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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Beware the Dark Things

     The city that was bustling with its usual procession of busy “Nine to Fivers” yesterday, was in total chaos today. Half the town was running around in panic indiscriminately tearing up whatever they could find to burn,  and then throwing the debris into gigantic piles in the middle of the streets in a large wild bonfire. The other half of the cities population defended their life, property, houses - and more importantly their stash of personal supplies with lethal force. As it started to get dusk  social hysteria and desperation escalated to a level of every man for himself, leaving no room left over for compassion towards the rest of humanity.

     No one knew where the creatures came from. No one really cared. That was inconsequential when weighed with the fact that they were here and were growing in numbers and boldness of attacks with every hour that passed. It was obvious they weren't humanoid by any earthly comparison. The creatures seemed not even of this universe. Although they were appearing in material form,  they looked to be created out of our own human nightmares rather than an image of god  or nature in any spiritual comparison; in fact they seemed to be material emanations sent straight from the imagination of hell with the sole purpose of dragging us all back into damnation with them.

    The supernatural emanations first started appearing in the dark shadowy recesses of our world: Basements, closets, attics,  and much to the horror of children and adults even from under the bed. It did not take long for the city of Seattle’s population to figure out that once it was dark,  the whole population of the cities lives would depend on the power company in a time of calamity and crisis – No one was willing to trust Seattle City Light with their very lives and the city quickly fell into total anarchy.

     More black portals opened up in the shadows around the cities inhabitants and violently, and in most cases quite brutally and bloodily dragged their kicking and screaming victims into their  black floating orbs, DE-materializing with their prey before help was ever thought of or possible. This sent part of the population outdoors and into the streets,  cutting them off from the precious modern technology accustomed and afforded them indoors. Sending them back in human evolution in an instant. Back into a pack of dangerous mentally wounded animals that acted accordingly to their new/old natures.

     Somewhere in the pandemonium of the city. In a family oriented rural outskirt of Seattle. A little boy named Jack waited in his living room listening to the overwhelming crescendo of public panic and mayhem outside his house. He was also wondering when his father would come home from the midst of it, and then wondering where his mom was when he turned to look for her.


        Jack could hear screaming and yelling coming from the outside of his small house in a dense but nice community just on the edge of the Seattle city limit. His mom had caught and chastised him several times already that day for sneaking peaks out the window. The heart attack she looked like she was having every time she caught him made him feel  guilty and he was too ashamed to sneak another peek after several warnings not to. The sounds outside the safety of his house scared and simultaneously intrigued his boyish curiosity. When Jack looked around for his mother to ask when his father was coming back, Jack saw the open door to the basement instead. Jack walked slowly over to the door and peered down the dusty stairway that led to the dark shadowy creepy basement below; he had always been secretly afraid to go down there, especially when he was alone. Jack went down a few stairs mustering up his courage and saw his mother cautiously approaching a shadowy dark corner in the cluttered back of the musty basement. He called to his mother – “hey mom, what you doing?”

     Nancy Chancellor looked up at her son with a nervous frightened look and shushed him to be quiet, moving towards the gloomy darkness of the junk strewn back of the basement with an old rake clutched tightly before her.

     Jack felt a cold prickly wave of icy chills go from the back of his neck and explode through his body and mind. He stood at the top part of the stairs so frightened that he was frozen to the spot and struggled to call out to his mother again in a wavering high pitched voice – “mom, please come back up stairs I’m scared” - Jack saw the clawed tentacles start to form out of a black portal swirling in the shadow of the basement corner. Jack tried to scream but couldn't, his mom was looking up at him on the stairs and did not notice until it was to late as a slimy black hook ridden tentacle wrapped around her leg flipping her violently to the cold hard basement floor, then it started to drag her helplessly towards the pitch black portal that was now clearly visible like a large hole ripped into hell behind her. She screamed Jack! -  In a terrified wail scratching frantically with her fingers at the floor and grasping wildly for anything at all to hold onto. Jacks mother Nancy managed to grab onto an old chair leg that was poking out from a pile of furniture; then she was instantly locked in a tug of war struggle of life and death against a demon sent from hell.

