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Second Chance Series 8: Seed

Second Chance Series 8: Seed

Автор Paul Green

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Second Chance Series 8: Seed

Автор Paul Green

Длина:
726 страниц
7 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
22 янв. 2013 г.
ISBN:
9781301296170
Формат:
Книга

Описание

Many, if not most of you, have been waiting for this book.

Kemuel's story.

Up until now, you've known very little about Kemuel. Other than he is the 'funny one'. But where did he come from? Has he always been this way? And just how old is he? Really?

Find out, in this fun, startling and eye-opening chapter in the world of the Second Chance.

Издатель:
Издано:
22 янв. 2013 г.
ISBN:
9781301296170
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

Winner of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Paul Green (1894-1981) taught philosophy and drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a native of Harnett County, North Carolina.


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Second Chance Series 8 - Paul Green

Second Chance Series • Book Eight

SEED

paul green

Table of Contents

Cover Page

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Second Chance Series

Reader Recommendation

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Cover Page

From the author ...

~ Prologue ~

~ Cursed ~

Chapter 2

~ The Drifter ~

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

~ Chosen ~

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

~ Resignations ~

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

~ Lineage ~

Chapter 28

~ Undying Love ~

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

~ Transgressions ~

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

~ Secrets ~

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

~ Differences ~

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

~ The Gift ~

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

~ Everlasting ~

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

~ Revelations ~

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

~ Epilogue ~

ENDGAME

~ Notes to the Reader ~

Second Chance Series

Tales From Camelot Series

About the Author . . .

Copyright Notice

Second Chance Series

Book Eight: SEED

Copyright © 2011 by Paul Green. All Rights Reserved.

First Printing: December 2011

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

For further information, contact info@paulgreenauthor.com

www.SecondChanceNovels.com

Front cover artwork: photo by Valentina Kallias

Rear cover artwork: MD-Arts

Second Chance Series

Part One

Book 1: BEGINNINGS

Book 2: AWAKENING

Book 3: PROPHET

Part Two

Book 4: REVENANT

Book 5: PRODIGAL

Book 6: AVALON - Part 1

Book 6: AVALON - Part 2

Part Three

Book 7: TRIBE

Book 8: SEED

Book 9: ENDGAME

www.SecondChanceNovels.com

www.TalesFromCamelot.com

Beginning 2013

Prophet Chronicles series

For further information contact info@paulgreenauthor.com

Reader Recommendation

Due to the unique subject matter, this series will appeal to a very broad audience: teen to elderly, male and female alike.

Although some parts may be considered to be too intense for pre-teen or younger readers. Ages 13 and up recommended.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to all my reviewers. Your input has been invaluable.

Thank you to my son Christopher for his help in designing the covers.

And extra special thanks to the One who gave me the desire to write.

Dedication

Dedicated to . . .

The Seed of the Woman

From the author ...

If Book 2: AWAKENING was my personal most favorite story, and Book 6: AVALON was my most fairy tale romantic story, and if Book 7: TRIBE was my most proudest, then Book 8: SEED will be the most funnest.

And the most eye opening.

I mean, we're talking about Kemuel, here. Seriously, how can this story not be the mostest funnest? And the most ... well ... you all know Kemuel.

Or, do you?

It's okay, I'm a trained author. I can use words like 'mostest' and 'funnest'. Just don't try this at home, kids. And as an author I'm even allowed to make up my own words from time to time; I reserve that right.

Book 8: SEED and Book 9: ENDGAME is a 'two-parter', with the final book picking up right where this story leaves off. But there is very little else I'm going to tell you in advance about this particular story. Except to say, there's a whole lot of 'stuff' in here; including some 'stuff' that you've all been waiting for.

So without further ado, let's journey into the world of the Second Chance ... for our next to the last time.

~ Prologue ~

A man lay among the swine.

Where he had lain for a night and a day.

Not surprising since the man had been drunk for the better part of a month.

The man was also covered in blood and bruises and had two broken ribs.

Not surprising since the man had been in more fights and brawls in the past month alone, than he had enjoyed the entire previous year.

