(Written on my phone, will add links/bold/pics when I get near a computer)
2007, Ban Nakong, Northern Laos
Fortress stepped off the puttering riverboat onto the rickety dock that was held together by mould and sheer luck. The bronzed toothless dockhand with the wok shaped hat squealed at him so he slapped a US twenty into his hand and walked off.
This place was exactly what he needed. Remote, far from Middle East, far from Huiyan family job, and away from the army. Ever since his accident and the emergence of his powers things had been chaotic. Now it was time to simply relax and forget the world.
Fortress spotted a sign for Heimekann which even when written in Laotian was a welcome sign. He walked into the dingy little bar, dropped his duffel bag on the ground, slid his sunglasses onto his head.
“Can I get a beer?”
The two old men playing dominos paused to look him up and down before returning to their game. The bartender whose skin had seen many a hot decade from the Laotian sun puffed on something that smelt like a cross between wet dog and jasmine.
“Heime?” The bartender asked.
Fortress pulled out three US fifty dollars and dropped them on the bar. “You let me know when you need more.”
The bartender smiled smoke and pulled a green bottle from the circa 1980’s Co-Co Korla fridge then expertly popped the cap on the bar.
Fortress picked up a flash of dollar signs, cows, and round objects from the man’s mind via his telepathy. He pinched the bridge of his nose and turned away with his beer. “Whatever, I’ll be over in the corner. Better get another one ready as this one won’t last long.”
Fortress snapped awake as the filthy river water filled his lungs. “What the $&%#??”
“Why are you here?!” snapped an angry voice from the dock, which was quite some distance.
“Gonna kick your ass!” Fortress mumbled as he dog paddled towards the voice. “Just having beer!”
“You come any closer without answering my questions and I’ll crack your head open with this box of water apples. Understand?”
Fortress summoned up his telekinesis and emerged out of the water. “You picked the wrong mo...”
An apple smashed into Fortress’ face, if he wasn’t holding himself up via his powers it probably would’ve broken his nose. The attack startled him that he fell back into the water.
“Why are you here?”
“Apple chuckin motheJESUS!” Another apple smashed into the water next to his ear moving at bulletlike speed. “STOP!”
“Answer the question!”
Fortress again used his telekinesis to rise up out of the water only to be hit with an entire crate of fruit.
“I can do this all night! You CIA? Interpol?”
Fortress lay on the surface like drift wood, surrounded by bobbing apples and pieces of crate. “Should’ve stayed Afghan,” he slurred to himself.
It went silent across the water and the current slowly took Fortress down river.
Yesterday, February 2nd 2007, you will have been informed about a large African-American man who has arrived in Ban Nakong where you have been in self imposed exile.
You have overreacted thinking he’s a spy or assassin and thrown apples at him. He is neither, he is a former US army ranger who needs some help as he has powers similar to yours, Atomic Raider.
Yes, I know about secret crime fighting life as the Atomic Raider from 1927 until 1933 and that secret will remain one at least until the day I die which will be on October 14th 2018, three days after my 120th birthday.
So far all of this sounds like you’re being watched or tracked, doesn’t it? Well it’s a little more mystical than that.
You & I met briefly at San Diego International airport in 1971. You were deciding on a bunch of flowers to buy and as you finished you walked straight into me. You helped me up and my hand touched yours. I saw your life from that moment onwards, backwards, and until it’s end. That’s my power, also my curse.
In 1985, a little boy wandered into my store. He was afraid and lost, similar to the man drinking Heimekann’s like there is no tomorrow mainly as they are one and the same. Ask him about that day.
He needs your guidance Robert, even though you think you have nothing to offer. Without you, this man could easily turn in a monster.
To help convince you that this is no joke I have included today’s newspaper and my mobile telephone number which in 1985 has not been invented yet but by the time this letter reaches you I’ll even have a FauxBook page.
I do not look forward to our brief chat on the phone, and I apologise in advance.
Cosette O’Dare aka The Tea Leaf Lady formerly Thunder Woman
Robert James Meyer, once upon a time known as Atomic Raider, looked at the letter from 1985 that had arrived in Ban Nakong this morning via special courier. He held the newspaper and looked around his shanty for signs of cameras. He checked the letter again, dubious about it.
Slowly he picked up his phone and dialled the number. It rang just once.
“This feels like I’m being played.”
Cosette sighed down the line. “I take no pleasure in saying this. The reason you never got to see your granddaughter in 1971 was that you were bashed in the toilet by three police officers because you are...”
Robert threw his phone into the river at hearing his deepest darkest secret told back to him by someone who couldn’t of known.
To be continued