Author Topic: Three Million Empty Words - 02x06: Little Brother  (Read 12871 times)

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #100 on: July 08, 2012, 09:08:36 PM »
Very intense! I'm enjoying this story. Good job!

Thank you! ;D

Offline Vanillin

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #101 on: July 09, 2012, 05:03:02 AM »
Wow, this story is intense. :D I'm loving it so far, you're an excellent writer.



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Offline Gogowars329

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #102 on: July 09, 2012, 08:32:53 AM »
I decide to have a look at this little story and I'm regretting that I didn't read it earlier! This is such an in-depth and brilliant story. Great work!
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Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #103 on: July 09, 2012, 03:16:41 PM »
Wow, this story is intense. :D I'm loving it so far, you're an excellent writer.

Thank you so much! ;D

I decide to have a look at this little story and I'm regretting that I didn't read it earlier! This is such an in-depth and brilliant story. Great work!

Wow, thanks! ;D

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #104 on: July 09, 2012, 07:37:42 PM »
Oh my goodness! I hope winter escape. Foxtrot is so evil, but it look like Elijah isn't just bad.
I just can't wait to see what happen next! Fantastic update. ;D

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 18: Elijah's Choice
« Reply #105 on: July 11, 2012, 08:36:44 PM »
Oh my goodness! I hope winter escape. Foxtrot is so evil, but it look like Elijah isn't just bad.
I just can't wait to see what happen next! Fantastic update. ;D

Thank you! ;D

I have some problems doing the episode today. My internet connection is really bad, on and off, so I won't be able to post it, and I'll be travelling for the next few days. I'll post episode 19 on Sunday. Sorry for the wait! :(

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #106 on: July 15, 2012, 02:18:21 PM »
Episode 19: The Pattern

The door closed and Winter heard it lock. She listened hard, her heart beating frantically, until the footsteps receded down the corridor outside. The dizziness and nausea she'd felt before had ebbed, and Winter felt clear-headed again, although no less frightened. She frantically reached for the key in her left palm, her fingers clumsy with nerves.

The little key had stuck to her sweaty palm and Winter couldn't get a good hold on it with the handcuffs restricting her movements. Then the key flipped up out of her grasp and tinkled along the tile floor to land several feet away.

Winter groaned. She tried to stand up, but the handcuffs around her ankles that kept her tied to the chair made it impossible to do more than lift her backside a few inches off the seat. She couldn't move the heavy chair, either.

She looked around. She could see a phone on a table on the other side of the room. That wouldn't help her. She strained again for the key, bending over and reaching out her hands. She could almost touch it... there, she had it! She slid it along the floor with her fingernail until she could pick it up and quickly fumbled to unlock her handcuffs and the cuffs around her ankles.

As soon as she was free, Winter sprinted for the door. She knew they'd locked it, but she tried the knob anyway. To her surprise, it swung open. Elijah had managed to unlock it again, despite how improbable it seemed, or else it was a lousy lock. In any case, as soon as the heavy door widened enough for her to go through, Winter dashed through into the corridor.



Elijah and Foxtrot's apartment was on one of the top floors of a normal-seeming apartment building. Winter looked up and down the corridor. The digital display over the elevator showed that the elevator was going down, so Elijah and Foxtrot might be on it. She took the stairs instead, so fast she nearly stumbled several times, and people she passed stared at her as though she were riding a rhinoceros.

When she reached the ground floor she hid on the staircase for awhile; a corner hid her from view of the elevator, but when no one passed for at least a minute she decided Elijah and Foxtrot must already have left.

She ran outside, hailed a taxi, and gave the driver Liam's address. By the time they arrived at the building it had grown dark outside. She went up to the fourth floor and didn't bother knocking, bursting through the door and running in.

Liam and the policewoman sat bending over papers spread out across the coffee table. They looked up when Winter ran in.



"Winter!" said Liam, and jumped to his feet, squeezing past the armchair toward her. He took her face in his hands. "Are you okay?"



"Yeah," said Winter tiredly. And suddenly she felt angry at Liam. "Why did you threaten Adam? He came after me, as you should have known he would do. I mean, what else would he do? Adam doesn't give up just because you tell him to. He just gets angrier."

"Adam?" said Liam, confused. "I thought Foxtrot took you."

"Yeah. He came to my apartment and I had to fight him off. Then Elijah and Foxtrot showed up. And why weren't you looking for me?" She felt her anger growing. "I mean, I was just being held hostage... if it had been something more serious, maybe you would have bothered to..."

"We were trying to find you. Going over what we know about Foxtrot and Fleet to see if we could pinpoint their location," said the policewoman, indicating the papers and maps on the table. "We had no idea where you were, Winter."

"Oh," said Winter.

"Although I do agree with you about threatening Adam. That wasn't a good idea."

Liam's expression was so heartbroken that Winter couldn't stay angry at him. He could be dumb sometimes, but he'd been trying to protect her. "It's okay. He's irrational. You couldn't have known what he was going to do. It's not your fault, you were just trying to help."

