Chapter 1

The feeling of being watched fell over him. He knew never to turn around. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a dark ally. He made a feint as if going to it but instead he just disappeared. He was standing on top of the building opposite to the dark ally. Down the ally from where he came a small human was prancing around in the shadows. When the light hit the figure all he could see was dark clothes and long strands of brunette hair. He turned and ran over the roof tops of the flat-top business buildings going in what seemed a random pattern.

Alexandrew Orion Knapp woke up quickly. He looked over at his bedside clock and saw he was actually late for once. He stood up and moving with easy mobility put on his clothes and shoes. He was halfway down the stairs to the bottom floor and kitchen when his mom called for him. He rushed down to the kitchen to find his mom holding an envelope. It was black meaning bad news for him. The longest he had gone without one of the black envelopes was two weeks.

"Mom, do you think you can just hold it until I get home?" Alex asked. He grabbed his toast from the plate on the counter by the toaster. "We'll just say I left before you showed it to me. Please!!!! I want one day of normal school." The entire time he was begging his mom to hold off from giving it to him his face hadn't changed in expression.

"Alright. But you better hurry and leave." Mrs. Knapp tucked the envelope into a pile of other envelopes.

"Thanks mom. Bye," Alex said leaving out the door at a jogging pace. It was two blocks to the school. Living in the city had some advantages but to Alex so much was a disadvantage. He hated the crowded streets. He hated the lights that never went out. He hated the trouble in school. He didn't mind the killings though. That part of the city he took in stride and never gave a second glance at it. He'd been in the city before but this city was the worse of all of them.

He arrived at Lukestrum High five minutes before the bell rang. The school looked more like a prison than anything. The fences had razor wire on them to keep thieves and other criminals out and the children in. The gate was a security lack but still a little hard to get through. The buildings, five in all, were painted white and had metal bars on all windows. The windows themselves were bulletproof and the doors were one foot thick reinforced steel. The school board had built it just for the kids and teachers safety.

Alex stepped into English just as the bell rang. Being the first day of school again this was the only class he had known of that he had. Mr. Strum, or so the board read, led this class. He was a short bald man with no facial hair. He was a little on the chubby side. The class had assembled before the rows of desks.

"Sit where you want class," the small man said indicating with his arm that the seats were waiting. Alex was the first one to take a seat he sat as close to the center as possible. After him the other kids started sitting down. To his left sat another boy. He had black hair that was short but his bangs hung over one eye. Behind Alex sat yet another boy. This one with curly brown hair that stuck out. In front of Alex sat a short boy with short blonde hair. To his right sat a girl. She had brunette hair that hung to the middle of her back. Her eyes were hazel green.

Alex stared at her until she shot a glance at him telling him to stop staring. He returned his gaze to the teacher while subconsciously noting that most guys were staring at the green-eyed beauty. The teacher held a pile of lengthy papers. He started out calling names and handing the papers to the people that answered.

"Barnhill." A guy raises his hand and receives the paper. This keeps going till his name is called.

"Knapp." Alex raises his hand and grabs his paper. On it was his schedule. The calling of last names continued.

"Tan." The green-eyed beauty raised her hand. In one quick glance at her paper he had it mesmerized. Handy to have photographic memory. Something clicked in his head. He stared at his schedule in disbelief. They had the same schedules. Same teachers and everything.

Candace Rain Tan looked over her schedule. She forced all the information into memory. She folded the paper up and looked at her teacher. Mr. Strum looked like a nice guy and his class might be easy. This was a nice seat but all the guys acted like jerks. They just stared at her. She liked the attention but this wasn't what she really wanted. Most of them had lust in their eyes. Some had admiration. But the jerk to her left looked at her without emotion. His eyes were grey with what looked like real smoke floating through them. His curly red hair that just rested on him and looked wet all the time was attractive to her.

She put him out of her mind and watched the teacher. He started handing out sheets that contained class rules and how he graded. She grabbed one of the sheets out of the pile being passed down her row and passed the rest behind her. She spent the next thirty minutes taking small notes about the class.

