I Believe

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Secret Meeting

Doug finds himself standing in the middle of a large desert. All he can see for miles in every direction is sand. The sun is beating down on him making it miserably hot. Doug looks around trying to get his bearings, but everything looks the same. He starts to panic inside. Before he starts running around like a mad man, Doug takes a deep breath to calm down. He suddenly notices that his right arm feels weird. He looks down and sees that instead of a prosthetic arm, he finds his real arm. Even his eye sight has improved. He can see as good, if not better, than a normal person.

“At least something good is happening to me.”

Doug begins to get down on his knees to pray but he suddenly feels a strong wind coming from the west. He looks up just in time to see a large sand storm appear out of nowhere. Before Doug can get up the storm hits and blows him off his feet. The storm spins him around and around for what seems like forever. Doug feels the blast of the sand tear into his flesh.

“I am going to die here.” Doug thinks to himself.

Suddenly Doug lands on the ground with a thud. The landing almost knocks him out. The sand makes it a softer landing than it could have been. Doug looks up and sees that the storm has landed him in the eye of the storm. He is about to praise God for letting him live but then he gets a good look around. Doug finds himself surrounded by ten giant Lizards. Their appearance scares him. Each of them stands at least seven feet tall, has razor sharp claws and teeth, large muscles, gray scales, and each is carrying either a long sword or axe. They look like giant, walking Crocodiles. Doug immediately starts planning a way out. He reaches for his Leopard gun and pistol but finds that he doesn’t have it. The only weapons Doug has are his hatchet and bowie knife. Doug pulls them both out and takes a defensive stance. The Lizards just stand there. Doug knows that it is hopeless. He would need a miracle to get out of this alive. And even if he does defeat them, Down knows that the storm will kill him. Doug takes a deep breath and prepares himself for death. The Lizards just stand there glaring at him.

What are you waiting for, attack me already.”

The two Lizards on his left suddenly step aside. Doug sees a dark figure approaching through the storm. The wall of sand parts way so the figure can step through. Doug immediately recognizes the figure when he gets a clear view of him. It is the Lizards from his dream, the one who possessed the black sword.

“So you are the chosen one. You do not look like much.” The Lizards shouts.

“Who are you?”

“I am Blackstone”

A cold shiver crawls up Doug’s spin.

“What do you want with me?” Doug asks.

“I just want to see what you are capable of.”

“Then what are you waiting for”

To Doug’s surprise, Blackstone signals for one the Lizards that are standing behind him to attack. The Lizard raises his axe and rushes at him. Doug jumps aside just as the Lizard lowers his axe. The Lizard’s axe hits the ground, burying it deep in the sand. Before the Lizard can pull his axe out of the sand, Doug spins and cuts the Lizard’s thigh. The attack doesn’t cut as deep as Doug had hoped. Doug sees that the cut is barely half an inch deep. He immediately realizes that the Lizards’ skin is like armor. Doug takes his attention off the Lizard a little too long. The Lizard delivers a powerful kick to Doug’s chest, knocking him back several feet. Doug recovers and jumps up. The Lizards advances and swings his axe at Doug’s head. Doug ducks under the axe and plunges his knife deep into the Lizard’s wrist. The Lizard screams in pain. Doug brings the Lizard down to his level with a powerful kick the Lizard’s knee. He hears the Lizard’s knee shatter. Before the Lizard collapses on the ground, Doug swings his hatchet burying it deep in the Lizard’s skull, killing him instantly.

“You are pretty good, for a human. But let’s see how you fair against me.” Blackstone shouts.

Before Doug can even react, Blackstone rushes at him. Blackstone kicks Doug in the chest, sending him flying backwards. Doug painfully lands on the ground. The blow knocks Doug’s bowie knife out of his hand. Doug recovers as quickly as he can.

“I must say, for a human you can really take a hit.”

Blackstone lashes out but Doug manages to block his attack. His attack is so powerful that the energy knocks him back. Blackstone continues to pound at Doug. Doug manages to block every attack. But each of Blackstone’s attacks is more powerful than the last. Eventually Doug feels the bones in his arms and legs starting to crack. He knows that he cannot take much more of this. After about a minute, Doug sees an opening and takes it. He deflects a punch, grabs Blackstone’s arm, and as Blackstone raises his arm Doug travels up with it. Doug delivers a powerful elbow strike to Blackstone’s jaw followed by a spin kick to his temple. The blows are enough to stun Blackstone. Doug lands on the ground and it to his advantage. He jumps as high as he can and kicks Blackstone in the chest. Blackstone falls back and lands on the ground. Doug advances toward him but Blackstone lashes out with his tail and hits Doug in the stomach sending him rolling backwards. He uses the momentum to roll onto his feet. Blackstone is already standing when Doug recovers.

