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The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher

By JA All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Scifi

Chapter 1

Five Years Ago

“We are live in five…four…three…two…and we’re live,” said Bruce Mognee, the production manager for Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio.  Each week Bruce tries to find a quality guest star for Derrix Weyd’s radio show.  This week the powerhouse guest is the new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares Mesnuk Team, Jeqrix Grexenn.

Derrix leans into the microphone, in the small, dingy, radio studio in the old district of downtown Kinkorx, as Jeqrix Grexenn relaxes in the guest chair while facing his own microphone.  “I’m Derrix Weyd, the host of this weekly radio show on Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio.  I’m also the Sports Anchor for Kinkorx TV and the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  This evening we are excited to have as our very special guest the new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares, Mr. Jeqrix Grexenn.  He is the founder and owner of Grexenn Furniture Stores.  He is also the founder of the Grexenn Card and the very popular sales promotion, Buy new furniture for your lovely home from the Grexenn Furniture Store and let your Grexenn Card do the rest.  It’s good to have you on our show this evening, Jeqrix.”

Jeqrix Grexenn smiled as he leaned into the outdated, dingy, microphone.  “It’s good to be here.  Thanks for having me.”

“For our viewers who are not completely familiar with you, let’s give them a little background.  Can you tell us a little about yourself?”

Jeqrix leaned into the microphone.  “I’ll be happy to.  When I was a child, my family lived in Soxtuss, the small town in Xcuymir Territory.  I attended Soxtuss City Schools.  My  parents both worked in Soxtuss.  They owned a small food store on Main Street.  It was called Soxtuss Foods.  There wasn’t much to the downtown area—just a few stores.  Soxtuss Foods was one of those stores.

I spent my youth working in our family store rather than participating in school activities.  Inwardly, I enjoyed the business part, but selling food in our tiny town really didn’t interest me.  I was slowly developing other ambitions.

As I grew up, I began to show more and more interest in the business end of my parent’s store.  My parents felt that I had a good head for business.  Of course, my parents were delighted with my interest in their food store.

After graduating from Soxtuss High School, I threw myself into their business.  This made them even happier.  I committed myself to running Soxtuss Foods for several years.  I learned the business of owning and running a small retail food store.  My parents were truly pleased with my natural born business skills.

As time went on, I began to think about a different type of retail.  I started talking with my parents about my dreams.  As I revealed my inward desires, they quickly become concerned.  They could see their dreams of their son taking over the family business, fading.  One morning we had a family discussion in our living room before work.  We were discussing my growing dissatisfaction with the store.  I remember the conversation so vividly.

My mom said, “We thought you liked Soxtuss Foods.”

I explained that I really like the business.  I don’t like selling food.  All of the work to ensure freshness and sanitation drives me crazy.  My dad reminded me for the thousandth time.  “Son, that’s all part of the business.”

“I know that Dad, that’s just not what I’m interested in doing,” I said.

My father exhaled loudly with disappointment and frustration.  “Just, what are you interested in doing?”

“Dad,” I said, “I want to start my own business.”

My dad was so irritated.  He asked me loudly, “Ok…just what type of business are you interested in starting?”

I said, “I want to start my own furniture store.”  Both of my parents rolled their eyes.  They were in shock.  My dad asked me sarcastically.  “Where are you thinking about starting your furniture business?”  My mom just stared at the floor.

“In that empty space, on the corner,” I said proudly.

My dad exploded.  “Here in Soxtuss!  In that empty room?”

I told him, “In that opening.  It’s been empty for a while.  Ever since the drug store closed, nothing has reopened there.  I want to open a furniture store in that empty business area.”

My mom walked out of the room.  My dad said, “Son, be reasonable, it’s difficult enough to be successful selling something that everyone needs every day.  But, to be successful at selling something like furniture that folks can put off buying for a long time.  Well, it’s nearly impossible.”

That’s all I needed to hear.  My father telling me to be safe.  That it’s impossible.  Those words echoed in my brain.  They burned into my total existence.  That instantly became my life’s ambition – “To do what dad called impossible.”

I opened my first Grexenn Furniture Store in Soxtuss.  Business was slow at first.  It seemed that folks from Soxtuss either didn’t want more furniture or couldn’t afford new furniture.  Soon I began to advertise.  Even with advertising in the local newspapers and the occasional TV ad, my business still struggled.

One day, I came up with an idea.  My idea was that I was absolutely certain coteries wanted my furniture they simply needed an easy way to purchase it.  I invented the Grexenn Card.  It’s a revolutionary idea.  My card allows everyone to purchase my furniture and pay as they agree to pay.  This proved to be one of my most successful ideas.  Because of the Grexenn Card and the payment system that it entailed, my business became an overnight success.  I began advertising in the regions newspapers as well as local TV stations.  “Buy new furniture for your lovely home from the Grexenn Furniture Store in Soxtuss and let your Grexenn Card do the rest.”

This proved to be a very successful marketing strategy.  I was selling furniture faster than I could stock it.  Soon, I needed more space.  I wanted my next store to be large and centrally located to everyone who wants new furniture for their homes.  It had to be on main roads and in downtown Kinkorx.  That was a must.  Before long, I found the perfect location for my second store.

My second and much larger furniture store is on Vzxcout Drive in downtown Kinkorx.  Just down the road from Kruxxblers Grocery Store and close to The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.  That’s the perfect location for my second and much larger Grexenn Furniture Store.”

“That’s a good location.  There’s a lot of traffic in that area.  So, how many stores do you currently have?” asked Derrix.

“As I already said, my first store is in Soxtuss.  My second and main store is in downtown Kinkorx.  My third store is in Bedsult.  My fourth is in Jxobslyn.  These are all in Xcuymir Territory.  My fifth is in Wyluxx City, in Zeeton Territory.  So far I have five stores in the chain of Grexenn Furniture Stores.”

“It all started in Soxtuss,” said Derrix.

Jeqrix smiled.  “That’s right.”

“Do you have plans for more stores?”

“At this time, I’m holding with five.  That seems to be a manageable number – five furniture stores plus a large warehouse—also in downtown Kinkorx.”

“It seems you’re interested in a different type of business as well,” said Derrix as Jeqrix Grexenn smiled, “I’m referring to the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  For anyone who doesn’t already know, Mr. Grexenn recently purchased the troubled team.”

Jeqrix leaned into the microphone again.  “That’s correct.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what are your plans for the…problematic, winless mesnuk team?”

He chuckled.  “I plan to rebuild the horned hares just like I built my furniture franchise.  I believe the horned hares have some good talent.  I also plan to recruit more talented players.  Hopefully in time, the horned hares will be a championship team.”

“A championship team you say – like the Guytic City Fighting Tobacco Farmers?  Mr. Xuro Qashlet, the billionaire business owner of the Tobaccos spends a massive amount of money on the payroll for his championship team.  I doubt you can afford his players,” Derrix stated.

Jeqrix replied, “The Guytic City Fighting Tobacco Farmers are a top notch mesnuk team.  There’s no doubt about that.  And you’re right, I can’t afford the payroll that Mr. Qashlet pays out.  He has many Myluxs due to his very successful business affairs – billions of Myluxs from what I hear.  Only a billionaire could afford the Tobaccos payroll.  The horned hares will be champions by hard work and desire.  I will attempt to instill my work ethic into our team.  If we can produce a championship mesnuk team, like the tobaccos, it will be due to hard work and determination, not with excessive payroll.”

“What do you think your chances are of producing a Sesla Championship Team without the huge payroll like the Tobaccos?” asked Derrix.

Jeqrix smiled as he answered, “Are you telling me I can’t do it?  That it’s impossible?  That’s what my dad told me – five stores and a mesnuk team ago.”

Derrix laughed.  “Your point is well taken.  No one would ever doubt your determination, drive, or persistence.  Your business skills are also very strong – judging from your success in the furniture business.  We’re all looking forward to seeing how quickly you can turn this very dysfunctional, losing mesnuk team into a championship team.  If anyone can do that, you can.  We have time for a call before we close this segment.  Caller are you there?  What is your question for Mr. Grexenn, the new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares?”

The caller began.  “Mr. Grexenn.  It’s an honor to speak to you.  I love your furniture and your stores.  I carry a Grexenn Card in my purse.  My husband and I respect what you’ve accomplished in your franchise.”

“Thank you.”

Derrix asked, “What’s your question for Mr. Grexenn?  And we are short on time, so please be brief.”

The caller continued.  “I would like to ask Mr. Grexenn how he plans to recruit new talent if he can’t offer huge salaries like Mr. Qashlet – the owner of the Guytic City Fighting Tobacco Farmers?  Also would you consider allowing walk-ons  to try out for the team?”

Jeqrix Grexenn answered, “Thank you for the kind words.  I’m glad my Grexenn Card helps you.  I’m glad you like my furniture.  Thank you and your husband for your business.  To answer your question, I believe there’s a lot of talent in this area that perhaps never received a proper or fair tryout by the previous management.  I would like to announce a new policy by the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  The practice sessions are always open to walk-ons.  Any walk-ons will be invited to try-out for the team.  This will be the policy as long as I’m the owner.”

Derrix remarked.  “Thank you caller.  That’s an interesting policy, Mr. Grexenn.  I hope it works.  We’re out of time.  Tonight, my guest has been Mr. Jeqrix Grexenn.  He’s the new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  This is Derrix Weyd.  I am the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  You’ve been listening to my weekly broadcast on Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio in beautiful downtown Kinkorx.  Good night everyone.”

“And cut,” said Bruce Mognee, production manager.

Meanwhile

In His Decrepit Rented Room In Old Downtown Kinkorx

Zith Fleen turned off his garage sale radio that he kept sitting on his milk crate nightstand beside his decrepit single bed.  The very short, ex-college mesnuk player lay on the small, dilapidated, bed, in his dingy, rented studio apartment.  He said, “So…the Kinkorx Horned Hares new owner is allowing walk-on tryouts.  Maybe I’ll think about trying out for the team.  I was a good mesnuk player in college.  Too bad I’m so short.  All Pirtt-Coteries are short Sesleans.  I’m a short Pirtt – real short.”

He wiggled and settled in the middle of the small sagging bed.  He mumbled, “I better get some sleep.  The first shift at the gravel pit starts too early.  I can’t be late for work again.  Mr. Mounter gets very angry when I’m late.  I can’t believe he talks about firing me for being a few minutes late for work.  He’s on a real power trip.”

“Ouch!”  Zith said painfully as another broken wire in the mattress poked his leg.  “Another broken spring.  I hate this pitiful mattress.  I hate this dingy, old apartment.  I hate my life.”

He fell asleep quickly.

As he fitfully slept, he dreamt of his glory years as a star high school and college mesnuk player at Kinkorx High and the University of Kinkorx.  He tossed and turned as he sank in the middle of the saggy bed as he dreamt of the many championships that he was a major factor in winning.

On the high school and college mesnuk fields, being a Pirtt-Coterie wasn’t an issue.  Running fast, hitting hard, and accurate throws was king – not genetic prominence—in his case, the lowest status.  Professional mesnuk was vastly different—as he soon, very painfully, discovered.

Being a Pirtt-Coterie and a very short Pirtt at that, prevented him from entering the professional ranks after college as a mesnuk player or anything else professionally.  Pirtts are not respected as citizens of Sesla and they are despised even more in the professional ranks.

Even though he was a star mesnuk player, his Pirtt-Coterie heritage robbed him of any professional job after graduation.  Since college, he has worked and lost a series of random jobs.  Several months ago, he was very lucky to acquire his current job at the Kinkorx Gravel Company where he drives a first shift excavator.

While sleeping fitfully, he was awakened by the low-hum of his cheap alarm clock beside his bed.  He grunted and moaned as he wiggled out of the center of the sagging bed.  “That was an awful night.  I dreamt of my college mesnuk days – all of those championships.  Those were the best years of my life.  Why did I have to ruin it by dreaming about the gravel pit?  I hate my job.  I hate my life.”

As he stared at the low-buzzing clock he said, “My garage sale clock didn’t work right.  I set it for the loud alarm.  I’m late again!  I’m in big trouble.  Mr. Mounter can’t fire me.  I’m a good excavator driver.”

He jumped out of bed and quickly dressed.  He hurried out of the small, run-down, rented apartment in the old downtown district of Kinkorx.  He jumped into his car and speeded away.

Zith hurriedly drove his small, rusty car along the old streets through the abandoned warehouse district toward the Kinkorx Gravel Company.  “I’m in major trouble.  I’m late for work – again.  The last time I was late, Mr. Mounter said I couldn’t be late again or he’d fire me,” Zith said while in a panic as he drove.

As he frantically drove the brief distance through the old downtown district, he said, “I’m going to get fired again.  I know I am.  Mr. Mounter’s going to fire me—just like the other bosses.  He’s on a power trip.  All my old bosses have been on power trips.”

In minutes, he speedily drove into the sandy, pothole filled, gravel pit parking lot in the old downtown district.  He parked with a jolt and said while panicking, “Mr. Mounter’s crazy.  I know he’s going to fire me!  I just know it!”

He frantically exited his small car with a thousand rust holes and slammed the door.  He hurried across the small parking lot to the small office.  The building was at the entrance to the Kinkorx Gravel Company.  The hourly time clock hung on the wall next to Mr. Mounter’s old, small, messy desk.

As he frantically entered the creepy, spider infested, cobweb covered office, much to his horror, Mr. Mounter was sitting at his desk.  With fear, he stepped to the time clock and frantically searched for his time card.

As he searched, while in a panic, he briefly glanced at his boss.  The dagger glare he received from Mr. Mounter cut through his trembling body like a double-edged sword.

“You’re late again, Mr. Fleen,” Mr. Mounter said evilly.  “Don’t give me that broken alarm clock excuse.  Come up with a better reason for your lack of respect for our rules.”

Zith trembled as sweat ran down his forehead and face.  He frantically searched for his time card.  “You won’t find your time card.  I have it in my desk,” said Mounter with evil glee, “I thought I made it clear the last time you were late – which was only last week.  The next time you were late—I’d fire you.”

He shook from panic as he helplessly stood before his towering boss.  Panic sweat ran down his forehead and face.  Even in his chair, Mr. Mounter was taller than he was.  “Please Mr. Mounter,” he groveled as he perspired, “I know I have a problem getting to work on time.  I still get my work done.  I’ll work through my lunch to make up the time—like I always do,” he pleaded while nervous sweat rolled down his forehead and face.

Edd Mounter hurled a deadly, killer scowl as he proclaimed, “If I let one employee get away with excessive tardiness, before long all the employees are running over me.  Unfortunately for you, I must set an example of how this company deals with employees who break the rules –”

Zith frantically pleaded as he trembled and perspired, “Mr. Mounter.  I’m only twelve minutes late.  All of the late punches on my time cards have been less than fifteen minutes.  I always work through my lunch to make up the time.”  He began to grovel even more.  “It wasn’t easy to find this job.  It took months.  I don’t know if I can find another job in Kinkorx or the desert for that matter.  No one likes to hire a Pirtt.”

Inwardly Edd was enjoying the groveling immensely.  Forcing the employees to constantly beg for their jobs gave him a sense of superiority that he got from nowhere else.  It made him feel like a God.  “If I let you get away with tardiness, everyone will be tardy.”  He hurled a vicious scowl that cut through Zith’s being.  “There’s no need to continue this conversation.  I must set an example for the other employees.  This is how we deal with insubordinate employees.  Your –”

“Please Mr. Mounter,” he interrupted and begged, “Please don’t fire me.  I’m hardly an insubordinate employee –”

Mr. Mounter interrupted sharply, “I already have.  Remove any personal belongings.  Your paycheck will be ready on the normal payday.  That will be all.”

“Please Mr. Mounter,” he pleaded and begged, “I’ll do anything.  I need this job.  Please don’t fire me.”

“That will be all!” exclaimed Edd sharply, “Don’t forget your belongings – if you have any.”

He lowered his head in disgrace.  He slowly exited the small, spider-web infested building and walked toward his embarrassing car.  “What am I going to do?  It was hard to find this job.  Nobody wants to hire a Pirtt.  I don’t have any money.”

Disgracefully, he entered his small, rusty car.  “I can’t pay the rent.  I’m going to lose my apartment.  I’ll be living in my car again – soon.  I hate living in my car.”  He slowly drove out of the sandy, pothole-filled parking lot.

As he pondered his latest firing, he slowly drove along the old, downtown roads.  “No one wants to hire a Pirtt.  I don’t know where I’m going to get another job.  That job took a long time to find.  I’ll be living in my car soon.”

After several minutes, he drove in front of his old, adobe brick, rented apartment and depressingly parked.  He slowly exited his car and trudged to his old, decrepit front door.

His head was still lowered in disgrace as he entered his small, rented apartment.  “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  It’s hard to find a job.  No one likes to hire a Pirtt.  My job record is bad.  A few small mistakes and I always get fired.  What am I going to do?” he mumbled.  He depressingly flopped into the small bed and immediately sank into the middle.

As he lay depressingly in the decrepit bed, he turned on the radio.  Seqre Tarser, the roaming news reporter for Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio was reporting live from the Kinkorx Horned Hares locker room.  “…Mr. Grexenn.  You admit that you’re organization doesn’t have the payroll to pay for the top athletes like some of the other owners,” said Seqre.

“You mean like Xuro Qashlet, the billionaire owner of the Guytic City Fighting Tobacco Farmers, the defending Sesla Champions?” asked Jeqrix Grexenn, owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares and Grexenn Furniture Stores.

“Yes, that would be one example.  There are others.”

Jeqrix replied, “I built my furniture company with hard work, sacrifice, and a commitment to providing good furniture at affordable prices.  I didn’t start with a big payroll and I don’t have a big payroll now.  I don’t believe I’ll need a team filled with high salary players to win.  I need players that will not accept losing.”

“So…you want players with low salaries that won’t accept losing.  Where may I ask, do you think you’re going to get these players?” asked Seqre.

Jeqrix Grexenn replied, “Everyone grew up playing mesnuk in their yards.  Many of the high school and college players were very talented.  For numerous reasons, very good players that have the desire and talent to play are not playing professionally.  I believe there are talented players that given the opportunity, would play.  I am opening the Kinkorx Horned Hares practices to anyone who would like to try-out for the team.  All walk-ons will be given an opportunity to prove themselves.  This open policy starts with today’s practice.”

“That’s very interesting, Mr. Grexenn.  You don’t really believe there are championship players standing on the street corners just waiting for this opportunity – do you?” he asked sarcastically.

Jeqrix smiled.  “I wouldn’t put it like that.  However, I do believe there are quality players that will respond to this invitation.  To anyone who is listening to this broadcast, if you know you can play mesnuk professionally, come to the practice field today or any day.  I would like to see what you can do.”

Seqre smiled and shook his head in bewilderment.  “Thank you Mr. Grexenn.”

He walked away and continued, “The new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares, Mr. Jeqrix Grexenn, has begun a new policy.  From today forward, their practices are open to the public for walk-ons to try-out for the team.  We hope this proves to be a successful policy.  This is Seqre Tarser, the roaming news reporter for Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio, reporting live from the Kinkorx Horned Hares locker room.”

As Zith lay on his bed, he began to reminisce about his high school and college mesnuk years.  “Those were the best years of my life.  I was a good mesnuk player.  Too bad I’m so short – and a Pirtt.”  As he reminisced, he drifted into a dream-filled sleep.  The hours passed as he slept and dreamt about his glory years as a high school and college mesnuk star.

Later That Same Day
While Zith sprawled on his small, very well worn couch with his legs hanging over the side, he watched TV.  He tried to make sense of his latest plight.  He mumbled as he watched TV and thought, “I don’t understand why Mr. Mounter had to fire me.  I was never more than a few minutes late.  I always worked through my lunch to make up the time.  I operated the excavator properly.  He never liked me.  I was surprised when he hired me.  I knew he didn’t like me.  I always thought it was because I am a Pirtt – although I don’t know.”

He continued to mumble while trying to make since of his latest crisis as the TV set played.  He recalled what the new owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares, Mr. Grexenn had said, “To anyone who is listening to this broadcast, if you know you can play mesnuk professionally, come to the practice field today or any day.  I would like to see what you can do.”

Zith mumbled, “Maybe I’ll drive to the practice field tomorrow morning.  I hope Mr. Grexenn lets Pirtts tryout.  I know I can play mesnuk professionally.  I just need a fair chance.”

He continued to watch TV and think about his dilemma as the evening passed.  He also imagined what a tryout for the Horned Hares would be like.

The Following Morning
Zith woke from his dream-filled, fitful sleep, he realized that he didn’t have a job to go to.  “What am I going to do?” he wondered depressingly as he lay in his decrepit bed.  “It’ll take weeks to find another job—if I can find a job at all.  I’ll be living in my car again – and soon.”
As he lay depressed, he remembered the owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  He said, “I was a star mesnuk player in high school and college.  After college, no mesnuk team would talk to me.  They all said I was too short.  The horned hares are accepting walk-on tryouts.  I’ve got to start searching for a job today.  Maybe I’ll start at the horned hares practice field.  What can it hurt?” With overwhelming doubt, he rolled out of the sagging bed and quickly dressed.  “I better skip breakfast.  If I do get a tryout, I’ll need to run fast.”

With a lack of confidence in his endeavor, he exited the small, rundown apartment and walked to his rusty car.  He was attempting to physic himself up as he jumped in.

As he drove away, he began talking to himself.  “If I get a fair tryout, I can make the team.  I’m still fast and strong.  If the owner doesn’t care about how short I am, I can play mesnuk – I know I can.”

Zith’s focus was on the tryout as he drove while continuing to build his confidence – verbally.  “I can play mesnuk professionally.  I just need a fair chance.  I know I can.”

After several minutes, his heart began to pound when he saw The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.  As his anxieties were racing, he imagined playing mesnuk in the ginormous, futuristic, enclosed, dome stadium as a Kinkorx Horned Hare.

With sweaty hands, he drove past the magnificent, beautifully landscaped building with its statues of the former Chief Generals of Xcuymir Territory.

He continued along the downtown Kinkorx Street to the Horned Hares practice field.  He nervously drove into the nicely paved parking lot and parked next to the field.  “Here it is.  I’m here.  I hope this works,” he said with a slight panic.

He nervously watched the Kinkorx Horned Hares practice.  He said, “Look at the size of those players – they’re huge.  I’m so small.  Who am I kidding?  I’ll never make the team…I have to try.”

With sweaty hands and a pounding heart, he exited his car.  He looked at the players and said nervously, “Here goes.”  His heart pounded as he walked onto the practice field.

As he approached the players, one of the coaches said to him, “I’m Jeqrix Grexenn, I’m the owner.  I’ve never seen you before.  Are you here for a tryout?”

“Yes!”  Zith said with enthusiasm while concealing his host of anxieties.

Jeqrix asked, “What’s your name?”

“Zith Fleen.”

“Do you want to change or are you ready?”  Jeqrix asked.

“I’m ready!”  Zith said excitedly as his anxiety level quickly abated.

“Join the other players.  We’ll evaluate you as the day progresses,” Jeqrix instructed.

Zith asked with surprise, “You’re going to let me practice with the Kinkorx Horned Hares?”

Jeqrix laughed.  Then he replied, “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t?”

“No Sir!”  Zith exclaimed loudly.

Jeqrix said, “Those players are a lot bigger and stronger than you,” he smiled, “I’ll bet you’re faster.  As I’m sure you already know, speed is very important in mesnuk.  I’ll give you the rest of the day to prove yourself…  Start practicing.”

“Yes Sir!  Thank you Sir!”  Zith said excitedly.  His heart pounded in his chest as he ran as fast as he could onto the playing field.

The players watched as he ran speedily onto the field.  “Wow!  You can really fly.  You’re kind of small…  Good luck!” said Ti Gurmis, one of the Horned Hares players.

“This is Zith Fleen,” said Jeqrix Grexenn loudly, “He’ll be practicing with us today.  Good luck Zith!”  Many of the players and Head Coach Jo Mydos said, “Good luck Zith.”

“Zith.  You’re on the blue team.  Back to work!  Everyone circle the glymog,” yelled Coach Mydos.

The blue and the red teams circled the 42 inch diameter, circular glymog, in the center of the mesnuk field.  Coach Mydos posed as the enforcer.  He tossed the sludder into the air.

The two teams immediately battled for the 18 ¼ pounds, rounded edged, rubber coated, acute triangle shaped, sludder.  The blue team recovered the sludder.

Zith and his team ran toward their kloxyn.  A horned hare threw the sludder to Zith.  He caught it and charged toward the 48 inch high, 36 inch diameter, ½ inch thick walled, opened at the top and bottom metal cylinder, that was fastened to the ground, at their end of the 460 feet long and 380 feet wide mesnuk field.

As Zith attempted to throw the sludder into their kloxyn, a gigantic member from the red team collided with him.  The force of the collision resembled being run over by a fully loaded semi-truck and trailer.  Zith and the sludder went flying through the air.

A member of the red team caught the sludder as Zith hit the ground hard.  The red team speeded toward their kloxyn, at their end of the 460 feet long mesnuk field as the blue team pursued.

Zith recovered quickly from the massive crash at the hands of the red team and speedily pursued.  As the red team member threw the sludder into the air toward their kloxyn, in what appeared to be a score, Zith leaped high into the air and caught the sludder.  He tumbled to the ground while maintaining possession of the sludder.

He quickly stood and began running as fast as his short legs would pump toward their kloxyn as both teams pursued.  Due to his impressive speed, he was the first to reach the kloxyn.  He dropped the sludder into their kloxyn, scoring two points.

The blue team cheered.  Head Coach Jo Mydos looked at owner, Jeqrix Grexenn and said, “Zith is small but he’s tough—and fast.”

Jeqrix bobbed his head as he replied, “His speed and toughness are impressive.”

“Let’s see if he can take the pounding,” said Coach Mydos loudly.  He tossed the sludder to the red team.  A player caught it and ran.

The red team ran speedily toward their kloxyn.  They passed the sludder.  Zith leaped into the air and tried to catch it.  A red team player plowed into him as he flew through the air.  The force was so strong that it sent Zith flying through the air and crashing to the ground.

He immediately got up and ran like a rocket.  Zith leaped and flew into the red team player that carried the sludder.  He crashed into the huge player sending the player flying through the air in one direction and the sludder in another.

After catching the flying sludder, Zith ran as fast as his Pirtt legs would go.  He left the other players behind as he ran to the blue team’s kloxyn.  He dropped the sludder into their kloxyn – scoring two pints again.  The blue team cheered – again.

Coach Mydos looked at owner, Jeqrix Grexenn again and bobbed his head.  “Impressive!” said Jeqrix.  Coach Mydos threw the sludder to the red team again to keep the game going.

As the practice went on throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Zith continued to show his speed, aggressiveness, and toughness.  With each massive hit, he became more battered and bruised but he never slowed.

By the end of the practice, Zith was tired and beaten up.  He was also the top point’s scorer of the day.  He had out scored all of the other Horned Hares players.  “Zith stop by my office after your shower,” said Coach Mydos.

“Yes Sir!” said the battered Zith.

“Hit the showers!” yelled Coach Mydos.

The players ran to the locker room – including Zith.  “It’s good to see you again, Zith,” said Cottir Greem, a former University of Kinkorx mesnuk teammate.

“Thanks.  I never thought I’d be here.  The new owner’s making some positive changes,” Zith replied as he prepared to shower with the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk team.

“Great job out there today Zith.  Your speed and toughness are impressive – for a little guy,” said Team Captain, Guiss Korter as he laughed.

“Thanks,” said Zith as he laughed politely at the humor.  He spent the next several minutes quickly washing with the team.  After borrowing a sweat suit from his former U of K college mesnuk teammate, Cottir Greem, he hurried down the hall to Coach Mydos’ office.

As he entered Coach Mydos’ office, he said, “You wanted to see me Coach.”

“Yes Zith.  How are you feeling?  You took quite a few big hits out there today?” asked the coach.

He smiled.  “I feel great.  Nothing bothered me.  It was awesome to be playing mesnuk again,” Zith replied with enthusiasm.

“Where did you play mesnuk before?” asked Coach Mydos.

“I played high school mesnuk at Kinkorx High and college mesnuk at U of K.  I loved it,” Zith replied.

Coach bobbed his head in approval.  “Any pro offers?” he asked.

Zith shook my head.  “No Sir,” he replied.  “Every team thought I was too small.”

“You are small, but tough and fast.  Even with the pounding, you were the high scorer.  Do you think you can keep that up?”

“Yes Sir Coach!” he said excitedly as my heart began to race.

“Mr. Grexenn and I talked.  We liked what we saw today.  You need time to get used to being hit.  You won’t see any playing time in a game any time soon, but we would like to offer you a job.  The salary will be low – especially at first.  As you prove yourself and score game points, your wages will improve.  Do you need time to consider the offer?”

“No Sir Coach!”  Zith said excitedly.  “I want to play mesnuk.”

Coach Mydos chuckled as he said, “All right then.  We’ll see you tomorrow morning.  Practices start at 8:00.  Make sure you keep scoring points.”

“Thanks Coach!  I won’t let you down.”  Zith hurried out of the office.

Chapter Two

Eighteen Months Ago

“This is Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m in The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown, in the locker room of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  I’m speaking with the Head Coach of the Horned Hares, Coach Jo Mydos.  Coach Mydos, you have to be happy with the performance of your team this season.”

“We’re having a good season—so far.  Tonight was a big win for our team.  The Tos-Xiron Doxers are a talented mesnuk team,” said Coach Mydos.

“You have to be especially pleased with the walk-on star from three and a half years ago, Zith Fleen.  Again, during this game, he was the top scorer for your team.  If I’m not mistaken, he’s the fastest player on your roster,” said Pymur.

Coach Mydos replied, “The horned hares organization is very pleased with Zith’s performance both on and off the field.”

“Which leads me to my next question,” Pymur said as he continued, “There are growing rumors of the unrest within the Horned Hares organization.  We are hearing rumors that many of the players are constantly in conflict with Zith Fleen.  Are the rumors true?  Do your players not like or get along with Zith?”

Coach Mydos smiled as he responded, “Some of the players seem to take issue with his unique opinions and assertive personality.  However, the Horned Hares organization encourages different and unique visions.  After all, our owner, Mr. Grexenn is known for his imaginative ideas.”

Pymur pursued, “There are rumors that, due to his extreme views and boisterous behavior, Zith Fleen has alienating himself from the other players.  This has lead the players to leave him vulnerable on the playing field.  Due to the lack of teamwork, he seems to be receiving many very brutal, severe hits while on the playing field.  His teammates appear to be abandoning him.  This forsaking was apparent in tonight’s game.”

Coach Mydos smiled.  “What you’re suggesting, a conspiracy on the field is nothing more than examples of Zith’s aggressiveness, speed, and desire to win.  When he plays, often times he leaves his teammates far behind.  He simply has a strong desire to win.  He’s a champion.  I wish more of our players were like Zith Fleen.  We consider it a lucky day, when he walked onto the practice field.”

Pymur asked, “Do you think there will be more of this type of behavior in your next game in “It’s the Rallies” which is against the Wyluxx City Generals?  That game is here in The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown in a few days.”

Coach Mydos said with irritation, “The Generals are a very good mesnuk team.  They will be difficult to beat.  Yes.  I believe Zith Fleen will play to win against the Generals.  He will give this team his best.  I wish all of our players did.  Now if you will excuse me?”

Coach Mydos walked away as Pymur summarized briefly and ended the live report.  “There you have it.  Coach Mydos is effectively denying all of the rumors that have been emanating from the Kinkorx Horned Hares players in recent months.  He denies there is a growing desire among the team members to leave Zith Fleen unprotected.  Thus making him vulnerable to severe injury during the games.  This is Pymur Muxx, roaming reporter for Kinkorx TV Sports.  Reporting live from the locker room of the Kinkorx Horned Hares in The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.”

Several Days Later

“MESNUK”

“It’s The Rallies”

“We are going live in 5…4…3…2…1…and we are live,” said Kinkorx TV program director Stin Gismurr.

“Good evening, and welcome to this, “It’s the Rallies” sports broadcast of the Sesla Mesnuk Championship Finals.  I am Derrix Weyd, Kinkorx TV Sports Anchor, and the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  We are broadcasting live from our Kinkorx TV booth inside The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.

This evening, I’m delighted to have as my co-announcer, my friend and esteemed colleague, novelist, writer, sports writer, and commentator, J.A. Ireland.  It’s nice to be working with you again, J.A.”

“Thank you Derrix,” J.A. Ireland replied.  “It’s nice to be here again.”

“This Sesla Championship Finals Game should be another game to remember,” Derrix stated.

J.A. agreed with emphasis, “If this re-match is anything like the “It’s the Rallies” game a few weeks ago – it will be thrilling.”

“No one is more thrilled than the owner of the Horned Hares, Mr. Jeqrix Grexenn that the horned hares are playing at this level,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “The Wyluxx City Generals want to prove tonight that the last game was a fluke and they deserve to be in “It’s the Rallies.”

“Many fans, especially in Wyluxx City seem to think that game was a fluke and the Generals should have won,” Derrix stated.

J.A. said, “It looks like this is another sold-out game.”

“Every time these two teams meet, this stadium is packed.  There seems to be quite a rivalry between these two desert teams,” Derrix said excitedly.

“Mr. Grexenn has to be happy with these fans,” J.A. said.  “The ticket sales are always very high.  The sales of official Horned Hares merchandise are strong as well.”

Derrix replied, “I see you’re wearing your Red Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk cap.”

J.A. boasted, “I was lucky.  I grabbed the last one the night the horned hares won the Sesla Championship against the Tobaccos.”

“When I look out at this excited crowd, I see a lot of Horned Hares mesnuk caps like yours.  I also see Mr. Grexenn.  He’s attending this game tonight.  He’s wearing a red cap like yours,” Derrix stated.

“It looks like Mr. Grexenn is standing and waving to the happy crowd.  He must be watching this broadcast in his booth.  You’re right.  He does have a cap like mine.  They like their owner,” said J.A.

Derrix replied, “Just listen to those cheers.  He is well-liked in the desert.”

“He is also a well-liked furniture store owner.  He sells good furniture at reasonable  prices, we have some of his furniture in our home,” J.A. added.

Derrix replied, “We have some of his furniture in our home as well.”

“Changing the subject to the players, have you seen any evidence of the strong rumors that are emanating from the Horned Hares players?”  J.A. asked.

“You’re referring to the rumors about the star player, Zith Fleen.  That the players are abandoning him off the field and forsaking him on the field,” said Derrix.

J.A. replied, “Those rumors are getting louder and more numerous every week.”

“He is the fastest player on the team.  Due to his speed he often times seems to play a one-player game.  He gets hit a lot.  Many of the hits are severe.  Some are massive,” Derrix stated.

“There are rumors that the players don’t like his extreme views and boisterous nature.  He may have alienated himself from the other players,” said J.A.

Derrix added, “There are also rumors about a conspiracy by the players to abandon him on the field.  Thus allowing him to become injured during the games in an attempt to get him off the team.”

“Coach Mydos has publically denounced these rumors.  Let’s see if we agree with the rumors…The crowd noise is picking up,” said J.A.

Derrix added, “I see why.  Here comes, the Kinkorx Horned Hares.”

The stadium announcer said, “Please welcome your one time Sesla Mesnuk Champion Kinkorx Horned Hares.”

“This home crowd loves their Champion Horned Hares.  Just listen to the noise,” J.A. remarked.

“The Kinkorx Horned Hares are running onto the field.  They are forming their half of the circle around the glymog,” Derrix said.

The announcer said, “Please welcome the Wyluxx City Generals.”

“The visiting crowd is going wild as their Wyluxx City Generals are running onto the field.  This has become quite a rivalry.  Both sides are screaming.  Just listen to that crowd noise,” J.A. said.

“The Generals are forming their half of the circle around the glymog,” Derrix stated.

“I hear a lot of loud booing from the home side.  I see some snacks being thrown at the Generals,” said J.A.

Many on the home side, including Tonnus and Estra Kin, Dr. Leqtus Kin-the genetic engineer’s father and sister, are booing the Generals and throwing some snacks at them.

“The two teams are forming a complete circle around the glymog,” Derrix said.

J.A. added, “They’re facing the Sesla United Flag.  The stadium orchestra is ready to play the Sesla Anthem.”

“Please rise for the playing of the Sesla Anthem,” the stadium announcer requested.

Everyone in the stadium stood and faced the Sesla United Flag.

The orchestra began…

As the orchestra finished, the fans cheered.

The fans sat back down.

“The Sesla Championship Finals Game is about to begin,” said Derrix.

J.A. replied, “While the enforcer goes over the rules to the players, you should explain the game to anyone who isn’t fully aware of how mesnuk is played.  You do such a nice job explaining it.”

Derrix bobbed his head in agreement.  “Good idea,” he said.  “Each team has eight players.  All sixteen players form a circle in the center of the field around the glymog for the start of each session.  The glymog is a 42 inch in diameter circle at the center of the field.

There are two kloxyns, one at each end of the field, in this stadium, one is red, and one is blue.

Each team has their own kloxyn.  They switch kloxyns at the beginning of each session.

The kloxyn is 48 inches tall, 36 inches in diameter.  It is a round metal tube with one half inch thick walls and it is open at the top and bottom.  It stands on three legs that fasten to the arena floor.  The bottom is open to make it easy to remove the sludder.  The kloxyns are easily replaceable in the event of damage during a game from the sludder.

The sludder is an 18 and 1/4 pound triangular disc with rounded edges.  It is in the shape of an acute triangle.  It has one side that is 16 inches long, one side that is 14 inches long, and the shortest side is 12 inches long.  The sludder is 1 inch thick on the rounded edges and 2 inches thick in the middle.  It is made of metal and coated with hard rubber to help prevent injuries.

The field is 460 feet long and 380 feet wide.  It is 200 feet between the glymog and the kloxyns.

The enforcers control the game.  There are six enforcers, three for each side of the field.

The enforcers decide if a player has been kluuded.  They call kluuding if they feel that a player used excessive force.  To call kluuding, they blow their whistle and make a chop sign across their chest.  Since, the game is by nature very brutal, the enforcer calls kluuding penalties on only the most savage plays.

If a player is kluuded, the kluuded player gets an unopposed throw, at his team’s kloxyn, from the glymog.

When an enforcer calls kluuding, the timekeeper stops the clock.  He restarts it when the penalty throw leaves the kluuded players hand and is in the air.

The object of the game is to put the sludder into your team’s kloxyn.  Two points are given for placing the sludder into the kloxyn.  Throwing the sludder into the kloxyn counts one point.

The game is divided into three epochs – each epoch has two sessions.  Each epoch is seventy-five minutes.  So each session is one-half of seventy-five minutes or thirty- seven and one half minutes.  Each session, the players change sides of the field and circle the glymog again.

The lead enforcer begins each session by throwing the sludder into the air as the players are circling the glymog.  He throws the sludder into the middle of the circle of players.

After a score, an opposing player must throw the sludder in from out of bounds to restart the game.

There is a five minute break at the end of the first and second epochs,” he smiled to J.A. and said, “I’ve said that same explanation so many times, I have it memorized.”

J.A. smiled.  “It looks like the lead enforcer is ready to throw the sludder into the air to start this “It’s the Rallies,” Finals—game,” he said.

“The crowd is really into this game, the fans on both sides are already screaming.  Here we go.  The “It’s the Rallies”— Finals Game is underway,” said Derrix.

“The lead enforcer blew his whistle and threw the sludder into the air.  The Horned Hares caught the sludder and they’re running towards their blue kloxyn,” said J.A.

Derrix said, “A General pounded the Horned Hare.  The sludder went flying.”

“That looked like it hurt,” J.A. added.

“The Generals have the sludder.  They are racing towards their red kloxyn,” said Derrix.

J.A. reported, “Oh!...That had to hurt.  The Horned Hares hit that General hard.  The sludder went flying into another of the Generals hands.”

“The Generals are charging toward his kloxyn.  He is close.  Wow!  What a hit,” said Derrix.

“The enforcer blew his whistle.  He made the chop sign across his chest,” J.A. stated.

Derrix added, “I’d say that was too much contact.”

“We have our first kluuding call,” J.A. stated.

“That hit was devastating.  That General is having trouble walking.  He’s slowly making his way to the glymog,” Derrix stated.

J.A. said, “If the sludder goes into the kloxyn, it’s one point.”

“The enforcer handed him the sludder.  He’s trying to keep his balance.  He’s leaning back.  He throws.  He scores!” said Derrix.

J.A. added, “The Generals score first in this “It’s the Rallies” game.  That’s a two hundred foot throw.  Imagine how strong these athletes are to throw the sludder that far and that accurately.”

“The Horned Hares have the sludder.  Zith Fleen is racing toward the kloxyn.  Wow!  What a hit.  The sludder is off the field,” Derrix said.

“That was a brutal hit.  I will admit he was all alone.  I hope he isn’t injured,” J.A. added.

Derrix said, “A different enforcer called kluuding.”

“Zith Fleen is slowly making his way to the glymog,” said J.A.

“He’s limping badly,” Derrix remarked.

J.A. said, “The enforcer handed him the sludder.  He’s struggling to stand.  He throws.  It’s in the air.  He scores!  The Horned Hares have tied the score thanks to Zith Fleen.”

“The Generals have it.  They’re charging toward their kloxyn.  Oh!...Two Hares hit the General hard.  The sludder is skipping across the ground,” said Derrix.

“The Generals picked it up.  They’re charging toward their kloxyn.  They’re charging.  Oh!...What a hit,” J.A. stated.

Derrix stated, “One of the enforcers blew his whistle.  He’s making the chop sign across his chest.”

“The General is still on the artificial turf.  He may be injured severely,” J.A. said with concern.

“He’s getting up slowly.  He’s hobbling toward the glymog,” Derrix reported.

J.A. said, “The enforcer handed him the sludder.  He’s leaning back.  He throws.  It missed the kloxyn completely.”

“He appears hurt.  That hit was vicious.  He was in too much pain to make an accurate throw,” said Derrix.

“With the first session coming to a close, the Generals have the sludder again.  They’re charging toward their kloxyn.  Seconds left.  He throws.  It bounces off the side of the kloxyn,” J.A. stated.

Derrix stated, “That’s the end of the first session.  The score is Generals one and the Horned Hares one.”

“The two teams are switching kloxyns.  For the second session, the Generals have the blue kloxyn and the Hares have the red,” said J.A.

“There is no break in between sessions,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “That’s why this game is so well liked, the action is non-stop.”

“That’s why most of the fans purchase their snacks at the numerous concession stands before the game or they bring their own.  There is no time to buy snacks during the game,” said Derrix.

“The teams are forming a circle around the glymog.  The lead enforcer is preparing to  throw the sludder.  He throws it into the air.  The Generals have it,” said J.A.

Derrix said, “The second session has begun.”

“The Generals are racing toward the blue kloxyn.  They are getting closer.  Oh!...What a hit.  That poor General was demolished by three Horned Hares,” J.A. reported.

“I’m surprised the enforcer didn’t call kluuding,” Derrix questioned.

J.A. reported, “That was another brutal hit without a kluuding call.”

“The Generals have the sludder again.  They’re racing toward their kloxyn.  Here they come.  Wow, did you see that?” asked Derrix.

“Zith Fleen flew through the air into the General that was carrying the sludder,” J.A. explained.

Derrix added, “That is one of the most selfless plays I’ve seen in a while.  Wow, Zith is really fast.”

“The Horned Hares are proving that they deserve to be in these finals – championship games as well,” said J.A.

“I think the fans agree with you.  Just listen to the cheers,” Derrix added.

J.A. said excitedly, “The Generals have the sludder.  They’re charging.  The General leaped into the air.  He scores!  He put the sludder into the kloxyn.  What a play.”

Derrix added, “That’s good for two points.”

“Zith Fleen has the sludder.  He’s charging the kloxyn.  Oh!...What a hit,” said J.A.

“That’s another brutal hit without a kluuding call,” Derrix said.

J.A. said, “The Hares have the sludder again.  They’re racing toward the kloxyn.  Another vicious hit.”

Derrix said, “Again, no kluuding call.  The Generals have the sludder.  They’re charging.”

“The Generals are racing toward the kloxyn.  He throws the sludder.  He scores!”  J.A. said with excitement.  “That’s three points this session.”

“Zith Fleen has the sludder.  He’s racing down the field.  What a hit,” Derrix reported.

J.A. added, “Another vicious hit and no kluuding call by the enforcer.”

Derrix said, “The Generals recovered the sludder.  They’re racing toward their kloxyn as the second session is coming to a close.”

“The final seconds, the clock is almost gone.  The General throws with three…two…one…it is off the rim,” J.A. reported.

“That’s the end of the first epoch – the score; the Generals four and the Hares one,” Derrix stated.

J.A. said, “Both teams are taking their five minute break.”

“The Generals are pulling ahead in this re-match game,” Derrix said.

“The Horned Hares are being over-powered by the Generals speed and aggressiveness,” J.A. added.

Derrix said, “The home side of this stadium seems quieter than we’re used to.  The Horned Hares fans may be losing confidence in their team.”

Kinkorx TV program director Stin Gismurr said, “Derrix, do a station identification before the second epoch begins.”

Derrix nodded.  “You are watching the Sesla Championship Finals Game live on Kinkorx TV Sports from The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.  We are broadcasting live from our booth.  I am Derrix Weyd, Kinkorx TV Sports Anchor and the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.

My esteemed colleague and friend—and co-announcer is novelists, writer, sports broadcaster and sports writer, J.A. Ireland,” said Derrix.

Stin Gismurr replied as he smiled and nodded, “Good job.”

“The second epoch is about to begin.  Both teams are circling the glymog,” Derrix reported.

J.A. added, “The teams switched kloxyns again.”

“The enforcer threw the sludder into the air.  The Generals have it.  The second epoch has begun,” Derrix said.

“The Generals are racing toward the kloxyn,” J.A. said.

Derrix said, “They’re charging.  He throws the sludder.  He scores!”

J.A. added, “The Generals are pulling ahead.  If this continues, the Horned Hares will fall too far behind to catch up.”

“Zith Fleen has the sludder.  He’s racing toward the kloxyn,” Derrix said.

“He throws.  He scores!  The Horned Hares add another score,” said J.A.

Derrix added, “Just listen to that crowd noise, they’re happy now.  They like Zith Fleen.”

“The Generals have the sludder.  They’re charging,” J.A. said.

“Oh!...What a hit.  Zith Fleen flew through the air and broke up the play,” Derrix said.

J.A. reported, “The Generals have the sludder again.  They’re racing to their kloxyn.”

Derrix said, “They’re charging.  They’re close.  The General throws.  He scores!  The Generals are pulling ahead.”

“The fans on the Generals side of this stadium are going wild.  The fans on the home side are quiet,” J.A. stated.

“Zith Fleen has the sludder.  Oh!...He is hit hard.  Again no kluuding call,” Derrix reported.

J.A. confirmed, “This game is getting out of hand.  Without kluuding calls, these two teams are beaten each other up.  Zith Fleen has taken some massive hits.  He does seem to be a one player team.”

Derrix said with concern, “I can’t believe those enforcers aren’t calling kluuding on these brutal hits.  If this continues, Zith Fleen could become severely injured.”

“The Generals are charging their kloxyn.  He throws.  He misses,” said J.A.

“The third session is coming to a close.  The Generals have the sludder again.  He passes.  He throws.  He misses as time runs out,” Derrix stated.

“That’s the end of the third session—with the score; the Generals six and the Hares two,” J.A. stated.

“The teams are circling the glymog.  The sludder is in the air.  The Horned Hares have the sludder as we begin the fourth session,” said Derrix.

“Zith Fleen is charging.  He’s going for two.  He’s all alone.  Wow!...What a hit.  Wow, that was brutal,” J.A., insisted.

Derrix said, “The enforcer is making the chop sign across his chest.  He’s calling kluuding.”

“We aren’t seeing a lot of kluuding calls in this game.  Zith Fleen is receiving some massive hits.  The players do seem to be abandoning him,” J.A. reported.

“The enforcers seem to be letting these two teams battle mostly without penalties,” Derrix added.  “I agree, Zith’s teammates seem to be lagging back thus letting him take a lot of unnecessary, violent hits.”

J.A. said, “Zith is limping to the glymog.  He is clearly injured.  The enforcer handed him the sludder.”

“He’s leaning back.  His legs are wobbly.  He throws.  He scores!”  Derrix said excitedly.

“Zith Fleen is attempting a one player comeback.  The other horned hares are seemingly forsaking him.  Just listen to those happy Horned Hare fans.  They love Zith Fleen,” J.A. reported.

Derrix said, “The Generals have the sludder.  They’re charging.  What a vicious hit by the Horned Hare.”

J.A. added, “Again, no kluuding call.”

“The Generals have it again.  They’re charging.  He throws.  It’s off the rim,” Derrix reported.

J.A. said, “The Hares have it.  They’re passing.  They’re racing toward their kloxyn.  He throws.  He missed the kloxyn completely.”

“That was a wild throw,” Derrix added.

J.A. stated, “The Hares have the sludder again.  They’re charging.  He’s hit hard.”

“The fourth session is almost over as the Generals are trying to score,” said Derrix.

“With time running out, the Generals are passing.  He throws as the time ends.  He scores!”  J.A. said excitedly.

“That is the end of the second epoch.  The score is the Generals seven and the Hares three,” said Derrix.  “The players are running to the sidelines for their five minute break.”

“The Generals are pulling ahead.  For the Horned Hares to stand a chance, they need to stage a comeback this session.  They need a super effort from more players than just Zith Fleen if they’re going to win,” J.A. insisted.

Derrix added, “It will take quite an effort to slow these Generals.  They are out to prove the previous game was a fluke.”

“With only one epoch to go, it seems the Horned Hares may be running out of time and strength.  Zith Fleen is becoming really beaten up.  How much more can he take?”  J.A. asked.

“The players are circling the glymog.  The lead enforcer has the sludder,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “He threw it in the air.  The Generals have the sludder first as we start the final epoch.”

Derrix replied, “The Generals are racing toward the kloxyn.  They’re passing.  He’s racing toward his kloxyn.  He throws the sludder.  It misses.”

“The Generals have the sludder again.  They’re charging toward their kloxyn.  Wow!...  Was he ever hit hard by Zith Fleen,” J.A. reported.

Derrix added, “That was another vicious hit and no kluuding call.”

“The Hares have it.  He’s charging toward the kloxyn.  He’s racing.  He throws the sludder.  Oh!...It’s off the rim,” J.A. said.

“Zith Fleen has it again,” Derrix stated.  “He’s racing down the field.  He’s all alone.  Oh!...What a brutal hit.  That was definitely kluuding but again, no kluuding call by the enforcers.”

J.A. said, “The Generals have the sludder.  They’re racing to their kloxyn.  He passes.  The General throws.  It misses.”

“The Generals have it again.  He throws quickly.  His throw is way off the mark,” Derrix said.

“Zith has it.  He’s racing down the field.  Again, he’s all alone.  He’s charging their kloxyn.  He’s hit hard,” J.A. reported.

Derrix stated, “The Generals recovered the sludder.  They’re passing.  He’s racing toward the kloxyn.  He’s hit hard by Zither Fleen.”

“Zith recovers it.  He’s racing toward their kloxyn.  He throws quickly.  He scores!”  J.A. said excitedly.

“The Generals have the kloxyn.  They’re racing down the field.  They’re passing the sludder.  He throws.  It misses,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “The Generals have it again.  They are racing.  He passes.  He throws.  It misses.”

Derrix reported, “We are nearing the end of the fifth session as Zith Fleen is making another run at their kloxyn.  He’s going for two.  He’s running for the kloxyn.  He’s closing in on their kloxyn.  He scores!  Zith scores two points as the session ends.”

“That’s the end of the fifth session.  The players circle the glymog.  The enforcer throws.  The Generals have it as we begin the final session with the score the Generals seven and the Horned Hares six,” J.A. stated.

“This is a high scoring re-match game.  Zith Fleen is indeed a one-player team.  He’s also receiving some massive hits.  He does seem to be mostly abandoned by his teammates.  It’s anyone’s guess who will win this brutal game,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “From the looks of this stadium, both sides want their team to win.  There are snacks flying everywhere.  I feel sorry for the cleanup crew.”

“The Horned Hares have staged a big comeback.  Can they out last the Generals and keep it going?”  Derrix asked.

“The Generals are charging toward their kloxyn.  They’re racing toward it.  He’s going for two.  He’s hit hard by Zith Fleen.  What a hit by Zith,” said J.A.

Derrix said, “The Generals want to win this re-match game.  They want to prove the last game was a fluke.”

“Zith Fleen has it.  He’s all alone and charging their kloxyn.  His teammates are no-where near.  With his great speed, he’s closing in on the kloxyn.  He’s going for two.  Wow!  What a vicious hit.  Right at the kloxyn,” J.A. reported.

“Zith seems to be hurt badly.  He’s lying on the field next to the kloxyn.  He looks unconscious,” Derrix reported with concern.

J.A. said with greater concern, “After the hit by the Generals player, his head looked like it slammed into the kloxyn.  It was difficult to see clearly from here.  I’m beginning to see blood on the turf next to his head.”

“You’re right J.A.—It’s difficult to tell from here.  It looks like blood,” Derrix agreed.

“He’s still lying there, seemingly unconscious.  The medical team is running out to him,” J.A. reported.

Derrix said, “There looks to be a lot of blood coming from his head.  It does appear he hit his head on the kloxyn when he landed.”

“The medical team is putting him on the stretcher.  He seems to be severely injured,” J.A. reported.

“We don’t want to speculate.  Judging from the blood, his head wound looks severe,” Derrix said.

J.A. said, “Zith Fleen is on the stretcher.  The medical team is running off the field.  They’re headed straight for the locker room.”

Derrix reported, “We can see a lot of blood.  His head injury looks very serious—perhaps life threatening.”

“From what we saw tonight, there might be some truth to the rumors that have been circulating from the horned hares players,” J. A. stated sadly.

“Now that the medical team is off the field, the enforcer is restarting the game,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “We hope Zith Fleen makes a speedy recovery.  We wish him the best.”

“The Generals have the sludder.  They’re charging in their wedge.  The wedge is going for two.  The wedge is close to the kloxyn.  They score two points,” Derrix reported.

J.A. added, “What a play.  The Generals in their wedge ran over several Horned Hares.”

Derrix said excitedly, “The Generals fans are screaming.  They’re standing on their seats and throwing their snacks into the air.”

“I don’t know if the Horned Hares have time to come back from a three point deficit— especially now that they’ve lost their star player,” J.A. questioned.

“There isn’t very much time left and the Generals are showing no signs of slowing,” said Derrix.

“The Generals are charging.  Wow!...What a brutal hit and no kluuding call,” J.A. said.

Derrix reported, “The Generals have it back.  He’s charging the kloxyn.  He’s going for two.  He’s charging the kloxyn.  Oh!...He’s hit viciously.”

“The enforcer is finally calling kluuding,” said J.A.

“The fans on the Generals side are screaming and throwing their snacks into the air.  They can taste a victory in this Finals Re-match Game,” Derrix said.

J.A. reported, “The General is slow to get up.  He’s hobbling to the glymog.”

“Time is running out in this final session of this re-match game,” Derrix stated.

J.A. said, “He’s wobbling inside the glymog.”

“The enforcer handed him the sludder,” Derrix added.

“He’s leaning back.  He throws.  He scores!  He puts the Generals even farther ahead,” J.A. reported excitedly.

Derrix said, “The visiting crowd is screaming.”

“The Horned Hares have the sludder as time is running out in this Re-match game,” J.A. said.  “They are charging.  They are going for two.  They score!  How they’re playing like a team.  They score two points in the closing seconds of this contest.”

“The Generals have the sludder.  The Horned Hares are all fighting for it.  If the Horned Hares can take control of the sludder and quickly score two points, they can tie the game,” Derrix stated.

J.A. reported, “As the seconds on the clock count down, the fans on both sides of the stadium are standing on their seats.  They’re throwing their snacks into the air and onto the playing field.”

“The battle for the sludder continues on the Generals side of the playing field as the final seconds tick off of the clock,” said Derrix.

“The Generals fans are yelling, six…five…four…three…two…one…,” J.A. said.

Derrix reported excitedly, “The re-match game is over.  The Generals fans are screaming, Generals … Generals...  Generals … Generals … They’re throwing their remaining snacks into the air.”

“The Horned Hares fans are upset.  I can hear boos coming from the home side of the stadium,” J.A. reported.

Tonnus and Estra Kin are standing on their seats.  They are throwing their snacks into the air while yelling, “Boo,” as loudly as they can.

“These Horned Hares fans may feel that their team did not play at their highest level.  I’m sure their also worried about their star player,” said Derrix.

J.A. said, “The Horned Hare fans are not happy.  I can see a lot of them leaving.”

“The Generals fans are still standing on their seats,” Derrix reported, “They’re chanting Generals … Generals…  Generals…  They’re throwing their snacks into the air.  They have redemption.  The Generals are expressing their thanks to the loyal fans.  They’re waving to the crowd as walk off the field.”

“I don’t see Mr. Grexenn anywhere.  He has to be disappointed and worried.  Zith Fleen is a very valuable member of this team.  Wyluxx City TV Sports  and Wyluxx City Times will be reporting that the last game was a fluke and the Generals deserve to be in “It’s the Rallies,” J.A. said.

Derrix replied, “I can picture the ginormous controversy that this game will generate – both in the locker room and in the community.  I just thought the rivalry was heated between these two teams before.”

“The enmity between these two teams and their fans is sure to grow.  I will continue to wear my red Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk cap proudly even though it may cause controversy,” said J.A.

Derrix summarized, “To recap, in this high scoring, “It’s the Rallies” game, the Wyluxx City Generals have defeated the Kinkorx Horned Hares by the score of ten to eight.  Zith Fleen, the star player for the Horned Hares was severely injured with some type of head injury, perhaps life threatening, at the close of this game.  Everyone at Kinkorx TV Studios wishes him a speedy and full recovery.”

“I am Derrix Weyd, Kinkorx TV Sports Anchor and the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  My co-announcer has been J.A. Ireland.  This has been an, “It’s the Rallies” championship sports broadcast of Kinkorx TV Sports.”

“And cut,” said Stin Gismurr Kinkorx TV program director.

“It’s been fun working with you again, J.A.,” said Derrix.

J.A. replied, “It has been fun.  I hope Zith Fleen is all right.  I get to write my column and wait for the response.  A lot of fans will be upset when they get the news.”

Meanwhile
Tonnus and Estra Kin were walking toward their car.  Estra was expressing her dissatisfaction with the Horned Hares and her concern for Zith Fleen as they disappointedly walked.  “…The Generals were ahead the entire game.  I can’t believe the Horned Hares didn’t play harder.  If Zith Fleen is badly injured, the hares won’t go much farther in “It’s the Rallies.”  We can forget about another championship…,” Estra continued to complain as they entered Tonnus’ car and drove home.  “I hope Zith Fleen is ok…,” she said as they drove while she continued to talk.

At Kinkorx Mirchester Hospital in Downtown Kinkorx

Zith Fleen was being rushed to the Emergency Room via ambulance with the gushing head wound.  The paramedics speeded under the long ER canopy.  “There comes the ambulance!”  Nurse Bennick said loudly to her ER Team as they waited and watched behind the glass entrance door.

The ambulance driver quickly slowed the medical van and stopped at the entrance as the ER Team rushed out.  “Open the door!”  yelled Nurse Bennick as she pounded on the rear door of the ambulance only seconds after it stopped.

As the medic driver quickly exited the medical van, the rear door flew open.

“Move!”  Nurse Bennick ordered loudly as she and her team jumped into the rear.  The attending paramedic stepped back to allow the emergency team to work.  When she saw the blood oozing through the blood soaked bandages on Zith Fleen’s head, she yelled.  “ BP!”

“35 over 20.  He’s still breathing.  I put a pint of blood in him.  I was preparing another.  I can’t stop the hemorrhaging,” the frantic paramedic reported with blood covered hands and shirt.

Nurse Bennick shouted to her team, “Get him in ER—Move!”

Her team frantically pulled the gurney out of the ambulance.  They dropped the legs.  “Move!” she ordered loudly.

The ER Team ran toward the entrance while pushing Zith Fleen.  He continued to hemorrhage severely from the head wound as they ran.  They rushed into the hospital.

As the team hurried past admittance, Nurse Bennick yelled.  “Page Dr. Altir.  Get her into surgery STAT!”

The team continued to run down the corridor as they tried frantically to control the bleeding.  They stopped at the elevator.  One of the nurses pushed the down button.  “Come on!  Come on!” said another nurse with irritation as they waited while continuing the first aid.

In only seconds, the doors opened.  There were several passengers inside.  “Out!  Move!” yelled Nurse Bennick.

As the visitors and staff rushed out of the elevator, they saw the patient as his head continued to hemorrhage.  Blood covered his upper body.  The gurney had puddles of blood on it.  Nurse Bennick and her team rushed into the open elevator with the dying—Zith Fleen.  “Down!”  Bennick ordered.

The doors closed.  The elevator began to drop to the bottom floor – “SURGERY”

The doors opened.  “Move!” ordered Bennick.

The team rushed out of the elevator and along the cold, sterile hallway toward Brain Surgery.  They entered the disinfected, deadly serious operating room.  Dr. Altir and her staff of brain surgeons use this operating room for their most life threatening surgeries.

As the ER Team began to prep their dying patient, the brain surgery team rushed into the room.  “We’ll take it from here,” said Nurse Lacci Greene, Dr. Mi Altir’s Head Surgery Nurse.

Nurse Greene and her team frantically and speedily began to prepare the blood covered, dying patient for emergency brain surgery.  “BP?”  Nurse Greene asked.

“20 over 11!  We’re losing him!” the nurse replied with panic.

“Get more blood pumping—STAT!”  Greene ordered.

The nurse quickly prepared a bag of blood  whole the other nurses frantically connected the series of wires and tubes to the almost dead patient.

Dr. Altir rushed into the room.  “Vitals!” she demanded.

“His BP’s dropping.  10 over 7.  He stopped breathing.  He’s CODE BLUE!”

“I’m having more blood pumping,” said Nurse Greene.

“Pump it fast!  I’m not losing my patient!”  Dr. Altir ordered sharply.

“He’s still Code Blue!” said the nurse as she monitored.

“How long?” asked Dr. Altir loudly.

“Sixty seconds!” the monitoring nurse replied.

“Get that blood pumped—fast!  Get the ventilator started,” Dr. Altir ordered.

The nurses frantically worked to insert the vent tube down Zith Fleen’s throat as he lie on the operating table.  Blood continued to hemorrhage from his head wound while not breathing.  His pulse was non-existent.

“How long?” asked Dr. Altir as she prepared to operate on the gushing head wound.

“Three minutes!” said the monitoring nurse as the blood hemorrhaged onto the sterile steel table and flood.

“Keep the blood pumping!  He’s hemorrhaging everywhere!” said Dr. Altir, “Prepare for surgery!”

The team continued to frantically prep the Code Blue patient as he continued to bleed from the huge gash in his head.  His upper body and the operating table was covered in blood.  Blood was running onto the floor as new blood was being bumped into him.

“How long?”  Dr. Altir asked as she frantically prepared to operate.

“Six minutes thirty seconds!” the monitoring nurse reported as the team continued to frantically prepare Zith Fleen for surgery.

Zith Fleen continues to hemorrhage onto his clothing and table as they frantically worked.

Dr. Altir hurriedly prepared for the emergency surgery.  “How long?” she asked.

“Ten minutes!” said the monitoring nurse, loudly.

As the gushing blood continued, Dr. Altir completed the final preparations.  She said, “I’m ready.  Let’s begin.”  Dr. Altir began the brain surgery on Zith Fleen, the star Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player.

As she began to repair the deep, gushing wound, she asked, “How long did the patient’s brain go without oxygen?”

“Just over twelve minutes,” said the nurse.

“Log in the patients records, twelve minutes without breathing.  Probable brain damage,” ordered Dr. Mi Altir.

Dr. Altir and her highly skilled surgery nurses began the process of repairing Zith Fleen’s large, deep head wound.  This surgery would take Dr. Altir and her nurses many hours to complete.

As the surgery continued, reporters and their camera crews from Kinkorx TV News and Wyluxx City TV News camped in the hospital.  The reporters wanted the exclusive story on Zith Fleen, the star Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player and the surgery—the minute it was over.

Twenty-Three Hours Later
Dr. Mi Altir was exhausted as she exited the operating room and walked toward the lounge.  As she slowly walked, she muttered, “I need coffee.”

The exhausted surgical team nurses carefully rolled Zith Fleen out of the surgery room.  They moved him to critical care where he would be monitored very closely every second.

As Dr. Altir approached the doctor’s lounge, the reporters and camera technicians that were lying on the hospital corridor floor, jumped up.  The group immediately blocked Dr. Altir’s path.

Pymur Muxx, roaming reporter for Kinkorx TV News asked, “Dr. Altir, what can you tell us about Zith Fleen’s condition?”

The cameras flashed her photo as the reporters shoved their microphones into her attractive face.

“I am Dr. Mi Altir—Chief of Brain Surgery,” she began, “My team and I performed a twenty-two hour emergency brain surgery on Zith Fleen.  He is in critical condition.  His brain went twelve minutes without oxygen.  He lost a lot of blood before we were able to get his vitals stabilized.  His head and brain damage are extensive and severe.  He has permanent damage to his anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles as well as other severe damages.  I also had to rebuild parts of his cranium.”

Wyluxx City TV News roaming reporter Qyis Moyy asked, “Dr. Altir, doesn’t damage to that part of the brain often times result in antisocial personality and psychopathy disorder?”

All Mi Altir could think about was coffee as she replied, “That’s correct.  Only time will tell what the effects of the injuries will be on Zith.  We’ll have to wait and see as he recovers.”

Pymur followed, “Do you think he will return to the Kinkorx Horned Hares?”

Mi Altir replied as she was fading, “Let’s take it one step at a time.  Zith Fleen is in for a long recovery.  For now, he’s in critical condition.  He’ll be here for at least a month—maybe longer.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I Really need a cup of coffee.”

“Of course,” said Pymur as Dr. Altir walked past them toward the lounge.

Both reporters began their summations as the camera techs recorded.

Pymur Muxx said, “That’s the latest on Zith Fleen, the star mesnuk player for the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  He is out of emergency brain surgery – a surgery that took twenty-two hours to complete.  He’ll be here for at least a month.  After that, we’ll have to wait and see.  At this point, it’s safe to report that his return to the horned hares is extremely doubtful.  I’m Pymur Muxx, reporting live from Kinkorx Mirchester Hospital.”

Chapter Three

Fourteen Months Ago

Zith Fleen was sitting next to the campfire in his friends cave in the open Sesla desert.  He was released from the hospital over two months ago.  His head injuries were still healing.  His headaches were still severe.  He was now, very uncomfortable around anyone—except his friend.

He had found this cave at night when he was hunting for food two months ago.  He was lucky.  The caves only inhabitant—besides scorpions; a large, female, grey wolf that wasn’t hungry the night he wandered into her den.  It was only due to her already full stomach that he wasn’t eaten.

