The Alpha 

Word count: | Reading time:
Fantasy
Thriller
Teen

  This story follows the main character, LEON TAYLER as he fights to survive during a time of occupation with a force known as “The Alpha”.  The story is set in fictional version of Earth in a not too distant future, where the cooperation is in control.  The story follows Leon as he fights for not only his survival but the survival of his family and friends. Not only this but also the transcendence from a “Normal Person” to not only a fighter but also a leader.   During this journey he is caught up in THE ALPHA’S attacks, that includes their enhanced soldier’s and commanders.  This conflict makes Leon undergo, not only a physical transformation but a mental one as he is forced to take charge for the sake of his survival  and his loved ones..        

Chapter One

“This is a special news bulletin! We’ve have had word that the new CEO of one of the most powerful companies in the world is about to be announced. The company Biolife was created in the 1970’s to develop new biological products that would aid humankind. Over the years they created products from medicines and genetically modified foods to cosmetics and make up.”

“In 2007, the company signed a five-year contract with NATO forces to develop new biologically neutralising capabilities to eradicate the threat of bio-terrorism. The previous CEO, Michael Davidoff passed away in July of 2012. In a few moments the Board of Directors will make their final decision on who is going to be his successor. We have our economics and business expert Charles Macoy with us, what is your take on this quite significant event?”

“Well Susie, Biolife is a very well established company, its innovative ideas, inventions and corporate bailouts and investments have made it the most profitable company in the world. Of course this was not always the case and Biolife’s founder Michael had a vision to change the world for the better. Many sort to achieve this level of impact in world but none have really succeeded on this scale. After the success and difficult integration of food enhancing processes, the company’s value was worth a sizable amount. Despite his earlier wishes, Michael reluctantly decided to go more corporate with the vision of being able to do more good in the world. This turned out to be both correct and fruitful for himself.”

“Investment and resources came pouring in allowing him to achieve greater inventions such as extremely effective cures for malaria and energy refining machines. As time passed his empire grew and engulfed companies from retail to government departments. The company faced a difficult time as the founder’s health began to suffer with age and he begun to take a back step from the company. His board began making the important decisions but with Michael’s genius mind unavailable their shares began to drop.”

“To restore confidence in the company an announcement was issued that preparations had been made in case Michael passed away. They hired a small group of highly intellectual individuals as apprentices. Drake Steiner and Eric Stanton are two members from the group that have been reported as likely successors to take over the company. Both of these people we know little about, but for one of them this will be the opportunity of a life time!”

“I am sorry Mr Macoy we have to stop you as we’re now getting word from the company headquarters, Daniel what is the situation?”

“Thank you Susie! Yes things over the last couple of days have been crazy down here but the new CEO of Biolife has been decided and it is Drake Steiner!”

Five Years Later…

Sprinting through the streets is a man desperately trying to get past a crowd of people that are fleeing down the same road as him. The man was young in his early twenties, he wore a black polo shirt and a hooded leather jacket and this met with a pair of dark blue jeans. He was wearing large army style boots that disappeared up his jeans. He was board shouldered but did not have much meat on him but he looked healthy. He had very dark black hair that had been styled to form small spikes on side and at the front. The dark hair highlighted his very green eyes and his face had the stubble of a beard starting to grown around his cheeks and chin. He was a young looking man more so than you would expect for his real age. His body and arms showed subtle scars showing and active or clumsy lifestyle.

The air was filled with the panic of stricken voices; the whole town was immersed in chaos. The people bumped into each other in the panic and the man was nearly knocked off his feet by a frantic person trying to get by. Frantically looking around with anguish on his face, it was clear he was concerned about something. Shouts were heard in the distance, some intense fighting was going on. The man looked behind him and in the distance he saw the men who were invading their town. They were catching up!

People were forced back into their own homes and the other townspeople tried to defend themselves but were attacked. He continued to run down the road as fast as he could go but he was still looking around. He held a phone up to his ear trying to call someone but there was no answer, not even a signal was showing in the dulled out display.

Everybody tried to head out of town or retreat back into their homes but they were cut off abruptly as more men appeared in front of them! The crowd scattered further, running down the alleyways and backstreets of the town. The man had seen the upcoming force and decided to run down the nearest alley. As he run down the pathway he saw a woman lying on the floor after being knocked down by the frenzied crowd.

The attackers were getting closer but he decided he couldn’t leave her. He ran towards her, barging past the people who stood in his way. He knelt beside her and gently shook her shoulders and whispered to her

“Hello can you hear me?” he asked, there was no response

“My name is Leon and we need to get out of here!” He looked over his shoulder to assess where the men were and panicked when he could see they were close, really close! When he turned back to the woman she was awake. In her confused state she yelled out and hit Leon to the floor before running off. Leon was dazed from the assault.

He shook his head to regain some composure, his blurred focus trying to trace the alley he originally wanted to head down. He stumbled to his feet but struggled to see where he was going as tears welled up in his eyes. He had dropped and smashed his phone on the ground but it was useless anyway. As he stumbled along he wiped the tears with his hand revealing a blood smear on his palm. He dropped to his hands and knees, the world still a blur. The street was now quiet and Leon could hear the heavy footsteps of the men behind him, accompanied by a few muffled screams. A heavy hand landed on Leon’s shoulder, he’d been caught.

Both of Leon’s arms were being restrained behind him and he still couldn’t see the men close-up. His mind was full of thoughts, “what was going to happen to me? Were they going to kill me? What about my family and friends?” He was thrown on the floor face down with the men who had captured him and towering over him. The impact knocked the breath out of Leon and he started coughing uncontrollably. Leon looked up, the men now revealed to him. Three figures that stood in his wake they were chatting among themselves occasionally pointing towards Leon.

There were others all around him as well, though Leon could not see them. Leon knew he had to get away but struggled to focus his thoughts. His head was still badly injured. He was hugely outnumbered and was feeling weak from the fall. Blood trickled off his face as he looked up at his captors. They looked like soldiers and guessed they were something like that by their mannerisms and aggression. They wore leather armor with metal plates much like a modernised version of medieval armor.

They all looked slightly different though. The armor was accompanied with metal helms that covered the front of the soldier’s faces. As they turned they looked at Leon they flicked the switch on the side of their helmets. The metal retracted revealing their faces.

Leon’s gaze widened.

