Elect II—9 Clues, part 3 of 3

Latasha went to the movies with Wendy and Mini, and she did not ask Keisha if she wanted to come along.  Keisha was not speaking to her.  Somehow, Keisha twisted things to the point where she blamed Latasha for Janet’s death.  If Latasha just let Janet have her boyfriend.  If she did not make Janet feel so guilty into revealing the drug deal in the parking garage.  If Latasha had not become such a righteous ass, thinking she was going to join the police force, Janet would still be alive.

ac-latasha-2Latasha explained in her most exasperated voice.  “It was the bad guys who killed Janet.  Why do you want to keep me from putting the bad guys in jail?”  But Keisha would not listen, so Latasha went to the movies with Wendy and Mini.

The movies were a safe place.  The girls could talk or just watch the film, depending on how things worked out.  They were not stuck at someone’s house with potentially awkward silences.  Wendy and Mini wanted to see if they could still be friends with Latasha, and Latasha needed to find out the same thing.  It turned out, freshman year off made little difference.  They slipped back into the same relationships and even laughed when they remembered the same jokes they used to laugh at.  It was good.

Of course, all through grade school, Wendy and Mini, Janet, Keisha and Latasha were all friends.  Wendy and Mini only started to back away during middle school when Wendy decided she wanted to be a lawyer and Mini thought she might be an accountant, like her father.  Now that Latasha had some direction and her grades were improving, Wendy and Mini were open to being friends again.  Latasha was glad until on the way out they heard the scream

Latasha ran toward the scream.  Wendy and Mini hardly knew what else to do, so they followed.  It came from around the corner at the dark end of the parking lot.  Latasha found a man, dead.  He was about twenty-eight, dark hair, looked Hispanic, and there were little packets of drugs on the blacktop all around.  Latasha guessed she startled whatever was going down.

When Wendy and Mini arrived, Latasha found her eyes drawn up the side of the building.  Someone, or something appeared to be climbing directly up the brick side of the movie theater.  She could not be sure.  It was all in shadows before the movement topped the building and disappeared.

ac-latasha-a5Latasha got out her phone and called Detective Lisa.  She left a message and called Mitzy at the police station to send a car, and an ambulance to pick up the body.

“We can’t wait around for the police,” Wendy started to back away.

“I thought you wanted to be a lawyer?”  Latasha came right back.

“I do, but—.”

“Then you better get used to the police,” Latasha said and she looked at Mini.

Mini put her hands up.  “Dominica always sticks with her friends.  You don’t mind if I hide behind you when the police show up.”  Latasha did not mind.  Wendy just frowned as a patrol car came roaring in, lights on.

It was officer Dickenson, a young and well-built African-American male who made Wendy and Mini smile and who tied Latasha’s tongue in knots the one time she met him.  “Latasha.”  He recognized her right away, or Mitzy told him.

“Here.”  Latasha pointed at the body.  “I got pictures for Detective Lisa, I mean Detective Schromer.”  She held up her phone.

Dickenson nodded and knelt by the body.  The man was definitely dead.  “I don’t get it,” he stood.  There were cocaine packets all around the body, and money, too.  “A dealer, carrying and it is all just left here.”

ab-park-fight-4“I think we interrupted the deal,” Latasha said.

“Any idea which way the perp. went?”

Latasha pointed up the side of the building while she spoke.  “And I am not sure it was human.”

“You called Schromer?”  Latasha nodded and Dickenson also nodded as he stepped to his car to report in.  “Good, because she deals with all that spooky stuff.”


Emily got up extra early.  She was going to drag the ROTC freshman on a five-mile jog.  All she had to remember was to not set as wicked a pace as she did last time.  Last year she nearly killed a couple of poor sophomores.  For her, a five-mile jog, even in full pack was no big deal, but even practically walking, most of the freshmen would come in huffing and puffing and collapse to the dirt.  She imagined Jessica and her team would do well enough.  They had gone early to stretch and get warmed up.

Emily stepped outside when it was still dark.  The walkway lights were on, and she spied two women in jogging outfits no doubt trying to get rid of last night’s supper.  Eat too much and then jog it off was not a good plan, Emily thought.  Fortunately, that was one problem she would probably not have to worry about for some time.  She had the same high metabolism Latasha had, she just did not show it like Latasha in the constant tapping of her toes and drumming of her fingers.

ac-em-night-jogEmily pushed a hand through her hair as she caught another sight.  There was a guy in his pajamas, barefoot in the cold of December in New Jersey.  Apparently he was not concerned that his fly was wide open, his shirt was torn and he was in danger of losing his pants altogether.  He got in the way of the joggers and grunted.  He grabbed the hair of one and put it to his nose.

“Hey!”  Emily shouted as the women yelled at the guy to leave them alone.  They hurried off as Emily approached.  The guy looked briefly at Emily like a deer caught in headlights, then he took off running into the dark.  Emily wanted to chase him down and ask him what he thought he was doing, but she had to meet the freshman class.  She tried to picture the guy’s face in her mind with the hope of recognizing him again if she saw him, but all she could really remember was the blank and empty stare in the guy’s eyes.  It did not look right.  Emily shivered in the cold.  She had to jog to the gym to warm up.


Next Monday, Emily, Latasha and Detective Lisa begin to pull some threads together.  It appears they are dealing with more than one mystery.  Don’t miss the Elect II-10, Green People, and…

Happy reading



Elect II—5 Stab from the Past, part 3 of 3

The mats were laid out in the gym and the company stood at attention.  Captain Driver walked the room first and eyed each member of the class before he said, “At ease.  Be seated.”  Emily held the clipboard that day.  Hand to hand training required some close quarters and Captain Driver told her he did not want anyone to get hurt, accidentally.

“Sophomore.”  Besides, he had Jessica to pick on that year.  She got up and stood at attention.  She felt ready for whatever the man threw at her.  She had been training with Heinrich for over a year.

ac-rotc-3“Some of you might think she is just a girl.  What can she possibly do if someone sneaks up and grabs her from behind as a prelude to rape or murder, or in a combat situation.  Let me tell you, properly trained she has nothing to fear.”

Lieutenant Brinkman grabbed Jessica around the middle, though it was not entirely unexpected.  Jessica did what she had to in order to flip him over her shoulder, but he expected that and resisted.

“Not a chance,” he whispered in her ear.  That made her mad.  She hooked her right foot around his right ankle and stepped forward, effectively lifting his ankle off the mat.  Then she twisted enough to make him lose his balance toward his weak side.  They both went to the mat with Jessica on top.  To his credit, Brinkman hung on even when his back slammed against the mat, but Jessica was ready and added the natural motion to her deliberate motion and slammed the back of her head into Brinkman’s face.

“Surrender,” Brinkman let go.  Jessica slipped off, but laid a hand on his chest as she spoke.

“I hope I didn’t hurt you.”

“No.”  Brinkman shook his head, but took a moment to rub his nose.  “I was afraid I might hurt you.

“No, I’m fine,” Jessica scooted up close to Brinkman’s face to examine the man’s nose.  “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said.

“I’m fine, too,” Jessica said, and Emily turned to Captain Driver.

“Lost for the session.”  Brinkman and Jessica were both grinning at each other.

ac-rotc-fight-1Captain driver frowned.  “Exactly why I don’t like women in the ranks.  No offense.”  He turned to the class.  “Pair up.  You women need to pair with each other.”

The class went well after that until two young men called Emily over.  One spoke in a serious tone.  “I don’t get the grab from behind bit,” he said.  “Could you show us?”

Emily set down her clipboard.  The one who asked was her height, hardly the biggest boy in the class, but she understood that he might be having a problem because his partner was a hulk.  He was one that Jessica called a two-hundred and fifty-pounder.

Emily faced the smaller man and told the big one to grab her from behind.  She expected his hands around her middle, but that was not what happened.  Those big hands reached up and grabbed her breasts.  Emily could only imagine the grinning face over her shoulder.  She turned.  He could not stop her.  She broke free, grabbed the big man’s sweatshirt and sweat pants and tossed him eight feet through the air.  He landed beyond the mats and slid across the gym floor another six feet to where he crumpled up against the wall.  Nothing was seriously damaged, except maybe his ego.

