StarFall: Silver Arrow #6: Trapped!
phantom_belcher at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 4 14:52:16 PDT 2011
A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of StarFall Innovations
cover: A young woman, her face concealed by her brown hair, wrapped in
a straightjacket and secured to a padded wall as she kneels on the
When Fran woke up, she wondered if she had. She could not see a
thing, not even her hand in front of her face; darkness surrounded her
completely. Fortunately, she was untied, and as far as she could tell
unharmed. Slowly, she crawled along the floor - it felt too even to
be the ground - until she felt a wall and then stood up. Although she
couldn't see it, she felt the padding on the wall. Using the wall as
a guide, she felt her way around until she found what felt like a
door. As she half expected, however, there was...
"No handle," she groaned. But where there was a door, she figured,
there had to be a hallway. She concentrated, but her teleportal
failed to form.
"Your powers have been squelched." Her brother's voice seemed to
come from above her; a speaker in the ceiling, she figured. "You
can't get out, sis. Not until I let you. Not until you prove you love
"Frank!" she called out. "Why are you doing this to me?!"
"You betrayed me," came the cold reply. "You betrayed *us*.
'Together forever', remember?"
"I remember," she said, a tear rolling down her cheek. "But you
"You changed, Frank!" she called out. "I loved the man you used to
be! Not the killer you became!"
"I never changed!"
"You did!" she cried, tears welling up under her eyes. "How can you
live with yourself? How can *I* live with you?! Knowing you ... you
"Silver Arrow turned you against me!"
"You did that yourself!" she called out, falling to the floor,
openly sobbing. "I don't know you anymore, Frank! How can I love
someone I don't know?!"
Silence was the only answer she received.
A hospital emergency room can be described as "organized chaos" at
the best of times. The appearance of the media whenever a celebrity
is admitted soon throws "organized" out the window. And when the
celebrity in question is one who keeps his *real* name and face a
secret, "chaos" becomes a colossal understatement.
Such was the case as Silver Arrow was wheeled from the ambulance
into the Mercy Hospital emergency room. Camera lights flashed from
behind a line of officers who worked to give the hospital staff room
to do their jobs. Most jarring to all witnesses, however, was the
fact that anything small and not secured shook uncontrollably as Arrow
was wheeled past it.
"What've we got?" an older, heavy-set nurse asked.
"Sizzle inhalation," a paramedic replied. "He's been unconscious
for at least a half hour."
"Let's get a blood type started," ordered the doctor. "Keep him
stable, and get me everything you can find on Sizzle. We may have to
hook him to the dialysis to flush it." He glanced out the door at the
police line. "And get those vultures away from my ER!"
Over at Knight and Daye Building Restorations, Robert Knight sat at
his desk in his modest corner office as Tabitha came in with a cup of
coffee for him.
"Close the door and take a seat," he told her. She nervously did
so, her new tail flicking from side to side. He looked her over; her
new feline features were quite attractive on her, he decided.
"I had cosmetic surgery," she told him, smiling nervously.
"You mentioned that before you went on vacation," he said. "You
didn't tell us how extensive. Full anthromod package, it looks."
"You never struck me at the type to go ... what do the kids call it
"I don't, sir. I ... I've been moonlighting as a dancer," she
explained. "The Catwalk. Fourth and Wilcox. They wanted to go
themed...." She paused and looked at him with big, pleading eyes.
"Please don't fire me over this."
"Tabitha, Tabitha," Robert said, leaning back in his own chair.
"Why would I fire the best assistant I ever had over something as
petty as an anthromod?" She smiled at this.
"You're really not mad?" Her tail twitched nervously.
"No, not mad," he told her. "A little disappointed you didn't tell
me in advance. The others in the office will just have to deal." He
paused. "Wait. Fourth and Wilcox? We've been trying to buy a
property there to renovate."
"425 Wilcox." Her ears perked up and her tail flicked at the
mention. "You know it?" he asked.
"It's a drug lab," she explained. "The dancers avoid it."