      Jack’s voice found its wind again and blew forth an earsplitting scream as he watched his mother struggle not to be pulled into the dark swirling pitch black portal by the unknown “thing” that protruded from it. Jack heard his mother cry out his name and then in an instant, watched as she lost her grip and was dragged terrified, screaming, flailing her arms as she was helplessly pulled by the slime ridden monster into the darkness of who knows what. There was silence. Jack stood there dazed like a zombie. He didn't or couldn't feel the warm stream of urine that fell down his leg like a small waterfall to puddle and drip and pool on the lower stairs. Jack’s trance was broken by the sound of a key turning in the front door and he heard his father open it then quickly pile the provisions he “procured” for his family inside. Sounding pleased with himself, Nathan said In an upbeat voice “ Hey, where you guys at?” then he walked to the open door of the basement and looked down at Jack.. His smile faded as he looked into the terrified eyes of his  son who stood there in shock. Jack could not muster up a rational thought in his head that wasn’t drowned out by the horror of what he had just seen. He was absolutely unable to find the words to explain what just happened to his mother; Jack could only stare back speechless at his horrified father.

     Nathan scrambled a plethora of desperate thoughts through his mind trying to think of a way to tell his son what he saw as their only option left. When Jack came back into the room after looking for something to wipe away both their tears with, Nathan made his move to try and convince Jack why they had to do it, why they had to leave the “safety” of the house. “Jack we have to talk” said Nathan. His son sat down and faced his father. This isn't working for us here anymore son, we are going to run out of supplies and if the electricity goes out at night we will be helpless. Nathan told his son bluntly that they would have to do something desperate soon, Nathan paused,” well we don’t have any other options son, do you understand?” Jack nodded his head. He was still having a hard time facing his father, and just starting to get his voice back. Jack started to say something to his father Nathan but then stopped, he just nodded his head once more in understanding. Nathan nodded his head as well with a warm encouraging half grin and said, “Well it’s settled then son, now be a good boy Jack and go fetch whatever luggage we have left, we have to pack light but pack well.”

          Jacks father had worked his way up to principle of Dixie Lee Ray Elementary. The schools name sounded too southern for Northwest Washington but Jack remembered his father explaining to him that the school was named after a Washington State Governor in the 1970 s. Jack liked the southern reference better though because of the adventurous visions of Civil War battles it instilled in his mind. Nathan Chancellor had always been dedicated to teaching young kids the skills he felt every child needed to survive in this world. Nathan’s dedication paid off when he was promoted to school principle but his idealist teachers ethics never wore off. Jack agreed with his father that it was only logical for them to drive to the school and see if any of the teacher’s and their families had congregated at their yet. Strength in numbers seemed like Nathan and Jacks only chance of surviving as society progressively slipped into lawless panic. Jack felt comfortable at the school because he was afforded certain privileges for being the principal’s kid. One of those privileges was that the other kids treated him with kid gloves just because of who his father was. Jack was graduating to middle school next year and was already anxious about starting out at a new school where he had no special privileges. Jacks father had always felt a little guilty about making Jack attend the same school that he was a principal at. Unbeknownst to Jack, Nathan had fears that the other boys would tease Jack, but in reality Nathan was Jacks protector at school and at home.

     The bags were stacked in the corner of the front room waiting to be carried out to the car. Nathan polished his father’s old hunting shotgun and dusted off a box of old unused shells that were also inherited with the gun,  years upon years ago. Nathan wondered to himself if the gun worked but did not want to find out by firing it. Nathan’s father was always an old school NRA card carrying believer in conservatism and Nathan turned out to be the opposite. Nathan was sensitive, empathetic, idealistic, and had a loathing for guns. Nathan also hated the notion of killing innocent animals that were just going about their busy routine in nature. Nathan felt it would be much safer with Jack at the school where people they knew and trusted might go for safety. If he had to leave his son alone again while he foraged for more supplies in the chaos outside, he might just come back to find Jack missing next; that thought was more than Nathan’s mind could bear.

