The DOSCO Files: Part 1 - Induction (chpt 4)

Sci-Fi Story written by LawMatheson on Wednesday 18, March 2015

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A young man in a new and strange town gets recruited to be a supernatural secret agent, when he previously thought that those things were all myths. His story only gets crazier from there...

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The next day flew by for me. Even though I didn't technically look for a job, I did scope out the town. Having traveled as much as I have, I like to know my surroundings, have exits in mind, know the secrets of a place, and the fastest way to travel from one place to another. Some people might say I get too into scoping out a town, but I like to be thorough, so I am always climbing and exploring things. I'll climb trees for vantage points, I'll search abandoned buildings, I'll even walk the sewers if I feel I need to see more of an area. Exploring all day I really got a feel for New City. On three sides it was surrounded by water, the southern tip connected to some land that headed towards Augusta, the capital of Maine. On the western side there were two bridges about two or three miles apart, attaching it to the surrounding cities. The northern tip was water for almost a mile. The eastern side was dominated by forest. I had looked at a map and identified Branwood Forest as the middle section of woods, the thickest part, but the northern and southern most parts were just woods with no name. The map said that Branwood went a mile back into the woods, before it hit water too, but I had spent the day searching everything else, so I didn't have a chance. I used significant time walking the streets familiarizing myself with their names, one way roads, and the fastest way to the bridges should I have to run. It's not like I expected the apocalypse at any point, but I did have a history of bad things following me, so I liked to give into my Boy Scout roots, always 'Be Prepared.' The northern tip also seemed to be where the upper crust lived. All the houses were enormous and immaculate, with pristine architecture, well-manicured lawns, and gated drive ways. About half a mile from those houses Town Hall, The Post Office, and The police station, among other important buildings, were grouped together. Main Street branched straight down the middle of the city, like a vein flowing life blood to the rest of the town. Lacreshia's work was at the bottom of Main St. more towards were residence lived. From there down, a good stretch of land, houses and some small businesses and a few cafe's were scattered. That abruptly ended though, as the Elementary, Junior High, and High school all were grouped together, splitting the town horizontally, acting as some kind of barrier into SFN land. I had happened on the sign unexpectedly, it wasn't your usual Get-The-Fuck-Off-Mah-Property like I was used to, this one was signed by "˜God's Congregation". It caught me off guard momentarily, as it took me a second to remember that it was SFN property. Lacreshia wasn't joking, their land was a solid two mile radius or more, most of New City could fit in that area. Whoever owned SFN property must have a great deal of money. Making my way up north diagonally towards the entrance to Branwood, passing the street to where The Library, a very old looking structure, and an equally old Bank were situated on the street. Some old houses stretched the rest of the way. The kind you might see in Philadelphia or Europe, where they are just one long continuous house, but were actually eight different duplex apartments. Ducking back through the darker patch of trees, I made my way out back up to the house I had chosen to squat in. As far as I could tell I was living in the LeClaire"s house, a well-to-do family with one child, a girl, I thought, but pictures and paper work I could find didn"t match up. It was only entertaining, until I had to start putting in a lot of effort to piece things together, and ultimately it didn"t matter most of the time. I was in and out too quick. I couldn"t be positive, but I was careful to never leave a trace, and families may never know I was there. Having left the back door unlocked earlier, I made my way into the house via the sliding glass doors that lead to the basement level guest bedroom. I decided to take this as my room, not only would it be easier to use and then leave with little trace, I also had an easy exit should shit go down. Practically it was the only choice, even if I had tested and king sized mattress in the master bedroom was four times more comfortable. Practicality over leisure. Locking the door, I drew the blinds, and started to unwind, which naturally included packing a bowl. Stripping off my clothes, I got ready to take a shower, read a book, and call it a night. It felt great to unwind like this. I didn"t have to worry about anyone watching, judging, or making fun of me. This may not actually be me house, but for now I would call it home. * * * The next