“… fire spreading…” The radio crackled with the words and Goodstone jolted himself awake. Glancing to the gears on the wall, he had been asleep for almost two hours. Trying to fight off the heavy sleep and fumbling with the knobs, he tuned in.
“…maybe related to recent premonitions related to the St. John church downtown, All Power Bulliten repeats. Five minutes ago, divine radar went off the charts, reports of man with eagle wings on fire or a giant eagle that blazed white fire headed towards the church. Fire squads are reporting several blazes in the eastern warehouse districts with the fire spreading. This maybe related to…”
Goodstone looked around to the light coating of frost that had covered his belongings and sighed, must have been more tired than he thought. Pulling on his leather jacket as he walked to the elevator lift, he felt the slight squirming from the inside jacket.
“Not yet Sparks.” He spoke to the small bundle as it settled down. Goodstone patted down his other pockets feeling the reassuring distribution of wallet and tools. The shaky freight elevator jolted a little and Goodstone sighed a little. Time to do some maintenance around the place.
A few quick motions with the remote, and his jeep pulled around the corner of the basement parking lot. The door automatically opened, and jumping in, his hands flew across the dashboard, turning the brass inlaid knobs, flipping a few switches. Radio tuned into the proper frequency, he rolled out onto the streets. A few quick turns down a couple of back alleys and he hit one of the high overpass freeways. The streetlights flickered, but the night sky light up as bright as day for a second.
Fighting instinct, he looked for the source of the light, and saw the divine entity. His consciousness flipped through several interpretations and through several flavors of minor migraines until it settled for something he could understand. A giant blowtorch. A blowtorch the size of a 747 flew overhead, only the sound of rippling fire coming from it, all the lights of the city flickering. Watson could almost make out the warning labels, when he heard a familiar voice on the radio.
“Confirmed, divine entity, headed directly for Five Churches. Enroute to site, requesting backup. Portents of demonic arrival building up all week.” The voice of Monk crackled over the radio. Goodstone pulled over, and switched the radio over to the Fire Department radio feed.
Waiting, he pulled out the small flat brass box from the inside pocket. Working out a set of keys from his pants, he inserted a silver inlaid key into a small hole and twisted it three times. He set the box on the passenger seat and adjusted the radio. The air inside the jeep cooled a bit, and he rolled down the windows, letting the hot summer air in.
“Come on… gotta be something.” Goodstone waited as the box unfolded itself. Arms began forming, brass and chrome emerged, as the small form continued to emerge. “Hurry it up Sparks, you’re going to miss the show.”
The blazing light of the entity faded, and the streetlights flickered back on. Watson pulled open the glovebox and the department issued feed reader, and began scrolling through the CC feeds. There was a momentary stutter in the access, as the majority of the city’s eyes turned towards the Five Churches district.
“Come on you sonofa…” Watson flipped through the industrial sector high camera postings, watching, waiting. He almost jumped when he heard the explosion and felt the ripple shake through the roads and the jeep.
The small robot climbed up onto his shoulder, and clipped a pocketwatch chain around its waist to his collar. Once settled it tapped with a small foot on Watson’s shoulder in morse code, “Good evening Sir, the airship still in the shop?”
Watson narrowed his eyes to the lcd display on the feed reader, his fingers scrolling through the multiple feeds. “That was my grandfathers Sparks, but yes, its still in the shop. The bastard is out tonight, I just feel it.”
The minutes passed, only interrupted inbetween moments of ripples coming from the Five Churches area. Guaranteed that a battle that large would have repercussions, but it was the perfect cover for Watson’s quarry.
Goodstone’s cell chirped and he looked to the display. Precinct headquarters.
“Sir, it’s the Chief.” Sparks tapped the code quickly on Goodstones shoulder. “Urgent.”
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, then hit the microphone. “Goodstone here, what can I do for you Chief?”
