Book 1: Justyce Begins
Episode 6: Puzzle Pieces
Carl Chambers stomped into the main room at the union hall, his lion mane flying around his head. “What the hell happened, Dani? Why are we lugging two duffel bags full of rocks when it should be money?”
“Beats me. I saw the tellers fill them with money. I saw it with my own eyes.” Danielle’s eyes nearly squinted shut, then opened wide. “There was something kinda weird. When we went outside, one of the guards aimed his gun at me, and I knocked him to the ground. I swung my tail to impale him with my stinger, but I struck the concrete sidewalk, and he was twenty feet away. Maybe he had powers?”
“No. If he had powers, we’d probably be dead or in jail. Someone had powers, but I doubt the guard would have stolen the money and let us go free.”
Rick Myers turned in his seat at the minibar. “Sounds like you two had almost as much fun as I did today.” He shook his head, his bull horns nearly touching the eight-foot-high ceiling. “What exactly happened? I left before you two decided what you were gonna do.”
Carl growled. “We robbed the Newville Community Credit Union, or we thought we did. We left the bank with two duffel bags full of cash, but when I opened one of the bags to start counting, it was full of rocks. The other bag is the same! I have no idea how it happened. With everything going on, my only guess is there are more powered people than just us.”
“You would be correct in that assumption, and the army is already involved,” Rick said.
“Oh, this keeps getting better and better.” Danielle snapped. “What happened with you?”
The union hall doors burst open, and Jordan Winters rushed in, ice dripping off his grey fur as he stalked across the wooden floor. Jordan looked at the unhappy faces of his three friends. “Collecting the meteor rocks isn’t going to be as easy as we thought.”
“We’re all figuring that out.” Carl snarled. “Me and Dani robbed the credit union and came back here to find we had two bags of rocks. Rick was just about to tell us about his day when you came in.” Carl looked over at Rick. “Continue your story.”
Rick sighed. “I caught the scent of the meteors right outside the antique shop. The shopkeepers saw me and tried to lock the door.” Rick shrugged. “I smashed through the door, and they ran out the back. They managed to get to their car and drive away.” He kind of chuckled. “I guess I’m fast now. They hadn’t gotten far, so I lowered my head and charged. I hit the car broadside. I must have been going thirty miles an hour. The car went airborne and flipped a few times.”
“Wow. That’s impressive.” Danielle said.
“Yeah, well, when I caught up to the car, I expected to finish the two dudes off and take the rocks, but another guy was standing in my way. I think he was reading my mind, and he could move objects without touching them. He pushed me aside like I was nothing, but I charged at him and knocked him down. I tried to finish him off, but every mailbox on the street started firing at me like missiles. I shrugged them off, but then the army showed up. I didn’t want to deal with them, so I ran back here. I’m sorry, Carl. I came back empty-handed.”
Jordan reached into his pants pocket and slammed his hand down onto the table. “I didn’t come back empty-handed, but I didn’t have a good time either. We need to go out in groups if we’re gonna hunt for these rocks. We know now that they’ve affected more than just us.” Jordan lifted his hand off the table, revealing a small pile of blue meteor rocks.
“Great job, Jordan!” Carl said. “What happened, though? And what’s with all the ice?”
Jordan shook his head, melting ice still dripping from his fur. “I followed the scent of the meteors to the high school baseball field. Half the infield is a huge crater. Something big hit there, and it must have been bigger than the meteor that hit us. That’s where I gathered these rocks.” He pointed at the pile of meteor rocks.
“You sound unsure of what caused the crater, Jordan. Wasn’t it still there?” Rick asked.
“No. Whatever crashed there was gone. Someone got to it before I did. It had to have been big. Maybe the army got it.” Jordan shrugged.
“What about the ice?” Carl asked.
“I was getting to that,” Jordan snapped. “After I picked up those rocks, I could smell that there were more. I followed the scent and spotted two teenage boys. I knew they had pieces of the meteor, so I charged at them. I figured I’d scare them into giving me whatever I asked for, but I was wrong. The younger one hid behind the car, but the older boy exhibited abilities. It looked like the powers surprised him as much as they surprised me, but he created enough of a problem for me that the two of them were able to run away. He could create ice out of thin air and shoot ice beams from his hands. He encased me in an ice cocoon, for crying out loud! I could have followed him, but I thought it best to check-in and take someone else with me next time.”
“Interesting,” Carl mumbled, drumming his paw-like hands on the tabletop. “One with psychic abilities, one with ice powers, and whatever it was that Dani and I faced. There are probably more if there’s three out there, plus the twelve of us.” He gestured at the room they were in. “We need to get out of here before the army or anyone else tracks us down. Let’s start packing everything up, the meteor first. I know of a couple abandoned warehouses where we can set up headquarters until we find something more permanent.” The other three nodded in agreement and started packing up the union hall.
