Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Knight Dragon vs. the Mortician Part 1 - Heroes & Villains [1.4.1]

“Oh my gosh,” Rylie Black breathed sitting on the corner of Ellie’s desk. Ellie’s head lifted to look up at her supervisor with a frown. “Just look at him. He’s so attractive.” Rylie was staring off towards the doors. Ellie glanced towards the entryway and found Ben, in a perfectly fitted blue suit, walking towards them. He gave Ellie a smile and wave as he approached them.
“He’s coming over here.” Rylie squealed. “Why would he pick the one day my hair is up? How's my makeup? Oh, he’s so hot.” Ellie glanced back at Rylie to find her still gawking over Ben, and couldn’t help but grin at her boss’s starstruck face.
“Hey Ellie,” Ben said stepping up to her desk.
“Hello,” Ellie replied with a smile, turning her chair, and full attention, toward him.
“Are you free later tonight?” Ben asked. “I need help with a special project.”
“I’m free,” Rylie blurted. Ben and Ellie both turned their full attention to her. Rylie stuck out her hand towards Ben. “Hi, Mr. Baker, I’m Rylie Black. I’m one of Ellie’s supervisors and single, so if you need anything, and I mean anything, I’m available.” Ellie couldn’t stop the laugh that escaped her mouth and Rylie shot her a glare. Ben kindly took Rylie’s hand and shook it.
“It’s nice to meet you Rylie,” Ben replied. “I’m sure in the future we could definitely use you for a project, but we’re specifically using Ellie for this one.” Ellie smiled at Ben. She would never understand how he managed to stay so calm and collective in any circumstance, awkward or life-threatening.
“You know I’d be happy to give you my personal number,” Rylie continued on. “Just in case you want to talk anytime day or night. I’d always be available for you, Benjamin.” Rylie winked. Ben glanced towards Ellie, his manners failing only slightly.
“Yeah, that would be fine,” Ben said, scratching the back of his neck. “Can I have a moment alone with Ellie to go over a few things?” Rylie pouted a moment before nodding and jumping off of Ellie’s desk.
“If you need me I’ll be nearby,” Rylie said placing her hand on his arm. Ben nodded and she walked away. Ben frowned and crouched down by Ellie’s desk.
“Remind me to get you your own office so I don’t have to worry about other people eavesdropping,” Ben said in a low whisper, glancing around at the other employees all eyeing Ellie with disdain.
“You can do that?” Ellie asked.
“Probably not,” Ben sighed. “So look, tonight I need your help. I’m supposed to hack into a security system to figure out what’s been going on. Roger has some special date tonight, I think they’re doing wedding planning with Karen’s parents, so he won’t be available. Would you be alright with going out on a case with me?”
Ellie looked at him thoughtfully.
“How do you get new cases?” Ellie asked. Ben raised his eyebrows in surprise but smiled. “Is there like a superhero agency or something?” Ben laughed and nodded.
“Yes.” He replied. Ellie frowned.
“I was joking.”
“I wasn’t.” Ben smiled.
“It’s a real thing? There’s an agency for superheroes?” Ellie asked in a whisper. Ben glanced around to make sure no one was listening in.
“Yeah, it’s called the Board of Supers,” Ben answered.  Ellie groaned.
“The Board of Supers? Could they come up with a worse name? It actually makes  having superpowers sound boring. And is the acronym BS? That’s awful.”
“It’s typically called the BOS,” Ben replied. “Ever heard of BOS Movie Theaters? That’s their cover location.”
“I’m pretty sure the ‘O’ is silent, it’s just called the BS,” Ellie said shaking her head. Ben laughed. Ellie smiled. She loved being able to make him laugh. Ben’s laugh was always so rich and full of life, nothing fake about it.
“Anyways, can you help me tonight?” Ben asked.
“Of course, Mr. Baker,” Ellie replied.
“You know you can just call me Ben, right?” Ben smiled. Ellie pursed her lips, looking thoughtful.
