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Chicago Blues

Dejhan wandered through the house he had shared with his grandmother in a wistful sense of amazement.  He had been surprised to find that not only was it still standing, but she’d left it in his name.  Nana had died while he was going through the Academy as part of his rehabilitation for the armed robbery he’d been busted for.  He had not known then that she’d paid off the house and willed it to him.  And yet, here it was, just as he remembered it.

As he cleared cobwebs from corners and wiped clean layers of grime from fixed surfaces, he began carefully taking the dust covers off the old furniture, each with its own new story to tell hidden underneath.  Such memories!  He missed his Nana Ayotunde.  When he’d received word she’d passed, he’d been racked with grief for weeks.  He hadn’t even gotten to say goodbye.  He was shocked when Alden told him the house was his, handing over the keys and deed at the same time, while dispatching his first solo assignment.  It was hard to know how to respond.  An essential passage of history was closed from him and gone forever, but now a new chapter was just beginning, and at this point, it felt fairly crucial to his future.

The street gangs in Chicago had been acting strangely lately.  The turf wars had ceased, known informants had started disappearing, and undercover police were being assaulted in gang areas.  Dejhan, having been in the Wyverns, was tasked with going undercover to find out what was up.  His records had been altered to show he’d spent the entire five years of his sentence in prison, instead of in Psy-Squad Academy.  He tried to look up some of his old crewmates, in the hopes of getting hooked back in with the old gang, and was greatly distressed to discover all but three were dead.  Jamar, his old gang leader, seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth, and the other two had apparently left criminal life altogether.  He was going to meet them at a discotheque in the magic zone that night.

Dejhan spent his time until then making sure his motorcycle was in working order.  It had been stored in Nana’s garage during his absence, so he was going to need to look over every system to get it cleaned up.  He walked a mile to the station to get gas and oil for it.  When he finally got it started up, that old familiar hum warmed his heart, as he tried not to dwell on everything hed lost since coming back here.  At dusk, he headed out towards the Illusions nightclub.  Watching the dynamic tapestry of twilight, the backdrop of the Chicago skyline transforming from its normal bluish tint to rich, deep, orange and purple hues as he zoomed ever closer, he realized just how much he’d missed this city.

Arriving at Illusions, he found out how the place came by its name when he walked in and was immediately assaulted with clouds of colored smoke and illusions of dragons, ogres and other fantastical creatures as a panoramic atmosphere, creating a disorienting haze.  Frustrated, Dejhan quickly passed his fingers in the symbol of the eye of Horus over his forehead, thus opening his third eye and dispelling the illusions.  As soon as he did, he spotted Deandre and Estrella in a circular booth against the wall and strode over to them.

       “Hey there!”  Dejhan greeted them with a wave as he approached.  “I wasn’t sure you guys would want to deal with a deadbeat ex-con such as myself,” he grinned, a touch sheepishly.

Dejhan slid into the booth next to Estrella and across from Deandre.

      
       Of course we want to see you!” Deandre sprang forward to shake his hand.

              “We would never turn our backs on an old friend,” Estrella added, as she offered a shake to Dejhan, who took her fingers in his palm and gently kissed the back of her hand while flagging down a waitress with his opposite finger.

       “Do you have any Fire Meade?” he asked the server.


Yeah, honey, we sure do!” the waitress responded with a wink.  “For you, sugar, it’s three bucks.”

Dejhan handed over a 5-spot without thinking and looked back at his old friends.  He hated having to lie to them so as not to blow his cover.

       “So, what have the two of you been up to since the Wyverns have apparently gone extinct,” Dejhan probed, choking back the sour taste in his mouth.

               “Jamar didn’t become a better planner after you were locked up,” Deandre began.  “His poor decision making led to the deaths of the others, and it almost cost us our lives as well.”

Here he stopped, his face clouded over, and sipped from his drink.  Estrella picked up another strand of the story from there.


          “Fortunately for us,” she smiled, taking her beau by the hand.  “We found our way to the Pergamon Health Clinic, and now we are finally free of Jamar’s mistakes.”

Dejhan sighed.  These are his friends.  They aren’t criminals.  They’re good people.

       “I can’t do this,” he shook his head, looking down at the table.  “I am not going to lie to either of you.”

Estrella reached for his hand and patted it sympathetically.  Deandre knit his brow, concerned.

               “What’s wrong, buddy?,” Deandre asked.

       “I’m working undercover for the Psy-Squad,” Dejhan confessed.

