The Negative Man: Detonation Games #19 & #20

This is it, the grand finale of Detonation Games. I hoped you enjoyed Heather’s story and know this: Legends Can Die is coming along quite nicely. It should be out later this spring, possible early summer. Once the old publisher sets a date, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Here we go…

Detonation Games Cover

Issue #19 – A Cold Homecoming

 

I was home. No more Indian Point, no more desert.  My trip had been a total failure, The Fatal Five were dead and so were my chances of breaking Jericho out of prison.  This was far from a one super job and it was just me once again.

I was renting a small apartment on Surfside under the name Jackie Siefert. My connection to Jericho would’ve put me under intense scrutiny, so it was just easier this way.  I unlocked the door and embraced my modest home.  At least there wasn’t any sand here.

The next few days, I fell into a lull. With no other plans on how to break him out, I began concentrating on surviving until I could.  I took a waitress job at a new bar that opened up, Waveside Wings.  Most nights I wanted to kill the patrons that came in, but I bit my lip and smiled.  Each night I came home, I began honing my skills, pushing my own limits and embracing the lingering pieces of Jericho that resided inside of me.

It didn’t take long for talk of the Desert Diamond heist and the killings of the supers Sandstorm and Dust Devil to dissolve. Supers die all the time and they just became statistics.  And in a place like Pacific Station, no one really cared about the outside world, anyways.

My one curiosity was what happened to the Desert Diamond. It was never found, so I assumed it was blown up when Dust Devil suicide bombed us.  Still, I found it awfully hard to believe a diamond would be destroyed by something like C4, given how hard a material they were.

That really didn’t mean much to me though; I had a much bigger problem. I’d grown complacent again.  Weeks turned into months, and then years.  Before I knew it, it was the third anniversary of Liberation Day.  All this time had passed and still I hadn’t found a viable solution to penetrate Black Lagoon’s walls.  Depression began to set in, a depression that could only be cured one way…

I turned on the TV one morning while showering off from another terrible stint at Waveside Wings. “Last night, the serial killer known as Detonate has struck again.  For the sixth time in two weeks, a cell phone bomb has gone off while police investigated the murder of thirty-five year old Gilbert Flores.”

I smiled once again at my handiwork. The only reason it went away was when the new police chief’s mug appeared and began yapping.  “Folks, I cannot stress enough – we consider Detonate to be extremely dangerous and all efforts to find her are being made.  PSPD is working alongside The Morning Lynx to bring this deranged lunatic in.”

Maybe I should’ve been appalled they called me a lunatic, but I took it was a badge of honor. Just the previous night, a fool by the name of Brian Torres barely escaped due to a fluke.  Still, Gilbert was a most satisfying hit.  Hearing the large man scream for mercy as I pinpointed tiny explosions along his body was like hearing children singing Christmas carols.

My number one goal was still to bring Jericho home, but until such time that could be accomplished, causing this city and its citizens pain would just have to do. In fact, I was ever so much looking forward to my next victim.  Pulling an old business card from a comic book store that was a front for a super terrorist cell, “It’ll be a pleasure to meet you, Kim Krummel…”

Issue #20 – Long Lost Memory

I saw the black truck that was registered to Kim Krummel. I knew the man had to be close, so I got out of my car and started to make my way across the street to find my target.  I hadn’t even taken two steps when someone called out my real name.  “Heather, is that you?”

I was about to kill the person on sight, but when I turned around with a cell phone ready to be thrown, “Zed? Is that really you?”

The leader of The Fatal Five was standing right there before me, looking no worse for wear. “It’s a damn miracle, but yes, I’m alive.”

“How?”

“When that little bitch blew herself up, right before I died, the Desert Diamond merged with me for some reason. It turned my skin as hard as a diamond.  That’s how I survived.”

Considering he didn’t ask me how I survived, or even mentioning his own brother, I got the feeling this wasn’t a social call. “Congratulations on surviving,” I added a smirk with it.  “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have-”

“You have no more business tonight except with me.” His gruff tone caught me by surprise.  “My boss knows who you are and what you can do.  If you help us with a job, he’ll help you get Jericho out of prison.”

I normally enjoyed people who were blunt and to the point; not this time. “The last time I helped you with a job, we both nearly died.”

“Oh we could very well end up dead again, but this is your best chance at freeing your boyfriend.” I didn’t say anything, only kept looking on.  “Our job is simple.  In two weeks, presidential candidates Ronald Victory and Mallory Simpson will be in town for their final debate.”  I saw where this was going and it started to excite me.  “And we’re going to kill them.”

****

The attack stopped. We’d all been evacuated from the room while the power of Jericho had been unleashed.  Nothing in the room from the looks of it had survived.  Then it stopped.  Jericho’s body fell back on to the bed, unmoving, looking lifeless.

Dr. Sanders pulled me aside. “Father, I’m going to check and see if he’s dead.  If he is or is dying…”

“Say no more, doctor.” I was prepared to do my part.  “Jericho would’ve wanted me to give him his last rites.”

Sanders nodded to a nurse who opened the door. He rushed in quickly and checked on the patient.  After a few moments, he called out, “He’s alive.  He isn’t reacting to any stimulus, but he is breathing.”

I went in to survey the massive amounts of damage. “Mother of God, he could’ve brought this whole wing down.”

“The new warden didn’t believe me when I said just how powerful Jericho Staley is.” Sanders was holding what remained of the charts from Jericho’s bed.  “Nothing reported gave me any clue something like this would’ve happened.  It was like a spontaneous combustion of power.”

There were heavy footsteps outside. The warden we just spoke of, Brandon Porterhouse, entered the room.  “What in blue hell is going on up here, Dr. Sanders?!”  The man was practically shouting.

“As I just told Father Reigart, I think the patient had a spontaneous release of power. Going forward, if we don’t find a way to syphon off smaller releases, I fear a lot worse can happen.”

Porterhouse tossed his hands upward in disgust. “This sounds like more of your yapping looking for funding.  Sanders, I see nothing here that suggests we are in any more trouble right now than we were before this little incident happened.”

Two of the nurses from outside the room made annoyed clicks with their tongues. It was common knowledge that Warden Porterhouse was disliked by many of the staff.  I hoped he would see my reason.  “Warden, Staley nearly took down the entire hospital wing in the matter of moments.  I think Dr. Sanders may be on to something.”

A meaty finger was jabbed into my face. “Listen here Reigart, you’re only here as the prison priest due to a favor I owe the mayor.  Your words don’t mean jack shit to me, got it?”

There would be no more speaking to the man. He turned on heel and left.  We were all dumbfounded, not knowing what to say until we heard a voice behind us.  “Why’s everyone yelling?”

It couldn’t be… There was a mad rush to his bedside and Dr. Sanders and his team did their best to hook him up to whatever machines were still functioning.  I joined them, not believing my eyes that Jericho had actually spoken.  “Jericho, I can’t believe you’re awake!  After all this time, too.”

He looked at me confused. “What do you mean all this time?”

Sanders grabbed his arm to check his blood pressure. “You’ve been in a coma for a little over three years.  You’re in Black Lagoon Penitentiary.”

“I’m in jail? Why?”

Something was off. The way he asked that question, he should’ve known why he was in jail.  Jericho always knew what he was doing was very much against the law.  “Jericho, what do you remember about your life before waking up.”

“I don’t remember anything, just black.” Then he asked the one question that confirmed it all for Dr. Sanders and I.  “And why do you keep calling me Jericho?”

-Jeremy

You can find Jeremy over here at: http://boltbookspub.wix.com/home

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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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