Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Watchmen Files // Chapter Seven

Hey everyone!

   I'm back with a new chapter of The Watchmen Files! Yep, another one :) So here we go!

Alright, I'll admit, it's got an odd name, right? Well, let's stop my jabbering to read on and find out!

   A man who looked as if he was in his late twenties (really he was in his thirties, but his 'ability' kept his features young) stared, absorbed at one of his many computer desks, typing away as he had been doing for hours. The only light source in his office was from the computer screen that shone it's white man-made light on his stern face, illuminating his sharp features. He whiped the sleep from his ice-blue eyes and continued working vigorously on the system as he had done for days, weeks, months.
Vielleicht sollte ich ein Nickerchen machen (Maybe I should take a nap), he pondered in his native German, mentally noting that he hadn't slept for... searching his extensive memory, he recalled about two weeks and four days ago when he had last slept. Or gone outside. But it didn't matter, he had work to do. Watchmen work. It was work that needed to be done, why shouldn't he be the one to do it?
   The near silence was broken by the sound of the front door opening and two pairs of pattering feet, along with some chattering back and forth. It was only a few moments later that the door to his office was opened, and his wife Jackie was tapping her foot just outside. He didn't look up, but he could feel her icy glare.
   He grunted, hoping it was enough to make her go away.
   "Hans," he could hear the frustration in her voice as she flipped the lights on. "Look at me when I'm talking to you."
   He winced at the light, sighed dramatically, and turned slightly in his chair. "I'm working."
   She ran her hand through her rich chocolate hair before continuing, "Do you know what day it is?"
   "Of course," he stated, "It's July twenty-fourth."
   Now it was her turn to sigh. "Yeah, but what happened today."
   He blinked cluelessly.
   "Oh, you know that ten year old son of yours?" she questioned in a sarcastic tone, "he's got this game that he likes to play, you may have heard of it, it's called baseball?"
   Dr. Kruger just shrugged. "So?"
   Her composure turned from sarcastic to stern in a split second. "You were suppose to be there!"
   "Yes, well I've been working-"
   "He quit!" She nearly yelled. "He's not gonna to play anymore-"
   "Going to," he corrected her. "He is not going to play anymore. Gonna is a mispronunciation of going to-"
   "You're not even listening to me," she fumed in response to his correction.
   "I am listening, obviously."
   "No, you're not. Mason," she turned and shouted out the door, "come in here!"
   "Aw, Mom!" Mason wined dramatically before being called again and obeying.
   "What are you doing?" Dr. Kruger scowled. "Mason, you know what I've told you about coming in here."
   "Tell your father why you quit."
   Mason shifted uncomfortably, running his hand through his dark curly hair nervously. "I'm over it, I guess."
   "Tell the truth," Jackie instructed her stubborn son.
   "I am!" he lied, but kept a strait face.
   Dr. Kruger checked his watch impatiently. "Jackie, I don't have time for this! I've got work to do."
   "He quit because you don't come to his games anymore!"
   "Now that is ridiculous," Dr. Kruger insisted, "he doesn't care if I come or not."
   "Oh yes he does, if you'd only ask him-"
   "Alright, Mason, do you care if I come or not?"
   "Um, uh, w-well..." Mason stuttered, torn between his parents conflicting ideas.
   "See," she folded her arms tightly, her point proven. "I told you he does, and if you'd actually care about your family-"
   His blood began to boil at her accusations and his voice raised. "Care?! As if I'm not spending every hour on the computer, working to your safety-"
   "Our safety?!" She sputtered back. "The only thing you care about anymore is yourself and finishing your stupid projects on time-"
   "That's absurd!"
   "Oh, is it, Mr. I won't let anyone who may interfere into my office, i.e. your own son who wants to spend time with you!"
   He batted away the idea with a brush of the hand, "He's got other things to work on, like his schooling."
   "Is that all you care about?" she narrowed her eyes. "You're always working, you hardly ever go outside, and you never spend time with him!"
   "I do too!"
   "Oh yeah? Like when? On what day in the last month did you spend more than an hour with him?"
   Her challenge was met with an icy glare as he searched his mind, trying to come up with something for her. But the problem was, he hadn't. "Well... I can't recall at the moment, but-"
   "That's because you haven't! You're always working!"
   "Working for the greater good!" he defended himself.
   "The greater good?! I am your wife-"
   "And you're a Meckerer!"
   "For the kajilienth time, I don't speak German!"
   "Stop!" Mason tried to yell over their arguing, but they gave no need, and his dad continued to speak in German and she continued trying to make her point in English.
   Covering his ears, the ten year old rushed out of his father's office, down the hall and into his room. Jumping onto his bed, Mason yanked the covers over his head and curled up, attempting in vain to keep the familiar sound of his parent's fighting from invading his mind. He wished there was something he could do. Why couldn't they just talk about it? Work it out? He felt so helpless. There was nothing for him to do. All he could do was sit and cry alone, as he had been doing for years.
   The hot tears rolled down his cheeks as the fighting continued, filling his memory with words, ideas, and sentiments that he would never forget, even after his mom and dad divorced, even after his mom disappeared, and even when he was a trainee in the Watchmen, the very organization that his father had been part of so many years ago.

