Tag Archives: #3WW

Moonrise CH47 – The City That Always Sleeps

[2760 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, #SoCS] April will be the nitrous-fueled ending to Moonrise. All the chapters will be double-length plus. The last week of April will be crammed full of bonus chapters. We’ll make a bound edition of the unedited web serial available for you all in May.

* * *

The wipers squeaked against the windshield wiping away the mosaic of raindrops turning the world outside to a kaleidoscopic – a prism of sudden purity and calmness. Frank Massey ran a finger over parched lips, one hand on the wheel, listening to the pitter-patter of the light rain. Sullen thoughts racked his brain as the van anonymously rolled worn off tires across a city at closing dusk. Unintentionally he slowed down at intersections, weary eyes inspecting the hovering figures on glistening sidewalks purchasing something to get them by to a better tomorrow. No one in a city of six hundred thousand batted an eye at the beat white van with the green swirly letters – “Brady’s Bakery.” No one cared where they went and what they did.

Each life was caught in its own dazzling momentum; some were carried to the megaphone screeches occupying main streets, others to a retreat embracing either Globe or the night at the anticipation of the Nightprowlers. Massey saw this eruption as a pulsating thing, like a wave, heated at the center then retreating to the periphery and again like a storm, fuming, returning, bringing fire to its middle and pulling back. Like breathing, air halted in flimsy lungs while the hands steady the gun and the eye aims setting the crosshair on a bull’s eye. Then comes the slow, meticulous exhale, a pure focus on the target. And it ends with a bang.

The van steered clear of neighborhoods that went lights out at night. That’s where most people hid, that is the ones who didn’t go begging Globe to cure them. White collars got a knock on the door and a polite escort. Other people weren’t so lucky. Shit, Massey thought, no one was lucky. There were no lawyers for this kind of crime, the crime of being born different. Sure, some took to trials, some took to the Movement of Tomorrow but most ended the wrong way.

“The war we spoke of before, I didn’t imagine being physically out of it. I’m not one for getting my hands dirty but girls love to play too. I don’t mind a little blood on me. Instead, we got peace parades drawing even more attention to this and vigilante groups playing neighborhood watch.” Anne’s whispered voice startled him.

He cleared his throat and allowed a glance at her long figure, lazy on the seat, legs crossed, arms tucked into the folds of her jacket. “They are decentralizing Globe’s empire. The more noise they create, the less he furthers his agenda.” Besides you know who’s leading those vigilantes, Massey added silently. She had wanted Joaquin active in this war and he was in his own way. His followed silence allowed her to push the conversation further.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m used to a different kind of… exchange between warring parties. Lately I keep finding myself thinking, trying to figure out why Globe wants this rearrangement of things. Looking at this world I don’t think it’s ready to become something more, so I can’t see where he finds the silver lining that justifies all he’s doing. You know, for centuries I hated, Temujin and his offspring and their drive to eradicate us and implement their own faulty DNA. I hated the fact that he won. I thought of your kind as simple and pitiful, not worth walking this Earth. Now though… I think this world might be better off with people like me in the shadows and people like you, no offence, going berserk on Black Friday and enjoying crappy reality TV. And now, I find myself in that reality and I can’t stand idly by. This has become like a bad déjà vu only this time a psychopath is trying to supersoldier what little is left of my kind potentially destroying the entire world order in the process.”
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Moonrise CH46 – Headstrong

[2090 words – Prompts: Terribleminds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2]Cindy and I decided that we need to wrap this story up. We want it finished by the end of April, so that means double chapters from here on out! Double the word count equals double the fun, right?

* * *

The decrepit church coughed dust under Joaquin’s heavy footsteps. He ran a lazy hand over still standing pews, nose itching at the pervading piss scent, one too recent to ignore among the natural smell of destruction and abandonment. The graffiti demoralizing the walls preached a different kind of psalm to him, a cruelly written reminder that it was still and would always be a dog eat dog world, only now supers and defects were barking equally loud at each other. The painted cross on the opposite wall couldn’t substitute the one that had been stolen but it was a symbol nonetheless, red and full of sharp edges. Joaquin stared at it for the longest time imagining blood dripping from its base into a chalice, a Holy Grail that would touch the lips of the worthy, of the true rulers of this world. A loud bang to his left made his brow furrow, the mirage dissipating before his eyes angrily turned to slits. He cocked his head scolding Kid’s balancing act on an overturned chair.

“Simmer down.”

The boy with the shadow of a blonde goatee on his thin, white face did as he was told, picking up the chair and placing it on its wobbly legs before sitting down. Cosma was studying the only stained glass intact by the flight of rocks by Xavier, and Nightwave was picking scattered leaflets off the ground. His boot kicked needles far under the pews, a disgust etched on his face.

