Bureau of Monster Capture and Rehabilitation
Volume 1: Boot Camp
By Wulfric Van Howlietzer
Chapter 6: The Festival
Point Pleasant bustled. Streets were blocked off and security directed outside traffic, while shop owners assisted the multitudes came for the annual Mothman Festival. Storefronts were decorated with Mothman themed streamers of black and orange. Balloons shaped like the statue rustled in the wind, tethered to carts and distributed by vendors. Food trucks of all kinds had come for the event; Mayor Davies admired the scene as he had coordinated the bulk of this immense undertaking.
He stroked his moustache as he watched through his office window, eager to get outside and enjoy the night with the rest of the town, plus the enormous crowd, that grew every year. This was due to the Mothman himself appearing for the past four years. He had made a deal with a mysterious young man who promised the Mothman’s appearance in exchange for 20% of the take… It was the best investment the city of Point Pleasant had ever made. With so many people wanting to see the creature, and an actual thing showing up to quench that longing… It had brought a lot of growth to the city.
Still, he had his suspicions since he had become Mayor. He had a feeling he knew who it was, but he could never uncover that mystery. The Mothman was always one step ahead. But as he peered out the window of his office, he admitted to himself, with growth like this, it really wasn’t important anymore.
“Quite a crowd you have this year,” came a voice from his office doorway.
It startled him. No one, but him, stayed this late at city hall. He turned to see a very well-dressed man standing in his doorway. There was something incredibly overwhelming about him. He had a presence of absolute authority; Mayor Davies could hardly speak.
“Mayor Davies, is it not?” asked the man. “I will not bother you long, but I do wish to ask a question: will the Mothman be around tonight?”
Daryl and Samantha stood at the top of the Historic Lowe Hotel, peering down over the side at the busy streets below. Daryl was excited. He planned on really performing tonight and meeting his audience–something he had never done before.
I have to advise against this, said Kinder. I’ve got a real bad feeling.
‘You worry too much, Kinder,’ Daryl thought. ‘No one knows who I am.’
“Daryl, are you sure about this? Your plan seems really… bad,” said Samantha.
Daryl could feel Kinder roll his eyes. “I’m just trying to liven up the legend of Mothman. Give these people what they came for.”
“But what if you attract another enemy here?”
“Kind of hoping for that,” he mumbled.
Are you really being that selfish and irresponsible?
‘Kinder, I’m staying here!’
“Seriously, Daryl? I know Kinder probably disagrees with this.” said Samantha.
“It’s not your problem! You’re leaving anyway!”
“You should be leaving too! Your becoming the Mothman has attracted a lot of people here. Why do you think I’m leaving?”
Daryl fell silent.
“I don’t want to be a superhero! I don’t want all this attention! I just want to live a quiet life,” she said. “Superheroes aren’t real, Daryl. They only work in comic books. Grow up!”
Daryl glared at her. “Will you please leave. I have a show to do.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. She turned away, towards the fire escape and levitated down.
Daryl, Kinder started, I plead with you to reconsider. I feel a presence here that can’t be ignored.
“Can it, Kinder!”
Daryl leaned over the edge, trying to feel that exhilaration he felt the first time he projected. He hated that Samantha had to leave like that. Perhaps it was for the best. Perhaps they would end here and never see each other again. He watched the passersby, snuggled in their jackets, walking with friends and family…
Would it really be so bad to abandon this superhero fantasy?
“Yeah, Kinder… It would,” said Daryl.
He gathered himself and stood up straight. “Alright,” he said. “You ready partner?”
Kinder sighed inside Daryl’s head. Fine. Just don’t say the line…
“ASSSSTRAL PRO-JEC-TION!” Daryl interrupted.
My God… Here we go again.
Daryl’s body fell back onto the roof, limp and lifeless, while several meters above, shooting like an arrow, was his black, shadowy ghost. He rose higher and higher until he could barely see the streets below and then he stopped.
It was so peaceful up above the city. There were no cares here only freedom. Daryl’s now whispy form billowed with the wind; though he didn’t feel it, the howling from up there let him know he was alive.
You don’t have to shout that ridiculous phrase, Daryl. It’s laaaaame, said Kinder
“Yeah, but it’s fun, and I know how much it annoys you.”
