Green Eyed Monster

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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maldon007
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:31 pm

Yes!







...Sometime.

Pregnant wife on bed rest + two kids = 0 time :(




(this space reserved for MOAR later :lol: )
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Bearcat » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:10 pm

Alright, that's understandable. But you see, I don't have my fix from Kathy or Wyecyote in the 7 Bullets story or Life after Death from Shoe Daddy or ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!! Guess I could try writing mine and post it in it's entirety so no one has to beg for moar(granted they like it).

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by FIDO » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:57 pm

Do it than, we could use moar stories here, I browse the older stuff as well.
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Vanniek71 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:01 pm

lost this and FINALLY found it, subscribed now!

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:44 pm

The new ZS'er has arived, at 7lb. 13oz. he is my smallest born, but the first with outward pointing genitalia!... but then we had to have it trimmed :(

So now I can get back to the important things in life, like collecting cool gear & writing amateur zombie stories :D

(Kidding wife!! The giant gaggle of children are still my top priority!)

Moar story soon :twisted:
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:23 pm

maldon007 wrote:The new ZS'er has arived, at 7lb. 13oz. he is my smallest born, but the first with outward pointing genitalia!... but then we had to have it trimmed :(

So now I can get back to the important things in life, like collecting cool gear & writing amateur zombie stories :D

(Kidding wife!! The giant gaggle of children are still my top priority!)

Moar story soon :twisted:
Congrats!
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:54 am

maldon007 wrote:The new ZS'er has arived, at 7lb. 13oz. he is my smallest born, but the first with outward pointing genitalia!... but then we had to have it trimmed :(

So now I can get back to the important things in life, like collecting cool gear & writing amateur zombie stories :D

(Kidding wife!! The giant gaggle of children are still my top priority!)

Moar story soon :twisted:
Congratulations!

7lb, 13oz is your smallest? :shock: Wow. Again, congrats! :D
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by BearBait » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:45 pm

Now you got a little pack mule, I use mine to carry extra gear in the field and to resupply my beer hand! :lol:

Congratulations!
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:43 pm

BearBait wrote:Now you got a little pack mule, I use mine to carry extra gear in the field and to resupply my beer hand! :lol:

Congratulations!
+1
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Narshalla » Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:02 am

Interesting.

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by TastingAshes » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:45 am

Congrats sir! I feel some empathy for you here as I also have the Gaggle of chiruns going for me lmfao strangely though we are polar opposites and I have ALL boys!!! here's to having big happy families and writing ridiculous zombie horror on ZS!
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Mon May 09, 2011 11:29 am

16.

Sunday was not a good day for Alden. Only one call from Merasa, and there was no good news from her. The trip home from Atlanta was taking way too long, more delays the day before, roads closed, car trouble, infighting… At least their little group was leaving Podunk (or wherever) to finally head home.

Alden Wilkins-
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No good news in the news either. All morning he left the TV turned on to CNN, while cleaning up from all the preparing. The Green Map had become the standard on all the cable news outlets, it was like an election blue/red graphic, only green and red. Green for areas with known green disease, diagonal stripe green for areas with suspected infection, and green/red alternating stripes over places where greenies were roaming unchecked. Granted, the green/red stripped areas were very few & most were very small, but the fact that there was any made Alden glad they had bought all that crap.

At least he felt good about that. Whether or not all this mess ever affected them directly, they were set with groceries for a year or so. Samantha had been of little help, doing what was asked, but preferring to blog or whatever, instead of really putting in some work. Alden had been at it nonstop since waking, though it may have been partly just to keep his mind busy. The freezer that sat collecting dust in the corner of the garage was at long last keeping food cold, instead of being used as an extra table. He had cleaned off two shelving units that, up till then, had only served as pit stops for crap they would eventually haul off to good will. They stood revitalized, stacked with canned goods for an armageddon alden knew… well was pretty sure, would never come. Better safe than sorry.

By late morning, he was beat. The lawn needed mowing, but that could wait, a nap was what he needed. He lay down, intending to snooze for a few minutes, but awoke to Sam yelling at him from the bedroom doorway.

“…Dad, wake up! You have that meeting thing to go to. Or else that weird guy will come around looking for you. He’ll probably want to take inventory of our canned goods…” Alden looked at her with one eye still closed. “Yes yes, I’m up already. What time…” He saw the clock and jumped out of bed. He had somehow slept for two hours, he was late for the stupid meeting.

Alden was not sure exactly why he was going, never having been to one before, or cared much about it. The neighborhood was made up of rich families, or at least well off ones. Nobody painted their house chartreuse, or tore out their lawn & filled the front yard with white rocks. Nobody really needed a long list of rules to make them keep their property in order, too much invested. There just never seemed like a need for these meetings, but of course there had never been the threat of green zombies rampaging through the neighborhood before.

He had finally opened one of the meeting notices, it was the third one he had received. This time left on his front door handle, pushy fuckers. The other two had been rubber-banded to the mailbox, and had not made it past the trash can on the way into the house. It said they were going to discuss the green menace, and that the vote on a new color for the guard house was pushed back to next month.

Of course Samantha wanted to stay home, but with no one to keep an eye on her, she would be going along. The meetings were held in the large “party room” at the clubhouse. Though, from what he had heard, no meeting had ever exceeded twenty participants. The attendees usually consisted of the five board members, and their wives/husbands, and friends.

“Come on dad, just park in the grass, that guy did.” Samantha pointed at the big silver Mercedes next to the flower bed. “Sam, they have sprinklers in the grass, car tires can break them… So get out and check for me… see if there are any, right over there.” The irregular winding lot that surrounded the pool and clubhouse was full. Alden thought it must be fifty cars, at least. He was pretty sure there were not fifty houses in the complex.

Inside it was standing room only. Lester Hynemin stood on a raised area in front of the fire place, admonishing the crowd to be calm. Alden wondered what the idiot could have said to get a bunch of happy rich home owners so up in arms. “Listen people, let’s let Jimmy finish what he has to say… ok?” Alden noticed the man standing just off the pedestal, next to Lester. It was their neighbor to the rear, probably the one Sam saw shooting arrows around his back yard, like a lunatic. The young man stepped up to talk, nudging Lester off the small stage, and looking pissed.

“I know this aint what you all want to hear, but it’s reality… These things are not going to stop, and the government doesn’t have the stomach to stop them. They WILL come here eventually… if not sooner. My ideas will work, it just takes everyone working together.”

