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    #123
    In JP, a stage light and a tree pot-holder can be seen in the first t-rex attack scene. (From: 'Seba')
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    Nightshade version 2; Chapter 2 and Chapter 3
    By Aragorn

    ~CHAPTER 2~


    After his shift ended for the day, Jeff waited around a half hour for Sonum’s shift to end so he could be a gentleman and walk her home. They walked down a sidewalk together, the grocery store far behind them. The bright sun shone down on their bodies, the light having long-since chased away the dreariness of the day.

    “You don’t have to walk me home you know,” Sonum smiled, amused at Jeff’s recent boost of chivalry.

    “I know, but I have to walk past your house on my way home anyway,” Jeff replied, trying his best to make it sound like a casual thought. As far as he knew, Sonum didn’t know that he was kind of hitting on her, and he didn’t want her to until the right time. Of course in reality she was able to see right through him like a clear puddle of water. “And I like talking to you,” he added, deciding to make a slight little move on her. “I can talk to you about things that I can’t with anyone else about, not even Karsen.”

    Sonum’s smile grew as they continued down the street. “So what do you do for fun these days?” She asked, probing Jeff for more information about himself. They hadn’t really hung out in awhile.

    “Oh you know, this and that. Dressing up as a superhero and saving the day mostly.” Despite his overly-sarcastic tone, Jeff was in fact, not quite lying. As he expected, Sonum laughed, picking up on Jeff’s sarcasm. Jeff smiled at her laughter.

    Sonum bit her lower lip and decided to take the next step and make her own move on Jeff. “Well you know, if you ever want to get together and do something sometime, just give me a call or come on over. I’m usually home.” she paused, and then added on as a joke to go with, what she thought was, Jeff’s joke. “Besides, I could probably use a dose of ‘saving the day’ to spice up my social life after Ryan and I broke up.”

    Jeff suddenly turned solemn and proceeded with caution, not sure if the subject was a touchy one for Sonum. “Yeah, I’m sorry to hear about that.”

    “Don’t be,” Sonum replied to Jeff’s surprise. “Ryan was a prick that talked a lot of shit behind my back. I’m happier now that I’m not with him.” By this point they were in front of Sonum’s two-story house and they had come to a stop. “Well this is my house,” Sonum stated, changing the topic. “I guess I’ll talk to you later on.”

    “Yeah, definitely,” Jeff said back. Sonum headed inside her house. As the door closed, cutting her off from his view, Jeff sighed, wishing he had said more instead of just standing there like an idiot.

    He turned and continued on to his own apartment building, putting his hands into his pockets.

    ***

    Fifteen minutes later Jeff neared his own home, watching some little kids that were playing ball in the front yard of the apartment complex that he lived in. Jeff remembered those days when he was that age and kept trying to drag his father by the hand to come out and play ball with him. Oh, how he missed the simpler days when the worst thing he had to worry about was if he could snatch a free cookie before supper or not.

    He turned the corner and walked on the pathway cutting through the grassy lawn, leading to the building. He unlocked and walked through the main door, down the hall, and into his apartment. Once on the other side of the door, he removed his shoes in the front porch. “I’m home!” he called out as he entered the hall.

    Rain and Hero, Jeff and his roommate’s small kittens, came running instantly and flocked around Jeff’s feet. When Jeff leaned down to pet them, the kitties licked his hands as if they hadn’t seen him in years. Jeff laughed at his pets’ playful greeting. “Ok Kitties, that’s enough,” he chuckled.

    When Rain and Hero allowed Jeff to continue into the apartment, he walked into the kitchen with the kitties following close behind him, and sighted his non-relationship roommate, the beautiful Jenna Chavarie, sitting at the dinning table. She turned to look at him as he neared.

    “Oh Jeff, you’re home!” Jenna exclaimed happily. “I have a surprise for you.”

