Friday, June 17, 2011

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Chapter One


Perhaps it was luck, or maybe it was divine intervention. The chances that the situation could occur were logically impossible. Too many things had to happen in order for the circumstance to take place. But yet they did. Scientists say that for mankind to have existed, numerable one-in-a-million events took place, all concluding in the existence of the earth’s most advanced species Us. Like the circumstance concerning humans, the event that occurred in the small town of Mah Deltas that one night in September should have logically never happened. No one could have predicted that each thing would happen at the exact right time for it to trigger with another at that same moment and produce the new situation. But, despite all of the odds, it did.


The field was set, and all of the players were in their positions, ready for the center to hike the ball. With eighteen seconds on the clock, and the Mah Deltas Fighting Freemen down by five points, the field was tense with crowds cheering for their school. On one side of the field, the Mah Deltas High School students and fans screamed until their lungs hurt for their team to win. In the stands of the opposite side of the field, Mountain Rush High School’s football team, the Avalanche’s, cheered on their team. Standing in ready position on the west side of the field, the #74 tight-end Angel Marciano locked his eyes directly ahead with the goal of scoring a touch-down.


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Angel was a physically well-built character. He had hair in a fashion of a ponytail, about 6 inches long, and preferred to wear long pants every day, complementing his long black trench coat that constantly draped behind him. Not a gothic, outcast style of trench coat, but a cotton one, which is seen often in old movies from the turn of the century. Angel was not exactly the most popular kid in his school, but he had enough friends to keep him happy. With his father and mother pureblooded Italians, he had a complexion unlike any other person in his school, save his sister. Unknown to him, Angel was considered a very handsome man by most of the girls in his school. Angel continually received good grades in school, and was constantly at the top of his class, receiving many honors from his teachers and collected many scholarships from various well-known colleges. Despite his book smarts, though, he lacked in the area of common sense, a trait constantly pointed out by those around him. He made up for it, however, by being a genuinely funny guy, always making those around him laugh. To those around him, he was just that funny, good-looking guy they saw in school. On the football team, he was one of the best. A sophomore, he was resented by other’s for being first string tight-end. Despite the insults from his older teammates, he loved the game of football and was naturally skilled at it.


In his mind, he counted the number of snap-counts quarterback Tacoma White called out, waiting for the intended fourth “hut” to be cried. And it came. Angel pushed his legs forward and shot towards his opponent, heading straight towards him. The opposing player stared at the red-jerseyed body that rushed at him, anticipating a fake one direction or the other. Then he saw what he expected Angel leaned towards the left, in an obvious fake to go right, and the Avalanche player leaned back to start running with him. In an unexpected move, Angel shot straight toward the green-clad man and planted his shoulder in his chest, sending the guy leaning back farther than he had anticipated. The defender’s feet flew up and he landed on his shoulder at an awkward angle, watching Angel run past, freed up for a catch.


“Hey ref!”, he yelled, ready to inform him that the other guy had hit him over five yards away from the line of scrimmage, a penalty in the game of football. He stopped, though, realizing he was only four yards from the line. He cursed under his breath.


As she sat in the stands watching the game, Llandra Marciano, the twin sister of receiver Angel Marciano, cheered her brother on.


Llandra shared many traits with Angel. She also had a fair complexion and dark hair. Her hair was curly though, like her father’s. She too was well built and was neither skinny nor heavy. She fit somewhere in the middle with arms muscle bound, though it wasn’t obvious if you were to look at. She was about six feet tall, which was about two inches shorter than her brother and around 0 pounds lighter. Unlike her brother however, she did not fashion a ponytail. She preferred to wear her hair shoulder length, free flowing. She kept it pulled out from her dark gray trench coat she wore during any type of weather or occasion. In school, she pretended not to notice the eyes of the boys staring at her as she walked down the halls. She kept her hazel eyes focused ahead of her at all times, not interested in the “macho’’ teenagers trying to show off to her. Llandra was, on the soccer team, the same prodigy her brother was. First place in many categories, she was the envy of her teammates and the pride of her coaches. Die-hard Christians, she and her brother attended their church and sang in the choir under the leadership of their father, an ex-football player himself.


Watching her brother run down the field, she was very proud at the accomplishment he had achieved being named first string on the team. It had been easy for him, though, being naturally talented in many areas, including the subject of football.


For her, the sport of soccer was a specialty. On the team, she played center and she could burn anybody with her moves. When up against an opposing player, her feet-work was so spectacular that she left the other player standing in awe at the wonderful action that had been done to them. In the sport, she had no equal. In her sophomore year, already talent scouts were watching her from the fence during practice. She had been offered three scholarships to countries all over the country, including one at Florida State University, which she was anticipating going to.


But out on the football field, it was her brother’s sport, and she was there to watch him. There was about three minutes left in the game, and things were pretty tense. The Avalanches were down by five points, and things were pretty hopeless with the other team having the ball.


Llandra turned to her friend, Summer Grandoso.


“Hey, I’m heading up to the concession stand. You want anything?”


“Naw,” Summer said without looking on her. “I’m okay. I’m just gonna sit here and stare at your brother.”


Summer was in love with Angel, as she had been for the past four years. But it had been one sided. Angel had never had any interest in her in a boyfriend/girlfriend sort of way. But, in the past six months, Angel had been showing signs of affection towards her in return. He had been flirting with her and greeted her with a hug every time they saw each other. Summer was pleased.


Dude,” Jex said. “I’m telling you. If you ever, and I mean ever, talk crap behind my back, I promise you I will beat the crap out of you.”


“You’re a bunch of talk, Jex,” Brandon said. “I could take you down right now if I wanted to.”


“Really?” asked Jex.


At that moment, Jex reached out and smacked him across his left cheek. Brandon stood in shock for a split second until he reached out and pushed Jex’s chest to get distance from him. In Brandon’s mind, the speed Jex exhibited was unmatchable and he had nothing for him in a fight. Also, they had a friendship that he didn’t want to endanger with a minor argument. So he backed down.


“Fine,” he admitted. “The other day when you me up in practice with that sweet move, I was pretty mad. So I told Greg that you were a show off. I didn’t mean it.”


“Thank you,” said Jex. He looked him in the eye.


“And I’m sorry about the smack. I had to get it out of me.”


He reached out and looked at looked at the cheek, which was red. Then he changed moods totally and was suddenly feeling real bad that he had gone off on his friend. He knew he had to apologize.


“Sorry about that, dude. I had no right to hit you for just saying something. You can hit me if you want to make things even.”


Brandon stood there in his letterman jacket and pondered it for a second, then looked at Jex.


“It’s all right, dude.” He smiled. “I’ll get you when you’re not expecting it.”


“Cool.” Jex laughed.