   The sharp obnoxious alarm made Mason fall right off of the top bunk and smash onto the bunker floor. Along with the rest of the squad's yells came the panic of realizing that they had to be in the Main Training Room C at 7:15, and it was a good thing they had been so tired out the night before that they didn't bother changing out of their uniforms.
   Duke, Jared, Hank, Gabe, Chris, and the twins all nearly trampled poor Conner, who had gotten on the floor to retrieve his Bible which had apparently fallen off the bed the night prior. Mason grabbed his wrist and dragged him down the halls after the others until they reached the training room. Graham had just arrived and was checking his watch when they dashed in and clamored into formation.
   "You lads did moderately well on timing," he mused as Conner panted next to Mason, catching his breath from their race. "I'll give you that much. But presentation is another thing we better work on," he muttered as he scanned Mason's wrinkly clothes, his messy mob of dark curly hair, and dirty unshaven face. "Let's get started."
   The first half of the day was spent running, lifting weights, and basically just exercising. And again, Mason dragged Conner by the back of his shirt through it all.
   Then Graham gathered all the trainees together and spoke. "Now you'll learn how to properly hold and fire Watchmen weaponry." Gesturing to the other side of the training room, he lead them to a section with long rifles, small hand guns, and an assortment of other weapons Mason couldn't identify set on the walls for all to view. A long illuminated counter was set in the center, and a team was already seated there. They had blindfolds on and were reassembling rifles.
   Once they left, Graham ordered them to each take a handgun off the wall and try and hold it. "Now these are different than your standard pistol," he began. "As you can see, it looks more futuristic than normal. They have been specially made by the Watchmen and for the Watchmen. They are stun, and give you the liberty of setting a how long the victim will be out. They're quiet, and very expensive, so be careful when handling them."
   Mason ran his fingers over the sleek, black and dark grey weapon, admiring the video-game-like technology. "Wow, this is awesome."
   Duke smiled and lifted it, pretending to fire at an imaginary target as Conner nervously held it as if it was going bite him.
   Sargent Graham then lead them to an empty room, only filled with a few targets shaped like people lining the far wall. "Sulaven?"
   Hank stepped forward. "Yes sir?"
   "Fire that pistol."
   He nodded, positioned himself correctly and fired, hitting the target's chest.
   Graham turned to the rest of the squad. "As you saw, he already knew how to stand, handle, and fire it. He, unlike the rest of you, has had some military training and is also vaguely familiar with Watchmen weaponry.
   Now, when you're about to fire, first thing to do is stand like this," he moved to the correct position, then continued, "hold the gun with both hands, and don't put your left hand on the magwell, under your right hand, but over it. If you put your hand like that, it'll shoot up when you fire, and it's steadier when you hold it the other way. Rousseau?"
   Both Felipe and Jean-Claude stepped forward at the same time and said in their heavy French accents, "Oui, monsieur?"
   "I've got to figure out how to keep you two apart," Graham shook his head wearily. "Felipe, do what I told you."
   "Oui," he nodded nervously and did.
   After he fired (and missed), Graham pointed out what he had done wrong and helped him out as the others took their own shots at will.
   Jared was a crack shot, and he helped the struggling Gabe with stance as Duke showed off to Chris, who was having problems himself.
   Conner, on the other had, was just holding it, waiting for Duke to turn his back to fire. When he seemed to be caught up in his own self, Conner took a shot at one of the targets and missed.
   "You're holding a loaded gun, you idiot! Act like it!" Duke sneered.
   Conner blushed red, and pretended to not have heard him.

