Misery Road- Misery's Beginning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A band of alien/human hybrids, who just happen to be in a music band, travel across country helping others like themselves and battling the dark forces that threaten not just their kind, but all of mankind and the universe.

Submitted: March 13, 2012

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Submitted: March 13, 2012

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Ed-dieEd-dieEd-die

 

The crowd was cheering for him.

 

Several thousand fans chatting in perfect rhythm, the sound was deafening. The energy was high, it was go time.

 

Eddie Knight walked on stage, trademark cool electric blue Fender guitar in hand.

 

The crowd exploded with applause and cheer, he took a step back and breathed, it was always a surprise as to how the crowd would react each time he came onto stage.  But the crowd reacted the same way each time, they went nuts.

‘How did we get here?’ he thought to himself. 

A few months ago, he couldn’t get anyone to hear his music outside of their local area and now Misery Road was playing sold out shows left and right.

As he approached the stage, he looked back over his shoulder to the side of the stage at his longtime girlfriend and now wife, Molly.

Molly had been his childhood sweetheart, together since middle school, through all the ups and downs life had to offer.  They had been married that afternoon and would begin their honeymoon after this show, just a day trip and then back for a second sold out show.

Her large brown eyes said it all, ‘go ahead, they need you more now.  I will be waiting here for you, as always.’

Eddie the glanced over at his band mates, they had been together for a long time, they were like family; in fact, they were family, they were brothers.  Trent and Locke- his two friends from high school; Quad, even though Eddie had only known him for a short time, he had proved himself and intrinsic part of their band. All of them had paid their dues and their hard work had paid off. It wasn’t about the money to Eddie, although being able to buy some of the nicer things in life and to have some security for him and Molly was nice, it was about being able to share his gift, his talent with the world.

Locke, the bass player and best friend, nodded at Eddie, it was time.

He wasted no time strumming that familiar chord, Misery Road had opened with the same song for every show, Hester’s Sin, or as most people called it ‘Pearl’s A’.  The crowd was already nuts, but when they heard that chord, they went berserk.

Something about the crowd though, something felt off.  They were being overly aggressive and quickly turned ugly.  In unison, the crowd rushed the stage, quickly over powering the security around the stage.

Eddie braced himself for impact as he felt a wave of savage human energy . . . but nothing came.

 

Opening his eyes, he realized that it had been a dream. Eddie Knight was still in his bed in his room. 

I think I would know that dream by now, he thought; I’ve had it more time than I can remember.

 

Eddie was the lead singer and guitar player for his band Misery Road, and while not a major success, they did have a large following, but like most, Eddie wanted to make a name for himself and for his band.

Molly was in fact his wife; they had been married for about six months.  He looked over to see if he had woke her up, but her side of the bed had been long empty.

Where was she?

Oh, that’s right, she got up early to go to her apartment, he thought.

Molly had kept her apartment after they were married; it was now her design studio.  She worked for one of the top American fashion designers of the past twenty years, Kat Denning? Simmons? Kat something or other, Eddie couldn’t remember her last name, fashion was not his thing and relied on Molly or Locke to dress him and to make sure he matched when he dressed himself so him remembering the name of one of the biggest names in fashion was low on his priority list to remember, even if it was his wife’s boss. 

Molly had her own line, Band Clothing, under Kat’s label.  She was trying to get some lose ends tied up before she left on tour with Eddie, something that she did on occasion.  This was a particularly eventful time for Molly, as Kat was allowing her to do her own show during Fashion Week in New York.  And as it happened, that’s when Eddie was going to be up in New York for their finishing of the first DVD and also the end of their East Coast tour.  Molly hardly went with them on tour, but this was an exception.

He glanced at his clock radio, it was ten til eight on a Thursday morning; got to meet everyone at the studio at eighty thirty, better get ready he thought as he ran his fingers through his short, unkempt dark hair.

Whoever said rock stars got to sleep in for however long they wanted should be strung up, he thought.

 

It was hard enough with the band stuff and a new marriage, but with his other job; Eddie often wondered how he kept it all together.

 

Eddie, Molly and the others in the band worked for Atticus, a Watcher.  An alien from an Earth-like planet, sent here to train and guide certain individuals in protecting the Earth from alien attacks.

There were always others popping up in need of such direction and guidance from the Watchers. These were humans that somewhere down their family line, had relations with Watchers or other alien refugees that were calling Earth home temporarily.  While most never displayed any special traits beyond someone being gifted in sports or academics, occasionally extra ordinary powers emerged. They often surfaced several generations down the family line. The unofficial term, coined by such people, was Half-Breed. Eddie, Molly and the others in the band were Half-Breeds.

Becoming aware of their powers early in life, Atticus came to them immediately. It seemed Half-Breeds, whether aware of their ability or not, seemed to gravitate towards each other naturally, safety in numbers as they were often targets for elimination from either aliens or some shadow human organization.

Even before Atticus had come to them, Eddie was fully aware of all of this information.

 

His father, Andrew Knight had died under mysterious circumstances when Eddie was just five years old. He was unsure of what was happening at the time, all he remembered was being sad for a long time. His mother, Lilly remained positive and reassured Eddie that everything was going to be okay, and that they would manage somehow.

Eight years had passed, Eddie was thirteen; Lilly taught art at the local high school something that she lived for. For as long as Eddie could remember she was always painting or sculpting something. Art was in Eddie’s blood, he was either going to be an artist like his mother or a musician like Andrew was. Andrew Knight was a classically trained violinist and pianist and was self taught in about a dozen other instruments.

One morning, Lilly heard him banging away on the piano and knew that he would be a musician like his father. So she told him to go up the attic and take down his father’s other instruments and bring them down, was only fitting that he would learn on his father’s instruments.

