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milaramos
March 15th, 2008, 06:13 PM
Strange Desires: The Watchers
To buy the book, click here (http://www.midnightshowcase.com/StrangeD.htm)!
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Prologue<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Leaned up against the massive tree trunk, Michael inhaled the crisp, cool air in a series of rapid breaths. Sweat dripped off his forehead and his muscles spasmed as he took a momentary break. When he left work early that afternoon he already knew he would never return. When his bosses found out in the morning that he was gone, along with the biological serum, a red alert would immediately be issued. His lab, and all his years of research was destroyed, but it would not matter at all. He would be the main suspect and his name would be in the same sentence as thief, a traitor and who knew what else.

<o:p></o:p>
That is until it all fell apart.<o:p></o:p>


* * * * <o:p></o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>
He had worked as a scientist for the government the past 10 years, lived by the beach four more years before that and went under the name Nathaniel Hazen. Such a strange thing, one might say, to call himself Nathaniel Hazen when his given name was Michael Trelawney. Then again, there were stranger things about him than just the change of his name. For instance, he maintained a special storage station in Texas that contained items of great secrecy; hence, the change of name. But if prompted to confide in anyone the circumstances that forced him to start a new life, he knew that it would take too long to explain.<o:p></o:p>


At first, he worried someone from his past would know what he was, who he was, but nothing came up to indicate his true identity. He never saw any of his people nor did he see or feel anyone following him. Even though 10 years is a long time, it still doesn’t stop one from looking over their shoulder. For the most part, he kept his life neatly tucked away, with no paper trail. He lived a quiet existence and dedicated all his energy to his research. But now that had all changed. Now that he was once again Michael Trelawney, the things he took great pains to hide would come out.<o:p></o:p>


As a man on the run, he took only those possessions important to him. He stopped by his home, packed up as much as he could, picked up his black Labrador, Hunter, and continued heading west. He didn’t want to leave, he liked the life he made for himself as Nathaniel Hazen, but the decision was out of his hands. As he sped down the interstate, he looked in the rear view mirror again and took a deep breath. Everything he owned sat in his front seat. He carried his laptop that stored his entire body of research, all the money from his now-closed bank account, Hunter and a few other provisions.<o:p></o:p>


None of it would have happened if he never made up that biological agent. If he wasn’t so dead set in making that serum, and spent more time researching just what it was for, he would have seen the clues. All along, he knew the government was interested in his special gene location research, but was too naďve to think it could be used against him. He wanted to use it for something good. He wanted to use it to show the implications of genetic markers, how they can trace paranormal gifts within each and every human being on the planet. All the bugs had been worked out; all the sequencing and exams had been reviewed, analyzed and processed for publication. It was going to be the single biggest accomplishment of his life. His addition would state he was a viable member of society.<o:p></o:p>


Not anymore.<o:p></o:p>


Two weeks before he was to present the agent in a National Conference, news trickled in about his newly designed experimental serum through the office gossips. The serum was never going to be used to as a gene locator. It was to be used as a gene pin-pointer. It was to be used to located and seek out the Draleigh Coven and anyone associated with them.<o:p></o:p>


He lived in a world where a paranormal existence was an abomination of life. The Coven they sought consisted of angels. Angelus Draleigh was its name. It was a secret society to some but in truth specie that aided humankind towards the goal of peace and tranquility between all races. The Draleigh were gifted and many of those gifts were coveted by humans. Many wars were fought for the capacity to practice their magick and power.<o:p></o:p>


He couldn’t let that happen and originally intended to take the serum and run. This though didn’t happen either; someone had beaten him to the idea. Now, he would pay. By morning he would be branded a traitor by his employers, and fellow coworkers. By midday, mercenaries would be after him, if they weren’t already. It wouldn’t be long before the government themselves tried to reproduce the serum, change some of its properties, and maybe even make it deadlier than before. He guessed they may have already done so since its disappearance.<o:p></o:p>


His only chance was to get and speak to Selene. He needed to reach the Enforcers and the Coven before it was too late. Only then could he explain the full weight of the horror meant to be unleashed. He needed to reach the one person who could help him. True it had been years since they’d seen each other. She would listen though; Selene understood things that even he could not grasp. At least he hoped she would listen to him, things didn’t necessary end well between him and Selene.<o:p></o:p>


That was the plan, until the mercenaries caught up to him faster than he wished. At a gas station, Michael entered the store to get some snacks as Hunter barked without end. Thinking his black Labrador only needed to relieve himself in the nearby forest, he opened the passenger door. He had expected Hunter to take off running to the trees but he never did. Hunter stood at alert by his side, growled and poised for attack as he moved his snout towards the undercarriage of the Grand Cherokee. As he looked at the spot Hunter indicated with his bark, the red display slowly ticking backwards gave him the entire clue he needed. Without uncertainty, he grabbed his bag pack, laptop and money and ran. Hunter followed devotedly behind him. At about five-hundred feet away, a loud explosion sent shockwaves through the forest and confirmed his fears. They’d found him.<o:p></o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>


* * * *<o:p></o:p>
Michael rubbed his neck as he looked behind him and then stared up at the tree before him. The area of the woods looked somewhat familiar but it had been far too long since he had visited this area. A far off distant sound brought his thoughts back to the present and he took off running again.<o:p></o:p>


Pushing through the shrubbery and trees without care, he ducked and dodged the heavy brush as it slapped against his face, and scraped his skin. He intended to wait until he arrived at the storage facility to pick up his reserve vehicle before seeing the Coven. Another needed necessity to cloak his disguise, now that he had no choice. He needed to find them. He needed refuge.<o:p></o:p>


Passing a small brook, a faint reminder of the main center for the Draleigh was nearby. He had only lived a few hundred miles or so from them, but never kept his location up to date. He did not want to be trapped under the supervision of the Enforcers twenty-four/seven as they were known to do.<o:p></o:p>


Stopping at another massive tree trunk, he took a few moments to rest and checked on Hunter. The lab whined quietly but nudged his leg. I know boy, I need to keep going. He mentally said to his canine. Looking up the massive trees, he took another deep breath as long ago memories swamped his mind. How long had it been since he’d seen another like himself? Fourteen years.<o:p></o:p>


“Ow.” A sting brought him out of his thoughts as he rubbed the site that felt like a mosquito sting. Shit, he flinched and searched as to where he was hit, when did mosquito bites pack a punch? Reaching to scratch the bite mark, a soft dart stood out from his right tricep. They found me. He thought as he searched his parameter and pulled out the dart. Quickly seeking shelter to hide, he closed his eyes for a short moment, and scanned his internal body for the composition of the dart. This was part of the reason he wanted to check the agent he made. How else could he explain to someone that he wasn’t completely human?<o:p></o:p>


Focused on the task at hand, he searched for the break in his skin caused by the tip of the arrow. His body would respond with defense mechanisms. A rush of blood exiting from an artery caught his attention. The wall was broken and what caused it was already moving deep within the tube of blood. The serum released a small amount of liquid and he watched as the liquid traveled through his blood stream. Why does this look so familiar? It attacks one red blood cell and changes its composition. Kills the cell and changes it to ash. Oh no. With eyes wide open, the small tremor overcame his upper arm. The first symptom had already started. He had been shot with the biological agent.<o:p></o:p>

No!