Ryan looked up from the Bible he was looking over with Kari and shook his head. “This doesn’t make sense to me. I think that I’m a pretty good guy, that I do more good than I do bad, but that’s not enough to make it into heaven? That doesn’t seem fair. It seems like this God of yours is saying, ‘follow me or suffer eternally for it.’”
Kari smiled at Ryan. “It’s not as complicated as it sounds. All you have to do is one bad thing in order for you to be classified as a sinner, or unclean. And God can’t have anything to do with sin, because He is holy. Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and died in our place so that we could be made clean again and have a relationship with God, if only we believe in Him and confess Him as our Lord.”
Ryan frowned. “Just because I did one bad thing, no matter how bad it is, I have to give up fun and live according to some old rules made up by a dead guy? And why does saying ‘I believe in you’ suddenly make me holy or whatever again? It seems way too easy if you ask me, and irresponsible. I can blame the bad stuff I’ve done on someone else to be made clean again? I don’t know about all of this.”
Kari rubbed her temples for a little bit and sighed. “Let me try explaining this a little differently. Romans 6:23 says, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ That is saying that the reward for sinning is that death now own us. Jesus gave death the one thing it really wanted and traded his life, a perfect and sinless life, for our freedom from death. There is a bit of a catch however…”
A smirk crossed Ryan’s face and he pointed at Becky as he interrupted her. “I knew it, I knew the whole thing sounded fishy. What’s this catch?”
Kari giggled, “The catch is that we get to choose. Death made part of the bargain that he would open our cage to let us out, but we had to choose to walk out on our own. It seems like an easy choice, but death has made our cage so comfortable, with all the pleasures in this life that seem attractive and nice, and the added stigma that the rules of God are just there to make our lives more difficult and take our fun away, but it’s not true. None of it is. The reason why the Bible speaks against these pleasures is that most of the time they are harmful to us, and God wants what’s best for us. And it’s not always, ‘you can’t do this!” a lot of the time it’s more like, don’t do this so much, or wait for a certain time to do this. Does that make more sense?”
Ryan slowly nodded his head. “I think so, at least it’s clearer than what I read before. If you want to convert me you may have to do these examples of yours with the whole Bible.”
Kari smiled at Ryan. “You just want an excuse to spend more time with me.” Ryan returned her smile and shrugged. Kari laughed. “I think I could put up with your company for a couple more sessions like this, especially if you are learning something.”
Ryan opened his mouth to reply but jumped when a loud crack sounded behind him. Ryan turned and groaned when he saw Becky rushing over to his side and a pile of textbooks that she had been carrying on the floor. “Ryan, I’ve missed you so much! Will you come and have some supper with me? Maybe we can talk about what went wrong and what I would have to do for you to go out with me again? I’ll do anything, I promise!”
Ryan looked around at all the people in the library that were staring at him and said awkwardly, “I already told you that we were finished. You need to move on and find someone else.”
Tears formed in Becky’s eyes. “Please Ryry, give me another chance?
Ryan shook his head, “Becky, you’re making a scene. Just pick up your books and keep doing whatever it is you came here to do.”
Becky looked past Ryan and saw Kari sitting at the table with him. Her face twisted up into a hateful glare. “It’s all your fault! You stole Ryan from me, you tramp!”
Kari’s eyes opened wide in panic and she said, “Me? I had nothing to do with this, Ryan and I aren’t even dating!”
Ryan growled, “That’s right, Kari and I are just friends! Our relationship was moving too fast. We’re done and you need to leave.”
Becky shrieked and dived over the table at Kari, but Ryan pulled her away before she was able to reach her. Becky tried to wiggle out of Ryan’s grip and continued to reach for Kari. A circle of cheering and laughing people formed around their table, some calling out encouragement to Becky and others shouting for Kari to stand up for herself. Two men wearing the security uniforms of the University of Leforn broke through the ring and grabbed onto Becky. “This is a library, miss. This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable!”
They started to drag Becky out of the library, and Becky fought to break free of them every step of the way. She shrieked, “I’ll get you; I’ll get you, Kari! I’m going to make Ryan mine again and you’ll pay for trying to steal him from me.”
Ryan watched Becky get dragged from the library, and once he was certain he was gone he turned back to see Kari sticking her books and notebooks into her backpack. Alarm filled Ryan’s face and said, “It’s okay, she’s gone now. We can go back to you explaining Christianity and stuff to me.”
Kari shook her head and zipped her backpack shut. “I don’t think so, Ryan. I’m happy that you are interested, and would love to do more of these sessions with you, but after what just happened, I think I need to be alone for a little while. I’ll see you tomorrow at my Bible study if you are still interested.”
