Authors: Kevin Hardman
My job was to be a distraction, to keep Estrella from seeing Li. I shifted into super speed and charged her, catching her in the midsection with my shoulder, then slammed her into a wall.
At super speed, I rarely ever hit anything with my bare hand; it’s a good way to end up with broken bones. Some speedsters don’t care, though; they’re so hopped up on adrenaline that they don’t feel the pain, and their metabolisms are so high that they heal almost immediately. I didn’t feel like testing that theory, and I was in no position to deal with a broken hand, so – while it may not sound gallant – I pistol-whipped Estrella with the gun Li had given me. Then again. And a third time.
Before I could get a fourth turn at bat, she vanished. She had obviously teleported, and my first thought was to check on Li. I’d barely turned my head in that direction when a crushing weight fell on me. Estrella had teleported above me.
Her weight bore me down to the ground, where she cupped my head in her hands, lifted and then smashed it against the concrete floor. I immediately saw stars, as if someone had just put my skull in a car compactor. I tore a page out of her playbook and teleported.
I didn’t go far, just a few feet away. I needed to keep her preoccupied so that Li could finish. I raised the gun and fired as she turned in my direction. The light around her body intensified and the bullets seemed to dissolve. At the same time, I became violently ill. I clutched my stomach, doubled over, and threw up.
I was still heaving when Estrella appeared beside me a few seconds later and kneed me in the face.
Kid Sensation Novels
Sensation: A Superhero Novel
Mutation (A Kid Sensation Novel)
The Warden Series
Warden (Book 1: Wendigo Fever)
Warden (Book 2: Lure of the Lamia) (Coming Aug. 2013)
A Kid Sensation Novel
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as
“unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
This book is a work of fiction contrived by the author, and is not meant to reflect any actual or specific person, place, action, incident or event. Any resemblance to incidents, events, actions, locales or persons, living or dead, factual or fictional, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Hardman.
Cover Design by Isikol
This book is published by I&H Recherche Publishing.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address I&H Recherche Publishing, P.O. Box 1586, Cypress, TX 77410.
Printed in the U.S.A.
I would like to thank the following for their help with this book: GOD, first and foremost (as always) who has continually provided me with strength and guidance; and my
family, which has always offered immeasurable encouragement and support
Someone once said that invisibility is a power that is really only useful for doing bad things: spying on people; stealing things; playing nasty pranks. Having used my own invisibility to do a couple of those things (I haven’t stolen anything yet), I tend to agree. In fact, I was currently using it to spy on a couple who were out on a date. Not just any couple, though - the woman on this date was my mother.
To be frank, I hadn’t done anything like this in a long time. Just a few years back, when I was maybe eleven or twelve years old and invisibility was a talent I’d only recently developed, I’d almost made a habit of it. If my mother had a date, I’d wait until they left and then turn invisible. After that, following them was a piece of cake for someone who could fly (as well as phase through walls like a ghost).
Naturally, I didn’t think any man was good enough for my mother back then, so I’d do things like trip her date while they were walking. Maybe knock a drink out of his hand so he’d look like a klutz. Or just go for one of the classics and tie his shoelaces together.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Mom to put two and two together. (What were the odds of her dating a long string of clumsy oafs?) Afterwards, there came a stern lecture from her and my grandfather, with the result being that I never spied on her during a date again.
To be clear, however, I hadn’t started out the day intending to tail her. She had already told me earlier in the week that she would be going out, and I really hadn’t given it much thought. The truth of the matter is that Mom is exotically beautiful and gets asked out a lot. She could probably have a different date every night of the week if she wanted, but she’s very selective - purportedly for my sake, since she’s a single mother.
The guy she was going out with was someone I hadn’t met before, but that’s not unusual. Mom only tends to introduce me to her dates after they’ve been going out for a while and when there’s some type of “potential” to the relationship. In other words, the fact that she wanted me to meet this guy meant something.
His name was Malcolm Schaefer, and I greeted him at the door when he came to pick my mother up. Through the generosity of a friend, we were staying at a spacious house in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. Our own home was in the process of being rebuilt, having been burned to the ground by a fire-wielding supervillain named Incendia. (She had also torched the apartment above our garage that my grandfather lived in.)
