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Beta Dreams
This journal is a log of the insanity that is my life. Through the mouth of the Bard, the truth shall ring.
Chapter 1 First Part Alpha Effect
"Half the time I don't know what to do. I hear a guy shout something in the distance and I feel the weight of the flak vest. I can smell the rice fields... I tell myself its not real but I... I know it is." The man who spoke was of no concern in the large scale of the cosmos but it was the man, if you could dare call him such, that listened that made all the difference. That man was once known as Bard, and he, like the poor soul talking, was a soldier. His hair was an early shade of gray, unforgivably lightened from a brilliant platinum. The eyes of a wild animal had dimmed to a passive hazel. The man once known as Bard was now known as mortal.

"We've all felt that before, Clyde. Isn't that right?" Bradley asked, taking the heavy brow from Clyde. "Who else wants to share?"

"Why don't you share some of your experiences, Mister Nephilim?" She was a regular to the veteran's group. Since Bradley had started the group sessions, she had been voicing more and more about her interest in Bradley's past. He would have refused her on the spot if it weren't for the rest of the group.

"I'll do mine at the end of the meeting, Melissa, but please grace us with one of yours." Fourteen people and it always took Bradley's counter-offering for them to say anything.

"Very well," She straightened herself. "It had to have been early November and the 402nd Rangers were paired with the 33rd Gladiators to take Hill 194, or as we called it, Boone Hill," Bradley shut his eyes at the mentioning of the 33rd Gladiators. It was not his unit, for in all fairness he never went to the war his memories did, but it was his twin brother that served in that platoon.

That was it! The way she seemed to be perched at intrigue at the slightest mention of Bradley's past, the ever-longing stares... they were not for him but for Alexander. "We were taking a pounding from heavy mortars and .50 cal machine guns. It seemed to be over for that mission until three of the Gladiators broke rank. It was one in particular that caught my eye. He was fast, for sure, but there was something in the way he tossed the pyro-electric grenade that made me feel so... sure we were going to take Boone Hill." Her eyes darted from her hands to Bradley's face. The hair wasn't the dirty blonde she would remember from that date but time and genetics always played tricks on the body.

"Is that it, Melissa?"

"No... when we started to ascend the hill, I was shot. It didn't hurt like I thought it would. The man, the one that cleared the path for us to take the hill, he is the one that got me out of the field and into the bunker we set up at the base of the hill. He took out the bullet and patched me up," A simple enough plot to try and get Bradley to admit that he was who she thought he was. Bradley stayed vigilant and had the same attitude he had when he heard anyone's story. "You hear stories that the first chance any man in the military gets with a woman, they'll take it but this man was perfect in every way."

The Church bell high above the room rang for the end of the session.

"Any last thoughts before we conclude today's meeting?" No one responded. In fact they cleared out faster than the other days.

There was a growing suspicion in the United Colonies. That suspicion was nothing more than hearsay and gossip but it was concrete. It was ravings of Revolution in the back alleys and underground that startled the public into a nervous curfew. All but the strong and dumb were out after seven o'clock. Bradley got up slowly, feeling a keen pain in his back. The mileage was catching up on him.

He hobbled his way to the coffee pot. A simple cup of coffee made Bradley's day bearable. He grunted and stretched to get the knot from his back. As he did, the Ex-Calibre pistol fell from its resting spot in his belt. He bent down, sighing greatly, and reclaimed his fallen gun. Expertly, he cocked it and checked the bullet in the chamber before putting it back in the small of his back.

Simply irresponsible.

Bradley meandered out of the office that rested in one of the back rooms of the Last Nephilim Church. That church had seen far too much in its time to be anything but home for such a tortured soul. Financial ruin, hard murder and acts of divinity embraced the cold walls.

Bradley walked to the gentle gaze of Christ. That crucifix at the altar of the Church was something to be admired. Carved out of a single piece of Redwood trunk, it was raised to ten feet, painted by Bradley himself when he was merely twelve-year-old. It was his security blanket, and in his youth, he would have considered it his real father. He knelt as the Son's feet, bowing his head and praying silently.

The wind whispered danger to Bradley. It happened like the old days, a pulse from behind and without a thought the gun barrel was pointing at the startled woman at the door.

“Rachel! I told you to call first.” Bradley holstered his gun and got back to his stance of prayer.

Rachel Celeste, the sole survivor of the Celeste family, sat on the first pew behind her friend. She fixed the stray strands of light brown hair away from her eyes and smiled.

“You’d never shoot me, BK.”

Bradley scoffed at his unsure position on that theory.

“Rune still wants you to join him.”

Bradley disregarded the offer of Rune S. Grant, as any righteous person would. However, such a person as high in society wanting a former miltary experiment was a great question he wanted answered. But never would Bradley trade what he had now for a singular man.

“You know that I won’t join this useless feud,” Bradley lit a cigarette off one of the candles his sister had ignited before leaving. "I need a new cell phone."

“This isn’t as simple as that, BK. If Rune gets the Militia on his side, he will be able to overthrow Parliament,” Rachel’s brown eyes carefully examined Bradley’s furrowed brow. "Wait, why do you need a new phone?"

“That lead you gave me on the Journal was an Neo-Nazi cell in Afghanistan. They shot at me and shattered the phone. So can you get it for me?” Bradley’s eyes darted to the dogwood doors, remembering the long lost night he first came to that hallowed stoop. Rachel stood with Bradley but her eyes could not get passed his gaze.

She slowly stepped to him, her hand gliding into his.

Bradley, who had now changed attentions, stared darkly at her slim face. There were sparks in each set of eyes that erupted in a fiery kiss. Their tongues trailed and explored with unchecked lust. Bradley’s hand pulled her closer, the skin boiling to the point of immolation.

