The wendigo and The Guard

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A group go camping in the Canadian wilderness and get more then they bargained for. A creature of legend stalks them. Can they make it out of the woods alive?

Submitted: February 04, 2019

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Submitted: February 04, 2019

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On the outskirts of Western Toronto, the No Frills was finally closing and Catharine couldn’t be happier. Not that she hatted the job. I mean she didn’t like it but she was satisfied. No she was happy because tomorrow a group of them were going camping for the next two or three weeks. Her friend Mary. Who worked the cash register, helping the last customer of the day, had set up a blind date as well. Catharine was far less thrilled about that. Mary had talked to Jo Ann, Jo Ann worked at the Mountain Co-op with Frank. He was the set-up. Dylan, Jo Ann’s boyfriend didn’t know about this plan until the day before and he thought it was a terrible idea. Blind dates were not great ideas as it was, never mind while on a several week long camping trip. He straightened out the freezer section, hoping this trip wasn’t going to be ruined by this attempted match-up.

 

At the Mountain Co-op. Frank is regaling a pair of customers with his camping tails and making recommendations of backpacks, tents and so on as they cling on every word. This was going to be a BIG sale for sure. Jo Ann popped the gum in her mouth and waited, somewhat patiently, for them. She checks her phone. There were texts from everyone in the group except one. Still nothing from Wayne. Probably too busy.

 

Wayne jumps out of his squad car and chases a perp. Wondering, like most officers, why do they run? Wayne easily catches and takes down the perp hard. He reads him his rights as he cuffs him and brings him to his feet. He picks up the stolen purse that was dropped by the would-be criminal and brought them both back to the woman. After returning her belongings, Wayne walked the man back to the car. “Don’t you have better things to do with your time?” he asked him, the man didn’t speak back. That was fine, Wayne had plenty more to say on the way.

 

Later that night, Mary met up with Wayne at a pizza place, they had dinner and kissed then went home to rest for the big trip. Everyone was already packed and ready before the day even began so by the next morning they just had to load the cars and meet-up. Frank and Jo Ann stopped in front of Catharine’s house and she loaded her bag and gear in the back. Dylan, Wayne and Mary were in the car behind.

 

It’s a long trip north-west, following the roads and making the necessary stops for food and rest or sight-seeing. Most conversations were pleasant enough, when Frank didn’t come off as a know-it-all or a self-absorbed sleaze. Dylan could already see, he was going to ruin this fun trip for everyone. Catharine sure wasn’t enjoying his company and tried only to talk to her friends for most of the trip.

 

They kept moving north into Nunavut. They all switched to their warmer gear and had to admit, this was turning into a real adventure. They saw a fair amount of wildlife and everyone forgot about their city lives and all the other problems. They went a few more miles and the only vehicle they saw was traveling the other way. They made another stop and set up camp, since there was no hotel around. After the set-up, which Frank tried not to take too much control of, Frank, Wayne and Catharine went out fishing. Frank had a huge tackle box with all kinds of lures and bait, Wayne had a fairly fancy rod himself but limited gear. Catharine’s rod was old and she only carried a cooler. They all picked out separate spots and settled in. At camp, Mary asked Dylan if this was the camp sight they were staying at. He told her Frank was taking them farther up, near a big lake he forgot the name of. The trio of fishermen came back. Frank had caught two fair sized fish, Wayne three slightly bigger ones and Catharine caught four good sized fish and a big one. They definitely were not going hungry. Frank asked her what bait she was using but she wasn’t going to give up her secret.

 

