Halloween 2020: Part Three: To Dream

“You okay?” the voice was vaguely familiar but slurred as if an old friend had called me on a three day bender. 

“Yeah,” I replied and my own voice sounded like that of an old-fashioned telephone, deep in a well, far away and faint. 

“Let’s get you up,” and I realized Steve was helping me off the floor. I looked at my hands and realized there was no blood, there was no blood on my body, and for that, I was thankful, but I wasn’t sure to who. 

I was still in my uniform, still at home, and I felt curiously light, dizzy, as if I wasn’t quite back yet. 

“What happened?” it was a woman’s voice, my sister, Karen, and I almost cried. They knew about her, knew my family, but for anyone I loved to be in the same area code meant they would use that person against me if they could, and they could. 

“What do you remember?” asked Steve

“I was here, I had just gotten dressed,” the memory was perfectly clear now, and I told them about it, “then I was gone. I was awake, conscious at least, then I landed somewhere, not anywhere around here, you can bet that. There was a circular table, and I was standing with other people in the middle on an island in the middle. There were dozens, maybe a hundred of the creatures, all bulky and dressed in that black shimmering stuff, I don’t think it’s their real skin, but they were all talking, speaking some alien language but I could tell what they were saying. It was food, all about food, not food because they were hungry, but food because it tasted good, like when you eat junk food, or go out for pizza.”

“But pizza is real food,” Steve protested. 

“Hush!” Karen told him. 

“And they seemed happy, delighted to see me and the other people in the island. I recognized Peters from Lowndes, Berry from Cook County, and Jimmy Stiles from Thomas, a a few others, but there were people there I didn’t know. We were all terrified.” I felt the world spinning but had to keep going. 

“One of the creatures came through the table, floated through it as if the table wasn’t real, it wasn’t either and stood over us, leering and drool started coming out of its mouth.”

“You, Sheriff Wanda Louise Alexander Morrison,” it said, “you choose one of these, or they choose five from their districts. Go!” And with that it waved it’s hand in the air and screens appeared. 

            “Wanda?” Steve asked. “What in the hell are you talking about?” 

            “Sis, are you okay?” Karen put her hand on my forehead. 

            “Yeah, they didn’t hurt me,” I replied, “but it’s going to get a lot worse from this point on.”

            “Baby, what was the last thing you remembered?” Steve repeated.

            “They somehow got me out of there, and then I woke up on their ship,” I said, and something wasn’t right.

            “Who?” Karen asked. “What ship?”

            “The Peacekeepers, they took me . . .” I tried to stand and couldn’t. 

            “Peacekeepers?” Steve asked. 

            “Sis, I’m calling Doctor Smith, I think you might have had a stroke or something.” Karen raced out of the room before I could stop her. The room spun and I blacked out.

            “Wanda?” It was Steve. The room was a hospital room. There was a flat screen on the wall that showed a photo of the president talking about the latest fire in California. 

            “Steve, what happened? Do you know?” I asked. The news switched over to the World Series, where a game had been cancelled because of the fire.

            “We found you on the floor,” Steve said. “Then when you came to you were babbling about a dream you had.”

            “It wasn’t a dream,” I said, but Harlow was there, looking at his cell, and he looked up and smiled. 

            “You okay, Sheriff?” he asked. “We’re talking about baking a cake for you but no one at the office can cook worth a damn.” 

            “Give me the remote, please,” I asked and Steve handed it to me. 

            “You know, you have that thing on the rail you can use now,” Harlow offered. “Don’t have to raise your head, hey!”

            I got out of the bed, trailing the IV tube behind me and scrolled through the channels. There was a fishing show, a movie, another news channel with a video of a storm in the Midwest, and the weather show that was saying it was going to be the hottest year on record. But nothing, not one mention of the Peacekeepers, or what they were doing.

            “Wanda?” Steve asked. 

            “Hey, go back to the fishing show!” Harlow said. 

            “Take me to the office, I have to go there right now,” I remanded, and ripped the tube out of my arm. 

            It was a surreal scene back at the office. The door was in its rightful place, the walls were undamaged, and everyone was happy and smiling, I mean, as much as they always might have been. 

            “What’s the status of Dernmond?” I asked Harlow, who treated me as if I might fall to the floor without warning. 

