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The corridor was cold, dark and damp. It seemed to swallow up the light from the torches on the walls. David had been through here once before, but he had been wearing a blind fold at the time. At least he thought it was through here. It was a rare occasion to be even called, much less asked to come here. He knew this meeting meant something important would need to be done, and that was never a good thing. The man leading the way was Latham. David sized him up and could tell this man wasn't just a guide. He carried himself like a soldier. His skin was battled hardened and the lines on his face ran deep. He wasn't old, but he had seen his share of battles. He had told David to follow him and he could feel the sense of presence; this man was used to commanding people. David thought he must be a Captain. Even in these hard times a General would not be leading people through tunnels like a servant. David had seen his share of military campaigns when he was younger. His father had served in the Kings army and when he was old enough, he joined their ranks as well. But times were different now. Those who fight on the side of good were forced to huddle into tunnels to make plans. Fighting like outlaws and bandits trying to reclaim the world that was taken when those vile creatures came. After several twists and turns, the tunnel opened out a bit and at the end was a barred door with two guards. Latham motioned and they moved aside. Latham pushed open the door and pointed. "They are waiting inside"
''I see.Thank you Latham is it?''
''Yes sir''
David nodded at Latham.He enjoyed the superiority that comes with anonymity.When they called for him, they rarely gave anyone information about him,his past or for what purpose he was needed.
He passed through the doors, on to the office of the general.
There wasn't much to look at actually.For a general's office it was quite unfurnished and bare.It only featured a desk, two chairs, a couch and a filing cabinet.Behind the desk sat the general himself, surrounded by his councelors.They all turned around as he came in.Everyone greeted him with a silent nod, except the general, who stood up and shook hands with him.
''Always a pleasure to see you David.You remind me too much of your father.''
''What; i look dead?''
The general's expression wasnt anywere near happy to begin with, and with david's answer it became down right hatefull.
He never could treat these ''soldiers'' with much respect.They reminded him of old people.Set in their ways,stuck up and dominant.Their job was to protect their country from any enemy, but when these things came from the skies, all they could do was hide underground.And of course, the underground shelters did not have enough supplies for everyone.So the army decided that some of the people and some of their own soldiers should be sacrificied.They made teams of civilians, gave them a soldier for a leader, and after they gave them some explosives, they were supposed to find a nest, and destroy it whatever means possible.This particular
general who now stood in front of him had send alot of people to their deaths.One of them was his father.
Nevertheless, the general motioned him to sit in one of the chairs that stood in front of him.He took his time in doing so.It almost seemed as he was trying to decide in which chair to sit down on.When he was finally settled, he looked up at the general with a smile in his face.He could treat them almost anyway he liked.They needed him, and he knew it.And enjoyed it.
''So general, how can i be of any assistance?''
The general sat down again, and after he motioned for his counselors to leave the room, he opened a bottle of whisky for him and his guest.He poured them both a glass, and offered one to David.
''Thank you very much general.''
''Now, let me explain to you why we called you.As you know, you re one of the few wolfs we have left.And one of the best''
''No no let me correct you on that general.I am THE best.We both know it''
Wolfs.A term that reffered to men brave and skillfull enough to walk the surface of earth.
''This...... arrogance.Your father was not like that.He was a smart man''
''My father is dead general.He died on a suicide mission that you sent him to.Do not speak of my father.
''Very well.Lets get this over with.This mission is going to be somewhat difficult even for you.''
''If it pays good, nothing is difficult.''He seemed almost bored with the general.
''Yes well, we'll have to say wont we now?One of our bases over at California seems to be having problems.It is almost impossible for them to walk the surface, as every attempt meets with attacks from these...bugs.We fear there must be a nest somewhere near, but they don't seem able to find it.They already lost alot of men, so they asked for outside assistance.We thought of you.''
''Ah...A team job this is.And a long long journey too.I dont think you'd like my price for all that.''
''Let me be the judge of that.''
''You expect me to take my team, go all the way to California, go hunting for a nest of incects that no one know where it is, and wipe it out?You cant be serious.I dont think you have enough money to pay me even if i wanted to do it.''
''We do.''The general seemed pretty sure about it.He wasn't.
''Im sorry general, i won't do this for money.It'll have to be something else.''
''What do you mean something else?''
''You know, i think i want your daugther.''David said with a smile.He knew his daughter all too well.Before the War, when he was young and the she was just a girl, he knew about her interest in him.After the insects came, he thought her interest would have died out like so many people.Yet it was not so.This very beautifull woman, did not get married or even engaged, for her father's efforts.She still tried to win David over.Maybe she would accept even slavery to be near him.
Slavery had been made legal again.Four years into the war, life was cheap.
''You want my daughter?You mean to marry her?'' The general looked puzzled.And a little frightened.
''No no, i just want her.You know, with slavery beeing legal and all.'' David was smiling again.
''You can't have my daugther as a slave.Who do you think you are?Im ought to kill you right now for this insult.''He stood up and slammed his fist onto the table.
''Very well.Maybe i''ll see you some other time general.''David said as he was standing up.Then, he walked away.They would call him back again.If the attacks at the California got worse, the general would be pressed to accept his price.

