Category Archives: SHOOTING STAR (Fiction)

SHOOTING STAR – PART VII (Season Finale)

“LITTLE KNOWN TRUTH”

[SOMEWHERE IN THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS]

After being poked and prodded by the medical staff at the undisclosed airbase, Vince and Christina lie in their bed just staring at the ceiling waiting for lab test to come back.  Time seemed to have been going at a snail’s pace as they both lie in silence, which was soon broken when Vince’s door opens and in walks Dr. Melinda and her colleague.  Vince slowly sits up and tries to read their facial expressions, which is somewhat difficult through the oversize chemical suits.

MELINDA: Mr. Green? We seemed to have your test results and we have good news.

VINCE: Let me guess…I’m not infected or radioactive?

MELINDA: That is correct! However, your white blood cells are slightly elevated, but nothing is showing at the moment.

VINCE: Well…doesn’t that mean I do have an infection somewhere if my white blood cells are elevated?

MELINDA: You are only slightly elevated, which means an infection could be healing with no implications to be found.

VINCE: Good! That is good news.  What about Christina?

MELINDA: We haven’t been to see her yet, but her news will not be as good sounding.

VINCE: What…what the…what is wrong with her doc?

MELINDA: Radiation poisoning has consumed her organs, and her white blood cells have spiked and off the charts.

VINCE: (Turns his head to stare at Christina lying in the bed sleep) What can you do for her? Can she be saved?

MELINDA: To be honest we don’t know if we can do anything for her, except keep her comfortable.

VINCE: Oh my God.  She’s gonna die.  (Stunned by the news as he tries to gather his emotions) How much longer she has before she goes?

MELINDA: We don’t know for sure, but all we know is that her treatment will be to reduce the affects.

This has fallen on his emotional stability like a ton of bricks falling to the ground after demolition.  Struggling to process this new information, Dr. Melinda and her colleague leave his room and enters Christina’s room.  Vince couldn’t hear what she was being told, but knew the news hit her hard when she collapsed to the floor crying.  Witnessing this broke his heart and just made him feel the sorrow she was feeling at that time.  Dr. Melinda walks out of the room and leaves Christina on the floor to her own emotional devices.  Vince felt the want of yelling out to her name, but when he opened his mouth nothing came out.  He felt that keeping silence right now is the best thing and just stood there watching her breaking down.

[FREDERICK COUNTY, MD]

Marcus, Jennifer, Luther and Brooke all sit approximately twenty feet apart, in a line, with hands and feet bound by shackles that is used for prisoner transports.  Sitting in the grass under the bright sun beaming down on their heads with no shade or overhead protection, Jennifer, sitting closes to the helicopter, can hear the men speaking and transmitting in their native Germany dialect.  Her German is very rusty and picking up on a few words became very difficult and this made her beat herself up for not sticking with in and at least able to figure out some of what is being spoken.  With all four of them spread apart, speaking without being heard became very challenging as they were told time and time again to shut up.

Luther is in the most pain as he is still suffering from his major injuries, and as time continues to pass with no treatment he risk suffering major infection in his extremities.  His well-being has now become a serious concern with each distraction and hurdle that derails them from seeking medical treatment.  Their German captures don’t seem to concerned to give him medical treatment, but according to their word they did call for an air ambulance.  Not able to confirm this story, Jennifer is forced to sit there and just wait for what will happen next.  However, she didn’t have to wait long when she heard a noise and the pilot slumped over the controls with blood pouring from the hole that suddenly appeared in the middle of his forehead.  For the first few seconds this concerns Jennifer as she looks around to see the reaction of the other soldiers, who don’t seem to notice.

She looks at her friends and none of them have even raised their heads to look up at anything in the past few minutes.  Whispers to Brooke, but she couldn’t hear her low whispers.  Suddenly, another noise is heard and Jennifer turns her head again and sees one of the soldiers fall completely to the ground with blood splattered on the side of the helicopter.  Almost immediately after he falls down, Marcus turns his head and saw the soldier lying on the ground.  He looks at Jennifer right in the eyes and it was almost as if they were speaking telepathically.  One of the soldiers walk from the other side of the helicopter, still smoking his pipe, and sees his comrade lying on the ground with his blood splattered on the side of the helicopter.

Scared to death, he reaches for his rifle and starts to point it along the tree line even though he can’t see anything.  He runs over to the pilot and sees that he already dead.  As soon as he yells out to his last remaining comrade, he takes a bullet in the head.  Drops immediately.  The last soldier standing saw the last second of his comrade’s body dropping to the ground.  Just as he rushes towards the helicopter to communicate the situation to his command, he gets shot twice in the head just as he keyed up the mic.  Unaware if anyone on the other side of the line heard what has happened or if he actually got a word out; the men must move quickly.  For a frightening few seconds Jennifer has no clue who is responsible for taking out the four soldiers with precise sniper fire, if they were next or if the person responsible is friend or foe. Within a few minutes, as Jennifer and her friends, are looking around at each other trying to figure out what has just happened.  Even Luther is preparing himself to feel an extremely fast projectile to penetrate his body, but that feeling never came.

Off in the distance, approximately a football length and a half, men started to creep out of the wood line in complete military gear.  As she sees the men quickly approaching them, the gear they are wearing becomes more visible and she can see they are wearing digital woodland camo.  Before she knew it the men were up on them unchaining them and giving them instructions to quickly move and flee the area.  Two of the men had to carry Luther out on a make-shift stretcher through the woods to safety.  Once safety was determined to be obtainable, they all picked a spot to stay hidden within the woods, but still able to see around them for anyone trying to sneak up.  It was at this moment Jennifer decided to speak up.

JENNIFER: Umm…who are you guys?

SGT. KUBEK: I’m Sergeant Kubek of the Maryland State Police.

JENNIFER: The good guys!! Thank God! Where did you guys come from?

SGT. KUBEK: Some of us are from the National Guard, and we all met up in downtown Baltimore.  Annapolis is gone.  Baltimore is gone.  Washington, D.C. is gone as well.

MARCUS: What the hell?! Washington, D.C….gone?!

SGT. KUBEK: Unfortunately, son so is our leader of the free world.

JENNIFER: Oh my God! President is dead.  Our government is gone.  Who the hell is running the country?

SGT. KUBEK: As far as we know…no one is in charge.  So any state governments that are still functioning are operating as independent states making deals with other state governments for resources and to restore law and order.

JENNIFER: Who do you have a deal with?

SGT. KUBEK: (Looks at her in deciding whether to tell her or not) We are working with the state officials of Pennsylvania and Delaware.  Right now we haven’t heard much about Virginia, except they are looking to reunite with West Virginia and forming their own alliance.

LUTHER: Are you guys on your way to Pennsylvania now?

SGT. MILLER (ARMY): We’re on our way to Camp David, the president’s compound for vacation has now turned into an intelligence gathering spot for us to check out.

SGT. KUBEK: The state senator is said to have been located and heard from the compound, but no one knows for sure.  So that is why we are heading their now and was hoping not to run into the U.N. bastards.

MARCUS: Why are they here anyway? Shouldn’t be our military handling everything anyway?

SGT. KUBEK: That’s the question that no one has been able to answer for us, and how no one knew they were coming.  Most of us smelled conspiracy from the start, but with obstacles at every turn we can’t make head way.

JENNIFER: We saw something falling out of the sky that had a bright red tail, but we couldn’t make it out.  The next thing I know we were thrown all over the place that created our injuries.

SGT. KUBEK: A bright red tail? An ICBM maybe? Something like that we should’ve had a head start if that was so.

SGT. MILLER: No ICBM I know give off a bright red tail.  The only thing that can give off such a color are things coming from out of space, penetrating the atmosphere.

JENNIFER: It looked like it came from very high up and it didn’t explode until it struck ground.  Marcus lost his eye sight for a while, but some miraculous reason he got it back.

SGT. KUBEK: Whatever the hell it was…made life completely different…and has blessed us a new curse on mankind.

