Copyright (c) 2016 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
The rain continued to pour. Both sides of New York’s 94th. Street entrance were littered with the crucified bodies of the cult’s victims, hanging from every darkened light-post, brick façade and doorway. My associate, Dr. Abniel Lecubarri, and I kept our eyes diverted from the horrifying spectacle as we alternately walked and ran splashing through bloody puddles toward La Guardia Airport. Sabah Karga, the driver of the wrecked cab who was assigned to me by the N.S.A., straggled behind staring at the bloody carnage with the bewildered eyes of a Turkish immigrant who probably still believed that somewhere in America, streets were paved with gold.
The dark energy that hung in the air like a burial cloth was at least breathable - for now anyway. I walked over to one of the glowing buckets lining both sides of the street while I waited for Sabah to catch up. Abniel followed looking in all directions for more of the aberrations who had almost made us part of their grisly decorations. The buckets were, as I had suspected, filled with dry ice but why the rising gas was now the only thing illuminating the pitch-black city was a mystery. “I’m no expert in chemistry,” Abniel said as she nudged one bucket with her boot. “But I don’t believe the solid form of carbon dioxide is supposed to radiate light when it turns into a vapor … at least it never has before, not on this planet.”
“We’re living in a new world,” I told her.
We both turned when we heard Sabah scream. A half dozen Fish Men wearing blood stained white sheets, armed with gleaming kitchen knives, no doubt pillaged from area restaurants, and with the determination of suicidal religious fanatics on their scowling faces sprinted stiff-legged after our terrified driver from the shadows of a darkened rental car lot. I tried once again to fire the semi-automatic 38 special issued to me by Homeland Security even though it had inexplicably failed me before. The fully-loaded and apparently intact gun still refused to work.
I grabbed one of the dry-ice filled buckets, and flung it at the pursuer closest to Sabah. It was a lucky shot; dry ice cascaded over the man-creature’s head. It howled like a movie-land banshee and clutched at his frozen face with long filthy fingers worked into bony skin hanging claws no doubt by numerous sacred murders. “Jesus will forgive you,” he wailed. “But you must find him on the cross.”
There were plenty of other citizens driven mad by rain and darkness, no more than a few steps behind - strangely most were now women and girls. Black, Goth-like lips dripping what looked like blood and too many for us to overcome, hissed like snakes. The next throw able bucket of glowing light was at least twenty feet away.
I pushed Abniel behind me, determined to fight the blades with my fists if need be, when a whistling ball of red fire blasted past my head and exploded into the face of a Fish Woman who had just seized Sabah’s shirt tail and was dragging him to the ground. A dozen security guards, mostly teens, armed with what looked like highway flare guns stood at a heavily barricaded airport entrance just ahead; a seldom used cement and steel solution to Islamic terrorists that had now found a new horror to resist. A minute later, we dragged Sabah through the entrance as the mob of female attackers howled and smoked with pyrotechnic vengeance behind us.
“Thrashy whores!” A uniformed security guard, with a name-tag that said Jason, wearing woven beads in his long pointed goatee and a Denots’ The Great War of Life, Death, and Weather tee-shirt exclaimed as we hurried past. A hidden stereo system was blasting Anthrax’s Madhouse with enough intensity to make my nose bleed. “I have a headlining fully-automatic AR16 leaning against the wall over there that refuses to grind out the beef, but a little strontium nitrate and sulfur from our opening act displayed at the right time still seems to dazzle these gate-crashing, dick-bicycle bitches.” Jason explained.
“I’m glad you were here … and rock on!” I told him while holding my ears.
A Navy flight officer paced alongside a top secret Fodiator on loan from the C.I.A. as the three jet-engine submersible-aircraft was being rolled from a government hanger. The sound of torrential rain almost drowned out the roar of portable generators. “I wasn’t sure this thing existed,” I gasped. “Are you sure it will fly in this weather?” The fidgeting airman was making me nervous.
‘The world has been building flying submarines since Germany in 1937,” he said. “This seven-billion dollar experiment will do forty-eight knots across the ocean floor and Mach four-nineteen in the sky!” Captain Stanley Smith released a hydraulic stair-ramp with obvious pride. ‘I don’t think a little rain is going to stop us.”
“A little rain?” I looked at the closest runway. It looked like the kind of private lake a profession water-skier uses to practice on. Abniel gasped and Sabah shielded his eyes as they entered the passenger space. The interior of the submarine/aircraft was as luxurious as a Gianni Versace. A ten foot long board-room table made of African Blackwood occupied one sixteen-foot length of the fuselage with a dozen high-back quilted-leather chairs. A sixty-inch flat-screen monitor hung from the ceiling showing a space-battle scene from Star Wars the Force Awakens. Captain Smith noticed our astonishment.
