Author Topic: they call me a menace, they say that i'm cursed >> nightmare; oneshot; open  (Read 136 times)

Offline MICHAEL.

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"speech" 'thought' text
tw: mentions alcohol, blood, crime, profanity, themes of violence

The day had been a long one filled with questions, assumptions, curiosity, and predominantly... red. He was stripped of his best friends, the glimmer of new hope had been snuffed out like a pinched candle flame. His life didn't seem relevant anymore, and even now he was suffering from the effects of the past few days, the withdrawal coupled with the mind numbing loss. The only light at the end of the tunnel was not in sight, it might never be in sight. Creed's forgiveness was not something he ever dreamed of attaining, especially after he told her the whole story, the truth. But what was the truth? Who was he?

Michael frowned and leaned his head against the pillow beneath him trying to make himself comfortable. Though he had cleaned the blood and dirt off of himself, he still could feel the weight of the substance presence on his skin. A phantom, faint weight, reminding him of the horror from the morning. As much as he desired it, there seemed no way for him to achieve even the slightest piece of mind.

Against every inch of his resolve, his sheer willpower, he leaned over, digging a flask from somewhere beside the bed, and emptying the contents into his mouth, swallowing the sharp, foul tasting liquor with a grimace momentarily passing over his face. He would have scrounged up more, but it seemed to take all his energy for even that brief, easy movement. Instead he lay back down feeling a quiet sob wrench from his chest as if pulled from his heart. He had not truly given himself leave to grieve yet, and even now, crying seemed so pointless. What would the tears accomplish? Nothing.

Even so, the man felt warm tears spilling from the corners of his eyes and trickling down his cheeks, splashing onto the pillow beneath him. He could not have said how long he lay there, unable to finally find comfort in sleep, but he did sleep, eventually. Though, there was no comfort in the darkness that enveloped him as he closed his eyes, trying to shut out the pain, and instead welcoming it with open doors.

--- A glimpse into the past of Michael Ford. Note: Some of these events may be exaggerated from the point of view of the person experiencing these dreams. But the events are true in essence. ---

Michael sat on a log, the age lifted from his face, many scars not yet formed upon his skin. He was perhaps a man of 18, no older than 20. His hair was cut short, bushy brows furrowed, and expression distant. It was clear that he was thinking about someone, or something else. It did not seem to matter what his surroundings were, though they were less than pleasant.

He had just finished with the strenuous boot camp, he had undergone humiliation, hate, and blame. And that was mostly from himself, the other recruits weren't all that bad if he was being honest with himself. The man shook his head and buried it in his hands, exhausted. He hadn't slept in two days now, and he didn't see himself sleeping again in the near future. As if to prove him right, he heard the voice of the Sergeant bark out an order. "Alright pansies! Grab you're gear, we head out on a run at 22:00 hours."

There was a general groan from around the group, but no one complained, it was fruitless. Mike sighed and looked down at his watch, 22:00 hours, well, that meant that he had 15 minutes to get ready. He wondered if he had eaten in the past few hours, but it was too late for that. Stumbling back to his bunk, he pulled his gear into order, and pulled the heavy rucksack onto his back. He knew he was in for a long trek, the Sergeant didn't take these excursions lightly, the last one had been at least 30 miles, he expected no less from William. Well Sergeant Holloway if he was being correct.

Mike had not been let down, the long, exhausting run had lasted well into the early hours of the morning, in fact, the sun was peeking over the horizon. Surprisingly, though Mike was very tired, he still felt energized, "Alright boys, I can hear you pansies wheezing for breath!" Will's voice sounded almost amused, though he could tell the Sergeant was also rather tired from their longer than usual trek. However, the man did not seem too effected, as he let his gear slip from his back. "Set up camp, and don't cut any corners."

