He walked away without so much as a backward glance. Galvin stomped to the disguised parking spot. It looked like a broken crate side covered with dirt and vines. Stepping in through the narrow opening, he mounted his moped, started it, and drove away. He didn’t bother checking to make sure it was still a hidden spot.
Galvin’s lips twitched along with his head, as he drove the familiar journey to his house. He threw the kickstand down with a clang and parked his moped in the garage. Smacking the close button for the garage door, he stormed into his house. “No good piece of crap,” he said, kicking the heavy bag that lay on the floor. “Just because they’ve been at it longer and have established themselves.” His feet picked up the pace, and he clenched his fists. “So they prevent a new hero from joining their ranks.” His path circled through his living room, dining room and hallway. “I worked my tail off for three years. It’s not easy starting gymnastics at thirty. But I pushed and learned to do the triple forward flip over an alleyway in the dark while raining and wearing a cape.”
Galvin detoured into his garage. “Fine with me,” he shouted. Yanking open a cabinet, he pulled out an old duffel bag. “I was saving this for a better day, but there’s no time like now.”
First, he pulled off his clothes. Reaching into the bag, he pulled out an onyx colored cape. He repeated the gesture for the charcoal top and matching cowl. The articles of clothing flowed onto his torso and shoulders. He shoved his legs into the matching pants and stepped into the thick boots with buckles. “Let’s see if the Night likes it when he can’t see it coming.” A wide belt with pouches and other items came from the bag and he clipped it in place. “Princess of Power won’t know what hit her. The rest are just sycophantic wannabes.”
Galvin moved to his bedroom and stood in front of the full-length mirror. Standing with his hands on his hips, feet spread, shoulders back, he smiled. “Yeah.” He laughed for a few seconds. “The museum opens tomorrow at eight sharp. They’ll still be sleeping. I’ll show them what I learned.”
The alarm clock’s annoying clanging bells jerked Galvin awake. “Those pills work,” he said, smacking his lip. “Dried me out, though.” Putting his bare feet on the cool floor, he padded over to the windup alarm clock and stopped the noise. Going about his plan, he took in extra water to compensate for the dehydration. He put on his costume, leaving off the mask and cape. In the garage, he opened the door, started his car, and drove off, letting the large door slowly descend.
Galvin glanced at his phone a few times, the digital map showing him where to turn. A few miles later and he turned into the driveway of the self-storage facility. Flipping through his emails, he stopped on one. Reaching out his window, he tapped the code he read from the email. A grinding noise sounded and the tall black gate slid to the side, clearing the way for him to continue driving. Moving slow, he steered through the small maze of metal roll-up doors.
“Thirty-four fifteen,” Galvin said parking around the corner. “On the end.” He stepped out and walked to the large metal door. Bending over, he spun the dial on the lock in both directions, stopping at tick marks. With a quick jerk, he opened the lock. Carrying the motion on, he flung the door over his head.
A smoke gray motorcycle rested on a stand. The shelf behind it had several boxes with neatly handwritten labels.
“Just the way I left it six months ago,” Galvin said, a large smile spreading across his face. “I better get my stuff ready.” He stepped in and grabbed different items from the shelves. Some items he stuffed into his belt pouches others, larger items, he put in the saddle bags of the motorcycle. “That should do it,” Galvin said. “Time to go.” He put on his cowl mask, cape, gloves, and motorcycle helmet.
Pressing a lever on the stand, the motorcycle lowered and balanced on the kickstand. Swinging a leg over the seat, Galvin turned the key, and the engine turned over with a high-pitched roar. Stowing the kickstand, he rolled out of the storage box. Reaching up to the door, he yanked it down and clicked the lock on the hasp. “Destiny awaits.”
Once passed the gate, Galvin gunned his engine, bringing the front wheel into the air. He fluttered the throttle and balanced on his rear wheel for the length of the block. The front wheel lowered, and he poured on the speed.
Galvin approached the downtown museum and parked close to one of the emergency exits. “Good thing I come here twice a month,” he said to himself. “I know this place well enough to almost walk it blindfolded.” He locked his helmet to his bike and double-checked his belt. A quick glance of his cell and he saw the time, 7:45. “I better pick it up.”
Reaching into one of the saddlebags, he pulled out a canister. He jogged towards the front of the museum, staying on the sidewalk next to the parking lot. Gavin squatted. Putting fingers into a pouch, he pulled out something the size of a marshmallow. Reaching over, he placed the item in the gutter between the sidewalk and asphalt. “That should take care of Leonard.” Standing, he whistled and walked to the main entrance of the museum.
As he crested the top stair, he pulled a small device from another pouch and placed it on one of the fat columns. “Early warning.” He moved to the door and walked through.
Pulling a twenty-dollar bill, he deposited it in the donation bin. “Good morning Laura,” Galvin said with a wave and smile. Laura lifted her face to see the dark-clad man and stared agape as he walked past her booth.
Galvin continued through the arc into the main hallway. He put his canister on the floor. Pulling two small devices from a pouch, he stuck them to the wall, below knee level, in the archway. Tapping a button, he saw the green light shine. “Excellent! Samuel won’t even see it coming.” Turning, he picked up the canister and continued on his path.
Entering the main hall, Galvin waved to the two guards in white shirts. “Morning George, Eric.” Eric flinched a wave before George shook his head. Both guards followed Galvin with their eyes.
