New Fiction: Angel and the Blitz, Friday Night (Part 3)
August 31, 2001
The conclusion to our tale, written once again in a stream-of-conscious fashion without the aid of alcohol or narcotics I assure you.
Just seconds before it rolled over, Barry and Angel (dressed in their costumed alter-ego attire as the Blitzkrieg and Armored-Piercing Bulleteer [APB]) stood inside the cargo hold of the fourth van in the convoy. As the van began its roll over, the duo collided, first with each other, then with the cold steel interior walls of the van itself. APB felt nauseous. Blitzkrieg felt the index finger on his left hand break. The van jerked to a halt and had, somehow, righted itself once again. The dazed and contused duo knew that in seconds the van would be surrounded by police. It had all gone so wrong, so quickly...
Their well-conceived plan had been proceeding without flaw. At 02:05 a.m., they had successfully diverted the convoy off its preplanned path. Next, using their combined skill and abilities, they had set about systematically neutralizing the convoy starting with the two police prowlers at its tail-end and working forward. That part had been easy. Blitzkrieg had telekinetically disabled the prowlers’ radios, computers, and transmission. The process took all of 0.4 seconds. As the cars slowed to a halt on the darkened road the officers within the prowler spotted Blitzkrieg and APB who, riding the air currents, had been flying just 10 feet above them. Weapons were immediately drawn, but before a shot could be fired, APB had delivered his own assault. The officers would have been killed instantly had Angel not fired stunners. Nonetheless, the threat had been neutralized.
The duo had stood over the fallen officers. Angel rooted through the wallet of one of the men (one of his many hobbies included collecting identification cards and drivers licenses). A photo of a young girl fell from the wallet--her smile wide, her face innocent. He stared at the photo as it fell to the street and was carried underneath the prowler by a current of wind. Angel thought of his own daughter, Chloe, all of six-years-old, who would be fast asleep at this late hour. He thought about his actions and wondered what he was doing here. How was he preparing for Chloe’s future? What kind of a parent was he? What had he really given her?
“Paydirt.” Barry said.
“What is it?” Angel asked, thoughts of his daughter fading as thoughts of the business at hand returned to the forefront of his mind.
“It’s a list of the paintings contained in each van.”
“Let’s hope the one we’re looking for--I think it’s called “The Music Party”--let’s hope it’s in the last van of the convoy and not the first.”
“It is. Let’s go,” Barry said, a hint of trouble in his otherwise confident voice.
“I, uh...I don’t like this wind.”
“It’s just a little wind. It’s nothing.”
The two had quickly moved the prowlers and their unconscious occupants off the road and became airborne once more. Within seconds the tail lights of the last van of the convoy had become visible; Blitzkrieg and APB swept down upon the van like two bats on a late-night binge that had just spotted the Mosquito coast.
The plan, simple though it was, had involved three parts: 1. Disrupt the van’s electronics and transmission bringing it to a halt. 2. Render its occupants unconscious using necessary force as applicable. 3. Retrieve the painting and depart unscathed. Blitzkrieg had done his part and had disabled the van via telepathy. Or so he’d thought. As the van had begun to slow, the duo dropped down onto its rooftop. The van’s driver had swerved the vehicle sharply in response to the sound of the heavy footsteps above. Though its speed had begun to decrease, it’d continued along the road at 35 MPH. The leather-clad duo had fallen to the rooftop and hung on tightly. The van had continued to swerve left to right as its driver tried to shake loose the unwanted passengers.
“Inside, now!” Blitzkrieg had yelled, and APB had fired at the van’s rooftop. A small opening had appeared and Blitzkrieg had grabbed hold of it and had forced it wide. The two had quickly fallen inside the van’s cargo hold. At which point the van had swerved one final time before going into its roll...
Quickly they became aware of the seriousness of their situation: They were trapped inside a metal box in the dark, and as the seconds dragged into minutes, the sound of approaching sirens made it clear that they were hopelessly outnumbered. Blitzkrieg became conscious of the smell of ages-old canvas. It was a smell he hadn’t really thought about since childhood--since the day of the tornado. He realized the uniqueness of the moment and, fumbling, found the van’s interior light. He and APB stood surrounded by a dozen original works of art by Rembrandt. He removed one of the paintings from its covering and fell to his knees. His fingers drew close, ever so close, to the canvas; but respectfully he knew better than to touch it. But it was here. So much beauty. So much energy in its purest form. He searched through the remaining works of art and located “The Music Party,” Rembrandt’s 1628 oil on wood that was on loan from the Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam. He was instantly overcome by its uncompromised originality, its unsurpassed beauty of color, structure, and form. APB, whose fight or flight instinct was screaming “Get the Hell out of here you crazy sonuvabitch,” turned to his estranged partner in crime and asked, “Blitz, you okay?”
