Part Two: Chapter Nine

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If Jordan hasn’t already come out to his mom, Atlas is about to blow his cover.

“I’m here because Max, his boyfriend, sent me. I’m a friend and roommate of Jordan’s, and I’m here to try to patch things up between them. I don’t know what happened here, but maybe I can help. Will you let me in?”

Finally, she lowers the gun to her side. “Okay. But the police will be here any minute, and if you’re a friend of Jordan’s, I’ll bet you don’t want them to find you here.”

Atlas tells Bernie to pull the car around the block, in case the police arrive and block off his exit. Then he follows Jordan’s mom into the house, where a scene straight out of a crime film unfolds in front of him. Toppled furniture and shattered glass covers the living room floor, and still smoking laser gun marks pothole the wall.

“He told me to hide upstairs under the bed, where no one would find me, and tried to fight them off,” Jordan’s mom explains, “but my Jordi’s not a fighter. They took him away in an unmarked truck, and they carried out all of his lab equipment as well. Real big guys, with bulging muscles and expensive weapons. I don’t know what they want with him, but they kept saying something about a cloaking device over and over again. He refused to talk, and I heard them hit him across the face. If there hadn’t been so many of them, I would have tried to rescue him myself.”

She leads Atlas down to the basement, where Jordan’s lab must have been before the men took out all of his notes and works in progress. All of his papers are gone, but thumbtacks indicate where they used to hang along the walls. A few blood spots mark the place where someone hit Jordan.

“I don’t know much about science,” she says, “but earlier today Jordan showed me something that, if I didn’t know better, I’d think was a miracle. Right up there with the loaves and fishes.” She crosses herself and looks up. Then she feels around in an empty corner of the basement, seems to grip something in her hand, and pulls. A black disc appears in her hand, and an entire lab table appears out of thin air.

Atlas touches the table to see if it’s real. “What in the world…”

“That’s pretty much what I said, too.”

“How did you do that?”

“If I could explain it to you, I would. Jordi mentioned something about a protective shield that takes the image of whatever is around the object and projects it onto the shield, making it seem invisible. He’d been working on it all week, apparently, and just perfected it out today.”

“That explains why he’s been spending too much time in the lab. He probably wanted to surprise us with it, so we could use it on our most recent mission.”

She hands him the disc, which he holds flat in his palm. “Give it a try.”

Atlas clicks the top of the disc. Nothing happens, at least not that he can tell, but suddenly Jordan’s mom is looking somewhere over his left shoulder instead of directly at his face.

“Can you see me?” he asks.

“No.”

“But why would a bunch of drug smugglers take Jordan instead of the disc? Oh no…” It all clicks. “They don’t want this disc, they want Jordan. He can make them an endless number, and they can use them to hide their stashes.”

He clicks the top again, making him visible. “Can I take this with me?” he asks.

“Of course. What am I going to do with it? Use it to get my son back. Just be careful…they knew where he lived, and that means they might know about you too.”

“Let’s hope not,” Atlas says. “Who else knows about this? Someone must have told Martinez’s team.”

“No one but Jordi and I.” She thinks, and then narrows her eyes. “Actually, I did hear him on the phone with one of his former professors, Fagan is his name. He retired years ago, but kept in contact with Jordan over the years—he always was a teacher’s pet. No one else could have told them.”

“Either this Professor Fagan is a snitch, or they’ve got him too.”

He’s about to say more, but he hears the screech of tires on pavement and then footsteps on the porch. At the same time, his phone vibrates from a text from Bernie: “Police outside. Run. I’m around the corner.”

“Gotta go,” he tells her. “Please, don’t tell them anything about Jordan except that he was kidnapped by Santiago Martinez. It can’t hurt to have them on the lookout too.”

“Who’s Santiago Martinez?” Jordan’s mom asks as he runs up the steps.

“Trust me,” Atlas calls back down as he starts to dial Mary’s number. “I hope you don’t ever find out.”

 ***

By the time he gets back to the apartment, Mary and Max are in the midst of packing up their supplies.

“Do you think your cover’s blown?” Mary asks as she packs up their laser guns.

“I don’t think so. Jordan won’t have cracked yet, and besides, they’re more interested in his scientific pursuits than his crew. They might not even know he lived here if they went to his mom’s house instead.”

“Great.” She tosses him a black bag filled with clothes and weapons. “Go get changed, and then text Esperanza that you’ll meet her at the fountain on E Street.”

“Esperanza?” Atlas asks as he unzips the bag and sees a black spandex body suit, a bulletproof vest, a gun holster, and several knife holsters. “I thought we were going to rescue Jordan. What do we need her for? She doesn’t know anything about her father’s business.”

“Oh come on Atlas, you thought you were seducing her to find out where her dad lived? How she felt about beat literature? Yeah, originally we were going to use her to find Santiago, but things have changed.”

“Okay, then what are we doing?”

Max holds up a blindfold and rope. “We’re going to kidnap her.”

 ****************************

Starting on 9/18, author Kelly Ann Jacobson will post a chapter from her Wattpad exclusive book, Atlas and Mary Read: Pirates and Thieves (Part II), every day. Check back tomorrow for more!

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