If you’re interested

Just trying some non-fiction, vaguely experimental stuff on my other blog. Worked hard on this, relative to my other efforts.

Let me know what you think!

Hierarchy of Fear and the “Equivalence of Threat”



Everything Changed, Part 4

The living room felt electrical and hazy. An old woman was standing in front of the sink, washing a chicken with comet and giving her horrible looks. The woman was pale, with the red cross symbol tattooed on her forehead.

She couldn’t look away from the old woman, thinking that the chicken cleaner was a malicious force. It didn’t help that the sound of a tire being stripped clean was playing over and over again in the background like a broken record. This couldn’t be real. But the woman came closer, and she realized that the woman wasn’t malicious, but very disoriented. The woman approached slowly,  eyes being emptied out with each step, like it was moving day and a new life was on the horizon. Heaven came crashing down and she woke up again, wondering if the sky had become darker and to what degree.

An old storage room greeted her. Armed people stood with their backs immobile. She felt safety envelope her as the sting of the needle released the vaccine into hardening veins. Clarity was offered, but fear too. What did the armed people want? Not only that, but the clock just started ticking a couple of seconds ago.

Everything Changed, Part 2

The grocery store still squatted. But the shadows seemed slower, which told her that night was on its way. She thought to herself that she was telling time more efficiently, using the cues the world gave her rather than that device with hands that now seemed unpredictable and chaotic. She always avoided them. They made people age, albeit slowly, and they eventually ended up as moaning husks. She wondered how long it would be until she turned into one, but avoiding their damning gazes would help slow the sprouting of grey hairs and rotting skin.

Her stomach rumbled in hunger. But she was nauseous too. The vaccine always killed her appetite.

Voices were close by. They bounced off the cars and fled the ground for the sky. She always fantasized about doing that. The steel blue being beckoned with loving arms. It would embrace you and wouldn’t expect you to survive.

But the voices continued, freeing themselves but selfishly anchoring her to reality.



Everything changed

She was standing on the pavement, vermin fleeing as she toyed with her wooden bat. It was quiet, but that wasn’t a good or a bad thing. Nope. Quiet just existed, only to be reinterpreted in moments of reflection on that never-ending lonely road.

A gutted store squatted up ahead, but she didn’t look away at the shadows or the hurtful things they were doing. Things were being eaten in there. Or maimed. Or something violent was happening to them.

The prospect of groceries inside made her mouth moist, but the thought of syringes dried it up again. The vaccine always came first. It had to. A couple hours without, and it was game over. Food always had to come second.

She was a gaunt person that scavenged the landscape for syringes. There was no lust for twinkies anymore.

Sleep was in her daydreams. At least, it had been to the best of her recollection.

5:31am, part 13

Once firmly ensconced in the mausoleum, Zeke turned on his flashlight. They exhaled simultaneously.  It wasn’t clear whether or not anyone had followed or seen them, but for now it seemed like they were safe. Lamarr was in the center of the dingy room, her cries having settled to a simmer. Maybe she sensed the dangers lurking nearby.

“That Lamarr?” Zeke asked. “I’d give her my coat, but it’s soaking wet.”

“Me too.”

Zeke looked around, looking more alert than scared. “Hmm, there has to be something to wrap her up in…”

Tommy looked around without responding. The walls were composed of a dozen or so slots each, looking about as grimy as you could imagine. Remains were obviously in them, but Tommy was more concerned about Lamarr crystallizing this memory rather himself being traumatized. He wanted her to forget tonight if it was at all possible.

Tommy suddenly had the idea to take his coat off, and wrap her up in his mostly dry shirt. He did so very quickly, surprised at how automatic the action was.

“Hey, don’t worry about anything, you’re safe. We’ll both protect you,” Tommy said. Lamarr cooed a bit.

“You’re going to get sick wearing that wet coat. You’d probably be better off without it on,” Zeke suggested, but Tommy just shrugged. Lamarr was his primary concern at the moment.

“Hey, look. I knew if I told you the man you know as Milton was my adoptive father, you wouldn’t trust me. But our goals are the same. Well, maybe a little different, but I don’t want to see Zhang or my father as president. You have to know that!”

Tommy decided not to respond to that. He knew Zeke didn’t mean him harm, but forgiving him right away just seemed stupid.

“If your dad emancipates you, where will you go?”

“I dunno. A friend’s maybe.”

Zeke looked hopeful and Tommy just nodded.

A cacophony of voices came from just outside the mausoleum. Lamarr started to blubber in protest. Zeke and Tommy readied their crowbars, assuming the worst.