Liam nodded, but she could tell he didn't believe her.

They sat down at the couch together. The policewoman started shifting through the papers. "Okay, Winter, I know you're probably upset, but we could really use your help."

"Of course. Yeah, I'll help." Winter didn’t feel upset anymore, just determined to catch Foxtrot. She realized the policewoman remembered her name but she didn't remember her. "Um... sorry, I think I've forgotten your name."

"Rowan," she said, smiling slightly. "So we need you to tell us what happened."



Winter recounted it all as best she could, although parts were fuzzy already. Rowan explained that this was caused by some sort of safeguard they set up around their hideouts.

"Elijah must have deactivated it so that you could escape and find your way to us."

"Why would he help me, though? It's like he wants us to stop them."

"He probably does. From what we've pieced together it looks like Fleet... Elijah is trying to control Foxtrot. It happens sometimes with regular criminals too. They get together for a simple job, but one of them starts becoming more greedy and ruthless, and the other can't get out. Foxtrot is too powerful for him to stop on his own."

"But she didn't force him to start stealing, did she?" asked Winter bitterly. "He was a criminal, too. He's just saving himself because it got to be too much for him." Her last illusions about Elijah being some sort of superhero in disguise, posing as a criminal to stop bad guys, fell apart when Rowan nodded.

"We used the name he gave you, Elijah, and were able to track him down." Rowan held up a picture of someone who was clearly a younger Elijah. "He disappeared from the face of the Earth a few years ago, probably around the time he hooked up with Foxtrot and started using an alias. He had plenty of charges as a minor, though, and a few in his early adulthood, though he never spent more than a few days in jail at a time--they did suspect him of involvement in some major heists, but they were never able to prove it."

"So he gave me his real name."

"Yeah, that doesn't fit. He probably didn't think you'd have any connection to Liam, so you wouldn't be able to use his name against him. Then again, maybe he wants to get caught, too. Maybe he's tired." She shrugged. "Any number of reasons why he would do that."

"Okay. What I don't get is why they would kidnap me. They wanted Liam to come after me. Why...?"

"A distraction. They're probably planning a big robbery tonight and wanted to keep Liam occupied. That's why it's so urgent that we figure this out now. Maybe we have a chance at stopping them." Rowan shuffled through the papers. "Okay, guys. We're looking for a connection between these robberies. What's the pattern? Is there one?"

Winter picked up a few papers where Rowan or someone else had typed out a summary of all the robberies they'd connected to the pair. It didn't look like a police report, so she didn't feel like she was breaking the law by reading it or anything.

"I'm going for a walk," said Liam, getting up.

"Liam, you need to help us out. This is important. Your father..." began Rowan.

"My father is in intensive care in a hospital miles away from here," snapped Liam. "The last thing he cares about is Foxtrot and Fleet. We're not going to catch them anyway, so I'm going for a walk." He left the apartment.



"What happened to his father?" asked Winter quietly.

"He got caught in a fire trying to prevent a robbery. A kid Liam helped before was involved."

"He's had a bad week." Winter considered going after him and apologizing for shouting at him. Liam's world was falling apart and she'd gotten angry because of what Adam had done in response to Liam's threat. That was Adam's fault, not Liam's.



"He also got fired." Rowan indicated the bills spread out on the desk. "It's like a cosmic joke." She sighed. "This isn't the best moment for the only material superhero we have on our side to have a breakdown."

They pored over the papers for a while. The list of things stolen went on and on. Then Winter came across a little crumpled piece of notebook paper on which someone had scribbled Retrial ordered for Josh White. New evidence surfaced. Judge in original trial Nelly Pavell.

Winter felt something tickle at the back of her mind. "Um... Nelly Pavell was the woman Foxtrot and Elijah kidnapped?"

"Yeah."

"So they asked her to tell them where something was? What if that was this evidence they found?"

"Probably," said Rowan, looking up. "Why?"

"Because a lot of the things Foxtrot and... Fleet... stole were antiques. A lot of local family heirlooms and the like, right? The White family used to be very important. My grandparents used to be friends with them. This Josh White guy lost access to his inheritance because of this conviction, right? So what do they do with all the family heirlooms then?"



"I guess they'd auction them off if there were no other heirs." Rowan's brow furrowed in thought. "You know, Winter, you may be onto something."

They went through the list of things stolen again, and Rowan called into the office to find out which ones had been White family heirlooms. Winter felt her excitement mount as more and more connections popped up. There had been at least one thing belonging to the Whites in every robbery associated with Elijah and Foxtrot.

"So they stole all this extra stuff just to hide their intention? "

"Or to get some extra profit on the side. Yes, hello. I need you to locate all the remaining White family heirlooms," said Rowan into the phone. "Look in private collections, museums, stores, anywhere."

A few minutes later they had the list. It wasn't long.

"They're almost done," said Rowan. "They should be. They've been active for a long time now." She gave a satisfied smile and set down her pen. "I need to get to the station now."

