Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cloak & Dagger - Episode 14





Cloak & Dagger: The Legacy
Episode 14

The hallways in the Legacy compound were eerily quiet except for the droning of equipment placed in various rooms that were constantly left on during the day. Michela Forsythe stood at the door looking back at Ethan Fairchild. Where was she going?

The hot guy on the floor was dying. At least, it looked like he was. she glanced back at him. How could she leave him like that? She didn't know him. Not really. Not in any sense of the word. She might know him in the future. But that was then and this was now. Her mother, Sophia, would be so disappointed in her hesitation.

They all seemed to think she knew him. Michela traced a finger down his jaw. Was this a face a person could forget?

"Stand away from him," said a gruff voice at the door.

Michela flinched. She was used to her classmates adoring her or being afraid of what her family could do to them. Never before had someone stood their ground against her. And if she was honest with herself. She kind of liked it.

Michela backed away from the table as a second man, a doctor, came in behind the first and began working on Ethan.

"What were you doing to him?" the gruff man demanded.

"Nothing!" she snappewd. The defensiveness came out clearly in her words. She could tell the man, who would later be identified as Kevin Fairchild, didn't believe her. She wondered what his problem was, not realizing their history and that his problem was her."

***

Boswell worked the scanner while Echo focused on the tech. The scan was being done on the down low between the routine marching past of the Black Council minions who were on guard. He placed Michela on the long scanner table and it mechanically moved into position.

"Is this really necessary?" Michela asked, her voice quivering. "Me and cramped spaces don't generally get along."

"It's going to be quick and painless, honey. No worries," said Boswell through the intercom.

Kevin stood guard by the door to the scanner room, his arms crossed in front of him and a large scowl on his face. Michela could tell he didn't trust her. With his eagle eyes, there was probably not much that got past him. She had a feeling the two of them had a rocky past. and it hadn't turned out in his favor. Michela knew she'd have to keep her eyes on that one.

A headache pounded at the base of Michela's skull. She'd been nursing one almost as soon as she woke up in this reality It felt like a bizarre case of time travel but she knew, based on her own face, something unusual was happening here.

***

"Okay, Boswell. The suspense is killing me. Is she crazy, insane, brainwashed or pretending?" Kevin's scowl hadn't left his face since the moment he found Michela's body leaning over his brother's unconscious form.

"I called in Dr. Myers. Echo is getting him down here between the BCG rotations," Boswell said. 

"BCG?"

"Black Council goons.)

"Nice."

***

Echo let Dr. Myers into the room with Boswell and Kevin then returned to the scanner room to watch Michela. 

"They're not going to let me out of here, are they?" Michela's voice was edged with fear.

"Normally, that wouldn't be a question coming from you. You thrive on this spy stuff." Echo pulled a folding chair closer to the scanner apparatus. There's really nothing to be afraid of."

Michela laughed but the cadence didn't sound happy. It was the type of laugh that involuntary comes out when you are unsure of your situation or just completely thinking this whole thing is a bunch of bull-hockey.

"You're kidding, right?" She attempted to sit up and Echo quickly came to assist her. "When I first woke up in this reality." She made air quotes around the word reality. "I nearly got my head shot off. If it hadn't been for Alison keeping me calm, I would not be here right now." She motioned to the room around her as her arms whirled indicating the facility in which they now sat. "And I don't even know where the heck 'here' is. But based on all the British accents, I'd say somewhere in England. I don't even have a passport!"

"That's not exactly true. You have multiple passports under multiple aliases. And that doesn't include your legitimate passport."

"Marvelous. I'm a criminal too."

***

Dr. Lee Myers studied the scans Boswell had performed and found an enlightening result. "Here is the problem area."

He tapped the screen with his pen. "She has a tumor pressing on her brain's memory center. Until we can get that out of there she is a ticking time bomb. Today she may think she's eighteen and tomorrow she may think she's in the middle of an assignment in the Middle East."

"Is she dangerous," Kevin asked.

"In the state she is in right now, no. But she has the probability of being dangerous depending on how she reacts to any more memory jumps."

"We can't lock her up under these conditions. The Black Council minions are everywhere," Boswell interjected.

***

The guards marched information in the halls searching through every room, smashing doors when they had to. They were definitely looking for something and weren't having much luck finding it.

One minion assumed command stepped away from the crowd of helmeted soldiers. He removed his hat. His hair was white gold, quite a contrast to his olive skin. He held up a symbol on a torn parchment.