“Whilst sitting in your family’s office building as one of your employees, that does not feel appropriate to me,” Ellie said. “Especially with the majority of my coworkers currently staring at me, trying to figure out why the future CEO of the company is talking to me.” Ben’s eyes lifted to glance around at the other desks. All eyes were on them.
“Understood,” Ben replied. “When you get off can you meet me in my office?”
“Which one?” Ellie asked.
“The underground one,” Ben said in a low voice.
“I can do that,” Ellie said with a nod. Ben stood up straight.
“Thank you, Ellie.” He said before turning and walking away. It didn’t take long for Rylie to leave her desk and rush over to Ellie.
“Oh my gosh, how can you handle being around him without cheating on Arthur?” Rylie asked, watching Ben walk away. Ellie frowned. “He’s like a celebrity, athlete, and God rolled into one perfect, muscular man.” Ellie laughed.
“You’re being dramatic,” Ellie replied.
“I’m not, though.” Rylie turned to her. “Do you realize how lucky you are to get to be around him? That he knows your name? If only your lame middle school self could see you now.” Ellie winced. Rylie was a year older, but they had been in the same math class in seventh grade. Rylie had been involved in an incident where a group of Ellie’s classmates mocked her relentlessly after finding Ellie’s notebook with a whole page dedicated to Benjamin Baker.
“Right,” Ellie replied. “But again, I have a boyfriend, and I’m happy. That was a middle school crush and I have no feelings for Benjamin Baker.”

Ben wore his Knight Dragon suit, the hood down and his face showing. Ellie was waiting in an office chair beside him as he worked on the computer, beneath Bakersfield in his command center. She kept her eyes on him. She couldn’t help but think about what Rylie had been saying earlier. She had made one good point. Ellie was lucky to be able to spend her time with Benjamin Baker. Ellie didn’t want to dwell on that fact, though. She had been crushing on him for years, but she had a boyfriend now and any relationship with Ben had to be strictly professional. Still, she could help but enjoy when Ben reached up to push back his thick hair from his forehead. It was a simple, yet somehow incredibly attractive motion. Ben let out a sigh and turned to her.
“Ready?” He asked with a smile.
“What exactly are we doing again?” Ellie asked. Ben hadn’t given her many details. She had met him upstairs in his office, then they took the elevator down here, and she had been watching him work on the computer for about five minutes in silence.
“A friend of mine keeps going back to work to find things missing or changed,” Ben said. “He isn’t in charge there so he wants me to hack into the security system and see what’s been going on at nights.”
“You know how to hack into a security system?” Ellie asked raising an eyebrow.
“Barely, but that’s what you’re here for.” Ben winked.
“Oh, and you think I know how to hack security systems?” Ellie looked at him skeptically. “My major is in engineering, remember?” Ben grinned at her.
“I know that. But I also I did a lot of research on your college career before allowing you into my trust circle and found some information about you getting suspended your first year when you hacked into the university’s database to try and raise the amount of your scholarship.”
“I’m poor. It was worth a shot.” Ellie shrugged.
“How were you not banned from the school?” Ben asked.
“One of my professors stood up for me. He was very interested in how my brain worked and wanted to keep me on as a student. He was able to cut my suspension short.” Ellie replied.
“You weren’t lying when you said you can basically do anything.” Ben eyed her carefully. Ellie didn’t say anything, fighting back a smile.  He stood and the two of them headed up a metal staircase in the corner. They exited the command room into a back alleyway behind Bakersfield. Ben moved behind one of the dumpsters and began rolling out a sleek black motorcycle. Ellie stared at it skeptically. Ben walked over to her with a helmet in hand. He placed it over her curled hair and began fastening it in place.
“You’re lucky you picked the one day I’m not wearing a skirt,” Ellie said. Ben glanced at her. She was in a pair of black stilettos, black dress pants, and her black coat covered her top. He usually saw her in skirts or dresses while at work.
