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Stronger by Grief

by Chad Rhoads 11 months ago in Series · updated 7 months ago
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Book of Jacob

Artwork by juliakadziela on fiverr

Jacob looked out across University Street at Stella’s where he would meet his contact. It was raining hard as it normally did in Seattle. Middle of winter and yet not a flake of snow. Instead, he was cold and wet. Even with an umbrella he was soaked. He had to wait for his contact to enter first. Normally he didn’t mind, but days like this made it miserable, which was often.

He got a break when he saw an elderly man, maybe mid fifties, walk into the shop. The man had gotten out of a silver Mercedes that was parked a couple of slots down in a parallel parking space. Once the light turned he ran to the doors of Stella and walked in.

At this time he really wanted a whiskey, but weird stuff tended to happen when he even got tipsy. It was enjoyable while at home by himself, but right now, he would probably get shot. Walking up, he ordered a white chocolate mocha then sat down across from his contact, his handler; the man he knew all too well. Robert Shinner, a man who he worked for and a man who, despite his looks, was dangerous as dangerous could be. Ex-CIA operative, thirty years as a “spy”. Guy knew his stuff.

“You’re late.”

Jacob grinned weakly. He didn’t feel like starting with him today. The guy - though good at his job - was a dick. Didn’t care about anyone but himself.

“Just tell me my assignment.”

“File is waiting for you, the girl’s name is Natasha Marco, a six year old…” He paused as the waitress set the coffee down and left. “The girl is six, born in Tacoma. Currently living in the U district. She’s class B.”

“Class B? And you want me to go alone?”

Robert crossed his arms, not looking even the slightest amused. Class B was a telepath. Extremely dangerous as they could make anyone do anything. Class C was a telekinetic. Class A, well, Class A was what he was. He started out as Class C and when he was picked up by the Psi-ops, he was trained to harness the power. He quickly began getting telepathic abilities, and soon was able to manifest physical energy which was a class D. Class A did everything. They were rare. Only three that he knew of including himself, and there was only one who started out at Class A. From what Jacob understood there had only been six Class As in the history of the Psi-ops. So, rare was the correct term.


Robert smiled. He was a sick bastard at times. “Kill her. Her powers are uncontrollable. Level ten.”

Jacob felt uneasy, though he kept his stoic demeanor in check… barely. Level ten was terrifying. It was generally reserved for those who had no limits to their power. Jacob was level nine. A level five could kill him. The power difference between level nine and ten, he would be lucky to get out of this alive. He knew all too well what level tens could do.

Add onto the fact this was a child he was being asked to kill. He had an issue with killing in general, and since he’d been part of this group, he’s only had to do it three times. To kill a child was a difficult ask.

“You have till tomorrow.”

“What? I can’t rush something like this, not if I want to come out alive.” Jacob hated being rushed and Robert knew that.

“Get it done and we’ll get you some place a bit warmer.”

That was a blatant lie. He’d been in Seattle for three years now, they weren’t moving him. Standing up, he downed his coffee and left into the rain, leaving Robert to pay the tab.

The house was a typical city house. Two-story and very close to the neighbors. Any sound could be heard, bad situation. He closed his eyes and reached into the house with his mind. He could see every detail as if he were inside. Target was asleep, mother was asleep. And of course there was a dog who instantly became alert to the subtle intrusion.

Jacob opened his eyes, "A damn dog. Well this has become a pain in the ass."

He closed his eyes and reached out to find the mother again. He reached into her mind and saw her dream. A man was there, a man he recognized. The old bastard who sent him on this mission. This wasn't just a dream, but a memory. It was easy to tell the difference as memories tend to be more vivid. Dreams got strange. The memory was at her wedding. Robert was walking her down the aisle.

The sound of a car brought him out of his trance. He saw a black BMW pull up and a familiar face exited. It was a Class A rank ten agent. He was one that Jacob had brought it, though it nearly cost him his life. What the hell was he doing here?

Jacob got out of his blue Nissan, "Hey Justin, what the hell are you doing here?"

Justin turned, the cocky smirk came across his face. The same one he always had when they saw one another. The same one he gave before he sent him to the hospital. Jacob would never forget that smirk.

"I was given this mission. What are you doing here?"


"Well then, we have a problem." Justin walked over. "You know who she is don't you."

"Yeah. The boss's granddaughter."

"So predictable. You always search the house first before going in. No sense of adventure. Which is why he sent me, to make sure it got done."

Jacob shut his door and began walking to the house. "Then how about some help? There's a dog there who's alert. You take care of it, and I'll get the girl."

Justin smiled, "Fine."

