By D.C. Lindsey (staff writer)
Two men were found outside a bank last night tied up to a light post. Vigilantism isn’t something the city of Tampa is surprised by, however this was a much more brutal beating than the common thugs on the streets of Ybor are used too. To date, there have been no concrete sightings of a new prowler on the streets though some local interviews describe what many would call just a boy. The phenomenon remains largely a mystery. Click the link below to read user comments or add your own.
Click here to add your comments below.
Sharkleg: Just what this city needs, another $#(^ing superhero.
Fiasco_reborn: good man!
Z8sz: wanna really please your girl in bed? Click here to…
Patrolling: WTF TROLLS!
Ghost slammed into the wall and his back exploded in pain. He had enough time to gasp for air and spit out a wad of blood before he had to get his hands up to block the kick aimed for his face. The force of the kick was too much for him to block and he ended up redirecting the kick into the wall behind him. He threw his weight behind his elbow and snapped the man’s knee backwards. The man fell onto the grungy alleyway sidewalk, writhing in pain.
Ghost hopped up on his feet and scanned the shadows around him. There were still two more attackers out there. A girl was stretched out near a broken streetlight. Her dress was ripped and she sobbed quietly into her hands. He bounced on the balls of his feet and strained his ears against the dark. Crunching footsteps near a dumpster alerted him and he launched himself at the sound feet first.
He was jarred to a stop when the shadow sidestepped his kick and caught him around the neck. The shadow threw him down into a puddle near the crying girl. He shivered when his tights got heavy in the cold rainwater. The shadow stepped into the light and he sneered.
“I’m sorry boy, have we met?” Nero asked. He brushed his long white hair behind his ear. “I don’t seem to remember any crime scene field trips.”
“I’ve seen plenty of you on TV. You killed that family in the church.”
Nero laughed, “I’ve killed lots of families…”
Ghost tried to get up but Nero spun around and kicked Ghost in the face. Coppery tasting blood flooded his mouth and he could feel one of his eyes swelling shut. Nero knelt down next to Ghost on the filthy pavement. He recoiled as Nero pulled him to his feet. A spicy, floral scent filled Ghost’s nostrils as Nero held him close. With a grunt Nero slammed the boy into the wall. Ghost’s mask fluttered to the ground and he looked up at Nero in the pale light.
“Look at you, some kid who thinks he’s a hero because he knows karate and has some tights that don’t fit right.”
Ghost tried to answer but the only thing he could get out was sort of a pathetic mewling sound. Nero laughed at him, picked up the mask, and then leaned in close.
“I’ll show you what happens when someone tries to play superhero.”
Nero threw Ghost into the wall and walked to the girl lying on the ground. Ghost tried to get up to help her but he couldn’t get his legs under him. He crawled along the pavement gasping. Nero stood over the girl and sprinkled small purple flowers over her body and then raised his foot to crush her head. Smoke pellets exploded all around them. The air was filled with the scent of gunpowder and then the acrid smell of smoke. Another shadow blew through clouds and Nero grunted. There was a thud and then Ghost felt someone picking him up.
Bright blue body armor coated the arms that carried him. Ghost was gently deposited in a seat that seemed to envelop him and hold him safe. He was aware of a car starting and he got the sense of movement even though he could barely see out of his eyes.
Ghost woke up on an exam table. His bloody tights were laying on the ground next to him and he was naked in the harsh light of a medical room. He grabbed a paper sheet to cover himself and tried to sit up.
“Don’t try to sit up yet”, a voice said. Ghost squinted in the direction of the sound. His eyes seemed to be getting better and he could barely make out a figure sitting next to him.
Justice sat near the boy, his body was coated in blue and red body armor. He had a blue hood and a blue mask that obscured his face. He pushed back the hood to reveal short brown hair that was just showing a little gray.
“You’ve had a rough night and you need to let the drugs work on you a little.”
Ghost frowned at the superhero. “Well Dad, if you would get me some body armor then maybe things like this wouldn’t happen.”
Justice sighed and pulled off his mask. Underneath the hard plastic he seemed tired and worried. “Listen to me Drake. The point of teaching you to fight and how to move like this was only for fitness.”
Drake shrugged. “Bad stuff happens to just about everyone.”
Justice shrugged at his son. “This is over tonight. Also, stop stealing your sister’s unitard.”
Drake and his father made their way through a small passage that opened into their kitchen. Drake’s mom was just finishing dinner as they walked through the passageway.
