Weeks Don't Last Forever - Chapter 1
  

Fantasies don't fucking happen. Good guys don’t always win. Sometimes evil comes in many forms. As I stand here facing my death doing something completely stupid, my mind ponders what my life could have been like if I was normal. I’ve been called a champion, an oddity, something abnormal. What is normal?  Well, I’m not sure what I am or who I’ve become, much less the definition of normal. 

So well, this is a journal of my life as a soldier. Not just any soldier, Special Forces, Navy seals, eventually Force Ten. Force ten you ask? Now… shit, I'm not sure what I'm a part of at the moment. All I know is that everything I knew about myself, all of it, was a lie. No more than that, complete fiction, more fiction than any other human has ever had to embrace. Then I had to find out the world we all know has a cloak of lies over it, which I had to find out about, the hard way. Let me start from the beginning. 

My name is Devon Warfield. I grew up in a small part of Saint Louis. Mostly run down and poor. My dad worked in a local electronics store. He managed the place. We were considered middle class poor. We had a house, a yard, and a dog. Dogs name is Jupiter. Love that damn dog by the way. He's a medium sized golden retriever with a white spot on his head. I wanted to call him Chewbacca. Yea, we are star wars geeks. Anyway, no mom. Dad always told me that she ran off when I was first born. I don't know anything about her. I was twelve when I met my future step mother. The infamous 1st SSgt Kathy Greene. No idea how they met but my dad was in love. He smiled all the time when she was around; he'd actually cooked back then. We started having actual holidays. At first I liked her. Well let me back the fuck up. I liked her around my dad. When she and I were alone, she was a bitch. Super evil, eyes filled with rage… bitch. She would drop her smile and give me the dirtiest looks. I started avoiding her solo. After about a year, they got married, then things really changed. She started giving me chores, hard ones. Do you have any idea what it's like to wake up dreading leaving your room as a teen? Yup that’s how I felt. 

I'd get up, go into the living room and before I could do anything. 

"Devon! I made you some egg whites, drink it, and then go outside cut the lawn. I'll be out there shortly".

FUCK!

I often said nothing. I'd look over at my dad and he would smile and make no comment. It tore at my soul. Looking back, its insane how anytime she gave me food; it was some regiment of a bodybuilder. It was never any fast food. It was never anything too fatty. It was always some boring terrible food. I'm talking meat with no taste. Brown rice and no salt. No candy. No soda. No cake. No ice cream. Do you know how that affects a teenager? I'm pretty sure I still need counseling. Over the years, I started getting in shape due to this environment. Yup, thanks my lovey damn step mom. She was evil. Slowly my life.. wait.. no my damn home became a drill camp. I'd wake up to doing daily pushups, running, tactical training, shooting, and eventually firearm combat. My goal slowly became two things. Finish school so I could get out of the house and tell my dad how I really felt about her. I'm pretty sure my dad loved her more than she loved him. So I feared speaking badly about her to him. Reality was that he would probably blindly take her side. Every few months, she would get deployed for training or something. She never would tell us anything. But I started noticing my dad dropping into depression. Over the years, their connection that was a fire at the start, had slowly dropped down to almost nothing. When she did come home, they would often argue and fight. Yea I was pretty upset too, since when she was gone, I could act like a kid again. Even playing old school D&D games online with wannabe friends was possible during my break from dealing with her. My dad was good natured and really disliked the military. He'd often try to talk her out of serving. But my step mom was a career solider. She was one of the first female infantry women and one of the first active female Special Forces members. One day she came home and had been promoted to a lieutenant. My dad tried to celebrate it. He went out and bought a cake, some wine, some of that nonalcoholic shit for me. He had it all on our small table in the kitchen. What she do? 