Having just moved here from the country she had no friends. She didn't like the way the school looked. She didn't like the way the city worked. Chaos was one thing she hated.
She looked down at her desk. There was a small rectangular plate in the middle. She touched it and it came alive. A blue screen appeared with the class and Mr. Strum's name on it. Under his name were two rectangular boxes. One read username the other read password. She looked to her left and saw the red hair jerk at the same screen. The only difference was that he had a keyboard under his screen. She looked below her screen and saw another long rectangular plate. She touched it and it slid back revealing a keyboard.

Alex typed away at his keyboard. He gave the program a username and a password. It denied his password and username. He pressed control alt delete together and came up with a menu. He selected new user. He gave a username and a password. When it asked for his key he was bugged. He put in his student number assigned to him from his schedule. It was accepted.

The screen changed to a desktop view. Internet, school library, schoolwork help, and various other icons were already on there. He got rid of several he knew he wouldn't be using. By using the mouse ball and buttons that came up next to the keyboard he accessed the control panel. He found the security center and accessed it. He unlocked everything that was restricted on his name.

Alex looked up when he noticed Mr. Strum stopped talking. Everyone was looking at him. To his left he noticed that the chick named Tan had gotten to the login screen but no farther.

"Well ... well ... well ... Mr. Knapp. It seems that you have figured out the computer desks. You too Ms. Tan." Mr. Strum went on to instruct the rest of the class on how to get on. He then showed everyone how to make their usernames and passwords. This entire time Alex scoped out the system. He put up his own protection for his username. When the bell rang Alex was packed up and knew the entire school system from the computers.

His next class was Chemistry. His teacher Mrs. Lestrul was beautiful and funny. Once again Candace Tan sat to his right. Once they had sat down they opened their computer screens and logged in. Apparently none of the other students had learned of the computer desks. Mrs. Lestrul came up the aisle between them and stopped right in between their desks. She looked down at them with a smile.

Alex was looking down at his screen when she came up the aisle. When she stopped he saw it in the reflection from the glass of the screen. When she smiled he opened up a program just for chemistry. He started inputting several elemental equations. When it came out it created a scent of perfume that Mrs. Lestrul wore.

"Congraulations," Mrs. Lestrul said in a whisper that only Alex and Candace could hear.

Alex looked at the outskirts of his desks and noticed two long strips of desk like those of what covered the keyboard and mouse. He touched them and out came two holographic projectors. In the air above the desk appeared one molecule from the perfume equation. Alex sat back enjoying the view.

To his right Candace got the projectors to show a nitrogen atom. She slowly added more elements until she had a molecule of dynamite.

Mrs. Lestrul walked to the front of the class where she then instructed the class on the workings of the computer desks. While she was doing this Alex went through the copy of the "textbooks" that were on the computer. By the time Mrs. Lestrul was done Alex knew the entire Chemistry book by heart. Great thanks to his photographic memory.

By the end of the day Alex had gone through Algebra two, English two, Chemistry, World History, Criminal Justice, and Gym. In each class Alex sat to the left of Candace.

When Alex walked into his house after his walk home he found the suite empty.

"Mom!" Alex called. "Mom! I'm home!" He walked into the kitchen and found two black envelopes. He sighed and set his backpack down. He grabbed one of them and then sat on the stool at the bar window. He opened up the top and let a letter fall out. He opened it and cursed. Of course they would hold his mom till he did what they wanted.

He opened the second envelope and let a second letter fall out as well as several other objects.

Dear Alexandrew Orion Knapp,

As of September 4, 2006 we the Organization must inform you that we have a new mission for you.

A simple assassination of a drug lord.

His name is William Allandra Merium. In this envelope you will find several pictures of him, a list of buyers, and

the blueprints to his mansion. Take care of him quick and fast.

And don't forget cover your tracks.

Senior Assassin,


Alex closed the letter up and sent it through the paper shredder under the sink. He looked at the picture and blueprints before setting fire to them. When they were nothing but ashes he put them in his mother's ash tray. He went up the flight of stairs that led to his room and a room full of weapons. To a normal person this would be a simple showing of weird weapons. One wall was covered in ancient swords. Another wall had several knives and hand held objects. A third wall was covered in bows and crossbows. The wall with the door in it was covered in what most people would think an assassin would use. Your throwing knives and rifles. Stationed around the room were several racks with articles of clothing on them.

