Hovercrafts and Fighting City Hall – Read a Chapter from THE SHADOWS RIDE TONIGHT!

Eye of the Scarab Episode 1 came out a few weeks ago, and Episode 2 should be out early next week. It called The Shadows Ride Tonight and focuses on Dogboy’s girlfriend Cindy McNeil and the Colta City Shadows. This episode is told from Cindy’s perspective, and crosses over with events in Episodes 1 and 3.

Here’s the blurb for The Shadows Ride Tonight:

When the COLTA CITY SHADOWS (including girl reporter Cindy McNeil) wake up in an underground arena they face off against 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?

PRE-ORDER THE SHADOWS RIDE TONIGHT and it will appear on your Kindle app or device the second it comes out.

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In this sample chapter Cindy and her friend finalize their plans to kidnap Mayor Lane. But Cindy just can’t get Dogboy’s magical Scarab out of her head…

July 27, 2005

Curleyworld

8:45 PM

“Guys, Dogboy has something we—” Cindy said as she stopped in the dressing room doorway.

Mirrors lined the walls. Formica countertops hung underneath, with ample room for the performers to lay out their makeup and supplies. No performers had been there for years. This was Curleyworld, behind the main stage. The amusement park closed down years ago. There weren’t any shows planned. There were a few kids close to Cindy’s age standing around in matching white leotards.

“The Colta City Shadows I presume? I thought I’d have some input on the costumes at least. You guys look like scuba instructors.”

“Colta City Scuba Instructors?” Nuncio said, putting his arm around Cindy as he guided her to a chair. “We could roll with that.”

“Like, you run around Dogboy,” Jennifer said. “Maybe you should, like, worry about changing his name first. We like Axle’s name.”

“I think you mean Coaxle,” Axle said. A silver bolt was sprayed into his dark curly hair. He shot some sparks from his finger tips, slid on some cheap sunglasses, then crossed his arms.

“Material Girl,” Jennifer said, slipping her stonewashed jacket on as she slid next to her teammate.

“Digital Boy,” Nuncio said. He stood back-to-back with her.

“Jesse,” Jesse said. Cindy hadn’t noticed him in the room until he spoke. He stumbled up with the others. “We still need to think up a name for me.”

“Shadows, unite!” Coaxle said. They stood in tableau, the consummate superpowered teenage team.

“Thank God I don’t have to go out like that,” Cindy said. She took a printout from her purse and laid it on the counter. “Jenn… Material Girl found a press conference the day after tomorrow where we can grab him with a ton of cameras watching.”

“You guys talking about kidnapping Mayor Lane again? Like you losers are ever gonna do it,” Bugs asked as he came through the door carrying a six-pack of Dr. Pepper.

“Who invited him?” Cindy asked.

“I did, didn’t I, Bugsy?” Jennifer said. She ran up and gave him a peck on the cheek. Cindy did her best not to hurl. She didn’t like Bugs knowing about their secret club or their mission. The fact he was dating one of her friends made it even weirder. Until a month ago, he was just the school bully.

“Material Girl, can you tell your boyfriend to keep his stupid freckled face out of it?” Cindy said.

“You can talk to me yourself. I’m not some monster,” Bugs said, snapping a can off the six-pack then passing the extras to Nuncio. “Why don’t you guys get Dogboy down here? Cash in that reward before you take down the mayor. McNeil knows who he is under the mask, right?”

“Like, didn’t he save you or whatever?” Material Girl asked.

“I figured he’d like to kick in with some funds is all. Once you deal with the mayor, he can break out again.

“What are we gonna do with him once we have him?” Jesse asked.

Cindy paced in front of the mirror as she spoke. “Men like Mayor Lane never pay for what they do. They get some bad press. Maybe they spend time in a rich-guy prison upstate, but they never pay. They go away until people forget about them then come back when nobody’s looking. If I take his memories, he won’t be able to come back. He won’t even know who he is anymore.”

“Problem is people know him, right? Like they’d know him to see him,” Coaxle said. He held up his hand. A blue electrical orb oozed from his fingertips, the sparks pulsing with his breath.

Cindy licked her lips and leaned in, whispering to the group. “The only way we make sure he never experiments on another kid is to make him disappear forever. I’ll make him forget, and Axle will fry his face enough that nobody’ll recognize him. He’ll be like any other bum on the street.”

“You guys are sick,” Bugs said, pouring the last few drops of Dr. Pepper down his throat.

“You haven’t seen what they do to people like us down there,” Jennifer said. “It’s, like, criminal.”

“Don’t you think you should find out why he’s doing it first?” he asked. “Maybe he’s got a good reason.”

Cindy pushed Bugs up against the wall. “He turned us into freaking science experiments. We have to stop him now before he hurts anybody else.”

