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World's Finest Writer's Corner Batman Beyond: Untold Story (C)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by SilentBat18, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    ****Soooooo this isn't just some random bump. It's just another one of my revamps. I've changed a lot of the story's components (a character has been scraped and replaced with a much better one, events have changed, dialogue improved, chapters rewritten etc). Although the plot is essentially the same, it's definitely not the same fic, so it's worth the reread. Well, it's taken me a while to correct it so i hope you enjoy this version. PS, although i've "blurred" them out, there is a bit more cursing in this version. Nothing that's cringe-worthy though.... at least i hope not. This is sequel to BB: A New Beginning ****
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Terry?” Jazz calls out in a small voice that could barely be heard. “Terry?” She tries again, the name dissolving into the dark expanse surrounding her.

    Her heart begins to pound; the silence slowly creates a panic that engulfs her.

    “Terry!” She frantically cries again, trying to move her legs forward but failing.

    A sob chokes out another attempt to call the name before fear steals the strength of her legs. She desperately hugs herself, hoping that her emaciated arms will keep imaginary trolls from ripping her soul to shreds; but she knows she’s losing the battle. Every minute that passes, she feels herself shrink and break, slowly turning into a hollow shell. The growing emptiness makes her feel vulnerable, knowing all it’ll take is a light gust of wind to scatter that shell apart. She tries one last time to call out for Terry, but no sound comes out.

    “He isn’t coming,” a voice suddenly says, forcing Jazz’s eyes to look up. Her jaw drops with surprise, but the woman’s face staring back maintains a dull expression. “He isn’t coming,” the brunette repeats, her gray eyes suddenly twinkly. “And he never will, not for you.”

    Jazz tries to cover he ears against those words, but she’s paralyzed by shock.

    “He’d never come for you,” the older woman sneers, relishing the fear in Jazz’s wide eyes.

    “No,” she gasps.

    “Face it,” the woman crouches to Jazz’s level. “You’re not worth helping. You’re just a liar…”

    “No.”

    “A coward…”

    “No.”

    “A mistake,” she hisses into her ear.

    “No!” Jazz suddenly cries out, shooting up as her eyes fly open.

    Panting, Jazz looks around to find herself sitting up in bed, her sweaty bangs sticking to her brow. She frantically studies her arms and hands, relieved to find the emaciation was also part of the dream.

    She tries to control the sharpness of her breath in an attempt to calm her beating heart. It’s been a while since nightmares evaded her sleep, but they’ve been getting worse the last few days. Once composed, Jazz rests her head back on her pillow, but her eyes remain wide open for fear of picturing that woman’s face again.
    -----*****-----​

    Nothing beats a real Cuban cigar, a truth Martin Cooney is very much aware of as he relishes the feel of the rolled tobacco between his stubby fingers. He leans back in his plush desk chair with a satisfied sigh and admires the cigar’s dry yet supple feel. Reaching for his cutter, he places the rounded tip between the blades; but before he could squeeze the handles, a knock on the door interrupts his routine.

    “What?” He irritably asks, turning his chair away from the door and facing the window behind him.

    “Mr. Cooney,” a tall, burly man greets as he steps in. He takes his signature fedora in his hands as he approaches the desk. “We got a problem.”

    “Which is?”

    The lackey hears the clip of the cutter and cringes when he realizes he interrupted his boss’ smoke break, but the issue is too pressing to push aside. “Franco, he ain’t talkin’.”

    Cooney swivels his leather chair just enough to raise a brow at the man nervously twirling his hat in his fingers. A tense moment of silence passes before he turns away, the back of the chair replacing his grimace.

    “Call Thorn. Twenty grand; twenty-five if he tries for more,” he finally orders, taking out a zippo lighter and flipping it open.

    “Yes, sir,” the occupant replies before spinning on his heel and hurrying away.

    Unless he wants Thorn to practice on him, he knows he has to get out of there before the smokes starts rising.

    -----*****-----​

    Thorn takes his time sliding the plastic cards through the cred reader as he counts the payment agreed upon. He bites down on the toothpick sitting in the corner of his mouth when the total comes to twenty-five thousand and looks up at the burly man, no longer nervous now that he’s away from his employer.

    “His name’s Franco,” he starts, crossing overly muscular arms over his chiseled chest. “We need to know--”

    “I don’t care,” Thorn interrupts with a gravely whisper, setting the creds aside as he rises to a height equal to Cooney’s lackey. His green eyes twinkle with excitement when he continues to say, “just let me know when to stop.”

    He moves past him and enters the room where Franco is tied up and gagged. Franco, however, doesn’t look like the typical victim; the bored glance he gives Thorn displays an uncommon confidence instead of the expected fear, but it doesn’t discourage Thorn.

    Bending over so their faces are level, Thorn pulls the gag off of Franco’s mouth. “If you expect me to talk,” Franco jeers, “ you’re going to be disappointed.”

    “Actually, I pulled that off so I can hear you scream,” Thorn replies with cold, smiling eyes that snuff his victim’s confidence.

    Pulling the toothpick out of his mouth, Thorn holds up the half he hadn’t chewed on, studying the sharp, wooden tip with his eyes before his gaze drifts down to Franco’s hand restrained on the armrest. He takes hold of Franco’s index finger, lifting it slightly so he could gently wedge the toothpick end between the nail and skin. His cold eyes drift up to Franco’s petrified face, and with a pathological grin, violently shoves the sharpened wood into the quick, relishing Franco’s agonized scream.

    “Let’s get started,” Thorn grins as he straightens and pulls out a full box of toothpicks from his pocket.

     
    #1 SilentBat18, Aug 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2012
  2. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    A painful grunt echoes throughout the cave when Jazz hits the mat.

    “Let’s try that again,” Terry’s impatient voice follows.

    The two have been sparring for the last hour on a floor below the main area of the cave. Though, with Jazz ending up sprawled on the ground most of the time, it seems more like Terry is punishing her than helping hone her skills. Once she is up again, Jazz strikes a fighter’s stance ready for Terry’s move. He reaches out an arm aiming to grab her by the neck. She counters the move by grabbing his wrist, twisting it behind his back and then bringing her free arm around wrapping it around Terry’s neck in a chokehold.

    But Terry isn’t impressed, especially since he notices one of her legs is planted close to his. He takes the opportunity to trip her by kicking her foot out. Stumbling back, she lets go of his arm secured behind his back. Freed from her grip, Terry spins in time to grab her wrist, pull it behind her back and shove her shoulder, forcing her down again. She lets out yet another grunt when she hits the floor, hard.

    He crouches beside her and holds out a helping hand. “You seem a little distracted tonight. Something you want to talk about?” He asks as he pulls her up.

    She brushes herself off before replying, “Yeah, how bout you ease up on the ass kicking. I understand you’re good, but you don’t have to rub it in my face.”

    “Rub it in your--? Excuse me if you’re the one lacking skill tonight. Hell, even Matt can tackle you right now without trying.”

    “I’m giving this my best shot, McGinnis,” she shoots back, frustration getting the best of her. “I thought you were supposed to be teaching me, not showing off like some self-centered, arrogant twip!”

    “At least I’m not acting like a repressed drama queen!”

    “I’ll show you drama queen!” Jazz yells before she crouches and sweeps Terry’s legs from under him.

    When he falls back on the mat, Jazz leaps on top of him and pins his wrists to the floor. Thinking she is victorious, a wide grin spreads across her face; but before she could gloat about it, Terry uses his still free legs to wrap around her waist before throwing her off of him; when she lands face down, Terry gladly takes his turn to pin her to the floor with a knee and secure both her wrists behind her back.

    “Now, where were we? Oh, right. You were about to tell me what’s causing you to severely suck in tonight’s training,” he says with a smile. She tries to wiggle free, but to no avail.

    “And if I don’t?” She grunts.

    “Then I hope you’re comfortable, ‘cause I can stay like this all night.”

    “Whatever is bothering me doesn’t concern you, McGinnis.”

    “Pretend it does.”

    “Why would you want to know, anyway?”

    “Because making me wait six months is long enough, and I’m not willing to wait another six months to know who I’m working with. So I suggest you start talking.”

    “There’s nothing to talk about.”

    “Jazz,” he cautions, “I can do a lot worse than this position.”

    She lets out a frustrated sigh, which ends up sounding more like a puff of air on account of Terry’s weight resting on her back and keeping her from breathing deeply. “It was just a dream I had last night, no big deal.”

    Terry lets go of her wrists and leans back on his haunches, pulling his knee off of her. Jazz flips over and sits cross-legged, rubbing her wrists as she glares at him.

    “What was your dream about?” He asks when Jazz doesn’t continue.

    “My mom.” The dryness of her tone piques his curiosity.

    “And? Did something happen?”

    Jazz’s pink eyes bore into his blue ones before she replies, “Yeah.”

    “What?”

    “You ask too many questions.”

    “Noted. You were saying?”

    “Forget it,” she sighs as she rises.

    “Jazz,” Terry scolds as he stands. “If you want this partnership to work, you’ll need to open up a little more than that.”

    “Our partnership is fine; it’s been fine the last six months, hasn’t it?”

    “That’s not guaranteeing anything. Look, take it from someone who’s been on the job for five years: you’re not gonna last long here if you don’t have someone you could vent to, and something tells me Bruce won’t be volunteering to be that person. So the reason I’m asking you to open up is for your own sake.”

    She hesitates as she considers this, letting each haunting secret to flow through her mind as she calculates the risks of letting them out. Although they’ve been weighing her down for a long time, she decides against giving in to the temptation, somehow believing that remaining unattached is the only way she can protect herself. She locks her pink eyes with his and stubbornly shakes her head.

    “No,” she states, turning away.

    But Terry’s patience has been pushed too far; he grabs her arm forcing her to stay, to face him, to answer to him.

    “Know that I’m done waiting, Douglas,” he replies, his brow creasing into an angry glare.

    He lets go of her arm before stalking off, leaving Jazz to toil with feelings of guilt and fury. Bruce’s eyes follow his protégé as he moves to the medical station on the main floor. He watches him open a cupboard, pull out an ice pack, then slam it shut before crushing the bag in his hand with unnecessary force.

    “Something on your mind?” Bruce starts as Terry shakes the bag to activate the contents within it. Once the ice forms, he presses it against the wrist Inque had crushed during their almost fatal encounter seven months ago.

    “I don’t want to talk about it,” Terry mumbles, taking a seat on the steel table. Bruce lets a few quiet minutes pass, innately knowing Terry isn’t done; and as if on cue, the young man continues, “I mean, who the hell does she think she is? Some burned spy who’s led a life of assassination and she’d have to kill me if she talks?” Bruce quietly listens, knowing not to interrupt the boy’s chance to vent. “I’ve been patient, and I trust your judgment, but does she really expect to work with me when I know nothing about who she is or where she came form? For all I know, she could be a freakin’ alien planning to suck my brains out when I’m not looking. God, I just don’t get her,” he finishes with a sigh.

    After allowing a short moment of pause to pass, Bruce swivels his chair around to face the console. “She isn’t a spy,” he finally says, making Terry scoff. “She isn’t an alien, either.”

    “Would have explained a lot if she was,” he shakes his head, knowing if he wasn’t so pissed, Bruce’s comments would have made him grin.

    He gingerly rolls his hand, wincing once when his wrist responds to the movement with a sharp pain.

    “I just don’t know what to do anymore,” Terry confesses, his eyes turning down with shame for having given up on her so easily.

    “You don’t have to do anything, McGinnis. Just let her be.”

    “This coming from a man who prides himself on never having to rely on his sidekicks.” Bruce shoots him a glare menacing enough to make him mumble an apology. “I didn’t mean it; I’m just on edge.”

    Bruce lets the insult go, understanding Terry’s frustrations are what drive him to spout things he doesn’t mean, but they aren’t baseless. The boy is right; working with someone you know little about can get irksome, which can lead to consequential distraction. The drive to protect Terry from getting hurt again almost prompts Bruce to just confess what Jazz had told him in confidence. Good thing almost doesn’t count.

    “She’ll come around eventually,” he tries reassuring the young man.

    “Whatever,” he sighs with indifference as he looks away. He really is giving up on her.

    Not knowing what else to say, Bruce hesitantly returns to his work, wondering what Alfred would have done if Terry had come sulking to him.

     
    #2 SilentBat18, Aug 13, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  3. SilverKnight

    SilverKnight Sigh.

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    Biggest thing I've noticed is that you switch between present (he sits) and past (he sat) tense a lot, and it makes reading the story confusing. Fix that, and you'll be in better shape. ;)
     
  4. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    ARRRGH! *sighs* i swear, i reread this post over and over again trying to work out the kinks.... i guess back to basics for me.... but thanks for the advice Silverknight, i really do appreciate it. as for the story, well it may be a while till i post the next reply, mainly cause i have to relearn my english :sweat:. but i will be back soon, promise ;).
     