Which wasn't saying much; for the man enjoyed fighting and brawling and drinking and carousing and cursing and swearing and just about anything else those in the village frowned upon and looked down upon.

The more they frowned, the more he enjoyed doing it. And the more he did it, the more they frowned.

Such was the frown on the face of the young nineteen-year-old girl who was looking down at him through the wooden fence slats of the swine pit. With her arms crossed in disgust and a look of contempt on her face, the girl glared at the poor excuse of a man snoring in the deep mud. Naked.

As if somehow knowing she was there, he slowly opened his eyes and mindlessly wiped the mud and swine food mixed with pig excrement from his face.

He looked at her groggily for a long moment.

Then he grinned. Edna! My wife-to-be. Care to join me?

Eddi spat into the swine pit. Hanok! You son of a she-swine! I would not marry you if you were the last man on earth!

Kemuel shrugged. He lay his head back down in the mud, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.

~ Cursed ~

Chapter 1

Fifty years earlier...

Six hundred years ago there were dragons.

Really, Father? Were there really dragons?

I have told you this story many times, Hanok. Why do you always question me if these things were so?

Because I have never seen a dragon, Father.

You are still but twelve years of age, my son. There is much you have not yet seen. Whereas I have seen much.

Have you seen a dragon, Father?

No, I have not. But I have known others who have.

You speak of the First?

Yes. If you do not believe me, you may ask him yourself. He shall be arriving in three days to visit our village.

Three days!? That is the day of my birth!

The father chuckled. Why do you think he is coming? But to offer you tidings.

Really!? But ... why is this day of birth different from others, Father? Is it because I now become a man?

Ah, so quick to think you become a man. I say to you truly, my son; there is more to becoming a man than the mere passage of thirteen years. You may be my eldest son, but these things take time. You must learn to be patient.

Am I not to receive my new name? And if I am not to become a man, then why else would the First come to visit me?

It is tradition, my son; no more. It is but the beginning of your journey to manhood. And you know very well, you shall not receive your new name until your journey is complete.

Must my journey include Adira?

Jared smiled. One day, you will not mind so much.

She is my friend, Father; that I do not mind. But to think of her as ... you know.

She was chosen for you at birth, Hanok. You have always known this. This is our way. Adira is a good match for you. Someday you shall see.

When must I ... do this thing?

Jared laughed at his son. Fear not, Hanok; not for some time; never you worry. It may be years before you are ready. First, you must learn to become a man. Then ... you may learn to become a husband.

I am ready to become a man now, father. I think I am ready for my new name. But I do not think I shall ever be ready to become a husband.

We shall see, my son. Jared grinned. We shall see.

Will there be others coming for my day of birth celebration?

Perhaps. Chaverim has spoken there is another who shall pay you a visit.

Who, Father?

The One.

Hanok snorted.

Again, you do not believe me?

You speak of Chaverim as if he exists. I have never before seen the raven. Nor have I seen a dragon. And now you speak of the One!? How can you ask me to believe in these things which I have not seen?

Must you always doubt me, my son? Your brothers and sisters have all seen Chaverim. And they have seen the One. Would you doubt all of your family?

Have they seen a dragon?

The father sighed. No, my son. Your brothers and sisters have not seen a dragon. Why must it always be dragons with you?

I must see with my own eyes, Father; else I will not believe. I must see the raven. And I must see a dragon.

You may be my firstborn, Hanok, but you are also the most stubborn of my children. Someday you must learn to believe in things which cannot always be proven with your eyes.

Until I feel the flames of the serpent or hear the wings of the raven; until I see the One with my own eyes, I shall not believe. I trust only my eyes and my ears, Father.

You trust only in yourself, my son. These are the words of a fool.

Is it so wrong, Father? Was I not given my eyes and my ears and my senses and my understanding? If not for trusting in those things, why else would I have been given them?

Chaverim has spoken truly, my son. A most difficult journey lies before you.

I do not my fear any journey, Father. I shall face whatever comes my way as a man. Except..., he grinned sheepishly, ...perhaps being a husband. I confess some fear to that.

The father smiled at him, sadly. If feel the serpent's flame you must, my son, then feel it you shall. Though I wish it were not so.