   Later, Graham informed them that they would be doing a team-building course the next day, then, as he was leaving, he bumped Mason on the shoulder and whispered, "Thought you might want this back." Mason felt Graham slip something into his hand, and stared at him, confused. "You could say it's an inheritance," Graham winked, then exited.
   Conner sat on his bunk, caressing a photo caringly when Duke snatched it out of his hands and jumped on the top bunk, out of his reach. "And what have we here?" he smirked mischievously.
   "Hey, give that back!" Conner pleaded, panic flashing in his eyes.
   "Not before I get her number!" he whistled. "She's cute."
   "What? Who??" All the guys came tumbling out of their beds to crowd around snickering Duke as he held it just above Conner's reach.
   "Duke, give it back!"
   "Come on, Conny boy!" he taunted, smirking and chuckling. "Jump for it! Come on, you can do it boy!"
   Mason rolled his eyes as the squad laughed, some halfheartedly, not wanting to get picked on themselves.
   Chris grabbed it from over Conner's head and they gathered around him, trying to get a peek. "She is cute. Is she your girlfriend?"
   "That's my sister," Conner glared and tried to grab it from him. "Now give it back."
   "No, she's too cute to be his girlfriend," Duke pointed out. "He's probably never even had one. I'd bet everyone here has had girlfriends, except Mason, of course."
   There was a round of laughs before Mason answered, "For your information, I have had a girlfriend before."
   "Oh yeah?" Chis taunted. "How many? Less than three?"
   Mason's blood boiled as Conner stepped in. "So now it's a contest on how many girls hearts you can break in a week?"
   Chis didn't answer but held the picture back until Mason snatched it while he wasn't looking. "Here you go, Con."
   He took it, lifted his nose at the others and went back to bed as they dispersed.
   About an hour after everyone else was asleep, Mason laid on the top bunk, studying what Graham had given him: It was a picture of Mason on his sixth birthday, with his dad and mom, in front of a cake. He sighed longingly, wishing, hoping... no, he doesn't, he mentally answered himself. He doesn't care. Never did, never will. It was a hard pill to swallow, but it was the truth. With his eyelids closing and sleep overcoming him, his last thought before it took over was, I just wanted to make you proud.

And there you have it! Chapter seven complete! Now note, that was kind of a fill-in chapter that didn't have crucial parts in it. But was it good? Did you like anything in particular?

But next time we get to see Conner struggle to climb over eight-foot-tall walls (don't ask), mutant guerrillas from the Amazon (definitely don't ask), and Duke being a jerk again.
Also, I suggest checking out the last post on this blog by our new writer, Ammelia, and the series is called Without Cause. I find it very interesting, and I'm sure you will too! It's fun, and her character Ethan seems to me to act a bit like Mason does, and Kylie is a pretty cool character as well :)
Well, that looks like everything I have to say... have a good one guys! Wait, I mean girls... hey, are there any guys reading this story?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

An Introduction, And The First Chapter of Without Cause

   Hello everyone! My name’s Ammelia, and as you probably guessed, I’m new here. You’re also probably wondering what I’m doing here, so I’ll quickly explain. I have a photography blog that's under construction, but I don’t have a blog set up for my story. So, my wonderful friends, Willow and Darrion, offered to let me post my story on their blog. :D

   A bit about me ~ I love God, I have a larger than average family, have lots of animals, I LOVE photography, reading, writing, crocheting, crafts/sewing, the outdoors/camping/hiking, BBC Sherlock, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, BBC Robin Hood, and I'm just getting into Doctor Who.

   My story is about a missionary alliance in peril, and a journey to recover it. The main characters are a family of four, the Robards. They are all introduced in this first chapter, as you will see. Also, how I write might be a little different than what you’re used to. The chapters are written in first person, and they alternate between two of the main characters after each chapter. I also love to firmly weave the Lord into any of my stories, and for that, I am unashamed.

Well, I’ll leave you to read now. Enjoy!

(I haven't done a chapter cover yet, but here's the story cover.)

                                                                  //Without Cause//
                                                                   //Chapter One//


   I threw gravel as I whipped my bike to a stop in front of our house. I hopped off and leaned it up against the side of the house next to my brother, Ethan’s. He’s four and a half years older than me, and is usually off at his work or baseball practice. He still lives with us even though he’s 19.

   I sprang up the porch steps and flung open the front door, ripping off my backpack at the same time and hollering “Mum!” The smell of freshly baked bread and cookies hit me like a brick wall. “I think you got a letter! It’s weird, though. Just yours and somebody’s initials, and no addresses.” My mom is a bit overly fond of writing and receiving letters. Especially as of late.  But I did wonder how on earth it got in our mailbox, when there were no addresses. I stepped around our dogs, Fili and Kili, they’re fawn and black pugs, who were yipping and yapping at my feet. I heard something clatter on the ground in the kitchen, and walked in just in time to see Mum picking up a spatula off the floor. “Mum?” She snatched the letter from me quicker than you can say ‘suspicious’, and stared at it like I had just brought her a dead skunk.

   “Hey, I didn’t do anything wrong, did I?” She looked up from the letter and now her face almost looked scared.

