Alpha, p.32
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       Alpha, p.32

           Daniel Schmidt
 

  Chapter 32

  As the door rolled open, I saw Otto and the other Alphas standing in the roadway. Their swords were sheathed and they held no other weapons. I stepped outside and the squad formed a line across the road behind me, bayonets fixed.

  We stared at each other for a few moments before I walked towards Otto.

  A smile spread across his face and he pointed to my eye. “I see you have completed your transformation. I will forgive you for what you did to us on the hill; you weren’t an Alpha yet.”

  Otto held his hand out and another Alpha gave him a sword. Otto pushed the sword to me. “You are an Alpha now and I order you to kill your first Alvar.”

  I took the sword and turned. The Alvar stood clustered next to the armored vehicles. They looked unafraid, yet totally harmless. I expected to see something evil, something sinister or feel the urge to kill one. I saw nothing, felt nothing.

  Denise walked to the front of the Alvar and then walked out to where the squad was. She gently pushed her way through them and stopped.

  I walked towards them with the sword in my hand. Walter stepped out in front of Denise but she held her hand up and he backed away. I stopped a few paces from her.

  She looked so young, so frail, but she did not look afraid.

  “I won’t hurt you,” I said.

  “I know,” Denise replied softly.

  I took a deep breath. “You showed no fear in the face of death and uncertainty. You demonstrated strength I never thought possible. You stood up for what you believed. You had compassion for an enemy simply because he was a human being. You are brave, you are strong, and I don’t doubt you are a very smart woman. You’ll make a good leader one day and if your fellow Alvar are anything like you, this world is in good hands.”

  “Do you believe in me? In the Alvar?”

  I nodded my head. “I think so.”

  “I won’t let you down,” she said softly.

  Otto’s voice boomed behind me. “I order you to kill her!”

  I kept my eyes on Denise. “Look after these men,” I said, motioning to the squad behind her. “They will sweat, bleed, and die for you and will ask for nothing in return.”

  “I will,” she said with force.

  I turned towards Otto and he yelled again. “Paul Trent, as your commander I order you to kill her.”

  I spun the sword in my hand and said forcefully, “No.”

  Otto took several deep breaths and then unsheathed his sword. “Are you disobeying me?”

  “You are not my commander.”

  “I command all Alphas. Now kill her,” Otto thundered.

  “The only person I’m killing is you,” I said, raising the sword toward him.

  “Are you challenging me?” Otto bellowed.

  “Yes, yes I am.”

  Otto strode towards me while the other Alphas stayed put.

  “What is the matter with you? You’re one of us now; you’re a brother. These Alvar are weak, cruel, misguided, and power hungry. They need to be destroyed before they put our people in chains,” Otto said, screaming.

  I raised my sword and a fury darkened Otto’s face. He slowly brought his sword up and we charged each other. We both swung high and our blades connected with a dull clang. I tried a short jab towards his chest, but he deflected it away. He came at me with a huge sweeping overhead swing that I barely sidestepped.

  We both backed away a few strides and then charged each other. Our swords missed their marks and our bodies collided – both of us were knocked back a few steps. Otto found his footing and came at me with a roar. I parried several of his blows; he in turn parried several of mine. We fought back and forth over the road, exchanging blows both with the swords and fists.

  After a few minutes Otto backed away a few steps.

  “They are just using you. You and your men do all the fighting and dying while they sit back and bide their time,” Otto bellowed.

  I didn’t say anything in response.

  “They will put our people into chains but that’s not the worst part. Soldiers like you and I won’t be welcome in their new world. Anyone with a warrior’s genes will be eliminated, forever banished from life.”

  “Better dead than in chains I guess,” I said, not believing what he said.

  “Why don’t you ask the Prophet what will happen to men like you and me, men like those who have been fighting next to you. She’ll tell you, just like she told me; there is no place for us, we are no longer welcome. The world doesn’t need us anymore.”

  “The world doesn’t need men like you in it,” I hissed.

  “The world will always need men like you and me.”