“Well, I gotta go watch the game. I bet three hundred dollars on it yesterday and I want to ensure my investment. So I’m gonna go watch the end of it.”


“See ya.”


Jex and Brandon had been friends for many years, so the small fight wasn’t really anything. It happened all of the time. Both played soccer, and were good at it, so there was always a bit of competition between them. It was to be expected.


Sitting, talking to his friend, Apollo Portensio was happy for the time being.


“But I’ve been in the FBI’s top secret files and got out without being caught,” his friend Joseph Julianio countered Apollo’s brag with his own feat.


“That’s nothing,” Apollo laughed. “I know a guy in Washington with what most would call ‘the hook up’. He can get me the Secret Service’s N.O.C. list if I asked him. Plus, he’s teaching me everything he knows over e-mails, so I’m getting better by the day.”


“By the day, huh?” Joseph asked sarcastically. “Well, I don’t have much room for improvement, plus, I don’t have to rely on some top secret dude in another part of the country to get me what I want. Who, by the way, probably doesn’t even exist.”


“It’s not like I’m relying on him,” Apollo said, insulted. “I just know someone. Who does exist.”


Apollo and Joseph were top of the line hackers. And, only being seventeen, they had a long time to improve. Both had been working computers for a long time, and knew just about everything there was to know about them. Especially if it involved the Internet. Either of them could hack into any website or company computer from there own home computer. Both bragged that they could hack Bill Gates’ computer if they wanted to.


At a height of 5’ 5”, Apollo was the shortest member of the basketball team. None of the players knew of his hacking skills, though, because he only wanted as few people as possible to know. After all, he was quite the criminal. But, he was a prep in the eyes of his classmates. Always cheerful, Apollo strutted around Atlas High in his dark blue trench coat and blonde spiked hair. With a G.P.A. of a 4.0, he was thought of as a smart and witty boy who was always good for a smile. But no one really guessed or even considered that the smile was covering something else up. A deep anger stemming from an abusive childhood. With his parents rarely ever home anymore, he had to support himself with an after school job pushing carts at Wal-Mart. When his parents rarely came home to bum money from him, he often tried to avoid them, knowing that the money only went for their drug addictions. That was why he had spent so much time on his computer as a child. He wanted to escape the hell of a reality he lived in. But no one at school even suspected anything of the sort. He was just the short, fun-loving basketball player who scored all of the points at the games.


Angel ran down the field happily, the cool night breeze blowing on his face and no defenders on his tail. He stopped rejoicing, though, when he spotted the tailback running for him fifteen or so yards away. The man tried to cut him off and get in front of him, but Angel stepped it up a notch and blew past him, leaving the defender trailing a few yards behind. He looked over his shoulder and saw in dismay that Tacoma was falling backwards with a four hundred pound defensive line-man on his back. Tacoma, in desperation, hurled the ball at Angel, a last ditch effort to win the game.


In an instant, Angel saw that it was under-thrown, and he would have to stop or slow down to catch it.


Aw, man, he thought madly. Got to think of something?


Startling him, something happened to him that had never happened before.


In a flash, he had a vision in his mind of the Avalanche behind him tripping up and falling into the back of his legs. In the vision, this caused him to fall forward and miss the ball. In his mind, the view was from outside his body, seeing himself as if he were a spectator.


First of all, he thought wildly. Where the heck did that come from? Am I hallucinating? That was like, so real. I mean, that’s never happened before. But, it was so real. I think it’s a premonition or something. But I think Id better watch out, anyway.


As the mad thoughts raced through his mind, Angel began to realize that this was truly going to happen. So he had to think of something. Fast. He did jump pretty high, and probably could jump high enough to clear the kid. But, even if he could jump that high, would he be able to recover enough to catch the ball? Despite it’s absurdity, Angel was open to all suggestions, even though it came in the form of a vision during a run to the touchdown zone.


What the heck? He cried in his head.


In a split-second, he heard some extra shuffling behind him. Obviously, his pursuer was loosing his footing. And he knew what would come next the man would trip and take his legs out from under him. He knew he had to do something. He could jump to the side, but he looked back and saw that he would be out of the ball’s path if he did so. So, in his quick-thinking mind, he came to a conclusion stop and jump.


In a move never seen before, Angel sped up for a split second to get some distance between him and his defender. Taking a deep breath and praying to Jesus, he stopped completely and pushed up with all of his strength.


The Avalanche behind him watched suddenly as the #74 Freeman football player before him went straight up, and ducked his head down as he felt the cleats hit his helmet. Turning with squinted eyes before he hit the ground, he looked under the shoes to see the football fly from the falling quarterback’s hand into Marciano’s. He stood, shocked, as the amazing receiver hit the ground in behind him. The Freeman player stopped for a second to gather his balance, his face bearing a countenance of realization that he had pulled off such an amazing play, and remained motionless as he then shot past his right side. Still, the Avalanche stood there, not knowing to make of the situation.


Angel moved like a bullet down the field, pushing with all of his might to build up speed, then slowed down about five yards from the goal line. The Avalanche side of the field went silent. In contrast, the Freemen crowd cried from their previous cheer of glory to a wail of anger.


“What the heck is he thinking?”, was the general statement cried out by the fans, who started booing and crying out at the receiver. But he just stood there looking back and forth from the clock, which read twelve seconds left in the game, and at the Avalanche players who came running down the field in a vain attempt to stop him from scoring.


About the time there was nine seconds left on the clock, an Avalanche player reached him, with his teammates about three seconds behind him. Angel watched him approach and took a step back, planting his right foot behind him and leaning forward. Cries and curses poured out of the stands.


“Stop trying to show off you piece of crap and run the freaking ball in!”, one burly man screamed.


Angel stood and tuned out the people in the stands, keeping his eyes on the oncoming player. As the man reached him, Angel stepped to the side and pushed the player the other way, sending the guy sprawling across the ground, trying to recover his balance. Angel glanced back up at the scoreboard. Six seconds left.


In the announcer’s box over the home side, Greg Dean, the school principal and football game announcer, noticed Angel’s head turning from the field to the board and understood.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” he leaned over and said into the microphone. “I think I understand what’s going on.”


As the field silenced, Angel dodged another player.


“It seems to me that Mr. Marciano is burning down the clock so that Mountain Rush doesn’t have anytime for a comeback,” Dean’s voiced boomed over the speakers. “It’s a great strategy and with three, two...”


About the time he said “two”, a wild player slammed Angel backwards into the touch-down zone. Despite that his was practically the game-winning touchdown, he was disappointed that he couldn’t burn the clock long enough to ensure the win. But, with time just about expired, the Freemen essentially won the game.


As the visitor’s side of the field silenced, the home team yelled and rushed out on the field.


“Hold it folks,” Dean said over the speakers, trying to get the swarms attention. “There is more left in the game. Please get off the field.”


