AC: Bush43 Daily Week Three

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Fri Jun 23 06:04:28 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

And week three comes to an end.  Whew.  Hope you guys enjoyed it as
much as I did.  Or at least partially as much as I did.  Or some.  Hey,
what's that?!!!  *runs*


BUSH43 #34
By Jason S. Kenney


I was outside on a rooftop, a cool breeze cutting through the air.  I
fished my mask out of my pocket and pulled it on, then unfolded the
paper to see the address, as I walked to the edge of the roof to look
around and get my bearings.

The address Anna wrote was right across the street.

Step Down Bar's door said they were closed, but the lights inside told
me otherwise.

I balled up the paper and stood upright, taking a deep breath, as I
glared at the bar across the way.

And then, I leapt off the roof and hit the street six floors below,
sprinting as soon as I was balanced and throwing my shoulder into the
door, tearing it off its hinges, and sending it crashing into the room

"Roger Thompson!" I shouted, as I looked around.

Empty.  What the hell would he be doing in an empty bar?

The sudden punch to my jaw revealed Thompson's whereabouts.

I stumbled but stayed upright, spun only to be hit again, and stumbled

"Good to see you again, friend," said Roger Thompson with a big grin,
fists up and ready to go.

"What, no 'I will kill you'?" I said, as I tried to get my bearings and
map out the place, see what I had to deal with obstacle-wise.

This was his home turf.  I was out of my element in here.

"Not yet," Thompson said, as he tried to close in on me.  I stepped
back.  "Why do you step away?" he asked, flexing his fists.  "Are you

"Where's Simon?"  I stepped back and sideways.  We started circling
each other, me trying to keep tables and chairs between us, as we went
around, as I got a view of the entire room bit by bit.

"He's around."

"And, the exploding guy, where is he?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Because I want to find the sonofabitch.  If you tell me where he is,
I'll take it easy on you."

Thompson laughed.

"Your choice," I said, and I vaulted over the table between us and
lashed out with my leg, getting Thompson right in the nose with the
heel of my foot.

He stumbled back and into another table, bracing himself with one hand,
while the other grabbed at his nose.  I didn't give him time to do much
else, slugging him in the gut and following up with another punch
across his face.

I grabbed him by his shirt collar to keep him on his feet, pulling his
face close to mine.

"Where are the rest of you guys?"

Thompson smiled and headbutted me, stunning me for a moment.  Which was
all he needed.

His punch into my chest was hard and knocked me off my feet and over a
table, tumbling through a couple chairs and onto the floor on the other
side.  I got to my feet, just as he tossed the table out of the way and
grabbed me by my throat.

And, he tossed me to the side, a jukebox breaking my fall.

"You used to fight better," Thompson said, as he made his way to me.
"Perhaps you are having a bad day?"

He was close enough, so I lunged at him, trying to tackle him, but he
grabbed my shoulders right before I hit him and brought his knee into
my chest, then his elbow into my back, sending me sprawling on the

"Or, perhaps I am better now," Thompson said, following up his
statement with a stomp onto my back.

He laughed, as I started to get to my feet, one hand clutching at my

I got to my feet and clenched my fists, holding them out and ready.

"You might be better," I said. "But, you're sure as hell not good

"Your banter used to be better too," said Thompson, his fists up and
ready now too.  "Must be a really bad day."

"Bring it."

He stepped forward and swung at me, a lumbering punch that was easy to
dodge, which he knew.  His other punch was faster, lower, and I fully
expected it, knocking it to the side and coming around with a punch of
my own that caught him in the jaw.

As he stumbled back, I came around with a kick in his gut and followed
through a spin, brought the one foot down and the other up and right
aside his head, sending him reeling.

He braced himself on a chair, as I came forward, but he was quick,
brought the chair up and around, and broke it over my shoulder.  He
lunged at me and wrapped his hands around my neck, as he pushed me back
and on top of a table.

"Simon says don't kill you," he said, as he squeezed my neck. "But,
Simon's not here."

"Simon says a lot of things," I rasped.

I brought my lower arms up and slammed them together across his,
feeling the popping in his arms more than I heard it.  He shouted, as
he let go and stumbled back, his arms falling limp which meant I'd
gotten him good.

I was quick to my feet and on him, punching him first in the jaw, then
coming around for a shot in the side of his chest.

"Where's the exploding guy?!!" I shouted, as I punched Thompson again
upside the head, feeling something give.  "Where is he, Roger?"

He spat blood and teeth at me and then grinned.

"Your fighting is okay," said Thompson with a nod.  "You are better now

With a scream of rage, I threw myself at him and tackled him, the two
of us tearing through the top of a table.

"Where is Simon?" I asked, as I lifted Thompson by his shirt collar.
"Where are the rest of you?"

He started to laugh, and I head-butted him in the nose.

"Where are they?!"

"I do not know," said Thompson, and he laughed again.

I head-butted him again, thrusting the back of his head hard into the
concrete floor.

That made him stop laughing.

"You're under fucking arrest," I said, standing, as he squirmed in

I grabbed one of his legs and dragged the sonofabitch along the floor
and across the room to where the front door had been.  I stepped out to
the scene of a bunch of police cruisers and cops standing ready, guns
pointed right at me.

"Morning," I said, and I tossed Roger Thompson tumbling onto the
sidewalk and into the street.  "This man needs medical attention."

