Tag Archives: Starfall

Starfall CH07 – Seismic Evening

[3148 words]Joaquin tucked the semi-automatic in the waistband of his jeans preparing to leave the church. He didn’t need prayers, nor a blessing to see this mission through. His able hands flexed.

“Yo, Joaquin, ain’t we waiting for the cop?” Nightwave joined him in his stride.

“Told you she would be a no-show,” Cosma threw mockingly. “Poor baby is too scared of the Nightprowlers.”

That resulted in a snicker from Quake and an uncomfortable head scratch from Kid. The boy liked Betty and Joaquin thought it might be a little more than just a friendly thing. Joaquin’s eyes turned to slits but he remained silent. His impulsive reaction was to think Betty had ditched them, gone to Massey. The thought that made him bite his lip was that Betty had been caught. She hadn’t picked up the phone when he called, hadn’t done that the second and third time either.

Choosing to ignore the first and pursue the second thought distracted Joaquin from the task at hand. If she was in danger she could use their help but securing Miles Jensen was equally important and they had only one chance at that. Then again the prospect of Betty captured and tortured frustrated him deeply. Joaquin chased those demons away. The dome of the place weighted on him filling him with regrets and doubts. It amounted feelings atop of him, tightening his chest with the responsibility of someone’s life lying in his hands. This church was a quiet torturer itself. Joaquin set his jaw firmly waving a hand, the decision made.

“Naw, we go. We got this.”

They looked suspicious together so they moved separately through the bustling chatter of the city, its wet grimacing face stretched to sharp outlines, skyscrapers lost amidst low rolling clouds, the only things see-through – the tall glimmering lights, promises written in nostalgic neon, pop colors spilling through the old cowboy with the cigarette and down the length of the “ladies” in drag. They rejoined in the dark where there was nothing above a whisper, no color but that diluted grey that reflected their figures in dusty car windows, in pools of rainwater eagerly savored by grey dogs with yellow eyes sniffing their true purpose through their dark clothes.

At the interception location there was a sense of vastness; low buildings, modern shacks drenched in dark, concrete ambitions sprung from the ground soon to house businesses; tall smokeless chimneys loomed in the background close enough to breath in the poisonous smoke they puffed out lazily into the starless sky. Joaquin closed his eyes taking in the ambient atmosphere, the stretching night cool and quiet save for the distant rumble of the departing storm. Postcard scenery, eerie and calm drenched in the dull glow of buzzing lights. The asphalt was slick, the moist in the air still detectable, a refreshing sensation against his skin. He opened his eyes and pointed one long finger north.

“Tha’s where the van would be comin’ from. I want eyes on it before it hits that curve and comes swingin’ our way. Kid, get up on that building see if you got a clear vision.”

As Kid, with his backpack holding a baseball bat in place, began climbing up the front skeleton of an unfinished construction doing fast rounds on the makeshift pull up bars, Joaquin turned to Quake, Nightwave and Cosma.

“As soon as Kid gives the signal I wants you two ready to jump the van once Quake flips it like a pancake.” He received their nod of approval.

“No problem mijo. They’ll feel the night close to their hearts,” Nightwave sniggered.
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Starfall CH06 – Tunnel Vision

[3590 words]April is mega-chapter Sixteen Sunsets Saga conclusion month. This week and next week, you’ll see an oversized chapter on Monday and Friday. April 24th through the 28th will be a chapter every day!

* * *

They slipped through the twisted gate barring the entrance of the underpass to enter a concealed world filled with the stench of stale water mixed with urine. Their hoods came off, eyes blinked to regain sense of the impenetrable darkness. Anne produced a glow stick and snapped it, a steady blue glow soothing the atmosphere. Massey followed suit providing light from behind revealing spray-painted panels, faceless caricatures of people and grotesque snails made up from swirling letters. They jumped down from the white-tiled platform and swiveled along with the curve of the primitive tunnel with its single lonely track.

