Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chapter 24 - Eve

“So, do you like my haircut?”
The silent boots were starting to get on my nerves. What good was pacing without the rhythmic sound of footsteps?
“Eve. Are you avoiding answering me?” Darion linked his hand with mine and stopped me.
“Huh?” I met his eyes then turned back to the window, waiting to see the third black SUV coming up the road toward the bunker.
He laughed softly. “You don’t think I”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter 23 - Micah

            I stared at my new haircut in the mirror and smiled as I checked myself out.
            “Never short on confidence are you, Micah?” Gloria shook her head in disbelief.
            “This buzz cut makes me look tougher, doesn’t it?” I continued tilting my head, eyeing every angle of my new haircut.
            “I’m not going to feed the beast. You’re all done.” Gloria smiled and turned to finish putting her supplies away.
            I glanced at the mirror one more time before leaving the room. “Thanks Gloria, looks great.” The door closed behind me. I walked down the hall looking for Tanner. We needed to go over our escape plan one more time. I smoothed my hand over my head, feeling the scruff scratch against my skin. It still amazed me how much older I looked without my shaggy, dark hair. I appeared a few years older than my real age of 17. I estimated I looked closer to 21.  
            Tanner and Darion met me at the end of the hall and seated themselves on an old sofa pushed up against the wall at the end of the foyer. I found a torn up recliner on the opposite wall and sat down.
            “I like the buzz cut,” Tanner quipped first. “Makes you look like you’ve finally gone through puberty.”
            “So that makes what, two more years before you hit puberty?” I smiled.
            “Still jealous I’m a year older?”
            “Come on, kids, I’m sure all the girls at the preschool think you’re both very attractive,” Darion finally chimed in.
            “Oh no, the old man with the bleached blond hair and faux-hawk is making fun of us!” Tanner turned on Darion and waited for me to gang up on him.
            “Alright, let’s just agree that we are all extremely attractive lady killers. We need to figure out our escape plan.” I grinned. Darion and Tanner sat forward in their seats.
            Tanner had the most knowledge of how the gates worked. He began the discussion. “I think we’ll have to go out in pairs. We need to make it look like we’re filthy rich and headed to an illegal party at an estate on the north side of town. We’ll pay off the guards. If anything goes wrong we’ll charge the gate and shoot our way out of town. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”
            Darion and I nodded. Tanner continued. “I know you’d like to go with Eve, Darion, but I’m afraid if we put you two together they might recognize one of you. I’ll go with Eve. Micah, you’ll take Gloria.” Tanner paused like he was preparing to say something difficult, “Darion you’ll be going with Able. You’re going to play the gay politicians’ sons.”
            I couldn’t hold it in. I burst out in uncontrolled fits of laughter. Darion glared at me then started in at Tanner. “No way man. You can’t seriously expect me to do that. Do I look--”, Darion struggled for a politically correct term, “homosexual?” he finished, his mouth open in obvious disgust.
            “No, of course not.” Tanner tried to hide his obvious contentment. “It’s just that I was trying to decide between you and Micah and well, your haircut is leaning towards metrosexual. You don’t have to hold hands or anything. Your faces will look like you’re trying to hide something. The guards will assume you’re trying to hide your sexuality. For the rest of us they’ll just think we’re looking guilty because we’re headed to an illegal party. Sorry, man, we just don’t have any other females to take out with us. I suppose we can draw straws for it if you want.”
            “It’s fine.” Darion shifted his weight and cocked his head back. “I’m comfortable with my sexuality.”
            I snickered loudly, and Darion shot me a last glare. “Sorry.” I covered my mouth to hide my grin.
            Tanner finally broke down laughing. “You don’t really have to be a gay politician’s son. You can just be buddies going to a party. But seriously you should have seen the look on your face!” Tanner continued laughing. “Also your haircut is a little on the girly side.”
            “Shut up,” Darion shot back.
            Tanner stifled his laughter momentarily and continued to explain the plan. “Gabe will stay here at the rebel base. He still needs more treatment.  The ATS has ‘loaned’ us a few SUV’s. They won’t report them missing ‘til tomorrow. I have a feeling they won’t want to let Isoli know they lost Micah and Eve.”
            “Where are we going to get the bribe money?” I asked.
            “Dr. Braga has been wiring us money through a secret bank account. We’re well funded,” Tanner assured me. “Eve and I will go through the gate first. Darion and Able will wait 5 minutes then go. Micah, your face is the most recognizable. You and Gloria will go last. I trust if they recognize you that you’ll figure out a way to get out. We’ll meet 20 miles north of the city. There’s a tree that was split by lightning on the right side of the road. You can’t miss it. Turn right and follow the dirt road for about 6 or 7 miles. Able has doctored some papers that we can show the guards. They should be good enough to get us through the gate.”
            “Let’s get going then.” Darion stood up to leave.
            “It’s 3 pm right now. We leave at 5, and we should reach the gates by 5:30. The party starts at 7. There are normally quite a few parties going on outside the gates. I don’t think the guards will give us any trouble.” Tanner smiled and followed Darion down the hall.
            I remained on the couch, silently contemplating what I would find at the rebel base. Apparently the rebels who turned on Eve and I were the only dirty ones, but I wasn’t so sure. I also longed to see Olivia again. I knew I’d told her to get out of the camp with her father, but I silently hoped she’d stayed behind. Phoenix would be far more dangerous than the rebel camp if her cover happened to be blown. As Tanner and Darion’s footsteps faded down the hall, I got up and walked towards the smell of food, preparing myself for a long night.

