|Image source: openclipart.org|
And not all lights find their way to a window.
A light came on, above the hung ceiling in the offices of Grimes Financial Services, illuminating the unsightly tangle of cables, ductwork, and support beams that are the bones and sinews of any office building. The beam sparkled and shone as it played across the dark expanse. DeVine had planned this caper for months, and tonight was the night.
Twisting his arms and ankles into the ivy he’d sown, DeVine willed it to grow. Grow it did, carrying him with its advance as it stretched across the dark, empty space, lashing itself to any protrusion it could find. It would be a dead giveaway, but DeVine would be long gone before anyone found it.
A dark object with sharp corners finally came into view: the top of the vault. This was DeVine’s target, of course. The noise of cutting through it would attract attention… but who needs to break in when you got the keys? he thought, patting his pocket. Still wrapped in the ivy that partly gave him his name, DeVine willed it to lower him to the hung ceiling. Hanging over the security camera watching the vault doors, he waited.
The red light came on, and DeVine got ready. As it winked out, he unscrewed the coax and pulled it away. That would trigger a fault, but the camera was made by Republic and they failed all the time. If the guard was napping or distracted, he might not even notice before DeVine re-attached the cable on the way out.
With the camera disabled, he lifted the adjacent ceiling tile and slid it over. The ivy lowered him to the floor, and he set his own motion detector alarm before striding to the vault door. Sliding his ID card (a copy of the Chief Security Officer’s) through the reader, he entered the passcode 4569. A green light flashed, the bolts retracted with a loud thump, and DeVine slipped inside—
“What the…” he muttered, looking at the black-clad figure already inside the vault, watching the door.
“Hey,” the figure said. The voice sounded local—not one of the Devis or Masked Warriors, then—and youthful.
“What are you doing in here?” DeVine demanded.
“I dunno. What about you?”
DeVine had planned for the possibility of company, but not when it was waiting for him in the vault. “None a’ya business,” he grated. “Who are you, anyway?”
“Uh… Blink, I guess. Hey, you’re DeVine, right? Can I get your autograph? Some of my friends have most of the heroes, but nobody’s got a supervillain’s John Hancock.” Blink fumbled a notebook and a pen out of his pocket. “You don’t have to say ‘to whatever,’ just your name. That would be awesome.”
“What? What?” DeVine sputtered. “Of all the… who are you working with, kid?”
“Who? Oh. Nobody. I’m just here.”
“Yeah, well—” The motion detector started beeping. “Aaah!” DeVine shot the kid a final glare, and dashed out the vault door.
Blink ambled over, watching the villain clamber up the ivy, pull it up behind him, and push the ceiling tile back into place.
“Whatever,” he said, walking back into the vault.
“Freeze!” a woman’s voice barked.
“Hey,” he said, turning. “Hey, Ultra Woman!” Blink was still holding his notebook. “Oh yeah, I got your autograph already.”
“You’ll be collecting autographs from prison guards,” she said, reaching to grab him.
“It was DeVine. You just missed him. He went up into the ceiling, through that tile right there.” He pointed.
“I’ll check it out, but don’t move.” Ultra Woman rose up on her boot jets, knocked the ceiling tile out of the way, then poked her head inside. “I’ll be damned,” she grumbled. “That’s DeVine, all right.” She dropped back down to face Blink. “You’re still coming with me,” she said, grabbing his arm. “You got a lot of—huh!”
The kid had got away somehow, and was now standing in the vault. “You’re not my mom,” he said sullenly. “I don’t have to take orders from you.”
“What the…” Ultra Woman found herself at a rare loss for words. “Who are you, kid?”
“Blink. Oh. You can take the credit for stopping DeVine. You don’t even have to mention me. I gotta go, now.” And he disappeared.
On the sidewalk outside, Stevie pulled his hoodie up and started walking. He’d popped into the vault to think, maybe grab a little loot. Maybe. Instead, he met a villain and a hero, one right after the other. This whole superpower thing was cool at first, but now he had to wonder. Neither side seemed too happy to have him around—which he was used to, but still.
Being Stevie Winkler sucked, but maybe it wasn’t as dangerous as being Blink. Besides, he still had to figure out which way he wanted to go. “A hero gets the girls,” he muttered, “but the bad guys are rollin’ in the green.” A cop car sped by, flashing like a Christmas tree on crack, and he made sure it kept going before resuming his homeward plod. He had all of Sunday tomorrow before facing another week of the personal Hell that some called middle school. Five more years of this crap seemed like forever, but it gave him time.
Most of all, to decide what he wanted to be when he grew up.
If you like Blink, check out his first adventure, and check out some of the other heroes and villains of Skyscraper City — here on TFM!