Over time, she grew to except him as a dweller in her den.  Maybe her mother’s instincts began.  Zith didn’t know or care.  He was happy to have a friend and shelter.

As Zith remained in the cave while continuing to heal, she caught rabbits and other prairie animals and brought them to him.  He cooked in the cave while dwelling there as he continued to recover.

Zith and the wolf quickly became friends.  He named her Neechehe.

“Good girl,” he said as he rubbed her fur, “You’re the only one that I can trust.  You’re the only friend I have.”

He was cooking a rabbit over the flames from the campfire that his friend Neechehe, the large, female, grey wolf, had caught for him.  “It’s almost ready.  Would you like to share my dinner with me, Neechehe?”

He ripped off a piece of meat and handed it to her.  Neechehe sniffed the cooked meat and turned away.  “I know you like the taste of raw meat and blood.  You’ve probably already eaten your fill.  There’s no shortage of rabbits in the desert.  Thank you for bringing me this one.  Without you, I would not survive.  I’m still not able to hunt.  My head hurts too badly,” Zith said.

He began to rip off pieces of cooked desert hare and eat them as he rubbed Neechehe’s soft fur.  “You know Neechehe, he said, “I believe you think of me as one of your wolf pups.  I can tell by your belly that you’ve had a litter.  You’ve never said what happened to your pups or how many you’ve had.  Maybe someday, I’ll meet one of them.  That would be nice.”  He continued to eat his rabbit and talk.  He rubbed to his friend’s fur as the night continued.

“Did you know I was a star mesnuk player for the Kinkorx Horned Hares?  It’s true.  I bet you’d have never guessed.  I am short—that’s for sure.  I won many games all by myself.  I could out run all the players on my team.”

He continued to rub Neechehe’s fur and tell her about his glory years as a mesnuk player in high school, college, and professional, as he enjoyed the cooked rabbit.  “I played mesnuk in high school.  I bet you didn’t know that.  I was good.  I wasn’t as short then.  I was fast.  I could outrun everyone.”

Neechehe lay on the cave floor contently as he rubbed her soft fur and ate while talking.  “When I was in college, my height started to become an issue.  I was still fast.  I scored many points.  Some of the players were so big.  I was fast and tough.”

He continued to rub Neechehe’s fur after he had finished eating his rabbit.  “You can understand a lot of what I’m telling you.  I can tell by the look in your eyes that you understand.  When I was nearing the end of college, not only my height but also my family heritage was going against me.  You see Neechehe, I’m a Pirtt.  Folks don’t much like Pirtts.  We’re the low-life coteries of the desert.  Well, I guess we’re the low-life of Sesla – actually.”

Neechehe seemed to have a confused look on her face.  “You look confused Neechehe.  It would be kind of like a small, ugly wolf in a pack of big, beautiful wolves like you.  Some wolves would naturally not like the other wolf because it was different.  That’s kind of what it’s like for me.  Because I’m a short Pirtt, coteries naturally don’t like me.  I had no chance of playing professional mesnuk after college because of that.  That is until Mr. Grexenn bought the horned hares.  I got my shot because of him.”

Neechehe seemed to look happy again as he rubbed her fur.  “Just because Mr. Grexenn and Coach Mydos  liked me, didn’t mean the other players liked me.  First, they began to avoid me off the field.  I tried to talk to them.  They shunned me.  Before long, they abandoned me on the field as well.  I was scoring most of the points during the games before my head injury.  I was playing really hard.  My teammates seemed to forsake me.”

Neechehe looked sad again as he continued to rub her fur while telling the story about his career ending head wound.  His head began to hurt again as he remembered.  “The last game I played was against the Wyluxx City Generals.  I was the only member of my team that was trying to win.  My teammates were leaving me all alone to be beaten up by the Generals.  I was taking one big hit after another.  I was covered in bruises.  The game was almost over.  I was all alone again and going for two when one of the Generals hit me so hard, I went flying.  The next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital.  I had this horrible head injury.”  He moved the flowing hair on his head and showed Neechehe the scar.

“The way my team left me alone on the field, I’m lucky I wasn’t severely injured sooner.  I never got any back up or protection.  It was like they wanted me to get hurt to get me off the team,” he insisted.  Neechehe looked sad again as he spoke.

Zith said while holding his head, “My head is hurting really bad again, Neechehe.  I’m going to sleep now.  That’s the only thing that helps.”

Thirteen Months Ago

At the Kinkorx Horned Hares Practice Field in Downtown Kinkorx

“Today was another dismal practice,” Coach Mydos said angrily and loud.  “I better start seeing more speed and more scoring or some of you are going to be looking for another job –and soon!  Not one of you is giving me your best!  The way many of you are playing, we don’t stand a chance in “It’s the Rallies.”  When you come to practice tomorrow, you had better be ready to play.  I want to see some speed and scoring.  Hit the showers.”

Coach Jo Mydos was angry as he shook his head while walking to his office.  He said as he angrily walked, “We need a leader on this team.  No one has stepped up since we lost Zith Fleen.  Do I ever miss him?  He gave his best every day.”

The tired and sweaty horned hares ran into the locker room.  “Coach Mydos was in a bad mood again today.  We’re all giving our best,” said Nead Beeing, the horned hare player as he prepared for the shower.

The players hurried into the group showers.  “We all better start working harder.  No one wants to lose their job,” said Team Captain, Guiss Korter.

“Guiss is right.  If we lose our mesnuk jobs, no other teams will hire us.  The pay for jobs out there is lousy.  We better start working harder,” said Cottir Greem, Zith Fleen’s former University of Kinkorx mesnuk teammate.

The players knew to quickly shower and exit the locker room.  Coach Mydos had a reputation of making loitering players run laps when he was in a bad mood.  The players quickly finished their cleanup and dressing.  They evacuated the facility.

As he always did, Nead Beeing began walking home.  He lived in the old, downtown district – not far from where Zith Fleen lived before his career ending head injury.

Nead was a Horned Hare before Zith Fleen walked onto the field to try-out for the team – several years ago.  He and Zith seemed to have conflicts almost from the start.  Zith was faster than Nead and he always scored more points.  Almost from the day Zith was hired as a Kinkorx Horned Hare, Nead seemed to have issues with him and avoided him.

Over time, the other players began to have problems with Zith as well.  Some of the players merely sided with their friend, Nead.  Without any real reason other than that, the group that avoided Zith Fleen became larger.

As the rumors of the team’s internal conflicts began to emanate from the Horned Hares players into the public, the coaches defended Zith Fleen.  He was usually their top scorer and defensive player.  That always earned him the coach’s favor.

Over time, the conflicts between Zith Fleen and Nead Beeing grew.  Nead secretly conceived a plan to abandon and forsake Zith on the playing field.  It was Nead’s plan to cause a severe injury to Zith –thus getting him off the team.  That same plan ultimately caused his head injury – thus ending his mesnuk career.

Nead Beeing’s secret plan to hurt Zith Fleen wasn’t as big of a secret as he thought.  Several of Zith’s closest teammates had privately warned him of the plan and its orchestrator— Nead Beeing.  They had secretly warned Zith to watch his back.

As Nead Beeing was walking home through old, downtown Kinkorx, he was worried about the threats that Coach Mydos was making – lately.  He knew his performance on the practice and playing fields were less than remarkable.  He was in jeopardy of losing his job and he knows it.

He walked along the old, spooky section of downtown Kinkorx, with the old, creepy, abandoned warehouses and scary alleyways.  As he walked, he caught a glimpse of a shadowy silhouette that seemed to be following him.  “Who goes there?  Who are you?” he asked as fear gripped him.

His fit heart began to race in his muscular chest as he walked along the old, creepy streets of old downtown Kinkorx.  He soon saw two shadows silhouettes following him.  One looked like a coterie.  One looked like a large animal.  “Who are you?  What do you want?” he asked loudly as he hurriedly walked along the creepy, twilight streets.

As he hurried along the spooky, shadowy streets at twilight, while seeing the two silhouettes shadows following him, he ask loudly, “Who…Who are you?  What do you want?”  His heart was pounding in his chest as he began to run toward his small, rented apartment.

As he ran, the two shadowy silhouettes started getting closer.  “Who are you?” he screamed frantically and loudly as he ran.

As he turned and ran down the darkening alley toward his apartment, the two twilight shadows closed in.  The large animal used its powerful jaws and grabbed his legs from behind.  The animal pulled him to the ground.  The shadowy, hooded Seslean grabbed his head.  The large animal viciously ripped huge gashes in his legs as it bit and twisted.  The coterie mercilessly attacked his head and face with a crowbar.  Blood was splattering on the pavement as the Kinkorx Horned Hare was being beaten and ripped apart.

Before long, as the vicious attack continued, Nead Beeing’s legs were ripped off.  Blood was splattering onto the pavement.  The large animal began attacking his arms and torso.  The hooded Seslean continued with the all-out assault on the mesnuk players head and face.  Blood was splattering everywhere as the animal ripped one arm off the torso – then the other.

After crushing the mesnuk player’s cranium and face, he began to rip the head from the torso.  With a lot of help from his friend, he quickly succeeded at his mission.  With blood everywhere, including on them, the body of Nead Beeing was beaten, slashed, and dismembered.  The hooded coterie put the body parts in a large bag.  He – with his animal friend at his side, hurried away with the body parts.

The hooded Seslean was completely unaware that a local resident observed the gruesome murder.  The resident silently watched as he and his animal friend murder, slashed, and dismembered the Kinkorx Horned Hares player, Nead Beeing.

Together, the two horrific murderers carried the body parts to a major road.  Zith dumped the bloody segments next to a section of road that was well driven – thus assuring the dismembered body would be found quickly.

Meanwhile
Detective Jynn Reedier and Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh, of the Kinkorx Police Department were called to Joddi Smythe’s apartment in the old district of downtown Kinkorx.  The eighty-five year young widow and retired grocery store worker reported a murder.

As the two detectives questioned Mrs. Smythe, a team from the police lab was combing the crime scene for evidence.

“Mrs. Smythe, tell us exactly what you saw out of your kitchen window.  Take your time,” said Detective Reedier.

As Mrs. Smythe sat on her small, living room couch she began, “It was getting dark.  But I could still see.  This person was wearing a sweat suit.  He was running.  He looked scared.  He looked to be in good shape.  He turned the corner in front of my kitchen window.  He was right out there.”  She pointed.  “A big wolf attacked him from behind.  The wolf grabbed his legs.  It was very large.  It started tearing the poor man to pieces.  Then a person wearing ahead started beating the man with a crowbar.  I couldn’t see his face.  He kept hitting the poor, helpless, man in the head with the crowbar.  The big wolf kept ripping the man apart.  It was an awful sight.  There was blood everywhere.  It looked like a horror movie.  They ripped the man to pieces.  The hooded figure put the pieces into a big bag.  Whoever it was ran away with the bag and the wolf followed.”

“Are you sure you couldn’t see the killer’s face?” asked Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh.

She replied, “The person was wearing a hood…Oh—I just remembered, whoever it was, they were really short – if that helps.  The wolf was big and grey.  That’s all I can tell you.  My husband liked horror movies.  It looked like something he would watch on TV.”

“If you think of anything else, Mrs. Smythe, you can contact us at the police department.  He’s my card and thank you,” said Detective Reedier as he handed her his business card.

“We’re really sorry about the loss of your husband,” Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh said as they began exiting her apartment.  After they stepped through the old door into the night, she closed and locked the door.

“The killer is short.  That’s not much to go on,” said Lieutenant Neuyh as they walked toward their police car in the darkness.

“When’s the last time you saw a large grey wolf in downtown Kinkorx?” asked Detective Reedier as they walked.

Lieutenant Neuyh looked bewildered.  “I’ve never heard of a grey wolf anywhere in Kinkorx – definitely not in the downtown district.  Wolves stay in the desert—away from coteries.

“Do you believe the woman’s story?” asked Reedier as they walked closer to the car.

Neuyh replied, “I believe the story she told us is what she thinks she saw.”

“Let’s get back to the precinct and file the reports,” said Detective Reedier as they climbed into the police car.

Lieutenant Neuyh started the motor and pulled away into the night.  He replied as he drove, “Maybe the lab will find more to go on.”

The two detectives drove back to the police station.

In the darkness of night, the lab team continued to investigate the crime scene while collecting blood samples and other evidence.

The Next Day

Kinkorx Police Headquarters

The police lab team had completed their investigation of the crime scene in downtown Kinkorx.  Their findings were consistent with the eyewitness’ report.  The animal that helped to dismember the Kinkorx Horned Hares player, Nead Beeing was a very large grey wolf.  There was desert sand present at the crime scene that helped to narrow the search.  The Kinkorx Police Department was now searching for someone in the desert between Kinkorx and Wyluxx City – not far from the Wyluxx Highway.  The sand was from that area of the desert.

Early the next morning, the Kinkorx Police Department, led by Police Chief Aazon Pomur  drove away from the Kinkorx Police Station and began their search.  The group of Kinkorx Police Cars, equipped with police dogs, drove toward Wyluxx City.

As they reached the outer-limits of Kinkorx, they continued on the Wyluxx Highway toward Wyluxx City.  They would begin their hunt along this highway in the open desert.

Thirty minutes into the desert, Police Chief Pomur said over his police radio, “The sand sample was from this area of the desert.  Let’s start here – pull over.”

The squadron of police stopped on the side of the sandy highway.  They exited their police cars.  They loaded their firearms and readied the tracking dogs.  Chief Pomur addressed his officers, “This killer is extremely dangerous.  He uses a wolf to help with the kills.  I want the coterie alive.  Kill the wolf!” said Chief Pomur, “Let’s go!  Let’s find our killer!”

As Sesla’s sun was rising in the early morning sky, the police, led by the tracking dogs, began their search.  They trudged into the colorful, majestic desert.  The ancient stone formations and flowering plants were breathtaking to view as they hurried into the desert.  They were leaving a wide trial of footprints and paw prints on the multi-colored sand as they ventured.  The officers were too enthralled in their search to enjoy the aromatic fragrances from the multitude of full bloom desert flowers and plants.

They hurried along the rolling, multi-colored sand hills and around the magnificent stone formations, while being led by the tracking dogs.  “Check in there!”  Chief Pomur ordered as he pointed to a cave in the rock formation.

“I’m on it Chief,” Detective Jynn Reedier said loudly as he directed his tracking dog toward the opening in the stone formations.  As the Seslean tracking dog pulled the Detective closer to the opening, the others waited.

With his heart pounding from anxiety, Reedier and his dog entered the dark, creepy cave.  They looked around as they continued further into the dark, scorpion infested, cave.  As Reedier approached the back of the cave, he said, “Nothing’s living in this cave except scorpions.  Let’s go.”  He and his dog hurried back to the entrance.  As they walked out of the cave and into the open air, he said loudly, “All clear Chief!”

“That way,” Chief Pomur ordered.  He pointed to a distant stone formation.

While being pulled by their tracking dogs, the team of police officers trudged through the deep, multi-colored sand toward the next stone formation.  “The dogs aren’t picking up any scent,” said Aqe Neuyh, Police Lieutenant.

“Check in there!”  Chief Pomur instructed as he pointed.

“Got it chief!”  Lieutenant Neuyh responded.  He and his tracking dog entered the small cave.  Neuyh looked around the small, one room, short ceiling cave.  “There’s not much room in here.  It’s empty.  Let’s go,” he said as they exited.

Neuyh said loudly, “All clear Chief!”

“Come on!  The killer’s probably deeper into the desert.  Keep moving!” said Chief Pomur.  The group marched deeper into the multi-colored desert as the tracking dogs led.

“Over that next bluff.  There’s another cave,” Detective Reedier stated.

Chief Pomur replied loudly, “Check it out!”

“Right Chief!” said Reedier.  He and his tracker dog hurried toward the next cave.  As they approached, his dog started barking.  “He’s got a scent!” yelled Reedier.

Reedier and his dog approached the cave as the dog barked loudly.  “He’s got something!” yelled Reedier.  Reedier’s heart pounded with fear as he entered the cave behind the dog.  His dog continued to bark violently.

As he and his tracker dog searched through the dark cave for what the scent was, a large horned hare raced out of the cave.  The other dogs went crazy as the large rabbit ran away as fast as its long legs would take it.  Reedier and his dog exited the cave.  “It has just a rabbit!” he said loudly with relief as his fear abated.

“Did you see those horns?” asked Neuyh.

Reedier replied, “Yes – They’re huge!”

Chief Pomur ordered loudly, “Keep going!  I know our killer is somewhere around here!”

“Chief, we’ve been out here for two hours and found nothing.  Maybe the sand at the crime scene came from somewhere else,” Detective Jynn Reedier whined loudly as his out of shape legs cramped.

“Keep moving!”  Pomur yelled angrily.

The posse of police officers and tracking dogs continued to trudge along the hills and valleys over the multi-colored sand.  They walked around countless flowering plants as they searched through the sandy desert.  Their tracking dogs were leading them deeper into the open, vast, Seslean desert.  As they passed several ancient stone formations, they checked for caves.  They found none.

As Detective Reedier’s legs continued to cramp, he began to complain again.  “This hunt is fruitless.  Before we get too deep in the desert, we should go back.  Maybe the sand came from somewhere else,” he said as he paused to catch his breath and rest his cramping legs.

“That’s the problem with detectives – you’re all lazy.  Keep moving!” shouted Chief Pomur.  The group continue their search across a desert.  The officers were still too engulfed in their mission to enjoy the sweet, aromatic fragrances from the multitude of flowering plants and bushes that flourished in the Seslean desert.  They were viewing the many ancient, majestic, stone formations as nothing more than a place for a killer to hide.

“Around those rocks!”  Chief Pomur shouted.

The exhausted team of out of shape police officers followed their boss’ orders.  As the dogs pulled them across the multi-colored sand, they hurried around the very large stone formation.  “Over that bluff!” yelled the persistent Chief.

The officers trudged around the large stones – toward the distant bluff.  “My legs are killing me,” muttered Reedier.

“Keep it down.  You don’t want to make the Chief any madder.  None of us are in very good shape,” said his friend, Aqe Neuyh.

“When the chief thinks he’s onto something, he doesn’t stop.  He’s killing us,” said Reedier as he struggled along the sand with his tracking dog pulling him while barking.

“That’s why he’s the chief – I guess,” Neuyh added as he was being pulled by his tracking dog.  “My legs are cramping too.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take – either.”

Reedier replied as he panted for breath, “I think we’re on a crazy hunt.  I’ll bet the killer is nowhere near here.”

“I don’t believe a word about the pet wolf – do you?” asked Neuyh as he limped slightly while following.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.  A pet wolf that helped this killer maul his  victim,” said Reedier as he paused for a moment to catch his breath and ease the cramps.

“A wolf that goes into downtown Kinkorx—into the slumps,” said Neuyh as he stops to breathe, “and works as a partner to dismember a victim.”

“Even though the lab confirmed Mrs. Smythe’s story, I still think it’s craziest,” said Reedier as he stood while catching his breath.  His dog continued to tug at him and bark as he stood still breathing hard.

Chief  Pomur looked back angrily at his two slacking officers.  “You two having a party back there?  We have a killer to catch.  Keep moving!”  he ordered loudly.  He was becoming more and more angry at the laziness of his officers.

They continued to trudge along the sand while persisting in their search.  They searched over hills and into small valleys.  They searched inside numerous caves while looking for the killer.

After a lengthy time of hunting, the officers began to slow and complain again.  “We’re getting tired, Chief,” Reedier protested as he walked.

The chief’s patience with his team was beginning to wear thin.  Before long he exploded.  “You’re all a bunch of out of shape cops!  Stop your whining!  I can’t believe how out of shape you all are!” he said angrily as he continued.

“I told you we were going to make the chief mad,” said Aqe Neuyh as he followed.

“We better keep up with the group.  Detectives who get on the wrong side of the Chief don’t last long,” Reedier warned as he picked up his pace as his dog pulled.

“I don’t want to move to the wet lands for a job.  I want to stay away from the Gang of Five and the Joqzonions as long as possible,” said Neuyh as he hurried while being pulled by his tracking dog.  “Let’s pick up our pace before the Chief gets really mad and fires us.”  Their dogs pulled them and barked loudly as they increased their speed while pursuing the rest of the team.

The team continued to struggle along the multi-colored sand for hours.  Their legs were cramping badly.  While searching for an unknown killer and being pulled by their tracking dogs, they continued to search one rock formation after another.

Their search was now into the fifth hour.  Sesla’s sun was shining proudly in the afternoon sky.  They were journeying deeper into the colorful, magical desert.

“Over that next bluff!” the chief ordered loudly.

With frustration, the exhausted team followed the chief’s orders.  They struggled to the next sand formation.  As they fought their cramps and walked around the long formation, they approached a small, varmint hole in the sand.  The dogs began to act wildly and bark loudly as they approached the small opening in the multi-colored sand.

Reedier said exhaustedly, “Chief.  I think we found something.”

“Look inside!”  Pomur ordered loudly.

The tired detective asked with alarm, “You mean, stick my head in that hole?”

“Do have a problem with that?”  Pomur responded with anger.

Reedier replied with great concern for his face, “No Chief.”

As the dogs continued to act crazy and bark, the tired detective bent down.  He cautiously looked inside the small hole in the wall of the colorful sand.  When he saw nothing but an empty, very small hollow in the sand, he breathed a sigh of relief.  “It’s very small and empty – Chief.”

As Reedier stood, he opened his canteen and began to drink.

“Go easy on that water.  We might be out here for a while,” said Chief Pomur loudly.

With frustration, Reedier closed his police water flask.  “I was only having a quick sip,” he grumbled.

“Chief!  Over here!” said Neuyh as he pointed.

Chief Pomur looked in the direction Neuyh was pointing.  “What is it!” he asked angrily.  “I don’t see anything.”

“Wolf tracks!  Big…wolf tracks!”  Neuyh reported.

The team rushed toward Lieutenant Neuyh who was a short distance away.  Their dogs were going crazy as they pulled the officers across the sand toward the tracks.

“Let the dogs get a good whiff of those tracks,” said Chief Pomur, “I knew the killer was around here.”  He glared angrily at his officers as they stood exhausted and weary while catching their breathe.

The dogs were acting crazy and barking fiercely as they sniffed the scent of the large wolf that made the recent tracks in the colorful sand.  “There’re ready.  Follow the dogs!” yelled the Chief excitedly.

Their search was into the seventh hour.  Sesla’s sun was dropping in the late afternoon sky.  They began the search for the large wolf that made the tracks.  The officer’s legs were cramping and their thirst was becoming overpowering as they hurriedly trudged.

As the tracking dogs barked loudly, they pulled the officers along the multi-colored sand.  They passed by one stone formation after another.  The dogs pulled them along the sand and barked loudly as they pulled.  The officer’s legs cramped as they continued to follow the dogs as they tracked the large wolf.

The hours past as the dogs barked, howled, and tracked.  The team followed the large wolf tracks.  Sesla’s sun was drifting toward the evening horizon.  “It’ll be dark before long chief.  We’re deep in the desert.  Shouldn’t we abandon the search for today and start again tomorrow?” asked Reedier.

Chief Pomur yelled, “We’ll stop when we have our killer!  Not a minute sooner!”  The team continued to track the large wolf tracks into the evening.  They tracked the large wolf prints across numerous hills and valleys in the open desert.

“The wolf’s leading us deeper into the desert!” yelled Reedier.

Pomur responded, “It’s leading us to the den.  Keep following the dogs!”  he yelled.

The dogs continued to bark and howl as they pursued the wolf.  Farther and farther into the desert they trudged.  Sesla’s sun had slipped past the evening horizon.  The night sky was becoming visible as they stayed on the wolf’s trail.

The officer’s legs were aching—their mouths were dry.  Their stomachs were empty as they followed their dogs.  “How do we know the wolf isn’t leading us into the desert just to kill and eat us?” asked Aqe Neuyh loudly as he hurriedly walked.

Chief Pomur shouted angrily, “We don’t!  Keep on the trail!”

It was now dark.  The officers were hurrying along the sand while tracking by flashlight.  The dogs continued to bark, howl, and yelp, as they tracked the large wolf prints in the night desert.  “That wolf could be circling around for a surprise attack,” said Reedier.

The Chief said loudly as they pursued, “Anyone sees the wolf – shoot it on sight!”

As the night desert sky became more brilliant, they could see the billions of stars.  They could also see the blue, yellow, and red gaseous clouds that illuminated the night sky.  “The night sky in the desert sure is pretty,” said Aqe Neuyh as his tracking dog was pulling him.

The team continued to follow the tracks over hills and valleys and around gigantic stone formations as the dogs barked and howled excitedly.  Their legs were aching and they were becoming weak from hunger and thirst.  Their exhaustion was beginning to overtake them again.

The night was now fully dark as they pursued the tracks.  “It’s getting close to midnight, Chief.  How long are we going to follow these tracks?” asked Detective Reedier angrily and exhaustedly as the group trudged farther into the dark desert.

Pomur angrily replied, “We’ll continue until we find our killer.  Forget the time!  Keep moving!”

As the group followed the wolf tracks by flashlight, one of the dogs began to track away from the group.  “Chief!  This dog’s onto another scent,” said Reedier.

“Follow it.  You two – go with Reedier,” Pomur ordered while pointing.

The three followed the new trail.  They tracked in a different direction.  They followed the trail toward a large group of stones that were sticking up from the desert floor.

As the first group pursued the original tracks, suddenly the tracks and scent ended.  The dogs circled and sniffed without a direction.  “The wolf scent disappeared.  What happened?  ” asked Aqe Neuyh, Police Lieutenant.

“That’s one smart wolf.  It backtracked on us.  Let’s catch up with Reedier,” said Chief Pomur.  The first team pulled the dogs and turned them around.  They hurried toward Reedier and his team as their dogs began to bark and howl again.

Reedier and his team were pursuing a track that was leading them into the large stone formations –ahead.  It was after midnight.  The night sky was magical as the team followed the second tracks toward the large stones.

The first group soon caught up with Reedier and his team.  They reunited and all followed the second scent and tracks.  They were tracking by flashlight as they hurried along the hilly sand, as the tracking dogs barked and howled.

As the police team trudged closer to the stones, under the moonlight, they could see a cave.  Pomur said, “The tracks are leading straight to that cave.  Quiet down the dogs.  Our killer’s probably hiding in there.  Hopefully sleeping.  Let’s surprise whoever it is.”

With the dogs now quiet, the team silently approached the cave.

They quietly crept to the entrance.  Detective Reedier peaked inside.  He turned back to the group and reported, “There’s a small fire.  Somebody’s definitely living in the cave.”

“Draw your weapons,” Chief Pomur ordered while whispering.  “On the count of three, we rush the cave.”  The entire team silently pulled their firearms from their holsters.  They quietly removed the safeties.

Pomur whispered, “One…Two…Three.”  The entire team, including the tracking dogs, entered the large cave.  They had their firearms pointed and their flashlights shining as they rushed in.

The large wolf that they had been tracking growled ferociously as it lunged at them.  The wolf grabbed one of the dog’s necks in its powerful jaws.  The other police dogs ferociously attacked the large wolf as it continued the death grip on the yelping dog.

The battle between the wolf and police dogs was immense.  The vicious sounds of growling and barking could be heard for miles.  The dogs and wolf bit and gnawed each other as the officers tried to get a clear shot at the wolf.  Fur flew into the air as the ferocious battle raged.

“Boom!” sounded Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh’s Police rifle.

The wolf yelped and released its death grip on the police dog’s throat.  It leaped over the dogs.  In a flash, it darted out the entrance of the cave and into the darkness.

“I think I wounded it!”  Lieutenant Neuyh shouted with excitement.

Detective Reedier added with excitement, “Good shot Neuyh!  I think you got it.  That grey wolf was huge.”

“I’ve never seen a grey wolf anywhere near that big.  Is everyone ok?  Are the dogs ok?” asked Chief Pomur.

Neuyh said, “The dogs got chewed a bit.  They’ll need to see the Vet when we get back— Rabies.”  He nodded to emphasize.

Pomur ordered, “Check the rest of the cave!  Our killer’s hiding somewhere in those tunnels.”

The team kept the dogs quiet as they began their search of the cave.  The cave was large and deep, with several caverns that tunneled in different directions.  “Split up!  We need to cover every inch of this cave—and Fast!”  Pomur ordered loudly.

He said to one of the officers.  “Stay by the entrance.  Make sure the killer doesn’t escape.  I want them alive!” he shouted as he pointed.

The officers split-up as there were several tunnels to search.  They no longer felt the exhaustion or hunger.  They were feeding on their desire to catch the killer.  Their adrenaline was flowing throughout their bodies.  Their hearts were pounding in their chests and their hands were sweaty as they gripped their firearms and flashlights.

Each officer slowly searched a section of the dark, creepy cave.  The search continued into the depth of night.  Each officer slowly and quietly walked along the dark, stone tunnels.  They constantly stepped on desert scorpions that were crawling in the cavern as they slowly walked.

As Lieutenant Neuyh turned a corner, while shining his flashlight and directing his dog, suddenly someone grabbed him from behind.  “Ha!” said Neuyh loudly.  He dropped his flashlight as he struggled with the attacker.

His tracking dog immediately attacked the stranger.  With the help of his dog, he quickly subdued the small attacker.  The battle only took seconds.

“Over here!” he yelled, “I’ve got the killer!”  Neuyh frantically wrestled with the restrained attacker.  Surprisingly to the Lieutenant, the attacker wasn’t putting up much of a fight.  He was easily overpowering his small attacker in the dark with the help of his dog.  “For a killer—you’re not very big or strong,” Neuyh said as he remained on top of the killer while overpowering him.

The flashlights came closer—Fast as the other officers and their dogs rushed to Neuyh’s aid.  Everyone shined their flashlights on the small Seslean man as Neuyh retained his controlling grip.  The dogs no longer remained quiet.  The growled and barked at the stranger.

As Neuyh continued to conquer, Pomur shined his light on the short coteries face.  The killer attempted to hide his face in the shadowy silhouettes of the dark cave.  “Cuff him,” ordered Chief Pomur with authority.

Detective Reedier removed his handcuffs from his belt.  He quickly secured the killer’s hands.  “Now—Let’s see who you are,” Reedier said.

“Don’t you recognize him?” asked the Chief, “That’s Zith Fleen – the mesnuk player who was injured in the game against the Generals.  If he’s our killer, I’d say his motive is revenge.”

“Let’s see if he’s our killer,” said Reedier.  He removed his small, portable, fingerprint kit from his detective’s belt.  As the officers shone their flashlights on him and their prisoner, he carefully made a thumbprint from the captive’s thumb.  Using his electronic detective tools, he compared it to the thumbprints that were recovered from the brutal dismemberment of the Kinkorx Horned Hares player in downtown Kinkorx.  “Chief,” he said.  “We have a match.  The lab will make the final call.  From what I can see, we have our killer.”

Pour ordered, “Read him his rights!”

Detective Reedier turned to Zith.  “You are under arrest for the murder of Nead Beeing.  You have the right to remain silent.  You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford one, an attorney will be issued to you…

After Detective Reedier issued Zith Fleen his legal rights, the group began to walk toward the entrance of the cave.  Two officers pulled their prisoner as the others shined their flashlights onto the cave walls and floor.

As they walked, while stepping on numerous scorpions and squishing them, they were surprised at the lack of resistance the killer was offering.  He was seemingly walking almost freely.  “You’re not fighting very much—for a killer,” said Neuyh as they walked.

It was after 3:00am when the police team left the cave.  “Follow our tracks,” ordered Chief Pomur.  The exhausted, hungry, and thirsty team walked, with their prisoner, along the dark sand as they trudged up one sandy hill and down another.  They walked around one stone formation after another – under the picturesque desert night sky.

As they walked, they exhaustingly viewed the brilliant stars, as well as the yellow, red, and blue gaseous clouds that added to the night skies splendor and beauty.  Some of them began to smell the fragrant flowers.  “I didn’t notice how wonderful the flowers smell in the desert.  The aromas are sweet,” said Neuyh exhaustingly as they walked while holding onto Zith Fleen.

“It’s a real flower garden out here,” Pomur said with irritation and sarcasm as he walked, due to his tiredness and hunger.  He looked at Zith while shinning the flashlight in his face and said, “For a killer—you’re awfully quiet.  This is when killers like you try to convince me you didn’t kill anyone.”

Zith remained speechless as they trudged under the spectacular desert night sky across the dark sand.  The team of police walked for several hours with their prisoner while following their previous tracks, as the late night slowly turned to early morning.  Due to exhaustion and hunger, the dogs remained quiet as they led the group across the desert sand.

Sesla’s morning sun was rising brilliantly in the sky when the team of officers finally arrived back at their cars.  “Get the prisoner loaded and locked in.  I don’t want him escaping,” Chief Pomur ordered with cramps and fatigue.

The very sleepy and hungry police officers put  Zith Fleen in the Chief’s squad car.  They locked him in.  They loaded their hungry, tired police dogs.  “Let’s go.  I want to get him locked into a jail cell as fast as possible,” said the very exhausted and irritable Chief.

The police officers entire bodies ached as they slowly entered their cars.  With complete exhaustion, they waited for the chief to start.  Chief Pomur turned on his red and blue flashing lights and siren.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo…,” screamed the chief’s siren.  He began to pull ahead with his prisoner in the back seat.

The other police followed suit.  They turned on their flashing lights and sirens.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,” the screaming sound of police sirens was deafening as the caravan of police cars followed the chief as he speeded back to the Kinkorx Police Station.

As they drove at a high speed, Chief Pomur radioed ahead to Police Officer Jitta ReFrex, “We caught the killer.  We’re bring him in – ETA thirty minutes.”

Thirty-Seven Minutes Later
The squadron of police cars with their screaming sirens, “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  and flashing red and blue spinning lights arrived at the Kinkorx Police Station.

Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx and Seqre Tarser roaming news reporter for Kinkorx Ultra -Modern Radio had just arrived on the scene.  Both news reporters were ready while in the police parking lot.  They were going to get the exclusive first story thanks to their inside informer.  It was Police Officer Jitta ReFrex’s responsibility to contact the Kinkorx TV and radio stations whenever Chief Pomur called in an ETA with a prisoner.

Chief Pomur and the other officers discontinued their sirens and flashing lights—then exited their police cars.  Chief Pomur and Detective Reedier opened the rear door and grabbed Zith Fleen.  He was doubled over with head pain as they pulled him out of the rear seat.

The two Executive Officers, while escorting their alleged murderer, approached the reporters and camera crew that were standing in front of the station door.

As they approached the media, Pymur Muxx and Seqre Tarser began their introductions of the exclusive, live reports.  “I am Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live from the Kinkorx Police Station.  Only moments ago, Police Chief Pomur and his team of top police officers arrived at the police station.  Chief Pomur, what can you tell us about your prisoner?”

The cameras flashed photo after photo of Chief Pomur, Detective Reedier, and their prisoner— Zith Fleen.  The live video techs recorded with their video cameras.  Zith winced from the continued head pain as it was exacerbated by the flashing lights.

Chief Pomur began his live statement.  “After collecting strong evidence from the crime scene.  The police lab informed me of where they thought the killer was hiding.  Yesterday morning my team set out on a hunt to find and apprehend the killer.  I am happy to report that after a twenty-six hour hunt through the desert, with tracking dogs, we caught the killer—”

Seqre Tarser interrupted and quickly asked, “Chief Pomur, isn’t that Zith Fleen—the former Kinkorx Horned Hare that received the career ending head injury during the game against the Generals?”

Pomur replied with anger and exhaustion, “That’s correct.  When the police lab confirms Detective Reedier’s findings.  We will have irrefutable proof that Zith Fleen is the killer.  When I charge him with the brutal murder of Nead Beeing, the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player, I will record revenge as the motive.  For now, I’m keeping him locked in my jail where he can’t Slash and dismember any more of the Kinkorx Horned Hares players.”

The camera technicians began snapping photos again of Zith Fleen as fast as their cameras would go.  They knew their best photos would be on the news wire within the hour.  Zith Fleen’s picture would be on the cover of every news story and newspaper on Sesla.  Their names would be on the pictures.

Chief Pomur was irritable and lethargic as he said, “We need to place our prisoner in a cell where he can’t escape and kill anyone else.  Then we all need to get some sleep.”  The photos continued to flash as the chief, his detective, and prisoner entered the police station.

The two reporters closed their live reports.

Pymur Muxx said, “Early yesterday morning, Chief Pomur and his officers began a twenty-six hour hunt that lead them deep into the desert off Wyluxx Highway…

Seqre Tarser began, “During a twenty-six hour hunt with police tracking dogs, Police Chief Pomur and his officers searched deep into the desert.  Chief Pomur and his team apprehended and arrested Zith Fleen for the brutal murder, dismemberment, and slashing of Nead Beeing, the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player.

We all remember the severe head injury Zith Fleen suffered at the end of a mesnuk game between the Horned Hares and the Generals several seasons ago.  That injury ended his fairy-tale professional mesnuk career.  During that same time, there were a number of strong rumors that were emanating from the Horned Hares locker room.  Those rumors concerned Zith Fleen.  Zith Fleen is now safely locked in Chief Pomur’s jail.  If Zith Fleen is found guilty of this brutal murder, Chief Pomur has stated that he will record revenge as the motive.  This is Seqre Tarser, reporting live from the Kinkorx Police Department on Kinkorx Ultra-Modern Radio.

Both reporters and their teams finished their exclusive, live reports.  They scurried to load their equipment into their vans so they could rush back to their TV and radio stations.  They wanted to broadcast their exclusive story over the news wire as fast as possible.

Meanwhile At The Home of Detective Maxx Zeqster
Maxx was sitting in his plush, recliner in his welcoming living room.  He was enjoying a cup of tea after his long morning stroll through his neighborhood streets in Bedsult.  He was watching the Kinkorx TV Breaking News Report as he rested from his early walk.

He thought as he watched the report while the broadcast switched back to the Kinkorx TV News Studio, “According to Chief Pomur, the next step is to carryout police testing on Zith Fleen to confirm that he is indeed the killer.”

Meez Broplen at Kinkorx TV News Studios continued:  “When we learn more about this shocking murder case we will immediately inform you.  This has been a Breaking News story live from the Kinkorx Police Station.  I am Meez Broplen, anchor for Kinkorx TV News, now back to our regular programming.”

After watching Pymur Muxx’s live report, Maxx said, “If Zith Fleen did murder Nead Beeing, he’s the most gruesome murderer we’ve ever had in this area.  He bashed in Nead Beeing’s head.  He slashed and dismembered the body.  Then he dumped it on the side of a busy road.  According to Chief Pomur, it was an act of revenge.  I wonder how many other Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk players he wants to slash, kill, and dismember as an act of revenge?”

Within An Hour
Due to the news wire, Zith Fleen’s photo was being pasted on the front page of every newspaper in the desert and the wet lands.  Zith Fleen was the top story on every news channel on Sesla as well.  A typical headline read:

Zith Fleen – The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher is Captured

Chapter Four

Twelve Months and Two Weeks Ago

At the Kinkorx Police Station

Zith Fleen had spent almost a week in the small jail cell while being restrained with hand and ankle cuffs.  He spent his time quietly lying or quietly sitting on the hard bed while planning his escape.  His continual headache had eased—for the moment.

Officer Yirre walked down the jail corridor toward Zith’s cell.  As he approached, he said loudly, “Today’s your lucky day, Zith.  You’re being transferred.”

Police Officer, Figua Yirre mockingly banged on Zith Fleen’s cell.  “How does that make your head feel?  I bet I’m giving you another headache.  You’re being transferred to Judge Lykun’s courtroom.  Are you going to miss me?  I’m sure going to miss you.”  He banged on the cell bars again as he started to leave.  “I’ll bet that cell was starting to feel like your new home,” he said as he walked down the corridor.

Only minutes later, Chief Pomur and Detective Reedier approached Zith’s cell.  As the chief opened the cell door, he asked, “How’s your head?”

Zith was holding his head as he said, “It was better before your officer banged on the bars.  How it’s splitting again.”

“Does it ever go away?” asked Detective Reedier.

“Not for very long.  I’ve had a constant headache since I woke up in the hospital after that mesnuk game.  Some days it’s minor – other days it pounds,” said Zith as he held his throbbing head.

“It’s bad now, isn’t it?” asked the chief.

Zith replied as he held his head, “It’s really pounding.”

“Can you walk?” asked Chief Pomur.

“I think so,” he said.  He slowly stood while keeping his hands on his throbbing head.

“I’ll need to keep the cuffs on while we transport you,” said Pomur.

“Just doing your job.  Nothing personal,” said Zith as he winced from the extreme throbbing in his head.

“Are the cuffs loose enough for circulation?”  Pomur asked as he checked them both.

Zith replied, “They’re the same as they’ve been for a week.”

Pomur said, “We can walk slowly.  Let’s go.  It’s a long drive to Jxobslyn.”

Chief Pomur and Detective Reedier escorted Zith Fleen out of the police station while other officers followed for security and drama.  The Kinkorx TV News along with other TV and radio news cameras with reporters were covering the transfer live.  The mass of reporters along with camera and video crew were waiting outside.

The live Breaking News Story was being broadcast via the news wire over every TV station and radio station on Sesla.

Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter, Pymur Muxx reported as his camera crew recorded.  “The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher is being transferred to Judge Yymi Lykun’s courtroom in Jxobslyn.  There he will receive a fair trial for the brutal slashing, killing, and dismembering of Nead Beeing, the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player…”

The police team escorted Zith Fleen toward their police vehicles.  The numerous reporters made their live reports.  The news video cameras recorded, and the photographers snapped picture after picture.  The group slowly walked to the waiting armored police van.

Zith was helped inside by Detective Reedier.  He was seated in the prisoner’s chair.  Reedier jumped inside the armored van as well.  He kept the doors open long enough for the cameras and reporters to see him apply the locking straps to Zith’s arms, legs, neck, and wrists.  Once he had strapped Zith in the seat, he closed the doors.  Police Lieutenant, Aqe Neuyh, locked the doors from the outside.

“Ready,” said Reedier to the driver by radio.

As the cameras flashed, the video cameras recorded, and the reporters detailed the event, the armored van driver drove out of the police station parking lot.  A group of police led and followed in their cars.

As Sesla’s sun was rising in the morning sky, the impressive team of police began the drive from the Kinkorx Police Station in downtown Kinkorx to the small desert town— Jxobslyn—in Xcuymir Territory.  In Jxobslyn, Zith Fleen would get his day in court before Judge Yymi Lykun.

Two Hours Later
The convoy of police personnel drove in front of the Xcuymir Territory Sheriff Department and Court House in Jxobslyn and parked.  The caravan of police vehicles occupied an entire block of legal and illegal parking spaces in front of the courthouse.

A large group of reporters and camera crews were waiting on the courthouse lawn.  They hurried toward the armored van.  The officers quickly exited their vehicles.  They walked toward the armored van as the reporters swarmed.

Chief Pomur and the other officers kept the crowd back as Police Lieutenant, Aqe Neuyh walked to the rear doors of the armored van.  He unlocked the doors and opened them.  “Everything ok in there?” he asked.

Reedier replied, “Fine.  Stay there while I unstrap the prisoner.  Keep those reporters back.”

The camera crews flashed photo after photo while reporters began their live videos.  Tymos Zindo, reporter for the Nivcozz Gazette, a daily newspaper in Zeeton Territory, began his live report, “The Kinkorx Horned Slasher is being unstrapped and taken inside to Judge Lykun’s courtroom…

Zith sat quietly as Detective Reedier removed the straps.  “How’s your headache?” asked Lieutenant Neuyh as he watched.

Zith replied, “It’s better now.”

“He slept the entire way,” said Reedier.

While being bound by the wrist and ankle cuffs, Zith slowly stood up.  He began to stagger and wobble.

“Careful,” said Reedier as he offered support.

Zith slowly struggled the few short steps to the back of the armored van.  With Lieutenant Neuyh’s help, Zith unsteadily  stepped down the steps to the street.

The large group of reporters and camera operators continued to swarm the armored van and Zith Fleen.  The camera crews continued taking one photo after another – as fast as their cameras would flash.  The reporters continued with their live Breaking News reports.

The flashes of light were igniting Zith’s headache again as he struggled to walk, while being surrounded by  Chief  Pomur  and the host of police officers.  The large collection of officers escorted Zith Fleen toward the courthouse as he struggled to walk with ankle and wrist cuffs.

The reporters were broadcasting their live reports from the lawn.  Kisli Deeme, reporter for the Horxant Register, a daily newspaper in Zeeton Territory, reported into her recorder, “The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher is being taken inside to Judge Lykun’s courtroom for trial…

As the reporters remained outside, Zith was escorted inside the courthouse and into Judge Lykun’s courtroom.

Several Hours Later
It was early afternoon and the reporters and camera crews were still sitting on the courthouse lawn.  They were waiting as Chief Pomur and his officers exit the courthouse.  The group of media jumped up and hurried to the Chief as they began their live broadcasts again.

“I am reporting live outside the courthouse in Jxobslyn.  Chief Pomur, what happened inside Judge Lykun’s courtroom?” asked Wyluxx City TV News roaming reporter Qyis Moyy.

Chief Pomur spoke into the host of microphones, “Today justice was served.  After hearing the overwhelming evidence, Judge Lykun found Zith Fleen guilty of the brutal murder and dismemberment of Nead Beeing, the Kinkorx Horned Hares player.”

Kisli Deeme, reporter for the Horxant Register asked, “What type of evidence was presented?”

Pomur replied, “There was considerable evidence that was found at the crime scene by our lab that matched the suspect.”

“What was Judge Lykun’s decision on sentencing,” asked Nivcozz Gazette reporter, Tymos Zindo.

“Judge Lykun sentenced Zith Fleen to life in prison at the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility.  Now if you will excuse me, we have a long drive back to our station.  After that, we have a lot more work to do,” said Pomur.

Wyluxx City Times, daily newspaper reporter, Wrux Frezew asked, “Where is Zith Fleen now?”

With irritation and a “There’s always one idiot in a crowd” look, he shook his head.  “At this moment Zith Fleen is being transported to the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  Excuse me!”

Chief Pomur and his staff began walking to their cars and vans.

The reporters began closing their live broadcasts.

One Hour Later
Sesla’s sun was moving across the afternoon sky as Pymur Muxx began his live broadcast.  “I am Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live from the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  In a courtroom full of shocking testimony earlier today, Judge Yymi Lykun of Xcuymir Territory sentenced Zith Fleen, the former Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player to a life sentence in the psychiatric wing of this facility.

My sources have informed me that during the closed to the media trial, Police Chief Aazon Pomur, of the Kinkorx Police Department, testified against Zith Fleen.  He presented evidence gathered from the crime scene by the Kinkorx Police lab.  The lab was sent to investigate the murder scene of the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player, Nead Beeing.  He was murdered in downtown Kinkorx.  The body was found later, dumped on the side of a main road.  His body was beaten, slashed, and dismembered.

Chief Pomur also presented strong evidence gathered from their desert hunt that linked  Zith Fleen to the murder scene and to the murdered body of Nead Beeing.

There was also an eyewitness at the murder scene that helped to identify Zith Fleen as the killer.

Also during the alarming trial, in a very unwise and unheard of event, against his council’s advice, Zith Fleen asked Judge Lykun if he could take the witness stand.  My sources have indicated to me that Zith Fleen explained his side of the stories that many of us heard.  The rumors of how the Kinkorx Horned Hares abandoned him both on and off the playing field.  Due to them forsaking him and leaving him unprotected on the playing field, he received many, unnecessary hits by opposing players.  One hit ended his career.  When he spoke, he vowed to make them all pay for their actions.

The shocking evidence and Zith Fleen’s statement of revenge lead Judge Lykun to hand down his very harsh, lifetime prison sentence.

As we all know, he received the career ending head injury after a devastating hit at the end of the game against the Generals.  Apparently he directly blames his teammates for that career-ending hit—that tragic day.

I’m told that, as I am reporting this live broadcast, Zith Fleen is being assigned his lifetime cell inside this correctional facility—in the psychiatric wing.  In this particular wing, he will be evaluated by staff psychiatrists daily in an effort to assess his condition.  The doctors will also design treatment plans to help him.  Due to the severity of his previous head injury, it is unclear if any options are available that will actually help…

Meanwhile

Inside The Correctional Facility

The Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn, in Xcuymir Territory, is an old, run-down, adobe brick facility.  Its outer appearance is creepy.  It looks like an asylum.  A large weedy yard surrounds the spider web infested, vine covered, spooky prison with mental institution.  A once well-used and maintained mesnuk field is now a field of sagebrush, weeds, and Xosyer Bushes.

A high chain link fence with barbed wire top encloses the yard and building.  The giant, merciless fence has only one gate.  All trucks and cars must pass through the guarded, locked gate.  The guards are always equipped with high-powered firearms.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of windows on the outside of the very old institution.  Due to a lack of maintenance, the windowpanes are dust covered to the point that they are impossible to see through.  Then, through the decades, vines have covered the creepy, asylum looking building.  All of the windows are dust and vine covered and impossible to see through.

The inside of the prison and psychiatric asylum has a dungeon-like appearance.  There is a small, spooky entrance area.  This is where visitors of family members are greeted.  This area is also the least scary part of the entire institution.  Once someone leaves the greeting area and ventures deeper into the dungeon-like prison and mental institution, bad things can happen.

The hallways are old and dark with cracked walls—some have dirt floors.  The ancient lighting that runs along the crumbling ceiling provides a small amount of the light that is needed for the long, creepy corridors.  The spooky passageways have a noticeable smell of vomit and feces.  The strong stenches are a result of inmates and mental patients that lost control of their circumstances and presented the institution with a sample of their inner-turmoil.  Even though the inmates that are on janitor duty quickly clean up the deposits, the foul odors linger.

The host of small cells in the dungeon-like establishment are very similar.  They boast of the same lighting as the corridors.  There is a single bed with an extremely well-worn mattress.  Some of the good behavior patients and prisoners have a very small table and single chair in their rooms.  Due to the very limited plumbing in the facility, the rooms are generously equipped with a pot and lid for vomiting and waste evacuations.

The prison is divided into several wings.  There are male and female wings.  There is a wing for the least offenders.  These prisoners require the least amount of guarding.  The wings go all the way to the worst criminals.  These criminals are usually serving life sentences for murder and other serous, violent crimes.

Some violent prisoners earn a cell in maximum security.  These tiny rooms have a dirt floor and no mattress or pillow—or pot.

There is also the psychiatric wings.  These wings are for the insane patients and inmates who require the services of the staff psychiatrists.  They are also categorized by how dangerous the patient is.  Max-security is also available in these wings.

Some patients and prisoners are allowed to decorate their walls with limited personal belongings.  This is a privilege awarded to the well behaved and the less severe criminals.  Criminals like Zith Fleen are rarely ever awarded even the least of privileges.

Meanwhile
Zith Fleen was sitting in a small chair, in his creepy cell, in the psychiatric wing.  His eyes were blue and puffy – one was swollen shut.  He was bleeding from his face, mouth, and nose.  His own blood was matted in his hair from his bleeding head.  His blood was dripping onto the cell floor.  His blood was splattered on the wall from the many fists to his head.  He sustained two cracked ribs as well from the welcoming committee guard.

“I understand you get a lot of headaches,” said the guard.  He belted Zith in the mouth with his fist—Again.  Zith’s blood flew onto the cracked wall of his decrepit cell— Again.

As the guard looked at the blood splats on the wall he asked sarcastically, “How is your headache now?  Oh and by the way.  One of your first duties will be to clean the blood off your floor and walls.  We have standards to maintain—you know.”  He belted the nearly unconscious prisoner again – in the mouth – and again.

Zith Fleen’s bloody head drooped as he lost consciousness while sitting in the tiny, temporary chair.  “How disappointing.  I was expecting more from The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher,” said the welcoming guard.

“So was I,” said the witness guard.  “It’s hard to imagine this guy slashing anyone— especially a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player.  Those guys are huge – and strong!”

It was the job of the witness guard to report any wrong treatment of the prisoner that he witnessed.  It was his job to insure that the new prisoner was treated fairly and courteously while being placed in their permanent, life-long cell.  After the introduction, he would file a report with Warden Stelth stating that Zith Fleen was treated with kindness and respect – that the prisoner understood the rules of the institution.

“I hear he has a pet wolf that helped him slash and rip apart that mesnuk player,” said the disappointed guard as he glanced at his bloody knuckles.

The witness guard laughed as Zith Fleen sat unconscious and bleeding in the chair with his head drooping.  The blood was coagulating on his face and hair while forming a puddle on the floor.  He said as he laughed, “His pet wolf isn’t helping him now!”

“He doesn’t look like much of a Slasher without his wolf friend,” said the welcome committee guard as he laughed.  “Let’s get him out of this chair and into bed.  He doesn’t get a chair.  These chairs are a privilege.”  The two guards forcefully lifted the unconscious murderer from the chair.  They drug him three feet to the decrepit bed.

“Ready!  Toss!”  They threw the very short, thin prisoner onto the worn out bed.

“Keep him face up.  We don’t want his blood staining the mattress.  After all, your report to the warden will show a very nice, clean delivery of the patient to his cell,” he laughed, “as always.  We don’t want anyone to see a bloody mattress,” said the welcome guard.

“I don’t see any blood.  If there’s blood, he did that himself,” said the witness guard as he laughed.

The welcome guard laughed as he said, “That’s what I like about you.  You never see anything…  Let’s get out of here.”  The two guards exited the room.  They paused to lock the door.

Ten Months Ago
The male inmates that earned yard privileges were enjoying the sunny, warm afternoon.  Sesla’s sun was shining brightly on them as some played a mini game of mesnuk.  Others stood while still others sat on the weedy ground.

As Zith Fleen was sitting next to a short Xosyer Bush, he was enjoying a rare day without a headache.  The bruises on his face and head were healed.  The swelling around his eyes had gone away.  The red blotches on his eyes from the guard’s knuckles were gone.  His two cracked ribs were finally healed.

As he quietly sat on the weedy ground, while enjoying the sunshine, a fellow prisoner bumped into him.  “You’re in my way!” the prisoner said angrily.

Zither quietly moved.

The fellow inmate bumped into him again.  “You’re still in my way!”

Without saying anything, Zith slowly stood.  He walked away from the large inmate.

The inmate grabbed him.  “I’m taking to you!”

“What do you want?” asked Zith without raising his arms.

“I don’t like you!” said the fellow prisoner—angrily.  He hit Zith in the face.

“Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu,” sounded the prison sirens.  The guards raised their high-powered rifles and aimed at Zith’s head.  A guard shouted into the loud speaker, “Zith Fleen!  Lie face down on the ground!  Now!”

Zith’s head was exploding from the punch, the loud siren, and the guard’s horn.  He winced from the pain as he silently obeyed the guard and quickly laid face down in the weeds.

The guards rushed toward him.  Their firearms aimed at his head.  “Don’t move!  Cuff him!” said the chief guard.

The other guards put Zith’s hands behind his back.  One guard put cuffs on his wrists.  “Come on.  You need to see the warden.  He doesn’t tolerate fighting in the yard.  I thought you knew that?”

The guards lifted him.  While being restrained, he was escorted into the prison.  They marched along the dungeon-like corridors to the warden’s office.

The guards knocked on Warden Ien Stelth’s  door.  “Warden Stelth.  There was a fight in the yard.  Zith Fleen was the instigator,” the guard stated.  They shoved Zith into his office.

The warden grinned.  “I heard the sirens.  Another incident.”  He shook his in disappointment as he smiled slightly and said, “The bruises from your first misstep were finally healed.  You know what I think?  I think you’ve been a troublemaker your entire life.  Now of course, you’re a troublemaker and a murder…Oh, pardon me, a Slasher!  ”

He shook his head again.  “Zith, I’ll go easy on you this time.  I was informed today – the kitchen is in need of another laborer.  Your punishment for causing a disturbance in the yard will be to work double shifts in the kitchen until further notice.  Take him to the kitchen,” said Warden Stelth.

“I didn’t do anything—” Zith pleaded as he was interrupted.

Stelth grinned as he cut off Zith in the middle of his sentence, “You have a way of antagonizing the other prisoners.  Maybe some extended kitchen duty will teach you to be more courteous and stop bothering others.  Take him to the kitchen!”

“Yes Warden Stelth!” said the guard.  “Let’s go Slasher!  You have potatoes to peel.”  The guards shoved Zith as they walked out of the warden’s office.  They continued to push and shove as they escorted him along the creepy, dimly lit, dungeon-like corridors.

In only minutes, the guards shoved Zith through the large steel door of the spooky kitchen.  The kitchen was built during the original construction of the facility several hundred years ago.  The large, very outdated kitchen had numerous small rooms.  These rooms were equipped with very old cooking machines.  Like the rest of the spooky prison and psychiatric institution, the walls and ceiling were cracking.  The lighting was poor.  There were numerous spider webs visible on the ceilings and walls.  Unlike the rest of the creepy penitentiary, the kitchen smelled of moldy food, rotten potatoes, rotten potato peels, and poor sanitation.  The poor sanitation provided a nice home for numerous insects, mice, and rats.

As they entered the ancient, creepy kitchen, Dila Mutnur, the inmate in charge of the kitchen, also a lifetime prisoner for murder was angrily preparing potatoes.  As she worked at the moldy table, while in an angry dither, she looked up.  The guards shoved their prisoner toward her.  She asked angrily, “What took you so long?”

The guards shoved Zith toward the old, wooden table.  One said, “I’m sure you know how to peel potatoes.  Stand here and start working.”  Dila pointed to the stacks of large potato boxes sitting on the floor next to the wall.  “All of those need to be washed and peeled – today.  Get busy!” she ordered angrily.

The guards smirked and laughed.  “That’ll teach you to cause trouble in the yard,” one said.  As they continued to laugh, they walked out of the spooky, smelly kitchen.

Dila Mutnur ordered angrily, “Keep working!  Don’t stop until all of those potatoes are peeled.  Then, I want you right back here in the morning!”

With a pounding headache, Zith stood at the old, moldy, wooden table and began to clean and peel the potatoes.  Dila exited the kitchen.

The other inmates that were working in various parts of the kitchen stayed in their small spaces for fear of trouble.  They continued to work quietly in an effort to stay hidden and concealed.

It Was Nearly Midnight
The other kitchen laborers had left for the evening.  Due to the quiet, Zith’s headache had passed.  He was exhausted as he stood at the table and peeled potatoes.  He was struggling to keep his eyes open as he stood and worked—he repeatedly yawned.

As he worked and yawned, his mind began playing tricks on him.  He thought he was hearing strange and creepy sounds.  He batted his eyes to wake himself up.  He began to hear heavy footsteps coming down the corridor toward the kitchen.  “That’s the night guard checking on me.  I better work faster,” he said.

The footsteps stopped several feet away from the kitchen door.  He couldn’t see who it was.  He heard more footsteps walking heavily down the corridor toward the kitchen.  Those stopped just beyond his eyesight in the corridor as well.

His heart began to pound in his chest, as he feared danger.  He began to tremble.  As he looked for a quick place to hide, the group of guards entered the kitchen.  The guard said, “We were told by the warden to check on you.  He said you’d be slacking.  Looks like he was right.  You see, Zith, when you’re given a chance to prove yourself, you blow it – just like earlier today in the yard.  We gave you a chance to prove you wouldn’t cause trouble.  Look what happened.  You started a fight.  It looks like we need to explain the rules to you again,” said the guard that welcomed him to the institution on his first day.

Zith began to tremble as he stood before the prison guards.  “I haven’t done anything!” he shouted as he shook.

The witness guard said, “I’m here to make sure you’re treated courteously and with fairness as these guards explain the prison rules to you— Again.  My report to the warden already reflects how well you were treated by these guards.”

Zith bolted.  He ran deeper into the dark kitchen.

“Block the door!  Don’t let him out!” said the main guard loudly to another.  “Let’s find him!”  The group minus the one guard at the doorway hurried into the dark, spooky kitchen.

“Do you see him?” asked a guard.

Another guard replied, “I can’t see anything in here.  It’s dark!”

“Keep searching!  Don’t let him get away!” the welcoming guard ordered.

As the guards slowly searched from room to room in the dark, spooky kitchen, Zith bolted toward the door.  As he ran to the entrance to the kitchen, the guard standing at the door yelled, “He’s running for the door!”

The guard blocked his way.  As Zith struggled with the large guard, the others hurried toward them.  “We’ve got you now.  He gets to put in his report that you tried to escape,” said the guard as he punched Zith hard in the kidney.

“Oh!...”  Zith moaned as he dropped to his knees.

The guards began to punch and kick Zith without ceasing.  As he dropped to the floor, the guards dropped down to him.  They continued with their lesson.  With every punch, his face was becoming bloodier.  With each fist, his eyes were swelling more.  Soon, as the powerful punches continued, blood was spraying out of his mouth.  Blood was running out of both nostrils of his broken nose.  His ribs were cracked again.  The beating was brutal.  The guards continued to hit and kick.

The pain was excruciating as the beating continued.  Zith was drifting in and out of consciousness.  His head and face were badly swollen.  His eyes were swollen shut.  Blood was running from his mouth and broken nose.  He was doubled over due to the pain of his re-cracked ribs.

As the powerful guards continued to hit his bloody face, he drifted into unconsciousness.  “That’s enough.  The wimp’s unconscious,” the welcoming guard ordered.  The guards stood and gazed at the unconscious, bloody prisoner.  “We’ve got blood all over us.  Let’s get cleaned up.”

The guards quickly cleaned in the water Zith was using to clean potatoes.  Zith lay unconscious and bleeding on the dingy floor.

“Let’s get him to the nurse,” said the leader guard.  They bent down and grabbed the bloody prisoner.  “Oohhh…,” Zith moaned as they lifted him.  They carried him out of the kitchen and down the creepy corridor toward the prison doctor.

In only minutes, the guards entered the doctor’s office.  At this time of night, there was only the night shift nurse on duty.  Nurse Miki ReDox, the night nurse was sitting at the desk working on paperwork.  She looked up as the guards brought in the beaten inmate.  In shock, she said, “Put him on the bed!”  as she jumped up from the desk.

The guards obeyed and laid Zith on the old, metal, doctor’s bed.  As Nurse ReDox began to examine the bloody, unconscious patient, she looked at the guards hands.  Their red knuckles told her everything she needed to know.  She simply asked, “Where did it happen?”

The welcome guard replied, “We found him like this in the kitchen.  The warden assigned him double duty.  He was working alone.  It appears he was jumped.  It’s lucky for him, we came along when we did.”

“Real lucky…What’s his name?”  she asked as she looked at his bleeding face, swollen eyes, broken nose, and badly bruised and cracked ribs.

“Zith Fleen,” the guard replied.

“I’ll take it from here,” said Nurse ReDox.

The guards quickly exited the room.  She began to examine and apply medical treatment to her patient.  “So this is Zith Fleen— The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher.  He’s a lot smaller than I imagined,” she thought in amazement as she worked.

Six Months Ago
Zith Fleen was standing at the moldy, wooden table in the kitchen.  He was working the final hour of his double shift for the day.  He was working on the last box of potatoes.  His cracked ribs and broken nose were healed.  His face was somewhat deformed from the previous two beatings at the hands of the guards.  The swelling in his eyes, face, jaw, and nose remained.  His face now looked frightening.  His headaches were finally becoming less often and less severe.

As he worked and thought, he recalled the two beatings from the guards.  “I’m glad they hit me in the face.  I like my new face.  It’s scary.”

At was almost midnight as he worked quietly at the wooden table.  The other laborers had gone back to their cells hours ago.  He was alone in the creepy, dingy kitchen.  He heard footsteps from the corridor.  There were many of them.  His heart began to race as he stopped working and listened.  The group was walking toward the kitchen.  His heart was pounding in his chest.  He sensed danger.

As he stared fearfully at the kitchen door, a group of guards walked toward the kitchen.  They quickly entered.  As they stared coldly at Zith, one guard said, “The warden sent us to check on you—”

Zith bolted into the darkness of the rear of the kitchen.

“Stay here!  Guard the door!” ordered the lead guard to one of his team.  “The rest of you, let’s get him!”  The remaining team ran into the rear of the kitchen.  The darkness consumed them.  They crept slowly through the creepy, dark, spooky rooms.  “You can’t get away.  We’ll find you.  When we do, the beating we gave you last time will seem like nothing,” said the guard loudly.

Zith bolted toward the lone guard that was standing at the door.  Suddenly he was on the mesnuk field again.  He had the sludder in his hand.  He was charging toward his team’s kloxyn.  His opponent was trying to prevent him from scoring.

He ran as fast as his short legs would go through the kitchen.  With tremendous speed, he leaped into the guard that was blocking the door.  The vicious hit sent the unsuspecting guard flying through the air and slamming into the wall.  Zith quickly rolled and stood.  He was still on the mesnuk field.  With tremendous speed, he ran out of the kitchen and down the corridor.

The guards in the rear of the kitchen heard the collision.  They ran through the darkness into the front part of the kitchen where their comrade was still lying on the floor.  “Where is he?” demanded the angry guard.

“He escaped,” said the bruised guard as he lay stunned on the floor.

The lead guard said loudly, “We have an escaping prisoner!  After him!”

After helping their fellow guard to his feet, the group ran out of the kitchen and down the corridor.  The injured guard quickly fell behind due to his limping and disorientation.  As the guards ran, the lead guard removed his pager from his belt.  He said into the device, “Prison Break!  Zith Fleen has escaped!”

In seconds, the sirens screamed.  “Rrrruuu….Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu.”  The sound was deafening.  The powerful spotlights in the yard were turned on.

The guards on the tower searched the dark grounds with their massive spotlights.  Other guards readied their high-powered, scoped, rifles.  A tower guard picked up his horn and said into it, “Zith Fleen.  There’s nowhere to run.  You can’t escape.  Walk into the clear with your hands raised!”

The guards continued to search the nighttime grounds with their large, powerful lights.  The other guards held steady with their scoped rifles.  The tower guard spoke into his horn again, “Zith Fleen.  This is your last warning.  Give yourself up.  The warden said, If you delay longer, the consequences will be severe.  He advises you to step into the clear now.  You won’t get shot.”

Zith was trembling as he lay next to some tall weeds and sagebrush in the dark.  He slowly stood up.  He slowly put his hands into the air.

A guard saw the movement and shinned his spotlight on Zith.  The guards aimed their high-powered rifles at his head.  The tower guard said into his horn, “Zith Fleen.  Walk slowly back to the door.  You won’t be shot.”

Zith walked to the guards that were standing at the door as the spotlights shinned on him.  The high-powered rifles were pointed at his head.  Upon reaching the same guards that he had previously over-powered to flee into the dark prison yard, he was immediately hand cuffed.  The angry, bruised guards opened the doors.  “You’re going to see the warden,” one guard said as they walked back inside.

Warden Ien Stelth was sitting in his bed while sipping a glass of whiskey.  He finished the conversation with his tower guards.  He smiled.  “It was Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher that tried to escape.  My guards apprehended him quickly.  I’m going to report this prison break to the Kinkorx TV News.  We need some good publicity.  This story will be good for us.  I’m going to call Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen.”  He smiled.  “Maybe he’ll send me more whiskey.”

