Chad gets a call that his friends may have found perfect living accommodations for the group.
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Reflected in the glass, he saw someone in dark clothes behind him, across the street in the shadows of the alley, watching him. He turned, again raising his hand to shield his eyes. There was no one there. He stepped onto the street, peering into the alley, but still didn’t see anything. Even when he entered the alley, there was no one to be see. Weird.
One last glance around and he was heading south on Freeman. What a day. All at the café, too. Chad took out his phone and tapped the screen. 3:39. His screen lit up as a text came through. Knight #4. Reese. Before he could open it, he got an incoming call from Daddy Kong. He accepted. “D.K., what’s up?”
“Hey, man. Did you get Reese’s text yet?” It sounded like he was on speaker.
“Yeah, right before your call.”
“Easy, ‘Father’,” said Chad.
Another voice. “I told him!”
“Is that Reese?” Chad asked.
“Yeah, it’s me! I told him a text would go through quicker than a call.”
DK. “I didn’t believe him, but it turns out Techie McGeek was right again.”
“Yeah, that one’s on you for arguing with him about tech, bro,” Chad added.
“True.” Not on speaker anymore. What he said next was muffled, like he was talking away from the phone, but Chad still caught “Don’t roll your eyes at me, bro.”
“So why’d you guys call?”
“Right. Dude, we found this sick place on that LivnLarge site. You need to come see it. I think it’s exactly what we’ve been looking for. Total hideout.”
“Didn’t realize we wanted a hideout.”
“Sure, whatever. You know you’d dig it.” A pause. “What are you doing right now?”
“Just left Milton’s. Why?”
“Get over here and check this out. We gotta find a place before school starts back anyway. Jayce and I aren’t living in campus housing again.”
“Okay okay. Come see if I’d live in this hideout. On my way.”
“Get this, dude. It’s on a street called Buckingham.”
“Is that crazy or what? Anyway, 11 Buckingham Place. See ya.”
Chad hit the power button and slid the phone back into his pocket. He knew Buckingham. Chad made it a point to know every back corner and obscure tenement in his city. Dodging a trolley, he cut across the street and darted into an alley just before the corner. With burst a speed and agility almost reptilian, he swung himself up onto the fire escape, scaled it in a few quick bounds, and mounted the roof of the building. From there he climbed, ran, and leaped his way from rooftop to rooftop, building to building, keeping to the shadows and out of plain sight. After a few minutes, he slowed. He hopped down onto the top of a warehouse. A long flat rooftop stretched out before him. Just beyond the brink of the roof rose a multi-level parking deck. But he’d have to jump. There was an alley between the two. It wouldn’t be an easy spring. The closest level of the parking deck would be an upward leap. Not by much, but it would take an effort to clear that distance and land on a higher level than the one he’d jumped from. He rocked up on his toes a little, flexing his legs, loosening, centering his balance. Then he rocketed forward, a surge of energy leaving dust settling in his wake. His adrenaline spiked, coursing through his veins like hot electricity. His vision narrowed, fixing on one point, blurring the rest. As he neared the edge, he measured his speed and stride, preparing to launch. He transcended, and his world became nothing but the his pumping heart and the steps before him as the roof fell away, giving way to void.