Two men and a woman stood before him. They all looked in the best possible physical condition like top athletes and one of the men was huge, about seven feet tall with a massive bulk body. He was bald and he also had a scar down his right eye. The scar ran from his forehead vertically downwards and finished up nearly down to the crease of his mouth. He had an intimidating presence about him. He wore large jeans that had metal armor held around his shins and thighs. The metal crafted look more decorative as it produced an aggressive vibe. He wore nothing on the top half of his body, just his exposed giant chest and covered in a thick brow of hair.

The woman was just less than six foot in height, slim and she had long red hair and crimson red eyes. A superior smirk was on her face, she had attitude and she wanted you to know it. She had protective gear all over her body. It was not fully metal and was similar to normal sports protective pads. They covered her shins and forearms and she wore metal plated gloves with leather underneath. She wore a kind of armor on her chest but it looked light and nonrestrictive. Under this she wore a red long suit.

The other man looked like he was in charge.

His armor had a more authoritarian look about it. It had a more elaborate helmet all the protruding metal work tinned in gold. Unlike the standard steal looking armor the other soldier’s had. He had blonde hair and a stern look about his square face and chiseled jaw.

His dark hazel eyes looked cold and dead and his body filled his armor with little room for give. He was stocky but not as much all as the massive one. He looked completely composed and showed no signs of fear.

The three were still chatting among themselves and Leon looked up at the two people who were holding him. Their helmets covered their faces so he could not see what they looked like but they were just smaller and not nearly as elaborate in appearance compared to the other three.

Leon continued to assess the situation he was in “Were they armed”? He thought.

The woman had, what looked like small guns holstered on both side of her hips. This was a strange sight in this era as most of the world’s firearms had been decommissioned due to the absence of major wars and an agreement by the Extended United Nations.

Only the military and Police services had them in short supply. The other two were different; the big guy had a massive hammer on his back. It was pretty much the same size as him.

“That’s INSANE! That should be impossible to carry even if he is as huge as he is” Leon thought. He could not see any guns on him, though this was of little constellation

Then there was the other guy. A large broadsword was strapped to his back. It was held in a black sheath and the hilt had a more modern look about it. The hilt was made of some type of memory material that fitted to the wielders hand more elegantly. Leon had seen this before, he had taken a few kendo classes in the past and he had always taken an interest in hand to hand combat as a hobby.

“This may be my only chance to fight my way out of this if I have no other choice. Not that it would matter as at the moment as I would most likely be killed outright” he thought.

Leon then heard a scream behind him, in the corner of his eye he could make out several groups of people being restrained like himself.

“Get away from her!” one of the other captors shouted.

Leon was startled as that voice came out just behind him. It was so loud it made him recoil in pain a little. Someone was pissed. Something was going on behind Leon that he could not see. He listened more intently, he could hear a woman yelling out but the attackers must have been covering her mouth as it was muffled. The man violently lashing out behind him must be some relation of her Leon thought. He wished he could help but he couldn’t even help himself at the moment.

“What the hell am I going to do?” Leon thought as he clenched his fists tight.

The three soldiers that looked in charge had finished talking. The blonde haired man gave a small hand gesture with his index finger out circling around. The guards that were holding Leon started dragging him along the floor and were pushed up against the wall face first. He tried to struggle free as best as he could, his teeth on display showing the force of his restraint.

His arms were held behind him, the guards then bound his hands together with hand ties. They flipped him around and kicked his legs from underneath him. He fell sharply to the ground yelling out in pain as he hit the floor. The guards held his legs together and bound them too. The events up to this point and the trauma Leon had suffered was beginning to catch up to him. He felt sick to his stomach, his vision was blurry, his breathing was heavy the sights and sounds around him becoming all the more distant as he struggled to keep conscious.

He looked over to his right where the others were being positioned as he was. The other man was violently struggling to break free. He was yelling at top of his lungs cursing his captors and issuing threats. One of the guards quickly paced over to him and without hesitating struck the man in the head with the palm of his hand. The man’s head struck the wall behind him leaving him fighting for consciousness as well. The noise made with the man’s skull hitting the wall was obvious they had done some damage to him. His body slumped over to one side towards the woman who he was with. She started to cry as she saw the man slump towards her. The guard stood firm in front of the captors, remaining perfectly still whilst their superiors wondered about the street behind them. Leon shook his head in order to gain some composure he could just about hear his captors talking. “This is Commander Kruger reporting in” the blond haired man said.

“With Lieutenant RED and Corporal LANCE”

“We have secured the East side of Haver town, the rest are secured in their homes. Any resistance we had has been dealt with and we have captured some civilians and are awaiting orders. What would you like us to do with them?”

Kruger was then listening in for a response to that message. Leon was trying his best to listen in on the conversation but it was no good, to him it was just murmured sound so he waited to see what was going to happen next. For a little bit he tried to break free from his bounds and succeeded in loosening them a little bit. This was not enough though so he sat tight.

Kruger, Red and Lance talked among themselves for a bit. This was driving Leon mad “maybe they’re doing it on purpose as some kind of sick joke” Leon thought but soon enough the guard stood back and the three took center stage. Leon then tried to pick up the courage to speak out against his captors. As he began to take some deep breaths to psych himself up, the woman next to him yelled out before he got a chance too.

“What are you doing here?” “Why are you doing this to us?” “Tell….”

“You will speak only when spoken to!” Lance yelled out interrupting the woman with an incredibly low and powerful voice.

Kruger stepped forward and raises his hands out in front of Lance to order silence.

“This is a lucky day for one of you. Not so lucky for the other two.” He begins to pace in front of all three of the captors. “We have received very precise orders from our superiors. A third of captors will be forced to work supporting our glorious campaign. Another third of the captors will be taken to one of our facilities for various reasons. You might even be lucky enough to walk among us as a brother or sister. The last third the unlucky one of you will be executed publicly. This will bestow upon the people a fear of how far we will go for our cause and that fear will help stop them rising against us. As commander of this area I have the pleasure of deciding what three of you will fit into these categories”.

Leon was shocked how calm Kruger was when he was making these life and death decisions. The fact he was so cold and calculating and put it down to simple equations was something Leon could not comprehend. Kruger demonstrated absolute power among them. The fact that his giant college responded to his orders without hesitance or attitude was show of this. There was something more than meets the eye with Kruger.

