A Grim Day
It's just the beginning of the morning. Everyone is due to begin their day. A sub-urban city, in the midst of California. Mostly populated by various minorities. The people are poor but they don't seem to mind. It is summer, June to be precise. Kids play in joy and adults watch in glee. It is good, it is all good.
Javier, a young boy. Roughly 5 foot with 7 inches yet physically fit. Hardened by his circumstances yet remains with the innocence of youth.
Tired and confused he looks at the clock while yawning.
"Man, I did sleep a lot. Hey where is everyone?"
He finds himself alone in his house, nothing too strange only for the fact that his 14 year old adoptive brother is not at home. Something unusual for a loaf as him. "Where is he? Roy! Where are you!? I hope you ain't messing with me again! Otherwise you'll get it!" Suddenly a door bell rings. He walks to the door, only to find Iris, a childhood friend of his.
"Iris, what are you doing here?" -he quickly asks.
"Did you forget? It is your 16th birthday."- she replies.
"Oh, yeah, well I am sleepy."
"You don't say" looking at his strained, tired eyes.
"Hey, have you seen my brother?" he dodges.
"Yeah, he left with your father to the market an hour ago or so. He said he wanted to buy you a surprise gift."
"Oh, ok. Well then I'll be heading there, wanna come?"
"Nah, I am tired too. I babysit my lil' sister last night and I am mighty tired." she replies while yawning and looking at the bed ahead.
"Well. You know, I am finally 16. You are only a couple of months older than me. We have been friends for a very long time and I figure since we both can..."
"Seriously, we have been very good friends. We have known each other for a long time. I even took you on a date to see that movie you wanted. Plus you sad it yourself that..."
"First of all it wasn't a date, it was a favor. Second, even if it was a date that dosen't mean I have to comply to your impulses. I thought you understand my beliefs."
"But, come on. You said it yourself a week ago!"
"A No is a No Javier. Please understand."
"I said I am very tired. Good bye and take care."
He obviously looks disappointed as Iris goes to the bed to rest. Javier takes his causal clothes, a jacket and leaves for the local market. He however forgets to take his cellphone.
The town market, a place of reunion. People gather there and rejoice yet they can't ignore the always present, Viper armored watch. Always vigilant, always arrogant in their beneficial position of suppression.
The Military Police is renown for its corruption and in-effectiveness. Mostly comprised of young cadets, looking for better quality of life. However, most fail to realize the hardships they must endure before they rise in ranks.
Yet, the people don't seem to care as long as they have family and each other.
The market is full of wandering merchants. Mostly Mexican farmers and the causal redneck. They live through many hardships, robbers being one of them. They sell everything one were to expect at a sale. Tents full of colorful spices, roots, meat. A delightful scenery. As expected it is a very crowded place.
As Javier goes down the road, he notices in the far a group of bullies. Normally he would ignore them but this time they have pinned his brother to a wall. Angrily he prepares for a incoming brawl.
"Hey, lil' guy! What you got there?"- ask the leader of the pack Thompson.
"Nothing Thompson. It is just a gift for by brother"- replies Roy.
"Huh? A gift for your brother? How sweet. It would be a sham if something were to happen to it. You still owe me the launch money and a black eye but now it is time for you to pay!"
"Let him go!"- Javier roars as he runs towards the pack.
"Crap! It's De la Costa!"- cries a boy.
"So what? If he wants to fight he'll get it."- Thompson says reading his knuckles.
"Oh no, I am not messing with him. Last time, he broke Frank's ribs. I am not going to fight him" They flee in panic as Javier and Thompson prepare for an upcoming fight.
"Want me to demolish you "Speak"?
"Let him go now Thompson, otherwise you will end up like Frank before you. In bed."
"I am not scared of you unlike these babies"
They begin to battle. Thompson promptly tries to jump kick Javier, only to be deflected back and receiving an uppercut followed by a strike to the neck. "Want more, eh?" Thompson thrust forward, Javier swiftly dodges and Thompson is greeted by the nearby wall. Groggy he is grabbed by the back by Javier who rapidly continues to punish him afterwards by a flurry of punches to the face and a jump kick to the head, knocking him out cold.
"Thanks. I don't know what would happen if you didn't show up."- Roy says greeting his big, adoptive brother.