She walked in and gave us odd looks and just walked into the bedroom. He followed and they started arguing. That was it. This sums up my entire teen life as a whole. My childhood, boot camp and watching my poor dad struggle to maintain his marriage. That’s pretty much how it went. For three long years, I felt like I was in a prison camp. Well.. ok to be fair, I have no idea what the hell it's like to be in a prison camp. But I figured my situation had to be in the same category. No games, no TV, and minimum time online. She had me cleaning and training almost nonstop. She would often yell at me as if I was her child. Sure no one beat me, starved me, or anything like that but still. I wanted to get away from her. My resentment for my dad grew as he still did or said nothing. But, I also would instantly feel bad for him, knowing he wasn't happy as well. I was trying to avoid her at every passing moment. My dad was always trying to kiss, hold, or be near her. Shed almost always back off or walk away. I can probably count how many times I watched her willing fully kiss my dad. A few times I tried to talk to him and he would always smile and push me back into my school studies. 

"So how are things going in school young Warfield?" 

"Dad you know I hate when you call me that. Can we talk about Kathy?" As usual, he'd smile and either walks away or simply changes the topic. I had no real friends, no hobbies, and pretty much no existence. My resolve grew to survive and get out of the house. Finally, I decided I had to work up my courage to fully confront my dad. Things kept this pattern for some time. 

School was no different. My dad put me in a bushido class when I was 10. I have to admit, I was pretty fucking good. My skill was honored around practicing and demonstrating forms. Sort of like dancing but going through a technique flow as if fighting an invisible enemy. I'd have to get on my bike and ride out to the local dojo after school each day. Sometimes I'd go others I wouldn't. A few times I'd skip and my Sensi would show up at my front door telling my dad I was skipping again. Oh, just in case you don't know what a Sensi is. Think of any kung Fu movie. Notice the guy being called "master"? Yea, that. It wasn't that I didn't want to go; I just didn't always want to be there. I was in love with my master's daughter. Leena Myers. She was already working on swords when I started. I told myself that I would learn to use the katana just so I'd have something to discuss with her. As things went, I ended up making a close friend named Justin. He was smaller than me and sort of acted like my little brother. He was also in the same class but like every fucking one else, in a more advanced one than me. He would always help me with grappling and our meditation. It was hard to focus back then. Then there was Ron Sweeney, the all-star of our dojo. He was 15 and all the girls loved him. Fit, smart, and he actually had a car. Here I am on a rusty bike and he's in a car. Even Leena had eyes for him. So I hated him more. 

As my step mom started involving herself more into my life, she started forcing me into training at home. But the fun part evaporated. Everything was serious to her. So she would help me with my forms, stances, mediation, and eventually how to use the katana. She wasn't good at it but was always yelling at me when my stances and strikes looked weak. So every Saturday she would drag me outside, take me out in the back yard to the old tree. I dubbed the tree "Old thick" as my training partner. I'd practice flanking blows, strikes, and even direct punching that tree with my bare hands. Often bleeding but she wouldn’t even spring emotion. Damn I fucking hated her. She drove me nuts. As time went on, between studies, home boot camp, and my training, she started putting me into tournaments. In which I always lost or couldn't place. Most of them were only in our dojo so the embarrassment was low. But often we would go to the city championships and Id' have my quick embarrassment quick. Ron would always win them. He had no real competition. 

It wasn't until I was 15 that I started noticing some odd things about myself. Justin and I would often play memory based games or D&D outside the dojo waiting for class to start. Slowly, I started to realize I rarely had a hard time remembering anything. So much so, that I would often lose on purpose because I was always right when it was my turn. My imagination became really detailed. I could really remember fine details. Things like the how the wind felt as I was leaving the house, the color of my bag that I packed previous days on the way to school or training. My dog, Jupiter's hair blowing in the wind as he walked with me and each expression he made as he looked around. He terrorized me for most of my youth but I started to like him in my later teen years. I could remember those details better suddenly. No idea why. It was an odd feeling. Anyway, things really escalated when I figured I'd try school sports to get some time away from home. So coming home I often would try to clean up my room, living room, and the kitchen. Trying to get everything looking clean and sharp before the mean bitch showed up and I could leave the house. Taking a break, I was debating joining track at school when my stepmom pulled up as I sat on the stairs in front of our house.  As I saw her come to a stop, my mind raced with paths I could take sneaking out of the house in a full sprint. That's when it happened. I quickly scanned the yard spotting few pieces of paper, a plastic bag, and a shovel out of place, and my dog Jupiter's water bowl was still empty. Getting out the car, in her sharply ironed uniform, she stopped looks over at me and frowned. Fuck. Here we go, incoming drama. Adopting a frown as her eyes swell, she slammed her car door, bolted around her car, and nearly tore the gate fence from its hinges to get it open rushing over to me. 

