The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist II

The 30th Precinct

Rey walked into the precinct and was astounded with the level of activity taking place there. There was a lot of paperwork being worked on and the officers were moving up and down. There was so much happening in the precinct. It was like an ant farm, the way people were just moving up and about. He felt like a child lost in an amusement park, as he had no idea where to go or where to start talking to people. There was one thing that was on his mind, though, and it was something that would not leave until he acted upon it. He could not avoid the very obvious question he was about to ask. He just had to.

“Mahoney, what’s with all the commotion?” Rey asked a fellow officer, stopping him in his tracks. He almost had to hold Mahoney’s arm to stop him from walking, as he was very focused on what he was trying to get done. Mahoney stopped after seeing who had just talked to him. He had just slightly walked past Rey, but stopped to hear him out. Mahoney was a mixed race man who was in full uniform, including a hat. He had no facial hair whatsoever, but had a full head of hair. He had a moderate body build for someone his age. He seemed to be a very upbeat young man who was very loyal to the cause.

“A bank in our jurisdiction just got hit,” Mahoney said. His accent was one of a New-Yorker. He even had the swagger of a New-Yorker, based on the way he walked and his body language as he spoke. His accent was very deep.

“Civil Savings?” Rey asked.

“Yeah. Just a few minutes ago,” Mahoney said. Rey had no further questions to ask. He then nodded, showing that he acknowledged the information that was given to him. Mahoney went about his own business thereafter, and did so in a hurry.

Rey looked around for his partner. He decided to go to his desk and sat on it. It was next to Duncan’s desk. Duncan was not there. His chair was unmoved and there was nothing on his desk. He could see that there was something serious going on. There had not been a day in which he made it to work before Duncan.

“Damn. Don’t tell me you got caught up in the action this time without me,” Rey said in a low tone. It was a very different atmosphere he was seeing. He was not used to seeing everyone up and about. Somebody who would walk into the station ignorant of recent happenings would think that the police were getting ready for war. There was so much activity there that it was getting Rey’s blood pumping faster. He was beginning to get into the same spirit of work as everyone else who was there. It was just a good day to be a policeman for him.

‘Riker. Captain wants to speak with you,” Lane said to him. Those words took him out of the focal zone he was dashing into as he observed what was happening around the place. He looked at her. She stood before his table and spoke with the confidence of a strong woman who could hold her own against anything that was thrown at her. It was a usual thing for Rey to see, and yet, it astonished him every time he did. She stood so majestically that it made him feel like humbling himself before her. He could practically see the wind blow her hair and a light shine upon her, the way it would be for a great warrior in any ancient culture, or just a great hero.

He heard the message from her and stood up. There was nothing he could say to her. It was not like he wanted to say something. He just felt like he had to, but saw that it was better to just go see what the Captain wanted with him before doing anything else. It was better that way anyway. He walked into the corridor which would lead to the office he was never used to being called to. He made his way to the Captain’s office slowly. He was cautious as to whether the Captain was going to berate him or give him an assignment. It was never an easy guess for him. He just could not figure these things out beforehand, so that he could not be surprised, which is something he really did not like. A lot of scenarios rushed through his mind at the moment. He knew that he had done nothing wrong lately, but still had the feeling that he was going to be yelled at for something, or lectured, or simply warned. That was a feeling he would get every time, but would barely ever get it right in the end. It was a mistake he was happy to repeat time and time again, because when he got it right, the feeling of worthlessness and disapproval would hurt much less after getting all the negative words from the Captain. He got to the door and knocked on it before entering the office.

“Riker,” Russo said as Rey closed the door behind him. He was already waiting for him. The message that was delivered to him must have been a recent one. Russo had his hands on the desk before him. He had his fingers from both hands interlocking each other as he watched Rey open the door.

“Captain,” Rey said. He said it so humbly with hidden nervousness. He entered the office and slowly, respectfully closed the door behind him. He began the long walk to the chair that was meant for him, facing the Captain.

“I’ve been preoccupied as of late, with issues surrounding your exploits in Base District,” Russo said. The tone was not a friendly one, and that was something Rey took to note. He listened very carefully to what was being said to him, so that he could get what the Captain was getting to before being told. So far, it was nothing good.

“I don’t understand. I thought we succeeded in finding Rhett before he took off from the hospital,” Rey said. He was confused about the words he just heard. Hearing them as what they were, he did not bother waiting for the conclusion to be drawn. He just had to say it to defend himself.

“That’s not what I’m talking about, Riker. Your exploits there involving a fist fight with gangsters who are reputable in Base District. You were meant to be undercover there,” Russo said. He said it defensively and offensively at the same time. It was meant to utterly counter and destroy what Rey was planning to get at.

Rey did not want to just sit and listen to all of this. He wanted to defend himself, as he did not see it as something fair to him or his partner. They worked hard and even risked their lives while trying to get the job done. “Captain, you already briefed us on the matter. With all due respect, we had no choice. They were going to kill Rhett if we didn’t interfere,” he explained.

“I’m well aware of everything that happened. I just had a problem with one thing: you let them find out you were officers of the law. They even managed to find out where you work,” Russo countered.

That left Rey even more confused about the whole matter. He did not get what was happening. He was more than certain that they were not followed anywhere at any point. Not many people would be able to follow him anyway. “They followed us here?” he asked.

Russo halted for a second or two before answering the question, but it was barely noticeable. Even Rey missed the halt and listened to the words of the Captain. “Riker, you need to realize that our field of work is very dangerous and you’ll attract a lot of people with bad intentions. You need to watch your back the whole time,” Russo said. Just then, Rey realized how careless he had been about the whole ordeal. He sat back on the chair and looked at his captain. He was ready to listen to what else could be said to him about the matter.

“You’ve been getting too comfortable with this job, and you’re forgetting that being a Shell City police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, especially if you’re a clean agent,” Russo said. He said this with a lecturer’s tone, seeming as if it was something that was taught in Police Academy. It might as well have been, as Rey was really touched by that remark. He felt like it was something to be kept in mind at all times.

“Well, you’re clean and you turned out alright. Couldn’t I just follow in your footsteps?” he asked. Russo had a curious look in his face. He put his hand on his chin as he tried to figure out what Rey was getting at. Even though the silence lasted only a second, it felt like it was a very long time for Rey, and he began to feel as if he had just said something inappropriate.

“You know, Riker, you’re one of my favorites here. Humble, determined, honest. That’s why I trust you so much with all these important tasks and whatnot. This time, I’m gonna need you to step aside,” Russo said. That decision seemed to have come out of the top of his head, without extensive thought being put into it. Yet another surprise that Rey did not see coming.

“What?” Rey asked. He was shocked at what he had just heard. He impulsively stood up and his chair was moved back a little bit and made a low creaking sound. He heard it all clearly but could still not believe it. He knew that he was not going insane, so what he heard must have been real. In all his years working for the force, he had never imagined this being said to him.

“I hate to do this, Riker, but it’s the best I can do right now. You need your rest anyway. You rescued Shane Thompson from those kidnappers, you infiltrated Base District, and you barely had a day’s rest. Hell, we didn’t even give you an award for the Thompson incident,” Russo said. At this point, Russo was humbling himself more and more with each word that was being said. Of course, Rey saw through all of this. It was just for him to see this as a rational decision and to make him easy with it.

“You should know by now that I don’t do this for awards and recognition,” Rey said. He was not amused by this at all. Even the tone of his voice was not the usual, humble voice that would make him seem like a defenseless victim. He was very serious about all of this.

“Yes. You just want to do it because you love your city. That’s why you’ve refused promotions over five times. Your inexplicable loyalty and devotion are the reasons why I’m telling you now: do not go after these bank robbers. Take the rest of the week off. Let someone else get the job done this time,” Russo said. Rey wanted to continue with this case. He wanted to drag it out until the Captain would reveal the real reason for him doing all of this. It could not just be a decision he came up with as they were talking. It was based on something far more serious than that. At least, that was what he expected to find out.

“What’s this really about, Captain?” he asked. Russo sighed after hearing the question. He pulled out papers from the desk and put them on the table. Rey looked at them and saw that they had numeric values. He picked one up and started reading from it.

“Your little escapade last night cost the city a few thousand dollars in property damage,” Russo said. Rey continued to read from the papers in disbelief. He saw the details posted on the paper about the car chase that they had the previous night, as told by a different source than the ones he would recognize.

“But we caught the criminals. I-,”

“Did it after shooting a shop window, nearly killing civilians, destroying three taxis and a truck, including a pillar from the highway,” Russo stressed. Rey remained silent after hearing what was said to him. He was not expecting this at all. He saw his service as one to be commended, not condemned. “I’m doing this for the safety of the public as well. You are too intense, Rey. You need to relax a little. Take a week off,” Russo continued.

Rey had nothing else to say. He wanted to talk but no words reached his mouth from his brain. He only stuttered a couple of times before giving up. He put the paper on the desk and was visibly disappointed with what had just taken place. He then turned around and walked towards the door.

“You should know that this is for your own safety as well. I care about you as well,” Russo concluded. Rey grew only more annoyed with what he heard. He stopped before the door and closed his eyes, trying to calm himself down. He put his hand on the door knob and twisted it. He pulled the door open and went out into the hallway.

Bayview High School

The bell rang, signifying their lunch hour. The school was as busy as ever. Many students were walking around and were going to all sorts of different places to either eat or chat. Some students were with their beloved romantic partners and were not ashamed of kissing each other in the hallways. There were many lockers by which they stood just to kiss each other. This was mostly done by jocks and cheerleaders. The cafeteria was full of students who were either getting food or already eating what they had taken. There were some who were playing board games and others who had set up their computers and were playing online games against each other. The basketball court was full of students as well, and many of them were enjoying their game. It was an informal game with five players on each side. There were many people watching the match. It was a streetball match, so the spectators were seeing a whole variety of tricks that they would normally not see in a match.

Johnny and James were in the cafeteria and were walking towards a couple of free spots by a table. They had their trays in their hands and were walking towards the spots with smiles in their faces. They were happy and relaxed about everything going on in their lives.

They did not see what happened next coming. It just happened so quickly. Oliver and a friend of his, called Cole, quickly sat on their psychologically reserved places before they could get to them. Oliver turned around to look at Johnny and smiled in a provocative way.

Johnny and James stopped walking and became angry. They did not hide it with their facial expressions. They stood in place and calculated several hundred different ways in which they could get back at Oliver and Cole. James looked around the area, thinking of where to hide their bodies after doing what he really wanted to upon seeing this.

Oliver saw that he had gotten the facial reactions that he was hoping for. He smiled happily and wanted to mock tem even further. He knew Johnny so well that he knew which buttons to push o to get the best kind of reaction, and this is what he was going to exploit. “Oh. I’m sorry. Where were you going?” he asked.

Johnny was not there for games. He just wanted a place to sit and enjoy his meal in peace with his friend as they talk about the most irrelevant things that they could come up with. Seeing Oliver was nothing pleasant to him. It was a necessity that was never truly welcome. “Get out of my place, Oliver,” he said.

“I didn’t see your name on it. This is school property,” Oliver said. That response was not one that was welcomed by the people it was directed to. The duo stayed silent for a while, as Johnny contemplated teleporting Oliver into a police station and abandoning him there, but then, of course, it would not sit well with his father, who would more than obviously know that he was the one behind it once Oliver started explaining himself. That would not end well for Johnny at all.

“Oliver, I’m not going to tell you again,” Johnny said. His very serious tone only amused Oliver. He felt like he was getting exactly what he wanted from Johnny. He even chuckled happily as Cole turned around to look at his victims. He stood up happily, just to get closer to Johnny and James or even just to mock them further. He approached them slowly, with his hands behind his back, with a sly style and smooth step, with so much enthusiasm.

He examined Johnny and James for a few seconds as he thought about what to say next. He took a really good look at them, as if he were scanning them. He then came to a conclusion after seeing that he was losing Johnny’s attention. “How’s about a little contest?” he asked.

That was something that did not surprise Johnny at all, and it should not have. He was very used to hearing this sort of thing come from Oliver’s mouth whenever they met. It was always something like this, and the response would be the same as always. “What do you have in mind?” he asked.

The ball was thrown very high and very hard. Even so, it dove into the basket, whose net was composed of chain links. The spectators were watching this. Oliver was the one who had just thrown the ball. He was very proud of himself and was smiling. He looked around at the people who were watching and smiled at them. He raised his hands and interlocked them as he cheered himself on silently. He was standing by the three-pointer line. Johnny, James and Cole were silent and were only looking at him. They were in the basketball court by then. Johnny cleared his throat just loud enough for Oliver to notice and begin to feel uncomfortable.

“You want to score three-pointers until someone misses?” Johnny asked. Even as he asked that, the thought occurred to him that it was the stupidest challenge anyone could issue him. It was so basic and boring that it would not only lose his attention, but the attention of all the potential spectators that he would have loved to impress. He looked around the area that they were in as he asked that. There was a moderate number of people who would be interested in seeing this event unfold. It was just a matter of choosing the right thing to do, and shooting three-pointers was just not good enough.

“What? No. I got something more interesting in mind: a slam dunk contest,” Oliver said. He spoke with a lot of confidence. It seemed like it was something he was waiting to bring this up for a very long time. He even had a sneaky smile after saying that. Cole seemed to be okay with the challenge. He might as well have been. He had an athletic build. He was a tall, built, African-American with an afro. He even wore a street ball player’s attire, which consisted of a very long shirt, long shorts and Jordans. The shirt he wore was not of a team in particular. It was a sleeveless blue shirt. His shorts were red in color, and his Jordans were black. It would be no surprise if they found out that he was actually in the basketball team. James was comfortable with the suggestion, but not entirely sure about it. He looked at Johnny. Johnny saw this as an opportunity to upstage Oliver once again. He smiled a sinister and confident smile.

“Always coming up with new ways for me to beat you at stuff, huh?” Johnny asked. He made his tone as mocking as possible, just to get under Oliver’s skin. He was suddenly in the mood to entertain what Oliver had in store for them.

Oliver laughed upon hearing that. He shook his head slowly, not believing what he had just heard, as it was something he knew would be said to him. He showed it with his stance that he was waiting for that to be said to him. “I enjoy seeing you stray into hopeless situations with all the confidence in the world,” he said.

“Hey, I’m the good guy,” Johnny said. Oliver and Cole made estranged facial expressions. They looked at each other, trying to figure out whether they should actually try to understand him or not. James did not care about anything at all. He just went to get the basketball.

“Alright. We’ll play doubles. Coolest slam dunk wins,” Oliver said. He spoke with the same high enthusiasm that he had since the beginning. It was getting closer to being fully explored and seen, as he was just aching to beat Johnny with the slam-dunking.

“How do we decide that? I ain’t voting for any of your cheap slam dunks,” James said. He stood with style before speaking out. He was very sincere with his words, although they were not to be taken as insults. They were just the usual shots being fired among enemies in high school. He even had his arms crossed as he spoke.

“No worries about that. We’ll be able to decide in the end,” Oliver replied. This was something James was not conformed with anymore. Nevertheless, he wanted to do something entertaining, and with a crowd around them, he had more motivation to go through with this, no matter how dumb it sounded. He threw the ball to Oliver, seeing as he just wanted to see how this would all end. Oliver caught the ball. He looked at the board and calculated his steps carefully. He had a moment of silence as he bounced the ball and eyed the board.

Johnny could see that Oliver was showing signs of an amateur. He smiled and knew that this contest would be added to his list of wins against Oliver. Before he could say anything, as he had already opened his mouth, Oliver ran while bouncing the ball towards the board. He got close to it and jumped. He managed to slam dunk the ball with his right hand. He landed and turned to the others with a happy look in his face. By the looks of it, he had never done this before. He was too happy for it to be something that he could get done on a regular basis.

He picked the ball up and threw it to Johnny, who caught the ball. Johnny looked at the ball first and examined it for a while. He then bounced it lightly as he eyed the board. He had no time to stand around and try to calculate anything. He ran impulsively towards the board. When he got close enough, he jumped while turning around, and managed to slam dunk with his back turned. He landed on the ground and the ball bounced behind him. He was smiling his cocky smile. He looked at a group of pretty girls who were watching him as he did that. He smiled at them and made a stance as he pointed at them stylishly. He picked the ball up and passed it to Cole.

“Let’s see the secret weapon at work,” Johnny said. Cole smiled as Oliver gave him the sign. Cole smiled a very happy smile. He ran towards the board while bouncing the ball. He got close enough to it to be able to jump. He dunked the ball from the side. His left shoulder looked as though it was about to hit the rim. That was part of the trick. He landed on the ground and caught the ball after it bounced twice. He then passed the ball to James.

“Your turn,” he said. James held the ball in his two hands and looked around in a clueless manner. He looked like a baby holding something they had not held before. He was very afraid of embarrassing himself. He had a very humble, sad look in his face. The others looked at him, waiting for him to do something with the ball. He did not move at all. He only looked at the others. He did not even look at the board to calculate anything.

“Frozen in place, are we? Give it up, Riker. Your friend is scared stiff,” Oliver said. He said it as if it were the concluding statement of the ordeal. James threw the ball at the board. The ball bounced off the board really hard and he was already running towards it. He jumped, caught the ball in mid-air and slammed it into the basket. He landed on the concrete ground and grunted.

The others were shocked, especially Johnny. Nobody saw that coming. He acted so suddenly and so swiftly that no spectator would have time to call on another who was not attentive enough. More students started watching the challenge. The streetball players stopped playing and started watching what was going on there. James was walking with the usual pride he had. He picked the basketball up and passed it to Oliver, who stood alongside the others outside the three-pointer line.

“Well, well, well, haven’t we gotten a few surprises in us. Fine. Let’s go for round two. This time, it’s serious,” Oliver said. He was ready to take his gloves off, figuratively speaking. He saw that this was not going to be a walk-over as he thought and hoped it would be. It was going to be another competition. Nonetheless, he was ready for it. He just had to kick it to a whole new gear.

“Got it,” Johnny said, “because I know you gave it your all last time.” He smiled at Oliver as he said that. It was that sly smirk that he would always have when making fun of Oliver. It was something that Oliver had not enjoyed seeing, no matter how many times he had seen it in the past.

“You wish,” he said. He looked at the board once more. He was sure that this was going to be a contest well-remembered by Johnny. He was going to win this concert. He ran towards the board once more and jumped. He passed the ball around his whole waist one round before slamming it into the net.

Johnny’s turn came with another impressive slam dunk. He clenched his face and ran towards the board with the ball. He jumped and passed the ball under his left leg into his right hand, from his left hand. He slammed the ball into the net.

Cole saw that he was dealing with no ordinary amateurs. He still did not see that as a problem. He bounced the ball a few times before running towards the board. He jumped when he was close enough and ended up looking like he was sitting in mid-air. He passed the ball under his bum from his left hand to his right hand then managed to get the job done.

James wasted no time at all. He got the job done by spinning three hundred and sixty degrees twice while having already gotten himself airborne. When he saw the perfect opportunity, he slammed the ball in.

Oliver bounced the ball very hard on the ground. The ball went into the air. Oliver ran after it. He jumped when he was close enough to the board and caught the ball. He got the job done well. The streetball players enjoyed that one. Some of them nodded in approval of the cool stunt work done by the amateur.

Johnny bounced the ball very hard on the ground. The ball went high into the air. Johnny ran after it. He jumped when he was close enough to the board and caught the ball. He summersaulted while airborne and got the job done. A cheerleader who was watching could not believe what she just saw. She was chewing gum and was blowing a bubble while it happened. The bubble burst as she stared in disbelief. The other cheerleaders behind her were all impressed as well. Some of them were just talking about how good-looking he was.

Cole had the ball. He jumped as he spun the ball on his left index finger. He managed to raise his finger higher than the rim then pressed the ball down through the basket. The streetball players all yelled, “oh!” synchronously, as that move was especially difficult to perform. It could even be considered impossible by others. Some of the streetball players were so impressed that they could not stand in one place as they vocally expressed how impressed they were with the move that they had just witnessed.

James turned around to look at the others and smiled. He then turned to look at the board. He threw the ball to the ground ahead of him. The ball bounced off the ground and went to hit the board as he ran towards it. He caught the ball and jumped. He managed to plough it into the net. He held onto the red rim of the board for a couple of seconds before letting go and landing on the ground. The ever-increasing number of spectators cheered upon seeing that.

Oliver had the ball. He turned to Johnny and taunted him by sticking his tongue out at him. He then ran towards the board. Cole knelt in a good position for Oliver to use him as a booster. Oliver did so flawlessly and managed to slam the ball in.

“Oh, that’s how it works, huh?” Johnny asked. He knew what it would take to do better than what he had just seen. He looked at James. James understood the look he was given all too well. It was as if they had just had a telepathic conversation. James went to kneel in a good position for Johnny to try something cooler than what Oliver did. Johnny ran towards him. He used James as a booster and summersaulted twice before slamming the ball into the net.

Oliver stood on the far left of the hoop and Cole stood outside the three-pointer line in the center. Oliver bounced the ball off the ground near the hoop as Cole ran towards it. Cole jumped and caught it. He slammed the ball in, with his back facing the rim.

Johnny bounced the basketball really hard on the ground. The ball went very high. He was right under the basket. James ran and jumped, catching the ball in mid-air. He slammed the ball into the basket. James cheered when he got that done. He was really proud of himself.

Cole stood close enough to the board for him to literally boost Oliver, which was actually the plan. Oliver was bouncing the ball lightly and was planning it out carefully. He ran towards Cole and jumped when he got close enough. Cole boosted him with his hands, as Oliver stepped on them, and he ended up going far higher than he would have expected. He still used this opportunity to dunk the ball and hold onto the rim with both of his hands for a short while before letting go. He landed on the ground.