Alex went to the wall with knives and grabbed one that had a straight blade but the handle was engraved with dragons and demonic forms. Alex went to a rack and grabbed a black arm guard. He than walked back to his room and dressed up in street clothes. Under his black hoodie he had a knife pouch which he put his knife in. He hid the arm guard with a sleeve of the hoodie. In one of the dressers in his room he pulled out a sewing kit. He pulled out the pouch of sewing needles. Out of this pouch he took twenty needles. He inserted these into his arm guard where he could easily access them. Once in the arm guard a poison that Alex was immune to was smeared onto the tips.

Alex went down stairs and out of the apartment building. On the streets he walked to the subway station a block away. He bought a ticket and jumped on the subway train heading close to the city borders up in the rich family section. It was a good half hour train travel. The train had to travel through a bad section of the city, well worse then the other parts, before hitting the nice section. At the next stop a group of teenagers got on. The six teenagers made the total number of people in his cart a small thirteen.

The leader of the gang came to a stop in front of Alex.

"Hey wannabe, move your in my seat," he said as the other gang members moved in around their leader. Alex just stood up and moved. The leader sat down while the others followed Alex to his new seat.

"Wannabe, move your in my seat," said another gang member. Alex got up again and moved down to the other end of the cart. They followed him again. When they surrounded him again Alex sighed and stood up. He grabbed a hand hold and just stood there. "Now your holding my handhold."

"Listen choose a place and I'll stay away," Alex said letting go of the handhold.

"Okay. I choose this cart. Now beat it." The six gang members were now standing around him waiting for him to move. The train stopped before Alex could move. Three people got off here and a mother with her young daughter got on. The leader of the gang saw her and went right up to her. He whispered something into her ear and got smacked in the face. He turned back towards her after looking at his fellow gang members. They moved to the mother and daughter and snatched the daughter away. They pinned the mother down as if they were going to rape her.

"Stop now," Alex said just loud enough for them to hear. "Stop now or I will make you stop." The gang laughed at this. The leader went to undo his belt buckle but fell down to the floor instead. Alex had revealed his arm guard on his left forearm. "Leave them alone." What was left of the gang crowded around Alex.

"Or what?" one of them asked in a mocking tone. Alex looked him in the eye. The teen got scared looking into the swirling gray mass. The teen left the group and went to help the lady and her daughter get up. After that the scared teen went to the other side of the cart where he waited patiently to get off.

"Four versus one," another teenager said. This teen was at least six foot five and with muscles that put Hulk Hogan to shame when he was at his peak. "Get moving now. We'll have our way with these two then you can have them."

"No I'm sorry. But I won't let you touch them again. And if you somehow manage to it'll be the last thing you do." Alex stepped toward the tall teen in an angry motion.

"Hahahahaha like you scare me puny boy," the teen said with a laugh in his voice. The tall teen signaled to the others to grab him.

Alex saw the signal and immediately put out two of them with needles. The third one he simply kicked in the chest. The teen he kicked in the chest fell backwards gasping for air. The tall teen moved in and pulled one of Alex's arms behind his back in an attempt to hurt him. Being trained to endure pain Alex let the kid pull all he wanted. A pop reverberated through the air. The teen let Alex's arm fall limply to his side. Alex turned around and glared at the teen. He pulled off a roundhouse kick in the cramped space knocking the big teen to the ground unconscious.

Alex sat down in a nearby seat while the mother grabbed her daughter close to her. He grabbed his dislocated arm and relocated it back into its socket. Alex then leaned back and closed his eyes momentarily. A soft tugging on his jeans brought him out of his thinking. In front him stood a blonde hair blue eyed girl that he couldn't mistake as the young girl he just saved. In her hand was a folded twenty.

"My mommy says this is for helping her. She knows its not much but hopes it will do," the young girl said. Her voice was young and had a pleasant tone to it. She held her hand palm up with the twenty dollar bill in it. Alex grabbed the girls hand with a gentle ease and closed her hand on the money.

"Just tell her to smile and I'll be rewarded enough." He pulled his sleeve down to cover his arm guard when he realized it was showing. Alex looked over to the mother and daughter and saw them beaming at him. Alex nodded and leaned back again.

When the train came to a screeching halt Alex stood up. The doors opened and Alex stepped out onto a nice clean platform. The mother and daughter also got off here. Alex looked back into his memory for directions to the mansion. He came up out of the subway station and started a brisk walk out of town to the rich part of the outskirts.