“Very impressive, you got a lot of talent for a young man. I could use someone like you.”

“You want me to work for you?” Doug replies. ”I would rather die than work for you.”

“You got a lot of courage. But anyone who is not with me is against me. People that work for me receive everything their heart desires. But those who are against me end up in the grave.”

“What are you gonna do, talk me to death?”

Doug rushes full speed at Blackstone. Blackstone counters with a side kick aimed at Doug’s head. Doug ducks under and attempts to sweep Blackstone’s legs from underneath him. Unfortunately, Doug doesn’t see Blackstone’s tail. His tail grabs Doug’s ankle and yanks him off his feet and into the air. Blackstone grabs Doug’s neck and holds him up with one arm.

“You cannot possibly hope to defeat me body. See how easily I defeated you. Your skills are pathetic at best. You are an ant compared to me.”

Doug suddenly starts laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” Blackstone shouts.

“You are fool if you think that you can fight against God and win.”

“That may be so, but how do you feel about dying?”

“I am ready to die for my Lord. But you must realize that if I can’t defeat you, then God will just find someone else.” Doug answers.

Blackstone, looking angry, pulls out a long knife. Doug grabs Blackstone’s hand and tries to hold it back. Blackstone tightly squeezes Doug’s neck. Doug feels his life slipping away from him.

Doug suddenly wakes up covered in sweat. He immediately reaches for his neck and finds nothing there. Doug realizes that it was all a dream. It felt so real to him. Doug even feels the pain from the beating he took. He looks at his watch, 1:43 am. Doug lies back down and tries to sleep. He is asleep in a matter of minutes.

“Hey Doug, wake up.”

Doug slowly and groggily wakes up. As he wakes up, he sees Katrina standing over him. Doug looks at his watch and groans loudly when he sees what time it is, 3:30 a.m. Doug looks around to see if Roger, John, Shawn, and Charles are awake, but they are still asleep. Immediately the dream comes back. Doug tries his best to push it aside, but it lingers in the back of his mind.

“You better have a good reason for waking me up this early.”

“Yes, my father wants to talk to you about something.”

“Can’t it wait till morning?” Doug replies as he rolls over.

Katrina decides to try some psychology on him.

“I thought that you were a tough guy.”

“Excuse me.” Doug whispers as he rises up.

“I thought that you were a tough guy. But seeing you complain, I am starting to think that you are all talk.” Katrina answers.

“Nice try, reverse psychology doesn’t work that well on me.”

“Okay, then what is going to take to get you up?”

“Just ask nicely” Doug replies.

“Seriously?”

“Yes, that’s all you’ve gotta do.”

“Ok, will you come with me please?” Katrina asks.

“Sure, no problem”

Doug, sleepily, gets up and follows Katrina out of the tent. She leads them out of the village and along a path into the woods. Doug starts thinking this is a dream. Katrina, on the other hand, starts trying to think of things to ask him. She doesn’t like silence, it makes her feel awkward.

“How old are you Doug?” Katrina finally asks.

“Twenty – nine, what about you?”

“I am twenty – nine to. What is your birthday?”

“March 13”

“No way, that is my birthday.”

“Cool, that’s one more thing we got in common.” Doug replies. “So I can ask you a personal question?”

“No, go ahead and ask.”

“Is there someone in your life?” Doug asks.

“Why do you want to know?”

“I’m just curious, I’ll be surprised if a woman as pretty as you ain’t married yet.”

“You think I am pretty?” Katrina replies as she blushes.

“Yes, I’m not gonna lie.”

“Thank you very much. I was married once, but that was several years ago. It did not work out. It was a big mistake. Let’s just leave it at that.”

“Whatever you saw” Doug replies.

Katrina leads Doug a long distance into the woods. The woods are so dark and damp that Doug can barely see Katrina. Katrina leads Doug a mile away from the village. She leads him to a cliff in a clearing. Doug can see for miles over the cliff. The landscape before them is a valley surrounded by mountains. The moonlight shines off the lake is so bright that it looks like another moon. The sight absolutely amazes them. At the edge of the cliff are Griffin and Judas. They are looking over the sight before them. Katrina and Doug slowly approach them.

