Blue Cloud

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A blue cloud appears over a small town. People start going insane. The radio says it is a terrorist attack. Roger goes looking for answers.

Submitted: December 04, 2011

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Submitted: December 04, 2011

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BLUE CLOUD

By

James Begert


Things had been different since the blue cloud had arrived.  It stayed in the sky day and night.  Men acted like beasts.Screams filled the air of the town.  People robbed and killed one another.  The streets were empty and trash swirled with the wind.  Everyone who was still conscious was boarded up in their homes.  To go  outside would be suicide.  There were only two types of people left, those who were infected by the gas and those who were still human.  The effect of the blue cloud was strong.  It overcame even the most deepest of wills.  It even drove priests to murder. 

The strange thing was the blue cloud didn’t seem to effect children.  The children seemed relatively unchanged.  They would throw their fits a little more than usual, but they did not murder.  The government said it was noxious gas.  The scientists on radio speculated that the blue cloud only effected those past puberty and only the adult brain.  To Roger, and most others who were still unaffected by the change, it made sense. 

They  may still look the same-human-but they are far from it.  That look of anger on their face, the look of rage.  Grinding teeth and empty eyes.  They breathed deep like animals.  And they would kill you in an instant if given to opportunity.  They had no guilt.  They were animals!  They traveled in packs.  Raped and murdered in packs.  It’s hard to believe that they were once human.  Something had indeed infected them and removed their humanity.

Thank God for the radio.  It kept the town  updated.  They let everyone know what’s going on outside. Not many venture outside since the blue cloud came over the city.  The city has been quarantined.  No one came in and no one came out.  The radio said the National Guard might be sent in soon, but no one really knew.  Those familiar voices on the radio were the only thing that seem to keep everyone calm.

Roger was working the midnight shift running a machine at the plastics plant before this all started.  The machine was green.  A big green beast. It would outdated and antique-just like the small town, Woodsbury,  where Roger lived.  The hot plastic handles spit out of the machine every 15 seconds.  Roger attached them to the plastic tubs and stacked them on the pallets.  Then the shipping clerks would come and take them away.  Not many could keep up with number 57 but Roger took a lot of pride in his job.  He had learned to time his movements with the sounds the machine made.  As the gears turned Roger would turn around and grab a tub.  When the handles dropped Roger quickly attached them to the storage containers and stacked them neatly on the pallet.  It was the only way to keep up with number 57.  To run 57, you had to be just a methodic and robotic as it was.  To ring the buzzer for help would mean your job would be surely lost.  Number 57 guaranteed Roger a job.  He was the only one who could run it by  himself on the shift.

“Attention.  Attention.”  A voice came over the loudspeakers all through the factory.  In the 3 years Roger had been there, he had never once heard a single noise uttered over the PA system.  He didn’t even know it existed.  He looked around at the other workers and they all looked up in amazement. 

“Attention gang.  We will shut down the factory for a half hour.  All employees please report to the cafeteria for a shift meeting.”

Gang!  Roger hated that word.  He knew it was the owner.  Roger’s machine shut down.-hey cut the power to it.  This had never happened before.  Shutting down the machine during a shift?  The stingy plant owner would never allow it.  Something had to be up. Roger walked slowly toward the break room, he was going to milk this break for all it was worth.

“Hah!  This is different” Roger said to himself loud enough so his coworkers could hear as they walked toward the break room. 

No one cared though or said anything.  It was one of those places where you just did your hours and left.  You weren’t there to make friend or to even have a conversation. Not exactly the type of place overachievers worked at.  A place you forgot about as soon as you exited the doors.

The two main supervisors were standing waiting on the workers as they entered and told them all to sit.  And there he was - the owner.  That cheap bastard.  Him and his $500 dollar suit.  He had a lot of balls to wear that suit around the factory.  $8.50 an hour.  What a cheap bastard.Roger and the other workers knew the owner was there to talk.  That was the only time he ever showed up-when he had something to say.  He was too busy spending the money they all made for him breaking their backs.  They would all have to act interested when they couldn’t of gave a shit less what the old man had to say.  He was just another greedy asshole miser who signed the checks.  The checks  never bounced and that was the only reason they all sat so attentive.  A few people still whispered and chuckled with one another when the owner started speaking in his demeaning tone.  It was nothing new.  He was the king of this castle.  Roger was used to it. 

