Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 2

Link to Part 1:

            It was dark. The air smelled of sulfur mixed with crushed pine needles. The car Jack found himself in was of middling size, probably a van of some sort, though he was too out of it to be sure. At the wheel was the mysterious man who took him from the museum. He was humming along to the car’s radio.
            What did I…? Dan! The museum! What the hell is going on?
            “Ah!” exclaimed the driver. “You’re finally awake!” He twisted his head around and looked down upon Jack, who was lying across the back seats, his hands tied in front of him. Jack noticed the kidnapper’s eyes were back to a normal color, a bluish gray. He could also make out some more details of his assailant’s face, though found nothing particularly spectacular about it.
            “I suppose it’s time I introduced myself, formally,” he stated with a grin.
            Yeah…the boot to my face wasn’t a great first impression.
            “You can call me Dean. And yes, perhaps that smack to your head may have been a bit…excessive. It was, however, necessary. I was instructed to bring you to our compound any way I could so long as you were left alive. A 'boot to the face' seemed to be the best solution available.”
Jack grimaced. “The best solution? I’ll be lucky if the worst I suffer is a concussion!” He winced as he spoke; a cause of the injuries suffered at the hands of the mysterious Dean no doubt.
“I admit,” mused Dean, “that I sometimes forget my own strength when dealing with ordinary people.”
Ordinary? What is he talking about?
Jack doubled over as the pain he was experiencing intensified, expletives streaming from his mouth. Dean didn’t seem phased by the display.
“Sorry about the pain, but, as you’ve probably noticed, it keeps you from asking too many difficult questions. As for your injuries themselves, well, I made sure that you’ll live.” He winked at Jack, who was still writhing in the back seat.
I have to fight this…I have to fight back!
“Don’t get any bright ideas, friend. Besides, we’ve only just met. I never like kicking a stranger’s ass twice in the same day, especially when they’re so outmatched.” Dean stated this in a nonchalant, almost detached manner. Jack was worried now, especially since it seemed that Dean could discern exactly what he is thinking.
I still have to try…
“My my, you’re an intuitive one. Yes, I know what you are thinking. And given what is running through your thick skull at the moment, I’d advise for you to refrain from any acts of stupidity. Otherwise, well, you know what will happen,” he lifted his hands from the wheel and cracked his knuckles.
Once Dean was satisfied that Jack had no intention of struggling any further, he turned his attention back towards the road, his leather trench coat squeaking as it rubbed against his chair.
Defeated, Jack stared upwards towards the ceiling of the car. It was all he could manage, given the way he was tied and positioned on the back seats. He exhaled, and began controlling his breathing. The pain was still there, but as long as he minimized his movement, it became bearable.
Suddenly, a phone rang. Jack knew it wasn’t his, as even in the state he was in he could hear that it wasn’t coming from his pockets.
He didn’t have to speculate any further when he noticed Dean’s right hand leaving the wheel, reaching for the phone ringing in the upper pocket of his coat. He pulled the device out, and answered.
“Hey, I’ve got the kid,” Dean stated. Jack couldn’t make out the voice on the other side, but by the way his captor spoke, he figured it was his superior.
“Yeah, he proved to be a cinch to handle,” Dean laughed, “and you thought I would have trouble with him!” The conversation continued, and Jack tried eavesdropping as best he could.
“Based on potential? What potential? The kid was knocked out by one blow to the stomach. When you recruited me my reaction times were already far beyond any human's.” He rolled his eyes. Jack’s heart jumped as the car swerved, Dean’s attention clearly wasn't on the road.
What is he talking about? Potential? Does that mean if he can read minds it’s possible I could do the same thing? Maybe I should…hmmm.  Dean is distracted by the phone…this could be my only chance.
            In a moment of inspiration, Jack focused all of his thoughts on trying to read the mind of his assailant.
            Here goes nothing!
            “Don’t worry! His parents have no idea that he’s gone missing, and as soon as we get to the compound, we’ll have him patched up. I didn’t kick his ass too bad-,” Dean stopped mid sentence, his brow furrowing. Blood trickled out from his right nostril. He dropped the phone, using his now free hand to clutch his forehead instead. He began losing control of the car.
Jack continued the mental assault regardless, astonished that his efforts were having such an adverse effect. He continued his siege on Dean’s mind, trying to glean any information he could. He wasn’t sure how it was working, but he kept at it anyways.
The car swerved to the right violently. Dean reestablished control just in time to prevent the car from smashing into a tree on the side of the road, bashing his foot into the brakes to do so. The car skidded for some time, and ended up positioned haphazardly adjacent to the highway.
Dean, still suffering from Jack's mental assault, struggled to pick up the phone he had dropped earlier. The other person was still on the line. Sweat streamed down Jack’s face as he tried to maintain his focus on gaining access to his captor’s mind.
Dean opened the driver’s door, still grasping the phone. Once outside, he staggered to the side of the van, and slid the door open. His eyes met Jack’s as he stood just outside the opening, both men breathing heavily. He put the phone back to his ear and began to speak.
“You were right. The kid’s got potential. Deadly potential. But it’s raw, very raw.”
Jack could sense that his assault was losing its effectiveness, and winced when he felt a foreign force enveloping his own thoughts. Dean was fighting back.
Jack was sure that his captor would take this opportunity to kill him, though it seemed his fears were misplaced. Dean’s counter attack seemed more intended to lock down his mind's ability to launch mental offensives, rather than to do permanent damage. For now, his thoughts were contained.
“Don’t worry, I blocked off his mind. He should be harmless for now.” Dean slid the door to the van shut, and got back into the driver’s seat. His ear still glued to the phone, he continued his conversation.
“Have the specialists make note of this incident. It appears that Jack Martin's powers are amplified when he feels rage, pain, and anxiety. Until he’s fully trained we'll have to avoid inadvertently triggering his abilities. That way, we can avoid further…surprises.” Dean listened to the man on the other side of the phone, nodding periodically.
Jack gasped in agony, the pain from his injuries returning thanks to the strain caused by his psychic outburst. The driver, noticing the commotion, took a moment to peer back at his captive, smiling playfully.
“I think you’ve heard enough,” he said. Raising his left hand, he snapped his fingers.
Jack blacked out.
Satisfied, Dean returned to his phone call and started the van’s engine. Then, he turned back onto the highway and resumed the journey.

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.