Birth of the Undead – Multiple Identities 2
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 01 July 2023 10:15] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 08 July 2023 20:56]
“Come on Alex. Please. Aren’t sisters supposed to help each other on things?”
“Nope. Not this one. I’ve seen how you drive. You need more practice with the car first before you even dare come near my baby.” She sighed at the pout that Linda was giving her, and it was all she could do to stay firm.
Linda had really been milking her facial expression for what it’s worth, and she could see that despite still being adamant Alex’ stance had soften considerably since they started the conversation She knew through experience that with enough persistence with the puppy look, even Alex will eventually cave in.
Then again, this is not about going for the last potsticker, but a ride on her elder sister’s prized Kawasaki. So it’s going to take more effort than usual.
“But that’s about driving a car. This is riding a bike. They are two different, non-related events, no?”
“Under normal circumstances I would agree with you, but when I saw you simply turning and even going up the wrong way during driver’s ed without a care in the world, I realised you need more practice. Get used to the rules of driving on the road. This isn’t like…you know, how you normally get around places and what not, where you can go in any direction that you fancy.” For one, there’s definitely a LOT more traffic than flying in the air.
“That’s easy. Give me another week or two, and I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. And then after I get my license…”
“Then we’ll see. Getting a driver’s license doesn’t automatically grant you the priviledge of riding the bike, because technically you’ll need another permit for those.” That brought another groan out from the Last Daughter of Krypton, who sat back and stared up at the exposed ducts running all about the uncovered ceiling of the cafe.
“Rules, rules and rules. When can I do the things I want?”
“When you’re ready. I…” Suddenly she saw her sister looking staring straight out towards her right which happened to a wall. Staring in a way that only someone with abilities beyond normal mortals could do.
“Alex…something’s happening now. I…I need to go. Can you…”
“Yes, go. I’ll settle the check. Just be careful…” her words haven’t even finished when she felt a peck on a cheek followed by a gust of wind as Linda exited the small premise in a second, shedding her outer clothing and into her red and blues in a burst of superspeed before flying upwards into the sky towards the commotion.
The incident was only a mere ten blocks from where they were, and she could see some wrecked cars and fallen powerlines along the main junctions. A fire was raging at the gas station at the corner of a junction, threatening to get out of control. With a portion of the attached workshop and the pump areas partially engulfed in flames, looks like the firefighters have their work cut out for them. Having just arrived most members are working to hook up to the closest fire hydrants and set up the line to keep the fire in check, even as black smoke billowed upwards as it burnt tyres and chemicals that were still lying about in the workshop.
Her hearing picked up shouts and screams. A quick sweep with her xray vision revealed the few people were still caught inside the gas station’s convenience shop, their exit partially blocked. Dropping down from the sky Supergirl broke through the roof in a flurry of plaster. Scooping each of them and wrapping them in her cape to keep them safe from the heat of the flames outside, she carried each of them out through the entrance she made and onwards to safety quickly.
Looking at the fiery scene when she returned moments later, Kara decided to tilt the odds towards the hardworking firefighters. Putting on a burst of speed, and then flying around quickly over the scene in a circle repeatedly, she generated a wind tunnel over the gas station that funnelled and sucked the thick smoke upwards, dramatically improving the visibility for the frontliners as they fought to douse the flames. The captain tilted his head at Kara with a smile, and Kara acknowledged it with a wave of her own.
Considering her job done, she was about to fly back home when her sensitive superhearing picked-up a familiar hearbeat that was beyond excited, followed by that familiar voice. One that now sounded frustrated, even a little desperate.
“Alex!” Her face stoned as she quickly flew towards her sister.
“Come on you junk of a machine! TURN, DAMMIT!!!”
Alex cursed as she fought with the steering, but no matter how hard she tried it refused to heed her. It felt like she was literally trying to get an elephant to change course, preferring to continue along its slow and rumbling charge down the road. She had tried pumping the breaks, but with the accelerator pedal seemingly welded down onto the floor, it had no impact whatsover, even though there was all the smoke and smell coming from the burning rubber against metal.
