Tuesday, July 26, 2011
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
...just a couple weeks ago...
"Jason, you're okay..."
Jack and Dr. Randolph tried to console the poor kid after losing his grandfather. After all, he had no other family. His parents were still over in China. When he was only a couple of months old he was sent to America with his Grandfather for a chance at a new life, a better life. Now, at age 15 his Grandfather was dead, and poor Jason was alone.
Jack stood over the kid. He knew what had to be done. Jack would look after him like his own. And one day get him back to his family in China. . .
Dr. Randolph would later put in papers to legally adopt Jason. But for now, Jack took him back to the dojo, one last time, to collect all his stuff and take care of Sensei's remaining affairs. Jack walked slowly through the dojo. He put his bare feet on the mat and stared at the mirrored wall. It felt hollow in here without the Sensei. Dark and dry, the atmosphere was. Jack wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. That is when he saw it. A chest before the wall of weapons and gear that has never been there before. It stands out from the wall, placed there to be noticed.
Could it be? Did Sensei predict his own demise?
Jason was inside his room packing all his belongings and clothes. Jack approached the giant chest. It unlatched easily and so he opened its lid. Inside, were stacks of scrolls, rolled together with gold binding. He took them out along with a black katana blade. The katana had a golden emblem on its handle, just like the one from the Triad's High Dragon Leader. Except this one was not of a dragon, but a great wave washing over the Great Wall of China.
The scrolls were almost too many to carry, let alone read right there on the spot. Jack grabbed a gym bag from the floor and placed the scrolls and blade inside, along with some of the weapons and gear on the wall when Jason walked out of his room. He stopped and watched Jack finish packing the bag next to the open chest.
"It appears as though your Grandfather left us his last will and testament. We shall go over it together when we get back to the apartment."
But Jack and Jason would be caught by Dr. Randolph on their way back. Clouds gathered above them. The temperature dropped a couple of degrees. Jack asked Randolph what was wrong. It was clear after Dr. Randolph brought them around the corner, what was going on. The corner market was up in flames. The store was located at the bottom of a tenement house, but next to it was a sixty story skyscraper that was beginning to catch fire.
"Jack, you have to help them."
Jack looked at the Doc, as a fire engine came roaring down the block. "That's what fire fighters are paid to do." The clouds dropped and the pressure in the air grew thin. "Besides," Jack continued, "it's about to rain anyways."
Just then, the sky opened up and thunder blasted the sky. Rain poured heavy on the city, but that did not stop the fire from reaching the skyscraper. The fire had found new food, food that burned quicker. On the street, people screamed as they ran away of the fire and the firemen ran into the building.
"MY SON!" yelled a guy in the smothering rain standing next to them. Jack watched Jason's heart break. Still, for him, the burden of losing his grandfather was all too much to bear. It was too soon. And Jason's mind was directly tapping into the father's fever to save his son. Jack could tell all of this from the kid's eyes and expressions.
Randolph said what Jack was already thinking when the last fire fighter ran into the burning building. "If he can't do something, you must..."
Jack's temptation's flickered. This was not his fight. He is a crime fighter, not a hero. The men rushing into that inferno without any super human healing abilities are the heroes. That is when Jack knew Randolph was right. He teleported and was back in a couple of seconds, now in full DarkFlood gear.
Before disappearing into the shadows of the storm, Jack made one last remark, "If I'm gonna do this... I'm gonna do it right." And DarkFlood entered the fiery wreckage of the crumbling building. Dr. Randolph consoled the father.
"Relax, my friend, your son is in good hands. What is your name?"
"I am Lazarus."
"That is a loaded name."
"I don't understand what you mean?" the foreigner said. He looked like he was from the Middle East. Perhaps Israeli with that name. But his accent put him on the other side of Judeo-Christian background.
"I drive a cab. Me and my son live on the twenty first floor."
Dr. Randolph wished there was a way for DarkFlood to hear this. Instead the caped crime fighter tumbled through the residential floors of the burning building. It was cleared out for the most part. After climbing as far up as where the firefighter's were, DarkFlood jumped ahead to the highest floors and searched for trapped people. When he found someone, Jack would sneak up on them and teleport them to safety, never revealing himself. That is, until he found Lazarus' son on the twenty first floor.
Jack teleported down yet another floor after clearing the one he was on. According to his count, he was down to the twenty first floor. He swept the first couple of apartments and they were empty. When he entered apartment 2121, the fire blew a hole through the wall, knocking Jack to his feet. He crawled under the cinder and drywall burning to ashes on top of him. Lightning carved the horizon out the broken window closest to Jack. He used it for air.
DarkFlood climbed around the fire as it ate through the remaining rooms. He kicked the bathroom door in and found a kid hiding in a bathtub full of water. He could not have been older than five or six. Smart kid. DarkFlood stood before him, frozen, watching above his head...the crack on the ceiling.
The fire breached the roof of the bathroom and it came hurdling down towards the kid and DarkFlood.
Dr. Randolph watched on with other passers-by. "What is going on here?" asked an approaching man with an apron on.
"Just whut we needed...another Muhammad." scoffed a dark, southern stranger, chewing on a lit cigarette.
"I am not Islamic, I am Haitian-American and my name is Moses. I own the store across the street."
Dr. Randolph's head jumped upon hearing yet another odd name.
"His boy is trapped in the fire and none of the fire fighters can seem to get to him." put Jason blatantly.
Dr. Randolph nudged him out of anger as Lazarus sunk his head in utter despair. He tried once again to run into the building. It took Dr. Randolph, Jason, the Haitian deli clerk, the racist southerner, and two others to hold him back.
In a tussle to the ground, the Haitian and the Southerner ended up fighting each other as Randolph pinned down Lazarus.
"Get off me!" screams the Haitian as he pushes the hick off and gets back to his feet.
The southerner pats the dirt off his vest and points his finger at the Haitian, "Touch me again, shine, And I kill ya." The rain stops just as quickly as it started and the clouds part. And there, in the gleaming sunlight of the thunderstorm's afterglow, comes an event that would forever go down in history, as the genesis of the Super Hero. . .
The Haitian and the redneck run back at each other, but right before they collide, DarkFlood appears holding Lazarus' son in his arms.
They all stop and behold the sight of a caped and masked stranger appearing out of thin air. He stands with the boys body laying limp in his arms before the emerging sunlight. He lays the boy down on the floor and lets his father tend to him. The rest awe at DarkFlood. Some take their cellphones out and take pictures. Some even take video of DarkFlood. Not many before he disappears once again. . .
Back into the blazing inferno.
Dr. Randolph and Lazarus try to get his son to breathe. Nothing seems to be working. Dr. Randolph screams for Jack. DarkFlood reappears above them and kneels down before the boy dying on the floor. He holds him with both hands and closes his eyes. The shock and the burns and the smothered lungs are absorbed by Jack, he bleeds under his suit. His disguise hides it well. The kid wakes up and DarkFlood vanishes again.
Later, when the coast is clear. Jack reappears in the alley and takes off his DarkFlood gear. The southerner walks out of the shadow and flicks his cigarette into a puddle. The rain has stopped. "I got you."
Jack looks up, startled.
"Don't run. I just want to talk."
Jack decides to hear him out and not teleport away immediately.
"My name is Turner Sans and I have a very unique set of skills. I can help you. I'm sorry, I didn't catch yur name . . . . . ."