    Jack came out from the back of the house with the pocket knife his father gave him one year earlier as a tribute to Jacks potential upcoming manhood. Jack had cherished and respected it after the long lecture his father grilled him with on knife safety, before actually giving him the knife. Jacks father called him over and looked him up and down making sure he was dressed for the trip to the school. The school was a fairly short distance, but with the state the city was in anything could happen and what Nathan expected at the end of the journey was still very uncertain.

     Nathan and Jack carried the supplies to the family’s 1998 Buick Century then packed the trunk and the back seat as full as they could make it hold, but still be able to drive. Jack looked back at the house that he grew up in and he saw a glimpse of a face peering out of the attic window at the roofs peak. Jack could have sworn it was his moms face, but the face was twisted in a sadistic smile. Jack subconsciously said “Mom” out loud and Nathan heard him then turned around to see the anguished look on his child’s face. Nathan thought to himself how hard it must be to leave the memory of Jack’s mom behind, especially so soon after loosing her; Nathan knew how hard it was on himself to lose his wife like that while he was away from the house-The guilt was overwhelming. Nathan tried to distract jack by saying “Let’s focus on the task of getting to the school son.

     ” Jack got in the passenger seat of the car and Nathan turned the key – rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr click rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr click rrrrrrrrr Click  rrrrrrrrrr Click! Nothing happened – the car wouldn’t start. Nathan looked at the gas gage and was surprised to see it read empty. “Damn” Nathan exclaimed – I Filled the Fucking Thing Up! Jack startled and jumped a little in his seat, then blushed. Jack was not used to his school principal father cursing in front of him. “Those creeps stole our gas Jack, but I prepared for that, don’t worry son, stay here.” Nathan Jumped out of the car and ran up the stairs to the front yard of house, and then to the back shed and uncovered the two five gallon containers of gas he hid yesterday under some old tarps.

     Nathan grabbed the gas cans and was about to go back to the car when he noticed old Mrs. Rieghton waving him over towards her with one hand. Nathan had felt sorry for her when her husband died last year and had been doing the traditional male gender outside of the house chores: Cleaning the gutters, occasional outside yard duties, and general upkeep that the neighborhood lawn boy refused to do - Nathan never charged her a dime.

     The old lady looked different somehow to Nathan. Strange in a creepy sort of way that he started to notice as he looked harder into the shadows at Mrs. Rieghton. She was standing behind her open back yard basement door. Something evil about the crazed looking sinister grin she was wearing like make up sent chills down Nathan’s back as the old lady kept beckoning to him like a machine with no real human qualities. A pun on humanity painted on her twisted face – Nathan now noticed the black color of her eyes, like two coal pits and her other hand / claw - He swore it looked like a claw. It fell to her side and then the old lady slowly faded away  into the shadows of her basement.

     Nathan was shocked for a moment and had to unfreeze himself from the spot he was in, shake his head to clear it, then muttered to himself” I must be cracking up?” Nathan thought about jack out front alone in the car and dismissed his crazy thoughts about what he had just seen. Nathan then ran back to the car and Jack. Nathan  hurriedly started pouring the first five gallons of gas in the Buick’s tank.

     Jack was sitting in the car anxiously hoping his father would get back quickly from whatever he was doing, Jack was trying to be strong for his father but in reality was thoroughly terrified most of his waking hours lately. Jack took another last solemn look at his soon to be old house and saw his mother Nancy Chancellor standing in the middle of the front hallway of the open door to jacks house. A twisted grin that seemed to use half her face in more of a grimace than a smile replaced his mother’s kind nurturing and reassuring gaze. The look Nancy had on her face now was the glee of a spider luring in its prey. She held out her arms to jack mouthing with those hideous wide jaws the words “Jack, come to me!” over and over. The sound of Nathan hitting the side of the car as he opened the gas cap and started filling up the tank brought jack out of the trance of seeing the twisted vision of his mother.

     Nathan looked into the passenger side of the Buick at his son and saw he was crying. He decided to let his son be.  Just let him cry it out he thought to himself; after all the poor kid had just lost his mother.