Kruger held his chin with his fingers humming to himself whilst looking deep in thought. He examines the three captors in detail still pacing in front of them. They were at his complete mercy. He extends his arm out pointing at the man who was defending the woman. He formed his hand into a shape of a gun and mimics the action of a bullet being fired from his extended fingers.

“Execute him”. Kruger ordered.

Leon thrashed around in his bounds.

“NO! He did nothing to you, nothing!” he shouted.

His words were met with silence. The man was still dazed by the attack he suffered earlier and was unaware what was about to happen to him. Lance smirked and with a sinister pose walked over to the man, grabbed a hand full of the man’s shirt and picks him up with ease. The woman next to Leon was screaming out begging the captors to let him go. There was no changing their minds though despite the woman’s plea. The woman slid down the wall in shock. Silence filled the air. The man was put on his knees and Lance places hands around his head and mouth. Lance grinned and a few pain staking moments passed as the woman looked helplessly on. A soft thud was heard as the man fell hard to the ground, he was gone. The silent air was filled with the hysterical cries of the woman next to him.

Leon could not believe his eyes and he shuddered away in disgust with what his captors had just done. He wished he could have done something to save him and felt completely helpless and vulnerable. He looked over at the woman next to him as he noticed she had stopped crying. She snarled and her sorrow was turned to anger and rage.

“You will never get away with this!” “So long as I’m still alive I will kill you!” she yelled out and said with such irrational confidence.

There was no immediate reaction from any of the group. Lance had left the body on the floor and returned to his squad and Kruger just smiled and let out a degrading laugh.

“You better shut up and calm down! Unless you want to suffer the same fate” Lance demanded.

As the group turned to themselves for another discussion Leon tried to get the woman’s attention.

“Psst, do you want to get killed now before we get a chance to do anything” Leon whispered to the woman.

“I don’t care! I just want to break free and snap their necks!” The woman said through her teeth.

“I know I understand you’re in shock but getting yourself killed now will mean nothing. Didn’t your friend just try to protect you?”

“No, you don’t understand! He was more than that to me and how do you expect me to feel!” she said scowling at Leon.

“Look we both need to find a way out of this and the only way we can do it is if we stay alive. You know live again to fight another day.”

The blunt truth from Leon was a bitter pill to swallow for the woman. She did take some acceptance on what he had said and sat in silence.

The squad finished their discussion and Kruger turned his attention back to business.

“Right and now for you two” Kruger said in such cheerful manner.

“The woman for testing and the man sent to work, you two really are the lucky ones from this” Kruger said as he laughed to himself.

“This guy has a sick sense of humor” Leon thought.

He found the confidence to speak out.

“You will never get away with this! The world and everyone will fight against you all! They will not stand for this unjustified attack and with such a display of horror. The world is at peace and it will make sure it is again!

Kruger just smiled.

“I hope they do retaliate, they will prove a good warm up exercise for us superior type of people” was his only response before moving on.

“Right guys take these two to the appropriate travel check points. We have more pressing matters to attend to” as Kruger said this he began to walk away with his two colleagues hot on his tail.

As they begun to run down the road to their next engagement the guards began to communicate with someone.

“We need a pickup from area twelve” one of the guards said, their voice sounded electronic as the voice was generated by the helmet and mask. The three that were in charge were now out of sight and Leon could now focus on what was going on now.

Whilst the guards were making arrangements Leon realised two things. The first was his leg ties were starting to loosen up so he could get out and the second was the guards were armed with swords as well.

“Time for an escape plan” Leon thought.

Leon felt he needed to redeem himself. He began to look around, there were only three guards left the rest had gone with the others. As the guards moved away Leon leaned over to the woman.

“I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now but I am going to try and get us out of this. What is your name?” Leon said.

“Erica” she replied.

“Erica, do you live in the town?”

“Yes” she replied with little emotion.

“I have a plan all you need to do is run, run as fast as you possibly can back your home and I will follow you”

“Why should I trust you, I don’t know you and I have never seen you before?” she asked.

“Because at the moment we’re in an impossible situation, I’m desperate to find the people I care about, my girlfriend and family and I need to get back home to them. I do not live here though and I know no one here so please can we help each other?”

Erica paused for a moment she took a deep breath.

“Ok, are you sure you can get us out of this? If you get it wrong were both dead”

“I am sure, I have to be for this plan to work but it is going to be hard”

She looked into his eyes that were calm and collective.

“Then I believe you can, what is the plan?”

“She believes in me even though I really don’t believe in myself. I need to if this is going to work, I need to” Leon thought to himself.

“Ok, here’s the plan”

Chapter Two

Leon closed his eyes and took a few moments to rest. He knew what he wanted to do he just needed to wait for the right opportunity. After a while a truck stopped at the end of the road. Leon looked over and the truck was already full of people. He wondered what was going to happen to them and for moment considered trying to help them to.

This would be nearly impossible to do, saving Erica and himself was already a long shot. He regrettably comes to the conclusion he cannot help them as they would all end up in the same place or worse. Two of the guards came over to Leon and Erica, their visors were polished enough to show the faces of both of them on the helms reflection.

“Time to go” both guards said simultaneously.

As they pulled both of them up Leon made his move.

He broke his leg free from the bonds and kicked the guard to the floor and with his hand still bound he grabbed the blade from the guards back. Leon skilfully rotated the blade in the palm of his hand and stopped short so the tip was pointing down towards the fallen guard. He then leaned backwards bringing himself down to the floor by stretching his legs and stabbed the guard through the chest.

The guard’s body twitched out in pain and then stopped moving. Leon left the blade in the body of the guard and cut his hand restraints with the blade. When his hands broke free of the restraints he grabbed the sword from the body and pulled it out. He flipped the sword around so the blade was pointing away from him and held it in the direction of Erica. The two remaining guards were both taken by surprise. Before they had a chance to reach for their swords Leon was already making his move.

Leon moved fast and by the time the guard in front of Erica reached his sword on his back Leon had already drove his sword into him. He kicked the guard whilst holding the sword tightly, removing the guards body from the blade. The guard fell to the floor heavily. He cut through both of Erica’s hand and foot restraints and yelled for her to run.

Leon was then tackled to the floor by the other guard. Both he and the guard struggled around the floor and the guard kicked Leon in the chest sliding him across the floor.

The guard pulled out his sword. He took a swing at Leon as he lay on the floor but was stopped by Leon holding his sword up in defense.

The swords screeched out as the two pieces of metal clashed together.

