Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chapter 5 - Micah

I stared down at the crumpled up piece of paper Jarvis gave me the day Isoli took Eve  Just three lines stared back at me.
Aloisio Braga
1850 W Madison St. Phoenix, Arizona 85007
I threw the paper on the floor in disgust. It had to be a trap. The address on the paper was dangerously close to the capitol building.

Soft footsteps outside of the alley where I constructed my make-shift shelter broke my concentration. I peered out the cloth entrance through a slit in the fabric. Just a night watchman making the rounds. I carefully put the worn out paper back into the bag and placed the bag in the corner of the room.
Aloisio Braga was actually Dr. Aloisio Braga, chief M.D. on President Dannah’s staff. After three years of research, I found nothing that would indicate Dr. Braga was anything but loyal to President Dannah. So for three years I avoided the address on the paper.
I glanced at the battery powered clock in the back of the room I found the previous day. 9:30 PM, in just 30 minutes I would be meeting with 15 other people who shared my hatred of the government. They were mostly janitors or garbage men like myself. Smart guys at the bottom of the heap because of their bar codes. Strong fighters driven by hatred boiling under their skin.
After Isoli's men took Eve that night, I laid there motionless for hours, letting resentment build and curdle inside me. I waited for Seazan to come for me. I waited for Isoli's men to come back and finish the job. But they left me there. Alone. So the minute I could move my legs, I ran. And I did the only thing that made sense, the only thing my bar code allowed: Garbage.
I stole at first to keep myself alive. And then to keep others alive. It won me friends and more importantly supporters. The more I stole, the more popular I became in Phoenix's slums. They kept me safe, as long as I stayed among them. After a while I did enough damage in the suburbs the rich began to complain. The politicians and officials had to take notice of the boy nicknamed “Robin Hood.”
I pulled out the lone snapshot from my backpack as I waited and looked at the smooth features on the glossy paper. The brown hair and brown eyes reminded me of Mom. The even symmetrical features of her face reminded me of home. I hadn’t seen Eve in three years, but I knew exactly where she was. I stared back at the picture and gave one last look to the wiry boy next to Eve. I was no longer that boy. Three years of hard labor had given place to a man. Lifting garbage bags and hauling metal scraps to the truck made me strong. I didn’t need the strength to move the garbage any longer. I needed it for revenge.
More soft footsteps brought me back to reality, and I quickly shoved the picture back into my bag. The footsteps paused outside the alleyway leading to my lean-to shelter. Two low whistles pierced the air, signalling the coast was clear, and I could finally make my way to the underground office where we would meet to make the final preparations to attack VP Isoli’s home.
I slipped through the streets to our headquarters. My caution made me the last one there. I immediately strode to the front of the room. They’d already started the meeting.
“Micah, good to see you made it.”
“Good to see you alive too, Tanner. Glad to see you started without me.”
“Well, we weren’t sure you’d make it, what with all the extra security out tonight.” Tanner bit his lower lip.
He was right. With President Dannah on his death bed, the government had placed extra security in the slums to try and prevent any looting or rioting if he died. The other members of our group were relatively anonymous and could easily make their way to the hideout without being noticed. My face however was well recognized, with nearly every official on the look out for my dark brown hair and dark brown eyes.  
It still seemed strange to me sometimes that I led our group of rebels and not 21 year-old Tanner. He stood two inches taller and weighed at least fifteen pounds heavier. I knew I'd gained Tanner's loyalty by saving his little brother's life. He'd gained mine by being the closest thing I had to a friend since I lost Eve.
Because of our extra precaution, Tanner and I had decided to wait to share our exact plans until tonight. It was a risky move but we’d hoped it would pay off with a successful operation.
“Tonight, gentlemen, you get your revenge.” Gruff shouts and hoarse cheers filled the office space. I held up my hand to bring back the silence
“Our operation tonight requires precision and timing. As you know President Dannah is on his death bed. He’s no longer a concern of ours. We’ve shifted our sights to VP Isoli. Tonight he’s having a fundraiser party to assure that he becomes the next president once Dannah is dead. Our job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Our first goal is to neutralize VP Isoli’s security forces on the west end of the capital. Next we need to draw the vice president out into the open. We’ve managed to place one of our contacts as a personal assistant in Isoli’s office. He’ll deliver the false message that President Dannah is dead. Once Isoli hears the message, he’ll come outside, expecting to be ushered to the East Wing of the capitol, where he can temporarily take control of the government. This should give me an opening to take him down with a shot from just across the street. After Isoli is down, we’ll take the body and move it to a secure location. Tanner will give each of you a personal assignment. If our communication lines go down, abort immediately. Good luck, men!”
The office filled with various grunts and cheers as the men filed out to get to their positions. I glanced at Tanner who motioned me over to the corner of the office.
“I’ll run communications and double as your spotter from your sniper position. If anything looks out of whack, I’m calling it off.” He paused and then looked at me hard. “You can’t go after Eve right off. You’ll be able to get her out after we secure Isoli’s body.”
“Ay, Ay, captain!” I smirked, hoping to hide my desire.
Tanner smiled and  turned to leave. “Let’s go Robin Hood”.
From my position across the street I had a clear view of the front door of Isoli’s townhouse. A light rain had helped our stealth operation, and so far we’d moved into position unnoticed.
Tanner’s radio crackled to life.
“The perimeter has been neutralized. All units are go.”
“Send the text.” Tanner nodded at me.
I pulled out the phone Tanner gave me at the meeting, punched in the word “READY,” and sent the text to the only number in the phone. Then we waited.
The phone buzzed, signalling a return message.
Tanner and I shared a puzzled glance before Tanner spoke into his radio. “Tell your men to stand down and hold your positions. We have a possible abort.”
A black escalade rolled to a stop in front of the entrance, blocking my view of the door. Another identical escalade stopped right behind the first. Twelve officials, fully armed, got out of the cars. Ten of the men positioned themselves outside the entrance while two more went inside.
“What’s going on?” I questioned Tanner.
“No idea, but those are the president’s personal guards.”
“Did someone tip them off?”
“I doubt it, boss. It looks like bad luck.”
The radio came to life again. “We’re standing down. I just got word that President Dannah died 20 minutes ago. The presidential guard is taking Isoli to the east bunker.”
Tanner shook his head. “Crud. Abort mission. All men are to exit the area immediately.”
My heart sank. This was my one chance. I had to see Eve. I couldn’t let this stop me. I could worry about Isoli later. I jumped up from my position and started a dead sprint for the back alley way on the north side Isoli’s townhouse.

Tanner’s voice just behind me didn’t make me pause. “Stop! You can’t go now! They’ll kill you if they see you!”
My heart pumped as I rounded the last corner. I needed to hurry so I could get in position to rush the side entrance as Isoli left out the west side where all the security was. I skidded to a stop behind a group of bushes. Tanner crouched in behind me. The low bushes left me exposed to anyone that came out the side door, although I remained well hidden from the front entrance where Isoli would leave.
Before I had time to react, the side door sprung open. I was frozen. Eve stood outside the door, soft tears running down her cheeks. I held my breath, hoping she wouldn’t see me. I was just 15 feet away but unable to move.
“Micah!” Tanner pulled on my arm, trying to drag me to safety.
Eve’s gaze immediately followed Tanner’s voice. Her dark brown eyes locked on mine.


  1. Oh!!! Excellent chapter! Suspenseful and fast paced. Great job!

  2. The writing is great, though I do find a few typos or misplaced modifiers. The action is great. I'm curious about the setting. Phoenix is the only place named, yet talking about the President and VP and the capitol, sometimes spelled capital, makes me think of WDC. Just where are they?