Chapter 1 Preview

Home invasion at three in the morning.  It’s way too early for this crap.  In ten seconds, three crooks are going to break into my house.  One is going to crack the lock on the front door, and the other two are going to jimmy open the sliding glass door at the back of the house.  I’m going to have to shell out at LEAST four hundred dollars to fix the locks and replace the others, and that’s if I can even do it myself.  I was planning on a decent night’s sleep before a long haul at work in the morning.  I have a big meeting today, and I even have my “Javasaurus Rex” coffee canteen ready to go.  Thirty two ounces of Jurassic, caffeine imbued attention problems.  Javasaurus is going to see a hell of a workout today. 

Eight seconds.  The two crooks at the back door make their way inside and part ways in the house.  One dips into the basement, while the other begins scouring the family room.  The one at the front door is struggling with the lock.  Well, I should probably go take care of this mess before it gets out of hand.  I edge myself from under the thick blankets that my wife and I keep on the bed, stretch my legs to meet the hardwood floor, and raise my arms to the sky in an effort to air out the stiffness in my joints.  I’m greeted by many satisfying pops from my joints.  I glance at my wife Kylie, who is completely passed out and snoring like a freight train. 

Three seconds.  The one at the front door finally makes his way inside, and heads directly upstairs with a large caliber pistol in his hand.  We have a winner for idiot number one to take out.  I know the locations of the other two, and I know that once I dispose of goon number one, the others are going to be attracted to the noise like fat, ugly, moronic flies attracted to an aging pile of horse manure.  I can probably use that to my advantage when taking care of them.  Taking these three out is going to be a walk in the park for me.  Superhuman strength, and superhuman reflexes put me well above the pack when it comes to situations like this.  I don’t like to use my powers often, but I don’t hesitate when it comes to my family. 

I quickly stride through the hallway toward the stairs.  My kids are fast asleep, and that’s how I’d like to keep, it if possible.  I definitely don’t want to wake the baby.  That child has a serious set of lungs on her.  Two seconds.  Alright, I’ve got to focus.  Being able to see ten or so seconds into the future has its perks, but it can be annoying when the power is so insistent on bringing things to my attention.  I can be easily distracted though, so it’s probably a good thing that it constantly points out important things. 

One second.  I head down the three short steps to the front entryway.  Everything is dark, with only waning moonlight pouring through the windows.  The front door creaks open and the burglar makes his way in.  He’s so close I can practically smell the desperation on him.  I’m left to wonder if this is just some random burglary job, or if they were sent by someone.  Maybe one of these “super villains” that occasionally show up every so often sent them.  Time to think is over.  I grab the creep by the back of his skull and ram his face into the wall, just above where my kids keep their shoes.  His head leaves an unsightly impression in the drywall.  That’s going to be a twelve dollar fix. 

He hits the ground hard after being knocked unconscious from the force of the blow, and the gun he was carrying clatters onto the floor after falling from his jacket.  I quickly pick up the hefty silver gun, eject the round he was keeping in the barrel, disengage the slide, and remove the clip.  No one is going to be using this thing.  I don’t even like guns.  Two seconds.  Dingbat number two comes around the corner from the living room to find me standing over his buddy’s unconscious body.  I’m greeted by a sawed-off shotgun he pulls from his waistband.  Look like I’m going to be using this gun, but not as it was intended. 

One second.  I take a stance in preparation for the robber that’s about to round the corner.  The milliseconds tick downward in my head when I see the first sign of him.  I don’t need to see him to know the timing is right, but I want to be certain my aim is right on.  Zero seconds.  I launch the heavy pistol at his head, and the force of the blow knocks him out while he’s still on his feet.  His head becomes well acquainted with the floor a moment later.  That guy is going to be out for quite some time, and I think he’ll be lucky if he doesn’t have brain damage.  Not my problem though. 

Five seconds.  After hearing two loud noises up stairs, the last guy is slowly inching his way up from my basement, gun in hand.  The stairs lead up into my dining room, but the only logical route to the area I’m standing in now is directly through the kitchen.  I yawn and scratch an itch in my scalp.  My underwear is also riding up my rear end, so I have to take a moment to pick that out as I waddle to the kitchen. 