JENNIFER: Can we go with you to Camp David?  We have no home and have nowhere to go.  At least allow us to come for safety and a place to stay for a few days.

Both sergeants hesitate to say yes, but upon considering the alternative and their best chance of survival they couldn’t with good hearts and minds to leave them to the road wolves.

SGT. KUBEK: We’ll let you come with us.  You guys can work for us and be our extra set of eyes.  Of course, your friend needs to heal before he could be moved beyond the compound.

JENNIFER: Thank you very much sir…we owe you with our lives.

[TEXAS-MEXICAN BORDER]

ABIGAIL: Roger! Turn down the dam television! Are you deaf?!

ROGER: What do you want me to do, Abigail? You know some parts of the programing is low and I can’t hear it.

ABIGAIL: Doesn’t mean you have to have it up to decibal a thousand!

Reluctantly, Roger turns down the television and as soon as he did that a noise was heard hitting the window.  He turned towards the noise and ignored it until he heard gunshots in the distance.  First it was single gunshots then immediately followed up with automatic gunfire.  This caused him to turn the television and radio off, tell Abigail, his wife, to take cover and him going to retrieve his rifle and shotgun.  Without turning on his porch light, a Vietnam Veteran, knew that with the sound of gunfire nearby turning on his light would give the enemy an easy target.  Once outside, he crept around his front porch and slowly down the front steps.  More gunfire was heard in the distance, but definitely was closer to his property.

Roger made his way about ten yards away from his home looking and listening when suddenly rounds struck the ground around him and whizzed by his ear. Getting a glimpse of the muzzle flash in the distance, Roger advances towards the area ducking and weaving to find cover behind a huge bolder.  Just as he settles in behind the bolder, rounds ricocheting off the front.  For a brief second the sound of gunfire stops and gives Roger great concern, and after several minutes of waiting he slowly peeps his head around the bolder to only see the muzzle flash of a shotgun.  It wasn’t long before Abigail became another victim for the Carlos Gomez Drug Cartel; enduring hours of agony and torture before her life was tragically ended.  Numerous American and Mexican citizens lost their lives in skirmishes that popped up along the border for days and weeks.

DRUG CARTEL MEMBER: Carlos? Phone.

CARLOS GOMEZ: Hello?

VOICE ON OTHER END: Bogota, Columbia and Barcelona, Spain have been wiped off the map.

CARLOS GOMEZ: Thank you.  I’ll be in touch. (Directs his men to move out)

END OF PART VII

Next Publication – Fall 2017

Advertisements

SHOOTING STAR – PART VI

“STAR STRUCK”

[WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS]

U.N. HELICOPTER #1: Helo Fox to Base, come in!

U.S. AIRBASE: Lion to Helo Fox, go ahead!

U.N. HELICOPTER #1: Helo Fox to Base, we are about two mikes out and have both packages on board.

U.S. AIRBASE: 10-4! We will have personnel on the ground awaiting your arrival.  See you when you get here!

U.N. HELICOPTER #1: 10-4!

During the whole flight from downtown Raleigh to their final destination deep in the West Virginia mountains, a make-shift airbase, Vince fell asleep from the exhaustion and his mind just being overwhelmed.  With just under a minute to land, he begins to wake up and adjust his eyes to the soldiers inside the cargo bay with him.  He quickly notices that they all have transformed in front of him, neither one of them are wearing their gas mask, but he quickly realizes that he’s having slight issues breathing.  He goes to scratch his face and hits hard plastic on his cheek area, and quickly begins to feel around his face and notices that he is wearing a gas mask himself.  Vince begins to freak out and grabs the closes soldier to him by the blouse and starts to become aggressive by tugging and pulling.  Just as he realizes that he can take the mask off himself, the attempt becomes quickly squashed as the soldiers grab his arms to keep him from removing it.  The fight continues in the back of the helicopter and grabs the pilots’ attention when the helo starts shaking and the commotion in the back gets very loud.

One of the pilot’s starts yelling through his headset to the soldiers in the back, but gets no response.  Unable to unbuckle to check on what is happening, one of the soldiers respond on their headset, ‘situation is under control’.  Almost immediately after the soldier said that, Vince was struck in the midsection and flipped on his side with his hands bound behind him.  Vince tries to scream through the gas mask, but his screams and words were muffled.  Just as the helicopter touched down on the helo pad, several medical personnel rushed towards them and quickly grabbed Vince out the cargo bay, threw him on a stretcher and wheeled him into an awaiting ambulance.  Christina’s helicopter lands a few seconds later and although she doesn’t see what happened to Vince, she knew something wasn’t right.  With her hands bounded in front of her she was more cooperative and didn’t fight with the soldiers escorting her to another awaiting ambulance.  Once Christina enters the rear of the emergency vehicle, she is strapped down, gas mask removed and feels the ambulance speeding away with the siren blaring.

In a few quick minutes, the ambulance that Vince was in pulled into a bay and the doors quickly opened where more medical personnel were stationed in full body chemical suits.  Vince’s gas mask was removed and the sweat started to pour from his forehead as they escorted him to another part of the facility.  Halfway through the escort Vince was cooperative and making smart remarks about the situation until he saw that he was going to be quarantined.  This just sparked up the aggressive fight once again, but with limited range of motion with his arms still bound behind him.  Knowing this he starts to use his shoulders and his body weight to shove off the medical staff, and for a few seconds he was gaining the upper hand.  He even kicked one staffer in the groin and just watched the man fall to the ground in pain, holding himself, but the joke was on him.  Vince received a strike in the groin from behind and unable to use his hands to hold himself, he tightly closed his legs together and dropped to his knees.  Coughing on his knees, he hears boots being walked from behind to in front of him.  Looking up he sees a purple haired woman standing in front of him, but that vision went black when he was knocked out by a boot kick to the face.

Christina’s reaction when she saw herself being escorted to a quarantined room was of some fight, but she was quickly overwhelmed.  The back of her hair was grabbed and pulled severely to the point of her falling on her back and then stomped in the midsection.  She was quickly rounded up and shoved in the room and didn’t know she was next to Vince until a few minutes later.  She heard this strange knocking to her left and someone calling out to her name when she realized it was Vince in the next quarantined room.  Due to the thickness of the hard plastic make-shift walls surrounding them both it was very hard to hear words, and reading lips was somewhat of a challenge.  Neither one was very good at it.  With nothing to write on in their room communicating back and forth was very frustrating, but Vince’s attempt to tell her something was interrupted.  He hears unzipping and air being released from the door being opened to his room.  Turning around he sees two medical personnel standing and looking at him.  Not knowing who they were he stares at them and gets sense that these two in the room are of importance.  He walks up to them within a few feet and breaks the awkward silence.

VINCE: Who are you people?

DR. MELINDA: I’m Dr. Melinda Jones and this is Dr. Phil Marks. We are with the CDC.

VINCE: CDC, huh?! What the fuck is going on? Why did you bring us here?

DR. MELINDA: Mr. Green. You and Mrs. Smith were located in an extremely contaminated zone and radiation poisoning is very likely. We will need to run some tests on you both to make sure two are not in extreme danger, and if so we will need to know how to treat you.

VINCE: Treat us, huh? It probably wouldn’t matter anyway since we were out there for a very long time and most likely we will die.  If so I would just ask that you let us die in peace and with less pain as possible.

DR. MELINDA: Once we know how much radiation you have been exposed to we will understand better of how to treat you. There is usually no cure for radiation poisoning, but the best we could do is to help you live better with the issue.

VINCE: We’re both part of the presidential campaign team so we would ask for transparency in this treatment.

DR. MELINDA: We planning on treating you two with such ideas in mind.

VINCE: Good.  So what is next?

DR. MELINDA: We need to draw blood from you and get you cleaned up, change out of those clothes and ask that you be patient with us.

VINCE: See! That’s what I like.  Respect and ask nicely you shall receive.  Not those assholes I was dealing with earlier.  Especially that bitch!