Standing at the gates to the Merium Mansion Alex took note of all the guards. A guard approached Alex asking if he had business.

"As a matter of fact I do. I'm here to buy some important items." The guard nodded and opened the gate. Once he stepped through the gates they closed behind him and four guards surrounded him to take him up to the mansion. They progressed slowly. When they finally got to the front they didn't go in instead the moved around to the side. They entered a small room with a small table and two chairs. When invited to sit in one of them Alex did so. Two guards stood outside of the door while the other two left.

Soon after taking his seat a big man entered the room. Remembering the picture Alex stood up in respect to William Allandra Merium. The big bald man smiled and sat down. Alex sat back down in his seat and looked at the drug lord.

"So what brings you up here?" asked the big man.

"Buying." As Alex said this he slid up his left sleeve under the table. The biggest problem would be the two guards. A thought came to him and he hoped it would work. "Listen I'm not entirely comfortable with those guards there. I mean how do I know you won't kill me after you got my money. Jeez what am I going to do to you. I'm only a kid." The big man nodded knowingly and Alex knew he had won. Overconfidence was a great ally.

"Guards, can you please leave us alone." The guards took off without a second look.

"Nice place Mr. Merium. How long did it take you to get this sweet place." Alex said all this unemotionally.

"About twenty years. So down to business. What is it you want to buy?" This man wants to get straight to business, so be it, Alex thought. He slowly pulled out a needle from his arm guard. He put his left arm onto the table letting William get a look at it.

"Alright to business. Hope you led a nice life." Alex threw a needle right into his neck. The man slumped down so he was resting on his right arm. Alex stood up and walked out. At the fence he was asked if he was happy. He just shrugged and left through the gates.

Once he was back on the subway he pulled out a cell phone. He flipped it open and dialed a five digit number.

"It's done. Now let her go." Luckily enough no one else was in the train cart. He closed the phone and rode in silence to the station by his home. The ride home was uneventful and a good chance for Alex to rest.

When Alex stepped into his apartment again he was greeted by his mother. They hugged, enjoying their time together. Alex broke the hug apart and said he had homework to do. So Alex went upstairs and into the room of weapons. He returned his unused knife and his arm guard. He took out the sixteen remaining needles and put them in a small jar of water. The water washed off and disabled the poison. Returning to his room Alex fell onto his bed. He was out in a matter of minutes.

When Alex woke the next day he was famished. He went downstairs to find his mom cooking eggs. There was some bacon on a sperate plate covered by a paper towel. He went into the cupboard and grabbed another plate. Out of a drawer he grabbed a fork. His mom shoveled his scrambled eggs onto his plate. She then went on to grab a glass and fill it with apple juice. Alex shook some pepper onto his eggs and dug in. He ate three eggs and four pieces of bacon.

Alex went to school on a full stomach. First and second period went by uneventfully. Except for his constant watch of Candace. In Algebra two they started on synthetic division. Alex caught onto the concept really fast. Candace on the other hand had some trouble. Mrs. Glover the math teacher was swamped with students needing help. Being considerate and not wanting to add to the group around Mrs. Glover Candace just sat at her desk looking down. In this class when you did class work you were allowed to work in groups.

Silently Alex moved his desk next to Candace's. Candace looked up at him and Alex could see sadness in her eyes.

"Hey don't go crying,"Alex said softly so no one else could here him. "Let me help you. It's easy once you get the pattern down." Candace looked at him as if trying to see some greater reason as to why he was helping her.

"Okay," Candace said. Alex went on to show her how to set it up and how to get her answer. Soon enough she had it down. They finished the class work easily and just chatted.

"So tell me why were you about to cry," Alex said softly. His voice sounded concerned and Candace couldn't resist confiding in him.

"It's my dad. He wants perfection from me. When I couldn't grasp this concept I thought I was lost. You see he beats me when I'm not doing perfect. Most of the time it's easy to do perfect in school, because if I do say so, I am smart. My younger sister though gets it even worse. She's not that smart so she gets hit so much," Candace said. Alex took note of her voice and noticed that she was telling the truth, but was holding something back.

"Tell me what your mother does about this," Alex said. he glanced at the clock and noticed the class was about to end. "But first lets get some lunch."