Schaefer was about average in height and build, with brown hair, green eyes and a smile that probably set most women’s hearts aflutter. Dressed in brown slacks, a white shirt, and a blue blazer, he’d shaken my hand as he came inside, and I’d immediately gotten a weird vibe from him. Being an empath, I normally tune out the emotions of other people, but Schaefer was broadcasting an odd feeling - almost as if he were more excited about me than my mom. I kept my face neutral as my grandfather also came out to meet him, and then we all made small talk until my mother appeared a few seconds later.
Schaefer had commented - as men usually did - on how stunning my mother looked. (I often wondered what they’d think if they knew that part of her appearance came from having an extraterrestrial mother.) Then they had left, but not before he shook my hand again, once more emanating emotions that gave me the distinct impression that something was amiss. Although I knew Mom could probably take care of herself, I wasn’t just going to stand idly by when I knew something was wrong.
So there I was, spending my Friday night as a snoop as opposed to being with the girl I was crushing on: Electra. But this was our last free weekend before leaving for school at the Academy, and Electra had some things she needed to take care of. Thus, we wouldn’t have been together tonight anyway, although we did have some things planned for tomorrow.
As to Schaefer and my mom, they surprised me by doing the same kinds of things that kids like me do on a date. First, they went to dinner - some middle-of-the-road steakhouse that was too cheap to be considered high class, but too expensive to be construed as low-end. Personally, I was a little miffed that he wasn’t pulling out all the stops to impress her: caviar, champagne, the works. Then again, it wasn’t their first outing, so maybe he’d already gone through the spend-a-lot-to-impress-your-date phase.
I floated in the air, unseen, above a family of four eating a few tables away. Upon turning invisible, my vision had - as always - reflexively switched over to the infrared, so I saw the world (and everything in it) in varying shades of crimson, scarlet, and the like.
I watched as my mother and Schaefer made small talk, and as she laughed gleefully every now and then at some witticism he made. I wasn’t close enough to hear what they were saying, but I wasn’t
so much as
. I had my empathic senses turned up to the max, and one thing came through loud and clear: Schaefer didn’t exude the feelings of a man who was on a date with a woman he liked.
Normally, the emotions I pick up from a guy on a date run the gamut from nervousness and trepidation to excitement and titillation. They’re dreading the possibility that the date won’t go well, elated by the possibility that the girl might like them, etc. Schaefer, however, gave off the vibe of someone stuck in a business meeting.
After dinner, I followed them to the movies. I spent the first hour literally hovering above them in the darkened theater, and then hunger got the better of me. I hadn’t eaten anything since this impromptu surveillance had begun. (After all, this was not how I had expected to spend my evening.) Plus, they weren’t likely to be going anywhere for a while. That being the case, I phased through the wall and found myself in the hallway leading to the theater.
There were people around, but I didn’t think anyone was really looking in my direction so I solidified and became visible. I walked to the concession stand and ordered a couple of candy bars - not the healthiest of meals, but it’s catch-as-catch-can when you’re on a stakeout. In all honesty, though, I could have just teleported home and wolfed down a sandwich; however, I had essentially snuck into the theater, so I felt I needed to pay for
thing (even though movie concession prices are a total rip).
I ate the candy bars out by Schaefer’s car. I didn’t need to watch my mom for every second of this date, and they’d have to come back to his vehicle to leave. He drove a limited-edition black Mercedes Benz. Leaning over, I phased through the driver’s window and took a peek inside. The car contained a high-end instrument panel, as well as an impressive entertainment console. There was GPS, satellite music, a DVD screen. Like Schaefer himself, the car seemed too smooth, too slick, and as I phased back out of the vehicle I fought a weird, juvenile compulsion to smear chocolate on the driver’s side door handle.
While waiting for the movie to end, I spent the next hour lying, invisible, on the roof of the Benz, looking up at the stars. There’s something about staring at the nighttime sky that just relaxes me. It always gives me a sense of serenity.
At long last, I heard my mother and her date approaching, discussing the merits of the movie they’d seen. I silently floated up from the roof of the car into the air.