DR. MELINDA: They’re not my responsibility or under my command, but they can be a little heavy handed.

VINCE: A little heavy handed? Whatever…what do you need me to do?

DR. MELINDA: Strip down to your underwear and lie in the bed. We need to get blood from you and start that process.

VINCE: Sure. (Everyone just stands there looking at each other)

DR. MELINDA: Anytime you are ready.

VINCE: So I have to undress in front of you two?

DR. MELINDA: You don’t have anything that I haven’t seen already, Mr. Green. Besides stripping down to your underwear is all we need.

VINCE: I see. Well…I suppose I better comply.  Don’t want that purple haired bitch in my room.

DR. MELINDA: I would ask you to refrain from using that language here. Some of my colleagues might take offense.

VINCE: You rather…cunt?

[NORTHERN FREDERICK COUNTY, MD]

Just a few minutes outside of Camp David, Jennifer and Marcus start to try their luck by searching in the nearby woods for any dead animals to eat.  Not sure if any water source nearby is contaminated, they find a small stream flowing over the rocks and from their position it looks clean.  Marcus still not trustworthy of his legs, and now going around with a prominent limp, Jennifer crawls down towards the stream and as she gets closer her excitement rises.  She sticks her hand in the water once she reaches the stream’s edge, and the cold rushing water just pounding against her hand and flowing through her fingers, gets her excited and yells to Marcus that the water appears to be clean to drink.  Hearing the exciting news, Marcus yells as loud as he can back at the car to Luther and Brooke, who sigh in great relief of possibly drinking some clean water.

Marcus limps as fast as he can through the tall grass to find a container to fill it with water.  He gets about two feet from the car, and along with Brooke and Luther, hears a helicopter off in the distance and they can only speculate that it is near Camp David.  Filled with such excitement Jennifer doesn’t hear the helicopter in the distance until it gets closer and she pulls her head from under the stream.  She shakes her soaked blonde hair and strokes it back with her also wet hands as she frantically looks around to see where it is coming from as the noise bounces off the terrain.  Suddenly the helicopter appears above going in the eastward direction, real low and slow as if it was about to land.  Jennifer was able to get a look through the trees she was under at the helicopter flying low overhead.  Frantic and excited about the possibilities of being rescued by American soldiers she finds her way across the stream to follow the helicopter.  When it disappears behind a set of farm buildings and trees, she stops and immediately make her way back to the rest of the crew.  As she gets closer to them, Marcus looks at her with a curious look and asked her, “Who was that? Are they American?”  Jennifer looks at him and responds, “I’m not sure who that is! I just know we need to find out.”

Brooke shouts out, “What about water?! We are severely dehydrated?” Jennifer pauses after getting back in the driver seat, and tells everybody, “We’ll come back. I promise.  We need to find out if they will be able to help us.”  Luther jumps in as she pulls off, “If they can’t help us? Then what?”  Another pause by Jennifer before she responds to Luther’s concern, “Hopefully we don’t find out.”  She drives off and heads in a direction where she thinks the helicopter might’ve landed, which takes her down dirt and private roads bypassing old abandoned farm buildings and dead animals tucked away in the brush.  After about ten minutes of guessing where she thought the helicopter landed, Luther points out to her that he can see it through a set of thick branches.  Jennifer leans forward to see if she can spot it and she does when they break through a small clearing that doesn’t impede their vision.

Jennifer was able to find a spot that they could park in and hide themselves from being seen.  She pulls parallel off the dirt road and in a position where all four can see the helicopter about 100 yards into the grassy field.  While they are watching the crew of the helicopter mulling about doing whatever they are doing, Jennifer begins to ask a question to everyone in the car about who are they waiting for.  Finally, Brooke breaks the streak of silence and comes up with an idea of just going over there to at least get medical help.  This becomes a discussion between the four of them for at least a few minutes of what to do, who is to go, all four should go or neither should go.  After a few minutes of going at each other’s throats, Marcus makes a decision in a very determination voice to go over there and get help.  Making the argument that he isn’t sure if they will have another opportunity to get help.  Several minutes of hesitation looms over the situation and Jennifer makes the decision to drive over to them, but does it at a speed not to alarm and frighten the men.  Almost no matter what they do it will definitely strike up the alarm in the men.

Great anticipation and nervousness creeps through the car as Jennifer makes her way on to the grassy field towards the helicopter.  Coming from underneath the shadows of the trees, they just knew that someone would see them right away.  Anticipating being spotted at any moment, Jennifer moves ever so slowly towards the helicopter and is shocked that they haven’t been spotted yet.  Suddenly, they are approximately fifty yards away from the helicopter and someone opens fires on the car, which causes Jennifer to accelerate in shear panic.  Everyone in the car is screaming and yelling as rapid fire rounds pierce through every glass structure in the car, the hood and one tire blown out.  Even with heavy fire coming at them, Jennifer maintains control of the car and turns away from the helicopter to only find that she was heading towards a tree stump.  Turning away from the tree stump became impossible when both front tires were blown out and the car just slid through the grass striking the tree stump.  A very loud crash and scratching could be heard as the car went over top of the stump and crashing in place.  Although the rapid fire of rounds had stopped, they were not completely out of danger as Jennifer fruitlessly tried to start the car.  Male voices could be heard coming up from behind them and before they knew it, automatic weapons were being pointed at them with trigger happy soldiers.

Jennifer went to explain that they are just looking for help, but discovers the soldier at her door is only shouting at her in a foreign language; which to her is German sounding.  She pauses and glances at each one of them to see who they are and notices that each one looks German, but in a blue camo design unlike the U.S. Air Forces design.  Silence falls upon them and Jennifer becomes brave enough to ask in German, who they were and her response shocked her senses when one of them said United Nations Security Force to preserve stability.

MARCUS: WHAT THE HELL? THE U.N.?

END OF STORY

Next Publication – Part VII @ May 13, 2017

SHOOTING STAR – PART V

“PATRIOTS MOURNING”

[RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA @ DUSK]

It has been at least a few hours since an American fighter jet was seen streaking at very low altitudes, about tree top level, through the ruined scenes of Raleigh, North Carolina, witnessed by Vince and Christina.  As dusk begins to take heed in the skies, Christina continues to struggle over the massive debris in the streets, weaving through burned out automobiles, and keeps fading back and back as Vince easily overcomes obstacles.  Unable to keep up and exhaustion overtaking her physical being, she yells out to Vince who stops in mid-climb on a truck and stands on the severely damaged bed.  He turns around and sees that Christina is leaning up against the frame of a car and breathing heavy.  He yells back out to her, “you okay?” and so exhausted she shakes her head side to side indicating that she is not well.  Frustrated to have to stop again, Vince takes his time getting down off the bed of the truck and navigates his way back to her location.  With dusk quickly approaching the air is getting thinner and beginning to get cooler, but neither one is prepared to spend the night underneath the stars.

“What happened to the jet?” Christina asked Vince when he gets within normal voice range.  Vince kneels down, feels for a fever and checks her injury on her leg before answering, “I can only assume that the pilot has relayed the information back to D.C. about the president of the United States, and they will send a rescue party.”  He makes a seat next to her and leans his back up against another car frame right across from her.  “Do you think we will ever be found? Will we ever make it out of here alive? Get back to our families and loved ones again?” Christina quickly stated to Vince.  He looks at her, glances down at his hands and responds, “We have to maintain a positive attitude and have the faith that we will be just fine.  I would like to say we might get rescued along with the president, but for all we know they might not be thinking about us.”  Vince takes a big gulp of saliva and then looks up into the sky at the early evening sky with a full moon getting brighter each minute.  In the middle of his stare at the full moon, Vince begins to hear a chopping sound to his right and struggling to make out what it is.

