When I woke up, my head bandage had been loosened, and there was a glass of water sitting next to me. Lord Micah's kids were the first to greet me back to the living. They took my arm and helped me sit up straight.
"One whole day" Izzy said. "You've been out for 24 hours, almost to the minute" she continued. Her little sister hugged an old teddy bear close and when our eyes met, she nodded for me to stand and follow them into the front room. So young, but commanding with little to no effort.
I stood and felt my legs adjust to the concrete. I followed the two young girls. Izzy pulled a banana off the fruit shelf and handed it back to me, never slowing the pace of our walk from the back of the bomb shelter to the front.
When I arrived, my wife stood up and ushered all the children out of the room. There were strange men in my home now. The children were playing with their Velcro pockets and telling the soldiers how they knew what kind of guns they had. But the conversation stopped quickly when I entered the room. Every one's face got serious, as if a good friend had died and I was the last to know about it.
Before my wife left the room, she pulled close to me, "watch your ass" she said through her teeth. Her feistyness is why I married her. Love that.
Looking up, the faces of 7 men stared at me. Emotionless, cold, driven, angry. They were silent. Lord Micah asked me to sit. There was a large spool table we pulled into the center of the room. The circular shape and size was perfect for us all to sit around. But as soon as I sat down, I got a splinter in the palm of my hand.
The men were almost identical. One that stood out was at the exact opposite side of the table. The tag on his camouflage bullet proof vest read GASOLINE. I had to comment. "Your name, is Gasoline?" I said with a slight smirk, trying to break the ice. But there was no ice to break. It was a concrete wall of mental experience. "YES" he said. And that was 'all' he said. I looked around the room, and noticed the level these men were at. I had fought zombies for two years now. And I'll admit, I'm the best I know. But these men were on a different level. They were cut from a different cloth of 'BAD ASS'. They were in my home, but I was forced to respect their knowledge. And it came fast too. What I 'didn't' know was horrifying....
Lord Micah began:
"You slept through all the action!" He was trying to break the ice too.. Again, no ice. "Out that sealed steel door is another America Eddie. Your family has been briefed and is preparing now." "Preparing for what?" I inserted. "Best you keep your questions till the end." One of the soldiers spoke up. "It's o.k. Eddie, all the questions you have will be answered." Micah went on. "You remember the hoards of people right?" I nodded. "Well they were all running from our enemy, the ASMZ. And as I thought, they 'are' using some kind of hum blast or frequency weapon themselves. In a nutshell, the worlds government has employed the ASMZ to kill us, us being the resistance." "I know all this Micah. I'm sure there are details that have come up, but I knew what was going on. I heard the HUM BLASTS just like you did." I continued counter acting on what Micah had told me. At the same time, GASOLINE stood up from across the table and walked around. Two others stood up to interject, but he raised his hand and asked them to pause. He walked directly up to me and grabbed my arm. My body began to stand... so I obliged.
He walked me up the concrete stairs, ducked so our heads wouldn't hit the hanging yellow light and stopped at the trap door that led outside. He turned around and put his finger over his lips. I understood what was going on. I had done this a million times myself. 'BE QUIET, STAY LOW, AND BE READY FOR ANYTHING. Right. got it. Honestly, I was hoping there was some turkey left on the table just outside the trap door. My mouth started salivating.
GASOLINE opened the latch and used his head and shoulder to lift the door. It was a heavy door. Maybe too heavy. Better safe than sorry right? Gasoline looked around, then dropped the door slowly and turned back around. "Look, I want you to see but say nothing. Do you understand?" I looked down at Micah and the six other soldiers at the round table. Micah nodded, and did the zipper across the mouth gesture. I got it, I got it went through my mind.
Gasoline again, budged the door open, and moved to the side letting me walk past him on the steps. The first thing I noticed, was that the warm light of the barn was gone. There was now a bright, grey foggy light coming from outside the trap door. I continued.
To my surprise, there was no turkey left. There was no table left. I turned slowly and noticed, there was no barn left. I could see my entire neighborhood. Gone. I was in total disbelief. One day, and the work of several thousands of men over the course of decades of dedication and honest American employment.... It was all gone. The grounds looked like an old playground you might see in Chernobyl. There was only a faint sound of something in the distance. I turned to Gas to ask, but he was prepared with his finger over his lips again, reminding me to be totally silent. As I continued to gaze, I saw the familiar zombie stumbling here and there. Stopping to eat... anything. Through the fog, there were two zombies. They were tangled in a swing set. The chains caught them, but they were still close enough to eat at each other. Just bones at this point. It was hard to see though. The fog was so thick. The sound was distant. It was like a lawn mower that would turn on, then turn off again. Over and over it sounded off through the grey air. My fear was that all of America was like this. I had questions. And I was supposed to wait to ask? How? My world is gone!
Just then a loud BANG came from a few streets down. Gas pulled at my leg and I crouched down. I found the leg of a chair randomly set in the debris close to me and used it as a prop to hold the heavy steel door. They were all whispering for me to 'get in, get in'. But I had to see. I peeked out the small slit to witness the unimaginable. What was reported in Ethiopia was happening here.
