The author of Shifts in Time is curious how to get his third in the series, Are you a Superhero? by Marvel or the acquisition person at Netflix?
The series about alien shapeshifters that travel through time brings on characters that are so unique and addictive that they will be wanted by the big players such as Netflix or Marvel.
An excerpt from book 3
The large building of NSA, headquartered in Fort Meade, was ahead of its time when it was built. It was a large modern building with dark one-way glass lined with copper shielding. Inside there were over 120 security checkpoints. Cassandra entered as a visitor and quickly probed the minds of employees as they passed. She was here to erase the death certificates of herself and Marcus, and reinstate the driver’s licenses, two of her identities she wanted to use to continue her life on earth. She passed a large sign in the pentagonal area she was in that read, ‘Recruiting Now. Join the N.S.A.’.
She wondered what it would be like to hide herself on the world as an NSA recruit. It would be easy to pass the requirements, to build a life around it for herself, Marcus and the boy inside her, Kevin. No one would question her. She would have their resources, their computers, their own the world attitude. She needed to blend in, to be someone who does something. It was too soon to decide, she needed to get to the agency’s operations directorate to access the mainframe to delete the death certificates of herself and Marcus. After she needed to find Kevin’s mom. Instinctively the offspring touched her communicator, finding and protecting Tammy was important.
People were busy with their jobs and moving past the offspring as if seeing a person in flight suit or uniform was common for them. She thought about cloning one of the employees but remembered Tori’s warning. Too many identities inside her would unbalance her and make her become volatile, schizophrenic. Cassandra cloaked herself mentally becoming invisible to the people around her. A few people noticed. They were looking around as if she would reappear somewhere, she didn’t. Cassandra continued focusing on the personnel around her, erasing her image from every single person’s mind as she entered their field of vision.
Silently following three men, Cassandra entered the operations center. It was busy with people. Still cloaked to the human eye, she sat down in front of a computer. Quickly she typed the password she had stolen from the thoughts of the man sitting beside the workstation she chose. Then pulling up her file, ‘Cassandra Ryan’ she deleted all references to her death. She enhanced the security to access her file then pulled up Marcus’. The man beside her started to notice the keyboard typing by itself. Marcus’s file showed single as relationship status, she changed it to “has a girlfriend,” and erased references to his death. Finishing with Marcus’s digital file, she cleared the screen and silently moved away. The man stood up to take a closer look but she was already exiting the secured area of NSA’s operations center.
Hopping out of the cab, Cassandra was excited to go shopping. first on her list was a car. The large dealership was quiet, it was a Jaguar dealership. Walking up to a salesperson named Joey, she smiled and said. “Could you please help me find a new car, something white with tinted windows that goes very very fast.”
Joey smiled, he had soft blue eyes and brown hair. “I think I can help you with that. Did you want to take a test drive?”
“No, I just want it ready before the malls close.”
Laughing Joey picked the keys to a beautiful new Jaguar that was pearl white. “I have a beautiful car that I think was made for you, a Jaguar. These cars start around $72,000 plus an admin fee.” They were walking outside to see the car.
Cassandra let her hand follow the curves of the classy sports car. She let Joey open the door for her and sat in the driver’s seat. With the keys in her hand, she pressed the ignition with her finger and it roared to life. It was their newest model, an eight-speed.“It is perfect. I like how the lights look like eyes of a lady. Have it ready in two hours.”
“It normally takes longer to deal with your bank, follow me inside and I will start the paperwork.”
Looking Joey in the eyes, she paused started pulling out some of the money from the many pockets of her flight suit. “Here is enough to cover the car. I recently lost my driver’s license but I will write my name down for you and my address.” Including her date of birth and old address she used to live at, she flirted with him a little. “Now Joey, can I pick up this car in two hours?”
“So you still have a license in the system?”
“Yes, a New York license. I just misplaced it. I feel you can make miracles happen. Am I right?”
“For you, I will make it happen. Want to go for drinks later to celebrate?”
Cassandra looked at him and paused. “Sorry Joey, I have a certain style that I love. I love my men rough, dark, and intense and my women mysterious and exotic, and you are neither. See you in two hours to pick up my new toy.” As she left, she reminisced about her memories dancing at the Scores nightclub in New York and going to university. It seemed a lifetime ago. She was glad she had gone to NSA and reconnected her identity to the living. She was going to enjoy her new car, the pearl white Jaguar.