“Ok gang…listen up.  Ok, guys, come on, keep it down, thank you. Thank you!  Ok gang... something strange has happened.  A few hours ago, right after this shift started, a blue cloud appeared above the town.  I saw the damned thing and I couldn’t believe it.  Strangest damned thing.  There has been a radio broadcast every 5 minutes for the last two hours.  Its about to play again and I want you guys to hear it.After this meeting, we’ll go lunch break since we’re all here and then finish up the shift.“

The owner walked to the other side of the room and quietly talked with the two supervisors.  They had concerned looks on their faces.  It appeared that whatever the owner was saying, the supervisors didn’t like what they were hearing.  The owner looked at his watch.

“Ok gang…..they are going to play this now.  Please keep it down so everyone can hear. Ok gang”

“Quiet down!”, one of the employees shouted above the chatter. Typical suck up.

The radio let out a few different high pitches.  It sounded like a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

“Good evening folks.  This is a message for the good people of Woodsbury.  This is an emergency action directed by the Emergency Network and directed by the President.  Please stay tuned to the emergency station in your area.  WOWO will remain on the air so that you may receive any information coming in.  At this point here is what we know.  Here is what we know as it comes in from our news department.  Folks….as you are well aware by now.  The blue cloud.  It is driving people mad.  Since it appeared this morning people have been doing irrational things.  We have reports coming in of people doing terrible things to one another.  Ungodly things.  This reporter was told to describe some of these events, but he does not have it in his constitution.  We have received information from various government officials that this is indeed some sort of biological attack.  I repeat this is a biological attack.  An attack on America.  If you have gas masks it is advised you put them on to avoid the effects of the gas.  The effects of this gas are very powerful in both psychological and physical aspects. 

Effects and biproducts of the gas include the following:  slurred speech, delusions, paranoia, rage, and homicidal tendencies.  Yes you heard me correct, the government has reported people going insane.  People are mauling each other and themselves.  Rapes have been reported.  Otherwise law abiding citizens are doing things…terrible things.  It is advised, once again to stay in your homes.  Keep your doors locked and windows shut. 

If you encounter any infected person please avoid them at all costs and please protect yourself.

The borders of the city have been shut down due to fear of the disease spreading.  The bridge has been closed.  The National Guard is scheduled to arrive very soon and start evacuations.

In addition.  The blue cloud seems to have effected television and telephone reception.  Cells phones and televisions are not working.We have contacted other radio stations and their lines are down.  It seems that this radio station is the only one still  broadcasting.

We invite you to stay tuned to this information as it is received…”


The owner turned off the cheap battered plastic radio.

“Ok gang. There you have it.  We will finish up the shift and leave as normal.  Just thought you would like to know what was going on.”

The employees started talking amongst one another. It started at a whisper and quickly worked up to a fever pitch.  One the bigmouths who ran number 66 stood up.

“Sir.  I don’t think you heard what we just heard on that there radio.  They said that it was some sort of chemical attack.  Now I cant speak for everyone here, but I’m getting the hell out of here and going home to check on my family.”

The employees talked to one another in agreement.  They all wanted to leave.  Their discussions filled the lunch room and bellowed out in the factory.  The owner turned and talked to the supervisors.  There was a rebellion brewing.  He knew that  he would have let them all go for the day.  It would cost him thousands of dollars but there was no choice.  The owner turned back around and reacted with his transparent bravado. 

“Ok gang.  If you all want to leave…that is fine.  Just report back tomorrow at the same time. Have a good one, folks”

The owner and the two supervisors left the lunchroom quickly.  Roger and the other employees gathered their belongings and left as well.  When they exited the building they saw the owner racing off in his new shiny car.  He was in a hurry.  To the East, there it was, he was right.  There was the big blue cloud.  It shined like neon in the night sky. It was fluorescent blue with lighting through it.  It looked surreal and unnatural.  Roger walked home toward downtown.  The closer he got the more vivid the cloud looked.  It did not belong in the sky.