He picked up the phone.  He dialed Meez Broplen’s home number.

Meanwhile
Meez Broplen was sleeping when his home phone began to ring.  His wife nudged him.  “The phone’s ringing.  It’s for you.”

He leaned over and grabbed the ringing phone.  “Meez Broplen,” he said sleepily.

“Meez, sorry to wake you.  This Warden Stelth at Xcuymir Correctional.”

Meez turned on the light and sat up in his bed fully alert and awake.  “Yes Ien.  What happened?”

“We had a prison break thirty minutes ago.  Zith Fleen escaped temporarily.  My guards apprehended him in the yard.  As friends, I thought you’d like the exclusive story,” Ien Stelth said as he smiled with whiskey in his hand.

Meez smiled at the ginormous headlines and the exclusive.  “Thanks Ien.  I’ll send you a case of whiskey.  I’ll send Pymur Muxx right over.  What do you want Pymur to report in the live story?”

Warden Stelth smiled.  “This is what I want your reporter to say…

Several Hours Later

On The Early Broadcast

“I am Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live from the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  Our sources inside this correctional facility are telling us that last night after midnight, Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher, and former Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player escaped briefly.  The facility doctor diagnosed psychopath, staged a breakout.  Sometime in the middle of the night, Zith Fleen somehow unlocked his cell and walked down the corridor.  He unlocked the front door of this correctional facility and escaped to the yard.

Due to the tight security, especially in the psychiatric wing, his empty cell was noticed within minutes.  A quick search of the inside of the building did not reveal the escaped Slasher.  A thorough search of the grounds began.  The chain link fencing that surrounds the correctional facility is always locked.  Therefore, Zith Fleen was at every moment, confined to the grounds.  Within minutes of noticing the empty cell, Zith was apprehended outside.  It is believed by the prison officials that Zith Fleen’s escape only lasted minutes.  At this time, there is an investigation-taking place within the prison.  Warden Stelth is attempting to discover how Zith Fleen unlocked his cell door and the exit door.

Zith Fleen is serving a life sentence for the brutal slashing, killing, and dismembering of a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player approximately six months ago.  Judge Yymi Lykun of Xcuymir Territory sentenced Zith Fleen, the former Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player, to a life sentence in the psychiatric wing of this facility.  During the brief trial, Zith blamed his teammates for abandoning him on the field—thus causing his injury.  During the shocking court day, he vowed to carry out his revenge on the players for his head injury.

We all remember the brutal hit he sustained against the Generals at the end of the game—several years ago.  He was sent flying head first into the kloxyn.  He sustained a career ending head injury.  After brain surgery, he was left with permanent brain damage.  Here at this facility, he has been diagnosed by correctional facility doctors as having antisocial personality and psychopathy disorder.  It is believed by the medical staff here that his disorders are a result of the tragic head injury he sustained against the Generals.

I am Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live with this Exclusive Breaking News Story from the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  Now back to you Meez.”

“I am Meez Broplen, Kinkorx TV News Anchor.  In other news stories on the early show…

One Month Ago
Zith was working the second part of his double shift in the creepy kitchen.  Warden Stelth permanently assigned him to working double shifts in the dingy, spooky, outdated kitchen after his unsuccessful prison break attempt several months ago.  At that time, he was avoiding another Warden ordered, brutal beating, at the hands of the guards.  Escaping was his best option.  He will be forever punished for his escape attempt, by Warden Stelth—and he knows it.

The prison received a large amount of good press from Kinkorx TV News after catching Zith Fleen so quickly, after his breakout.  The warden received a raise and a promotion from Xcuymir Territory.  Warden Stelth is now considered one of the top prison wardens on Sesla.  Nothing would make Stelth happier than if Zith attempted another prison break.  That is, as long as his officers apprehended him quickly—which he assumed they would.

As Zith quietly worked in the spooky kitchen, he planned his escape.  He thought, “It has to be tonight.  There isn’t a moon.  It’ll be very dark.  The guards won’t expect anything.  The dumpster is full.  It’ll be emptied in the morning.  My plan will work.  I’ve been rehearsing it for weeks.”

It was well after midnight.  His second shift in the kitchen was ending.  He did what he’d been doing for weeks in preparation for tonight.  He cleaned up the enormous pile of nasty, disgusting potato peels.  He put the rancid smelling, rotten peels into the very large potato boxes.  He filled and stacked several boxes onto the carrier.  He thought, “That’ll do for now.  Now to get back to my cell and disguise my bed.”

He turned out the lights.  He left the kitchen door slightly opened as he exited.

He quietly hurried along the dimly lit, dungeon-like corridor to his open cell.  He rushed inside.  Weeks ago, he had asked for an extra pillow.  He placed his two pillows on his bed carefully to look like he was curled up.  Next, he carefully covered the pillows.  “That will work,” he thought.  “When the guard shines his light in my cell, it’ll look like I’m sleeping.  This has to work.”

As his heart raced, he exited the cell and quietly closed the iron bars door.  His heart raced and his anxieties exploded as he looked back and forth down the creepy, poorly lit corridor.  “No guards—Good!  The night guards will make their rounds soon.  I need to hurry!”  he thought.  He quietly hurried along the spooky, smelly halls toward the kitchen.

He breathed a sigh of relief when he pushed on the kitchen door.  He thought, “It opened.  No one checked it.  No one knows I’m here.  The guards will think I’m in my cell sleeping.”  Without turning on a light, he quietly walked into the very dark, spooky kitchen.  He closed and locked the door.  He carefully walked to the potato boxes on the carrier.  In the blackness, he lifted the lid and crawled into the top potato box.  He covered himself with smelly, rotten potato peels.  “The more rotten and slimy the better,” he mumbled in the completely dark kitchen as he covered himself well.  He carefully closed the lid.  “It’s a good thing I’m so small.  I’d never fit in here if I was a normal sized coterie,” he whispered.

In the darkness, he lay curled up in the very large potato box while being surrounded and covered by disgusting, moldy, rotten potato peels.  The smell inside the closed box was putrid.  His stomach was nauseous from the disgusting smell.  He fought the urge to vomit.  His box was one of four large boxes that were filled with the rotten, moldy, potato peels.  The four boxes were stacked on the trash carrier.  His was on top.

Only Minutes Later

The night shift guard was checking the cells to make sure every prisoner was in his bed sleeping.  He slowly moseyed along the creepy corridor while pausing to shine his flashlight into each cell.  One by one, he slowly checked the beds.

The next cell was Zith Fleen’s.  He crept to it.  He shined his flashlight into the cell and looked around.  He shined the light onto the bed.  He said softly, “Looks like Zith is back from the kitchen.  He’s sleeping.  He hasn’t caused any trouble in a while – surprising.  Maybe he learned something from the last lesson.  Since that last education, his face is scary to look at.  He looks deformed.”  The guard was satisfied and moseyed to the next cell.

The night guards spent their entire shifts sauntering along the dark, spooky, dungeon-like corridors.  They shine their flashlights into each cell, once every hour, insuring the prisoners remain in their cells.

By the time the early shift kitchen workers were reporting for duty, the guards had checked Zith Fleen’s cell several times.  Each time they thought they were seeing an exhausted prisoner sleeping.

It Was Very Early Morning
The first shift inmates were standing at the locked kitchen door while yawning.  They were reporting for their shift.  Dila Mutnur, the inmate kitchen manager, slowly walked along the scary corridor toward the kitchen.  She was holding her head while slowly trudging and moaning.  She was enduring her usual morning hangover.  Being the manager of the kitchen had many perks.  One of the many nice things she enjoyed was access to liquor.

She walked toward the timid inmates.  As they stared at the revolting sight, she said angrily while holding her splitting head, “What are you looking at?”

The easily intimidated prisoners immediately looked at the dingy floor as she painfully walked closer.  She fumbled with her keys at the door.  As she tried to insert the key into the lock, while holding her throbbing head, she dropped them.  She angrily stared at an inmate and ordered loudly, “Pick it up!”

The timid prisoner quickly bent down and picked up the keys.  He inserted the key into the lock for her.  “I’ve got it!” she scolded loudly and angrily.

She grabbed and turned the key while unlocking the kitchen.  As she opened the door, the putrid, rotten smell of rancid potato skins came rushing out.  The disgusting smell attacked her nostrils as she entered and turned on the inadequate lights.  The inmates followed her inside while enduring the putrid, disgusting smell.

“That trash stinks!  Get it out of here!” she ordered loudly while holding her head.  She walked to the side door—only feet away.  “Oh!...My aching head,” she grumbled as she fumbled and unlocked the door.

The kitchen laborers remained quiet as they hurried to the trash carrier that was loaded with potato boxes.  They quickly and silently pulled the carrier of boxed, rotten potato peels out the side door.

In the non-moon darkness of night, they hurried to the dark, smelly dumpster.

They each felt for the handles at the end of the large boxes.  As the two prisoners grabbed the handles on the top box, one said, “It’s heavy.  One…Two…Three!”  In the darkness, they lifted the heavy potato box and tossed it into the already full dumpster.  “Let’s get the next one. Ready!  One…Two…Three!”  They tossed the next smelly potato box into the dumpster.  Then they tossed the next and the next into the overflowing dumpster.  “Let’s get back inside before she yells for us.”

The two kitchen guards pulled the carrier and hurried back inside.  Dila Mutnur closed and locked the door.  “Get to work!”  she ordered as she rubbed her temple in an effort to ease the pain.  Her head continued to throb as the early shift began their kitchen duties.  Zith had several hours before he was to report for his double shift.

One Hour Later
It was still dark as the trash truck drove up to the locked chain-link fence gate at Xcuymir Prison.  The driver stopped at the guardhouse.  He pulled out his identification and handed it to the guard.  The guard looked at the picture – briefly.  He handed the Id back to the driver.  “All clear!” the guard said.  Another guard unlocked the padlock and removed the thick chain that was wrapped around the two gateposts to keep them connected.

When the gates were opened, the driver drove through.  The large trash truck cleared the  gates.  The guard closed and locked them again.  The driver of the trash truck drove up the long driveway to the side of the asylum looking prison.

With his skillful driving, he drove the two forks on the front of his truck through the side handles on the large dumpster that sat next to the building.  Using the hydraulic lift, he lifted the very full dumpster over the cab of his truck and over the bed.  With the controls, he maneuvered the overfilled dumpster and dumped the trash into the almost empty truck bed.  The numerous full potatoes boxed and other garbage tumbled to the hard truck bed.  The smell of the large collection of decaying rubbish was vomitus.

With skillful hands, the driver reversed the lift.  He slowly placed the empty, dripping, horrific smelling, dumpster back into the proper position.  He backed away from the side of the prison building and headed back toward the locked gate.

The ritual was repeated.  The driver had performed the same daunting ritual weekly for many years as a trash truck driver.  As the guard verified his Id and opened the gates wide, he drove through.

As the gates were closed and locked, the driver continued along his route.  The prison was one of the first stops on this route.  It would be early evening when the driver finally emptied the over-flowing rubbish into the landfill.

Three Hours Later
The prison guard opened Zith Fleen’s cell door.  He walked inside and said, “Zith, it’s time for your double shift in the kitchen.”  When he didn’t see movement, he nudged Zith.  “What!” he said when he still saw no movement.  He threw back the blanket onto the floor.  In a rage, he grabbed his pager.  “Prison Break!  Zith Fleen has escaped,” he said angrily and loudly.

In only seconds, “Rrrruuu….Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu,” sounded the prison sirens.  Guards rushed to the tower while carrying their high-powered rifles.  “Rrrruuu….Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu,” the sirens continued.

It was light enough for the guards to see the grounds clearly.  Using their scoped rifles, they searched every inch of the locked yard.  “Rrrruuu….Rrrruuu…Rrrruuu,” the prison sirens continued.

The tower guard used the loud speaker-horn to communicate with the escaped prisoner, “Zith Fleen.  We know you’re hiding in the yard.  Give yourself up.  You won’t get shot.”  They all waited and searched with their rifles pointing.

After another minute, the guard said over the loud speaker again, “Zith Fleen—This is your last warning.  Surrender and you will not be shot.”

The other guards continued to search the yard for the escaped prisoner.  “Anyone see anything?” the tower guard asked while holding the horn.

The guards all turned to him and shook their heads.  He dialed the warden’s office.  When the warden answered, he reported, “Warden.  We’ve searched the grounds.  He’s not outside.”

Warden Stelth ordered, “Keep three guards with rifles on the tower.  Have everyone else search inside.  He’s probably hiding within the prison somewhere.  Find him!”

“Right away Warden,” said the guard.  “You three keep watching.  If you see him—radio immediately.”  He spoke into his loudspeaker.  “The warden thinks he’s hiding inside.  Search every inch of this prison.  If you see anything, radio first.  Remember, Zith Fleen’s a killer.”

The guards hurried inside.  They began their search.  As the prisoners continued with their daily jobs, the guards searched room after room.  Cell after cell.  The warden called in the night shift to help with the search.

The full team of guards continued the search through the day.

By late afternoon, the guards were becoming tired of hunting inside the large prison for the small prisoner.  The guards were complaining.  The lead guard called the warden.  “He’s so small he could be hiding anywhere.  He’s probably changing hiding places as the day continues,” he said to the angry warden.

“Don’t stop searching until you find him.  He’s somewhere inside this prison!”  Warden Stelth ordered.  He slammed down the phone and downed another glass of whiskey.

He slurred his words as he said, “Zith Fleen’s not making me look like a fool.  My guards will catch him.  When they do, I have a special punishment for him.”  He laughed as he anticipated the good publicity he would receive from Kinkorx TV News when he reported another unsuccessful prison break by Zith Fleen.  He also anticipated the enjoyment he would receive from watching Zith Fleen suffer.

It Was Almost Midnight
Warden Stelth was in a drunken rage.  The guards had been searching inside the prison and the outside grounds all day.  The guards were all resting as the head guard walked to the warden’s office.  He knocked on the door.  “Come in,” the warden said depressingly as he sat slumped in his chair with a glass of whiskey in his hand.  “Any sign of him?”

“We don’t think he’s still in the prison—”

The drunken warden interrupted as he slouched in his chair.  His shirttails were out.  His tie was only half on.  “How did he get out?”

While feeling defeated and exhausted, the lead guard replied, “According to Dila Mutnur, there was a trash truck early this morning before daylight.  Somehow he may have escaped on the truck.  We don’t know how he would have accomplished it.  Dila says the doors were all locked properly.”

“Of course she does!” he said angrily as he downed another drink, “She’s not going to take the blame for this!  If he did escape with the trash truck, he’s long by know.  He could be anywhere.  Tell your guards to keep searching for a few more hours.  There’s still a chance he’s inside this prison,” he ordered.

The lead guard replied, “A lot of them are napping.”

“Wake them up!”  Stelth shouted with slurred words.

“Yes Sir Warden!  We’ll keep the search going for a few more hours,” said the guard.  He exited Warden Stelth’s office.

Stelth said as he poured another glass of whiskey, “If my guards don’t find Zith Fleen soon, I’m going to have to call the authorities.  I’m also going to have to call Meez Broplen or the Kinkorx TV News.  Those are three phone calls I don’t want to make.”

Early The Next Morning
The warden had managed to sober up as he anticipated calling the authorities and Kinkorx TV News to report Zith Fleen’s escape.  He was exhausted as he waited in his office for the grim report from his lead guard.  As he lay on his couch, he tried to imagine how Zith escaped from his maximum-security prison.  “How did he escape on a trash truck?  I know Dila Mutnur.  The kitchen manager keeps top security.  I don’t believe he escaped that way.  We’re missing something.  He got out another way.  But how?”

As he lay depressingly on his couch, his chief guard walked in. “Warden, we’ve searched inside and out—numerous times.  We don’t believe Zith Fleen is still in the prison.  My guards are exhausted,” he said lethargically.

Warden Stelth sighed deeply with exasperation.  “Tell your guards to go home.”

Without saying anything, he nodded and exited the warden’s office.

As Stelth lay wearily on the couch, he said exhaustingly, “Now I get to call the authorities.  This is not going to be fun.”

He slowly stood and trudged to his desk.  He plopped in his cushioned chair.

He signed deeply and exhaustingly as he reached for the phone numbers.  He mumbled, “I need to call in order of authority.  First, I need to call Sheriff Mairytin of Xcuymir Territory.  Then I need to call Chief Pomur of the Kinkorx Police.  Then I need to call Kinkorx TV News.  At least I can them the entire same story…What is my story?  What do I tell them?”

He sat slouched at his desk and prepared a story that was believable and that would insure he kept his job…

When he had conceived an believable report, he looked at his phone number index.  He dialed the Xcuymir Territory Sheriff Department.

Meanwhile
General Sheriff Kein Mairytin was sitting at his desk at the Sheriff’s Department in Jxobslyn.  He had arrived early as he often did.  He found the early morning to be an excellent time to catch up on daunting paperwork.  As he quietly worked, his phone began to ring.  With irritation he answered, “Sheriff Mairytin.”

“This is Warden Stelth.  There’s been an incident at my prison.  Sometime last night, Zith Fleen disappeared.  My guards have searched the entire prison for him.  I could use some more officers to help with the search,” he reported.

Sheriff Mairytin was immediately in raged.  “I’ll send some of my troopers!  You can fill them in when they arrive.  Keep me posted!”

“Will do.  Thanks,” Stelth said.  He hung up the phone.  He smiled.  “That was easier than I thought.  Now for Chief Pomur.”  He looked at his phone number index again.  He called Police Chief Pomur.

Meanwhile

At the Kinkorx Police Department

Aqe Neuyh, Police Lieutenant, was sitting at his desk for the early shift.  When he heard his phone ring he asked with irritation, “What’s wrong now?”  He answered, “Kinkorx Police Department—Lieutenant Neuyh.”

“This is Warden Stelth of the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility.  Is Chief Pomur at his desk?”

Neuyh replied, “He doesn’t arrive for another hour.  Can I help you?”

“There’s been an incident at my prison.  Sometime during the night, Zith Fleen disappeared.  My guards are searching for him.  I could use more officers,” Stelth said.

Lieutenant Neuyh said, “I’ll notify the chief.  We’ll send some officers.  They’ll be there as soon as possible.”

“Thank you for your help,” said Warden Stelth.  He hung up the phone and smiled.  “Now it’s time to call Meez Broplen at Kinkorx TV News.  He dialed the phone number at Meez Broplen’s desk.

Meanwhile

At Kinkorx TV Station

Meez had just finished the early news broadcast.  He was preparing for the morning news.  He was reading numerous stories on the news wire as he looked for a top story on this slow news morning.  When his phone began to ring, he was hopeful.  He picked it up, “Meez Broplen.”

“Meez, this is Warden Stelth.  I wanted to give you the exclusive story on an incident at my prison.  Sometime during the night, Zith Fleen disappeared.  My guards are searching for him.  Sheriff Mairytin and Chief Pomur are sending extra officers to help in the search.”

Meez said strongly, “I’ll send Pymur Muxx.  He’ll be there as soon as possible.  Thanks again.”  He hung up the phone.  “Pymur!  Get in here!” he yelled across the busy newsroom.

Pymur Muxx was sitting at his reporter’s desk.  He jumped up and hurried across the newsroom to his bosses desk.  “What’s up Boss?”

Meez replied, “I just received a call from Warden Stelth at Xcuymir Correctional.  Zith Fleen disappeared during the night.  Sheriff Mairytin and Chief Pomur are sending officers.  We’ve got the Exclusive.    Get over there! Fast!”

Pymur grinned as he replied loudly, “Yes Sir Boss!”  He rushed across the crazy newsroom to his desk.  He quickly grabbed his equipment.  He bolted toward the door.

Two Hours Later

At the Home of Detective Maxx Zeqster in Bedsult

Sesla’s sun was rising in the beautiful morning sky as Detective Maxx Zeqster sauntered along Lypont Drive toward his home, in Bedsult, in suburbia Kinkorx.  He was finishing a delightful morning stroll.  “It’s such a lovely morning.  After my walk, I’m going to work on my painting in the back yard.”

He strolled up the walkway and onto his small porch.  As he opened his custom, extravagant front door, he said, “That was a delightful stroll.”  He entered his home and closed the door.

Maxx sauntered to his deluxe kitchen.  As he opened his fridge, he thought, “I think I’ll check the news before I start painting.”  He grabbed a bottle of contained water.  He opened the cap and took a big drink.  “Delicious!” he said.  He took another.  “Aahhh!  Delightful!” he announced.

As he held his bottled water, he walked to his luxurious living room.  He smiled as he glanced at this friend, the Melá-Jutis swamp stick that he placed in the corner, as he entered his welcoming living room.  Images of the magical city, Melá-Jutis, in the wet lands, flew through his mind.

He sat in his over-stuffed leather recliner.  Using the remote, turned on the TV.  He took another drink from his bottled water as he watched Kinkorx TV News.

As he watched the morning news program, Anchor Meez Broplen said, “We’re taking you to the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn for a live report.”

The TV Switched to the Xcuymir Penitentiary

“I am Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live at the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  It has been reported that Zith Fleen, the Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher went missing sometime late last night.

As I’m making this live broadcast, there’s a massive hunt for the convicted killer and prison doctor diagnosed psychopath at this facility.  The Kinkorx Police and the Xcuymir Territory Troopers are aiding the prison guards in their search.  The law enforcement personnel are searching the entire building and the grounds.

Warden Stelth has assured me that Zith Fleen is locked in.  That it is simply a matter of time before he is apprehended.  As you can see, the gate is chained and locked with a large padlock.  It would seem that lock is unbreakable.

As we, all remember Zith Fleen received a severe head wound during a hit in a mesnuk game against the Generals.  My sources have told me that he has continually threatened revenge against the Kinkorx Horned Hares players.  He still claims they are responsible for his career ending head injury.  It was partially due to the threats of revenge that Judge Lykun issued the live sentence in this prison.

Again, Warden Stelth has indicated that they are confident Zith Fleen is still inside.  If it is determined that he has escaped the prison and psychiatric institution, the hunt will continue into the surrounding countryside.

We will stay with this Breaking News Story.  We will break in live when there is more information on the disappearance of Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher.  I’m Pymur Muxx, roaming news reporter for Kinkorx TV News.  Now back to you Meez.”

The TV Switched Back to Kinkorx TV Studio Newsroom

“Thank you for that live report.  I’m Meez Broplen.  When there are further developments, we will break in.  In other news stories this morning…

Maxx Zeqster remained seated in his leather recliner.  He was shocked at the news.  “I hope the authorities catch Zith Fleen quickly.  He’s an extremely dangerous murder and a psychopath.  None of the Horned Hares are safe as long as he’s on the loose.”

He turned off the TV.  He thought, “It’s time to work on my painting.”  He stood and walked toward the back yard while carrying his bottled water.

Maxx exited out the back door and walked to his work in progress, landscape painting under his Red Ploss Tree.  He sat his bottled water down and began to paint.

Chapter Five

Ten Days Ago

Zith Fleen was sitting on the sandy cave floor deep in the desert.  He was roasting scorpions over a small fire that he started using dead sticks near the cave.  As he cooked the scorpions in the large cave, he reminisced about his old cave and the months he spent in the asylum-like prison.  “This cave is more remote and safer.  It’s nowhere near a town or road.  There’s no way anyone will find me here.  Even I don’t know where I am.  I walked through the desert for days before I found this cave.  I hope nothing else lives here,” he mumbled.  “I’ve been here for a while now—no animals have claimed it.  Hopefully I’m safe.”

As he cooked scorpions and ate them, he continued to remember his time in the prison.  “I tried my best to keep to myself.  I tried to stay away from trouble.  No matter what I did, someone always pushed or hit me.  Even when I didn’t fight back, I was punished for fighting,” he mumbled.

He quietly ate the next scorpion that was ready.  He chewed the crusty shell.  “It’s not very tasty – better than starving to death,” he thought as he chewed.  He tore off the stinger and tossed it.  He bit down hard on the tail and continued to chew the insect shell.  “I hated working in that creepy kitchen.  Dila Mutnur yelled at everyone.  All she did was yell and drink the liquor.  I don’t think I ever saw her sober,” he thought as he chewed.

Another scorpion crawled toward his leg.  When it was only inches away from his foot, the aggressive insect readied its stinger.  As it prepared to strike, he drove a sharp stick through its back.  “Thanks for volunteering,” he said.  Zith positioned the scorpion over the fire.

Then he began to consume another.  “This one has a little more meat on the tail.  It’s still not very tasty,” he thought as he chewed.

As he ate, he could hear a wolf howling at the full moon in the distance.  Instantly he remembered his wolf friend.  He said, “I miss Neechehe.  She was a good friend.  I hope someday I find her—more like she finds me.”  He heard the wolf howl at the full moon again.

As he continued to roast and eat scorpions, his mind drifted to the prison.  He reminisced about the two severe beatings he sustained at the hands of the guards.  He mumbled, “The warden ordered them to teach me the rules of the prison.  He ordered a third attack – but I got away.”  He smiled.  “I was too fast for them…I do like my new face.  Now, when anyone looks at me, they get scared.  I admit – I look crazy and scary now.  It’s nice.”

As he continued to cook, eat scorpions, and reminisce, the howling wolf sounded like it was near his cave.  The wolf howled again.  This time it was just outside.  His heart began to race.  “I hope this isn’t that wolf’s cave,” he said as he began to tremble.

In fear, he stood and began walking toward the back of the deep, dark, cavernous cave.  As he slowly walked toward the silhouettes, a large grey female wolf walked into the cave.  It had a large rabbit in its powerful jaws.  He looked cautiously and fearfully at the wolf.  “Is that you Neechehe?” he asked hopefully as he trembled with fear.

The large grey wolf continued to slowly walk toward him.  When he saw the wolf’s eyes, he knew.  He said happily, “It’s you Neechehe.  That was you I heard howling at the full moon outside.  You brought me a rabbit.”  He walked to his friend and began rubbing her ears.  “I missed you so much.  I have many stories to tell you.  First I want to clean this rabbit and get it cooking.”

He took the large hare out of Neechehe’s mouth.  He quickly cleaned it and put a stick through it.  He placed the rabbit over the fire.  “I was really tired of eating scorpions,” he said happily.  “Thanks Neechehe.”

He sat on the cave floor next to his fire.  Neechehe lay next to him.  He began rubbing her fur.  “I’ve missed you,” he said.  He noticed a deep, wide, bullet scar on the top of her snout.

He said with sympathy, “The police grazed you when they shot at you in the other cave – didn’t they?  I can’t imagine had much that hurt.”  He gently rubbed her snout.  “I’m so sorry.  I’m glad he didn’t hit you any worse with his bullet.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

He sat on the cave floor and turned his rabbit.  “This rabbit is cooking nicely.  Thank you for catching it for me.”  He rubbed Neechehe’s fur.  “After you were shot and had to run, those police took me to jail.  It was awful.  I had to go before a judge.  He gave me to a lifetime sentence in prison.  The warder had his guards beat me twice.  He ordered a third beating but I escaped temporarily.  My face looks scary because of the guards hitting me.”

Neechehe lay on the cave floor contently as he rubbed her fur and talked.  She was beginning to close her eyes.  “You’re sleepy aren’t you?  Go ahead and sleep.  I’m not going anywhere.”

Neechehe closed her eyes.  She drifted into a content sleep.  He rubbed her fur and cooked his rabbit.  As he cooked the hare, he continued to reminisce silently about his time in the psychiatric prison.

As she slept and he drifted into his thoughts, a male grey wolf growled and snarled as it walked into the cave.  With horror, Zith looked up.  He saw the angry, menacing wolf as it bared its fierce teeth and growled.  As he froze with fear, Neechehe awoke.  In a flash, she sprang from her lying position and flew into the threatening wolf.

The instant battle was fierce.  The male wolf leaped on top of Neechehe.  It bit the back of her neck and hung on.  Neechehe struggled to get free from the male wolf’s powerful grip.  Neechehe’s fur was flying in the air within the cave.  She was struggling to break free.

Instantly, Zith was in the prison kitchen, again.  Neechehe was being attacked by the prison guards, as ordered by the warden.  He would defend his friend.

In a mighty fury, with tremendous speed, Zith leaped onto the male wolf’s back, as it held its grip on the back of Neechehe’s heck.  With the speed and power of a professional mesnuk player, he began punching the wolf in the head.  Right punch…left punch…right punch…left punch…

The wolf yelped loudly from the juggernaut that was on its back.  The relentless Right…Left…Right…Left…was more pain than the wolf was expecting.  It released the grip from Neechehe’s neck and fell to the ground dazed.

Zith quickly rolled off the male wolf.  As the wolf was quickly regaining its senses, Neechehe went for its throat.  She clamped her powerful jaws into the wolf’s windpipe.

The strong male wolf kicked and clawed as it tried to break Neechehe’s death grip.  The wolf’s blood was spraying as it twisted and flipped Neechehe onto her back.  She lost her grip as she landed.

The male wolf growled and snarled, showing its menacing teeth, as it circled.  Zith’s fists were clinched.  He growled as he circled.  Neechehe was growling and snarling as she circled.

Suddenly the male wolf bolted toward the entrance.  It ran out and into the night desert.  The wolf howled loudly at the full moon as it ran farther from the cave.

“Are you ok, Neechehe?” asked Zith.

She shook herself briskly.  Then she licked him.

“You’re ok!” he said gladly, “I was afraid that wolf hurt your neck.  He’s gone now.  Let’s sit down.”  He sat down next to the fire.  Neechehe sat next to him.

He checked his rabbit.  “The rabbit’s burned on one side.”  He rolled it over.  “It’ll be fine.  A crispy hare’s still better that any scorpion.”  He smiled at Neechehe.  “All I’ve eaten for days are scorpions.”

He continued to cook the desert hare and talk to his friend.  “You know Neechehe, this cave was probably that wolf’s cave.  I’m sure that’s why he attacked us...It’s ours now.”

He began to rub her fur again.  She lay down next to him.  She began to close her eyes.  “You look tired.  Go to sleep, Neechehe.  After I eat this rabbit, I’m going to sleep—to.”

Eight Days Ago
The Kinkorx Horned Hares had been practicing all day at their practice field in downtown Kinkorx.  As the practice session ended, Head Coach Jo Mydos said loudly while using his horn, “Everyone gather round.  Take a knee.”

The tired mesnuk players ran toward their coach.  They squatted on one knee.  Coach Mydos said, “We have an important game against the Kvyutt Travelers tomorrow.  The Travelers are a good mesnuk team.  We need the confidence from a win to carry us into our stretch of road games.  Get a good night’s sleep.  I want everyone at the mesnuk stadium early and warming up.  Hit the showers.”

The players cheered and ran into the locker room.  “We can take the Travelers,” said Team Captain, Guiss Korter as he undressed quickly.

“Coach is right.  A win tomorrow will build our confidence for our road games,” said Cottir Greem as he headed for the shower.

Cillo Fistor and the rest of the horned hares hurried into the shower.  “We need to win tomorrow.  Coach’s right.  I want to play at my best.  I’m going to bed early tonight,” said Cillo.

The players quickly showered and dressed.  “See everyone at the stadium.  Get there early.  We need a good warm-up,” said Team Captain, Guiss Korter as he exited the locker room.  The other players quickly exited as well.

Cillo Fistor and Cottir Greem hurried out of the locker room with the last of the players.  “See you tomorrow.  Get some rest,” said Cottir.

Cillo exited the building.  He began the long walk to his downtown apartment.  “We need to win tomorrow.  Coach is right.  A win will give us confidence,” he said as he walked.  Cillo continued to physic himself as he walked along the old streets of downtown Kinkorx.

He walked and talked out loud.  His focus was on the mesnuk game tomorrow.  “The Travelers are a good mesnuk team.  If we play our “A” game, we can win.”

As he walked along the creepy downtown streets at twilight, he saw a shadow moving between two buildings.  He ignored the shadow and kept walking and talking.  “We’ve got to slow them down.  The Travelers are a fast team.  If we slow the game down, we can win.”

He saw the shadow moving out of the corner of his eye.  He turned his head.  He saw someone ducking behind a dumpster.  He paused to watch.  “Kids,” he said with a frown.

He continued to walk and talk as the evening became darker.  “If we can get ahead of the Travelers from the start and slow the game down, we can win.”  He heard feet running.  As his heart raced, he turned and tried to see who was running.  “Just kids.”

As his anxieties began to erupt, he continued to walk.  A trashcan was knocked over.  The noise was loud is it banged and rolled.  His heart was pounding.  He was becoming fearful as he said, “Zith Fleen escaped from the prison several weeks ago.  That can’t be him.”  He asked loudly with fear, “Who’s there?”

He heard another trash can as it was kicked over.  His heart was pounding in his fit chest.  “That can’t be Zith Fleen,” he said as he began to run.  As he ran, a shadow of a large animal began to pursue him.  “I didn’t do anything.  Leave me alone!” he shouted as he ran.

The silhouette shadow of the animal quickly closed in.

He ran as fast as he could.  “I didn’t do anything!” he said loudly.  He turned and saw a huge grey wolf closing fast.  “No!” he screamed.

The wolf growled as it grabbed his leg in its powerful jaws.  The vicious wolf sunk its large teeth into his flesh.  It pulled him to the ground and began to rip and twist his flesh.  Blood sprayed as the wolf continued to savagely maul Cillo Fistor’s leg.  It growled loudly at the attack continued.

Zith Fleen ran fast and attacked from the side.  As Cillo fought him, he began to hit Cillo’s face with a club.  Neechehe continued to maul his legs.  His blood was squirting and splatting everywhere.

Cillo’s face and head was swelling fast as Zith continued to beat him mercilessly with the club.  His nose and mouth were bleeding.  Cillo was screaming as Neechehe ripped off a leg.  Blood was spraying everywhere.  Blood was running onto the pavement.

Neechehe continued to rip and tear.  Cillo’s other leg was almost torn off.  He was screaming.  Zith was hitting his face with the club.  His blood was streaming out of his nose and mouth.  Suddenly, as Zith pounded with his club, Cillo’s skull broke.  His face was covered in blood as he lost consciousness.

Neechehe ripped off the other leg.  She began viciously chewing his arms as Zith continued to pound his broken cranium with his club.  Cillo died as the vicious attack continued.

Zith pounded his head until it was broken, bloody, and looked like raw meat.  Neechehe ripped off one arm.  She immediately attacked the other.  In only seconds, with her sharp teeth, she ripped off the second arm.  She viciously bit the torso and ripped her teeth through it numerous times.  Then she attacked his neck.  She bit and twisted.  Soon his head severed from the torso.

Zith and his pet wolf were covered in blood.  He smiled at his friend and said, “Nice job Neechehe.”  She looked at her victim.  She seemed to smile.

The darkness was increasing as Zith pulled a trash bag from his pocket.  As Neechehe cleaned the blood off her fur, he picked up the bloody body pieces.  He stuffed them into the bag.  When he had all the pieces of Cillo Fistor’s body in the bag, he threw it over his shoulder.  He paused and looked at the ground.  “Neechehe, there’s a lot of blood,” he said as he smiled.  “Let’s get the body to a busy street.”

Zith began to run, while carrying Cillo’s slashed and dismembered body in a trash bag over his shoulder.  Neechehe ran next to him.  They ran to a nearby busy street.

“This will do,” he said.  Zith and Neechehe stopped running.  In the darkness of night, Zith dumped the slashed, dismembered body parts next to the side of the busy road.  “Someone will find Cillo Fistor’s body early tomorrow morning.”

Zith and Neechehe started walking away from the road.  Zith said, “I know you’re tired from the long run to get here from the cave.  We should run back.  We’ll get there faster,” he said.  He and his friend began to run.  It would take them many hours at running speed to reach their desert home.

The Next Morning
Detective Arthor Nekuma was working at his database in his large office, in his spacious home in suburbia Wyluxx City.  He was working on their Sirrz Debmyuo, stolen Signature Collection Firearms, and Knives case.  He was researching for where the traceable, priceless collection of guns and knives could be sold.

Art thought as he flipped through screen after screen, “Each gun and knife that was stolen from Sirrz Debmyuo’s home safe had similar markings.  They were all marked comparably like:

A Sirrz Debmyuo Signature Collection Knife

SD-3 Series Knife

First One Made In The Series

Sirrz Debmyuo

I think the best place for someone to sell Sirrz’s collectables is at Wixqezzer Auctions in rural Kvyutt, in the wet lands.

As he worked, his office TV was tuned to Kinkorx TV.  Suddenly there was a Breaking News Bulletin.  “I am Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen; we are taking you live to the Kinkorx Police Station.”

The TV Switched to the Kinkorx Police Station

“I’m Pymur Muxx.  I am reporting live from the Kinkorx Police Station.  Kinkorx Police Chief Aazon Pomur has agreed to answer a few questions.”

He turned to Police Chief Pomur.  “Chief Pomur.  Can you describe for our viewers what you found this morning?”

Chief Pomur replied, “A motorists on their way to work saw what appeared to be body parts on the side of Jesattin Road just after daylight.  The motorists called us.  Upon responding to the sight, my officers found the slashed, dismembered body of Cillo Fistor.”

Pymur Muxx asked, “Cillo Fistor—the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player?”

Chief Pomur responded, “That’s correct.”

Pymur asked, “Do you think Zith Fleen the escaped murder, that has been named The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher by the media and the public is responsible for this brutal murder?”

Chief Pomur was instantly angered by the question.  “After an investigation at the scene, we have determined that this murder was not the work of Zith Fleen,” he stated angrily.

“Do you have another suspect?” asked Pymur.

He sighed deeply with irritation.  He said, “We just started that investigation this morning.  We are running down several leads as fast as possible.  That’s all I can tell you at this point.  Now if you will excuse me?”  With an angry face, Chief Pomur walked back to his office.

Pymur Muxx concluded his live report, “In a surprising decision, Chief Pomur doesn’t think Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher was responsible for the slashing and dismemberment of Cillo Fistor.  The Kinkorx Police are looking for another suspect.  Cillo Fistor was also a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player – like Zith Fleen.  Chief Pomur and his department are attempting to find a lead in the gruesome murder case as we speak.  This is Pymur Muxx reporting live from the Kinkorx Police Station.”

The TV Switched Back to the Kinkorx TV Newsroom

Meez Broplen, the Kinkorx TV News Anchor said, “We will keep you informed as Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police Department attempt to find a suspect in this horrific, slashing and dismemberment murder case.  Now back to our regular programming.”

As Art Nekuma watched the Breaking News Story, he thought, “That sounds like the work of Zith Fleen to me.  I wonder what Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police Department are thinking.  Maybe they don’t want to track him down again.  It took quite a search to catch him the first time.”

Art went back to his research.

Four Days Ago
The Kinkorx Horned Hares were in Wyluxx City.  They had just finished playing the Generals at Wyluxx Stadium.  Even though they played without the murdered, Cillo Fistor, they still defeated the Generals.

Ti Gurmis, the Horned Hares mesnuk player was very tired as he drove home after the exhausting game in the darkness.  He was driving on the Wyluxx Highway toward Kinkorx.

As Ti Gurmis Drove

His Home in Suburbia Kinkorx Was Being Invaded

In the darkness, Zith Fleen was breaking the glass in the back door of Ti’s suburban Kinkorx home as Neechehe watched.  Using his club, he continued to break the glass.  The pieces fell on the floor inside the upper-class home.  He turned to Neechehe.  “See Neechehe—it’s easy,” he said as he smiled in the dark.

He reached through the opening and unlocked the door.  As the door opened, he said, “That was too easy.  It was almost as if Ti was inviting us in.  Come on,” he said as he motioned to his friend, the wolf.

Zith walked into Ti’s upscale, two story home as Neechehe followed.  “Be careful.  Don’t step on the glass.  You don’t want to cut your paws.”

Neechehe stepped carefully as she followed Zith inside.  He crept around in the darkness as Neechehe followed.  His eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness.  He looked at and felt the expensive furnishings.  “Big house,” he whispered.

He walked to the large, modern, well-equipped kitchen.  “Let’s see what he has to eat.”  Zith opened the fridge.  As the interior light illuminated, he paused to admire the large collection of refrigerator magnets.  “It looks like he’s traveled a lot.  He buys a souvenir magnet wherever he goes.  Oh look.  He even has a few Kinkorx Horned Hares magnets.  I think I’ll take two magnets.  He won’t miss them.”  He laughed.  “He’ll be dead.”  He grabbed two of the souvenir magnets and put them in his pocket.  “They’ll remind me of this night.”

As he held the door open and the open door alarm pinged, he said, “It looks like he was going to cook this meat when he gets back from Wyluxx City.  He won’t need it.  He’ll be dead.”  Zith removed the bloody meat from the shelve.

“Here Neechehe.”  He tossed it onto the fine wood designer floor.  Neechehe grabbed the bloody meat in her mouth.  She lay on the parquet wooden floor and began quickly eating.

Zith grabbed a quick meal as well.  He closed the door and sat on the decorative floor next to his friend and ate—in the dark.  He said to his friend, “Ti is going to be surprised when he sees us.  I haven’t seen him since that mesnuk game against the Generals.  You know Neechehe; he left me all alone in that game.  He wasn’t even trying to help.  Those Generals were attacking me from all directions.  He didn’t help me at all.  Tonight we’re going to remind him of that game.”

Zith stood and walked around the first floor of the two-story house.  “How are we going to greet him?”  He continued to pace and plan with his fully adjusted night eyes.

He looked at the silhouette of a large wrought iron clock on Ti’s wall.  He said, “I can’t read the clock in the darkness but I know he’ll be here soon.  We want to surprise him.  I’m sure he’ll be happy to see us.  Neechehe, we better hide.”

He began searching for a place where they could hide until it was time to spring their surprise.  He opened the hall closet.  “This looks like a good place for us to hide.  Come on Neechehe—in here.”  He and his friend wolf walked into the large, roomy, hall closet.  “I’ll keep the door open just a bit until Ti arrives.  He’ll be here any minute.”

Zith and Neechehe hid in the dark closet.  Zith peeked out the cracked door as they waited.  “He’ll be here any minute,” he said to his friend.  Zith and Neechehe waited quietly in the dark closet.

Ti Gurmis Drove Into His Driveway
He was tired as he exited his deluxe, fully loaded sports car.  He was one of the players that benefited from Zith Fleen’s departure from the team seasons ago.  His extravagant lifestyle reflected his good fortune.

He walked the brief distance in the dark to his large front porch.  After climbing the short steps and walking across his porch, he put his house key into the front door lock.  He turned it and opened his extravagant door.

He entered his home and closed the front door—then he locked it.

Zith closed the slightly opened hall door when he saw Ti Gurmis enter the home.

The exhausted star mesnuk player felt for his custom designed Red Ploss Wood switch cover for his entrance light.  Upon finding it, he turned on a small hall light.  He tossed his keys onto his luxurious, Red Ploss Wood, entranceway dry sink.  He hung his fashionable sports hat on his very expensive, matching, Red Ploss Wood, entrance coat and hat rack.

“I need another shower.  I want my Jams before I have dinner,” he mumbled.  Ti nonchalantly walked up the stairs and into his bedroom.  He removed his clothing and walked into his deluxe, master bath.  He stepped into his extravagant, imported, wet lands tiled shower.  Ti turned on the hot water and began his lengthy, relaxing, steamy shower.

Meanwhile Downstairs
When Zith heard the shower running, he quietly opened the closet door.  “Follow me, Neechehe.”  The two slowly walked out of the closet.  While carrying his club, Zith walked to the entrance furniture.  He grabbed Ti’s hat and keys.  He carried them to his luxurious, laminated wood coffee table.  He quietly placed them nicely on the expensive coffee table.  Then he walked back to the light and turned it off.  “Let’s hide in the kitchen,” he whispered.

In the darkness, they slowly walked into Ti’s extravagant, well-equipped kitchen.  He looked for a place to hide where they could see the stairs.  “Let’s wait here.”  He squatted while Neechehe sat on the floor, in the dark.

As they waited in the dark kitchen, the shower turned off.  “He’ll be down soon.  He’s going to be surprised to see us,” Zith said quietly as they waited with his club in hand.

Ti dressed quickly in his shorts and PJ’s.  He walked out of the bedroom and headed toward the stairs.  As he walked down the stairs toward the first floor, he saw the darkness.  He paused.  “I thought I left the hall light on…maybe not.”  He continued down the stairs and toward the light.

After turning it on, he turned toward the kitchen.  He saw his hat and keys on the coffee table.  His anxieties instantly erupted and terror swept through his fit body.  The fear and horror was crippling, as he stood while trembling uncontrollably.  “Zith Fleen!” he said loudly as he trembled with horror.  “Is that you?”

Zith and Neechehe remained quiet in their hiding place.  They could see Ti, as he stood petrified with horror in his entrance seating room.

Ti could smell the stench of a wild animal as he trembled.  “I know what you think.  I wasn’t part of that plan.  I had nothing to do with your injury,” he said loudly as he looked toward his dark kitchen and trembled with horror.

Zith whispered to Neechehe, “It’s time.  Let’s have a party.”

As Ti remained petrified with fear, Zith and Neechehe slowly walked toward him.  As the two walked into the light, Ti was engulfed with horror.  “It is you!  That’s the wolf!” he yelled with overpowering fear.  He bolted toward the front door.

Neechehe growled while showing her deadly teeth and charged after him.  Before he reached the door, she bit deep into his leg and pulled him to the floor.  “Ahhh!...” he screamed as his blood sprayed onto his expensive furniture and floor.

Zith grabbed his hair and began hitting him mercilessly in the face with his club.  Neechehe continued to growl, bit, and rip his legs.  She twisted and ripped.  Blood was spraying on the expensively decorated furnishings and walls.

Ti fought his attackers.  His face was covered in blood from Zith’s club.  Blood sprayed from the large gashes in his legs from Neechehe’s large, vicious teeth.  He struggled free and rolled toward the stairs.

As Zith blocked the door, Ti struggled to stand and hobbled up the stairs.  As he stumbled upward, his flowing blood from the deep gashes in his legs left red, coagulating blood trails on the steps of the finely carpeted stairway.

Neechehe quickly pursued the injured star mesnuk player.  She flew up the stairs as Zith followed while carrying his blood-covered club.

Ti hurried into his bedroom.  He closed and locked the door.  Blood flowed from his deep leg wounds onto his fine bedroom carpet.  While in a horrifying panic, he frantically turned on the lights and grabbed the phone beside his bed.  As he began to dial, Zith flew through the air like a mesnuk player defending his kloxyn and hit the bedroom door.  The lock instantly broke and the door flew open violently.

“No!” yelled Ti in horror.

Neechehe growled as she flew through the open door and jumped at Ti.  She knocked him onto his large bed.  As he bled from his face and legs, he fought her with his fists.  She growled as she bit his arms while ripping and twisting.  “Ahhh!” he screamed as he tried to defend himself as he bled all over his plush bed.

Zith jumped on the bed and continued to club him in the face and head.  As Zith clubbed, Neechehe bit and ripped his arms.  When she tore off his arm, blood flew onto the walls and ceiling.  He screamed from the pain and horror as his blood splattered everywhere.

Neechehe dropped his bloody, dismembered arm onto his blood soaked bed.  As he struggled and screamed, she bit deep into the other arm.  She twisted and ripped as Zith continued to hit Ti’s face and head.

His head and face were covered with his blood.  Blood ran from his fractured nose.  Blood oozed from his bloody mouth.  Zith continued to hit him with the club.

His blood was splattered on the walls, ceiling, and floor.  Ti’s extravagant bedroom furniture and large, plush bed were covered with his blood.

As Neechehe continued to rip and tear his other arm, it separated from Ti’s bloody body.  As Ti continued to scream, he began to lose consciousness.  As Zith continued with the merciless attack on Ti’s face and head, Neechehe leaped to his legs.  She began to bit, rip, and tear his legs.

Ti became unconscious from the loss of blood and the pain as the attack continued.

Neechehe ripped off one leg.  Blood was splattering everywhere.  She sunk her deadly teeth into the last appendage.  She began to rip, tear, and twists.  Zith continued his assault on the now dead mesnuk player.  Blood continued to fly everywhere.

Neechehe ripped off the final limb.  She released her grip and allowed the severed leg to lie motionless on the blood-covered bed.  She sunk her deadly teeth into the torso and ripped numerous gashes into the bloody flesh.

Next, she went for his throat.  As she tore and ripped his throat, Zith backed away shortly.  With her powerful jaws and sharp teeth, she quickly ripped his bloody head from the torso.

Zith looked at their work.  Ti’s head was pulverized, blood covered, and severed.  His arms and legs were ripped off the torso and bloody.  He had numerous deep gashes in his torso.  Zith and Neechehe were covered in Ti’s blood.  The large, extravagant bed was blood soaked.  The walls of the large, expensively decorated bedroom were covered in splattered blood.  There were numerous blood splats on the fine carpet.

He nodded his head.  “I’d say we explained the rules to him very well–don’t you think Neechehe?”  She was licking the blood off her fur.  He removed a trash bag from his pocket.  He began to stuff Ti’s severed, bloody pieces into the bag.  When he had all the body parts safely inside the trash bag, he threw it over his shoulder.  He looked around the room.  “There’s a lot of blood.  I think he understands the rules—now.  Let’s go Neechehe,” he said.

While carrying the bag of body parts, Zith turned off the lights as they exited the bedroom.  They followed the blood trail and walked down the steps into the entranceway.

“There’s a lot of blood down here.  I need to get the lights,” Zith said.  He turned off the last lights.  As Zith carried Ti Gurmis in the trash bag over his shoulder, they walked through the dark house to the rear door.

They exited the upper-income home through the same door they used to originally invade.  Zith paused to lock the rear door with the broken glass.

Zith and Neechehe ran into the dark night while carrying Ti Gurmis in a trash bag.  They continued to run through fields and back yards.  The darkness concealed them as they ran to the place where Zith planned to dump the body.

Soon, they reached the main road that he was looking for.  “Right over there, Neechehe.  That’s where we’re dumping Ti,” Zith said.  They ran toward the drainage ditch.

When they reached the drainage work, Zith said, “This is the spot.”  He dropped the bag.  He began removing the bloody body parts and scattering them over several feet.  When he dumped the slashed torso, he said, “That’s real nice.  Someone will see Ti early in the morning.”  He smiled at their work.  “I think Ti understands the rules now.  Let’s go Neechehe.  It’s a long run back to our cave.”  They ran into the fields and trees on their way back to their desert home.  It would take them until the afternoon at running speed to get home.

Chapter Six

Three Days Ago

In The Morning

Detective Maxx Zeqster had previously rescued Art from the clutches of the Gang of Five and the Joqzonions.  They had been holding him captive in a scorpion- infested cave in the desert.  He was suffering from numerous scorpion stings while being bound and gagged in the scorpion-infested cave.  Detective Zeqster brought him to the Emergence Room at Kinkorx Mirchester Hospital.

Art and Detective Zeqster were watching Kinkorx TV in Art’s hospital room while talking about their previous case—the Sirrz Debmyuo’s stolen Signature Collection case and Wixqezzer Auctions in Kvyutt.

They paused as a special news report came on the TV.  “I am Kinkorx TV News Anchor, Meez Broplen.  This morning, the Chief of Police of Kinkorx Police Department, Chief Aazon Pomur is reporting another gruesome murder of a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player.

According to Chief Pomur, Ti Gurmis, the star player for the Kinkorx Horned Hares, was found brutally murdered and dismembered early this morning.  He was found by passing motorists on their way to work.

The body of Ti Gurmis was mutilated and dumped in a drainage ditch next to a road where it was sure to be found quickly.  This is the second Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player that has been found brutally murdered recently.

We are now taking you to a live report from roaming reporter, Pymur Muxx.  He is reporting live from the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.”

“Thank you Meez.  I’m reporting live at the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  According to our unnamed sources here, Zith Fleen, the mentally insane, ex-Kinkorx Horned Hare, that has repeatedly threatened to take revenge on the entire Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk team for his head injury, escaped from this facility nearly one month ago.

As we all remember, he was hit brutally during a mesnuk game.  The head collision left him with brain damage.  After being convicted of one brutal murder of a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player, he was sentenced to life in this correctional facility, in the psychiatric wing.

Today, Zith Fleen is being blamed for the two recent brutal murders of Kinkorx Horned Hares players.  This is Pymur Muxx.  I’m reporting live from the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  Now back to you Meez.”

“I’m Meez Broplen, your Kinkorx TV News Anchor.  Our other top story that we would like to bring you on this special news bulletin is a report from the news wire from the wet lands.  According to Guytic City TV News Anchor Jimner Veqsen, the Gang of Five seem to be taking some time off from their looting, killing, and burning in the wet lands.  Their last known attack was in Bloqxess, in Meslerr Territory.  Since that attack, the gang hasn’t been seen.

In other news from the wet lands, it’s being reported by numerous eyewitnesses that more Joqzonion space ships are landing in the wet lands almost daily.

Are the Joqzonions attempting to form an army in which to take over Sesla?  Only time will tell.  For now, we are all grateful that the attacks by the murdering outlaw group, the Gang of Five, have slowed at least temperately.  This is Meez Broplen, your Kinkorx TV News Anchor.  We are returning you back to our regular programming.”

“It looks like my attack had an effect on them,” Maxx said.

Art replied, “Yes it does.  That’s good.  I’m also concerned about these killings of the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk players.  I hope the police catch Zith Fleen before he kills any more players.”

Three Days Ago

In The Afternoon

As Art Nekuma lay in his hospital bed, while watching Kinkorx TV and eating, there was a Breaking News Bulletin.  “I am Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen.  Pymur Muxx is standing by with a special report.”

“I’m Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter, Pymur Muxx.  I am reporting live from the suburban Kinkorx home of Ti Gurmis.  As you know, Ti’s slashed and dismembered body was found early this morning beside a drainage ditch.

While conducting their investigation, the Kinkorx Police went to his home.  What they discovered was horrifying.  Police Chief Pomur is preparing to make a statement.  I have been told his report will begin any moment…Here he comes now.  Police Chief Pomur.”

Chief Pomur began, “After Ti Gurmis’ butchered body was found early this morning, and my department began an immediate investigation.  We are attempting to gather clues that will lead us to the killer.  One of the places we wanted to search was his home.  After receiving a search warrant from Judge Lykun, we forcefully entered this home.  We discovered the murder scene.  There is a considerable amount of blood both downstairs and upstairs.  The bulk of the blood is in the bedroom.  We think the actual murder took place on his bed.  There is blood everywhere in his bedroom.”

Pymur Muxx asked, “Chief Pomur.  Do you believe this is the work of Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher?”

Chief Pomur sighed with anger as he answered, “We do not think Zith Fleen committed this heinous murder!” he said angrily and strongly.  “The attack was completely different.”

Kinkorx Desert News roaming reporter Vigtor Zertus said, “Zith Fleen slashed and dismember a Kinkorx Horned Hares player and place him next to a busy road.  That seems to be the same pattern to me.”

Chief Pomur replied angrily.  “Since you didn’t ask a question, I’ll not respond to your statement.  I will only say that we are even more convinced now that Zith Fleen isn’t the killer.  We are conducting an investigation to learn the identity of this new murderer.  Now if you will excuse me.  I have a lot of work to do.”

“Chief Pomur—” said The Bedsult Daily News roaming reporter Girma Resior as Chief Pomur cut her off.

“No further questions!” he said.  Chief Pomur walked back into Ti Gurmis’ house.

The reporters closed their reports.  Pymur Muxx said, “Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police Department are convinced Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher is not responsible for the two recent murders of the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk players.  They feel this killer has a completely different style.  Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police are conducting an investigation to discover who the new killer is.  They will continue to work inside Ti Gurmis’ home.  They are searching for clues as to who slashed and dismembered his body before dumping it near a drainage ditch sometime late last night.  This is Pymur Muxx reporting live for Kinkorx TV News.”

“I’m Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen.  We will break in live when we have more to report.  We now return you to our regular programming.”

As Art watched the special breaking news bulletin, he thought, “The pattern for Ti Gurmis’ murder is exactly the same as the others.  I know Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher, murdered Cillo Fistor and Ti Gurmis.  How can Chief Pomur say it was a different killer?  I’m going to do some investigating myself on this Slasher case.”

Yesterday
Detective Art Nekuma was released two days ago from the hospital due to scorpion stings.  He was looking into the case he had heard about while recovering in the hospital.  As he worked on The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher case, he began reading the Wyluxx City Times.

He read a front-page article in the Times from the Kinkorx Desert News, via the news wire, by reporter Vigtor Zertus.  The front-page headline read:

Will the Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher Kill Again?

Wyluxx City Times: Chief Pomur stated earlier today at the Kinkorx Police Department,  “We do not believe Zith Fleen, the escaped mental patient is responsible for the recent slayings.  At this time, we have no evidence to link him to those crimes.

In addition to our murder investigation, we are aiding the Xcuymir Territory Sheriff Department with their continuing search for Zith Fleen.  We expect to capture and return him to the correctional facility in Jxobslyn, where he escaped from—Soon.”

Chief Pomur refused to answer reporter’s questions after the brief statement.

The last Kinkorx Horned Hares player to be found brutally murdered, slashed, and dismembered was the star player, Ti Gurmis.  He was found by passing motorists in a drainage ditch close to the road several days ago.  It is believed, due to the placement of the body parts, the Slasher wanted the dismembered body of his victim to be found quickly.  This is the second Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player’s mutilated body that has been found recently in a public place.  Both players were brutally murdered, slashed, and dismembered.

It is widely believed that Zith Fleen, the mentally insane, ex-Kinkorx Horned Hare, is responsible for these two recent murders.

He was imprisoned a year ago in Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn after brutally murdering a Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player, in the same manner.  Before his escape one month ago, he was serving a life sentence in the psychiatric wing for that murder.

As we all remember, Zith Fleen suffered a tragic head injury during a brutal hit in a mesnuk game against the Wyluxx City Generals, a year and a half ago.

After emergency brain surgery, he was left with permanent brain damage to his anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles.  The correctional facility doctors believe his brain damage is what has led to his antisocial personality and psychopathy disorder.

It has been reported by numerous members of the staff at the correctional facility that, Zith Fleen repeatedly threatened to take revenge.  He is threatening deadly retaliation on the entire Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk team for his head injury.

He insists his mesnuk collision was a conspiracy by his teammates to get him off the team.  He insists the players didn’t understand his unique visions.  As we all remember, the members of the Kinkorx Horned Hares denied the allegations, at that time...

As Art Nekuma sat at his database, in his home office, in suburbia Wyluxx City, he thought, “It looks like the reporters agree with me.  They all think Zith Fleen killed Cillo Fistor and Ti Gurmis and so do I.  Until we get another case, I’m going to working on The Slasher Case.  It seems Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police could use some help.”

Chapter Seven

Present Day

It was a rare cloudy morning as Maxx Zeqster and Art Nekuma were standing in Maxx’s back yard at his welcoming home in Bedsult, in suburbia Kinkorx.  They were standing under his ornamental Red Ploss Tree while looking at Maxx’s latest landscape painting that he was working on—while in the shade.

Maxx stated, “That’s how the cave that you were being held captive in looked.  If you don’t think about what happened inside, the cave and surrounding desert are quite spectacular – wouldn’t you agree?” he asked.  “The multi-colored sand and the blooming flowers complement each other very well.  Even the stone formation seems to match the surroundings.”

Art studied the half-finished painting.  He thought, “All I can remember is being tied to a chair and getting stung by a scorpion.”  He said as he smiled, “It looks great!”

Maxx added, “I’m also going to paint several red scorpions in the sand.  That’ll be later.”  He felt several raindrops.  “It looks like we’re in for some rain.  I had better get this painting and easel inside.  Do you mind carrying my tools?”

Art replied, “No problem.”  He grabbed the painting tools as Maxx grabbed the painting and tri-stand.  As the rain began to cascade, they walked inside while carrying the painting and supplies.

“We can put them in the dining room,” said Maxx.  They walked into the dining room and set the painting and equipment close to the Melá-Jutis swamp stick.

“Does the Melá-Jutis stick still talk to you?”  Art asked.

“Occasionally,” Maxx replied.  “Have a seat in the living room.  We’ll talk and see what’s on the news.”

Art walked to Maxx’s plush, leather sectional sofa and sat.  Using the remote, he turned on the TV.  He watched Kinkorx TV while he waited for his friend.

Maxx had walked into the kitchen and grabbed two bottles of water from his fridge.  He walked to the living room.  He handed one to Art.  He sat in his luxurious recliner and opened his.  They both took a big drink as Kinkorx TV aired.

Maxx asked casually, “How are your parents?  Are they still arguing a lot?”

“Lately them seem to be getting along better,” Art replied.  “They talk about you all the time.  They talk about the Dunjyn Asylum and how you rescued them from near death inside that horrific place.”

Maxx smiled and said, “I’m glad I could help.”

“You did more than help,” Art added.  “There were days when I went into that creepy asylum – I couldn’t stop puking.  The smell was so bad.  There was vomit and defecation everywhere.  The doxer fever patients were grabbing me and spitting on me.  It was awful – worse than that.  The doxer fever mutants moaned and groaned.  They lay in the corridors.  Their mutated dorsal fins and mutated arms and legs were disgusting.  I’m not sure whether they were more disgusting or more frightening.  One thinks I do know – that asylum was vile.  I puked so many times.  I’m so glad you rescued them from that awful place.  Dr. Vuyyu Neafyndrer, the head psychiatrist at Dunjyn Asylum never heard of the doxer fever-reversing drug.  He said he was hesitant to use it at first, but my parents were dying.  There wasn’t a reason not give the medicine a chance.  After the injections, they started recovering almost immediately.  Dr. Neafyndrer said he never saw anything like it.”  As Art finished the brief summation, he was looking a little sick.

Maxx changed the painful and disgusting subject.  “Do they still spend a lot of time in the back yard?” he asked.

Art looked a little nauseous as he replied, “They really like the patio set I bought for them.  They spend most of the day lounging in the shade.  For a long time, they lounged, drank beverages, and argued.”

Maxx asked, “What about now?”

Art replied, “They still spend most of the day lounging and drinking beverages.  They don’t seem to argue as much.  Maybe they’re finally tired of fighting.”

“Have their mutations come back?” he asked.

Art answered, “No.  They look completely normal.  Their dorsal fins are gone.  Their arms and legs look normal again.  They don’t look like anything was ever wrong with them.  If someone didn’t know their history, that coterie would never know they were once doxer fever mutants – and close to death.  That’s all thanks to you.”  He smiled.

Maxx replied, “Do they still like the house?”

Art said happily, “They love the house – and so do I.  I especially love my office.  It’s great.  My dad likes the kitchen and the back yard mostly.  My mom likes it that they have separate bedrooms.  She really likes her bedroom.  Thanks again for buying it for us.”

He smiled.  “It was my pleasure.  You need a nice home for your family.  You also need a big office to do most of the work in our detective agency,” Maxx said.

Art smiled as he said, “I never thought my dreams were going to come true.  All those years I worked as a janitor at Wyluxx City High School.  Mostly I cleaned the mesnuk stadium – what a mess.  I hated that job.  I was so happy when Mr. Pluxxer fired me and that job was out of my life.  That same night, I worked undercover at The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.  That’s how we closed the sand trafficking case.”

Maxx smiled as he replied, “That was the beginning of our partnership.  That was also the time when our lives turned around.”

“There’s no question about that – at least from my point of view,” said Art.

Maxx smiled.  “From my perspective as well.”  He changed the subject again—to something lighter.  “Were you surprised when you saw Wixqezzer Auctions?”

Art replied, “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect the building to be so far out in the swamplands of Kvyutt.  I also didn’t expect the building to be so rundown.  The walkways and boardwalks over the swampland were surprising.  The worst surprise was being grabbed from behind by the Gang of Five and taken to that cave.”

Maxx added, “I know that was a horrible experience.  It was almost closing time when I began to search for you.  I looked at the front entrance – as we planned.  Then I checked the car.  When you weren’t there, I sent you two ziq com messages on your DunyII.  When the messages didn’t go through, I knew your Duny was turned off.  You never turn off your phone.  I knew you were in trouble.  I searched inside again.  I searched until closing time.  After that, I had to leave.”

Art replied, “The Gang of Five and the Joqzonions are scary to look at—and evil.  They tied me to a chair in that cave.  They planned how they were going to kill us.  I thought they were going to kill me in the cave.”

“It’s a good thing they didn’t take your Duny II,” said Maxx.  “Without your ziq com, I would never have found you.  You would have died from those scorpion stings on your leg.”

“When I sent that ziq com, I pushed the buttons on my DunyII through my pants,” said Art.  “I didn’t know if my ziq com was even understandable.  As I sent it, I got stung several times on the leg.”

Maxx replied, “I figured out quickly were you were by the red scorpions.  Then I searched for a cave.  I drove The Phoenix into the trail of red scorpions.  I kept driving and searching.  When I was outside that cave, I felt your vibrations.  I knew you were inside.”

“It really hurt when that scorpion stung me in the leg.  Then I passed out,” Art said.

“When I found you, I was terrified.  Your breathing was slow.  You were so pale.  I thought you would be ok—but I didn’t know.  I drove as fast as I could to get you to the hospital.  We almost lost you.  I still remember that moment at the hospital when you flat lined.  I started to lose it when I thought you were dead,” said Maxx.

Art replied, “You got me there in time.  I owe my life to you—Again.”

Maxx changed the subject.  He laughed.  “I remember that creepy warehouse in Guytic City?  I couldn’t believe how many spiders there were in that spooky building.  You were surrounded by a wall of spiders,” he said.

“The Phoenix came in handy that night,” Art replied.

“I drove The Phoenix into the spiders.  They were everywhere.  At least we recovered the stolen collectables,” Maxx said.

“Sirrz Debmyuo was right about where his collectables would be stored.  He didn’t mention the spiders.  When we delivered them to Sirrz, they still had spiders on them,” said Art.

“I sent Sirrz Debmyuo a bill for both cases,” Maxx stated.  “It seems we’re without a case—at least momentarily.”

Art said, “I’ve been looking into The Slasher case.  Since Zith Fleen escaped from prison a month ago, it looks like he’s killed two players from the Kinkorx Horned Hares team.  Chief Pomur denies that it’s Zith Fleen who’s doing the killing.  The Kinkorx Police are looking for a different killer.  I’m looking into it.  To me there’s no question – Zith Fleen’s the killer.”

“Since we don’t have another case right now, let’s spend some time on that one.  I’ll do some research myself.  What have you discovered so far?” asked Maxx.

Art replied, “I’m working from the assumption that Zith Fleen’s the killer.  That he’s killed three players so for.  One player, over a year ago, and two players in the last few weeks.  That makes him a serial killer.  To me that’s what the evidence indicates.  For some reason Chief Pomur interprets the evidence differently.”

Maxx replied, “After Zith Fleen’s brain surgery, he was left with permanent brain damage to his anterior rostral prefrontal cortex and temporal poles.  When those areas of the brain are damaged, often times psychopathic behavior results.  The correctional facility doctors diagnosed him with antisocial personality and psychopathy disorder.  Those injuries plus the prison psychiatrists’ diagnoses suggests your theory—that he’s a serial killer, may be correct.”

