The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer    The Nineteenth Year
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Two
"Enemies ... Good and Bad"

Back to Chapter One
"Memories"
On to Chapter Three
"Reality"
Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer

Action Adventure
Violence
Sexual Situations
Rated Teen 13+

Proudly presented by The Tarheel Writer - On the Web since 24 February 2003. Celebrating 21 Years on the Internet!
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The tires screeched loudly as the giant black SUV came to an abrupt stop. Daniel was pushed roughly out of the vehicle. Hands grabbed both of his arms and led him forward. The hood over his head not only kept him from knowing where he was, but made walking difficult. He stumbled a couple of times as the men hurried him along. They did not talk and that made Daniel even more nervous. His heart was racing and the questions flooded his mind.

"What the hell is going on? Who are these men and what do they want? Where are they taking me? What are they going to do? Why me? What did I do?"

Daniel heard a door being opened and felt himself being led inside. The clicking of the men's shoes on the floor echoed as they walked down the corridor. The concrete was cold on his bare feet and the cool air tweaked his bare nipples. He knew goose bumps covered his skin, even though he couldn't see them. They were from the chill in the air, but they were also the result of adrenalin.

The distinct sound of a metal door squeaking as it was being opened sent yet another chill up his spine. Hands pressed him forward and Daniel soon found himself being forced to sit down in a metal chair. Another chill consumed him as the metal legs scraped across the floor. The sound alone told him the room was small. The smell of concrete, mildew, and a light disinfectant gave little clue as to where he was. No one was talking, and that's what unnerved Daniel the most. It was too quiet.

Suddenly the sack over his head was roughly snatched off. The darkness was quickly replaced with a brilliant light. Daniel squinted trying to see his surroundings, but the brightness blinded him.

"Where's the software?" a cold, harsh voice asked. Daniel squinted harder, but any vision beyond the bright light was impossible.

"What the hell kind of question is that?" he thought. "Software? What software?" Daniel had a few questions himself.

"What the hell are you talking about? Who are you people? What the hell's going on here?" The sharp sound of the slap across his face hit his ears before the burn of pain became a reality. Daniel's head swung violently to his left from the force. The surprise was as strong as the slap and the voice that followed brought the severity of his situation to the forefront of his conscious thoughts.

"SHUTUP!" Daniel took a deep breath and desperately wanted to rub his hand on his face to soothe the burning, but they were securely handcuffed behind his back. "I'm asking the questions here. NOT YOU! If you wanna continue to breathe through your nose, I suggest you concentrate on just answering my questions." Daniel slowly looked back up toward the light. He could barely detect the silhouette of his interrogator's face. Anger quickly rose to an even higher level.

It happened during high school. The tormentors relentlessly directed their vile humor toward Daniel. He hadn't asked for the attention, didn't want it, and tried to avoid it, but he always ended up being the main target of cruel classmates. The jokes and snickers had always been verbal, but one time, the last time, they ended up getting physical. The result was an event that left Daniel humiliated beyond anything he had ever experienced. It had been an event that left him homeless as well. It was shortly after that he signed up and spent the next two years training with a Ninja Master, actually an underground Ninja Master. The techniques Daniel learned, all twenty-eight levels, were outlawed by the United States government. They were techniques used by foreign assassins and probably a few United States agencies. These techniques gave Daniel the expertise to end an adversary's life with a single expertly placed thrust. Driving a rib through the heart, or snapping a neck would be no problem. Even up to six attackers could be taken out with hardly any effort.

Even though his training made sure he would never be subjected to the horrors of his past, or the humiliation of high school assholes, the wreck had left him momentarily confused. His capture caught him completely by surprise. Now, he found himself drawing upon the anger and hate usually kept neatly packed away in a safe place. The email earlier that morning had already loosened the usual control he had over his strong emotions and now he was having a hard time containing them.

"I asked you a question. Where is the software?" the voice asked, somewhat calmer now. Daniel took a slow deep breath, his chest filling out as he took in the lungful of air. His shoulders eased back as he took a defiant stance. His head slowly looked up into the light. With the concentration only a Ninja assassin could muster, Daniel looked into the man's eyes. He closed out the brightness of the light and focused on just the man's eyes.