 
Three days had passed and Roger was fed up. He stayed in the house like the government told him.  The National Guard never showed up.They had been playing that damned recording for three days now every 15 minutes.  Roger tried to stay awake to hear any change in he radio broadcast but there was none.  It was the same recording, always, on a loop.  He didn’t trust it.  He grew tired of hiding in his house. Roger doubted the National Guard would ever show up and evacuate the city.  He had heard that damned recording over and over, every 15 minutes, for three days now, waiting for something to change.  Hell , he had even memorized it.  The screams had subsided and it was time to leave his house.  Roger went to his gun cabinet.  He had three shotguns and several boxes of buckshot.Roger filled a canteen with water  and stuffed his duffle bag with some canned goods and ammo.  He loaded two of the 12 gauges, strapped one to his back, and carried the other.

It was late afternoon, a good as time as any and Roger walked.  He was heading for the bridge.  It was the only way out of town.  He had to find out answers-what was going on.  As he walked he saw  bodies on the ground.  And in the sky there was that blue ominous cloud.  He did not look at the bodies and he did not look up at the blue cloud.  He couldn’t decide which was more disturbing.  The streets were empty and filled with silence.  The walk was uneventful. 





Then up ahead Roger saw  two of the infected.  They were exactly as they radio said the would be…human but infected and dangerous. No, not human, animals!  They were surrounding a black Mercedes that had hit a telephone pole.  As Roger approached he could see the unconscious driver’s blood covered  head slumped over the wheel.  Who knew if he was alive or not.  But Roger’s hatred for the infected took over.  Roger approached to within 30 feet.  The buckshot entered the head of the first infected and it’s head exploded like a watermelon.  They were no longer humans-they were animals!

The second beast ran at Roger.  It let out a hellish scream.  Roger quickly loaded a new shell.  As the infected lunged at him, point blank range, the gun went off.  A cloud of blood and innards filled the air. 

Roger laughed uncontrollably.  Possibly out of shock or possibly because of his cabin fever and lack of sleep.  There was an exhilaration in killing the monsters.  It felt right.  Roger thought about how maybe the blue cloud made him hate these creatures-how he should of felt compassion for them and the humanity that they had lost.  Instead, though, he wanted to kill them.  It was kill or be killed and he was born to kill these creatures.  He liked it.  He was born to protect humanity and he was born for this moment.  It felt like his destiny.  Roger smiled and wiped the guts off his face as he tried to open the driver’s said window, but it was locked.

“These fucking monsters.  I could kill them all day.  Just like a duck shoot, only more fun.I’m having a good fucking time!  Wooooooooooooooooohhh!” screamed Roger.

“Mister”, Roger tapped through the window.  The man regained consciousness and looked up.  His face was covered in half dried blood with a  huge gash on his forehead.  Those monsters must of just found the car else they would of broken the windows and mauled the driver.

“Listen mister, remain calm.  My name is Roger.  You had two of those things are your car.  You must have been here for a while before they found you.  I blew em’ straight to hell.  Does your car run?  I‘m trying to get to the bridge and out of town to get some help.”

The man shook his head no.  He was still delirious.  He tried to muster up some words, but nothing came out of his mouth.The man passed out. 

Roger went to the rear passenger side window and shattered the glass with the butt of the shotgun.  He reached his long arm and unlocked the car.  The man was skinny and frail.  Roger picked him up on his broad shoulders and walked him across the street into an alley, pulled down the ladder to the fire escape.  Roger climbed up the ladder  and sat the man down and poured some water onto the man’s face and lightly slapped his cheeks.

“Up here, we should be safe for a while.  Those monsters can jump this high.”

Roger crouched over the man.

“Mister, wake up.  Wake up.”

The man’s eyes started to open. He awakened.

