Read Rise Once More Online

Authors: D. Henbane

Rise Once More

PROTOCOL 1337

Rise Once More

By

D. Henbane

*****

Copyright D. Henbane 2012.

CHAPTER ONE

Loss

“Please sit down Eve.” Reese says with a somber voice. Reese rubs his hands as he struggles to find the words. Eve sits attentively across his desk, unaware of what the director is about to say. Eve knows that something isn’t quite right because Reese rarely has private talks with anyone. “I really don’t have the words in my head just yet. I wanted you to hear it from me first before I tell everyone else. I'm very sorry Eve, but we lost Agent Haus today. He didn't make it out of the mine before the bombing run started.”

Eve's face turns pale, and she continues to stare in disbelief. Reese stands up from behind his desk, and walks over to her with outstretched arms. Tears well up under her eyes, and she begins to tremble. Eve  quickly breaks down, and rushes into Reese's open arms. She presses her face into his suit, and starts screaming. Reese hugs her tightly, and rests his head onto hers. Reese whispers into her ear. “Its OK to cry dear...”

Eve slams her fists into Reese's chest, as she sobs uncontrollably. Suddenly Eve tears away from Reese, and stares at him with a cold bitter stare. “You! You did this! You killed him! This is your entire fault!” Eve screams.

“Eve I had nothing to do with it! I tried my best to save him. How dare you make an accusation like that!” Reese says.

“You had no right sending him there in the first place. He was a computer hacker, not some hot shot mercenary. Couldn't you have sent in another agent? Of course not, that would have made sense. I got a better idea Reese. GO TO HELL!” Eve slams the door behind her, as she leaves his office.

Once in the hallway she begins to cry again. She places her hands over her face to hide her tears. Eve becomes overwhelmed with grief, and runs towards the elevator. Once inside the elevator she slumps to the floor, and crawls into a fetal position. She continues to sob, while pulling her knees close to her chest. The elevator door draws open, she struggles to stand, but eventually exits the elevator.

She meanders like a zombie, past the commons room, towards Haus's apartment. She stands in front of his door, and stares at the door knob. She opens the door, and watches as it slowly swings. The air inside still smells like him. She is thrust back to a better time, when he was still with her, and they enjoyed all life had to offer. She falls to the floor, and begins to cry again.

“Why you be cryin' Eve? Did I make you mad? If I did I be sorry. Me don’t like cry.” Rednek says.

“Hes dead Rednek!” Eve exclaims.

“Haus ain’t dead Eve. He be at the mine workin'. He be back soon I promise.” Rednek says.

“NO! He got killed when they bombed the mine Rednek.” Eve says in between sobs. Rednek stoops his massive frame down, and picks Eve up. He carries her into his room, and sits down in a wooden hand crafted rocking chair. Using his massive feet, he starts to rock the chair in a gentle rhythm.

“Oh froggy went a courtin', and he did ride uh huh. Froggy went a courtin', and he did ride. A sword and a pistol by his side uh huh. He rode up to Miss Mousie's door uh huh. He rode up to Miss Mousie's door. A place he had been many times before uh huh.” Rednek sings.

“Where did you learn that song?” Eve asks.

“My meemaw sang it to me when I cried. It made me happy, did it make you happy?”Rednek asks.

“Well I'm not crying anymore so I guess it worked.” Eve was exhausted from all the tears, but it was a nice retreat from the sadness. She nestles into Redneks comforting arms. “Please finish the song for me.” His song was a far cry from Mozart, but did its magic with her. Long before the ballad was over, Eve was sleeping soundly in Redneks lap.

He carries her petite body to his bed, and covers her with an aging quilt. He makes the sign of the cross above her, and retreats to the couch. Rednek nestles in for the day, and roughs up some pillows for comfort.

The smell of food cooking wakes Eve from her slumber. She looks around the room, and is scared at first. She remembers the many times before waking up in unfamiliar places, but is comforted by the fact she isn’t using drugs anymore. She looks around the humble room, and sees a picture hanging on the wall. Its a picture of Rednek with a young man making faces for the camera. Eve slowly walks out into the hallway towards the kitchen.

Eve glances around the room, and sees a small table set for two. The plates are filled to the brim with hash browns, cheese, eggs, bacon, and a side of buttered toast. Rednek is busy washing the pans in the kitchen sink. “Rednek, you didn’t need to cook me breakfast.” Eve replies as she sits down.

