Dawn of the knight the l.., p.41
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       Dawn of the Knight: The Lance Rock Chronicles Volume 1., p.41

           Robert L. Beck


  I was free-falling at 126 miles per hour. I glanced at the digital altimeter strapped to my left wrist. It read 30,000 feet. I gazed over at the horizon stretching hundreds of kilometers in the distance as the sun began to rise. It was a gorgeous blend of pink, orange, and red hues. I could hear the sound of my breathing through the facemask strapped to my head, even above the rush of the wind. The tank that was strapped to my stomach provided the necessary air to breathe at this altitude. I looked over on my right. Scott was falling beside me and gave me a big thumbs up, which I then returned. This was my first HALO or high altitude, low opening jump, and the feeling of exhilaration was overpowering. Suddenly, a voice shouting, "LANCE, LANCE" shattered my dream and brought me back to reality!

  "Lance, how long are you going to soak in that Jacuzzi?" asked Shannon while standing in the doorway of her mother's bathroom and staring at me. "If you stay in there any longer, you're going to look like a prune. Were you asleep?"

  "Yeah," I replied while yawning. The churning hot water and soothing bubble action had lulled me into a nice long nap.

  Why don't you put your white bikini on and join me? I thought while gazing intently at her.

  "No, we don't have time for me to get in there with you," she remarked.

  My mouth dropped open in surprise.

  "I've been around boys long enough to know how to interpret certain facial expressions," she continued while crossing her arms, rolling her eyes, and then turning and exiting the room.

  After being compelled by Inspector Carter and after having gotten his father's permission, Keith had reluctantly agreed to let us stay at his house for the rest of the weekend. His parents were staying in New York until Monday to settle paperwork regarding his grandfather's death. Shannon was not at all happy. She had planned on breaking up with him. Now she had to continue to be his girlfriend. I knew she would be even more dejected when I told her I wasn't going with them.

  "What… what do you mean you're not coming with us?" she asked, shocked.

  "I'm staying here in your house. If I've calculated correctly, your father will send men back here tonight to try and retaliate. I'll be waiting for them. I'm going to put an end to this ordeal once and for all."

  "You don't even have a gun or any other kind of weapon," remarked Stacy concerned. "How are you going to handle them? You'll be killed, and this time for sure!"

  "This whole house is filled with weapons," I replied, reassuringly. "The kitchen alone is an arsenal. Believe me, I am not lacking in armament."

  "But Lance, I want to be with you," pleaded Shannon. "I don't want to be at Keith's house without you. I need—"

  "You're going to be fine. Trust me. Just keep brushing him off. Don't kiss him anymore or get his hopes up. He'll leave you alone."

  AJ laughed loudly when I said this and Shannon turned and gave her a dirty look. I looked at AJ and asked, "Can I borrow your smartphone?" She handed it to me and I said "You're all going to be fine. But if anything should happen, call me on her smartphone. Okay? I'll be over there ASAP."

  Shannon nodded affirmatively, wrapped her arms tightly around me, and vigorously hugged me—making it extremely difficult for me to say goodbye.

  "Look, don't worry about me. The police are supposedly going to increase patrols around this area. I've got them as back up, too. Hopefully, between the two of us, we'll apprehend your father and bring him to justice."

  Shannon gave me her car keys and then they left. I set about making extensive preparations to defend against a home invasion.

  Several hours later I was lying on Shannon's bed. I surveyed the room while noting the damage that had been done in my fight with Kyle. There were cracks and holes in the wall and shattered glass fragments and bloodstains on the carpet. I glanced at my watch. It showed 10 PM. All of a sudden the phone rang, startling me.


  There was a pause on the other end and then, "Canada? Is that you?"


  "What are you still doing there? I thought you told me you were leaving today?"

  "I was, but there was… I had a change of plans. I missed my flight and I'm staying for the weekend, possibly even longer."

  "Oh… that's… oh."

  "Um… were you calling to talk to someone here?"

  "I was calling to talk to Shannon. Look, Canada, I was calling to do what you asked me to do. To do the favor, remember?"

  "You mean you were actually going to talk to Shannon and tell her about Keith? That's great, I mean, that's really nice of you to do that, Jill. But Shannon and I are now boyfriend and girlfriend… kind of… though it's not completely official, yet."

  "Wow, really? Way to go, Canada! Good for you! I had a positive feeling about you two. You'll make a great couple! Certainly, a hot looking couple! Can I talk to Shannon? I'd like to give her congrats."

  "You can't. She's spending the weekend at Keith's house."