Grace was still pacing in front of Justyce Labs and glancing at her phone when Caleb’s car finally pulled up. Grace wondered why Caleb brought a teenage boy with him, but, for now, she pushed that thought aside. “Caleb! Finally! I have a lot of questions I thought you might find interesting. There was no one else that I could think of that might have any answers.”
“Not even your army contacts?” Caleb smirked.
“Especially not them. Not with this. Is there somewhere we could talk?” Grace’s eyes wandered over to Obadiah and then back to Caleb.
Caleb saw the look and nodded. “I have to wait out here for a few deliveries, but I’ll unlock the door for Obadiah to wait in the lobby.” Caleb clapped a hand onto Obie’s shoulder. “Come with me, Obadiah. I have a comfortable couch and a tv in the lobby of my lab to keep you entertained while I talk to Grace.”
“Will this tv have the same show I was watching on the other one?”
“I’m not sure, but we can check and see.”
Obie looked at Grace, then continued walking with Caleb. “Do you think she knows Logan?”
“I’ll be sure to ask.” Caleb unlocked and opened the lab’s front door and ushered Obadiah inside. After setting Obie up on the couch with the tv remote, Caleb went outside to talk to Grace. “How can I help, Grace? What do you trust me with that you won’t trust the government?”
Grace arched an eyebrow. “I think you may already have an idea why I’m here. I saw that boy’s eyes. Who is he?”
“I’m not sure yet. He showed up at my sister’s house last night. He was injured and had amnesia.”
“And you didn’t take him to the hospital or call the police?”
Caleb smirked. “Didn’t you just say that we shouldn’t trust the government with whatever is going on?”
“Very true and very smart. Your sister lives over on the other side of the high school, doesn’t she?”
“Yes. Why do you ask that?”
“I took a walk down there while I was waiting for you. Have you seen the crater? Looks like something big hit there, but it’s gone now. The impact in the crater looked like the imprint of a body, not a rock.” Her gaze wandered toward the boy in the lobby.
“That’s interesting. I will check that out as soon as possible. Things are happening quickly, Grace. What prompted your visit?”
“Did you see the meteor shower last night and all the news clips today?”
“I didn’t witness the event, but I read about it. I’ve been busy in the lab and with my sister and Obadiah, so I haven’t kept up with the news. I do know that other strange things have been happening. Your call isn’t the only one I’ve gotten today.”
“Check your phone. I sent you a couple video links.”
Caleb’s eyes widened as he watched. Finally, he slid his phone back into his pocket. “I have heard about these beasts, but I hadn’t gotten the chance to watch the videos yet. This is amazing. Did you see this in person? Is that why you’re here? You’re not affected by this, are you, Grace?”
“I’m not surprised that you’re aware of this. No, I’m not personally affected, but I am involved. The meteor rocks that didn’t burn up in the atmosphere caused all the fires. I’ve seen one of the rocks, and it glows with the same blue light that shines in that boy’s eyes.”
“I’m not sure how he is involved, but I intend to find out. Do you still have the stone? Did you pick it up?”
“I did not touch it. That’s why I’m here. My friend Bryson has one. He fought one of those monsters that you saw in the video clips. He has superpowers.”
“Superpowers? What can he do? Can you bring him here? I have already started gathering some items that may be involved since I learned about the boy. I would love to talk to someone who has been affected and does not have amnesia. We need to figure this thing out, Grace. I’m glad you came to me instead of the authorities.”
“You were the first one I thought of. I knew you’d want to be involved if you weren’t already. I can get Bryson to come here with me. You can talk to him and get to see a piece of the meteor.”
“If he allows me to examine both him and the stone, that may be key to figuring out what is happening. Now you must excuse me, Grace. It looks like my other guests are arriving.”
Grace turned and saw two ambulances pulling into the parking lot. “Do all your guests arrive by ambulance, Caleb?”
“They were in the car accident caused by the minotaur. The same wreck that your friend Bryson was a part of. One of my associates at the hospital called me to tell me that both cases were highly unusual and glowing blue rocks were among the possessions of both men.”
“How did you get the hospital to release them to you? Never mind. I don’t want to know. What’s with the armored car pulling in behind the ambulances?”
Caleb grinned. “Another oddity. The credit union was robbed, possibly by people in animal costumes. Now, I’m thinking it may have been more of these mutants. A security guard friend called me to tell me that the surveillance footage showed something he couldn’t explain, so he sent it to me.”
“Looks like you’re going to be busy. Are you sure you want me to bring Bryson?”
“Absolutely. Obadiah has amnesia, and these other two men are in comas. Bryson could be the key to helping all of them.”
“I’ll let you get to work. I’ll text you after I talk to Bryson.”
