Never thought I’d actually use flashbacks, to be honest. But here I am, going all flashback-y on you guys.
So, as of last week, our amnesiac villain is amnesiac no more. *general gasping*
And now we’ll be delving into his deep dark past that has remained a mystery for so, so long. What was Wolfgang’s life before villainy? What turned him into the bad guy he apparently is? Let’s see in this week’s part.
For those of you just dropping in on us, don’t keep reading. Please, for the sake of story. Spoilers do abound in these here waters.
Catch up first.
And now, we actually get some good answers… introducing part 19, everyone!
Home for the weekend
The wind whipping through the car was so loud I almost didn’t hear my phone ringing. I pushed my sunglasses up onto my hair and picked it up from the dashboard.
Having Mom on the phone was worse than having a kid in the backseat.
“Are you here yet? Huh?”
I shook my head and flipped it open. “Hello, Mother.” I put on a British accent and dragged out the last syllable.
“My dah-ling child,” she responded in like fashion and I chuckled under my breath.
I leaned back in my seat and drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. “Mother dear, what part of ‘a few hours until I get there’ did I fail to communicate?”
“Oh, none of it, dear boy. I was just informed that our milk supply has been exhausted and you know how disastrous that is. Especially considering the chocolate cake we have planned for tonight . . .”
I raised my eyebrows, “Oh, do you now?”
“Special occasion of a young man coming over tonight,” she informed me in a serious tone. “Quite a charming young man, too. Drinks half his weight in milk, though. Could I bother you to stop and pick some up?”
I laughed, “Okay, I suppose if you put it that way . . .” I shifted out of the British accent, “You know, Mom, you don’t have to make a huge deal every time I come home for the weekend.”
“You’re right. I’ll just make you sleep on the porch and feed you slop instead.”
“You know what I meant.”
I could almost hear her shaking her head and giving that thin, sideways smile that always meant ‘you’re cute, but no’. “It’s my favorite day of the week. Throwing a party for my grown-up Wolfy boy.”
I half groaned, half laughed and shook my head. “Alright, alright . . . there’s a grocery store at the next exit. I’ll grab the milk.”
“Thanks, hon. Oh . . .” there was a bit of scuffling around like she’d covered the mic for a second. I waited and her voice came back, “Peter wants to tell you something.”
“Okay . . .” I hit the turn signal and pulled off on the exit towards the grocery store as the scuffling sounds continued.
Peter’s voice blasted through the speaker. “Wolf! Guess what?”
I winced and held it a little further from my ear. “Chicken butt.”
“Amazing Man is coming to town tomorrow! And he’s gonna answer questions and shake hands and sign stuff and Mom said I could go!”
I knew what a fan he was of this whole Amazing Man thing. And despite the media circus this whole thing was, I had to admit, it was pretty neat having an actual superhero around.
“Sounds amazing,” I answered, turning off towards the store.
“Totally.” I knew that tone of voice. Peter was probably bouncing on his toes at the very least. “Do you think you could come with me?”
“Sure. I’ll have Amazing Man sign my forehead or something.” I pulled into a parking spot and sat back in my seat.
Peter laughed, “Okay, sweet. Here’s Ellie. Bye! See you soon!”
There was a bit of fumbling around, it was quiet for a second, then I heard Eloisa’s voice. “Um . . . hi?”
“Was there a reason he handed the phone to you?” I laughed.
“Other than the fact I was sitting nearby, no.”
“Ah.” The line went quiet. Ellie was awful on the phone.
“How’s your day been going?” I asked, popping my car door open and sliding out into the thick, August air.
“Pretty good.” She was silent for a second.
I cleared my throat, breaking the awkward silence, “Hey, I have something for you when I get home.”
I involuntarily glanced through my car window to see the yellow, solidly bound notebook lying in the passenger seat. She went through notebooks faster than some guys go through cigarettes. She’d love this one, I was sure. Yellow was her favorite color.
“Oh really?” I could hear a shy smile in her voice.
“Yep. Something for you to look forward to.”
“Other than my brother coming back?”
“What, that annoying guy that comes and eats everything and tickles you every weekend?”
“That’s him,” she laughed.
I pushed off my car, grinning and started walking towards the store entrance. “Well, that guy needs to go get some groceries now so he can get back sooner. I’ll see you soon.”
“Bye,” she responded, “Love ya.”
“Love you too.” I flipped my phone shut and stuck it back in my pocket, pulling my wallet out in its place.
Now to get some milk.
I was heading towards the door when the floor shook. I stumbled a little and almost dropped the grocery bag.
I righted myself and quickened my pace towards the door. The shaking went down a bit. A quick earthquake, I guess.
And then the noise.
It was like thunder, but bigger. Much bigger. It wasn’t natural. The noise vibrated in my skull and made me wince. I put the hand that wasn’t holding the milk up to one ear and stepped out the door. My feet stumbled over each other a bit, still off balance from the vibrating ground.
What the . . .
I got myself a bit further out into the parking lot and whirled around, scanning the horizon for any clue as to what that noise was.
And there it was. A huge, black stormcloud of smoke, billowing up and blocking out the white clouds. What direction was that in? South.
I was going south.
My family was there.
They were there, where that smoke was.
My insides turned to ice. I had to get to them. Had to see if they were okay.
I broke into a run towards my car, fumbling my phone out of my pocket and punching in the number with shaking hands. Mom’s cellphone. I doubted our landline would be in working order.
My eyes went to that horrible cloud of smoke again and I swallowed. I popped open the door to my car and slid in, throwing the milk into the seat next to me.
The phone made the ringing noise. It was connecting. Mom would pick up and call me some awful nickname in a British accent again.
It buzzed. “The number you dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try again.”