As they talked, a Breaking News Story came on Kinkorx TV.  “I am Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen.  I’m switching you to Pymur Muxx.  He he’s standing by with a live report.”

The TV Switched to the Horned Hares Practice Field

“Thank you Meez.  I’m Pymur Muxx.  I am reporting live from the Kinkorx Horned Hares practice field in downtown Kinkorx.  Mr. Grexenn has agreed to answer a few questions for Kinkorx TV News.”

He turned toward Jeqrix Grexenn.  “Mr. Grexenn, you’ve recently lost two star players due to heinous murders.  What are your plans?”

Jeqrix Grexenn replied.  “First off.  I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of  Cillo Fistor and Ti Gurmis. I know their families are grieving for their loved ones.  To answer your question, we plan to continue playing our best mesnuk on the field and conducting ourselves professionally both on and off the field.”

Pymur said, “Police Chief Pomur does not feel Zith Fleen in responsible for these recent murders.  They’re looking for another killer.  This is a viewpoint that the public does not seem to agree with.  As you know, Zith Fleen is widely called The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher – and for good reason.”

Jeqrix Grexenn replied angrily, “I am aware of Chief Pomur’s decision to pursue another suspect.”

Pymur Muxx added, “A suspect that the Kinkorx Police still have not identified…Has Chief Pomur offered you any protection for your players?” he asked.

Jeqrix replied, “We spoke once, briefly, on the phone.  Chief Pomur does not feel that Zith Fleen is responsible for these two murders.  He also does not think the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk team is being targeted by the killer.  The Kinkorx Police Department believes these are random murders.  Therefore the Kinkorx Police is not offering any protection to my players or their families,” he said angrily.

Pymur responded.  “How do you feel about Chief Pomur’s decisions?”

The normally reserved Jeqrix Grexenn had a red, angry face and angry eyes.  He signed deeply.  “Today I will be hiring a security guard for each of the players and their immediate families.  If Chief Pomur is right, this action should detour the killer.”

Pymur asked, “What if Chief Pomur is wrong?  Do you feel the security guards will be enough to stop a psychopath on a revenge driven killing spree?  Zith Fleen has a wolf that helps him with the brutal killing.  I’m sure you’re aware of that.”

The calmer Jeqrix Grexenn replied, “Those rumors you’re referring to were never proven.  However, due to the evil, heinous nature of these murders, and Chief Pomur’s direction in the case, I will be taking my own action.  Today I will also hire a professional detective agency to aid the police in catching this killer.”

“That may be a good idea.  I’m sure you want this killer caught as fast as possible,” said Pymur.

Jeqrix added, “The pain this killer is causing the families is horrible.  I want the killer found as fast as possible and put in jail.”

“Thank you for talking with us,” said Pymur.

“My pleasure,” said Jeqrix Grexenn.  He walked toward his office.

Pymur Muxx began his closing.  “Jeqrix Grexenn, the owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares will be hiring security guards for protection for his players.  He’s also hiring a private detective agency to aid the police.  We will continue to follow this story.  We hope these actions by Mr. Grexenn prevent more killings and succor the Kinkorx Police in catching this heinous killer.  I am Pymur Muxx.  Reporting live from the Kinkorx Horned Hares practice field in downtown Kinkorx.”

The TV Switched to the Kinkorx TV News Room

“Thank you Pymur for that live report.  We will follow this story as it develops.  I am Meez Broplen your Kinkorx TV News Anchor.  There is another story that just came over the news wire from GCTV that we want to bring to you.  We are now switching you to Guytic City TV News.”

The TV Switched to Guytic City TV News—In The Wet Lands

“I am Jimner Veqsen, the Guytic City TV News Anchor.  After several weeks of silence, the Gang of Five and their Joqzonion followers, robbed another bank just minutes ago.  We are taking you live to the Ellingtyn Bank in Guytic City.  GCTV roaming news reporter Wilqy Dymzet is standing by.”

The TV Switched to The Ellingtyn Bank

“I am Wilqy Dymzet.  I’m standing outside the Ellingtyn Bank in outer Guytic City.  Less than an hour ago, the Gang of Five and a group of Joqzonions entered this rural bank.  They shot and killed the only costumer and the lone security guard before robbing the bank.  The bank manager has informed me that at gunpoint, he opened the vault.  According to the manager, late yesterday afternoon, a costumer deposited a large sum of cash.  That costumer’s money was in the vault this morning.  Bank officials believe the robbers somehow hacked into the banks computers overnight and learned about the large cash deposit.

I have an eyewitness that saw the gang of robbers as they exited the bank.  This witness does not wish to have their face or name known for their own safety,” Wilqy Dymzet said.  He moved the microphone to the eyewitness as the cameras followed.  “Can you tell us what you saw?”

As the witness’ face was blurred, he began.  “I saw who I think was the leader of the group exit the bank first.”

Wilqy Dymzetreplied, “The leader of the Gang of Five calls himself Mustler.”

The eyewitness continued.  “Yes.  I think so.  I saw Mustler.  He came out of the bank.  He was carrying some type of automatic weapon.  Only seconds later, his gang exited the bank behind him.  They were all carrying weapons and they had bags over their shoulders.  I think they were carrying money.”

Wilqy Dymzetasked.  “Where did the robbers go?”

“They went behind the bank and into the marshland.  They must have had a vehicle hiding back there.  I didn’t see then drive away.  They must have escaped into the swamp.”

Wilqy Dymzet replied.  “Where were you when you saw them?”

The witness replied, “I was going into the bank.  When I heard the gunfire, I hid behind those bushes.”  He pointed.  “I stayed there until the robbers left.  Right after that, the police drove up.  They told me to stay for a while in case anyone had questions.”

Wilqy Dymzet asked, “Did you get a good look at Mustler and his gang?”

“Yes.  Mustler and his gang look like mutants.  They’re scary.  The mutates have enlarged heads with only a few strands of hair.  Their faces are large and deformed.  Their eyes are large and uneven.  They don’t have ears.  They had a row of sharp bone in their mouth that protruded sharply.  Their legs were crooked and stick-like.  Large bumps protruded from both.  The many leg veins were large and distorted just under their leathery-like skin.  He had large, mutated, wiggly veins.  Their feet were small and chunk-like.

Then I saw several Joqzonions.  They had elongated heads and big eyes.  Their arms and legs were really long and like sticks.”

Wilqy Dymzet replied, “I’ve interviewed several eyewitnesses to the Gang of Five’s robberies.  Your description of Mustler and his gang is typical.  They must be a frightening sight.”

The eyewitness said, “The mutant gang is goulash and frightening.  They all had evil, heinous looks on their faces.”

Wilqy replied, “We’re glad you weren’t hurt as you hid in the bushes.  Thank you for talking with us.”

“No problem.  Glad to help,” said the unnamed and unidentified eyewitness.

“I’m Wilqy Dymzet reporting live from the Ellingtyn Bank in outer Guytic City.”

The TV Switched Back to Kinkorx TV News
I am Meez Broplen your Kinkorx TV News Anchor.  We will follow this story as it develops.  There is another story that just came over the news wire from Kvyutt TV News, also in the wet lands, that we want to show you.  We are taking you to news anchor, Centon Green.”
The TV Switched to Kvyutt TV News
“I am Centon Green.  I’m the news anchor for Kvyutt TV News.  At this moment, the Gang of Five and Joqzonion followers are looting and burning businesses in outer Kvyutt.  This terror, only an hour after the evil, mutant gang robbed the Ellingtyn Bank in outer Guytic City.  Kvyutt TV roaming news reporter Wes Biim is there with a live report.”

“I’m in a rural village of Kvyutt.  I’m standing across the street from several businesses as they’re burning.  You can see the fires.  The Kvyutt Police and Fire Departments are here as you can also see.  There are several bloody, murdered business owners lying on the ground outside their shops.  I was told by the police that the Gang of Five and their Joqzonion followers killed the storeowners.  Then they robbed these stores of their firearms and money.  After the killings and looting, the evil mutant gang set the businesses on fire.

I spoke to several eyewitnesses.  The witnesses were reluctant to speak on camera—as they were concerned for their safety.  They did however positively identify Mustler and his Gang of Five members.  They also reported seeing several Joqzonions that were assisting them.

I asked them if they had recently scene flying saucers from Joqzon landing in the wet lands.  Each of them reported seeing numerous flying saucers landing in the desert and marshlands—day and night.  They are fearful of the Gang of Five, with a Joqzonion army, taking over Sesla—as if the Joqzonions tried to do several decades ago.  As we all remember, the Joqs intended to take over Sesla and strip mine her bountiful natural researches.

I will stay here and bring you live updates as we learn more.  I’m Kvyutt TV roaming news reporter Wes Biim.  Now, back to you Centon.”

“I’m Kvyutt TV News Anchor Centon Green.  We will bring you the live reports as we learn more.  We return you to our regular programming.”

The TV Switched Back to Kinkorx TV News
“This is Meez Broplen, news anchor.  We will break in live when we know more from Guytic City or Kvyutt.  We now return you back to our regular programming.”

Maxx and Art were shocked as they watched Kinkorx TV in Maxx’s comfortable living room.  “It looks like the Gang of Five is starting again,” Maxx said.

Art added, “That gang will continue to murder, steal, and burn businesses unless you stop them.  Mustler and the Joqs want to take over Sesla.  The Joqs want to steal the minerals and other researches.  I’m not sure what Mustler wants.”

“I get the impression Mustler wants to be a global dictator,” Maxx replied.

As they talked, the phone began to ring.  Maxx jumped up from his recliner and hurried to his office.  He sat at his database and grabbed the ringing phone.  “Detective Maxx Zeqster.”

“This is Jeqrix Grexenn.  I’m the owner of the Kinkorx Horned Hares.”

Maxx smiled as he thought, “We have a new case.”  He asked, “How can I help you Mr. Grexenn?”

Jeqrix replied, “As I’m sure you’re aware, my mesnuk team has suffered two tragic losses recently.”

“We are aware.  You have our sincere condolences,” Maxx replied.

“Thank you.  I’ve hired a security company to protect my players and their families,” Jeqrix stated.

Maxx replied, “A wise idea – under the circumstances.”

Jeqrix said, “I feel that Chief Pomur needs help.  I believe he and the Kinkorx Police are on the wrong track with this case.”

Maxx responded, “From the headlines in the newspapers, it seems the media would agree with you.”

“What is your opinion?”  he asked.

“We’ve spent a limited amount of time on your case.  We agree – Chief Pomur’s decisions concerning the recent murders are…Surprising,” Maxx stated.

“So…You’ve looked into the murders?” he asked cautiously.

Maxx replied, “We’ve spent limited time on the case—yes.”

Jeqrix Grexenn paused.  “As I said, I believe the police are looking for the wrong killer.  I think Zith Fleen is very sick.  I think he killed them.”

Maxx added, “A lot of coteries seem to feel that way.”

“How well do you work with the local police?” asked Jeqrix?

Maxx chuckled lightly.  “Police usually don’t like private investigators.  Unfortunately my detective agency is no different,” he stated.

Jeqrix paused again.  “If I hire your agency, will you work with the local authorities?” he asked.

Maxx replied, “First things first.  What would you… hire us to do?”

“Catch the killer – of course!”  Jeqrix said strongly.

“As you’ve previously stated, the police think the killer is someone completely different.  The public and the media believe it was Zith Fleen.  That he’s on a revenge driven killing spree,” said Maxx.  “The police won’t be happy with our interference.”

Jeqrix paused again.  “You must have an opinion from your work.  Who do you feel is accurate?” he asked.

Maxx replied, “From our research, we agree with you and the media.  We feel Chief Pomur is looking for the wrong killer.”

“If I hire your agency to catch Zith Fleen before he kills anyone else, will you work with the police?”  Jeqrix asked again—this time louder with impatience.

Maxx smiled.  “As I’ve already indicated, the local authorities will not like our interference in their case,” he repeated.

“Chief Pomur is looking for another killer.  He isn’t looking for Zith Fleen.  He’s looking in the wrong direction!”  Jeqrix said with increased volume and anger.

Maxx replied, “That’s correct…If you chose to retain our services,  be aware the local authorities will not support your decision.  Chief Pomur will not be happy that you hired us.  He will oppose us if he can – just like the previous Police Chief, Zog Morxoc.”  He chuckled.  “I’m sure you heard how that sand trafficking case turned out.  Morxoc and his accomplices are still in the correctional facility.”

Jeqrix replied, “I remember.  That case was a slap in the face for the local authorities.  The work you and Detective Nekuma did made you celebrities.  Your detective agency was the top headline news story on every news station and on the front page of every newspaper on Sesla.”

Maxx further explained, “The police don’t like it when we solve cases that they’ve been working on unsuccessfully for years—especially when the authorities are the criminals.”

Jeqrix added, “I’m sure they don’t.  You and Art seem to do that a lot.”  He paused and pondered briefly.  He said, “This is probably going to be another case like that.  I’m hiring you and Detective Nekuma.  Work with Chief Pomur as much as possible.  Catch Zith Fleen before him and his wolf can kill anyone else.”

Maxx smiled.  “We’ll start the case immediately.  We’ll do our best to work with Chief Pomur.  There is something I would like you to do for us,” he asked.

With concern, Jeqrix Grexenn asked, “What do you need?”

“There were a lot of rumors from the players and Zith Fleen the season he was injured.  I want Art to study the films of the games that season.  He might be able to understand Zith Fleen better.  Understanding him will be the key to catching him.  Send the films to Art’s home in Wyluxx City.  If anyone can find a pattern from the game films, Art can,” said Maxx.

Jeqrix was shocked.  “I’ve only just hired you.  You’re already out thinking and out working Chief Pomur.  He never offered to study anything.  Art will have the copies by tomorrow.  Keep me informed as to your progress,” said Jeqrix Grexenn.  He hung of the phone in his office at the Horned Hares practice field.

Maxx walked back to his living room.  Art had turned off the TV so he could listen to the call.  “That was Jeqrix Grexenn,” Maxx said.  “He hired us to catch Zith Fleen before he kills anyone else.”

He sat in his leather recliner.  “I asked Mr. Grexenn for the game tapes of the season Zith Fleen was injured.  He’s sending them to your home.  You’ll have them tomorrow.”

“What are we looking for?”  Art asked.

Maxx replied, “It was widely rumored the season he was injured that there was a conspiracy within the horned hare’s organization.  The players were abandoning him on the field in an attempt to cause a serious injury.  The players were hoping he would become injured and be removed from the team.  Study the films.  See if there’s a pattern between the players on the field and the players that he killed.”  He smiled.  “If anyone can find a pattern – you can.”

Art beamed at his partner’s praise.  “I’ll see what I can do.”

Maxx continued.  “You’ve already formed the opinion he’s a serial killer.  I’m hoping there’s a pattern to his killing.  Maybe you can discover that pattern by watching the games.  “While you’re doing that, I’ll make a quick trip to the wet lands.  I need to stop the Gang of Five and the Joqzonions.  I’m also going to burn more of their space ships.”

“When are you leaving?”  Art asked.

“Within the hour,” he replied.  “I plan to attack Mustler and his gang before they’re expecting me.”

Art asked, “How will you know where to find them?”

Maxx replied, “I’m expecting them to raid another business very soon; that’s the way Mustler operates.  While I’m driving, I’ll keep my radio tuned to Radio Wet Lands.  I’ll listen for breaking news bulletins.  I’ll try to catch them before they’re gone.  I’ve had good success with that plan in the past.”

“Do you need help hooking The Phoenix to your car?” asked Art.

“Thank you – No,” Maxx replied.  “I need to pack a few things.  I’ll connect the trailer when I leave.”

Art said, “You have a lot to do.  I should go.  I’ll study the game films while you’re gone.  I’ll do my best to discern a pattern to Zith Fleen’s killing.”  He stood and walked toward the door.

Maxx also stood.  He said, “I’ll be back in a couple of days.  I’ll call you when I’ve had some rest.”

“I’ll keep a close eye on the news.  It’s kind of fun to watch live reports knowing it was The Melá-Jutis that started the fires,” Art said as he opened the door.  “Awesome!  The rain stopped.”

Maxx replied, “Glad to hear it.  Tell your dad and mom I said hi.”

“Will do,” said Art as he closed the door.  He walked across the porch and down the steps.  As he walked along the wet walkway toward his blue convertible, he looked at The Phoenix.  He said, “Detective Zeqster’s camo, all-terrain jeep comes in handy on his quick trips to the wet lands.  He can drive that little, turbo-charged jeep anywhere.”

“I’m glad I put the top up.”  He looked at the overcast sky as he said, “It looks like it might rain again.”  He entered his blue, midsized convertible.  He began the drove back to his home in Wyluxx City.

Meanwhile: Inside
Maxx was busy planning for his quick trip to the wet lands.  He put several items into a duffel bag.  He thought, “That’s all I need.”  He grabbed his bag and keys and headed toward the door.  He stopped.  “I almost forgot.”

He walked to his living room and stood in front of his friend—the Melá-Jutis stick.  He said, “I’m driving to the wet lands to fight Mustler and his gang.  I hope Sesla knows what I’m doing.  I’ll need her magic.”

He stood briefly and stared at the swamp stick.  “Sesla knows,” the girls voice said, “Her enchantments will be with you.  There are many Joqzonion ships in the desert and the marshlands.  Destroy as many as you can.  They are attempting to form an army to take over Sesla.  Mustler wants to control Sesla while the Joqzonions strip the natural researches of this beautiful planet.  You are the only one who has the magical powers to stop them.  You must hurry – before it is too late.  They are growing in numbers every day.”

Maxx was angry.  “I’ll find their saucers and burn them all!” he declared strongly to the Melá-Jutis stick.  He hurried toward the door.  “There’s no time to waste,” he said with authority.  While carrying his bag and keys he opened his custom door and exited his home.

After quickly locking the front door, he hurried across his porch and down the steps.  While thinking about the Joqzonion flying saucers, he rushed to his convertible and tossed his bag into the passenger seat.

He grabbed the arm of the trailer and lifted it.  He easily pulled the trailer with Phoenix several feet to the hitch on his red convertible.  As he imagined more Joqzonions flying saucers landing, he closed and locked the connection.

“I need my gas can,” he said.  Maxx hurried into his small garage and grabbed the can.  He shook it.  “It’s not very full.  I had better take a syphon hose.  I can draw gas out of my car if necessary.”

He exited his small, garage while carrying the gas can and hose.  He hurried to his trunk.  After unlocking it, he placed the can and hose inside.  “Now I’m ready,” he said as he closed the trunk.

He hurried to the driver’s door.  He opening it and jumped inside.  “I’m glad I put the top up.  That rain would have damaged my leather seats,” he thought.

He started the motor.  He declared, “I am The Melá-Jutis.  I’m going to stop Mustler and his gang.”  While pulling The Phoenix, he drove out of his driveway.  He turned onto Lypont Drive.

“Mustler and his gang are in for a big surprise.  Wait until they see their ships burning.  I’ll bet they’re going to be mad,” he said.  He laughed as he drove through his Bedsult neighborhood.

Chapter Eight
“It’s time to listen to the radio,” Maxx thought as he drove the Kinkorx streets.  “There might be a breaking news story from the wet lands.”  He turned on his convertible radio.

Instantly the rock music blared.  He bobbed his head and tapped his hand on the side of his red convertible to the beat of the Rock music.  He said as he drove and Jammed, “Kinkorx Rocks Radio is awesome!”  He continued to drive along the streets of Kinkorx as he listened to the Rock music while pulling the Phoenix on its trailer.

His flowing blond hair blew in the warm, humid desert wind through the open window.  “This overcast sky is depressing.  The air is damp.  It looks like it might rain—soon.  I would rather have sunshine.”

As he continued to drive through Kinkorx with the top up he said, “There’s the desert highway.”  He began to slow.  He merged onto the desert highway toward Guytic City.

He drove into the outer limits of Kinkorx on the desert highway as it began to rain again.  “It looks like another rain storm.  I’ll be glad when I drive away from these thick clouds.  I want to put the top down,” he said over the music.  He turned on his wipers as the rain intensified.

As he continued along the desert highway out of Kinkorx, the rain continued to cascade down.  As it rained, the aromatic smells of the blooming desert flowers grew stronger.  As he drove, the picturesque desert began to appear.  He said, “There’s nothing like the beauty of the Seslean desert during a rain storm.”  He took several deep breaths.  “The fresh desert rain smells delightful.  As soon as I finish the painting of the cave where Art was held captive, I’m going to start another desert landscape painting.  I’ll paint the scenery I see on this trip.  I’ll add the rain to the painting.”

He drove into the open desert toward Guytic City as the rain began to subside.  Sesla’s sun began to shine down.  He smiled as he said, “How nice; Sesla’s sun is finally shining.  I knew I would drive out of those rain clouds before long.”

As Maxx drove farther into the desert, Sesla’s brilliant sun began to warm his convertible.  “It looks like the rain is over.  I should stop and put the top down,” he said as the music continued.

He slowed and pulled over to the side of the sandy highway.  Using his automatic lift, he lowered the top.  “That’s better!” he said happily.  He speeded and entered the lane as he continued to listen to the Rock music.

The hours past as he drove along the desert highway.  As he drove, be was enthralled in the beauty of Sesla’s vast desert.  The multi-colored sand and the multitude of blooming flowers and bushes were spectacular to view.  He was engulfed by the majesty and splendor of the ancient stone formations.  The variety of minerals in the stones made them colorful and beautiful.  The colored layers were spectacular.  The aromatic smells of the hosts of desert flowers was intoxicating as he drove.

By late afternoon, he approached the border of Xcuymir Territory and Inglot Territory.  His eyes grew large when he saw red scorpions on the highway – Again.  “This is where the red scorpions were before.  The cave where Art was held captive is just ahead.  The scorpions live in that cave.  I may be in luck.  Mustler and his gang might be hiding there again,” he thought.

As his heart raced in his fit chest with eager anticipation, he slowed and pulled over on the desert highway.  He opened his convertible door and looked down at the road.  “Red scorpions!”  he said.  Maxx looked into the desert.  “More scorpions!  They could be coming from that cave – or somewhere else in that direction.  Way, either the fleeing scorpions could be a sign the Gang of Five or Joqzonions, or both, are hiding in the desert somewhere close by.  It’s time to uncover the Phoenix.”

He quickly exited his car and began to untie and uncover his turbo-charged, camo, jeep.  “I might need my gas can and a lighter,” he said.  Maxx opened the trunk and grabbed the gas can—then closed it.  He walked and grabbed his lighter out of his duffel bag in the passenger’s seat.  He put them in the Phoenix.

He said, “It’s time for my suit.”  He started removing his casual, oversized clothing.  He tossed his shirt in the back seat of his red convertible.  He said loudly, “Melá-Jutis!”  Instantly his magical Melá-Jutis suit appeared under his clothing.  His green and dark grey, waterproof, super-hero suit with attached green cape and white gloved was stuffed under his remaining clothing.  He quickly removed the final clothing and tossed them into the back seat of his convertible.

With blazing speed, he jumped into the Phoenix.  He started the super-charged motor.  “Rrrrmmm…Rrrrmmm…Rrrmmm.”  He drove the small, powerful, 4X4, camouflaged jeep off the camouflaged trailer.  When the rear tires hit the sand, he gunned the motor.  Sand flew as he turned the steering wheel toward the desert.

The Phoenix spun sand as he drove away from the highway toward the first stone formation.  Red scorpions and colorful sand were being thrown in the air beside and behind the Phoenix as he drove at a high speed into the scorpion flow.

He began to slow as he approached the first ancient stones.  He paused to feel for vibrations.  “I don’t feel anything except these scorpions.  Wait!  I feel something else,” he thought.  Maxx looked in the direction of the vibrations.  There was a desert hawk flapping its wings in the breeze.  “The vibrations I’m felling are coming from that hawk.”

“There’s no one hiding in there,” he said.  “Rrrrmmm!...Rrmmm…Rrrmmm.”  He gunned the large turbo-charged motor and spun multi-colored sand and red scorpions as he drove away from the large, ancient stones.

“The scorpions are coming from over that bluff,” Maxx thought.  He turned the wheels toward the long, high area and hit the gas.  “Rrrr…”  The motor hummed as he threw sand and drove toward the scorpions and the distant hill.

He drove across the colorful sand.  The hawk was circling in the distance.  Maxx thought, “That hawk reminds me of Russell Talon, the enchanted hawk from Melá-Jutis.  I never found out what happened to him.  It was too easy to outsmart that egotistical, enchanted hawk.”

He drove closer to the large sand hill.  “The scorpions are coming from beyond that hill.”  He drove into a mass of scorpions.  The insects flew as they were caught in the tires.

As Maxx drove over the sand hill, he gunned the motor.  He went airborne. He flew several feet into the air before the bouncy landing.  Sand and scorpions flew into the air as he spun the tires and drove farther into the desert.  “I’ll keep following the stream of scorpions.  Something’s causing them to leave their home,” he said.

As his green cape fluttered in the warm desert wind, he gunned the motor.  Sand flew into the air.  He continued to drive deeper into the desert.  “There’s another group of stones,” he said.  Maxx drove toward the stones as the herd of scorpions continued to crawl toward him.  Sand and scorpions flew as he speeded toward the next group of large rocks.

As he drove closer to the giant stones, he paused to feel for vibrations.  He was confused at what he felt.  He thought, “I feel vibrations.  The pulsations are too big to be inside the cave.  There must be something very large beyond those stones.”  He raced the motor and drove around the large, ancient stones.  As he drove past, he looked back to see if there were tracks around the entrance of the small cave.  “No tracks.  My senses are right on,” he bragged.

He continued driving along the colorful sand into the stream of scorpions.  “There’s another large bluff,” Maxx said.  He listened for vibrations.  “I feel something very big ahead.”  He raced the motor and drove over the sand hill.  He went airborne as the sand and scorpions flew into the air.  He landed with a bounce.  “That was fun!” he said loudly as he saw a very large group of big stones.  He slowed to a stop.  He felt for vibrations.  He said, “There’s someone in that cave.  I feel something very big on the other side.  Scorpions are coming out.  It must be huge.”

He drove slow and quiet toward the large cave.  He whispered, “This is close enough.  I’ll check it out on foot.”  He turned off the Phoenix and jumped out.  He began walking around the large, mineral colored rocks.  “There are a lot of scorpions coming out of the entrance,” Maxx thought.  He stepped on numerous red scorpions as he quickly hurried toward the opening.

When he walked around to the front side of the ancient, colored stones, he was shocked at what he saw.  “Joqzonion space ships – six of them,” he whispered.  “My Melá-Jutis stick said the Joqs were in the desert as well as the wet lands.  She was right.  There must be Joqs inside.”

He quietly walked to the entrance of the colorful cave and peeked inside.  “Joqs – lots of them,” he whispered.  “I can see four.  I can hear more.  I can feel vibrations coming from deep within the cave.  It’s time to eliminate this group.  Then, I’ll burn their ships.”

With blazing speed, Maxx Zeqster flew into the cave.  “It’s The Melá-Jutis!  Kill him!” yelled a Joqzonion.  The gang of invaders attacked Maxx from all sides.  The long armed aliens  jumped at him.  They hit him with their long, stick-like arms and kicked with their stick legs.  As the Joqzonions attacked Maxx, with super-speed, he grabbed an attacker and threw them against the wall.  “Aahhh!” screamed a Joqzonion as they hit the stonewalls.  Their brittle bones cracked from impact.

With super-speed, Maxx hit and kicked on all sides.  “Uhhh!”  The Joqzonions groaned from pain as Maxx delivered deadly punches with his powerful fists.  He punched another.  The Joqs jaw broke from the incredible force of his fist.  Blood flew from its mouth.  Another grabbed Maxx.  Maxx broke his shoulder as he threw him into the wall.  “Uuhhh!” moaned the Joq.

As the fight continued, Joqzonion blood splattered on the walls of the cave.  Dead Joqs lay on the cave floor.  More Joqs came running from deeper in the cave.  As they attacked, Maxx delivered crushing, deathblows with his powerful fists and feet.

Several Joqs lay on the cave floor with dismembered, bloody arms due to Maxx ripping them off when he threw them against the cave walls.  Several had cracked and bloody skulls from the impact.  Others had numerous broken bones with bones extruding from their stick-like appendages.  Joq blood was everywhere as Maxx continued with the battle.  “Aahh!” screamed a Joq as Maxx delivered another deathblow to the head.  “Uhhh!” yelled another as Maxx threw then against the cave wall with such force, their bones shattered on impact.  “Crack!”

As the last Joq fell dead on the cave floor, Maxx readied himself for another attack.  His cape fluttered as he spun around while looking for more Joqs.  “Is that all?”  he asked loudly.  “Anyone else?”

After several seconds, “That was it!” he said with surprise.  He looked around the scorpion-infested cave.  There were dead, bloody Joqs everywhere.  Several of them were blood covered with severed arms.  Others were blood covered with crushed skulls.  Still others had massive fractures with internal bleeding.  Scorpions were beginning to crawl on the bloody, stick-like bodies.

Maxx said boldly, “These Joqs won’t take over Sesla!”  He paused briefly.  “I should look farther into this cave.  I need to make sure there are no more Joqs.”  He walked deeper into the dark, scorpion-infested cave.

He investigated cavern after cavern.  “This is a big cave,” he said as he walked in the darkness—while guided by vibrations.

He continued to search through the many dark, scorpion-infested tunnels.

Finally he thought, “There’s no more Joqs – just scorpions.”  While being guided by vibrations, Maxx hurried toward the entrance.  As he hurriedly walked, he stepped on several scorpions.  As he approached the entrance, he saw bright sun light.

He paused to look at the bloody, dead Joqs.  He said as he gazed at the gruesome sight, “This group of aliens definitely won’t take over Sesla.  They’re going to be scorpion food.”  He squished several scorpions as he hurried out the front.  “I need to burn those space ships,” he thought.

He hurried toward the Phoenix.  As he walked along the multi-colored sand, he noticed the scorpions were crawling back to the cave.  He thought, “It looks like they’re going home.  They didn’t like their home being invaded by Joqs.  Maybe they’ll like Joqs better as food.”

He grabbed the gas can and lighter out of the Phoenix.  “It’s time to burn some ships,” he said.  He hurried across the sand toward the Joqzonion ships.

When he reached the first one, he walked inside the ship.  He thought as he looked around, “These space ships are so small.  It’s hard to imagine those Joqs living in these while traveling through space.”

He stared briefly in disbelief.  “It’s time to burn these ships,” he declared.  Maxx poured gas throughout the inside.  He exited the space saucer.  “Now for the torch.”  He lit a stick and tossed it inside.

The interior of the Joqzonion flying saucer ignited immediately.  The flames grew quickly.  Soon, as Maxx watched, the flame engulfed the interior of the ship.

“Let’s make the rest of these space ships – Burn!”  He walked inside the next ship.  He sprinkled gas around the interior and exited the ship.  “Let’s make this one burn,” he said with sarcasm.  He lit a stick and tossed it in.  The second ship burst into flames as he watched.

As Maxx watched, the first spacecraft exploded.  A large mushroom cloud rose into the sky.  The space ship continued to burn as the smoke billowed.  “That was a big explosion and a lot of smoke,” he said gleefully.

He entered the third ship and sprinkled gas around.  He hurried out and found a stick.  He lit it and tossed it inside.  The third ship interior burst into flames.  “Nice work,” he bragged.  “I need to be careful.  Other ships could explode.”

Maxx hurried into the fourth ship.  He sprinkled the gas and exited.  He picked up another stick and lit it on fire.  “Here goes,” he said.  Maxx tossed the burning stick into the saucer.  It too burst into flames.  “Two to go,” he declared.

He hurried into number five.  He sprinkled gas around.  He exited that space ship and lit a stick.  “Number five burns!” he said proudly.  He tossed it into the ship.  It burst into flames.  “One to go,” he declared as he grinned.

As he paused to watch, two more ships exploded.  The mushroom clouds rolled high into the sky.  The fires were immense.  “Their plasma weapons systems are no doubt causing the explosions.  The weapons systems are probably very unstable,” he thought as he watched with amazement.

He hurried into the last flying saucer and sprinkled gas all around.  He exited the ship and lit another stick.  “Last one!” he said proudly.  He tossed the flame into the last flying saucer.  It burst into flames like the rest.

Maxx stood briefly and admired his work.  The flames and smoke from the burning ships was reaching high into the sky.  “The flames and smoke are visible for miles.  Those Joqs and their space ships won’t be used to take over Sesla,” he said.

Maxx smiled at his work.  He said, “It’s time to get back to my car.  I need to drive farther into the wet lands and find more Joqs – and their ships.  I hope I can find Mustler and the Gang of Five.  I’d love to put an end to their killing as well.”

As Maxx hurried along the colorful sand back to the Phoenix, another ship exploded.  The explosion was loud.  He chuckled as he said, “There goes another one.”  The cloud rolled high into the sky as he watched briefly.

When he reached the Phoenix, he put the gas can in the back and jumped in. “Rrrmmm…Rrrmm…Rrrmmm.”  He started the turbo-charged motor.  Sand flew as he spun the all-terrain tires while starting the drive back to his car.

He drove across the sand hills and around numerous colorful stone shapes.  He continued for miles across the picturesque desert.  “The scorpions are moving back to their cave – amazing!” he said as he drove.  “They probably like Joq flesh.”

Maxx continued to drive speedily across the multi-colored sand toward his car.  He drove around numerous large stones that stood high above the sand as he drove at excessive speed.  Sand and scorpions continued to fly in the air as his tires spun and twisted.

Soon, he approached his car and trailer.  He drove to the rear and gunned the motor once again.  He zoomed onto the camouflaged trailer.  He sat in his camo, turbo- charged jeep, on the trailer and gazed at the cloud of smoke that was rising in the evening sky.  He grinned.  “That’s a lot of smoke,” he said giddily.

As he sat in the Phoenix, while on the trailer, watching the column of smoke rising in the evening sky, four Joqzonion space ships flew low over him.  “What!  Where did they come from?” he said loudly with shock.

They were speeding across the sky.  They circled the pillar of smoke and flew over him back into the desert on the other side of the highway.  As he watches, the space saucers dropped altitude and landed in the distant desert.

“It looks like I have more work to do.”  He backed the Phoenix off the trailer.  “Rrrmmm!...Rrmmm!...Rrrmm!”  He raced the turbo motor and drove the Phoenix onto the highway.  Numerous scorpions squished under the tires as he crossed the sandy desert road.

As Sesla’s sun was sitting in the evening sky, he headed toward the area where the four Joq ships landed.  He gunned the motor and drove across the multi-colored sand.  He drove farther away from the highway.  He slung sand as he turned and drove around several large, colorful stones as he speeded toward the area where the ships landed.

As he drove, he didn’t see any scorpions.  “The scorpions didn’t go this far,” he thought.  Maxx continued over a large sand hill.  As he speeded over the bluff, he became airborne again.  He landed with a bounce and sand flew into the air.  “Yah…ho!” he yelled.

He saw a large group of stones.  He thought, “There could be a cave in that formation.”  He slowed and stopped.  He felt for vibrations.  He said, “I can feel Joqs.  There’s probably a cave.  They’re inside.  I can feel something big beyond the rocks.  It’s probably their ships.  ” He hit the gas and drove closer to the large colorful stones.

When he was close, he turned off the Phoenix and jumped out.  He quickly walked around the large stones.  When he reached the other side, he saw the cave entrance and the nearby flying saucers.  “Wow!” he whispered.  “There are seven Joq space ships.  The Joqs are in that cave.”

He quietly walked to the entrance and looked inside.  He thought, “I see two of them.  There’s probably a lot deeper in the cave.  I’m going to make sure these Joqs and their ships are not involved in a Seslean takeover.”

With blazing speed, he burst into the cave and attacked the two Joqs.  “It’s the Melá-Jutis!  Kill him!”yelled a Joqzonion.  The two Joqs stood and attacked Maxx.  With super-speed and great strength, he delivered crushing blows with his huge, powerful fists.  He hit one Joq with his right fist and the other with his left.  “Uuhh!”  “Aahh!”  The two Joqzonions received crippling blows that sent them flying into the wall.  “Crack!”  With broken jaws and cracked bones from the impact, they fell to the cave floor.

As Maxx watched shortly, several more Joqs ran toward him from deep within the cave.  As he saw the aliens, he leaped toward them and delivered crushing blows with his mighty fists.  “Uuhhh!” groaned a Joq as he fell to the floor.

Maxx grabbed another.  With his incredible strength, he slung the Joq into the wall. As Maxx hurled the fragile alien, his arm severed from his stick-like body.  Blood flew everywhere.  The sound of cracking bones was loud when he hit the stonewall of the cave.

Another jumped on Maxx’s back.  He grabbed the Joq and flipped him over – breaking his shoulder.  He threw the Joq into several others who were fast approaching.  “Ahhh!”  yelled the aliens when their friend flew through the air and collided with them – knocking them into the wall.

The Joqs quickly recovered and attacked Maxx.  With super-speed and tremendous strength, he began kicking, hitting, and throwing the aliens into the walls.  “Aahhh!” yelled a Joq as Maxx threw him against the wall – cracking its fragile skull.  Blood flowed from the Joq’s skull as he fell to the cave floor dead.

With a mighty blow, he delivered a killing punch to the head of another alien.  Blood flew from the Joq’s broken nose and jaw as he fell to the ground dead.

He kicked another into the wall.  The alien bounced off the wall and hurried toward him again.  Maxx delivered a punch to the jaw of the Joq that broke the jawbone and knocked the alien into unconsciousness.  As the invader fell to the ground, blood streamed out of his broken mouth.

Maxx looked up as two more Joqs fast approached.  “Kill him!” yelled a Joq.  Maxx grabbed the first to arrive and threw him into the wall.  “Crack!”  His bones shattered from the force when he hit the hard, stonewall.  He fell to the floor dead.

The other alien jumped on Maxx.  Maxx spun around and rammed the alien’s head into the wall.  The sound the Joq’s head made when it cracked on impact was sickening.  Blood oozed from his head as Maxx tossed him onto the ground.

Maxx quickly looked around for more Joqs.  “I think that was all of them,” he said.  He looked at the dead aliens that lay on the cave floor.  Many were still oozing blood.  “These Joqs won’t take over Sesla.  Now to burn their ships!” he said angrily.

He started walking toward the cave entrance.  He felt strong vibrations from behind.  With super-speed, he whirled around with his cape flapping and met his attackers head on.  He kicked one Joq then he grabbed the others arm.  As he whipped the Joq into the wall, the alien’s arm severed.  Blood flew everywhere.  Bones cracked when the Joq hit the wall.  The bloody alien fell to the cave floor.

The second alien attacked again.  With another mighty kick, he sent the invader face first into the hard, solid, rock wall.  The Joq hit the wall and bounced back toward Maxx.  He stepped forward and delivered a crushing blow with his mighty fist that cracked the alien’s skull.  The Joq flew into the cave wall and collapsed onto the floor.  Blood rushed out of the alien’s mouth and nose.

Maxx looked into the cave for more attackers.  He paused briefly for a last second attacker.  When there wasn’t another Joq he said, “Maybe that’s all.”  He walked toward the cave entrance and exited.

“I have more space ships to burn,” he said.  He began walking back to the Phoenix.

When he reached his turbo-charged jeep, he grabbed the gas can and lighter.  “Let’s burn some saucers,” he said.  He hurried toward the seven space ships.

He walked across the multi-colored sand and around the cave entrance toward the first space ship.  “These Joqs always leave their doors open for me.  Someday I’ll have to thank them,” he said as he smiled.

He walked inside the first ship and sprinkled gas around.  “That’ll do,” he said.  He walked back outside and picked up a stick.  Using his lighter, he lit the stick on fire.  He tossed it into the ship.  Immediately the interior of the space ship became ablaze.

He paused briefly to admire his work.  “That fire can be seen for a long ways now that it’s getting dark.  That’s one.  Six more to go.”

“I need to be careful.  These ships could explode,” he said as he walked toward the second saucer.  He walked inside and sprinkled gas all around.  “That’s enough.  I’m running low on gas.”  He exited the ship and found another stick.  After lighting it on fire, he threw it inside the ship.  That space ship’s interior immediately burst into flames.  “That’s two.  Five more to go,” Maxx declared.

The second space ship exploded as he walked toward the next ship.  He jerked from the loud explosion.  “There goes one,” he said as he watched the mushroom cloud rolling into the darkening sky.

He walked inside the next and splashed gas around.  He exited that space ship and looked for a stick.  “There’s one,” he said.  He picked up the stick and lit it on fire.  He tossed it into the third flying saucer.  The ship burst into flames like the first two.  He said, “I need to be careful. Any of these ships could explode. Three down. Four to go.”

Maxx hurried across the multi-colored sand toward the next space ship.  He hurried inside and splattered gas around the interior – then exited the ship.  He picked up a stick and lit it on fire.  As he tossed it inside the flying saucer, flames ignited.  “That takes care of four of them,” he said.

He hurried to the next flying saucer.  As he approached and entered the ship, two Joqs rushed out of the cave and ran into the last two undamaged space ships.  As Maxx splattered gas inside the ship, the Joqs quickly started their spacecrafts and took off.  They were immediately airborne.

Maxx walked out of the ship and found a stick.  He lit the stick and tossed it inside.  The space ships interior ignited.  Flames flew out the door.  As he watched briefly, he felt powerful vibrations from behind him.

He whirled around as the two Joqs while flying their ships began shooting at him.  “What!  Where did they come from?” he said loudly.  He quickly looked for the two remaining saucers.  As the blue and grey ships fired their red plasma energy bullets at him, he saw the places in the sand were the two saucers had been.

The two Joqs closed in on him while firing their plasma guns.  The energy bullets were burning holes in the colorful sand as they came closer to Maxx.  With super-speed, he started running across the sand toward the Phoenix as another ship exploded.  The mushroom cloud of smoke and fire was bigger and rapidly raised high into the darkening sky.

As Maxx reached the Phoenix, he tossed the almost empty gas can into the back and jumped in. “There they come!  I’ve got to move!”  he shouted.  He started the turbo-charged motor and turned on the headlights.  He spun sand as he speeded away.

As he drove fast, the two Joq ships quickly closed in. “I can’t out run them in the Phoenix.  I’m going to get shot!” he said in a panic.

The Joqs shined their lights and began firing their red plasma energy bullets at him as he drove back and forth across the sand.  They shot in a line as they flew past.  The plasma bullets made deep, burn holes in the sand where they hit.

The space ships began circling for another run at The Melá-Jutis as Maxx frantically tried to escape.  “I need to hide the Phoenix!  I can fight these saucers better on foot,” he said loudly.

As he speedily drove, he frantically searched for a bluff or stone formation to hide his turbo- jeep.  He went airborne as he drove over another large sand hill.  He landed with a bounce as sand flew.

The Joq space ships were closing in for another pass.  They fired at the small jeep and Melá-Jutis as they flew past.  “It’s a good thing they’re lousy shots!” he said loudly as he drove with his headlights on toward a group of large stones.

The Joqs were circling for another attack.  Their bright colorful running lights made it easy to see them in the darkening sky.  They looked like colorful streaks in the night sky.

“I need to hide the Phoenix!” he said with panic.  He drove around a group of large stones as the space ships shinned their front lights on him and began firing.

He turned the steering wheel and drove away from the line of plasma bullets as the saucers flew speedily by just over his head.  “They’re flying low.  That gives me an idea.”  He grinned and wiggled his lips as he drove speedily to the other side of the stones.  “There’s a small ledge!  It’ll have to do,” he said.

As the Joqzonions circled, Maxx drove the Phoenix under the stone ledge.  He turned off the lights and motor—and quickly jumped out.  With blazing speed, he ran into the dark desert away from the Phoenix.

He continued to run away from his turbo-charged jeep.  As he ran, he looked back over his shoulder to see if the Joqs were chasing him and not attacking the Phoenix.  Their lights and lines of bright plasma bullets were almost upon him.  “Oh no!” he said loudly.

Maxx changed directions to avoided being hit by their bullets.  The space ships passed just over his head as they flew by.  “That was too close.  They’re flying really low.  Lucky for me – they didn’t see the Phoenix,” he said as he ran.

He continued to run in the open, dark desert as the Joqs circled for another pass.  They completed the circle and flew low toward Maxx as he ran with super-speed across the multi-colored, darkening sand.  They began firing the bright plasma bullets as they approached.

Maxx continued to run back and forth across the sand at super-speed as the plasma bullets sprayed all around him.  The flying saucers were flying just over his head as they approached while firing.  “I have an idea.  It’s crazy but it might work,” he said as he ran.

When the Joqzonion ships were almost over him, with Sesla given strength, Maxx leaped into the air and grabbed the front of one of the low flying space ships.  He hung from the front of the ship as it struggled to maintain altitude.

Using all of his enchanted strength, with his Melá-Jutis cape flapping in the warm desert wind, he pulled down on the nose of the flying saucer.  The Joqzonion space ship flew rapidly on a collision course with the ground.

As the ship sailed toward the ground, Maxx held on.

When the space ship was only seconds away from crashing, Maxx pulled down hard on the nose again and released his grip.  He fell to the desert sand.  The soft sand cushioned his landing.

In seconds, the Joqzonion ship crash-landed in the sand.  The front of the flying saucer was instantly crushed as the ship plunged deep in the sand.  The other Joq pilot circled in his ship.

“I have to move!” said Maxx.  He rolled, jumped to his feet, and began running.

Only seconds later, the crashed Joqzonion space ship exploded and burst into flames.  The other ship completed the circle and pursued The Melá-Jutis.  Maxx ran at super-speed away from the crash as the Joq open fired.  He ran back and forth to avoid the plasma bullets.

The Joq flew very low over Maxx while firing its plasma guns at him.  Maxx twisted and turned back and forth to avoid being hit.

The saucer zoomed over him and began another turn.

As he ran, he said, “That pilot was flying really low – just like the other one.  Maybe my crazy plan will work twice.”  He continued to run across the dark sand as the Joq began another attack.  The pilot began firing his plasma guns at Maxx as he speeded across the sand—in the darkness.

Maxx dodged back and forth as he ran to avoid being shot.  The plasma bullets were hitting the sand around him.  There were burn holes in the sand from the bullets as he continued to run back and forth at super-speed.

The pilot continued to shoot as he flew low toward Maxx while accelerating.

Maxx was running and dodging right and left as the space ship zoomed toward him while firing its guns.  The energy bullets were hitting all around him.  He said, “The pilot’s flying low.  Now’s my chance!”

The saucer was closing fast.  The plasma bullets were hitting the desert floor all around Maxx.  As he ran he said, “The saucer is higher this time.  I don’t know if I can jump that high.  I better try before I’m shot!”  He dodged back and forth to avoid being hit by the bullets.

The Joq pilot was almost over him and shooting.  With all his Sesla enchanted strength, he leaped into the air.  He stretched his right hand up and caught the edge of the spacecraft with his fingertips. “Oohhh!” he moaned loudly as he fought for a better grip.

The pilot felt the extra weight on the ship.  He tried to climb and turn in an effort to knock The Melá-Jutis lose.  Maxx swung his other arm up and secured his grip.  He hung on with both handsas the pilot continued to climb and turn.

Maxx’s green Melá-Jutis suit cape was flapping in the warm desert wind as he continued to hang on to the front edge of the speedy flying saucer.  He looked down at the ground.  “I’m way up in the air.  I’ve got to bring this saucer down,” he said desperation.  With all his enchanted strength, he pulled down on the front of the ship.  The ship started speeding toward the ground.

After several seconds, as Maxx hung on the craft, the pilot pulled the ship up.  The aircraft began to gain altitude. “I’ve got to bring this ship down!” he said as his desperation changed to anger.

With a mighty pull, using all of his enchanted strength, he tugged down on the nose of the craft.  The saucer began flying toward the ground.  As the pilot tried to raise the nose, Maxx kept tugging.  The space ship speeded recklessly toward the desert sand.

As Maxx continued to tug down on the spacecraft, it flew straight forthe sand.

As the craft neared the ground, while traveling at high velocity, Maxx released his grip.  He dropped to the sand.  The space ship crash landed several feet away and burrowed deep in the sand.  Sand flew as the saucer buried itself while crushing the front of the craft.

Maxx sat on the sand in the dark and watched the crash.  In only seconds, the craft exploded and burst into flames.  A fire and smoke mushroom cloud rose quickly into the night sky.  He shielded his face with his enormous hands as he sighed deeply with relief.  “I hope I don’t have to do that again.  I’m just glad my crazy idea worked,” he said as he watched the flames.

He watched the burning ship briefly while catching his breath.  “I’m a long way from the Phoenix.  I better start walking,” he said.  Maxx stood and brushed the sand off his green and grey Melá-Jutis suit.  He began walking along his tracks in the dark.

As he followed his tracks, under the Sesla moon, he walked across hills and low areas.  He walked around several stone formations.  He walked past the first space as it continued to blaze in the dark.  “The Phoenix is just ahead,” he thought.

He continued to follow the tracks along the dark sand for a while.  He said, “I’m lucky there’s a good moon tonight.”  Before long as he followed the tracks, under Sesla’s moonlight, he saw the stone formation where he ditched the jeep.  He said, “There are the stones where I hid the Phoenix.  The rock ledge is on the other side.”

He walked toward the large ancient stones.  He followed his tracks around to the other side.  “There’s the Phoenix.  It’s almost invisible in the dark,” he said.  He walked to it, jumped in, and started the motor.  “Rrrmmm!...Rrrmm!...Rrrmmm!”  He drove the Phoenix into the desert as he followed the tracks.  He thought as he drove, “I’ve had enough running and walking through the desert for one night.  I hope I don’t have to do that anymore on this trip.”

He drove across hills and valleys.  He drove around numerous desert stones.  Before long, he could see the flames from the burning space ships.  “There are the ships I set on fire,” he said.  Maxx continued to drive along the sand in the dark toward the flames.

Maxx was driving slower across the sand as he approached the cave where he fought the Joqs and burned their ships.  He paused to look at the burning ships.  He thought as he watched the flames, “This group of Joqs isn’t going to take over Sesla and strip mine her precious minerals or her natural researches.”  He drove away from the cave and followed the tracks into the night desert toward his car.

As Sesla’s large moon was rising higher in the night sky, he drove the Phoenix swiftly toward the desert highway.  He drove around the same large stones and over the same highs and low places as he followed his tracks.

Before long, he saw his red convertible in the distance as the head lights shined on it.  “There’s my convertible and trailer,” Maxx said.  He drove onto the road and to the rear of the trailer.

As he shined the headlights on his convertible and the trailer, he saw numerous burned spots and holes.  There was also a destroyed tire.  He immediately flew into a rage.  “Those Joqs shot my convertible with their plasma guns.  They ruined one of my tires.  The Melá-Jutis is going to make them pay!” he saidloudly while in a rage.

He paused momentarily as his fury continued.  “I’m going to kill as many Joqs as I can find and burn their ships!” he said angrily as he continued to fume.  “I can’t go anywhere until I change that tire.”  He left the Phoenix running and the headlights on as he jumped out.

As the light from the Phoenix illuminated the area, he opened his trunk and removed the spare tire, jack, and tire wrench.  With extreme anger, he lay on the ground and put the jack in position.  He raised the jack and raised the rear of his car.

After removing the tire nuts, he pulled off the burned tire and put on the spare.  He replaced the lug nuts and lowered the jack.  Maxx was still very angry as he stood and put the ruined tire and the tools back into the trunk.  He closed the trunk with a “Slam!”

He jumped in the Phoenix and drove it onto the trailer.  He said, “A quick job of tying it down will do.  I’ve got more work to do before I drive home.”  He locked the breaks and jumped out.  After a quick job of fastening, he walked to the back seat.

He grabbed his clothes and began putting his casual oversized clothing on over his magical Melá-Jutis suit.  He said loudly, “Melá-Jutis!”  His magical Melá-Jutis suit disappeared leaving him with only his casual clothing as he finished dressing.

As his anger subsided, Maxx climbed into his convertible.  He started the motor and radio.  He began to drive and listen for a breaking news bulletin about the Gang of Five.  “If I’m lucky, when Mustler and his gang strike again, I’ll be close by.  I really want to catch them and put an end to their terror,” he said as he drove while still angry.

He continued along the desert highway toward the wet lands as his anger was receding.  He thought as he listened to Kinkorx Rocks Radio, “This rock music has static but it’s calming my anger.  I should be close enough to the wet lands to pick up Radio Wet Lands.”  As he drove, he changed the radio station.  The wet lands rock station came in loud and clear.

Maxx continued to drive toward Guytic City as Sesla’s moon was shining brightly in the night sky.  “So far there hasn’t been a single breaking news bulletin.  If there isn’t one soon, I’ll take the Welzech Road Exit.  I’ll drive toward Qashlet lab.  The last time I was here, I found the Joq space ships in the marshlands near there,” he thought as he drove.

He continued to drive toward the Welzech Road exit while listening to “Radio Wet Lands – Classic Rock of the Wet Lands.”  The desert terrain was disappearing in the moonlight and wet lands were slowly forming.  The air temperature was becoming cooler as he drove.

Suddenly four Joqzonion space ships flew fast and low over him.  Their running lights looked like colorful streaks of yellow and red light in the sky just above him.  “What was that?” he asked loudly as they zoomed past in the dark sky.  “Joq ships!  Four of them,” he said angrily.

As he watched the streams of light, the space ships flew into the wet lands and out of his  sight.  “There are at least four more Joqzonion ships  in the wet lands.  My Melá-Jutis instincts tell me there’s a lot more than four,” he thought as he listened to the rock music and drove further into the wet lands.

After several miles, suddenly three more Joq ships flew low over him.  They looked like colorful shooting stars just over his car.  “More Joqs!” he said angrily.  He watched as those ships seemed to fly into the same place in the wet lands before disappearing.  “It looks like a group of Joqs are hiding just ahead.  I’ll take the next exit and find them.”

He continued along the desert highway into the wet lands.  After several minutes, “There’s an exit,” he thought.  He slowed and exited the highway into the rural marshlands.

Maxx drove along the muddy, rough, unpaved road and looked for any sign of space ships.  “So much for the good roads,” he said angrily as he drove.

He continued to drive slowly on the bumpy, muddy road for several miles into the dark swampland.  He looked for lights in the marshland as he drove.  In the distance, he saw another set of lights flying into the area.  As he watched, it flew low over the swamp and landed.  Instantly the lights on that flying saucer went out.  “There’s a group of Joqs hiding over there in the swamp – at least eight.  It’s time for The Melá-Jutis to go to work again!” he said angrily.

Maxx slowed and pulled over to the side of the muddy road.  He quickly exited his plasma energy bullet damaged convertible.  “I hope my car doesn’t get shot again,” he thought.

Under the light of the Sesla moon, he unhooked the Phoenix.  He thought, “I need to fill my gas can.”  He opened the trunk and grabbed the syphon hose.  He removed the gas cap and stuck the hose deep into the tank.  “Now I need the gas can.”  He walked to the back of the Phoenix and grabbed it.  He walked to the hose and inserted the end into his gas can.  “A few squeezes and gas should flow.  I hope it works.  I’ve never syphoned anything in my life,” he said as he began the process.  As gas flowed out of his tank and into the gas can, he said, “What do you know?  It works.”  He continued the syphon until the gas can was full.

He placed the gas can back into the Phoenix.  “Oh, I almost forgot.  I need my suit and the lighter,” he thought.  He put the hose back into his trunk and quietly closed it.  “I don’t want to alert the Joqs of my presence.”  He quickly replaced the gas cap.

“Now it’s time for my super-hero suit – as Art calls it,” he said softly.  He began removing his oversized casual clothing again and tossing the items into the back seat.  He said softly, “Melá-Jutis.”  Instantly his magical Melá-Jutis suit appeared on his muscular body.  He continued to remove the remaining clothing and toss them into the rear seat.

“I need my lighter,” he thought.  He grabbed the lighter and tossed it next to the gas can.  Due to the light from Sesla’s moon, he could see the holes and burn marks on his red convertible from the Joqzonion plasma bullets.  He instantly flew into a rage again.  “I’ll make certain this group of Joqs doesn’t strip mine Sesla!” he said angrily.  He jumped into the Phoenix and started the motor.  Maxx quietly backed his turbo-charged jeep off the trailer.

After turning on the headlights, he drove off the muddy, secondary road into the dark, bug and lizard infested marshland.  “I hope the Joqs don’t see my car and shoot it,” he said as he drove into the forest.  He drove the Phoenix into the swampy, woodsy area.  “At least the ground is somewhat firm.  The real wet lands are farther down the road.”

He continued to navigate through the thick underbrush and somewhat swampy terrain.  “The saucer I saw landed about a mile straight ahead,” he said.  Maxx drove around fallen trees and over small streams as he continued on his quest.  “I’m glad this jeep has four wheel drive and a big motor.  I’d never be able to drive through terrain like this without it.”

He continued to drive the Phoenix over creeks and small rock beds as Sesla moon provided some light.  He looked up and saw another space ship flying slow over the woods.  He quickly turned off the headlights and stopped.  “Where are you going?” he asked as he watched the Joqzonion saucer buzz around just above the tree tops.

As Maxx sat quietly and watched, the saucer flew into the trees ahead of him.  He thought, “I’m on the right course.  There’s a group of them somewhere ahead.”  He turned the lights on and started driving along the rocky creek bed, as Sesla’s moon was still high in the spectacular red, yellow, and dark blue night sky.

He found a dry stream, layered with stones.  He drives on it like a road.  “These rocks are making it easier to drive through this rough terrain.  I hope this bed continues for a while,” he said as he drove.

Before long, the rocky stream ended.  Rolling ground with trees and low bushes replaced the smooth natural rocks.  He drove back and forth across the fallen trees and large brush as he continued toward the area where the saucer landed.

Before long, as he drove up small hills and into small wooded canyons, he saw two Joqzonion  ships approaching.  He turned off the headlights again and sat quietly as the space ships continued on their path.  As he invisibly watched in the darkness, the two ships flew just ahead and landed.  “I’m getting close,” he thought.  “I could see those two lands through the trees.  I think there are a lot of them just ahead.”  He turned on his lights and began driving again.

The underbrush and trees were even thicker and harder to navigate through as he continued.  He drove around several fallen trees and over others.  He drove across several streams and around large bushes.

Maxx slowly drove the Phoenix closer to the area where he saw the last Joqzonion ships drop below the trees.  He thought as he stopped, “They’re just ahead.  I want to take them by surprise.”  He turned off the lights.  “I’ll drive the rest of the way by moonlight.”  He began driving even slower as he continued through the thick forest in the darkness.

He drove slowly by moonlight for what seemed an eternity.  “They’re just beyond those trees,” he said.  He slowly drove across another stream and over several small fallen trees.  He drove around several large trees and over numerous small bushes as he drove slowly and cautiously in the dark.

Before long, he approached what looked like a large clearing in the forest.  “I better check that out on foot,” he thought.  Maxx quietly climbed out of his now filthy, mud-covered jeep.  He walked toward the edge of the tree line.

He was shocked at what he saw.  He shook his head in disgust as he stood in the shadowy silhouette of the trees.  Sesla’s moonlight was camouflaged by the shadowy line of the forest.  He stood in the darkness and gazed upon the group of Joqzonion flying saucers that were gathered around a large, natural cave.  His anger was increasing as he stood and gazed.  He thought, “Who would have imagined there was a large clearing with a cave in the middle of this forest.  Maybe the Joqs made the open space themselves.  Joqs like living in caves.  It’s time for The Melá-Jutis to go to work.  I’ll make them pay for shooting my car.”  His face was becoming red with fury.  “I’ll leave the Phoenix here where it’s safe.”

Under the light of the Sesla moon, with magical speed, he raced on foot toward the invaders.  In seconds, he stopped next to a Joqzonion ship.  He walked through the open door and inside the very small space saucer.  “There’s no one here,” he thought.  “They must all be in the cave.  That’s what I was hoping for.”  He hurried out of the saucer and past several others with open doors, as he approached the cave.

He slowly and silently hurried to the entrance and quickly looked in.  He fell back as he thought, “There are two Joqs sitting next to a fire close to the entrance.  There must be a lot deeper inside the cave.  They’re going to pay for damaging my car!”  His rage exploded due to the damage they did to his beautiful red convertible and their desire to take over Sesla.

With blazing speed, he rushed into the cave.  “It’s The Melá-Jutis!  Let’s kill him!” yelleda Joqzonion.  The Joqs stood and began to fight as Maxx attacked.

With blazing speed, he dodged a Joqzonion fist and countered with his own mighty right fist.  “Crack!”  The punch sent the Joq flying into the dirt and stonewall.  The sound of the Joq’s jaw shattering was loud.  The Joq fell to the cave floor as blood began to stream from his mouth.

The other Joq jumped on Maxx’s back.  He grabbed the alien’s bony, brittle arm and flipped him into the wall.  The Joq’s shoulder fractured and his arm ripped from the torso due to Maxx’s great strength.  “Uuhhh!”  screamed the Joq as he fell to the dirt floor in agony with blood flowing from his severed arm.  The Joq lay on the cave floor screaming as his lifeblood quickly drained from his body.  “Aaahhh!” he screamed with horror.

Blood was gushing from the first Joq’s mouth as he lay dead on the dirt cave floor next to the fire.  The second Joqzonion struggled to stand and fight as the blood from his severed arm splattered on the cave wall and floor.  “I’ll kill you!” he screamed as his blood flowed down his body.

With a mighty blow of his large fist, Maxx crushed the Joq’s skull.  “Crack!”  Blood flew onto the walls as he sent the Joq flying into the cave.  The alien flopped onto the dirt floor – dead.  Blood was streaming from his detached arm, mouth, and nose from the crushed cranium.

Several Joqs heard the screams and other strange noises.  They hurried to offer help to their fellow comrades.  “It’s The Melá-Jutis.  Kill him!” yelled a Joq as they saw Maxx and attacked together.

“You’ll pay for shooting my car!”  Maxx shouted.  With super-speed, Maxx hit and kicked.  He spun around and delivered crushing blow after crushing blow.

Aahhh!” yelled a Joq as he was sent flying by a powerful punch from The Melá-Jutis.  “Uuhhh!”  another Joq moaned as Maxx delivered a death punch to the skull.  He fell to the cave floor dead.  Blood ran from his mouth as he lay on the cave floor motionless.

As a Joqzonion took a swing at Maxx, he grabbed the Joq’s arm and slung him into a group of Joqs that was running toward them.  The Joqs tumbled to the cave floor but quickly recovered.  They attacked Maxx all at once.

He spun and hit the first Joqzonion with his huge fist.  “Crack!”  The Joq’s jaw broke as Maxx delivered a death punch.  Several Joqs jumped on his back and tried to knock him to the floor.  He grabbed one arm after another and flipped them while throwing the Joqs into the cave wall.  Their fragile bones cracked and their stick-like arms ripped from Maxx’s strength.  Maxx severed numerous arms as he furiously flipped them into the cave walls.  Joqzonion blood was everywhere.

The battle continued.  Maxx continued to kick, hit, and spin around.  He continued to toss numerous Joqs into the wall.  Several lost an arm while being flipped and tossed.

Maxx broke numerous jaws and cracked skulls as he delivered blow after blow with his powerful fist.  Dead Joqs were everywhere inside the bloody cave.  Joq blood was covering the walls and floors of the dirt with stone cave.

With a mighty punch, “Crack!”  He sent the last Joqzonion sailing farther into the cave.  The sound of the Joq’s skull cracking as Maxx delivered the deathblow was creepy and disgusting.

Maxx paused to see if there were any more attackers.  He said, “It’s surprising the fire’s still burning.”  He looked at the numerous Joqs lying dead and bloody on the cave floor.  Many had dismembered, bloody bodies.  Many had broken jaws and cracked craniums.  Almost all were gushing blood from the fractures.  Joq blood was everywhere.  “There were a lot of Joqs hiding in here,” he said surprisingly.

As he gazed at the bloody bodies and cave, he felt strong vibrations from behind him.  “What!” he said with alarm.  He whirled around as several Joqs rushed him from outside.  He met the new attackers head on.

With a mighty leap, he flew into the group of stick-like invaders.  Due to the power and weight of his enormous  hulking body, he easily knocked the group to the ground.  He hurried outside the cave.  The aliens quickly recovered and pursued.

The battle continued just outside the cave under the Seslean moonlight.  The Joqs attacked Maxx from all sides.  With more room to work, he delivered a kick to one Joqzonion.  “Uuhhh!”  said the Joq as he flew backward into a close flying saucer.

With a mighty chest kick, Maxx sent another flying backward through the air.  The Joq landed hard on the ground – unconscious.

Two more Joqzonions attacked Maxx at the same time.  He swung around and hit the first Joq with a crushing blow that almost severed his head.  The invader fell to the ground dead.  The other Joq jumped on his back and tried to strangle him.  The alien quickly learned that his bony arms were no match for The Melá-Jutis’ thick, powerful neck.

With minimal effort, Maxx grabbed the invaders arm.  He flipped the Joq over his back – severing the thin arm from the torso.  “Aahhh!” screamed the Joq as his arm ripped from his thin frame while his blood splattered.  Maxx grabbed and threw the bleeding alien into another space ship.  “Uuhhhh!”  Blood flew all over the spacecraft when the Joq landed hard on it—then fell to the ground.

Maxx looked around to see if there were more invaders.  As he quickly scanned, several more space ships flew overhead.  They zoomed past flying low in the night sky.  They looked like very fast, colorful shooting stars.  “Great!” he said.  “More Joqs!  I’m going to fight them in the trees—where they can’t see me.”

With super-speed, he hurriedtoward the forest where he left the Phoenix. As he ran under the Sesla moonlight, the Joqs began shooting their plasma energy bullets at him.  The lines of energy bullets were burning deep holes in the soft, green forest ground as the Joq pilots pursued him.

In seconds, he reached the darkness of the tree line.  The saucers began flying around the treetops as they continued to fire.  Tree limbs began to fall as they were hit and severed by the plasma bullets.

He stood under the trees in the darkness next to his jeep as the Joqzonion pilots hovered and fired.  He thought, “I need a plan.  I don’t know how many Joqs are coming.  No doubt they’re communicating with other Joqs with radios of some type.  I might have to fight an army of space ships.  Then I still need to burn those ships.  I need weapons.”  He thought briefly while standing in the dark.  “The only thing I’ve seen that might work are rocks.  There are lots of rocks.”

Maxx jumped into the Phoenix.  He started the motor.  He thought, “I can’t turn on the lights.  I can’t give those pilots an easy target.”  Without light, he drove over several fallen trees and numerous bushes as he continued through the dark forest.

Several Joq ships flew back and forth at tree top level.  The pilots continued shooting at the ground while he drove toward the nearest stream.  Limbs were falling all around as they were severed by the energy bullets.

A pilot detected movement on the ground and directed the wild firing of their plasma guns in Maxx’s direction.  The numerous energy bullets hit limbs above him as he drove.  The severed limbs fell to the ground around Maxx.  Plasma bullets were hitting all around him and burning the ground.

