Knight of Sherry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is based somewhat on dream I had this very morning. I started writing this and could not stop. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm sure it needs some work to clean it up a little.

Submitted: January 15, 2010

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Submitted: January 15, 2010

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Looking back over the week, Rick decided it had been a pretty good one for a change. He had hauled only three loads and yet they had covered over 3200 miles. As he drove a flatbed, this was great. Minimum chaining, strapping and tarping with a lot of driving in between. And for once, the mileage pay had been decent on each load. Those facts added to his total lack of “episodes” during the week had him in high spirits.
All his life, Rick had been plagued by these “episodes” as his mother had called them. These tiny flashes of insight, usually about the immediate future, had first manifested themselves his first day of second grade. While waiting for the school bus, Rick became victim to a massive migraine headache. He was unable to see for the blinding light and nauseated by the pounding the least little bit of sound caused in his head. For this, his mother kept him home and called the doctor as she was worried about tumors and such. The visions came as he lay in his bed. It was not a full blown psychic vision but, rather fragments much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. On that day, Rick saw yellow and lots of red, and smelled what could only be tire smoke. He recognized this only because his brother raced at the local drag strip and would sometimes take him. He told his mom all of this.
About an hour after the visions, his mother finally managed to help ease the headache. The ringing telephone called his mom to the kitchen. After she had answered, Rick heard her gasp and the receiver fall to the floor with a thud. When she came back to his room, the confusion and disbelief on her face were evident even to a seven year old boy.
“Mom?”, he asked.
“Ricky, honey, will you repeat everything you told me earlier about what you saw?”, she asked. He did as she requested. “I’m afraid I have some very bad news, honey. What you saw was a vision of a school bus crash and…” She couldn’t continue. The tears flowed down her face as she pulled Ricky into her arms. All those innocent lives gone. Taken by a blown steer tire and a 60 foot tumble into a ravine near Cumberland Gap, TN.
Since that day, his parents never once questioned his episodes of which he‘d have two or three a week. At the first sign of one beginning, which they had learned was bright spots in his vision, they would stop whatever they were doing immediately. With his mother, father, brother, and he working together, they would try to decipher the tiny clues left behind. The biggest clue as the pain. The more intense the headache, the more dangerous the event. Over the years, many tragedies, as great as missing a doomed ferris wheel ride to as minor as forgetting to buy diapers for his little sister when they went to town, were avoided.
Through the years, the number of episodes dwindled to no more than one a week. But Rick trusted them no less. The morning of 9/11, he was totally incapacitated by the migraine. The visions of planes, burning buildings, and the screams of people in such intense pain soured his stomach so much he vomited until he had the dry heaves. So severe was this episode that, even though he was only five miles from where he had to deliver his load in Kalamazoo, MI, he was unable to drive. An hour later came the terrible news of that horrific morning.
Finally headed home to Little Rock, AR, Rick was just topping the hill near Rockwood, TN on I-40 west when he thought he sensed the first sign. Just a little flicker of light in his eyes. As he waited for more and nothing else happened, he figured it must have been the sun, which was pretty low in the western sky, glinting off other vehicles. Forty miles later, he knew better.
He had stopped at a parking area just east of Cookeville to check his load and tires. As he walked around the rear of his truck, he was struck by a light spot so bright, it seemed as if someone were aiming a laser pointer directly into his eyes. Using the side of his truck, he felt his way back to the cab and climbed into the driver’s seat. As he sat there, head in hands, he tried to remember if he’d ever seen one so bright. He had just about decided he never had when the first sound came. A piercing scream that seem to emanate from the center of his mind. He covered his ears before realizing it was not from an outside source. It sounded as if someone was blowing a steam whistle in the center of his head. On and on it went. What was actually nine or ten seconds seemed to stretch to as many minutes. Slowly it trailed off like the air raid sirens of old once did. Every muscle had tensed and each was relaxing in relation to the decrease of volume. Once the sound was gone, he just sat there. Not daring to move for fear of being in motion when the pain came.
After several minutes, Rick started to think, Maybe, I’ll get lucky this time. Lucky or not, he wasn’t taking any chances. He crawled back to his bunk and laid down to rest. Hoping this would keep the episode from coming. As he lay there, he felt a sensation he’d never felt before. A tiny tremor in his brain with what felt like just enough motion to be uncomfortable but not painful. He laid there a while longer with no other occurrences but, he still didn’t trust himself. An hour later, he rose to continue his trip home. He had just lowered himself into the seat when the second sound came. Just as loud and just as piercing as the first but, with a different sound. All he heard was the blood curdling scream that was a name. A name that, upon hearing it like this, sent icy daggers of fear into his heart. “SHERRY!!!!”
Rick and Sherry had been dating off and on since high school. As close as brother and sister, they often fought the same way. Aggravating and annoying each other until one or the other had had enough and “rode off into the sunset”, as they liked to call it. But, fate, destiny, or even God always brought them back together. Often as much as a year would go by without them seeing or hearing from one another.