Back on the road again the next morning. Or at least what passed for one around here. They came into a more wooded area as they drove the path, they saw a vehicle, a man standing outside flagging them down. They pulled over, they could see park ranger logos on the truck and a native-American in the driver’s seat. Jo Ann rolled down the window but Frank said the first word “Evening. You need some help?” The man smiled “No, were fine. Just surprised to see anyone else out here.” “Are you with the Rangers?” Jo Ann asked. Neither man seemed to have the uniform even though they had the truck. “You can say that.” He said with a smile “Listen folks. I’m sure you had plans for a fun camping trip but you have some pretty bad timing.” “Why is that?” Frank asked. “Well, aside from the heavy snowstorm coming there is the wildlife to consider.” Dylan and Jo Ann looked at Frank, they seemed to want to find a new camp sight. Wayne in the car behind, came out himself to see what was going on. He tightened his hood before talking. “What seems to be the problem?” “The ranger says bad weather is coming.” Jo Ann informed him. “Thank you for your concern but we’re pretty prepared.” Frank said, getting annoyed that they were not on their way yet. “It’s fine Frank, we can camp somewhere else. Place is as good as the other.” Wayne said “No!” Frank said and everyone seemed startled. Frank calmed himself “No. I’ve been planning this for so long. We are going where I set out to go.” “The wild life out here is pretty…fierce up here.” The ranger said. “Seems like your group would be fine with another location.” Frank was really getting annoyed now and Wayne could see it “Again. Thanks for the concern. But we’ll be fine.” He told the man. He looked to his companion in the ranger truck who didn’t seem to want to let them go. “I still think that’s a real bad idea but if you keep your campfire going.” He suggested “Maybe set up some kind of defense perimeter…” “Can we go now?” Frank asked with a bit of rage in his eyes. The man raised his hands and backed away. Wayne shook his hand as Frank started his motor back up. Wayne rushed back to his car and followed Frank.

 

“What’s his hurry?” Catharine asked. “And what was all that about?” Wayne told her what the ranger said and that Frank was dead set on going to his lake. Catharine was really starting to not like Frank and gave Mary look of aggravation. Even though it was still day out, you could hardly see the sun through the trees now but they reached a small patch near a lake and Frank stopped the car. Everyone got out and looked around. They had to admit. It was a beautiful place. Everyone sets up camp again and Dylan and Wayne go out to collect firewood. Discussing Frank while they were gone.

 

Night fell and everyone was gathered around the fire and well fed. Frank settled in and started telling ghost stories. He told a legend of the Wendigo. An undead werewolf like creature that fed on human flesh. Some think the Wendigo is simply a large vicious wolf, but a few believe that it is a cannibalistic man. Jo Ann tried not to scream because she had just finished reading a book from au unrecognized author where that second option was the case. Catharine and her boyfriend Dylan insisted it was just a story but Frank seemed to want to egg her on. “People always think things like the Wendigo don’t exist until it’s too late.” He says with a crooked smile. The other men tried to calm the girls down while Frank laughed his way to his tent. Again Catharine looked at Mary and Jo Ann. She liked them but man did they pick the wrong guy to bring along.

 

Jo Ann wakes up very early the next day, because she can’t sleep. Visions of flesh eating wolves kept entering her mind. Dylan got up too. He didn’t like seeing Jo Ann like this and was pissed at Frank for scaring her. Dylan walks her around the camp, showing the safety precautions made. Their camp was still well lit and no food was left out. Crickets and owls where the only things herd for miles. Frank gets up and sees the two. He creeps out and when they are close “Boo.” He almost whispers. Jo Ann jumps back screaming and Dylan almost takes a swing at Frank who simply laughs at the both of them. “You son of a bitch, would you knock it off?” Dylan says but Frank just keeps chuckling away. The other two look around and soon Frank realizes what they were noticing. No sound. All the animals were now quiet. The science crept on for several beats “Well, I guess I scared them too, eh?” Frank said and laughed again. Jo Ann runs off in tears and this time Dylan does hit Frank, he goes after his girlfriend and Frank smiles as they disappear through the trees.

 

Dylan finally catches Jo Ann and holds her. “Ignore that jack ass. We never should have invited him.” She sobbed “I know.” She said and sobbed some more “He wasn’t so bad at work…Or maybe he was and I just didn’t see it.” Dylan held her as she calmed herself down, he heard a twig snap. Dylan turned to the noise “Go away you little shit. You scared her enough.” But no one came out Jo Ann tried to bring Dylan back to camp but he wasn’t moving yet. He positioned himself in front of her and clenched his fists “You want some more do you?” There was a rustle in the leaves, again Jo Ann pulled and Dylan “Let’s just go back already.” “No. I’m going to kick this pricks ass. If you…“ Another rustle and something big rushed from the trees and bit down on Dylan’s neck. Jo Ann screamed at the sight of this grey, almost rotting beast and fell over backing away. Dylan wacked at it as best he could but the beast tore at his arm and chest and then flung him down. Jo Ann ran off screaming back to camp, a few branches reached out and scratched her as she ran but she didn’t care about them. Looking back, she could no longer see Dylan or that…thing. She made it through the trees and ran smack dab into Wayne who grabbed her by the shoulders. “What the hell Jo?” she finally started to calm again, seeing Mary and Catharine there too. They all look at her like she was crazy, and maybe she was. Frank emerged from the trees as well. “Can’t a guy take a leak in peace?” He asked. Catharine looked at him in disgust and went to her friend. Mary joined her and Jo Ann slumped down onto a log and cried again.

