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The Talon House
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Chapter 1: Orders

"MOVE IT YOU PANSIES, OTHER WISE I'LL HAVE YOU CLEANING THE LATRINE FOR THE NEXT WEEK" yelled the drill sergeant as he had the soldiers pick up their pace. I watched from my window in the little bungalow the army provided my family.

I could tell these guys were green from how slow they were to pick up on the sarge's order. "They will learn soon enough." I thought as I threw on my sweats and got my shoes and socks on. I shook my head thinking about the punishments this particular guy would inflict on them if they screwed up.

I got dressed and when out into the cool summer morning and did my morning stretches as I waited for one of my better friends, Kelly to come by on his morning run. He came around the corner in a light jog and stopped and waited as I finished my stretches.

"Hey Josh, how ya doing this morning?" He said jovially

"Not to bad how bout you" I replied

"Same old, same old."

We both laughed and took of at an easy pace. Kelly Taresh was a 20 year old guy who stood about 6' 5". He had a strong jaw line and a large forehead, and green eyes that really expressed how he was feeling, and what mood he was in.

I first met the guy about 3 years ago when the military stationed my father at Ft. Rucker. He used to be our next-door neighbor but for some reason the housing board decided to move him a few blocks away, I never asked the details. He came over and helped us move in and I started to make friends with him rather quickly.

Over the next 2 years I began to start working out more, from long distance running to wrestling. I then asked Kelly if he needed a running partner, he said yes of course. So every other day for the past month I've ran with him about 10 miles, pushing him and vice-versa.

We ran in companionable silence for 30 minutes, running about 5 miles from my house to the far end of the parade grounds. We doubled back and reached my house about 6:00.

"You want some coffee or something?" I inquired

"No thanks Josh, you know I don't like to rely on stimulants." He grinned

"Well it was worth a shot." I said returning his grin as I finished stretching out and walked back up the drive.

"I'll see you tonight at the rec hall about 18:00."

"Yup" I replied with a wave of my hand.

I went in and made a bee-line for the refrigerator and pulled out a jug of milk and rummaged around in the cabinet for some cereal. After finishing my meal I went directly for the bathroom to get a shower.

After rinsing off and doing all the normal tasks I stepped out onto the cold tile and grabbed a towel. I looked in the mirror and admired the view before me.

In it I saw a 15 year old kid, standing 5' 9" with green eyes, brown hair, about 130 lbs with not a lot of fat. Looking closer I saw the scar under my eye where I tripped over my Doberman and ended up getting clawed from the resulting scramble (that's a story for another time). It looks like I have a broken nose but my mom has the same little ridge on her nose also. I get asked about it all the time.

I finished my morning grooming and went to my room, which gets smaller everyday I think. I threw on some jeans and a tee-shirt, and turned on the TV in my room and zoned out. My dad would not be off his shift till later today and my mom works the graveyard shift at the hospital and would be getting home and going to bed soon.

I found nothing on the TV; I plugged in my play station and played for about an hour.

Mom made herself present at 7:00 poking her head in my door and startled me a little bit.

"Hey honey how was your run."

"It was ok, Kelly was a little slow today but other than that it was good." I replied.

My mom is such a great person. She has a really wicked sense of humor that makes me blush sometimes. She can be really serious when she needs to but most of the time she is a really cool and laid back. I'm a little taller than her, by about 3", and I poke fun at her when I can. Her face has lines of stress acquired from working so many years at the hospital.

"How was your shift?" I asked as I watched her pull out a cigarette and light it.

"A little action tonight, some guy slammed his car into a tree going about 100. He was ejected from the car and thrown a hundred feet." She took a drag. "The guy was really messed up, a lot of internal bleeding and a few broken bones. We got him stabilized but he is in a coma now."

"Well on a lighter note, I'm gonna head down to the rec center about 1600 and meet Kelly there about 1800, okay?"

"Sure, but how come you don't hang around some one closer to your age. Maybe get a nice girl." She asked

"Well most of the kids my age around here judge mostly on looks, I do have friends my age but they do things that just push my buttons." I said purposely avoiding her other question.

"Well I'm gonna get some sleep, wake me up about 1300 and ill make you a decent meal." She said with a smile

"HEY, my cooking is edible." I said with mock anger that didn't hide my grin

"Well it's edible for your 'lack' of taste."

"How out we agree to disagree."

"Ok bud, remember 1300 ok." She said shaking her head

"Yup 1300, sleep well mom."

She walked off to her room ready to collapse from exhaustion, my cat following her into her room, and getting shut out.

With an angry look he trotted over to me and rubbed my leg. I petted him; he is a glutton for attention.

"Want to take a nap bud." I said to the cat

He mewed and jumped up onto the end of my bed, I shook my head thinking that he had planned this.

I set my alarm for 11:00 and laid down.

I slept through my alarm till about 12:30, the only reason I got up was because my cat decided to move up next to my head and groom me; leaving me with a major cowlick.

I shuffled around doing various things till about 1300 when I went quietly into my mom's room and woke her up.

"Mom its time to get up." I said in a quiet voice, which startled her awake as she attempted to get her bearings. Her eyes fell on me and she grinned.

"What the hell happened to you?"

I felt my head realizing my new hair style. "The stupid cat decided to start grooming me while I slept." She busted out laughing.

"Ha ha ha, you won't be laughing when I stick him in here with you."

"Ok ok, I'm getting up. What do you want to eat?"

"Just a sandwich." I said

"Ok bud let me wake up a little, why don't you get out all the ingredients I'll have one myself."

I walked out to the kitchen and saw the cat sitting on top of the counter.

"What are you doing up there?" I asked the cat in a false angry voice

He gave me one of those looks that says "STFU."

"Don't you give me that, you know your not allowed on the counter, why don't you go make sure mom is getting up." I said motioning to the door.

The cat gave me another glare, jumped down and walked out of the room. I shook my head and laughing at the thought that the cat thinks he owns the house.

I got out all the stuff for lunch and went over to the radio as mom came out of the room carrying the cat. I turned on the classic rock station, mom listened to the song that was on and went to work.

Mom got the sandwiches made and we sat down and listened to the radio and chatted about small things.

"So honey what are your plans for tonight?"

"Oh… I was thinking of just going to the rec hall play some pool, hanging out with Kelly and the guys, maybe going to the movies also."

"Ok well I want you to check in every hour ok?"

"I will mom."

"Don't forget school starts on the 30th ok, so no late nights after next week you need to get back on your sleep schedule"

Mom and I talked and hung out for a bit before I went to the rec hall. A few people were their so I went and played some pool with the other guys till Kelly arrived.

When he walked in I knew something was up, his face was pale and his eyes… they were filled with sadness and regret. I immediately confronted him.

"Kelly what's wrong?" I said with extra feeling to show my concern

He stared at me tears brimming in his eyes, I noticed he was holding an official looking letter.

"Josh" he whispered

"What is it Kel?"

"I'm getting shipped out."

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