Book One: The Innocent Heart

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Stifled Rage

Part 4.1 of 1.9: Just the Beginning of a new direction...

Ashlyn, how are you doing?” The British accented voice of her medical doctor inquired. Walter grasped her arm gently. He removed an arm sleeve of her shirt open and placed the dark red colored liquid injection into her skin.

A year passed. Ashlyn survived another birthday. During her seventh year and her daily medication, Ash had a growth spurt. She was taller now than before as her body grew to be about fifty five inches. The eight year old grunted with discomfort as the liquid medicine dispersed into her vein. She watched as her slim muscles harden while the red blood veins showed for a moment. Ash felt newborn strength from the injection. She was in the medical office of Doctor Walter Steed as he set another appointment to see her again.

Ash nodded gazing at the doctor with uncaring emotion. He offered a smile. Withdrawing the device, the doctor wiped her arm with the damp sanitary cloth that sealed her injection spot. He spoke, “Well, it’s your birthday today. You turn eight. You are almost there to be able to use the medicine yourself and I will see you again with the next appointment. Just remember, I increased your dosage up to 0.5 mL more to compensate for your growing body. You are getting awfully big, and that’s a good thing,” he smiled offering her a wink.

He took the Fit medical tech pendant she wore on her neck. Inspecting it, he made sure it was working properly. Besides Tyler, her doctor didn’t offer anything confusing to push her off to a wrong direction. All men that Ash sees, she viewed them as the same as her father. To answer her hatred for her father, she’d swing her fists in rage against other men except Tyler and Doctor Walter Steed.

Ash got off the table. Walter placed his hand on her shoulder and led her out of the room. She was tall to her doctor’s hips. The good doctor led her to a teleporter. Pressing a button, he watched her vanish in a blinding light. Ash reappeared in front of her father. James looked at her with coldness while holding his rod to his side. She looked around to see a new area. It hit her as Ash realized that she was in a holo simulation of a fighting ring. James let out a cold snarl as he responded with a growl in his tone, “It is time again to train.”

James grabbed Ash’s hair and pulled her face back. Ash grunted with discomfort as she grabbed hold of her father’s wrist. She let out a scream of fury. He brought his rod up toward her arms as it sparked with energy. The energy surged sparking onto Ash’s skin. She squirmed with discomfort as he held her there for a few seconds inspecting her while jabbing with his rod. The burns from the energy appeared on her skin. It was like he was sensing her in order to test how strong she is. Finally he responded, “Good. You are strong enough for the next level of training.”

James pushed her off harshly as Ash stumbled. He spoke into thin air, “Holo, proceed to level five. Commence.” He turned away uncaring for his daughter and walked out of the ring.

Surging adrenaline flowed. Blood rushed all over her body. Ash stood slowly to her feet. She clenched her hands into tight fists and scowled at the retreating back of her father that she hated. The virtual, blank white genderless trainer shimmered in front of her. Her body tensed and hardened as she clenched her fists. Letting out a roar, she smashed her fists together.

The trainer raised its fists and placed itself preparing. Ash let out a scream of fury rushing forward. It caught her fists as it was thrust back toward the cage. She scowled at it with while breathing hard. Soon, she noticed the arms and the body muscles of her virtual trainer shifted as it increased in muscle mass to match her strength. She let go and backed a bit curious. Soon it finished increasing its muscle mass and rushed at her.

Ash let out a frustrated grunt as she deftly blocked her trainer’s blows. It was getting harder to deflect the trainer’s blows. The trainer autonomous dummy rammed its fist at Ash’s face. The eight year old reeled back in pain as she stumbled back spitting blood. Shaking her head, she yelled charging at her trainer. The trainer switched back to defense while deflecting her blows.

Tirelessly, Ash rained a barrage of blows. Several fist smacks hit her enemy several times around the ring. Her enemy calculated and found her blind spot. Lifting its arm up to deflect her punch, it ducked and delivered a blow against her chest. Ash grunted stumbling back. The trainer spun around and delivered a kick below her chin. The fighter grunted with pain stumbling back several steps. They were evenly matched as Ash rushed in with speed and endurance. Her punches and kicks increased in momentum as they exchanged blows. The eight year old fighter ignored her pain and discomfort while the autonomous, genderless fighter kept going.

Part 4.2 of 2.9: Hand to hand, as he grabbed hers...

