The One-Sentence Story

Once upon a time there was a man. He was not an extraordinary man by any means. In fact, the man was quite plain and rather boring in appearance. His pale grayish eyes matched his non-descript conservative suit, which hung on his medium frame like burlap. His shoes were a dull brown. His slow deliberate gaite mirrored complacency as he ambled toward the crowded bridge. Though the man ambled along slowly, he had a heightened sense of awareness of where he was at and where he was going.
Those on the bridge paid him no attention. The busy Sunday crowd was self indulged in the warm spring day, after a week of foul weather had engulfed the small coastal town.
Seagulls squawked and flapped noisily as they ignored both the man and the Sunday crowd, pecking and tearing apart bits of food left carelessly on the walkway.
The sun shone brightly, however John Smith still blended in with the scenery to the point of almost completely camouflaged. Sometimes being in plain sight was the best way to not be seen.
Suddenly John felt a hand on his shoulder, it's grip was tightening quickly. He had been walking with his hand in his coat pocket and it tightened around the cryptic note he had received under his door that morning. It was the note that had changed everything about his mundane life. Even as he turned to see whose hand had demanded his attention, his mind still struggled to understand what it could mean.
He turned as calmly as he could manage and involuntarily breathed out a hoarse, "You!" His mind instantly flashed back nearly 18 years to that night he had tried so hard to forget. Though outwardly calm, panic began to set in.
It looked as if the face staring back at him hadn't aged a single, solitary day since that cold night under the street lamps on that forsaken road.

"You look rather healthy for someone who is supposed to be dead" said the tall thin owner of the offensive hand.

"I'm fine", he managed, fearing that his calm exterior had cracked ever so slightly. He added cautiously " I attended your funeral, it was very well attended . "

"Design has that affect on events, doesn't it?" his unwanted companion responded icily. John tried to think about what started this all in the first place and how did it come to that night under the street lamps on No Name road.
It seemed like an eternity since that horrific fire that had taken the small mountain town they had both called home. But, his mind reeled, it had only been 18 years. He feared the secret of what they had witnessed that night would be plastered on the front page of the local paper tomorrow, although he knew better.
John often wondered if the horrific acts that day were just part of his imagination but he still felt the cold steel in his hands to this day.
The clouds overhead seemed to respond to his morosity by darkening a few shades. The thin man, Mitch (at least that used to be his name) spoke calmly, " We need to talk". "And I suppose talking is my only option at this point." said John. Mitch's mouth twitched in the corners, as his cold steel eyes burned through John.
The glare was red and palpable. "I really didn't want it to come to this either" Mitch said through his obvious distaste, " but if we don't work together nothing can be done to stop what I fear is coming sooner than we think."

"And just what is it that's coming?" John asked, with a tremble in his voice.

"The truth", replied Mitch.

"What about the agency? What are they going to do?" John asked, though he knew the answer.

"They certainly won't stop looking, John."

"They don't know what they're looking for though; all the evidence was like totally obliterated in the fire" Mitch quietly said with trepidation. "Not all the evidence" John stated with a enigmatic tone of voice while his grip on that cryptic note loosened; as he was trying not to draw attention to it. His hand had already begun to sweat from gripping the note so tensely, so he hoped that the ink hadn't smeared. With the final piece of evidence (to John's knowledge) in his hand, the agency after them both, and his memory of the cold steel bar covered in blood; John could start to see how the fires tied into the big picture.

Three hundred miles to the south Morton Skyler sat in his over stuffed chair in his extravagant 10th floor office looking out the large windows at the surf. He made a steeple of his fingers as a grin cracked across his face. He had built the diversified business of his to nearly a billion dollars, with the help of very carefully selected employees whose only ambition was the next bonus. "Mr. Skyler, your wife is on hold. Line 3," squawked his underpaid and underestimated secretary of 20 years.

His secretary had been loyal since she started, even if she did know some of his "questionable" methods of operations. In fact, in a way, she was enamored with the pertinacity of his endeavor, and the results that had fattened her wallet.

She had even been on board with his tactics eighteen years ago, which had increased his wealth exponentially despite the extreme loss of life he had not counted on. But that was only the beginning.

There was still the nagging realization that as wealthy that move had made him he had still failed to accomplished his original purpose in Glenview, that one 24 acre piece, and he had yet to acquire that because of the Lewis brothers. But of course, the Lewis brothers would fall too, just like anyone else that got in his way.

