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Day of the Dove

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Chapter three

Breach and Dove paused at the second floor. The security system didn’t extend beyond the top of the stairs. Flickering light from one of the doors pointed at the owner being home, and working.

Breach waved for the ghost to stay behind him as he crept up to the door. He frowned at the lack of wires on the wood. He tried the knob. It refused to budge before he put his talent on it. Then it swung open easily to let them pass.

The wizard walked into the room, dragging a cigarette out of a pack. He lit up as he looked around the chamber. It was bigger than the house according to his estimate.

A work area was full of electronic equipment and scraps that could have been the remains of computers. Monitors hung on the walls. Cords hooked them to drives so that their creator could watch whatever he wanted simultaneously. Another giant screen displayed the stock for the day on a stripe at the bottom of the screen.

The owner of the screens turned to face them. He wore a suit and tie, wingtips, and glasses on his bald head. He frowned at the intruder in his lair. He didn’t make a gesture, simply waited for Breach to talk first.

“How are you doing?” Breach puffed on his cigarette. “Nice setup you got here.”

“What do you want, Breach Shadow Walker?” The owner of the house stared at the intruder as he waited for an answer.

“You know me.” Breach smiled. “I don’t know you.”

“Everyone knows you.” The house man crossed his arms. “Why have you broken into my sanctum?”

“We found out that you killed a human stock manager.” Breach looked around the room as he talked. “I was wondering why you did it.”

“I needed his talent.” The house man smiled. “He was borderline psychic and I needed that if I want to get everyone off my butt.”

“You killed him for his talent.” Breacher shook his head. “That seems extreme to me. What about his family and friends?”

“What about them?” The man’s voice rose a notch. “They don’t concern me. I needed what he had for my machine so I could see the future. Who cares about his wife and family?”

“I care.” Dove appeared in his agitation. “You killed me for nothing.”

“Wrong.” The man paused. “So your guest is holding on here before he gets pulled to the afterlife.”

“So you killed me for my talent.” Dove walked into the lab. He picked up a wrench. “And you can’t use it.”

“I didn’t say that.” The man took his glasses off and pointed at one of the screens. “I’m using it right now while I talk to you.”

A reporter stood out in the middle of a field. He pointed out the grass was yellow and dying, and that the woman owner had no explanation for the blight.

“That will happen in the future.” The man smiled at Dove and Breach. “It has already happened.”

“Killing a mundane will have to be sorted out.” Breach puffed on his cigarette. “You won’t be able to keep your magic because of this.”

“I don’t see how you’re going to take me.”

“I’ll show you.” Dove walked forward. He grabbed the man’s arms. He picked up his victim. A thunderclap spread Dove around the room.

“You won’t take me from my base of operations.” The voice didn’t belong to the man who had taken out a ghost. It belonged to a titan. “I have nothing but death for you.”

“Interesting.” Breach didn’t bother putting out his cigarette before he threw it on the floor. “A bit of overkill to use on a ghost.”

“It doesn’t matter who I use it on as long as it works when I want it to.” He went back to his screen. He glanced at where Dove had been. “I won’t let anyone get in the way of my project.”

“I’m afraid the project is dead.” Breach breathed fire on the servers he could reach.

“What have you done?” The bald man glared at the melted package of drives and code. “I spent years making my assembly, and making it work.”

“Really?” Breach lit another cigarette. “I spent years wrecking idiot schemes. You are just one more in a long line.”

“I was mining the future.” The man looked at the melted machinery. “I was making sure to keep things quiet. But you’ve gone and wrecked that.”

“I guess your future machine didn’t know how to predict that.” Breach gestured at the mess of metal and plastic. “It’s a failure from the looks of things.”

“Who do you think you are getting in my way?” The man took off his glasses. “There won’t be enough of you to make glue today.”

“You might as well give up.” Breach pushed his hat back. “I have crushed more problem children than you have thought to meet.”

The man gathered up his thoughts, and sent a wave of sparkling lights across the room. It looked like a wave of butterflies on the loose.

Breach shook his head. He blew out a cloud of smoke. The fog wrapped around the sparks. They blew up and vaporized the gray cover.

“You can claim you did it for science.” Breach moved to the left. “A judge will give you a lighter sentence.”