His phone rang at that moment, and he hesitated before answering.
"Yes? Stall them, something else came up." He set the phone down.
"The owners of that property just slashed their price. You, uh,...?"
She nodded. "Yes, I'm on stage tonight."
"You up for some discrete inquiries as to why they'd want to unload
a drug lab?"
She smiled. "I'll see what I can do."
"Jade!" Jeff called out, running to catch up with her on the UCLA
athletic field. She paused and waited for him.
"What's up?" she asked. To Jeff, she seemed somewhat distracted.
"It's Hugh," he told her in quiet tones. "He's at Mercy, and I can't
get close enough to find out what's going on. The news is speculating
"I don't think I could either," she replied. 'At least,' she
thought, '*Jade* couldn't. *White Crane* could. . . .'
"You want to tell his folks," she asked, "or should I?"
"Chances are, they already know," he admitted, "but I was headed
over there. You coming with?"
"I can't," she said after a brief pause, one that seemed
unnecessarily long. "I've got ... business to take care of." Changing
the subject, she asked, "You stopping by Fran's to let her know?"
Fran leaned against the wall of her cell. Frank had slid a tray of
food in for her, but she'd barely touched anything; she wasn't certain
if the food or the drink had been laced with Squelch.
Frank had been quiet for hours; at least, to her, it seemed like
hours. He'd kept her confined to a single padded cell, but she had
full use of her arms and legs, and he did seem to care about her
mental state, as he'd kept the radio tuned in through the speaker in
Thanks to that, she'd learned that Silver Arrow had been whisked to
the hospital. The commentators seemed to indicate that he might have
been taken down by some new super-criminal - they kept tossing out the
word "supervillain" - but details were sketchy. All she knew was that
she had to get out of there - and that help was apparently *not*
coming, even *if* Arrow had gotten her electronic S.O.S.
Jeff stood in the doorway of Fran's small studio apartment, taking
in the signs of the struggle.
'One of Hugh's enemies,' he thought, 'or Fran's?'
Slowly he closed the door behind him and took a closer look at the
place. He'd never been here before; Fran didn't exactly hang out with
Hugh and his friends, not attending UCLA. He wasn't even sure if she
had even graduated high school or gotten a GED, now that he thought
The apartment was in a low-rent neighborhood, and was in a complex
that charged weekly rates, no questions asked. There was a sofa with
a pull-out bed dominating the main room; it was currently still a bed,
with a colorful comforter rumpled and thrown over on the left side;
both pillows were stacked at the head of the right side. A lamp and
digital alarm clock sat atop a small end table. Opposite the sofa-bed
was a small television atop a dresser, currently on DisneyXD and
showing _Spectacular Spider-Man_ with the volume turned down low; Jeff
couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. A small kitchenette sat in an
alcove off to the right, past the dresser and television, with a full-
sized fridge and stove on one side and a counter with a laptop and the
remains of a bowl of instant oatmeal on the other. A door in the
alcove led to a small bathroom.
The kitchen alcove showed most of the signs of struggle. Saucepans
and skillets littered the floor; one pan had a sizable dent in its
side. In his mind, he could see Fran hitting her attacker with it.
One of the drawers had fallen to the floor, scattering utensils
everywhere. One, a steak knife, caught his eye; it had blood on the
blade. It didn't take him long to find a ziplock bag to put it in.
'I hope this isn't *her* blood,' he thought. 'But how can I test it
to find out? I don't have a police crime lab . . . or a Bat-cave.'
Hugh ran through a mist-enshrouded forest. He could hear the sounds
of pursuit coming from behind him, as arrows flew past him. He knew
it was only a matter of time before one found its mark.
