Works in progress & near completion
Pen has the ability to manipulate plasmic energy fields - but no control over her own destiny. Forced to be an assassin for a powerful organization that trafficks girls off-planet, she has had no choice but to target the heroes who fight to shut her masters down for good.
Will she find the courage to defy her masters? And will the heroes she's hurt ever forgive her for what she's done?
This is an early draft of Chapter 1 - the completed novel is coming soon!
Episode 1: Killing Justice
Pen bunched the pile of rags into a nest on the splintered floor of the abandoned mill and curled up in it, listening to the storm outside. This corner of the upper floor, with most of the glass still in the window and the roof still sound, was dry enough.
She closed her eyes and tried to remember the last time she had slept in a house. She was so tired – not so much from training or lack of food, but the thought of getting up again in the morning – or ever – was almost more than she could stand. Just sleep, she thought. Get through one more night.
The silver cross spun in the darkness.
Green eyes, trying to hide fear, coaxing her out of the darkness. Mama's smile, a little tight, her hand outstretched.
The pounding on the door grew louder.
Little Penny let Mama take her from her hiding place in the cabinet.
Run to the bedroom, grab the backpacks from the closet, open the window...
Mama boosted Penny to the window, but a man was there.
Mama ran with Penny, threw aside the kitchen chair blocking the door and fought with the locks. Penny dashed back into the cabinet to hide from the man, who had come through the window and was running into the kitchen.
A thud, then silence.
Little Penny crawled from her cabinet to Mama's side. Mama's breathing stopped and started again, raspy, burbling.
“Jesus...” Mama said. “Save my baby.”
The man's shadow fell over Penny.
A shadow fell over Pen, and an acrid smell filled her nose.
Hair. Her hair was burning.
She jerked awake, yanking the strand of hair away from her boss, Acid. His fingers still smoked from the acid of his touch reacting with her hair as he stood up.
“Get up,” he said. “You have a date with Justice.”
Pen glanced at the window – only the dirty yellow light from the streetlight showed. “What time is it?”
He wasn't looking at her. His teeth clenched, and he wrung the paper bag in his hands.
“Acid.” Pen kept her tone level, impersonal. “What time is it, sir?”
Staring intently at nothing, he spoke rapidly. “Got new info on him. Half-alien. Natural force field. Bulletproof. Makes him land soft, too. Jumped down thirty stories once. I saw him.” He began to pace, his stiff left leg slowing him slightly.
Pen pulled on her t-shirt, covering the tattoo on the back of her left shoulder where Acid had put his name on her, long ago, and considered the “new info.”
She combed her fingers through her hair and pulled it to the side to braid it. The “natural force field” bit was interesting. Of course it was stupid to think the Justice's skin was actually impermeable, but Pen herself had a way with energy fields – it wasn't such a stretch to think the Justice could surround himself with energy to repel attack – or slow down the ground coming at him from thirty stories below.
Acid's restless eyes found the window and his pacing led him to it. He stared out at the clearing sky and the pink beginning of dawn, only seeing lurking threats and shadows. “He's out there now. Watching the route.” He paused. “You get Justice to come to you.”
What?! Pen clenched the ends of the braid. “The Justice?”
Acid stopped wringing the paper bag. Absently, his fingers traced the veins standing out from his arm, ending in an ugly, pulsing blotch. “It's paid for,” he said softly. He rustled the paper bag.
A fast-food biscuit wrapped in greasy paper plopped to the floor in front of Pen. She finished her braid and picked it up, unwrapping it gingerly. It warmed her cold hands, so probably this one was bought and not dug up from the trash. “I'm taking down the Justice?” she muttered.
Suddenly Acid was there, grabbing her shirt and yanking her to his face. “I said it's paid for!” he shouted, and dropped her. He turned and stalked away, muttering, “You were made for this.”
Pen scowled at the smoking holes in her t-shirt. She had liked this one. At least he didn't stomp on her biscuit, though. She pulled on her gray hoodie and took her biscuit outside.
She leaned on the wall beside the service door and choked down a couple bites of biscuit.
From the darkness inside the mill, Acid hissed, “Bonus if you kill him.”
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