morning I decided to do another in town stretch, before branching off into the woods, the one place I was really excited about getting to know. I had been in New York City before this, Central Park was great and all, but nothing compared to the real wild. Branwood was only a mile deep though, the Trail Heads all said that after a mile of walking, you would reach the river. New City was a peninsula sandwiched between the Kennebec River and Sebasticook River, with Loon Lake at the head, feeding into both rivers, being feed by some of the closer mountains. I only did the city sweep to start because I needed to swipe some food, and snacks for later, and after that, I made my way down College Ave to check out Colby College campus. While researching my next move, I had come across New City accidentally, but once I got the name in my head, I had made up my mind, it was hard to explain. After that there was nothing to do but to learn as much as I could, so I would be prepared when I moved here. And here I was, but the pictures I saw of Colby didn"t do justice to the property in person. It was gorgeous, the stonework top class and many of the buildings having been constructed semi-recently, still had the old Ivy League feel. The campus stretched for a good distance, offering its students, and even the public too, many different outdoor and indoor activities. Colby attracted a wide range of international students, all the brightest in their class. I finished the stretch of College Ave, and saw signs for Branwood Forest. All the signs had cautionary marks, which was odd for a mile hike, I barely glanced over them. I wasn"t going to be held back from the wild anymore, and so what if others had a history to get turned around in these woods, it was their own damned fault. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, go from there, and you"ll be out in no time. No matter how far I were to go into Branwood, I would just have to head west, and after only a mile I would be out. God, how dumb could others be? Getting ready to turn off the street, to follow the trail blazers to the woods, something caught my eye across the road. I couldn"t say why it got my attention, I just knew something was up. A woman stepped up to an ATM that was enclosed in a section of building that was away from store openings, set her drink up on the top, tapped her hand across the screen, before inserting a card with a ribbon of some sort attached. Slowly glancing over her shoulder, she made sure her coast was still clear. I ducked behind the corner of a convenience store I was next to, and avoided her eyes. I knew it was none of my business what this woman was doing, but I was intrigued, and oddly, jealous. Here I was petty robbing large chain stores, and she was able to lift from ATM"s! After only about two seconds money started to be ejected from the machine. Using her enormous purse, she stuffed it all inside. I left the corner, and tried to follow her as she grabbed up her purse and drink, and left the scene of the crime. As I was hurriedly crossing the road, almost getting hit on the one way street, I lost her, she had already hoped in a car or something. I walked past the ATM while trying to see where she went, and slyly checked out the machine so as not to alert anyone, and sure enough, there was gum stuck to the camera. The woman was crafty, but what about street cameras, there had to be several set up around the street, honestly I hoped she didn"t get caught, I wanted to learn from her! Looking around one last time, giving up hope that I would find her, I crossed back to the other side of the street and started down the trail to the woods, things made more sense here! By this point it was around midafternoon, and I was feeling a little hungry, I pulled out some trail mix I had mixed myself. It had cashews, almonds, craisins, chocolate chips, granola, and filled you right up. I washed it down with a fruit and veggie smoothie, and felt pumped up. When I left the LeClaire house I opted to take my backpack. Normally I wouldn"t when I walked around town, it was a little strange in smaller towns like this I found, but where I was walking down College Ave and then heading into the woods, I figured I could get away with it. Plus, I really felt better traversing woods with my survival bag. A mile is not that far, so when I got to the opening of Branwood, I took the orange blazers because it had the longest, curviest trail on the map, that and it was marked expert hiking level. How bad could it be? At 20 I could handle anytthing, I was sure. Stepping onto the mulched trail, I started to get lost in the familiar and welcoming feeling of being surrounded by life. The mulch continued for a little while, but when it came time for me to veer off to the orange trail, it was barely wide enough to get through patches of overgrown shrubs. Behind that, with no warning was a rise in the ground with rocks sticking haphazardly throughout. I tripped up, scraped my knee, recovered, went to climb higher, realized I