“Drink, drink”, said the man.

Roger pulled out his cheap green  plastic canteen. The man opened his mouth and Roger carefully poured in the water, not to waste a drop.

“I..I…”

“Easy mister.  I got plenty of ammo and we got plenty of time.  Rest up.  And by God if those things come back here I’ll turn them into meatloaf.  Take it easy and you just drink that water as you see fit”.

The man took the canteen and sipped it.  Roger stood up with the loaded 12 gauge.  They were high off the street and at a vantage point.  Roger pulled up the ladder.  This would be a good place to rest till morning.  A half hour passed and the man was rid of his shock. 

The man started to speak.

“God damned dog jumped in the road.  I swerved to miss in, right into the pole.”

Roger chuckled.  “Damned dog, huh?”

“Yep.  Stupid mutt.  Wish I wasn’t a dog lover.”

Roger laughed and the man smiled quietly.

“That’s one nice ride ya got there mister.  You must have been doing pretty fast.  Hell, I bet that beauty really gets up there.”

“Well an old man like me likes our toys.  Still just kid at heart.  I was on my way out of town.  Got sick of staying in the house.  Being cooped up.  I know they quarantined us, but I was going to the edge of the town for answers, to the bridge.”

The man talked the whole time with his eyes shut. 

“My face.  Is it bad?”

“Well, I seen worse.  One things for sure, you’re having a bad hair day.”

The man smiled but it was too painful to laugh so he just nodded his head in appeasement.  The driver patted the cold metal and signaled Roger to sit down beside him.  The man could only speak in a whisper so Roger got as close as he could.

“I am a doctor.  Listen.  There’s…” the man coughed up came some blood out of the corner of his mouth.

“There is something the radio isn’t telling us.  A friend…I have a friend he called  called me right after people started going insance.  He, himself, eventually went crazy from the blue cloud but he was also a doctor, a damned good doctor.  One of the top neurosurgeons on the East Coast.  Him and his assistant…they secretly autopsied a couple of the infected.  They found nothing wrong with them.  There were no changes in chemistry or physiology.  No disease could be found.  No virus.  Nothing.  They dissected their brains.  Everything came up normal.”

“Hey doc, you know, uh…I‘m not too good with that science stuff.  I uh, work in a factory ya know?  What you are tryin‘ to get at?”

“You said your name is Roger?”

“Yes, doc.”

“Ok Roger, well simply put…a disease as traumatic as this…we would expect to see abnormal changes in the brain, proteins, a virus…..something in the blood, something different.  But there is nothing in the bodies which were dissected.  No traces of anything.  It’s as if they were infected and then when they died, all traces of the disease left.”

“I’ll tell you something doc.  Like I said, I don’t know too much about that science stuff, but those are some damned mean bastards.  You should of seen the way they were looking at you.  Like you were kobe beef or something.  They are animals and they would kill either one of us in a split second.  This is a war now.”

“Oh….oh my boy, I know! That is why I was trying to get out of here.  I saw them out my window.  My neighbor.  My poor neighbor, Mrs. Johnson.  She left her house.  They raped her and pulled her limb from limb.  Dear God.  It was terrible.  It looked like something out of a horror movie.  I locked myself in the house for three days.  Then I realized that if I stayed there, I was going to die.  That is when I left to leave the city…and that damned dog.  Well you know the rest..  I am thankful you came along when you did.”

“Three days.  Me too doc.  Three days was all I could take.”

The doctor pulled a small metal flask out of his breast coat pocket.  He unscrewed the cap  and raised to the sky.

“Fountain of youth! Whiskey medicine!”, he took drink off the flask. The lid fell to the street below, making the sound of a bell.

“Ding!”, said the doctor.  “Oh well, what’s in the bottle is what is important.  I’ll tell you what Roger, one thing I learned in AA.  You don’t drink whiskey to quench your thirst, and let me tell you my son, they were right.  When I woke up in that car, dehydrated,  whiskey was the last thing on my mind, all I could think about was a nice glass of water.”