More Joq pilots joined their comrade.  The group of pilots fired wildly in Maxx’s direction.  He slowly drove toward the closest stream as he covered his head.  He said, “They’re going to hit the Phoenix like they shot my convertible.  I better hide my jeep and fight them on foot.”

He continued to slowly drive in the dark forest as the Joqs fired above him.  “There’s a dark area ahead – probably thick under-brush.  Maybe I can hide the Phoenix there,” he said as plasma bullets were hitting the trees above him.  Burnt, severed branches were falling on top of him as he drove.  “I need to hurry!” he said loudly as he tossed several branches out of the jeep.

After driving through another active stream, he arrived at the dark thicket under the dense trees.  He said, “This will work.”  He raced the motor and drove the Phoenix into the dark, thick underbrush.  As the Joqs continued to fire, he jumped out and ran back toward the stream.

He tossed large sticks into the trees and waved his arms as he ran to get their attention.  The Joqzonion pilots detected movement in the dark trees and followed.  They continued to fire into the trees above him.  Limbs were falling all around as he ran.

He continued to run toward the stream as several Joqzonion ships pursued and shot into the trees above him.  Limbs continued to fall close by as he ran through the dark forest.

As he ran, he felt stones under his feet.  He said loudly, “It’s the stream!  I found it!”  Plasma bullets sprayed the trees and limbs continued to fall around him.  He grabbed several fist-sized stones and stuffed them into his pockets.  “Now I need to climb a tree,” he said frantically.

Maxx ran to the tallest tree that he could see.  He said, “This one will have to do.  I hope my plan works.  It’s just as crazy as the first idea.  Here goes!”  As the plasma bullets continued to cut limbs from the dense trees.  He climbed.

Carefully but fast, Maxx climbed in the darkness to the top of the tall tree as the Joqs fired.  “This is crazy,” he said as he hid near the top of the thick tree.  He removed a stone from one of his Melá-Jutis suit pockets.

As the ships continued to hover back and forth while firing into the trees, he prepared to throw.  With the stone in his hand and his powerful arm cocked – he waited for the right moment.

As a ship maneuvered closer and turned, Maxx could see inside the glass windshield.  A small light illuminated the inside of the spacecraft.  A Joqzonion was piloting the small spacecraft.  The pilot was unaware that Maxx was only a few feet away as he continued to shoot his plasma guns at the ground.

Maxx said, “A little closer…A little closer…Now!”  With all his enchanted strength, he threw the fist-sized stone straight toward the unsuspecting Joq that was only a few feet away.

The stone easily shattered the glass window and struck the alien in the face.  Blood splattered everywhere in the tiny space ship as the stone imbedded in the Joq’s face – crushing his cranium.  Death was instant.  Blood flowed.  The spacecraft hovered out of control in the night sky briefly and crashed into the trees a distance away.

With astonishment, Maxx watched as the spacecraft burst into flames.  As he watched, he crouched next to the tree to avoid being seen.  The ship quickly exploded sending a flaming mushroom cloud into the night air.

The numerous other pilots flew to the burning craft.  They hovered briefly near the fiery smoke cloud.  After only seconds, they returned to the area where their comrade was flying and continued to fire their plasma bullets at the ground.

Maxx smiled.  He thought as he watched, “They don’t know I’m here.  How lucky for me.”  He removed another stone and waited for the next un-award pilot to hover close to him.

The pilots continued to fire their plasma bullets into the trees.  Limbs continued to fall.  Burn marks were everywhere on the ground.

An unsuspecting pilot hovered close to Maxx as he readied the stone while hiding in the treetop.  “Closer…Closer…Spin…Prefect!” he said as he saw the pilot clearly through the glass window.  With his magical strength and accuracy, he hurled the stone straight toward the unsuspecting pilot’s face.

Like the first, the fist-sized rock easily sailed through the glass windshield and buried itself in the cranium of the pilot.  Blood flew throughout the tiny saucer.  The pilot was instantly killed.  The flying saucer hovered back and forth out of control as the other pilots watched in bewilderment and shock.

Maxx hugged the tree to hide as he watched.  The out of control flying saucer flew straight into several saucers that were on the ground in the clearing.  It crash-landed while hitting numerous ships.  The spacecrafts immediately exploded and burst into flames.  The area was filled with fiery mushroom clouds.  Maxx smiled at his good luck.  “That’s four ships I don’t have to burn,” he said happily.

The remaining pilots hovered in the night sky shortly and watched the burning ships.  Then they flew back to the area where the pilot lost control.  They began firing rapidly and wildly into the trees and the ground.  They flew quickly back and forth as they repeatedly fired their plasma guns.  Trees and limbs were falling as they wildly fired.

Maxx watched from his hiding place in the treetop.  “I’ve got two stones left.  I need to make them both count,” he said as he readied the next stone.  He scrunched down in the branches and waited.

The pilots continued to hover back and forth quickly.  They fired rapidly and recklessly into the dark forest beneath.  Tree limbs continued to fall after being severed by the plasma bullets.  Large trees where cut in half by the energy bullets.  They crashed to the ground while Maxx watched and hid.

While flying haphazardly, a pilot flew his craft very close to Maxx.  He could almost touch the craft.  “This will be an easy throw,” he said as he aimed.  He stood and prepared to throw.  “Spin around.  I need a clear shot!”  His hulking arm was ready to deliver the death stone.

The pilot twisted the saucer as he hovered only feet away from Maxx while firing repeatedly at the ground.  The pilot spun the saucer toward Maxx.  “A little more…A little more…Now!”  Maxx said.

Due to the running lights, the pilot saw Maxx as he was throwing the stone.  He pulled up fast.  The stone bounced off the hull of the craft.  The pilot began firing at Maxx.  Immediately the other pilots flew toward Maxx and opened fired.

“Aaahhh!”  Maxx yelled.  With a mighty leap, he jumped into the air and grabbed onto the space ship as it hovered only feet away.  “Not again!” he yelled as he hung onto the edge of the saucer.

The pilot began speeding away while flying left and right to try to shake him off.  “I need to pull!” he said loudly as he dangled.  With all of his enchanted strength, he pulled down mightily on the front of the space ship.  It started flying straight for the ground.

Maxx continued to tug down on the nose as the craft flew wildly for the dark ground.  “Feel for vibrations.  Feel the ground – Maxx!  You can do this!” he ordered himself as he tugged down and hung on to the rapidly descending aircraft.

In the darkness of night, the craft was speeding toward the ground as Maxx hung on.  He pulled down with all his strength.  “I can feel the ground!  It’s coming fast!” he said frantically.

A few seconds later, as the spacecraft speeded toward the forest floor, Maxx released his grip and fell to the ground.  “Uuhhh!”  he groaned as he hit the ground hard and rolled.  He stopped quickly and watched the alien craft.

The space ship flew into the ground only feet away.  It slid across the ground and into a tree.  The collision was fast and catastrophic for the ship.  The destroyed spacecraft exploded loudly and burst into flames only seconds later as Maxx sat only feet away.  The mushroom cloud was immense as Maxx shielded his face.  The heat from the explosion rippled past him as he covered his face.

The three remaining Joqzon pilots hovered over the destroyed ship shortly.

“I better Run!” he said loudly.  He jumped up and began running through the thick, dark forest.  The pilots saw glimpses of him in the darkness and quickly pursued.  They began firing.

He ran with super-speed across the ground.  He felt for vibrations on the ground as he ran.  He jumped trees that were on the ground and ran around bushes.  “I need to find a stream and get more stones.  That’s the only plan I have!” he said frantically as he ran.

The Joqs continued firing their plasma bullets from above the trees as they pursued his silhouette.

As Maxx ran in the darkness of night, he felt for the ground vibrations.  “There’s a stream with rocks straight ahead,” he said.  He continued to run as the Joqs were firing from the treetops.

While he ran, be stepped on rocks in water.  “Finally!” he said.  In the darkness, he stooped down and collected several fist-sized stones.  “I’ll need to be smarter this time.”  He ran to a tall tree and quickly climbed.

The Joq pilots were flying around and shooting frantically into the trees.

Maxx reached the top of the tree and stayed hidden next to the leaves.  He grabbed a stone and prepared to throw.  He said, “Once I throw, I need to climb down fast and find another tree.  The Joqs will be watching for me.”  He waited as the Joq pilots flew their ships back and forth across the treetops.

After several minutes, a pilot flew his ship close to Maxx.  “Now’s my chance,” he said.  The saucer was several feet away and hovering in the night sky as it fired plasma bullets at the ground.  Trees were being hit.  Limbs were cut off and falling to the ground.

Maxx had a stone his in hand.  His hulking arm was ready.  “Almost there…Almost.”  The pilot revolved his ship toward Maxx.  He could see the Joqzonion pilot.  “Now!” he said.  With all his magical strength, he threw the stone at the Joq’s face.

The stone flew through the glass and struck the alien between his large eyes.  The fist-sized rock imbedded deep in the cranium of the alien – killing him instantly.  The saucer began to fly out of control.

“I need to hurry!” he said.  With blazing speed, Maxx hurried down the tree.  As he reached the ground, the two remaining ships began firing toward him.  “You’ll have to do better than that,” he said boldly and loudly as he ran in the dense, dark forest.

The two ships fired wildly as the out of control ship crash landed into a tree and burst into flames.  They flew back and forth at tree top level and fired their plasma bullets at everything.  Tree limbs continued to be cut off and fall.  The ground was marked with burn holes.

“They don’t know where I am,” Maxx said as he began to climb another tree that was a distance away from the last tree.  He quickly climbed to the top and hid.  He grabbed another stone from his pocket and waited.

The pilots continued to fly at tree top level and shoot at the ground as Maxx waited in a nearby tree and watch.  He had another stone in his hand as he waited.

Before long, one of the pilots wondered close to the tree that Maxx was hiding in.  He waited patiently as the pilot slowly moved closer.  As he waited, the saucer moved closer—then farther away as it fired into the trees.

The pilot maneuvered the craft a little closer as Maxx made ready.  “Closer…Closer.”  The ship began to more farther away as it spun around.  The ship was drifting away as the window became visible.

Maxx could see the Joqzon pilot sitting in the chair while operating the controls.  “This will have to do!” he said.  With all his magical strength, he threw the stone at the pilot.

Like the previous rocks, it easily shattered the glass and embedded in the Joq’s face.  Blood flew everywhere inside the small saucer.  The pilot was instantly killed.  The ship began to fly out of control.

The last remaining pilot saw Maxx when he threw the stone.  As the other craft began a collision course with the trees, the Joqzonion pilot flew toward Maxx and open fired.  The tree around Maxx was hit numerous times by the plasma energy bullets.  Limbs dropped as Maxx hung on.

The pilot flew closer for a better shot as the other saucer crashed into the trees and burst into flames.  He began firing at Maxx again.  The trunk of the tree was hit several times below him.

As the saucer came closer and continued firing, he frantically looked down.  He yelled, “The tree’s going to break!”  With a mighty leap, he jumped from the tree and grabbed the side of the small saucer.  The pilot lost control of the ship.  It began spinning out of control.

“Aahhh!” yelled Maxx as he hung on.  The craft spiraled downward in the dark sky.  The spacecraft lights were illuminating the area as it rapidly corkscrewed toward the ground.  Just before the ship reached the ground, Maxx released his grip.

He plummeted to the ground.  “Uuhhh!” he groaned when he landed.  He looked up.  “Oh No!” he said.  The spacecraft was coming straight for him.  “Move!” he shouted.  Maxx rolled to the side as the craft landed hard only feet away.

As he watched, the pilot began to take off again.  He grabbed the last stone from his Melá-Jutis suit pocket.  He quickly aimed and hurled it toward the pilot’s face.

As the stone burst through the glass windshield, the pilot quickly ducked.  The stone and broken glass flew toward the rear of the craft.  The pilot grinned and stared at Maxx as he continued tolift off.

Maxx said angrily, “Oh no you don’t!  You won’t defeat The Melá-Jutis!”  With super-speed, he leaped toward the saucer.  Using his fist, he broke more of the cracked glass.  As the Joq pilot watched in horror, he reached through the broken glass and grabbed the Joq.  With a mighty pull, he yanked the alien out of the saucer and threw him into a tree only feet away.

“Crack!”  The Joq’s bones shattered when he affected the large tree.  In seconds, the Joqzonion pilot was dead.

Maxx breathed a big sigh of relief and he sat on the ground next to the saucer.  “I seem to be doing everything the hard way,” he said.  He looked at the night sky.  “I think that was it.  I have saucers to burn.  I need my gas can and lighter.  I’ll come back for this one.”

In the darkness he began trotting back to the Phoenix.  He jumped and stepped over countless new branches that were cut off by the alien’s plasma energy guns as he jogged.

Sesla’s moon was dropping in the late night sky as he made his way through the wet lands forest in the darkness.  He trotted across several riverbeds.  Some were active with running water while others were dry and moss covered.  He jogged around the same trees as before, plus new ones – thanks to Joqzon plasma guns.

As he ran, he stepped on numerous new branches that had been severed by the Joq’s plasma guns.  Due to the darkness, he could not see the multitude of burn marks and burn holes the plasma bullets made as he trotted through the dark woods.

As he ran he thought, “The Phoenix should be around here somewhere.”  He paused to feel for vibrations.  “I feel something metallic that way.”  He began running in the direction of the strong pulsations.  He trotted around several fallen trees, numerous severed fallen limbs, and an active stream.  Before long, he saw the silhouette of the jeep in the dark.  “There it is!”  He hurried the Phoenix.

“It’s too dark.  I can’t see if it’s been shot,” he said.  He jumped in and started the turbo-charged motor.  “Rrrmmm! Rrrmm!...Rrmmm!”  He laughed loudly with joy.  “The motor sounds great.  I don’t think they shot my jeep.  I hope they didn’t put any more holes in my convertible.”

He turned on the headlights and backed the jeep out of the thicket of dense underbrush.  Maxx drove toward the clearing with Joqzonion space ships.

He drove over numerous severed branches and over small trees and brush as he hurried toward the clearing.  He drove over a stream.  Water sprayed as be bounced on the large stones.

Soon, as he hurriedly drove, he approached the clearing.  “The saucers are just ahead,” he said.  He continued into the opening and toward the group of Joqzonion saucers as Sesla’s moon was setting in the early morning sky.

Her sun was beginning to shine light on the other horizon.  The usual red, yellow, and blue morning sky was breathtaking as he drove closer to the Joqzon flying saucers.

The wrecked spacecraft continued to burn as he drove closer to the first saucer.  He said, “It’s time to make the rest of these Joq shops burn.  They won’t be used to take over Sesla—Either!”  He jumped out of the Phoenix and grabbed the gas can and lighter.

“I need to be careful.  These ships could explode,” he said.  He walked to the first saucer and entered it.  He sprinkled gas all around and exited.  He picked up a stick and lit it on fire.  He tossed it inside the saucer.  The craft interior burst into flames.  He stood briefly and watched as the saucers burned.  “Five more to go.”

He walked into the next ship and splashed gas around.  He exited and picked up another stick.  After lighting it, he tossed it inside the craft.  The interior burst into flames.  “Four left.”

He walked into another ship and sprinkled gas around.  He exited that ship and picked up another stick.  He lit and tossed it inside.  That interior burst into flames.

Suddenly the first ship exploded.  Maxx shielded his face from the fiery blast.  The fire and smoke mushroom cloud rose into the sky as Maxx watched.  “That was intense,” he said as he guarded his face.

“These last saucers are really close to each other.  I better ignite them all at the same time.”  He quickly entered one ship and sprinkled gas.  He exited and walked to the next.  He entered and sprinkled gas all around.  He exited and entered the last ship.  “Last one,” he said as he splashed gas around.  He walked out of that ship and looked for several sticks.

After picking up three, he lit one and tossed it inside the first of the three ships.  The craft interior immediately burst into flames.  He paused for an explosion.  He lit the second stick and tossed it into the next ship.  That ship’s inside also burst into flames.  “Last one,” he said.

As he lit the stick, the flame from the burning ship jumped into the last ship with a “Poof.”  The last ship’s interior burst into flames.  “Wow!” he said.  “That was close.  If I were any closer, the flame would have scorched me.  At least it didn’t explode.”

He surveyed the area.  There were numerous burning Joqzonion space ships all around him.  Four dead, bloody Joqs lay on the ground outside the cave.  One had a severed arm.  He walked to the cave entrance as another ship exploded.

Maxx looked back at the upward rolling fiery mushroom cloud.  “There goes another one.  Those Joq ships make big explosions,” he said.  He looked inside the cave.  “The fire’s out.  I can’t see inside but the smell is awful.  The stench of the dead Joqs and their blood is nauseating.  This is one time I don’t like my enchanted sea doxer senses—oh!  The smell!”

He paused for a moment as a wave of nausea over-powered his stomach.  As the vomitus moment passed, he said, “These Joqs and their ships won’t be involved in a plot to take over Sesla and strip mine her natural resources—that’s for sure!”

Sesla’s sun was rising in the early morning sky as he shortly surveyed the battlefield.  His nausea subsided.  After a moment he thought, “I need to get back to my car.  I hope those Joqs didn’t shoot it with their plasma guns.  It couldn’t take many more bullets.”

While walking toward the Phoenix, another space ship exploded.  He looked back to examine his work.  “That’s a really big cloud,” he said gloatingly as the fire and smoke cloud rolled into the early morning sky.

He walked back to the Phoenix and placed the gas can and lighter in the rear.  He jumped in. “Rrrmmm!...Rrmmm!...Rrmm!”  He gunned the motor.  Grass and dirt flew when he spun the tires as he started back.

He zoomed to the edge of the forest and entered the underbrush.  He drove under the trees and over branches as he hurried through the wet lands forest.  “It’s easier to see now that Sesla’s sun is starting to rise.”  He drove more speedy as he dodged numerous trees and fallen limbs.  He drove over many small limbs that had been severed by the plasma bullets.

Water splashed as he drove fast into a stream.  The all-terrain tires threw rocks as he spun the tires and drove quickly out of the creek.  He continued around fallen trees and over small brush.

Soon he was close to the spacecraft that he left in the forest.  He slowed and felt for the metallic vibrations.  “I can feel something big in that direction,” he thought.  He turned and traveled toward the pulsations.

He drove speedily over numerous severed branches.  “Those Joqs shot off a lot of limbs with their plasma guns.  There’s burn marks everywhere from the bullets that hit the undergrowth and ground.”

He drove over the smaller limbs and around larger ones as he searched through the area where he climbed the trees and killed the Joq pilots with stones.  He drove farther and saw the saucer that he was searching for.  “There it is!  There’s the ship and there’s Joq that I threw into the tree,” he said loudly as he drove closer.  “It looks like the pilot was cut severely by the broken windshield when I pulled him through.  He’s covered in blood,” he said as he exited the jeep.

He took a closer look at the dead, bloody Joqzonion.  Maxx thought, “He’s covered in lizards.  Those wet lands lizards must like blood.  I still remember when I was walking though the swamps to Melá-Jutis.  Multi-colored lizards were climbing all over me and biting.”

Maxx walked to the rear of the jeep and grabbed the gas can and lighter.  “I can’t take a chance the Joqs will repair this ship.”  He walked to the door of the spacecraft and tried to open it.  “It’s locked!” he said angrily.

He paused briefly.  “I should be able to get enough gas in through the broken glass,” he said.  He walked around to the front of the craft.  He began pouring gas through the large opening in the windshield.  “That’s working very well.  What a surprise.”

He stopped and walked back to the Phoenix.  He put the gas can back in the rear storage area.  He picked up a stick.  After lighting it, he tossed the stick through the broken window.  “Poof!”  The flames burst inside the ship.  “It worked.  As wet as the forest is, there’s no chance of a spreading fire.”  He looked into the morning sky.  “The clouds are building.  It’ll rain soon.  The rain will put out these fires – not before the ships are destroyed.”

As the spacecraft burned and the colorful wet lands lizards attacked the bloody Joqzonion body, he tossed the lighter next to the gas can and jumped into his jeep.  He spun the tires as he drove away from the burning ship and dead Joq.

He drove over numerous severed limbs and around fallen trees as he journeyed away from the area where he fought and defeated the Joqzonion invaders.  As he drove, the lack of sleep began to catch up with him.  He yawned as he drove.

He continued to drive through the thick, wet lands forest as the light became better.  He said as he exhaustingly drove through another low ravine filled with thick brush, “I’m making a lot better time now that I can see well.”

In the morning light, he was making the treacherous return journey through the thick wet lands forest in a lot less time.

He continued to drive around fallen trees and large under growth toward the rural road.  He splashed water as he drove through several colorful streams as he neared the road.  He continued to yawn as he drove.  He said, “I’ve been up all night.  I should drive home after this and get some rest.  This trip’s been exhausting.”

Maxx drove over more small bushes and through another small stream as he continued toward his convertible.  “I hope my car is ok.  I hope they didn’t put any more holes in it,” he said as he drove exhaustedly closer to the wet lands road.  He drove threw another dry creek bed.  He gunned the motor and rocks flew as he drove up the side of the creek onto solid ground.  He yawned as he drove.  He was quickly feeling the exhaustion.

When he drove around another thick area of underbrush, he said, “The road is just ahead.”  He continued to accelerate as he approached the rural road.

He bounced over a log as he continued in the direction of the road.  He accelerated and drove up the embankment onto the rural, unmaintained road.

Maxx stopped and yawned, as he looked both ways.  He attempted to see his red convertible and trailer.  He saw the car in the distance.  He was puzzled by what he saw.  He thought, “Something looks wrong.”

He spun the tires and drove toward his convertible.  As he drove closer and could see, a fury began to develop within him.  He continued to drive closer as he became filled with rage.

Maxx drove next to his convertible.  His fury was out of control as he looked at his car.  He said with rage, “Those Joqs burned my convertible!  They shot it with their plasma guns!  My convertible is covered in holes.  Their bullets caused my car to catch on fire.  My car is completely burned and destroyed – even the tires.  My beautiful red convertible.”  He shook his head in rage.

Maxx no longer felt exhaustion.  He was burning with fury.  “I’m going to make those Joqs pay!”  He jumped out of the Phoenix and stared at his once beautiful convertible.  “My car’s not drivable.  It’s destroyed.  I’ll have to tow it home.  The trailer wasn’t hit very badly.  It looks like it’ll still work,” he said as his anger raged.

As his fury raged, he disconnected the trailer from his burned car and turned it around.  He backed it up to his destroyed convertible.  He was so angry he could spit fire as he put the car in neutral.  He walked to the front and began to push.  “Rrrrr!” he growled with rage as he pushed with all his magical strength.

He slowly rolled his burned, bullet-hole covered convertible onto the trailer.  As his rage burned, he locked the destroyed car into place.  “I need to tie it down,” he said as his anger raged.  He was both angry and depressed as he quickly tied the car body to the damaged but still functional trailer.

“I better cover it as best I can,” he said.  Maxx grabbed the jeep cover and tossed it over the burned car.  He quickly tied it on.

After a few seconds, he said, “That will have to do.  Now I need to connect the trailer to the Phoenix.”  His anger continued to rage.

He jumped into the Phoenix and started the motor.  He drove the jeep in front of the trailer and stopped.  Maxx jumped out and picked up the arm of the trailer—he walked with it.  He turned it to the hitch on the jeep and connected the two – then locked it.

Maxx stood and looked at his half covered, burned, bullet hole covered, convertible.  His rage was burning.  “I never— ever – imagined this.  I’ll make them pay!” he said.  As he stood on the rural wet lands road, it began to rain.  “Great!  Just what I needed!” he said angrily.

He climbed into the Phoenix and began driving home as the rain increased.  It cascaded down and the open jeep was quickly becoming soaked.  “I don’t have cloths to wear or a cover for this jeep.  I’ll have to stay in my suit and drive soaked,” he said as he started to drive through the rain.  “How that’s its daylight, anyone I pass can see me.  I look really strange.”

As he drove, cool rain ran down his attractive face.  The Phoenix had puddles of water on the floor.  His burned convertible was becoming filled with rainwater.  He was becoming more depressed and less angry as he slowly drove through the common, wet lands rainstorm.

Maxx drove slowly along the muddy, rural road toward the desert highway.  His anger had eased.  It was replaced by depression and exhaustion.  He began to yawn as he continued to be rained upon.  Each time he looked in the rear view mirror, he became more depressed.  “My beautiful red convertible is destroyed,” he said sadly.  His misery was overwhelming as he drove closer to the highway to Kinkorx.

The rain began to slow as he drove the muddy road.

Soon, the rain stopped.  Maxx’s magical Melá-Jutis suit was immediately dry.  The Phoenix was filled with puddles of rainwater.  His convertible was full of water as well.

The sky cleared quickly as he drove.  “That’s how it rains in the wet lands.  One minute it’s raining, the next minute the sky clears,” he thought.

Sesla’s sun was rising in the now clearing morning sky as he approached the exit.  He yawned as he depressingly took the exit and merged onto the desert highway.  He remained slow and depressed as he continued toward Kinkorx.  “I’m glad it stopped raining.  My jeep will dry out quickly.”

Maxx was sleepy and depressed as he said, “I don’t see any scorpions.  They must have all gone home to their cave.”  He continued to yawn as he drove.

He was becoming more tired as he drove.  He thought, “I’ve been up all night fighting the Joqs.  I’m exhausted.  Maybe the radio will keep me awake.”  He turned the jeep radio on and tuned it to Radio Wet Lands.  The rock music began to play as he drove slowly on the highway toward the border.  He bobbed his head and tapped his hand to the beat of the music in an attempt to improve his depression and wake himself up.

Before long, as Sesla’s sun was rising in the morning sky, he drove across the border into Xcuymir Territory.  “Still no scorpions,” he said depressingly as he tried to stop yawning.

As he drove farther into Xcuymir Territory, while listening to the rock music, Eyan Stomm, the news reporter broke in. “I am Eyan Stomm.  There is breaking news from the news wire.  At this moment, the Gang of Five and several Joqzonions are looting and burning another small village in rural Kvyutt.

According to Kvyutt TV News, Mustler and his gang are killing and robbing several businesses in Durston Mill…”

Suddenly Maxx was completely awake.  He thought as he listened, “Durston Mill is a small logging town even farther into the wet lands in Meslerr Territory than Wixqezzer Auctions.  It’s a tiny village in the outer boundaries of Kvyutt.”

The Meslerr Territory Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department are on the scene.  Kvyutt TV News is reporting there is gunfire between the Gang of Five and the local authorities.  Many local police have been shot and killed by the heinous gang.  Several shop owners have been murdered while their businesses were looted.  The Gang of Five and several Joqs lit fires inside the stores after they killed the owners and robbed the businesses of their weapons.  So far, the local authorities have been powerless to stop this evil gang of murders and thieves.  We will keep you informed when we receive more breaking news from the wire.  I am Eyan Stomm.  We are returning to our regular programming.”

As the rock music returned, Maxx thought, “It sounds like Mustler and his gang are getting an early start.  They probably plan to attack other towns in that part of the wet lands.  It seems The Melá-Jutis has more work to do before driving home…I need to turn around.”

Maxx slowed and looked for approaching traffic on the desert highway.  As he saw the area was free of other cars, he slowly turned the jeep and trailer around.

“I don’t dare leave the trailer here on the side of the road.  If Joqs see it, they’ll shoot it even more,” he thought as he began to drive toward the wet lands again.

Chapter Nine
Maxx continued to listen to the rock music as he drove.  He thought, “I can’t drive very fast as long as I’m pulling this damaged trailer.  I need to hurry but I can’t.  I know the Joqs are looking for me.  If I leave my car and trailer on the side of the road, they’ll see it and shoot it again.  I’ll just have to drive there as fast as I can.”

He crossed the border again and re-entered Inglot Territory.  He thought as he drove, “The fastest way to Durston Mill is on Welzech Road through Guytic City.  At my present speed, it’ll take an hour to reach that exit.”

As he drove under the speed limit, he continued listen to Radio Wet Lands for more breaking news reports.  Sesla’s sun was rising in the morning sky as he drove the Phoenix while wearing his magical Melá-Jutis suit.

“It’s a long way to Durston Mill,” he thought as he drove closer to Welzech Road.  “From Mustler’s previous patterns, I believe he and his gang will strike several times in that area before they’re finished.  Hopefully I can catch them before they attack another business.”

Maxx continued to drive into Guytic City toward Welzech Road as Sesla’s sun continued to rise in the morning sky.  The exhaustion began to overtake him again as he drove.  He began to yawn.  “The exit isn’t very far ahead.”  He smiled as he drove the jeep and thought, “I know this area so well—now.  Art and I have traveled here numerous times while solving cases.”

As he approached the exit, while attempting to stay awake, he reminisced about the case where he and Art rescued Dr. Leqtus Kin, the genetic engineer from Dr. Rewqust and Qashlet lab.  As he drove and remembered, he arrived at the exit.  He was beginning to drive past the off ramp when his consciousness leaped back to reality.  As he regained awareness, he said, “What?  That’s my exit!”  He quickly slowed and swerved onto the ramp.  He drove slowly and merged onto Welzech Road.

Maxx increased speed as he drove into the traffic.  “I feel a little funny driving in my Melá-Jutis suit,” he thought as he drove.  The road was well traveled as he drove through the business and industrial districts.  Wet Lands residents were driving to work.

He drove for several miles.  He declared as he drove, “There’s the warehouse where we found Sirrz Debmyuo’s stolen collectables – and there’s Sytternun Night Rest Hotel.  That is the creepiest, most bug and spider infested hotel I’ve ever seen.  We were lucky we found Dr. Leqtus Kin in time and rescued him.  Those spiders were attacking and the Qashlet lab thugs were coming for him.

The siders in that warehouse were very scary as well.  Art was almost insect food.  I’ll never forget fighting that wall of spiders while rescuing him in that creepy, old building.”

He continued to drive along Welzech Road.  Soon the pavement ended and the road continued as dirt.  “That’s the end of the nice roads.  It only gets worse from here,” he said as he tried to stop yawning.

As he drove farther, the businesses and homes ended.  Vegetation quickly consumed the landscape.  The road quickly became worse.  Maxx slowed due to increasing potholes as the road condition quickly deteriorated.  “I just love the wet lands back roads,” he said sarcastically.  “The roads are only going to get worse.”  He yawned again as he listened to the rock music and drove along the rough, muddy road.

He had the rock music turned up loud as he listened in an attempt to keep awake.  He continued along the rural road as Sesla’s sun rose higher into the morning sky.

Before long as he drove and yawned, he arrived at Travelers Road.  “I need to turn here.  This road connects to Fezzn Way,” he said loudly.  He turned and began driving toward Kvyutt.  He noticed the dark clouds forming in the sky as he drove.  “I hope it doesn’t rain again,” he said annoyingly as he yawned.

He drove farther into the wet lands as he listened to the loud rock music.  As he drove, it began to rain.  He sighed deeply as he quickly became frustrated.  The cool rain made him shiver as it dampened his tired body.

The rain quickly increased as he drove along the muddy road.  Cool rainwater was running down his magical Melá-Jutis suit.  Puddles were forming on the floor of the jeep.  “This is Just Great!” he said loudly with irritation, as he became more awake, “I hate the cold wet lands rain.  At least in the desert the rain’s warm.”

With irritation, he continued along Travelers Road on his way to Fezzn Way as he continued to get soaked.  His destroyed convertible was muddy from the slinging mud of the Phoenix.  It was becoming soaked as he continued to pull the damaged trailer with convertible.  As the rain increased, the road deteriorated further.  Driving was become even more difficult.

As he exhaustingly drove, he said loudly as his rock music played, “Mustler and his Gang are long gone from Durston Mill by now.  I still think they’re going to attack another small village in Kvyutt.  Until I hear different, I’ll continue toward there.”  He continued to drive with irritation as the cool rain cascaded down.

Before long, as he drove with exhaustion in the rain, he saw the next crossroad.  “That should be Fezzn Way.”  He yawned as he approached the road.  Rainwater was running down his Melá-Jutis   suit and adding to the pools of water on the floor of the jeep.  His depression and exhaustion grew during the steady rain.  He yawned as he turned onto the main road to Kvyutt.

He drove along the very muddy road in the wet lands back woods while constantly glancing into his rear view mirror.  The depressing sight of his shot and burned convertible was almost more than he could bear.  As he depressingly drove, he recalled the glorious day several years ago when he bought his shiny new convertible…

It was a beautiful day, several years ago, in Bedsult when he ordered his convertible from Kotor Buknus at ByFuuton Auto Sales in Kinkorx.

Kotor Buknus the sales person asked, “Do you have a color preference?”

“Flaming red is the only color for Detective Maxx Zeqster,” he replied proudly.

“Do you have a preference of model and year, Detective Zeqster?” inquired Kotor.

“Yes, of course.  I would like a new convertible.  I would also like it fully loaded with every option that you have available,” Maxx stated.

Kotor Buknus replied excitedly, “Yes sir, Detective Zeqster.  I’ll order your new flaming red convertible – fully loaded.  I’ll have it for you in two weeks.”

In only a few days, Maxx had his new, flaming red convertible.

Maxx drove along the muddy wet lands back road while pulling the shot and burned convertible.  He continued to depressingly reminisce about the first drive he took through his neighborhood with his shiny new Flaming Red convertible.  He was the envy of all his friends in Bedsult.  He recalled that splendid sunny day…

“I simply adore my new convertible,” he said as he smiled and drove through the streets of Bedsult on that beautiful desert day— several years ago.  As he drove with the top down, numerous Bedsult residents waved and complimented him on his beautiful new car.  “Nice car Detective Zeqster,” said one neighbor loudly.

“Love your car,” said another loudly as he drove by.

“Wow!  Nice convertible Detective Zeqster,” said another as he drove along Lypont Drive toward his home.  His convertible was a gift that he gave himself in an attempt to improve his self-confidence, self-image, and status after the crippling incidents of that time that destroyed his reputation and self-esteem.  He used money that he saved while he was a detective at the Xcuymir Territory Sheriff Department to purchase the lavish self-indulgence— a job that he was unjustly fired from – at least that’s the way Maxx saw it…

As Maxx drove along the muddy, treacherous, wet lands back road and reminisced, Eyan Stomm broke in with another bulletin.  “This is news reporter Eyan Stomm.  We are interrupting our regular music to bring you another news bulletin from the news wire…

As the rain began to slow, Maxx regained focus.  “What!  Another news bulletin?”  Immediately he was awake and listening.

Earlier this morning we reported the Gang of Five and several Joqzonions were terrorizing  Durston Mill.  Mustler and his gang brutally killed several shop owners and looted their stores.  Before leaving the small village, they set fire to the plundered businesses.  As they were ransacking the small milling village, local and territory law enforcement along with firefighters arrived on the scene.  A violent gun battle ensued.  Several law enforcement personnel and firefighters were killed.  Mustler and his gang of five along with numerous Joqzonions escaped.  It has been reported that several Joqzonions were killed in the gunfight.

We just received another report over the news wire from Alina Smizeen, roaming reporter for The Kvyutt Travelers News.  According to the newspaper reporter’s live report, the Gang of Five and several Joqzonion followers are ransacking a small village near Bloqxess.  Just like in Durston Mill, they heinously murdered the business owners and stole weapons and money.  Before exiting the shops, they set fire to the businesses.

According to Alina Smizeen’s report, “Meslerr Territory Sherriff’s troopers arrived on the scene almost immediately after being called.  A deadly gun battle erupted as the evil gang was fleeing the town.  The law enforcement personnel were quickly overpowered by the large collection of automatic weapons and other heavy artillery.

Several police and territory troopers have been killed in the battle.  Mustler and his gang unleashed a massive assault of different artillery on the officers as they arrived.  The courageous law enforcement personnel had little chance against the juggernaut and their powerful weapons.

Mustler and his gang have left the village.  They are escaping into the marshland with the weapons and money they stole from these defenseless shop owners.

Numerous businesses are burning as the local fire department is attempting to put the fires out.  Emergency medical crews are working frantically to help the injured firefighters, police, and local residence.  The numerous dead will be transported to Kvyutt hospitals after the injured receive the emergency care they need.”  Eyan concluded the news wire report.

Eyan Stomm continued with his own commentary, “For the second time this morning, Mustler and his heinous gang of murders and robbers have attacked a small village in Meslerr Territory.  So far, the local authorities have been powerless to stop the Gang of Five as they continue with their attacks on businesses in this area.  I am news reporter Eyan Stomm.  We will break in when there is another report over the news wire.  We are now returning you to the rock music you love on Radio Wet Lands – Classic Rock of the Wet Lands.”

The rain had stopped as Maxx drove along the muddy road while listening to the special news report.  He thought, “So far this morning, Mustler and his gang have looted and killed in Durston Mill and Bloqxess.  The spoils from those robberies couldn’t have been very big.  Those were very small villages.  The stores would have had small inventories and very little cash.  My Melá-Jutis instincts are telling me—Mustler is going to attack other businesses before he’s done for today.  A need to anticipate his next move and be there to stop him and his gang.”

He drove along the muddy, pothole-filled road in his jeep while pulling the trailer with the destroyed convertible behind.  He thought, “At least the rain stopped.  I need to imagine a map of the wet lands in my mind and anticipate Mustler’s next move.”

While driving along Fezzn Way toward Kvyutt he thought, “Mustler has attacked two villages in Meslerr Territory already this morning.  The authorities are going to expect the gang to attack LyBeqt next – it too is in Meslerr.  They’ll be waiting for him and his gang there.  That would make since.  He’s too smart for that.  He won’t be that easily caught.  My Melá-Jutis instincts are telling me he and his gang will attack a business in Guytic City.”

He bobbed his head and wiggled his lips.  He thought, “Mustler will attack a business with a lot of spoils before he stops – but not in Kvyutt.  He’ll attack a business in Guytic City.  The local authorities won’t expect that – The Melá-Jutis will…I need to get off this road and drive toward Guytic City.”

Before long as he drove toward Kvyutt while listening to the rock music, he came upon a back road that was little more than a two-track mud road.  He thought, “This road doesn’t even have a sign.  I have no idea what road it is.  But!It goes in the right direction.  It’ll have to do.”  Maxx slowly turned onto the narrow, muddy, rough road and began driving toward Guytic City.

“Now I’m glad I’m driving the Phoenix.  My convertible would never pull the trailer along this road.  It’s too muddy.  He continued along the treacherous back road as the sky cleared as Sesla’s sun was rising higher in the morning sky.

He continued slowly along the muddy road.  “I’m surprised I haven’t seen any more Joqzonion space ships.  Maybe they’re not as easy to see during the day light.  Surely I didn’t take them all out.  There has to be more than those I burned,” he thought.

As he drove under the late morning Sesla sun, his exhaustion began to return.  He began to yawn again.  He said, “I hope I find the gang before long.  I still need to drive home.  I’m becoming exhausted.”

The isolated, treacherous, wet lands road was slowly improving as Maxx drive toward Guytic City.  He steadily increased his speed as the road became less perilous.  To keep awake, he was bobbing his head and tapping the side of his jeep to the beat of the loud rock music.

Maxx yawned as he thought, “I’m getting closer to the outer-limits of Guytic City.  If my theory is correct, Mustler and his gang will attack a village or town in this direction before long.”

He continued to drive along the road as he jammed to the beat of the rock music to keep awake.  The road was improving as he drove closer to Guytic City.  He continued to yawn as he drove while Sesla’s sun continued to rise in the late morning sky.  “I hope I’m right.  If Mustler attacks another village in Meslerr, I won’t catch him on this trip.  I’ll have to drive home and try again later.  That would be bad.  Let’s hope I’m right!” he thought as he yawned and listened to his rock music.

He glanced in the rear view mirror again and saw his devastated convertible as he drove.  He thought, “My depression seems better…There’s really no reason to be upset.  I’m going to make the Joqs pay for shooting my convertible.  When I get home, I’ll buy a new convertible.  That one Was several years old.  “He smiled and shrugged his massive shoulders. “  Maybe it was time for a new convertible?” he said.

With a stronger attitude, he drove into the outer limits of Guytic City.  “There’s the sign I’ve been looking for. “  Welcome to Guytic City – A great city to work – live – and play”  “If Mustler strikes in this area – I’ll be ready.  I just hope I’m right.”

With renewed energy, Maxx drove into Guytic City as he continued to  Jam while listening to Radio Wet Lands.  Traffic was increasing as he drove into the large, futuristic city that is called, “The Pride of the Wet Lands.”  The motorists were staring at him as they passed.  He saw one motorist after another gawking.  He thought, “I probably look a little strange in my magical suit while pulling a completely destroyed convertible on a damaged trailer.  It’s no wonder coteries are glaring.”

Sesla’s sun was nearing the apex as he bobbed his head and drove.  Suddenly the rock music stopped and Eyan Stomm broke in. “I am Radio Wet Lands news reporter Eyan Stomm.  I am reporting live from the Jirgston Bank and Trust in rural Guytic City.  I’m standing in the parking lot of the small, rural bank.

According to the bank manager and an eyewitness, less than an hour ago Mustler and his gang along with several Joqzonions entered this bank while carrying automatic weapons.  Luckily at that moment there were no customers.  However the only security guard was immediately shot, execution style, as the bank manager and employees horrifyingly watched.  The bank manager opened the vault at gunpoint.  Mustler and his Gang of Five entered the large walk-in safe and drained it if it’s small cash reserve.  The Joqzonions stood guard with their automatic weapons.  In minutes, the gang exited the vault while carrying the Myluxs in bags…

Maxx immediately became angry as he drove.  He said loudly, “I knew it!  Mustler and his gang went to Guytic City.  The police are looking for them in Meslerr.  I need to hurry!”  He increased his speed as he listened to the breaking news story.

As Mustler and his gang exited the bank with the bags of Myluxs over their shoulders, the Joqs open fired.  Everyone in the bank was on the floor.  The Joqs fired at the walls and windows.  In seconds, as the terrified employees lay face down, the bank was destroyed.  Glass was everywhere.  The Joqzonions started several fires before exiting the bank.  They exited and hurried to catch up with the already fleeing Gang of Five.  The group hurried around to the back of the bank where they escaped into the marshland.

After that, the terrified manager and surviving employees hurried out of the bank as the fires quickly spread.  Guytic City Police and Fire Department arrived here shortly after that.  Firefighters are working frantically to put out the fires as I’m making this broadcast.  The police are talking with the bank employees.

The eyewitness is here with me now.  She has asked to remain anonymous for her own safety.”  Eyan Stomm turned to the woman.  “Did I sum up correctly what you told me so far?”

“Yes.  That’s what I saw.  The Gang of Five hobbled around to the back of the bank.  The Joqs followed.  I heard a car start and drive away behind the bank.”

Eyan asked, “Did you see where the gang went after that?”

“I didn’t see them after they went behind the bank,” the witness replied.

“Where were you when all this happened?” he asked.

“I was walking down the sidewalk toward the bank when I saw the gang going in.  They all had machine guns.  I hid behind that car.”  She pointed.

“Can you give out listeners a description of how the Gang of Five looks?” asked Eyan.

She replied, “The Gang of Five is a group of mutation creatures of some kind.  I’ve never seen anything like them.  They’re freaks.  They have enlarged heads with almost no hair.  They have large and deformed faces.  Their eyes are crooked.  They don’t have ears.  They have  protruding teeth bones.  Their legs are crooked and stick-like with large bumps and veins.  Their feet are like small chunks.  They hobble when they walk.

The Joqzonions all look alike.  They’re so thin they’re nothing more than sticks with long heads and big eyes.  I hear their bones are very fragile but I really wouldn’t know.”

Eyan said, “I’ve read their description numerous times.  Your interpretation sounds consistent.  I’m glad you weren’t hurt.  Thank you for speaking to me.”

“Sure,” she said nervously.  She quickly walked away.

Eyan continued, “It’s my understanding, a large amount of the Guytic City police force are in Meslerr.  They were expecting Mustler and his gang to terrorize businesses in LyBeqt.  Due to that strategy, there are only two police officers and one ambulance on the scene here.  The emergency ambulance crew is loading the murdered security guard into the ambulance at this moment.  From this reporter’s point of view, the murder of the lone guard can only be described as a gruesome and horrific execution.  The guard was shot so many times by high-powered, automatic weapons that his limbs are mangled and practically shot off.  The dead guard is covered in blood.

So far today, Mustler and his gang have attacked two small villages Meslerr Territory.  Durston Mill and Bloqxess were his targets.  While the police were waiting for him in LyBeqt – in Meslerr, he struck Jirgston Bank and Trust in rural Guytic City.  We can only hope today’s rampage is over.  I am Eyan Stomm, news reporter for Radio Wet Lands – Classic Rock of the Wet Lands.  We now return you to the rock music that you love.”

Maxx drove past Jirgston Bank as Eyan closed his report.  He thought, “That’s a small bank.  Mustler couldn’t have stolen much money from there.  According to Eyan, the gang left here less than an hour ago and drove into the marshland behind the bank.  I’m going to drive in that direction.  Maybe I’ll find them.”

Maxx turned on the next crossroad and journeyed in the same direction.  He thought as he drove, “There are numerous businesses in this area that would interest Mustler.  I’ll keep driving this way.  Maybe I’ll find him.”

He continued to drive along the rural road in Guytic City.  He drove past several businesses as the traffic continued to increase.  The locals continued to stare as they drove past him.  “I know.  I look a bit odd,” he thought as he drove the Phoenix while wearing his Melá-Jutis suit and pulling the plasma bullet shot trailer and convertible.

He continued to drive and listen to Radio Wet Lands as he watched for the gang.  He thought, “When they abducted Art, they were driving a jeep…A jeep full of mutants and aliens won’t be hard to spot.”  As he drove and watched for the jeep, the rock music ended.

I am Radio Wet Lands DJ, Dris Moure.  We are interrupting your rock music for another special news bulletin on the news wire.  Guytic City TV News is reporting that at this moment Guytic City Police are on route to Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods in rural GC.  The silent alarm was tripped at the sporting goods store just minutes ago.  The sporting goods store is only miles away from Jirgston Bank.  That’s where Mustler and his gang killed a guard and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash only an hour ago.  It is feared that Mustler and his gang of murdering thieves are attacking the sporting goods store at this moment.  We will break in when we know more.  This is Dris Moure reporting for Radio Wet Lands.  Now back to your favorite rock music.”

Maxx increased his speed as he listened to the news broadcast.  As he speeded down the rural road he thought, “Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods is somewhere near here.  I’m not sure where.”

As he drove hurriedly, he heard, “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo...,” the screaming sound of police sirens behind him.  “The Guytic City Police can’t be after me.  I’m not driving that fast,” he said as he drove.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,” the screaming sirens were quickly becoming louder as the GC Police  speeded toward him.  Their red and blue lights were spinning as their sirens screamed.

Maxx began slowing as the police were almost upon him.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,” the screaming sound was deafening.

Maxx pulled over to the side of the road.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  The two GC Police  cars  zoomed past him with incredible speed.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo…,” The police rocketed ahead of him.  Their red and blue lights were spinning as they passed.

“Those police cars are hurrying to Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods.  I’m going to follow.”  Maxx pushed the accelerator to the floor.  The Phoenix tires spun and threw dirt and gravel as he pulled ahead behind the rocketing police.  He accelerated and followed.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  The two GC police cars speeded down the road as their sirens screamed and their red and blue lights flashed.

Maxx continued to accelerate and closed the gap.  He winced from ear pain as he drove closer to the screaming sirens.  “Those sirens are killing my ears,” he said loudly as he rocketed toward the speeding police.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  The police slowed and turned at the cross roads.  They accelerated as they drove in the new direction with flashing lights.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  Maxx followed in his jeep while pulling the trailer with burned convertible behind.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo…,” The police slowed and turned again.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo…,”

Maxx whipped around the next turn and followed.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

The police slowed and drove into Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods parking lot and parked next to the other police cars already on the scene.  Both police stopped their sirens but kept their red and blue spinning lights flashing like the other GC police cars.  They immediately exited and hurried inside as the spinning lights flashed.

Guytic City Firefighters were hard at work putting out the fires that were started inside by the outlaw gang.

When Maxx approached the store, he slowed and stopped a distance away.  He watched as Guytic City TV News and Radio Wet Lands News reporters prepared to broadcast live.  As the red and blue swirling police lights continued to flash, he waited.  He continued to listen to Radio Wet Lands.

When Eyan Stomm began to speak into the microphone, the rock music stopped.  Maxx heard over the Phoenix radio, “I am news reporter Eyan Stomm.  I’m standing in the parking lot of Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods in rural Guytic City.  According to eyewitnesses, only minutes ago Mustler and his gang exited this business.  They were carrying an arsenal of stolen weapons from inside.  They fled around to the back of this building and climbed into a waiting jeep.  They drove into the marshland to make their escape…

Maxx said strongly, “That’s what I needed to hear.”  Maxx spun the tires and drove down the road past the sports store as the news broadcast continued.  He turned and drove down the next street behind the store.  The road ended and a two-track continued as the marshland began.  “I don’t have a minute to lose,” he said.

Sesla’s sun was past the zenith and falling in the afternoon sky as he jumped out of the Phoenix.  With super-speed, he raced to the rear and unhooked the trailer.  “The trailer will have to remain here until I get back,” he said.  He placed the trailer arm on the ground.

Maxx jumped back into the Phoenix.  “Rrrmmm!...Rrrmmm!”  He spun the tires while slinging dirt, grass, and mud.  He speeded into the marshland after Mustler and his gang as Eyan Stomm continued with his breaking news broadcast...

Maxx speeded along the small two-track swamp road as the sky began to cloud over.  Sesla’s afternoon sun was quickly consumed by the dark overcast.  The wind started to blow.  He continued to drive farther into the marsh, while chasing the gang, as the rain began to cascade down.  “I never realized how much it rains in the wet lands,” he said as he drove the Phoenix along the muddy two-track.  Mud was splashing and flying as he speeded along.

He continued driving along the muddy two-track.  He was several miles away from the village.  Dense foliage had overtaken the landscape.  The rain started falling harder.  Cool rainwater cascaded down his alluring face and along his magical Melá-Jutis suit.  The water began to puddle on the floor of the jeep again.  “I hate the cold wet lands rain.  At least in the desert the rain is warm,” he said as he drove.  The Phoenix bounced and mud flew as he speeded along the muddy, pothole filled, and two-track.

His jeep was covered in mud as he drove.  “I can’t see any tracks.  I don’t know if I’m even looking in the right place.”  He said as he drove through the rain, “I should stop and feel for vibrations.  Maybe I’ll get lucky.”  He slowed and stopped as the rain continued.

He jumped out and stood next to the Phoenix as the cool rain continued.  He employing his magical sea doxer sonar that Sesla blessed him with due to his pure heart.  He scanned the area for vibrations.  “I feel strong pulsation coming from all directions.  It’s almost like I’m surrounded,” he thought.

Suddenly four Joqzonion space ships flew out of nowhere.  They fired their plasma bullets as they buzzed speedily just above him.  Gunfire rang out from the green, dense brush around him.  “I’m surrounded!” he yelled.  “I’ve got to protect the Phoenix!”

He jumped into the jeep.  He said loudly, “Those Joqs can hear my music.”  He turned off the rock music and pushed the accelerator to the floor.  “Rrrmmm!”  As the rain poured from the wet lands sky, Maxx slung mud as he drove off the two-track and into the dense underbrush.

The space ships circled above the trees for another attack and the gunfire continued as Maxx drove speedily through the marsh.  “I saw two Joqs.  There’s probably more.  They must be hiding all around me.  This area if full of the invaders,” he said frantically.  The Phoenix was taking hits as he twisted and turned in the swamp.  Mud was flying as he drove.

He drove into a small stream and threw rocks as he went airborne while flying out the other side.  Several bullets made more holes in the jeep as he flew through the air.  Limbs were being severed by the energy plasma bullets from the Joqzonion space ships.  They were falling to the ground all around Maxx.  He said loudly, “The Phoenix is taking a lot of hits!  I’ve got to hid it!”

As the Joqs continued to attack The Melá-Jutis from the air and the thicket, Mustler and his Gang drove farther from the area in their stolen jeep.  They were making their get away with the money and weapons they had stolen as the battle raged.

Maxx drove over brush and around trees as he searched for a place to hide his jeep.  He frantically drove through another live stream.  Water splashed and rocks slid as he drove through.  He went airborne as he flew out the other side and continued through the thick forest.

The Joq spacecraft continued to fire through the trees as he crazily drove beneath them.  Joqs with automatic weapons continued firing at him as they attempted to pursue on foot.

As he drove frantically around another large fallen tree, he saw a large thicket in the distance.  “That under-brush will have to do!”  he said as he drove toward the large area of thick undergrowth and vines.  He speeded across the marshy terrain and temporarily escaped the aliens as he approached the large thicket.

Maxx drove speedily and bounced into the large group of bushes, small trees, and vines.  He buried the 4X4 jeep deep in the thick green underbrush.  “I need to run!” he said.  With super speed, he jumped out of the jeep and ran through the thick under-brush – fighting his way through to the other side.

He continued deeper into the wet lands swamp.  He looked back for an instant as he ran.  He sighed deeply.  “The Phoenix is completely buried in the undergrowth.  I can’t see it.  Hopefully the Joqs won’t know it’s there.  I hope its save.”  With super-speed, he ran toward the tall trees as the Joqzonions continued to fire through the thick, bushes and trees where they last saw him.

He ran swiftly as the four flying saucers continued to buzz the area in the rain while firing their plasma guns toward the ground.  “The automatic weapon fire has stopped.  I don’t think the Joqs on foot were able to keep up with me.  I’ll deal with them later.  First I need to disable those four ships,” he said.

As he ran, he looked around for weapons.  “It looks like I’m going to have to bring these ships down with stones—as well.  I can’t believe I’m fighting space ships with rocks,” he said as he ran through and around trees and bushes.

As he ran with Sesla given magical speed, the rain intensified.  He was becoming soaked again.  “I wonder how those Joq space ships like the pouring rain?  I’m sure it makes it harder for them to fly.”  He continued to speedily look for a stream to collect stones as he ran.

The Joq ships were flying back and forth across the sky just above the trees.  They were firing wildly into the trees.  Their plasma bullets were hitting limbs and severing them.  Limbs were falling all around.  The energy plasma bullets were burning holes in the wet land swamp wherever they hit.  The bullets continued to hit a distance away from Maxx as he ran.

Soon, as he rocketed through the forest in the pouring rain, he saw what he was looking for.  “Finally a stream!” he said.  As the Joqzonion pilots continued to fire wildly at the ground, he quickly gathered four fist-sized stones.  “These will have to do!” he said frantically.  He stuffed them into his Melá-Jutis suit pockets.  “I need to climb a tree – and a lot of luck!”

He ran to a tall, dense tree.  “I can’t believe I’m doing this again.  Fighting Joq space ships with rocks – sounds mediaeval.”  With super-speed he climbed the massive tree as Sesla’s rain intensified even more.  As he reached the top of the tree, in the pouring rain, he said, “I think I just got lucky.  This rain’s bound to affect their vision.”

The Joq pilots were hovering over the trees.  The torrential downpour was fogging their windshields as they fired haphazardly at the ground.  Their plasma bullets were ripping through the trees and burning off limb after limb as the cloudburst continued.  The limbs were falling everywhere as they continued to fire wildly.

Maxx hugged the treetop and readied the first stone.  “If I’m lucky, those pilots won’t be able to see me through their fogged windshields.”

The four pilots hovered and fired blindly into the thick trees.  They moved back and forth in the heavy rain as they fired.  One pilot began to move closer to Maxx as he hugged the tree and hid in the branches.

“A little closer…closer,” he said as he readied the stone.  He stayed low and waited patiently as he cocked his hulking arm with the stone in hand.  “Closer…Closer.”

The unsuspecting pilot continued to move closer to the tree where Maxx was hiding.  The pilot was continuously spinning around while searching for a better view of the ground.  The pouring rain was cascading down the pilot’s windshield making it impossible for him to see.

He hovered to only feet away from where Maxx was waiting at the top of the giant, dense tree.  The pouring rain was causing the Joq’s windshield to fog over as it flowed down the ship.  The pilot continued to fire wildly as he hovered blindly only feet away from Maxx.

“Spin,” Maxx said quietly as he remained ready.

The pilot slowly spun the ship around as it hovered and fired at the ground in the pouring rain.

For a moment, Maxx could see a silhouette of the Joq pilot through the foggy, watery windshield.  “That will have to do,” he said.  He held the stone in his hand with his massive, muscular arm cocked ready.  With all of his magical strength, he threw the six-inch diameter, metallic stone at the silhouette of the pilot’s face.

The fist-sized stone flew with magical accuracy.  It broke through the foggy windshield and struck the Joq pilot in the face between his eyes.  The heavy stone embedded deep in the Joq’s facial cranium.  Blood splattered everywhere in the small spacecraft as the stone crushed the pilot’s face.  Death was immediate.  The saucer began flying out of control and flew speedily into another space craft that was hovering close by.

The midair crash was massive and the resulting explosion immense.  Fire exploded in all directions.  The small mushroom cloud was intense.

The two flaming space ships fell through the trees and crashed into the ground.  Even though the downpour continued, the space ships burned with intensity.  The flames were enormous.

“Wow!  Did I ever get lucky,” Maxx said as he watched from the treetop while hiding.  “Two ships with one throw.”

The two remaining pilots began flying speedily all around and firing wildly into the trees.  Limbs were being hit by their plasma bullets and falling everywhere.

Maxx hid and waited as the downpour continued.  “Those pilots don’t know what happened.  They don’t see me.  I hope I get lucky again,” he said as he pulled another stone from his Melá-Jutis suit pocket.

The two pilots flew back and forth in the rain as they continued firing wildly into the trees.  Limbs continued to fall everywhere as they were burned off by the energy bullets.  The marshy ground was being sprayed by their weapons.  The plasma bullets were burning holes in the ground as they hit.

One pilot unknowingly moved straight for Maxx as he watched.  The Joq pilot fired repeatedly and continued moving in his direction.  The pouring rain was blurring that pilot’s windshield as he fired wildly.

Maxx remained tucked in the branches and leaves as he waited.  His hulking arm was cocked and ready.  He had another stone in his mighty fist.  “Closer…Closer.”

The Joq pilot flew his spacecraft within feet of Maxx as he readied his hulking arm.  The pilot spun around and faced Maxx as the rain clouded the window.  The pilot continued to fire into the trees while being unaware that he was hovering only feet away from The Melá-Jutis.

Using all his Sesla given strength, Maxx threw the stone straight at the Joq’s face.  The fist-sized metallic rock shattered the fogged windshield and struck the pilot in the neck.  The zooming stone ripped through the fragile neck of the Joqzonion.  The bloody head flew.

Blood splattered everywhere inside the small space craft as the head bounced into the rear of the ship with the deadly stone.  The headless pilot jerked in his pilot seat with full body spasms as his blood streamed out of his ripped off, detached neck.

The dying pilot jerked with body spasms, as blood pumped rapidly out of his exposed neck veins.  The ship flew rapidly straight for the ground and crashed.  It immediately exploded and burst into flames.  The flames and smoke from the explosion rose into the trees.

Maxx watched as the last pilot hovered back and forth over the burning ships as if bewildered.  “That pilot still doesn’t know what’s happening.  He doesn’t know I’m here,” he thought.

After several seconds of maneuvering in the air above the trees, the pilot suddenly flew his ship over the trees and out of sight.

Maxx watched with amazement from the treetop as the pilot zoomed away.  “I guess that’s it,” he said as he shrugged his massive shoulders with pride.  “That was easier than I thought.  I guess The Melá-Jutis was too much for them.”  He laughed loudly with a roar.

As he stood on the limb and gloated over his victory, four Joqzonion space ships flew with great speed toward him.  As they closed in, they open fired.  Plasma energy bullets hit all around Maxx.

“Aahhh!”  he yelled.  The bullets cut through the tree just below him.  The top of the tree began to fall along with him.  “Uuhhh!”  he groaned as he leaped toward a neighboring tree as his perch fell.

He grabbed the branches and began tumbling toward the ground.  He continued to grab more branches as they ripped from the tree.  While gripping branch after branch, he quickly fell to the ground.  “”Uuhhh!” he groaned as he landed hard in the muck.

The aliens continued to fire their plasma guns at him as he lay in the mud and shake his dizzy head.  “Uuhhh!” he moaned.  The energy bullets were hitting all around him and burning holes into the marshy ground.

His head quickly cleared.  He said frantically, “I have to Run!”  The rain was slowing as he jumped up and began running.  He ran back and forth around trees and bushes while the plasma bullets were hitting the trees and the ground.  His forest green and grey super-hero cape was flapping as he ran with super-speed.  The Joq pilots pursued and continued firing at him from above the trees.

The rain was stopping as he ran with tremendous speed while constantly changing directions to avoid the plasma bullets.  “I’ve got to find a way to bring down those four ships,” he said as he ran speedily.

As he ran, he saw a large group of tall, ancient, mineral stones.  “Awesome!  Just like in the desert.  Their guns will be worthless against those stones.  I need more rocks,” he said as he ran.

The Joqzonion pilots continued to fire their plasma guns from above the trees at him as he ran.  Tree limbs were falling all around him.  Deep burn holes were appearing where the plasma bullets hit the swampy ground.

As Maxx ran, he saw another stream.  He said, “That’s what I’m looking for!”  He ran to the small creek.  Water splashed as he ran into the stream.  He stopped in the middle of the flowing water.  As the Joq pilots were pursuing and firing, he quickly picked up four fist-sized, heavy, metallic rocks.  He stuffed them into his magical Melá-Jutis suit pockets.

The plasma bullets began hitting all around him.  Water was splashing as the energy bullets affected the stream.  I bullet missed his head by inches and made a big splash.  He immediately flew into a rage.  “I’ll make those Joqs pay!”  With super-speed, he ran straight for the tall, ancient stone formation.

The Joq pilots continued to fire as they pursued him.  Their lines of plasma bullets were just missing Maxx as he ran.  He speeded toward the tall stones as tree limbs were falling all around him.

He speedily ran to the tall, colorful, layered, stone fortress and began to climb.  As he climbed, the pilots continued shooting.  Their bullets hit the majestic stones and left burn marks without doing any further damage.

Maxx climbed halfway up the formation to a cavern in the middle.  The taller stones rose upward many more feet from there – thus giving him cover.  He squatted in the small cavity and watched as the Joq pilots fired a stream of bullets at him.  Some of the bullets hit the stone while only accomplishing minor damage.  The majority of plasma bullets hit the marshy ground around the stone fortress while accomplishing even less.

“I’m glad those Joqs are lousy shots,” he said as he pulled a stone from his pocket and prepared to throw.  “The next time I fight Joqs I’ll bring bazookas and grenades.  Throwing stones and hanging on the side of these space ships is ridiculous,” he said as he readied the first stone.

The pilots hovered and fired from a greater distance.  Their plasma bullets continued to do virtually no damage.

Maxx squatted and waited for a possible throw.  “I need a rocket launcher.  Instead, I’m throwing stones.  This is Ridiculous!” he said as he threw the first seven-inch, heavy metallic stone with all his might.  His magical Seslean powers proved true again as the large, heavy stone flew like a speedy, guided missile straight for the Joq’s face.

Without the heavy rain, the windshield was clear.  The Joqzonion pilot saw the death stone the moment it left the hulking arm of The Melá-Jutis.  As the small speeding asteroid zoomed toward the Joq’s face, he opened his eyes large and screamed.  “Aahhh!”

The stone flew through the windshield while breaking a large hole.  The pilot tried to move the saucer up quickly.  The result was the small, zooming, heavy metallic asteroid struck the pilot in the neck.  The force severed the pilots head.  Blood flew throughout the small space ship as did glass and the stone.  The pilot’s bloody head bounced to the rear of the spacecraft and oozed a puddle of red blood.

The quickly dying pilot slumped back in the cockpit.  His body jerked with spasms as red blood streamed from the open wound in his neck.  The detached head rolled around the small space ship and splattered blood as it rolled.

As the pilot died in his chair, the saucer flew into a large tree and crashed.  The damaged spacecraft tumbled to the ground.  Upon impact, the space craft interior burst into flames due to the advanced, unstable, plasma energy weapons systems.  The explosion was immense.  Fire and smoke rose into the trees.  The flaming mushroom cloud advanced through the wet trees and into the wet lands sky before subsiding.  The flames in the saucer continued.

“Wow!  That was intense!” said Maxx proudly.

The other pilots had stopped firing.  They hovered and watched as their comrade’s craft burned on the marshy ground.

Maxx watched with astonishment that he killed another Joq pilot and brought down another spacecraft with only a stone.  “I can’t believe these rocks are so effective.  I’m not sure I need bazookas or rockets.”

He crouched down in the crevice for protection as the pilots began firing wildly again.  Their plasma energy bullets were spraying the stone fortress and the marsh around him.

Maxx removed another stone from his pocket as the remaining pilots fired violently in his direction.  He said astonishingly, “Fighting space ships with stones is primitive but they seem to be working.”  He cocked his hulking arm with the large, heavy stone firmly in his massive, powerful hand.  He bobbed his head up and down for a quick look.

The pilots were keeping a greater distance between themselves and The Melá-Jutis as they fired their plasma bullets.  The energy rounds were hitting the stones as he knelt in the crevice.  Many were flying into the ground around the tall ancient stones and leaving burn marks wherever they hit.

“They’re staying farther away.  I hope I can still hit the pilots,” he said as he prepared to throw.  With all his magical strength, he threw the large, heavy stone at the windshield of the closest ship.  The stone flew like a self-guided missile toward the pilot.

The Joq ship commander saw the stone zooming toward him.  He began turning the ship with one hand while attempting to block the fast approaching asteroid with the other.  The stone easily broke through the glass window.  It zoomed past the Joq’s hand and crashed into the side of the pilot’s face before continuing and bouncing around the inside of the spacecraft.  Blood flew as the stone crushed the side of the Joq’s face.  He was immediately knocked unconscious by the impact as blood flowed and covered his face.

While he slumped in the seat unconscious, the spacecraft flew into another ship.  The collision caused a massive explosion.  The fireball was loud and intense.  A large mushroom cloud engulfed the sky above the midair collision.  The two flaming spacecrafts tumbled to the ground.  Upon impact, both saucers crumbled into the marshy ground and continued to burn.

Maxx stood proudly in the crevice of the stone formation as he watched the three space- crafts burn.  He turned to the last flying ship as the pilot hovered above the last two burning ships.  The pilot was talking into his radio.  “He’s radioing for backup!”  Maxx declared angrily.

Seconds later, the pilot speeded away.  He flew the spacecraft out of sight.

As Maxx watched, he said, “He’ll be back quickly with more space craft.  It’s better to fight them right here.  Out here in the wilderness, those Joqs can’t kill anyone but me.  I won’t find a better place than this.  I need more stones.  I need to hurry.”  He dropped his remaining stone in the crevice.  With super-speed, he jumped to the ground and ran across the marshy terrain.

He ran around fallen trees and underbrush, and over small limbs and brush as he arrived back at the stream.  “I need as many stones as I can carry,” he said.  He put a stone in all of his Melá-Jutis suit pockets.  Using his cape, he formed a pouch and filled it with a few stones as well.  “I’m ready.”