"It's nothing, that gang never learns not to mess with my family." He notices a pair of guards who stood there, leaning to a wall in silence. "Look at these. They did nothing while you were being bullied."
"It's ok. I think it is time we learn to accept that fact. Just turn the other cheek." Roy replies.
"No, it's not ok. Turn the other cheek! For that same reason is why Jesus, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and many others died! Today it is a beating, tomorrow an assault. Then a murder and that evolves into a massacre." "Whoa, calm down Javier. You don't want to steer more trouble" "No! Just look at them, senseless pig who witness a kid being bullied by a pack of teenagers but then stands there, motionless like the oafs they are." Javier angrily shouts at their direction. They look at each other then direct to the brothers position.
"Hey, punk! What did you say about us?"- the Viper guard exclaims.
"If you kept standing there and I didn't arrive he could have been killed! If you continue like that, you should change your name from "Military Police" to Military Swines!"
"That's it. You want to see us do something, you'll see it!"
"Wait, he didn't mean it officers." Roy says trying to appease the situation. "He is just stressed out by the current events. He still has adrenaline running thought his body and is in a fit of rage. He didn't mean those words."
"Better, be. Or next time I will kill you with my own hands and there is nothing a little punk like you can do about it." says the Fortune armored guard next to the Viper. "Now, scram!"
Back at their homes, the boys catch up their breath. Iris is still sleeping so they try to talk in a low tone.
"I'm sorry to have got us in that mess." Roy try to apologize to his brother.
"What were you doing outside of home and without father?" Javier dodges.
"I was getting you a present. Dad said he would meet us back here around afternoon with your birthday cake after he exists the town council reunion."
"A present, eh? And where you got the money from? You didn't steal again, right?"
"No! I was saving it since last years. My allowance. I thought you would like it since you love fighting and hunting so much, especially with dad."
"Then, what is it?" Javier asks, exited to see the gift.
"I know is not much but I really hope you like it. It is a combat knife. Latest on its design."
"Wow! I, I can't believe it. It is beautiful, in its own way. I really love it. Thank you, you are the best brother I could have." Javier says while hugging his brother while in tears.
"No, you are the best brother. If it wasn't for you I would be dead by now." suddenly stopping due to his memories of the destruction of his natal Indian reserve home and the death of his mother and father when he was just 7 years old. If it wasn't for Javier and his father Russell he would had died at the hands of two members of the "Church of Retribution". A apocalyptic, powerful cult compromised mostly of powerful, rich people.
The Church believes in in an event known as the "Cleansing" where their deity, the God of a Thousand Forms otherwise known as the Black Pharaoh (believed to many Christians as the devil himself) will come to purify the Human Race through a great, holy war, herald by the "Holy Knight of Darkness". They believe it is their purpose to convert people to their cause in a from of seeking salvation, freeing from the shackles of humanity. Only to be reborn as a new, all-powerful human race. Untied at last where there is no more chaos. No more hunger, no more poverty, no more death, no more war.
"I thought we wouldn't talk about this anymore. It is not good for any of us."-Javier trying to consulate his adoptive brother.
"I'm fine. Is just that it sometimes hard to remember the past. Knowing that people died. Sometimes, I do miss them." barely even being able to talk.
"I know. I know it's is hard. I too lost my mother, even if it was at birth. We both are orphans, hardened by circumstances of our lives. But, we most remain strong. Nobody is going to stop and have mercy upon you anymore. That is the way of this cruel, yet beautiful world. You must be strong."
"I will, I will. Still this is not the time to cry. It is the time to celebrate your birthday!" Roy replies, trying to be strong.
Half a hour has passed since then. Everything is relaxed by now and Iris has gone to her home. Everything is quiet, maybe a little too quiet. Something bothers Javier as he feels something is wrong. He is certainly not one to get comfortable to such conditions, knowing from tale that when one least expect it, they eye of the hurricane arrives and things turn to the worst.
"Hmph, no root bear." He mutters to himself as he looks at the time. "Dad said he would arrive around 12 o'clock. Where is he? Something is not right, I can feel it in my bones." still muttering to himself. Roy having heard him promptly says
"You worry too much."
"That is when the hunt turns into survival. That is when one is ambushed. I learned that while hunting for food."