Mike was more the glad to rid himself of the weight burdening his back, and even though it slipped with ease from his shoulders, a greater burden seemed to take it's place. It was like there was no way to leave his past behind. He had been told that God had forgiven him, but how could he do so if Michael hadn't even forgiven himself yet? He heard his name called, "Ford!" It didn't appear to be the first time that Sergeant Holloway had said his name either, straightening up he looked to meet the taller man's gaze with his own, though there was a general snicker among the men.

His cheeks flushed with emotion, and yet Will didn't seem too perturbed by Mike's forgetfulness. "Yes sir." He brought himself to full attention, body straightening, elbow bent in a flawless (though tired) salute. He had not been aware of what the Sergeant had said and hoped that Will would repeat himself, if only to help him out of the sticky situation that he was himself responsible for. "I asked how you were Ford, you seemed a bit out of it."

Will's voice was softer, less commanding and more friendly, Michael's posture relaxed, and he smiled ruefully at his friend and superior. "Truth?" He asked seriously, a half pained half hopeful expression on his face. While Will didn't know the full extent of Mike's past, the man did know quite a bit about him, more than Mike had told him. But William was just a good gauge of people, and also a fantastic guesser. "Truth, Mikey." The familiar nickname hit a soft spot in his heart, the hardened organ giving a pang of what almost felt like regret.

The two had moved and were now setting about building a fire. "Can't stop thinking about it Sergeant." Mike admitted, his face twisting into a grimace, he remembered vividly the bloodstained hand, the lifeless body before him, the memory of everything coming back, the panic, the fear. The shaking fingers as he dialed 9-1-1. It hadn't... it wasn't supposed to go down that way. He didn't remember the sequence of events, just that one moment he was in an argument with his boyfriend's brother, a knife springing into the hand of the other, and the next moment there was blood everywhere, and Daniel wasn't breathing, wasn't alive.

The trial... he remembered that Nathaniel had been there, his cold eyes boring into Mike's body, the testimonies, the thought that he could spend the rest of his life behind bars for his actions. He had been tried as an adult, his parent's had encouraged it even. The faces of the jury listening to testimonies, pity, anger, disbelief... so many emotions on their faces. The lawyers talking in a language that Mike did not understand.

The verdict had never been a question, Michael had never plead anything but guilty to his actions, but, by what was called by many the
gace of God. Michael was sentenced to only 18 months in prison with mandatory mental health counseling. He remembered the verdict being read, the sentencing. The horrified look on his ex-boyfriend's face at the light sentence he was handed, the assault he had seen coming... Nate's fist connecting with his lower jaw so forcefully that it dislodged a tooth.

He could remember being taken to prison, the many faces watching him as he was escorted to his cell. His cellmate, the next 18 months of hell. The place he had finished his education, the place he had found religion, the place he had... found some semblance of forgiveness and self possession. But also the place where he had learned just how depraved humanity really was, the truth that he was here with these terrible people, which meant that he must be no better than any of them.

His memories interrupted suddenly by a pressure on his shoulder as Will placed his hand there, squeezing tightly, and effectively bringing him back to reality. "I get that it's hard. But you have to look forward." Mike smiled at this, it was a kind thing for Will to say, though the slightly older man had no real idea of just what Michael was trying to leave behind. "Keep calm and soldier on... and all that." His voice was lighter, though laced with feeling, and Mike knew that his friend was not just dismissing his emotions.


Days turned into weeks, lapsing by into months. The two grew closer, and were soon candidates for the Marine Corps Special Forces, or M.A.R.S.O.C. the name was still amusing to Mike, making him think about mars wearing socks or something silly like that. He had grown a few inches since his first year in the marines, his muscles had expanded, and his mind had also healed quite a bit. With hard work and dedication, both Mike and Will made it into the special forces.

In all his time off, he never went home. Instead he stayed with Will and his lovely wife, a woman who, Mike felt he would have loved to get to know better, though it was difficult being away for so long. Outside of his time off Michael, had applied himself to all four phases of training and was now in his own 12 man team. He was not the man in charge, that was Will, and Mike didn't care to be the Detachment Commander anyways. The men he were paired with were a close knit group tied around loyalty, trust, and brotherhood. And for once in his life, Michael had felt like he fit in.

