Sworn Statement

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Sworn Statement

By

Dash McCallen
This is the testimony and sworn statement of Sargon III, Leader of the Clan Ondode, regarding the disaster at Elmer, New Mexico Territories, United States.

As I sit and write this, the images come back to me as if it were yesterday. I will preface this so as to put it in context.

The death of Dracula, Lord of the Vampires, had a chilling effect on the Regents and the High Council, rumors that humans fought back, indeed, several of the best nights of the year, for which all human men and women would hide and congregate in places making it easy to hunt, had now become times of festivities of the world of man– No longer did they fear those of us that prey on them for what they were; Feedstock.

The directive came out in the latter part of the nineteenth century that the Regents had called for a new vote to include the New World clans, not the least of which were the Clans Chupacabra and Manoutou, two of the most powerful of the new world clans, they had petitioned and wanted to be included in the next voting of the High Council. All of the New World clans wanted a vote on who would be the next Lord of Vampires.

It was announced by the Lady Marya, the daughter of the Late Count Dracula, that the Gathering of the Clans would be held in the New World out of respect of the new clans to be included. This was viewed as a positive move to allay fears that the Old World clans were only interested in domination of the New World and to bring peace at the outset of the new Council of Regents. This should avoid the internal strife that Lord Dracula had brought to an end during the times of the Great Defeat, before the Resurgence, what mankind called “The Dark Ages”.

My thrall found that in area of Elmer in the New Mexico Territories of the United States, that a large cave existed that could hold all the clans during the daylight. Thralls would be able to watch over the sleeping Kindred easily. Close by there was a large cattle ranch and several Native American villages, isolated and ready to be used for feeding.

At the commencement of the meetings of the Regents and the New World clans went very well. In the weeks before, the Manoutu and Chupacabra clans showed how easily the day-walkers of this land could be fed on. Clans trained new thralls as the older thralls became more involved in administration of the day-work.

It was at this time that a thrall came back and told of the cattle ranch nearby that was going to have an “All-Hallows-Eve” party there. Many, perhaps five-thousand in all, of the local feedstock were going to be at this gathering, bringing ales and food for everyone, it was reported that the party would last for days. At the first Regents meeting, Lady Marya stepped down as Steward in favor of her brother Luc, Son of Lord Dracula. It was then suggested that the gathering of humans would make a perfect community of thralls to protect the area and bring in new food to those that would stay on at the cave. Wherever those that have wandered and have lost the way in the Old World, it was decided then that this area in the New World would be a sanctuary and home for all of the Kindred.

At that time, no one had suspected the danger to the Council and any of the Kindred. The thralls who would have given warning prior to the disaster were also deceived by the Others.

There was no inclination prior to that night as to the nature of those that were at what the humans called the “Horned-A Ranch” or sometimes referred to as the “No Belly-Acres” to which is still a bit of a mystery to me.

Sighing, the blond-haired male dipped his bone tipped pen into a tiny overturned skull that served as an inkwell. His age was greater than that of Dracula, Lord of the Vampires, but he had no such ambitions or lust of power. Beginning his first life during the human dark ages, he appeared in his early thirty’s. His undead life began when the human populations had declined by a third due to over-predation, laws were passed to save the primary food source for all of the Kindred. as he continued his sworn statement on the events of that terrible night, he felt his throat constrict from the memory of fear.

The first of the week, the hunt went well around the Great Cave. There was feedstock that traveled in groups to the party. Some traveled in small groups, some by pairs. A few larger groups were left alone so as not to alarm the humans at the destination. One location that had used cliff dwellings of the Anasazi, wiped out by the over hunting of the Chupacabra Clan, that a group took shelter for the night where the hunters found them. Several thralls were made, one was embraced as Kindred and the rest were used as needed.

The selection of the High Council came to the final vote. Only the best claims to the seat of Chancellor were left to be heard. Count Dracula had left a legacy that was difficult to fill, some said it would never be filled properly. Others said it was a matter of perception and that a good strong leader would put fear back into the humans and they would no longer have the wish to hunt any on the Night’s Children.

