BI SWAT #14: Downward Spiral

Blessed Inversion SWAT Emblem

Previously on Blessed Inversion SWAT…

While trying to return to his normal life, things only get worse for Steven Kessler as he’s fired from RajTEK. Without a job, limited funds, and working on his own again, he begins to return to his old methods for dealing with crime. Intimidating and gaining the loyalty of the leader of the Italian Gangsters in Silver Plains…

Steven Kessler/SWAT-Spider

-Vigilante

Elle Hollows Kessler
-Ex-Wife

Wendell Hoffman/Titan

-Former Inhibitor

Richard Kent

-Leader of the Italian Gang

With one of the lesser gangs now subservient to him, all Steven had to do was wait to begin his next move the following night. But until then, he still had to return to fatherhood. Which meant getting a few hours of sleep after returning home so he could take Gabriel to school. Luckily for him, Wendell chose to remain in which allowed Steven some time to rest. The moment he got back inside he immediately switches to his lazy sweatpants, flops onto the pull-out couch and closes his eyes. His body was tired but his mind was unable to rest.

“Italians are down but who should I go after next? Can’t go for the big five. Triads & Yakuza are the largest but they aren’t going to play nice unless I get more people backing me…Pretty sure the Stars of Doom absorbed the Spanish gangs already…That just leaves…” My train of thought is interrupted by the intercom ringing. I force myself up to answer it. “Who is it?” Part of me wondered who would be coming back at 8AM in the morning but another was too tired to care.

“Steve? It’s me.” I could never forget Elle’s voice.

“Elle?” I answer surprised. This was the first time she ever came to visit here since I moved out.

“Can we talk?”

It must’ve been important for her to come here in person instead of talking on the phone. “Yeah, just take the elevator to the 4th floor.” I buzz her in and wait outside my door. It takes her about three minutes for the elevator to bring her up and to walk down the hall. She came dressed in her business casual as always. Made it hard to tell if she was going to work or just on a day off.

“Hi.” she exhales awkwardly after a tense silence. It was our first time speaking since our last conversation ended poorly. *

*Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 7- One at a Time

“Hi.” I respond.

“May I come in?” I can see her eyes looking me over. Not sure if she’s just admiring my muscles or looking at my mostly healed scars.

“…Yeah…” I don’t think it’s a good idea. But I do it anyway. “Sorry about the mess. Wasn’t expecting to have anyone over.” I try to clean off the couch and return it to normal.

“It’s my fault for not calling first.” her eyes examine the room. It was disorganized and crowded to accommodate a pullout couch. Furniture pushed to the sides to give it space haphazardly. “It’s…nice…”

“You don’t have to be pretty. It’s pretty shit but it’s affordable.” I finish returning the coach to normal and putting the living room back in order. “Gabe has his own room though so I can’t complain.”

“I thought this was a two bedroom?” her brow furls slightly before she sits down on one of my chairs.

“It’s complicated…” I sigh and sit down. I close my eyes and take a deep breath before looking at her?

“Well…” she begins but stops when she notices Wendell standing in the hallway. He must’ve heard me moving furniture and came to investigate. “Who’s that?”

“Shit…Sorry if I woke you up, Wend. Breakfast is in the kitchen whenever you’re ready.” he signs me thank you. “You’re welcome. Uh, Wend…this is Elle. She’s Gabe’s mother.” Wendell was hesitant to respond. “Elle, this is Wendell.”

“Hi.” she smiles awkwardly. Wendell waves in return before moving to the kitchen. “Is he…”

“Mute, not deaf.”

“Okay, but who is he and why is he here?” her tone was curious and annoyed at the same time.

“It’s a long story.” I sigh and rub my forehead. “Hey Wend, mind giving us a minute?” he pokes his head out, nods, and returns to his room with a plate of food. Bacon and sausage, it was all I could manage on a few hours sleep. “Long story short, I’m his guardian now.”

“Can’t even see one of your sons and you got a new one…” she shakes her head.

“Who’s fault is that?” I snap back. “Besides, I didn’t have a choice. Not that I would’ve said no.” I scowl at her. “Remember how I worked with the Inhibitors? He was one of the members.”

“So that’s why he looked familiar…He was on the news for helping stop that wildfire in California.” Elle quietly said to herself.

“Yeah well, thanks to some really messed up assholes he…he was forced to kill the only family he had left and attacked the other Inhibitors.”

“Oh my god.” she puts her hands over her mouth in shock.

“He couldn’t stay with them so I offered to take him. Figured I was the best option to take him in. He’s 17 now and I couldn’t just leave him to whatever system Canada had. Haven’t officially adopted him or anything but for the time being, he’s a Kessler.” I explain loosely to her. I can see in her crestfallen expression that she realized her annoyance earlier was unjustified.

“I’m sorry. I…I didn’t know.” she apologizes for her earlier comments. “Is that why you’ve been on the couch while recovering?”

“Yeah…Wasn’t going to let him stay out here so I let him have the room.”

“How long has he been here?”

