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PRAISE FOR

IA : B.O.S.S. IA: B.O.S.S. is a glorious ride of striving for strength, confidence, and retaining the humanity within. ~ Paul Atreides, Las Vegas Review-Journal A much-needed book in a much-needed genre‌ ~ Jeff Talarigo, author of The Pearl Diver IA: B.O.S.S. achieves a slick progression of storytelling with deep psychological themes and an urban gang violence atmosphere. Fresh, current and absolutely superb. ~ K.C. Finn, Readers’ Favorite If kids today need a new superhero their own age, Winston has more than succeeded in supplying it with the IA series. ~ Drea Damara, award-winning author of The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane


IA: B.O.S.S.

Copyright Š 2016, 2017 John Darryl Winston All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published by H2O an imprint of BHC Press Library of Congress Control Number: 2017945309 ISBN-13: 978-1-946848-64-2 ISBN-10: 1-946848-64-6 Also available in hardcover & ebook Visit the author at: www.bhcpress.com


ALSO BY

JOHN DARRYL WINSTON IA: INITIATE IA: UNION FIRECRACKER, IA: 2.5


B.O.S.S. Birth of a Silent Soldier


IN THE PAST …

H

igh and hidden in the San Juan Mountains, a black Crown Victoria with tinted windows parks behind a black Suburban in front of a rustic cabin. Two men in dark suits exit the car and approach the front door confidently, but cautiously. A sharp, midday breeze whips through the monstrous pines guarding the cabin causing the suit jackets of the men to flare. They are armed. “Remember, no harm must come to the boy,” says the stockier of the two men as he pulls a tranquilizer gun from his holster. “What about Dr. Andersen?” whispers the taller man as they stop at the cabin door. “Our instructions are clear; no harm must come to the boy.” The taller man nods as he pulls a Glock from his holster then knocks on the door in an official manner. They wait several seconds, but there is no response. He knocks again and this time calls out. “Dr. Andersen, we need to talk to you.”


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There is no response. He steps back several feet with both hands on his Glock, shoulder height. He means to knock the door down, but before he can advance, his partner stops him with a hand gesture. The shorter man reaches down and grabs the doorknob to find the door unlocked. He slowly opens the door. The taller man returns to his original position next to his partner. Both men ready their weapons as they slowly enter the cabin. They look at each other in confusion as they find a tranquil scene. Hair wild atop his head, Dr. Cornelius Andersen, known to his friends as Cory, is playing chess with his ten-year-old son, Naz. Both seem oblivious to the two men entering the cabin. The men nervously train their weapons on the father and son: the shorter man with his tranquilizer gun pointed at Naz and the other with his Glock pointed at Cory. Unmoved, Cory and Naz continue their game as if they are the only two in the room. “D-Dr. Andersen,” stammers the shorter man. “I must insist that you and your son come with us.” “Your move,” says Cory to Naz. “Fine, then you leave us no choice, sir.” The shorter man looks at his partner and nods. Before the shorter man can fire his weapon, the two men are distracted by what sounds like footsteps on the roof. When they look up, two separate laser beams come from projectors high in the ceiling aimed toward Cory and Naz. The taller man reaches up to block one of the beams. Cory and half of the chessboard disappear. The man smiles in amusement and awe, his hand still in the air. “It’s a trick,” says the shorter man, realizing the image of Cory and Naz is a hologram. “Your move,” the recorded voice of Cory repeats although the image of Cory is no longer there.


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and Naz scramble down the front of the roof of the cabin. Cory hangs from the edge of the cabin, releases, and lands on the ground while Naz, a miniature version of Cory in every way, prefers to dismount the roof with a back somersault. Naz looks at his father with a smile for approval, but Cory shakes his head and, with a sense of urgency, motions for Naz to hurry.

MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE, CORY

THE TALLER MAN moves his hand away from the beam causing Cory’s image and the other half of the chessboard to reappear. Footsteps sound from behind them, and the two men turn as Cory and Naz run toward the black Suburban. The shorter man runs after them. “Stop!” Naz looks at Cory, who nods. “Now!” yells the taller man. The shorter man fires a black tranquilizer dart at Naz. Naz clenches his fists and watches the dart intently as it slows down and then stops midair between the shorter man and himself. Naz again looks at Cory, who shakes his head. The dart spins around one hundred eighty degrees to point back at the shorter man. “No,” says Cory to Naz calmly. Naz quickly opens both his hands causing the dart to return to full velocity, impaling itself in the stocky man’s beefy thigh. He slumps to the ground, unconscious. Before his partner can return fire in Cory’s direction, Naz snaps his right arm over his head. The man’s Glock flies high into the air behind the cabin. The man stands frozen in fear and amazement as he looks back and forth between his unconscious partner and Naz. “Let’s go,” Cory says to Naz as he smiles at the man. They get into the Suburban and drive down the mountain.


01: INTRUDER PRESENT DAY …

T

here was no sound as he entered her room undetected. He had the look of both predator and prey as he slowly advanced on the small girl who slept peacefully in the semi-darkness. He scanned her room to see what she fancied, what was important to her, what she would no longer have to worry about when he was finished. He could barely make out a lone bottle of Bayer aspirin on her dresser, a framed picture of The Supremes on her wall next to a poster of Venus and Serena Williams, and next to that, a plaque with the scales and the words, A Lawyer’s Prayer written over them. A prayer indeed, the destroyer thought—but she won’t have time for a prayer or a plea. He paused in the sparse moonlight shining through the window to take in one last silent breath before depriving her forever of that life-defining process. He floated like a wraith. His attack would be swift, but not painless. The quickness would be his and the pain hers. He did not need to savor it. Pain was something he felt his victims deserved, were entitled to, even: a badge of honor


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they would carry with them into the afterlife—should they find one. He smirked. A chessboard and pieces occupied the nightstand next to her twin bed. As he moved closer, he could see the queen toppled over on the board, almost in submission to a dark knight that towered ominously over her—how fitting. When he turned his eyes to her—a petite lump underneath dark flannel sheets—his heart raced. He could hardly contain himself as he closed in. He took a moment to pause, to study her calm peacefulness, her stillness—almost too still. Just before he pounced on her, a man’s voice from nowhere in unison with a familiar voice sounded from behind him. “Suckerrrr.…” Before he could turn around, he was driven forward by a kick in the butt onto the cleverly, concealed pillows of the bed. His nineyear-old sister, Meridian Slaughter, erupted in laughter as she admired her handiwork. “You’re pitiful, Naz, just pitiful,” she said. “And you’re supposed to be some kind of silent soldier superhero.” She laughed. “Shhh, Meri, you’re gonna wake up Miss Tracey,” Naz said in a forced whisper as he stealthily grabbed one of Meri’s pillows. “Whatever, that’s what you get.” Meri continued laughing, her two, huge, sandy red puff balls dancing on the sides of her head. Naz sprang up like a cat and hit Meri across her face, chest, and shoulders with the pillow. She tumbled backward, onto a beanbag chair on the floor at the foot of her bed. “Look at you now,” Naz said in his best Scarface imitation through his laughter. Meri stopped laughing and scrambled to the floor on the other side of the bed for the cover of darkness. She was silent. Naz stopped laughing to listen. “Do you really think that will work on me?” he asked. Meri remained silent as she hid on the other side of the bed.


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“I am the silent soldier.� Naz closed his eyes and focused. He put his arms out, palms up, and he knew in an instant where she was. Eyes still closed, he hurried to the other side of the bed where Meri sat as still as a statue. He grabbed her, and she gave a playful, but shrill scream. He threw her onto the bed. She grabbed a pillow, relentlessly pummeling him with it. He found her other pillow on the floor and joined in the fight.