Well, what are you waiting for? Change into the classic shape.
“Give me a moment. Gotta get psyched. You know what’s coming?”
I do, and I wish you wouldn’t.
Daryl’s astral form changed; his eyes burned red, his arms widened and flattened, and shadowy feathers sprouted from his head to toe. He leaned forward, facing the lights of the streets below, and shouted, his arms a flap. “I will do no harm,” he spoke, “to those I protect or those I thwart. I am a symbol of justice, an emblem of truth, and I will stop at nothing to protect my city. I am the Mothman!”
Daryl zoomed downward, the streets became more clearer, just as the faces of the crowd became more distinct, including the thousands of cell phones pointed up at the sky, looking for the mothman. Daryl smiled. ‘Here we go!’
He pulled up, just as he was about to meet the crowd. A gushing of “oooooh,” chased after him as he maneuvered back into the sky, perching himself onto the hotel roof. He took a peek at his body, safe and sound, then he looked back at the crowd, spreading his now enormous wings, posturing for another dive.
“That’s no crane!” he heard an onlooker exclaim. All cameras were focused on him.
Daryl, there is a very ominous presence down there. Please! We have to leave!
‘We can’t leave yet. I’ve got more planned.’ He dived off the roof.
The faces on the people the streets changed from wonder to terror as Daryl picked up the nearest kid and flew straight into the air. Screams of the mother rang through Daryl’s ears as he gently placed the boy in a nearby tree. He phased through people, carts, and buildings as he created a general ruckus throughout the town.
He flew over tops of buildings and perched upon rooftops, screeching at the people. It was easy to tell who the visitors were. There was a mixture of fear and laughter in the air. Many had already left, screaming, back to their cars, hotels, and even homes out of state. But still many laughed it off, seeing the playfulness that was Daryl’s shenanigans.
That didn’t seem very heroic, Daryl.
‘It’s all in good fun. No one got hurt.’
Daryl settled back down on the hotel roof. Once again he took a peek over to see his body safe and sound. Then he looked back at the crowd and he saw someone he had never seen before just standing there in the street. He wore a black suit and hat pulled down over his face, but Daryl could tell he was staring right at him as if he knew everything.
Daryl, whatever you do, do not approach that man. He’s the one. I’m sure of it.
“Who is he, Kinder?”
I have a horrible feeling… You’re going to find out. Unless we leave right away.
“Pshh! Scared much?”
Shut up and return to our body, said Kinder, We may need to leave Point Pleasant right away. Just don’t say the…
“SOOOOOOUL RE-TURN!” shouted Daryl.
In a blink, Daryl’s astral form disappeared from the streets and Daryl found himself lying on the roof of the hotel. He sat up pulling his knees towards his chest.
“The mayor is going to be disappointed we cut the performance short today.”
He’ll have to manage. That man is terrible trouble, Daryl. Real, big bad trouble.
Daryl stood and walked over to the fire escape that led to the alley below. “I really wish you would tell me what is going on. Wait a minute… He’s not a man in black, is he?”
That’s a good guess, but no. I’ll tell you more once we get out of here.
“You’re not seriously thinking I’m going to leave here? I’ve told you, I’m staying.”
Daryl… You’ve put us in real danger with all this stupid superhero crap. He’s going to pursue you unless you stop.
“Kinder, we’re staying here. His presence means I have to stay to protect Point Pleasant.”
This is not a game! He is not going to let you stay here! He is going to capture you! That is his intent! If you’d stop and listen, you’d feel it too!
Daryl reached the alley and pulled out his mask from his hoodie pocket and covered his face. He pulled his hood on tight and walked out of the alley towards Townhall.
Where are we going?
‘Town Hall. Got to talk to the Mayor.’
Daryl slipped through the allies and side streets, weaving to Townhall. He wanted to get the advance on tonights performance and hopefully wheedle some more information from Kinder. That man really spooked him, but this was just typical Kinder. He never wanted Daryl to be a superhero.
Townhall had a side door with a key card reader. Daryl pulled a card out of his pocket and scanned it unlocking the door. He walked down the white tiled hallways to an elevator. It too was keycard access only. Scanning his card he
The doors closed and he was compelled upwards, his body developing that sensation of weightlessness as the bell dinged to let him off. He crossed the hall and into a large office. Inside he could hear the mayor talking to someone but he wasn’t sure who he was talking to.