   “I thought I said you didn’t need to go to the post office.” She sounded just like she looked. I rolled my eyes.

   “Well, the P-O is right by the library, I figured, why not?” Her expression softened to a smile and she changed the subject.

   “So how did research go?” she asked, handing me two cookies on a plate. You see, I’m learning about how to raise mice. Mum won’t stand for mice in the house, but she says I can read about them all I want. I devoured a whole cookie in one bite, before answering.

   “Great. Say, did you know that when the mouse-”

   “Kylie!” she cut me off. “Honey, I have already told you that a really don’t want to talk about rats.”

   “Mice.” I corrected her. Mum shook her head.

   “Whatever. Just save if for your Dad or brother.” I looked around, noticing that neither of them appeared to be in the house.

   “Where are they, anyway?” I asked.

   “Oh, Ethan went to look at more chickens.”

  “And Dad?” I knew he couldn’t be at work, he gets off at 5:00 in the afternoon, and it was 6:30.

   “He’s… He’s meeting someone.” I drummed my fingers on the counter, and tested the waters a little more.

   “So… who’s the letter from? Who’s ‘J.G.’?” I asked, referring to the initials on the envelope.

   Mum stiffened. “Probably just an old friend or something.” This was getting really annoying. For the past few months, my Mum and Dad have been acting funny. They’re hiding something. I haven’t asked them out-right, but I just know something’s up. I intend to find out what. Mum tucked the letter in her back pocket and cleaned up the rest of the cookie crumbs off the counter. She cleared her throat and informed me she would be in her room doing some reading. Yeah right, I thought. I put my plate in the sink, grabbed my backpack and headed up the stairs to my room.

   Our house has three stories, if you include the attic, which we turned into my room. So, basically, I have the whole top floor to myself. I threw my backpack on my bed and crawled into my window seat. It’s where I go to reflect on certain things and think. It’s so cozy, with a round window that looks out over half the town. The weather outside matched the way I felt. Confused. The sun was shining, but it was freezing and sprinkling in places. I heard the familiar sound of my brother’s truck pulling into the driveway. I looked down out the window as he walked empty handed to the house. I guess he struck out with the chickens.
We live in a small town called Oakville, in Washington State. It’s a great little place, with only a few small stores and businesses. My favorite place to hang out is the library. It’s barely a block away from our house.
We also have four goats, Joonbug, Rosie, Belladonna, and Minny, and 20 chickens. We have our own little farm. Mum makes a bunch of money selling milk and eggs. She’s never had to work outside the home, and she’s homeschooled my brother and I. She and Dad used to do missionary work before us kids came along. After that, they said, it was too dangerous. Sometimes I hear Mum and Dad talking about it from time to time. They don’t really say much to Ethan or me about it, they just keep saying they’ll tell us more later. I’m not quite sure when ‘later’ is.

   My thoughts drifted to that weird letter my Mum got earlier. What’s up with that? I thought. I made up my mind to ask her about it later, and if she wouldn’t tell me anything, I’d ask Dad.
I stretched, grabbed a book on mice from my backpack, and was about to sit in the window and read, when something caught my eye near the library. A dark shape was lying in the grass. What is that? Is that a person? I was just there and didn’t see anyone. I grabbed my bird-watching binoculars and peered out the window. What I saw made me jump. At the side of the library, resting on his stomach and also looking through binoculars, was a man, or woman, looked straight at me. I ducked out of the window and tried to catch my breath. When I gathered enough courage to take another look, the person was gone. I searched all the surrounding area with the binoculars, but the person was nowhere. I did, however, see my Dad’s pick-up turning down State Street towards our house. I jumped out of my window perch and ran downstairs, hoping to tell him about what I had just seen. I rounded corner and almost plowed over Ethan.

   “Oof! Slow down, sis! What’s the rush?” I told him all about the person by the library. He shook his head with a smile. “Are you positive he was looking at you? It could have been some sort of goat thief, or chicken kidnapper.” I punched him on the shoulder, hard.

   “I’m serious! He was looking right into my window! It’s creepy.” He turned and walked into the kitchen laughing.

   “So it was a ‘he’. Well, he could be you secret admirer.”

   Now I was mad. “Ethan, knock it off!” I yelled.

   He threw up his hands, scattering cookie crumbs all over the kitchen. “Alright, alright. You don’t have to yell.”

   Just then, dad walked in. “What’s all the ruckus about?” He asked. Ethan beat me to the punch.

   “Somebody’s stalking the house.” He replied, winking at me.