Emily turned on the other who quickly took several steps back.  “Does that make it clear?”  the young man nodded, vigorously.


“Sir.” Emily came to attention.

Captain Driver stepped over, but his eyes were on the two young men.  “When I told you I did not want anyone accidentally hurt, I left off one part.”


“Unless they deserve it.”  Captain Driver turned to the class who had stopped to stare in any case.  “Don’t you people understand?  This is not just a class.  This is your team.  These are the people you will have to depend on when the going gets rough.  You will respect your team members at all times.  If you cannot do that, there is no room for you in this program.  Am I clear?”

“Sir, yes sir.”

ac-jessica-1“Hit the showers.”  He turned to the two young men, one standing still and the other staggering back from the wall.  “You two need to give me a reason why you should remain in this class.  And I saw the whole thing so if you lie to me that will be instant dismissal.”

Emily changed, and as she did she felt sorry for the boys.  She said nothing to Jessica, but Jessica could tell.  “Pent up frustrations,” Jessica said.  “You need a date.”

“Look who’s talking?”

“He asked me out and I said yes.”

“He is your superior officer.”

“So we will have to go undercover.”  Jessica paused while Hilde and Natasha giggled.  “I did not mean that the way it sounded.”  She tried again.  “You outrank me too, your majesty, but it doesn’t keep me from telling you to turn your light out when I’m ready to go to bed.  Wait.  That’s not helping.”


“Hey, wait up!”  Emily turned her head.  It was Joel from Anatomy and from the library study group.  “Something I have to ask you.”  He was puffing a little from the run, like he followed her half-way across campus.  “Emily.”  He acknowledged her and smiled.  It was a nice smile.

Emily never thought about dating until Jessica brought it up.  She did not imagine she could date, after Pierce.  But Joel was nice.  She could easily smile for him.

“I want a date,” Joel said.

“What?”  That was a bit sudden.

ac-owen-1“Oh?  No, no.  Not what you think.”  Joel’s smile widened.  “I was talking about Amina.”

“Oh?  I see.”  Emily felt a pang of something, but she was not sure what she was panging about.  “Why are you talking to me about Amina?”  she started to walk again and Joel kept up.

“I asked her out.  She wants to go out.  Maybe supper and a movie, nothing special.  But she said I had to get your permission first.”

Emily stopped walking.  No way.  Amina was a big girl who could make her own decisions.  Emily was not going to get stuck with approving something that turned out wrong.  “If you respect her and care about her, I don’t see anything wrong with the idea.”

“I think she’s great,” Joel said, and Emily could see he meant it.  “I mean, you don’t mind?”

“You do know she has not dated much, or at all as the case may be.”

“I know.  We talked about that.  It seems our families are very similar, considering.”


“Considering she is Catholic and I am Jewish.”

Emily sighed and nodded.  It wouldn’t be the first time.  “Okay with me,” she said, but planned to have a long talk with that girl.  Emily had no business making those sorts of decisions.  If Amina insisted they be Amazons, then Amina would have to start acting like one and make her own decisions about boys or men.”

a-admin-1“Thank you,” Joel said sincerely, and he ran off to celebrate, or to find Amina, or to do both.

Emily shook her head as she walked up the steps of the administration building.  It was one flight up to find the President’s office.  She was ushered right in when she arrived, and the door shut behind her.

“Come in.  Sit down.”  President Batiste seemed cordial and that made Emily’s intuition flare into the red zone.  “Captain Gouldos tells me you lead the raid on Morgan Granger’s house., but you neglected to call security first like we asked.”

Emily practiced this line.  “It was a police matter, sir.  It was not a matter for campus security.”

“Are you a trained and educated expert in these matters?”  The President spoke with every ounce of restraint he could muster.  He was clearly ticked.  “My security people are knowledgeable about what requires outsiders and what is best kept in house.  That is what we pay them for, to make those determinations.  Let them.”  He underlined the last part and Emily thought it wise to keep her mouth shut.

“You are a dangerous woman,” Batiste said, though he said it with a smile returned to his face, his anger temporarily abated.  “But there is a reason we have rules and regulations at this university.  I am not saying you have broken any rules, but you have failed to keep some.  A sin of omission, I believe.  I don’t know why you seem to attract trouble, but next time please do the right thing.  Call Captain Gouldos.  He is not a bad man and may even help you with whatever Boogyman you might be facing.”

“Hopefully there won’t be a next time,” Emily said and stood.  She had enough.  President Batiste looked at her with his mouth forming around a word, but then he swallowed whatever it was.


“Hopefully,” he agreed and waved her out.

Emily went, but kept looking back as the door slowly closed.  She bumped into an older man.  “Careful, young woman,” the man said and smiled for her as he put his hands to her shoulders and helped her step aside.  “My youngest daughter is the same way.  She loses track of where she is going, and that is not a good thing when she is driving.”  He showed a gold cap on a tooth as his smile came out.

Emily returned the smile, but her intuition was still flagging her.  She took a careful look.  The man was fifty-something, salt and pepper hair and he had a left eye that looked a bit to the left when he was looking straight ahead.

“Mister Franco.  Ferdinand.  Come right in.”  President Batiste reached out for the man, and Emily thought it best to disappear.

Back on the Administration building front steps, she tried to put together what she just experienced and saw.  Why was she dangerous?  She posed no danger to President Batiste as far as she knew.  She probably saved the university last year from any number of law suits.  And why was he so determined to have her call security?  So they could sit on what was obviously a police matter?  Lisa said the men guarding Granger’s house were drug men.  For all she knew it might have been a federal matter, but not something campus cops were designed for.  What was he trying to keep “in house,” as he called it?  Was she a threat to that, whatever it was?

emily-a2Emily hardly had time for another thought when she looked up and saw a familiar figure down the path.  “Pierce?”  She called, though she knew that was impossible.  The young man looked up and she saw his face.  “Pierce!”  The young man took off running.  Emily chased him.

Emily had the strength in her legs to outrun a deer, but she could not catch this young man.  That confirmed in her mind who she was chasing.  Pierce said he had a younger brother.  This had to be him, and he looked to be about sixteen, not quite old enough for college whereas Pierce masqueraded as a graduate student.  He masqueraded, she remembered, because he was a person created in a lab by Doctor Zimmer, only something did not go right.  Pierce aged at twice the normal rate, which meant in real time Pierce was only twelve or thirteen-years-old.  If the same was true of this one, she figured she was chasing an eight-year-old, but she could not catch him.

Emily rounded the building and came into a parking lot.  It was full of cars of commuters and some faculty and staff.  Pierce’s brother was nowhere to be seen.  He might have raced into the building, but she imagined he was out there among the cars.  As long as he kept low, he could easily work his way to the back of the lot and disappear among the trees without her ever finding him.  “Needle in a haystack,” she said to herself, and then had a thought in case the young man could still hear her.

“I need to talk to you.  I want to tell you about your brother.  Find me when you are ready.”  She turned to go back to her dorm to mope.


Monday.  Everyone has them, but figuring them out… Be sure to visit the blog Money for the Elect II–6 Secrets.

and Happy Reading

Elect II—4 Venus de Jekyll and Hyde, part 1 of 3

The young women talked on the bus about why they got into ROTC.  Emily listened.  Hilde said if she was living in Israel, she would be doing the same thing.  Military training was pretty much compulsory.  Greta, by contrast, said her parents were pacifists, but her family had a long history and tradition of proud military service so they really could not say much when she felt the call to serve her country.

Diane, from Kansas said her brother was in the army.  “That and there aren’t many opportunities for college.  Not much money back home,” she said.  “This way I get help from veteran’s groups and the American Legion.”

ac-rotc-freshmen“I know what you mean about not much money,” Natasha said.  “I’m from Detroit.  Need I say more?”

“Emily’s brother is in the national guard,” Jessica offered.

“Oh?” Diane looked at Emily who nodded, but declined to speak.

“Besides,” Hilde took up the conversation.  “What better way to meet boys?”

“Oh, please!”  Jessica tossed her hands in their direction.  “Be serious.”

“I would like to meet someone nice,” Diane said.

“And athletic,” Hilde added

“And rich,” Natasha said, which made the others nod.

“Wouldn’t you?”  Diane looked at Jessica.  Emily looked away.

