’t.” Jean stepped in and placed his hand on her back.

“Alright.” Jude turned without hesitation. “Let’s go, Anastasia.”

Anastasia looked back for a moment. She debated doing something, maybe she could give her a pep talk? Vanessa had been nothing but horrible to her, but then again maybe she did deserve some of it. She locked eyes for a moment. She hoped that moment of eye contact could say everything she didn’t have time to, and Vanessa’s brief smile said it might’ve. She followed Jude out the door.

Jude pulled out his phone, looked at it for a moment, nodded, and put it away. “Okay, I know where we’re going. It’ll be quickest if I fly us there, if you don’t mind.”

“Okay.” She placed her arm around Jude’s neck, and he lifted her by her back and knees. His chest was firm, and his arms strong.

“Hold on.” He said, before taking off.

The jolt of the takeoff startled her, and the air rushed through her hair. She looked down at the city, secure in his arms. It was like nothing else she had ever seen. The buildings flew by, and the people and the cars were like miniatures. Being a short distance, the flight came to an end too soon.

Jude touched down in a sketchy looking alley, next to a manhole. He gently released Anastasia, and her arm lingered around his neck.

They maintained awkward eye contact for a moment, before Anastasia removed her arm. “Why didn’t you try to talk Vanessa into coming?”

“This is high stakes, I don’t want her to be here if she’s not ready.” He moved over by the manhole. The cover was already slid off to the side. “Okay, are you ready?”

She nodded, and he began to float down. She took a last breath of fresh air, and began to climb down behind him.

 


 

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Hello, all! Thanks for reading! For all of you in college, I wish you good luck on finals, or congratulations for surviving them already! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. We’re drawing closer and closer to the finale here!

Let me know in the comments or contact page if you have any feedback! Until next time!

Earth 2: Part 43

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Click here for part one.

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Jamal took a deep breath; he had made his decision. “Everyone come here!” He shouted, and his voice echoed throughout the whole sewer.

He paced around the pile, as he waited for everyone to gather. He tried to think about what he was going to say, but it wasn’t easy. He was pretty sure everyone would leave, and he could understand them. If he were in there shoes, he would totally leave.

People trickled in, until about twenty depressed looking men stood around Jamal. He stepped onto a box, and looked out over everything. He took a deep breath and began.

“Alright, so there’s been a change in plans. A robbery was one thing, but a kidnapping…” He found himself wringing his hands, “They’re gonna be pissed.”

“Well, that’s not our fault.” Boris crossed his arms.

“It doesn’t matter whose damned fault it was!” He sighed and shook his head. He took a deep breath and collected himself. “Okay, look. Dayspring and them are gonna find us down here, without a doubt. When they do, they’re gonna rain down hell on us. It’s not gonna be pretty.”

“Well, why aren’t we running?” Jeremiah looked more nervous than the rest of the guys. He was sweating, and his hands were shaky. “If we go now-”

“If we go now, they’ll just find us. Now, here’s the thing. Me and Deven, they’ve seen us, but they haven’t seen all of you guys. They don’t know you exist even.” He sighed again. He was still coming to grips with this plan, but it was all he could do. “Me and Deven are gonna stay, and so can anyone else that wants to. Just know, there’s a real chance you don’t come out of this alive.”

He watched the crowd gathered around him. Immediately, Slim turned and walked away. Jamal was honestly surprised that asshole had made it this far. This whole mess was his fault, so of course he runs away. Soon after, about two thirds of the people left. That was understandable, since they had just signed up to move some stuff, half of them weren’t even at the mansion. People then started to break off one by one, some with a handshake or hug, and some with just a pained look. After a bit, it was him, Deven, and Jeremiah.

Jamal couldn’t believe it. He said anyone who wants to, but he didn’t think it would be him. “Jeremiah, man, you’ve got a family. Don’t do this.”

“I helped make this mess, now it wouldn’t be right to leave.” A tear fell down his cheek, or it could’ve been more sweat.

“Dude, Deven and I don’t have an out. You? You could still leave.” He put his hand on Jeremiah’s shoulder.

“I can’t go back to them after this.” There was hurt in his eyes. “Those kids are young enough to be my kids. I won’t be able to look at myself in the mirror knowing that I left you to clean up after my mess. I’ll reap what I’ve sown.”

Jamal couldn’t help but to hug him. He patted his back, and let go. Deven walked over and gently put his arms around Jeremiah.

Jamal knew he couldn’t just let Deven go. Dayspring would find him, and if they didn’t someone else would. They’d take advantage of him. No, this was what he had to do. This was the only way to get Deven out of this okay. He had a plan.