 

They let her compose herself, Frank was the only one who seemed annoyed as he lazed out in the chair he brought. Jo Ann finally told them what happened and Frank laughed. “Oh man. I never figured Dylan for the pranking type but that’s a good one.” Everyone looked at him in annoyance. “He’s not.” Catharine said. Wayne got up and grabbed a flashlight. Frank got up too but simply called out Dylan’s name.  Wayne and Catharine moved closer to the trees, the other girls were going to stick with them. Frank sat back down “Someone may as well stay here if he does come back.” He said.

 

The four went out, keeping in visual distance, their lights swinging all over. Jo Ann led them to where she believed the attack happened but no one saw anything. No monster. No Dylan. No blood. Still calling his name, they barely noticed they were the only things in the woods making noise.  Mary was getting frustrated, if this was a prank it wasn’t funny. She wanted to go back but the others didn’t want to leave Dylan out there. She got further away from the group and shouted “Dylan! Come out you jack ass!” Jo Ann freaked “This isn’t a joke Mary. He’s dead.” “Then where is the body?” Mary asked “Where’s the blood?” “If it was Wayne…” she didn’t finish. She just walked away “Ann.” Catharine called. Suddenly they heard a growl and they all froze. The creature leapt out and snatched Mary and they both disappeared into the woods. The other three screamed like mad, the girls ran back to the camp. Wayne was more hesitant but followed.

 

The girls came back to see Frank lazing by the fire, Jo Ann gave him a kick to wake him up “What the hell?” he said getting up. They didn’t answer. Wayne came from the trees and went to his tent “What the fuck was that thing?” He asked them as he grabbed a gun from his bag and loaded it. “It’s a Wendigo.” Jo Ann said fearfully. Frank laughed again. He was enjoying himself a little too much for their liking. Wayne went back out with his loaded weapon to look for his girlfriend.

 

The girls pack up all their gear, Jo Ann still freaking and almost unable to touch Dylan’s stuff. Frank was still saying that they should stay right there. “We need to call for help, is what we need to do.” Catharine said. Shots are heard in the woods and the girls can only hope Wayne killed the beast. They should have gone with him. They keep packing what they can, Frank begrudgingly joins in. Soon Wayne comes back to camp, a little bloody. The girls run to him and hug him.  “Did you get it?” Jo Ann asked “Is it dead?” “I…think so. Wayne said “I don’t know.” He whips the blood from his head and goes to the first aid kit in his tent. “Are we seriously going to pack up and leave?” Frank asked. They all glare at him as Wayne bandages himself. “Yes. Ass whole.” Wayne says. “We’re heading back to the car and we’re calling the rangers and we’re going to ask for a search party.” They finish packing the rest and head to the cars. When they reach the trail they had parked on, they find both cars wrecked. Frank finally freaked out. Someone had trashed his baby.

 

“We have no choice now.” Wayne said. He pulled a map from his bag and pointed to a spot down river “There’s a ranger cabin here, a few miles away.” “A few miles?” Catharine asked “How are we going to make it a few miles?” Jo Ann followed up. “By getting a move on now.” Wayne said. The girls kept close to him while Frank walked behind, grumbling along. Catharine picked up a big stick. It wasn’t as good as a gun, but it was still a weapon. They kept walking, keeping close to the water. Or at least in visual range of it. A rustle in the trees spooked them and Jo Ann shrieked. The deer bonded away and they breathed a sigh of relief. Frank was getting more annoyed. He still hadn’t seen anything and his car was totaled. How would he explain this to the insurance company? They had walked for a long time and were getting tired. Jo Ann asked to stop for a second so they did in a cluster of trees. Frank dropped his bag and went off in a huff. They were annoyed but they didn’t care enough to go after him. Jo Ann grabbed a water bottle out of her bag and tipped it. It was empty. She went down to the river to fill it. A far off bird called out while she was at the water and things seemed calm for a bit. She thought she heard her name whispered and looked around. She couldn’t see anyone. Now she was scared. Where was the group? Which way did I come? She heard a splash in the water and turned just as a hairy hand grabbed her head. She screamed and the creature licked her face with evil intent.