On some nights while going through the routine, Anne thought the walls of the tunnel echoed her rising heartbeat back and forth along the hollow length of the dank sleeve, multiplying it to make it sound like some giant beast was there with them crawling like a shadow along their weak ones, waiting patiently in the dark ahead. The hiss of air coming from her parted lips whistling back through the ceiling holes didn’t help battle the image either. The first time they had come down here they were met with two mole people securing themselves from the pouring rain on the basic platform stretching along the rail. Massey scared them off easily enough but now every time they crossed this path of dangerous righteousness, Anne expected a worse type of guest waiting for them. Her mind liked putting Globe there, a ridiculous thought. Jacob Globe would never dirty his expensive suit in a sewer like this.

The gravel on the narrow yard crunched under her boots as she followed the imprints of long lost train tracks, no doubt dug out and cut to be sold rather than reused on another line. The remainder of them had collapsed, submerged under the pool of water gathered in a slope.

The gray water pooled ankle deep then knee deep and Anne slowed down to let the refugees get their bearings. Fragile light from outside briefly entered the tunnel through punctured holes in the semi-healthy roof. The walls leaked with cool water from ancient yellow pipes, the drip-drop the only other sound apart from their sloshing feet and labored breathing. They reached a man-made clearing in the debris where the roof had caved in creating a dam of large blocks of cement and century-old materials from the original construction. It still required them to crawl through a gap on all fours scraping foul smells and muck on their palms. The 1930’s collapse followed by the 2009 collapse had permanently locked the better part of the tunnel abandoning it to stream in the city filth, creating a convenient escape route in the process.

Years ago while still functional, the tunnel would have opened through a wide portal climbing to the surface, rising from a lower level before descending again after the train had made its brief stop. Now, this was its last stop as the tracks faded into gravel blending into sand. The rest of the tunnel was nonexistent, collapsed fully and cleared away abandoning the territory to the spread of industrial, red and yellow shipping containers stacked behind a fence. Anne quickened her pace, dropped the glow stick, crushing it under her boot.
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Starfall CH05 – The City That Always Sleeps

[2760 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, #SoCS] April will be the nitrous-fueled ending to Starfall. 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 of both Moonrise and Starfall 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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Starfall CH03 – 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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Starfall CH02 – Street Sophistication

[1020 words – prompts: Inspiration Monday, Sunday Scribblings 2, The Writing Reader]Her food merely decorated her plate, untouched, untasted. The coffee was too bleak for her taste. Perhaps the bitterness existed perpetually in her throat, rising like bile. Betty pulled the baseball cap down low to conceal herself. Her eyes were too revealing right now in the presence of her brother, walking away with a bus ticket in his hand. She bent over her wretched coffee and relived the words she uttered only moments before.

I came to give you this. I need you to be safe, Sam. I need you to get away from the city until everything blows over. Go to the house on the lake, it’s basically a dead zone there.

Betty looked at the booth in the corner locating Joaquin staring back on her. His eyes were telling, no time, be quick, you’ve said your goodbye. The rest of his posse clocked her too, one hovering at the counter, one stalling by the restrooms, one exploring by the exit, one waiting in line. She didn’t even know their names even after months together. Even after finding Joaquin in the dead of night on Whitbey Island among the beating of the restless waters, she didn’t remember their names. They dubbed themselves with silly pseudonyms made up from the mouths of people admiring or fearing them – Nightwave, Quake, Cosma, Kid Vision. It had been such a relief seeing Joaquin’s face but their roles had switched. She flinched at the thought of taking orders from him. The kid was damned stubborn. If he was a bit younger, she’d have called him precocious.

The shine in Joaquin’s eyes was tension mixed with excitement. He relished being out in the open like this, with “regular” customers sitting at a diner. They had to go. She knew that all faces were recognizable if one lingered too long, looked too closely. But for the life of her, Betty couldn’t stand up right now, vigilantes be damned. Her hand rested against the cold of her gun. Her pocket felt heavy.