“Beat that,” Oliver said. Johnny took that as a challenge. He looked at Oliver and gave him a very cocky smile. No doubt, Johnny knew how he would end this competition in his favor. He had a secret up his sleeve. It was only a matter of time before things escalated to this level, and no other time was better than this one to finally deliver the killer blow to Oliver’s pride. He got the ball and bounced it as he ran towards the board. He then jumped very hard and ended up going very high. He went higher up than a normal human could. He ended up going higher than Oliver did when he was boosted. He went far higher than he had planned and was going towards the board.

Everyone who was watching was shocked. Some people were filming all of this using their phones. Johnny could not see how to stop himself. His knee hit the top of the board and he flipped forward after grunting. He fell to the ground and many of the girls who were watching gasped. Johnny fell on his face and remained on the ground. Many people ran to his position. All of the streetball players went there. The worried people surrounded him. One of them was Kurt Hawke.

“Riker! Riker, you awake?” he asked. Johnny took time to respond to that. He rolled over slowly and looked at everyone around him. There was not even a scar or a bruise on his face. The only thing that provided evidence that he fell was the dirt on his shirt and face.

“Heck, yeah, I’m awake,” Johnny replied. Oliver smiled upon seeing this. He looked at Cole, who was actually worried that Johnny had hurt himself but just did not know. Johnny stood up and showed no signs of trauma. He looked around at the people who were worried about him. He looked around at the people who were worried about him. He looked around for the person who actually mattered to him but did not see her around.

Oliver did not care about the well-being of his rival. He was just waiting for that perfect opportunity to relay the good news he was harboring. The wait seemed to be so long, as he watched the crowds settle down as they realized that Johnny was actually okay, depite the really long drop he went through a few seconds prior. When he noticed that the people around were calm enough, he decided that it was the best time to do what he was waiting for. “Well, that settles it. Looks like I win,” he said.

Johnny dusted himself off then looked at Oliver. He scoffed after processing what he had just heard. That was a lot of ridiculousness that just went through his mind before he said that. Johnny shook his head slowly as he approached Oliver, still dusting himself off. “You win? Get real. The coolest dunk was mine,” he said. He was very convinced of what he was saying. He even pointed at himself with his thumb as he asserted that the best dunk was his. He was ready to get all up in Oliver’s face as well.

“You wish. You think this little stunt counts? We had the coolest dunks and we didn’t fail at any,” Oliver said. He was very defensive about it. He saw that he was actually the winner in all of this. The audience there agreed with him, in his imagination, of course. Everyone just stood and watched their little argument.

Johnny looked around for James, who was nowhere to be seen. Johnny became disappointed, knowing that James abandoned him to defend his honor on his own to do something that was undoubtedly completely unrelated. He then sighed in a silent manner, expressing his disappointment. He still wanted to continue to defend his honor, even if he would have to do so alone.

In reality, James was taking Oliver and Cole’s food and was putting it on his and Johnny’s trays. He did it covertly and made sure that nobody saw him do it. He was lucky because everyone was paying attention to what was happening with Johnny. He constantly looked around, checking to see if anyone as going to catch him in the act. He saw that a girl was looking at him. He puckered his lips at her and winked as he smiled a very confident, playboy-like smile. She turned away from him. His smile turned into one of satisfaction, and he continued doing what he was doing. He laughed in a sinister way as he took the last of their food. He then took the trays that belonged to himself and his friend.

“Hey, do you know how hard it is to summersault twice before dunking?” Johnny asked. He was becoming more intense with each word that he said to Oliver in the discussion. He was not intense enough to fight, though, but one could see that it would most probably get to that if Johnny kept going like this.

“It’s probably as hard as falling on your face,” Oliver said, “I win this time.” Everyone in the background was shocked to hear that response from Oliver. Some of the people were impressed and others were waiting to hear Johnny’s response, as that would lead to one of their many sessions of trading insults with each other, which was actually very entertaining to everyone.

“Go eat a moustache,” Johnny said. He said that with far more intensity than before, but still with a very relaxed fashion. He was not losing control over his rage which was piling up. He was just really frustrated with what was slowly unfolding.

“God, I love seeing you two get at it,” Kurt said, turning around and laughing. He was actually happy to be getting some entertainment. Everyone knew what happens when Johnny and Oliver meet. It was something that nobody liked to miss.

“Look, just accept that you lost. It’s not that big of a deal,” Oliver said. Johnny did not see the point in their debate anymore. He decided to accept defeat and looked down in shame. Oliver knew what that meant. He could not contain his happiness. He started cheering happily and made his way to the trays along with Cole. They got to the trays and saw that they were empty. Oliver became angry. He turned around to look at Johnny.

“Where’s that blonde idiot?” Oliver asked. He knew who was behind this. He clenched his fists very hard and they even shook. Veins appeared on the fists. He looked around desperately for James, but could not see him anywhere in the court or the spectator seats. It greatly disappointed him when he was unable to see one of his enemies. It was a great insult to him to have his food stolen from him like that.

“If I were him, I’d be long gone,” Cole said. He did not have to see Oliver’s actions to know that Oliver was really angry about it.  He was just staring at the spot where his food was as he participated in the dunking contest. He then exhaled and puckered his lips in disappointment.

Everyone went away and got back to handling their business. They all moved away from the area as if it was something casual. They all got back to what they were doing. Some people came from really far away. Johnny decided it was time to stop sulking and probably get to doing something else, like looking for James.

“You tried, Riker, but Mack beat you to it,” Kurt said, patting Johnny on the back. He was standing next to Johnny, who did not seem to care at all that somebody was there at the time. His world had just been crushed and there was nothing that could help it get back to normal.

“Thanks for cheering me up,” he replied sarcastically. He looked at Kurt and was visibly disappointed in himself. Kurt gave Johnny a modest smile and tried to relate to the loss.

“You know, those were pretty awesome tricks. You ever try joining the basketball team?” Kurt asked. He sounded very optimistic about things as he spoke. Johnny was not so optimistic. He was just bare. He was nothing more than an empty shell at the time, looking for something to give him meaning. That question seemed to have brought out something from him.

“I was actually more interested in football. Wanted to join you guys with all that smashing and head-butts and cool glory,” Johnny said. He sounded chattier than he was a few seconds ago. He was more ready to talk at this point, and that motivated Kurt to keep going. Kurt laughed at what Johnny had just said. He took it all as a joke, but Johnny was very serious about joining the football team. When Kurt saw that he was in the middle of a serious conversation, he stopped laughing and put up a serious facial expression.

“This is actually a topic of discussion. What are you doing after school?” Kurt asked. He spoke like a real professional as he said that. He sounded even friendlier than before. He was glad to hear that Johnny wanted to join the football team.

“Going to the Shell heads Club building, the usual,” Johnny said. He was not surprised at all by Kurt’s very friendly tone. He was used to it. He talked casually, as if it were something normal to him.

“Cool. We’ll meet up there, then, gonna talk this through,” Kurt concuded.

“Yeah. Sure,” Johnny said. Kurt gave Johnny an assuring smile and partly nodded. He then went away. Johnny watched him go away and sighed in disappointment. He was feeling down after having lost against Oliver in something as simple as a slam dunk contest. He then looked in the direction Oliver went in and saw both Oliver and Cole running towards him. Johnny gasped, as he could not see that one coming. He saw how quickly and aggressively they were running and naturally deduced that they were angry about something. He saw their empty trays and guessed that it was because of that. He turned to the spectator stands and started running towards them. He jumped onto the stands from the field and ran along them. Oliver and Cole stopped running when they got to the stands, amazed at Johnny’s leaping ability.

“I’m gonna get you, Riker! This means war!” Oliver shouted. He even raised his fist as he yelled, in a very stereotypical way. He was very angry at Johnny, who was actually innocent in this situation.

Johnny ran to the football field, which was on the other side of the stands. That was where James was. He was seated on the stands and was enjoying his tray of partly stolen food. Johnny scoffed when he saw James. He noticed that James was too distracted with his food. Anyone could surprise him from any side. There were a handful of other people in the area. Some were on the field itself while others were sitting on the stands. Two of the people there were just throwing a football around. Johnny teleported and appeared sitting next to James. His sudden appearance startled James behind him.

“Bloody human being. You could’ve killed me, you know that. You gotta stop doing that,” James said. He almost dropped the food in his hands as he complained. He actually stopped talking suddenly because of that. He grunted and then took a bite of the food and enjoyed it.

“Doing what?” Johnny asked. He knew what James meant. He even smiled in a mocking way, just to get under James’ skin, but James did not see that smile. He was very focused on eating his stolen food. He stopped eating and looked at Johnny, not minding the fading smile.

“Whatever it is that you do, man. One second, you’re not around, the half a millisecond later you show up out of nowhere, no noise or anything,” he replied. He then continued eating. Johnny found this to be very amusing to him.

“I just think you’re a very distracted person,” Johnny said. Anyone who knew about his secret who heard this statement would know that he was really just fooling around with James’ ignorance. James had no idea what his friend’s secret was, and was completely oblivious to the fact that there even was a secret to keep.

“That is subject to debate. I’m actually a very focused person. I was focusing on this food I was eating,” James defended. He did not look at Johnny as he spoke. He continued eating his food and was having a good time at it as well

“Really?” Johnny asked.

“Dude, just shut up. Let me enjoy my food a little bit,” James said. He did not plan on listening to what Johnny had to say next. He continued eating his food. Johnny saw that he would only be disturbing James’ eating, so he decided to focus on something more important. He looked at his tray and saw all the food that was on it: mashed potatoes, vegetables and a sloppy joe. He found that the quantity of the vegetables was higher, but was curious about the sloppy joe. He then looked at James with a disgusted facial expression, feeling betrayed by his friend.

Midtown, Shell City

Midtown was a section of Shell City which was situated in between the upper class Uptown and the lower class Downtown. Midtown was where a lot of the businesses were situated, but not the main area. Buildings like the Thompson-Lights building were there. It was the place in which middle class workmanship could be found in abundance. It was also where the First City bank was.

The bank was in a tall building which was brown and was situated near a police station. It was one of the best banks in Shell City, which was why Ramone and his men were targeting it. They were in a mini-van and were watching the movement in the bank from the inside. Ramone was in the passenger’s seat of the mini-van and Scarman was the driver. They sat and watched patiently.

“They’re taking their time at it,” Ramone said.

“FCB must’ve tightened its security after they heard of the hit on Civil Savings,” Scarman said.

“Damn, so it’s gonna take some time for them to get it done,” Ramone said. Scarman looked at Ramone. He maintained his serious, scary face and composure. He gripped the wheel tightly before picking up the walkie-talkie.

“Ink, Pulitzer, what’s taking so long?” Scarman asked.

Ink and Pulitzer were two of the hired men who were meant to get the money from the bank. Ink was a pale Caucasian with black, spiky hair. His blank facial expression could send chills down someone’s spine and show that he was clearly a psychopath. He was wearing a black garb and had a ski mask on. He picked up his walkie-talkie as the others fired at the police cars behind them.

“You think it’s easy getting into FCB in the day time? I don’t know why you don’t just do this at night. Clean getaway,” he said. He stopped pressing the button on the communicator and waited to listen to what would be said in response to that. He could hear that there was a bit of commotion on the other end.

“Because we’re going to send a message to them. We are going to show them that we can reach out and destroy them whenever we want to,” Ramone said.

“What did they do? Steal your diaper?” Ink asked. There was an explosion behind him.  He grunted and covered his face in reaction to the explosion. The guns were still firing around him. They were AK-47s. One of the men next to him was shot and died. He was in the back seat of a roofless convertible, and the money was in the trunk. He was also holding an AK-47. He looked at the corpse which was next to him and shrugged it off.

“Finish your job,” Ramone said. He said this in a demanding voice that did not really intimidate Ink. Ink had a blank facial expression in his face, as he grew tired of these orders. The police sirens grew louder and louder as the cars got closer to the getaway car.

“As long as I get my cut in the end,” Ink said. He spoke so coldly and calmly. He did not even display any emotions through his speech patterns. He was plain, and all around him could feel an aura of dementia when near him.

He gripped his gun really tightly and started shooting at the cars behind him. There were three police cars which were after the getaway car. He shot at them with his weapon, and two of the ones behind tried to move away from the range of fire by using the one ahead as cover. He pressed his lips together as he shot the hood of the closest police car. He shot it so much that the hood flew off the car. He reloaded his gun as the police car went out of control and crashed into parked civilian cars.

The two remaining cars’ policemen opened fire against him. Many bullets flew past him. He was scraped by one in the left cheek. He put his finger on the small blood trail left. He looked at the blood stained on his finger then looked at the police cars. He inhaled then shot the windshield of one of the cars. The driver died, and the corpse turned the car, making it get in the way of the other one. The other car crashed into it and moved it aside, continuing its course. Ink found this one easy, as the car was slightly raised due to the impact. He shot the front tyres of the car. The driver quickly stopped the car, and the robbers managed to get away.

Ink sat on the chair, next to the corpse. He looked at the corpse. He then looked at the driver. He put his arm out of the car and had it lean on top of the door. He was lifeless and bored. He then stretched his arms out and sighed before getting a look at one of the bills on the floor. He picked it up and looked at it. He examined it closely.

“Are you sure you left all the marked bills? I don’t want any slip-ups,” Ink said.

“Don’t worry about it. I got all the marked bills out,” Pulitzer said. He was different from Ink. He was more lively than Ink and showed a little more interest in what he was doing. He was a mixed race man of both African and Caucasian descent.

“Good,” Ink said.

“We’re out of the woods,” the hired guy in the navigator’s seat said. Ink, having heard the good news, took the walkie talkie and communicated through it.

“We’re coming to you,” Ink said.

“We’re on our way to the rendezvous point, then,” Ramone said.

Having heard what Ramone said, Scarman started the mini-van’s engine. They had parked it across the street from the bank. Scarman, having started the engine, drove away from the area they were in.

They ended up parking the car near a flight of stairs leading to a subway station. They waited patiently for the group. Ramone could not get his eyes off the flight of stairs. He wanted so much to see if they could really pull it off. He was not really confident in Ink’s ability to pull it off. He did not like the sight of a psychopath running an operation like this. It seemed like a waste of time.

“They should be here by now,” Scarman said. Ramone looked at him and wondered just how accurate the assumption was. It was not easy for him to leave things in other people’s charge, even though he could easily eliminate anyone who crossed him. Fortunately or unfortunately for him, he would not have to do anything about Ink crossing him, because he arrived in the car, which stopped right behind the mini-van. He made it, and had all the money that he was meant to bring along.

Scarman left the van and went to open the back part. He opened the back of the van and the bags and sacks of money from the car were thrown into it. Ramone felt the van shake as each bag was thrown into it.

“Where’s the other guy?” Scarman asked.

“Dropped him off a couple avenues back in an alley. He’s not of much use to us anymore,” Ink said. He said it so calmly, and there were only a few blood stains on him, indicating that he was the one who threw away the corpse. He was wiping them off with a cloth as he explained himself. Ramone was still not convinced of their safety for a reason. He looked at the rearview mirror and saw something that was really bad.

“Cops. Five-o. Five-o,” he said. The guys outside looked back and saw a patrol car that was approaching them. It was too late for them to try and escape. The car was too close and they had already signaled them to remain where they were.

“Shit,” the goon said. The patrol car stopped by them and the two policemen inside it got out of the car and walked to the robbers.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” officer Blake said.

“Good afternoon, officer,” Scarman said, “how can we help you?”

“We just want to know what you’ve got there,” officer Bale said. Both were Caucasians and were wearing sunglasses. They seemed to be either very close friends or brothers, as their stance was identical, the same as their attitudes and mannerisms. They were both in uniform and even police hats.

“Nothing. We’ve just got some dirty laundry we’re taking care of,” Ink said. Blake looked around with his hands on his hips. He was silent and did so with style. He looked to be on a very good day.

“Doesn’t look like there’s a laundry store anywhere nearby, and we just found you ‘chilling’ here,” Blake said.

“Last I heard, it wasn’t illegal,” Ink said. As Ink spoke, Scarman prepared his pistol which was under his shirt in the back. The goon had no idea what he could do. By this time, they had all removed their ski masks.

“No, it isn’t. You wouldn’t mind if we-uh-checked your vehicle…especially all the bags and sacks you hid in it, would you?” Bale asked. Everyone looked at each other for a while. It all became silent and more awkward with each passing second. The criminals did not know what they could do.

“Sure thing,” Scarman said. He said so with a type of confidence that left even the other criminals confused. They had no idea what the plan was and were as silent as ever.

“Go ahead,” Blake said to Bale. Bale followed the order he was given. He walked slowly towards the van. He just did not really feel comfortable having his back turned to everyone. He just had to have faith in his partner’s ability to keep him safe from five people. The silence there was too tense as he slowly opened one of the bags.

Ink could not contain himself any longer. He looked at Blake and figured out what he was going to do to him. Before he could, though, Scarman pulled out his gun and shot Bale in the back just as he saw the money.

“Damn!” Blake shouted. He struggled to pull his gun out of the buckle. Ink kicked him in the belly using his right foot. Blake bent down in pain. Ink grabbed the back of Blake’s head and forced his face into his knee. Blake fell to the ground and was bleeding from his nose and mouth. Scarman shot Blake in the chest. Blake died.

“Now what?” the goon asked.

“We got two dead cops on us now,” Pulitzer said. Ramone stepped out of the mini-van and went to where all the action had taken place. He sighed and put his hands on his hips as he wondered just what he could do about it. Nobody was worried about the fact that there were many witnesses there who ran around in panic after hearing the gunshot.

“Damn. This just makes things more complicated than they need to be,” Ramone said.

“Stash the bodies in the car. Leave ‘em here. At least it’ll take them some time to find out what happened. We don’t have to alter anything,” Scarman said. The others nodded, accepting the information that they had been given. Ink was the only skeptical one. He did not like the situation that they were in. He was really unhappy with it.

“This is all unnecessary work. You and your Razor and this whole mission of trying to prove some useless point are going to get us neck-deep in trouble we shouldn’t even be in,” Ink said, “you need to plan things out more originally next time. I may be getting paid for this, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.” Ink’s words really angered Scarman. He did not want to listen to any of this anymore. He raised his pistol and aimed it at Ink, who was not scared at all. Ramone made Scarman lower the pistol and calm himself down.

“Hey, hey. Calm down. You’ve killed enough today. [Turns to Ink.] I didn’t tell you to come along. If it were up to me, you wouldn’t even have known that this was happening. To us, this is all about respect. To you, it’s all about the money. Just be happy we’ll all be getting what we want,” Ramone said.

“Oh, I see. You’re finally growing some stones, huh? Ready to take over from Razor, I see. That’s good. ‘Cause what you need in this business is attitude,” Ink said. He spoke with a little excitement. It seems as though he was happy to see that Ramone was confronting him like this.

“We’ll do the rest tomorrow. Let’s go,” Ramone said.

Joe’s donuts

This was a small café establishment near the precinct that Rey worked in. It was a small pub, small enough for one to have a view of the whole place from one seat. All of the seats and tables were on one side, by the windows, while the bartender and all the workers were on the other side of the huge table.

Rey was sitting by a table and was enjoying coffee with a chocolate donut. He was sad and solely focused on eating the donut. He even did so slowly and without any motivation at all. He felt as though his whole world had ended. He felt as though there was nothing for him, like he was completely powerless against the things that were taking place. He was joined by someone he did not expect to see.

“So, this is your life? Captain tells you you’re off the case and gives you the rest of the week off and you act like you lost your job?” Lane asked, sitting on the seat across from his. She sat and made herself comfortable. She put her elbows on the table and her hands under her chin as she watched him eat in depression.

“I might as well leave the force, the way he’s treating me now,” Rey said. She smiled and shook her head slowly before looking down. He did not even look at her at all. He was looking in her direction but was zoning out slowly, thinking about how he could have been solving the case of the bank robbery.

“You are so dramatic, you know that? All he did was tell you to take a break from one case. Just one case. That’s all,” she said.

“This is the first bank robbery in Shell City in over ten years,” Rey said.

“Yeah. It’s been that long. All the cases got boring after that,” she said.

“Yeah. I guess,” he said with a sigh. With that, the conversation went silent. He had nothing more to say and neither did she. She looked around, almost as if trying to find something to cheer him up with. Nothing crossed her mind and this made her feel a bit awkward with the silence.

“So, what’s it gonna take to make you stop looking like somebody died?” she asked.

“A ride home, maybe. I don’t have any more business in the city,” he replied. That answer gave her some hope. She actually smiled slightly as her face brightened up. He was as calm as ever. He was finishing off his donut, as he had already finished his coffee.

“Alright, then. Just wait for me to order my own meal,” she said.

The Shellheads Club Building

Johnny, Jared and Kurt were seated by a table which was next to the pool table. They all had their drinks with them. James and Reynold were playing pool. It was a small ‘hangout’ as they would call it. They were all just having a good time. James took his turn.

“You know what I find odd about the modern times? Why can we say that a guy is wet, but if we say that about a girl, it’s a problem?” James asked.

“I don’t know, dude. That’s just the way people think nowadays,” Kurt said. Reynold took his turn and sunk a ball. He got ready to take another shot.

“How do they think?” James asked.

“Well, they say that when a girl is wet, it actually means that they’re horny,” Johnny said.

“You actually say it in a way that sounds like I didn’t know. I always knew that it means she’s horny. My problem is how and why they used that word so much that it even becomes weird to say that a girl is wet,” James said. As he spoke, Reynold finished his turns. James had to step in and that was what he did. Reynold took a sip from his glass of root beer which was on the pool table.

“I don’t really get what your problem is with that,” Reynold said. He said this as he examined the pool table. He put the thick end of the baton on the floor and looked at the table. He started counting the number of balls that he still had to sink in before he could finish the game.