“Okay Doug I must warn you, this is going to be a serious talk. But all they want to do is know more about you and to explain some things.” Katrina whispers to Doug.

Doug hangs his head and sighs.

“What is it?” Katrina asks.

“Are you sure you want to know my past? I’ve done a lot of things I ain’t proud of.”

“We have all done things that we are not proud of.”

“I know, but I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to bring up my past.” Doug replies.

Griffin and Judas turn around just as Doug finishes whispering to Katrina. Griffin motions for them to come. Doug has been dreading this moment. He knew that at some point he was going to have to explain his past to them.

“Beautiful view?” Griffin asks.

“Very beautiful, reminds me home.” Doug replies.

“Katrina told you why we asked you here, didn’t she?” Judas asks trying to get straight to the point.

“Yes, she did.”

“Okay Doug, I just want you to know that we just want to know about your past. I wanted to bring you here specifically because you are the leader of your team. And because my daughter thinks that there is something special about you. We do not want to offend you or get you upset.” Griffin says.

“I can understand that. But my past isn’t something I’m proud of. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Actually, now that I think about it, my life would be a good example on how not to live.”

“How bad are we talking about here Doug?” Katrina asks.

“I should probably start from the beginning. I was saved when I was nine, but four years later, I lost my faith. My parents made the mistake of teaching me that the world was a good place. I saw how evil the world really was and lost my faith.” Doug answers as he pulls out a cigarette.

“Do you really have to smoke right now?” Judas asks.

““No, but I figured that this adventure would be a good time to quit. This is the last cigarette we brought.”

“Do the others know?” Katrina asks.

“No, Nick and Shawn don’t know. I know that they won’t be happy

“How long have you been smoking?” Judas asks.

“Since I was thirteen.”

“So you’ve been smoking for more than half your life.”

“Yes sir.” Doug replies.

“Then how are you in such good shape?”

“I work out a lot. Now can I continue with the story?” Doug sarcastically asks.

“Go ahead” Griffin replies.

“Ok, this is going to take awhile so please save all questions till the end.”

Doug explains that he was saved when he nine. His parents raised him to see the world as good place. But when Doug was thirteen, he saw the world for what it really was. As a result, Doug lost his faith. He couldn’t see how God could let the world be as evil as it was and not destroy it. Doug became isolated and angry. To stay calm he started smoking. It helped but not a whole lot. Doug was constantly picked on at school. This made him even angrier. He was shorter than most people. Wearing glasses didn’t help either. Doug ignored it until one day he snapped and put three kids in the hospital. All three of them were bigger and stronger than him. . As a result, the other kids feared him. Many thought that Doug was going to be a bully; instead, he became something like a protector. Because he was bullied a lot, Doug hated it and did everything he could to stop it. Doug got really stressed out when he was in high school. The bullying in high school was different than middle and intermediate school. It was more “adult oriented”. And in high school, kids always wanted to fight him. Doug heard that there were several bets on who would be the one to beat him up. It didn’t take long for the kids to figure out that Doug could not be beaten in a normal fight. So they switched to sneaking up and attacking him. Doug had to watch his back. When he was seventeen, his parents got divorced. Doug was heartbroken. Out of stress, Doug had his first beer and immediately became addicted to it. He was always drinking and getting into trouble. Doug says that after he was discharged from the military, he went off the deep end. All he could think about was that his men were in combat and he couldn’t be there to help them. But what really upset him was civilian life. After ten years in the Army, civilian life was a huge adjustment for him. Three months after being discharged, Doug woke up with a hangover in front of his home church. He decided that enough was enough. Doug felt convicted to walk in and rededicate his life to God. That is just what he did. Before he was baptized, Doug knew that there was something he had to do. Doug walked into the Ozark National Forest carrying only a bow, a few arrows, a bowie knife, his bible, and the clothes on his back. Doug walked out a month later without a scratch. He had survived on the animals he killed and the Word of God. The month he spent in the woods brought him closer to God that he thought was possible. When Doug finishes Griffin, Judas, and Katrina just stare at him. Doug’s story shocked them.

Katrina is standing behind Doug. She has been standing there looking as emotionless as possible. But on the inside her emotions are running rampant. At the beginning Katrina had a lot of respect for Doug. But as his story progressed, Katrina started losing respect for him. But that changed when Doug brought up his salvation. After that, Doug got back all of Katrina’s trust that he’d lost and gained a ton more.

“Can you tell us a little about your military days?” Judas asks changing the subject.