  Otto charged again and we exchanged blows several more times before he backed away again.

  “Warriors should lead the world into the next age, not a bunch of timid, bleeding hearts,” he said pointing at the Alvar.

  “Is that what this is about? Are the Alvar a threat to your power?”

  “They are a threat to my people, our people.”

  I charged. He tried to back away but I kept pressing, kept striking. He backed away further, and I took my sword over my head and brought it down towards his neck. He was able to duck away and brought his sword up for a strike. I brought my sword up and deflected his blow but the impact caused me to drop my sword. I didn’t try to recover it. I went straight for his legs and tackled him to the ground. I worked my way on top of him and started raining down blows with my fists. He tried to bring his sword up to stab me but I locked it up under my arm, continuing to strike with my other hand.

  Otto ripped his arm free and flung me off him. We both found our feet and locked up again. I spun away from his sword thrust and quickly moved over to grab my sword. We started exchanging blows again with the swords, working back and forth across the road.

  Otto backed away and I let him take a few steps before charging again. I caught him in between steps and although he parried my sword, I knocked him to the ground. He fell onto his back and I was on top of him quickly. I locked up his sword arm with my left hand and neutralized his other by pinning it below my knee.

  I raised my sword and tried to drive it into his chest, but he pulled his arm from under my knee and deflected the blow. I pulled it back for another drive but Otto reached up with his now free hand and arrested its movement. We struggled for quite some time, neither of us able to overpower the other.

  I let his sword arm go so I could put both hands on my sword. I drove the blade down but Otto deflected the blow away from him. He let go of his sword and latched onto mine with both hands. I headbutted him several times and struck him with my knees, but we were at a stalemate, neither of us able to outmuscle the other.

  I let go of the sword with one of my hands and then reached down and drew my bayonet. Otto still had both of his hands on my sword as I brought the bayonet up and drove it down into his chest. He let out a roar and let go of the sword. I tore the bayonet out and drove it down into his chest again, then again.

  On my next thrust he was able to latch onto my wrist and stop the blade. I put both hands on the bayonet and leaned over it to add my weight. Otto struggled to push it away but slowly and steadily I drove it down until it touched his armor. Blood started to seep from the sides of his mouth.

  “This is for David,” I hissed, and then drove the blade through his armor and into his chest. I pushed the bayonet all the way down to its handle and kept my weight on it. Otto’s eyes rolled back into his head and his body slowly went limp.

  I pulled the bayonet free but remained on top of Otto. I unclicked his helmet and then stood.

  “Who else wants to fight?” I asked, raising Otto’s helmet above my head. I pointed my bayonet at each of the Alphas. “Do any of you want to die?” They didn’t respond or move. “Then drop your weapons!”

  To my utter amazement, the Alphas drew their swords and placed them onto
the ground in front of them. Then they took several steps back.

  I turned back to look at Denise and the squad. They had not moved and they stared at me with wide eyes and many open mouths.

  I tossed Otto’s helmet towards them. It landed at Denise’s feet. She slowly bent down and picked it up.

  I yelled to Walter, “Get those vehicles in the garage ready to go. It’s time to go.” He looked dumbfounded at the Alphas and slowly nodded his head, and then calmly gave commands to the squad.

  I pointed my bayonet at the Alphas. “Get off the road, go wait over there and take Otto with you,” I said, pointing off into the woods. The Alphas did as they were told, dragging Otto’s body with them.

  I stood just off the road, keeping an eye on the Alphas as the squad pulled all the vehicles from the garage onto the road. As the Alvar loaded up, Walter came and stood beside me. “Carlos wants to talk to you,” he said coldly.

  “What could I possibly have to say to him, to any of you?”

  Walter reached up and gripped my shoulder. I nodded and followed Walter to one of the armored trucks where Carlos lay.

  He looked pale and his voice was weak.

  “I forgive you,” Carlos said softly.

  “What I did cannot be forgiven,” I said.