“Alright then, here’s what we’re gonna do.”

 


 

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Hello, all! Hope you enjoyed. I’m coming up on finals week, so not much to say as far as news. Don’t worry though, it won’t affect upload schedule. Thanks for reading. See you next time!

 

Earth 2: Part 42

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Click here for part one.

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Jean slammed the car into park and got out of the car. He wasn’t just a personal assistant, he was also over the rest of the staff, including security. A breakin meant that they all simultaneously failed at their jobs, and that was not something that he took lightly. Vanessa ran off, and Jean walked up to a man waiting by the door.

“Alright Mr. Reid, fill me in. What have you gathered since I called?” Jean asked.

“Well, eye-witness saw a truck from Freeman’s moving service. He said there were other trucks, but that was the only one he could identify.” He thumbed through a notepad for a moment, and put it in his pocket.

“Alright, Reid, you go examine where Mrs. Newton escaped from the truck. Corner of Marbury and Madison. I’ll see to Freeman’s moving service.” Jean revelled in the one benefit of this superhero business, he didn’t necessarily have to wait around for the police. He was finally able to take care of things.

“Right away.” Mr. Reid ran into the house.

Jean debated following for a moment, but decided against it. He had been informed enough of the state of the house. This was a more urgent matter. After a cursory search for the company, he got in the car, and peeled out of the driveway.

Within minutes he pulled into a parking spot outside of a warehouse. It was large enough to hold several trucks, but only barely. Potholes and cracks were all over the lot. He examined a couple of the trucks, and noticed that a few of them had the logo of the company covered. He turned his attention to the faded brown tin warehouse.

He walked into a sparsely furnished ‘lobby’, and approached the desk. There were a few folding chairs lining the walls, and the desk appeared to be particle board with a faux wood covering. On the desk sat a metal bell next to a sign that read ‘Ring bell for service.’ Jean obliged the sign and rang the bell.

A middle aged balding man walked into through an open door into what must have been storage units. “Freeman’s, can I help you?” As the man approached, Jean noticed the distinct aroma of sewer gas.

“Hello, I’m representing a private interest, and I’d like to take a look around.” The downside to not using the police, is nobody is obliged to help you or answer questions.

“Is your private interest looking for moving or storage?” The man raised an eyebrow.

“Have you made any pickups today?” Jean had to coast on raw charisma and intellect, which more or less meant intellect.

“We make pickups all the time, it’s kind of our business. Why?” The man looked increasingly uncomfortable.

“Anything off of Old Main?” Jean hoped that by grilling the man about the general area of the mansion, he might crack.

The color drained from the man’s face. His mouth hung open for a moment. “Come back with a warrant.” He went back through the door, but that was all Jean needed.

As he was walking back to the car, his phone began to vibrate. It was Reid. “Hello?”

“Sir, we’re here, but all we can find is tire tracks onto a back road. Nobody saw anything either.”

“Look for ways into the sewer, that may be where they moved the goods. The whole place reeks of it.” Jean hadn’t had a proper opportunity to work his investigative skills before. While this was an unfortunate circumstance, he did enjoy handling it. “I need to stop by the house, but I’ll join you when I can. See you then.”

“I’ll call if anything of note happens.” The phone clicked off.

Jean sped home with one thing on his mind. He hadn’t thought of this before, but this could’ve been a more strategic attack than he had thought. He pulled up his phone once he connected to the system, and his worst fears were confirmed. He called Mr. Smith, but it went to voicemail.

“Mr. Smith, the situation is wider reaching than we had thought. Project Cognus may be compromised. Call me immediately.”

 


 

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Hello, all! This was something of my first dive into writing mystery, even if it is just a short bit. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving, however you celebrate it, assuming you’re american. If you’re not American, I hope you had a wonderful Thursday!

Until next time!

Earth 2: Part 41

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Click here for part one.

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Jude walked alone down an empty road. Both sides of the road were lined with small houses. There were a few trash cans dotting the edges. It was cloudy. Decently cool, at least in Gainesville.

He walked along the faint outline of two yellow lines, scarcely visible anymore. There were no people out today. It wasn’t a particularly good day to be out on, and it happened to be during school hours. He stepped between a pothole and a manhole cover.

He studied his surroundings to keep his mind off of what he was here for. It wasn’t pleasant business, but it was something he needed to take care of. A rational person would’ve just gone up and knocked, but Jude had walked past the house five times now and still not gone in. He didn’t know if it was a good idea to put it off any longer, but the idea grew more appealing with each step.