From around the scraps of a house a few blocks down, I saw a black rectangle slowly make its way out into the open. It was hovering off the ground. And I know it sound odd for me to say, or even more for you to read, but that's the truth. This.... device was hovering. The same as Micah reported from seeing in Colorado, and what LOKEY and the rest of the ZFC reported seeing in Ethiopia. They were all right. On the floating black rectangle, sat a high chair. In total, from the ground up, it had to be setting at least 12 feet off the ground. There was what looked like a man at first, standing in front of the throne. It was so difficult to see through the fog. But as the craft edged out more in the open, I could see, and hear, that this was no man. The sounds bursts of lawnmowers belched from its mouth as the slab of horror slowly made its way out into the open.
"Get down here!" Whispered Micah loudly. I couldn't. I had to see more. In the grey of the daylight, I could see even more. There were groups of 10, maybe 20 people attached to chains that lead up to the rear of the high chair. They were all being led by the belching man...or what ever he was. Then, from the other end of the park, entered another black rectangle holding yet another creature, leading bands of men and women. Before I pulled the leg of the chair out of the way and locked the lid on top of me, there were 4 parades of people led by those.... things. My mind was gone. There was nothing I could say or do. I had never seen or conceived of such a sight, much less think it would ever happen..... here... IN AMERICA.
I turned around and walked back to the table, and sat down. My wife entered and left the room quickly, dropping off a pair of tweezers on the table for me. She's always watching.
Lord Micah began speaking again. "It looks bad, but we have a plan. Joshua's team 'was' 14 deep, but they split up. There are 7 more at the ASMZ RE-EDUCATION CAMP a few miles toward Houston off the freeway.... whats left of the freeway." I was still speechless. "There is a chopper a mile north west of here that our new friends here kamikazied into one of those BLACK SLEDS you just saw outside, and we think most of the commotion there has died off. I have a lab close by that has some... items, that might help us. I shook my head and stood up, "So were going to dance through hell to the lab and get another toy you so conveniently left behind?" "Yes." Lord Micah said calmly. "We are." "I don't like it man." I said. "There has to be another way."
Gasoline put his hand on my shoulder. That meant to sit down, so I did. "Alright then, if its like that, who are the rest of you?" I was stressed, and uptight at the moment. Gasoline said pointing his finger one by one at them. "That... is 2, and 3, that is 4... over there is 5. And the guy sitting there... is 6." "Fine." I rolled my eyes. "And I, am Number 1." Gasoline explained. "You wont ever know them Eddie. I will be with you until Joshua returns. I am here to protect, what Joshua says to protect. I looked at Micah. He shrugged his shoulders.
"And what about the ZFC from Africa?" I say with frustration. Micah stands back up and says, "We still haven't heard from them. We know that Joshua sent an extraction team out for them, and had decided to do it by himself." "So....Joshua's is going to get the ARC OF THE COVENANT, the most protected artifact 'IN THE WORLD' mind you, BY HIMSELF? AND THE REST OF OUR ZFC ARE COMING BACK TO BE SHOT DOWN OR TORTURED BY THE ASMZ?!? This day just keeps getting better and better!" My frustration level had topped out. I was asleep for everything, and all the news slapping me was just too much for me to handle.
"One last thing." Micah raised his index finger to explain. "The message that Joshua left us, telling us about leaving the group.. sending the rest home... the extraction and all that, was followed up by a quick... message by Morse code. He says that he took their EPHOD. It was the only one, but thought it would help... for some reason."
I rolled my eyes and threw my hands up. "What else can go wrong?" Micah tried calming me down. "We don't know if he'll need it or not. But just like LOKEY stealing that frequency weapon from my lab in Dallas... well, you just never know. He 'might' need it." "No, your right." I returned, and sat down at the table of potential splinters.
Then, my son entered the room. If I hadn't mentioned before, his name is Forrest. Forrest walked in to the room, and behind him, holding his hand, was Taylor. The girl that literally fell from our ceiling, landing on a dead guy. I thought it was her father, the way he was holding her, but it wasn't.
"Dad, she was out there when all this started. She saw everything. There's some things you need to hear." The group of 7 walked out of the room. Gasoline leaned over and asked, "Do you need anything sir?" 'SIR' I thought to myself. "Um, no.... no thank you." He nodded and walked up to my son, shook his hand and proceeded through the narrow walkway past the fruit shelves.
Forrest said quietly, "Go ahead, he doesn't bite." Taylor turned towards Forrest and kissed him on the cheek. He nodded and walked away.
Visibly nervous and still a bit shaken, Taylor sat down. With her fists closed and on the table, I could see 'who' she was. She was one of us, and didn't know it. She was a fighter. Her knuckles had open wounds on them. They were treated, but I could read her history in less than a minute. That minute was long, and silent.
"Forrest says you can help us, with whats going on out there?" I began. I didn't know weather to start with 'Im sorry for your loss, or to give her a hug..... whatever.
"AHEM." She cleared her throat, and began tapping her finger on the table top. The yellow light cast a shadow like a dancing worm on the wall.. it made me concerned.
"Taylor?" I said.
Taylor sat straight and said, "Lord Micah works for the ASMZ and is leading you all to your death."