I am not afraid, Father. I am not afraid of anything. I fear nothing.

Again the words of a fool. Perhaps the One shall speak some sense and understanding to you.

Am I really to meet the One, Father!?

No, my son; but he shall meet you.

Huh? What? I do not understand.

You shall see, my son. In three days time, you shall see.

*** *** ***

Hanok? Am I disturbing you?

Hanok looked up from his thoughts - of which there were many. He had been sitting for hours beside a still quiet lake, listening to the sound of the water gently lapping against the lush green shoreline.

Huh? Oh, Hi Adira.

May I sit with you?

Of course. What are you doing here?

I have not seen you all day. Adira replied, as she sat down on the grass beside him. I was wondering where you were.

Hanok turned and looked back out at the beautiful lake. This is my favorite spot. I like to come here to think.

I know it is, Hanok. I have sat here with you many times. What are you thinking about, today?

Dragons.

Adira smiled. Again?

My father told me the story again, this morning. I cannot stop thinking about them.

You can never stop thinking about them, Hanok. Perhaps you think about them too much.

Do you really think there used to be dragons, Adira? Or do you think it is just a story, told to us by our parents?

I believe the words of my father and mother, Hanok. So should you.

But ... I have never seen one!

Do you really wish to see one?

You know I do, Adira! I would give ANYTHING to see one!

If we were to ever see one, Hanok, do you think it would harm us?

I ... I do not know. Other serpents have attempted to harm us. So, I suppose ... so also might a dragon.

You are the only one in our village to have been harmed by a serpent, Hanok.

I am the only one brave enough to have touched one.

You are the only one foolish enough to have touched one. You know they are not to be approached.

I did not know until I had touched it. That is when I knew.

The Elders said you should have died. It was a foolish thing to...

But I did NOT die, Adira! That is just it! The serpent bit me! I could feel the poison inside my arm and I could feel it travel through my body! I felt the pain! I felt it reach to my heart! And yet ... I did not die! Why do you think that is?

Because you were fortunate, Hanok. The One was watching over you.

No, Adira. It is because what we were told about serpents was not true. Serpents cannot kill us. They may cause pain, but no more. I am living proof.

I still say you were fortunate. I have heard that others from other villages have died.

Then what we have heard has been wrong. They are only children's stories.

Must you always doubt everything, Hanok?

Either the stories are wrong, or I cannot die. Which do you think is more doubtful?

Just because you did not die once, does not mean you cannot die from the bite of a serpent, again. You were only fortunate, Hanok; no more.

No, Adira. I was not fortunate. Serpents cannot kill us. Our parents were wrong. The Elders were wrong. Everyone was wrong. In fact, I think they were wrong about a great many things, not just serpents.

Hanok! You cannot judge the Elders by ... something such as this! They are aged and wise! You cannot determine from a single fortuitous bite of a serpent...

Again, that is just it, Adira! It has not been a single time!

WHAT!?

Hanok sighed and rolled up his left sleeve, and showed her his arm. Adira gasped in horror when she saw several snakebites. HANOK! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?

I found another serpent this day. I wished to see if what had happened before was ... fortuitous. As you can see, it was not. Serpents cannot harm us.

HANOK, ARE YOU MAD!!?

Look at my arm, Adira, and tell me if I am mad.

But...

Look at my arm, Adira. Should I not be dead? If what our parents have told us is true, then we should not be speaking.

But Hanok...

The Elders have also said such things. Therefore, what the Elders have told us must also be untrue.

Adira continued looking at his swollen and purple arm in horror. Hanok ... what you have done...

What I have done, Adira, is prove such things the Elders have spoken to us is false. I now question other things they have spoken to us.

Hanok, you should have your arm looked at! It looks horrid!

Yes, it does ... hurt ... a little.

You are a fool, Hanok. How could you be so foolish!?

Hanok sighed. My father also considers me a fool.

You father loves you, Hanok; you know that.

Sometimes I wonder about that, as well. But I surely doubt many of the things he has taught me.

Are you sure you're okay, Hanok? I am very worried! How long ago did...