"This i what we need. Anything with this symbol attached to t. Spread out. We don't have much time."

***

Many of the Legacy personnel working at the facility had left. Only the most senior had been left behind after the evacuation warning  had been sent to all stations.

Alison Corday ket her gun at the ready as she peered into the hallway. "I don't like it. It's too quiet. This place is usually a buzz with activity. Right now it feels like a tomb."

"That would be its normal charm," Ethan said attempting to rise from the portable gurney they'd swiped from one of the labs.

"You're awake," Mila seemed genuinely pleased. He wasn't used to true emotions from anyone around him.  Being a spy always had you second guessing everything and everyone's motives. It was a sad fact that he had indeed learned to trust no one."

"I'm low on juice," he said checking his ATP gauntlet. 

"It runs on juice?" Mila marveled at the possibility.

"No, not really. It' a special serum the doc makes for me. I need to stock up." He turned his attention to Alison. "Before I collapsed I wirelessly connected to an outside source. I think it went through the satellite. You think we could get Echo to check that out for me? Whatever that connection was, it caused me to crash."

"Everything was put on lock down during the initial evacuation. Primary systems are offline."

"Damn. I must have connected directly to the satellite. No wonder I'm drained."

"Can't  you train those little buggers to mind their own business," said Alison referring to the nanites coursing through Ethan's body.

"I wish it were that easy. They have carte-blanche control over my entire being."

"What does?" Mila asked. "What has control of you?"

"Little microscopic machines called nanites."

Mila made a face. "Does it hurt?"

Ethan laughed at the thought. "No, they're too tiny. But they do allow me a lot of special advantages." He looked down at his wrist monitor. It was blinking low.

"Time for a fill up?" Mila asked.

"Past time. It's why I'm laid up. The nanites have started to drain my biological systems."

"Dr. Myers should be back by now," Alison said. "I'll go fetch him."

"Be careful. The Council troops are still monitoring the hallways."

Alison winked at him. "Gotcha." She was more familiar with the secret areas of the Westminster facility than anyone.

Alison waited at the door and listened for the heavy footsteps of the minions. When she heard nothing, she eased her way into the hallway. She found the silence a bit odd and immediately knew that something was off.

Alison glanced into the scanner room and saw Echo and Michela and then through the large plate glass window spied Boswell and Dr. Myers in the adjacent room. As she reached for the door handle, the door suddenly opened and she was whisked into the room with a strength she didn't believe any one of them possessed. The opening and closing of the door barely made a sound but the thump of her body against the wall made her see stars temporarily.

Kevin growled at her in a tight whisper. "Are you insane? I could have killed you."

"But you didn't. And that's what makes you good." She cracked her neck and tried to mask the sends of vertigo she was feeling from her head slamming against the wall.

"Let's not kill our own agents while trying to save our own skins," Boswell said pulling him away from Alison.

"What's the scene look like out there?"

"Strangely quiet, actually," Alison said. "I'm beginning to think something is up."

"I'll see if I can fire up the secondary security lines and break into the feed," Boswell stated.

"I'm sure that's not the only reason you came all the way down here." Kevin couldn't keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

"You're right, as usual. Ethan needs the doc. Those little micros in his system have sucked him dry. he needs a refill."

"That's not good," Dr. Myers muttered. "When we brought him into the room, we refilled him with the last of our stock. what could be causing the drainage of his energy?"

"You got me," Alison said. "You're the doc."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Familiar Adversary - Episode 11



Part 11: Inner Cues

I was still shocked. How had I fallen back into the Alt-World? This whole jumping back and forth thing was getting quite confusing.

I stared at Nick Boyd with large, round eyes. He could tell I was a bit freaked out.
“I.. . I thought someone had captured you,” I said to him.

I glanced around the room where I had awakened. It was a cell. Apparently, someone had been expecting us.

“Someone did capture me. Although I’m not really certain how they got the jump on me,” he said, the same confusion I possessed mirrored in his eyes. “I’m usually pretty good at anticipating other people’s moves. But this guy -- he took me totally by surprise.”

Nick pointed his thumb to the men shuffling around on the other side of the bars. The two men were wearing black fatigues and flack jackets. In the middle of the night they would easily blend into the darkness. I didn’t recognize either man, but there was something familiar about them.

“What’s going on?” I whispered to Nick. “A minute ago I was back at home trying to get back to sleep and now I’m here with you in a cage.”

