Thursday, January 29, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Chapter 5. Ian

Ian stared into the dark eyes of the man that could only be Cyrus Kanakarides. The fury in Cyrus’s eyes scared him. Ian saw a darkness there, he saw death there and perhaps a hint of something truly evil.

“We’re not here to fight,” Ian spat out. “We came here to help you.”

“Help me destroy my home? Help me out of the life I’ve built here? I don’t need that kind of help!”

Ian closed his eyes and thought back to his capture, to the dark cold room in which he awoke. He vanished from view as the small apartment started to transform.

“What is this? What did you do?”

Cyrus stood in the middle of the room, the place that Ian first awoke. Hidden from view by the illusion, Ian walked behind Cyrus.

“My name is Ian Page and this is my first memory. I awoke in this place, free of any memory of my past. They took it from me, but I was just the first name on the list.

“That slab isn’t just meant for me. They had a list but my name was only the first on it. Garrett—Stomp, there on the floor—his name was on the list. And so was yours, Cyrus Kanakarides. From your welcome, it’s plain to see why. You have powers like we do, and they want people with powers. And you seem to be stronger than Garrett and I combined.”

“Why should I believe you?” Cyrus said. “I’m not just going to trust some geek off the street, especially one that’s busted up my apartment.”

Ian let the illusion drop as he again circled Cyrus. He reappeared along with the torn apart living room, right in front of Cyrus.

“I don’t want these men to hurt anyone else. I don’t know who they are, but I know we need to stop them. And for that, I need your help.”

“I’m no hero. And I’m not your friend.”

“I’m not looking for a friend, Cyrus. Just someone smart enough to protect themselves when they are clearly in the line of fire.”

Garrett groaned as he rose from the floor behind Ian. He rubbed his chest. Ian glanced back at him as he rubbed his chest. Ian signaled for him to stay back. He turned back towards Cyrus just in time to see the dark-haired Greek ready another wave of sonic force.

“Calm down, dude,” Garrett said behind him. “I’m not looking for any more bruises. We didn’t come to fight you.”

“Then you should both leave,” Cyrus said. “I’m not part of this.”

“Look around you,” Ian said. He pointed towards the unconscious soldiers. “We’re all part of this now. And who knows when these guys’ friends will show up to continue the party?”

“Hey, I didn’t believe the little dude either,” Garrett said. “But look around you. Clearly he’s on to something here. Someone bad is out there and he wants us. I don’t know why, but it’s plain as day—or these men on the floor—that they will do anything to get us.”

Cyrus stared at both of them. Ian wished he could begin to fathom what the other man contemplated. But Cyrus’s face was impassive, deep in contemplation.

“I’ve seen you on the news before,” he said to Garrett. “You work with local kids or something.”

“I help out where I can. I figured if I have these powers, I can use them to help those who are hurt or in danger. And maybe give some local kids a bit of hope.”

Cyrus nodded, but he said nothing else for a full minute, clearly still lost in thought.

“You said you had a list?”

“Five names,” Ian said. “Yours, mine, Stomp’s and two more.”

“Let’s go find the rest of those names.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Chapter 4. Cyrus

Cyrus Kanakarides didn’t ask for a lot in this world. His parents may have been the richest folks in all of Rhode Island, but he left that life behind on purpose. He wanted nothing from his unloving father or his controlling mother.

He set up here to be as far from them as possible, a simple apartment, a good if low paying job at a hotline for troubled teens. He had plenty of time to focus on his art. He didn’t need more than that. He liked the simple life, free from the past.

It never lasted.

He didn’t know who the two men standing in his apartment might be. He didn’t really care at this point. All he knew is his apartment was destroyed, their three victims were laid out on the floor and more super-freaks were responsible.

He summoned a wave of pure sound energy to his hands. It formed like a ball of invisible force, only a low controlled hum emanated from it.

The bigger man, a twenty something hipster of mixed blood, started towards him. “Dude, it’s not what you—”

Cyrus hurled the blast of sonic force at the man. The hum grew to a scream as it flew out and smashed hard into the hipster’s chest.

“Garrett!” the other man yelled.

