Darkness Falls, Part 2, Everything Changes
Link to Part 1, should be read first.
Edvice stood on the bank of the newly formed lake. It stretched across one hundred and seventy-five acres of what used to be farmland and the town of Richie. In a little valley community of farms called Richie Valley. He tossed the flat stone he had recently picked up.
“Dang, the world is changing,” Jed said.
“Look at that ten skips, Ha,” Edvice exclaimed!
“That is just crazy; how the hell does something like that happen,” Jed continued talking.
“We’re skipping rocks, man, not shooting hoops, calm down,” George said to Edvice.
After escaping the Wal-Mart parking lot shoot out, the three drove to Jed’s house. The National Guard had come in and started pushing town’s folk around. People were just trying to get supplies. At Jed’s house, George introduced himself officially. They spoke of all the things happening, piecing together as much as they could. They agreed to help George get to his Uncle's farm because George said they could stay there for a while. They went from Jed’s to Edvice’s, so he could change and get the things he was going to contribute to George’s Uncle’s farm. Then they drove to George’s, gathering anything that would help them survive while they stayed at the farm.
“How do you think this happened,” Jed asked.
George threw his rock, “one, two, three, four, five, … eight, nine, … Eleven! Ha! In yo face, man,” George said to Edvice!
“I mean, that is a shit ton of water. Where did all that water come from?
“We’re skipping rocks, man, not shooting hoops,” Edvice said, shaking his head.
“You think there are any fish in it,” George asked?
“I am not sure. George do you think your Uncle would let others come stay at the farm,” Jed asked?
“Bubbled up from the ground maybe, I wonder if there is like a dam somewhere that busted,” Edvice Said.
“George!” Jed said?
“Do you think your Uncle would let others come stay at the farm?”
“Uh, maybe. I think he will be appreciative that ya’ll helpin’ me out.” George responded. “We should take it slow, though; he is a mean som-bitch, if you catch him on the wrong day. Let’s just see how it goes. He will also like that we brought all the food and stuff.”
“Do you think the haze is getting worse,” Edvice asked? As they all moved back to the truck and got in.
“Oh, and you should wear your gun on the outside, so he knows you have a gun. He will like that you have the gun, but he is suspicious of folks he don’t know. He won’t like you hiding it from him,” George said.
Jed started up the truck and pulled out onto the road.
“I think the haze is getting worse, guys, and it seems cooler. Won’t it be a bad thing if we can’t get enough sun through the haze,” Edvice asked?
The radio was on, and the local channel was playing music. It was a country music station, the song Change, by Clay Walker started playing.
“I like this song,” George said. “Beat down collar, rolled-up sleeve,” George sang along.
After a few miles and three songs, past Lake Richie, as they dubbed it, George stopped singing. “It’s that dirt road right there,”
Jed smiled, slowed, and turned.
Beep beep beep! The radio squawked, interrupting the song.
“Dang,” George said. “It was coming to the good part.”
“This is the Emergency Broadcasting association. The federal government has released the following statement. It appears that a large asteroid has impacted the planet near Bejing, China. With several other smaller impacts in the Pacific ocean. The President has ordered the military to deploy units to all municipalities needing assistance in bringing the power grid back up. Stay tuned to your local station for more information about this changing situation,” the announcement ended with beep beep beep.
“Asteroids?” George said.
“Holy shit,” Jed said.
“Oh God,” Edvice said.
“Like that movie Armageddon,” George asked. “I seen that movie once with my ma before she died. That was a scary movie.”
They sat in silence as the truck moved slowly down the dirt road. Jed was whispering something to himself shaking his head slowly back and forth.
“We need to turn onto that dirt road on the left coming up,” George said.
“Jed? Hey Jed, you missed the turn,” George yelled.
“What?” Jed said, slamming on the breaks.
“The turn is back there to the left. You missed it,” George said.
Edvice was staring at Jed. “An asteroid hit China man, we get a lot of stuff from China,” Edvice said.
“You look sick. You going to be ok,” Jed asked Edvice? He nodded in agreement to what Edvice said. He turned the truck around, turned on the road George pointed out and drove.
“My uncle always said it was suicide to buy food from China and let the local farmer die.”
“Well, there is some wisdom,” Jed said.
“Whoah, Stop! Dang!” George said.
Jed stopped the truck, “What’s wrong.”
“You see the clearing with the flag markers, like where a fence line will be or don’t dig here,” George said, pointing to the side of the road.
“Sure.” “ Yes.” the other two responded.
“Well, every morning, my Uncle comes down here and pulls that third flag and lays it down. It is routine, first thing he does every morning right after coffee. Something is wrong,” George said.
“Are you sure? Maybe he just forgot,” Edvice said.
“It’s routine, man, he’d never forget. It’s for his kin, so they know something is wrong. I’m getting out. Wait here.” George exited the backseat of the four-door cab and ran over to the tall grass near the flags. About three feet into the tall grass were two old tires sitting on top of a piece of wood a length of thick rope lay on top of the wood near the edge. When George grabbed it, it became clear it was a handle. He lifted the wood with the rope handle.
It was hinged in the back. The tires did not slide off as they were affixed to the wood.
“What is he doing over there,” Jed asked.
