Chapter Nineteen

 

After being processed and assigned a cell he got acquainted with the rules. Wake up was at 8:00am; headcount at 8:15; showered by 8:30, then breakfast until 9 followed by vocational/technical training until lunch At 1pm. Visiting hours were from 2-3pm, dinner at 6pm and lights out 8PM. This was his life for the next three months.

When he wasn't bored to death with the school work or mandated anger management and group therapy sessions, his time was spent working out or reading.

When duty called one of them would stay behind in the body while the other went out in space. This arrangement worked out until the Nekoshins sprang a surprise attack on a transport mission to Clark. Their number plus the armor proved too much for Phoenix and the pair came back bloody and bruised. He'd disappear after lights to train and sneak back in afterwards, however his cell mate was a light sleeper and caught Travis slipping into bed on numerous occasions.

He thought Travis was sneaking off to hook up like some of the other guys did. When Travis didn't turn up after four hours, Mark waited up and caught Travis popping into the cell. He was freaked out until he saw Travis's wounds.

"Dude are you gonna die?"

"No, let me rest and I'll be fine in the morning," he said and slipped into unconsciousness.

"Shit man you looked all kinds of messed up last night. Now you're fine."

"Fast healer."

"Bull! Spill or I tell the warden you've been sneaking out at night."

"What makes you think he'll believe you?"

"Cause my last cellmate did the same and got caught balls deeps in a twelve-year-old."

"Fine, if you tell me what you're in for first."

"Easy that bastard Judge Miller threw the book at me for hacking into my school's system and changing grades. Wasn't my fault they left it wide open."

"So?"

"So I should've been released a year ago, but he keeps adding time to my sentence. And I'm not the only one. When I set up the computer lab as part of my vo/tech program for this place, "Guess what I found out?"

"Do tell."

"He's getting kickbacks from the company that runs this place."

"How did you manage that?"

"Dude, give me a cell with internet and I can down miracles."

Travis pulled his personal cell from the pocket dimension and handed it to Mark. Within a few minutes he created several fake bank accounts with thousands in each and to show off he shut the power grid off on the eastern seaboard. Two minutes mind you but enough to get the attention of the national news that night.

A deal was struck. Travis agreed to have Adam take over Mark's case. In exchange Mark kept Travis's powers a secret and agreed to join the round table as the computer expert. With the information about Miller's kickback they along with several of the inmates had their sentences voided. For Travis and Mark however their sentences were dropped together. And that was how Travis came to be under house arrest at Richard's house until his assault trial in the fall.

 

***

"Time to check your vitals, sweetie." Jenny placed her stethoscope against his chest and stuck out her tongue when Travis gave her the evil eye. She noted the results in chart then released him to go outside.

The ankle monitor allowed him to go fifty feet from the door but no more and Kyle used this to his advantage when he showed up with Agent Anderson. The blond instigated Travis into chasing him outside and when he reached the monitor's limit Kyle taunted Travis by mooning him.

The ground turned to mud and Kyle sank, his clothes ruined. Proud of himself he released the disheveled boy and got to training. He kicked the gravity belt up to 900Gs, and then executed one aerial attack after another. His body spun through a barrel roll then he stopped for a moment and then darted upwards. At the apex of his jump Travis blitzed from place to place, his punches and kicks cutting through the air until he landed with a thud and continued.

He summoned fire blades and cut through the air. His movements were as graceful as they were deadly. They coming in rapid succession then slowed down as he executed more aerial maneuvers. When Travis came back down he raised his hand and a pillar of fire surrounded him then exploded into thousands of flame blades.

Jenny and the others sought refuge in the house. But they needn't worry. Travis closed his hand and they stopped in midair, and then rushed back to him. As the flames returned from whence they came he wiped his brow and switched to water. He continued for another five minutes before dropping to the ground covered in sweat and gasping for air.

Kyle shook his head and made the screw ball gesture, but secretly he wished he was that strong. Maybe then he could escape the Nursery too. Richard complained about his destroyed yard but Travis waved his hand and black energy washed over it and the damage was undone.

"Well that's new. It'll sure save on remodeling expenses."

"Don't remind me. I still owe like two grand from the last time."

"Mhhm and you'll pay every cent."

Travis grumbled about vivisecting him, but by this point they knew he wouldn't go through with it.

***

Josh pulled up and the boys retired to Travis's room to play video games.

"Later loser," Travis said and dropped his control.

"Coming on it's the middle of the round."

"Yeah, what's gives?" Josh said and flipped Travis off. He paid them no mind and left. Josh and Kyle looked at each, shrugged then restarted the game in co-op mode.

They played through a few levels but got bored and switched to a racing game. They traded small talk while they played, but Kyle couldn't resist asking Josh a question that had been on his mind the past few weeks.

"So what's gives between you and the T man?"

"Nothing, why?"

"Bull, he treats everyone like shit until you come around. Then it's all smiles and laughs from him."

"Meh, maybe he's just not that into you"?

"Naw, I think you guys have a thing going on."