“Okay, imagine this: what if you wanna see a girl coming out of the water? How are you gonna describe her?” James asked. James spoke calmly. He spoke in a tone that showed that he had put a considerable amount of thought into this and it was a huge discovery that he had made.

“Well, I don’t know. There are lots of ways to describe a girl coming out of the water,” Kurt said. He said that with a smart tone. He thought to himself, if James wanted to act like a genius, he could act like a know-it-all. He even raised his hands and made a facial expression to add to that comment.

“Well, yes. But that’s beside the point. If there’s water all over her, she’s…?” James asked. He awaited the answer, and one could see that he was going to celebrate after hearing it.

“Wet,” Jared said. He said it plainly. He was not impressed by what his brother had just discovered. He saw the word as nothing more than a part of the English language.

“Hey. You spoke,” Reynold said.

“Well, yeah. I speak all the time. It’s just that nobody ever listens to me,” Jared said. Reynold smiled and almost laughed at that in a friendly way. It looked as though he understood just what Jared was talking about.

“I get it,” he stated, “you’re the nerd.” Johnny and James looked at each other knowingly. They transmitted their messages telepathically and understood each other through eye contact and knowledgeable facial expressions. They then looked at their own things. James took his turn.

“I’m not really a nerd. I’m just smarter than everyone I’m seen talking to,” Jared said.

“Hey, buddy. You’re not smarter than me,” James said. Reynold took his turn as James spoke. He grunted in disappointment, showing that he had missed his shot.

“You’re not gonna seriously have this argument, are you?” Jared asked. It was about time that he got tired of having this argument with his brother. He really was tired of having it with him. It was the same thing all the time, and he would win the same way every time they did. It was a routine thing for him at this point.

“Leave him alone, man. He’s the smart one who’s not a nerd,” Johnny said. He was poking fun at Jared for having said that. He even laughed a little bit and leaned back on his chair before sitting properly once more.

“We’ll see who’s smarter when I make more money than you in the future,” James said.

“I don’t think your intelligence is based on how  much money you earn from your job,” Jared said.

“Better grades, better chances of getting called up by a university, better chances of getting high-paying jobs. Tell me. How are you supposedly not going to be richer than me if you’re allegedly smarter than me?” James asked. Everyone there looked at him with estranged facial expressions. Even Reynold stopped concentrating on the game after striking a ball. Jared noticed that he had proven his point when he saw what was happening and was content with himself. He did not smile, though, and simply said, “just leave it alone.”

James smiled, believing that he had achieved victory. He looked at the pool table as everyone went back to doing what they were before James posed that question.

“Hell, Porter, you ever heard of America being the land of opportunity?” Kurt asked.

“Hold that thought,” James said as he observed the table. Reynold had not looked at the table after he struck the ball, or else he would have noticed his mistake. James caught on quickly. He saw the mistake that Reynold had made and was very happy about it. He did not hide it with his facial expression.

“O-o-o-oh, guess who just won on technicality?” James asked. Kurt and Reynold looked at the table. Kurt realized it before Reynold did and almost slapped himself in the face. The case was different with Reynold. Reynold drove his palm into his face and was disappointed as well in disbelief on the outcome of the game. James cheered and Johnny gave him a high five.

“Dude, you just got your ass beat by a junior,” Kurt said to Reynold, mocking him. He looked at Reynold and saw that that had really hurt his pride. That was the look he was waiting to see in Reynold’s face: the look of disappointment.

“Whatever. We’ll get him next time,” Reynold said. He shrugged it off and tried his best to get over it as soon as he could. He knew that Kurt would keep bringing it up if he were to show how he really felt about the loss.

“We? Nah, man. This quest for revenge is your own,” Kurt said. He then started laughing at Reynold. Reynold was feeling very embarrassed about it. He judged himself as a better player than anyone in a grade below his. This was a humiliating, degrading loss for him.

“Whatever. Let’s talk about why we’re really here,” Reynold said. He felt that that was the only way to get himself out of the situation. He had to change the subject and shift focus to someone else. That was the way things always worked out for him.

“And what’s that? I thought we were here to hang out and chill,” Jared said. Naturally, he was the one who had no idea what was going on. He was just there because the choice was offered to him. The others had other objectives when going there.

“Doesn’t mean we can’t do that. We just gotta get things done. We always gotta make time for productivity,” Kurt said. He sat back on his seat and relaxed.

“Hey, that’s actually pretty catchy,” Jared said.

“Yeah. My dad would tell me that all the time when he’d take me for a ride on his bike when I was a kid,” Kurt said.

“Cool. Having a bike would be so awesome,” James said. He looked at the ceiling as his imagination began to take him places. He started to imagine things so vividly that he could practically feel them. He imagined himself on a bike, riding on the desert highway, with his wind blowing in the air. He was in biker gear and had no helmet on. He just had sunglasses on. He also had a beard and moustache.

“All this stuff actually looks cool, but we have to be able to maintain the standards. Maintenance these days isn’t cheap,” Kurt said.

“Yeah. Inflation is hitting us hard,” Reynold said.

“Very,” Jared said. Everyone agreed to that statement. They all talked at the same time, which led to low grumbling noises, as they talked together, at the same time, saying different things, with only a few words being the same. What could be said of it was that they were all agreeing with each other.

“Now, let’s just get to the point of all of this. I got a game to plan out perfectly,” Reynold said. He pulled a chair and put it by the table, on which he sat. James sat on one chair and Kurt sat on the other chair. Jared dropped his book so that he could listen to what would be said properly. He was reading a book on mechanics.

“Well, Riker here is saying he wants to join the team,” Kurt said. Jared looked at Reynold and wondered if Kurt was talking about him. Reynold already was on the team, so which other Riker could be missing, apart from Johnny, who clearly is not meant for the football team. He then looked at Johnny and wondered if it really was him.

“Again?” Reynold asked. That question confirmed it for Jared. It really was Johnny. Of all the things that Johnny could be getting into himself. There was just too much going on with him at the time. Liking a cheerleader and having that news spread was not enough. Now he wants to join the football team?

“You remember what happened last time, right?” Reynold asked. Johnny remembered it all too well. At that point, he was actually trying out for the team because he had lost a bet against Oliver. It was all a big misunderstanding. His chronic lying got him into the team, but it was an experience not worth remembering. He remembered that he was staring at the cheerleaders as they worked on their routine. The ball was passed on to him and he caught it, still having no idea what was going on. He was then tackled by the strongest player from the other team and the others dog piled on him.

“You know, a lot can change in a year. Heck, even one day,” Johnny said. He said that with a lot of confidence and with a tone that insisted on being challenged. He wanted someone to ask him what had changed so that he could begin with the list he had ready.

“Well, you’re right. But your appetite for cheerleaders is still there,” Reynold said.

“Appetite for cheerleaders?” Johnny asked. He was surprised to hear that comment. What could Reynold be alluding to? He had no appetite for cheerleaders. He was just interested with any girl he found attractive.

“It’s all over school, bro. Last time, you got sent off ‘cause you couldn’t get your eyes off them. Imagine now that you’re trying to date one,” Reynold stated. Johnny felt like he was part of a study after hearing that. He felt like he was being watched and examined like a common animal. He shook his head when Reynold was speaking…

[Check out the next part of the story to be uploaded next week on Tuesday, 5th December. The upload date will change due to network problems which will hinder progress but not stop it]

[Check out the Facebook Page: Renegade Books. Like it. Follow it. We will continue to give you more entertaining stories.]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #3: Heist

Downtown Shell City

20:00 Hours

There were many people walking around that area that night. It was a casual evening. Nothing major was going on. No interesting stories had gone on for a while then, as nothing really happened in the city the past few days. This left the people around carefree, not expecting anything to happen. After all, they were all assured that the city’s finest could get the job done due to the heroic act of Rey Riker when he was saving Shane Thompson: one of the richest people in the world, who just so happened to reside in this highly regarded city. The citizens were all happy, going about their business, all over the place.

Outside Shell City Bank, which was located in Downtown, Mainlan, it was the same situation. It was situated in between two buildings, which were not so tall, but not too short. They could not be short, because they were part of the skyscraper jungle that existed in the city. The bank was painted white on the outside and had pillars which were styled in ancient Greek fashions. There were four of them on the outside of the building. The door of the bank was brown in colour and could be accessed only after someone climbed the flight of stairs to get to it. It was a two-floor building. The two guards who stood, guarding it, right outside the door, had shotguns with them that were ready to fire at anyone who would try anything funny with them. Continue reading

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Karl, The Mercenary I

#1 – Mr. Karl Meets Stranger!

 

Once upon a time-uh-that’s how they start stories right? So, mine begins at this pub around 9pm, sitting in the counter and taking a sip of the finest and shitiest Vodka of Jello neighborhood. Right. We can start from there. I was savoring my drink, and this man in a black suit and sunglasses is looking at me. Who the fuck wears sunglasses in a pub? So, with no fear for his life he sat there by my side, still looking at me, asks me if I’m the famous Deserted Soldier. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club V

The cage door opened and the announcer went into the ring. He was disheartened deep down but hid it from the audience. He was a short, plump, Caucasian man. He was followed by the cleaners. The cleaners were there to pick Rhett up.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Pitbull wins it!” the announcer shouted on the microphone. The crowds cheered even louder for Johnny. He was happy to be the center of attention again. He really enjoyed the crowds chanting his alias.

Ivan was silent. Ramone was also silent. They both looked at each other and shook hands, understanding that they had both lost a lot of money betting against the winner. They both started to walk away in the same direction as the other high-ranking criminals took their seats.

“We should follow these clean-up guys,” Rey said.

“Yeah,” Duncan said. They both stood up and followed the cleaners as they dragged Rhett outside. The cleaners threw Rhett out of the warehouse, and he landed next to the fighter from the previous match, who was still unconscious. Romany was not far behind the two policemen.

Johnny was smiling as the people cheered for him. He was so happy that he decided to unmask himself. He did so and revealed his face to everyone there. He raised his hands and yelled triumphantly.

“I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m so loaded!” James shouted excitedly as he looked at the betting results. He stood from the stool he was sitting on and started running around happily. Everyone else in the area glared at him. It seemed that nobody in that area had bet on Johnny except for James. He had just taken all of their money for himself. Nobody was happy about this. He was cheering as he ran around.

Outside

Rey and Duncan went to where Rhett’s unconscious body was. He regained consciousness and was struggling to get himself to stand up. Rhett groaned and slightly raised his head, trying to see where he was. Everything was a blur to him. He could hear a continuous hiss and was still trying to figure out what had happened to him and where he was.

“Rhett Reye,” Rey said. Rhett did not recognize the voice at all. He always imagined it would be Romany’s voice he would hear first after regaining consciousness. This was not the case, apparently, as the voice was definitely not his friend’s.

“Yeah,” he said. He was starting to regain his sight, but could not see the person he was talking to, as he was lying on his belly and the policemen were coming from behind him.

“You need to come with us,” Duncan said. He and Rey helped each other as they lifted Rhett off the ground and held him up, with his arms over his shoulders. He was still pretty dizzy and was shaking his head, trying to rid himself of that sensation.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked.

“SCPD. We’re here on behalf of your uncle, you little runaway,” Rey said.

“My uncle?” Rhett asked. He was shocked. He could not recall having an uncle who would send policemen for him. His confused facial expression had Rey and Duncan confused as well. They looked at each other and could see in each other’s faces that they had a real problem.

Johnny was smiling happily as he put his shirt on, which he had left under a chair. The pants and shoes were not there. His smile waned upon discovering that, but he then shrugged his shoulders, not caring, as he knew that he had just won far more than enough money to have them replaced. James went to him and had four brief cases of money in his hands. He was so excited that he was shaking with an extremely weird smile.

“Dude, I love you, man. I love you so much,” James said.

“I’m glad you can make so much money out of my suffering,” Johnny said sarcastically.

“Hey. You actually enjoy fighting. Don’t try to argue with that. You enjoy fighting and I enjoy making money out of it,” James said, “It’s a win-win thing.”

“Speaking of that, let’s go meet up with Ivan outside,” Johnny said.

“Come on,” James said. Johnny then led the way to the doorway they entered from. There were many people who were still entering the place. James looked around to see if people were watching him. He had already grown fond of the money he had, and would hate for anyone to take it from him without his consent. Johnny was not worried at all. He was completely comfortable in this situation. They got to the bouncers by the passage way. The bouncers stopped them.

“Hey. Exit’s the other side,” the closest one said.

The duo sighed then turned around. They started walking to the door that they could see on the other side. It was the door that Rhett had been thrown out from. Johnny did not seem to realize that and neither did James.

Ivan and Ramone were by Ramone’s car, which was right outside the warehouse. It was a black SUV. One of the back doors was opened for Ramone to enter.

“It was decent fight. Pity the boy did not pick up win,” Ivan said, “We have lost incredible amount of money.” Ramone lighted a cigarette and put it in his mouth before he started smoking it. He inhaled as Ivan spoke to him then exhaled when he was done speaking.

“Yeah. Pity. Can’t have someone lose me that much money after promising so much. Gonna have to take care of him,” Ramone said.

“What you have in mind?” Ivan asked. Ramone whistled. The four men in his car stepped out of the car and stood before Ramone and Ivan. One of them was the man that Rhett had beaten up in the bar: Scarman. They all stood ready to receive orders given by their boss.

I want you to go and kill that kid I told you about. He should be right outside the place, got his ass whooped unconscious, probably into a coma. I don’t want any witnesses,” Ramone said.

“Yes, sir,” Scarman said. The others that were with him were Fidget, Lighty and Tender. Those were, of course, their pseudonyms. They all nodded and started walking towards where Rhett was. They pulled their guns out and walked with them in the open. They were not afraid to be seen with weapons. To them, it was like walking around with a chocolate bar. It was evidently normal for them to do so.

“Yeah, your uncle. He’s a Captain. Captain Russo, you heard of him?” Rey asked Rhett.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Rhett asked. Rey and Duncan looked at each other. They were walking while holding Rhett up. They stopped walking as they began to wonder just what was wrong with this situation. Who else could they be talking to rather than the Captain’s nephew? It could only be him. Why could he not know who his uncle was, even though he is a police Captain? That would be a pretty well-known person in the family.

Romany burst out the door in a hurry, looking for his friend. He looked at Rhett and saw the predicament he was in. Feeling an overwhelmingly high impulse, he ran towards the two policemen and tackled Rey to the ground from behind. All of them fell to the ground. Duncan quickly reached for his gun. He pulled it out and pulled the trigger four ties, intent on shooting Romany. Nothing happened. No bullets launched from the gun. He then remembered that he was stripped of his ammo. He then decided to act without his weapon. He lunged at Romany to punch him. Rhett took the opportunity to stand up and try to run. Rey grabbed Rhett’s foot and make him fall again. Rhett stood up and tried to kick Rey in the face with his loose foot. Rey held it in his other hand and they stayed on the ground as they struggled.

“Who the hell do you think you are? Who?” Duncan asked Romany.

“I’m not talking,” Romany said. Duncan punched Romany in the face. Romany grunted. The back of his head bounced off the ground. Duncan did not ask for anything before tightening his grip on Romany’s neck and slamming his head into the ground again. Romany felt a lot of pain from that. He grunted again. He could not even struggle against Duncan because the grip on his neck was dangerously tight.

“You don’t wanna talk? Fine. We’ll just bring you in for attempted murder and assaulting a police officer,” Duncan said.

“Y-you’re cops?” Romany asked.

The quartet that was sent to kill Rhett was getting ready. They all set their guns when they saw Rhett up ahead, struggling with Rey. Scarman was in front of the others. He was most determined to get the job done. He wanted to kill Rhett most of all. He walked quickly as compared to the others. He could not stand the sight of him and wanted to eradicate him.

“Yeah. And you just pissed us off,” Duncan said. He was dead serious about that. He was very angry at Romany for having made the situation difficult. He tightened his grip and Romany began to struggle for his life.

“Wait. Wait. Wait. I thought you were hired guns,” he said. His voice was hoarse. Duncan had a hard time understanding what he said. He did understand it in the end, though.

“Hired guns? What for?”  he asked.

“Rhett’s in danger. They’re after him. They’re gonna kill him,” Romany explained.

“Who?” Duncan asked.

“Let’s take care of this guy and go. I got some good hones waiting on me to lay the pipe,” Fidget said. The quartet aimed their guns at Rhett, who ended up noticing that. He opened his eyes widely and was shocked. He saw Scarman there and came to think that he was there for vengeance.

Rey saw the quartet approaching them with guns at the ready. He let go of Rhett. Rhett stood up quickly and so did Rey. They could not get themselves to move. They could only wait for what would happen next. Duncan looked up and saw what was happening. He let go of Romany and slowly stood up. Romany stood up as well. They all looked at the people holding up guns and aiming them at them, intent on killing them.

“Come on. Let’s get on with it,” Fidget said. They all aimed their pistols at the four people standing before them, who were clueless as to what was going on and why it was so. Rhett understood right away. He rushed towards them and they started shooting at him and the others. Some of the bullets hit Rhett in the torso. He blocked his face using his forearms. The bullets did not penetrate his skin. The rest of the group ran towards a safe place, which was within the warehouse.

James and Johnny opened the door and went outside. Several shots were fired at them. James blocked the ones meant for his face using the briefcases as Johnny gasped. They reacted quickly to the situation. Johnny pulled James back into the warehouse and closed the door before Rey and the others could get to it.

“What the heck is that all about?” James asked. He was breathing very hard and so was Johnny. They stayed against the door in order to keep the shooters out. They could still hear shooting outside, but would not open the door under any circumstances. It all came as a shock to them.

“Do you think they’re after your money?” Johnny asked.

“I hope not. I don’t wanna have to refuse,” James said.

Rhett got to the killers, who were all focused on shooting him. They were just wasting bullets. None of the bullets pierced his skin. They bounced off him and fell to the ground. He got to Scarman and punched the gun off his hand. Scarman swung at Rhett with his left arm. Rhett ducked, dodging that attack. He kicked Fidget, who stood next to Scarman on his left. Fidget grunted. Rhett back-hand punched Scarman, using his left fist. He then punched Fidget in the face. Fidget dropped his gun. Tender put his gun away and tried to punch Rhett. He was next to Fidget on his left. Rhett blocked the punch then punched Tender in the chest. Tender grunted. Fidget turned Rhett around then punched him in the face. Rhett turned around to face Tender. Tender punched Rhett in the neck. Rhett grunted. He kicked Tender in the tummy. Fidget grabbed Rhett by the hair and pulled him.

“Hey!” Romany shouted angrily. He ran towards the killers, followed by Rey and Duncan. Romany ran towards Lighty, who had run out of bullets. He ducked, dodging Scarman’s fist, which was as big as his face. Romany rushed past Scarman and attacked Lighty. He grabbed Lighty and pushed him back with his left hand as he continuously punched him in the tummy using his right fist. Lighty kicked Rhett in the side of his left knee. Romany grunted. Lighty punched him in the left ribs. Romany grunted again.

Rey and Duncan stood before Scarman. They noticed just how big he was. Scarman was not there for jokes. He was there for business. He was breathing hard as he glared at them. Rey was the first to strike. He punched Scarman in the chest. His fist bounced off the chest. He looked at Duncan. Duncan then kicked Scarman in the belly. Duncan made Scarman react slightly, but it was a good enough reaction for him to actually be sure that he did something that actually hurt. Scarman swung his right arm at Rey and Duncan. Rey ducked, dodging it, and slipped past Scarman. He got to Fidget. He turned Fidget around. Fidget was ready to fight. He immediately punched Rey in the face. Rey grunted. He ducked, dodging the second punch. He kicked Fidget in the tummy. He then kicked Fidget’s foot, making him fall to the ground. Rey then kicked Fidget in the face, knocking him out.

Duncan ducked, dodging a swing from Scarman. He punched Scarman twice in the chest. Scarman kneed him in the tummy. Duncan blocked a swing by Scarman. Duncan then proceeded to punching Scarman in the face. Scarman only became angrier. He growled. Scarman tried two wild, violent swings, which Duncan barely dodged. He was beginning to get scared of the huge man. After dodging the two punches, he uppercut Scarman. Scarman growled even louder and more fiercely than he did before. He struck Duncan in the face using his own. Duncan grunted and put his hand on his nose, which was bleeding. The pain was real. That strike might had actually broken his nose, as he could not take his hands off it. Scarman went for a quick jab. Duncan reacted quickly. He ducked then spun anti-clockwise and tried to kick Scarman. Scarman held his leg and threw Duncan to the ground. Duncan grunted when he landed. He got his hands away from his face to focus on the other parts of his body which were in pain.

Rhett jabbed his fist into Tender’s face. He did those twice more, switching fists each time. He then punched Tender in the face once then three times in the chest area. Tender went for a punch and Rhett punched Tender’s fist. Tender withdrew his fist and grunted. He looked at Rhett with a confused facial expression. Rhett did not give him time to ask himself questions. Rhett kicked Tender in the face then the belly. Tender grunted and became disoriented after the first kick. He bent down after the second kick. Rhett then roundhouse kicked Tender. Tender fell to the ground and was not going to get up any time soon.

Romany was struggling with Lighty. He was holding Lighty back by wrapping his arm around Lighty’s neck from behind. Lighty was putting up a fight but could not escape the grip. He was grunting as he waved his arms around, trying to set himself free. Romany was determined to keep him there. Rhett got to them. He was sweating all over his torso and back. He looked at Lighty angrily. He then punched Lighty in the corner of the mouth, knocking him out. Romany let go of him and he fell to the ground.

“Let’s go,” Rhett said.

“What about the cops? You just gonna leave them like this?” Romany asked.