“Good question. I’d like the answer to that myself.”

“When I was awake, I saw you on tv.”

“What do you mean,” Nick asked, confused.

“You were responding to a call with your partner. Bank security footage showed you approaching. Then you just disappeared as if someone had plucked you out of reality. Your partner was pretty surprised by your sudden exit.

“Not surprising. He doesn’t believe in magic. He believes in evidence.”

“That sounds a lot like you,” I observed.

“Yeah, well, the evidence is showing me a whole new world. If I hadn’t seen you materialize out of thin air next to me, I never would have believed it,” Nick said, his eyes never left our 2 captors. “If we want to get out of here, we need more information.”

“My first question would be, why us?” I said.

“I do have a bit of an inkling, but nothing solid,” he said. “You told me earlier that you wrote about a character named Nick Boyd and later discovered he was real. You may not realize this, but I’ve dreamed about you too.” This was a bit too odd. I thought I was the weird one in this story.

“What do you mean,” I said.

“When I dream, you’re always there, sort of sitting on the sidelines. Always watching. Always observing. You don’t engage in the dream, though. You’ve only spoken a couple of times, and in those moments, only sending warnings. Those dreams have saved my ass more times than I care to admit.”

“Technically, I’ve never dreamed about you. I thought I was making up stories.”
“I dream about you observing and you write about me. Sounds like we’re both on the same wavelength. Maybe latently psychic.”

“I still don’t understand why you, though. I wrote about you before I created The Legacy. No one’s ever seen the few chapters but me. It was the one story I could never completely grab a hold of.”

“Tell me about it,” Nick said. It was a little strange relating a story I only half knew to the man who had actually lived it in the flesh. Maybe I should have been the one picking his brain. Then maybe I could understand why I never finished the manuscript. “You were a police officer. There was another man, John Holland, who was a sketch artist, and a woman named Tessa Wainright. She was quite hostile. She chased my main character and John onto a commuter train. Before the train went into the tunnel, they both jumped to safety. Tessa seemed pretty pissed. I think she worked for a secret organization. It was called the Foundation or the Trust. I could never make up my mind about it.”
Nick seemed to be greatly interested in the characters from my unwritten story. “Tell me more,” he said eagerly.

“I can’t. That’s all there is. The characters never went farther than that. I do know a man named Davis was connected with this organization and his wife, Hollie knew my main character through email and chat rooms. Hollie got my character to leave her house in one version before it exploded.”

A horrifically tense look filled Nick’s eyes.

“What was your main character’s name?” he asked.

“Angela Hastings. She was just a normal person this group seemed to target for no reason. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the plot, so I stopped writing on it. But the characters were always there in the back of my mind.” “Angela?” he said with a slight croak in his voice. His mouth set in a grim line as if he’d just realized something important. “It was Davis and Tessa?” he asked sharply.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I said.

“They killed her. That’s why you lost your connection to the story. I was never certain but I always suspected they were responsible.” Nick’s voice had taken on a hard edge.

“In my story she never died. The house explosion happened in the beginning. She was with John when Tessa was following them. They both escaped. I never had the feeling she died.”
Nick seemed to know more of the story now that he had centered his mind on what he thought were the facts.

“She disappeared ten years ago. Later, we found bones identified as Angela’s.”
“Classic red herring,” I muttered. “I would bet money she was alive, and I’m not a betting person.”

Nick didn’t seem quite as convinced. “She would have shown up by now if she was alive.”
“I know it’s easier to believe she’s gone, especially after all this time, but I’m not convinced. The headquarters of that secret group I mentioned was not far from the place where John and Angela escaped from Tessa.”

Nick was listening but his jaw was locked. Losing Angela must have nearly killed him.
“I have two scenarios that have been wiggling around in my mind. Scenario number one: The Foundation captured Angela for an as of yet unknown reason. Scenario number two: John knew why the Foundation was after her and faked her death.”

“John would never leave me out of the loop. He knew how much I cared about Angela.”
I lowered my head. He was still in pain. It was so obvious how deep the wounds were.

“Because you cared about her so much, that was probably the reason he kept her escape a secret. Your grief played well to whomever wanted to kill Angela. Your performance convinced the Foundation that Angela truly was dead. Plus, if I know Angela at all, she wanted to keep you safe. She didn’t want unscrupulous men touching your life.”