While carrying his stones, he trotted across the marshy terrain toward the stone fortress.  “I’ve got to hurry.  Those Joqs will be back any minute,” he said as he jogged toward the tall stone formation.

Soon, he approached the stone columns.  He heard the hum of Joqzonion space ships in the distance.  “They’re back,” he said as he looked into the sky.  “I need to hurry.”  While carrying the rocks he began to climb the tall stone fortress again.

When the Joq pilots saw The Melá-Jutis in the open, some fired.  Their plasma energy bullets ripped through the trees and landed all around Maxx as he climbed.  “I’ve got to hurry!” he said as he climbed.  He reached the opening and dropped the stones he was carrying in his cape—adding them to the previous ones.  He stood in the crevice next to his extra ammunition and watched.

The pilots fired as they zoomed over him.  Their plasma bullets hit the stone fortress and the surrounding area while leaving burn marks.

“Wow!  There’s an entire squadron – maybe fifteen.  That’s probably all the saucers left on Sesla that I haven’t destroyed,” he said as he removed a stone from his pocket.  “I hope I have enough rocks.”

As Sesla’s mid-afternoon sun shone brightly in the marshland, Maxx readied his first stone as he watched the ships fly in a wide circle and speed back around.  “I’m going to need a lot of help from Sesla to fight this many Joq ships,” he said as he watched the Joqzonion juggernaut speed toward him.

He watched as the Joq pilots slowed and began hovering above the trees.  They immediately open fired.  The energy bullets began hitting the stone column around him and the ground.  They were making burn marks wherever they hit.  The plasma bullets were rapid firing all around him.

“Aahhh!” he yelled  as he was bombarded with plasma bullets.  He crouched in the crevice and hid from the energy bullets as they landed all around him.  The artillery was hitting and leaving burn marks in the stone fortress.  He said frantically, “I’ve got to bring better weapons to fight these Joqs!”  He knelt down behind the stone column and watched for a target as the plasma energy bullets here hitting all around him.

An aggressive Joq pilot flew dangerously close The Melá-Jutis as he fired his plasma weapons.  “There!”  Maxx said loudly.  He jumped up for a second while the energy bullets were spraying all around.  With his hulking arm, along with all of his magical strength and accuracy, he threw the large, heavy, metallic stone at the pilot’s face.

The Joq pilot screamed and immediately turned his spacecraft as he watched the small asteroid zoom toward his head.  The magically guided rock shattered the windshield and continued toward the pilot’s face with incredible velocity.  As the ship turned, glass flew into the spacecraft as the stone struck the pilot in the side of the head.  Red blood splattered inside the ship as the stone crushed the side of the Joq’s cranium.  The pilot was killed instantly.

The ship speeded out of control and crashed into another ship.  The two spacecraft exploded in midair.  The blast was large and loud.  The resulting mushroom cloud was enormous.  The two fireballs crashed to the ground as the remaining pilots watched with bewilderment.

In seconds, the pilots began firing at The Melá-Jutis again.  Plasma bullets sprayed the stone columns.  Burn marks were appearing everywhere on the stones.

Maxx grinned as he ducked into the opening. “That was Great!  Two ships with one throw!” he said excitedly.  “Let’s see if I can do that again.”  He pulled another stone from his pocket.

The Joq pilots continued to hover and fire their plasma bullets.  The bullets continued to spray the area and leave burn marks as Maxx hid.  “Lucky for me those pilots can’t shoot straight down under their ships.  If they could, I’d be dead already,” he said, as he stayed low in the crevice with the next stone ready.

Several of the pilots continued to hover closely to the tall stone gathering as they fired wildly.  Their plasma energy bullets were hitting everywhere on and around the tall stones.

Maxx quickly raised his head and glanced before retreating into the safety.  “There are lots of targets.  I’ll have to be fast.  I don’t want to get shot,” he said.  With a stone in his massive hand and his powerful, hulking arm cocked, he rose upward so he could see.  He quickly picked a target and fired!

The large stone flew like a magically guided missile toward the unsuspecting pilot as he continued to fire his plasma weapons.  The pilot was completely unaware as the enchanted stone flew like a zooming asteroid and broke through the windshield.

As the pilot fired his plasma gun, the stone hit him in the face and embedded deep in his cranium.  He clutched the gun controls as he began to spasm.  He continued to full body jerk and fire as the ship spun out of control.  The plasma bullets sprayed the other ships.

Two Joq space ships were hit be the plasma energy bullets.  They burst into flames and crashed to the ground as the dying pilot flew his ship into a large tree.  After crashing, the space ship tumbled to the ground and burst into flames.  The ships exploded sending mushroom clouds into the trees as they burned.

The other Joq pilots ignored the burning ships and continued firing wildly at The Melá-Jutis as he hid in the crevice of the stone formation.

Maxx laughed loudly as he boasted, “That was Awesome!  Three Joqs with one throw.”  He removed a third stone from his Melá-Jutis suit pocket.  “I hope I get that lucky again.”  He stayed low in the crevice for protection as the pilots moved wildly around the stone fortress and fired continually.  He stood quickly to pick another target.  “There!”  With all his Sesla given strength, he launched the stone toward the pilot.

The large stone rocketed toward the windshield.  Before the pilot could react, the rock shattered the glass and embedded in the pilot’s face.  Joq blood splattered as the pilot died instantly.  The ship began to fly out of control and flew straight into a tree.  It collided hard with the trunk and crashed to the ground without bursting into flames.

Maxx watched from the safety of his hiding place as the saucer crashed into the tree and tumbled to the ground.  “It didn’t catch fire but it’s completely destroyed,” he thought.

The Joq pilots ignored their crashing comrade and continued to fire at The Melá-Jutis.

Plasma bullets were hitting all around him as he reached into his pocket for another stone.  “This is the last one from my pockets.  Next I’ll use my reserves,” he thought.  The remaining stones were next to his feet where he had previously placed them.

He crouched in the crevice and readied another stone as the pilots fired wildly.  The Joqs were flying back and forth defensively as they continued to shoot as fast as their plasma guns would fire.  “I don’t see how they’re avoiding hitting each other,” he said as waited for another target.  “They’re flying like crazy, mad pilots.”

As he watched and waited, he thought, “None of them are very far away.  I can probably just pick one.”  He stood for second and looked at the saucers before hiding again.  “That one will do,” he said.  With the large stone in his mighty hand, he cocked his hulking arm.  He jumped up and looked at the Joq pilot through his glass windshield.  He fired!

The Joq pilot saw the stone as it zoomed toward him.  As he fired his guns, he jerked the controls to avoid the speeding meteor.  His ship turned as the stone bounced harmlessly off the hull.  As he turned, he shot two of his fellow comrades ships numerous times.  The ships immediately burst into flames and flew into trees before crashing to the ground.  Upon impact, the ships exploded.  A large fireball and mushroom cloud resulted from both as they burned.

“Awesome!” he said loudly as he crouched low in the pocket.  “Two ships with one stone again.  Only seven ships to go.  They’re all coming down!  I’ll teach them to mess with Sesla and The Melá-Jutis!”

He reached to the floor of the cavity and grabbed another stone.  He watched as the pilots flew the ships back and forth in a jerk-like pattern while firing.  He said, “That back and forth flying won’t help them.  With Sesla’s help, I’m having no trouble hitting a moving target.”  He drew back his hulking arm and rose up quickly.  He picked out a target and fired!

The Joq pilots all saw The Melá-Jutis as he threw another stone.  They flew clear of the stone and continued firing – all except the pilot that was the target.  The large stone sailed through the windshield and struck that pilot in the neck as he was shooting.  The heavy stone easily detached the Joq’s head from his very thin, fragile torso.  His bloody, severed head flew off and bounced around the inside of the spacecraft – leaving splattered blood wherever it rolled.  His blood splattered from the open, gushing wound in his neck.  His dying spasms caused him to jerk the controls and fire repeatedly at two other Joq ships.  He shot the two ships numerous times with his energy plasma bullets very quickly before bleeding out and dying in his seat.

The two ships burst into flames in midair and crash-landed.  The resulting explosions were immense.  The mushroom clouds rolled into the treetops.

With a beheaded and now dead pilot, the spacecraft flew into the ground and exploded upon impact.  The final four pilots continued their assault on The Melá-Jutis as the ships burned.

Maxx crouched down in the pocket as the Joq pilots flew wildly all around.  They fired violently as they flew back and forth while keeping their altitude level.  Due to their Mad fly pattern they were missing the tall stone formation with almost every shot.  The plasma bullets were hitting the marshy ground doing virtually no damage.

He reached down to pick up another stone.  “There’s only three left.  I need to take out two Joqs with one,” he said as he readied the large, metallic rock.

The four pilots were flying farther away as they fired.  Most of their bullets were missing the stone column and going into the trees.  Branches were being severed by the plasma bullets and falling to the forest floor.

With a stone in his large, powerful hand, he raised up quickly.  “I can’t miss,” he said as he drew back his massive, muscular arm.  With all his strength, he threw the large stone.  It zoomed like a self-guided missile into the windshield of the spacecraft that was flying many meters away.

The quick thinking pilot turned the craft as the small asteroid broke through the windshield.  The stone missed the pilot but struck the controls for the ship.  The pilot frantically tried to regain ships control as the craft flew into the base of the stone formation.  The ship burst into flames only a few meters below Maxx.

“That was close,” he said as he looked down and saw the ship burning with the pilot inside.  The three remaining pilots continued to fire wildly from a distance.

He knelt down and grabbed another stone as the plasma bullets continued to hit all around him.  He thought, “Those pilots are terrible shots.  Most of their bullets are missing my fortress completely.”  He paused briefly with the stone in his gigantic hand.  He jumped up quickly.  As he cocked his hulking arm, he watched for a target.  The ships were flying at an even greater distance.  When he saw the pilot through the windshield, he said, “That will have to do!”

With a mighty throw, he sent the small meteor sailing toward the pilot.  The Joq pilots were anticipating more stones.  They all quickly scattered as Maxx threw.  The stone bounced off the hull of the ship.  “Oh no!  There’s only one rock left!” he said while in a sudden panic.

He reached down and grabbed the last stone as the ships fired from a safer distance.  Their plasma bullets were hitting an even wider path.  Most were missing the target.  “They’re expecting this.  After I throw, I need to run into the dense trees.  Here goes!” he said.  He jumped up and fired at the closest pilot!

As the asteroid zoomed through the air toward the pilot, with super-speed he jumped down the stone fortress.  He jumped over the burning spacecraft and onto the marshy ground.

The pilots all swung wildly to avoid the stone and shooting each other.  When they saw The Melá-Jutis in the open, they opened fired.

Maxx speeded into the dense forest as the three Joqzonion pilots flew above the trees.  They continued to shoot wildly through the trees where they thought The Melá-Jutis might be.  Tree limbs were falling as they were severed by the energy bullets.

With magical speed, Maxx ran through and around the thick undergrowth.  The Joqs were firing a distance away into the trees from above.  “Those Joqs don’t know where I am.  I’ll use that to my advantage and take them out!” he said as he ran.

Soon, he found another stream.  Water splashed as he ran into the flowing water.  Maxx quickly found several fist-sized, heavy, very colorful stones.  He filled his pockets.  With another rock in his hand, he ran toward a tall tree as the Joq pilots continued to fire their plasma guns.  They were firing wildly around the entire area.

“Those pilots are hoping for a lucky shot,” he said as he climbed the tree.  He reached the top and hide in the thick foliage.  He thought as he watched the pilot’s fire recklessly into the trees, “They still don’t know where I am.”

He waited and watched as the remaining pilots moved back and forth at tree top level while firing at anything that moved.  Many of the bullets were fired at falling branches due to previous shots.

With a stone in his large, powerful fist, he kept hidden in the top of the giant tree and waited.  “This will be a long shot.  I hope it works,” he said as he watched.

Soon a pilot moved in his direction while shooting wildly into the trees.  The ship moved closer as the pilot maneuvered and fired.

“I may not get a better shot,” he said as he cocked his mighty arm.  He let the stonefly!

The small metallic missile zoomed toward the unsuspecting pilot.  The pilot continued to shoot into the trees as the stone broke through the windshield.  It struck him in his tiny, fragile chest.  The stone bounced off but not before crushing several ribs and causing cardiac arrest.  The pilot went into shock as he struggled for breath and consciousness.  He stopped firing and lost control of his spacecraft as he went into heart failure.

One of the pilots saw The Melá-Jutis as he threw the stone.  He zoomed toward Maxx while firing.  The third pilot followed his comrade and began firing at Maxx as well.

The dying pilot flew his ship into a small tree and crashed to the ground as the last two double teamed Maxx.  The space ship exploded and burst into flames with a small mushroom cloud.  The remaining pilots attacked The Melá-Jutis.

They fired straight at Maxx.  “Aahhh!” he yelled as the trunk of the tree just below him suffered a direct hit.  As he began to fall, with a mighty leap, he jumped into another tree.  He grabbed onto branch after branch as they broke sending him tumbling to the ground.  “Uuhhh!” he groaned as he hit the marshy ground hard.

The pilots continued to shoot their plasma energy bullets from above him.  “Move Maxx!” he shouted.  He jumped up and began to run as the energy bullets continued.  “Under those trees!  They’ll never see me in there,” he said as he ran with tremendous speed toward the dense, tall, cover.

The ships lost sight of him as he entered the thick area of the forest.  They began firing wildly again.  Limbs began to fall as the plasma bullets burned through them.

He stopped running and watched the saucers above the trees.  “I don’t want to go very far.  I need a closer throw.  This tree will work for another shot,” he said.  He began to climb.

The space ships were only a short distance away as he slowly and quietly climbed without being noticed.  “They’re watching for me.  I’ll have to be fast and smart,” he said.  He climbed and stopped before reaching the top.  “They’ll see me if I go higher.  I’ll wait here for a good throw.”

He hid in the branches and grabbed a stone from his pocket.  He thought, “The swamp green colors of my magical suit will make for the perfect cover in these trees. If I’m still they won’t see me.”

As he hid and waited, the two Joq pilots flew around the tops of the trees and continued to shoot violently into the trees.  They were hitting and detaching limb after limb as they hoped for a lucky shot.

Maxx said, “They’re closer now than before.  I better take a shot.”  He readied the stone.  As the pilots hovered and fired crazily into the trees, Maxx drew back his massive, hulking arm.  “There!” he said as he saw the pilot clearly through the windshield.  With a mighty throw, he launched the heavy, metallic stone.  It zoomed with magical accuracy straight toward the unknowing pilot as he continued firing.

Maxx watched as the pilot looked at the ground as the stone impacted his windshield.  The pilot flinched back as the glass broke and the stone struck him in the face.

“Direct hit!” said Maxx loudly and proudly as he stood on the tree limb exposing himself.

Blood splattered as the stone crushed the pilots face before bouncing into the interior of the ship.  The Joq pilot died quickly as his red blood oozed down his tiny body.  The ship flew out of control into the trees as the last pilot watched.

Upon tumbling to the ground, the spacecraft burst into flames due to the plasma weapons exploding.  The explosion was large and loud.  An enormous mushroom cloud rose above the ship as it burned.

“Wow!  That was a big explosion!”  Maxx said triumphantly as he watched from the top of the trees.  “Can I ever throw a stone?  Who would believe I took out so many ships with rocks?”

The remaining pilot saw The Melá-Jutis   as he gloated with animation.  He speeded toward Maxx as he open fired.  The Joq pilot attempted to ram The Melá-Jutis while shooting.

“Aahhh!” yelled Maxx as the zooming saucer came straight for him.  “Jump!” he yelled as he leaped from the branch and clung to the side of the Joqzonion space ship.  The weight of Maxx’s enormous, hulking body was more than the spacecraft could manage.  With Maxx hanging on, the ship spiraled rapidly downward.  It spun out of control and flew through the trees toward the marshy ground.

Just before impact, Maxx released his grip and dropped to the ground.  He looked up as the ship was plummeting straight for him.  “Move!” he yelled.  He rolled quickly as the space craft landed only feet away while spinning.  The pilot immediately tried to go airborne again as he grinned at Maxx through the windshield.

“Oh no you don’t!”  Maxx said loudly as he quickly pulled the last stone from his pocket.  With super-speed, he threw the stone at the pilot.  The stone crashed through the windshield and struck the pilot in the chest.  As the pilot gasped for breath, Maxx launched at the spacecraft.  He pulled the Joq out through the large hole in the windshield.  He threw the pilot against a close tree.  “Crack!”  The Joq’s fragile bones cracked upon impact.

Maxx fell back down on his posterior as he sighed deeply.  He said, “That’s the last of them.  I hope I never have to do that again.”  He sat and looked around the dense forest as he said, “Those ships are scattered everywhere.  They’ll be of no use to the Joqs.  I need to disable this one before I go back.”

He slowly stood and began looking for something to use to take the ship out of commission.  “That will work,” he said as he walked toward a large branch that was severed by the Joq’s plasma bullets.  He picked up the club-like tree limb and walked back to the spacecraft.  Using the tree branch like a club, he began to pound on the ship angrily and without mercy.

A few powerful hits and the top were crushed.  Maxx continued to pound with a fury.  Before long, the interior of the spacecraft was completely destroyed.  “Those plasma bullets did some good after all.  They provided this club,” he said in his rage.  He left the tree branch lying in the destroyed ship.

“It’s time to find the Phoenix.  It shouldn’t be too far away.  I hope it didn’t get shot,” he said as he walked away.  He began to trot as he made his way through the wet lands forest.  He jumped over tree after tree and around bushes and thickets.

He ran through another active stream as the water splashed.  “I’m glad I don’t need more stones.  That was enough fighting for one trip.  I’m exhausted.  I need sleep,” he said as he jogged under the dense trees of the forest.

Maxx trotted into another stream.  Water splashed as he ran out the other bank.  He continued to jog in the direction of where he hid the Phoenix.  As he ran, he felt movement ahead.  He stopped.  “Who would be out here in the marshland?” he asked.

He paused to use his magical sea doxer sonar to feel for more vibrations.  As he stood, gunshots rang out.  Bullets zoomed past him.  “It’s those same Joqs!”  With blazing speed, he ran as the gunfire continued.

While speeding through the forest, the gunfire continued.  Bullets zoomed through the trees.  Suddenly, as he ran, he saw a Joqzonion running with an automatic rifle.  “There’s a Joq!” he said as he ran.  “I going to take him out!”  Maxx rocketed around trees and hurtled  bushes as he quickly closed in on the fleeing Joq.

The alien tried to quickly load his gun and get a clear shot as Maxx approached.  As the invader tried to load his weapon, Maxx leaped over a large bush and landed in front of the terrified Joqzonion.  With a mighty kick, Maxx sent the Joq flying into a tree.  “Uuhhh!” groaned the Joq as the kick was delivered.  Maxx closed in.  With a mighty punch, he sent the Joq tumbling into a thicket with a broken neck.  The alien tumbled to the ground.  Its head lay still attached but sideways from the torso.

“That takes care of one.  I know there’s more,” he said as he looked around and felt for vibrations.  Another gunshot sounded.  He heard the bullet as it zoomed past.  “Those Joqs are lousy shots.”  He ran with super-speed in the direction of the sound.

As he ran, he saw a Joq running behind a tree.  “There he is!” he said as he pursued the gunshot.  The Joq tried to hide behind a tree and shoot The Melá-Jutis.

Maxx twisted and turned as he rocketed through the forest while closing in on the panicking alien.  Before the Joq could fire, he leaped and grabbedthe rifle.  Maxx yanked it out of the weak hands of the invader and broke it on the tree.  “Aahhh!” screamed the Joq with terror as Maxx delivered a deathblow with his mighty fist to the side of the alien’s face.

The alien tumbled to the forest floor with a broken jaw and neck.  Blood oozed from his mouth, as he lay dead.

“That can’t be all of them,” he said as he felt for more vibrations.  “I feel movement!  There’s one more.”  With tremendous speed, he raced through the forest.  In seconds, he closed in on the fleeing alien.  He said, “There he is!”

As the Joq ran around a large tree, Maxx met him face to face.  “Aahhh!” the Joq screamed as Maxx grinned.  He quickly delivered a mighty punch to the Joq’s head that nearly severed his cranium.  The dead alien tumbled to the ground with his head flopping.  Blood oozed from the aliens mouth, as he lay dead on the forest floor.

Maxx quickly felt for more vibrations.  “I don’t feel anything.  Hopefully that was all of them,” he said.  He began trotting in the direction of the Phoenix.

As he ran, the exhaustion began to grab him again.  He started to yawn as he trotted.  “I have to stay awake.  I have a long way to go before I’m back in Bedsult,” he said as he jogged.

He trotted around trees and over logs as he searched for his jeep.  He continued to yawn as he ran.  “There’s a stream.  I think my jeep’s just ahead,” he said as he ran.  Water splashed as he jogged through the live stream and onto the other side.

Before long as he ran, he saw the outline of the Phoenix in the thicket.  “There it is.  I hope those Joqs didn’t shoot it,” he said as he hurried toward the thick, green, under-brush.

He fought his way through the vines and brush to his jeep.  He flew into a rage when he saw the multitude of bullet holes in the sides.  “Those Joqs shot more holes in my jeep!”  He fumed.  “I hope it runs,” he said as he moved under-brush and vines while climbing in. “I think I left the key in the ignition,” he said.

Maxx reached for the key and turned it.  “Rrrmmm!...Rrmm!...Rrrmmm!”  The motor started immediately.  He spun the tires.  As mud flew, he backed the jeep out of the mass of clingy under-brush.  He jumped out to check the damage.  He gritted his teeth as he continued to rage.  “Those Joqs shot the Phoenix full of holes!” he said loudly as his anger raged.  “At least it still runs.”

Maxx jumped back in and put the jeep in forward.  He gunned the motor.  “Arm!” Mud and leaves flew as he drove back along his previous tracks.

He hurried through the forest as he started to yawn.  “That two-track shouldn’t be too far ahead,” he said.  He continued to drive around trees and large bushes while driving over limbs and small brush as he made his way through the wet lands forest.

He drove into a stream.  Water splashed as he drove through it and out the other side.  He drove over a group of small bushes with vines and around numerous fallen trees.

Soon, as he continued to follow his previous tracks, he arrived at the two-track.  “There’s the swamp road,” he said as he accelerated.  He drove up the small embankment on the side of the road and went airborne.  He landed on the small two-track swamp road and spun the tries.  Mud flew as he drove toward the wet lands village.

Due to the rain, the swampy two-track was even muddier as he speeded toward the small town.  The Phoenix slung a lot of mud as he continued along the muddy swamp road.

After driving a few miles on the muddy, swampy two-track, the road began to improve.  “I’m almost there,” he said as the foliage began to give way to civilization.

The road continued to improve as he drove closer to the village.

He drove around a long bend.  When the road straightened, there was his trailer.  He said gladly, “There’s my trailer.”  He drove closer.  “And there’s the town.”

Maxx drove the Phoenix around to the trailer hookup.  He jumped out and walked to the front of the trailer.  “I don’t see any more damage.  Let’s get you hooked up,” he said to his plasma shot and burned convertible and trailer.

He grabbed the trailer and pulled it to the rear of the Phoenix.  After putting the connection in place, he locked it.  “That’ll do.  Let’s go home,” he said exhaustedly.

Chapter Ten
Sesla’s sun was dropping in the early evening sky as Maxx crawled while exhausted into the Phoenix.  “I need my rock music to keep awake,” he said as he turned on the radio.  Rock music from Radio Wet Lands began to play.

He drove toward the village road in rural Guytic City while pulling the damaged trailer with his destroyed convertible.  He turned and drove in front of Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods.  He thought, “It’s closed.  The parking lot’s a mess.  The fire Mustler and his gang started inside must have gotten out of control.  One day I’m going to catch the Gang of Five and put an end to their onslaught of terror.  For now, I’m going home and get some sleep.”

Maxx drove along the rural village roads toward downtown Guytic City as he listens to the rock music.  Sesla’s sun was sitting in the evening sky as he drove.  The sun reminded him of how long he’d been awake.  “I’ve been awake for over thirty six hours.  I still have at least twelve hours to drive— maybe longer depending on traffic,” he said as he yawned again.  “I better turn the music up louder.  I’m falling asleep.”  He reached down and turned the volume higher.

Motorists were gawking at him as he drove along the streets of the rural village with the loud rock music.  He said depressingly as he yawned, “I must be a ridiculous sight.  I’m still wearing my super-hero suit.  My jeep is full of bullet holes.  I’m pulling a damaged trailer with a burned and shot convertible on top.  It’s no wonder drivers are staring at me.”

Maxx drove closer to downtown Guytic City.  Traffic continued to increase as he drove into the giant megalopolis of the wet lands.  “The fastest way to the desert highway from here is to drive through the downtown area.  This is embarrassing driving in traffic.  All of these nice vehicles and I’m driving a shot jeep and trailer,” he said as he drove while fighting sleep.

He drove closer to the downtown area as he bobbed his head and tapped his hand to the beat as he attempted to stay awake.  Big high-rise buildings began to appear.  He drove over another giant bridge over another waterway.  “The architecture in Guytic City is magnificent!” he said loudly as he drove into the downtown area.

Maxx gazed at the futuristic, glass buildings with their extravagant designs as he drove.  “It’s always a pleasure to drive in downtown Guytic City.  This city is simply beautiful,” he said as he gazed and drove.

He drove over several different bridges as he continued through the downtown while Jamming.  Some were suspension, while others were columned of different types – still others floated.

He drove into the heart of the downtown area.  As Radio Wet Lands played on his radio, he gazed upward.  “These skyscrapers seem to reach almost to outer-space.  Whoever designed them was beyond brilliant,” he said as he drove.

“I feel so tiny,” he said as he gawked.  “The glass work on these high-rise buildings is magnificent!” he declared as he drove.

Maxx began to drive toward the other side of the giant city.  “The spectacular futuristic buildings seem to stretch to the sky,” he said as he drove and looked.  “This entire city is built on wet lands.  It’s amazing!”  He continued to yawn as he drove and gawked.

“The desert highway is just ahead.  I’m anxious to get back to the desert and back home,” he said.  Before long as he drove, the desert highway exit came into view.  “There it is.  That’s what I’ve been looking for.”

He continued toward the on-ramp.  He slowed and turned.  As he merged, he said, “There’s a lot of traffic.  At least it’s moving fast.”  He accelerated to sub highway speed and stayed in the slow lane.

“I should be home in ten hours.  I can’t wait,” he said as he continued to listen to the rock music.  He bobbed his head and tapped his hand as he drove to stay awake.

Sesla’s sun was below the horizon and the night was fast approaching.  Maxx drove away from metropolis Guytic City on the desert highway toward Kinkorx.  Exhaustion was beginning to overpower him again as the twilight appeared.  His eyes were playing tricks.

He gazed into the young, night sky and briefly saw streaks of light.  “What!  More Joqs!”  he said with alarm.  He shook his head as the lights disappeared.  “It’s only my mind playing tricks on me,” he said as he drove.  “That’s understandable.  I’ve been awake for over thirty-eight hours.  I’m doing really good just to stay awake.”

Maxx continued along the desert highway.  He was driving out of rural Guytic City and into the marshlands.  He gazed into the forest.  “Out there’s where I fought the Joqs on that side road.  I’ll never forget that,” he said as he drove.  “There are a lot of destroyed Joq space ships in those woods.  They’ll never fly again.  I made sure of that.”

Maxx continued he said, “I’ll be glad when the air gets warmer.  Now that the sun’s gone down it’s cold.”

Maxx drove past the area where he fought the Joqs in the marsh.  His mind began playing tricks on him again.  He started seeing flashing lights in the night sky as he drove.  “What was that?” he asked with alarm.  He shook his head.  The lights went away again.  “Just my mind playing tricks again,” he said loudly.

“I better turn the radio up.  I still have a long way to go.  I need to stay awake,” he said.  He reached down and turned the volume loud.  The Rock music blared as he drove.

Soon, Maxx was driving out of the wet lands.  The vegetation was quickly disappearing with dry terrain taking its place.  The moon was rising higher into the night sky.

He bobbed his head and blinked his eyes hard to try to stay awake.  He yawned repeatedly as he drove.  “I’ve got to stay awake!” he said loudly as he drove.  “Don’t think about how tired you are,” he ordered as he drove farther into the desert.

“The border is just ahead.  It’ll be nice to be in Xcuymir again.  The flowers will smell lovely.  I’m Not Tired!”  he said loudly.

Before long as he drove, he saw the sign, “You are leaving Inglot Territory.”  He smiled as he drove.  “That’s awesome!” he said loudly.  “I’ll be in Xcuymir soon.”

In only minutes, he saw the next sign.  “Welcome to Xcuymir Territory.”

“I need to stay awake while I drove across the desert.  I can do this!” he said strongly as he yawned.  “I’ll be home before sun rise.”

Radio Wet Lands started to become filled with static.  “I’m driving out of their range.  It’s time for Kinkorx Rocks,” he said.  He switched the radio station.  The clear rock music from Kinkorx began to play.  “That’s better,” he said.  He bobbed his head to the music as he drove.

He drove into the vast open desert while enjoying the aromatic fragrances of the flowering desert blooms.  “There’s nothing like the smell of the desert flowers in full bloom,” he said loudly as he yawned.

Maxx gazed into the night desert sky as he drove.  He said loudly, “The night sky in the desert is spectacular!  I remember looking at the colorful red and yellow gaseous clouds and stars as a child.  I wanted to be an astronomer.”  He laughed.  “Now I’m The Melá-Jutis and an independent detective— who would have thought?”

Maxx continued to drive through the open desert while listening to the loud Rock music and gazing into the beautiful night Sesla sky.  He fought the need for sleep as he tried to stay awake.

He drove under the spectacular Sesla night sky and talked loudly to keep awake as he drove, “I remember as a child in our back yard.  I used my telescope and star-guide to look at the stars.  I spent hours identifying the planets in our solar system as well as in other systems.  I loved astronomy so much.  I wanted to be an astronomer.”

Maxx continued through the vast open desert as he reminisced while talking as the rock music blared, “My parents purchased a really powerful telescope and nice star-guide to help me with my 6th grade science project in Mrs. HyLubb’s class.  It helped me a little too much.  Even though Mrs. HyLubb said my report was poor, I fell in love with the stars.  After that, I wanted to be an astronomer.

I didn’t understand at that time, my parents wanted me to be a detective—like my father, I didn’t want to be a detective.  I wanted to be an astronomer or a painter.

I remember Mrs. Watersmyth, my 10th grade art teacher.  She had her annual art fair at Kinkorx High.  She asked me to enter one of my landscape paintings into the contest.  I should have won a ribbon.  My paintings are good.  My mom told her not to give me a ribbon.  She said a ribbon would simply distract me from their goal.  They wanted me to follow my dad’s example and be a detective.  They got their wish.  I went to college and became a detective.  I was even the valedictorian of my class.

I know I didn’t fit in as a detective at Xcuymir Sheriff Department.  I still don’t think I should have been forced to resign – But I was!

After that, I mistakenly got involved with the sand trafficking case.  I was blamed for Chief Morxoc’s unsuccessful stakeout.  The reporters and media put me through the ringer.  I couldn’t get a case for a long time after all the bad press.

I still remember when Estra Kin contacted me to find her brother.  Everyone told her she was crazy for hiring me.  That case was going no-where until Art called me.

When I first met him at the library, I had no idea how talented he was.  He’s a Pirtt-Coterie after all – the lowlife clan of Sesla.  I had absolutely no confidence when I sent him on that undercover operation at The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown.  He uncovered information that helped us solve one of the biggest cases in Xcuymir history.  His brilliant disguises allowed us to get close enough to video record that sand transfer.  That video broke the case wide open.”

Maxx continued to drive under the colorful desert night sky while talking loudly to stay awake, “My career as a detective wasn’t going very well until I met Art.  When he joined my detective agency, we broke that crime spree.  My reputation quickly improved and business boomed.

After that, I started getting cases again.  I still remember going to Qashlet lab and getting proof that Leqtus Kin was there.  That lab was the creepiest place I’d ever seen.  It was Art’s brilliant plan that got us in and back out of there undetected.

It wasn’t very long after that, Estra’s parents hired us to rescue Dr. Kin and bring him back.  We arrived at that spider-infested hotel just in time.  We saved Leqtus Kin from Dr. Rewqust and those bloodthirsty spiders.  That place was creepy.”

Maxx continued across the open desert while driving the bullet-hole damaged Phoenix as he pulled his destroyed convertible on the damaged trailer.  He was still wearing his magical Melá-Jutis suit as he drove and talked loudly.  The Rock music was turned up loud to keep him awake as he drove.

“I’ll never forget when Art first told me about his parents in Dunjyn Asylum.  The story broke my heart.  I can’t imagine what he and his parents went through.  They were doxer fever mutants.  That asylum sounded horrific.  How tragic.  When I heard, I had to do something.

That trip to the wet lands to find the magical flower for Dr. Kin’s doxer fever reversing drug was crazy.  I met all those enchanted animals.  They could talk and read newspapers.  I sure outsmarted Russell Talon.  I never knew what happened to that enchanted hawk.  Now I have the magical swamp stick in my living room as a reminder of that magical area.  It’s hard to believe the stick talks to me—but it does!  In a girl’s voice.

I was terrified when I drove to Qashlet lab and tested the reversing drug.  I almost became a doxer fever mutant or died.  When I awoke on that cold lab table, everything was different.  I still remember the first time I felt vibrations.  It hurt.  It has taken some time for me to get used to these magical powers.  Sesla enchanted me with many powers when I was lying unconscious on that cold table in Qashlet lab.  When I was cataleptic, the old Maxx Zeqster died and a new Maxx Zeqster emerged – a Maxx Zeqster with incredible powers – thanks to Sesla!

I’m so thankful the reversing drug worked.  That magical flower was the secret ingredient that made Dr. Kin’s formula work.  After receiving the drug, Art’s parents began improving almost immediately.  Their doxer fever mutations actually reversed and went away.  Now they look normal.  I bought Art that nice home in Wyluxx City.  They really like it.  According to Art his parents argue a lot.”

Maxx’s exhaustion was consuming him as he entered the outer limits of Kinkorx.  He was weaving as he drove while fighting the overpowering need to sleep—with loud Rock music and loud talking.

“My magical swamp stick was right.  No one else could fight the Joqs.  They’re too powerful and there’s too many of them.  I can’t believe I killed so many and destroyed so many of their ships with rocks.  I never used to be this hulking or athletic.  There’s no way before dying on that table and being reborn that I could have fought the Joqs and defeated them.  The gifts from Sesla are amazing.

I hope before long I catch up with Mustler and the Gang of Five.  That mutant group is so smart they always get away.  I’m left to fight the Joqs who remain.”

It was late in the night as Maxx drove the bullet-hole covered Phoenix, while pulling the damaged trailer with his destroyed convertible, into Kinkorx.  His loud Rock music continued to blast as he talked to stay awake.  “I’m almost home!” he said loudly as he fought the over-powering need to sleep.  He was weaving in the lane as he drove.

“There’s The Mesnuk Stadium Downtown,” he said loudly as he passed by on the highway.  “I’ll call Art in a few days and see what he discovered from the Horned Hares game films.  Hopefully he’ll find a pattern to Zith Fleen’s killings,” Maxx said loudly as he drove past the downtown area and weaved as he fought to stay awake.

He shook his head as he drove to clear his vision and stop weaving.  “I can’t wait to tell Art about this mission.  I can’t believe I killed Joqs and destroyed saucers with rocks,” he said very loudly as he drove and tried to stay awake.

“My exit’s just ahead.  Almost there!” he said loudly as he shook his head and listened to the loud Rock music.

As he drove, he slowed and took the exit to Bedsult.  Maxx was past exhausted as he drove through the Red light at the intersection and continued toward his neighborhood.  “The sun will be rising before long.  Sure hope I don’t see it,” he said loudly as he drove while weaving back and forth into his neighborhood.

Sleep was almost overpowering him as he drove through Bedsult toward his home.  He was weaving and practically sleeping as he drove down the middle of the road.

Maxx’s head was bobbing as he began to fade.  “What!” he said as he regained awareness and turned on Lypont Drive.  “Just a little more!” he said loudly as he fought the overwhelming need for sleep.

His eyes were blurred and he was barely awake as he drove in front of his home.  He drove into his driveway and parked.  He shook his head to refocus.  “I made it!” he said groggily.

He crawled out of the Phoenix.  “I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said as he woozily walked up his stairs and onto his porch.  Maxx grabbed his hidden key and unlocked the front door.  After swinging it open, he stumbled inside.

As he trudged, he said sleepily with slurred words, “I’ve been awake for fifty hours.”

While wearing his magical Melá-Jutis suit, he stumbled into his bedroom and collapsed onto the bed – asleep.

Chapter Eleven

Fourteen Hours Later

Sesla’s sun was dropping in the evening sky as Maxx’s sheer, bedroom curtains waved steadily with the warm desert wind.  Maxx’s bedroom was beginning to dim as twilight neared.  As the warm breeze blew on his face, he began to stir.

“Uuuhhh.”  Maxx groaned as he awoke while lying in his bed.  He opened his red, tired eyes.  “What time is it?” he moaned.

With blurry, out of focus eyes, he glanced at the clock on his bed stand.  “What?” he groaned.  “Either I only slept for two hours or I slept all day,” he said exhaustingly with bewilderment.

He slowly crawled out of bed and gazed into his large mirror.  “I’m still wearing my magical suit.  Odd.  There’s not a scratch on it,” he mumbles as he stands before full-length mirror.

He trudged into the living room and looked at his extravagant wall clock.  “That clock reads 7:00pm as well,” he mumbled as he stood wobbly in the living room.

As he stood briefly while staring at the clock, he felt a warm breeze on his alluring face.  He turned.  “What,” he said with surprise.  “The front door is open.”

In his mental fog, he tried to remember when he arrived home.  He said, “I don’t remember closing the door.”  He trudged around the interior briefly and examined his home.  “Nothing’s out of place.  I didn’t get another visit from the Kinkorx Police while I was sleeping – I’ll never forget that day,” he mumbled as he walked to the door.

He stepped through the open door and glazed at Sesla’s sun.  “The sun is already setting in the evening sky.  I slept all day,” he mumbled.

While feeling complete exhaustion, he looked toward his driveway.  His exhaustion was immediately accompanied by sorrow.  He gazed at his plasma bullet hole filled and burned convertible still resting on the damaged trailer.  His grief was overpowering as he stared.  “My beautiful convertible is destroyed.  The Phoenix was shot full of machine gun bullet holes by those Joqs on the ground.  I made them all pay!” he said as his exhaustion-grief quickly turned to a tired- rage.  “They’re all dead!  I burned their ships!”

He paused briefly as his anger overpowered the exhaustion.  As he stood briefly and fumed, he saw the paper-box full of newspapers.  He said, “I’ll get those later.”

He stepped inside and closed the door.  “I’ll need to call Reyd Pasmir at ByFuuton Auto Sales – later!”  he said.

Maxx trudged back to the living room.  The over-whelming tired was crippling as he faced his friend the Melá-Jutis swamp stick.  His body craved sleep as he groaned and mumbled, “I wonder if Sesla is aware of the battles I fought in the desert and the wet lands?”

He stood briefly while facing the swamp stick in the corner.  Sleep began to overtake him again.  He heard a girl’s voice.  “Sesla was with you the entire time,” the Melá-Jutis stick replied in the usual girl’s voice.  “The stones you threw were enchanted.  Sesla gave you strength and guided them.  She is responsible for their success.  With her help, you killed almost all of the Joqzonions.  You destroyed all of the space ships.  With the enchanted suit, she protected you from hunger, pain, and thirst.  She gave you even more strength.  You are indeed pure of heart.  No one else would have put their life on the line for their homeland.  Sesla wishes to thank you.”

The Melá-Jutis stick paused.  Maxx stood gazing as he tried to absorb what his friend was telling him.  “Sesla wishes for you to know, there will be other battles.  More invaders will come.  Stones and Sesla’s other enchanted natural researches will be your most effective weapons.  Together you and Sesla can defeat the invaders when more arrive.”

Maxx was bewildered and shocked.  “I was going to use a bazooka and rocket launchers next time,” he said.  “Sesla wants me to use rocks again and hang on the side of space ships?  That’s crazy!”

He looked at the swamp stick briefly.  “I guess that’s it.  The stick is silent again,” he said.  “I need to clean up and go back to bed.  I’ll feel more like dealing with everything tomorrow.”

He struggled to his washroom.  Upon entering it, he closed the door.  “I’m glad I keep an extra strolling suit in here.  At times like this, it comes in very handy,” he said as he prepared to wash.  “Melá-Jutis,” he said tiredly.

The magical suit disappeared.  He began to bathe…

Minutes Later
Maxx walked out of the lavatory while wearing a very comfortable strolling suit.  “Suddenly I’m starved and thirsty,” he said as he walked to the kitchen.  He winced from the pain as he grabbed a bottle of water and a quick snack from the fridge.

While carrying his beverage and food, he slowly hobbled to the bedroom.  “I’m aching all over.  I didn’t notice the pain before I went into the washroom,” he said as he sat down on his bed and yawned.

“I’m really sore,” he said.  Maxx opened his strolling suit and quickly examined his hulking upper-body.  “I have a lot of bruises.  That’s funny.  I wasn’t in any pain until I came out of the washroom.  I guess the magical suit really did protect me from pain and bruises.  Now – I have both,” he said as he recoiled from pain.

Maxx began to eat.  “Now that I think about it, I haven’t eaten anything since I left.  The suit somehow protected me from the need for food and water.  That is a very magical suit,” he said as he continued to eat while aching.

He glanced at his clock.  “It’s 8:00 o’clock.  I’m very tired.  I need more sleep,” he said.

Maxx finished his quick meal.  He spread out on the soft bed.  Immediately – he was asleep.

Twelve Hours Later
Sesla’s morning sun was rising in the sky.  The warm desert wind was blowing in Maxx’s bedroom window as the sunshine peered through.  As the bright sunlight shined on his attractive face, he awoke.  When he saw the sunshine he asked, “How long have I been asleep?”

He glanced at his clock.  “How lovely, it’s 8:00am,” he said as he stretched.  He winced from the pain.  “I’m really sore.”  He opened his strolling suit.  “I have a lot of bruises,” he said as he chuckled painfully.  “That was some adventure.  I hope I don’t have to do that again—a least for a while.”

Maxx slowly crawled out of bed as he winced from the pain and groaned.  “I need a snack.  Then I think a lovely stroll will make me feel better,” he said as he hobbled slightly.

He slowly walked to the kitchen.  “A cup of tea would be simply delicious.  A cup of tea and a small snack.  Then I’ll go for a morning stroll,” he said as he flinched with pain.

As he winced and groaned, he prepared the tea and a bit of food.  “There are several newspapers in my box.  I’ll grab them while my tea is warming,” he thought.

He struggled to his front door while wincing and groaning.

Maxx opened his welcoming door and walked onto the porch.  His spirits crumbled as he saw his bullet hole filled and burned convertible along with his bullet hole covered jeep.  He flew into a rage as he saw the devastation.  “I’ll kill those Joqs wherever they’re hiding.  I am The Melá-Jutis.  I’ll keep making them pay!” he declared angrily.

He grabbed the group of newspapers that were stuffed into his paper box.  He gazed again with anger at his damaged vehicles before walking back inside.

After closing the door, with his anger still smoldering, he walked back to the kitchen.  “My tea should be ready,” he thought as he placed the collection of newspapers on the kitchen counter.  As his anger still raged a bit, he grabbed the tea and took a sip.  “Delightful.”

He began eating his breakfast and sipping tea as he briefly examined the front page of the newspapers.  “I don’t see anything exciting.  It’s time for a lovely morning stroll,” he declared.

“I’ll call Art and ByFuuton Auto tomorrow.  I need today to recover,” he said.  “Before I go for a stroll, I need a fresh suit.”

He left the snack remains and newspapers lying on the counter and walked to his bedroom.  He opened the dresser drawer and grabbed another of his numerous extravagant strolling suits.  “This one will do nicely,” he said.  He winced from the pain as he slowly changed.

After several minutes, he had on a fresh strolling suit.  “Now it’s time to go.”

Maxx winced as he walked to the door.  He opened his extravagant front door and walked outside.  “The sun is warm and bright.  It’ll make me feel better,” he said as he walked.

After walking across the porch and down the steps, he began strolling toward Lypont Drive while ignoring his damaged vehicles.  He was casting a large shadow as Sesla’s morning sun shone brilliantly in the sky.

“I’ll definitely call Art and ByFuuton tomorrow.  Today I’m going to relax and recover from my trip,” he said as he walked onto Lypont Drive.

He was strolling with a slight limp as he headed down the street.  “I’m still tired and sore but I feel a lot better than I did yesterday,” he said as he sauntered.

As he ambled, he began to reminisce about his trip.  “There was a lot of Joqs hiding in the wet lands.  I’ve read newspaper articles about the numerous sightings recently.  It seems the reports were accurate.  I don’t know how many Joqs I killed or how many of their ships I destroyed.  I know it was a lot,” he thought as he walked.

He laughed as he strolled.  “I can’t believe those rocks were enchanted.  It makes perfect sense.  I could never throw a stone that hard or that true.  Without Sesla’s help, I would have been killed,” he thought as he walked.

“I miss this sunshine when I travel to the wet lands,” he thought as he ambled.  “The weather there is always cold and rainy.  I was cold when I drove the Phoenix in the rain toward Kvyutt.”

He continued to saunter along the streets of Bedsult.  “I hope it’s a long time before I have to fight the Joqs again.  Hanging from flying saucers and climbing trees to throw rocks is not fun.  I was really lucky I didn’t get shot by one of those plasma guns.”

Sesla’s morning sun was rising higher in the shy as he strolled.  “Someday I’m going to catch the Gang of Five before they escape.  I want to put an end to their terror.  Every time I get close to Mustler and his gang, they escape.  One day, with a little help from Sesla, I’ll get them!”  He said angrily as he walked.

“This stroll is making me feel better,” he said as he gazed into the beautiful clear sunny sky while walking.  “The warm sun is calming my pains.”

Before long, as he strolled in Sesla’s warm comforting sun, while reminiscing about his trip, he walked past the Bedsult school.  “Hi Detective Zeqster,” a schoolchild said loudly while playing in the schoolyard.

Maxx was lost in his thoughts when the child’s voice drew him instantly back to reality.  He was startled as he looked up.  He smiled when he saw the schoolchild waving.

He smiled.  “Pleasant morning,” he replied as he waved and sauntered past.

Another child yelled, “Hi Detective Zeqster.  My dad really likes you.  My mom thinks you’re handsome.”

Maxx chuckled as he waved at the child while ambling past.  “Have a pleasant day,” he gestured.  He continued to remember his adventure as he strolled.

“I wonder if there’s been anything in the news about the Joq ships I burned.  I’ll skim through my newspapers and watch the news when I get back.  I wonder if the local media in the wet lands covered the story,” he thought as he walked.

“Beep!” sounded a car horn.  Dr. Kipzer Uignix blew his car horn as he slowly drove by.

“Pleasant morning,” Maxx said loudly as the Kinkorx Zwerqus Hospital doctor drove by.  “He must have had a late night emergency surgery.  He’s going to work unusually late this morning.  I hear he’s an excellent surgeon.  Zwerqus is lucky to have a doctor with his talents.  I like his daughter.  She’s an excellent librarian.”

Maxx continued to stroll through the neighborhood as Sesla’s warm sun eased his pain.

Soon, as he ambled, a horned hare hopped speedily across the street in front of him.  Maxx paused briefly and stared as the large desert rabbit hurried across the road and into a vacant lot.  “Wow,” he said as he paused to watch the desert rabbit.  “That’s a huge hare.  What a splendid set of antlers.  I haven’t seen a horned hare in Bedsult in years.  The last one was just after I lost my detective job at the Xcuymir Sheriff Department.  I remember strolling depressed and seeing one.  I’ve read numerous times – their beautiful antlers are due to the abundant supply of natural Keratin in the desert plant life.”

Maxx stared and made a mental picture of the hare.  “I’m going to add that rabbit to my painting,” he thought as he gazed and memorized.

After the large horned hare disappeared into the vegetation, Maxx continued with his stroll.  “With the large quantity of desert horned hares in this area, its little wonder the Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk team adopted them as their mascot,” he said as he walked.

Sesla’s warm sun was steadily rising in the late morning sky as he sauntered.

Maxx walked along the street and approached Grigg Bassner’s un-kept home.  “It’s surprising Mr. Bassner isn’t sitting in his hanging, hickory, front porch, loveseat,” Maxx said as he strolled in front of the untidy home and yard.  “He always lets his home and yard remain rundown.  I’ve never understand how he can live in a cracked stucco home with peeling paint.  His weed-infested yard always looks awful.  I’d be embarrassed.”

He continued to amble as fatigue began to start.  “I’m feeling a little tired again.  It’s time to head toward home,” he said.  He walked and turned onto Lypont Drive.

As he sauntered toward his home, his fatigue increased.  “I feel like I’ve had enough strolling,” he said as he approached his home.  He glanced at his car, trailer, and jeep.  “They look just awful.  I’m too tired today.  I’ll call Reyd Pasmir at ByFuuton Auto tomorrow and get a replacement.  Reyd can have his mechanics drive them back to his dealership.  Maybe the Phoenix and trailer are repairable.  My convertible is headed for the scrapyard.”

Sesla’s late morning sun was casting less of a shadow from his massive frame as he trudged up his walkway.  “I’m defiantly feeling lethargic.  I need another day to recover,” he said.  He glanced at his damaged vehicles again briefly as he struggled up the short steps and onto his porch.  “I still can’t believe it.  I made them all pay,” he said as he entered his home.

He walked to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of contained water from the fridge.  He opened the bottle and took a big drink.  “That’s refreshing,” he said.  Maxx glanced at the pile of newspapers on the counter.  “Before I catch up on the news, I’m going to paint for a while.”

While carrying his partial bottle of water, he tossed the empty snack container that he previously left on the counter into the trash.  He walked to the dining room.  He smiled at his friend the Melá-Jutis swamp stick before picking up the easel with painting.  “This will be interesting,” he said as he picked up the painting tools in the same hand as his water.

With both hands full of painting supplies and water, he walked to the back door.

“I’m starting to feel better.  That was definitely enough strolling for today,” he said as he backed out of his back door and onto the small porch while carrying the supplies.  He slowly stepped down the steps.  He winced from the pain as he trudged down.

Maxx looked into the sky as he slowly walked toward his Red Ploss tree in his back yard while carrying his landscape painting with tools and water.  “I really like living in the desert,” he said.  He carefully placed the easel with painting next to the base of his ornamental tree.  He sat the tools in the easel tray.

He took another big drink of his water leaving the bottle almost empty.  “Sesla’s sun is warm and brilliant.  The wind is pleasant and fresh.  I could never live in the wet lands.”

Maxx placed his nearly empty water bottle on the porch and opened the paints.  He picked up the brush and continued to work on his landscape painting.  As Sesla’s sun was at the zenith of the sky, he continued to add more detail to his desert landscape.

“I’m anxious to hear what Art learned from the horned hares game films.  If Art’s theory is correct and Zith Fleen is a serial killer, there may be a pattern to his killing,” he thought as he added more thick color to the stones in the background.

Maxx thought as he added more definition to the flowers in the front of the scenery, “If we can understand Zith Fleen.  Maybe we can anticipate his next move.”

“We should be able to catch him before he kills anyone else,” he thought as he painted more clouds into the sky of the painting.

Maxx thought confidently as he continued to add to the sky, “When we find Zith Fleen, I hope his wolf is with him.  It should only take The Melá-Jutis a few seconds to insure that grey wolf doesn’t kill anyone else.”

“Oh yes.  I just remembered.  I wanted to paint the large desert hare that I saw on my stroll,” he said as he began adding the initial markings of the large rabbit and the antlers.

Maxx thought as he added more lines, “That was a large hare with spectacular antlers.” He continued to add the beginning marks and lines for the desert rabbit and its antlers.  “I promised Jeqrix Grexenn when he hired us that we would work with Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police,” he thought.  He chuckled while painting.  “Chief Pomur won’t be happy about that.  I told Jeqrix—local authorities don’t like private detectives.  They especially dislike the Zeqster-Nekuma Detective Agency.  We have a way of making local law enforcement look incompetent.”

“That’s enough for now,” he thought as he worked on the rabbit.  “I’ll add more paint after this dries.  A little more on the rest of this painting and I’ll let this set for another day.”

Maxx continued to add paint to the flowers.  “After this, I’m going to catch up on the news.  I wonder if any of the wet lands reporters covered the burning saucers?”

He added the last touches to the sky as he thought, “I’ll skim through my newspapers and see what articles are from The Wet Lands News and The Kvyutt Travelers News.”

“After the stone formations, I’ll stop for today,” he thought as he added the final brush marks.  “While I skim my papers, I’ll watch Kinkorx TV news.”

After several more minutes of adding brush marks, he stopped painting and stepped back.  He quickly examined his work.  Maxx smiled as he said proudly, “That looks good.  I’ll let it set for now.  It’s time to clean my brushes and catch up on the news.”

Maxx closed his paints and put them away.  “I need water,” he thought.  “Where’s my paint can?  I think I left it inside,” he said as he began to walk inside.

He opened the door.  “There it is.”  He walked inside and grabbed the paint-cleaning can off his shelf.  “I need water,” he said as he walked to the kitchen with his cleaning can.

After filling the paint covered can with water, he walked back outside.

Maxx quickly stirred the brushes in the water.  “Good enough,” he said as he briefly cleaned the water base paint off his old brushes.  Without thinking, he sat the can on his porch next to the almost empty water bottle with the brushes still in it.  He walked back inside.

“I’m going to catch up on the news,” he thought as he walked into his kitchen.  Maxx grabbed another bottle of chilled water and another snack from his fridge.  With his hands already full, he grabbed the newspapers on the counter.

With his hands and arms full, he sauntered past his wall clock as he entered the living room.  He sat in his over-stuffed leather recliner.  After glancing at the clock and sitting, he thought, “I can’t believe it.  I painted for several hours.  No wonder I’m hungry.”

He placed the newspapers along with his water and snack on the extravagant wooden side table.  Maxx grabbed his remote.  “Let’s see what’s on the TV,” he said as he pressed the button and turned on his big screen TV.  Immediately Kinkorx TV began.

Maxx sat comfortably in his luxury recliner while reading his many newspapers as Kinkorx TV aired.  He munched as he read.  As he skimmed through the many publications of The Bedsult Daily News, he saw what he was looking for.  “Here’s something interesting,” he thought as he began to read the news wire article from The Wet Lands News.

The headline read: Numerous Reports of Burning Joqzonion Ships in Wet Lands

The Wet Lands News: Over the past twenty-four hours, the staff of this newspaper has received numerous reports of burning Joqzonion space ships in the area.  Many of these sightings have been confirmed by the Guytic City Police Department.

Crashed and burning Joq ships have been seen from the rural areas of the wet lands all the way to Guytic City.

We all remember several decades ago when the Joqs tried to take over Sesla.  It was their mission at that time to control our planet and strip mine the bountiful natural researches.  It is believed by most Sesleans that the Joqzonions have the same goal now.

Many residents are concerned that with Mustler and the Gang of Five’s help, the Joqs are more equipped to carry out their mission.

At The Wet Lands News, we share that concern.  The positive news is that many Joqzonion space ships were destroyed in the last twenty-four hours.  I contacted the Guytic City Police for a possible reason for this unexplained occurrence.  At this time, the police are without an explanation for these incidences.  Guytic City Police Chief, Chief Fesyur Cuobyn was unavailable for comment.

We will keep the residents of the wet lands informed as we learn more.  This article was written by The Wet Lands News reporter Veem Weazan.

Maxx grinned as he read the article while sitting in his recliner.  He thought, “I’m glad The Melá-Jutis wasn’t spotted by the GCPD.

He continued to read and skim through the collection of papers as Kinkorx TV aired on his flat screen.  He glanced at his clock again.  “The news will be on soon,” he thought as he read.

Maxx read while snacking.  He quickly skimmed the numerous copies of The Bedsult Daily News.  As he continued to read, the evening news began.  “I am Meez Broplen – the chief news anchor for Kinkorx TV News.  We start this evening’s news with our top story.  We are sending you to the Kinkorx Police Station for a live report.”

The Station Switched to Kinkorx Police Station in Downtown Kinkorx

“Thank you Meez.  I am Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m with Police Chief Aazon Pomur.”  He turned to Chief Pomur.

“There is growing concern for the safety of the Horned Hares players.  Can you comment on your investigation to find the killer?” asked Pymur.

Chief Pomur replied, “We are working several leads at this time.  Do to the complexity of the case, I can’t comment on the investigation.”

Pymur asked, “Are you still looking for a different killer?  Do you still believe Zith Fleen is not involved in these recent murders?”

Chief Pomur glared angrily at Pymur as he responded, “As I’ve stated before, we do not believe Zith Fleen is responsible for these murders.  We are working with General Sheriff Kein Mairytin of Xcuymir Territory to find the killers…Also let me say, we do not believe these are revenge motivated killings in any way.  We believe these were random murders.  However, at this time, we do not have a strong motive for the murders.  Now if you will excuse me.”

Pymur Muxx began to ask another question.  “Chief Pomur.  Don’t you think –”  Chief Pomur walked away in the middle of the question and entered his office.

Pymur continued, “Chief Pomur is keeping with his earlier decision.  He does not believe Zith Fleen is The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher—nor does he believe a there is a Slasher.  I am Pymur Muxx.  Reporting live from the Kinkorx Police Station.  How back you Meez.”

The Broadcast Switched Back to Kinkorx TV News Studio

“In other news,” said Meez Broplen, “there are reports…

Maxx laughed as the news broadcast continued.  He said mockingly and loud, “Jeqrix Grexenn thinks Chief Pomur will work with us.  He’s looking for the wrong killer.  I’ll do what he asked.  After I talk with Art tomorrow, I’ll call the Kinkorx Police.  Chief Pomur won’t like it.”

He continued to sit on his deluxe recliner and read the old newspapers as Kinkorx TV News continued.  Before long, he found another news wire article from The Kvyutt Travelers News that caught his eye.  The headline by reporter Alina Smizeen read:

Gang of Five and Joqzonions Terrorize Businesses in Wet Lands

The Kvyutt Travelers News: Mustler and his Gang of Five, along with numerous Joqzonions, continued with their rampage of terror today.  After attacking numerous shops in Durston Mill and Bloqxess – both in Meslerr Territory, they traveled to rural Guytic City.  Mustler and his evil gang targeted Jirgston Bank and Trust before moving on to Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods – both in rural Guytic City.

During the heinous attacks in Durston Mill, Bloqxess, and at Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods, the gang murdered the shop owners before stealing money and weapons.  Before they exited, the Joqzonion followers set fire to the buildings.

At Jirgston Bank in rural Guytic City, a security guard was murdered execution style as the bank was robbed.  Also before exiting, Joqs started several fires inside.

During this same time, in several areas of the wet lands, numerous Joq space ships were reported crashed and burned.  Many of the spacecraft appeared to be damaged by small asteroids.

We contacted Dr. Meeber Ros at Guytic City Observatory.  During a brief phone interview, Dr. Ros stated, “The wet lands have not experienced a meteor shower in several weeks.  I cannot offer an explanation for the apparent meteors that disabled the Joqzonion space ships.”

At this time, General Sheriff Azar DyRull of Meslerr Territory and Police Chief Fisur Coubyn of the GCPD are also without an explanation for the destroyed Joq spacecrafts.

Whatever the explanation, we are all grateful that the Joqzonion spacecrafts were destroyed.  Many Sesleans remember several decades ago when a similar invasion took place.  The goal of that invasion was to strip mine Sesla’s natural researches.  It is believed that this invasion carries a similar goal…

Maxx smiled as he read the article.  He thought, “Yes Alina, there was a meteor shower.  Those Joq ships encountered a meteor shower courtesy of The Melá-Jutis.”  He laughed.

The Evening Progressed

Maxx Read the Old Newspapers With His Flat Screen On

Suddenly he realized as he read.  “Today’s copy of The Bedsult Daily News is on the porch,” he thought as he watched Kinkorx TV. Maxx stood and walked to the front door.

He opened it and stepped outside onto his porch.  He shook his head when he saw his damaged vehicles and trailer.  “At least I made those Joqs pay,” he said.  “I’ll call Reyd Pasmir at ByFuuton Auto in the morning.”

Maxx grabbed his newspaper from the paper-box and walked back inside.

After closing and locking the front door, while carrying his newspaper, he walked to the kitchen.  He mumbled as he grabbed a snack from his fridge, “Another snack while I skim this paper – then I’m going to bed.  I’m tired again.”  While carrying the next snack and newspaper, he exited the kitchen.

Maxx walked back to his recliner.  He sat and began eating as he quickly breezed through the paper.  He began to yawn as he read.  After several minutes, he found an article that caught his attention from The Wet Lands News.  The news wire headline read:

Only Silence From Gang of Five After Day of Terror

The Wet Lands News: It wasonly days ago that Mustler and his evil gang attacked several businesses in the rural wet lands.  The gang of outlaws attacked shops in Durston Mill and Bloqxess – both in Meslerr Territory.  They killed the storeowners before pilfering the stores of cash and firearms.  Before leaving both businesses, they set fire to the buildings.

Local authorities expected the next target to be LyBeqt – also in Meslerr.  LyBeqt police and territory troopers planned for an ambush there.  The police gathered and waited in the small Meslerr Territory village.  The gang never showed.

During that time, Mustler and his heinous gang traveled to rural Guytic City.  They attacked Jirgston Bank and Trust.  Afterward they attacked Wyden Hutt Sporting Goods – both in rural Guytic City.  The bank and sporting goods store both received similar acts of terrorism compliments of the murderous gang of outlaws.

Also during that day of terror, the Joqzonion’s entire fleet of space ships were destroyed by an unknown source.  The only explanation that is being made public by the GCPD is that the ships suffered direct hits by a severe and unexpected meteor shower.

Since that day, no one has seen Mustler and the Gang of Five.  Also since that day of evil, no one has reported seeing a Joqzonion or a Joq space ship.  Could it be that whatever caused the destruction of the alien ships was successful in destroying the entire fleet?  Also, the entire population of Joqs that were invading Sesla was killed as well.  We can only hope for such luck.  Reporting for The Wet lands News, I am Veem Weazan.”

Maxx smiled exhaustingly as he finished the article.  He said as he yawned, “That’s the best news I’ve read so far.  I knew I killed many Joqs and burned many ships.  I hope Veem Weazan is right and I eliminated them all and all their ships.  We’ll know soon enough.  If there are more Joqs on Sesla, there will be sightings.”

He yawned.  “I’m really tired.  I’m going to retire early.  Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day.”  Maxx stood and carried his old newspapers and trash to the kitchen and tossed all into the trashcan under the sink.

He yawned as he walked toward the washroom.  “A quick wash and a change into some sleep-ware.  Then I’m retiring for the evening,” he thought as he entered the washroom and closed the door.

In minutes, he exited and walked toward his bedroom.  He yawned repeatedly as he walked past his leather sectional sofa while heading into his bedroom.

“I can’t believe I’m so tired.  That trip to the wet lands really took a lot out of me,” he said.  He glanced at his clock on the bed stand.  “It’s only 9:00 o’clock.  I never go to bed this early.”  He yawned again.  “Except for tonight.  I’m really sleepy,” he said as he sat on the edge of his king sized bed.  He rolled into the middle.

He yawned again.  “Tomorrow’s going to be a big day,” he said.

Maxx closed his eyes.  In seconds, he was drifting asleep.

Early The Next Morning
Sesla’s brilliant morning sun was shining in Maxx’s open bedroom window.  The warm desert breeze was blowing through. His sheer curtains were moving as the breeze increased and decreased.

As the warm sun reached and complimented Maxx’s attractive, thin face, he began to stir.  He stretched and rolled as he slowly awoke.  He smiled when he saw the sunshine and his curtains blowing in the breeze.  “It looks like a beautiful day,” he said.

He turned and looked at the clock sitting on his small table.  He smiled as he saw the time.  He thought, “It’s early.  I have plenty of time for a delightful morning strolled before I start today’s business.”

Maxx rushed out of bed.  He winced from the pain.  “Easy Maxx,” he said as he grabbed a fresh strolling suit from his dresser.  While he slowly dressed he thought, “I feel much better today. The pain is less.  I’m still glad I took yesterday off.”

He finished putting on his strolling suit and watch.  “Can’t go walking without my shoes,” he said as he put on his strolling shoes.  He hurried toward the kitchen.

Maxx opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of contained water.  He opened the container and took a sip.  “That’s refreshing,” he said.  He took another then looked at the label.  “Refsax Juysaw bottled water – delicious.”

As the door open ringer sounded, “Ding…Ding” Maxx twisted the top back on the bottle of water from The Refsax Juysaw Company.  “Ok – ok.  I know I’ve left the door open,” he said as the alarm continued.  “Ding…Ding”

He placed the half-empty bottle inside and closed the door.  “Glad that stopped,” he said.

As he walked toward his custom front door, he said, “Time for a lovely morning stroll.”  Maxx opened the door and walked through.  He closed the door and hurried across his porch.

Sesla’s bright sun shone in his eyes as he ventured along the walkway.  He glanced at his damaged vehicles and trailer as he sauntered past.  “I’m not upset in the slightest about my car and jeep.  The damage was worth it if those Joqs are gone.  I’ll call ByFuuton Auto when I get back.”  He chuckled as he walked.  “It was time for a new convertible.  That one was several years old.”

Maxx ambled down Lypont Drive as the morning sun shone warmly on his face.  “Sesla’s sun feels really good today.  I’m feeling much better.  I have less pain today,” he thought as he strolled.

“I wonder what Reyd Pasmir is going to say?  He should have a loaner that I can drive until the new convertible arrives,” he thought as he continued along Lypont Drive.  “The Phoenix and trailer are new.  Except for the bullet holes in the exterior, they’re both drivable.”

Maxx turned and walked toward the Bedsult School.  “It looks like classes are beginning,” he thought as he ambled past.  “I don’t see any children in the yard.”

“I see a lot of kids in the class rooms.  That school has a lot of students,” he thought as he walked past.  “I should pick up the pace.  I need to make this a quick stroll.”

Maxx began walking slightly faster as he continued.  The bright sun shone on his face as he ventured farther.  “How do coteries stand living in the wet lands?  All that rain and the cool temperatures.  I wouldn’t like it at all,” he thought as he sauntered.

“I don’t like it when I have to drive there for a case.  I’m always glad to get back to the desert,” Maxx thought.  He continued along the Bedsult streets as the sun continued to rise in the morning sky.

Soon, he ambled past Grigg Bassner’s home.  The retired engineer and business owner was swinging in his front porch swing.  “Pleasant morning, Mr. Bassner,” said Maxx as he waved politely while passing.

Grigg again demonstrated his unpleasant disposition that he inherited from his family.  He only nodded as he continued to swing in the shade of his decrepit porch as Maxx ventured past.