"I still think you worry too much. Why don't I go and find dad. Maybe he is just a bit late. Everything is probably alright. You'll see." He exits the house, leaving Javier alone in the house. Bored he goes to watch the television in the living room when he hears a large crowd discussing. He watches through the widow only to find people reunited. Their faces are grim. Worried that his father may be somewhere nearby he exits his house. Down two block he finds the people discussing against a fairly large military brigade. Careful not to get spotted he climbs a ladder to the roof of a nearby building. There he sits and watches carefully.
A man in military uniform approaches the center of the crowd. Judging by his badges Javier deduces he is the Captain. He tries to read the badge the man is wearing. It says the name "Tom Walker", next to it there is a U.K. flag. Only able to distinguish the flag he wonders why would a British be in U.S.A deporting and kicking people out of their homes. Next to him stand the two previous soil divers from the alley.
"Listen up people, by the order of the United Human Alliance government you have been order to relocate into another place. This grounds are therefore to be taken by the government of the UHA for military purposes. Any attempts to resist the relocation will be handled with force. Do not make this harder to yourselves. "
A brave but naive man approaches him.
"You can't possibly expect for us to leave our houses because a British says so. This is all we have. It may not seem as much to you but it's everything we got." The crowd behind uproars to his words. "If it means giving a home to my little boy, I will fight back. Even if it is the damned military." He proceeds to push the Captain much to the astonishment of the crowd. The Viper guard, not knowing what to do shoots at the man as the crowd watches in horror. They decide to fight back, only to be received by a barrage of bullets.
"Shoot at your own discretion. Any attempts to resist shall be neutralized quickly. Understood?"
"Yes sir." The military police and the brigade say in unison. Their faces grim at the mare thought of having to point a gun at their fellow people. Still they all know in the deep that refusal to do follow the orders of a superior is punishable by death.
To all of this the Captain Tom Walker retreats back to the Jeep that brought him alongside his personal guard. However he notices a figure at the top of a rooftop yet he seemingly ignores it.
Javier, in shock of the current events resolves to find his brother and his father and possibly Iris before any other tragedy occurs. He cannot bare to think of more death. As he goes down the ladder he is greeted by the Fortune soldier.
"Halt punk! You won't get away this time." He grabs Javier and sits him to the ground. He proceeds to contact his mate. "Hey John, look who I got here. Is the punk from the alley."
Javier, with his quick reflexes grabs his gift knife and swiftly cuts the man's leg. The man falls down where Javier continues to stab him in the neck. Finally killing him.
"Ron, no!" screams the Viper guard as he with ness his friend's death. He aims a shotgun at Javier whom in his adrenaline rush grabs it, punches the man to the nearby wall and aims at his face.
"Whoa, hold on. You're just a kid. You don't want to do this. Now put the gun down. Now don't give me that maniac look" looking at Javier's bloody hands and face. He insensately tries to grab back his weapon, Javier panicked shoots at him, completely blowing his face in a gruesome way. In shock at his first kill, he looks at the a Viper's corpse.
"I heard shots this way!" He hears in the distance. He quickly gets back to his feet and flees to find his loved ones in the midst of the chaos.
He runs for his life, obviously fearing death or punishment. He cannot bare the thought of losing his family, all that is left to him. His pursuits get closer and closer as he tries to avoid them. Finally gets cornered by a man however he avoids capture. In response the man shoots at him, barely missing. Javier continues running, blasting anyone who is unlucky to be in his path as he watches in horror of the other atrocities done by the Military that is supposed to protect the people.
Javier finally loses his pursuers. Taking a breath he hears a faint sobbing. He goes to see what it is only to find a young lad, crying over the corpse of his dead mother. Next to him is Iris and her father, trying to consulate the boy.
Javier promptly asks: "Where's Roy? Have you seen him. I lost contact with him since he went to find dad before all went to kingdom come."
"Yes, I saw him with your dad earlier went I went to my house." says Iris, looking at Javier's bloodied clothes. "What happen to you."
Javier, seeing her worried face decides to tell her. Her father hearing the conversation tries to prevent the kid from hearing the violence. He therefore hushes them, pointing at the kid. "He doesn't need any more stress. He just lost his mother. The last thing he needs is a story about you running around killing people. Come on, give the gun. We need to find somewhere safe." Javier, still in shock clings to the weapon even harder.
