By the time Haley, Jaclyn, and I got changed and went downstairs, Vaughn had calmed down, but we didn’t get to talk to him much. We said goodbye in the parking lot and watched him drive off in his mother’s Audi.
Then I drove Jaclyn and Haley home, Haley next to me in the front and Jaclyn in the back.
Continue reading Bullies and Counselors: Part 4
“Worked for your grandfather in the ‘worked for one of his companies’ sense or in the ‘foot soldiers in his Legions of Evil’ sense?” I asked.
“A little of both,” Vaughn said. “Actually a lot of both. All their grandparents were pretty high up in both places. Grandpa hired in a bunch of his people into positions where they could have a legal paycheck. Fact is, he did more than that, whenever he found someone that his potions could affect, he moved them here. I think it was one of those ‘breed a super race’ ideas. Obviously, it didn’t pan out.”
Cassie said, “The kids didn’t have powers?”
Continue reading Bullies and Counselors: Part 3
I don’t remember much of the drive over. I wanted to ask Haley a bunch of different things, but with Jaclyn in the car it didn’t feel right. It also seemed kind of nosy.
It took about thirty minutes to get to the studio. Normally it would have taken fifteen, but the after-school traffic slowed everything down. South High was practically in the suburbs. The Grand Lake Martial Arts Academy sat midway between downtown and the edge of the city. In the 1880’s it had been near the edge of Grand Lake. In the 1950’s, it had been Cannon’s Hardware before Cannon’s became an auto parts chain. The red neon “Cannon’s Hardware” sign still hung parallel to the building, stretching from the top of the second floor to the top of the first. It wasn’t lit.
A painted, plywood sign with the words “Grand Lake Martial Arts Academy” rested on the ledge above the first floor of the brown, brick building.
Continue reading Bullies and Counselors: Part 2
South High had money.
Unlike Central High, my high school, South had a new building built in the late 1990’s during better economic times. It looked more like an office building. Think gleaming mirrored windows, white walls, and beautifully landscaped lawns. Of course, in the middle of February lawns were a memory. Snow covered them to a depth of about a foot.
I parked my mom’s car in South’s parking lot, which, I couldn’t help but note, was definitely better plowed than our lot.
Continue reading Bullies and Counselors: Part 1
A thin, almost surgical blast flew from Solar Flare’s hand toward Ray’s head.
I didn’t see Jaclyn’s hand move, but it met the plasma in mid air, outlining her hand and arm in white and splashing out of her palm. She gave a gasp while Ray screamed.
Bits of plasma fell toward Gena and the other man, waking them both up screaming in pain, and splattering across their armor.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 18
Solar Flare didn’t stop burning when he landed. White and yellow flames covered his body.
I checked him for any hint that he might have calmed down since crashing the McAllister’s Christmas party. His face was immobile. His lips were a thin line.
It felt like the wrong kind of calm.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 17
Bullets bounced off my helmet, and the guitar, hitting the stealth suit. With the full suit, I would have just felt the impact. With the stealth suit, I felt each individual bullet. It hurt.
Purely out of habit, I pointed my arm at Ray and blasted at him with the sonics. The answering shout and a pause in the rain of bullets made it worth it.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 16
Circling around, I tried to think of the next step. If they had equipment in the SUV, I didn’t want them to have access to it, so I dipped back into the roadway, firing at the SUV’s cargo area and hoping I’d destroy anything that mattered inside.
When I started firing, Ray and the other guy were already moving. By the time the laser had melted a few holes in the vehicle’s side, they’d already run to the edge of the woods and started to return fire.
I angled myself upwards, over the trees, and out of their sight.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 15
Jaclyn started moving a couple minutes after the door shut.
I could hear her push herself up, fall once, push herself up again, and then I saw her black, heeled boots on the floor in front of me. She stopped for a moment, looking (I assumed) at the people on the floor, and then ran to the window on the far side of the room.
I heard the kitchen door open, followed by a gasp.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 13
I couldn’t quite understand what any of them were saying, but the tone of the conversation sounded ugly.
“Ugh,” I said, “I can’t make out who it is. Can you?”
Haley listened and frowned, “I think it’s the agents from the coffeehouse. We’d better hurry.”
We both stood up and she looked over the side of the railing as if she were considering jumping over.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 12