1 Cheating, Worth It Till It's Not

"Kazz Formen says here that you were supposed to be a pro athlete; what happened there?" The recruiter asked me as I sat across the desk from him.

The office was hot even with the windows open and two fans, and the man was showing it. I was fine, and I wasn't really in the mood to talk about that.

"I wanted to help out and serve for my country," I said, thinking that was what every gung-ho recruit said that walked in the door.

Just as I had thought, the man gave me a wicked grin that said I had no idea what I was in for. Maybe, but I just wanted to get out of here and off the continent.

"Fine, everything looks good, and we have no reason not to take you if this is what you want. Be back here at O-six-hundred hours, and I suggest that you come early, or you will have a very long first week," The recruitment officer told me, and I nodded to him respectfully and left the room.

After leaving the building, I went over to my old Ford Tempo and got inside. Once I closed the door, I just sat there for a minute, sitting and thinking about the past week.

I was exposed as a cheater, caught for juicing, tossed out of MMA, and my Instructor Tom wasn't answering my calls. I couldn't blame him, but my dream job of being a fighter was gone, and now I was here.

My parents didn't know yet, but they would find out on the news tonight; they were just releasing the information now. I had known for a month now, but I wasn't even allowed to talk about it until now.

Thirty-two, and I had already been fighting for seven years, but I was just about to get my big chance at a real fight. That was all pulled away because I couldn't put the juice down and just get stronger on my own, and now I was paying for it.

I wanted to punch the steering wheel of my car, but I was worried the damn thing might fall apart, and at this moment, I was just getting by. I had earned some money fighting, but I had big dreams and spent it almost as fast as I made it.

Money was cheap then, but now I was forced to watch all my spending if I wanted to eat and have a roof over my head. So, the army was my best bet.

I was smart in school, but after graduating, I went straight into a fight, even turning down two scholarship offers. I didn't care about school; what I cared about was the thrill of the out person trying their best to beat you before you took them down.

There was hardly anything in this world that could provide me with that kind of adrenaline, but I thought that shooting guns and running for my life might be close substitutes. I knew I didn't want to stay here, and the army wasn't here.

Shaking my head and then starting my car was all I could do, and it did, thankfully. I pulled out into the street and started to make my way out of town as the sun was slowly sinking into my mirror.

I had to turn my head a bit to keep the glare from it out of my eyes. The road had no curves in it for the first bit, so the sun always got me on my way home.

After the short drive, I reached the valley that my house was built on after about fifteen minutes of driving. I took a right at the bottom of the hill and turned onto a gravel road that I followed for about twenty minutes.

Driving slowly was the only way to keep my car in one piece; only a few of us lived down here, so the grader had a nasty tendency to skip us. I couldn't entirely fault him for his logic, it was a dead-end, and none of the driveways were big enough to turn around in, but that left the road with ruts.

I finally pulled into my yard, and it was getting late. Even though I live far out on my own, I had no pets or animals, so no one was waiting to greet me.

Story of my life, but I was used to that, and tomorrow I would be changing my carefree life to one of order and unending training. That would be that bad, just another thing to get used to, and I would be forced to get strong without having help from some drugs.

I parked the car near the house and got out, fully intending to go in and grab the jar of pickled eggs. I would watch a fight or two before bed after devouring the remains of the jar, but something caught my eye out in the bushes.

A glowing red light came from deep in the bushes just behind my house. That made me curious, but it started to get dark, so I couldn't just run in blind.

So, I ran up to my deck and grabbed a flashlight from inside my door. I was about to leave but turned back and grabbed my large hunting knife before turning back to leave the house.

Turning back to the house briefly, I considered grabbing a gun, but it probably was just some people dirt biking out here and left their bike. People around here were friendly, and I didn't mind people riding dirt bikes on the trails around my house, but it was too late for them to be out.

I started into the forest, holding my light but not turning it on yet; there was no need, the sun was not completely gone. It was just hitting twilight when I reached the light, and it was starting to get dark out, but the red light lit the clearing up that I had walked into.

There was a hole in the ground, and stairs were leading down. The red light came from the hole, but I was not moving to get closer to it yet.

This was more than strange because I had been back out in this clearing many times over the years. This house and land had been one of my friends' grandparents, and we used to spend a lot of time out here.

There had never been a hole or anything like this, and I really wasn't sure what it meant, but something about the entrance into the ground called to me. I was torn on what to do, but at the same time, there couldn't be any harm in going to take a look, right?

Next chapter