Authors: A. King Bradley
A. KING BRADLEY
A Novel by A. King Bradley
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by A. King Bradley
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Cover design by Damian Bradley of Jack of Art Trades LLC
Soundtrack produced by Travis Schroder
For the most complete experience be sure to download a
copy of the Savior Soundtrack by visiting
Certain Chapters in Savior have corresponding songs on the Savior Soundtrack. These Chapters are indicated by the following symbol placed within the Chapter’s Title:
To my lovely wife, Monica,
for your patience, understanding,
and most of all LOVE.
And also in joyful memory of
my dear friend and mentor
Dr. Dawn DeVeaux.
Table of Contents
WHAT ARE WE
LET HIM COME
THE FAT LADY
MAKE IT RAIN
ACE VS TANGO
“I’ve realized that I can either save the world or choose to enjoy it… but I can’t do both.”
I REMEMBER THAT MOMENT AS IF IT WERE YESTERDAY—The floor beneath us had collapsed, sending us plummeting into the deserted level beneath. I will never forget the fear I saw within her eyes. Beset on all sides by rubble and the corpses of fallen Strangers and our classmates, she cowered in the center of the nearly demolished room. I watched as he stood before her, thrusting an enormous .50 caliber pistol in her direction.
Outside, Agent Wells’ men continued to surround the building as The Suspect contemplated his next move. He knew it was only a matter of time.
“You don't have to do this,” she pleaded. He said nothing as the dead eyes of the Greek tragedy mask he wore upon his face stared coldly at her.
I thought, but suddenly I was paralyzed by fear. My mask was so heavily damaged in the fall that I had to discard it in order to see. If I stepped out of the shadows in which I stood, she would finally see my face. At last she would know what I could do.
I desperately wanted to help her, but how could I save her and risk her finding out that I had killed her father? I couldn’t determine if it would be better to allow her to die or save her and let her hate me forever. Who was I kidding? I was no hero. Heroes instantly take action when needed. They don’t stop to consider the morbid question that clouded my mind.
With his gun still trained on her, he took one step forward. I had made my decision. I remember closing my eyes and hearing the thundering gunshot.
FOUR MONTHS EARLIER:
HE DREW BACK HIS FIST AND PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE with all his might. I instinctively stumbled backward but almost forgot to fall. I remembered to fall just in time to make it seem natural. The punch didn’t hurt. They never did. Of course I wasn’t about to let “Fat” Pat Wilson know that. I had a long day ahead of me and I wanted that “beat-down,” as Fat Pat would say, to be over as quickly as possible.
As I hit the ground Fat Pat was upon me, wailing on my face as I scrambled to protect myself. He was easily twice my size, yet none of the surrounding high school students bothered to lift a finger in my defense. They only pointed and jeered at how easily I was defeated.
You know that saying about sticks and stones? That only applied to me in reverse. I had no idea why, but for some reason, sticks and stones could not break my bones, but words— words were the only things that could hurt me.
I covered my face as the punches and insults continued to rain upon me. The casual onlooker might have mistaken that as a means to shield my head from the blows, but I really just wanted to keep them from noticing my tears.
“Look, he’s crying! The Grim Weeper is crying again!” someone shouted from the crowd—too late. Back then my name was Adam Reaper. With a last name like Reaper, you would think that I would have had a much cooler nickname. Unfortunately, I had earned the name “Grim Weeper” because I was never able to successfully make it through a beat-down without shedding tears.
The crowd erupted with laughter as Fat Pat threw his head back and coughed up the biggest loogie that he could muster. The disgusting gurgling noises he made were enough to have made me puke if I had been fortunate enough to eat a meal before I arrived at school.
The sickening mass of mucus and saliva that splattered against my face triggered my gag reflex, forcing my body to attempt to vomit once again.
“Leave him alone,” a firm voice ordered from within the crowd. I released a sigh of relief as I recognized it.
Fat Pat pushed my head to the ground as he stood to face my lone advocate. He didn't seem surprised when he discovered Jason Kilpatrick standing before him. Jason, better known to me as “Ace,” was a lean 16 year old with an athletic build and very strong chin. I always thought that he looked like the teenage version of a Navy SEAL. Fury burned in his dark green eyes as he glared up at the much larger Pat. There was no secret as to why everyone called Pat Wilson “Fat Pat” behind his back. There was also no secret as to why no one called him that to his face. His 6’4”, 340-pound frame, plus his sadistic nature, made him the most ruthless bully at Carlton County High School.
Still, despite his perch atop the high school food chain, he knew better than to lay a finger on Jason Kilpatrick. It had only been a year and a half since Jason showcased his polished martial arts skills against Matt Connors, a self-proclaimed tough guy who had no idea who he was picking on at the time. Like Fat Pat, Matt was twice Jason’s size, but that size discrepancy didn’t stop Jason from breaking his arm in three places.
