The Correspondent is a web serial by Dylan Reed. Buy the whole story now.

Origin, Episode 10, Part 2

The Correspondent

People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.

I DIDN”T HAVE TO WAIT LONG. A man, probably six feet tall with a lanky build, came tromping through the overgrown bushes. He had a cast on one wrist and on my display a window popped open identifying him as Mouse. The same Mouse whose wrist I had broken a few nights earlier. This was perfect. Mouse passed my hiding spot and started to undo his pants. Oh great, I didn’t want to see that.

Figuring that Mouse was out here alone to do his business I decided it was time to strike. I crept up behind him, taking my time to avoid fallen leaves and twigs. I needed to be silent. I couldn’t risk him alerting anyone else to my presence so I swung that bat at his side, hoping that I would knock the air out of his lungs.

The bat made a sickening crunch against his ribs and he crumpled to the ground. I grabbed his fallen figure by the collar of his shirt and drug him into the thick bramble out of sight of the path he had followed. I crouched over him, keeping the bat pressed against his throat and waited.

No one else came along. It appeared that I had succeeded in taking Mouse out without alerting anyone else. Now it was time to get some answers. I took out a pair of zip ties and zipped them around his wrists and ankles. I hog tied him and pulled him along the ground away from where he had come from. Improvising a gag, I grabbed a thick stick forced it across his mouth. I secured it in place with two more zip ties. I wanted to have a conversation with him and not be interrupted.

I don’t care how lanky someone is, if you are six-foot tall or taller you weigh a lot. I didn’t trust him to walk on his own and I was already starting to get worried about being discovered. We made it to the edge of the stream that ran through the park, which was far enough away from where I’d captured him, and I prepared to have a little chat.

“Remember me?” I asked, leaning in close to him.

“Mwppahh,” he said, his eyes rolling around, panicked.

“Good,” I stood over him and lined the bat up to his unbroken wrist, “I need to know where to find The Rat.”

He started to make little panicked noises.

“You’re going to tell me where he is and I might let you go.”

He nodded vigorously. Oh how I loved a coward.

“I am about to undo your gag. If you make any noises other than telling me where he is, I will break your wrist. Do you understand?”

Again he nodded. I reached down and undid his gag. Like a dam bursting he spilled everything, where the base was located, where to find The Rat, and how many people were in the crew. After he was done he looked relieved.

What became clear to me, while Mouse spoke, was that I was going to need to be better prepared before I could take on The Rat. His lair, which he called The Rat’s Nest, was hidden beneath the park. Accessible through drainage tunnels and the sewers, it was fortified and booby trapped. There was a good chance that if I went in I wouldn’t make it back out again. But I knew where it was, which was a start.

I thought about calling the police and leaving them a tip, but why would they believe me? I couldn’t explain how I knew so I would look just as guilty as The Rat and his crew. Plus, I didn’t want to get any cops hurt. I placed Mouse’s gag back on, reminding him to be quiet. I undid his feet and helped him up. The two of us walked to the edge of the park. Getting out another zip tie, I attached Mouse’s cuffed wrists to a park bench. I then walked off into the night.

As I walked away from Mouse I called 9–1–1. I couldn’t leave a criminal tied up in the park to get free. I figured the cops would be able to detain him for a little bit, removing one of The Rat’s henchmen from the equation. Mouse seemed like a guy who, if given a chance, might turn his life around. I hoped that he would tell the cops what he told me and they would take care of everything.

I walked the long way around the park to get home. I had a lot of energy that I needed to burn it off. After getting home I changed out of my costume, put a robe on and started to figure out how I was going to get into The Rat’s lair without getting caught or killed. I skimmed the Acme Hero Equip, Inc. website and found a couple articles on infiltration that I read. The basics were: Move Slow, Be Quiet, Don’t Get Caught. Those all seemed obvious to me, but it was good to read.

The more I read about epic confrontations the more confident I felt. I could do this. I could take down The Rat and make my town a better place. I just had to be smart and careful. I would need to get a few things to make sure I made it out alive but that would have to wait. I needed to get some sleep and prepare for my visit to the police station.

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The story of The Correspondent will continue weekly. The Correspondent: Origin is available now. If you enjoyed this story, please consider scrolling down and recommending it on Medium. Follow me on Medium or on Twitter for more posts like this. Want early access? Support me!

Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.