“Typical,” Maxx thought as he strolled, “The Bassner’s are KyMox-Coteries.  KyMoxs are one of the most irritable clans on Sesla.”

While continuing to saunter, he approached Lypont Drive.  Maxx glanced at his extravagant strolling watch.  “I’ve been walking for forty-five minutes.  I should start back.  I have a lot to do today,” he thought.

As he enjoyed the warm morning sun, he turned onto Lypont Drive.

Soon, he ambled in front of Dr. Kipzer Uignix’s home.  “It looks like Dr. Uignix and his daughter Vytta are both at work.”

Maxx continued along Lypont Drive toward his home.  “I’m anxious to talk with Art.  I wonder what he discovered?” he said.

He saw his burned convertible as he approached his home.  “I’ll call Reyd Pasmir first.  That call will only take a few minutes,” he thought as he approached his walkway.

The shadow that Maxx was casting was still very large as he walked up his walkway and onto his porch.  He opened the front door and walked inside.

Maxx walked straight to the fridge and opened the door.  He grabbed the half-full bottle of water and finished it off.  “Aahhh.  That’s refreshing,” he said.  “Maybe another.”  He tossed the empty bottle in the trash and grabbed a second before closing the door.

He opened the bottle and took a big drink.  “Delicious,” he said as he screwed the top back on.  “It’s time to call ByFuuton Auto.”  While carrying his half-empty bottle of contained water, he walked to his office.

Maxx sat in the cushioned chair and placed the water on the desk.  As he sat beneath two of his landscape paintings, he turned on his database.  In seconds, his very powerful home computer was ready.  He typed in ByFuuton Auto Sales in Kinkorx.

The business was on his data base screen.  “Here it is,” he thought as he clicked on the downtown dealership’s phone number.

The phone at the secretaries desk began to ring.  She quickly answered, “ByFuuton Auto Sales Downtown.  We have a great deal just waiting for you.  How may I direct your call?” asked Mrs. Voilet Suu, the secretary.

Maxx chuckled.  “This is Detective Maxx Zeqster.  Please connect me with Reyd Pasmir.”

Violet smiled.  “Good morning Detective Zeqster.  It’s so nice to hear from for again.  I’ll get Reyd on the line right away.  May I place you on hold?”

Maxx smiled as he thought, “I love that dealership.”  He said, “Of course.”

Violet replied, “It’ll just be a moment.”  She placed Maxx on hold before speaking into the intercom, “Reyd Pasmir.  You have an important costumer holding on line one.  It’s Detective Zeqster.”

Reyd Pasmir was at his desk.  He quickly picked up the phone and pushed extension one.  “Good morning Detective Zeqster.  I’m thrilled that you’re calling.  How can I and ByFuuton Auto help you?”

Maxx smiled.  “Good morning Reyd.  It’s good to talk with you and Violet again.”  He paused briefly.

As he gathered his thoughts and chose his words, Reyd asked, “Has there been a problem with your vehicles?  If there has, I’ll see to it that we take care of you immediately.”

Maxx replied, “You might say – I’ve had a few problems.”

Reyd asked with concern, “With both your convertible and jeep?”

“Yes,” he replied.  “It’s a long story.”

“Do you need a loaned,” asked Reyd.

“That would probably be best,” Maxx replied sheepishly.

The manager replied, “I have a new silver convertible that’s fully loaded on our Desert Lot.  I can have Kotor Buknus drive it to your home this afternoon.  Will that be soon enough?” he asked with panic.

Maxx replied, “This afternoon will be fine.”

“When Kotor gets there with the loaner, he’ll decide what to do next.  I’ll be at my desk in case he needs approval for something,” said Reyd.

“That will work perfectly,” said Maxx.  “I look forward to seeing Kotor and the convertible.”  He hung up the phone.  “That was easy.  They’re going to flip when they see the convertible.  Now it’s time to call Art.”

Maxx dialed Art’s DunyII number.

At the Home of Detective Arthor Nekuma in Suburbia Wyluxx City

Art and his parents were relaxing in the back yard of their upper-class home.  They were lounging in recliners under patio umbrellas as the morning sun warmed the back yard.  Art was skimming through several newspapers while his dad and mom played cards.

“Give me another card,” said Lyndi Nekuma.

“Are you sure?” asked Rydon Nekuma.  “If you take another card.  I bet you go bust.”

As Art read his newspapers, his DunyII began to sing a happy song.  He looked at the caller Id on his portable phone and texting device.  “It’s Detective Zeqster,” he said happily.

Rydon said as he handed his wife another card, “I should say— your duny would be ringing with a happy song.  You’ve been ecstatic ever since you discovered a pattern to that killer.”

Art grinned as he picked up his touch activated wireless phone.  “Hi Detective Zeqster.  I’m so glad you’re calling,” he said with a giant grin.

Maxx chuckled.  “It’s good to hear your voice.”

“Hi Detective Zeqster!”  Lyndi said loudly.

“Good to hear from you detective!”  Rydon said loudly.

Lyndi threw down the card.  “I want another card.  Make it a good one!” she said loudly to her husband.

Art said into his duny, “My mom and dad are playing cards.  We’re in the back yard.”

Maxx replied, “It sounds like they’re getting along better.”

“They are,” Art replied as he smiled at his parents as they continued to play their card game.  “Everything’s a lot better now.”

Maxx said, “I’m glad.  There’s nothing like a happy home.”

Lyndi threw down that card as well.  “I want a good card,” she said loudly to Rydon.

“I can’t look at the cards before I draw one.  That would be cheating,” Rydon replied as he handed her another card.

Art said, “I watched several breaking news reports from the wet lands.  The reporters showed smoke and fire from burning Joq ships.  That was you wasn’t it?”

Maxx boasted, “It was all me.  I have so much to tell you.  I have something to show you that you won’t believe.”

Lyndi and Rydon continued playing cards as they talked.  “Another card,” said Lyndi.

Rydon placed a card on the table.  “How’s that?” he asked as Lyndi turned the card over.

Art replied, “What is it?”

“Let’s just say, my vehicles didn’t fare as well as I did,” said Maxx.

“Wow!  I can’t wait to see,” Art said excitedly.  “I mean – that’s terrible!”

Maxx laughed.  “It’s ok.  I’m over my rage.  You can see them when you get here.”

Art said excitedly, “I’ll leave right now.”

“Don’t rush,” Maxx replied.  “I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’ll be there in an hour and a half,” Art replied.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Maxx.  He disconnected the call.

Lyndi threw down two cards.  “I want two cards,” she said.

“Lyndi.  You can’t keep drawing cards until you get a perfect hand,” Rydon complained as he handed her the cards.

“Who says I can’t?” asked Lyndi as she looked meanly at her husband.

Art stated, “I’m going to Detective Zeqster’s.  I won’t be home for dinner.”

“Ok honey.  Have fun,” Lynda replied as she stared at her cards.

“Drive carefully son,” said Rydon as he grabbed another card.

Art stood and began to leave.  “I have my duny if you need anything,” he said as he walked toward the patio door.

“Ha!  You can’t draw your own card,” Lyndi insisted.

“I’ve been drawing my own cards the entire game,” said Rydon.

Art entered the house as his parents continued with their card game.  “It’s nice to see them getting along.  For a while there, I thought they’d never stop fighting,” he said as he walked through the house.

Art grabbed the keys to his blue convertible and walked out the front door.

“I can’t wait to see his convertible and jeep,” he said as he walked to his mid-sized convertible.  He jumped in and started the motor.  The Rock music began to play.

Art backed out of his driveway and onto Sunny Trail Drive.  He quickly stopped and put the car in drive and headed down the road.  “I can’t wait to tell him what I learned,” he said as he drove with the loud rock music playing.

Art drove through suburbia Wyluxx City on route to the Wyluxx Highway as he prepared what he was going to say to his partner.  “I watched all the films.  I think we can catch Zith Fleen before he kills another Kinkorx Horned Hares mesnuk player,” he said as he drove.

Several minutes later, he turned onto the Wyluxx Highway.  “I knew those breaking news reports of the burning Joq ships was The Melá-Jutis.  According to the reporters, most if not all of the Joq ships were destroyed.  I can’t wait to hear how he did it.”

Art continued along the Wyluxx Highway as he continued to imagine how his partner and mentor destroyed the Joq ships.  “The Guytic City Police think the ships were destroyed by a meteor shower,” Art said as he laughed while the loud rock music played.

As the morning progressed, Art continued across the open desert.  “This is the area where the Kinkorx Police captured Zith Fleen,” he said as he drove closer to Kinkorx.

“I can’t believe Zith Fleen was hiding in the desert off the Wyluxx Highway,” he said as he drove with his music playing loud.

Before long, he was approaching Bedsult.  “I’m almost there.  I can’t wait to see his cars.  I wonder what kind of damage there is?”

Soon, Art turned off the Wyluxx Highway and drove into Bedsult.  “Detective Zeqster said his cars didn’t fare very well.  What did he mean by that?” he wondered as he drove closer.

Before long, Art turned onto Lypont Drive and drive toward Maxx’s home.

Sesla’s sun was passing the apex as he drove closer to Detective Zeqster’s home on Lypont Drive.  “His home is coming up,” Art said as he continued along Lypont Drive.

As he approached Maxx’s home, his jaw dropped.  While being shocked, he slowed and parked on the street.  All he could do was stare.  He said as he gawked shockingly, “His beautiful convertible was shot full of holes and burned.  The Phoenix was shot numerous times.  The trailer was shot and burned.  I can’t believe it.”  He continued to stare while stunned.

In his shock, he exited his beautiful, blue convertible and walked up the walkway to Maxx’s home.  He stared at the catastrophe as he walked by.

He stumbled as he walked up the steps to Maxx’s porch.  While still gawking, he walked to Maxx’s front door and began to knock.

In seconds, the door opened.  “Hi Art,” said Maxx as he stood there.

Art’s mouth was still hanging open as he gazed at the devastation.  He said, “Hi, Detective Zeqster.  I see what you mean.  What happened?”

Maxx replied, “Come on in.  I’ll tell you all about it.”  He turned and walked back inside.  While still in shock, Art followed and closed the door.

Art walked to Maxx’s extravagant leather sectional sofa and sat.  As he waited and anticipated the story, he gazed in amazement at his friend’s large collection of exquisite, self-painted, landscape paintings.

Maxx walked to his kitchen and grabbed two bottles of contained water from his expensive, double-door refrigerator.  While carrying the waters, he walked to his living room.  He handed Art a bottle.

“Thanks,” said Art as he grabbed the cold bottle of water.  “I can’t believe your convertible was burned.  It looks like the Phoenix was shot several times.  What happened?”

Maxx sat on his leather recliner and opened his water.  “I was just as surprised as you are when I found my convertible like that.  I must admit, I flew into a rage at that moment,” he said as he took a drink.  His anger was growing as he remembered the event.

“I would have been so mad…I’d want to kill all the Joqs and burn all their space ships,” said Art angrily.  As he fumed, he took a sip.

“That’s exactly how I felt—and…that’s exactly what I did.  According to the papers, I took them all out,” said Maxx angrily.  “It seems for now, the Joqs are gone, and the Gang of Five is in hiding.”

“When did your convertible get shot and burned?”  Art asked.

“I saw several Joq ships land in the forest,” Maxx replied.  “I jumped in the Phoenix and went after them.  I found a cave where they were hiding and killed them all.  I took out several ships that were fighting me from the air.  After that, I burned all their ships that were on the ground.”

Art was bewildered as he asked, “How did you fight Joq saucers in the air?”

Maxx chuckled as he answered.  “You won’t believe it.  I used stones.”

“What?  You threw rocks?”  Art asked with great surprise as his eyes grew large.

Maxx chuckled as he explained, “I used heavy, metallic, fist-sized stones.  I found plenty in the streams.”

Art continued to listen as his eyes bulged from shock and surprise.

Maxx laughed lightly as he boasted, “I climbed to the top of trees and hid.  When the pilots flew their ships close, I threw the stones.  At another location, I hid in a stone formation and threw stones.”

Art continued to be amazed.  “That’s why the GC police thought there was a meteor shower.  I had no idea,” he said with astonishment.  “Do you think – next time you fight the Joqs you should take a rocket launcher or maybe a bazooka – or something like that?”

“I thought that a lot while I was fighting them.  After I got back, my swamp stick spoke to me.  She said Sesla enchanted the stones as well as my magical suit.  That’s why I was successful,” Maxx replied.  “It was because of Sesla’s enchantments.”

Art grinned.  “That’s awesome!”

Maxx continued.  “I didn’t feel pain at all.  Once I got back and changed out of my suit, I got sore fast.  I still have a lot of bruises…Did I tell you?  I fell out of several trees— And!  I hung from the side of several Joq ships to make them crash land.”

“You did!”  Art said loudly with amazement.  “That’s Awesome!”

“I did,” Maxx replied.  “I let go just before the ships crashed into the ground.”

“No wonder you have bruises,” said Art.  “Are you still in a lot of pain?”

“It’s getting better,” said Maxx.

“How did you kill the Joqs?”  Art asked.

“That was the easiest part.  Joqs are weak and fragile.  Their bones fracture easily,” Maxx, replied, “At least I find it easy to break their bones.”

Art responded, “I think The Melá-Jutis would find it easy to break anyone’s bones.  Just look at the size of your arms and shoulders.  Talk about Sesla’s enchantments.  Since you voluntarily injected yourself with doxer fever drugs, you’ve become huge.  Your muscle mass is enormous –”

Maxx interrupted, “The Phoenix was shot when I fought the Joqs in Guytic City.  I tried to hide it in thick vines and underbrush in the forest but they found it.”

As they talked, there was a knock on his door.

“I hope that’s my loaner?”  Maxx said.  He stood and walked to his front door.  He opened it.  Kotor Buknus, the sales associate from ByFuuton Auto Sales Downtown was standing on his porch.

“Good afternoon Detective Zeqster,” said Kotor with a bewildered, shocked expression.

Maxx replied, “Good afternoon Kotor.  As you can see, there’s been an incident.”

Kotor was very careful as he replied professionally, “I have your loaner.  Is the jeep drivable?”

Maxx replied, “Yes.  I’ll get the keys.”  He walked to his bedroom and grabbed the jeep keys—then returned.  “Here,” he said.

Kotor took the keys.  “We’ll drive the damaged vehicles out and drive in the new convertible.  I’ll be right back,” he said.  Kotor walked swiftly down the steps and to the jeep.

He jumped in and started the motor.  Kotor slowly drove the jeep with the trailer and convertible out of the driveway and onto Lypont Drive—and parked.

As he climbed out of the jeep, he motioned to his assistant.

The other driver drove the new, silver convertible into Maxx’s driveway and parked.  As Kotor approached the new convertible, his helper handed him the keys.  Kotor grabbed the keys.  “Wait in the jeep.  I’ll only be a minute,” he said.

As his assistant exited the new, silver convertible and walked toward the jeep, Kotor walked up the short steps toward Detective Zeqster.  He handed Maxx the keys.  “I hope this convertible is satisfactory,” he said.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Maxx replied as he stood inside the doorway.  “Is it new?” he asked.

Kotor smiled.  “Right off our Desert Lot.  I drove there after you’re called.  I drove it straight here,” said Kotor.  “It has everything.  It’s more equipped than your old car.  Every year, there are more gargets.  You’re going to love it.”

Maxx smiled.  “I’m sure I will – silver I see.”  He pouched his lips and bobbed his head.  “Silver’s cool,” he said.

Kotor replied, “We’ll drive the damaged vehicles back.  We’ll come up with a plan.  Reyd Pasmir will call you as soon as we have all the details worked out.  In the meantime, enjoy the new convertible.”

“Thank you,” said Maxx.  “I will.”  With the new keys, he closed the door.  Maxx walked back to the living room.

Kotor walked hurriedly across the porch and down the steps.  He hurried along the walkway toward the jeep.  “Hop in.  We’re ready to go,” he said to his assistant.  They both crawled into the bullet shot jeep.  Kotor started the motor and began the drive to their downtown lot.

Art asked as Maxx sat in his recliner, “Do you have another car?”

Maxx replied as he tossed the keys onto the end table, “I have a new, silver convertible.  Kotor says it has even more accessories.  If I like it—I might keep it.”  He bobbed his head at the idea.

“I want to see it,” Art said.  He jumped up and hurried to the door.  He opened it and stepped onto the porch.  He gazed briefly at the new silver convertible in the driveway.

Art stepped back inside and closed the door.  “Nice!” he said loudly.  He walked back to the living room.  “It sure looks new,” he said as he sat back down.

Chapter Twelve
Maxx and Art continued to sit and talk in his charming living room.  While remaining on Maxx’s extravagant leather sectional sofa, he took another sip of water.

Maxx sat on his luxury leather recliner as he asked, “How did you like studying the mesnuk game films?”  He took another sip of water.

Art responded, “At first it wasn’t making any sense to me.  Big coterie males running all over the mesnuk field while trying to put the sludder into the kloxyn.  Both teams seemingly trying to kill each other.

Then I started analyzing the horned hares players.  I started noticing a trend.  From the films, Zith Fleen does appear to be the star player on the horned hare’s team – even though almost always, he’s the smallest player on the field.”

Maxx took a sip of water as Art explained.

“I noticed on a lot of plays, Zith was the first player to attack the other team.  I also noticed he performed many solo plays.  During many of those plays, he outran his team and was hit hard by the opposing players.  On the films, it looks like he’s the fastest player on his team.  He looks really fast,” Art explained.  He paused to take another sip of water.

He continued.  “I could see a pattern but I needed more game films.  I drove to the practice field and asked to see more.  The horned hares head coach, Jo Mydos, was eager to show me the films.

I spent most of that day in his office watching  game films and taking notes.  There are thousands of films in his office.  Coach Mydos bought my lunch while I was there.

“Anyway,” Art said as he took another sip.  “I looked at the film when Zith Fleen was injured.  Then I watched several more after he was gone.  It was obvious that after he was carried off the field following that head injury, the players started playing like a team.  Suddenly they were a lot faster.  They swarmed the opposing player – like the Generals played.

I could see why Zith Fleen was complaining.  His allegations could be true.”

Art paused for another sip of water before continuing.  “I checked the films of several weeks before Zith was injured.  I looked at the films from the perspective that Zith’s allegations were true.  I made a list of the players who were most obviously abandoning and forsaking him on the field—thus encouraging an injury.  My list starts with the most obvious betrayer on the field and works down.

The first player on my list who I thought betrayed Zith Fleen the most on the playing field is Nead Beeing.  The second is Cillo Fistor.  The third is the team captain, Guiss Korter.  The forth is Ti Gurmis.

Zith murdered Nead Beeing first.  Second, he murdered Cillo Fistor.  He killed Ti Gurmis next.  My guess is that Zith Fleen tried to catch Guiss Korter alone several times and failed.  He moved to the next player on his list due to the failed attempts with Guiss.  That probably really frustrates him.  Being a serial killer, his plan, and organization is very important to him.  I believe he will try to kill Guiss before he goes on to the next player–which I think is Ric Swien.”

Maxx took another sip as he listened to Art’s report.

“Zith and his pet wolf killed Nead Beeing in old downtown Kinkorx as he walked home after a mesnuk practice.  They ripped him to pieces on the street and carried the pieces to a busy road.  The body was found by a motorists.

Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police caught him in the desert.  He was tried and sentenced in Judge  Lykun’s court.  Judge Lykun sentenced him to life in Xcuymir Correctional.

Eleven months later, he escaped.  Several weeks after that, he killed Cillo Fistor in the same manner.  He and his pet wolf attacked Cillo as he walked home in old Kinkorx after a mesnuk practice.  The dismembered body was moved and dumped on another busy street.

Several days later, Zith and his wolf murdered Ti Gurmis inside his home – not far from here.  It was a bloody murder in his bedroom—on his bed.  I’m sure you saw the breaking news report on Kinkorx News.  Zith waited for Ti to get home after a mesnuk game against the Generals in Wyluxx Stadium.  They dumped his body like the rest.

It’s been nearly two weeks since he killed Ti.  I believe Zith will strike again soon.  He seems to like killing after a mesnuk game or practice.

The Horned Hares are playing the Doxers at Tos-Xiron tomorrow night.  I think it’s a good possibility Zith Fleen will try to kill Guiss Korter after the game – probably in his home.  I think we should do a stakeout.”

Maxx was again amazed at Art’s research and reasoning.  “I promised Jeqrix Grexenn we would at least try to work with Chief Pomur and the Kinkorx Police when he hired us,” he said.  “Wait here.  I’m going to call the Kinkorx Police station.”

As Art waited, Maxx walked to his office.  He sat at his database and picked up the phone.  He dialed the station.

At the Kinkorx Police Station in Downtown Kinkorx

Police Officer Jitta ReFrex was sitting at her cubicle desk in the open work area of the station.  Her phone began to ring.  She sighed deeply with irritation as she answered it.  “Kinkorx Police—Officer ReFrex.”

“Good afternoon Officer ReFrex.  This is Detective Maxx Zeqster.”

Jitta made an eye roll that shook the room as he introduced himself.

“I would like to speak with Chief Pomur.  Is he available?”  Maxx asked.

Jitta replied, “I’ll see.”  She quickly placed him on hold.  She stood and walked across the small foyer to Chief Pomur’s small, dingy office.

She said with annoyance, “Chief!  Maxx Zeqster’s holding.  He wants to speak with you.”  She rolled her eyes again.

Chief Pomur looked up from his mountain of paperwork.  “I’m not here!  Tell Lieutenant Neuyh to take the call,” he ordered angrily.

“Yes Sir Chief!” she said strongly.  She walked out of his untidy, smoky office and sauntered several feet across the smoky, trashy, cubicle filled room.

She approached Police Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh’s desk.  “Aqe, Maxx Zeqster’s holding.  Chief wants you to take the call,” she said with a smirk.

With an angry look, he grabbed the phone and pushed line one.  “Lieutenant Neuyh,” he said with irritation.

“Good afternoon Lieutenant Neuyh.  May I assume Chief Pomur isn’t there and you’re the next in command?”  Maxx asked.

Aqe’s anger and repulsion was growing by the second.  “What do you want?” he asked coldly.

Maxx replied, “My detective agency was hired by Jeqrix Grexenn – the owner of The Kinkorx Horned Hares –”

Neuyh interrupted, “I know who Jeqrix Grexenn is,” he said coldly.

Maxx cleared his throat before continuing at the rudeness of the Lieutenant.  “One of the conditions of our involvement in the case was that we were willing to work with Kinkorx Police.  I’m fulfilling that agreement with this call.”

Lieutenant Neuyh quickly asked, “I’m very busy.  What do you want?”

Maxx replied quickly.  “We’ve looked into the recent killings of the mesnuk players.  We feel Zith Fleen’s the killer.  We also think we know who his next target is.”

Neuyh sighed deeply with exasperation as he listened.

Maxx heard the impatient gesture and continued, “We think it’s a very good possibility Zith Fleen will attempt to kill Guiss Korter in his home tomorrow night.  He will be away from his home for several hours.  They’re playing the Doxers at Tos-Xiron.  We think Zith Fleen will be waiting for him when he returns home.  We are planning a stakeout in his house.  I’m informing you and inviting your department.”

Lieutenant Neuyh responded angrily, “This department does not believe Zith Fleen is the killer.  We’re pursuing other suspects.”

Maxx replied quickly, “Does that mean you’re not interested in helping us with our stakeout?”

Aqe’s anger and repulsion was quickly growing into fury and hatred.  “Why do you think Zith Fleen is the killer?” he asked as he raged, “And why do you think Guiss Korter is the next target?” he asked with a red raging face.

Maxx replied calmly, “That’s what our research indicates.  We are simply following up on our work.”

“We think the killer is someone else,” Aqe said as he fumed.

“I promised Jeqrix Grexenn when he retains our services that I would make an attempt to work with you.  Whether you assist us in our stakeout or not is entirely your decision.  I’m fulfilling my obligation with this call,” said Maxx.

Lieutenant Neuyh’s face was red with disdain and fury.  “I will personally attend your stakeout just to prove you wrong.  You’re looking for the wrong killer!” he said loudly.  While in a rage, he slammed down the phone.

At Maxx Zeqster’s Home
Maxx walked back to his living room as Art waited.  He sat in his recliner.  Maxx said, “There now.  That’s done.  Lieutenant Neuyh is going to meet us at Guiss Korter’s home.  He thinks we’re looking for the wrong killer.”  Maxx took another sip of water.

Art replied, “If he’s so sure I’m wrong, why’s he meeting us?”

Maxx replied with a smile, “In case we’re right.  He can take credit for the capture.  I’m going to call Guiss Korter at the practice field and inform him of our plans.”

Art said, “Sounds good.  I’ll be here tomorrow evening.  We won’t need disguises.”  He stood and walked toward the front door.  He turned and said, “This will be a completely different experience.  We’ll hide inside Guiss’ home with the police present and the owner’s permission.  This will be weird.”

Art opened the front door and walked through.  “Nice car!” he said as he saw the new, silver convertible in the driveway.  He closed the door and walked toward his blue convertible.

Meanwhile Inside

Maxx was sitting at his database.  He had already dialed the number on his phone.

The phone at Kinkorx Horned Hares Head Coach, Jo Mydos’ desk began to ring.  He picked up the phone.  “Coach Mydos,” he answered.

“Good afternoon.  This is Detective Maxx Zeqster.”

“Good afternoon Detective Zeqster,” Coach Mydos replied pleasantly.  “It’s good to talk with you.  Mr. Grexenn told me several days ago that he hired you.  I met Art a couple of days ago.  He spent most of the day in my office watching game films.  I bought his lunch when I sent out for mine.  He took many notes.  He said he needed to discuss his findings with you before he could say anything.  Did you learn anything from all those films?”

Maxx chuckled as he thought, “He’s chatty.”  He replied, “That’s why I’m calling.  We learned a great deal from your films.  Thank you for making them available to us.”

“No Problem,” Coach Mydos said with enthusiasm.  “Chief Pomur never asked to see game films.  Actually, he never asked for anything.  I never understood how he could solve a murder case without asking questions or looking at anything.”

Maxx smiled and continued, “After studying the films and considering other evidence, we’ve formed a theory.  We would like to conduct a stakeout at Guiss Korter’s home tomorrow night during the mesnuk game.  You’re playing the Doxers at Tos-Xiron from what I understand.”

“That’s right,” Mydos said.  He paused.  “You think Zith Fleen’s next target is Guiss Korter?” he asked shockingly.  “You think he’ll be waiting inside the house for Guiss to get home from the game?”

Maxx replied, “That’s our theory.  Lieutenant Neuyh has agreed to aid us in our stakeout.”

“What happens if you’re wrong?” asked Coach Mydos.  “What if Zith doesn’t show?”

Maxx replied, “We might be wrong.  This is only a theory.  If Zith Fleen and his wolf don’t show up, we’ll keep trying.  We’ll catch him.  I promise you that.”

“What about Lieutenant Neuyh and the Kinkorx Police?”  Mydos asked.  “I’m surprised he’s attending your stakeout.  Chief Pomur is looking for a different killer.”

“Whether or not Lieutenant Neuyh continues to work with us after tomorrow does not affect our work.  Art and I will hunt Zith Fleen down and put him back in prison where he belongs – hopefully before he kills any more of your players,” Maxx said strongly.

Coach Mydos ask anxiously, “Do you need a key to Guiss Korter’s home?”

Maxx smiled as he chuckled silently.  He responded, “That won’t be necessary.  Please inform Guiss of our presence in his home.”

“I’ll tell him after the game.  He’s the team captain.  I don’t want him thinking about anything except for beating the Doxers.  We need to win that game,” said Coach Mydos.  “Good luck with your stakeout.  I hope you catch that psychopath.”

“Thank you,” Maxx replied, “So do we.”  He hung up the phone.  “That went well,” he thought.  “I’m going to spend some time on research.  I want to learn more about how psychopaths think before we have to do battle with one.”

As the afternoon progressed, Maxx typed in “psychopath” on his computer.  As the information flooded his screen, he began to read.

He quickly became consumed by the topic as he read.

Time Passed As Maxx Read About Psychopaths
I’m getting hungry,” Maxx thought as he read one article after another on the subject.  While his mind was engulfed in the personality disorder, he walked to the kitchen.

While enthralled, he opened the fridge and grabbed a large snack and water.  While still focusing on psychopathy, he walked back to his database and continued with the fascinating study.

The afternoon was advancing into evening.  He snacked and studied one medical paper after another on psychopathy and the causes.  Maxx also read numerous articles and reports on the behaviors associated with the disorder.

The evening progressed.  He remained enthralled in his studies.

Maxx started yawning as he continued with his research.  The evening became later.

As he continued reading and yawning, he said, “I’m getting tired.  What time is it?” he wondered.  He glanced at the clock on the wall that he had hung next to one of his landscape paintings.  “Oh my,” he said, “It’s 11:00 o-clock.  I’ve been working on this for hours.”

He stood and stretched.  He winced from the pain.  “The pain is improving. My newspaper is on the porch.  I’ve had enough studying for one night,” he said. He walked out of the office and to the front door.  He opened it.

Maxx walked out onto the porch.  He gazed at the new, silver convertible.  “Silver is growing on me.  Kotor said it’s new,” he said.  He wiggled his lips and bobbed his head.  He grabbed the newspaper and walked back inside.

After closing and locking the door, Maxx walked to the kitchen.  He opened the newspaper and quickly skimmed.  “I don’t see anything big,” he thought as he yawned.  “I’ll read it tomorrow.”

Maxx opened the fridge and grabbed a full bottle of water.  While leaving the newspaper on the counter, he walked with his water to the washroom.

He bathed and changed into his sleeping attire.  He took another sip as he exited the lavatory and walked to the bedroom.

Maxx sat on his bed and placed the water on the side table.  “I never knew there was so much information on psychopathy—personality disorder.  It’s a fascinating subject.”  He crawled onto the bed and closed his eyes.

In seconds, he began to drift off to sleep.

As he slept fitfully, he dreamt of psychopaths.

He dreamed that Zith Fleen and his pet wolf entered his home as he slept.  In his dream— there was a great, bloody battle.  The Melá-Jutis defeated the intruders.

The night progressed.  Maxx tossed and turned in the large bed while dreaming Zith Fleen and other psychopaths.

The Next Morning
Sesla’s morning sun began to shine in Maxx’s bedroom window.  The warm desert breeze blew his curtains back and forth.  He lies in his bed still in a deep sleep.

Due to his violent and disturbing dreams, Maxx had slept very poorly.  It was in the very late night, just before daybreak, that he had finally settled into a restful sleep.

As the morning progressed, Maxx slept.

It was late morning when he began to stir.

Sesla’s sun was nearing the zenith as Maxx awoke.  He groaned as he stretched.  “I slept terrible,” he said as he lay on the bed.  “What time is it?”  Maxx rolled and looked at the clock.  “What!” he moaned.  “11:30!  How can it be 11:30?”

He slowly climbed out of bed and stepped to the window.  “Sesla’s sun is almost at the apex.  I slept away the entire morning.  I still feel tired.  I dreamt about Zith Fleen and his killer wolf and other psychopaths.  I dreamed I fought Zith in this house.”

Maxx slowly walked to the kitchen.  “I need a cup of tea,” he said as he began to heat the water.  As he waited, he skimmed through the newspaper he left on the counter.  “There’s nothing of interest in this paper.  Slow day for news,” he thought as he flipped the pages.

When the water was ready, he made the tea.  “I’m too tired for painting.  I slept too late for a stroll.  I’ll spend the afternoon on research,” he said.  While carrying his tea, Maxx sauntered to his computer.

He moaned as he sat in the cushy office chair and turned on his computer.  As the database was starting, Maxx sipped the tea and recalled the dreams.  “I dreamt all night about psychopathy.  What an awful night sleep,” he mumbled.

“Back to my research,” he said as the computer became ready.  He typed in “psychopath.”  As the screen filled, he began to read as he slowly sipped his tea.

Maxx quickly became engulfed again in the material.  He read report after report.  Article after article.  “There’s so much material.  How can anyone learn all there is to know about psychopaths?” he thought as he read and learned.

The Afternoon Progressed

“I need to learn all I can.  We can’t be caught off guard by anything that Zith Fleen does—even something crazy.  I have to be ready for anything,” he thought as he continued to read.

As he worked, his stomach began to growl.  He glanced at the clock.  “It’s 4:00 o-clock.  No wonder I’m getting hungry,” he thought.  Maxx walked to the kitchen.

“I could use more tea, my stomach still doesn’t feel very good,” he said.  He began warming the water.  While he waited, he opened the fridge and grabbed a quick snack.

“That should be good,” he thought.  Maxx put in the tea bag and splashed it.

With his tea and snack, he walked back to his computer.  He sat back down and placed his items on the small table.  Maxx grabbed a bit and said, “Where was I?”

He began to read again as he slowly enjoyed his food.  He continued the research on psychopaths and their strange behavior.

The Afternoon Changed to Evening

After reading another medical article about the unpredictability of those who suffer from the mental illness, he glanced at his clock.  “Art will be here soon,” he mumbled.

Soon, as he studied, there was a knock on his door.  “That’s probably Art,” he said.  He glanced at his attire.  “I’m still in my sleep-ware,” he said.  “Good thing it’s just Art.”

Maxx hurried out of the office and into his bedroom.  He put on his plush robe.  “This’ll be ok.  Art’s practically family,” he thought.  He exited the bedroom.

He walked quickly to the door and opened it.  “Hi Art,” he said.  “Please excuse my appearance.  I had a rough night and slept late.  Please come in,” he said as he held the door open.

“Not a problem,” Art said.  He walked inside.  “I hope you’re feeling better.  Bad dreams about psychopaths?”

“You could say that,” he said as he closed the door.

Art stated as he stood by the door, “I’ve been doing more research on Zith Fleen, his accident, and psychopaths – I’ve been looking into everything.  I want to be ready for whatever happens.”

Maxx replied, “I’ve been doing a lot of research myself.”  He frowned.  “Thus the nightmares.  Hopefully we won’t be surprised by anything he does.”

Art replied, “This is going to be a strange operation.  I’m not used to working with the police and the owner.”

Maxx said, “Let me change into some clothes and grab my bag.  I keep a few items in a bag for work like this.  Grab water from the fridge and make yourself comfortable.  I’ll be right back.”

Art walked to the kitchen as Maxx walked into his bedroom.  Art grabbed water and walked to the sofa.  He sat and opened the water.  He took a sip and waited.

In less than a minute, Maxx walked out of his bedroom while wearing casual clothing.  He entered the office and grabbed his bag.

He walked back to the living room where Art was sitting.  “Lieutenant Neuyh is meeting us at Guiss Korter’s home.  We should leave,” Maxx stated.

Art stood and left the water on the table.  They walked to the door.  Maxx said, “It’s probably not the best idea to drive the loaner.  It could get damaged.  Perhaps we should drive your car.  Do you mind driving?” he asked.

“That’ll be fine,” Art said as he exited the home.  Maxx followed while closing and locking the door.  They walked toward Art’s blue, mid-sized convertible that he parked on Lypont Drive.  “That’s a really nice convertible,” Art said as they walked past.

While carrying his bag, Maxx climbed into the passenger’s seat.  He placed the bag in the back.  “Silver’s growing on me.  I’m thinking seriously about purchasing it,” Maxx said.

Art walked around and jumped into his seat.  “Silver’s cool,” he replied.  He started the motor and off they went.  As he drove along Lypont drive, he said, “Guiss Korter lives in the ritzy area of Kinkorx.  We’ll be there in no time.”

Maxx replied, “He’s been a mesnuk player for the horned hares for a long time.  He probably makes a lot more money that the other players.”

“Guiss won’t be home until midnight.  He has to drive from Tos-Xiron after the game.  That’s a long drive,” said Art as he drove toward the richer area of Kinkorx.

Maxx replied, “That’ll give us plenty of time to look over the house and devise a plan.  We need to catch Zith Fleen and his wolf inside the home.”

“Are you concern about the wolf?  It sounds vicious,” Art asked as he drove into the up-scale area of Kinkorx.

Maxx smiled.  “I don’t think a wolf will be a problem for The Melá-Jutis.”

Art turned and drove down the street that Guiss Korter lives on as they continued to talk.  “His house will be coming up soon,” he said.

“Drive a block past his house and park.  We’ll walk,” Maxx instructed.

Art drove past the elaborate cape-cod home.  “Nice home!” he said as he drove past.  He continued farther down the street before stopping.  “This should work,” he said.

Maxx replied, “This will work nicely.”  Once parked, Maxx jumped out with his bag of tools.  Art quickly followed.  They casually walked along the sidewalk toward Guiss’ upscale home.  They walked past several ritzy homes along the way.

As they approached the large, expensive home, Maxx said, “Let’s walk around back.  I don’t want anyone to see us break in.”  Without calling attention to themselves, they walked to the rear and approached the back patio door.

Maxx reached into his bag and pulled out his lock pick tool.  “Hold this,” he said as he handed the bag to Art.  He inserted the long, thin tools into the lock.  Maxx moved it around for only a few seconds.  He grabbed the nob and twisted.

He gently slid the glass door and opened it.  He chuckled quietly.  “Coach Mydos asked me if we needed a key,” he said as he entered the upscale home.  Art followed while carrying the bag.  He closed the sliding door.

“This is a big house!”  Art said as he looked around.

“Jeqrix Grexenn must pay him a big salary to afford this home,” Maxx said as he gazed around.

Art stated, “When Zith Fleen and the wolf killed Ti Gurmis, they killed him in his home.  They murdered him upstairs in his bedroom.”

“Let’s take a look around,” said Maxx.

As the evening progressed, Maxx and Art walked further into the home.

“There’s the stairs,” Art said.  They walked to the staircase and began the climb.  The two detectives walked up the plush steps.  “Soft,” Art said as they climbed the carpeted steps.

They walked along the upper level hall toward his bedroom.  They walked in. “Wow!  Nice bedroom,” Art said as he scanned the exquisite furnishings.

Maxx replied as he checked out the master bedroom and bath.  “There’s definitely enough room in here to make a big mess while killing and dismembering someone.  It Zith Fleen wants to kill Guiss up here, there’s plenty of room for the attack.”

They exited the large bedroom and walked back down the stairs.  They moseyed into the entrance area.  “We need to see what’s on this floor,” Maxx said as he walked around.

As Sesla’s sun was setting and the house was becoming dark and silhouette filled, they walked around the main floor.  “If I was Zith Fleen, what would I do?”  Maxx questioned.

Art replied, “He won’t attack in this kitchen.  Guiss would grab something to use as a weapon.  There are too many knives and pans.  Zith and his wolf would be easily killed by a powerful mesnuk player in this kitchen.”

They walked to the very large living room and looked around.  “If Guiss was attacked in here, with his athletic ability he could use the furniture for a shield while he fought back,” Maxx said.  “The attack won’t be in this room either.”

Art replied, “Maybe Ti Gurmis was murdered in his bedroom because that’s the way Zith Fleen planned it.  There’s very little in a large bedroom to use as a weapon or a shield.  Nothing to fight back with.  It’s the same in this house.”

Maxx replied as the house was becoming dark, “Our research is proving invaluable.  We’re thinking like a pair of psychopaths.  I think we’ve discovered why Zith killed Ti Gurmis in the bedroom.  He planned it that way.”

Art responded, “He’s probably planning to attack Guiss Korter where the only place he can run is upstairs.  He’ll kill Guiss on that large bed just like he killed Ti Gurmis on his bed.”

Maxx replied, “He’s going to attack Guiss in the entrance area near the steps.  He’ll block the kitchen so Guiss can’t grab a weapon.  The wolf will block the door.”

Art replied, “Leaving only one escape.  Upstairs to the bedroom.”

“Where he’s defenseless,” said Maxx.  “He and his wolf will murder Guiss on his bed just like Ti Gurmis.”

“He’ll enter through the unlocked patio door and hide where he can see Guiss as he enters the house.  We need to hide in there,” Art said as they both pointed at the hall closet.

In the darkness, Maxx looked at his watch.  “It’s hard to read my watch.  I think the game will be ending soon.  Guiss will be on his way.  I’d say, he‘d be here in two hours—maybe less.  We need to hide.  Zith Fleen will be here soon – if he’s coming tonight.”

Art asked, “I wonder if Lieutenant Neuyh is going to show?”

“I don’t know.  He thinks we’re looking for the wrong killer,” Maxx said as he entered the roomy hall closet.

“If he does show up, we can see him from here,” said Art as he entered behind Maxx.

Maxx kept the door open a small amount as they waited in the dark.

“Here’s your bag,” Art said.

“Thanks,” said Maxx.  He grabbed the bag and set it by his feet.

They quietly waited in the dark.

Minutes past as Maxx peered through the small opening.

Suddenly, Maxx heard the patio door slide open.  Seconds later—the glass door slid closed again as he listened.  He heard footsteps slowly walk into the dark house.  “Someone’s here,” he whispered to Art.

The footsteps came closer to the closet.  “Maxx Zeqster.  Are you here?”  Lieutenant Neuyh asked softly as he walked slowly in the dark.

Maxx sighed as he said, “We’re in here.”  He opened the closet door wider.  “Come in.  We’re waiting for the killer.”

Aqe Neuyh turned on his flashlight and shined it toward Maxx.  He entered the closet.

“Turn that light off,” Maxx said in a whisper.  “You can wait with us.  If Zith Fleen shows,  we can catch him together.”

Maxx, Art, and Lieutenant Neuyh waited in the dark—in the hall closet.  They didn’t say a word as they waited.

Time past as they waited.

Suddenly the patio door slid open.  Footsteps entered the dark home.

“Someone’s here,” Maxx whispered. The trio made ready to pounce on Zith Fleen as he approached the closet.

The lights flicked on.  Guiss Korter walked past the closet.  “Is anyone here?” he asked loudly.  “Coach Mydos said someone would be here.”

“We’re in here,” Maxx said somberly as he opened the door wide and walked through while carrying his bag.  Lieutenant Neuyh and Art followed.

“Nice night,” Guiss said politely.

Lieutenant Neuyh looked at Maxx angrily and said, “I told you this was a waste of time.”

Maxx said, “A waste of time for tonight anyway.  We’ll be going.”  He turned to Guiss and said, “I’ll be in touch when we have another plan.”

As Guiss stood bewildered and Lieutenant Neuyh fumed with anger, Maxx and Art quickly walked through the kitchen.  They exited through the patio door.

In the darkness, they quickly walked around the home.

As they approached the front of the house, they were dumbfounded—their jaws dropped.  Lieutenant Neuyh drove a Kinkorx Police Car.  He parked in front of Guiss Korter’s home.

They remained quiet as they casually walked down the well-lighted street toward Art’s blue convertible.  When they approached the car, they quickly jumped in.  Maxx tossed the bag into the back seat.

Art started the motor and drove down the street.  He turned the car around and began driving back toward Guiss’ home.

As they drove past, Lieutenant Neuyh walked out of the front door.  He walked to the police car and jumped in as Art and Maxx continued down the street and out of sight.

“I can’t believe it.  That was really dumb,” Art said as he drove.  “If Zith Fleen was here, he would have aborted his mission.”

“I don’t know what to say about that.  Maybe Lieutenant Neuyh was in such a hurry he didn’t realize what he did,” Maxx suggested.

As Art drove speedily away from the luxurious houses, he said, “Either he didn’t realize what he did or he blew the mission—Purposely.  Chief Pomur thinks the killer is someone else.  He couldn’t have been happy with our stakeout.  It does look a little suspicious.”

As they continued through Kinkorx, Maxx replied, “Your research is rarely wrong.  I still think Zith Fleen is the killer.  I’m sure we have the right target.”

Art was driving into Bedsult as he said, “We still need to catch Zith and stop his killing.  Let’s do another stakeout.”

Maxx replied, “I’ll call Coach Mydos tomorrow and get Guiss’ schedule.  Then we can plan another stakeout.”

Art asked as he hurriedly drove down Lypont Drive, “Are you going to contact the Kinkorx Police again?”

“Only if Coach Mydos insists,” Maxx replied.

Art turned into Maxx’s driveway and parked.  “I’ll call you after I talk to Coach Mydos,” said Maxx.

Art replied, “I’ll do more research and see what else I can learn.  We need all the information on psychopaths that we can find.”

“You’re right.  We don’t want to be surprised by anything.  I’ll do the same,” said Maxx.  He exited Art’s convertible.  “Tell your mom and dad I said hi.”

“Will do,” Art said.  He backed out of Maxx’s driveway and turned toward the Wyluxx Highway.  He began the long drive across the dark, nighttime desert, back home.

In the darkness, Maxx walked past the silver convertible as he stepped onto his porch.  He grabbed the newspaper and unlocked his door.  “I wonder if there’s anything good in this paper?” he mumbled.

He walked in and closed then Locked the door.  “I don’t want any psychopaths coming in this house while I’m sleeping,” he said.

Maxx glanced at the clock while carrying his newspaper into the kitchen.  “It’s after midnight.  That stakeout took all night just to end up a bust.  I can’t believe it.  What was Lieutenant Neuyh thinking?”

Maxx grabbed a water and snack from the fridge.  “I’m too wound up to sleep.  Maybe there’s something interesting in my newspaper.  If I read for a while, it’ll make me sleepy,” he said as he walked toward his recliner.

He placed his water and snack on the side table and sat.  Maxx took a sip of water and a bite of his food as he skimmed the front page.  A headline immediately caught his attention.  “I wonder how Chief Pomur likes headlines like these?  It wasn’t that long ago when the reporters were attacking me,” he thought.  He read the article by Girma Resior.

Chief Pomur Has No Leads in The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher Case

The Bedsult Daily News: Earlier today, I contacted the Kinkorx Police Department and requested a phone interview with Police Chief Pomur.  He was unavailable for my call as I was directed to Lieutenant Neuyh.

During a very brief phone interview, Lieutenant Neuyh stated, “At this time, we do not have any strong leads in the recent murders.”

I asked Aqe Neuyh if the KPD had reconsidered their position on Zith Fleen.  His short answer was, “We do not believe Zith Fleen is the killer.  We feel the killings are completely different and random.”

He followed with, “We are pursuing many different angles while we attempt to uncover the identity of the killers.  We are also working closely with the Xcuymir Sheriff Department.”

After the brief interview with Lieutenant Neuyh, I called General Sheriff Kein Mairytin of Xcuymir Territory.  I wanted a report on their progress on this alarming case.  I quickly learned that everyone was out of the office and unavailable for comment.

While Sheriff Mairytin and the Kinkorx Police persist in looking for a phantom killer, Zith Fleen remains free.  Are the local authorities right?  Is there another serial killer on the loose in this area?  Are we all in danger from two killers?  We can only hope the local authorities are wrong and Zith Fleen is The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher.

Only time will tell if the Slasher kills again.  Let’s hope another Horned Hares mesnuk player doesn’t have to be brutally killed and slashed before the authorities get on the right track.  Written by Girma Resior.

Maxx chuckled as he read the article.  He thought as he sat in his over-stuffed recliner, “It wasn’t so long ago that the reporters printed stories like this about me.  It doesn’t feel very good does it Chief Pomur?”

He took another nibble of his snack and downed it with water as he continued to read.

Soon, he saw another article that he thought amusing.  The story was via the news wire from The Wet lands News.  Maxx began to read the headline by Chief Editor, Vyll Pitmir.

Serial Killer Still On The Loose In Xcuymir – Local Authorities Baffled

The Wet Lands News: Today this newspaper received more disturbing news from the authorities in Xcuymir Territory.  I spoke briefly with Police Chief Pomur of the Kinkorx Police Department after a long wait on hold.

I asked him if his department had made any progress in the Slasher case.  His response was brief, concerning, and unexpected.  He stated while seemingly angry and in a rush, “We do not feel there is a Slasher.  Those rumors are unsubstantiated.  The recent killings were random in nature.  You and the rest of the media are creating a phantom Slasher that does not exist.  You’re causing unnecessary panic.”

As I asked a follow-up question, I was cut off and Police Chief Pomur ended the conversation.  He stated, “As you’ve indicated, I have a killer to catch.  I am very busy.  If you will excuse me.”  Then he hung up the phone.

At The Wet Lands News, we certainly appreciate how busy Chief Pomur and the rest of his department are.  We would never suggest otherwise.

Sesla is a small planet.  It is reasonable to be concerned that without capture, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher, as he is referred in Xcuymir, could easily venture to the wet lands.  Zith Fleen could stretch his reign of brutal killings into this area.

The wet lands already have a terrorist’s gang.  Mustler and the Gang of Five seem to be more than the local authorities can handle.  The last thing the GCPD, KPD, and the residents here need is a serial killer.

At The Wet Lands News, we are hopeful that Police Chief Pomur and Sheriff Mairytin can catch Zith Fleen quickly.  We have confidence that he will be back in Xcuymir Correctional Facility where he escaped from, due to the local authorities diligence.

Maxx laughed loudly as he completed the article by Vyll Pitmir, the Chief Editor of The Wet Lands News.  “The local authorities – diligent?” he asked loudly while laughing.  “The only diligence that’s going to catch Zith Fleen is ours.”

Maxx continued to skim through the paper as he finished his light snack.

He yawned.  “I knew reading the paper would make me sleepy,” he said tiredly.  He glanced at his wristwatch.  “Oh my.  It’s 2:00am.  I need to get to bed.  I want to take a stroll in the morning before I call Coach Midas.”

Maxx stood and gathered his empty containers and remains.  While leaving the newspaper on the table, he walked to the kitchen.  He tossed the snack remains into his trashcan.  “Coach Mydos is going to be shocked when I tell him how Lieutenant Neuyh botched the stakeout,” he said as he walked out of the kitchen.  He yawned as he walked.

After a quick stop in the washroom to freshen up and change into sleep-ware, he walked to his bedroom.  “I’ll have to shorten my morning stroll.  I want to call Coach Mydos early.  We need Guiss Korter’s schedule to make our plans.”

Maxx sat on his bed.  He thought aloud as he slowly crawled into the middle of his king-sized bed, “This certainly has been an interesting day.  I was shocked beyond belief when I saw the police car in front of Guiss’ home.  Chief Pomur insists Zith Fleen isn’t the killer.  It’s arguable that our stakeout was purposefully sabotaged.

I hope Coach Mydos doesn’t stipulate that I need to call the KPD again.  I think we will have to work independently of the authorities to catch Zith Fleen – like we always do,” he mumbled.

He chuckled as he lies in his bed.  He mumbled, “It’s amazing how often we have to work outside the local authorities to solve our cases.  It’s no wonder the police don’t like us.  When we catch Zith Fleen, and we will, we are going to make Chief Pomur and the KPD look incompetent.  ”

Maxx laughed again.  “That won’t be good for our relationship,” he mumbled.

“I need to sleep.  I have another busy day tomorrow,” he said as he closed his eyes.

In seconds be drifted into sleep.  As he slept, be began to dream about Zith Fleen and his pet wolf.  He dreamt The Melá-Jutis was fighting them is Guiss Korter’s home.  The nightmare battle was severe and bloody.  The horrifying dream continued through the remainder of the night.

Maxx drifted into and back out of restful sleep as he rolled and tossed until early morning—due to the violent dreams.

Chapter Thirteen

The Next Morning

Sesla’s sun rose in the early morning sky over Bedsult.  The desert birds were singing their beautiful morning songs to welcome the new day.  The desert breeze was still silent as it often is before being stirred by the warm sun.

Maxx was finally drifting into a more restful sleep as the natural events of the morning were taking place.  He was sleeping without rolling and his heart rate was calm.

The morning continued as Sesla’s sun rose higher in the sky.  The warm rays caused the wind to increase.  The bright rays and wind gently flowed through Maxx’s bedroom window.  His curtains began flapping back and forth with the gentle, warm breeze.

Maxx continued to sleep soundly in his warm bed.  His horrifying nightmares had stopped.  His pulse was regular for sleeping.  He was quiet as the sunshine and warm breeze entered through his open window.

As the morning progressed, while in a deep sleep, Maxx rolled and covered his face.  Under the shade of the blankets, he continued to sleep.

The warm breeze and sunshine continued to roll into the room as he slept.  He lies quietly under the blanket as he remained in his REM state of sleep.

Several more hours past as he lie quietly while his eyes moved rapidly under the lids.  Sesla’s sun rose higher in the morning sky.

The curtains blew gently back and forth with the warm breeze.  The bean of morning sunshine was almost fully receded as Sesla’s sun neared the zenith in the sky.  Maxx drifted quickly out of his deep sleep.  He began to stir.

After several more minutes, Maxx opened his eyes.  He moaned, “Another night of horrible  nightmares.”  He turned and gazed through tired eyes at his clock.  “What!” he groaned shockingly.  “It’s nearly noon.”

He moaned as he rolled and sat on the side of the large bed.  He said with irritation, “I slept all morning again.”  He rubbed his soar head.  “It’s too late for a stroll.  I don’t feel much life walking anyway.”

He stood.  “I need a cup of tea.  My head and stomach don’t feel so good.”  He trudged out of the bedroom and struggled toward to kitchen.  “These nightmares have to stop.  I’m so wrapped up in my research on psychopathy and Zith Fleen—it’s causing horrible nightmares.  I can’t sleep.”

Maxx started the water.  “A cup of tea will help my head and stomach,” he said as he leaned on the kitchen counter.”  As he supported himself with the counter and gazed into thin air, his water heated.

“That’s good,” he mumbled as he grabbed the cup.  He dropped the tea bag into the hot water and splashed it several times.  He drew the cup to his lips.  After blowing, he took a sip.  “That’s good,” he said as he leaned.  He took another.

Maxx slowly ambled toward the living room while carrying his tea.  After placing the cup on his side table next to last night’s newspaper, he sat.  He grabbed the remote and turned on his flat screen.

The large TV immediately powered and Kinkorx TV News began to air.  The noon news program was on.  Maxx picked up yesterday’s copy of The Bedsult Daily News and began  skimming again as he sipped tea and inattentively listened.

“In other news,” anchor Meez Broplen reported, “Last night’s performance by the Horned Hares against the Mighty Doxers at Tos-Xiron can only be called dismal.  During their impressive victory, the sea Doxers maintained control the entire game—they seemingly scored at will against the lackluster hares.”

Maxx watched with attention as Meez Broplen continued the report about last night’s mesnuk game.

“Adding to the hare’s misery, the doxers performed a late game surge.  The final score was the Doxers – 12, and the Horned Hares – 2.

The entire game was televised here live last night.  As always, Kinkorx TV Sports anchor Derrix Weyd, the official voice of the Kinkorx Horned Hares was there and covered the game.  Also present was Kinkorx TV program director Stin Gismurr.  He insured to the quality of the broadcast.

Coach Mydos and the horned hares have a lot of work to do if they are going to be successful in “It’s the Rallies.”

“In other news,” Meez Broplen said, “There…

Maxx thought as he returned to skimming the newspaper and listening distractedly to the news broadcast, “Guiss didn’t mention the defeat last night.  I probably wouldn’t have either.”

He grabbed the cup for another sip.  He said, “I need more tea.”  Maxx sat the newspaper down and stood.  He walked to the kitchen with his teacup.  “I’m starting to feel better.  This tea is helping,” he said as he entered the kitchen.

As he prepared more tea, he thought, “Coach Mydos can’t be happy with his team right now.  He doesn’t need these other distractions.”

Maxx placed the new tea bag in the cup and bounced it up and down as he stood without leaning on the counter.  “Let’s see what else is in the paper,” he said.  With his fresh tea, he sauntered back to his plush recliner.

He placed the tea on the table and sat.  He grabbed the cup and took a quick sip.

Maxx continued to read the newspaper more thoroughly as he paid less attention to the news broadcast.  “I can’t believe the horned hares were beaten so badly.  The doxers are a mediocre team at best.  Coach Mydos is no doubt upset.  He said they needed to win that game,” he chuckled as he thought and skimmed, “From a coach’s perspective, all games are a matter of life and death.”

After several minutes of casual skimming, as he sipped the tea, he thought, “How did I miss this?”  The story was from The Wet Lands News via the news wire.  The headline by reporter Veem Weazan read: Wet Lands Businesses Recovering From Gang of Five Attacks

The Wet Lands News: After months of countless daily phone calls reporting Joqzonion space ship sightings, our phones have been silent on that matter.  This newspaper has not received a call from worried citizens since the day of terror a week ago.

As we all remember, Mustler and the Gang of Five, along with numerous Joqs attacked businesses in Meslerr and Guytic City.  That act of terrorism was a week ago.  Since then, Mustler and his gang have been silent.  Not a single wet lands resident has reported seeing a Joq saucer or the Gang of Five.

The shops that were attacked during that horrific raid are being quickly rebuilt and will be open for business soon.  Many of them will be reopening with new owners.

Even though citizens remain on high alert, everyone is breathing a little easier due to the gang’s silence.  We hope this pattern continues and there are no more Joqzonions on Sesla.  We also hope the Gang of Five has somehow been neutralized…

Maxx continued to sip his tea as he finished the article.  “No one wants the Gang of Five and the Joqs neutralized more than The Melá-Jutis.  I wouldn’t want to have to fight them again anytime soon,” he thought as he read.

He quickly searched through the newspaper for more articles.  “That’s it.  Nothing more of interest,” he thought.  Maxx glanced at the TV.  “The news is over.”

Maxx gazed at the wall clock.  “It’s after 1:00 o-clock.  The news would be over.”  He grabbed the remote and pushed the off button.

His large flat screen went grey as he sat the remote down.  “I feel a lot better now.  It’s time to call Coach Mydos,” he thought.  While carrying his tea, Maxx stood and walked to his office.

He entered and sat before the database.  After taking another sip, he sat the cup down and picked up the phone.  He dialed the coaches work number.  Maxx took another sip as the phone began to ring.

At the Horned Hares Practice Field in Downtown Kinkorx

Coach Mydos was angrily sitting at his desk.  He was reviewing the game film from last night’s shellacking by the Tos-Xiron Doxers.  As he watched and took notes, his phone began to ring.  He sighed angrily as he grabbed the annoying phone.  “Coach Mydos,” he answered angrily.

“Good afternoon Coach Mydos.  This is Detective Zeqster.”

Mydos paused the game film.  “Yes…Detective Zeqster,” he said with irritation, “How did your stakeout go?”

Maxx paused before answering.  “I’d say, it went about as well as your game.”

That answer caught Mydos completely off guard.  “What happened?” he asked with shock.

Maxx replied, “We did just like I told you.  We tried to imagine how Zith Fleen would carry out his attack.  Art and I hid in a closet and waited…”

Coach Mydos sighed with irritation as he listened.

Maxx heard the sigh of irritation and shortened his story even more.  “Lieutenant Neuyh arrived later and joined our stakeout.  Zith Fleen never showed.  We left when Guiss arrived.”

“That’s it!” demanded Mydos.

Maxx grinned slightly.  “Not exactly,” he replied.

“What else happened?”  Mydos asked with anger and exasperation.

Maxx grinned slightly as replied, “When we left the home, we walked around to the front of the house.  Lieutenant Neuyh drove a police car to the stakeout—”

“So what!”  Mydos said when he interrupted.  “He can drive whatever he wants,” Coach Mydos said with anger.

Maxx replied, “I would agree.  The police car wasn’t the problem—”

Mydos interrupted again.  “Then what was the problem?” he asked strongly.

Maxx patiently continued.  “When Lieutenant Neuyh arrived, he parked the Kinkorx Police Car in front of Guiss’ home.  Right in front!”

“He did what?” demanded Coach Mydos loudly as he exploded with rage.

Maxx added, “He parked where Zith Fleen could not miss the car.”

“Why would he do that?” demanded Mydos again while still in a fury.

Maxx replied, “You’ll have to ask him that question yourself.  As I said, we saw the car after we left.”

Mydos paused for a moment as his temper raged.  He sighed deeply to regain control.  “What are your plans?” he asked as he tried to control his temper.

“That’s why I’m calling,” Maxx replied.  “I need to know what the schedule is.  Don’t the players get the day off after a game?”

Mydos replied as his anger subsided, “Normally they do.  However, as you pointed out, last night’s game was a disaster...No—it was worse than that.  After games like that, I punish the team.”

Maxx asked, “I’ve never heard of your punishment.  What do you do?”

Coach Mydos stated, “It’s simple.  I take away their day off and make them run.”

“Is Guiss practicing now?”  Maxx asked with anticipation.

“The entire teams here.  They’re running the track,” Coach replied with irritation.

“How long have you had this policy?”  Maxx asked.

“As long as I’ve been here,” he replied.

Maxx smiled.  “Does Zith Fleen know about your rule?” he asked.

“Sure!  I did the same thing when he played,” Mydos stated.

Maxx questioned, “How long will they be practicing today?”

Mydos replied, “My punishment practices are always the longest.  I’ll keep them running until it’s too dark to see.  You’d think they would learn.  Every occasionally they play like children.  That’s when I take away their day off and make them run.”

Maxx smiled and wiggled his lips.  He thought, “I have an idea.”  He said, “Today sounds like something only the players know about.”

“Probably,” replied Coach.

Maxx continued, “Guiss will be running for the rest of the day.  Zith Fleen is probably hiding in Kinkorx somewhere and knows this.  I think he’ll try again tonight.  I would like to do another stakeout.”  He paused.  “Do you wish for me to include the KPD in further stakeouts?”

“Are you kidding?”  Mydos asked as he laughed.  “Just to give Lieutenant Neuyh another change to mess it up.  Forget the police!  Catch that psychopath before he kills anyone else.”

Maxx smiled.  “Can you inform Guiss of our presence in his house again tonight?” he asked.

“Of course.  After practice,” said Coach Mydos.

“Thank you and sorry about the game,” Maxx replied.

“Me too,” Mydos said.  “We needed to win that game.  I need to check on their running.  Let me know how this stakeout goes.  I’ll inform Mr. Grexenn of this call.  Good luck,” he said.  He hung up the phone.

Coach Mydos hurried out of his office toward the players as they speedily circled the track.

Back at Maxx Zeqster’s Home in Bedsult

Maxx sat at his data base while still in his sleep-ware.  “That went better than I could have possibly imagined.  I need another cup of tea before I call Art.  We have a stakeout tonight – and no more police!” he said strongly as he smiled.

While carrying his cup, he walked to the kitchen.

He began preparing another cup of tea.  “Those players will be running track all day.  That’s some punishment,” he thought as the tea warmed.

“That should be good,” he said.  Maxx dropped a fresh tea bag into the hot water.  He started back to the office.  “Art will be surprised.  We thought the next operation would have to wait for days,” he said as he walked.

After a brief stop in the lavatory, he continued to his computer.  He sat and took a sip.  “That’s so good.  I’m feeling much better,” he said.  “It’s time to call Art.”

Maxx picked up his DunyII and dialed Art’s DunyII number.

At the Home of Detective Art Nekuma in Wyluxx City

Art was sitting at the desk in his large, home office.  He was learning all he could about psychopathy before they conducted another stakeout.  As he researched, his duny began to sing.  It sang a somber song.  He picked it up and looked at the caller Id.  He grinned when he read the number.

“Hi Detective Zeqster!”  Art said excitedly into his DunyII.

“Hi Art.  How did you sleep last night?”  Maxx asked.

“Probably a lot like you slept.  I dreamt about psychopaths all night.  I even dreamt we were fighting Zith Fleen and his wolf,” Art replied.

“That sounds a lot like my night.  I’ll be glad when we catch him and he’s behind bars again.  Then I’ll stop reading all these reports.  Their keeping me awake at night,” Maxx stated.

“I’ve been doing research since I woke.  This stuff’s really scary,” Art replied.

“I just spoke with Coach Mydos.  He’s punishing the players due to their dismal performance last night,” said Maxx.

“I heard the game was embarrassing,” said Art.  “The hares got beat – Bad!”

“Coach Mydos is taking away their day off and making them run.  Their running now.  He’s having them run until dark,” Maxx reported.

“Wow!  That’s rough.  I wouldn’t want to play for him.  Actually, I wouldn’t want to play mesnuk at all.  I’m not a runner,” said Art.

Maxx laughed.  “He said this has been his policy as long as he’s been a coach.  He punished his players this way when Zith Fleen was a horned hare.”

Art smiled.  “Zith Fleen knows the players are running today.  It’s a good possibility he’ll try again tonight.”

Maxx chuckled.  “Right as always.  I told Coach Mydos we would perform another stakeout tonight.”

“Are you calling Lieutenant Neuyh?”  Art asked.

“After I told Coach Mydos about the police car incident, he told me not to call the Kinkorx Police again.  He’ll inform Jeqrix Grexenn of his decision,” said Maxx.

“Cool.  I’ll drive to your place.  I’ll leave after I tell my parents,” said Art with excitement.

“That’ll be good.  Hopefully we can end this case tonight and put Zith Fleen behind bars again.  See you when you get here,” Maxx said.

 Art ended the call on his DunyII.  “This is going to be fun.  I hope we catch that psychopath tonight,” he said.  “I need to tell mom and dad.”

Art walked out of his office and headed toward the patio door.

Upon reaching it, he slid the glass door open and walked through.  He shielded his eyes from bright sun light with his hand as he approached them.

His parents were sitting on their loungers while playing cards.  They were reclining under large patio umbrellas to shield themselves from the mid-afternoon sun.  They were both wearing their new sunglasses.

“Hi honey,” said Lyndi as she saw Art while wearing her new, very fashionable sunglasses.  “Two cards,” she said to Rydon as she threw two cards onto the patio table between them.

“Hi son.  It’s a beautiful afternoon,” Rydon declared as he gave Lyndi two cards.  He was wearing his new sunglasses as well.  “Thanks for the sunglasses.  They work really well.  Your mother looks very fashionable in her new glasses – don’t you think?”

Lyndi looked up briefly from her cards and grinned while showing off her designer sunglasses.

“You look great mom!  I’m glad you like your sunglasses.  I’m going to Detective Zeqster’s home.  We’re doing the stakeout again tonight,” said Art.

“Is that bone-head cop going to be there again?”  Rydon asked as he looked at his wife Lyndi.  “Wasn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?  Parking in front of the house like that.  Did he actually thing the Slasher was going to go in with his car in front?”

Lyndi replied, “Really stupid!…  Two cards please.”

“Do you two ever play a different card game?”  Art asked.

“She likes this one,” said Rydon with a smirk.  He turned toward Lyndi and handed her two cards.

“I’ll be home late,” said Art.

“Good luck honey.  Hope you catch him,” said Lyndi as she scrutinized her cards.

“Get the Slasher son.  Put him behind bars where he belongs,” said Rydon.

As his parents continued to play cards in the bright mid-afternoon sunshine, Art walked back inside.  As he walked toward his office he mumbled, “I’m glad Lieutenant Neuyh won’t be there.  It makes me nervous being so close to a cop.  I’ve learned not to trust any of them—especially the powerful ones.”  He snickered as he remembered Chief Zog Morxoc.  “I hope he’s enjoying his prison sentence,” Art said.

He walked into the large office and grabbed his keys.

Art walked out of the office and hurried toward the front door.

After exiting, he hastily walked across the porch toward his car.  “Guiss Korter won’t be home until well after dark.  That gives us plenty of time to get there and hide in his closet.  I hope we catch him tonight.  I’m getting tired of reading these sick articles about psychopaths.  This stuff’s giving me nightmares,” he muttered as he jumped into his blue convertible.