            “Uh, didn’t want to upset you but he committed suicide yesterday, I was headed to your place to tell you when I saw the ambulance. Hung himself with a sheet.” Harlow said and he turned red. 

            “Suicide watch means you make sure they don’t not make sure they do, Harlow,” I snapped at him. 

            “You know damn well we’re better off with him dead, Wanda,” Harlow replied, and I couldn’t help but stare at the wall. It was whole and in one piece. How could this be? Why was there no blood on the ceiling and wall? There was no way it could have been cleaned up, much less repaired in that sort of time. 

            My cell went off.  A call about a shooter in a school bus with a gun. We rushed out, Harlow with me, riding shotgun, and when we got to the bus it was Travis Kems. He had taken the whole bus hostage. I walked in to see rows of terrified children with the driver dead in his seat. That was old man Sears, who had driven a bus forever. 

            “Peacekeepers sent me Wanda,” Travis said, “they say you left the party early.” Then Travis put the barrel of the gun in his mouth and blew the top of his head off. 

End Part Three

Halloween 2020 Part Two: Peacekeepers

 “District Manager?” I asked. Before I did anything this thing told me to do, I wanted to know why I had been appointed to a position I knew nothing about. But my god, whatever it was, it was ugly. It had to be at least eight feet tall and its head brushed the ceiling. The head was narrow and pointed, like an armadillo, but the ears looked wolf like, and stood up. If it had eyes I couldn’t see them. The body was a massive thing, all bulk with arms that seemed too small yet the hands danced in the air as it spoke. In a second of stillness I saw there were seven fingers, and each of them with a long shiny claw. If I had to guess, and I did, it looked like it was made of some sort of metal, and not really alive. 

“First, here, I help you,” the creature waved a claw in the air and a screen appeared from nothingness, six feet tall and three feet wide, maybe, and a list of the men and women we had in jail began to scroll. 

“Impressive,” I said, but before I could speak again it interrupted. 

“You choose one or I choose two,” it said, nodding its head. Its mouth opened and I saw row and rows of teeth in its mouth, like a shark’s. “Bring your worst, or I take a speeding ticket.” 

“I’ll go get Dernmond,” Harlow said, but he couldn’t get out of the office as long as the creature stood in the doorway. 

“You don’t choose, District Manager chooses,” it cocked it’s head at me and grinning, its teeth glowing white, “insubordination, yes?” it asked. 

“No, not at all, he’s just trying to help, but he’s right,” I motioned with my hand, “Harlow, bring Dernmond here, please.” 

“I move,” it said and crunched in part of the wall as it stepped to the side. The blocks in the wall crumbled like sandstone and the ceiling shook, too. Whatever it was, the slugs from my Glock wasn’t going to hurt it. Harlow slipped past and I wondered if he was deserting. I would have. 

“You have twenty-three inmates, the city holds twelve more, this is correct?” it asked. 

“Yes,” I replied. “How am I to address you?” 

“Oh, I forgot human manners! I am clumsy when I move and when I speak human. You are to address any of my kind by the title ‘Peacekeeper’ just as all of your occupation are called ‘peace officers’ is this not correct?”

“Yes Peacekeeper, but where are you taking Dernmond?” I asked. I heard Harlow bringing him down the hall. 

“I show you!” Peacekeeper said and smiled. The teeth looked as if they were moving, and I felt my stomach turn. 

I got home early and stripped down at the washer, and dumped everything in. I tossed a pod in and set the washer for one hour. The shower took a moment or two to warm up, but I stood in the cold water anyway. I wanted to feel something, anything, no matter what it was, other than what I was feeling. I sat down on the floor of the shower and threw up twice, and then turned the water as hot as I could stand it. 

“Baby?” Steve was home. I could tell by the look on his face he had heard. He helped me out of the shower, dried me off, and led me to the bed. I watched the light coming through the windows turn to shadows, and felt like I could speak. 

“What happened, Wanda?” Steve asked. 

“We’ve been given our orders, Steve,” I began, “they aren’t here to keep the peace, that’s not why they’re here. I wasn’t sure they were alive, but I think they are now. But I’m the District Manager, which means I get to choose, or they choose, if they chose, I get chosen. So I’ll be doing a lot of that, I think.”

“Baby?” Steve asked, “What happened? Is it true?” 