It wasn’t her plan even to be in the driver’s seat. Hell, there wasn’t any plan at all. As her adopted sister took off to play hero Alex was actually getting on her bike when an odd scene unfolded. As most curious onlookers flocked to observe the fire being put out a couple of blocks down, the entire vicinity was almost deserted. Sitting on her bike she was about to leave when she heard that rumbling sound coming from behind her. Looking up and behind her the large vehicle in a familiar faded orange was clambering down the road in mediocre speed.
Though as it got closer and rumbled past, Alex was stunned when she realised that the mobile excavator was traveling on its own. With no driver at the helm.
Alex actually thought she heard faint feminine shouts and screams coming FROM the vehicle somewhere as it went past her. When it ran past a red light and narrowly missing a few cars, Alex knew she had to act.
Quickly kicking her bike into gear the elder Danvers sister gave chase. As she got close Alex was again stunned when the excavator actually made a LEFT TURN! Autonomous driving might be on the way in, but even this was too much to take. Shaking her head she followed suit, bending her body towards her left and pulling the bike onto a classic 45 degrees to navigate the turn at speed, before turning on the gas and eventually pulled alongside of the vehicle.
This time there was no doubt about it from the empty cab; the fluttering of slivers of fabric and the legs emerging from between the teeth of the bucket confirmed that there were actually people trapped in there.
“This is a bad idea, Alex. Really bad…Not a movie…” She mumbled to herself, but pushing her fear down she put on speed to overtake the vehicle and eventually stopped a couple of blocks down. Dismounting quickly, she timed her run so that as the machine started to go past she was actually running in parallel. She managed to grab onto one of the handhelds on the side, managing to pull herself up onto the small steps and finally into the cab. Despite succeeding on part one of her hastily not-thought-through plan, she quickly found out that things were worse than she thought, and nothing was controllable despite her sitting on the pilot seat.
It’s as if the entire thing has a mind of its own. Or someone is controlling it remotely.
She could do naught but hang on as the excavator turned right, just about missing the bus stop on the pavement before going down the road again. As she righted herself Alex tried to twist and turn the steering wheel, but try as she might it had no effect whatsoever.
Then she noticed the famiiliar blonde young woman in her customary red and blue costume appearing on her side, easily keeping pace with the machine with very concerned eyes.
“What are you doing??”
“Li…Supergirl, we need to stop this thing! It’s out of control!”
Kara nodded, having already checked the entire vehicle with her xray vision from afar. She called out to her sister “Hold on!” before moving to the front of the cab and grabbed the bucket, using a combination of her amazing strength and flight powers to provide the stopping power to decelerate the entire vehicle as gently as she could muste. Her upper body went from slim to buff, her muscles suddenly expanded outwards bulging large and proud as she exerted enough pressure to try and control it.
And slowed it did, even though she could feel that some force was trying to counteract her actions. Despite knowing full well that Alex’ intent were the same as hers, Supergirl actually felt the the unknown force trying to overcome her own remarkable alien strength.
Eventually however something had to give, and the hydraulics and control systems were never made to withstand such counteracting forces at the same time. They broke, spilling liquid all over the road, and the rumbling vehicle slowed.
Sensing the opening Kara applied even more force and managed to navigate the excavator towards the side of the road. Within minutes the entire vehicle finally came to a stop mere metres away from the crossroad. Once Kara ‘parked’ it, she flew down and opened the mouth of the large shovel, lifted the opening to reveal its contents.
The three women came bundling out, weary and shaken, but doesn’t seem to have any injuries. The very same three who Kara as Linda Lee Danvers bumped into a couple hours ago.
Dillie was the first one to react upon seeing her in costume. “See? I told you we would meet Supergirl in person, and we did!” The other two young women didn’t say anything, continuing to breath heavily as if still recovering from the entire ordeal.
“What the hell was that? How did the three of you get caught up in this thing?” Alex had climbed down from the cab to stand beside her powerful sister. Her hands still shook slightly from the ordeal, though she fought through the feeling and tried to hide it.
Dillie again was the one who chirped up, even as Kara could sense that her other two companions looked guarded. “Oh, three of us were just walking along the main street when we heard the sirens of fire engines. I said that this could be it, this could be the opportunity to see Supergirl in action.”
“Right, what with you being such a fan and all..” Kat replied sarcastically, and Es nodded in agreement, slightly amused.
“Anyway we were making our way towards the scene, when suddenly this machine came down the street towards us…towards me, as we tried to cross the street. I tried to avoid it but this…shovel thingy changed direction and instead scooped all of us and closed on us.”
