DOGBOY: EYE OF THE SCARAB is a 3-part serialized Dogboy adventure coming out this holiday season. Using themes like privacy, the surveillance state, and police militarization EYE OF THE SCARAB drags Colta City kicking and screaming into the modern age. Here’s the blurb:
It’s the end of the world as he knows it.
Colta City is a timeless old town… But time is catching up to it. Old friends and old enemies close in around Bronson Black, and an impossible choice hangs over him.
As the modern world bleeds through Dogboy considers the past. His decision could spell the end of his crime-fighting career!
But maybe that’s a good thing.
PLUS: When the COLTA CITY SHADOWS (including girl reporter Cindy McNeil) wake up in an underground arena they confront a group of extraordinary teens. Can the Shadows iterate through the Cycles, or will they become brainwashed soldiers in Mayor Lane’s super-powered army?
Episode 1: The Eye Sees All comes out this week. You can pre-order it on Amazon right now but if you’d like a taste you’ll find the first chapter below. Mayor Lane’s Project DOLAN is about to make being a superhero in Colta City a lot more difficult…
EPISODE ONE — THE EYE SEES ALL
July 27, 2005
Outside City Hall
“No more leash laws,” a student shouted up City Hall’s steps. He swung a protest sign over his head— GOOD DOGS ROAM FREE written in black marker.
“Superheroes aren’t the villains,” yelled a woman passing out bottled water to the assembled crowd.
Several policemen stood blocking the doors, brandishing armored shields with the letters C.C.P.D. stenciled along the front. The protesters milled around the sidewalk, brandishing placards with catchy slogans and hand-drawn Dogboy sketches. A blue tarp covered the area above the door, two lumps on either side.
“Stand back, citizens,” said a cop through his bullhorn. “Please remain within the free speech zone or else we’ll take it as an act of aggression.”
Bronson Black (a 14-year-old who, in his spare time, patrolled the streets as Dogboy) happened upon the protest rally while wrapping up a date with his girlfriend Cindy McNeil.
“See? Who says we have to fight City Hall?” Bronson said. “Looks like there’s a whole slew of people doing that already.”
“Yeah, but why are they doing it?” Cindy said. She tapped a protester on the shoulder. “Excuse me, can you tell me what’s going on here?”
“We’re protesting the mayor’s crusade against helpful vigilantes like Dogboy,” the man said. “This manhunt is the height of hypocrisy. The only reason we need people like him is because the police are already so ineffective. Even a kid can do better.”
A few people cheered across the way. The other protesters followed suit, although they didn’t sound like they knew what they were cheering about.
“Dogboy’s pretty great, isn’t he?” Bronson said.
“Are you kidding? You’re talking to his number one fan. I’ve seen every piece of film out there on him. Twice. What a hero. Don’t spread it around, but I heard he has some weird new power.” said the man.
“What sort of power?” Bronson asked.
The man looked around to make sure nobody was listening then leaned in close enough for Bronson to smell his stale breath. “Ok. Are you ready? Teleportation. One minute he’s fighting in front of you, then you blink and he’s twenty yards away.”
“Are you kidding?” Bronson scoffed, letting a little chuckle escape. “Teleport? No. He’s freezing time.” He stopped himself when he noticed the man’s eyes narrow. “But what do I know about superheroes anyway?”
“Thanks, mister. Bronson, come on we’ve got to go,” Cindy said. She pulled two ticket stubs from her back pocket: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY — ROXY CINEMA. She took Bronson’s hand, leading him away from the crowd. “Quit being so obvious, you egomaniac. You know a secret identity depends on you keeping it a secret, right?”
“We already used those tickets. You didn’t have to lie to that guy. He seemed nice,” Bronson said. “You’re right, though. I should be more careful. Besides, we’re on a date. From this point on, I’m not Dogboy at all. Just your friendly neighborhood boyfriend”
“So did you like the movie?” Cindy asked.
“What a freaking roller coaster. I loved the crazy music, and that guy they had playing the Oompa Loompas was hilarious. What did you think?”
“It was fine but not nearly as good as the old one. Me and Dad used to watch it when Mom was working. The guy playing Wonka is super creepy.”
“Never seen it.”
“Ugh. I can’t even look at you anymore. Where’s your mask? Here,” Cindy peeled off her baseball cap then put it over Bronson’s face. He swatted it away. “I swear it’s a classic. Man, your parents kept you on a pretty tight leash, didn’t they?”
“Stand back please,” the police captain said, pushing the crowd back with his shield. “Mayor Lane’s coming out to talk to you freaks.”
The front door swung open. Mayor Lane stepped out. His suit fit him like a lizard’s skin, saggy in the joints but tight around the limbs. He skittered down the steps, waving to the crowd as he approached the lectern.
“Citizens, first we want to thank you for exercising your right to protest here today. What fool would deny we live in a functioning democracy? In a less free society, we’d take you next door and throw you in a cell… or worse.”
“Why don’t you worry about the real crooks? A 10-year-old is doing a better job than youse guys are at cleaning up the streets,” yelled a voice in the crowd.
“He’s 14,” Bronson shouted.