“I had about thirty boyfriends when I was a freshman,” Jessica admitted.  “What a waste of time.”

They talked about it for a couple of minutes before Natasha turned to Emily.  “What about you, Ma’am?”

Emily said nothing.  Jessica spoke into the silence.  “She had a good boyfriend last year.  A graduate student.”

“Had?”  Greta asked.

“I had to kill him,” Emily said as the bus pulled to a stop.  They all had to disembark and form ranks.  They were at the firing range.

Emily stood at the head of the class and went through the care and cleaning of the rifle, piece by piece.  She took it apart, named all the parts and put it back together perfectly.  Then she had to turn her back on the class.  She had tears in her eyes.

Captain Driver saw Detective Lisa come in and knew Emily would be occupied for a bit.  He picked up the rifle and said, “Sophomore.”  That was Jessica’s name.  “Knowing your weapon inside and out is important and what we will mainly be working on today, but it does not guarantee that you can hit anything.”  He led Jessica to the range and loaded a clip of three bullets.  He whispered, “Try and hit the target.”

ac-rifle-range-4Jessica managed three trips to the Hollywood range in the two weeks she had free between ROTC summer camp and returning to school.  She worked with a personal trainer, and did her best to remember her lessons.  She squeezed the trigger, but the bullet was low and to the left of the bull’s-eye by an inch.  Her second shot overcompensated by a couple of inches and just nicked the top right edge of the bull’s-eye.  Her third shot was a little low and to the right, but well within the bull’s-eye.  She was satisfied.

Captain Driver continued to whisper as Lieutenant Brinkman moved up to eavesdrop.  “You are one of Hudson’s women, aren’t you?”

“Sir, yes sir.” Jessica answered properly but kept her voice low.

“You are in the group that has been working out with Professor Schultz?”  He knew she was but he wanted confirmation.  Jessica nodded.

“Professor Schultz?”  Lieutenant Brinkman was not aware, but Emily’s Amazon council had been learning hand to hand for a year and now were concentrating on the bow and staff with the hope of working their way up to the spear and the sword.

Captain Driver showed he understood.  “Heinrich Schultz in a historian in the old sense.  He has forgotten more about combat and arms than you and I and all our books put together.”

The Lieutenant nodded even if he did not fully understand.  He had a class to get working, and the class spent the rest of their time taking apart and putting together the ten rifles the company had, and hopefully without breaking them.  Very few bullets were fired that day.

After a while, Emily stopped weeping and Lisa let go and stepped back.  Emily wiped her eyes and said the words that Lisa did not want to hear.  “Thanks, mom.”

ac-lisa-2a“I’ve told you.  I get enough of that at home,” Lisa scolded, but smiled.

Emily laughed, but it was a sad, little laugh.  “But why are you here?”

“Latasha,” Lisa said.  “She has me tangled up in gang wars and drug dealers and it is a real mess.  I keep telling her judges and juries don’t always do the right thing.  Even people caught with their hand in it can plea bargain their way back to the street.”  Lisa shrugged and pulled out some photographs from her briefcase.  “Meanwhile, Anna got attacked in New York.”

“Is she alright?”  Emily knew the woman well.  Last year, between Christmas and New Year’s, Anna came to Ohio and helped Emily clean out a nest of vampires.

“She is fine, but the only thing she could find to connect the three men is this small tattoo.  They were all marked.  Miriam at the FBI has plenty of nineteenth and twentieth century scholars at her fingertips.  The pentagon has also been notified, and the M I B.”

“The what?”

“Katie Lockhart and her people,” Lisa said without further explanation.  “The thing is both Miriam and Anna think it may be older, and I have one man who saw these photos and became very afraid.  He says he doesn’t want anything to do with secret societies.”

“Older.”  Emily said the word as she studied the images of the upper arms and the small circle with three squiggly lines.

“I was hoping Mindy, your wise woman, could look at these and maybe share them with Professor Papadopoulos.  The rest of us are getting nowhere.”

ac-rifle-range-3Emily nodded as she continued to study the photos.  Lisa looked around.

“Where is Mister Jakovich?”

“The range manager?  Probably in his office,” Emily said.

“With you here, I suppose, but when he saw me come in he probably locked the office door.”

Emily laughed.  The last time she was at the range and Detective Lisa showed up they had to fight off three zombies.  Lisa was glad to hear Emily’s laugh this time because it sounded genuine.


When the bus came to a stop on the campus, Amina and Mindy were waiting for Emily and Jessica.  Morgan Granger was in trouble.  The words came fast.

“She has been taken prisoner,” Amina said.  “There are men after the drugs.  That is all I know.”

“I made the mistake of showing her a picture of the woman we saw in the library,” Mindy explained.  “She grabbed it and immediately felt the connection to you.”

“She was crying out for help.”

“Maria said we had to get you right away.  She and Melissa are working on a potion.”

“I brought your address book,” Amina held out the green notebook where Emily kept all her relevant information, including addresses of faculty members, some of whom had since died.

“I said we might have to do something,” Jessica took the book.

“We’re ready,” Natasha spoke for the ROTC group while Hilde, Greta and Diane nodded.

Emily looked at her freshmen and frowned.  She pulled out her phone and called Lisa.  “Stay in uniform,” she told the girls.  “Damn, message.  Lisa, Amina had a vision.  Morgan Granger, biology teacher is in trouble.  Too much Hilde juice.  We will start looking at,” Jessica held up the book and Emily read the address.  “Amina says people want the drugs.  We can’t let that loose.”  Emily hung up.

ac-rotc-emily-1“Trouble?”  Captain Driver stepped up, Lieutenant Brinkman beside him.

Emily thought briefly about asking for six rifles and bullets, but decided no for herself.  Six rifles unloaded might intimidate, but not if someone had a loaded gun.  She considered castigating the man for his part in last year’s fiasco.  She imagined he was in on the super soldier competition, but she never proved it.  She was sure he acted as liaison between the biology department and the Pentagon, but without evidence it was best to keep her mouth shut.  Finally, she answered in the only way she could.  “Yes sir, but women trouble.  Nothing you can help with.”  Captain Driver nodded, stepped away and dragged Brinkman with him.

Emily called Sara.  Again she had to leave a message as she walked into the gym.  The others trailed her and found a surprise which did not really surprise her.  “I was about to call you,” Emily said.

Heinrich Schultz was there with the closet unlocked and open—the one where he kept all of his weapons.  “Even un-activated, I can smell unnatural trouble miles away.”

Jessica and Mindy got their bows and plenty of arrows.  Amina picked up her staff, and the one Maria used.  She grabbed a third for Melissa, though Melissa had not spent much time yet in the learning process.

“For the army, I think spears.”  Heinrich pulled out four, all different, but all sharp.  Jessica was miffed because he had not let them touch the spears yet.  His instructions to the freshmen were simple.  “Hold the sharp end up when you walk.  Point the sharp end at the enemy when appropriate.  Try not to cut yourselves.”

“That’s it?”  Amina asked.  She felt like Jessica.  She was good with the staff and could not wait to try one with a sharp end.

Heinrich shrugged and pulled out a shepherd’s crook.  “And this for the Priestess.  It will be a pleasure teaching her how to use this crook effectively.”

Emily had her knife and got her sword which she left there for when she worked out and Heinrich taught her how to use it, as he said, effectively.  It really had no place in her dorm room, and this avoided her need to carry it regularly across campus.

Heinrich pulled out a bandolier of small throwing knives and strapped on his samurai sword.  Emily hated to interrupt him.

ac-heinrich-9“I know you are four hundred and seventy some years old, and sterile besides, but you are still a man.  The last time we saw Granger she was almost irresistible.  The boys in the library could not help themselves just looking at her fully clothed.  Maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to come.”

Heinrich nodded.  “But I can still watch your rear, and maybe keep Mister Ashish or young Rob Parker from stumbling in too close.”

Emily could not argue with that.  “Let’s see if we can find her.”

“Shouldn’t we call campus security?” Greta asked.

Emily sighed.  Why did it have to be the spunky little German pacifist?  “Let’s see if we can find her first,” Emily repeated, and they stepped out into the late afternoon.  Emily’s phone rang.  Her words were short and to the point.  “We will meet you there.  Keep Ashish and any other men away from the place.”  She paused.  “Get Mitzy to drive.  She doesn’t get out enough.  Fine.”  She hung up.

