Although it was warm and sunny outside, inside the small apartment it was dark and cold. The drapes had been drawn tight and the lights were all turned off. One figure sat in a chair in the dark. He was elderly but fit. His gray hair still had streaks of dark. He sat perfectly still. Ramrod straight, befitting the former military man that he was. He held a gun in his hand. An old .45 caliber. Fully loaded, but he only needed one bullet. One shot to end it all. Sam Austen had nothing more to live for. His military career was long over. His family was gone. His ex-wife died years ago. His step-daughter only recently. So with no one left, he pointed the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Nothing. He squeezed the trigger over and over. Click. Click. Click. "It won't work, Sergeant Major," a voice from the corner shadows calmly said. Austen immediately jumped up from the chair and pointed the gun towards the direction of the voice. The drapes were suddenly pulled open, letting the sunlight in. Austen was temporarily blinded by the light but his eyes quickly adjusted and he saw standing in front of him a tall, young man. The young man smiled. Austen should have been frightened of the intruder but he mysteriously wasn't. The young man was very calm. Very friendly. "Mr. Austen. You want to take your life because you feel you have nothing to live for but you are so wrong," the young man said. "Who the hell are you?" Austen asked. "My name is Zach. This may at first be hard for you to understand but I have been chosen to ask you to do what will be the greatest thing you will ever do in your life." "And what exactly is that?" Austen suspiciously asked. "After the Army, you went into a depression. But you became "spiritual" correct?" Zach asked. Austen said nothing. "You knew that something was going to come. Something dark and evil. You knew a battle was to come. A battle for the continued existence of all life on this planet earth. So you used your military experience and contacts to form an army of like minded individuals to prepare and stand-by. To one day be called up to do battle with this evil and its cohorts. But you grew tired. You lost faith. Well, I'm here now to tell you your faith was not in vain. You are to summon your army. The evil is coming and you will help to fight it!" Austen laughed, "This must be a dream! Or I am already dead. You can't be for real!" Zach smiled, "I assure you Mr. Austen, I am real and you are very much alive. And the evil you are about to do battle with is real and very much alive itself." Austen sat slowly back down in his chair. He began to shiver. "What do you want me to do next?" Zach handed him some papers. "These are your orders. Contact those who were in your army. Your "Mercenaries of Lightness". Regroup them. You will transport them to these coordinates, where a transport plane will be waiting. All weapons and supplies will be furnished. You and your troops will parachute onto an island. Your army must defend that island at all costs." "Who or what are you?" Austen asks. "We're the good guys," Zach replies, "we represent all that is good. Destiny has chosen you to help defend and protect that good. For the sake of all humanity. You, Sergeant Major Sam Austen, have been given a second chance!" Tears formed in Austen's eyes, as he placed the gun down. He nodded his head as he looked over the documents Zach had given him. Austen now realized all of this was real. Too real. He knew he had to get busy and make some calls. His "Mercenaries of Lightness" was now in business. To be Continued: Next Chap. 8 "Darkness Rising"

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