“They keep talking about an uncle I have who works with them. These guys must be hired guns,” Rhett said. Romany did not believe that Rhett truly meant what he had just said. In any case, he let Rhett do what he wanted. They were already in enough trouble as it was. Perhaps it would be best if they really did just abandon the two policemen. It would not be a felony to do so, as they were not even under arrest. Upon reflecting on all of that, Romany nodded slowly, in approval of the course of action that Rhett had just suggested. They started running towards the person who had ordered this attack.

“Rhett!” Rey shouted. He was punched by Scarman in the face. Rey fell to the ground and was in pain. Scarman tried to stomp on him but he dodged it by rolling over. Scarman tried again and the same thing happened. Rey rolled backwards and ended up standing in a kneeling position and was looking at Scarman. His back cracked a little and he grunted. Scarman ran towards him. Rey lunged at him as well. Scarman caught him in mid-air and threw him to the steel fence, which was just a meter away. Rey bounced off it and fell to the ground. He could not get up.

Scarman looked at Rhett then ran after him. He was determined to get the deed done. This was not just business. It was actually something very personal. Scarman was not going to let Rhett escape without so much as a crippling injury.

“Maybe it’s safe to come out now,” James said.

“Let’s check it out,” Johnny suggested. James opened the door slightly. He and Johnny took a small peek inside. They saw how silent it was and saw that there were only two people there who seemed to be barely conscious. Johnny and James then looked at each other and smiled. They saw that they were home-free.

“Looks like the coast is clear. Come on, let’s move before these guys get up,” James said.

“And before Ivan gets away with my money,” Johnny said. They both ran out the door as quickly as they could. James was struggling to hold the briefcases which were full of money. They ran past Duncan, who did not recognize them at all. They did not recognize him as well. They did not even look at him, much less Rey, who was in a seated position against the fence. He was looking down, feeling weary and tired.

“Look who’s coming to die,” Ramone said to Ivan. They were still standing by the car. Rhett and Romany were running there. They then noticed Ramone aiming a pistol at them. They stopped and raised their hands. Rhett was ready to fight. His surrender was only meant to get him closer to Ramone so that he could kill him.

Scarman got to them. He held them both. He held Rhett by the hair and Romany by the shirt, from behind. He raised them both from the ground and walked with them until he got to Ramone. He then dropped them. Rhett had felt a lot of pain, as Scarman’s huge hands had a really firm grip on a large portion of his hair, and he had pulled it up in order to lift him.

“I told you to kill him. Why the hell are you bringing him to me?” Ramone asked.

“Maybe he thought it best to bring the boy here to see who would be his killer,” Ivan said. Ramone smiled with a bit of satisfaction and almost scoffed. He then looked at Scarman, who was silent and still. Ramone looked into Scarman’s eyes and saw that intent in him. He could sense the bloodlust that Scarman had, and could not help but allow him to do what he wanted.

“You can kill them both. I wouldn’t want to get my hands dirty,” Ramone said.

“With pleasure,” Scarman said. Rhett saw this as the perfect opportunity to strike. He was standing right in front of Ramone. He then looked at Romany, who was very scared of what was about to happen. He did not know that Rhett had actually planned for all of this to happen, or at least improvised a plan of some sort. Rhett quickly punched Ramone in the chest very hard. Ramone choked and started coughing. Rhett back-hand punched Ivan in the face. Ivan turned around in pain. Scarman elbowed Rhett in the top of his head. Rhett grunted and went down on his knees.

James and Johnny got to the scene. They saw Ivan pulling out a knife in order to stab Rhett. They did not see Rhett and Romany, as Scarman was obstructing their view. They approached the scene slowly.

“Ivan,” Johnny called out. Ivan stopped his approach and everyone stopped what they were doing. Rhett recognized that voice and could not believe it. He became angry upon hearing the voice of the one fighter who beat him. He stood up as everyone turned to look at the duo.

Johnny and James had absolutely no idea about what was actually going on. James, though, was feeling uneasy about something. He was very cautious about the gathering. He walked slowly, as compared to Johnny, who was walking casually. He was actually very comfortable there, which was something that could not be said about James. James even held the briefcases tightly, just so he could be sure that nobody would take them from him.

“Ivan” Johnny said, stopping before Ivan. Ivan did not put the knife away. Ramone did not hide his gun. Scarman, Rhett and Romany were just looking at the duo. The first thing Johnny noticed was the knife in Ivan’s hand. He paid no mind to it and proceeded to talking to Ivan as if there was nothing wrong with the scenario.

“Hey, you just left. Thought you were gonna stick around to congratulate me at least,” he stated.

“You lost me a lot of money, Mr. Riker,” Ivan said. Johnny’s happy facial expression died out, along with his very enthusiastic smile. He looked at James, who just pressed his briefcases against his chest.

“How-what? How did I lose you a lot of money? I won,” Johnny said.

“Exactly my point, Mr. Riker. You won, and you lost me a fortune,” Ivan said. It took Johnny some time to put it together but he eventually did on his own. He looked at everyone else, as they were all silent and were looking at him and Ivan.

“You bet against me,” he said.

“Precisely,” was Ivan’s reply. Johnny had a lot of questions to process. There was too much outrage for him to even think about it all. This was all very messed up.

“Why would you hire me if you just wanted me to lose for you?” he asked.

“I had to guarantee myself a loser. You were perfect. Unfortunately, you ended up being a natural-born fighter, like I sensed,” Ivan said. Johnny did not listen to anything Ivan said. He was more focused on one thing, which was just about the most important thing to him.

“So, I don’t get any money? I fought that guy and won, but I don’t get any money?” Johnny asked.

“Better to walk away with victory, other than not walk away,” Ivan said. His tone had turned into one of intimidation. It was not that friendly businessman tone that he had had the whole time. It did not get through to Johnny. He did not care what tone Ivan spoke to him with.

“I don’t want to hear any old sayings. All I want is my money. I didn’t tell you to bet against me,” Johnny said. Ramone laughed at Johnny, who was really losing his patience. He laughed in a very underrating way. He even shook his head slowly as he laughed. James was the scared one. He looked at the people around him and was starting to shiver a little bit, because he felt that they all wanted that money. He felt like the most vulnerable person there. He noticed the gun in Ramone’s hand and gasped silently. He did not want to give himself away as some sort of coward.

“I don’t think you have any idea who you’re getting yourself involved with, kid. Why don’t you just walk away from here before we introduce you to Base District, seeing as you’re not familiar with how things work here,” Ramone said.

“Hey. I didn’t talk to you, and I most certainly did not even look at you, so stay out of this. This is between me and Ivan,” Johnny said. James opened his eyes widely. He could not believe what Johnny was saying and to whom he was saying it. James was too scared to say anything. He lightly shoved Johnny’s arm, in an attempt to get Johnny to look at Ramone’s gun. Johnny shrugged James away.

“This kid’s got balls. Listen, you wanna die here tonight?” Ramone asked.

“Are you asking yourself that question? ‘Cause I can answer it for you,” Johnny remarked. Rhett rolled his eyes to look at Johnny while Romany turned his eyes to look at Johnny. They could not believe that someone in their right mind would actually be saying things like this. James could not believe it as well. He always knew that Johnny loved to fight, but not like this. These were people who would not hesitate to have them killed, yet Johnny showed absolutely no fear or hesitation.

Ramone laughed in a low tone then pointed his gun at Johnny’s face. Johnny inhaled deeply before exhaling. James’ heartrate was rising. He was building up a lot of adrenaline. Johnny did not move. He was petrified. James saw that Ramone was about to pull the trigger and decided to act. He had to do something to help save his best friend from trouble. James quickly lifted the briefcases. Rhett elbowed Scarman in the face. Scarman grunted. Scarman did not feel the pain he felt in the afternoon. This hit was softer in comparison to the others. Scarman hand-chopped Rhett in the side of the neck, knocking him unconscious. Romany turned around hastily and attempted to punch Scarman in the face. Scarman blocked the punch by holding Romany’s fist. He put his other hand at the back of Romany’s head and pulled it. He drove Romany’s fist into his own face, knocking him unconscious. Scarman then threw him aside.

“Put the fighter in the car. We’ll take him somewhere silent,” Ramone said. Johnny had Ivan against the car and was furious. Ivan was as calm as ever. Johnny was holding him down with his left hand. He had raised his right fist and wanted to punch him.

“I want my money. You wanna die, old man? Huh? You wanna die on American soil? Think you’re gonna be buried here too?” Johnny asked. Before he could punch Ivan, his fist was grabbed from behind and he was carried by the fist. It was Igor who was doing this. Igor effortlessly threw Johnny away. Johnny gasped in mid-air. He then fell to the ground on his back.

“Finish him, Igor,” Ivan said, “This Pitbull is of no use to its master.”

“Come on. Let’s go,” Ramone said. Scarman lifted Rhett’s unconscious body and threw it into the trunk like it was nothing. He did not care how the body was positioned after the throw. He did not even look at it. He closed the trunk and went to the driver’s seat in the front. Ramone and Ivan entered the car and sat on the back seats. Johnny and James were backing away from Igor as he walked towards him and smiled a sadistic smile. The duo was shivering in fear as they backed away. Igor was breathing hard as he smiled. He was very anxious to get his hands on the teenager.

“You sure you don’t want to negotiate first?” Johnny asked.

“He doesn’t look like he wants to negotiate,” James said. His voice was very thin, as he did not know who he could show any sort of confidence in this situation. Johnny was not feeling as amped as he usually would be. He did not want to pick a fight with someone like Igor.

Igor yelled happily as he punched James square in the face. James did not see that hit coming. He fell to the ground on his back. Johnny worriedly looked at James. Nothing would be more useful to him than his power of teleportation. Unfortunately, he could not concentrate well enough to completely disappear from where he was and get to a safe place. He still had not fully mastered his power of teleportation. He realized that there was only one way out of this situation: he had to fight.

He regained his fists in an amateurish way to, ready to fight as best he could. He started moving his fists in random circular patterns. He looked at Igor’s face and saw him smiling. That did not do a good job at keeping Johnny’s belief in himself. In fact, this made him lose even more motivation than before.

Igor punched Johnny in the side of the head, which was completely unprotected. Johnny clenched his fists so hard that they cracked. He jabbed at Igor’s face twice. Igor did not even react, due to the hits. He punched Johnny in the same spot again. Johnny grew annoyed. He punched Igor in the tummy. Igor grunted and took a step back. Johnny went for a punch which would have hit Igor in the chest. Igor dodged it then held Johnny and lifted him, with Johnny’s arm still stretched out, and threw him into a car. Johnny bounced off the car and fell to the ground on his belly. Johnny clenched his left fist so hard that it cracked. He then stood up and ran towards Igor. Igor laughed at Johnny and prepared himself for an attack. Johnny jumped and struck Igor in the face using his own. Igor grunted and took a few steps back. Johnny barely landed on his feet then looked at Igor, who was glaring at Johnny. Igor was not playing around anymore.

He tried to punch Johnny using his right fist. Johnny ducked, dodging it. Igor tried punching him using his left fist. Johnny ducked, dodging it. Igor swung his right fist at Johnny. Johnny blocked his face using his left arm. The impact from the hit, which was blocked, sent Johnny flying to his right for half a meter before bouncing off a car. He landed on his feet. Igor went for a punch towards Johnny’s belly. Johnny blocked the punch using both his forearms. That block got his feet off the ground for a second. Igor raised his extremely long leg and attempted to stomp on Johnny’s chest, who was still standing. Johnny blocked his chest using his forearms and fell to the ground. Igor rushed towards him and reached out to grab him. Johnny teleported and appeared standing. Igor gasped. Johnny quickly punched Igor in the nose. Igor grunted and backed away. Johnny teleported then appeared in a drop-kicking position. He managed to drop-kick Igor. Igor still remained standing. Johnny teleported and appeared on the ground. He tripped Igor by swinging his leg. Igor fell to the ground. James quickly stood up and went to where Igor was downed. He kicked Igor in the groin several times before stomping on it. He did not want to stop and seemed to be enjoying himself as he did so. Igor was in so much pain that he could not block any of the attacks made towards him. James was too fast and precise. He hit the groin a total of thirty two times before stopping and breathing hard as he recovered from the activity.

“That’s…what you get…you filthy gangster,” James said. He sounded out of breath. He put his hands on his knees. Johnny looked at James and noticed just how out of shape he was. James took time from his hard breathing to look at Johnny and say, “Not a word.”

Johnny did not say anything. He looked at where Ramone’s car was and saw that it was gone, along with Ivan. He became angry and saw that there was only one thing he could do. He looked at James and did not hide his angry facial expression. James was not on the same page as Johnny. He had no idea what was about to happen.

“James, you stay here. I’m gonna go get Ivan,” Johnny said.

“Are you crazy? You’re not making me wait here on my own with all these lunatics around me,” James said.

“Fine. Get a bus. Go home. We’ll meet up either tomorrow or in school,” Johnny said, He gave James no time to respond and started running. Johnny’s acceleration was so fierce that it shocked James into silence. He did not say a single word and just watched Johnny run in the direction that the car supposedly went in.

“That boy is quite rebellious. He would make good employee,” Ivan stated. He sat in the car and was next to Ramone. Scarman was driving at a moderate speed. He did not drive in haste, as he was not worried about witnesses nor the boy. He was relaxed and had a serious facial expression.

“He’s too insubordinate. Should’ve let Scarman take a shot at him,” Ramone said.

“Insubordination is only a hair out of place. You can comb your hair out of place, same as teaching young boy to be subordinate,” Ivan stated.

Johnny ran extremely fast. His steps were instantaneous and barely made a sound upon impact with the ground. He ran on the road, which was not so busy/ There were cars on it, and barely any pedestrians on the pavements. Johnny would not care if there were any pedestrians anyway. He ran after the car quickly and was catching up with it. He could see the tail-lights up ahead by several meters.

Scarman looked at the rearview mirror and saw that someone was catching up with the car. He could not see who it was exactly. He could only see a dark figure getting closer and closer to the car.

“Come on, slow down, you worthless piece of tin foil. I want my money,” Johnny said.

Rey stood up slowly and shook his head. He was still pretty shaken by the hit he had suffered. It seemed that it was no longer a time which he could pick a fight with just about anyone. It was just not like his glory days anymore. He took a few steps to get to Duncan, who was also getting up slowly. He grunted as he put his hand on his forehead. He could not recall what had just happened.

“Are you okay?” Rey asked. He exhaled after that. He was still in quite a bit of pain and felt like he just had to relieve it somehow. Exhaling was the only way he saw fit to do that. It was like a natural pain-remover.

“I’ll live,” Duncan replied, “The kid?”

He looked around the area and saw that no one was there. There was no sign of any commotion in the area. He then rationalized that they were alone there. “They must’ve taken him,” he said.

“We take these guys in, ask them where their boss likes to execute people. At least we’ll be able to find the kid’s body tomorrow,” Rey said. He said this as he picked Lighty from the ground and started to drag him towards a parked car. Duncan first only watched him do so, not believing what he had just heard. He then went to pick Tender up and started dragging him towards the car as well.

“I’m sorry. Did I just hear you suggesting we don’t get the job done on purpose?” Duncan asked.

“Calm down. I was only joking. I know where to go. I grew up here, remember?” Rey asked. Duncan was relieved to hear that. He did not want to fight about whether they should do their jobs or not. He saw it fit to get the job done, no matter what. That was what they were hired for. Rey got to the car and elbowed the window by the driver’s seat. The alarm started blaring. It was very loud. Duncan was about to panic. He did not want to be caught in this type of situation. Rey opened the door of the car, entered the car and hot-wired it. The alarm stopped blaring.

“Are you crazy? You can’t steal a car here,” Duncan said. He kept his voice down, but really wanted to exclaim that. It was an unbelievable sight to him.

“Actually, I can. This is Base District,” Rey said. He opened a back door and stuffed Lighty in. Duncan did the same to Tender. The two policemen got into the front doors. The criminals were not going to go anywhere. They were regaining consciousness and were beginning to wonder where they were. Rey noticed that. He then handcuffed them to each other while Duncan hand cuffed them to the seats they sat behind. Lighty was hand cuffed to the driver’s seat, which was Rey’s. Tender was hand cuffed to the passenger’s seat, which was Duncan’s.

“We should our ammo back. I’m not leaving it in the warehouse,” Duncan said.

“You got that right. I’ll go get that last guy there,” Rey said.

“What about the car? You can’t leave these guys here alone,” Duncan said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t be gone long,” Rey said. Of course, he did not have to worry about being gone too long. They would have to struggle to un-cuff themselves before they could get away.

Johnny was very close to the car at this point. He was close enough to be able to leap from where he was to the roof of the car, given he just added a boost using his extraordinary leaping ability. He was not tired and could not feel the effects of the running. He just ran as fast as he could and faster.

Scarman looked at the rearview mirror again and recognized the person running after the car. He did not warn the passengers before he put the pedal to the metal. The car went faster. Johnny was only a few feet away from the car before it accelerated. He growled angrily and ran even faster, trying to keep up with the car.

“What’s going on?” Ramone asked.

“Sorry, sir. It’s just…that kid is after us,” Scarman said. Ramone almost gasped. He kept his cool and turned around to see, as well as Ivan. They both saw Johnny, persisting after the car. He was barefoot and in shorts, yet he was running on a dirty road which did not lack broken glass which either came from broken bottles on the pavements or even the roads themselves.

“Some kid you picked up,” Ramone said.

“Okay. We kill him. Such a waste of good fighter,” Ivan said. Ramone lowered the window next to him and had his pistol in his hand. He aimed at Johnny as half of his body was outside. He shot at Johnny twice. One of the bullets barely missed him and he gasped. He did not take the hint and simply continued running. He was not going to give up. He ran even faster, getting closer to the car.

Ramone scoffed in disbelief. He had never met anyone like Johnny before. He even grew to regret wanting to kill him, but still stood by his decision. He aimed at Johnny properly. He smile with a satisfaction and was about to pull the trigger.

Scarman immediately turned the car to the other lane, dodging a large hole on the road. Ramone ended up pulling the trigger, shooting a corner shop’s window. Johnny continued running after the car. He was not going to give up. He got to the hole then continued running after the car. He was not going to give up. He got to the hole then jumped really hard towards the car. The car’s roof window opened up and Ivan popped out of it with a machine gun. He started shooting at Johnny, who was airborne and about to land on the car. Every bullet went to waste, as none of them hit Johnny. He landed on the roof of the car as Ivan went inside. Johnny held on to the edge of the gap left by the open roof window. He held on tightly to the car and tried to get himself in through the window.

Scarman saw that Johnny was on top of the car and was going to do something about it. He turned the car to the lane it was in before the hole on the road. He did it so violently and suddenly that Johnny ended up partly letting go of the car and sliding over to the side of the car. He slid to the side in which Ramone was and was hanging right outside Ramone’s window. Ramone aimed his pistol at Johnny then shot at him. Johnny let go of the car just before Ramone pulled the trigger. The bullet scraped his right shoulder. Johnny fell to the road and rolled on it uncontrollably as the car sped away. Johnny stood on his left knee in a kneeling position and was looking at the car. He decided to try his luck. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

He ended up appearing right in front of the car and opened his eyes. He did not have time to react before the car rammed him. His body went onto the hood then rolled onto the roof before falling to the road once again, behind the car. Scarman knew who he had hit, and continued driving. He would not give himself time to boast over having run over a fifteen-year-old later.

Johnny was not hurt. He grunted as he helped himself up slowly. He was afraid that something might have been broken. None of his fears were confirmed. He was unharmed, except for the graze left from the gunshot on his right shoulder. He looked at it and saw that the little blood visible had already dried up. He then looked at the car once again. He was determined to catch up to it. Nothing would hinder him from getting what he wanted. The car turned left on a corner not too far ahead from where Johnny was. Johnny looked at the top of the two floor building by which the car turned. He then appeared on the roof of the building and started running. He had to keep up with the car until he could find a way of stopping it from moving around so much.

He focused even harder and ended up appearing on the roof of the building across the road from the one he was on prior. He looked down at the car and saw it turn right at the corner of the building he was on. He did not need to do anything other than turn right by the corner of the roof. He stayed by the edge of the roof so that he could keep an eye on the car. There was a dark area under a network of highways visible. The car turned left to go in that direction. There were no buildings on either side of the car. There were only blocks of grass and pavements. The car ventured into the dark area and was parked under an overpass. Everyone left the car, except for Rhett, who was still in the trunk. Scarman went to open the trunk.

Johnny appeared standing on one of the grass blocks. He then crouched, as he could be hidden by the bushes which were bordered by steel fencing. He walked slowly towards the car in his crouching position.

Scarman opened the trunk and pulled Rhett out of it. He did not keep his hands on Rhett. He just pulled him to the point that he fell to the ground. Rhett grunted and tried to pick himself. He did not get a chance to, as Scarman kicked him in the tummy. He felt all of the pain of the kick. His tummy was wet due to the spilt alcohol in the trunk. Many parts of his body were wet, including the left side of his face. He saw that he was in real trouble.

“Come on. Get up. Get up, punk, get up,” Scarman said. Rhett was angry and scared at the same time. He could not do anything with his anger except let it be overcome by his fear. The effects that the lotion had on him wore off. He was wet on many parts of his body. He tried to get up and show a little backbone, but was kicked in the chest and fell.

“Get up! Get your ass up!” Scarman shouted. He raised his fist, ready to punch Rhett in the face. Ramone showed up and raised his right hand, stopping Scarman from proceeding. Ramone then grasped his suit by the chest area and walked towards the two. He looked at Scarman, who began to regain his composure. He then looked at Rhett, who was on the floor and was breathing heavily.