When they reunited, it was always the same. All the old hurts forgotten upon first sight. Love comparable with the great romances of History blossomed again in rural America. After long absences from each other, both Rick and Sherry felt like teenagers going through their first real romance. Again. Neither questioned the other about their time apart. It was enough that they were together again. The one truth that always remained was that they would do anything for the other. Even die for each other, if need be.
It was during one of these separations when Rick had this latest episode. Sherry had learned to trust them, also. With this in mind, he grabbed his cell and let his fingers automatically find the speed dial he needed. Holding his breath, he put the phone to his ear. Come on. Ring!
“I’m sorry but all circuits are currently busy. Please try your call again later.
”NO!,his mind screamed. No, no ,NO! He hit the redial.
“I’m sorry but…” he hung up. His mind racing, he struggled to contain his despair, and think of a way to contact her. He tried number after number from his phone .
“I’m sorry but all circuits…”
His head dropped in dismay. Slowly but surely, an idea began to form. He sat there just a little while longer to make sure his head was clear. With everything as kosher as it was going to get, he readied himself. First, he emptied his bladder to prevent any of those stops. He then checked his fuel but, as he had filled up in Knoxville, he had plenty. From his refrigerator in the sleeper, he grabbed three Mountains Dew’s, wrapped them in rags to keep them cool, and put them on the passenger seat. He then fired up the 525 horsepower Cummins in his2007 Kenworth W900 and turned the dial on the dash to 750 horsepower. He wanted as much help as he could get to pull his 48,000 pounds of lumber over the mountains.
Pulling back onto the interstate, it was in Rick’s mind that no one or nothing was going to stop him from getting to Sherry. Not no way. Not no how!, he thought wryly. As his speedometer crept toward eighty-five, he moved to the left lane in case he encountered slower traffic which he surely would. Ten, twenty, then forty miles went by seemingly in the blink of an eye. His preoccupied mind finally took notice of the lack of traffic. Good, he thought, they’re out of my way. However, after a few more miles, he knew something just wasn’t right.
Rick turned on his CB and his FM radio to distract himself from all the scenarios involving Sherry going through his troubled mind. The CBwas alive with chatter as it alwayswas on a Friday evening and local FM station was giving the news report. He paid either little attention. Just noise in the background was all he wanted. But like subliminal messages, single words from the news broadcast and CB transmissions began to work their way into his mind. “Bombs”, “fallout”, and “national emergency” crashed through his mental barrier finally as he made his exit onto the I-840 West Bypass around Nashville.
It was then he realized there was no traffic whatsoever. The two or three vehicles he had seen were military. It was that more than anything that brought home the seriousness of the situation. As he paid closer attention to the radios, Rick could almost not believe what he was hearing. Every major city had been attacked in a coordinated effort by suicide bombers bearing nuclear weapons. New York, Washington, DC, Dallas, Chicago. All piles of radioactive ash. The only ones that hadn’t been attacked, for some unknown reason, were Memphis and St. Louis.
Then, he started hearing reports of attacks on smaller cities like Richmond, VA and Meridian, MS. He knew it wouldn’t be long before Nashville was hit. As he merged back onto I-40, west of Nashville, Rick gave his thanks to God that it was behind him. Jackson was the only city between he and Memphis and he couldn’t think of any target the terrorists might pick there.
His thoughts returned to Sherry and what she must be going through. He was almost sure she was safe for now. She lived in Carlisle, a little town about thirty miles east of Little Rock. As Rick pressed a little harder on the accelerator and his speed eased towards ninety, he remembered something that chilled him to the bone. Suddenly, he understood the episode.
The terrorists were working down a list. They took out the major cities. Then, any moderately sized cities that were near major military bases were next along with the bases. His premonition had shown him the destruction of any major power plants as the attackers’ next step in crippling our infrastructure. On the north side of I-40, opposite of Carlisle and only seven miles from Sherry’s front door, was a shiny, brand new nuclear power plant.
Rick pulled out all the stops. The speedometer had gone past ninety-five and was trying to inch it's waytoward 100. He flew through Jackson and around the Memphis bypass with no regard for speed limits, lane restrictions, or personal safety. As he crossed the Mississippi River on the I-55 bridge, every noise from the road seemed to say one thing. Sherry. When he exited back onto I-40, every sign read exactly the same. Sherry Ann. Every image pasted onto every billboard was a five foot 2 inch tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, beautiful girl wearing a high school cheerleader’s uniform. Sherry Ann Robertson.
Exiting the interstate at Carlisle an hour later, Rick didn’t even consider stopping at the end of the ramp. He swung his Kenworth as far to the right as possible, slowed a little, and cranked the steering wheel hard left toward town. As the truck’s left side tires came off the ground, every strap securing the lumber to his trailer broke allowing it to slide off onto the shoulder and, miraculously, keep the truck from overturning. Two miles later, he cut the right turn onto Twain St very tight and took down two telephone poles before taking a hard left on Younger Ave, barely missing an unoccupied police car. None of this registered. Two, three, four blocks and there she stood on her front porch. He never hit the brakes. He just shoved the gearshift into neutral and pulled the parking brake. Rick threw open the door and jumped out as the truck slid to a stop. Running around the front of his truck, he met Sherry halfway across her lawn. As they looked into each others eyes, his green and hers blue, they heard the dreaded sound from the north. Holding each other for what they knew to be the last time on this Earth, they said “I love…”


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