Check out our episode here! Eye of the Sh*t Storm by Jackson Ford
Teagan, Africa and Annie are in a terrifying high speed chase down the LA River, you know, that giant storm drain from all your favorite LA action movies? They're speeding away from a pissed off biker gang with guns. They're pissed because Teagan and co stole a shit ton of methamphetamine from them. Teagan uses her PK, her psychokinesis, to stop a few of them and steal some of their guns, but there's still several coming. Just as they dodge some earthquake damage from the massive quakes caused in the last book by a monstrously evil super genius child who could, well, cause earthquakes, a huge suv comes careening toward them. Teagan uses her PK to try to stop them, but they're coming too fast and then there's a huge crash. Meth is everywhere, all over and inside Teagan, their van is on fire, and then a bridge collapses on top of them. Just another day for Teagan.
Let's back up a bit to before the car chase. Teagan, Africa and Annie are at a run down high rise hotel chatting big guns with the Legend biker gang. After all the quakes, the world kind of turned upside down. Everything is run down and crime is on the rise. Teagan and the China Shop crew are scoping out these guns as part of their government job, then Moira Tanner and the rest of her secret government crew will come in and take care of things. The bikers somehow find out about China Shop and they try to shoot Africa, but Teagan won't let any triggers pull, so then they toss Africa off the balcony. They also toss Teagan over after she puts up a loud, obnoxious fight and then Annie a short time later. Lucky for our crew that Teagan's got her PK. She safely caught everyone on a couch from a room a few floors down and deposited them semi-carefully on the balcony.
Annie's pissed because she doesn't like heights, if you'll remember from book one. She's also always pissed at Teagan since Paul, her boyfriend and the logistics guy in China Shop's crew, was killed by Matthew, the psycho earth mover from book two, which is also somehow Teagan's fault. They begin to work their way out of the run down hotel but then Teagan feels a meth lab with her PK, so they go investigate, but they are met by some of the bikers. They beat them up, no problem. Teagan's pretty pissed that they're using this once beautiful kitchen to Break Bad, so she decides they need to steal the meth. The police probably won't come for a long time after they call and tell them about the lab and they really don't want this shit on the streets. They steal a van, pack it with 40 pounds of meth and head out, but then run into more bikers outside and now we're back to the beginning.
So the van is crashed and the bridge is collapsed on top of it and meth is everywhere and Teagan's high out of her mind. This amps her PK up way past 11. She can do anything. All matter, organic and inorganic, is at her whim. She bricks all the phones nearby, breaks all the cameras, tosses huge chunks of bridge off the van, flings bikers through the air, the works. She's unstoppable, thanks to the meth. She thinks about her "dead" brother and sister and the powers that they had and she doesn't hate the memory. But she shouldn't like this feeling. It's bad. Doing meth is BAD. Africa's girlfriend is a recovering addict. It's BAD. But it's so good. You know what else is good? Fried chicken.
Reggie is trying to make sense of what the hell just happened with the crew. What in the world was Teagan doing before the cameras cut out? It really seems like when things go awry with Teagan's PK, they go as awry as they can. Teagan can do a lot of things and she can also really mess stuff up. Reggie is sure that Moira is going to call her any minute, demanding an explanation, because she's getting in over her head at China Shop since Paul's death. She may be an excellent hacker and computer mastermind, but she can't keep China Shop organized and running smoothly. That was Paul's job and Moira won't hire anyone to take his place. What Reggie doesn't expect is a phone call from an acting agency asking her to audition. Reggie loves acting, but no one wants an actual quadriplegic to play any real roles. She should be focusing on who told the bikers about China Shop, but before she can think too much about either of these things, Moira calls. Something is up. Reggie calls Teagan during an awkward conversation between her, Nic, her former crush, and Africa who awkwardly friended Nic on Facebook. Teagan is coming down from her meth high and feeling really weird. She's confused when Reggie says something about being electrified.
A storage unit in Glendale is electrified. The man working inside freaked out when everything he touched, metal, wood, plastic, the floor... began to shock him like a live wire. He got out, ran across the street and called 911. Now Reggie wants China Shop to check it out. Is it another extranormal person like Teagan? Like Matthew? Like Jake? Moira wants Africa to take point on this mission, which is weird because while they were eating fried chicken earlier, Teagan asked Africa why he seems to be sucking up to Moira, and now she wants him to lead? Reggie asks Moira if this is another person from the School that Matthew is from but she's cagey with her response. They'll find out soon enough if China Shop does their job.
Except... Teagan's having trouble doing her job right now. She's crashing hard from the meth and seemingly skipping through time. She can't do anything right. If she just had a little more meth then she'd... No! Stop it! They arrive at the electrified storage building and can't figure out how to get inside to check it for another person like Teagan. Africa wants her to scan the building but Annie actually knows Teagan and knows this job and knows it's no hope right now. Teagan barfs and her head clears a little, which helps her come up with a TERRIBLE plan: hoverboard through the electrified building on a car door. Teagan floats around, trying to find the power source without touching anything. She sees a dead body, yikes, but keeps going. She gets to the top floor and hears sobbing. Deciding announcing herself is the way to go, she floats around the corner...
And finds a small boy. His name is Leo and he's waiting on his dad to get back so they can go see his uncle. They're running from the Zigzag Man, who can make you see things. Uh, okay. Yikes. Teagan asks about The School and if Leo knows Matthew, the boy who can move dirt. Leo knows him as Lucas and hates him. Well, that's a good start. Teagan tells Leo that his dad won't be able to get back to him because of the electricity and asks if he'll come with her. He says if she's working for the Zigzag Man, he'll zap her, so again, yikes, but eventually he agrees to come. Teagan doesn't really know what she's going to do with this kid, but she knows she's got to keep him safe. Safe from the Zigzag Man and safe from any place she was kept as a kid or teen. Safe from Moira Tanner.
They sneak out of the building by means of a hole Teagan makes in the side of it between some dumpsters. She also opens up a hole in the fence nearby and then Leo bolts straight through and into the field beyond. Teagan tries to keep up but she's still coming down from her meth and feeling gross. When she finally catches Leo, someone else has caught them. It's a police officer, but he thinks they're homeless wanderers who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and sends them on their way. Whew! Reggie meanwhile is getting worried. Annie and Africa haven't seen Teagan even though the electricity has stopped flowing through the building. If Teagan died then there wouldn't be a China Shop anymore and Reggie could do whatever she wanted... No. Stop thinking that. Something's going on. Someone is messing with their communication, someone told the gang about China Shop. Something is going on. Tanner calls, demanding a report, but Reggie lies and says Teagan is still looking. Annie and Africa go into the building and begin their own search, but nothing.
Teagan and Leo are in the LA River, but then Leo stops. He says Teagan is a liar. She said his dad was outside and they're not anywhere near him and she's a liar but not the Zigzag Man and he doesn't like her. Well. She'd like to yell at him and shake him but he'd just shock her, so she has to calm down and think through the remaining meth comedown. She explains that his dad couldn't get back into the building and the police will not let them be together so they have to go somewhere safe. Now... who can she call who knows about her PK and who won't immediately freak out and call the cops. Oh no. Not him. But she can't call him because her phone is busted and she doesn't know his number by heart anyway. Ahh, but Google does. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Fine. Teagan borrows Leo's phone and calls Nic. After some arguing and Nic being a jerk, Teagan explains what's going on, that she's got an extranormal four year old with her, and that they need help. Amazingly, Nic offers to come meet them.
After trudging through the river and thinking about a ton of terrible things (not getting to go to cooking school, Annie hating her, ghosting Nic) Teagan notices that Leo is walking funny. His leg and hand are shaking. He calls this his "wiggles" and explains that they happen when he uses his electricity. So it's kind of like Teagan when she uses too much PK. She tries to ask Leo about The School again, but he goes quiet, so they keep trudging until Teagan feels someone coming up to them. Someone with a syringe. They're really close to the place where they are supposed to meet Nic, but then Jonas Schmidt, the extremely wealthy, extremely handsome German businessman that Teagan kind of had a crush on before the earthquakes appears. Reggie meanwhile is trying, through Annie and Africa, to find Teagan, but then Annie's camera and audio drop. What's causing that to happen? Africa tells Reggie to connect him to Tanner which she refuses to do. What's going on with Africa and Tanner? Reggie tells Africa to go back to the storage building and get cops to help him search for Teagan. He asks what Tanner said, and Reggie lies, telling him Tanner is just as concerned about Teagan. Africa doesn't really believe her but continues his search.
Jonas Schmidt is getting ever closer to Teagan but there's no way he could be here, in the fucking LA River. Teagan must be coming down, hard, but it's so warm and nice and Jonas is here and Leo is screaming and the hypodermic needle is close to him. Oh no. Snap out of it. What is Leo screaming? Zigzag Man! Yikes!! The Zigzag Man lulls Teagan into her safe place again, but then she hears Nic shouting too. Teagan keeps blurring between reality and whatever the Zigzag Man wants her to see, but then he's running away and Annie is there, helping Teagan up. Why couldn't the Zigzag Man control Annie's mind? What's going on? Nic called Annie after Teagan called him asking for help and she came. Teagan explains to Annie about keeping Leo safe from Tanner and the Zigzag Man and that they can't tell Africa because he's clearly got something going on with Tanner. Teagan just wants to find out about The School and who is making these extranormal kids. Speaking of ... Leo is gone. Shit.
Leo has run and when everyone realizes, he's far away, then he falls into the river. Nic is fast and dives in after him. Annie wishes Leo would just drown, but rushes over to help anyway. Teagan can't believe that. Nic pulls Leo out and he's his hero now, so together, they all set off toward Compton. Some time passes and Teagan trips, practically falling asleep while walking. Annie keeps her from falling, but is angry about it. Teagan finally snaps and asks Annie what her problem is. Annie tells Teagan that just because she thinks she's invincible, it doesn't mean that everyone around her is. Leo asks Teagan if she's going to apologize for whatever she did to make Annie mad, but really, she shouldn't apologize. It's not her fault all this is happening. Annie storms off, but then they hear a scuffle and a dog getting hurt. Leo runs to help and they end up stopping two guys from robbing a third, Leo shocking one and Teagan keeping the other from stabbing anyone with a knife. The would-be robbers leave, and the man, Grant, with the dog, Bradley Cooper, offers them coffee. He's been homeless since the earthquake but has a microwave set up in his encampment and makes a mean cup of instant coffee. He tells the group they should head to the FEMA set up at Dodger Stadium. Uh oh. Annie won't want to go there. That's where Paul died.
Reggie gets word from Tanner that she's about to have their connections restored, so she contacts Africa quickly to tell him that she lied about telling Tanner Teagan was missing and they have to pretend everything is fine. Africa reluctantly goes along with it. Moira then apologizes privately to Reggie about not hiring someone to replace Paul and reveals that she's in over her head with keeping China Shop going and also with trying to find out info about The School. It's surprising that Tanner is acting so human. Teagan, Nic, Leo and Annie make it to the stadium, but Annie just can't go in, so she waits a little ways away while the others go in for food and supplies. They did not think they would run into Africa. He approaches them and tells Teagan they've got to take Leo to Tanner. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nic acts as their lawyer and tells Africa he has no right to take Leo, but Africa grabs him up. Big mistake. Leo shocks him. Then there are soldiers around, demanding they get on the ground. Teagan tries to get Leo and Nic to leave, but one of the soldiers tries to shoot them. Luckily Teagan has all their guns locked. Then they dive at them. Until they get blasted away by lightning. Leo calls down so much lightning that it seems at least five soldiers are dead. Then he has a seizure.
Teagan and Nic, carrying Leo, trudge off to meet Annie at the bridge they collapsed earlier. Teagan is coming down off an adrenaline rush now in addition to her meth crash and she does exactly the thing a white person shouldn't do to a black person. She tells Nic he shouldn't have spoken to Africa the way he did because what Tanner's doing is outside the law and no one will ever understand what Teagan is going through. Yikes. Anyway, they keep going and think they see Annie but instead it's the biker gang again. Fuck. They've got Annie and now they've got Teagan, Nic and Leo, too.
When Reggie finally hears from Africa, what she learns isn't great. He's going to go after Leo and kill him. He says that's what Tanner would want if she even knew any of this was happening. Reggie won't have it. She decides to go out and find Teagan and the boy herself. She puts Tanner off with more lies about rebooting and communication issues, and then is remarkably quick about deciphering where they are headed, but Reggie can do practically anything, so she calls a cab and heads for Compton. But they're not going to Compton anymore because they've been kidnapped by the bikers. Pop, the leader of the gang, is a tiny little woman who wants Teagan to work for her. She wants to make a video of Teagan using her powers so all the other gangs will realize what happened to them and stop thinking they're weak. Sure. Pop also realizes that Teagan has used some of their meth, so she offers more, a tiny bag. Teagan accepts.
Pop lifts her phone to record, and Teagan uses her PK, though not like a performing monkey. Teagan shoves the phone into Pop's mouth, shattering her teeth. Backup arrives, but Teagan takes them down, too. Before locking them inside the room and heading out to find her friends, Teagan pockets the baggie of meth. For later. She heads out through what turns out to be a run down train depot. She struggles with finding her friends. If she just used a little meth, she'd boost her PK and find them instantly. No no. Don't do it. Yes do it. No don't. She's just about to when she runs into two more bikers. She knocks one out and takes the other at gunpoint to find her friends. But then she falls asleep. It's just a microsleep, but she drops the gun and the biker yells to kill the hostages. Uh. No. Not gonna happen. Teagan whips a train car around and knocks everybody out, except for her hostage. Annie takes care of him once she and Nic are free to move. But... Where's Leo? They search the depot and find a room full of... laughing children?
They burst in, Annie going for the teacher who is just that... a teacher. Turns out, in addition to selling guns and drugs, Pops is also helping children orphaned by the quake. What? She did say something earlier about doing more for people than the government will ever do, but this was at the same time she had Teagan set to perform on camera whilst threatening her friends, so you might have missed it. Anyway, they leave the children with their teacher, take Leo and leave. But great. The National Guard has caught up with them. Fuck. Just as they start to fire, the Legends gang comes out, also firing. It's a massive gunfight and for once, Teagan and co are not involved. Teagan starts up one of the motorcycles with her PK and it launches into the fight, which is not what she was going for. Annie holds Teagan tight, preparing for the end, but it doesn't come. The gunfight moves into the depot, so they steal some bikes and head out. Then Jonas Schmidt walks up. Fucking yikes, the Zigzag Man is back.
He's inside Teagan's head much quicker than before, beckoning her to come into his house where she will be safe. She agrees. She takes his hand. She wants to be safe, wants to be free. But then Jonas's face turns into Nic's and then into her old friend Carlos. And then he's on fire and melting and beckoning her to come into his house. No! She snaps out of her trance. Annie's puking, and Nic and Leo are screaming. Then Pop comes out with an assault rifle. The Zigzag Man takes her out quickly, then Annie drives straight into him with her motorcycle. He gets clipped, but now Teagan, Annie, Nic and Leo really are driving away. Reggie meanwhile has just gotten into a cab after some very clever hackery threats to the driver who is essentially a shitbag. But now she's on her way. Maybe this is her last job. Maybe she'll quit after this one. Whether she does or not, she's going to do this job, get the team back together, and she's going to do it well.
Teagan and co have escaped on the motorcycles. She's riding on the back of a bike driven by Annie while Nic and Leo are on another. Teagan is having microsleeps again and dreams of riding horses with her sister Chloe with her infrared vision, who, as far as she knows, is dead. Burned up in the house fire with her brother Adam who never sleeps and their parents who gave them all their powers. But then she's awake again. Nic crashes his bike, but he and Leo are fine. They're all exhausted though, so they plan to get off the streets for a bit and head to Union Station. They rest and talk about movies and make jokes but then a group of squatters comes, tries to mug them and kick them out, but then Grant, the homeless man with the microwave and his dog, Bradley Cooper, come out. They then go to a huge homeless encampment not too far away in the LA River and under crumbling freeway bridges. Teagan briefly thinks about a spot she saw earlier that could cause flash flooding, but that's put out of her mind quickly, especially when she's offered a steak sandwich. Food! Finally!!
Teagan's also worried about everyone catching up to them... The Legends, the National Guard, the Zigzag Man, Africa... but geez, they need to eat and rest for a minute or two. There's a moment between just Teagan and Nic where they hash out all the terrible stuff that's happened between them and they agree to start over from scratch after all this is over. Even though the Zigzag Man makes her see Jonas, she realizes that she really wants to be with Nic. Reggie meanwhile has been dropped off by her cab, but can't get her wheelchair up to the river. She's stuck and frustrated with no one to help, but luckily a mysterious stranger appears and gives her a push. Teagan, Annie, Nic and Leo are back on the move and Leo gets worried that they won't find his dad. He describes what he looks like and Teagan's stomach sinks. She's pretty sure she saw a man with the exact same description dead in the storage unit. She runs to tell Annie, far away from Leo, but then Annie spots Reggie's wheelchair on its side. Oh shit. There's a note attached to it, telling them to bring the boy to a specific location in a park at midnight. Oh shit! They argue about giving up Leo for Reggie and how many people the Zigzag Man will make him hurt, but Leo says he'll go. He wants to help. Shocked, they head toward the meeting place.
And now, because Teagan knew it would happen, there's a flash flood coming. Annie actually tells her it's not her fault that the bikers crashed into them, breaking the bridge and causing the dam that's flooding the river. They have to go back that way anyway so they start to plan just exactly what they're going to do to save Reggie while helping some others along the way. Reggie wakes up in the room where she was tortured back when she was active in the military. The room where Tanner came in and saved her. But Tanner's not coming this time. A woman speaks, stopping the Zigzag Man from torturing Reggie. It's the mysterious stranger who helped her earlier because of course it is. She's working with the Zigzag Man and the enhanced children. Reggie figures out that she's behind it, from The School, and is sending the children to destroy things in order to make money to protect people like them. Well yikes. The woman also says that she doesn't want anyone to get hurt today, which is really funny when you think about it, you know, with the earthquakes and electrocutions and all that could happen at any moment. She's rigged up a bomb behind Reggie that will go off if she gets shocked by Leo. It seems she's very prepared and knows exactly what to expect from people like herself. Ahh... So she's got a power, too.
While walking back through the homeless encampment, Teagan decides she's going to stay and help those people instead of going to save Reggie. It really doesn't make a lot of sense and upsets Nic and really upsets Annie. Annie reveals that the Zigzag Man made her see Teagan dead. She tells Teagan that she's the only friend she has left and if she stays here, helping these people who have no idea who she is and what she can do, then Annie is going to leave China Shop and they'll never see each other again. Teagan stays. She starts moving stuff with her PK to clear a path, but then she thinks about the people who can't move or aren't trying to leave and decides she needs to help them. She thinks about using the meth to power her up, but then she calls the Legends gang instead. They threaten her with bodily harm, yeah yeah, whatever. Teagan tells Pop to get down here to the encampment and help, then she hangs up. Shortly after that, Africa drives up in the China Shop van. He's angry and looking for Leo, but Teagan manages to explain that he's gone, and so is Annie and Nic and Reggie's been kidnapped and she's staying here to help these people and convinces him to help too. There are still a few dozen people left, but now the flood has come.
Annie, Nic and Leo arrive at the park. The woman beckons Teagan to come out of her hiding place. She doesn't believe them when they tell her she's not there. Reggie does though. And she's proud, but a little sad. The woman calls Leo forward and he doesn't want to go, but he finally starts forward. Annie begins to tell him that they'll come for him, they'll never stop looking. They'll find his dad and come for him. This startles the woman who says she has Leo's dad. Leo doesn't believe this because his dad hates her. Then he gets angry. And then the lightning strikes. Nic and Annie try to get to Leo, to get him to calm down, but then Annie is struck.
Teagan has been struck, too. Struck with the decision to take some more meth to get the stragglers and druggies out of the way of the flood. She snorts a bunch of the baggie, but nothing happens. Should she take more? Then... Holy shit. She waits for the flood to get close. The Legends have shown up now. She waits. Checks around to see if anyone is nearby that can get hurt by what she's about to do. Nope. She waits. The wall of water is close. Waits. Then... She surges the water upward. But it keeps coming. She's holding back a massive wall of water, screaming, blood pouring from her nose, but the water keeps coming. Teagan rises through the air on a circle of concrete. Her PK is fading. She hopes as she dies she'll see her friends, but instead she sees her sister when they were kids. And she's okay with that.
Leo is close enough to Reggie that she can scoop him up. She holds him, whispering soothing words. The lightning stops. Ann