“You found him! Oh Drake, I was so worried”, his mom said. “We didn’t know what happened to you. You’ve been gone for hours, it’s almost midnight.”
Drake stood awkwardly clutching the paper sheet still wrapped around him. “Well, I’m fine I’m gonna go get dressed.”
Drake’s mother shook her head. “Just like your father, I’ll make some food and bring it up to you.”
Drake walked through the house to his room and slammed the door. He found a pair of shorts and a hoodie and got dressed. His desk had drawings of superheroes and costumes that he imagined he would wear someday. He stood in front of his mirror and checked out his wounds from the night. Whatever his dad had given him was helping him heal up quickly. The cut above his eye was just a scab and his bruises were already fading. He flexed his muscles in the mirror and was smiled at the result. He wasn’t the most built person but he certainly had some good development. He brushed his brown hair out of his eyes and checked the mirror closely, still no chin hair though.
He flopped face first on his bed. All he really wanted to do was sleep but he couldn’t pass out yet. He decided to do some research. He got his laptop out and started googling Nero. The man’s past transgression were easy to find in old newspaper articles. He searched again to try to get some sense of who Nero was but, all the information seemed to be missing. He thought about going down to his father’s lair and looking through his father’s files. A knock at his door startled him and he just enough time to close the laptop as his dad walked in with a tray of food.
“I thought maybe you’d like some time alone instead of with your mother. I told her not to worry.” His father eyed the closed laptop and the way Drake was laying on the bed. He smiled knowingly.
“Dad, no, I was just researching.”
“Oh, researching what?”
Drake sighed and sat up. “Nothing, is this for me?”
His father handed him the tray. “I hope you can understand why I don’t want you out there in the streets. Maybe someday, but son you’re just twelve old.”
Drake rolled his eyes at his dad. “I was exactly where I meant to be.”
“Where would you be right now if I hadn’t tracked you down?”
Drake just sat on the bed. He picked up the food tray and started eating.
“Like I said earlier,” his father continued, “I don’t want you out there trying to do something dumb”
“And like I said earlier Dad, if I had better armor then maybe I would have been safer.”
His father shook his head. “Maybe someday.”
“Dad,” Drake hesitated a second. “Was the girl ok?”
His father looked out into the hallway and scratched his chin. “She was pretty beat up but you stopped them before there was any major harm done.”
“See, Dad, I can help out there. Let me go with you.”
“No, it’s done Drake. It’s just too dangerous. Did she see you when you got to her?”
Drake scoffed at his father. “No one sees me Dad”
Drake’s father ruffled his son’s hair. “Almost no one.”
The next morning when Drake woke up his father’s words echoed in his head. He decided that he was old enough and that Nero had just gotten lucky. He grabbed his black hoodie on the way out the door. He would be back on patrol tonight.
He rode the bus to school that morning and sat with his friends. Everyone seemed to move in slow motion around him. His father told him it was from the training that he had gone through. His body was so attuned to what was happening around him that it just always felt like people were walking around underwater while he was just moving at normal speed.
School was a blur until the final bell rang and as he walked to his locker to grab his hoodie he felt someone’s hand coming to touch his shoulder. He spun without thinking, ready to throw the potential attacker off balance. Cindy Dawkins stood behind him surprised at how fast he had turned. She smiled at him.
“Hey Drake, some of my friends are coming over after school today to watch a movie, do you wanna come.”
Drake stammered — he felt backed into a corner. “I’m sorry Cindy I can’t. I have plans actually after school, maybe I can some other time?”
Cindy’s face fell, but she looked him in the eye. “I guess sure, whatever you want.”
Cindy turned to go and two of the goons that had been stuck in the middle school system walked up the hallway.
“Hey Cindy if Drake-dick doesn’t want to go to your party we’ll go,” the fat one said.
“Yeah, we’ll make it real fun, just the three of us,” the other said, playing with one of the zits on his face.
Cindy just shook her head and brushed around them heading to class. Drake widened his stance a little in case anything happened. The older boys looked at Drake.
“Hey look Tom he looks like he wants to fight.”
Tom, the fat one, looked over the smaller boy. “Nah Biggan, we’d kill him, besides, I wanna save my energy for something good.”
They glanced back towards Cindy as she walked out of the hallway and they laughed. Drake tensed at the way the bullies looked at Cindy. He decided to follow the brutes and grabbed his hoodie out of his locker. As the boys moved off down the hall Drake slipped the sweatshirt on and pulled the hood up over his head.
