Getting out of the military and into the life I have now bewilders me. One day I’m fighting terrorists, and the next I’m protecting the life of the devil himself.

Money, and lots of it, that was the start of me working for him. Then came the danger… it still calls to me from time to time.

I think mostly though it was about finding a home. A fucked up home, to be sure.

Lucifer would be the father, with his bitchy wife Simon. The rest of us miscreants are his fucked up little killers.

That’s why when Bartholomew betrayed us, I took responsibility for taking his life. He didn’t just betray a boss, he betrayed his brothers. I don’t see his face in the darkness like I do the others when I sleep at night.

My real parents were cold people, their affections were saved for each other. Not for the brat they brought into the world out of some sense of familial duty. They continued the bloodline, nothing else in their eyes.

I don’t know what true love and affection is, I guess. I don’t think what I have felt for other women was anywhere near love or care.

Amy and Abigail? I couldn’t do without either one of them in my life. I want them here with me. Amy is mine in the most basic sense of the word. Abigail? It’s more difficult to describe. I feel a real affection for her. I want the best in the world for her, so to me that means love… I think.

Amy produces a different kind of feeling in me. I feel it in my chest. It tells me to claim her, to make her mine in every possible way.

To fucking mark her and own her.

“Ready Alpha One and Two, Alpha Three and Five in position,” a voice warbles in my ear.

“Go for Alpha One, waiting on Alpha Four,” I murmur back.

We’ve been sitting here in the cold rain for almost two hours waiting for false dawn to start.

“Position Four ready and on high in position,” James says through the mic. He’s up on a ridgeline with the heavy sniper rifle.

We aren’t taking any chances today. This is a shoot to kill job. We’ll take prisoners if possible but we don’t want to risk a single person escaping.

Checking my cellphone, I send a quick text to Johnathan. “Ready to go. Start time 4:53a.m.”

Johnathan quickly responds, “Set to go. 4:53a.m.”

We’re positioned at two different houses. His is north of the city while mine is to the west of it.

They spread the two hit teams out pretty well, and that’s what makes me so damn anxious. I don’t like having to do two simultaneous hits at once. But we don’t get a choice in this shit. We can’t take only one, and we can’t hit the second one after we hit the first. Too much could go wrong that way.

Checking my watch, I mark it at 4:51 a.m. “Two minutes.”

Each man quickly responds back as we watch the time count down to a minute before. “Infiltrate. We hit at the 3 mark.”

Rushing forward, I keep my barrel up and my finger on the trigger.

My first target is the man leaning against a post with a half-smoked cigarette dangling from his lips. In these early hours of the morning he’s half asleep and his night vision is shit from the glowing ember.

Five feet from him, I quietly drop my rifle to its sling and pull the combat knife from my vest. The last few feet are the last moments of his life as I rush to him, slamming the blade into the side of his throat.

A spurt of blood shoots out as I pull the blade from him, hitting me in the chest and face.

Fuck.

Crouching down next to the body, I quietly say, “First position taken. Any issues?”

“Negative. We’re still a go, no detection noticeable at this time.”

Moving to the corner of the house, I motion to the man who leans up against the brick wall next to the front door. “Get ready to break through the door. Toss a frag grenade in.”

Heading back the way I came, I make my way around to the side of the house.

Crouching beneath the bedroom window, I slowly rise up to take a quick peek inside. I see two men sleeping on twin mattresses in a shabby looking room.

“Toss grenades, ten seconds. Enter the front door, sixteen seconds,” I murmur into the throat mic.

No whispering shit, whispers carry further than a good murmur.

Two seconds before the toss time, I bust out a portion of the window. The time’s up when I drop the grenade through the window. It lands between the alarmed men.

The stunning boom rocks the home as multiple points of the house are breached. Looking back into the room, I see everything is splattered with red, even the black mark of the explosive.

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