Chapter 22: I’affront de Main
Almost all of the shops on the street were closed. It was as if the entire town had left and only the skeleton of an economy lay waiting for their return. And by “they” I meant snowbirds. Snowbirds are the names given to wealthy people from the East coast who have two homes, one there and the other in Arizona, they travel back and forth taking advantage of both the cool of the summers in the East, and the mild desert winters.
One of the few places which was still open and doing business was Starbucks, despite the tightening of wallets, Starbucks sales in the college part of town were still quite good and students flocked to get their caffeine fix. This was where Mercy sat. The outside of this particular Starbucks had a covered patio and misters to cool its customers, and this at spot Mercy decided an iced frapachino would be a good start to his day
Mercy led a life of privilege. His parents were related to the McCormicks, one of the largest families in Arizona, and he had grown up with a keen understanding of what it meant to have wealth and power go hand in hand. The state of Arizona, no matter what anyone tells you, is primarily run by large wealthy families who have owned, own, or have built upon; land that they have bought generations ago when they first come to the territory before Arizona even existed. The McCormick’s owned McCormick Ranch, a subdivision in the hottest location in the city of Phoenix; the McCormicks however had decided to keep the land which the homes were built on. The residents were forced to pay outrageous prices to live in this area. Translation: The family of McCormick was the one of the largest and wealthiest families in Arizona.
Mercy was the youngest in his family, however his parents were just that far removed from the main family tree that he was not entitled to become the official owner of McCormick Ranch, luckily, due to his connection to the family, he was entitled to the fortune. He had received just about whatever he wanted from when he was a child and had been taught that whoever got in his way was simply a fool with dreams. When he was about seven though he was beginning to have doubts about who he was and more shockingly what he was, after all watching things disappear in your hands is not fun, especially when you end up finding them in other places. It wasn’t until he began to have serious reactions at school when he knew what he was.
Being at one of the best schools in the state is pretty easy to do when you could own it if you wished. Very few got into Foothills Academy and this was because there were people like Mercy in their way. Spin was one of those people trying to get into Foothills, along with most of the Extendes, also ended up going to Foothills; they figured it out right away and decided that it was a good idea to have him along. Mercy was going to become an Extended. He had hated the idea, conversing with these normal people, these kids without any travel experience, whose scope was so small. Yeah right, like he was going to involve himself with them.
Mercy took another sip of his drink and pushed his dark brown hair away from his dark green eyes. He toke out his cell phone and pressed a number of buttons. To the onlooker he looked like a spoiled teenager texting like crazy on his cell phone; however that was not the reason why he was pressing these buttons. Mercy finished, closed the flip phone, and looked up at the street.
A large man about seven feet tall, green sunglasses, zero body fat, and a shaved head was walking across Mill Ave., a small waving flicker behind him. He was walking toward the flour mill on the other side of the street; he looked like he was on a mission. Not to mention he what he was wearing, who wore a suit and tie in summer? Mercy recognized Butler instantly. Butler suddenly stopped in the middle of the street, looking around as if worried that someone was beside him, then he looked directly to his left, right at the wavy image. Mercy smiled and went back to his drink.
Butler moved his lips as if talking to the waving image which was now stationary next to him. He looked quite stern and began to walk again. Both figures arrived at the sidewalk on the opposite side if the street and commenced their walk across the parking lot and over the low fence used to deter students from intruding in the historical monument. It was time for Mercy to move but he hesitated. Going up against Butler and Holly was not on his “fun” list, and it would mean he was doing Spin a favor, even though he was getting paid. Mercy looked down at his drink, he would take this along, and after all he wasn’t finished. He took a big sip and vanished, a light pop like a vacuum being unsealed fallowing him.
“My system’s down!” Said Holly, genuine fear in her voice. Butler stopped walking and looked to his left at her.
“What do you mean? Is that possible? Can you get in contact with Foaly?” Holly shook her head.
“If my helmet isn’t working how do you think I can get in contact with Foaly?” Butler thought hard.
“How could that be done? I didn’t think that fairy technology would shut down so easily” Holly seemed to be trying to get back online.
“I can use the helmets basic functions, but I’m still not connected. There must be something blocking the connection, and if that’s the case then it must be very powerful and near where we are now.” Butler suppressed his urge to look around. His experience in being fallowed told him that a direct confrontation was key to determining a threat. However, announcing to anyone else who was watching that you knew you were being fallowed was not a good idea, because they might shoot you from afar. Butler had trained himself to memorize his surroundings; he knew that he had last seen a possible seven people who had the ability to watch them. He narrowed that seven down to five, and then down to two. Two people, and he knew that the Extendes were, so far, mostly teenagers so he could reasonably assume that the young man about Artemis’s age, sitting at the table outside the Starbucks, was the culprit.
“We should continue, we won’t know anything else about them if we just go back to the room, and this means they know we’re here.” Holly looked nervous. “We’ll keep going without Foaly we can do this on our own.” Holly smiled. She knew Butler wasn’t serious about that claim, he was just reassuring her.
“Okay.” Butler nodded softly.
They crossed Mill Ave. and made their way across the parking lot in front of the Mill and stepped over the fence. On the other side Butler looked back at the outdoor Starbucks at their pursuer. He was gone. Butler got a chill, though he wasn’t sure why, something in his subconscious told him there was something wrong.
Holly stepped lightly on the cement floor of the mill. They entered on the office side and began their search for Artemis’s chip. Holly seemed to have the ability to find the signal, which had reappeared about two hours ago. Butler examined every room they went through. They seemed to be moving further and further into the mill, approaching the silos on the East side of the complex. Artemis seemed closer to them every second. The inside of the silos were off limits to tourists and students and therefore without lights. It was pitch black except for the lights coming from the outline of the doors on either side of the silo. Butler watched as Holly walked to the center of the storage tower. Butler saw the beam before Holly, the sunglasses he wore could see the ultraviolet beam running across the ground right above the locator chips. He screamed in Holly’s direction. Holly picked the two small electronic locator chips on the ground, and that’s when the ceiling exploded.
The explosives had been placed at the support beams of the tower, mostly at the top. Butler ran forward as Holly ran toward him. Butler heard, in all of the commotion, the door that they had entered through slam shut. There was now practically no light in the silo and the roof was coming down on them, twisted metal, stone, and paint, fiery and intense. It had been a trap all along. Butler rushed to the wall in an attempt to protect Holly and himself from the falling ceiling.
With the glasses Butler saw a figure sprinting toward them. It was identical to the young man he had seen outside the Starbucks not long ago. Butler could not move lest he put Holly in harm’s way. The first parts of the ceiling had landed on the now crumbled cement floor. The young man when to grab Butler’s hand, instead Butler grabbed his. The entire complex screamed at the strain of the ceiling crumbling ceiling and the side walls finally gave in.