Two seconds.  The last bad guy reaches the top of the stairs and rounds the doorway into the kitchen.  Noticing me standing there, he doesn’t hesitate to to embed a bullet right between my eyes.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen myself die, I’d have a lot of nickels by now.  Clearly this guy is not someone to play around with.  My pulse quickens and I can feel the perspiration breaking out along my forehead.  I’m going to have to kill this man to protect myself and my family. 

One second.  I stride to the kitchen and glance around for something to use against him.  I notice my kitchen knives held on the magnetic strip next to the stove.  The commercials still stick out in my brain.  “Will cut a steal pipe like butter!  So sharp it slices right through this giant slab of meat!  Never needs sharpening!”.  Looks like I’m going to put those claims to the test tonight.  I grab the biggest, baddest knife of the bunch, and turn just in time to meet my attacker. 

Time slows to a crawl in that moment.  He raises the gun level with my forehead and depresses the trigger.  My heart is pounding out my chest, beads of sweat are running down the side of my face, and the knife feels satisfyingly weighty in my hands.  The gun discharges with a small plume of smoke.  A flick of my wrist, faster than the human eye can register, and the large blade tumbles end over end to cover the fifteen feet between us in a split second.  The knife shears the bullet in two midway along the path and buries it deep in the man’s chest.  He makes a weak attempt at grasping the handle jutting from where his heart is, but he stumbles and falls to the floor, driving the blade even deeper. 

Oh great.  The gunshot woke the baby.  I should probably go comfort my family after they were woken from the sound.  I sigh heavily, glance at the dead man laying on my tile floor, and head back up the stairs to assure my family that everything is just fine.  My daughter already closed her bedroom door, so I’ll have to double back to check on her.  My son is cowering in his bed, his favorite blanket held tightly to his chest.  The sight is just comical since the feminine superhero’s body lines up perfect with his head.  I bought him that blanket a few years ago, featuring his favorite superhero “Femme”.  She had a science television shows a long time ago that Zack used to love watching.  The “Fe” in her name of course is styled like it’s from the periodic table since it’s the element iron. 

Kylie is fairly calm, but worried when I make my way to our bedroom.  “Baby, I need you to dial the police.” 

“Are you okay?” 

“NOW.  I’ll go take care of Rose.  DON’T go downstairs.”  I know she’s concerned about me, but right now she just needs to do what I ask. 

I walk into my daughters bedroom and turn on the light.  The decoration of colorful ponies and unicorns assault my eyes.  All of those were Kylie’s idea.  My daughter Rose is standing in her crib, gripping the rail, and screaming like a little bald banshee.  She’s only about nine months old, and even though she hasn’t learned how to walk yet, she can stand with assistance from various objects.  Her absolute favorite thing is one of these stupid little toys with wheels that pops when you push it.  She’s able to stand and push that thing around.  It’s twenty times worse when she’s pushing that and screaming at the same time.  I swear that Kylie bought it just to spite me. 

I scoop Rose into my arms and start to rock her, attempting to comfort her.  I shush her and whisper to her that she’s okay, over and over again.  I just rub her back and do the whole caring dad thing.  She’s quieted down some, but is still upset.  I’m a terrible singer, but she always enjoys the sound of my voice, so I decide to attempt a lullaby. 

Hush little baby don’t say a word,
Daddy took out the mean burglers
So don’t be scared and don’t you cry,
Crap, what were the words?
Something something something and then we’ll fly. 

I make a funny face at her, which makes her giggle.  The words don’t really matter, she has no clue what I’m saying.  It’s all noise to her.  Once she calms down I put her back into the crib.  She’s not going back to sleep, but at least she’s calm.  The colorful horses on her crib’s mobile distract her quickly enough, and I’m able to exit the room.  I know my daughter Adeline is being the little rock she always is.  She’s probably hidden behind her door with a softball bat in her hands, waiting to bash whoever steps into her room if she doesn’t recognize them.  I should check on my son first. 

He’s completely hidden under his blanket now.  I don’t bother to turn on the light, as his room is well lit enough from the natural moon light.  The less I have to  be exposed to all of the superhero posters and merchandise in his room, the better. 

“It’s alright son.  You’re not in any danger.”  I have a seat on his bed and slowly pull the blanket away from his head.  His curly dark brown hair mussed all over his head.  He’s trembling and in the fetal position on his bed. 

“I’m so scared dad…” His hazel eyes almost in tears. 