“You mean…it was actually coming FOR you.” Kara got straight to the point. “Was there someone driving the thing at that time??”
Kat spoke up. “I don’t think anyone of us noticed it. Everything happened so quickly. I tried pushing Dill out of the way, but somehow it still ended up in our way. The way it swerved, it’s like it planned to…capture us?” Both Alex and Kara looked at each other at that revelation.
Trying to steer the conversation away, Es chimed in “nevertheless, thanks for rescuing us. Getting rescued by the most powerful supeheroine on the planet definitely makes for an unforgetable experience.” Alex beamed at Kara, who blushed at the compliment. “But in any case, I think we had enough adventure for the day, so I think we need to get back soon…”
“Hang on. Given that this excavator had caused quite a bit of commotion, I think at the very least the police would probably need a statement. You know, I can hear the sirens of their patrol cars a couple of blocks away, Perhaps we should wait…” As Alex said this, Es blanched, Kat looked unsure, while Dillie remained excited. “Or not. If you guys prefer a bit more privacy at the station. Don’t worry, I think Supergirl here can give all of us a lift?”
Kara smiled.“Easy. I can bring two at a time on the Supergirl Express. But tell me something…do you think it was all a mere coincidence that all three of you were caught in this thingy?”
Dillie’s response was most surprising.
“Oh, I believe someone’s after us.” She blurted out before either of her companions could sush her up. “We’re witches, after all.”
“And they repeated the same thing at the station, almost word for word.” Fred Danvers shared at the dinner table, chewing and swallowing a mouthful of that cut slice of pork chop. “We don’t even have to probe as much, at least not for the youngest…Dillie? Karen said that she answered like a model student aiming to please.” He had purposedly asked Karen Sands to talk to the women, hoping that the ‘female touch’ would be the key.
Worked like a charm.
He had returned home with Alex as the elder Danvers offered to accompany the three young women to the station to give their statements, which meant two quick hops by Supergirl. Kara had then flown the bike back on Alex’ behalf (“flown, not ridden”), keeping to her promise.
“Well, irrespective of whether they are witches, you can’t deny the fact that they were caught up in the entire thing.” Eliza passed the salad bowl over to Alex, and then glaring at her eldest. “But what exactly were you thinking at that time? Trying to stop that excavator by yourself?”
“Well, I had help…” Alex cast a sideway glance at her adopted sister, now back in her usual disguise, whose eyes looked down even lower onto her plate even though she had already wolfed down three-quarters of her sizeable meat portion already.
“Right. And you were counting on Supergirl to turn up. What if she hadn’t? What if things took a turn for the worse? Hmm? At least Linda had the sense to call the police for help.” That earned Linda a kick on her shins below the table for the excuse that she gave, though from the way Alex winced it was clear who came out worse.
“For what it’s worth, at least everything still worked out fine.” Fred had tried to smoothen the conversation, which in turn earned him a direct glare. “But their statement is still important, because later when I sent a couple of guys down to the yard to check on the documentation, turns out the tractor was rented to this guy who was supposed to be on the way leaving town. Somehow he had a heart attack of some sort as he was driving it away, and had fallen off the vehicle onto the road. Luckily he was not ran over, but from the height and speed that he was going, he’s going to need a couple of weeks to recover from his broken ribs to go with a concussion. We’ll talk to him when later.”
“So…do you believe what they were saying? That they are being followed?” Linda asked cautiously. Her curiosity had peaked at Dillie’s last comment.
“The youngest of them…Dillie? SHE seemed to believe it, though the other two…let’s just say they are more streetwise. Hard to say actually, though from the way these girls explained how they were scooped up by that shovel…”
“But you believe them.”
Fred held up both his hands. “I’ve seen and heard enough of things in my lifetime that constitutes the fantastic, but until I have more concrete evidence I’ll need to ‘keep in view’ for now. Given that we have aliens like Superman and Supergirl living amongst us, it’s not that much of a leap to accept that there are witches too. Just like the stage magician with the tophat. Za…Zatan…”
“Zatanna.” Linda spoke up helpfully.
“Right. It’s less about who they are, but more about the events that they allege might befall them. They are after all tourists anyway, and definitely should be entitled to feel safe and secure whereveer they go.”