“I am lucky.” Ben agreed. He led her back over to the motorcycle as he pulled up his hood. Ben got on and steadied it before holding out a hand to assist Ellie on behind him. Once on, Ellie placed her hands tentatively on Ben’s waist as he started up the engine. They shot off towards the street, the cold night air whipping at Ellie’s face. The further they went the more Ellie clung onto him, her gloveless fingers aching with the cold.
The motorcycle slowed and came to a stop in front of the city morgue. Ben glanced back at Ellie and assisted her off the bike. She pulled off the helmet, her hair a static mess. She stared towards the morgue frowning. Ben steadied the bike and took the helmet from Ellie. She remained still, staring towards the building. Her body was shivering from the cold night. Ben moved in front of her and looked over her frowning.
“Is something wrong?” Ben asked, reaching out to fix a few fly aways in her hair.
“You never said we were going to a morgue,” Ellie stated. Ben laughed.
“Are you scared?” He teased.
“Yes,” Ellie said sternly looking up at him. “I don’t like dead bodies.” Ben tilted his head, looking over her.
“Well, we’re just here to look at the security footage. There won’t be any dead bodies.” Ben began walking towards the front doors, Ellie following, reluctantly behind. Ben pulled a silver pin from his utility belt and inserted it into the lock. Ellie watched him mess with it a moment before the lock clicked.
“What is that?” Ellie asked.
“It’s something the B.O.S. gave me. It’s supposed to be able to unlock any door.” Ben said pulling the door open. They moved inside and began walking down a wide hallway of closed doors, keeping the lights off. Ellie glanced around anxiously. Her body was still shaking, but now just from nerves. Ben moved to a closed door near the end of the hallway and pushed it open. As Ben flicked on the light switch Ellie saw the small room held only a small desk against the far wall with two monitors and a mess of garbage.
“Why does a morgue even need a security system?” Ellie pondered aloud. “I mean who would want to break into a morgue?”
“Teenagers on a dare, villains, criminals,” Ben answered shortly. Ellie smiled and sat down at the desk, brushing a few candy wrappers away from the keyboard. The screen was locked and she began typing in a few codes to attempt to bypass it. Ben stood behind her chair looking over her shoulder. A shuffling sound made him whirl around, but there was nothing there. The hallway looked even darker from inside their lit room.
“Did you hear something?” Ben asked.
“No,” Ellie said sharply. Ben frowned as he thought he heard a shuffling noise again.
“Did we forget to close the main door?” Ben kept prodding.
“It’s closed,” Ellie said, her focus clearly on the computer in front of her. “Maybe you’re just hearing the wind.” Ben continued to stare out towards the hallway, waiting to hear another sound. Nothing came and Ben turned back around feeling anxious.
“So, your boss is interesting,” Ben said casually, trying to ignore the noise outside. “It’s been awhile since an employee has so strongly flirted with me.” Ellie laughed.
“Yeah, you should have heard what she said after you left.” Ellie groaned, still focused on the computer in front of her. “She just assumed I was cheating on Art with you. It’s a shame she knew me in middle school when I had a huge crush on you.” Ben’s eyes widened. He took a side step so he was beside the chair, looking over towards Ellie’s face. Ellie’s fingers had stopped typing and she stared blankly at the screen. Slowly she turned her head to look at him, looking mortified.
“You didn’t hear that,” Ellie stated.
“I think I did,” Ben replied, trying to hide a smile.
“It’s not like it even matters.” Ellie began speaking fast. “Because back then I knew I wasn’t ever going to meet you and I didn’t know you would grow up to be a player.”
“Excuse me?” Ben’s eyes narrowed. Ellie lifted her hands and pressed her fingers against her temples.
“Oh, this is like a nightmare,” Ellie groaned. “I didn’t mean that… the press just says… Look none of this matters anyways. It’s not like I’m attracted to you anymore. Not that you're not attractive, there’s clearly a reason the city calls you the most handsome bachelor. You’re actually kind of incredibly, distractingly good looking.” Ellie was staring into his eyes, suddenly breathless. Ben was staring back, processing her words.
“You think I’m attractive?” Ben mused. Ellie shook her head.