And they did.They had send a team of their own to clear the area.No one returned, and the attacks continued fiercer than before.The general, as David thought, was pressed by his superiors, and decided to accept Davids price.There was nothing else he could do.
David walked again into the same office, led by Latham.He once again sat when the general told him,drank when the general told him and all the rest.They talked, they made the deal, David left to do his part of it.Upon his return, the generals daughter, Cathrine would be waiting for him.
He assembled his team of old buddies, and went to California, losing two men during the trip.He found and destroyed the nest, losing four more of his friends,and some fingers from an incect bite.He returned.He lost one more.

As he was descending the stairs to the familiar now corridor that would take him to the general's office and his prize, he was happy.He now had what he wanted.He followed Latham once again, with a light step this time.He was smiling all the way.Latham opened the doors, David went in.
The general stood behind his desk as usual.On the couch, sat Cathrine looking at the floor. Nothing else was changed.
''Goodmorning everyone.'' said David.Cathrine did not speak, she had been instructed not to do so unless she was spoken too.
The general did not get up this time.''Just take her and leave my sight'' he only said, with a hint of anger.And maybe guilt.
''Oh why so fast?''David exclaimed as he walked to where Cathrine sat.He took her arm, and led her in front of her father's desk.There, he pushed her down on her knees gently.He produced a blindfold, which he put over her eyes.She was trembling.
''Don't be afraid honey, you know i would never hurt you.I love you.''he said loud enough for her father to hear.
He stood up.''So now she is my slave right?Where are the papers?'
The general passed him a single sheet of paper.
It didn't say much.Cathrine was pretty much his to do whatever he wanted.
''You know, i always wanted to ask you something general.I know you send my father to his death although you could have spared him.What i dont understand is the reason.Why?He had two underaged sons, and a very young wife.Why did you have to kill him?''
''I dont know really.It was just that he was so lucky in his life.He had a beautifull wife who loved him, two sons to be proud of, and the respect of every soldier in this base.And i had nothing.'' He stared at his feet.It was the first time he faced the truth.
He looked at the general.Smiled.Then, he drew his handgun, which was silenced(a rare item, but he had the ends to have one) placed it on the back of Cathrine's head and pulled the trigger.Her lifeless body fell on the floor.
The general did not move.He did not seem to comprehend what has just happened.He only stood watching his daughter bleeding.
David let the paper slip from his fingers, and walked out of the room.Latham was waiting for him outside.He looked inside, and saw the body.
What happened in there?''he asked in a cold voice.
''Nothing.I just killed my slave.''David answered, and walked down the corridor.He was going home.There was nothing else to do.

Latham waited for him to leave.Then he entered the room, kneeled down at the corpse of the woman he loved, and kissed her.He looked at her father.
''You sold your daughter?''He only said, and walked the way David had taken, drawing his knife.

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The following comments are for "Write Off: Circle of Blood"
by northerain

Firstly, got first comment. Cool. Second, I've graded the pieces 8-10 according to how good I thought they were, in comparison to one another. So, a story that got an 8 could be a 2 in my opinion, or it could be a 9 that just wasn't as good as the others.

This one got the ten. I just loved the morbid feel of it, and David's dark, DARK humor and irony. Plus, the characters were very detailed. The general's willingness to sacrifice his own daughter was sickening and perfectly fitted.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: June 24, 2003 )

"Didn't see that coming."
Bravo! This is a well crafted tale. Your characters come to life with your words and the ending has a very good twist for the reader to read. ** Do learn the difference between (Sent and Send.)it kind of detracts from the reading. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

( Posted by: sgt_cook [Member] On: June 24, 2003 )

best of the bunch
I really enjoyed this entry. The plot took twists that I wasn't expecting, and you made use of some intersting methods to move the story along without using precious word space. I will agree with the previous comment that the few grammatical errors were a bit distracting, but given the time frame you have to work with on these things, I think it can be overlooked.
Overall this was a good little piece of fiction, and I'll be looking forward to more from you.

( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: June 24, 2003 )

top of the tree
I agree with other contributors that your effort is the best of the three.

I enjoy the plot and character development. The pace is just right and the ending is surprising, believable and compelling. Also, your title is the best of the three! It is good, and with general editing it could be excellent.

As this is my first time here I'm not sure what the 'Write Off' rules are, so I'm not sure of the constraints under which you were working. I hope the constructive criticism below doesn't make me sound like too much of a hard-ass!

Some examples of where editing could have taken your work from 'good' to 'excellent':

- "actually" is a wasted word in "...wasn't much to look at actually."

- "...quite unfurnished and bare..." - 'Quite' is a bland adjective and almost always a poor choice. Also, there are wasted words here: why use 'unfurnished' and 'bare' in one sentence, and then tell the reader in the next sentence what the furnishings are? You could have conveyed the same information much more succinctly with a more descriptive adjective (spartan ... sparse ... meagre ... scant...).

- some poor use of capital letters (I noticed both i/I and david/David), apostrophes and vocabulary ... e.g. "...we'll have to say wont we now" should be "we'll have to see, won't we now" and "generals daughter" should be "general's daughter"

( Posted by: crazylegs [Member] On: June 26, 2003 )

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