“Yes I can. I joined the Infantry when I was seventeen. I saw a lot of action in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After four years I got the opportunity to join the Rangers. I served in the Black Mambas company. A lot of my missions were Black Ops missions. Eventually I got qualified as a sniper, but I didn’t operate as one.” Doug explains.

“That is pretty impressive.”

“So did your attitude improve when you were in the military?” Judas asks.

“Yes and no. I got a lot of discipline and respect in the military. But I got even more involved with drinking than before. I’m surprised that I didn’t drink myself to death. Luckily for me, when I got into the Black Mamba Ranger Company, I was too busy on missions to drink too often. Unfortunately, in the unit, I let my aggression out on the enemy a little too much.”

“What do you mean by that?” Katrina says, surprised.

“Well I was known for “finishing” off injured terrorists. My CO called it mercy killing. I had a real hatred for the enemy. That has changed a lot now. I still don’t like them, but I don’t hate them. ”

“Okay, I think we can change the subject now. Can you tell us a little about the Black Mamba Unit?” Griffin asks.

“No, I can’t talk about them without giving up top secret information.” Doug replies.

“It’s ok, we know all about them anyway. I just wanted to see how you would respond.”

“Frankly, I am just surprised that you are still alive.” Judas adds.

“What do you mean?”

“Well just look at yourself. You lost your right arm, a lung, gained a ton of scars, and your right ear is all messed up.” Katrina answers.

“What do you mean by his ear?” Griffin asks.

Doug pulls back his hair to show Judas and Griffin. Katrina was right, his right ear is disfigured. The top part of his ear is missing. It looks like someone either shot or cut it off.

“What happened to your ear Doug?” Judas asks.

“Well, that is kind of a long story.”

“We got time, go ahead and tell it, if you want to.” Griffin says.

“Ok, five years ago, my unit was sent into capture a Delta Force operator who was selling national secrets to the Taliban. We tracked him down to a house in the Cayman Islands. We assaulted the house and easily took out the guards. But he almost got away. He managed to make it to a motorcycle outside. I get him before he got away. But he did not go down easy. I ended up having to fight him. The rest of my platoon was still at the house. I will say this about the guy he was the toughest opponent that I have ever faced. No offense Judas” Doug replies.

“None taken”

“He almost beat me. When he realized that I was too much for him, he pulled out his pistol and tried to shot me. I managed to knock the gun out of his hand, but not before he fired. The bullet hit me in the ear, blowing the top part off. I got so mad that I killed him.” Doug explains.

“You seem to have a problem with killing the man that your leaders want alive.” Judas says.

“I know it got me into a lot of trouble.”

“I bet you did. “ Griffin replies. “And how long did you serve in the Army?”

“I was in for ten years.”

“So what did you do after you were saved?” Judas asks.

“I do a few things now. I train people in Jeet Kwan Do. I counsel teens that have problems. I know most of the problems they’re going through, so I can help them. I help on my grandparents’ Dairy farm, when they need it. I help teach Spanish and German at the nearby High School. And I participate in mixed martal arts tournaments.”

“I hate to tell you this Doug, but I just cannot see you as a counselor.” Griffin says.

“Well, I know what most of the kids are going through, so I can really help them. I use Philippians 4:13, which helps them most of the time.”

“That is a good verse to live by.”

“You speak Spanish?” Katrina asks.

“I speak Spanish, Pashto, Arabic, and German.” Doug answers.

“What is Pashto?” Griffin asks.

“It is one of the dominant languages in Pakistan. Both Pashto and Arabic helped me in the military.”

“I beat it did. But one thing I never understood is how the United States got involved in the war again after they pulled out of the Middle East back in 2013.” Judas asks.

“Well, it’s kind of hard to explain. Pretty much what happened was that as soon as all of our troops pulled out of the Middle East, the terrorist came back and took over everything; just as I predicted. They used all of the technology that our government gave them. What really set it off was when they took over the oil fields.” Doug answers.

“Really, that is what the war was about, oil?” Judas replies shocked.

“I know that’s what I thought to. But at the time, I really didn’t care.”

“You were just following orders right?” Katrina says.

“That sounds about right.” Doug replies.

“I must say, I was losing a lot of respect for you. But after that, I would say that there really is something special about you.” Griffin says.

“Thank you”

There is a moment of silence as everyone tries to figure out what to ask next. Griffin, Katrina, and Judas are running out of questions to ask Doug.