“You think my best friend would put me through something like that? You’re crazy.”
“Better ten years of grief than a lifetime of dead,” I said.

“That night changed me,” Nick admitted. “The night she died something inside of me died along with her. I went from good cop to the renegade officer. I took every dangerous assignment I could get my hands on.”

“You were grieving. Everyone grieves in their own way,” I said. Even the idea that she might be alive weighed heavily on him.

“They don’t have a death wish so they can join the woman they love.”
Our captors were loading things into an awaiting SUV. I could see it through the front door. It was black just like Ethan’s. Then an idea blossomed in my mind.

“Oh, God,” I whispered. “This isn’t about the Legacy at all. It’s psi-ops. Psychic operatives. They are purposely confusing me. They probed my mind until they found you. They needed a link to her.”

I ran my hands through my hair. “Because of me they’re going to find her.”
“What are you talking about,” Nick whispered.

“The part of the story I never understood was cloning. I knew it had something to do with the plot but I never knew why.” I paused and glanced to my captors making sure they were busy. “I think the reason they want Angela is because she’s a clone. Their first successful self-thinking clone.”

Nick was not quite on the same wavelength with me. It was hard to remember that he didn’t know the same things about my characters as I did.

“But why me?” Nick asked, again. I could tell he was completely confused.

“What if the Foundation created a clone. Then before they truly realized what she was, she escaped. In the beginning her memory must have been nearly empty. She had no experiences. She gained those first experiences by befriending you and John. But she never knew what she truly was.

“So, you’re trying to tell me that Angela is.. . or was a clone?”

“She’s alive,” I said. “You can be sure of that. But she’s not merely a clone. She’s an advanced human being and she’s evolved. The Foundation wants that advanced technology. They want to make more people like her.”

“And I’m bait?” Nick said. “I get it.”

“My theory is that the medical researchers employed by the Foundation can’t replicate her evolution. They’ll need her DNA to do that.”

The men guarding us came closer. They were now watching us, and my bad feeling came back in spades.

“Something’s wrong,” I whispered to Nick.

“You really do listen to your inner cues and follow your intuition,” said one guard. His voice was quickly recognized. It sounded like Ethan. I couldn’t tell by his facial features, though. “Not many realize they even have such an ability.”

“I’m not most people,” I snarked. When he came into my view, I realized it was Ethan. “Why are you doing this to me? You couldn’t just use your psi-ops division and hack your way into my head like normal operatives?”

Ethan said nothing. He glanced back to his partner then again to me. As his head turned, something about his face flickered. I blinked and focused harder trying to see what was really there. The face flickered again. Between flashes of Ethan’s face came another, a man I didn’t recognize.

“He’s not Ethan,” I said to Nick. “I doubt any of this is my Legacy universe. It’s like a very powerful mental simulation area. That explains why I was able to manipulate the characters. They were only mental simulations created by someone else.”

“Who’s behind this,” Nick said to the guard. He reached through the bars for him and with a powerful pull thrust the man into them. The mental image of Ethan’s face dissolved and revealed the man’s true identity. He was one I recognized. Fear raced through my veins. What in the hell was going on?

“We’ve got to get out of here,” I told Nick.

“Ya think?” he replied sarcastically.

I mentally opened the cage door and Nick pounded on Kevin’s face until it too flickered and revealed yet another hoodlum pretending to be someone he was not.

“This is crazy,” Nick said. “How do you fight someone who can mentally create a universe this realistic and maintain it for this long?”

“I wasn’t supposed to be here,” I said softly, finally getting it. “I was the unknown variable.” I paused. “They have to be using my mind to create this.”

“What?” Nick said, pulling me toward the front door. “You’re sounding crazier by the minute.”

“I’m already captured. The way they found you is that they tapped into my mind.” I pushed away from Nick. “Stay away from me,” I yelled running out the front door. Before I could warn him of the dangers of staying in my presence, everything went black.

Familiar Adversary - Episode 10




Episode 10: It's a Dream World

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow I’m stuck back in my bedroom with no idea how to return to the Alt-World. To say I’m freaked out is putting it lightly. The tugging sensation in my chest was now gone but tenderness remained.

I got what I wanted. I was finally home. But I couldn’t revel in my sudden good fortune. I felt compelled to go back. Not for myself, mind you, but for Nick. He didn’t deserve whatever lie in wait for him on the other side. I couldn’t in good conscience leave Nick there to fend for himself, especially not when I might be responsible for trapping him there in the first place.