Desperation filled Ryan’s face. “Of course I want to go with you tomorrow. Maybe we could go back to your dorm and study more for it, away from all these other distractions.”
Kari smiled weakly at Ryan. “I don’t think so. Good night.” Kari pulled the straps of her backpack over her shoulder and hurried out of the library.
Ryan watched her walk out of the library and shook his head. “Yeah, good night.” Ryan wished that he had never started dating Becky. On the plus side, maybe she’d take a swing at one of the guards and get banned from the campus. Ryan grabbed his notebook and headed back to his dorm.
Lori made her way across campus while masking herself from the senses of everyone around her. The trench coat she had put on over her pants suit fluttered in the breeze and she hurried toward the science building. This Jordan kid had better be in his lab like she kept hearing from everyone, and she had better get there first.
Lori entered the science building and made her way toward room 125, the room loaned out to Jordan for a lab on campus. She walked past students without them ever being aware that she was there and stopped outside of the room. She unmasked herself and made her way into the lab.
Jordan was facing away from her and typing on his computer, so Lori cleared her throat. Jordan started to turn around and chuckled. “Things not go as well with Kari as you hoped?” Jordan’s eyes went wide when he saw Lori standing behind him and not whoever it was that he was expecting. “I’m sorry about that, what can I do for you?”
Lori pulled a fake badge out of her jacket pocket and flashed it at Jordan. “I’m special agent Tami Wickers with the Zimmdaran government. I’m going to need you to come with me, we fear that someone wants to kidnap you.”
Jordan laughed nervously. “Kidnap me? Why would anyone want to do that?”
“One of the people we have been monitoring has made it known that he wants to kidnap you to try and use you to figure out the Super Morpher’s secret identity. It’s my job to get you someplace safe before they have an opportunity to do that.”
Jordan shook his head. “Why would they think that I know anything about the Super Morpher? This doesn’t make any sense.”
Lori shrugged. “Someone connected you with the Super Morpher because it is rumored that the suit that he wears is made out of the same indestructible fabric that you recently developed a formula for. I don’t have time to argue with you, they could be here at any time.”
Jordan nodded his head. “Alright, just let me turn off my computer and let my roommate know where I’m going.” Jordan picked up his phone and Lori took it away from him.
“No one can know where I’m taking you, especially not anyone close to you. They might come after him when they can’t find you. If he doesn’t know where you are, he can’t tell them.” Lori dropped Jordan’s phone onto the ground and stomped on it.
Jordan’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head. “Hey, why did you do that to my phone?”
Lori sighed. “We can’t risk anyone using the gps in your phone to track you. Don’t worry, the government will replace your phone once this is all over. We need to go now!” Lori pushed a protesting Jordan toward the door and followed him out.
Lori and Jordan walked into an old warehouse that sat next to the river that looked like it hadn’t been used in a very long time. There were holes in the roof and the walls, and the entire building leaned slightly to the right. The lights sparked when Lori flipped on the light switch and small animals and insects scattered at the sound of their footsteps. Lori nodded her head. “We should be safe here, so go ahead and make yourself comfortable. I need to check in with my boss to see if they’ve managed to track down those kidnappers yet.”
Jordan moved off to explore the warehouse and Lori pulled out her phone. She masked her sound from Jordan’s senses and called the Spider. An angry voice answered. “This had better be important, Wraith! I am not in any sort of mood to be trifled with. Do you have a name for me?”
A smile crossed Lori’s face. “I have something better than just a name for you. I have a certain Mr. Jordan Godard that I believe you were after.”
Lori heard heavy breathing from over the phone for several moments before the Spider replied, “You were the one that snatched him from his lab? My men went looking for him and were only able to recover a smashed cellphone. Bring him to me immediately.”
“I don’t think so. Seems to me that if you had him, you wouldn’t need me to figure out the Super Morpher’s identity any more, which would mean if you want him, you’re going to have to pay.”
Lori could hear the Spider grinding his teeth on the other side of the phone. “Very well, tell me where to find the boy and I will give you the forty thousand that we agreed upon earlier.”
Lori shook her head. “The forty thousand was for the Super Morpher’s identity. If you want Jordan, it’s going to cost you fifty thousand.”
The Spider chuckled. “You are an astute bargainer, Miss Bole. Very well, fifty thousand dollars. Now where are you?”
Lori smiled. “I’m at warehouse 14 near the river. And Spider, you may want to talk to Saul about not discussing sensitive matters like this in front of others in the future. As you just learned, it can cost you.”
