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Domination of the SPOOKS – Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 2

Dom woke up with a hangover. At least that’s what it felt like with the pounding in his temple. His neck was also stiff from sleeping upside down on his bed. How’d I end in that position? he thought to himself as he sat up in bed. He’d had a few drinks with Jessica but not enough to cause such a serious pain in the neck and head area.

“Did somebody spike my drink?” Dom wondered, almost asking it out loud but worried that his bunkmates would hear it.

He launched himself down off the top bunk and headed to the bathroom. He couldn’t move his neck very far in either direction. After a quick pit stop, he hit the showers and stood under as hot of water as he could handle. The water pulsating on his scalp and neck made things feel a thousand times better. He was supposed to work on a project for Commander Weisman later that morning, something about some new protocol drill he was instituting for the newbies at the Academy.

Dom liked helping out the newbies. He’d found a perfect mentor when he arrived a year or so back. He was fresh from the mean streets of Chicago’s North side where he was constantly teased for not supporting the Cubs, even in their sole year of winning the World Series. He wasn’t a fan of losing teams and insisted on not being a fair weather fan. He’d left that to the die-hard Bills – Murray and Corgan, as well as Eddie Vedder and John Cusack. Name dropping like that wasn’t his style even though he was happy they won. The whole city was electric with pride that the Cubs FINALLY choked the goat and buried it.

But he met up with another die-hard at the Academy, Dirk Anders. Dirk was about to move into a new position with NASA, but he took a liking to Dom, more for his prowess with the ladies and all around good nature. He stuck around a bit longer to show him the ropes, help him get acclimated and move up on the social ladder. It helped, and soon Dom was the top gun and pretty much ran the place. He took it hard a few months later when word came that Dirk had been killed on his first mission in a covert op. Why the space geeks wanted a tough as nails Academy brat, no one could understand. And to make matters worse that he died for it and never got the chance.

Dom vowed to follow in his footsteps, putting in extra effort in all aspects of the academy – fighting, surveillance, computer hacking, marksmanship – you name it, he was as well rounded as he could be. That he still made time to schmooze with the brass as well as the ladies, he made it look legendary.

So whatever this new project Weisman cooked up for him later that day, he’d make sure to wrap it up in double time.

He finished his sauna and wrapped up his shower. After a good five minutes of relentless pressure, he felt almost as good as new. He stepped out, sliced and diced his face for a quick shave, dabbed a bit of pomade on his hair, and he was back in his room getting dressed. The all-black uniform wasn’t quite his style, but there wasn’t much he could do about that, Academy rules. Wearing the same thing each day made things easier. It worked for Steve Jobs, despite the geek chic of running shoes and mom jeans. Most others in the academy wore tennis shoes, but Dom insisted on highly polished black calfskin jumper boots with Vibram soles. He’d be ready to kick ass at the drop of a hat and look good doing it.

* * *

Later that day after practice, Jock saw his chance. They were in the locker room, and Dom was standing at his locker. He was in the middle of pulling on a sweater when Jock sucker punched him and shoved him into the locker.

It was a chicken move, but the way it went down wasn’t the best idea. Jock and his goons blocked off the hallway and surrounded Dom though they weren’t really going to try anything to stop him.

Once Dom stepped out of the locker and got himself back on his feet, he turned to face his attacker.

Jock’s face seethed with anger. “Anything you’d care to tell me, Mr. Wagner?”

“What are you talking about?” Dom asked. “You just blindsided me and shoved me into a locker. That’s a pretty dick move even from a dick like yourself.”

“Stay away from Jessica,” Jock said. “I know you were hanging out with her last night.”

“I was hungry, and we got something to eat. Can’t blame a guy for being hungry.”

The circle closed in on Dom as the rest of the guys stepped closer. “Well, I guess you’re serious, what with having all of your posse surround me in the locker room of all places. Why don’t we take this out on the court and I’ll show you who’s the big man?”

Jock was a few inches taller than Dom, so settling things on the basketball court would be an easy win for him, or at least should have been. Despite being the first one in his class to dunk the last day of freshman year, he wasn’t the best shooter. Dom would easily outclass him and had better dribbling skills. It wouldn't be a fair test, but with Dom throwing out the challenge, there wasn’t any way for him to back down. He’d put the ball in Dom’s court, and now he had to back up.

He wished he could just punch the shit out of Dom and knock that smarmy pearly white smile off his face. He’d dreamt of it, over and over, the perfect swing, the perfect follow through, the way Dom’s head snapped back from the force of his punch. Someday he vowed to make that wish come true.

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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