     The car traveled down the main road dodging flaming roadblocks, obstacles,  and occasional looters. The pandemonium of the last 48 hours had drastically cleared from the streets. There were eerie stretches of road where no one was on the streets for blocks upon deserted blocks. Some houses were indiscriminately on fire and a hazy smoky trail of wispy dirty clouds obscured the surroundings of the neighborhoods in a scary dark depressing haze. Nathan wondered what happened to the droves of  panicking citizens that ran through the streets the day before. He looked at his son. Jack stared through the window of the car as if in a daze. Jack felt like he was doing something wrong by not telling his father about the horrible vision of his mother before they left the house. Once again Jack could simply not find the words to tell his father what he’d seen.

     Nathan was relieved that the trip through the dangerous city streets had so far gone uneventful. The grade school was on the other side of the North Wedgwood Ave. Tunnel, and the building was only a few blocks from it once they were on the other side of the tunnel. Nathan stopped at the entrance. The street lights were out of service inside the tunnel and it was pitch black inside. The entrance looked like a gaping black chasm full of unknowns. Nathan checked Jack’s seat belt and revved up the V8 engine.

     Nathan said “Be ready son,” then he turned on the car lights and peeled out heading straight towards the entrance of the tunnel. Instantly they were enveloped in darkness except for the headlights that barely pierced the blackness. Horrible twisted apparitions of people Nathan and Jack knew from the neighborhood, the convenience store, at work, school, came out of the darkness of the tunnel and stood in front of the speeding car with horrible surrealistic grimaces while clawing for the car with mutated arms. Their faces were twisted parodies of what they once were,  cruel perversions of the people they were replacing. Some had claws for arms, mouths of sharpened gaping teeth, hooked black tentacles flowing out of wriggling shirts and jackets that held horrors not bodies underneath them.

     Nathan plowed through them all and they disappeared into wisps of blackness like scattered rain drops on a windshield. Portals of black orbs that swirled and appeared from nowhere in the darkest parts of the tunnel sent out hooked ridden tentacles, spines, claws and slimy webs that were shot out  by horrors made from man’s deepest fears and imaginary monsters - materialized from every depth of  hell that could be stored in  mankind’s mind.

     Nathan swerved to avoid the monsters from hell as they bounced ,scraped, scratched, and grabbed at the car trying to force it to the side of the tunnel so they could all pounce on Nathan and Jack in the darkness. Jack was still speechless and sat there like a stone unflinching at the calamity unfolding around him. Nathan saw the light appearing at the end of the tunnel and stepped on the gas  so hard that it was pressed all the way to the floor as the old Buick Century leapt into action and roared - Propelling them through the end of the tunnel and into the light of day.

     Nathan got about a block past the tunnel exit and stomped on the cars breaks skidding to a stop in the middle of the street. He unbuckled his seat belt and also unbuckled his son Jacks and grabbed him into his arms; both Nathan and Jack’s tears flowed like an endless rain down a dark alley, washing away the hidden dirt of its inhabitants, washing away the darkness. It was a beautiful cry but a tragic one even if it was past due. The beautiful part about the tears is that they were also tears of joy that they had made it so far together. They still had each other. A wonderful tragic beauty of kinship, trust, and true understanding that no one else could share between them -  In a suddenly cold, hostile, cruel, and  unsure world.

     The next few blocks to the elementary school where Nathan worked was uneventful. As Nathan pulled into the parking lot of the school the building and grounds looked deserted. Nathan’s heart sank and he started to feel like he let Jack down. He saw Jacks happy expression fade as his son started to come to the same conclusions – No one is here, and we both had hope for absolutely nothing, Now What?

      Nathan pulled up to front of the school building and now could see lights in the classrooms and hallways of the old school. He opened the door of the car and could  hear the generators running in the background. Jacks face brightened and he opened up his door and jumped out. He looked up at the building like an old trusted friend. Jack and Nathan stood there and both watched with glee as the excited faces came to the windows of the building. Nathan and Jack were overwhelmed by the sight of their classmates / students and their parents, and most Nathan’s co-workers made it as well. Then people started coming out the front and sides of the building  holding out  normal comforting arms to embrace them both with. Smiling in a natural way in a state of human joy and happiness; most important to Nathan and Jack was that they all looked like there normal god given selves, all coming out to join them in the light of day.