The large mall she picked had a few men’s stores and numerous women’s clothing stores. She shopped for business suits for herself, then grabbed a few hot colored bikinis, she missed her old self that liked looking sexy in a shy but confident manner. Not too over the top but yes, she turned heads when she walked by. She grabbed some jeans and shirts for both Marcus and Kevin, some shoes, and some carry-on suitcases. Her final purchase was a smartphone. Confirming Kevin’s mother was still in New York with the locator in her communicator, she pulled the Jaguar out of the mall, pulled her sunglasses down from where they rested on her head and accelerated toward the highway. Looking at the rear view mirror in her car, she adjusted it to see her eyes. “Do you like the car, my love?”
The shifting was quick. Marcus had replaced her. Staring at the mirror now with his eyes, he replied. “Love the car, love you. I miss your touch.” He placed his hand on the mirror, it was their way of trying to connect, to touch.
Cassandra shifted back to her form. Using the Internet with voice commands, she started searching for luxury condos to rent in Manhattan that offered her privacy and a view overlooking the city. She knew she wanted an open balcony style for the times she would enter and exit without going through the lobby. Finding one, she voice dialed the property management’s number.
“Hello, my name is Cassandra and I would like to rent your condo on the fourteenth floor of your building. Is it still available?”
“Yes, I can arrange a viewing.”
“Perfect, I will like to see it first thing tomorrow morning. Is 8 am good for you?”
Yes, Cassandra can I ask for your last name and occupation?”
She hesitated. The Jaguar accelerated easily to pass a slower car. Clearing her throat, Cassandra replied. “Ryan is my last name, and I am,” she paused, “a magician.”
New York City, A Week Later
The phone buzzed, it was the movers delivering her new furniture. Cassandra watched through her laptop that showed the lobby, a man was ringing her apartment. “The service elevator is reserved for you. I will be down in a minute.”
“Thank you. Anyone else up there. One of our guys called in sick and there is a lot of furniture. Sorry to ask.”
“My boyfriend will help. It’s not a problem. Give him a moment.” Buzzing the door open, she disconnected the call.” Turning around she unbuttoned her shirt and pulled it off, sliding her skirt off, she let it drop to the floor and walked over to the large stand-up mirror. She placed her hand on the mirror and stared at the reflection. “Marcus, I know we can never be together. I want to touch, skin to skin, I miss your kiss, your lips, I miss all of you.”
Her hand changed, the shifting began and Marcus was now staring at the mirror, hand still pressed against it, his reflection staring back. “You will never be alone Cassandra.” Picking up the clothes, he carried them to their room and changed. The bedroom was empty with not even a bed. All the clothes were organized in their walk in closet. The walls were white and there was a chandelier hanging in the large closet. Cassandra’s clothes were on one side, Marcus’s on the other. Kevin’s were in the second bedroom.
The furniture mover noticed Marcus. The black hair, the expensive gym attire, and a strong look of confidence. The mover was struggling with a large box. “Hope you are Marcus.”
“Here to help Matt.”
For an instant, Matt was caught off guard, then he remembered his company shirt had his name on it. Laughing, he replied.”Always gets me for a minute when a stranger calls me by name, but then I remember my shirt. This box is kinda heavy, we can lift it together, but make sure you don’t hurt yourself.”
Marcus smiled. “Do you guys assemble the furniture too.” He lifted the other end of the box and told Matt to let go. “I got this, you grab a smaller one.”
Matt saw the vampire teeth when Marcus smiled, he thought to himself, what a freak but didn’t say it. “Buddy. From the weight of this, I would guess it is safe, I move furniture every day, this is too heavy for one person.” Feeling the weight of the box shift, he realized that Marcus was carrying all the weight. Hesitantly he let go. Marcus carried the safe using his telekinesis for most of the weight, to the service elevator and returned for more. Matt stood and watched for a moment, then with a shrug, started moving the other items.