Fueled only by anger, Cyrus turned his attention to his other victim.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Interlude I

1943, France

 

They called him Mighty Man. He wasn’t the smartest member of America’s super-powered fighting force, but he was one of the strongest and toughest. When America needed something broken, he was on call. Today it was a Nazi embankment deep in the French countryside. He smashed through their mortar shells without even a dent on his bright red tunic. The soldiers around him might as well have been unarmed as well; their rifle rounds just pinged off his bullet proof skin as he marched towards them.

He stood across from a massive Panzer tank now. Its barrel slowly leveled towards him. He charged forward and grabbed the long barrel. Without a second thought, he lifted the tank by its massive gun and hurled it up. It landed fifty yards away upside down.

He looked around the broken Nazi defenses. The remaining soldiers scurried for cover, their major armaments were gone. He needed to find his radio now, time to call in the G.I.s.

“Ah, I see you’ve finally arrived.”

Mighty Man turned and found himself standing inches from a Nazi officer. This man seemed young to carry the insignia he wore and Mighty Man couldn’t begin to grasp what a Major General would be doing this far on the front. He wasn’t even sure where the man was when the fight was on. Had he flown here like a bird?

The officer reached out and gently placed a hand across Mighty Man’s cheek before the hero could even think to react. Mighty Man instantly roared in agony, suddenly very aware of a sensation he hadn’t felt in years: pain.

His skin shriveled and desiccated as his life rushed away in a matter of seconds. With a smile, a young Major General walked away from the battlefield, slowly tearing away the uniform he wore as he walked.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Chapter 3. Ian

Ian watched Garrett run in to battle. He knew despite the nickname of Stomp, Garrett wasn’t a superhero. He wasn’t trained to fight, just a man with immense strength. Yet he still rushed into battle with nary a second thought.

And all Ian could do was stand silently in his own projected shadows. He could only watch, though he hated himself for it.

No, he told himself as the soldiers leveled their weapons at Garrett. I have to help him.

Ian’s illusions kept him hidden as he quickly and quietly scouted the room. The apartment was nearly bare, just a few folding chairs, a loveseat and a bed shoved in the corner. A second level raised just off the living area contained a small kitchenette and dining area. A door off the dinette was most likely the bathroom.

It didn’t offer Ian much to work with. His eyes fell on the folding chair and images of a professional wrestling match filled his head. He retrieved the folding chair, disappearing it in to his illusion, careful to make as little noise as possible.

He slowly carried it across the room, working his way behind the two soldiers.

“Who are you?” one of the gunmen asked Garrett. “Why are you here?”

“I…I—”

“H1, he’s on the list. Garrett Vos, sir. The one called Stomp.”

H1 nodded his head. “I think you’re right, H3. But why would he be here?”

“No idea, sir, but he’s saved us a trip. I think—”

A resounding crash cut off H3’s words.

H3 fell to the floor in a heap as the folding chair came in to view. Ian appeared with it a moment later as H1’s attention turned his way.

Ian stared down the soldier, even as he saw Garrett move behind H1.

Garrett flew forward, propelled by his super-strong leg muscles. He smashed fist-first into H1’s back. The soldier dropped to the floor instantly from the impact.

Garrett turned and pounded on H3 as he rose to his feet. The pummeling sent H3 crashing back to the floor, where he lay unmoving.

“You okay?” Garrett asked Ian. Ian nodded.

A shriek of sound shook the room. As it faded, a sound shook, a voice raised from the door.

“I don’t know who the hell you are, but you made a huge mistake coming here!”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Chapter 2. Stomp

This Ian kid started to weep as he slowly rose from the futon. Garrett didn’t know what to say. Here this kid showed up on his doorstep and starting lobbing crazy stories. He couldn’t begin to believe them, but knew he also couldn’t have some crying teenager either in his living room or leaving his house in the middle of the night.

“Look,” he said. “I’ll go with you and help you find the other people on this list of yours. Maybe they can help you figure out what happened to you. But I’m not going to fight someone else’s fights. I’m a showman and a community leader, not some kind of superhero.”

“I don’t need a defender,” Ian said. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “I just need answers.”

