Castle Roland

My Secret Identity

by Ryan Bartlett, of Honored Memory


Chapter 14

Posted: 27 Apr 15

My Secret Identity

© by Ryan Bartlett

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Jason griped as he hurried down the stairs.

Jason was in the middle of an important game of Halo when the doorbell rang. He was sure it was a Jehovah's Witness; they always seemed to show up when he was in the middle of something. It was still early and he hadn't bothered to dress for the day. Never the shy type, Jason didn't care who saw him in his t-shirt, socks and underpants. The doorbell rang again just as he stepped onto the first floor landing and wrenched open the door.

"Can I help you?" said Jason, the tone of his voice suggesting he wasn't happy about being disturbed. Then he saw the pretty girl with auburn hair standing on his doorstep.

"Oh, hi," Jason flashed a sly smile and ran his fingers through his messy brown hair.

Jenna looked him up and down before she spoke. She wasn't surprised to find him in his underwear. She'd found his penchant for scampering about in his undies annoying at first but as the team matured and Jenna began to have special feelings about boys, she began to appreciate the view. She was fortunate in that even though she had to share a room with three boys they were at least nice to look it. The Warden of Spokane had been her favorite and his state of undress made her blush slightly.

"Well, aren't you going to invite me in?"

"Uh, yeah sure," Jason stepped aside and let her march into the foyer. When the door closed the two teens stood there staring at each other for a moment.

"You need to get dressed. We've gotta hurry."

"Are we going somewhere?" asked Jason, a confused frown spreading across his face.

"Seattle. Bobby needs us."

"Who's Bobby?"

"Bobby Fixx! You know, our team leader?"

"There's a Bobby on my football team but I don't think his last name's Fixx," Jason scratched his head.

"You don't remember him? Do you remember me?"

"I wish I did," he smiled again. "Have we met before?"

"When we were 11 years old. Concentrate. My name's Jenna, remember Jenna?"

His green eyes stared blankly back at her.

"Oh brother," she sighed. She assumed her teammates memories would be far enough along that she wouldn't have to explain all this to them. She tried another approach. "Have your powers begun to manifest themselves yet?"

Jason's bemused smile faded and his eyes filled with, not fear but at least trepidation.

"How do you know about that?"

"Because dummy, I was with you!"

"They took you too?"

Like all of the Wardens of the West, Jason had been abducted from his home shortly after his tenth birthday. He'd only been home for a few months and the memories hadn't yet begun to unfold for him.

"Damn it, we don't have time for this," Jenna huffed.

"What are…" Jason began.

Jenna reached out and placed her hand against Jason's forehead. His body went rigid and twitched a little as the link was established. Jenna was capable of communicating with his mind without touching him but given the time constraint and the fact they still had to get Jeremy, she went for the direct approach. If using her mind to communicate was the equivalent of Wi-Fi, her hand against Jason's head was like a hardline direct to his brain. Jason's mind was like an old VHS machine on overdrive as image after image flooded into his consciousness. Rather than a gradual restoration of his memory, Jenna opened the flood gates and let the memories rush in like waves at high tide. When she pulled her hand away his body went slack and he collapsed to the floor.

Jenna knelt at his side and brushed his unruly hair from his forehead. When his eyes opened he broke into a broad smile.

"Hey babe, miss me?"

"Get up! Bobby need's us," Jenna rolled her eyes.

His memory restored, Jason felt a surge of love fill his heart. Bobby and Jeremy were like his brothers and if one of them needed him they could count on him to be by their side.

"Let's go," Jason jumped to his feet and made for the door.

"Pants!" Jenna shouted after him.

Jason looked down at his underpants and stocking feet, "oh, right."

Jenna cracked a shy smile as he ran upstairs to grab some jeans and a hoodie. She got a nice look at his cute little butt as it wiggled in his boxer-briefs.

Seconds later Jason was back and once on the front porch the teens took to the sky. Fortunately it was a short flight to Vancouver.

"Come on Mrs. Fixx, you gotta wake up," Spencer shook Miranda's shoulder.

"Spencer?" said Miranda as she opened her eyes. "I had the strangest dream. We were kidnapped and Robin was here but he could fly…"

Spencer didn't have time for this. With every passing second Bobby was getting closer to Robbie Matthews. He couldn't defeat him without Spencer the day before. Spencer didn't know what made Bobby think he could do it now. Spencer had to get downtown before it was too late.

"You've gotta snap out of it Mrs. Fixx. It wasn't a dream," said Spencer, helping her sit up. She couldn't miss the fact they were sitting on the side of the interstate just feet away from the ruined van.

"You mean Robin's really the…"

"Yeah and he needs our help. Mr. Fixx is in trouble. Bobby's on his way to rescue him but he won't be able to do it without me. We've gotta get downtown like now!"

"How are we supposed to do that?"

"I don't know," Spencer exclaimed. He was on the verge of tears. Bobby saved their lives and was now speeding towards danger. Spencer felt so helpless. He'd developed extraordinary abilities but he cursed the fact that flight wasn't one of them.

