- John Throuse (Apocalypse Day Time (ADT) -1)
This is a story about the end. The end of civilization as we know it today. The end did not come as a mighty hammer of justice. Instead, it came as a thief in the early morning. No one was prepared. Whole areas of the country and perhaps the world were wiped out changing the course of human history in one moment of unbelievable, unrecognizable evolution of death and destruction.
To the characters in the events that followed it arrived like rolling thunder and rain upon the flat prairie grass of the Midwest. First a drop here then a drop there with dark clouds roiling across the sky intent upon a purpose of cleansing and reviving the world. Unbelievably, going unnoticed by the masses until the twisting winds of change had taken hold of the very boundaries of improbability, swept away the old world of humanity, and ushered in a new world order. A new world order of a making no man would desire. A new world order bound by the laws of chaos, destruction, and pain.
“John I am going out for a couple of hours with Corali. I should be back by four.” Hanna announced.
“Okay see you then sweetheart,” I replied.
I was in my office mulling over a conversation I had with an associate just prior. A bit disturbing as she mentioned there were rolling blackouts up in Colorado moving swiftly east and west however nothing was mentioned on the net or the television. It seemed odd that none of the major news agencies had picked it up yet. What was going on?
I looked out the window to a darkening sky, overcast with rain-drenched clouds of hurricane potential. It was July in South Florida, and the heat was becoming unbearable. Thank God for air conditioning.
I scanned the various news agencies again looking for anything on the blackouts, but nothing came up. I went to the blog sites and found people asking about Denver, Salt Lake, and Kansas City. It seemed the problem was swiftly becoming a crisis. I called up Andrew in San Francisco to find out if he had heard anything, but nothing was forthcoming there. Something was definitely not right.
An uneasy feeling crept down from the back of my head and settled into the pit of my stomach. A nervous anxiety started fueling my mind to race along paths of suppositions and guesses that delved into probabilities that became more and more outlandish. I shook my head and got up for a drink of water continuing to contemplate the cause and effect of the rolling blackouts. Maybe it was nothing, just overworked utilities trying to compensate for increased demand but all at once, moving in all directions? That did not bode well.
I loved my country but feared my government hence I did not trust what the possibilities could, would or perhaps be. In my opinion governments were made up of people like myself and were prone to mistakes also when power hungry individuals got in a role of massive influence they tended to become dictatorial. Additionally when problems arose the volume of lies tended to become more pronounced and the liars more shrill. Because of this perception I made sure Hanna and I always prepared for various situations but how was I to know the depths of the disaster to come, the reversal of life and civilization?
The feeling of unease in my stomach became an itch as well at the back of my head propelling me towards action. Two hours later I did not know exactly what action to take, but it seemed appropriate to first call Hanna and asked her to come home. I then went to my firearms safe and took out my M14, CZ 858 and cleaned them. I pulled out my Desert Eagle pistol, and two Glock 45s tucked away in the back and laid them all out on the kitchen table looking at them with a frown on my face.
“Am I becoming paranoid and jumping to conclusions? Is this it, the end?” I thought to myself.
I went out to the garage and checked the pickup to make sure it was fully charged up, which it was, thank god and then went back inside to check the blog sites again. More chatter was coming on line as the blackouts continued to move east and west. Now reports were coming on of people fleeing areas ahead of some kind of problem. It seemed to be moving extremely fast, what was happening? I checked the news agencies, and still, nothing reported. A healthy dose of skepticism never harmed anyone. So I picked up the phone and called Hanna again urging her to come home.
Hanna walked through the front door asking “John, what is wrong? You seemed anxious on the phone.”
She slipped out of her sandals and walked towards the kitchen stopping at the table to look quizzically at the contents. She stared at me with a question that I just could not seem to answer.
“Look here and tell me what you think,” I replied.
She read the blogs and leaned back in the chair studying my face with that look of cross-examination that I was so familiar with when she thought I was blasting out of this world and on into the cold emptiness of the space.
Yes, we were very different however very much the same. Hanna was my rock, stable and steady; the gravitational pull keeping both of my feet firmly planted on Terra-firma, and I was her creative probability and fascination keeping her intellectually stimulated and interested in what is around each corner. We had that connection cultivated over years of understanding each other as we worked through problems and issues that invariably came up in any relationship. I loved Hanna with all my heart.
“Doesn’t it seem odd to you? The blackouts moving across the Midwest and no news agency is reporting it. Nothing is being said by the government. Doesn’t that ring some bells my dear?” I asked.
“John, have you been reading those conspiracy sites again? I’m sure the government will issue an alert soon and take care of the problem. Let’s put dinner together. I’m hungry. Would you mind getting some wine, while I prepare dinner?” she smiled and stood up walking towards the kitchen again ignoring the armory laying on the table, “oh and please put your guns away, Captain military.” She teased.
I sighed and did as she asked then jumped in the truck and drove to the grocery store to pick up the wine. I turned on Sirius satellite and went to my favorite talk radio to see if it had anything to say.
