Category Archives: Web Serial

“FUBAR” – Part 2

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Val stepped out of the car, glancing up and down the seedy Chicago street. It was dark, and the area looked deserted, but that didn’t mean no one was watching. Val crossed the sidewalk quickly, her heels stepping over crumpled bags of chips and cigarette butts, two bodyguards right behind her. She telepathically scanned the old brick building, and even though she didn’t sense any danger, she let one of the bodyguards go in first.

Blueblood had set the meeting place. That meant she needed to be more cautious than usual.

They stepped inside a pool hall. It was big enough to hold six pool tables, a bar, and a dozen or so stools. Two of Blueblood’s men were playing a game, one of them lining up a shot with his cue. No sign of Blueblood himself or Joey, and that made Val worry. Not out of personal concern for Joey’s well-being, but out of the knowledge that if he hadn’t made it back, then the job had gone very, very wrong.

If things had gone wrong, it would benefit Blueblood. He just needed to make a show of trying to help her father so no one suspected him when he made his murder attempt. (Or more likely maneuvered Val into making the attempt. She doubted he’d risk doing it himself.) He may have ordered his men to fail, or set them up to without telling them. Either way, if something had happened to Joey, it was because Blueblood wanted it to. And him eliminating Val’s minions without her permission didn’t bode well for their future partnership.

Then Val noticed a third figure in the room: JB. He was hunched over on one of the barstools, sucking soda out of a glass through a straw.

“Hey, kid,” she greeted. Then she turned back to the men. “Where’s Blueblood?” Continue reading

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“FUBAR” – Part 1

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Moreen sat on the edge of her hospital gurney, her right foot tapping rapidly on the floor. From her curtained-off cubicle, she watched doctors, nurses, and the occasional police officer rush past. Someone would moan or cry out occasionally, drowning out the hushed conversation and beeping medical equipment. The ER was a hive of activity, none of it enough to distract her from the pain in her arm or the worry gnawing her insides.

A familiar figure in goggles and a tight, blue and yellow suit spotted her and rushed up.

“How are you?” Harris asked.

“Fine,” she grunted. “Any news?”

“You’re not fine. Your arm’s broken, right? They putting you in cast?”

“Surgery first. They need to put in wires or something. It’s fine. Any news?”

She knew the answer even before he shook his head regretfully. If he’d had good news, he would have blurted it out before asking about her arm.

“We’ve got eyes on every possible bolt-hole they could be taking him to,” Harris said. “Giordano’s and Madame Morphine’s faces are plastered across the news. We’re hauling in everybody who’s ever spoken to them for questioning. And a psychometrist is going over the whole hotel. We’ll find him.”

“I should be out there, too.” Continue reading

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“Don’t Let David Puebla Die” – Part 7

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Dave opened the stairwell door to find Joey Giordano, Madame Morphine, and another goon coming up the steps. The four of them stared at each other for a fraction of a second before all hell broke loose. The goon started shooting, and Dave yelled at the others to run.

Chung and Attwater pulled Puebla back down the hallway as a bullet stung Dave’s side. Giordano charged up the last few steps, and Dave braced himself. The sleeve of the other man’s suit jacket had a bloody tear (Moreen? Was she okay?), which would make him stronger than normal. Dave sidestepped when Giordano swung at him, trying to use the man’s own momentum to throw him. But Giordano was too good a fighter; he didn’t overextend the punch. When he missed, he pivoted and threw another.

Dave raised his arm to block, then used the fist of the same arm to pop Giordano in the jaw. Giordano lurched back and hit the doorframe, knocking the door off its hinges. Judging by that reaction, he wasn’t as strong as Dave yet. But this was no time to play nice. Dave aimed another punch at this head, but Giordano jerked out of the way at the last second. Dave’s fist hit the wall—and went straight through it.

Dave wrenched his hand out of the hole, but it cost him a precious second. Giordano brought down both fists onto the back of Dave’s head. Dave’s vision went white, and he staggered. Pain spiked through his skull, and he tried to shake it off, but Giordano didn’t give him a single instant. He socked Dave in the stomach. Continue reading

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“Don’t Let David Puebla Die” – Part 6

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Moreen walked down the hallway slowly. Ostensibly, she was taking her time so she could observe every detail of her surroundings. In reality, she wanted to spend as much time outside of their rooms as reasonably possible. Every second was a blissful reprieve. Moreen had barely been able to handle one roommate in college; now she was sharing living quarters with four of them. It was a good thing the trial wasn’t far off, because if she didn’t have that to look forward to, the DSA would show up at the hotel to find four murdered bodies and Moreen laughing maniacally.

At least she had her own room in the suite, and the guys were all acting professionally. Being the lone woman of the group, there were a lot of ways the situation could get shitty. (She didn’t worry about Dave, but she’d never met Agents Attwater and Chung before.) But she’d only been bothered by the standard roommate stuff: people leaving their dirty dishes lying around, the TV being turned up too loud, yada yada. She reminded herself that Puebla, Attwater, and Chung had been stuck together for weeks now. If they could stay locked in a hotel room for that long, then Moreen could handle it for a few more days. She’d just keep taking every opportunity to go do recon and stop by the lobby for coffee and cookies.