            Gloria and I sat in our black SUV outside the rebel compound. Eve and Tanner had left 10 minutes earlier. Darion and Able followed a few minutes after. I pulled the vehicle into drive, and  it crept down a dark alley. My black tuxedo seemed to suffocate me. Sweat formed on my head. The A/C worked to cool me off, but the 105 degree weather made it very inefficient. Gloria sat up in her seat and glanced at me. I smiled, and she put her hand on my forearm, positioned on the armrest. She wore a black gown and her hair was pinned in an elaborate updo. Gloria was very good at doing hair, even her own. She was two years older than me and reminded me of Eve, unsure if she even wanted to be a rebel, but forced into the situation. She was brave and worked hard to adjust. She gave me advice and comfort the many times I thought I’d never see Eve again.
            “Can I ask you something?” I glanced nervously at Gloria.
            “Sure what’s up?”
            “What do you know about Olivia Braga?”
            Gloria smirked knowingly. “Yeah, I know Olivia. She’s been very useful to the rebels. She’s passed us a lot of info. You probably already know Darion couldn’t have busted you out of prison without her help. She is amazingly adept at keeping her cover.”
            “That’s not really what I was talking about.” I stumbled trying to ask her the right questions without embarrassing myself.
            Gloria feigned innocence. “What are you talking about then?”
            “You know like how old is she? What kind of guy does she like?”
            “You wanna know her sign too?” Gloria teased. “I don’t know her that well.”
            “Oh.” I tried to hide my disappointment, “No big deal; I was just wondering.”
            “She’s 17. She interned as a doctor at 15. Her father tried to tell Isoli she was too young and to wait a few years, but you know Isoli doesn’t really take no for an answer. They say Olivia convinced her dad to let her go undercover for the rebels. He didn’t want to let her, but Olivia doesn’t really take no for an answer either. And your other question, what kind of guy does she like? She likes you.”
            “Really? How do you know?”
            “Seriously Micah? You’re not that dense are you?”
            “No, I thought maybe she’s just being nice.”
            “Being nice is saying hi when you see someone you know. She risked her life to get you out of prison. She asks about you any time she’s around. She likes you.”
            “Cool?” Gloria sighed. “Boys are weird.”
            Really I was thinking how glad I was that Olivia probably felt the same about me as I did about her. But I wasn’t going to say it.
            Thirty minutes passed, and we finally approached the gate. I eased on the brakes. No one but the 4 security guards waited. The other cars must’ve passed without incident. Their success brought me new hope. Maybe they wouldn’t recognize me? Maybe my new haircut did make me look older? Gloria put on her best flirtatious smile and pulled out her purse. The main security guard approached my window and signaled for me to roll it down. I obeyed and pulled off my sunglasses. The sun approached the western horizon.
The guard spoke in a harsh commanding voice. “What are you two doing? You know the fence is closed for the rest of the week.”
            “Umm, yes sir.” I tried to sound inferior. “We’re headed to a... um... meeting at an estate outside of town.” I smiled to convey an ulterior meaning to my statement. Gloria leaned over and smiled at the guard. She slid the fancy bottle of wine into view, hoping the guard would catch on to our real destination.
            “We had a few other cars going there. No harm in a little party, I guess. Although I’m not sure we can let anyone else through.” The guard grinned and looked back at his comrades.
Gloria took the $400 bribe out of her purse and set it on the dashboard. “I’m sure you can let one more car through?” She put on her best face and bit her lower lip. The guard caved and took the $400 from the dashboard.
The guard disappeared behind the brick building that housed the gate controls. The large iron fence shuttered and squeaked as it started to open. Gloria let out a sigh of relief. The gate screeched and then halted suddenly. I cast a nervous glance at Gloria. She instinctively reached for her gun and turned her head towards the brick building. All 4 of the guards had disappeared inside. The gate still didn’t move and the car couldn’t fit through. I couldn’t wait any longer.
“I’m going in. Cover me to the building.”
Gloria rolled down her window and held her gun ready. “You got it. All clear.”
“If I don’t come back, return to the rebel base, ditch the car, and make sure no one follows.”
Gloria nodded, and I opened my door and slid along the side of the car, using the SUV to hide from the guards. I crouched and sprinted to the door on the front side of the control building. I approached the door and heard hushed whispers.
“Are you sure it’s him?”
“The news just reported he was inside Phoenix. His face matches.”
I made my move and appeared in the doorway, surprising the guards. “Don’t move. Open the gate and nobody gets hurt.”
The guard near the phone moved his hand and reached for his weapon. I instinctively shot his arm and he fell to the ground. One other guard grabbed his gun and fired, hitting the metal door frame to my right. I aimed at his shoulder and fired. The shot knocked him down. The remaining two guards raised their hands in the air.
“Open the door!” I demanded.
The guard closest to the control reached over and pulled the lever to open the gate. The gate shuttered again outside and began to move.
“It’s moving!” Gloria shouted from the SUV.
“Drive it though the gate. I’ll follow you out,” I shouted back. I didn’t want to take my gun off the guards until the gate was all the way open.
The tires spun on the loose pavement. I heard the car head towards the gate. I swung the door shut to the control building and sprinted towards the opening. As I suspected the gate halted and began closing just as the SUV cleared the exit. I continued toward the opening and slid though just as a gate closed. Gloria stopped the car. I jumped into the passenger seat. Flashing lights and loud horns blared in the background as Gloria sped towards our meeting spot. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chapter 22 - Eve