I expelled a few deep breaths and tried to calm down. This whole encounter had been one fantastical ride and my heart still hadn’t slowed down, not one beat.

Darkness surrounded me but I did know one thing. I was home. I was home in my own bed. The clock on the nightstand blinked angry red digits at me revealing that it was midnight.
12:00. 12:00. 12:00

Truthfully, it could be any time. My clock only blinked when the power went off. Maybe my reemergence into this reality caused a fluxuation in the electric. At this point, I could only pose theories since I had nothing to base my observations on except what was before me in the moment.

I raised a hand to my forehead and brushed away the damp hair from my face and neck.

“Could this whole nightmare have been a dream?” I whispered. Maybe I had done what some experts have called ‘lucid dreaming’. I had done it only once in my life. I wasn’t very successful at it, if you want the truth. In lucid dreaming, you should be able to control any part of the dream. It should become your own personal fantasy land.

When I did it, every character disappeared and went on a much needed coffee break. I was in my dream alone and with no power to change anything. I intended for things to happened, I willed them into existence and yet, nothing happened. So much for the ease of lucid dreaming.

I noticed that the television was on. My mom tends to leave it running all night. A reporter was breaking into the programming to reveal a special news bulletin. The reporter showed a man on a security camera. He appeared to be a policeman, but I couldn‘t see his face.

The reporter revealed the man’s name. Nick Boyd. He and his partner, a hulking black man were approaching the entrance to a bank, guns drawn. The journalist was marveling at what seemed to happen next. Nick was there one moment and gone the next. He had literally disappeared. A security camera from across the street caught the act.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. Nick Boyd hadn’t merely been kidnapped in my dream. He had been snapped out of reality all together. What in the heck was going on?

My mom appeared behind me. I jerked in shock at her sudden appearance. I should have known she’d be up. She had her days and nights all mixed up. She slept most times during the morning hours and stayed up all night. She was wide awake with a cup of coffee in hand. She gestured to the television. I jumped and gasped.

“Sorry to startle you, honey,” she said. “What do you make of that Seattle cop disappearing. Bizarre, huh?”

“It’s weird,” I said. “I just dreamed about him.”

“Do you have any other kind?” she chuckled. “You and weird dreams seem to go hand in hand.”

“This dream was a little more weird than normal. I dreamed that I had been somehow transported to my Legacy universe and all the characters were trying to kill me.”

“And you saw this Nick Boyd there?” Mom asked, a sudden realization lighting her face. “Isn’t Nick Boyd the name of one of your characters?”

I nodded.

“Wasn’t he the one someone emailed you about? The guy who turned out to be real?” Mom said. “I remember thinking at the time that only you could draw in the signals from the universe, or wherever you get them, and create a story about someone you’ve never met. And somehow include a lot of details about their real life.

“When I was writing about him, I had no idea he was a real person. My psychic sense must have been working overtime.”

“I don’t think your psychic sense could make a man disappear into thin air,” she speculated.

“I don’t think so either,” I said. “He appeared suddenly in my dream too. Everyone else in the dream, I could manipulate them by merely thinking thoughts. I couldn’t do that with Nick. He didn’t know where he was. He was wandering through the woods. It looked from his appearance that he had been lost for at least a day wandering around the forest.”

“What do you think happened to him?” Mom asked.

“I don’t know. In my dream, someone captured him. They implied they would never have found him without me.”

My mom patted me on the back. “Try not to dwell too much on it. Go back to sleep. Maybe when you wake up everything will be back to normal.”

“One can only hope,” I said.

I laid back down fixing the sheet and covers back into normal order. I wasn’t sure how they had become so haphazard. My theory was that my dreams were seeping into reality. When I moved around in my dream, I thrashed on the bed making the sheets a jumbled mess.

I tried to sleep but my mind wouldn’t stop racing. I went back to the kitchen and took a couple of supplements. One to lessen my anxiety and one to make me sleep. It was nothing too exotic. St. John’s Wart and Valarian. It wasn’t long before I dozed off.

A sharp noise startled me. I sighed. I’d forgotten to put my earplugs in which were usually a nightly necessity. I reached my hand out toward the nightstand to grab them but I found nothing but empty space where a table should be.

I rolled over to look at the table and bumped into something very large. I immediately jerked awake, my heart beating in my throat.

“Settle down. Settle down,” said a calming voice. “It’s only me.”