The guard rolled out of the way and stood up. Again the guard took another swing at Leon and Leon just managed to block it again. Each time, Leon struggled to redirect the soldier’s strikes. They both stood firm with the blades crossed among one another. Leon groaned under the strain that the guard was putting on him.

“God, how strong is this guy? It’s like wrestling a bear!” Leon thought in the chaos. He held his resolve as best he could under the dire circumstances.

As the guard continued to put more pressure on Leon bucked under the strain making him drop his sword. The sudden withdrawal of resistance from Leon surprised the guard. As a result the guard kept traveling until his sword hit the ground. This left the guard exposed. So Leon found his footing and punched the guard in the face as hard as he could several times.

After a few random hits, he accidentally cut his knuckles on the visor but was able to damage it slightly. A bright light spark and a bit of smoke came from the mask when Leon hit it and this disoriented the guard further.

The visor retracted unexpectedly revealing the man’s face partially. The guard dropped his blade on the ground. Leon poised himself to strike the killing blow but before he had a chance to do anything the man struck Leon in the gut sending him flying into the wall behind him. Leon yelled out and the sword went hurtling into the air from his hands. Then he felt the mighty grasp of the guard grabbing his neck and was forced against the wall.

Leon was being held firmly in place, being choked to near death. As he stayed there he tried desperately to brake free frantically punching and kicking the guard as hard as he could doing little effect. Vital seconds moved on. Life began to leave Leon’s body his futile attacks becoming slow paced and weak before his arms dropped beside him. Leon looked into the blackness of the eyes of the person that was about to kill him. He prepared himself for the end.

Leon barely moved now only blood tricked from his battered head onto the attackers arm. His eyes fell heavy. As Leon was thinking of his final thoughts he felt a jolt and suddenly he fell to the floor. He gasped for air and looked up. He could see Erica. She not ran away as planned and returned to help.

She knocked the guard’s legs from under him striking him behind his knees with a bin that had fallen over nearby. The guard regained his footing swiftly and turned his focus on Erica. She began to run off and the guard readied himself to give chase.

Leon looked for the blade he dropped, his eyes focus still impaired from the attack. He looked around in every direction, his head snapping quickly from one place to another. He was coughing uncontrollably still trying to catch his breath.

Then as he patted the ground, he found it! He picked it up.

His body was numb and his lips blue from the lack of circulation that was running through his face. With the guards back to him he staggered over to him, sword in hand. Leon reached over and grabbed the guards shoulder and drove the sword into him.

The guard screamed out in pain and fell to the floor lifeless. Leon staggered back breathing rapidly, he looked at the lifeless bodies of the guards he had just killed but something weird was happening.

The first two guards he killed were thrashing around the ground and all of a sudden they started to bubble vigorously under the husk of their armor. Suddenly the husk fell flat and then disappeared in a vapor of gas.

Nothing was left, not even their equipment and armor. Leon wondered what the hell was going on. He did not know what had just happened and more importantly if the gas was dangerous. He had no time to worry about this though and it was too late anyway.

“The armour their weapons they all disappeared too? Is it some kind of acid? If the gas was corrosive I would already be suffering from it as I am surrounded by it but I feel fine.” He thought with both concern and confusion.

“Maybe this is a measure to stop resisting groups getting hold of any of their equipment” Leon deduced but he had no time to give it much thought and turned his attention back to Erica.

He looked around the self-made battlefield he helped created and he then noticed Erica had gone. Down the street he heard a horde of soldiers were on their way from the truck. So he grabbed another sword from the last guard he killed and strapped them both to his back and ran down the first ally he saw and disappeared.

“It’s too late to go after Erica now not knowing where she’s gone and I need a plan” Leon thought as he ran off into the distance “so what’s next?”

Several hours past and the day’s events continued to unfold. The daylight turned to dusk and then to night.

It was raining now, Leon found himself taking shelter in a doorway in a back ally of Haver town. He held his hand across one side of his face resting his head. The rain had mixed with blood that was on his forehead and ran down his arm, it traveled over his hand and along the sword he was still holding in his hand.

He looked down at his hands and opened them out his hands trembling. The sword crashed to the floor, the metallic clink for the raw blade hitting the stone floor echoed into the distance only being accompanied by the sound of the falling rain. Quiet had fallen across the town, the once chaotic sounds of screaming and fighting had faded into the night.

Leon was hunched over with his hooded jacket pulled over his face. The trauma of the day was rushing back to him. In his mind he kept running over and over what had happened trying the make sense of it all. The realisation of having killed people during his escape was more than he could cope with.

“Could I have got away without killing anyone? Even harming anyone? Was there a choice? I was just defending myself; I was just trying to survive”.

Leon ran his hand around the back of his neck. He took a deep breath and let out a big sigh. He looked up the sky the rain now catching his face. The rain drops were refreshing on his red blushed face. He let out another sigh.

He still found it hard to shake the doubt in his mind but he was eager to put it behind him. He picked up the sword from the ground and caught a glimpse of himself in its reflection. He looked rough from what he could see in the reflection. His face and arms were covered in deep cuts and red and black marks, there was also some bruises already forming. Dark rings under his eyes and feverish cheeks filled in the rest of the pallet of color on his face.

“What a state I’m in?” he thought to himself whilst letting out a small chuckle more nervous than amused.

He put the stolen sword away and placed its strap around his shoulder alongside the other one. He put the back of his hand to his forehead. The heat that greeted it was extreme. He pulled his hand away fast as a reaction to the heat. He began to feel queasy his body was on fire, cramps filled his muscles and insides.

“What the hell is going on?” he thought alarmingly.

“Did the guards to something to me?” he searched his mind for any memories to trigger an answer to the question.

Sometime had past and he could not come to any conclusion and his symptoms were getting worse. The pain was immense threw his body.

“I need to get myself out of here being wet and outside is not helping anything and soon I won’t be going anywhere” he thought. The urgency of his condition compelled him to move on.

His hand reached out to the wall and grasped its edge as he pulled himself up. He stumbled to his feet not nearly as gracious as his previous movements displayed in the fight. He looked down the alleyway and could see it winding to the right. He tentatively moved himself down the pathway till he reached the corner. He pressed his head against a wall and placed his eye around the corner to look if it was safe to continue. The path was clear so he moved himself into view and moved on.