Slowly, and with the help of the referee’s orders, the crowd poured back into the stands.


Sitting in the stands, Summer cheered for Angel. Summer herself was a unique character. She made decent grades in school, and didn’t mind the occasional “C”. She rarely had a boyfriend because she saw most men, save Angel, of course, as a liability. She would always have to call them and be with them, and she didn’t know anyone besides Angel that she wanted to do that with. She also had a secret of her own. Everyone knew that her and Llandra were good friends, but no one knew or really cared how they had met.


It had been a year or so before in Llandra’s kung-fu class. Summer had signed up a few months after Llandra. She told the sensei that she wanted to learn better self-defense, and came to classes on Thursday nights. During her first night there, she met Llandra out on the mat when their sensei had paired them up for sparring.


“I want you two to take it easy on each other and Llandra, you show her some basic skills.”


“Yes sir,” she said and turned to Summer.


“Hey,” she had said. “I’m gonna take it easy on you like he said since you’re new, so try your hardest.”


“Okay,” Summer had said weakly.


Llandra started doing slow punches at her, and Summer was a horrible blocker. She pulled up her arms late and attempted to block them, but just about every punch landed. Llandra pulled them, though, so as not to hurt the newcomer. She stopped attacking and cocked her head to the side, perturbed.


“Try to keep your hands up and move your upper body. Don’t let me hit you.”


“I’ll try,” Summer whimpered.


Llandra started up again and things were still the same. Summer was horrible. But Llandra started to notice something. She could tell in her movements that Summer was doing something odd, because her movements were much too jerky for anyone, even someone new. She was moving to the side really odd, and nobody was that clumsy. Llandra began to think it was only an act.


After a minute or so, Llandra stopped. She had landed just about everything and was pretty mad. She knew by then that the girl was messing with her.


“I’m not that stupid, you know,” she said under her breath so everyone didn’t hear her. “I know what you’re doing. I don’t know why. But I do know that you’re doing it. So you had best put some more into it before I do.”


Summer stood back, flabbergasted.


“Please, no,” she almost cried. “I’ll just get hurt.”


“We’ll see,” Llandra said.


Llandra wasn’t cold-hearted, she just wanted to see how good this girl really was.


So she stepped it up a bit and moved faster, but still throwing the same amount of punches.


Summer almost cried as she moved wildly around, avoiding the assault. But what caught Llandra’s eye was that she never landed a real punch on her. The girl let her land the softer stuff, but not the harder ones. Sure, Summer was looking crappy, but she also never let a real punch touch her.


“I see how it is,” Llandra laughed.


Summer looked up into Llandra’s eyes from her pathetic crouching position. Then she smiled. She knew it was time to drop the facade.


Suddenly, it was like Llandra was fighting someone totally new. An all out war broke out.


Summer stood and started sending punches from every direction and Llandra was only blocking three/quarters of them. Llandra was just as fast and she returned punch after kick, until everyone stopped and watched them. The sensei, too, watched, but stayed out of it, because he could see the two were pulling their punches, not really trying to hurt the other. They were just moving as fast as they could and looking pretty impressive.


After five minutes of fighting, the two girls were pouring sweat. Each knew they were spent, and Llandra decided it was time to finish. So she leaned down and pushed off of Summer’s chest, separating the two. Both girls stopped and took a deep breath, only to hear the applause of the people around them.


Each looked around and noticed for the first time those watching them. They had been too caught up in the fight they didn’t notice those watching them.


The sensei stepped up smiling and spoke to them.


“Well,” he said. “That was mighty impressive. Llandra, you’re a green belt, and Summer, you’re barely a white belt. But what you’ve just exhibited was almost black belt material.”


“Really?” Llandra asked, still trying to catch her breath.


“Very much so,” he replied.


Then he turned to Summer.


“You never told me you took martial arts before,” he said. “You should have told me when you signed up.”


Summer dropped her head.


“Sorry,” she said with her head down. “My father taught me most of what I know and he never let me know what level I was at.”


“That’s okay,” he said. “We’ll properly see to it that you get moved up. And you, Llandra, you also exhibited very awesome skill. I think a promotion is in order at the next testing.”


“Thank you, sir,” Llandra said smiling.


And from then on the two were together a lot, always working on new moves for class. This brought them to black belt level in only a year. So the two also were together at school and after school. Including football games.


“All right,” Llandra laughed as she walked down the bleachers. “I’ll be back in a minute.”


She turned and walked down the bleachers and headed to the concession stand. As she went, she fingered the money in her pocket she had earned working teaching gymnastics at her personal gym. For the past two years, since before the incident with Summer, she rented a small building down the road from the school and used it to teach gymnastics to young people. The place was not much, but it suited her needs well.


As she walked, she glanced at the field. Same situation as when she last checked. So she walked up to the stand and stood in the back of one of the lines. As she stood there, she heard a commotion at the head of the line.


“No, you idiot,” the voice cried out, obviously masculine. “I didn’t order a stinking Gatorade. I want a Powerade.”


Llandra stood outside of the line and looked to the front to see the source of the voice. Standing at the front, was a man about two and a half to three inches taller than Llandra. To her, he was obviously graduated and no one in the line stood a fighting chance against him should they decide to stand up to him, who obviously worked out regularly and weighed about two-hundred and eighty pounds. But Llandra didn’t care.


“Hey, moron,” she cried to him. “Grab a dang Gatorade and hurry it up. I mean, come on, man. They’re the same friggin thing. Everybody knows that. So shut your friggin mouth and pay for it or get out of the way so I can get a hot dog.”


“Oh, now you done it,” the beefy man said and dropped the Gatorade on the counter and started walking towards Llandra. “Ain’t nobody gonna speak to me that way and get away with it.”


“Dude, shut up,” Llandra told him. “I just want a hot dog, so get out of my way.”


But he walked up to her and Llandra knew he was just going to talk more smack then walk away. That was the usual routine. Most bullies pulled the same thing. Very predictable. But Llandra noticed something that threw the statistics out the window. As he screamed obscenities in her face, she smelt alcohol. This was very different. Now he was no longer predictable. He could do anything. But something very unusual happened right then.. .


In her head was a very strange scene. Not thought up by her own mind, but put there by some mysterious outside source. Like a movie on a TV, she saw the scene play out. What she saw was the big man throwing a punch directly at her face. Simple move. But the man’s punch would break her nose and render her unconscious should it land. Llandra was still hearing him as she saw this and was in no way impaired. She could still see him with her eyes, and the vision was playing out in her head at the same time. And a gut instinct told her this was a prophecy, not a hallucination. So she was ready.


“So shut up!” he screamed and sent the straight right hand flying.


