If you guys hate it, please tell me. I wont do it again.
Chapter One Rude Awakenings
Oh my god my head hurts. What god? I feel like I should know. The light is harsh as I open my eyes. It turns my head ache into a blinding rage for a second while I adjust to it.
“Son, can you hear me? Boy?” A gruff and authoritative voice barks at me. As my vision clears I see a man with a crisp square haircut and large unflattering glasses. He has decorations all over his blue uniform.
“Yeah, I can hear you.” It’s like the sound of my voice is strange to me. Like I’ve never heard it before. My throat is raw and I croak the words out “Water.”
The man in the glasses smiles, “Boy speaks English too, excellent. Now get him some water soldier.” I hear movement around me; smell the antiseptic in the air. I’m in an infirmary. I can’t lift my head. I feel the bite of leather in my forehead when I try. I’m strapped in.
“Where am I?” I croak out.
“I’m afraid son I can’t answer that. You’re going to have to answer my questions son. Now where…”
“Why I am strapped down?” I cut the man in the glasses off mid sentence.
“Son listen when I say, Your going to have to answer my question before I answer any o’ yours,” He pauses for dramatic effect, he’s good at this, “You get me son?”
I sigh and nod as best I can, “Good. Now what’s your name?
“I don’t know.”
“Where do you come from?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you remember?”
“A splitting head ache and looking at your ugly face.” The angry and terse look fades slightly to a smile.
“Well damn that’s disappointing. I am going to let you up now son. You need to promise that you ain’t going to cause any trouble. You get me?” I nod again and he leans over me and undoes straps holding my head wrists and ankles. I sit up. It was a mistake as my head swims and I almost puke.
“It’s ok boy. You rest. We will talk later.”
* * *
“I have been stuck in this damn medical room for three days,” I yelled at the sterile metal door. The whole room was made of the god damn stuff, “Let me the fuck out.” I pound against the door for a few minuets until I hear some one approach. The door flies open and there is the man with the glasses.
“No need to curse boy,” whom ever is running this show send him, “Them boys Tregar and Mead are teaching you some bad habits now.” They think correctly that his fatherly and stern tone will make me behave. They are right, at least for now, “Now if you cause a minimum of trouble I can promise you a walk out side and even a few answers. You get me?” I nod again. He steps aside and holds his arm up. We walk down a hall way together in silence. We walk by a window. I catch my reflection and stop. Its like nothing I can explain, seeing yourself for the first time ever.
“You alright boy?”
“My memory only goes back three days sir,” I say, so stunned not realizing I called him what everyone else around him calls him, “I have never seen myself. Now I know why you call me boy, and son.”
I was younger than I thought. Probably sixteen. Wavy brown hair and green eyes. Thin and lanky. The man in the glasses puts his hand on my shoulder and smiles sadly. I am not sure why, “Let’s go for some fresh air.” We walk down a hall and through a pair of double doors flanked by men with guns in blue uniforms. When the doors open the light blinds me.
I have to shut my eyes tight and wait for my eyes to stop watering. I look out into the light and see the sun. You remember your first memory of the sun? I do, and no words I can speak or write can describe the feeling. I observe my surroundings. It’s a large fenced in compound. Four buildings and an airplane hanger. Men with dogs and the occasional armored car patrol the perimeter. There is a sharp salt tang in the air as I breathe. As we walk the man in the glasses clasps his hands behind his back.
“Who are you?” I ask.
“Miles Eddards, Chief Master Sergeant of the United States Air force.”
“Why am I here,” I stop walking and look him in the eye as I await a response. He thinks for a second then starts walking again.
“I can’t tell you that part son. I can tell you we here at this base perform scientific research for the US Military. One such piece of research led to you being here.”
“But you won’t tell me how or why?” He shakes his head.
* * *
It’s been three weeks. I am getting to know the base well. All except one building and the hanger. The Chief says I am not allowed to go in there. Today I am outside and five of the men, the only two names I know are Airman Basic Alex Tregar, and Airman First Class Billy Mead are going to teach me a game. Mead has become my friend. He eats dinner with me and brings me things to read. Through the magazines he gives me I learn a lot about the world on the other side of the fence. For instance, apparently Paris Hilton is very important out there, but for the life of me I can’t find out why.
Now I’m sweating. The Airmen are showing me a game called three on three. Tregar and Mead are on my team. The game seems simple, throw a giant orange into a big basket, but it’s hard. Fun though.
“Come on boy,” Mead yells at me in a drawling accent, “you ain't made a jump shot all day. Now get it together.” The giant orange flies at my head and I catch it. Up I go and it rolls off my fingers.
It spins in the air and of course goes way off target, “come on damn it!” I scream. The ball spins through the air and curves towards the hoop.
“Nice shot boy,” Tregar says as the giant orange curves into the net, “Weird spin you put on it, but if it works.”
“That’s game too gentlemen,” Mead says, “You three owe us a some beers and some pizza. And a soda for the boy.”
* * *
Four weeks on base. Everyone is disappointed I still have no memory past waking up here. Today Mead is going to show me how to shot a gun. The Chief is going to come watch too. He seems very interested in this.
