Dread

(This is part 3 of a serial. The first part is here, and the second is here.)

I sat cradled in Mike’s arms for what seemed like forever, but was only about fifteen minutes. I was too stunned to cry. I wasn’t angry, either. I didn’t know what to feel. Or do. I waited for Mike to take the lead.

“Mike! Dee! You guys in there?”

The shout from our back door startled us from the couch. Mike swept to his feet and raced to the mudroom, where he met our neighbor, Charlie. I got to my feet while my brain tried to catch up on the situation. I heard Mike and Charlie talking in hushed tones, but I decided not to interrupt.

Instead, I went in search more supplies despite not knowing what might be needed and when. I was in the middle of deciding if we’d need blankets when I remembered to worry about my adult kids.

My son was fine, I was sure. He was a sensible-headed young man, living and working just across town. My daughter, though, was a flighty romantic, intent on changing her slob of a boyfriend into a respectable man. She also lived right across town, but I was afraid her boyfriend would convince her to do something stupid.

I dropped the blanket I was holding and went in search of Mike. I didn’t hear his voice from the back room anymore. I hoped he hadn’t gone far.

I was passing behind the couch when the front door, directly across the room, opened. I dropped to my knees and crouched, certain the robber had returned. Instead, I heard a familiar voice ask, “Is that you, Mom?”

My heart jumped into my throat then dropped back into my stomach before settling down. I stood up, sheepishly brushing invisible dirt off my clothes, and grinned at my son.

“I’m so glad you’re here, Coop. Do you have any idea what’s going on? Do you have your sister with you?”

Cooper laughed and opened the door to reveal Laura and my heart flip-flopped again. She pushed past her brother and jogged over to give me a hug.

“Hi, Mom,” my brown-eyed girl said. “John-John wanted to go to his parents’ house, and I told him to go ahead. Nowhere’s safer than with you and Dad.”

I opened my mouth to say hello but Mike’s voice interrupted, “Yep. And we’re going to Gran’s farm.”

Both kids turned, wide-eyed, to their father. My stomach lurched again, and not in a my-kids-are-safe sort of way. My eyes met Mike’s and I knew our much laughed-about emergency plan was finally happening.

“It’s not…,” I trailed off my question.

“No,” Mike laughed, “it’s not zombies.” He sobered up and continued, “I’m not really sure what it is, but I’m reasonably sure it’s not an outbreak of the undead. It might be invasion, it might be a natural disaster. Hell, it could be aliens. But we’re going to the farm, where it’s safer than in the middle of town.”

I nodded and gathered the kids into my embrace. After a hard hug and reassuring smile, the four of us gathered our supplies, along with some clothes, blankets and pillows and loaded up our cars for the short trip into the country.

 

To be continued…

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Invasion

(This is the second of a serial. The first part is here.)

Our emergency stash, what we had, was scattered through the house. We hadn’t had a real crisis in ages. I grabbed the first aid kit from the bathroom, the flashlights and batteries from the kitchen junk drawer and piled them all on top of the dining room table.

I had just started filling a pitcher with water when I heard the front door slam open. I didn’t turn, but called over my shoulder, “Mike, did you find out anything?”

I heard a click, but the sound didn’t really register in my mind at first. I twisted the tap off and turned to the sound. The man standing in my kitchen wasn’t my husband. It wasn’t someone I knew from the neighborhood. The heavily built man was grinning at me, behind the dark handle of a pistol.

“Hello,” I stuttered. “My husband…,” I gestured toward the door.

The long-haired blonde grinned wider. “He’s busy. Tall guy? Buzz-cut and glasses? Yeah, I saw him. He’ll be a minute.”

I swallowed hard. I couldn’t help it, I looked toward the front windows. I knew I couldn’t see the car from my position, but it was instinct. Terror washed over me. I slowly raised my hands.

“What do you want,” I asked.

“Just your money,” he replied. He waved his gun at me, moving me back to the living room.

I walked to the sofa table and picked up my purse. My wallet held a little over two hundred dollars. I handed it to the gun-wielding maniac who snatched it from my fingers. His eyes searched the room and landed on Mike’s wallet, on the bookshelf near our bedroom door.

I nodded and walked past him. I stripped the additional hundred dollars from the black leather wallet and held it out to the burglar. He snatched that as quickly as the first.

“Now, if you’d be so kind, go into your room and lock the door. Count to a thousand before you come out. Then, tell whoever you want. I don’t expect the cops will worry much about me with everything else going on,” he said.

I followed his instructions. Mostly. I went into my room and locked the door, then I waited until I heard the back door close. As soon as I was certain the man was gone, I charged into the living room.

Right into the chest of my husband.

“Whoa, hold up, love. What’s going on?”

I couldn’t help it. I burst into tears. I told him what had happened, the tears running down my face making me even angrier than the encounter had.

Mike checked the doors and windows, making sure they were all locked and secure. He helped me gather up the rest of the emergency supplies, then pulled me onto the couch.

“Alright, bad news,” he said.

“Oh, I forgot. I’m just…,” I trailed off. He knew what I meant.

“I know,” Mike said. “We’ve got bigger things to worry about, though. I got a few bits of chatter on the AM band, but it wasn’t English. Sounded Russian.”

“That’s not good,” I started.

Mike hushed me, then continued, “It gets worse. It also sounded military, like a drill sergeant in a movie.”

He wrapped his arms around me. “I think we’ve been invaded.”

 

To be continued…

In the beginning

I don’t know when it started, not really. I think it was just before dawn. I remember going to bed around two in the morning and everything was fine, then. But when Mike got up for work, we had no power.

