…. EPISODE 48…..
….. Posted by uc beverly…..
As we pull out of Quake’s driveway, I’m driving the first car in a mini-procession of two identical hybrids. The atmosphere inside is eerily silent.
We’ve been on the edge of danger for weeks. We’ve broken into labs and bunkers, been hunted and chased and nearly blown up more than once. But this is the first time that we are willingly sending someone into Rex’s grasp.
V is a true hero.
I steer the car through the streets, knowing the directions to Martin Price Elementary School by muscle memory. It’s the same hero school where I met Rebel. Where I had my first crush on a hero boy who could change the weather. Where I realized what it really meant to be powerless.
When I went there, I wanted more than anything to be part of the hero world. I wanted a power. Wanted to be able to help them protect the world. And now…now everything is different. I’m more powerful than anyone but Draven knows. And, if things go according to plan, I’m about to bring the hero world to its knees—and, hopefully, save the villain world, my world, while I do it. What a difference a few weeks makes.
“If you think your cover is blown,” I explain, meeting V’s gaze in the rearview mirror, “turn your tracker off and back on. Three times fast, three slow, and then three fast again.”
I expect a scathing response, something about how she knows how to send an SOS in Morse code. But she just nods and says, “Got it.”
In the backseat next to her, Jeremy is typing away on his laptop.
He’s always a fast typist, but he sounds even more frenetic than usual.
His crush on V has been obvious since the moment he saw her—well, after she stopped shooting at him. He cares about her and he’s worried about her. I totally get that.
As if reading my thoughts, Draven reaches over and takes my hand that’s resting on the gearshift and laces our fingers together. Yeah, I totally get that.
We drive the rest of the way to the school in silence.
There is something truly evil about using an elementary school for such nefarious purposes. It’s like Rex is destroying the innocence of childhood too, along with all the villains.
Not that he hasn’t been doing that all along. This time it’s just more ironic.
I come to a stop around the corner from the school. Dante pulls the second car past me, giving us a little mock salute as they go by. They’re going to meet us at the rendezvous point—the bagel shop parking lot where we’re going to sit and watch V’s tracker until it tells us where to go next.
We can’t risk following the transport vehicle directly from the school. Who knows what kind of hero surveillance is active in this neighborhood right now? We could be surrounded and captured before V is off campus.
Once the other car is safely out of range, the four of us climb out onto the sidewalk. For several seconds, we stand in awkward silence. V looks over her shoulder to the corner she’ll be disappearing around in moments.
It’s, I don’t know, kind of heartbreaking to see someone so tough look so worried. “We’ve got you,” I say, feeling the need to reassure her. “Jeremy is the absolute best. Wherever they take you, we’ll follow.”
When V turns back to face me, her lips are kicked up in a cocky grin that I’m starting to think all villains possess. I’ll have to practice mine. “I know,” she says, all traces of her worry are gone.
I press a syringe of immunity serum into her hand. “If you get in a tight spot, use it on someone who’s being controlled. Then at least you’ll have an ally on the inside.”
She nods and tucks the capped syringe into the inside pocket of her jacket.
“Take the full pack of gum,” Jeremy says, his voice strained. “In case you lose the piece you’re chewing. And as soon as you feel the vibrations, you punch that dial. Your tracker will cut out until you punch it back on. And if you can’t punch it back on, I can activate it remotely. I won’t do that unless I think something’s wrong. I just want you to know that I can. That I will, if…if things look…”
He looks lost.
“I won’t let them—”
V slides one hand behind his neck, yanks him close, and kisses him. For several long, awkward, I-have-to-look-away seconds. Draven grins and nods in that male gesture of appreciation—he clearly approves.
When V finally releases Jeremy, he’s panting, his mouth hanging open in shock, and she’s grinning. She says simply, “I know.”
Then, without another word, she turns and starts down the sidewalk.
I want to stand there watching, waiting until she’s around the corner and out of sight. That’s the natural instinct when you’re sending a friend into danger.
