The Boy in the Shadows


5. Training

Chapter 4


His weapon was hidden behind a picture that was hanging on his wall. It didn't look dangerous, but it was. His weapon was the only thing he had from his father. It was a small, silver wolf statue that looked insignificant, so if he had his pockets turned out, it wouldn't look threatening. However, when Jack threw it into the air, it would be whatever weapon or tool he wanted when it came back down. The best part about it was it was impossible to lose, because when he walked more than 30 feet away from it, teleported back to his pocket.

When he arrived in the kitchen, he was surprised to find out that his siblings were already up.

“There you are. Good thing you’ve freshened up, you are coming hunting with me today.” Said Calvin. “Going somewhere?” He added upon seeing Jack’s bag. Jack blushed.

“Calvin has decided to refrain from killing you at the moment.” Emily said, though her tone suggested that Calvin had not decided by himself. “And you dont need that.” She siad, eyeing his hands, which were brushing against the wolf in his pocket. Jack sighed, tossing the wolf in the air. When it came down, it was a little silver pin with the brand on his arm on it. Jack pinned it to his shirt and turned, slinging his bag over his shoulder and walking out the door to the barn inn the woods.

Calvin had built the barn when Jack was 8, the year his parents had gone missing. Jackk typed in the code on the heavy steel door, and walked inside. The barn was monstrous, with towering ceiling and widely spaced walls.  The walls inside were lined with rubber coated foam. The ground was squishy. Lining the walls were every type of weapon imaginable (of course, save the explosives. Those were kept locked up nice and tight).  On the far wall was an elaborate plywood structure, almost like a house, with windows and door ways. On the ground inside were several human shaped targets. All of the targets had marks. Jack noticed with a gasp that the marks were all in the same two spots. One in the middle of the forehead, one on the heart.

Jack had never come inside the barn very much before. Of course, Cal had rained him a little, but not with really weapons. They used bamboo sticks to sword fight, and Jack had used a pocket knife to throw. Now, he decided he needed to train if he was going to fulfill his plan.

Jack set to word on the straw filled dummies on the left side of the barn. Using a sword at first, he discovered that all the wooden stick training had paid off. He was pretty good with a sword. Next, he threw knives. It only took him a half hour to get the hang of those. He could even throw a decent spear after a while, usually coming within a foot or closer of his pinpoint. He even tried the training grenades. They were just smoke bombs, and Jack activated the targets in the fake house. He hit every single one.

The bow was where Jack hit the difficulties. He just couldn't get it right. After an hour of struggling, he gave up, moving on to hand to hand combat.

When Jack’s dad was still around, he had taught the boys a little about his job. Stan Orpheus was an engineer. Though Jack was little at the time and didn't pick up any of Dad’s talent, Calvin obviously had a knack for robotics. This robot was a two swinging arms, each with a boxing glove on the end, and a punching bag was hanging between them. The bag could sense hits, and when Jack hit the bag hard enough and in the right spot, the machine would shut off. He had shut it off 18 times when Calvin walked in through the door, swinging around a pair of shiny silver nunchucks. He observed for a while before Jack noticed he was there.

“You should put more power in your hips,” Calvin said, and Jack jumped in fright. “You only get so much power in your arms. The hips should give you more power.” Jack shook hi head, turned, and threw a punch, this time using his hips as well. The machine shut off at once.

“Thanks.” Jack said. There was silence as they stood there in the stone cold silence. Calvin grabbed a sword off the wall, and turned questioningly to Jack. He nodded, and yanked his sword off of his back, rising it. Calvin leaped forward, knocking the sword instantly out of Jack’s hand. He spun and was suddenly behind Jack, his blade at Jack's throat. Jack’s blood ran cold. He considered back kicking Cal in the shins, but before he did it Calvin had released him.

“You need to be faster. Estimate your opponents moves before they happen. And never, never let your guard down.” Cal tossed his sword back to him.

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