“Really? Where are they from?”
“Different parts of Asia. India, Thailand, and Kazakhstan. On ‘holiday’ apparently, though why Midvale and Leesburg of all places I have no idea. Supposedly part of their own “East to West” cross-country tour where they try and enjoy local experiences that are off the usual beaten path. Came by Greyhound just a day ago.”
Alex chimed in “Who would want to visit the middle of nowhere where there’s no real tourist attractions? I mean, National City, Chicago, Detroit…even Milwaukee might be more interesting.”
“Now that…” Fred rubbed his chin thoughtfully as Linda helped to put away the dishes “is a very good question.”
<Later that night>
“You look distracted.” Eliza looked back from the window. Fred had noticed her gazing out the window for the longest time despite the stack of papers on her lap as she sat on the long couch at the working area just outside their bedrooms. The girls had both retired into their bedroom despite the night still young, and as usual Eliza too had brought her work back. A habit that had endured all these years when she started as a junior researcher in the university.
“I was…well, I was worried.” Fred raised an eyebrow at that. “About those girls. And what might have happened to our own girls too.”
“Alex might have acted rashly, but she meant well. Linda wasn’t involved in anyway though. Besides, this is a one-off.” Hhe sighed. Teenagers. Who would really know?
“True. But what about those three girls? You just let them go on their own way despite what they said?” Fred grinned at Eliza’s question. “I can’t very well detain them right? They were victims, not suspects. But, just to be on the safe side, I arranged for a car to shadow them for the night after Karen dropped them at their preferred location. Like you said, just in case.”
“You think they really are witches?” It was obvious what Eliza was alluding to, though he had to ask.
Both Danvers stared at each other, before Fred shrugged. “If you asked me that question 30 years ago, I would have said that you were nuts. But after all we have been through, all those that we have met, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that their claim is partially true.” He then produced a piece of paper from his pocket and passed it to Eliza, who frowned when she read the scribble.
“RedDot foundation? What’s that? Talk about a generic enough name…” There was no other details, beside a simple “Midvale” scrawled next to the name. “Charity organisation?”
“Maybe. Given that you’ve gone around with church groups and the community folks you might recognize the name. Karen picked it up from the floor just as she was about to send the three ladies on their way. Passed it to me with a wink.” He gave a wry smile. “I did a cursory check online. The page looks very professionally done. Looks legit on the surface. However, there are no contact details provided, only a form that one fills in to ask for information and such. From some of the materials online, it looks like its purpose was on supporting the provision of education opportunities for those in need, especially in the Far East.”
“And the ladies are all Asians…”
“Why are they looking into this ?”
“That’s what I want to know.”
“That was very stupid of you, Dillie.” Es chided the youngest young woman. “Very very stupid.”
All three of them are now back in their AirBNB after a two-hour grilling session with the police. Granted the happy coicindence that Alex’s father was the Commissioner of Police, they were let off rather tamely without much problems. But in their haste to get back, they also realised that they dropped that one clue that they were holding onto at that time.
Luckily Estie had enough sense to take a photo of the card with her phone.
“But we ARE being pursued.” Dillie pouted. “If we face trouble, shouldn’t we at least tell the police? That’s what they are there for. To protect the people.”
“Yes, for that matter, but only after we are sure of the circumstances. Then you go about blabbering about being a witch.” Es paused. “Look, we definitely need all the assistance that we can get, but that doesn’t mean that we should tell everything to everyone. They might be moles. Or in disguise. Besides, there’s a reason why we are supposed to lay low.”
“Oh please!” Kat suddenly chimed in, coming out from the bath after a long shower. For whatever it is, she seemed to enjoy the experience of having an old-school bathtub. It’s also why Es insisted that Dillie and her went first everyday. “I’m sure that all they did when they heard Dillie mention the word ‘witch’ was to roll their eyes, so at least that’s helpful for us.”
“But what I said is true!! Why do we need to keep hiding who we truly are…” Dillie whined. “It’s our heritage, Kat. Why do we need to keep denying it?” Dillie was confused, though Es could see the flicker of frustration behind the eyes of the elder dark-skinned woman, as she sat down on the large bed.
“I’m not telling you to deny it. Just that…it’s not very useful in most situations. Like when we were in town, remember?”