On the night of the Last Day of October, the vote had been made. The announcement of the new Chancellor would be made at the end of the feeding and the decision would be final. Upon the signal of Marya Zaleska, daughter of the Count as her last act as Steward, the host departed the Great Cave and headed out in the night sky to the human gathering. This was the beginning of the end of our civilization as we knew it.

As the Hunting Party arrived at the humans All-Hallows Eve celebration, we mixed with the feedstock, waiting until the Midnight Hour struck to feed. Awk, King of the Clan Ondode, explained to the host of the human party that they were to stay calm as the feeding commenced. The human male who was host of the party, would not bend to the will of my brother. A mental struggle for control ensued with King Awk calling me over to mediate and explain to the human that resistance was pointless

He sighed, rubbed his eyes for a moment, a sound near him drew his attention.

The Regent’s thrall brought a new inkwell made of a small skull of some unidentified creature. He knew it was difficult for Sargon, one day the Kindred would regain the position that was taken from them on that terrible night.

Sargon dipped his pen into the ink and continued writing without looking up.

When I sat at the table, I tried to use my mind to force the male human named ‘Gilbert’ into accepting that he and his party were going to be used and fed upon. This human told us to act as guests and that we would not be allowed to harm anyone. It was then about five minutes to the stroke of Midnight. The time of the feeding for the clans after such a long and arduous meeting.

My brother the King, the great Awk, was among the most physically intimidating of the Old World Wampyr clans. Humans would not look at him directly because of his sheer physical intimidation. He stood over two meters in height and about one-hundred fifty kilograms. Gil, however looked him in the eye and just stated that we were not the most powerful of beings and that the whole of the Gathering were to behave as guests. All of the Old and New World Kindred were welcome if we remained peaceful, but that if anyone of the Hunting Party were to attempt to feed outside of what foot was set out, that is with any guests, they would be dealt with severely.

At this point, Awk was confused. Awk was unable to control the human that he had spoken with and, until that night, I had never met a human that would not be frightened or unmoved by mind control that we possess as all of the Embraced do.

It was at this time that I first felt the unease as to what the humans truly were. Six Wampyre and Chupacabra in the shape of human children sat at the feet of one white-haired human male who was telling them stories as a an adult human would to real children. He leaned on a silver-handled walking stick and had the look of wisdom about him. They selected him as the first of the feeding by those that sat near him.

Wynn, the hostess of the party and Gil’s wife sat at the table. This human I tried to gain control over, only to be rejected so harshly by her mind that it caused me physical pain.

Dipping his pen back into the gall ink, Sargon the III continued writing his testimony after taking a swallow from a golden goblet of thick blood-colored wine, the thought of that agony rebounded in his memory. So long ago, years in fact, but there was no distance enough or time passed enough from that place to where he now sat. His life was down to hunting rodents for sustenance, a few of the Embraced had made forays into hunting of humans again, using thralls to take the punishment in the event that they were found out, but it was a dangerous life due to the vampire hunters, as they called themselves, had been stalking any clan. Many had died at the hands of these humans, many more hid in fear, few felt that they still sat at the top of the food-chain.

Shaking his head at that thought, the once proud Scribe of Regents went back to his discourse of the events. It was the order of the Acting Chancellor of the Council to investigate and try to secure her position at the seat of power, although none of the Regents were truly representing any clan. The power vacuum led to a struggle that haunted all the True Vampire clans.

Sargon just wanted to do as humans did now and again. Get completely drunk and wake up days or weeks later. One thing he had a vague memory of, when Sargon II the Great embraced him after the end of a fight that left a knife in his back, of drunken singing and a lusty women that kept pressing their ample breasts in his face, a faint but good memory.

