Bill Dowis

Storyteller - Endurance Athlete - Fanboy

The Death of Captain Awesome – Episode 20

This is part 11 of my current work in progress, The Death of Captain Awesome.
I encourage your feedback. Leave comments, criticisms, and thoughts about the story in the comments below.

previously…191817 – 161514131211 – 10 – 09 – 08 – 07 – 06 – 05 – 0403 – 02 – 01


Martin couldn’t stop rubbing his side. He kept twisting to look at the skin. He still didn’t believe what he was seeing. A cut deep enough to soak his shirt and hoodie through with blood was now gone, less than half an hour later. The treatment must have worked.

He looked at himself in the mirror and thought for a second before pulling open the drawer under the sink. He pulled out a pair of scissors. He opened the blades and held it like a knife. He looked at himself in the mirror again, was he crazy? He pulled the open blade across his palm and watched a red line follow the cold steel.

Martin felt something that might have registered as pain in his mind, but it did not feel like it hurt. He put the scissors on the counter and inspected the cut closer. He pulled on the skin in his palm, opening the cut wide and allowing blood to flow down his wrist. There was a slight tenderness to his hand, but far less than what he had felt on his side.

He reached his hand under the sink and turned the water on. Warm water rinsed the blood away and gave him a better look at the cut. The gash was already smaller than it had been moments before. Martin became hypnotized by the water flowing over the cut as the cut itself slowly closed up. It was like watching a time lapse of the wound healing. Weeks of skin and tissue repair in a matter of seconds.

The cut was gone. Martin washed the rest of the blood off his hands and dried them on a towel.

What else could he do? Was he stronger than before? He looked around his apartment. What was the heaviest thing he owned? The couch. He grabbed the fabric on the arm of the couch with one hand, and lifted.

He thought about when he and his wife moved into this apartment. They decided it would be cheaper if they just rented a truck and moved themselves in. They didn’t have much stuff anyway. It took both of them working together about fifteen minutes to get the couch up the front steps and through the short hallway. It was so heavy they need to set it down and take a breather before adjusting the position of the couch around the walls and banister. Now he could lift it by himself with only one hand gripping the fabric.

But it did not make sense. Captain Awesome was bullet proof. Martin had seen first hand that bullets could bounce off Captain Awesome. So why can a knife blade cut through Martin’s skin? Surely Captain Awesome was impervious to knives if he was immune to bullets.

Martin thought about all this as he went back to the bathroom with a plastic bag to gather his hoodie and his shirt. Maybe he needed more injections. Maybe more radiation? He hoped that he could gain more powers just as easily as he gained these, but he could very well do without the sickness and coma that followed.

As he stuffed the clothes into the plastic bag he noticed the corner of the newspaper clipping sticking from his hoodie pocket. He stuffed the hoodie into the bag as he pulled the clipping from the pocket. Captain Awesome was making an appearance at the children’s hospital this weekend. He had almost forgot about that. It was difficult to tell where and when Captain Awesome would show up. Sure, you could wait for a crime to happen or set one up, but that still wasn’t a guarantee that he would come to the rescue. Sometimes he just seemed to ignore some of the crime. The argument could be made that Captain Awesome can’t be everywhere all the time, but Martin would argue that he seems to only appear in places that are more likely to get him media coverage.

Martin was confident with the powers he was starting to develop, but it might be safer if he had some more juice flowing through him. He needed to know if another treatment would improve him.

He grabbed his cell phone and called Norman. He finally picked up on the fourth ring.

“Hello?”

“Hey, it’s me,” Martin said.

“I was starting to get worried,” Norman said. “I must have called you a million times in the last couple of days. Umm…how are you feeling?” Norman sounded like he stopped himself from asking the real question. Did the serum work?

“I am feeling pretty damn good, actually.” He did still feel a few of the side effects—chills, cotton mouth, and fatigue—but those were just shadows compared to how he was feeling earlier. Now he was suddenly feeling much better and he was sure that discovering powers might have had something to do with that feeling better. “I need to talk to Doc,” Martin said.

“Yeah you do. He was asking about you.”

“Good,” Martin said. “Can you meet me there?”

“Not tonight,” Norman said. “We are going to have to wait until after the weekend.”

