Highrise Dance – Charity Nocturna

Enora felt terrible. Her body felt leaden and she was still lightheaded from the blood loss. The Henderson Building loomed far above her. On floor 25 a group of rich bastards were plotting ways to kill her. In her hand she held a vacuum grapple. The heavy battery pack Enora wore on her back would last 3 hours.
Are you sure about this? she thought to herself. She was far from her best, and climbing a featureless glass wall was an easy way to get killed. This is insane she admonished herself as she flipped on the vacuum system. Grabbing the tube labeled one she spun it and flung it up the building. The vacuum head latched onto the building, whistling from the pressure.
So it’s insane. I don’t think I’ve been sane since I was 8. She grabbed the thick, padded line and began to haul herself upwards. The first 100 yards were easy, as she tossed each head upwards, climbing between them. Enora was ready for another throw when she saw shadows moving in the windows above her.
“Dammit!” Enora growled. She had expected guards, but not for another 10 stories. They were taking Charity seriously. Sucking in a deep breath, Enora clicked her safety line in place. She began swinging in larger and larger arcs, heaving the line with all her strength. With a heavy grunt, she cleared the edge of the building. Taking another swing, she took up the second head and began spinning it.
As she cleared the edge of the building, Enora threw her weight hard around the lip of the corner. Grabbing the free attachment, she tossed it with a flick of the wrist. It attached to the far edge of the building, sending her swinging at the corner. Twisting, she caught each side of the building with a foot facing. The spin sent her face down at the yawning emptiness and pavement far below. Panic crept into her stomach, and she froze for a moment. Her arms were spread wide, burning from the strain.
Enora took a deep breath I am Charity Nocturna! I can do this! Remember what these bastards did to you. She clicked the release on one vacuum head. The line released, and all her weight slammed hard into left arm as she went into a wild spin. With a scream she swung her right arm upwards, grabbing the line. She slammed the building hard, knocking the breath from her. At least it stopped the spinning she thought while gasping for air. She braced her feet against the building and clicked her safety line in place. With a gasp of relief, she sunk into her harness.
Enora stayed there for several long moments, gulping huge breaths of air. The harness support let her shake the fatigue from her arm. Comics make this look so easy. I’d like to punch the guy who made that up in the throat. The battery on her back beeped, reminding her she was on a time limit. Grunting, Enora threw the loose line upwards and continued her climb.
Enora lost track of time as she struggled up the building. Only the quiet beeps of her battery marked the passage of time. She had to make the dangerous swing around the edge of the building two more times. She laughed in a hoarse whisper, relieved at finally reaching her target. The window was tinted, but she could see a group of men in expensive suits sitting around drinking. She reached into a pouch on her hip, pulling out a strange, square device with a pair of headphones attached. Katrina said this would work. She better be right. She slipped the headphones on, clicked a button on the box and pressed it against the window.
“The man’s a menace. If all the stories are true, he’s ruined millions of dollars worth of projects. At the last attack, this Charity character even hacked David’s social media. Now he has to waste good money on some stupid scholarship,“ one voice said.
“He killed a guard too,” chimed in another.
“Fuck the guards. They’re easy to replace,” Enora could imagine the sneer on the old man’s face.
“The real question is how this Charity person keeps finding our secrets?” the first voice was calm, deep and deadly.
Probably the world wide web. Surfing the net or something..” a new voice with an old man’s quaver chimed in.
“How does that work? It’s not like we put it on our website or anything,” another said.
A younger voice tinged with disgust hopped in. “There’s more to the web than web pages, you old bastards. If you had half a brain you’d have people online 24/7 securing your data.”
Enora snickered at this kid who thought a few security hackers could stop her.
“Shut up Wes, you got hit a month ago. Your superior tech knowledge didn’t help you, either,” the voice identified as Ted said. This Ted was obviously in charge. She ticked off the names of all the CEOs she knew. It had to be Ted Sagen, head of the Free Families Coalition. He all but decided who would be in the White House if the stories were true.
“It’s easy to insult us, but I don’t see you coming up with any ideas,” a voice snarled.
“You want an idea? This Charity Nocturna fights dirty, so we have to fight dirty too,” Ted’s voice was ice. “Bill, you still connected with the Dragon Syndicate?”
“Well, yeah, but-”
“But nothing. We need the best hunter in the business and they can reach him.”