In that moment, I knew that we had to leave the area. The leader of the Chupacabra, RedNova Du Caudray, who had made herself a seat on the High Council, was in agreement. I tried to get my King to come with us, but he was in a contest of wills with the human host of the party, I had to strike him across the back of the head to get his attention. He was so engrossed on forcing the human to submit he no longer took notice that the human was not even paying attention to the Great Awk. I tried to warn others to leave the party, but the hour struck and the feast of the new Regents had begun, what our history would record as the single greatest disaster that led to the genocide of almost all of the Nights Children.

The first attack my Sire, Rednova Du Caudray and I witnessed. Six of the small Wampyre and Chupacabra that sat at the foot of this human-looking male had leaped up at him with fangs and claws out. Those Kindred appeared to dissipate as smoke does in a wind. Later this was found to be the Angel of Death, one of the Others.

Sargon shuddered, reaching for his goblet that the Thrall from the High Council kept filling with wine. After a gulp, Sargon returned to the paper.

What should have been an easy kill, one of the Lilu clan launched himself at a small female, and he was grabbed by the throat and held at arms-length by the human who then showed her true colors. She proved  she was not human by opening her mouth as an alligator and swallowed that Hunter whole. I learned this was Abaddon, King of the Demons, never has there been record or mention of Angels or Demons among us before this night.

I witnessed another Kindred thrown through a wall by another human that was not human, opening a hole that King Awk, Lady RedNova and myself escaped out of. We attacked no one and told every one of the Clans to flee. Several heeded our words, many were struck down.

We ran and made our way out the back of the farm and between large barrel-stands of wine and beer. We watched attacks against the hostess of the party, Wynn Bron, who spread wings of an Angel and she fought alongside three demons, slaughtering their way through a group of the Hunting Party. Running, we changed form to burrow creatures and escaped to fields nearby. We made our way to a depression in the land and out of site of the demons and angels. Against my advice, Awk became a bat and tried to fly away, only to explode into ashes as a great bolt of light struck him as he took to the air.

Sargon put down the bone-tipped pen,picked up his royal cup and swallowed wine, feeling the effect of the liquor, he turned back to his account of the disaster.

Lady Du Caudray stayed with me as we left the killing behind and returned to the Great Cave hours later, just before dawn. Of the Gathering, entire Clans did not return. Chupacabra Clan was reduced to less than a score of members. No one of the Wendigo clan returned to the cave, of the powerful Clan Dracul, only Marya remains. I am now the leader of the Clan Ondode, few of us survive and out of a total of seven-thousand Kindred that attended, fewer than thirty survived that night. The Clan Chupacabra and the Clan Ondode are to combine, there is no more that can be done.

Sighing, if a vampire could cry, he would have flooded his castle. His mate, the Lady RedNova Du Caudray, Empress of the Clan Chupacabra, put her hand on his shoulder.

“You have finished and the sun also rises. Sign it and send it away, beloved.”

Sargon nodded and put the pen to paper.

This is my sworn testimony of the true events witnessed by me on the Night Of Death on Samhain for all Kindred.

ROYAL SEAL

Royal Seal of the Ondode

Royal Seal of the Ondode

Signed ,

Sargon III, King of the Ondode

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Story Prompt. They Dared me for a few minutes- this is a seed of a story…

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Honey enjoyed the party, Halloween this year proved more exciting than in previous years. Her freedom grew while she attended college at Ocean Bay University. The characters of her dorm were such insane women, she was both alarmed and laughed until her sides hurt every weekend.

To Keep her grades up was the greatest struggle, but doable.

This Halloween party was just what the doctor ordered. Mid term testing had driven her dreams and now she was at a party with more booze than she ever seen in one house.

Rebecca, already braless with a white t-shirt was dipping her head into the pool, making the opaque material of her shirt transparent.

Then she dared act all embarrassed when she walked around with puckered nipples.

Honey enjoyed the drinks when she met Zac, a criminal justice major and his friend Dorian who studied chemistry.