“Harlow brought Dernmond into the office; he’s the guy who raped his six year old son and posted the video on his ex-wife’s Facebook page.”

“Yeah, I know the name,” Steve said. 

“The Peacekeeper wanted our worst, so we brought Dernmond into my office. The Peacekeeper put one hand on him, pinned him to my desk, and then took a claw of his other hand and sliced Dernmond’s belly open while he talked to us. Dernmond was screaming and flailing and blood was going everywhere. It ate Dernmond’s intestines right there in front of us, while telling us that we were to bring him our worst every day, one today, then two every day after that,” I said and closed my eyes as I spoke. 

“Oh God.” 

“It did something to Dernmond, injected him somehow, caused the pain to go away, and Dernmomd just lay there and whimpered. It ate his stomach, his liver, his kidneys, all while Dernmond watched until he bled out.” I nearly puked again. 

“Fuck,” Steve said. “What the hell are we going to do?”

“I’m being taken to see his people tomorrow,” I said. “We’ll know more if I don’t wind up on the menu.”  

End part two

Halloween 2020 Part One: Thrown Rocks

I listened to the  message sent to most of the leaders of the world and it was one that left nothing to the imagination; surrender or die. The next message was equally blunt; it was the coordinates of an asteroid the size of a shopping mall. It was going to slam into Earth, somewhere, unless the demands were met. The list of demands seemed fairly benign for the people of Earth. The list included the dismantling of all nuclear weapons of any size, every aircraft carrier was to be taken into deep water and sank. Submarines were to be sank. All ballistic missiles were to be decommissioned. Land mines were to be outlawed and those deployed were to be deactivated. Fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and battle tanks were on the list of the next items to be destroyed, provided the first list was completed on time. The asteroid would hit in one year. 

NASA was able to confirm there was an object coming in from beyond Jupiter, nickel and iron in composition, heading right towards us. The message, sent in various forms, using wireless technology, was untraceable as to its origin. Unknown to most people on Earth, and actually known to only a few dozen, there were plans to protect the planet from just such and event, as far as an asteroid was concerned. The message was less than twenty-four hours old, and the confirmation just a few minutes from being made, when a rocket lifted off from Russian, with a probe to investigate the incoming object. 

What happened next was as sudden as it was horrible. Much smaller meteoroids, some the size of basketballs, and others the size of houses, began to slam into cities. For a week, hundreds, and then thousands of objects came streaking out of the sky and pounded the most heavily populated areas on Earth. There were stories of aliens coming out of the objects and killing people with weapons that made no sound and produced no light. There were stories about diseases running rampant, and even one about robots landing and killing people. But the truth was much more horrible. Nothing we did anywhere stopped what was happening. On the seventh day, the carnage stopped, with nearly every city on Earth with a population of one million or more, still smoking from the damage. Millions of people were killed, many times that number were fleeing, and the wounded were being lined up and treated in the streets. 

The next message was brutal in its simplicity. “Begin work on the list. We will evaluate your progress in seven days.” 

The next few days were filled with images of huge ships of war sinking under the waves, missiles being cut into pieces, and nuclear weapons being dismantled. But there was something odd about television and the internet now. It seems to be afterimages on the screen, as if a person stared long enough, there was a face, or faces, staring back behind the screen. The reports of robots and aliens did come from usually reliable sources, and those sources denied having ever broadcast those reports. We knew our communications had been hacked and were being manipulated. Accounts on social media began to post comments that read, “This might be the best thing that ever happened to us, maybe we should demand the governments do more to save us!” What they were doing was very clear. Who they were was not as clear. 

The video of an American submarine sinking with its hatch open was hard to watch. My family had more than one relative to serve underwater, and it was personal to see an undamaged ship, paid for with my tax dollars, to simply be destroyed for unknown reasons to an unknown entity. Yet the “Peacemakers” as the social media groups were calling those who were doing this, were not talking to us very much. 

“Good progress, but more should be done quickly, we shall help in our own way, if more progress is not made,” was the message and everyone knew how they planned to assist us in destruction. 

