The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 26)

Real quick Stormfall update before we get into the story today.  My editor, Becky Blackburn, handed me back the manuscript last night.  It’s music to an author’s ears to hear that your editor loved the sequel even more so than the original.  All I need is my proofreader, Caroline Tasch, to check it one last time and badda bing, badda boom, the book is finished.  Stormfall will be coming to you July 5th, 2016.

The Negative Man Cover

Chapter 26 –

Wednesday Evening; Wonder-Tech Tower

 

Heather was still out cold by the time I got to Wonder-Tech Tower. No one was here and I knew my access codes were still good.  I punched in the number and got us inside quickly.  News was already on the radio and they were calling it a super terrorist attack.

There had been no survivors at The Big Burrito. Whatever happened to Heather turned everyone’s cell phones into little miniature bombs that all went off simultaneously.  Knowing DL the way I did, it was a sure thing he was already on scene.  I just hoped no one saw me leaving with Heather draped over my shoulder.

The computer lab was still a mess, but this would suffice. I laid her down on one of the tables that was still standing and sat down myself.  “Damnit not Heather…”

“Ughh, my head.” I saw her arm move up and a hand being placed on her forehead.  “I just had a terrible dream.”

Rolling my chair over, “Hey, are you doing okay?”

She shot up a lot quicker than she should have. I had to grab her to keep her from falling off the table.  “What did I do?”

She remembered what happened. Shit.  It was probably too much to ask to not remember something that traumatic.  “It wasn’t your fault.  No one would’ve been able to guess that happened to you.”

I doubted she heard me as the tears started. Sobbing soon followed and all I could do was just stand there silently, holding her close.  Once she calmed down, she started to question where we were.  “What is this place?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer that one. “Just know this is a safe place to rest and recover from everything.”

That wasn’t going to be good enough. “What I don’t need is secrets.  Are you hiding something from me?”

“Actually I am. There’s something you need to know about me before we can go any further.”

Her eyes left me and went towards something behind me. I didn’t even have a chance to see what she was looking at before she yelled out, “You’re working with The Dark Lion!”

What she’d seen was DL’s clawed gauntlet. It was almost as famous as his musty old cowl.  “Yeah, I used to run what’s left of this lab.”

The door behind us flew open. “Jericho!  And Miss Adams?”

Shit, DL. “I’m sorry but I had nowhere else to bring her.  I needed to be able to keep her safe until I figured out what happened.”

He kept his cowl up and still had his goggles on, obscuring his face. “I see.  So she was the one behind the unfortunate situation at The Big Burrito.”

She dropped off the table, head down. “I understand if you need to arrest me.”  Her voice was filled with fear and tears formed in her eyes again.  “I never meant for that to happen.  I don’t know why it did.”

“I have no intentions of turning you into the police Miss Adams. Jericho has told me much about you and I know you would never do something like this maliciously.”  She acknowledged him meekly.  “That being said, until we can figure out what happened, you are a danger to the public.”

“What do you think we should do?”

He looked at her, deep in thought. “We need to observe first, in a controlled environment.  Jericho,” he shifted to me, “you already have a task to do, so if you trust me in this, I can help Miss Adams out.”

She wanted to know what I was up to, but I didn’t think it was the time. “You’re probably the best person to turn to.”

“Speaking of that task, without a cell phone, you’ll need to get in contact with your informant. I suggest you do so quickly.”  I didn’t want to leave Heather like this, but I wasn’t really in a position to say no.  He was right; Spades would want to know what was going on.  “Like I said, I’ll take care of her and explain as much as I can.”

Looking over at Heather, “You going to be okay?”

“If you’re doing important stuff for The Dark Lion, than you need to keep at it.” I gave her a hug and a kiss.  “I’ll email you later and hopefully get access to a phone.”

“I hope I do too.” One last kiss and then I slipped out the secret entrance.  I was curious if and how he was going to tell her the lair was in the Wonder-Tech building.  I know he was sneaky, so whatever he decided would work.  I got back to my car and drove on over to the gl-O-bal Labs building.

Security was there, but I flashed them my badge and said I had work to do in the B5 lab. The bigger or the two barely waved me by and I got to the elevator.  When I got to my desk, I sent Owen an email to call me at my work phone.

While I waited for a response, I went back to the elemental gun. I needed something to take my mind off what happened tonight.  I knew she’d been putting on a strong face, but killing that many people would be something that haunted her for a long time.  It took a great deal of self resolve to get over that.

I was putting together a new wiring diagram when the phone rang. “Jericho, what have I told you about working late?”

“I didn’t have a choice; I was at The Big Burrito tonight when everything happened.”

The jovial tone dropped. “Is it true what they’re saying?  Is there another super in town?”

“I’ve mentioned my girlfriend Heather Adams to you right?”

“The hot lawyer? Yes, I do remember her.”

Ignoring his comment about Heather, “She was in the Wonder-Tech building when it went to hell. Something from that attack triggered something inside her.  She has power.”

“Stay there. We will talk about this in person.”  The line went dead.

I’d gotten lost in my work again, as a way to escape everything, losing track of time yet again. It didn’t seem like forty-five minutes had gone by when Owen showed up, but according to the clock, it had.

He had a look of great concern on his face. “How much do you know of what happened tonight?”

“Everything was going fine until she said she wasn’t feeling well. I was taking her back to the bathroom when she stumbled over and her eyes went white.  At that point, every cell phone in the place blew up.”  I can’t stress enough how lucky we were ours had been left on the table.

He ran his hand through his hair. “Just how is that possible?  A power that turns phones into IEDs?  That is dangerous stuff Jericho.”

I was there, I didn’t need reminding. “In the wreckage, The Dark Lion swept in and took her.  He told me to trust him to protect her.”

“Actually that’s probably not the worst thing that could’ve happened.” Walker praising Wonderton?  That was a new strategy.  “He’s honorable and reasonable enough to see when someone is innocent.”

“Never thought I’d hear you singing The Dark Lion’s praises.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a Mercury 5 phone. “It’s good to know your opponents strengths and weaknesses.  Now here, take this.”  He placed the phone in my hand.

“I’ll change the SIM card out and everything.”

“Call me pragmatic, but I carry spares around just in case. That one already is clean.”  The man was like an evil boy scout or something.

I looked back at the gun. “This should be ready by weeks end.”

“The gun is important, but make sure you take time for your lady friend. What’s the point of amassing wealth and power if you have no one to share it with right?”  Owen was just full of surprises tonight.  “I think that’s why The Negative Man failed the first time around.”

“What do you mean?”

“He was a loner; he had no one to share in the glory with. A man is always stronger when he has those he’s fighting for.”  He pulled out a picture of a young girl, maybe thirteen or fourteen, from his wallet.  “This is my daughter, Becky.  She’s the reason I do what I do.”

Hell, I didn’t even know he had a kid. “Some may say you’re not exactly father of the year.”

“Yes, but her bank account will always be full and she’ll become a woman in a city that’s not plagued as it is currently. The Pacific Station she’ll know will be a place of order and control.”  He spoke with such belief.

“How can you be so sure of yourself?”

Still looking at the picture of his daughter, “People always take comfort in knowing someone strong will be out there to keep the order.”

There wasn’t much to respond to, but I took a lot of his points with me. Having someone to fight for did make someone much more dangerous.  But couldn’t the opposite be said too?  Couldn’t that give the person a great weakness too?  Only time would tell.

-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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One Response to The Negative Man: City of Chaos (Chapter 26)

  1. Pingback: The Negative Man: City of Chaos – Easy reference to all the chapters | 5 Good Minutes

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