He whispers to Christina, but when he looks over to her he sees that she has fallen asleep from mere exhaustion.  Vince tries to wake her up as the chopping noise gets closer and closer, but appears to be unsuccessful in doing so.  He slowly stands up and as the noise gets closer, bouncing off the ruined landscape, Vince finally makes out what the noise is and looks in that direction.  Coming from behind a tall concrete rubble structure, two large helicopters appear, with their floodlights on for searching the ground below them, and as they fly overhead, Vince screams as loud as he can waving his arms in all directions to draw attention.  The helicopters, flying at tree top level, continue over his head towards the last known location of the U.S. president and vice president.  Immediately Vince starts to scream at Christina to wake up, as he shakes her aggressively, but slowly starts to come around.  As the choppers continue to fly away from them, Vince lowers his voice and gets Christina’s attention and tells her what has just happened.  Hearing the news about helicopters flying overhead wakes her up enough to gain the strength to get to her feet.  Once on her feet Christina begins to navigate through the very rough terrain they had did once already, but knowing that help has arrived she ignores the pain and fights through it.

Within seconds they lose sight of the helicopters and can barely hear them off in the distance, but they use the hope to keep tracking their way in the same direction.  Eagerness increases with every other step as they can hear the blades of the chopper getting louder and louder.  Voices could be heard along with tearing metal and radio traffic from around the corner of their present location.  Both get close enough to round the corner of a concrete post and spot the two large helicopters about two blocks down from where the president’s motorcade is located.  They smile at each other and get closer to the group of soldiers prying into the president’s vehicle, but that would quickly become a huge mistake.  One of the men spot them and yells at them through his gas masks, which was very hard to hear, but Vince assumed by the reaction of the men pointing their automatic rifles at them that they are to stop immediately.  With Christina leaning her weight onto Vince, he struggles to hold her up as he stands there wanting to drop her.  One of the soldier’s slowly approach them with their rifle pointed directly at them.  Christina and Vince stare at the soldier approaching them and they attempt to slow down their breathing as their heartbeat increases with the fear of the unknown.

When the soldier gets within a few feet of them, Vince notices a black inscription on the chest of the soldier’s olive drab chemical suit.  As he leans forward to get a better look at the inscription, his heart quickly drops from the surprise to see the U.N. on American soil picking up the president of the United States.  His surprise quickly turns to anger and for the moment of not thinking he rushes the soldier in the response to protect his leader, but to only receive a butt stroke to the side of the head, and he stumbles down to the ground.  For the time being Vince forgot where he was and forgot about Christina, who was able to maintain her own weight and rush over to aid to his injury.  She looks up at the soldier into the tinted glass of the gas mask, with tears in her eyes, and makes a request to save them as well.  Christina goes on to explain that they are part of the campaign team of the United States president, and that they can help them with anything they need.  During her explanation, two other U.N. soldiers walk up with their rifles at the ready standing slight behind the lead soldier, on both sides.  A few seconds later the other two walk up to her, on either side of her, and pick her up by her underarms and aid her to the waiting helicopters.  One more soldier comes up to help the lead soldier pick up Vince, who resists a little bit, but quickly goes quietly with them to the second helicopter.

As Christina is being lead to the first helicopter, she looks down to the second helicopter and sees the American flag draped over the bodies of the president and vice president while being loaded into the rear of the helicopter.  Once she climbs on the first chopper, she begins to let the tears flow as the reality of the situation has begun to hit her like a brick wall falling down.  Vince is guided to the second helicopter and sees the president being loaded on the same chopper that he is approaching, and the emotions strike his hard in the chest.  Emotions hit him so hard that he had to be almost forced on to the helicopter as the first one started to lifts off.  Just before he was able to grab a seat, the second chopper lifts off the ground seconds later and quickly thousands of feet in the air leaving the city.  Both Vince and Christina sit in silence, into their own minds, as they take it all in of what has happened, what is happening and what is about to happen in the near future.  As the helicopters streak quickly through the skies, over nothing but ruined landscape as far as the eyes can see, Vince sees two fighter jets accompanying them on either side with Canadian markings.  Life has just become very real!

END OF PART V

Next Publication – Part VI – April 29, 2017

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)

SHOOTING STAR – PART III

“NEW SUN”

[FREDERICK, MD @ 06:05hrs – Local Time]

Jennifer is startled awake when a very low flying fighter jet flies overhead, which also causes the car to shake from the rumbles of the engines.  As her body jumps from the sudden shock, Luther also starts to come out of his deep sleep followed by a painful moan.  She looks down at Luther and knows that moving him will be huge task, but it’s must if Jennifer wants to regain circulation in her legs.  As she starts to think about her plan to do so, either the same jet or another fighter jet flew overhead waking up Marcus and Brooke.

“What’s going on?” Brooke mumbles in her tired painful voice.

“I’m not sure, but I think I hear fighter jets above us.” Jennifer replies in a calm voice trying not to raise too much alarm.

Marcus responds in a low tone, “Fighter jets? Are they doing patrols?”

Jennifer turns her head to look at him as she reaches out to him to touch his hand, “They could be doing patrols, but they could also be searching for any unidentified objects or planes.”

“Unidentified objects? What do you mean by that? UFO’s?” Luther jumps in the conversation.

“Well, UFO mean unidentified flying objects and doesn’t necessarily mean alien aircraft’s either.”  Jennifer mutters in a condescending tone.

Brooke jumps in with her comments, “Do you know something Jen?”

Closes her eyes before responding to the question, “Usually fighter jets flying in the sky after a massive incident or blast is protocol to protect our airspace.” Releases a sigh anticipating more questions coming her way about the subject.

“I think my eye sight is starting to come back Jen.  I know the sun is out, not only I can feel it on my face, but I can see more light.” Turns towards Jennifer’s direction.

“Oh Marcus that is great! I hope things continue to improve.  How you feeling?” Jennifer responds with some enthusiasm.

Takes a swallow and then replies, “I’m getting feeling back in my legs it seems, but afraid to move right now.”

Luther responds, “At least you’ll be able to walk again, but I over here with one whole side fucked up!  Which brings me to another point, when are we getting the fuck out of here.”

Jennifer looks down at Luther and replies, “Well, one I can’t move because I have no feelings in my legs, and second, walking through the grass may allow the radiation to attach to us.  Not to mention what we may have already breathed in.”

“Radiation? Isn’t that what the rain does?” Brooke speaks in a concerned tone.

“All the rain did was clean the air of any impuritents, but the bad thing is that is has all settled on the ground.  Finding food and water needs to be one of our main priorities besides medical treatment.” Jennifer replies to Brooke, but meant for everyone.

“So what I need to do is get out, go get help or at least find transportation for us to get the hell out of here.” Jennifer states and continues.  “That means I will have to move you Luther, which is going to hurt like shit! You’ll probably cuss me out later, but it needs to be done.”

“What do you need me to do?” Luther replies to Jennifer.

Jennifer quickly gives him instructions, “I will need you to roll over to your right and hold it until I am from underneath you.  Are you ready?”

Luther takes a huge gulp of saliva before answering and completing the task, “Yeah! Ready…1…2…3 (followed by a painful grunt)!”  As Luther rolls over to his right and struggles to hold it, Jennifer wishing for quick feelings in her legs so she can make a hasty getaway.  Which probably felt like forever for Luther, once he knew that Jennifer was out of the car he let his body flop back down and yelled out in agony.

After Jennifer crawled herself through the driver side window, she peeps back into the car, “I’m going to go find us some help and find a way out of here for us.” Looks at Marcus and rubs his head full of hair, “I’ll be back!” When Marcus’s reaches for her hand and touches it before she jets out of there.  With Jennifer gone for help Marcus, Luther and Brooke are all left alone in suspense waiting for her return, if she ever does return.

“You think she’ll be back for us? You think she’ll make it back?” Brooke speaks in a worried tone.

Marcus responds in great defense, “She’ll be back for us.  She won’t leave us here.”

“I think what Brooke is getting at is if she doesn’t return, how will we know when to defend for ourselves and know that she’s not coming back; or travelled a long way for help?” Luther intercepts the moral of hope with his negative thoughts.