He had evaded capture so far but the soldiers and guards were still occupying the town. He continued down the pathway and reached the main road. He looked at a sign for the road and it read “Crescent Street”. The cover of darkness that had helped Leon was beginning to cause him a few issues. He did not know the town very well and everything was dark now. Streetlights were on but the attack on the town had damaged some of these.

The people’s homes that would normally fill the town with light were all turned off but a few. The people of the town did not want to draw any attention to them by having their homes lit up.

Leon carefully moved himself down the street, maneuvering from cover to cover, looking on ahead for danger. The streets were surprisingly quiet now. The heavy rain could be heard hitting the small town houses either side of him. The paved ground beneath Leon trickled underneath him with the water from the rain. After a little time had passed Leon noticed a modern art feature that housed a public map of the area. The feature was a silver tree branch with no leaves just propping up the map that was placed in a marble frame. Leon examined the Map in detail, his eyes moving around the display picking up the details. He spotted a big star and the words “You Are Here” written on the map.

“Now I know where I am I can find my way out of this town on foot.” Leon thought to himself.

Some hope came from within him producing a slight grin on his face. He felt completely useless for not knowing where he was or where to go. He continued to search the map for the best route out of town but then something caught the interest of his ear. The sound of water being disturbed could be heard behind him. He goes to turn around but a hand is placed upon his shoulder and the feel of something sharp was in his back. Then the words came out “Move and your dead”.

It was a man’s voice but Leon could not look around to see him. The only image was a dark shadow produced by the clear wet surface of the marble feature.

“How could this guard catch me? The area was clear”. Leon thought.

His eyes widened as a thought popped into his head.

“The soldiers I fought attacked without warning and with such aggression. Something does not feel right here “. Leon thought.

“Are you one of them?” the man asked. His voice was low and gruffly.

“What do you mean one of them?” Leon asked.

“Are you one of the scoundrels who attacked us?!” He shouted.

“Scoundrels? Who talks like that?” Leon thought

“Could he be part of the group of soldiers and guards who I fought off wanting to know if I am responsible for the killings? This really does not seem right though this person seems more natural in his responses. It was becoming more and more obvious he was not one of the people attacking the town. “I must convince him I mean no harm” Leon thought.

“Hey look I am not an attacker I am just trying to get out of here!” Leon said in protest.

The grip on Leon’s shoulder tightened and the sharp in his back became more painful. The man carried on his questioning. During this time Leon was beginning to feel even weaker than he had before.

“Then what’s with the swords on your back then, hmmm? I only have seen those attackers use them what you doing with them?” the man asked.

“Well, if there was any doubt of the nature of the person holding him up it had now disappeared with certainty.” Leon thought.

“It’s too long to explain. I am not in good health at the moment can you please let me go?” Leon pleaded. His arms quivered under the constant strain of both his own body and the force the man was putting upon him.

Leon had become quite concerned with his rapidly decreased health and the fact it was getting progressing with speed only heightened his concern. The man pushed Leon against the feature.

“ANSWER MY QUESTION!?” he demanded.

Leon knew that the man was not an attacker but he was not listening to reason. The man had decent enough evidence to support the he was indeed one of the attackers.

Leon felt had no way to prove otherwise in the time he had. This was becoming an increasingly platonic situation. Leon knew he had to make a move but did not have the capacity to think straight.

“The man is obviously trying to help but what shall I do?! I cannot let myself get hurt here or I am finished! I just need to disarm him” Leon thought.

He felt the man’s warm breath on the back of his neck. He gritted his teeth and bowed his head. He grabbed a hold of the feature in front of him and braced himself.

“LAST CHANCE!” the man shouted his grasp ever tightening.

In one swift movement Leon pulled himself up on the feature his hand grasping on the sharp metal edges of the feature and the weight causing them to dig into his hands.

Blood trickled from both his hands, it was a foolish move but Leon was not thinking clearly. He brought himself close and raised his knees to his chest. He felt the sharp in his back cut into him slightly as he raised his body off the ground. He pushed both his legs out from behind him. His feet connected with the man and shoved him out of the way. The man flew in the air and landed some distance behind him. His body rolled across the paved floor and eventually stopped in a heap on the floor. He lay still in a small pool of collected rain water.

Leon, still grasping onto the feature fell to his knees and was breathing heavy. He had begun to cough violently. The blood from his hands met with the cold flowing water on the ground. He stumbled to his feet and got his sword from his back whilst he staggered towards the man. The roads and paths and buildings all around him were shifting and meandering through Leon’s perception. He placed the blade unsteady at the man’s neck. He reached down and pulled the hood down off the man. An older man greeted his gaze. He had grey balding hair and damaged skin showing his age. Leon’s face fell as he was not the sort of man to strike another person but the fact it was an old person filled his heart with guilt.

“Go ahead and kill me you coward!” The old man shouted.

Leon’s exasperated expression fell calm and he lowered his sword.

“I’m not going to” Leon explained.

He paused a moment in place the sword in its holster.

“This is the one massive misunderstanding between us and I seriously meant you no harm”.

Leon reached out his hand to the old man. The old man looked at Leon’s hand as if it was a strange object. He tentatively reached out and grabbed it. Leon pulled on the old man’s arm and lent back raising the old man off the ground gently. Sweat poured from Leon’s brow. The old man dusted himself off. He had a big graying beard and hazel eyes. His large hooded trench coat covered most of his body only the bottom of his trousers and his black polished boots could be seen.

“I’m sorry young man, we have seen very few people on the streets since the attack. That fancy blade on your back…. You just look like one of them”.

“It is fine. I can understand why you would think that but I got these not long ago when I escaped with my life.” Leon replied.

“Escaped?” the man asked

“Yes like I said it’s a long story”

Leon started swaying on the spot gravity taking him in random uncontrolled directions. He placed the sword on the ground to help prop him up. He started to feel very strange and emotional and he began to babble and well up.

“What’s wrong lad?” The man asked.

He leaned forward and placed his hand on Leon shoulder steadying him.

“Just what the hell is going on? REALLY WHAT THE HELL! The attack, being roundup, all the panic, the death and I got away but so what! Look what it is reduced me too!” Leon shouted, he had become hysterical.

“What are you on about? Pull yourself together man! It was moments ago you were fighting for your life so snap too it!” The old man shouted.

This had no effect on Leon as he continued to talk nonsense. Something had set this off in Leon but no one knew what it was. The old man noticed Leon’s sick appearance and signalled a “Come here” hand signal from behind him.