"You have absolutely no idea who you're dealing with," Daniel said coldly. The furrowed brow of his interrogator deepened and Daniel continued. "I've told you I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know where this software is you obviously want. I don't even know what software you're talking about and you're damn lucky I'm able to keep my anger in control."

"Lock this fucker up," the man said. "And put a call in to the doctor. Our little friend here will be singing like a songbird once doc fills him full of drugs. And if that doesn't work, I've always got my electric cattle prod. It has a wonderful way of making people talk, especially when it's jammed between their legs," he said coldly. Two men jerked Daniel up from the chair. It crashed to the floor with a metallic thud. The men slung him hard against the metal door. Pain shot through his shoulder as the contact rang out in the sparsely furnished room. A fist slammed into his lower back. Daniel dropped to his knees. Another blow came from the other side and hit his head hard, sending him sprawling to the floor. Then a boot slammed into his ribs, sending a shower of frothy blood through his lips. Thankfully, the blackness of unconsciousness wrapped its friendly arms around him and took Daniel to another place where pain was nonexistent.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Teri stood frozen, unable to move. Even if she could, there was no place to hide, no place to run, and no place to escape the eyes of the man in the dark suit now making his way directly toward her. She could feel each beat of her heart. It seemed to increase in strength as the man grew closer. What the hell was going on here?

As the man got within thirty feet, the breeze blew his coat open. Teri caught a brief glimpse of a shoulder holster and the sun gave a glint to the steel weapon it held. He looked Teri directly in the eyes. His expression was blank, giving her no idea of his intent. The dogs growled louder and more aggressively. Teri held the leashes tightly but was ready to release them if the situation went from bad to worse. As the man rapidly closed the distance, Teri decided it was time to take action.

"These dogs don't like strangers," she said in her coldest voice. The man stopped fifteen feet from Teri, then smiled slightly.

"I'm Detective Brown with the police department. I'm here about the wreck and, ah, I have a report there was a kidnapping. Are you Teri, Teri Deskin?" Teri looked the man over. He was probably mid forties, heavyset with a round face, slightly reddened from the walk down the trail and now that he was smiling, he actually appeared to be friendly.

"As I said, these dogs don't like strangers and they've been known to be quite aggressive. If you are who you say you are, let me see some ID," Teri said as the dogs continued to growl and pull strongly against their leashes.

"OK. Just be real calm. I'm going to reach inside my coat. There's a gun on my left side, but the ID is in my right coat pocket. I'll get it real slowly, OK?" Teri noticed the man was sweating, but he was still smiling. She nodded slightly at him, indicating her agreement.

"It's mighty hot today," he said, obviously making small talk as he slowly reached inside his coat and pulled out what appeared to be a leather wallet. He opened the wallet and turned it toward Teri. She could see a badge and a picture ID.

"I've seen ID's like that at Spencer's at the mall," Teri said flatly. The man sighed, but still smiled.

"Tell you what," he started. "Can I just ask you a few questions? Then I'll go away and maybe call you on the phone a little later. I understand you've been through a lot and I don't want to add to your stress. All I want to do is help you find your friend, ah ..." he man looked down at a note pad, then looked back up. "Daniel. You do want to find Daniel, don't you?"

"Heel!" she said sharply. The dogs immediately stopped growling and sat down at Teri's feet. Even though they were quiet, they kept their eyes locked on the man in front of them.

"Thank you," he said. Then he pulled out a pen and his note pad.

"It's been a really weird day. All I can tell you is the vehicle that ran us off the road was a great big black SUV, a Chevy Suburban I think. The windows were all darkly tinted and I couldn't see anybody." The detective made notes as Teri explained.

"Did you see the license tag?" he asked. Teri couldn't help but snicker.

"Are you fuckin' for real?" she said. He looked up from his note pad surprised.

"Huh?"

