Chapter 25

Neil sat on the rooftop of a small walkup apartment building by himself. Although he had been at this for a while now, Neil had yet to find a hotspot for criminal activity in Mondale. Thanks to Tom’s new police scanner, they noticed that a lot of the violent crimes revolved around this area of the city. Even so, after a few nights it just seemed to be more of the same – a mugging here or there.

As he thought about the past few weeks, he looked down at the ensemble Tom put together for him. A hooded black overcoat on top of a black t-shirt and black cargo pants. Neil didn’t really like the outfit, it felt too impractical and he was constantly getting caught up in it. Tom insisted on the overcoat, both for aesthetic and because there were more gadgets coming that would need to be hidden or stored under the bulky coat. Neil shuddered. “That sounds even more impractical,” he thought to himself. Still, he had to begrudgingly admit that the coat made him feel like a film noire detective. “Ah well,” Neil thought to himself, “it could be worse. At least Tom didn’t insist on spandex.”

Tom’s voice popped into his ear through an earbud transmitter Tom designed.

“Hey Neil, Jackpot. There’s cops pinned down by gunfire about three blocks south. Can you hear it? Can you get there?”

“Dude,” replied Neil. “No names!”

“Nah, no worries, I’m pretty sure they can’t break the encryption I came up with. But if you insist, I can give you a code name.”

“Forget that, Tom. I’ll trust you on this one. Anyway, I’m on it.”

Pulling the hood over his head, Neil headed toward the fire escape. As he climbed down, he spoke to Tom.

“We’ve got to come up with something better than this. I can’t screw around with fire escapes when I’m in a hurry. I’ve got the advantage of being above the action by being on the building, but getting down completely ruins it.”

“Unless you can fly, I don’t see a good option, Neil.”

“Yeah, I know I can’t fly, obviously, but nothing we’ve found so far suggests there’s any limit to the electricity I can emit. With electricity not being a factor, there has to be some kind of hovering mechanism we can build into this coat that would at least slow my fall so I could jump building to building or from building to ground. It would be awesome if I could literally get the jump on the bad guy or travel by rooftop.”

“Well, you could always just jump off the building. We’d finally test the limits of your invincibility.”

Neil winced.

“I’m not invincible, Tom. I just heal really fast. There’s a distinction. I’d still break every bone in my body and I would be in extreme agony.”

“For like a second, Neil.”

“Yeah, until I crush my skull and find out I need my brain intact in order to heal. Tell you what, when I get back there, I’m going to electrocute you for a second, Tom and we’ll see how quickly you get over it.”

“Alright, fair enough. Are you there yet?”

“I just got off the stupid fire escape. I’m on my way now.”

“Well, thankfully – um, you know what I mean – anyway, it looks like a doozy of a firefight. They’re calling for backup. Sounds like an armed robbery that went wrong. By the way, I’m searching the internet and I see some base jumping crap that might fit under or into the coat, that might be a start.”

Sprinting toward the noise, Neil found himself enjoying this banter with Tom.

“Before you get too focused on base jumping crap, why not finish one of the other projects you have on the go there? Your desk is littered with half-finished projects. Also, I’m about a block and a half out.”

“Affirmative. Cops still in trouble. And also, you just asked me to come up with something better. Maybe I’d finish a project, if you stopped frying the headsets I’m making or stopped giving me other impossible jobs like making you hover.”

“Alright, alright. Point taken. Anyway, I’m here.”


The gunfire rang out in the streets. Neil snuck into an alley, hoping to flank the armed robbers. A man crept out of the shadows and lunged at Neil.

“KNIFE,” yelled Neil.

Neil attempted to hold off the attacker by blocking the knife. It was unsuccessful. The knife sliced his hand badly and came down into his chest. Reflexively, the crackle of electricity travelled from his chest, down the knife and into the attacker’s hand, blowing him and the knife back about 10 feet. A piercing squeal rang out in Neil’s ear. Grimacing, he fished the earpiece out of his ear. Cupping it in his hand, he noticed the headset smoking.

“And there goes another headset. Sorry Tom, I guess I’m on my own. Again.”

The stinging pain in Neil’s hand caught his attention. He looked at it and watched it heal for a second. The whizzing of bullets past his head caught his attention.

“The commotion must have caught one of the armed robbers’ attention,” he thought to himself.

He looked around frantically before noticing the dumpster against the building. Awkwardly, he fell behind the dumpster, out of sight of the shooter. Pressing his body against the wall, he moved to the back corner of the building and ducked behind it, putting the building between him and the gunmen.

