I thought about that. With everything that had happened between the two of us, I still didn’t see Sean as evil. I did think he was massively, hugely messed up. From what I’d seen, his father was close to, if not actually, abusive, and had cheated on Sean’s mom with at least one person (Camille’s mom), and maybe more. Growing up with someone like that wasn’t exactly a head start.
It wasn’t a surprise then that Sean had bullied people (I wasn’t the only one). After Haley told me about how their relationship ended, I’d overheard more stories about relationships he’d had. He’d sounded controlling, and manipulative.
Considered rationally, he wasn’t the kind of person I’d want around me.
When I was honest with myself though, it wasn’t because I’d thought things through rationally that I didn’t want him around. It was because I thought he was a jerk.
Continue reading The Unusual Suspects: Part 3
I finished all my homework by seven—giving me more than enough time to get to headquarters, and finish what I was really excited about—Cassie’s armor.
I closed my laptop, pushed back my chair, and stepped away from my desk. Then I looked out the window. From the third floor of DePuit Hall, I could see most of Grand Lake University’s main campus. Lights came from dorms and lecture halls, standing out in the night, and illuminating the snow that covered the grounds.
It was January in Michigan after all, and that meant winter.
I considered whether I really wanted to cross the city in weather this cold. I’d fixed up my van, but I’d paid more attention to adding armor than making it comfortable.
Continue reading Doom: Part 1
“Hey,” I said.
She held up her left arm, looking down at the League communicator on her wrist. It looked just like the ones Nick made for us when we were in costume.
She tapped on the screen, waited, and then said, “It’s her. Thank God.”
Then she pulled a roll of duct tape out of her utility belt, floated down, and taped Julie’s mouth shut.
I laughed. “Duct tape? Did Nick put that in there?”
She froze. “No. I… Wait a second.”
She pulled up the communicator again, and this time she pointed it at me. After tapping the screen she said, “OK, this is going to be weird, but we split off early last summer—your time.”
“My time?” Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 22
I had to shut her up long enough for us to escape even if it meant shutting her up permanently. As much as I hated everything she wanted to do to us, I still didn’t want to kill her.
I flew across the street, passing the True, sometimes flying through them. They weren’t moving.
I looked back—no one was moving. Looking forward I found one exception—Julie. Even the True running with her had stopped.
I thought about that. She’d been hired to catch Tara, but maybe she didn’t get paid if the Blues caught her themselves?
Julie ran across the laundromat’s parking lot, still shouting. I couldn’t hear her, but from her lips, it looked like, “Don’t move! Don’t move! No one move!”
Then she smiled.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 20
I pulled my finger away from the screen, and the button changed from “Red Alert” to “Alert Sent.”
I was just about to call Travis to ask what Tara wanted me to do when the situation changed again. In the moments between noticing the Blues with the motorcycles and the Greens jumping out of their vans, and sending the red, the Blues had jumped off their bikes to join their fellow Blues in firing shots at Rod. At the same time, the Greens had taken a position off to the side, and they weren’t carrying handguns like the Blues. They had automatic rifles—specifically AK-47’s.
One of them had a grenade launcher.
I didn’t know how much trolls could take, but Rod couldn’t stand there forever.
As I came to that conclusion, one of the Blues stood up, waved his arms and all the True stopped firing.
He started talking, and taking the chance that Julie wasn’t in range, I listened in.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 19
Samita didn’t say anything, and honestly, I had been kind of rude. Not that Tara seemed to hear.
She waved us forward, following Travis toward the corner—though not too closely. She didn’t have a death wish. Travis had already reached out, stuck his claws into one of the wooden beams that held up the floor above us and ripped it down.
He didn’t even act as if there were any resistance. In one moment, the beam was holding up the floor. In the next, it was in two pieces, both of them dangling from the ceiling. In the moment after that, Travis ripped a hole in the floor large enough for any of us to crawl through.
Tara turned toward us, and said, “Quickly, now. Samita and Rod, please climb through. Travis help them up. I’ll go last.” Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 17
I gave them a few moments, and that was a mistake.
Remember how I’d protected myself by phasing out enough not to hear? It’s great for avoiding control by super-powered slavers, but not so good for hearing what’s going on.
My fear was that they’d take Julie’s gag out, and she’d start telling me what to do. What I didn’t think of was that they’d take her gag off, and she’d immediately tell them how to turn off the bombs and open the door.
I don’t know if that’s what happened, but as I was about start my final countdown, the door opened, and the Blues walked in with Julie.
She stood with them, trying to order everyone inside the circle to do something.
Not that I had any idea what.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 16
She folded like she’d been punched, her hair falling into her face as she bent over.
I hadn’t killed her. I hadn’t planned to either. I’d thought the material looked like the kind my grandfather designed for the League, and then improved again and again over the years. With one shot, I’d proved my guess right.
Better than getting it wrong for sure, but I wasn’t going to dwell on that.
Then I flew completely out of the door, shooting toward the woman I’d shot, and turning invisible.
Not waiting to see the results, I dove back into the building, and grabbing Samita’s jacket I flew down the stairs, through the door, and inside. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 15
So, Julie was awake, and what great timing. What would happen first? Would her friends notice that it hadn’t been her shouting back, or would Julie manage to take off her gag?
It’s days like that that made me want to get out of bed in the morning.
“Time to move,” Travis said, “grab her keys, and get us out of here.”
I looked down at the door. It had a key, and a dial—like on a combination lock or a safe.
That explained all the clicks when she’d opened the door.
“Not that simple,” I told him. “I don’t know the door’s combination.”
“Combination?” His mouth twisted, probably in frustration. “You’ve got Julie, right? Make her tell you.”
I looked at Julie. She didn’t say anything. Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 14
Remembering the lion’s advice, I stayed as close to the reality I was in as I could. I didn’t make an effort to let sound reach my ears, and so I floated through the wall in an eerie silence.
I happened to check the other side of the wall as I floated through. The cheap, fake wood paneling turned out to be just as fake as I’d guessed. Wooden beams and plywood held it up. The real, concrete basement walls were three feet further back, and between them sat machines. Maybe my brother would have been able to name each one instantly, but I couldn’t.
On the other hand, maybe Nick wouldn’t have been able to recognize them either. They didn’t look high end. Improvised would have been a kind word for it. Think computer desktops without the covers, and circuit boards with wires soldered on and leading from the boards across the floor and into the wood paneled walls.
I recognized the electrical outlets at least. Every plug was filled, and each electrical cord led to a surge protector filled with a spaghetti mess of more extension cords.
Continue reading Rachel in Infinity City: Part 13