“Well, well, well. You’re a good fighter, Reye. You just weren’t good enough, now, were you?” Ramone asked. Rhett did not say anything. He only cared about getting himself up on his feet and doing whatever it took to get out of the situation alive. He stood up slowly and cautiously, expecting Scarman to hit him, which he did not. Rhett used the car for support as he stood up.

“So, you want to kill me because you bet on me and lost?” Rhett asked.

“Exactly,” Ramone said. He sounded so justified as he said that. He had a cocky look in his face, with his fancy suit and stylish haircut. He looked at Scarman and then at Ivan.

“How does that work?” Rhett asked. He was coughing, trying to get in some good oxygen into his lungs. He could not bear the physical torture he was going through.

“You’ve been quite a talented fighter. I put up a lot of money on you and you lost it tonight. What do you want me to do? Hire you and make you pay me back?” Ramone asked.

“That would’ve been better,” Rhett replied. Johnny was watching all of this from the shadows. He could clearly see that it was his former opponent who was in trouble. He did not care about him. He was looking for Ivan. Ivan was all he wanted there.

“That’s not how I work. I do this to keep amateurs like you away from the ring,” Ramone said. At this point, he had his gun pointed at Rhett. Rhett was too scared to move. He knew that the bullet fired from the gun would most likely pierce his skin. He kept his eyes on the gun, blocking out everything happening around him.

“You won’t find anyone better than me. I rule these streets,” Rhett said. Ramone looked at Scarman and they started laughing. Rhett could not feel anything other than fear due to the gun aimed at him. He had to put up with Ramone and Scarman laughing at him. Though it was not a loud, ongoing laugh, it was still very offensive to Rhett.

“You just got your ass handed to you so hard you bounced off the ceiling,” Ramone said.

“That was a lucky shot,” Rhett murmured. In his mind, that had not happened. It could not have happened. He pictured an entirely different scenario. He did not see himself as an inferior fighter as compared to Johnny.

“This place is where we like to kill people who are more trouble than they’re worth. See, you’re trash, and you’re not worth all that money I lost,” Ramone said.

“Hey, what is taking long? Kill him and let’s go. I have wife at home,” Ivan said. He appeared out of nowhere and was looking impatient. He had a very serious facial expression and the machine gun was still in his hands.

“Shut up, you old hag. I didn’t tell you to leave your ride somewhere else. Now, let me do this in my own pace,” Ramone said. He had lost his patience with Ivan. When he spoke, he still looked at Rhett and kept a very close eye on him with his gun still pointed at him. Rhett was not safe at all. He could not find a way out of this.

“Fine. Do what you want. But don’t come to me when you want to stash the body,” Ivan said.

“Asshole,” Ramone murmured. Just then, Johnny popped out of his hiding place. Everyone looked at him. Ramone aimed his pistol at Johnny, who raised his hands upon seeing that. Scarman got to Rhett before he could try to make a run for it. He grabbed Rhett by the neck and lifted him up, off the ground.

“Just who the hell are you? What the hell do you want?” Ramone asked angrily.

“I’m Johnny Riker, Pitbull, if you saw me fight. I actually don’t have a problem with you. I want my prize money from him,” Johnny said.

“What the hell are you doing here then?” Ramone asked.

Ivan saw who it was and was shocked more than he was angry. There was a lot of concern in his face. He could not believe what he was seeing. “Hey. Where’s Igor?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” Johnny said. Ivan was irritated by that response. He raised the machine gun and aimed it at Johnny. Johnny took a step back and raised his hands higher, expecting to be shot any second.

“Hey. That’s the guy I ran over a couple of minutes ago,” Scarman stated. He also recognized Johnny. He gave him an odd look when he saw that it really was him. He was in disbelief as well.

“Alright, just what the hell are you?” ‘Cause you are not normal,” Ramone said. He even aimed the gun at Johnny, who was unfazed by that. Rhett relaxed a little. He quickly took a step towards Ramone, intent on lunging at him, but then Ramone aimed the gun at him once more.

“He’s drug addict. Let’s waste him,” Ivan said. He was breathing hard. He was worried about what this little hooligan could have done to Igor. Igor was not one to just let his target walk away. Only a severe injury would take him down enough for him to let someone go.

“Put that gun down, You’re not wasting anybody,” Ramone said. He was growing tired of Ivan’s antics and wanted to get his execution done.

“You are the one to give orders. Just because you have bodyguard here to protect you from real bosses,” Ivan said. He was also becoming irritated at Ramone’s lack of respect for him. That was no way of talking to him.

“Ivan!” Ramone yelled. Everyone there was startled. Ramone shouted with a deep and threatening voice that would even scare those who could see it coming. The people around Ramone remained silent and looked at him. They waited for him to speak, which was what he ended up doing.

“We’ll have time for this later,” Ramone concluded.

“Hey, listen, can I just get my money from this guy?” Johnny asked.

“Get down and put your hands on your head. Killing you will just be extra work for nothing. Teenagers. They think they’re so invincible,” Ramone said. Johnny knew that there was no way that he could talk himself out of this situation. He saw that certain death was waiting for him. That did not make him scared, though. He was only more determined to get this done. He looked at Ivan, who was still aiming his gun at him. Johnny then teleported and appeared behind Ivan and wrapped his right arm around Ivan’s neck. Ivan took long to react and pulled his gun’s trigger, shooting nothing but the ground.

Rhett used the momentary distraction to escape Scarman’s grip. Scarman was distracted as he watched the scene. Rhett punched Scarman’s neck. Scarman grunted and put his hand on his neck as he choked. Rhett kneed him in the belly then uppercut him. Ramone reacted quickly and shot Rhett in the left thigh. Rhett grunted and knelt. Ivan’s random shooting ended up having made Ramone take cover.

Scarman grabbed Rhett by the neck and lifted him. He slammed him against the hood of the car then hit him in the belly. Rhett grunted in pain. Scarman then pulled Rhett off the hood and threw him to the ground.

Ivan’s bullets finished. Johnny let go of Ivan. Ivan turned around and hit Johnny in the face using his gun. Johnny kneed Ivan in the belly. Johnny then uppercut Ivan. Ivan fell to the ground. Johnny smiled at this. He was happy to have brought down an old man. He was then shot in the left shoulder by Ramone, who had his pistol in his hand. Johnny fell to the ground due to the force behind the shot.

“God, that hurts,” Johnny said.

Rhett was trying to crawl away from Scarman, who would not stop going after him. Scarman stomped on his back once. Rhett grunted and fell to the ground. He continued to try and crawl away from the situation. Scarman kicked him in the tummy. Rhett grunted and rolled over halfway with his right arm stretched out. He managed to grab hold of a rock the size of a tennis ball and he used it to strike Scarman in the left knee. Scarman grunted and knelt. Rhett used as much strength as he could muster and struck Scarman in the face using the rock in his hand after standing up. Scarman fell to the ground and the rock was broken in half. Rhett looked at Johnny and Ramone, who were several meters away from him. Rhett threw the rock at Ramone and it hit him in the back of the head. Rhett ran towards Ramone and yelled. He jumped at Ramone and knocked him down.

Johnny stood up and looked at what was happening. He watched Rhett and Ramone wrestle on the ground. He felt like he should get involved. It was a deep seated gut feeling, but he did not want to. He then decided to listen to his instincts and run away from the situation. He had already seen enough. He turned around and decided to run away.

His plan would have gone awry, as he could hear police car sirens which were growing louder every second. Everyone else stopped what they were doing. Rhett and Ramone stopped wrestling on the ground. Rhett actually froze in place, trying to figure out why there were police sirens in a place like Base District. Ramone did not care about it. He quickly stood up and ran into the car, the same as Scarman and Ivan.

Johnny watched Ivan get into the car. Ivan was bleeding from his mouth. He looked at Johnny and captured his visible facial features and body build before entering the car. The police sirens were very loud at this point and Johnny could hear the car moving closer to that area. Johnny teleported as Scarman drove away with Ivan and Ramone in the car. Rhett was the only one there. He saw that he had nowhere to go and was in no shape to do so if he tried to. He decided to surrender.

The police car got there and stopped. It was the car that Rey and Duncan had stolen. It was a policeman’s car, by the looks of it. There a removable police light on the roof. The passengers had gotten to see a glimpse of the SUV driving away. Duncan and Rey opened their respective sides’ doors to leave the car. They left the car and went to where Rhett was. The criminals in the car were still hand-cuffed to each other. Lighty was in the middle seat, and his right hand was cuffed to Tender’s while his left hand was cuffed to Fidget’s.

“You’re not so difficult to find, are you?” Rey asked.

“That’s because I’m not trying to hide. How’d you know I was here?” Rhett asked.

“The criminal mind isn’t as complex as people say it is, Mr. Reye. Criminals are just like law-abiding citizens when it comes to tradition. This is where all the trash of the underworld is left for us cops to find,” Rey said. Rhett nodded, agreeing with what Rey had just said. They could not argue about anything, as Rhett was thankful that they showed up when they did. He did have his doubts, though.

“So, what happens now? You gonna take me in?” Rhett asked.

“First, we should get your leg fixed. Then we’re gonna take you in,” Duncan said. Rhett had no choice. He bowed his head and stretched out his arms in order for them to be hand-cuffed. Rey and Duncan were confused. They expected Rhett to put up more of a fight. His peaceful surrender was accepted, nonetheless.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to do that. We used all the cuffs we had,” Rey said.

“You gonna trust me enough to let me in your car un-cuffed?” Rhett asked. Duncan chuckled and so did Rey. They did not see what the whole fuss was about. Duncan went to Rhett and patted him in the back three times. He then gently pulled Rhett towards the car as they opened the back door.

“These guys tried to kill us earlier. I know they weren’t after me or my partner. They were after you. So, if you want, you can kill us on the way to the station and hope your friends don’t take advantage of the situation,” Rey said. Duncan and Rhett got to the car. Rhett had been limping on his way to the car. The pain he felt was unbearable. He could even feel that the bullet was sinking deeper into his flesh. He would not show that he was feeling pain, but he was. Rhett entered the car and sat next to Fidget. Rey closed the door as Duncan went to the driver’s seat. Rey then proceeded to the passenger’s seat in the front. Duncan started the engine and drove away.

Johnny appeared outside the warehouse, where he had left James. He did not see James anywhere after looking around for him. There was no sign of him in that area. He then saw that James followed through with his own plan and went home on his own. Johnny shrugged his shoulders and teleported.

He appeared in Malin, in James’ street. He walked for a few minutes on James’ house’s block and saw no sign of his friend. Even if James did board a bus, it was still too early for him to be back. Johnny saw an elderly couple walking together with a dog on a leash. The man smiled at Johnny. Johnny waved at the man and smiled. The couple was across the street from where Johnny was. After waving at the man, he teleported and appeared in his room. Just as he appeared, he heard a knock on his door.

He was not ready to answer the door. He looked around for any clothes that he could have left lying around, but to no avail. His room was tidy. He went to his closet and opened it. He took one of the shirts inside it hastily. He then heard another knock on the door. He ignored it and removed the shirt he was wearing. He then put on the shirt he had picked out of the closet. After putting it on, he went to the door and opened it. Reynold was already about to go down the stairs when Johnny saw him.

“Hey,” Johnny called out. Reynold stopped in his tracks and turned to look at Johnny. He was very surprised to see him. He was so surprised that it almost seemed that he was afraid.

“Oh. So you really are back,” Reynold said.

“Back? What are you talking about? I never left,” Johnny said. Reynold chuckled in a very lighthearted, sarcastic manner. It seemed that Johnny had no idea what was actually going on. Reynold decided not to give away any surprises.

“Good one. I hope you obviously know that we didn’t decide to go check on you just now,” Reynold said. Johnny remained silent. He did not know what to make of the situation. He was still as puzzled as he could ever be. He walked towards the stairs and Reynold descended to the living room. Johnny descended as well. As his curiosity and fear increased, so did the distance between each step. He began to consider all the consequences he could suffer from Rey. The distance between the steps grew bigger in his mind and he almost tripped on one. This did not hinder his movement down the stairs, which seemed to be automatic. He could not stop himself from going down the stairs. He got to the living room and saw Christine seated on the couch facing the television. She had her arms crossed and was very angry. Johnny could see it in her facial expression as he froze in place. It was as if her look froze him solid.

“Sit,” she said. Her voice came out so suddenly and briefly. He had no choice but to do as he was told. He sat on the couch which Reynold would usually sit on. Reynold was sitting on the couch and was watching a football game as usual. He had no intention of partaking in the conversation between his mother and brother.

“Where were you tonight, Jonathan?” she asked.

He had to think carefully about how he would answer the question. He was not in trouble yet. He could still talk himself out of it. He just had to be careful with what he said, and the answer he would give to this question was the base of it all. “I was in my room,” he said.

“Were you?” she asked. Johnny looked at Reynold and saw that he was not paying any attention at all to what was being said. He was solely focused on the football game that he had put on. He then looked at Christine and did not think through what answer he was gonna give her.

“Yes,” he replied. He said it with false confidence which was not so transparent.

“Yes?” she asked. He confirmed his answer, though his doubt was clearly visible and noticeable. She picked up on it and pretended not to. She planned on using that against him. He cleared his throat silently and slightly bowed his head. He then looked at her again.

“And why didn’t you answer when I called you?” she asked. Knowing all the tricks necessary when lying, Johnny did not hesitate before answering the question. HE spoke confidently and showed that he was puzzled as to why she was asking him that.

“I was sleeping,” was his reply.

“You weren’t in your room. So, where were you sleeping?” she asked.

“I went to the bathroom at some point. That’s probably when you went to check my room,” he said. He spoke with assertiveness that would probably get himself out of trouble in court. His answers were so precise and he did not stutter or hesitate when giving them. They were straight to the point and were not given the same way as excuses would be given in lies.

“Oh. I see. And you went to the bathroom right after I called you out and checked your room?” she asked.

“I was in the bathroom, then. I didn’t hear you,” he said.

“But you weren’t in the bathroom right after that,” she said, “because I used it.” He was backed into a corner. He had nothing else to say to her to get himself out of trouble. Every possible answer he could have given her to every doubt she would point out was used up. There was nothing to do but surrender. He looked down in shame. He was ashamed of himself for not being able to lie his way out of running away from home.

“Jonathan Riker, I can’t believe you have the courage to look at me in the eyes and lie. Look at me,” she said. He did as he was told. She was very upset with him and he could see that. He did not know what else he could do or say. He just had to listen to what she had to say to him and hope it would end with that.

“Your father and I raised you and we both taught you that lying is forbidden in this house. Lying is wrong. It is bad. Lying will get you nothing but trouble. Do you understand, young man?” she asked.

“Yes, mom,” he said.

“I am very disappointed in you, Johnny. You’ve done many things before that I overlooked, but sneaking out at night is unacceptable,” she lectured.

“I’m sorry, mom,” he recited. Whether he knew it or not, it seemed to have an odd effect on Christine. She was actually running out of things to say to him angrily. His agreements and apologies softened her up.

“You’re grounded. Two weeks for sneaking out. Two weeks for lying to me,” she said. He was shocked to hear that. It was not the grounding. It was more about the amount of tie he would be grounded for. He made no effort at all to hide that shocked facial expression from her.

“That’s a month,” he said.

“You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, young man. Just wait until your father hears of this,” she said. He sighed then bowed his head before sitting back in a disappointed way. She remained unmoved. She did not care about what he thought at this point. She had perfectly good reasons for what she was doing.

Little Leicester, Shell City

Little Leicester was a neighborhood in Shell City. It was a residential area and was near the center of the city. The residences were of middle class conditions. There were many tall buildings in that area. It was a very busy area of Shell City, as it was not as dangerous as the other areas. There was a substantial amount of people walking around there in the streets, and a fair amount of traffic. The streets were very clean and clearly illuminated as the district had a low number of criminals due to the high number of policemen who lived in that area. Little Leicester also happened to be where Captain Russo resided. He was waiting outside the building he lived in and was in civilian clothes. He looked at his watch.

Duncan’s car stopped in front of him. Both Rey and Duncan were inside the car. Nobody else was inside it. Duncan switched the engine off and both partners stepped out of the car. They went to stand by the Captain.

“Congratulations, Officer Riker and Detective Mack, on a job well done,” Russo said. He was somewhat happy about their return. His tone was pleased but secretive. Rey heard it all too well and gave Russo an odd look.

“Thanks, Captain,” Rey said. Russo did not respond to that. He was more preoccupied with who was in the car. He looked inside the car, past Rey and Duncan, and did not see anyone there. Rey and Duncan found it odd that he was behaving like that. He was very fidgety, especially with his fingers.

“Sir, is there anything wrong?” Duncan asked. He also noticed that Russo’s behavior was off. It was not the usual kind of behavior exhibited by his Captain.

“Oh, nothing. I just thought that you’d have company. Didn’t you find Rhett?” Russo asked. He just had to ask. He could not wait to see the young man.

“We dropped him off at the hospital. He was shot,” Rey said. He said that, trying to test Russo, by the looks of it. He did not get an overwhelmed reaction. Russo remained in his state. He did not freak out over anything which had been said to him.

“We also caught some of his friends who were trying to kill him. We locked them up at the precinct,” Duncan said. He hoped to hear that they did a good job with that. It was something that he was particularly proud of. He was expecting a long lecture on what a good job he did.

“You left him at the hospital alone? He’s a runaway. How do you figure he won’t just run away as soon as he recovers?” Russo asked. That answer shocked Duncan. He did not gasp, as he tried to understand that this was the Captain’s nephew they were talking about.

“He won’t be recovering any time soon. That bullet is in too deep,” Rey said, “We’re here to take you to him.” Russo calmed down after his heart skipped a beat.

“Oh, of course. I have to go see my nephew,” Russo said. Rey and Duncan looked at each other. Russo was very anxious about it. Duncan entered the driver’s seat. Russo entered the back seat. Rey went to the passenger’s seat in the front. When everyone was settled, Duncan started the engine.

Shell City Metropolitan Hospital

It was a rectangular structure located in the Downtown area of Shell City. It was fourteen floors high and was painted beige on the outside. There was a huge parking lot outside the building, where there were hundreds of cars already parked. The stolen car was one of the cars parked there. The policemen were already in the reception area.

“We’re here for Rhett Reye. He was admitted over half an hour ago. We’re the guys that dropped him off. We’re with his uncle,” Rey said to the female receptionist.

“Oh, yes. I remember him. He should be in his room on the third floor, second door to the right,” she said. She smiled at the trio of men. Rey gave her a knowing look which was very brief. Neither Russo nor Duncan noticed that look as they walked away.

They eventually got to the destination. They stood outside the door and Duncan opened the door slowly. Russo was very anxious about it. He could barely contain himself. He prepared himself psychologically. Duncan fully opened the door and they saw that Rhett was missing, to their surprised. They gasped in shock.

“Where the hell did he go? The receptionist told me he wouldn’t get out,” Rey said.

“One of you should have stayed here and kept an eye on him. You trusted him too much,” Russo said.

“People were trying to kill him. I don’t think that he’d be running off when they’re still on the loose,” Duncan said.

“Precisely why he should be on the run,” Russo said.

“Not in the state he’s in. And we told the hospital staff not to let anyone come to see him if they were not accompanied by either of us,” Rey said.

“That’s just a courtesy. That never works,” Russo countered.

“Cut us some slack, Captain. We did what we could,” Duncan said.

“And it wasn’t good enough. You let him run away again,” Russo said. He went into the room and looked around. The bed was messy. It was clear that Rhett had actually been there that night, but he was not there anymore. He sighed in a disappointed way. “It’s alright. We’ll get him next time. You’re off the case,” he concluded.

“Captain, let me apologize-,”

“There’ll be no need to apologize. I should have involved more experienced people. I’ll get through to it next time. You don’t have to apologize. I do,” Russo said. He walked away. Duncan felt bad for him but did not act upon it. After all, he was interrupted when he tried to apologize. He let Russo walk away in disappointment. Rey just watched him go away. He did not feel anything for Russo. When the Captain was out of auditory range, the two partners started talking.

“You sure it was the right thing to do, letting Rhett go like that?” Duncan asked. He was actually very worried about what the Captain would end up thinking of them now that they let Rhett get away. He did not like having to keep these kinds of secrets from his friends.

Rey looked at the Captain to make sure that he was far enough not to hear anything. He then looked at Duncan. “There’s something I didn’t like about this case. Something’s out of place. That kid didn’t have a clue who Russo was, even after we described him to him,” he explained.

Duncan could see that this was one of Rey’s signature moves when making decisions. He sighed then put his hands on his hips before talking. “Well, let’s face it. Your descriptions focus on unnecessary things like his body build and exact height,” he stated.

Rey did not know whether to take that as an insult or as just a simple statement. He decided to take it as the lesser of two evils. “That’s how we put it on wanted posters. How else would you have me describe him,” he asked.

“Tall, old, Latino-looking, dark hair, serious facial expression. That wouldn’t be too hard to recognize,” Duncan said. He said it like it was something simple, something that could be done very easily.

“Whatever,” Rey concluded.

The Riker household

Rey waved at Duncan as he rode away in the taxi. Rey was standing on the porch. He watched the car until it was out of sight. He then turned around to open the door to the living room. He entered the living room. He saw that Christine was sitting there and was watching television on her own. It had been hours since she spoke to Johnny. It was very late at night. Reynold and Johnny had already gone to their rooms. Rey was surprised to see her there. After closing the door behind him, he went to sit next to her.

“Hey. What are you doing up so late?” he asked.

“I was waiting for you,” she said. He made himself comfortable while sitting next to her. He put his arm over her shoulder and looked at her. He could see that she was uneasy. She was not as comfortable as he would have liked her to be. This actually troubled him, and he began to feel a little uneasy himself.

“Is everything alright?” he asked.