"Wait, what about Liam? If you're going to go after these last heirlooms waiting for Foxtrot and Fleet to show up, you'll need him with you."



"We can't wait, Winter. We may already be too late. Thanks for your help." Rowan glanced over to the counter-top, where Evianna, Liam's black cat had curled up. "You know, I saw a road kill that looked just like her the other day. I was going to tell Liam, but I forgot with all this. She even had a little plate in her collar that looked like hers, although it was flattened and I couldn't read the name." She picked up a few things from the desk and left the apartment.

Winter rubbed her eyes and glanced at her watch. It was about an hour since she'd left Foxtrot and Elijah's hideout. The police might be able to get to wherever they were going to hit next before they did, but it seemed like a slim chance to her. Still, maybe they could anticipate the next robbery. She looked at the list of remaining heirlooms to steal. They wouldn't have many more chances, though. What would happen if they didn't catch them before they moved on to another client, another city?


***

Liam left his apartment earlier that evening, regretting snapping at Rowan. He knew his father would care if they caught Foxtrot and Fleet. It was him, Liam, who didn't care. Not at the moment. Helping Winter had only hurt her more, and things were just so... so wrong. Being a superhero wasn't supposed to go like this.

He didn't pay much attention to where he was going, but he still knew that the person he nearly ran into hadn't been there a moment before. He stepped back, apologizing, and saw Shayala's lined, serene face.



"What are you doing here? Weren't you going to go with my father to protect him?"

"Yes. I'll be with him soon. I wanted to speak to you first."

"Okay." Liam crossed his arms, feeling defensive for some reason. "What about?"

"I was with Vicky when she died."

Liam closed his eyes. He didn't want to talk about this now, but who knew when he'd have another chance? What if Shayala disappeared forever and took the secret with her? His father had said that one day she wouldn't be able to come back. "Why?" he asked, opening his eyes. "Was it... my fault?"

"No. Her illness had nothing to do with you or your father. Your father and I thought it might be the work of one of our enemies from back then, and I investigated. It wasn't. It was just part of life. A natural death. But I stayed with her just the same, to comfort her. I can walk in places where others can't, as your father must have told you, and I was able to go with her part of the way. She didn't want to go alone."

Liam turned away to hide his tears, but they didn't come. "She was eight years old. She... the world is stupid."

"Yes," agreed Shayala solemnly. "The world is very stupid."

When he steadied himself and turned to face her again, she'd disappeared. Did anything make sense anymore? What reward did Shayala get for doing good and helping people? She slowly vanished into a dimension empty of everything she loved. What did he get when he tried to help? He only made things worse. Vicky had never done anything to deserve what had happened to her. She'd been a sweet, brave girl in love with life and the world and...

There is no justice, Liam decided.

He walked out of the apartment, not paying much attention to where he went. He didn't know if he was going anywhere in particular. As he crossed the street he started to notice a hole in his sock, the fabric digging into his toe uncomfortably. He realized he wouldn't be able to buy new socks. He wouldn't even be able to keep his apartment for long. If he got another job, he'd just lose it again. He couldn't ask his parents for money. His mother had worked all her life to make money for both of them, and now it was all going into taking care of Annabelle and maintaining the house.

What was he going to do with himself? At the moment, Liam only wanted to run away and hide. He walked past the diner, wondering vaguely when he'd eaten last.



He heard running footsteps behind him and turned to see two men rounding the corner, panting, stuffing something into their pockets as they ran. They tried to get past Liam, but he planted himself firmly in the middle of the sidewalk.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing," said one of them, looking down.

"Why don't you get out of the way?" asked the other.



"I don't know." Liam shrugged. "Why don't I? I know you two just stole money from the diner. I could just let you go and mind my own business. I should, shouldn't I?"

The guy who'd told him to get out of the way stepped up and looked down his nose at him. "You don't want to be starting something, do you?"

"Let's just go." The other guy tried to get past Liam. He reached out and touched the lamppost, which bent over, hitting both men in the chest and knocking them back. They looked up at him in astonishment. Liam stood over them, holding out his hand.

"How about you give me back the money and then I let you go?"

They quickly proffered a few rolls of money and ran away before he could change his mind about letting them go. Liam counted the money. There was a little over eight thousand dollars there. That would keep him afloat for a few months. Of course, that would make him a robber.

He put the money in his pocket and took a shortcut between the diner and the store beside it. The blue children were waiting for him.



"What are you doing, Liam?" asked the blue girl. "The Liam I knew never would have stolen."

"You're not Vicky. You're something I made up." He walked past them.

"That doesn't make me wrong," called the blue girl after him. "You still took someone else's money. You're still becoming the people you've been fighting. Of course there isn't justice in the world if you act like that!"

Liam ignored her and kept walking.


Thank you for reading, and for waiting. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll try to post number 20 on Wednesday.