“I didn’t say that!” Ellie argued.
“I think you did.” Ben countered with a grin.
“I have a boyfriend,” Ellie stated. Ben’s smile disappeared and he stared at her as she continued to ramble. “And I love him, he’s amazing and we have fun together, and it’s not that you aren’t amazing too, you… you’re incredible, but I can’t really think about you in that way now. Maybe not ever.” Any emotion fell from Ben’s face, again taking in every word and the way it had been said.
“Ellie, relax. I get it.” He finally replied leaning against the desk and looking back towards the hallway. He stared at it, his face growing stern as he thought he heard another noise, louder this time. Ellie sighed and turned back to the computer.
“I hate my mouth,” Ellie muttered, Ben not hearing her as he took a step towards the door.
“I still think there’s someone out there,” Ben said.
“Let’s be clear, I didn’t disagree with you because I didn’t hear anything. I was meaning to say there should not be anyone or anything moving around in a closed morgue at night and I was hoping, more than anything, that you were wrong.” Ellie said shuddering. Ben glanced back at her.
“Why are you so afraid of being here?” Ben asked. “Everything here is dead.” Ellie closed her eyes, her body cringing.
“And that doesn’t freak you out?” Ellie asked, her eyes still squeezed shut.
“No.” Ben shrugged.
“Have you ever seen a dead body?” Ellie asked. Ben thought for a moment.
“No.” He answered. “Have you?”
“Yes,” Ellie replied. “I told you about it the first time we met. My parents died in a bombing and my mom died right next to me.” Ben’s body stiffened. “Do you happen to know how much therapy I had to go through for my nine-year-old self to get over that image?” Ellie looked up at him. Ben was staring towards her, his eyes sad.
“I’m sorry,” Ben said. “We’ll be out of here soon.”
“Of course we will,” Ellie turned back to the computer. “I’m the one hacking and making sure I can get out of here as fast as possible.” Ben glanced back towards the door. He didn’t want to speak up again, but he was certain someone else was out there. Ben pushed away from the desk and began walking towards the door. He leaned out into the hallway and looked down. It was dark, the only light coming in from the windows near the front of the building. Ben couldn’t see anything and all the doors were still closed.
“Got it,” Ellie said. Ben turned back to her. “I got the files from last night after hours.”
“Let’s take a look,” Ben said moving behind Ellie to get a better look at the screen. The image showed the morgue at night with infrared lighting. Ellie flipped through different images of the many rooms. Ellie shuddered at the rooms that housed the dead bodies. They watched in silence, waiting for something to happen. Ellie sped through the footage a couple minutes at a time to attempt to find something of use quicker. There was a flash where the image changed.
“Go back,” Ben instructed. Ellie rewound the footage and stopped it on where the change had occurred. In the autopsy room, a man appeared on the screen in the center of the room. Ben straightened up his body going rigid.
“Who is that?” Ellie asked softly. Ben didn’t say anything, hearing another shuffling behind him. Ben turned, his eyes widening, his heart pounding.
“Ellie,” Ben said sharply. “Don’t turn around.”
“What?” Ellie asked, swiveling her chair towards him. Ben turned to her quickly, placing his hands on the armrests and staring towards her.
“Don’t look behind you,” Ben said more sternly. Ellie frowned, looking over Ben carefully.
“You’re scaring me,” Ellie said. Ben glanced back towards the center of the room.
“Yeah. Me too.” Ben breathed. Ellie turned her head slightly to see what he was looking at. Ben placed his hand against her jaw. “I’m serious Ellie. Don’t look. Just close your eyes.” Ben pulled out one of his throwing stars. He flung it towards the center of the room. Ben groaned.
“What is it?” Ellie asked. Ben bit the inside of his cheek.
“Those apparently don’t work on people who are already dead.”

Aw man, part one? This was my Halloween inspired episode that ended up super long so I split it into two parts. We'll get the next story this next Saturday just in time for Halloween! This was also one of my favorite stories to write. So I'm really excited to share part two with you next week.


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