Two hours later, Matt and the other two movers were finishing assembling the furniture, the beds, large couch, dining table and chairs, and they even promised to hang up the two large televisions. “Technology is amazing. These new large screens, you can fold them like paper. How cool is that? And light, these are my favorite things to move, used to hate them. Ok, guys, start heading back to the truck, I will finish this last piece.” The two movers left carrying their tools.
“You live here with your girlfriend?”
“Yes, and we are taking care of our nephew.”
“Nice place you got here. You guys seem to be starting fresh, everything new, not a single piece of old furniture, not even a family photo.”
“We lost everything in a house fire. So like you said, not even a photo. But my girlfriend is starting a new job, good money, so we are ok.”
“What does she do?” Matt was looking down, focusing on the last bolt of the television mount.
“I’m a magician.”
It was a woman’s voice. Looking up, Matt jumped. Marcus was gone and his girlfriend was standing there in the dark gym clothes. “Wow, how did you do that?”
Holding a hundred dollar bill she tipped the mover and smiled. “We never tell our secrets.”
Waking up, Kevin dressed and stepped in the main room of the condo. It was weird being a family of three but only really being one. Walking into Cassandra’s and Marcus’s room, he picked up the car keys, opened the safe, and grabbed a pre-counted stack of five-thousand dollars. He already had a few hundred in his pockets. It was time to visit his mom. Normally he chose one of their adult forms in the day and his form at night. When he slept, he grew. He wanted to become older and he only truly aged when he was in his boy form. He was angry that was not aging fast enough. He wanted to be fourteen, he wanted to be older. His body looked ten. Pausing at the door, he thought of his mom, of himself as a boy growing up, of playing. Nothing was the same. He walked back to his room and grabbed a marble. It was green with a horizontal swirl, one of his favorites. He had purchased a set of them in the antique shop a few blocks from their new apartment. Now, he was ready to see his mom.
The Jaguar was parked underground. Popping the trunk, he put the spending money in a backpack already prepacked with a few changes of clothes. There was one for Marcus and Cassandra too. Pulling a pillow that was also stored in the trunk, he unlocked the driver’s door and placed the pillow on the seat. Climbing in the sports car, he sat and powered the seat closer. Looking down his feet were still inches away from the pedals. Starting the car, he shifted the sleek car into drive and operated the brake and gas mentally. He expanded his mind to see everything around him, pulling out of the parking and onto the street, Kevin accelerated North, towards Melrose Ave. The ship’s communicator tracked his mother. She was about thirty minutes away. A white Camaro pulled out behind him and followed. Sayo started to phone her boss, but then stopped. It was too soon to say if this was the right boy. She spotted him coming out of the parking garage. She had been tracking the signal. She called back to the base. “I am following a car with a boy driving alone. Confirm coordinates.”
Joseph was quick to respond. “Yes, we have a third signal moving away from the building. Judging by the speed, it makes sense that he is in a car.”
“Any hits on the facial recognition search for Roger Thompson?”
Joseph’s voice had a hint of annoyance with his response. “We are linked worldwide now and still nothing. It is like he is underground or dead.”
“Keep trying.” Sayo hung up and thought about Amanda’s dad. How could he avoid detection? Had he undergone plastic surgery? Was he dead?
Kevin knew he was being followed. He entered her mind as he drove. She was hired to hunt him. Asian descent, thirty-two years old, she knew bits of the puzzle of Phantom Force, she had spoken to Martin, although she never met him in person. He accelerated slightly, letting her pursue him. Kevin searched the Asian’s mind further. They had isolated the communicator’s frequency. They had been monitoring his mother and Amanda Thompson. He would have to figure something out. He didn’t like the idea of being followed.
The drive went smooth. A few people stared at his young face as he passed them. In the driver’s seat, him being a child was drawing attention. He thought of shifting to another identity but was enjoying the sports car. Occasionally at a red light, people tried to talk to him. Asking him to unroll his window. It was New York, he turned the volume up on the stereo and ignored them. Arriving, he parked the Jaguar a few blocks from the signal of his mother’s location. He locked the car, retrieved a few things from the trunk and started walking. It was still morning, about 11 am. He never looked back at the Camaro, he watched her with his mind’s eye. Sayo got out of her car and continued on foot.
