I got up anyway, putting my hand in a puddle of ketchup as I pushed off.
He drew his right hand back and took a step forward. “Don’t you listen?”
“He’s got a learning disability,” Cassie said.
She stood in the aisle between the freezers and the end of the shelving unit, sword in her right hand.
Continue reading King of Storms: Part 4
“Here’s my idea,” Cassie whispered to Haley, “you find the hostages while Nick and I attack the guys in front. If you can free them, get them out. If you can’t, at least you’ll probably get a chance to surprise the guy watching them.”
Haley nodded, transforming her hands and feet to grayish claws with long, sharp nails.
I found myself a little curious if her teeth had transformed into fangs as well, but it didn’t seem like the time to ask. She seemed a little sensitive about that.
Continue reading King of Storms: Part 3
We arrived while the ambulances were still there. I flew in in the full Rocket suit. Haley drove her grandfather’s car.
We met up across the street in the parking lot of a brick, two story office building of an oddly modern design that housed a couple dentists’ offices. The walls had been shaped to resemble waves, inspired no doubt by the name “Grand Lake Dentistry.”
Continue reading King of Storms: Part 2
“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
Haley’s family’s cottage turned out to be half again the size of my parents’ house. Two stories tall, it extended down the Lake Michigan side of the dune.
Cassie and I waited on the wide wooden porch.
Marcus opened the door and let us in. “Come on in. So did you find him?”
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 2
“So let’s get on with it,” Cassie said.
We sat in her mom’s car on Herrick Street on the north side of Grand Lake. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t in Grand Lake itself. The road ran north/south parallel to the shore. Homes lay on either side of it, some of them “cottages” in name, but larger than my parents’ house.
Continue reading Rattling Cages: Part 1
“That would be bad,” Daniel said, straightening as much as he could in the cramped back seat. “But,” he continued, “you’d probably know if it were someone in your family were doing that kind of thing.”
Off to my right, Haley said, “I might not. You don’t really think he’d be there, do you?”
“I don’t know.” Daniel sounded thoughtful. “There’s got to be some reason he’s coming back every year and that’s as good a reason as any. What I think we ought to do is get together some night and I could try to find him.”
Continue reading The New Heroes League: Part 5
He really could have been here to go after us, but I hadn’t seen any hint of it. Of course, if he were good at his job, I wouldn’t.
“Then we have to get him,” Cassie said.
She tapped away at the keyboard. “The sightings all seem to be ten, twenty miles north of Grand Lake. I wonder if he’s staying at a cottage?”
“In December?” I said. “Can people use them in the winter? I always thought they were summer only.”
Continue reading The New Heroes League: Part 4
We drove home from Lansing on Saturday afternoon. “We” in this case turned out to be Daniel, Cassie, Haley and I. Night Wolf’s car could barely hold four people, much less nine. Even though it only looked like a corvette at this point, it still didn’t have much of a back seat. We swapped seats and drivers at the halfway mark of the two hour drive.
Touring the offices of the Michigan Heroes Alliance had turned out to be every bit as interesting as touring the offices of your average lobbying firm, chamber of commerce, or business.
I was bored out of my mind.
Continue reading The New Heroes League: Part 3