AIR-HAWK

CHAPTER 1

John Eckhart heard his phone ringing but didn't want to pick it up. He was preparing to have dinner with his wife, Sara, and son, James. If he answered the phone now he'd have to go back to work rather than have a meal with his family. Despite John's lack of acknowledgement towards the phone, the ringing continued.

"Just answer it," Sara said. "If they're calling you this late then they probably really need you."

John let out an aggressive sigh before tapping the screen on his phone to answer the call.

"Hello," John said as her rubbed his light brown hair and thick beard.

"John," a mysterious voice answered, "we need to see each other."

"I'm spending time with my family", John stated in a disgruntled voice.

"I told you John," the caller persisted, "I need an answer by today."

"Is there anyway we can have this conversation over the phone?" John looked back at his family as he said this. He longed to stay with them but feared that he wasn't getting out of this meeting.

"You and I both know we can't risk that", the caller answered. "Someone could be listening."

John took his glasses off as he looked down to the floor. He rubbed his forehead as he contemplated the situation. Finally, he muttered out "Fine", and immediately ended the call.

John then went to approach his son. As he did so he put his glasses back on. He stood on one knee so that he could talk to the child face to face.

"I…uhm…just got called back into work", he said hesitantly.

"But dad," James said disappointed, "we were supposed to have game night tonight."

"I'm sorry buddy," John said, "but you know I have to go into work when they call me."

John rubbed James' curly blonde hair and gave him a hug goodbye. As he said goodbye to Sara, she asked him, "Will you be home for dinner?"

"Sure, this should be quick", John responded with a confident smile on his face. He then kissed her goodbye and made his way back to work.

Soon, John arrived at a tall building with big glass windows. He made his way through the wide, polished halls until he got to the elevator. John pressed the button for the top floor and waited for the elevator to reach the peak of the building. He then walked out of the elevator and into an empty conference room. As he waited for his expected company, he looked out onto the expansive South City. He noticed how some of the taller buildings began to block the light from the sun as it set. He watched the phenomenon until he heard someone else walk into the room.

A bold white man with a buzz cut and thick black beard casually walked towards John. "How's it going, man?", he asked. John looked at the man and scoffed.

"It's just you, huh, Henry?" he asked. "He called me here and didn't even show up?"

"Well, you know how it is", Henry responded. "He's a busy guy. Always getting caught up with stuff."

John looked back outside in frustration. He couldn't bear to look at the man who had brought him such disappointing news. "Yeah, whatever", John said.

Henry came closer to John and attempted to break the ice that was freezing John's personality. "But John, this meeting isn't about him", he said. "It's about you. We need to know if you're going to join us or not."

For a moment, John continued to stare out the window and remained silent. Henry looked at John with great intent as he waited for a response. Finally, while still looking away from Henry and out the window, John began to respond.

"My answer is no", he said.

Henry initially looked taken aback. He certainly wasn't expecting this response from John. "Now John," he said, "you've been given an amazing opportunity here. Our mutual friend is very close with you and knows that you would fit perfectly in this role."

Henry wrapped his arm around John's shoulder as they looked out at South City together. "I mean look at this!" he exclaimed. "All of this could be yours if you work with us."

John turned his head to make eye contact with Henry. "My answer is no." he said in a serious tone.

After hearing this, Henry looked down in disappointment. John looked back out the window and for a moment the large room was filled with complete silence. Then, with his arm still around John, Henry reached for a cocked pistol from behind his back. As he wrapped his finger around the trigger, he told John, "I'm sorry, but you know too much to say no."

Henry quickly fired a single bullet into John's head. John collapsed to the floor. He lied there, dead, with blood sprayed across his shoulder. He never even had a chance to react.