Galvin approached the large display case. “Beautiful!” He pressed his hands on the thick glass and his eyes sparkled. On the other side of the glass sat the famed emerald collection of some long-forgotten king from some obscure era and location. “I like how they are arranged and cut. It’s fascinating to think how did they cut them back then. Lots of rubbing on a stone, I bet.”
Sliding back a step, Galvin pointed the nozzle of the canister at the display case. Touching the button on the top, a clear liquid exited at a high rate of speed and covered the case. Galvin waved the mechanism back and forth coating the glass. Once covered, he touched the glass with a gloved hand, shattering it.
George and Eric reached for their weapons and stepped closer. George shouted, “Halt!”
Galvin looked at them, then flung a hand in their direction. A small dot flew as the pair leveled their barrels at the lone target. The puff of smoke floated up from the floor where the dot hit. Fluttering their eyelids, George and Eric lowered their weapons. Next, their knees buckled and they sprawled to the floor. Both sets of eyes were closed and deep rhythmic breathing set in.
A high-pitched sound wavered in the building and various emergency lights flashed. “It’s good to see that they spend their donations on good security,” Galvin said. “Oh, well. The case is opened.” He reached a gloved hand in and grabbed the jewels. With his other hand had pulled a cloth bag from a pouch. Flicking a wrist, the bag expanded to the size of a basketball and opened. Galvin dumped two handfuls of emeralds into the bag. Snapping the top closed, he walked to the next display case.
“This is what I’m going to need next,” Galvin said, nodding. “It’s a surprise that no one has made the connection before. I mean, the sign’s right there.”
A loud roar sounded followed by the screeching of tires.
“Ah, Leonard’s here,” Galvin said with a smile. “Let’s see how accurate I am.” He touched a device on his belt then lifted his eyes to the ceiling.
A loud crackling sound came in through the windows. The next was that of a blood-curdling scream.
“Bingo,” Galvin said. “Predictable to a fault and he didn’t even know it. Rat bastard.”
Galvin slid the lid from the smaller display case, letting it crash to the ground. He reached in and pulled the small, glittery-white items from the decorative bowl. “The meteor that delivered Linda delivered something else.” Holding the items in his hand, he turned and waited.
A loud rapid tapping carried into the museum followed by a sonic boom.
“Ralph,” Galvin said. “Late as usual.”
BEEP BEEP BEEP.
“This is gonna leave a mark,” Galvin said, grimacing. He watched the thin red line appear across the archway. In the background, he saw the sky-blue blur zoom at him.
The blue bolt dashed through the archway, then screamed and fell. Rolling up as he slid on the smooth floor he saw his feet missing, just below the knees. “My feet!”
“Yeah,” Galvin said. “You’re fast and even heal at an alarming rate.” He stepped forward. “But you don’t regenerate.” Cocking a booted foot back, he swung it forward. The toe connected with the forehead of Ralph, knocking him unconscious.
“Just one more,” Galvin walked towards the center of the hall. He stood with his arms loose at his sides.
“I don’t know who you are,” the statuesque woman said as she descended through the open skylight. “But I assure you, I will take you down.” Her feet touched the marble floor, and she walked towards Galvin.
“Linda,” Galvin said. “I always hated your jibber-jabber.”
Linda paused in mid-stride. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open. The color flowed from her face and a single drop of sweat formed on her forehead.
“Yeah,” Galvin said. “I know who you are.” He nodded and took a single step. “It was easy for me to take out Ralph, too.” Galvin used his chin to point to the prone figure and the large puddle of blood surrounding it. “In fact, I bet I have Leonard taken out as well. He hasn’t shown himself yet, so I figure he’s in his car.”
“Who are you?” Linda shifted to stand up and kept her eyes on Galvin. “I’ve never seen you before.”
“Yes you have,” Galvin said. “I’m Galvin. The one you said would never, ever be a hero. You were correct. I’m a villain now.”
“We took you in,” Linda shouted. “We trained you.”
“And then you said I wasn’t good enough,” Galvin said with a smirk. “By the way, I have a surprise for you.” He held out a hand and showed the glittery white items.
“What’s that?” Linda stared at the hand. “Is it deadly?”
“Just to you,” Galvin said and flung it at her.
The white dust spread out and encased Linda. Where the dust contacted her skin, green flames erupted. Her scream shattered nearby display cases. The green flames fully engulfed her left arm in a few seconds. The long dark hair fell from her head and soon her entire body collapsed to the ground. A few seconds of writhing and the screaming stopped. The flames covered the entire body, then disappeared.
“That was better than expected,” Galvin said as he looked at the orange dust where Power Princess lay a moment ago. “Oh, well. Off to make my fortune.”
Galvin high-stepped over the laser in the archway. Turning for the exit, he sauntered through the front doors. He turned left and backtracked to the parking lot. A large car with a charred body at the steering wheel caught his attention. “Yup, predictable to a fault,” he said and chuckled.
Leaning into the open vehicle, he tapped a panel in the door. Pulling the large envelope out, he put it in the bag. “My stash now,” Galvin said touching his forehead. “Thanks, chum.”
As he mounted his motorcycle, Galvin heard the wail of police sirens in the distance. A laugh escaped as he started his bike. He drove away without so much as a backward glance.