“Why so long?” Martin did not want to wait until after the weekend. He wanted a boost now so that this weekend he would be even stronger.

“Doc is out of the office until then,” Norman said. It sounded like code for something that Martin didn’t know what it was code for. He recalled Norman saying something about him being all Cloak and Dagger the other day, but who was doing it now?

“Ok.” Martin wasn’t sure what he was able to say over the phone. Maybe Norman was just being paranoid, but if the cops had the church under surveillance maybe Norman had good reason to be paranoid.

Martin was confident in the new powers he had been manifesting, but were they enough to challenge Captain Awesome? He was going to find out when he met him at the children’s hospital.


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The Death of Captain Awesome – Episode 19

This is part 11 of my current work in progress, The Death of Captain Awesome.
I encourage your feedback. Leave comments, criticisms, and thoughts about the story in the comments below.

previously…1817 – 161514131211 – 10 – 09 – 08 – 07 – 06 – 05 – 0403 – 02 – 01


Norman made sure that Martin got home without incident. Martin was feeling increasingly tired and by the time he reached his bed he could barely keep his eyes open. He didn’t bother taking off his clothes, he just flopped onto the bed and went right to sleep.

The first time he woke up he was cold. His shoes caught on the comforter as he tried to pull it over him. He stopped and struggled to kick his shoes off. He pulled the comforter over himself once more and tried to get warm.

He woke again and wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but it was dark outside. Pitch black in his apartment. He had pulled the comforter tighter around him like a cocoon and realized he was drenched in sweat. His clothes stuck to his body and he could feel the dampness in the comforter. His skin was hot, yet his body shivered uncontrollably. He tried to wrap the comforter tighter around his body.

Martin woke a third time and the sun was poking through the windows. The inside of his mouth felt like cotton and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. His clothes were still wet and the comforter was damp, but he was no longer sweating. He pushed himself out of bed and made his way into the bathroom. He pissed longer than he had ever remembered pissing before. Even on nights he drank too much and waited as long as possible to break the seal he didn’t pee this much.

He ducked his head under the faucet of the bathroom sink and turned on the cold water. He drank from the faucet like an animal drinking from a river. Gulp after gulp. The wetness felt good in his mouth. He stood straight and wiped the water that missed his mouth off his face. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and realized that he looked horrible. Bed head and dried sweat had matted his hair in every direction possible. Bags sat heavy under his eyes and his skin looked pale. His stomach rumbled. He needed something to eat.

The kitchen cabinets in Martin’s apartment were pretty much empty. No surprise there. He usually only kept a couple boxes of cereal and some dried pasta. The refrigerator was also pretty much empty. Less than half a gallon of milk, some leftover takeout that did not look safe to eat, and a six pack of beer. His body was telling him that he needed food right now and the closest place he could think of was the diner down the corner. He tossed a hoodie over his head, found his shoes under his bed, and headed out the door to get lunch. Or was this dinner? What time is it?

Martin realized he wasn’t even sure how long he slept. His phone informed him that it was almost 6:00 at night. He had slept straight through the day, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise. He wasn’t at the lab yesterday, he was at the lab two days ago. He just slept for almost two full days. He also noticed about a dozen missed calls from both work and Norman. He would get back to those later.

***

The hostess sat Martin in a booth near the window. Someone had left a newspaper on the table and Martin flipped through it as he waited for his food. Two orders of pancakes. Scrambled eggs. Bacon. Sausage. Three orders of toast. And water. Lots of water. He was extremely thirsty. Martin wasn’t really reading the paper, but glancing through to kill time. He stopped on a short article about the new wing that was being dedicated at the children’s hospital. This weekend there would be a special ceremony and Captain Awesome was scheduled to make an appearance. He would be doing the regular public relations thing that Martin had seen him do a few times before on television, posing for pictures and shaking hands and making everyone love him.

Martin tore the article out of the paper and tucked it in his hoodie pocket just as two waitresses brought his food over.

***

Martin stepped out of the diner and pulled his hood over his head. The weather wasn’t particularly cold, but he still felt a chill running through his body. He stood on the corner for a minute and looked around the street. Was his vision getting better? The sun had set. Usually the artificial lights of the city blurred out the details, but now Martin saw everything with a clarity he did not have before.