I couldn't cook. Or stir. Or scrub. So instead I paced, but never further than one or two steps from the door. The only time I stopped was to grip the door frame when Darion's grunts of pain turned to screams.
This one lasted so long I had to bite my fingers to prevent screams of my own from escaping.
"Eve. You need to leave." Micah pressed a hand down on my shoulder.
I shook my head. "Give him something. Please, Micah. Tell them to give him something. I know they got some morphine from the hospital."
"Darion refuses. He knows Gabe needs it more."
I pounded the door frame and inwardly cursed Darion. Why did he think he needed to be a tough rebel like the others? Another scream erupted. Micah reached for my arm. I shook him off. He sighed. His footsteps slapped across the floor, and the couch groaned when he lowered himself onto it.
“You going to tell me about that fight you had with Vega? Able said you really laid into her. And you’re really different than the last time I saw you.”
“Being a rebel isn’t a choice for me, Micah. You know that. I’m here because I can’t be anywhere else.”
He laughed, a short, bitter, barking sound. “You actually want to go back to Isoli, don’t you? And I bet you’re blaming me you can’t.” He laughed again.
“No, I’m not,” I lied.
I turned toward Gloria’s voice. The dim glow of the florescent light behind her made her skin look weird. “Yeah?”
“Time for your haircut.”
“You look pretty much exactly like the wanted posters of you up all over town,” Micah said. “Except dirtier.”
I scowled at him. He laughed good-naturedly.
“Come on, Eve,” Gloria prodded.
I hesitated by the door, waiting for more eruptions of pain from Darion.
“Make her go, Gloria. If you have to carry her out over your shoulder.” Micah took my arm and shoved me toward his comrade.
Gloria wrapped her arm around my shoulder, escorting me out. I saved myself the embarrassment of being carried out and let her lead me.
She took me down the hall to a dingy bathroom. A straight-backed, wooden dining chair sat in the middle, facing the mirrors. “Take a seat,” Gloria instructed.
I obeyed, straining my ears for sounds of Darion’s treatment down the hall. Gloria must’ve known what I was doing. She crossed the room and shut the door. When she returned she took a pair of scissors off a nearby sink and went to work. I cringed at how close the scissors sheared the hair from my head. A long, thick lock dropped to the floor. I closed my eyes, unable to look as little by little my hair disappeared.
            Once the bulk of my hair was gone, Gloria’s hands moved quickly over my head. I dared to open my eyes, surprised that the pixie cut didn’t look like someone took a weed-eater to my head.
            “How do you know how to cut hair?” I asked.
Gloria flipped her wrist toward me. “Cosmetology. Who woulda thought.” She stepped back, eyeing me with narrowed eyes. “Are you ready for color?”
I leaned back, rubbing my hand along the short hairs above my neck. It felt so foreign not to have hair to braid. “Color? Like make-up?”
Gloria grinned. “Like hair color.”
I nodded. What did it matter? My hair was already gone. So was my life.
Gloria wouldn’t let me look in the mirror until after I changed clothes. The dark jeans and black t-shirt didn’t look particularly “rebel” to me. After I pulled the shirt over my head, I reached around my neck to pull my hair out, still surprised when fingers brushed bare skin.
“Are you done?” Gloria asked impatiently. “Close your eyes before you come out.”
