John Liddle was twenty, of average looks, and had a polished Bowie knife pressed against his throat. The knife was expensive and of intimidating size. John's breath was stuck fresh down into his chest. He didn't dare breathe.
"Shhh. Don't wanna wake the neighbors. That would be rude."
The man wasn't large or intimidating at all. Unlike John, a man that genetics had smiled upon, the man in black was lithe and bony. John was almost convinced that the man was a ghoul that had ascended from the depths of hell, for his voice reminded him of a snake.
"I said don't wake the neighbors. Are you a simpleton?"
John's face said what didn't need to be vocalized, and he shook his slightly side-to-side. The man's face was hidden by a ski mask, but the smile on his lips was undeniable in the light of the moon's rays.
"Get on up. We're going on a trip. It'll be very long and entertaining."
The man's other hand got a grip on the collar of John's shirt. A cold sweat had started all around his body, for he knew what the man was about to do. If he let the man take him, he was dead. It spoke to him through the fear.
As the man lead him toward the doorway of his room, John glanced to his closet. Inside was a Remington shotgun, his possible saving grace. Then, he made his decision.
The man in black stood behind John, his blade still pressed into his throat. As John walked forward, his head suddenly snapped backward, colliding with the man's nose. John heard a crunch.
The man stumbled backward, dropping the knife as he did. John didn't hesitate, rocketing toward the closet and wrenching it open. It took less than two seconds, but his anxiety made it feel as though it lasted ten. He heard a yell just as he grabbed the stock.
The man gave a battle cry and charged toward John, his knife held high in a reverse grip. John let go of the shotgun and used his right hand to block the knife. They both collided with a loud smack, and the man was suddenly on top of him.
John twisted his body and attempted to get on top of the man. No such luck, the man maintained his mounted position and stabbed downward, pushing his entire body weight down on the knife. He wheezed and pushed harder, the blade coming closer to his victim's skin.
John gasped when the blade nicked the side of his neck. He was already out of breath and knew he couldn't overpower the man's dominant position. He bucked his waist upward and twisted, this time succeeding in getting the mounted position.
He slammed his fist into the man's nose three times. The third time, the man's head bounced off the floor, and as scared as he was, John felt a certain glimmer of satisfaction at doing so.
"What was that?"
John froze. The voice did not belong to his father; he knew that much. It lacked the gravel and age that he had often known to be present in his voice.
He scrambled back into the closet and got his hands on the shotgun, pumping it and then aiming at the entrance to his bedroom. He would blow away the first asshole to show his face through that door.
"Hey, what's going-"
He missed the very close shot. It was his nerves, he pulled the trigger instead of squeezing it, and it went off before he could prepare for the recoil. Instead, it blew a hole in his door frame and sent the man running. His ears were probably ringing as loudly as John's.
"HE'S GOT A GUN! HE'S GOT A GUN!"
There was a multitude of footsteps that retreated down the stairs. John felt his legs moving, and there was a dull surprise when he found himself bounding down the steps of his home. The shotgun was still in his hand, and he nearly pumped again until he realized he already did so.
There was a partially formed handprint that lay on the white door of his kitchen when he ripped it open. It was winter in Georgia, and the rare snow had started falling that night. A couple of inches had already fallen, and his sister had been pulled out earlier that day because of how badly the roads had iced over. When his bare feet touched the blankets of snow, it felt like ice needles penetrating his feet.
"Where are you, you son of a bitch," John thought as he aimed his shotgun in a three-sixty motion. He was ashamed to say it, but that struggle had left him extremely winded. If there were a chase, he wouldn't last long in it.
There was another shout, but it wasn't clear what the speaker was saying. John rushed back inside and sprinted toward the front door. It was a smooth ninety-degree turn past the wall to the entrance, and somehow he botched it.
There was water covering the wood-panelled floor, and he slipped. There was a boom, and he realized his finger had still been on the trigger when it fired into the ceiling. The ringing in his ears got louder.
"Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
He didn't hear his cursing, nor the slamming sound the door made when he wrenched it open, and it hit the wall. It didn't matter, he told himself. It didn't matter as long as I get a good look at the car.
A motor gunned itself outside, and by the time John had made it outside, all he could make out was the backside of a Dodge. He didn't know whether or not it was a Charger or something else. There was a green piece of construction paper that had been taped to the license plate, and he didn't bother trying to look closer because he knew he wouldn't get the number.
He stared for a moment, then reentered his house. He found the home phone on the floor in the living room, right next to his father's leather recliner. It was smashed to bits, various parts that had a name John didn't know were scattered all over the rug.