 

Wayne came running toward the scream and saw the thing finishing his newest meal. He fired at it till his gun was nearly empty but saw it only made the beast angry. He did the only thing he could do, he ran back to the rest spot. Catharine jumped up when he came back and quickly noticed he was alone and showing a great deal of fear. She didn’t bother to ask “Oh my god.” She said as Wayne grabbed her bag and tossed it to her “Where the fuck is Frank?” he asked as he grabbed his own bag “Who cares, let’s just get out of here.” Catharine said. They came out of the cluster of trees, Wayne re-loading his gun, even though it didn’t seem to do any good. They ran between some trees and right into Frank. They all jumped and screamed. Frank looked at them not understanding what was going on “Jo Ann’s dead.” Wayne said, Frank looked at them “Where’s my stuff?” The other two rolled their eyes “Back there.” Wayne said “You want it, go get it. We’re getting the fuck out of here.” He said and they took off. Frank stood stunned for a second as he debated but ran after them.

 

As they ran they started getting out of range of the river, Wayne took out the map and flashlight and checked their position. It was hard to tell now. “How much farther?” Frank asked “You got us lost, didn’t you?” Wayne slugged him, Frank fell to the ground and touched his bleeding lip “We are lost?” He said “Shut up.” Catharine told him. “We keep heading south.” Wayne said once he composed himself. Snow was starting to come down now, the wind picking up. They trekked on, down small cliffs, over fallen trees.

 

They duck under low branches and wade through a shallow river then over a rock. Just through the trees they see a ranger cabin. The three rush forward, Wayne almost tripping on a root but catches himself. Frank bangs at the locked door, Catharine looks around with fear in her eyes. Wayne and Frank bust the door in. Of course, it’s empty and all lights are off. The three go in and look for food, finding none. Frank goes over to the radio and tries it, but like everything else, it’s not working. He looks frustrated “There has to be a generator.” He says. He goes out and looks around. Wayne throws some wood in the fireplace and starts to work on getting it started. Catharine rubs her arms to warm her body, she looks to the door and sees the storm blowing. She breaths into her hands and thinks of something “You know…” She said. Wayne looked up from his barely started fire. “What?” he says. “That story he told. About the wendigo.” She said “Frank?” “Yeah. He tells that story about a wendigo and we just happen to be attacked by one.” “What are you getting at?” He asked, but he seems to know what she’s driving at. “He said the creature could be human. And he’s never around when that thing attacks.” Wayne stands and thinks for a second. He looks to the door, it shouldn’t take this long to find a generator. He looks to Catharine “I know you don’t like him, and neither do I. But that’s a pretty wild theory. Normally I would say, there is no such thing as a coincidence but Frank? A wendigo?” The power came on and the looked to the light shining above them and smiled. For a while only the wind is heard then suddenly Frank screams, they could see him running for the door before a grey blur swoops him away.

 

They run to the door and close it, instantly remembering they broke it in. They started moving furniture around to block the door. Outside they could hear Frank pleading with the beast as it toyed with him, they dared not to look out the windows. Wayne tried the radio again and got nothing but static. He cursed the storm and fiddled with the dials until a faint signal was heard.

 

From what they could tell, the storm was dying off and it would soon be morning. The Wendigo was no longer stalking the cabin but he was close. Wayne and Catharine waited, trying the radio over and over. They would have to get a clear signal soon. Wayne checks his ammo for the tenth time and the fire dances, casting shadows on the wall. Catharine fiddled with the dials some more “Hello?” they heard and Wayne jumped to the radio. “Yes, please. You have to send help.” Catharine said into the radio. They heard more static and a thump at the wall. The Wendigo was back, trying to get in. It banged at the door more “Please!” Catharine screamed “Whe…you? What is….” and the radio sputtered some more. Wayne hit the side and looked to the door. Their barricade was giving way. Wayne grabbed a flaming log from the fire. The desk in front of the door scrapped as the door was bashed in, a hairy grey arm reaching in, breaking the wood. The door bashed and broke and splintered as the freakish beast made its way through. It growled and roared. Catharine grabbed the chair and swung it at the arm, the beast yelped and pulled back but kept trying to get it. The two backed away as the desk knocked forward and the door was opened. The wendigo snarled from the doorway. Wayne chucked the flaming log at it and opened fire, emptying his gun to little effect. The seemingly un-killable beast hunched forward, clutching its chest and growled, it was hurt after all. Wayne through the useless gun down and looked around. The beast sprang and as a reaction, Wayne grabbed the radio and swung, cracking the animal in the jaw, it finally went down. At least the radio was good for something. Catharine ran out the door with Wayne close behind. They didn’t know where they could go now, they just knew they needed to get away from there, quick.