A short time ago. It does hurt a lot, I will admit. he replied, looking at his arm. In fact...

Hanok? Hanok!? HANOK!?

Hanok's eyes began to glaze over and within moments he had fallen backwards unconscious.

*** *** ***

Hanok? Can you hear me?

As Hanok opened his eyes, he found himself lying on his own bed. His vision was clouded but he knew his mother was sitting beside him with her hand on his forehead with a cool wet cloth. Standing beside his bed were his father, as well as Adira and her parents.

Hanok? Can you hear me? his mother repeated.

Hanok nodded. As his eyes began to focus, he saw the serious and worried looks on all of their faces.

How ... how did I get here? he asked, groggily.

Do not try to sit up, Hanok. his mother said. You shall need to rest for more days.

What? More days!? How long...

You have slept for three days, son. his father answered.

What? Three ... days?

The serpent's poison weakened you, son. his father replied. You have been asleep for three days.

But ... my day of birth celebration...

It was yesterday, Hanok. said his mother.

I missed it?

His mother smiled. We did not celebrate without you. We shall choose another time when you are well.

But...

You should be dead, son. his father said, sternly. Why you are not dead is a great mystery to us all. Even the First has said so.

The First!? He was here!?

Everyone was here, Hanok. his mother replied. They shall return again when you are well enough to receive them.

I am now ... a man?

His father growled, angrily. No, son; you are not a man; you are a fool. Adira has spoken to us of what you have done. You should be among the dead.

But I am not.

No, son. You are not.

Hanok looked at Adira and nodded. See? Did I not tell you so?

Adira was looking at him with a strange mixture of grief, gratefulness and ... fear. She began shaking her head in confusion. You ... you should not be alive. she whispered.

Hanok looked at his father smugly. No, I should not. But I am. This means serpents cannot harm us. You were wrong, Father. So also were the Elders.

That is not what the First has said.

And what explanation did the First offer?

He has told us you are ... unique. That you have a great purpose. One that is different from us.

Of course he would say that, Father. What else could he say? He would never admit to...

SILENCE! You will not speak of the First in that way! Nor any other of the Elders! They are to be respected! Not challenged by a ... a...

A what, Father? A fool?

Yes. A fool. What you have done, son...

What I have done, Father, is prove once and for all that serpents cannot harm us. How is that being foolish?

What if you had been wrong?

But I was not wrong.

Your life, son, is to be treated as a gift; not to be casually thrown aside merely to make argument. That is the action of a fool.

It was the only action to prove the truth, Father. It was not the action of a fool.

Bah. I will not argue with you, further. But know this, son; I do not approve of what you have done. You have not shown yourself to be a man; you have shown yourself to be nothing but a foolish child.

Then if that is true, we should not celebrate the day of my birth. Hanok replied, angrily. In fact, I do not wish it.

Hanok! his mother gasped. Do not speak in this way!

My father does not think I am a man. He thinks I am a fool. Very well. He is welcome to believe this falsehood along with all the other falsehoods.

The father's eyes widened in surprise.

Tell me, Father. Hanok added with a smirk. Did ... 'the One' ever show up?

His father looked at him for a time, and then finally shook his head.

There, you see? he scoffed. You were wrong about that as well. You were wrong about serpents. You were wrong about the raven. You were wrong about dragons. And you were wrong about the One. He did not appear, because like the others, he does not exist.

HANOK! exclaimed his mother in shock.

Leave me be. Hanok scowled. I am but a fool. I am not a man. I will not receive my new name. I am only a child in your eyes. Leave me be.

Everyone was staring him incredulously, including Adira and her parents.

Except his father, who was now glaring at him with anger. You shall learn your place, boy. You shall not speak to us again in that way.

Boy? Now I am not even your son?

No son of mine would have spoken in this manner.

Jared, please! pleaded his mother.

Stay out of this, wife! Hanok shows no respect for either of us!

It is not disrespect, Father! I merely proved you wrong! And instead of thanking me, you disown me!?

I do not disown you, Hanok; for you are my flesh and blood and always shall be. But I shall chastise your arrogance, your presumption and your impudence. But most of all, I rebuke your irreverence to the One! It is an abomination to speak so in this house!