The party moved from innocent to adult with a blink of an eye when the school jokesters showed up as strippers. Robert, Dean, Joseph wore fake boobs and G-strings and walked around and rubbed on everyone.

The night wore on, the more people drank, the more clothes fell off.

Honey thought she had consumed too much ethanol and the ground began to spin and move while she danced in Robert’s arms.

Except he looked around, too, tension on his face.

“It’s an earthquake.” He said. “It’s Only a 3.5…”

Then the power went out.

Screams and laughter echoed around the party house.

It would not be many minutes before “Oooh’s and ah’s!” became screams of horror and terror…

What? Ohmygod Awesome! Oh, wait… nope.

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It is a dream, a fantasy in the wildest dreams that someone who has “made it” and with great talent that might look into Amazon, bookshelves of a library, or watches (or one of their employees watches) the titles and blog sites for new and good stories to produce.

To this end when you have that moment of receiving an email from someone with a name of James Cameron, Ron Howard, Stephen Spielberg, you get excited for a moment.

Such like happened to me. I got the notice on my phone while loading groceries into my 17-year-old, squeaky, leaky, quarter-million-mile (PLUS) Dodge that wears the edges of tires out faster than the rest of the tire (Front end needs to be rebuilt) and puffs smoke when climbing some steep hills, I did not read it, just who sent it.

At first the name did not register until I drove to the street when the light bulb lit.

“Oh!” When recognition of the name hit, it nearly hurt.

By the time I got home, I had already repaved the driveway (The only 4wd driveway in the neighborhood. A removed tree’s roots have collapsed and caused a cave-in on one side of the concrete)  bought a new car (Tesla, Model S or Model X) and – nearly – forgot to bring the groceries in on a day so hot that it could melt the stripes off a tabby-cat.

Even the birds were panting on the wires. (Beaks open, tongues sticking out, no chirping) Heh.

So, dancing like a child on Xmas eve, or putting on his (or her) costume on October 29th in anticipation to find such good things waiting for them….

I opened the email on my laptop…stupid thing boots soooo slow. “Faster faster!  Dag-nab you!” I am so getting a new one to replace this 10-year-old lappy, with dead pixels and broken hinge (thank you dogs, who knocked it off the table while chasing each other).

So! At last! Email open! Downloading… 120 Likes on WordPress! Normally open those all (good for my fragile ego. I still get questioned by Mrs Dash if it will ever amount to anything) but I need to open the famous named one and print it out to hand to Mrs D and show her that I have achieved attention of someone never dreamed of.

Then only to have the heart fall. Checking the source of the email, yes, it is a famous name… but not their fault that parents named them the same first name as the famous movie maker/producer/director.

Seriously, not even the correct gender.

I am so pleased with myself I did not brag to Mrs Dash I had someone of notoriety then have to eat those words. She would have gotten: 1. A laugh. 2. Grounded me from writing as it is non-productive 3. sent me out to do more gardening or yard-work.

*sigh*

I think I will shoot my bow at the tiny bottle caps I have out in the yard that dance, spin and swing on strings. I seem to have better skills doing that than writing a proper work of fiction.

But no. then I cannot feed my core need to tell stories, to answer the voices that live in different worlds and want out. To have you all laugh, nod and maybe weep at the words I post here. Even if it is a mix of horror, sci-fi, historical fiction, romance and adventure (Not in the same story– yet anyway). To have you like what I have posted tickle my heart.

Anyway.  To the Ronnie Howards, the Georgia Lucas’, the Jamie Camerons and the Stephanie Spielbergs thank you for your compliments, keep them coming.

And If I answer with an odd excitement, just realize I am not always the sharpest tool in the box (Akin to a rolling-pin?) and I’ll get the clue by the next email.

But dreams are good.

Laughing at myself,

Dash

lunch of crushed fire.

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So far, I am convinced the world of the kitchen today is trying to perform some kind of twisted sense of humor.