“This is your favorite Sirius Radio host, Elijah Lee, back from the netherworld of advertisements and coffee breaks to bring you some interesting news that seems to be emanating from the mid-west of this great country of ours. I have opened the lines up for callers to share their stories for all you listeners out there wanting the real scoop on what is happening in Denver, Salt Lake, and Kansas City. Yes, you’re on the air caller, go ahead.” Elijah announced flicking a toggle switch with a practiced flick of his thumb.
“My brother from Denver called me yesterday and said there were riots in the streets. Mobs of people were running around the city setting everything on fire. He seemed really worried. I told him to relax the state and federal governments would initiate a state of emergency and send in the national-guard.”
“Uhuh,” Elijah sighed.
“He then called me again this morning and said no one has come and fighting has broken out with mobs of people killing innocent men, women, and children. He was very frightened, and I told him to pack his family up and come to California as fast as possible. I tried calling him again on his home and cellular phone, but there was no answer. Why hasn’t the government initiated a state of emergency? I haven’t heard anything on any of the news channels. What is going on?” the caller asked to no one in particular.
“Wow!! Now that is news, my friend. I don’t have the answers for you. Next caller please you are on the air.” Elijah prodded not wanting to get into a discussion.
“Yes, it’s the same in Kansas City as well. My mother mentioned the power is out, there are no police or firemen, and mobs of people are moving throughout the city killing anyone they find. What the hell is going on? I am going to drive up there to get my mother. I’ll keep you posted.” The caller said through breathes of anxiety.
At that, I shut the radio off and turned into the grocery store parking lot deep in thought. The lot seemed to be pretty full for a mid-afternoon Tuesday. People were walking with a purpose in and out of the store announcing their intent without saying a word. It was oddly quiet as well.
I went into the store and found it to be packed with shoppers pushing carts full of food and other necessities. I grabbed a cart as well and started shopping with a purpose.
Alarmed I bought three carts full of necessities and then raced home. I backed into the garage and shut off the motor sweat pouring off my forehead at a steady clip. I took all the groceries out and placed them on the floor of the garage readying them to be organized for either a long siege or flight. I walked into the kitchen to be welcomed with an aroma of spices that instantly made my mouth salivate.
“Wash your hands. I don’t want my cooking ruined.” Hanna ordered at which I obediently went to the washroom to clean up.
She was a masterful cook. She could turn almost anything into a gourmet that would not only satisfy the belly but tease and intrigue the palate. The table was set, and we sat down to the feast. After saying grace, I poured the wine and cut the meat.
“My dear, have you been listening to the radio?” I asked.
“No of course not I’ve been making dinner. Why do you ask?”
She thoughtfully looked into my eyes with an obvious glint indicating a desire for more than just conversation, food and wine which, of course being a man, did not go unnoticed.
“There has been rioting and mob violence in Denver, Salt Lake, and Kansas City. The police, fire, and government are all out of service along with power and water. I think something desperate is happening and the government isn’t saying anything to alert the public.” I mentioned between mouthfuls of salmon and lobster.
“Really? That’s surprising. You would think it would be in the news.” She said with a growing anxiety that was beginning to match my own.
“What do you think we should do?”
“I bought three carts of food, water, first aid and other necessities when I went to the grocery store, I thought it better to be prepared. I think we should get our gear ready just in case.” I suggested.
“Okay…fine but let’s begin after dinner and perhaps…?” she left unsaid my very thoughts.
After dinner, we sat in the living room watching the news. Eventually, Hanna moved out of her Lazy-boy recliner and stood in front of me. Her dress flowed along the lines of her figure to play with the visual senses in a way that accentuated her feminine outline to a heightened sense of pleasure that took my breath away. The flush of her skin as she looked at me with eyes so blue the sky peered through in amazement displaying a love that was of a devotion tied with a deep sense of trust, respect, and love. She picked up the sides of her dress to reveal the smooth curvature of her legs while she playfully danced. The blood rushed through my veins with a spike of desire that craved her with all my being; all my soul; all my life.
She came to me and kissed me tenderly pulling away as I reached for her, laughing with a smile of relaxed playfulness. She was a woman of women, thin red lips, milk-white skin, bright blue eyes and golden blond hair topping off the curvature of her breasts, hips, and legs to culminate into a beauty that turned the heads of men and women alike. That was an ongoing occurrence when I was with her, at first it was difficult to get used to.
I remember the time we were in San Jose, Costa Rica, watching the Christmas parade. As we walked out onto the main hotel balcony, everyone stopped watching the parade and began looking at Hanna. She gracefully slipped into a chair graciously ignoring the looks and whispers. That is what I loved about her - her grace, her ability to turn an event into a work of art while keeping the electricity crackling through the social fabric.
Most importantly, she loved me, I could see it in her eyes as she danced, flipping her hair back and forth to the beat of life and the flight fancy.