"You'd like to explain why this yard looks like this? I know it was on your duties for today Devon. Explain." I was terrified as usual. But this time I felt dizzy, almost like I was about to pass out. But before I could act she put both of her hands on my shoulders and spun me around facing the door. I felt afraid, confused, lightheaded, and slowly aggressive. Almost like my body was revving up to take off. I was starting to wonder if I was going to have a heart attack. She took notice. Her grip on my shoulders tightened and her face softened. 

"Are you ok? Devon, I know you realize that you are different. Right?"

Confused, I just frowned. Well I was actually thinking of running, ugh where was my dad when I needed him? Not that he do anything. Also, she looked concerned. That was a new one on me. 

"Tell me what you saw in the yard. Think about it. Picture it in your mind Devon. Tell me what you saw. "

I thought she was fucking nuts. But my heart was pacing and I didn't want to get extra chores again. Running till you puked just sucked. Taking a slow breath, I got my wind back. I slowly answered as the dizziness faded and I felt stable again. 

"Sorry... Kathy, I forgot too…" Before I could speak she cut me off, I could feel her iron grasp tighten on my shoulders. 

"Listen… focus on what I just said to you. Think.. in your mind. Imagine…". She paused and slightly chuckling, "imagine you are looking at a book but in your mind."

You know as a growing young man after seeing so many movies, reading books, and watching TV. There is always that character who has that special moment. That event in which things change. Some step down, to an odd never before seen path. When she said book, for the first time in my life I realized something. So I looked out into the yard and without really thinking, did as she asked. As the yard appeared in my mind, I could see where everything was positioned. Like looking at a photo, but it wasn't a photo. This is hard to explain. My thoughts came back to her words about a book. As I thought of a book, suddenly, like pages turning, in that book, I could see the yard. It was like a frozen picture on a page of reddish book.  I saw the bag, the trash, the unlocked but closed gate, and then I saw her car pulled up and frozen. But then, I noticed there was a page number at the bottom of the image. There was a time stamp next to it. 1134 am, page 55 of 60. That was curious. My thoughts rushed to wonder what was on the second page. So with that thought, the page changed to 56. There it was the same image but I started to notice.. Differences. Kathy was now opening the door. Well the image of her had changed to her opening it in that motion. Looking around, I noticed an insect that was on the tip of the trash can. It was small but I saw it. As if my thoughts became action, I zoomed in. Getting closer and crisper, it was a ladybug. My excitement picked up. My mind changed to page 57. The image change showed the bug extending its wings, preparing for flight. Kathy had the door halfway open. All frozen in my minds book in this image. Holy shit, I got excited. This made no damn sense but I was overly excited. That’s when I focused on the bottom corner page of the book in my mind. Then I imagined turning the page and as I did it was like another snap shot taken about a second later. As I focused, I could do this for what seemed for everything. I mentally turned back pages to when I first met Kathy. I could see shot by shot of her shaking my head then turning to walk away. What the hell? A book.. in my mind? I flashed pages in my book simply of thinking of events. My first birthday, pages would flash, and there was a frozen image on that page. I thought of the first time eating ice cream with my dad. The first time I met Justin. My first bathroom accident, when I… umm Well, hey somethings you want to forget but I figured I should test it. Apparently, I could bring up an image in my mind for every second of my life. 