“Wait. One other thing. Do you know anyone named Logan? He’d probably be a teenager.”
“No, but maybe Bryson does. Can I take a picture of Obadiah to show him? He might recognize the boy.”
“I took some photos for documentation. I’ll text you one.”
“Thank you. I’ll be in touch soon.” Grace’s phone beeped as she walked to her car. She opened the text, saved the picture, and immediately sent it to Bryson.
Grace: Bryson, do you recognize this boy? He is involved with the meteors. He may also be connected to someone named Logan.
Bryson: He doesn’t look familiar. My new friend Harvey has a brother named Logan. It may not be the Logan you’re looking for, but I’ll send the pic to him and ask.
Grace: Thanks. I’m on my way to your house. Are you there?
Bryson: I’m at my friend Erik’s house. He’s also involved in this. I’ll be home soon. I’ll meet you there.
Grace: Ok. See you soon.
Harvey and Ashton rounded the corner almost within sight of the Kastala house. Ash stopped and pointed across the street. “There’s Logan and Gavin right other there. I wonder where they’re off to.”
“They might be looking for me. Come on.” Harvey led Ashton across the street to meet up with his two brothers. “Yo! Where are you guys going? I was just heading home to check in and tell you about what just happened to us.”
Logan lightly punched Harvey’s shoulder. “We were looking for you, you jerk! Don’t you ever answer your texts?”
“Sorry! I was kinda busy. I’ll tell you all about it at home. Let’s get off the street. A lot is going on.” Harvey said.
“More than you know! Wait until you hear about Gavin!” Logan said. “And I have a story of my own to tell. A lot has happened in the last day and a half.”
“Well, it seems we all have stories to tell. Who wants to go first?” Gavin said once they were all settled in at home.
Logan pulled the glowing blue feather out of his pocket. “I think my story takes place before any of the others, so why don’t I start?”
“Woah! That feather is glowing blue, just like the meteor rocks. Where did you get that, Logan?” Harvey yelled.
Logan arched one eyebrow. “That’s what I’m about to tell you.” Logan retold his story about meeting Obadiah and what happened the day before when Obie revealed his true nature to him. “So, just before the angel police or whatever they call themselves showed up, Obie gave me this feather and told me it would connect us. Last night it started glowing. The feather led me to the baseball field, where I found a huge crater. Then Gavin showed up looking for me, and we noticed the blue meteor rocks. I agree that it’s not a coincidence. I think Obie came back for me, and he’s hurt. Maybe the meteors hurt him. I’m not sure about that, but it must be connected. The rocks hold power. Gavin is proof of that.” Logan grinned.
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Your new boyfriend is an angel from an alternate dimension and may have been part of the meteor storm that’s causing everything?!” Harvey’s eyes were wide, and his mouth was agape. “I thought you guys were gonna think Ash and I were crazy or lying, but now our story isn’t so weird!”
“Wait until you hear what Gav has to say.” Logan huffed out a laugh.
“Can we hurry this along? I have a date tonight.” Gavin smirked.
Ashton started laughing. “Seriously? All this is happening, and you’re sitting there planning a date?”
“Life goes on. If nothing else happens, yes, I’m going out.”
“Must be quite the girl.” Ash laughed.
“Becky Michaels.” Gav grinned.
“Oh, hell yeah. Continue planning your date. Rebekah is hot!” Ash said.
Harvey rolled his eyes and elbowed Ash in the ribs. “Don’t encourage him.”
“Ow! That hurt!” Ashton yelled.
Gavin shook his head. “Can I continue the story now?”
Ash was rubbing his ribs. “Please do.” Then he leaned against Harvey and looked up into his eyes. “You’re hot, too, by the way.”
Gavin laughed, watching his youngest brother blush and squirm. “Anyway, after I found Logan at the baseball field, we were attacked by some sort of half-man and half-ram mutant beast.” Gavin retold the story of his fight with Aries and of him and Logan narrowly escaping and running back home. “I guess I have superpowers. I don’t know if it’s permanent or will wear off, but at least for this afternoon, I could shoot ice out of my hands.”
“Wow! Can you still do it? What else can you do?” Harvey asked.
“I haven’t tried, and I’m not sure. I should experiment in case any more of those monsters come around.” Gav shrugged.
“Here.” Ash handed Gavin a glass of water. “Freeze the water.”
Gavin took a deep breath and concentrated on the water. The water froze, but Gavin caused the water to freeze so quickly that the expanding ice shattered the glass. “Oops. I still have powers, but I need to practice with them.”
“That’s cool… literally! Wait until you hear what happened to Ash and me at school and in the park.” Harvey and Ashton took turns with the narrative, filling Gavin and Logan in on what happened that afternoon. When Harvey finished the story, he noticed a text message from Bryson. He opened the text and saw a picture of a teen boy and a note from Bryson: “This boy is connected to the meteors and knows someone named Logan. Does your brother know him? His name is Obadiah.”