The apartment complex at 34114 Reagan Avenue was nothing to write home about. Garrett wasn’t even sure he should have brought Ian here, but after a fifteen minute drive in his Impala, they were going to find out whether this list of his was the real deal.

The building was little more than a tenement with paint peeling from decaying bricks and broken windows boarded up around the entrance. Bars and a wire mesh covered the glass front door.

“Not very inviting,” Garrett said with a weak smile. He climbed the steps and stopped in front of the call box. “What was the apartment number?”

“Eighty-two,” Ian said. He glanced around clearly on the look for something—anything—dangerous.

“Stop looking like you’re on the run or guilty or something,” Garrett said. “You might actually attract someone we don’t want in this neighborhood. Let’s see if this friend of yours is here.”

Garrett pressed the buzzer. They waited in silence for several seconds before Garrett buzzed again.

“Yeah, who is it?”

“Hi, my name is Garrett Vos. You may have heard of me on television. I go by Stomp. My friend and I have a few questions we hoped to ask you. Nothing invasive, just a few things in relation to a…a missing kid in the area.”

Garrett smirked, proud of his slight stretch of the truth.

“Yeah, you can come up,” The voice said gruffly. “Make it quick.”

Garrett grumbled when they found the elevator broken. Eight floors weren’t a problem with his strength and endurance; he just didn’t want to waste more time here than he needed. The entire endeavor seemed like a problem for the cops, but he didn’t want to see Ian running again, crazy or not. Something told him the kid was in trouble, but he wasn’t sure if it wasn’t of the mental health variety.

After nearly ten minutes climbing, the finally reached apartment eighty-two’s door. Garrett quickly knocked as Ian backed away from the door.

“What—?”

A strange hum emanated from the other side of the door. A screech of warning rang in Garrett’s skull.

“Get down!”

The front door of apartment eighty-two exploded in Garrett’s face.

Garrett smashed into the far wall. The drywall splintered as he struck. White powder flew everywhere.

Nearby, Ian disappeared into the shadows of the hallway, once again gone from view.

Garrett rose up from the broken wall angry. His body ached all over. His strength was far beyond any normal man, but that didn’t make pain not hurt. His body let it be known it didn’t want to move.

He ignored the damage to his body as he stomped forward. As the dust cleared, he stared at the figures. He immediately felt a wave of nausea in the pit of his stomach as he saw their armor and face masks.

They matched Ian’s description perfectly. Each held some kind of high-tech rifle, a weapon that was nothing like Garrett ever saw on the street, but that didn’t mean he wanted to find out how their bullets felt, especially after that explosion.

He leapt up in to the air. His ultra-powerful legs hurled him forward at his foe at superhuman speed. Before the armored soldiers could react, he smashed into his closest foe. Garrett struck shoulder first and immediately knew the man wouldn’t be getting up for awhile.

“Stand down or we will shoot!”

Garrett turned to face two other guns leveled at him.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Walking Shadows Book 1 Chapter 1. Ian


Ian Page ran through the night. The darkness held tightly around him. He knew they were after him, somewhere out in the night, but he couldn’t let that stop him. He couldn’t let them catch him. He couldn’t guess what they would do to him—or already had.

Besides his name, his memory was nearly blank. He knew what things were, how the world worked, but his identity was gone past a simple name.

He didn’t realize that fact until several minutes after he awoke alone on the cold iron slab just a few short hours ago. The room felt like a morgue, silent and dead. But when he heard the men outside, he knew he needed to escape. He knew they were dangerous.

He caught only a glimpse of one as he ran down the hall. They came dressed in some kind of full body armor that completely obscured their flesh, complete with a helmet and face shield. The rifle in the soldier’s hands made the danger all too clear.

He ducked into a door to avoid the masked trooper. He found himself in an office, just a simple desk and computer crammed in a space no bigger than a broom closet.

He found a flash drive plugged in to the USB slot. He read the screen, the open text file loaded from the device. It was a simple list of names and addresses.

The first was all too chilling:
Ian Page, address unknown.
He yanked the device free before he ran back into the hall and out of the building.

That was hours ago. Now he was lost and alone. His feet ached and he was in a city he didn’t know and couldn’t begin to navigate.

