Chapter 11: Card Shark
The Next Day…
Rebbeca came down stairs and sat down at the breakfast table.
“Good morning. How was the party?” Frank asked, as he folded his newspaper and laid it on the table.
“Good,” she said, taking a sip of his coffee. “After, I did some undercover work.”
“So that’s why you came in late, last night.” He took his coffee cup back. “What was it this time?”
“Do you promise you won’t get mad?”
“Yes…?” He got up and walked into the kitchen.
“I’ve been seeing Danny Habanero.”
“What do you mean by ‘seeing’?” He poured another cup of coffee.
“I went out with him…?”
“How many times have I told you, I don’t want you dating boys with records?”
“I know, but this one’s different than the boys I know you were referring to. Or, at least I thought he was.”
“What does that mean?” he asked, sitting back down. He handed her a cup of coffee.
“It means he’s Card Shark,” she replied.
“The boy who burned down the police station and helped Brown escape? That Card Shark?”
“Yeah,” she sighed. “He came to the party with me. After, I followed him, and at three a.m. he met with Oystra.”
“I don’t know. Maybe this will all turn out better than it started.”
“So, when did you get to bed?”
“I didn’t,” she said, leaving the table, and then walking up stairs. She walked into her room and closed the door behind her. She heard static on her radio next to the bed, before hearing: “We have a sighting of Card Shark on the corner of Rose and Bridge. Back up has been requested.”
Rebbeca’s phone started ringing. She looked down and saw that Drake was calling. Sorry Drake, she thought. “Activate: Dark Vengeance.” She was instantly transformed into Dark Vengeance.
Then, she opened her bedroom window and climbed out into a big oak tree. When she reached the ground, she whistled. A second later, Proto ran up to her. “Come on, Pro. We have work to do.”
Dark Vengeance and Proto got into her dad’s old jeep. She pressed a button on the dash board, and the jeep’s paint color changed. It changed from army green to black. She watched as her purple symbol appeared on the hood. She started the car and then drove toward town.
Dark Rose walked into their team’s new headquarters, and was surprised to see Card Shark wasn’t there. She looked around the room and saw that Oystra brought someone with her. “Nice to see we’re all here.”
“He said he’d be late,” Oystra said. “So, it looks like we both brought someone.” Dark Rose and the guy she brought with her, sat down across from Oystra.
“This is Alley Cat, the girl I told you about the other day.”
“You can also call me Bella,” Alley Cat said, “Bella Roads.” Dark Rose studied Alley Cat’s costume.
“Yours?” Oystra asked.
“This is Bandit,” Dark Rose replied.
“Or, you can call me-”
“Sky Rivers,” Alley Cat cut him off. “The bad boy from Riverstone.”
“And my boyfriend,” Dark Rose said defensively. “So don’t get any ideas, Cat.”
“Oh, believe me, my ideas were gone a long time ago.” She looked at Bandit. Suddenly, a woman in a lab coat walked in.
“You lost?” Dark Rose asked her.
“No,” she replied. “My name is Rachel Johnson.” She shook Oystra’s hand.
“Why should we care?”
“Because, according to Retsacnal, I’m a member of your team.”
Dark Vengeance pulled up to the side of the building that Card Shark’s supposed to be in. She got out of the car and saw an old ladder on the side of the building. “Proto, stay here.” He sat. “Stop anyone that tries to leave.”
She walked up to the chain link fence that surrounded the building, and jumped it. She continued, over to the ladder and climbed halfway up, stopping at a window. She looked through it and saw Card Shark with two other men. Looks like the cops were right this time, she thought.
She pulled out a pocket knife and slowly opened the window just enough so she could hear what they were saying.
“It’s been a month since I’ve seen you guys last, and you’re telling me the only thing you could find was a picture?” Card Shark asked. He spoke in a tone of voice she’d never heard before.
“We’re sorry, Sir, but-”
“There is no but about it. You messed up!” he yelled. “And to top it off, this is a picture from this morning’s paper!” He threw the picture in their faces. Dark Vengeance squeezed through the window, and landed behind a stack of crates.
She put her watch up to her mouth. “Proto, speak.” Proto heard her through the speaker attached to his collar, and started barking.
“What now?” Card Shark asked, as he walked toward the door. Dark vengeance ran out into the room, got low to the ground, and swung her leg, causing one of the men to trip and hit his head on the concrete floor. She quickly got up and punched the other guy in the face, dropping him to the ground.
She kicked him in the side of the head, knocking him out. She took a breath, remembering about Card Shark. She heard a gun cock behind her and sighed.
“Put your hands up and turn around!” Card Shark said. She did what he said. “Take off the glasses.” She looked at him. “Now!” Dark Vengeance didn’t reply. “I said now!”
He shot her in the chest. She doubled over, but stood back up. Card Shark shot her twice more. This time, she fell to the ground.
“Last chance.” He walked up to her, aiming the gun at her head.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she wheezed.
“Why not?” He noticed she was looking behind him, turned his head, and saw The Crystal Girl.
“Drop it!” The Crystal Girl walked up to him as he quickly pointed his gun at her and fired the rest of his bullets. When his clip was empty, she was still standing. “You done, yet?” She grabbed the barrel of his gun and squeezed it. The metal buckled and bent. She tossed the gun to the side.
In one quick motion, she grabbing a fist full of his collar and then threw him across the room. He slammed into a wall and slid to the floor unconscious. She turned around and walked to Dark Vengeance.
“Where’d you come from?”
“Outside.” She helped Dark Vengeance to her feet.
“Thanks, but I didn’t need your help.”
“Really? Because from my angle…you did.”
Dark Vengeance ignored her as she handcuffed Card Shark. She put her hand around her waist, where the bullets hit. As she tried to stand, she stumbled off to the side.
“Are you okay?” The Crystal Girl asked, catching her before she fell.
The Crystal Girl peeled back Dark Vengeance’s hands and found them full of blood. “No, you’re not.”
Dark Vengeance pushed her away and walked outside. “If you’re worried I’m going to tell your secret, don’t be.”
“How do you know?” The Crystal Girl followed her.
“The classroom?” She got in her car and pulled the walkie-talkie from the dash board and put it to her lips. “This is officer DV number 27. Card Shark and his men are ready for pick up,” she said, and put the walkie-talkie back.
She looked at The Crystal Girl and saw the bullets from Card Shark’s gun in her crystal skin. It looked like someone put bullets in Jell-O. “So, how does that work?” The Crystal Girl rolled her eyes, and her skin turned back to normal. As she did that, the bullets fell to the ground, intact, like they’d never been fired.
“It’s a long story,” Abigail replied. “How’d you know I wasn’t going to kill Card Shark?”
“It’s a long story.”
“So, what’s Card Shark’s deal, anyway?”
“He’s wanted for a lot of things, including theft, kidnapping, and burning down the police station,” she replied. “And that’s just what he’s wanted for, let alone what he’s already done time for.”
“Do we know who he is?”
Abigail nodded, looking down at Dark Vengeance’s arm clenched around her waist, with blood gushing through her tightly closed fingers. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’ll be fine. The bullet didn’t go very far.”
“That’s not what it looks like.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but, leave me alone,” she told her, “This town is just fine with one hero, and it doesn’t need anymore.” Dark Vengeance started the car and drove off. Deep down inside, she knows she can’t protect the city alone. It used to be just a few bank robberies every now and then, but lately it seems like they’re organized, and they’ve got costumes, now, too.
As soon as Dark Vengeance was out of The Crystal Girl’s sight, she transformed herself and the car, back to normal form. Then, she did a lap around the block and drove to Drake’s house.