They completed a number of foreign and domestic missions, none to be spoken of with anyone (save the persons who had been on the mission and their superiors) it might have been a lonely existence if it wasn't for the family that he had made for himself. William Holloway, Brian Jamison, Jonathan Briggs, Martin Kelly, George Xi, Kyle Dawson, Amir Ahmend, Edgar O'Toole, Kevin Yarn, D.J. Wright, Orion Gibson, and of course, himself. The guys all had nicknames, and Mike might have been the one who had come up with most of them.

Will was "the Stargazer" his nickname stemmed from the number of nights the man had spent staring at the stars, telling tales about the different figures made from constellations, some well known, some completely new to all listening. Brian was "the Beast" it was, perhaps, one of Mike's least creative names, though Brian was truly built like a beast, 6' 4", 240 pounds of muscle, military hair cut and a bushy beard. Jon was "Snips, or Doc" that was because he was the medical expert in the group. While all of them could patch themselves up, Jon knew a hell of a lot more about taking care of them.

Kelly was "Robin Hood", though Mike rarely told the story of how Kelly had been Robin Hood in a school play, wearing tights, he had visited Kelly's family for a few days, and had heard the story many times from many relatives. Xi and Dawson were "the Devilish Duo" together, and "Butch Cassidy" and "Shelob" individually. Xi could be very light fingered when he wanted to be, and the guy could do amazing slight of the hand card tricks, as for Dawson, well, the guy had severe arachnophobia, so calling him after a giant spider seemed... ironic.

Amir was dubbed "Silver-tongue" as the guy could talk his way out of almost anything, Edgar's loving nickname was "Tell-tale Heart." perhaps not the most original, though the story gave Mike the willies, and Edgar's first name was... well Edgar, like Edgar Alan Poe. Kevin's nickname was "The Oregonian" the guy had an article in the Oregonian written about him when he was younger, a fact that the man never let anyone forget, which was why he was nicknamed that. Perhaps Mike had not given the best of nicknames to all of his comrades. D.J. was "the Tinman" the guy was seriously scary sometimes, seeming not to have a heart, or at least not enough of one at times. And finally, Orion, Mike had never had that much in common with Orion, and had not spent as much time with him as he had with the rest, but he still gave the man a nickname, "Spartacus" it was a nickname that Mike didn't really understand where it came from.

As for him, after a mission where Mike had spent two days plowing down enemies left and right, not sleeping, not eating, just living in the moment, unsure of whether or not his comrades were alive, he was dubbed "the Machine" it suited him better than many other nicknames that could have been given to him. And with the other eleven men he felt at home, cared for.

When the blackout hit, the Special Ops. group had been tasked with keeping order, and after a few years of this there didn't seem any point. The world infrastructure had collapsed, the majority of the military in disarray, and after much deliberation and thought, the group went their separate ways. While Will invited Mike to return with him, the man had a few things he needed to do, one included returning to his home town, though there was no sign that his ex was still around, a... man now that he owed an apology to.

However, while in the area he met a young woman, they quickly became close. Michael and his partner spent time in their small house secluded in the woods, and time with Will and his family. Will had a daughter now, and while they had not been as close as they used to be, they were still like brothers. Michael had been asked to be the godfather of the girl, and Mike was more than thrilled to accept the title. The memory flashed from his brain as if it were happening in the moment.

Michael hesitated, it was the first time he was bringing Jenny to meet Will and Cathy, it was scary. He wasn't looking for their stamp of approval or anything, but he did want them to like her, even a tiny bit as much as he cared for her. Somehow he had lost his heart completely to the young woman. There was nothing extraordinary in her appearance, some might even call her plain, though Michael would knock the teeth out of any that dared it.