For being all high security it had open campus lunch. Alex and Candace walked off campus heading to a small pizza place. The place was pretty much empty being in the middle of the day. There were two people in business suits sitting in a booth near the window. They got a small pizza and Alex paid for it. They got their drinks and sat down at a booth completely isolated from everything else.

"My mother ran away," Candace said resuming their earlier conversation. Tears rolled down her cheeks just from remembering her mother. "She took my youngest sister with her. I'd say she would be about seven now. And yea high," Candace brought her palm up to a height of a four foot one girl. "She looked so much like my mom. Blonde hair blue eyes."

Alex listened silently slowly eating the pizza. His mind flashed back to the day before. More precisely his mind went back to the mother daughter on the train. The daughter stood about four foot and had blonde hair and blue eyes.

"Okay, enough of this, you shouldn't cry. Although I envy you of it. You see when I was younger they removed my tear ducts surgically. I can't smile because the muscles to do so were cut. Most think it's impossible, but they found a way to do it."

"Oh, how sad."

"Yea, don't dwell on me though. Let's eat before lunch ends." They ate in silence until a young man entered the store. He looked suspicious and was jiggly.

He walked up to the counter and just stood there as if looking at the menu. His head was covered by a hat and his chin was covered by a rough looking beard. He looked more homeless than anything. The man pulled out a gun and pointed it at the cashier. He did a slow three sixty to cover the four other people in the parlor.

"No one moves and you all go home happy. Now you," the robber said turning to the cashier. "Empty the cash register and put all the money in a pizza box."

Alex had gotten out of his seat while the robber had his attention on the cashier. Candace looked on with a scared expression. The robber turned on Alex and cocked the gun.

"Sir, please sit down. I won't shoot you if you sit down now. Come on cashier hurry." The robber kept his attention on Alex while the cashier kept piling the money into the pizza box. "Sir, I'll ask you again. Please, sit down."

"Or what? You'll shoot me with a b-b gun? Novice. You never hold a place up with a fake weapon. Now set it down or I'll be forced to hurt you." Candace took a closer look at the gun and noticed it was indeed a fake gun.

The business couple at the other side of the parlor were trying to disappear into the wall. They were scared for their life. Living in the city they knew their was crime but had never experienced any. When the kid claimed the gun was a b-b gun they were comforted a little. Their thoughts turned to the fact that the kid might be wrong. They weren't close enough to see that it was indeed a b-b gun.

The robber laughed and tried to keep up the sherade that it was a real gun. Alex walked right up to him without the man ever firing off a shot. They locked eyes and the robber saw the swirling smoke. He had never known someone to have eyes like this kid did. He lowered his gun and shook his head. He blinked once. When his eyes opened his b-b gun was in Alex's hand.

Alex gave the gun to the cashier and told the robber to leave and never comeback to this place. The robber did so. The cashier started to put the money back when Alex walked up to the counter. The cashier stopped and looked at Alex.

"Here take this for doing what he demanded. Do that more often and you'll live longer," Alex said while holding out a hundred dollar bill.

"Uh ... ummmm ... thanks," the cashier said unsteadily.

Alex returned to the booth Candace sat at. He looked at his watch and noticed lunch was about to end. Grabbing the trash he made for the door. Candace followed with the rest of the trash. They left the pizza parlor and walked back to school. Candace hurried up to walk beside Alex.

"That was a really brave thing to do."

"No. He wouldn't have shot even if it had been a real gun. His eyes and posture betrayed him. He didn't want to kill. That would have haunted him for the rest of his life. It's not that big of a deal anyway. People in danger I fight. Well as long as I'm in the area."

"But you saved what four peoples lives if it had been a real gun." Candace said this as they were on their way to Criminal Justice. They stopped outside the class quickly and stopped talking about the incident.

When Alex stepped into the room he went to his teacher, Mrs. Smith.

"Mrs. Smith, what can a man be charged with if he holds up a pizza place with a fake gun?" He asked it innocently.

"Attempted robbery. Which can get them about 7-8 years in a state prison. Why do you ask?"

"No reason. Just wandering."