“So what can you tell us about the rest of your guys?” Griffin asks.

“Why do you want to know about them?”

“Just in case”

“I can understand that. You have nothing to worry about with my dad and uncle. My dad, Roger, is the more patient one. Tai Chi has had an impact on his life. It has made him a more relaxed, controlled person. My uncle Shawn, on the other hand, has a more outgoing personality. Both of them have been practicing martial arts for forty – three years. They are the only people that I would not fight. I have seen what they can do. But neither of them will harm anything unless they have to. My brother Mark is kind of, well emotional. I do not know why, but he has always seemed kind of angry to me. He’s always been kind of unpredictable towards me anyway. I would be kind of careful around him. He has been practicing martial arts for almost as long as I have. Other than my father and uncle, Mark is the only one who has a chance of taking me. But I highly doubt that he can. Charles, on the other hand, you have nothing to worry about. He may look like he is tough and mean, but he is actually one of the nicest guys that I have ever known. But I still would not mess with him. John, you also have nothing to worry about. He has a kind of mellow personality. But he loves to have a good time. My cousins Frank, Jack, and Jake, they will not harm you. Well, Frank and Jack will not. Jake had a kind of unstable temper. I have no idea what he is going to do next. Jack is kind of the same way. But they have no combat training. Out of all my guys, I think that Nick is the one that you have to worry about. He is completely unpredictable and unstable. He is the only one of my guys, that I am for certain about, who doesn’t believe in Christ. Nick is actually worse than what I was. Tell your people to be careful around him. And you might want to tell your women to stay away from Nick. The guy while try to hook up with anything.” Doug explains.

“Thanks for the insight. I have already heard rumors about Nick. All week Nick has been hitting on our women.”

“I know, I’ve been telling him not to, but obviously he has not been listening to me.”

“So why did you bring him along?” Judas asks.

“Because I thought that we could use his skills here.” Doug replies.

“What are you going to do about him?” Griffin asks.

“I’ll think of something.”

“Hey Doug, can you give me some more information about Charles?” Katrina asks, changing the subject.

“Sure, why do you want to know about Charles?”

“Well, I just want to know for Zathora. She seems to be interested in him.”

“Ok, what do you want to know?”

“All I really want to know is if he is a good, Christian guy.” Katrina replies.

“Yes, out of all my guys, I trust the most, other than my father. He is very shy, as you saw at the celebration. I can tell you that if it comes to what you are thinking, Charles will treat Zathora right. I can guarantee you that.” Doug answers.

“He seems to be kind of shy me. Why is that?” Griffin asks.

“Well, in my home town, racism is still a problem. It’s not a big problem. You’d have to be paying to notice it. Being black, Charles had it real rough. Because Charles was always stronger and more athletic than everyone else, some kids really hated him. He was bullied even worse than I was. It had a real impact on him. People were always trying to hurt him. A couple occasions, some people even tried to kill him. I was his only friend and the only kid he trusted. We backed each other up.”

“Are you joking Doug? People tried to kill him just because his skin color was different.” Judas says, shocked.

“I’m not joking”

“That explains why he is so shy.” Katrina says.

Griffin and Judas have run out of questions to ask Doug. They have found out just about everything they wanted to about him. To them, Doug is a changed person. They can tell that Doug is a good, kind, honest, strong, and faithful Christian. Katrina shares their opinion of Doug, except that she is strongly attracted to him. Katrina still has a few questions that she wants answered.

“So Doug, can I ask you a personal question?”

“Well, since ya’ll are trying to figure out everything you can about me, sure, I have nothing to hide.” Doug replies.

“How people do you think that you have killed?”

“Yeah that is kind of personal. Do you mean in the military or all together?”

“All together” Katrina replies a little uneasy.

“Unfortunately, I have killed a few people out of anger and self - defense. But it was not in my defense.”

“What do you mean by that?” Judas asks.

“I guess you could consider it as being in the wrong place at the right time. I found myself in several situations where I come across someone doing something wrong like trying to rape a girl for example. Before I became a Christian, I would always kill them, slowly if possible. But once I became a Christian, I don’t kill people any more. I just beat the crap out of them. But as far as how many people I’ve killed, I have lost count. But the people I killed in the military deserved a death a lot worse than I what I gave them.”

“I don’t blame you there. We know about the terrorists and what they have done.” Griffin says.

“How do you know about them?” Doug asks.
“As I have said multiple times, we have been hovering above Earth for over two thousand years. We have been watching and protecting you all that time.”