Chatter began to elevate in volume again, obvious irritation in the voices. Alden could tell many of the people there were probably assuming this crazy redneck was speaking for the home owner’s association… As though his ideas were going to be law.

“Everyone can just calm down…” A soothing, but loud voice came from the far left of the room. “I am a doctor, and I have worked with the CDC. These guys don’t mess around, they will get this outbreak under control fairly soon… I have that on good authority.” Alden recognized the man, having noticed the very nice Porsche he drove. “…Our main concern is just to keep your eyes open for anything unusual… anything that might indicate someone may be infected. And contact the police or the CDC if you do!”

Jimmy cut in. “Doc, that sounds all well and good… all roses & sunshine, but all the places where this outbreak is running wild out of control, probably thought the same thing. That the government was going to save them, but the government can’t get out of it’s own way! There are hundreds dying every day, and maybe thousands being corrupted by this… plague!!”

Alden thought the young man seemed a little too upset, in sort of a zealous kind of way… Almost as though he had been looking forward to this happening… or at least something like it.

“I’m pretty sure there are not hundreds dying anywhere because of this… maybe over in the middle east, where they don’t have the infrastructure we do… but not here, where did you get numbers like that?”

The crowd was turning back & forth, from Jimmy to the doctor, as each would speak. It reminded Alden of a cartoon tennis match.

“There are lots of websites out there with the real facts… not like the government filtered mainstream ‘news’ fictional entertainment shows.”

A murmur passed through the crowd, Alden couldn’t be sure, but it kind of sounded like a bunch of people all whispering ‘He’s crazy!’ or something to that effect.”

“Alrighty Jim, you’ve given us a lot to think about… And you are one hundred percent correct on the fact that we need to all pull together in these unusual times…” Lester smiled a condescending smile at the young man, as he nudged him off the small stage. He then attempted to reassert control, while flaunting his seemingly endless knowledge of everyone’s name in the community. “Doctor Williams here has made some great points as well. I am certain this situation will be handled, and in the mean time, let’s all be extra diligent in our daily lives. If you see someone who is sickly… or acting odd, inform the proper authorities immediately. Also be on the lookout for people hording food, or other items… This can cause price spikes & shortages for the rest of us, so let the sheriff know!”

Alden’s mouth dropped open for a second… Inform on your neighbor if he has extra groceries in the house? To what end? Confiscation of the “horded” goods? This was lunacy. It seemed that very few of the homeowners agreed with Alden’s thinking. As he looked around, only a few eyebrows even raised at this statement. He would have loved to have given them a civics lesson, but it didn’t seem like the time or place.

Lester continued. “…Any new folks you see around, make a note of it, people where they don’t belong, report it…”

A woman Alden didn’t know spoke up. “I have family down to visit, obviously you’re not talking about guests… people who are invited, right?”

“Oh no Sheila, of course I don’t mean family… I mean, you have to be careful about it, make sure nobody you let into our community has had contact with those things. Really anyone who has been in the general vicinity of an outbreak should get checked out, I think…” The rambling admonition was interrupted by a pissed off Sheila.

“Lester, you bastard… you know my brother is from Dixon, we talked about it… You didn’t say anything!”

Alden sighed, knowing there was drama afoot. Others in the room gasped, shook their heads, and murmured amongst themselves, respectively.

“Calm down Sheila, I’m not a cop you know, It’s not my responsibility to check every single person out… But if you let people into your home, into our community, who are refugees of a green zone…”

A quick movement to his left brought Alden’s attention to the Jimmy guy, who had somehow moved over behind Sheila, and was now grappling with a man who was standing behind her.

“What are the sunglasses for greenie?!” Jimmy was grabbing at the man’s gasses, which Alden realized did indeed have shaded lenses, which didn’t seem necessary in a room of average to low lighting, and shaded windows. People were moving away from the pair like the oily film on water moves away from that first drop of lemony fresh Dawn. Sheila stayed fairly close, yelling at Jimmy to leave her brother alone.

“Dad, what’s going on?” Alden had almost forgotten Samantha was beside him, now standing on her toes in an attempt to see over the crowd. He immediately grabbed her hand and turned for the door. This drama could play out just fine without his family watching.

A few other people were leaving, but Alden made it out in seconds. He could hear more yelling from inside, new voices adding to the cacophony.

As they reached the car, the first gunshot sounded. “Is that shooting?” Samantha asked, obvious concern furrowing her brow.

“Not sure honey…” He was pretty sure though, as he fought panic to appear calm for his daughter. “…but either way, let’s get going.

What had been a trickle of folks leaving the meeting from the west door, turned to a flood of running, frightened looking people. Ants from a disturbed nest, was all he could think of, though he had always assumed the ants were more pissed than scared.

“That’s not good dad… is it?”

Alden drove through the planter bed to avoid three cars all trying to back out of parking spaces at once, behind him. He was pretty sure he heard the snap of a sprinkler riser under the car. “No… no it’s not.”
Last edited by maldon007 on Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Gramaton Cleric » Mon May 09, 2011 2:06 pm

DAMN this is awesome! :mrgreen: :D
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Tue May 10, 2011 1:41 am

sweet acceleration! I just hope Sam isn't doing the stereotypical teenage blogging: "My dad is going nuts putting away all the food we bought this morning at Costco. I swear there must be enough there for a year. Oh, well, at least he's not making me help him make room for it all".
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Bearcat » Tue May 10, 2011 3:22 pm

GotMak wrote:sweet acceleration! I just hope Sam isn't doing the stereotypical teenage blogging: "My dad is going nuts putting away all the food we bought this morning at Costco. I swear there must be enough there for a year. Oh, well, at least he's not making me help him make room for it all".
Too late for that man. The maid let the neighbor in and he already saw the supplies...

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Tue May 10, 2011 3:41 pm

Bearcat wrote:
GotMak wrote:sweet acceleration! I just hope Sam isn't doing the stereotypical teenage blogging: "My dad is going nuts putting away all the food we bought this morning at Costco. I swear there must be enough there for a year. Oh, well, at least he's not making me help him make room for it all".
Too late for that man. The maid let the neighbor in and he already saw the supplies...
Good catch, I missed that.
"That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of Democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." George Orwell

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Bearcat » Tue May 10, 2011 4:00 pm

GotMak wrote:
Bearcat wrote:
GotMak wrote:sweet acceleration! I just hope Sam isn't doing the stereotypical teenage blogging: "My dad is going nuts putting away all the food we bought this morning at Costco. I swear there must be enough there for a year. Oh, well, at least he's not making me help him make room for it all".
Too late for that man. The maid let the neighbor in and he already saw the supplies...
Good catch, I missed that.
That part of the story really illustrates the need to follow OPSEC at all times during crisis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operations_security" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Don't tell everyone how many guns you got or how many supplies you have. If shit ever hits the fan, they could come a running with that in mind or try take it from you. People seem to think that they are automatically entitled to the preps you've made with your hard earned money and time.

