Authors: Jennifer Harlow
BOOK TWO OF THE GALILEE FALLS TRILOGY
Chronicled by Jennifer Harlow
Devil on the Left Books
2013 by Jennifer Dowis
All Rights Reserved
Devil on the Left Books, Peachtree City GA
The characters and events in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
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To all who championed this series,
You're My Heroes
ALSO BY JENNIFER HARLOW
THE GALILEE FALLS TRILOGY
In The Beginning…A Galilee Falls Short
THE F.R.E.A.K.S. SQUAD SERIES
Mind Over Monsters
To Catch a Vampire
Death Takes A Holiday
THE MIDNIGHT MAGIC MYSTERY SERIES
What's A Witch To Do?
Werewolf Sings The Blues
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
by William Shakespeare
God, how I love this city. And how I am going to miss her.
I stand at the edge of the rooftop where I've spent many a night gazing down at her lifeblood, her citizens going about their lives as I watch over them. The group of women giggling as they step into the bar, searching for companionship. The man in the business suit screaming into his mobile phone, trying his hardest to hold onto his share of the proverbial pie. The musician carrying his guitar case, off to pursue his dream of immortality. The lone woman plowing through them all without a glimpse, head up and scowl affixed as if showing vulnerability even amongst these strangers would result in catastrophe. She knows it can, no doubt discovering this years ago the hard way. I can always spot my own kind.
"White Night." I spin around. "You're late."
Independence's newest hero waits by the open door, his black and white clad figure filling its frame. I envy him that. Him simply standing is intimidating, whereas I had to build that reputation through years of painful, grueling work. Though he's only three inches taller than my six feet, I feel like a stringy pygmy around him. Less than. Always have. "I'm sorry. I was on surveillance, lost track of time. Tentacle and some goons."
"Watch out for that fourth arm. He rarely uses it, so it's difficult to remember it's there."
"Thank you," he says with a reverent nod as he strides over to me. "So, last night in town. Having any second thoughts about leaving?"
"On occasion. There are moments, but I know it's for the best. We're needed. It's our duty to answer that call."
"I'd go," he says apologetically, showing momentary weakness that doesn't become him, "I want to go, but I just can't. It's--"
"I know," I say. "We're proud to do it. That you trust us enough to."
He studies what is visible of my face for subterfuge. His shoulders relax when he finds none. "If you need anything, please call me."
"You're given us a detailed rundown on the players and layout. You know better than I do that the location may change, but the game remains the same. We'll be fine."
"I don't doubt it." He holds out his gloved hand, and I shake it. "Take care of her for me." His Caribbean blue eyes meet mine, as serious as a nuclear bomb as he squeezes my hand hard enough tendons crack. "Both of them."
Her image flashes into my mind, as always making me uncomfortable among other emotions I don't care to dwell upon. "I will guard them with my life," I say, meaning every word.
His vice-like grip eases before pulling away. "Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."
And he super-speeds away, off to be my city's new champion. This should make me resentful or bitter like Tesla must have felt when Edison came onto the scene but doesn't. Odd. Instead, I'm…excited. Dare I say it? Hopeful. I'd forgotten how lovely that feeling can be.
I turn around, taking one last look at my city. "Good-bye, Independence." I take off like a rocket into the sky, circling around the presidential monument's arches once before zooming away into the night.
Galilee Falls, here I come.
Jesus Christ, just what we need. More fucking supers.
I kick off my heels and toss my jacket on the huge four-poster bed, but don't take my eyes off the news footage they must have been recycling since it happened. The players may change, but the game remains the same. "Our top story tonight," Anchorman Murray Marshall says. "Has Galilee Falls hero population increased by three? Earlier this afternoon, the super-criminal Gigantor and his gang of Giants, in a reported attempt to show their civic pride, donned Galilee Angels jerseys and attacked the Jericho Warriors bus as it pulled into Pendergast Stadium. Sports reporter Frank Casabian was on the scene and recorded the attack. Parental guidance is suggested."
On the screen, the nine-foot, thousand pound behemoth tips over the bus with little effort as the frightened cameraman and Frank Casabian shriek bleeped obscenities. Gigantor and his crew don't care about them, they're too busy demolishing the bus with barbwire clubs, attempting to reach the players inside. As glass smashes and a dozen frightened men holler and cry, two security guards come racing up, guns raised but shaking. Gigantor barrels at them like a bull on steroids taking a few hits to his costume but it must be bullet resistant as he doesn't slow a whit. He reaches the now petrified guards, swatting them like flies into the wall. They're knocked out, or that's what I choose to believe. I've seen enough death for a lifetime. The trembling camera stays trained on the mêlée as the man holding it prays.
