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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Head Shot
By Frank Creed


The sweet smell of diesel. Vex and I swayed on the crowded bus, feet apart, grasping ceiling straps. The driver turned a fast corner onto Clark Street to make a yellow-light. That jammed the barrel of my partner’s AS50 rifle into my shoulder. It bulged on a shoulder-strap beneath his duster.

“OW! Why’d you bother bringing that thing?”

“Senor Calamitee, I’m a Bodee of Christ sniper.” He crossed himself. “Shee goes everywhere I go.”

“You'll never get her past the gate.”

Vex smiled sly and squinted. “You know those new high-rise apartments on thee backside of thee field?”

I spoke soft. “Scrub, we’re here to kidnap Julius Vanderleerp—perhaps you’ve heard of him—Prime Minister of the One State? Every rooftop in a two kilometer perimeter is gonna have Secret Service.”

“Calamitee, have faith, His will, not ours.” He slapped my shoulder.

Bus-airbrakes rocked us forward—we stepped to maintain our footing. Who's driving this thing, Satan?

Doors hissed open. The Clark and Addison stop, right in front of Wrigley Field's main gate.

I tapped Vex’s low-five hand as the bus emptied, and we went our separate ways. Peacekeeper Hummers lined the street. Security was all-that, but I’d packed enough tech-toys to hide certain things. In-line at the turnstile, I put on my com-shades, and activated their heads-up display. Map: highlight sandmen positions. My sunglasses’ brain-wave chip read my thought. A 3-D aerial map of Wrigley Field popped-up, and red dots appeared.

I waddled crowded concourses toward my seat. The One State tyrant was going-down. This Op had been issued to Body of Christ sandmen from all over the Chicago-Metroplex—there were too many of us to be stopped.

Popcorn, peanuts, and flag-waving. Beneath Chicago’s usually cloudy skies, pop-bands and spandex-clad cheerleaders strutted-their-stuff.

Local politicians and well-dressed Capones talked-their-talk on the infield’s whitewashed podium. The only way to tell these guys apart was to make them empty their pockets. Trust me, I’ve done it—politicians pack breath-mints.

So there I sat, praying for my chance to shoot straight. I had a pair of Israeli-Military-Industry’s Baby Eagles nine-mils in my Quick-Draw holsters, loaded with a total of thirty tranq rounds, and one purpose.

Finally, Vanderleer, the only guy who could make a Chicago politician look-good, appeared.

e-girl thought-speeched me. “Vex just called for you. Says the Spirit spoke to him and he doesn't know what to do.”

“Tell him to obey.”

“He needs backup.”

I stood, and ’scused-myself, toward the steps. “Yeah, whatever. This is overkill anyway—Julius is doomed . I'll track Vex’s location and hold his hand.” I sighed.

“Copy that.”

I strolled out the empty concourse, and called-up my com-shades’ map. Vex was now in an apartment on the 52nd floor of Wrigley Towers-North. He'd avoided the Secret Service and could get off a shot—yeah, that was newsworthy. I checked the stopwatch running on the upper-right corner of my com-shades. Four minutes to kickoff. Perhaps I could get back in time to see the show. I picked up my pace.

As I crossed the street the stadium crowd roared as though a batter had knocked-out a grand-slam. What the . . .

E-girl thought-speeched immediately. “He's dead!“


Mindware picked the revolving-door’s lock with a thought.

“It was worse than the Zapruder film!”

“What’s a Zapruder? And who’s dead?”

I smiled tight at the desk clerk, and headed for the elevator.

“The Kennedy assassination—ring a bell?”

“Sis, you gotta quit watchin’ documentaries.” I thumbed the up-button.

“Hey, stupid, only Vex could have fired the shot!”

The elevator dinged, punctuating her thought. Vex stepped out, hooked my elbow, and dragged me down a long hall toward an alley exit.

“E-girl—gimmie a minute.”

“Vex, what have you done?”

“Thee Spirit spoke to mee!”

“Hear it daily. You didn’t use a real bullet on Julius freakin’ Vanderleer?”

He nodded.

I jerked him to a stop. “You broke the Agape Code!”

I'd never seen Vex this pale. “Senor,” he whispered, “the Spirit spoke a verse to me from Revelation.” Again, he crossed himself. “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.” *

e-girl’s thought-speech sounded in my head, “I was wrong, Julius is back up at the podium! I know he was dead, you should've seen it. This is a miracle!”

“Senor, it is heem!”

*Revelation 13: 3, 4, (NIV)

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This article has been read 729 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sue Dent09/13/07
Oh, oh, oh, I want Vex on my team!!! Okay, the other two can come too! Very exciting stuff here and so well written!
Kathy Bruins09/13/07
A lot of action and suspense, along with the surprise at the end.
dub W09/14/07
Loved the way the suspense built. Good job all around. Welcome to the puppy pen.
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
Oooh, I recognize your writing style, so distinctive and utterly unique!

I envy people who can conceptualize whole alternate realities and convey them in so few words, as you have done here.

If pressed to give a critique, I'd mention the same hyphenation issue as I did last week, but I fully recognize now that they are part of what makes you stand out and above the crowd.

Nice job!
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/18/07
Hmmm, very interesting! I'm not real sure how I feel about the ending, but I enjoyed the rest of it. Good job. As for the hyphen issue, I see why you used some of them, but I couldn't see a reason for some. Anyway, like I said, it was a good story! :-)
Dee Yoder 09/18/07
Wow. I love the action and the characters. I couldn't stop reading. As for the hyphens, I have a tendency toward their use, too. I try to curb it, but I still want to use them! It seems natural in dialog to use hyphens sometimes.
Patty Wysong09/18/07
Oh! Chills! I usually don't like anything even close to sci-fi or even high tech, but there was NO way I could stop reading!! Great job! I loved it. :-)
Joanne Sher 09/18/07
Amazing atmosphere. I was absolutely engaged.
Brenda Welc09/19/07
Well done action packed story! Great writing, you sure poured your heart into this one! Great job!
Jacquelyn Horne09/22/07
Science fiction is not my genre, but this is very well written and easy to understand what is going on.
Kristen Hester09/24/07
Hey Frank. When you said "I just MAY have crossed the zero-violence threshold" in the anit-mustard cutting excuse thread I couldn't resist reading your entry. You know, the whole can't look away from a car wreck syndrome.

I knew your writing was top notch (I can see why you've had success) but I have to admit I had to read it twice to "get it". This is nothing you did. I have four kids and they are slowly sucking my brain cells away. And I didn't have that many to spare.

On the second careful reading I not only "got it", I really enjoyed it. One reason I liked it is because this is the type of thing my son would love.

Thanks for writing this. We need all types of Christian writing. It's a blessing.