Miranda looked around for a solution just as a white State Patrol cruiser rolled up on the scene with its lights flashing.

"I've got an idea," said Miranda. "Follow my lead."

"Are you folks alright?" asked the officer, as he got out of his car.

"We're fine but there are still men in the van," Miranda pointed at the accident.

"Wait over here," the officer guided Miranda and Spencer to his car. He radioed his location to the dispatcher, requested an ambulance and then went to check on the van.

As soon as the officer had his head stuck in the van's driver side window, Miranda pushed Spencer around the corner of the State Patrol cruiser while she climbed into the driver's seat.

"What are you doing?" Spencer exclaimed, as he jumped into the passenger seat.

"Buckle up, my baby needs us," said Miranda. She put the cruiser in gear and stepped on the gas, leaving an angry state trooper cursing in the dust.

"I cannot believe you did that," said Spencer, slack jawed.

"When you're a parent you'll understand," Miranda replied as she wove her way in and out of traffic.

"Holy shit!" Spencer screamed as they cut off an 18-wheeler.

Miranda smiled discreetly. Even as worried as she was for her husband and her child, driving like this was sort of fun.

Back downtown the courtroom was quiet as a tomb. The hostages dove for the ground when the two men flew in and killed the judge. They stayed down when Matthews began taking shots at them as if he were in a shooting gallery. In the back of the courtroom Jim May had his camera perched discreetly on one of the benches. There was great interest in the Matthews case and Jim won the lottery that morning. He was supposed to serve as pool photographer for the news outlets covering the case. He'd record the events inside the courtroom and share his footage with the throng of reporters.

Jim was a veteran of the Vietnam War. When the shots started firing he dove for the floor like the other hostages but he'd been under fire before and kept his cool. He wasn't just covering news now; he was part of the news. He didn't know what was going to happen in that courtroom but he knew it was his job to chronicle the event. A judge was dead, a lunatic was on the loose and two men with the power of flight had come to his aid. Jim had been following the Boy Wonder story and now there was a new component, super villains. Whatever happened to Jim, his footage would be his testimony.

While Matthews amused himself taking potshots at his captives, Ramon Vega and Tony Willis took positions on the rooftops of nearby buildings. They'd made a deal with Idrid Crow when he took them, kill the Boy Wonder and Seattle would be theirs for the taking. He'd given them the power to destroy the boy, furnished them with the names and addresses of his parents and best friend. If all was going according to plan, their henchmen had the mother and the best friend and were heading downtown to join them. They had the Boy Wonder's father trapped in the courthouse and when he arrived to rescue his loved ones, Vega and Willis would take him out.

It was a simple plan complicated by one variable, Robbie Matthews. Vega and Willis were cold blooded and ruthless but even they feared Matthews. The man was crazy, clinically insane and gifted with unstable powers of the mind. There was no telling what he might do and what might set him off. Vega and Willis would be fools not to fear him and of the many things they were, stupid was not one of them.

Bobby was feeling confident as he raced downtown. His mom and his boyfriend were safe. The gang members that took them were either dead or in so much pain they wished they were dead. All he had to do now was rescue his dad. He was afraid to face Matthews, he knew it hadn't worked out so well the day before but he knew things now he didn't know then. His dream last night unlocked something in fact he thought it unlocked everything. There was an ever present fog in Bobby's mind, it had been there since he'd been returned, but now it was gone. His memories were remarkably clear.

Idrid Crow had been correct in his judgment, Bobby was without mental powers. Jenna Clinton, however, was a gifted telepath and in the years they'd trained together she'd taught the boys on her team how to block those who would invade their minds. He was still nervous but he had knowledge now and knowledge chased away the last of his fears. Knowledge and the desire to save his dad. Bobby was a daddy's boy and if anything happened to his father he'd never forgive himself.

Bobby slowed as he entered the city and circled the Criminal Justice Center. He saw the shattered window the judge had been thrown from and knew there was a madman in there with his father and countless other potential victims. This wasn't a time for some convoluted strategy; it was time for the direct approach. Bobby touched down on the ledge of the justice center and stepped through the broken window.

"The game is up, Matthews. Drop the weapon," Bobby ordered. He was still young. He didn't know what you were supposed to say to a nutcase. He went with what he figured Batman would say.

Matthews turned slowly and held up his hands. He dropped the deputy sheriff's automatic he'd…appropriated and stared Bobby in the face. Something wasn't right. This was going to easy. Bobby approached Matthews with caution and then it struck him.

Matthews eyes closed, a wicked grin spread across his face and suddenly Bobby was paralyzed as every negative thought he'd ever had flooded through his mind. It was like a bad dream playing out before his eyes. He saw his parents having an argument when they thought he was in bed. He saw his ten year old self being chased through the woods by something that would turn out to be Jared Crane. Then the memories turned to visions, nightmares that plagued his resting hours. He saw himself at his parent's graves. He saw himself holding Spencer's lifeless body in his arms, helpless to save him. It was enough to drive him mad with misery but just when all hope seemed lost, he remembered Jenna's training.