Jude was caught off guard by the barking of a dog. He looked over towards it, and saw a large white pitbull inside of a rusty chain fence. It could easily jump over or burrow under, but it wouldn’t. While it liked the idea of freedom, it was just that, an idea. If you pointed out that its constraints were only in it’s mind, it would still quite happily stay where it was.

Jude turned around and walked back towards his original destination. A few houses past the house with the dog, stood a one story house. What had once been white plastic siding, was now brown, green, or gray, depending on where you looked. The front lawn was a veritable jungle of weeds, and the backyard was worse. One of the windows was poorly covered by a cardboard box and some duct tape.

He walked up the driveway, stepping around the gutted rusty husk of a pickup truck. He paused at what had once been a flower bed. If you hadn’t seen it in its former glory, you wouldn’t be able to pick it out from the lawn. What had once been a wonderful color palette, was now just brown and green weeds.

He finally approached the door. It was a faded blue, only moderately obscured by cobwebs. The siding next to the door was now covered in kudzu. His eyes found their way to a broken doorbell. It was hanging off of the house by a few dirty wires.

Jude raised his hand to knock, but stopped himself. Why did he come here? What did he hope to accomplish? What was he even going to say? He, the planner, had found his way here without a plan. It was just going to be a stop at his old school to make some appearances, but without Paul, Jude found himself here. He couldn’t get past it. He felt like he needed to parse the hidden meaning behind it all.

No, this time would be different. He reached his hand out to knock, but as he did so, his phone began to ring. He flew into the air, a few feet above the house, and answered.

“Hello?” He hadn’t even looked at the number. He was that desperate for a reason, any reason to leave.

“Jude?” It was Vanessa, but she sounded panicked. “Can you come home quickly? It’s an emergency.”

“What happened?” Jude felt a twinge of relief. This might provide him the out that he needed. He didn’t know why he always came here to chicken out at the last second, but here he was, chickening out at the last second.

“The supers from the bank? They took Paul.” She sounded like she was almost on the verge of tears.

Jude snapped into action. This was something easy, something clearcut. No decision to be made, they had crossed a line. “I’m on my way.” Jude hung up and took off. This was something more than just an excuse, this was an actual emergency. He had plenty of time to talk to her later.

 


 

 

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Hello, all! Thanks for reading! This is something of a departure from my normal style, but I’m rather proud of it. I hope you’ve had a great week, and have an even better weekend. Until next time!

Earth 2: Part 40

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Click here for part one.

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Vanessa sat in a salon chair as Phillip attended to her hair. She’d had a long few weeks, and nothing was more therapeutic than scissors running through your hair and good old fashioned crap talk. She was already almost done with her appointment, but she had only gone through the surface of her various grievances.

“So today I gave her the what’s what. I mean really, you can’t be that handsy with someone else’s boyfriend. It’s not like they’re long time friends or anything, they just met.” She sighed. At least there wasn’t any real danger from her, but it was more of the principle of the thing.

“You’ve gotta shut that down! Don’t take that from anyone.” Phillip span her chair around so that she was facing the rest of the salon. “You’re not crazy, I’ve been in your shoes. Everyone said ‘Phillip it’s fine, you’re overreacting, they’re just friends’. Two weeks later, I’m single and they were off together happy as can be.”

“See, I feel like I’m the only one who sees this. I mean-” She was cut off by a pop song blaring from her phone. Which was weird, because that was Paul’s ringtone, and he basically never uses his phone. “Sorry I have to take this, he never calls.”

“You’re good, I’m gonna step out for a second.” Phillip went off towards the back of the store.

Vanessa worked her phone out of her pocket and answered. “Hello?”

“Vanessa?” Anastasia sighed, “Listen, I’ve been trying to-”

“Why do you have Paul’s phone?” She couldn’t believe this. She had thought they had come to some kind of understanding, but evidently not. Vanessa took a deep breath. Maybe there was a reasonable explanation for this.

“I’ve been trying to call Jude, but he won’t pick up.” Now that she talked more she sounded out of breath. “People broke into the house, and-”

“What?” She said a little louder than she intended. She caught a few glances from other patrons, and switched her voice to a whisper. “Where are you? Where’s Paul? Put him on.”

“Okay, I’m not quite sure where I am…” She hesitated. “Paul isn’t here, they took us and-”

“They took Paul? Why did you let them take Paul?” Her heart stopped, and she jumped up from the chair and threw off the styling cape. She was afraid something bad had happened, but this was something awful. This was beyond the treatment capabilities of a deep breath. She was no longer catching glances, everyone stopped what they were doing and outright stared.