In making a sandwich, A touch of mayonnaise, havarti cheese, mushrooms, sliced crimini mushrooms. Then powdered garlic, and a sprinkle of crushed red chili pepper.

Well, that was the plan. It all went well until the chili-pepper.

The dry pepper in a jar just takes a light shake. Instead of a pinch? I probably put two-tablespoons on the sandwich.

UGH!  Shake it off- carefully. And I ate it down anyway.  THIS was a sinus-clearing event.

and now, I know for sure it is not an anxiety/panic attack, but my tummy is asking me “WTF did you swallow? A bbq ember? Wow!”

Ugh, Refusal to back down, hard-headed “I refuse to let it ruin my meal.” attitude.

So now I sit here perspiring more than if I just sat in the sun after a hot shower.

To quote a famous cat. Pffttthhp.

I can even fail at making a lunch.

But I did finish making the frozen dog-treats.  Greek Yogurt, (Local “raw”) honey, banana, peanut butter that are now in the freezer. I just tried really hard to make a mess. One of the containers had a hole in it from a dog-tooth, so it leaked all over the counter. *Sigh* but that was the only fail. Messy enough. At least when breaking up larger frozen “Cubes” of the dog treat, I didn’t slice a finger.

Not that I didn’t try. heh.

I did get a half-dozen shots in with the bow, hit the milk-cap twice. I’m trying to get focused again.

On a related “Focused” note. Keep an eye on this (and a few others! PoffPublishing and Rarity for two.). blog for announcements of an anthology of Horror scheduled now for (NO later than) 1 October 2016.  Originally scheduled for 2015, but all of us have fallen behind and with my own rough patch coming up (Mama Dash with Multiple Myeloma- a bone cancer and Sister Sledgehammer [the “Dash it ALL” attitude. Do not @#$! with her, she will hurt you.] with hardware being taken out of her body to the tune of about a half-pound of steel. PLUS a discovery that the previous surgeries failed to reattach a TFL muscle back to the hip.  Papa Dash trying to crash and burn in front of the nurses the day of his surgery. ) I don’t see me doing much in a full-fledged assembly of a story, even if we have a team of us authors.

Speaking of which?

Anyone who wants to be part of an anthology of a horror novel scheduled for a Halloween 2016 season release.  We have some openings. We are shooting for a 50-60,000 word novel. No more than 100k words total. At that point, our short-story size begin to shrink.

So, shoot me a note. We can chat.

Dash

Assistant cook and chief bottle washer.

Oh and just promoted from journeyman baiter to master. So all is good there. (think about it and you’re allowed to giggle)

Shock and Awe Chapter 2. The Assault Begins

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Chapter 2. The Assault Begins

He watched the sign in front of the police department headquarters count down to midnight. He watched a slight change how the clock looked when radio control added seconds and synchronized the clock to internet time. Then it clicked over to the next hour.

A small tone sounded in the earphone, it was an electronically generated tone of 2600 hz sound and now everyone knew that they were now on the clock. It was the “eighteen-hundred” tone.

It was time to begin.

The Grizzly Adams lookalike walked through the doors of the foyer that remained unlocked twenty-four hours a day to deal with business that always seemed to find its way to the clerk’s window. Fix-it tickets signed off, complaints filed, young reporters sometimes read the register right up to midnight, attempting to get a scoop and be the first to pick up on something interesting.

The clerk looked up and was briefly startled by the view of the mountain man walking through the doors, she started to smile. It was not uncommon to see dressed up people this time of year, even if he early in the Halloween season.

Mountain Man walked up towards the window, as thick as an index finger is long, of bullet resistant polycarbonate wall bolted a massive polycarbonate base and required the use of speakers and microphones to communicate.

She had just drawn a breath to ask if she could help him when he stopped and smiled. “Sorry for this.”

Then he aimed the long rifle— it was as long as she was tall— and he said in a conversational tone. The twin barrels of the firearm looked cavernous only inches from the middle of the bullet resistant wall. 