“Don’t worry son.”  I ruffle his hair to assure him.  “As long as I’m here, you don’t have a thing to worry about.  I’ll always protect you with my own two hands.”  I hold my hands out in front of me for a moment before I grab his head and give him a playful little headbutt.  I hold his head and look into his eyes.  “You cool?” 

He smiles weakly and laughs a little.  “Yeah, I’m cool.” 

“Good boy.  Get some stuff packed.  We’re going to have to leave in a little while.”  I give him a quick kiss on the forehead and flip on his light as I leave the room. 

Adeline’s up next, but I’ve got to be careful.  I lightly knock on her door as I slowly open it.  “Adeline, it’s daddy, I’m coming in.  Please don’t hit me.”

 I open the door all the way and flip the light on.  As expected, Adeline is standing right next to her closet, placing her softball bat in the corner.  It’s sad that my little girl is tougher than my twelve year old son.  Doesn’t matter, I love ‘em both.  “Planning on taking out the bad guys?”

 “If I had to.” She sets down the bat and hops onto her bed.  “How many were there?”

 “Don’t worry about that, they’re taken care of and the police should be here any minute to take them away.”  I sit next to her on the bed and give her a big hug.  “You’re safe, that’s all that matters.”

 “I kinda wanted to hit a bad guy.”  She’s smiling at me.

 “Maybe when you’re older.  Don’t want you growing up too fast now.”  I stroke a hand through her auburn hair, that more closely matches my own than her mother’s.  Those gray eyes of hers are far closer to her mother’s though.

 “Maybe I wanna grow up now.”  She pouts and crosses her arms in front of her.

 “Plenty of time for that later sweetheart.  I need you to pack some clothes.  We’re going to have to leave the house for a few days, but we’ll be back.”

 “Okay daddy.”  She jumps off the bed and immediately plows into her closet looking for what she wants to wear.  I shake my head and leave the room.

 My stomach is rumbling, and I need coffee.  I’m expecting the cops any minute, so I’m going to try to get a bite to eat and my caffeine fix before they show up.  I head back down to the kitchen.  Sir bleeds-a-lot is still laying where I left him, ruining my good floor.  I grab Javasaurus and jam it under the coffee maker, then stuff grounds in the top.  I’m quickly met with dismay as I notice part of the bullet that was sliced in half hit my three hundred and fifty dollar coffee machine.  No coffee for Dennis today.  Sucks to be me.  The other half of the bullet took out my toaster.  Forty five dollars to replace.  It never hurt anyone.

 Well, I’m going to have to go out for coffee later.  I can at least get a snack from the fridge.  My attempt to open the fridge door is thwarted by the dead body right next to it.  I slowly push the body out of the way, blood smearing as the body slides.  At least the fridge door opens all the way now.  I almost forgot about the tuna sandwich I left in there from two days ago.  That’s the perfect thing right now.  No sooner have I sunk my teeth into that sweet tuna and mayo sandwich, than I hear a knock at my front door.

 I begrudgingly answer the door and lean up against the frame, sandwich in hand.  “Thanks for showing up, officer.”

 The cop, well into his fifties sends the other four officers with him to survey the property and make sure there aren’t any others hanging around.  “Tell me exactly what happened here son.”

 “Well…” I take another bite of the sandwich.  “These three guys broke into my house, and in defending my home, I had to use lethal force against one.”  I jam the rest of the tuna sandwich into my mouth and chew.

 “Were any firearms discharged?”

 I swallow the last bits of my meal.  “The last guy got a shot off.  That was the one that I killed.  It was either him or me.”

 “I need to come in and look around.”

 I motion with my arm for him to come in.  “Mi casa es su casa.”

 He stop to glance at each of the bodies, doing a quick once over.  He stops at the third and takes a good look at the dead man’s face.  “Do you know who this is?”

 I shrug.  “No clue.”

 “It’s Marco Ramirez, a.k.a. ‘Jimmy the fist’.  He’s a career criminal.  Someone wanted you dead, son.  You have any enemies?”

 I’m just a high ranking executive at one of the largest banking institution in this city.  Naaaaaaah, I make friends everywhere I go.  I’m just a big freakin’ ray of sunshine that showers money and prosperity on everyone I meet.  I want to be so sarcastic with him right now.  “Nope, none that I know of.”  Curse my niceness.

 “I’m going to need you to get your family and go stay somewhere for a few days while we go over the whole house and clean up this crime scene.”  His fellow officers are starting to put up police tape as he speaks.

“I’m well ahead of you there.”

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