“Meemaw told me yous gonna be hungry. Me always do what Meemaw says.” Rednek replies.

“Rednek we are the only two people in the room. Who is Meemaw?” Eve asks.

“Meemaw is my Meemaw. She went to heaven... Just like Papa, but she still talks to me.” Rednek says.

“So do you talk to ghosts often?” Eve asks.

“Yes ma’am. Just cuz they be in heaven don’t mean they cant talk. Yous just gots to listen to em.” Rednek replies.

“Can you see Meemaw?” Eve asks.

“Oh yes ma'am. She is watching the TV. Meemaw don’t like most people, but she likes you and Eicca. I made you food that Eicca likes.” Rednek says.

Rednek sits down at the table, and begins to wolf down his food. Eve is intrigued by her conversation with Rednek, and wonders if he is insane or mentally ill. She eats small portions, as she ponders her next question. Eve recalls reading articles on people who claim to interact with the dead. Is it possible that Rednek can actually see his deceased grandmother? Eve  sets her fork down onto the plate.

“Who is Eicca?” She asks.

“Eicca is my best friend.” Rednek says.

“The young man in the picture in your bedroom?” Eve asks.

“No. That’s my brotha. He ain’t right in da head. He a good boy anyway. Eicca is my special friend. She is nice to me. Nice like you Eve.” Rednek replies. Rednek spoons the last of his plate into his mouth. “You not eatin' Eve. Is it bad?” Rednek asks.

“Its delicious, but I am not all that hungry today Rednek. Thank you so much for breakfast. I like it a lot, and it made me feel better.” Eve replies. Rednek's face perks up, and he removes the dishes from the table. He washes each dish carefully, and sets it in the strainer.

“Wanna see a secret Eve?” Rednek asks.

“Depends on what you have in mind Rednek.” Eve replies. Rednek walks into another room, and comes back with an expensive laptop. He types in a few commands, and patiently waits for it to load. Rednek places the laptop on the table in front of Eve. Eve looks into the screen, and watches as a young woman tends to a garden. It is obvious that the camera is watching her from high above the earth.

The young lady meticulously removes weeds from each well-kept row of crops. In the background Eve can see a rusty tin roof, and several smaller out buildings. The landscape is very green for this time of year, and suggests a southern climate. Rednek reaches from behind her to make some adjustments to the camera. The camera zooms out a bit to reveal a small house, and a gravel road dotted with weeping willows.

“That be my special friend Eicca. She be good at keepin' a garden ma’am. I buy all of it, and it makes some good eatin'. She does everything pigs, cows, chickens, you name it. She is pretty too, and sweet as honey. Mr. Morris should be comin' soon.” Rednek says.

Eve continues to watch the screen, and soon a white Cadillac pulls in front of the small homestead. Eicca exits the garden to greet Mr. Morris, and then loads the trunk of his car with vegetables. Another person appears carrying jugs of milk, some honey, and several white paper packages of meat. Eicca whispers into the ear of the young man loading packages, and he disappears into a distant shed.

He surfaces a few minutes later, carrying a milk crate full of quart jars. He loads the jars into the back of the car, and waits behind Eicca like a small child seeking the safety of his mother. Mr. Morris retrieves a large stack of dollar bills from his inner jacket pocket, and gives it to Eicca. She places the money in her apron, smiles, and does a quick curtsey. “See dat Eve? Told ya she was good. I done told her how to make my moonshine in my last letter.” Rednek exclaims.

“She is very pretty. Rednek. A real hard worker from what I can tell, but what about the boy?” Eve asks.

“That’s Jake. He be my brotha, and Eicca takes care of him for me. She is real good with him.” Rednek explains.

“I didn’t know you had a brother. Why don’t your parents take care of him?” Eve asks.

“Oh no, Ma and Pa are in heaven. Jake’s is all I gots left. I lost Eicca too for a while.” Rednek says.

“What happened to them?” Eve asks.

“When Pa got sick, Ma tried to take care of him, but the sickness got 'em both. Some people from the city tried to come get me and Jake. We hid out in the bayou till they left. We ate frogs and fish for a month. They stopped comin' around after a while. They took Ma and Pa to bury them. I don’t know where the graves is, and Jake cried a lot. I watched out for him you know. Pa taught us how to live in the swamp. I learned it well, but Jake nots so good.”

