The Prophet of Starfall: Episode 2

As Nathan Nichols came to, he felt the rough grade of asphalt under his head and heard the faint echo of voices. His head ached, and when he raised his hand to his forehead, he discovered that his entire upper body was sore.

“What happened?” he wondered.

Struggling to remember was like slogging through mud to reach a clear thought. When he opened his eyes, he watched as the clouds parted to unveil a clear, star-filled sky. Then slowly he sat up and looked around. He saw that he was surrounded by city buildings of metal and glass, and people had gathered close to him, some to help and others to satisfy their curiosity. A man stepped forward and bent over him, a worried look on his face.

“Are you okay, mister?” he asked.

Although his voice sounded a bit muffled, Nathan was able to make out what he was saying.

“I think so. Thanks. Is the woman safe?” Nathan questioned him.

When he tried to stand up, he found that his wobbly legs refused to cooperate and buckled under his weight. Just before he went down, the man reached out and caught him, holding him up.

“Careful there. Take it slow,” the man said.

“Who is he?” someone in the crowd asked.

“I don’t know. It’s like he just fell out of the sky and landed on the street,” another person said.

Nathan held onto the man’s arm until his legs found their strength and he was able to stand on his own.

Slowly as his mind began to clear and his vision return, he saw the man whose arms were supporting him. Nathan knew the face looking back at him, but logic said his eyes were playing a trick. The man wore the face of Jericho, one of the heroes of Starfall. Nathan stared at him then turned and let his eyes slowly sweep the crowd. Everyone seemed concerned, even fearful. He saw a large banner stretched across the street announcing the Crescent Bay Founders Day Picnic to be held at the soon-to-open Pearson Plasma Park.

“Am I losing my mind?” Nathan wondered.

Suddenly a wave of nausea washed over him, his vision blurred, and the voices around him faded into far away. Everything went black and Nathan felt his legs crumple beneath him.

 

 

*          *          *

 

When Nathan awoke, he was standing on a black polished marble floor. In the background, he could hear music and the vibration of the bass drum working its way into the floor. Two men dressed in silk suits passed by, their voices low as they walked with deliberation toward the edge of an open balcony. Nathan knew this place. It was the Crescent Bay Queen, the two-story club that crowned the Crescent Bay Hotel.

He heard approaching footsteps clicking on the tile floor and turned to see a group led by a large man of considerable height. Over his shoulder, he carried a woman wrapped in chains with a gag stuffed in her mouth. His muscular arms lifted her as though her weight were of no consequence. As she fought against the chains, her golden hair whipping back and forth, she saw that her struggle was of no use. The brawny man walked toward the open balcony that overlooked the pool eight hundred feet below.

“Elisabeth!” Nathan gasped.

He remembered telling his friend about Elisabeth Heather Hayes, the hero Scorpio, who dies at the beginning of the Starfall series.

When the brute reached the edge of the balcony, he sneered,

“Goodbye little bird.”

Then he lifted her higher in his arms and tossed her over the side to her death.

As he stared in horror, Nathan felt a sharp pain in the back of his head just before his vision blurred and he lost consciousness.

 

*          *          *

 

 

As quickly as it struck, the pain disappeared and Nathan awoke back in the street, Jericho  holding his arm with the crowd still pressing in close.

“You must have hit the pavement hard. You almost fainted. Maybe you need to sit down, buddy,” Jericho suggested.

Nathan looked up at Jericho and said,

“Elisabeth. They’re going to kill her.”

Before Jericho could respond, Nathan felt instinct take over and he suddenly broke through the crowd. A thunder black 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse was parked a few yards away. Bolting for the motorcycle, he straddled the bike and pressed the ignition. With a rumble, the majestic black beast came to life and Nathan quickly pulled out into the busy street.

Weaving through traffic, Nathan could only think of Elisabeth. He had to get to the hotel before they tossed her off the building. In his dream, he had seen her go over, but something told him there was time to save her.

As he raced through the streets, his mind screamed,

“What’s happening to me?”

Then after a moment, he grew calm and decided he would figure that out later. Right now, he had to reach Elisabeth before it was too late.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Nathan pulled up to the front entrance of The Crescent Bay Hotel, turned off the bike and ran inside, pushing past the startled doorman.

“Okay. There are eight regular elevators and two express. The express are for elite guests only and each has a simple number pad for access,” he thought. “Wait. How do I know this?”

“I’ll figure that out later!” he said, refocusing.

Hurrying over to the first of the express elevators, Nathan punched four digits. When the doors opened, he entered the car and pressed the button for the 71st floor, the first floor of the Crescent Bay Queen.

After a few moments, the elevator doors opened and Nathan stepped out and crossed the floor. The club looked empty, but Nathan knew there were eight men on the floor above plus the goon carrying Elisabeth. Near the elevators, a spiral staircase, guarded by two giant bodyguards, led up to the top floor. How to get past them was the problem at hand.

“Excuse me,” Nathan said in as friendly a voice as he could muster. He knew what their response would be.

Neither man budged, but one of them said,

“Sorry. The VIP section’s closed for a private party. Guests only. You got an invitation on you?”

Nathan tilted his head to one side as information about the man flooded his mind.

“Fredrick Kirkland. Age 38. Arrested for attempted murder, assault, robbery and rape. In your free time, you frequent conspiracy websites and watch animated movies and musicals.”

In surprise, the man took a step back while the other guy laughed,

“You like musicals?”

Nathan turned his gaze to the second man and said,

“Darren Gibbs. You’ll be 30 in three weeks. Arrested for car theft, vehicular manslaughter, and bank robbery. You still sleep with a special blanket your mother gave you. By the way, your girlfriend’s pregnant only she doesn’t know yet. Tomorrow at the doctor, she’ll get the happy news. Sorry but you’re not the father.”

Kirkland laughed at Gibbs’ look of horror, and when Gibbs reached into his jacket, Nathan knew he was going for his gun, a Desert Eagle fifty caliber with nickel plating and a rubber grip. Nathan Nichols had exactly two and a half seconds before Gibbs shot him twice in the head.

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