“So you’ve been watching us destroy ourselves.” Doug says.

“I would not say that. But we have seen the slow decline human potential.”

“You sound like Zane Judas.” Katrina shouts at Judas.

“Sorry, I did not mean to Katrina.” Judas responds.

Katrina shouts at Judas for what seems like forever. Doug and Griffin just stand there.

“Why does Katrina not like this Zane character?” Doug whispers to Griffin.

“Zane is a Rhodesian Ridgeback, one of the other clans. He does not have a lot of compassion for humans. Several other Rhodesian Ridgebacks share his feelings towards humans. Katrina was married to him but it did not turn out too well.” Griffin whispers in Doug’s ear.

“That explains a lot. Why don’t they like humans?”

“There are several Ridgebacks, not the majority of them, that think that humans are weak, uncompassionate, and unfaithful to God.”

“I don’t blame them. Did Zane treat her wrong or something?”

“That is a little personal Doug.”

“Ok, I won’t bring it up again.” Doug whispers.

Even though Judas has apologized for what he said, Katrina is still yelling at him. Katrina stops when she sees Doug and Griffin looking at her.

“Okay, sorry that you had to hear that Doug.” Katrina says.

“It doesn’t bother me.” Doug replies.

“Hey Doug, there is something I want to know. Judas asks changing the subject.

“What is it?”

“When you were in the Rangers, was your code name Cobra?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“You made yourself famous among us by your military feats, especially your actions at the Battle of Herat.” Judas responds.

The Battle of Herat was the worst battle in the second War on Terrorism in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan military in the region was pushed into the village of Herat. Herat was set up as one of the largest weapon caches and terrorist strongholds in the region. On April 14, 2014, U.S.A., Brittan, and Canadian forces launched an assault on Herat. There was so much bombing, gunfire, and devastation that almost no building was left standing. The attack on Herat was supposed to last a couple of weeks; unfortunately things rarely go as planned. The battle lasted three months. Original intelligence put the enemy forces at only a couple hundred. In reality, there were over five thousand enemy soldiers, not including tanks, machine guns, and artillery. At the end of the fight, the streets were covered with bodies and blood. The body count for the U.S.A., Brittan, and Canadian forces was over five hundred. Over two thousand terrorists were killed, a thousand were captured, and fifteen hundred were captured. The other five hundred escaped through tunnels built under the city.

“Doug, we know that you personally killed Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah in the battle.” Griffin says.

Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. He was believed to be in a building in the middle of Herat. As the battle was coming to a close the Black Mambas were sent in catch him. The building was filled with hostiles and explosives. But they were no match for the Black Mambas. The Black Mambas quickly killed everyone that stood in their way. But Shallah was not among them. When Doug looked out a window, he saw Shallah running to a car parked outside. Doug jumped out of the window and chased after him. As the car pulled away, Doug fired the M203 grenade launcher and blew the car up. When Ramadan crawled out the car, the last thing he saw Doug standing over him with his rifle aimed at his forehead.

“Did you get the medal of honor for killing Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah?” Griffin asks.

“No, I received the Medal of Honor for something that took place after that. My squad was sent to investigate a sniper spotter team that command had lost contact with. We found both of them dead. Command told us to get out of there. We were withdrawing from the city. But there was a problem. The convoys were being attacked by overwhelming forces. So ignoring orders, I took over the sniper rifle, which was a fifty caliber by the way, and started picking off the enemy. I must have killed somewhere around twenty people. After a while, I got a report that two suicide bomber cars, loaded with explosives, were coming. One was headed towards the convoy, the other towards my position. I didn’t have the time to shoot them both. So I choose to take out the one that was headed towards the convoy. I ordered my men out of the building and aimed at the car. I managed to destroy it just seconds before it hit the convoy. The other car hit the building that I was in and destroyed it. Miraculously, I was not injured. God saved my life.” Doug explains.

“So you decided to sacrifice your one life for the lives of many others. That is what I call selfless sacrifice.” Katrina says smiling.

“I would say that you went above and beyond the call of duty. If anyone deserves that medal it is you Doug.” Judas says.

“Thanks, that means a lot coming from you Judas.”

“I have never heard Judas say that to anyone, have you dad?” Griffin whispers to Katrina.

“Never”

A tense silence follows. Griffin, Judas, and Katrina are running out of questions. But Doug has questions that he wants answered.

“I hate to be assertive, but there are questions that I need answered if I’m gonna stay up here any longer.”

