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Against All Evil: The Intruders, Episode One

Welcome to the first episode of The Intruders, the premier AGAINST ALL EVIL serial adventure story recounting the trials and tribulations of Max and Lena Manus, defenders of good, foes of evil. Max is a brilliant retired scientist who discovered a way to dramatically increase physical and mental powers. His wife Lena, a retired highly trained CIA assassin, has devoted her life to helping Max protect his secret from the endless evil forces attempting to acquire it.
This series is brought to you by SpearPoint Publications, and will unfold in ten bimonthly episodes.

                      The Intruders — Episode One

Portland, Oregon, 2013

Max was jolted out of a deep sleep by a fleeting vivid image of a man collapsed in a pool of his own blood. Suddenly awake and intensely alert, he instantly realized that something was different, that he had changed. He was vibrating with energy, as if a pulsing motor had been switched on in his chest cavity. He could see clearly in the darkened bedroom, even though his glasses were still on the nightstand, and noticed the time of 2:35 on the clock on the dresser across the room. He rose to a sitting position, noting his wife Lena stirring sleepily on her side of the bed.

“What is it, Maxie?”
“It's nothing, Liebchen. Just a dream. Go back to sleep.”
“Are you getting up?”
“Yes. The bathroom. That’s all.” His bladder calling. Nothing out of the ordinary for a 67-year-old man.

Max sat absolutely still for a moment and listened for any unusual sounds. But he detected nothing other than the quiet night hum of their modest Southeast Portland bungalow; the purr of the refrigerator, the faint sound of the furnace. He heard far-off traffic and a light wind coursing through the giant Doug fir out back. Nothing hinting of danger.

He lifted the covers and shifted his right leg over the edge of the bed and down toward the floor. After bringing his other leg down (the one with the bad knee), he stepped into his slippers and rose to his feet. He stood still and once again listened for any unusual noises. Again, nothing.

He started for the bathroom, but then froze in place after taking a single step when he heard a faint sound. It came from down the hall, from the living room. It sounded again, this time like something scratching at the front door. Or, was it just an echo from the dream that woke him so abruptly? Not sure what was going on, he remained still and listened hard with his good ear. A second later he heard it again, then once more, slightly louder. Then he heard the front door creak open and someone enter the room. The muffled footfalls were barely detectable, but still unmistakable. Then another person entered. He heard their every step as clearly as if he were in the room with them.

Max started to say something to Lena, but perhaps foolishly, decided not to disturb her. “I can deal with this,” he thought to himself.
The door from the living room to the hallway that led to the bedroom was partially closed, allowing him to rush unseen from the bedroom across the hall into the kitchen before the intruders had time to get their bearings. During his quick scramble he couldn't help but notice the lack of pain in his arthritic knee.

Standing in the kitchen at the open knife drawer, thinking hard about his options, Max was overcome with confidence. He felt certain that he could handle whatever threat he was about to encounter. That he could protect his sleeping wife, expel the intruders, fight for his life if he had to, even kill them if he had to. He felt a sense of invincibility, something he had never experienced before.

He quickly scanned the row of blades neatly organized by function and size and grabbed his custom-made Messermeister 9-inch boning knife. He carefully tested its finely honed edge and sharp point. This knife had served him well in the past for his culinary pursuits. He had no reason to think it wouldn't serve him for self-defense if it came to that.

As he quietly eased the heavy drawer shut he noticed a stream of flickering light spilling under the closed door from the dining room. That, and a creaking floor board, alerted him to someone treading lightly toward the kitchen, someone who would probably come through the swinging door in a few seconds. He moved to the other side of the room and positioned himself behind the door. He pressed his right shoulder firmly against its backside. When a footfall sounded close to the threshold he shoved against the door with all his weight, slamming it full speed into the unsuspecting intruder, propelling him back against the edge of their dining table with a dull crack. The interloper cried out and dropped to his knees. A mix of surprise and terror spread across his face. He collapsed onto the floor, dropping his flashlight as he went down.

When Max leaped over the threshold and sped into the room the disabled man reached out with both arms in a feeble effort to entangle Max's legs. Max jumped aside, lunged forward and plunged the knife into the man's thigh. He felt a jolt when the keen point struck deep into the oak boards underneath. The man screamed. Blood gushed from the wound and pooled on the floor along both sides of his immobilized leg.

At the very moment Max's knife was coursing through the man's flesh a grotesquely large head appeared around the half-open hall door. Max heard the man's heavy breathing and looked up to see a giant of a man edging into the living room with a pistol in his huge hand. He looked at Max, glanced down at his helpless partner lying half under the table and at the blood gathering around his impaled leg, then slowly advanced forward, pointing the gun directly at Max's head.

“So you're the famous Max Manus,” he growled with a thick Russian accent. An evil sneer dominated his ugly scared face. “Now you will please to pull knife from my friend's leg and come with us. There is someone wants much to speak to you.”

To be continued...


May 16, 2016 @10:24 am by — Ollie sims

Nice work Howard! I'm hooked!

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