Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Phantom Club (Chapter 1)

“Look out!”

The crowd scattered as a volley of EMS fire ricochet down from the level above. The man who'd fired the gun stepped to the edge and grinned. The silver logo on his red jacket shone in the light shed by the neon signs around him and the beams of sunlight that made their way through the tangle of silver buildings high above. He raised his gun to fire again. What to shoot, what to shoot...

A beam from an FL-2 singed his hair and he turned his attention to his opponent. A man in a yellow jacket looked back at him from behind dark sunglasses, wearing the same grin he'd had a second ago.

“Hello, lead head,” said the leader of the Delve gang with a grin. “How's life with the Bolts treating you?”

“Oh, fine, fine. They pay much better than you ever did, Emmit. Cooler jacket, too.”

“Really.” The grin disappeared, then came back with a vengeance. “And I suppose you shooting at innocent pedestrians is another benefit?”

“No, I did that with you guys too.” He shrugged. “But when have you ever cared about that?”

“An excellent point. I might consider doing the same. But first...” Emmit raised the FL-2 again and aimed it at his head. “I've got some business to take care of.”

The cafe-goers stared as the lifeless body thumped onto the street.

“Now...” He stared down at the lower level. “Where was I?”

The remnants of the crowd scattered as beam after beam found it's way into their midst. Emmit grinned as he pulled out a targeting scope from his jacket pocket and fitted it on his weapon. “Now lets see... who wants to die?”

A business man hiding under a table caught his eye, then a homeless man half hidden in an alleyway. Finally he settled on a little girl trying to find her mommy. “Don't worry, little girl, you won't be lost for long,” he whispered to himself.

A flash of black dashed through the corner of his eye. Three seconds later, a shroud whipped itself over his face and his gun was wrested from his hand. He looked up to see the edge of the black cape flying backwards. A grinning white mask stared at him with dark eyes. The figure landed on a railing, balanced perfectly. It tilted its head to one side and held up his weapon for him to see. It examined the gun for a moment, then placed it's hand on the setting dial. Three clicks to the left; did that make the beam weaker or stronger? Emmit couldn't remember.

The grinning figure raised the gun, aiming it at him in the same manner he'd used only a second ago. It cocked it's head and held up three gloved fingers. Two fingers. One. He turned and ran. A pulsing beam met the sidewalk two inches away from his foot. He ran faster, turning a corner and disappearing through the smoky doorway of a bar.

A cheer rose from the crowd below. “Phantom! Phantom!” The figure turned and stared down at the crowd. It raised one hand, gave a small wave, then bowed. It then examined the weapon in it's other hand.

The barrel of the gun broke with a sharp crack as the phantom struck it against the metal rail. It examined the remnants, then threw them over the railing. They landed in a trash can near the edge of the square.

The crowd continued cheering. “Thief! Thief!” Not an accusation; instead, the word was a name.

The one called Thief nodded it's head to them, the black fedora dipping over it's eyes, then leapt into the air, landing on a wall and leaping to another until the black-cloaked figure finally disappeared into a patch of shadow.

All was silent for a moment, then the businessman came out from under the table. The homeless man resumed his street corner. The little girl ran to her mother's open arms.

Everyone returned to their normal business, except for the two police officers who removed the body. But then, that was their normal business.

High above the square, Thief watched, impassive behind the grinning mask.

What's this? Another story? Indeed it is! And there's gonna be more of this one too. Critique please!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Again, interesting concept. Great imagery in this one--I could see a movie playing out in my head. So what's up with all the Phantom-ness? :P