The phone rang again.  This time, her words were even more cryptic.  She gave the address and only added, “Let’s hope it works.”

Elect II—3 Antiques, part 2 of 3

Captain Driver brought the freshmen ROTC class to the obstacle course and made them come to attention while he walked slowly up and down the ranks looking for one to pick on.  Of the twenty-four young men, two were sophomore transfers.  Of the five young women, one was a sophomore, Jessica.

Emily stood to the side, proud of her three stripes.  Lieutenant Jack Brinkman, a senior stood beside her with the stop watch and roster.  Emily understood why Captain Driver selected Brinkman from the senior class.  The two thought a lot alike.  Neither appreciated women in the military.  Captain Driver was learning, though, under Emily’s careful hand.  Even a year ago, a woman as company sergeant for the freshman class would have been unthinkable, and Emily was only a sophomore besides.  Company Sergeant was always a junior, next in line for the lieutenant’s position.

Captain Driver stopped in front of the women.  Emily was glad to see that none of them flinched.  They made quite a collection.  Greta’s family was German.  Beside her was the Jew, Hilde Sussman.  Diane was all American, complete with freckles.  Beside her was Natasha Simpson, an African-American young woman determined to be the best of the lot.

ac-jessica-6“Sophomore.”  Driver picked on Jessica, but Emily was not worried.  Jessica easily mastered the summer course, and she was in excellent shape.  Jessica’s only problem was she knew she was in excellent shape.

“Ready,” Brinkman drew it out.  “Go.”

Jessica went off like a rabbit.  She climbed the eight feet of the vault like she was climbing a simple ladder and got down the ropes on the other side without a flaw.  She was quick.  Emily smiled.  Most of the boys would have a hard time matching her.  She did the ropes, the tunnel, the tires, the swing over the proverbial mud pit with hardly a pause and without falling.  When she crossed the finish line, she came back to attention.  Emily’s smile broadened.  Most of the freshmen would end up bent over, gasping for breath.

“Decent time,” Brinkman praised her while Captain Driver peeked over Brinkman’s shoulder.

“Very good, back in line,” Captain Driver announced the time and said, “She has set a high bar.  I expect the rest of you to reach or surpass that bar.  But first, I want to show you how it should be done.  Hudson!”

“Sir, yes sir,” Emily said.  She was afraid this was going to happen and prepared herself.  When Brinkman was ready, he said “Go” without warning.  Emily went, but she did not climb the vault.  She leapt, grabbed one handhold with her right hand and yanked herself up.  She put her left hand on the top of the vault and flipped over to the other side where she landed without even touching the ropes.  And she landed running.  She did the whole course that way, and when she finished, Lieutenant Brinkman looked at the stop watch and only had one thing to say.

“Holy shit.”

“That is one reason she has stripes,” Captain Driver grinned as he spoke quietly to his lieutenant.  “I also wouldn’t piss her off if I were you.”  He turned back to the company and got them started.

When the class was over, Jessica and Emily had an appointment with Mindy in the library.  The other girls wanted to tag along. Greta and Hilde brought up the rear.  They were fast becoming friends.  Natasha wanted to pace Jessica, whom she obviously looked up to.  The freshmen had accepted Jessica as their natural leader, not just because she was a sophomore, but because she set a high standard in all the work to which they could aspire.  Emily understood.  They were all a little afraid of Emily.

a-library-4When they arrived, they found four parents and one other student gathered for a tour of the archives and antiquities basement.  Mindy nodded to them as she got up on her little box and began her talk.

She explained everything about the war and saving the treasures from Europe and the Far East.  She explained about the library annex, that housed everything but was now closed up.  At the start of the cold war they dug sub basements below the library, the science building and Gorgon Hall, and they were once all connected by tunnels which were now closed off with concrete.  Then she told about the work done in the sixties.  The sub-basement below the library was now sealed and kept at a certain temperature and humidity level.  They also used special light bulbs that would not yellow or damage the scrolls and parchment in any way.  At last they got on the elevator and Mindy used her key to take them down.

Diane’s words summed up everyone’s feelings when the elevator doors opened.  “National Treasure.”

Mindy’s tour in the actual basement did not take very long.  It was designed that way, not the least for the people that were down there working.  Emily paid some attention, but mostly felt uncomfortable.  She felt especially antsy when they came to a roped off area filled with tiled flooring and sculptures.  One tiled artwork scaled a slab that fit into the wall and Emily had to ask why.

“That is a thousand-year-old floor from a Moorish Mosque in Granada, Spain that was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.”

“Why is it on the wall if it’s a floor?” Natasha asked.

“So no one will step on it,” Mindy answered with a roll of her eyes.

“Someone has been stepping all over there,” Jessica pointed.

“What?  Where?  No one is supposed to go over there.”

Emily moved Jessica forward so they could finish the tour, but her intuition was acting up.  As an elect, she knew that was something she had to pay attention to.  Something was not right in that room, but then she got that same feeling all over the basement and finally decided that some of the antiquities probably should have stayed buried.

ac-granger-2When they got back to the Library main floor, a strange sight awaited them.  Morgan Granger, Emily’s freshman biology teacher was there looking more luscious and appealing than any woman ought to look.  Every eye in the room was on her, but she did not appear to notice.  Her eyes darted around like she was trying to grab hold of something familiar.  The woman looked very tired and confused.

They watched as two women came in the front door and headed straight for her.  They each took an elbow to escort her out of the building.  “Time to go home,” one said.

“Home?” Ms Granger mouthed the word but hardly made a sound.

“There are people waiting,” the other woman spoke and Ms Granger struggled, but only for a second.  At last glimpse it appeared that Ms Granger was ready to cry.

“Looks like someone has overindulged in Hilde’s juice,” Jessica said.

“Endocrine juice full of adrenaline, growth hormone and other secretions.  Made herself attractive,” Emily explained for the other girls.  “It was experimental stuff that caused us all sorts of problems last year.”

“A little too attractive,” Mindy pointed at the room.  The women were calming down, but the men looked like they were having a hard time of it.

“We may have to do something,” Jessica said.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t.”  Emily was honest.


In New York City, Anna Lee heard something downstairs in her antique shop.  She flicked on the light beside her bed and stepped to the window.  She did not notice anything outside under the streetlight, but in New York, it could be almost anything.  She heard it again.  That was definitely in the shop.

ac-anna-5Anna dressed quickly and called Detective Tomlinson of the NYPD, but she knew it would likely be a good ten minutes before a car could respond.  She grabbed the staff she left by her bed.  On second thought, she pulled the knife out of the bed table drawer and slipped it in her belt.  With staff in hand, she opened the hatch.  It was an old fire pole she put in so she could quickly slide down to the shop below, if necessary.

She landed without a sound in the dark corner and listened because there was nothing to see.  She had a lot of antiques in the shop, many of which were breakable, and this was her third robbery since Christmas.  Amend that.  The first one was a vampire so that really did not count.

“Where is it?”  A man spoke from behind the front counter and another answered.

“Quiet.  The witch will hear you.”

Something broke in the back room.  It sounded like a piece of pottery, and Anna knew there were at least three of them.  She walked slowly to the counter, and then spoke in her best customer service voice.

“Can I help you find something?”

Both men stopped and stared at her, and she whacked both hard with one sweep of her staff.  She leapt the counter and pummeled the two of them.  At once, there were police lights on the street and the man in the back room came barreling out.  He collided with Anna.  She went sprawling to the floor, not being a big woman, but her knife flew and caught that man in the back.  He fell and stopped moving.

A gun went off.  The men she had beaten senseless apparently retained enough sense to pull their weapons, and Anna had to scurry behind a suit of samurai armor.  The police outside returned fire.  Anna’s storefront window shattered.  She screamed.  One officer caught a bullet in the arm.  One of the men inside was shot and fell to the ground.  When two more police cars came roaring up, the man who was still standing did something Anna never expected.  He put his gun to his head and blew his own brains all over her antiques.  Then it was over.