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Tue May 10, 2011 4:06 pm

Absolutely, and if I had all that stuff, you can bet I'd keep it on the DL. If i did, that is...
"That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of Democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." George Orwell

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Bearcat » Tue May 10, 2011 4:19 pm

GotMak wrote:Absolutely, and if I had all that stuff, you can bet I'd keep it on the DL. If i did, that is...
Exactly, I don't even toliet paper here. :wink:

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Tue May 10, 2011 9:54 pm

Bearcat wrote:
GotMak wrote:Absolutely, and if I had all that stuff, you can bet I'd keep it on the DL. If i did, that is...
Exactly, I don't even toliet paper here. :wink:
Heck, I don't even have an internet connection! :P

Wait, that one doesn't work, does it... :?


Great update, Maldon. Is it bad that the only way I had any idea who Matt Frewer is was because I just watched Hercules the other day? :lol:
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:00 am

17.

Maresa looked off into space, trying to figure out what to do… Not that there was much she could do at that moment, stuck in a jail cell. The steel bench she sat on was distractingly uncomfortable, though she guessed that may have been the point. Philippe sat a few feet away, at the other end of the ass torturing bench. A matching bench ran along the opposite wall, occupied by Director Parks. D.C. Ross stood quietly by the bars, taking a break from yelling at the jailer, since he had exhausted every obvious demand, complaint, threat and insult.

“Fucking dumbass redneck fucks.” He said quietly, as he pulled out a cigarette and his chrome Zippo. Maresa was pretty sure it was a gas lighter that just looked like a Zippo, or an insert, since he never smelled of lighter fluid as her father always had.

“Sir… I don’t think they want us to smoke in here.” Philippe pointed at the red ‘no smoking’ sign on the hallway wall opposite the bars.

Ross gave him with a look that could have melted the many layers of paint off the concrete walls. Maresa got one too, a quick glance, as if admonishing a mother to control her unruly child. Garry Ross lit up & took a long drag, turning back towards the bars, he blew a stream of smoke towards the sign.

Philippe answered Maresa’s slightly head-canted ‘wtf’ look, with a whispered “I just didn’t want us to get in trouble.”

Maresa whispered back “We’re locked up in a jail cell… Tom has been conscripted by a disturbed sheriff and we have no idea when or if he will be back… or if we can EVER leave. We can’t get in much more trouble I don’t think, so hush! Don’t make me regret bringing you along.”

“Why not? I already regret you bringing me along.” Philippe said it jokingly, but probably meant it. “Remember, I voted we should go around… remember?”

The previous evening the group stopped for the night in the small town of Murphy NC. Not that they wanted to stop for the night, but road closures in town had driven them so far into the rabbit hole of mountain roads, that it became the logical choice. They could stay the night at the local Mountain Vista Inn and hope 19/74 was open by morning (as promised by the local police), or backtrack & head further south & east again, in hopes 441 or some other route north might work. Philippe had been alone in voting to try the backtrack & go around route.

Maresa had called Alden to let him know of the newest delay as soon as they decided, he had not been very happy at all. It sounded like he and Samantha were doing ok though, and a promise that she would make it back for sure the next day helped smooth things over a bit.

“So nobody has an extra cell phone?... or a radio or something, any way to call out of here?” Jordan Parks asked in a defeated tone, already knowing no one did. His question was answered only by sad, shaking heads.

“That damn jailer found my second phone. I hid it in a bag of mints, in my inside pocket… Fat little plug probably just wanted to eat them, and found it by accident.” The ex colonel (“Full-bird” as described to Maresa) was a stocky silver haired man, maybe sixty years old, though for some reason his age was hard to guess for her… He might have been a well-worn fifty five or a well preserved seventy for all she knew.

“Maybe that man, Al, will call someone… he seemed quite unapproving of the Sheriff’s methods.” Maresa spoke more out of hope & conjecture, than any real faith in the idea.

“The guy was working for the Sheriff, Maresa… not likely.” Garry Ross said, almost scoffingly.

“Not everyone who works for a person, agrees with them… you know?” Maresa said, not looking at Garry, but assuming he would know she was talking about him.

They had met Al Schneider when he stopped them on the road into town. His Toyota was parked across the north bound lanes of 19/74. The truck, along with four orange cones, blocked all traffic into town. Al was a big man, probably in his fifties, and though he had a Florida tag on his truck, he seemed well at home in the mountains. A long break-action shotgun sat just inside the open door of his truck, barrel against the door jamb, with the butt resting on the floorboards. He explained his job was to stop & check all traffic coming into town, and turn away any suspicious folks. He was also telling any through traffic about the temporary detour at “old 19”. A police stand-off with a family of meth dealers there, had apparently caused the road closure. Nothing to do with fears of the green disease, for once. When asked why it was not a deputy but a civilian, manning a road block, he begrudgingly admitted the sheriff service was dangerously understaffed, so he had volunteered. From what the Sheriff told him, most of the deputies had quit or were out sick, paranoid about the green menace, he said. The few remaining men were stuck at the ‘old Stokely place’ trying to get those ‘damn fool Stokely boys’ to surrender.

When a few cars cad lined up behind them, Al cut the chit-chat & looked each of them over for signs of disease, per his instructions. Via CB radio, he gave the sheriff a rundown on the VIP nature of the group and apprised him of their non infected appearance. No one thought twice about the obvious interest the sheriff had in Tom, thinking it normal for law enforcement to want to know all about any well armed strangers in town. Tom answered a few questions, seemingly quite general, about his status as an official State Of Illinois executive security officer & his armament. Al then sent them on their way, wishing them luck.

“Who’s idea was it to stay overnight in this podunk shithole anyway?” Gary Ross asked, sounding pissed, though probably more at the situation than at anyone in the group. He looked at Maresa first, then around to the rest. She was not sure if he expected her to take the blame, or say who was at fault, she did neither. It had been Tom’s suggestion, but Garry had readily agreed, might have been the first even, damn hypocrite.