I wondered why they didn’t. Was there a reason they warned us about a rock big enough to cause catastrophic damage heading our way, yet reacted with violence at the launch if a probe? Surely, if they were interested in peace they would have killed one million people in one week, and left thousands homeless and wounded. It was clear they were manipulating social media, random accounts, fake accounts, government accounts, millions of them every day, but to what end? No one knew. I certainly had no idea, but the problems that had begun to mount up when all of this began, threatened to overwhelm me, and my office. 

As the first female sheriff in Brooks County, I knew damn well I was going to have problems, even before the aliens, or whoever it was, started throwing rocks at us. I actually had planned to ride it out, not run for reelection, and move to a place not named for a proslavery Senator who neatly killed a man on the floor of the Senate because that man spoke against slavery. My deputies treated me like I was just passing through, and the Board of Commissioners were useless when it came to trying to discipline my own employees. 

A month after the first message, I was in my office trying to figure out what the hell to do with a budget that allowed me to pay nearly everyone in uniform, and keep gas in most of the cars, and hey, maybe even buy everyone a bullet or two, when the only deputy I could truly trust, Harlow Cox, walked into my office and told me there was an alien in the parking lot. The thing had asked for a meeting in my office in a few minutes. I could hear it coming into the building because it tore the front door totally off the frame. 

Harlow stood behind my desk, beside me, and I wondered if anyone was going to be stupid enough to shoot at it. 

“Good morning, Sheriff Wanda Louise Alexander Morrison,” the thing said, “congratulations, we have appointed you District Manager. In your jail, who is your worst offender? Please bring him to me at once.” 

End Part One.  

Take Care,

Mike

The Assassination Of Joe Biden

“Follow the money” is a proven method to get to where the truth lies in human motives. Where there is money, there is power, and as we all know, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. For this, and no other, is reason enough. But there is so very much money involved, and so many pigs feeding from the same trough. They have to make sure no scraps escape, and they have to make sure the damage they do is irreversible. 

If these people can bring down America they can rest assured there will no other entity on this earth to slow the feasting. There will be no alliances that are formed for any other reason than to feed those in power. With nothing that mirrors the will of anyone but the rich, the world may burn, but those being fed believe they can live without it. After all, who is going to stop them?

Right now, all their efforts may be thwarted. Trump has been a Godsend for those with money, and for very good reason; he’s a man with a massive debt load, and far too many questionable business deals. Trump had a place at the table, he was born on it, in point of fact, but over the years, his need for attention, and his gross incompetence, has eaten away at his wealth, and at the very cusp of ruin, he made a run for the White House, and with the help of the Russians, he regained power. But the debt, owed to the Russians, and to many others, remained.

Covid-19 crashed the party. The Stock Market, an indicator of the health of the wealth of the 1% not of America, was supposed to be enough for Trump to ride to the second term, but hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions upon millions of infections have threatened the script. Trump is desperately trying to ignore the plague, trying to convince his entrenched base that it’s no worse than the common cold, and he is losing the election, and he might lose the Senate. The plan so many of those feeding has spent so much keeping in place is falling apart. 

Can they murder a candidate for President in America and simply expect Americans to look horrified right before they check their FB feed to see how to react? 

I think they can, and worse, they think so, too. 

There’s no reason, after losing a quarter million citizens to the plague to believe Americans give a fuck anymore, outside their social media accounts. 

At some point, between now and November the Third, some “Lone Wolf” assassin will step up to the plate for Trump, and those to whom he owes close to a billion dollars, and kill any chance we had that Americans had a voice anymore. There will be a lot of noise, many likes and cares, but there will be no change, for that is what has been murdered, in the end. 

Joe Biden has no chance of living through the next two weeks. That would mean all that Trump had promised has failed, and with it, lost will be those millions invested in his policies, handed down to the people he owes money. 

Worse still, to cover his complicity, Trump is likely to find someone to blame for this, and because political assassination now has the blessing of Trump, the blood will flow. America will become Somalia, with better 5G coverage. 

The next two weeks will very clearly define who we have become, a diseased and formerly great people, now addicted to social media and division, devoid of the capacity or the will for critical thinking. Out of the bloodshed that will follow, whatever will come from it, will never be what we were when were at our best, and is likely to be a caricature of America, when we sank down to our very worst. 

President Biden would not have saved us, oh no, nothing like that. But the death of candidate Biden will certainly doom us. And our inability to know how to be outraged, and what to outraged about, and why it’s important will prove once and for all, we can be easily led two hundred and eight characters at a time. 

