(I know this is a long story, but it is a reminder that the 9/11 tragedy still affects people today. We must remember to pray, help those who are suffering, and to never forget.)
Smacking his alarm clock, Nicolas grunted and pulled the covers over his head. “Today probably won’t be good,” he thought pessimistically. He lay in his bed for another half hour before Mr. Wyght called for him over the intercom.
“Eerkens! Get up we have work to do!” the director shouted.
Reluctantly, Nicolas got out of bed and dressed for the day. He slipped on his all black uniform and fixed himself. He looked at his reflection; he reminded himself of his father. He clenched his fists, took a deep breath, and looked away. He couldn’t get upset; if he did bad things would happen. So he kept everything in.
“Ready for combat practice?” Mr. Wyght asked as he went into the kitchen. Mr. Wyght was an old war veteran and, as part of their fee, those who lived in the mansion with him had to learn how to fight. (I mean there was more to it than that, but I am forbidden to explain much more.)
“’Oh, I’m fine thanks,” Nicolas muttered out of mockery. “’Why yes, I will have some breakfast!’”
“I have ears you know,” Mr. Wyght reminded as he poured himself coffee. “Meet me in the field in ten; the others are already there.”
After he had finished, Nic did as he was told and found the others there waiting. They all were in uniform and standing in a circle talking. Well, except Shane and Mark who lay in the grass; probably asleep.
“Thanks for keeping us waiting,” Sonny greeted coldly.
Shane, who awoke when Myles kicked him, rebuked him. “You kidding? I am happy. I got a few extra Zs in.”
No one else said anything, so they got right to work. As usual, they started with warm ups and then right into basic fighting.
For Nic, this stuff was old news. He already had mastered several martial arts and was an excellent marksman. The only thing that made this enjoyable was the competition between him and Shane. They had quite the friendly rivalry and almost always ended up in a tie. Nic was strong, but Shane was fast. They balanced each other out.
However, today Nic wasn’t at the top of his game. Shane easily knocked him down.
“Dude! What’s going on?” Shane exclaimed as he helped him up. “You have the strength of a gorilla, literally, and I practically blew you over. You eat some bad food last night?”
Nic ignored him and attempted to punch him in the stomach.
Shane quickly blocked it. “You don’t wanna talk? Fine, but I am not going easy on you.”
Once again, their fight was cut short and ended in a draw. It was time for the next exercise: capture the flag. I know that doesn’t seem like an exercise, but the way they play is impossible without training. There were fire towers on either end of the field and they set up obstacles; not just a little block or bench here or there I am talking about tents, towers, anything you would find on an enemy base.
The flag was placed on top of each tower and you know the rest from there. However, instead of tagging each other and then getting out, they had a sparring match. Whoever won would go free and the other would be “knocked out” until a team mate revived them. If you attacked someone from behind, automatic K.O..
It was five-against-four: Nicolas, Mark, Shannon, Myles, and Aymie versus Sonny, Shane, Blake, and Johanna.
It was a long, intense game and Nicolas showed no mercy. He wanted to win and get it over with. However, that blinded him and he ignored his teammates. He ran across to enemy lines, leaving his team to guard their own flag.
Stealthily, he made his way across the enemy’s side, which was almost 300 yards across (They don’t mess around. But I know you are wondering how that is even possible with only nine people. They had motion sensors everywhere, if you were detected you were done. They also had mini trucks to drive to get around faster.).
He didn’t want to draw attention to himself; especially because he didn’t want to fight Johanna. He hated contact combat against the girls. He feared losing control and hurting them terribly. “That won’t happen,” he reassured himself. Taking a deep breath, he continued his mission.
As he continued, the only thing he could think of was his father; the good times, the bad times, and then the end: “Wait for me here, I will get your mother and be right back.”
He was so deep in thought that he hadn’t noticed the trap. He was almost to the tower when he was detected. He cursed as the alarms blared, alerting the others of his presence.
As fast as he could, he began to climb the high, wooden, fire tower. Unfortunately, he wasn’t fast enough. Shane dashed up the tower and fought him on the third level. The fight was epic and dangerous, and Nic was swinging blind. His brain was preoccupied.
He was flashing back in time. First to when he chose to be experimented with the permanent strength steroid, then to his time in juvenile, and finally to when he was younger and saw his parents for the last time. He remembered watching his father run into that burning building to save his mother; and then the building crashing down. He remembered watching the people jump out of the building and plummeting to their deaths. He looked all over for his parents, but he didn’t see them; and he never did again.
His flash back ended and he began screaming and mercilessly pounding on Shane. Shane was shouting at him to stop, but Nic had lost control. Nic wasn’t there, that beast was.
Nic kicked Shane so hard he was knocked off the third story of the tower. Thankfully, the circus boy caught himself and swung himself onto the second floor.
Panting, Nic jumped off the third story and landed on his feet without a scratch. He then went on a blind rampage. The beast controlling him didn’t care and destroyed everything. What exactly happened was a blur in Nic’s mind, but the last horrible thing he remembered was kicking Shannon across the field and going after Johanna and Aymie.
Thankfully, Mr. Wyght shot Nic with a strong sedative and knocked him out.