  "She's what? You're putting me on, right?"

  "No. It's a long story and… complicated. Nothing is going to happen between them… at least… I think… I hope not, anyways. It's kind of complex. She's over there and she's safe."

  "If you say so, but this sure sounds a little weird to me. When you see her tell her I said 'Hi' and congratulations! Oh, and by the way, what you did in the cafeteria yesterday—that was amazing! There are a lot, and I mean a lot of kids who are grateful to you. You have some sick fighting skills!"

  "Thanks, Jill."

  "Thank you. Well, I should be going. I'll… Hey; will I see you in school on Monday?"

  "That's another thing that's kind of complicated. I'm not sure I'm allowed to return, but… we'll see."

  "Okay. Hopefully, I'll see you, then. Goodbye, Canada, umm, Lance."

  "See you, Jill."

  I lay back down in bed. I let my thoughts drift back to the past week while replaying the highlights. It had all started with Shannon's diary. Her diary! I felt under the covers for it. Not there. I went to her desk drawer. No luck. She probably took it with her. I glanced down under her bed where I had put it last Friday night. It was sitting on the floor. I picked it up and noticed it was unlocked. Upon opening it, I discovered a loose note in front. It read: Lance, I knew you'd probably want to read this so I left it here to see how good your memory was. Don't bother trying to find yesterday's entry. I regretted writing it, so I ripped it out and threw it away. If you haven't already done so, feel free to read about the rest of my life. I love you and I want you to know all about me. She had signed it with a heart and a smiley face.

  I smiled as I lay down on the bed and began to peruse the journal. Wow, she really is creative! I thought, as I read several entries that made reference to her secret, personal dream of becoming an artist. I became so absorbed in the diary that I lost track of time. The next thing I knew, it was eleven o'clock. I got up and turned off the light to let my eyes adjust to the dark. It was then that I heard it—an almost imperceptible creak of the stairs. Unperceived to the average person that is. But my senses were at a heightened level. I had been in combat mode since this morning and in fact, I had never come out of it. I swiftly and quietly made my way over to the space between her dresser and the desk while crouching down to hide. I sensed a presence cautiously and silently enter the room. I peeked around the corner of her dresser and immediately my heart skipped a beat! Standing just inside the doorway of the room was the shadow being that I had seen in my semi-conscious state a week ago!

  The black, shadow-like figure had returned! A cold, paralyzing fear began to grip my heart and nerves. My pulse rate was pounding and the hair on the back of my neck stood up! I wanted to run, but instead I resolved to remain calm and focused. I forced myself to study it. As I did, its outline became clearer. It was unmistakably the shape of an abundantly curvaceous female dressed in a form-fitting, black body suit. I noticed the handles of two wakizashi short swords protruding from where they were strapped to her back. She was also wearing night-visi
on goggles. This was not an unworldly apparition. No phantasm would be wearing such equipment. I stood up and as I did, she quickly glanced in my direction. I flicked on the lights. There was a scream of pain and shock as the light, amplified a thousand times by the goggles, assaulted her eyeballs! I rushed over and tore the goggles off of her head and then received a shock of my own as I stared into the face of Reina!

  "What are you still doing here? Where is everyone else?" she asked while rubbing her eyes.

  "They're all over at Keith's house. What are you doing here, Reina? Why are you dressed like that? You've been in this house before, snooping around, haven't you?"

  She nodded her head in agreement.

  "Last Saturday night?"


  "You found and read Shannon's diary?"

  "Yes, Lance-san," she again replied while looking at me.

  Suddenly, she began to waver like she was about to faint. I reached over to steady her and as I did, she quickly grabbed my right arm with her left hand. Then while stepping forward, she powerfully drove a knuckle from her right fist into the axillary nerve under my right arm pit. It felt like a nail had been hammered into it! The explosion of pain instantly crippled me and I dropped to the floor—now nothing more than a dead weight. She hurriedly removed the two swords and a back pack that she had been carrying.

  "Why are you still here?" she asked in an angry, distressed tone of voice.

  "It's… a long… story," I gasped while writhing in agony on the floor from the nerve strike. "Why… did you… do that? What… are you… doing?"

  She spoke Japanese into a micro headset while she removed several handcuffs and binding chains. Then she hurriedly secured them to my hands and feet. She was telling someone directions to Keith's house! She removed a small kit from the back pack. After opening it up, she removed a tiny bottle of liquid and a hypodermic needle.

  "What are you…going to do, Reina?" I asked, with trepidation in my voice.

  While shaking her head sadly, she answered, "I am going to kill you."

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