Anna managed to get the light on, and held up the identification Tomlinson had gotten her.  She was a consultant to the special department, and the police respected her badge.  They got an ambulance for the man she had knifed.  He might live.  The other two were dead.

ac-tomlinsonThree hours later as the sun came up, Tomlinson came out of the intensive care unit.  “He shut-up as soon as he realized where he was,” Tomlinson said.

“So no idea what they were after,” Anna concluded.

“He said one thing when he was still kind of out of it.  Did we get the scroll?  But that was it.  Mean anything?”

“Maybe,” Anna looked worried.  “I’ll have to think on it.”  She walked off, and Tomlinson let her go.  He learned long ago that Anna shared what she shared when she was good and ready, and not before.

Three hours later, the man mysteriously died in the hospital.  The doctors had said he would live, but this did not exactly surprise Anna.  She knew the thieves were looking for something in particular and this was no ordinary robbery.  In fact, there was nothing to connect these three men from Russia, Germany and Macedonia but one small tattoo on the upper left arm.  She almost missed it.  It was small and nothing fancy to make it stand out—just a circle with three squiggly lines coming out of the top.  It looked like a three legged octopus diving for the deep, but it made her intuition tingle.  She photographed all three tattoos and faxed them to Miriam at the FBI.  No telling when she might get an answer.

The Elect 22, part 2 of 4: Looking for a Word

Emily had no word from Pierce, and Amina could not locate him.  Latasha was home and healing rapidly.  Lisa was all but healed, and it looked like she would be scar free.  It also looked like Maria’s hair was going to grow back after all.  It had only been shaved.  And Jessica was down to a simple cast on her arm while Mindy was able to take a long, hot, soak in the tub.  She still felt the sting in a few places from the soap, but she was determined.

Melissa was back home in Vermont.  They told her parents that the cult kidnapped her, but the police shut them down so they would no longer be a threat.  They said Melissa would be perfectly safe at the school for summer classes.  Detective Lisa gave her personal guarantee.  And still there was no word from Pierce.ac emily 2a

It was Thursday late afternoon when Jessica sat on the library steps and looked out on the world.  Emily sat on the same library steps but she pouted in her own mind and had no room in her thoughts for the world.  She could not concentrate on her school work, either.  What started out as a straight A semester was rapidly becoming Bs and Cs.  She might even end up having to take a summer class herself if that Earth Science whacko messed with her grade.

“At least I’m doing well in Modern European History, thanks to Amina,” Emily said.

“I’m getting Bs,” Jessica said.  “My father is happy.”

“Business major,” Emily said grumpily.

ac jessica 2“Yeah.”  Jessica did not sound much happier about it.  “Amina is studying history and philosophy.  Maria is going to be a doctor.  Mindy is into antiquities, all those folktales, myths and legends, and languages.  Melissa is the real geek.  She wants to study physics.”

“I want to be a nurse,” Emily said a bit defensively.

Jessica frowned.  “I’m studying business because my father wants me to study business.”

Emily nodded, but had to ask.  “What would you study if you could pick whatever you wanted?”

Jessica sat in silence for a long time before she answered softly.  “Business,” she said.  “But I think at this point I might join you in ROTC.  Is that weird or what?”

Emily never thought of Jessica that way.  It was weird, but she did not say it.

Jessica continued.  “It was never like this before.  I had dreams of modeling and marrying some rich guy and doing lots of rich things.  You have ruined me.  Holly, my new roommate and I have sworn off boys for a while.  I never did that before.”

“No more Larry?”

“Please.  That was three boyfriends ago.  No, I mean with all that happened last semester, and ac Jessica 1now with the gang, the tribe as Amina insists, and with all that working out and learning self-defense.”  Jessica stopped in mid sentence.

“What?”  Emily had to prompt her.

“I honestly never felt better in my whole life.  I never felt better about myself, either.  I think I had a low opinion of myself and low expectations without realizing it.  Now I feel like I can conquer the world.  I don’t need to marry a rich guy.  I can get rich all by myself, thank you very much.”

“I’m happy for you, I think.”

“Maybe I should change to a psychology major.  I should fit right in with all those crazy people at this point, don’t you think?”

Emily was thinking.  She was wondering what happened to the girl with the French nails who never opened a book and wanted to date the football team.  This was a different woman.  “But ROTC?”

“I think I would be good at it.  What do you think?”

“I think you would too,” Emily admitted.  “Of course, I wouldn’t be able to go easy on you.”

ab phone“I wouldn’t expect you to,” Jessica said.

Emily was ready to try to talk Jessica out of it when her phone buzzed.  She had a text message.  It was from Pierce.  It said she should meet him on the roof of the science building.  He had something important to tell her, but she had to come alone or she would never find him.

“I have to go,” Emily said.  Her hand touched her knife without any conscious thought about it, and she took off running across the green at top speed.  At the same time, Amina ran up, yelling.

“Emily!  Emily!”  Emily did not hear or she did not answer, and Amina had to drop her hands to her knees at that point to breathe.

“What is it?”  Jessica stood, a worried look on her face.

“He is going to kill her,” Amina gasped for air.  “He is going to try, and if he does we are all dead.”

Jessica wanted to run after Emily, but she knew that even she could not catch her and she was not ac amina 4sure where Emily had gone.

“Explain,” Jessica said as she spied Maria and Mindy catching up.

Amina waved off Jessica’s questions and concerns.  She had her phone out and was dialing furiously.

The Elect 10, part 4 of 4: To the Roof

Emily found herself tossed by six women and flew straight up.  She reached the roof, but dropped her knife to grab on to the ledge and haul herself up with her left hand.  How she held on to her sword, she could not say.

When she got to her feet, she found there were lights up there, but away from the edge so as not ac swenson 2to be obvious from below.  There was also a woman.

“Professor Swenson.”

Emily recognized the woman.  The woman leaned over a console and simply raised one hand to wave without breaking her concentration.  “There,” the woman said at last and turned to face Emily.  “And what are you going to do, kill me with your big sword?  It is too late, you know.  I am not in this alone.”

“You and Hilde were in a competition?”

Professor Swenson laughed lightly.  “It was not really much of a competition.  His ideas were too ac emily 5unstable as he found out in his own person.  Now, I have discovered how to bring the dead back to life.  Sort of god-like, don’t you think?”

Emily stepped forward, and for all her bravado, the professor stepped back.  When Emily raised her sword, the professor spoke again.

“I tell you it is pointless to kill me.  You will stop nothing.”

Emily grabbed her sword with both hands, turned and brought her sword down on the console.  She all but split it in two.  It fried itself, and the power also surged up the sword, but Emily’s handle was well insulated.  She was not hurt.

“No!”  Professor Swenson screamed at her.  It took Emily a second to yank her sword free of the electronic trash, but then she turned and found Professor Swenson charging, her hands up, ac swensonfingers spread like claws, her face growling.  The woman was prepared to fight in the good old-fashioned girly way.  Emily simply went to the ground and the woman could not stop.  She tripped over Emily, stumbled to the edge and never did get her balance.  She fell three stories to the ground below where she made a horrific crash and broke her neck.  Ironic, but just, Emily thought, as she considered the poor student dude among the library stacks.

Down below, the elect all finally arrived.  The ROTC troops began to back off as the zombies closed on them.  Two dozen more police showed up from wherever they had run under Lisa’s instructions.  They carried wicked looking knives of their own.  Both sides were ready to meet when Emily smashed the control console.  The zombies went spastic.  They were still just as dangerous, in a way, but they did not know what to do without clear, steady directions.  They began to try to kill whatever they could touch.  As often as not, that was another zombie.  Necks began to snap everywhere, and as the women waded in, followed by the police and most of the ROTC, they had a much easier time of it than they expected, if they were careful.

ab trenton police 9###

Friday morning Emily’s freshman English final was interesting, to say the least.  Somehow, Emily managed to finish the exam before she was mobbed with questions.  Emily took Jessica by ROTC, but Captain Driver was nowhere to be found.  After that, Jessica and Emily started toward the police station and Maria and Amina caught up with them outside the student center as planned.  They were quiet most of the way except for Maria’s comment.

“If I am ever tempted to name a child Abby, please shoot me.”

At the station, things looked just like a normal day apart from the three wreaths hanging behind the front desk.  There were pictures of the slain officers attached to the wreaths, and the atmosphere was somber.

“Morning,” Mitzy spoke up from the desk, but she was not her usual happy self.