"I… I can remember.. Everything. "I slowly whispered. 

As I explained it to her, I became excited. I realized that I could remember studying for a math test that I failed but now I was able to mentally flip back to this day in the book in my head and see images on my mind pages of the text book when I had did my last minute studying the day before. It was fucking wild. It was all there, I had this amazing memory. Wait.. Memory isn't a fair word. It was like I had someone taking nonstop pictures of everything I have seen and put it into this red beaten up tattered book in my mind. She spun me around with a smile on her face. Which, of course, shocked me. When you have dealt with a woman who has literally smiled maybe three times since you've known her, another smile catches you off guard. 

"Devon, you have a special type of photographic memory. You can remember anything you have seen. You will never forget. I'd like for you to focus on that and try using it for the rest of the day. Ok?" 

I was confused but I smiled and nodded in ok. Then it hit me as I frowned.

"Did you know that before me? How did you know?" She said nothing but smile at me. Eventually, she walked off; I sat back down on the stairs on the porch. My mind flipped pages in the book and I remembered watching my dad build it as I was six. It was there. He was younger. I'd mentally turn the page and see him hammering then smiling. We had a different car, a grey Oldsmobile. Being able to clearly read the license plate shocked me. It almost made me smile. I had no damn idea what had happened but this was fucking cool. I wondered if I could see my mom. Nervousness, fear, and a touch of excitement hit me as I made the thought. The right page lifted as if it was going to turn but then dropped. Up and down but no progress. No page movement for my mom. Just like that, my entire joy was gone; I spent the rest of the day trying all sorts of combinations to see my mom with no success. 

After that day, my life got drastically better. For the rest of the year, my grades all went to A's. I was able to figure out things that others didn't notice. I felt like I could become a detective with this new ability. The other teens starting sitting around me in class to ask questions and.. yup cheat. I can't tell you how great it felt for people to want to cheat on my work. Despite the edge I had that they were not aware of at all. Girls started noticing me because I could wow them with my memory tricks. In spite of all this, my step mom loosened up on me a bit. She let me join track and I actually got to invite some friends over to study. Things were finally looking up in a still slave camp kind of way. But hey, it was progress. This started pooling over in other parts of my life. In my training at the dojo, my forms became nearly perfect. I always knew the next move by looking in the book in my mind. I'd change pages and there it would be the next move. This was due to me reviewing the study guide the day in advance but all I needed was a quick glance at each page and I never forgot the image. If the move ended with a low sweeping kick, I could look into my minds book and see the very next step. My master started congratulating me on my growth. I tried not to chuckle as I had an unfair advantage. Then one day in sparring, something odd happened. I had ridden my bike to class with my friend Justin and he and I were working on grappling. Him as usual, tossing me around like I was a toy doll. Knowing the next move to take was great but it meant nothing without strength and proper technique. He'd often chuckle at my attempt to break free of his locks as he tossed me onto the matt, yet again. As I hit the mat, laughter erupted from the other side of the dojo.

"Once again, little Devon is being thrown around like a light weight".

Yup it was Mr. Ron Sweeny himself, about to start his usual torture of my life. You know, I still find it special that looking back at my bully years, how no adult was never around. To this day, I wonder if they intentionally stayed out of it or simply zoned out. I scrambled to my feet as he came over to me. In our school, we had a form of ranking system. So as you progressed in bushido your belt also meant your rank. A form of shitty discipline if you ask me. As I stood up dropping into horse stance, he was brown and I was one belt above white. Just in case you've never taken martial arts, the white belt is given to novices. I had only progressed one belt in my year at this school. He quickly came over and got into my face. 

"Loser, why do you even come here? Your form is crap, your sword skills are crap, your grappling is crap, … yup you are crap!". 

More laughter erupted at that last comment. Justin, who was the same rank as him, came over rand stood between him and I.

"Oh back off Ron, stop trying to be a bully before I go tell Sifu" Ron turned a bit red in the face drawing his lips together in a thin line. He stormed off without another word as Justin turned looking up at me with that huge grin. 