The man rushed in and punched Breach in the face. He went down with blood flying from a cut lip.

“I will be a force to reckon with when it gets out that I killed you.” The man stomped on the wizard. “No one will dare to challenge me again.”

Breach caught the next kick. He grabbed his still lit cigarette. He jabbed the glowing end down on the man’s pants leg. The cloth went up in a streak of fire.

Breach released his grip on the leg and rolled away. The last thing he wanted was his fire catching him too.

Hopping and cursing ensued as the killer tried to concentrate enough to extinguish the fire.

He waved his hands like he was throwing something at his legs. The fire blasted into the floor. He hopped away from the splatter.

“I’m giving you a choice.” Breach picked up his hat. “Give up, or keep going. Either way, you’re done.”

“Never.” The nameless wizard clapped his hands. Something moved downstairs. “Goodbye.”

He clapped his hands again. Everything not tied down to the floor, or walls, sailed at Breach as he tried to catch his breath. Another hand clap and the wizard was dropping from a hole blasted in the side of the building.

Breach breathed out a cloudy shield to catch the murderous instruments. He would deal with them when he had time. He had to catch the killer before he did something else.

Breach dodged around the hopping things locked in place. He paused at the hole in the wall. He didn’t see the wizard anywhere in the yard.

He puffed on his cigarette as he thought about what he should do next.

Most of the rogues he encountered fought things out. This was a first that someone had recognized that he could beat them and took off to avoid that beating.

He didn’t like he didn’t recognize the adept. He was too skilled to be a hedge wizard.

He must have gone to a school somewhere.

Breach was aware of only one magic school. If the wizard had gone there, then he must have kept his appearance to a minimum.

“Or had changed it entirely.” Breach examined the moving tools. He gestured and the machines fell out of the air.

It had been a long time since someone had eluded him. He smiled. He should have seen that coming. It was about time that happened. He had to get back in the game and track Dr. Mysterious before he killed someone else.

“What happened?” Danny walked up, rubbing his head.

“The guy got away after admitting he killed you for your predicting talent.” Breach decided not to drop down from the window to the ground floor. “He didn’t think much of us, but that might have cost him some while he was trying to deal with us.”

“Predicting talent?” Dove looked down at his hands. “What does that even mean?”

“He thought you had a talent for picking things and took it.” Breach went to the door.

He headed for the kitchen, flipping the defensive screens out of the way as he walked to the back door.

“And he killed me?” Dove stood in the back yard. “Just so he could see the future?”

“It’s a valuable thing if it can be reliably harnessed.” Breach walked around to the hole in the building. He looked up at it. He looked around. How did he find the guy again?

He didn’t see the prints that had led them to the house. He didn’t see new prints leading away from the wrecked house. Did the guy teleport away?

Breach puffed on his cigarette as he gave his thoughts free rein to consider what options he had from this point.

Why had the man taken a cab? Did that mean he couldn’t teleport? Did that mean he hadn’t left the house at all?

Breach swung an arm in a circle around him. Ribbons of smoke and firefly cinders from his cigarette spread away from him in a ring. The wavefront wrapped around a bubble of air in the yard.

So that was where he had gone.

He couldn’t teleport, but he could become invisible.

Breach smiled. He hadn’t had to look hard for his opponent.

“Do you want to give up now?” He puffed on his cigarette as he walked forward.

“Not when I can do this?” The nameless wizard spread his arms. Hundreds of sparks rushed at his neighbors’ homes. “What will you do now?”

Breach glared at the wizard as the houses caught fire, sending streamers into the air like fireworks.

“I’m going to find you and get even with you for this.” Breach puffed on his cigarette. “You can believe that.”

“The more time you waste, the more the neighborhood will burn.” The wizard smiled. “Some of the owners have kids.”

“I will find you and kill you.” Breach turned to put the flames out. It was the only option he had.

Breach puffed on his cigarette as he jogged out in the road. He considered his course of action and ran down the street. He held up his cigarette. The fires leaped from the roofs and walls of the houses. They shrank into the cigarette, burning it away as he carried it like the Olympic torch.

He threw it to the ground when it started to burn his fingers. He stamped it out and lit another one. He held that up and started running some more. More flame wore that out until he had to get rid of it. He lit a third, and nothing came at him from the dark houses around him.

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