He started the motor.  Immediately the loud Rock music blasted.  Art backed out of the nicely paved driveway onto Sunny Trail Drive.  He put the transmission in forward and drove his older, mid-sized convertible down the street.

“It’s very bright,” he said.  He grabbed his new sunglasses and put them on.

Art continued through the Wyluxx City suburb toward Wyluxx Highway.  “I’m anxious to get over there and begin the stakeout.  I hope we’re right.  I hope Zith and his wolf so up,” he said as his music played loudly.

As Art continued to talk and think about the case, he drove closer to the highway.

In minutes, he slowed and turned toward Bedsult.  As he drove along the Wyluxx Highway toward the open desert, he listened to the Rock music and planned.  As he mostly talked, Art imagined every possible move Zith could make.  “He won’t hide in the kitchen.  There are too many knives and pans readily available.  He would be easily beaten in there.

I still think he’ll force Guiss into the bedroom and try to kill him on the bed—like Ti Gurmis.  I think that was his plan all along.  From what I’ve read, that’s how psychopaths think,” he said as he drove.

Art drove across the vast desert toward Bedsult.  He was oblivious to the natural beauty of the multi-colored sand or the ancient colorful, metallic stone formations.  Nor did he notice the aromatic smells from the host of desert flowers in full bloom.  He continued driving while Jamming to his Rock music and planning every move he thought Zith Fleen would make.

“I hope The Melá-Jutis can handle that wolf.  I’m sure it’ll be there.  It’s been at every murder.  That wolfs a killer – just like Zith Fleen,” he said as he drove closer to his destination.

“I wonder when Zith will arrive.  We have to be there first.  Even if we wait a long time in his closet—we need to be there first,” Art stated while driving.

Soon, as he drove and planned, he neared the Bedsult turnoff.  “I’m really excited.  This is going to be fun.”

Art slowed and turned into Bedsult.  He drove into the suburb as he continued to be unaware of the beautiful natural surroundings.  He focused on the mission.  “Zith won’t attack in the living room.  The furniture could be used as a shield,” he thought.

Art continued through the small neighborhood.  “We’ll have to park in a different place – maybe even further away,” he said as he drove.

Soon, as Sesla’s late afternoon sun shone less intently, he turned onto Lypont Drive.  “I can’t wait to get going,” he said as he smiled.

Art was still deep into planning as he slowed and parked on the street in front of Maxx’s home.  While focusing on the stakeout, he exited his convertible and walked up the walkway.  He didn’t notice the new, silver convertible parked in Maxx’s driveway as he walked beside it — only feet away.

“Everything should go as planned,” he muttered as he walked up the steps and onto Maxx’s front porch.  He knocked on Maxx’s door.

Art was still deep in planning when the door opened.

“Hi Art,” said Maxx.  “Please come in.”  Maxx politely held the door open.

“Hi Detective Zeqster,” Art replied as he walked into his partner’s welcoming home.  “I’ve been doing a lot of planning.  I hope we can out think Zith Fleen.”

Maxx closed the door.  “It’s a little early – still.  Please have a seat.  We’ll talk.”

Art approached the sectional sofa and sat while Maxx walked to the kitchen.  He opens the fridge and grabbed two bottles of water.  With the waters, he walked to the living room.

After handing Art water, he sat in his recliner.

“Thanks,” said Art with a delay due to his preoccupation with the case.

“Sure,” Maxx replied as he opened the bottle and took a sip.

Art took a sip.  Then he said, “I’ve been reading a lot of articles, medical journals,   and other reports about psychopathy personality disorder.”

Maxx replied, “So have I.  I must admit, this information is giving me nightmares.  I’m not sleeping very well.”  He frowned as he took another sip.  “Last night was bad.  Only minutes ago, I finally changed out of my sleep-ware.”  He frowned again.

“I know what you mean,” Art said as he took a sip.  “I’ll be glad when this case is over.  Reading all these disturbing, scary reports is causing me to have nightmares – too.”

“I think we’re right so far on everything,” Maxx replied.  “Zith Fleen’s probably hiding somewhere in Kinkorx where he has access to information.  I’m sure he knows that Coach Mydos is punishing the players after the dismal performance in Tos-Xiron last night.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Art said.  “Also, no other horned hares player have been killed in two weeks.  I think he keeps trying to kill Guiss Korter before he moves down his list.  His list and organization is very important to him.”

Maxx took another sip.  “From our reading, I think we have a reasonable understand of how he thinks.”

“I’m hoping that nothing he does will catch us off guard,” said Art as he took another sip.

“The Melá-Jutis will handle the wolf,” Maxx stated as he bobbed his head.

“I hope so.  That wolf sounds savage.  According to the witness who saw Zith and the wolf kill Nead Beeing, the wolf’s big, and it’s vicious – it’s a killer,” Art said with concern.

“I shouldn’t have any problems.  If I can handle an army of Joqs and their space ships, I can kill that wolf.  Don’t worry,” Maxx insisted.

Art changed the subject to ease his anxieties.  “After looking over the entire house, I still think the hall closet is the best place to hide.”

“That would seem like the best place to me,” Maxx replied.

“I wanted to ask you—what did Coach Mydos say when you told him about Lieutenant Neuyh and the police car?”  Art asked.

“When I called him, he was already angry with his team.  He was making them run laps.  So, he was very impatient with me from the beginning,” Maxx replied.  “I explained briefly— very briefly, how the stakeout went and that we left when Guiss arrived home.  I told him we saw the police car parked in front of Guiss’ home as we walked away.”

Art asked excitedly, “What did he say?”

“As you might expect, he exploded.  That’s when he said not to involve the police again.  He’s plans to inform Jeqrix Grexenn of his decision,” Maxx explained.

“So he’s making them run all day?”  Art asked as he shook his head.  “I couldn’t be a mesnuk player,” he said.

Maxx chuckled.  “Neither could I…We’re still a bit early.”  He glanced at the clock.  “The evening news is on.  Let’s see if Meez Broplen has anything interesting.”  He grabbed the remote and turned on his big screen TV.

After only seconds, the TV was on and Meez Broplen was beginning the evening news program.  “Our top story this evening is in Wyluxx City.  Pymur Muxx is there with a live report.”

The TV Switched to Inside of a Retail Store in Wyluxx City

“Thank you Meez.  I am Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx.  I’m standing in the rear of the Kicnix Casual Wear clothing store in Wyluxx City.  Less than two hours ago, an explosion ripped a large hole in this wall.”

The camera technician showed the large gaping hole in the outer wall as Pymur continued with his live report.

“Luckily no employees or customers were injured in the explosion.  The damage was limited to this wall obviously, and numerous shelving in the area—as well as clothing.

The store manager immediately called Wyluxx City Police.  In minutes, Wyluxx City Police and Fire Departments were on the scene.  After the arrival of the emergency personnel, the store was evacuated of all employees.

Officials have closed the store until an investigation by WCPD can be completed.  Repairs must also be made before the store is ready to reopen.  The owner, Trezor Kicnix, is assessing the damages with the Wyluxx City Police.

At this time, a motive or a suspect for this bombing is not known.  The only information the police were willing to share with me was that their initial finds suggest this was an act of terrorism—poorly organized terrorism.  They feel the terrorist is inadequately trained and the effort was very feebly planned—thus the minimal damage and luckily no fatalities.  The WCPD feels this was the work of an unintelligent, perhaps maladroit, terrorist bomber.

I am Pymur Muxx.  Reporting live from the Kicnix Casual Wear clothing store in Wyluxx City.  Back to you Meez.

The Station Switched to the Kinkorx TV Newsroom

Meez Broplen continued.  “In other news today…

Art was shocked as he watched the news story from Wyluxx City.  “I was just in that store a few days ago.  I bought three pairs of sunglasses.  I go in there all the time,” he said.

“Did you see anything suspicious when you were in there?”  Maxx asked.

He shook his head as he answered, “No—nothing.  That store is always busy.  They have a large selection—and good prices too.  Actually, many of our clothes have come from there.  When I brought my mom and dad home from Dunjyn Asylum, they didn’t have any clothes.  I bought a lot of outfits really fast.”  He frowned.  “It seems I’m still buying a lot of garments from there.”

Maxx laughed.  “There’s nothing like a family.  Someday, I hope to have a family myself.”

Art replied, “I’ll stop in there tomorrow and see what happened.”

Maxx asked, “Do you have any suspicions?”  He took another sip of water.

“No I don’t,” Art replied, “All I know is, and Trezor Kicnix and Girzi Kicnix own six stores.  Two in Wyluxx City—one was bombed today.  A store in Horxant and one in Nivcozz.  A store in Jxobslyn and one in Soxtuss.  The Wyluxx City store that was bombed was their last store to open and it’s the largest—by far.  I’ve been in all six.  The prices are all the same.  I heard Tremor and Girzi Kicnix were working on adding several stores in Kinkorx.  I don’t know what’s happening with those.”  He shrugged his shoulders.  “The stores are plain but ok.  They all have many clothes.  I can’t imagine why anyone would set off a bomb in that store.”

“It doesn’t sound like the authorities know what happened.  Maybe it’s a good idea to check it out and see what you can learn,” Maxx replied.

“I’ll see what I can find out.  I hope there are no more bombings.  We don’t need more problems right now,” Art declared.

“We certainly don’t,” Maxx agreed.  He looked at the wall clock and bobbed his head.  “It’s time we drove to Guiss’ home.”

Art said excitedly, “It’s time for our big stakeout.”

Maxx chuckled.  “Let me grab my bag.”  He stood and walked to the office.

He picked up the same bag that he carried on the first stakeout and walked back.  “Do you mind driving again?”  Maxx asked.

Art replied, as he stood, “Not at all.  I think we need to park in a different place this time.  I don’t know if Zith Fleen cased the street.”

“He probably did,” Maxx replied.  “You’re right.  We need to take every precaution.  It would not be a good thing for our car to spook him.”

They walked toward the door and Maxx opened it.  Art walked through and Maxx followed while carrying the same bag of tools.  He locked the door and followed Art.

“How do you like the car?”  Art asked as he glanced at the convertible as he walked along the sidewalk toward his blue convertible.

Maxx replied as he walked, “I haven’t driven it yet.  Kotor Buknus told me it’s new—with more features.  I’ve always liked a red convertible…Maybe it’s time for a change?”  He bobbed his head as he walked.  “More accessories would be nice.”

Art said cheerfully as he stepped into his blue convertible, “And silver’s good.  The Joqs won’t look for you in a silver convertible.”

Maxx climbed in and said, “You’re right.  I’ll get at least one attack before they discover I’m driving a different car.”  He placed the bag in the back seat.

Art started the motor and drove down Lypont Drive away from Maxx’s home.  “I’m anxious to start the stakeout,” he said.

Maxx replied, “So am I.  I’m anxious to catch Zith Fleen and put him behind bars again.  I don’t know what will become of his pet wolf.  We’ll have to wait and see.”

Chapter Fourteen
Art drive through Bedsult as Sesla’s sun was dropping into the evening sky.  “I wonder how long we’ll have to wait before Zith and his wolf show up?” he asked as he drove.

Maxx replied, “It’s hard to know.  We’ll have to stay hidden in the hall closet and wait.”

“I can’t wait to see the expression on his face when we jump out of the closet,” said Art as he drove toward the outer limits of Bedsult.

Maxx replied, “I hope Guiss Korter doesn’t get in the way and get hurt.”

“I hope so too,” Art replied.  “He’s really fast and strong.  I watched him for hours on those game films.”

“That’s good,” said Maxx.  “If he’s really fast, the wolf won’t catch him before we catch the wolf.”

Art continued to drive into Kinkorx as he said, “I can’t imagine a wolf that rips coteries apart just for the fun.  The bodies were not eaten.  All of the parts were accounted for.”

“I can’t imagine that either,” said Maxx.  “I do know, we need to do whatever we have to do to stop that wolf—even if that means killing it.”

“That won’t be easy.  But then, neither will catch Zith Fleen,” Art replied.

“When Zith arrives, we’ll need to work together.  We’ll have to keep him inside to capture him,” Maxx stated.

They continued farther into Kinkorx.  Art said as he drove, “Guiss’ neighborhood is just ahead.  I can’t believe he lives in such an Expensive area.”  He said with exclamation.

“He does indeed,” said Maxx.  “I’m not sure he makes enough Joxels by playing mesnuk to live in that neighborhood.”

“There’s his road,” said Art as he slowed and turned.  They began driving down the upper-class road that Guiss Korter lives on.

Before long as Art drove, he said, “Guiss Korter’s house is just ahead.  Maybe we should park along here.”  He began to slow.

“Good idea,” said Maxx.  “It’s probably wise to park in a different place.”

Art slowly drove to the side of the street and parked.  “What do you think?”  Art asked.

“I think this will do splendidly,” Maxx declared.  He grabbed his bag from the back seat.

They exited Art’s convertible and walked casually and quietly along the flawless sidewalk toward Guiss’ home.  When they reached his house, they walked to the back yard.

Maxx and Art walked to the patio door.  Maxx reached inside his bag and grabbed the tools.  He placed the bag on the ground.  He inserted the tool into the lock – just like before.  He twisted and jiggled the tool for a brief moment.

“That’s got it,” he said.  “Just like before.”  He slid the door open.  Maxx grabbed his bag and put the tools back in.  He stepped into the darkening home as Art followed and slid the door closed again.

“Guiss will be home a lot earlier tonight,” Maxx said as they walked farther into the home.  “The sun is setting.  It’ll be dark in an hour.  Running practice will be over.  It won’t take him long to drive home.”

Art replied, “Zith and his wolf could be here before long.  We should hide.”

“Let’s take a quick look around and see how everything looks.  Then we’ll hide in the closet,” Maxx said as he continued walking and observing while carrying his bag.

As Art was becoming anxious, and the house was darkening, they walked.  They checked out the large, overstocked kitchen.  “Guiss has a lot of cooking equipment.  I’ve never seen so many kitchen gadgets and knives.  He has enough tools to open a cutlery store,” Art declared.

Maxx chuckled as he walked, “Being a mesnuk player, he probably eats a lot.  Maybe he likes to cook and entertain.”

“As big as he is, he probably eats a lot,” said Art as they moved to the living room.

Maxx said as he scanned the room, “Nothing’s changed in here.”

“This living room’s huge.  He must do a lot of entertaining in here,” said Art.

They walked toward the entrance area.  “This is where the attack will probably begin,” said Maxx.  “There’s very little to use as a weapon or a shield.”

“If Zith blocks the kitchen and living room while the wolf blocks the front door, the only escape is upstairs,” said Art.

“Let’s take a look up there before it gets too dark to see,” Maxx said as he started  up the stairs. “We have to stop Zith before he runs Guiss up here.  I’m sure that’s his plan.”

Art nervously followed.  “He probably plans to kill Guiss Korter the same way he killed Ti Gurmis—in his bedroom,” he said as he walked upstairs behind Maxx.

Once upstairs, they walked into the master bedroom.  Maxx and Art looked around.  “This is the largest bedroom I’ve ever seen,” said Art.  “It’s not that this house has a lot of extra rooms—the rooms are gigantic.”

Maxx chuckled as he walked.  “These are indeed very large rooms.”

They walked into the rear guest bedrooms.  “These small bedrooms are bigger than my mom’s room.  She has the biggest bedroom in our house,” said Art as he mentally measured.

After several minutes of walking around and studying the upstairs, Maxx and Art walked toward the stairs.  As they walked, the house was becoming darker.  As Art’s anxieties continued to grow, they started down the dark, plush, turning staircase.

“We should hide,” Art said nervously as they reached the lower level.  “Zith Fleen will be here soon.  Guiss will be arriving home from mesnuk practice before long.”

“Perhaps you’re right,” Maxx replied, “We should hide.”  He walked to the hall closet as Art followed.  While carrying his bag of tools, Maxx opened the closet door and walked in—Art anxiously followed.

Maxx closed the door to only a peep while placing his bag on the floor.  He and Art stood in the darkness.  “I can see both doors from here,” Maxx said as he opened the door slightly and peeked.  “When Zith Fleen and his wolf try to sneak in, we can jump them.”

Art replied, “I know we’re right.  He’ll be here any minute.”

They waited in the large, dark, closet as Maxx peered through the small opening.  The dark silhouettes in the house made it difficult for him to see.

Several minutes past as they stood quietly.

“You should change into your super-hero suit,” Art stated quietly as he stood blindly in the dark while brushing into several luxurious evening jackets.

Maxx nodded his head in the darkness as he said, “That’s a good idea.”  He began to remove his casual shirt.  Suddenly he heard the back patio door slide open.  “Someone’s coming,” Maxx said quietly to Art.  He stopped removing his shirt and stared through the small door opening into the dark kitchen – at the patio door.  The dark silhouettes made it almost impossible to see.

As they stood quietly and motionless in the dark closet, they heard, footsteps walk into the house.  “Someone’s inside,” he whispered quietly to Art.

The kitchen and hall lights turned on.  “Is anyone here?”  Guiss Korter asked loudly after turning on the lights.

Maxx continued to peek through the small opening.  “It’s Guiss Korter,” he whispered to Art.

Guiss began walking into his lighted kitchen.  He tossed his keys on the counter.

Suddenly, a hand reached through the still open door and turned off the lights.  In the darkness, Zith Fleen and his large grey wolf entered through the patio door behind him.

Maxx was again blinded by the darkness as he peered through the slightly open closet door.  “What?” he asked quietly with confusion as he felt the strange vibrations.

Guiss turned toward the patio door.  He saw the silhouette of someone and the silhouette of a large animal.  His anxieties exploded.  His heart pounded in his fit chest.  He could smell the stench of wild animal.  As he panicked, he asked, “Who are you?”

While in the darkness, the wolf began to growl ferociously as it exposed it’s large, deadly teeth.  The wolf slowly stepped toward Guiss as it growled savagely.

“You!”  Guiss said in a panic when he realized it was Zith Fleen and his wolf.  “I had nothing to do with it!” he screamed in the darkness.

“Kill him Neechehe!”  Zith ordered loudly.

“Melá-Jutis!”  Maxx yelled from the closet.

Neechehe sprung at Guiss as he tried to run behind a kitchen island.  In the darkness, the large grey wolfleaped and grabbed Guiss’ leg with her large, powerful teeth.

The long, sharp teeth ripped through Guiss’ flesh.  “Aaahhh!” he screamed as his blood splattered around the kitchen while he continued kicking and screaming.

Zith followed Neechehe and ran around the island.  He attacked Guiss’ upper body.  He began hitting Guiss in the face and head as Neechehe ripped his legs.  Guiss’ blood was splattering everywhere from the numerous deep gashes in his legs as the wolf savagely bit and twisted.

The Melá-Jutis rushed into the dark, shadowy kitchen while Guiss fought the attacking wolf and Zith Fleen.  Guiss’ blood was splattering over the counters, floor, and walls as he kicked the large wolf while fighting Zith with his fists.  “No!...  Aaahhh!” he screamed as he fought the deadly killers.

While guided by vibrations, Maxx attacked the wolf.  In the darkness, he grabbed the large wolf and pulled it off Guiss.  With super-speed, he delivered a mighty blow with his huge fist to the wolf’s head that sent it sailing into the wall.  Neechehe yelped from the punch before she slammed against the kitchen wall.

Before Zith Fleen knew what was happening, Maxx leaped toward him.  He grabbed Zith and knocked him off Guiss.  Then he delivered a punch to Zith’s jaw that sent him flying.

While using a flashlight from Maxx’s bag, Art hurried into the kitchen.  “Art!  Get Guiss out of here!”  Maxx ordered loudly.

Neechehe was quickly recovering from being punched by The Melá-Jutis and slamming into the wall.  She was shaking her dizzy head as she tried to stand.

Zith was shaking his head as he tried to recover while struggling on his knees.

Art rushed to the severely wounded mesnuk team captain.  As blood flowed out of the deep gashes in his legs and onto the floor, Art helped him to stand.  “Hurry,” said Art.  Art groaned as he tried to support the weight of the enormous mesnuk player while they hobbled out of the kitchen.

Guiss turned on the master lights as they struggled down the hall.  Most of the lower level lights came on.  The lights in the staircase also illuminated.

“Kill him Neechehe!”  Zith yelled.

The wolf’s mind quickly cleared.  “Grrrrr!”  Neechehe growled.  Her savage teeth were exposed as she stared at The Melá-Jutis.  She leaped toward Maxx.

“Want some more?”  Maxx yelled as he leaped toward the wolf.  “I’ve got plenty!”

Maxx and Neechehe collided in the air.  A deadly battle began as they fell to the kitchen floor.  Neechehe bit and twisted as Maxx hit and kicked.

Zith ran out of the room and pursued Guiss Korter and Art.

The violent battle in the kitchen raged.  Maxx’s casual clothing was quickly ripped off by the teeth and claws of Neechehe.  He was now battling in his magical suit.

Neechehe growled as she bit and clawed.  With her powerful jaws, she was unable to bite though the magical Melá-Jutis suit as they battled.

Maxx delivered one massive punch after another to the large wolf’s head.  Each time, Neechehe was knocked to the floor.  She shook her head and immediately recovered.  She growled while showing her menacing teeth before attacking again.

Blood was oozing from Neechehe’s nose and mouth from the devastating punches of The Melá-Jutis as the battle continued.  Neechehe growled and bit as she clawed.  With her powerful jaws, she was unable to penetrate his magical suit and skin.  As she continued to bite, she was unable to rib through his flesh as they battled.

Maxx continued to deliver one powerful punch and kick after another as he fought the wolf while standing and wrestling on the kitchen floor.

Meanwhile

Before climbing the stairs, Art had removed his shirt and ripped it into pieces.  He used the strips to make two emergency tourniquets.  Art applied the tourniquets to both of Guiss Korter’s bleeding legs to slow the hemorrhaging.

After the emergency first aid, Art and Guiss had hobbled up the staircase.  They left a trail of blood as they searched for a place to hide.  They slowly struggled into the master bedroom.

After locking the door, while Art supported Guiss’ large body, they struggled to the master washroom.  A trail of blood spots gave away their hiding place.

Art had locked the master washroom door.  As Maxx battled the wolf downstairs, Art was frantically trying to stop the bleeding as Guiss sat on the washroom floor.

Two puddles of blood were forming under his bleeding legs.  “Your legs are still bleeding—badly.  I’ve got to put on better tourniquets,” said Art frantically.  As he began wrapping Guiss’ legs tight with wash towels, he asked, “Do you have a phone up here?”

The loss of blood was causing him to be light headed.  He answered dizzily with slurred words, “By my bed.”

Art was hurriedly applying more first aid.  Guiss’ legs continued to bleed.  “I’ve got to get to that phone.  We need the police.  You need an ambulance,” Art said while frantically wrapping more towels tight on his still bleeding legs.  Guiss continued to sit on the floor and lean against the wall as he became lighter headed.

Suddenly Zith rammed the master bedroom door with a coffee table—breaking it open.  While in a crazy fury, he followed the blood trail to the washroom door.  He rammed the thick table into the master washroom door.  That door broke and flew open.

Art leaped at the crazed psychopath while Guiss sat bleeding and struggling for consciousness on the floor.  He started hitting Zith with all his strength.

Zith Fleen quickly engaged the small, non-athletic, detective and knocked him to the bedroom floor.  He savagely attacked Art beside the bed and applied a strangle hold.

As Art struggled to break free from the death grip, he yelled, “Maxx!”

Maxx and Neechehe were circling for another battle.  Blood was oozing from the large wolf’s mouth and nose.  She was limping badly as they circled.  “Well come on,” Maxx taunted.  “You’re not so tuff.  That looks like blood to me.  Is your leg broke?  I bet it hurts.”

When Maxx heard Art’s cry for help, he said, “That’s Art!  He’s in trouble!”

Neechehe tried to catch The Melá-Jutis off guard.  She quickly attacked.  She leaped into the air and grabbed Maxx’s arm in her powerful jaws.  Rather than trying to break free, as he had previously done, Maxx applied a strangle hold to the wolf’s neck.

With all his magical strength, he squeezed and twisted the wolf’s strong neck.

Neechehe howled loudly as her neck vertebra shattered.  A second later, as Maxx pulled and twisted with all his enchanted strength, her neck ripped from the torso.  Blood gushed as Maxx tossed the wolf’s head onto the floor.

Neechehe’s dead body collapsed to the floor.  Two puddles of blood quickly formed from the hemorrhaging head and neck.

“Art!”  Maxx said.  With super-speed, he ran toward the stairs.

Meanwhile Upstairs

Art had broken free from the chokehold.  He tried to get to the phone.  Zith Fleen attacked him again and they began fighting on the floor. As they fought, Zith grabbed Art by the throat again.  He immediately tightened his grip.

Art struggled for air as Zith continued the pressure.  Zith said as he strangled Art, “I’m going to kill you—Detective Arthor Nekuma.  I’m going to watch you as you die.  I want to see your eyes.  Open your eyes,” Zith said with a somber face.

Art drifted toward unconsciousness as Zith Fleen continued the strangle hold.  Zith watched and absorbed Art’s terrified eyes as he applied the pressure to Art’s neck.

Maxx rushed into the bedroom.  “Oh no!” he said.  With incredible speed, he leaped at Zith Fleen.  Maxx knocked Zith away from Art—thus breaking the strangle hold.

Art began to breathe when the death grip was released.  He started breathing and coughing painfully as he grabbed his red, irritated neck.

Zith ran out of the bedroom – toward the stairs.

With super-speed, Maxx ran after him.  Before Zith reached the stairs, Maxx leaped and tackled him.  Maxx quickly applied his own strangle hold.  While wrapping his hulking arm around Zith Fleen’s small neck, he asked, “How do you like my strangle hold?  I’d say – it’s a bit more powerful than yours.”  He applied a minimal amount of strength while Zith chocked and gagged.

As Zith chocked, he asked, “What happened to my friend Neechehe?”

While continuing the strangle grip with very little effort, Maxx replied, “Your friend is Dead!”  He looked into Zith’s eyes as he said, “I expected your wolf to be tougher.  I easily ripped her head off.  She made two big puddles of blood where she died.”

“No!”  Zith screamed.  He began to hit and kick as Maxx restrained him on the floor.

“You’re lucky I don’t rip your head off,” Maxx said as he stared in Zith’s face while continuing the strangle hold.

“Do it!  Do it!  I want to die!” he cried.  Zith continued to sob over the death of his friend.

Maxx replied, “That’s too easy for you.  You’re going back to jail—maximum security.  You won’t break out of there.”

While continuing the neck hold, Maxx stood.  Zith struggled as Maxx pulled him to his feet.  He walked back to the bedroom while Zith struggled and sobbed.

When he didn’t see Art in the bedroom, he followed the blood trail and walked into the washroom.  “Oh no!” he said when he saw Guiss sitting on the floor unconscious.  His legs had bath towels wrapped around then that were blood soaked.

“He needs an ambulance,” said Art.  “He lost a lot of blood.  There’s a phone by the bed.”

While continuing to restrain Zith with the headlock, he walked into the master bedroom with Zith struggling.  He walked to the side table.  “Maybe in there?”  he thought.  He opened the top drawer.  “Good,” he said.

With his free hand, as Zith continued to fruitlessly struggle, he picked up the phone.  Maxx dialed the Kinkorx Police – then put the phone to his face.

The Phone At The Kinkorx Police Station Began To Ring

Police Officer Jitta ReFrex was working the third shift as she sat at her desk.  She sighed deeply at the interruption as she tiredly picked up the phone.  “Kinkorx Police—Officer ReFrex.”

“Kill me!” said Zith as he struggled.  “This is Detective Maxx Zeqster.  We’re at Guiss Korter’s home.  Guiss is severely injured.  He needs and ambulance.  We have apprehended Zith Fleen.”

Officer ReFrex said quickly, “I’ll send an ambulance.  Officers are on their way.”

Maxx replied, “Make it fast!  Guiss has lost a lot of blood.”  As Zith futilely struggled, he hung up the phone.  “Why don’t you kill me?  Do it!  Do it!”  Zith pleaded and cried.  “Kill me like you killed Neechehe!”

Maxx walked toward the washroom—while dragging his captive.  “Chief Pomur will be here soon.  He’ll take care of you,” Maxx said as he walked while pulling the struggling prisoner.

He looked into the large washroom.  “How’s he doing?”

Art replied with worry, “He won’t last much longer.”

“The ambulance is on the way,” Maxx stated.  He paused to feel the pulsations from Guiss’ heartbeat.  He said, “If the ambulance gets here soon, he’ll make it.”

Suddenly they heard an army of sirens racing toward them.  “There comes the police,” said Maxx.

In seconds, as they remained in the washroom, the assembly of sirens stopped in front of the house. The sirens quieted.

Only seconds later, they heard a swarm of footsteps run into the house.  As they remained in the washroom, they heard someone downstairs say, “Follow the blood trail!”

Maxx and Art heard a stampede running up the stairs.

“In the bedroom!” someone shouted.

In only seconds, Lieutenant Neuyh, along with several officers and paramedics carrying a stretcher rushed into the washroom.  “Cuff Zith Fleen.  Get that psychopath out of here!”  Lieutenant Neuyh ordered to Officer Figua Yirre.  “Yes Sir!  With pleasure!” he replied.

As Maxx continued to restrain Zith with a powerful headlock, Officer Yirre put Zith Fleen’s hands behind his back.  He cuffed his small wrists.  “Let’s go,” said Officer Yirre.

Yirre and several police officers pulled Zith Fleen as he struggled.  “No!” he yelled as they pulled him out of the bedroom and toward the stairs.  “Struggling won’t help.  You’re going back to jail.  This time it’s maximum security for you,” said Yirre.

They walked down the stairs as Zith continued to struggle.

Meanwhile: Back In The Washroom
The paramedics had finished loading Guiss on the stretcher.  “Let’s go!” ordered the lead medic.  While carrying Guiss Korter, they ran out of the washroom toward the stairs.  “There’s blood in the ambulance.  We have to hurry.  He doesn’t have much time,” said the lead paramedic frantically as they ran down the stairs with Guiss.

Back in the washroom: Lieutenant Neuyh asked Maxx, “What’s with the suit?”

Maxx replied, “It’s a long story.  It would bore you.”

Lieutenant Neuyh shrugged his shoulders.  “Uh…Ok…So what happened here?  We ran past the wolf.  It’s missing its head.  There’s a lot of blood down there.”

Maxx replied nonchalantly, “Coach Mydos ordered another stakeout.  We got lucky.  Oh yes, the wolf got in the way.”  He turned to Art who was sitting on the floor still.  His neck was red from the strangle holds.  “Our work is done.  Let’s go home.”

While irritated, Lieutenant Neuyh walked out of the room.  He walked downstairs.

Art slowly stood.  “I’m ready.  I hope we don’t have to do this again.  I’m not much of a fighter.”

They walked out of the washroom and into the master bedroom.  “I need some clothes.  The wolf ripped mine before I could take them off.  I’m sure Guiss won’t mind,” he said as he opened a drawer.  “These will do.”  He grabbed an older, inexpensive sweat suit.

While carrying the well-used sweat top and bottom, Maxx walked out of the bedroom as Art followed.  They walked toward the stairs and down.

Upon reaching the main floor, they headed toward the kitchen and the rear patio door.  As they walked past the hall closet, Art reached inside and grabbed Maxx’s bag of tools.  “I’ve got your bag,” Art said.

“Thank you,” Maxx said as he stopped.  They walked into the kitchen.

Lieutenant Neuyh was staring at the dead wolf, severed head, and the numerous puddles of blood that were everywhere.  He turned to Maxx.  As he saw the dried blood on Maxx’s swamp green and dark grey suit he asked, “You did this?  You ripped off the wolf’s head?  There’s a lot of blood.”

Maxx replied, “I got lucky.”

“You said that,” replied Lieutenant Neuyh with irritation.  “That’s a crazy suit you’re wearing.  Are you sure you don’t want to tell me about it?”

“Nothing to tell,” said Maxx.  They continued past the bloody, headless wolf and the blood covered head as they avoided the puddles of blood as best they could.  They walked past the large puddle of blood and Lieutenant Neuyh.

While Maxx carried the sweat top and bottom and Art carried the bag, they stepped through the patio door into the darkness outside.

While they walked around the back of the home, Maxx quickly put on the sweat top and bottom over his bloody, magical suit.  “Melá-Jutis,” he said softly.  His magical Melá-Jutis suit instantly disappeared with the wolf’s blood.  Thus leaving him with only the sweat suit – and a little blood and other remains on his face and hair.

They quietly walked to the front of the house.  Art said softly, “Lieutenant Neuyh is parked in the same place.  I’m glad he didn’t get a chance to ruin this stakeout.”

“So am I,” said Maxx.

They casually walked along the walkway, in the darkness, in front of several very expensive homes to their car.

Art and Maxx climbed into the blue convertible.  Art tossed the bag in the rear seat.

Sesla’s moon was in the late night sky as Art started the motor.  He turned the car around and began driving away from Guiss’ home.  “What do you think happened to Zith Fleen?”  Art asked as he drove.

Maxx replied, “He’s probably in a cell at Kinkorx Police Station.  He’s being held until an armed escort can arrive from Xcuymir Sheriff Department.  Sheriff Mairytin and his troopers will take him back to Xcuymir Prison.  Warden Stelth will place him in a maximum security cell.”

As Art drove out of the ritzy area of Kinkorx, he said, “I hope Guiss is ok.  He lost a lot of blood.”

Maxx replied, “I felt the pulsations from his heart.  His heart was strong.  I heard the paramedic say there was blood in the ambulance.  I think he’s in Mirchester Hospital right now.  Dr. Rotizon might even be his doctor.”  Maxx looked at Art.  “You remember Dr. Rotizon?”

“Don’t remind me.  I try not to think about that cave and those scorpions,” said Art as he drove through Kinkorx.

“The police are going to have to get that dead wolf out of Guiss’ home,” Maxx said.

“It won’t be easy to get all that blood out of his house.  It’s going to take a lot of money,” Art said as he drove into Bedsult.

“There’s a lot of blood in the kitchen.  Some belongs to Guiss and some is wolf blood,” Maxx replied.

“That was a mess.  That’s for sure,” said Art as he drove closer to Maxx’s home.

Maxx looked at Art.  “Your neck looks better.  It isn’t as red.  Did it hurt when Zith strangled you?”

“Yes it hurt,” Art, replied as he turned on Lypont Drive.  “The scariest part was when he looked into my eyes.  It was like he was absorbing my fear – like he was feeding on it.”

“Creepy,” said Maxx.

Art slowed and drove into Maxx’s driveway.  He parked next to the silver convertible and put the car in park.  “What a night,” said Art.

“Indeed.  I’ll call you after I talk to Jeqrix Grexenn.  It’ll be a few days,” Maxx, said as he exited Art’s car.  “We need some time to recover.”

“That’ll work.  I could use some rest after the past few days,” Art replied as his convertible motor idled.

“Tell your mom and dad I said hi,” Maxx said as he stood next to Art’s car.

“Will do,” said Art as he put the transmission in reverse.  He began backing out of the driveway.

Maxx said loudly, “No more reading about psychopaths!”

“That’s for sure,” Art replied loudly as he drove onto Lypont drive.

Art drove down Lypont Drive and began his long drive home as Sesla’s moon was setting in the late night sky.

Meanwhile
Maxx used his hidden key to unlock the front door.  He hid the key before grabbing the newspaper.  He walked inside.  After closing and locking the door, he walked toward the kitchen.  “I’ll need to return Guiss’ sweat suit,” he said as he walked.  “Guiss won’t mind but the police will make an issue if they find out.”

He tossed the newspaper on the kitchen counter and opened the fridge.  He grabbed water and closed the door.  He said, “I’m really tired.  I’ll look at the paper tomorrow.  I’m going to bed.”  Maxx took a big drink and put the top back on.

He carried his water and walked to the washroom.  He made an extended stop to scrub his hulking body of the wolf blood, fur, and saliva—and put on sleep-ware.  As he walked out, he said, “I feel a lot better now.  I was covered in wolf.”  While carrying his water, he walked to his bedroom.

Maxx sat on the edge of his bed and glanced at the clock.  “No wonder I’m so tired.  It’s 3:30 in the morning.  Time for bed,” he mumbled.  He took another sip and placed the remaining water on the side stand. He crawled into the king sized bed and covered his entire body.  He yawned.  “I hope I don’t dream about Zith Fleen and psychopaths,” he said under the blanket.

Maxx quickly drifted off.  He immediately began a dream-filled, fitful sleep. As he slept, while talking in his unconsciousness, he dreamt of fighting the wolf.  He also dreamt of capturing Zith Fleen as he strangled Art. He mumbled as he slept while turning back and forth in the large bed.

Chapter Fifteen

Meanwhile at the Kinkorx Police Station

Police Chief Pomur drove into the station parking lot.  He hurriedly exited the police car and hustled toward the station.  He rushed through the parking lot door.

Upon entering the main foyer, Officer Jitta ReFrex said, “There in the jail.”

He looked at her angrily.  “You should have called me earlier,” he said with irritation.

Jitta replied defensively, “Chief.  You only went home a few hours ago after your double.  You needed a little sleep.”

“You should have called me,” he said angrily as he continued through the doors and into the jail.

Lieutenant Aqe Neuyh said as the chief entered, “He’s down there.”  Lieutenant Neuyh and the other officers jumped up and followed the chief.  They hurried toward the cell where Zith Fleen was handcuffed and locked.

Chief Pomur looked at the pitiful, Pirtt-Coterie.  “You’re disgusting—and a murderer,” he said with disdain.

Zith sat on the hard cot with his hands bound by cuffs – while staring at the cell floor.  He did not respond to the chief’s insult.

Chief Pomur’s red, tired eyes burned with rage.  He said, “I hear your wolf lost her head.  Lieutenant Neuyh tells me the wolf’s blood is everywhere in Guiss Korter’s kitchen.  I guess it’s a bloody mess.”

Zith cried out, “No!...Neechehe was my friend!  They killed her!  I’ll make them pay!  I’ll kill those detectives!”  He continued crying loudly.

Pomur stared at Zith as he cried.  His grin of satisfaction was noticeable.  “You’re not killing anyone – anymore.  You’ll be locked up in maximum security for the rest of your miserable life.”

Lieutenant Neuyh said, “I called Sheriff Mairytin.  He should be here soon.

Chief Pomur turned to Zith—as he continued sobbing.  “Neechehe.  You named that wolf Neechehe.  What kind of name is that?”

Zith sobbed as he said, “Neechehe was my friend.”  He continued to sob as he sat on the cot-like bed and looked at the cell floor – while being confined by handcuffs.

Chief Pomur grinned slightly at his accomplishment as he walked away from the cell.  The other officers followed as he walked back to the foyer.

“I can’t believe that pathetic little Pirtt is a killer.  I don’t remember his face looking so scary.  He looks like a freak,” Chief Pomur mumbled as he walked into his small, messy office.  He sat at his cluttered, decrepit desk and stared into thin air.

The other officers were seated at their own cubical desks.  They all thumbed through their stack of paperwork as they waited for Sheriff Mairytin and his territory troopers.

Several minutes past as they all quietly pretended to work.

Meanwhile

The team from the Xcuymir Sheriff Department arrived at the Kinkorx Police station.  The group drove into the Kinkorx Police parking lot and parked. General Sheriff Kein Mairytin and his troopers exited their vehicles and rushed toward the parking lot door of the police station.

Sheriff Mairytin opened the door and hurried into the station as his troopers followed.

When they entered the foyer, Officer ReFrex said loudly, “Chief!  Sheriff Mairytin is here.”

Chief Pomur stood and walked out of his office.

When Mairytin saw Chief Pomur, he asked sharply, “Where is he?”

“Follow me,” Pomur said.  He walked toward the door and opened it.  As he walked through, Sheriff Mairytin and his team followed.

They walked into the small jail and to the end where Zith was being caged.

Sheriff Mairytin and his troopers looked at Zith as he sat cuffed while staring at the floor.  “I bet you thought you were too smart to be caught.  That you could kill whoever you wanted and no one could stop you,” Kein Mairytin said.  “You’re going back to Xcuymir Correctional.  This time in maximum security.”

“No!...”  Zith cried out as he sat on the small, board-like bed while staring at the floor.

Chief Pomur opened the cell door.  Sheriff Mairytin’s troopers walked in and grabbed Zith by his arms.  They lifted the small Pirtt-Coterie to his feet.

As Zith struggled, the troopers forced him out of the small cell and down the hall.

Zith continued to struggle as they walked back to the foyer.  The other officers watched silently as the group held Zith securely.  “We’ll take him back to Xcuymir Correctional.  Thanks for calling us.  Good work as always Pomur,” said Sheriff Mairytin.

Aazon Pomur just smiled.  “He’s all yours,” he declared.

“Let’s go,” said Mairytin.  The officers in the cubicles remained silent as the sheriff and his troopers exited the large room with Zith Fleen.

As Zith struggled, they walked to the rear door.  They walked out the door and entered the parking lot.  Zith continued to struggle as they approached their sheriff’s trooper’s cars.

The troopers stopped and waited for orders.  Sheriff Mairytin said, “Put him in the back of my car.”  He looked into Zith’s eyes and said, “You’re riding with me.  I hope you try to escape.  Give me an excuse to put a bullet in your sick head and save the citizens some tax Joxels.”

Zith looked into his eyes.  He said, “Do it!  Do it!  Kill me!  I want to die!”

Kein Mairytin was angered by the response.  “You’re a crazed psychopath,” he said.  “Put him in.”  Mairytin ordered.

The troopers opened the car door and shoved Zith in.  He tried to jump out as the door was shut.  “No!” he cried out again as he kicked while in the back seat.

“Let’s go!” ordered Mairytin.  He opened the driver’s door and climbed in.

The troopers all entered their cars.  They started their motors.  Sheriff Mairytin turned on his car siren along with the red and blue spinning car top lights..  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

The other troopers turned on their sirens and lights—as well.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

As Sesla’s moon was setting in the early morning sky, the convoy of territory sheriff’s troopers drove out of the Kinkorx Police parking lot as their sirens screamed and lights flashed in the early morning darkness.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

The screaming sirens were causing Zith Fleen’s head to throb as they drove speedily away from the downtown area toward the highway.

General Sheriff Kein Mairytin lead the speeding caravan as they rocket away from the downtown.  Before long, they were on the highway that leads to Bedsult.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo…,”

Zith was attempting to block the noise from the sirens as his headache continued to increase.  Sheriff Mairytin gazed into the back seat as he drove speedily.  He saw Zith wincing strongly from the pain and noise.  He said, “I heard you get a lot of headaches.  I bet the sirens are giving you a splitting headache.”

Mairytin mumbled as he drove like a rocket, “Serves him right.  He deserves a few headaches after killing those mesnuk players.”

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  The group drove past Bedsult and speeded toward the open desert.

Their sirens continued to scream and the red and blue spinning car top lights flashed as they drove across the open desert at a high rate of speed.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

Zith continued to shield his ears as best he could as General Sheriff Kein Mairytin rocketed toward Jxobslyn.  His troopers continued to follow close behind him with their sirens on while screaming and lights flashing.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

Before long, as they drove like rockets, with their sirens screaming and lights flashing, they entered the outer-limits of Jxobslyn.  “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

Sheriff Mairytin slowed as he entered the rural residential area.  The convey slowed as well.  Their sirens continued to scream, “Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”  The top lights flashed red and blue.

“You’re almost home,” General Sheriff  Mairytin said to Zith.

“Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop, Wee…ooo, Wee…ooo….,”

Kein Mairytin drove into the Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility driveway.  He slowed and stopped as he approached the guard station.  He turned off the flashing lights and the siren.  The other troopers turned off their red and blue spinning lights and sirens as well.

Zith stopped shielding his ears and bent down in the seat as his head pounded.

“Good morning Sheriff,” said the guard.  “Warden Stelth said you were coming.”  The guards opened the gates.  Sheriff Mairytin drove through the gate with his troopers following close behind and continued toward the prison entrance.

The guard dialed Warden Stelth’s phone number.

Warden Stelth was in his office as he waited for the sheriff to deliver Zith Fleen.  When his phone rang, he answered it immediately.  “Warden Stelth.”

“Sheriff Mairytin and his troopers are driving into the prison,” said the third shift guard.

“Good,” said the warden.  He hung up the phone.

Warden Stelth picked up the phone again.  He dialed the guard office.  When the lead guard picked up the phone, Warden Stelth said, “Sheriff Mairytin is delivering Zith Fleen to the front entrance.  Bring him to my office.”

“Yes Sir Warded,” said the lead guard.

The head guard said into his pager to the other guards on duty, “Zith Fleen is being delivered to the main door.  All available guards report!”

At that moment, numerous guards within the prison rushed to the entrance.

Meanwhile: Sheriff Mairytin and his troopers parked outside the main entrance.  Mairytin said to Zith, “Are you ready to go inside?  I’m sure Warden Stelth misses you.”  Zith was still bent over in the back seat from headache pain as the sheriff spoke.

The group of prison guards rushed out of the door and approached General Sheriff Mairytin’s car.

Mairytin climbed out of the driver’s seat and opened the rear door as the other troopers exited their cars.  “He’s all yours,” declared Mairytin.

The guards reached in and grabbed Zith as he struggled.  “No!” he screamed as the guards pulled him out of the sheriff’s car.

“Thanks sheriff,” said the night guard.  “Warden Stelth wants to see him right away.”  As Zith continued to struggle, the group of guards forced him inside the prison.

“Let’s go,” said Mairytin to his troopers.  They climbed back into their cars and drove toward the guarded gates.

The prison guards closed the doors and locked them with the chains.  “We’ve missed you Zith,” a guard said as they began to walk toward Warden Stelth’s office.  Zith continued to resist as they pulled.

Another guard asked as they walked—while Zith struggled, “Did you really sneak out in the garbage?  You were in that garbage truck all day—I can’t believe it.”

Another guard asked as they walked closer to the warden’s office as he continued to resist, “You must have been covered in garbage.  How did you like the smell?”

As Zith struggled, they walked into Warden Stelth’s office.  The warden was sitting at his desk.  “Bring him in,” he ordered with a redemption grin.

Zith Fleen continued to struggle as the guards forced him to stand before Warden Stelth.  Zith continued his silence as he resisted the guards.  He only stared at the floor.

Warden Stelth looked at Zith and smiled.  He said, “It’s good to see you again.  I knew you’d be back…You look like you have a bad headache.  Are you still getting those chronic head pains?”

Zith stood silent with his head lowered as the guards held his arms.

The warden continued, “You’re not as smart as you think you are.  Did you really think you could hide forever and keep killing?  It was only a matter of time before you were caught and brought back to me,” he said with a grin.  “Your escape earned you a permanent cell in maximum security.  You’ll be in this cell for the rest of your life.”

As Warden Stelth smiled with satisfaction, he ordered, “Take him to his cell.”

“Yes Sir Warden!” said the guard.  As Zith remained silent, the guards shoved him.  They walked out of the warden’s office.  Zith walked without struggling.

“You’re going to love max-security.  You don’t have to work in the kitchen.  We have other fun things for you to do,” the guard said as they walked.

“I heard you were real good at peeling potatoes,” said another guard as they approached the maximum-security wing of the prison.

The guards escorted Zith along the creepy corridor into the highest security area.  He continued to walk without a struggle.

After they had passed numerous small cells, they stopped.  “This one is yours,” the guard said.  He took out his keys and opened the solid steel door with only a small window.

The guards walked into the creepy, dark, cell with Zith.  They forced him onto the wooden bed.  “Prisoners in max-security don’t get a mattress or a pillow—or any furniture.  Oh yes, the floors are dirt.  You’ll discover why – soon enough.  I hear there are lots of spiders and bugs in these tiny cells – enjoy the bug bits and the smell,” said a guard.

“One more thing—those cuffs stay on until the warden says to take them off,” the guard said.  They exited the tiny, medieval cell.  They closed the solid metal door and locked it.  “Hope you like your room,” the guard taunted through the small square hole with bars in the door.  They began to walk back along the spooky, run-down corridor.

Zith sat on the small wooden bed in the darkness.  There was minimal light due to the small, square window in the door.  He was slumped over due to his splitting headache.  His hands were cuffed.  His stomach was becoming nauseous due to the strong smell of urine and feces.

As he sat on the hard bed, he mumbled angrily, “They killed Neechehe.  She was my friend.  When I escape, I will kill Detective Maxx Zeqster and Detective Art Nekuma.”

Meanwhile: In Warden Stelth’s Office
Warden Stelth was sitting at his desk.  He had a glass of whiskey in one hand and the phone in the other.  He was talking to Meez Broplen at Kinkorx TV News during the morning news broadcast.

The chief news anchor was taking the urgent call during a commercial break.

Warden Stelth reported, “Zith Fleen was apprehended during a late-night stakeout at Guiss Korter’s home.  I don’t know the details.  I have him here in my prison.  Sheriff Mairytin delivered him several minutes ago.  He’s locked in a maximum security cell.”

Meez Broplen replied, “Have you called anyone else?”

“I’m giving you the exclusive story,” replied Stelth.

“Thank you,” said Meez.  “I owe you again.  I’ll send you another case of whiskey.  I need to go.  The break is almost over.  I’ll put this on next.”

Warden Stelth grinned as he downed his glass of whiskey.

In The Kinkorx TV News Studio

The commercial ended.  Meez Broplen continued, “While the commercials were airing, I received a Breaking News Store by phone.  During a brief call, Warden Stelth of Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn informed me that Zith Fleen was apprehended.  There was a nighttime stakeout at Guiss Korter’s home in upscale Kinkorx.  Guiss Korter is the team captain for the Kinkorx Horned Hares.  The exact details of the stakeout or Zith Fleen’s capture are unknown at this moment.

Warden Stelth has informed me that Zith Fleen is locked in a maximum-security cell at his prison.  General Sheriff Mairytin of Xcuymir Territory delivered Zith to the prison only minutes ago.

We will stay on top of this Gigantic Breaking News Story.  We will inform you immediately as we learn more details.

Again, to summarize, Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher has been apprehended.  He is in a maximum-security cell at Xcuymir Territory Correctional Facility in Jxobslyn.  Kinkorx TV News is bringing you this exclusive story.

In other top stories…

In Guiss Korter’s Hospital Room at Kinkorx Mirchester Hospital
Guiss Korter was recovering from the emergency surgery performed by Dr. Rotizon in the middle of the night.  He had hundreds of stiches on the inside and outside of his legs.  He was resting comfortably in his room on Dr. Rotizon’s ward.

He was watching Kinkorx TV News as he finished the second Big breakfast.

As Meez Broplen continued the broadcast, Guiss said, “I’ll give Meez the details.”  Guiss picked up the phone.

The light for Guiss’ phone came on at the nurses desk.  Nurse Bien said, “Nurses desk. Nurse Bien speaking.  How can I help you Guiss?”

“I need the number of the Kinkorx TV News Studio,” he said.

“This is a bit unusual,” she replied.

He asked insistently, “I’m sure it is.  Can you look up the number on your database?”

“Give me a moment,” she replied.  “Here it is.  According to my computer, this is Meez Broplen’s personal hot line for news tips.”

“That’s what I want,” he replied.

“It 559-111-22,” said Karee Bien.

“Thanks,” he replied.  He disconnected the call.  He dialed Meez Broplen’s hot line.

At the News Room in the Kinkorx TV Studio
Meez Broplen was sitting at his desk.  The morning news program had just ended.  He was preparing to contact Chief Pomur of the Kinkorx Police for more information on Zith Fleen’s capture.

Before he could pick up the phone, it began to ring.  On the half ring, he picked it up.  “Meez Broplen,” he said with anticipation.

“This is Guiss Korter.  I saw your broadcast.”

Meez grinned as he readied his tablet and pen.  “Yes Guiss.  What can you tell me?”

Guiss stated, “There was a stakeout in my home last night.  Detective Zeqster and Detective Nekuma were there.  No other police were present.  I walked in the door after mesnuk practice.  Zith Fleen and his wolf walked in right behind me.  They attacked and the wolf ripped my legs really bad…”

Meez frantically wrote as Guiss reported.

“…Detective Zeqster saved me.  He fought Zith and the wolf in the kitchen while Detective Nekuma helped me hide upstairs in my washroom.  I lost a lot of blood.  Art put several tourniquets on my legs.

Before I passed out from blood loss, Zith found us and attacked.  Detective Nekuma began fighting Zith.  The last thing I remember was Zith had a chokehold on Art.  After that, I passed out.

Detective Zeqster and Detective Nekuma saved my life.  Make sure you report – no other cops were there,” said Guiss.  “I’m at Mirchester Hospital.  I had emergency surgery in the middle of the night.  Dr. Rotizon stitched up my legs after that big wolf ripped them apart.”

Meez was frantically writing.  “Is there anything else?” he asked.

“That’s all I can remember.  Like I said, I passed out at the end,” Guiss replied.

Meez said, “Before I go back on the air, I’m going to call Chief Pomur.  I need to verify your story.”

“Whatever!”  Guiss replied.  He hung up the phone.

Meez immediately dialed the Kinkorx Police Station.

The phone at the Kinkorx Police Station began to ring.  Police Officer Jitta ReFrex answered while exhausted from her long night shift.  “Kinkorx Police.  Officer ReFrex,” she said as she yawned at her desk.

“This is Meez Broplen from Kinkorx TV News.  Is Chief Pomur available?” he asked.

“He’s home sleeping.  Can I help you?” she asked.

“Is Lieutenant Neuyh available?” he asked.

“Look,” she said with irritation and exhaustion.  “There was an emergency situation in the middle of the night.  Chief Pomur and Lieutenant Neuyh were both called in.  The situation was handled.  They are both home sleeping.  Chief Pomur will contact you with the details as soon as he awakes.  He worked a double.  He’s been up for a long time.”

Meez asked cleverly, “Are you referring to the capture of Zith Fleen in Guiss Korter’s home?  The Breaking News Story that I reported only minutes ago on the morning news broadcast.”

Officer ReFrex replied angrily, “Yes.  But I can’t answer your questions.  As I said, Chief Pomur will call you.”

Meez replied with a sly grin, “That’s fine.  I look forward to his call.  You sound exhausted yourself.  You need some rest.”

“I plan to sleep soon.  My shift is almost over,” she said angrily with exhaustion.

Meez hung up the phone.  He laughed.  “I got my confirmation!”  He began to work swiftly to prepare his next Breaking News Story.

At Detective Maxx Zeqster’s Home in Bedsult
Sesla’s mid-morning sun was shining in Maxx’s bedroom window.  The warm desert wind was blowing unusually strong.  The curtains were flapping wide as the strong, steady wind blew through.  Sesla’s warm sun was shining on his attractive face as he restlessly slept.  The warm breeze was blowing on his alluring face as he tossed and turned in his large bed.

Maxx tossed and turned as he talked while sleeping.  He dreamt of fighting the large grey wolf in Guiss Korter’s kitchen.  “No…No,” he said as he slept and twisted.

“Come on…Is that all the harder you can bite?” he asked as he rolled.  He taunted the wolf.

“I see a lot of blood…Your mouth and nose are bleeding really badly,” he said as he twisted in his sleep.  “You’re limping badly.  Is your leg broke?  Does it hurt?”

“How’d you like that punch?  You look like you’re in pain,” he said as he turned while sleeping.

“Aaahhh!” he screamed in his sleep as the wolf grabbed his arm in her powerful jaws.  The wolf bit and twisted.  As he turned back and forth, He Awoke.  He swung a punch into the air to fight off the attack.  “What!” he mumbled.  He rubbed his eyes and forehead.  “It was only a dream.  It seemed so real.”

Maxx sat up in his bed.  “What a terrible night.  I dreamt I fought that wolf all night.  What time is it?” he mumbled.

He tried to focus his tired eyes on the clock by his bed.  Maxx struggled to focus.  “It’s only 8:30.”  He looked at the sun as the rays shone brightly into the bedroom.  “It’s still morning.  I only slept a few hours.  I feel awful,” he said with a moan.

Maxx sat up on the side of the bed.  “I dreamt about that wolf.  There was blood everywhere.  Even in my dream, the pain was excruciating when the wolf bit my arm,” he mumbled.

Maxx looked at both of his muscular arms.  “My magical suit saved me from that wolf’s teeth.  She couldn’t bite through it.”

“I’m really thirsty,” he mumbled.  He grabbed the nearly empty bottled water that he left on his nightstand.  After removing the top, he drank it down.  “I’m still thirsty,” he said.

Maxx stood.  “Wow, my legs are tired and sore.  That battle was rough.  At least I killed the wolf,” he said with difficulty as he trudged out of the bedroom.

He slowly walked to the kitchen.  “I need a cup of tea,” he muttered.  Maxx began preparing the water.  As the water warmed, he grabbed yesterday’s copy of The Bedsult Daily News that he left on the counter after arriving home in the late night.

As he waited for the water to heat, he skimmed quickly through the pages.  When he saw the front-page story of the bombing in Wyluxx City, he said, “That bombing was yesterday afternoon.  The editor must have held the presses for this story to be on the front page.”

He looked at the cup of water.  “It should be done,” he said.  Maxx grabbed the cup of hot water and splashed in a fresh tea bag.  He splashed it several times.

With his tea and the newspaper, Maxx walked to his plush living room.  He placed the tea and paper on his side table and sat in his recliner.

“My legs are sore,” he said as he took a sip of tea.  “I can only imagine how Guiss Korter’s legs feel.  That wolf really chewed into his legs.  Those gashes must have been deep to bleed like that.”

Using the remote, he turned on the TV.  “I wonder if Meez Broplen has reported Zith Fleen’s capture on Kinkorx News.  Zith is probably at Xcuymir Correctional by now,” he said as the TV came on.  The regular daily programming was on.

“We’ll see if Meez comes on later,” said Maxx as he picked up the newspaper.

He took another sip and began to read the front-page article.  The headline read:

Bombing at Kicnix Casual Wear in Wyluxx City – No Suspects or Motive as of Yet

The Bedsult Daily News: Several hours ago, a bomb was detonated in the Kicnix Casual Wear clothing store in Wyluxx City.  The bomb ripped a large hole in the rear wall of the store.  Also destroyed were clothing racks and shelving—as well as clothing.  The debris scattered mostly into the rear parking lot.

Due to the smallness of the bomb and the direction of the blast, no costumers or employees were injured in the explosion.

The employees evacuated the store and called Wyluxx City Police and Firefighters immediately following the explosion.  Upon their arrival, the emergency crews examined the explosion area while taping it off.

The authorities conducted an immediate investigation to determine the type of explosives used and a motive behind this senseless and heinous act of terrorism.  At this time, the only information the police and firefighters are releasing is that they believe the bomb was of a very crude nature.  Also, the authorities feel the bomber’s planning was poor—both errors on the terrorist’s part minimized the damage and allowed for zero fatalities.

The storeowner, Trezor Kicnix, arrived on the scene only minutes later.  He is working with the police.  He and the emergency team have secured the area and closed the store.  The retail store will remain closed until the premises can be made safe for reopening.

The WCPD will continue their investigation in an attempt to discover the identity of the crazed terrorist who planted the bomb…

Maxx said as he read, “This is all we need.  Now there’s a bomber in the desert.”  He sighed deeply.  “I need more tea,” he said with irritation.

He placed the newspaper on the table.  With his empty cup, Maxx walked back to the kitchen.  He prepared more water and placed the cup in the warmed.

As the water heated, his tired mind leaped to the events of the previous night.  He leaned on the counter for support as he reminisced.  He was mentally in Guiss Korter’s kitchen again.  He jerked and quivered as he mentally fought the large grey wolf.  He jerked and flinched his hulking arms as he mentally broke the wolf’s neck and ripped off the head.  His face winced from the memory of blood as it splattered and quickly flowed into red, thick puddles on the expensive kitchen floor.

His mind leaped to the bedroom when he found Art and Zith Fleen on the bloody floor.  They were locked in a deadly battle.  Zith had a death-grip around Art’s neck.  He was watching Art’s eyes as Art was losing consciousness.

Maxx jerked as he mentally leaped at Zith and knocked him off Art—thus releasing the strangle hold.

As Maxx leaned on the counter, he flinched his arms as he quickly subdued Zith in his mind with a headlock—while Art coughed loudly as he regained his breathe while holding his aching neck.

“What!” he said as he regained focus.  He looked at the warmer.  “My water is ready.  I was daydreaming.  How horrifying.”  He shook his head.

He grabbed the water and bounced a tea bag up and down.  “That was a horrific battle last night.  I’m going to have nightmares about that for a long time,” he mumbled as he splashed the bag.

Maxx grabbed the cup and walked back to his recliner.  He took a sip and sat.

As Kinkorx TV continued to air, he grabbed the newspaper and continued to skim.  He took another sip of his hot tea as he flipped through the pages.

As he read, a Breaking News Bulletin began.  He lowered his newspaper and watched as the news story started.

“I am Kinkorx TV News Anchor Meez Broplen.  We have two breaking news stories for you on this Special Breaking News Broadcast.  Our first story:  This morning a second bomb was detonated in a Kicnix Casual Wear clothing store.  This time in Soxtuss—the small town in Xcuymir Territory.  Kinkorx TV News roaming reporter Pymur Muxx is there with a live report.”

The TV Switched to the Kicnix Casual Wear Store in Soxtuss

“Thank you Meez. I am Pymur Muxx.  I’m standing only feet away from the second terrorists bombing of Kicnix Casual Wear clothing store in less than twenty-four hours.  The targeted store this time was the retail establishment in Soxtuss, in rural Xcuymir Territory.

This bomb was even less effective than the predecessor was even though it was placed in a similar area.  It was positioned close to a rear wall on the inside of the building.  According to the Soxtuss Police, this bomb was smaller and less powerful than the first.  This helped to negate the devastation of the blast.  In this explosion, even less damage was accomplished.  The hole in the exterior wall was smaller and the damage to the interior of the store was minimal.  Like the previous bombing, there were no fatalities.

Again, the authorities credit poor skills and inadequate planning for the lack of success in this terrorist attempt.

The owner, Trezor Kicnix, is on the scene.  He immediately evacuated and closed the store.  He is working with Soxtuss Police and Xcuymir Fire and Rescue to assess the damages.

After speaking very briefly with Trezor Kicnix and the local authorities, I can only report that they are baffled by these sudden acts of terrorism.  A motive or a suspect for these crude, ill planned, acts of terror is not known at this time.

I can tell you this; due to the recentness and inept nature of these two terrorist attacks, the local authorities have assigned the coterie responsible with a code name.  This terrorist case is being called, The Maladroit Bomber.

I am Pymur Muxx.  Reporting live from the Kicnix Casual Wear in  Soxtuss.”

The TV Switched Back to Kinkorx TV News Studio

“Thank you Pymur for that live report from Soxtuss,” said Meez Broplen.  “We will stay on top of this developing news story as it unfolds.  When we learn more about The Maladroit Bomber case, we will break in.

Our other top store this morning…”

Maxx took another sip of tea as he glued his attention to Meez and his report.

“…This morning, I have received several confirmations of this Exclusive Breaking News Story.  I am the only news anchor that is reporting this Exclusive Story…”

Maxx’s tired eyes grew large with anticipation as he watched with intensity.

“…During a late night stakeout in the home of Guiss Korter, the team captain for the Kinkorx Horned Hares, Zith Fleen was apprehended.

The stakeout and capture was performed by Detective Maxx Zeqster and Detective Art Nekuma of the famed Zeqster-Nekuma Detective Agency – here in Kinkorx.

Zith Fleen was turned over to local authorities.  He was then transported to Xcuymir Correctional by General Sheriff Mairytin and his troopers.  At Xcuymir prison, he was surrendered to Warden Stelth.

Warden Stelth immediately ordered his guards to lock Zith Fleen in a maximum-security cell.  Zith Fleen will serve the remainder of his life sentence in max-security.

Guiss Korter sustained multiple, deep, slashes to his legs during the attack by Zith Fleen and the wolf.  He received emergency first aid by Detective Nekuma, that saved his life.  He was then transported to Mirchester Hospital where he received emergency surgery.  Dr. Rotizon performed that lifesaving surgery.  Currently Guiss is resting comfortably at Mirchester Hospital.

I attempted to contact Chief Pomur.  He was unavailable for a comment on this Exclusive Story.

Here at the Kinkorx TV Studios, we wish to express our thanks to Detective Zeqster and Detective Nekuma for capturing the heinous serial killer, Zith Fleen.  We also wish to express our gratitude to Detective Nekuma for the emergency first aid given at the scene.  It is our understanding that without the on-scene first aid, Zith Fleen and his wolf would have succeeded in their goal—to kill Guiss Korter.

The residents of not only the desert, but the wet lands as well, can breathe a little easier this morning, Zith Fleen, The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher  is locked away in a max-security cell inside Xcuymir prison.

This has been a Special Breaking News Report.  I am Meez Broplen, chief news anchor at Kinkorx TV News.  We now return you to the regular programming.”

Maxx grinned as Meez ended the special report.  He said, “Chief Pomur wasn’t given an opportunity to comment.  The story didn’t come from the KPD.  I bet Guiss Korter called Meez Broplen.  Meez in turn called Warden Stelth.”

He paused for a moment.  Then he said, “I need more tea.”  Maxx sat his newspaper on the small table and stood.  “I’m feeling better,” he declared.  He began walking toward the kitchen.  “Surprising how an accurate news story improves my spirits,” he said as he entered the kitchen.

Maxx added water to the cup and placed it in the warmer.  As he waited, he said, “I’m relieved Zith Fleen is in Xcuymir Prison.  Meez is right; everyone on Sesla will rest easier knowing The Kinkorx Horned Hares Slasher is locked in a maximum security cell.”

He grabbed his water and splashed in a new tea bag.  He thought, “I wonder if the authorities will catch the terrorist that’s attacking the Kicnix Casual Wear clothing stores?”

As Maxx leaned on the kitchen counter, he removed the tea bag and took a sip.  He said, “Maybe the authorities will flounder and Trezor Kicnix will hire the Zeqster-Nekuma Detective Agency to capture The Maladroit Bomber.”

The End

“May Good Fortune Guide Your Path”

J.A. Ireland


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, JA
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PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Tiffany Thomson: This story is not something I would normally pick up and read but I'm so glad I did, I wasn't able to put it down and my husband was yelling at me at 3am to put it down and go to bed (just waited for him to doze back off before picking it back up) I really hope Natalie brings out another book eit...

MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...

MegaRogueLegend666: I love this story so much. It's impossible to describe my excitement with each new chapter in words. The author has such a good writing style, very good descriptions of the fighting and character descriptions/emotions. the plot is also amazing! This fanfic could be a side anime show or novel ......

Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...

internathunal: I was held captive by your sense of style. I would love to see more from you. I enjoyed this immensely.

Roger A. Fauble: Excellent read, the only thing not to like is that I could only read it at home on my computer. I'm a character reader, I get into the characters, their story, who/what they are. In this story characters are introduced and developed allowing you to really get into them. Next the story is develop...

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John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

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Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

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Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."