“Sir, our police are tasked with maintaining law and order. If we allow this child to run around deciding innocence or guilt… that’s not justice. Just because he fights crooks doesn’t make him a hero. He’s no better than them.”
“Tell it to the people he saved in Dixon Park,” Cindy yelled, the crowd cheering for her. Bronson poked her with his elbow.
“Now who’s being too obvious?” he said.
“Irregardless… Be quiet!” Mayor Lane shouted over the crowd. “He’s breaking the law. Despite our city-wide dragnet, our decorated police force… the best in the state… have been unable to capture this vigilante. If we can’t catch him, we must watch him. We don’t want him throwing anybody else off rooftops after all. I give you the new eyes of Colta City.”
Two officers pulled down the tarp above the door revealing a printed sign— PROJECT DOLAN. Two security cameras were mounted on either side. They panned across the crowd as the live video stream played on the massive digital billboard mounted on the building.
“Project DOLAN, or Dogboy Observation/Location Analysis Network, will allow us to track Dogboy anywhere in the city. The cameras are remote controlled by a trained team of technicians from right here in City Hall. We can capture up to twelve terabytes of digital footage an hour. The data will be stored in our Stonehouse Park data centers, which can hold up to five exabytes. We can store and review up to fifty years worth of footage. With access to this much data, Dogboy won’t be able to hide for long.”
He gestured to the building across the street where they’d mounted two more cameras. “We’ve already installed over three hundred ‘eyes’ across the city. There’s no corner we can’t see, no place Dogboy can hide.”
“You a pervert or something, buddy?” a man shouted. “I don’t want you watching me all the time.”
Mayor Lane chuckled. “Sir, I’m not sure what boring things you get up to in your intimate moments, but believe me we have no interest in watching them. This system tracks Dogboy, or any other copycat vigilantes who might appear. Normal citizens with nothing to hide have nothing to fear from Project DOLAN.”
The mayor’s stylish young assistant, Chester, burst out of the doors. He put a note card down on the lectern as he whispered in the mayor’s ear. The mayor picked up the card and read it over then looked back to the crowd.
“I’m sorry, folks. I know your protest permits are all in line, but we’ll need you to exit the area in an orderly manner. There’s a fire at the orphanage down the street, and emergency personnel need you clear. There are still children in the building. The police will inform you when you can resume your little protest. To a brighter future for Colta City.”
“The orphanage?” Bronson said. “I know this was supposed to be a date and everything but…”
“Go save some kids,” Cindy said, tapping his backpack, which held his mask and cape. “See you at the shop around five?”
“What’s around five?” Bronson asked.
“Um, you asked me to go with you and Mr. Horum to clear your dad’s old storage unit?”
“Oh yeah. Sure. I gotta go.”
Cindy leaned over and gave him a quick peck. “Be careful. Sounds like being Dogboy is going to be more dangerous than ever with this DOLAN thing.”
Bronson took off, ducking into an alley a block away. He flew into the air, landing on the building next to the orphanage. Smoke poured out of the windows. Children’s screams cut through the cracking sound of burning wood. He unzipped his backpack, digging out his costume.
A soft mechanical whirring started over to his right. A Project DOLAN camera rotated toward him. He sighed then closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the color in the world was gone. The pigeons flying above him hung in the air, their wings stuck mid-flap.
He ran over to the camera then wrapped his hands around the camera body. He focused his magical energies into the device until it melted into a pile of goo. The air in his lungs ran out. He jerked back. A quick thought made time start up again. The colors came back, and the birds flew out across the rooftops.
Dogboy finished suiting up then bolted across the roof to assess the situation at the orphanage. Two children called to him for help from a window three floors down. As he drifted into the air, he heard the soft whir from another camera.
He looked into the camera lens. “I don’t know if these things do audio or not, but I’m warning you right now. If you think you can watch me every second, you’re nuts. I’m gonna break every camera I see, and if you don’t back off, you’re next. I’m not scared of you or your police or your fancy spy gear.”
He shot an orange beam at the camera, knocking it off its stand. The lens shattered on the black roof.
Dogboy flew down to the orphanage window. “Don’t worry, kids. Dogboy’s here,” he said. He grabbed the boys then deposited them in the alley below.
Right back into the air. A teenage girl clawed at a closed fourth-story window. Her thick feathered hair reminded Dogboy of a moth’s wings. He motioned for her to step back. She jerked her head back and forth, screaming like a siren.
She hammered her head into the window. Again and again and again until it smashed the glass. Oxygen got sucked through and fed the flames. She cackled as they engulfed her.
Dogboy pawed through the broken glass. He caught her arm, but it crumbled into gray ash as he touched it. He felt like he was going to hurl.
A cry from the window above him. No time to freeze. No chance for regret. Up to the window, down to the ground, then several more times until the other children were safe.
Heroic deeds done and feats finished, Dogboy flew around the city on patrol, careful to note where the mayor’s cameras were installed He let his mind drift to the girl he couldn’t save. Why put her head through the glass? Why was she laughing? How did she burn so fast? It felt unnatural. Supernatural? He had suspicions, but if he was right, then he couldn’t speak them out loud. He put it out of his mind as he headed toward 523 South 4th Street. It was almost time to leave for his father’s storage unit, and he certainly didn’t want to keep Mr. Horum waiting.