“I used to come here on Sundays for my sister some years back. She sang in the choir.”

“Rough neighborhood?” Cosma quirked an eyebrow.

“The niners got the habit of drive-by shootings every other week. The pastor had some dealings with them putas and when he couldn’t pay, he ran for the border. Church never sent another pastor.”

Cosma whistled running slender fingers across her exposed throat, simulating a sliced gesture to Kid who smirked.

“Where’s the cop?” Quake asked.

Joaquin flinched at that honorific and at the motionless figure of the former guard, unamused by the locale. Betty looked half harmless to them so the snigger in their voices at the mention of her he couldn’t change, but her stance and the sharp glint in her eyes spoke much of her former life. She still didn’t want to admit she was a fugitive in a way after disappearing from her post at the SPD. Regardless of that she still acted the dutiful officer trying to nail in the no-harm-policy into their brand of vigilantism. Some bastards just had to be hurt; it wasn’t philosophy, it was street rules. Joaquin was dutiful too in that way. “She’ll be here.”

“Will you tell her?” Cosma probed, now standing close to Joaquin leaning over his shoulder matching his stance when he’d stared at the cross.

“What do you think? We need her.”
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Moonrise CH45 – Neon Camouflage

[1100 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, Terrible Minds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader, #SoCS]

The American flag pin came off his lapel and he left it on the glass table. It wasn’t needed anymore. He loosened his tie with his hands in his pockets. The elevator took him down to the truer world he inhabited, the right one in the making. Two months ago, Globe had entertained the idea of killing Doctor Lee, or having one of his lackeys do it. But, he had to consider the lost data, the fatal error that cost him a setback had been accounted for, courtesy of Lee. The progress was still slower and Globe wished that he had Joaquin in a glass jar too. He was not fully satisfied with the progress but content enough. A super the “Nightprowlers” had brought after one of their raids was a close enough match to the existing assets to boost the system, add to the flow. The children comatose on their beds in their blue room were finally resonating on the level Globe needed them to, harvesting the DNA within their cells with Lee extrapolating it, adding it to the batch. A piece of Bree or so Globe hoped. He would know soon enough, the first trials had already begun. Little butterflies they were hatching pure data in beautiful colors. Globe chuckled. Who knew supers had colors running inside of them? Sindi made sure they stayed colorful on the news too.

Globe busied his lower lip staring up at Kristoff in his glass casket. The power juice would do wonders Kristoff would never see and if he fell asleep thinking he was superior, Globe was half sorry he wouldn’t wake up to a world controlled by Gods and Goddesses greater than him. Globe smiled at the notion of allowing Kristof to behold the divine.

Someone, however, was stealing his toys from him, hindering much needed experiments. Bree was full of riddles about that, riddles that chilled his nights and invaded his dreams. She told him she went to play with the kids from the blue room. The exploration of that dream world was a much wanted side task for him. Globe had to wonder what other dreams she barged into. One thing at a time, he had to remind himself.

Playtime was over. Globe returned to the elevator his mind full of promises and threats. Whoever was whisking away supers from him was soon going to find themselves in a deep, dark hole. Tonight, however, was all about appearances; he was about to go wine and dine with the rich and powerful, charming them into submission. Tomorrow he would play his part. He would go watch Miles Jensen take the needle, a seal to his conquest against supers. It felt good to be mayor.

* * *

The frame in his house, a proud young man with a shiny badge was a frame lodged into his skull, a constant blur in his tired vision. He was jealous of the face in the picture and the face was disappointed in him; the past judging the present. What he saw in the rear-view didn’t fit his vision of the past.
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Moonrise CH42 – No Guts, No Glory

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[1085 words Prompts: Tina on Flickr via Terribleminds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, #SoCS]

“How can we…” The dude with knife tattoo cleared his throat and raised his voice. “Why we talking to this fool? He loco!”

Joaquin shook his head. “You fools have powers and all you’re doing is sittin’ here playing counsel? That’s some lame shit! You should be out there.”

The woman looked up at him. “And what are we supposed to do ‘out there?’ Rob banks like the other people with these abilities? Kill someone? We’re no one! And we can barely contain our powers.”

“Contain them?” Joaquin spit back at her.

“What do you think this place is, Fight Club? We’re trying to learn how to control this thing, how to suppress it. We want normal lives,” the woman continued.

Joaquin aimed an impish smile at her. “But you don’t need to do that mama, not when you have me. I’ve seen what others like us can do and it ain’t some petty ass pick and run. We’ve led armies, fought nations. We can do some crazy shit! I’ve seen a guy age people jus by touchin’ em. I’ve seen this immortal chick take a handful of shells and walk on.”