But her personality sparkled, her smile lit up a room, warming all where were in it. When she entered a room, everything seemed to suddenly be alright. Michael loved her, loved her so much. His hesitation lasted only a second as a warm arm slipped into his own. "What are you waiting for Mikey?" Her voice sounded like silver, or silky water slipping over smooth stones. "I-.." He paused. Even though they had been together for a while, he still felt overcome by shyness and stuttered around her at times.

Her silvery laugh caused his face to blush red, even a tint of the rouge hue dusting his ears. He knocked before he could stop himself, and the door was opened by Will, the man was glowing with pride, it hadn't worn off yet apparently. And then he was whisked into the room, there in a beautifully made crib (if he did say so himself), was Alyssa. The girl was a beautiful baby, her face rosy, her laugh delightful. Michael couldn't help but fall in love with the small human as he found himself holding, and rocking the little girl. Cooing delightedly at her.

Michael could have stayed in that moment forever, the peaceful expression on Alyssa's face, the happy one on Will and Cathy's, and Jenny's love shining in her brown eyes. At that second in time, Michael felt like he was in heaven, real heaven. "So, Mikey..." Will's voice drew him from his trance as he wiggled his finger in the face of the little girl. "Cathy and I have been discussing this... a lot." Michael raised an eyebrow and looked towards his friend for a few moments.

"And well, you know we're not all that religious, but we were wondering if you'd like to be little Alyssa's godfather." The question caught Mike by surprise, and he stared at Will incredulously, nearly forgetting that the baby girl was in his arms, though when she let out a little hiccup he was brought back to reality. "I- you would trust me with that?" His question was more for Cathy than for Will, but to his surprise the woman nodded, "You're a good man Mike. And my Willy see's something in you, he's never wrong about these things." She wrapped the taller man in a hug, and Michael felt a pang of envy, if only he could have a relationship so beautiful as that.

"Then, I.. yes, I'd be honored." He struggled to find words, and he looked down at the precious, innocent bundle in front of him. "Hello little Alyssa. It's your Uncle Mikey," He cooed to the child, "We're going to have so much fun together as you grow up. And I promise to thoroughly spoil my little princess." He could hear Jenny snickering and Cathy sighing, and out of the corner of his eye he could see Will cover his eyes with his hand, though also the silent shaking of the man's shoulders.


Alyssa was, perhaps three, when Michael and his (now) wife had an announcement to share with their friends. Michael was going to be a father, to keep their families more safe, Michael and Will merged households for the duration of Jenny's pregnancy, and the two spent an idyllic winter and spring hunting, foraging, and providing for the growing family. When his son was born, Michael felt... for once, at peace. The boy was named Willie after Michael's best friend, the man who was close as a brother... closer in fact, Michael's own brothers (and sisters) and long since deserted him, not visiting him in prison, not writing to him while he was overseas. For all he knew, they were dead.

The following spring Michael and Jenny moved to a house a few miles from Will and Catherine. Mike was sure to stop by at least twice a year with gifts for his niece and goddaughter, and of course his new nephew. The last time Mike saw his "family" on good terms was a few days after Alyssa's sixth birthday. He had stopped by to bring some more gifts, there were, of course, a few toys, some books he'd scavenged, and a hand carved rosary, one that Michael had painstakingly crafted of the past two years, each bead, each piece carved by hand, by Michael.

But, the nearly blissful life that he had been living with his wife and child, a few miles away from their good friends was too good to be true. Perhaps he had taken it for granted, not truly appreciated everything he had until he lost it. Any way that he could blame himself. He returned to the house to find a blaze, he never found out whether it was negligence, or someone setting the house on fire, though he blamed himself regardless. It was vivid in his mind...


Michael could smell smoke, though the scent did not alarm him, there was often smoke, usually meant someone was cooking. But as he drew closer to his home, a column of dark smoke towered from just about where his home should be. Without a second thought he sprinted towards the dark ashen cloud, and found himself face to face with his worst nightmare. Smoke filled his lungs, though that was the least of his concerns.