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Offline alex51299

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #107 on: July 15, 2012, 02:30:11 PM »
I'm so glad Winter got away!  :D By the way, I can't see the 5th picture.
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Offline Ilessthan3TheSims

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #108 on: July 15, 2012, 02:42:49 PM »
I'm so glad Winter got away!  :D By the way, I can't see the 5th picture.
Same here :)
Oh dear, poor Liam is feeling so hopeless  :-\

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #109 on: July 15, 2012, 06:34:04 PM »
I'm so glad Winter got away!  :D By the way, I can't see the 5th picture.
Same here :)
Oh dear, poor Liam is feeling so hopeless  :-\

I'm not sure what that was. There wasn't a picture there. Sorry!

Offline Gogowars329

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #110 on: July 15, 2012, 11:21:44 PM »
That was an awesome chapter! I feel sorry for Shayala having to travel through dimensions. Those blue kids still creep me out.
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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #111 on: July 16, 2012, 11:34:01 AM »
Another awesome update! I'm so gad Winter go away.
I feel so sorry for Liam, I hope he return the money.

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 19: The Pattern
« Reply #112 on: July 18, 2012, 11:32:23 AM »
That was an awesome chapter! I feel sorry for Shayala having to travel through dimensions. Those blue kids still creep me out.

Thank you! I'm glad the blue kids creep you out. That's what I was going for. ;D

Another awesome update! I'm so gad Winter go away.
I feel so sorry for Liam, I hope he return the money.

Thanks! Liam is in a pretty bad place right now. :(

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 20: Fetch
« Reply #113 on: July 18, 2012, 02:09:24 PM »
Episode 20: Fetch

Rowan stepped into the darkened museum as quietly as possible. John, her partner, who'd been out of commission for several weeks and still blew his nose every now and then, making her jump, followed close behind.

Another team was on the radio now. "They're not here," confirmed one of the other policemen. Rowan nodded and moved silently through the grey corridors, touching the wall every now and then to make sure she didn't pass by any openings. Somehow she'd known she would find them here as soon as she'd seen the place. Maybe spending so much time around Paul and Liam had made her more sensitive to supernatural presences.

They opened a big wooden double door that took them to one of the main exhibits. The other policemen branched off, headed to other wings of the museum. Rowan stood close to the door, waiting for her sight to adjust to the twilight.



"If you see them, call me, okay?" said Rowan to John. "These aren't normal criminals."

John shrugged, a sallow look on his face. "They're all the same. I can handle myself." He was still upset about her running around behind his back while he was out sick. He'd been in and out of the hospital with various respiratory infections; what was she supposed to do? She glared at him. She was still worried he'd report on her for involving civilians in her investigations.

"It's serious, John. You can't handle these guys by yourself."

John shook his head and moved off through the long rows of paintings, reduced to rectangles of vaguely traced shapes in various shades of grey by the darkness. Rowan licked her lips nervously and went right, through an archway that led to a connecting exhibit.



It was all quiet. She couldn't hear her own footsteps. Fortunately the tile made it easier to move soundlessly than wood. She kept hearing rustles in the corners, and shone her flashlight at the shadows, turning them into sculptures and statues. Her heart beat hard enough that she could feel it, but not so hard that it made her head spin. She could handle this, she told herself. There were half a dozen policemen who would come running to back her up if she called.

She hesitated near the second archway that led back into the room where John was searching. Something stirred off to her right, near a sculpture of something that looked like an old-fashioned water pump and a structure of piled rocks around it.



"John, you'd better come," she whispered into her radio. "And call everyone else. I think I've found something."

She advanced slowly and cautiously, even restraining her breathing to make sure the dark figure near the sculpture of the water pump didn't hear her. I've got you, she thought. If she sneaked up on Foxtrot or Fleet, she could disable them with a taser. If they didn't have time to react, Paul had told her they would probably succumb just like a normal person.

She was almost there. Streetlight filtered in faintly between the heavy blinds on the window and she could make out the silhouette of a woman dressed in black. Foxtrot, then. She'd rather sneak up on her and then deal with Fleet. She stepped up behind Foxtrot, ready to jab her taser out into her back.



But she blinked, and in the space of that blink Foxtrot whipped around, knocking the taser out of her hand easily. The device clattered across the floor and vanished into a darkened corner.

"You must be Rowan," said Foxtrot, smiling. "I was wondering when we'd meet."



Rowan didn't waste breath on a comeback and pulled out her gun. It fired, but nothing happened. Foxtrot held up the bullet between her forefinger and thumb, examining it curiously.

"Rude," said Foxtrot.

Rowan backed away and fired again. This time she was ready for it, and saw Foxtrot's arm move at impossible speed, deflecting the bullet off to the side.

"You know what I like about superheros?" asked Foxtrot, stepping languidly toward Rowan even as Rowan continued to retreat, stalling until the backup arrived. Not that they would be able to do much, she reflected. They'd all underestimated Foxtrot's power. "If you just wait long enough, they'll always get taken out for you. You don't have to worry about defeating them, because there are so many bad guys wandering about that they just have to fight, so sooner or later they'll meet their match without you having to do anything. Apparently, Paul's match was a high school kid. Imagine that. I thought he had more to him."