"I said, are you for real?" She continued without waiting for him to answer. The pent up emotion of the day's events started to creep out and ended up flowing freely. "We were run off the road and had a wreck. The car blew up in a giant fireball just after we got out. Some great big fuckin' SUV comes along and tries to run us down. Then two fuckers in black suits, just like yours, take my best friend away in handcuffs and you have the god damn gall to ask me if I saw the fuckin' license tag? I'm fuckin' lucky to be alive, you moron!" Teri had worked herself into frenzy. The dogs sensed her sudden change and quickly stood and resumed their growling. The hair on their backs stood at attention and their full set of teeth shone brightly under the hot afternoon Georgia sun.

The detective was shocked at her sudden aggressive stance. The profane language, although not unfamiliar to the detective, surprised him coming from the distraught young woman in front of him. He took a long deep breath and forced another smile.

"Sorry. It's just one of those questions I have to ask," he said gently.

"Well somebody needs to revise the list," she said. "HEEL!" The dogs quickly returned to a sitting position.

"Sorry, I'll be sure to send a terse memo to the question writing people as soon as I get back to the office," he said smiling. Teri took a deep breath. The detective's attempt at humor didn't really get his desired effect. Teri sank down to her knees beside Sam, Dave, and Percy. Giant hot tears rolled down her face.

"Look Detective, ah, Brown ..." she started.

"Please call me Howard."

"OK, Howard. Please understand this has been a day from hell. I can barely even think right now."

"That's OK. I just want to help find your friend."

"I know. So, what else do you need to know?"

"Do you know if anybody has made threats or anybody that maybe has a grudge?"

"No. Daniel is the most friendly, easygoing person in the whole world."

"Have you received any phone calls?"

"No, the phone lines are dead."

"OK, we'll get that taken care of. Now, has he been acting strangely lately? Maybe there's something going on that he hasn't told you about." Teri thought for a moment. Daniel had indeed been acting strange just that morning. The decision as to whether or not to tell the detective was the real question.

"No, I haven't noticed anything strange." The detective sighed in defeat. He knew he had absolutely nothing to go on.

"Well, I guess I've really got my work cut out for me. If you have a recent picture, that would be a big help. I can put out an APB, ah, an all points bulletin and have the whole police force keep a lookout for him. Other than that, we'll just have to wait and see. I'd like to put a phone tap on your line and on Daniel's line. If somebody calls, I'd like to know who it is." Teri nodded in agreement. "We'll also set up an instant trace on each incoming call. I'm going to have an officer sit in his patrol car in your driveway, at least for now. That way you'll feel secure and so will I. Is that OK with you?" Teri nodded again and Howard continued. "It sounds like these people are professionals. I just can't figure out the reasoning behind their actions."

"I don't understand it either," said Teri, all the while remembering Daniel's strange behavior earlier that morning. She already made up her mind to do some investigating on her own. Now she had to get rid of the detective.

"Are you sure you don't know anyone that might have a grudge? Ex-girl friend? Ex-boyfriend? Ex-employer? Drug dealer? Anyone?" Howard asked.

"I'm sure, Howard. I can't think of anyone. And, no, he doesn't do drugs. Listen, all this has made me really tired. I think I'm going to go stretch out for a little, if that's OK with you?"

"Sure. I've got a ton of paperwork and I've got to see a judge this afternoon for the wiretaps. If you think of anything else, and I mean anything, you call me, OK?" Howard handed her one of his cards.

"OK, I will," said Teri. Howard turned around and headed back up the trail. Teri looked down at the dogs. They were all wagging their tails. "Come on, let's go back home," she said. Sam, Dave, and Percy stood up, waited for Teri to start walking first, and then stretched their leashes to the max as they headed back up the forest trail.

All kinds of thoughts ran through Teri's mind as she made her way back toward Daniel's house. She knew he had been acting strange, especially after the UPS truck had left. When she made her way toward his home office, she had heard something smash against the wall. She had paused a moment and then looked around the corner. Daniel had been very upset. In fact, he had been more upset than she had seen him in a long time. And then when she made her presence known, Daniel had almost freaked out; quickly deleting several files on his computer. That seemed to be the key. The deleted files just had to still be on his computer. That would be her clue as to what was going on and maybe even to where Daniel was and more importantly, why he was there.

