AC: Bush43 Daily Week Three
jasonkenney at gmail.com
Tue Jun 20 06:50:29 PDT 2006
Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com
By Jason S. Kenney
Instinct kicked in, and I grabbed Cass and pulled her around me,
putting myself between her and the glass that cut through the air.
"EVERYONE DOWN!" someone shouted, loud and harsh, and people listened.
"NOW!" another voice shouted, foreign accented, European, angry.
Cass started to sink down, and I checked on her, her hand on her
forehead, blood running down over her eyes.
"I'm fine," she said, as I started down with her, waiving me off,
giving me permission to leave her be.
I stood upright and scanned the room, trying to figure out what was
going on. A handful of others were doing the same, but then one
doubled over and fell. Then another. Then another, a blur in between.
A group dressed head-to-toe in black was entering through the missing
window, the largest man turning on some standers on the other side of
Another man fell to the ground, blur, another, closer, another, then
the blur came my way.
Instinct kicked in, and I stuck out my right hand, caught the blur, and
it stopped hard, my hand firmly in a man's chest, as he suddenly seemed
to appear, step back, gasp for breath.
And, I punched him in the face.
That got me a lot of attention from the group in black.
Hell, from the whole room.
Five of them, six if you counted the man I'd just knocked on his ass.
Two women, hair pulled into ponytails out of the back of their masks,
one blonde, another redhead.
"NO!" shouted one of the men, frozen in place, pointing at me. "YOU!"
My hair stood on end.
Electricity tore through my body, my muscles clenching, back arcing,
tense, tense, pain.
And then, it stopped. I collapsed to my hands and knees.
"Why is it that everywhere I go, everything I do, YOU are in my goddamn
way?!" I heard yelled in a familiar voice that came closer.
I gasped for air, as electricity tore through me again. Eternity
passed before I could breathe again.
"Well, not today, Carter," the voice said, next to me. "Pick him up."
A hand wrapped around my neck from behind and hoisted me into the air,
dangling in the air while the one man leaned close to my face.
"I am tired of running into you, Carter," he said. "But, it's not time
to end it yet."
"Aw, c'mon, Stacy," I said softly, forcing a smile. "You never make
time for me anymore."
"Don't kill him, Roger," said Simon Cooper, I assumed to the guy
holding me. "Just make an example of him."
I gritted my teeth, as a fist slammed into my back. Then, with a
swoop, I was airborne, then on the ground, rolling and sliding in
I tried to push myself up, but the glass bit into my hands, and I
I was bleeding.
"Ladies and gentlemen," shouted Simon Cooper, as I heard sound of
something moving quick in the glass, then a boot to my face, sending me
over on my back.
"...that none of you are safe," I heard as another kick came quick into
my gut. "Not even the Mayor's own lap dog is safe in this city. Where
are these so-called heroes that protect you?"
A gentle touch to my cheek, one of the ladies leaning close to my face,
"Feel better?" she asked me, her voice tinged with wicked joy.
I grabbed at her hand, but she pulled it away too quick. I rolled to
my hands and knees, trying to get up.
Simon was still preaching, but I wasn't listening to what he was
saying. It was background noise. No, I focused closer.
Quick, soft sound, like the wind, dancing across the glass, stop,
crunch, grind, someone planting themselves, a foot moving into my gut.
I moved quick, as I doubled over, grabbing the foot and turning,
twisting, pulling whoever kicked me to the ground, feeling something in
his leg give, as I moved.
I was quick to my feet, as the fast guy was on the ground yet again,
clutching for his ankle.
Simon was only a few feet away and barely noticed me before I tackled
into him, brought him down, was on top of him, and punched hard into
his face. Then again. And again.
I looked up to the crowd, all on the ground, gaping at the scene
unfolding in front of them.
And, all I could think was how the hell was I going to explain this?
I missed the big guy coming beside me until the back of his hand came
across my face and tossed me off of Simon and back onto the floor and
the glass, sliding along my back a few feet before I stopped.
Someone grabbed my collar and hoisted me to my feet, planted his hand
in my chest, and just said, "boom."
A blast hit my chest and tossed me across the room and hard into the
piano that splintered, as I hit.
I laid in the remains of the piano and gasped for air, tried to get my
bearings, tried to ignore the pain that ran through my body, my aching
muscles, the cuts stinging at the open air, the bruises forming all
I blinked, cleared my eyes, and started to get to my feet again, only
to be interrupted by yet another charge of electricity tearing through
It stopped, and I gasped for air, Simon Cooper now without his mask,
leaning over me, spitting blood in my face.
"I want you to scream, damn it," he said, following up with another
I clenched my teeth, as my body cramped, but I did not scream.
And, it stopped.
"I want to hear you cry, Carter."
Another shock. Another clench. Another stop.
"SCREAM, DAMN IT!"
"STOP IT!" shouted a shrill female voice, high and piercing, Simon
clutching his ears and turning away from me, up and looking to its
I just lay there, unable to move, unable to do anything but just wallow
in the remains of what was once a very nice piano.
Simon looked at me again, focused on me for a moment, glared, and then
"We could have killed each and every one of you in the time it took us
to toy with Mister Carter," he shouted to the room, as I heard his feet
crunch on glass, as he walked away from me. "None of you are safe.