“Of course it worked! I saw how you moved, slipping from one place to another spot in a blink of an eye…”
“Doesn’t do much help if we all still got swallowed up by that excavator.” Rubbing her left arm gingerly, she winced. “All bruised up for our efforts. Some witchie power this was.”
“So…coincidence? Or is someone really on to us?” Es asked pointedly.
“If it were the latter, the person must be powerful indeed.”
Kat huffed at Dillie’s obvious comment. “Powerful? The person practically commanded an excavator to come our way! But more importantly is that we need to let the coven know what’s happened thus far.”
“Already did. Typical leaders. ‘Hang in there, be careful. We have faith in you.’ Basically just hanging us out to dry.” Kat couldn’t help but grin at Es this time. “But what is certain is that this confirms our suspicions. There’s not smoke without fire. We just have to find out where is the source.”
“Well, we have Supergirl on our side! She came to assist us, just as I foresaw in my dreams!” Dillie chirpped happily.
Es frowned at that though. “This is supposed to be fact-finding mission, low-key. When we interacted with such a famous superhero, that’s not going to help us stay under the radar.”
“Well, I’m not sorry at all. We need all the help that we can get, and she might be the person that we might eventually depend on later.” Dillie spoke dreamily as she laid on the bed. “I know she’ll be the ally that we can count on eventually. Maybe we should bring her into our plan and…”
“NO!” Both Kat and Es said in unison. “We are NOT going to do anything that way. Besides, how are you going to call her anyway? It’s not like we know her private number, nor does she have an official Instagram or Facebook page. And don’t even think about creating fake issues and accidents to get her attention.” Despite not being happy with things, Es does have a point.
“Let’s just stick to our plan. We have that address, let’s go and check that place out first. But remember, we’re just surveying. Nothing hanky-panky.” Sometimes Es can be a know-it-all, taking charge of things without others agreeing. Kat’s pout said it all. As Es spoke, Kat’s hands clenched on card that had the name of an organisation and its contact details on them.
“What’s there to be hanky-panky about? It’s not like I can do anything. I’m just a chaperone for both of you, given that I’ve been to the country once before…” Kat complained.
“Or…there’s always another way for us to validate what we know. Before we do anything else.”
Even as they conversed, they were oblivious to what was going on outside their building. Two patrolmen were sitting in a car not far from the motel with no clue what was being discussed in the room, wiling their time away until the designated time for them to leave. There was another however who could, squatting on the rooftop listening intently as his dark clothing covered his body enough so that he blended in with the dark night.
A man in a long brown coat sat in his slightly run-down apartment, watching the latest on TV. A glass of whisky in his right hand, he cast his glance at his phone on the side table just two seconds before it vibrated.
He didn’t even bother with pleasantries, and left it to the other side to start the conversation first.
“You were sloppy.” Another demanding client.
“Everything is under control. And I’m fine too, thank you for asking.”
“It wasn’t discreet. Plus we didn’t manage to drive them away.” A sigh came over the line. “I don’t like unannounced visitors, especially those that were sent here to snoop around.”
“That’s why I’m here. To run cross-interference and distract people away.” The man rubbed his five o’clock mustache, thinking back at the scene just now. So close…
“You seem to be losing your touch then.” That brought a reaction, as the person replied harshly.
“I can walk away, if you’re unhappy.” It was a fact, and yet was a veiled threat.
Silence on the other end. Obviously the other person had few alternatives. Being sent by the partner of the client’s boss helps.
“Just get them to leave. And leave no trails. Don’t have it traced back to me or the organisation.”
“It won’t.” With a finality he turned the phone off.
Not a moment too soon, he heard the anticipated knock on his door. He stood up and walked over, opening the door without even looking through the peephole.
Standing outside was Wonder Woman. Or rather, a woman dressed up as her.
The real Amazonian princess would have towered over most mortals, a female demigod capable of dealing as much death and destruction, as she is capable of providing so much love and kindness.
This person standing in front of him however reminded him of one who tried to hard to act and behave as one that she couldn’t even hope to achieve. While busty enough to hold up the famous “WW” insignia, her shorter height and slim figure was a far cry from the busom and athletic figure of the most famous Amazon.
Then again, given that this was what he asked for, the result was still somewhat pleasing to the eye, as the man’s eyes wandered interestedly, taking in the woman’s figure from top to toe.