Teri and the dogs made their way into Daniel's backyard. She turned them loose and they immediately started playing, chasing each other across the manicured yard. Teri walked up the steps onto the back deck and immediately noticed three cars in the front drive. Two were police cars and one was a plain white Crown Victoria. Detective Howard Brown was standing talking to two police officers. Teri chuckled to herself as she watched the overweight detective wipe the sweat off his forehead. He glanced up, saw her, smiled and nodded. She smiled back, then turned and went inside.

The screen savers on the three flat screen monitors on the desk told Teri there had been no activity since Daniel had last been there. A quick flashback came to her of earlier that morning when she had walked in on him smashing something against the wall. She glanced around the room and saw the brown paper package lying against the wall. Intrigued, Teri bent down and picked it up. Carefully, she removed the wrapping and looked at the videotape. Even though the corner had been cracked, it was still playable. She walked into Daniel's living room. Pausing at the VCR, she thought about what the tape might reveal. It just had to be something that would give a clue as to where her best friend had been taken. Teri tapped the power button and pushed the tape in. She stood back and looked at the thirty-seven inch flat screen monitor.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel slowly fought his way into consciousness only to find himself in pitch blackness. The pain throbbed in his head and his side. He spit something warm from his mouth and realized that it was his own blood. His lungs burned with each breath. Daniel gathered all his resolve and funneled his concentration toward the pain. Controlling his physical pain became his number one goal and he used all his available strength to do it. As he gained control, Daniel focused on his surroundings. The darkness slowly gave way to a small amount of light coming from under the door. Even though he could barely sit up without pain, let alone breathe, he collected all his strength and stood up. Standing in the dark on wobbling legs, Daniel thought about his next move. His shoulder throbbed. Any minor movement caused sharp pains. At least they had removed the handcuffs.

Daniel's Ninja training allowed him to center and focus. In his conscious mind, the intense pain subsided to mild discomfort. Then it was placed in a safe area until it could be dealt with later. All his current efforts were focused on escape. The questions of who and why would have to wait.

The clicking of wooden heels on the concrete was the first alert. Daniel listened intently. The clicking grew louder and then stopped very close by. His plan quickly formulated in his mind as he heard the sound of someone unlocking the metal door to his darkened prison. Instincts and years of training took over. The door swung open slowly and the plan was put into action. In mere seconds, the two guards were lying unconscious on the concrete floor. They were still breathing, but would need medical attention soon.

The pain returned with a vengeance and Daniel winced, grabbing his side. Given the amount of pain, he thought he probably had a few broken ribs. And with each breath, his chest burned like fire, which told him there might be a punctured lung. His head throbbed and he could feel a huge knot just above his right ear. His shoulder wasn't in much better shape.

Determined to totally escape, he eased over to the door and stole a quick glance down the hallway. The bare fluorescent bulbs shone starkly on the concrete floor and walls. More rusted metal doors lined the hall. At the end, another metal door stood partially open. Daniel made his way down the hall as quickly and as quietly as possible. The pain subsided again while he mentally prepared to deal with any more guards. As he reached the door, he stood quietly with his back to the wall. Easing around the doorframe, he saw what appeared to be an office a short way down the hall. At the far end was another door with an exit sign hanging precariously from the ceiling by one screw. Another guard could be seen through the office window. Daniel moved quickly while the guard was distracted by a phone call. Even though he could easily take the guard out, he preferred to escape unnoticed. Slipping by the window, he quietly made his way toward the exit. Half way to the door, it suddenly swung open. Two men in dark suits looked up and their eyes met Daniel's. The man in front did not hesitate as he reached into his jacket. The lethal steel barrel of the Glock Forty-Five swung through the air toward Daniel almost as quickly as Daniel's foot flew through the air. A microsecond before the man's finger squeezed the trigger, Daniel's foot made contact with the man's hand. The shot rang out in the small concrete hallway. The percussion assaulted all ears present while the hollow point slug ripped through the stagnant air of the complex. Daniel reacted with split second timing as he allowed the momentum of his leg's movement to carry him completely around in a three-sixty. The sting of the slug as it grazed his shoulder went unnoticed as Daniel continued around, shifted feet and then slammed the man in the head with his other foot. The precise hit immediately snapped the man's neck, killing him instantly. Daniel fell back to the floor as he watched the man slump in the doorway. The second dark suited man greeted Daniel with his own forty-five pistol pointed directly at Daniel's nose from scant inches away.