He thought bitterly of their father who had used his deceptively humble position in the capitol to bring his own father's manipulative ploy for power to an ignominious end. But his cracked grin widened at the thought of the plans he had set in motion.

He had a hunch that the latest batch of feelers he had sent out may flush the Lewis boys out of hiding. Little did Morton know that the feelers he sent out would bring to him his own personal downfall.

Meanwhile John and Mitch had moved their conversation to a more private location, a bench overlooking a small pond. They decided to put aside their differences for a very brief moment and go after the real enemy. What was most disturbing was the circumstances that had been the deciding factor for the change of heart. Each brother knew they could and would blackmail each other out of pure hatred but it was the life of an innocent child at stake. The last thing John had expected was for Mitch to produce a cryptic note he had received, on yellow stationary, torn in half, a perfect match for Johns note.

"These won't solve our problem", said John, gesturing to the notes, which together formed just one key of many.
Mitch scowled at John and growled in a low tone, "Do you always give up so easily you coward!"
"It has kept me alive this far", John snapped back.
"So how did you manage to find me ?" John asked after smothering his uncomfortable rise of anger.
"In this day and age it's just a click away, John." Mitch said cryptically.

"Well if it makes any difference l've known you are custodian for the Mason county airport for some time" said John smugly, "I knew you couldn't stay away from flying" "Mason county huh, is that what it looked like?" Mitch chuckled despite the seriousness of the situation. Mitch thought about how he missed that place and the brief moments there that brought him happiness. His face shifted as he thought of how grim their lives had become in the past few years. He shook off the emotions and told John that they needed to come up with a solid plan for going after Morton. John replied,"It may come as a surprise to you, but I have learned a few things over the years, and I need to show you something that will help us." Mitch tugged at his beard thoughtfully as his gaze fixed on John, finally with the serious expression this situation warranted.

John said decisively, " We need to go to my place to organize something, we have a better chance than you think." Mitch nodded wordlessly and they melted into the crowd, crossed the bridge, and hailed a cab. Each brother tossed the worthless notes into the trash because each knew that a good plan was forming quickly. As the taxi pulled away a small thin man sporting a straw hat and a hawaiian shirt casually lounged beside the trash and surreptitiously retrieved the two torn pieces that lay on top of the can. The thin man carefully placed the notes in his briefcase and then spoke to his phone, "Call Morton". John and Mitch disappeared into the crowded traffic as their cab sped off down Sixth Street. "No Donna, I won't be home until late," Morton replied gruffly to his wife on the phone.

"Of course it's important!", he fumed. He should have been elated after the phone call from Frank Barton about the Lewis brothers, but it rankled him to no end that they were alive and well and located at the last area he wanted them be. If the Lewis brothers pieced it together too soon, it could destroy what he had worked so hard to build. Bitterness began to boil up from the anger that Morton felt towards the brothers causing those all too common acidy spurts that burned up his throat leaving a nasty taste in his mouth. Frank Barton was a patient man and was in no hurry to discover the destination of the taxi. Morton had waited 18 years so far, what difference would a couple of days mean? Suddenly from behind Frank, the Lewis brothers grabbed him and shoved him into a van. Frank's mind reeled as he screamed in protest because he was sure he had seen them leave in the taxi. He had not taken into account they had been highly trained years before, it was evident they had not forgotten it. The van door slid shut with a bang as Frank cracked his forehead against something metallic inside, and then everything went dark. Mitch looked sideways at John as they leisurely pulled out into traffic, "I didn't remember you being this good," he said with a growing tone of respect.

"Do you think we gave him enough time to send our message to Morton?" John answered. "We would be foolish to assume otherwise, I'm just glad you spotted him, I am going to have to keep my eyes open," said Mitch. Frank groaned from the floor of the van behind their seats, blood trickling from a gash on his forehead.

He didn't begin to regain consciousness for nearly 30 minutes, just as the brothers pulled up to a large older warehouse in a seedy commercial area. Tossing Frank on a stretcher, the brothers surreptitiously transported him into the warehouse by way of a side entrance which looked as if it hadn't been opened in quite some time. The warehouse seemed to be divided into three large sections. Mitch had noticed when they arrived that the section on the far end wore a large faded "Joes' Used Books" sign out front. Mitch chuckled as he noted the dust caked on the sign like layers of medieval mud. "Don't laugh," said John quietly, "I learned a lot from dad about structural subterfuge." Mitch laughed, a loud cackling laugh that spoke of the tension of the last few years as he spat out, "Do you hear yourself?"