Estrella slowly withdrew her hand from his, suddenly preoccupied with the state of her glass.  Dejhan met Deandre’s eyes.  Relieved to find no judgment there, he continued.

       “I was supposed to inject myself back into the Chicago gang scene to find out what’s happening on the streets.”  Dejhan drained his glass.

Deandre nodded.

               “I’m glad you’re being truthful with us, but, what are you going to do now?” Deandre asked.

He scanned over Dejhan’s shoulder and pointed to the table, holding up three fingers in a gesture to the waitress for more drinks.  Estrella suddenly perked up, as if startled.

               “Oh!” she exclaimed.  “If you’re trying to find out what’s up with the street gangs, there may be a way I can help you!”

She was circling the top of her glass with a finger, almost absentmindedly, watching a girl with multi-colored hair dancing by herself and creating colored streams of lights from her hands.  Deandre followed her observation, and looked back, puzzled.

               “How are you going to help him?” her partner queried, as he took the round of drinks from the waitress and passed them out.

               “Oh, Miss!,” she purred, grabbing the waitress’ elbow just as the server was about to pass their table after leaving the drinks.  “Can you send that girl over there a shot of absinthe, and tell her it’s from me?”

Estrella pointed to the girl she had been watching.  Both Dejhan and Deandre looked at her inquisitively.  The waitress nodded wordlessly, smiling with an almost intoxicated kind of glow about her, and was off.

               “Her name is Giselle,” Estrella explained.  “She’s in a bad situation right now.  But, she has criminal ties, and I think the two of you could be beneficial to each other,” she told Dejhan, beaming, obviously pleased with herself.

Estrella sipped carefully from her fresh drink, her eyes searching the two men for acknowledgment.  Dejhan’s brows furrowed, confused.  Deandre returned her glance skeptically.

               “How do you know her?,” he challenged.

               “She came into the clinic pretty beat up,” Estrella answered, swishing her cocktail with a paper umbrella.  “I tended to her wounds, and we started talking, and, well... I got to know her a little.”

       “Do you think she would help me?” Dejhan asked, watching the girl as she received the drink and looked over to their table.

He raised a glass at her and nodded when she smiled back, blushing.  Giselle grinned, and then came flouncing over to their booth in a flowing tea length skirt with leggings underneath, a halter top and jean jacket. Her multi colored hair fell around her face in a messy layered bob cut.  As she came closer, Dejhan noticed how pale her skin was.  He rose from his seat to let her scootch in next to Estrella, who squeezed around toward Deandre, then he sat back down on the other side of her.

                     “Who’re your friends?” Giselle quizzed, knocking back the shot of absinthe in one great gulp.

               “This is Deandre, my boyfriend,” Estrella introduced with a gesture.  “— the one I told you about.”

The two women exchanged a knowing grin, and Deandre scowled, wondering if he should be worried.  Estrella continued, turning her attention to their male guest.

               “...and Dejhan is an old friend of ours.”

Giselle looked for a moment like she might blush again, but instead extended her hand to Dejhan with a shy smile.  He responded to it the same way he had to receiving Estrella’s hand.  This time, Giselle’s flash of rosy cheeks was unmistakable.  Both smiled at one another as if they were having a conversation without words.

               “I wanted you to meet Dejhan,” Estrella intoned over the two of them.  “He may be able to help you.”

The friendly game of stare war was broken as Giselle’s attention was distracted by a rambunctious sound at the entry door to the club, where a rowdy group was just coming in.

                     “How can he help me...” Giselle questioned, without shifting her watchful vigil on the newcomers to the scene.

Dajan’s attention also snapped to them, as he tracked her gaze to its targets.   There were six of them, all dressed in a similar style, with matching colors, their mannerisms and behavior suggesting they were obviously looking for someone, and didn’t care who knew it.

       “Friends of yours?” Dejhan muttered sideways to Giselle from the corner of his mouth.

                     “Define ‘Friends’,” she squirmed in response, trying to sink down beneath the table.

       “Well, I guess that’s our cue it’s time to leave,” Dejhan declared suddenly, swiftly passing the sign to open up Estrella and Giselle’s third eyes.

In seconds flat, he followed up that motion with another, casting an illusion of his own before grabbing both women by the hand and directing with his head toward the back while launching himself from the booth and heading toward an exit at the rear of the building, each of the women in tow behind him, just as a swat team raid came bursting in the front entrance, demanding everybody freeze, this was a bust.