The house was glowing from within, sparks flying from the burning wreckage. The firelight danced back and forth, his eyes unable to move from the ghastly sight. He felt the heat radiating from the building as it slowly began to cave in, he could not move, could not speak, could not even react. It might have been hours, it could have been days, but the house began to collapse into itself, rubble building up. Michael had still not moved from his spot, his heart ached, his stomach gnawed at him, and the cold chill of March weather stung at his skin.

How he had arrived at Will's doorstep, he would never remember. But the rest was vivid, haunting his memory. It was pitch black outside and Michael still heard himself banging on the door with a closed fist. His face was gaunt, drained of all color, his eyes sunken, and as the door was pulled open a weapon in Will's hand, Michael sank to the ground, tears beginning to well within his eyes.

The smell on his breath suggested that he had been drinking heavily, and his dis-coordinated actions added to the evidence of his mental state. "Mikey..." The voice was not harsh, but not soft and welcoming, or even sympathetic... concerned perhaps, though not what Mike needed right now. He was unaware of a small figure huddled in the corner, eyes wide, or the smaller figure of a brother beside her.

Cathy was not in his mind, he had just managed to drag himself here, and now with Will trying to hold him upright, Michael began to spout nonsense. Each incoherent sentence meant something to Michael, "G-gone, everything, gone..." He spoke raggedly, out of breath. "They're gone, it's gone, everything..." He was growing more insistent, though Will did not seem too perturbed.

"Slow down Mikey, who's gone?" His voice was patient, more patient than it should have been in this situation. "Gone... gone... dead... I-" He was growing more and more frantic and he began to struggle against Will's firm grip holding his arm. "Mike, you're drunk, you need to rest." His voice was deliberate, and what he was saying made a lot of sense, but all Mike could think about was Jenny and little Willie. Their bodies were buried beneath the remains of the house.

Michael had searched, dug, his hands covered in soot and dirt, his face streaked with mud and tears. But the bodies of his little family were all to recognizable, even in death. "Calm. Down." Will's voice was more harsh, Mike knew he should listen, but he couldn't, someone had to be blamed, someone had to be punished, they were both dead, his reason for living... "I can't!" His words were decidedly clear as he pushed Will, sending the man sprawling on the floor.

Mike looked around disorient for a few moments before he was tackled to the ground by Will, the two grappled on the ground, one landing a blow square on the jaw, the other landing a glancing blow off the side of the head. A kick here, a knee to the stomach there, it was obvious that Will had the upper hand in this, being slightly larger, and also not handicapped by alcohol. Finally as Will was about to punch Mike's face in a punch that would probably knock him out for a while, a quivering voice shook the room.

"D-daddy?" It was a child's voice Mike thought, Will paused for a moment to look at his child, and quietly told them to go to the next room, even though the children seemed traumatized they did so, and Will let his fist drive down into the punch, "For heaven's sake Will!" The shrill voice of Cathy was the last thing that Mike remembered until he woke up on Will's couch, a throbbing headache.

He wasn't sure what had happened, though he could tell that he had a few ribs broken, maybe his nose too. Groaning he sat up, his face twisting at the pain, there were wide eyed children staring at him, he attempted a carefree smile, though it looked more pained than anything. The sweet, innocent voice of Jonathan cut through his attempts. "Daddy thinks you did something terrible... he told mommy so." Trust the little boy to go right to the chase, no beating around the bush... or asking what had happened.

The only thing that came to mind was that Will thought perhaps he had started the fire, that he had killed his own wife and child, and though it was not the case, Michael did not know it, he couldn't stay around, couldn't think of the idea that his best friend could think such a thing of him, and so, he stood up painfully, staggering to the door. "Tell daddy that Uncle Mike had to go early..." He hesitated, rummaging in his pockets before procuring four pieces of candy. "Two for each of you, little man, my princess." His head felt like someone had poured cement into it as he staggered from the house, telling himself never to look back.