John chuckled, "Let's just say I have a pretty good place to stay out of sight, and keep up on what is going on at the same time." Mitch noted the picture of an old P-51 airplane fastened securely to the back wall as he responded in a more serious tone, "What is it you have in here, John?" "That's just soffit to house a heating duct," he replied, "We'll see the bookstore in a few minutes. " Mitch raised an eyebrow in John's direction when he replied, "So no airplanes huh?" "If you remember correctly, that is YOUR passion, as much as books are mine," said John, "Probably why the gulf between you and dad." Frank moaned and squirmed from the stretcher. "The book store is just through this door, it's a good thing he's not conscious to know where he is yet."

"What did you have in mind?" "We'll just sit on him for a while, Morton knows our general location now but he won't know where to look ,there's lots of open country here." "Well we're gonna have to do something about all that racket he's making." "Got it covered brother, just a couple minutes yet and you will see what my trepidation has helped me set up." "Those are long words for a small town boy", Mitch cackled. They had been carrying the stretcher through rows of old used books with ten foot tall shelves, until John stopped at the end of one dim row. "Is this the way to the bat cave?" Mitch snickered again as he mentally recorded John's process. "I hadn't thought to call it that, but I guess it's kinda like that ,I just call it my retreat." Answered John as he produced a small remote from his pocket. Impressed, Mitch mused, "I'm glad you didn't fold down one of these books like a lever."

"There is a hidden manual switch ," said John as a six foot section of the wall swung silently away from them. The cleverly built space beyond bloomed outward, a geometrical masterpiece hidden inside the heart of the warehouse. "The warehouse is 75 feet by 300 feet," explained John as they carried the stretcher into 25 foot wide room. "With all the bells and whistles too." Mitch said with a whistle of adoration. Mitch looked around in wonder as he gawked at the space which ran nearly the entire length of the warehouse, a corner of this section held a long table with numerous monitors and electronic equipment. Bundles of wires and cables ran along tidy bracketed enclosures above his head. John directed Mitch to a bed on one side of the room,"We'll secure him here and doctor his head,no one will hear anything as the walls insulated" Mitch noted a first aid kit hung with exacting care near the bed, opened it, and removed gauze, a pressure dressing, tape, and a small bottle of peroxide. John retrieved the cellphone from Frank's pocket and smiled,"Do you know how much information you can get from these?" Mitch nodded, "Yes sir, that thing is a wolf in sheep's clothing if I ever saw one before."

Suddenly there was three chirps coming from one of the monitors. "That's the perimeter fence." said John with a note of dismay creeping up in his voice. He was relieved when he checked the monitor, "Just a deer," he said ,"The cameras are motion activated." Mitch peeked up at the video feed as he finished up the bandage on Frank's injured scalp. That particular monitor was split into six segments which alternated every few seconds until something prompted a specific camera. "What's this fancy gizmo in the middle, John?" Mitch asked as he walked over to the massive control bank. "It integrates data from all the computers , helps speed up the search process a lot. " replied John. John tapped a few keys on a keypad and a hidden panel whirred open in the ceiling. John handed Mitch the phone he'd found in Frank's pocket, "You'll find a cord to fit that in the drawer right there , this will give us information to encourage Frank to be honest with us." Mitch worked quickly, finding the appropriate cables, and plugging the phone in.