Llandra dropped down pushed his chest back as she swept her foot around behind him and hit him in the back of the ankle. The outcome was him, being drunk and off-balance, toppling over backward and tripping over the foot behind him. He hit the ground with a thud.


Llandra looked up to the crowd.


“Please, keep it going.”


She was met with a cheer of appreciation from the crowd. She nodded her head to them. No longer craving a drink, she walked off and watched the football game from behind the fence, leaving the big man lying on the ground. After twenty seconds or so, she turned her head and watched him get up and look around. He shook and his head and walked away towards the parking lot, and Llandra smiled and turned to watch her brother run the football in for a touchdown.





Jex stood there for a second and watched his friends walk away. Christian Jex was his true name, but he went by his last name. Though the two didn’t know each other, he and Angel Marciano were alike in many ways, despite the fact that Jex was black. He was incredibly smart, and fashioned in a trench coat most of the time. Jex, though, had much common sense, and was suave with women. His coat was a dark red color and he fashioned pants daily to go with his coat. His head was a shiny, bald one, which his teammates often teased him about glaring the light into their eyes during practice. Under his coat he always wore a black tee-shirt, which he wore during his soccer practice. On the team he was the star player, Brandon being the second best. His lightning quick speed aided him much, and he tore around other players like they were nothing.


The only reason he was at the game that night was due to the fact that he was looking to see Summer Grandoso, a blonde freshman with a nice body and charming personality. Though they only saw each other occasionally, he liked being with her and was hoping she had something for him, too.


Jex turned and walked to the stands. The game was near ending and he wanted to catch Summer before her parents came and picked her up. In fact, he was hoping to give her a ride home himself. Nothing wrong, but just give himself some one on one time with her to become closer. He felt twenty minutes together in the same vehicle might give them some time to get to know each other. They used to ride the same bus in middle school, so he knew where she lived.


As he ventured to the stands, he thought about what he would say.


“Hey, Summer,” he said in his head. “Ya mind if I give you a ride home? Yeah, it’s me, Jex. You want to?”


Of course, in his plans, she would say “sure” and they would ride off together talking like old friends. He wasn’t quite convinced that was true, but he was praying for the best. Maybe ask her to the movies or something.


Here’s hoping for the best, he thought.


Joseph was like Apollo. He, too, was an expert hacker. But he didn’t have the social life Apollo had. He was what some would call a “loser”. He had no friends but Apollo, but that was all he needed. He also had no sense of fashion. Apollo was trying to get him to come out of his shell and be normal, but he also knew that Joseph was a good-hearted person who didn’t need nice clothes to make him cool. Joseph also had a more secret life that only Apollo knew of. On the internet, he was one of the most infamous hackers there was. If one was to ask any basic hacker or computer company about “The Banshee”, they would get a wicked response. “The Banshee” was Joseph’s signature whenever he raided a company’s files, and there was even a reward out for anyone offering help in the capture of the criminal. Joseph felt no shame for his actions, though. He never disrupted a company’s doings, he just stepped in their computer files and copied a few for himself. When he took money, it was only from very rich organizations. Never from non-profit organizations. Just from large businesses who wouldn’t miss $10,000 or so. He never hurt a company financially, because he had ethics to never take from someone who had less than $0,000,000. So large companies were always his targets. So far, he had $4,800,000 stored up in a Swiss Bank account. He planned on retiring one day off of it. Apollo had skills, too, but nowhere near that of Joseph. He had a Swiss Bank account, too, but with only $,000,000 in it. Reasonably less than Joseph.


Joseph looked at his watch.


“It’s nine fifteen,” he told Apollo. “Looks like you ought to get going.”


“All right, dude.”


“See ya.”


Apollo got up and walked to the bottom of the bleachers. He didn’t care much for the game, he just came to hang out with friends.


But he knew he had to leave the game early because he wanted to get home before his father, who of course would ask for money to support his “small business on the other side of town where he lived.” At least that’s what he told Jex, who he was convinced believed him. Jex had a contact monitoring his parents all of the time. Just a boy who he discovered was deep into the drug world by hacking into police files and getting his name. So, in an agreement, the boy, who’s name was Jonathan Langoldan, resolved to monitor his parents in exchange for not telling anyone of his secret addiction. Plus, Jonathan had agreed to get help from his addiction. So, earlier that night , Jonathan reported to him through an e-mail that his father was broke and would be coming by some time that night to get some money. Since the usual time for his father’s arrivals was midnight, Jex wanted to be in and out of his house by eleven, getting everything he needed for the next day, hoping his dad would leave.




































































Chapter Two


After scoring the extra point, the kick-off team lined up on the thirty-yard line. With one last opportunity, the Avalanches had only the kick-off to score a point. On the west side of the line-up, Angel stood, waiting for the ball to be kicked. Their coach, Mario Lovill, had given them all specific instructions.


“If you see a man in a green uniform, knock him on his butt. If you see a man in a red uniform, help him knock someone on their butt. And I promise you this if any of you draw a foul, I will personally shove my foot so far up your butt, it will take some serious surgery to get it out.”


Angel watched as the kicker ran forward and struck the ball with enough force to send it to the other team’s goal line. As he sprinted off of the line, an extremely large running back caught the ball on the three yard line. As the man caught it, he stepped forward and fell in line behind three other green uniforms. Angel saw this and ran towards him as fast as he could.


There is no way I’m going to let this dude go down and score and win the game, he thought to himself. That just ain’t gonna happen.


With precision and planning, the Freemen took out the first two blockers. Then, in a pretty neat move, another player ran up to take out the final blocker as suddenly another player was knocked down in front of him. The man, seeing he might trip over the player, then jumped up to avoid the man in his path. Out of pure luck, he slammed into the last blocker, leaving the runner wide open. There was now a wide open path between Angel and this runner. With only ten yards between the two, they closed in fast. Angel, thinking he could pull an ESP play again if he tried hard enough, focused hard to envision what would happen. Then it happened.


In a split second, Angel’s mind was clouded over with almost a storm cloud. In his head was like a clap of thunder, and his mind went black. He was mystified. With no clear thought in his head, it took all he could to keep from passing out.


What the hey? he cried in his head. Why the heck isn’t it working? It did last time without my consent. Now that I know I have it, it won‘t even do it. I don’t understand.


As he closed in on the runner, he started to stumble from the head-rush. His legs wobbled, and he slowly fell to the ground.


And I’m going down, he cried in a dry sarcasm in his mind. This just won’t end well.


As he ran at the ball-man, it was like he had a pounding headache and he had to seize hold of his helmet to try to end the pain. Angel, in great discomfort, flew past, trying to regain his steps and go back. But it was too late. The Avalanche watched as he ran by, (and Angel could have swore he saw the man shake his head as if in disappointment), then ran down the field wide open for the rest of the way. The crowd cheered as he crossed the goal line. One crowd at least. On the home side of the field, loud booing and cries of dismay could be heard.


