Shadow Guard: Malpractice
By Ra’Chaun Rogers
Part 1: Nights like these
It was quite a wet night. The kind of night that really makes you wanna curl up in bed and never wake. The kind of night that makes you down, melancholy, depressed. He loved these nights, melancholy made him feel poetic and he’s always found certain poetry in justice. He smiled behind his gas mask as they plunged down to the alley below on a drug deal in progress and he hates drug dealers. He landed right in front of them making as much noise as possible, he could have been silent but he wanted them to know he’s coming, the rain bounced off of his Kevlar armor. Their horrified looks say it all; they recognize the red and black costume and the haunting gas mask. How could they not, they’ve been all over the papers for the past year.
She landed silently on top of the buyer; she loved being silent, anything to defy him. She never liked the idea of striking fear, that’s why she wore blue and white, she didn’t care who could see her coming they wouldn’t be able to do her any harm anyway. She loved this stuff and she knew he did too, because as much as it’s been about cleaning up the streets, it had also become a game they played. By the time she looked up the dealer was already begging for mercy and Fearless was doing his dark and scary bit. It’s the mask she says it was always the mask, which is probably why she opted for her high collar, hood and goggles. For a guy whose name is Fearless he sure liked to instill it in people. But then again she was known as Thrill and that’s mainly why she did this, especially with him.
They leave the trash for the cops to pick up, he hates them but he doesn’t own his own prison. By the time she’s called it in they’re ascending into the midnight sky. They say nothing as they leap from one roof to the next, what they found today on the dealer was one in a disturbing new drug that has been popping up at all the parties around town. Fearless grimaced under his mask and as they entered the storm drain that lead to their home base he could only hope that they found who was manufacturing this stuff quick and hoped that it wasn’t what he feared it was.
“So what do we have?” She walked out of the bathroom into the living room. She wore a bathrobe and slippers; she toweled her hair as she approached him. She was only 5’7 but that didn’t matter in a fight, not with her abilities. “Is it the same stuff?”
He stood over the stove steam rising from a large pot, his 5’11 175lb frame looked awkward cooking dinner. His once white t-shirt had seen better days as had his black sweat pants. His dreadlocks draped over his face obscuring his troubled expression from her. “Yeah, unfortunately.”
“And what is that again?” She walked into her bedroom as the hallway lights danced off of her honey colored skin.
“Human Adrenal Gland.” He was annoyed, he had told her several times, but he swore she asked again just to annoy him. “Which may I remind you is a very bad thing.”
“All drugs are bad, for the most part.” She smiled and walked out of her room wearing boxer shorts, a t-shirt and slippers.
“Yes but this drug came from the body of a living person or a once living person.” He turned off the flame and strained the contents of the pot. Spaghetti and tomato sauce with mushrooms and onions. “Which means that someone is killing living people and harvesting their adrenal glands.”
She began to set the table. “Yeah can we talk about that after we eat?” She poured a glass of water for both of them as he piled spaghetti on her plate and the on his own.
“Yeah sure thing, but talking about it on a full stomach might make you vomit.” He smirked.
“Shush, lets eat.” They began to tear into their meals, protecting the city always made them hungry or her at least. She then stopped and looked across the able at him. “I might not be home tomorrow night.”
He stopped eating and looked up from his plate. “Yeah?” his question had an edge on it that he tried to hide but couldn’t. “So who is he?”
“Why must there be a he?” She pointed her fork at him. “You’re just waiting for me to up and quit aren’t you?”
“No it’s not that, It’s just that we patrol tomorrow night” That was a lie and they both knew it, true it was easier to patrol with two people but he could do it all by himself and had been up until he recruited her for his war on crime in this city. He was jealous, in spite of himself; and he had no right to be.
“Jacob, I don’t hassle you when you’re out with, well…” Erica stopped herself. Malcolm hadn’t been on a social outing since his fiancée Michelle died two years ago. She felt sorry for him and sometimes put off going out to stay around and keep an eye on him. The air of melancholy was constant and very apparent to those who knew him.
“Right, I’m sorry, have fun.” Melancholy must have been plastered all over his face because he moved just in time to avoid a slipper from hitting it.
“Hey, don’t beat yourself up about it, that’s my job.” She grinned at him and he couldn’t help but smile back. They continued their meal together unaware that half a mile away someone would be enjoying their last.
Leroy Harper had been homeless for the last two years, he and his wife had become victims of predatory lending and when she moved back in with her mother, he ended up on the street. That was until last month when Dr. Felix Holder opened up a new homeless shelter funded by his own private foundation. Dr. Holder was a successful surgeon who extended his healers hands to the ills of society and sponsored several programs to help those less fortunate. A few months ago Dr.Holder was embroiled in a scandal involving his secretary, his wife divorced him and took his kids. He closed down his private practice and almost vanished from the medical world. The city was given control of his various public works projects. At the Holder House as it was called Leroy enjoyed job training a warm bed, clean clothes and three square meals a day. He had some rough times but things were looking up, nights like these gave him hope. He thought this as he bit into the nights Saul-berry steak, devouring it as he did most of the food there he decided to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth before going to bed. When he got there he noticed that the light was abnormally bright and that the white walls irritated his eyes. He splashed some cold water on his face and took a look in the mirror his own tired reflection was the last thing he saw before everything faded to black.
When Leroy woke up he was lying down and a bright light was pouring into this eyes, he couldn’t feel anything his arms or legs or even his face but he knew something was wrong. He attempted to move and succeeded in moving his head a bit however at that moment he wished he hadn’t because what he saw when looked down was his own stomach opened and on display like a diorama. Though he didn’t feel pain he screamed or attempted to he wasn’t sure if he did, all he heard was the movement of bodies beyond his vision.
“The donor has woken up, put him under.” That was the last Leroy heard before sleeping gas was put over his mouth and administered.