“I lost two sophomores,” Emily said.

“Worse.  Miss Farmer died in the library,” Jessica countered.ac jessica 7

“Who is Miss Farmer?”

“Was.  Art History.”

Emily looked at Maria.  “There goes that idea.”

Lisa was in a mood, and not a good one.  Most of the elect had already returned to their homes.  There were a few hanging around.  One said she did not have to go home until Sunday and thought she might cross the river and see the Liberty Bell.  Two agreed to go with her.

Miriam was there, with Anna from New York, and Ellen Martin from Toronto.  Latasha and Libby Carter were also present and Libby said more than once that she was surprised she survived this one.

ac ashish 3“What?”  Emily looked at Lisa and did not have to spell it out.  Lisa waved at Ashish and paced.

“Colonel Pickard has already been bailed out.  The police spent all that time and nearly missed the battle searching out line of sight to the library.  They found Pickard with a whole camera crew on top of your science building where they were filming over the tops of the trees.  He only said, “This isn’t over.  There is another,” but he refused to answer any questions and we were forced to release him early this morning.”

“At least we destroyed the film,” Lisa interrupted before she started to pace again.

“Tough luck,” Maria tried to sound sympathetic, thinking this would certainly upset her, but Emily interrupted.

“That is not the problem that has them concerned,” Emily told Maria.  She turned and stared at Ashish.  “So what is the real problem?”ac ashish 4

“Yes, I was getting to that,” Ashish told Emily and glanced at Lisa who simply smiled ever so briefly.  “We figure the other one is probably Swenson’s partner, likely the electronic genius who created the brain implants.  Also, her lab is still out there somewhere.  If they have her formula, they can probably make more of the life elixir.  Then with the implants, they might try again.”

“I don’t know,” Amina said softly.  Lisa stopped pacing and hushed the others.  “I’m sorry.”  Amina looked up.  “I don’t know where they are.  Something is darkening my eyes.”

“That’s okay,” Lisa reassured her.  She had been told, but was not convinced about this Sybil business.

Emily sat, so the others sat except Lisa.  Emily spoke.  “You know, all I really want to do is pass biology.  Instead, I have been fighting biology all semester.”

“Yes, please.  Just help me pass my finals,” Jessica agreed.

ac lisa 7Lisa came over at last.  “You need a good Christmas break.  Don’t worry.  We will not be able to search very much before you get back.  You won’t miss anything.”

“To be honest, I would not mind if I did miss something.”

Everyone chuckled, but only a little.

“So, what do you want for Christmas?”  Anna asked.  Emily thought of Pierce.

Latasha still had the ax she carried like a baby.  She held it up.  “I already got my Christmas present.”

Emily looked at her hip where she felt slightly naked without her sword.  Santa-Heinrich already gave her a Christmas present, too.  She imagined she might always see the man as a bit of a Santa—the way he first appeared to her, but she said nothing.ac emily 8

When her last class was over on the following Wednesday, Emily said good-bye to Amina, Maria and Jessica.  They all left early Wednesday when she just began to pack.  She was not leaving until the following afternoon.  She told her parents she had a paper to finish, but that was not strictly true.  She had gotten it finished on time after all only she never mentioned it.

The campus was eerily empty Wednesday evening.  There were a couple of exams scheduled for Thursday morning and the dining hall would be open for breakfast, but with most of the students already gone, it was quiet and relaxing.  Emily felt as if she had not relaxed all semester.

I knew first semester, freshman year could be hard, but nothing like this, she said to herself.  Then she felt good because she was getting a B in biology and had aced the final.  In fact, she was getting all Bs and one A in ROTC.  That was not bad at all, considering.  And then there was Pierce.

ac pierce 6Pierce met her at the student center.  She did not know if he had anything special in mind, but she did not care.  She took his hand and said very little as they walked.  He was quiet as well, seemingly content to let her lead him along.  She took him straight to her empty room and they stayed there together all night.

Emily woke up alone.  She did not mind.  She was very happy.  She grabbed a shower and hurried to finish packing.  She found the rose and note.  It was Shakespeare.  “A Rose by any other name…”  No one ever wrote Shakespeare for her before.  She could only smile.

Detective Lisa drove her to the airport.  They hugged good-bye and Emily boarded only to wait on the runway for a half hour.  She spent her time wondering.  If that was first semester, what could second semester possibly be like?

ab red rose


Next week, Emily finally gets her Christmas/winter vacation, but it appears the undead follow her…Well, you have to see for yourself on Monday.

Happy reading everyone.

The Elect 10, part 3 of 4: Armies are Made

Emily saw Heinrich in the distance and quickly cleaned her sword and knife before he arrived.  Ashish had gone over to the police huddle even as Lisa returned.  The police had some plan going, and they soon scattered out across the campus.

Lisa came right to the girls while Maria spoke.  “Sybil, where are they coming from?”ab tractor trailer

Amina dropped her eyes and spoke softly.  “There are tractor trailers three blocks away, but they are empty now and leaving and something is preventing my eye from following them.”

When Heinrich arrived, Amina took one look and went to her knees.  Emily paused to lean over her friend and speak.  “You stay here and stay safe.  That’s an order.”  Amina nodded.

“Now what do we do?”  Jessica interrupted.

“We get that fire alarm turned off,” Lisa said.

“Sorry,” Jessica said.  She was the one who thought to trip the alarm.

“No, that was a good idea” the others all said.  “That probably saved a number of lives.”

a library steps nThe fire truck was still on the way, but the fire chief was already there.  He just held out the alarm key to any takers.  “Inside the front door.”  He was not going anywhere near the building once he found out what was going on inside.

“Come on,” Lisa said to Emily.  To be honest, she wanted to assess the situation up close, even if they were unable to go in and shut off the alarm.

“Coming?”  Emily asked Heinrich.

“I would be honored,” he said with a little bow to Lisa.  Lisa frowned, but Emily noticed she did not turn down the man’s help.

They ran up to the door and paused.  Emily pointed through the glass door to the fire alarm.  Lisa pointed to the main room.  Where there had been a dozen, now there were fifty or sixty zombies and more were arriving all the time.  There appeared to be no way, but Heinrich calmly opened the door and they were obliged to follow him in.  Emily stood on one side, knife and sword in hand.  Lisa had her two knives out and stood at the ready.  Heinrich did nothing for a second.  Then he suddenly raised both hands and something came out of him like a force or a hurricane wind.  It was a palatable force.  Emily thought it tasted bitter.  The nearest zombies were lifted from their feet and flung twenty feet away to crash into others.  The whole front end of the main room was suddenly cleared and Lisa had no trouble keying off the alarm.  The zombies started to get up right away, but the three did not wait around for them to attack.  They were back outside and ran to the walkway in time to see a sight.ab tra army

Only three of the women were there so far.  The others were coming from further off, but two old army trucks came up and parked where their headlights shone into the library.  The ROTC, both sophomores and upperclassmen raced out of the back of the trucks, armed and ready.  They immediately got into firing formation while Captain Driver stepped over to Emily and the others.

“Hope we’re not late,” he said.  Emily wondered instead how they got there so soon, armed and ready the way they were, but she could not worry about that just then.  The zombies were beginning to come out the front door.  She began to pace behind the firing line and shouted instructions to any who might listen.

“You have to shoot for the heart.  Hitting it in the chest will not stop it.  Even a perfect shot to the heart will only stun it and slow it down.”  She stepped to the front of the line.  “They are not as slow as in the movies, and they are strong.  They can break your arm or your leg but they will try to snap your neck.  They have nails like claws and can shred you and scratch your eyes out.  You have to penetrate the heart, but even then, the only way to completely stop them is to cut their heads off.  When they get close, you might think hard before you wade into them with your little army knives.”  She pulled her sword in front of them.  “Good luck,” she said and went back to the others.

a zombies 1Six of the women were there by then making eight altogether with Emily and Lisa.  Seven more were on their way, riding in the same van, but that was it, apart from the ROTC crowd and the police who seemed to be very preoccupied.  Emily looked and already there were maybe eighty zombies lining up in a ragged line by the library front doors.  She did not like their chances even with Heinrich and his magic force or bitter wind or whatever it was.  She turned to her friends.