The silence they returned to him made Joaquin wave his hand. They didn’t buy his crap. “What kind of powers do you fools have anyway? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. C’mon I ain’t biting. I’m jus’ like you earning it hard.”

The teenager was first to raise his hand though reluctantly.

“Put your hand down mijo, we’re not in a classroom.”

The boy cleared his throat. “I have x-ray vision but it’s kind of like a super sight. I can see through pretty much anything.”

The languid security guard had remained silent until that moment let out a sigh. He took a knee and thumped the ground with his fist lightly. Joaquin felt a high-pitched vibration in his ears. The ground beneath his feet vibrated and that vibration threatened to turn into a quake but the man removed his hand. “Can’t do full earthquakes but can sure knock you down on your ass and keep you there.”

The woman looked uncomfortable. “I’d rather tell and not show. My ‘ability’ is to create a vacuum of space around you. As in Cosmos. Crushing you and choking you with absolute zero if I lose my temper. It lasts short though, so…”

Joaquin brandished a wide white-toothed smile. “Imma turn you pussies into superheroes. You’ll be vigilantes tomorrow payin’ back Globe for Miles and all those of us he turned to enemies of the public.”

“You and what right, mano?”
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Moonrise CH41 – To Forbidden Passengers

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[1150 words | Prompts: TerribleMinds, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]

Joaquin jumped down from his pallet spy tower. He rubbed his knuckles against his eyes and willed the bleeding white stars away, an after effect from the super power he’d witnessed in secret. With the world now returned to its colors, objects took healthier shapes, outlines and details became solid, Joaquin found his way back to the red door with crimson light seeping into the night. He rapped the signal against the decaying dented surface. Rust flaked off of it where his fist landed urgently.

After a palm-sweating moment a man’s face appeared through the opening of the door swung ajar. His face was pinched, and his eyes narrowed. Joaquin made sure he was first to speak spitting his thoughts out fast.

“Do you have room for one more bruh?”

The man in the door chewed on his bottom lip sizing up Joaquin. He saw crusted blood over Joaquin’s brow, torn clothes and bullet holes without matching wounds. Joaquin was a circus attraction, a sight to behold, but a deep plea in his eyes still watery from the impossibly fast transition from light to no light spoke a powerful enough tale to the man guarding the door. He stepped aside and let Joaquin enter.

Joaquin felt the man grab him above the elbow and lead him through the pitch black. It was like walking blindfolded and no matter how much he blinked Joaquin couldn’t detect any shapes. He followed the directions blindly, allowing the man to steer him by the elbow. A lit barrel emerged instantly from nothingness. Glowing embers faded as they launched on fragrant wisps of smoke. The scene reminded Joaquin of some space sci-fi movie. That’s how he felt too, stepping into seemingly thin air approaching a circle of light supported by nothing, surrounded by nothing. It just floated there ominously. But he heard – proof of a solid plane under his feet and of reality. There were people and sounds that they made that were too audible for his ears. Did the oppressing darkness heighten other senses? Joaquin would never know.

The people in a circle around the barrel emerged from nothingness; they were all quiet waiting for Joaquin to enter the halo of light and reveal his face. A woman in her mid-thirties stood up first from her red plastic chair. “We won’t turn you back now that you’re here but-” she paused and met each of her companions’ eyes, “how did you find this place?”

Joaquin took in the sight of them. They appeared to be ordinary people. Even his former guard was behind him toying with the keys on his belt. It was such a common thing to do. The one playing with his keys was the short one; the tall man had his hands in his pockets but his eyes were dark and sharp like the knife tattooed on his left cheek. The woman had the look of a kindly kindergarten teacher as she nervously pushed her glasses back up her nose. A pimply teenager somewhat younger than Joaquin kicked his backpack further under the red plastic chair and stared at Joaquin with wide eyes.

Completely ignoring the woman’s question, Joaquin’s laugh echoed off the tall roof of the warehouse. “You guys have powers!”

The quartet looked at each other.

“Are you fuckin’ retarded esé? Isn’t that why you’re here?” The tall man with the knife tattoo chuckled rubbing the back of his head.
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Moonrise CH36 – Awake

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[1010 words – Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2] Anne blinked away her scowl like she was on a long road trip, and sleep threatened to stop her for the night. On the way to the address provided by Major Globe, Anne sat in macabre silence her brain trying to figure out how to warn Massey of the impending danger. Their world was slowly crumbling beneath them.