While moving some stuff around in the attic, Eddie accidentally knocked a pile of boxes; the top box was unopened spilling its contents of piano music out. Cursing under his breath for not being careful, Eddie quickly picked up the strewn pieces of paper and put them back in the box when something inside the box caught his eye. It was a book, a worn leather journal, a diary.

Eddie immediately recognized it as his father’s, the image of him writing it in every night was burned into his mind at a young age, another piece of his father to hold onto.

He sat down to read some of it, he had to.

Apparently this was one of several diaries that Andrew had kept since he was a teenager. Andrew had written on the inside front cover that this was the fifteenth journal that he had kept, the others were kept safely in a box. Eddie guessed that this box was among the dozens and dozens of boxes in the attic, he decided that one rainy day when he was starting to go stir crazy he would come up here and look for that box, he was satisfied to have this one for now.

It started off innocuous enough, just a run down of how Andrew’s day had gone and what he done and his thoughts, standard journal stuff. But the words Andrew had used, really made it come to life for Eddie, Lilly had told Eddie that Andrew had a knack for the written word that he was contemplating becoming a writer before he became a professional violinist and pianist.  The entry that he had made about going to the store to buy some milk and eggs for a cake Lilly was making, engrossed Eddie in his description of the weather and how the wear and tear on the pavement in front of the store had made this strange indentation in the pavement that looked like an ancient forgotten Celtic symbol.

There was no dating in the journal so it was hard to tell as to when it was penned, but from some of the events that Andrew had written about, Eddie assumed that it was sometime after his birth because several pages were written about Eddie’s Dinosaur Party they threw for him when he was about four.

Soon after the party though, the tone of his journal entries changed from about Andrew’s day to day life and started focusing on a chance meeting with a man named Atticus.

Andrew had met Atticus one night while on his way home from one of Andrew’s concerts. They were discussing classical pieces and their favorite conductors when the train that they were on came to an abrupt halt and then darkness. Andrew suddenly found himself alone, he was sure that there were other people in the train car with them earlier, but it was now empty. He was about to move to one of the ends of the train car, when suddenly something came crashing through one of the windows-

‘It was a large dark figure, about the size of a large dog.  It crawled along the ground slowly, cautiously- as if it was trying to figure out where it was and what it should do in these new surroundings it found itself in. Despite the little light in the subway car that I was in, I could see reptilian like skin as I saw it stalk some unseen prey in the car, hoping and praying that I was not it.

It emitted a low growl, almost a roar as it stood up tall on its four legs when it uncurled a set of wings that I could only assume that it had wrapped around its body. Large, leathery wings that made it look like some fallen angel returning to enact some twisted revenge on humans flapped softly as it rose slowly into the air. Its fangs glinted like long shards of silver in the faint light form outside. With lightning speed it flapped its wings and flew right towards me. . .’

Eddie’s heart was pounding; it was like a scene from a horror film as this nightmare creature attacked his father. He heard his mother calling for him downstairs, but he had to know what happened, despite the fact that his father lived because he didn’t die until about four years later, but he just had to know what was going to happen.

Andrew was unsure what exactly happened, everything had gone dark after the creature lunged at him. The next thing he knew he was in an alley; clothes rumpled and dirty but otherwise intact, just some bumps and bruises. His briefcase and violin case were placed neatly next to him. Shaken and confused, Andrew quickly grabbed his belonging and started to run when another large, familiar figure caught his eye at the end of the alley. It was the same size of the creature from the subway, but this was lying motionless, the darkness and evil that radiated in the subway car was now gone. Terrified to go anywhere near it, Andrew turned to go the other way when he came face to face with Atticus, the man from the subway.

Atticus explained that the creature that attacked him was called a Night Hawk, at least that was as close of a translation that he could come up with, a carnivorous creature that usually stays away from people and towns, preferring to stalk and hunt its prey in the forests and lonely places- this one though was very far away from his home.

Eddie couldn’t believe what his father had written, about how aliens, beings from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, were among humans on Earth. That the creature, the Night Hawk, that had attacked Andrew was from a planet that was so far away that Eddie couldn’t even comprehend the distance. Atticus had explained to Andrew that someone had been smuggling other dangerous creatures to Earth for sale to some people that would use them as weapons both on Earth and abroad. Even though what Atticus was telling Andrew seemed so far fetched and fantastic, there was something about what he was saying that resonated with Andrew. So much so that before he knew what he was saying, Andrew was offering to help Atticus with his mission. Something that Eddie could not believe since from the little he remembered and what he was told about his father made him seem like a pacifist, using his words that his brawn to solve problems.

The next several journal entries were about him training with Atticus. Eddie found these entries odd, there was a lack of the imagery that the other entries had, it was more like a check list of what he had done for that day then the usual tone of Andrew writing a letter to a friend.

One would attest this to the nature of the entries, but Eddie sensed something else- the entry where Andrew had met Atticus felt like a one off, that if this was the only encounter that these two where to ever have, Andrew made sure to get down everything that happened. But now that they were working together, Eddie got the sense that maybe his father omitting information because he was either doing things that either he didn’t want people to know about or maybe he felt that he should be writing these things down for his own safety.

As Eddie read on, he saw Andrew and Atticus grew very close to each other, almost like brothers. Traveling the world together fighting alien monsters; packs of Night Hawks, swarms of Sand Fire Flies, a Wild Saber and other creatures that sound like they came out of the mind of because as Andrew soon learned, Atticus himself was not of this world.

Eddie was particularly engrossed about Andrew capturing and containing a Swampy, a creature that was a sentient gel creature that if left unchecked could devour everything, when he saw that there was nothing written on the next page, the entry just ended. On a closer look, he saw that the last few pages of the journal had been torn out. Curious he thought as he closed the journal. He took the journal in hand as well as his father’s violin downstairs; hopefully his mother would know what had happened to the pages.

