Before we dive into the next Project Jericho, I wanted to give you a Stormfall update. As most of you know, my wife and I are expecting our first child in August, so the time line for the second book has moved up. Reshuffling my projects, at this point I’m looking at possible a release around the 4th of July. As always, I’ll keep you posted with any news or changes, but The Negative Man is returning faster than you originally thought.
**14 Years Old**
The hallway we were traveling down was once an underground shipping breezeway, long before the government purchased the facility and turned it into a research lab for powered individuals. Jericho looked terrified, as to be expected of someone his age. I, on the other hand, was furious. My gut told me who was behind this blatant abuse.
We kept going, no matter what awful noises we heard around us. Gun shots, screams, even people dying, self-preservation was the key. I wished that I’d be able to save all the innocent lives that were here, but I knew that was a fool’s hope. Right now, the only person I was in a position to save was the young man who was with me.
“Jericho,” I stopped for a second to appraise the situation. “Up ahead in the exit to this facility. Once we make it outside, we need to keep going, okay? I know your tired son, but just leaving isn’t going to keep us safe.”
If he was tired, he was hiding it well from me. “Dr. Staley, I can fight.”
His abilities were rapidly developing, faster than even General Fisher could believe. I knew he could fight, but we were outnumbered and it was a losing proposition. “Use your talents to stay alive, not take life. Once we can find a safe spot, we’ll talk more about what to do.”
He was reluctant but agreed. With time running short, we went back on the move. The noise seemed to be quieting, that is until we reached the exit doors. The entire place rocked as explosion after explosion began to go off. Cooper was destroying all the evidence.
I tried to open the doors, but they were jammed. “C’mon…” The explosions were getting louder, closer.
Jericho pushed me aside and reached up towards the ceiling. Sparks flew out of the old light fixtures that hung there and a blast of energy blew the doors off the hinges. Fresh air rushed into the musty old tunnel and the two of us ran outside as quickly as we could.
We weren’t more than twenty feet away from the exit when the building began to collapse. Dust and debris went into the air and whoever was unfortunate enough to be stuck inside probably had very little chance of survival. It sickened me to think how many people just died needless deaths.
Off in the distance was the perimeter fence that enclosed this research station. “That thing’s electrical, but for some reason I doubt that to be a problem.”
He tried to smile, but the situation didn’t call for happiness. We ran over there and he was just about to do his thing when voices started yelling. “Stop there! The two of you on the ground now!”
Three armed soldiers were running towards us, their automatic rifles ready to fire. My worst fear had come true. Jericho, he went from horrified kid to protector in an instant. Using the electric from the fence, he didn’t even think twice and directed it towards the oncoming gunmen. They never knew what hit them as the burst fried them immediately.
There was no time to go over what just happened, that for the first time in his life he had to kill someone. Instead, I grabbed him and went back towards the fence. The electricity seemed to no longer be a problem thanks to Jericho’s attack, so I went to work with my knife trying to cut us a hole. I couldn’t work fast enough.
When I managed to make a gap big enough for us to get through, I pushed the stunned teenager through and followed behind. We ran off into the national park that was spread out beside the lab and waited. As night began to lift and dawn approached, only then with daylight to help us navigate did I decide it was safe to leave.
“We’re going to have to lay low for the time being Jericho, but I promise we won’t forget what happened today.”
Gone from his eyes was the childlike innocence, replaced with confusion and even fear. “I never want to feel this helpless again.”
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