I obeyed, pushing open the cool metal door of the stall and letting Gloria take my hand to lead me.
“Okay,” she said when we reached the middle of the floor. “Open them.”
I stared into the mirror. How did Gloria make such a short, boyish cut look so feminine on me? My face seemed so different without my hair to hide it--thin, but dramatic. My brown eyes glowed against the blonde/golden-brown streaked hair. The girl in the mirror looked like a rebel.
She wasn’t me.
I looked back at Gloria and saw disappointment. She wanted me to like my makeover. “I’m sorry, Gloria,” I whispered. “It looks good. It really does.”
She laid a hand on my arm. “I know this isn’t you, Eve. Believe it or not I liked my life too before I came here. I had some pretty hoity-toity clients.”
“Then why...?” I gripped Gloria’s wrist, waiting for answers; something to help me be the girl Darion and Micah wanted me to be.
Gloria waved her hand. “Some snooty politician’s wife didn’t like the cut I gave her--exactly what she asked for, by the way--and told a Seazan she thought I was a rebel. Didn’t have much choice after getting pegged like that. Especially when one of my better paying clients turned out to actually be one.” She sighed then smiled. “I used to hate all this as much as you. Don’t worry. It’ll pass.” She wrapped her hand around mine and dragged me out of the bathroom. “Let’s go show your boyfriend.”
Gloria laughed. “Right.”
Darion’s voice led us down the hall back to the “waiting room.”
“I’m not wearing a long sleeve shirt in 98 degree weather. I’ll stick out like a sore thumb.”
“And a white bandage won’t?” an unfamiliar female voice argued. “The point is to get you guys through the wall without being recognized. Believe it or not, I’ve done this thing a time or two.”
No one noticed when Gloria and I entered. It immediately made sense why Gloria insisted on the flat-heeled, knee-high, black boots a lot of the rebel girls wore. They were noiseless.
A red-haired girl stood facing Darion, hands on her hips and scowling.
“I’ve got an idea,” Gloria interrupted. She strode across the room to Darion and used her scissors to cut off his sleeve at the elbow. “All better.” She grinned.
Darion shrugged and held out his other arm. I only waited until Gloria was clear with the scissors before rushing to him. He wrapped his good arm around my back, holding me close to him. His lips brushed my now visible hairline above my ears. "I'm fine, Eve. I promise. The bullet passed through cleanly."
I blew out my pent up breath. "Okay."
He wrapped his good hand around my neck, then pulled back, startled. It surprised me he hadn't noticed until now. "Wow! You, Eve. Absolutely amazing."
Gloria snickered. "Typical guy."
I smiled, feeling self-conscious. "Thanks."
"Sorry to ruin your reunion." Gloria stepped forward and took Darion's arm. "It's your turn in the hot seat. You too, Micah." She turned to my brother. "Neither of you guys are leaving Phoenix without some work."
Micah followed the red head out. Darion hesitated. He leaned over and kissed my forehead. "I'll be back as soon as I can, 'kay?"
I nodded, smiling bravely, trying to match my attitude to my new look. "I know."
Darion grinned. At least I was fooling him so far.
Tanner tapped on the door frame. "Go get yourself something to eat, Eve. Soon as those boys are done we're headed for the Tempe gate. It's time we got out of Phoenix." 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chapter 21 - Micah

