Dark America, Part 30 – Saddle Up!

Continued from Chapter 29, here.

Slowing the truck as he rolled past a group of M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles, Jaspers had to lift the back of one hand and wipe his mouth. “Really, couldn’t we bloody convince Richards to let us bring a few of these?” he asked into the comm. “Look at the bloody gun on that thing!”

“Need a big gun, do you?” asked Sergei, snickering.

Jaspers didn’t even snap at the tease. “Just look at it,” he breathed. “Bushmaster 25mm chain gun, anti-tank missiles as backup if they’re needed. Psychic horror or not, nobody’s bloody standing up to that.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 29 – The Scooby Doo Maneuver

Continued from Chapter 28, here.

There was one thing, at least, on which we all agreed.

If we were going hunting, we’d need some better weapons.

“Now, this is more like it!” Jaspers enthused, practically bouncing up and down on his seat as I guided the convoy of trucks towards Fort Hood. “Now we’re talking about getting some serious bloody firepower, and I’m going to feel a hell of a lot happier with a big gun at my side!”

“Hey, take it easy,” I told him, although I couldn’t help but smile at his obvious enthusiasm. “Remember, it’s just a civilian truck, so you can’t mount a machine gun on it or anything!” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 28 – The Council Has Voted

Continued from Chapter 27, here.

The next morning, as we finished the last bites of the surprisingly delicious breakfast that Corinne pulled together for us out of odds and ends of food that she procured from someplace, we put the matter to the vote.

There was brief discussion of voting in secret, but what good would that do? We all knew each other well enough to state our opinions plainly, clearly. None of us feared defending his or her position to the others. There was no real need for any secrecy.

“Go around and bloody spit it out?” Jaspers finally asked, glancing side to side. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 27 – …and Go Bump in the Night

Continued from Chapter 26, here.

“We’re in over our heads. There’s no denying it.”

That was how Jaspers started the conversation that evening, and it said something that he didn’t put in a single curse word. Just stated the fact, plain and simple, impossible to debate.

“So what do you think we should do?” I asked.

He shrugged one shoulder. “Hell if I know. I’m sure glad that I’m not the leader here, though. Be a bloody awful job to have sitting on my shoulders.” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 26 – Things that Howl…

Continued from Chapter 25, here.

I looked around the control room at the prone, limp, dead bodies of the scientists. My mouth dropped open as I realized, in a rush of horror, what had happened to them.

“The orbs,” I said softly, staring at the dead men and women.

It didn’t take long to dawn on the rest of my team. They also looked around, faces twisting in revulsion.

“Mon god,” Henry breathed. “And it destroyed them, just like that. It could have done the same to us, if…” Continue reading

Dark America, Part 25 – Morning After Awkwardness

Continued from Chapter 24, here.

The creature, entity, whatever it was in that strange space that felt both real and unreal, recoiled from Feng’s defenses. Knocked back, it smacked into an orb that had glowed a rather sallow and ugly yellow color, shattering it. It reared up, but the rest of us fell in around Feng, doing our best to help her defend Sara in this strange un-reality.

I didn’t know where I was or what was happening, but I still knew that Sara needed our help. That drive, instinct deeper than any thought, commanded me to do all that I could to keep her safe.

For a moment, the tentacle swelled up. It grew and grew, and even though nothing existed in that void besides ourselves, the broken and fading orbs around us, and this attacker, I felt it grow. It became larger and larger, bigger than any monster on Earth. If this were Earth, surely it would be outside the atmosphere of the planet. It was as if the moon itself, some celestial god, had descended down to crush us beneath his heel. Continue reading

Dark America, Part 24 – Spirit Battle

Continued from Chapter 23, here.

For a moment, the influx of sights, sounds, and sensations was nearly overwhelming.

All around me, alarms shrieked and systems failed. Scientists shouted and threw themselves away from controls that sparked or burst into flames, a couple of them screaming in either surprise or pain. I saw the rest of my team looking around, hands flying to weapons as they searched for an opponent. I saw Orville come staggering out from the break room next door, one hand reaching up to press against his face, smearing a rather crudely drawn Sharpie image on his face.

My focus, however, narrowed in on Sara. She stood there, just inside the main entrance, almost perfectly still. She looked up, at the chaos erupting all around her.

“Dad,” she whispered, her lips spreading into a little smile. Continue reading

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