 

They ran through the woods in the direction they were already going. Following the trail the rangers used, they came to the main road, just missing a car going by. Catharine waved franticly as they watched the tail lights disappear. They hear a low howl behind them and Wayne tells Catharine to run. She’s hesitant at first and screams out to anyone who will hear. The hairy beast emerges from the trees, its eyes glowing and it drools. It creeps forward and growls at them “Go!” Wayne ordered Catharine and charges, he tackles the freak and takes it down. Catharine screams and cries again but does as she was told. Wane and the wendigo roll around a bit and Wayne finds a large wooden spike still in the beast’s side. He twists at it and the monster cries out. He pulls it out and stabs it in the heart. Or at least where he hopes the heart is. He stabs over and over, the beast yelping more as he does until it backhands him away. Wayne rolls from the hit and loses his weapon, the monster stands and roars, Wayne roars back. They collide against each other and the wendigo drives its claws into Wayne’s chest.

 

Catharine, still running along the road, hoping for another car to pass, slows as she no longer hears the fight behind her. She runs again and screams out, she looked back again and only saw the wendigo. It seemed injured but it wasn’t stopping. Catharine could almost make out something behind it, maybe Wayne survived? It crept closer, its drool dripping, its chest not even showing signs of labored breathing. Catharine wondered if she was going to die or simply wake from this nightmare. She saw more shadows move, her mind likely playing tricks on her. There was no hope. This was the end. Then a man dropped down from the sky, grabbed her “Hold on.” He said and took off. The wendigo roared at his fleeing pray and tried to chase but he couldn’t catch them. Catharine held herself close to her rescuer and looked down. She didn’t understand why they were staying close, why they weren’t just flying out of there then she saw another man fire an arrow into the wendigo’s cheek. He quickly followed up with three more to the chest. For some reason, they seemed to have more effect than anything else. She recognized the man holding her as the ranger who tried to warn them and the other was his native companion. They watched the native fire an arrow into the beast’s knee “Are you ok down there John?” the man in the air called down. “I’m fine, just go.” He said back and they moved on. It was then, now that Catharine had more sense in her head that she noticed there was no sound of a helicopter. She looked at her rescuers chest and saw no harness, only a strange logo that seemed to be part leaf, part shield. She looked down and all around “How are we flying?” she asked. The man smiled at her “I’ll answer all your questions as soon as we’re safe.

 

John fired more arrows into the wendigo, it sure as hell wasn’t going down easy. He shouldered his bow as the creature stumbled and dropped to the ground. He took out a tomahawk which gave off an eerie glow, he ran up and drove it into the skull of the wendigo, it roared and whined and finally collapsed. John slumped over and gave a sigh of relief. He took out a radio and reported his victory. After some time the truck came, another man wearing the same gear got out and helped John load the wendigo into the truck. They drove back down the road and stopped where Wayne’s body lay, a whole were his heart was. John got out, knelt before the body and closed its eyes “I’m sorry.” He told the victim. The truck drove down the road with its load and met up with Catharine and her rescuer, she was still holding onto him and crying.