A couple of cops stepped forward and moved to Thompson, guns ready,
making sure he was down.  One of them turned and shouted for an EMT,
while I just looked onto the scene.

"Who is he?"

I turned to the cop that had stepped up next to me.

"Roger Thompson.  Has gone by Strongman in the past.  He was with the
group that attacked the Hilton earlier this evening.  You'll probably
be able to connect him to the Ferguson Place explosion eventually, but
that's enough to start with."

"Yeah," said the cop.  "Anyone else in there?"

"I don't know," I said, stepping away from the officer, away from the
mess I'd made.  "Do your job and go find out."


I got to the rooftops and started running.

I had gone about two blocks when I realized I wasn't alone.  A white
dog was running a few yards beside me, keeping up with each jaunt over
an alley or a street, keeping pace on every flat surface I sprinted


I stopped suddenly in the middle of one roof, and the dog slid, as it
tried to stop and turned.  It stayed upright and came to me, just
nudging my right hand where it dangled by my thigh.  I rubbed the dog's
head, as I looked for his owner.

Eldritch, where are you?

"Where are you heading, Jeffery?" I heard from behind me, and I spun to
see her, as she came toward me across the roof.

"To Ferguson."

"It's under control," she said, as she stopped a few feet from me.  "Go

"Who's there helping?"

"Emergency services are handling it, Jeffery."

"Where are the heroes?"

"Weren't you the one that wanted greater civilian involvement in police
and rescue?"

"Greater but not sole," I said. "Not in something like this.  We should
be supplementing their work.  Someone like me, with the strength to

"You don't look like you're in much condition to help, Jeffery."

"I already got lectured by Anna tonight," I said "So unless you've got
something new to say..."

"You need to rest, Jeffery.  When's the last time you got any sleep?"

"Just because my mother's dead doesn't mean every woman in my life has
the right to replace her!"

Eldritch glared at me, while we just stood there and held each other's

"I'm a big boy, Eldritch.  And, I can help those people."

"It's under control, Jeffery."

"People are dying."

"People die everyday, Jeffery.  That's what we do.  We grow old and
die.  Or die trying."

I turned from Eldritch and started to run, almost at the point of
jumping when the damn dog suddenly was in front of me and between my
legs, tripping me, sending me sprawling on the roof and sliding to the

"Goddamn it, Eldritch!" I shouted, as I got to my knees and spun to
face her, only for her foot to collide with the side of my head,
turning me around and sending me over the edge of the building.

I hit the pavement head first and hard.  By the time I struggled to my
hands and feet, Eldritch had made it off the roof and towards me.

I staggered a bit, as I stood, and she kept coming.

"Stay down, Jeffery," she said, as she came.

"Why, Eldritch?" I asked, trying my damnedest not to cry, raising my
fists weakly, knowing I was in no condition to do much of anything

Damn it.

She got to me and pushed my hands out of her way.

"Time to go home, Jeffery," she said, and she tried to come down with a
chop on my neck, but I moved an arm up to stop her.

"I have to help them, Eldritch," I said, stepping back, away, trying to
get some distance, trying to get rid of this vertigo that messed with
my head.

"You're in no condition to help, Jeffery," Eldritch said.  "Please,
don't make this any harder..."

"Why are you attacking me?" I pleaded, feeling the tears on my cheeks,
no longer caring.  "Why is everyone so dead-set against me doing what
needs to be done?"

I heard something behind me, feet on the pavement, and I turned around
quick.  Too quick, as my head swam, and I stumbled, staggered, fell
onto my ass, as I stared at Lin Tsang Hsia, the current Silver Shadow,
in full regalia, staring back at me with her arms crossed.

I scrambled to my feet, nearly fell again but held it straight, looking
from Lin to Eldritch and back, trying to figure out just what was going
on.  Just what I was going to do.

"You guys want to stop me?" I asked, as I widened my legs for more
balance, a stronger stance.  I looked Eldritch dead in the eyes.
"Then, it's going to be the hard way."

I clenched my fists and held them up, waiting, trying to keep both of
them in my peripheral vision.

Lin shifted to a ready fighting stance.  Eldritch just stood there and
tried again to talk me down.

"Jeffery, please..."

Forget this.

I broke into a sprint straight ahead, ignoring the throbbing of my
head, the aching of my body, sizing up the building that was right in
front of me.  Five stories tall.  I can make that.

I jumped hard into the air.

Five stories up.

I made it with plenty to spare, landing about a third of the way across
the roof and running, leaping, clearing the next building entirely, the
street beyond, and hitting the next roof running, jumping, high, far,
and well before I gauged what I was jumping toward.

A telephone wire caught me in the chest, tensing and sending me back,
turning my fall into a slight spin that had me land on a roof on my
shoulders and the back of my neck, the rest of my body wanting to move
in a direction the solid roof prevented, making me fold in a way I
probably wasn't supposed to.

I tumbled across the rooftop, past the edge, and fell to the alley

I don't care how invulnerable or strong someone is, a fall like that is
going to take a lot out of you.

I laid on the alley floor, my legs propped on top of the crushed trash
cans they landed on, staring at the sky, as I tried to fight off the
darkness that crept into my vision.

Why wouldn't they just let me save those people?

I passed out before I could wallow too much in my own failure.

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