Rowan fired again, hoping to catch Foxtrot by surprise. It seemed someone had dropped her into one of those movies where all the fight scenes are in slow motion, because the bullet slowed more and more after leaving her gun, and she could actually follow its progress with her eyes. It ground to a halt just before Foxtrot and then dropped out of the air, tinkling on the tile.

The gun wriggled in her hands, and before she could get a better grip on it, some unseen force yanked it out of her grasp and hurled it away from her. Rowan backed up against something that was either a strange modern sculpture or just a pile of crates.



"What now?" asked Foxtrot. "What will the brave policewoman do?"

"Chat, apparently," said Rowan. "Or were you planning to attack me sometime?"

Foxtrot laughed. "I like you, Rowan. I've been studying up on you. You have an interesting story. All that business with your brother... did they ever catch him, or is he still at large? Did you join the police force because you wanted to catch him yourself? Or..." She stepped closer. "Because you wanted to prove that you weren't like him?"

Why was she hanging around, talking, when she could take her out in a second? Rowan realized with dismay that it must mean Foxtrot didn't think she posed any threat, and it would be a waste of her time and energy to deal with her. This woman had such enormous power, seemingly limitless... she could do whatever she wanted. She could talk all day if she felt like it.

"Why did you become a criminal, Foxtrot? Family troubles or something? The usual story?"

Foxtrot shrugged. "No. Nothing that dramatic. My story is much less interesting than yours. I just realized what I could do and decided to put it to good use. I mean, I could have been a superhero, but then again... there really isn't a worse job in the world, if you ask me." Then she actually stretched. "Nighttime is so exciting, isn't it? So many possibilities."

Rowan heard someone pounding on a door and turned quickly. The big double wooden doors shook with the force of blows obviously meant to bring them down, but not only did they resist much more than they should have been able to, but John seemed to have disappeared as well. He'd probably gone to search a different room and come back when she called him on the radio, only now Foxtrot had blocked off the door.

"What do you want with me?"

"Oh, Rowan, how disappointing. Can't you tell? I'm gloating. You're trapped, you can't do anything to me, nothing can stop me... where's the fun in life if you don't stop to enjoy the important moments? I mean, I'm going to kill you. What better way to send a message to Paul and Liam? But I don't want to be all crass about it."

"Hey, Michaela," came a voice from next to the pump sculpture, but on the other side from the one Rowan had found Foxtrot. "Enjoy this."

It was Elijah. Rowan couldn't make out his black-clad body in the darkness, but she could easily see his orange hair. He held something in his hand that glistened in the streetlight. It looked like an old-fashioned gold lamp.



"What are you doing?" said Foxtrot, and for the first time Rowan saw fear on her face. "Put that down!"

"Fetch," said Fleet, and hurled the lamp overhand. It crashed through the blinds and the glass of the window. Rowan remembered they were on the third floor. It would fall a long way to the pavement below.

Foxtrot shot out after the lamp before Fleet had finished throwing it, leaped over the rocks of the sculpture, and threw herself at the blinds like a diver jumping off a cliff into the ocean.



A moment later, the door burst open. Apparently Foxtrot's hold on it had disappeared when she jumped through the window. Fleet stalked over to Rowan.

"I need your help," he said.

"My help?" she asked incredulously, still unable to believe Foxtrot was gone.

"I can't stop her on my own. I need you, the police, Liam, and Paul. You think this is a trap?" He leaned toward her, his gaze intense and to all appearances, sincere. "You've seen what Foxtrot can do. She doesn't need to set a trap. She could kill us all if she wanted to, and now that I've gotten in her way one time too many she's going to come after me. I can lead her to you. You and some other policemen, Paul and Liam can be waiting there, and we can bring her down together."

"Paul's in the hospital," said Rowan. "He's not going to be participating."



"Just Liam, then. She won't expect it. We can take her completely by surprise. I can create a distraction, you and the police can contain her, and Liam can use his power to lock her in place. Tell him he can harden the air around her enough to keep her from moving."

The others were running up, guns cocking, shouting: "Put your hands in the air! You're under arrest!"

Fleet put his hands at ear height. "Will you do this for me, Rowan Hudyk?"

"You shouldn't flirt so much," said Rowan.

Fleet grinned. She'd known a lot of guys like him. His blue eyes flirted even without the help of his words. Just something about the way he looked at her made it seem like he was trying to pick her up, as much as the circumstances made that crazy. "I get that a lot."

The police surrounded them, pointing their guns at Fleet. Rowan thought furiously, trying to decide.

"Yes," she said finally. John stepped in to cuff Fleet.

"Keep your phone with you. I plan to follow through with that date." He winked and disappeared. Everyone around backed up a step involuntarily, looking around. John fixed his eyes on Rowan, eyebrows lowered. She would have a lot of explaining to do.


***

Liam wearily opened the door to his apartment and walked in. Winter was still there, but Rowan had left.

"Liam," said Winter, getting up.



"What?" He rubbed his eyes and glanced at his bed. He really just wanted to sleep. Winter marched over to him and planted herself in front of him.