           Ice cold water bit at my skin. The cut on the back of my head burned as the ocean water seeped through. Each stroke became harder than the last. The island looked only a short distance away but never got any closer. I gave up. A few times. Each time my body sank lower into the ocean before taking over and swimming back to the top. One more try, I thought.
No I can’t do it anymore. It’s too hard, I’ll never make it.  
            A groggy voice crept through the current. Micah! I resurfaced and continued swimming, a dark silhouette waited on the shore. Micah! The voice pierced deeper, but the island stayed far away. Wave after wave crashed over my face. Then my body refused to move. I sank like a dead man tied to an anchor. The ocean water grew blacker and blacker until no light passed.
            “Micah! Wake up!” A sobbing voice suddenly sounded overhead. A salty tear dropped into my dry mouth.
            I groaned. My headed pounded. I tried to recall why I’d come to on my back looking up at a grey ceiling of a van.
            “Micah! It’s okay you’re going to be fine!” My vision finally cleared. I recognized Eve’s face. Tears still ran down her puffy eyes. Her blond hair stuck to the side of her head. A dirty face contrasted her white teeth.
            “Looks like you’ve had a long night?” I tried to smile.
            “The rebel reinforcements beat the ATS back for now. Most of the team that brought you here are traitors except Gabe, he’s the only one we can trust for sure.”
            I sat up and recognized the other faces in the van. Tanner sat quietly at the back of the van; a limp body lay at his side. Darion sat in the passenger seat with his body twisted around, watching me take in the scene. Two other rebels from my unit stood outside sliding door. Gloria and Able.
            “How’s Gabe?” I stared at my fallen comrade in the back of the van.
            “Not good,” Tanner finally spoke, “He took a bullet through the abdomen, if he doesn’t get help soon he’ll die.”
            “What about the rebel doctors? Can’t they help?”
            “They don’t have the equipment they need to fix him up. Boy needs surgery to remove the bullet and patch up his insides. Dr. Braga--”
            My eyes fixed on Tanner, hoping for news that Olivia had left the rebel camp at Zion.
            “Dr. Aloisio Braga,” Tanner continued, trying to clear the confusion, “Is supposed to fly in this morning. We’ll try and contact him with a coded message, but there’s no guarantee he’ll get it in time.”
            “No.” I stopped him. “We can’t risk blowing his cover. We have to assume Isoli has men following us. If we go to Braga’s house then we’ll lose someone on the inside.” My mind went to Olivia. I couldn’t risk her cover. “We’ll have to find another way.”
            “I may know someone who can help.” Darion’s gaze shifted to Eve and then back to me. “I have some friends who work at the hospital. They might be able to help with supplies. Then one of the rebel doctors can treat him.”
            “OK,” I said. “Take Able, we don’t have much time. The sun will be up in a couple of hours. We have to disappear before then.”
Tanner sat up and crawled out the side door. “Micah, we need to talk. There’s something you have to see.” He motioned for me to follow him outside the van.
            I climbed outside and took my first step. Tanner steadied me from the side as I nearly toppled to the ground. I paused and turned back to Eve, who was still staring at me.
            Tanner spoke up to assure her of my safety. “We’ll just be around the corner. Don’t worry, Gloria will signal us if anything looks fishy.”
            I followed Tanner around the corner, and we watched as Darion and Able disappeared in to the darkness. “Gabe told me what happened. What do you remember?” Tanner dug his hand into his pocket, digging for something.
            “Not much, we were on top of the building. I just finished taking out the third comm station when Blake turned on us. I tried to fight but he was already on me. I heard a gunshot right before I lost consciousness.”
            Tanner pulled his hand out of his pocket as he started to speak. A flash of metal caught my eye. I jumped back before realizing what he held. “Gabe saw a man approaching from roof stairway. He tried to distract Blake, hoping the man was an ally. Blake shot Gabe in the stomach but the distraction worked. The man strangled Blake from behind then dragged you and Gabe to the van. Gabe said he counted at least five dead ATS agents at the entrance. He passed out shortly after.” Tanner rubbed the side of his chin. “Gabe obviously didn’t alert us to your location.”
            “Then who did?”
            “The same guy who took out Blake and the ATS agents. He found us, led us to the van and then said he had to leave. He gave me this.”
            Tanner passed me an over-sized silver locket, shaped like a heart. The locket was about the size of my palm. A chain hung from the top of the heart. The heart was too big to be worn as a necklace. I flipped the latch and opened the locket. My breathing stopped as I stared at the picture inside. My parent’s eyes stared back at me, smiling, oblivious of the surrounding dark night. I bit the inside of my cheek as I wondered who delivered the locket. I couldn’t let myself believe my dad had delivered it himself. He wouldn’t have left so soon. Besides he couldn’t be alive anyway. He would have found us sooner. He wouldn’t have let us raise ourselves.
            “Did you see him?”
            “I didn’t get a good look. I’m sorry Micah, if I’d known I could’ve--”
            “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter now. Did Eve see him? Does she know about the locket?”
            “No, I didn’t tell her. I wanted you to see it first. I think there’s a note behind the picture.”
            I removed the picture and pulled out a folded up piece of yellow paper. “Did you read it?”
            “No, I just saw the paper.”
            I unfolded it and began to read. The note was scrawled in poor handwriting; it looked like it had been written in a hurry.
                        Sorry I couldn’t hang around. I was a friend of your father’s. I knew you as a child but
                        you won’t remember me. I picked up some info that warned you might be in trouble.
I have to move quick. I’ll try and contact you later. I hope you enjoy the locket and the        picture.

