Chapter one is up! Woohoo! =D

(I'm happy about this...can you tell?)

Who wouldn't be? I've been working on this for three years....

Anyway, this is the first chapter to the book. I know that it's short, but there's more to come. Unfortunately, I've only gotten four chapters edited...out of forty-one...*sigh*...so it may be a while before I get anything else up after chapter four.

Anyway, this is just to get ya'll started. It's a rough draft, and I've still got editing to do. Again. I may take out a few scenes I may put in a few scenes. You writers know how it goes. =D

ttyl!

-Snakes and Scarlett 4 Ever!-

This section is rated K

CHAPTER

1

The streets and side walks of New York City were packed to the brim with people and cars. It was very cold; a gloomy, ash gray cloud dominated the sky, spewing out icy blasts of wind and snow. The never ending racket of voices, machinery and cars filled the frozen air, adding to the stress of everyday life. The city was in for a bad winter, and everyone was stocking up on food and water; the shelves in the stores were being robbed, and the owners were doing their best to keep them filled. The economy was bad, and crime was rising to immense heights; you couldn't turn the television or open a news paper without seeing something about it. But, despite all of this, there was one little boy and his family that kept their hopes up.

The Michaels home was no more than a rented apartment, and not a very expensive one at that, yet not a poor one either. It was two stories. Upstairs, there was the room shared by the children, the master bedroom, the master bath and a small den. Downstairs, there was the kitchen, dinning room, living room and another bathroom. Nothing fancy, to say the least, but the Michaels called it home.

On this particular day, Ian Michaels, a seven year-old boy, crept around his room doing all sorts of imaginary ninja moves, telling his twin Terri how he would someday become the greatest ninja in the world. Terri stood near the window watching him, hands folded across chest as she shook her head at him.

"I'll be the best ninja in the entire world. I'll kill all of the bad guys and save the good guys. I bet that I could even kill the so called, greatest ninja. I-whoaa!Ouch!" Terri laughed. "Ha! Some ninja that you would turn out to be! Look at you! Tripping on your own feet!" Ian jumped up. "Hey! That's not funny!Every ninja makes at least one mistake!" Terri huffed. "Yeah, but if you're surrounded by bad guys with sharp swords, there would be no room for a messing up. And you're not even doing real ninja moves." Ian sulked off to his bunk bed and climbed to the top. He sat there for a moment, and then pulling a book out from under his pillow, he opened it. Ian stared at the pictures of famous ninjas and karate masters, secretly longing to be like one of them. His thoughts were interrupted by his mother's voice from down stairs. "Ian! Terri! It's time for supper! Please come down and help me with setting the table." Terri put down the little stuffed dog that she was holding and hop skipped out of the bedroom, calling back to her twin, "Come on Ian! We're having spaghetti tonight!" At the sound of the word spaghetti, Ian hurriedly put the book back under his pillow and raced down the stairs to join his sister.

After a while, while Ann and her children were preparing supper, the dog of the family, a little Jack Russel Terrier named Molly, ran to the door, barking loudly as someone turned the nob. Ann shooed her away as she opened the door; she greeted her husband with a smile.

"Hello John." Ian and Terri came running to his open arms, hugging and kissing him profusely. "Oh daddy! We missed you a bunch!" John laughed heartily. "You silly rouges, I've only been gone since this morning!" He hugged them tightly, and then stood to hug his wife. "But I am glad that you missed me." Ann took his coat and hat. "Supper will be ready soon, dear." John smiled. "Good, I'm starving." Terri skipped off to the kitchen to help her mother, but Ian stretched out his hands towards his father. John picked him up, carrying him to large chair in the corner of the living room.

"Well son, how was your day today?" Ian smiled brightly. "Just fine, daddy. How about you?" John hugged his son again, glad to be home. "Wonderful." A few moments silence passed, and then Ian looked up into his father's deep blue eyes. "Um...daddy...I have a question," John looked at him as if surprised, but he already knew what the question was. "Really? What's that?" Ian fumbled with the edge of his sweater almost bashfully.

