by Diana Lumina
Chapter 1 and 2, Action/SciFi
I wondered what was at the core of the Earth, and if in the mad heat of it anything survived. There were stories about a demon living inside that place, the heart of the Earth as my grandpa called it. A creature so large with black wings [shaped by the fire] that could melt an entire country. This creature, the scary demon - lived inside a story book my grandpa bought from an Arizona library.
My name is Wand, and I’m a female born in 1995: the year of the metal boar. I’m not superstitious, but I know the Chinese zodiac animals too well. The Air Defense Zone C groups teams by the zodiac, and I can’t find a rhyme or reason why. But it’s not my job to question, my job is clearly spelled: guard the Zone C military base against potential aviary threat. Things like enemy warplanes. Sometimes Nathanial jokes we’re guarding against alien spaceships. He reminds me of my dad, a creative lunatic.
In Arizona, it’s scorching hot, so I took extra bottles of water today on the field. As a boar, I am expected to be the peacemaker on the field when things get out of control. Things go wrong and fights break loose. I intervene, calm down, and report what happened. Team work, communication, and honesty. It’s how Zone C operates.
I threw a plastic bottle at Nathaniel. “You’ve been drilling since morning, I thought you might need some water.”
It’s been a new focus this week, to drill down into the hard surface of the Arizona land in Zone C. And now we’re four miles deep.
“Wand!” he chuckled and twisted the cap open. “About time you started being useful around here.”
I gave a fake chuckle and sat down next to him, watching him pour water on his face.
“Must feel good,” I said to him. “Four miles down in a week, that’s going to make the boss happy.”
Nathaniel shook his head in disapproval. “I don’t approve of this assignment, Wand.”
I opened my mouth and he stopped me.
“It’s a waste of our time. I would rather work with the Dragons on Space flight tracking and data network equipment.” He gave me a weird stare. “I know we’re drilling to continue research underground, but there’s nothing there. Our enemy could be in the vast universe, dropping down unexpectedly anytime.”
“And we’re ready for them,” I assured Nathaniel warmly. “Zone C is one of the many areas throughout the world we’re building air defense systems in. NATO, the EU, even under developed countries, have pledged to protect the skies.”
A large explosion startled me. I got up after I heard yelling. Nathaniel was listening on his ear piece.
“Wand,” he said. “Go back to main office and give Zero this file on operation Drill Out.”
“Why me, you go Nathaniel, it’s my job to check on the distress – “
He shoved the damn file in my hands and walked away yelling back, “No, Wand. I got specific orders you return ASAP – I will handle the situation.”
There was something off about Zero. I never warmed up to him, and he wasn’t categorized in the Zodiac so I had no clue what his actual team did or how old he was. All I knew about him is that he insisted on drilling down in Zone C. He needed the hole ten miles down and half-a-mile wide. Why? To drop a sort of bomb or equipment that measured movement underground. Grandpa’s story came to my mind.
“Get that out of your head,” Zero spat at me. “It’s just a fairy tale.”
“You’re really using expensive military technology to read my thoughts? Is that even legal without a court order?” I saw his face change, dark brown eyes now looked as if black to me. I overstepped. “My apologies. Here is the file from Nathaniel.”
“Good boar, now do me a favor and get your bags ready to leave Zone C on a mission tomorrow morning. Location is Hawaii. Stay will be under hospitable conditions; duration, 3 months.”
“What?” I almost raised my voice but used all my energy not to. “I – I can’t I have to finish my field report on the wellness of everyone – “
I let a large breath of air out as I found myself on the ground. Zero was standing tall after he had pushed me down. His speed was incredible, I barely noticed his arms shoving me down. I had to be careful with my thoughts, he was still probably invading my mind.
“Let me clear the air a little,” he said at me. The next thing he did was odd; he smiled the papers inside the file I brought him. “The success of the Drill One operation relies on everyone to do their part. I need you to stop whining and do as you’re told by your superior.”
I stood up and dusted my clothes off. My eyes went towards a picture framed on the wall. “I understand,” I honestly replied and bowed down in apology. Zero was the second son of Nathaniel’s boss, and that made me his subordinate.
“We’re done talking. Take these with you, money, passport, and instructions for the trip.” He showed me the door. “Oh, and Wand, you’re taking Mara with you.”
I hated Mara, she was insufferable and worked alone. But at least she got things done, a quality I admired working with. We were both boars in the zodiac; but, she was much older than me.