“That sheriff is a lunatic, I don’t think it would have mattered much weather we stayed the night, or tried to wait till the supposed car crash was cleared… He would have just trumped up some charge to arrest us on right then & there.” Jordan Parks said, probably more to just argue with Ross, then to defend himself or the others.

Even when the group ran into the second roadblock, manned by the Sheriff himself, they didn’t see through his deception. His story of a five car pileup with fatalities, which overtaxed the town’s single wrecker truck & small hospital, raised no red flags form anyone. His haggard appearance fit the narrative perfectly, a sympathetically overwrought sheriff, trying to keep up with too many emergencies. He apologized, and promised them the accident would be off the road in a few hours. Till then, with the stand-off still going on & the accident closing the only detour route, Maresa and company were stuck on the east side of town, with no way through. By then, it had become late enough that an overnight stay, with an early start in the morning, only made sense.

Ross ‘humphed’ and resumed yelling threats through the bars. Presumably, he thought the scowling chunky jailer woman, would crack under the pressure of his withering tirade, and let them out.

Maresa agreed with Parks, the sheriff did seem unhinged. She didn’t like their odds of getting out any time soon, either. If the Sheriff was as crazy as he seemed, nobody could predict what kind of nonsense he would come up with to cover his ass on the whole debacle.

“Yeah well, at least we got to have a decent meal last night, instead of gas station junk food.” Philippe muttered. Maresa gave him a ‘shut up!’ look. But he was right, a nice meal & a decent sleep had been nice.

Once the decision was made to stay the night, the next hurtle was to find a good place to eat. They secured a block of rooms at the Mountain Vista by phone, and asked the clerk there for tips on a place to eat. ‘Rib Country’ (which Maresa would happily recommend to anyone), was easy to find and filled the bill for filling their bellies, that may have actually been their motto.

Check in at the hotel went without incident and Maresa manage to get a good night’s sleep, though only after some tossing and turning, and finally dialing. Watching the news before bed was probably not the best idea, it was getting down right depressing. The green disease was sweeping Africa. Most of Asia was doing only slightly better, though some of the area’s island nations were still unaffected. It seemed to her, even acknowledging her lack of aptitude for sciency subjects, that the disease was spreading too fast… just too damn fast. It took a late night call home to calm her nerves. It had been after midnight before the sand man could drag her down passed the chilling thoughts and images that wouldn’t leave her head, and into slumber land.

“You know, that Sheriff seemed kind of… out of it, and it didn’t seem like an act, you know?” Parks, thinking aloud, leaning back against the wall with eyes closed. “Hell, he was distracted to the extreme… drugs maybe?… and the deputy, shit he was so fat he probably couldn’t get out of his own way. We could have taken both of them, without Tom even having to draw a gun.”

“Obviously Tom didn’t think fighting was the right course of action, people could have ended up dead. Remember, he seemed crazy to us, but the man is still a duly appointed law official. And he had a deputy with him, fat & useless or not, that guy may be just as crazy… or corrupt.” Maresa thought she might be being too argumentative, but didn’t want anyone getting the idea they could somehow act like Rambo to get out of this.

The only thing she could think of that might have saved them from their predicament, was if they had snuck out of town in the wee hours… But they would have needed to know about the Sheriff’s plan, and they hadn’t.

They had planned to be on the road that morning by eight A.M. Hoping to take the short northeast ride on 19/74 to the 129 junction, and then head northwest. Maresa was up by six, washed, fed, called home, packed, dressed & ready to go, by seven thirty. As she stepped out of the second floor room and looked down through the aluminum railing, she saw a patrol car parked behind their van. At the same time, she noticed a conversation getting loud, down the open-air hall.

Something like “…I’m real sorry Mr. Mclaughlin, but I have to insist…” Maresa recognized Tom’s name, and started walking that way. “I am NOT a police officer, and I have NO training as such…” She heard Tom protesting harshly. “Again Tom, I’m sorry, but I have no choice… I need help, and you are a state law enforcement officer… I have checked into this and reciprocity between our states clearly allows…”

Maresa came into the room without knocking on the half open door. “What’s going on guys?” Both men turned, the Sheriff pointed a bony finger at Maresa. “Mind your business lady, this is between Mr. Mclaughlin and me…” The man looked deranged, as if he might point his gun at her, if the finger didn’t work. Maresa backed out of the room with a hands-up “I’m Paul & that’s between yall” gesture, and immediately went down to D.C. Ross’s room to told him there was a problem.

It had gone downhill from there, with yelling & pushing, threats & intimidation, and a car ride to jail. Maresa had called the others on her phone, not sure of their room numbers. Garry Ross actually got in the Sheriff’s face and told him he would be directing traffic for the rest of his life, if he didn’t let Tom go. The Sheriff responded that he wouldn’t be doing it if he had a choice, and he would have Tom back inside of an hour. It all seemed like bullshit to Maresa, she had already put two and two together and come up with the Sheriff having planned on hijacking Tom, the minute he heard about him.

Once D.C. Ross dialed up the state police, Sheriff Hayden dropped all pretense of doing any kind reciprocity based “on the up and up” law enforcement exercise. He grabbed the phone and let them all know they would have to wait for Tom in a holding cell, and that was that.

Al showed up as the group was being ushered to the deputy’s car, and started asking the Sheriff a bunch of questions. He said something about Garry calling the state police being ‘interference in an ongoing investigation… which is a felony’. But Al didn’t seem to buy it, letting the Sheriff know it seemed like a bad idea. He was tersely told to get back to his post at the road block, and to quit eavesdropping on police channels, and that he would be called if he was needed.

That was it, within five minutes of D.C. Ross’s attempt to call for a sane cop, Maresa, Chief Ross, Director Parks and Philippe, were in a police car heading for the county lock up. Tom had been with the Sheriff, at their van, as they pulled out of the parking lot and that was the last they had seen of him.

“Someone’s out there… Yelling about something… Hey!” Maresa stood and came to the bars, trying to see and hear what D.C. Ross was talking about. The hall in front of their cell, passed in front of an adjacent cell then ended at a door with a smoked window. She thought she also could hear arguing through the door, though very muffled and faint.

“Probably the crazy Sheriff, come to kill us all” Philippe said, a bit too casually. He sat with his feet pulled up on the bench, chin on his knees. Jordan Parks came to the bars as well, the three craned their necks to see the window in hopes seeing it would somehow help them hear what was being said.

A buzz sounded and the door slammed open, tom stood in the open doorway, looking at the cells. “Buzz number two open, now.” He said over his shoulder.

“I can’t do that Mr. Mclaughlin, I need an order…” The Jailer began, but was immediately cut off.