The neighborhood was old with a lot of three storey buildings. There were people walking on the sidewalk, entering and exiting the many shops. Graffiti and construction were everywhere. Some rooftops even had barbed wire. His tracking signal led him to a five storey building with rickety fire escape stairs. There was a barber shop and pizza place on the ground floor and somewhere above was his mother. He closed his eyes and tracked every life force around him, he circled the building with his mind, then rose storey by storey. He saw conflict and struggle with the people living in the building. His mother was on the third floor waiting for the elevator. She was wearing a long sleeve light blue dress and holding her mail she had just read, an eviction notice was among the letters and other bills. Her sadness was deep inside her, rooted to her every moment. Her eyes were tired, from lack of sleep. A tear fell from Kevin’s eye. He steeled himself.
A construction worker was nearby. Kevin approached him. “Sir, could you do me a favor?”
The large black man looked up, making sure the boy was talking to him. “What can I do for you?”
“A woman will be coming out of that front door, she is blonde, wearing a blue dress and I want you to give her this.” Kevin handed him the five thousand dollars. Then pulled out an extra hundred and gave it to the man. “If she asks who gave it to you, just give her this,” and he handed him a marble.
“Boy, you some kind of fool handing a stranger this much money? Am I being filmed? Is this some kind of reality show?”
Kevin looked at him. “I am not really a good person. Some people think I am evil. I want to take care of someone I love but can’t face her right now. I am afraid someday I will hurt her. I don’t even know if I will ever be good. Can you do this for me please?”
Tammy exited the building. The construction worker was thinking of just keeping the money but then he saw her face and knew she needed it more than him. “Alright kid, I will do the right thing.” Walking across the street, he waved at the mother to stop.
Holding the money in his hand, he spoke softly. “This is for you.”
Tammy hesitated. “Who are you? Why are you giving me money?”
“Take it before I just keep all of it. And this too, he showed her the marble.”
Picking up the marble from his hand, Tammy looked around searching. “Who gave you this?”
Turning around to point at the boy, the construction worker looked at the empty sidewalk across the street. “He’s gone. Said he loved you, he was just a young kid.”
“Kevin,” she screamed. “Kevin are you here?” Her head frantically turned from side to side searching for her son. The construction man placed the money in her hand and walked away.
“Wait,” It was Tammy. “Did he say anything else?
The black man thought for a moment before answering. He adjusted his hard hat. “Don’t really remember his exact words, but said he was, tired of being evil.”
Clutching the marble, she pushed the money inside her purse. It was dangerous carrying so much cash, even in broad daylight, but she felt safer today. She felt that he was watching her. He would protect her. One day, hopefully soon, she would see her son again.
Kevin watched her from across the street. He had cloaked himself. He wanted to run up to her and wrap his arms around her but something held him back. He almost wished something bad would happen to her so he could save her. He wanted to be her hero. He followed her to the bank, grocery shopping and finally back to her apartment. She had some of his old stuff there. Some of his clothes, a few toys, and some comic books. Kevin wanted to stay, but she was safe. The hunter wanted him, not his mom. Sayo had lost him when he cloaked. Realizing her tracking equipment was in her car, she returned to the Camaro. The three GPS pinpoints were still being tracked. She waited, hopefully, the boy would return to the Jaguar. The lady she saw received the package from the construction worker also had a signal. Sayo assumed that was Kevin’s mother.
Kevin was sad, he had only been on earth a short time and Phantom Force was tracking him. He had stolen many secrets from Sayo. She was using his communicator to track him as he was to track his mother. They had isolated the signal. His mother was alone, hiding from the world in a small one bedroom apartment in New York. Walking back to the car, Kevin uncloaked, he was thinking of his mom. She was hiding from the same people still looking for him. Phantom Force, a corrupt group of men that had huge resources and were connected to the ships in the future waiting to ambush the Mantis and the crew. Getting closer, he noticed the Camaro still there, the hunter inside, and a tow truck in the process of connecting to the Jaguar. Kevin quickly entered the tow truck driver’s thoughts. He was a thief, a professional. They were targeting high valued vehicles and using the tow trucks to steal them. It was getting easier to read people’s thoughts without physically touching them. When he touched them and started to steal their DNA code, he would know everything, see everything that they have ever seen. He was avoiding shifting into random people. He would listen to the advice Tori gave him. Kevin raised his voice as he approached. “That is my car.”