"We found out what Foxtrot and Fleet Fingers are doing. Rowan went off after them on her own. Where were you? They could all be in danger right now. You need to go and help them!"



"What do you mean you found out what they're doing?"

"They're stealing back heirlooms for a man named Josh White. Rowan tracked down the remaining ones and they're going to find them right now. You have to go!"

Liam shook his head and went toward his desk. Winter stepped in front of him. "Look, Winter, it's late. Go home. We'll talk later, okay?"

"You're not going to help them?"

"No, I'm not. They're not going to stop Foxtrot anyway. I'll just get tossed through another window and I'm really not in the mood tonight."

"Liam...!"

He indicated the door. Winter glared at him for a moment before leaving. He went to his desk and opened the drawer, taking out the roll of money he'd taken from the thieves. The money looked at him sullenly, as though saying, "What are you doing with me? I'm not yours."



"Shut up," he told the money.

He sat at the desk chair, trying to imagine what his father would say to him if he knew what he'd done. Boy, he'd throw a fit. But what could he do? This stupid superhero gig didn't allow for any other forms of employment. He'd saved people, fought bad guys... what was a little cash taken on the side? There wasn't justice anyway, so couldn't he just say it balanced out and call it a day?

The door opened a little while later and Rowan walked in, looking excited and nervous. Liam sighed.



"We could have used you earlier," she said, marching over to him. Without waiting for him to answer, she continued. "I have great news. Fleet and I struck a bargain. Tomorrow night, Foxtrot is going down."

Liam gazed at her vacantly. The grin left her face.

"You're in, aren't you? What am I saying? You're in. I don't care what kind of emotional problems you're going through. You're going to help. This might be our only chance to catch Foxtrot. She's out of control, Liam. We need to stop her. No one with that much power should be running around unchecked, especially a lunatic like her. Don't just stare at me. Stand up."

Liam stood up and faced her.



Rowan grabbed his shoulders. "I'm going to make this simple. You're a vigilante. I can interpret that in one of two ways. Either I let you do your thing because you can deal with things no normal cop can, or I send you to jail. Which one do you want me to do?"

"You don't have to threaten me." Liam rubbed his eyes. He was so tired. "I'll help you."

"Good." Rowan let go of him. "Tomorrow night," she said, again. "I'll call and tell you where. Be ready." She turned and left Liam alone in his silent, empty apartment, alone except for Evianna, who stared at him with wide turquoise eyes.


Thank you for reading! I don't know when I'll be able to post the next episode, but hopefully I can do it on Sunday. I love writing this story for you all. ;D

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 20: Fetch
« Reply #114 on: July 18, 2012, 08:19:32 PM »
I hope they catch Foxtrot, she is so evil! Perhaps Paul will be well enough to help.
It looks like Fleet isn't just bad. Liam must snap out of it and return the money!

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 20: Fetch
« Reply #115 on: July 22, 2012, 07:03:41 PM »
I hope they catch Foxtrot, she is so evil! Perhaps Paul will be well enough to help.
It looks like Fleet isn't just bad. Liam must snap out of it and return the money!

Fleet has many hidden facets. ;) Liam is going through a big crisis, and unfortunately he's not thinking straight. :(

Thank you everyone for 3000 views!! Wow! ;D

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #116 on: July 22, 2012, 09:48:00 PM »
Episode 21: The Deal

It was silent in Prince Gardens, a little park they'd picked for its distance from any buildings or places where people might gather. The moonlight fell softly across the flower bushes, trees, and hedges, mixed with light from the street lamps and the little lanterns on the edges of the paths that cut through the park, each leaf casting multiple shadows thanks to the various sources of light, creating clumps of uneven darkness throughout the gardens.

The blue children stood behind a large rosebush, watching the intersection of two paths intently, quiet and expectant.



Behind the line of hedges, Rowan and John stood concealed by shadows, watching the same intersection of the path, although they didn't know they were staring at the same point as two blue children that shouldn't exist. Whether or not they could have seen the apparitions wasn't put to the test, because if any part of them showed, it looked like blue flowers between the branches of the bush.

"If this doesn't work out, you're going to be in trouble," John told Rowan.

"So are you. You agreed to play along," said Rowan.

"Yeah. And I’ve lost track of how many times I've put my career on the line for your crazy schemes." John sighed and looked away. "I really hope this works."



Liam crouched behind a bush with flowers that he couldn't help noticing were of a very similar color to the blue children. He tried not to let the small noises of insects and birds distract him, nor the cars that passed in the distance. Fortunately not many people came near here at this time of night. If Foxtrot got away, at least she wouldn't hurt anyone else.

He fidgeted nervously, not at all calmed by the notion that they were here on Fleet Fingers' information. It didn't make him any less calm remembering the light in both Winter's and Rowan's eyes when they'd spoken about Fleet Fingers. Fleet was obviously a player, but who was he playing here? Them or Foxtrot? Liam didn't trust him. Of course, he didn't really trust anyone at the moment. He kept thinking about the roll of stolen bills he'd left untouched in his desk drawer, and wondering what portion of a second it would take Rowan to clap him in irons if she found out. He had plenty of reasons to sweat.

