This story is set in my codename universe, with book 1 due out in the next few months.
This story is copyright Geoffrey C Porter (and you can find my other books on Amazon).
The bell would ring in minutes, and I wondered how many opponents I would face. Would it be the usual four uglies, or would it be a whole gang? I looked at the teacher. Did she know what happened after school? Would she even care? It didn’t matter. I’d take care of myself.
The teacher looked at the clock. Then she looked at me. “Ming, I need to see you after school.”
Damn. By delaying me, it meant the uglies would be ahead of me instead of behind. Maybe she would delay me long enough that they’d give up. Right.
The bell rang. The class got up and left with a quickness. I approached the teacher.
“You missed two problems on the math homework,” she said. “Easy problems.”
“I must have been distracted.” I’m allowed to make mistakes.
“You mustn’t miss problems we go over in class. You’ll never become a scientist or engineer if you miss the easy problems.”
Her face and eyes showed genuine concern. Maybe she did care. “I just made a mistake. It won’t happen again.”
“Good. Run on home.”
Run, yes, that is the word. I whispered a quiet prayer that it would be only four of them. I stopped at the lockers and stashed my tablet. They had smashed it before, and I didn’t have any homework.
I had a choice to make. The main entrance was the shortest path home, and some of the uglies had more wind than me. Shortest path, or maybe, a different exit. Hell they could have one guy watching each exit, and coordinate with cell phones. Shortest path it is.
I pushed the doors open to the outside. Four of them milled around. They saw me and smiled. I didn’t hesitate. I bolted as fast as I could past them.
One shouted, “Come back here.”
I knew better and kept on pushing at the ground with my legs. My eyes needed to know, and I turned my head. Four uglies behind me running fast. Breathe the air. Deep breaths. Make it to the temple.
A hand grabbed my shoulder from behind. I spun around, throwing my right hand at his wrist. My right foot erupted off the ground into the ugly’s face. He went down, but there was another boy right behind him. Once both of my feet were back on solid ground, I launched into the air, pivoting as I went, projecting my left foot at the boy’s nose. Crunch. I landed, but a right cross from the third opponent caught me in the mouth, cutting into my lip. I threw both of my fists at his skull, one aimed low for his throat, and the other for his right eye.
Both connected, and he fell.
I raced for home, licking the blood off my lip. Blood tastes good.
The last ugly hit me on the back of the head, and I stumbled. I was going down and down hard. I couldn’t see, but I knew a boot was going to come crashing on me as soon as I landed.
Flipping around, I landed on my back with a grimace. A foot was inches from my face. I grabbed it by the ankle and kicked its owner as hard as I could in the nuts. He dropped.
I jumped to my feet and darted as fast as I could. Nobody gave chase, but I knew better than to slow. I stepped into the door of the temple. Home. I breathed for the longest time.
Clapping filled the hall, and I looked for the source. A woman, easily thirty, wearing black leather. Tiny shades of makeup were here and there, and she was quite healthy.
“Do they chase you every day?” She asked.
I shrugged. I didn’t know this woman, and women didn’t belong in our temple.
She put her hands on her luscious hips. “I asked you a question.”
“Not every day,” I said. A lie, but she was a stranger.
“According to the security cameras you run past, it’s every day.”
“Who are you?”
She smiled at me. “My name is Sphinx. We could file charges against those other boys. They’re breaking the law.”
“How do you spell that?”
“S-p-h-i-n-x. Do you want to file charges?”
I shook my head. “No. I enjoy the chase. I draw more blood than they do.”
“Why do they chase you?”
“They say I’m gay, because of my looks, and that I deserve a daily beating over it.” I did not know this woman. “What do you want with me?”
“The front line needs warm bodies, and you, sir, are a warm body.”
“I’m only sixteen. I can’t join the army.”
She smiled her perfect smile again. “No, but your training can begin in the agency. According to Interstellar Law we can recruit as early as fourteen. You have no family. You are a prime candidate for a very dangerous job.”
Interstellar Law? This woman was nuts. I tried to push past her. She grabbed me by the lapel and stopped me.
“There’s a war going on, and we want you to help win it. There is a crime lord, Centurian, and he’s backed by the Razdorans. We want you to help put an end to their carnage.”
“Are you off your meds?”
Yiu stepped into the room. An older monk who treated me kindly. “This has been your home for a long time, Ming, but now you must go with Sphinx. The time to fight is now. Don’t hesitate.”
Did I believe it? Was I hesitating? Interstellar law. I was hesitating. I stepped away from Sphinx. “I’ll go with you.”
Sphinx smiled. “Your plane to America leaves in three hours. Your supervisor during training will be Nancy. You’ll be met at the airport.”
Sphinx laughed. “I’ve been kicking ass in China for so long, the war is almost won. They need fresh meat in America.”
I nodded. I wondered if I could find any uglies in America.