Moonrise CH07 – Queen of Ash

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The broadcast featuring Globe’s gruff face ended, and an anchorman with shaking hands visibly gulped, cleared his throat and tried to explain what the viewers had just witnessed.

“I…” Andy stuttered, “I don’t believe this. Why would he want to expose them like that?”

“So everyone has a reason to kill them now.” Massey replied and turned to Joaquin with concern on his face.

Joaquin frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. “That pussy ass motherfucker better not cramp up my hero chances.”

“We can take down Globe and prevent all this from happening, but we just might need someone like you Andy.”

That’s it pal, take the poisonous apple, take a big bite. This is all you’ve ever wanted.

A smile played on Andy’s lips. “Alright, I’m in.”

Massey’s phone rang. This time, he checked the caller ID, but it was blocked.

“Hello?” He asked tentatively.

A feminine voice replied, “Why hello there, Detective Massey. I hope you have one more place on that vigilante team of yours.”

Massey gripped the phone tighter. “Anne.” The derision in his voice was palpable.

Joaquin reached for the phone, but Massey pushed his hands back and made a shushing motion with his eyes and free hand. He returned his attention to his cellphone. “What do you want?”

Her voice was seductive even through the line. Massey could hear the smile in her voice, the playful murder lips, curling into a grin.

“Same as you: To take down Globe.”

* * *

Anne inched away from the cover the public phone booth gave her, peering to see the park across the street for a sign of distress. She marveled that such a staple of the world was slowly dying. This particular phone booth didn’t even have a telephone handset. The coiled aluminum had several colorful wires dangling from one end. When she received a “play date” invitation from Bree via cell phone, Anne knew she had to comply. Globe was furious at her return and Bree’s request, but he was on his way to deliver his coup de gras in the form of a well-rehearsed speech.

She had said to Massey what she needed to and now waited for Massey’s startled silence to produce a word. On the side of the booth, someone had written “Gordo’s public restroom here” with an arrow specifying the ground upon which Anne stood. She stepped lightly, her heels sticking to the greasy concrete. The phone was warm against her ear, but then Massey spoke, and she couldn’t help but smile.

“What are you playing at? You work for him.”

“I do, but that doesn’t stop me from hating the bastard. He has me under his thumb or so he thinks. I’m looking for a way to even the odds and clear him off the chess board.”

“But you need help?”

Anne noted the chuckle in Massey’s voice and could even picture him shaking his head and looking over his shoulder for Joaquin.

“I need your help, and Joaquin’s. There’s something else too.”

“What is it?”

She glanced again and quickly spotted Bree skipping to a free swing, her pink dress a sharp contrast to all the other children’s clothes.

That’s not the only distinction between Bree and the other kids, Anne thought. She waved at the girl, and the little devil waved back, smiling without her eyes doing the same. Anne wondered when Bree had lost the ability to enjoy simple things like playing in the park. Bree cupped her hands over her mouth and shouted.

“Anne, come and swing me!”

“In a minute princess,” Anne called back giving Bree her warmest, biggest smile. That didn’t work its charm on Bree.

“A minute is too long, Aunty Anne! Come. Now.”

“What the hell’s happening? Who you talkin’ to?” Massey sounded worried, and Anne sighed. Maybe he thought this was a trap or some trick to play them by.

“Listen Massey… Globe has been working on something, but he isn’t shedding light on it with me. I don’t think he trusts me enough for this, which is odd considering our history. I’m surprised he cut me loose. But it’s something bad, and it has to do with all of the supers in the city. We need to talk face to face.”

“Shit… So that speech on the TV was real talk, not just some publicity stunt?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. Let me talk to Joaquin for a moment.”

There was a shuffling noise, and muffled voices and then Joaquin’s heavy breathing replaced Massey’s.

“Whatchu want with me, lady?”

“Hello, Joaquin. Miss me?”

“Hell no!”

Anne allowed herself a small chuckle.

“Joaquin do you remember our talk about lineages, about the super gene?”

“Yeah. How the defects fucked us up and all that ancient shit.”

“I need you to be careful in these times Joaquin, no more shady stuff and bullshitting because the defects are…”

“AUNTY ANNE! SWING!”

Anne nearly dropped the phone flinching at the penetrative squeaky voice of the girl. She pointed towards the phone in hopes Bree would acknowledge important grown-up things.

“I’ll contact you again. Tell Massey to keep the phone close.”

“Anne, hold up!”

“Can’t talk more. Wait for my call.”

It was risky talking to Massey right away but with Globe, Anne knew that tomorrow would be too late. Everything she had fought to protect for decades was crumbling before her eyes, slipping like ashes from between her fingers. But she didn’t want to be queen of these ashes. Globe though… he wanted to be king and play in the ashes before rebuilding hell on top of them.

As Anne bent the prepaid cell phone, snapping the large hinge. She squeezed the remnants into pieces, crunching the display and sim card between her palms. She heard screams. They sounded playful at first, so she continued to destroy the phone, but then the screams transformed into shrieks, and she looked up. The phone pieces slipped from her hands, and she numbly crossed the street ignoring the beeping horns and squealing tires.

Next: Demonstration

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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