The tow truck driver was overweight, a bully all his life. He continued to connect to the Jaguar with his tow truck. “Beat it kid.”
“I will warn you one last time.” Marcus wanted to emerge but Kevin didn’t want the Asian to see his other identities. Kevin smiled, he was going to have fun and give the Asian hunter a show. “Release the Jaguar or I will crush your truck.”
The big man stood up. “Nice one punk, now scram.”
Kevin knew the man was not going to stop. Using his telekinesis, he unstrapped the Jaguar from the tow truck. Then still using his telekinesis, he pushed the truck forward and away from the car, he started to crush the large truck. The strong metal resisted but it started to crumble. Kevin focused on the truck, one side, then the other, then pushed from the top like an invisible car crusher.
The overweight driver screamed at Kevin. “Stop.” He came closer to hit Kevin with a powerful backhand. His arm was restrained above him, then it snapped between the elbow and the wrist. The sound of the tow truck crushing continued.
“Mister, normally I just killed people like you. I know where you live now, on Ocean Ave in Jersey. I know your boss’s name, and if I catch you stealing a car again, I will probably kill you cause I haven’t figured out how to be good yet.” Getting into the Jaguar, he started the car, reversed it in a three point turn and purposely drove by the Asian in her Camaro. Their eyes locked and he stopped. She could hear his voice in her head but his lips were not moving. “Sayo, yes I am inside you. I know your name. Your bosses have not told you everything. I am not going to kill today although it becomes harder and harder for me to do. Yes, you have questions. Am I the bad guy, I don’t even know the answer to that. I have a warning for you. Leave my mother alone. Am I reading your mind? Yes! I know all your secrets now. And my signal you are tracking will be gone soon. Go back to your home country. You will be safe there from me.” He drove off. She was processing what had just happened, he had read her mind, seen her secrets like he was looking through the glass, he communicated to her thoughts. She stared at the crushed tow truck, and the car thief cradling his broken arm. Sayo watched the blip on her GPS tracking device move away, the farther it moved, the safer she felt.
Sayo was confused. She had been hired to find this boy and kill him but all of a sudden she felt she was the hunted. He knew she had been following him, watching him. He was powerful, part human, part alien. He crushed a large truck with his thoughts, he could have easily killed her. It wasn’t like going on a hunt for a wild beast, it was like waking up inside a locked cage barehanded with a wild angry beast, mouth hanging open and staring at you. She felt trapped. She wanted to run, but which one would kill her first, her boss, or the boy?
New York 2020
Waking up early, Kevin stretched. He had blocked his visit to his mother from the other personae he shared. He wanted privacy, needed to have some of his life protected. He was growing slowly. Sleep was only needed for his human form to grow, but he was still not growing fast enough. Kevin was fourteen but he still looked ten. He was not in his natural form enough to look his own age. He walked over to the whiteboard in his room, and marked another line, indicating another day that he hadn’t killed anybody. There were seventy-one marks. The last person he killed was the captain, he still felt no regret except that he was alone. It looked like the condo was occupied by three but it was truly only occupied by one.
The marks on the whiteboard looked like prison bars. He thought of his species trapped below the surface of his planet. They were prisoners. His father was a prisoner until he escaped. He wondered who had been powerful enough to capture his entire species. Why did Tori ignore the fact that someone, something had taken their freedom away. Would he never know. He touched his whiteboard, the marks. He drew a face behind the lines, then hands holding the bars like a prisoner. “Who put us there? Are they out there looking for us?” He spoke to himself, his voice soft. “I will be ready.”
It was Saturday and he wanted to explore. He had made a plan which started at the Museum of Modern Art, then the Rockefeller center, then to Time Square and ending at the New York Public library, the fourth largest library in the world. He had only one question to answer. What made a hero good? He tried to find answers online and it was confusing. Web pages said superheroes needed a cape, a costume or outfit that was recognizable to the public. They said he needed a superhero name and not once did he find out if they were allowed to kill people. He looked at his whiteboard again, seventy-one days. He left the car keys behind, picked up his backpack that carried a complete outfit for his other identities, Marcus and Cassandra, and then he left the condo. It was a new day and he was hoping he wouldn’t kill anybody today.