“Alright,” Mead is talking to me as I try to focus on this stupid riffle, “Try again. Line up the sight like I showed ya. Deep breaths, hold it, and squeeze the trigger.” The riffle issues forth and the bullet ricochets with a high pitched whine and the squad, twelve men, all go diving as a joke, laughing. The beer can I am shooting at stays unfortunately unmoved.
“Well a shooter your not boy,” Tregar laughs.
“I’m a little sick of this boy stuff,” I said as I reloaded the riffle, “how bout you flyboys just give me a name?” Their was quite reflection for a long time as I messed with the riffle.
“Kevin.” The Chief broke the silence with that name. The other men began to shift and look elsewhere uncomfortably.
“I like it,” I said as the men dispersed. I snapped the riffle up and squeezed off a shot, missing. I lower the riffle, “Damn it.” As I snapped my head and turned, I hear the telltale ping of the can and turn back just in time to see it land and bounce.
“Damn strange,” The Chief exclaimed.
“Come on Kevin,” Mead said, “I’ll take ya back to your room.” We walked in silence until we came to my room.
“How come when the Chief named me every one got quiet? I do something wrong Mead?”
“Nah it ain’t you boy,” I cut him off with a rather mean look, “Kevin, I mean. Look……Our unit has been together for a while. We did some hairy shit in Afghanistan and Iraq. We were going into an expected missile site in Iraq. Our helicopter took fire and we crashed. Kevin was killed. It hurt the Chief in particular because Kevin was also Airman First Class Eddards. He was the Chief’s own boy. Saddest thing I ever heard have a boy die under his daddy’s own command.”
“Oh,” was all I could say to that, “Mead why am I here?”
“I can’t answer that Kevin.”
“Can’t or wont?” I asked my tone full of accusation.
“Both actually,” he responded a little hurt, “If I knew anything I am pretty sure I couldn’t tell you.”
“Goodnight Mead” He nodded and walked away, leaving me to think.
* * *
Six weeks on base. Some ones making pop corn. I can hear it. Screaming. I snap out of a dead sleep. Not popcorn, gun shots. I jump out of bed. Barefoot and bare chest
I run out into the hallway. Tregar and Mead are running towards me. In full battle gear. Automatic riffles, scopes, flack jackets, a few grenades. Smoke issuing from the barrels. They fired them recently.
“What’s going on guys?” Tregar reaches me first and kicks out, catches me square in the gut and floors me.
“What the hell are you doing Tregar?” Mead yells.
“Orders Mead,” Tregar said taking out his sidearm and cocking it, “In the event the experiment goes south, we put the boy down.” I can hear the trigger mechanism strain as Tregar pulls on it.
“No!” Mead yells and lunges forward too late. Time slows as the trigger clicks and the bullet explodes from the barrel, Mead still yelling. My mind snaps back. I wait for the bite of the bullet and it never comes. A few seconds pass and it feels like an eternity. Silence except for the sounds of battle in the distance. I look up. The bullet hangs in air about a foot from me, spinning down its momentum.
Another shot rings out, startling me and the hanging bullet falls to the floor. A second later Tregar follows it. Mead has a surprised look on his face. Which he shakes off.
“Let’s go Kevin.” We run out into the open air, cool as it hits my bare skin. An explosion at the hanger draws my eye. A man comes out of the smoke behind a few soldiers whose faces I know, but whose names I can’t recall. The man in the smoke. Tall and muscular. Very thin too. Unusually so. Wearing a grey suit and a wide brimmed green hat, sporting two very large pistols. He levels them at the three fleeing men and fires three shots from each gun.
The three men fall. A brief silence as the green hat turns my direction. I feel real, ball tightening fear for the first time ever. The wide brim hides the mans face, but I feel his eye searching me out. A gun shot barks out and The Chief runs out of the smoke behind the man in the green hat, know on the ground. The Chief looks around, sees me, and a look of relief fills his face. He starts to run my direction.
Another gun shot and time slows again. My head fills with pain as I watch The Chief fall forward, his chest exploding outward. The man in the green hat is standing up and running at me full speed. I scream and lash out, that pain filling my head leaves me and the air almost blurs between me and that damn man in the green hat. As the blur hits him he flies backward about twenty feet, limp as a rag doll. The green hat falling nearby the motionless body.
For a split second nothing happens except for the smoke from the hangar billowing into air. The man stirs and reaches for the hat.
“Just run Kevin,” Mead says checking his riffles magazine, “run, down that road is Port Hueneme. Head south and you’ll get to Los Angeles. Remember Los Angeles from the magazines.”
“Hollywood and Santa Monica yeah,” I said confused, “Why.”
“You can be lost there, get it?” So I ran. I turned and ran. When I was a few hundred yards away I hid against a building. In the distance I heard the sound of an automatic riffle issue four times. Then two very slow, large, and deliberate gun shots. My resolve broke, and I ran. South, I have to get south. South was all I could think of, south. So I ran.
Coming soon (we shall see) Chapter 2 Move West Down Ventura Boulevard