I found myself somewhat relieved that Schaefer drove my mother straight home after the movie. Thankfully, she didn’t invite him in for a nightcap; their goodbyes were said at the door, and punctuated by a short kiss on the lips. Still invisible, I phased through the car door and into the back seat of his vehicle.
Schaefer got back into the car and began driving. After a few minutes, he pressed a button on the entertainment console, and I heard the distinct drone of a telephone dial tone. Apparently there was a phone system built into the car as well.
“Call Nighthawk,” Schaefer said.
The chimes of numbers being dialed on a touch-tone phone sounded, followed by a number of odd clicks. Presumably, the number that Schaefer had dialed was being filtered through various channels in order to minimize the possibility of the call being traced. I sat up, listening intently.
After a few seconds there was an odd, hollow ringing. The phone was answered almost immediately. However, neither Schaefer nor the person on the other end said anything.
“Confirmed,” a male voice on the other end finally said after a lengthy silence. “Line is clear.”
“This is Walker, calling in to report.” Schaefer said. “Identification number two-seven-alpha-psi-nine.”
“Voice ID and number confirmed. You are free to report.”
“Contact with target finally established,” Schaefer stated, and I felt the same emotional discharge from him that I’d picked up on earlier when he shook my hand. “Requesting instructions regarding Phase Two.”
“Acknowledged. Pick-up point for Phase Two instructions will be delivered tomorrow.”
“Understood.” With that, Schaefer (or Walker, whatever his name was) hit another button on the console, disconnecting the call.
In the back seat, I was trying to make sense of what I had heard. Schaefer/Walker had mentioned “finally” making contact. It was unlikely that he meant my mother (since he already knew her), and based on what I’d picked up from him emotionally, there was little doubt that I was the target in his crosshairs. Basically, this clown was just using Mom to get close to me, which really got me fuming. But I still had more questions than answers: who was he working with? What did they want with me?
Whoever they were, it was obviously someone who knew that I was Kid Sensation. No one who knew me as Jim Carrow would find me interesting. If asked, they’d probably describe me as a quiet kid, not a troublemaker but a bit of a loner.
For a second, I debated prying the info out of Schaefer/Walker. As a telepath, I can - technically - read minds, but it’s not something I do on a regular basis. Long story short, going deep into other people’s brains makes me physically ill. It’s as if the other person’s mind is the house of a hoarder, fill with all kinds of garbage, trash, filth, and debris. It’s completely unsanitary.
On the flip side, however, I can broadcast my thoughts to people – and pick up surface thoughts and what they willingly want to share – with ease when I want. For me, that’s akin to standing outside the hoarder’s house and communicating with them through an open window. In other words, I don’t get exposed to the unhealthy conditions in their mind that way.
The sudden deceleration of the car brought me back to myself. While I had been busy internally debating whether to try to read his mind, Schaefer/Walker had driven into an underground garage and was parking the car. A quick glance around revealed a sign that indicated that we were in the parking area for guests of a posh five-star hotel. (And he couldn’t treat Mom to an expensive dinner?)
Schaefer was getting out of the car, so I made the decision to just try the direct approach. I teleported behind him and became visible as he was shutting the door to his car.
“Boo,” I said as he turned around.
Startled, Schaefer/Walker took a step back, at the same time seeming to reach behind him for something. However, he stopped in mid-motion and looked closely at me.
“Jim?” He stared at me in open surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“I figured we needed to talk,” I answered.
“Talk? About what?”
“Why don’t we start with Nighthawk and go from there.”
“I see,” he said, eyes narrowing. “But why don’t we discuss this up in my suite?” He walked past me without waiting for a response, heading towards the hotel elevator. I fell in step behind him, ruminating on the fact that he had a
in a swanky hotel, but took the cheap route on his date with my mother.
“Ahh…” he muttered as he began patting his pockets. “This elevator requires a room key to operate. Security, you know.”
I was only half paying attention when he suddenly swung around with some kind of weapon in his hand. It bore an odd resemblance to a gun, but instead of a barrel, it had some metal studs on the end.
Some kind of stun gun,
I thought as he fired. I shifted into super speed, and the world slowed down around me. I watched the probes approach and then sidestepped them. I slowed back down to normal speed.