The next morning came. Ashlyn awoke and rushed from her closet to her seat in the dining table. Her pack was on her side of the chair. Her endurance and fighting training from yesterday made her stronger. It tired her out but she hid it. Her father exited the kitchen with her protein heavy breakfast. She sat and waited as James served her a plate of omelets and potatoes. Regarding him with a cold hatred, she ate her much needed diet to grow stronger.

Finishing quickly and downing her drink, she left the table without much of an acknowledgment to her father. Grabbing her heavy pack, she placed it over her shoulders and rushed outside to meet with Kieka. Her dog bounded toward her and she scratched the part of its ear. Kieka whimpered licking her gloved hand. She knelt before her dog and offered her stare. Grabbing its thick, black hide, Ash hugged her massive, muscular dog with the strength of a bear hug.

Ash stood as her dog growled following her to the waiting bus and sat watching her enter the bus. The strong girl rushed past several seats stopping before Tyler. He showed his hand and Ash accepted his unique handshake. She took her place on the seat near the window. Tyler sat next to her. He looked at her offering a smile.

Ash grasped his gloved hand and she turned away toward the window watching the world pass by. Through her eyes, she saw the world as the bus journeyed towards the school. Finally, she turned to Tyler watching him and pondered a few things. For one, she didn’t know how to respond to him or his passive actions toward her. He hasn’t at once raised a hand against her or tried to confuse her more with words. The boy was simply casual and easy going for a rogue.

The bus stopped. They got out of their seat and left the vehicle. Grabbing Tyler’s hand again, Ash was led along a different direction. The eleven year old boy led her away from the front of the school and back along the path into the forest. They stopped before the shimmering force barrier.

Still holding her hand, he studied her for a bit trying to figure out what his words were. He touched her cheek and stroked it gently bringing her close, “Ashlyn, I-”

Tyler paused unsure of what to say. Ash was confused. She wasn’t sure what he was trying to do. Tyler exhaled with a sigh inspecting her strong form. He responded, “You look stronger now. What you do from then on, I will continue to watch you. I promise I will guide you along because I-”

He stopped letting out a low growl. Grabbing his pack, he placed it onto his shoulder while letting go of her hand. Turning around, he offered his final word, “Ash, stay my side. Listen to my words. I will help you. I want to. My feelings tell me to, and I will. I promise.”

Ash watched him leave. Her features portrayed her confusion. Taking her pack, she placed it on and ran the opposite path towards the school. Soon as she found her classroom, she entered as her teacher spoke. The room was enveloped with the Holo-vision of a battlefield. They were being moved across the ground. Her students watched the simulated battle.

“It was late twenty fourteen as several months into World War Three raged on,” Tiera spoke while she looked upon her children, “A secret underground society formed. At first, they did not have a name, as they were just messengers. They were runners, and they ran, passing along secrets, hoping for the war to end. They called themselves the Special Intelligence Allied Defense, or SIAD for short. For the years that followed, they helped the Allies of the war against their enemies. For a while the allies had the upper hand. They lasted for long as the Allies were alive, and eventually when the war was over, they called on to them to become responsible for the three new branches that soon followed.”

While the Tricetra continued her presentation, the young students gaped with wide eyes. They were at awe at the kid friendly battle around them. There were animated, simulated gun fighting and people screaming at each other.

Part 4.3 of 3.9: Thrust her forward...with stifled rage

Noon came quickly as it did. The class was finished. The bell rang at the start of lunchtime. Everyone filed out of the classroom toward the cafeteria. Ashlyn ran across the hall. She stopped short as a boy barred her path. It was John. Ash turned to face the boy with coldness in her eyes. The boy spoke, “Hey! I don’t understand why you’re mad at me. I just want to be friends. I want to help you. My father told me that to heal we should be together and to talk. I want you to know that I want to help.”

John offered his hand. Ashlyn regarded the open hand from him with distaste and regarded him with hatred. They did not speak for months and when he finally did, the eight year old girl saw no change in his attitude. She still viewed him as weak. Grabbing the hand, she uttered a snarl as she bent it backwards. John yelled out in pain as he knelt on one knee. With her other gloved hand, she rammed her fist onto his face breaking his nose. It pushed him back onto the floor. Ash didn’t understand what he was trying to do. With painful enforcement, she could only do what she can to push John aside.

John looked at her with fear as Ash stormed toward him. Another boy came behind her. It was Tyler. He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back, “Don’t! Stop fighting. Not now, not here!”