When the boys cleared the hallway Drake was right behind, wading through a flood of adolescents. He grabbed onto a pole flipped himself up onto the top of a covered walkway. He glanced down at a group of sixth graders staring at him. He shrugged and waved at them and then jogged off, careful to keep the thugs in view.
Drake kept his distance from the pair as they walked slowly through the school. Finally as the rounded the corner near the P.E. locker rooms Biggan broke into a run. Tom waddled some distance behind the lanky boy and puffed trying to keep up. Drake looked in front of them, trying to see what was making them run. There was a flash of blond hair turning the corner and Drake watched as Biggan careened right behind it.
Drake’s stomach dropped. It was Cindy. He took off running across the roof of the walkway and flipped over to the roof of the locker room. Cindy yelled and then there were sounds of a scuffle followed by a sickening thud. He sprinted across the roof and jumped to a small walk-space between the boys and girls area. Cindy was on the ground, a bloody gash oozed on her forehead. Tom and Biggan argued quietly next to her.
“It’s ain’t my fault the bitch fell,” Biggan said.
“Well who are we gonna blame it on?” Tom asked.
Drake crept up next to the thugs and said, “Here’s an idea. You two morons stand still while I find the resource officer.”
The thugs started at Drake’s arrival and wheeled on him like bulls. Tom glanced down at the Cindy and then back up at Drake and with a yell he swung his fist at Drake’s face. Drake dropped low and swept Tom’s feet out from under him. The fat thug collapsed to the ground with a wet splat. Biggan tried to grapple Drake but the smaller boy fell on his back kicked up with both legs, slamming Biggan into the wall behind him.
Drake rolled to his feet and knelt by Cindy’s side. Behind him the thugs got up and ran the other way. He didn’t care. Just as Cindy was starting to wake up one of the resource officers from the school rounded the corner yelling into a walkie talkie.
“I’m right where those kids said they saw the girl being raped – Oh shit, there is a kid here.” The cop drew his taser and approached Drake slowly. “Son, I need you to step back from the girl.”
Drake stood up and looked at the officer. “I had nothing to do with this.”
Drake took a step back from Cindy. He turned around and waited until the officer holstered his taser and pulled out the handcuffs. The cop grabbed his wrist and tried to pull Drake’s arms down but Drake slammed his head back into the cop’s chin. As the officer fell Drake wheeled on his heel and wrapped his hand around the cops throat, slamming him into the pavement with more velocity than gravity offered. He looked around to make sure he was alone and caught Cindy’s eyes staring at him, full of fear.
Drake took a step towards Cindy but she recoiled in horror at him. Her head swept back and forth from the horror of the cop on the ground to the puddle of blood under her. He reached out to help her to her feet but he was interrupted when she screamed. Drake was shocked. He could hear people reacting to the scream and he took off, he jumped onto a window sill and climbed to the roof.
Drake ran across the locker room and leaped from one building to the next. He got off the school grounds and tried to head home. He kept to the shadows mostly as he walked home, keeping his hood up to look inconspicuous. When he finally got to his neighborhood he wasn’t shocked to see police cars surrounding his house. Despite himself he laughed. He climbed in a tree and started sneaking his way to see if he could hear anything that was going on.
Just outside the backdoor his parents were talking to one of the Sergeants on duty. Drake crept through the bushes to get close to hear what they were saying.
“No officer, he’s never done anything like this before,” his mom said.
She and the police Sergeant turned around and went inside but Drake’s father turned and looked right at the bush Drake was hiding in. He shook his head and walked into the house. Drake decided to wait until dark and try to get a few of his things, he’d figure out what to do after that.
As the sun went down Drake started to get antsy. He was about to take off and come back later that night when he got the sense that someone was nearby him. He turned and almost ran right into his father.
“What have you done?” Justice asked.
“I didn’t do anything,” Drake said.
Justice pulled the hood off his suit and looked at his son.
“I got caught up in something. These thugs were the one’s–”
“Save it son,” Justice grabbed Drake’s arm. “Right now you’re just gonna have to tell the police.”
Drake couldn’t believe it. He tried to protest but he couldn’t break his father’s grip. Justice walked Drake through the bushes and handed him to two of the officers waiting near a police car. They handcuffed him and started to push his head down to load him into the police car. Drake tripped over the curb and fell into one of the officers. The cop shoved him and Drake fell into the seat. They moved to close the door but Justice stopped them and reached into the car.