Mike's life after that had been that of a sinner, he did jobs to keep him alive, ended lives if the price was right, hurt people, and could not find it in him to care. He ended up in a group of questionable morality that was building a child army. And yet, he still stayed, perhaps it was because D.J. Wright was in the group, well almost leading the group. It was nice to see a familiar face that did not judge. The only thing that his friend asked of him was cutting out alcohol, which everyone helped him with.

Every day was filled with more blood, more regret, more anguish, though Michael had given up caring, it was doubtful that he would ever find redemption from the path he was on. And while he followed through with the motions, his heart was not in the right place, or even with him at the moment. Life was dull, bland, bloody. D.J. was shot by a member, he lived, and Michael was tasked with bringing the shooter to justice, and while ratting him out was not an issue, punishing him scattered what little conscious he had.

The land grew more and more familiar, and before Mike could realize it, he was passing by the burned wreckage of what used to be his home, it was still recognizable even after more than three years. What came next was something that Mike could never forget. The betrayal he was part of was an epic one, his actions completely unforgivable. But there was no way to block any of them out.

"You two take the back door." D.J. ordered, and Michael and another man left the scavenging party that D.J. had lead. It was this order that saved Michael's life, the people that entered at the front had not stood a chance, four dead within a minute, more to follow as Will used his gun til it was out of ammunition, and then began sinking his knife into people.

Cathy and the kids were nowhere to be found, though in his numb state, Michael had not registered it, he watched as D.J crumpled to the ground, Will's knife plunging into him, and pulled out with what seemed to be little effort (though Mike knew better than that). Even if he had not met Will before, he specialized in tactical analysis. He could guess what Will's next move would be, he could tell that the man's breathing was becoming irregular. And in his state of uncaring, all he could do was react.

A knife sprung to his hand and he advanced, perhaps Will did not recognize him at first because of his longer hair, or perhaps the man couldn't believe that the man who was like a brother to him was the one fighting him. Time seemed to slow down as Will and Mike fought, each thrust parried, each punch blocked by some incredible defiance of physics. The few remaining survivors seemed reluctant to join in after watching many of their fellow soldiers fall by the hand of the skilled fighter... and seemed more than willing to watch Mike to all the work.

Mike couldn't say how long the fight lasted, to him it could have been seconds, or hours, eventually Michael had disarmed Will, had grabbed him in a headlock, and was holding him, slowing depriving the man from air. Will had many injuries now, and Michael's clothing was ripped and bloody in many places. "Out." Michael ordered without thought. Seeing that there was reluctance he bellowed, "GET OUT." After he was obeyed he felt his grip lax, and Will collapsed onto the floor gasping for breath.

The man was still alive, and there could be a chance that he'd live, Michael realized as he snapped out of his previous state of not caring. "Will..." He breathed, horrified at what he saw, horrified at what he had done. He felt the man's hand feebly grab at his own, and Will, pale and wheezing looked up into his dark eyes. "Why?" He questioned, Michael could only shake his head, what could he say? "Cathy and the kids?" He asked unable to provide the crucial answer. "Safe... hidden." That was good, that was good... Mike was breathing heavily.

Perhaps things would have happened differently if the door hadn't swung open and D.J.'s second in command hadn't burst in. "Ford!" The man shouted across the room, Micahael started, looking towards the man with his red face, flushed from the exercise. "Says there's no one else in t'house... some provision though." Michael found himself lying, and as the new leader scanned the room looking at the carnage caused by Will, Michael felt his heart sink, "He's going to suffer for what he's done. Bring him back to camp with us, have the house searched for anything useful."

Michael looked at Will, the man's eyes were pained, he knew what was going to happen, Michael knew what was going to happen. After the new leader of the group had left, Michael cradled Will's head in his lap, "Mike... promise me..." The man coughed and looked sincerely at Mike, as though he was not the cause of Will's suffering. "Promise me you'll take care of my family." All Michael could do was nod mutely, struggling to find words to respond, but Will grabbed his shirt in his hands, his knuckles straining white. "Promise me." He gritted his teeth against the pain.

"I swear it Will." Michael whispered, lowering his head to touch it against Will's forehead tears beginning to slide down his face.