"Freeze, muthafucker!"

Looking down the barrel of a forty-five automatic pistol is enough to get anyone's attention. To a Ninja assassin trained young man who had experienced more during his nineteen years than most people do in a lifetime, the lethal threat of the weapon only caused a moment's hesitation. Daniel locked eyes with the man and held the stare. The man behind the cold eyes never blinked, never flinched and held the weapon firmly only inches from Daniel's nose with his finger resting tightly over the trigger.

"It's people like you who make me enjoy my job," the man said coldly. Daniel had practiced the meticulous movements over and over until they were second nature. All the training, all the concentration, and all the hours of practice were worth the effort and dedication as twenty-eight levels of precision were about to save his life. Daniel's eyes slowly narrowed. It was then that the man made his mistake. He confidence dropped, only for a second, but it was enough. Daniel struck like a Cobra, grabbing the man's hands and pushing them up. The weapon ended up directly under the man's chin. The man in the suit never knew what hit him as Daniel squeezed the hair trigger. The speeding bullet sliced into the area under his chin and continued upward destroying his throat, nasal passages, and finally his brain before exiting at the top of his head. Blood and brains splattered the rusted metal door. Daniel whirled around and squeezed off another round, hitting the final guard right between the eyes. The man fell back firing his pistol toward the ceiling as his lifeless body slammed into the concrete floor. Daniel stood up and wiped the splattered blood off his face. Then he reached inside the man's coat and pulled out his ID. He looked at the card in total disbelief.

"Boyd Graham, Internet Division, National Security Agency," Daniel said out loud as he read the card. "What the fuck does the National Security Agency want with me?" Daniel looked out the door and saw the big black SUV that started this whole thing by running him and Teri off the road.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The screen of the thirty-seven inch flat screen monitor flickered as the video tape started to play. Daniel's best friend for fifteen years stepped back to get a better view. "Danny and his Friends" flickered and rolled onto the screen as the title. Teri openly gasped as graphic images of naked eleven year old boys filled the screen. She quickly hit the eject button and stared in disbelief as the tape ejected. Roughly removing the tape, Teri turned toward Daniel's home office and hurled the tape as hard as she could. For the second time that day, the videotape slammed into the wall and dropped to the floor with a one bounce thud. Great big tears rolled down Teri's face and the realization of what had actually happened to her best friend hit home. All the years of pain and hurt now made perfect sense. She had long wondered what had happened, but Daniel had always avoided the subject. Teri knew the boy she had known since she was four and he was three had been through something, but he had always kept it to himself. She knew whatever had happened had been bad, but to see first hand how horrid it had actually been was almost more than she could take. She stumbled back across the floor and fell onto the couch.

"Daniel!" she cried out. "Why didn't you tell me? I always thought you ran away from home. Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you trust me?" Teri sat forward on the couch and buried her face in her hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

It was about an hour later that Teri heard the dogs whining at the back door. Her tears had finally subsided and found herself trying to get her breathing back to normal. She pushed herself back into reality and stood up from the couch. Teri padded to the back door and eased it open. Sam, Dave, and Percy scurried inside and seemed to immediately sense Teri's distress. They crowded around her, nuzzling up against and trying to comfort her. She walked back into Daniel's living room and sat back down on the couch. The dogs gathered around her and snuggled up. Percy laid his head on Teri's lap.

Teri scanned her memories and realized that Daniel had kept a lot from her. Even though the best friends had virtually shared everything since first becoming friends, it was obvious Daniel held back some important information. Teri knew, or at least thought that Daniel had run away from home when he was eleven. At least that's what he told everybody. She also knew his home life wasn't exactly perfect. So it had come as no real surprise when he told her that he just couldn't take it anymore. Now, with the knowledge of what was on the videotape, she knew that wasn't exactly the truth. There's no way an eleven year old would be voluntarily involved in what she had seen on the tape.