“He’s not just a street thug Officer, watch your gear,” Justice said. He reached behind Drake and pulled the handcuff keys, pick-pocketed from the officer, out from behind Drake’s thumb.
Drake stared at his father in disbelief and then anger. He flexed his muscles but he couldn’t snap the chain on the cuffs.
“I wouldn’t unhandcuff him until you get him locked up in a cell.” The officers nodded and got in the car. The car started and drove out out of the neighborhood. Drake sat in the backseat and struggled with the handcuffs. The officers rode in silence. Outside the scenery changed from the suburbs to the older, dreary washed pavement of Ybor City. The cop car pulled into a small ally near the interstate.
“Forget the way to the police station?” Drake asked.
The officers chuckled. One looked back at him and pulled his gun.
“Did you think Nero would let your insult go?”
Drake stopped moving and focused on what the cop was saying.
“He sends you this message, before you die,” the gun chambered a round with a click. “Your mom and your sister will die fast. Your father, Justice, will die slow.”
“How does he know who my family is?” Drake asked.
The cop pulled a long black mask out of his pocked and threw it at Drake. “He mentioned that you dropped this.”
Drake watched the gun was pointed at him. He steadied his breathing to keep himself calm. He waited until the muscles tensed along the officers arm and then dodged to the left. The bullet went wild and shattered the back of the squad car window. Drake heaved himself into the shattered glass and felt it give under his weight. The shards lacerated his face as he rolled off the trunk and slammed into the concrete with a thud. Above him a giant violin was being played with a bouquet of flowers. The spicy floral scent assaulted his nose again.
The door opened and both cops tore around the squad care weapons drawn. Drake swept the feet from one and then rolled as the second officer moved to get a better shot. As he rolled he kicked his feet out from under him and landed in a half squat near the approaching officer. He jumped as high as he could and caught the cop in the chest with both feet. They went down hard and Drake stood, victorious. He grabbed the handcuff keys and released his hands. As he walked back into his house he paused to pick up his mask and the nightstick from the cop still on the ground. He extended the nightstick and slammed it into the jaw of the first cop and walked out of the ally.
He tried to hide the nightstick in his hoodie as best he could and jogged over to the bus stop. He tried to blend in behind a group of college coeds. One girl dressed in a bright red University of Tampa hoodie wobbled in her high heels. The smell of alcohol filled the air. When the bus pulled up Drake’s foot darted out and tripped the girl. As she fell into the group of her friends Drake snatched her wallet out of her bag. He pulled out five dollars and handed it back to the girl. She slurred a thank you and got on the bus. Drake followed and paid the bus fare with the stolen money. He dropped the change into the girls purse as he slipped to the back of the bus.
Drake’s hands shook as he sat down. Nero had threatened his family. He gripped the nightstick in his hoodie pocket and his face hardened. When the bus got near his house he slipped off into the shadows and moved as fast as he could to his house. Something already seemed wrong as he jogged to the door. All of the lights were off.
The inside of the house was torn apart. Drake ran from room to room looking for his family but each room was more ripped apart than the last. He ran to the kitchen and pushed in the secret wall and ran to his father’s lair. All around him were signs of a battle. The walls were covered in bullet holes and there was fresh blood drying on the ground. In the lair itself the computer had been torched and all of his father’s justice costumes were in ruins.
Drake walked back into the kitchen. He set the nightstick on the table and sat down hard. He slammed his fist down on the hard wood. He picked up the newspaper sitting by his foot and threw it at the wall.
Violin Flowers Being Investigated
By D.C. Lindsey (staff writer)
The largest manufacturer of floral arrangements in Tampa, Violin Flowers,
is under investigation by the local police for several health code violations.
The company was founded in 1982 after a fire swept through the church
that was on the grounds previously. Violin flowers is most famous for
their use of the Purple Hyacinth. This warehouse has been a staple of Ybor
City for nearly thirty years and has never received previous violations.
Drake read the article over a few times and ran to his sister’s room to find the gray tights he wore. He slipped them on and found a pair of black basketball shorts to match. He added his mask, a pair of black gloves, and his combat boots. Then he clipped the nightstick to his waistband and slipped silently into the night
Two guards were stationed on top of the building. Drake crept as close as he could then burst from the shadows and clotheslined one. He flipped his nightstick out and slammed it into the guards throat. The other guard ran to help, trying to aim his rifle, but Drake threw his nightstick at the guard and dropped him. He finished off the second guard with a boot to the face. He picked up the guard’s walkie talkie and started listening to the radio traffic.