“Open the cell now, or I’ll open it for you.” Tom’s tone left little doubt about his seriousness. There was no answer, assumed to mean the jailer was thinking over her options. Tom stood in the door frame, red dirt caked on his light brown khakis, wearing a sheriff’s office tactical vest that looked about two sizes too small and a pistol strapped to his hip. “Now lady!”

“It’s gonna be on you, Mr. Malaughlin, if I open this door…” The disembodied screechy, southern voice came drifting down the hall. Maresa couldn’t see the woman around the corner, but pictured her shaky finger just over the ‘cell open’ button, trying to decide what to do. The woman continued “When Sheriff Kyle gets back, he’s gonna have somebody’s head” Cell door still locked. “And it aint gonna be my…” Her voice trailed off, she paused then said uncomfortably “Uh… hi sheriff.”

Tom spun, just in time to get hit by the charging Sheriff. “Where do ya think you’re going, biggin?!” They stumbled into the hall and banged into the empty cell’s bars. Tom raised his right knee, striking the sheriff solidly just below the sternum. The Sheriff Hayden wheezed, but was able to snake a foot behind Toms right leg & took them both to the ground. This was a mistake, Tom weighed close to a hundred pounds more than the wiry sheriff and though the man clearly was an able wrestler, Tom pinned his legs quickly and rained blows down on him.

He showed no sign of surrender though he was clearly overmatched, still trying to slither a hand between them and affect an escape. Just when it looked as though the Sheriff might lose consciousness, his hand slashed out like a snake, Tom flinched hard. Pink skin appeared through a wide rift in Tom’s shirt at the shoulder, a moment later crimson filled the opening. A small knife had materialized in Sheriff Hayden’s right hand. Tom grabbed for the arm, but Hayden twisted away and struck out with the knife again and again. His flailing attacks were blocked for the most part, but Tom was driven from his superior position, cursing.

Having lost his advantage on the ground, Tom got to his feet as quick as he could & reached for his pistol. The sheriff was up quicker, Tom’s gun had barely cleared the holster when the Sheriff was on him. He slashed at the bigger man’s face, having to lunge upwards. Tom leaned back, dodging what looked like curved chrome eagle talon.

“I’m gonna gut you, shit face.” The Sheriff had Tom’s gun hand held tight, keeping it pointed outward. His blade sliced at Tom’s midsection, tearing across the ballistic vest, opening the black material to show the beige Kevlar weave inside. Tom snatched his knife hand in the air, they danced for a moment then he brought his large head down like a hammer. His forehead met the Sheriff’s face and a crunching echoed down the hall. He twisted his gun free of the stunned sheriff’s grip and he drove the muzzle into his bloody face, pushing his head back. The Sheriff lost balance and Tom was able to easily push him backwards.

The grappling pair stumbling past the first empty cell towards the second, which by then, had four gawking faces pressed to the bars. Everyone backed up as the Sheriff’s head slammed into the hardened steel bars.

Moving quicker than Maresa thought the old man was capable of, Jordan Parks stuck both hands through the bars and grabbed Hayden’s knife arm. “I got him, Tom!” Parks growled, fighting to pull the arm back through the bars. He twisted the arm up behind the still struggling Sheriff, to the point of obvious discomfort.

“Shit! Celia, shoot these fuckers!!” The sheriff pleaded, spitting blood.

Maresa saw the chunky jailer, who was peaking around the still open door, slowly reach down towards her gun belt. “Tom, gun… behind you!” At the same time, D.C. Ross grabbed the Sheriff’s other arm through the bars and pulled it into the cell.

Tom didn’t turn when the Celia ordered him to drop his gun. Instead of dropping it, he pressed it even harder into her boss’s eye socket. “If you shoot that gun Celia, I’m gonna re-decorate this cell with his brains… got it?”

The trembling, curly haired deputy seemed to think it over for a second. “Sh… Sheriff, what should I do?”

Parks and Ross adjusted their grip, locking his arms into a ‘cuffed behind the back’ position with three cell bars between the arms, essentially immobilizing the Sheriff. “I told you woman, shoot this fat prick!!”

“Celia, ease up dear, Kyle was up to no good out there… I hope you’re not in on this, are you?” Al Schneider was standing behind Celia, having appeared from nowhere.

Celia looked back & lowered the gun just a tad, along with the intensity on her face.

Tom spoke slowly to the obviously scared woman. “He’s right Celia, what you want to do is, go back in your office and call the state police… get them over here… and we can straighten all this out… Ok?”

“Whoa whoa whoa now… lets slow this down.” Sheriff Kyle sputtered. “Tom… Thomas… Tommy my man, we can work this out, right? You don’t want state police involved in this any more than I do, right? I’m not the only one bloody on this, you know”

Tom didn’t answer, but pushed the gun harder into Sheriff Kyle’s bloody hamburger face.

“You know I'm right Tom… Let’s just call it a draw, huh? You take your people, and get the fuck out of my county… Amnd uh well, I will clean up OUR mess here, sound good?” Accidentally spiting blood as he spoke.

“Shut up, ass hole.” Tom moved the gun from the sheriff’s eye socket, to his throat, as he backed up some. He stared at the Sheriff for a moment, thinking it over.

“Tom, what the hell happened out there?” Maresa asked.

“A cluster fuck, that's what... and this piece of shit was at the center of it.”

“Come on Tommy, we don’t need all these civilians involved in police business, do we? You know they can’t keep their mouths shut like you and me caghoch…” Tom jammed the muzzle into his larynx, interrupting his bullshit.

“I’ll call them, Sheriff… Seems like the best idea” Celia said, warily. She slowly backed out of the doorway, toward the reception area.

“Wait a minute honey!... Whaddya say there Tommy? Let’s take a walk, huh?” Sheriff Kyle smiled a wide, bloody, cracked toothed smile at Tom. It was a smile that reminded you there are other reasons for smiles, than happiness.

“We aren't walking anywhere dickhead, Celia’s going to open this cage… My people are coming out, and you’re getting in… Then, we will be on our way. By the way, I still have your pal’s rifle, you know that Remy 700 he tricked out, with the Leupold LRT? Yeah, If I see you within a half mile of us, I’ll show you how good I am with that type.”

“Not to worry partner, I got our mess here to clean up…” Pow! Right in the kisser, the Sheriff’s mouth was closed by a short quick jab from Tom’s ham shank sized left hand.