The doctor held out the flask to Roger.

“No thanks, doc.  Don’t touch the stuff. I gotta stay sharp.  For the both of us.“

“Probably for the better my son.  Wish I had never started myself.”

“I’ll tell ya what doc, I was on the way to the bridge when I saw you.  To go and find answers.  Find out why the hell they haven’t sent in the National Guard yet.  I been hearing that damned radio recording for 3 days now. I even memorized it.  Started not to trust it.  They should of sent in the Guard by now, the Army or something.”

“Me too.  It was starting to drive me mad!”, said the doctor. He  finished off the flask and put it back in his jacket pocket.

“Son, we need to get to the edge of town, to the bridge.  We need to find out what the hell is going on.  .  The radio is wrong.  The phones did work.Just very sporadically.My sister called me on the phone several hours after the blue cloud first appeared.  She was hiding from her husband.  He killed her and then himself.  I heard it all on the phone.  The screams.  I heard the phone thud as it his the ground.  I have nothing to loose. All my family is dead because of that damned blue cloud.  She was all I had left.  That is why I couldn’t sit around any longer.  I have nothing to loose. And my friend, Mr. Watson, he called me after that, as I told you.”

“I’m very sorry doc.  Damned rag heads finally attacked us on our soil!  That blue cloud is interfering with the cell phones.  You know…communications.  That’s the number one rule of war.  Cut off the enemy’s communications.”

“And the land lines!  You maybe right.  Damnit…I wish I had more whiskey.”

The sun would be up in a couple hours.  The doctor slept while Roger agreed to stand guard.  Roger and the doctor planned to make the walk to bridge.  They both regretted moving to the island.  It was a good place to get away from people, but that same isolation turned out to be a double edged sword.  As the sun came up, Roger woke the doctor.

“Wake up sleepy head, it’s time to get moving, are you okay to walk?”

The doctor yawned.

“Damn it, I was hoping it was just a dream, rather a nightmare.  I was hoping that…”

Then loud screams and a lot of them.  It sound liked pain - a symphony of pain.  Three of the infected came around the corner and into the alley.  They saw Roger standing up on the fire escape and they screamed and pointed at him as they ran towards the fire escape.  They were out for blood. They jumped all trying to reach the two men.  They clawed the cold brick walls of the alley. 

“Don’t worry doc.  They can’t can get up here.  Doc, look at them.  I had a dog with rabies once.  Maybe they have rabies or something…Look at them.  They are animals!”

“Let me trying to talking down at them Roger.  Let me see if they understand…Men! Can you understand me?”

They looked human but their eyes were empty.  They all had the same angered expression on their faces. They lacked care and love.

“Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!” screamed one of the infected. 

“No fuck you!” said Roger. 

Roger grabbed the gun where it leaned against the cold metal rails on the fire escape and fired the buckshot down into three monsters.

“These fucking monsters!  By God, I will kill all of them.  All the way till we make it out of this city.  I hate them!”

The three bodies fell to the ground.  Ripped to shreds by the buckshot.  Roger pumped the shotgun and reloaded and fired again into the 3 corpses on the ground.

“Fuckers! I hate you! Die! Die! Die!”.

“Easy son,” said the doctor, “they are dead.  It’s best not to waste ammo”.

“You’re right doc.  Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Roger lowered the ladder to the ground and the two men walked down the staircase.

“My boy, I am surprised how well I can walk. “

“Good thing doc.  I haven’t slept in two days now, I don’t think I could carry you.”

The two men walked.  Roger cautiously looked around for more infected, but there were none.  The streets were empty.  Once in a while they would encounter half mauled bodies.  Whether mauled by the infected or gunshots, they never took enough time to find out.  They just kept walking.  Dead bodies were just commonplace now. 

And there it was,  that beautiful bridge!  They had finally made it to the bridge.  Up ahead there were barricades set up.  The men looked down the long bridge and there were what appeared to be some hummers and Army soldiers.  Roger looked up a noticed two crow’s nests.  Something ruffling…snipers.