“I will take that into consideration. My men are on their way to pick him up now.”
Half an hour later the door to the warehouse burst open and four men in black suits with guns walked in. Jordan jumped and looked at the men suspiciously. “What’s going on? I thought you said we’d be safe here!”
Lori smiled as one of the men walked up to her and handed her a brief case. “Oh, we were perfectly safe here. Until I sold your location to those men that wanted to kidnap you. No hard feelings, this is just business you understand.”
Jordan glared at Lori as the men in suits led him out of the warehouse and Lori threw her head back and laughed. This turned out to be far more profitable than she had expected.
Footsteps echoed around the stairwell as Ryan made his way up to his dorm. Why did Becky have to show up and ruin such a perfectly good night? Kari was starting to fall for him, he could feel it. He got the feeling that Kari would keep falling for him the longer she tried to explain Christianity to him, and luckily for him, he wasn’t going to understand it any time soon. Seriously, how can Christians believe all that stuff?
Ryan hesitated in the hallway when he noticed that the door to his dorm was ajar, and the doorframe was broken where the lock connected to it. He pulled the glove off of his right hand and made his way over to the door. He slowly pushed it open and made his way inside. He gasped as he looked around the room. The room was trashed.
Not a single piece of furniture was sitting upright, and papers were strewn about the room. Posters and the wallpaper were torn down everywhere, and shattered glass was all over the floor. Ryan carefully made his way through the room, and he checked his and Jordan’s bedrooms, and saw that they were also trashed in the same way. Ryan quickly pulled out his phone and called Jordan. The phone went straight to voicemail and Ryan bit his bottom lip. He ended the call and immediately dialed the number for the police. After several rings someone answered the phone. “What is your emergency?”
“My dorm has been broken into and completely trashed, and I think my roommate may have been kidnapped!”
“What is your address? We’ll send some officers over to investigate right away.”
Lieutenant Jacob surveyed the room that the rest of the police officers were searching. He turned to Ryan and said, “So you say that the room was like this when you came back? Do you know of anyone that may have had a grudge against Mr. Godard, or would have any reason to want to kidnap him?”
Ryan shook his head. “Jordan was a science geek, so he wasn’t exactly popular, but no one disliked him, not enough to do this. I’m afraid I can’t think of anyone.”
Lieutenant Jacob nodded his head. “He seemed like a good kid the couple of times that I met him. He was pretty smart, maybe someone kidnapped him to use him to build something for them. We’ll keep looking around to see if we can find any clues, do you have anyplace to stay?”
Ryan nodded. “Yeah, I have plenty of friends that would let me spend the night. You’ll let me know if you find anything out?”
Lieutenant Jacob nodded his head. “Of course, now go and try to get some sleep. We’ll find your friend for you.”
Ryan turned and walked out of the dorm. “There’s no way the Super Morpher is going to just lay around and wait for the police to find Jordan. I have a few places I want to check out still.”
Ryan ran out the door and made his way across campus to the cafeteria. A couple of the tables had students seated around them with their textbooks open discussing homework or a study guide for an upcoming test, and a woman was wiping down the unoccupied tables. Ryan asked everyone in the cafeteria if they had seen Jordan, or if he had been there. No one had seen them, and most of the didn’t even know who he was, and Ryan hurried on to the science building on the other side of campus.
One of Jordan’s favorite teachers, Dr. Brandon Thome, had his office in that building, and sometimes he worked late in his office. Jordan might be up there talking about something he was working on with Dr. Thome. Ryan rushed up the stairs and knocked on Dr. Thome’s door. Dr. Thome was surprised to Ryan, especially at this time at night, but he hadn’t seen Jordan in a couple of weeks. Ryan left Dr. Thome’s office and headed down to Jordan’s lab. Maybe his phone had died and he was working late on a project again.
Ryan pushed open the door to Jordan’s lab and his heart sank even further than it had before; Jordan’s lab was in the same condition as their dorm had been. Someone had come here looking for Jordan as well. Ryan noticed the smashed remains of Jordan’s phone lying on the ground and he understood why Jordan wasn’t answering his phone. Something had happened to Jordan, Ryan was certain of it.
He made his way to the top of the science building and put his suit on. He would comb this entire city tonight if he had to, he was going to find and save his friend. He jumped from building to building as he made his way across town, always keeping his eyes open for any sign of Jordan. The distorted voice that had demanded Ryan return to being the Super Morpher came over his radio. “Hello, Super Morpher. Mr. Jordan Godard is in our custody.”