“Shut up, that shit is your mess… One hundred percent your mess, motherfucker… You guys get that knife out of his hand?” Parks showed Tom the small curved blade, seeming to appraise it positively as he did so.
“Here, cuff him… right hand first, then pass me the empty side.” Tom produced a set of hand cuffs from somewhere, and handed them through the bars.

The Sheriff looked back and forth rabidly, like a cornered animal trying to find a way out. But it was too late, Ross got his wrist cuffed, and handed the other end of the cuffs back through the bars. Tom finished cuffing the sheriff and lifted his arms up behind him, forcing him to bend over a bit.

“This shit is not even necessary, you know… We’re all on the same page here guys.” Trying a cool friendly tone, Hayden failed, sounding more like a man on the way to the electric chair trying to bribe a guard to let him go.

Resignation crept onto the Sheriff’s swollen face, as he reluctantly told Celia to open the cell.

Once the gang exited the cell, Tom unceremoniously ushered the beaten Sheriff in, and forced him to the floor by the right bench. He was then cuffed to one of the bench's support bars, his pleas for more genial treatment were ignored.

“This is silly Tommy, we got lots of handcuff keys, buddy… kinda wasting time here, ya know?”

“Good luck with that chief.” Tom showed him a stubby key, it looked like the key to a soda machine, Maresa thought, but it must have meant something to the sheriff. His perpetual grin faded.

“According to Mad Max, you can cut the wrist quicker than the chain, buddy… But it’s up to you I guess.”

Tom closed and locked the cell door, then put the Sheriff’s cuffs around the door and door jam, double-locking the door shut with them. He then stuck a key in each cuff, and broke off the end.

On the way out, Tom grabbed all the keys from the Celia’s desk drawer. He then told her to wait wait at least an hour before letting him out. That if the Sheriff got out quickly, he and probably her too, would end up in deep shit. She seemed to believe the warning, but Maresa assumed the Sheriff’s velvet tongue would overpower the chunky woman’s common sense, in short order.

Outside, Al pointed to his truck. “Hop in folks... your van still at the hotel?”

“Yeah, should be. Don’t know how to thank you enough for this Al… You know you’re going to be unpopular with the Sheriff & whatever cronies he has left…”

Al interrupted Tom. “Don’t worry about me, I can head back to Florida if I need to, still have a house there.”

Maresa got in the front passenger seat, Philippe squeezed into the small rear bench seat, after Tom grabbed up the weapons that were piled on it. Ross, Parks and Tom all climbed into the truck bed. They sat on a low wide toolbox against the back of the cab. Tom had an MP5 on a sling, he gave the sniper rifle to Jordan Parks. It turned out Tom had been bluffing and was not a long distance marksman at all. Jordan on the other hand, had apparently qualified “expert” a few times on rifle, and had “always qualified at least sharpshooter”, of course this had been “some years ago”.

Once everyone was settled, Al started to drive off, but Tom banged on the rear window. Al stopped & Philippe slid the window open.

“I got an idea Al, you have a pry bar in here?” Tom motioned to the tool box under him.

“I think so, if not there, than with the jack, under the back seat, but why?”

“Stop at the Stokely place, gotta check on something.”

Al drove out onto the road, but kept the speed low, to still be able to talk with Tom. “You sure that’s a good idea? What if someone is there?”

“Doubt it, but even if there is, I can deal with it… Let’s move Al, I figure Sheriff crazy ass might get out in an hour, though I hope it’s two or three”

Ten minutes later they pulled off the road onto a steep winding dirt drive, running over yellow police tape in the road, fifty yards in. A half mile on, they pulled up & parked in front of a dark timber built cabin. A sheriff’s car with four flat tires and broken windows was sitting empty, fifty yards to their left. Around to the right, just peeking around the back of the house, was another shot up cruiser.

Tom opened the tool box and grabbed a two foot pry bar, then hopped out of the truck. He headed for the car on the left, fiddled around inside, then went around the back to the other sheriff’s car. Quicker this time, he was out and heading back to the truck, grinning. He was almost to the there, when he paused, then turned and trotted back to the house, and inside. Out two minutes later, though it seemed like twenty, with a rifle and a bag of something. He hopped back in the truck bed & slapped the roof. “Let’s roll Al!”

Ten minutes later they pulled up at the hotel, next to their rental van. The big silver Ford was right where they left it. Tom sent them off to retrieve their bags, still in their respective rooms, while he talked to Al. It took only a few minutes, since they had been packed already when the shit hit the fan. As they threw their bags in the spacious rear of the van, it was hard not to overhear Tom and Al’s conversation.

“Just to be on the safe side, take it.” Tom shoved the rifle he had retrieved from the house, toward al. It was wrapped up loosely in a bed sheet, but Maresa was pretty sure she recognized the silhouette of a Kalashnikov.

“I have a couple of shotguns, Tom. I'm pretty comfortable with them, machineguns are not my thing.” The big man smiled. “But really, I thank you… Maybe you can find a use for it.”

“Well shit Al, I wish there was more I could do. But like I said, once I make that call, you SHOULD be safe… But no guarantees with crazy fucks like him. Keep thinking I should have just… Anyway, I got your number, and the other one & you got mine. Call me if need anything, and I mean anything!”

The men shook hands, then Al waved at the rest of them and got in his truck. Maresa walked over to him, they talked through his open window. “Thank you so much for helping Tom… Helping all of us. I knew you were a good man when we first ran into you.”

“Not so much about being good, as just not being an evil bastard, I think. Most of the people around here would have done the same… It’s why I like it here.”

“So the sheriff is not typical, you are? I really hope that is the case. Stay safe Al, that man is very bad… I'm just glad there were decent men like you, to stand up to him.” Maresa got a little choked up.

The uncomfortable silence was broken by Al. “Well, he would have got away with it too, if it weren’t for you kids, and that Tom!” Al grinned wide, but the reference was lost on the Hungarian born Maresa. She had seen the Scooby Doo show as a child, but in translation the catch phrase was not quite the same. She squeezed his shoulder and he drove off.

Ten minutes later they were on the road. Twenty minutes they were almost through Andrews and near the turn to follow on 129 towards Knoxville. Nobody spoke for a while, though everyone wanted to know what had happened between Tom and the Sheriff at the Stokely place. When Jordan finally asked, Tom said later, he would give details later.