Fine! Then I shall not speak again in this house!

Hanok's father Jared, clenched his fists in rage, glared at his son Hanok for a moment, and then stormed out through the door.

Hanok, please. His mother pleaded. Do not...

Leave me, mother. My father does not think me a man, nor does he consider me his son. There is nothing more to be said.

But Hanok...

LEAVE ME! All of you! Leave me!

His mother sighed and rose to her feet. I shall prepare you a stew of carrots and potatoes; your favorite.

I am not hungry, mother. Do not bring me anything.

I shall bring it to you anyway. Like it or not, Hanok, you are our son. And with that, his mother disappeared out the door.

Adira's father looked at his wife and nodded. We ... uh ... we should be going, as well. Goodbye, Hanok. We are pleased to see you are ... okay.

Hanok turned his head towards the wall and refused to answer.

After her parents left the room leaving her alone with him, Adira stepped close to the bed. Hanok!? What is wrong with you!? Why are you acting in this way!?

Go away, Adira. he said coldly. I wish to be alone.

But Hanok...

I said GO AWAY! LEAVE ME!

In tears, Adira turned and fled the room, leaving Hanok alone on his bed.

But Adira wasn't the only one in tears.

Though Hanok's left arm was still purple and swollen from the numerous poisonous bites of the serpent, no one had thought to roll up his other sleeve. Where upon his wrist was a knife wound. A self-inflicted knife wound. A wound which also should have resulted in his death.

Why can I not die? What is wrong with me? What have I done wrong? Why have I become cursed?

Chapter 2

It was after midnight, while the house and the village slept, when Hanok departed his home. He wore a knee-length garment made of animal skin which was cinched at the waist with a braided horse-hair rope. His feet were shod with leather sandals. With only the clothes on his back and a few rations of food and supplies in his leather shoulder sack, Hanok would have to somehow learn to survive on whatever he found along the way on his journey.

Where his journey would take him, he didn't know. The only thing he did know was that he couldn't stay. Not when his father thought him a fool. Not when he had been discredited and all but disowned.

Not when he was cursed.

It was one thing to bring shame and dishonor to your family. It was another thing altogether, to bring a curse.

Hanok had never traveled far beyond the region where his small village of stone and straw was located; the village of his birth. Twenty miles was the greatest distance he had ever explored with his father; though he had always wondered what the rest of the Great Land looked like. If he had left under different circumstances, he might have actually been looking forward to this journey. Instead, his heart was filled with grief and despair.

And though he would admit it to no one ... his heart was also full of fear.

For though he liked to claim that he was now a man - being that he was officially thirteen years of age - in truth he knew he was not. Hanok was afraid. For there were things out in there in the world that he should be afraid of. Animals. Monsters. And strange people. But mostly, it was the 'things' he was afraid of. Terrible things. Evil things. Things which no man should ever have to witness or come across.

At least ... that's what he had been told.

There was no doubt he was curious as to whether those 'things' really did exist. But he would have rather found out in a different way. A way that would have involved planning ahead and being more fully prepared. And having at least some form of weapon for defense.

His first stop would be a small forest to the north, where he would find wood for the making of a new walking staff; one which could also be used as a weapon, if needed.

He had nothing to carve the staff with, for the village tools of stone were very much needed by the people of the village. Hanok refused to be guilty of stealing from the village, thereby further adding to his shame.

However, he did have two flint spearheads in his leather shoulder sack, which he had himself made in the previous months. Making a wooden spear shaft, however, without tools, would prove to be a much greater challenge. His next order of business would be to find more flint, whereby he could begin fashioning his own wood carving tools.

Hanok knew very well he wasn't ready to face the large unknown world of the Great Land. He didn't even know how large the Great Land was. All he did know, was that he had to leave.

He hadn't been walking for more than an hour when already he began feeling the terrible pang of leaving his home and his family and his village. And his life.

And curiously, as much as Hanok was already missing his mother and father and brothers and sisters, he also found himself missing Adira.

More than he thought he would.