02: FOSTER MOM

H

ey!” Their foster parent, Miss Tracey, had entered the room and turned on the light. “Have you two lost your ever-lovin’ minds? I’m the administrative assistant to one of the most influential men in our community. You know how I feel about my beauty-sleep—” Meri gave a chuckle under her breath. “What’s so funny, little girl?” “You’re a temp,” said Meri, her laugh subsiding. “Why you two, good-for-nothin’, don’t-nobody-want-chas.” “What?” Meri asked defiantly. “Meri,” said Naz. “I wanna know what she means.” “You heard me. Don’t nobody want y’all. That’s why you’re here, and as long as you are here, you will follow my rules. Is that clear?” “Yes, Miss Tracey,” said Naz as he nudged a silent Meri with his elbow. It took everything Naz had to play nice to Miss Tracey, to smile in her face. He hoped she knew his smile was phony. Miss Tracey disliked kids in general, but she hated Naz and Meri. She never


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counted on their intelligence, especially Meri’s, and it irritated her. She only counted on the money she would receive from the foster care system when she agreed to take them in. Naz hoped Miss Tracey knew the feeling was mutual. He learned somewhere that hate was a poison, but it was difficult for him to watch her standing there in her silly-looking bonnet with rollers sticking out of the sides and a terrycloth robe, which she had obviously stolen from some hotel, and not loathe her. Just then he noticed she had a bruise under her left eye—something last night’s makeup must’ve covered up. Naz found himself appreciating the force that must’ve caused the injury. Miss Tracey looked at Meri. “What about you, little-missknow-it-all?” Naz nudged Meri again, and again Meri was silent. “Look, you two don’t have to stay here,” said Miss Tracey calmly. “You can always go back to live with your parents … oh, that’s right … they’re dead.” Anticipating Meri’s next response, Naz grabbed her before she could move. “Humph, that’s what I thought. I suggest you both get your narrow behinds washed up and ready so you won’t be late for …” She looked out of Meri’s window, which faced west. It was still pre-dawn, and there was no sign of sunlight. “Why are you up so early anyway?” With that she walked out of the room, slamming the door, signifying she had won the battle, one of her many battles with Meri.


03: INSOMNIA

N

az looked at Meri and let out a deep sigh. “Why do you have to always upset her?” “Did you hear what she said—?” “I heard her.” “Then what are we gonna do about it?” “Nothing. She knows what to say to get in your head, Meri. You’re smarter than her. Don’t let her in. Next year you’ll be at International Academy, far away from this place … far away from the Exclave.” Meri’s eyes trailed off as she looked out of the window of their little house on the corner of Wessen and Smith, and he knew his words had hit their mark. He only then noticed she was fully dressed, as he was. “Why are you up so early, anyway?” “I couldn’t sleep. Naz, when I’m gone next year, what will happen to you?” “Don’t worry about me.” It was something he tried not to think about. “Why couldn’t you sleep?” “Because you left my phone at that scary place with those thugs Saturday. If I don’t have my phone, I don’t have my music, and if I don’t have my music, I can’t sleep.”


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“You need an alarm clock.” “I always wake up to Love Child, so I need my phone. Did you tell Mr. Tesla I needed a new one?” “I did.” “Well?” “He said you can pick it up today at dinner.” She smiled. “What lie did you make up?” “I told him it got stolen.” “You know he didn’t believe you; you’re a bad liar, Naz.” He shrugged then pulled his phone out of his pocket to check the time. “Just get ready. We got thirty minutes.” “I am ready. Why are you up so early?” she asked, taking notice that he, too, was fully dressed. “I couldn’t sleep either,” he said as he left her room.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Darryl Winston is a graduate of the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, the Recording Institute of Detroit, and Wayne State University. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. He is an educator, coach, musician, and songwriter, but considers himself an author first—mainly because he believes that miracles and dreams live in the written word. He lives in Michigan with his daughter Marquette and intends to acquire an African Grey parrot one day when he conquers his irrational fear of birds.


Profile for BHC Press

IA: B.O.S.S. by John Darryl Winston (IA #2)  

Imprint: BHC Press/H2O Genre: YA/Teen/Sci-fi/Fantasy Release Date: 7/10/17 Book Description: Supernatural abilities are revealed. A sacrific...

IA: B.O.S.S. by John Darryl Winston (IA #2)  

Imprint: BHC Press/H2O Genre: YA/Teen/Sci-fi/Fantasy Release Date: 7/10/17 Book Description: Supernatural abilities are revealed. A sacrific...

Profile for bhcpress

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