Dark America, Part 44 – Unplugged from the Matrix

Continued from Chapter 43, here.

I was once again back in darkness – but this didn’t feel like the mindless, empty void of earlier.

I felt pressure of a sort – and when I pushed at it, I could get the thinnest sliver of brilliant light, piercing into my skull.

Wait a minute – I had a skull! I pushed again, felt those brilliant slivers enter, not quite so blindingly bright. I reached out to lift one hand up to block some of the glare, only realizing as I did so that this also meant that I had hands, which presumably were connected to the rest of my body!

I finally managed to open my eyelids, sat up and looked around. I lay… Continue reading

Dark America, Part 43 – Child Abduction

Continued from Chapter 42, here.

Standing there, in the strange simulation of reality that was too vibrant, too real to be truly correct, I felt my fingers tighten around the cold steel of the crowbar that was leaning up against the half-torn-apart car. Gripping it so tightly that the beveled edges bit into my skin, I brought it up and swung it at the head of the thing that wasn’t quite my wife.

The crowbar swung true. It flew right towards Alexis’s forehead, and I felt a burning scream inside of me, a scream at the idea of doing this to something with the face of my wife, even if it wasn’t really her, just wore her skin- Continue reading

Dark America, Part 42 – The Mind Behind Her Eyes

Continued from Chapter 41, here.

“You’re not serious,” I said to this mental construction, whatever it was, of my wife, sitting on the couch of a stranger’s house beside me and smiling with love at me as she rubbed my hand between her fingers.

“What’s scaring you, husband?” Alexis kept smiling, didn’t stop moving her fingers against mine. Somehow, that closeness made it even worse. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 41 – A Chat With the Wife

Continued from Chapter 40, here.

No. Not possible. This couldn’t be happening.

Standing just in front of a couch, in a room that shouldn’t exist and didn’t seem quite real, I stared at the woman who had just walked in through the front door. There were a handful of situations when i remember being too stunned to speak, but none of them could compare to this one. Those were gentle brushes compared to this current mind-fuck.

“Alexis,” I croaked out, my lips barely even able to shape the name.

The woman smiled at me, a slightly uncertain smile that I recognized intimately, instantly. That was the smile she gave me when I first swept her off her feet, promised her that I’d treat her like no one else ever had.

“Hi again, Brian,” she said softly, and I swear I heard the ripping sound of my heart being torn in two. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 40 – Unexpected Reunion

Continued from Chapter 39, here.

No one else seemed inclined to say anything, so I kept on taking the lead.

“I remember you now,” I said, waving a finger at the man. He didn’t back away, didn’t even acknowledge the pointing towards him. “This is your house, isn’t it? This was the living room. We stopped by, saw pictures of you here.”

Hobbson didn’t say anything, but he gave a slight nod of his head, as if allowing me to continue. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 39 – It’s All Calm On the Surface

Continued from Chapter 38, here.

Well, today was turning into a strange day.

With my squad, I located the massive, impossible-to-understand monster that may have been responsible for billions of deaths. Despite feeling almost absurdly over-prepared, we failed to kill the thing. Hell, we failed to do anything but make it angry – at which point it decided to squash us like insects under a boot heel.

Instead of dying, we apparently woke up in some sort of shapeless version of Hell, where we fought off an endless stream of attacking psychic tentacles using the power of our mental focus. We managed to escape through a cheap pine wood door, appearing in-

-in a living room, I finished that disturbing, totally bonkers summary inside my head. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 38 – Not the End?

Continued from Chapter 38, here.

Whiteness.

Nothingness.

And then, creeping in so slowly that it was all but unnoticeable, awareness.

I was… that’s it. I was. Again. For a period, indescribable in every way, I hadn’t been, and now I was once again.

What I was, where I was, how I was… all of these were questions I’d address in a minute. For some unit of time that I can’t measure, I simply luxuriated in the simple pleasure of existing.

And then I noticed where I was, and all of that happiness went straight to Hell.

Dammit. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 37 – An End

Continued from Chapter 36, here.

We woke it up.

Still knocked down to the ground, I stared up at the huge monstrosity that rose in the place where the mushroom had once squatted. Continuing the plant metaphor, it reminded me of a massive bunch of crabgrass, stabbing up with blades from the ground.

But no crabgrass grew in pale white, or stretched miles into the air, up beyond the clouds.

“Shit,” Jaspers cursed, landing on the ground next to me. “Now what?” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 36 – Crabgrass

Continued from Chapter 35, here.

I moved back from the huge mushroom, the size of a small house, that sat pulsing in the middle of the scrub-brush and dusty hills around it like an alien artifact.

“Let’s blow it up,” I declared, turning to look over at Jaspers, standing a few feet away. “If this thing was once a person, it’s too far gone, now. It’s not going to just transform back into a human.”

Jaspers nodded. “Well, it isn’t bloody reacting to our presence, at least,” he admitted. “We can get a few mines placed around it, some Claymores, make sure that when they all blow, we tear it to bloody shreds.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 35 – No Battle Plan Survives the Enemy

Continued from Chapter 34, here.

Less than half an hour later, Henry and Jaspers reported that we had everything assembled and awaiting my order.

Down the hill from us, the huge mushroom-like object that we’d tracked here from the Blue Diamond facility still hadn’t moved. We’d done our best to avoid announcing our presence, but it didn’t appear to even be monitoring for us. It just sat there, pulsing roughly once every two or three seconds, as we assembled the weaponry we’d brought.

I did have to admit that, although it had sounded like overkill when Jaspers listed it all out, I preferred having it all here. Along with the Stinger missiles, aimed down at the huge mushroom from all three trucks, we also had several rolling mines, ranging in strength from antipersonnel to antitank. Jaspers had the big Bushmaster set up on a tripod and loaded with several thousand rounds of ammunition, and Feng had disappeared off somewhere with her rifle, ready to drop the Hammer of God on any target that presented itself. Continue reading