Michael's body squirmed underneath the blankets, throwing the warm, protection from his body as he tossed and turned in bed, his body was burning up with a fever, sweat soaking the bed beneath him, each movement he made jerky and painful. He sat up his body suddenly feeling ice cold, eyes flying open, an agonizing yell torn from his lips. The memories tormenting him, refusing to leave his mind, instead embedding themselves in his head, digging in spurs and staying.

There was nothing he could do, he rocked back and forth on the bed, his body rigid, his face ashen as he felt tears stream down his face. His body was burning up, and yet he felt like ice, his body was damp with sweat, his head murky from the fever. And yet, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't, if he fell asleep again then he'd continue to relive his past. But eventually the man fell back into a fitful sleep, tossing and turning still.

They were hurting Will's body, torturing him, making him pay for every person he'd injured or killed, Michael tried to keep the horror from his face, the shock, the pain, though it was evident that something was off, no one thought it was because of their treatment of Will. God knew that Mike had done his fair share of harm to "enemies" of the group, including people that he had once considered "friends".

As the darkness settled in, Michael slipped to the shaking figure, cold from the late coming ice that caused his teeth to rattle, and body to shiver. Under the cloak of darkness, Michael felt his hand against the ice cold skin of Will's face. The man would die... it was a matter of time, a question of how, and when... there was no why, there was no other option. Even if Michael helped Will to escape, the man would not get far, he would die... and Michael would not be able to help Will's family.

Perhaps if D.J. were still alive, there might have been hope, but the man was dead, there was no way to protect Will and his family. He felt Will's icy fingers grip his arm, "Do it." He whispered, his voice shaking, "I'm not afraid... just-" His voice was hushed, barely audible. "Remember your promise." It was a swift mercy kill, Michael's knife plunging deep into Will's chest, and the pain in his own heart seemed equal to the one that Michael had just put Will out of.

Leaving the knife, the man returned to his sleeping roll, stretching out and falling asleep.
He was woken by playful shaking, "Wake up time pansies." The voice was cheerful, full of mirth, it was a voice that he didn't mind waking up to. Michael's eyes shot open, but he was not woken up by William as he had dreamed, no, it was just a gruff man shaking him to wake him up. There was a bit of a commotion where Will was tied, a knife plunged into his chest.

Perhaps they would guess it was him, perhaps not, but right now it was time to act as though he had no reason to be under suspicion. Instead of going over he set about rolling up his gear and packing it neatly. As he was approached by the leader he forced himself to stay calm, cool, nonchalant. "Ford. Know anything about that prisoner of ours being killed?" Mike looked up in feigned surprise and shook his head, "No sir, did you order it?" It was a valid question, though Mike knew the answer.

As the leader shook his head and turned to leave Michael breathed a little easier, and the group began to move out, though, to his dismay they passed Will's former house, the provisions had been taken earlier, and it was now stripped of any way for Will's family to live. He was pretty sure he knew where they were hidden, and there were supplies there. He had helped Will build the hidden shelter in the house years ago. Michael felt emotions begin to bubble up in his stomach, and he pushed them down, "Alright, let's set it ablaze."

The order shocked Michael, and he opened his mouth to protest, though he didn't know what he was supposed to say, "Don't burn the nice house." There wasn't anything he could say, so instead, the man slipped from the group, skirting around the clearing as the leader continued to speak, and entering through the rear of the house. He slipped towards the hidden door as the house began to smoke. There he found Cathy, Alyssa, Jonathan, Andrew and Hannah huddled, all four wrapped in an exhausted mother's arms.

He hated himself more in that moment for robbing them of a husband, a father, but what was done... was done. And he kept having to tell himself that. "Quick, through the back." He helped Jonathan onto his back, and scooped up the twins into his arms. "Quietly as possible." The house was beginning to burn, and the six left the smoking building through the back. Perhaps they might have made it away, but there was a single person within sight, and since Michael's hands were full he could do nothing.