“I honestly don’t know, but I know we have to focus on the positive and keep faith that she’ll succeed in finding us help.”  Marcus responds in a positive voice.

Jennifer limps her way down the steep hill back to the main road and stops in the middle deciding which way to go.  Should she head towards town or the opposite way to hopefully see someone that would be willing to help her friends out.  After a painstaking decision process, she decides to limp her way in the opposite direction and take a chance.  Limping her way down the road drained numerous amounts of energy and had to rest every couple of minutes.  During one of her breaks, she heard in the long distance a fighter jet overhead, but doesn’t know where it’s coming from.  As she looks up, using her hand to block some of the sunlight, she finally sees the sunlight reflecting off of the jet as it appears to be circling around the area.  While she looks up at the fighter jet circling and following it with her eyes, it suddenly takes off towards the west as the flames from the engine could be seen.  Only a few seconds past until the roaring sound of the jet engines faded away and it couldn’t be seen any more above.

Disappointment overcame her and left her dejected for a brief moment, but she knew she couldn’t rest.  Jennifer gets herself back up and continues down the road in the same direction, limping away.  Approximately, a mile down the road she turns around to see how far she has come, and she recognizes she’s gone a good way.  Continuing down the road about another ½ mile and she sees a car on the side of the road with someone in it.  Jennifer waves her arms to see if the person can see her, but with no response.  Creeping closer and closer to the car, it appears that the person inside might be sleeping, but she’s not completely sure.  Slowly making her way towards the vehicle, the person she sees in slumped over in the driver seat.  Not sure if it is a man or a woman, when she gets up to the driver side door she knocks on the window.  Still no response.  She then convinces herself to open the door, very slowly, and tap the person on the shoulder.  When she opens the door, the body slowly leans out the car and falls to the ground.  The stench of death hit her nose and nearly made her puke on the deceased person.

Regaining her composure was some work, but Jennifer was able to do so.  Now, her mission is to get back to her friends and get them some help.  Stepping over the body she gets into the driver seat and reaches for the ignition, no key is there.  Jennifer looks down at the dead person and immediately looks into the side pockets with one luck to find the keys.  She finds a set of keys and pulls them out of the pocket to discover numerous keys on the on the key ring of gold and silver.  Confusion comes over her expression as she tries to figure out what the hell are the keys for, but finds the car key.  Jennifer slowly sticks it in the ignition and turns the key.  After a few seconds of the starter trying to catch, it catches and brings her immediate joy.  What made it even better was when she notices that it was full of gas.  Yelling inside the car at the top of her lungs with happiness, she puts the car in drive, closes the door and takes off towards her friends.

Marcus kept dozing in and out of sleep, but wakes up when he hears a car engine racing towards them.  “Hey guys?! I think I hear Jennifer coming back!” stating in his joyous voice.

She starts to honk the horn repeatedly as she was coming up the hill towards them.  Pulling up next to the car she yells at them, “LET’S GO! I FOUND US A RIDE!”  Jumping out of the car and runs over to them, “You guys ready? I’m here to get you out of here!”

“Brooke doubted you the whole time.” Marcus states to Jennifer.

“WHAT?!” Brooke shouts, but realizes he was just kidding when he started laughing.

“You guys!” Jennifer smiles as she prepares to move Luther.

For several minutes moving them from the metal shelter to another drivable car was a task, but Jennifer was able to do it.  Once everyone was inside and able to have more room, Jennifer guns it back down the hill towards the main road.  This time she goes back towards the town, and her eagerness is shown in her speed.  After going around a few turns and within a mile from the town limits, she sees a military vehicle blocking the road.  Pressing hard on the brakes, she comes to a complete stop jolting everyone in the car.  Waiting for someone to pop out in full military gear, Jennifer starts to think of how she might be able to get out of this situation.  As she thinks to herself of what to do, Luther breaks the silence, disrupting her brain waves, “No one is around.  Maybe we can go around.”  Jennifer looks back at him and nods in agreement and slowly moves toward the military vehicle with no resistance.  Just enough room was allowed for her to pass around to continue towards the town.  To their surprise no one is around and they continued.  Suddenly, anxiety starts to fill their stomachs as they creep closer towards the town, but once again their progress was stopped by numerous cars and debris blocking every path.  They all look at each other as if they were telling each other by mental speech that things will only continue to become more real.

[MANAUS, BRAZIL @ ONE HOUR LATER]

As the fires rage untouched in the Amazon Rainforest, wild animals and natural resources continue to be in danger of being extinct.  All this is unknown to the five-year-old, who was discovered by another person dressed up in a chemical suit.  Several hours later, as he is sleeping in his sleeping bag on the wooden floor, the weight of the child wakes him up.  Suddenly, he sees himself eye to eye with a beautiful grey-eyed child staring back at him.  As they stare at each other, he breaks his straight face with a smile, which is followed by a smile from the child.  They start laughing together and he begins to tickle the child, who just falls all to pieces with hard joyous laughter and smiles.  He continues to tickle the child until the child can’t stand it anymore and takes off running into another room.

He gets up and chases the child into the room where he continues to tickle the stomach and legs.  A minute later, when he stops the child and he is on his knees, the child stands up and stares at him again.  They start speaking in Latin to each other, and at the end of the conversation, the child goes over into a corner and grabs a gun.  Thinking it is a toy gun and oblivious to the dangers, points it at the man who freaks out and snatches it from the child.  He starts to scold the child in Latin for handling a gun, but got interrupted by a loud noise outside the shed.  He becomes silent quickly for a minute and goes over to the window in the direction he heard the noise.  Looking outside he could see two people, who looked to be covered in ash, dust and soaking wet, digging in garbage scrapping for food.  He looks down at the child and tells her to stay put, and surprisingly she does.

He goes back to his room to grab his other handgun fully loaded and goes outside to confront the two individuals.  As they make their way stumbling, coughing and hacking, they see him standing there staring at them.  Both of the sickly men look at him and at each other before opening a dialogue in Latin, asking for food and water.  The man responds back telling them he doesn’t have enough to give out, they look at each other and begin to grin.  They ask once more and he refuses to comply.  Both the men start making their way towards the man as if they were going to cause him harm.  Seeing how bad they look and knowing that they have been out in the black rain, he raises his gun and points it at them.  Freezing in position seeing a gun pointed at them, the man takes two steps towards them and speaks a few words in Latin before opening fire.  Striking both men in the chest, they fall to the ground in obvious pain and agony.  The man walks up to each one, speaks more Latin words, and finishes them off with a bullet in their brain.  After neutralizing the sickly men, he drags their bodies over to a pile of wood in the back of his shed, throws them in the pile and sets the pile on fire.

As the bodies and wood burn into the air, the child comes outside and stands next to him.  He looks down and sees the child grab his hand and hold on to it staring into the fire.  Not sure if the child understands what she sees, he doesn’t quickly remove her from the situation, but what he doesn’t know is that she witnessed the murder of the two men.  This would be a secret she would keep to herself for many years to come.

END OF PART III

(Next Publication @ April 1, 2017 – Part IV)

SHOOTING STAR SERIES – PART II

“Knowledge is power”

“BLACK RAIN”

[FREDERICK, MD – ZERO HOUR + 90 MINUTES]

“Do you have your car keys on you, Luther?” asked by Jennifer.

Luther struggles to look above his head as he is still lying on his back.  He replies, “I think so.  Hopefully I didn’t lose them.  What do you need them for?”

Jennifer responds, “I’m going to try to see if we can take shelter in your car.  We need to do this before we lose moonlight and the rain comes.”

He looks up at the sky and can see that the clouds are slowly starting to block some of the natural light.  “Oh! I suppose we don’t want to be lying out here getting wet.  Except you are the only one that can walk and make it, so you should probably go for shelter.  We’ll be fine.”

Jennifer starts making her way over to him around Marcus’s head, “No, you don’t understand.  Black rain coming down on top of us is not good and almost a certain and painful death.”  Feels Marcus grab her shirt and tug on it.