    “Happy Birthday, son,” Jeff’s parents surprisingly walked out from around the corner and hugged Jeff. While Jeff was surprised, he thanked him with as much enthusiasm as he could muster. Truth be told, his birthday didn’t really excite him anymore, and it didn’t help that he hadn’t gotten many presents, or anything good anyway, for years now, nor did it help that he rarely got along with his parents apart from Christmas and birthdays.

    “How was work?” his mother asked as she did every day that they talked. He doubted if she actually meant it anymore, or if it was just habit for her to ask now.

    “The usual,” he replied, shrugging. “Got a little bit of homework to do tonight.”

    “We only got you one present this year,” Jeff’s father announced. Jeff probably would have been disappointed by that news if he hadn’t already given up all hope for future birthdays. His father continued, “However I think it’s something you’ll really like.”

    “Wicked,” Jeff replied, again with fake enthusiasm. As much as he could just hardly wait to see what it was they got him, he first had something he needed to take care of. “Just let me use the bathroom first. I’ve really been needing to go for the longest time.” Jeff dropped his bookbag of work clothes onto the floor and went down the hall to the bathroom.

    Once the door was closed, he leaned close to the mirror and checked his eyes, sighing with frustration. The purple bags under his eyes looked even heavier and darker then earlier. His parents may not notice as they hardly ever saw him, but he was sure that Jenna would if he didn’t do something about it soon. He knew he had to get some sleep that night, but still hadn’t quite figured out how he would manage that.

    He opened the door and headed back out, not being able to wait to get his birthday over and done with. He returned to the kitchen and found his parents standing and smiling. God, those smiles really creeped the bejesus out of him. He knew his parents meant well, but why on God’s green Earth did they have to be cursed with the scariest smiles known to man?

    “Your mother and I knew how much you wanted one ever since Uncle Rodney taught you how to use one,” his father spoke up. “Luckily my dealership got a supply of them in just the other day.”

    Jeff looked at his parents, a huge genuine smile forming on his face. His father was the proud owner of a vehicle dealership in town. If his present was what he was thinking it was, then this was going to turn out to actually be his best birthday ever. There was only one vehicle he was ever taught how to ride by his favorite uncle.

    His face radiated with uncontrollable joy. “Is it what I think it is?” Jeff asked, nearly hopping up and down.

    “Go check for yourself,” his father beamed with pride and joy. “In the parking lot out back.” He knew how disappointed his son had been with previous birthdays, and vowed the year before to make up for it this year, and after Jenna’s help in mention that Jeff constantly talked about wanting one, he specifically ordered the present in from Japan himself.

    Jeff turned and rushed to the patio door that led to the back parking lot, his parents close behind him. He slid opened the sliding door and walked outside. A navy sheet covered something big in one of the nearby previously unused parking spots that had not been there last time Jeff had walked through that parking lot.

    Mr. Long moved past his son and went to stand beside the object. His wife made a corny fake drum roll noise, causing Jeff to embarrassingly roll his eyes as Jenna stood in the patio doorway, smiling. Mr. Long reached and pulled back the sheet, revealing a brand new shining black ZX636 motorcycle underneath.

    Jeff’s eyes lit up as if he was the inventor of the very first light bulb, and discovered that it actually worked. “Wow,” was all he was able to muster. Jeff’s father reached down to the ground and pulled up a black helmet. He wiped a speck of dirt off and tossed it to Jeff, who easily caught it in his hands.

    “Take it for a spin, son.”

    A large smile broke across Jeff’s face.

    ***

    Sonum sat at her small desk in her bedroom, doing homework. She sighed and squirmed in her seat, stuck on a particular question. Chemistry usually had been a pretty decent subject for her. She wasn’t great in it, but she was never bad in it either. Up until their newest chapter however. It had become her hardest subject and she couldn’t wait to be through with it.

    After a few seconds, she yelled to let out some frustration and threw her pen across the room. She had no idea if Jeff was good at it, but he did already graduate high school a few years before so she was thinking about giving him a call and finding out, when her thoughts were interrupted by the doorbell ringing.

    “Can you get that, dear?” her mother called out to her from her sewing room down the hall.