"My God, Daniel," she exclaimed out loud. "What happened?" Teri sat on the couch as the hot Georgia sun slowly sunk below the horizon. "And more importantly, why didn't you tell me? Damnit! You should have trusted me, Daniel! You should have trusted me," she sobbed.

The only one that really knew all the details of Daniel's past was Carl. And since his death, no one knew everything. Daniel's parents didn't even know. He had refused to tell them. Instead, he worked through all the anguish with only Carl's help. After all, it had been Carl that found him in the forest that day. He saw a twelve and a half year old boy carrying a huge nickel-plated pistol down the lonely path. It had been Carl that convinced the frightened, confused young boy that suicide was not the answer. Had it been fate that Carl had chosen that particular day to take a walk; that he had chosen that particular path to follow? Daniel never could explain it other than to say Carl was his guardian angel.

Carl had indeed been in the right place at the right time. And he had truly been a guardian angel to Daniel. Carl ripped the young boy inside out, breaking him down to the core. Then, over the next two years he painstakingly put the young boy back together ... realigning priorities and teaching methods of managing the memories. Daniel learned how to put the pain, the fear, and all those horrible vivid images in a safe place in his mind. The kidnapping had left Daniel a broken, confused child, but Carl was able to save him ... save him from suicide and save him from insanity.

Daniel's life slowly returned to somewhat normal with Carl's help. By the time the young boy had reached fifteen, he had come full circle, leaving his depression behind and embracing a new found happiness. Daniel excelled at school. He rapidly advanced and tested out of several classes. When he was looking forward to his sixteenth birthday, he was also looking forward to graduation from high school nearly two full years early.

Socially, Daniel still had trouble. He was quiet, maybe even shy, but many students took his quietness as snobbery, hence the ridicule. So Daniel pretty much stayed to himself. He had a few acquaintances, but no real friends. He didn't mind that either. There was already more than enough for him to deal with on an everyday basis. The complexities of social interaction would be just too much to contend with. After all, Daniel had Teri. So he enjoyed his quiet life.

Then it happened. How can people be so mean? Some kids at the high school ganged up on him one day. They stripped him naked, tied him to the school flagpole and wrote the word "fag" on his chest in bright red lipstick. Then they left him there just as school was letting out. Not one person helped him. They all just walked by, gawked, pointed and laughed. Daniel had to endure the whole population of the school seeing him. The humiliation was incredible. Finally, a teacher, a woman teacher at that, untied him and took him inside. She called his parents. It was a short time later that the fundamentalist-believing parents kicked their sixteen year old son to the street.

Teri sulked on the couch, trying to take it all in. The sound of an arriving email grabbed her attention. She made her way into Daniel's home office and checked the computer screen. Moving the mouse over the new email icon, she clicked.

Looks like Danny has gotten himself into a little trouble. If he knows what's good for himself, he better keep his mouth shut. I'd hate to see innocent people get hurt ... especially pretty neighbors.

Teri blinked her eyes in disbelief of what she was reading. She angrily hit the delete key sending the email into the deleted items folder. Who could the message be from? And what did they mean by hating to see innocent people hurt? That was a direct threat against ... her. Teri clicked on the deleted items folder wanting to read the email again. The folder opened and revealed several more emails from the same person. Teri clicked on the first one and read it. Each successive email was read and by the time she had read them all, the shock of the day's events increased ten fold.

"What are you doing?" The voice came from behind her and Teri whirled around in the seat.

"DANIEL!" she screamed. Teri jumped up and threw her arms around him. Uncontrollable sobs of joy and relief consumed her as she held on tightly. Daniel returned the embrace and buried his face into Teri's shoulder. The pain, briefly forgotten, returned with a vengeance and caused him to wince. Teri quickly stood back. Her face filled with concern as she took in the scratched up face, the big bump near his ear, and the dried blood on his face and chest. While taking it all in, she noticed the difficulty her friend was having breathing.