       “Deandre!, Take Estrella’s hand and follow her... those aren’t actual cops!,” Dejhan barked over his shoulder at his friend, still in the booth, watching the commotion around him in a mild state of bewilderment.

Giselle and Estrella followed Dejhan, while Deandre bolted behind them, the recently implanted circuitry in his arms beginning to glow.  The club exploded into chaos as drunken, carousing millennials, now panicked, tried to avoid phantom police officers.   When the band of ruffians — or whatever they were who had caused Giselle’s alarm — quickly realized the cops were apparitions, they promptly scuttled back out the front door again to go around and head the group off at the alley to prevent escape.

As the Wyvern remnants and their newfound friend filed out of the building, Dejhan took stock of everyone for safety, counting heads as each poured through the egress, then swiveling around in a double-take as he caught sight of his friend’s glowing arms.

       “WTF, Deandre?” he exclaimed in shock.

Deandre shrugged.

               “I’ve gotten some bionic implants working at the clinic,” he answered, as he pulled out two retractable steel batons.

Giselle produced a wand of her own, and Estrella set her face with a look of determination.  The hoods from the club came rushing from the alley to confront the group.  Estrella let out a piercing wail, causing the attackers to cover their ears and fall to the ground.  At the same time, Dejhan and Giselle, as if on the same wavelength, both created matching giant gusts of a great swirling whirlwind, blowing the goons into the wall of an adjoining building.  The foursome ran through the alley towards their respective transports, parked across from the front of the club.

                     “I hope you guys have a vehicle!,” Giselle shouted as they ran.

Dejhan reached his motorcycle, and with a snap of his fingers it turned over.  He held out a helmet to Giselle.  She grabbed it and placed it on her head as she straddled the bike uncertainly.

       “Meet me at Nana’s!” Dejhan yelled to Deandre and Estrella, just as they were jumping into a non-descript tan four-door sedan.

Dejhan threw his bike in gear, opened the throttle and sped away from the club.  Estrella and Deandre got to his grandmother’s a minute or so behind him and Giselle.  He invited them all to stay the night.  He put Deandre and Estrella in his Grandmother's master bedroom, and Giselle in one of the guest bedrooms, apologizing to them for the state of the place.  He then went to his old bedroom and looked out the window over the city.  It was just getting to be around dawn, and he once again marveled at the changing tinges of the bluing skyline as the metropolis was just coming to life, just as he had for so many years so long ago.  And he found he could not stop the smile creeping across his face as the sun he’d watched go down now crept slowly over the horizon.  He was finally home again.

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
messygorgeous
Mar. 11th, 2017 05:48 pm (UTC)

It's always great when redemption brings you home again!

mamas_minion
Mar. 13th, 2017 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I have been waiting for a chance to write about Dejhan and his home coming.
rayaso
Mar. 12th, 2017 06:11 pm (UTC)
More action! I especially enjoyed the nightclub scene and the introduction of a new character. The idea of a nightclub using illusions was very creative.
mamas_minion
Mar. 13th, 2017 08:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I haven't actually been talking about the magic in this universe so I figured I better start.
bleodswean
Mar. 13th, 2017 11:29 pm (UTC)
Great jump out of introspective memory and gratitude straight into action and more action! I liked how you closed this.
mamas_minion
Mar. 14th, 2017 01:54 am (UTC)
Thank you, I wanted to do a little bit more action than what I have been.
halfshellvenus
Mar. 14th, 2017 06:39 am (UTC)
Giselle seems like a lucky break for Dejhan-- a way to get the information he wants, without betraying his friends. It sounds as if most of the remaining gang is a little nuts, and has driven the sane ones away.

It's sad that he didn't get to say goodbye to his grandmother. It sounds as if they meant a great deal to each other.
mamas_minion
Mar. 14th, 2017 07:10 pm (UTC)
thank you, His grandmother was very special to him. hopefully Giselle will be a lucky break.
eternal_ot
Mar. 14th, 2017 08:17 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the action here and was so lost in the story that I almost forgot about the prompt till I reached the end. A nice and engaging read :)
mamas_minion
Mar. 14th, 2017 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading, I am glad that you loved the action in this.
penpusher
Mar. 14th, 2017 08:43 pm (UTC)
Well paced and well drawn, really sharp and focused. You really pull the reader along through this wildness and manage to keep everything orderly and understandable. Great addition to the storyline and an intriguing way of expanding it.
mamas_minion
Mar. 14th, 2017 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I love writing action sequences and nightclubs are a fun place to stage them.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )