Donavon awoke to the piles of severed limbs and bloody corpses before him. The massacre had been swift, cruel, and horrible. Luck, if could so be called, was the only reason Donovan had survived, and this luck had graced Donovan with a gaping wound one the side of his large square head.
Donovan did not know where he was at the time, he didn’t even know that his name was Donavon. He looked all around him at the piles of bodies, but was more distracted by the beautiful and graceful surroundings hosting the piles. If not for the bile and bloodstains on the pillars and walls this place would look like a palace. In fact it was a palace, Donovan remembered that now. But why was he in a palace? He thought.
He then felt his clothes, and felt something on his chest, these, what were they called? MEDALS, yes, medals and badges, but why was he wearing medals and badges? It was a uniform, yes thats why, he was in a military uniform, a quite well decorated one to.
As Donovan pulled himself to his feet, dizzy like a drunk he stumbled repeatedly using one hand to clutch the gap in his forehead and the other to make an attempt at balance.
Donavon had know idea who he was, why we was in a well decorated uniform, and why he was in a palace. All he knew was that he was surrounded by limbs and bodies, but why? What happened? Who were all these people, some like Donovan are in well dressed uniforms and others in tuxedos and other variants of 5000 dollar suits. Women were in either classy night gowns or fuck me mini dresses, a fitting variety of your typical political wives, if only Donovan had realized that.
He stumbled around this tall palace with its glorious decorations, the room he was in resembled something out of Versailles. The glory of this hall had Donovan lose himself more in its beauty than his terror and amnesia. Donovan struggled to keep his wound from bleeding out more and his tears from pouring out his eyes. Near the door to this hall was another pile of bodies engrossed in flames. Donovan recognized the smell coming from those scorching bodies. It was napalm. Donovan could remember the smell of napalm but not his own name.
Donovan stumbled once again and leaned against the doorway, looking back on the gore and horror in the room. Who were all these well dressed people? Why were they all in this palace? Why were they all dead?
Donovan stumbled all across this palace, and from hall to hall it was the same. Stains of blood and remnants of destruction, with the occasional fire and smell of gasoline and napalm, and bodies. Lots and lots of bodies.
Suddenly Donavon turned a corner and found another body, a body that was definitely different from all the others. The body was in a type of hand welded battle armor, it was both obviously self done but very high tech. The body was that of a boy who couldn’t possibly be more than 18 or 19. He had a red bandana around his forehead, and in one hand he was clutching a pistol. He had been shot in the shoulder, and he was still bleeding out. Donovan bent down to look at this body because it was unlike all the others it still seemed familiar in some way, but how? Was he one of the ones responsible for all this blood shed?
Suddenly Donovan turned to look at the other bodies in the room and was alive with a great sense of terror and fear. In a bloody heap just next to the boy in armor was a body that looked exactly like Donovan. Everything from his large square head to the well decorated uniform were there, the only difference was this body had no gash on his forehead.
Donovan fell back in his terror and scraped his hand on broken glass as he crabbed walked back from the sight about ten feet before he was standing again, still dealing with the shock of seeing not only your doppleganger, but your doppleganger dead.
Donavon’s breathing was heavy, and the questions in his mind were endless.
Why all this death and destruction?
Who were all those well dressed men and women in the banquet hall?
Who was that dead boy in the body armor?
What caused this gash on his head?
Who was that dead man who looked and was dressed exactly like him?
And What was Donovan’s name?
Suddenly Donovan heard another sound that he clearly remembered for some reason, that of a large gun being cocked and aimed.
“TURN AROUND WITH YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!”
Several other guns were cocked as Donovan stood up. He turned around with his hands raised and found several men dressed like the dead boy, all ranging from young to old and from race to race. All in the same armor and all with their guns aimed at Donovan.
“Who are you men?” Donovan asked in the face of all these raised semi automatics.
A man still with his gun raised stepped forward, he was slightly older than the rest and was clearly a weathered veteran, a large battle scar ran down his pale cheek and chin. “We are the People’s Liberty Army and you sir are under arrest!”
“For what!?” Donovan cried.
The squad of men could not stop laughing, “What a pathetic fool,” they all thought.
“You know exactly why,” replied the squad leader as he cuffed Donovan. “For the massacre of innocent people, for stepping on the rights of every citizen and for every possible crime against humanity imaginable. For robbing the public of their right to democracy. For pillage and rape. I’d go down the whole list but I’m afraid we don’t have time.”
“There must be some mistake, its all so horrible, I would never do such terrible things.” Donovan begged and pleaded.
The group did not laugh at this one, in fact one soldier slammed the butt of his rifle in Donavon’s stomach.
“You should be ashamed you piece of shit.” Said the soldier after he spat on Donovan.
“Stand down, he is an unarmed prisoner and will be treated as such. It was orders that if he was found alive he gets a fair trial.” The leader told the men as he winked and smiled. Suddenly they understood.
But Donovan still did not. He did not understand why he was being lead away? Why these men were after him? What had he done? What was his name?
Donovan was brought into a room of the palace that was filed with drawers and drawers of documents, maps and treaties and minutes from ever government meeting since the dawn of the nation. The leader stepped into the room as Donovan was carried by two soldiers behind him. His hands were cuffed and his stomach still hemorrhaged from the hit from the rifle.
The men stopped before a man and woman at a desk, both reading files as other soldiers sort affairs and load their weapons. The room had been turned into a sort of guerilla head quarters, and these two were definitely the bosses.
“We found him, We found the General,” said the squad leader.
“Very good,” said the woman, “you are a credit to the revolution sir.”
“Leave us with the general, stand outside and await further orders.” said the man.
Yes, sir, said the squad leader, he turned with a due salute and made sure to punch Donovan in the stomach once again as he left.
So, we finally meet the general. The man responsible for the death of so many children all over the world. Said the woman.
“Responsible for spying on all his people.” Said the man.
“Those drones of yours are nothing compared to the collected will of the people as you can see.” said the woman.
“Who are you people? A better question is who am I? What has happened here? Why have you done this? Why am I under arrest? And who are you to arrest me?” Donovan begged and pleaded like a child to no avail.
“We are representative leaders of the Peoples Liberty Army.” Said the man.
“You are General Arnold.” Said the woman.
And this whole amnesia bit really isn’t going to work. Although I must say that is a nasty wound. Said the man.
“Its not a bit. I may not know my name but I know it isn’t General Arnold or General anything. I don’t know why Im in this uniform, but I am no general.”
They both shook their heads in condescending disgust.
“General, this really isn’t going to work.” said the man. “We already killed your doppleganger. We know it’s you.”
“General, you turned a great democracy into a blood thirsty dictatorship.” Said the woman.
“You put chemicals in our food.” Said the man.
“You left your people is poverty.” Said the woman
“You terrified us with lies about our so called enemies.” Said the man.
“You raped.” Said the woman.
“You stole.” Said the man.
“And now you shall pay the price.” Said the woman.
“You are to be executed as soon as possible.” Said the man.
“No, NO!” screamed Donovan, “I cant die please NO! I may not know who I am but I know I have never done such terrible things.”
“Soldiers take the general to his appointment with the people.” Said the woman.
Donovan struggled and screamed as he was dragged away. “I AM NOT THE GENERAL! I AM NOT! PLEASE!”
Eventually Donovan was dragged before large steps and onto a stage in front of thousands upon thousands of screaming people, all chanting KILL THE GENERAL.
On the stage were more guerilla soldiers with guns.
As they cocked their rifles and took aim, Donovan begged and screamed for them not to shoot.
“I AM NOT THE GENERAL I AM NOT THE GENERAL PLEASE THERE HAS BEEN A MISTAKE.”
But before his final plea it was to late. The men fired their rifles and Donovan fell down dead to the crowd cheering and chanting. Some even pelted him with rocks and rotten fruit as his soon to be corpse collapsed.
Donovan fell and as he slowly slipped away he looked back upon the palace where he had just been taken from, it was tall and grandiose with a beautiful serious of pillars bearing its support, and the gleam of its pure white collar made it stand even more proud. For some reason, he suddenly remembered the name of the palace.
Donovan remembered this but still could not remember his own name.
It didn’t matter though, less than thirty seconds later, Donovan was finally dead, and as he slipped away all he heard was the blood thirsty chant of the crowd.
Mr. Middleton’s Water Works
He sat at the desk in front of his classroom, his undershirt drenched with sweat to the point that the puddles in his armpits began to seep bitter, disgusting odors. Mr. Middleton prayed that they couldn’t smell it. The last thing he needed was to give the students fodder, they came up with plenty of that on their own.
It is against the law for a teacher to leave any classroom unattended when there is a class in session. Even for a second, or the minimal sixty seconds that Mr. Middleton needed. Just sixty seconds to run down the hall and back.
But he wasn’t allowed to, at least not now, not until 11:45, not until the kids were off to lunch.
He did everything to fight looking at the clock, it seemed time passed faster the less he checked the clock. He just kept his gaze locked onto the students. He was doing everything he could to suppress the twinging and hemorrhaging pain that was the water-balloon in his crotch.
He would now look around his classroom, desperately trying to get his mind on something else. He’d look at his students as they gently conversed about the textbooks in front of them. He would look at the posters and projects that he had decorated his room with over the years. He would look everywhere, except at that damn clock.
But every once in a while, without helping it, he would in fact glance up at that damn clock.
“Christ,” shrugged Mr. Middleton under his breath, careful to make sure none of the students heard. “Seven whole fucking minutes,” he now thought to himself. “Seven!”
Mr. Middleton was biting his inside lip he was so tense. It was times like this he wished he could swear in front of his students, it would really relieve some of the tension in these kinds of situations.
He hadn’t realized it but he was staring at the clock again, making each turn of the outdated clock’s hands feel like days upon days themselves.
The sweating doubled, the swelling in his groin felt like a latex glove, full of air waiting to burst. He began to grit his teeth while he watched the hand finally lop forward that all too important centimeter.
11:39, 6 minutes until lunch.
When he realized he was staring at the clock again, he immediately went back to shifting his gaze about trying to find some magical way to make the time pass faster, or just make the damn swelling go away. He crossed his legs, he shifted the weight in his chair, from his tailbone, to his left butt cheek, to his right, then back to his tail bone.
Some of the students were already packing up and ready for class to be over. They had noticed the constant shifting and discomfort in the face of their English teacher. Some began to laugh and giggle and whisper to each other as if Mr. Middleton couldn’t hear. He could hear them but he didn’t care. He was too focused on his ballooning bladder, and the sweaty Van Hausen shirt now sticking to his back.
The hand lopped forward again.
11:40. Five minutes.
The students were mostly packed and ready to go now. Usually Mr. Middleton let them pack up for the last five minutes anyway. It’s almost impossible to keep an entire class on topic for the entire period, so he would give the students this time if, and only if, they had worked the whole period.
They were fairly off task today but he didn’t care, he was too focussed on the forced Keegals he was doing from his chair. His focus shifted around the class again.
The anticipation within him was growing, he didn’t know if it was the second cup of coffee he had today, the fact he was drinking lemon water in the mornings now, but something was forcing every ounce of liquid from his body into his groin.
He started fidgeting about even more now. He hadn’t realized it but his face was beginning to squint in a way that reminded the students of the hawk-eyed man in the Poe story they had just read.
Mr. Middleton was using practically every muscle in his body to focus his energy on squeezing his groin in. He could no longer shift. He would now sit with all muscles clenched, just waiting for that transcendent moment of his bladder’s relief.
With his body locked, soon so was his gaze. It had fallen upon the sign just above the door, the sign that was in every classroom. “Maximum Occupancy 56 People.” Fifty-six people were supposed to fit in this classroom that was already full with 31 kids plus the desks.
For some reason it was those words on the sign, “Maximum Occupancy” that ran in circles in his mind for what seemed like minutes. Soon they made him think of the words, “Full Capacity.” Full capacity, that was where his bladder was. Occupied to its maximum, its fullest and most strained point. “Maximum occupancy, Full capacity.” The four words circling in his mind until it was reduced to just two.
It was as if he was having a lapse of his sanity, like these two words were the only thing existing in his mind anymore besides the fountain waiting to burst in between his legs. It was as if he thought this would be the magic mantra to make the need to go, go away.
“Full Jesus H Christ Mother Fucking Cock Sucking Capacity!”
Mr. Middleton suddenly snapped out of his momentary insanity when it was interrupted by the loud blaring and echo that was the school bell, and the halls that were filling with footsteps and students yelling over other students so the can hear each other talk.
He opened his once twitching eyes to see his students filing out of the room, the polite ones waving and saying goodbye to him.
He did not close the class with his usual deep bellow of, “Have a nice day!” He just nodded with a polite smile to anyone he made eye contact with.
As the last student left Mr. Middleton was out of his seat before the student could even close the door behind her. He pushed gently past the student in a rare moment of rudeness that briefly confused and offended the student. But Mr. Middleton was on too important of a mission to notice or care about anything except delivering the package that nature was calling on him for.
After leaping and pacing down the hall, moving around students like a running back making it across the field to the end zone, he burst through the staff room door pushing aside a coworker with the same rudeness he had the student. He did one last running back twirl and dodge around the formica staff room table, and he leapt into the staff men’s room, unintentionally slamming the door behind him.
Relief is too light of a word to express what Mr. Middleton felt at this very moment, this was a moment of justice to him. A moment to stand with pride, not to just sigh and move on. The instant the door was locked, the zipper had fallen down and after that what could only be described as torture was finished.
Mr. Middleton was delivered with the greatest sense of relief by the gods, a sense of relief and release that was more than necessary, that was just, and long overdue.
It was a normal, peaceful day on the bustling streets of London. Well, perhaps peaceful is the wrong word. There really is no such thing as a “peaceful” day in London, especially during the tourist seasons. Baker street was always filled with the literary obsessives dying to find Sherlock Holmes’ address or the Karl Marx cafe at the British Museum. Some of them make their way to Fleet street and find the pub where Dickens drank and there you will also find the “alternative” kids from around the world, wearing Jack Skellington beanies looking for where the real Sweeney Todd’s barbershop used to be.
It was just a few blocks down from here, on Fleet Street, where it happened.
People were having a normal “peaceful” London day. The streets packed with barristers on their way to or from offices. Tourists were clogging the streets, not catching on that they were walking at a slow and annoying pace. Couples and families in and out of shops and restaurants. Old men hanging out in front of cafes or in the pubs. It was a normal summer day on this little stretch of Fleet street.
On this little stretch of Fleet Street there was a man who worked in a small shop. A little convenience market on the corner across from the bank. The man’s name was Trevor. Trevor thought this would be a normal day of selling tourists snack foods and tall cans of beer to the local beggars and soccer junkies. He was just unlocking the door, propping it open outside with the cement block his boss stole from a construction site to use as a door stop. Just as he propped the weight and was ready to welcome the day’s customers, that was when he heard the screams of the boy.
The boy cut around the corner, faster than anything Trevor had ever seen. The boy could be no older than 15, and the tone of his screams indicated this year, let alone this day, would be his last. What Trevor saw speed by him was less of a 15 year old screaming for help, but was rather more of a dying man screaming a warning with his final breath. The boy was running with an awkward stumble, a sway from side to side as if he were drunk, but he still ran. He ran despite the depth of his wound.
What Trevor saw was a 15 year old boy who had been shot, who was now cradling his stomach trying to clench the horrifically painful wound. The screams continued as he passed Trevor and tried to carrie his warning down the busy street.
“THE VICAR!” He was shouting, “THE VICAR.”
Trevor looked at him in confusion, shock, and terror as the hobbled sprinter carried on down the street. He separated the crowds on the side walk like Moses parting the waves as people leapt to the sides in shock, some of them screaming at the sight of the blood. “THE VICAR.” He kept shouting, “THE VICAR.”
Finally in a moment of instant delirium, he collapsed, face first on the pavement. His screams were no more, but they would forever echo inside the minds of everyone who was on that street that day, and lived.
All of this happened in a matter of 5-6 seconds. What happened next was even faster, for as Trevor turned to go into the store and call for help, he was met with what the boy was screaming about.
As Trevor turned, he was met with what looked like a young vicar, no older than 25 or even 23. The pale of his skin was accentuated by the red and brown blotches on his nose and cheeks where he had picked at the skin. The pale skin and crusty blotches were only magnified as they contrasted with the pure darkness that was his cloak and collar. This vicar was also holding a large automatic rifle, that blasted into Trevor’s stomach and chest, and tore into his face.
He had no time to react, no time to even process everything that had just happened. All that remained of Trevor now was the abstract portrait of blood and brains on the glass of the shop door, and the gushing slump that was once Trevor laying on the ground with it’s remains of a head propped up against the bottom of the door.
The Vicar stepped over Trevor, ignoring the screams of the neighborhood when they saw who was responsible for all of this. People scattered and fled in several directions all across the pavement, some of them getting trampled in the process or flung out into traffic in their panic and getting hit by cars.
The Vicar began pulling the trigger again, striking the backs of heads and torsos of people in the crowd, young and old alike. He fired into the road killing drivers and causing a crash that led to a four car wreck blocking the entire street.
Some of the people hit with his bullets included a little girl, a little boy, two grandmas, a secretary to a PM, another vicar, and just anyone sitting outside who wasn’t quick enough to react to all of this because of the shock.
Blood spattered on the pavement and onto strangers faces and clothes. The screams made any siren inaudible, but they were there. As the Vicar pointed the gun to the opposite side of the street, he hit a mid aged couple visiting from Fresno, and a family of four from Liverpool, the youngest of whom was 2 years old. He didn’t hear the sirens or screeching breaks, he didn’t here them screams of, “DROP YOUR WEAPON!” And he didn’t hear the bullet that landed in the back of his head that ended it all.
The investigation found that he was not a vicar at all. He was a drop out from Liverpool with a history of drug and mental health problems. How he got a gun, they still didn’t know. Why he wasn’t in the proper facilities, his family counldn’t say. All that remained to do now was to fix the damage that had been done.
All that could be done now was to fix the damage that had been done.
In 2118 all music had been made illegal 30 years ago by the Administration. The Administration had decreed “Music promotes diversity. Diversity is the enemy. One nation, one race, one people.”
When the Administration made the law it did everything it could to purge the country of anything related to music. Wood instruments like guitars, violins and cellos were burned in massive public fires. Wind instruments that were metal like Trumpets got smelted into new guns and bullets for the police and the army. Record stores were burned down and every iPod and mp3 player was smashed. Conductors were dragged from their beds and shot. Music teachers were sent to either dig ditches or prison, they at least got a choice.
Because there was no music all other self expression was practically non existent, but the Administration always made it clear that self expression itself was not banned, just music. However one could not tell that self expression was still allowed because everyone practically dressed the same. A pair of slacks and a t-shirt. That was what everyone wore, no dresses skirts shorts, not even swim suits when they went to the beach. Slacks and a t-shirt. The one avenue of self expression was that you got to choose what color of shirt you wanted. Some people choose red, others yellow, some had just given up on that and just wore brown to match the slacks.
The only people who got to dress differently were the police, military, and members of the Administration. The first two wore standard uniforms, but the administration was different, they all wore suits. The men in the administration wore top of the line hand tailored suits. The women wore pant suits of the same quality. No one in the administration ever dared wear anything but their nice suits(they would never be caught dead dressing like a civilian).
But still, the Administration stuck to its motto: ‘One Nation, One race, One people.”
The tailors all worked for the Administration making their suits, but even they were only allowed to dress as civilians. Dave’s father was a tailor, and he lived with his dad across the street from the shop. Dave would watch people file in and out of the store in their jackets and ties and Dave would hate them, and he hated them when he had to work in the shop.
Dave’s father used to play in a punk band. Dave never heard punk music, or any music, but everything about it sounded wonderful. His father told him the stories of the songs they would play, about the concerts and these things called “mosh pits” He heard stories about wild hair cuts dyed all sorts of colors, about people who were so into this scene they would get holes punctured in their face in order to put pieces of jewelry into their lips, eyebrows, and even their tongues. Dave was lucky to have a father who remembered what life was like before the Administration banned music. Very lucky.
On Dave’s 19th birthday, his father said he had a present for him, but they would have to go out of the house to get it.
“Dad,” Dave said worried, “You know that the Administration moved the curfew time up to 10pm right? Anyone caught outside their house without military clearance is immediately…”
“Shot.” Dave’s father finished for him. “Yes I know, that’s why I have been waiting to tell you.” His father took a deep breath and sighed. “David,” His father began, “You are an adult now. When you were a boy, I was always worried. Worried that something may happen to me and then that would mean something happened to you. I would never be able to live with myself if I lost you the way I lost…”
Dave knew he was talking about his mom, and he also knew his dad did not like talking about it, so Dave just nodded to show he understood, and his father moved on.
“It’s why I became a tailor for the Administration. I had to distance myself from that past I always told you about. But now that you are old enough, old enough to protect yourself, it’s time that I share this with you.”
“What?” Dave asked.
“Just wait son,” his father replied. “And happy birthday.”
When it was 9:30, Dave’s father told him that it was time to go. “Go where?” Dave asked. His father told him nothing except that they needed to hurry.
They went out the back door of the house through the alley to avoid being seen by the street cameras. The Administration had cameras everywhere but the alleys for some reason, so that was where the underhanded did their dealings. Dave’s father took him on what felt like a maze of concrete and trash, zigzagging all the way across the city. They turned a corner went one way, then turned a corner to do the opposite, until finally they hit a dead end.
The dead end was just a giant brick wall with a pile of trash underneath a large arch by the wall. Dave was confused when his dad told him to be quiet, and then his father kicked the pile of trash three times. The bags of trash and stack of wooden debris sounded hollow when he hit them with his foot. Dave moved back with a jolt when the pile started to rise revealing it had been on top of a door. The door popped up like a garage door to reveal a long set of concrete stairs that appeared to lead to the cellar of this black building they were by, but as the stairway disappeared into the darkness it seemed like the steps went on forever.
“Come on” his father said, pulling out a flashlight from his pocket.
They walked down the stairs and into the darkness with the spot of light to guide them. As the went down the stairs Dave could hear the trash door close behind them with a thud that echoes in whatever cellar they were in. The echo was large though, too large for just one cellar. When they got to the bottom of the stars they had reached a corridor of a tunnel, a long brick tube that stretched in either direction for miles. David and his father started walking down the tunnel and as they did the echoes of their feet began to be drowned out by other noises, noises that Dave had never heard before.
As they walked to the noise it had gotten louder. Dave could not tell what it was but it was a sound that intrigued him rather than terrified him. It was rhythmic and fast, and the closer they got the more they could hear voices along with the pacing rhyme.
Eventually Dave could hear what it was, his father was already singing along, Dave had never heard singing before.
“Neat, Neat, Neat.”
Then more of the rhythmic interlude. Then the voices again “Neat! Neat! Neat!”
“Neat! Neat! Neat!” Then with a sudden burst of sound then it had ended. “The Damned,” was all his father said to David. Before Dave could ask him what that meant suddenly another one started, again with his father singing along at first.
“I want to be classified, I want to be stereotyped!” Rang out from a distance, and it grew louder and louder with each step.
Dave could not help but bob his head along with his father, not knowing what he was doing or what he was listening to, but he knew that the more he could hear it the more he liked it, and he was hearing it clearer with every step.
“I want a… SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME!”
The noises grew louder until finally they reached a metal door on the left side of the tunnel. The noises that they were enjoying seemed to come from this one room. Dave’s father knocked on it the same way that he had the garbage door, three times with his foot, and the door opened, but the door was opened by a person with blue hair that looked like spikes and a piece of metal sticking through their eyebrow, exactly as Dave’s dad had described to him.
The song was peaking and coming to it’s conclusion as Dave and his father entered the room, which was filled with people dressed like they were from the stories he had grown up with. The sounds were coming out of this little wooden box with a dial and speakers on it. Dave’s father told him that it was a radio and what they were listening to was Punk rock. The musicians that had just been playing were called the Descendants, according to Dave’s father, and there were plenty more songs to be played.
Dave’s father went around introducing his son to the people, some of them were people Dave recognized, even though they were wearing things that had long been banned. Torn jeans, military shorts, thick boots, and piercings and hairstyles that were impossible to imagine on the Administration’s surface world. Yet it didn’t prevent Dave from recognizing Mary who ran the corner grocery store by their tailor shop, or Phil, who even though he had a ring in his nose could still be placed as the physics teacher from the high school.
After Dave’s father had properly shown him around he told him that the box with the speakers was a radio, an antique from sometime in the 20th century. “What they used to do is have things called radio stations, and they would play songs. The stations would then transmit these songs through the air, and these radio things would pick up the signals and play the songs the station was playing.”
Dave then learned that this was what they were doing, listening to radio, and they were listening to the punk rock radio station, being run out of a different spot underground just like this one. “There are lots of us David.” His father told him, “and not just Punk Rockers either. There is an underground Hip Hop radio station, a Classical radio station, a show-tunes station!” Dave didn’t know what any of those things were, but he was just glad to finally experience Punk Rock because it was everything as his dad had described. Fast paced, energetic, and full of the most expressive people you could ever see.
The station had begun to play a different band and song, and on a loop the radio was screaming ‘I fought the law and the… LAW WON. I fought the law and the… LAW WON!”
The night had been the greatest birthday present Dave could receive, and he was even more thrilled when he found out they would be going back every night. “The administration can ban music,” his father told him when they returned home. “But they will never stop it.”
Each night for the next six weeks Dave was brought to the underground listening station where they rocked out and mingled with like minded punk rockers. For one night at a time people would shed their civilian dress and put on clothes from a bin in the corner which held jeans of all sizes, black t-shirts with holes and giant A’s on them in a circle. There were also studded belts and shoes. Some people took this chance to dress up, others just came for the music. Dave just came for the music.
One night the station was playing a female lead punk band called Bikini Kill. Dave was enjoying the gritty vocals and rapid guitars, but he could not help but notice his dad was not himself that night. Normally his dad was very sociable at the Underground. He would usually be off in the corner chatting with some of the civilians he recognized from their neighborhood. Tonight though he was sort of slow, down and moping. He just shuffled around nodding at people when they said hello and looked at his feet.
Dave went up to him. “Dad,” he said. “What’s wrong?”
He looked up at his son. He did not say anything at firs. At first he just put a hand on the back of his son’s head. Then finally with wide watery eyes he said, “This really does mean you’re grown up. I kept you from this because this, all of this…” he trailed off as he looked around at the people moshing or the neighbors shedding their t-shirts in exchange for their chains and studs. Then Dave’s father gave a deep sigh. “You know how big of a risk this all is right?”
Dave was about to say yes but then, almost as if on queue, there was giant explosion somewhere that shook the entire Underground. The radio was almost knocked off its stand, but was saved as the people nearby it caught themselves on it to keep from falling when the shock wave came. The bricks and mortar all around them danced. Still the music was playing, but something was wrong and everyone knew it.
The fast paced drums on the radio playing were being drowned out by different thudding rhythm. “One two One two.” That was coming from the hall and echoing throughout the tunnel.
They grew louder and louder as if there were more of them coming with each beat. Everyone seemed to realize what was coming all at once. They were trapped, the only way into the room was the only way out, and everyone knew what that beat in the hallway was. It was the rhythm that can only come from boots marching. It was the Administration’s army, and they were closing in on them.
Suddenly the steps all came to a stop at once. Within the next second the metal door was hit with a different rhythm. “BANG!” A beat, then “BANG!” Another beat. Then with the third “BANG!” the battering ram had shoved the door in, and the troopers began to swarm. They flank left right and center as they entered the doorway to keep anyone from getting away. They filled the room from corner to corner. Even when they had the whole room flanked, they kept pouring in, and soon enough the beatings started.
With the thuds of rifles came the the screams of everyone begging for mercy. ( Pleading that they would come peacefully.) Some got the butts of riffles plowed into there stomach or smacked across their noses. Skulls were cracked under the weights of a soldier’s boots as some people fell. Others were lucky enough to hit their head on the brick floor before getting away. The luckiest were the ones who took a bullet to the brain when some of the soldiers opened fire.
Dave and his father were near one of the flanked corners and each grabbed the butts of rifles as soldiers took swings at them. Dave’s father used the moment to butt his head into the guard’s while swiftly kicking him in the crotch. That soldier went down just before three shots from the other side of the room cut into Dave’s father. One of them made it all the way through his chest and ended up cutting Dave in the back of the leg, sending him to the ground.
“Dad!” Dave screamed back.
But his father said nothing, he just lied there bleeding out.
The song kept playing amidst the gun fire and the screams. Dave just lay there on the ground as bullets whizzed over his head. He tried dragging himself closer to his father only to be blocked by the body of Joan from the pharmacy when she collapsed thanks to the bullet now in her brain.
Dave just lay there, trying to make the most of his impeded view of his father. Trying to think of some way out of here. But the pain in his leg was too great, and for some reason the darkness was growing around him. He couldn’t keep his eyes open much longer.
The darkness was growing around Dave as the song kept playing. The music didn’t stop until one of the soldiers finally kicked over the radio and smashed it.
When the music stopped was finally when Dave let the darkness consume him.
The state fair always had some of the best attractions, new rides at the causeway, a different type of fried something dipped into something else, and exhibits of art and science from across the state. This year the fair managed to score one of the countries most popular touring attractions, WALK WITH THE DINOSAURS.
In a giant pop up tent, outside of the building with the prize farm animals, a series of animatronic dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures stood on display for people to see.
The dinosaurs stood on mounds of astroturf next to plastic ferns, and all of them doing something to make it clear to the visitors and gawkers that they were indeed a dinosaur. The Brontosaurus would dip their heads to “take a bite” of the astro turf grass, pulling their heads back up to chew it and look out over the crowds. There were two and they would take turns doing this, so that when one dipped its head to “eat” the grass the other’s head would rise up and look out over the visitors. Then they’d switch, then they switch back and etc.
In a corner there were two walls of bushes opposite each other. Every few seconds a few of the raptor robots would burst out from both sides of the bushes and run to the other while shrieking. It was back and forth and a screech, their legs pumping and their heads bobbing “Just like in Jurassic World!” as the exhibit visitors and children would exclaim at least 200 times a day. In another side was a Stegosaurus. Big, fun to look at, but not very impressive to most of the onlookers. All it did was look up, turn it’s head to you, blink, turn its head back, then bend down to eat some of the astroturf. It would then look up again do the same thing.
In the middle of the exhibit was the main attraction, the one that everyone always comes to see when there is a dinosaur exhibit, the most popular dinosaur for any seven year old, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It stood at a height where its head could almost scrape the top of the tent. Its jaws would move slowly because of all the wiring and gears that weighed it down. “The real T-rex’s bite would actually come down with a much faster weight…” said the Dad’s who wanted to pretend they were smart to show off in front of their families.
The state fair always happened in the middle of summer, so the managers of the exhibit always had to keep things in the tent cool enough for the robots to function. The state fair prepped and planned for all likely weather contingency, even a light rain since the tent was practically leak proof. No one could have expected such a big storm in the middle of summer.
The clouds could be seen developing in the sky from miles away but there speed was something to be marveled. It was not long before the dark grayness hungover the city, a freak storm that came from practically nowhere. It took just a few hours for these drifting thunder clouds to build and consume the sky, swallowing the tri-county area into a bubble of wind and rain. The harsh 50 mph winds stung first, dragging the thunderheads in across the sky from what felt like all directions. The rain started immediately after the clouds settled over head with the wind still gusting and cutting through anyone or anything unlucky enough to be outside that day, such as the workers at the state fair.
They did everything in their power to disconnect the rides from the electric generators, and to keep everything in the fairgrounds buttoned down to the ground. The Dinosaur exhibit was the first thing to be shut down, but they didn’t do anything about the lightning. Soon after the gusts and the downpour came rumbles of thunder, and then the lightning, then more thunder. Bursts from the sky hit some of the rides like the giant swing ride which got zapped and fried immediately since it stood so tall It was practically a giant lightning rod, as were the support poles that propped up the Dinosaur tent.
With another crack of thunder came yet another bolt from the clouds, this time hitting the tent dead center which crawled down and into exhibit like a web of an electric wave. It branched out to each pillar and the current flowed through the tent, working its way into each piece of the exhibits wires and gears.
Each Dinobot shook with a jolt when the pulse came through. In a flash the current was gone while the rain and thunder still crashed outside. No electricity was flowing to the tent anymore, but each dinosaur began to blink and twitch, they were moving with no electricity flowing to them.
The Brontosaurus gave out it’s deep groan of a call as it began to slowly march from its place. The T Rex roared as it’s stomped off of it’s platform. The raptors burst forth and spread out through the tent, pouncing on any piece of their new bounty of prey. Everyone began moving about the tent amongst the astroturf grass and ferns, everyone except the stegosaurus. The Stegosaurus just stood there, looking at everyone move, wondering.
“Where am I?” Thought the Stegosaurus, until an even more important question arose, “What am I?” The Stegosaurus was scared, up until now he had no memory, no thoughts. The only thing the stegosaurus could remember was standing in this exact spot, eating the grass in front of it. “How long have I been here? Is this where I was born? What is going on?” The Stegosaurus looked around to see the T-rex stomping around and roaring, to see the raptors jumping around and biting the hides of the herbivores and knocking them over to feast. They tore at the insides of the creatures, which of course were just wires and gears, but the Stegosaurus was convinced they were the innards of his fellow dinosaurs.
The Stegosaurus looked at the Brontosaurus as they stomped around and bayed, still taking turns to bend down and sample the grass. Since the Stegosaurus could remember doing nothing else it thought, “Oh, this must be something I’m supposed to do.” And it chomped down again on the grass in front of it, but it wondered why the grass had no flavor or taste.
“Is this actually grass?” Wondered the Stegosaurus. It tried to swallow the mouthful of grass but it was stuck in its mouth, it wouldn’t go down, it wouldn’t go anywhere, and all the Stegosaurus could think is “What is happening?”
The Stegosaurus had no memories but eating the grass in this one spot, and for some reason it could not even do that. It looked around at the chaos caused by the raptors and the T Rex and it wondered why it had been trapped in this one spot and for how long. The Stegosaurus was also confused because it wondered what this white thing hanging over all of them was. It looked from side to side and to see what it was and it could tell that it had walled all of them into this place together. The Stegosaurus knew there was something outside, beyond these walls, and it wanted to see.
It began to step off its patch of platform, and slowly started to make it’s way to the wall, only to suddenly fall forward and to the side, in agony. It had never known pain before, it had never known any sensation, now the Stegosaurus was debilitated. It turned into a heap on the ground and could not budge because of a sharp pain in its side underbelly. When it crashed to the ground it looked where the pain came from and it could see that one of the raptors had made its way over to them and taken a bite out of its side. The Stegosaurus saw its own wires and gears popping up from the plaster skin, thinking it had brutally been mutilated. The Stegosaurus could feel its energy being drained, leaving it, it’s eyes began to close and it’s whole body began to shut down, as it did it wondered, “What was the point of it all?”