He decided to walk home and head back to bed. Even after sleeping for two days he still felt tired. Perhaps this was a side effect? Hopefully it would wear off soon. He noted that he wasn’t dead yet and took that as a good sign.

Martin was two blocks from his house when a man walking toward him took a step sideways and blocked his path. Martin made a move to go around him, but the guy moved with him and refused to let him by. “Wallet,” was the only thing the man said.

“What?” Martin knew what the guy wanted, but asked the question out of disbelief.

“Give me your fuckin wallet,” the guy said, this time making Martin aware that he had a knife in his hand.

“No,” Martin said. He stood there and looked at the guy. His heart pounded through his chest, but he wasn’t scared. “I’m not giving you shit and you are going to get out of my way.”

“The fuck?” The man was clearly irritated. “Give me your wallet or you’re gonna get cut.”

“Fuck you,” Martin said and he tried to sidestep the man. The man jabbed his arm toward Martin. He felt the blade slice through his hoodie and clip his side. The small twinge of pain made Martin realize that the knife had broke skin, but it didn’t feel like it was deep. Martin swung his left arm to push the knife away from him and threw a fist with with his right arm. The punch landed directly on the side of the man’s face, sending him to the ground.

Martin kicked the knife away from the man’s hand. He gripped the man’s shirt and pulled him close. The side of the man’s face was already turning black and blue. The man mumbled something that Martin couldn’t understand because the bones in the man’s jaw appeared to be broken. He let go of the man’s shirt and let him fall to the sidewalk. Martin touched his side where the knife had struck. His hoodie was soaked in blood. He pushed on the spot and it felt tender, but the pain was barely noticeable.

He rushed home and went right into the bathroom. He lifted the hoodie off and dropped it in the tub. His shirt was soaked red. He pulled it off and also tossed that into the tub. He twisted his body as he looked in the mirror, trying to see the wound. There was a lot of blood. How big was the cut? He knew without even seeing it that he would probably need stitches.

He rubbed some excess blood off his skin and did not see anything. He twisted one way and then another. There was a bruise where the blood had stained his clothes, but there was no cut. He washed away the dried blood and rubbed the skin with his hand. The spot was tender, but the cut had healed itself.


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The Death of Captain Awesome – Episode 18

This is part 11 of my current work in progress, The Death of Captain Awesome.
I encourage your feedback. Leave comments, criticisms, and thoughts about the story in the comments below.

previously…17 – 161514131211 – 10 – 09 – 08 – 07 – 06 – 05 – 0403 – 02 – 01


The scientist that Norman spoke about worked in the same warehouse they had visited the night before. His lab was in the basement of the same building. There were no fancy security measures, at least none that you would expect on a secret laboratory that is being used by a secret group. There was no place to enter a code on a keypad or press your thumbprint against a sensor or let a scanner examine your eyeball. Norman simply used the same set of keys to get through a different set of doors that led to a set of stairs that took them down to the basement.

The lab was a lot different than the area Martin saw last night. It was clean and well lit. It was only a single room, but the room was large enough to hold huge machines, various types of equipment Martin had never seen before, tables, and beds. The scientist was hunched over one of the tables scrawling on pieces of paper with a wooden pencil.

“Doc,” Norman said. He didn’t seem to startle the scientist, but it was pretty easy to tell that the scientist did not realize anyone else was in the room with him.  “This is Martin.” He gestured toward Martin and then back to the scientist. “Martin, this is Doctor Franklin Rothstein.”

“Just call me Doc,” Doc said as he reached his hand out to greet Martin.

Martin gripped Doc’s hand and gave it a firm shake. This was definitely the man in the other photograph that Detective Ward had shown him. “Okay, Doc.” Martin cut right to the chase. No small talk. “I hear you got some interesting things in the works down here.”

Doc looked at Norman with an expression on his face that Martin could easily decipher. In his head Doc was wondering who this guy really was and was it safe to let him in on this information?

“It’s okay, Doc,” Norman assured him. “He is one of the good guys. In fact, you could almost say he wants to donate his body to science.” Norman looked at Martin with a slight smile on his face. Martin took this as permission to take over the conversation.