But time is a luxury we can’t afford to waste. Who knows how long it will be before V is on the move. Ten minutes? Twenty? Five? It could be as soon as she walks through the door or after a lengthy interview or examination. We have to be prepared for either scenario.
So, with V’s life potentially hanging in the balance, we jump back into the car and I gun it for the bagel shop.
“I’ve got her,” Jeremy says from the backseat.
He hunches down over his laptop, following the blinking purple dot on the screen. “She’s inside the school. It looks like”—he punches some keys—“she’s in the cafeteria. They must have a staging area set up in there. Too bad I don’t have access to an infrared satellite. I would love to know just how many villains are in there right now.”
Next to me, Draven growls. “Too many.”
I steer the car through the narrow residential streets, heading for the bagel shop that’s popular with the college students. It shouldn’t look too conspicuous for us to be hanging out in the parking lot, crowding around a laptop to watch a livestream. As long as no one knows what we’re livestreaming, we’re good.
“Oh!” Jeremy yelps. “Her tracker just went dark.” His voice is higher than usual.
“They must be scanning her,” I tell him. “She’ll turn it back on as soon as she can.”
Even if he knows I’m right, I can still feel the tension radiating from the backseat.
And from the passenger seat next to me. My own tension ratchets up a notch.
My brain knows we expected V to be scanned.
My heart isn’t so confident. My heart seems determined to beat a rapidly increasing rhythm of runaway fear for what might be going on in that cafeteria. Not knowing really sucks.
I pull into the bagel shop parking lot, guiding the little hybrid into the spot that Riley and Nitro are holding for us. As soon as we’re stopped, Deacon yanks open the back door.
I swivel in my seat. Jeremy is focused on his computer, oblivious to everything except whatever is—or isn’t—blinking on his screen.
“She turned off her tracker,” I tell Deacon.
I nod. “Totally expected.”
No one looks reassured by that reminder.
Seconds tick on into minutes. We are all in suspended animation. All of us have our full attention on Jeremy, waiting for something to change. Waiting for news. “How long until you remote activate?” Dante asks. When Jeremy ignores him, he turns to me. “Kenna? How long?”
“I—” I what? I don’t know? I don’t want to make that decision? I wish there was some way to know what was going on inside that school.
“Yes!” Jeremy shouts, saving me from having to come up with answers. He squirms in the backseat, a space-confined version of his victory dance. “She’s back on!”
He pushes Deacon out of the open door, climbs out, and circles to the front of the car. He sets the computer down on the hood, where we can all gather around to watch.
“There,” he says, pointing to the purple dot. “She’s right there.”
I watch as the purple dot moves slowly through halls marked by lemon-yellow lines. Familiar halls. She moves out of the cafeteria, making the turn toward the first-grade hall. I had Mr. Carvelle for first grade. His classroom was the first door on the left-hand side.Recommend you to download Topster Stories App for Exclusive Access To Erotic and Romantic stories (Join Group) https://t.me/topsterstories
V’s purple dot moves past Mr. Carvelle’s room. Past the bathrooms in the middle of the hall. Past the art room and the computer lab.
The dot stops, then enters the last classroom on the right.
The music room.
I can picture it as clearly as if I were sitting there. All the little chairs lined up in rows, cabinets full of musical instruments and sheet music and so many wonders to a little six-year-old mind. The dot doesn’t move again for a long time. That must be the interview room.
We go through three rounds of coffee, a dozen bagels for breakfast, and a run to the sub shop up the block for lunch.
Dante and Rebel are just getting back with the sandwiches when the dot finally moves.
“We’re up!” Jeremy shouts. “She’s on the move.”
It’s the signal we’ve been waiting for. No one says a word as we split up into the two cars. This time Deacon rides with us, so they don’t have to cram three into the backseat of the other hybrid.
We have no idea how long this is going to take, but we have full tanks of gas, enough food and water to last at least as long as the gas, and we have a direction. With Jeremy guiding me from the backseat, I follow V out of town to the south.