“Not sure, Hey why would the planet being hit by an asteroid in China and the pacific ocean cause the power and water system in the US to go out,” Edvice asked?
George opened the door, tossed a backpack in, set a rifle, a pistol, and a couple of magazines onto the back seat, then climbed buck up into the truck.
Jed had been looking at Edvice contemplating the question, and Edvice had been staring out the front window. They both turned to look at George.
“What are those,” Edvice asked.
“Nice, where did those come from,” Jed asked.
“I don’t know what’s goin’on, but we need to be prepared. That’s a first aid kit, and this dummy is a gun. Uncle Joe has an emergency stash over there by the flags,” George said and handed Edvice the pistol.
Edvice raised his hands, refusing the pistol. “Whoah, I’ve never shot a gun before in my life.”
George set the pistol down. “Jed, look up there to the right. Can you see the tire tracks? They’re hard to see. Take them and drive over to the tree line.”
Jed put the truck in gear and moved forward, slowly looking for the tracks.
“Edvice, take the pistol. Life has changed. No more same old same old routine.” Jed said.
Finding the route George was pointing to, he turned off into the tall grass and followed the slightly used trail toward the wood line about three hundred yards away.
“What am I going to do with it,” Edvice asked.
George picked up the pistol and, showing it to Edvice, said, “You hold it like this, and point it like this. See how the barrel is in line with my arm? Pretty much if your arm is pointing at the thing you want to shoot and the barrel is in line with your arm, you have a decent enough aim if they are close anyway.”
“Uhh, um, Uh, ok,” Edvice just gaped at George and made odd sounds as George spoke.
“When you want to shoot, pull the trigger, this thing right here. Each time you pull it, it will fire a bullet, bang, bang, bang,” George moved his finger three times like he was pulling a trigger to illustrate what he meant.
“What am I going to shoot,” Edvice asked?
“That is the most important part of what he just told you, Ed. When you want to shoot something, pull the trigger until you want to shoot keep your finger off the trigger. Don’t pull the trigger till you are aiming at what you want to shoot,” Got it, Jed asled?
“Wait, what am I going to shoot.”
“We are going to shoot what or whoever needs shootin’,” George said, handing the pistol to Edvice.
“Uhhhhhhh, mmmm, I don’t know,” Edvice said as he took the pistol and looked back and forth between Jeb and George.
Jed pulled the truck into the tree line, following George’s directions. There was a place behind a large oak tree to park. George opened the backpack and removed a pair of binoculars. Then slung the pack over his shoulders. Jed showed Edvice how to aim and fire the pistol again and how to reload.
“You will know the clip is empty when after you fire, the slide automatically locks to the rear. That is when you press this button releasing the magazine, just let it fall to the ground. Take the loaded magazine, put it in, push this button, and you are ready to shoot again. Ok,” Jed asked?
“Yeah, ok,” Edvice said.
“Alright, follow me and be quiet, we are far from the house, but sound carries out here,” George said.
They followed George. Edvice couldn’t tell how far and was afraid to ask, but it was uphill, he was sweating, and he was breathing hard. Jed nudged Edvice and pointed to a jumble of boulders just at the edge of the tree line. Their placement did not seem natural. They were buried so that a crouching man’s head would be below the top of them, but if he stood, he could peer over them. The ground in front of them on the low side from where they approached was level with several smaller boulders placed about. Some close to the wall for short people to stand on and look over the top. Others set to sit on or lean against if seated on the ground. George bent over, moved to the boulders, knelt, took off the backpack, and then waved them over. Motioning them to stay low.
“Looks like your uncle was a true prepper,” Jed said.
“This ain’t nothin’,” George said. He turned to the boulders, quickly poked his head up over the top, looked side to side, and then ducked back down.
“Shit, shit, shit,” George said.
“What,” Edvice asked?
Jed poked his head over the top. Before him was a stretch of cleared land only a few trees grew between them and the large farmhouse, barn, and other outbuildings about two hundred yards away. There were three trucks parked outside the farmhouse. Two were more recent models, one black the other blue, and an older model that had seen better days; it was brown. Several men were taking things from one of the outbuildings and loading them in the black truck.
“I take it you don’t know those guys,” Jed asked?
“Can’t see the guys well enough, but I don’t recognize the trucks, and uncle Joe ain’t much the sharing type,” George said. Lifting the binoculars to his face, he poked his head up over the rocks. “Nope, he whispered, never seen them, Horse Thieves, before,” George said.
All three were now looking up over the rocks toward the farmhouse.
“Is someone laying on the ground by the blue truck,” Jed asked.
“Dead body,” George said after adjusting where he was looking.
“Oh God, George, is that your uncle,” Edvice asked.
“No, some honkey ass wearing cowboy boots, Uncle Joe wears work boots,” George said.
“No over there to the right of the house by the clotheslines. Oh God, oh god, oh god,”
Edvice said as he knelt down. “Are we going to kill those guys?”
“Shit,” Jed said. He had adjusted his gaze to the right.
“Mammoth Flowers.” Hissed George. “Dang straight, I’m killing these bastards.”
Edvice could hear the change in George’s voice, a tear welled up in his eye, and he started rehearsing the instructions that Jed and George had given him about the gun.
________________________ To Be Continued ______________________
Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.
T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.