"We've got to get you to a hospital," Teri said matter-of-factly.

"Can't. Gotta call somebody," Daniel said in short breaths. "Javan. Call Javan. He's a paramedic."

"The phones are out. You need to go to the hospital."

"Can't go there. They'll be looking for me. Use my cell phone. Call Javan. Gotta meet him somewhere. Quick, Teri."

"Your phone was in the car. It's all burned up."

"Spare in the drawer on your right." Teri quickly opened the drawer and pulled out a cell phone. Daniel sat down as she called their friend Javan. Teri watched as each of the dogs came up to Daniel and nuzzled up against him. They seemed to sense he was in pain and were trying to offer comfort in their own way. After a brief conversation with Javan, Teri hung up.

"He says you should go to the hospital." Daniel frowned. "But if you can't, he says I should take you to his house right now." This time Daniel smiled slightly. "You stay right here while I get my car."

"Wait! Police car."

"Yeah, there's a cop out front. Detective Brown has him there to protect us," explained Teri.

"I can't ... I can't be seen," he stammered.

"What do you mean?"

"Teri. I had to, ah, I had to kill some people to get away," he said. Teri gasped.

"WHAT?"

"Look, it was kill or be killed, OK? I had to. They gave me no choice," he said as fresh tears ran down his face. Teri knew deep in her heart that if anybody in the whole wide world could avoid hurting someone, it would be Daniel. She also knew about his Ninja training. In fact, Teri had watched him totally destroy his house in a fit of rage. In less than five minutes, every piece of furniture had been reduced to broken splinters. Hardly a wall escaped without some type of damage. Teri had watched in awe as Daniel totally lost control, engaged his Ninja training, and took out his frustration and anger on his house. It cost Daniel over four thousand dollars in repairs.

"OK, we'll just have to sneak you out," she said.

"Thanks, Teri." She stood up, paused and bent back down to look Daniel in the face.

"When you're OK, I want the whole story. Don't leave anything out. I know you didn't run away when you were eleven." Daniel looked up at her quickly, his eyes filled with fear.

"It's OK, Daniel. I'm you're best friend. You can tell me anything, anything! We'll make it through this." Daniel nodded his head meekly. "Now, let's slip out the back door." Daniel suddenly found himself awash in emotions. He was terrified to tell Teri the details of that time eight years ago. What Stan had done to him way back then would probably sicken her. He was so ashamed of what had happened. And now Stan was back. What did he want? And what the hell is up with the National Security Agency? The realization that he had killed three agents suddenly caught up with him.

"My God! They're gonna be looking for me," he said to himself.

"Who is?" asked Teri. Daniel looked up at her. He was filled with remorse for dragging her in to all this.

"Teri, I've got to explain," he started.

"Shhh. Not now. Come on. Let's get you to Javan." Teri helped him stand up. "Nothing else is important right now. We've got to get you better first. Then we can deal with all the crap." Daniel put his arm around Teri's shoulder as she helped him toward the back door.

"That's what I like about you," he said.

"What?"

"You've always got your priorities straight." Teri smiled.

"You dogs be good. We'll be back soon," she said to the three as they wagged their tails. After Daniel had passed through the door, she pulled it closed behind her and locked the door. They quietly slipped through the backyard gate. Teri watched the police car intently. The officer was facing toward the driveway, away from the houses. She pointed toward her car and nodded at Daniel. The pair moved as quickly as Daniel's pain would allow. In just a few moments, Teri was helping Daniel into the back seat.

"Stay down low. I'm going to tell the policeman I'm going to the store," she said quietly. Daniel nodded and scrunched down even further. Teri quickly ran around, hopped in the driver's seat and started her car. She pulled up next to the patrol car and rolled down her window. The officer rolled his window down.

"I've got to go to the store and get some things," she said.

"I don't know if that's a good idea. Maybe I should come with you," the officer said.

"I don't think that's necessary. I'll be right back."

"Oh, it's no problem at all. I'm kinda getting bored anyway," the officer said as he started to get out of his car.