John tapped at the keyboard for a moment, then a large monitor blinked into life. He clapped his hands together and stretched his fingers, "Right, let's get to work". As he stretched his fingers, one of the knuckles on his right hand popped loudly and startled them. "Guess we are a little bit more on edge than we thought." Mitch said with a long sigh. He chuckled shakily and then began to methodically work. "Well I have to say I was pretty uneasy about that note but the fact that it brought you here is a great relief" admitted John. "That was some solid cryptography." Mitch said, raising an eyebrow in John's direction. John had an incredulous look on his face and his jaw dropped in surprise and he hoarsely whispered, "No! Oh no!" The screen showed the routes Frank had been taking with dates and times, there was a large group of activity in the vicinity of the 24 acres that had once been the Lewis home. Bile began to creep up John's throat and his pulse began to race as he tried to reason with what he saw on the screen. "They've been watching me longer than I thought." John managed. "What?" Mitch exclaimed on the edge of panic; let me see that! Mitch looked at the digital readout which showed dozens of locations and timestamps littered around the old estate. " I managed to keep that 24 acres by a series of sales to different "companies", Morton couldn't know we are still the owners but he is sure snooping around!"said John. "Aha! I've got an idea of how to take care of our 'friend' Morton once and for all", said Mitch confidently. " I 'm all ears",replied John, "I just wish dad was around to be in on this, they were unable to find any cremains." "I just don't know" Mitch said, "there's just something very fishy about that whole fire thing; there's something that we're missing." The fire they both remembered all too well had been national news as Glenview had lost over 3000 homes and businesses and upwards of 1000 people killed and scores of victims never accounted for, John and Mitch included. "We'll get rid of him by giving him exactly what he wants." Mitch said with a twinkle in his eye and a wide smile. John smirked in response but noticed that Mitch's shoulders were slumped as if there was a ton of weight on them. John stopped what he was occupied with and looked Mitch square in the face and said,"Mitch,I know I never saw you after that night until today but that is all behind us, we need to move on and focus on this, no one is at fault here, you got that?"

"Yeh, yeh..I hear you," Mitch mumbled and turned away. The lights on the control panels and computers in front of them blinked in silence for a few moments. The almost deafening silence actually gave both men a little time to reflect on their eroding and precarious situation. "Well" said John suddenly, "I'm thinking while we are waiting for this to finish we ought to check out the homestead, it's just twenty minutes away by chopper." "Don't tell me you've got a chopper behind a hidden panel too." Mitch chuckled. "I've got a Bell Robinson 44 in the far section of the warehouse, I' ve been busy the last 18 years, trying to deal with this stuff." "Single-engine, two-bladed main rotor, two-bladed tail rotor, and a skid landing gear?" Mitch asked with excitement. " I actually added some wheels on the skids to make it easier to get in and out of the hanger, planes are not my passion like you but I've found this machine very useful." Mitch replied, "Yes, I can see that it would indeed be quite useful and well...also quite an asset and backup if things go sour. "Before we go let's give Frank something to think about " said John as he pulled out a DVD from a drawer. Mitch laughed from his gut, "Oh yeh, another little disappearing act would frustrate him to no end".

John turned on a television near where Frank was secured and soon they were viewing a purple dinosaur singing about a happy family, "This is on continuous play, he will be really glad to se us when we return." John tapped a few keys on the keyboard and a metallic whirring could be heard deeper inside the warehouse. Mitch chased away the little nagging thoughts of trepidation that tried to immerge about the old homestead. John led the way down the length of the room through three different sections before opening a door revealing a naby blue aircraft in a well stocked shop. The aircraft was spotless, as if it had been polished earlier that day. Mitch suddenly chuckled and said" What in the name of insanity made you put that DVD on, I always hated that when I heard it as a kid." "It's rather enjoyable to irritate you, brother", smirked John. "Seriously, I think Frank will be quite ready to answer some questions when we return."John continued. Mitch nodded his head but kept silent about his nagging doubts. His mood shifted when he refocused on the beautiful helicopter that was tucked away in the cleverly behemothic warehouse. John ' s next words gave him a further boost," I see in your flight folder you were rated on the big brother of this bird, if your comfortable with it I'll let you take her later."

Mitch raised an eyebrow, "Just how long have you been tracking me anyway?" John laughed " In this day and age you're just a click away." Mitch's laugh stopped short in the middle when he noticed something very unusual about the smooth, navy blue helicopter in front of him. "This is not a stock 44; who are you and what did you do with my boring big brother?" asked Mitch. "How did you afford all this?" "It was a little tricky but dad's estate went to the trust of which you and I were trustees, since you and I were presumed dead the trust was handled by Tritech Enterprises, which is run by an illusive board, and two of the board of three are sitting in this chopper" replied John. Mitch stared in amazement at the presence of his old friends Dave and Jerry, whom he had flown with on many occasions. "Hey Mitchie" said Dave " Has John told you yet there is a slot open on the board?" "My friend," Mitch said, looking squarely at his brother, "John has neglected to tell me quite a bit in the last few years." "Well now I know you're still with us, we can change that, as no cremains were found I still wonder about dad, he was always a little mysterious." John said. "Yeh, Dad was pretty quick minded, so we have to be careful of making a false assumption," Mitch replied thoughtfully. After moving the chopper out to the pad they donned headsets as John completed his checklist.