“Maria.  Jessica.  You might take Amina and find a safer place.”

“If being behind you isn’t safe, I don’t think anywhere in the world would be safer,” Jessica responded.

“No, she is right.”  Lisa spoke up.  “We assume they want to test what they can do en masse.  If we fail to stop them, there is no reason to suppose they will go rampaging throughout the university.”

Captain Driver yelled fire and the troops let off a volley even as Lisa’s phone rang.

“What?  What?”  She had to say it twice before she put down the phone and began to look all around the area.  Last of all she looked up and pointed.  “Get some lights on that roof,” she yelled.ab tra soldier

“Fire.”  The guns went off again as the zombies began to move forward.  Twenty of them were knocked down from those twenty-two guns, but even if a few were hit in the heart, it did not stop them from getting up again.

Jessica got Maria’s attention and they ran to the army trucks.  The trucks had spotlights attached to the passenger side windows.  It took a minute to figure out how to turn them on and direct them up, but then everyone had a clear view of a person on the roof watching over the scene.

“Emily, you need to go up.”  Lisa yelled.


“Ladies.”  Twelve hands grabbed Emily.  Four hands at her knees, four at her middle and four at her shoulders.  While they swung her, Lisa spoke quickly.  “It is too far for you to jump back down without injury.  Good luck.  I’ll say one, two, go. Ready? One, two, go!”

The Elect 10, part 2 of 4: Afternoon to Kill

Thursday, mid afternoon, Emily and Jessica took Maria for a latte.  Amina, already there, held the table.  The problem was Maria found her new roommate impossible to live with.  The only sleep she had gotten lately was on the floor in Emily’s and Jessica’s room.  Emily and Jessica were fine with helping their friend, but it was becoming a strain on them all since the rooms were hardly big enough for two.

“You don’t understand.  All Melissa does all night long is burn incense and chant praises to glorious Abby.  I mean, who is this girl?”  Emily had an idea in the back of her mind but she did not say anything because the word witch sounded so insane.  Fortunately, she did not have to say it.a stud cent 9

“She is a power,” Amina spoke up even as she looked down at the table.  “She is a witch of great power and I see no good in her.”  No one questioned what Amina saw.  She rarely spoke that way, but when she did, the others had learned to listen.

Jessica broke the spell when she spoke.  “Maybe Emily could knock Melissa unconscious every night so you could sleep.”

“Ha, ha.”  Emily did not laugh.  She rubbed her stiff shoulder, instead.  “I just had the first real workout in my life.  That old man is strong.”  The others said nothing.  “Stronger than I am, and quicker, but he says strength and speed are not the keys.  He says after he finishes his task he will go back to being normal so I will have to take it easy on him.  I don’t know, though.  The man’s skill with weapons is amazing.”  She probably should not have said that much, but she was not in the habit of keeping secrets from her friends.

“Hey, Emily.”  Someone called from across the room.  It was Connie, and Mindy came with her and several Daughters of the Amazon.

ac amina 6“Hey,” Emily was not unfriendly, but she had her sword up on the table and felt sorry it was too late to hide it.

“We have missed you at the meetings,” Connie started right in.  “And you,” she turned to Amina and paused.

“Amina.”  She gave her name.

“Right, anyway—“

“Is that real?”  Mindy interrupted.

“Of course it is,” Amina responded.  “And the reason Emily has not been to the meetings is because she is not a Daughter of the Amazon.  She is the real deal.”

Emily turned an eye on Amina, but Amina was serious and did not imagine she said anything wrong.

“Riii-ght,” Connie drew out the word with sarcasm in her voice.  “Anyway, it will be good to see you at the next meeting.”  She turned and her followers turned with her, except Mindy who hesitated and looked at Amina.ac mindy 5

“I believe you.  I have learned about such things.  The queen is always one of the elect.” Mindy whispered, and Emily frowned again at Amina, but Amina just smiled in return and stood up to the frown.

“It is true,” Mindy said and said no more, as Connie came back to drag off Mindy.  Mindy’s eyes pleaded with the girls, but that was one can of worms where they were not yet willing to open.

“No word on any attacks?”  Maria thought to change the subject.

Emily checked her phone and her beeper and shook her head.  All of the sisters were given beepers so they could all be notified, simultaneously.  They could call in and be told where they were needed.  Presently, ten of the younger and hardier souls were camped out around Latasha’s house.  When the call came, they had plans to drop Latasha’s family at a motel for the night, all prepaid.

“ROTC has been put on alert, sophomores as well as the upper class.  There is not much they will be able to do, though,” Emily said.  “I don’t suppose they will even be able to gather fast enough ac jessica 6before it is all over.”

“I don’t know,” Jessica thought aloud.  “They are mostly big, strong, well conditioned young men.”

“Does Tom know you noticed?”  Maria teased.

“Yes, they are,” Amina whispered at the same time, and several eyes went to her.

“What would your family say?”  Emily teased, but felt bad about it the minute she said it.  Amina’s face reddened and Emily felt obliged to give the girl a hug of reassurance.

Jessica ignored them.  “I was saying they ought to be worth something in a fight.”

Emily nodded.  “I am sure they would do well.  Trust me, if it was just me in this thing, I would be depending on them, big time.  The thing is with so many sisters here it is just as well they only act as back-up.  We have lost the freshman class already.”

The library was the next stop in the itinerary.  They all had to study for finals, which New Jersey a library 5State got in before Christmas break.  Even Jessica studied, but as the sun set, she was also the one who reminded them they needed to get to the dining hall before it closed.

“That library is a madhouse,” Jessica added as they walked.

“What would you expect?” Maria said.  “Everyone has papers and projects to finish and some of those back areas and side rooms are still the best for study groups.  Dorm lounges are too tempting to not get serious.”

“Or to sneak off to your room for a nap,” Emily added though Maria rolled her eyes as if to say, if only she could.

“So of course the library is a madhouse,” Amina concluded.

“Isn’t that what I said?”  Jessica finished that conversation.

ac melissa 1They headed back to the dorm after they ate and saw Melissa outside the dorm with three other women.  She was sitting on one of the outside chairs under a spotlight, talking, and the others were at her feet, shivering.

Emily’s beeper went off.

“Did I mention she now has some glorious Abby disciples?”  Maria said, but Jessica put her hand to Maria’s arm to quiet her as Emily got on her phone.

“They’re in the library.” Emily began to run.  The others kept up as well as they could.  By the time they arrived, people were screaming and streaming out.  Emily raced through the main room, not terribly worried about the people there.  They would get out well enough.  It was the ones in the side rooms and in the stacks among the books that might be caught.

At the third side room, she saw a group of students inside.  Two boys held the doorknob so the zombie could not yank the door open.  A second zombie arrived just before Emily and cracked the window that looked out into the stacks.  The students all screamed.

Emily pulled her sword and sliced off the head of the one at the door.  In a perfect execution of ac emily 7the move she practiced for two hours after lunch, she followed her stroke with a stab to the heart.  The handle of her sword was strongly insulated now, so she did not feel the shock.  One was down, but the other was on her.  Her left hand shoved her knife into that heart and the zombie stopped and looked at its chest for a second with the same bewildered look Libby had seen.  That was enough time for Emily to leap back and two hand her sword through the neck.  The head rolled away.    Emily had to force open the door and sent both boys sprawling in the process.

“Get out!” she yelled once and ran on.

A moment later, she heard the fire alarm go off.  Someone was thinking.  Then she heard a male voice in the muffled area among the books.

“Dude, Halloween is long over.”

Emily heard the crack as she rounded the corner.  The zombie had grabbed the boy and snapped his neck.  She stopped that zombie from killing again, but there was already one death she was unable to prevent.

One more corner and she saw seven zombies inside, and more streaming in the back door.  She was not going to get to check upstairs.  She turned and ran toward the front, hoping that she was not already cut off.  There were a dozen zombies in the otherwise empty main room when she arrived.  She got up on the tables, ran and leaped from table to table to get out the door.

Maria and Amina were on the front steps.  “I didn’t get to check the upstairs,” Emily shouted through the sound of the fire alarm.  Amina and Maria did not care about that.  They grabbed Emily by the arms and dragged her to where Jessica was standing back, safe, watching.  Lisa ran up ac lisa a1the walk as they stopped.