"Wish I knew. One minute he can't stand me and wants to be pals the next."

"I take it you like the cock then?"

"Yeah, wanna make something of it?" Josh glared at Kyle.

"Naw, it's cool, but why him?" Kyle's face twisted into a sour expression.

"It's complicated, OK."

"Sorry man. Think you'll get together any time soon?"

Josh laughed then lowered his head. Their conversation stalled out and they went back to playing.

***

Travis looked down at the ruined apple and blasted it to dust. He failed yet again to teleport it without roasting it. He picked up another and tried again. He cheered when it appeared on the lawn, but then it exploded into chunks.

"Damn it."

His slumped on the porch and brooded. Failure to master this new technique was emblematic of a larger problem. He should have been well into taking control of the senate, but Travis didn't even have a councilman in his pocket. And though he created a device to neutralize the Nekoshin armor, they were no closer to tracking down the generals or establishing contacts.

God he was pathetic. An arsenal of abilities and alien technology at his disposal and a stupid ankle monitor had him beat. He came up with the genius idea to transfer the monitor to a homunculus but it was reduced to melted plastic. Strike one.

Next he ridged up a system to extend the range of monitors signal so he could go off world. It worked until the amplifier overloaded in the middle of a tense battle in the delta sector against aliens that looked like giant globs of mucus that spat acid. Strike two. One more screw up and it was back to juvy hall.

Travis shook off his doubts, tried again and this time the apple made it. Woot. His celebration was cut short when Phoenix popped into the yard.

"You know better than show up like this. Anyone could have seen you."

"Spare me butt munch. The fur balls have this tech that makes `em fast as hell. Get on it."

Travis grumbled and nodded his head. As if he needed another distraction. When he did a tracking spell on Blix it revealed the demon was destroyed. He didn't know who did it, but they would pay. Balder sent another extermination squad and were he a minute longer Tommy and Richard would have caught him devouring their souls.

He tried running his grandfather's journal through a Heinlein Cipher but it spat back gibberish. Next Travis tried reading the pages in the light of a full moon, then a lunar eclipse. Then he scanned the pages. First with infrared then UV light, but it revealed nothing.

Maybe he was over thinking it.

Travis pulled out the journal and crossed the letters most used. Nope.He reversed the words but it was still unreadable. He took out the page and read the clue again. I thought struck him. No it couldn't be that simple?

He flipped the scrap of paper over and wrote "D-A-R-K" then turned back to the journal. Travis picked the first encoded word on the page set to work. On the second attempt he broke the code. Travis smacked his head for being so stupid.

The journal described Marshall and his brothers failed attempts to make a pact with the devil. After weeks of botched rituals they'd done it. The demon revealed his name to be Hermes and began making deals with them. Little things at first: dates, acing tests, etc. But as the things they asked for increased, so too did the price. Marshall was the first to sacrifice a cat. When the others saw his wade of cash they fell in line. Things progressed but money wasn't enough for him. So Hermes put Marshall in contact with a higher level demon. Unlike him this one knew better than to give his name to a human and was referred to as the Cadaver...King.

Travis dropped the journal and retrieved Marshall's ring. When he placed it on his middle finger the containment spell broke. Demonic essence swirled around him and a great stone basin filled with blood stood before him and from issued a booming voice.

"Who summons the Cadaver King?"

"I do," Travis said and the voice gasped.

"It's been a while my friend."

"Yes Abe and I know about you and my grandfather. Tell me why I shouldn't tear you apart."

"Who would protect you from Balder and the others?"

"I'm doing fine thank you."

"Really and how's that shadow assassin of yours?"

"That was you? Why?"

"To prove a point. Strong as you are, you lack practical knowledge gained from experience."

"This conversation is over." Travis took off the ring and planned how he should handle Abe. The bracelet sparked as it strained to contain his essence.

"Boy! It is time." Oblivion entered his mind and they fought. But Travis was no match for him this time. He couldn't understand why Oblivion was besting him when Travis always defeated him before.

"Don't you get it? You gave into the hunger and now you're mine."

Travis froze in place and Oblivion possessed him. The cold encased Travis and he felt himself slip under. Then it stopped.

"Get up and fight." Phoenix's voice cut through the haze of his mind and Travis joined him. Together they drove back Oblivion until he retreated.

"You're welcome."

Travis nodded and strengthened his mental wards. The coldness still clung to him no matter how much demonic energy he dispelled. When Travis came to he saw his hands fingers were clawed. Lovely what else could go wrong?

***

His trial lasted two weeks and he was sentenced to six months of house arrest with time served, two years of probation, and was ordered to pay back the state for their search efforts. Travis was ordered another three hundred hours of community service and more anger management classes.

Helena pleaded with the judge for Travis to serve his sentence at her house, but he was remanded to his parents. Sarah had to be separated from her mother when they got into an argument after Travis was released.

Well that it until next time. Remember to comment at silentbutcudly@hotmail.com and to donate to nifty to keep stories like this free.