I felt warm and comfortable. I wished I could just lie here forever. But where was here? I tried to open my eyes but they were too tired and heavy to move. Just like the rest of my body they felt like they had been pummelled for hours.
Two questions burned in my head like white hot irons: where was I and what happened? My head throbbed painfully. The pain down my back was horrendous, like someone was using a food blender on my skin. Once again I slowly sank into unconsciousness.
After waking twice more I found I could open my eyes once again. I looked around and discovered that I was in a hospital room. At least I had answered where I was, but how did I get here? Now I thought about it I couldn’t remember anything at all up to this point. What was going on? I tried to sit up but it was too painful. All I could do was lay there and wait for someone to come and check up on me.
Eventually a man with short dark hair and glasses walked in. He was tall, fair skinned and thin. His eyes where as dark green as pine needles and had dull shadows beneath them. He was wearing a long white coat and was carrying a clipboard.
“Good morning Mr Butcher. How are you feeling?” He asked.
“Tired and incredibly confused.” I replied, “Not to sound rude but who on earth are you?”
“Oh yes, sorry, my name is Dr Peterson.” He said.
“But . . . why am I here?” I inquired.
“You were brought in after your neighbours discovered that your house was on fire. I’m sorry to have to tell you that your parents and younger brother died.” Came the answer.
“Fire? But I don’t remember!”
“Can you remember anything at all?” asked a voice from the doorway. I turned to see another man standing there dressed in a dark suit and wearing dark glasses. He was a medium height but looked powerfully built. He had prematurely white hair and a faint scar down his neck that gave him the look of a soldier of war.
“Who the hell are you?” asked Dr Peterson.
“Forgive me, my name is Phil Jones,” he replied “I am here to collect Mr Butcher.”
“He hasn’t been cleared for release until tomorrow!” said Dr Peterson firmly.
“I think you’ll find he has.” said the man. He handed Dr Peterson a piece of paper. Dr Peterson scanned it and handed it back.
“It seems he is indeed, but I still need to stress that he needs rest.” He said.
“I assure you doctor he will be taken care of. His security is our greatest concern.” was the answer.
“Okay then! He’s in your hands now” the doctor said, then turning to me “Any trouble, feel free to look me up!”
I hesitated not knowing what to say to this statement. What could I say, here in front of me was a man I barely knew telling me to look him up.
“Thanks . . . I owe you one!” was all I could come up with in the end. Dr Peterson nodded and left. As the doctor walked out of the room the other man walked to the side of my bed.
“Hello Mr Butcher my name is Lieutenant Phil Jones. I work for the government in a specialist division. This division is offering you a place in its job list.” He said.
“But why am I being offered a job by the government?” I asked confused.
“Ah . . . well there are special circumstances I will explain on the way to our destination. But at the moment we need to get you out of here.” He helped me out of the bed, found me some jeans, a t-shirt and a set of crutches and once I had changed and opened the ward door we set off down the hall.
“So you can’t remember anything? Anything at all?” asked the lieutenant.
“No nothing. I would expect not to be able to remember the fire but I can’t remember anything before that either.” I replied wincing with every step. Now that I was out of the bed I could see the multitude of white bandages enveloping the entire length of my back and bruises running down my arms. What in the world had happened to me?
“Strange” he said. We walked in silence for a while until we reached the hospital car park. Here the lieutenant led me to a dark black land rover opened the back door and waited for me to clamber in before climbing in himself.
“Right, now that we are in a more private place I can answer your questions in more detail.” he said turning to face me, “Any prominent questions?”
“Hell yeah, where are you taking me first of all and why am I being offered a job by the government?”
“Well as to why you’re being offered the job, I don’t know the specifics, but as to where we are going, I can answer. We are on our way to the main headquarters of a government division called Overwatch. It is a division that specialises in the training and deployment of the most elite of forces from around the world. These forces are sent on operations that are too dangerous for the ordinary military” the lieutenant answered.
“Somehow I find all this hard to believe” I said sceptically.
“I can assure you that it’s all completely true. We’re nearly there.”
We had reached a huge green forest. The pines that surrounded the road were emerald green and stood like mountains around us. We continued along a winding dirt track until eventually we stopped. In front of us there loomed a giant wire fence topped with endless coils of barbed wire. An armed guard greeted us at the gate and asked for identification.
“Wait here!” the lieutenant said.
He climbed out of the car, had a few words with the guard and then got back in. The guard waved us through and we drove for another ten minutes in silence. I was bursting with questions but didn’t know whether or not they would be answered soon or whether this lieutenant was the best person to ask. So I kept them bottled up until I could be sure that I would get a straight answer from someone. Finally we reached a concrete building set with identical tiny square glass windows at regular intervals. Pulling up alongside the double doors we stopped and after struggling with my crutches, which had become wedged in the gap between the seats, I climbed out of the land rover.
“Bit small for a state of the art training facility” I said to the lieutenant. He just smiled and motioned for me to follow him.
We pushed through the steel doors and entered into the building. The room we were in was tiny. There was just enough space to stand in. Directly opposite the door was a large reception desk and standing in the corner, looking thoroughly out of place, was an incredibly old and battered wardrobe. The lieutenant walked up to the desk across the room and rang the bell. After a few minutes a man dressed in camouflage fatigues entered and let out a loud and cheerful cry of welcome.
“Phil, you old dog, where have you been?” he exclaimed.
“Oh you know, here and there. All secret stuff as usual.” the lieutenant replied.
“Who’s the kid?” asked the man.
“Just a new recruit. Listen I can’t stay long I’m afraid. I’ve gotta get this one to the general.” the lieutenant said quickly.
“I’d better let you down then.” The man reached under the desk and flipped a switch. The wardrobe in the corner split in half to reveal what looked like an elevator shaft. Comprehension dawned on me. The lieutenant helped me across to the elevator and we both squeezed inside. Once we were in the man at the desk pressed another button and the doors closed again. We shot downwards with immense speed and in a few seconds we ground to a halt at the bottom of the shaft. The doors hissed open and my mouth fell open.