When he asked his mother about the journal, she let out a nervous laugh. She told Eddie that Andrew sometimes got bored just writing in his journal and would often go on a tangent and write some fiction for awhile and that the stories that Eddie had read about his father and Atticus were just stories, nothing more. He then asked about his father’s other journals; he had looked around the attic for the rest, but couldn’t find them. With a heavy sigh and a tear welling up in her eye, Lilly told Eddie that Andrew’s other journals were gone, that they somehow got mixed up with some of his things that she had taken down to the Goodwill and were now gone.  Eddie could feel that she was not telling him something, she was hiding something from him, but kept himself from pressing further. Even though she had moved on from Andrew’s death, it was still a sore subject to talk about. He was grateful to have this piece of his father, even if it was incomplete.

 

Two years past. Eddie was fifteen, the summer before he entered high school.

 

Eddie, Locke and their new friend Molly were sitting in a local mom and pop burger joint next to their high school, wondering what to do next; they had just fought someone who had abilities who was doing harm to others. It was a relief to Locke and Eddie that they now had someone else that shared the same secret, but they were at a loss as to what to do next.  Would they just have to sit and wait for someone else to come with powers and try to hurt them like the one guy they fought? Were they now being watched and would be kidnapped by someone to be used as weapons? Would they start wanting to hurt other people?

All of their questions though came to a stop when Eddie saw a familiar figure walk through the door.

It was like the words that Andrew written had come to life-

‘He was about six feet tall, youthful in appearance but there was something about his eyes that made him seem ancient, wise beyond any human comprehension. He wore black rimmed glasses, a worn but spotlessly clean tweed coat, black tee shirt and khaki pants off set by a pair of black neoprene fingerless gloves. He had dark black hair . . . upon spending more time with him, I noticed that his hair was not black at all but rather a very dark green, when the sun would it just right, it would ignite in a rich dark emerald color. If Tom Baker’s version of Doctor Who somehow had a son, Atticus would be it. . . Quiet and reserved, he radiated with this deep fire that scared me at times, his sense of justice was pure and absolute, but very fair. . . I barely know this man, but I trust him with my life. . . I hope one day that I can share this extraordinary man with my family.’

This was that day.

When Atticus came to Eddie and his friends, it was almost as if Andrew had come back from the dead.  Eddie had practically memorized what his father wrote about him, and was fully aware of what Atticus’s presence meant, aliens again were threatening Earth and like his father, Eddie was chosen to help in the fight.

Atticus was taken aback about how quickly Eddie accepted the whole thing. Very few people seemed ready, willing and eager to hear what he had to say about who he was and what was really going on in the world. The events that had taken place the day before with Eddie, Molly and Locke fighting a rogue Half Breed on a killing spree had alerted Atticus that his services were needed again to train people again. The dark forces were on the move again, this time it seemed with more sinister motives. Eddie seemed to know all of this.

  Eddie never told Atticus how and why he knew so much, or was so ready to accept his role; something deep inside him told him that this was best left unsaid for awhile, although Eddie did feel that Atticus might have been aware of the diary, it was never mentioned or brought up.

Atticus immediately set to work on their training, each of them had a very unique talent but could all benefit from the same basic training initially. Once that was completed, Atticus spent one on one time with them. They had told their parents that Atticus was a tutor and that they were studying for their advanced placement classes so they could spend almost every day before school started and then after school with their training. First for one-on-one training was Eddie.  

Eddie possessed the ability to manipulate and conduct electricity through his body and fire bolts of electricity through his hands. Better than a Duracell, he often joked. His power did have draw backs- he had to wear a special armband at all times, it drew excess power out of his body and would reflect unwanted energy. It seemed that Eddie could only control his draw of electricity when he was in a total state of concentration, prior to Atticus giving Eddie his armband whenever Eddie would sneeze, hiccup or get emotional he would short out nearby small electronics.  Even with the armband though he had to keep his cool, the armband kept him from shorting out small electronics but if he really lost his temper, he would discharge a sudden powerful burst of electricity.

Locke Curtis was Eddie’s oldest and best friend since as long as he could remember and the eventual bass player of Misery Road. They did everything together, even discovered their powers together. His power was truly unique- with his left hand he could generate an intense blast of cold. Similar to Iceman from the comics, he could draw moisture out of the air and rapidly freeze it into almost any form he could think of- from snow to razor sharp ice shards to solid shields of ice, he could do it all with his left hand.

With his right hand, Locke could generate a small blast of heat although nowhere near as powerful as his left hand.  With intense training from Atticus, Locke did gain some control over the heat, sometimes being able to create a small heat blast under extreme situations, most of the time he was unable to generate anything from his right hand. Most Half Breeds only displayed one trait, the fact that Locke had two traits was rare and having two opposite powers was unknown among known Half Breeds. Atticus said that because he was left handed, that his left hand would always be more powerful, it would have been the same no matter what he could do with his left hand, that side would have been more powerful by far.

Then there was Molly Knight, formerly known as Molly Chambers. Before meeting the other guys in the band, it had been Eddie, Locke and Molly- the three of them shared a special and unique bond, having fought and defeated a rouge Half Breed, later Atticus would coin the term ‘Rouges’ for such ones, brought the three of them together although them being from very different social groups.

Even though Locke and Eddie had been friends since they were little, Eddie gravitated more towards the artist and drama kids and Locke was a serious jock so apart from brief encounters in the hallway and when they had classes together, they didn’t hang out as much in school or out, although they said they were best friends, most were unaware of the friendship in school. Molly was part of the A crowd- dressing in the trendiest clothes and going to parties almost every weekend; she knew Locke because her circle ran with his circle, but had no idea who Eddie was. That all changed after their run in with a Rouge, with that experience and with the training they were receiving from Atticus, they were more than friends, they were family.