“But… Please, duck.”

Kirsten Kloster screamed as she hit an alarm button and did what he requested. The report of both barrels of the black-powder long gun rocked even the floor of the room.

Something fell on Kirsten, she screamed in shock, it felt like a wall fell over on her.

It had, the impact of twin chunks of lead with a collective kinetic energy greater than the window mounts could withstand. The bullet resistant barrier fell in, followed by a dense noxious cloud that smelled of sulfur choked and blinded everyone. Bob Adkins, the other clerk was screaming into a radio for help.

Alarms sounded and magnetic plates locked the doors, normally left unlocked around the clock, they became solid and immovable. Radio traffic said that back-up was two-minutes away, everyone was responding from all points to the scene of the shooting.

Footsteps pounded up stairs, seven police officers ran from the armory in the sub-levels towards the foyer up the steps. A half-dozen SWAT team members burst through the hallway door near the clerk window that prevented anyone from going into the back offices unchecked and began choking on the smoke that had not dissipated in the large room.

Looking about, the officers covered the room with multiple layers of crisscrossed laser sights.

“Where is the shooter?” Shouted the watch commander.

“He was there!” Adkins yelled and pointed to the middle of the room.

“Sweep the area. Check the restrooms.” The watch commander Sergeant Leslie Murrie said as she surveyed the destroyed window, torn from the mountings of the three-clerk wall.

“Miss Kloster, what window were you standing at?”

“I don’t know, the left one. He said to duck before he pulled the trigger.”

“He said … Duck?” Leslie blinked in disbelief. “If he was shooting, why did he give a warning and why did he aim at a window that no one was at?”

“Sergeant! He has blocked the men’s room door.”

“Call him out.” Standing on either side, an officer banged on the door. “

Sir! Come out now. You have no exit, there is no window in there. Sir! Come out with your hands empty, arms up and walk backwards out of the door!”

There was no sound other than footsteps coming down the hallway of the rest of the swat team who had geared up rapidly with forced entry tools and stun “flashbang” grenades. And a favorite tool for forced entry, someone brought the two-man ram to force a door.

Four officers pushed on the steel restroom door, it did not give, refused to flex even a little. He had thrown the emergency dead-bolt. A twin-cylinder lock with a key required on either side to throw the bolts without setting off the alarm.  Without a key , he had to have picked it from the inside to activate the lock.

“Kirsten, key please.” It was Jake, a ten-year patrolman that enjoyed driving. Even if his history had a long record of destroyed patrol cars, to his credit, he had never hit any moving object. Always trees, fences, one mailbox, ditches and only one “fatality” of running over Marty MacBean, the cast concrete statue at the MacBean’s chili house.

The painted and wired head of Marty MacBean still adorned the squad room after two years.

The key refused to slide into the lock, on close inspection, the unknown subject had jammed toothpicks into the keyhole.

“Fuck it, use the ram.”

“Sir!” Jake pounded on the door.”Sir come out, if we have to come in it will not go well for you.”

Sirens sounded outside, approaching patrol cars were responding code-3 on a call for an emergency.

“Cancel them, Kirsten.” Leslie said. “We have him contained.”

“Sir,” Jake repeated with pounding. “That was a good trick with the toothpicks, you need to unlock the door and come out or we are coming in.”

“Ram it.” Jake nodded. “Toss in one of your party poppers when you get it open.”

Two of the biggest officers rushed up and swung the thirty-kilo battering ram. The door barely rattled in the hinges and failed to open, twice— three times. Four. Five! The fire-rated steel door did not give easily.

With redoubled effort, the two big men hit the steel-clad and core fire-rated door time and again. The door designed to resist an assault and be a panic room shelter refused to be dominated easily. Twenty strokes, thirty, at fifty impacts by the sweating officers and their massive ram the door bowed in as they forced an opening.