Daryl, stop. Turn around and leave. He’s in there.
Daryl did stop. ‘No,’ he thought to Kinder, ‘I’m not going to be afraid of this guy. Besides he has no idea who I am.’
You don’t know that. You don’t know what he’s capable of.
‘You won’t even tell me who he is!’
Daryl knocked on the door, before entering. The room went quiet as he walked in to see the mayor and the same sharply dressed man he’d seen in the street. Daryl pulled out a voice modulator like he always did when talking to the mayor. But before he could speak, the man raised his hand to stop him. “It’s alright, Mr. Kerns. I already know who you are.”
The mayor looked up at Daryl to take a closer look at him.
“I’ve been talking to the mayor about your little arrangement. Coming out to the festival every year. It’s cute. I bet it really helped this little town grow as much as it has.” The man offered his hand to Daryl. “Where are my manners. I’m Crouse and I am here to offer you a job, Mr. Kerns.”
Daryl lowered his voice modulator, his eyes wide at the profound realization that everyone would soon know he was the Mothman.
“Don’t worry about your secret. The mayor and I have discussed it and we shall remain the only three in the know. Now, what I propose is a very unique opportunity for a person such as yourself,” he took a seat at the mayor’s desk, while the mayor stood at his side. It was a very different position for the man that Daryl had once felt so much dread towards. Who was Crouse and why was he offering him a job?
“I understand that you are top of your class about to graduate next year. You have a bright future ahead of you Mr. Kerns, and the people I represent can make sure that you live a very eventful, successful life.”
Daryl peeled his mask off and lowered his hood. “I’m sorry sir,” said Daryl interrupting, “Who are you? And who do you represent? I’m a little skeptical of people who know so much about me without me when I know nothing about them.”
The man smiled. “Let’s just say that I represent a group of people that make the world go round. Siding with us, we can make your wildest dreams come true.”
“Illuminati…” Daryl whispered.
Crouse laughed. It was a condescending laugh, that made Daryl’s face redden. “No sir, I am not. You’ve been watching too many YouTube conspiracy videos. No. I represent a group that seeks to better the world.”
Daryl’s eyes narrowed. “Does this group have a name?”
“Well…” he said, looking up at Mayor Davies, “It’s not the type of thing I can talk about in front of outsiders.”
Crouse turned to the mayor. “I’ll have to ask you to leave. What I’m about to discuss with Mr. Kerns is a matter of national security.”
Both the mayor and Daryl’s eyes bugged out. “I’ll be going back to the festival then,” said the mayor. He opened the office door and walked out. Daryl wished he was still there.
Crouse sat in the big, puffy chair behind a large mahogany desk that separated he and Daryl, fingertips pressed together his eyes focused on Daryl’s as if trying to see Kinder.
“Mr. Kerns,” he said, “Your powers are necessary to ensure that the United States stays free. Your will and tenacity are two of the many traits we desire in the assembly of our new team.”
He’s manipulating you, Daryl, said Kinder, Have no doubt, he knows you better than I do.
“Are you inferring to some sort of superhero team up?” said Daryl, taking the bait. He was having a hard time keeping his head on straight. Kinder sighed.
“Something like that. The job itself requires a certain level of skill. Of course, you will receive training, along with the rest of your team.”
“So,” Daryl leaned in closer, “What are we fighting? A secret criminal organization?” His level of excitement peeking.
“You will be fully briefed once I have heard a yes.”
Daryl, I swear, you better not be ignoring me right now!
“I am tempted by this offer, sir,” said Daryl, “But I’m really not interested. I’m happy where I’m at. I just want to finish school. Go to college. Take care of my mother and friends here in Point Pleasant. This is home.”
“Ah…” said Crouse, “Well that is a major problem, Mr. Kerns. You see, I offer you this opportunity, but the alternative is far less appealing. If you reject this offer, I am inclined to place you under arrest. We have no qualms planting whatever evidence we need to get you to cooperate.”
Daryl’s expression went from lighthearted to panic.
Crouse stood up. “You have 3 days to consider your options. I suggest you say goodbye to your loved ones. If you choose to run, we will hunt you down and imprison you. 3 days.” He stood up and walked out of the office.