Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chasing Lady Midnight - Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – Exit, Stage Down! On the face of it, the cause of our shock might not be readily apparent to everyone. Because it’s a woman, not a superwoman, just a normal person standing in the midst of the chaos looking way scarier than any super villain I’ve ever seen on TV.
Did I really just say just a normal person? I never knew how good I had it when I was “just” normal. Until I wasn’t anymore.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be superheroes, at least not these days.
Anyway she’s a well-dressed middle age black woman, slightly rumpled, her hat askew on her head, but still maintaining a sense of dignity. She’s also staring down all of us super beings and somehow managing to be intimidating. At least I’m scared, and Ballistic Attack looks like he desperately wants to climb into that manhole with Protostar. Max is holding it together fairly well except he does take a step or two back. I assume they’re surprised she’s there because she is normal. I’m surprised because it’s her, the woman who got me into this mess.
Although to be fair it wasn’t her fault. She just had the bad luck to get caught up in the middle of a bank robbery and when the scumbags decided they needed a hostage she got picked. I was simply practicing to see if I could use my powers in public without being noticed. Yes, I can hide in the shadows too, but to be safe I had put on the costume. First time in the thing and wouldn’t you know it? Suddenly three fleeing men appear before me, with guns, one of them pointed at this poor woman’s head as they drag her along with them.
I had to do something. So I did the superhero thing and saved the day. I used the shadows to get the guns, pulled the hostage away from her captor, and set the three no goods into the back of the nearest police car. All in record time and with no one getting hurt, thank you very much. I had pulled the hostage towards me and bent down to make sure she was okay, which she was fortunately, but that was when Protostar blasted me from behind and started the whole drama.
You see The Squad is always on the lookout for an UNA, short for Unknown Non-Affiliate, what they call a super whatever who is not registered in their rosters on one side or the other. Now I know that sounds really creepy, but trust me it’s much, much worse.
So now to see this same unknown woman standing in the middle of a super fight, looking more mad than scared of any of us was a little disconcerting.
“Ma’am you need to evacuate this location immediately…” Metallica Max finally started authoritatively when the woman stopped him. She didn’t shout, but said with deadly calm, “Don’t mess with me sonny, I’ve had a DAY and you are dangerously close to working my last nerve. Just what do think you are doing anyway?”
Now this is where I think The Squad’s training regime falls short. Supers kids start their training at a very young age, and as a result they have very little contact with the general public. The result of which is they learn how to interact with other super beings, but they don’t have a clue on how to relate to a normal person.
As a result Max, not expecting confrontation, wasn’t sure how to react to it. What he should have done was to be a respectful, calming influence and try to convince her to remove herself from what he was certain was harm’s way. What he did was to look down his nose at her and get all super superior.
Bad idea.
“You do not seem to understand. I am Metallica Max, member of The Protection Platoon and under the authority of The Mighty Superhero Security Squad I order you to…”
“You WHAT?”
As his antagonist puts her hands on her hips and looks ready to take his head off at any minute, Max does what he should have done in first place and shuts up.
“I know who you are,” she continued, “And I know who you work for, and I know you don’t have the authority to order me off a public street my taxes paid for and which you are in the process of tearing up. Do YOU understand?”
Max, now totally without confidence, says nothing but nods quickly.
“Now back to my original question. Why are attacking this poor girl? Because she has a better sense of style than you do?”
I always did think that Max’s red and gold outfit was a bit too gaudy. Max, however, is too scared to do what he usually does when anyone points this out to him and take offense.
“Well,” he offered weakly, “She’s a criminal and we were ordered to…”
“Criminal? She didn’t do anything wrong!”
Finally! Someone agrees with me! I could have kissed her, if I wasn’t still behind my shields that is, and if I wasn’t afraid she’d hit me or something.
“She stopped and saved me from real bad guys. Unlike you other so-called hero types who never will give a normal person the time of day. Oh be a big time politician or business tycoon with a splinter in their finger and you people are there in a second with a first aid kit. Be a nobody like me taken by gunpoint by no-goods robbing a bank and you don’t even have time to give a look see.”
“I assure you,” he tried again but with a slight stammer this time, “We have ample reason to believe…”
“Okay, so what did she do? I haven’t seen her picture on the 10 most wanted super villains list. I should know you all broadcast it often enough. Some special update always interrupting my viewing pleasure.”
It was then that Max’s expression went blank, making it obvious that he had no idea what I was supposed to have done.
It is then that all of my suspicions were confirmed. The Platoon had been set up. They had been dispatched with Tracker once I was identified as an UNA. I’m not even surprised by how fast they got to my location, these are super control freaks we are talking about. Anyway depending on how it went down either the kudos would go to Tracker’s superior leadership or the blame would be put on the young inexperienced team. Lovely people my sister and her friends work for. Not that they any choice, they just don’t know that.
At Max’s indecision the woman pounced, “That’s what I thought. No good reason whatsoever am I right?”
Fortunately for Max, my sister quite unknowingly comes to his rescue.
“Hey,” I hear Protostar call out plaintively from under the man hole, “Can someone get me out of here? Please?”
Ballistic Attack and Metallica Max look at each other obviously both too terrified to move. Finally, they both look at me with pleading eyes. I feel like saying, “Hey, I thought I was supposed to be the bad guy?”
But I don’t. Because that is my sister down that hole. Even if no one but me knows it.
Besides, she did say please.
So once again using their shadows I pull back the truck and open the man hole. I have to admit to being a little worried when instead of flying out, she climbs out. I hope she’s okay.
However, at that moment I notice two flyers in the distance heading in our direction fast. Dark blue spandex and black capes can mean only one thing, Captain Courageous and his sidekick the ever stoic Sergeant Strong (these guys really need to a hire a writer) are rushing to the scene to perform damage control.
That means the media, the police, and worse, other super whoevers are not far behind.
It is definitely time for me to make an exit.
Ballistic Attack is still the closest to me and is distracted by Protostar and the victim who is still reaming them all royally (It’s nice that one person is on my side). So I drop my shields and take a few steps forward until I am in his shadow. Sensing me he turns quickly. I smile, give a little wave and drop straight down into the sidewalk.
Hey, it’s a cool way to travel when I can get it to work.

Next week we take a break in the action as I will be posting a review on a new cozy mystery by Traci Tyne Hilton Lady Midnight (how did she get that name anyway?) and company will be back the week after.

Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Mystery Series. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories with just a bit of whopper in them. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. She loves to crochet and is a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons, and at at one time a major comic book geek.
Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.

1 comment:

  1. Cindy, I love the way you're pulling me into the story. The hostage is priceless. More! More!

    ~Nancy Jill


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