"You owe me Devon". I smile and agreed. Internally I wanted to cry. I was tired of that guy. But I said nothing. Then something happened. My minds book opened up and at the very top, there was a sparkling bookmark. I froze. That was new. To everyone else, I must have looked crazy because I could see them yelling at me to move but I was zoned out in shock and what I had just seen in my mind. They all started moving in slow motion and I lost my ability, maybe desire to interact with them. I turned the page in my mind and there was a full size picture of what appeared to be of me flipping someone over my back. It was lightly drawn and only in a black outline. Just as soon as I saw it, I felt dizzy and everything went black. Moments later I opened my eyes to my multiple eyes looking down at me. My Sensi also looked down at me. He shook his head in disappointment. 

"Warfield. Are you ok?" 

I actually felt fine. I wasn't sick, feeling weak, dizzy, nothing. But I remembered what happened. I got up and put on smile on my face. "yes master, I'm ok. I'm not sure what happened". Everyone slowly broke up and started going back to what they were doing. My master kept a solid eye on me. Master Del Huagg was a friend of my dad. They knew each other from some earlier time. No one had told me details but I think they might have grown up together. Because of that, he often showed me some light favoritism. Not in the way of giving me easy work, but more attention when needed, which is why he would come to my house hunting for me when I skipped class. 

"Sensi, I'd like to get back to grappling." He gave me a small smile, and then nodded his head at Justin, who stood behind me. I turned and Justin bowed. "You ready to get tossed again?". I knew it was crazy but that bookmark showed me a move. It had knocked me out when I turned to it. My first thought was that I now had this new skill. It was in my head and a part of my training and me. My mind had magically acquired a move. Maybe I downloaded it. The excitement forced a smile on me. "Yea.. I'm ready". Justin charged me and I reached out grabbing him with confidence that I never had before. Only seconds later, as usual I was on the mat, arm twisted behind me with me yelling in pain. I was face down on the mat. My new attempted move didn't happen. Saying I was confused is an understatement. But I figured, I had to be right, so I got back up and tried again. This happened for the rest of the evening. I was utterly confused. But I left it at that. Justin and I rode home talking as kids do with me figuring I might bring it up to my step mom. When I did mention it to her that following Saturday, she looked perplexed, almost overly concerned. She turned red and appeared to panic a bit. 

"Are you sure we shouldn't go see a doctor?" She shook her head no at my question. "No, keep working on strikes. I need to go and make a call." A frown crossed my brow. Who could she be calling? Does someone else know about weirdo Devon?

"Call? Who? A doctor?" I mused. She looked me dead in the eyes and said nothing that was her serious shut the hell up and get back to work look. I did say nothing else. An hour past and she returned, looking a bit relaxed. Taking a deep breath she plopped in the grass in front of me. 

"ok Devon, lets mediate, sit in the grass Indian style as usual". My arms and hands were sore from the nonstop training. I knew this routine, we would mediate for ten minutes, and then she directs me to my room to study. Fuck I hated her. 

"What about what I told you? What should I do? What do you think it means? " I said looking right at her.

She took a deep and long breath, looking around; making sure no one was around as was her normal routine. "Ok Devon, that bookmark thing you saw. Is it still there? "

I frowned and as I started to answer no, I realized.. Holy shit she was right, I could see the sparkling edge sticking out the top of the reddish old book in my mind. 

"Err I.. I think it is"

"Good.. You need to get into a calm state. Clear your mind. Only think of why you need that. It's going to help you. Let's take a minute of deep breathing, any other thoughts that cross your mind, push them to the side, then, when you are ready, turn that page in your mind."