He pushed her back, winning the duel of logic and urges. Rachel bit her bottom lip, wondering what she had done wrong. Bradley knew that his skin was not his own for that moment, adeptly sensing a strange aura from above.

A crash came from the loft. Bradley dashed to the ladder, thanking the change from a strange case of lust. The ladder seemed to ascend forever into the dark, proving Bradley’s humanity with each rung he collected.

The devilishly beautiful face that popped into the light nearly shocked Bradley off the ladder. Sadistic glee beamed from the woman as her form angled away from the ladder before she lifted to the air and spun through the air.

Her feet hit the ground with a feline thud. Bradley looked down, concerned with the speed. Should he have to fight, he knew that he wouldn't last with his earthy might. He locked his feet against the sides of the ladder and slid, barely beating three seconds.

As soon as he felt his feet hit the floor, his gun was out and a small smirk crossed his face.

“Would the lady care to give a name?”

Her leather pants glistened in contrast to her skin. Her olive skin traced along Bradley's mind, each split thought was nothing but a vast wondering of her fair body. She stretched her hand in a strange, sensual rub along her front.

“My name is Nicholette. I’m here to give you a gift but you seemed so happy with Rachel, I decided to leave it in your room.” She stepped toward the exit but Bradley intercepted her.

“Don’t you dare leave me yet.” Bradley cleared his throat at a frank hinting.

Rachel placed her hand on his shoulder, not giving any notice of Nicholette. “BK, we need-” She locked eyes with Nicholette. “What are you doing here?”

“Doing a job… figuratively. How about your literal work?” Her hand passed over his waist, giving Bradley a reason to turn as she passed him. “Believe me, I will be seeing you later, Bard.” She winked and walked away.

Rachel took the place of Nicholette in front of the awestruck Bradley.

Uncomfortable silence retraced that lust that had been there moments before. Rachel stood her ground, almost astonishing Bradley with the way she held a stern look. His life indirectly revolved around such outbursts of romance and it was refreshing to know that a kiss from him meant something to someone. In that mind of his, he knew it wasn't his fault this time, but the facts were for a hung jury. His cigarette burned the webbing between his index and middle finger, though his face didn't change.

"Rachel," He said after their staring match had grown long enough. "I have that payment ready upstairs." Up the ladder they both went; Bradley first to not give himself ideas.

Bradley lit a candle for Rachel, her eyes were young but not she was a womb-child, not designed to be anything greater than just a girl. His quarters were Spartan, barest down to the single sheet mattress laid against the furthest corner. Rachel had to smile at the envelope Bradley handed her, stuffed with money and barely able to be closed.

"You didn't have to give it to me all in ones." She chuckled, not wanting to stick to the past.

"I only have a collection plate and no one puts anything bigger than a fiver in there," Bradley smiled back. "Come back tomorrow with the phone. We can talk of Rune and his war then."

Rachel nodded, though she wanted to stay with Bradley. She climbed down the ladder and let him be alone in his silence.

Something sat on Bradley's bed that made him want to be alone. A black, ornate masterpiece of a box outlined itself in the dusk of the candle, casting a powerful shadow against the bare wall. He sat next to it, half dazzled by its courier and half skeptical of its content. Small enough to fit into the cradle of his forearm, it bore the glyphs of the Ancients. Four symbols, each one held an eerie familiarity, though only one was know to Bradley. On each four sides the symbols guarded the contents. Atop the obsidian lid, a stranger glyph then the rest, it was splayed into four equal pitchforks. Each one pointing at the four lower glyphs, almost as though it was the creation point.

He was unsure of whether to open it. Was the box itself the proof Rune was above the level? If that black box was just the show, where was the tell? Bradley placed his hand on the lid to the masterpiece box, ready to see what was inside. He tried to move his hand, to slide the lid but it wouldn't move. Nervous as he was, he couldn't muster the will to peer at the decadence.

Bradley set the box back on his bed and sighed. His nerves were shot after war and now his greatest opponent was a little bit of obsidian.

Boy, oh boy. You are nothing special anymore huh?

Bradley shook off the feeling of unnerved agression. He went down the ladder with a heavy foot before grabbing his leather long coat and leaving the Church.

The crisp air was frigid and dead. The approaching snow storm gave Bradley's a heated feeling. Knowing it was mid-September and there was already going to be at least three inches of snow made him quietly wish for the days he was a boy and the seasons meant something to Nature.

The automatic doors slid away as Bradley entered the convenient store. A simple trip, but one he made every day. He grabbed a Mountain Dew from the cooler and walked up to the clerk.

"Hey, BK."

"Hey, Dante. Didn't know you had to be here today." The black-haired man just looked at Bradley with an annoyed expression. "Pack of UCA Gold Menthols." He ducked back for a second and threw the cigarettes over to Bradley.

"Total's $7.87."

Bradley set down a ten-dollar note and walked out, not wanting the change. He made that short trudge back to the Church with little more than a look up.

Whatever was weighing so heavily on his mind was a mystery even to him. As he walked up the steps, all he could imagine was the days when there was no lull in the fighting, no time to breath. Plowing through the random walkers, he took the steps up to the doors of the Church.

"Brother...?" The person stopped Bradley dead in his tracks. As he turned, the voice vanished into the ethereal wind. Not a soul had their eyes on him, as if he didn't even exist. He shrugged off the strange voice and stepped back inside, eagerly gaining his lonesome.

User Comments: [1] [add]
Community Member
commentCommented on: Mon Jun 15, 2009 @ 02:18am
god damn u can sure right and i think ur a great story writer and poet. sweatdrop 3nodding

User Comments: [1] [add]
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