“Look I know you’re in some kind of trouble, I mean I saw the news, I’ve seen the news, but it’ll all blow off right? You should come and stay with me until its safe.”

Poor Sam, little did he know. It was blowing out of proportion and she had crossed every line possible. Was it worth it? To keep Joaquin safe, to aid him in his crusade, if that was a good word for it, Betty didn’t know. After all she was still following Massey’s instructions even indirectly. Trailing like a ghost after people with extraordinary abilities, watching them strike down, urging herself to not point her gun, scream “Police,” and intervene as she was taught.

Betty’s eyes caught a fast-moving shadow outside. She traced the figure of a hooded man rushing outside the window. It happened in a split second. He neared a young woman leaning in as if for a kiss, for a whisper but she shoved him back, the connection broken there. He turned to run, emotions changing fast, his hood slipping back revealing just some boy, but she was quicker, she was prepared and tripped him. He fell flat on his face. The customers jumped to their feet watching the scenario unfold. Betty remained seated it was all too familiar. Joaquin however was outside. They were all outside.
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Starfall CH01 – Three Months Later

[1048 words]Three Months Later

The twitch in his left eye was the result of a slowly creeping headache. Andy rubbed at the throbbing spot, long finger progressively tapping, and absentmindedly drawing circles on his skin. His eyes scanned the screen, a multitude of tabs opened forming a sense of today that was senseless and non-linear. He listened to those who had the loudest voice and he listened to those who shared snippets, hashtag after hashtag, a niche gathering sensitive information, filtered just for him to find, to absorb, to locate a familiar figure out on the streets. But aside from the screen, he was a ghost, a myth that belonged to the streets; name unspoken, face unseen but actions present. Joaquin. The vigilante of tomorrow. The fool who started it all.

“Last month’s marches were topped as thousands of people reached the streets yesterday to signal their protest against the harsh measures approved by Mayor Globe in the superhuman crisis. The enforcement squad dubbed as “Nightprowlers” by civilians has been rounding up potential superhuman threats to national security since Jacob Globe’s election as Mayor of Seattle…”

– 7 PM news, Channel Q13

“These peace marches are ridiculous, there is no war happening out there. But if you want to talk numbers, I mean let’s talk numbers and look at how many people came out in support of Mayor Jacob Globe’s new law. Thousands! Thousands! There is a general fear out there but it’s not directed toward Mayor Globe. These people, these supers aren’t good willing citizens, they are trouble and he has had the balls, pardon me, to take them up. His measures may seem barbaric to some but I say thank God for them. I sleep safe at night! And besides, if his intentions were vile why tell me would he open a clinic to cure them?”

– Congressman Burton on the morning news, Channel 7 as quoted by The Herald

“I: Would you say that the people who came out in support of your kind were out there yesterday because they believe you are some Messiah, like many tweets say, #NewMessiah? Are we looking at the formation of a new religion?

A: I think they came because they believe we too are people like them deserving of our rights as humans. It has nothing to do with religion or politics. It has everything to do with morals and ethics and compassion. We didn’t fall from the sky, we were born on the same street as you, went to the same school unbeknownst to these abilities. We are no different and I have advocated that on many occasions in the past three months.

I: But you are different. And this is not a difference we’ve advocated toward in the past, it’s not the LGBTQ community out there, it’s not the Women’s March. You genuinely have superpowers.

A: Yes, we do. They are simply an extension of who we are. They don’t prevent us from paying our taxes, raising our children…

I: I bet the parents of the Madison Seven would disagree with that, with what Miles Jensen did.

A: And that’s the reason why the Movement of Tomorrow exists so it would prevent accidents like that one. I speak safely for all of our members, we do not condone vandalism, we do not wield our powers as weapons. I truly believe that we have grown enough to accept difference. I believe people understand what we’re trying to do and that’s why they came to support us. We don’t want war. I want to be able to go to the supermarket and buy a carton of eggs and a bottle of milk. I want to be able to go to work like I used to.
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