The earpiece crackled and Drake listened intently to the duty roster being spread out. He smiled. The guards were still guarding three prisoners. He ran to the end of the building and dropped into the alleyway below. He walked through the shadows and closed in on another guard. He popped his nightstick back out and clipped the guard in the back of the head, catching the body before it fell down. He dragged the prone guard back into the shadows and slipped inside the facility.
Below him the storage shed spread out into a small chamber. At the center his father sat tied to a chair. He was cut up all over his body and his face was bruised. From the way he was sitting Drake guessed that he had broken at least two ribs. Nero stood near Drake’s father with a knife in his hand. The blade was coated in blood.
Drake kept to the shadows but wandered around the room. He tried to get a sense of anyone else in the chamber but the only people he could find were Nero and Justice. He stopped and looked back at the door to figure out how fast he would need to move once he freed his father. Justice’s scream brought his attention directly back to the action on hand. Nero had started cutting his father open. The knife was deep. Drake flipped the nightstick out and charged Nero. He didn’t care about stealth he just wanted his father to stop screaming.
He swung at Nero’s knee but missed when Nero side stepped the blow. He kept swinging wildly and Nero dodged each one easily. Drake overextended on the last swing and Nero sliced open the boy’s wrist. The nightstick clattered to the floor uselessly. Nero stepped forward and kicked Drake in the chest. Drake slammed into his father and they both went sprawling on the ground.
“Shouldn’t you already be dead?” Nero asked, smirking.
“I won’t let you hurt my family,” Drake said.
Nero laughed. He shook the white hair around his head. His fingers, coated in dirt, moved quickly by his side like they playing the strings of a violin. There was a small purple flower clipped to his dark shirt and he wore stained black jeans. A black trench coat sat forgotten near Justice. Nero’s skin was pale, almost sickly in the light.
“Won’t let me? Look at him. I’ve hurt him pretty bad.” Nero’s eyes narrowed. “It’s just a small amount of what I’m going to do to you.”
Drake got to his feet moved back into a ready stance.
“Drake, you have to counter him,” Justice whispered, his voice laced with pain. “Don’t just attack head first, make him come to you.”
Nero threw the knife at Drake but Drake sidestepped the blade. Nero charged but this time Drake was ready. He parried the blows and waited for his opening. Nero wheeled around to kick Drake but Drake ducked under the blow and Nero was thrown completely off balance. Drake jumped and drop kicked his assailant and watched as Nero ran headfirst into a wall. Drake turned and grabbed the knife and started slicing open his father’s ropes.
“Drake, son, you did good,” Justice said. He coughed in pain and blood ran down his face.
Drake finished freeing Justice and helped him stand up. A burst of static in his ear caused him to flinch. The earpiece was too loud for Drake to understand but then Nero screamed into a receiver. “Take the shot, take it now.”
Drake shoved his father down and a shot rang out. He threw his body over his dad’s and felt the impact of the bullet somewhere below his left shoulder. He tried to get off Justice but it seemed like his muscles would work. His vision flashed white and he was vaguely aware
of Justice rolling him gently on the floor and then the sounds of a fight around him. He tried to get up but his body ignored him. He was so sleepy.
“Son, Ghost, you did great, just hang on a little longer,” Justice whispered in his ear a few minutes later. “Your mother and sister are fine, I’ve got them here.”
Ghost felt someone squeeze his hand. It hurt a little. He didn’t really care, he just wanted to close his eyes. He felt them closing on their own. Grateful, he let his mind drift away. No matter what happened, he was Ghost now.
Justice Saves Family from Thugs
By D.C. Lindsey (staff writer)
A family of three were jumped by thugs outside of Violin Flowers today
in Tampa, Florida. Two received only small bruising and the other,
an unidentified boy, was shot. The boy remains in critical condition and the
doctors are not sure of his chances at this time. The whereabouts of the thugs
are unknown, however, Justice assured the media that the thugs wouldn’t be
troubling anyone again. Click the link below to read user comments or add your own.
Click here to comment
ASUSGr8: isn’t it a little cliché to have this whole thing about a superhero anyway?
taco_sauce613: Who the fck cares about some hero anymore?
Jok3r: wanna really please your girl in bed? Click here to…
Bachrocks: spammers, ugh, go troll somewhere else
Brief Bio: Chase Lindsey is currently a creative writing student at the University of South Florida. He spends his time reading and writing under the warm sun in Tampa. For questions or comments he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.