Chapter 6: Frank or Not Frank? What’s going on?
We were captured. The Puppeteer had us surrounded by an unknown number of gunmen… gun-puppets? and I was fairly certain he was Frank. It was the only thing that made sense. There were too many coincidences.
The Puppeteer had named us and was getting ready to show himself and dramatically said, “I am the Puppeteer but you can call me…” he trailed off and stopped talking. Stepped back into the shadows.
“Gah! I can’t stand this I need to know,” Mel started to draw on her pants and a comically large lamp appeared in the middle of the warehouse.
I expected to see a platoon of the Dudley’s with guns but there was no one there at all. Just a couple dozen portable speakers.
I thought the shadow that had called itself the Puppeteer was gone until I saw him running down the stairs. He wore a dramatic looking cape and black suit.
The frustration, sadness, and especially anger that had been building in me since I started to suspect it was Frank exploded out in an arc of lightning. It exploded the closest speaker and arced to the next and the next and the next in quick succession, and soon the entire system was on fire.
Before it was half way done, I ran after the man. I tossed a lightning bolt at him and it hit the wall next to him, the electricity singing as it hit the metal wall and traveled down. He ran for the back door. I thought I was going to miss my chance at seeing who he was, but at the last second before going through the back door of the warehouse he turned to me and smiled. He was wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask but I could see most of his face and it was pale white, where Frank had been the dark olive of his Greek ancestry.
He blew me a kiss and I heard him say, “We’ll flirt later.” I should have been disgusted or at the very least annoyed, but instead his voice sent a little shiver up my spine the way Frank’s had. I’d been thinking about him too much.
“He got away,” Mel said as she caught up with me.
“Did you see his face?”
“I saw he was wearing a mask and was totally white.”
“Why do you sound disappointed?”
“I… miss him.” I said, trying not to cry. “And him being a supervillain is better than dead.” It started as a question but ended as an admission.
A final explosion from above marked the downfall of the last speaker. Suddenly my earpiece was filled with screaming.
“—THE HELL ARE YOU TWO!” James’s voice sounded panicked.
“Platy-Power, what’s happening? Animator and I were just in the presence of the Puppeteer.”
“Well we’ve been in the presence of Mer-Bears… and they’re literally taking a bite out of the harbour nightlife.”
“Can Tele-Porter come get us?”
“She’ll be there in a moment. She’s trying to move an oil tanker before they breach the hull.”
The Mer-Bears were the first Puppeteer stunt to cause casualties. Despite our best efforts the Mer-Bears managed to chew through more than one boat. The real surprise was them jumping onto shore to bite people.
What had been treated as an entertaining spectacle by most people suddenly became real and dangerous. It had the side effect of having us treated like accessories instead of heroes.
As we waited for more attacks we tried to plan for what the Puppeteer would do next.
Mel paced as she talked, “This sucks.” She was staring the picture she’d drawn of the Puppeteer.
Everyone nodded and James added, “All we’re doing is reacting. We need to find out who this guy is, and stop him.”
“I’m a barista, not a detective or plucky reporter.” I sighed, realizing what Mel would say.
“No you’re the hero. We all are. We’re the Thorns!” Mel said it and I could tell she was trying to be uplifting, but it didn’t help.
“Electric Knight and the Thorns, according to the news.” Jane shook her head and added, “Sounds more like a 70’s punk rock cover band.”
“How do we find this guy if we don’t have any idea how he does what he does?” Mel waved at the picture in her hand and a copy of the Puppeteer appeared in front of her. She punched it really hard and it flew across the room.
“Feel better?” I asked.
“No,” Mel pouted as she spoke. She dismissed the fake Puppeteer.
“What is he? Why gold? How does he do all these things?” James asked, splashing a little as he talked.
Looking around at each other, we all sighed. I was the first to say something, “I don’t know, but the answers aren’t just going to appear in front of us.”
As if the universe was out to embarrass me, I heard screams from the street, “The aliens are coming, the aliens are back, it’s the end of the world!”
A whistling noise overtook the screams and something crashed into our living room, something big, green, and terribly well-timed.
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: