Beginning of the End

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Young Writers
A man named Jack Strider and his team are sent to obtain an asset that can help them stop the evil dictator Eadric Valkoor and end the war. After running into troubles, Jack finds himself in the future. There, he meets and unlikely ally. To end the war once and for all, Jack must go back in time to finish him.

Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Submitted: September 29, 2016

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Beginning Of The End

Prologue

“I’ll make you wish you died in that explosion!”

40 years earlier.

 The year is 2165, the simplest way to put it is that the world's gone to shit. Most of Europe has moved over to the United States to escape the bombings from Russia and the rest of Asia. They’ve all been taken over by the CFA, led by one man: Eadric Valkoor, dictator of what we now call the Badlands. This area has been scorched by hellstorm fire and multiple nukes. We’re taking a beating, but so are they. The CFA has just as much firepower as we do and will stop at nothing to finish this war. They’ve killed countless innocents and more will die if something doesn’t happen soon.

 The food on our end is running low, the crops have been burned to the ground, the cattle have all died from radiation poisoning, and the water supply has been tainted with the blood of fallen bodies. The government has built underground bunkers to house people and try their best to keep the community going, but this food supply shortage is going to hurt more than they can help. This war will be over soon though. One side will win eventually, but at what cost? The earth itself can hardly sustain life anymore. Even if one side wins… they still lose. This… this is the story, my story, of how the I lost everything and how I got my revenge, by taking it out on the one man that caused it all. This is how it begins…



 

Part I

Chapter 1

“Five minutes to drop.”

Propellers rotating, engines rolling like waves on a beach, the air was thin, almost unbreathable, it makes it very hard to think up here. The CFA, Confederates Force Agency, has been on our asses since the war began back in 2115, attacking every U.S military controlled base outside the U.S for the past ten years. My team and I are part of a special tactical division,even  more secretive than seal team six. International Department of Sovereignty, is what they call us or IDS for short. They call us when they can’t get it done themselves. We don’t work for any government; they work for us. If they want something done, we decide if we’re in or not. My crew consists of three other men, more like brothers. First up is Mike Brigham; shotgun the tactical equipment specialist. He’s tall, muscular, green eyes, looks like one of those red necks you see in the movies who would shoot at chickens just to see them run around. Don’t get me wrong he is a loveable person, who’s been married for fourteen years and has two daughters. He was supposed to be retired but I asked him to help with one last mission. Next up is Chang A.K.A Scales; stealth specialist and jokester. He was in a fire as a kid and got badly burned. The skin on his back grew back like a callus, hence the name Scales. All we ever got was a first name. He's was an ex-Chinese mercenary, a lone wolf living on the outskirts of China when I found him. I was on a mission to escort the president and Scales saved my life, so in return I gave him a home and a family. Last but not least, Reese Grinder; Sniper support, aircraft specialist, and my best friend. He’s tall, short black hair, light gray eyes. He almost actually became a model before I talked him into this. Reese and I have been best friends since third grade. He was picked on in school before he met me. I started bullying his bullies until they stopped. Since then we’ve done almost everything together. I was the best man at his wedding, and he was at mine. He married his high school sweetheart Gwen. It wasn’t too soon after they met when Gwen introduced me to her best friend, my future wife, Katie. We’ve done many things together. From skiing in the Alpine mountains to relaxing on a beach in Hawaii during our honeymoons.

I forgot to mention; the name’s Jack Strider, I am the Commander of our IDS team, I specialize in hand to hand combat and war tactics. I dabble in a bit of everything else, except piloting, I could never quite get the hang of it. I am a little bit on the short side, five foot nine to be exact, short blonde hair and light blue eyes. Reese and I graduated from MIT at seventeen with a masters in engineering and physics. Those subjects never interested us as much as the world of spies though. So I talked Reese into joining the seals. We graduated top of our class and after just a couple of missions together we got moved up to IDS where I took control with Reese at second in command. We are the best of the best, but we’re more than a team. We’re family and we never lose, or at least not until today.

The Mission? Drop 45,000 feet into a highly fortified military base that was taken by the CFA months ago to rescue a kid named Jason. He was essential to stopping the next attacks by Valkoor, but that wasn’t the only mission I had. Supposedly there is a secret chemical weapon in the base and I intend to take it. Jason was a highly intelligent hacker, codename KnightHawk. He picked it himself. The kid graduated from MIT at age 15 and got a job as an analyst working for special divisions in the CIA. We had him hacking into the CFA’s system to pinpoint their location to take out their missile silos and stop their next attack. Turns out they already had ours. They ransacked the base killing everybody but the kid. My team and I got out through a series of old tunnels underneath base camp, but they got the kid before we could get to him. The goal is to bring him back to his family safe and sound. Well, that was the original plan…

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“Reese, pass that EMD over here, five smokes, five grenades, and the R.A.F,” I ordered.

“Dude, don’t you think you’re over packing,” Reese smirked tossing the gear over, “This is a simple in and out mission, I doubt we’ll actually use those.”

“Hey, you never know what kinda shit we’ll run into down there,” I laughed.

“Speaking of shit, the bathroom is a no go for the rest of the ride. It’s uhhh not functioning properly,” Mike said as he came out of the bathroom pulling his pants up.

“Maybe those fiber bars should be a no go too,” Scales said from his seat, his thick accent made it hard to understand him sometimes. “You’re entire body reeks of manure.”

“He’s not the only one,” I said patting Scales on the back, “Five minutes to drop, everybody grab your gear and let’s go. I wanna be home by dinner.”


 

Chapter 2

“Time for a new plan.”

 “Alright boys let’s do this. We got one shot, we drop on my mark. We get in and get out,” I said through the headset.

“YES SIR!” The team replied.

“Three… Two… One… Drop drop drop,” I shouted.

 This was a standard drop, we’ve done it hundreds of times, but none were like the shit show in front of our eyes. Boom! A missile hit the ship. The explosion launched me out of the plane tearing my suit and sending me hurdling towards the ground. My vision became blurry; I noticed some figure in the distance for a second, I thought it might have been Reese, Scales or Mike, but when I blinked it disappeared. I was fading in and out of consciousness. When I finally regained consciousness to the gun fire blazing from the ground up and missiles blaring through the clouds. They’ve taken control of all our defenses and weaponry. My ears were ringing.  I couldn’t hear shit. Through the shrieking I hear Scales’ voice come through the mic.

“Jack!” You could hear the tremor in his voice, “we need to do something quick we’re at 10,000 feet.”

“Activate cloaking and get into dash formation,” I shouted over the ringing.

 Dash formation is for when someone’s cloaking ability isn’t working and that person lays across the backs of the cloaked people to hide the non-cloaked person’s signature. We were dropping fast, but the defenses have lost track of us for now.

“5,000 feet Jack!” Reese screamed.

“Sir they’re expecting us now. What’s our plan of attack?” Brigham asked.

“Listen for all they know, they may have just taken us out in that explosion.. Unless we know for sure that they think we’re here, we stick to the original plan,” I commanded.

Little did I know; they were already in position to capture us. We landed about two miles from the base. The land was muddy and filled with weeds up to our knees. We took off our parachutes and Scales patched up my cloaking line. Once we were all ready, I grabbed Reese and went prone on a small hill to get a better look at what we were up against. I reached for my binoculars, but they weren’t on me. They must’ve fallen during the dive.

“Looks like you’re going to have to scout it out for us,” I nudged Reese, “Dropped my binoculars.”

“Ugh, you’re such a doof,” Reese sighed, “Let’s see what we got. They’ve got control of everything, Sniper posts, gates, the control tower, as well as our armored vehicles. They’re driving all around the base, most likely getting ready to transport weapons to the forces around the country,” Reese took his eye out off the scope and turned to me, “Jack if they leave this base, the CFA will be stocked with weapons and ammo for at least five years.”

“You’re right… but that’s not our mission. If IDS says the kid can bring an end to this war, then we’ve gotta get him out of here,” I said.

I signaled to the guys to come over to the hill, then I heard Mike shout, “Aw shit!”

Reese and I turned around to see Mike’s foot on a pressure plate. This whole field must be full of them, we were lucky nobody else stepped on one. If he takes his foot off that the rest would go off and then we’re all dead.

All of a sudden we hear an all too familiar noise surrounding us. CLICK. The sound of loaded guns filled the area. I look up to see CFA agents who have us at gunpoint. This was turning out to be the worst mission ever.

In a marshy field in the middle of nowhere. What a great place to die. There were about twenty men surrounding us. I looked over at Reese, the rest of team glancing at me, waiting for my orders. Truth is, there were to many things the calculate, a number of ways this could get us all killed. Wait! That was it, the cloaking devices. I looked at Reese, moving my eyes towards his cloaking gear; he blinked, confirming he knew what to do.

“Everyone drop your weapons,” I ordered. Little did the CFA agents know, that was our code to cloak if we ever got in a situation similar to this one.

I unslung my weapon and began taking a knee. Then I got up slowly without my weapon.

“Turn around with your hands in the air,” the man said pointing his gun in my face

I did.

That’s when he made the mistake of putting the barrel right up against my skull. His hand came off the barrel of the gun as he reached for his com, “Come in HQ, Echo team reporting in.”

I couldn’t let them call in. I whirled around, pulling my pistol out simultaneously. Two shots to his stomach. 10 shots. I spun his body around and used it as a shield as the CFA agents shot towards me, then activated my cloaking and dropped to the ground on the other side of the hill. While I had stolen all the attention, Reese and the rest of the  team had all cloaked and went to assist Brigham.

I pulled out my EMD: electromagnetic destabilizer. This is essentially an EMP for guns that last about thirty seconds. I pushed the button and launched it into the air. This would work on our own weapons as well, but it had to be done. The CFA agents all looked stunned as their weapons quit firing. I turned my cloaking off and taunted the men. All twenty men dropped their weapons and rushed me. Twenty men vs a hand to hand specialist in hand to hand combat, those were some pretty decent odds. The most I’ve fought at once was eleven people, but all I had to do was hold them off long enough for my men to save Mike.

Two coming from the left, three coming from the right. An agent on my left threw a right hook. I redirected the man’s fist into the face of the agent next to him knocking him on his ass. Suddenly the back of my knee caved in. I twisted around, wrapping my arm around his leg and snapping his hip out of place. As he fell, I slammed my foot into his jaw shattering his cheekbone. I got off my knee, grabbing and throwing the man in front of me into the other two on the right, taking the butt of my pistol and slamming it across all three of their faces. The other fifteen were coming in from all directions.  Leaves rustle from behind. I swing around, kneeing the agent in the gut, he keeled over in agony; knee in the face. An agent’s fist came into sight from my peripheral vision, I catch it,  punching him in the throat, crushing it. Another came and grabbed me from behind, wrapping my neck. The leaves splash in the air in front of me, but no one is there. I smirk. I break the agents grip and drop; the wind rushes over my head and the agent goes flying backwards.

“I was wondering where my help was,” I quipped.

Reese became uncloaked, “Well I figured I wouldn’t let you have all the glory,” he chuckled.

We stood up back to back. The remaining agents began rushing us, Reese and I grabbed closest guy and threw them around our left side, smashing our elbows into the face off the agent coming around our right side. We sprung away from each other, splitting up the agents. Seven, that’s how many agents I got; looks like Reese drew the short stick. The agents circled me, then charged at the same time. Quickly I began dodging left and right, blocking punches and kicks, waiting for an opportunity. A leg flew over my head, there it was. I leaped forward while his back was turned, slamming his other leg down, vaulting over him, landing face to face. My knee found it ways into the agents nose, shattering it. Two fist came from the front, I grabbed the one, shoving the other away. The crack of the agents elbow could be heard through all the commotion, the bone poping through the other side, blood oozing from the wound. Shoving the body in front of the other agents gave me an opening. I dropped to the ground, sweeping the legs of two agents, quickly drawing my pistol; brains spurting out. 8 shots. I swung my gun towards my next target, but he caught my arm. I let go of the gun, catching it in my free hand; gut; head. 6 shots. Two more agents, engaged me in hand to hand. I couldn’t get far enough to use the gun. We exchanged a couple blows, before one charged me. Quickly dodging and flipping him on his back; head. 5 shots. The final agent swung furiously, trying his hardest to avenge his comrades. I whirled around him, popping a shot in his calf. 4 shots. He fell to his knees, my bullet found his skull. 3 shots. Blood stained the fields.

I took a knee to catch my breath, looking over to see how Reese was doing. Five guys left, three in front and two sneaking up behind him. He was about to get flanked.

I shot off the ground, yelling to Reese, “Make them count!” throwing the pistol in the air.

Reese turned, noticing the two behind him, and looked to the air. I came sliding between the two with my hands cupped. Reese stepped up landing on my hands, getting launched into the air he grabbed the pistol. I got back onto my feet, continuing my momentum. My hands found the throats of two of the men who were in front of Reese. I slammed them backward and into the ground. They landed, coughing up pools of blood; gasping for air, but it was no use. Behind me I heard the last three shots of my pistol. 0 shots.

I stood up and turned to Reese, “That was a close one,” I chuckled, dropping on my ass to catch my breath.

“What… are you… talking about,” Reese said trying to catch his breath, “I totally… had that one,” He walked over and plopped right next to me, extending his fist.

I cracked a smile and bumped it. He handed my my pistol, putting it back in the holster I looked back toward the area Mike and Scales were at.

Now it’s time to get serious, “What’s the situation on Brigham.”

Brigham had already snuck up behind Reese and I, “BOO!”

Reese and I both jumped up off our asses and got into to fighting positions, but once we realized it was Mike we dropped back to the ground in relief.

“Ha I told you that was going to work dude,” Scales said, uncloaking.

I caught my breath and got serious, “Alright, they know we’re here so time for a new plan,” I told them.

“Well they’re most likely moving Jason to the dark room. That’s the safest place they have there and they still need him,” Reese explained.

“There’s no possible way for us to get there. They’ll be guarding every entrance,” said Mike.

“Alright here’s the plan: Reese and I will take the sewer entrance up through the hidden tiles in the cafeteria. Mike, you and Scales will climb the hill across the yard to provide cover for when we come out with Jason. We still meet at extraction point Charlie. Understood?”

“YES SIR!” The team replied.

“Alright then, gear up and let’s get this done,” I said, “Scales… no survivors.”

 


 

Chapter 3

“ABORT MISSION ABORT MISSION!”

“God damn this sewer is disgusting,” Reese squealed.

“Suck it up you baby. It’s better than getting shot at,” I joked.

I hear Scales over the com, “Jesus get a room you two.”

“How about we trade places Scales, you see what is like down here,” Reese said.

“Dude, did you forget that’s how we all got out of there?,” you could tell Scales was just mocking Reese.

Reese was right about it though. It was very disgusting. Slime covered walls, rats scurrying around. We were knee deep in shit, literally, but the smell was worse. It smelled as if every porta-potty had been dumped into the sewer and has been sitting here for fifty years just rotting away.

After trudging through two miles of shit, we were finally coming up on the entrance. I switched on my X-ray goggles to see if anyone was in the room. The coast was clear.

“Up we go Reese.”

“Finally it’s about time we got out of here.”

I began climbing up the ladder up to the surface. Slowly, I unlatched the tile and peeked my head through. We were still all clear. I climbed out of the hole, Reese followed close behind shutting the latch.

“Ok we’re in. We’re heading towards the dark room. Prepare for radio silence, do not break silence unless you hear my voice,” I said quietly.

“Understood. See you on the other side Jack,” Mike said.

I pulled out a hologram of the facility to figure out the best way to get to the dark room and avoid detection.

“We need to get to this elevator here. Once we get there we go down 30 stories. This is the only way down there. Move quickly and quietly. If we’re caught Jason’s dead before we even open the elevator,” Reese nodded accepting the orders.

“Silencer on? Let’s go.”

Reese took the lead as we started down the endless maze in search of the elevator. Taking all sorts of different twist and turns. After five years on the base you’d think we’d have this place mapped out already. Reese had his x-ray goggles on so we knew if we’d have company. We were prepared to open fire if need be, but we’d prefer to do this silently to avoid a fire fight.

“Stop!” Reese whispered, “Two CFA’s around the left corner and three coming around the right.”

The guards stopped and chatted for a bit. I didn’t pick up much, but they said something about what they’ll do with the kid when they’re done. I heard them mention Valkoor’s name as well, he is supposed to show up later today. They dispersed soon after. Reese and I moved up the hallway and down the two flights of stairs. This was the hallway where the elevator was. Let me tell you, there was no way we were sneaking into there.

“Hold up, before we go ahead, you heard those guards say Valkoor was coming today right? Why don’t we ditch this mission and wait to take out their leader, ya know, cut the head off the snake?” Reese questioned.

“No, there not enough time regroup and figure out a plan. And if that plan were to fail, we’d lose the kid and any chance we have to stop the CFA for good. Besides cutting the head off the snake wouldn’t matter, the CFA is like one gigantic living organism. Kill their leader and someone will just replace him. To end this war, we have to either diminish their forces or eradicate them completely.” I said.

“Makes sense, it was just a thought. So, how do you suppose we get by forty men?” The tremble in his voice gave me a little comfort, knowing I wasn’t the only one a tiny bit scared.

“You lovebirds… time for chit chat… hundreds…  CFA’s… now,” Scales’ mic kept cutting out.

I could make out most of what he said, “Shit! Ok listen Reese, since we’re out of time we’re going to have to use the R.A.F. if we want to clear out forty agents. I’m going to throw a smoke in there, you switch to thermal optics and provide sniper cover while cloaked from this corridor. I’ll set up the R.A.F,” Reese nodded.  

The R.A.F is a laser grid that will cut through about anything in its path. The squares are too tiny to fit through so everything the laser hit will be cut to pieces. The R.A.F spins around 360 degrees at a range of thirty feet.

“Alright, on my go. 3… 2… 1… now,” I muttered.

I popped three smokes to provide cover for Reese and myself. Reese sprinted to a crate towards the end of the hall to provide sniper support. He switched to thermal optics and prepared for anybody to come through the smoke. My team and I have chips in our uniform, the chips show a blinking light only visible under a thermal sight. I ran towards the room in the middle of the hallway to plant the R.A.F. There were bodies dropping all around me from Reese. If I had to guess there were probably about ten. I jiggled the knob on the door to see if it was unlocked, sure enough it was. I burst through the door, five agents looked surprised to see such an unfamiliar face. 1; 2,3; 4; 5, four quick shots were all it took to take out all five. I planted the R.A.F in the middle of the room of the floor and set a ten second timer.

“Reese I’m coming out make sure the coast is clear.”

I began heading out the door. There were piles of bodies in front of me. I looked left, then right. I felt a bullet whiz by my face and a grunt from behind me. By the time the body hit the ground, I had gotten behind the crate with two seconds to spare. The room lit up a bright red for a couple seconds. Screams filled the room. There was a loud bang, then it was silent.

“Cutting that one a little close Jack,” Reese chuckled.

“I should say the same thing to you,” I grinned back at him, “Alright let’s go.”

We began heading towards the elevator, but we hadn’t planned the R.A.F very precisely. It had cut through the cables. There was no elevator anymore. We had to find another way down and quick.

“Well now we know what that crash was,” Reese nervously smiled.

Well, now we needed another way down, “Hey Reese,” I smirked, “do you have any rope?”

“What… wait yes! Finally, I told you this would come in handy someday.” Reese has always carried two hundred feet of rope in his pack.

The idea was to repel down twenty stories and climb back up as long as Jason was in good condition. We attached the rope around the pulley where the elevator cable used to be; latched ourselves on and repelled down to the crumbled elevator at the bottom. The elevator had crashed just below the door. Reese and I grabbed a side of the elevator.

“Ready? 1… 2… 3, pull!” I grunted.

We struggled, trying to keep it from closing, but we got it open just enough for Reese to put his rifle in between the doors. We we looked through the opening, we found that nobody was waiting for us. This was either a good sign, or a very bad one. We popped our heads out, looking left and right. We nodded to each other, then silently proceeded into the hallway. We were turning corners slowly, watching the halls for some kind of enemy movement. Still, nobody was there.

“Jack the room is up here on the right,” Reese whispered.

“Give me a second to check for agents,” I pulled out my goggles but there was only one person in there. The kid’s in there sitting in a chair in the middle of the room unguarded. We go in on one. 3… 2… 1.” I counted down on my fingers.

We burst through the door, no agents around the room. Except in the chair, it was a CFA agent, not Jason. Click, click, click… Reese and I looked around, the whole room was filled with explosives.

“HAHAHAHA!” The CFA agent was just hysterically laughing. “This whole place is coming down on top of us in ten seconds.”

“ABORT MISSION ABORT MISSION!” I yelled.

We hurled ourselves out the door sprinting as fast as we could to the elevator shaft. BOOM! The room had exploded behind us and we were thrown against the wall. A piece of metal had gotten lodged in Reese’s calf, but he kept going. The fires were rushing from behind us and the roof was crumbling on top of us.

“C’mon Reese run!” I shouted over the noise.

There was the elevator entrance twenty feet ahead. I jumped through the hole and into the elevator shaft. I turned and saw Reese. He was  grasping his leg, hobbling as fast as he could to make it.

“C’mon Reese!” I shouted over the noise of crumbling rocks.

“Ahhhhh,” Reese grunted as he jumped for the hole.

And then it went pitch black.

“Reese! NO!” I screamed, “REESE!”

 

 

Chapter 4

“Jump!

“God dammit!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, crashing to my knees.

My brother… gone in the blink of an eye. I was his best man at his wedding and godfather to his child. Even after all his family and I had gone through together, how was I supposed to tell Gwen and Chase that he was gone? That I couldn’t save him…

I sat there my knees, blood seeping from my fists onto the cold metal of the elevator. Tears began streaming down my face and dropping down, dispersing the blood. Darkness filled my vision and a dim light filled my head.

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Third grade, what a time to be alive. Hardly any homework, no responsibilities; just hanging out with friends, if I had any. I was a loner, couldn’t make friends, nobody talked to me and I didn’t talk to anybody else. Until one day I saw the school bully, Travis, and his gang shoving some kid into a looker. This was the day  I’d to become more involved in school.

“Come guys let him out,” I spoke up.

Travis turned towards me, towering five inches over my head, “What are  you gonna do about it short stack,” he chuckled, and spat in my face and the others joined in on the laughter.

Now, I don’t know if it was my anger management issues or the fact that my dad, an ex-marine, told me to always stand up for myself and others around me who couldn’t help themselves; probably both, but right then I brought my foot up and kicking his in his sack. He squealed and dropped to his knees.

Now towering over him, I moved in close and whispered, “If I see you picking on this kid or anybody else again, I’ll do more than just kick you in the balls. Now get out of here before I send you to the nurse… or worse,”

Travis struggled to his feet, hunching over with a horrified look. “They’re not worth it right now,” He and his gang walked away. We only ever had one more run in with him during high school.

I walked up to the locker and knocked, “Hey you alright in there?” I asked.

“It’s a bit of a tight squeeze,” he said, practically out of breath, “the locker number is 17-03-33 by the way.”

After fiddling with the lock for a bit, all of them usually took a couple tries to get unlocked, out came this scrawny kid, just a about two inches taller than me. I helped him up and asked his name.

“Reese, Reese Grinder,” he replied, “thanks, you’re the first person to actually help me out. what’s your name?”

“Jack Strider,” I answered, “and don’t worry about them… I don’t think they’ll be picking on you anytime soon,” I patted him on the shoulder, “Listen, I have to get to lunch, but I’ll see you around Reese.”

I turned around and began heading down the hallway, then I heard Reese run up from behind me, “I actually have lunch too, do you mind if I… uh… join you?” he asked.

I smirked, my first friend… huh, “Sure thing!” I smiled holding my fist out.

Reese bumped my fist back and from then on Reese and I had done everything together. Apparently Reese and I actually had four classes together. We sat together in all of them, goofing off, copying each other's homework, playing tag on the playground, we even eventually joined the swim team in high school. Reese and I always silently competing with each other for first place. I was thankful for meeting Reese, his friends became my friends and I finally fit in somewhere.

Senior year was probably the worst year of my life though. My mom had left early in the semester to go god knows where. Then… my dad got into a car accident with a drunk driver on the final night of my state swim competition… that driver being Travis. The medics on the scene  say the both died upon impact. Looks Travis ended up getting his revenge on me after all.

After that I had nowhere to go, I got put up for adoption. I thought that was it, that I was going to be all alone again, but within three days I was adopted… by Reese’s family. He had somehow convinced his parents to adopt me. We may have been like brothers before, but now we really were brothers, and we were inseparable.

 The dim light faded and the darkness consumed me once again. I picked my arm up and wiped my tears. Slowly I got on my feet, this isn’t what he would want, he’d say keep going. I stared at my blood soaked hands. Surely these marks would scar, and I would have something to always remind me of how I couldn’t save my brother. I wiped my tears once more and began to head back up the elevator shaft.

After reaching the top, I glanced back down the shaft, “See you in the afterlife brother,” I said under my breath, pulling myself out of the elevator shaft.

Valkoor was a dead man. My mission was no longer to save the kid, it was to find that weapon and destroy Valkoor and everything he stands for. No, I have to find the kid or I’ll have more deaths on my head than I already do. If Jason wasn’t in the dark room, then they must be moving him somewhere else.  I glanced back at the elevator. I’m sorry Reese. I’m so sorry.

 I did an inventory check. I kneeled down, opening my pack. I had dropped my gun when I was blown against the wall earlier. All I had left was my a knife and an EMD.

 “... Mike… Scales… pick up.” They weren’t answering. I tried to get a better signal as I headed up the stairs, but still got nothing. I got to the ground floor and finally picked up some chatter from the other end.

 “Jack… come in Jack! They’ve got the kid on the roof. They’re preparing to take him away by helicopter. You and Reese need to get your asses up there right now!” Mike Shouted through the com.

 “On my way!” I said.

 I didn’t have the guts to tell them Reese was gone, not yet anyway. We had to continue the mission, no distractions. I sprinted up the stairs to the top floor. I was passing floors filled with enemies, but they didn’t matter right now. Just the ones in front of me and the kid, and I was going to kill them all.

As I was running up the stairs the building began to shake as if bomb had gone off. I stumbled and fell against the wall. Shit are they going to level the entire building. I didn’t care though. I got up and continued sprinting up the stairs until I reached the roof.

I burst through the top floor door and tackled an agent to the ground, stepping  on his throat and crushing it. There were at least fifteen more enemies there guarding the entrance to the helipad. All of them staring at the man who just burst through the door. I had no choice, I flung the EMD toward them, clicking noises filled the room. I began sprinting at the closest agent, smashing his head against the wall and stabbing him in the gut. I pulled out his pistol. Fifteen more seconds… An agent came charging in with a knife. I managed to dodge his first swing, but he got my arm on his back swing. Flipping the knife around, he came swinging the down like an axe. I dodged, grabbing the hilt of the blade and his elbow, and thrust it back into his chest.

I took cover behind a wall. Five more seconds... this is for Reese. I heard the chatter of feet heading towards me. I whirled around the corner, kicking a trash can towards the agents. One tripped. One shot to the head. Another agent came at me. I grabbed his arm and flipped him on his back. One shot to the head. Another; I wrapped my arm around his, kicking their leg in, smashing the back of his head into the ground, cracking his skull. One shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head. Click… click… click, the gun was out. Two agents were closing in. They started attacking, I didn’t have much time to deal with them before the others closed in. Dodging blows left and right, I waited for my opening. A fist came from the corner of my eye, i ducked, vaulting backward over a dead body. One agent was too angry to noticed it, he charged forward tripping over the body. I grabbed both his arms, pulling them behind his back, and planting my foot straight into his spine. The screeching sounds coming from the agent, as his shoulders and spine broke, halted the oncoming agents long enough for me take his pistol. The other agents must’ve caught on that their weapons were no longer disabled. Quickly I took out the broken agent and the other I was fighting. The sound of gunfire filled the room as I dove around the corner. There was a ceasefire, the agents were slowly approaching the corner. If I didn’t think of something fast I’d be dead. There, on the dead body against the wall, were flashbangs. I tore them off his belt, tossing them around the corner. I bright flash lit up the hallway. I turned the corner and began firing. One shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head; one shot to the head.

The hallway was clear, I sprinted up the steps leading to the helipad. Standing there were two men and the pilot getting in the cockpit, click click, Shit I’m all out of ammo. Screw it! I sprinted at the helicopter, unloaded the mag from the gun, chucking the gun at one agent and the mag at the other stunning them. I jumped sideways, wrapping my arms around one agent’s head and my legs around the other’s head; SNAP. I rolled on the the ground, quickly picking up a machine gun and pointing it at the pilot.

“Jason get out here,” I shouted over the blades of the copter.

He ran over by my side. Still aiming at the pilot, one shot to the head.

“Mike, Scales, I got the kid, but there are too many guys down there for me to take on alone,” I said “I need a way out now.”

“Jack… where’s Reese?” Scales questioned.

“… It was a trap. There was an explosion in the in the dark room. He’s gone…” my voice trembled, tears began to form again. “Now please… a way out,” I ordered wiping my face.

“I… I’m sorry Jack, I know this must be hard on you,” Mike said holding his tears back.

“He was a good soldier, and an even better friend,” Scales spoke up.

Simultaneously their voices came in over the com “See you in the afterlife brother.”

A gust of cold wind blew past me, chills running down my spine. Reese won’t be the only brother I lose if I can’t finish this mission.

“About your exit sir, if we get to the science lab we can take the ventilation system down to the garage…  maybe find a vehicle or something.” Jason spoke softly.

Science lab… I had almost forgotten about the weapon. I had to get my hands on that encase the plan with Jason doesn’t work out.

“I mean unless you learned to fly… that’s your best bet Jack.” Mike muttered.

“Alright then, we gotta get down to the eighth floor, and I’m gonna need more ammo,” I said.

Jason and I headed back down through the hallway of bodies. Our shoes getting stained with the CFA’s blood.

“Did… did you do all of this?” Jason said with a tremble in his voice.

“Yeah… all of it,” I said.

“Man, I do not want to see you on a bad day,” he said jokingly.

I whipped around and looked him dead in the eye, “This is me on a VERY bad day kid. I lost my brother trying to save your ass. So, you better be able to do what IDS says you can.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t know… I lost people here too… let help you kill these bastards, none of them should be able to leave here alive,” Jason said clenching his fist.

“You can help me by not dying,” I sighed, calming myself back down, “Now pick that gun up, you’re gonna need it.”

We headed down three flights of stairs. We arrived at the door, but nobody was on the other side. I slowly creaked the door open.

“Coast is clear.” I whispered.

We entered the hallway. It was completely vacant. The CFA’s must have not been on this floor. We headed towards the chem lab where the weapon would be. I opened the door, blood everywhere. Red stained lab coats and walls plastered with blood. The CFA’s had definitely been here. I looked around for some kind of sign that would lead me to the weapon.

“Jack the vent is over here what are you doing!” Jason exclaimed.

“You’re not my only mission here. There is a secret chemical weapon in this lab that could help us end this war,” I said.

“You must be talking about Dr. Stein’s experimental HZT3,” Jason said, “He was a good friend to me. He kept it on him at all times because no one would think twice to search for it on a dead guy.”

His body was reclined in a chair in the corner on the other side of the room. I walked over to his body and sure enough, there it was. A glowing blue vile in his left coat pocket.

“Did he ever tell you what it does?” I asked.

“No, he only ever said it would change the tide of the war,” said Jason. “Now can we get out of here please?”

I kept staring at the vile, “Yes, yes we can.”

We took the grate off the vent. That’s when the CFA agents broke into the lab. They sprayed bullets across the room. I grabbed Jason and ducked behind a lab table. Gun fire all around us, there was no way we were getting into that vent.

“Listen, I’m going to provide cover fire and you jump into the vent. Get to the garage and find a car, I’ll be right behind you alright.” I shouted.

“No I’m not leaving you up here alone!” Jason shouted back.

“Listen to me kid, you’re needed more than I am in this war. Get to the car and meet Mike and Scales at the extraction point.” I handed him the map and an extra com, “Now go!”

I waited for them to start reloading. The firing stopped. I turned the corner spraying a barrage of bullets at the CFA’s, unloading the entire clip. Jason jumped into the vent and started sliding down to the garage.  

This was it. I’m out of ammo. They were surrounding me. The agents turned the corner, guns locked and loaded on me. Two of them picked me up and sucker punched me in the stomach. Ugh… that the best you got, I joked. I’m dead, can’t fight it anymore. They started dragging me out of the room to my death. Then this burst of fire in my chest exploded. No, this isn’t where I’m going to die.

I kicked the back leg in of the agent on my right then snapped his neck. I shoved the other guy into the door frame shattering his face. I grabbed his belt of grenades and sprinted to the vent pulling the pins off. Gun fire filling the room. I jumped feet first into the vent, leaving the sack of grenades hanging on the opening.

“Get down!” I heard the agents yell.

BANG! A wall of fire was roaring down on top of me; I couldn’t slow myself down. The bottom was about ten feet away. This is gonna hurt. I flew through the opening landing on my left leg and rolling.

“Son of a bitch!” I screamed in agony.

A compound fracture was just what I needed. The bone was sharp and jagged, tearing a hole in my pants. Jason ran up beside me and helped me up.

“I got the keys to the armored truck,” Jason said.

“Good… let’s get the hell out of here,” I gritted my teeth, “Give me the keys.”

He handed them over. I opened the door and he helped me in then ran to his side. I started up the car. CFA agents started pouring out of the entrances. Their bullets couldn’t penetrate the vehicle, but they weren’t trying to shoot through it, they were trying to weaken it.

“RPG!” Jason yelled.

An agent got on one knee and aimed it at the truck. I floored it, but he got the shot off in time. The rocket pierced the driver side and got lodged halfway through the door and the tip went half an inch into my side. Luckily it was a dud.

“AHH… God damn it!” I screamed.

I pulled the rocket out of my side and pushed it out the door. There was blood everywhere.

“Jack, your leg is bleeding.” Jason said.

“Yea that’s what happens when it’s fractured.” I groaned.

“No you’ve been shot in your leg.” Jason shouted.

I must have gotten shot when I jumped down the vent. I was losing a lot of blood, but I couldn’t stop now. I rammed the truck through the garage door and drove out onto the field. There was gunfire coming from every direction; whizzing by and bouncing off the truck. The trail was just ahead. If we make it up there we’re home free.

“Mike, Scales,” I shouted through the com, “Get to the extraction point, expect heavy gunfire.”

“Shit!” Vehicles started coming from the trail.

They began ramming the back of the truck. I almost lost control, I was starting to get dizzy. I was losing blood fast. I had to get the kid out of here before it was too late.

I turned sharply into the woods. Hitting every possible bump, bouncing around, just barely grazing the trees. All this bouncing around was adding blurry vision to the dizziness.

“Jack they’re right on our tail. We have to lose them if we want to make it out of here,” Jason shouted.

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking,” I shouted, that was it! “Jason pull up the map!”

He pulled the map out and just as I had expected, “There’s a cliff about 50 meters up, we’re going to jump out and launch the truck off along with anyone tailing us.” Jason looked me right in the eyes as if I was crazy.

“Jack, we’re going sixty miles per hour, if we jump we’re not going to make it,” Jason trembled.

I looked him back in his eyes, “Do you trust me?” I asked.

“Yes…” Jason nodded.

We were approaching the drop. I grabbed my pistol and got ready to jump. 10 meters from the jump.

“3… 2… 1... Jump!” I yelled

I made sure Jason was out before I jumped, then I hurled my body out of the truck. I came out bouncing around like a bouncy ball. I tumbled around in the leaves and bounced over a log. I hit the log tearing my other side open on a jagged stick. I bounced off a tree and then everything went dark.

I awoke to a loud ringing in my ears. I slightly opened my eyes to the sight of crashed CFA vehicles of fire and burning bodies. Everything was blurry. I tried to move my hand. I could see it moving through the leaves on the ground, but I couldn’t feel it. That’s when Mike appeared.

“Jack… Jack!” I could read his lips, “Jack we need to go now!”

All of a sudden a whir of various sounds came rushing back. The sound of fire crackling, gunfire in the distance, vehicles closing in. I reached out for my gun, Mike put it in my hand.

“I got you,” He started dragging me, “You better cover my ass.”

Scales and Jason were a couple meters ahead. CFA’s started emerging through the leaves. Left; right right; left; right; left; left. I fired until I was empty.

“Mike, stop,” I said, “Leave me, get home to your family. Put me up against the tree and give me your pistol. I’ll stall as long as I can.” I looked in his eyes.

He could see the pain I was in. “I’ll see you in the afterlife brother,” He squeezed me tight, “We’ll get those sons of bitches, I promise you that.” He handed me his pistol and caught up with Scales and Jason.

I was alone now, dying, they started coming again. Right; left; left; middle; right; right. I dropped the gun. If I’m going to die, I’m not letting them get the HZT3. I pulled it out of my pocket.

“Down the hatch,” I said.

I drank the whole thing and tossed it into the forest. I could feel something surging through me. My veins started glowing blue. Then, the feeling of electricity surging through me.

“AHHH!” I screamed, clenching my fist.

I could feel myself fading. The electricity stopped; a few beats later, so did my heart.

 

 

Chapter 5

“You’re a dead man.”

 My eyes shot open. I began breathing heavy and fast, clenching my chest, gasping for air. I flung my head left and right, examining the area. How long have I been out? Did Mike, Scales, and Jason get out? I looked down at my leg and sides. Everything was healed, but how? There were too many questions. Gun shots from up the hill. I whirled up and my pistol levitated into my hand and I dashed up the hill. After about three miles of sprinting I had found what the gun fire was.

 “Scales!” I yelled. I ran over to his side and kneeled “Hey, hey, hey, stay with me brother.”

 “Jack?” He looked startled. “How the hell… never mind… Mike and Jason…” he was choking on his own blood,” are at the top of the…” His voice faded out and his face went blank.

 “Scales! No, no, come on!” I yelled, “God damn it.”

 I stood up and turned toward the tree to my left, “God Damn it!” I punched the tree with all my strength. I had blown out the left side of the tree, causing it to crash down.

 “What the hell…” I muttered.

 This must have been what the HZT3 was; not a chemical weapon, but some sort of super serum. More gunshots came from up the hill. I took one last glance at Scales, Goodbye old friend. I sprinted up the hill towards Mike and Jason.

 Three enemies were up ahead. I sprinted harder and dropped kicked the first guy into a tree, exploding his body. I fell on my back and quickly shot; left, right. I got back up and started sprinting again. One mile up the hill was when I saw Mike and Jason fifty yards out, but not the sight I wanted to see. There was a man standing behind a tree, I couldn’t see anything but his hand… and a gun. Mike was backing up with Jason behind him, he wasn’t going to give Jason up. I tried moving around to get a better angle for a shot.

“Come on,” I muttered, “move you son of a bitch,” but I was too late.

Mike saw me lurking in the background; he gave me one last look, the biggest smile I’d ever seen on his face. Bang… Mike’s body fell limp onto the forest floor. That was it, my last brother, lying dead in the middle of some God forsaken forest.

“NO!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.

I darted at the hidden man. Dodging trees, jumping over rocks and logs. It was the fastest I had ever run. I sprinted at him, he shot and missed. I tackled him to the ground; we began tumbling. I stopped myself and got up on one knee. I grabbed his shoulders and flipped him over my back and into a tree twenty feet away.

The man regained his balance, slowly getting up laughing maniacally. It was him; Valkoor.

“Man,” he said, “that almost hurt.” His laughter continued.

His voice was deep, gruff. He was the perfect example of any villain from a movie. The dark, scary voice, diabolical laughter; all he needed was a spinning chair and a cat.

“So you’re the one causing me so much trouble?” he laughed, “So much trouble from such a tiny man.”

“The names Jack,” I said sternly, “and I’m the one that’s going to put you six feet under. You’re a dead man!”

“Go ahead, try your best… ‘Jack’,” he mocked me.

He’s underestimating what I am, good. Although, I don’t even know what I am. Time to find the limits of these new found powers. We ran at each other, we stopped and skid across the ground colliding fists. We stared each other dead in the eyes. Our fists separated, I swung, he ducked; he swung, I caught his fist; kneed him in his gut; uppercut to the stomach; roundhouse kick to the chest. He slid back a couple feet, but seemed to be unscathed.

He began to laugh, “I really hope that’s not your best.” He stood up straight as if nothing happened.

He charged me, he swung left, but it was a fake. He came in with a knee, I brought both hands down to block it; then came a right hook, socking me right in the jaw.

Now I was laughing hysterically, “And I hope that isn’t your best.”

The look on his face showed it all. His fist still on my face, I turned my head towards him pushing his fist along with it. He took his fist off my face.

“It seems I underestimated you,” he said, “how about we skip the warm ups huh?”

I looked over at Jason, “Get to the Evac zone.”

“No, I’m not leaving you alone again,” he said.

“I’ll be there when I’m done,” I was lying. “Now go,” I shouted.

Jason ran off toward the extraction point. Now I didn’t need to worry about him being used against me. I turned back towards Valkoor.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” I said.

He swung first; I blocked; left hook; I grabbed it, left hook; he ducked; he grabbed my arm; I kicked in his knee in, then kneed him in the face. He let go of my arm and I let go of his. He stood back up; left, right; I dodged and ducked; jab to the face, uppercut to the gut; I spat out blood. He was stronger than I expected. I wiped my mouth. I stood back up; left kick; he grabbed it; I spun around and hit him in the face with my right heel. He stumbled back; I ran up; he swung; I slid underneath it and jabbed him in the gut, then front flipped kicking him in the face. Now he spat up blood.

“I thought we agreed no more warm-ups,” he smirked.

“I should say the same to you,” I smirked back.

Now warm-ups were truly over. We darted at each other, series of furious kicks and punches being thrown from both of us. Jab to the gut; elbow to the face; dodging, blocking, exchanging blows. Neither of us were breaking. Right hook; left uppercut; roundhouse; head butt; knee. He pulled a hidden blade out, He began swinging it around. I dodge left; right; duck; he got close and cut my cheek; I was stunned; he swung again; cut my arm; then my thigh.

“Ahhhhh!” I yelled.

One of us had finally broken. I couldn’t stand back up. I was kneeling on the ground as he towered over me.

“Looks like I win Jack,” he gloated, “Say hi to your crew for me.”

He swung the knife down; I mustered the last of my strength; I flipped on my back and caught the knife between my hands. It was just inches from my eye; I was giving it all I had to keep the knife up.

“Come on Jack,” he said pushing more weight down, “Just give up already, you’re a dead man.”

My strength was failing, I had to find a way out quick. I swung my head to the right and let the knife come down into the dirt; I elbowed him in the face. While he was stunned I pulled the knife out of the ground and stabbed him in the center of his chest. I let go of the knife and fell onto my back, out of strength. I looked over at Valkoor, he was looking down at his chest; he pulled the knife out and dropped it on the ground. Shit. He came at me and picked me up by my vest. He tossed me across the ground and I slammed into a tree. He walked over and kneeled down over me.

“Looks like your best wasn’t good enough Jack,” he taunted.

I tried to get up, but Valkoor kicked me in my gut and I tumbled back over, “Ugh,” I grunted.

I was looking up at him now; he slammed his foot down on my chest, crushing my lungs. I couldn’t breathe, then he took it off. The air rushed back in. He grabbed me by my vest again and threw me into a boulder; he came in ferociously with a knee to the gut.

“Ahhhhh!” I screamed, coughing up blood.

He held me against the rock, continuously beating my face, so much so that my left eye swelled shut. Then he dropped me. I fell onto the forest floor, motionless, in pain, I had nothing left to give; or so I thought. Twenty yards away was a body of a CFA agent. On him was a belt of grenades, I reached out for it, trying my hardest to pull it over here, my powers weren’t working, I didn’t know how to use them. I’m reaching for them when Valkoor’s knife pierces my hand.

“AHHHH!” I yelled.

I reached around with my right hand and yanked a grenade over from the belt. I flung the pin out and shoved it into the opening in Valkoor’s chest forcing him back twenty feet into a tree. He began clawing at his chest.

10… the grenades were anti-tank grenades, a big enough explosion to level a small apartment building. 9… with my hand stuck in the ground and no strength left, I knew I wasn’t going to escape the blast radius. 8… I looked up into the sky, so serene, I’ll be there soon brothers. I sat there lying on the ground awaiting my fate when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned my head and there was Jason running at Valkoor with a machete he’d gotten from and agent. He hadn’t seen me stick the grenade in his chest. Everything was moving slowly now. 4… Jason came sprinting by me.

3… “Jason No!” I screamed as loud as I could.

2… Jason ran up to Valkoor, Valkoor smiles and then laughed. Jason took one big swing, slicing his head off. It started rolling down the hill. 1… The grenade stopped clicking.

A bright flash of light illuminated the area, disintegrating Jason and Valkoor’s bodies. The bright flash slowly came for me. The force of the explosion sent me flying back tearing, the knife through my hand, burning my body up. The bright flash was the last thing I saw. Before everything went black.

 

 

Part II

Chapter 6

“What do you mean, he’s still alive?”

40 years later

 Just like that, a switch inside my head flipped back on. All my senses came back, sounds rushing through my head, feelings in my arms and legs coming back, I slowly opened my eyes. The light blinded me, everything was blurry, I squinted looking around the room. I was in some kind of hospital. I lifted my hand to rub my head, but it got pulled back down. I glanced at the chains holding me down; my hands, feet, and chest. I wiggled around trying to break free, but stopped as I heard his voice.

 “Glad to see you’re finally awake, Mr. Strider,” the mystery man said. “How are you feeling?”

 “Like a kid in a candy store,” I said sarcastically, “Where am I? What is this place?”

 “You’ve been in a coma for forty years,” he said, “The explosion almost killed you, but your body healed itself shortly after you arrived here. Some brain damage had been dealt hence the coma, but those aren’t the questions you should be asking.”

 “Forty years!” I shouted. “Jason, the kid, where’s the kid!”

 “Sadly, I’m sorry to say, he didn’t make it,” he said, “Listen, I’ll take those chains off and we’ll talk about what’s happened.”

 The man came into the room. He was a small, slender man, a little geeky looking with gray hair. I’d put him around sixty-five years old. He walked up and took the chains off. I slowly sat up. My head ached trying to adjust to the surroundings. The room was dark, lights flickering on and off. A bloody medical tray laid beside me. They were operating on me while I was out. I got out of the bed and forced him against the wall.

 “Why were you operating on me?” I asked.

 “Well you’re an amazing specimen,” he said, “your healing abilities intrigued us. We decided to examine your DNA to see how it works. As I now see, healing isn’t your only power, but telekinesis as well.”

I let him go, “I took an experimental drug, HZT3, it gave me these abilities,” I looked down, “I only took it to hide it from the CFA. Then used them to stop Valkoor”

“Unsuccessfully I might add,” he said sarcastically.

I glanced over at him, “What do you mean, he’s still alive?” I asked. “I saw him die with my own eyes.”

“No,” he said, “The CFA retrieved his head. They have some kind of regeneration system. It kept his head alive. Unfortunately for them his body couldn’t regrow. They had to put his head on a robotic suit of armor. He’s now even more dangerous than before.”

“It was all for nothing!” I slammed the tray of tools to the ground. “Let me speak to the man in charge.”

“You already are…  Mr. Strider,” the man said.

“Alright then,” I said, “Let’s go after him. Let’s me make sure this time he stays dead.”

“I can’t let you do that,” he said, “I have plans for you. Besides, you couldn’t beat him last time, you need to train your powers, gain control of them. Then you can fight him… take a walk with me Mr. Strider.”

He started walking out of the room, “Wait!” I said. “What’s your name?”

“You can call me Doc, Mr. Strider,” he continued walking.

He left the room, I followed. We began walking down a long hallway. My eyes were still adjusting to the light. We passed dozens of operating rooms with nobody in them. Soldiers surrounding the hallways. We headed up two flights of stairs and into a cafeteria. Soldiers just sitting around playing cards, eating lunch, they hardly took any notice of me.

“You hungry?” The Doc asked.

“No, I’m fine,” I said.

“Very well then,” he said.

We continued my tour of the building. He took me into a room, a training facility of some sorts. It had one of the first windows I’d seen in this place. He opened up the shades of the window and showed me what the world had become. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Nothing but death and destruction, a world on fire. Crumbled buildings, forests set ablaze, the sky a dark red hue from nuclear explosions.

“What the hell happened?” I asked.

“After Valkoor came back, he immediately launched a nuclear attack around the world. We had no choice but to fire back. Half the earth has been scorched with fire, whole cities wiped completely off the map. Complete and utter destruction,” he explained.

“He has to be stopped!” I yelled. “He has to pay for what he’s done!”

“He will, but here, there is no world to be saved. Even if you killed him, you couldn’t save this world,” said the Doc.

“Then why did you rescue me? Why keep me alive here?” I questioned him.

“Now you’re asking the right questions,” he smirked, “The reason we kept you alive is so we could send you on a mission to save the world,” he said.

“What are you talking about?” I was puzzled. “You said this world can’t be saved.”

“You’re right THIS world can’t be saved, but the old one can,” he said.

I looked at him, confused, puzzled, unsure of anything he just said.

“The plan is to send you back in time to that day and stop Valkoor for good,” the Doc said.

I started laughing hysterically, “Ha, Doc, you gotta be shitting me. If time travel exists why wouldn’t you send somebody back before me?”

“Because you’re the best hope of actually stopping Valkoor. Your record exceeds anybody here by ten thousand. Plus, you have your abilities,” he said sternly.

“Ok… so hypothetically speaking, if I were to go back, what do I do? Just kill Valkoor and that’ll fix everything?” I asked.

“Yes… hypothetically speaking,” he said sarcastically, “but we have another problem. Valkoor is planning on doing the same thing. We got word from an inside man that Valkoor is two weeks from making his time machine work, maybe less,” his tone becoming ominously serious.

“Alright then, when do we start?” I asked.

“Now,” he said.

He quickly pulled a knife out of his pocket and flung it at me. I reacted quickly enough to stop it just inches from my heart.

“What the hell man!” I shouted.

“Good catch, next time try to use your powers,” he smirked.

For the next two weeks I practiced and practiced my telekinesis. I started small, levitating small cups working my way up to bigger things like tables and desks. Quickly I moved up to cars, trucks and finally myself. That’s right, I could fly. I got the hang of these abilities pretty fast. We also tested my healing ability, a stab wound heals completely in about two minutes; a gunshot heals in about 4, give or take.

We were two days to the deadline when all of our power went out. Everything in the facility was silent except for one sound; someone running towards us, papers falling on the ground. A woman burst through the door.

“Sir!” She exhaled heavily. “Valkoor… he’s gone back sir, we don’t know when exactly, but we do know it’s within the week of Mr. Strider’s mission.”

“Shit,” said the Doc. “We need to move fast, power up the back-up generators. That should give us enough power to send Mr. Strider back in time.” He glared at the woman, “What are you waiting for? Go now!”

“Doc are you sure about this?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he said hesitantly, “but it’s our only shot.”

We head to the time room. The backup generators kicked in and the room lit up. The teleporter was huge. Kind of looked like a giant magnet. In the middle was some sort of painted picture of where I would be teleported to.

“Mr. Strider,” Doc said, “We don’t have the time or energy to set a jump location, just the date and general area. When you land you could be twenty miles off target.”

“Good enough,” I stuck my hand out. “Thank you Doc, I won’t fail you guys,” he nodded, shaking my hand. I turned towards the steps leading to the portal.

“Mr. Strider,” the Doc interrupted as if he was to say something important, “Good luck,” was all he said. I knew he had more to say, but I had to leave before we ran out of power.

I looked through the portal and looked back one last time. Then I ran and jumped through the portal as it closed behind me.

 

 

Chapter 7

I was free falling from above the clouds. All of a sudden an explosion sounded from below. I flew down faster only to realize it was my ship, and there I was falling out of the ship. I was practically even with the team, and that’s when I realized; I was the figure that I saw when I was fading in and out before. I quickly flew back into the clouds. I sat up there thinking; if I was already sent back before then why didn’t I help this me kill Valkoor last time? That’s when I caught something coming from the corner of my eye. It was Valkoor; he came flying in and shot me with some sort of laser gun from his arm. I had time to put a shield up, but it broke through and sent me hurtling into the ground. I was falling through the sky leaving a smoke trail behind me. I regained my balance as I hit the tree line. I quickly turned my body around and pulled up as hard as I could, skidding across the leaves and back up into the sky. Valkoor flew in front of me. His body looked like it was normal, no giant robotic suit; just artificial flesh.

“So they did send you back,” he laughed. “You look great for an eighty-five-year-old.”

“I can say the same for you,” I smirked, “You look surprisingly good for a head without a body.”

So this must be why I don’t help out, but now I know I have to if I want anything to change. I just need to take care of this Valkoor first. We sat there floating waiting for one of us to make a move.

“So shall we get started?” I asked.

“We shall,” said Valkoor.

He flew at me as fast as he could, and I stood there. I let him get close and then stopped him in his tracks. I laughed as he sat there squirming. I flew up to him and looked him in the face.

“What’s the matter?” I mocked him. “Cat got your tongue?”

“What… what the hell have you become?” He was shocked.

“I told you before,” I grinned, “I’m the one that’s going to put you six feet under.”

I flung Valkoor hurtling toward the ground. He slammed into the ground taking down a couple trees in his path. I decided to take this fight to the ground. I flew towards him and stopped a couple feet away. The leaves behind me swept up and whirled around. He was laying there with his face in the dirt. I levitated him over and pinned him against a tree. I dashed towards him and kneed him in the stomach. Not hard, but hard enough to cause pain. I heard the tree crack from the pressure as pain filled Valkoor’s face.

“Wow,” I chuckled, “a robot that can feel pain? I don’t even know how that works, and I don’t really care.”

I started pounding his chest, stomach, and face. I wasn’t trying to kill him just yet.  I had to make him feel the pain that I felt when he killed my team. I came with a hook; electricity shot through my body, a pain worse than death itself. I fell to my knees, releasing Valkoor from my grasp. Valkoor grabbed my arm and kicked me away. The electricity wasn’t coming from Valkoor; it was coming from my own body. I laid on the ground grasping for something. Valkoor walked over and kicked me against a tree. I bounced off and hit the ground. He repeatedly kicked me in the stomach. I kept trying to get up and he would kick me back down. I tried to focus all my energy into my hand. Valkoor backed up and I got up leaning against the tree. I could feel the electricity in my arm. I looked at Valkoor, he was laughing, I ran at him and swung as hard as I could; I ended up punching a wall shattering my fist.

“Ahhhhh,” I shouted, “God damn it.”

Somehow I had… teleported, I was in the shaft of the elevator. The feeling of electricity was gone, I turned around and looked at the rubble.

“No…,” I muttered.

Reese was already gone. I let my attitude get the best of me. I toyed with Valkoor and Reese paid the price… again. I punched the wall again; so hard the building shook as if an earthquake just hit.

I had to get to Valkoor, maybe I could use these new powers to get there faster. I closed my eyes and concentrated on where I was before I teleported here. Zap! I landed back in the middle of the forest, creating a crater where I landed. Valkoor wasn’t here though. I flew above the tree line to try and find him. There he was about two miles out flying towards the base. Time to try these new powers. I focused on him; zap! I was right in front of him. I quickly jabbed him in the stomach, hard. He stopped in his tracks and squealed. The sheer force of the punch ripped a hole in his clothes and tore away some skin revealing his metal skeleton.

I leaned in, “Time to get serious.”

I opened my fist on his stomach and launched him backwards. Zap! I was behind him. I kicked him in the back sending him flying back the other way. Zap! I uppercut him in the jaw, he flew up. Zap! I was two hundred feet above him now. I flew down towards him as fast as I could, breaking the sound barrier; he had little time to react. He turned facing me and shot a barrage of beams at me. It was no use. I deflected them creating a smoke cover. He hovered there waiting for the smoke too clear.

I came bursting through the smoke, “AHHH,” I screamed as I charged with my fist sending it flying into his chest. The force sent him hurtling into ground so fast a heat shield formed around him.

Zap! I was right under him waiting for him to hit the ground. I stared up at him falling. I took one step to the left right before he hit the ground. I put a shield up to block the debris and I sat there waiting for him to come up. He came floating up out of the ground, half his shirt burned off along with patches of skin. He was angry, his face said it all.

“I’m going to make you pay for that,” he said.

“Try your best,” I grunted.

He flew at me, but I caught him and smashed him on the ground. I picked him back up and smashed him down on my knee. Nothing happened. His body just went through my knee. My whole body was starting to become transparent. I began fading in and out of reality. Valkoor tried to punch me but it just went through me. Then I realized what was happening, the other me was dying. Zap! I was in front of my almost lifeless body. I had the faintest heartbeat. All the loss of blood made the younger me faint. If I don’t save myself I must fade from existence. Then I realized I had to speed up the reaction of the HZT3 in his blood. I waited until I faded back in, took his knife and cut my arm and squeezed some blood into his open wound. I sat there fading in and out, finally it worked. I faded back into existence. Now it was time to get back to stopping Valkoor. Zap! I was back where I was before, but Valkoor had disappeared again. I was about to fly above the tree line when I heard him fly in from above.

“I thought this might happen, you coming back,” he said, “so I came back prepared. Say hello… Katie.”

“No…,” I gasped, “You monster!”

“Jack!” She screeched.

“Katie listen to me,” I said calmly, “he’s not going to hurt you ok.”

“Oh no that’s where you’re wrong jack,” he chuckled, “I’m gonna cut her pretty… little…  head off.

His arm transformed into a blade. He put it to her throat, “If you move a muscle, I cut her throat.”

“Jack what the hell is going on!” she cried, tears rolled down her face.

“Katie, look at me baby. You’re gonna be fine.” I said. “I’m the one you want. Valkoor, let her go.”

“Well…” he grinned, “if you insist,” he started laughing, then… he dropped her.

“JACK!” she screamed.

I jumped up and caught her. Valkoor transformed his arm back into a laser cannon. He aimed and began to shoot. I turned around holding her in my arms. I put a shield up blocking the lasers. She was still screaming, thinking she was falling.

“Katie, hey,” I shouted over her, “you’re fine, look at me. You’re fine.”

She stopped screaming and looked into my eyes. She hugged me tight, “Oh my god, I thought I was going to die,” she cried.

I could feel my shield getting weaker, “Listen, I’ll explain when this is over, but right now I need to get you to safety.”

That’s when the shield broke, “AHH,” I yelled.

The laser scorched my back, sending Katie and I hurtling into the ground. I quickly whirled myself around before we hit the ground. I landed on my arm breaking it in two places. Katie bounced out of my arms. Valkoor aimed at Katie, I saw a rock on the ground and sent it hurtling at his arm. It broke the gun, but he was quick enough to transform his other arm into a machine gun, aiming it at Katie. Then he fired.

Everything was moving in slow motion. I got up skidding across the leaves moving as fast as I could, reaching my hand out to put up a shield. Three bullets went by before I got the shield… one them piercing Katie’s heart. All the sounds around me became quiet. The faint sounds of the machine gun, the leaves crunching under my feet as I ran to her; it was almost completely silent. The sound came rushing back like a title wave

“NOOOOO!” I screamed, diving to the ground, forcing all the bullets into Valkoor, knocking him down to the ground.

I stood over Katie, I stood over her, “No… Katie,” I sank to my knees, picking her up, holding her in my arms, “Come on, Katie, come on… I can’t lose you too, come on… Katie!” I cried, tears rolled down my face.

She looked up at me, smiled one last time, mouthing the words, ‘I love you’.

That was it. She was gone. I brought her head to my chest, holding her tight, tears pouring down my face, “KATIE!” I screamed. Time began to slow down.

“Alright how do I look?” I asked as I tugged on the suit.

“I think that suit makes you looked fat,” Reese joked.

“At least my suit only makes me look fat,” I walked past Reese patting him on the shoulder. We both laughed and head out towards the alter.

 As I was standing there watching Katie walk down the aisle in her beautiful, shinning white dress, I whispered to Reese.

“You have the rings right?” I asked nervously.

“Aww shit,” he said, “I knew I was forgetting something. Listen I’ll fix this don’t worry about it.”

 I was about to cuss him out, but Katie was already here. She stood there blushing, with the biggest smile I’d ever seen. We stood there gazing into each other's eyes. The Priest began to speak.

 It was time to give each other the rings, except I didn’t have them. That’s when I heard Reese whisper, “Prepare for drop”. I looked up and there were the rings parachuting down. I looked over at Reese with a wide grin, “You cheeky bastard,” I whispered.

He grinned back, “I told you I’d handle it,” he chuckled.

I grabbed the rings and slid one on her finger and she slid one on mine. The priest began talking again.

“I do,” said Katie.

The priest began talking again.

“I do,” I said.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride,” said the priest.

I laid her down onto the ground “No…,” I slammed the ground, “NO…,” I slammed it even harder, “AHHHH,” I screamed in agony. There was a giant explosion of force from my body that knocked down all the trees in a mile-wide radius. The leaves shot into the air and began raining down from above.

I stood up, clenching my fist so hard my hand began to bleed. It was time to finish this once and for all. Valkoor’s body was riddled with bullet holes, his body was sparking, failing. I started walking towards him, he was trying to get up. I flashed in front of him, slamming him in the stomach. My fist broke through his skeleton, entering his stomach.

I leaned up next to his ear “I’ll make you wish you died in that explosion!” I yelled

I forced him through the open field, blowing a hole through his chest. I flew after him, “You’ve taken everything from me!” I yelled.

I punched him again, sending him slamming into the side of a mountain, cracking the mountain side right down the middle.

“You’re a dead man!” I yelled, flying towards him.

He began laughing and twitching, “I guess you’ve won, but before you kill me, let me tell you one last thing. I’m not in charge it’s…” Zap! I slammed my fist into his throat, severing his head; then I exploded it from the inside, leaving no pieces behind.

“No, no more talking, “I mumbled faintly.

The last leaf finally reached the ground.

 That was the end of this Valkoor but, the mission wasn’t over yet, there was one more thing I had to change. I flashed in between young me and Valkoor. The younger me was on the ground, reaching for the grenades; I turned towards Valkoor, he stabbed me in the shoulder with the knife. I didn’t even flinch, I grabbed his arm and snapped his elbow.

He screamed in agony, then began to laugh, “He told me you might come.”

I didn’t care what he was going to say, I was done talking. I took the knife out of my shoulder and swung it at him. He caught my arm, holding me back. I dropped the blade, grabbing it with my other hand. I shoved the blade into Valkoor’s chest. He stumbled back, I flashed towards him and grabbed his arm. I flew up into the air, flinging him around, sending him hurtling into orbit towards the sun. Finally… it was over.

I flashed back over to Katie’s cold, lifeless body. Tears began rolling down my face again, I picked up her body and flashed back over to the younger me. Jason was helping younger me up against a tree, I startled them.

“Who are you?” said Jason, getting up with the machete in his hand.

I slowly turned around, tears filled my eyes, “I’m so sorry, I… I couldn’t save her,” I cried, staring at my younger self, the face of pure torture, the face of loss, my face.

He got up and wrapped her in his arms, “Oh god, no… please, not you too!” He pressed his head against her face, crying, screaming her name over and over again.

I tried to comfort him, but nothing. No words came out. I looked down, my body began fading. I looked down at myself then at Jason.

“You make sure he gets home safe Jack,” I said, “we can’t lose him too.”

I could feel myself almost completely fading out. Just before I completely faded out soldiers came up from the woods and grabbed Jason and younger me. I reached out, but I could feel myself being pulled back through the portal, I appeared back in my own time, landing in a white room, locked up in a chair.

 

 

Chapter 8

“It was you?!”

The room was a white blinding light, just like the base. How did this happen? Where am I? The chains were tight, I tried to wiggle out of them, but a deep, muffled voice came over the intercom.

 “So, Mr. strider, looks like you did it,” the voice said.

 “Who are you?” I asked.

 “Oh, I think you know quite well who I am,” the man flipped the light switch on in the other room.

 It was the Doc, “What? Why am I chained up in here?” I said.

 “Because I can’t have you getting loose,” he laughed.

 “What?” I said.

 “Let me explain something to you,” the Doc said, “I sent you back to stop Valkoor, yes, but not to save the world from him; to take over the world myself. At the time you first fought Valkoor he was under my command. I led the CFA. Valkoor was the muscle and a figure head. When Jason chopped his head off, I saved you and him; put you in different facilities. When Valkoor gained control of his new body he overthrew me. I took copies of the teleportation plans and came here. You were so blinded by your anger against Valkoor, you just agreed without any questions asked.”

 “It was you, you’re the reason everything has happened,” I said, “but how… do you still remember everything? That timeline was erased.”

 “You weren’t the first to go back Mr. Strider,” he said, “I sent myself back and explained the whole plan to myself in the past, I know… everything,” he laughed hysterically.

I tore the chains off of the chair and slammed the glass, hardly putting a dent in it, “I’m gonna kill you!” I yelled as I kept pounding the glass.

 “It’s no use Jack. You can’t break through that,” he chuckled. “Besides you have bigger things on your plate.”

 “What are you…,” a door opened behind me.

 I turned around to find Jason standing in the doorway. Except it wasn’t him, his eyes were bloodshot, his face was soulless.

 “What did you do to him!” I yelled.

 “Only what needed to be done; he didn’t comply, so… we made him.” The Doc chuckled maniacally. “Sick him Jason.”

 Jason lunged at me, but I flung him back against the wall. I socked him in the face and he went down. I turned back towards the Doc, but I heard Jason stand up behind me.

 “Jason stay down,” I said.

 He kept coming, he charged me again and I socked him. He went down; but got back up again. I kept socking him in the face, each time getting back up.

“Jason please, stay down,” I begged.

But he kept on coming, “He won’t listen to you Mr. Strider, only me,” Doc interrupted.

I pinned him up against the wall, “Jason please… you know me!” I shouted. “Don’t make me do this.”

He kept squirming trying to attack me. I pinned everything against the wall, making sure he couldn’t move a muscle.

“Doc, stop this… please, I’m the one you want. Let him go,” I pleaded.

“You act like you have a say in this,” he said. “No, I will not stop him.”

Jason was still trying his hardest to break free and kill me. I had no other choice. I had to put him out of him misery. I looked him dead in the eyes, there was no part of Jason left in there. Goodbye, Jason. I snapped his neck; quick and painless.

“I’m sorry Jason, I’m so sorry…” that was the final straw, the one that finally pushed me over the edge. No one was left to be used against me, no one left to care about. There were no more strings on me.

I sank to my knees, yelling, shaking the building around me. The walls began cracking, the window began cracking. It was as if the world was shaking around me. I stood up and walked over to the shattered window; I smashed my fist through the glass completely shattering it. I jumped out through the window.

The Doc began shuffling backwards in terror, “Now Jack, we can talk about this,” he trembled.

“No, we’re past talking,” I grunted.

He began throwing anything he could find at me, but it just bounced off. I kept walking towards him. There was a force radiating off of me forcing everything out of the way. I pushed the Doc up against the wall.

“I should kill you, but I won’t,” I grunted, “I’m going to make you suffer… for the rest of your miserable, pathetic life.”

“Jack, please, just kill me,” he begged.

“That would be too easy for you,” I grunted.

I flung him into the room I was locked up in. I tightened the chains so tight they made his arms turn purple.

He begged and pleaded, “Please, Jack don’t leave me in here, kill me.”

“You don’t seem to understand. This world… it’s mine now.” I looked him in the eyes. “Every story has an end and every end has a beginning and my story? It’s just starting.”

 

 

Epilogue Part 1

 The war was over now. Killing Valkoor in the past stopped the nukes from ever being launched and almost completely destroying the world. The world was somewhat peaceful now. The sky isn’t covered in a thick black cloud of smoke.  But the cities were in rubble. Buildings blown to bits, piles of ash covered the ground, fires blazing from survivors wandering the badlands. The people of the world don’t know what to do. They looked towards one person to lead them to salvation; the Doc. Now that he’s gone, they need someone new to look up to, so the people look to me for leadership now. They think of me as a god. I will help them to rebuild the world, I will lead them, save them, but it is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship; and anybody who defies me… will be punished.

 

The End: Chapter 1

The sky is dark, filled with smog so thick you couldn’t see five feet in front of you if you were up there. The streets, bustling with people trying to get home, some trying to get to work. People trying to make something of their worthless lives, pretending that they can make a difference while they work their shitty jobs in the mall. We know they can't do anything to change their situation, they were brought up thinking this is the only way to live. but we… we can change it.

 It's been 137 years since he took over. He is a ruthless bastard mooching off the people of this nation. He said he'd take care of us and get the world back in line. So far he's only done half of what he said. The world may be back in line, but while he sits up there on his iron throne, the people of the world scavenge for food and other supplies.

Companies have been put in place to “assure” the people are well fed and clothed. These so called Companies, a self-given name to make them sound more professional to the idiots who live here. They've been established to control certain supply chains and only give out anything if you buy their stupidly over-priced ration cards. They're gangs and that's all they'll ever be. Once we've taken him out, there won't be any more gangs, no more ration cards, and no more slums. We'll take back this world from him and set things back to the way they used to be. How it really used to be.

 The torn tarps rustle in the wind where the Windows used to be. The sirens blare through our shattered walls. It's not perfect and it's far from the greatest neighborhood, but it's what we call home. Strider city, that last city on earth. The name comes from our glorious leader Jack Strider. Strider city is more of a country than city, spreading from what they once called New York all the way down to North Carolina and as far west as Pennsylvania. It’s in this place where we can make a difference. Jack’s control reaches all throughout the city, but we've taken action. All the people see are shadows flashing across the rooftops, hiding in the alley ways. They don’t know we exist, but they suspect somebody is there, watching out for them. Rumors spread like wildfire. Some say it’s only one man. Others says an entire army of shadows haunts the streets. The truth… is that it doesn’t matter, only that the small glimmer of hope we give the people stays there.

We've been disrupting supply chains, making sure the gangs can't sell their supplies. We drop off the supplies to every house too poor to buy ration cards and because of this we are hunted. We are the most wanted criminals for fighting against Striders tyranny. Even though we’re on the run, we can still help. Strider city is a big place and that means a lot of people to help and a lot of ground to cover for the SDF. Strider's defense force has been on our asses ever since we escaped Strider research facility two years ago. But, before I can tell you the end, first I need to tell you the beginning.

 

 2 years earlier

The room was dark, almost pitch black, lights flickering, an alarm blaring in my ears. A faint, dim light shining in from underneath the door. I tried sitting up but I was cuffed down. I yanked and struggled to break free, but it was no use. I looked around to get a good look at my room. It was some sort of Med bay. There were tubes hooked up to my body, draining the blood from me. The tubes had been severed and by a fallen machine and the vials of blood lay puddled on the floor. I was in a blood stained gown and pants. I don't know how I got here and I had no memory of what had happened.

I heard voices and footsteps closing in on me. Soon they burst through the door. I pretended to be drowsier than I was.

“Un-cuff him, we’re not losing the catalyst or Jack’ll have our heads,” The man shouted.

They un-cuffed me and I drop to my knees. It felt like I hadn't walked in ages. The men yanked me up and started heading towards the door. The man in charge was standing outside the door waiting, he had some sort of weapon. A baton/taser stick by the looks of it. I had to make a move quick or I was in big trouble. The men set me down and took a bag out. I went with my first instinct; I swung which as much force as I could muster, slamming them in the nuts. I flashed forward into the man in charge, slamming him against the wall; Quickly I turned and shut the door locking them in; I took the man’s stick and stunned him, knocking him out.

“Stay down,” I said breathing heavily.

I took off his shirt and pants, then changed out of my gown. The shirt was a black, long sleeve complete with and holster for the baton and a pistol. It came with matching black pants with another holster for a baton. I put the baton in my shirt and began to stumble through the hallways looking for an exit. I found the exit, but I found something else as well. At the end of the hall were more guards taking others outside. The first one went through the door, the other three stood there waiting to be moved. Come Rory, think about yourself here. You don't know them; you have to get out of here so you don't get captured like them. That's when I saw the girl. Her face was covered, but her hair was sticking out of the bag over her head. Red hair, it was an auburn color, similar to the color of leaves when they finally fall of the trees. That's when memories started popping up in my head of the red haired girl. It was blurry, but I could just slightly make out a girl getting walked past my room. I remember this girl… was the only thing giving me comfort, that I wasn't the only one enduring this. God dammit, here I go.

I flashed forward toward the guard with the red haired girl. I smack him in the face with the baton. He came swinging at me; I caught his arm and stunned it. He dropped his baton; I caught it and stunned his body with both. I heard a guard approach from behind. I flashed behind him and stunned him in the neck. I turned around to face the other guards. They dropped the others and took their batons out. I ran at them and jump up; vanishing before their eyes, flashing behind them, in front, left, right, again and again. I flashed up and grabbed onto a pipe from the ceiling. The men stood back to back ready for an attack. I hung down by my legs.

“Hey boys,” I said as I tazed them.

They collapsed to the ground on top of each other.

“What… No hey back,” mocking them.

I dropped from the ceiling, breathing heavily, looking at my work, proud of myself for being able to teleport that many times in a row without fainting.

I stuck the other baton in my pants holster and glanced over at the others who were freaking out; all except the red haired girl. She was sitting still, as if she wasn't fazed by any of this. I walked over to her and slowly pulled the bag off her face. She was breath takingly beautiful. She had the face of an angel, small freckles surrounding her nose, a smile that could light up a room in the dark, and her crystal-blue eyes, those are what caught my attention the most.

“Woah… uh… hi,” I stuttered.

“Well are you going to help me up tough guy?” She said, raising her eyebrow.

“Sorry… Let me help you up Auburn,” I smirked.

She looked down giggling, raising her hand out “Grace, my names Grace,” as she flipped her hair out of her… beautiful face and glanced up at me.

I grasped her hand, soft as a baby's bottom, “… The name’s actually tough guy,” I chuckled a bit, so did she, “Uh… For real though… Rory. So, you mind if I ask why you weren’t freaking out like the other girls over here.”

Just as she was about to answer, there was a voice from beside us.

“I'm glad you two found love, you guys can get a room later, but can we get out of here first,” he said, “and I am totally not a girl!”

“You know they put these bags on your head because they wanna hide your ugliness from the world right?” I laughed.

“HA… Very funny, so can you get this off me please,” he begged.

“Don't do it man, his face could destroy the entire world!” The other guy said.

We all broke out in laughter. I looked over at Grace.

“Grace, I'll get this guy and you get the other dude,” I said.

We walked over and pulled their bags off their heads. After helping them up the ugly one spoke first.

“Thanks man, the name’s Reese by the way,” He said.

“You know Reese… you’re actually not as ugly as I thought you’d be, so if that’s not why you had a bag on you head, why’d they have you and the others bagged?” I asked.

“Well… you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” He raised his arm up scratching the back of his head.

“You actually wouldn’t believe any of us tough guy,” said the other guy.

“And you are?” I questioned.

“Adam,” he answered quickly, “and we are part of an experimental program and now we all have some sort of ability,” said Adam.

Surprisingly I had never met anybody else who had an ability like me before, so I pretended to play it off all cool.

“Really… and what can you all do?” I said mocking them.

Grace spoke up first, “Well… you asked why I was calm before. It’s because I can see the future… kinda. I only get flashes of the future… and one was of you pulling off my bag.”

“That… is totally awesome,” I smiled at her. She blushed. “So what about you two?”

 Reese was about to speak, but before the words came out of his mouth he looked at the end of the hallway and gasped. “I see’em, they’re coming!” he started shaking.

 I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear their footsteps now. Faint but close, very close. “We have about 45 seconds before they come, so everybody stay behind me.”

“No,” ordered Adam. “Grab onto me now!”

 We all grabbed onto him and hugged the wall. Our bodies became part of the wall, our skin became the same reddish-brown color of the brick wall and his skin turned as hard as the bricks itself. We had disappeared almost completely.

The soldiers came marching down the hallway and upon the unconscious bodies. The look on their faces, a look of horror. Their eyes widened, lips trembling with fear. A look I’d only seen once before, from a merchant who cheated my father out of a deal. These men know what they have gotten into, but they aren’t going to back down because they know if they do, there’s a greater threat to face; their leader

“Form a perimeter, men,” A man said, “They could still be around.”

The men circled up weapons at the ready. Eyes in six different directions. There was no other option but to wait it out. We stood up, tight against the wall, waiting for the squadron to move on. They slowly inched forward spinning in a circular pattern, making sure there were no weak spots. Now I was sure there was no way to get past them without a fight.

The squadron was right in front of us now. We were practically breathing down their throats… oh no, we were breathing down their throats. I glanced over at the others, but I couldn’t see them. They were breathing heavily; the squadron was going to notice us. Reese was breathing right in the face of the man in front of him.

“Huh?” the man said, reaching out towards the wall, keeping his finger on the trigger.

Just as he was about to touch Reese’s face, “Sorry” I whispered, letting go of Grace’s hand, revealing myself.

“They’re here!” one man yelled, swinging their weapons up at us.

“Don’t move! Come quietly or we will use force!” their commander shouted, pointing his weapon in my face.

I noticed he was breathing heavily and there was a slight tremor in his voice, I cracked a smile. “I chose option two.”

I counted the men one-six going clockwise from the commander.

I lunged forward smacking his gun up, making him fire into the ceiling. I heard electricity surge just after the shot, a taser, the weapons we non-lethal. I flashed in the middle of their circle, sweeping the legs of the Commander and his Lieutenant. The third man on my right started to swing his weapon around to shoot me; I stopped the weapon and smashed his face with my elbow. I quickly snatched the weapon, hitting him in the face with the butt of his weapon. As he fell to the ground, I spun around shooting the four and five behind me. I turned to shoot the sixth man, but the gun jammed. I dropped the gun and I charged him with an elbow; the trigger began to move; I flashed in front of him landing my elbow in his gut. He dropped to his knees and looked up at me. I slammed my foot into his chest, sending him flying through the hallway. By now the Commander and Lieutenant were back on their feet.

“You’re done for now asshole!” yelled the Commander.

“What you guys aren’t having fun?” I joked.

They began shooting at me. I jumped; flashed left, onto the wall; up, onto the ceiling; right, back on the floor; as I landed I pulled out the baton’s. I shot forward, flashing behind them. I knew that’s what they were expecting, they spun around as quick as I flashed back behind them, smashing in the backs of their knees.

As they crashed towards the ground, I tazed them in the neck, mocking them, “Goodnight.”

“Now that… was fun,” I said as I collapsed against the wall trying to catch my breath.

 “Fun’s not over yet Rory,” Reese said anxiously, pointing to my left.

 I looked over; there was guy number Six, hobbling away. One hand on the wall, one on his chest.

 “Aww c’mon,” I took a deep breath.

 Just then he saw me get onto my feet, that’s when his adrenaline must have kicked him because he started booking it as if he wasn’t injured anymore.

 I turned to Reese, “You’re right… it’s not over.”

 I took another deep breath and… zap! I was right in front of Six. I flung my arm out beside me, just at the height of his chest. Six slammed into my arm and then the ground. I looked down at him, his faced dazed, eyes rolling back and forth. His face started turning a bit pale, maybe I hit him too hard.

 “Did you really think that was going to work?” I chuckled.

 “Kinda,” He said catching his breath.

 We continued to chuckled with each other. The others were jogging down the hallway. Probably wondering what was so funny, but… it was time to get serious.

 I grabbed his arm and picked him up, pinning him against the wall by his throat, I changed my chuckled into the most terrifying face I could think of. I narrowed my brows, changing my smile into a straight face; locking my eyes with his, glaring into his already frightened pupils.

 “Now you have two options. One, you tell us exactly how to get out of here and I let you live. Two you tell us exactly how to get out of her and I drop you off the top of this building… got it?” I raised my brow waiting for confirmation.

 “No… I can’t… they’ll kill me!”

 “Dude… I’m going to kill you,” I sighed, “tell you what, I won’t throw you off the roof, I’ll make it quick because I know damn well the people you work for won’t… deal?

 “Fuck!” he screamed, eyes filling up with tears, “fine, deal.”

 “Great, now how do we get out?”

 His voice began trembling, his hand reached out shaking, pointing to a door just at the end of the hall, “That will take you into the courtyard. You’ll need to get into the control room to open the gates, but it’s a 30 miles from here to Strider City, you’ll never make it.”

 “Rory, he told you what we needed. Can’t you let him live,” asked the group.

 “Thank you Six,” I said, knocking his head back against the wall, knocking him out.

 “Rory!” They Screamed.

 I put my hands in the air and laughed, “Relax, I didn’t kill him. He’s just knocked out. I hardly have the strength to stand anymore,” I said grabbing against the wall, breathing heavily.

 Grace and Adam rushed over to me, helping me stand up straight.

“You know, if you could teleport up to the roof and drop him, why did you need to know how to get out of here? Couldn’t you just teleport us all out of here?” asked Grace.

“That… is an excellent question,” I gasped for air, “First, I call it flashing. Second, I lie.”

“What!” Reese exclaimed.

The look of relief took over Grace’s face, “So, what do you mean you lied?”

“I bluffed, I can only flash to where I can see. That means I couldn’t have dropped him if I wanted to,” I said, taking a seat to catch my breath, “And as you can see, it takes a lot out of me.”

“So if you can’t flash us out of here then what’s the plan?” Adam looked at me intensely.

Grace and Reese started looking at me the same way as Adam, “Why you looking at me?” I asked a question I already knew the answer to. “Ugh, fine. Just give me a second to think.”

I sat there mulling over any possible options that could get us through the courtyard unseen. There would most likely be guards all over the gates and in the towers, and the only way to open the gates is the control room. There also wouldn’t be much time left to sit inside here, reinforcements would be coming soon… then is hit me “I see’em, they’re coming!”

“Reese!” I shot up pointing at him, “You said you saw the guards before they had even turned the corner, how’d you do that?”

He reached up tilting his head and began to scratch his head, “oh um… I… have super sight and x-ray vision. It’s not as cool as precognition, camouflage, or teleportation though…” he trailed off.

“Yes!” I grabbed his arm and started pulling him over towards the door, “I was hoping you’d say that.”

“What?... Why? What’s the big deal.”

We stopped in front of the door. I turned towards him “You don’t see how perfect this is! I can only teleport to where I can see. So, you’re going to be my eyes!”

“I still don’t know what you’re getting at…”

“God Reese, you’re stupid. Were you not listening to that man?” Adam blurted out.

“Rory wants you to find the control room for him so he can get us in there,” Grace added in.

I grabbed his shoulders, “Exactly, but I need you to be as descriptive as possible otherwise we could die. Can you do that?”

 “Ok… yeah, yeah I can do that!” he shouted, pumping his fist.

 “Great, now grab my hand, shut up, and concentrate,” I ordered, “Everybody else grab onto me.”

 “Got it!” Grace and Adam said simultaneously.

 “Reese… find that control room.” I said

 “Right!” he said confidently.

 His eyes lit up with a white light, almost like his eyes had been replaced with a crystal ball. I glanced over to Grace on my left, giving her and Adam a reassuring nod. I turned my glance back at the door and shut my eyes. Everything became as black as hole I had woken up in. I awaited the picture to be painted in my mind

 “Ok… the courtyard in filled with armored trucks, guards in every tower, and patrols throughout the area. I see the control room in the northeast corner. The room is about 12x30 feet. No windows. The walls and a shiny gray material, most likely steel. There are three brown, wooden desks on the wall closest to us. Each desk has three rows of five computers screens. On the far side wall there is a barred window with some sort of wired glass…

“Keep going, any distinctive details will help me paint a better picture of the room.”

 “Guys, I can hear footsteps. Let’s hurry this up!” said Adam anxiously.

 “Adam, shut up! Reese you keep going!” whispered Grace.

 “… There’s uhhh… white goo dripping from the ceilings seams. It in the shape of a teardrop, probably molding from some patch work they did.

 “Guys!” Adam shouted.

 “Close enough, let’s go!” I ordered.

 “Wait!” Reese exclaimed, “somebody just walked in!”

 “Doesn’t matter!” I shouted.

 I mustered up all the energy I had left. I keep my eyes closed, keep the picture fresh in my mind. The force generating from my body was enough to start pulling the hinges off the door. It was as if there was a wormhole opening up and we were being sucked right into it.

 “Ahhhhh,” I shouted as we began to get pulled into the hole. It felt as if my body was being torn apart.

 Then just like that, we had been sucked through and thrown out the other side.

“Ugh,” I grunted as we came out flying into the wall of the control room.

We looked man inside who had been freaked by our sudden appearance and was ready to slam on the emergency shutdown button, but Adam ran up. One hit to the face was all it took to knock the man out. Adam turned back towards us and laughed.

“We did it!” he yelled.

All three of them ran up and hugged each other, jumping up and down like a bunch of little kids who just got their Halloween candy. Meanwhile I leaned myself up against the wall. The pain was almost unbearable.

After realizing I wasn’t jumping around with them, they stopped and looked at me with faces of horror.

“Rory…” Grace froze, “your nose it’s… it’s bleeding.”

I slowly raised my hand to my face, wiping the blood off, “Oh, would ya look at that,” I said with sarcasm.

There wasn’t that much blood, but flashing was really taking a toll on my body. If I keep flashing I might just pass out or worse. If I had to guess, I probably only have about two to three flashes left in me. I inhaled deeply and began pulling myself up the wall.

Grace came to my aid, “C’mon tough guy,” She giggled, “we can’t let you do everything by yourself.”

She propped my arm up around her shoulder. We locked eyes, and now… I could now really see how scared she was. Behind that beautifully calm exterior, was a girl cowering at the fact that she could lose her life at any moment. I had to think that this is what Reese and Adam were feeling as well. At least I didn’t feel alone now, but if only they knew…

“If you two could stop gazing into each other’s souls for a second, we have something we have to do,” Adam said condescendingly.

“Don’t be a dick Adam. So, what now Rory?” Reese said with sincerity.

I turned my head away from Grace and Nodded to Reese, “Well, Adam, you do have a point. Which is why I have a plan you guys won’t like.” I began spilling my plan to make it out of the facility.

The stood there in shock as it came out, “I’m going to push the button to open the gates, but not all the way otherwise they’ll be able to mobilize their trucks. At this point the three of you will run through and toward the city. I’m going to stay behind and close the gate…”

“Wait you can’t be serious!” Grace shouted dreadfully.

“She’s right, we can’t leave you here dude, you can barely stand on your own!” Reese exclaimed.

“Listen!” I said raising my voice above theirs, “I will be right behind you guys, but I need to make sure the gate is closing or none of us stand a chance.”

“You were right; we wouldn’t like this plan!” Adam opposed.

“It’s this plan or we all go back to our cells, having them research our bodies 24/7. Using their instruments too… listen, I’m the reason you’re all in here and I intend you get all of you out; even if it mean giving up my freedom, to save yours…” I trailed off.

The looks on their faces went straight from shock, to disbelief, to a look of betrayal.

“What… what do you mean you’re…” Grace stuttered. Her eyes filled with tears.

“I can’t explain right now, it’s too complicated. I hope I’ll have time to explain later, but right now you have to trust me and follow the plan…” I trailed off again, “I hope one day I can earn your trust back.”

“Trust? You just threw all that out of the window. You could be working for them, why the hell should we trust anything you say!” Adam shouted.

“Just when I was beginning to think we could be friends too,” Reese added.

“You’re awfully quiet…” I calmly said to Grace.

“Rory’s right guys. In my glimpses of the future, I saw a city. If getting there means trusting Rory… then I’m in, because I am NOT going back,” Grace said. She turned towards me, giving me a smirk, “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”

“Fine, but it anything happens to us it’s on you,” Adam said as he turned toward to door, Reese followed.

“Thank you…” I said to Grace, “Now get over to the door.”

“Don’t think for a second that you’ll stay behind. We need you, more than those two want to admit,” she began heading over to the door.

I moved to the control panel, steadying myself on the panel, hand ready to hit the button, I looked to Reese, “Reese is it clear.”

His eyes lit up, “No we’re clear.”

“See you on the other side then,” I said pushing the button.

The door clicked for a couple seconds. Then it began creaking up off the ground. At this point the others were out the door one by one, Adam, Reese, then Grace. She gave me a nod just before bolting. As soon as she left I was about to smash the button, but something caught my eye. A photo of a soldier’s family, with the background of Strider city. I grabbed it and shoved it in my pocket. I slammed on the button and bolted for the door.

I burst through the door into a sea of soldiers charging the gate and revving up their vehicles. My adrenaline kicked in and it was as if I got all my energy back. I Looked back at the gate. It was closing fast. I charged it and slid under the three-foot gap and out the other side, back onto my feet. The gate shutting behind me.

I was about to take the photo out, but a clicking sound came from behind me. Oh shit.

The others stood there watching me, “What are you waiting for run!” I yelled out.

We took off into the forest. Thousands of pine trees stood between us and our freedom. We shot past the trees, pine needles and branches scratching up our faces, but it didn’t matter because we felt none of it. We had one goal, escape.

I thought we had lost them in the trees, but just then, the area filled with bits of bark, tree shards flying all around us. These weren’t from any non-lethal weapon, with us on the run and outside the facility, they’d rather kill us than let us escape.

Trees began exploding all around us. Whatever machine gun they had on those vehicles was tearing through these trees like paper. Through all the shards flying around, I caught a glimpse of Grace on the ground. I rushed to her side and picked her back up onto her feet and pushed her forward.

“Keep going!” I shouted through the rattling of gunfire.

After I saw she was running again I leapt into the air, spinning 180 degrees. Things began to move in slow motion. The shards slowed down, along with everything else. The second I caught a glimpse of the truck I vanished. I flashed right behind the gunner seat; grabbing the gunners neck, and snapping it. I ran over the top and smashed the windshield just before leaping back in the air and flashing back to my original spot stumbling on impact before regaining my balance.

On my return, I noticed something odd. None of the others were in front of me. I continued to sprint forward looking frantically for any signs of them. Then, just about thirty feet ahead of me I heard screams. The closer I got, the harder it was to hear anything. I pushed myself to my maximum speed, just as I was about to reach the spot I noticed something. I was out of ground! I quickly planted my foot in front of me, sliding almost all the way up to the edge.

I looked to my left and there it was, a waterfall! The rushing water had been the reason it had been so hard to hear. I looked down and there they all were, about fifty feet down, falling. Shit! The cliff had to be about a thousand feet tall. Meaning I had ten seconds before they hit the ground.

I dove off the cliff, racing after them, “Everybody grab onto each other now!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.

They must’ve heard me because the quickly linked together. I flashed onto them grabbing Grace’s arm. I pushed myself and hard as I could, using the rest of my strength. We began to warp and then zap! I had flashed us into the water.

All around me, all I could see we bubbles. The sound on the water crashing into the bottom was monstrous. A constant booming in my ear. Dazed and blurry eye, I swam upwards towards the surface; the current was dragging my body downstream. As soon as I reached the surface and popped out of the water, taking a deep breath, I saw the shit show I had just gotten us into. I had flashed us into the rapids.

The rapids grew faster and faster, I couldn’t see Reese or Adam, only Grace. We were being swept downstream fast. The current kept pulling me under, but I could make out a fallen tree in the distance; and a field of rocks just beyond that. The tree was my only hope to get out of here in one piece.

The tree was coming up; I flew into it, my stomach slamming into the trunk, “Ugh,” I grunted. I turned around looking for any sign of Grace.

“Rory!” I heard Grace scream.

I looked to my left and there she was coming downstream. I quickly shuffled along a branch and extended as far as I could without letting go. She came flying in and I caught her arm. We went swinging back with the current.

“Don’t worry, I gotcha,” I assured her, trying to pull us back closer to the trunk.

I had to think of a way out of here. There was no way I would be able to flash again unless I wanted to pass out. Just then Reese and Adam came running towards us down the shoreline. Somehow they had gotten out of the water.

“Rory! Grace!” yelled Adam

“Hang on we’ll get you out of there! Just hang on!” Reese shouted.

They ran downstream a bit and began to get in the water. They linked arms and reached out for us.

“C’mon, let go and we’ll catch you,” yelled Reese

I was about to let of the branch, but it let go first. The branch snapped off and Grace and I get got swept back under the current. I was still holding onto her hand. We flew past Reese. I reached desperately for his hand, but it was no use. We were too far away.

“Rory!” Reese shouted in despair.

I turned towards the rocks, there was only one thing I could do. I gathered my strength and pulled Grace into me, hugging her tightly, using my body as a shield to take the hits from the rocks.

“Rory! What are you doing?” she exclaimed.

“Saving you,” I said.

Bam! My back slammed into a rock, “Aghhh!” I wailed.

Bam! Another on one, pinching my left arm between my body and the rock, “Aghhh” I shrieked.

I couldn’t feel it anymore. My arm had gone limp, but I still held on tightly to Grace. After taking the hits of a couple more rocks, each more painful than the last, I could see the end. We were almost out.

Bam! I slammed into another rock, jamming my right shoulder, spinning me out of control and releasing Grace into the rapids.

“Grace!” I cried out.

“Rory!” she cried back.

Bam! I slammed one final rock head first. My mind went blank, my vision black, and my body limp. I was out just like that.

The next I awoke; I was squinting at a blurry face hovering above me. There were no sounds, just a face; mouthing something.

“Ro…” the sound began to come back.

“Ror…” it came back a little clearer.

“Rory!” it was like a shotgun going off in my ear.

It was Grace! My eyes opened up to her face, filled with tears. Her mouth screaming my name. Her face still beautiful as ever, even if it was soaked with tears and scratched up. She had me in her lap propped up. I leaned forward and began coughing up water. Each cough making a painful knot tense up in my back.

I fell back into her lap, looking up at her, “Hey there Auburn…” I said catching my breath.

“Hey there tough guy,” she said wiping the tears away.

“Why you crying Auburn?” I questioned

“Because,” she wiped her tears again, “I thought the savior I had dreamt about for months was dead… and I never got to thank him.”

She bent in close, locking eyes with mine. Her hair dangling down, covering the right side of her face. I stared into those crystal blue eyes of hers, and decided to go for it. I sat up planting a kiss on her lips. She accepted it with joy and kissed back. Her lips we soft, filled with warmth. She wrapped her arm around my head holding it up. After a couple seconds we slowly drifted apart, still locked on each other’s eye’s.

She pushed the hair out of her face and smiled, the biggest smile I’d ever seen, “Thank you, for everything,” she spoke softly.

“I owed you all one, it was the least I could do,” I murmured. “Now let’s get out of here.”

I tried to prop myself up on my elbow and get onto my feet.

“Oh I wouldn’t…” Grace tried stopping me.

The second I put pressure on my left arm I collapsed back onto Grace’s lap in agony, “Aghhh,” I shrieked. I looked at my arm, my bicep was torn open by the bone sticking out.

I reached around with my other arm, grabbing my shoulder; trying to combat the pain coursing through my arm. “Gah!” I grunted. I continued to grasp my shoulder, breathing in and out heavily; trying to take my thoughts away from the pain.

As I continued to try and take my mind off it, something began to rustle behind the bushes in the woods. Grace was spooked and now I had something to take my attention away, but if it was the military there was nothing I could do. I wouldn’t even be able to fight, much less stand up on my own.

The rustling became louder, and a voice could be heard, “They’ve gotta be around here somewhere.” It said.

A hand appeared through the bush… and out stepped Reese, “Adam over here!” he yelled.

Adam’s head popped through the bushes and they both jogged over. Relieved it was them, I dropped my head back onto Grace’s lap. The pain came rushing back and I began squeezing again.

“Gah!” I grunted again.

“Oh shit, that doesn’t look too good,” Adam said hovering above me.

“Don’t worry about it,” I winced, “I can barely feel it,” I lied.

“Listen man, we were wrong about you. You risked your life to save ours multiple times back there and what you did for Grace,” Reese said sincerely, “you’ve got our trust back.”

I tried to thank him, but all I could do was nod. The pain became even more and more unbearable.

Grace looked up at them “C’mon guys, help me get him on his feet,” asked Grace. She looked back down at me, “This might hurt a bit tough guy.”

Reese and Adam came to Grace’s aid. Grace wrapped my right arm around her shoulder while Reese and Adam steadied me. I almost fell back down once they let go, but Adam caught me right away. My entire body ached, I wasn’t going to be able to stand or even walk without help. There was one last thing I could do.

“Alright come on Rory, you’ve helped us enough. Let us take it from here,” Reese ordered.

“Right!” Adam added, “It’s our turn to help you now.”

“No…” I mumbled, “I can’t move my own feet, you’ll never make it to the city with me…” I looked at Grace “Set me down.”

“No… what do you mean? We’re not going to leave you behind now Rory!” Grace tone was filled with despair.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” I smirked, “Set me down… please.”

Grace set me down on my knees. I reached into my pocket, pulling out the photo of the guard and his family. I stared at it intensely.

“No… Rory if you do this you might die. We can’t let you do this,” Grace said getting down to eye level with me; grabbing my hand, a teardrop rolling down her face.

“This is the only way Grace,” a tear rolling from my right eye only, one only she’d see. “Now… everybody grab on.”

I could tell Reese and Adam had their doubt, but they didn’t object. Grace wiped her tears away and leaned in, whispering in my ear, “You better not die on me,” she stood up, grabbing my right shoulder. Reese and Adam joined her.

I looked back at the picture, studying every little detail I could. I had to try harder than ever before in order for this to work. I imagined myself and the others replacing the family in the picture. Taking in a deep breath, and then releasing; I began. The ground began shaking around us. The pine needles that cover the ground began to swirl around, creating a cyclone around us. It was as if a force was pulling our bodies into the picture itself. The earth beneath us started to sink, creating a crater.

Suddenly a bright light appeared above us. It was an airship. I must have caught their attention.

“Stop right now or we will be forced to kill you!” A voice commanded.

He was a fool if he thought we’d go back willingly. I pushed myself to my very limit, “Ahhhhh,” I screamed. The winds picked up and the cyclone’s size increased dramatically. Finally, our bodies had seemingly been sucked into the photo. The dust died down and all that was left, was the photo.

We came out the other side the same exact way we went in. I was able to keep us from flying out after we flashed. On the other side, was a sight, so jaw dropping.

“Oh… my… god…” All three of them said in unison.

A sight I hadn’t seen in a while: streets bustling with people, people who just witnessed four people appear out of thin air, people who had no idea what the hell was going on, light from the buildings and billboards throughout Strider square blinding our eyes, and in front of us, the part of the picture I wish I hadn’t seen. A giant, hundred foot, golden statue, bathing in the light of the city, right in the center of the city, handcrafted by our world's own, Jack Strider.

I glanced up at the statue, catching only a glimpse of it; right before the darkness began consuming me. My vision fading to black, my body going limp, and my mind blank. I could feel my body smash into the cement, just before completely letting the darkness take over. Just like that, I had faded into darkness.


 


© Copyright 2017 Jakarra. All rights reserved.

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