The other phone in the kitchen had been untouched. He dialed 911 and told the operator that there had been a home invasion. The operator wanted more information, but he figured that he needed to deal with the unconscious man in his bedroom first.
When he trekked back up the stairs, he noticed the doors, to both his parents and sister's rooms, cracked open. A sinking feeling of dread and sickness suddenly overcame the pain of being nicked by a knife and shooting a shotgun indoors.
Slowly, he aimed the gun forward and entered. Then he screamed.
He told himself a thousand times that they were just bodies, only cold and lifeless in today's world. Somehow, he still felt a certain satisfaction when live ones came to him. This one was pretty and over the age of eighteen. That meant more fun could be had with this one.
Her driver's license said that she was twenty-three, five-two, and a buck ten. Right now, he told himself, that means everything. He wanted to feel every part that he could with this one.
She was not the best looking he'd ever seen, but her long brown hair and tan skin, along with that figure he and every other alpha had loved was enough. Tears trailed down her cheeks, but he gave her a peck on the cheek and told her everything was going to be alright. Then, he stuffed his hand down her pants. She cried some more.
He was just starting to get into it when Special Agent Martin came in. He excused himself and apologized to her for his rudeness, and that he'd be back in a moment. She replied with tears and a muffled cry, which was an acceptable answer for him. What else could the poor thing say?
"Ah, William. Please, step into my office," he motioned as he opened the door that stood right in front of the table. Many tables sat beside it, but the one closest to his office was his favorite. The other Alpha's had their conquests on the surrounding tables.
The office looked neat and tidy, with his DO Certification, reading "Louis Joseph Green," sitting nicely on the wall next to his bookshelf and the color splashed picture a local artist had given him in exchange for free treatment. Ah yes, he was quite fond of that brilliant demonstration of modern art.
"Who's the girl," Martin asked as he glanced back through the transparent glass of the door. The girl squirmed and whined on the table, but Green paid her no mind and smiled.
"Monthly delivery from the Alphas. What can I help you with?"
"Did you hear about the conviction being overturned?"
Green nodded, the pleasant smile still on his face. Who hadn't heard about Chet Williams' release? It was the talk of the group, the happiness that been spread throughout the band of outlaws for weeks. Chet was a good one, reliable and handy with both his hands and head.
"Who hasn't? Did you have anything to do with it?"
"Messed with some of the paperwork and switched a couple of the blood samples with ones currently unknown. It's taken a long time for the appeal."
"Tell me about it. What about the survivor, what's his name?"
"Surprised you don't know, it's John Liddle."
"Heard he was snooping again."
"Fucker's persistent. First scene he was at, he nearly broke my damn arm."
"Doesn't that constitute an assault on a federal agent?"
Martin nodded, the exasperated look on his face saying it all.
"That's public sympathy for you. No one cares about how poor or how meaningless you are once something horrible happens to you. After that, you could get away with almost anything."
"It's not just that. Sometimes I catch him looking at me like he knows something. It scares me. Makes me wish Chet just finished him that night."
Green shrugged with indifference. He couldn't blame his friend's fear. They were both high-class men, born into the elite. But even the elite could be touched, as Chet Williams' case showed. The key was keeping themselves in check with reality, or face reality in a compromising position.
"Not a lot we can do about that. Just deal with the cards you're dealt with and give them your best poker face. Are the looks out of dislike or suspicion?"
"Dislike. We almost threw down in front of the Director Reynolds once. I tried to shove him, and he did this fancy Judo thing on me."
The squeals from the girl became louder. Green held up his finger and asked for a moment. Martin nodded and watched as his friend picked up a splitting maul that lay on the wall next to the door.
Green hefted the maul in his hands with a practiced ease. He was a thin man, but underneath that facade of weakness lay a wiry strength of unbelievable proportions. Martin knew for all of Green's psychopathy, he was unbelievably skilled in the art of killing. No, not skilled, a master. That's what he was.
Green approached the table and slammed the maul into the table, barely missing the girl's head by a couple of inches.
She complied without hesitation.
He dropped the maul and reentered the office, shaking his head with a grin that would've normally made itself at home on the face of a great white shark.
"Sorry, they get twisty sometimes."
"It's my own little word for belligerent, I guess you could say."
"That's an original synonym."
"Well, my major was English before I switched."
The smiled and continued talking for a bit. Both men agreed to share the fragile little flower out in front of the office. What a happy day, Martin thought.