“The report on this Andy Kitz guy that Sindi sent is fascinating. He’s the typical ‘obsessed over supers’ nerd it seems. Nothing unusual in his resume, minor jobs, part-time journalist, lame blogger. But the cherry on top is that he is weirdly enough creator of this SuperHub thingy. Do you think Joaquin was Superhubbing himself to see where’s he on the freak-o-meter of powers?”

Silas’s chuckle was dry. He apparently thought of himself as a kindred spirit. Anne held her tongue as Silas amused himself with talk that Anne didn’t register but kept her red leather gloved hands firm on the steering wheel. She refused to show weakness in front of Globe’s lackey.

When they arrived, there was no sign of Massey. She hoped he came, saw and left. The old dog was smart enough to steer clear of FBI agents, all of them Globe’s men. She was glad the presence of the taskforce cut out any sidewalk viewers. For once, they would be free of the conspiracy hounds jockeying for attention that for some reason Globe refused to keep at bay. The crime scene was all theirs to investigate.

* * *

Kristoph opened his eyes and sighed. He breathed in the smell of the Canadian forest. A low-hanging fog blanketed the serene winter landscape. Pain radiated from his wrist. He looked down but could find nothing wrong with the troublesome joint. He tried to push away from the tree, but he was unable to move. A flush rose on his cheeks. The wooded scene before him was oddly familiar. A little girl in a pink dress skipped through the woods, singing a silly song.

“Too cold,” he croaked, and a shiver ran down his spine.

The little girl in the distance stopped singing and skipping and stared at him. Kristoph blinked, and then the girl was kneeling in front of him. There was something about her eyes that made Kristoph shiver again.

“No chance of reign,” the girl declared.

Kristoph blinked. Her words were eerily familiar.

“Mister Puss doesn’t like the fog,” she declared. “Too many clouds against his fur.”

Kristoph cringed as the fog slowly dissipated. He knew what he’d see would still his soul.

The little girl smiled a lopsided grin and tilted her head to the side.

He saw in his mind’s eye the devastation of Seattle burned to the ground. Broken skyscrapers like missing teeth rotted from the inside out. Bodies were everywhere. He tried to lift his arm to block the torrent of sticky red rain, but like the rest of his body, his arms refused his commands. He knew the sight should scare him, but the corner of his mouth quirked up. He was disappointed when the fog lifted, and all he saw was the Canadian wilderness.
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Moonrise CH35 – Hot Dog Heaven

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[1050 words – #3WW, Sunday Scribblings 2, #SoCS]Anne played her part masterfully. She pulled in contacts, set meetings, offered a cash reward. They would find Joaquin soon, she assured Silas and Globe. They just had to wait for word to roll through the dents and cracks filling the city. Information always presented itself for the right amount of green. It really was all about the Benjamins.

Silas sat at a picnic table with a quaint umbrella beside an aluminum carport and shoved his hot dog into his gaping maw. His dark eyes flickered along the line of patrons. The stainless steel stand was a regular fixture in front of the lumber yard on Sixth Street. Some people appreciated the wit of Pat, the proprietor. Magnets adhered to the metal sides of the trailer proclaiming, “We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you,” and “Best hot dogs in this parking lot.” There was even a plaster dachshund nestled in a hot dog bun with ketchup and mustard on top. Others came for the premium ingredients that Pat used or the friendly smile from a man who prided himself in offering a quick, tasty meal for less than a fiver. A few years ago, the city had even tried to make Pat pay a ridiculous fee on top of his business license by passing an ordinance. Their reasoning was that too many food carts and trucks were hurting the ambiance of the city. The outcry from Pat’s regulars and a local AM radio station just down the street put an end to that particular piece of legislation.

Anne watched Pat pull a bottle of mustard out of a cooler and draw two straight lines on her monster dog, followed by a zig-zag line of ketchup. He produced a pair of tongs and dished out onions, tomatoes, and neon green relish onto her monster dog.

“Celery salt, and pepper,” Pat asked, the hot dog resting in an aluminum foil embrace. A boom box played hard rock softly in the background.

Anne tilted her head and rolled her eyes at Pat. “Oh, Pat, you incorrigible tease, you know what I like.”

Pat grinned and dusted the spices on her hot dog before carefully folding the aluminum foil and placing the package neatly on the table in front of him.

Anne opened her coat and reached into her red clutch. She offered Pat a five-dollar note.

“Meal deal?” Pat asked.

Anne smiled and nodded.

Pat stepped around the corner, and the telltale sound of a cash register sounded over the boom box. He held up a pair of quarters, but Anne waved him off and lifted the door and rummaged around to find a can of soda. She examined a selection of chips and cookies behind a plastic sliding door, eventually selecting a bag of name-brand corn chips.

“How exactly do you know Joaquin?” Silas asked after Anne sat at the picnic table across from him.
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