The truth was he didn't really know what to do with the money. He'd thought he would pay off his bills with it, but whenever he ventured near the desk his palms got sweaty. He couldn't open the drawer, even to look in. He felt like the bills were accusing him.

Suddenly Liam heard a noise from the path, and realized he was supposed to have been keeping watch. He peered over the bush at the intersection of the paths.



There came Foxtrot, dressed all in black, illuminated eerily by the lamps on the edges of the path. She walked confidently and gracefully, clearly not afraid of anything.

Fleet stepped out from wherever he'd been hiding into her way. Liam could just catch their voices, carried to him by a breeze loaded with the scent of flowers.

"So you came," said Foxtrot. "I wasn't expecting you to show up."



"I'm tired of putting up with your insanity," said Fleet. "You can keep the winnings, Foxtrot. I'm stepping out. I never should have accepted the deal."

Liam leaned forward intently and a dry twig crackled under his foot. He winced, but neither Foxtrot nor Fleet Fingers seemed to have heard it.

"You see, Fleet, the thing is you've just annoyed me one time too many now, and... I'm sorry, I'm really fond of you, but you're a liability. You know too much now. So..."



Foxtrot stepped forward, but Fleet moved, and suddenly he wasn't in any one place, but in several places at once, blurred together, like superimposed images. Foxtrot froze in place for a moment, not knowing what to do.



Liam leaped forward, charging through the flower bushes which he'd so carefully avoided on his way to the hiding spot. The wind rushed in his face and for the first time in weeks he felt right. He was going to catch a bad guy. Things were simple at that moment. Foxtrot, the enemy. He, the hero.

Rowan and her partner appeared down the path, cutting off Foxtrot's escape, and Liam came from the side. Foxtrot was surrounded. Liam wasted no time, though, and feeling his fingers brush the air searched for that connection to his ability, willing the air to harden around Foxtrot as he ran.



Foxtrot stopped in the act of turning to face Liam, her face taking on an expression of surprise that didn't leave. Several seconds passed and no one moved. Liam panted, feeling the sweat run down his back... had it worked?

"Good job, Liam," said Fleet Fingers.

He couldn't believe it. Foxtrot stood as immobile as a statue, facing him. She'd obviously seen him as the biggest threat, but Fleet had disoriented her. It had happened so fast, it hardly seemed real.

"How do we move her?" asked Rowan.

"Pick her up and carry her," said Fleet. "She'd love it." He turned to John and held out his hands with a teasing expression. "Handcuff me now if you like."

John shrugged. "Turn yourself in and you'll get a good deal. You helped us capture her."

Liam glanced at the blue children. They blinked at him, impassive. Thinking they probably reflected his own emotions, he analyzed himself. Yep, he could consider himself well into a state of utter shock and numbness. His knees started shaking on the way to the police cruiser. Fleet helped John and Rowan carry Foxtrot, and between the three of them they managed pretty well, but Rowan kept shooting looks at Liam that told him she expected him to pitch in.

They drove to the police station. Fleet spoke to Rowan through the wire mesh dividing the back seat from the front, discussing how to keep Foxtrot in check. Liam sat in numb disbelief, waiting for something to happen.

And then it happened. He'd molded the air to force Foxtrot into a sort of sitting position, but she leaned back against the seat in a very awkward position that someone not surrounded by hardened air wouldn't be able to hold. Normal air still drifted in and out of her lungs, he noticed, but it seemed to him he was forcing her to expand and contract her chest automatically, without thinking about it, the way he breathed himself. She was making no move on her own.

Except she was. And quite suddenly, without anyone else in the car realizing it, Foxtrot's finger twitched.

Then a terrible force struck his mind, hammering at it, testing his resistance to the utmost. He fought back and after a moment it fell away, but he could feel it working more steadily and subtly in other ways, slowly and assuredly wriggling free.

A headache exploded behind his temples. He pressed his fingers to the sides of his head. No one else noticed.

"Could you stay with her for a while, to make sure she stays that way, until we figure out what to do with her?" asked Rowan.

Liam nodded without knowing what he was agreeing to. All his focus was bent on keeping his mind strong and steady. He didn't know how long he had before Foxtrot broke free, and he thought furiously, trying to find a way out of this. He should have known. It had been too easy.

They carried Foxtrot into the station, earning the curious and mystified looks of the other policemen, and put her in an interrogation cell. Heavy bolts held the door in place, but they wouldn't keep Foxtrot in for long. Liam went inside with her, making her sit in one of the chairs. It was easier if he didn't have to hold her up.



He paced around the room, trying not to stare at the camera with its blinking red light, thinking of a way to disable it. Several times he caught sight of Foxtrot's eyes following him. He didn't have long.

Finally he leaned against the wall beneath the camera and made the cement deform itself, contracting around the cables that connected to the camera. The red light went out.