 

They came back to the cabin and checked out the damage, Catharine’s rescuer was on the radio calling for a search for the remaining bodies and informed whoever was on the other end where they were. They took Wayne and the wendigo out of the truck, found what was left of Frank and buried the remains, Catharine watched on from the truck until the bodies where in the ground and then came to pay her respects to Wayne. She looked at the three men, still confused “My friends are still out there.” “We know.” John said “A search will be done of the area.” Catharine looked at her rescuer, the one who seemed to be in charge. “Who are you people?” “I’m Christian Banks.” Her rescuer said “We…are the guard.” “What guard?” Catharine asked “I’m very sorry about your friends.” Christian said “We did warn you though.” John added Christian gave him a look of disapproval “We are a special branch in the Canadian government.” Christian said. The third man looked a tad agitated, like he didn’t want Christine to explain any more. Christian gave him a look too. One that had a bit more compaction. He sighed and nodded “We do this kind of thing a lot.” He said. Catharine kept to herself as the men worked, she didn’t know what they were doing and still had so many questions but was still too grief stricken to really think.

 

A large truck came and several men came out with tools and other equipment, they set to work repairing the cabin. Catharine was stunned, she went over to Christian. “What are they doing?” she asked “Don’t they need to…” she couldn’t think of what to say next “Evidence?” John asked “We know what happened.” Christian gave a ‘cut it out’ motion and John frowned but he shut up. “It’s part of the job.” The third man said “I still don’t understand what your job is.” Catharine said. The three men looked at each other, the crew working away at the repairs. Christian looked at Catharine and started the spiel “As I said, we’re a special branch of the government. At least now we are. We deal with all the supernatural creatures of this land.” Catharine looked confused and Christian explained more “All the creatures of folklore. Legends like the wendigo, Sasquatch, yeti and Ogopogo exist and we keep the in check. We protect the world from them and vice versa. We’ve been around for centuries.” Catharine was still confused “All those stories are real? Then how does no one know about them? Why are they just stories and not fact?” “Good question.” Christian nodded and John walked to the truck, he grabbed a handheld device. The other two watch him bring it over but Christian stops him, he takes the device and shows it to her. “This is used to…alter witness’s memories.” She suddenly looked fearful but Christian put the device away “What are you doing?” John asked. The other man put his hand on Johns shoulder, he looks back at him annoyed and steps away.

 

The other man turns to Catharine “My name is David Bishop. I assure you, we won’t be erasing your memory.” She was only slightly reassured by this. She looked at Christian again “You can fly, can’t you? That was you?” he looks a tad bashful as he nods “Yes.” “Why are you giving her all this information?” John asked “And what do you mean we’re not going to wipe her? Le Baugh isn’t going to like this.” Christian looked at him “Let me worry about Le Baugh.” They watched for a while as the crew continued the repairs.

 

Back at the home base, Christian was in Le Baugh’s office. He was reading the report, occasionally looking up with disapproving eyes. Le Baugh put the papers down and spoke in a think French-Canadian accent “We’ve been through this before Christian. What are we supposed to do with the woman?” Christian sighed “I know the rules sir, and I’m fine with erasing the memory of a horrible attack but again, in this case as before, that would include erasing the memory of her friends. Years of her life, and I just don’t have that right sir. No one should.” Le Baugh rubbed his temple “You know in most cases, things don’t go very well for those who know. Sometimes they end up in an asylum.” “I know.” “Then again, who knows what they would be like with a part of their life missing.” Le Baugh turned his chair and thought for a while, Christian stood there since he had not been dismissed. He figured Le Baugh still had something to say “Let me speak with the woman.” he finally said and Christian left to retrieve her.

 

Sometime later Christian was called back in, he came and waited to hear what Le Baugh had to say “I’ve talked to her.” he said “And I like her.” Christian stared blankly, waiting once again to see where this led. “I think she would be a good addition to the team.” Christian raised his eyebrows “You sure?” he asked, surprised at this outcome. “Yes, I am sure.” Le Baugh shot back “We are going to initiate project Superman.” Christian failed to hold back his further shock “Don’t you think-“ “I have made my decision.” Le Baugh interrupted. He waved his hand to shoo Christian away, Christian remained for a beat but saluted and walked out. Whether he liked it or not, project Superman was going to be used on this rescued girl. He hoped it wouldn’t be a problem. Christian knew, like him, some of the others did not have natural powers. They gained them here through science. He always figured project Superman would be used on a long time Guard member. A loyal follower to the cause. He was going to have to face the fact that he was going to have to train a new team member. Her mindset after this could be compromised. He went back to his room where he was greeted by his wife Monica and son Allister. He held them close, their time together was always short so he cherished what he got. He would worry about project Superman tomorrow.


© Copyright 2020 Mathew Nicol. All rights reserved.

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