“This is it my boy.  This is it! “

The doctor took off running as fast as he could towards the troops.  He knew they would help.  They were there to help.  They were there to save them. The whole town would be rescued!  Roger smiled, this terrible ordeal was over.  He planned to go stay in Nashville with his sister.  It would be good to see his family again. 

“Help!Help us!’ said the doctor. 

Roger continued walking and was about 40 feet behind now and then he noticed them on the sides of the bridge.  The bodies, piles of them.  The grey bridge was painted red with blood.  Stained with humanity.  Fresh humanity.

“Doctor, wait!”

Then Roger saw two snipers raise up from the towers with long range rifles.  The bullets pierced the doctor.  The doctor fell to the ground. A bull horn sounded.

“Put down your weapon!  Put down your weapon!”.

Roger threw his shotguns and duffle bag to the ground. 

“Hands in the air!” ordered one of the snipers loudly.

 Roger complied.  He knew what this bridge was-it was a slaughterhouse!  All the people who tried to escape through the bridge had been gunned down. 

“Oh Jesus”, whispered  Roger. 

He knew he was as good as dead.  He was no one special.  He wasn’t the son of a governor or a tycoon.  He was just a factory worker.  A nobody and a nothing.

From the other side of the barricade out walked a single soldier.  A man with grey hair and an air of nobility.  He walked slowly and confidently.  Roger knew this was the end.  They would murder him.  No one crossed the bridge.  It was a death sentence.  The soldier walked right past the doctor on the ground.  He passed him as if he was just a rock on the side of the road.  The soldier came within five feet of Roger.

“What’s your name son?

“Roger Wilson.”

“My name is General Arnold, son”.

Roger looked the general in the eyes.  He saw no humanity in those eyes.  Maybe the man was infected.  Maybe the troops were infected.  That’s why they killed the people on the bridge.  That’s why the piles of bodies were there.

“You’re infected, aren’t you?  It has spread outside the city” said Roger.

The soldier laughed.

“No son, I’m not infected.  There is no infection.”

“For Christ’s sake”, said Roger, “there is an infection!  I guess you haven’t seen the way those people act from the blue cloud.  You must of.  You’ve killed piles of them right on this bridge.  It turns them into animals! “
Roger pointed up at the blue cloud and turned around to see it one last time.  It was gone. It had vanished, just like the doctor.

“What the hell!  Where is the blue cloud?” yelled Roger into the sky.

“Son, it was a hologram.  It was a government test. The operation is over and it was a success.”

“Government test?  Success?  What about all these dead people here on the bridge?  What about all the people who were murdered in the streets.  What about the radio messages, the phones being cut off.  It was a terrorist attack.  What about the doctor!” Roger exclaimed as he pointed over at the doctor lying on the ground.

The general spoke clearly and aggressively.  He spoke as if he was trying to inspire his soldier to get him ready for battle.

“A good solder always follows a lawful and direct order.  That is the first rule of combat. Article 92.”

“I don’t give a good fucking God damn about Article 92.  You…you murdered the whole town!  I even killed some of those infected!”

“Son, we were just following orders.  The commander-in-chief.  The orders came from the highest levels of the military.  We were only doing what we were told.  It’s our…our duty to…”

“Duty?“ screamed Roger.  “Duty?  There is no honor in this!  This is murder!”
.
“Son, we are engaged in a psychological operation here.  An operation designed to help to defend this country.  I am sorry that people died, but we were willing to accept collateral damage.  We are soldiers.  We follow orders.  I’ve been a soldier for 53 years.  I have served my country admirably in three different conflicts.  I was awarded the goddamned medal of honor.”

The general calmly took out a cigar and lit it.  He took a couple a drags and began speaking again.

“Make no mistake, this is war.  There is a new war.  The war of the mind.  The war of the mind is on, son.  We have already stopped battles before they have even begun because of testing just like this.  We have won wars that never even occurred.  You ever hear of propaganda son?  Well, we took it to the next level.  This isn’t the first time we’ve done experiments like this and it won’t be the last.  These are federally paid for studies by every single tax payer in this great country.