“Let’s try that again,” he thought to himself. “The guy in the alley caught me off guard. Stupid, Neil. That was stupid. Not careful enough. There’s probably a number of them scattered through the surrounding alleys.”

With caution at the front of his mind, Neil slowly peeked around the corner of the building. The gunman must have been more interested in the police, because he wasn’t looking in Neil’s direction anymore. Neil slid back along the building and hid behind the dumpster again. He sat there for a second, took a deep breath and looked over the top of the dumpster, but the gunman was gone. He scanned the alley. The gunfire seemed to be up the street quite a bit now. He looked back over his shoulder and ran toward the front of the building.

Neil was so focused on catching up to the action and looking around for gunmen that he ran into a street light, thoroughly scaring himself. The fear made the streetlight flicker, spark brightly and blow up.

The exploding light blinded the nearest gunman. Neil ran up to him and cautiously grabbed his gun, trying to apply just enough voltage to knock the first gunman out. As the man went limp, Neil let him drop to the ground. Quickly, he grabbed some large zip ties out of his cargo pants to tie the robber’s arms behind his back.

Neil looked back at the fried streetlight. “That was pretty cool,” he thought to himself.

The gunfire started to increase. It seemed like more police were arriving. The strong police presence forced one of the other gunmen to retreat and back up toward Neil. Silently, Neil crept forward in the darkness and tapped the thug on the shoulder.

The thug spun on his heels and attempted to shoot at Neil. Neil winced as the gun clicked. It misfired. The thug muttered something about the gun being garbage as he aggressively threw it to the ground and raised his hands as he settled into a fighting stance.

“Finally,” thought Neil with a giddy excitement, “a real fight!”

Excited to use what he had been learning in his self-defense class, he settled into a defensive stance. At that moment, he realized that he had only learned how to defend, not how to attack. Deflated and unsure of what to do next, Neil settled in and waited for his opponent to attack. As he worried that this would ultimately be a stalemate, the villain lost his patience and lunged forward toward Neil.

“I know what to do,” Neil thought to himself, as he prepped to use the momentum to throw his opponent. Having to do this at full speed for the first time, his timing was completely off. Instead of pulling the opponent over his shoulder, Neil wound up falling backwards awkwardly, ineffectually tossing the gunman aside.

Before he could get back up to his feet, Neil wound up getting a few sharp kicks to the ribs while he struggled to get up. He rolled away from the kick and swept his feet frantically, managing to tangle them in the thief’s legs, tripping him and knocking him off balance.

Both Neil and the thief scrambled to their feet. The thief swung his fist at Neil and to his surprise, he actually managed to block the incoming attack. As he blocked, Neil swung his right fist up as hard as he could, catching his opponent in the jaw. He felt his hand connect and heard a sickening crunch as the thug’s jaw clamped shut. Glassy-eyed, the thug fell limp to the ground in front of Neil.

“Well, that was horribly awkward,” Neil thought to himself, as he kneeled down and zip tied the villain, “but it’s a start."

Mechanical whirring and a spotlight shone down on the other gunman. The police helicopter was here. Reinforcements had arrived.

The loudspeaker boomed. “We have you surrounded and we see you from the helicopter. It’s over. Put your weapons down and your hands up.”

“Well, this didn’t go perfectly. It didn’t go poorly either though,” Neil smiled and thought to himself. He was perfectly content to let the police clean up here.

The loudspeaker boomed again. “You in the funky overcoat. On your knees. Now.”

It took a second before Neil realized they were talking to him. Neil felt the smile dissolve from his face as a chill set in his spine. Flailing, he looked around. He was pretty close to another streetlight. He dove towards it and grabbed it, attempting to replicate the explosion. The light didn’t even flicker.

Again, the loudspeaker called out. “If you run again, we will shoot. On your knees, now.”

Neil looked up at the helicopter and back at the light. The situation was starting to make him angry. The adrenaline and the police and the helicopter made it so hard for him to concentrate on his powers. Frustrated, he punched the pole as hard as he could, aiming to break his hand. Neil was relieved, because the pain forced his electricity to lash out defensively. As before, the light blew up in a spray of sparks as intense as daylight. As he clutched his broken hand to his chest, Neil ran off into the dark alley, hoping that the blinding light would provide him some cover while he made his escape.

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1 comment:

Richard Belzile said...

As this is the first action-heavy chapter I've written so far, so I would love any input people might have.

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I am Sinewave: Spark

Written by Richard Belzile

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I am not a professional author, this is my novice attempt at creating a novel in an episodic fashion. Comments, critiques and compliments accepted.

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