As Mitch listened to his brother go through the checklist on the headset he thought he detected a slight tone of triumph. They soon lifted off and swung towards the west flying low over the contour in the terrain. The hills and scattered structures rolled past underneath them as if they were a large green river, full of debris. "There's a lot to tell you Mitch" said John through the headphones, " but I 'll start with the fact that the forty acres surrounding our original 24 is owned by Tritech or one of our sister companies, that drives Morton nuts." "Go on." Mitch said, making a conscious effort to remember every detail.

Three-Sentence Story

The wind slipped low over the ground as it hurried onward to its next rendezvous with a storm. Grain danced as the wind rushed by, rippling gracefully. The moonlight blanketed the fields in a comforting sheet of pale blue. The previously calm mid western night generated an oppressive feeling of loneliness as a lone hitchhiker wrapped his thin coat tighter against the intrusive gusts. The coming storm seemed to suck him towards it as if the vacuum he felt inside was being played out in the weather. He raised his chin a little occasionally to peruse the surrounding fields of wheat, his restless eyes seeking for anything at all that could provide shelter before the tempest broke around him.

The pitter-patter of the first droplets of rain tapped at his hood. The road ahead was darker even than the road he had left behind him, promising no shelter from the cold that waited just on the other side of nighttime. His feet crunched on the loose gravel on the road, he abruptly stopped and peered to his left across the open field to the forest beyond it. There had been no cars for hours and he desperately hoped there would be some shelter in the trees. He listened to the wind moan and thought for a brief second he heard an approaching vehicle. Bowing his head against the wind he scanned the road as far as the diminished light of the moon would allow. Deciding he had seen nothing in the forest, and had heard nothing on the road ahead, he plodded onward in the ever-deepening darkness. His thin coat was no defense against the droplets of rain, which grew fatter with each passing moment, and his undershirt began to cling to his skin as it slowly became soaked. Rain seeped into his shoes and saturated his socks as his gait began to tell a story of being defeated.

He trudged on, glancing up less and less frequently. The road bent slightly to the north and rose a few feet, which stirred him from a monotonous mindset. Off to one side, a few feet off the road, a dark silhouette caught his eye. His pace slowed almost imperceptibly but he continued walking, afraid that if he looked, he might see something. He had traveled only a few feet when he noticed movement again. Despite his efforts to ignore it, his eyes darted to the side of the road, scanning. His pulse quickened as the dark shape slipped through the tall wet grass and bumped against his leg. He froze, looking down in the darkness at something whimpering and groveling at his feet. Then he calmed himself and bent over to touch an animal with long wet matted fur, and he was instantly full of compassion. Its antenna drooped in the rain as it cowered at his feet. Its tentacular whiskers wandered, smelling out this new creature wandering down its road in the cold darkness. The bioluminescent feet remained a dull, shaded blue as it seemed to ask with its unusually large eyes, "Friend?". He slowly knelt avoiding any sudden moves, he did not want to frighten the pathetic looking creature. When he was near enough to it ,the creature suddenly leapt up into his surprised arms. As he stood in wonder, one of the appendages raised it's slender form and pointed in the direction of a darkened brush field. As he turned toward the field, the creature began sniffing wildly at his neck and his face, and the man squinted, trying to push the creature away. His tired eyes abruptly creaked open toward consciousness as the odor and nuzzle of a ragged, muddy golden retriever investigated his clothes with its curious snout. He didn't even remember curling up in the ditch to sleep. The late morning sun was a sharp contrast with the extreme weather that drew him to shelter on the roadside. He fought the grogginess the seemed to want to drag him back into a darker world. Reality flitted from thought to thought causing him to question every facet of the situation. The squeaks and rattles of an old pickup in the distance brought him back into focus. Dust rose in clouds as brown as the truck itself as it approached. Rocks skittered and bounced away from the tires as the pickup came to a halt next to the man. He had no idea how long he'd been out. His body was stiff from inactivity, as stiff as his dried out clothes. He tried to turn his head towards the approaching footsteps. His vision dimmed and faded to a blackness that ate time. He awoke hours later, feeling the bumps and shakes of an old pickup ride, and hearing the now familiar squeaks and rattles that came with it. He wondered if he should dare to open his eyes. He knew what was happening would not disrupt and plans he had, for he had none. His hand groped in his pocket for his thin wallet. Even as he put his hand on it his mind struggled to make sense of the contents. A circular, metallic disk occupied the majority of his wallet. It was smooth on all sides with no discernible holes or features in it, except for what felt like a button in the center. Instinctively, he pressed it. The next thing he knew he was being lifted to a long table. Bright lights blinded him but as he tried to shade his eyes he realized his arms were pinned to his side. He heard a low hum as the lights moved slowly up and down his body. The table whirred and clicked him into an upright position. His arms and legs pinned, he was force to stare ahead at the darkness in front of him. One light remained fixed above, angling downward onto his face. From behind the light he heard a nasally voice. " So you are still with us Mr. Lewis. Do you know where you are?" He squinted, trying find the source of the voice. The featureless darkness provided no answers. A draft of icy air washed over him from somewhere in the darkness to his left as he heard a loud metallic clunk. The bright lights had dimmed and his eyes adjusted to normal overhead bulbs. Standing around him were two men and a nurse in white. "We've run a few tests and your overall health is adequate but you really need some proper nutrition for a while . " said the nasally voice. "Yes, yes, quite good. But I'm afraid there is still a significant spike during the rainstorm stage. Can you tell us something about that Mr. Lewis?"

