“Everyone stay calm and remove your valuables.”
Spades voice came across clear in my ear piece. The measured tone of his voice was almost haunting. As I scanned from one security camera to another, “Three leo’s getting ready to storm the front door.”
I switched back into the main room just in time to see Hearts run over to the door. As soon as the cops broke in, an invisible force pushed them back, flying right out of view. I flipped back to the street cam adjacent from the entrance just in time to see the three cops smash into their cruiser. One was obviously dead by the angle of his neck, the other two questionable.
The City Hall doors slammed shut again, this time no one would get in. Hearts invisible force wasn’t anything the police could break through. The city’s wealthiest would be on their own until DL showed up.
The heist inside was going well and The Aces were moving quickly. No one wanted to play the part of hero, and who could blame them? After witnessing your would-be rescuers tossed from a building like ragdolls, if anyone had the gumption to do it, that died along with the officer outside.
I caught a shadow on the rear cam facing the backdoor. I saw the door had been pried open, flapping in the breezy evening. “Spades, I think he’s here.”
Over the ear piece a cool laughter echoed. “Excellent. I think it is about time I made a much more personal acquaintance with my rival.”
It dawned on me, Owen Walker saw himself as John Wonderton’s rival in the corporate field and now he knew he was The Dark Lion; their rivalry would extend to the super playing field. “He’s moving fast, I can barely keep track of his movements.”
“Don’t worry Diamonds, your work for the evening is over. Sit back and enjoy the show.” He signaled to Hearts and Clubs. “Finish collecting the loot and make sure the police don’t get in. I’ll take care of our special guest.”
“Yes sir.” Even wearing a mask in the shape of a heart Trelewicz was a scary man.
A little more mild mannered, “Of course.” Clubs was a company man, both professionally and under the mask.
The door The Aces used to infiltrate the main hall burst open. Standing there in his old, faded yellow cape with his hood up was The Dark Lion. Over his face were the infrared goggles I personally designed. It was about damn time he started using them. His black body armor was covered in scars and stained blood. Everyone in the hall stopped for a moment, the appeal of his aura was overwhelming.
The Dark Lion took two steps in and the door slammed shut behind him. I knew that stance; The Aces were the ones set up for no escape, not him. “Spades, it’s nice to finally meet the scum bag behind the operation.”
“It’s funny, I could tell all these people just who you are and not think twice about it. Unfortunately you can’t do the same.”
I saw his gloved hand itching with those long nails, ready to draw blood. “People don’t care about the face under the hood; they only care about what the man stands for. And you,” his finger shot up, causing Spades to flinch just for a split second, “stand for shit.”
Spades brought up his automatic rifle. “Let’s see just how super those reflexes are.” He pulled the trigger, spraying bullets everywhere.
To watch The Dark Lion is akin to watching the ballet. Movements aren’t wasted, grace is never compromised. To have his reflexes must be like watching the world in slow motion. Bullets flew by him, but none were ever close to touching his constantly twisting body.
Bullets peppered the wall, sending pieces of drywall and wood scattering. The more Spades tried to hit him, the less accurate he became and even hit a few of the hostages, killing them. This was the final straw for DL. Roaring across the room, he reached out and grabbed Spades by the neck, so fast The Aces boss never had a chance to dematerialize.
DL broke his arm in two, sending the automatic weapon crashing to the ground, its deadly assault over. Spades screamed for mercy, but I knew there was none to be had. The look in DL’s eyes was fierce.
Then Hell itself opened up as Massacre came stampeding in, sending Hearts tumbling into the hostages. The large man was stumbling around, obviously drunk. “I won’t be *hiccup* bullied by you assholes anymore!” He took a swing at the nearest target, but that happened to be a hostage. Fortunately his lethal attack missed, but only just so.
DL let go of Spades and rushed Massacre. “Stop this at once! You’re in no condition to be here!”
“No! I have every,” he belched rather loudly, “right to be here!”
The Aces took this opportunity to retreat. With Spades in bad shape and Hearts power apparently not effective on Massacre, they decided to take the money and run. When they got back to the van, Spades, in a lot of pain gave me the command. “Keep watching this! I want to know what happens!”
“Of course boss.” Even if he hadn’t given me the command, there was no way in hell I was pulling away. Massacre was borderline insane and DL could barely control him.
Seeing The Aces had gotten away, “Massacre, you’re an embarrassment to the mask! How dare you come to a crime scene drunk!”
He wobbled before turning his head in a herky-jerky motion towards DL. “No, you don’t get to tell me what to do no more!” He tried to charge DL, but the sober hero was able to avoid him with ease. Massacre ran a few more steps and fell down. His massive body crushed two hostages who hadn’t been able to get away in time.
As Massacre and I looked on in both horror and shock, DL ran over to him and grabbed him by the back of the neck. “You took their lives…” His voice was so quiet, so eerie. “Of all the stupid things…”
One of the hostages jumped up, “Massacre is a murderer!”
“Kill him Dark Lion! He’s no good to this city.” Another joined in, sending the crowd into an angry buzz.
DL hesitated, looking on at his old friend with a mixture of anger, pity, and disgust. Massacre, fear all over him, jumped up and pushed DL to the side. Sobering up quickly, he took off like a juggernaut, barreling through the side of City Hall and rushing out into the night.
I looked on at the aftermath of the attack. People were dead, some killed by The Aces and two by Massacre. I looked back at where DL was standing in the middle of City Hall one last time before disconnecting. I didn’t move until I heard The Aces return.
Hearts unlocked the door to let me out. “You did good tonight kid. I just wanted to tell you that.”
I nodded at his praise, but my eyes were on Spades, who looked to be in a lot of pain. Clubs was standing beside him, trying to set his arm into a sling.
The latest attempt failed because Spades couldn’t tolerate the pain. “Stop Clubs, we can’t do it here. Find me a doctor and quickly!”
Clubs pulled out his phone and started doing his thing. I walked over to where Spades was laying on the ground. “What happened boss? Why couldn’t you go intangible?”
“My power…” He huffed, short on breath from the broken arm. “It takes two seconds to activate. His reflexes were faster than my ability.”
The more I learned about each of their abilities, the more I began to question their methods. “Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to go intangible from the start?”
He tried to smile at my question, but it came off as more like a wince. “I can only hold that form for two minutes, or else bad things begin to happen. I wanted to wait until I had no choice before I started the countdown.”
So I was right, he did have a time limit on his power. It was a lot shorter of a window than I figured though. “Massacre killed two people after you guys escaped. Stumbled forward and his girth crushed them.”
Everyone stopped what they were doing. Clubs looked up, “Massacre killed innocents?” He couldn’t keep the disbelief out of his voice.
“Sure as day. He charged The Dark Lion and when he missed, fell over. It was quite obvious he was drunk.”
A genuine smile appeared on Spades face. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted that to happen!” He tried to pump his fist, but his broken arm put a stop to that. After a moment to get his composure, “The city will turn on him you know? The Dark Lion will have no choice to hunt down Massacre. How great is this?”
Inside, beneath the vile for what happened tonight, the question that had recently started to eat at me came roaring back to the forefront. I needed to talk to DL and quickly.
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