Buns of Steel: The Adventure Begins
by Derek Paterson
-An Ordinary Morning in Mean City-
The news van turned another corner, and Sarah began to wonder if they were lost. She kept looking for signs but couldn’t find any, which was darn frustrating. The labyrinthine alleyways of the warehouse district were almost identical. Visitors were apparently expected to have an intuitive understanding of local geography. She worried that they would never find their way out again, that someone would find their skeletons years from now, huddled together in the rusting van.
Eddie said, “Are you sure this is the place?” Her cameraman didn’t look too impressed by their surroundings. “All we got here is a bunch of abandoned old warehouses. There ain’t any people, never mind a story.”
Willis, at the wheel, seemed untroubled by Eddie’s skepticism. “My source said something’s going down today,” he said, his voice a basso rumble. “Couldn’t tell me what. But he’s never been wrong before.” His laid-back nature sometimes irritated the crap out of Sarah, but Willis knew people who knew stuff. And he was a wizard sound man also, which helped.
“Your mysterious source,” Eddie sneered, “who only ever talks to you....”
“Willis is right,” Sarah said. She’d allowed their usual snarky banter to wash over her, but now it was time to get serious. “Something is going down, I can smell it. And my sense of smell’s never let me down before.”
They both looked at her. Neither offered any argument.
Something caught Sarah’s attention, a fleeting shadow perhaps, the suggestion of movement above. She leaned forward, the better to look up at the patch of sky visible between the warehouse rooftops. “Oh my gosh, look up there,” she said, hearing the note of surprise in her own voice.
Eddie leaned forward also. “Is that guy flying?” he said. His question came as some relief to Sarah, who’d wondered if her eyes were playing tricks on her, if all she’d seen was a trick of the light through the van’s tinted windshield. But this didn’t seem to be the case. There was a man up there and he did indeed appear to be flying. In the air. Without wings.
Willis had stopped the van. He squinted as he looked up. “You know what, I heard they were filming a movie in town. Some stunt guy, getting paid big bucks. It’s all wires. Pretty well done, I gotta say. I might go see that sucker when it comes out in the theaters.”
Sarah shook her head, not willing to accept this easy explanation. “But wouldn’t there be a crane? Wouldn’t we see it?” She pointed ahead. “Drive to the end of the alley. I want to see if there’s movie people there.”
Willis sighed. “You da boss.” He took the van further along the alley.
Sarah continued to lean forward so she could examine the warehouse rooftops above them. She’d long since learned to trust her own instincts. This was why she was Mean City Herald’s ace reporter.
“Something wrong?” Eddie asked.
“Just, the weirdest feeling,” she said. “As if we’re being watched.”
“You can bet it’s the government,” Eddie said. “They got drones everywhere. They record everything we’re saying, too.”
Sarah had learned to take Eddie’s conspiracy theories with a pinch of salt. Maybe he was a little annoying at times but he was also a damn good cameraman, which was why he was sitting with her in the Herald’s roving news crew van. Sarah had her pick of the pool. They made a pretty good team.
The van reached the end of the alleyway and Willis stopped there. They stared at a heavy vehicle that was parked alongside a set of warehouse doors. There was no mistaking what this vehicle was. Instead of a windshield and side windows, it had dark slits. The rear bore a big SECURITY sign above a pair of double doors. Rivets criss-crossed the thick steel plating.
“What the heck?” Willis said. “What’s an armored car doing here?”
“Maybe they’re using it in the movie?” Eddie suggested.
“If there is a movie,” Sarah said. “That looks like one of Richbury’s money wagons.”
They all knew who Alexander Richbury was—Mean City’s most influential businessman and possibly the State’s next senator, if what the political rags claimed was true. Conservative estimates said Richbury owned half of Mean City. He didn’t just have money, he was money.
“So maybe he hired it out to the movie people?” Eddie said.
“Or maybe it’s here for another reason,” Sarah said, her senses tingling. “Get your camera ready.”
“Sure.” Eddie turned and reached into the back of the van. “Just let me—” He froze in mid-turn, then jabbed a pointing finger. “What the hell is that?”
Another vehicle had appeared around the far end of the alley and was approaching the armored car at speed. Its method of locomotion was nothing short of astonishing. It didn’t have wheels, it had jointed metal legs that made it scurry like some monstrous spider. It had claws, too, powered by hydraulics, like the legs. Its elevated body, supported by the legs, was the size of a bus. At the front end was a driver’s cab covered by a glass canopy. Inside this cockpit sat a man wearing a shiny gold jacket and matching goggles. Sarah’s first thought was that someone must be making a rock video, it was all just too surreal. Maybe the flying man was part of this? She looked for cameras and film people, but couldn’t see anyone.
End of sample
Buns of Steel: The Adventure Begins
Based on the Buns of Steel superhero parody webcomic
which kicked off in May 2015, and is still running.
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Copyright © 2018 by the Author. All Rights Reserved.