Angelites - Body of Persons Empowered

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Chapter 70

Natalie laid Zeke outside across the street from the bank. His clothes were as black as a tuxedo. Flushed red skin with no major burns. As she turned him on his side to breathe, déjà vu struck when she noticed his surfer hairdo. Something looked strangely familiar about him. His charred glasses fell off. She swooshed to the restroom inside the bank lobby and wetted some paper towels with soap and water. Rushing back to Zeke in seconds, she wiped his face clean. No. It can’t be. Zeke woke up as if he got doused with cold water, coughing and breathing heavily. “What happened?” he thought. “How did I get here?” He looked up at Natalie. Was he dreaming? He closed his eyes and counted to three. It’s no dream. He recognized the Angelite’s stunned face. “Nat? Please tell me it’s you?”

Natalie thought her past was gone, but it came roaring back in one swoop. John Hart knows this man as Zeke Tricolo. She saw an old friend who lost touch with her over the years: Memphis Knox. Disbelievingly, she uttered, “Memphis?” She practically got suffocated with the tightest hug Zeke could muster.

“Damn good to see you, Nat,” he said.

Although pleasant to see a friendly face, she questioned why was he here? Why now? What’s his involvement with this fiasco? “Good seeing you, too,” she said. “But, what on earth are you doing here?”

“I was about to ask you the same question. Are you with the FBI? I called

you guys first thinking you’d get here the quickest. What took you so long


“FBI? Did you call the FBI? Tonight?!” He confirmed. “Are you saying that you’re working with John Hart? Been down with him the whole time?! Tell me you’re not rolling with him!”

Memphis pleaded with his hands held high. “Nat. Listen to me. It’s not what it seems like, you got to believe me. I can explain -”

She lifted him by his shirt and slammed him against the wall. “You knew about him all this time and you’ve been acting like it was business as usual?!” she scolded.

Memphis struggled to get a word out as his shirt collar pressed against his throat. “You…know me…Nat. I’m not…a k-ki-killer!”

Shades of green radiated around him and his body language showed signs of fear, not deception. He was telling the truth. She dropped him to his feet and asked, “Why in God’s name would you align yourself with a piece of garbage like John Hart?”

He took a moment to catch his breath. “I never wanted to be a part of

his maniacal regime but it was my only way to stay alive. John Hart was my assignment. About five years ago, my department chose me to investigate him because I was one of the few trusted cops at the 442nd precinct.”

“442nd? That precinct in Philly? I thought there were no survivors.” “No ‘normal’ survivors. Hart made sure none of his people were around

when the explosion happened.”

“He plotted that massacre?”

“Yes. The media deemed it an act of terrorism, but no radical groups – international or domestic – had ever taken credit for it. It was an inside job, assisted by some higher-ups who’d kill you with the snap of a finger for betrayal.”

“Tell me everything. And make it quick - I’m on the clock.”

Memphis broke his long history down to the shortest possible version,

aware that they were both pressed for time:

“One night, my team and I infiltrated a drug deal at the Bouncing Peach club on South Street. One of the guys I arrested turned out to be a cop from my department, going into business for himself. Several cops were involved with

the drug trafficking game in South Philly back in those days. Might still be now. Instead of booking him right away, I drove him out to the docks and handled things the old fashion way.”


“I beat the holy hell out of him until he confessed everything: names, numbers, locations, enough to put the top guys away for a long time.”

“So what happened?”

“The cop refused to testify, making my evidence circumstantial. Nothing left for me to do but book him for the bust.” He thought for a moment. “Later that night, my superiors approached me about an undercover operation to

root out the rotten cops. Being the dedicated officer I was - utter nonsense - I accepted the job. The next day I got transferred to Robbery & Homicide. And that’s when the Zeke Tricolo character was born.”

Natalie raised an eyebrow over his choice of name. “Was Hart one of the cops?” she asked.


“Did you catch him right away?”