"I know you're going to break free. You've been doing this for years, and you're much more powerful than me."

He thought he saw Foxtrot's mouth curve up in a slight smile. He wiped his forehead, removing the sweat.

"I'll make you a deal."

The pressure on his mind lessened somewhat. She was listening.

"I know it didn't work so well the last time we tried to work together. But a lot of things have changed. I've seen so many things since then, and the world has been steadily falling apart around me for the past few weeks. You were right when you said that the world is full of people who give and people who take. And that the people who take are always the ones who come out on top. And I'm so tired of coming out on the bottom, Foxtrot." He did feel tired. In fact, he felt each one of his words as true. If he hadn't at least partly believed what he was saying, Foxtrot never would have bought the lie.

He walked over to stand behind her chair. "So Fleet is a problem. The police are a problem. My father and I are a problem. I can take care of all of those. You only have a few artifacts left to steal, right? You can finish your job and get out of my town, and we'll never bother each other again. I just want this to end, don't you see?"



"So," he said, and sat next to her. "Agree, and I'll set you free so we can put my plan in motion as soon as possible." He let the air soften around her face a little, enough for her to move with some effort on her part. She winked. "You'll leave after this job is over?" Another wink. "Okay." With enormous relief, Liam let go of the air around her. "Here's the plan."


***

Fleet Fingers escaped as soon as Foxtrot did, as Liam had thought he would. Fleet no longer had a bargaining chip to get leniency on his sentence. Liam spoke briefly with Rowan. He barely remembered what he said. Something along the lines of "Sorry. I couldn't hold her. She fought like crazy and broke loose."

He went home and called his mother. She was with his father, who'd woken up and was demanding to know what Liam had been doing. His mother gave the phone to his father, who sounded weak and exhausted but no less firm. Liam gave a weary explanation and then said, "Could you tell Shayala to come over here? I need to speak with her."

A moment later he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned and saw no one, but knew she was there. "Shayala, I need to ask you something."

After speaking with Shayala, Liam went over to Winter's apartment. He dreaded this, but part of him was so deadened and weary that he didn't care. He just wanted to get it over with.

"I'm pretty sure I locked the door," said Winter, glancing up and then back down at the sink, where she was washing dishes from dinner.



"You're mad at me," said Liam.

"Yes."

"I know I haven't been treating you well lately. Well, I've pretty much been messing up right and left lately. I'm going to set it right, though."

"How?"

He went around the counter toward her. She dried off her hands and faced him, as though daring him to come up with an appropriate solution. Sadly, he had come up with a solution. He didn't like it, and it would probably all go wrong. Foxtrot would discover his lie, or he would just do the usual thing and mess everything up, or... Well, in any case, there was only one thing that was sure about his plan. He could never go back on it.

"You're never going to forgive me," he said sadly. And then he felt his contact with the air around him, briefly willing it out of Winter's lungs, and she fainted in his arms.



Liam carried her up a flight of stairs to the terrace of her apartment building, stepped close to the edge, holding on tightly to Winter and the railing, and shouted: "Fleet Fingers! Elijah! You have five minutes to show up, or she falls off the balcony!"


Liam! :-\

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this episode. Number 25 will be the last one, but there will be a surprise afterwards. :)

Offline Gogowars329

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #117 on: July 23, 2012, 02:12:31 AM »
He's turned evil! I can't believe what Liam is doing!
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Offline SecretBoy

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #118 on: July 23, 2012, 10:10:09 AM »
Liam has turned Evil!
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Offline Ilessthan3TheSims

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #119 on: July 23, 2012, 11:55:34 AM »
Omg I can't believe this story is ending  :'( and please let Liam do the right thing in the end  :(

Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #120 on: July 23, 2012, 05:42:20 PM »
He's turned evil! I can't believe what Liam is doing!
Liam has turned Evil!
Omg I can't believe this story is ending  :'( and please let Liam do the right thing in the end  :(

I knew this was a dark place to take the story, but it's really always been in Liam's nature, and everything he's been through since his father showed up to tell him he was supposed to become a superhero has brought him here. On this occasion he's actually thought about what he's doing. Whether or not he's made the right decision or not remains to be seen. It certainly doesn't look good. :(

I'm thinking about continuing this story past these twenty-five episodes, in one way or another. But the main storyline will get tied up in episode 25.

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #121 on: July 23, 2012, 06:51:35 PM »
What in the world is going on with Liam? I can't wait to find out!
I'm very curious about the surprise. ;)

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #122 on: July 23, 2012, 08:53:35 PM »
In hindsight, I'm not surprised that Liam is a baddie now. ;) Now I'm wondering what he'll do next.
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Offline alex51299

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #123 on: July 24, 2012, 02:02:50 AM »
Oooh interesting plot twist! I can't wait to see what happens next.
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Offline ApplesApplesApples

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Re: Three Million Empty Words - Ep 21: The Deal
« Reply #124 on: July 25, 2012, 06:29:29 PM »
I'm glad I surprised everyone! ;) I'll post the next episode in a few minutes.