            “What’s it say?”
            “Nothing, just that he knew my father. Someone warned him, and he said he would try and contact me later.”
            I walked toward the van to show Eve the locket. I shoved the note in my pocket and replaced the picture. I knew I should tell her, but I didn’t.
            I sat on the hood of the van and stared at the rising sun. Eve limped around to the front of the van and pulled herself up next to me.
            “What happened to your leg?” I tried to start a conversation that would let me avoid the locket.
            “Got in a fight.” Eve ran her fingers through my hair and tried to straighten out my unruly locks.
            “Who won?” I mused
            “You know, I didn’t think I’d see you again.”
            “Don’t talk like that Eve. You have to believe we’ll make it out of here alive.”
            “What’s the point? There are too many of them to fight. Even if me make it out this time they’ll get us sooner or later. IF we make it out of Phoenix we have to run. We have to go east.”
            I paused and tried to think of what to say. “At some point you have to pick a side Eve. I know you’re scared. I feel it too. The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear to take down his enemy, the coward just runs. They both fear. The difference is what they do with it.”
            Eve didn’t answer. I continued.
            “I know you’re not as weak as you make yourself out to be. For every person that runs from this fight there are 5 others stuck in a lean-to shelter with barely enough food to survive. You were never like that. You care about other people.”
            The sound of footsteps broke our conversation and we turned toward the sound. Gloria and Tanner readied their guns as the footsteps got closer. Darion and Able rounded the corner at full speed, each carrying an armful of supplies. A third man followed close behind.
            Eve screamed Darion’s name and tried to run towards him. I shoved her back into the van and closed the door. My mind tried to block out Eve’s screams as she pounded on the glass windows. I peered through my scope. Darion’s face suddenly came into view on my cross hairs. I breathed in sharply. Blood ran down the side of his face. A shot fired and misty blood sprayed out the front of Darion’s left arm. He crashed to the ground, 200 feet from the van as I locked in on his assailant. One shot and the shooter skidded to the ground, 15 feet behind Darion’s motionless body. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chapter 20 - Eve