“What the heck kind of a play was that, you idiot,” one enraged, lean-built teenager cried. “I could have seen that coming!”


Angel just lied there. He knew it was all his fault. He relied too heavily on his new ability instead of making the play on his own. With despair, he slowly rose to his feet. He knew that all over the stadium, people hated him. It seemed that they had forgotten all about his touchdown run earlier and now knew only his mistake. He turned his head and looked down the field at the runner. The man just stood in the end zone and then started jogging back down the field to Angel.


Angel, not wanting to have to hear the man’s gloating, turned and walked to the opposite end of the field. He knew all of the fans would only yell at him if he went to the stands. With feet feeling like lead weights, he trudged down towards the fence behind the touchdown zone. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught site of his twin sister Llandra. She ran up to him and called out his name.


“Hey Angel,” she yelled. “Hold up.”


He stopped and turned to look at his sister. As she approached, Angel waited for her to tell him what he did wrong and how she was so ashamed at him.


“Dude,” she said in almost awe. “Where did that come from?”


“I tried to read his waist and I--”


“That was an awesome jump!”


He looked up at her as he took off his helmet. He had expected a lecture on how not to miss a tackle.


“The way you kinda just stopped at that speed, and didn’t shatter an ankle, then pushed off like you did… It was amazing.”


As they approached the fence, Llandra’s coat swayed in the night wind behind her. As the twins exited the field, they had to step up their speed a bit to fall in line before the crowd coming their way along the other side of the fence. Angel bowed his head in shame as he walked in front of the crowd, and started to remove his jersey so he could start cooling off a bit and be less recognizable to those who might be angry with him.


Llandra started to speak as Angel’s jersey was halfway over his head.


“Hey, man. Earlier tonight, when you pulled that sweet move on the field…”


But Angel heard no more. In his mind, he once again had a vision. This time of himself walking where he currently was, but suddenly, in his vision, two hands shoved him in the back. Angel, seeing this as a premonition, was torn as what to do. His jersey and shoulder-pads were halfway over his head, and he was defenseless. Then, it hit him. Not a vision, just an idea.


As he pulled the jersey forward from his head, he leaned back and slammed the shoulder-pads within the jersey onto the arms reaching out to shove him. As the arms fell down, he slid out from the vestment and turned to face his aggressor. It was Brandon Skegs, the captain of the soccer team and an all around ignoramus. As his arms fell to his sides and the shoulder-pads slammed to the ground, Brandon looked up at Angel in shock.


“What the hell was that?” Brandon cried. Obviously, Angel had embarrassed the bully in front of his cohorts, and Brandon could not let that go.


”First of all,” Brandon started, glancing from his friends to Angel to try and intimidate the football player. “I bet three hundred dollars on that game and you just lost me my money.”


“You know what’s really amazing?” Angel said in an amazed, but sarcastic tone. “You say that like I care. I mean, the way you say it indicates I should give a crap, but in all reality, I don’t care.”





As he walked to the stands, Jex thought about Summer. Usually she sat at the top near the band because she knew some band members and talked to them during breaks. So, as he went, he prepared to look up to the spot.


“Hey you little shrimp!” Jex heard a gruffly voice off beside him cry. “How much money do you have on you?”


What the? He thought. Who the heck was that?


He looked over to his right and standing in the middle of the dirt road the trucks went down was an older guy, probably thirty years old, looking down on a boy much smaller than him. He was wearing a heavy coat in the middle of September, and that wasn’t right. It was maybe eighty-five degrees out, and he only wore it to conceal something, Jex knew. Jex figured it didn’t involve him, so he would stay out of it.


But he’s about to beat this dude into the ground, he thought. Then he looked over to the stands, which, judging by the people leaving, the game was over and everyone was going home. But Summer!


Despite his urge to see the blonde freshman, he also had a conscience. He didn’t want to read tomorrow in the paper about a young boy found dead and know that he could have saved him. So, of course, turned in the direction of the screaming. As he walked, he kind of crouched down and stepped behind an old truck to hide himself from the view of the two. First, he wanted to check things out. If he saw that the two knew each other and things were okay, he would walk away and not involve himself. But if things were bad enough, he also wanted to have at least the advantage of not being seen. So he bent his legs and slowly made his way to where he would be behind the big guy.


When he made it close enough, he looked through the cab of a car to see the argument without being himself seen.


Thinking to himself, he wanted to examine the situation.


Let’s see what we’ve got.


Apollo walked down the bleachers and waved to some basketball players sitting a couple rows away. He didn’t want to get involved in a conversation right then, so he just kept walking. Each step made a loud “clang” sound as it reverberated through the stands.


Stepping from the bleachers, he walked through a crowd of people and made his way to the parking lot.


As he proceeded to his motorcycle, an old thing he purchased with his own money a month or so before, he noticed an older man step out from behind a truck in front of him. The man was perhaps thirty years old, with buzz cut gray hair, and Apollo kind of wandered what he was doing at a high school game. But he minded his own business and ignored him. Until the guy called out to him.


“Hey you little shrimp,” he said in a gruff voice. “How much money you got on you?”


Apollo would have continued to ignore him, but the guy stepped right in front of him. Apollo, trying to keep cool, looked to the ground and stepped around to the other side of him. The man stuck out his hand to stop him, but Apollo, being naturally quick, ducked under it and turned back around to look at him so as not to get caught in the back with anything.


“Back off, man,” he said. “I ain’t giving you no money.”


“Well then,” Biggie, or so Apollo had dubbed him, said. “I guess I’ll have to take it.”


“Guess so,” Apollo said sarcastically. As he stood facing Biggie, he noticed someone creeping in the shadows behind the big guy, and he figured that he had friends. As he watched, he noticed the figure raise an arm and motion something. He had no idea who it was or what they were doing, so he decided to be cautious. He wasn’t planning on being jumped that night, so he was doing everything he could just to get out of there and get home before his dad.


Keeping his eyes on the outline in the shadows, Apollo talked to Biggie.


“You might as well give up now,” he said. “You’re not getting my money. Plus, I have somewhere to be right now.”


“No,” Biggie said. “You’ve got to be right here.”


In his mind, Apollo was enraged. He didn’t want to encounter his father, so he wanted to leave fast. But he had meditated for years as something to get away from his parents fighting, so he knew how to control his body’s actions and facial expressions. So he looked up to Biggie.


“Don’t make me bust out an ‘I’m warning you’, because that’s just too corny. So,” he stepped up and looked Biggie in the face. “Leave me alone.”