  5. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    “Docks, pier seventeen, midnight tomorrow,” Thorn says as he wipes his bloody hands on a towel. “Says the shipment will be in crates carrying paper,” he continues telling Cooney, his current employer.

    “How many people will be there?”

    He shrugs as he tosses the towel in the trash. “He doesn’t know.”

    “Then get back in there and find out,” Cooney orders, making Thorn raise a brow at him.

    “When I say he doesn’t know, he doesn’t know,” Thorn emphasizes with eyes narrowing into a threat.

    Cooney recognizes the glare and quickly lightens the tone of his voice. “I see,” he smiles submissively. Everyone knows you don’t piss Thorn off unless you want to end up being his new pincushion. “Guess we’ll have to find someone else who does know.”

    “It’ll cost you another twenty-five grand,” Thorn replies, his face returning to an apathetic expression.

    “Fine. Boon,” Cooney turns to his lackey. “Find the girl.”
    ------*****-----​

    Being Charlie’s girl, Katrina had never felt afraid of walking Gotham’s street at night. Everyone in the criminal world knew her, and if they didn’t, Charlie made sure they do. Last time someone tried to lay a hand on the blond, he ended up with a couple of stumps. There’s nothing like that feeling of invincibility, having others fear you, respect you. The thought draws an arrogant smile on Katrina’s face as she rides the elevator up to her penthouse suite.

    “Pumpkin!” She calls out when the doors open and she steps into the lavish condo. “I’m home! Guess what I got you at the auction this morning,” she goes on even though Charlie has yet to reply. “I ain’t tellin’ ya, but here’s a hint, it’s in the garage,” she squeals with delight.

    She finds her way to the living room but discovers it empty, so she heads to the study knowing that’s where he usually conducts his business. It turns up empty as well, but she finds a note addressed to her on his desk. Picking it up, she reads:

    Sorry Sugar, urgent meeting. I’ll see you tonight though.
    - C
    Scoffing with disappointment, she crumples the paper and tosses it aside, mumbling how typical it is for him to do something like that. It doesn’t take long for her to shrug it off though, resolving to enjoy a hot bubble bath and the box of chocolates Charlie had left her.

    With the treat in tow, Katrina creates a trail of clothes as she makes her way to the bathroom. Wrapping a silk robe around herself, she turns the tub’s faucets on and sprinkles fragrant bath salts as the water pours in. She lights the candles surrounding the tub and smiles when she remembers a bottle of wine is chilling in the fridge. Setting her chocolates down, she hums a tune as she hurries over to the kitchen and opens the wine cooler under the kitchen island. Picking out a vintage pinot noir, she straightens up and turns to find the corkscrew.

    Just as she opens the appropriate drawer though, a strong arm grabs her from behind, forcing her to drop the bottle. Before she could scream, a chloroform-saturated cloth is forced against her mouth, and within seconds, she falls limp in Boon’s arms.
    -----*****-----​

    Seated all the way in the back of her cognitive psychology class, Jazz leans a cheek against a propped fist as her bored eyes follow the professor at the front of the class pacing the room. The seemingly endless lecture is covering memory processing and all the useless information that goes along with it. She inwardly sighs as she glances at the clock on her laptop, wondering why the last five minutes of class always go by the slowest; maybe next week’s lecture on time perception could shed light on the phenomenon.

    She thought majoring in psychology would be a lot more interesting than it actually is, and halfway into her second Junior semester, she quickly realizes she needs to find yet another major. She doubts she’ll even graduate at this rate.

    Before she could roll her eyes with annoyance for the fifth time, the professor finally stops pacing and dismisses the class before calling out next week’s reading assignment. Without wasting another moment, Jazz shuts her computer’s lid, tucks it under her arm, and rushes out of class with bag in tow, never bothering to talk to anyone she walks past.

    Before she makes it out into the sunny April day, she decides to head to the Registrar’s department to pick up yet another brochure on majors Gotham State University has to offer. Reaching the top floor of the two hundred-year-old building, she turns down the hallway where the room she’s visited too many times in the past three years is located. As she approaches it though, she discovers someone she didn’t expect to run into slouched on the bench outside the door. His raven head is resting against the wall as a deep sigh lifts and deflates his chest.

    “Hey,” she quietly greets as she reaches his side.

    Terry raises his head enough to look up at her. “Hey,” is the reply before his head falls back again.

    “What are you doing here?” She asks as she takes a seat beside him.

    He holds up a folded piece of paper before replying, “registering for a class that needed my advisor’s approval. Admin has yet to figure out how to do that online for some reason. You?”
    She looks over to where a stand carrying brochures line the wall. She picks the one she needs and waves in it Terry’s direction. “Switching to yet another major.”

    “Is it too personal if I ask why?” Terry unexpectedly asks.

    The snide tone makes Jazz wince; they haven’t spoken since their last argument, and he just made it clear he hasn’t forgotten about that night.

    “I guess I deserve that,” she mumbles, her gaze dropping to her feet.

    He doesn’t reply, or move for that matter, allowing the tension between them to build. He meant it when he said he was done waiting, and his irritation is taking its toll on Jazz. She lifts her eyes to study the man beside her, inwardly cringing with guilt when she realizes how rigid his body had grown since she sat next to him.

    She never intended to hurt him; hell, she didn’t even know he cared enough to get hurt. Although they had a tendency to get into arguments whenever one of them disagreed about something, Terry had still considered her more than just a nightly partner, something Jazz never realized before now. Terry had told her what happened to his family, never shying away as he described the pain and hurt that temporarily consumed him. Snapping at him was unnecessary and unfair, and gazing at the hardened face beside her teaches her that lesson.

    Sick of the guilt gnawing at her, she opens her mouth to recount the story that would redeem their friendship, but quickly shuts it when a woman steps out of the office and stares at the two.

    “McGinnis?” She asks, bringing Terry to straighten up.

    Jazz watches Terry rise to his feet and sling his bag over his shoulder before walking past her, following the woman who had called on him. She groans as she slumps deeper into the bench, irritated by the chance that was stolen from her. Resolving to find another opportunity, Jazz reluctantly gets to her feet and walks back down the hallway as she rehearses what she has – needs – what she needs to say.
    -----*****-----​

    “Twenty-six-year-old Katrina Fleming has been found dead late last night in an abandoned warehouse,” the digital news caster starts before its image recedes to reveal the crime scene swarmed with cops. “The cause of death has not yet been release, but investigators note she has been tortured in the same manner as Anthony Vette, whose body was found last month in Gotham’s harbor. The alleged suspect is known only as Thorn for the moment and we urge anyone who has information regarding his whereabouts to please call the number on the screen.”

    “Thorn, huh,” Terry starts after Bruce turns down the video’s volume.

    “Named after the toothpicks he used to torture his victims.”

    “Ouch.”

    “You don’t know the half of it,” Bruce replies as he pulls up the crime scene images of the two victims covered in blood and hundreds of toothpicks pricked into their skin.

    “Oh, geez,” he gasps with disgust.

    “He’s ruthless,” his mentor continues, closing the images and pulling up his MO list. “He doesn’t choose his targets; he’s a freelancer instead, his victims being people of interest to his employers. Mobs particularly like him since he’s loyal to no one but himself and will dig up information regarding rival mobs. Although deaths are unintentional, he doesn’t seem to care if they happen.”

    “He sounds charming. So where can I find him?”

    “That’s the problem. The mafia was the last to employ his services to uncover information on the drug shipment the Irish mob was expecting.” He pulls up Interpol articles regarding the operation the police failed to stop. “Katrina was linked to the Irish mob by her involvement with their leader, Charlie. They must have used what she knew to intercept the drugs.”

    “Who called Thorn?”

    “Martin Cooney,” Bruce replies, pulling up an image of the porky man with a receding hairline. “He’s in charge of stings like that.”

    “Cooney?” Terry asks with a raised brow, finding the not-so-very Italian name unusual.

    “Godfather’s loyal son-in-law,” Bruce explains and Terry nods.

    “I take it you want me to have a chat with Cooney tonight?”

    “Last known address,” Bruce replies, showing him a map of the city with a red dot pinning the location.

    Stepping away from the console, Terry turns and starts heading to an alcove but stops short when he finds Jazz making her way down the staircase. Their gazes meet for a second before Terry looks away and continues towards the shadows, leaving Jazz to awkwardly knead the back of her neck from the encounter.

    “I’m here,” she announces to Bruce. “So what’s up?”

    “I need you to drive me to the airport,” Bruce explains, leaning on his cane as he stands.

    “Where’s Terry headed?” She asks before following him up the stairs.

    “We have a lead on Thorn.”

    “You want me to tag along after I drop you off?”

    “No,” Bruce gruffly replies, surprising her.

    He’s more than aware of the tension between the two adults even though he makes no attempt to help resolve it. He knows tension like that on the field can be dangerous, so he would rather keep them separated for the time he’ll be gone.

    “Use the Interpol database to gather as much info as you can on him,” he orders instead.

    “Uh, okay,” she replies, turning when Terry emerges in his suit.

    She watches him pull the cowl on and hop into the Batmobile without so much as glancing at her before he speeds out of the cave. ‘I’ll find the time,’ she promises herself with a sigh.
    -----*****-----​

    A half hour later, Jazz returns to the now empty cave. By her side is the always loyal Ace looking up at her with eyes that seem to suggest she better get to work. She raises a brow at the demanding dog before making her way towards the computer. Making herself comfortable on the cushioned chair, she continues where Bruce had left off.

    Although she understands the urgency of the matter, especially after Bruce briefed her in the car, boredom soon claims her. It isn’t long before she starts using Interpol to read up on random people’s profiles. Out of curiosity, she opens up Max’s first and reads on:

    Name: Maxine Gibson
    Middle name: Clarice
    Age: 22
    Hair: Pink
    Eyes: Brown
    Height: 5’6”
    Father: George
    Mother: Jessica
    Siblings: Amanda (sister)
    Address: 532 Grand Central Ave, Gotham City
    Crimes committed:
    • Arrested for trespassing blocked off construction site
    • Disturbing the peace
    She smirks when she discovers Max had been arrested, which isn’t something surprising. With a mouth like Max’s, she is bound to get into trouble some time. Jazz closes the file, and opens a few more on her friends, professors, and even the guy at the coffee shop she frequents. After reading and discovering some of them to have surprisingly been arrested for DUIs, disturbing the peace, or indecent exposure, she sits back in her chair and looks down, her pink eyes meeting Ace’s demanding brown ones.

    “Don’t tell me Bruce rubbed off on you too, pooch,” she says with a smile. She scratches just behind his ear, setting off the stereotypical shaking leg that makes her giggle. “I bet you love me now.” Letting go of the dog, she once again sits back, and stares at the enormous screen.

    But before she returns to the research, she opens one more file, one that is very familiar to her but unknown to the rest of the world unless they know where to look.

    An old friend had shown her how to hack into Interpol and deactivate a profile to make herself invisible. Although they had a falling out, her gratitude to him never wavered. Her life would have been a lot more different had she never learned the skill. She had chosen to forget about that life, never believing she would want to lay eyes on that profile ever again; but with the tension between her and Terry, she finds herself reactivating the ghost profile.

    With the process finished in a matter of minutes, she restarts the search, typing her name, place of residence, and physical attributes: Jasmine Marie Douglas, Gotham City, USA, black hair, gray eyes. She stares at the last two words, a pair she hasn’t read in over three years. She sighs and hits the search button. In less that a second, a file pops up and she hesitantly selects it to read the contents. It only takes the first line of her history to prompt an old memory to intrude on her thoughts.

    She remembers standing in a large, bare room and staring up at the heavy wooden door propped open by a woman she can never forget. For some reason, she remembers the old Persian rug beneath her shiny black shoes, worn down by all the other little feet that have treaded on it. She was no older than four, the green dress she wore making her appear short for her age. Her jet-black hair was styled into two even pigtails on each side of her head and a fringe that reached her eyebrows. Her lips, red as cherries against her pale complexion, were pulled down into a frown as tears began to pool in her large gray eyes. She reached an arm out trying to grab for someone, but no one came to comfort her. She was left alone to cry as she watched the door close, locking out a life of happiness.

    Jazz stares into empty space as her mind races to sort through the different emotions triggered by the memory. Though her face remains blank and expressionless, her rosy eyes glaze over with tears threatening to roll down her cheeks. Suddenly, an incoming call from Terry interrupts the chaos going on in her head, snapping her back into reality. Using the back of her hand, she quickly wipes away the tears and answers the call. However, she’s quick to discover that the call was accidentally activated when Terry had received a powerful blow to the head.

    She watches the background shift as Terry falls to the ground, his head turning to the side. The recording cameras embedded in his lenses rest on black boots, and when Terry doesn’t move, Jazz realizes he must have been knocked out. She watches the boots step forward before their owner crouches down to reveal a sinister face with green eyes twinkling with excitement.

    “I was wondering when we were going to meet,” he sneers before turning to someone behind him. “This one’s on the house, Cooney.”

