Ryan rolled his shoulder a few times, and then cracked his neck. He bounced up and down on his toes and eyed the fire escape on the building across from him. He sprinted across the alley, lept into the air and grabbed onto the second level of the fire escape, and pulled himself over in one fluid motion. He continued up the firescape until he reached the roof and started sprinting toward the opposite edge. Ryan hoped that he wouldn’t find any crime tonight; he just wanted a quiet night of jumping from roof to roof to clear his head and let him sort through his thoughts. He wasn’t certain he would be able to make himself go down to stop any crimes yet, not after what happened earlier today with Becky. That was one of the things he had to think over.
What was he supposed to do about Becky and her offer? What was she thinking, asking already? Didn’t she know that this kind of question had two answers? Either end the relationship or accelerate it, because he saw the look she gave him when she thought he was going to say yes. And the longer he waited to answer, the worse it was going to get. If he thought about it for too long, that could be almost as bad as saying no. Maybe this question was a sign that Becky actually didn’t like him all that much. If she did, would she put him in this position?
A part of Ryan wanted to say yes; he really did. Everything they did together was great, and he always had fun with her. They were a great match for each other, but Ryan was convinced that there was a better match for him. All he had to do was get Kari to say yes. Ryan sighed. Perhaps going to one bible study with Kari wouldn’t be so bad. It wasn’t too likely that they could completely brainwash him if he only went to one, but he was certain that Kari wouldn’t be able to resist his charms if she finally went on a date with him.
Maybe that’s what he would do, then. Maybe he would say no to moving in with Becky and see how she took it. If she wanted to break up with him because of it, then he would finally go to a bible study with Kari. It was a win-win for him. He was glad that he took the time to think through this problem. A huge smile formed on Ryan’s face as he lept to another roof.
The smile quickly faded once his other problem invaded his mind. Should he hang up his uniform, and go back to being a normal guy? Should he just go back to the football team? He had become pretty good at controlling his strength. He missed the thrill of dodging the offensive line and pulverizing the quarterback, although it really couldn’t compete with the thrill of jumping across the city’s rooftops and beating up criminals.
Ryan sighed and slowed his run to a walk, sat down on the edge of the roof he was on, and looked up at the night sky. It was a clear night, and the stars were beautiful. He gazed up at the twinkling celestial lights, searching for answers, but only finding the Big Dipper and Orion. “I’m not saying I believe in you, because I don’t, but if you’re real, what would you do in my position? You’re all about saving people from stuff, right? What if by saving people, you were actually making it worse for them? What would you do then?”
The radio in Ryan’s ear buzzed and Jordan said, “What would I do when?”
Ryan’s face contorted in panic, and he replied, “No one, just talking to myself. I thought the radio in this thing was busted.”
Jordan chuckled. “It was, but I fixed it; it’s kind of what I do.”
“When did you get time to do that? I thought you would have been distracted by other things today.”
“Getting your radio fixed was a priority for me. I want you to be able to reach me if you need help when you are out on patrol. We’re a team after all.”
A smile crossed Ryan’s face. “Thank’s, buddy. How much of what I was saying, did you hear?”
“I saw that you were saying something, but by the time I got the headphones on I only heard, ‘what would you do then?’ So what is it you were asking about?”
Ryan stood up and started to turn around and jumped in surprise when he saw a black monster with sharp claws standing behind him. Before he could react, the monster reached out and grabbed Ryan by his face and threw him off of the building, down toward the alley. Ryan struggled to get his feet under him as he fell, but he didn’t have enough time and landed on his back. All of the air in Ryan’s body escaped in one big gasp.
He groaned and looked up to try and figure out what had just thrown him off of the roof, and saw the creature jump off of the roof and dive at Ryan, it’s claws bared and ready to slash him. Ryan’s eyes opened wide and he scrambled out of the way, his breath coming in heavy ragged bursts. The creature landed in the alleyway, and straightened up and looked at Ryan. Ryan was sure he had heard gears grinding when it did so, and upon closer inspection, saw that it wasn’t a creature at all, but rather a robot.