Standing to the side, Llandra watched as Brandon started to shake from his fury. She also noted that his left cheek was red. With her eyes darting back and forth from Brandon to Angel, she started to grin. She could see that Angel was taking pleasure in making Brandon fume. Knowing her brother, he would verbally beat down Brandon with his expanded vocabulary until the other man couldn’t stand it any more, then Angel would make a fool out of the person when he made a move.


“But what really gets me,” Angel continued. “Is that you act like a bad-ass in front of your friends, only because you know that without them, you’re nothing. One-on-one, I would beat you into the ground.”


Now he’ll get an uncontrollable rage, Angel predicted.


Brandon’s eyes were wide with fury and his hands were clenched into white fists.


“I could crush your head with my bare hand,” Brandon barked, and his friends behind him spoke up supporting his statement.


Llandra, standing to the side, stepped up beside her twin and pointed a finger at the crowd.


“Any of you want to talk crap, bring it over here and I’ll help beat it out of you.”


Out of the gang stepped a large man Angel didn’t know. Obviously, he was already graduated and about an inch taller than Angel. Llandra smiled at him as she raised her eyebrows as if in realization. The big man smiled back.


“Then let’s go,” said the large man.


“Llandra-” Angel started, worried, but she cut him short.


“I can take care of this,” she said with a smile. “You just take care of this guy and meet me by the truck in ten minutes.”


Angel nodded and watched as she walked off.


“Follow me,” she said to the large man with a bow, and turned and lead him away from Angel and Brandon. A couple people followed, but the others stayed to watch the men battle. Angel watched as his sister walked towards the parking lot, then turned back to Brandon, who was obviously shaken up as to the fact that his biggest man had deserted him.


Now he’ll think of some excuse to not fight, Angel foresaw. But he ain’t gonna get out of this that easily. He started it, I’ll end it.


“You know what,” Brandon said, pointing his finger in Angel’s face, who just stared. “You’re lucky I’m gonna let this go. But only this time. Next time there will be hell to pay.”


“Actually,” Angel said. “I think you’re gonna walk away now and tell your friends, if that is what you call them, how ‘incredibly close’ I was to getting beat up. When, in all reality, you’re about to walk away now because I intimidate you and you are about to get whooped up on. And by the way, jackass, in case ‘intimidate‘ is too big of a word for you, it means your scared crapless of me.” ”


And this is where he snaps, Angel laughed in his mind.


“Bullcrap!” Brandon almost screamed. “Well now I guess I’ll have to teach you a lesson.”


Angel purposely yawned. Brandon stepped forward and reared his right arm back to throw a punch.


Now is my favorite part, laughed Angel in his mind. This is the part where I make a fool out of him.


As the punch flew at him, Angel lifted his right hand and slapped it down before it reached his face. The fist went downward, but Brandon was determined, and followed it up with a left hook. Angel simply lifted his right arm again and crooked it so the elbow faced the oncoming fist. Tensing his arm, Angel felt the fist smash into his elbow. Keeping his cool despite the small amount of discomfort he felt, he looked at Brandon, who pulled his hand to his stomach and held it tight, trying to take away the pain.


Brandon, in his wild vehemence, changed plans and charged Brandon with his head down, attempting to spear him. The football player simply leapt a few feet in the air, nothing spectacular, and pushed the approaching head down to the ground. As the body stumbled under him, Angel turned to face the soccer player.


“Despite the pleasure I get making a fool out of you,” he sighed. “I’m afraid I must go meet my sister before either of us get caught and suspended. So, adios.”


Brandon looked up at him with eyes filled with disbelief, then rage. Not wanting to let Angel leave there the victor, he leapt up and ran at Angel, who had his back to him. Angel heard the footsteps of the stumbling boy and sighed. Without much effort, he stepped to the side, leaving one foot out for Brandon to trip over. And he did.


Brandon flew face first towards the dirt, and stuck his arms out to break his fall. But he need not to have worried about it, because Angel stuck an arm out and grabbed him by his letterman jacket’s collar. He held him there for a second until Brandon put his arms out and crawled on all fours away. Angel watched as he stood and turned to face the him, then looked him in the eye and cocked his head to the side.


“That would have hurt you more than I was willing to hurt you,” Angel said. “You could have busted your chin up and needed stitches, and I’m not that cruel. I’m leaving now.”


Brandon accepted the defeat this time, and allowed Angel to walk away.


Maybe that will teach him a lesson in humility, thought Angel. And perhaps one in forgiveness, too.


Llandra watched as the man made his way through the people and looked down at her. She couldn’t help but smile. It was the same guy she had knocked down earlier at the concession stand.


Well ain’t that something, she thought.


“Then let’s go,” he said.


“Llandra-” Angel started, worried, but she cut him short.


“I can take care of this,” she said with a smile.


I’ve done it before, she thought. She turned to her twin.


“You just take care of this guy and meet me by the truck in ten minutes.”


She could see the uneasiness in his eyes, but he nodded and watched as she walked off. As she walked, she turned to keep an eye on the big guy, making sure he didn’t do anything while her back was towards him. As she walked through the booth outside to the park, she kept an eye out for her vehicle, a white Dodge Ram 1500 she shared with her brother. When she saw it, she led the big guy in that direction, who was talking trash the whole way. She ignored him and walked until she was about a hundred feet from the truck down the road. Then she stopped and turned to face him.


Obviously, he had been threatening her and getting irate at her ignoring him. In retaliation, he jumped at her. Needless to say, Llandra was a little surprised. But only a little.


This being because at that moment before she turned, something like a blast occurred in her head. It was like someone had pushed the “Play” button and played the video at ten times the normal speed, but everything was quite discernible. The way it played out in her mind was as soon as she turned, it would be to him jumping at her. Nothing more. Just that simple action. The same thing that happened at the concession stand.


So, as she turned, she raised her right arm straight out in front of her to try and tell him to hold on a second. But the outcome was not expected. Her hand served as sort of a wall and his face smacked right into it. Llandra was driven back by the force of his weight and stumbled a little. He, on the other hand, was quite a mess. With his momentum pushing him on, his nose drove into her palm and was turned quite bloody. Llandra stepped back in horror. She wasn’t trying to hurt him. The plan was to talk him down and try to reason with him. But, with his nose bleeding and his breath reeking of liquor, he would have none of it.


“You little freak!” he cried, raising his hand to his face and looking at the warm blood that flowed onto it. “You broke my freakin’ nose.”


“Dude,” she said as she bent down to help him up. “I wasn’t trying to hurt you.”


But instead of an “It’s okay. I’ll be just fine.”, he pushed off and pounced her. But she was fast due to her years of gymnastics, so she moved to the side. As he soared past her, she turned in a quick step and leapt on his back. Knowing he was drunk and likely to do anything, she put her elbow around his neck. Keeping away from the jugular, she put each part of her arm over the arteries that gave blood to the brain and squeezed tight.


