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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)

TITLE: Debriefing document, Body of Christ in the underground, Chicago Metroplex, October 6th, 2036. Begin file . . .
By Frank Creed


Why had an anti-Christian like her risked coming here? Nobody crashes a Body of Christ mission.

I poked my head inside the hallway’s first open doorway and activated my mindware's re-formed sensory perceptions. Nothing. Even the electromagnetic spectrum was empty.

Click. A doorknob’s mechanism popped softly behind me.

I peeked around my door-frame.

A head emerged one-door-down—I fired a snapshot from my com-shades. I ducked back, inspecting the image on my glasses’ heads-up display. It was definitely her.

Footfalls sounded. I ducked behind the door, hooked my sunglasses on my shirt-collar, and peeked through the crack.

She wore a long-sleeved grey thermal-underwear shirt and urban-camo fatigue-pants. An Armalite M6-A1 assault-rifle barrel preceded her into my dark doorway.

I caught her scent as she passed: gun-oil, military-grade wool, and fear. Not fear of a fight—her joints rolled with combat confidence—coiled energy on a mercury switch. This Chica was pure lethal waitin’-to-happen. But we all know that's not what the game’s about. I was here to fight a spiritual battle. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood . . . (EPH. 6:12 NIV).”

I slammed the door and slid along the black room's wall. Mindware switched my re-formed eyes to starlight-intensifying and thermographic modes. She spun and fired a three-round burst through the door.

Light leaked in. The better to see you with, my dear.

From her head's angle, I knew she couldn't see. Her primary sense had switched to hearing.

I closed on her in carpeted silence.

Not silent enough—she swung her chin right at me, pupils fully dilated, blind—her assault-rifle’s barrel followed.

In a single smooth motion I snatched the Armalite from her trigger-finger's pressure, tossed it across the room, and retreated from her imminent strike.

It never came.

Heartbreaker took two steps back, froze in her muscle-memory’s fighting stance, knees bent, hands like blades, chin oscillating her collarbones, scanning for sound-waves while protecting her throat.

Why had she broken-in?

I stalked around behind her before striking. I pinned her arms to her sides and squeezed just under her bottom ribs. Air rushed from her lungs. I used only enough of my re-formed strength to suggest it’s-useless-to-struggle. She knew I could have crushed her ribcage.

After a few heartbeats I felt like a thug. I cautiously eased my squeeze and let her breathe. Still she just stood there. As though this was what she wanted. No, needed.

I relaxed my arms to a mere hug.

She didn’t resist. We were now communicating with body language and her message of this-is-what-I’d-hoped-for came sunlight-through-greenhouse-glass clear.

I eased until my arms merely hung loose around her. I'd left myself vulnerable. She could leg-sweep my knees—I'd only immobilized her upper body—I knew she knew how.

As I withdrew, my hand brushed her calloused palm. On an instinct of its own, it moved to take hers. She reached back, and our fingers interlaced. Our lost-other-hands groped until they met.

Her fear-scent doubled. There was nothing sexual about this. We stood that way for too long, her chest heaving in far-more-air than I'd squished out. She slumped back, tilted back and cocked her head in the dark, questioning me with a look. Her eyes had adjusted.

That's when things went south.

Her knees collapsed, her hips became a lever and she flipped me. My back slammed on thinly carpeted concrete. As I fell she pushed off the floor in an acrobat handstand. Her dangerously-muscled frame twisted gravity like a falling cat. She landed straddling me, every muscle alpha-dog tense, hot breath tickling my ear. "I know who you are!"

"Heartbreaker . . ."

She drew back. "I hate that name!” she hissed.

"Oh-kay!" I overpowered her wrists.

"My name is Lethe.”

I relaxed. She crossed my arms over my chest like a mummy, and then laid over them.

"Lethe, why?"

Her features twisted tearfully; droplets traced down her face.

She finally wilted in dead-wait.

Mindware automatically sorted thirty ways to take-her-down. I pushed them all aside.

“My retirement has been scheduled . . . please, I have nowhere else to turn.” She sat limply up, her face contorting emotions across her face, locking fear, guilt, and hatred back into her soul's dungeon. "It's a matter of life-or-death."

“Lethe, you have no idea.”

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This article has been read 678 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 09/06/07
Wow! Exciting and fast-paced writing. I was engrossed in the story from start to finish. Is there more?
dub W09/07/07
Oh, please keep it coming. I loved it, wowsey wow. Head for the puppy pen with with one. Hope to read another next week. This is very carefully prepared, the details and the action carried it.
Sue Dent09/10/07
What? What? What?
More! More! More!

I'd tell you how to fix this but it's kind of hard to fix what ain't broke!!!

Very, very nice!!!!!
Jan Ackerson 09/11/07
Love the unique voice here, the sparse writing style.

I was slightly distracted by the number of hyphenated compound words. Lots of them could lose their hyphens and still be perfectly correct. I understood the setting-specific ones, however.

You're going to be making a huge impression here if this is any indication. First rate!
Sara Harricharan 09/12/07
Oooh! Very good. I love this piece. Especially the little hand to hand combat and the mindware...and oh yeah, everything else. A few spaces, though in some places might have carried more impact, say in the next sentence, e.g. with the light, 'all better to see you with' could be a stand alone sentence. Good job.
Betty Castleberry09/12/07
This is auperb writing,and makes me wnat to read more. I agree about the hyphenated words. There are too many, and they do become distracting.
This would make a great action movie scene.
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/13/07
Oooo, I love sci-fi with the anti-Christian world setting and this didn't disappoint. Welcome to the challenge!