For awhile while they were growing up, Locke and Molly seemed to be into each other, but after spending more and more time with each other, they soon realized that they weren’t compatible. Eddie had appeared to show no interest in her, she was more like a sister to him; both poking fun at each other and Eddie trying all he could to get her mad. It took a small intervention from Locke and Atticus to bring it to their attention that all their playfulness was more than what they thought it was for them to realize that they were in love.

It could be said that Molly was second in command of the group. She left all the band stuff to Locke and Eddie, she made the mistake once of suggesting and even going as far as even sketching matching suits, which lead to an hour of Yoko jokes, after that, she kept quiet about the band stuff.

On the field though, no one laughed or talked back to her. She was completely insane out in the field, she had a knack for tactics and training, and she even scared Atticus at times with her tactical abilities. 

She came from a military family- her mom was a high ranking officer in the Army, her dad was in the CIA and her older brother was a Marine; they trained her at an early age to be a dedicated person in all she did. Her parents had decided that it was best for her in the long run to go to school in one place instead of traveling around It was her dedication and strong will that cause her to have full control of her power, and for good reason.

Her ability allowed her to create a destructive wave of sound from her vocal cords. This ‘sonic scream’  could be focused so tightly that she could shatter glass in a precise pattern or she could let it all out and level a three story building, something she did once and to this day is still proud of.

 

Next in the band was rhythm guitar, Wellington Charles Xavier MacArthur IV, but few people used his real name, everyone knew him as Quad. Quad was heir to the MacArthur Global Communications Company- something that he kept closely guarded for his own reasons. Eddie knew part of the story, Quad and his dad had a falling out and Quad left home- at least that was the story that was told to Eddie by Atticus.

Quad came to the group the summer before the start of their sophomore year of high school.  He was slightly older than the group; being nearly 20 when he showed up. Much like his personal past, the reasons for his coming to the group was unclear to Eddie and the others, but Atticus trusted him and assured the group that they had nothing to worry about.

Quad was an avid surfer, participating in amateur surfing competitions and made the cover of ‘Surfing Monthly’ as their ‘Next Big Wave’, predicting that he would be the biggest star in professional surfing if he made that step. Often tempting, Quad knew he had an unfair advantage if he did.

As a Half-Breed, Quad was unique. Most Half-Breeds displayed some sort of energy manipulation, Quad did not. Quad was incredibly strong; he could pick up and toss an SUV like heighten- speed, agility, balance; everything was magnified to a superhuman degree. The limit of his strength was unknown, Atticus repeatedly told him to be careful and not get too reliant on his seemingly endless strength as every Half Breed had a limit

It was because of his strength, agile and balance, that he could never go into professional surfing. Atticus’s stern warnings about not revealing their powers to the masses and about the obvious advantage rang in his head.

Next in the band was Trent, the drummer. A hot head from Boston, he was never without his scally cap.  Despite all of his faults- rude, crass, inconsiderate- deep down he was a caring guy. He was the type that would give you the shirt off of his back, often with a curt comment, that was his way. All one had to do to get on his good side was make a positive comment about the Red Sox and buy him a beer and he was your friend for life. 

Trent transferred to the high school Eddie and the others went to their junior year, the rumor quick spread that he had been kicked out of several schools in Boston.  At first Eddie thought this was the story that Atticus had made up to get him out here, but it was in fact true. The person who had trained Trent in Boston thanked Atticus profusely and hoped that Atticus’ calm demeanor could curb Trent’s bad traits, something that had yet to happen.

Trent possessed the power of teleportation- in a flash of light; he could pop from here to there. With extensive training from Atticus, his power grew tremendously, knowing the nature of his power; Atticus spent more time with him than the others.  He was able to teleport up to two others along with himself and could create ‘warp bubbles’- a projectile form of his teleportation, handy for redirecting enemy fire. Much like a teleportation device from sci-fi movies, one bubble would make whatever it came in contact with teleport and the other bubble would act as the point of reconstruction. The only drawback to his power is that he had to see where he was teleporting to; even the warp bubbles were limited to his field of vision. He could not teleport ‘blind’, otherwise he could end up inside a wall or teleport into something cause serious injury.

The last member of the band was their roadie and sound technician, Lex. He was very out spoken, with these piercing blue eyes that could look right through you, he was also the nicest guy that one would ever meet, but most never gave him a second look.

He was a tattooed and pierced former punk rocker, the former bass player for the mid 80s punk band Running Skard. Being the oldest, it led to a lot of grandpa jokes from Eddie and the others.  On the field though, it was Lex who schooled the kids. 

Lex had a ton of tattoos all over his body- sporting sleeves that started from his wrists all the way up his arms to his shoulders as well as numerous tattoos all over his body.  Not only were they a sight to see, but the also served a purpose. Lex possessed the near God-like ability of thought projection.  Even among reported Half-Breed powers, no other Half Breed had this ability. With his ability he could bring to life his tattoos, not just an image of the tattoo, but to real flesh and blood life.

Even with this power, it was limited- he could only bring to life his tattoos and he could only bring them to life one at a time.  His most powerful one was a large black dragon that he had tattooed on his back. It was an impressive sight to behold when he manifested it. It was his pride and joy, something that he worked on long and hard on, spending thousands of dollars on it, even before he knew about his powers.

It was debated among the others, and never in front of either one of them as to who was more powerful, Lex or Eddie? So far, the opinion was that Lex was more powerful won every time.

Lex’s coming to the group was by chance, he had trained in the local paper with Atticus prior to him finding Eddie, Molly and Locke and just happened to answer an ad that his manager had tipped him off to about a band was looking for a sound technician and to fill in on various instruments should the need arise. A Running Skard reunion tour had been in the works, but fell through due to scheduling conflicts and Lex needed a job. He was hired without question or reservation, having someone who had trained so closely with Atticus was like having him with them on the road.