Criminal Justice passed rather quickly for Alex. Their next class was World History. They walked into Mr. Greggery's class together. In History they sit in the back but still next to each other. They sit down and open their computer desks. Immediately Alex is sending messages to Candace. The only problem is that Candace hasn't figured out how to message. Alex typed in lol and sent it to Candace. It dropped into her screen and stopped when it reached the bottom edge of the screen.

"Okay class today I am assigning the first project. I want all of you to trace your ancestors back as far as possible. This project will be due next week on Wednesday. Take class time today to start," Mr. Gregory said.

"Oh I've always wanted to do this. Never had the time or purpose to do it though," Alex said to Candace. He opened the internet and went to an ancestor find website. He looked up his last name and looked up Tan at the same time. As an extra precaution he put in his mother's maiden name. He left his email address and got off the internet.

"Well I'm bored. Back in the third grade I got back four generations."

"Yea but teach said as far back as possible. Try again. Try going back farther."

After World History was Gym, their last class of the day. Candace and Alex walked to the separate building together but had to separate to go to their separate dressing rooms. Being the second day of school they were required to have the uniform. They had had one day to get it. The uniform consisted of shorts either red or black and a t-shirt either red or black. Although the shirt and shorts couldn't be the same color.

Alex walked into the gym and saw several people sitting in the middle. Candace was on the edge of the group. Alex stood their admiring her tan legs. When Candace beckoned at him he broke away his stare. He walked over to her and sat down. Coach Wilson walked out onto the gym floor. After the rest of the class joined the group on the floor Coach started talking.

"Okay class, today those of you dressed out will have to run the mile and shuttle run. Today we start the presidential fitness awards. Now before we go out I want you guys in squads. I need a total of ... oh lets see ... how many students do we have... 10... 18... 27. Okay I need three groups of five. And two groups of six. Any takes for squad leaders?" Alex rose his hand when the Coach glanced his way. "Okay that's one. Any other takers? Wait. Let me get you down. Sir, what's your name?"

"Alex, Alex Knapp."

"Okay Alex. Any one else? Last chance. Okay fine I'm assigning squad leaders. Ummmm ... Tan ... Roberts ... Emmit ... and lastly ... Johnston. Line up. Give yourself some space though. Knapp pick someone. Has to be a girl." Alex looked at Candace sadly. He looked back out at the rest of the class. He pointed at an athletic looking girl. She walked over to him and stood behind him. She put all her weight on one leg and had a look of disgust at being stopped from her conversation with her friend. "Okay Tan pick a guy." Candace looked out at the class and choose the most athletic guy. The guy stood behind her but started talking to her lightly. Alex heard a few words and knew he was flirting with her. His stomach started to hurt. But when he looked away it stopped. When he thought of her and him talking his stomach started to hurt again. He had no clue what was happening to him.

The picking went on until the entire class was chosen. Roberts and Emmit had the two squads with six people. Alex and Candace had given up the opportunity. The Coach had them spread out so they stood in columns. The Coach led them through exercises then herded them out the gym doors. They got to the track as one big class.

"Get in your squads!" the coach shouted over the talking. "This might not be the military but I will expect you to act like it. In this gym class your squad leaders are the only way to talk to me. Talk to them about internal affairs. If you got a problem with your squad leader talk to them. Can't solve it, go to another squad leader and have them talk to me about it. Now I want Knapp's squad out on the track. They have the outermost lane. In one lane will be Tan's squad. Now I want Emmit's and Roberts' squads to do the same once Knapp and Tan reach the turn on the far side of the track. Johnston your squad will run the mile alone." Alex thought to himself, man what a hard ass. Musta been in the military. Candace had thoughts along the same line.

"Now you are only as fast as your slowest link. If your squads split up at anytime and someone falls behind you start over. Stay as a group. Now line up! Knapp Tan ... Go!" Alex and Candace started jogging on the track hoping their squads would follow. Their squads followed as they hoped. Once they reached the far side Alex heard Coach instruct Emmit and Roberts to go.

Alex had reached the starting point when a whistle sounded through the air. "Knapp where's your fifth man? Your squad has broken up. Start over. Johnston GO! Line up Knapp." Alex got a brilliant idea and talked to the girl right behind him. The girl nodded and looked ahead. Alex went around to the back and stood behind his squad. "What do you think your doing Knapp? Relinquishing your squad?"