He found it to be an odd and uncomfortable sensation; one that he didn't understand. And yet ... he did understand. For they had been close since he could remember; having been arranged since before they were born. And the arranged marriage notwithstanding, they had also made good and natural friends.

Perhaps that was due to the fact that they had always known they would be together. And had been expected to be together. And had always been kept close together growing up. It's not like it had ever been an option. But, be that as it may, Hanok had always felt comfortable with Adira. It was as if she was a part of him. Just as she had always been a part of him. As if they had been two halves of a whole.

They were the same age and had always seemed to be of the same mind in most things. That is until recent months, when things began changing.

The real troubling part about the 'arrangement' was the actual marriage aspect itself. Hanok had no problem remaining friends with Adira for the rest of his life; that seemed obvious and normal and natural. It was the whole ... husband and wife thing. That just sounded ... not right.

A few months earlier Adira had once asked him if he wanted to try kissing. That was ... strange.

Not the kissing part, for that had never actually happened; Hanok wanted nothing to do with anything like that. But that Adira would even ask him about something like that? Why would she do that? That made no sense. His father Jared, told him girls matured faster than boys. Well, if that's what maturing was, Hanok wanted nothing to do with maturing.

Except ... he was now supposed to be a man.

Wasn't he?

As he continued walking in the moonlight and lost deep in his thoughts, Hanok hadn't noticed that the normally misty region had grown even more 'misty'.

But he did finally notice a distant shadow in the mist walking towards him.

It would turn out to be an encounter that Hanok would remember for the rest of his lifetime.

A very ... long ... lifetime.

*** *** ***

H ... h ... hello? Hanok asked the approaching stranger, fearfully.

Hello, Hanok. the stranger replied in a calm and warm voice.

Hanok was now doubly surprised, for he didn't recognize the stranger. By now the approaching man was but a few yards away; close enough for Hanok to make out his features. He was of average medium size and average medium build, with a plain and averaging looking face. There was nothing remarkable about his appearance.

He looked as much like a part of his home village as if he lived there. But Hanok had never before seen this stranger.

Who are you? How do you know my name?

I know a great many things about you, Hanok. Just as you should already know a great many things about me.

Suddenly Hanok gasped in recognition, as the realization crashed into him and washed over him like a great wave. I know who you are!

The man finally stopped walking and was now standing a few feet away, smiling at him.

It is ... you! Hanok whispered in awe. You are ... the One!

I am.

~ The Drifter ~

Chapter 3

Jenny? Are you awake?

Huh? What? What time is it?

It's almost eight.

Already?

The sun has been up for two hours! Whatever happened to 'Miss Early Riser'? And what time did you come to bed, anyway?

Huh? Come to bed?

Daniel smiled and sat down on the bed beside her. I know that you were up again in the middle of the night. What were you doing?

Doing?

Jenny, were you cleaning in the barn again?

Oh, right. I ... I couldn't sleep.

This is becoming a regular habit with you, Lady Guinevere. Maybe you should cut back on the tea in the evenings.

Jenny smiled at Daniel and reached out for him to pull him down closer for a kiss. Suddenly she winced in pain. Ouch.

Daniel raised his eyebrow. Did you hurt your arm or something?

Oh, I was just cleaning in the training area. Nana has all those old swords and things. I think I bumped into something.

Here, let me take a look. Daniel said, as he began to slide back the sleeve of her nightshirt.

NO!

Huh? What? Why so touchy?

I, uh ... it's nothing. I'll have Nana look at it, later.

Daniel nodded and gave her another smile. You need to be more careful in there. Kiyoko has a lot of sharp weapons in that room. It's probably not a good idea to be cleaning in the dojo; especially so late at night. Why are you always cleaning, anyway?

I've already told you, Daniel. It's the only way I can get back to sleep.

Daniel chuckled. I didn't realize I was marrying such a neat freak. I know how much you like to keep everything clean and all, but don't you think this is getting just a little bit ... uh ... obsessive?

I'm not being obsessive, Daniel. It's better than sitting around watching T.V. like you do when you can't sleep.

Jenny, I do that maybe once a month, if that. You're like three or four times a week!

I'm not keeping you awake, am I?