He struggled to make his mouth form words. When he managed to accomplish it his voice sounded strange to him. "You...... you......know me?"he asked timidly. "Come now, Mr. Lewis, snap out of it.", the nasally voice said, pushing aside the nurse and coming into view. "We'll have none of that nonsense as if it's your first time in the simulator. We've a lot riding on you Mr. Lewis!" "You have certainly let yourself go but your worn out drivers license let us know you are. You did know it expired 15 years ago I assume.You are also a long way from California, just where have you been?" A few tense moments passed as Mr. Lewis began to focus in on the scene before him. His memory was as foggy and dark as the rainstorm he'd endured. The nasally voiced man began to tap his foot with impatience. The hitchhiker's mind was spinning as a flood of vague memories bombarded him. He was running for his life from flames and an unrembered adversary, suddenly there was s train roaring in his head. "Can you help me?"he asked. "Put him under again." his interrogator said with disgust in his voice as he nodded his head at the nurse. "We don't have time for this. Keep him under until he finds the note." As they turned to go Charles Lewis had a brief moment of clarity. "Is the dog ok?" He asked clearly. The three stopped and stared at him with a curious look. "The dog", he repeated, "is the dog okay?" The three huddled closer and the ringleader brought his face within a foot of Charles. Charles suddenly remembered everything. As quickly as his memory returned, so did his wits. His only course of action now would be to feign the amnesia that had so recently imprisoned him. "The dog with the big eyes and blue feet is ok? Charles remembered the man in front of him as Dr. Langor. He remembered the stench of his breath as it huffed in his face. "Who are you?" he asked with an inward smirk that he didn't let show on his own countenance. He desperately needed some time to collect himself better and find out where he was now that he knew who he was. His face was a blank canvas as he thought of the possibilities. One very important thing was he still had the disc and they would not have any idea what it was or how important it was. The blue-footed dog ploy seemed to be doing the trick. What a gift that had been in his latest run through the simulator. He almost laughed aloud in spite of his efforts to maintain his composure. He no longer felt purposeless as his mind raced to try to grasp everything at once. The agency had him but he knew things about the group that they didn't know themselves. He longed to know more about the aftermath of the horrific fire that as far as he knew started on his own property. That fire had changed everything. The so-called doctor in front of him seethed in an angry pout. But just as he was about to respond, an alarm blasted through the building. The three spun around and rushed toward the exit. As they did one of the underlings in his haste dropped his clipped on security badge. Charles was left sitting on the table as the door slammed behind their retreating figures. With no time to waste, Charles got to work. He deftly slipped a small non-metallic pin from a hidden pocket on his pant leg just next to his bound hands. Working past the pain in his wrist from working at such an odd angle, he eventually freed the hasp from his right wrist. Once free he retrieved the badge from the floor and went to the door. The alarms were still resounding through the building as he slid the badge into a slot beside the door. The door opened silently and he cautiously looked up and down an empty hall. Turning left, he kept his back to the wall and crept. He slowed as he neared a doorway with a small porthole window in it. He considered rushing past it, but stopped when he heard voices inside. "You do realize this is the worst possible time for this to happen, don't you ?"an authoritative voice said grimly. The reply came from Dr. Langor " I had nothing to do with this, I was working on Mr.Lewis. It was probably one of your new personnel not trained properly." Charles chuckled silently to himself and scooted past the door. At the next corridor, he swung left and entered a massive hangar bay, complete with helicopters, fixed-wing crafts of many types, and some machinery he didn't recognize. He paused for a moment, thinking how much his sons would enjoy this space, and then refocused so that he could make it back in time to save them. Off to the left he spied what looked like a pilot's lounge. After finding it empty he found a first aid kit and retrieved a pair of scissors and entered a restroom,locking the door.He was shocked when he looked in the mirror but wasted no time in changing his unkempt look. After cutting some of his bedraggled beard and shaggy hair, he returned to the lounge and peeked into a few drawers and cupboards. He found a standard issue flight suit that would fit him well enough. As he finished donning the flight suit, he heard startled voices echoing down the corridor he had just come through. A last minute glance around the room revealed a well worn ball cap hanging in a corner behind the door. He grabbed it , stuffed it on his head and hung the badge on his lapel. He exited the lounge and walked quickly to one of the aircraft, examining it carefully as if he had every right to be there. Dr. Langor appeared bustling through, taking his glasses off in frustration, now about 40 yards away in the giant hangar bay, and barked at Charles in a hurried stutter. "You... you, worker! Have you seen a man, a man wearing... Oh, you're useless." Langor fumed as he stomped away into another hallway on the opposite side of the bay. Charles breathed a sigh of relief as he watched the retreating figure. He needed some time to gather his thoughts.He knew he was at an agency compound but he didn't even know what state he was in. It wouldn't be long before security recognized him on one of the many cameras littered throughout the facility. He calculated he had about 20 minutes before his feeble disguise stopped working. That gave him just enough time to do some snooping. After a quick look he too see if the coast was clear he entered the hallway again and casually walked down the hall glancing at the doors to try to determine what might be informative and more importantly empty. There was a door on the right he was approaching and he suddenly heard someone around a corner in the hall. He carefully looked in the port and entered after seeing it was unoccupied .

