STRATAGEM Chapter 37

Washington Chronicle

New Global Pandemic Strikes Major Cities – Governments impose lockdowns

Geraldine Ferrar | 1 hour ago

Mere months after the end of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the WHO in conjunction with the United States’ CDC and other government and health agencies across the globe has declared a state of emergency in response to the discovery of a new global pandemic.

People all over the world are all too familiar with the mandates of quarantines, social distancing, masks, shuttering of businesses and gatherings, but what troubles health officials about this new pathogen is the lack of knowledge and experience they have with it.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

According to Leo Botha, General of the World Health Organization, “We are looking at a syndrome that seems to have no recognizable indicators for its cause.”

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 36

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! This day needed to come to an end. For all Derek cared, he could die right here, right now, satisfied that he’d done all he could.

Except stop Blake from hurting anyone else.

Without thinking, Derek rushed the madman, grabbed his wrist, and fought to pry the knife from his hand. But Blake would not relent. From the look in his eyes, though, he seemed more confused than aggressive.

“Come on, man,” Derek grunted, even as Mom and Sabine got up to help, “Just drop it.”

“Can’t…” A tiny red mark formed under the tip of the blade pressed into his neck. For a split-second, his eyes flashed blue. But then the glow shifted to bright gold and then disappeared. With a sudden surge of strength, Blake shoved Derek.

Derek flew back and landed on the sofa. This was the part when the superhuman strength would take over. Alien-infiltrated-Blake would be virtually unstoppable now.

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 35

HER ENTIRE BODY WENT COLD. Sabine had never seen anyone take their own life before. Her breath grew short, her pulse raced, and she lost all sensation.

A silent cry floated out of her mouth.

Derek and Mom gasped.

Sabine just kept staring at the screen in disbelief. The image was long gone, but the fear in Connor’s eyes, the schizophrenic struggle for control, the blood…all left an indelible impression in her mind.

A singular tear burned a line down her face.

That was when it hit her.

The uncontrollable sobs, the hyperventilation, the trembling.

“Oh my God, Connor!” She held her head in her hands, grasping her hair. For the entire time since Athena’s return, the idea that something alien had come back with them haunted her. But it wasn’t until she witnessed it kill Connor that the reality of it all became tangible.

Amid all torrent of emotions and questions, she finally felt it: pain from the tragic loss of someone she cared for—someone who cared for her.

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 34

COLD METAL PRESSED INTO HIS TEMPLE. Derek tried to shout, but Blake put him in a chokehold with his left arm with such force it might break his neck if he struggled.

Sabine bolted to her feet. “Blake, no!”

He pointed the gun at her.

Then at Mom, whose eyes remained trained on him like a bird of prey’s.

Right away, he put the muzzle back into Derek’s temple.

“Stop it, Blake!” Sabine said. “That’s my brother…and she’s my mother”

“You sure?” His words came out like sandpaper scraping against concrete. He coughed, then cleared his throat. “They’re not like…like them?”

Derek could barely suck in a breath.

He was going to black out.

Sabine held out her hand. “Give me the gun, Blake. Please.”

read more

STRATAGEM Chapter 33


“SOMEONE NEEDS TO TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON, RIGHT NOW.” Derek only realized he was shouting because of Hulk and Paige’s reaction. “Sorry,” he said to her. “I’m just surprised.”

“Beenie!” Mom ran over to hug Sabine. “What are you doing here?”

Before could say another word, the man behind her gasped and collapsed to the floor. Sabine went over and knelt by him. “Blake!”

Without missing a beat, Mom found the light switch, flipped it on, and went over to check on them. Paige let out a frightened whimper and wrapped her arms around Derek’s leg. Hulk curled around her legs empathetically.

“It’s going to be all right, Paige. You stay here with Hulk, I’m going to be right there helping out.

She nodded, and sat in the chair next to her, stroking Hulk’s back.

“Inside that cabinet,” Mom said, pointing to the kitchenette. “Red duffle bag. Get the first aid kit.”

The man—Blake—started convulsing on the floor. Derek went over and pulled out the red duffle bag. From within, he found a rectangular bag with the First Aid symbol and brought it over to Mom.

“What’s wrong with him?” Mom said.

“He’s been shot,” Sabine answered and pointed to the tourniquet on his arm.

Mom examined it, turned him over on his side. “Looks like the bleeding’s under control.”

Blake’s shivering subsided. The interval between his breaths lengthened and his entire body relaxed.

“Let’s get him onto the sofa,” Mom said, nodding over to the one on the right of the room. Derek and Sabine helped him up and walked him over.

“You okay?” Sabine said to Blake, pulling the dusty white sheet off the sofa.

He tried to answer but only a groan came out as he dropped across the cushions like a tree felled by a lumberjack.

“He needs to rest,” Sabine said straightening up and stepping aside, “it’s been rough.”

Derek went over and gave her a hug. “Sorry,Sis. It’s good to see you and all, but I’m confused as hell.”

Hulk came running over, panting with excitement.

“Hulk!” Sabine knelt down to meet him. “Come here, you little stinker!”

Tail flailing, he bathed her face in kisses and she welcomed it.

“Gross,” Derek said. “All right, I still need an explanation. Mom, Sabine? Who wants to go first?”

“What are you doing here?” Sabine said to Derek, incredulity painted on her face. “And why did you bring Hulk?”

Mom brushed aside a lock of Sabine’s hair and examined her face. “If you’re here, you…and Blake must be in trouble.”

Derek gave the man a once over, then turned to Sabine. “Not judging, but isn’t he a bit old for you?”

“He’s a coworker,” Sabine said. Then to Mom: “I have to assume you’re in trouble too.”

“Hold on,” Derek said. “Am I the only person who didn’t know about this place? What else have you been hiding?” A quick glance to the opposite side of the room revealed little Paige fast asleep on another sofa.

“Who’s the kid?” Sabine said.

“Long story.”

“All right,” Mom said, gesturing for them all to take seats around the table in the kitchenette, at which Derek sat last. She set her gun down on the counter next to the table and spoke. “Before the suspense kills us all, we should tell our stories. Derek, why don’t you begin?”

“But I need to know how—why…all these secrets.”

read more

next posts