You’d think I kicked someone’s puppy or something. Yep, I got busy yesterday and completely forgot to post the last two chapters of City of Chaos. Well fear not my friends, today is the day. Not only will you get the last two chapters, but in a third post, you’ll get some extras that will hopefully make the wait worthwhile. And of course, check back tomorrow as I’ll be previewing Stormfall, an exclusive you only get on my blog.
Well as the band Kansas once said, carry on my wayward author…
The sounds of a helicopter moved in over us. It took longer than I thought for the news people to get here, to broadcast this showdown to the people of this city. They arrived just in time to see me nearly blow the head off The Dark Lion with a blast of negative energy. “I haven’t just been sitting around these last two years playing your sidekick. I’ve learned a vast array of new tricks.”
He rolled to the side, avoiding another attack and then pushed himself towards me with an outstretched arm. I formed a shield of energy around myself to stop the punch. I tried to kick him when he stopped, but he was just too damn fast. “You might have, but I know you both the villain and the man behind the mask. I can anticipate everything you do.”
Just because I tried to help him achieve his goals, he claimed he knew me. It was time to see just how well he thought he did. Across the street was Bayside Stadium and they just recently added an electronic advertisement billboard over the parking lot. Reaching out to the amount of energy used to power the sign, I transferred my subconscious into the electrical particles floating inside.
From my new vantage point, I could see the whole park, including my body that I left protected by an energy bubble. “This looks so familiar DL. This is exactly the same power I used to put Massacre out of his misery. Though to be honest, I didn’t have to use nearly as much of my mind as I will with you.”
Static starting bubbling within the sign and I guided it to one central point. The air crackled and sizzled, the hairs on my body’s arm standing on edge. When I had a mass of negatively charged energy big enough to level a city blocked formed, I released it towards my target.
The Dark Lion was smart. He started running through the park with the projectile following him. He couldn’t outrun pure energy for long and just when victory seemed to be in hand, he stunned me again with his abilities. He double jumped from the ground, to a tree, and pushed himself over the sphere I’d created. As he landed safely, well the energy tinged his cape, it dispersed into the section of wooded area he had led it towards. The trees took the brunt of the explosion, sending splinters throughout the park.
I moved my conscious from the billboard back to my body. “How many more rabbits can you pull out of your hat DL?”
He showed no fear approaching me again, knowing that attack took a lot of my built in energy. I needed a minute to recharge. “As many as it takes Jericho.” He pounced on me, letting loose haymaker and haymaker. “You go big, having a flair for the dramatic with these attacks when I only need my fists.”
My mask absorbed a few blows, but for the most part I used my hands and forearms to fend them off. It would be a race between us; would my energy recharge in time or would he break through my defenses.
Just as a right hook leveled my face, I put my right hand against his chest, blasting him away. Not before the damage had been done – his fist shattered my mask and slammed into my face. All the times I’ve been hit by The Dark Lion and nothing compared to the power behind that punch.
He was in no better shape. From my good eye, I could see he was lying on the ground breathing hard. I dug my fingers into the ground, trying to get back to my feet. My orientation was messed up and I tumbled back over.
“Face it Jericho, you’re in no condition to continue. Give up and I’ll show you mercy.”
Seeing him barely sitting up, “You’re one to talk John. If I’m in no shape, then what are you in? You can’t defend yourself either.”
A stare down formed, the resolve of both of us was being tested. I felt a surge of energy, the will not to give in to my fallen mentor, my old enemy. I knew for sure his way was wrong and come hell or high water, I wasn’t going to let him keep failing Pacific Station.
The people needed a firm hand, one I could give them! “Ughhh!” Pushing through the pain in my face and the off kilter equilibrium, I rose.
DL must’ve been having the same internal push. “You’re not the only one with a second wind.”
“Déjà vu, isn’t it John? We’ve been at this impasse once before.” Looking at him standing across from me reminded me of the first time we met in Waves Park. “Last time I made the choice to give up to help you. I think it’s time you returned the favor.”
He started laughing at me which spurted into a harsh cough. “So you’re going to try and guilt me into forfeiting my life? You really are something.”
A sniper rifle fired, the round headed straight for me. I put up my shield just in time and the bullet disintegrated. “These people don’t respect you, they used you. What can you say you’ve accomplished since that fateful night?” Two more rounds were fired, neither even worth my attention.
“Without me, this city would’ve been overrun with crime; The Aces would’ve taken over.”
“And in that mission you became just like the murders you claimed to want to stop.” This was the real reason for my anger. “Your way was supposed to be better than mine, but no, you couldn’t stop yourself from digging into the darkness.” If that was the path I was going to walk, I was going to do it as the reaper, not the lowly sidekick.
“This is all about ego isn’t it? You can’t stand that someone else could succeed using your methods.” A twisted grin flashed under the cowl. “Did I call you sidekick too much Jericho? Did I hurt your poor insignificant feelings?”
I lashed out with my left hand, sending a wave of electrons with the intent to kill at him. He ducked just in time, missing the deadly blow. “It was never about my ego! I gave up two years of my life to follow you, to see if the path in the light was better than the path in the shadows.” My rage began boiling, the air around me started to vibrate. “No, what disappoints me is you gave up, you stopped trying just when we were about to make a damn difference!”
He sensed something major was coming. “I picked the path that was necessary. I’m sorry that in your mind I let you down.”
“You didn’t let me down; you just showed me that I was right.” Blue energy formed above both of my hands. “And if my way’s the right way, then I’ll be the one doing it, not you.” I pointed both hands at him, knowing this attack would be the one that put The Dark Lion down for good.
Just the vibrations from the supercharged particles should’ve ripped him away, yet he shifted so fast it looked like a blur against the dark night. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve guessed he went intangible like Spades was able to do. “Your speed… it increased?”
When he stopped moving back and forth, he looked just as amazed as I did. “I did it…”
“What did you do?”
Whipping his infrared goggles on to the ground, “I tapped into my potential and with it, a way to defeat you once and for all.” He flashed again, this time towards me. My eyes couldn’t even blink in the time it took for him to reach my neck and grab it. “I should thank you; you super charged the elements around me allowed me to get the right feel.”
I felt my throat being crushed. “You…kill…me, you’ll…be…no…better.”
“I’m killing The Negative Man and with him, all the bad memories.” With his offhand, he gestured at the spot I blew up earlier with the giant ball of energy. “In the future, I might petition the city to build a statue to honor you, as without you, nothing would be possible.”
His grip was getting tighter. His arms were longer than mine, so I couldn’t even reach his body to shock him. As the gasping became louder and more pronounced, I pulled my last trick. With my left hand, I placed in on the pocket where my cell phone was and gave a small burst into it. This was my last chance, a plea to the one person who said they understood me.
A split second later, The Dark Lion’s cell phone began ringing on him. I heard it and if he did, he ignored it. He was putting all his force into choking me. Then on the third ring, it blew up. When he released me and air began filling back up in my lungs, I shielded myself the best I could by using the energy expended by the small blast.
I came away relatively unscathed, just the damage done by DL to my voice box. The same couldn’t be said for him. His left leg was gone and he laid there, convulsing in shock. I felt sick to my stomach seeing him like this. No matter, this was a way to an end; I needn’t be held back by compassion now.
With enough power for one final attack, “I’m sorry old friend. You won’t suffer anymore.” I released the attack into his chest, and the convulsing stopped. The Dark Lion was dead.
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