“I want you to do what you’ve got to do to give me the powers that Captain Awesome has,” Martin said.

Doc had a look on his face that resembled a mix of confusion, worry, and surprise. “I’m not sure I can do that,” he said. “I haven’t fully replicated the proper results yet.”

“How close have you gotten?” Martin asked.

“I have seen a range of results from nothing at all to faster healing. One test subject appeared to be faster than normal. But these are all animals. I’ve haven’t tried this on humans yet.”

“Well, tonights the night, Doc,” Martin said. “I want to be your first human subject.

Doc looked at Norman and then back at Martin. There was worry on his face. “I’m not sure that’s such a good idea yet. I have also seen some adverse effects in the animal subjects as well.”

“Like what kind of effects?” Martin asked.

“Sickness…Mutations…” Doc paused, giving each word a chance to change Martin’s mind. “And death in more than one instance.”

Martin took a deep breath. He only needed a second to think about it. “I can’t speak for anyone else in this little revolution you guys got going on here, but I can tell you that I want to take out Captain Awesome more than anyone I know.” Martin leaned closer to Doc. “And I’ve got nothing to lose.”

***

It took some assistance from Norman, but Martin was able to convince Doc to make him the first human test subject. It’s got to be done sooner or later Norman had told Doc. Doc knew that he was close to needing a human test subject, and in ideal conditions he would be ready for one in another six months or so, but this was a uniques situation. And when you were working in the basement of a warehouse the typical protocols were left outside.

Martin was instructed to lay on a hospital bed that was set toward the back of the lab. There were panels set up to separate this little area from the rest of the lab, but it was still one big room to Martin. Doc tied a rubber tube around Martin’s upper arm and searched for a vein. “I don’t know what this will feel like, but the animals didn’t seem to like it,” Doc said as he held up a syringe with a yellow serum in it. Tapped the air bubbles out and injected the serum into Martin’s arm.

Martin clenched every muscle in his body. A burning sensation pumped through his veins. It felt like his insides might burn through. “It burns,” Martin told Doc through gritted teeth.

“It might subside in a minute,” Doc said. “Most of the animals test subjects had this same reaction.”

Martin tried to take a deep breath. Focus on something other than the burning sensation flowing through his body. A deep breath in. A long breath out. Focus on the breath. Slowly the burning sensation faded away. The mediation technique he was using only helped him deal with the pain. Now it seemed to be subsiding on its own.

Doc pulled what looked like a large lamp over top of Martin. It was fixed to an arm that swiveled in different positions and that arm was attached to a large machine next to the bed. Doc swiveled the arm and adjusted the device directly over Martin’s chest. It was so close that when he breathed in his chest hairs brushed the glass panels on the device.

“Now I have to give you a dose of radiation,” Doc said. “You need to lay still for this, but you won’t feel anything at all.” Doc pressed some buttons on the machine. A digital readout showed red numbers counting down from ten. Doc stepped to the other side of the dividers that served as walls and waited. Would those dividers protect him from the radiation? Martin didn’t think they would. There was plenty of space between the dividers, and big gaps between the panels where the dividers folded. Not to mention the dividers only stood about six feet tall.

The red digits reach double zero and a light flashed on the machine. The lamp looking device above Martin’s chest glowed for a few seconds and then went dark. Martin held his breath as he attempted to stay as still as possible.

Doc came back from behind the dividers. Martin sat up as Doc moved the machine away from him. Martin flexed his hands, moved his arms, rolled his head, nothing felt different. He didn’t feel any stronger and he sure as hell didn’t feel super human. “Now what?” Martin asked.

“Now you are going to get extremely tired. I suggest going home and getting some rest,” Doc said as he positioned the machine against the wall. “You probably won’t see any positive effects at all for at least forty-eight hours. And before that you might get sick as a dog.” Doc looked at Martin. “If you don’t die, that is.”