“You mean the Honey Badger? He is one of the most wanted men in the world. If we get connected with him we could lose everything,” said a panicked voice. “Nothing serious has been leaked yet. Why risk it?”
“Yet. He’s come close to blowing the cover off a dozen black file operations. Only one of those would destroy the CEO in charge. We can’t risk it,” Ted’s voice was firm.
“Fine. We get the Honey Badger. How the hell will he find the culprit? We have zero leads on this Charity person,” someone new chimed in “Wo-”
The voices were drowned out by a loud beeping. Shit, the batteries are dying! She slid her hand into her pouch and pulled out a small ball of putty and stuck it to the window. Enora kicked off the wall and clicked a small button. As she swung back the window exploded, showering the rich bastards in shards of glass. Clicking off the power to her climbing system she flew into a roll across the expensive carpet.
Enora popped up and saw the Ted she had been listening to staring her down. “You’re a girl?” he said, shocked.
“Your point?” she responded and slammed her steel studded glove into his forehead. He stood for a moment, blood pouring down his face. His knees buckled and he collapsed. Everyone else began calling for security.
Damn. I’ll have to lose the vacuum climber. She shrugged the pack off and bolted out the door. Two shocked guards turned towards her. She didn’t slow as she cracked one’s knee with a kick and slammed an elbow into the other.
Before more guards arrived she ducked into a closet. She slipped her tablet from her pack and clicked it on. The screen immediately came up with the building schematics. There were two stairwells and three elevators. The cameras in this building weren’t networked so she was going blind. That was never good. She pulled the fighting stick off her back, took a breath and slammed the closet door open.
6 angry and shocked guards spun on her with pistols. The plates can take two shots at most. Better make them last. She dropped into a slide as the well trained idiots emptied their clips into empty air. Her slide took out the closest man, dropping him to the floor. Swinging her iron shod stick, she struck another in the gut. The man doubled over, dropping his weapon to the floor.
She pushed back on her hands and kicked to her feet, swinging her stick into the head of a third man. His skull made a sickening crunch as he crumpled. The remaining three spun their weapons on her.
Shit! She leaped to the side as bullets flew at her. Two shot hit her body armor, and she heard it shatter. Another bullet grazed her arm, causing her hand to twitch, dropping the stick to the ground.
Ignoring the pain, Enora grabbed her taser from her belt, shooting the nearest man in the chest. He dropped like a stone, shuddering. The remaining two had holstered their guns and approached with electrified batons.
Enora grinned and slashed the metal claws on the end of her gloves across one man’s eyes. He screamed, dropping the baton to the floor and clutching at his eyes. The other man stuck her side, hard. The electricity flowed through her, and she dropped to the ground. As she struggled to regain control, the man began kicking her gut. Thank god for padding! She thought.
One sharp kick to her side made her wince. The baton had bruised some ribs. She snatched the foot and twisted hard. His knee popped and he screamed, dropping to the floor. Enora pulled herself from the voice, wincing at the pain in her chest. She sprinted full speed towards the nearby stairwell.
She all but rolled down the stairs in her haste, barely catching her footing. Voices echoed above and below her. Damn! She charged downwards several floors before two armed men came up in front of her. This is going to suck.
Enora grabbed the rail and did a perfect handspring over the edge. With a graceful spin, she dropped half a story to the lower stairwell. Her legs screamed in protest as she landed but she bolted down the stairs without pausing. The men above her shouted, and their footsteps echoed behind her.
Enora was wheezing as she reached the bottom of the staircase. Only one floor remained, but her body burned and shook. She peered through the window and saw a dozen men waiting, all armed. One more time! She pulled a small ball from her pocket and slammed the door open.
The men raised their guns as she threw the ball on the floor, filling the room with brilliant light. Several shots rang out and heard the bullets whiz wide. As the light cleared, she bolted through the lobby and out the door. The blinded men couldn’t stop her.
She ran down the maze of back alleys, ducking into a dark corner. Enora slumped to the ground, leaning against the wall. The day had cost her a small fortune in equipment that would take several years to replace. This would be so much easier if I was a rich bastard and not a homeless bum she lamented. Now she had a new mystery to solve, who was the Honey Badger? What a stupid name she huffed as her vision faded No, can’t stay here.. Too dangerous.. Her body didn’t listen as she slipped into oblivion.

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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