Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 28

I had been sitting out in the parking lot staring at the stars, and thinking since two or so in the morning. My first problem was that I just couldn’t sleep while anywhere near to Yolanda. That just didn’t work for me, and in the room she ended up in the bed above me less than a foot away. That was doing all kinds of bad things to my brain. And of all the things I needed happen right now, Yolanda was not one of them but she had been reveling in this new and sudden monopoly she had on my time.
She had even go so far to pull me aside to talk, and I just hadn’t seen that one coming. We had gone out to the Motel 6 lobby and sat in a couple of the most uncomfortable chairs I had ever encountered. Yo had swung over and poured me a cup of coffee exactly like I liked it and brought it over to me. And then returned and got herself one as well. When she returned, it looked as if she was the cat that had swallowed the canary.

“What?” I didn’t like that particular look on her face.

“Oh nothing. First, let me apologize.”

I was incredulous… “For what exactly? I mean not that you don’t have anything to apologize for, I’m just curious what you think you need to be apologizing for.”

“Well, probably the biggest thing is something you don’t even know about.” She scratched her eyebrow and sort of grimaced a bit. “I only dated you the past two years because the Council,” she stopped there. But I already knew where this was going and my eyes were wide. “The council is the one that asked me to.”

“Why? How could your dating me possibly be beneficial to the Council in any possible way?” I was spinning the idea around in my mind trying to figure it out but nothing was coming to me.

“Bentley, do you really not see it? They had been keeping their eye on you for years. I was just a better way to do that. I would regularly report back to them about what we talked about. They were particularly interested in your dreams and aspirations. They wanted to know what you wanted to do with your life.” She considered this answer a second and then adjusted in her uncomfortable chair looking for a less comfortable spot.

Yolanda had long since changed and now she was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and her hair thrown into a quick ponytail. I hadn’t seen her looking so low key in my life. And if I was being completely honest, she was looking better now than I had ever seen her. “This sounds so 3rd grade, but they made me do it Ben. I really am sorry that I did. Looking back on it, you were just a means to a larger end. And so I did it.”

“That makes me feel so much better. So what about all that pressure to get married? The stress from Auntie and the whole family for that matter?”

“Well, marriage is a set of chains that are sometimes way more powerful than actual chains. And they thought if you and I got married they would have you.”

“What about you? What about your own dreams for marriage? Dreams for your life? Did you just throw all those away?” I asked, incredulous at what I was hearing.

“Oh, my life goal has always been making my way up the chain. My first step was to become the President of TK House.”

I began making fake crowd noises through cupped hands. “And the crowd goes crazy ladies and gentlemen, the crowd is going absolutely crazy! Can you hear it?” I continued my fake adulation until Yolanda took the last sip of her coffee and pelted me with her styrofoam cup.

“Funny. You probably don’t believe me, but it really was a surprise when I was notified I had become the President.”

“So how much of that was Auntie?” I asked naively.

“About 10%, I’d guess.” She answered coyly.

“And how much of that was me?” I asked as realization began to dawn.

“Oh that’s tough to say, oh I don’t know – maybe something like the other 90%. Ben, you were a big catch for me. You were my first big assignment. And everything had gone perfectly.”

“Perfectly? The Quad? The FBI? The chaos at the Chalet?” I didn’t believe any of that.

“Oh we didn’t know you would blow up Durango. Granted. I was lucky to survive that little encounter. But it just proved all the more how much the Council was correct in watching you.”

I didn’t want to be reacting to her this way. Giving her the attention she so obviously wanted from me. But the information she had was just beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It was just out of a completely different universe that I hadn’t even thought possible. I wanted to tell her to go jump off a cliff, but I just couldn’t. I needed her way too badly. Her information – and if I was honest with myself – her support.

“So the past several years of our lives? All fake? 100%?” I said this more to myself as I searched the past. She demurred a bit and then stood up to get more coffee. As she was pouring she looked over her shoulder to make sure she had my eye and then asked with an eyebrow if I wanted some. The double entendre was painfully obvious even to someone as slow as me. ‘Oh no.’ I thought to myself. I was severely out of my depth when it came to women, and I couldn’t imagine that if that woman was an extremely powerful Emp that my odds would get much better. I told myself then to keep my guard up and to be constantly on the watch for even the most subtle insinuations. But I was definitely outmatched in this area. I had yet to figure out any sort of ability to nuance my attacks yet. It was all brute force and chaos when I got behind the wheel.

She brought me another cup anyway even though I hadn’t answered. “Ben I hunted you down once. And I will do it again if I have to. But I don’t want it to happen that way again. I am sorry for playing you our first go round.” She took a big draw on her coffee and then continued. She seemed to be hiding behind her coffee mug when she continued, “I think I fell for you for real back at the Chalet. I couldn’t believe I had missed it all along.”

“You didn’t realize what it is you had til it was gone?” I said in mock agreement and amusement.
“No. Nothing of the sort. I didn’t realize who you were until you finally realized it.”

I immediately knew what she meant. I knew too well. I had changed a lot in the past few days to say the very least.