Maresa called home, as did others. She found out the neighborhood meeting had gone just about as well as her trek through the mountains. Alden stammered when trying to follow Maresa’s unbelievable story, even accused her of making it all up at one point. She said she wished she had, he said he missed her a lot, and so did Samantha. Maresa cried a little, unusual for her, but she assumed it had more to do with the whole debacle at the jail & how frightened she had been there. Eight hours, she told him, and she would be home… eight hours. The only problem was, what should have taken three hours, to get to where they were, had taken a day and a half.

An hour after they left the hotel, they had settled into their familiar road trip boredom. Tom picked up his cell, and poked a few buttons. “Yes, is this Celia?”

Silence in the van, every ear was perked to the conversation. Unfortunately Tom’s phone was not loud enough to hear the other side of the conversation.

“No… no, this is Tom. I was just there, fighting with your boss… He around?” Tom listened for a moment. “Ok, uh… can you put me on speaker, so he can hear?” Another pause. “Hope you can hear me Kyle old pal, wanted to touch base with you on a couple of items. First, I stopped by the Stokely’s and grabbed the dash cam tapes from both of your cruisers, so there’s that…”

Even though Tom’s phone was quiet, and the Sheriff was presumably some distance from the phone at his end, his response could be heard in the back of the van. It was garbled, but clearly a cursing rant.

Tom held the phone away a bit, and waited. “Alright now, enough… The point is, if I even have a bad dream, with you in it, I will send these discs to the state boys. And not just me, that goes for any of my people, including Al and his family. You see them in a store, leave and go to a different one, got me?”

Tom listened for a minute, the response not quite loud enough to hear.

“No don’t worry, I will keep these in a safe place, instructions with them just in case….. Well I'm not too worried about heat at my end if I bring these in, they will just help clear me if anything. Hell, next time you’re up for re-election down there, you probably want to bow out… Let someone new take a shot, ok? Shit Kyle, as good as you look on these tapes, you could be a movie star!”

More response, this time loud again.

“Well anyway, I hope I can keep these tapes in my personal collection, Kyle… I really do.” Tom folded the phone.

“Oh snap!” Philippe said, in his thick French accent. First Garry started laughing, then Jordan Parks spit out a little of his bottled tea, as he joined in. Tom looked back at them angrily, they stopped, but he couldn’t hold the scowl and it turned into a chuckle. Then they all joined in, stress relieving belly laughs all around, at something that wasn’t even that funny. Kinda like the typical ending of a Scooby Doo.

Eight hours, Maresa thought, just eight hours and home!
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by GotMak » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:14 pm

Did you just re-post this entry?

Oops, just saw the message about the crash, my "B".
"That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of Democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there." George Orwell

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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:05 am

18.


The white coated lab monkeys, as the general thought of them, were running to and fro… Hither and Yon, he thought with a chuckle, remembering a line from a fiction book he had read about a pandemic. Then he realized they didn’t look like they were running around trying to fix some problem or find some lost petri dish, as usual… They looked almost happy.

Drucker keyed the intercom mic. “Hey, where’s Fredrickson? What’s going on down there?”
Had the audio on his monitor been turned on, he probably would have already known what was going on. But he had given up on listening after a few days of hearing these supposed Einsteins make wild guesses & trip over their own dicks all day. But he did watch the video feed, just hoping for even a small breakthrough. He watched that, pretty much all day.

A female researcher he was not familiar with, appeared in the monitor, so close to the camera her face distorted in the fish-eye lens. “General! We found it! Uh, Fredrickson is on his way to you, he has… pictures!”

“What did you find?! The cause? The cure? Speak up woman!”

“Yes General, we found the cause… well, we’re pretty sure anyway, I mean it has to be… the spectrometry even confirms the color… It’s present in, or on really, every sample…”

“So what is it, damn it?”

“It’s a mineral, similar to… well, it’s diamond but the lattice structure seems to be made, primarily of carbon-14 atoms, so it is radioactive… But it’s not as radioactive as it should be…”

Drucker was no scientist, but he had passed biology, and none of this seemed right.
“Wait… the thing causing the green disease is a mineral, not a living thing?”

The door chime, announcing a visitor, broke the general’s train of thought. Leonard Fredrickson was in the window, holding up a folder and grinning like someone who just had sex with a super model. The general buzzed him in.
“General, we have it! The organism… well, not organism but the thing causing all this is…”

Drucker interrupted. “It’s a radioactive green diamond?”

Leo’s mouth dropped open, as he stared at the general. “But how did you…?”

“Sir? Are you still there?” the unidentified female researcher’s voice came over the com. Drucker turned it off, impatiently.

Fredrickson continued. “Oh, yes sir, that’s pretty much it… we think. They seem to be separate pieces, like chips that have locked together & coated each cell, like vinyl siding on a house.”

“And these things multiply somehow?” The general asked, incredulously.

“They do, well not exactly multiply… not the way biological organisms do, exactly… but they do replicate, though we are not sure how yet.”

“What do you have there?”

Fredrickson nearly jumped, having forgotten the file in his hand. “Oh yes! We took enhanced photos with the new higher frequency Robinson detector…”

The general interrupted, trying not to scream at the long winded nerd. “Please Leo, what do you have?”

Leo opened the folder and spread out a half dozen grayscale & mixed grayscale/color pictures, of what looked like… maybe checker boards, on Drucker’s desk. A couple looked more like a maze of scaffolding, with some of the bars colored bluish and the joints colored red. Drucker stared at the prints for a minute, turning one around that was upside-down, before thinking it probably didn’t matter.

“See the variations in the lattice, sir? That is completely atypical for a diamond’s structure, at this resolution it should look perfect, or near perfect in uniformity. And it’s so thin, too thin to be natural… and too uniform, I can’t find a reference anywhere to a structure like this.”

“Ok, so you’re sure this is what’s causing people to eat each other?”

“We are sure this is a freakishly complex and rare substance, and it is present on the surface of every single cell we have looked at, from the start. I mean, before we didn’t know what we were looking at, but we had the spectrometry… the odd conductivity and the mass. It is… it has to be, either the direct cause of the disease, or the cause of the cause, if you know what I mean.”

A feeling of relief flowed through Leland Drucker. Days of hearing how lost the other facilities were, and the myriad of theories that were more guess than hypothesis, had him feeling depressed to near manic levels. Many people were probably as worried as he was, but his burden was certainty, certainty of humanity’s ruin, if an answer was not found.

Drucker could not contain the grin that spread across his face. He looked up from the pictures, at his lead researcher. “When I call the president, and tell him what we have… I’m not going to look like an idiot later, right? You are 100% certain this… structure, whatever it is, causes the green disease…”

It was Leonard’s turn to interrupt. “Or is directly related to, the green disease… because we just identified it, and have no clue still as to the mechanism…”

“Yes, yes, I understand… but this is real, it’s provable, it’s not some phantom that exists in our labs only. You are confident this substance is in every greenie… yes?”