“The people from the city were trying to help you. Why did you hide from them?” Eve asks.

“They took Eicca away, and they ain’t takin' Jake away. He all I got left.” Rednek says. His simple eyes start to well up with tears. Eve wraps her arms around him for a hug. He returns the hug, and almost crushes her with his embrace. Eve struggles to breathe as he squeezes her tight.

“How did you get Eicca back?” Eve asks.

“Her Pa was a bad man. He liked to fight, and one day he hurt her ma real bad. Them city folk came with the sheriff, and took Eicca away. Her ma never came back. She sent me letters every day. I done told her that she can live with me and Jake. Then one day she ran away back to my place.” Rednek explains.

“Is that your house you are looking at?” Eve asks.

“Yes ma’am. That be my land, paid for fair and square. It be Jake’s too, but he don’t know any better. Also Eicca's house too, but she misses me.” Rednek says.

“How are you making this work- when Reese forbids contact with your former life?” Eve asks.

“I pay Mr. Morris for being me lawyer. He pays Eicca for me food. I send puzzles to Southern Fur Trader Magazine. Eicca uses da code to solve them. She sends me a boiled egg back. Eicca thinks I be fightin' da Russians.” Rednek replies.

“Why a boiled egg?” Eve asks.

“Oh dat was Eve's idea since she is no good at cyphers. She has a magic ink, she writes on da egg, den sends it to me. I open da egg, and I can see her letter. I will shows you.” Rednek says as he leaps to his feet. He walks over to his fridge, and removes a single white egg. He walks back to the table, and setting the egg down gives it a spin to confirm it has been boiled. He taps the egg against the table a few times, then rolls it in his fist. He removes the outer shell, and places it in front of Eve. Eve cannot believe her eyes, and picks the egg up to read the words. The egg white is slightly off color to reveal the intended message inside.

“Peaches I am writing to inform you, that the still is working great, and Jake has a knack for it. Your next batch of goodies should be there soon, and we both miss you greatly. Don’t get hurt, and come home soon. Love Eicca and Jake.” Eve says.

“She always calls me Peaches.” Rednek says.

“A pet name, then signed with Love. I think Eicca is more than just a friend Rednek.” Rednek blushes, and turns away from her to conceal his feelings. Eve begins to put the story together inside her head, and realizes what is going on. Rednek is reaching out to her about being in love. He too has been in love, and has lost the love in his life. He is desperately trying to hold together the life he left behind before joining Omega Phi.

“I kissed her once, and it was fun. She showed me some tings in da barn. I liked it, but I didn’t know what to do. So I ran away. Then Reese found me...” Rednek explains.

“What did Reese say to you, that made you join the team?” Eve asks.

“He promised me stuff, like money, and being able to take care of Jake. When he told me the city folk wouldn’t come for Eicca no mo'... Dats when I said yes-sir. He said Eicca's pa would never get out of jail. She be safe now, an' I can sleep sound.” Rednek says.

“You signed up to protect the ones you love. That’s very honorable Rednek, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. You're like the big brother I never had.” Eve says.

“I be your big brotha, Rednek will protect you, an' you dun have to worry about a ting. We be bestest friends fo'ever I guarantee. First tings first you gotsa know the rules of da swamp. I will teach ya just like me pa showed me.” Rednek says.

Eve looks at Rednek with a slightly confused look on her face. She feels like laughing at the situation, but realizes that he is very serious. They are in the underground base of Omega Phi. How can he teach her to survive in a swamp? “So whats the first rule of swamp club?” Eve asks sarcastically.

“Da swamp is da boss, an' you best be ready to defend yo' self. You come.” Rednek replies as he takes hold of Eve's hand. Rednek guides Eve out into the hallway, walking in a brisk pace down the hall. Soon they arrive at a gray door with stickers all over it. Rednek stops short, punches in a series of numbers into the keypad, and the door swings open. The room is pitch black, and Rednek leans inside to turn on the light switch.

Other books

Christopher Brookmyre by Fun All, v1.0 Games
The Lion's Skin by Rafael Sabatini
Her Cyborg by Nellie C. Lind
Worse Than Being Alone by Patricia M. Clark
Beauty's Kiss by Jane Porter
Blank Canvas-epub by Mari Carr