The man sitting next to me was cast in shadow. He was leaning back against the wall as if he’d been there for quite some time. Strangely, I was no longer in my bed but lying on a hard, cold concrete floor.

“Me who?” I asked inching away from the stranger. If this was another dream, it was very, very real.

“You know. Nick. Nick Boyd. The guy who saved your life yesterday.”
All I could do was stare.

I was back in the Alt-World and I was captured by some unknown assailant. Sometimes life really sucked.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Familiar Adversary - Episode 9




Part 9 - String Theory
Sometimes when you think you escape, you don’t. 
It’s all an illusion that the fairy-tale allows you to believe.
***
Last time we spoke and I reflected upon my ongoing tale, I was escaping from Ian, Evie, Nigel and Echo. Yeah, I know. It’s hard to believe I’m running away from the good guys, but I can’t help but be suspicious. I don’t know what’s really going on.

I’m sure, if you haven’t read an episode before, you’re wondering how it’s possible that the author of the series is unaware of the plotline. Let me recap.

When I first found myself in this Alt-World, I thought it was just like my own. It seemed similar. It seemed like the terrain I had seen every day, day in and day out. But there was something a bit odd about this land -- my characters had become flesh and blood and they were trying to kill me!

It started out as me against my main characters Ethan, Kevin and Michela. Kevin faked me out and made me believe he was on my side, and I fell for the ruse. He was my favorite, so of course, I wanted to believe him.

I escaped from him just in time to discover the “real” Ethan Fairchild. When I say ‘real’, I mean a real person from the real world. When I originally created my spy guy, I had a real person in mind for him -- of course, it was only a person I had ever seen on the MetroLink train I rode to work on Wednesdays. I never saw this man very often, but he looked like the man I would cast as my perfect spy. He was the type of man that if you only glanced at him you would swear you had just seen Matthew McConaughey. This was the man I saw in the Alt-World. Kinda freaked me out, if you want the truth.

To keep myself from confusing the fictional Ethan with the real man, I deemed him, Thornton. It was the middle name of my character. Not long later, Thornton revealed to me that he was truly the not so evil twin of Ethan. I should have known. But I didn’t. They had fooled me again.

There was really no one to trust in this world but myself. And that knowledge was a bit daunting to grasp.

He and a few other minor characters from the series claimed to be on my side. They said that the Black Council was attacking Legacy agents and compromising them but altering my storyline. They told me that the Legacy was a real agency and I was merely picking up their stories by a bizarre version of fictional remote viewing.

Then I discovered that I had a few powers in this Alt-World. I could make the characters freeze and throw them across the room merely by thinking it. It’s a cool power. Wish I had it in real life.

I used this cool power to escape, and now I’m on the run again. I’m not sure where I’m running to. I’m just running away. Away from my minor characters to a place where I can figure out what to do next.

That pretty much gets you up to speed about my journey.

Currently, it’s dark and I’m running.

At first, I thought I was home free. No one had followed me out of the place where Ian had me bound and gagged on a very hard, uncomfortable surface. It wasn’t long until I realized that a figure was dogging my every move.

I stopped and stood still. My breath hard and ragged. I could feel the fear inching up on me. I attempted to use my new cool power and thought about transporting the man far away. No matter how hard I pictured the outcome, I could still hear his footsteps breaking twigs as he grew closer and closer to my position.

“Why isn’t it working?” I whispered to myself. “It was working a minute ago and now it’s not working. Dang, my new power is broken and I haven‘t had time to even wear it in properly.”

A haggard man appeared from the shadows directly in front of me and I yelled a short, surprised burst of noise that was more like a bird cawing than a woman screaming for her life. “Please don’t kill me,” I begged, short of breath from my recent run. Did I mention that I have asthma? Running isn’t exactly the best exercise for me.

The man reared back. He seemed almost as taken aback as I was at my appearance. There was a real fear in his eyes. A fear that was mirrored in my own.

He held his hands out toward me in a non-threatening gesture. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to scare you. But I have to know -- where am I?”

I inched forward attempting to get a better look at him. Underneath the days growth of beard and leaves stuck to his hair and clothes, I thought he looked a bit familiar.
“What’s your name?” I asked curiously.

He came forward extending his hand. I eyed it as if it was a snake about to bite me. He glanced at his hand and rubbed it against his faded, well-worn jeans, then extended it again.