Blitzkrieg made no immediate reply. He merely stood up and gently took the painting in his hands. Moments later he turned to his friend and said, “We’ve got what we came for, Angel. Let’s be off.”
Angel grasped Blitzkrieg’s arm and said, “We can’t go out there. It’ll be a blood bath--and it’ll be our blood that fills the tub!”
“You underestimate our abilities.”
Outside the van, which had rolled completely off and back onto the darkened roadway, eight prowlers and accompanying uniformed officers waited impatiently. The driver of the van, who was semiconscious, had stumbled from the van moments after it completed its acrobatic turnarounds, and had alerted the police that someone was inside its cargo bay. Before they could issue a warning to the van’s occupants, the van itself exploded from within. The explosion was not accompanied by fire or smoke. It was a “dry” explosion in that it involved only the body of the van which, seemingly, was ripped open from the inside. Blitzkrieg had done his job well--it would have done neither he or APB any good to have ruptured the van’s fuel line. With a wave of his hand the law-enforcers were hurled away; their weapons stripped from their grasp by a mysterious, invisible force.
Blitzkrieg looked at his colleague and proclaimed, “As I said, you underestimate our abilities.”
Angel turned to reply when the shot rang out. A single shot. A single bullet looking for a hot date on a Friday night had found true love in Angel’s chest. He fell to the ground, clutching the wound and the world. It was quick.
“I’m going to miss swing dancing,” he said, as his eyes closed forever.
The Blitzkrieg turned and saw the gunman and realized he’d been in the van the entire time. He stood up, lost, and felt the wind at his back. The wind blew strong and he threw off his mask to better feel its caress. He held up the Rembrandt in his left hand and, with his right, hurled the assassin across the roadway and through the windshield of one of the prowlers with lethal force. Several of the officers were scrambling to relocate their handguns. The wind continued to build.
“Come on then,” he said. “Take me!”
Four of the officers retrieved their guns; the Blitzkrieg was locked in their sights.
“Put down the painting and drop to the ground!” one shouted.
“You’re going to have to kill me!” he replied, through the howling wind.
One of the officers would later report that this final statement was said not to them, but to someone or something else. A freight train could be heard in the distance, growing ever closer. It was moment of truth time for all concerned. Barry’s eyes widened and he mouthed more than spoke the word “No.” Behind the officers the funnel cloud appeared from the darkness. Everyone scattered as its sudden approach. Everyone except Barry. The twister took him into its violent vortices. And he realized that his years spent in fear were for naught. The tornado’s hold was rapturous and as he succumbed to its deadly embrace he realized this is where he was always meant to be.
The meteorologists and other weather quacks who forever try to explain the unexplainable would, in fact, never be able to explain the tornado that struck Southeastern Pennsylvania that summer morning. It defied all weather logic. There had been no thunderstorm activity (the first step in the creation of a tornado) that evening. There had been no humidity present in the air and no updraft. The sky had been clear--there had been no clouds. The classic low level jet of warm, humid air that blows from the south at 3,000 to 5,000 feet and helps “feed” violent thunderstorms and strengthen tornados had simply not been present. The National Weather Service had classified it as a level F3 containing multiple vortices. Despite this classification, virtually no damage was reported, and the tornado had lasted less than one minute. The Blitzkrieg’s body was never found.
At 2:26 a.m., following the death of Angel and the disappearance of the Blitz, in a small, suburban house, in a small, suburban town., a young girl awoke from her sleep and suddenly realized that she’d left one of her dolls outside in the tiny patch of grass that was the front yard. She quietly tip-toed to the front door and stepped out onto the porch and into the yard. As she reached down to pick up her dolly, she heard the rush of air above her. Rembrandt’s “The Music Party” dropped from the sky and into the grass directly in front of her. Landing on its right corner the painting was, thus, semi-impaled on the lawn. Chloe uprooted the painting and carried it into her room. She placed it under her bed.
“Finders keepers,” she said to her dolly, and fell fast asleep.
NOTE: When I began this story a few weeks ago, I had no idea what I was writing or where the story would go. That is, I suppose, one of the wonders about creating works of fiction. While the story's conclusion is somewhat grim, I think it works. Let me know if it worked for you.
NEXT: I have absolutely no idea. Yes I do; I'm just not telling (i.e., I have absolutely no idea).
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