  Walter placed a hand on my shoulder. “We realize now that if you had not been an undercover cop, if you had never brought us here, the Council would still be down in that basement. We never would have found them and God only knows what would have happened to them. It was meant to be.”

  “I betrayed all of you. Now go. Carlos needs to get to a hospital.” I looked at Walter. “You’re in charge now. Get him to a hospital and then go to the safe house in Page. I’ll take care of these Alphas.”

  Walter gripped my arm. “You are not leaving us. You are still our squad leader. If it had not been for you, we all would have been dead a long time ago. If you didn’t bring us here, the Council would be lost.”

  “I am a mole, a rat, and you shouldn’t trust me, especially now that I’m a monster,” I said, running my hand over my face.

  “We trust you,” Carlos said with as much force as he could muster.

  I shook my head. “I’m not fit to lead anymore, I never have been. I continually fail as a leader. Too many men have died under my watch.”

  Walter grabbed me with both hands. “Just because men die does not mean you failed them. You lead men into difficult and dynamic situations and bring out as many as you can. You can’t control who lives and who dies; you can only do your best. You did what you thought was right,” Walter said. “We still need you, now more than ever.”

  “Even if I could, it would be impossible now. I’m an Alpha, a sworn enemy of the Alvar. Who knows how long it will be before I begin to thirst for their blood.”

  The squad gathered around me. Carlos reached up and took my hand. “You are still our leader. ”

  The men around me voiced their approval. “How can you still trust me?” I asked.

  “Because you led us through so much already, and even though you knew you had to betray us, you kept us alive. You did everything you could for us, even when you didn’t have to,” Walter said.

  I shook my head, not believing what they were saying. “I’m not going to put you or the Alvar in danger. Now go, get Carlos to a hospital.”

  “Carlos is not going to survive long enough to make it to a hospital,” Christine said sharply.

  We all turned to look at her. Walter saw her purple eyes, eyes he had never seen before. He and several of the men exchanged glances.

  I was surprised Christine would say such a thing within earshot of Carlos. Christine reached into a pocket and pulled out a syringe, which she stuck into her arm and drew out a vile of her blood.

  “What is that for?” I asked.

  “Carlos needs this to live.”

  “Is he an Alvar? Are you an Alvar?” Walter asked.

  “I am an Alvar,” Christine said, “but Carlos is not.”

  “You’re not going to turn him into a monster,” I said, realizing what she meant.

  “He will die without it,” Christine said.

  “You’re not going to turn him into an Alpha,” I said.

  Christine nodded her head. “He will die without it.”

  “Why would you turn him into an Alpha?,” Walter asked softly but firmly.

  “It is your destiny,” Christine said, as she looked around at the men. “Why do you think I chose all of you to fight for the Alvar? How do you think I was able to pick men who fight so bravely, who bleed and die without questions or complaint? It is because all of you have the genetic makeup of warriors, of Alphas. I can sense it, that is why I chose you for this fight.”

  “What?!” Walter hissed.

  Christine reached up and touched Walter’s arm. “I chose all of you because you have the genetic makeup of true warriors. Your destiny is to become Alphas.”

  “The Alphas are your enemy. They hunt you, they are trying to kill you and every other Alvar,” I said.

  Christine looked at Carlos and held up the syringe. “It will save your life and fulfill your destiny. Can you trust me?”

  “Have you foreseen this?” I asked.

  “Yes,” she said coldly.

  “Then why didn’t you tell us before?” I asked.

  “Because none of you would have accepted it. No one would have believed me until you became one,” Christine said pointing at me. “You would not have allowed it to happen until now.”

  “How do you know this?” Walter asked.

  “Because she is the Prophet,” I said before she could answer.

  Christine cast her eyes down. Walter nearly dropped his rifle.

  “She’s what?” he stammered.

  “I am the Prophet,” Christine said, bringing her eyes back up. “I am the Prophet. I hide amongst you for my own safety.”

  Walter just shook his head.

  “Tell these men the prophecies,” I said. “They deserve to know.”