Thirty seconds in, all windows are nothing but shards and henchmen leap into the bus as Gigantor struts back. "Bring me Tobias!" he bellows. A few seconds later, a bleeding and shaken man is pushed out of the broken bus window, collapsing to the ground in a small heap. Gary Tobias, National MVP two years running, cowers on the pavement amid shards of glass, slicing his ten million dollar a year hands. Gigantor laughs at the sight. Yeah, Tobias won't be playing tonight.
"Please don't kill me," he cries, no longer the cocky jerk his interviews make him out to be.
"I won't kill all of you," Gigantor says as he reaches the man. Looming over the sobbing football player, he slowly presses his foot down on the quarterback's kneecap as Tobias howls in pain. That howl socks me right in the gut. I know it too well.
"What the hell is that?" one of the henchmen shouts. The camera swings to where he's pointing. Here comes the money shot.
In perfect formation, the Royal Triumvirate swoop down from the heavens, capes flapping in the breeze to kick ass. Their leader, King Tempest, in his navy blue and white costume jets into Gigantor, knocking him off his feet. The ground quakes when they land. The cameraman doesn't know where to shoot. He pans from King Tempest pounding the hell out of the dazed giant to Lord Nightingale and Lady Liberty dispatching henchmen with punches and elegant roundhouse kicks. A few of the braver Jericho Warriors join in, grabbing discarded clubs to bludgeon their attackers. Good for them.
The carnage ends less than a minute later. The bad guys lie bleeding on the ground, Gigantor included. Tempest hog-ties the unconscious giant as sirens and flashing lights pull up. I count fifteen squad cars, a SWAT van, and two ambulances. It wouldn't be enough.
A young patrolman is the first to approach King Tempest, who smiles at the boy. "I gave him an extremely powerful sedative," the hero says. He removes three vials from his belt. "One every five hours." He pats the officer's shoulder. "Guess the game's canceled tonight, huh? Too bad. I was really looking forward to it. It was going to be a hell of a battle." The awed officer nods. "Well then," Tempest says as he turns around, "team?"
The other two heroes nod, and all at once, the three take off into the air without another word. The footage ends there. Anchorman Murray Marshall once again sits behind his anchor desk, staring at the camera. "Sources report that Bridger Davis, A.K.A. Gigantor was transported to Xavier Maximum Security Prison shortly after for holding and has not yet regained consciousness. The other men involved in the attack have also been arrested and several players of the Jericho Warriors, including quarterback Gary Tobias, were taken to Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow Hospital with minor injuries. Tonight's game has been canceled and all tickets will be refunded. Commissioner--"
I shut off the television. Great. Those Tokyo businessmen we gave box seats to are going to be pissed. I'll bet Lane is shitting himself. I'm shocked I haven't received a frantic phone call. As if I would have a clue what to do if he did. From my perspective we don't need to purchase another telecommunications company. We have three. Or maybe it's four. Even after almost a year I don't know all of Pendergast Industries holdings. We're always in flux. Yesterday I was worth one billion, today they tell me it's three. And that's just my personal holdings. The company's worth four times that. It all gives me a headache. If Justin wasn't dead I'd kill him for doing this to me.
I mean, what the hell was he smoking when he wrote his will, leaving me controlling interest in Pendergast? I could barely balance my checkbook. He'd try to talk business, and my eyes would glaze over. He should have left it to one of those horrible cousins instead of willing them a hundred million each. At least then I wouldn't have three assholes contesting the will. Only people who have had money all their lives would be pissed they only got a hundred million bucks. Should have just given in, but I was just numb. One minute I had three grand to my name, and the next I was a billionaire with ten houses around the world, twelve cars, a jet, three boats, a baseball team, and was the figurehead of an international company employing twenty thousand people. At least I haven't fucked it up. Yet.
But no more work tonight. I've been in and out of meetings since six this morning. Lane, the CFO since Justin's dad, insists I don't need to be there at all. I told him to stuff it. If the business generations of Pendergasts poured their blood, sweat, and tears into it fails on my watch, I'll never forgive myself. The staff does the brunt of the work, so I just step in on the big deals or when a charity needs press coverage. The infamous Joanna Fallon is quite the draw. The upper crust and reporters from all divisions will pay good money and newsbytes to rub shoulders with the disgraced cop turned billionaire. If I'm feeling particularly nice, I'll even wear a sleeveless gown so they can all check out the burn scar on my upper arm from when a psychopath shot acid at me. At least the men look at my arm and not my boobs for once.