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Music Box

Chapter 4

The fan spun and spun at its usual pace. Roger sat down in his regular seat.

"Tell me what you know of a man named Maxwell Roland," said Roger. Big Ear kept on pretending to read the daily paper.

"Hmm. Well, I've heard he's new in town, or at least new into society. Very wealthy, but lives with his uncle, Joseph Harlow, the only family he's got left."

"What do you mean 'new into society'?

"Apparently about ten years ago he used to be part of a local mob, before they placed him in the Paradigm City Prison. He got out after five years. But it has been told that they used that as a cover-up and actually placed him in Paradigm's asylum, using him as a human guinea pig. Scientists gave him large doses of a new type of substance, by injection no doubt."

"Harlow acts as if he hasn't had a clue about this."

"Harlow's been gravely ill for several years, and doesn't remember much about seven out of those ten. He only remembers Maxwell Roland's attitudes as a young boy, and compares them to the last three, now that he is recuperating." Roger nodded. As he got up, he placed the money on the table, as Big Ear plopped the folded newspaper on it. Deep within his core, Roger was panicking.

The mansion had been pretty much quiet after the incident with Max. Dorothy was cleaning some of the things in Roger's bedroom, but decided to sit on his bed and think. Dorothy knew Roger saw her, and knew he would say something when he got home. But she had to tell him she felt nothing for Max. But that meant she had to be bold and tell him how she...felt. Yes, that's the word. If she could, she would have sighed, for all this was so complicated, even for her who had a great capacity for learning things. Love is so complicated.

Then suddenly, CRASH! It came from the balcony windows! She then heard gunshots.

"Norman!" she yelled. She ran out of the bedroom door, and saw about five blue robotic things, top half looked human-like, bottom spider-like. About four of them were on the ground unmoving. They each had a large round silver circle covering their chest. Norman had a machine gun and was shooting them from one hundred feet away. He saw Dorothy out of the corner of his eye.

"Dorothy, run!!!" Then the robotic creatures turned only to see her, and began charging. Dorothy stood there looking at these foreign things.

"Dorothy!!!" Norman ran, pushing her back into the bedroom. He closed the door and started to shoot his pistols. Some were knocked back, but one resisted, and whacked him against the wall. Norman sat there, a bit dazed, until he could recover.

Dan Dastun plopped the file on Maxwell Roland on his desk. Roger stood, but has his hands placed on his desk, arms straight. He stood straight up and picked up the file, leafing through it.

"So this is the man you're looking for, huh?"

"Yeah. Hmm, robbery, misconduct, attempting to sell illegal weapons. I'm surprised he wasn't arrested for murder."

"Well he hasn't been much of a problem these past five years. I haven't heard about him in a long time." Just then, an officer ran into the office without knocking. Out of breath, he quickly shut the door.

"Didn't anyone teach you how to knock?"

"Sir, a home has been severely destroyed by some human-spider-like creatures."

"What's the address?" asked Dastun. The young officer told him.

"What? That's Roger's place!"

"That's my house!" cried Roger. They both ran out the door in a flash.

Meanwhile, two of the creatures broke into the bedroom, and there stood Dorothy by the windows. She walked forward a little, and the robots approached her. She then ran back into the direction of the windows. She jumped and CRACK the windows went as she sailed through the sky. She was capable to make it to the next building. I'm going to make it. Just then, some powerful force stopped her in midair and pulled her right back into the bedroom, and onto the chest of one of the creatures. A magnet.

Norman was finally able to get it together and started shooting his pistols at them. When he saw Dorothy stuck on the last one, he hesitated, not wanting to injure her. They all jumped out of the window and landed on the pavement with ease, and no injury. They trotted off while Norman, who was out of breath, watched. Failure ran through his veins. He could hear the military police headed this way.

He saw that the elevator had been ripped apart and crunched, so Roger had to run up the stairs to get to the top floor. Dastun, along with some of the officers, followed him. Breathless, they reached it, and saw the complete disaster of the entire area. Furniture was torn or broken, doors crushed to bits, debris everywhere. Roger went into his bedroom, and found Norman looking down. He suddenly spun, and the crew was left facing two gun barrels.

"Norman! Norman! It's us!" Norman put the guns down. The wrinkles on his forehead showed a deep frown, a frown of frustration.

"Norman, what happened?"

"These giant robots...they came in and...oh Master Roger, they took her!"

"Dorothy?" Roger's jaw dropped and was left with shock. Why the hell did they-?

Then, the ringing started.

"Aw no, I have that ringing in my ears," said Roger.

"So do I," responded Dastun.

"Sir, it's the phone," replied one of the officers.

"What?" said Roger, "I thought they destroyed everything on this floor." They searched under the debris as it kept ringing. They followed the sound until they found the phone under a small broken table. Roger picked up the receiver.


"Mr. Negotiator, such a pleasure to hear from you." The voice was unfamiliar.

"Who the hell are you?"

"You need to guess first."

"I don't have time to play your stupid little games."

"My, my, touchy aren't we? Anyway, I have your little android friend with me. Oh excuse me, my android friend, heh heh heh.

"If you lay a hand on her I'm gonna-"

"Find me, Mr. Negotiator, across the connection near the luckiest number, where things certainly crackle. I have a wonderful surprise in store for you."

"You BASTARD!" The phone went dead. Roger pulled the cord out of his and threw it against the wall.

"Roger-" Dastun started.

"It was the bastard that took Dorothy away from me."

"Was it Roland?"

"What? No, no, he had no accent." Then it hit him. "Of course! He faked the stupid accent to fool people!"

"Did he say anything specific?"

"He said, 'across the connection near the luckiest number, where things certainly crackle.' What's the luckiest number?"

"Usually three, sir," replied Norman, out of the blue. "Three is the charm I suppose."

"And the bridge leads to dome three. But he is near it, not in the dome. There's not that much space between there. Only an old gas station and candy store."

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