Wolves…new writing. Unedited, incomplete…

From where I stood, it looked as if they had come for me. “My time has come. Well, come and take it then.” Instead of breaching the sanctity of my home, they deployed from the vehicle, and stormed Jade’s yard.

Heavy-muscled soldiers in black clad armor, face shields, and carrying grenade launcher/rifle combos, these guys came prepared to smash my neighbor. I watched as they fired grenades at the doors and the explosions blew the front door into what I assumed was her kitchen.

From my back door, I heard a soft knock and what sounded like a whimper. I swiveled and brought my shotgun to my shoulder. Softly, I padded to the back door, and pushed it open. “What now,” I muttered.

Jade collapsed at my feet, her cheeks wet with tears, and she said, “help me.”

“You’ve got to get out of my house, lady.”

“I have nowhere else to go. The bad people are after me.”

“I am the bad people,” I growled at her. 

“Maybe once, but not anymore. How long before they come here?”

There had been no more explosions, no gunfire, just silence that came from my neighbor’s house. Her large brown eyes stared into mine. “I don’t need this crap.”

The rumble of the turbocharged Hemi warned me of their arrival. I shook my head and walked back into the living room. Before I opened the door, I put the shotgun next to the doorframe. It wouldn’t do much against the heavy armor they wore, but it might give me a chance to get to something that would.

I opened the door and walked out onto my porch. One of the goons had taken off his helmet. His blond hair, cut in the military style ‘high and tight’, looked up at me. He had the bluest eyes, and they seemed to pierce through all the crap and could see the heart of the matter. They bored into mine.

“Good afternoon, sir,” he said politely, feigning an air of respect.

“Good afternoon. How can I be of service?”

“We must have missed your neighbor.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“It’s not a problem,” crew cut said. “How well do you know her?”

“I don’t,” I answered truthfully. “A while ago, we answered the mailbox at the same time. That’s the only contact I’ve had with her since.”

“You and she live all this way out here, and you never got to know her?”

“Well, you know how it is nowadays. The world’s not how it was fifty years ago, back when neighbors brought pies and introduced themselves.”

“The world is less than it was,” the man muttered. “Sometimes I wonder about the righteousness of our cause.”

I motioned at the furniture on the porch and said, “come on up. Take a load off. You guys must be hot wearing all that.”

“Thank you for offering,” the man said. “I’m Colonel Jason Brander, of the 171st Wolfpack Brigade. We must move on. Thank you for your kindness, sir. If you see your neighbor, you can reach me at the number on my card.”

He shoved a solid white card with one number on it. There was no name, no organization or fax numbers, just a solitary ten-digit number. I reached for it, and his eyes traveled my lower arms.

“You have no tattoos.”

“No, sir.”

“Did you not serve in the military?”

“No, sir. I was too old when it became mandated by the government for every male child to serve.”

“I see.”

He said nothing further, and I took the card and looked at it. None of his squad had said anything, and Brander gave them a nod to load up. I watched as the goons piled into the vehicle, the springs squeaking with the additional weight from the gear they wore.

“Have a nice day,” I said to Brander, giving him a small wave as he climbed behind the steering wheel. 

He gave me a fake smile, and I returned it with one of my own. The dark Charger pulled out of my driveway, and I waited until the rumble of engine died down before I entered my home.

Jade waited for me in the living room, my Sig Sauer sidearm aimed at my chest. 

“Don’t touch the shotgun.”

“Wow, lady. You’ve got some pair of balls on you to point that at me.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who to trust.”

“You’re in my house, holding my weapon on me. They’re gone, but they’ll be back. When they come back, they’re coming heavy. So, you’ve got a choice. Get out my house and run or stay here and die.”

“Are you going to kill me?”

“No. I’m gonna make a cup of coffee.”

“You lied to him,” Jade said, lowering the gun to the floor. 

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did. You said you never served.”

“I didn’t.”

“Maybe not in the traditional military, but you saw action.”

I didn’t say anything to Jade, but rather went into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee. It was one of my rules. “Do what you say you’re gonna do.”

Jade watched me from the living room. She had sat on the edge of the couch. I poured sugar into my cup and stirred it.

“Let’s see,” she said, as I put the spoon on top of the sugar container. “You don’t like the disorder of our society, and you hate patterns. Plus, you have enough weaponry to fight off a small invasion force and have rules that you live by.”

“So?”

“You’re an assassin. My dad told me all about you and your type.”

“Ok.”

“Indifference. That’s a trait of your kind. I would imagine it helps to not think of your targets as people.”

“What do you want, Jade?”

“I want to know why you lied to him.”

“I didn’t. He didn’t need to know what I am.”

“And you are what exactly?”

“An assassin.”

“I knew it.”

I sipped my coffee and waited. Without fail, every target had done the same thing. 

“You could help me. They’ll come after you if they find out you lied.”

“I’m not involved in your situation, or the ‘righteousness of your cause.’ I don’t care about it. Get out of my home before they find you here.”

“They’re going to kill you.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

“You don’t care if they kill you. You want to die.”

“No. I want to die on my terms.”

“What are the terms?”

“None of your business,” I growled, as I took her by her arm and pulled her to her feet. She resisted at first, so I half-dragged, half-pushed her out of my door.

“I work to undermine the government, Freeman. We are trying to undo the damage done by this administration.”

“I’ve heard it all before. Get lost.”

Without another word, I slammed the door and locked it. Brander and his squad would run a check on me, and then they’d be back.

There was no time to screw around. I had limited time to get ready. Jade wasn’t my concern. My only concern was to get out of Dodge City before Brander and his goons burned it to the ground-with me inside.

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