A door opened in front of her, and she tensed. Then a mother dragged two children into the hallway, scolding them for goofing off instead of getting ready to leave. Probably not working for Belmonte—unless he was recruiting a lot younger these days. Moreen returned the mother’s distracted smile as they walked past each other, the family to the elevator and Moreen to the stairs. A flight of stairs wasn’t much compared to her usual daily exercise routine, but she’d take any chance to stretch her legs that she could get.

The stairway was empty and quiet except for Moreen’s echoing footsteps. When she reached the lobby, it was almost the same. The man at the front desk spoke to someone over the phone about cancelling a reservation, but there were no other guests. The tables and chairs that were normally full during the morning’s breakfast buffet were deserted, and empty luggage carts sat along the wall. Moreen spotted the cookie basket at the front desk, but first she went to get coffee.

She was pouring cream into Dave’s when the automatic front doors opened, and the man at the front desk cut off mid-sentence. Moreen turned surreptitiously to see who’d walked in. Continue reading

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“Don’t Let David Puebla Die” – Part 5

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Val met Blueblood for ice cream. The parlor was small, shabby, and deserted except for the nervous employee behind the counter. Part of the vacancy could be blamed on the end of summer and onset of cold weather, but not all of it. Val wondered what Blueblood had done to get the place to themselves. It really was just the two of them, as Blueblood had requested they both come alone. Val had brought some men anyway, hiding them in the coin laundry next door nearly eight hours earlier, in range for her to telepathically signal if something went wrong. She hadn’t sensed anyone of Blueblood’s, which probably meant he’d hidden them out of her range with a sniper rifle.

She wished Blueblood had dropped the charade and let them both bring minions openly, mainly because she wanted the chance to see JB again. Without Distortion blocking her powers, Val could get inside the head of his giant keeper and take care of things. She could also buy the kid some ice cream, which was the least she owed him.

Val selected a cup of something chocolate with cherries in it, while Blueblood showed an unshakable dedication to his theme and ordered two scoops of blue moon. At least, Val assumed the color was the reason he ordered it. That flavor tasted like corn syrup and fake fruit flavoring, and most people who enjoyed it were under twelve. They sat across from each other at one of the bright purple, plastic tables and started with small talk. You couldn’t jump right into plotting crimes and betrayals, of course. You had to ease into it.

“But the cameras love you,” he said as they talked about the fickleness of media attention. “You have a style that makes headlines, and you make it look so effortless.”

“Stop it. I’m blushing,” Val deadpanned.

“I mean it. It’s impressive. Shame your father doesn’t think so.” Continue reading

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“Don’t Let David Puebla Die” – Part 4

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Day two, and Dave was already going stir-crazy. He’d thought he’d at least make it to the end of the week.

He, Moreen, Puebla, and Agent Attwater sat around the coffee table playing cards, while Agent Chung took his shift to sleep. They were playing Canasta, which needed two decks, and while the first was a regular set of cards, the second was superhero-themed. Each number showcased a different hero. The kings all showed the Crimson Phoenix, his photographs touched up from when they’d been taken back in the fifties. Victory’s image graced the queens, and White Knight was stuck on all four jacks. He was in different poses on each card: mid-run on one, and standing triumphantly with his hands on his hips in another, but he looked like a dope on all four. Nobody had confessed to owning the deck, and they were all acting like it had spontaneously appeared in the hotel room.

“So, how exactly do you get your image on a deck of cards?” Puebla asked as he set down the jack of diamonds. It showed Dave with his arms crossed, unsmiling. The photographer must have told him to look intimating.

“Bachelor’s degree in criminology, two years training at the Academy, and a lot of luck,” Dave answered.

“You’ll note he didn’t specify good luck,” Moreen added with a smirk. Continue reading

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“Don’t Let David Puebla Die” – Part 3

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The most important decision was what to wear.

Okay, that was an exaggeration. Val had other important decisions to make: how much to threaten versus when to play nice, whether to demonstrate her strengths or trick them into underestimating her. But her wardrobe would make or break everything. No, really. It was true. There were few greater opportunities for a fashion faux pas than when meeting other supervillains. Show up in regular clothes when everyone else is wearing their costumes, and it’s like coming to a job interview in a torn T-shirt and ratty jeans. But arrive in costume when everyone else is in their civies, and you look like an idiot. You had to gauge your associates and the situation beforehand.

Fortunately, Val knew a little about Blueblood and the Fox Woman. The Fox Woman hadn’t worn a costume since her fortieth birthday, and Blueblood’s version of a uniform was a suit and tie. There was no need to don her mask and all the leather, especially not for a private dinner. Val wore a black dress, long-sleeved and knee-length. It would be perfectly acceptable for a business setting if not for the plunging v-shaped neckline that showed off her formidable cleavage. She completed the look with a necklace of black pearls and the most kick-ass heels she could find. They were mostly black except for the heels themselves, which were shiny metal spikes that ended in points sharp enough to pierce flesh. She wouldn’t be able to run in them, but she’d risk it to make a fierce first impression.

She rode in an elevator with Joey and two other of her father’s men, all of them in expensive business suits and smelling of aftershave. When the doors opened with a ding, Val stepped out into a restaurant. Continue reading

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