    Having heard enough, Jazz knows Terry needs her help. Terminating the link, she quickly traces his position, leaps off the chair, and rushes to change into her suit.

     
    #5 SilentBat18, Aug 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  6. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    Your writting is getting better with each post I think.

    And the story if moving along very well.

    Can't wait for the next post as I am very courious where this is all going.

    TheKing
     
  7. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    She followed his suit’s tracer to some abandoned warehouse is east Gotham, where old steel factories have been shut down for quite a while. Without wasting another moment, she leaps off her Batcycle and takes to the air, landing on the roof where giant skylights provide the necessary visibility. Two people now occupy the room: Batman tied to a chair with chains and a tall, burly man with short, light brown hair standing by a table lined with anything and everything sharp. She guesses Cooney must have split during the time it took for her to get there.

    Without giving Thorn a chance to even pick his instrument of preference, she crashed through the skylight, landing between her new opponent and the unconscious Batman as a shower of broken glass sprinkle around her. With Batgirl joining the rendezvous, Thorn smiles as he reaches for a dagger.

    “Must be my birthday,” he quips as he twirls the weapon in his hand.

    “Or mine depending on how you look at it,” she replies before she releases a batarang and aims it at Thorn’s armed hand.

    Surprisingly though, he dodges the flying weapon with ease before he rushes at Batgirl. She leaps up and over him just before he can tackle her, and without giving him a chance to react, fires a bola that snags his ankles. Although he falls forward, he adapts by rolling into a somersault and uses his knife to cut the chords binding his legs. Jumping onto his now free legs, he turns to face Batgirl, a smile still branded on his face.

    “This’ll be fun,” he teases before producing a handful of long, steel needles from seemingly nowhere.

    He expertly launches them all at once, and it takes all the speed Batgirl can muster to get out of range, but she quickly realizes it’s just a distraction. The next thing she knows, Thorn comes speeding towards her, taking advantage of the momentary pause caused by the needles, and connects a fist to her jaw. Another one lands on her face after she blocks the knife from slicing her throat. She ducks under a second attempt to cut her and elbows Thorn in the gut before an undercut punch drives into his chin, forcing him to take two steps back.

    Batgirl lunges at him again, but he counters her move with a side step, which she responds to with a high kick. Instead of connecting with his jaw, he manages to grab her ankle and swing her around, slamming her into the adjacent wall. Landing face down, Batgirl lifts herself on hands and knees, but Thorn’s quick reactions brings a foot to drive into her side, winding her. Collapsing back to the floor, Thorn takes the opportunity to grab her roughly by the neck and pull her to her feet.

    “Not going to lie,” he starts, pinning her to the wall behind her. “Thought you had more fight in you.”

    Glaring at her smiling offender, Batgirl releases a flash pellet onto his chest, which explodes on impact and fills the room with a momentarily blinding light. He curses as he lets go of her to cover his eyes, giving Batgirl the chance to crouch and ram a shoulder into his gut. The force of the blow pushes him off balance and sends him falling on his side. The landing causes him to inadvertently let go of his dagger, sending it skidding across the floor.

    Unhappy with the how easily she knocked him down, Thorn sweeps a leg out, catching her foot in the process and pulling it out from under her as he rolls onto his back. She falls forward, but before she hits the ground, he catches her by the neck as he rises. He slams her against the wall as he tightens his grip, making her struggle to free herself. She throws a fist forward and punches him in the nose, but the effect barely fazes him. Instead, it only tightens the grip, slowly chocking her. She tries kicking him, but that too fails her.

    She has yet to notice the way his eyes have glazed over with raw anger, the only thing that keeps him from feeling the pain of the blows. To him, the bloody nose and sore ribs don’t exist; what does is the insubordinate woman struggling in his hand who managed to push him over. Nobody pushes Thorn around, and whoever thinks they can, won’t forget their mistake.

    Desperate for air, Jazz tries to get out of his hold by scratching at his arm with her claws, but despite his bleeding arm, his grip doesn’t loosen. Beginning to suffocate, her body loses strength; however, just before she passes out, Thorn throws her into the opposing wall across the room. Falling to the floor, Batgirl gasps for air, unable to do anything else until her lungs fill with oxygen. She couldn’t get away in time when Thorn stalks towards her before once again wrapping his large hand around her neck, picking her up, and slamming her against the wall in the same manner as earlier.

    “You know what’s worse than being chocked to death?” He hisses in her ear. “Getting a chance to breath before chocking again,” he finishes as his grip tightens.

    She wants to scream, beg for him to stop, but she can’t utter the words. Panic consumes her as she scratches at his arms, praying for freedom, and just like the last time, the hand loosens when she’s about to black out. She gulps a lungful of air before he slams her against the wall and robs her of breath yet again.

    Thorn’s smile returns as he watches Batgirl writhe and fight for her life. He knows she must be pleading for him to stop by now, so he loosens his grip enough for her to speak. However, instead of the desperate cries to be let go, Batgirl manages to utter something none of his victims ever had the courage to do.

    “Pathetic,” is the single word she croaks.

    “What?” He growls.

    “Pa-the-tic,” she repeats, pronouncing every syllable and taking away Thorn’s single reason for torturing victims.

    “Arrogant little *****,” he curses with murderous anger returning to his eyes.

    He pulls out a butterfly knife from a back pocket and flips it open before pressing it against her face.

    “That’s a mistake you’re going to regret,” he goes on to say as the knife’s sharp point moves from her cheek down to her chin, leaving a trail of blood as it travels.

    She tries not to let her fear show on her face now that she finally understands it’s what he thrives on; but the resolute face only pushes him forward, invites him to think of the diverse ways he can make her scream.

    “Do you know why you feel pain?” He asks as he pulls the blade away from her face and begins tracing her neck with it instead. “Nerve endings,” he explains, stopping momentarily on her jugular before moving down. “Those little bastards are everywhere. Skin, bone,” the knife moves across her collarbone and stops over her left shoulder joint. “Tendons,” he grins before forcing the blade to disappear into her shoulder and making her scream in agony. “Ligaments,” he continues, twisting the hilt and starting a new wave of cries.

    She tries punching him with her good arm, but the lack of air paired with excruciating pain makes her attempt at freedom feeble. Her pain, however, doesn’t go unheard; the shrieks manage to pierce through Batman’s cloud of unconsciousness, slowly bringing him back around.

    “You know why they call me Thorn?” He continues when her screams die down. “Because those little barbs you find on a rose stem are a nerve’s worst nightmare.” She grunts when he tugs the blade out and returns to the task of tracing the tip across her body, this time moving down her side. “They’re small enough to prick you anywhere.” It changes directions when it reaches the end of her rib cage and moves across towards her stomach. “And when they hit the right spot,” he whispers, settling the knife’s point just below her heart, “the pain can make you beg for mercy.”

    The steel blade pierces through her protective suit as Thorn stabs it deep into her stomach, smiling when her eyes grow wide with pain. A choke escapes her throat as her body slowly goes limp.

    “No!” Batman suddenly yells, having fully awakened a few seconds ago and witnessing the fatal assault.

    Thorn pulls out the knife as he turns to face his initial victim. “Glad you could make the show,” he jeers as he lets go of Batgirl and wipes the bloody knife on his pants.

    Horrified, Batman watches his partner topple to the ground, laying face down in a growing pool of blood. His eyes suddenly narrow with fury before snapping back to Thorn’s smug face. Accessing the suit’s power boost, Batman breaks free of his chains and leaps forward with speed that Thorn cannot cope with, rightfully wiping the smile off his face.

    The black figure doesn’t show signs of hesitation or mercy when it starts its assault on Thorn with blow after blow. First a punch, then two kicks, some powerful enough to break bones. Thorn got lucky earlier when he snuck up on Batman and knocked him out with a well-placed blow to the head. But now the hero is vengefully coming at him with full force. It isn’t like fighting Batgirl; this time Thorn is outmatched, and when he falls back disoriented and beaten, he has no intention of teaching Batman the same lesson.

    Batman then rushes to Batgirl’s side, carefully turning her over on her back to discover she has already blacked out. He presses two fingers to her neck, but when the suit fails to pick up a pulse, his eyes go wide with fear. He starts a round of CPR, managing in between pumps to get a hold of Barbara’s radio frequency.

    “I need you,” he says when he locks on the signal.

    Frowning, Barbara picks up the receiver on her desk. “Who is this?”

    “Batman,” is the short reply before he breathes into Jazz’s mouth.

    The older woman straightens in her desk chair. “What’s wrong?”

    “I have Thorn at the abandoned steel warehouse, but we need an ambulance. Hurry,” he says before terminating the link. The urgency in his voice prompts Barbara to leap off her chair and order her squad to head out immediately.

    Knowing the paramedics are on their way, Terry decides to strip Jazz of her suit and claim she was Thorn’s latest victim. It’s the only way to get her to a hospital without compromising their identities. So he quickly sets to work pulling off the suit before returning to counting compressions he pumps on her chest.

    He stops for a second and checks for a pulse using the suit’s sensitive sensors. The unmistakable beep sets off a breath of relief, but it’s short-lived when Jazz’s chest doesn’t rise with respiration. So he presses his mouth against hers again and blows hoping to stimulate her lungs. After a couple breaths, he pulls away and gratefully sighs when she sucks in air on her own. She’s not out of danger yet, though. The wound beneath her ribs continues to gush out blood, so pulling out all the gauze his belt compartment holds, he applies pressure to the leaking wound all the while praying for Barbara to arrive soon.

    Moments later, the doors burst open as a police squad rushes in with guns aimed and ready to fire. Barbara is the last one in, clearly surprised when she finds Batman leaning over a girl in a bra and skin tight shorts while Thorn lays unconscious on the other side of the room. Quickly getting over the initial shock, she orders her team to detain Thorn before rushing Batman’s side.

    “What the hell happened?” She gasps.

    “Where’s EMT?” He asks instead.

    “On their way up.”

    “Here, keep applying the pressure,” he instructs as he places her hands on the wound.

    Once she takes over, she watches him discreetly bunch up a second suit as he rises, giving her the clue she is looking for. The realization of who the bleeding victim on the floor really is widens her eyes with surprise.

    “Just tell them she was Thorn’s latest target,” he quickly explains just before the paramedics rush in with a stretcher.

    Before Batman has the chance to fly out with Jazz’s suit in tow, Barbara calls out, “wait! What’s her name?”

    “Jasmine Douglas,” he replies before flying out through the broken skylight as paramedics kneel by Barbara and take over.

     
    #7 SilentBat18, Sep 11, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  8. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    He had not anticipated the night to go so wrong. All he set out to do was get the necessary information from Cooney that could help track Thorn down. He didn’t expect to run into Thorn or be knocked out by him so easily, but even then he never considered himself in real trouble.

    ‘Why the hell did she come?’ He asks himself as an angry fist slams against the Batmobile’s dashboard.

    A new feature Bruce had added a while ago would have protected him for as long as he was unconscious. If Thorn attempted to remove his suit, it would have electrified him on contact, stopping him from trying to unmask him and turn him into another victim. She should have known Thorn would rather practice on a victim who’s awake, so even though he was out, the threat wouldn’t have been serious until he woke up.

    ‘So why did she come?’ He asks himself again.

    When the sirens begin wailing and the ambulance takes off, Terry watches it speed away before following it to Gotham General. Landing in the alley behind the hospital, he changes out of his suit and into the spare clothes he keeps hidden in the car’s compartment and rushes out, heading to the emergency room.

    “Hey,” he breathes as he reaches the reception desk, “I’m looking for Jazz Douglas; they just wheeled her in.”

    The nurse types the name in her monitor before looking up at Terry. “She’s in the OR. Are you family?”

    “Uh, kind of; I’m her fiancé,” he lies, knowing it’ll be the only way to get updates on her condition.

    “You can take a seat; we’ll let you know if anything changes,” the nurse says with a smile that’s meant to reassure him.

    But it doesn’t. As he finds a seat in the corner, Terry can’t help but wonder about the nurse’s question. In the six months they’ve been working together, she has never mentioned a word about her family. Hell, she’s hardly even said anything about close friends. He remembers the roommates he saved back when they first ran into Jazz, but she hasn’t spoken about them since the incident. All he really knows is where she lives and her phone number.

    Her phone! He suddenly realizes he could use it to call her parents if he needs to, and maybe find out where they live. Having to face how little Jazz has revealed about herself brings back the resentment the emergency had temporarily pushed aside. She shouldn’t have left him in the dark like that; there was no reason to. Whatever she’s hiding, she should realize by now that if there’s anyone she should trust, it’s him.

    But the thought forces him to sigh and sink deeper into his chair, ashamed by how selfish he has become. One is never entitled to another’s trust; the only way to get it is to earn it. The frustration of waiting though has gotten to him, and now with Jazz fighting for her life, he finds himself praying for her to pull through if only to apologize to her.
    -----*****-----​

    As the fifth hour closes in, a tall, middle-aged man dressed in blue scrubs and a white lab coat makes his way into the waiting room.