   Dad, who was bending down untying his shoe, jerked his head up. “Please tell me you’re joking.” He had his serious face on, which can be pretty intimidating. My dad’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, most of the time. Lots of kids in this town are scared of him, because he’s tall, has a deep voice and a British accent. (He was born and raised in England. He came over to the States when he was 16, and started making plans for that missionary business I was talking about, and married Mum a few years later.) I like to call him majestic. 

   When he said that, Ethan lost his humor. He looked at me, shoved a cookie in his mouth, and motioned for me to answer.

   “I’m not joking.” I assured. “Someone was watching the house with binoculars, like, five or ten minutes ago. He was over by the library, and ran off after I spotted him.”

   Dad bent and re-tied his shoes. “What was the person wearing? Did you see its face?”
I shook my head. “All black, and no, I didn’t see a face. As soon as I looked out the window, he was gone, plus, he was way over by the library.” Mum came walking into the kitchen as soon as I finished that last sentence. As dad leaned in to kiss her, he whispered something in her ear. Her face turned pale and her eyes got all wide. She whispered something back, and I caught the words ‘letter’, and ‘emergency’. That was all I needed to tell that this was more than a chicken kidnapper.

   Dad was walking back out the door when he turned to us. “Family meeting after I get back.” He said. “Stay inside.” He grabbed his jacket off the hook and was out the door. We all rushed to the window to see where he was going. Instead of getting in his truck, he walked across the street towards the library. We watched him as he knelt on the ground at the same spot where the stalker had been. Mum walked to the living room and called us in, but Ethan and I would not be moved. We watched as dad stopped a few people and asked them questions, and then we lost sight of him as he went into the library.

   “So what do you think’s going on?” Ethan whispered to me. I’m usually good at solving puzzles, but I was stuck on this one.

   I shook my head. “No clue, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon.” In truth, I was a little nervous about what the family meeting was going to be about. I mean, come on. Isn’t everyone?

   “I think it has something to do with those letters they keep getting.” Ethan declared.

   “Wait, you mean there’s been more?” I was shocked.

   “You saw one?” He asked with wide eyes.

   “Yeah, found one when I checked the mail today. You found one too?” He nodded as we both turned our gazes back out the window. Dad had come out of the library, and was making his way back across the street, this time headed for the post office.

   “Who did it say it was from?” Ethan pried.

   “That’s what was so weird about it. There were only initials, no addresses.” I said.

   He looked excited now. “That’s exactly like the ones I saw. They wouldn’t happen to be from a ‘J.G.’ would they?” he asked. I nodded; surprised that Ethan had known about the letters and didn’t tell me. We tell each other everything. (Ok, maybe not everything, but you get the point.)

   “Have you asked Mum about them yet?” I countered. He shook his head, his dark, unruly, curly, hair bouncing around his head. He was about to say something, but looked over his shoulder and saw Mum was standing behind us. I wondered how long she had been there. She had her arms crossed and didn’t look too happy.

   “Oh, hey Mum…” I said with a nervous chuckle. When she didn’t say anything, I turned back to looking out the window and tried to pretend she wasn’t there. Ethan did the same. We spotted dad coming back down the sidewalk towards the house. His face was hard.

   “Come on kids.” Mum said. “Quit looking out of the window.” Ethan shot her a look. He hates being called a kid. I guess I would hate being called a kid too if I was near 20.  All of us walked to the living room, and I hurried to take my favorite spot on the couch, which is also Ethan’s. He threw a pillow at me as he took the other side of the couch. Mom sat in her recliner. She and dad have matching camo ones that Ethan and I got at Cabelas for their anniversary presents last year. (Trust me when I tell you, they were not cheap.)

  Mum got up and went to the kitchen. Ethan and I had a quiet pillow fight while we waited for her to return, and when she did, she had a plate of cookies and a stack of napkins. She neatly set them on the coffee table, and Ethan and I put the couch pillows back and grabbed a cookie. Or at least I grabbed one. Ethan grabbed a handful. He tried to lighten the mood by saying, “These are really, really good Mum.” She just smiled. After that, we sat in awkward silence for what seemed like an hour, before we finally heard the front door open.
When Dad finally walked into the living room, he looked mad. Really, mad. He sat in his recliner, and took Mum’s hand.

   Ethan spoke for the both of us when he said, “I have this nagging feeling that you guys have a lot of explaining to do.”

   Dad took a deep breath and looked back and forth between me and Ethan.

   “Well… Here goes.”

   And that’s the end of chapter one! I hope you all liked it! Please tell me what you thought, in an honest opinion. To quote Jordan from Blimey Cow: I take criticism really… ok.  But really, please be honest! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. Btw, I don’t have a set schedule in which I will post, but when I do post, it will be on a Monday from now on.

For the Will of Cause,

Ammelia G.