|Sketch in My Notebook|
Against them stand Army Lieutenant Blaine Winters, the new Centurion of the N.Y. State National Guard's Enhanced Forces Division (EFD), and FBI Agent Tiffany Trujillo, once the superhero Titania. These two went with a SWAT team to confront the Siberian Tiger and Gun Girl Gracie at a bank heist in Brooklyn, but they got their asses kicked. Tiffany wound up in the hospital, a bunch of SWAT officers died, and Blaine would have died too if not for the prodigious gifts associated with his extraordinary genetic heritage.
Now Blaine is left to carry on the investigation by himself, while Tiffany recovers in the hospital...
The Return of Dr. Necropolis
Chapter 13: Chasing Ghosts (Part 2)
Tiffany came awake slowly. She opened her eyes, felt only the slightest twinge of nausea, and did what she could to let the room come gently into focus. She saw prayer beads in a pair of wizened hands alongside an open bible, and she heard voices, realized that the television was on. She tried not to groan but failed, looked up, and saw that her mother was turning towards her with naked worry in her eyes.
“Oh! You’re awake!”
Crap. Tiffany closed her eye, tried not to hear her mother’s voice in thankful prayer, and then heard her sister Dorothea’s voice as well. Goddamn it. She did not want to take another guilt-addled tour of her married-and-pregnant sister’s many familial virtues.
“What are you doing here, Mom?” Tiffany asked.
“What do you mean?” her mother replied. “You’re in the hospital! How could I stay away?”
“I’m fine,” Tiffany replied. She felt nauseous when she tried to sit up, though. “Why don’t you two go home? Go get some rest or something? I’m going to be okay, really.”
“The doctors said that you were in that shoot-out,” Dorothea said. She sounded truly concerned. That was not good. “The one where all those police officers died. Tiff… what were you doing out there?”
Fuck. Here we go. “I’m an agent in the FBI, Dor. You know why I was there.”
“I just don’t understand it,” her mother said. “Why do you do this to yourself? You’re going to get yourself killed. It was bad enough when you were with that Puck character, but now—”
“I can’t just quit, Mom. You know that.” They’d force me into the Army.
“But why does it have to be you?” her mother insisted. “Why Tiffany?”
Tiffany looked down at her hands. Her head hurt, and her stomach felt distinctly unsettled, but she was decidedly better than she had been. That was something. She looked back up and met her mother’s eyes. “I’m alive, Mom. All those other guys are dead. That’s why it has to be me.”
“Oh Tiffany—” her mother began.
“No!” Tiffany cried. For a moment, her head spun with the impetus of her outburst. She took a breath, tried to calm herself. In a softer voice, she said, “Dammit, Mom, we’ve been through this. I’m never going to be Dorothea. I don’t have a husband; I’ll never have a baby. What I have is a city that’s counting on me. A bunch of police officers who’re counting on me. Why can’t that be enough for you?”
“Don’t be cruel, Tiff,” Dorothea said. “Mom’s not the one who’s lying in a hospital bed. She’s just worried about you.”
“I know that this isn’t what you want for yourself, Tiffany,” her mother said softly. “I only want what you want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. But you have to do your part, too.”
“How Mom?” Tiffany asked. “They won’t let me go.”
“What does that even mean?” Dorothea asked.
Her mother laid a hand gently on Tiffany’s arm. “You stand up to all of these bad guys, Tiffany, all these super-villains. But still you’re worried about the government. What can they do to you? What can they do that these bad guys won’t? That a man like Puck won’t?
“I get it,” her mother continued. “You used to be Titania. That was a big deal. But that’s over now, you’ve said so yourself. So… what? What are you doing out there now? What are you doing with your life? Or are we just supposed to watch you kill yourself slowly while you pretend to be a superhero? I just don’t understand it.”
What would happen if I tried to quit? Tiffany wondered. Probably nothing good. Bet I’d wind up missing a mortgage payment or two, at a minimum. That would make Mom happy, I bet. She’d be giddy at the idea of having me back in the house. It would be high school all over again. She’d probably start trying to fix me up with some of the neighborhood boys. She sighed. “Look, Mom… I appreciate that you came down to check on me. Really, I do. I love you guys. But I’ve got to finish this. Maybe we can talk afterwards, but for now—”
Her mother smiled sadly. “For now, they need the great Titania again, right? I know. But after this we’ll talk? You promise?”
“Yeah, Mom,” Tiffany said, “after this we’ll talk.”
Somehow Tiffany had the feeling that their talk wasn’t going to be one that she would enjoy.
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I write these stories for a few reasons. Yes, I like to write, but I also want to attract interest in this blog and in my writing in general. My first book, Sneakatara Boatman & the Priest of Loki, is out for the Kindle App and on Patreon, and the follow-up, Sneakatara Boatman & the Crown of Pluto, came out yesterday (!) on Amazon. These are D&D-style fantasy adventures; they use the same WTF-style plotting that I use in all of my writing. If you like Dr. Necropolis or any of my RPG stuff, you will probably like the Sneax stuff, too. As of thise writing, Sneax is rocking a solid 4.6 stars in Amazon's reviews section. Don't take my word for it. Go check it out for yourself.
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