    “Mr. McGinnis?” He asks, bringing Terry to lift his head. He shoots up to his feet as the doctor approaches.

    “How is she?”

    “Stable. She was lucky; the knife missed her heart by half an inch, but it did knick her aorta, which is why she bled so much. Her shoulder is what received the most damage. We managed to repair the torn tendons, but the recovery is going to be a slow one.”

    “Can I see her?”

    “She’s still out, but you’ll find her in room 312.” Terry moves to the doors but stops when the doctor continues to say, “I heard they caught the guy who did this just in time to stop him. Lord knows what else he would have done. It could have been worse.”

    “Must be a lucky day,” Terry replies before disappearing behind the doors.
    -----*****-----​

    Room 312 is just like any other room in the hospital: clean, white, the sterile smell of alcohol wafting in the air, and the weak body lying in bed. Terry stands by the door staring at Jazz sleeping across the room. Although the room is shrouded in shadows, street lamps shine enough light through the windows for Terry to note her pale skin. Quietly approaching, he arrives by her side and looks down at her seemingly lifeless body.

    Dark circles border her eyes and lips as pale as her pasty cheeks only add to the effect. A large bandage covers the cut on her cheek, bringing Terry to notice it for the first time since he last saw her. The plain hospital gown doesn’t cover part of her shoulder, revealing the blood stained bandages wrapped around it. He can’t see the second thick layer of gauze wrapped around her ribs, but he knows the sight isn’t prettier than her shoulder’s.

    He takes a seat on the available chair and rests his cheek on a propped fist as he continues to watch her. He’s glad that she’s okay, but he can’t stop his fury from returning when he realizes that her interference was a mistake on her part. She should have waited, believed in his ability to get out of trouble, known there was nothing to rush into. All this could have been avoided if she had just trusted him. Even though he wouldn’t regret leaving her now and returning in the morning to check on her, something stops him from setting foot outside the door.

    He doesn’t know anyone else who would stay with her. As far as he’s concerned, he’s the closest thing to family she has at the moment. Leaving now would only mean abandonment; although she can’t say it, he knows she needs him there to stay with her, to lend her strength, to help her through. So he remains seated, eyes watching over her, quietly promising to never leave her.
    -----*****-----​

    Morning announces itself with skies dark with clouds and heavy droplets of rain assaulting the window. With the head of the bed elevated, Jazz had managed to comfortably sit up when the pattering had woken her a few hours ago. Although still sickly pale, she seems to be looking better than the night before. Her wavy black hair lies draped around her shoulders, her left arm hangs in a sling, and her other hand, set beside her, is covered by Terry’s hand.

    He hasn’t left the chair he occupied the night before; with his head slightly tilted back, eyes closed, and chest rhythmically rising and falling, it’s clear he had fallen asleep next to her. She hadn’t woken him up or moved her hand away from his, even though she felt awkward and surprised to have found him there. However, she accepts and even appreciates his comforting presence, especially when events of the previous night flit through her mind.

    She was too hasty with the decision that Terry needed her help. He had managed to break free of his binds and defeat Thorn single handedly; all she did was worry him unnecessarily. Before she continues beating herself up over the mistake, a gentle squeeze on her hand pulls her out of the self-defeating thoughts. She turns her head to find Terry staring back with tired, bloodshot eyes that fail to reveal his thoughts.

    “Look, Terry, I know I messed up-” she starts.

    “Big time,” he interrupts drawing his hand away from hers; he’s not planning on letting her off the hook that easily. “How are you feeling?”

    “Crappy; how else should I feel?” She sighs.

    “You’ll feel worse if you don’t tell me what’s going on.”

    She frowns at him. “What do-?”

    “Gray eyes. I thought the pink was spliced.”

    “Oh, that,” she looks away, realizing her first secret has been uncovered. “I don’t want people to know about this, okay?”

    “What are you hiding?”

    That, as they say, is the million-dollar question. Now is her best chance to set the record straight, to lay it all out, to tell her tale. She was looking for just the right moment to do that before ending up in here, and it seems that moment has found her; but even so, she hesitates, looking away with fear and shame.

    Taking it as a sign that she’s not yet ready to talk, Terry sighs as he rises; a reaction that surprises her. She expected another outburst, but what she gets is the opposite; he’s calm, and not in the sense of giving up, but rather a more accepting calm.

    “I need to take care of a few things,” he starts, as though it’s just another day. “And I’ll have to call Bruce. Is there anything you want me to do for you?” She shakes her head as she studies his sincere face. “Then I’ll be back later,” he finishes before heading to the door.

    “Terry?” Jazz suddenly calls out, stopping him from stepping out. He turns to face her.

    “Did you really stay here all night?” She goes on to ask, closely watching for a reaction, but the silence that ensues suggests he has no intention of answering the question. Instead, he simply turns and steps out, never uttering a word.
     
    #8 SilentBat18, Sep 25, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  9. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    “Her shoulder’s messed up,” Terry speaks into his phone as he descends the stairs, “but she’ll be fine.”

    “Have you talked to Barbara yet?” Bruce asks.

    “No; figured I’d do that later since I have a feeling she wants to lecture me about what happened.”

    “That depends on the mood you find her in.”

    “Right,” Terry hesitantly replies as his eyes lift to the large screen. Pressing a button to turn it on, a frown quickly mars his brow when he discovers the open profile belongs to Jazz.

    “Find out if Thorn figured out her identity,” Bruce speaks, bringing Terry’s thoughts back.

    “Doubt it,” he replies as he scrolls down the page. “He was out when I took her mask off, and press never released her name or picture.” A loaded pause follows, which Terry clearly comprehends. “But I’ll check anyway,” he sighs to satisfy his mentor.

    “Good; call me if you find out anything else.”

    “Got it,” Terry replies, hanging up.

    He sets the phone down as he reads the profile he discovered, his brow deepening after every line.

    Name: Jasmine Douglas
    Middle name: Marie
    Age: 21
    Hair: Black
    Eyes: Gray
    Height: 5’8”
    Father: Andrew (Deceased)
    Mother: Nicole Cleland
    Siblings: none
    Address: 532 Grand Central Ave, Gotham City

    Crimes committed:
    • Grand larceny.
    • Assault and disturbing the peace.
    • Trespassing and vandalism.
    • Affiliation with unrecognized gang.
    • Shop lifting and pick pocketing.
    Terry scrolls down to reveal more information on the subject:

    Biography:

    Orphaned at the age of four, parents claimed to no longer have been able to provide for her. Relocated to sixteen orphanages before the legal age of eighteen; misbehavior and assault on other children was the main reason for transfers. Diagnosed by child psychologist with 312.81 Conduct Disorder Childhood Onset, making placement difficult. Never adopted or fostered. Sentenced and served four months in Juvenile Hall at the age of fifteen for grand larceny and assault charges.

    ‘So she’s an orphan?’ Terry asks himself as he takes a seat.

    With a touch of a button, he opens a new search box and types in the name Nicole Cleland and hits ‘search’, but the results that turn up don’t seem to match the person he is looking for. He then tries Andrew Douglas, this time finding the right person on the top of the screen. He opens the profile to read:

    Name: Andrew Douglas
    Middle name: Christopher
    Age: Deceased at 34
    Cause of death: Automotive accident.

    Terry leans back in his chair as he tries to understand why Jazz would hide this from him. He knows she must have deactivated her profile since he has never seen this one before, but why? He hasn’t read anything on it that he hadn’t done at one point in his life. Closing down the profiles, he figures the only way to get straight answers is from the source. At least now he knows what she has been hiding and enough to tide his curiosity over.

    He stands to leave with Jazz’s apartment being the next destination in mind, but something gently clamps down on the cuff of his pants, stopping him from climbing the steps. A low whimper forces him to turn around and find Ace’s brown eyes staring up at him.

    “I bet you’re hungry,” he says to the dog that lets him go. “Come on, let’s get you some food, mutt.”
    -----*****-----​

    When her apartment door swings open, Terry with Ace by his side make their way in. Once inside, he lets go of the leash allowing the dog to roam around freely, sniffing anything his nose comes into contact with.

    “Jeez, slow down, Ace. She’s not here,” Terry comments as he closes the door and heads to the bathroom.

    He opens the medicine cabinet in search of a pair of colored lenses, but frowns when he doesn’t find them. With a little thought, he heads to the bedroom and checks the nightstand drawers; when a little box containing an unopened pair of lenses, Terry stuffs it into his bag before packing a few more necessities she may need.

    “Ace?” He calls out when he doesn’t find him in the living room. He heads to the kitchen and discovers that the dog has managed to climb onto a chair and help himself to a half eaten cinnamon roll on the table.

    Terry rolls his eyes at the sight, picks up the leash, and is about to lead Ace away from the sugary treat; but that’s when he notices a worn out and wrinkled photograph set on the table next to the plate Ace’s face is buried in. It’s of a tall redheaded man wearing a lopsided grin and embracing a woman who resembles Jazz so much he almost mistakes her to be his difficult and mysterious partner.

    The woman has the same long wavy hair, the red lips and the silvery eyes that seemed to sparkle. The only differences between the two are the freckles and the skin tone, where Jazz doesn’t have any freckles and shares a paler complexion similar to the man in the photo. There’s no doubt that they are her parents.

    The couple stands smiling in front of a stone-faced Victorian mansion on an unfamiliar hillside. They look like any other young, newly wed couple: happy. He turns the photo over and finds a hand written message.

    “Lots of luck to my favorite newly weds: Andrew and Nicole. Here’s to many long and happy years by each other’s sides. Show the world what love really is.

    Always Your faithful friend,
    Ethan
    P.S. Don’t forget, Red, you promised to name your girl Jazzy for me.”

    “Ethan, huh?” Terry asks himself as he flips the picture over again. “I hope she’s in the mood to talk.” He looks over at Ace, scowling when he finds the plate cleaned and Ace staring back with innocent, almost puppy-like eyes. “You know that never works on me.”

    On that, Ace jumps off the chair and heads to the door without waiting for Terry. Before leaving the kitchen, Terry carefully slides the picture in a pocket and follows Ace out.

     
    #9 SilentBat18, Sep 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  10. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    She isn’t supposed to be up, but since when does she listen to anybody? Besides, standing by the window and watching the sun set never hurt anyone. Terry has been gone all day, and doctors have finally stopped bothering her with tests. This is her quiet time; the time she cherishes most and, since it’s rare, always uses wisely.

    Her usual spot to meditate is atop a building in the old district of Gotham where she would watch the moon set or the sunrise. Now she has to make due with the bland hospital room and a view that is partially obscured by a building. Even so, that doesn’t stop a forgotten memory from sneaking in her thoughts.

    It was a few years after that first night in her new home. She remembers sitting in the corner of a room filled with toys, but the only thing between her fingers was an old handkerchief with the initials “AD” embroidered into it. Twirling it between her fingers, she found comfort in the fabric’s softness, helping her forget about the lingering pain the fresh bruises on her arms gave her.

    The smell she thought clung to it reminded her of her father and how he used to cradle her when the boogie-man tried to get her from underneath the bed, or when she lay in his lap half awake on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, or when he made her pancakes after her mother would ignore her on Saturday mornings, preferring the company of coffee over her daughter.

    Just as a smile made its way to her face, a shadow terrifyingly hovered over her. She looked up with gray eyes still not dry from tears to find that same woman from the first night glaring down at her.

    “What are you looking at, you brat?” The woman’s voice boomed as her hand rose and swung down, aiming for the girl’s cheek.

    The memory of the blow awakens Jazz with a jolt. Her wide eyes shut so tightly, tears manage to squeeze out of the corners of her eyes and roll down her cheeks.

    ‘How could she?’ She keeps repeating the thought over and over.

    It infuriates her, saddens her, frustrates her all at the same time. Opening her eyes, she lets her head hang low as the hand by her side balls up into a tight fist. Being left alone at such a young age, it’s an unforgivable and unforgettable sin. The years may have added up and the incident growing farther and farther away from the present, but the pain is still the same. Today marks seventeen years since that first brick of her sturdy and secure wall crumbled, leading to a life of hardship and strife.

    She remembers bits and pieces of the day that started it all; everyone wore black, there was a long, wooden box with flowers on it, which was taken to some kind of park. She knew it wasn’t a normal park when she saw the stones jutting out of the ground; people weren’t laughing or smiling, puppies weren’t there to catch Frisbees, there wasn’t even the usual swing set with a sand box on the side.

    It all became clear when they began lowering that long box into a hole in the ground. The box fit like two correct pieces of a puzzle coming together, except no one was pleased when they did. Then came the dirt. A buried box like that should never be touched again. It forever remains in the ground, untouched by anyone.

    “Mommy?” The four-year-old asked, tugging at the end of the widow’s skirt, “is daddy coming back?” She asked with a quivering voice. She looked up at her mother as the brown dirt continued to cover the coffin. “Tell them to stop, mommy,” she sobbed. “Tell them to stop. I want daddy back. If they stop, we can get daddy back. Tell them I want daddy back!”

    “He’s never coming back, Jasmine. Nothing will ever bring him back,” the woman replied as she watched the dirt fall. The thought of comforting her daughter never crossed her mind.

    “Jazz?” Terry’s voice startles her, bringing her out of the trance she was consumed in.

    She turns to find him standing by the door and staring at her from across the room. She turns back to face the window hiding her wet cheeks as she dries them with the back of her hand. Meanwhile, Terry quietly shuts the door and approaches her, placing the bag on the bed as he passes by it. He stops a step behind her and waits for her to turn around. After taking a moment to compose herself, she finds the courage to look him in the eye again.

    “I don’t think you should be up and about yet,” he starts.

    “It’s not like I’m leaping off buildings; I just wanted to watch the sun set.”

    “You have a pretty good view from the bed.”

    “Why are you here, McGinnis?” she asks, irritated by the way he’s trying to order her around, never realizing it was out of concern.

    With a sigh, he holds out the box containing the lenses. “I thought you may need these if you want to keep whatever you’re hiding a secret.”

    “Oh; thanks,” she mutters as she takes the box and walks over to a mirror above the sink.

    She opens it and takes the delicate lenses out, placing one pink disc into each eye. Blinking into the mirror a few times she notices Terry’s reflection off of her shoulder. He is staring at her with an expression she’s never seen before. Is it sympathy? Is he pitying her right there in front of her?

    Leaning against the edge of the sink, she stares back at his reflection. “How much did you read?”
    But before he has the chance to answer, the door suddenly swings open, and Max comes walking in. “Holy crap,” she gasps when eyes fall on Jazz still looking pale and tired. “Terry said it was bad, but-”

    “Max,” Terry quickly reprimands with a scowl.

    “It’s fine,” Jazz sighs as she faces Max. “It’s not as bad as I look.”

    “I’m glad you’re okay; any idea when they’ll be releasing you?” Max asks as she approaches the two.

    “Tomorrow.”

    “That’s early,” she replies with surprised eyes. “I thought they’d-”

    “Max,” Terry scolds again, knowing Jazz has had enough doctors try to convince her to stay. “Do me a favor; the dog’s in the car. Mind taking him to the park or something? There’s one across the street,” he asks, tossing his keys her way.

    “Reduced to dog-sitting. Never thought I would miss you asking for help at three in the morning,” she sarcastically quips, staring at the keys in her hand. “Call if you need anything, Jazz,” Max says before heading out the door, leaving the two to quietly avoid each other’s gaze. The silence is uncomfortable but Jazz prefers it over a topic that causes more pain than her wounds.

    She starts for the bed, since her strength is almost completely drained, and sits on the edge with her back facing Terry. For a moment, nothing stirs. She doesn’t hear Terry approach until he is right in front of her helping lift her legs onto the bed. Quietly accepting the help, she adjusts herself on the bed and, using her good arm, covers her legs with the beige comforter.

    But even then she never looks Terry in the eye. Her head rests against the raised pillow and she stares aimlessly at the ceiling. Meanwhile, Terry takes a seat on the chair, wondering if he should answer her earlier question. The longer the silence goes on, the more he begins to reconsider staying. After five quiet minutes, he decides to leave. But just as he stands, Jazz’s voice stops him.

    “You didn’t answer my question.” Her gaze shifts from the ceiling to her restless fingers.

    “You should get some rest. We’ll just talk about this some other-”

    “Just tell me.” Her tone is cold but not angry.

    With a sigh, he places a hand on the back of his neck. “All of it. Who’s Ethan?”

    Jazz meets his gaze for a moment before once again staring at her fingers. “My father’s closest friend. He’s also dead.”

    “Oh.”

    “What you read isn’t all true.” Taking advantage of the rare show of honesty from Jazz, Terry returns to his seat and waits for her to continue. “Where’s the picture?” She asks, presuming he swiped it from her apartment. Terry fishes it out of his pocket and holds it out for her to take; but she shakes her head instead. “Look at it. What do you see?”

    Raising a brow, he does as told. “Your parents in front of a house.”

    “More like a mansion. I lived there for four years, since I was born until my dad died. The profile is a lie because, with the life we had, providing for me wasn’t an issue.”

    “If money wasn’t the problem, then why did your parents give you up?”

    “I was never given up.” Terry’s brow knits with confusion. “You want the real story, McGinnis?” She lets out an exhausted sigh before continuing. “I was abandoned.”

     
    #10 SilentBat18, Sep 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  11. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    “Hurry up, Jasmine. You want to get to the park before sundown, don’t you?” Nicole hurriedly asked. She stood in the foyer holding her daughter’s pink backpack, waiting for her to come down the stairs. However, Jasmine’s response was yelled from her room on the second floor.

    “I don’t want to go! I want daddy!”

    “Honey, it’s been a month. You have to get over it. Come on, grab your things; we have to go. I’ll even buy you some ice cream.”

    “I hate ice cream! Daddy knows that!”

    “Damn it,” Nicole irritably cursed before responding. “Well, I’ll get you a new toy.”

    “I don’t want a new toy! I want daddy!”

    Before Nicole could say anything else, the doorbell chimed, startling her. She turned and opened the door revealing a man of around thirty-five with curly brown hair and a beard. “Nick, you’re early,” Nicole greets with surprise. “I didn’t expect you till another hour.”

    “Couldn’t wait to see you, babe,” he replied with a sly grin. He enters the house as he pulls his sunglasses up, resting them on his head.

    “I was about to drop her off before you got here,” she whispered.

    “So? We’ll do it together; that way, you won’t chicken out the last minute,” he replied.

    “We won’t be doing anything if she stays in her room.”

    Rolling his eyes, Nick leaned against the staircase’s banister and called out, “hey squirt! Come on, let’s go!”

    “Go away, ugly potty-head!” Jasmine yells in reply, making him raise a brow at Nicole.

    “Now Jasmine, is that how daddy told you to greet your guests?” He asked.

    They heard the door open then slam shut. A few moments later they spot Jasmine standing at the top of the steps, her gray eyes full of fury and glaring down at the two. Her arms were crossed over her dark green dress, where in one hand she held a photo of her parents together and in the other the white handkerchief she stole from her father’s drawer.

    “Where is Uncle Ethan? I want to go with Uncle Ethan,” she demanded without easing her frown.

    “Ethan?” Nick asked looking over at Nicole.

    Nicole met Jasmine’s cold stare before answering, “I told you, Ethan isn’t coming.”

    “I want to talk to Uncle Ethan.”

    “Jasmine, don’t make me mad again. Uncle Ethan isn’t coming; he can’t come.”

    “He told me I can call him. I want to talk to him, now,” Jasmine persisted.

    “You want to talk to him? Fine. Come down here and call him.”

    Jasmine quickly made her way down the steps, stopping two steps above the landing so she can stick a hand through the railing and grab the cordless receiver from the table by the stairs. She knew Ethan’s number was set on speed dial number four and her father taught her how to enter it. She quickly pressed the right buttons and waited for a voice to answer.

    After the fourth ring, a woman’s voice spoke. “Hello?”

    “Hi Miss Clair, it’s Jasmine.” Although Clair was just a maid in Ethan’s household, Jasmine was always polite, just like her father taught her to be.

    “Oh, hello sweetie. How are you?”

    “Fine, thank you. Is Uncle Ethan there? I want to talk to him.”

    “Mr. Ethan? Didn’t anyone tell you, honey?”

    “What?”

    “Oh dear,” she quietly whispered to herself. “Jazzy, is your mother there?”

    “Yes.”

    “May I speak with her?”

    “But I want to talk to Uncle Ethan.”

    “I know, honey. But can I speak with your mother first?”

    “Mommy, Miss Clair wants to speak with you.” Jasmine stated, holding the phone out. Nicole approached and took the phone from her hand.

    “Yes, Clair?... No I haven’t… Well then you tell her instead,” she replied handing the phone back to the anxious girl seated on the stairs. “Hurry it up, Jasmine. We have to go in ten minutes.” Jasmine took the phone and held it up to her ear.

    “Jazzy? Listen to me. I know you’re still sad because of daddy, but you have to know good things and bad things happen. The good thing is you still have mommy.”

    “I don’t want mommy.”

    “Jasmine,” she sighed, “I know this is hard but you have to accept the fact that we all lose things we love. I know you love your father and you love Mr. Ethan.”

    “I want to talk to Uncle Ethan.”

    “You can’t, sweetie,” she replied, her broken heart piercing through the phone.

    “Why?”

    “He isn’t here.”

    “When will he come back?” No reply was given. “Miss Clair?”

    “He won’t be back,” she quietly replied. “Jasmine, Mr. Ethan is with your father right now. Do you understand?”

    Jasmine froze for a moment. “No, he’s not. Daddy is in Heaven. Uncle Ethan can’t be with him. Daddy said Uncle Ethan won’t ever leave me.”

    “I’m so sorry, sweetie.”

    “But, Uncle Ethan said…” Jasmine sobbed before breaking out into tears. She dropped the phone and curled into a ball on the steps as she continued to cry.

    Nicole didn’t move an inch when she saw her daughter cry hysterically. Instead, she stared at her tiny trembling body as though nothing was wrong. That was when Nick decided to approach Jasmine.

    “Jazzy,” he said kneeling down beside her.

    Jasmine’s head quickly shot up and glared at the man’s face with eyes full of tears. “Nobody says Jazzy! Only daddy and Uncle Ethan says Jazzy!” She screamed.

    She quickly rose to her feet and began running up the stairs once more; but Nick caught her by the hand, stopping her from moving any further.

    “Oh, no you don’t,” he started, losing patience. “We’re going for a little car ride instead.”

    “No! Let go!” She yelled back as she tried to get out of his grasp.

    “Go start the car,” Nick ordered as he pulled Jasmine down the steps.

    “No!” Jasmine objected as she tried to free her hand from his grip.

    “Jasmine,” her mother warned, “If you don’t stop pulling, I won’t take you to see Clair.” Jasmine stopped squirming to look into her mother’s eyes.

    “Miss Clair?”

    “Yes. That’s where we’re going. Right, Nick?” She asked, looking up at her boyfriend.

    “Uh right,” he replied, letting go of Jasmine when she calmed down. “We’re going over to see Clair,” he echoed.

    Jasmine switched her gaze from her mother to Nick and back before allowing herself to be led out by her mother to the car. Nicole strapped her into the booster seat and placed the pink bag she was carrying on Jasmine’s lap. She then took her seat on the passenger side beside Nick before the car hovered and sped off down the drive way.

    Jasmine knew the road to Ethan’s house by heart, so when the car took an unusual turn on a corner, she realized they were going the wrong way. “Wrong way, cootie-man,” she stated after the car turned the curb. But no one responded to her comment. “I said-”

    “We heard you, Jasmine,” Nicole scolded.

    “So go back that way,” she replied pointing in the other direction. But once again she was ignored. “Mommy, go back that way.”

    “We’re taking a short cut, ok?” She impatiently replied. “Now go to sleep.”

    “I don’t want-”

    “I said go to sleep.”

    “Listen to your mother, Jasmine,” Nick spoke up, looking at Jasmine through his rear-view mirror.

    Although she hated to follow Nick’s orders, she obediently shut her eyes and laid her head back, pretending to be asleep. Twenty silent minutes passed before the car came to a stop in front of an alley and Nicole unbuckled her seatbelt to get out of the car. After opening the door by Jasmine’s side, she undid her seatbelt and carried her out of the car. Placing her down on the sidewalk, she took her hand and led her to the side of a building.

    She knelt down to her level so she could place the bag Jasmine was carrying onto her shoulders. “Now Jasmine, I want you to stay here and wait for Clair to come by, ok?”

    “Why?”

    “Because you want to see Clair.”

    “But this isn’t Uncle Ethan’s house.”

    “Yes, I know,” she sighed, “That’s why you have to wait here until Clair comes to get you.”

    “But-”

    “Stop it, Jasmine. For once do as you’re told without asking so many questions,” she shot back as she rose.

    “Mommy, where are you going?”

    “I’m going far away for a while.”

    “When will you be back?”

    “When I want to. Now enough questions. Behave yourself until Clair comes by.” She quickly turned and got into the waiting car.

    Nicole shoots a last glance, too quick to even be considered one, before the car rose and sped off down the road, disappearing within seconds. Jasmine sat down hugging her knees close to her chest and sobbed hoping Clair would come soon. She tried comforting herself with thoughts of her father playing with her in the park and memories of Christmas time at Ethan’s house.

    -----*****-----​

    Clair never came. She would have if she knew what happened. But she didn’t, and now Jasmine sat on the grimy sidewalk in false hope waiting for her friend to show up. It was six hours later when an elderly woman found her sleeping against the side of the building.

    “Dear child, wake up,” she said, gently shaking her. Jasmine opened her eyes and stared at the woman. Rubbing her eyes with both hands, she quickly realized it wasn’t Clair. “Why are you out here all alone at night?”