reached the top, stomped down harder than I meant to, expecting another step, instead losing my balance, and tumbling forward. I started to pitch downward, and I felt momentum behind my fall, I was going to hit the ground, and hard, unless I could somehow stop myself. Flailing my arms only made me spiral out of control more, but one last stretch of my arm, I was able to snag a small, thin maple in the crook of my right elbow, and diverted my trajectory unexpectedly in a pendulum motion, that flipped me up, rather violently, when I lost my grip, and I rolled down the rest of the short incline, to where I splashed into cold water. I laid there only a second, before the water temperature jerked me away. Blowing water off my face, I took a second to try and understand how all that had just happened. I looked back up the trail, it was steep, that was for sure, but you couldn"t tell that on the other side at the beginning blue trail. I stood up, my knees a little shaky, wiping leaves and clumps of dirt off my jacket and Osprey backpack, my pride and joy. Okay, take Orange seriously from now on. I mentally noted, quickly dumping water out of my left shoe, before jumping across the small creek using some dry stones. I continued to let my mind wander taking in all the subtle fall changes starting to take place around me. The maples were the only ones starting to change colors, but the oak would be a heavy competitor soon. The birch, ash, and cherry trees were all beautiful in their own way, getting ready to change. There was still plenty of evergreen trees though with pines and cedars contrasting the bright and vibrant colors. I got carried away checking out the trees all around, that I didn"t even realize that I had wandered from the orange trail entirely. I looked around curiously, I wasn"t scared, why would I be? I had hours of light, and I couldn"t be farther than half a mile from civilization at this point. Even if I wasn"t on the orange trail, I was on a trail I noted. It was small however, and didn"t look that well-worn, it was probably a deer path, as I didn"t think any bear or moose lived on this fairly populated peninsula. Shrugging my shoulders, I carried on. After a bit I decided to stop, engage in some healthy natural and spiritual meditation, by toking up, before I carried on. I totally spaced on watching the time, but before I knew it, dark was descending, and I still hadn"t come across Sebasticook River yet, which was definitely curious. I still didn"t panic, I was an adult, I could get myself out of this, stressing was the biggest factor in messing up in a situation like this one, so instead I remained calm, finished the bowl from earlier, and started to head west, towards the opening. Everything was going fine, for a while, forty five minutes or so to be exact, which was concerning. It shouldn"t take three quarters of an hour to hike a mile of pretty mild trails, but I still didn"t see an end in sight. The second thing that caught my attention was the fact that I distinctly knew I was being followed. It was the same sensation as the other night with the pumpkin boy, I slowed moving forward, so as to be quieter, but I didn"t want to stop moving to alert the predator I was onto it. The hair at the back of my neck stood on end, what was it? A bear, coyote, wolf?! My heart started to pound, but I tried to stay calm, reaching my hand back, and unfolding the hidden pocket I had designed myself, I pulled out my switch blade, and with the other hand grabbed my heavy duty flash light. If nothing else I could blind the creature while slashing at it. The animal, or whatever it was, didn"t pick up speed anymore, it was still gauging my strength before it pounced, I probably didn"t have long to act before I lost the element of surprise. I was just about to wheel around, surprise attacking my attacker, when I heard voices, people. "It"s tracking something, I can tell from the patterns of movement from the heat sensors, but I can"t register what it"s stalking, so it"s got to be out of range still." A voice spoke in hushed terms, it was stoic and almost uninterested sounding. Someone else shushed him. It was barely audible, but I had always found my hearing was exceptionally good. The creature stopped moving at the voices, but I could hear it sniffing into the air. What the hell had I happened upon? How did I end up getting stalked by a predator that was being hunted itself? I didn"t like this, I had no idea who these people were, and I didn"t even know where I was exactly, according to all the signs I should have come and gone through this trail hours ago. The warning! The signs had said people had a tendency to get turned around, now I understood. Slowly I ducked behind a tree, the thing that was following me, now realized that it was being followed also, and sniffed in the air behind it. Breathing heavy, hidden by the tree, I tried to peer out around me to see where I could go. But there were no stones on the ground upon which could conceal my getaway, or even large tree