"Just give me the gun. That is not a knife or something you should handle at such a young age." says Iris's dad.
"No! I can handle it sir." He proceeds to point the shotgun at the Mr.
"Stop arguing, we need to move. Now!" Iris says as she watches in horror.
They start to flee. More enemies ahead they separate again. Javier is left alone to fend for himself. He guns down several more people as he sprints out of the town.
All of the city is lost. Many people have died already. Families have been broken. All because of a man's decision. The people try to raise their weapons, but the superior fire power proves too much. Only a handful of survivors are left. Those who are struggle to digest the latest events and the loss of family, friends and their homes. They had just lost their lives. How they are going to live now? Many make the same question, none have the right answer.
After a few hours that seem like a eternity to Javier of constant fighting he reaches a hill in the outskirts of town. He is surprised to see the rest of survivors in the hill taking refuge. He notices Iris, her father and the young boy, now reunited his now widowing father as he searches for his own family. He asks some women about where is his father. They tell him his is at the side of a tree. Running towards him they embrace.
"Javier, I thought I lost you. Thank the lord you are ok!" his father tells him, crying.
"I'm here. All is fine now. I made it out of that hell." He looks around trying to spot his brother, nowhere to be found. He starts to cry. "No! No! Where is he? He had to make it. He made it! Right?"
"I'm sorry. I had no choice. He was with me when all started. We hide in a building but then they entered. We had to run. Then somehow a metal beam fell on him and got stuck as we ran for safety before they caught us. I had no choice. I had to make it alive for my son."
"But he was your son! How could you leave him alone to die?! He was your son too. Not through blood but though bond. You adopted him and now you left him alone. He could have made it if you had stayed with him!" Javier cries while still coping with the death of his young brother.
"I had no choice. The Military was close on us and even if I stayed with him and got him out of there. He would had been a liability. I couldn't carry him to safety. Even if I did, his spine was broken, he would have been paralyzed for the rest of his life."
"He was your son! It is your duty to protect your son and even die if it necessary to protect him!"
"And what do you think I am doing! I had no other choice. You need me here."
"And he needed you there, but you left him! You failed as a father! You're a monster! I don't want to see your goddamned face ever again. In fact you should be dead!" He leaps to attack his dad with his knife. Only to be stopped by two men who grab him by his arms. "Somebody do something!" cries a woman as she witnesses the attack. He continues to resists as Iris stands besides him. The men are barely capable of keeping him in check as he struggles to get free and avenge Roy. His father makes the hard choice to sedate him. He orders Iris to take a sedative and inject him to no avail. He continues to fight, now harder and enraged even more.
"Do it again! Put him down." He orders Iris to take another shot.
"But it might kill him! Iris protests knowing basic medicine from somewhat studying with Javier's father, the medic of the town.
"No matter, do it. Trust me, I wouldn't order you to do it if I wasn't sure." Iris inject him again, this time the medicine has almost an instant effect.
A few days have passed since, Javier finally wakes up. He finds himself chained to a chair. Iris stands in guard next to him in his cell. They are inside a bunker.
"Glad you finally woke up. I began to fear you may had enter a coma." Iris says, relived.
"What, what happened? Javier asks in a confused state.
"Your father had to sedate you, twice. I have never seen such a thing." She unlocks him. They go outside, Javier is still feeling groggy as the effects of the drug still take place.
"I am sorry for all that happened. I am sorry about your brother." Iris says as they look at the town in ruins.
"I cant believe all is lost now. I knew something was wrong that day. If only I had prevented my brother from going out alone to search for dad, he might be here right now." He obviously feels guilt.
"Its not your fault. It is no ones fault."
"Your right. Its not my fault. It is the military police's fault. It is the governments fault. It is that captain's fault. I will not rest until he is dead!" Javier says with a burning passion which scares Iris.
"Javier, turn the other cheek. There is nothing we can do now."
"Turn the other cheek be damned! You don't get it. For that same reason is that Roy is dead! I am going to find that man and I am going to avenge Roy if it is the last thing I do and there is no one who will stop me!" Javier declares as he looks at his knife. "Eye for eye! I am going to enjoy watching him suffer."
It is that day that Javier lost his innocence.