    “Miss Clair is supposed to come.”

    “Miss Clair?” Jasmine nodded in response staring back at the old woman with wide, expectant eyes. “Who is that?”

    “My friend. She works for Uncle Ethan at his house. But Uncle Ethan is gone.”

    “Where are your parents?”

    “Gone.”

    “Both of them?” Jasmine looks down at her toes and nods in reply. “Oh dear. Do you have your friend’s phone number?”

    “Uh-huh. I press four on the phone then I press the orange button and I wait for someone to answer.”

    “Orange button… that’s speed dial, sweetie. Do you have the number?” Jasmine shook her head. “Well do you have the address?” Again she shook her head. “Do you know where you live?”

    “On a hill with trees.”

    “Honey, that doesn’t help me very much. What is your last name?”

    “Douglas.”

    “Ok. Take my hand.”

    “But I’m waiting for Clair, and daddy always told me to never go with strangers.”

    “But I’m only trying to help you.”

    “That is what daddy said. I always do what daddy says.”

    “I see you’re a very good girl, but it isn’t safe out here. Besides, I won’t hurt you. I want to help you go home.” Jasmine stared up at the woman without moving a muscle. “Honey, I can’t leave you out here by yourself. It’s getting dark and you know how dangerous Gotham is at night. Can you trust me just this once?”

    Jasmine continued to stare at her for a few moments before standing. “You’ll take me to see Miss Clair?”

    “If I can find her, then yes. Take my hand,” she said holding it out. Jasmine half-heartedly wraps her tiny fingers around it and allowed the elderly woman to lead her to a telephone booth close by. The woman then touched the computer screen beside the phone to activate the online phone book. “Do you know how to spell Douglas?”

    “D-O-G-U-N-A-C, I think,” Jasmine replies.

    “Um, let’s just check the book.” When the woman chose to search under all the names that started with ‘D’, she found several Douglases, each one spelled differently. “What is your father’s name?”

    “Andrew.”

    After scanning the screen, she let out a sigh of defeat and closed it. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but his name isn’t in there. Do you have other relatives, like a grandmother, aunt or uncle?”

    “No. I don’t know grandma or grandpa; they are in heaven with Daddy.”

    “Heaven?” The old woman muttered, realizing for the first time Jasmine’s parents might be dead. “So you’re an orphan?”

    “What does ‘orphan’ mean?”

    “It means, how can I put this; it means you don’t have relatives,” she replied as gently as she could. Jasmine looked down at her toes and began tearing up once more. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. Do you know any friends who can help?”

    “Miss Clair and Uncle Ethan are my friends. But Uncle Ethan is with daddy, too.”

    “Do you know Clair’s last name or any other information?” Jasmine shook her head again as she began twisting her toes on the ground. “I don’t know what else to do in that case, sweetheart. I can take you to an orphanage for the night and we can look for your friend tomorrow. How does that sound?”

    “What about Clair?”

    “She’s not coming tonight, dear. Now take my hand. I know an orphanage just up the street.” Jasmine once again grabbed the trustworthy hand and followed the old woman to the orphanage.

     
    #11 SilentBat18, Oct 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  12. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    A drop of water landed on the top of her head, making her look up to discover gray clouds beginning to congregate and form what she knew to be rain. She was glad they finally arrived at the orphanage before the downpour began, so now all they had to do was wait for the caretaker to open the door. The older woman looked down at Jasmine, giving her a reassuring smile that was supposed to comfort her; but all Jasmine wanted to do was go home, curl up next to Clair and cry over the loss of both Ethan and her father.

    The door swung open revealing a woman in her mid-forties smiling back at them. “Can I help you?”

    “Yes; this little girl is lost and has no where to sleep for the night.”

    “Please come in before you get wet.”

    “Thank you,” the woman replied, leading Jasmine into the entryway.

    It was the large room that will feature in so many future nightmares. Still holding on to the woman’s hand, Jasmine took a look around, quietly thinking the bare walls and the old Persian rug didn’t compare to her home’s lavish foyer. Her gaze turned to the old woman, hoping she wouldn’t leave her alone in this empty home.

    “As I was saying, her name is Jasmine Douglas and we can’t seem to locate her address. I don’t think she has any living relatives.”

    The caretaker stepped over to Jasmine, kneeling beside her. “Oh, you poor thing. Jasmine? That’s your name?” Jasmine nodded once in reply as she tried to hide behind the older woman’s legs. “What’s your middle name, sweetheart?”

    “Marie,” she quietly answered.

    “Jasmine Marie Douglas. Excellent,” the woman said to herself as she rose to her feet. “We have this new software that could find information using the first and last name. The middle name usually narrows it down for us.”

    “Yes, but I couldn’t find her father listed in the phonebook.”

    “Ours searches a different database, so we might have better luck. I’ll try tomorrow morning. Right now I’m sure young Jasmine is afraid and hungry. Am I right?” She asked, looking down at Jasmine. She shyly nodded once in reply before dropping her head to hide the new tears rolling down her chubby cheeks.

    “I suppose there isn’t anything else I could do except trust she is in good hands,” the older woman stated, letting go of Jasmine’s hand and heading to the door.

    “You did the right thing by bringing her here. We’ll take good care of her and try our hardest to place her.”

    A wrinkled smile spreads on the old woman’s face. “Goodnight, then.”

    “Goodnight,” the caretaker replied, closing the door after the old lady left.

    She then turned to face Jasmine, her smile suddenly disappeared before her boney hand drew back and swung down connecting with Jasmine’s cheek. That first blow was so surprising that Jasmine froze in confusion for a moment.

    “If I see you crying again, you’ll get more than a slap, understood?” The caretaker menacingly hissed. Grabbing her tiny arm, she forcefully pulled Jasmine up the stairs, shoving her in the room she was supposed to stay in for the next fourteen years.

    “Do you know what its like to lose so much in just a matter of hours, McGinnis?” She asks looking over to stare at Terry, disbelief written all over his face. “Do you have any idea how painful it is? The only things I had left were that picture and dad’s handkerchief. She never tried to reach Clair after that, so I ended up an orphan among the rest; but the difference between them and me: I was the only one with bruises.” She looks away as she continues with her story. “The caretaker only picked on me, and I never understood why. I always did what she asked and I always stayed out of anyone’s way so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Two years was how long I had to suffer until I finally broke loose.”

    Now around six years old, Jasmine sat in the corner of a room filled with toys. Her long, black hair was pulled up into a single ponytail and all she wore was an oversized sweater and donated pants she was beginning to outgrow. The only thing between her hands was that same faded white handkerchief that she twirled between her fingers with dedication. Memories of how her father used to cradle her, play with her, read stories to her, and kiss her goodnight brought a small smile to her face; but that’s when the intimidating shadow loomed over her, terrifying her again.

    “Get up and clean that mess on the table,” the hoarse voice ordered.

    Jasmine stood without looking up at the woman and was tucking the handkerchief in her pocket before the caretaker snatched it from her hand. Surprised, Jasmine’s still damp eyes shot up to the woman’s scowling face.

    “And stop playing with this dirty rag,” the woman demanded as she tore the fabric in half, tossing it to the floor.

    That’s when something snapped in young Jasmine. Her red rimmed, gray eyes that used to be filled with lifelessness suddenly fired up with a rage when they witnessed the destruction of her most beloved possession. Her terrified expression turned into a furious one as she clenched her fists into tight balls. Every kind of discipline she was taught was forgotten at that moment; she pulled her leg back and kicked the woman directly in the shin as hard as she could. The force of the blow was both surprising and painful enough to bring the caretaker down to her knees as she rubbed her leg. But before she could react, Jasmine slapped her across the face so hard that it left a large, red mark on one sunken cheek.

    With such fury burning from Jazz’s eyes, it was difficult to believe this little thing was a child at all. Jazz had her first taste of freedom, but it came at a price: her beloved handkerchief. She stood there feeling no guilt or shame, staring into the eyes of her offender.

    “After that, I was locked in the attic for three days with no food and little water. She thought that she would break me back into fearing her again. It did the opposite. I gave her more trouble after my confinement was over. A week later and I was finally relocated; but no matter how nice other caretakers were, I never lost my edge. If anything, it got worse. If kids pushed me, I pushed back. If they insulted me, I turned their lives into a living hell. Attitude problem is what they called it,” she recalls.

    “The worst part was having couples come with hopes of adoption,” she continues, her eyes turning cold. “They always judged us like pieces of meat at a butcher’s shop, making us believe that they were our only salvation. When I was ten, my attitude got bad enough for the caretakers to try and hide me when prospective parents did come. I guess they cared enough not to unload me on an unsuspecting couple, or they probably didn’t want to get sued since I was a liability. That’s why I kept jumping from orphanage to orphanage across the country, until I eventually landed myself in Juvi. I’m sure you know what that’s like.

    “I was fifteen at the time and I spent four months there. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t that much different from what I was used to. It only looked like what I imagined those homes to be. After my sentence, they sent me back to yet another home. Two years and three orphanages later and I turned eighteen.

    “Thing was, no matter how much I moved around, I always knew Gotham was home. It’s where I was born, where I found freedom, where I made more friends than enemies. So once I was out of the system, it was natural for me to just move back here. But I knew the only way I could get into Gotham State was to hide my record. An old friend owed me a favor, and overnight I became a model citizen; two jobs, a full-time schedule, and student loans racking up even made me believe I was finally ‘normal’, something I always wanted.”

    “The eye thing was your way of accepting it,” Terry says, and she nods once in response. “So why keep this from me?”

    She looks away with embarrassment. “I didn’t want you to think differently of me.”

    “Seriously?” He inadvertently blurts out, bringing Jazz’s surprised eyes to his. “How? I mean, have you seen my record? Wasn’t covered in glitter and smiley faces, so what makes you think I’d judge you?”

    “Cause it’s what people do,” she replies, remembering the endless potential parents she could have had.

    “And I’m like them how?” Terry asks with a raised brow, an expression that shows Jazz just how ludicrous her assumption is.

    “I wanted to tell you sooner,” she starts apologizing, but Terry interrupts her, having no desire to hear what he already knows. Trust, as he knows, is a fickle concept.

    “Forget it,” he shakes his head. “But I still have one question. Why didn’t you just permanently splice your eyes?”

    “For the same reason Bruce never tore down the theater or why you didn’t move away from Gotham. I don’t want to forget what happened.”

    “So what now?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Are you going to keep wearing those lenses?” She falls silent. “Why?”

    “I don’t want people to know what happened.”

    “You can’t keep reminding yourself what happened, then walk around pretending like it didn’t. I’d rather see you fight for who you are than allow yourself to be beaten by people’s judgment. Picking the easy way out is tempting, but it only makes you weak.”

    She doesn’t overlook the fact that his amazing insight comes from experience; in fact, she respects him more because of it. His point is a valid one: either she confronts her past or denies it completely. She needs to make the decision that could either cement her values and morals as they are, or mold them into something drastically and permanently different; it could earn her Terry’s unconditional trust, or keep her safe from feeling the hurt again.

    “Take your time figuring it out,” Terry suddenly breaks the silence. He rises, signaling he’s ready to leave. “I’ll be back tomorrow to pick you up.”

    She nods in agreement and rests her head back on the pillow, her eyes staring at the porous ceiling tiles to avoid watching Terry walk out; but she can’t stop her mind from being haunted with the heavy ultimatum he set on her shoulders.

    To confront or to forget…

     
    #12 SilentBat18, Oct 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  13. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Just as promised, Terry returns the next day to pick Jazz up. Despite the doctor advising her to stay an extra day in the hospital, she refuses, having grown sick of the white walls confining her. After much objection, he finally agrees to release her, trusting Terry with her well being. The ride home though, is a quiet one. Jazz rests her head against the window, watching the buildings speed past as they approach their destination.

    “Bruce’ll be back tomorrow,” Terry informs, trying to break the silence. She doesn’t reply; she hardly even moves. “I already told him what happened.” Again, no response, so Terry sighs and concentrates on driving.

    Ten minutes later, the car draws up in front of her apartment building. He offers to help her out of the car, but being the stubborn woman that she is, she refuses it and walks up the steps to the front door on her own. The two wait in silence for the elevator to arrive and sound its ding as its doors slide open. Stepping in, she hits the button to her floor and leans against the banister while Terry stands beside her, the corner of his eyes carefully watching the tired woman.

    “Jazz? Are you ok?” H asks when she winces in pain. Although she nods in reply, he isn’t reassured.

    He can see the discomfort in her downcast eyes not to mention the trouble she has just staying upright even with the banister supporting her. The ding sounds again as the doors slide open when the elevator reaches the right floor. But before Jazz can step out, Terry places a hand on her back and wraps an arm around the back of her knees lifting her into his arms.

    She doesn’t object to his moves. In fact, she accepts it by sluggishly throwing her good arm around his back and resting her head on his shoulder. Making sure not to jostle her around, he heads down the hallway towards her apartment. Too tired to even keep her eyes open, Jazz involuntarily begins dozing off, making Terry look down at her when she goes limp.

