For my birthday, Rizzo got me a great gift called The Writer's Toolbox. The toolbox includes lots of creative games and ideas to help writers develop different topics or ideas and to trigger the imagination to go in different places. I'm hoping to use the toolbox to write some different short stories to include as part of the blog and this is my first go at using the toolbox.
For this short story I used two of the games included in the toolbox. The first is the called The First Sentence. As the name implies, you pull a stick from the box that includes the first sentence then build on that first sentence for at least six minutes. You can write for more (which I did) but you have to go for at least six minutes. Then you move on to the The Non Sequitur stick. This stick includes a statement to provide a transition to move the writing in a new direction. So, here is my first attempt at this short story. Enjoy.
The only way John could pass the exam was by cheating. That wasn’t such a difficult thing to do. It’s not like it would be the first time he had to break into a secure location to obtain difficult information. It’s just that usually he was hacking into a secure server over some obscure network trying to find the location of other people like him. The others who had been taken from their family. The others who were forced to train as soldiers as children. The others who were beaten not for breaking the rules but in order to break their spirit. The others who were experimented on to make the perfect soldier. The others like John.
He was only nineteen but John had already experience more than most people had in two lifetimes. His first memory was running in the rain as a child. Not like your memories. Your first memory is running in the rain in the summer while your Mom or Dad chases you and you laugh and laugh. Not John. John’s first memory of running in the rain included being chased by barking dogs twice his size. John was running for his life with dozens of other five-year-old kids. Just five years old and he already had to make the decision of who would live or who would die.
John remembered tripping on a root from the large maple trees that grew near the compound where he lived. He didn’t raise his feet high enough while he was running. Stupid mistake that he had made before but his “friend” Lena made a bigger mistake. She stopped and helped John to his feet so they could both get away from the dogs. That would be the last time John ever tripped while running. He learned that day that you must run with light feet raising them up to get over any slight changes in the terrain. That would also be the last time Lena stopped to help a friend. As Lena helped John to his feet John used Lena as a shield between he and the dogs. John never tripped again. Lena never breathed again. It was survival of the fittest. John had survived.
Thirteen years later John “graduated” first in his class at the ripe age of 18. His body was molded into a perfect killing machine. The scars on his body had healed but left a gruesome reminder of the scars on his heart. There were 36 “recruits” the day that John sacrificed Lena to save his own life. On graduation day, seven remained to be sent out into the world as soldiers for the faceless Employer that had created these demons of war.
John was sent to Georgetown University. It wasn’t the education that John needed or the Employer wanted him to have but simply a means to keep John close to the power center of the Employer. John’s mission was to blend in and to keep low until he was called upon to act but John knew better. He knew he wasn’t a “graduate” but a tool.
The Employer had taught him to survive and that was exactly what he intended to do. He would sit through his utterly boring Introduction to Accounting course without hearing a word from the professor. He didn’t need to listen. He knew he would be stealing the answers to the final exam anyway. He just needed to be present so the Employer would see him going through the motions and waiting for his orders. The Employer had to see that.
What the Employer didn’t see was John gathering an army. John was tracking down his fellow graduates. John was making contact with the others just how the Employer had taught him to do. John was tracking down the Employer. John was going to find the Employer. John was going to us his army to destroy the Employer.
In the end, John and his fellow recruits would be drinking champagne and losing their shirts because John was going to kill the Employer. Not because the Employer had stolen John from his family as a baby. Not because John was beaten and broken. Not because John was tortured and scarred. Not because John was brainwashed and turned into a killer. John could live with all of those things and, in fact, relished the adrenaline of a successful mission. John didn’t even care that he was a disposable tool that would be terminated at the will of the Employer. No, John would kill the Employer for one reason and one reason alone. The Employer had forced John to throw his best friend, his only friend, to the dogs when he was only five-years old. For that, the Employer must die.