Ash was pulled away screaming with rage. Tyler whispered into her ear, “It’s not the time yet.”

Several teachers led by the headmistress intervened. The teachers tended to the fallen John. Kay grabbed Ash and pulled her from the boy. Tyler protested, “Hey, hey! I got her! I stopped her. Wait!”

The headmistress spoke, “Go back to class, Tyler. Let us handle this.”

“Okay,” the boy muttered letting go. He watched the headmistress pull the snarling little girl away. Ash screamed and bit the hand that dragged her away. John was on the floor crying and bleeding from his broken nose.

Kay dragged Ash toward her office. She pulled the girl harshly onto the chair pointing at her, “Sit! I will deal with this in a moment,” she enforced harshly with anger.

Ash coldly watched her. Kay walked to her office with fury. Beating that boy somehow got her angrier and she drank that contained rage. A moment later, Kay came back in towards her holding a tablet. However before she could do anything, a fire alarm interrupted her. It was loud and distracting. The headmistress remained furious as she spat, “A fire drill? There is no fire drill in the events for today.”

Part 4.4 of 4.9: The growling beast surfaces, at last...

Kay muttered as she opened her tablet. Tapping a few commands, she scanned her school with it. Anyone who set off this false fire alarm would be immediately discovered. However this culprit was somehow cloaked. She finished off with an irritated growl, “Alright; we go outside for the fire drill until I will deal with who set it off. Outside, now! Go!”

Ash got up and left the office. She followed all the kids and teachers outside. Hanging around for a bit, she watched the lined up kids and teachers. From behind her, she heard that same voice calling her name, “Psst! Hey, Ashlyn!”

The girl turned to the voice. It was coming from the forest. From beside a tree, she saw Tyler. He beckoned her before vanishing into the forest. She looked around the group of kids. They were all distracted and facing the school. Even the teachers were too busy watching them to even notice Ash.

The eight year old found her chance and escaped into the forest. Ash followed the boy’s footsteps. Tyler vanished into the bushes. Ash walked along the path into an open glade in the middle of the forest. Before her, she saw a different boy. It was John.

John stood before the shimmering force barrier. Feeling the need to finish this fight, Ash growled and clenched her fist. John turned toward her angrily, “Hey, it’s you! This isn’t a game you know! Our classmate, Ty told me I would find something good here. Told me that you were a part of it,” he came walking to her while scolding her, “I’m telling, and I’m gonna make sure she kicks you out for good! You hit me for no good reason even when I was just trying to-ugh!”

While John walked towards her shouting, Ash snarled as she came close to him. Taking her time, she clenched her fist and rammed it into his face. The force hit him hard throwing him onto the ground. Ash barely felt the pain as she scowled at him with hatred and coldness. She was angrier.

John looked back and gasped in fear. He almost saw the faint red glimmer in her pupils for a moment. She stared back down at the fearful John feeling her blood red vessels rushing all of a sudden. Feeling this mysterious surge of something inside her rising above, Ash clenched her fists. She let out a cold, inhumane snarl. Kneeling down onto the soft ground, she raised her fist. John gasped with fear as he raised his hands with a pleading look. Ash dealt her first blow and kept going with each strike. Her hand began to hurt. Then she placed her hands onto his neck and pressed down.

John was in pain choking as he groaned, “Ash, wait! Don’t. I won’t tell, I swear-urg. I swear.”

Ashlyn kept on seething with rage. John suddenly stopped moving. He fell unconscious. She let go her as her rage disappeared. It was gone as the beast withdrew back into its cold, dark place. Ash looked at him laying there unconscious. She couldn’t understand what she had done. There was no desire to kill him then. From behind her, she heard someone approach her. It was Tyler.

He spoke motioning her forward, “Go on. There is still time. Kill him.”

Ash looked at him as her blank expression returned. He was trying to tell her something. The boy hastily responded, “Hurry! Before-,” he paused as he turned suddenly and gasped, “Oh crap.”

Part 4.5 of 5.9: Can’t hope to escape your actions without consequences

The scene enveloped in a blinding light. All three of them were transported from outside in the middle of the forest. They reappeared in the middle of Kay’s office. Several teachers made a nice circle around the three kids. They grabbed Ash and pulled the unconscious John safely away.

Kay scowled at the boy still standing. Tyler gulped backing from her in fear. The headmistress scolded with harshness in her tone, “Tyler, your antics have gone too far this time. We have discovered that it was you who set the illegal fire drill! From these years of school, you are thereby kicked out. Your father has been notified and he is not happy. Never return. This place is supposed to be a good haven for kids to grow up and learn. You still have failed to recognize this. Begone!”