 

Eddie finished getting ready, he had to be at the studio at 8:30, it better be a real rehearsal, he thought, our east coast tour starts in two days.

 

Unlike like some rock musician who flaunted their wealth with flashy cars and big houses, Eddie was more leveled headed than that.

They owned a small house in Santa Barbara, modest in comparison to some of the other houses in the area; it suited their needs perfectly as both spent a lot of time on the road having a small house to maintain was a good fit.

There were only three things that Eddie had splurged on; his guitars, a Mini Cooper for Molly and his vintage scooter.

He had a huge collection of guitars split between his home and his studio. What bags and shoes were to Molly, Eddie had the same feeling about his guitars. At last count he had over a hundred ranging from acoustic to electric to some very expensive antique guitars. He also had quite a collection of his trademark blue guitar, every hue, shade and finish of blue. He had no autographed guitars and swore he would never own one saying that he could never bring himself to play on it and took great satisfaction in trying to play with all his guitars as much as possible.

Molly had hinted and talked about owning a Mini Cooper since they had seen The Italian Job. It was a surprise after the Honeymoon present to her, a custom lavender Mini Cooper for Molly, complete with giant bow on top of it. It was cliché and cute, things that Eddie really didn’t do, but anything to make his wife happy.

Then there was Eddie’s scooter, a vintage blue scooter that had belonged to his dad. His mom had moved from their family home to a smaller place that suited her better and while helping her clean out the garage had found it hidden underneath an old drop cloth. Andrew had bought it broken a long time ago with hopes of fixing it up and using it, but never got around to it. Eddie offered to take it off her hand, would be cool to have something like that of his dad’s, naturally she complied.  

It was a labor of love for Eddie, having no mechanical aptitude whatsoever.  It had taken over a year to get it up and running, working on it a little bit at night and over the weekend and  with help from Locke, books, internet and when Molly’s brother was in town.  Despite some stares and snickers early on when he would drive it around town, Eddie had the last laugh when gas prices sky rocketed and he could get to and from the studio and his normal day to day on a full tank of gas for a week and a half.  It was a piece of his late father and he liked having it around.

 

“Eddie!” he heard a voice called out.

Spinning around he saw Jason Workman, his next door neighbor trotting over.

Jason was like the little brother that Eddie never had and always wanted. He was seventeen and entering his final year of high school. Strangely, even though they weren’t related, they had similar physical features; same height, same cool blue eyes, hair was different but in the same family (Eddie had dark brown hair and Jason had very light brown hair). Body wise they were almost the same, Eddie had a thin, well built frame thanks to his training with Atticus and habit of running and the elliptical machine when not on tour; Jason’s frame was more broad and thick, his father was an avid weight lifter and seemed had passed on the same trait of weight training to Jason.

Jason was an only child and being an only child himself, Eddie knew what it was like to grow up without anyone close in age to play with. They were almost 13 years apart, but Eddie didn’t mind playing with Jason or watching Power Rangers with him, gave Eddie a legitimate excuse to watch it.

But now that Jason was older, things seemed to have balanced out. Jason came to Eddie often for advice or help with his homework. His home life was not the greatest now, his parents were pressuring him more and more to be the person that they wanted him to be and not the person that he wanted to be. They were tolerant of the typical teenage type of rebellion- the wild hair colors, odd dress and the like, but there was something bigger brewing, Eddie couldn’t put his finger on it, but Molly and everyone else repeatedly told him not to get involved, it wasn’t his place, no matter how close they were.

 

“You on the way to rehearsal?” he asked. 

“Yeah, I am,” answered Eddie as he strapped on his helmet. “You want a ride someplace? Got the spare helmet in the house, its Molly’s though, hope you don’t mind lavender.” 

“Nah, is cool,” answered Jason with a laugh. “Purple and light blue don’t really go together. I’d look like a reject from a Nick Jr. show.”

Trent had taken Jason to a punk rock show over the weekend, just a few local punk bands in someone’s backyard. Jason had wanted to dye his hair blue for the show with that hair dye that washes right out, but Trent had used too much and was still tinting back to his normal color, even though almost a week had past, you could still see that his hair had been blue.

 “You’re leaving soon, aren’t you?” 

“Two days from now, I think,” answered Eddie. “What’s the day? Thursday? I think we leave tomorrow then. Did Locke email you the tour schedule?” 

“Yeah, but only up till you guys get to NYC,” replied Jason. 

“We’re going to hang out there for a few weeks,” said Eddie. “Atticus figured that since we had to go there anyway, might as well squeeze in a few last minute shows. We’re going to meet Rivers, our photographer, up there. We’re going to be editing the DVD that comes out later this year.” 

“Am I getting first press?” asked Jason with a glint in his eye. 

“Maaaybe,” answered Eddie. “Legally I shouldn’t, it should go to our label right away, cause they have to do whatever it is that they need to do to it, but don’t be surprised if you get a plain brown envelope in your mailbox soon.” 

“Awesome!” exclaimed Jason. “Oh, and what we talked about the other night, I’m still going to go through with it.” 

Eddie sighed, Jason had managed to get a fake ID and wanted to go get a tattoo, Eddie tried to talk him out of it, but to no avail. Had Jason wanted to use it to get booze or cigarettes or something like that, Eddie would have been a little more okay with it, but this was permanent.

“You’re dad is going to go ape crap if he finds out,” warned Eddie as he sat down on the scooter. “Hope you realize that.” 

“I do,” replied Jason nervously. “But, I got to go, we’ll talk tonight, promise.”