The idea of security in this city is a fallacy that will only get you
killed. I highly suggest each and every one of you consider the cost
of doing business in Pacific City and weigh whether or not it is truly
worth your time and effort." He paused for effect. "Or your lives."
I started to get feeling back in my arms and legs, started to move and
slowly pushed myself upright a bit just in time to see the group
leaving, the big guy carrying the fast one, the redhead staring at me,
as she was led out by the blonde, Simon giving me one last look,
smiling as he pointed at me, thumb high, mouthing "bang," as it
I braced for a shock that never came.
And then, they were gone.
And then, it hit me they were gone.
I leapt to my feet, stumbled and fell, caught myself, scrambled up and
stumbled to the edge of the window they'd blown out, looked down,
looked up, looked around, and saw nothing.
They were gone.
Twenty-three stories up, and they were just gone.
I turned back to the rest of the room, turned too quick and lost my
balance, fell forward, and caught myself, glass digging into the palms
of my hands. I looked up to the room and saw people starting to come
to life, recover, get to their feet, a few just gaping at me, many
refusing to look my way.
"Mister Carter," I heard nearby, and a pair of hands were on under my
arms, helping me to my feet. "Are you okay?"
"Is anyone else hurt?" I asked, as I got my balance and waived the guy
"I... I don't know," said the man as I looked to him. A waiter. He
had served me a drink earlier.
"I'm fine," I said, resting a hand on his arm as I spoke. "Thank you.
Check on the others, please."
"Are you sure, Mister Carter? You're bleeding pretty badly..."
"Please," I said, seeing Cassandra in the crowd, seeing her being
helped to her feet by another gentleman, one I did not recognize.
She saw me, stared right at me, and mouthed something my way.
"Do me a favor," I said to the gentleman beside me. "Make sure Miss
Trellis is okay." I pointed to Cassandra, as I looked to the waiter.
"Please take care of her for me."
"Okay, Mister Carter," he said with a hard swallow.
"Jeffery," I said, as I pat him on the shoulder and nodded my thanks.
"Call me Jeffery. And thank you..."
"Tony," he said.
"Tony," I repeated. "Thank you."
I walked past him and toward the door, moving from a walk to a jog, as
the crowd parted out of my way, avoiding me as if I was a leper.
"Mister Carter," said someone, as I reached the door, another waiter,
another server, another peon, another have not in a sea of haves. "Are
"I'm fine," I said, as I stepped past. "Check on the others."
I left the room and went for the stairwell, more people stepping out of
my way, more people trying hard not to look at me, as I stumbled down
the hall, beaten and bloodied.
Not one of them said a word. Not one of them asked if I was okay. Not
one of them made a move.
Not one of them cared.
I hit the stairwell and went up instead of down.
I needed to be on the rooftops. I needed to be moving.
I needed to stop Simon Cooper tonight.
I was on his balcony and tore through the pane of glass that made up
the door, pushing through his blinds and into his apartment.
"SIMON!" I shouted into the darkness, running into a couch which I
grabbed and flung to the side, not caring about the noise or mess I
"SIMON!" I shouted again, as I found the hallway, ran down, kicked in
the closed door at the end to find an empty bedroom.
I don't know why I expected him to go home. He'd have been an idiot to
do that. I was banking on his not being smart about this, about his
being just a bit too cocky.
But now. Now, I was the one being a bit too cocky.
A telephone rang in the apartment. I ignored it, as it rang again and
again, trying to think, trying to get a feeling for what I was doing,
what I was going to do next, where I was going to go.
Shit, what was going on?
The answering machine kicked in, beeped, and a chill ran down my back,
as a voice cut through the silence.
"You are so predictable, Jeffery," said Simon Cooper into his own
answering machine. "Did you really expect me to run home after a show
like that? Tsk tsk."
I ran down the hall and found his phone on a table next to the front
door, picking it up quick.
"Ah, so you are there."
"Where the fuck are you, you sonofabitch?"
"Close," he said with a small laugh. "But not close enough for you to
do anything. But, I'm glad you picked up. While we do have so much to
talk about, I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep it brief."
"What are you doing, Simon? What the hell are you trying to prove?"
"Let's just say that many have asked the same thing of you, Jeffery,
and of the Mayor and its other pets. Well, we're about to see what you
all are truly made of, aren't we?"
"Jeffery, we don't have time to discuss the full details. Perhaps at a
later date. I just wanted to take a moment to say goodbye. While I've
appreciated our run-ins in the past and where they have led me, I'm
afraid that this is the end for me and you."
"Oh, we'll meet again; you can be sure of that. But, it's not just
about us anymore, Jeffery, you and me. No, we're both playing for much
higher stakes now, and, well, this one-on-one shit is just getting a
little old, don't you think?
"So you have your gang, and I've got mine. And, we're gonna have
ourselves a good ol' turf war and just see how well your boys and girls
can play this big boy game that you've been allowed to dictate for so
"What are you doing, Simon?"
"I'm just getting started."
Simon paused, exchanged words with someone in the background, laughed,
and was back.
"Do take care of yourself, Jeffery," he said. "I'd hate for you to get
yourself killed before I got the honor."
"Simon, I swear to God..."
"Step into the hallway outside, Jeffery."
And, he hung up.
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