“You guys do whatever you want,” Bugs said. “I’ll be safe watching them chase you guys on TV.”

“They’d better have helicopters if they want to chase us, dude,” Digital Boy said. He opened the dressing room door. “Come see. Darse prisa.” He led them down the hallway, out from the bunker, then across the walkway to a fenced-off area underneath the Calliope Crusher. When he swung the gate open, they saw a white ship, the size of a compact car. No roof, and the insides had been gutted. A computer control panel and steering wheel sat inside.

“You’re gonna push this roller coaster car all the way to Colta City?” Bugs asked, sneering at them.

“Push is the wrong word, cabron. Here. I’ll show you.” Digital Boy crawled inside the ship then fiddled with the computer display. The hovercraft rose up off the ground far enough to see the two turbines spinning in the undercarriage to push it up off the ground.

“You have a freaking hovercraft?” Cindy said. She hopped up and down from person to person sharing the news. “A hovercraft. You see that? A real, working hovercraft. Nuncio, that’s amazing. Did you use your power to make this?”

“My cousin helped out,” he said. “She found me the plans on some hacker website.”

“It’s not a hacker website,” Material Girl said, rolling her eyes. “I downloaded a 3D model from Goodson University’s website. Two graduate students did a paper on it.”

“It’s amazing, but we can’t use it. They’ll see us coming before we get within a mile of the mayor,” Cindy said, pulling a crisp Colta City Herald from her bag.

CITY HALL WILL WATCH US ALL

MAYOR LANE REVEALS PROJECT DOLAN

“They’ll see you flying in on these cameras and nab you when you land.”

“Coaxle says he’ll let me get us in and out,” Jesse said. He held up a Colta City map. “Picked this up at a newsstand for $3. With this I can teleport us anywhere in the city.”

“I figured why not let the squib help out?” Coaxle said.

“Okay, that’s pretty smart,” Cindy said. “But what if I told you I had a way to check out the whole area before he even zaps you in?” She snatched the map from Jesse’s hand then spread it out on the ground. “Here,” she said, pointing to 525 S. 4th Street. “Dogboy has this bug. Like a beetle. With a shell. You put on these sunglasses, then you fly it around. It’s like you are the bug. You can see, hear, and feel everything. Now he has it in this magic shop. It’s in a silver briefcase. Jesse, think you can grab it for me then come back right back?”

Jesse’s jaw shook. He looked from Material Girl to Coaxle to Digital Boy. “I… I don’t think I can break into Dogboy’s lair.”

“No. This isn’t Dogboy’s lair,” Cindy said. She smiled then knelt down to look Jesse in the eye. “It’s a stupid little shop. Nobody’s even there anymore I bet. Take your map and you’ll be fine. If Dogboy catches you, just tell him you know me. Deep breath. Now what are we looking for?”

“A silver case?” he asked.

“Exactly. See? You’ve got this, kid. I believe in you.”

Jesse clenched his fists then hunched down over the map. He placed his index finger over Cindy’s. She slid hers out from under. A microscopic cyclone started spinning beneath his finger as it grazed the paper. He grabbed the map by its upper-left corner as the cyclone grew wider, bending him like a streamer. His twisted two-dimensional body got sucked into the ground. The map followed him in as the cyclone spun out.

“What now?” Coaxle asked.

“We wait,” Cindy said.

So they did. After five minutes, Digital Boy started pacing. Material Girl chewed on her knuckle. Cindy poked through some gears she’d found stacked over by the fence.

Coaxle kicked the ground where Jesse had disappeared. “Where’s he at, huh? What’s this magic shop called? I’m thinking we need to mount a rescue.

“I’ll go myself,” Cindy said. “It’s bad enough I sent the twerp there. Dogboy would kill me if you guys showed up.”

Material Girl grabbed Cindy’s arm. “Has he ever hurt you? Are you scared? You can tell us.”

Cindy laughed and pulled her arm away. “Please. I’d kick his butt. Don’t worry. I only meant he wouldn’t like it.”

“Screw that. I’ll go myself,” Coaxle said, flipping the on switch on the console. The hovercraft hummed as it lifted ten feet in the air.

Cindy covered her eyes to protect them from the wood chips and pebbles blowing from the engines. “You want Dogboy to help us, right? I wouldn’t start the conversation by busting in his front door to rescue your spy.”

Coaxle considered this for a moment. He bit his lip hard and shook his head. “White girl, you’d better know what you’re doing.” He brought the craft down then switched it off. “If something happens… If he gets caught… That’s one-hundred-fifty-percent on you. You hear?”

Cindy nodded, spit in her hand, then offered it to him. He did the same, and they shook on it. “Don’t worry,” she said, with more bravado than she felt. “If he’s with Dogboy, nothing bad is gonna happen to him. Period.”

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