SHOOTING STAR – PART IV

“FORSAKEN”

[Northern Israel, town of Nazareth]

Almost immediately after the news was reported to the world that the western world has possibly gone off the map, and this includes the United States, the tension in the Middle East rose to an all-time high.  The most dependent ally in this region to the United States, Israel, immediately put their military and state militias on extreme high alert, pending and preparing for any attack that would be coming.  As it was expected by some global leaders, some of those that opposed the United States, celebrated and partied with hate chants and marches through their neighborhoods and cities.  Even amongst the crowds that are either gathered to show support for or against the West, this gave no illusion that as tensions rise in the region conflict is only minutes away.  However, no state or nation in the darkness part of the world, is prepared and ready to deal with what is about to happen next.

Some Israeli soldiers are conducting foot and vehicle patrols above ground while others are stationed in underground bunkers as reserve or special units for specific missions.  On this particular night it seemed awfully calm and quiet, but with the tensions as thick as a brick wall the soldiers are somewhat optimistic that any military conflict can be avoided.  During their underground standby orders, four soldiers are in one of the bunkers, guarding ammunition and classified information, and heavily engaged into a game of spades.  The men are yelling and screaming at each other in their native language, and some lingo was spoken in English, but others above ground couldn’t hear them arguing and laughing.  When the final hand was played, the two partners that won did some gloating and taunting over their over-joy of beating two other partners who were known to be the toughest to beat.

PARTNER #1: Well, well, well…what do you think about them oranges, huh??! (Laughs loudly afterwards)

PARTNER #3: Oranges? Do you mean apples?!…Such a damn goofball!

PARTNER #1: Apples?…Huh?

PARTNER #2: You were supposed to say how about them apples.  Not oranges.  You substituted one fruit for another.

PARTNER #1: Oh! Well…either way we (motioning with his hands between him and his partner) still won and that doesn’t change.

PARTNER #4: Come ‘on…another game…huh?

PARTNER #1: I’m tired.  I want to go to bed now.

PARTNER #2: Bed?  Come’on man!  You don’t have time for one more game?  We have nothing else to do.

PARTNER #3: Not like we can go above ground to watch television…you might as well as spend your time with us playing spades…come ‘on!

PARTNER #1: I’m tired…all the cards are looking the same…I can’t differentiate the difference anymore…I’m just tired and want to close my eyes for a few minutes.

(Silence drops amongst the four men)

PARTNER #2: Look…we understand this is difficult for you, to concentrate on your mission while majority of your family is still there in the U.S.  No one, I mean no one knows for sure what has happened.  I completely understand that you are scared and worried, but we have to make sure that you are here with us and ready to do your job when you get called.

PARTNER #3 & 4: We got your back! We have to make sure you have ours.

(Silence once again drops amongst the four men, as they look each other in the eyes waiting for a response)

PARTNER #1: Yes! Yes!  I am with you!  (They embrace each other by grabbing each other’s shoulders and pulling themselves closer together over the table yelling in Hebrew, psyching themselves up for another game; which quickly became history)

Just as the four soldiers begin to play another game of spades, an air siren could be heard coming from above ground, which quickly activated the underground alert systems as well.  This sparked the men to jump up out of their seats and rush over to their respective equipment, and prepare to put the underground bunker on lockdown.  One of the four men ran ahead to the door to step up above ground when the ground shook violently from a massive impact and explosion.  Men speaking in Hebrew and English could be heard over the radio speaking over each other making it hard to understand, but one transmission that was heard spoke about falling stars.  The first man out of the four come out of the hole and looks up into the sky and confirms with his own eyes of falling objects with bright red tails streaking.  Two more massive explosions violently shook the ground, knocking people off their feet and others receiving injuries from falling debris.

The first Israeli soldier that was out of the hole, rushes back in to inform others of what he just witnessed and to possibly tell them to stay back.  Shocking eyes came among the other three men when the situation was described to them, but the time to comprehend the information was not there.  One more massive explosion was heard by the four men still underground, but this time the dirt and concrete cave began to crumble above them.  As they panic with fear of being trapped underground, they make attempts to rush towards the rear of the tunnel to another door that could save them.  Two of the four went and grabbed most of the confidential documents their arms could hold and gave their hardest run for safety.  Just as the four are feet from the rear tunnel door, the ground is quickly collapsing behind them, and the slowest one of the four was quickly overtaken.  It wasn’t long before all four men were swallowed up by the collapsing earth above them, trapping them with no help in the distance.  Seconds later, an enormous fireball, which went out from ground zero in a circular motion, overcame the town of Nazareth and vaporized anything that was not invisible.  Fireballs and firestorms engulfs the entire region, and other parts of the world including Europe, Asia and Africa.  In an instant things changed around the world, and learning a new normal will be a strength for some and the downfall for others.

[RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA]

Vince Green, the president’s campaign manager, and Christina Smith, the president’s media secretary, are both severely struggling as they make their way through the death and destruction that has now become reality.  The skyline, life that once penetrated the social aspect of the southern town, has now become once large cemetery.  Unsure of which way to go and not sure what to do next, Vince supports the body weight of Christina leaning on him since she was nursing an injury to the lower body, as they climb over boulders, large cement objects and twisted metal and bombed out vehicles.  As they slowly make their way through all the debris, and kicking up the ashes and dust that has now littered the ground, breathing in the contaminated air, Vince looks for a place to rest before continuing.  While he looks around to find a resting place, Christina starts to moan and cry from the pain that has increased in her lower extremities.  As she started to complain about the pain she was in and wanted to stop moving, Vince glances to his right and sees a shaded hole from a collapsed parking garage.  He quickly motions to her that he was heading in that direction to rest and to also get them out of the beating sun.

Vince slowly places Christina down on her bottom, and even with his gentleness, she screamed out from the pain and release of pressure from ankles and knees.  Once he placed her down on the ground, Vince locates a spot across from her and plops his ass down and just stares at her for a minute, watching her reeling in pain, before he interrupts her agonizing mental state.

VINCE: How bad is the pain? (Looking at her with a genuine expression)

CHRISTINA: (Answers with obvious annoyance and painful expression) I can barely bend my knees and put full pressure on my feet without excruciating pain shooting up my shins.

VINCE: (Releases a huge sigh) I suppose we need to find you some medical help, but everything looks like it has been destroyed. (Releases another sigh while rubbing his face with his dirty hands)

CHRISTINA: (Tears start to spill out of her eyes) Is it true that the president and the vice president are dead? (Sniffles) What are we going to do?

VINCE: Well, (sniffs quietly) we need to find out how to let those who need to know that the president and vice president are dead, and try to get help.  I must say though our situation doesn’t look good, and I’m not sure if anyone even knows what happened.

CHRISTINA: What and how are we gonna…(Vince puts up a finger to tell her to stay quiet as he hears in the distance a fighter jet overhead)  What…(he tells her to hush)  Vince! What is going on??!

VINCE: (Looks up into the ceiling of their hide out listening to the sounds of the engine) You hear that? Fighter jet overhead! F-16 I believe!

CHRISTINA: WHAT?! How do you know who it is?  How do you know it’s not an enemy plane?  It could be the Russians, Chinese who the fuck knows! It doesn’t matter with our president dead. (Moans in agony after her rant)

VINCE: It does fucking matter, Christina! Whoever is responsible just killed the leader of the free world, possibly sending the country into chaos and who the hell knows what else is going that we don’t see or know.  If that’s an enemy fighter overhead that means our defenses have deteriorated and the skies are free for whomever wants to reign!

CHRISTINA: (Stares at him with tears filling her eye sight) What the fuck is your problem, Vince?! Huh!? You still pissed off at me for nearly costing your job, fucking around with the president’s daughter and having the secret service involved?  You can hate me all you want! I don’t give a fucking piece of shit! You will not and I will not allow you to talk to me that way!! (Continues to stare at him with tears randomly dropping out of her eyes)

VINCE: (Sighs heavily before responding) Christina…(sighs once more)…I don’t hate you…okay.  I was mad at you, yes! I will admit that, but you need to understand what that did to me.  I never thought that someone I trusted would turn their back on me without coming to me first.  If I didn’t listen, okay then I can see it, but not giving me a chance to correct my behavior is what pissed me off to no end.  However, I also understand why you did what you did.  So I (sighs) I apologize for my actions…okay?

CHRISTINA: (Looks at him and doesn’t break her glance from him for at least a minute before responding) That’s in the past now and not much we can do about it now.  I have to trust and lean on you in the situation we are in, however, that doesn’t mean I have completely forgiven you. We need to find a way to let the world know what happened to our president and to also help in guiding our country in a direction of strength…no one knows what has happened and no one knows who is alive and who is still alive.  Right now our goal is to get out of here and find safety and medical treatment.  Can we both agree on that?

VINCE: (Slightly shakes his head before responding with a small smirk) Yes. I will get us out of here and do our part to maintain our nations strength, however, as long as you do your part we will be just fine.

They look at each other with a smile and prepare themselves mentally and physically to move along the heavily debris region, as well as not knowing who was flying above them.  One extremely low pass by the fighter jet, which scared Vince and Christina off their ass, left behind a rumble and jet engine noise that made them believe that the world was imploding around them for the final time.  The screams that they were letting out of their lungs couldn’t be heard over the streaking of the fighter jet flying at tree top level or lower at extremely high speeds.  It felt like an eternity was going by, but when the fighter jet lifted off the deck and began climbing quickly in altitude, Vince and Christina removed their hands and arms from their ears, breathing continued to be heavy but for some reason both passed out completely.  Unaware what is now known by the fighter pilot thousands of feet above the surface.

FIGHTER PILOT: (Speaks in a British accent) Fox Sierra 2-7 to Red Baron, come in?…(dispatcher responds)…I might’ve found the president of the United States last known location, however, I couldn’t confirm the sighting.  Requesting you to send in for a closer look.

RED BARON: Any survivors?

FIGHTER PILOT: I didn’t see any, but that doesn’t mean no one could be alive.  I’m sure several are injured, but all that can only be confirmed with troops on the ground.

RED BARON: 10-4! We’ll send in security forces as soon as possible to secure the area.  Out!

END OF PART IV

(Next Publication @ April 15, 2017 – Part V)

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