“I am sir.”

“Well, get back to work. How does this thing work? What makes it tick? How is it transmitted? And who the hell made it… It was made by someone, yes?"

“There's nothing even close in nature, sir… but there’s nothing like it in our inventory either."

Leland Drucker passed the information up all appropriate channels, and a few inappropriate ones. The response was overwhelming gratitude from all stations, and praise from the top. With over ten thousand researchers working on the same page, they had a chance. If Leland Drucker had been a betting man, and he was, he would have raised humanity’s chances of surviving this from a hundred to one, to fifty fifty.
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Re: Green Eyed Monster

Post by maldon007 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:43 am

19.

The negotiations had gone well. The colonel in charge of the Guard unit surrounding the prison, hadn’t agreed to the deal immediately. That is, not until the CDC big shot with him, made a few calls. The prisoners agreed to release the hostages in return for safe exit of the more “civilized” prisoners & promises of no added charges concerning the riot and all subsequent events. Wise & his minions had gathered the craziest of the crazies and locked them up in the solitary confinement cells, the night before. Injuring and or killing some in the process, at least that was how he relayed the events to Mathew Klein.

“Why aren’t we getting on the bus?”

Wise gave Matt an evil grin. “Oh, you don’t wanna’ be on that bus Matty.”

The bus, was an old prisoner transport, like a white school bus with barred windows. It was the only vehicle inside the prison grounds, since all staff & visitor cars were parked in the lot outside the fence, too close to the surrounding soldiers to retrieve. The rusty hulk was used on occasion for group transfers and kept around for potential emergency evacuations.

“How are we getting out, then?”

“Well, fat Matt, lemme’ tell you… we are walking out of here, free and clear and then maybe grab one of those sweet army jeeps.”

“Uh, whoa there Wise… you understand the deal we made with them, right? We agreed to give up and they agreed to not kill us.”

The bus cleared the main gates unmolested, rolling lazily toward what was more or less the National Guard’s ‘front line’.

Wise put his arm around Matt. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, Matt. The guys we locked up… those are the goodie two shoes, non-dangerous types… the ones they say, show ‘promise’.”

A short stocky prisoner with round glasses walked up & stood near Wise, he held a large two-way and looked like he was urgently awaiting some bit of news.

“Then who is on the bus?”

“We stuck the real crazies in there… not dangerous ones, but like catatonics, you know? We call them the veggies… they mostly stand where you leave them & they don’t mind the diesel smell… Driver actually thinks he’s going to Candy Land.”

The Guardsmen in the distance began yelling for the bus to stop, as it neared their roadblock. It veered slightly right then ran slowly into the line of humvees & light trucks, parked sideways blocking the road, stopping dead. Soldiers swarmed around the bus, and more closed in, rifles up.

“Then, where did all your buddies go, if not on the bus?”

“I had them sneak over to that shack last night, they been there since.” Wise grinned a happy horrible grin, and motioned over his shoulder at a small guard shack on the fence line, just to their left.

“Now Wise?” The prisoner who had walked up, looked at the psychotic leader expectantly, nodding like a spastic bobble head doll.

“I figured you would do better, Matt… if you didn’t know the truth. Really though, did you think we would give ourselves up? With the power we have now? Oh uh, yeah Sal… Do it now!”

The radio toting prisoner started giggling as he toggled a switch on the radio. Mathew Klein put it all together in his head in an instant, turning toward the bus just in time to see it vanish in an orange ball of rapidly expanding fire. The heat was like equatorial sun at noon, even though the explosion was at least an eighth of a mile away. Mathew braced for the shock wave, but it was more of a shock wind, and a rapid succession of low thuds. A black smoke ring rose into the sky like a mini mushroom cloud. The fire ball quickly subsided, but large fires stayed burning all over the surrounding area… pretty much everything within fifty yards of the bus was ablaze. There were no National Guard men left in sight.

Wise and two of his nearby men were jumping up and down, celebrating boisterously. After a moment, he stopped and looked toward the guard house he had mentioned, expectantly.

“What the fuck, idiots?! Remember, big explosion means go!... Go, go, go!!!” The doors of the guard shack burst open, and at least twenty men ran out. Some were dressed in prison jumpers, other had a mixture of guard uniforms and their gear and civilian clothes. Most had some sort of weapon. They scrambled down the gravel road toward the burning blockade.

Mathew Klein was dumbstruck, hardly believing what had happened… what he had taken part in. Maybe the green disease had in fact changed him mentally, even though Wise had felt no changed, that may have been because he was already evil. Mathew certainly felt different, maybe not evil per se, but certainly less concerned than he thought he should be… That he had just taken part, however unwittingly, in a mass murder of US military personnel.

“So… what now, Wise?”

“Well Matty, you helped me immensely, so if you wanna’ take off you’re free, buddy… I wouldn’t go that way though.” Wise chuckled balefully.

His men reached the ruins of the barricade, and skirted around the fire. They seemed to be securing some vehicles, ones that had been far enough away from the bus to not be on fire. They also looked to be killing any soldiers they found, still kicking.

Suddenly the loud report of a machine gun filled the air. Mathew dropped to a crouch, in fear. At the same time he noticed a humvee barreling toward wise’s men, from the right… But it had been the greenies that fired first, having found a mounted gun on a vehicle. The approaching guardsmen returned fire, stopping their truck sideways in the field and piling out behind it for cover… but single shot rifle fire from the guard tower, to the right of Matt & Wise’s location, had them side on in the open. They didn’t last long.

Matt stared off into the burning distance. His goose was cooked, he was a god damn greenie… He had done bad things… What would the authorities do with him? Prison? Experimentation? Summary execution? Contrasted to that, the excitement of this new life & at least for now, freedom…what the hell.

“Do you mind if I tag along with you guys for a while?”

The tall thin greenie leader burst into raucous laughter. He actually fell to his knees, seeming to lose control of his body. Finally he wiped the tears from his eyes, and looked up at Mathew. “you seein’ the light, my man Matt? This ain’t no curse... you see that now, don’t you son?”

Matt didn’t really see it, it did seem a curse and an awful one … But it was his situation, and probably would be from that day till his death… And if hanging with Wise and his crew could extend that time, why not? “yeah, I see it Wise, I see it.”
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