"No sir, I'm back here to force them on, sir." If Alex could've smiled he would have at the sight of the Coaches face. He looked stunned that a teen would have thought about this.

"Alright Knapp, nice idea let's hope you can keep this up though. Go! Get running." The girl in front of the squad started jogging and the rest followed. Every time a squad got around to the Coach he would tell them they had someone lagging behind and they had to start over. No one caught onto what Alex had done with his squad.

By the time Alex's squad had finished their fourth lap at a jogging pace the others were on their second or first laps at a walking pace. Alex led his squad off the track and to the water fountain for a five minute break. When Alex's squad returned to the track Candace's squad had finished. Candace led her squad off to the water fountain for a break. When her squad returned the rest had finished.

"Ok back to the gym for shuttle runs." Coach looked at his watch and then turned to the gym. "Hurry we only got twenty minutes. You guys took forever."

"But sir. We didn't get any water," Emmit said. He was bent over catching his breath. He had led his squad around four times jogging before they had to turn to walking. "The others got water."

"Yes and the others finished faster. Next time finish faster. Now come over to the gym." Coach Wilson led them to the gym where they once again lined up in squads. Once inside and lined up again the Coach started talking again. "Ok I need two lines. Tan and Johnston. I want your squads up first. Then Emmit's and Roberts'. Knapp someone in your squad will have to run twice."

They lined up how they were told. They ran through the shuttle runs. Alex ran twice for his squad.

The bell rang and the kids left their locker rooms. Alex waited outside for Candace to come outside. When she emerged she was sweating. They walked off campus quietly. One block away from the school Candace turned to the right and started walking away from Alex.

"Where you going Candace?" Alex asked going after her.

"Home. Why?"

"Oh, never mind. Bye." Alex turned around and walked home.

At home Alex walked silently to his room. He walked right by his mom in the kitchen. Thirty minutes after being home Alex walked back downstairs. His mom was still in the kitchen. She sat at the bar window working on a crossword puzzle. Alex got himself a drink of water and sat down next to his mom.


"Yes baby." His mom kept looking down at the puzzle.

"Where did we originate from? It's for a school project. We're tracing our family trees."

"Well honey, some Knapp's have come from Ireland. While I believe someone married into the Knapp's that came from Greece I believe. Oh by the way a green envelope came for you today. Please hope we don't have to move again." Miss Knapp pointed over to the counter at a small pile of envelopes.

Alex walked over to the pile and pulled out the green envelope. He opened it up and let a single piece of folded up paper fall out. He opened it and read it. He reread it again in disbelief. He handed it to his mom to read it.

Dear, Alexandrew Orion Knapp

We of the Organization must inform you that you are now on a one month paid vacation. Get to love the simple life

for it will probably never return to you. Scout out your location for your enemies. Be careful and have fun. By the way

your payment from the last mission is on the way. Look for a blue envelope with a black lining.

Senior Assassin,


"Well looks like you have some free time from them. What are you going to do?" Miss Knapp asked her son.

"No clue. I guess concentrate in school. My gym coach is strict. I believe he was in the military. Well mom I'm going back upstairs. I happen to be tired. Good night and love you mom." Alex headed to the stairs with his water in hand.

"Good night and love you too son."

Alex headed for his bedroom and pulled out his personal laptop. He opened it up and accessed a program that had reference on anyone that ever went through the military, had a criminal record, ever been a part of a criminal case, and if they had ever been part of the government. He inserted location, surname, and first name. Their were actually two registered Peter Wilson's. One was in for military and the other was in for criminal record. He clicked on the one for the military and a picture and bio appeared on screen.

Peter Wilson appeared to be a formal Master-Chief in the navy. He was honorably discharged. After shutting the laptop down Alex jumped into bed. He was asleep in minutes.

Alex awoke the next morning to the smell of pancakes. His favorite breakfast of all time. Staring at the clock next to the bed he noticed he was up at 6:30. He was up thirty minutes early. After putting on some decent clothes for school Alex headed downstairs. He sat at the bar and waited for his mom to serve him.

Miss Knapp poured him a glass of apple juice. And then pulled a plate of pancakes from the oven. Whenever she cooked pancakes for breakfast she always woke up early. She did this to create a large amount of small pancakes before Alex woke up. And all pancakes she finished before he woke up were put in the oven to keep warm.