“Oh. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Everything’s alright,” she said. She said so with a fake expression which was more than clear to him. He did not need to be a policeman or a psychologist to see that there was something bothering her.

“Now, honey, for a relationship to work, there has to be trust. And for there to be trust, there must be communication. You have to tell me what’s going on so that we can try to figure things out together,” he said.

“It’s about Johnny,” she said. He did not need to hear anymore. He already knew what it was that she was going to say about him. He had to figure out a way to talk to him and actually get him to listen. He did not even want to sit there and listen to what she had to say. He could practically predict every single word that was going to come out of her mouth. Unfortunately for him, he just had to sit and hear her out. It was for the good of their relationship, as he put it.

Later in Johnny’s room

Johnny was lying in bed and was shirtless. He had a bored facial expression and was looking at a picture of himself standing on the head of the Statue of Liberty when he was twelve years old in his cellphone. The statue’s torch was visible in the background and only he was in the picture. He also had the same hairstyle as he did at that point. He then heard a knock on the door and looked at it. He put his phone away.

“Come in,” he said. Rey opened the door and Johnny noticed the serious facial expression he had. Rey closed the door behind him and went to sit on Johnny’s bed. He looked around the room and saw just how organized it was. The room was very tidy. Nothing was out of place. He then looked at Johnny.

“You gave your mother a huge scare, running off like that,” Rey said.

“I’m sorry. I already told her,” Johnny said.

“Where did you go?” Rey asked. Johnny did not answer him. He remained silent but did not completely turn away from Rey. He looked at the ceiling and used that as a distraction from the conversation. Rey did not say anything about it. He simply sighed, trying to find out just how he could talk to his son.

“You know, when I was your age, I’d sneak out of the house all the time. There was this girl I used to like. She was very pretty. She was just one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen in my life. At that point, I would have done anything to be with her, even sneak out at night. She was attracted to bad boys, you see, and I just so happened to be one of them. Then, one day, while I was on my way to see her, these bikers stopped me. They asked me where I was going. I told them I was going home. They then told me to turn around and go to my own home, and leave the girl alone. Naturally, I felt like I had to stand up to them, because I considered myself invincible. Nobody could lay a hand on a kid from Base District. I told them off, and they did to me what any biker out there would do to a kid from the ghetto. I couldn’t see straight for five hours. From then on, I saw that sneaking out at night can be fun, but it’s too risky. See, these accidents tend to happen when you run away from home,” Rey elaborated.

“That’s a nice story, dad. But, no accident happened with me,” Johnny remarked.

“I suppose that hole in your shoulder is a birthmark I overlooked for all these years. I remember that day with Shane Thompson, but that’s not the same hole. That’s recent. That’s from today,” Rey said. Johnny looked at his shoulder and sighed, feeling caught. No matter what he had tried to do with the hole, blood kept sipping out of it. It was not much blood, as the wound was healing, but it was just enough to be noticed. Being shirtless in his own room betrayed him. It was too late for justifications. Rey knew everything. He had definitely talked to Christine before talking to Johnny.

“You remember that talk we had about becoming a spot light? You should stop your antics now before you actually put yourself in danger. It’s a cruel world out there. These powers you have will get you into trouble if you’re not careful with how you use them,” Rey said.

“Yeah, sure, dad,” Johnny said. He said so coldly. It was as if he was not even listening to Rey, which he actually most probably was not. He was staring at the ceiling throughout the explanation. Rey gave up. He did not see how he could talk to Johnny. He stood up and exhaled. HE stretched his arms and they cracked.

“Glad we could have this talk. Take care of yourself, Johnny,” Rey said. There was a hint of sarcasm in that tone. He went to the door and opened it. He then looked at Johnny and saw that he was completely uninterested in what Rey was doing. He was just staring at the ceiling. Rey walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Johnny received a text message. His phone vibrated. He picked it up and saw that the message was from James. He opened it and read it. The message said, ‘Yo, I made it back home. Waited for you and you didn’t show up. Devastated because they stole my hard-earned cash. It was really messed up. We’re going back there, right?’ Johnny smiled sarcastically when he read the question. He shook his head slowly as he thought of the best way he could give a very polite answer.

“No,” he said. He typed the text message and sent it to his friend. He then put his phone away and  relaxed after exhaling. He looked out his window. The view was obstructed by a tree’s branches and numerous leaves. The tree was in the front yard and was as tall as the house itself.

Base District

Scarman and Ramone went up the stairs of a building. The hallways were dark and spooky. The apartment they were going to was directly accessible by the stairs. The stairs led to the apartment that they were headed to. Ramone knocked on the door of the apartment upon reaching it. The door opened and the bouncer who did so granted passage for Ramone. Ramone went into the apartment while Scarman remained behind with the bouncer that greeted him.

There was music playing in the apartment, which was audible from the stairs. Ramone looked around and saw that the place was of high class quality. There were many attractive ladies walking around who wore revealing clothes. Ramone walked past a bathroom that had its door slightly open. Two ladies were kissing each other there. Ramone made his way to the dining room, where there were many people playing poker. There was a group of five men playing poker while seated on a round table. There was a lot of money on the table, as well as many bags of illegal drugs. Ramone sat on the only empty seat by the table.

“Ramone, man, you’re late. What took you so long?” Razor asked. Razor seemed to be the most dangerous one there. He was an African-American and had several gold teeth. He was very muscular and seemed to be monopolizing the space on the table. His voice was deep and very aggressive. It was clear that his upbringing  was rough and based upon survival of the fittest. He had a cigar in his mouth.

“I ran into a little problem,” Ramone said.

“Don’t tell me that you lost us money betting on amateur fighters again,” Frisky said. Frisky was a Caucasian and spoke with a heavy New-Yorker accent. He wore a hat and a suit. He was a tall, slim man who liked to keep his facial hair visible but not to the point that it covered his face completely. It was just there.

“The fighter was promising,” Ramone stated.

“Hell, they’re always promising. You need to stop throwing our money away like you do anything to get it,” Shorty said. He was accurately named. He was a midget and was a Caucasian. His was not as deep as a man his age. He also spoke with a heavy New-Yorker accent. He wore a black suit and had a beverage with him.

“I work my ass off for this money. Don’t go pointing fingers, half-pipe,” Ramone said.

“Hey, hey, hey. Calm down. Let’s not start calling each other names. We still haven’t finished the game,” Drakov said. He was a mixed race man between a Caucasian and an African-American. He was bald and wore a suit as well. He had no facial hair and was muscular. He did not have any distinctive accent.

“What is this problem you ran into?”Roarke asked. He was an African-American. His voice was just as deep and threatening as Razor’s. He was a chubby man and had a goatee. He wore a suit as well.

“That fighter I bet on. He got away,” Ramone replied.

“Maybe it’s a sign for you to stop killing people who lose fights,” Shorty said.

“We already pay a fortune to that friend of yours Ivan to take care of bodies we dump. We don’t have enough to invest on pointless killings,” Roarke stated.

“That fortune is yours. I use my cut for my deals,” Ramone said.

“Indeed,” Drakov said.

“I can’t believe we still condone this. We should kill this guy so that we can have more money to ourselves and invest in something better,” Shorty said. Ramone grew annoyed with that remark. He took the pistol to his right, which was Drakov’s, and pointed it at Shorty after standing up. As soon as he did that, everyone else in the room aimed their weapons at Ramone. All of the ladies, their male companions and even some children there aimed their guns at Ramone. The poker game stopped and everyone was looking at Ramone. Even Shorty was silently staring at him.

“You want to kill me? Is that what you wanna do? Go on. Do it. Do it and they’ll be mopping you out of here in two minutes,” Shorty said. Ramone was furious and was breathing hard. He did not want to let this go. Shorty had been getting under his skin for a long time. It was about time this happened.

“Put the gun down, Ramone,” Drakov said. Ramone did not put the gun down. He wanted to kill Shorty. He was so ready for it. He aimed at the center of Shorty’s forehead. He wanted to make it a bull’s eye.

“What are you waiting for? Do it,” Shorty insisted. Ramone was very tempted to do it. He was ready to pull the trigger. His fingers were twitching by the trigger and he was sweating. This was a deciding moment for him. He had to choose between life and death. If he chooses life, he would let Shorty live, only to have to listen to more of his nonsense. If he chose death, he would shoot Shorty where he stood, resulting in he himself being shot down by everyone who had their weapon drawn.

“Enough!” exclaimed Razor. Everyone seemed to listen to him. His voice was like a loud thunder which struck everyone’s heart. Ramone lowered his pistol. Everyone else put their guns away and continued doing what they were doing before the confrontation.

“Ramone, Shorty, keep this up and both of you will end up under the bridge. I don’t want anyone in here thinking that they’re above anyone else. Right now, we’re discussing business,” Razor said. Ramone calmed himself down and sat on his chair once more. Drakov snatched the gun from Ramone and put it away. Ramone looked at him. Drakov was unmoved by Ramone’s intimidation. He looked at his cards.

“Where are your men, Ramone?” Friskyasked. He asked this professionally. He did not look at Ramone as he spoke, as he was trying to focus on his cards, trying to see if maybe he could deliver a good enough blow to make the others give up in the least.

Ramone looked around before answering. He did not know how to say it without making a big deal out of it. He had already made a bad enough impression of himself as it was. This would make it worse. “They got themselves arrested,” he said.

“Arrested? In Base District? Ha!” Shorty laughed. He could not believe what he had just heard. That was something very ridiculous to him. He thought that it would have to be some kind of joke or a prank. People being arrested in Base District was something so rare it could not even be thought about by even policemen there.

“Which cop has the backbone to do this?” Drakov asked. He was outraged. He was not like Shorty. To him, this was a matter to be taken seriously. He did not even consider the fact that it could be a lie. It really meant a lot to him.

“Apparently, they’re not from Base District. They operate in the mainland,” Ramone explained. He could already feel that guilty shame. He did a good job at hiding it. He was just glad that they were not going on and on about how he brought this about.

“Outsiders. They always come here looking for trouble,” Frisky said. He shook his head after speaking. He then sat back on his chair and made sure his cards were still hidden.

“What’s the point of paying these cops off if they don’t even know to keep their friends away, right?” Shorty asked. He was beginning to take this matter more seriously than before. He saw that he was not being lied to about it.

“That’s not what you should be asking. The question is: are we gonna do something about these cops who think they have jurisdiction here?” Roarke asked. He was straight to the point. He was the vindictive one of the group. He did not care about anything else except the next step.

“Do we have their names? Faces? Addresses?” Drakov asked. He looked at Ramone as he posed the question. Ramone shook his head slowly.

“We shouldn’t worry about them for now. We’ll just have to make a statement to these mainland police guys,” Razor said. He got Roarke’s attention. Roarke had already started glaring at Ramone. He then looked at Razor after he was done speaking.

“What kind of statement?” Frisky questioned. He asked with a professional look in his face. He was secretly trying to get a look at the other’s cards, trying to shift their focus away from the game.

“We need to empty a vault,” Razor replied. He said it so coolly that it would seem like he was joking. Everyone there knew that he was not one to joke about such things. He was very serious about it. He did not show it, but it was something that had really affected him.

“Like the good old days before these ones here surrendered,” Shorty said.

Ramone looked at Razor with a curious facial expression, wondering if he really meant what he had just said. “Just one?” he asked.

“Just one,” replied Razor, “all we have to do is remind them who they’re dealing with.”

In the streets of Shell City

Rhett was looking out for himself. He had a black hoodie and cap on. He looked around, trying to see if anyone was following him. He did not see anything or anyone suspicious. He was on a pavement on which many people were walking that fine evening. He raised his hoodie over his head and started walking away.

 

[Check out the next part of the story, to be uploaded on Tuesday, 21st November, 2017.]

[Please like my Facebook page: Renegade Books, and follow through on the story by clicking on the links I will post there.]

[Oh, and there will be a new character who will be headlining his own title, coming soon.]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club IV

“Shut up,” he said.

The bus made its progress to the mainland. It took its time getting there, as there were many bus stops along the way. The duo could not wait to get to their destination. There was no such thing as nervousness for them. There was just anticipation. Johnny was not afraid of what could happen there. He was just waiting to get that money for beating someone up. Yet, they both had to wait for a long time before getting there.

That was not the case for Rey and Duncan. They were already at the rendezvous point, which was none other than Base District, Shell City. They were outside an abandoned warehouse which was very active that night. There was a lot of activity there. There were bouncers by the entrances of the warehouse, and lines of hundreds of people willing to get in. The warehouse was in a sector of the city which had a lot of abandoned warehouses. This one was one of the few to be renovated and used for something. It was a very long building, and had a flat roof and ceiling. It was painted grey. There was a lot of graffiti on the walls of the building. It stretched along a very large chunk of land in that sector. Its yard was also very big, and there were steel fences which bordered it. It seemed to be a very organized event. The entrance had four bouncers, and they all looked ready to seriously injure of even kill anyone who stepped out of line. The taxi that Rey and Duncan had taken there was parked across the road from the warehouse, and even there they could hear the music playing inside the warehouse and people cheering. Both policemen were sitting in the taxi and were looking at the warehouse.

“Only out here, I’ve already spotted a dozen violations. And we only just arrived,” Duncan said. In front of the car, some people were visibly exchanging cocaine for large sums of money. Duncan was looking at the prostitutes who were talking to a group of men. The prostitutes looked to be fourteen-year-olds.

Rey was barely hearing what Duncan said. He heard just enough to know what was being talked about. He was focused on the things he was seeing outside. He saw a boy giving money to another boy. Straight after the money exchanged hands, the receiver pulled out a gun and shot the boy who had given him the money. The people around them did not mind the gunshot and just continued doing what they were doing, as if nothing happened. “That’s why they tell us never to come patrol this area. You’ll go mad seeing all this,” he said.

“We should do something. I know it’s out of our jurisdiction, but we have to stop this,” Duncan said. He was also seeing some bizarre things. He saw a child prostitute holding hands with an elderly man, and they went into the man’s car. He flinched at the sight of that.

“And die in the process? These guys don’t care whether you’re a cop or not. You’ll die, they probably won’t even find your body, and things will resume as they are,” Rey said with a scoff.

Duncan rolled his eyes towards Rey, feeling discouraged to do anything because of what Rey had just said. “The painful truth, huh?” he asked.

“I’m afraid so. Can’t do anything about it,” Rey replied.

“Well, then. Let’s just focus on the mission, then,” Duncan said.

“Yeah. Let’s go,” Rey said. He opened the car door and exited the car. Duncan was shocked at how constantly that was done. He opened his door and exited the car as well. Rey was standing by the driver’s window. He gave him the money he owed. The driver accepted the money and went on his way. Rey then started walking towards the warehouse. Duncan quickly called him, getting his attention. Rey turned around to look at him and went to him.

“You just go in? Just like that?” Duncan asked. He sounded pretty rattled about the whole situation. He even looked around as he asked. He made sure he did not raise his voice. He did not want to draw any attention to himself.

“Well, yeah. Nothing to it,” Rey said. He was so calm about it that it began to bother Duncan. He spoke with such a casualty that it could have worked out well for him if he were a Hollywood actor. He faced such a tense situation with easiness.

“We don’t have a ride back,” Duncan said. He was serious about it. He looked around the area and saw that there were no taxis in the area. Getting back home was something he was really afraid of suffering for. Usually, the focus of the mission remained on getting it done, not what would happen afterwards. This was a trend Duncan did not want to fall into.

“We’ll sort that out when it’s time. The kid probably has a plan to go home. We’ll use that one,” Rey said. Duncan almost gasped at that suggestion. He looked around once more and saw so many gangsters there, so many thieves and so many killers.

“’Probably has a plan to go home’? Did you just hear what you said? Rey, this is Base District. We can’t wing it here. And don’t forget, this kid is part of an illegal fight club. Who knows what else he’s into? He could be a part of one of these gangs,” Duncan said.

“You really need to relax. Look, I grew up in Base District. I know how things here work. Well, kind of. I didn’t know they had all sorts of criminal organizations here. It wasn’t this dangerous,” Rey said.

“Exactly. You don’t know what it’s like here anymore,” Duncan said. Rey wanted to laugh at his partner for being so paranoid. He held it in and tried to keep it professional, so that they could put a stop to this right there and then.

“Would you relax? If you had this kind of doubt before we got here, we could have figured it out,” Rey said, “we’ll just wing it.” Duncan sighed. Whether he was okay with it or not, he had no choice but to go along with what Rey was saying. He was very cautious about the area and put his hands in his pockets as they crossed the road. Rey gave the impression that he was going along with Duncan but then turned around. He took a small, black, round device which was the size of a marble from his pocket. It was flat on one side. He attached it to his wallet and smiled. There were men who were smoking marijuana and they were eyeballing the two policemen. They seemed to like the sight of them. There were three of them. Rey looked at them and smiled. He then followed Duncan.

They got to the crowds of people and pushed through them as they were making noise. Rey and Duncan held their guns tightly, as those were the only possessions they had. Rey and Duncan held their guns tightly, as those were the only possessions they had. Duncan could feel that people had reached into his pocket. He was glad that he did not have anything there. They managed to get past the people and got to the bouncers, who remained still. There was a velvet rope which only opened for certain people at intervals. One bouncer operated it. The other bouncers stood by the entrance, as the velvet rope was two meters away.

“Hey, tiny,” Rey said. The bouncer glared at him in response to that. He had a very intimidating facial expression. It looked like he could not speak at all. It looked like he just acted. Duncan was partly intimidated by him. Rey kept his cool. He knew how to act in such situations.

“What do you want?” the bouncer asked.

“A friend of ours told us to give you the code ninety-twenty-one,” Rey said. The bouncer understood the code and nodded. He gave them passage through the velvet rope and signaled the bouncers by the entrance. One of them took the two policemen aside and guided them to a side entrance, which was, in fact, a private entrance for important people. There were a lot of drug lords, heads of crime families, human trafficking managers, pimps and the like.

Duncan was uneasy. He did not like seeing all of these people and not being able to do anything to them. He just wished that he could do something other than just watch them walk by and pretend he cannot arrest them. There was just so much injustice in the world and all because people feared for their lives. He looked around as he piled up his anger within him. He was even starting to breathe hard.

The bouncer left them by the entrance after talking to his colleague there. The bouncer there took over the role of guide. He was one of two bouncers. He let the policemen cut in line and enter before the other people there, who started to complain out loud. They were outraged at the apparent lack of respect that the bouncers had for them. Once inside, Rey smiled, thinking that he was in the clear. He was stopped by another bouncer, along with Duncan. The bouncer proceeded to strip the policemen of their weapons. He emptied the guns then returned them to the owners. He searched them for any other weapons that they could have had and did not find any. He allowed the policemen to proceed.

The warehouse had been transformed into something else entirely. The port side was full of bars and different gambling establishments. The starboard side was more for the spectators. That did not completely rule the port side as a place for spectators as well. There were hundreds of people inside, and they were all watching the fighters beat each other up. The steel cage ring was located in the center of the warehouse, where everyone could see it. There were many monitors hung up on the corners of the warehouse as well. There was a lot going on. The first four rows of seats, closest to the ring, were reserved for the important people who came from the same entrance that Rey and Duncan had come from. The rest of the places were meant for other people, and only some of them had seats, which is why many people were standing. Waiters walked around with trays. The bars were for everyone, but the waiters were reserved for the important people. The ring was slightly above the ground, and one had to go up three steps to enter the ring, which was pentagonal. Its floor was made of concrete.

“So, this is what organized crime looks like, huh?” Duncan asked. He was looking around and tried hard not to be impressed. It was a very difficult task, because what he saw was nothing short of amazing and remarkable.

“This is actually quite organized. Now, how the hell do we find this Matchmaker kid?” Rey asked. The Matchmaker sprung out and went to them. He came from one of the bars and had a big smile on his face. He was very happy.

“Hey. You made it,” he said to them. He walked very happily and was very enthusiastic about seeing them. He even spread out his arms so that he could hug them, but they did not respond to that. They just looked at him. As he got closer to them, he realized that they were not going to hug them, and so lowered his arms subtly, making it look like he was just fooling around.

“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” Rey said. He was not enthusiastic at all. He said it in a low, settled tone. There was a big hint of sarcasm in his words.

“You found us a place to sit?” Duncan questioned. The Matchmaker looked at him and hesitated before answering. The sound of Duncan’s voice just made him feel uneasy. He had to think carefully before answering the question.

“Yeah. Just in the third row. One of the best viewpoints in this joint,” the Matchmaker said. After speaking, he laughed with that initial enthusiasm he had. The policemen did not laugh along with him.

“Take us there, then,” Rey said. At this point, his arms were crossed. He could not be more serious than he was at that moment.

“Right this way,” the Matchmaker said. He walked away from the policemen. He walked towards the ring, through a path between the seats or gaps left by the bystanders until he got to a couple of seats on the third row from the ring. Rey and Duncan had followed him there. The Matchmaker made a gesture at the seats which were meant for them. They both sat on their respective seats.

“You did good, kid. Now, scram,” Rey said. He spoke with a lot of emphasis, especially on that last word. The Matchmaker smiled then went away. Rey and Duncan then watched the fight. The fighters were both Caucasian and were wearing shorts only. They fought each other fiercely. Rey and Duncan could hear the hits which were landed and could feel the impact as well.

There were many blows being traded. The crowds chanted for the fighters to keep going at it. There were some mob bosses who were seated there as well, and they were very silent and serious about the whole matter. They must have been the ones who hired the fighters, or they bet on the fighters. Rey looked at them then looked at Duncan, who was actually watching the fighting. “You know. I think that Matchmaker kid is afraid of you,” he said.

“What makes you say that?” Duncan asked. He did not get his eyes off the ring. He only spoke because it would have been rude to ignore the words spoken to him by his partner.