Anastasia stammered for a moment. “They took both of us! I got away I don’t know where Paul is! Wait… I think I know where I am.” A car horn sounded over the phone.

“Great! You lost Paul, but you know where you are!” She scoffed.

“Just call Jude and I’ll meet you at the house.” She hung up before Vanessa could get a word in.

“Don’t you hang up on me!” She looked at her phone for a moment and threw it on the ground. The clatter of plastic on tile echoed through the shop. She looked around at the salon and noticed that it had gone silent. Every eye was affixed on her.

The bell dinged as Jean and Phillip slowly entered the shop. “Everything alright?” Jean asked.

“No! Anastasia says someone took Paul, and then hung up. We need to get to the house.” Vanessa went out the door to the car. “Sorry Phillip!” She called back as the door closed.

Jean reached into his wallet and handed Phillip a wad of bills, before running after her.

 


 

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Thank you for reading! Right now I’m working on a blog post to keep you in the loop with what’s going on. This season is drawing to a close now, and I’m super excited to tell you about what’s coming next.

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, and I wish you a good weekend. Until next time!

Earth 2: Part 39

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Click here for part one.

Click here for the recap.

 

Jamal and Jeremiah stood around a manhole cover. The sun was beating down on his back, so Jamal was ready to go down down. He had to admit, he was a little excited to go into an abandoned sewer. All of these tunnels that might not have had people in them for decades, and he would be one of the first. He didn’t get to be first a lot, so he took it when he could.

“Alright, here’s your mask.” Jeremiah handed Jamal a mask with a fan looking thing hanging from the mouth. “You don’t need it now, but keep it on you in case there’s gases.”

Jeremiah bent down, popped the cover off, and slid it to the side. He turned on his head lamp, and started down. Jamal turned on his own light, slipped on Jeremiah’s spare work gloves and followed after him.

The rungs were actually dry, but the smell hit immediately. It actually wasn’t quite as bad as he was expecting, but even a little sewer gas is still too much sewer gas. After climbing down about fifteen feet, Jamal reached the ground. There was a damp looking canal, with a weathered brick walkway on either side. The tunnel went off one way for a while, then forked. The other direction lead straight on and into some light.

“Light at the end of the tunnel.” Jeremiah chuckled.

“Man, how many times have you said that joke today?” Jamal laughed. He didn’t usually go for dad jokes, but this was an exception. He was in a good mood.

“Every time I’ve gone down.” He started down the walkway towards the light.

After about five minutes of walking, they finally reached the light. The tunnel opened into a larger room, with a few lights set up. Wires ran sloppily up to the surface. A couple of people milled around the perimeter. In the center of the room, was the haul. A large pile of TV’s, cardboard boxes, art, and other random crap.

Jamal began to take inventory of what they got. This mansion must’ve had thirty TVs, not to mention creepy old paintings. The eyes of some war general stopped Jamal in his tracks. They looked deep into his soul, and told him that he was wrong. He turned it over so that it wasn’t facing him. This was his day, and he wasn’t about to be told otherwise by a dead guy.

Jamal rounded the back side of the pile, and his heart stopped. In front of him was the kid in the wheelchair. He was laying on the ground, unconscious in dress clothes. He looked to Jeremiah and tried to form a sentence but couldn’t. Jeremiah’s face went white.

“Why the hell is there a person here!” Jamal shouted. His voice echoed through the room, and all motion stopped. He crouched down and put his face in his hands.

Jeremiah stammered for a moment. “You said there wouldn’t be people… We panicked and threw them on the truck!” He backed away.

“There’s more than one!” Jamal felt his plan unraveling around him. What was going to be a simple heist had just turned into a death sentence.

“Well there was, but one of them got away…” Slim appeared from around the junk pile. He was keeping his distance.

Jamal sent a blast of lightning into the wall, leaving a charred black spot. He panted, and looked around at his crew. He felt a pressure in the back of his head as the stress built. He stormed off to one of the side tunnels of the room.

He heard Jeremiah’s voice calling after him. “Keep a lid on the lightning in the tunnels. It could explode!”

Great, he couldn’t even vent. He needed a plan and he needed one fast. It was only a matter of time before these supers got pissed. A robbery was one thing, but kidnapping the blind kid? This was about to go south quick. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t; maybe what he read was wrong. He knew this wasn’t the case, but it was nice to think about.

 


 

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Thank you for stopping in! I’ve had a doozy of a week, and I hope yours has been better. I’m constantly trying to improve, so let me know if you have any suggestions. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Until next time!