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The Death of Captain Awesome – Episode 17

This is part 11 of my current work in progress, The Death of Captain Awesome.
I encourage your feedback. Leave comments, criticisms, and thoughts about the story in the comments below.

previously…161514131211 – 10 – 09 – 08 – 07 – 06 – 05 – 0403 – 02 – 01


Norman’s voice on the message was calm, but urgent. He wanted to meet up with Martin and tell him about a few other things he had not told him about the night before. He asked Martin to meet him at the church in an hour, but after the exchange with the detective Martin thought that going directly to the church might not be such a good idea. He called Norman back and told him to meet him at The Locust.

The Locust was a small bar on the corner of Locust St and 5th Avenue. Martin had been there only a few times in the ten years since moving to the city, but he liked the place. It had a small town feel to it, and it was easy to tell that the bar was frequented by locals more than it was by tourists. The place was only big enough for two tables at one end, three booths along the wall opposite the bar, and of course the bar itself with fifteen stools. Martin had counted them.

Martin was already sitting in the first booth when Norman walked in. “So,” Norman said. “Why couldn’t you come to the church, and what is so Cloak and Dagger that you can’t tell me over the phone?”

Martin thought it might be just a bit ironic that Norman referred to Cloak and Dagger in a sarcastic tone. Wasn’t he the one that was sneaking around industrial parks and warehouses on the river to complete his secret mission against Captain Awesome? Martin thought all this, but did not question or accuse him. Because Martin did not care if Norman was sneaking around and working in the gray areas of the law.

“A police detective came to my apartment today,” Martin said. He took a sip of his beer while Norman looked at him with suspicion. “He was asking about you and the church. The picture he showed me makes me think that you are under surveillance. Or at least the church is.”

“What did you tell him?” Norman sounded a little worried, but still kept a confident tone in his voice.

“I didn’t tell him anything,” Martin assured him. “Well, I did tell him I knew you, but I think he already knew that. If he is watching the church then he has probably seen me come and go for the meetings.”

“Does he know anything about the warehouse? The stuff that I showed you last night?”

“He didn’t tip his hand, but I don’t think so.”

“OK,” Norman said. He looked around the bar. Martin felt the paranoia seeping into the air. “We have to be careful. We have to be careful what we do, where we do it, what we say, and who we say it to. But depending on what he knows, then we also have to start working a little faster. We have to get this plan in motion a little quicker than I had hoped.”

“What plan is that?” Martin asked. “You still have a lot to fill me in on. Even if I wanted to tell the cops anything I don’t know enough to tell them.”

Norman gave Martin a hard look. “You didn’t tell them anything, right?”

“Of course not,” Martin said.

Norman looked around the bar again and then rubbed his hands over his face. “OK, you already know we are trying to figure out who Captain Awesome really is. While we do all this Trevor is working on electronic devices that might give us a slight edge over Captain Awesome should we need to fight him in hand to hand combat.”

“Electronic devices?” Martin had doubt plastered all over his face. “What are electronic devices supposed to do in a fight against Captain Awesome?”

“Don’t worry, they should work. But that is not even the kicker. We might not even need the devices that Trevor has been working on.” Norman looked around again. The paranoia was starting to border on crazy. “I have a guy that has been working to replicated the formula that gave Captain Awesome his powers in the first place.”

Martin was shocked. If there is a formula that can give someone the same powers that Captain Awesome has, then that is a game changer. What if he went through those treatments? What if he gained the power to fight Captain Awesome in hand to hand combat? He wouldn’t have to worry about another broken hand, that’s for sure.

“Are you telling me that it would be possible for me to become as strong as Captain Awesome?” Martin leaned across the table to emphasize how important his question was.

Norman paused. “You? You want my guy to give the treatments to you?” Norman had a slight smile developing on his face. “I have to tell you, my scientist thinks it is pretty dangerous to give to humans just yet. He wants to do a bunch more testing first.”

“Norman, you just told me there is a possibility that I can become as strong as Captain Awesome.”

“Yep.”

“And I don’t believe your half assed attempt to deter me from that possibility. You want a super human on your side of this war, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then take me to your scientist and give me that formula.”

“I have to tell you,” Norman seemed to enjoy where this conversation was going. “It could be pretty dangerous.”

Martin leaned so close to Norman that the table started pushing into his gut. “I am willing to take that chance.”


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Mac is Back – MacGyver First Look

Earlier today CBS released a trailer for the reboot of MacGyver.

If you missed it, check it out now…

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