And so he said the only thing he could think of, "Run, now." Running through the woods was difficult enough without children in tow, and while Cathy carried Alyssa, and Mike struggled with the other three, their progress was much slower than those in pursuit, even so, they might have been able to disappear had Catherine not fallen at that moment, Alyssa spilling onto the ground. Michael couldn't leave them behind. Halting, he shrugged Jonathan off his back, and put down the twins, helping Cathy up, and trying to comfort the hurt Alyssa.

A few seconds later a pursuit party lead by the new leader burst through the brush, weapons brandished. Michael felt a rush of adrenaline, and while all he had on him was a hunting knife, he was willing to defend these children to the bitter end, perhaps it would give them a real chance to escape. But as the first person charged him, and Michael dodged, grabbing the man's collar and sending him flying back in the direction he'd come, and a second slashed at him with a knife, being met with Mike's own knife in his shoulder, a gun sounded in the air and everyone froze.

Cathy was quietly sobbing, Jonathan frozen in terror, the twins confused and upset, and Alyssa held by the shoulder, a gun to her head, Michael felt the knife drop from his fingers, "Now Ford." The leader was saying, his voice colder than the chill in the air. "D.J. was fond of you, talked about how you were his family..." The man's words were sharp prickling up Mike's spine. "But he'd be disappointed in you, however, he saw something in you, and I'm willing to overlook this... rash behavior of yours." Michael swallowed, he could sense a "but, or if" coming.

The new leader did not stray from Michael's analysis. "You can prove your loyalty to
me, you're new boss."[/b] Michael's face had not left Alyssa's terrified expression, the gun lowering from her head, and the handle extended towards Michael. "Kill one of these people you would risked everything for helping them escape." Michael's hands hovered over the handle, and as he grabbed the hard surface he could hear the rest of the people caulk their guns and point them at him.

Michael stared at the gun in his hand and did not move. "If you try to shoot me, or any other of my followers they all die, and you get to watch them die, before you follow. If you try to kill yourself the same thing happens. There's only one option." Michael knew that "the boss" was right, though it killed him to chose any of these persons to injure. "Oh, and if you shoot to injure, well, everyone gets a wound to match and you still have to kill one of them." He was backed into a corner, powerless to do anything but what he was ordered.

His gaze looked from one to the next, killing any of these... family, they were family damn it. Killing any of them was nearly impossible, and yet, he had to chose one. The look of silent entreaty in Cathy's eyes caught his, and he stared into her eyes with his own anguished ones. There a conversation seemed to take place, a long, drawn out debate, but finally, he stilled his shaking hand, raised the gun, pointed it at Cathy's head, and fired. The woman crumpled, and Mike let out a shuttering breath dropping the gun on the ground in front of him. It was done.

He awoke once more, body drenched in sweat, burning, he knew that he needed water, though there did not seem to be a possibility of him getting any at that time. The sun was just now rising, flooding his windows with blinding light, and he flung a damp arm over his head, shading his eyes from the brightness.

[ an award to all of you who read through this entire post, i'm proud of you guys! ]
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Michael Ford is a 45 year old, man, he's stubbornly loyal to whatever cause he chooses, protective of his family and friends, he's a grunt in the Badlands. Michael has issues controlling his anger in most situations. He is a difficult opponent and well trained, feel free to power play nonviolent interactions though.

Offline finny.

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oh fuck
you don't get thick skin
without getting burnt HUB

Online Bryne

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o fuk
in city, i feel my spirit is contained, like neon inside the glass, they form my brain, but i recently discovered it's a heatless fire, like nicknames they give themselves to uninspire, begin with bullet, now add fire to the proof, but i'm still not sure if fear's a rival or close relative to truth, either way it helps to hear these words bounce off of you, the softest echo could be enough for me to make it through, folina, sahlo folina, sahlo folina, sahlo folina, i created this world, to feel some control, destroy it if i want, so i sing someone, folina, sahlo folina, sahlo