“What do you want to know?” Griffin asks.

“There are several things. The first is how come we humans haven’t noticed you in the past?”

“God has allowed us to stay invisible to you humans. As to why, we do not know. What is your next question?”

“Who are you guys? Why do you exist?” Doug asks.

“It’s a long story.”

“I got nothing but time.”

“Alright I will start from the beginning. When Jesus rose from the grave, Satan realized that he couldn’t win. But Satan was not willing to bow down to God. So he came up with a new strategy. Satan went to the continent of South America. There he found a tribe that called themselves the Lizards. They worshipped lizards and sacrificed their own children to them. Satan choose them because they were the most violent and pagan tribe in the world. He turned into the Lizards we know today. They look like giant Crocodiles. Their leader is Blackstone, one of the most evil man that ever lived. He made a deal with Satan that granted him immortality and terrible power.” Griffin explains.

“And what power is that?”

“Satan made Blackstone a sword with his own power in it. With the sword he can do anything. The Lizards destroyed everything in their path. In response to Blackstone, God found the most religious people he could and made us. Our purpose at the time was to defend you humans from the Lizards. But even we were not enough to defeat Blackstone. So God also made a sword just like Blackstone’s sword, except it is much more powerful. It has the power to destroy and to create. God gave it to a man named Toronto. Shortly after that, a war between us and the Lizards took place. The war lasted for almost twenty years. Many died in the war, but eventually Toronto defeated Blackstone. However, Blackstone survived the war. He has been hibernating ever since.” Griffin explains.

“The Lizards have been behind just about every human war for the last two thousand years. They are also behind several other things like drugs, the mob, and the Black Market. We have been there battling them all along.” Katrina adds.

“And how have we humans not noticed them?” Doug asks.

“They are very sneaky and smart. And they have some very powerful connections.” Katrina answers.

“So is there a real difference between the two swords besides the sword of God being more powerful?” Doug asks.

“The Sword of Satan has a limit to its power while the Sword of God does not. Plus, the sword of Satan can be used by anyone. The Sword of God on the other hand, can only be used by one person. That person has to be chosen by God. But the biggest advantage is the power the Sword of God possesses. The Sword of Satan has limited power because Satan’s power is limited. All it can do is destroy things. Because God’s power is unlimited the Sword of God’s power is also unlimited.” Judas explains.

“And how does all this involve me?”

“Simple, there is a prophecy that Blackstone will return. When that happens the only thing that can beat him is the Sword of God.” Katrina answers.

“And ya’ll believe that I am the only one that can possess it?” Doug asks.

“If it not you then it is one of your men. We know that it is definitely not Nick, Roger, or Shawn.” Griffin replies.

“Ok, that really narrows it down. Is there anything else that I should know?”

“No, I think that is everything you need to know for the moment. You are free to go back to sleep. I am sorry about waking you up this early.”

“Don’t worry about it. It reminds me a little of basic training, except that no one is screaming at me and I don’t have to running five miles.”

Griffin, Judas, and Katrina all laugh at Doug’s jokes. Katrina puts her hand on Doug’s shoulder and pulls him away.

“Come on Doug, I will show you back to the tent.”

“Just remember this conversation never happened okay.” Griffin says.

“What conversation?” Doug says with a smile on his face.

“You’re good” Judas replies.

“I have a lot of experience with this sort of thing.”

Griffin and Judas watch Katrina lead Doug back towards the woods. Doug looks back and notices the emotionless look that Griffin and Judas give him. They wait till Katrina and Doug are far away.

“He is a little strange but a good man. What do you think Griffin?” Judas asks.

“Doug is unusual, maybe a little crazy, and he has a bad past. But I can tell that he is a good Christian man. I strongly believe that he could be the chosen one.”

“I agree with you old friend. But there is still more that he needs to know.”

“Everything will be explained to him in time.” Griffin replies.

It takes about ten minutes for Katrina and Doug to get back to the village. To Katrina’s surprise Doug has no problem finding his way back. It’s like he knows the way after just traveling the path once. At the tent Doug pauses to say goodnight to Katrina. But to his surprise Katrina grabs his hand and plants a quick kisses him on the cheek.

“That was for saving my life.”

Doug just stands there dazed and stunned. The kiss was the last thing he expected from Katrina. Doug’s heart feels like it is about to jump out of his chest.

“We saw that Doug.”

Katrina and Doug turn around and see John, Roger, and Jake standing at the tent entrance.