“Black rain?  What the hell are you talking about?”  He says to her in a concerning voice.

Jennifer sighs heavily and drops her head explaining nervously.  “Radiation is about to fall on us in the form of rain, and we need to take shelter before it comes.”

Brooke raises her head to look at Jennifer, “Jennifer!  What do you mean black rain, radiation is about to come?  What happened?”  Sounds like she’s about to cry.

“What I saw over the hill towards the town is a mushroom cloud.  My dad used to explain to me about nuclear rain that comes from the sky after a nuclear bomb had detonated.”  Jennifer reluctantly explains.

Marcus continues to show his nervousness in his voice, “A nuclear bomb went off?! Oh my God!  What do you need us to do?”

“I can’t believe this!  Oh my God why is this happening!”  Brooke cries out under the tears of fear.

Luther reaches out to Brooke with his good arm to comfort her.  “I’m right here baby, Jennifer is going to get us out of here so we can be safe. Okay?”  Brooke shakes her head up and down crying in silence.

“I’m going to see if we can get inside.  I’ll be right back.”  Jennifer starts to make her way before she was stopped by Marcus’s hand on her hand.

“What if we can’t get shelter?  What happens then?”  Marcus looks right in her direction.  Jennifer leans down and kisses him on the lips and places his hand on his chest and leaves without answering the question.  He lies there in his own mind and begins to fantasize about the worst case scenario if they don’t gain shelter.  Jennifer makes her way, limping, towards Luther’s car and starts to find a way to gain access.  As she got right next to it, with the little moonlight she had, could see that the frame of the car was mangled and out of shape.  Trying every single door to open them was a tremendous struggle, and the last thing she wants to do is shatter a window to compromise their safety.  She looks up and see half the moon is being blocked by heavy dark clouds, and can see the black rain starting to fall beyond the hill.

With only a very short time to spare, she keeps trying to figure a way into the car by tugging on the door handles.  Marcus starts to yell out to Jennifer to see what is happening, but he gets no answer.  He can hear her struggling with something, but he just can’t see her.  Suddenly, Jennifer feels herself making way with the front passenger door.  Using all of her available strength she was able to pull open the passenger door as she falls back.  Marcus can hear the metal creaking and release as he starts to smile about her getting the door open.

“JENNIFER! I JUST HEARD THUNDER! HURRY!” Yelled out by Marcus.

Jennifer heard the same thunder noise and moves as fast as she can towards them.  “I’m here!  Okay!  I got the front passenger door open so we need to hurry up and get inside.”  She reaches down towards Marcus’s legs.  “Can you feel my hand on your leg?”

“I can, but not sure I’m able to move without help.”  As he grabs her shoulder firmly.

“Okay, I’m going to grab you by under the arm pits and pull you out from under the brush.  I know it’s going to hurt, but I gotta move you.”  She rubs his face to comfort him to let him know she means well.

“I’m starting to gain some feeling in my legs again.  I might be able to help!”  Brooke says out to Jennifer.  Hearing this brings tears of joy to her eyes knowing that her friend might be able to walk again.

“That’s great news, Brooke!  I can use the extra help.  If you want to try to move Luther and I’ll take care of Marcus.  I can help you if you need it.”  Jennifer replies in a slight happy tone.  She looks back down at Marcus and lets him know that she is ready to move him.  As she gets into position with her hands under his arm pits, he reaches up and grips her forearm.  Jennifer counts to three and pulls him out hard, which makes him scream out in agonizing pain.  Using the momentum that she has pulling him, and going downhill, she doesn’t stop no matter how loud he got.  “AHHHHH!” was heard from Marcus the entire time she pulled him towards the car.  Once she got there, she stopped to rest and to give Marcus a chance from being in so much pain.  He lies there next to the car in tears from the pain that shot through his body.

“BROOKE! YOU OKAY UP THERE?”  Jennifer yells as her voice echoes over the thunder that is moving closer and louder.

“I THINK I’M GOOD! I’M ABOUT TO MOVE LUTHER!” Brooke yells back in response.  Brooke slowly rise to her knees to see if she can stabilize herself, and by surprise she can even though the pain is still there.  She looks down at Luther with a grin on her face, which she gets back one from him.  “You ready baby?!  I’m gonna drag your fat ass down this hill!”  Chuckling in his face.

“You’re such a bitch!  I want to see you do that!”  Luther responds with a smirk on his face.  Preparing for the massive pain that will proceed once she starts to move him.  Takes a huge swallow of saliva, “I’m ready when you are.”

Brooke struggles to her feet and falls back down in excruciating pain.  She takes a look at the back of her legs and can see blood stream down, which she knows that she has a massive laceration.  Pushing through the pain she gets back to her feet and grabs Luther by his right arm, and starts to pull.  This makes Luther scream out in pain as she moves him inch by inch with as much strength she can muster.  Getting only about two feet from their original position, Brooke falls down again and yells out to Jennifer.  “JEN!  I NEED YOUR HELP!  PLEASE!” Thunder roars overhead and 90% of the moon is being blocked.  Jennifer yells back, “I’LL BE RIGHT THERE! HOLD ON!”  Jennifer just grabs Marcus by his arms and forcefully puts his upper body in the car.  “OH WHAT THE FUCK!  COULD’VE WARNED ME FIRST!”  Marcus yells out over the pain.  “You gotta pull yourself in! I gotta go help Brooke with Luther! I’ll be right back!”  Jennifer responds leaving him.

“Here I come Brooke!”  Brooke lies on her back crying from fear and pain overwhelming her.  Jennifer struggles and limps towards them and falls next to Brooke.  “Hey! I’m here now, okay? I know you’re hurting, but we gotta keep moving.  The rain will be here any second” She whispers in Brooke’s ear.  Brooke sits up and starts making her way towards the car limping and hoping, but ends up crawling the rest of the way.  “You’re a tough girl.  Marcus is fortunate to have you.”  Luther reaches up and grabs her arm as she starts to drag him.  “SHHIITTT!” Luther screams out as she drags him to the car past Brooke, who is just feet from it.  When Jennifer gets to the car, she sees that Marcus made it in the back seat with very little room.  Brooke comes around to the passenger side of the car and immediately starts making her way into the car.  As Jennifer wait for Brooke to get completely in, thunder roars extremely loud above them and the moon is entirely covered.

“Let’s go Luther! I’m going to climb in and pull you at the same time!”  Jennifer talks down to him.  Brooke makes it in the back and falls on Marcus, who grunts with agonizing tones.  Jennifer climbs in and pulls Luther at the same time, which causes him to pass out from the pain that overwhelmed him.  Once he was in, Jennifer shook the car over and over to make the door close.  As soon as the door closed, the window shattered and flew all over Luther.  “OH SHIT!”  Jennifer responds as she pulls Luther on top of her to keep him away from the window.  Just as she pulled him away from the window, the rain began to pour down and hit the roof of the car in a heavy down pour.  Brooke looks at Jennifer as Jennifer looks back at her and Marcus.  “We’re safe now.  I guess we can try to get some sleep if we can.”  Jennifer said in a calming voice.

“Jennifer? What happened out there?”  Brooke asks in a curious and concerning voice.

“I’m not exactly sure.  I just know that things will be different from here on out.  I don’t know how, but different.”  Jennifer responds.

“I’m scared.  I don’t know what to think.  Are we gonna…”  Brooke is cut off by Jennifer.  “Don’t think about that right now.  Just…try to get some rest.  Marcus and Luther already beat us to it.”  Leans her head back and closes her eyes listening to the rain falling just outside.  Her plan for the morning has not yet formed, but she understands that their survival will depend on her getting them to safety.

[MANAUS, STATE OF AMAZONAS, BRAZIL – ZERO HOUR + 90 MINUTES]

The entire state of Amazonas has become an area of disaster with numerous fires and death toll on the rise from recent events.  Throughout the capital of Manaus, vehicular and pedestrian traffic immediately came to a halt when an enormous fireball engulfed the city.  Homes, vehicles and buildings were destroyed in an instant and many people had no chance to take cover or shield themselves from the scorching danger.  Just like the historic great fire of Chicago, the entire region blazed in such a way that anyone surviving would be deemed a miracle.  Fires continued to rage on with no one around to attend to them, but two people did survive.