“We had to fly several Republican Congressmen to Hawaii for a weekend to obtain funding and Armed Services Committee members are used to living like kings,” he explained as he opened the cockpit door. “The wet-bar is through that other doorway …this Flying Fish is capable of launching four AGM-88D missiles as well as a half dozen ADCAP Mark 48 torpedoes,” Captain Smith went on, “but conventional targets are not what has me worried.”
“Then what is?” I asked. I noticed there was no co-pilot. The instrument panel was lit-up like the Las Vegas strip on Bingo night.
“That!” he said pointing out the cockpit windshield toward the end of the runway as I strapped myself into the co-pilot’s seat.
At least a dozen figures with white sheets billowing around bony broomstick-like legs and brandishing what looked like machetes vaulted over a chain-link fence and raced through the pouring rain toward us. They were pursued by several of the flare-shooters from the main gate.
Captain Smith fired up the engines and six two-thousand watt wing-lights cut through the gloom. “We had a full crew and a twenty-man security team before these monsters decided they were doing God’s work,” Smith said as the aircraft turned. The religious fanatics were almost upon us.
“What happened to them?” I regretted asking the question almost as soon as the words left my mouth. The engines were coming to full throttle. “With all our convention firearms malfunctioning, including the 60mm machine guns on this plane, most of our forces ended up in enemy hands,” Smith said. “That’s why we persuaded those Thrash Rockers to help out with security.”
“That sounds almost impossible!” I didn’t know any head-bangers that were pro-government, and blurted “That sounds almost impossible!”
“Not when you have access to fifty-pounds of confiscated Columbian Skunk-Weed, a six-thousand watt stereo-system invented by the CIA to torture Islamic militants, and six cases of Jägermeister,” Smith snickered.
Even with that kind of compensation I thought the airport’s new security team was vastly outnumbered and under siege. “How long do these rocker guards usually last?” I asked.
‘We lose about two every hour,” Smith said, “but at least they die happy.”
The Fodiator was making its final turn before takeoff. The brilliant lights showed three white draped figures hammering nails into the feet and hands of a man being crucified head down against the brick façade of a terminal tower. I recognized Wolf Eyes from our earlier encounter. Evidently the white orb passing through his skull had merely rendered him unconscious. Exploding balls from flare guns fired by the advancing Thrashers showed an upside-down Denots tee-shirt and blood from a lacerated throat dripping into a steaming catch-bucket of dry ice. “Jason!” I gasped.
“Damn!” Smith said. “I thought he would last more than one day.”
The jet began to pick up speed and was roaring down the runway when a fluttering of white cloth brandishing a knife, charged directly into our path. I saw the Fish Man get sucked into one enormous jet turbine like a paper-clip into a Hoover vacuum-cleaner and the roaring engine didn’t notice.
“This thing is designed to suck-in a dozen migrating geese or a pair of Gallipolis Sea-Turtles without doing much damage,” Smith said. Seconds later, I felt the huge aircraft lift into the black sky. He pressed a button on the instrument panel and unfastened his seatbelt. “Feel up to a drink?” he said as he stood.
“Who’s going to fly this thing?” I yelled.
“It’s on auto-pilot,” Smith said, “besides I’m sure our new friends can guide us to Nevada.”
I stared out the window. Two strings of the same glowing orbs that had rescued Abniel, Sabah and I from the Fish Men were now flying in an apparent escort on both sides of the aircraft. There was nothing to do but stare at the blackness. After ten minutes I also left the plane to the new World’s fate.
Sabah was busy watching Han Solo’s wayward son Kylo Ren terrorize a group of resistance fighters and I found my now-much-more-relaxed mission-associate and Smith at a fully stocked wet-bar in the compartment beyond. “You must see this amazing bedroom!” Abniel gulped down a full glass of Armand de Brignac champagne and poured another before she dragged me toward a closed door at the rear of the plane. “You’re not going to believe this!”
Smith winked as I surrendered. “The Congressmen do like their pleasure,” he said.
Abniel was asleep and the Fodiator was in a near vertical dive when I fell out of the bedroom and crawled to the cockpit screaming “What the Hell?” Captain Smith had the jet on manual control and was now trying to stabilize the flight. “It’s these blasted white balls of fire,” he said. “They keep pulling us off course.”