Downstairs as he was leaving the building he saw a young girl crying in the lobby. She had dirty blonde hair that wasn’t brushed and brown eyes. She was like most eleven-year-old girls, flat chested, thin, with a hint of a seed just starting to bud. Her eyes were blue, teary but somehow beautiful. “Hey, are you okay?” Kevin asked as he quickly entered her thoughts. Her name was Hailey, her mom worked today and she wasn’t supposed to leave the apartment. She had slipped to the store downstairs realizing then that she locked herself out and her mom would be angry when she came home at six.
“I locked myself out, and my mom, well she told me not to leave.” Holding up an empty bag of chips, she said. “I was hungry.”
Kevin paused. He had no friends and she needed one. “I can help get you in your apartment if you want but when I do, will you come play with me. I am going to the Museum of Art.”
“How? Can you really help me get in before my mother comes home? She gets angry when I do things wrong.”
Reaching out for her hand, Kevin steeled himself. He did not want to steal her DNA, to shift, but merely just help her up. Her hand touched his, and he helped her to her feet. Emotions flooded into him, he blocked the flow. He just wanted a friend. Returning to the elevator, they rode to the 12th floor. Kevin followed her to the front door of the apartment 1207, placing his hand near the door lock, he mentally slid the locking mechanism of the handle, then simply opened the door. “Please don’t tell anybody that I can do this.”
Smiling, she ran in, grabbed her house keys and turned. “Let’s go.”
Kevin had followed her in. Her bedroom door was open. He could see a comic book and an electronic tablet on her bed. “You still like comic books?”
With a smile, she grabbed his hand and led him out. “Who doesn’t.”
Kevin was curious, he liked talking to her. “Who is your favorite?”
“I have two, I like Superman and Batman but for different reasons.”
Kevin pushed for her answer. “So which one is your favorite?”
“Batman of course. He actually risks his life when he saves people. Superman is too powerful, it is too easy for him. Batman can be knocked down, he can be hurt, he had his parents killed in front of him, he feels pain, and he has cool gadgets. That is why I love Batman. He is interesting.”
Downstairs Kevin was still thinking of Hailey’s response. She responded like it was a fact and nothing could change her mind. Batman was likable while Superman was strong, fast, but boring. Kevin scanned the people walking, driving, he entered their minds, all of them within a four block radius. He found Sayo in her car a block and a half away. Telepathically he spoke to Sayo. “You can never hide from me. Stay back or I will kill you and I don’t want to kill today.” Kevin was angry that she was there. He continued to hold Hailey’s hand and walked down the sidewalk.
The Museum of Modern Art, known as MOMA, was free to children under 16. Kevin and his new friend Hailey walked in and explored each floor starting from the bottom. The fourth floor was paintings and sculptures which Hailey liked the best. She wanted to touch everything but knew she would get in trouble. Kevin was more intrigued with the tall building next door that was over 1000 feet tall. Feeling adventurous, Kevin grabbed Hailey and said, “Let’s go explore the roof next door. We will be able to see the whole city.”
Children go unseen by many. Hailey and Kevin entered the tall building next to the museum and rode the elevator to the highest floor. Kevin’s mental vision continued to search upward for the access to the roof. Climbing the stairs for the last three floors, they were momentarily blocked by a door marked roof access. “Maybe we shouldn’t do this?” Hailey said in a very soft voice. “It might not be safe for us on the roof.”
Kevin was already mentally moving the locking mechanism and opening the door. “We are here.” Walking ahead of Hailey, Kevin started to explore the roof. He was curious and fearless. Placing his backpack down near the edge, he dug a marble out of his pocket and tossed it. Watching it roll, he played with it with his mind, pushing it. Hailey watched as if it was magic. Kevin climbed up on the edge of the roof and balanced himself with his arms. “You can see everything from up here. It is beautiful.”
“Please don’t fall, Kevin. I would cry for days if anything ever happened. We should probably go before we get in trouble.”
The wind seemed stronger to Kevin as he moved on the edge and looked down the thousand feet drop. “Come on the edge. It really makes your heart beat faster.” He smiled at her and held his hand towards her.
Reaching out, she held his hand but stayed on the main level of the roof. “I will hold you to keep you safe Kevin.” She smiled at her new friend and walked beside him, as he continued on the edge.