I was still overly curious. I didn't understand why it was still there but then again, how many people have books in their mind that they can see as clearly as looking across a street or looking at a TV? Then again, fuck maybe this is normal and I'm just one of the few idiots not knowing how to work this mind thing. As we sat there for nearly ten minutes, breathing in and thinking, I finally decided I was ready. So without saying a word, I turned the page. As I did, I noticed something different. Now there were two images. One with me grappling, tossing someone over my back and another of me swinging my katana but cutting off a snake head. Outside of the second image, this time the images were in color and very defined. As soon as I thought that, the outlines glowed and I felt warming buzzing in my mind. My mind zoned out for a moment and I realized I was looking into darkness. My instincts told me to open my eyes, but I held on and then slowly, like torches were being lit one by one in the distance, my minds book reappeared and internally I felt refreshed as if I just awoke from a dream. I wasn't even tired anymore. Then I opened my eyes.

My step mom was glaring right at me with s small partial smirk on her face. 

"Well?" she said with a smirk.

"I don't know. I didn't pass out this time and the bookmark isn't there. Kathy.. What's going on? ". I wasn't really scared or anything but this was concerning me. But before I could say anything else she jumped up and handed me my wooded katana. Since I wasn't in advanced training, I only could use this wooden version. Not only that.. Well we were fucking poor or well maybe my dad and step mom just didn't buy me shit.

"Get up and let's see you use your sword".

I got up as told and the moment I grabbed it, It was like I felt the wooden device was now a part of me, an extension of my arm. I suddenly knew how to use it. I started to perform my katana form. I had tried this for so long and failed. Usually, my movements were uncoordinated, lacked confidence, no power, and just looked and felt goofy. Now my moves were elegant and slow, quick and powerful, then I turned and forcefully did a form perfect jab with my wooden blade. 

Or so I thought. I tripped over my excited movement and fell hard into the tree. Old thick reminding me of good ole physics, then I felt my warm blood cover my forehead and nose as I stood up. 

"Get up Devon", I heard my step mom say, a mean old bitch to the end.  You'd think she would help me up or something. Nope.  

I got up as she requested and she tossed the towel I had been using to me.
"Put that on your cut. I'm guessing what I just saw was some sort of assumed excitement at thinking you had someone acquired a new skill. Only to realize, when you tripped on your footing and face ate this tree, that you were wrong. "

"Trees name is big thick. Yea, I did. But what was I supposed to think? This doesn’t make sense and nothing happened. Maybe I'm going crazy because I did feel like I knew what I was doing till the end"

Kathy took a few steps to me and her face softened. Something I rarely saw from her. "I don't think it works that way. To be honest, I'm not sure what's going on. But for now, you'll have to keep putting in the work to get better. Go in the house and start on your studies".

Ugh I fucking knew it. I nodded my head and with the towel pressed upon my forehead, I started into the house. As I started up the rear stairs, I looked back seeing my step mom still standing in the same place with a harsh scowl on her face, still facing the tree. Slowly she started to shake her head in disappointment. I still had no idea what was going on but I knew at that moment that she did and things didn't appear to be working as she assumed. It was clear on my mind that she knew more about me than I did. Since I made no mention of the image of me with a sword in my mind, the fact that she knew about it bothered me. So as time passed, I kept with my routine and slowly got better but I added to my goal of leaving home with trying to find out how my stepmom had this exclusive information about me. 

Sadly, as all of this was going on my dad's depression deepened. My step mom got an extended leave home and she was made a captain. Dad was promoted to a district manager of the Electronic express stores that he had worked for my entire life. But he just seemed unhappy. Kathy had made me swear to never tell him. Saying he would react differently. So I didn’t. Dad was always the type to overreact. So I could easily picture him freaking out taking me doctor to doctor to find out what was wrong with me. So I kept silent but I started sort of liking my step mom for that retaliation. My dad was everything to me. He'd always talk to me and I knew that I mattered to him. It bothered me that she knew that somehow and brought it to my attention. How the fuck did she know that? I mean what would you do if someone told you how your mind worked? It freaked me out for a long time. Then later that year, I realized I was ambidextrous. Kathy and I were doing combat drills; she tossed me a plastic knife to my left and right hand. Confused I was about to drop the left one, since I'm right handed. But she yelled at me not to drop it. To my shock as we started drilling, I realized I could use it just as well as my right. What in the fuck was going on? How did this just up and start working? I was happy and confused but from that moment forth, I could use both of my hands equally. Just like before, Kathy knew somehow. But in her typical tradition, she was void of human emotion and made me swear to keep it to myself. So I did. 