    Sonum got up and made her way downstairs and to the front door as three knocks sounded throughout the lower floor of the house. She opened the door and was surprised to see Jeff standing there with a helmet in his hands.

    “Let’s go for a ride,” he smiled, confident in himself.

    “A ride?” Sonum was confused and Jeff noticed that in her eyes. “I didn’t know you had a car.”

    Jeff moved to the side. His face lit up with joy once more when he saw Sonum’s expression when she saw the motorcycle. She was speechless. “I got it as a birthday present,” he explained.

    “It’s your birthday?” Sonum asked. Jeff nodded and she was shocked that she never knew. She immediately felt bad for not having wished him a happy birthday earlier, especially since he had remembered hers the previous week. “Happy Birthday. Sorry,” she apologized. “If I had known I would have gotten you something.”

    Jeff didn’t care about that kind of stuff. There was only one thing he wanted from her at that moment, and he already asked her for it. “Don’t worry about it. So you want go for a ride?” he repeated.

    Sonum smiled. “Sure, just let me get my jacket.” She disappeared inside for a few seconds and then re-appeared wearing a short black leather jacket with brown fur lining the collar, and which ended right below her ribcage. They walked to the motorcycle and Sonum climbed on behind Jeff and tightly wrapped her arms around his waist.

    Jeff grinned to himself as he closed his visor and started the bike up. Maybe if things kept going as good as they had been lately, he’d soon move on to asking her out on a date. Jeff pushed the thought out of his mind for the time being as they zoomed off and he brought her around the town on his motorcycle.

    They zoomed past their work and then the high school, and down dozens of streets, passing by houses and an assortment of other buildings. Along the way, Jeff sped up once in awhile, causing Sonum to scream in excitement, but then also sometimes had to slow down due to heavy traffic. They even had to come to a stop at a gas station once so Jeff could refuel the motorcycle.

    By the time that late afternoon turned into late evening and the two of them had ridden through most of the town, Jeff brought Sonum back to her house, safe and sound. Jeff removed his helmet as Sonum stepped off the bike.

    “That was fun,” Sonum ran her hands through her hair, still smiling with excitement and adrenaline.

    “I had a great time,” Jeff smiled back.

    “Me too,” Sonum replied.

    Jeff planned on waiting awhile before asking his next question, which was why he was just as shocked as Sonum was when he actually said, “Go out with me.”

    “What?”

    Jeff fought to control what came out next. He couldn’t back down now, so his only option was to continue on. “Tomorrow night. Go with me to the movies.” He waited for what felt like an eternity to hear her answer.

    Sonum chuckled to herself, knowing right away what her answer would be. She just wanted to wait a few seconds to torture Jeff. “Ok,” her smile grew even wider. “I have Dance right after school though.”

    “Yeah, that’s ok,” Jeff replied, relived and thrilled with the answer he got. This was his best birthday ever! “I have work until 4:00, and then Tae-Kwon-Do right after that. We’ll go to the late showing.”

    “We should go for another ride too,” Sonum suggested.

    “Definitely.”

    The two stared at each other in silence. Jeff thought about kissing her, but realized it was probably too soon. Sonum however, wanted Jeff to kiss her, but also wanted him to do it when he was ready. When she realized that time was not now, she finally broke the silence by saying, “Good-Night, Jeff.”

    “ ‘Night, Sonum,” Jeff said back. When Sonum turned and went inside her house, Jeff put his helmet on and drove off back to his house. He was even happier now then when he had first left, which at the time, he thought would have been impossible.



    ~CHAPTER 3~


    Long after Jeff’s parents had left and Jenna was in a deep sleep, the only light source in the apartment came from the computer monitor in Jeff’s bedroom. Jeff sat at his computer, noisily printing a sheet of paper off. He hoped the loud printing noise would not wake Jenna up. He would certainly have a hard time explaining things to her.