“Just try it for ten seconds and then we will go,” Kevin begged. Hailey was hesitant. She wanted to please her new friend but was afraid. Slowly, she let go of his hand and simply stood motionless, watching him walk on the edge. Building up her nerve, she raised one leg up, and then with her hands, she crawled onto the edge. “That’s it, now stand.”
Her eyes were looking at Kevin. She was telling herself that she could do this. Whispering to herself, “just don’t look down,” and she stood. Proud of herself, she saw Kevin’s approval for her courage. “Yeah.” It was like a moment of victory and she raised her arms like she just scored a goal. In that moment, her foot slipped, her body frozen for a second, her eyes looking at Kevin knowing she was going to fall, that she was completely helpless as her body started to lean away from the building and with a scream, she was falling.
Kevin took a step towards her when he realized that she had slipped. His mind raced with thoughts, possibilities, choices. He just missed her hand when her body plunged over the edge. His eyes followed her down, he wanted to save her, and yet, he wasn’t. He was questioning why he should or shouldn’t. She was weak, she was vulnerable, she was inferior, she liked Batman. Why did that bother him?. Four seconds had passed, she was half way down and still screaming, why wasn’t he saving her? Did he want to see her smashed against the ground? Why was he waiting, she was going to die.
Internally, Kevin’s personae were aware of what was happening. Cassandra was angry. She pushed her consciousness to the surface, shifting into her form, she controlled and locked Kevin’s identity deep inside. Her hair and face shifted first, and fast, forcing her shifting until she was in control. Mentally she followed the young girl to the ground, she had only a second, she reached telepathically towards Hailey like a huge invisible hand, soft and gentle, and caught her. People were watching from the ground, the young girl only a few feet from the hard sidewalk that had been falling then miraculously stopped. Her body just dangled, her eyes were crying, her head was looking around trying to understand, then her body started to rise.
Sayo had heard the little girl scream. She was outside her car, leaning against it. She had talked herself out of going in. Now her eyes saw the little girl Kevin had been with, falling from the roof. Instinctively she wanted to save the little girl but knew she was beyond saving. She started to run toward the building not sure what to do. It was a tall building and the girl would die instantly when she hit the concrete, but then the little girl stopped falling. What happened? Her body was being lifted back to the roof of the building. People were filming it with their phones. Sayo looked for an explanation. She thought of the little boy.
Grabbing the backpack, Cassandra grabbed her outfit and started to change into her clothes, she slipped on some track pants, and a sweatshirt, she was still in bare feet when Hailey’s body reached the rooftop. “Are you okay blue eyes?”
“No.” Her voice was shaking. “How am I alive?”
“Come here.” Cassandra pulled her closer and hugged her. “You are not meant to die today. Let’s bring you home.”
“Where’s Kevin?” Her voice was shaky, she wiped her tears from her eyes.
Looking at her eyes, she kissed her on the forehead. “Such a brave little girl. I sent him home. Let’s just say he owes you an apology.” Tying her running shoes, Cassandra held the girl’s hand. “My name is Cassandra. I will bring you home. Does that sound like a good idea?”
Hailey nodded. It was difficult to talk much, she was afraid of crying again. Hanging on to the lady’s hand she headed home in silence. While they walked, Cassandra was struggling with what almost happened. She thought of the white board in Kevin’s room, counting the days he had not killed anybody. Then there was the Asian hunting them, Sayo. Kevin was still too uncertain of who he was, good or evil. He was both, they were both. Cassandra wanted him to grow but now she would dominate the form, try to keep him locked up inside her. She was not going to let him kill. People were walking by them, three women in their early twenties were dressed in cosplay outfits. Hailey looked the young ladies and their outfits, then she looked at Cassandra. Hailey didn’t say it out loud, but somehow, this lady had saved her, somehow. There was only one explanation. She was looking at a superhero.
Sayo hadn’t checked in with her boss in three days. She had ignored his phone calls. It was time they talked. Sitting in her car, she voice commanded the car to contact him. It rang.
“Hello sir, It is Sayo. I have seen the boy.”
“That’s excellent. Can you get close to him?”