Bobby concentrated with all his might on the happiest memory he had, the first time he'd kissed Spencer. He thought about Spencer's soft lips and how warm and smooth his skin felt. He thought about how good it felt to hold the boy he loved in his arms and then he bolstered his mind with other happy thoughts. He remembered seeing his mom for the first time after 4 years when she'd stepped into his hospital room. He remembered his dad playing catch with him in their backyard and he remembered the greatest birthday present he'd ever received, a puppy named Scout when he turned 5.

When Bobby opened his eyes he was actually smiling, much to the dismay of Robbie Matthews.

"But, you're supposed to be crazy now," Matthews pouted. "You're cheating!"

He'd used his mind to hurt people before. The things he forced them to envision were so horrific their brains were turned to putty. They weren't supposed to be smiling.

"Tough shit jackass," Bobby swore as he clamped his hand down on Matthews shoulder.

Matthews was angry and turned to the weapon Bobby still had no active defense against, telekinesis. Matthews concentrated on one of the bench seats and sent it flying at Bobby. Bobby looked up in time to catch the bench in the chest. As the bench rocketed him out the broken window, he heard Matthews cackling in the increasing distance. That's when Vega and Willis moved in.

Bobby smashed into the side of a building and the bench fell to the streets below. As he caught his breath a man flew right in his face and pummeled his body with blow after blow.

Fuck, Bobby swore to himself. In his eagerness to rescue his dad from Matthews he'd totally forgotten the remainder of the report he'd heard on the police band. There were two men who could fly backing Matthews up and as his body was rocked by blow after painful blow, he knew flight wasn't their only gift. Jared Crane had warned him he could be harmed by repatriates as powerful as himself and the proof lie in the scream of pain he shrieked with the latest punch. Vega slowed down to laugh and Bobby used the opportunity to escape. He flew up onto the roof of the building, clutching his side and panting.

He tried to catch his breath and regroup when he touched down only to be kicked in the back and driven to his knees.

Miranda Fixx drove the stolen State Patrol cruiser straight downtown. She only came to a stop when they met a wall of spectators blocking the street. There had been a huge crowd gathered around the Criminal Justice Center that morning, reporters, protesters or the simply curious. The crowd grew when the news reported the death of Judge Heller and grew more when the news reported the arrival of the Boy Wonder. Now the crowd had its eyes turned to the skies above as the Boy Wonder battled it out with a man who could fly. They watched in horror as Vega pinned Bobby to the wall and rocked his body with one powerful punch after another.

"Oh my God," Miranda exclaimed and covered her mouth as she watched the scene unfold.

"Bobby," Spencer whined, when Bobby touched down on the roof of a building and disappeared from sight.

Tony Willis stood over the Boy Wonder while he was on his hands and knees gasping for breath. Vega joined his partner and they sneered down at the wounded boy without an ounce of sympathy in their cold hearts.

"Please, stop," Bobby panted.

That just brought more laughter from Vega and Willis.

"Why are you doing this?"

"We don't need any pinche superheroes in our town," Vega spat, as he seized Bobby by the neck and threw him at a brick wall.

Bobby knew he was in trouble. There were two of them and they were as strong as he was. He was hurt, badly, and felt light headed but he knew he had to fight them. They were laughing again as he stood up and shot himself at Vega. He flew at the repatriate gang leader and knocked the wind out of him as he struck his stomach. The blow drove them out over the square and the crowd below roared with cheers.

Now it was Vega's turn to struggle for breath as Bobby pummeled his face with one rapid punch after another. The struggle was short lived. Willis thought about letting the Boy Wonder kill his partner, after all, than Seattle would be his to rule alone. He changed his mind when he realized that would also leave him alone to finish the Boy Wonder and deal with Matthews. One he thought he could handle. He'd have surprise on his side when he took out Matthews, but two? It was just too daunting.

Willis flew up behind Bobby and put him in a headlock. He yanked the boy away from his partner and held him in place as Vega hit him like a ton of bricks. Willis looked at the square below. The people of Seattle filled the streets and looked to the sky as their hero was beaten. They'd humbled the boy and now it was time to end it. Willis lifted the weakened hero over his head and brought him down on his knee. When Bobby's spine cracked it was so loud you could hear it in the street below. Willis let him go and Bobby's limp body plummeted to earth.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Spencer shouted when Bobby's body smashed into the asphalt and bounced before lying there lifelessly.

"Oh God, Oh God!" Miranda screamed.

The rest of the crowed stood stunned and silent. The Boy Wonder was invincible yet there he lay, cold and unmoving. Spencer and Miranda heard a few muffled sobs as they pushed their way through the crowd. When they reached Bobby they found his body bruised and twisted, his beautiful face a mass of bruises, the mask that concealed his identity broken in half. Spencer dropped to his knees and gently rested Bobby's head in his lap. Miranda joined Spencer and put her head against Bobby's chest. There was no heartbeat.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Miranda screamed so hard she passed out.

"They can't hurt you now," Spencer whispered as he sniveled and stroked Bobby's face.

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