And they were after him.

Ian was cold, freezing. He knew it was only November, but it was late and the winter creeped in early. A cold breeze flowed off the Mississippi and sent chills down Ian’s back.

He stumbled hard in to a sign post. The darkness swam away from him as he fell hard to the ground, his focus gone. Suddenly visible, suddenly completely exposed, outside his illusion, he felt exposed.

He quickly raised his illusion again. He disappeared into the darkness once more. But as he did, he looked up at the street marker.

Linden Drive. He knew this road. Perhaps it wasn’t too late.

Ian’s mind flashed back to the computer screen. The list of names and addressed. The fingered the flash drive in his jeans pocket.

497 Linden Drive. It was the first address on the list.

He didn’t have a clue what the names meant or why they were even gathered. He only knew that he was the first on the list and his current condition marked that list as dangerous. And he knew he didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Ian took a deep breath and ran a hand through his floppy blond hair.

Three blocks. Three blocks between him and fate.



The address was a simple duplex. The neighborhood seemed run down, but this particular home seemed to be much better maintained than the rest of the homes in the vicinity.

Ian walked up the short walkway to the front porch. He slowly ascended the three stairs to the door. He stopped in front of it and looked both ways down the street.

It was late and a week night. The streets were empty. Still he couldn’t get over the feeling his hunters were still out there, lurking, waiting for him to slip up.

He took a deep breath and let the illusion fade away. He reached out and rang the doorbell.

Ian almost disappeared again when he heard the tumbler turn in the lock. He took a deep calming breath and focused himself. He needed help and this is where he would find it. Or so he hoped.

The door opened and a young man in his early twenties stood before Ian. He was maybe 6’ 2” with light brown skin and a wild afro atop his head.

“Garrett Vos?”

“Uh, yeah, dude. What you need?”

“Garrett, I need your help. Only you can save my life.”

“Uh, what?”

Garrett stared blankly at Ian. Ian could only shake out in the cold. His throat went suddenly dry. He opened his mouth to speak, but couldn’t make the words pass his lips.

Garrett grabbed Ian by the shoulder. Ian flinched at the contact.

“Come inside, little dude. You look like you’re gonna turn into a popsicle. Get warmed up and you can tell me what the heck you’re doing on my doorstep.”

Ian settled in to a black leather futon in a snug living room. In front of him, a seventy inch screen covered an entire wall of the room. To its right, a wall of pictures featured Garrett with dozens of local celebrities, community leaders and neighborhood kids.

Garrett pulled a folding chair from a hall closet behind Ian, just beneath the stairs that lead to the next level. He carried it over to the futon, opened it and sat down. He stared at Ian for a moment before he spoke.

“Now, little dude, I love my town, but even I’m not a fan of some guy showing up at night at my house. You’re lucky I was up watching some flicks, otherwise I wouldn’t have even answered the dang door. Now what you want?”

“My name is Ian. And men are after me. They’re after me and I think they might be after you too. Our only hope is to—man, it sounds dumb just saying it—is to team-up.”

“Look, little d—n, you got the wrong idea about me. I ain’t one of those vigilante weirdos. I’m just a guy trying to do right by my town and make a little money doing it.”

“But you are metahuman? You go by the nickname Stomp.”

“Well, I—how do you know all of this about me?”

Ian reached his hand in to his pocket. He pulled the tiny black flash drive from his pocket and held it up for Garrett to see.

“I read it. On this. There’s not much else there. Just your name and address.”

Ian quickly explained his sudden awakening, his escape into the streets of River City and the soldiers that held him.

Garrett listened intently, never taking his eyes off Ian.

“Cool story, bro. But no offense, I don’t know what any of this has to do with me.”

“Because they want you too. And they’re coming for us both.”

“After me? What does that even mean? This isn’t some movie. People just don’t hunt down other people for fun.”

You have powers beyond human comprehension a few years ago, but a secret society hunting metahumans seems implausible to you?”

Garrett shook his head. “All I’ve got is your word on this. You want me to believe I’m on someone’s wanted list and you’re just a knit that showed up at my doorstep in the middle of the night. No offense.”

Ian sighed. His head slumped down.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have come here.”