“Just a hunch,” Rey replied. They stayed silent. So much could have been going on in their minds at the time. It was like they were both sharing the exact same thoughts at the moment. That was what it looked like for a while, but then, they could not hold it in much longer. They both laughed synchronously.

“Should’ve asked that kid where you place your bets. You can make a lot of money in a place like this,” Duncan said. He was actually very interested in what he was seeing. The only thing missing for him was popcorn, as he sat with his hands on his laps, and they were actually craving popcorn.

Rey looked at his hands and noticed that. He was with a facial expression of disgust when he saw that, but hid it well. He then sat back and looked at the fighters. “You could lose some as well. These fights are rigged,” Rey said.

“Really? I thought criminals would honor at least this,” Duncan said.

“They don’t honor anything they can manipulate,” Rey said. They stayed quiet after that and paid more attention to the fight. One of the fighters punched the other so hard that the impact thundered and the crowds screamed, “oh!”

Meanwhile, Rhett was with Romany and they were watching the fight from the opposite side, by a series of chairs reserved for the fighters. Rhett was on the last chair of that section, a position which made it possible for him to be next to Romany. Romany was still worried about Rhett. He knew just how ferocious the fighters could be. It would only be by some miracle that Rhett would end up fighting someone easy to beat.

“These fighters aren’t too bad,” Rhett said. He was looking at them jab at each other. He nodded slowly, trying to see their fighting style and how it worked, as he practiced the moves in his mind.

“Rhett, I know that you’re confident about this, but, please, just think about it before you step in that ring,” Romany pleaded. He had a worried look and a worried tone. He did not want Rhett to step in there at all, but did not know what it would take for Rhett to back out of this fight.

“What is there to think about, huh? How come you were never this scared before?” Rhett asked. Romany sighed and looked down. He was withholding information from Rhett and did not want to relay it. He just wanted Rhett to trust him. He did not answer the question, not feeling the need to.

“You gonna answer me?” Rhett asked. He was very impatient with Romany. He did not want to have these kinds of conversations with him, because they always went in circles. When Romany did not respond to him, he shook his head and looked at the ring.

Romany thought about it for a while. He did not answer Rhett immediately, but was intent on doing it. He looked at Rhett after he shook his head. “Look, Rhett, I’ve been hearing a lot about you in the streets,” he said.

“So? I’ve got a reputation. That’s what I’m aiming for,” Rhett said. The conversation was really boring him. He was so agitated at the moment. Every second that passed got him closer to his fight, which he was so eagerly waiting for. He grew more excited by the second.

“You know who Ramone is?” Romany asked. That question snapped Rhett out of it. He regained himself and looked at Romany. He was displeased to hear that name.

“A very famous crime lord. Came all the way from Chicago. He’s the one who offered me a chance to come here. What about him?” Rhett asked. He could already see where this was going. He was just trying to keep it going, hoping that Romany would just give up on it.

“He’s always looking for new talents. Word on the street is he’s killing everyone who loses his money,” Romany said. He was very explicit about that part. He wanted to raise his voice but knew that it was pointless since Rhett could already hear him. He still had the impulses to do so anyway.

“Look, I finally got some recognition. Stop freaking out over it and be happy. I’m not gonna lose his money,” Rhett explained.

“Yeah, you did. And he bet on you tonight. You already know what happens to the people he bets on that end up losing,” Romany said.

“What happens?” Rhett asked. He was barely interested in what Romany was telling him. He was just focused on the fight, trying to learn from the fighters’ mistakes. Romany saw that Rhett was not paying much attention to him, but still chose to speak, hoping that he would come to his senses with the little information he would obtain.

“They’re never seen or heard from again. Ramone bets  fortunes on fighters,” Romany replied.

“So, he’s a sore loser,” Rhett said. Romany became cautious. He did not want anyone to hear what they were talking about, especially if it was about this crime lord. It was something very dangerous to do. Rhett had absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into.

“I wouldn’t say that out loud if I were you,” Romany said. Rhett sighed. He grew annoyed with all of this talk about risks. He looked at Romany and was visibly angry. Romany understood the look. He felt that he had said enough. He remained silent. Rhett became satisfied. He then looked at the ring and continued watching the fight.

“Did you apply the product?” Romany asked.

“Yeah,” responded Rhett. Romany slowly nodded in approval. There was a lot of fear that was very obvious in his slow, doubtful nodding. He could not wait for the evening to come to an end. He did not like to watch Rhett fight, and now the situation was becoming worse for him.

Johnny and James got to the entrance from which all the regular people entered. They were very excited about it. James had some money in his hands and was counting it. It amounted to twenty dollars. He was ready to get some business done inside.

“Man, we can’t wait in this long line of people. We’re supposed to be VIPs or something,” James said.

“Let’s go check the bouncers,” Johnny said. He pushed past the people in the line. He even aggressively shoved some aside when he saw fit. James had his hands in his pockets and was whistling as he followed Johnny closely through the gaps he was making. He felt very comfortable around all of these dangerous-looking people. As he walked, he saw one giving him an odd look. He then simulated a lunge and the person backed away, pushing people behind him. James laughed then continued whistling as he followed Johnny. They got to the bouncers and stood before the one by the velvet rope.

“Excuse me. Ivan sent me here,” Johnny said.

“Ivan who?” the bouncer asked.

“I don’t know. He just said that he’s Ivan. He’s some Russian guy,” Johnny said. The bouncer remained silent. It looked as though he was thinking about it, trying to figure out which Ivan it was. Johnny waited patiently for the bouncer to speak. James looked around as he whistled. Johnny eventually got tired of waiting for a response. He found it very disrespectful, what the bouncer was doing, and this actually was infuriating him. The only thing that kept him calm was the knowledge that if he were to lash out against the bouncer, it would be the end of him.

“You gonna let me in or what? I’ve got a fight coming up,” he said.

“Tell someone who cares,” the bouncer said. Johnny was infuriated by that last statement. He clenched his fists very hard and was ready to lose all self-control. He glared at the bouncer as he tried to figure out where and how to hit him first.

“Is that any way to talk to the Pitbull? Do you have any idea what this guy is capable of?” James asked. The bouncer heard the question and gave his attention to James, ignoring Johnny. Johnny was still furious, though he was calming himself down as James looked to be handling the situation.

“This guy can’t be the Pitbull. Now, get the hell outta here before I shoot you out,” the bouncer said.

“Sh-shoot us out? Hell, where’s your boss? This your first day on the job? Pitbull’s Mexican! He’s always got his mask on. Nobody knows who he is except me,” James said.

“This guy doesn’t even look Mexican,” the bouncer said.

“O-oh my God. I can’t believe you just said that. Pitbull, tell him you’re Mexican,” James said. Johnny did not know how to do it. He had never done something like this and could not have ever imagined finding himself in this situation. He looked at James clueless, just hoping for the best.

“Jo’, man, ‘sup. ‘Joo’ think I not Mexican? Why you not believe me ‘caybron’? Uno, tre, quarto, ese. Tu madre está chupando mi pendejo ayer. ‘Jo’ hablo Español en los circulos que se parecen a las plazas en la piscine por la puesta de sol,” Johnny said. Basically, that speech means, “yo, man, what’s up? You think I’m not Mexican? Why don’t you believe me, bastard? One, three, four, dude. Your mother is sucking my dickhead yesterday. I speak Spanish in circles that look like squares in the swimming pool by the sunset.” He said this in the most authentic, stereotypical Mexican accent he could come up with there. He even added stereotypical Mexican gangster mannerisms. James only rolled his eyes to look at Johnny. He could not believe what he had just heard, and it was very hard to hide his surprised facial expression. The bouncer was just glaring at Johnny, who apparently had no idea what he had just said. James then looked at the bouncer.

“Well. You heard the man. Let him through before he rips you in half,” James said. The bouncer was little less than convinced. Nevertheless, he decided to let them through, just to test them. He made way for them, past the velvet rope. The duo got to the bouncers by the entrance.

“What do you want?” one of them asked.

“He says he’s a fighter. Calls himself the Pitbull, sent by Ivan,” the bouncer by the ropes said. The other bouncers laughed at first. They were laughing at Johnny, finding it hard to believe that a guy as small as him could actually consider himself a good enough fighter to join this club. Johnny only glared at them. He felt very disrespected. He wanted to teleport them to the top of Mount Everest and just abandon them there, but it would be a waste of energy. That was energy he would have much rather used to fight his opponent.

One of the bouncers in that trio seemed to recognize Johnny. He looked at him closely as he stroked his beardless chin. “Ivan. The Russian. He told me you’d be coming. Hell, I didn’t think you’d be a kid,” he said.

“Hey, he may look like a kid, but he’s a beast. He’s gonna pulverize his opponent so bad that his pain is gonna hospitalize everyone in this warehouse. You ever see a guy get punched in the gut so hard that his eyes fly out? Well, you’re gonna see his nose, tongue and everything fall out,” James said.

“Can you believe this guy? Do you have any idea who comes to fight in these things?” the second bouncer asked. He was laughing at the whole ordeal. He was mostly laughing at the hype that James was bringing up. He sounded like he was doing marketing.

“They won’t last long enough for us to care. Now, where’s the combatants’ locker room?” James asked. One of the bouncers (the same one who guided Rey and Duncan) stepped forward and offered to guide them to the combatants’ entrance. He was ahead of them as he guided them. James and Johnny were unusually silent. They followed the bouncer, ready for any mishap that would take place. Anything could happen there. They heard stories about Base District. It was not a place of wonders. It was among the top ten most dangerous districts in the country.

The bouncer stopped by the entrance and went to talk to the one who would let the duo in. That one nodded then signaled the teens to approach him. James and Johnny then approached him. They intended to walk past him but then he stopped them from doing so. They looked at him and wondered why he was doing this.

“You say you’re the Pitbull, called in by Ivan? Fine. Then, who’s this punk?” the bouncer asked. His voice was deep. He was an African-American man. He looked at James menacingly.

That look did not have an impact on James at all. He was touched by what the bouncer had said about him, not the way he looked at him. “Okay, firstly, I’m not a punk, and that’s surely no way of showing people that you’re a tough guy. That’s just rude. Secondly, I’m his manager,” he said.

“You talk a lot for a small fry. Who the hell needs a manager here?” the bouncer asked. James heard that loud and clear. It was still not enough to make him quit. He persisted with his cause.

“Apparently, you didn’t get the memo: the Pitbull does his own thing. He doesn’t follow suit with anyone. If he wants a manager, he gets a manager, and here I am,” he insisted.

“This little guy needs a manager? What did you do? Did you run away from home or something? [Laughs.] This ain’t the only way you can make money in the streets,” the bouncer said.

“Would you stop wasting my time with all this pointless small talk and let me in so I can go destroy whoever comes my way?” Johnny asked angrily.

“Woah, little man. I was only joking. [Laughs.] Hope you win,” the bouncer said. After he was done speaking, he laughed again. He then let them go past him. They entered the warehouse and saw how fancy and well-organized it was. They were amazed.

“Unbelievable,” Johnny said.

“Dude, America really is the land of opportunity,” James said. They looked at all the wonders there as they approached the searching area where they were abruptly stopped. The bouncers then searched them for any weapon or explosive. They found a butter knife in James right sock. Johnny looked at him and could not believe what he just saw. James felt completely justified.

“What? If I brought a sharper knife, I could’ve gotten cut,” he said.

“You’re an idiot,” Johnny said as he shook his head. The bouncers let them through and then they had access to the whole complex. It was more lively than most of the parties they had attended. There was very loud music playing. James felt comfortable as he stared at the prostitutes, who were looking very attractive in their short, revealing clothing. They were everywhere and were looking for clients.

“Now, how do we find Ivan?” Johnny asked. He asked that question as he stroked his chin while looking at a young, very attractive prostitute. She was smiling at him. He looked at her body in that silver, shining dress that revealed her whole back and her legs. She wore high heels which were black. She also had some jewelry, some very expensive ear rings and a gold necklace which was visible from far. He smiled at her and gave her an impressed look.

“Right behind you Mr. Riker,” Ivan said. He startled Johnny, who gasped and turned around to look at him. Iva was accompanied by a taller, extremely muscular and dangerous-looking man. Johnny looked up at the man, who stood still and had a blank stare. He was Ivan’s body guard. His name was Igor.

“Ivan. These guys at the entrance were giving me trouble,” Johnny said. He was reporting it but not with a victimized facial expression. He was actually upset about it, in an angry way.

“Don’t worry about them. They do that to all newcomers and unfamiliar faces,” Ivan said. He was sounding very charming there. He smiled at Johnny as he spoke. Johnny was neutral about it. He just rolled his eyes, following Ivan’s movements.

“Oh. Right. I’m the new guy,” Johnny said. He said that with a bored facial expression. He was very unenthusiastic about it at that point.

“So, you ready for first fight?” Ivan asked. That question seemed to spark Johnny’s interest and enthusiasm back up, as he sprung to life to answer it.

“Oh, I’m ready. Way more than ready,” Johnny said. He kept his calm while saying this, but was actually very eager to go and fight.

“Good. Good. I’ll have you know that you will make me a very rich man tonight,” Ivan said. He wanted to shake hands with Johnny as he pulled out another one of his smiles. Johnny did not expose his hand for a handshake, as he did not notice Ivan’s.

“Oh, I hope so. That means that I’ll be richer,” Johnny said. He laughed right after he said that. Ivan also laughed, but not as much. Johnny’s laugh died out and he turned to Igor to see if he was laughing. He did not even flinch.  He was just staring at Johnny. Johnny’s laugh died out completely.

“Your match is right after this one. You should be getting ready,” Ivan said. Johnny heard that clearly. He looked at the fighters in the ring and saw how intense the fighting was. So many different kinds of punches and kicks were being seen and heard, at an alarmingly fast pace. This made him scared. Perhaps he did not really have what it takes to do this kind of thing. He looked at a man who was selling masks while walking around then looked at Ivan.

He then looked at the mask guy again and smiled. It seemed that he had an idea. He then turned to look at Ivan. “Don’t worry. I got this,” he said.

“Hey. Where do we place our bets?” James asked.

“Get to the bar. One of the bartenders will take down your name and the amount. You collect your money after the respective fight,” Ivan explained. James smiled. He was happy to hear that. He looked at Johnny and nodded, silently thanking him for this opportunity.

Johnny was seeing the moves being executed in the ring. It just got him to thinking that maybe this was as foolish a move as he thought it would be. He began to have those little seeds of doubt everyone would get in this kind of situation. “Dude, maybe you should go for the small-timers,” he said.

“Nah, man. You’re the Pitbull. You’re gonna win. I’ll risk it,” James said. Johnny shook his head slowly. He was happy to see that James really had confidence in him. James then went to the bar and called the bartender.

“Very impressive, your friend. He has absolutely no notion of what he does or says. Neither do you,” Ivan said. He was confident about the words he had chosen to say. Johnny looked around the place, marveling at the whole event.

“Common thing we have. And just so you know, I know exactly what I say and do,” Johnny said.

“Well, we’ll see how you fare against your opponent tonight,” Ivan said. They looked at the ring and saw the fight in its awesome progression. It was incredible. The fighters had been going at it for such a long time and did not seem to get tired at all. One of the fighters gained dominance and ended up on top of the other, where he delivered five punches before the audience heard something like a bone breaking. The downed fighter was unconscious.

“We have a winner. The finisher wins it for the crowds,” the announcer said on the microphone. The victorious fighter walked out of the ring without even celebrating his hard-earned victory. Cleaners came to pick the unconscious fighter and dragged him out of the ring. They dragged him outside and threw him there as if he were a bag of trash. The cleaners then went back inside.

“Next up, we have Rhett Reye versus the Pitbull! This is an interesting fight, ladies and gents! Place your bets now while the fighters get ready,” the announcer said. Many people went to the bartenders. There was a lot of ruckus there, as James tried to get through the people. He had already placed his bet. He was just making space for the people, and was trying to find space for him to sit which was right there.

“Doesn’t feel like this guy was hiding. He was too easy to find,” Rey said. He was relaxed. It seemed that he had actually enjoyed the fight, as he had a somewhat satisfied look on his face. He nodded slowly before talking.

“Well, let’s hope he’s easy to bring home. I’m not ready to drag an unconscious guy around and surprise him with a family reunion,” Duncan said.

“Unless it’s us that have to beat him unconscious,” Rey concluded.

“Right,” confirmed Duncan. He was solely focused on the fight as well. Right then, he was looking at the announcer, who was still standing in the ring. He was waiting for Rhett to show up.

“Rhett stood from his seat and looked around for his opponent. He did not see anyone approaching the ring and shrugged his shoulders. He then stepped into the ring. Romany wanted to say something to him but did not get the chance to, as Rhett was too focused on fighting. He removed his top and threw it to Romany through the door. He did the same with his shoes. He was topless, barefooted and in shorts.

“Rhett Reye, ladies and gents, as you know him. Will the Pitbull make his way to the ring, please?” the announcer asked. He walked around the ring, owning it as he spoke. He wanted to show that he was very confident in there. He also took the time to search for this supposed Pitbull that was nowhere to be seen. He looked at the seats on which the fighters would sit on, and saw no one there.

“It is time,” Ivan said to Johnny. Johnny looked at the ring once more, and then looked at the guy who was selling the masks. Wearing one did not seem like a bad idea. It would actually be a good idea to hide his identity. The mystery would only make him more popular. He smiled and nodded before calling up the salesman.

Ivan sat on his spot, which was in between different crime lords. All of them wore suits, looking formal. They were all ready to watch the massacre that was about to take place. The crime lord to his right was Ramone. He was very interested in the match. He did not even notice that Ivan sat next to him, or so it would seem. It was a while before he revealed that he knew that Ivan was there.

“Ivan. I hear this Pitbull of yours is quite an animal,” he said. He spoke very professionally. He had a glass of wine with him. He sipped on the wine after talking, waiting for Ivan to respond.

“Oh, yes. Definitely. Though, I don’t think he will be in best form tonight. I had to bet against him, unfortunately, but, not to worry, you will receive your money by the end of the evening,” Ivan said.

Ramone cleared his throat after hearing this, and that coincided with him having just finished his sip of the wine. “Maybe you should’ve called someone else. How do we know you didn’t tell him to take a dive?” he asked.

“Oh, you will know, old comrade. You will know,” Ivan affirmed. He nodded slowly as he said that. He then looked at a waiter and signaled him to get to them. The waiter nodded respectfully and walked towards them, but was a bit distant.

“Six-thousand bucks says the Pitbull’s gonna win,” James said to another bartender. He was very excited about the bet. The bartender gave him a piece of paper and a pen. James got it and wrote on it then returned it to the bartender, along with the pen. He looked at the ring and smiled a very devious smile.

“Pitbull, please come to the ring,” the announcer called out.

Rhett was very impatient about it. He was really jittery. He was jumping and getting his body ready for the fight. He even threw a few jabs, just to get warmed up well enough. He really wanted to fight someone, and was really hoping that it would be right there and then. But, seeing that his opponent was not showing up, it was beginning to bother him. He began to lose hope, and this only made him more furious. The crowds waited for Johnny for some time before losing their patience. Many of them started booing.

“Where’s this fighter of yours?” Ramone asked, “You sure he shouldn’t be called the chicken?”

“He should be here. I met him just now,” Ivan said. He was also confused about the whole thing. He looked around to try and find Johnny, but did not see him anywhere in that warehouse. What could have happened to him?

“This is the last call for the Pitbull. You will be disqualified if you do not show up in the next ten seconds, and all the bets will be annulled,” the announcer said. He wiped sweat off his forehead after saying that. He was also breathing hard, but only Rhett could hear that. Rhett was standing behind the announcer. He raised an eyebrow as he gave the announcer a weird look.

“Come on, Johnny. Where are you?” James asked. He was looking at the ring, anxiously. He was sitting on a stool by one of the bars, and had a good view of the ring. He had his elbows on the bar table, and his back was turned to the bartender. The bartender pulled his sleeve and he turned around. The bartender gave him the drink he had ordered. James thanked the bartender and smiled at him. He began to drink the beverage.

“Well, it might be a shorter night than expected,” Duncan suggested. He sounded glad that that was what it seemed to be. He did not want to be there anymore. What he saw was disturbing enough.

“Hold on! Hold on! I’m right here!” Johnny shouted as he ran towards the ring. He was struggling to put the mask on. It was already on his face, but he was finding it hard to put it in a good enough position. He got to the steps which led into the ring and followed their path until he entered the ring. The announcer left the ring and closed the door.

“Ladies and gents, the famous Pitbull!” the announcer shouted. His voice was greatly amplified by when it came from the speakers, though the sound quality was nearly perfect. Some people cheered, including James, while most people booed him. They disapproved of such a fighter’s physique. Johnny was shirtless and barefoot. He was wearing swim-shorts. It was clear that he was a fifteen year old. Everyone could see it. He had an average body build for someone his age. The size of his upper body had returned to normal, as it had been a very long time since he worked on the push-ups and sit-ups back home.

The reaction he was getting was not what he was expecting at all. It was disheartening to him to know that people were really underestimating him like this. His heart was beginning to beat fast as he looked at his opponent. People were cheering for his opponent and he could hear it all. He heard the crowd chanting ‘Rhett Reye’ over and over. He noticed that Rhett really had that physique that Johnny wanted to show off to the spectators. He also noticed that Rhett was comfortable. He was not intimidated by Johnny at all.

“You? You’re the Pitbull? Is this some kind of joke?” Rhett asked as he approached Johnny.

“The only joke I see here is you,” Johnny said. Rhett stopped approaching Johnny. He was actually touched by that comment. It was not taken as trash-talking. He took it as an insult. Johnny psychologically prepared himself for a fight. He took two steps back and made a stance, ready to fight.

