The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 13
by Shane MIgliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 13 Doom Stalks The Jaguar Club
When Kitty arrived at the diner, the police were there. She was in her Sue Sawyer disguise. Over the shoulders of the crowd gathered outside, Kitty caught glimpses of the destruction inside. Surveying the scene of devastation. Kitty felt her heart sink. The blasted up interior told the story of Misa’s last stand.
Kitty read a uniformed cop’s lips as they filled in a tired looking detective. “We found a couple bodies out back.” He informed the detective. “Couple small time hoods. Cut up pretty good.”
Misa’s work no doubt. Good she’d taken some with her. If she was in fact dead. Kitty had her doubts that they’d in fact killed her friend. If they suspected her of being the Crimson Scorpion or an ally of the Scorpion they’d keep her alive to interrogate and torture her.
Kitty left the crowd. Crossing the street, she headed down the street. There stood the club. A man leaned against the archway, a cigarette dangled from his lips. Kitty could feel his eyes on her as she passed by.
Tonight she’d have to return here as the Crimson Scorpion. Now there were too many eyes about. Misa’s suspicion about the Jaguar Club being the White Knight’s hideout appeared to be correct. No doubt they’d be holding her there.
It was personal now. They had her friend. In truth, Kitty had made it such when she’d frightened Burke’s family. She regretted having to do it. In deportation Kitty had resorted to a big move to flush out her prey. In so doing they retaliated by capturing Misa. Had they know she was following the boy? Kitty cursed under her breath. It should have been her there instead. Misa knew the risk. It didn’t make the guilt go away.
No matter. What was do was done. She couldn’t afforded to sit a lament what she should or shouldn’t have done. The die was cast. Now she needed to plan her inflation of the club building and her rescue of Misa.
With steadfast purpose, she returned to the apartment. Preparing what she’d need for tonight’s incursion. Her guise as the Crimson Scorpion was ready. Her automatic pistols loaded. Her climbing gear and entry tools selected. Satisfied with her preparations, Kitty headed home. Best to put in an appearance there before heading out again tonight.
Over dinner her thoughts were far away. She’d made an excuse for Misa. She was visiting the family Kitty had told her mother about before. Kitty was grimly satisfied she’d invented them. After desert, she excused her self. Telling her parents she was going to see Fiona again.
Before she left, Kitty went to the study. Running a finger over the books on the shelves. Her eyes scanning the titles. When Misa mentioned the club’s name over the phone, a memory was sparked. She felt the old bindings of the books under her finger tips. Cold and rough. There was one she could recall seeing once. Something about this Jaguar Club.
Her parents held quite a large collection of books in the study. Many of them antiques. This had been Carol’s favorite room. If they couldn’t find her, odds are she’d be in here curled up with a book. Kitty had found books a chore then. Something to be avoided.
The Complete History of The Jaguar Club.
She’d found it.
“I thought you’d left.”
Startled Kitty turned. Her father stood in the doorway. Quickly she hid the book behind her back. The less questions the better.
“Just looking at the books. I was remembering when Carol used to…”
The rest stuck in her throat.
Her father grimaced. “Yes. She did love it here.”
“I better get going.” She kissed her father on the cheek. Holding the book behind her. “I’ll see you later.”
Her father smiled. “Have a good time my dear.”
Evening was fast encroaching on Starlight. By the last rays of the days sunlight, Kitty flipped through the book she’d pilfered from her parent’s collection. Headed to the apartment. Headed to her destiny. The pages were stiff and heavy as she turned them. Stopping now and then to read a passage.
Established in 1818 by Dr. Thomas Josiah Castle and William Levin. The Jaguar Club was created to help local businessmen organize and better help the community at large. Starting in Starlight City, the organization has expanded across the country in the last decade. Striving for the betterment of their communities and the world. Their motto: “We live to serve.”
Kitty closed the book. She glanced out at the people passing by on the street. What purpose could this Jaguar Club have in being wrapped up with these White Knights? Were they one in the same?
She’d thought them to be no more then common gangsters with a fancy racket. Now it seemed, there could be something else altogether going on here. A chill ran down Kitty’s spine.
Pulling a wide brimmed hat over her head, she got out of the cab. She’d been in such a hurry, Kitty hadn’t taken the time to don her Sue disguise again.
Handing the cab driver some money, Kitty entered the lobby. Keeping her head low. The woman behind the desk had her nose buried in the paper, oblivious. Good. Kitty hurried up the stairs to her room.
Outside the sun had gone down. Locking the door, she started to strip down. Sitting cross-legged on the rug. It was time to center herself for the coming battle. Her mind was to out of focus. Worrying about Misa. Worrying about this Jaguar Club.