Christmas came and went. My dad perked up a bit over the holidays. He put up a tree and bought me some gifts along with my stepmom. She actually had to leave on Christmas day for some mission. My dad was pissed. That was the first time that I saw him yell at her. This went on for an hour. I'll never forget it. That's right, I fucking can't. There it is stuck in my head, forever for me to see if I so chose. Later on that day in my room, I played it over and over again. I started to realize how thorough my memory was when I did this. When rolling back my memories they played like a video on YouTube. Don't know what YouTube is? It’s a website online that shows free videos. It's actually a pretty cool website especially if you like cat videos. Cats jumping on people, cats scratching things, cats.. .Whoops sorry. Anyway, so that’s how this works in my head. So as I slowed down and watched the argument play out, I could notice things like hand placement, things in the background, slowly changing facial expressions. It was pretty insane. Now I still had no idea if it had any practical use but I loved it. When I turned 17 my stepmom forced me into joining ROTC. That's right, junior reserve officer training for the military. I didn't want too but since she had been training me for so many years, I was actually pretty good at it. My abilities really started helping me excel in it and every part of my life. I started to feel good about myself and then.. Well at least back then.. I felt a desire to impress Kathy. I don’t know why, I don’t' know where it came from but the woman I hated who had made most of my teen years hell. Became a focus of impressing. Sure my dad loved my new grades. It was one of the few things that perked him up and made him smile but I wanted to show her that I could be a soldier. As I graduated high school, I had decided to try and join the military. To my shock my dad was behind me 100%. I think it was because I had no college money but I didn't care. Dad always took care of me but we weren't rich. We often struggled from time to time. He just did his best to hide it from me. But I often pretended like I didn't see it. Kathy was behind me as well and told me she was going to arrange me a good duty spot. So when I graduated high school, turned 18, I left home and completed army boot camp, finishing top in my class in all areas. I started to realize that my endurance was abnormal too. I could hold my breath for damn near ten minutes. I could bench press close to 900 pounds despite not having the bulk to show it. My vision was insane. I could identify people almost two miles away if I could focus and because of that my firearm aim was equally amazing. I could accurately shoot things two miles away. I could jump almost ten feet straight up and my running speed was close to 30mph. I was so confused but there was no Kathy around this time to discuss it with her, so I just kept it to myself. I started going out of my way to make me look normal, just doing enough to finish above everyone else and pretending to be tired. I have to say it started to really bug me about my abilities. I mean what the fuck? The only person who knew about it was my step mother and she was missing most of the time. Often in my bunk at night, I'd ponder what I should do. Am I Superhero? Nah not me, super soldier? Nope. Well, sort of I guess. Umm super villain? I'd smile to myself. These thoughts lingered in my mind every night. I started to realize that I needed to find a friend to confine in about this. I often wondered about my friend Justin. We became distant over the years in high school and drifted apart. I had no idea what happened to him. As the weeks went on, I finished training and went to my advanced training as an infantryman. After many weeks of hard work sweat, keeping to myself, I finally was done. My first deployment was out in Afghanistan. I decided to try and leave as soon as possible. It was during the summer and I just didn't want to go home. Don't get me wrong, I loved my dad and I figured I needed to tell my step mom about all of my new things I could do but I just had so many negative emotions from back then. I felt I'd fall into a black hole of emotion just standing outside of my dad's home. Damn shame when army boot camp brings better memories than your teen years. I called and spoke to my dad a few times and he seemed better. I think he was a bit past acceptance mode.  He often seemed unhappy and bitter. I could feel he was mad and angry with my stepmom for being so heartless and always gone. He told me my stepmom and he started talking more on the phone when she was deployed abroad. But it was clear, he was just not happy. It really angered me. She was still making dad feel miserable. I needed to talk to her and finally let her have it. She was in Italy and had just made colonel. Colonel I thought, damn, she was moving up in rank. 

