It took less than a second for him to fly under me, flip around to face me and grab my throat with both hands.
His face told me everything I needed to know about his intentions. Screaming incoherently at me, he squeezed the armor around my neck. It didn’t break, but I could feel it move under his fingers. Cords of muscle visible in his forearms, he strained his arms to put as much force into the squeeze as he could.
For that moment, my armor held.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 43
Kids don’t really know adults. What I remembered of Jaclyn’s grandfather from the picnics was a man who spent a lot more time laughing, telling funny stories, and coaxing me into racing Jaclyn. I think I only ever won one race. He gave me a forty-nine foot head start out of fifty feet and even then it was a near thing.
As a crimefighter though, he had the old school, “fight the criminals, and run from the cops” approach.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 42
As I ran toward the table in the middle of the main room, I wondered just what else putting HQ on high security did. What if it sent an alert to other hero groups? I didn’t feel like explaining all this to Guardian or the Midwest Defenders.
Glancing at the screen, I saw Travis, Haley, Marcus and Cassie crouched at the forest entrance, in costume and looking nervous.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 41
Wind blew out of the tunnel, rattling parts in their boxes and tools hanging the walls. In the middle of it, I could see the hazy shape of the girl. I wondered what effect the sonics would have on her. Would sound do nothing or would it disrupt whatever connected her to herself in that form?
I didn’t want to kill her, so I decided not to think about it. She was Daniel’s problem.
“She’s kind of… dispersed mentally,” he said, “but I can do this –“
The hazy form flattened as it hit an invisible wall, face, glasses and the back of her skull interpenetrating each other. She dissolved into a colored gas, reforming a few feet away as cloudy version of herself.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 40
I punched the distress call.
Above us, scattered lights began to blink slowly red.
I looked up. “I didn’t know that happened.”
“Me neither,” Daniel said. “It looks like we’ve got a lot of dead bulbs.”
With that we got another round of phone calls — except we got one less. In addition to Vaughn, Jaclyn didn’t call back.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 39
Having watched the recording, I understood why the mayor had slipped under everybody’s radar for so long. We had video right here of him planting commands into the brains of an entire team of heroes while simultaneously having almost no evidence of it.
The fact that everybody had stopped and started talking on his cue pointed in that direction, but not inarguably. It was purely circumstantial evidence.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 38
Sitting on my bed later, I tried to think through my next move.
I didn’t for a minute intend to seriously consider anything Magnus thought he had to offer. It sounded like he wasn’t going to be any help in a fight and I couldn’t see how cutting off access to the mayor’s money would do any good. I would have blown him off immediately except that I had been freaked out by the fact that he’d called me on my cell phone.
Not that I still wasn’t a little freaked out by that.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 37
I stood on a corner a couple blocks from my house. The street was dark and music came from the house behind me. With all the windows shut, I couldn’t tell what kind except that it definitely included a bass drum. Cars lined the street in front of it. A man in a devil costume walked up to the front door and stepped inside.
I felt naked. My armor sat back in HQ and I wasn’t wearing the full stealth suit — just the part that could fit under clothes.
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 36
“OK,” I said, “I’ll take a look at the recording tonight and put something together for the local news.”
“Thanks, Nick,” Travis said, “Once we get this asshole off our backs, we can get back to fighting crime instead of other heroes. Which reminds me, how did you end up fighting Tomahawk anyway?”
I told him.
“Red Lightning’s lair? That’s unbelievable. You’ve got to take me down there.” Travis put down the Denali book and not, I noticed, on the pile. It was placed diagonally next to the pile.
Fighting an urge to pick it up and put it back, I said, “No reason you can’t go. Just talk to Vaughn. He let me and Haley in.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 35
I decided to take the day off from costumes, but the day didn’t cooperate with me.
School went okay that way. I saw Vaughn and Cassie in the halls and said, “hi,” but that was about it. The day didn’t fall apart till I got home. I arrived before my parents, pulling the mail out of the mail box and grabbing the paper off the front porch. I unrolled it to find myself on the front page under the headline, “ROCKET AND TOMAHAWK BRAWL DOWNTOWN.” A smaller headline below it said, “Mayor Calls for More Assistance.”
Continue reading In the Public Eye: Part 34