“Fighters, you may begin,” the announcer said. He closed the door and walked away, not caring whether they killed each other or not. He only cared about the money that he would get at the end of the night

“You can quit right now if you want. You don’t have to do this,” Rhett said. He was relaxed as he spoke. He did not even have his guard up. He approached Johnny slowly. Johnny’s heart raced. He thought that it would be easier than this. It was actually not just a simple fight. This was a very important fight, and he could not lose it.

“Not on your life. I can handle you,” Johnny said. He was initially hesitant about his ability to actually win a fight like this. All he had that would hide his shame was his mask. It was colourful, and was covered in yellow in the forehead area of the mask. It covered his whole face, and had gaps for the eyes and the mouth. The rest was covered, along with the back of his head. With the words he spoke, he regained his courage. Adrenaline started to pump in his systems. His fists were ready to make contact with someone else’s face. Rhett just laughed at Johnny. There was no way that he could actually think that he stood a chance like this.

“Is that so?” he asked. He looked at Johnny and stopped himself from laughing. He still wanted to, though, but tried to get as serious as he could to counter this threat that was not really a big issue to him.

“Pretty much,” was Johnny’s reply. He was relaxed about it. He was not agitated or anything. He was trying to get himself to stand like a fighter. The best stance he could pull off was one he ripped off from a video game.

“Look at your stance. I can tell you’ve never been in a real fight in your life,” Rhett said to Johnny. He laughed at him a little bit. This laugh sounded forced, though. It was unusually loud and required a lot of fake movements due to laughter.

“I’ve been in fights that would keep you up all night,” Johnny said, “yeah.”

Rhett did not speak, to respond. He kicked Johnny’s right foot. Johnny fell to the floor, flat on his belly. The kick was very swift and came out of nowhere. Only the most trained professionals would be able to see it coming if they kept a really close eye on the foot.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted synchronously. James did the same. He even flinched, as he could feel the pain. He even had to hiss a little, showing his understanding of what had just happened.

“It’s okay, man! That was only one hit! Get up and ice this guy!” James shouted.

Johnny grunted as he stood up readily. He did not get his eyes off Rhett, feeling that he might go for another attack. He was standing and looking at Rhett as his rage was building up.

“Did you see that?” Rhett asked.

“I wasn’t ready,” Johnny stated.

“Let’s try again,” Rhett said. He raised his fists and made a stance. He then started hopping around in the stance. Johnny decided to do the same thing, seeing as he did not actually know how to fight. They hopped around in circles as they looked into each other’s eyes at arm’s length from each other, waiting for the other to make a move.

“That’s it, man! Mirror his movements! Intimidate him like that!” James shouted. The fight had the spectators’ full attention. The silence there was growing by the second. This was just the beginning of the fight. Rhett then punched Johnny in the face.

“Oh!” the spectators shouted. Johnny lost balance and ended up bumping into the cage, face-first. He held onto the fencing for support. Rhett then kicked him in the back. Johnny bumped into the cage once again and quickly turned around to face Rhett. Rhett punched him in the face again. The force behind that punch made Johnny fall to the floor on his hands and knees. Rhett punched him once more. Johnny ended up in a seated position against the cage. Rhett punched him in the face three times using his left fist.

“Come on, Johnny! You got this!” James shouted. He nearly jumped off his seat as he said that. He regained composure and started to sip on his drink.

Johnny was trying to crawl, as Rhett had stopped hitting him. The spectators were eagerly watching. They had continuously shouted, “oh!” after each hit. Rhett then kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny fell to the ground.

“This kid’s done for,” Duncan said.

“He isn’t putting up a good ass-whooping,” Rey said.

“Still wanna keep doing this? Huh?” Rhett asked. He could not see behind the mask, but Johnny was actually getting angrier with every hit. He was breathing hard, not due to being tired or getting beaten up. He was actually very angry. He did not reply to the question that Rhett had posed. He stood up slowly and was breathing harder.

“That’s right! Get up and beat the stuffing out of this guy!” James shouted.

Rhett did not give it time. He punched Johnny in the left ribs then the right ribs. He swung his right fist, hitting Johnny in the face. Johnny bounced off the cage. Rhett kneed him in the tummy. Johnny bent over. Rhett elbowed him in the back but he did not fall or grunt due to pain from the hit. Rhett did it again and the lack of result was still there. Rhett tried a third time and the same thing happened.

Johnny yelled then struck his head against Rhett’s belly. Rhett grunted and jumped backward, gaining some distance between himself and Johnny. Johnny did not give him time to recuperate. He lunged at Rhett quickly and used his head once again to hit Rhett in the tummy. In that position, he managed to push Rhett to the cage wall. Rhett grunted. Johnny raised his head quickly and the back of his head hit Rhett in the chin in the form of an uppercut.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted. Johnny hit Rhett in the face using his forehead. Johnny put his hands on Rhett’s shoulders then kneed him in the tummy four times. Johnny then threw Rhett to the ground. Rhett fell on his tummy. Johnny stopped attacking and began to calm down.

Romany was worried about Rhett. He could never get used to Rhett’s fighting. He watched his dear friend suffer heavy blows and he could not do anything about it at all. It was all a compilation of events which caused a dark time for him. These were images that haunted him at night. Rhett was undefeated, of course, but this streak was going to be broken at some point, and every time he stepped into that ring, Romany would hope with all of his heart that Rhett would come out victorious.

Rhett stood up slowly and Johnny gave him time to do so. Rhett wiped his mouth, thinking that there was blood dripping from it. There was no blood. There were no signs of any hits he had suffered. Johnny found it odd. He lowered his guard and looked at Rhett with an estranged facial expression. Rhett realized that. He smiled at Johnny, as he was happy to see that reaction.

“You should give up now while you still have a chance, ‘cause I ain’t gonna hold back anymore,” Rhett said.

“I didn’t tell you to hold back. And you saying that doesn’t intimidate me at all. Now, come closer so that I can learn some agriculture while I plant my fist in your face,” Johnny said.

Rhett almost smiled at that. He kept it to himself and just scoffed. He then shook his head slowly, almost unnoticeably. “You’re a talker. And you sure can take a punch. I’m gonna enjoy beating you unconscious,” he said.

“You got him on the ropes, man!” James shouted.

Rhett was impatient and so was Johnny. They stared at each other with angry facial expressions then ran towards each other. At arm’s length away from each other, Rhett tried to kick Johnny’s face with his right foot. Johnny blocked it with his left arm. Rhett tried to punch Johnny’s gut using his left fist. Johnny blocked that. Rhett jumped and tried to elbow Johnny’s left shoulder. Johnny caught Rhett’s elbow in his left hand then punched Rhett in the chest. Rhett grunted and took two steps back. Rhett jumped and roundhouse-kicked Johnny. Johnny turned around and went to the cage wall. Rhett ran towards him and jumped, ready to kick him in the back. Johnny moved away and Rhett kicked the cage. Johnny quickly performed an instant, short, zero-g and tripped Rhett by kicking the ankle that was on the floor. Rhett fell to the floor on his back as Johnny quickly stood up.

“Yeah, man! Hand it to him!” James shouted.

“Looks like he’s got a little fight in him,” Duncan said. Rey was not so focused on watching the match as he was on observing the Pitbull’s movements. He found them to be very familiar. He sat forward as he observed the movements.

“Yeah. Sure does,” he said.

Rhett growled angrily and stood up. The crowds were starting to cheer for Johnny and he could feel it. He was becoming more confident in his ability to win this fight. He really could win with all the powers at his disposal. Rhett went for Johnny again. Johnny could see him coming slowly. He could see him moving slowly enough for him to be able to dodge everything he would try.

Rhett went for a punch. Johnny dodged it, as it was meant for his face. Rhett’s fist rushed past the side of Johnny’s face. Rhett then elbowed Johnny in the side of the face. Johnny grunted. Rhett then hit him in the face using his forearm. Johnny moved aside due to the impact. Johnny yelled angrily then ran towards Rhett. Rhett punched him and he fell on his back. Rhett moved aside then backed away from Johnny. Johnny stood up then growled angrily. He ran towards Rhett again. Rhett punched him and he fell to the ground again. Johnny would still not give up. He stood up and glared at Rhett. He ran towards Rhett from the ground up. Rhett jumped and kicked Johnny in the chest with a lot of power behind his foot. Johnny fell to the floor and slid along it until his head bumped into the steel fencing.

“Oh, that’s one to remember,” James said.

Rhett was felling all too confident about this. He walked towards Johnny, who was lying flat on his back. Rhett was disappointed to see that Johnny was still conscious and able to move. He stood up slowly, not because he was hurt. He wanted there to be suspense, as he enjoyed the spectacle. He laughed in a low tone at Rhett, who was shocked, to say the least.

“Wow, this guy can take a beating,” Duncan said. He was very impressed with what he was seeing. He even applauded Johnny. He was smiling happily, as if he were actually happy to be there, watching people beat each other senseless and other people profiting from this.

“This fighter of yours is resilient. What’s his name?” Ramone asked Ivan.

“His name is Pitbull. That is all to it,” Ivan replied. He was happy that Johnny was representing him well. He even smiled because he could see that Ramone had noticed it as well.

Rhett was really losing his patience with Johnny. He walked hastily towards Johnny. Johnny punched Rhett in the face really hard. Even the spectators gasped due to the impact. Rhett was breathing hard. He was not bleeding; he did not have a bruise. There was no sign of impact on his face. Rhett punched Johnny in the face. Johnny bounced off the fencing. Rhett then began punching him many times. He punched Johnny’s ribs over twelve times before Johnny started blocking them.

Johnny could only use his imagination to get out of this one. Rhett continued to throw punches even as they were blocked. Johnny was in a very uncomfortable position. He did not see a way out of the situation, as he could only feel knuckles going against various parts of his body. Johnny then decided to do something idiotic. He left his torso unprotected and Rhett started punching it. Johnny grabbed Rhett’s head then pulled it towards his with a lot of force. Johnny also drove his head towards Rhett’s. The resulting impact from the clash disoriented Rhett for just a second. Johnny grabbed Rhett by the hair then smashed his face into the fencing.

Rhett elbowed Johnny in the tummy. He turned around and threw a punch at Johnny. Johnny ducked and moved aside, dodging it. He punched Rhett in the face. Rhett bounced off the fencing. Johnny lifted Rhett off his feet then slammed him into the floor on his back. The crowd gasped.

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!” James shouted.

That move did not have the effect that everyone expected. Rhett stood up and did not seem hurt at all. Johnny lost his enthusiasm to fight. He did not want to accept it. Nobody in the warehouse accepted it. Some people even started booing Rhett. Rhett looked around himself as they threw plastic water bottles at the ring. None of them got to the ring itself because it was protected by the cage. Johnny exhaled then took a step towards Rhett. Rhett kicked Johnny’s foot and Johnny fell flat on his tummy. Rhett wanted to stomp on his head. Johnny rolled aside, dodging the foot.

Johnny quickly stood up, so as to avoid any similar attacks to that one. Rhett kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny grunted. He kicked Rhett in the tummy as well. Rhett grunted and slightly bent over. Johnny pulled Rhett towards him and held his head and wrapped it in his left arm in a way that Rhett could see Johnny’s back and the rest of his body was on the other side of the arm. Johnny fell back, slamming Rhett’s face into the concrete floor.

“Holy Arbuckle! In the concrete!” James shouted.

“That’s it. He’s out,” Rey said.

Johnny laid on his back and was breathing hard. He let go of Rhett, whose body then fell completely to the ground. Johnny then looked at the crowds who were cheering. He was happy about it and stood up as he grunted. To his surprise, he saw Rhett doing the same thing. The crowds stopped cheering and Johnny’s smile died. Rhett stood up with no sign of discomfort at all. There was nothing on his forehead that showed that it was slammed very hard into the concrete.

“Hey! What the hell? This guy’s on drugs!” James shouted.

“What the heck? You should be out for weeks,” Johnny said to Rhett.

“I told you to quit. There’s no way you’re beating me,” Rhett affirmed. Johnny had nothing more to say. He got serious. The fight was about to begin. Rhett tried a kick with his right foot. Johnny held it. Rhett then used his left foot to kick Johnny in the face. Johnny grunted but did not let go of Rhett’s foot. Rhett fell to the floor on his back. Johnny reached down for his other foot. Rhett kicked him in the tummy twice. Johnny grabbed Rhett’s other foot and held it next to his hip, the same as the other foot. He fell back, raising Rhett. He managed to make Rhett smash into the fencing, face-first.

“Oh!” the crowd shouted. Johnny was not done yet. He was still holding Rhett’s feet, and he forced him back down to fall on his back. Rhett’s head bounced off the floor very hard. Rhett felt the pain and could not hide it. Johnny stood up and wanted to go punch Rhett while he was down. Rhett quickly kicked Johnny’s right shin. Johnny grunted and went down on his right knee. Rhett stood up and punched Johnny in the face twice. He then summersaulted backwards and kicked Johnny in the chin in the form of an uppercut. Johnny fell to the floor on his back. He felt that hit.

Rhett got back on his feet. He ran towards Johnny, who was sitting. He kicked Johnny in the face. Johnny laid on his back again. Rhett knelt by him and raised Johnny’s head. He punched Johnny in the face three times. He then elbowed Johnny in the face. Johnny grunted. Rhett then let go of Johnny. Johnny lay on his back again. Rhett stood up and stomped on Johnny’s face really hard. He did it again the same way. Johnny covered his face with his forearms the third time. He then held Rhett’s foot the fourth time. He managed to get his foot to hit Rhett’s groin. He kicked it three times. Rhett felt immense pain, the likes of which he had never felt before. He had not applied the special lotion there, so the pain was real and natural. Johnny could feel that Rhett wanted to withdraw his foot. Johnny kicked Rhett’s groin again, as hard as he could. Rhett bent downwards, more than unable to hide the pain he felt. Johnny then kicked Rhett’s unprotected face. Rhett fell to the floor.

Johnny slowly stood up and was breathing hard. The crowd was staring at him silently. He expected to hear them cheering for him, but that did not happen. Rhett was on the ground and was holding his groin, feeling an unbelievable amount of pain.

This was the part when Romany would begin to worry. He had never seen Rhett fall to the ground in pain in a fight. All the other fighters used to aim for the upper parts of the body. They never aimed for the groin. This was a different fighter. This was Johnny Riker.

Johnny was looking down at Rhett. He did not know what to do with him anymore. He was out of ideas on what he could do to hurt him. Every attack that was not to the groin had no effect on Rhett. Either way, Johnny could not stay the whole fight aiming for the groin. It would become predictable, and Rhett would begin to counter it. It would also be difficult to put on a good show.

“This is actually a pretty interesting fight. I just hate all the pauses they make,” Duncan said to Rey.

“Hell, it’s like a real-life anime,” Rey said.

Rhett’s pain ceased, albeit slowly. He crawled to the fencing and used it for support as he picked himself up. He looked at Johnny and was beginning to worry. What was it about Johnny that was so different? Why could he withstand such impact? Rhett could not pick up the smell of the lotion on Johnny. What factor made him so resistant to pain? This was the most difficult fight he had been in in his life.

He managed to recover and exhaled. He raised his fists and made a fighting stance. Johnny did the same thing. Rhett did not notice that he was beginning to sweat. The sweat was on his temples and slithered to his cheeks. He was not focused on that. He was focused on winning this fight against this pest of an opponent.

He yelled and ran towards Johnny. Johnny got his guard up. Rhett tried to punch him in the face with his right fist. Johnny blocked. He tried again and Johnny blocked it. Rhett then tried with his left fist. Johnny blocked it. Rhett tried to punch Johnny’s left ribs. Johnny blocked it. Rhett swung his left arm, attempting to hit Johnny. Johnny ducked, dodging it. He then stood up straight. Rhett pushed him back. Johnny took a step back then used his foot to boost him as he added strength to his right fist. He punched Rhett in the face. Rhett grunted, feeling pain from the punch. He hid that fact then returned the favor by punching Johnny in the face. He then punched Johnny in the tummy very hard. Johnny ended up spitting saliva from his mouth due to the force behind the blow. The expelled fluids went onto Rhett’s face. Rhett kicked Johnny in the tummy. Johnny took a few steps back before going towards Rhett and throwing punches at his ribs. Rhett suffered two punches but then blocked the other seven as he moved backwards and was pinned against the fencing.

He then punched Johnny in the face. Johnny backed away from him and put his hand over the punched area, which was the top of his right eyebrow. Rhett then kicked Johnny in the face using his right foot. Johnny fell to the ground on his belly. Rhett jumped and attempted to land on Johnny with his elbow. Johnny rolled as ide and Rhett landed on the floor, elbow first. He did not feel any pain at all. Johnny stood up quickly and so did Rhett. Johnny lunged at Rhett then punched Rhett in the belly. Johnny then punched Rhett in the face using his left fist. He then used his right fist and punched him in the face. He used his left fist again. He then used his right fist. He then kicked Rhett in the tummy using his left knee. Rhett bent over slightly. He summersaulted backwards and kicked Johnny in the chin in the form of an uppercut. Johnny backed away a few steps but remained standing. Rhett rushed towards Johnny, who was briefly disoriented. He jumped and launched his fist into Johnny’s nose. Johnny grunted. Rhett span anti-clockwise and kicked Johnny in the face using his left foot.

Johnny lost his temper with that last hit. He growled angrily. Rhett tried another kick to the face using his left foot. Johnny blocked it. Rhett tried the same with his right foot. Johnny blocked it also. Johnny punched Rhett using his left fist. He punched Rhett in the tip of his eyebrow using his right fist. Rhett became disoriented. Johnny saw this as an opportunity. He became angrier still and decided to put an end to this. He clenched his fist and uppercut Rhett so hard that he literally flew into the ceiling, which was almost twenty meters high. The crowds gasped.

“Holy Jesus,” Duncan gasped as he stood from his chair, the same as all the seated spectators.

When Rhett bumped into the ceiling, some pieces from it broke off. Rhett then fell back into the ring, landing on the concrete on his belly. He even bounced off it once. All of the spectators looked at this in shock. Many of them had their mouths wide open, not believing what they had just seen. Romany was one of them. He had never seen Rhett take such a blow. He was not sure if Rhett was even alive after that. He knew that the lotion could help him withstand hard impact, but nothing like this had ever been imagined. The pieces that were broken off the ceiling fell onto Rhett’s back.

The crowd was silent and so was Johnny. Everyone awaited Rhett’s return to his feet, but it did not happen. He remained on the floor. He did not react at all when the pieces fell onto him. Johnny looked at him. He approached him and tried to see if he was heading into a trap. Nothing happened. He knelt by Rhett, whose face was against the floor. Johnny raised Rhett’s arm and felt how lifeless it was. Rhett was either unconscious or dead. Johnny did not know how he could tell. He did not care, anyway. He stood up and looked at the crowds as they stared at him. He did not know what to do then.

James was looking in disbelief. He could shake the feeling that he was hanging out with one of the strongest people he would ever meet. His eyes were wide open and he was standing, along with everyone else at the bar. The whole place was dead silent. Everybody was still. James looked around and saw how silent it was.

“Ye-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-h!” his voice echoed throughout the warehouse. His voice was then joined by the rest of the spectators. They all started cheering for Johnny. Well, at least the ones that had not bet against him, which was the vast minority of people. Many of the losers stared at their papers and were disappointed.

 

[Check out the continuation, which will be uploaded on Tuesday, 15th November, 2017]

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club III

There was a slight halt in shooting, but there was still a lot of commotion. It was most probably due to the adrenaline that covered up the whole apartment in that instant. There were already holes in the walls due to the bullets fired. Rey still felt like he had to get a few words out. “You know, we can have you arrested for shooting at a police officer now,” he said. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club II

Malin Park

Malin Park was a park located in Stockley. It covered an area of five hundred and ninety acres, receiving over eight million visitors annually. The park had many attractions, which included a boathouse, a meadow, and Stockley’s only lake, which was what Johnny and Felicia were looking at. They stood on the bridge which was over the river. The bridge was curved upwards and they stood at its highest point. It was made of cement. It was shaped like a semi-circle over the water. The water was clean, as well, and they could see some fish swimming in it. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #2: Fight Club

Base District

Base District: the most dangerous part of Shell City. It is dominated by gangsters and crime lords. It is not a place anyone would like to be living in. The only innocent people who do live there are the ones who have nowhere else to go in Shell City, and it is a guarantee that they do lead very miserable lives, filled with paranoia and fear, as anything can happen in that district, at any time, and for any reason imaginable.

One of the high crime lords was Ivan, who was a Russian man in his late fifties. He was a tall, slender man, who supported himself on a walking stick. He wore a white suit and had white hair. He was sitting in a restaurant which was situated in Lake Street. The restaurant was named ‘La Fromage.’ He was sitting on a table for two, and was enjoying a nice cup of coffee as he waited for his guest. His table was by a window with a view of the street. He sat silently, observing everyone else as they enjoyed their dinners, as it was night time. He looked outside the window and saw that a man was standing there, as if standing guard. He then smiled at the sight of that and resumed his activity. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #1: Origin V

“Woah, damn it!” Rey shouted. The front tyre was shot and the car toppled over. It rolled over five times before it rubbed along the road upside down until it stopped right outside the Thompson-Lights building.

“Is everybody okay?” Rey asked. Reynold was groaning in pain. He was the one who suffered the most. He did not have any seat belts on. Rey unfastened his seat belt and he was released, only to hit the roof with his head. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Johnny Riker #1: Origin IV

“Pretty much,” was her reply. She said so plainly. She did not show any expression as she said it, but then rolled her eyes away for just a split second. Johnny saw that. Nothing could get past him at the moment he was with her, at least, if it was related to her body language.

Continue reading

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