“Sir, he sees me with his mind. He talks with me, he is inside my head. He is stronger that you told me. I can not get close to him. I think I will be returning your money.”
“Listen carefully Sayo. I own you now. There is no quitting. Get close to the boy and when you do, I will come to New York personally.”
Sayo didn’t like his response, that he owned her. She hung up the phone. Nobody owned her. They had been careful when they brought her to the lab after she agreed to take the job, two men in suits came for her, they blindfolded her, black bagged her head, went in circles until they pulled into an underground parking area. The lab had no visible logos or insignias on the walls or lab coats. She closed her eyes and tried to remember. She had pulled her blindfold down. What had she seen? Every word spoken, every reflection, the dark one-way mirror, the computer screen, the floor, then she saw it, a large box that contained an animal that had been a delivery. It was a monkey. The delivery tag had a name on it, ‘Phantom Technology’. Was it enough? She knew it had to be in Chicago because they had not drugged her, not flown her anywhere. If she went herself, they would know. She grabbed her cell phone and made a call. A sexy voice answered the other end.
“Angelica it’s me, I need your help.”
“Hang on.” Angelica moved away from the window of the hospital nursery that displayed the newborns. She was on the third floor, the maternity ward. She knew none of the babies, nor their families. It was a dream of hers to have children, one that was difficult for her, one that she knew she would have to wait for. She exited the hospital. “Ok, I am listening.”
Cassandra woke up in the middle of the night. She knew Phantom Force could track her if she kept the communicator. They had identified Kevin but when she entered the
Asian’s thoughts, she realized that she knew very little. They were only looking for Kevin. Kevin needed to be unseen. She had the communicator in her hand, wearing just a pair of white panties, she went over to her computer and searched for the deepest ocean on the planet. Staring at the results, she changed to her flame-like form and engulfed the communicator inside her. Moving to the balcony, she opened the doors with her mind, and like a strong wind, her flame form shot up and headed to the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific Ocean to bury her communicator deep, deep in the ocean.
Twenty-three hours later, her flame-like form plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Her flame did not burn, did not extinguish as it pushed to the deepest part of the dark depths of the Mariana Trench. Marine life swam around her. A large shark seemed to watch her descend as it gently glided through the murky depths. When she reached the bottom, she felt strangely at home underneath the water. She used her telekinesis and drilled a hole in the hard coral, she continued until she built a tomb-like chamber for the communicator. A place it would be safe because she would need it again, soon. Cassandra placed it inside then covered it up. She started to ascend.
Sayo had tracked the signal. Joseph was interpreting the data. “He is leaving.”
“Where is he going?” Sayo was referring to the boy, as she watched the hologram mapping display.
“Sayo?” Joseph was hesitant. “The signal is picking up speed, a lot of speed. He is moving at a speed of over 500 miles per hour. It is like he is flying.”
“Check and rechecked to see if any aircraft are flying that route. Keep tracking the signal.” She was thinking to herself, trying to understand. How could a boy fly? How could he travel so fast? “I have seen a few of those prototype jet-fueled hover crafts, they are built like a drone you can stand on, but not at that speed. Joseph, do you think he managed to get an unreleased prototype or something. How do you explain what we are seeing on the tracking program?”
“I can’t. Never thought about the hoverboards, but ya, they can reach speeds up to 100 miles and hour.”
They followed it for hours, they had launched helicopters from locations near its trajectory. They tried to do visual sightings of the boy, or whatever it was. Finally, the signal died somewhere in the Western Pacific Ocean. She asked her boss to send ships to look, perhaps more helicopters but how could they understand how powerful the boy is, they would underestimate him, and they would not find him. Or, she paused in thought, he would destroy them. Perhaps that would be her way to get her freedom back. To lure her boss close enough to the boy. There would be violence, death. She felt herself hoping the boy would win.
With no signal to follow, she decided to stay in New York, stay close to Amanda and the offspring’s mother. Sayo felt that the boy would come back but there would be no tracker, no way to find him, to see him. A term used for people in undercover assignments applied to what he had just done. He went dark, off the grid, and he had become the hunter. When she started hunting people, she had a mentor. As an apprentice she had learned everything about being a predator, to master the chase and the capture but now it was all different. She knew that the moment she met the boy, she had become the prey.