Monthly Archives: August 2016

“Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 9

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Val woke up coughing, her throat scratchy and dry. Where was she? She opened her eyes—and nothing changed. The world was pitch black. Had she gone blind? Was she dead? She couldn’t be dead. She could only feel a few aches and pains up and down her body. Hell was bound to hurt a lot worse than this.

She was lying on her back atop something hard. A tile floor?  She started to sit up—

“Don’t—”

Her forehead smacked something solid, and she fell back with a curse.

“Don’t move.” It was White Knight’s voice, strained and rasping right above her. “We probably shouldn’t talk, either. I don’t think we have much air.” Continue reading

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“Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 8

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The back of Dave’s skull felt like a cash register that had been smashed open with a crowbar. He put a hand to his head, groaning, and tried to get his bearings. His eyes were closed. Why were his eyes closed? Well, that was easy enough to fix. He opened them and saw a hole in the ceiling, sparks jumping from torn electrical wires. When had that gotten there?

Jeffries spat a curse.

Oh, right.

Dave pushed himself up so fast that dizziness nearly took him back down again. But it wasn’t fast enough. Jeffries was already on his feet. His massive fist swung at Dave’s head, and Dave knew instantly that he wouldn’t be able to dodge in time. He flinched back on instinct, but Jeffries’ fist never made contact.

The bulky man screamed, clutching his head as if someone had set his brain on fire. Movement caught Dave’s eye near the hole in the ceiling, and he saw the Black Valentine glaring down at Jeffries like a vengeful goddess. Either she’d just saved Dave, or he’d hit his head so hard that he was hallucinating.

Jeffries’ eyes widened as he saw her, too, and he jumped a good four feet into the air. His meaty hand grasped for her feet, but she scrambled back just in time. Instead, Jeffries grabbed the edge of the hole and tore off a chunk of ceiling as he came down. The same chunk that the Black Valentine was standing on. She fell with a startled cry. Continue reading

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“Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 7

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Val sprinted up the stairs. She’d gotten a stitch in her side on the fourth floor and was still climbing. Why was this building so big? What did a courthouse need besides a few courtrooms, some private offices to bribe people inside, and maybe a food court? What exactly was on all of these floors? Nothing interesting, that was for sure. She caught the thoughts of a few frightened bystanders hiding under desks and gave them a telepathic nudge to get out of the building, but there was no sign of the action yet. Wait—

The feel of a punch knocked her back a step. She wavered and barely managed to catch her balance. That was White Knight’s mind. He and Jeffries were fighting, and she stayed on the very edges of their thoughts so she wouldn’t feel any more hits. They weren’t alone. Nearby, someone dashed down a hallway, calling for JB. That would be the DSA agent in the ugly brown pantsuit. Val couldn’t remember her name. But where was JB?

Val raced up one last flight of stairs, the kid’s panic calling her like a blinking neon sign. She could feel the sweat dampening his shirt and dripping down his face. His hand touched the plaster wall, tracing it as he tried to find the stairs, but each doorway he reached had furniture inside. Where was the damn stairway? He’d gotten turned around and there wasn’t enough time—

“JB!” she shouted. She could see him now, moving in quick jerky steps. He stopped at the sound of his name, and the sheer explosion of emotions he felt made Val lightheaded.

“I can’t find the way out,” he said in a dazed voice. “I keep looking into the future, and no matter what I do it’s just the bone-shaking boom of the explosion and the building crushing me as it comes down. I can’t get it to change.” Continue reading

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[Insert Update Here]

Today’s the first day after my big cross-country move, and I figured I wouldn’t have time to post this week’s update until late evening. What I didn’t take into account is that I won’t have internet set up at my new apartment for a few days. I’m writing this on my cell phone, and the next update is saved on my laptop, so…yeah. *headdesk* I’ll post it as soon as I can. Sorry for the wait!

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“Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 6

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Agent Moreen Lee rushed up the stairwell after Dave, her breaths short and quick. She didn’t like trailing behind him, but there was something to be said for having a bulletproof human shield in front of you.

“This place must have ten floors.” Dave’s voice echoed off the tall, blank walls. “They could be anywhere.”

“The Black Valentine mentioned a helicopter. Head for the roof,” Moreen said.

Which meant they had to climb every single stair in the whole damn building. When they reached the tenth floor, Dave yanked open the door so hard that it came off its hinges. He tossed it aside, and they found themselves in the corner of a nondescript gray hallway.

“See any way to the roof?” Dave asked.

“You go right, I’ll go left. Shout if you find more stairs.”

Dave turned to her, his eyes full of annoying concern. “If you run into Jeffries—”

“I’ll shout. You’ll be able to tell I found Jeffries and not the stairs because I’ll be shouting profanity.”

“I think I’ll shout a polite request for help if it’s me.”

“Great. Get going.”

Moreen walked swiftly down the hall, Glock held out in front of her but pointed at the floor. The walls were lined with wooden doors that opened to small offices. Plaques displayed room numbers, and she kept her eyes open for one that said “Roof Access.” The whole floor was ominously quiet. If Jeffries had already left in his stupid helicopter, she was going to be pissed. Then again, maybe the Falconer or whatever his name was could ask his birds to track the machine to where it landed.

A bump came from the room to her right. Either something had fallen off a shelf, or someone was in there. Moreen’s arm muscles tightened, but she kept her gun pointed at the floor. The door was cracked open. Moreen approached it slowly, alert for any sign of movement. This could be a trap, someone waiting in there to shoot her. She shouldered the door open, and of course the hinges creaked. Continue reading

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