SQUAD#11

22 year-old Allison Sharper is a hard working young woman. At least she considers herself to be one. When three teenagers-two boys and one girl-show up to her home one cold night, claiming to be her new bodyguards because thugs have marked her for dead, she laughs it off and slams the door in their faces. Why would someone want an average Jane like her dead? Overnight Allison’s world is flipped upside down as she finds their dire warning to be true and to her horror, she can’t even attend her classes without dangerous groups of men and women showing up on campus. She is forced to cooperate with the trio of misfits. Each of them possesses an extraordinary talent that can fend off the assassin gangs. Who are these teens? They work for a secret division of the government which manages a program. In this operation, there are hundreds of humans like them, all gifted with ‘special’ skills. They are called "SQUADS." There are ten so far, including themselves. They are SQUAD#11, Her only hope.

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8. Chapter 22: 22 YRS OLD

Kneeling on one knee in the enormous bed of grass, Allison gripped the edges of her camera and held it with a firm, unwavering hold as she zoomed in on a beautiful cardinal that was perched on a tree branch several feet away from her. The small bird shook its tail and puffed out its feathers in the cool breezes of the afternoon. Pressing down on the shutter, she snapped three photos, then hit the 'review' button.

"Perfect," She smiled to herself.

The photos were absolutely perfect for her to add to her folder for midterm project. Allison had over thirty pictures now. She couldn't wait to get back to school to get them printed. Her project was as good as aced!

In the distance to either side of her, narrow roads directed traffic all through the city park, creating gigantic islands of green where some citizens played random sports with friends and pets. In other spots, few sat on benches, simply enjoying the weather, however majority of folks were holding family and social gatherings; various slabs of grilled meat and vegetables filled the air with a sweet, smoky flavor. It was making her hungry.

Sighing to herself, she stood to her feet dusting the dry soil off her jade-tinted jeans. The sleeves of hoodie were halfway rolled up her forearms, revealing an assortment of tattoos that decorated one of her pale wrists, forming some sort of colorful, permanent band. Allison was twenty-two; a second-year university student studying photography. Brown eyes, thin cherry lips, wavy auburn locks fell to her shoulders.

And at the moment, she was actually in one of her classes; her professor allowed the students to leave the room and work on their upcoming assessments. They had one hour to themselves then had to return. Pulling her cell, alongside a pack of cigarettes from her back pocket, she checked the clock, noting her time outside was about up anyway. The campus wasn't far from her. Just a short walk away.

A second or two nearly passed as her mobile started to vibrate feverishly in her hand. She was getting a text from Aracely, a classmate of hers.

Get bck here ASAP. 7th floor lab being shutdown.

Lighting her cig and taking a long drag, Allison arched an eyebrow, reading the message once more. Shut down? What did that mean?  Were they closing it for the day or something?

Leaning on a truck parked at a curb about half a mile or so from Allison's current position, two ebony men dressed in all black, sporting burgundy leather jackets were watching her through binoculars. They exchanged expressionless glances at one another. Simultaneously, both stocky thugs reached their pockets within their coats. One pulled out yet another mobile, the other had a folded sheet of paper in his hairy fingers. He opened it, gazing down at a blown up imagine of university-student's face. Bold words were typed beneath it, reading:

ALLISON SHARPER, 22 YRS OLD. WANTED FOR 4 MILLION. DEAD OR ALIVE.

"This is Bone checking in," One bald man spoke into the cell-receiver using a deep voice. "We found her."

There were two digital labs for photo-majors within the department building where she attended classes. The one on the seventh floor was her favorite; she got an opportunity to work there last semester, establishing friendly relationships with peers, floor staff and teachers. She barely began to enjoy her smoke; only got a few puffs in before she reached her destination, an immense beige colored skyscraper that glimmered in the bright sun's rays. Her college was a collection of buildings scattered throughout the heart of downtown. The hundreds of stores and malls, restaurants, museums, clubs even the city's basketball team stadium provided a flowing and vibrant community for students living in dorms and condominiums. Allison was one of them; she had an apartment rented out for the entire semester. She always had something to do outside of school.

Upon crossing an intersection, weaving her way through large crowds of citizens in order to reach the revolving doors of her building in a few feet ahead of her, she spotted numerous trucks parked directly in front of the entrance; men were lugging heavy equipment into the back... She narrowed her eyes, staring at what they were storing. She recognized some of that stuff... If she didn't know any better, she'd say most of it belonged to the lab... What the hell? This was what Aracely meant? She quickened her pace in hurrying across the busy road, traffic buzzed around her. Some odd feet behind her, also zigzagging through the masses, the two obsidian thugs followed, breaking out into a brisk walk.

"If she runs..." The first male began to whisper to his bald accomplice, Bone.

"I got it," Bone growled and rolled his neck to one side, several sickening cracks could be heard from his joints.

He clenched his fists as the bones of his fingers abruptly burst from his skin along the outer side of his hand. The exposed marrow expanded and hardened, becoming tougher than a diamond, forming some type of natural brass knuckles. Only his kind numerous times bigger. Sharp and jagged like rocks on a mountain-side.

A wicked grin crossed his face while he quickly hid his hand in his jacket-pocket.

"If she runs, I kill the whore." He chuckled.

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