Soon as she said this, Tyler vanished in a blinding light away from the school and back to wherever destination he was going to. She turned back to Ash and calmed uttering a sigh. The eight year old girl stared back emotionless. Kay beckoned the teachers away and spoke in a calmer tone, “Ashlyn. Because of your good attendance and grades here in the school and since this is your first infraction, I have to suspend you from school for several weeks. You will still do your homework and receive instruction from your holo device, but I don’t want to see you again until your suspension is over.”

She pressed the button again and Ash vanished away in a blinding light. The little girl appeared in front of her father and tensed. James looked at her with anger and spat, “What did you do? Get suspended from school? Tell me! She wasn’t specific, so tell me!”

Ash was silent and backed a bit averting his gaze. The irritated James grabbed her head harshly forcing her toward him. He spat, “Tell me!”

She yelled out grabbing his hand. She scowled back at him with her cold response, “Why do you care? Punish me already.”

James sniffed. Letting go, he thrust her on the floor and responded, “No. Whatever happened to you in school, you handle it yourself not me. Teacher suspended you for several weeks. Tell me this now. Will you go back?”

Ash scowled back at her father. She got up and responded shaking her head, “No. That school holds no interest for me anymore. I learned everything I need to know. It is now boring.”

“Hmm,” James grunted and replied, “You may be right. You are getting much too advanced for your classes. I need to leave here anyhow. Too many people. Go. Pack what you need. We leave tonight.”

Ash scowled at him and asked, “Where are we going?”

James growled at her and retorted sharply, “None of your concern.”

Ash turned away from him. She rushed to her room to pack up. Not forgetting her holo-vision, the little girl took everything she had that was in that little closet. Finally, she carried her heavy bag towards the rumbling car. James was already inside. Ash went to the only door open in the backseat. Getting in, she closed the door. Turning her head to her side, she looked into the black eyes of her big, strong muscular dog. Kieka whimpered. Unsure of what was going on, it laid its thick head onto her lap.

Raising her arms up, Ash felt her dog’s heavy head resting. Clutching Keika’s strong claw, Ash caressed its thick muscular neck and hugged it while resting her head on its thick hide. She accepted her watchdog’s comfort while looking out in the window into darkness. Kieka opened its fanged mouth and licked Ash’s hand causing her to grip its muzzle. Its ears pointed straight up while brushing against Ash’s cheek. The car sped far away from the place she grew up. Holding her dog close, Ash kissed its muscle spot and fell asleep to its warm embrace.

Part 4.6 of 6.9: A journey across the country...

Early morning came. Ash woke alone in the car. Her father left her taking the dog and never bothered to wake her. She opened the door rather groggily and starving. The eight year old moaned stretching her muscles. She was cooped up for a long time cramped in the car.

Ash began her daily strength routine of stretching to relax her muscles and build them up. After a few minutes, she walked around the car while punching at her invisible opponents while in her imaginary world. Looking up, Ash watched her father come toward her. The dog bounded along keeping guard.

James approached and tossed her some kind of wrapped protein bar before speaking a command to his dog. Kieka got onto the back seat. He closed it and opened the front passenger side for Ash.

Regarding the bar with curiosity, Ash shrugged entering the front of the car seat. She sat down as James closed the door. Walking to the other side of the car, he got into his driver seat. Closing the door with a loud bang, he activated the energy of the car and backed out of the parking space. Ash sniffed the wrapped bar not recognizing it. Biting onto the plastic of the wrapper, she recoiled slightly and hissed at it. James sighed and explained, “You rip open the wrap and eat inside.”

“Huh,” Ashlyn offered a grunt. She took her finger on one end and pulled it free. The whiff from the protein bar entered Ash’s senses. She bit down as her father explained, “I won’t be cooking for a while, so this is what I can offer or find. It’s a protein bar. You need to get used to this because I won’t be cooking for you for a bit. It’ll give you strength.”

Ash nibbled at the bland food not really caring about the difference. As she ate her morning fuel, she watched outside of the car as her surroundings changed. The car sped along the highway. For the first time in her life, he was taking her somewhere across the country. For a long time she will be on the road until he will stop somewhere satisfied that he found a place to stay.

