Alpha, p.9
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       Alpha, p.9

           Daniel Schmidt
Chapter 9

  We made sure no one followed us by taking a long and confusing route and doubling back on our tracks several times. By the time we got back to the house, the sun was peering over the mountain. We pulled the vehicles into the garage and everyone gathered near the back. I could sense relief amongst everyone. The woman with the purple eyes was no longer with us – on the helicopter no doubt. Sergeant Barnes congratulated us on a successful mission and told us to go have some fun because our week for missions was done, and the other squad, wherever they were, would handle anything else that came up.

  I went up to my room and Carlos joined me a few minutes later. I looked at him and shrugged my shoulders. “Well that was interesting,” I surmised.

  Carlos just laughed and handed me a piece of paper. The piece of paper was my check, the first I had received, and I wasn’t disappointed. I stared at the check almost unblinking because so many things were running through my head.

  Our mission didn’t answer any questions. It just brought up more. It had been fun but terrifying. I could still see the Alpha just standing in the street, completely confident, even when we were firing at him. I wondered who he was, who his men were. I wondered who the woman was and why she had purple eyes.

  Carlos flopped down in the bed across from me. “You probably have a lot of questions but I want to ask you one first.”

  “Okay,” I said.

  “It seems like you always have something on your mind, something heavy. Most of us are that way, but whatever is up there spinning around,” Carlos motioned towards my head, “it’s heavy. You have been here two weeks and I can tell something is always on your mind, something is bothering you.”

  I felt my face go white. Of course, I was stressing about being undercover, about putting these men in jail. I did have a lot on my mind.

  “What’s going on?” Carlos said, leaning closer to me.

  “The past,” I said, only partially lying.

  “We’ve all had trouble in the past.”

  “I can’t seem to shake mine, seems to sneak up on me.”

  “So tell me, get it off your chest,” Carlos said.

  “Nothing I can’t handle,” I said.

  “I like you Paul, so does the rest of the squad, but you get distracted. I find you in here all the time just staring off into space. Tell me what’s going on, it will help.”

  He had no idea. I had to say something but didn’t want to lie. “I’ve had a rough couple of years. It started in Afghanistan. Three of my men got killed and I blame myself. I made the decision to take the same route back and we got hit with an IED. I can’t stop thinking about that decision.”

  “You blame yourself for their deaths?”

  “Wouldn’t you? I made the decision that got them killed.” As the words exited my mouth, I felt tightness in my chest. My eyes watered. I dropped my head into my hands.

  Carlos put a hand on my back, and we sat in silence for several minutes before he spoke. “I’ve lost friends too. I know it’s hard to talk about but it’s good to get it off your chest every once in a while.”

  I nodded my head. “And I lost a few more friends in Iraq, and I lost my fiancé. Well, she didn’t die or anything, she just left me.”

  Carlos cursed. “Rough.”

  “Can’t change it now though,” I said softly, bringing my head back up.

  “So what keeps you going?” Carlos said.

  I took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” I said honestly.

  Carlos nodded. “My daughters keep me going even though I don’t get to see them.” Carlos paused for a second. “We’re doing good things here. That woman we secured last night is special. She’ll go on to do good things, great things. Her and her kind are worth fighting for.”

  “Who was she?”

  Carlos smiled. “You’ll come to know them in time.”

  “Why did we have to go in there like that? Why didn’t she just come to us?”

  Carlos shook his head. “I don’t know, it’s just what we do.”

  “Why was the Legion there? Why was that woman so important?” I asked.

  Carlos placed a hand on my shoulder. “We can talk about this later. Get some sleep.” He then stood and exited the room.

  I took a deep breath. I looked down at my hands and noticed they were shaking. I pressed them together to make them stop. After a few minutes and with a lot of deep breathing, they finally stopped shaking. I pulled out my cell phone for the first time and saw a slew of missed calls from Luke. I never called or texted him back last night and I knew he was going to be furious with me.

  I stared at the screen but didn’t do anything else. I knew I needed to find answers, not just uncover more questions. Soon my eyes felt heavy and my phone slipped from my hand onto the floor. I didn’t bother picking it up and just fell over backwards, letting sleep consume me.

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