Take Care,

Mike

Clear

The task at hand.

This morning was one of those Zen dawns with no color, no real light for a while, but a nice cool breeze and very gentle rain. It felt good to be outside, and not have insects buzzing around and without the humidity trying to kill me. I’ve been waiting for this morning to arrive, because the back fenceline desperately needs attention, and so many things have gotten in the way of me getting back there and getting the job done.

I have to cross over the fence into my neighbor’s property to hack down a bunch of stuff because wild grape wines, as well as a few other species of vines, are getting on the electric fence and that will eventually cause a short. The wild grape vines do not produce wild grapes, tame grapes, wine grapes, or any other grape, but their leaves look like the leaves of grape vines, so that’s where they got their name. 

The vines have partners in crime. American Beautyberries, a waist high bush with small purple berries, grow in abundance in South Georgia. The vines use these bushes as launching pads towards the top of the fence, so the plan is to clear a section five feet wide and go after any bigger vines if I can get to them, and I have a bush hook, so yeah, I can. 

Slow Progress, and more to go!

It’s a cool day, I feel good, it’s early in the morning, kinda, and it feels good to swing hard and work muscles again. I had major surgery late last year, and this is the first time I’ve really set out  to push, and push hard, my body with this sort of work. The bush hook is a great tool for clearing and the best piece of exercise equipment a human can own. 

There’s vines growing up out of the ground that have cut marks on them, where I hacked on them three years ago. The vine will grow from another shoot, not the old one, so I can tell how many times I’ve cut them. None of this stuff is big but it is thick, and it is bushy as hell. I hack, and hack, then push the stuff away from the fence, hack so more, push some more, and slowly, a path is cleared. 

Hacking isn’t just hacking away at a clump of vines or bushes, or both. There’s a system here, depending on where the open part is, where I need for it to be, and how close to the ground I can cut the bushes, or the stems of the vines. Position of the target dictates position of my body, how much power I have to use, how well I can aim, and I can cut exactly where I want the blade to be. I use a slight slicing movement when I swing, and again, depending on what I am cutting and where, that will decide which side of the blade I use; the flat side for thicker stuff, the side with the hook for vines, so they cannot slip away uncut. I’ve been using a bush hook for decades now, and it’s a part of my body when I work. 

The Rescued Tree

It’s work. It’s hard work. The day wears on and I am wearing down. My breath is quicker and heavier. The handle turns in my hands as my strength ebbs. But fatigue and I are also old friends. I know my limits, or I once did, and this is the first test of my strength and endurance since December of last year. I know better than to push too hard, but where is the point I ought to quit? Isn’t quitting just as bad as going too far, when I have already finished more than half?  

The last twenty feet or so aren’t thick but the twenty feet before that is the very thickest. There’s an Oak tree being strangled to death by vines in that mess, so I decide to, at a minimum, rescue the tree. I have to cut wider to get the debris out of the way. Vines stealing the crown of the tree have to be pulled down. The remnants of bushes and the still grabby vines try to bring me down, because they sense my weakness. Stumbling, yet still upright, I swing away, much less able to hit a target, my hands slipping, my breath ragged, yet moving forward, cutting bush and vine, and making progress. 

An After Photo of the very bushiest part, shown in the first photo.

Suddenly, I reach the end. I’m careful now, tired, no, not tired, I am exhausted. Sweat dries quickly because of low humidity and it is still a beautiful day. There’s nothing about how I feel that seems to indicate injury, but oh yeah, I am going to feel this tomorrow and maybe for a few days to come. I climb the fence to get back over to my property and Budlore Amadeus awaits and escorts, his stubby tail wiggling. The walk to the shed to put the bush hook, hat and gloves seems overly long. 

My left hand isn’t fully functional at the moment. It’s cramping up and hurts. My knees ache. My back? HAHAHAHA! That’s going to be interesting tomorrow, certainly. I cannot remember the last time I was this tired. Yet this is exhaustion, my paycheck from swinging a bush hook for three hours. I have cleared the entire back fence line on the back side. I feel good, my body responded to my demands for more when there didn’t seem to be any, and the job is done. 

It feels good. I feel like me again. 

Take Care,

Mike Firesmith