Here’s an extract from Ever Vigilant(e). The final version has been uploaded ready for publication on 30th November at all good Amazon sites.
He sat perched on top of the roof, straddling the ridge flashing with one foot firmly planted in the slates on either side, waiting to spring into action.
The padding of his costume was less pronounced in the seat area of his leggings, and with the threat of developing enflamed haemorrhoids from spending so much time sitting on cold, often wet, roofs he had taken to bringing an easily inflatable aircraft pillow with him.
The ease of use was important as he needed to be agile; his mission for the evening could shift in a matter of seconds and he would need to be able to react appropriately. Finding a suitable space to hide a pillow of any kind just wouldn’t be feasible; therefore a nice plastic air filled solution was just the job. He simply would pop the plastic cork, slip the pillow under his armpit and squeeze the excess air out as he was running towards the crime that needed to be stopped.
Over the past few months he had made extensive changes to his costume to try and make it more flexible whilst retaining the level of protection he required on the job. It was a struggle that he shared with others of his ilk; ease of use versus safety had led to many late nights playing with different weights and makes of materials as well as rubberised padding and joints, but it was so vital to get the mix just right that any lack of sleep had to be borne as part of his day job. Luckily for him, his nom de guerre helped in that regard.
The night passed slowly, and he was just starting on the flask of tomato and basil soup that he prepared for long patrols, when the scream came.
He leapt to his feet, spilling a small amount of hot soup on his thigh as he went. Wincing, he turned his head to the left to follow the sound and tried to focus in on a possible location. The local supermarket was located that way and within its vast and empty car park he saw two figures struggling beside a sports utility vehicle.
“Aha!” he announced excitedly, “Action at last!”
His heart was pumping rapidly with excitement; this was what he had spent all of his time and the bulk of the dispensable income from his job at the chemists preparing for. After months of training and the creation of his costume, and weeks of sitting around on cold walls and wet roofs, this was his moment to shine. Someone was in need of his assistance and tonight he was going to be the hero he always knew he could be.
He then spent the next two minutes wiping off the spilled hot soup from his now burned thigh, replacing the cap on the flask and clipping it onto his tool belt. After all, he didn’t want to litter the place; that was a crime and he fought crime.
When he had finished, he grabbed his air pillow, flipped the plastic cap and slipped it under his left armpit. As he squeezed it down, he leapt up and landed on his bottom before slipping down the slate covered roof. The expelled air followed him down, its sound piercing the night like a long controlled bout of flatulence.
His heels slammed into the guttering at the edge of the roof which simultaneously stopped his descent and provided leverage to allow him to push off into the air. As he did so, he arched his back and then opened his arms wide, pulling the edges of his cape out as far as they would go and dropping his now deflated rubber ring. The result was supposed to mimic the aerodynamic properties of a kite, but due to his weight and the lack of any breeze, he found himself plummeting towards the ground.
Remarkably he was able to twist around in the air to ensure that he would be able to land feet first on the ground, rather than on his head. Unfortunately, the momentum as he hit the ground was such that he ended up flipping over, performing a half somersault until he landed hard on his back with his feet in the air The rubber ring floated gently down like a leaf shed from a branch and landed on his face.
As he lay there catching his breath and concentrating to block out the pain, he briefly forgot why he had started his descent in the first place.
The woman’s scream came again and he remembered.
Stumbling to his feet, he felt his left thigh twinge and gripped it with his hand. Wincing in pain, he started to limp forward while at the same time began to rub his thigh to stretch it out. As he rounded a bush he saw the shadowy figure seemingly dancing around the car park, dragging someone much smaller and thinner as they went.
“Damn him!” he said, and with that he began to hobble towards the car park.
“Woo hoo!” a voice screamed to his right. As he turned to see what it was, he caught a brief glimpse of a rectangular shape of something that could have been a brick, a sledgehammer or a steel beam just before it hit him in the face. He spun around like a top and then crumpled to the ground.
As he lay there, he watched a hulking figure rushing towards the struggling couple, his cloak flailing behind him as he went.
The last thing he heard before he blacked out was the call of “Time to Thump out justice!”
The last thing he felt before he blacked out was the warm river of tomato and basil soup as it spread out across his thigh.
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