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AO A novel chapter 1
by Joshua Paul Bechtel
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Two gunshots shattered the midsummer night silence.
A lone dog barked, but was soon silenced.
A lone figure fled into the night.
He was what you would call lanky, and almost skinny. His hair was sandy blonde, with a subtle touch of red.
He was known to be fleet of foot and something of a recluse.
It was also said that he was a fugitive.
He had deep hazel eyes that took in his surroundings in less time than it would take to describe them.
Few knew his name, in fact, almost no one knew who he was or what his business was. A handful knew his alias, or what he said it was.
Aekil D'Rows. His few friends called him Alex. Alex D'Rows.
Since he refused to divulge his nationality or much of his background, no one really knew whether or not this was his real name and if it was, what it meant, or if it signified anything.
He allowed them to believe whatever conclusions his reticence led them to. The fewer who knew, the better.
For, as far as he was concerned, he had much to hide, and if he began trying to tell, there was too much to try to explain.
Thus, he was, in effect, forced to go rouge, in the service of a man he barely knew. He barely knew if that man even existed. He had almost no evidence of it, except an occasional email, or a cryptic text message, or short, hurried phone calls. The phone calls were seldom more than half a minute long and seemed to leave much to the imagination and some of the communications could be construed to mean anything.
He had questioned the validity of the source of the call that directed him to carry out the “job” he had just carried out. The shadow of a question rose as he listened to the voice give the command to “kill, ask no questions, leave no trace, and get out.”
Since he was often called on for such freelance jobs, he gave it little thought and carried it out, as usual.
As he silently darted down alleys and jumped trash cans, his pistol always at the ready, his usually calm and hardened demeanor seemed shaken. Or it would have seemed shaken if there was anyone close enough to him to see and wonder.
He paused, holding his side and gasping for breath, in a darkened alley a prudent distance away from where he shot whoever it was he had gunned down.
The agency that had hired him for this job knew that he was born looking for a fight.
Maybe you could blame it on his personality and maybe it was just because of who his parents were. Maybe it was just the culture he was raised in, who could tell for sure? He grew up looking for a fight. Any one seemed to be fair game. It began at home, much to his parents chagrin. This is not to say his parents were not fighters.
They were.
It was in their genes, it was written in their genetic make up and at least that much was passed on to this child of theirs.
He seemed to always have a pointed, clever and sharp answer and opinion and word to say about everything. There seemed to be no end to his cleverness. His ability to get into and out of fights...and win gloriously was incredible. It did not seem to matter that there was blood when he was around. In fact, he actually enjoyed blood, he even enjoyed causing bloodshed. The more his parents tried to whip it out of him, the more engrained this characteristic of his seemed to embed itself.
What was he supposed to do? He was made, he was created, he had been born, destined for this. His very name hid the fact that he was, in fact, very much like a sword.
A sword is made to fight.
And he liked to fight.
In fact, he liked the fact that everyone seemed against him. He loved one on one fights. He hated the times when he was required to play in teams. He hated having to cooperate with others. And some of the others on the playground, he considered sissies, wimps, spineless.
He was not quite what they called a bully. The bullies actually usually sided with him in playground fights that erupted from time to time. The bullies knew he could do as much damage to them as they could to him, if they took a chance at it. But he was too...smart...too popular...too quick on his feet in an argument and too close to being the teacher's pet for the bullies to pick on even if they would have wanted to.
On the playground, he was sometimes the teachers biggest nightmare although sometimes he was his biggest asset. Sometimes his example shone brightly and won the teachers praise and sometimes the violence and bloodiness and damages caused by some of the fights he was drawn into and in fact he was the provoker of more than just a few drew severe punishment and rebuke from the teacher.
However, in the classroom, he was often what the teacher would call a model student. His cleverness kicked into high gear and he almost never had poor grades. Sometimes, he would slack off a bit and his performance would become poor and of course it would show in the not so nicest ways.

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