Jason was non-confrontational sometimes, most of the time, at the first sign of a serious discussion he bolted. 

“Okay Jason, I’ll call you tonight,” said Eddie as he started his scooter.

 

Misery Road’s studio was on old converted gas station on the out skirts of Santa Barbara. The location served a purpose- they could rehearse as loud and as long as they wanted, and they could hold their mission briefings and training without being discovered. 

Lately though, they have had more mission briefings than rehearsals. There had been a surge of Half-Breeds popping up; their missions usually consisted of them locating and assessing a Half-Breed to see if training would benefit them, they would be taken into hiding for protection and training until the Half-Breed could be out on their own, at least that is how it is supposed to work. 

Most of the time with Eddie got there, there was usually some sort of problem- either it was a trap and a half a dozen enemy agents from some sort of underground shadow organization or some criminal network wanting to use them as a biological weapon- descended on them or the Half-Breed was already corrupted by the dark forces.

Too bad, such kids with such potential turned evil, the numbers are skewed, there are more of them than us, the odds don’t look good if that war Atticus keeps talking about happens, just how we like them, Eddie thought.

 

He could hear someone wailing on the drums from outside.

 Eddie sighed as he parked his scooter, more girl problems Trent?

Trent had a new girl almost every day and each of them created a new set of problems for him. Most of the time he kept quiet about them, but if it was serious girl trouble; he took it out on the drums.

“Eddie!” he heard Molly call out. Eddie spun around and saw Molly in the passenger seat of Quad’s truck.

“Hey you,” he answered trotting up. “Wassup? When did you get up this morning?” 

“Early,” Molly yawned. “Kat was in Europe and we had a conference call so I had to be there like at 4 AM. Got most things I needed to done though, so just some more loose ends tomorrow and I’ll be all ready to go with you guys.”

“Where are you off to?” asked Eddie. 

“Trent’s giving me a headache with all his drumming, so we are going on a coffee run,” Quad answered. “Wanna come with?” 

“Nah, better go see what’s up. You know what I like babe.” 

“Venti chai tea with milk,” replied Molly. “We’ll be back.” 

Eddie grabbed onto the door of the truck and kissed Molly as Quad drove away.

 

Could I love her more?

 

The sound inside of the studio was deafening. Atticus had locked himself inside his office was busy typing at his computer. 

Please be setting up dates for after New York, please, for the sake of the children, thought Eddie.

“Locke?” he called out. Wait; if I can barely hear myself, I seriously doubt Locke can hear me, thought Eddie.

Trent was totally lost in the zone, he was drenched in sweat. He had stripped down to his wife beater and had taken off his scally cap. 

This is bad, thought Eddie. 

Trent’s cap never came off; even when he slept he had it on. The few times he had taken it off, it always meant business. Something serious had happened.

Suddenly Eddie felt a cold wind over him, he could see his breath.

Where did that come from?

Eddie shivered and turned around and saw Locke and Lex standing outside the large roll up that lead to the back of the lot.  Locke had perfected the subtle ability to get someone’s attention by chilling the air around someone, effective in any situation.

“How long had he been at it?” shouted Eddie has he walked up to them.

“What?” Locke shouted back. 

“HOW LONG HAS HE BEEN AT IT?” shouted Eddie louder than before. 

“Who’s an addict?” Locke asked. 

“Eddie wants to know how long Trent has been at it,” Lex shouted to Locke. 

“Oh, since before we got here,” answered Locke. 

“Have you tried to talk to him?” shouted Eddie. 

“What?” asked Locke. 

“HAVE YOU TRIED TO TALK TO HIM?” Eddie shouted louder. 

“What about Invader Zim?” asked Locke. 

“No, Eddie asked if we tried to talk to him,” Lex shouted to Locke. 

“Oh, yeah, but he’s ignoring us or something,” answered Locke. “And watch.” 

Locke picked up a near by rock on the ground and threw it at Trent, it came within striking distance of Trent when it disappeared in a flash of light and reappeared on the floor next to Locke’s feet. 

“Never seen him this focused,” Locke commented. “Even Atticus said that he’s never seen anyone who could teleport do that before.”

Not totally focused, thought Eddie.

Eddie turned to Trent and started talking at a normal volume, with all of the noise going on, he might as well have not been saying anything, and Trent’s drumming had gotten louder since Eddie had gotten there. 

As Eddie talked the drumming got louder and louder and faster and faster until Trent came to an abrupt stop, sprang to his feet and threw his drum sticks to the floor, body soaked in sweat, chest heaving.

“Dude, do you really got to rag on my Red Sox like that?” he asked. 

“Problem solved,” said Eddie as he sat down on a nearby stool. 

“Way to go Eddie,” commented Locke. 

“Yeah, well, you just have to know how to speak Trent, that’s all,” replied Eddie.  “Now Trent, what’s up?” 

“Nothing,” he answered sitting back down. 

“It can’t be nothing, Trent,” said Eddie.  “You were beating on the drums like a mad man, you took your cap off, something’s up dude, spill it.”

“Well, it’s just, well, why are the girls out here so complicated?” Trent asked as he ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. 

Apparently Trent and his usual girl of the week had broken up, for some reason; he was taking this one hard. 

“Dude, you’ve been out here since we were juniors in high school, you should know that the girls out here are waaaaay different than the girls from Boston,” answered Eddie. 

“I know but, why do they always want to talk about their feelings?” Trent asked as he scooped up his discarded drum sticks. 

“Should Lex and I tell’em or do you want to do it Eddie?” asked Locke.

“No, you guys tell him,” answered Eddie.  “I’m biased, I have my girl.” 

“Okay, you see Trent, the girls out here are, how would you put it Lex?” asked Locke.  “Tree hugging, vegan eating, neo-hippie moon maidens in touch with their inner goddess?” asked Lex. 