The night I was flying out as I sat in my chair bored to tears in the airport. Looking at civilians in jeans, some in suits, and others with family, I wondered what it would be like to have a normally functioning family. You know what I'm talking about, the ones that talk every day, meet on each holiday, stuff you see on TV. The families that had huge holiday events and family meetings for one person's problem, I always knew that wasn't real. But I always wished it was and that I could have it one day. At that moment, Kathy popped in my head. I figured, I'd try and call her. We were given free phone cards so I took a reluctant deep breath and decided I'd use it. Walking over to a pay phone, I felt odd. I really needed to get a smart phone. I mean, I know people are looking at me wondering what I'm doing using this ancient device. I inputted the card information, and then I tapped her phone number. It rang a few times and finally I heard a raspy clearly half sleep voice.

"Hello?"

I paused, I debated hanging up. We really weren’t close but I just had to speak to someone, tell someone, it was really bothering me. 

"Kathy, it's me" I said in a low tone.

"Devon? Hmm its 3am here. Is everything ok? Is dad alright?" she said as her voice cleared attempting to wake up from the fog of sleep.

I paused again, anger slowly picking up in my stomach. I started thinking about how she was the source of my dad's frustration and depression. I tried to control my emotion from peeking out in my words.  My mouth opening and closing, lips struggling to keep my mouth shut. I was angry that she knew so much about me but wouldn't explain how and that I couldn't tell anyone. How she treated my dad and the resentment I still had for her regarding my youth growing up like a forced child soldier. 

"Devon?" she pondered.

My anger kept growing. I felt mad, sad, I clenching the phone receiver as if something was telling me to smash it against the wall. But then I remembered that moment when my dad was building the porch. It was picture perfect in my mind. I instantly calmed down and took a breath. Despite getting some self-control, my response to her came out in a yell. 

"He's fine, not happy that you are gone. Why is it that you can't just be with him and stop stressing him out?! What the hell is wrong with you?!" As soon as I said it, I felt like crap. But there it was, out in the open. In all my years of knowing this woman, I had never spoken back to her, much less expressed any of this. She didn't say anything for a long moment. Right about when I broke my focus looking around realizing people staring at me for my crazy outburst she spoke.

"…Devon, normally Id yell but you are right. Your dad and I have some problems and I have not been the best wife and stepmom to you. I am sorry. But this isn't the time for that. How are you? Are you noticing changes with your endurance? How about your strength?" 

I paused. I felt a bit dizzy as the air left my body. How in the fuck did she know that? I didn't tell anyone. What the holy hell? In that same second, I set my resolve to stop fearing asking as I spoke.

"Umm how did you know about that?" I was confused but nervous and I had to know.

She paused and said, "Perhaps I shouldn't have just came out and stated it. I can't tell you how I know. Not yet, but I will. We will talk soon ok? Be careful in Afghanistan, your plane leaves in a few moments. Focus so you won't be late." 

I heard a click as she hung up. That was it. She just hung up. Turning looking at the terminal, she was right. The plane was about to start loading. I was utterly confused. It was like she had a live feed into to my existence. I didn't know what to do. I was lost. Suddenly my dad popped in my head. I decided then I had to tell him. But I realized I didn't have much time. The line was forming up to board. No, I couldn't call. Not yet. This conversation would take more than a few moments. At that moment, I knew I had to take my time and explain this to my dad, every detail, all of it. Something was going on with me and it made no sense that my military step mom knew everything from another continent. I hung up the receiver, grabbed my bag, and ran over, getting into the line. I felt good about my decision. I couldn't wait to act on it. 

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