Category Archives: Web Serial

“Parade of Fools” – Part 4

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

A cool breeze carried the smell of hot dogs and popcorn from one of the street vendors, and Dave hoped his stomach didn’t growl on live television.

“—really have to commend both local and national law enforcement,” he finished up. “If it weren’t for the quick response of the Chicago PD and the DSA’s tireless efforts to track me down, I wouldn’t be here today.”

A pretty reporter held a microphone in front of him, and he looked at the camera as he spoke. The parade hadn’t started yet. They stood in a fenced off section of city street where the marchers and support teams were either sitting around waiting or frantically rushing to get things ready on time.

“Thank you, White Knight. I think I speak for all of us when I say it’s wonderful to have you back.” The reporter turned as the camera focused on her. “We’re less than twenty minutes from the start of the parade now. Tune in for continuing coverage throughout the day. Back to you, Karen.”

The camera lowered, and Dave relaxed. That was the hardest part of the day, and he’d made it through without sticking his foot in his mouth. Now all he had to do was smile and wave.

He shook hands and exchanged thanks with the reporter and cameraman before they packed up and moved on. Dave’s handler from PR, a tiny yet formidable woman in a business suit, checked her watch and told him to start heading for the float. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Parade of Fools” – Part 3

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Val stood inside a payphone booth in front of gas station outside San Diego, California. It was one o’clock in the morning—or make that three o’clock Central Time, which was what she’d been living in for the past several weeks. Combine that with the four-hour flight from Chicago, and it was no wonder she was tired. But tiredness was a luxury she couldn’t afford right now.

“—extremely concerned,” her father said over the phone.

“I know, but—”

“Evelyn spoke with me,” he went on. “You realize every action you take reflects back on my reputation. This is an embarrassment. I’m not happy.”

Val wanted to hang up on him. She wanted out of the phone booth, with the wads of old chewing gum stuck to the sides and the dirty receiver that was probably giving her at least two different diseases. She wanted away from his dry, disapproving voice.

“Don’t worry about Evelyn, Dad. I’m about to solve that problem. Trust me.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Parade of Fools” – Part 2

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Dave took three days off from work—not voluntarily, but because his entire chain of superiors insisted he needed time to rest and recover. A good idea in theory but awful in reality. Dave loafed around his apartment with no direction and no focus. He tried reading a few things but didn’t make it past the first chapter before tossing the books back onto his shelves. The TV couldn’t hold his attention, and when he’d turned to model-building (a hobby he’d picked up as a teenager to challenge his control of his strength), he’d crushed the tiny plastic ship pieces in his frustrated grip.

He didn’t get a single full night’s sleep. But nightmares weren’t surprising. It would be stranger if he didn’t have them. It didn’t mean he needed professional help.

Finally going back into the office was a relief. Walter might not have approved him for active duty yet, but that didn’t mean there weren’t reports to write, meetings to attend, and papers to sign. It would be nice to be busy, not to mention having people to talk to. Or so he had thought. Once he walked through the doors, it was a different story. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Parade of Fools” – Part 1

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

The old family lake house was becoming quite the hot scene. The dusty sheets had been taken off the furniture, the refrigerator restocked, and people came and went at all hours. Blueblood, of course, didn’t tell Val who half these people were. He’d taken over the house like a king visiting a noble’s estate, claiming the master bedroom for himself and letting his men make a complete mess of the place. Val wasn’t in a position to stop them anymore, so she watched and brooded and spent a lot of time reading minds. Only the minds of Blueblood’s men, that is. Blueblood himself had mental shields as strong as she’d feared, and her attempts to subtly break in came to nothing.

“I’ll kill him,” Joey had said when he’d seen her blackened, infected hand. “I’ll beat him until he fixes it.”

Val had to grab his arm to stop him. “Not a good idea to hit someone whose touch can kill you.”

“I’ll wear gloves. I’ll use knives and hot irons. Give me half an hour alone in a room with him, and I swear—”

“No,” she’d said firmly. “We play along with him for now.”

So here she was in the dining room, playing along as Blueblood introduced his latest guest. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 5

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Blueblood paced up and down the study, his steps clipped and jerky. Outside, the wind pushed against the house, flinging heavy raindrops against the windows. Val settled herself on the leather couch and followed Blueblood with her eyes. His hands were folded behind his back, his head bowed, and every so often his mouth would twitch. He reminded her of a pot of water that was just on the verge of boiling, the surface trembling and about to erupt at any second. His men had been smart to rush out of the room.

“You should have sensed White Knight escaping,” he spat, stopping suddenly in his tracks.

“And you should have had better security,” she replied coolly. Was this it? She had expected a much bigger explosion.

“This isn’t about me,” he snarled.

“No. It’s about—”

“It’s about you. You know, I almost think you had something to do with him getting away.”

Val’s stomach flipped completely over, but she hid it, curling her lip in disdain. “And what would I possibly gain from that?” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 4

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Dave had been conscious for about two hours when a small woman with curly, graying hair walked into his hospital room. The sight of her surprised him so much that he cut off mid-sentence in his conversation with Moreen and Harris.

Harris turned around, saw her, and jumped up. “Hey, lady, you can’t be in here.”