A five-year-old child came crawling out from her damaged home out into the street of her neighborhood.  Standing in the middle of the street, with deceased residents all around her, she’s holding her favorite doll.  Even though part of the doll is singed, she keeps it in her hand not understanding her new world.  Dazed and confused, she sees a large, tall man approaching her wearing a full fledge chemical suite dawning a face mask.  Putting his book bag down and reaching in for another face mask, he cautiously puts it on her face.  The unidentified man picks her up and places her in one harm and shoulders the bag in the other.  Thunder rages above them, which he looks up and sees the clouds quickly moving in.  Knowing the girl is not properly equipped for the situation, he begins to walk down the street to a safe house where they will wait out the storm.

END OF PART II

Next Publication (Part III) – March 18, 2017

SHOOTING STAR SERIES – PART I

“Things don’t always appear as they seem, never take anything for granted”

“POSTPARTUM”

[FREDERICK, MARYLAND @ ZERO HOUR]

The re-election campaign hits an all-time high as we approach the last month of this intense season.  Incumbent republican president is attempting to keep his seat at the White House against his fierce competitor from across the aisle, a democratic senator.  As the American people countdown to election day, with the rest of the world watching to see how the markets will play on the polls, others are searching for a break in politics by watching the upcoming meteor shower.  Little did anyone know or anticipate the events that would take place just a week before election day.  During the excitement of the meteor shower other unidentified objects were seen entering the atmosphere amongst the falling stars.  In an instant everything changed as the two teenage couples standing on the overlook are blown from their feet and through the air.  As there is an eerie silence that settles over the overlook, Marcus realizes that he is blind and that pain is just overwhelming his body.

Marcus just knows and is for certain that his eye sight is permanently altered and has suffered some major injuries.  He has no clue where Jennifer and Luther are, but he knows where Brooke is as she continues to crawl over him causing immense pain to his lower extremities.  Which felt like an infinity, Brooke finally crosses his legs and cries out to Luther, who she can see just feet in front of him.  “You found Luther?” Marcus mumbles in an agonizing voice.  Brooke responds, “Yes! He’s over here lying face down.  Luther?!”  After finally reaching him, Brooke flips over Luther who lets out a very loud scream from the movement.  This startles Brooke who flinches and countless times kept asking him was he feeling okay and where is he hurt.  Luther was able to calm himself down and explain to her, “My left leg is completely broken, my left arm is also completely broken and I think my back is broken as well.”  News like this is not anything Brooke was expecting and immediately started to break down in uncontrollable tears.  It was at this time Marcus was able gain enough strength in his voice to yet to Jennifer.  Listening for a few seconds with no response, but repeated.

On the fourth time calling out her name, Jennifer yelled out to Marcus and shuffled over to him, where she saw Brooke and Luther.  She quickly grasps Marcus’s right hand and wiped away her tears while she tries to find out if everyone is okay.  “I’m blind.  I can’t see a damn thing.  I’m not able to see your face, but I can still feel it.  I haven’t forgotten what you look like.”  Marcus said.  This just made her break down with more tears and sympathy for her boyfriend who will never see the world the same again.  Jennifer throws the same question at Brooke and Luther who hesitates to answer.  Brooke finally replied and said, “I think I’m paralyzed from the waist down, and Luther has a broken arm, broken leg and possibly a broken back.”  Turning around the best way she can and looks at Jennifer to ask her of her injuries.  Knowing she was in best shape out of everyone, she hesitated before responding.  “I just woke up from a concussion, I think, and right now as I can see only bumps and bruises.”

Marcus chuckles, Brooke scuffs and Luther sucks his teeth with all of them showing disgust and jealousy.  “I’m sorry guys that I am in the best of shape, but right now I’m worried about you three.”  Jennifer replied.  Marcus turns his head towards Jennifer and asks her, “What the hell happened?  I remember seeing a bright light and the next thing I know darkness is my reality.”  Shaking her head as she looks around the darkness, smoke and the landscape debris that surrounds them, Jennifer replies, “I don’t know what happened.  I don’t recognize anything anymore.  Where do I go for help?”  Luther responds, “Well since you are the only one with working legs, you may have to go find help from somewhere.  We all need medical attention like yesterday.”  Shaking her head up and down, Jennifer agrees and begins to stand up with a slight pain shooting up her left leg.  Grimaces in pain as she puts weight on her leg, but quickly collapses accidently falling on Marcus.  He lets out a loud scream and starts crying from the immense pain that just went through his body.  She quickly rolls off of him and starts to cough before checking on Marcus.

A few minutes later, Jennifer starts to stand up again and with being on a slight incline this makes her put weight on that injured leg again.  Jennifer was able to keep herself from falling as she climbs back up the hill to their original spot.  “Where you going?” Brooke shouts.  Jennifer glances back and replies, “Climbing back to our original point to see if I can see what happened.  Maybe I will be able to know how to call for help.”  Each step and crawl just gave Jennifer intense pain that felt like it was getting worse and worse with each movement.  Determination kept her going and she was able to finally climb to the previous point, but this time the tree that was there has been blown away leaving a stump.  Jennifer plops her head down on the ground while trying to catch her breath when she suddenly hears an explosion over the ridge.  Pulling herself up over the top to see the town was a hard struggle, but finally did it.  Jennifer stared down at the town beneath the ridge and saw her entire world just completely in flames.  Flames were so high and running so rampant that she could feel some of the heat being miles away.  Pulling herself to look over the ridge into the valley, small fire pockets could be seen several feet from them, but not immediate danger.

Forcing herself to look up as she started to pay attention of ashes beginning to fall around her, and sees the mushroom cloud still formed miles up into the atmosphere.  Understanding what she is looking at, Jennifer knows that her and her friends are in immediate danger and must find a way to get out of there.  She starts to slide on her stomach back towards Marcus causing herself abdomen cuts and bruises over rocks.  Marcus hears her back down to them and wondered what is happening.  Fear surrounds her face and glances back up to the sky at the mushroom cloud.  In her low tone she explains, “I think I know where to find help, but I need to get you three out of here.”  “How the hell you going to do that?  Even though you can walk, you’re still fucked up!”  Luther responds slightly angrily.  Marcus turns his head towards her and knows that something is wrong.  His ears have heightened their senses and he can hear her quivering in her voice and words.  “Okay Jen.  I suppose we better find a plan out of here, but your challenge is that I’m blind, Brooke is possibly paralyzed and Luther whole left side is fucked.  There you go.  I suppose you have to figure it out.”  Marcus let out a small chuckle at the end, which was followed by another chuckle by Jennifer.

[RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA @ ZERO HOUR]

As the silent wind blows through the city, a staffer on the president’s campaign trail is suddenly awaken to find himself under massive amounts of rumble.  He starts coughing immediately as he starts removing things off the top of him to free himself.  After removing one heavy slab of concrete that was leaning just inches from his head, moonlight shines on his face.  Looking up at the moon is a surprise as he last remembers being in an underground parking garage.  The moonlight displays that he is covered in ash from head to toe, and every movement ruffles the ash off of him.  Trying to get his coughing under control, he was able to move enough debris to stand up, but he did very slowly.  As he looks around all he can see is small standalone fires, cars and trucks flipped every which way and heavy smoke.  The staffer quickly remembers and frantically searches for any signs of the president, other staffers and anyone that could still be alive.  Climbing over rumble and moving debris left and right, he spots one of the secret service agents on the ground.  He rushes over to him and checks for a pulse and feels nothing.  Looks around and sees the feet of the campaign manager.  Rushing over to her he was able to get pulse, but it was very shallow.  Feeling lucky he stands up to continue looking around and running with his head cut off, but spots the president’s vehicle several feet away.