"Somebody's got to watch the house though. If you're bored, you could let the dogs out to play in the back yard," Teri quickly suggested. The officer looked at the house, then turned back to Teri.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Be careful and don't take any chances. Get what you need and come right back, OK?"

"I promise. Thanks!" Teri took her foot off the brake and pushed on the gas before the officer had time to say anything else. She powered the window up and maneuvered the car down the drive.

Once again, the two best friends started down the long driveway, only this time, it was dark. The headlights of Teri's car revealed where Daniel's car had burned. The wrecker had picked up its remains earlier that afternoon.

"You can come up now. We're out of sight."

"Quick thinking back there," said Daniel as he sat up in the back seat.

"I was scared shitless."

"So was I." Teri pulled the car to a stop at the end of the driveway, glanced both ways, and pulled onto the highway headed toward Javan's house. Suddenly, her rearview mirror was filled with bright lights. Daniel ducked down in the backseat. The vehicle behind them was right on their bumper. The lights were too bright to tell what it was, but Teri knew there had been no vehicles in sight when she pulled onto the highway. The vehicle behind them now had come out of nowhere.

"I don't know who that is, but we're not sticking around to find out," said Teri. The vehicle bumped her car, backed off and then bumped it again. "Buckle up!" she yelled to Daniel as she downshifted and mashed on the pedal. The Mustang roared to life as the five-liter high performance engine flexed its muscle. The headlights of the following vehicle quickly faded as Teri steered her car around a few curves and into the straightaway. Daniel glanced back and could barely make out the headlights coming around the curve.

"They're still coming," he said. She worked her way up through the gears, all the while ramming the accelerator to the floor. Daniel looked at the speedometer. It read ninety-five and was still climbing quickly. "Be careful!"

"You know I am. I was born for this! Hold on!" Daniel knew Teri had always loved speed. She had even taken a class in road course race driving. He buckled his seatbelt and pulled it tight. Looking back up, he gasped as he read the speedometer. Daniel knew Teri knew what she was doing, but traveling down the road at a hundred and thirty-five miles an hour was unnerving. Glancing back behind, the headlights of the strange vehicle faded even more.

"I'm going to take a few side roads and work our way toward Javan's at the same time. That way we'll lose whoever those assholes are." Daniel couldn't say anything. He just sat and watched. The scene was almost like what you would expect to see on of those in-car cameras during a NASCAR race. Teri slowed and downshifted. The fork in the road was a perfect place to start losing the pursuing vehicle. The Mustang zoomed down the left fork, leaving the main road. Teri negotiated several sharp curves, then turned off onto another road. Daniel looked out the back window. There was nothing but darkness.

"I think you can slow down now," he said. Teri looked in her rearview mirror and backed off the gas. She brought the car back down to the speed limit.

"Well that was fun," she said, obviously delighted with her driving skill and the performance of her car. "Who do you think it was?"

"Friends of the people I killed probably," wheezed Daniel. His lungs were on fire and the pain in his chest was increasing. "They're supposed to be the good guys, but they've confused me for a bad guy." He took another wheezing breath. "So that makes them bad guys along with the real bad guys. That gives me enemies, both good and bad. Confusing, isn't it?"

"Yeah it is. Right now, just rest. We'll be at Javan's house in about ten minutes." Teri worried about Daniel's medical condition. She knew he should be in a hospital. She also knew something very serious was going on. Ordinary days do not include kidnapping, people dying, threatening emails, or car chases. There was definitely something very serious going on and the only person who could tell her was badly hurt. She wanted to know, but she also wanted to make sure Daniel would be all right. As she maneuvered her Mustang through the back roads to Javan's house, her mind worked in overtime. The gravity of the situation settled in ... people had been killed and her best friend was on the run.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


On to Chapter Three
"Reality"

Back to Chapter One
Memories

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


The Nineteenth Year is Copyright © 2008 by The Tarheel Writer.
    This work may not be duplicated in any form (physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise) without the author's written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. All individuals depicted are fictional with any resemblance to real persons being purely coincidental.


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