    He managed to unlock the door without disturbing her and drops a bag of supplies by the frame as he enters the apartment. He finds his way to her bedroom and gently lays her down on her bed. Taking special attention not to wake her, he removes her shoes and the sling around her neck before laying a thick comforter over her sleeping frame.

    Before leaving, he finds a notepad and pen on her nightstand and decides to leave her a note. As quietly as he had entered the room, he exits leaving a crack in the door. Making his way to the couch, he flops down letting a sigh of exhaustion escape his lips. He decides to stick around for a while just in case she wakes up and might need anything. It’s a quiet afternoon with no classes, no alarms sounding from the cave and Bruce hasn’t called him yet. Nothing to do but think back to the painful topic Jazz had recounted yesterday.

    She’s been through a lot and she’s been hiding it all for so long. But he’s relieved she finally decided to open up, even though it was more forced than voluntary. It explains a lot about her, though; her rough exterior, tough attitude, and avoidance when anyone gets too close. Although her temper is the worst part, his isn’t any better. But his edge doesn’t come from years of fear, neglect, loss and abandonment.

    Guilt washes over him for a moment when he thinks of his own family. At least he still has a mother and brother. She doesn’t have anyone to turn to and doesn’t even know where home used to be. Hell, she was abandoned on the side of Gotham’s streets with nothing but a picture and a handkerchief.

    Her story seems so surreal; she was the daughter of a successful, rich Gotham citizen living in a manor somewhere in the richer parts of the city before a sudden death that left her fatherless, and to make it worse, she was deserted by her own greedy mother to die.

    ‘Douglas,’ Terry thinks to himself, ‘that name doesn’t sound familiar.’

    He knows the names of most of the aristocrats of Gotham, but hers doesn’t ring a bell. Spotting her laptop on the kitchen table, he picks up the bag he dropped earlier as he heads towards the computer. He flips the lid, turns it on, and connects to the Batcomputer.

    Once he types in the correct codes, a red bat flashes before receding into the upper right corner of the screen. Hacking into Interpol, he types the name Douglas into a search box. A long list of names pops up and he recognizes the first two: Jasmine Marie Douglas and Andrew Christopher Douglas. He was about to click on her father’s name when he hears shuffling coming from the bedroom.

    Getting up, he makes his way back to her room and widens the crack in the door as he quietly slips in. He finds the bed empty and the bathroom door closed, giving him a clue as to where she went. Only a second later does the door open, revealing a very worn out Jazz staring back with dark eyes. She doesn’t say anything to Terry before she shuffles back to bed, sitting on its edge with a sigh. He quietly approaches her, waiting to see if she’ll give him a hint as to what to do next. As she tries to lie down, he helps lift her legs when he notices her wince with pain.

    Being this helpless, this dependent, not even able to get herself in bed infuriates Jazz. She’s always been able to take care of herself, feed herself when everyone else went hungry, bandage cuts and scrapes without shedding a tear, or find a way to be treated fairly when she gets the short end of the stick. However, now that she’s lying on her back, in too much pain to roll on her side, she can’t help but displace her anger on the underserving Terry.

    “Get out,” she growls, ungratefully looking away.

    Terry understands her vulnerability considering he was in the same position almost seven months ago, so he turns and leaves without protest, closing the door behind him. Feeling like he’s stayed long enough and figuring she’ll probably sleep through the rest of the day, he decides to head back to the cave and get some work done. His attention switches from concerned friend to Batman, and all he cares about is finding the loon who managed to escape Arkham last week before anything major happens.

     
    #13 SilentBat18, Oct 25, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  14. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    First, I am sorry for being gone for so long. Work is just horrible right now.

    Second, I am totally into this story. You are doing a great job with these last posts on your past/present/future speak. I am so getting into Jazz. That has got to be one of the sadest stories to happen to a little girl.

    Post more as I am hooked.

    TheKing
     
  15. JazzyChick

    JazzyChick Bass players are misunderstood

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    i'm definately into this story too.

    you're tense/grammer and such has gotten a lot better the more you've written. its awesome how fast you're improving! and i love what you've done with Jazz...

    1. she's not perfect in any sense of the word. (an original character that actually has flaws what a novel idea...) most of the time original characters are compleatly unbelieveable, espically when they are a new member of the 'team' (bat family, teen titans, justice league, any 'team' really)
    2. we don't learn anything about her past until the second story. this is very good. if it were an episode (which i tend to think in) she would fit in perfectly. first introduce her, make the audience care about her, and then slowly feed them more about her. brilliant.

    good job, and i can't wait to read more!

    -JazzyC
     
  16. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    Jazz wakes up the next day at around noon feeling as though a bus just ran over her. With dark eyes, she looks over at her nightstand and notices the note with her name on it. Picking it up, she reads the sloppy handwriting:

    ‘Remember to change your bandages when you wake up. Call if you need any help.
    - T’
    Crumpling the note, she tosses the paper ball aside annoyed by how overly concerned Terry is being, making her feel like that fragile child she once was. She grumbles an unwarranted cure as she carefully gets up. Shuffling to the bathroom, she holds her injured arm close to her chest as though a sling supports it. Heavily leaning against the sink, she stares at her pale reflection in the mirror.

    She tiredly sighs when she realizes just how crappy she looks. Suddenly feeling nauseous, she quickly spins to kneel in front of the toilet as she heaves what little contents her stomach contains. Once done, she flushes the mess away and closes the lid of the toilet as she slowly sits on it. Covering her face with both hands, she rests her elbows on her knees and takes deep breaths trying to lessen the unbearable pain from her two wounds. Since the sink is close, she uses it to steady herself as she stands in front of the mirror again. She passes her hand under the spout to activate the water, taps a button, and splashes the cool liquid over her face before steadying herself once again.

    Grabbing a towel, she dries her hands and face before sluggishly walking out of the bathroom and back into her bedroom. Heading towards the dresser, she picks out comfortable gray sweatpants and a white shirt to change into. Once dressed, she searches for her sling and spots it on the bathroom doorknob. Throwing it around her neck and slipping her arm into it, she makes her way to the kitchen.

    She fetches a cup and fills it with water from the tap. Thirstily gulping it down, she refills it and takes a few more sips before resting it atop the counter. An open box of granola bars beside the fridge forces her to grab one and open it. She knows she has to eat something before taking the many pills her doctor prescribed. Using her mouth to hold the nutritious bar, she fishes for the pill bottles packed in the bag sitting on the table. Once she finds them, she distastefully eyes the three orange medication bottles.

    “Better get this over with,” she tries motivating herself.

    Finishing the bar and hoping it will stay in her stomach, she settles down at the table and pops the caps off of the bottles. She shakes out the appropriate doses and swallows each one with a generous gulp of water.

    She almost chokes on the last pill before it passes down her throat. Taking a few more sips of water to wash out the lingering bitter taste, she sets the cup down and twists her face with disgust. Hating the last dose so much, she chucks the pill bottle out the open kitchen door. However, instead of hearing it hit the hard floor, it lands with a soft thud.

    Her brow rises in suspicion as she stands and makes her way to the door. She discovers why the bottle didn’t land like she expected it to when she comes face to face with Bruce standing in the hallway.

    “Bruce?” He stares down at the orange bottle by his feet before returning his gaze to the young woman. “You try swallowing one of those bastards.” She says as she picks up the bottle.

    Ignoring her comment, he quietly makes his way to a chair in the living room and takes a seat. His silence is beginning to scare her. She places the bottle on a nearby table and makes her way to the couch.

    “I’m guessing you’ve heard the story from Terry,” she timidly starts as she takes a seat adjacent to him. He stares at her, expertly keeping his face expressionless. “He was in trouble; I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.” Silence. “Ok, so I shouldn’t have been so hasty, but I had to go with my gut, and my gut said-”

    “To almost get yourself killed?”

    “How was I supposed to know that was going to happen?”

    “You know the suit would have protected Terry if Thorn tried anything.”

    She looks away, ashamed at her own stupidity. “Fine, I’ve learned my lesson,” she mutters, hoping the reprimand is over.

    “Have you really?” He asks raising a brow. “You two haven’t been in sync for a while; I have a feeling that’s why you moved in so quickly.”

    “That has nothing to do with it,” she defensively replies, thinking back to the last time she saw Terry before the accident.

    “I think you know that’s a lie.”

    “I don’t want to talk about it.”

    “And I don’t care about hearing it. I’m only pointing it out so you can fix it,” Bruce replies, surprising her. “He said he knows all about you.” She nods once. “Good,” he adds as he rises. “Then I trust you’ll take care of this.”

    “What, that’s it?”

    “Given the circumstances, what you did was unnecessary but understandable. You’ve been punished enough for it. By the way,” he continues as he walks to the door. “Terry told me you have a decision to make.” He opens the door as he turns back to face her. “I hope that isn’t it,” he finishes, nodding at her pink eyes before walking out.

    Surprised by the outcome of the visit, Jazz takes a minute to let it mull over. The conversation she had with Terry echoes in her head.

    ‘Confront, or forget?’

    She moves to the bathroom as the question repeats itself like a broken record. Standing in front of the mirror, she focuses on the pink eyes. With a finger, she removes one of the lenses to reveal one gray eye. Looking back into the mirror, she studies each eye color separately. If she decides to confront, her eyes will once again turn gray. But if she decides to forget, the lenses will have to be substituted for splicing.

    ‘Face the truth, or deny its existence?’
    -----*****-----​

    A few hours later, Terry finds himself knocking on her door and waiting for her to answer. He leans on the doorframe before he knocks once more, but she doesn’t open it. He tries turning the doorknob and finds it unlocked. He pushes the door open and spots Jazz seated on her couch, legs crossed with rolls of gauze and balls of cotton surrounding her. She is in her sports bra, her shirt laid beside her as she tries to fasten a new sheet of gauze onto her shoulder; however, with the injury being in an awkward place, it’s clear she is having trouble dressing it in the new bandage.

    “Need some help?” Terry offers, still leaning against the doorframe as he watches her work.

    “I got it,” she irritably replies without looking up at him.

    But Terry ignores her rejection and makes his way towards her. Pulling the coffee table closer, he uses it as a temporary seat and takes over the job of wrapping gauze. She doesn’t object, but she doesn’t make eye contact either. After securely tying the roll onto her shoulder, he takes her arms and rests them on his shoulders so he could remove the old bandages around her ribs with more ease.

    Once the bandage is off, he slowly peels away the sheet stuck to the two-inch stab wound just below her rib. Soaking a cotton ball in some antiseptic, he gently dabs it onto the cut, causing her to slightly wince from the sting.

    “Sorry,” he apologizes before continuing to clean the stitches. “I didn’t hear from you today,” Terry starts, his eyes focusing on the cut.

    “I was busy.”

    “With what?” He tosses the used cotton ball in the nearby trashcan before ripping open a new packet of gauze sheets.

    “Thinking.”

    He knows what she means by her answer. “And?” Her response lies in the eyes that finally connect with his, their color as gray as rain clouds. He lets a smile cross his lips as he looks back down at the sheet of gauze between his hands. “I happen to like gray better; it suits you more. Hold this,” he instructs when he places the sheet over the stitches.

    She places a hand over it as Terry gently begins to wrap the new roll of bandages around her chest making sure not to over tighten.

    “Terry?”

    “Hm?”

    Jazz hesitates before shyly asking, “Do you hate me?”

    Finding the question odd, he looks up to meet her large, gray eyes. “Hate you? Why would you ask that?”

    “I kept a lot from you, and we haven’t been getting along recently.”

    “No,” Terry replies looking back at her wound. “I don’t hate you, but I don’t like you either.”

    “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

    “No.”

    “You’re an ass,” Jazz scowls at him, making him look up.

    “And you’re inconsiderate. If you stop keeping everything buried inside you, we might actually get along.” She’s so taken aback by his reply, she isn’t sure how to respond. He lowers his gaze to the wound again. “Is that too tight?” He asks as he finishes taping the ends off.

    Looking away, she shakes her head as she lifts her arms from Terry’s shoulders. “Look,” Terry starts, cleaning up around him. “I’m not trying to upset you; things were just frustrating, and I guess I took it out on you.”

    “I’m sorry; I didn’t think my story mattered,” Jazz replies, regaining eye contact.

    “And that’s another thing that bothers me; I don’t understand why you would think that. Whether you like it or not, our lives are always going to get tangled up. The reason I want you to share is so I can understand how you work, how you think; so when we’re out in the field, I can predict your next move or know whether you need me or not.”

    “I didn’t realize,” Jazz mutters, looking away. “I’ve been on my own for so long, I just… I’m sorry.”

    “You already said that,” Terry sighs. “It’s not my place to lecture you, and I know you’re beating yourself up over this, so I’m willing to put it behind me if you’re willing to open up more.”