“Never suspected him. I thought he was a friend. Days after his failed protest, John transferred to Philly for a fresh start. He and I partnered up on his first day on patrol. In spite of his babbling ways, we developed a bond: bowling nights with Naomi and some friends, Monday Night Football at the pub, guy stuff ya know? He’s an insecure person, stemming from being mistreated and bullied during his childhood. That’s what triggered him to do the rally. He hated seeing officers bullied by the system.”

“How did you know he was crooked?”

“As time went on, I noticed outside officials had gotten in his ear, changing

him into more of a conniving figure. I didn’t know them as the Clucifix back then. Underhanded deals turned into a daily routine. I tried distancing myself from him, but he wouldn’t take the hint. ‘You’re like a brother to me,’ he would say to me. Before I could blow the whistle, John heard about a mole in his unit. I wasn’t the only one. He weeded out that mole...took him...and my superiors... and gutted them all like pigs.”

“Sweet Jesus.” Natalie said, sorrowfully.

“To destroy all evidence, the Clucifix blew up the precinct, leaving no one left alive to implicate John. Or identify me. It would’ve been their word against mine. Therefore, I’m now stuck as Zeke Tricolo until the day I die.”

“And that’s why you’re still with him.”

“I wanted Naomi to be safe. You may think I’m selfish for the choice that I

made, but I swear on my mother’s grave that I’ve never. Ever. Killed anyone.”

“Man, I’m sorry. I could only image the nightmare you’ve been living for so many years, constantly holding up the weight of that facade you created. I

just know how evil these demons can be, how manipulative and demanding they can be to the strongest of minds. I automatically thought they got a hold of you, too.”

“Don’t be sorry. How could you have known Nat? We hadn’t seen each other in years. But this is the job we do, put our lives on the line to ensure the future of our loved ones. I’m sure Martha would agree. Surprised she’s not here beside you right now.”

“Yeah…I’m sure she would’ve loved seeing you again.”


“Would’ she?” She confirmed with a slow nod and a wipe under her

“Oh, no. When?” “A few days now.” “Did Hart do it?”

“No, but I know who did.”

“Cat Strutter?”

“You heard of her, too, huh?”

“Heed my warning. You can’t go after that beast with your guns blazing like in the Wild West. She’s a very powerful…thing. Cold-blooded and extremely dangerous!”

Oh, so am I. She’s not gonna slip away the next time I get my hands on her.”

“Wait a minute. Nobody has ever encountered Cat Strutter and lived to tell about it.” He then recalled what John was crying about earlier. “Hart said there were two Angelites...and you’re here… NO! NO WAY!! YOU?! You’re like Vasquez?! AN ANGELITE?!” She nodded proudly. “Damn! How did you become one?”

“Better ask Gina.” A symphony of sirens and horns approached, gradually increasing in volume. “You should get out of here, Memph. The cops will be here any minute – good cops, I hope.”

“Let ’em come,” he said. “Now that the show is over, I’m ready to make my exit.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Even though you helped us foil the robbery, Hart’s boys will name you as an accessory. Besides, how can you get them to believe that outlandish backstory you just laid on me?”

“I am an accessory, Nat. For a small shot at redemption, I need to pay the penalty for my part in this horror show. Now do us both a favor and put Cat Strutter six feet deep, forever this time.”

Natalie looked at her friend as if they won’t see each other him again. Although she has the power to protect him, Memphis had a valid point about owning up to his choices. She was proud of him. “God speed, Memph.”

“You too, Nat,” he replied. “Naomi would’ve loved to have seen you one last time.”

She smiled. “Keep the champagne on ice, just in case.” A blast of wind pushed Memphis back as the Angelite swished out of the area.

Ready to accept the consequences, Memphis Knox dropped to his knees

and locked his fingers behind his head, waiting for the police to slap the cuffs on his wrists. For the first time in years, he looked up and spoke to God, requesting only one thing, “Keep my friend safe.”

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