stumps or anything to mask my sound. I heard a sword, or something that sounded like metal being unsheathed. I chanced a glance around the tree, and stopped in horror. The people, two of them, a man and a woman, had caught up to whatever was stalking me, and it was the pumpkin headed boy! What was going on?! I was going to step out from the tree and try and figure out why those two adults had chased a small boy into the woods, and ask why he was following me to begin with. Two nights couldn"t be a coincidence. That"s when I noticed the blade in the woman"s hand, it really was a sword! The boy did too, jumped back as she swung it downwards, right towards the kid! The pumpkin boy jumped back, and flames emitted from his mouth. My jaw hit the ground, what?! The man, a darker skinned male from the looks of it, aimed the light as the blond girl charged the child. I grabbed my phone, flipped it open, and started to record what I could with my rather terrible phone. If anyone were going to believe this, I was going to have to have footage of it. Hands shaking, I was able to settle them enough to aim the camera in the right direction. Whether or not I was actually getting it was another question, I didn"t want to watch the battle through my phone, so I steadied my hand as I aimed it to the others. The fight didn"t last long, the kid may have been able to breath fire, but he was short, young, and the girl he was fighting kept swinging the sword, mercilessly aiming for his head. I didn"t know what to do, part of me wanted to try and help the kid, but the rest of me knew that I probably didn"t want to get involved with crazies like this. The least I could do is take the video to the cops to show them the child abuse was going on. "Agh!" The girl screamed out, getting burned on her left hand, she dropped the sword, with that hand and pressed it to herself. Right hand gripping the sword only, she ran forward, swung with the blade, and chopped the kids head clean off. The phone dropped from my hand. "Ahh." Oh my god, oh my god. My body started to uncontrollably shake. I don"t know how I expected a blade fight to end, but I hadn"t really considered it would end this way! Not with a dead seven year old! My heart was beating so fast. "Did you hear that?" The woman questioned, looking my way without seeing me. "There is still nothing on the radar, I don"t know what the Jack"o"Kid was hunting." The man spoke, his voice still sounding disinterested. I looked up, I was now an accessory to murder unless I could get the phone to the police to show them. That was, if I could survive first. Who knew what these crazy murderers were capable of?! I looked around, I was standing on the top of another incline, this one a little steeper, from the top you couldn"t see the bottom. I wasn"t sure what my plan was, but they seemed unable to locate me, so I just had to throw them off. Using my foot as quietly as I could, I rooted for something heavy and round, and found two perfect picks. Old, dead, chunks of tree. Picking them up, I threw them down that hill, close to one another, to try and simulate running down the cliff. Turning on the other side of the tree, I saw the man shoot his flashlight towards where I was standing, before turning back to the woman, who was standing next to the little boy"s body. Seeing it lay there lifeless made bile form and threaten to come spewing out. Even as I watched though, without either of the other two doing anything, the body caught on fire, an unnatural red and yellow fire that consumed the boy"s body, and went out as soon as it was burned, not catching the rest of the woods on fire. "Come on, we got that one, let"s go see what it was hunting!" The girl decided decisively. Together, the pale woman, and the dark man ran towards my tree, and then down past it without so much as a glance at me. I shimmied around the tree as they approached, and was on the other side as they followed my false lead. It was hard not to panic, my heart was beating unbelievably fast, my breath was erratic and staggered, and I couldn"t form two consecutive thoughts without them overwhelming me. I timidly walked up to where the young body had been moments before, but nothing was left, not even scorch marks. How could I get anyone to believe me with no body, or even evidence of one?! I had the footage though, that"s what mattered. My phone! I dropped my phone, but hadn"t bothered to pick it back up. I was just going to leave it, but then again, if the crazies found it, they might be able to find me, and they also might be able to connect me to my past. That couldn"t happen, my past was to stay that way, I could only move forward now. I slowly went back to the tree, scared that the other two might be hiding behind it, and began to search for my phone. My hands still nervously twitching, making it hard to dig through the leaves. I didn"t think I was going to be able to find it, which made me more anxious, but I forced myself to take a deep breath, and willed myself to calm down. It worked