Flooding a separate plate with maple syrup Alex chowed down on his breakfast. He ate a low forty-two pancakes. He cleaned up and headed off to school right on time.

Morning passed fast and lunch came and went. Alex had gone out again to the same pizza parlor as the previous day. He had eaten alone as Candace was eating lunch with the kid from gym class. Fourth and fifth periods went by in a flash. Gym came and Alex for some reason was happy to go to it. Then again he hated to see Candace with that guy in her squad. He entered the locker room and quickly changed.

Standing out on the gym floor Coach Wilson approached him.

Coach looked around before talking. "Listen Knapp. I like you and your talents. I want you to try and help the others. I'll keep giving you an A in this class if you do."

"Listen I'll help them but you don't have to give me the A for it. I like to earn my A's. And I have something I want to talk to you about. Why don't you try and start an ROTC class? I mean several others might like to join it and of course being a previous Master-Chief of the US Navy you should be qualified to lead it." In his head Alex thought that he sounded like a nerd from any old story. It was true that he liked to earn his A's and he would help the others if necessary.

Coach had gotten a scared expression on his face fast but quickly tore it off. "How did you know that I was in the US Navy? No don't answer that. Your right maybe I can get an ROTC class going. I'll have to get permission from the government first though. Hmmm." Coach got lost in his thoughts and started thinking of an ROTC class. His thoughts then wandered to why he was discharged.

Students started walking into the gym now. Alex took his position at the front of the area that was his squads line. His squad then lined up in front of him. Alex started his squad exercising. The other squad leaders soon followed his lead. Exercise gave way to another turn outside on the track. Knapp finished first again but this time Tan was one of the last groups in. Shuttle runs went with Tan's group having to have a double runner. Gym ended as did the school day.

As Alex left school he saw Candace ahead. She was talking to the boy from her squad. They got to the corner and Candace and the boy took a right. They kept talking all the way out of sight. Alex turned around and headed home. Walking through the front door his mother was again working on a crossword puzzle. He didn't care. Nothing right then mattered. If he could have frowned it would have drooped off his face.

Alex found himself in his armory. The wrist guards were off. They had been moved fractionally. Someone had been in this room. It wasn't his mother he knew that for sure. This was the one room she would never enter. Someone else had been here. He rushed down the stairs to find his mother.

She was in the arms of a stranger. The stranger was holding a knife to her throat.

"Stop! Move any further and I slice her neck." Alex stopped dead in his tracks. Fuck! Shit! How do they know who I am!? "Now tell me why you are here."

"Fuck you. You think she is my real mother? Dude you crack me up. They won't give me my real mother. They give me this bitch instead. You want to slice her neck? Go ahead. I won't stop you. Don't really want her anyway. If ya kill her they will just give me another one. Hell do me a favor and slice away. Go on." The stranger looked into the smoky grey eyes. He dropped his mother and advanced toward Alex.

"Fine. I'll leave you with this bitch. Now tell me why an assassin is here in this city."

"Jeez man. Do you know how many rich people live here? Talk about jobs galore. One pays me to kill another. Approach the other and tell them you will spare their lives if they pay you more. They pay and you go and kill the original client. It's easy money. Think." Alex put his hands into his pockets. His right hand gripped the needles he kept for emergencies and the left gripped a switchblade. Both of which were undetectable to metal detectors.

"Ya, I know that. That's why I am here. I want to know why the Organization is here. Why kid, why?" The stranger kept approaching.

"Okay, ya know about the Org. Do you know who I am though? I am Alex. Alex Orion. I am the best assassin they have. Okay, not the best as the senior assassins are all better." The stranger stopped. He knew the Org. all right. He knew them intimately. If this was their best killer then he was screwed. Why did they have to send him?

The stranger's hand flew to his neck. Three thin needles sprouted out. Needles. Was this kid an idiot? He looked at Alex. The kid was actually smiling.

"Those needles are poison tipped. I give you either twenty seconds or two-steps. Hence their deadliness." The stranger took the two steps forward. The kid had to be bluffing. As his foot came down on the second step he pitched face first onto the ground. "This is fucking messy."

Alex left the stranger on the ground and went toward his mother. He picked her up and carried her to her room.

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