I stared at Vega, shocked. She leaned forward. I jumped back, stumbling over Gloria’s body. My tailbone smacked hard against the sidewalk.
Vega laughed. “Play nice, Eve. If you come without a fight, you won’t get hurt.
I hesitated, considering my options. My gut told me going with Vega was a bad idea. So how did I get out of it? She was a trained fighter. I was just a silly housekeeper who wanted desperately to go back to her old life, before I knew the truth about Isoli.
“Okay,” I agreed. I pushed myself to my knees, leaning over Gloria’s body.
“Hurry up, chica. We don’t have all night.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

Winners of Anna's Book "Curse of the Elfs"

You heard right, winners! Anna has offered to give away three copies of her ebook "Curse of the Elfs" A big thanks to her and to everyone who participated!

The three people who receive a copy are:
Ashleigh (See, the first person does win sometimes!)

Anna will send you a copy via email.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Chapter 19 - Micah

Chapter 19 - Micah

The night air hung warmly on top of the vacant storage building. At 15 stories high it remained the tallest building within a 20 block radius. It gave a clear view of the apartment building and most of the ATS forces. Blake sat silently as Gabe read off the distances to the three com stations as he peered through the GPS binoculars.  
“The closest one is at 100 yards then next is 459 yards and the last is 937 yards.”
“The first two should be easy,” I commented. “The third will be a lot harder. Even if the conditions stay perfect like they are.”
Visibility was high and the air almost uncomfortably still. The third target lied in a straight line. If we startled them, and they started moving, the shot would be next to impossible.
We continued waiting in silence for the signal from Alba. Spurts of rapid gunfire sounded through the hot air. From my vantage point I could see that the ATS hadn’t gained any ground on the rebels, but it didn’t look like that would last much longer.  Blake’s radio briefly snapped to life. Three short clicks followed by two longer ones and then silence again.
“That was it,” Blake called out. “It’s go time.”
I leveled my rifle and peered through the scope as I tried to calm my breathing. Two targets stood at each com station. I needed clean shots on the first 2 stations to have any chance at the last. The first guard turned sideways, locked in conversation with his battery mate. I smoothly pulled the trigger. He crumpled to the ground. His partner swivelled around, frantically searching for an enemy. I pulled the trigger again He fell just a second after his partner. I moved the scope to my second target, hoping some of the rebel gunfire drowned out the loud crack of my rifle. The two guards at the second station appeared unaware of their comrades’ sudden migration out of this life. I leveled the sights then pulled the trigger in quick succession, taking out both men almost in the same motion. I turned my attention to the last target, 937 yards away. Gabe checked the wind again.
“You’re good. Fire at will.”
One guard at the third target was trying to contact someone with his radio. It didn’t look like anyone responded. With time running out on the third station, I had to shoot faster than that type of shot required. I needed more than just skill. I needed a considerable amount of luck. I pulled the trigger and watched the 5th guard fall to the ground. His partner was sitting at the other side of his station eating a sandwich. Before I reacted he ran behind the truck to access the radio. His head peaked out from the truck. I pulled the trigger but the extra flight time of the bullet gave the guard enough time to duck back behind the truck.
“What happened?”
“I missed.”
I pulled my head away from the scope and tried to quickly assess the situation. The guard couldn’t reach the radio without exposing himself to my sniper fire, but I only had 15 or 20 seconds before I assumed he would make a run for it dodging behind buildings, leaving no opportunity for a shot. My eyes scanned the area, looking for a break. Ten seconds passed and the guard hadn’t moved. 5 more seconds. Smoke rose from the jeep behind the station where my armor piercing bullets had penetrated. I fired a shot at the gas tank. Clear liquid streamed from the hole. Three seconds passed. The jeep exploded in a rush of flames.
“Got him!” I shouted
“Can you confirm that Gabe?”
Gabe stared through the binoculars, “Nothing’s moving down there. We got him.”
Blake picked up his radio and signaled 3 long clicks followed by 2 short ones.
Gabe continued to watch the action through his binoculars. “Looks like the ATS is retreating right into the new rebels. Lets get out of here.”
Cold steel pressed against the back of my neck. I backed away from my gun and held up my hands in defense. Gabe dropped his binoculars and reached for his weapon.
“Don’t move. The bullet will tear through his spinal chord at this angle. He’ll be a vegetable.” Blake dropped a pair of handcuffs and slid them across the ground. Gabe set down his gun and placed the cuffs on his wrists. “I tried to keep you off the mission, Gabe. I didn’t want you to get mixed up in this. If you stay here until we’re gone, you can walk free.”
“You son of a biscuit eating bulldog!” Gabe glared at the traitor.
Blake flinched. I tried knocking the gun out of his hands. I moved too late. He slammed the gun into the back of my head. Darkness threatened to cut off my vision. I fell to my hands and knees, fighting to stay conscious. My eyes stared straight at the knees of my attacker. I weakly tried to swipe at his ankle. I heard a faint chuckle. He rammed the gun butt into my head. A lone gunshot fired somewhere in the distance. My face hit the cold cement. The blackness enveloped me.