“So you want to let me in? It’s a little cold out here.” That was obvious. He could already see her nipples tenting up the costume top.
He stepped aside and motioned her in. Closing the door behind her, he couldn’t wait for what’s coming next.
<Meanwhile, in Metropolis>
“Whoa. You don’t see THAT everyday.” Jimmy Olson heard a remark from the passerby as he put down his phone camera. The police officer a few feet in front of him stood at his station behind the tape, glaring at all the curious people gawking or murmuring looking in, keeping a hold of the overall situation.
‘How wrong these people were’, thought Jimmy to himself. Having worked long enough in his own occupation, he knows that there are enough events happening in the city that are either hidden, unreported or that people were just not bothered enough to notice. After all, the talk of the internet tends to be replace by the next item within 5 minutes. People are just too cold in the big cities, and getting colder. They tend to mind their own businesses, even when there was a reach out for help. Eventually, people just gave up.
Jimmy chanced upon the crime scene on his way towards Dinty’s at the more fashionable pier area of Metropolis earlier that evening. His heart sank when he saw the long, graceful legs of a female poking out from a black bag, other parts of her body on the dirty ground thankfully obscured behind a large dumpster. Given that the men in blue are still working the scene, all he was able to do was to take some faraway shots from the cordoned off area about ten metres away despite flashing his reporter card.
At least the quality of his current phone camera quality is adequate enough for him these days. Beats lugging along his Nikon DSLR everywhere he went. It also allowed him to blend in easily with all the other common folks who could and would just point-and-shoot at whatever they fancy. These days, anyone can become a ‘reporter’ by posting and commenting of stuff on the Internet, not realising the significance or fallacy of doing so irresponsibly.
He lingered long enough to see the few people finally lifting the body onto a gurney before slowly wheeling it towards the cordon, through the throng of people and into an ambulance, where the destination was obvious. He eventually caught up with a familiar face who was trying to leave the scene faster.
“Officer Gerald. Hold up!” The thin, lanky police officer turned around and pushed his cap upwards slightly, their eyes meeting. Scowling, he replied “I don’t have anything to say to the Press. Anything you need, take it up with the lead detective Sawyer over there.” nodding towards the leggy female brunette who had just gotten into a Victoria Crown.
“Come on Dean. You know that going through all the official stuff will be watered down or filtered out. Can’t you just give me the lowdown as a quick response?” Despite the officer’s relatively lower rank, Jimmy knew enough that these are the real eyes and ears of any investigation. While the detectives might be better at piecing links together, those who actually pound the pavements remain the key to gathering pieces of the puzzle.
“Like I said, I have nothing to say to you.”
“Really. Then why is it that you were talking for so long to your lead detective just now? She gave you a hard time?” Jimmy ploughed on, undettered. Persistence is the name of the game in their line of work.
“Was first on the scene. Called it in too. Sure she wanted to talk to me first.”
“Kind of curious. The body was lying behind a dumpster. Unless one is looking for it, they wouldn’t be able to spot it though…?”
“You’re accusing me of something kid?”
Jimmy quickly raised his hands. “Whoa Whoa Whoa! All I’m saying is that she’s not easy to spot, even if it isn’t quite as dark as yet. Come on, there must be something that you can share? Who knows, I might be able to find something that could be useful?”
“OK man, look…try not to let this kill the rest of your evening.” Jimmy dreaded his deadly pun as the cop glared at him before turning around and walking away. But as he took two steps he stumbled onto the ground suddenly, and Jimmy quickly moved over to help him up.
“You ok man?” Jimmy asked sincerly, though his kindness was replied with a kind of odd stare by the cop. Brushing the dust off his pants, he just grunted a slight thank you and went on his patrol.
Lingering for another minute to make sure the man was ok, he then fished out the small piece of paper that Jimmy had felt placed into his shirt pocket. Smoothing it out, he stared curiously at the scrawl on it.
“Capes and Costumes, 28 West Bayview, Metropolis.”
He was just about to skip away with glee when he heard that familiar deep feminine voice. “What’s that you got there Olson? You know that taking evidence away from a crime scene under investigation is an offence, right?”
Jimmy turned back slowly, and his gaze met those of Detective Maggie Sawyer.