This robot was much more advanced than the first one that had attacked him. It had a lithe body, and claws on each of its four appendages. It’s legs were reverse-jointed, and its torso was a thin cylinder of metal that led up to a long narrow head. Ryan reached down and absorbed some of the rock that paved the alley and growled at the robot, “What do you want?”
The robot responded by pulling his arm back and charging at Ryan. Ryan stood his ground and swung his fist at the robot’s head as it drew near, and the robot slashed at Ryan’s chest. The robot’s claws harmlessly passed over Ryan, whose punch turned the robot’s head to the side. He started rejoicing, until the robot pushed Ryan’s fist aside and took a few steps back. It started to circle Ryan as if stalking prey.
Jordan’s voice came over the radio. “Ryan? Are you okay? What’s going on?”
Ryan started circling as well, searching for an opening he was hoping would appear on his opponent. “I don’t really have time to talk right now, Jordan. I’m in the middle of a fight with a robot at the moment.”
“Another one? What’s the hold up, then? The first one didn’t give you much of a problem.”
Ryan darted toward the robot and punched it in the torso, causing it to slide back a foot. Ryan’s cringed and grabbed his wrist. “Ow! What the heck are you made of, you dumb robot?”
The robot answered by swinging one of its claws at him once more, this time a small rocket engine in the robot’s elbow ignited and accelerated the slash. The claws connected with Ryan and hurled him into the side of the building behind him, and Ryan dropped to the ground. He slowly stood up and braced himself against the side of the building. “This just hasn’t been my day. First getting shot by a rocket launcher, and now having to deal with this thing? Is it too soon to retire?”
“What’s going on? Are you okay?”
Ryan turned his head and spat out some blood. “Just peachy. I’m getting my butt handed to me by a machine, and it won’t even do me the pleasure of taunting me. What’s up with that?”
The robot stared silently at Ryan for a moment, and then charged at him. It held up its left claw and a rocket engine in the elbow fired once more, accelerating the slash at Ryan’s face. Ryan grabbed the robot’s wrist in his hand, turned, and heaved the robot over his shoulder to crash into the floor of the alley. “I don’t think so!” Ryan continued to flail the robot around, lifting it into the air and then slamming it onto the ground five more times.
He held the robot up and inspected it, and in his surprise, saw that the metal of its body was still unscratched. “What the heck are you made of?” Ryan pulled his arm back and threw the robot three stories up into the air. The robot began to fall back toward the ground, and Ryan pulled his foot back and kicked the robot in its face once it got close to the ground, sending it flying into the side of one of the buildings. The robot fell to the floor in a heap, lying unmoving on the ground.
Ryan watched it for a few moments, and when it didn’t move, he turned around and checked to see if anyone had seen the fight. Jordan’s frantic voice came over the radio, “Ryan, are you okay?”
Ryan laughed, “Yeah, I’m fine. I think I’ve had enough excitement for one day. I’ll see you back in the lab in a few minutes.”
“Make sure to bring whatever’s left of that robot with you. I can’t wait to get a look at it.”
Ryan snorted. “You don’t have to worry about it being too broken. I pounded on that thing with everything I have, and I didn’t even scratch the thing.”
“You should make sure that it’s actually down for good before you bring it back with you.”
Ryan slowly turned back to face the robot. “I wish that I had brought some of those sticky grenades with me. They sure would have come in handy against this thing…” Ryan’s jaw dropped open when his eyes landed upon the spot where the robot had been lying. “It’s gone, Jordan!” Ryan quickly crouched into a fighter’s stance, and quickly started to scan the alley for his mechanical foe.
Ryan sighed. “The robot. I turned my back on it for five seconds, and the thing’s just gone! It shouldn’t have been able to move after the beating I gave it.”
Jordan sighed. “I can’t believe that you just let it escape like that, Ryan. You have to go looking for it now, before it can hurt anyone else.”
Ryan groaned. “Great, just what I wanted to hear. Instead of an early night, I get to hunt down the robot that just kicked my butt. Tune into the police reports in case they pick up on it.”
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more of it, come back on Friday when I will publish part three, and check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page to connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Also, if you enjoy reading my stories, and you enjoy drawing, I’m looking for pictures of my characters. If you want to send me your fan art, I promise to include it with some of my posts! I look forward to seeing that art!