“They are attacking Latasha’s house,” she shouted before she came to a stop as well.  “There are twelve who won’t be here.”

“Twelve?”  Jessica asked.

“The ten we sent plus Latasha and Libby Carter.”

“That leaves how many?”  Maria asked.

“Fifteen, if they all get here.”  She looked all around and then ran to speak to Rob Parker and the police sergeant when they arrived.  Ashish came huffing and puffing along a moment later.

The Elect 10, Zombies Overdue: part 1 of 4

Heinrich walked the campus to get acclimated.  He wanted a good feel for the environment before he set down roots.  He knew his presence made the elect nervous, but he had felt out the three and found Lisa, young Emily and even Latasha, young as she was, were serious about the work.  He had no qualms there and thought he might even help them now and then.  True, the influx of so many elect disturbed him.  Some felt off color, but not terribly so, and he knew this was just a temporary thing.  He hoped being around so many good sisters, as they called themselves, it might encourage the off color ones to straighten up.ac heinrich 9

Heinrich laughed to think of these women all running around like headless chickens, brandishing their weapons, waiting nervously for the main event.  Centuries of experience had taught him to relax and wait, and not to worry so much about weapons.  Weapons could be found.  When the time came, he was his own best weapon, even if he had nothing in his hands.

Heinrich stopped.  He heard a noise by the old gymnasium that stood beside the parade ground.  There were soldiers gathering there—no, young men.  Emily’s ROTC men, and they were getting into the back of a truck.  He lifted his nose and took a big whiff of air.  He decided he must be getting old.  He ran faster than any ordinary man toward the library.


There are in fact three elect in Trenton, NJ.  Emily is a freshman at the university, Latasha is a high school freshman, and Detective Lisa and the Trenton police are having to deal with things at the university that are, to say the least, not normal.  Now, Heinrich, a member of the mysterious council has shown up, along with twenty-six more elect gathered from all over North America.  The zombies have already gone after Latasha’s house (chapter 9).  It is only a matter of time before they are let loose on the university campus.

The Elect, Freshman Year began in November of 2015.  You can begin the story by clicking on the archives button and selecting November of 2015, or just enjoy it from this point…  Every chapter (episode, like a television show) is posted in 4 easily digestible parts over a single week.  So after today, you will find parts 2, 3, and 4 of chapter 10 on T, W, and Th of this week.  Enjoy.  It is free, and Happy Reading.

a a hr calvin 2

The Elect 6, part 2 of 4: After All

Karyn’s body stayed in the morgue Thursday night and flew home to Texas first thing Friday morning. Jessica’s father paid for an afternoon flight for Jessica, Maria, Amina and Emily so Jessica and Emily would not miss freshman English. Her father also paid for two nights in a motel, and a rental car on the condition that Jessica not be allowed to drive the car under any circumstances.

Emily never imagined she would meet Karyn’s parents this way. The hardest part was she could not ab philadelphia airportexplain what happened other than to call it a terrible accident. To be sure, there were too many tears that weekend for much conversation. They flew back to New Jersey State quiet, but somewhat released.

When they got to the hospital and went to Carl’s room, he also stayed quiet. Jessica did most of the talking and showed surprising compassion about it. Carl would never walk well again, but at least he was alive. Nothing was wrong with his tear ducts, however, and the girls cried with him until the nurse shooed them out.

Emily did not feel quite sure how to handle Monday morning. Captain Driver had returned overnight from Washington and got the story. Several of the freshmen actually died along with Karyn. As it turned out, only one police officer died, but a second remained in critical condition. The rest of the freshmen either dropped out of school altogether or were desperately trying to transfer to a different school, preferably one out of state. That left Emily in a class of one.

“Come in Hudson.” Captain Driver sat at his desk.


“Informal in here. I need to hear what you have to say. I understand you were there.”

ac rotc karyn“Yes, sir. The men were all drugged. It was some combination of adrenaline, growth hormone and several other ingredients. They had no control over what they were doing.” She paused to see if the captain had a more specific question. He only said one word.


“And Terrence was free of the drug and pushing them to kill, sir.”

“You know he did not like you.”

“I understand.”

“So you broke his back?”

“Only the shoulder to prevent his escape. He stabbed Carl and was headed out the back door.”

Captain Driver nodded. “And you broke his arm because?”

“I was wrong, sir.” Emily dropped her eyes. “I had no reason to do that.”

“No matter. In your position that is probably the least I would have done.” The captain drew up his notebook and looked at it briefly. “Your current grade in this class is 98.7. That is as good as I have seen for a freshman. It is remarkable, considering everything else you have been involved in. I am giving you an “A” for the semester, and I have two requests.”


Captain Driver put his hand to his lips before he spoke. “I understand you are thinking of nursing.” Emily nodded. She did not feel surprised that he knew. He probably made it a point to learn whatever he could about his charges, especially the women. “Let me just say, the army can always use good nurses, or anything else you might decide to do. I want you to continue. There will not beac Driver 1 a formal spring semester freshman class, but I would like you to continue with your studies. I have already arranged with the registrar to teach you the course work as an independent study, and you can work out with the sophomore class.” He was not giving an order, but it was a strong suggestion. She decided that might work, and said so.

“And the other thing?”

“Next year. I would like you with the upper classmen—probably where you belong, and I would like you to take Carl’s position with the incoming freshmen.”

“Sir?” Emily stood up a little straighter.

“John Brinkman has agreed to take the lieutenant’s position, the one Carl would have moved into. Company sergeant is generally given to the top junior who has signed up for service after college, but there is no law that says it has to be that way.”


“The position carries a small stipend, more like a teaching assistant than a work study position.”

“Sir?” Emily’s intuition acted up and she wanted the full story.

ac emily pus“Hell, Hudson.” Captain Driver slapped the papers on his desk. “I have already been informed that there are four women accepted by early admission who are expressing interest. There may be more.”

Emily straightened. “Sir, yes sir. It will be an honor, sir.”

The man’s face visibly relaxed. “Dismissed, soldier. I will be in touch.”

Emily saluted and stepped out. Well, she thought. Won’t her family be impressed? Well, not her mother, perhaps. She could not even handle high school ROTC.

After that, Emily had nothing to do but go to the student center and celebrate by treating herself to a latte, which she was trying to learn to like.


Come Tuesday, the reality of classes and school set back in. All that had happened with the attempt on her life and on Swenson’s life, with the ROTC class and Karyn, and then Hilde and finally the quick trip to Texas had her in a fog. But by Tuesday, she was sufficiently out of the fog enough to wonder what might happen to freshman biology.ab lecture hall 2

“I’ve already calculated your grade from what is up on the web. You have a solid “B” in lab and almost a “B” in the course. According to the syllabus, Granger can give you an “F” on the final if she dares and you should still pass the course.” Maria seemed to feel like talking. She had been that way on and off since she lost Owen.

“There are grades up on the web?” Emily felt lost again. There were probably plenty of things at the university she did not know anything about. She had been rather busy.

Maria nodded but said nothing. Ms Granger came in. The woman looked disheveled. Normally she had everything tucked in perfectly, every crease ironed and never a loose hair from her bun. Now, her top was wrinkled, not well tucked, and she had not even bothered to put her hair up. She coughed once and rifled through a mess of papers in her briefcase. Ms Granger’s papers were never a mess.

“Professor Singh, evolutionary biology for those who don’t know, has agreed to oversee the remainder of the semester. We will continue as before.” Emily shifted a little in her seat. Ms Granger’s eyes shot straight to her. “How could you,” she said in her most accusatory voice. “He was a good man, and I don’t care if you have the whole police department and the governor himself protecting you.” Ms Granger never said the word murder, but it was strongly implied. She walked out of the room and stayed gone for a good five minutes. When she came back, she went straight to the board and began to write down information while she talked. She never gave Emily another glance.

ac rotc women 2After class, Emily dressed in her ROTC uniform with the addition of corporal stripes, an honor usually reserved for the most promising sophomore and upper classmen. She got to meet the sophomores before Jessica and Maria came to fetch her. Jessica dragged Emily off in uniform. She prompted them to pay Carl a hospital visit, which they did. They hardly needed much prompting. Then she insisted they stop by the mall.

“Ulterior motive!” Maria teased.