Thursday, June 20, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 24

     As winter turns to spring, the Legion Of Night remains a topic of controversy. The average man on the street, by and large, applauds them, while the leftist crowd cries, "Fascists!".Law enforcement seems to accept them as a part of the job, which for them really hasen't changed all that much-cops, non-flying, non-bulletproof, still put their lives on the line daily, as first responders have done for years.

     Gradually, a rumbling is heard from the nation's capital....at first, mainly from the more liberal lights on the Hill, then echoed by moderates-the Legion, if it indeed is made up of "our neighbors", as the phrase went, had to reveal their everyday identities to the government, and to the public. The Department of Homeland Security took up the task, calling for Legion members to register at their nearest Federal office, and for those who might know the identities of members to report them to DHS.

     The Legion's response....was no response, presumably as no one had the means to force them to do anything. Media pundits from every stripe debated the silence, but it took a man who'd created comic books for seventy years to explain it.

     "You don't need some yutz from Harvard to explain it", he said, while guesting on a morning talk show, "any kid with a comic book rolled up in his back pocket could tell you-these men and women have families, loved ones, who don't share their abilities, and who'd be at risk if the Legion members' real names were known. Besides, what does the Government need with this information, except perhaps to try to put a hammerlock on these folks?"

     "And what's this crap about children informing on their parents? We fought a WAR or two over dangerous nonsense like that, and I caution everyone watching this to tell DHS to mind their own damn business!"

     Public opinion shifted even further in the Legion's favor, once this quote hit the Internet. When polled, people called the government "extortionists", and suggested physically impossible things DHS could do to itself, and the music to do it by.

     That evening, tv screens across the nation went white once again, then cleared, to show the Legion commmander.

     "We are grateful to you, and we pledge to live up to your confidence in us. Rest easy."

Monday, June 10, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 23

                                                         WHEELING
      I REALLY  need to learn how to control my temper....
Well, they're both dead, and I can't un-do that. Besides, they deserved it, the way they both treated Serina, the beatings, the emotional abuse, the....I need to get my mind off of that, before I go completely ballistic.

     The poor girl was never healthy to begin with, fetal alcohol syndrome we figured at the Agency, what with Sherry and Richie's histories; at fidteen, she looks about twelve, twitchy, and nervous, not to mention diabetic. Her so-called stepfather couldn't keep his hands off her, in more ways than one, and Sherry swore the girl was lying, trying to get back at her for her real father leaving. The mother won custody, her lawyer citing the biological father's criminal record, i.e. one count of possession for sale marijuana back in 1978, Rob never even served time....I still wonder what really happened there.

     I TRIED....interviews, investigations, finally, a hearing that I was sure would place Serina with her dad's family, and put those trolls behind bars.

     Imagine my suprise, when the Agency withdrew its complaint, and the judge returned Serina to her home.

     I was in my apartment, consoling myself, wishing I could comfort her, when I heard her scream, in my mind-I Changed, and flew to her window. That ....animal was in her room, naked, tearing at her clothes, slapping her, cursing her for "gettin' them in trouble."

     The rest was a blur....the next thing I knew, Richie and Sherry were broken, bloody things strewn on the floor, and Serina was curled up jn the corner of her bed, staring at me. 

     "Serina, honey, it's me, it's Lisa", I said to her, as I Changed back; my appearance as Bloodrose can be frightening.

     She became very still, and I thought she was going to scream, or dash out of the room. Instead, she looked at me, and said, "You came....you said you'd protect me, and you came!"

     This wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but as I said, I couldn't un-do it. 

     "Lisa...." "Yes, Serina?" "Can you show me how to do that?"
Well, she's a bit young, but the rules don't mention an age limit....besides, what better way to insure no one hurts her again?

Friday, June 7, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 3

     When I got to Bill and Bud's, the lunch crowd had taken over. I asked the girl at the register for Lieutenant Davis, and she pointed to the rear; Tony was holding down a booth., seated next to a young man who had "banger" written all over him. He scooted away from me as I sat down.

     "Easy, Jerry....this is the guy I was telling you about," Tony said to the boy, "Jerry....helps me out, from time to time",  which probably meant that Jerry was an informant. "Jerry's with the Tenth Avenue Kings; you remember them, Wish?" I sure did, considering one of their lieutenants came close to putting an extra hole in my head-one more reason to move to Cleveland. They'd been a major force on the drug scene since the Eighties, task forces or not.

