Haley: Part 9

Cassie didn’t wait to find out if he’d shoot. She swung her staff at him, hitting the laser encasing his right arm with one of the electrified ends. A bunch of different things inside the casing made popping noises, and I smelled electronics burning, a smell I know a lot better now than I did before I started dating Nick.

Laser Guy started doing what most of the League calls, “the lightning dance.” That’s when you get shocked, and it’s enough to make you flail around, but not enough to knock you out. I don’t know who started saying it, but between Rachel’s gloves, Cassie’s staff, and Vaughn’s lightning, there are way too many people flinging electricity around during team practices. I’ve been hit more than I want to think about. It’s irritating, and it hurts.

The staff didn’t put enough electricity through him to take him out. He got off one shot, but it didn’t go anywhere near Cassie because getting electrocuted doesn’t help your aim at all. It burned through the wall a little above the big window in the living room.

Laser Guy stumbled backwards, out of Cassie’s reach. She didn’t get up, and I could see why. The laser had burned through muscle and bone. Disturbingly, spots of blackened skin and muscle were already beginning to be absorbed and turn red, and both ends of the bone in the center of her leg seemed a little longer than they had before.

Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have time for the bone to grow back before he shot again. He lowered his left arm, pointing it toward her head. He knew how her father had died. Everybody knew how her father had died.

He never got a chance to fire.

I’d started as he pointed the gun. With my first step, I jumped most of the distance between us. With my second and third, I gained speed. With the fourth, I grabbed him and leaped with both legs, hurling both of us through the picture window, shattering wood and glass.

He landed face first in the lawn in front of the house. I pushed myself off his back, hitting the grass with the palms of my hands, flipping over to land on my feet, and turning around to face him.

He began to shout, but I didn’t understand what he said, and maybe that should have been a warning sign, but by the time warning signs start appearing, I’m not rational enough to notice.

So he said something, and I didn’t understand it. Don’t get me wrong, I know he wasn’t shouting, “I surrender!” I could hear his tone of voice, and I could smell him. His smell said he was going to fight.

I said something back, but it wasn’t really words. It was somewhere between a growl and a scream, and I didn’t stand there as if I was making conversation. I jumped at him. He didn’t stay still either. He was pushing himself up with his right hand, and trying to aim the left arm’s laser at me, but he was slow. Cassie must have hurt his right arm when she zapped him, because he winced as he pushed himself up.

I landed off to his left, and a little bit behind him. I stepped forward with my right leg, twisted, and ran my hand’s claws across his lower back, ripping his shirt (he’d ditched the trenchcoat), and leaving bloody trails behind. Frustratingly, none of them broke through the skin, not even my extra claw, the one next to my thumb. I could see a line of my poison dripping downward with his blood.

So, maybe I should have guessed a scrape wouldn’t stop him from the way he didn’t get hurt on the way through the window, but I wasn’t thinking that carefully.

He turned around with the bluish white laser already running. I know I didn’t think about it then, but later I couldn’t believe it. I’d jumped over him on the way out of the house, but I’d moved behind him by then, so when he was waiving that burning laser around, he was pointing it at his sister’s house where she, her husband, Cassie, and his niece were all watching.

Not that he’d worry about Cassie, but you’d think he’d worry about his niece at least. I mean, she was in the front room upstairs.

The beam cut through the pillars holding the porch’s roof up, and it fell in with a crash, but I barely noticed. He wasn’t aiming at the pillars. He was aiming at me. I ducked under the beam, but felt its searing heat across my back. I didn’t even think enough to wonder whether he’d hit me. All I knew was that I wanted the pain to stop.

Not thinking about anything but that, I threw myself forward under the beam, and punched him in the stomach, throwing him backward. I didn’t stop. I jumped on top of him before he got the chance to aim or fire.

I grabbed his left arm, sank my claws into the metal of the casing, and ripped it apart. Then I pulled the insides out, ignoring the sparks. He tried to hit me with his right arm, but I heard it move, and knocked it away, hearing him gasp in pain as my fist hit.

He smelled like fear.

26 thoughts on “Haley: Part 9”

  1. Go Hayley! Woo! -does a cheer-

    Awesome read, loving the Hayley series (although I miss Nick’s technobabble).

    Been trying to picture exactly where this extra claw is though. Is it below the thumb nearer the palm, or more towards the wrist? Or perhaps above it, near the back of the hand?

  2. I have always though that her “extra” claws were equivalent to a dog’s dew claws.

    I can see a problem with Haley. She is terrified about her powers and losing it. Unfortunately, that essentially is her power. She has some benefit with stealth/recon but what good is a timid ninja or a pacifist Wolverine. Could make for some interesting moralistic dilemma/ writing.