The voices carried on past the office he hid in, leaving him free to investigate. Inside, he found what looked to be a pilot's office paraphernalia and personal desk. A cup of steaming coffee sat on the small table in one corner. He went into a bathroom and was pleased to find a razor in the cabinet. He quickly shaved and picked up a jacket lying in the corner to change his appearance a little more. After exiting the bathroom he checked the hall and sat down at the computer at the desk. He knew he had to make this quick. Someone had to have left that cup of coffee ready to drink in a hurry. They could be back any minute. He wasn't sure the level of this alarm or the reason but did remember that the agency had a twenty minute all clear time limit after the alarms stopped.He guessed that the alarms had gone silent about five minutes ago. He tapped the keyboard tentatively, it had been a long long time since he was in this mode. The monitor kicked to life with documents already displayed. Whoever had just left hadn't even bothered to lock the computer. He scanned the desktop looking at the scattered icons, disapproving of the lack of organization.

Sonnets

I don't know if this is going to work. I am Hawaiian but you are a Turk. I get chicken but you get lasagna. If you are messy you'll get some on ya. And then I'll be saying dasvidania. Which means rubber chickens fry in oil. And broken ones die inside the bathroom. After lunch, we'll eat some yummy fish bait. And watch a movie about tornadoes. Then we'll take a long time walking to Mars. And talk while we talk to the lonesome orb. Upon reaching Mars I ate candy bars. And built a spaceship out of dusty rocks. It fell apart due to the chicken pox.
Chimppoo was running one day very quickly. Carrying icicles frozen like rocks Jingling as loud as sleigh bells on fire So fast that she ran right out of her socks Then she struck a large pile of snow and steam And tumbled into a fortress of dreams Then a dragon flew down towards chimppoo. With fire and scales and seven kinds of stew. He landed next to her and gave her some . And together they flew to Nevada. Chimppoo had second thoughts about it. But carefully weighed every small option she'd wait till the dragroon was too tired to spit On the river of life, be a paddler.