They got to the house and both vanished in a brief flash. Justin was behind the dog and swiped his hand over it. Before the dog could bark, it exploded into a puddle of blood and fur. He listened for any other sound but heard nothing. He vanished and appeared in the girl's room where Jacob was standing looking over her. Jacob looked over her sleeping face, a shot of grief washed over him. His life would be tainted with what he was asked to do.

"If you don't want to do it, leave it to me." Justin walked up beside him.

"No, I got this."

Justin jerked back, flying through the wall. The loud crash and cracking of wood woke the house and the neighbors. Jacob turned and held out his hand at Justin who began floating in the air. This was a dangerous gamble. If he lost concentration even for a second it would mean his death.

Justin struggled against the power restraining him, his teeth clenched in anger and frustration, eyes glaring at the man who betrayed him.

“You’re making a mistake Jacob!” His mind lashed out at Jacob, trying to latch onto something within his mind but it was a void. “I will kill you!”

There was a shriek as the little girl looked on in terror. The mother was at the door terrified, trying to find a way to her baby as the two men were between her and her child.

"Grab her and go! You don't have much time!" Jacob had to be insane to do this, but he wasn't about to have a murdered child on his hands. His mentor had to do it, he lasted a week before he took his own life. The mother ran past and grabbed her daughter. "There is a car outside, grab her and go!"

The woman and girl ran out, leaving Jacob alone with Justin. He was losing his control and that wasn't good. He had to end this. Breaking his concentration to keep Justin out of his mind, he put the remaining focus into the final move. He felt his mind begin to lose control but the final bit was more than enough. Justin's body ripped apart sending pieces of him everywhere. Jacob collapsed to his knees, he took a deep breath, his head hurt like hell and he just wanted to sleep, but he had to make sure the girls were safe.

He ran outside and saw them in the car. "Get out of here and hide."

The mother didn't hesitate and took over the driver seat and fled. It was his car but he didn't care, he could take a bus home, except he had more company. Another car pulled up and his boss got out. Robert looked to be in a very pissy mood, but no matter, Jacob was as well.

"So you couldn't go through with it?"

"How sick can a man be to have his own grandchild killed."

Robert shook his head, "You don't realize the consequences of your actions. Let me tell you. You have just killed at least a million people!" He paused a moment to let that sink in and when Jacob was about to speak he continued, "This isn't the first time this has happened. I've seen it once before. Chernobyl, you remember that disaster right?"

"That was caused by a meltdown."

"That meltdown was caused by my first child. And he wasn't even near the location. Jacob, he killed countless people. I had to kill my own child! This power runs in my family, but fortunately not everyone gets it. My second child, the woman with the child, was free of the curse. Her child was not."

"How do you know she will do the same?"

"Because it has already started happening. The tsunami in Thailand was caused by her. Since then, they've been on the run. The earthquake in Haiti, this child is tearing apart the world and you just let her go."

"How do you know it’s her? She’s a telepath. She may be able to control people, but cause natural disasters?"

"Same reason we know who's psychic and who isn't. Me. I can sense other psychics. And you have a lot to learn about how telepathic abilities work. They are far more capable than being able to command people to do their bidding."

Jacob shook his head. He couldn't believe this. He didn't want to. He reached out with his mind to Robert expecting some kind of resistance, but his mind was open. Jacob wanted to find some kind of sense he was lying, but all of his memories were there, open and free to access.

"See what I've seen”, Robert said, allowing Jacob to search his mind freely.

Jacob stood in the trees looking at the cabin, his target, having tracked them utilizing a psychic mark he had placed on his car, a mark he placed on all of his belongings.

Looking down through a window he saw the mother and daughter eating dinner. They were smiling, seemingly happy to have escaped with their lives. It was an image that stayed with him. A moment of peace. He didn’t want to do this, but it was save one or save a million.

He closed his eyes, a tear rolling down his cheek. "I'm sorry."

The message reached Natasha's mind but it was too late. The logs snapped like twigs and splintered. Pieces flew striking the screaming mother in the throat. The daughter screamed but her power was slow to awaken and she was crushed by a log. The house crumpled up into a pile of debris, then exploded into a giant ball of fire as the gas leaked and a spark ignited it.

Jacob turned and walked out, sick to his stomach for what he had done. Maybe this is how his mentor Chris felt when he had to kill a child. He wondered if it was for the same reason, but he knew he had to continue to live on. He wasn't weak, he wouldn't take the easy way out. He would live with this pain, adding it to the rest of the pain he felt each and every day.

See how it all began:


About the author

Chad Rhoads

My primary genres are fantasy and sci-fi. I love coming up with new worlds and new things within that make it interesting. My stories tend to be more character driven as I find how the brain works fascinating.

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