“Exactly,” answered Locke.  “Girls out here are looking for guys who are semi in touch with their feelings.  Example- when you yell at them for talking while you are watching your Sox play, they don’t hear that deeply hidden, ‘I love you’, they just hear you yelling.  It’s the Ryan Seacrest-ification of the male gender, girls especially those out here- wants guys who are semi-metro, the ways of the bad boy are slowly dying off.  Do you understand what I’m saying?” 

“No,” answered Trent. 

“Think we are going about this wrong,” Lex told Locke.  “Trent is attracted to petite blondes who are either soldiers in the Oprah Army or are trying to find a way to get on The Bachelor.  I think we need to find Trent a girl who is more his type.  Now we just need to find his type.”

 

“Unfortunately Trent’s type are wearing Birkenstock’s and listening to k.d. Lang,” said Atticus who had come out of his office and was standing right next to Eddie.  “Thank you to whoever stopped Trent, I thought that drumming would never end.”

“Ooh, Atticus with a burn,” laughed Locke. 

“Well, was bound to happen one day,” said Atticus. “If you gentlemen are done, may we get started?”

Atticus was a quiet man, most of the time no one really noticed he had entered the room until he said something.  It was an innate feature of all Watchers- to be silent, unseen.  He had been on Earth for centuries, falling in love with the beings that he was only supposed to train and observe and nothing more.  He was very passionate about his kids- both on the field and for the band.  As the manager of Misery Road, he wanted to see them succeeded, as their Watcher; he wanted them to stay alive.

 

“Yeah, let’s get this over with,” said Locke as he flopped down on a nearby couch. 

“Nice attitude there,” remarked Lex.  “You gonna wait for Molly n’ Quad?” 

“Molly was in earlier so I went over all the pertinent details with her,” answered Atticus.  “Told her to fill in Quad while on their coffee run.”

Eddie shook his head in disbelief, only Molly could get up at the crack of dark, do her secular job and get to the studio ready to do her other job and still look good and be sharp, one of the many reasons Eddie married her.

“I have a question,” Trent said as he raised his hand. 

“Already,” commented Atticus. “What is it?” 

“Is this a working gig?” he asked. “Rent is due this week, going to need an advance so I can pay my share before we head out.” 

“They are always working gigs,” answered Atticus as he passed out folders. “This time you are going to someplace fun, I promise. This time you are going. . .” 

“YES!” Lex exclaimed as he read the first page of the folder. “We’re going to New Orleans!  I haven’t been there since, since. . .” 

“Since slavery was legal down there,” quipped Eddie. 

“Ha-ha, knee slap,” said Lex sarcastically.  “Me and the Running Skard guys use to go down there all the time during our down time.  I don’t remember much, and what I do remember I can’t really say, but it is a very cool place.” 

“Glad you are so eager to go,” said Atticus. “I have a contact down there who says that there has been a rash of bizarre incidents- isolated ones. The police have been trying to keep it quiet since the Bourbon Street Music Festival is coming up the night after you get there, they don’t want to scare the tourists.” 

“Are we playing there?” Trent interrupted. 

“Not going to dignify that with an answer,” replied Atticus. “My contact, an Oracle named Mother Cassidy, says at first these occurrences were innocent things, but have slowly been growing more and more hostile. She is asking for our assistance in helping her find out who is doing these things.”

An Oracle was an alien being that served as a kind of counter part to the Watchers. Being more in tune with the things unseen, if a Watcher could not find it, an Oracle could. ‘Kinda like having Goggle personified,’ Atticus said of the Oracles.  They were one of the few alien races that remained in their native form and had not grown a human husk to use while on Earth.

“What kind of incidents are we talking about?” asked Eddie. “On a scale from ‘that’s odd’ to ‘Quick, call Mulder and Scully’, where do they lie?”

“Aww man!” exclaimed Locke in disgust. “Turn to the back pages!”

 

Eddie flipped through the folder to the last page- it was a grainy, black and white photo. Eddie could make out the image clear as day- those small black eyes, the round head and body.  It was the one thing that sent fear down Eddie’s body, only this time it was the size of a small car, it was a giant potato bug!

“No! No! No!” exclaimed Eddie as he dropped his folder the floor. “Evil! Unclean!”

“Edward, will you calm down please,” calmly ordered Atticus. “They are not that bad.” 

“Yes they are,” snapped Eddie. “They are disgusting, vile creatures that serve no real purpose.  Why Noah took them on the ark, I will never know.  There is no way you’re going to get me down there if that’s what we are fighting, NO way. You go ahead and call the next super hero team on the list, I am out!”

“Hey guys, we’re back!” called out Quad as he walked into the room carrying a tray of cups of coffee. “What’s up?” 

“That,” answered Eddie as he kicked over the folder to Quad. 

Quad looked down at the grainy picture of the potato bug and immediately jumped in the air, dropping the coffee he was carrying causing a small wave of coffee to spill across the floor. 

“Aww man! Seriously, what is that? That ain’t right?” he exclaimed.

“Chai tea for Eddie,” sang Molly as she sauntered into the room, her mood quickly changed when she saw the guys all looking like they had seen a ghost. “What’s wrong?” 

“They saw the picture of the bugs,” answered Trent as he was trying to balance a drum stick on his finger tip. 

“You’re staying remarkably calm,” commented Atticus. 

“A bug’s a bug,” remarked Trent. “My uncle was an exterminator, I seen’em and

killed’em every summer I worked for him before I came out here. Bugs don’t bother me.”

“Hmmm, oh yeah? Look at the last page,” said Lex from behind his folder. 

Trent rolled his eyes as he picked up his folder and flipped through to the last page, just like the photo of the potato bug; it was a grainy still from a security camera, only this time it was a Green Japanese Beetle, about the size of a large dog.