It was only a little while ago he'd gotten a glimpse of his
pursuers: An athletic black-haired woman with a bow of silver, dressed
as an ancient Greek hunter, accompanied by a pair of wolves; a golden-
haired man, almost glowing, with a golden bow, dressed in a ancient
Greek-styled tunic; a man garbed as the classic Errol Flynn depiction
of Robin Hood, complete with an English longbow of yew; a tall,
slender man with pointed ears that glided over the underbrush without
leaving a trace; and an oriental warrior. All in all, he didn't like
Up ahead, he spotted a vine dangling down. The wolf howls drew
closer. Cursing himself, he knew he'd been herded that direction,
right into the trap. Acting almost on instinct, he drew and fired an
arrow with a head shaped like a V, slicing through the vine.
Adrenaline pumping, he leapt . . .
Silver Arrow laid on the hospital bed, hooked into the dialysis
machine which filtered his blood. Every so often, a doctor or nurse
would come by to check on him, but until he woke up - which the
doctors indicated would be when the last traces of Sizzle had been
purged from his system - there was little more they could do.
. . . and caught the top part of the vine as it went up. The vine
had been attached to a slender sapling, which flung him around like a
rag doll in the hands of an overactive four year old hyped up on
chocolate. He could barely hold on.
Below, the wolves howled; he could tell they'd fallen into the pit
trap meant for him. A quick glance downward as he climbed, after the
vine had stopped whipping back and forth, confirmed this.
'That's the wolves,' he thought, 'but the five hunters are still out
As if in answer, he spotted the elf - there was no other word for it
- pass by underneath him. The elf was garbed in a green tunic and
deerskin breeches, carrying an ornately decorated bow with an ivory-
handled knife thrust into his belt.
Without thinking, Arrow leapt to another tree, landing on one of the
branches, and drew a pair of arrows from his quiver. Slowly he drew
them back on his bow. After making sure the others weren't around to
hear, he whistled, drawing the elf's attention.
"Yo, Orlando Bloom!" Hugh knew he was giving away his position by
yelling this, but he wanted to see the look on the elf's face as he
released the arrows.
The elf found himself entangled in one of Silver Arrow's bola arrows
and glued to the tree behind him.
"One down, four to go." He took off into the underbrush.
As soon as he'd heard the news, Robert Knight called Maria. He
immediately regretted it.
"He's *where*?!" He winced, mostly from the shriek echoing off his
eardrums, but also from the sounds of pots and pans falling to the
floor in the background.
"The news report said he'd been admitted to Mercy Hospital," he
"I'll meet you there."
"Maria, honey," he told her, "we *can't* show up."
"You cold, heartless--"
"*Maria!*" She paused as he scolded her. "The news is that *Silver
Arrow* was admitted. Not *Hugh*. He show up there, he blow his
"Poor Huberto..." She started talking rapidly in Spanish; Robert
only caught every fourth word.
"Honey, we'll figure out how to handle it. Somehow." He paused for
a breath, and to lower his voice; he wasn't sure if his employees were
listening. In particular, he wasn't sure how acute Tabitha's ears
were after her surgery. "If we show up there now, everyone in the
city will know his secret identity, and people will not only start
targeting *him*, they'll target *us*. I'm thinking of *you* in
particular. He wouldn't want that; that's why he wears the mask."
"You're right... but it still sounds too cruel for us not to go to
"I know." Suddenly a thought occurred to him. "Can you still still
fit into your Catwoman Halloween outfit from a few years ago?"
Night fell, and the storm clouds that had earlier hung low over the
city released their rain with a lot of lightning and thunder.
White Crane paused, clinging to the windowsill by her fingers.
Silver Arrow had been moved from the emergency room to the intensive
care unit, which basically meant that unless he woke up suddenly there
wouldn't be anyone hovering over him. She peeked in the window, and
slid it open.
'All too easy,' she thought as she stepped into the room. Her hand
went to the butterfly sword hanging from her waist, drawing it.
The door opened. . . .
NEXT: You can see where this is going, right? Hugh fights Artemis,
Apollo, Robin Hood, and Lü Bu in the dream world, while he's visited
by his parents and White Crane in the Real World. Meanwhile, Jeff
tries to track down Fran, and has a fateful encounter with Time-
Twister. Confused yet? Good!
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