  3. awesome lightning dance comment. surprised Nick wouldn’t have called it that before. Also, you spelled niece wrong twice.

  4. captain mystic: Thanks. Nick might not think about it much since his armor routes the electricity around him. As for the spelling, I’ve fixed it. Niece looked wrong both ways to me.

    Silas/Evil Twin: I imagine them as dewclaws too, and have called them that occasionally in the past.

    Mazzon: He may, but we’re still not done with the fight yet… There’s more brutality to go.

    Bill: You’ve been gone long enough to forget about my tendency toward cliffhangers? But seriously, I could have easily made this twice the size, and wanted to. If only I wrote faster…

  5. “electronics burning, a smell I know a lot better now than I did before I started dating Nick”

    Absolutely priceless Jim!

  6. Billy, sweet Billy boy, I knew you would come backkkkkkk — (from “Billy Madison” in case nobody knows that).

    Oh yeah, and Haley gets pretty cool in this chapter. “He smelled like fear” is just a fantastic sentence that says sooooo much. She’s getting very primal, more visceral, and way more instinctive than rational. Cassie has to stop her “walk right in” style sometime soon, it’s not working out that great.

    If I were a journalist, I’d have very little sympathy for a laser-wielding criminal who complains about “brutality” when the superheroes he went gunning for kick his ass with claws and shocks. He burned down part of his sister’s house – that’s called “collateral damage,” it “comes with the territory” and “if you can’t take the heat, don’t get thrown through the kitchen window.”

    Seriously, I wonder why some people become villains other than the fact that clearly it attracts the too-smart sociopath and the too-stupid goon.

  7. Well, the supervillain holed up in his sister’s house, also forcing her to become an accomplice to a crime. I mean, the guy brought laser weapons and stolen money into the same house as his niece.

    Still, if it’s done well, supervillains can make some serious cash. Possibly even enough to pay off my student loans. Others just want to get back at all the people who went out of their way to be jerks. Do you really think people would be as mean to you if they knew you were willing to defy social convention and filet them? Might explain why WoW PVPers treat their enemies with much less dignity and respect than opposing sides in the World Wars did.

  8. I have to back up Bill – seemed kind of short, this go-round. Still, between short transcripts and frequent regular updates, my vote goes to frequent regular updates *every time*.

  9. It’s funny. With the exception of part 6 (973 words), most of the updates in this story have been around 750 words. This post was 899 words. I chalk the “seeming short” aspect of this to:

    1. No dialogue. Which makes it take up much less space on the page.
    2. The update was only action (and unfinished action at that). So it probably seems shorter because it consists of constant movement.

    That’s my theory anyhow.

  10. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    Loved that there was so much going on, but that it came across with almost a slow motion feel. It has a real intensity to it, and feels like we are building to something massive.

    I think that is the reason why it seems short – because we all want more, right now!

  11. I’m sorry. What Jim MEANT to say was…

    **It’s funny. With the exception of part 6 (973 words), most of the updates in this story have been around 750 words. This post was 899 words. I chalk the “seeming short” aspect of this to:

    I’m a m@#$!fu@#&n’ Shaolin Master with this writing game and my style leaves you thirsty for more.**

  12. Ah, right. Now I can picture it. I hate my memory sometimes, I honestly can’t remember them being referred to as dewclaws before…

  13. Dang, only three times? I could swear I’d read “dewclaws” for a description more times than that in the archives. Weird. Guess it really stuck in my head.

  14. Sorry, nit to pick: how can he have bloody trails on his skin if H’s claws never broke it?
    That threw me off for a sec, but still loving it. Big <3's.

  15. Ever notice how even small scrapes draw blood? There’s already diminutive blood vessels in the layers of skin beneath the epidermis. See wikipedia article on “skin” for further info.

  16. Glynn: Mazzon said more or less what I was going to say. I’ve often had my skin bleed without something going all the way through. Scrapes can be annoying that way.

    Glad you’re enjoying the story.

  17. Now the looooonnnnnnngggggg wait for each new update begins, gotta say jim this is an addictive super story, I’m hooked. Now using my power “super will” to will next tuesday sooner.

  18. **Then starts to wonder where he’s been…. picturing ninja assassin attacks, swamp chases, and big explosions…**

    Picture — *Bill so inspired by the work of the great Jedi Master Obi-Wan Zoetewey that he’s been hunched over a computer trying to pull his own webnovel out of his head and into reality. Teeth-gnashing ensues*

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