Population studies are a valuable tool for the military.  To find out what makes people tick, what drives them to fear, self destruct or even kill-that is what we are after….and that is also what our enemy is after.  To map the mind and exploit it! We have to beat them to it, son.  It is out duty.  I know, people will die.  But God damn it, if one of these studies saves us from some country full of rag heads dropping a bomb on New York City, well damn it, it was all worth it!”

Roger had a single tear running down his face.

“You mean, that blue cloud was put there by the Army?”

“That’s right son.  We put it there. We put it there and the radio message.  The radio message was encoded with suggestive frequencies.  ELF. Extra Low Frequencies.  The goal is to see how long it takes for an enemy target to destroy itself, to self destruct.  The messages were encoded with secret subconscious directives.  It was the first time we used the new algorithm in the radio messages in combination with the blue cloud.  It was a success.”

“A success?” Roger screamed.

Roger wiped the tear from his eye.  He wanted to pick up the shotgun shoot the general right between the eyes but it wasn’t in his nature.  Roger was just a normal man-he wasn’t a cold hearted killing machine like the general.  He just didn’t follow an order from above.  He only followed his heart.  He couldn’t fathom how someone could just kill a whole town like this.

“How many times?  How many times have you animals done this?  Put that blue cloud up in the sky.  How many times did you isolate people-whole towns?  How many times have you drove them insane?  How many children have died?”

“Roger….“ the general bowed and shook his head “the answer to that question even sickens me.”

“Tell me!’ Roger yelled, his face turned bright red.

“We do this operation once a year.  Always a small isolated town like Woodsbury.  It’s all funded by a secret black ops budget.  Project Answer.  Billions of dollars.  This whole thing goes to the highest levels.”

“You fucking sons of bitches!”

“I’m sorry son.  I’m sorry son.  This all goes way beyond you and me.  This all goes way beyond right and wrong.  It’s all a matter of doing what needs to be done to protect this great country of ours.“

Roger knew what had to be done.

“That goddamned fucking machine.  That hologram machine.  I’m going to destroy it!  I’m going to make sure it never has the opportunity to do this again.  This isn’t America! “

“Son.  Let me tell you something.  This may come as a shock to you.  The world all you people see.  The world you see on television and hear on the radio…that isn’t the real world.  That is what the government wants you to see.  It’s called the media.  It’s been exploited. Our enemies have infiltrated it-commie bastards have infiltrated it.  They have planted the seeds of destruction in it. And it is a powerful weapon.  More powerful than the atom bomb.  It’s the war of the mind.  Like I said son, the war of the mind is on!  And that, my son,  is why we do these studies.  To fight back.  To take back America from those who wish to harm her…at any cost.  That is why we do this…there is no shame in this.  Yes people will die.  We all know that.  Only the finest of patriots are able to stomach being a part of this operation, son. It is a great honor to serve liberty. 

So Roger, if you feel the need, go ahead, son…go ahead and destroy the machine.  It doesn’t matter.  Another one will be built.  Hell…they already have a new model in the works.  You paid for that machine Roger.  The American people paid for it.  We all did.”


Roger saw the machine behind the barricade. It looked like a huge telescope.  He ran toward it without even a second thought.

“This isn’t America! This isn’t America!”, Roger shouted.

But it was America.  The general raised his hand.

“Fire men, fire!”

Pop, pop, pop.  The two snipers fired and Roger fell to the ground.  Roger knew he only had enough life left in him to get out one sentence before he died.  He laid on the stained bridge  and lifted up his right hand with all his will.  He raised his middle finger to the general and the snipers.

“Fuck you”, he screamed. 

“Fuck Article 92 and fuck you! This isn’t my America!”

The general puffed his cigar.  It was just another day at the office.

“Damn it Roger.  There’s always one in every town.  One or two.  One or two come looking for answers.  Eventually we’ll find your blue clouds too. Give it time.”

©James Begert 2011


© Copyright 2017 James Begert. All rights reserved.

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