Harvey looked over at Logan. “Didn’t you say that your angel friend’s name was Obadiah?”
Harvey handed his phone to Logan. “Is this your friend?”
“Yes! Wait, isn’t Bryson the psychic dude in your story? Is Obie with him?”
“Yes, that’s the same guy, and I’m unsure. Let me text Bryson back while we finish up our discussions here.”
“Hurry! I need to find him. I think he’s in danger. I can feel it.” Logan gave Harvey his phone back.
Harvey sent a text to Bryson while the four boys discussed the utterly unbelievable stories they had just shared. The fact that three of them had superpowers and the fourth was dating an interdimensional angel had all their heads spinning.
“Be quiet!” Carl hissed at the other three members of the Zodiac Club. They were busy packing everything up in the union hall. “Someone is coming in the delivery entrance. Probably one of us, but be ready for anything.” Carl crept into the kitchen, his lion senses on high alert. Then he heard voices he recognized, and he stood up as Brent Irons strode in, followed by an obviously angry Lisa Jensen.
Brent nearly ran to stay out of Lisa’s way. “Be careful, Lisa. This place wasn’t built to accommodate horses.”
Lisa’s hooves echoed on the wooden floors as she walked into the main room. She threw the remains of her bow onto the table. The weapon was blackened, and the string was missing. She glared at Brent. “It wasn’t built to accommodate giant crabs either.” Then she looked at Carl. “We need to get out of this building, and we need a plan. There are more people than just us with super abilities.”
Carl motioned toward all the boxes. “We’re almost ready to move out. I’m waiting for everyone to get back. What happened to the two of you?”
“We were nearly incinerated. We were in the park picking up some of the meteor rocks and chasing away the picnickers, and suddenly there were a couple of dudes with powers. One guy had superspeed, and the other was throwing fireballs at us.”
“There was a third boy with powers. He was emitting electricity from his body. The boy didn’t seem to know how to control his power. We left when the fire guy started heating up. It looked like he might explode! If we want to take control of this town, we need to take these guys out before they get better control of their abilities.”
“We have the army to worry about now, too.” Jayden Stone said from the doorway.
Luke Adams walked past his boyfriend and set a handful of meteor rocks on the table. “We didn’t encounter any powered people, but the army seems to be everywhere.”
“Did they give you any trouble?” Rick asked.
Jayden shook his head. “No, but Luke can still blend in with the normal people. I hung back in the shadows while he gathered intel.”
“Did you hear anything useful, Luke?” Carl asked.
“Yeah. We need to lay low, hide and hope the army leaves. They’ve been collecting meteor pieces and taking exposed people into custody.”
“We’ll leave as soon as it gets dark,” Carl said.
“Where are we going?” Jayden asked.
“I know of a couple of abandoned warehouses down on Water Street that would be perfect,” Carl said.
“I know which ones you mean, and I agree. The location should be good, and the warehouses are huge and empty.” Luke said.
Eight heads turned as one when the front door opened. The five remaining members of the Zodiac Club walked in, and Carl spoke loudly.
“Gather around the table, everyone. We need to make some plans.”
Caleb Justyce checked and rechecked all the read-outs downloading onto his computer screen. He had been performing tests on his three new patients all afternoon. The two men from the car crash would need extensive surgeries. Caleb had some ideas about that. He needed to contact a couple surgeons that he knew would work off the radar. Brett was going to need multiple amputations. Caleb knew of one surgeon who worked extensively with bionic limb replacements.
The other patient, William, would be an even more challenging case. The man’s body sustained massive internal injuries and bleeding. Caleb tried a blood transfusion, but that wasn’t keeping up with the damage inside of William. Luckily, William’s only broken bones were a couple of ribs, but the other injuries were troubling.
Obadiah allowed Caleb to take two vials of his blood. Caleb studied the properties of the glowing blue blood and thought that it might be what William needed. Obie’s blood contained strong healing properties. The problem was that there was no way of knowing if William’s body would accept an alien blood transfusion. Caleb shrugged. Without the transfusion, William would die, so there was no harm in trying.
Caleb glanced at the sleeping form of Obadiah. The boy looked entirely human other than the glowing blue blood and the scars on his back that suggested he may have had wings. Obadiah was a living, breathing humanoid alien. Caleb knew there was life beyond planet Earth. He had evidence right downstairs in the sub-basement of this lab, but that was a bio-synthetic virus. Caleb was so wrapped up in figuring out what to do with Obie, William, and Brett that he hadn’t been downstairs all day. Before today, the project in the basement was his number one priority. Now it completely slipped his mind.
Coming Soon: Episode 7 – Date night Interrupted!!