“SICK!” he exclaimed as he tossed the folder to the ground. 

“Guys grow up,” sighed Molly. “Seriously, you guys have fought worse, that chick that could fire that gooey stuff out of her nose that hardened like steel.” 

“That one guy who hocked loges that exploded,” said Atticus. 

“How about that one guy who far. . .” Lex started to say. 

“Okay, I get it, we fight the Half Breed version of a freak show,” Eddie interrupted. “All we need is to fight a duck-woman and we’ll be all set. Can we move on from this?” 

“We can, if you are all done screaming like a bunch of girls,” answered Atticus. “Are you?”

 “Yes,” answered Trent, Eddie and Quad in unison. 

“Good,” replied Atticus. “Now, these photos were taken from one incident, fortunately Mother Cassidy was able to intercept these before they were able to get out.  This was the only incident that was caught on film. Most of the time these anomalies seem to vanish before the authorities can arrive.” 

“What other types of things have happened?” asked Molly.

 “Or is it always those evil potato bugs,” added Eddie. 

“Not sure, Mother Cassidy reported a few instances of giant bugs, one neighborhood was overrun by corpses popping up out of the ground of a small cemetery, one street of six legged dogs and cats; it was even rumored of a whole apartment building of people sprouting extra limbs. Although Mother Cassidy couldn’t confirm it, but judging by other incidents, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen.” 

“Now that’s gross,” remarked Molly.

“I’ll give you that one,” said Atticus. “The reason why we haven’t been sent down there is because there was no solid evidence, just the photos. There is some alien tech out there that could do similar things listed, if it was just that then her team could handle it, but Mother Cassidy could sense the power of this Half Breed but wanted solid proof before contacting us so you knew what you were up against. She didn’t want you to go up against the unknown, she need to make sure it was a Half Breed and not something else; the photos and her investigation give us enough proof. We could potentially be dealing with a Half Breed with the ability of thought projection.”
Lex’s eyes shot up from reading the file. “What did you say?”

“Thought projection,” repeated Atticus. “No one Half Breed has an exclusive power, at least with reported Half Breeds. For example, Eddie’s electric arch is blue, someone else could have a red one . . .you get the idea. I’ve been searching for another one like you Lex, I think I did.  Go to New Orleans, meet Mother Cassidy, find the Half Breed and talk to him or her then report back to me. Any questions?” 

“Yeah,” answered Trent raising his hand. 

“Yes, Trent, this is also a working gig,” replied Atticus exhaustedly. “You are playing stage 3 of the festival and the next night at the House of Blues and I happen to have an advance for your share of the rent, but only that much. Happy?” 

“Very much so,” answered Trent with a grin. 

“These are just a few East Coast gigs to get you up to New York,” said Atticus. “You are going to be in Charlotte next and then New York where you will meet up with Rivers to finish shooting your DVD there. Your tour won’t start up again until you finish the DVD, which needs to be done about two weeks after you get to New York so it can get to the label so they can do whatever needs to be done with it. I’ve rented a small studio and loft while you are up there.”

Rivers was the bands photographer and videographer.  Another Half Breed with the ability to breathe fire and glide on air.  He took great pride in the oxymoron that was his name- a guy named Rivers who could breathe fire. Corny at best, Rivers had an odd sense of humor- he was a Mel Brooks/Monty Python guy in a teen sex romp comedy world.

“Anything else we should know about?” asked Eddie. 

“No, not really. Just stay in more contact with me a little more than usual, I am sensing something, uneasy.”

 

“Eddie I am packing your four pair of black jeans, your three nice dark blue ones, and your faded jeans,” said Molly as she went through Eddie’s closet. “Are you going to wear T-shirts or are you going to do your button shirts this trip?”

Molly always packed for Eddie when he went on tour; she wanted to make sure her man looked his best on stage. Eddie didn’t mind, it made it easier for to focus on the tour, which from Molly could tell, he was. Eddie was intently staring at his guitar with his back toward Molly.

 

He’s preparing, she thought, he always gets like this the night before. 

 “Oh Locke called while you were in the shower, he wanted to know if he could borrow your long sleeve black button shirt for your first show in New Orleans, told him it would be tight on him, but he wants to borrow it anyway, is that okay?”, she asked as she went back to getting his things together.

Silence. 

“Eddie?” she asked as she took the black shirt out of the closet. 

There was something about the way he didn’t answer her that made her go over to him to see what he was doing.  He had his guitar in his lap and was staring down, she had thought that Eddie was doing what he usually did before touring, but he was staring at a small photo, it was a picture of Eddie and Jason taken when he had taken Jason for a long weekend when they had played down in San Diego for a few nights. Eddie had called Jason up to sing back up during Fahrenheit 4-5-1, something Jason said he wanted to do, but never had the guts to do it. The photo was of Eddie and Jason on stage together singing. It was a fond memory for both of them.  

“You’re thinking about Jason, aren’t you?” Molly asked as she sat down next to Eddie.“Yeah, I am,” he answered. “We talked this morning; he was going to go do it this afternoon.” 

“You can’t stop him Eddie, that’s not your place, if you wanted to do the right thing, you should have told his parents,” said Molly as she put her arm around him. “You did your best, but he’s going to what he wants to do.”

“I know, I know,” replied Eddie. “But I thought I could reason and talk to him. Make him see that doing this was not the right way to make a statement.” 

“None of us want to see anything happen to Jason, he like a little brother to us all, more so to you,” consoled Molly. “But this could be one of those things that just needs to happen.” 

“It’s still hard though,” said Eddie.

“Maybe it won’t be that bad,” said Molly. “You didn’t tell him, did you?  About how he’s might be a Half Breed.” 

“No I didn’t tell him,”


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