to a degree, enough that I found my phone, which I quickly pocketed, and hastened to find my way out. Back tracking where I came from, where the boy and then the adults had followed me, I figured that was the best course of action, seeing as the other two were scouting in the opposite direction. I hadn"t been scared earlier, but that was when the sun was still up, I didn"t truly know what a big forest this was, and I didn"t know the depth of the crazy people that prowled it late at night either. My breathing was loud, too loud, I knew that, but trying to calm my racing heart only made my breath come out chopy, and winded, drawing unwanted attention. I"m going to be alright, I"m going to be fine. I kept lying to myself, I had to trust that, or chances were I really wasn"t going to make it out in one piece. I had started heading west earlier, when I could still see the sun, but now it was pitch dark, the moon was only quarter full, it was too difficult to see the stars, and even though I went the opposite direction from before, that didn"t mean it was actually east anymore. If it was east it would only lead me deeper into the woods, but impossibly I had never found the other river. None of it made sense, none of today made any sense. I had heard small towns were the ones to watch out for, but never had I experienced that as much as I had here, in New City, Maine. I wasn"t sure how long I was in the woods, or when I came onto the blue path, all I know is that I did. While I was trying to calm my heart, I think I started to trance out, and while I was zoned, I started to navigate right to the path. Trust your instincts, that"s the lesson I learned. Once out of the woods, it was fairly easy to find my way to the house I was squatting in, I had always been really good with directions, if I panicked though, I clearly lost the skill. Something else I learned, don"t panic. Entering the LeClaire"s house from my new sliding glass doors of the bedroom, I firmly shut it, bolted it, and drew the curtains to it as well. I now knew that there was evil out there, and it scared the living shit out of me. I sat down on the end of the bed. I should probably go to the cops now, but I was too scared. They were going to ask me a lot of questions, they were going to dig into my past, and while I was trying to do the right thing, they would figure out who I was, and then probably blame me for the killing. No, I had to think of another way. Instead of making any hasty moves, I pulled out my marijuana medicine satchel, packed a scorpion bowl, you know, the kind that just keeps going, and smoked it to my face. Barely pausing between breaths to take another. Now completely stoned, I went and took a long shower, unaware of how much time went by. At the end of it all, I had a plan. My phone was just a cheesy flip phone that you could buy at any gas station, which I paid for with cash, and I made sure never to enter numbers or information that I didn"t want others to find. Mostly I had a phone for emergencies, but I rarely used it, it was mostly insurance in sketchy situations. My plan was to wipe it of prints and any other possible information they could use against me. In the morning I would wrap it up in an envelope, and drop it off at the Post Office, which was doors away from the Police station. Addressed to the Cops they would get it within the hour I figured. From there I would duck into the shopping boutique on the other side of the street, where I could have a bag ready, I would change quickly, and walk out a back door. Hopefully if anyone went looking for me, using street cameras or security cameras, I would be able to do it well enough to avoid detection. It might seem over the top, but I had to keep my identity secret, it was imperative. I also couldn"t let that child be murdered without anyone knowing who or why. Ok, so I didn"t know the why, but investigators could put it together. The parents would forever wonder if they might see their little boy again, but it was never going to happen. I held back a sob, I didn"t even know the kid, but I felt connected to him now. With a firm plan in my mind, I tried to sleep, not downstairs where any old creeps could just come up to the door, but upstairs in the master bed instead. If I was ever going to sleep on it, tonight was the night. Oddly enough, it was the best night of sleep I had in a while. Thanks for reading! Please leave feedback! I love to hear from you guys, and go ahead and rate the writing, so I know what you think! Thanks!
   

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    "Branwood was only a mile deep though," - You have got a lot of what is commonly called "weedy words" in here. In this case, the words are "though" and "only." You need only say "Branwood was a mile deep," Words like this make reading tiresome and the writing too long. Get the idea?

    I might split this into two chapters. One chapter would be the entering of the house and the entrance to the woods, the second would be the adventure in the woods.