“You should really learn to mind your own business, Kilpatrick,” Fat Pat growled. The crowd clamored with anticipation as Jason clinched his fists. Jimmy and Bryan, two of Fat Pat’s henchmen, inched closer to him as Jason narrowed his eyes.
“Am I supposed to be afraid because you're balling your little fists?” Fat Pat teased. “I guess you think I give a damn about you beating up that Connors kid last year?”
“I am only going to say this once,” Jason said evenly. “Piss off, you fat bastard.”
The crowd released a collective gasp as Fat Pat gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. Though he knew of Jason’s fighting prowess there was no way he would let the much smaller and considerably less popular Jason insult him in front of such a large gathering of our peers.
“What did you say to me, chump?” Fat Pat growled.
“I said piss of you fat ba-” Jason’s words were interrupted by an incoming punch from Fat Pat. In a blur, Jason easily sidestepped the blow and struck Pat hard in the throat with his right hand.
As Fat Pat clutched his throat and gagged, Jimmy grabbed Jason from behind. Jimmy was not as huge as Pat but he still outweighed Jason by over 50 pounds. Jason lunged to the right throwing Jimmy off balance, then hip-tossed him to the ground.
Jason struck a defensive stance and glared at Bryan Douglas, the tall muscular teenager who was the last of Fat Pat’s gang.
“Hey, take it easy,” Bryan muttered as Jimmy pulled himself to his feet.
Still rubbing his aching throat, Fat Pat glared at me. “This isn’t over, Grim Weeper! Your boyfriend can’t be everywhere at once. We’ll find you alone, and when we do, you’re toast!” Fat Pat was furious. The anger that burned in his eyes made me seriously wonder how long I had to live.
“Let’s get out of here,” Jason suggested as he pulled me forward through the crowd.
“What about class?” I asked as I straightened my disheveled clothes.
“I’ve got a surprise. Class can wait,” Jason replied.
“What kind of surprise?” I asked.
“It’s a surprise,” Jason smirked, “You’ll just have to wait until we get there.”
I cringed as I heard a set of footsteps racing toward us from behind.
Fat Pat doesn’t waste any time, does he?
“Hey, wait up!” a voice shouted. I relaxed as I recognized the quirky voice of my best friend, Howard “Howie” Vargas. His curly mop top hair bounced with each step as he hurried to join us. When he finally caught up with us, he straightened his thin framed glasses and doubled over panting as he struggled to catch his breath. Howie was quite small in stature, but completely out of shape due to his disdain for physical activities.
“You okay there, Howie?” Jason asked.
“I’m fine. Where are you guys going?” Howie replied between gasps.
“I have a surprise. We’re ditching class to go check it out. You wanna come?”
Howie raised an eyebrow as he considered the offer. “I don’t know,” he finally said. He had never skipped class before. He was a straight-A student and by far the smartest person at our school, teachers included. He didn’t actually need to attend classes in order to achieve his good grades due to his photographic memory and hyper-analytical mind, but I guess he just liked the perfect attendance awards.
“Come on, Howard. Live a little! Trust me, bro, you’ll probably love the surprise more than any of us,” Jason said. That seemed to do the trick, as Howie’s face lit up with curiosity. Jason had a knack for knowing exactly what buttons to push when dealing with people. Besides his finely tuned combat skills, this was probably his greatest asset.
“Alright, I’ll do it,” Howie finally said. “You know I can’t turn down a good mystery. There’s no way I can go to class without seeing what this thing is!”
“After you see this, you might not ever want to go back to class,” Jason replied as we made our way across the schoolyard, headed for his SUV.
“Shotgun!” Howie shouted, smiling, as he claimed the coveted front seat. As I hopped into the back seat the entire rear of the SUV sagged down. I nervously looked at my two friends in the front seats, hoping they didn’t notice the drastic shift in weight. I was relieved to see that they didn’t.
Based on my incredibly slender 6’2” frame, at first glance I appeared to only weigh around 135 pounds. The thing is, even though I appeared to be as skinny as a beanpole, I actually weighed nearly 700 pounds. I had been that way for as long as I could remember. The only other person in the world that knew of my condition was my mother, and I intended to keep it that way. I always felt like an outcast growing up and the last thing I needed was for the rest of the world to know how much of a freak I truly was.
As we pulled off, a wave of depression washed over me as I thought of how helpless I would be when Fat Pat and his goons caught up to me again. Despite my thin frame, my true weight made it impossible to move very fast, so running or fighting back was out of the question. There were times when I barely had enough energy to move at all. It’s hard to explain, but I always felt drained. It sort of felt like at any moment, my body would completely shut down.
Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing,
I thought as I stared out of the window.
At least then I wouldn’t have to deal with the myriad of problems that plagued my life.
“Adam?!” Jason yelled from the driver’s seat.
“Yes?” I replied, pretending as though I had been paying attention.
“What’s on your mind, bro? You haven’t said a word.”
“It’s nothing. I’m just tired,” I muttered as I peered out of the window once more. Jason stared at me in the rearview mirror for a bit before refocusing his eyes on the road.