The Negative Man: Project Jericho (The Conclusion)

Project Jericho Cover

18 Years Old

Today was supposed to be a joyous day. Jericho had just graduated college with a double major in computer science and electrical engineering.  Unfortunately, our identities were finally compromised.  With a gun pointed at my head by a former friend and colleague, I was ready for this to end.  “What are you waiting for Cooper, pull the damn trigger.”

Cooper seemed to hesitate. “Not until you tell me everything I need to know about that monster you’ve been raising.  When he comes back, we need to know how to contain him.”

Was he serious? “That’s never going to happen.”  For emphasis, I spit on his shoes.  “When he gets back, you’ll have to deal with the mess you’ve created.”

Two armed soldiers moved forward. “If he’s not going to tell us, just kill him.  We don’t want to be here when that thing arrives and is pissed off.”

“That thing has a name, it’s Jericho.” They talked about him as if he was a disease.  It made me sick to know I lived in such a world.  “Maybe one of you two has the brass balls that Cooper doesn’t seem to possess.”

Cooper hit me in the mouth with the butt of the pistol. “Ellison, I knew you were a sentimental fool, but this has gone too far.  If you don’t help us, I’ll have your legacy branded as a traitor.”  He seemed to think ruining the name of a dead man was sufficient motivation.

It wasn’t. “You’ll rot in Hell for what you’ve done Cooper.  You think what you’ve done is to help this country?  No, the only thing you’ve accomplished is to help incite fear and panic.”  Whether they liked it or not, supers were here to stay.  “You were so blinded by anger and hate that you unknowingly created an enemy out of a friend.”

It hit him I wasn’t about to crack. He cocked the pistol and pointed it back at my head.  “I’d do anything to protect my country from those abominations.  Yeah, we might’ve opened Pandora’s Box, but we also have to shut it.”  He couldn’t even look at me.  “This is your last chance Ellison.  Don’t make me do this.”

I smiled, knowing my fate was resigned. “You’re right Cooper, we did open that box.  But if you think you can shut it now, you’re sadly mistaken.”  Closing my eyes, “I don’t regret a single thing I’ve done.  When they write about this in years to come, I’ll be the hero and you’ll be the villain.”

“Goodbye Ellison.” Those were the last words I heard before the gun went off.  Then silence.

**Jericho**

I picked up our order and headed home. It was Taco Tuesday and my adopted dad gave me the green light to order as many as I wanted.  Two dozen later, I was nearly there.  As I opened the door to our building, I heard a gunshot.  Panic hit me.  “No, no, no!”

Running as fast as I could, I got to our apartment to see the door was kicked open. In the middle of the living room, the greatest man I ever knew, Dr. Ellison Staley was dead.  I dropped to my knees and cradled his head, crying.  “Dad, no dad, please don’t be dead!”

There was no denying the fact he was gone. His lifeless face looked surprisingly at peace.  With blood all over the floor and me, I ran over to the window to see if I could spot his murderer.  Across the street, getting into a black SUV was Dr. Leonard Cooper.  He saw me from my window and smiled.  With a roar, I shattered the glass between us with as much power as I could muster.

20 Years Old

“Much like you hunted me and Dr. Staley down, I’ve hunted you down Cooper.” I enjoyed watching the man struggle against the rope binding him in place.  He tried to muffle out a few words, but the rag stuffed in his mouth kept it shut.  “I’ve got no reasons to listen to your lies.”

It was night over Capital City. I enjoyed the night more than the day as the sun was too harsh and bright for my eyes.  This was the perfect setting for the end of this saga.  “I’ve judged you guilty Cooper, guilty for the murder of my father Ellison Staley.”  I gave him a punch to the gut.  “Guilty for turning me into this monster, full of rage and hate.”  Another punch to the gut.

This close I could see how the years of trying to kill me had taken their toll. This was a man who looked at least ten years older than what he probably was.  I hope he enjoyed every single year he lived; this was his last.

“Got a letter today, saying I’ve been accepted to the Master’s program at National University. Pretty cool huh?  I pulled the letter of acceptance out and zapped it into ash.  “What I realized is I need some me time, to really get to know what I’m capable of.”

He struggled against the rag in his mouth, trying to speak. It sounded like some gibberish, ‘warm ball’ or whatever.  I stuffed it back in even further.  “Guilty people get no final words.  Nope, the last thing you’ll remember is the rebirth of poor Jericho Staley into the man I was destined to become.”

The fear in his eyes powered me. I brought my hands up, all the negative energy inside me filling them with blue-white electricity.  “Goodbye Cooper.  Where you’re going, you won’t be able to apologize to Ellison.”  I brought my hands up to his temple and fried the man.  My anger raged on until his head exploded, leaving no doubt that Dr. Leonard Cooper was no longer a threat to me.  His lifeless body hung there like a first place trophy.

I walked over and picked up my bags. I had a train early in the morning to catch to head out west.  It was time to start a new beginning.

End of Transcription

*Next week is going to begin The Negative Man: City of Chaos special.  Each Tuesday/Thursday I’ll release a chapter up here leading to the release of Stormfall.  Readers/fans, we’re only just beginning…

-Jeremy

Visit the Two Dudes’ website at http://ucfgk04.wix.com/twodudesbrewsbooks

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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