He was quite drunk, so he went down quick. But it was still a wild ride. He stumbled forward for a second, then reached over his back to try to grab her. But she merely turned her head and bit his hands, which caused him to howl in pain. She spoke into his ear, though, trying to reason with him. As he became dizzier, he fell to his knees.


“I’m sorry, man,” she said. “But it’s for your own good.”


As he sat on his knees, he lost balance and fell face first onto the dirt road. Llandra let loose before he landed, and crawled off of him, brushing herself off. Then, remembering the others, turned her head to his cohorts, who were cheering the bully on until he passed out on the ground. Then they were silent.


“If any of you come near me,” she threatened. “I will break your friggin’ nose.”


She reached down and checked for a pulse on the oversized brute. It was there. Without turning to them, she spoke to the people.


“Keep him lying on his stomach. If you turn him over, he could throw up and drown on his own bile. So just let him lay there until he wakes up. Okay?”


“Yeah,” one scrawny kid spoke up timidly. “Sure.”


She turned and walked to the truck. Angel wasn’t there yet, so she approached it and stood there.


As he hid down behind a car, Jex looked over at the small guy. Upon further examination, he noticed he wasn’t any younger than him, just shorter. Even though Jex was wrong about the age, he could still see that the little guy was obviously no match for the older guy. He was already about a foot shorter, and probably weighed a hundred pounds less. Jex knew that it would get real ugly if he didn’t step in and do something.


So he decided to get the midget’s attention. He raised his right arm up over the top of the car and started waving it. With his back to him, the big dude would be oblivious to his actions. Noticing the little guy’s eyes dart his direction, he stopped waving and started motioning with his hand that he was going to push the guy from behind, then he should run away. But midget-man ignored him, and continued talking in a low tone to the old guy.


But Jex had to do something, especially when he heard the little guy ask the bigger one to leave him alone. So that did it.


Taking a deep breath and praying to God, he rushed out and shoved the big one in his upper back. Knocking him off balance, the big guy stumbled forward and Jex ducked around him and grabbed the short guy’s arm. He pulled him with him as he ran forward.


“Get out of here!” he cried and pushed the guy off in the direction of the stadium.


“Say what?” was the little guy’s reaction.


Jex looked down at the guy who was starting to get up, then back to the little guy.


“Let’s go,” he said, his eyes blazing.


“You little son of a…,” the man said as he started unzipping his jacket and erecting himself.


In his mind, it was what Jex had dreaded. The guy wasn’t going to take it any more and decided to break out his gun. Jex realized that the other dude knew this as well, seems as how he, too, was taking cover. Jex turned and ran as he watched the other guy go around the other side of the car. Jex took off and stumbled as he made a direct beeline for the front of the white car in front of him. Both boys ran and threw themselves behind the vehicle, just in time for a bullet to go through the windshield over their head. Jex reached up and grabbed the door-handle of the car to balance himself. He was so scared, he didn’t realize the small guy drop beside him until he spoke. Loudly, too, to be heard over the screams and gunshots.


The little guy looked up at Jex.


“What the heck was up with that?” he cried over the gunshot. “Any idiot could have seen he had a gun! Why did you jump him?”


“I was trying to save your short butt,” Jex retaliated.


“This short butt can take care of itself,” the littler one replied.


Both dropped down as glass poured down on their head. As they had seen in many movies, they put their hands over the back of their neck to protect it. Obviously, the gun-man wasn’t smart enough to come around the car, so shot after shot busted through it until they saw bright lights shine onto the big guy, obviously a vehicle of some sort. All the big guy could see was a pair of bright white lights getting closer. All the little guy could see was the big one covering his eyes as he became white in the lights’ glow.


But Jex saw more.


Standing there, Apollo looked up into Biggie’s face. As he searched for something to say, what came to him wasn’t words. It was a movie clip. Not any movie he had ever seen, but a vision of that which was to come. He had no idea how he knew this, but he did. And the video, it was of Biggie falling forward. Not falling, though, for it was too fast. He was pushed. Pushed by the next part of the vision, a boy his age coming around him and grabbing his arm.


Sure enough, as Biggie looked down on him, Apollo knew to step to the side. Done well, too, because the next instant the big one fell forward and around him came the person he assumed was from the shadows of the cars.


“Get out of here!” yelled the stranger and shoved Apollo’s chest in order to send him off.


“Say what?” Apollo asked, bewildered. This guy had not saved him, he had only made things worth.


Apollo saw the guy look down at Biggie then turn back to him as he began to rise.


“Let’s go,” shadow-boy yelled at Apollo. But Apollo already knew that. He looked down at Biggie, who had slowly risen and begun to unzip his jacket.


“You little son of a…,” Biggie muttered.


Of course, Apollo added the situation up fast. This guy had practically jumped him in the street, he had a heavy jacket on in balmy weather, and he was unzipping it. He had a gun.


“Holy…” Apollo muttered and turned to find some place to run. The first thing he saw was an old white Buick and the other boy was already heading there. So he decided it was the best place to go.


Putting his little legs to use, he sped toward the rear of the Buick. In Hawaii Five-O fashion, he slid over the trunk and landed on his hip on the other side.


When he got over the pain in his side, he saw shadow-boy crouching down, holding his hands up to the door handle for balance.


“What the heck was up with that?” he cried over the gunshot. “Any idiot could have seen he had a gun! Why did you jump him?”


“I was trying to save your short butt,” the other guy yelled over the sounds of people screaming.


“This short butt can take care of itself,” he yelled back..


With another gun-shot, glass poured down on their head from a shattered window. In true fashion, both raised and protected their vulnerable neck from razor sharp glass.


As he reached the truck, Angel noticed Llandra standing beside it with her hair in a bit of a mess. She smiled as he approached and he returned the gesture. As he walked up, he saw to his right about a hundred feet away some people gathered around a body lying on the gravel. He shot a look of horror at his sister.


“Aw, come on,” Llandra said, exasperated. “You don’t think I actually killed him. Jeez, man. I’m not that stupid. I just put him in a sleeper hold ‘til he passed out. I checked when he went out, and he’s still alive.”


Angel grinned. The fact that his sister could take down an older man amazed him, as well as amused him. But his amusement was cut short by the sound of a gun-shot down by the stadium, along with a loud shattering to the left of the vehicle.


“Son of a…” Angel cried.


He looked to his left and saw the window of the car next to them shatter, and he dropped to the ground. The two twins looked around for a second, then Angel stood up and tossed the keys to Llandra. As he ran around the vehicle, his sister unlocked the truck and jumped in. By the time he opened the door and slid into the driver’s seat, the truck was started and ready to go.


As he put the vehicle in reverse and backed out of the parking spot, his sister turned to him.