Taking a deep breath. The stale air filled her lungs. Emptying her mind. A wave of white pushing everything irrelevant away. When she stood again, Kitty was ready. Time to suit up.
As the Crimson Scorpion Kitty left the apartment by the fire escape. Climbing upwards, she took to the rooftops. Leaping from one to the other, the buildings of Mid-City claustrophobically close together. Till she closed in on the Jaguar Club.
Smarty, the club building was far enough from it’s neighboring buildings to make jumping on the roof impossible. Whomever had built it might have been leery of someone jumping onto it’s roof.
Going down to street level, the Crimson Scorpion moved with cat-like stealth towards the building. The club was mostly dark. Only a couple rooms were lit up. A dread filled her stomach. Misa had to be in there, her condition on the other hand…She’d make them pay for any pain they’d made her friend suffer. No matter the cost.
On the buildings left side was a paved driveway, leading to a parking lot behind the club. Taking a length of rope attached to a grappling hook from her belt, the Scorpion heaved the hook skywards. Catching a small ledge on the second floor. She’d start up top and work her way down.
Scaling the building’s side was nothing new for her. On the island climbing had not only been part of her training, it had be essential for survival.
Crouching on the small ledge, her skilled fingers jimmied the locked window open. Slipping into what appeared to be a empty room. It was dark except for the faint light provided by the street lights. The air inside smelled of cigars and bourbon. She paused, listening to the room. There was only her breathing and the ticking of a clock, nothing else. She was alone in here, good.
Light penetrated the darkness, a sliver from under the door. The next room, where she had to go, was lit. Possibly inhabited. The Scorpion drew a knife from her boot. She wasn’t as skilled as Misa with such a weapon, yet she was lethal enough. She took a flashlight from her coat. A thin beam of light illuminating the room before her. Large elegant chairs and a couch sat at the rooms center in a circle. A coffee table at their middle. No doubt where the members came to relax.
Slowly opening the door, her eyes quickly took in what lay beyond. A hallway connected to a landing, with a marble staircase leading downstairs. She made a quick search of the second floor, turning up nothing. Offices and another sitting room. During the search she’d discovered a door to the third floor. Locked. Taking some small tools from her coat, she picked the lock. It was all for naught. The third floor was a wide open space. Filled with rows of boxes. Opening a couple yielded nothing sinister. Simply business documents pertaining to the club and some local businesses. Nevertheless she folded a few up. Slipping them into her breast pocket for safekeeping. They could prove fruitful.
Making her way back to the second floor landing. Creeping along the wall, she made her way to the stairs. Similar to the ones outside, two stone jaguars crouched at the foot of the stairs. A large J in a circle flanked by two growling jaguars, their symbol, was carved into the stone floor. Against the far wall was the stone busts of the club’s founding members. Behind them in a glass case, the original club charter. The paper yellow and frayed with age.
Searching the first floor. She found another office, a large meeting room, a dining room and a kitchen. Again, no Misa.
Searching these floors had yielded nothing. A despair gnawed at her mixed with frustration. Where did they have Misa? Her gut instinct, told her they’d have her in the basement. A captive would need to be kept from the prying eyes of any guests or strangers.
She found the basement stairs. Having yet to see another soul. Would they not guard a captive? A shiver traveled down her spine. Perhaps there was no captive to guard.
The basement was divided up into rooms. The hallway connecting them was cluttered with old furniture and club banners. There was a large boiler room. Another staked with tables and metal chairs. The third a small wine cellar. The fourth a workshop. A large shelf and workbench to one wall. Sitting at the room’s center. A figure sat. Tied to a chair, a hood over their head.
Snatching the hood from their head, reviled the bloodied face of Misa.
“Misa, my friend are you okay?” She whispered. Quickly cutting the ropes that held the girl. “Can you walk?”
“I can manage.” Misa replied through bloodied lips.
They made their way to the hallway, intending to escape out a window on the first floor. Helping Misa to the stairs, the Crimson Scorpion worried that it was too easy. How could the enemy be so lax? It was if they were being let to escape.
“Stop right there Crimson Scorpion!” A harsh voice ordered. “Where the hell do you think your going?” It was voice she recognized.
The Scorpion swore to herself. Her instinct had been correct. They’d hid somewhere. Waiting to spring this trap. There was no way she could make it up the stairs with Misa. Not without leaving her behind. She turned to peer into the face of Rocky Burke. A revolver in his hand. Standing with him where three of the White Knights. All armed with pistols.
“Well?” He smirked. “Speak up?”
One of the masked men grumbled. “What are you waiting for? Blast them to pieces!”
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