Jordan sat in the Spider’s interview room, tied down to a chair with cameras pointed at him from the four corners of the room, and a table with a microphone attached to it and a wall made up of glass in front of him. A distorted voice came through two speakers mounted into the wall behind Jordan and said, “Hello, Mr. Godard.”
Jordan struggled against his bonds and said, “What do you want? Let me go.”
The voice chuckled, “All in good time, my dear Mr. Godard. First, we have some questions that we were hoping you could answer for us. Do you know who the Super Morpher is?”
Jordan hesitated. How had they managed to connect the Super Morpher back to him? Jordan replied, “Yeah, he’s that new hero that has been protecting the city, right?”
The distorted voice chuckled, “Oh, being coy, are we? You may have misunderstood. I believe that you know who the Super Morpher is under his mask. That is what I am interested in.”
Jordan frowned. “Why would you think that I would know who he is?”
“It is believed that the suit that the Super Morpher wears is indestructible, and I have it from a credible source that you have recently developed a formula for making fabric indestructible, and that you have kept that formula to yourself. It would make sense that you made his costume for him, and that you would know who he is. If you don’t tell me, things will get very unpleasant for you.”
Sweat began to bead on Jordan’s forehead. How had they figured out that it was the cloth and not Ryan that was invincible? “I don’t know who he is. I have had several orders come in for my new cloth, perhaps he is one of those? I don’t know who any of the people are that ordered from me though, so you would have to let me return to my lab to get my records.”
A sigh came over the speakers. “You want to be difficult, do you? I have ways of making you tell me who the Super Morpher is, ways that will make you tell me everything you have ever done. That would be a waste of your brilliant mind though. I think I will add you to my collection of scientists and you can work for me instead. I will give you some time to decide which you would prefer: Giving me what I want and being set free, or remaining silent and working for me.”
The Spider flipped off the microphone and sat back in his chair, shaking his head. “If this young man does know who the Super Morpher is, he must be quite close to him to be protecting him in this way. Have our men made any progress in tapping into the data from the communications chip from his phone?”
Saul shrugged. “They’re working on it, but it will take some time to get past the encryption on it.”
The Spider sat forward and twisted some dials on the panel in front of him. “Very well, we can set another plan into motion. The Spider flipped the microphone back on and said, “Hello, Super Morpher. Mr. Jordan Godard is in our custody. If you do not appear before me at the same place that we met earlier today in two hours, I will end his life. I’m sure that you don’t want to have this man’s blood on your hands, so I suggest that you arrive promptly.” The Spider flipped the microphone back off and crossed his arms. “Now we just have to see which of our plans bears fruit first.”
Ryan’s hands formed into fists at his side. Something terrible was going to happen no matter what he did, either Jordan was going to die, he was going to end up working for this mysterious man, or the city was going to be attacked. He couldn’t just give up, but what could he do in this situation? He was going to save Jordan no matter what it took, and he would fight against the gangs if it came to that, but even he couldn’t protect the entire city all at once!
Ryan sighed, maybe he could ask the police for help. They would want to protect this city as much as he did. What if they didn’t want to work with Ryan? What if they still wanted to arrest him on sight? Ryan shook his head and started to head back to campus. He would do everything he could to save Jordan, even if it meant risking being arrested.
Ryan, dressed as the Super Morpher, stepped into his dorm and cleared his throat. Lieutenant Jacob turned and his eyes opened wide in panic. He reached for his gun at his side and pointed it at Ryan. Ryan held up his hands and said, “Relax, Officer. I’m here to talk with you about Mr. Godard.”
Lieutenant Jacob stared at Ryan suspiciously. “And how did you know that I would be here? Are you spying on the police?”
Ryan shook his head. “Nothing like that; Mr. Godard has a very concerned friend that tracked me down and asked me to help out if I could. Have you found any leads?”
Lieutenant Jacob shook his head. “The lady at the front desk saw some guys in suits enter the building, but she didn’t get a good look at their faces, if they are the ones that did this. There’s no fingerprints, and they didn’t leave anything behind either. I think you know where to find him though, if that voice over the radio was correct.”
Ryan flinched. “That voice was the real reason I came here. I’m afraid that whoever it is that is behind all this is going to try to force me to do something terrible. I was hoping that the police could help me stop that from happening.”
Lieutenant Jacob chuckled. “You expect the police to work with a vigilante?”
Ryan growled, “You don’t have to work with me, I just need you to be prepared. Whoever that voice belongs to claims that he has control over the city’s crime. Last time I met with him he wanted me to come work for him, otherwise he said he would have the gangs destroy the city.”
Lieutenant Jacob raised his eyebrows. “So what, are you turning yourself in?”