“Gillian! Get over here now!” he yelled.

Gillian emerged from the shadows on the street behind them and ran over to the old man. She wore black hooded cloak that draped over her shoulders and wore dark clothing. She looked roughly the same age of the old man, the once dark hair beginning to grey but was still tied up at the back.

“Gerald what is going on?!” She shouted out.

Leon at this point was still babbling, more to himself now.

“Gillian what do you mean what is going on?! I don’t have a clue? This is a medical issue that’s why I called you over!”

Gillian did not look amused but keeled down until she was at Leon’s level. She examined him closely, her eyes mapping the slightest details of Leon’s behavior and physique.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before? She said in a tone of concern.

She continued to examine Leon. She turned to look at Gerald. “

“He is obviously delusional and having some kind of reaction to something. Did you give him anything?” She said accusingly.

“Dammit woman I did nothing to him!” He shouted.

He just collapsed like this all of a sudden. “You saw didn’t you?” He asked.

Gillian ignored him and turned her attention back to Leon. She placed her hand up against his forehead.

“He is feverish, excessive sweating, hyperventilating, increased heart rate and psychosis. He is seriously ill and is going to need medical attention. If we don’t do anything he could die! Are you sure you did nothing?” she replied.

“He looked rough before I got the drop on him it seriously got nothing to do with me!” Gerald added.

“What shall we do? Gillian asked.

“We can’t stay here much longer others might had heard the noise” Gerald replied.

The old duo was chatting about what they want to do. Whilst they were talking Leon regained a moment of clarity from what has taken hold of him. He reached out and grabbed Gillian and pulled her close.

“What the hell is happening to me?!” He exclaimed.

He fell to the floor and as Gillian looked at Leon’s eyes he became unconscious. The old couple stood over him whilst the rain passed over them.

Chapter Three

In the darkness of the night in between the alleyways of the town and passing through the streets very little was going on. The soldiers were doing their patrols. A few struggles could be heard scattered about the town. The old couple had decided to take Leon in. They carefully negotiated their route around town carrying Leon on the back of Gerald. Gerald and Gillian looked exhausted as they reached a small bungalow on the outskirts of the town’s suburbs. Leon was still unconscious and his relaxed limbs draped over Gerald’s arms as he brought him through the door of their home.

“Mind his head you clumsy git” Gillian said as Leon’s head was on course to hit the door frame. All she got a as a response was a low grumble.

Gerald carried him into their front room. It was a small, quaint little abode. The house was not very current but had a warm feeling about it. The rooms were filled with all sorts of little ornaments and unique objects but also had the modern features most home had now. Leon was still unconscious. Oddly his body had tensed all over and was curled up like he was in immense pain but he was unconscious.

“At least his unconscious” Gillian said. She rested the back of her hand on his forehead as Gerald placed him on an old sofa in a dated living room.

Leon’s body temperature continued to rise and Gillian was getting more concerned with every passing moment. She went to the kitchen and brought back packs of ice and some cold flannels. She placed them around his body and lastly placed the flannel upon his forehead. The flannels absorbed some of the blood from around his body and the wounds looked cleaner now.

They both took a seat in the room whilst keeping a close eye on him. They were not the sort of people to take chances. Gerald reached behind his chair and pulled out an old military rifle that was covered with years of dust showing its age. It looked like it had some use to it. The evening was a slow one for the old couple. They talked to each other about what they got themselves into. Leon’s condition got more intense with every passing hour. Gillian whilst observing Leon’s condition was reading through a considerable amount of medical literature. She passed through the pages of books and magazines pausing only where something matching Leon’s symptoms was highlighted.

“Any luck?” Gerald asked

“No” she replied under her breath as she was still reading.

“Have you looked at poisoning?” Gerald said in a slightly smug tone.

“Look old man who is the medical expert here?” She replied whilst glaring at him.

Gerald did not reply but simply let out a disapproving grunt.

“I told you before these symptoms are something I’ve never seen before together. His symptoms suggest poisoning however he’s showing physical signs of infection but without his body becoming fatigued. If this is a poison it must be a new kind of one. Besides I have checked his blood and I have ruled out any sign of typical poisons although there is a uniqueness to his blood and again this is nothing I have seen before ” She concluded.

“Well you saw those bastards who attacked us! They had all kinds of unknown equipment! Our Armed Forces had barely made a mark on them? They carried such unusual things with them, things I have never seen before in all my time working with Special Forces. We don’t know what they’re capable of yet.”

Gillian agreed and her face felt sad knowing there might not be anything she could do for Leon. They continued to watch over Leon through the night and soon three hours passed without Leon’s condition improving. Then after some more time Leon’s body stop moving and tensing up.

He lay still for the first time during the evening. Gillian rushed over to him to check his vitals. She checked his eyes, his pulse, breathing and temperature. Everything seemed to be improving. She turned to Gerald and gave him a reassuring nod to signal his improvement.

Every now and so often she would check him over again. Gerald made tea and got drinks for them both while Gillian cared for Leon. These were obviously very good and caring people.

Gillian checked Leon again this time as she was checking his pulse on his wrist when Leon’s hand grasped her arm with a great deal of strength. She struggled to pull herself away and start shouting at him.

“Let me go! Please let me go I am trying to help! Please!” she exclaimed.

Gerald could not pry Leon’s grip off Gillian. In that moment Leon’s body sat straight up right his face being wide awake with an immense expression of anguish. He yelled out almost a primal growl and clinched his teeth shut. Gerald ran over to his gun, picked it up and pointed it at Leon.

“Let her go!” He demanded.

There was no response.

“One last time, let her go!” he shouted.

He got himself primed to take a shot. He waited a moment.

Leon let out an enormous cry and let go of Gillian’s wrist. She pulled away quickly holding her wrist that was trembling in her good hand. She inspected her arm. Deep red marks came to the surface of her skin and were already beginning to bruise where Leon had grasped. Gerald kept the sights on his gun on Leon. Sweat poured from Leon’s head as he looked up.

“What is going on? Where am I? Who are you!?” He said with a panicked tone.

“We’re friends” Gillian replied still tending to her arm.

“We’re trying to help you” Gerald said reinforcing the point.

Leon stared at the old couple as he calmed down. He looked at Gillian through stranger’s eyes and noted her concerned appearance. He turned attention to Gerald and after a few moments Gerald’s face triggered a rough memory on what happened before he fell unconscious.