“Get off the fire feed, and go home.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“You seem to forget a whole lot, Goodstone. Your reader and scanner has a triangulation, and you are still under watch. If anything you should be down at Five Churches for backup. Not hunting that ghost. Three options, Go home. Five Churches. Or report in tomorrow and hand in your badge then report for beatwalk duty.”
Goodstone stopped his fingers on the feed reader and turned it off, along with the radio. “Understood Chief. Anyword from the Tech pit on my extra citizens?”
The sigh came from the other end, “Nothing yet, but a visit from you showing off some of that tech your grandfather-”
“Might just get them motivated, yeah, got it. I’ll send food and drink for the 4AM stretch, that should keep them focused.” Goodstone leaned back in the seat. “In the meantime, I’ll go home.”
“Good, because I’ve been here too long to kick your ass everytime something like this comes up. He’s dead, you saw the autopsy and the confirmation from the coroners office. There is no post mortem evidence that Burner will return, in any form. Are we clear? Or should I book you in for a psych evaluation?”
“Clear Chief. Get some rest yourself.”
“Not until Five Churches settles down. Chief out.”
The cell phone tossed to the passenger seat, the feed reader shut off. Sparks tugged at the collar of the leather jacket then pointed down the street to the red flashing lights of the fire trucks. A distant memory tugged at Goodstone, the rumble, the feel of the vehicle, the heavy equipment on his body. The presurge of adrenaline.
“Perhaps looking at the airship again Sir?” Sparks tapped out.
A large thunderclap and multiple lightning strike across the sky headed directly towards the Five Churches district.
“Sounds a lot safer compared to all that.” Goodstone fired up the jeep and headed back to the ClockTower. He tried getting the memories of the burning buildings out of his vision, focusing on the road. In a daze he rolled down the ramp into the basement garage.
The airship took up a good majority of the floor. Several sections were still draped in dustcloths.
“Sparks, start up the auxillary generators, I don’t need any power fluctuations if that battle interupts any of the electricity.” He spoke as he went over to one of the long tool benches, setting large wrenches and oilstained leather journals aside, pulling up the last checklist. Goodstone studied the list and reached for a pen out of a mason jar, it was slightly out of reach. The pen was placed into his right hand.
“Thank you.” Goodstone nodded and then looked to his left where Sparks was hooking up the extra cables.
Glancing to his right, he felt the familiar ache inside his head. The form flashed through several guises and then settled on something he could understand. The man looked to be in his early 60’s, sun browned skin, train engineer overalls and hat, large wrench in one hand, leaning on a coal shovel.
“Shouldn’t you be downtown?” Goodstone tried ignoring the immense presence and its focus on him.
“Do not pursue your current investigation.” The voice rumbled through the large workshop.
At the sound, the generators whined at the extra strain. Goodstone felt a tapping on his leg, and glanced down. Sparks held up his cell phone, seeing the display light up with the text message.
‘Don’t go home’
Goodstone blinked at the name.
Ignoring every instinct in his body to flee from the divine entity, Goodstone looked directly at it. “I think you should leave now.”
“There is much at risk here Son of Watts. Do not observe/interfere.” The concept was hammered into Goodstones skull, he noticed that the entity did not move at all.
“Your presence here indicates that my actions are beyond your control. Shouldn’t you be at Five Churches?” Goodstone brought up the clipboard and then flipped through it, looking down he saw Sparks waiting instruction. “Get the forge started, lets work on the starboard engine and propeller.”
Out of the corner of Goodstones vision, he saw the brilliant column and wings of fire. “Which one are you? Fire angel? Lucifer?”
“We are defending the Five Churches. We state again, do not observe/interfere.”
“I have no idea what you are trying to communicate.”
A vision flashed across Goodstones mind. Cities blazed to ruin, the smell of destruction and charred humanity. Darkness after that.
The floor fell out from under him.
-To be continued…-
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Tales of King City : Balance by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://pearcekilgour.wordpress.com. But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.