“Dude, whatever that was wasn’t good. Let’s go down there and see if we can help.”


“Like what,” Angel said, turning to face her as he stopped the truck in the middle of the road. “Take a bullet or two to the chest?”


“No, jackass.” She argued. “Just go down there and see what we can do, if anything.”


He hit the steering wheel with his hands and put the truck into drive, then turned the direction of the gun-shots. As his twin nodded in approval, the two crouched down to avoid any oncoming bullets. As they tore down the road, people ran all around them, in the opposite direction of them.


“The Word says go against the flow, brother.” Llandra told Angel.


Angel ignored her and continued toward the source of the ruckus. As they got down there, they saw an older man standing there with a gun, shooting desperately and crazily at a white car they were coming upon. Out of the corner of his eye, Angel noticed blue and red lights heading their way down the main highway.


“Well,” he said to Llandra. “Here come the cops.”


As they came up to the shooter, he turned to look into the head-lights and had to cover his eyes. Then, in an unexpected move, he raised the gun and aimed it at the oncoming truck. Llandra screamed and dropped to the floor-board, with her hands over her head. But Angel stayed up and watched as the single last bullet in his gun fired directly at him. As he held his breath, the bullet busted through the tinted windshield directly in front of him and he heard it go through the window behind him. But he felt nothing. In his mind, he evaluated the situation and figured that the angle of the window had reflected the bullet in another direction.


Yeah, he told himself. That’s it.


But had to focus back on the current situation. Which was the gun-man jumping out of way of the truck and not entirely making it. As he flew through the air, the truck, going probably 15 mph, clipped him in his right leg. He fell to the ground as the truck continues past, and Angel, still in shock from the bullet incident, continued down the road to the main road. Behind him, people ran up to remove the weapon from the thug now that he was injured. Nobody paid any attention to the truck that went down the road and worked it’s way home, save a few that didn’t want to jump the big man. Well, also there were the two men in the back of the truck.


As the truck tore down the road, Llandra looked ahead at the man with the gun. As he raised it, she screamed and dropped to the floorboard.


Oh Lord, she prayed. Please save us.


As she lay there on the floorboard, she looked up at Angel. His eyes were wide as the glass in front of him was pierced with a bullet. Llandra screamed once more and covered her eyes.


Dear God!, she cried in her head. Please let him be okay!


She was surprised when she noticed the truck didn’t start swerving. She looked up at her twin and almost passed out when she saw that there was a hole in the seat behind him. Right behind his head.


How did it go behind him without hitting him? She said in her mind, shocked. It’s a miracle.


And so it was.


As he stared at the white paint on the car door in front of him, Jex’s mind was clouded over with another picture. It showed that the source of the bright lights was a white truck, a Dodge Ram 1500. In it were two kids, probably his age. As they tore down the road in his direction, the big guy would turn and fire on the truck. And, since the truck was not going entirely that fast, perhaps the distraction caused by the truck would buy the two boys enough time to get away. Possibly in the back of the truck, if they tried hard enough.


And he surely would try.


Jex watched as the large guy turned and stared at the vehicle, then put his hands over his eyes and fired his final bullet wildly at the truck, which didn’t stop. He was bewildered at the shocking accuracy of his vision and how it played out. All as planned.


“Let’s go little man!” yelled Jex and grabbed the wee boy’s arm and ran out right behind the truck as it passed at about an estimated twenty miles per hour. He dislodged his arm from the boy’s and stuck one out to grab the tailgate. As it latched on, he was yanked forward and he used the momentum to throw himself into the bed.


Apollo was surprised when the other guy snatched his arm and said “Let’s go little man!”.


With that, Apollo was yanked away from behind the car and tried to break away because the man with the gun was out there. But the other guy didn’t let go until a white truck passed. Then he let go and snatched the tailgate of the truck. Apollo watched as the dude flew into the bed and raised himself up to look at him. Apollo, caught up in the action, started running behind the truck, trying to catch up. Then he watched as shadow-boy reached out a hand to him.


“Let’s go,” the guy cried.


Apollo reached out and grabbed his hand. The hand pulled him back and Apollo jumped up onto the bumper. As he threw his leg over the tailgate, he heard a gun-shot and heard the glass of the back window of the truck make a sound as if it had been hit. Then he felt something on his chest, but had to drop down in the truck before he fell out the back.


As he lay in the bed, the other guy forgot about him and crouched down in the fertile position. But Apollo had to look at his chest. And when he did, he saw a hole in his shirt where the bullet had pierced it. No mark on his skin, just a hole on his shirt. And, upon further investigation, one directly behind it on his back.


He just laid their shocked as the truck he was in moved down the road, leaving the trouble behind in a cloud of dust.










































































Chapter Three


Angel was barely aware of his surroundings as he flew down the highway at sixty-five m.p.h., his truck a white blur as it worked its way home. In the cab of the vehicle, Angel shook his head and brought himself back into reality.


He turned Llandra, who looked at him with wide eyes and pulled herself up into the seat.


‘Are you okay?” he asked her.


“Am I okay?” she asked sarcastically. “I’m not the one who just took a bullet through the head!”


He looked at her like she was crazy.


“Say what?” he asked.


“Look behind your head!”


She couldn’t calm down.


He tried to turn his head, but it was dark out and he didn’t want to risk a crash.


So he turned the truck to the right and pulled off beside a fenced in pasture. Cows mooed as he put the truck in park and turned it off. He turned his head around and looked at the hole behind him half-believing.


“Oh my Lord,” he sighed.


“Yeah,” his twin said. “It was even crazier when I heard it go out the back window. I almost cried.”


He looked back to her and blinked rapidly, as if maybe that would awaken him from the dream he was in.


“I don’t understand,” he said. “How did that happen?”


Llandra looked at him and smiled.


“I prayed you would be okay, and you were.”


Once again, he looked back behind him. Once again, he saw the seat with a single hole in it. He raised his head and looked over the seat to the back window. In it, too, was a round hole with cracks extending from it.


Then, as Angel stared at the hole, a face appeared behind it.


“Son of a…” he cried, and he raised his arms as if they would protect him from the person. Then he calmed down as he realized it was only a man his age with a look of question on his face.


But that didn‘t mean he was out of danger. He reached under his seat and pulled out an old axe handle. It was a make-shift weapon he kept for emergencies.


“Stay here.” he told his sister.


She nodded.


With that, he jumped out of the truck and turned to the bed of his truck. There he saw the person and he stepped forward and raised the club. But before he could question the person, the man looked scared and leapt out at him. As he went over Angel’s head, he flipped over into what looked like a front flip, until he turned around and used his hands to push Angel’s head forward towards the truck. Then the guy landed behind him and put his foot against Angel’s back, pinning him against the truck.


“Drop the club,” he ordered with a relatively deep voice.


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