"Well, um, I-I was wondering if you could...um..." He paused, and then looked up at his father. "Daddy, can I please learn karate?"

John smiled. "You know that we can't afford it, son." Ian was quiet for a minute, and then looked at him with a new idea. "Daddy, I'll be eight in a few weeks, and then I can get a job and help get some money!" John laughed, standing as Ann called them to the table. "That would be nice, son, but it's hard to find a job these days." Ian held his father's hand as they walked to the dinning room. "Yes daddy...but I'll be able to help someday."

That evening, after supper, Ian sat on the couch with his parents and Terri. A fire burned in the fireplace and the ornaments on the Christmas tree glittered in the firelight. Ian sat in between his parents with Terri, and he snuggled deeper into the red blanket that he was wrapped up in, lulled to sleep by his parent's voices. He dreamed, and in this dream, he saw many different things, some were happy, and others were frightening. He saw many people, and they were all adults, men and women; they were pointing to him and calling him Snake Eyes. Ian saw himself, he was running away from something, but it was dark and he could not see. Suddenly, a large cobra appeared in front of him, blocking the path to the door. Ian tried to go around it, but the cobra tripped him, and he noticed that wrapped in the cobra's coils, was the limp and bloody form of a man. Ian was horrified, he jumped up, and ran in the opposite direction, but was only faced by the cobra once more. The cobra reared up, opening its jaws to reveal four sharp poisonous fangs, and its tongue turned into a shotgun. Ian covered his face and fell to the floor, and just as the snake was about to strike...he woke up. Sitting bolt upright, he looked around only to find that he was in his own room in his own bed at the top of the bunk. After he realized where he was, he relaxed to some extent, but he was still baffled about his dream, and a bit frightened. Suddenly, he remembered a picture that he had seen in a news paper. He crept down out of bed and went to the door, opening it very quietly so as not to disturb the gently snoring Terri. Ian crept across the hallway and went to his parent's bedroom; the door was slightly cracked open and the light was on. Looking into the crack, he saw that no one was there. He went to the bedside table and started going through some things that were on it; a dieting book, some drawings that Terri had done, a Bible...the news paper. He pulled it out and flipped through the pages. At the back of the news paper was a photo of some medical people removing the body of a person from an office room. Ian nervously read the report under the photo:

"This man was found on the floor of his office at Washington D.C. on Wednesday, December seventeenth. Officials say that the F.B.I. has had many other reports like this one. The victim was a forty five year old male and was a reporter on terrorist groups around the world. He was apparently stabbed to death by a machete. Tied to the handle of the machete was a flag with the emblem of a cobra's head on it. The cobra on the flag has baffled every one; nobody knows what it means....."

Ian slammed the news paper shut and ran back to his room; he had seen enough for one night.

Down stairs, Ann carried two cups of coffee into the living room where her John was sitting on the couch. Ann sat down by her husband and handed him the cup of coffee. "So, how was your day at work, John?" She asked quietly. John took the cup and looked into the fire reflectively. "It was fine. I got a raise today, too." Ann smiled. "That's good. How much?" John took a sip of the hot, black coffee. "About two hundred more than we were getting..." he paused, and then looked over at his wife. "Ann, what would you think about putting Ian in Martial Arts? His birthday is coming up soon and we have nothing really to give him. Ann shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, it would be fine with me. Did you find something cheap enough?" John pulled a brochure out of his back pocket. "I think I may have; on my way back from work, I saw this sign for a Dojo down in Manhattan, so I stopped by briefly. The owner of the place is an elderly Japanese man, and has trained many young children. In fact he's got a nephew about Ian's age. His prices are low, and he seems very nice. The only catch would be that this is a very authentic Dojo, and Ian would have to stay a couple of days a week for his training. I don't know how he would feel about that." Ann snuggled close to John and smiled. "It's fine with me if it's fine with him." John laid the brochure down on the table, leaning his head on his wife's. "I'll ask him in the morning."