    Jazz studies his determined face, easily sensing just how important his request is. Although the frown he’s wearing adds to the stern look, the kindness behind his blue eyes give away the hint as to why he’s so forgiving.

    “You might not like a lot of the things I’ve done,” she tests.

    “You’re not going to change my mind, Douglas.”

    So she agrees to his terms with a nod. Glad he’s finally getting somewhere with her, he eases the frown as he gets up, pushing the table back to the right spot.

    “If you need anything, do me a favor, swallow your pride and call.”

    “Don’t count on it,” she replies, slowly pulling her shirt back on and sending his eyes into a roll before he heads to the door. “For what it’s worth,” Jazz calls after him, making him stop and turn, “I never really hated you.” He gives her an acknowledging nod and walks out.


     
    #16 SilentBat18, Nov 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  17. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    He looks down at his wristwatch and reads 7:35 PM, then returns his gaze to the monitor. Terry finally had a quiet moment to look into Jazz’s family, but after a half hour of searching and prodding, all he ends up with are names. He tried tracing a lineage to find out how Andrew got his money, thinking maybe he inherited it from a family member from Bruce’s days. When that theory fizzles, he moves on to the next one. Andrew wasn’t a writer, a singer, an actor, didn’t manage banks, wasn’t in government, and before he reaches his last resort of being a lottery winner, he decides to look in the business district. He strikes gold there when a regular Internet search engine reveals Andrew was CEO of a chemical distributing corporation known as World Chemistry.

    “Computer, World Chemistry Corporation,” he commands.

    The console’s screen is replaced with a text box reading “searching” before it beeps once with an answer. It displays a recent article about the company’s history:

    “World Chemistry was established in early 2021 [twenty-seven years ago]. The founders of the company were Andrew Douglas and Ethan Garvin. The two men graduated from Gotham State University two years prior to establishing the company. With Andrew majoring in business and his partner in chemical engineering, the two decided to team up and create a chemical manufacturing company that not only manufactures their own substances but also provides world wide shipping.

    During the first two years, the company was not much of a success and was close to filing for bankruptcy before Wayne-Powers offered them a partnership contract. The two corporations benefited from one another, with Wayne-Powers being able to ship their substances with greater ease and World Chemistry able to profit and benefit from the business Wayne-Powers attracted.

    It remained successful for eight consecutive years until the death of Andrew soon followed by Ethan a month later. Andrew left behind a wife and a daughter of four. Vice President Nicolas Boris took over the company soon after the deaths, but the success of the company soon down spiraled over the course of five years before finally filing for bankruptcy in 2034 and shutting down in early 2035.”

    ‘Wait, Nicolas Boris? Short for Nick I presume.’ Terry quietly thinks to himself.

    Just then a batarang cuts through the air right over Terry’s head startling him. He turns his gaze to the source and finds Bruce standing at one end of the cave staring back at him with a raised brow. He then raises a hand and catches the returning batarang with ease.

    Terry scowls at the old man. “Old age make you forget my name?”

    Bruce ignores his comment. “What are you working on?”

    He turns his attention back to the monitor. “Do you remember the names Andrew Douglas and Ethan Garvin?”

    “They sound familiar, why?”

    “Yeah, well they should. They owned the company World Chemistry. You had a partnership with them before you retired.”

    “Andrew as in Jazz’s father? What are you up to?” He asks approaching his partner.

    “We both know he died in a car crash, so is there any way I could access more information about the accident through here?”

    “This is Jasmine’s business. Stay out of it, McGinnis.”

    “I would, but I can’t shake the feeling of something suspicious going on here,” he replies, looking up at his mentor. “See, the guy who took over after both partners died is called Nicolas Boris. If you remember Jazz’s story--”

    “Nick, the man who ran off with her mother.”

    “Do you think there’s a connection?”

    “Maybe, but that doesn’t mean anything. Nicole may have simply been unfaithful.”

    “Don’t try to hide it, Bruce. I know you also suspect something here. You think they planned to kill Ethan and Andrew? I mean, they have a motive.”

    “They?”

    “Well either both or one of them.”

    “How did Ethan die?”

    “A previous article said he had a heart attack.”

    “So, why are you suspicious about his death?”

    “Because he was almost thirty-five at the time with no history of heart disease.”
    After giving it a moment’s thought, Bruce asks, “You need to access the information about their deaths?”

    “Police reports and what not; how can I hack into GCPD’s-”

    “You can’t,” Bruce interrupts him. “Barbara strengthened the online security. Something about us snooping around without her knowledge, I wasn’t listening.” Terry raises a brow at him. “How else do you think I can tolerate the three of you?”

    “Nice to know you tune me out most of the time,” Terry rolls his eyes. “Anyway, how else can I get what I need?” Bruce gives him a slight smirk that Terry registers as bad news. “Please don’t tell me I have to face Barbara.”

    “Then I won’t say it,” Bruce taunts.

    “Why me?” Terry protests with a sigh. “By the way, why were you playing around with batarangs?”

    “Experimenting with a new alloy.”

    “Oh yeah?”

    Bruce tosses Terry the batarang he’s holding so he can examine it. “It’s cheaper than titanium but stays sharper for longer.”

    “What’s the downside?”

    “Bends easier.”

    Terry tests it by bending the tip and the end of the batarang with ease. “Oh. Are we still going to use them?”

    “I need to run a few more tests, but there’s a good chance they will be replacing the older models.”

    “Because it’s cheaper?” Terry jokes with a smile.

    “I may be a billionaire, but that doesn’t mean the two of you are getting any less expensive.”

    “I prefer to think of myself as a necessary luxury.”

    “And I prefer you leave before I decide to cut you for the sake of the budget.”

    “Alright, alright I’m going,” Terry scoffs as he grabs his jacket and heads up the stairs.

    “Zip up your coat when you get out; it’s getting cold out there. I’m sure you don’t want to get sick.”

    “Yes, mother,” he calls back as he disappears out the cave.

    Bruce rolls his eyes at the boy before turning his gaze back to the monitor as he reads the information displayed. ‘He’s learning,’ he quietly contemplates. He can’t help but feel a certain sense of pride as he moves away from the large machine and back to a work bench to finish the tests on the new batarangs.

     
    #17 SilentBat18, Nov 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  18. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

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    “Commissioner? There’s a Mr. McGinnis here to see you.”

    “McGinnis?”

    “Yes,” the secretary’s voice replies over the intercom. “Should I let him in?”

    “Did he say what he wants?”

    “To talk to you.”

    “What about?”

    “Just let me in, Barbara,” this time Terry’s irritated voice speaks.

    Rolling her eyes, she presses the intercom button to reply. “Fine. Send him in.”

    Not a second later, the door to her office slides open revealing Terry standing on the other end with hands in his pockets. “Some how I get the feeling you always look forward to my visits,” he sarcastically quips, taking a seat in front of her.

    “I like how you assume I have nothing better to do than enjoy your company,” she retorts as he takes a seat on the available chair. “How’s the girl?”

    “Lucky.”

    “You trying to jinx her?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You don’t sound too happy about it.”

    “It’s complicated. Anyway, I’m here for some answers,” he replies, his tone turning serious.

    “Why?”

    “Because your extra online security is a pain in the ass.”

    “Good. And in case you didn’t get the hint yet, it means you stay out of police business. I’m assuming you know where this is going to lead to, so save your breath. You know the way out.”
    Ignoring her, he continues. “I need the case file on Andrew Christopher Douglas.”

    “Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

    “He was in a fatal car accident around seventeen years ago.”

    “McGinnis--”

    “This could be a homicide case.”

    She momentarily stares at him before replying. “Do you have evidence to support that?”

    “If I had that file, then maybe,” he shrugs.

    “Maybe?” She skeptically asks raising a brow at him.

    “Barbara, I have nothing to work with except a hunch. Don’t expect me to wow you with a book case of evidence when all I have is half a page of history.”

    “Well then, how’d you come up with a hunch?”

    “Can I just have the case file, please?”

    “You didn’t answer my question. If this is something the police have to investigate-”

    “I know the rest,” he interrupts, “besides, first I have to make sure this is something worth investigating. Now since you have so much on your plate already…” He replies eying the paper work and pot of coffee resting on one side of her table, “I think you would appreciate me doing some of the work.”

    “Is there any reason you won’t tell me what’s going on?”

    “Not ‘won’t’. Can’t.”

    “Sounds like you’re poking your nose into an issue that is none of your business either.”

    “What makes you say that?”

    “Just a hunch,” she replies, smiling.

    “Does that mean I get the files?”

    “One condition.”

    “There’s always a catch,” he sighs.

    “If you have enough evidence to support homicide, you better tell me.”

    “Or what?” Barbara shoots a nasty glare his way wiping off the smile he has on his face. “Right, got it. You can send them to the computer.”

    “That won’t be necessary,” she replies getting up and walking over to one of the many file cabinets lining her walls.

    She scans her fingerprint on a pad built into the metal side of one; opening a drawer, she quickly sifts through the files before pulling out a thin folder. Closing and locking the cabinet, she then makes her way back to her desk and slides the file in front of Terry.

    He raises a brow at her. “What?” She asks.

    “Nothing. I’m just a little surprised you still have them on paper.”

    “No matter how good I am with computers, they tend to crash without warning making it hard and sometimes impossible to recover the information. That would be a lot of work down the toilet, so I prefer keeping a hard copy on hand just in case.”

    “So you have five cabinets full of files since you became commissioner?” He asks grabbing and opening the file to read it.

    “That’s over twenty-eight years of work. This is only from the past five years.” Terry looks up from the folder to raise a questioning brow at her.

    “This case is seventeen years old. Why is it here?”

    “Well, just like you, I got a hunch as well,” she says with a smirk.

    “Why didn’t you put more time into investigating?”

    “I had too much work on my hands back then. Although it’s less now, partly thanks to you, I still don’t have enough time to spend on it.”

    “Why not get Bruce to work on it?” She gives him a scowl that he clearly understands. “Uh, right.” He closes the folder and stands to leave.

    “Where do you think you’re going?”

    “Now you do want my company?”

    “You’re not leaving until you give me a good reason to let you walk out with that file in your hand. Otherwise it stays here.”

    “But-”

    “I don’t care if it takes you an hour, although I prefer it doesn’t. Now, sit down.” Letting out a frustrated sigh, he does as he is told and reopens the file.

    Inside, he finds witness reports, the description of the accident and several photos of the crash. It seems Andrew’s red convertible crashed into the side of truck filled with boulders. The impact had tipped the truck over, causing the giant ricks to bury the convertible, crushing it like an empty soda can. Although the wreck was clearly an accident, something doesn’t make sense. He frowns as he holds up the picture that triggered his curiosity.

    “Do you have a map of this intersection?” Terry asks Barbara.

    By way of reply, she opens her desk drawer and pulls out a folded map of the city. She spreads it out on top of the desk and Terry quickly scans over it to find the intersection named in the files.

    “It doesn’t add up,” he finally says.
    “What doesn’t? What are you talking about?” Barbara asks with confusion.

    He lays down the picture and points first to the truck, then to some routes on the map. It only takes her a moment to understand.

    “No way this would have happened without intention.”

    Barbara smiles at him. “I’m impressed, kid. It only took you about a minute and a half to figure it out.”

    “Five years with Bruce and you think I wouldn’t catch on?” He asks with a smirk.

    “Tell me one thing, McGinnis.”

    “Yeah?” he replies as he stands to leave with the files in hand.

    “Does Jazz know you’re doing this for her?”

    “No.”

    “Why not?”

    Terry nervously rubs the back of his neck. “Like I said, it’s complicated.”

    “Look, kid, I can understand your heart’s in the right place, but doing this behind her back isn’t right. If my friend found out my father was murdered, I wouldn’t want him to keep it from me.”

    “Except I don’t know how she would take this.”

    “She should still know.”

    “I’ll tell her… eventually,” he sighs. “I’ll keep you posted.”

    “Good. Give her my regards and my usual warnings.” Smiling, he nods in reply and leaves. Once he was out, Barbara presses the intercom button connecting her to her secretary. “Caitlin, do we still have the evidence collected from the wreck from Douglas’s case seventeen years ago?”

    “I think so,” the reply comes in. “I don’t think you asked for it to be destroyed.”

    “Good. Print out another copy of the case and ask the warehouse to have the the evidence prepared for examination.”

    “Will do. Anything else, commissioner?”

    “No. Thank you, Caitlin.” Easing back in her chair, she opens the case file on her computer and scans it over. ‘Well, McGinnis we’ll see how good you really are.’

     
    #18 SilentBat18, Nov 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2012
  19. JazzyChick

    JazzyChick Bass players are misunderstood

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    good job!

    i like both chapters, and let me just say that every one you write is better than the one before. you're showing amazing improvement and your story is developing nicely.

    no complaints.

    -JazzyC

    P.S. horray for snow days! :D
     
  20. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

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    I also am very pleased with how this story has been developing.

    Your writting is improving greatly and I am way hooked.

    Keep up the great story.

    TheKing
     

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