“Nick. Nick Boyd. I’m an officer with the Seattle Police Department. I woke up this morning lying outside in a town I don’t recognize. Do you know where I am?” He paused. “Where is the nearest town?”

I smiled humorlessly at him. I knew Nick Boyd. Nick Boyd was a character from my series, “By Any Other Name.” He was someone that I knew had a real life counterpart. I didn’t know what he looked like, and considering he didn’t look like the character I had cast him as, I assumed he was the real deal.

“I’m not exactly sure myself. My best guess is England. But that’s under the assumption that we’re in a location where I have set one of my series. Other than that, I have no clue. I sort of just woke up here myself.”

I quickly relayed my situation to him. I told him all about Ethan and the spy guys who were after me. He gave me the same humorless look that I had given him earlier. He wasn’t quite convinced that fictional people would be after me. I guess it must have been the police officer part of him. He had to see it to believe it. He needed some evidence.

Nick spread his arms wide and gestured to the woods around us.

“You’re telling me that this is all make believe?” he asked skeptically.

I shrugged. “As far as I can tell, the only real thing in this reality is you and me.”
“How do you figure that?”

“Simple,” I said. “Everyone else is a character from my series.”

I never realized until now how hard it was to understand my series. The man was looking at me like I was the crazy one. He had no clue what a web serial was or how I could even be in this situation to begin with. I had to agree with him there. I didn’t know why I was in this situation either.

“If you believe this nonsense, that’s up to you. I just want to get on the phone and call my partner. He’ll come and pick me up. I’ve had just about as much make believe as I can take.” He placed his hands on slim hips. “Where is the closest house to here?”

I thrust my thumb behind me. “Back at the place where evil twin, Ian, was holding me. Maybe you can break in and do your police thing. Confiscate a phone or something. Then try and call your buddy. If no one’s ever heard of him, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I saluted him and began to walk away down a path that would take me in the opposite direction.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

“Not back there. They won’t recognize you since you don’t look like the person I cast as Nick Boyd in my series. So, you’ll probably be safe enough. If that doesn’t work, click your heels together three times and say ‘there’s no place like home.’” I nodded. “It worked for Dorothy. It couldn‘t hurt.”

I kept walking and didn’t look back. Maybe if they did try something funny back at the house and eventually captured Nick, if he thought the words and thought of home, it might just save him. I was pretty sure that if I had my special power, Nick could have it as well since he was a real person.

As I walked I contemplated as to why Nick would show up here. He’s not a main character in my main series. I hardly write on him at all. But there was a time, before the Legacy that I was writing about a policeman named Nick with a woman who strongly resembled Gia but went by the name Tessa Wainright.

When I first thought about writing an espionage series, they were the people who came to mind, along with a man named John Holland who eventually morphed into my version of Ethan Fairchild. John was a police sketch artist. So how he ever eventually became Ethan is hard to figure. My mind threw everything into the mixing bowl of my brain and it came out The Legacy.

“When is this going to be over?” I silently asked myself. I was so tired and I just wanted this game to end.

A ringing sound echoed through the forest. At first it sounded far away, but soon the noise was coming from the stump next to me. On the stump was an old tin can. Attached to the can was a piece of string. I picked it up to examine it and the echo ceased.

It was only a tin can, but somehow I could hear chatter on the other end. As I put the can closer to my ear, I realized someone was talking on the other end.

“I just wanted to thank you.” The voice said. “You provided exactly what I needed. Without your help we never would have won the war against The Legacy.”

I gasped. “What are you talking about? Who is this?”

“Thank you, Ms. Walker for bringing Nick Boyd to us. You may go home now. Your contract has expired.”

The caller never identified himself. But I could distinctly hear Nick shouting in the background.

How had they gotten him so quickly? And why did they even want him?

Before I could think of a way to save Nick, I experienced an immense tugging. It was almost like someone was pulling my soul away from my body and my body refused to relinquish it.
Suddenly, I awoke in my own bed.

My face was dripping with sweat. I had apparently left the tv on while I dozed and could hear the newscaster relating a story about the sudden disappearance of a police officer in Seattle.

“It was real.” I whispered. “It had to be real.”

Oh, God. What had I done? Because of me they had Nick.

Monday, July 14, 2014

More odd bits


Ten Little Spies
Not Himself

“Bobbie, slow down. You need to tell me what happened so I can understand you.” Mackenzie Gray shook the controller. He seemed to be in shock. Bobbie pointed to the far monitor where Stephen’s dead body still filled the screen.