I decided that changing the subject would be the absolute best policy right now and that I probably should have long ago. “So where exactly are the Elders located? Where is it that we are heading to?”
“Chicago.” That surprised me for some reason. Not exactly sure what I expected, but Chicago probably was the last city that I would have guessed. “Bentley, it is going to absolutely blow you away. I know you’ve never been a huge fan of big cities, but wait until you see Chicago with your knew eyes. It is absolutely something else. “The City of a million times.”

And so I was sitting in the parking lot staring at the stars, just trying to get away from Yolanda when a fairly frightened voice spoke up from behind me. My first thought was to go on the offensive but I quickly realized it was Jacob. The poor guy had been recovering all afternoon with a bag of peas on his head and a blank look on his face. I had tried to explain a bit of what had happened but that only made it much worse. So I stopped. I guessed that maybe it was a good sign for him to be up and about anyway.

“Do you have a second?” asked Jake tentatively.

“Sure thing.” I motioned for him to have a seat beside me. “What’s on your mind?”

“Well I’m guessing I’m a hostage then?” I was a little taken aback at that.

“Uh, no. If you’d like to go, you can go. I won’t let you walk just yet because we aren’t leaving to daybreak. But I can let you go then if you’d like. I had no intention of keeping you against your will… my only thought was to get you out of there alive.” I answered honestly enough.

“Yes, thank you. I was just thinking that I may be able to help a bit.” I was definitely more than a little surprised at that turn.

“Help out how, exactly?” I said more to myself than to Jake.

“Well I found you didn’t I? You and Yolanda. Barley and I took what little the FBI knew and turned it into a mountain of leads.”

“That you did. It actually felt like you were reading my mind even. Fairly annoying really.” I chuckled at that to let him know there were no hard feelings. “So, you think you can do that for Leif and Bea then?” It was an interesting idea I hadn’t considered. But then again, I knew I hadn’t considered anything at all outside of ‘getting Bea back’. The how was very much well beyond me though.

“Why would you help out? I mean, don’t you just want to slink away and disappear. You were never officially even here in Durango. No one knows about you. You could just act like it never happened.” I asked curious as to his motivator.

“I could never act like what happened to Barley never happened.” Ah. Of course. Sure. I can be so dense sometimes. “I want to get Leif back nearly as much as you do, I think. A lot anyway. So, if you didn’t mind the extra baggage, I’d love to help out if I can.” I considered it momentarily and then agreed with a firm shake of my head and a wide grin. I wrapped my arm around the big teddybear of a hacker and then said, “Welcome aboard special agent. I’ll get you your special edition decoder ring soon enough.”


The sun exploded over the mountains in a crescendo of violent light and brilliance. I had been laying on an island of grass in the parking lot, staring at the dark sky when I was shaken from my revery by a brilliant light that went from a dark grey to a brilliant orange sherbet pink in under 10 seconds.
I decided that I had had enough waiting and I was ready to put Boulder behind me. It was going to be tricky getting out of the town. But I figured Jacob would be the hardest person to hide, and no one was looking for him. So I marched up to the hotel room and opened the door with great pomp and heralding. And just like that I became the least favorite person in the room. Everyone had been completely crashed out save Yolanda who was sitting over by the window staring out at the mountains.

“Alright gang, we are going to get moving in thirty minutes. We’ve got some fancy dancing to do today to get out of here I’m thinking. Cat, can you give me anything you have on the day? Sumner, can you… SUMNER!” And when he didn’t move I had an idea. On a lark I Emp’d a beautiful woman into his mind. And then I began undressing her. A smile spread across his face and I knew I had him. And then I turned her into a mummified horror show. Teeth falling out, skin pruned, ribs showing through… And then I gave her a terrifying scream that ripped through Sumner’s head. He was standing on his bed and screaming in a heart beat. I laughed loudly at that.

“WHAT?!” he screamed, way louder than appropriate.

“I was just wondering if you could help out a little bit?”

Sumner’s eyes went wide with the knowledge of what had just happened. “Oh no you didn’t. Oh no you didn’t! I will so get you back for that. Just wait… and you know what, don’t even bother sleeping again. Ever.” I was laughing loudly now.

“Ok. In the meantime, can you give me a hand scouting the freeways and the choke points out of the city? Great.” Then I turned to Yolanda, “And Yo, I don’t suppose you can help me find a creative solution to our transportation problem?”

“Definitely. Already have an idea or two.”

“Figured as much. Thanks.”

“What about me?” asked DJ obviously feeling left out.

“For you, my friend, I have a special task. Can you get our newest member of our team over to Barley’s place and get his equipment? I have a feeling we are going to need at least some of it. Don’t suppose you can make do with just your laptop?” I asked to Jacob.

“Woah, woah. That wasn’t part of the deal!” then he laughed. “Sure, I do get a bit claustrophobic on anything less than three or four screens. But I figure I can find a way to make it work. Just don’t expect miracles in 3 minutes… you are going to have to wait a full five now.”

“Sure, that works for me.” I answered. “So, you got him DJ? You two cannot be seen. I can’t afford to loose you or him at this point.”

DJ seemed to puff up at that. “Yeah, of course. I got this.”

I nodded confidently in return and then turned to the rest of the group and said, “Let’s meet back in an hour.”