No, no, it's not that. I mean, you know me; I sleep like a log. It's just...

It's just what?

If I didn't know better, I'd think you were up to something.

Daniel!

Daniel gave her a teasing grin. Or maybe ... you're meeting with some secret admirer.

DANIEL!!!

I'm just teasing, Jenny.

Don't EVER tease about something like that!

Daniel held his hands up in surrender. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. That was a bad joke. Will you forgive me?

Maybe. Jenny replied with a frowning pout.

Tell you what? How about if I make dinner tonight?

We can't, we're having dinner with Sara and Adrien tonight, remember?

Oh, yeah. Daniel sighed. I forgot. And she's ... uh ... cooking? Again?

Jenny laughed. Be nice, Daniel. She's your sister!

I know, but ... last time...

I'm sure it will be better, this time, Daniel Davison. Sara just needs a little ... practice.

She's not a cook, Jenny. That's ... not her strong suit.

She's just trying to be a good housewife, Daniel. I think it's sweet that she's trying. We should be supportive. I'm sure it will be much better, this time.

Uh huh. Sure it will. Even the dog wouldn't eat her burned meatloaf the last time.

We don't have a dog, Daniel.

I know. That's because Sara's meatloaf killed it.

DANIEL DAVISON, BE NICE! Sara is my best friend! And your own sister!

I know, I know. Daniel chuckled. And when it comes to the things she's good at? Such as being a warrior and a genius astrophysicist and a pretty tricky football player, she's the best. But when it comes to cooking...

You still think of Sara as a warrior?

Of course! Even with a six month old baby, she still stays in shape and still works out. I think it's just second nature to her.

She does seem naturally good at it. Unlike me. I'm certainly no warrior.

Daniel laughed. You, my love, are good at many OTHER things. Unlike Sara, you are a great cook. Unlike Sara, you keep a clean house.

They have a very clean house!

Only because of Adrien. Daniel grinned. Sara ... just isn't the patient type. That's why I have a hard time seeing her learning to cook.

At least she's trying, so that's good for her. We need to be supportive, Daniel. Don't be mean to your sister.

I'm not! I just ... oh, all right. I'll be supportive and ... I'll try to keep a positive ... uh ... attitude tonight.

Good. Now, shouldn't you be going?

Yes. I have that new coffee roaster demonstration in Kona at 11:00, so I better get a move on.

Be careful driving, Daniel, okay?

Actually, Dad is driving. We're going together. After the demonstration he wants to look at a small coffee plantation that's up for sale.

Okay, Daniel. Good luck! Don't be late for dinner.

I won't. Goodbye, Mrs. Jenny Davison. I love you.

Jenny giggled. I love it when you call me that. Goodbye, Mr. Daniel Davison. I love you, too.

*** *** ***

After Daniel kissed her and left the house, Jenny slowly and achingly moved aside the covers and rose up out of bed. As she looked back down where she had been sleeping, she groaned. For the sheets where she had just been lying were covered in blood.

Aw, man! That's the third set of sheets I've ruined this month!

She walked over to the mirror and looked at herself; covered with cuts and gashes from her latest deadly training session. There has GOT to be a better way to wrap these wounds. This is getting way too messy.

Chapter 4

Somewhere in Europe - 1944

A woman slammed her head against the bathroom wall of a doctor's office, hoping to knock some sense into herself.

But it didn't work.

As foolish as it was, she was going to allow the baby to live.

Even though she knew that she shouldn't.

Even though she had been told that she couldn't.

But having come to the doctor to 'solve' the baby problem, she had not anticipated giving birth unexpectedly, right there upon the cold tile floor of the doctor's own bathroom.

As she held the newborn in her arms, she knew that she simply could not take the baby's life. Instead, she wrapped the baby boy in paper towels, and tenderly lay the sleeping infant upon the bloody floor.

And left.

Chapter 5

1998 - 54 years later

Pacific Coast Highway - Malibu, California

Hell's Angels are not welcome in this establishment. said the pool hall owner.

Is that a fact, grandpa? grinned the dangerous leader of the motorcycle gang.

"Sure enough

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