    To put his ease at rest, Jeff stood up and moved quietly out into the hall and down to his roommate’s room. He slowly and carefully opened her door slightly, peering in. Jenna was still sleeping, both kitties on the bed with her, sleeping on top of each other. Jeff slowly closed the door and headed back to his room.

    He opened the door to his closet and on a hanger was a dark gray shirt hung up under a black jacket, with a pair of black jeans hanging from the bottom and the hook of the hanger going through the back of a black cap. On the top shelf of the closet was a black handkerchief bandage, which was laid and smoothed out. Next to it was a pair of black biker gloves, a small tube of black facepaint, and four sets of black sunglasses. On the floor was a pair of black boots.

    Jeff reached in.

    ***

    Nightshade slowly opened the patio door to the parking lot in back of the building, careful to not make a single creek. He turned on the outside light and grabbed the black helmet from the floor before sliding the door closed behind him.

    He went over to his new motorcycle and bent down, peeling a shape off the sheet of paper he had printed off. He put it on the side of his bike and pressed hard on it to keep it there, running his fingers over its shape. He stepped back to look at his new handiwork. There was now a giant white ‘N’ on the side of the bike. Pleased with himself, he went over and did the same thing on the other side of the motorcycle and then he put a white ‘N’ on the front of his helmet as well.

    Nightshade folded the beak of his cap up as he slid the helmet on overtop of it, lowering the black visor. He sat on the comfy seat of the motorcycle, currently dubbed the Nightbike while it had the N’s on it, and started it up. He let the engine roar under him before tightening his hands around the handlebars and zooming out of the parking lot and down the street.

    ***

    A lone street thug dressed in a ski mask and thick winter jacket, hauled a brick through the frail window of a closed store. An alarm blared loudly as the glass shattered and the man quickly rushed inside, stepping over the broken glass. It wasn’t long before he had his sack filled to the brim, bulging, and he returned back outside.

    He took a nervous look around to see if there had been any witnesses, and was content when he discovered that there were none. However he suddenly heard the sound of an approaching engine getting nearer. He paused and waited a few seconds, like a deer caught in headlights. After a few seconds, he came out of it when he realized that judging by the distance of the sound, the vehicle should have been in view by now, yet he still couldn’t see the source anywhere.

    He squinted his eyes and finally saw the outline of something moving towards him. As it got closer, he picked out a pitch black motorcycle with no lights shining, almost on top of him, however it appeared to be driving by itself as it headed straight towards the robber.

    As it got even closer, he spotted the figure riding it, his dark clothes having camouflaged him from a distance, much like with what happened with the motorcycle. As the Nightbike neared, the confused robber didn’t know what to do. Panicking, he turned to run but Nightshade caught up easily and passed him as he zoomed by.

    Nightshade slammed on the breaks as he turned the Nightbike to the side, blocking the robber’s path as it began to skid to a stop. The robber didn’t have time to stop and slammed right into the motorcycle, flipping over it and landing painfully on the other side. The Nightbike then continued on and came to a complete stop a few yards away.

    Nightshade got off the motorcycle, still wearing his helmet, and ran towards the robber, picking up speed with every step. The man slowly stood up, but finally reached full height again just as Nightshade reached him. The vigilante did a back flip but as he did, he slammed one of his legs out so he ended up kicking the robber as he flipped back. The robber flipped back in the other direction.

    Nightshade landed on his feet gracefully and walked over to the fallen robber, leaning down and punching him only once, directly in the face, to knock him out. Sirens could be heard approaching in the distance, diverting Nightshade’s attention.

    He hastily returned to his bike and started it up, driving off and quickly fading into the darkness. He drove around the corner just as a group of police cruisers arrived from another street and piled into the area, their red and blue flashing lights illuminating the street.

    ***

    Two people leaned against the back wall of a building, hidden in its shadow. One of them wore a white tank top and had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth while the other wore a jacket. The later handed some money to the former, and in return he got a bag of ecstasy pills placed in his palm.

    “Nice doing business with you,” Jacket sneered. “If this shit is as good as I’m told, we’ll be seeing more of each other.”

