Dark America, Part 23 – Daddy’s Home!

Continued from Chapter 22, here.

We looked down at the prone scientist for a minute. “So, this seems to be the cause of the Event,” I finally said.

“Sounds like it,” Henry agreed.

“Seems like it’s probably our job to shut things down, avoid a second occurrence.”

“Could be a smart move, yes,” Sergei nodded, his face deadpan. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 22 – Neuro-Mumbo-Jumbo

Continued from Chapter 21, here.

Back inside the control room, Orville had again managed to pull away from the blaring alarms of the electronic panels behind him.

“You succeeded,” I echoed his last words back to him. “What do you mean? You created a neural network?”

Orville, eyes flashing, gestured behind him at the banks of electronic panels, lights blinking on and off. “Does this look like nothing happened?” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 21 – Reading the Black Book

Continued from Chapter 20, here.

The four of us – Jaspers, Henry, Sergei, and myself – all looked back at the tall, gaunt scientist who’d spoken. I felt the eyes of my team members swiveling towards me, checking how I’d respond as the team leader.

“Explosives?” I echoed, looking back at Orville. “Why?” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 20 – Going Bald is Sexy, Okay?

Continued from Chapter 19, here.

The Blue Diamond installation, despite being located in the remote hills out on the edges of tiny little Waxahachie, Texas, still had a clear lobby and entrance. Perhaps they occasionally received visitors of some importance. The gravel path leading up to a parking lot stopped at an atrium with panels of glass forming entire walls, letting the sun into the front lobby of the building.

“Cars in the parking lot,” Sergei noted on the short-wave. “People were here for when the event did happen.”

“From how that camera moved, they might still be here,” I replied, and he fell silent. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 19 – I’ve Got My Eye On You…

Continued from Chapter 18, here.

“I am not sure how I know,” Sergei said into the short-wave radio, “but I am thinking that we are now very close.”

“I know how he knows,” Jaspers muttered from my passenger seat, not bothering to pick up the mike for this reply. “Because it’s bloody creepy as hell. That’s how he knows. Cold Russian bastard probably loves this.”

I didn’t say anything, but my mental sentiment echoed Jaspers’ spoken thoughts. We were nearing the address on Nathaniel Hobbson’s business card. It seemed to be a rather remote location, as we’d left the town behind, instead heading out into the Texas foothills. But one new feature had appeared, dotting the tops of the hills around us. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 18 – Home Invasion

Continued from Chapter 17, here.

“There’s something wrong with these folks,” Jaspers muttered darkly as we crossed the threshold. “I mean, who bloody buys one of these things at all, much less puts it out in front of the damn entrance?”

I bit back my initial response. “Sara said that her father’s a scientist,” I reminded the Brit. “Scientists are geeks and nerds, for the most part. They’d buy these sorts of things. It makes sense.”

Jaspers still gave the three-foot-tall Star Wars stormtrooper standing beside the front door another glare. “Ought to be forbidden. Bloody offense to properness, it is.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 17 – Should’ve Brought a Casserole

Continued from Chapter 16, here.

Two days later, Sara perked up as we drove across the dusty, seemingly endless stretches of Texas scrubland. “We’re getting close to my home!” she called out, sitting forward and pressing her face against the truck’s side window.

I didn’t know how she could tell – it all looked the same to me. But beside me, Jaspers briefly smiled, although he turned it into a cough and held a hand up in front of his bushy black beard to cover the soft expression.

Not that I’d rib him over it. We’d all grown more connected to Sara over the last few days than we’d expected, even though most of us would refuse to admit it, even under enemy torture. We’d done our best to keep our distance from the girl, especially given what unknowns still might lie in her future – but it was harder done than said. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 16 – God’s Not Dead

Continued from Chapter 15, here.

That night, as we set up our camp on the outskirts of Nashville, we made extra care that our guard was up. After that attack, earlier that day, we didn’t want to have anyone sneak up on us while we slept.

Corinne, thankfully, stepped up and made herself Sara’s unofficial guardian without my having to ask her. It seemed that the Swedish blonde had taken a bit of a shine to the young girl, and they seemed to get along on that strange, almost magical wavelength that women seem to possess with each other. I even caught them giggling to each other, once, although they refused to disclose what they found to be so funny.

Other than their giggles, however, there wasn’t much mirth as we sat around the rigged camp stove, eating and gazing off into the middle distance. Killing always takes its toll, even for the most hardened of warriors. Despite all my training, I was human, and it still seemed like anathema to take the life of another. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 15 – Asking the Right Questions

Continued from Chapter 14, here.

Although we managed to escape our attackers, the truck that I currently drove was in bad condition. The rattling coming from the underbody had increased to the point where conversation inside the cabin was nearly impossible, and I didn’t dare turn the wheel more than a half point in either direction for fear that I’d completely snap the axle.

“We need to get a new vehicle,” I said, slowing down with careful little taps on the brakes so that I could speak into the short-wave radio without being drowned out. “This one’s nearly dead.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 14 – Super Mutants

Continued from Chapter 13, here.

Before my eyes, one of the attackers brought a stick down – and, with a crash, shattered the windshield of the front truck in our convoy.

“Shit.” I swung my gun around and, with two shots, managed to pick that attacker off. But even as he fell, three more came up to take his place, swinging at the sides of the truck with sticks and stones. Continue reading