Her dark eyes took in this new reality. It was a new world for her as the car got further away from her birthplace. The trees moved in and out covering the scenery. They vanished showing houses, farm houses, and the occasional domesticated animal. It was the country. Ash had lived on the edge of Pennsylvania for all her eight years. Now she was going far away from the Sands area for the first time of her life. Somewhere beyond was her new journey without Tyler. He broke his promise to her and the eight year old girl couldn’t care less what happened to him now.

About halfway into her bar, she turned to her father and asked him coldly, “Where are we going?”

Kieka behind her seat whimpered as the large muscular black breed gnawed at its bone with its long sharp canines. James spoke not looking at his own daughter, “Somewhere private where no eyes will watch us or watch our every move. That place, it was stifling me. It was making me uneasy. You offered me a chance to move out.”

Ash looked back at him and shrugged. She was still angry. James resumed, “Now, at this point of your life you need to decide for yourself what you want to do. Don’t involve me. However, you still need instruction. I can’t teach you because I am not qualified. You still have holo-vision. Use it to decide what school you need to go to. What your intelligence is what will tell you where to go.

James stopped speaking and drove the car the rest of the way. He left Ash to her own deliberations while passing the country sign with the words that said, ‘Leaving Pennsylvania, approaching Maryland’.

Part 4.7 of 7.9: ...will reawaken the growing spirit that is the beast.

Several more months passed. James drove across the country as his daughter looked over the Holo to decide where she would be for school. She went through some testing. However, these testing could take several months before her results will be processed. She had the time.

They were somewhere in Michigan. The car was parked before a lake. James read the directions on his tablet. Both Ashlyn and Kieka ran out of the car. They bounded across the park. Her dog barked as he splashed down onto the lake. She looked on unemotional while gnawing on her protein bar. He never forgot her daily medical supplements and gave her a second coating of liquid on her bar. It was the only way to get her stronger on a weekly basis. Ash continued her regular exercises under the observations of her father.

Ash was getting rougher, tougher, and bulkier in her body. She was colder and harsher. Finishing her protein bar, she clenched her gloved fists and yelled a command at her dog. She ran off taking a sprint across the park. Kieka followed her obediently in a run panting with energy. The large muscular dog bounded happily trying to catch up with the speeding beast.

Ash practiced her moves. She jumped over small obstacles and ran while scaling the small walls and bounded across the small flower bed. Her long, dark ponytail fluttered in the wind. She was getting faster too due to some unusual adrenaline she was getting from her daily medication.

Her dog followed its master with loyalty. Ash was the alpha and Kieka was the omega. He always wanted to follow her commands. She loved her dog the same way one would love an animal counterpart.

Rushing forward across the grass, she found a path before yelling again. The eight year old ball of fire slowed down before a large tree. She punched her invisible enemy and turned to thrust a kick onto the tree hard. She withdrew her leg and punched her gloved fist into the tree. She rammed her fists at it a couple times and ducked. Her hand started throbbing with pain. Letting out a final dodge, she did a counter punch and hit the tree with a yell again. She ran off. Her dog watched and yelped with confusion before bounding after her.

The wet, moist ground of the path squished as her feet made long strides of imprints. Ash thrust herself running along the path keeping her spirit alive. Her body became sweaty. She grew tired. However, it only got her stronger thrusting her along the path more dedicated.

Ash finally stopped beside several stand alone stones. She turned to the side of the bench and sat. The eight year old girl panted resting her hand on the armrest for a moment. Kieka stayed by her side with loyalty. Out of nowhere from a distance, a runner in his twenties ran by. He tripped on the gravel. Ash look up coldly watching him stumble. He yelled in pain as he was sprawled out on the ground. The man fell hard scraping himself badly from the gravel on the path. His pack fell free from his body.

The man was bleeding as he moaned in pain on his chest. His ankle was twisted badly. Ash sniffed once almost smelling the blood. Her dog began to snarl sensing possible danger to its master, but Ash held onto Kieka’s collar holding it back. Keeping her other arm around Keika’s neck, she studied the man feeling nothing for him. He was weak. Just like that boy that got away.

Part 4.8 of 8.9: As she grows stronger...

Something was ringing inside her. It was screaming at her and she cocked her head once. Everything she learned at this point from school, Tyler and her father. Something was telling her that she had to do something for him. He was clearly in pain. The man moaned again turning to face her. Quickly as she stood, Ash approached him. Kieka watched and snarled baring its long, sharp canines. They were dripping with saliva.