Mac inhaled a steady breath and called for assistance on his cell. I need medical to get down to the chrio-chamber. Webb has been hit.”

He turned to Bobbie. The boys eyes seemed large as he stared straight through him.

“Who killed Webb?” he asked. “It’s okay. You can tell us.”

“Ethan,” Bobbie said. “It was Ethan.”

^^^

“My sister doesn’t know how to handle something like this,” Kaye Corday said to her partner, Jared Quinn.

“You don’t think you’re underestimating her just a little bit?” Jared asked. He drove the SUV toward the blinking dot on his map. The dot was Dare’s GPS transmitter. All operatives were fashioned with one years ago.

“She hasn’t been trained, Quinn. She’ll just put Dare into more danger.”

“Oh, we wouldn’t want that,” Jared quipped. He and Dare had never been the best of friends.

Kaye studied the map. “The signal has stopped a few miles ahead. What do you think those guys want with Dare and Alison?”

“I stopped trying to make sense of this. Nothing has made sense since that booby-trapped candle was delivered to me.” 

Jared thought about the reasoning behind it all. The only thing that made sense to him was the idea that Ethan and Stephen had both displayed bizarre abilities. Ethan and his nanites and Stephen and his spontaneous healing. Maybe the bad guys thought they all possessed some sort of super power.

^^^

“You’re saying my father is dead?” Adrian Zeller couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the fact that the man he’d been speaking with all these weeks was an imposter.

“Unfortunately, it seems your father has been dead for quite some time. Our forensic team suggests he’s been decomposing for six months. I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Zeller.” Mac Gray rubbed came around the desk and sat next to Zeller. “The device you found simulates a holographic effect around the wearer’s head. It’s a very convincing disguise. Two of my operatives have seen it up close. It’s no wonder you were fooled into believing your father as alive.”

Adrian rubbed two hands over his face. “What do I do now? There’s no telling how many changes he made to the corporation in my father’s name.”

“I suggest you and your lawyer assess everything as soon as possible. He could have acquired your father’s billions or they would have used his various contacts to nefarious ends.”

Adrian held a hand to his head. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

“In your shoes, I might feel the same. You’re free to go. We’ll let you know when you can return to the property.”

While Adrian was escorted from the mansion, Mac returned to Bobbie in the control room.

“How are you doing?” Mac asked him.

“How can you be so calm about this?” Bobbie asked. “Stephen’s dead.”

Mackenzie asked one of the on-site Legacy sweeper team to take up Bobbie’s position at the security center.

“Come on, kid. I have to show you something.” Mac led Bobbie to a secure area. Only a few trusted agents were allowed beyond this point.

“What’s going on, Mac?”

Mac opened the door and ushered Bobbie inside. Sitting on an elaborate canopy bed inside an elaborately designed bedroom was Stephen Webb.

“What? How?”

“We don’t know. We’ll do a battery of tests,” Mac said. “Strange occurences have been happening inside the Legacy for years. But this has to be the most amazing thing I’ve seen.”

Bobbie poked Stephen to make sure he was real and not a figment of his imagination. A nurse took Stephen’s blood pressure as Mac and Bobbie approached.

“Welcome back from the grave,” Mac said to Stephen.

Stephen chuckled. “Crazy, isn’t it? This is only the second time it’s happened, and I can’t get used to it.”

“Second time?” Bobbie croaked.

“Yeah, Octavia shot me earlier in the day. The bullet pushed out of my body as if something was inside me rejecting it.”

“So, she knows you can do this?” Bobbie asked.

Mac answered his query. “She didn’t see him heal but she knows he got up and walked away from it. We suspect Octavia may have given him something, a formula she was working on. The symptoms didn’t display themselves until after his encounter with the Russian.”

“What is she doing? Trying to make super soldiers?” Bobbie asked. “That’s crazy.”

“No one’s said she’s working with a full deck. Because of her deception and realigning herself with Julian Black, we need to redo every security measure we have. She’s been inside the organization and seen too many things. She’s a dangerous threat to us now.”

Bobbie’s head was spinning with all he’d have to do in the coming days and weeks. 

“What’s the plan,” he asked.

“We’ll discuss that at a more secure location. Let’s just leave it with this -- we’re going old school.”

^^^

Dyan Ransom paced in front of Julian Black’s large mahogany desk She didn’t like this. She didn’t like this at all.