     We ordered, and tied into our lunches. After a while, Tony spoke. "Jerry called me last night, scared," he said, nudging the young man, "Tell Wish what you told me."

     Jerry said, "Last night, I was headed up Phillips, goin' past Jenny's Place, when this weird lookin' dude comes walkin' towards me, dressed all in black, with no tan to speak of, lookin' all pale and creepy. I was gonna walk around him, when he steps right in front of me, and calls me by name.
 
     'Jerry Micelli', dude says, 'tell your friends the Kings that they have twenty-four hours to stop selling drugs and terrorizing decent citizens, or face the wrath of the Legion of Night' This kinda pisses me off, so I go to shove the creep back, but it's like shovin' a wall.

     "Dude grabs me by the arm, and I can feel the heat of his touch through my shirtsleeve. I couldn't jerk away from him, and punchin' on him did no good, either. He lets go of me, and says, 'Tell them!' real loud, then....he just disappears, like smoke. I took off, before he changed his mind, and came back, or somethin'."

     I'm not sure what to make of this; it isn't Tony's style, to joke about something like this, but....
Then, I look at Tony, and Jerry....they're not joking.

     Like he's reading my mind, Tony says, "Jerry....show Wish your arm." Jerry rolls up the right sleeve of his t-shirt, and there, seared an angry red into the flesh, is a handprint, like a brand. An icy finger starts to trace the nape of my neck, like when I'd have to go after a skel in an abandoned building at night.

     To Jerry, I says, "what are the Kings planning to do?" "Nuthin'", he says, "they think they can handle these guys, but they can do it without me-I'm gonna go see my cousins in Florida , tonight."

     "You do that," Tony tells him, "and keep outta the mess down there; they're all over."
Jerry leaves, and Tony and I get to talking about the general opinion on this. The rank-and-file don't know exactly what to make of it, and the brass are, as usual, taking a "wait and see" attitude, which makes sense-the next move belongs to the Legion.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 22

     My stereo is playing "I think You Know", off the TODD album, Dougie is curled up in his spot on the couch, and I'm just relaxing, thanking God for music, and quiet times. So much has happened in the past few months, some of which I'm still trying to wrap my head around.

     I pop out to the kitchen, and dish up a bowl of Chocolate Marshmallow ice cream-Alsace Dairy is one of the few places that still makes it, and it tastes the same as it did when I was having some along with "Ghoulardi" when I was eight.

     I don't live in the past, although I'm a sucker for the "things were simpler" school of thought at times. Being a grown person is hard, especially when there's so much behind you. I don't believe that dead folks come back as ghosts, but they WILL haunt you, in their own way. The song, "A Dream Goes On Forever", makes me think of my mother, and how cool it was that she not only liked it, she GOT it. Ma's presence is here with me, along with  Mack D, who turned me onto Todd so long ago.

     I wonder what they'd think of all this....the Legion, Susan- they both adored Linda; in fact, I met her at one of Mack's gigs , when we were still in high school-and just everything in the last twenty-some years....Mack's been gone twenty-five years, Ma  twenty-two.

     Dougie's caught a whiff of my ice cream, and he's intrigued....he won't eat it because it's so  cold, but we have to go through this each time. "Here", I say, holding the bowl out to him. He sniffs it, touches his nose to it, recoils as if horrified, glares at me as if I've played a mean trick on him, and stalks into the kitchen, to bury his sorrows in kibble, I guess.

     Cats....still, for the past five years, the old brawler's been a close friend, and I respect his right to be idiosyncratic. I'll pick him up a donut middle from Larry's later on, when I go to get a dozen assorted for me. I finish my ice cream, and carry the bowl out to the sink.

     The orange glow from the steel mill shines in my kitchen window, as it has since before I was born. I'm so glad I never sold this house- I grew up in it, and it was a great place to heal after losing Linda. Almost everywhere I go is someplace I've known since childhood, and I'm blessed to be able to live here, among friends, and familiar surroundings. First Baptist was Mike's father's church, and we were in Sunday School together as kids, going to school at Leach Elementary, Wadworth Junior High, and General Duke High .
Every day, I see faces I've greeted since I was old enough to walk along a street holding my mother's hand, and my favorite pears grow on the big tree in my backyard, as they always have.

     The world changes, strangely, in fact, but Lord, you've given me a little piece of stability, a place to rest, and give thanks. I stand at the window, watching the cars arching over the Henderson Drive Bridge, and thank You once again.