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Domination of the SPOOKS – Chapter 1

I'm launching my first fiction series next month with the SPOOK & GOON Space Adventures. I'm writing the fourth book right now and the first three will be released over the next few months.

While I'm waiting for the official edits, I'm uploading the short-story prequel, Domination of the SPOOKS, chapter by chapter over the next two weeks. This is the unedited version so please forgive any errant wording.

If you'd like to receive advance notice of special one-day-only fan pricing of 99 cents, join my Sci-Fi Reader's Group.

Random fun fact – I wrote this book back in March but today happens to be the day – 28 June 1914 – that Gavrilo Princip shot Franz Ferdinand.

Chapter 1

The door closed behind Dom Wagner, and he stepped forward towards the desk. Jessica Masterson was sitting next to the window, her brown hair framed by a halo of the sun as she stared out at the practice field.

He took a seat next to her, cramped into the tiny wooden desk. The Formica top covered decades of ingrained stencils from past students but still was nearly worn smooth from a few more decades of use since they were installed.

The teacher was late but she wasn’t expecting Dom to show up.

“Did Lt. Thomas send you instead?” she asked. “He was supposed to be back to help me with some of my homework.”

She twirled her hair with her middle finger while she looked at Dom. “I just don’t get the point of why we care about some guy shooting some other guy over a hundred years ago. How does that make any difference now?”

“Well, that’s the point,” he said. “Gavrilo Princip shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the middle of a parade was a big deal. It kicked off a whole chain of events that set the world on fire for the next thirty years.”

“OK, Mr. Smarty Pants,” she said. “Look at you knowing all the answers.”

“Nah, I just have a thing for dates and history,” he said.

He slid his desk closer to see what she had highlighted in her textbook. At least that’s what he wanted her to think he was doing. He really wanted to get closer to her and pretending to be interested in her textbook was an easy ploy to do that.

He could smell the jasmine in her hair. Must be some special shampoo, he thought. Most people just smelled like the regulation soap that came out of the dispensers. She must have had a care package sent in from her parents. There weren’t too many places on the base to get special products like that.

Having gotten a whiff of her hair, he looked down at her book and the scribbled yellow highlighting. “See, do you really need the entire paragraph highlighted?” he asked. “Are you going to remember the whole thing? Maybe just highlight a few key words, like their names and one small action that happened. Gavrilo Princip and Francis Ferdinand and shot. That will make it easier to connect.”

She took her pen and underlined those few things surrounded by the yellow highlighting. “I guess that would be easier. Memorizing whole passages is pretty tough.”

She didn’t really care about her homework and changed the subject. “What’s this new assignment they’re sending you on? I heard you’re leaving the Academy early next week.”

“I don’t know. I guess some guy was on campus a few days ago asking the Commander about me.”

As Dom moved closer, Jessica felt a surge of energy from his presence. She always thought he was cute, but being this close to him, she understood why he was so popular. He smelled like a man and his eyes were dreamy. The way he looked at her made her feel like the only and most important person in the world. She found herself staring into those eyes after she highlighted those few words.

“How about we get out of here?” he asked. “I’m kinda hungry, and we can go to a place I know nearby.”

He started packing up her books with his, stuffing them into his backpack. He stood up and held out his hand. She looked out at the practice field and debated on whether to go. She really did need to work on her assignment, but maybe they could talk about it over some food.

She took his hand, feeling the strong, warm flesh like he was the most confident person she’d ever met. She knew she wasn’t the first to be asked out for dinner by Dom Wagner, but at that moment she felt like the most special.

They stepped out of the classroom and headed down the hall, hand in hand.

* * *

Jock Saunders was pissed. The first thing he heard when he stepped out of the showers after practice was that Jessica was out with Dom Wagner. She and Jock had been dating a few months now, and things were going great. She wasn’t the smartest girl, but she liked how serious Jock was. Straight-laced and to the point, his nose was always in a book. He had to work twice as hard if he wanted to keep on track to join the GOONs after. Only one thing stood in his way of that and being the top of the class – Dom Wagner.

And now Dom was hitting on his girl? What more could the guy want? He was top of the class and now there were whispers that he was being plucked out of the Academy for some special assignment. No one knew exactly what it was, but they’d seen a strange guy on campus talking with the Commander.

He went back in and turned the shower on high, stepping under it to feel the ice cold water beat down on his skull.

From the forthcoming short story, Domination of the SPOOKS: A Man Meets His Mission.

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.

All rights reserved.

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