Ryan shook his head. “No, I’m not going to work for him, but I’m not about to let the city be destroyed either. I’m going to fight these gangs, and stop them if I can. I can’t be everywhere in the city at once though, so I’m going to need the help of the police to round them all up.”
Lieutenant Jacob frowned. “I can’t just sit by and let the city be destroyed, so I’ll help you out. But you have to tell me who you are under that mask. You need to be held accountable for your actions.”
“I can’t do that; you have seen the extremes that this guy is willing to go to get me to work for him. Can you imagine what he would be capable of if he were to find out who I was? I have to keep my identity secret for as long as I can.”
Lieutenant Jacob grunted. “I understand that, and it’s very admirable of you to try and protect those that you care about, but I’m a police officer. I’m not about to go around telling everything I know about everyone to any thugs I see.”
Ryan shook his head. “This man is claiming to be behind every crime in the city, to have complete control over criminals. I would be willing to bet that a couple of police officers report to him.”
Realization dawned over Lieutenant Jacob’s face. “I am going to have to look into that. If this guy is as bad as you are claiming he is, I might want your help bringing him down.”
Ryan nodded his head. “You’ll have it. I have about an hour and forty five minutes left before this guy kills Mr. Godard. I’ll give you an hour and a half to get your men in position before I make my move.”
Lieutenant Jacob watched Ryan walk out of the room with curiosity. After talking with him, the Super Morpher was not what he had expected at all. He shook his head. He had a lot of work to do if he was going to be ready to face what was coming. He pulled the radio attached to his shoulder to his mouth and said, “This is Lieutenant Jacob, I’m going to need to get every available officer, both on and off duty prepared for a massive attack on the city.”
An hour and a half later Ryan stood in an elevator in the Zimmdaran Accounting Experts building, breathing slowly in an effort to keep himself calm. The fight was going to start here, he was certain of it. He was going to have to figure out how to protect Jordan, and get out of the building as fast as he could to allow him to get to wherever the gangs were going to attack. The button for floor eighty was lit up, and a soft ding sounded every time the elevator passed another floor. The elevator finally stopped and the doors slid open.
Ryan stepped out of the elevator and immediately saw five armed men waiting in the hallway. Ryan made his way past them, trying to seem full of confidence, and he was sure he heard one of them snicker. He opened the door that led into the room he had been in earlier that day and gasped when he saw Jordan tied to a chair. The room was filled with ten armed men, all watching him.
The distorted voice came through the speakers in the room. “Ahh, if it isn’t the Super Morpher, and with only ten minutes to spare. I almost thought you weren’t going to show up.”
Ryan growled, “I’m here, now let Mr. Godard go. Once he is safely out of the building, we can discuss why you wanted to meet with me.”
A distorted laugh came through the speakers. “Just because you are the only one here with powers, doesn’t mean you have power here. Mr. Godard stays right where he’s at, and if you make any move to free him, one of my men will end his life.” The armed men pulled their guns free. “Have you given any thought to my proposition I made earlier today?”
Ryan frowned. “You said that you would give me a week to think about it. It hasn’t even been a day.”
“Yes, but it is such an easy question I thought you should have an answer already. Besides, I was just too excited to hear your answer to wait.”
Ryan took a deep breath. “I already abandoned this city to you and your men once, I’m not going to do it again.”
“You aren’t thinking clearly about this. Maybe if I made the consequences plain to you; if you refuse to work for me, then Mr. Godard dies and the entire city will be destroyed. Are you prepared to live with that on your conscious?”
Ryan’s hands formed into fists at his side. “I can take down all the men you have in this room without you being able to hurt me; I will leave this place, and I’m going to take Mr. Godard with me, and I’m going to protect this city.”
The distorted voice sighed and said, “I can see you have made your choice. Shoot Mr. Godard, then get rid of the Super Morpher.”
Ryan ran to the chair that Jordan was tied to and absorbed it. Ryan’s body transformed into wood and he jumped between Jordan and the armed men just in time to take a hail of bullets to his back.
The distorted voice said, “Very impressive, but you aren’t going to be able to escape from this building while doing that. Surrender and I will let your friend live.”
Jordan looked up at Ryan with fear in his eyes. “What are we going to do?”
Ryan picked Jordan up in his arms and ran across the room at the windows. He pushed his shoulder into the glass, shattering and flew out the window amidst a shower of broken glass and started the eighty story drop to the pavement below.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my review of what happened previously in Beast Blades, as well as a sneak peek at what will happen in the next chapter. Then come back on Monday when I will post part of one the next chapter of Beast Blades, and check out my newly published book, The Kids on the Case.