A gap opened half the width of a hand and something rolled out, it was a cylinder about as thick as a flashlight and just wide enough to bounce end over end, until it reached the end of a short cord that pulled a pin out of the cylinder.

“GRENADE!” Leslie yelled. The detonation was not half has loud as the whistle, but it was as bright as if one would to look directly into the sun for a blink of an eye.

And again! The whistling sound it produced was painful.

And again! The light made bones visible in one of the officers hands that he covered his eyes with, visible as shadows for a moment. Five times in all the cylinder puffed out a cloud of dust and ignited it with deafening booms.

The shock could be felt in the very core of their chests, cups fell from desks, papers ruffled and fell to the floor.

And another cylinder wedged against the wall behind a plastic waiting-room chair jarred loose from the explosions and fell to the floor and popped off it’s spoon on impact with the tile.

And deafened them with another five blinding explosions with whistles that exceeded pain levels.

“Throw one in!” Leslie yelled.

“WHAT?” The SWAT team member yelled.

“I will throw in now.”

“I had said that.” Leslie yelled back. The officer looked at her oddly as he pulled the pin on a flash-bang and tossed it into the opening.

But dizzy and dazzled, mostly deaf by the ten flash-bangs that had been left for them. His hands shook, his eyes were slightly unfocused and for the first time he had done something not done since his academy days.

He missed.

“FUCK! GRENADE!”

The proximity and concussive force of the entry explosive shredded his pant-leg.

For the eleventh time the police endured  the concussion and flash of a flash-bang grenade in an enclosed space.

Blind, deaf, choking on smoke and gas from the various reactions and smoke incapacitated the trained and skilled team of law enforcement officers.

Shock and Awe (re-write) Chapter 1. Radio Check

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Shock And Awe

Chapter 1. Radio Check

 The night came early this time of year and was as any night in the busy, growing city. Located in the hills above the Pacific Coast of the American western states, it was a crossroads from the coast to those going to play in the mountains or returning to go back to school or the mundane misery of work.

All but one person. He walked down the street, a curious looking fellow, dressed in an over-sized leather jacket, rawhide pants and a calico print shirt. On his back, an archaic backpack of recent construction. Every tied knot perfect, each pocket stuffed full. On the left side he had tied frying pans and the right was a canteen that was as equally ancient looking.

He wore a cap made of some fur-bearing animal with a tail that hung down the back of his head. Dense black fur kept his head covered and from it hung a leather eye-covering mask with tiny holes. A defense against snow-blindness when it was necessary. Tonight was cold, but no snow had fallen yet in the year, it was still early in the season. Not even the holiday shoppers had even begun to shop in earnest.

Still, he was a man out of time. Maybe not a serious turn of the eye for most folks at night— it was not out of the question for the odd wanderer to travel through by way of train that ran through the town of seventy-five thousand souls.

In his hands, however, he carried a long weapon. As ancient as the clothing he wore, as if he dressed for Halloween early, or a mountain man convention. The flintlock was, by outward appearances, perfect in every way to the cursory inspection.

However, this old style weapon was different. Double-barreled, twin flint locks and double-set triggers with a select lever. He could choose between either one or both barrels. In the day this would be a heavy artillery item in combat.

Today, it was little different. The mountain man walked in to the shadow of a parking structure, standing across from the police headquarters and ate a cube of chocolate from a leather pouch.

Police main station, a tribute to mid to late 1960’s construction. Regular remodeling to the building over the years extended its useful life. Every permit, every plan drawn up part of public record if one knew where to look.

The mountain man had looked, along with his team, at all the blueprints, every one.

“Radio check.” He spoke quietly, his long, scraggly beard hiding the microphone at his throat. The earphone hidden by his cap.

“Five by five.”

It was only to let them know he was ready. In the sky, he watched a dark shape float by, listening hard, he could just hear a faint whirring sound, then a parachute-slowed payload dropped quietly on the roof of the police structure.

“Parcel delivered.” The earphone buzzed quietly in his ear.

The assault had begun.