“We did pay the bill, didn’t we,” he asked me. He didn’t wait for me to answer. Instead, he went to the door and looked up and down the street. When he came back, he shrugged.

“Guess it’s the whole neighborhood.”

We tried calling our son across town, but the cell towers weren’t working, either, which also meant the phone’s data was out.

By that time, most of our neighbors were outside, milling around and whispering worries about what was happening. No one was truly terrified, but the concern was building. I joked to Ruth, the older lady next door, that if it was really something bad, we’d already have soldiers riding down the streets, telling us what to do.

I don’t think she found that funny, since she glared at me, crossed herself, and rushed back into her house. I decided to keep my humor to myself.

Mike slid up to me after Ruth disappeared and whispered, “Have you checked the radio? AM or FM?”

I nodded my head. Of course, I had. Right after we realized the cell towers were out. I motioned for my husband to follow me back inside. I grabbed my small digital radio on my way to the bedroom.

“I checked every station I know of, and there’s nothing. On either band.” I handed Mike the small device. “You might have better luck. Maybe some fine tuning? Or…,” I turned to look out the window.

“The car.”

I nodded at Mike’s astute guess. The car had a more powerful antenna than the tiny handheld radio. It was also easier to narrow down the wavelengths.

“I’ll go check,” he said. “Want to come?”

I shook my head, “No. I’m going to find our candles and other storm supplies. We might need them if this lasts long.”

“Good idea. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m not even going to try to get to work today. I think this is a good day to be sick,” Mike joked.

I smiled and nodded. I watched Mike’s broad shoulders slip through the front door and down the walk to the driveway before I started gathering our emergency stash. I hoped we wouldn’t need any of it for long.

 

To be continued…

ugh

Depression sucks.

Bi-polar depression is worse.

Mix those up with a wildly weather-variable month, fibromyalgia, stress, and house-falling-apart-issues and you’ll get to where I am. I don’t recommend it. At all.

I haven’t felt like writing in weeks, so I haven’t. I haven’t felt like painting. I haven’t done much of anything but hate myself. Oh, and cry. There’s been a lot of that. For no “good” reason, of course.

I think I’m moving out of it. Hopefully.

Maybe this short post will get my brain headed in the right direction. Perhaps, with a little hope and a boatload of work, I can boost my creativity and productivity to an almost acceptable level.

But depression sucks.

Esotera, a world of light and fantasy

This is a description for a book I’m thinking of writing. Let me know what you think. 🙂

 

My name was Eve. I had two brothers. I had a mother and a father. But it’s so hard to remember, now, in this place. The memories I have are fading, sliding away into the oblivion that is the world of Esotera.

Esotera, a world of light and fantasy; at least, that’s what the developers claimed when it was released. There was so much hype around the game that it was already the highest-selling MMO in history before the first copy ever hit the shelves. The posters plastered all over everything showed massive cities of glowing crystal and stone, in every color of the rainbow, and multitudes of races, from elegant, pointed-eared elves smiling and waving in exuberant friendliness to colorful, gleeful gnomes capering in barely contained joy. Promises of adventure, glory, and wealth drew billions of views on the game’s website.

But Esotera isn’t what they all think it is. Esotera is alive. And it hungers.

 

Our feet

We were talking, he and I, like we always did, of ideals and existentiality, of hopes and fears, life and death, and other things that swim in the deepest parts of our selves. It was the two of us, alone, in the dark, our legs dangling from the bed and our fingers intertwined. Neither of us could say how the conversation started. We never could. But, start, it did, and down a steep, corkscrew path it led us.

The fears always tugged us deep, near to drowning. But, clinging to each other in our darkness, we whispered our way through. We spoke of grotesque imaginings that pounced on us, unawares. We talked of the pleasant surprises when empty fields of grain didn’t reveal hordes of flickering shadows in the fleeting moonlight. I told him of my goblins and he told me of his gremlins. We traded ghosts and shadows, demons and angels. We laughed, heartily unafraid, as we pulled our feet onto the relative safety of the bed.

Then, he whispered of the darker places in his soul. The places no one had seen. He sighed and longed to know he wasn’t alone.

He wasn’t.

I, too, lived in the barred, cold pockets deep inside. We laughed again, to know we were the same. We moved on, to the silly secrets and corny jokes we’d hoarded for just this occasion. Our fingers played together, twined above our heads.

But our feet, our feet stayed on the bed.

City: A.E.

City: A.E.

The sunset, behind the chemical veil, washed the ancient buildings in fire. The ruins lingered long after the civilization that built them. The toxicity of the soil and the air meant no one would inhabit the zone for millennia to come.

The roving machine took picture after picture, sending the information to the observers far overhead. The descendants of the world, the last surviving members of an ancient aristocracy, sighed and turned their attentions elsewhere.

The robotic servant, quietly and unobtrusively, beeped a secret message into the chemically altered air. Its enhanced vision watched, without recording, as bent, misshapen forms moved out of the ruins.

The left-behinds raised arms to wave, their weapons held in standby mode. The mechanical servants of their offspring were their only allies in the war to survive. Swiftly, the strongest of the once-men moved to stand beneath the construct.

A door opened in the bottom of the machine. Several plastic crates dropped from the hidden compartment. Food, water, and other supplies, smuggled by other mechanicals, floated through the contaminated air to land on the rubble-laden ground.

Several beeps sounded within the camera drone. It flashed lights at the people gathered below, then sent another coded message to those waiting.

Not long, now, it said. The armies of the suppressed were nearly ready to strike.

 

 

*Based on my own original acrylic painting*