“Yesterday made a week.” I rub my head and lean back on the couch to try and get comfortable.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t plan for any of it. Besides, you made it pretty clear you didn’t want to see me.” I keep my eyes focused on her intensely. “What is it you came here for exactly Elle? Couldn’t be to chew me out over more poor decisions.”

“I…um…” she hesitates. Her eyes looking around the room. Her hands fidgeting nervously. “I am going to be the bad guy again without even trying.” she solemnly chuckles. “You asked for a day and I gave you a week.” she looks away from me. My heart sinks at the idea of what might come next. “Seeing you now and with all the crimes happening lately…” she shakes her head and takes a deep breath. “I’m taking Gabe and we’re moving.”

“First you take Mikey and now you’re trying to take Gabe from me again?”

“I’m taking him from this city. It’s not safe anymore for him and after a few minutes ago…It’s for the best for Gabe. This place is too small for you, Gabe, and Wendell. It’s getting more dangerous and you just can’t live a normal uncomplicated life. How long till you put him in the crossfire?”

“You want me to just give him to you? To lose both my kids while you run off?” I try to stay calm. It barely works.

“Think of Gabe. Do what’s best for him.” she leans forward and pleads.

She doesn’t know both of us are Inversions. He doesn’t know what either of us can do. She thinks she’s doing what’s best but she isn’t. But if I tell her it’d just make her stick to her guns more. “I’m not backing down.”

“Steve…” she finally looks me in the eyes. “Please don’t make things harder than they already are.”

I sigh and hunch over slightly before deciding to speak again. “I’ll see you in court Elle.”

She exhales sharply and stands. “Good to know you being stubborn is more important than your son’s life.”

“Everything I do, I do for him.”

“Like destroying what we had?” I can hear her voice crack slightly.

“I only did what I felt was right.” I stand and cross my arms.

“Right, because you’ve always had a perfect moral compass.” she steps back and reaches for the door. “Mikey really likes Quinn. He barely even asks about you.” she turns to look back at me. “Hope doing what was right was worth it Steven.” she opens the door but stops. Turning back to look at me one last time with tears in her eyes. “Quinn and I…We weren’t sure before now. I didn’t want to bring it up with everything that’s happened lately I can’t.”

“Keeping secrets and calling me out on it all this time?”

“They might not be yours.”

“…What?”

“I’m sorry.” she covers her mouth and leaves in a rush.

My mind tells me she said what she did just to hurt me out of spite…But Elle’s never been someone to be spiteful like that. Why did she wait this long to tell me if it was true? Was she waiting just to hurt me? Did she want to use it to get custody back? Was she telling the truth? My mind races for answers and clues one way or the other. I never pegged her the cheating type…But with all the shit I’ve been through it’s possible she did when I was too busy to notice. Too focused on both my jobs to notice or question anything. But they look like me…look like us…Did this new guy look like me? But Gabe has powers…powers not remotely like mine…I already lost Mikey and now I might lose Gabe…on top of neither of them even being mine to begin with…I look at the Khonshu Band and it tells me it’s 9:25AM. That means I have a little under 6 hours till I need to get back Gabe. Instinctively, Guardian Aranea forms around me. I preferred working at night but screw it. “I’m going out Wend.” I call out to Wendell before climbing out the window. It doesn’t take long to reach the roof when I make a call on the Khonshu Band. “I have a job for you Kent. I need you to find out where the Irish are holed up.”

“That’s easy, they run the pubs down in Bronze Plains. Burke’s, Ardan’s Tavern, Meara’s Cloister, if it’s a pub or a Bar in Bronze Plains they have a hand in it. Don’t know where Balor is specifically but hit enough of them and he’ll come out on his own.”

“Thanks.” I end the call and just stand there in silence. I can’t deal with all this shit right now so I’ll do what I do best; hunt down criminals.

I summon Aranea’s legs, use it to launch myself into the air, and begin gliding from building to building. Using Aranea’s legs to kick off the surface before I reach it to maintain my altitude. It was quicker than driving but forced me to be direct. If I’m not careful I’d get the Stars of Doom on my ass too which meant I needed to hit wherever I went hard and fast. Buildings in Bronze Plains weren’t nearly as tall as Silver Plains so it was a bit more difficult to navigate. Luckily, it made it easier to find my targets. I admittedly don’t know Bronze Plains as well as Silver Plains so I stop at the first pub I find. Ardan’s Tavern sat on the corner of its block and looked like it could be a full-on restaurant. If I go through the front I’ll risk harming anyone innocent. I hear the sound of metal touching the ground along with a sudden vibration. Causing me to turn around quickly and see Wendell who had followed me.

“Forgot he could fly…” I thought to myself briefly. “What are you doing here Wend?” he begins signing but I have no idea what he’s trying to say. He could tell since he pulls out his notepad and writes that he was worried about me. “I’m fine Wend, you should wait for me at home.” he shakes his head and stands next to me. “Fine, just stay in your metal form.” I didn’t plan on him joining me or even really want him to get back in the field so soon. But I can’t deny that having an invulnerable and super strong backup is an appealing thought. These poor guys won’t know what hit them.

Recommended Reading

COMING SOON

Next Issue

Blessed Inversion SWAT Chapter 15- Ghost of Bronze Plains

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