No. Nonono. I’d dialed wrong. Mom had dropped her phone in the sink or something.
I shook my head and stuck the keys in the ignition after a couple of shaky tries. I turned them and the engine roared to life. The radio came on and I turned it up louder than necessary, switching the stations until I found the one I wanted.
I only heard the words “bombing incident” before I went numb.
That was a bomb?
I stared at the smoke on the horizon.
They had to be okay. I’d get to them.
I floored it out of the parking lot.
The freeway became a racetrack. I broke the speed limit by at least twenty miles per hour the whole way there.
It still seemed to take a year.
And the fact that there weren’t any cops around to pull me over was worrying.
Three more exits. Three more . . . I kept the mental countdown going in my head. All the scenery I usually enjoyed only served to remind me of how far away I still was. The swirling, apocalyptic, black smoke charred the sunset. It looked red and ugly.
I’m almost there. I can find them. I forced my illogically hopeful thoughts to scream above the other ones. The ones that were probably right.
I readjusted my focus to the road in front of me just in time. I slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding the bumper in front of me.
Car after car lined up, packing the lanes in shiny, multicolored rows. Police lights flashed over the metal, reflecting into the partial dark. A roadblock up ahead. Alarmed yelling mixed with screams and sirens as I popped my door open.
I don’t know why I grabbed the notebook for Eloisa. And I certainly don’t know why I grabbed the milk. But, holding both of them, I wove my way around the cars and muscled to the front, near the block.
I could see beyond the officers and cars. Metal chunks and charred bits of who-knows-what were flung across the street. What would normally be the bright, cheery entrance to the town was clouded out with smoke.
I set my jaw and started pushing through to the street beyond the cars. A blue-clad arm clotheslined me.
“The area’s not safe. Stay back here with everyone else,” the policeman sounded like he’d already said it a million times.
I pushed his arm aside, “No, my family’s there. I can just go in really quick and . . .”
“Kid, there’s a lot of people saying the same thing. We can’t let you through. They have search-and-rescue dogs and a medic team and they’re getting the survivors they can out.”
I heard shouting to my left and looked over to see another officer dragging a shorter teen girl with choppy, turquoise hair back behind the cars. She kicked and yelled curse words at him, as well as a few sentences I couldn’t understand.
Her fist caught him in the side of the face and he staggered back. Another cop stepped forwards with a taser and the girl was dragged off to the side.
They were serious about this.
The officer watching me looked away for a second and I ducked under his arm, making a run for the other side. I didn’t make it more than two yards before two cops grabbed me, pulling back towards the rest of the group.
“Hold it, milkman,” The bigger one shoved me backwards into the crowd. I took a swing at him with the jug, but that only served to throw me off balance.
I barely avoided being trampled by the panicked crowd and got myself out to the side.
This was ridiculous, really. What were they going to do? Just hold off the frantic family members forever and not tell them anything about what was going on? They could at least let the qualified ones through to help in the search.
I looked down at my hands. Still holding the milk and the notebook. Things I was going to give my family . . .
Am going to give my family. Stop thinking in the past-tense. They’re not dead.
I sat down on the grass, gritting my teeth and scowling at the line of cops. My leg brushed something and I looked over to see the turquoise-haired girl who’d gotten herself tased a few minutes ago in the grass next to me.
She moved a bit, trying to sit up. Her breath came in half-sobbing gasps and she seemed to be trying to say something I couldn’t make out.
I leaned closer, trying to hear.
“He’s over there,” her choked words twisted through an accent that sounded close to British. “Eli’s over there . . . I can find him . . . he’s over there . . .” She shakily pulled herself up into a sitting position, her hair covering her face. Another noise that sounded like a sob came from her and she looked up.
I blinked at her.
She noticed me and turned away, pulling at her black tank top straps.
I swallowed, “You got someone over there too?”
Still refusing to look at me, she nodded.
Of course she did, idiot. Why else would she be crying? My gaze went back to the smoke that had somewhat cleared. The blackness still remained and landmarks that always heralded the way to my home were either unrecognizable or gone. I felt like I would throw up.
“They’re alive,” I said, more to myself than her.
“For now, maybe. But those cops won’t let anybody go and bloody check.” I glanced over at her again and she rubbed at her eyes.
“You know where to look over there?” I asked.
She nodded again. “I know right where he was working. He . . .” she swallowed and stopped talking, pulling her knees up to her chest.
I glanced behind us at the shadowy stretch of grass and the distant mountains. Smoke darkened the sky even further. I picked at the sleeves of my leather jacket. Almost night, and we were both wearing black . . .
I looked back to the girl, who’d put her face down on her knees. “We could take the longer way around,” I suggested quietly. She looked up and I tipped my head to the darkness behind us.
“You know, just slip around. It’s dark enough to hide us, but light enough we can still see. I don’t think they’ll spot us if we just keep low in the grass.”
She set her jaw and nodded. “Let’s do it.”
We stood together, her a little unsteadily still. I nodded to her, “We’ll find them.”
I saw a tiny ghost of a smile flicker on her lips for a second. “Thanks.” She tipped her head, “What was your name again?”
Oh boy. I hated introducing myself.
“Wolfgang. Wolfgang Dankworth.” I shook her small, cool hand.
“Liza Allister,” she tucked her hair behind her ear and nodded. “Let’s go.”
Together, we disappeared into the dark and headed towards the smoke.
Another part that went long and had to be split in two. So it’ll be another week, yeah.
On slightly more happy notes, have some story related goodies.
A drawing sheet with character doodles and a youtube playlist with lots of Wolfgang songs. ❤
Starting to have some questions answered now? What do you think happens next? (I mean, I know, but it’s nice to hear guesses and suggestions. 😛 )