“How much of that did you see?” Doug asks.

“The whole thing” John answers, smiling.

“Please do not tell anyone about this?” Katrina says.

“Tell anyone about what?” Roger says with a smile on his face.

“Now I know where you learned that from Doug.” Katrina replies then turns to John and Jake and glares at them. “Are you two going to tell anyone?”

Katrina’s glare is so terrifying that it sends a chill down John and Jake’s spine.

“No ma’m, we won’t tell anyone.” John and Jake answer at the same time.

“Good” Katrina replies and turns back to Doug. “Good night Doug.”

Katrina turns around and walks back to the village. Doug watches Katrina as she walks away. He notices her tail wagging back in forth. Doug knows this means that she is happy and excited. John, Roger, and Jake all notice Doug looking at Katrina.

“Doug, you are one lucky son of a gun.” Jake says when Katrina is far enough away.

“I know”

They go back to their cots and back to sleep. Doug just lays there for awake. There is too much on his mind. He is thinking about what his next move is. After the talk Doug doesn’t know what to do. Katrina’s kissed is not helping. But despite all his doubts, Doug puts all of his faith in God. He knows that no matter what happens God will be there to help him.

Corporal Carl Robins groggily wakes up. His entire body feels like it just got hit by a train. Carl feels blood on his head and face. He opens his eyes but all he sees is black. His face is covered by a blindfold. Carl tries to shout to can’t, his mouth is duck taped. He tries to move but finds that his wrists and ankles and tied. Carl immediately panics. He thrashes around trying to get the bonds off but can’t. Carl relaxes and tries to gather his bearings. His eyes slowly adjust to the dark where he can see make out figures. Carl eventually figures out that he is in a car by the noise and the motion. He sees two figures sitting next to him. There are two more in front, one driving. All four of them are armed with submachine guns. By the noise outside, Carl quickly guesses that they are in some city in Asia or Africa. They drive for another twenty minutes before stopping. The vehicle comes to a sudden, violent stop in front of a small building. Immediately, Carl’s capturers jump out of the vehicle, throw him out, and lead him into the building. As soon as Carl is inside the building the blindfold comes off. Carl finds himself staring directly at five other Lizards. Each of them stands over seven feet tall, has razor sharp claws, and has a sword or axe. Four of the Lizards have gray scales. But one of them has black scales and several inches taller than the others.

“We have a problem Carl.” The black Lizard says.

“Triton, all you had to do was ask. If I wanted to get knocked out, I would have gone back in my hometown?” Carl replies.

“You do not know anything about BlackOps do you?” Triton replies and turns to one of the Lizards. “Rasputin, cut him loose then follow me.”

Triton turns and walks down a dark hallway into the basement. Rasputin pulls out his knife and cuts Carl’s binds off. Carl follows Triton down into the basement.

“Hey buddy, what was Triton talking about when he said I don’t know anything about BlackOps?” Carl asks.

“We had to make it look like someone kidnapped out to avoid suspicion. A U.S. military intelligence specialist doesn’t just disappear. It makes that person look suspicious.”

“I don’t understand.”

“If you had just disappeared, the government would suspect that you have turned. With a kidnapping, it is less likely that they will suspect you of being a traitor.” Triton answers.

“So that is why you beat the crap out of me?”

“Yes, and I enjoyed it.”

Triton leads Carl deep into the basement. It is so dark that Carl can barely see ten feet in front of him.

“Triton, who is this insect you brought before me?” A voice from the darkness shouts.

The deep, booming voice scares Carl. It sends a chill down his spin.

“This is Corporal Carl Robins one of our Hell’s Legionnaires. He is one of our informants in the United States.” Triton answers.

The Hell’s Legionnaires are humans who fight alongside the Lizards. Their main job is to gather information on their nations and local Christian activities and report it back to the Lizards. Many of the Hell’s Legionnaires are military intelligence specialist, high ranking military officers, and influential people.

“Why did you bring him here?”

This time the voice comes from behind this time. Carl feels a cold shiver make its way up his spine.

“He has information that you need sir.”

The lights suddenly turn on. Carl almost passes out when he sees what’s standing three feet in front of him. A giant Lizard with an ugly, deep facial scar and piercing eyes. Carl is so scared that he can barely even speak.

“What . . . do you . . . want?”

“Where are you stationed Corporal?”

“Fort Chaffee, Arkansas sir.”

“What information do you have?” Blackstone replies.

“I have information on the Jeremiah mission.”

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