The thought that popped in to Leon’s head was simply of the old man attacking Leon. He quickly reaches behind him to find his blade when he noticed he had no shirt on or any weapons. He snapped to attention and could see the old man still had a weapon traced on him. Something didn’t add up though if these people were trying to kill him they could have done it whilst he was unconscious. He took a quick look around and noticed the small ornaments and furniture dotted about the place. If they had any intention of causing any more harm to me this certainly wouldn’t be the ideal location he thought. Gillian reached over with her hand and slowly pulled the rifle away from Leon’s direction.

“It is okay we really are not going to hurt you” said Gillian.

Leon placed his hands on his abdominal area and winced in pain for moment. He looked up at the couple. He looked extremely confused by everything.

“Why am I here for? Didn’t you attack me?” Leon asked.

“Yes, but it was a misunderstanding as we thought you were one of the attackers. Do you not remember? You were the one who told me that.” Gerald explained as he lowered the rifle against the wall.

Leon’s memories of the event before he passed out started to become clearer. The most important memory to surface was when he knocked the older man to the floor.

“A misunderstanding” Leon said in agreement.

He cracked a small smile, he was comforted by the information his mind had released.

“Thank you” he said.

The atmosphere in the room had become less intense and small sense of relief could be seen by everyone. The couple formally introduced themselves. My name is Gillian and this is my husband Gerald.

“We are here to help” Gerald said.

“Thanks” Leon replied as he pulled himself up on the sofa to sit up more.

“How are you feeling now? Do you know what’s caused you to become ill like this?” Gillian asked.

He held his abdomen again.

“Not feeling too good as my whole body feels like it’s been bashed around and there’s not a single place on my body that does not hurt or aches. I have no idea what’s going on? Too much has happened recently and most of it’s a blur at the moment.” Leon replied.

“I don’t want to alarm you but we have been watching over you through the evening and have never seen anything like this before. I am medically trained and you vitals are now a lot better but what caused this is still a mystery. Would you mind if I continued to keep an eye on you? ” Gillian explained.

“Sure, please do. I am just grateful I came across some decent people” Leon replied

Gillian explained what had gone on during the night. Gillian continued with her investigations into what may be wrong with Leon and the known cause. As she was doing this Leon’s symptoms started to return. Immense abdominal pain shot through Leon as he tried to answer any and all questions put to him in the hope that she could find something to cure him.

“Where are you from?” she asked

Leon suspected she was just talking to him out of a small sense of curiosity but mostly to distract him from his symptoms. He played ignorant to this as he was grateful for the sentiment.

“I live in a small village not too far from here” he replied.

“Ahh! A country boy?” Gillian chuckled.

Leon tried to take the humor but found it hard in is current condition. Gillian continued her subtle interrogation.

“Is it far?” She asked.

“A fair way out, about fifteen miles a village called Dunbell Market.”

Gillian smiled.

“It is a very nice village isn’t it? Gerald and I used to go there quite regularly by the lakes. It is a very picturesque little village.”

Leon nodded in agreement.

“You said used to? How come you have not been lately?” Leon asked. It’s quite funny actually, we used to drive everywhere, well Gerald used to as I had no interest in it. But you lost your licence didn’t you?” She said directing it at Gerald as she smiled with the look of a naughty child. Gerald became all prune faced and sat out of his chair. He raised his arm out to point at Gillian.

“GOD DAMMIT WOMAN I DID NOT LOSE MY LICENCE! Those pen pushing idiots deemed me unsafe to drive! I used to drive everywhere, HELL I was one of the military’s finest drivers!” He sat harshly back in his chair. Gillian sniggered.

“Was being the operative word” Gillian stated.

The old man replied only with a disapproving grunt again in a display to admit defeat. Leon smiled despite being in a lot of pain still. Leon appreciated the small talk and the harmless arguments between them as it distracted him from his ailments.

“How can you both be like this?” Leon asked his voice not as strong as it once was.

“What do you mean? Gillian replied.

She looked slightly perplexed by the question. Leon had been taking in bits of information that was being said over the decade old radio.

“Well given recent circumstances the attacks, most people I’d imagine would be in a bit of frenzy. But here you are calm, not phased by it all and even going outside. It is a little bit strange don’t you think? What is going on with you two?”

Gerald chuckled to himself and began to talk.

“So you noticed then” Gillian said interrupting her increasingly frustrated other half.

“Gerald and I have been in worse situations than this.”

Leon looked puzzled with these cryptic clues.

“We served in the military for most of our lives, that’s where we both met. At a time where peace seem all too far away”

She looked over to Gerald this time with a more sincere glance. They were both very much still in love but had spent a long time together.

“You were both in the Military? That does answer a lot of my questions” Leon concluded.

“Yes we had been in service for over forty years together. We both were picked up for our particular skills for more specialised tasks”.

“Can I ask what these tasks were?” Leon replied.

Gillian grinned

“You can ask, but you will not get an answer”

She gave a wink to make it a less threatening response but Leon felt she was being serious though. Leon decided to let it drop.

“Can you tell me what made you guys so special?” Leon asked.

“Yes that’s fine lovey, Gerald was a gifted tactician and rifleman. He was able to make up a decent plan in a few minutes and hardly ever missed a target.

“That’s why you have your own rifle? But didn’t most firearms get disposed of?” Leon asked.

Gerald stepped in.

“Yes, due to the nature of our work we were allowed a number of arms in the house hold. This was done strictly off the record so they never got picked up on during the disposal phase”

“I was particularly talented in the medical field. Not like a normal doctor or nurse but I was interested and very good at fixing people in a war zone. I know a lot about alternative medicines and treatments where you have little resources at your disposal.” Gillian explained.

“Hence all the books you have?” Leon replied

“Yes Exactly”

“So what were you doing outside when you came across me? I mean your obviously retired now right?” Leon asked.

“Yes we are retired young man but we still have a lot of training and energy at our disposal” Gerald said with a stern tone to his voice.

“We were trying to get a grip on the situation. We are not in our prime but our sense of duty has not left us”. He explained.

The response made Leon think of the current situation he was in. He pondered about this for a few moments. “These people, complete strangers have taken me in not knowing who I am or what was happening with me. They really must mean it.” Leon thought to himself.

“Duty?” Leon said softly.