Ash knelt down onto his throat and covered his mouth. She took what she learned from her advanced military studies. With a slight snarl, she stared at him coldly as he struggled against her. She looked around. There were no witnesses. They were alone. He was still in pain. With the added pressure on his vocal cords he couldn’t fight back. He was suffocating as he whimpered.

Her dog watched her silently. After kneeling on the man’s throat and grabbing his head, Ash used her upper body strength to twist his neck. The man ceased struggling and died. Satisfied, Ash stood up and fingered her pocket. She withdrew a small device she found somewhere in her father’s things. Bending over, she placed it on the man and activated it. The body was enveloped in a bright burning light. It left behind nothing but little imprint on the dirt. Taking her foot, she brushed it away.

Ash picked up the man’s pack that was on the ground. She walked over to the bench to sit down. Her dog watched her. Rummaging through the pack, she found an MP3 player. Taking the straps, she tossed the bag behind the bench. The bag remained hidden from sight. Plugging the ear buds into her ears, she listened to the music and leaned back against the back rest while crouching with her knees close to her chin. Bored, Kieka wandered away from the bench and along the path.

The music was muffled as she slowly listened to the soft beats of the song in the player. After twenty minutes of rest, another runner jogged by. The woman stopped before the eight year old and bent down a little too close. Ash let out a slight snarl as she looked at the woman while taking out her ear buds.

The woman spoke with a worried look, “Hey, you didn’t see a man around here by chance? I haven’t heard from him.”

The woman placed her hand on Ash’s knee. The little girl flinched silently. Ashlyn didn’t like being touched, but she controlled her rage as the woman inquired, “Say, where are your parents? Are they around? Why are you alone?”

The woman stopped as some animal snarl came out from behind her. Its dark eyes glowed with harsh redness. Kieka came out and snarled at the woman. The female jogger gasped in fear grabbing for Ash’s arm and tried to pull her. Ash let out a growl smacking her across the face with her gloved fist. The confused woman backed in fear.

Part 4.9 of 9.9: does her coldness

Ash regarded her with coldness as she commanded her dog toward her. However, Kieka saw that the woman touched its master. Thinking it as some sort of an attack, the muscular dog barked with rage as it ran after the woman. Ash removed her MP3 player and barely managed to grab hold of Kieka by the collar to hold the dog back. She offered her bear hug in the attempt to pull back her large black dog with glowing red eyes. Its saliva dripped from the long, sharp canines onto the dirt ground.

The woman yelled in fear backing from the feral dog. Ash used her strength to pull back her three hundred pound dog, but Kieka pulled her along the gravel. She grabbed hold of its muscles and shouted a command into her dogs’ pointed ears. Massaging its rippling muscles, Ash kissed her dog on its thick neck. The woman backed into James when her father came running. She looked at his cold stare and she muttered with fear, “You people are crazy.”

The woman ran off. James let out a snarl and made a harsh command at his dog. Kieka heeded his command as Ash let go of the dog. James threw the water bottle at Ash. She caught the bottle with her quick reflexes and regarded him with hatred as she opened it drinking her fill.

Keeping the water in her mouth, she gulped the liquid slowly. James took his place on the other side of the bench speaking, “What just happened here?”

She let out a cold shrug as she gulped the rest of the water, “None of your concern.”

James nodded and responded, “Fine. Let’s get out of here then. She probably went ahead and called for help. We do not need to be here. Make sure no evidence is left behind.”

“Okay,” Ash responded coldly as he left her side to run with his dog back out of the path.

Ash turned around and grabbed the bag from the hiding spot. Taking the device, she placed it on the bag and disintegrated it leaving no trace. She followed her father quickly while placing her ear buds of her new MP3 player into her ears. The little girl took off in a run.

Soon as Ash caught up with her father, she ran along the trail with her dog running alongside. She noticed two people coming up on the trail. They were stationary as the woman was lying face down on the trail. She was the same woman from before. It looked to her as if she tripped. Another man, well dressed in a black uniform, was helping her while blocking her view. He looked up seeing Ash run pass. The man in black offered a slight nod. On his lips was a smile. She ran pass not caring about whom he was and if the woman saw her again.

Once more they cleaned up and left behind no trace. Even though they were always being watched, something that Tyler said made her realize that someone was watching both her and her father. Someone was making sure that the path they take, they won’t be stopped by anyone as long as both Ash and her father clean up and someone in the shadows will make sure no one follows.

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