He hurried forward to usher her out, but the woman didn’t slow her pace by a single second. She walked straight at Harris and passed through him like a ghost, not stopping until she reached Dave’s beside.

“Oh, David,” she breathed. She usually looked good for her age, but now her face was waxen and every wrinkle seemed to have grown deeper. Guilt hit Dave like a freight train. His capture had been all over the news, and it must have been horrible for her. She reached out a trembling hand and took hold of his.

“We’ll give you two some privacy.” Moreen stood up and grabbed Harris, who was staring down at his body and patting his chest as if to assure himself he was still solid. She muttered something angrily as she pulled him from the room, and Dave caught the words “—his mother, you ninny.”

“I’m fine, Mamá, really. You didn’t have to come all this way.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 3

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

JB sat on the dusty chair and listened to the sound of rain hitting the roof. Thunder rolled occasionally in the distance, and wind made the old house creak and moan. It was deceptively peaceful, and he enjoyed it while he could. He especially enjoyed that he was sitting in the warm, dry house while Cleto had been sent outside to dump a body in the lake.

“Hey, kid,” said the Black Valentine. “I found where my dad stashed the wine bottles. You want some?”

JB thought about ignoring her. He was still angry, but there was no denying that talking to her was about a hundred percent better than interacting with anybody else around. She only pretended to care about him, but at least she put in that much effort. Nobody else even bothered to pretend.

“Sure,” he said. Then he felt suddenly cold. “Wait. Your dad’s here?”

“No. He owns the house, though. Stocked it up with some pretty good vintages, too.”

She pressed a cool, smooth glass into his hand. JB took a sip, finding a dry white wine that was actually pretty decent. He’d gotten a lot better at telling apart good wines from bad ones since he started underage drinking. Maybe it would come in handy one day. It would be nice to have a useful skill to put on his resume now that he’d essentially dropped out of school. He could be a bartender or something.

Yeah, right. Outliving Blueblood and getting a normal job was a fantasy. As long as he was dreaming, he might as well picture being an astronaut. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 2

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

This time, the meeting was on Val’s turf. And by turf, she meant a lakefront house that her family owned and used to visit when she and her sisters had been children. She stood in the living room in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over the lake. On a bright summer day, it held a beautiful view: the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan, white sailboats drifting across the distance like clouds. Today, though, it was dark and gray, and the only view she had was of sheets of rain pounding against the lake’s surface.

The furniture was covered in white sheets to protect from dust, and the heater hadn’t been turned on long enough to warm the place. At least the heating worked, though, and so did the electricity. Yet the house remained eerily silent and empty-feeling, and Val felt like a ghost within its walls. How many years had passed since the last time she’d been here?

Her thoughts went back Dave, as they’d been doing all day no matter how much she tried to think of something else. She’d wanted to go check on him in person, but she’d already taken one stupidly huge risk today, so she’d settled for tracking him down and sending flowers. Northwestern Memorial Hospital was the best in Chicago. He’d be okay.

Except no, he wouldn’t be okay for a long time, no matter how good the medical treatment. Val should have gotten him out of there a lot sooner. She should have never allowed Blueblood to torture him. He probably hated her, and he had every right to. Val had stood by and done nothing but watch as he got hurt. How could he ever forgive her for that?

The floor creaked as Joey approached her from behind. But even if she hadn’t heard him, she would have sensed his general aura of grumpiness before he spoke. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 1

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start from the beginning here.

Dave drifted in and out of consciousness for a while. Every time he woke, he’d keep his eyes shut, feeling an overwhelming and nameless sense of dread. Then he’d remember that he’d escaped, that no one was waiting to torture him more. Eventually, he opened his eyes. The off-white, rectangular ceiling tiles of a hospital room greeted him, and he could hear muffled voices from the people in the hallway.

“Hey, man.”

Dave turned his head, which was cushioned by a thick pillow. Harris and Moreen sat next to his bed.

“How long—” Dave coughed, his throat scratchy. “How long have I been out?”

“A couple hours.” Harris tried to smile, but it didn’t quite stick. “Which really isn’t enough. You should get back to sleep.”

Sleep sounded nice. Dave’s head felt cloudy, and his limbs were heavy and numb. But something nagged at him. He was forgetting something, or there was something he needed to do and….

He jerked up. “They’re working together. Blueblood, the Black Valentine, and—” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial

“FUBAR” – Part 8

Fight Crime! Banner

 

Val didn’t pour herself another gin and tonic. She put the empty glass to her lips and leaned back her head, getting a small swallow of melted ice with just a hint of flavor. No more alcohol. She was going to need every fraction of her brainpower to stay alive. She gazed around the room, sizing up the few men who’d come to watch Joey and Cleto’s game, a crumpled wad of fifties waiting on the side of the table for the winner. She’d be able to mind-control one of them, maybe two, to cover her exit if things went south.

The heavy pool tables would make decent cover in the event of a firefight, and the cue sticks could be close-range weapons in a pinch. She’d already mapped the layout and knew about the man Blueblood had out front. That only left Blueblood himself, the most dangerous of them all. She had to keep distance between them at all costs.

Speaking of Blueblood, he walked jauntily out of the kitchen while munching on potato chips. “Ready to have at him?” he asked her.

Val set her glass onto the bar with a resolved thunk and stood. “Lead the way.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Web Serial