“Is that why you took me in?” he asked.

The old couple both smiled.

“Yes, we have and always will have duty to protect this country and its inhabitants” Gillian replied.

“People do not talk like that anymore both of these old veterans came from a time where such nobility and honor was taking more seriously.” Leon thought to himself. He felt a lot more respectful of them for it.

Leon looked at the clothes that they were both wearing. Gerald in a navy blue sweater and his green combat jacket he was still wearing inside his home. On the jacket there was patches sown onto it with a faded picture. Leon tried hard to make it out but all he could distinguish was a skull with an eye patch and what looked like a rifle of some kind underneath. Gillian’s black cloak displayed the same patch on what would be her upper arm. They displayed it with pride despite it being worn out.

“Everyone had been taken away or went to their homes. So Leon why where you roaming the streets”? Gillian asked.

“As I told your husband when he apprehended me I was just trying to get out of the town” Leon replied.

Gerald felt remorse and a little guilty for his earlier actions.

“Sorry Leon at the time you really did look like one of the attackers. We thought it would be a great opportunity to gain some Intelligence through a bit of interrogation if you know what I mean.”

“Interrogation? It was probably good they found me and not tried to apprehend one of these stronger Soldiers. If they had they may not be here now.” Leon thought.

“The streets were mostly empty where we investigated” Gillian added.

“Yes I noticed the same” Leon replied.

“Three people was taken in by the attackers during the first sighting, I was one of them”

“I managed to escape and get my hands on some of their weapons but its left me like this”

Leon displayed his hands in an open posture, signifying his whole condition.

“You were attacked?” Gillian said as she brought her fingers to her chin.

Her eyes squinted and face tensed up as her mind kicked into life.

“We need to know everything you can tell us about the attack and the attackers Leon” Gillian said without the gentleness in her voice there once was.

Her whole attitude had shifted she had become more serious. Leon was taken aback by this sudden change but understood the gravity of everything that was going on.

“Sure, I will tell you everything you want to know”.

Leon explained everything what had happened till this point. Gillian was happy with the new information she had gained. By this time Gerald had become tired and gone for “A few minutes of peace and quiet” but Gillian was still at Leon’s side. Leon had become very weak again and was struggling to keep his mental stability. Gillian however was still perplexed by Leon’s condition.

“You never told me why you here in the first place Leon?” Gillian asked.

“I was in town getting my other half her birthday cake. It is her Twenty First Birthday this weekend” Leon paused for a moment.

“Big deal then” Gillian said.

Leon smiled “Yes very much so. I had planned a huge party all of her and my friends and family would have been there.”

Leon’s mood darkened his mental stability contumely changing with every thought.

“I hope everyone is ok, I just wish I could contact them”.

Leon became more frantic.

“I need to get to them! I cannot just lie here and wait I need to find them all!”

Leon’s fever had returned and with it the same dilutions he had before had started to show again. Gillian held Leon’s hand. Leon’s arm twitched as she grasped it due to the differences in temperature.

“Look Leon your still in no fit shape to see anyone or do anything”

Leon went to talk but was interrupted.

“No talking, just listen, you just need to let me get you better then we can think of a plan from there. We will help you Leon. Please trust us”.

Leon drew a large breath in an attempt to calm his mind.

“If only I had my phone. During the panic I broke it and I tried dam hard to salvage it. It had all my contacts in it, god I wish I could remember any of their numbers!” he said.

“It would not have helped you Leon, communication has been cut across the globe whether you want to use: Computers, Internet, mobiles and landline are all cut-off. Just short of communicating with smoke signals or torches there is no way of delivering a message. We too have family we wish to contact and they live too far to go to” Gillian replied.

Leon hated feeling helpless but felt worse for yet again taking his own feelings into account. He had not considered that his carers are in the same situation he was in.

“I am sorry” he said.

“No need to apologise Leon” she replied.

“We are in your position and we will stop at
nothing to find them again”.

 

A few more hours passed and Gillian continued to monitor Leon’s condition. He was asleep now more unconscious than a rested sleep state. Gillian had fatigued and done everything she could to stabilise Leon and to make him as comfy as possible. She felt Leon was on his own now and just needed to recover in his own time. She left him and decided to get some rest herself.

It was now well into the early morning hours, the couple had occasionally been woken up by Leon’s frequent trips to the bathroom to be sick or worse. Occasionally Gillian went down to check on him but he continued to put himself back to bed after every ordeal. The night continued at the same slow pace, until the brake of dawn where the light filtered through the house the next morning.

Gerald had woken up and for him morning started as usual. Through his bedroom curtains he scouted the area looking for anything interesting. He saw more soldiers scattered around and everyone was still in their homes. As he slept in his clothes that night he was pretty much ready to get on with the day. He woke up Gillian, she moaned at him for doing so and when she had got herself up they both went down to check on Leon.

The night’s events had caused some mess about the lower floor of their home. The couple was not bothered by this they had seen much worse in their time. Leon was on the sofa wrapped in an African style blanket his foot sticking out from underneath it. He was in a strange, uncomfortable position and on his front. Gerald without thinking got his rifle from behind the chair and nudged his foot with the butt of it. Leon’s body immediately reacted. His foot flailed uncontrollably knocking the rifle clear from his hand. As the rifle spun across the room the rifle repelled off the wall, where it darted off in the other direction.

Sheer panic was on the couples face as they realised the greater implications if the gun were to fire. The bullet would be extremely dangerous to any of them but the gun shot would be heard by the attackers within the area. Gerald’s old body managed to push Gillian out of harm’s way but struggled to catch up to the falling rifle. His face was showing the shock of what was likely about to happen. His eyes transfixed on the falling object. The object stopped but his eyes kept traveling, as well as his body. He stumbled to the floor and looked up.

Leon had caught the rifle with his hands. For a moment Gerald did not know who had caught it. At first glance Leon looked like a different man. His body had changed quite dramatically. The lower half of his body was still covered but his upper body was on show. Leon’s average build body had been replayed with that of an athlete. His once pale and blotchy skin tone was now full of color.

“Is this the same seriously ill man from last night, what on earth is going on?” Gillian thought.

Leon who was extremely surprised with his own reactions placed the gun to one side. He noticed the couple looking at him intensely and he looked down at himself. Leon was shocked with what he saw, his jaw dropped.

“What has happened to me?” he shouted. The couple did not have an answer for him.

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