  Christine stared at me for a few moments and then spoke. “Alvar, the enlightened will arise from amongst the people. Eine, guardians of courage and loyalty, will stand to defend the Alvar. Fen, a chaos of epic proportions, will consume the world. Rok, a great and destructive war, will destroy mankind.”

  “And the final prophecy?” I said when she didn’t continue.

  “Gim,” she said loudly. “Gim, the rebirth and dawning of the golden age.”

  No one spoke for quite some time until Carlos coughed painfully. Christine placed a hand on his shoulder and raised the syringe. Carlos reached down his shirt to grasp his crucifix and then nodded his head. Christine lifted the needle but Walter reached out a hand to stop her. “How can this be? We can’t be Alphas. They are the enemy. We are supposed to be the Eine, the guardians of the Alvar.”

  Christine lowered her arm. “Don’t you see, the Alphas have been misguided by Otto, a man who refused to accept his calling. They are not what they seem… The Alphas are the Eine, they are the ones who will rise to defend the Alvar.”

  Walter’s face went white.

  “The Alphas are the Eine?” I said with surprise.

  Christine looked at me. “All of you are Eine, all of you are Alphas, they are one in the same.”

  Walter stepped back and turned away. Christine looked at Carlos and he nodded again. She jabbed the needle into his chest and injected the purple liquid. Carlos’s body tensed up in response.

  I pointed to the Alphas standing around Otto’s body. “And what about them? Are they Eine?”

  Christine nodded her head and then took Otto’s helmet from Denise’s hands. “Yes, they are Eine. What they are lacking,” Christine held Otto’s helmet out to me, “is their rightful leader.”

  Chapter 33

  The aspen trees that surrounded me were bare and the blanket of leaves had changed to a dull bro
wn that crunched under my footsteps. I stood in front of a gravestone, Otto’s crested helmet in my hands. I held it out in front of me in both hands, staring blankly at it.

  I heard footsteps behind me but I didn’t have to turn to know who it was. I could sense her, just like I could sense any like her.

  “Did everyone make it?” I asked, turning to look at Christine.

  She wore jeans and a tight-fitting brown jacket, and her hair fell loosely around her shoulders. Her purple eyes sat in stark contrast to the dull colors all around her.

  “The squad and the Council are secure at the safe house.”

  “Shouldn’t you be with them?” I asked, turning back.

  “I should be with you, with the true Eine.”

  “Can you trust us?”

  Christine came to stand beside me. “The Alphas are the Eine, they must protect the Alvar.”

  I took a deep breath. “How is Walter doing?”

  “He’s struggling, but in time he will accept what he must become… How is Carlos?”

  I looked back at the road where a large van was parked. I could see Carlos sitting in the front seat and the rest of the Alphas piled in the seats behind him. “He’s struggling with what he has become, but he has faith.”

  “And what about you Paul? How are you doing?”

  I looked at Christine, mesmerized by her purple eyes.

  “Why me? Why must I be the one to lead this fight?”

  “Because you are driven by something noble. The power you have consumes lesser men, men like Otto,” she said, placing her hand on my elbow.

  “I’m going to lose a lot more men aren’t I?” I asked, motioning towards the gravestone in front of me.

  Christine took a deep breath. “Yes, you will lose many men.”

  “What do I have to do?” I asked.

  “Come rejoin the squad, take your place at the head of the Eine, and defend the Alvar.”

  “You’re sure you can trust me, and them?” I said motioning to the van full of Alphas.

  Christine placed her hand on my shoulder. “Yes, all of you are Eine, guardians of the Alvar.”

  Christine moved her hand down to Otto’s helmet. “Wear it. It will become a symbol of your authority. Your enemies will learn to fear it, your men will be inspired by it, and your people will find hope in it.”

  I bent down and touched the gravestone, and then I stood. As I did I noticed snowflakes falling around me. I looked up at the gray sky and realized they weren’t snowflakes. It was ash, falling thick and heavy from the sky. I looked at Christine. She clenched her jaw a few times before speaking.

  “The Chaos is here.”

  Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer?

  Thanks!

  Daniel Schmidt

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