    “My shit is always good,” Tank Top shot back, slightly insulted. “You have a problem with my shit, you have a problem with me, and I don’t like problems.”

    “Of course,” Jacket put in a quick save. “I have no doubt I’ll enjoy this bag.”

    “Just remember who deals the best shit for the lowest prices and we’ll do fine in the future.” Tank Top kept a serious face, but Jacket smiled.

    “Hi-ya, fellas,” a voice interrupted. The two dealers whipped their heads to see Nightshade walking out of the darkness towards them. Nightshade was no longer wearing his helmet and had his cap on.

    “Gavon, is that you?” Tank Top asked.

    “Far from him,” Nightshade snarled as he walked closer.

    Tank Top took out a gun and pointed it at Nightshade. Nightshade stopped walking towards the couple. “Who are you?”

    “They call me Nightshade.”

    “What do you want?” Tank Top questioned.

    “Well a Bic Mac would be nice, but I doubt I’ll be getting that off you.” Nightshade joked in a serious-toned voice.

    “If you want some of my shit, I can set up a meeting for another time,” Tank Top replied, thinking that the man was after some of his drugs.

    “Why would I want some of your shit?” Nightshade asked. “That’s just plain gross. Next you’ll be asking if I want your piss too.”

    “Wise-ass motherfucker.” Tank Top fired, but Nightshade predicted that and moved a few seconds sooner. However Jacket saw him move and slammed his leg out, catching Nightshade in the gut. He doubled over and moaned slightly. Jacket went to kick him again, but Nightshade grabbed his leg and pulled up as he stood. Jacket’s leg went up in the air and he fell down on his back.

    Tank Top turned to point the gun at Nightshade again, but Nightshade grabbed the gun barrel with his hand and pointed it away from himself just as Tank Top fired. Tank Top used his other hand and punched Nightshade in the side of the head. Nightshade let go of the gun and stumbled to the side, moaning slightly again. Tank Top aimed the gun and fired again, but there was only a click.

    “Fuck,” he swore as he put the gun away and quickly did a sloppy uppercut to Nightshade, catching him square in the face. Nightshade let out a yell and stumbled backwards. Jacket was now on his feet again and moved in to punch Nightshade as well, but Nightshade blocked and punched his attacker in the face. Then he swung his foot sideways and caught Jacket in the chest, slamming him up against the wall. Jacket’s head hit against the wall with a loud thunk and he fell to the ground, unconscious.

    Tank Top ran towards Nightshade, his arm pulled back to punch. Nightshade went to duck, but instead of punching, Tank Top slammed his knee up, catching Nightshade in the chin. He slammed his elbow down on the back of Nightshade’s head, knocking him to the ground.

    Nightshade didn’t move. Tank Top brought his foot up and slammed it down. Nightshade quickly rolled over onto his back and caught the foot in his hands a split second before it connected with his body. He shoved up, toppling Tank Top back, causing him to fall onto his ass. Nightshade stood, but wobbled slightly. He turned away from Tank Top and slammed his foot to the side, slamming it into Tank Top’s face. He fell back, also unconscious.

    Nightshade held a hand to his head as he walked to Jacket’s body and bent down, taking the bag of ecstasy from him.

    Motherfuckers…That hurt, Nightshade thought painfully to himself as he went to a nearby manhole cover and lifted it up. He dropped the drugs into the rushing sewage below and closed the cover.

    ***

    Once he returned home later that night, Jeff immediately went to the bathroom and closed the door. He was still dressed in his Nightshade attire, except he had his cap, sunglasses, and handkerchief bandage on the counter beside him, and most of the facepaint had been badly washed off with sweat, and was running down his face and dripping into the sink.

    Under the fading facepaint, Jeff’s face was bruised and bloody. He inspected himself in the mirror and reached for a can of some kind of skin-colored cream, and began applying it to his cuts and bruises.

    8/4/2007 4:09:29 AM
    (Updated: 8/4/2007 4:10:17 AM)

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