Tripping and stumbling over debris, dead bodies and loose car parts, he falls right into the mangled vehicle.  Frantically feels for ways to open the door to free the president, but finds it very difficult to do so.  He quickly finds a rebar and uses that to pry open the rear door.  When he finally gets the door open, a body falls out of the car at his feet.  The shock on his face seemed permanent when he noticed it was the president of the United States.  Bending over to get a better view in the car, he could see the vice president as well lying motionless with his eyes open, and bleeding from the face.  This sight was just simply overwhelming and barely comprehensible to the five senses.  He stumbles back and falls over another dead secret service agent.  When he stands back up and starts to closely pay attention to his environment, a mushroom cloud could be seen in the western sky and the city landscape completely gone.  The sight of what he is seeing is just too hard to understand and way too much swallow, which brings instant tears and severe sorrow.  Noise behind him made him quickly remember about the other staffer still alive.  Jumping and hoping over rubble and debris in his way, he reaches her and tends to her laceration over her left ear.  When she asks him what happened and is the president okay, he gives a huge gulp of saliva and just stares in her eyes; wondering how to respond and how to generate the news.

END OF PART I

Next Publication (Part II) – March 4, 2017

SHOOTING STAR SERIES – PREMIER

“Things can change in an instant”

Tonight, just minutes after midnight, a meteor shower is scheduled to occur in the views of millions of viewers in the western sky.  Taking advantage of this scenario are a group of friends, two teenage couples, who have decided to get together at a scenic overlook that gives them an unimpeded view of most of the town of Frederick.  A small city-town in the northern part of Maryland that is culturally diverse and has slowly become an economical center point in the crab state.  To also capitalize on that situation, Marcus Dubois and his long term girlfriend, Jennifer Stunner, are at the Frederick Mall spending money and wasting time prior to the meet at the overlook.  Watching the clock, Marcus grabs Jennifer’s hand and pulls her towards a jewelry store that has rings and necklaces displayed in front of the store.  As they both look through the glass cases to browse the selections, Jennifer tugs his hand to get his attention and points to a necklace directly in front of her.  When Marcus saw the item she was pointing at, his eyes got immediately big and received the major impulse to buy it right away.

He quickly got the retailer’s attention and made it known that the necklace outlined in royal blue and purple with a small diamond in the middle is the one he wants.  Within minutes after Jennifer pointing it out she had the very same necklace now hanging from her neck.  The grin that came from her face was just exciting for Marcus and made him lose his sense of reality when looking in her green eyes.  Suddenly, the intercom in the mall made an announcement that they were closing in about thirty minutes, which snapped Marcus out of his trance.  He glanced down at his wrist watch and saw that they were late leaving and needed to hurry up to meet Luther and Brooke, the other teenage couple, at the scenic overlook.  As Marcus and Jennifer rush from the mall to the overlook, Brooke and Luther begin to settle themselves in a spot where they can easily see the entire town and an unimpeded view of the night sky.  Brooke checks her watch and sees that Marcus and Jennifer are late, but doesn’t quite begin to worry.

Luther walks back to his car and pops the trunk to grab a cooler full of alcohol, chicken wings, water, soda and chips.  A few minutes later, after Luther and Brooke have everything laid out and start to worry, Marcus and Jennifer can be heard speeding up the roadway to the overlook spot that was previously marked for them to meet.  Brooke and Luther watches them quickly pull into the parking space next to Luther’s car and exit.  They both started walking towards the previous meeting spot, but Brooke yells to them to come meet up with them at a different location.  Marcus and Jennifer run up the hill to meet with their friends, where Luther immediately hands them both a can of beer and sit opposite of their counterparts.  For the next few hours of beer drinking and just having a good time, Luther pulls Marcus to the side to have a private conversation with him.  As Marcus and Luther are engaged in their private get together, Brooke and Jennifer decides to have one of their own where Jennifer shows off her new purchase.

Not knowing which each other group was talking about, they join up together and continue to party like nothing happened.  Just before the clock turned midnight, Brooke and Luther fell asleep on each other under a tree while Marcus and Jennifer are standing next to each other holding hands overlooking the town.  Jennifer leans her head on Marcus’s shoulder as she looks up and starts to see flashes in the clear night sky.  She alerts Marcus and runs over to wake up Brooke and Luther to the upcoming event.  They quickly wake up to her bright enthusiasm to what is about to take place and urgently get to their feet.  Both couples stand next to each other with the men having their arms wrapping and holding their significant other.  No conversation was heard between them as they focused their eyes on the rapid flashing that’s happening above them.  Within minutes after the meteor shower started more significant mass objects, which were believed to be meteors, entered the atmosphere displaying colorful tails before evaporating.  Just minutes before things changed forever, Jennifer pulled out her phone and began to video the historical event so she could look at it over and over again, and maybe even share with her kids one day.

Suddenly one object entering the atmosphere caught Luther’s eye directly above them.  He points and alerts to Brooke, Marcus and Jennifer, who points her cell phone towards the incoming object.  As Jennifer follows it with her phone, she notices that the tail of the incoming meteor is bright red while others are blue and/or white, looks bigger and moving much quicker.  She follows the object with her phone until it is out of sight behind some trees at which she turns back around to continue to watch the night show.  Seconds after she turns around, a hollow boom was heard followed by a very harsh rumble under their feet.  This takes them out of their trance that they were in gazing at the night sky, causing them to look at each other as if they were asking each other telepathically what just happened.  Looking around nothing could be seen, but more rumbling could be felt continuing under their feet that made it very hard to keep their balance.  Marcus looks up and sees another object resembling the one Jennifer saw a few minutes before having a bright red tail trailing behind.  Jennifer once again got her phone to follow the object falling through the atmosphere when she then witnessed the unthinkable.  When the object didn’t evaporate like other meteors still penetrating the night sky, it gave her pause.

The object struck the center of town and immediately blasted a bright white light and an explosion that blew the couples off their feet down a hill.  As the couple tumble down the hill towards the parking lot and amongst the prickly bushes, the entire town immediately engulfed in flames with a mushroom cloud climbing several miles up towards the atmosphere.  The chaotic scene below the overlook was censored to the teenage couples while they suffered major injuries and concussions lying at the bottom of the hill.  Unknown to them people have disintegrated and died in an instant, the immediate atmosphere’s temperature raised to approximately 10,000 degrees in an instant.  Being blown away from the initial blast of wind saved them from the immediate aftermath of the falling object exploding and radiating tremendous amount of heat into the atmosphere.  Several minutes Marcus begins to move and start removing tree branches and other foreign debris away from his body as he attempts to regain his footing of reality.  He notices that everything was completely dark, but the smell of smoke and the windy silence overwhelms him senses.

He starts to call out to his girlfriend Jennifer with no immediate answer from her, but hears someone stirring near him.  He reaches out towards the shuffling and what feels like long curly hair and a possible windbreaker material.  Marcus remembers that Jennifer wore a jean jacket and that Brooke was wearing Luther’s windbreaker before everything went completely south.  Brooke’s voice was heard by his ears, but he could tell that she was in serious pain as she cried out from each movement.  She reached out towards Marcus thinking it was Luther, but quickly realized who it was when her hand brushed against his jean pant leg.  Luther wore jogging pants that matched his windbreaker material of his jacket and knew that Marcus was the only one wearing jeans that night.  She began to ask questions about Luther and Jennifer, which Marcus couldn’t answer truthfully because he honestly didn’t know where they were and if they were even near.  Things only got worse for him when he heard Brooke mentioned something about the bright moon, which is immediately above him.  Not able to see the bright moon completely and to only see the radiant light illuminating, made his heart skip several beats and the realization that he could be completely blind.  The news of this in his mind is a very shocking reality as the weight of Brooke climbing over his legs sends pain shooting upward.  Now, with this new reality being laid upon him without requesting it, his life has not only changed, but his personal being has now taken a tremendous bruise.

Next Publication (Part I) – February 18, 2017