“Where exactly does Jerry Lee Lewis want you to go?”
He ignored my sarcasm. “I keep reprogramming the GPS coordinates for Nevada,” he said, “but as long as the auto pilot is enabled, it keeps changing to a point that would put us smack in the middle of the Caribbean.”
“How do you know it’s our white glowing friends?”
Captain Smith turned on the auto pilot and reset the coordinates, moments later three golf-ball sized glowing spheres of light passed through the fuselage without causing any visible damage and disappeared into the instrument panel. The target heading returned to 15.634 degrees north and 75.419 degrees west.
“They don’t seem to have any control over our destination as long as I fly manual,” Smith said. “But they sure want to lead us in their own direction.”
The outside of the aircraft was illuminated as thousands of orbs swarmed over every inch of the fuselage. “I thought I could shake them off my tail with a power-dive,” the Captain explained.
“It worked on me,” I told him, remembering a giggling Abniel and the exotic bedroom with white sable carpets, a rolling king-sized half-pipe quilted mattress and satin sheets. “How long before we reach Graviton City?”
“About an hour,” Smith said.
I almost went back in the bedroom, but chose a hot shower instead. I had to have a clear head if I wanted to find out who had turned out the lights, mixed up the laws of physics, and flooded our world.
Alvin Sullinger and a half dozen of his associates met us at the landing strip just outside of Graviton City. He was at the controls of a bus-like flying vehicle hovering without sound about sixteen inches off the ground. It was lit up like a Christmas tree. “I’ll never be able to understand the physics behind anti-gravity,” I told him as I helped Abniel into the futuristic looking vehicle. Sabah and Captain Smith sat in the seat behind us.
“That’s because it’s not physical science … its satanic sorcery,” Alvin explained with an exaggerated sneer. “Dark Matter, and its equivalent unconfined energy, projects negative mass and therefore repels vivacity instead of attracting it … and by God! That makes me the Devil.”
Then he howled laughter, like he was in an old Lon Chaney movie.
“I know you having a force field around your city that can repel a dozen Vanya Hydrogen bombs keeps my bosses at the N.S.A. chewing their fingernails,” I told him. “But I think that’s cool!”
“North Korea offered me eighty-billion won and an autographed picture of Dennis Rodman if I’d share my secret,” Alvin said with a smirk, “but I go my own way.”
Alvin pushed a silver disk the size of a quarter into a slot in the dash and The Who blasted the opening riffs to Magic Bus as we lifted into the air. It sounded as if the British rock band was playing right in front of us. “Sixteen strategically placed channels each with its own cluster of speakers made out of air,” Alvin said as he cranked up the volume.
“You invent the most amazing things!” Abniel giggled as sound waves began to flutter her hair like wind.
“Oh this music system wasn’t my idea,” Alvin said over the heavy bass. “This is my associate Kim Jones’ contribution to our happiness … I only helped with the technology.”
A long, blond-haired man of undistinguishable age wearing a Woodstock baseball-cap smiled at the mention of his name. “Someone has to keep these nerds in line,” he smiled.
Graviton City floated in the air above the scorched Black Rock desert a hundred miles north of Reno in Nevada. Although the ground two-hundred feet below was void of any discernable life, an exotic garden of magnificent flora surrounding the city had been given outrageous stimulus. We were passing over what looked like a city park. Orchids of unimaginable colors soared as tall as trees with blossoms large enough to sleep in. A hundred Frisbee players, whom Alvin said were on one of the six twenty-minute breaks attached to each production shift had stopped to eat slices from a watermelon as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. “We have learned through experimentation that when you alter the mass of even the smallest denier of space it affects all surrounding areas,” Alvin said. “We can make the things we like large and those we don’t … very small.”
We landed on the base of a pavilion that appeared to be made entirely of crystal. Micro robots, many the size of insects or smaller, acted as gardeners and building maintenance workers. “We have made great advances in almost all areas of science,” Alvin said as we walked. “But our knowledge of humanity and the celestial arts is sorely lacking.”
A circle of light from an unknown source illuminated the area around us as we moved. The outer areas were bathed in starlight.
“Celestial arts?” Captain Smith said. “I didn’t know you people were religious.”
“Belief is not just one thing in the universe,’ Alvin said. “It is everything. When you look beyond the interior of sub-atomic particle layers or beyond the horizon of multiple universe field patterns, what you find is a mixture of pure imagination diluted with a small quantity of reality.”
Glistening waterfalls ran backward from ornamental ponds and disappeared into invisible spouts suspended in the air.
“And this means what to a simple cab driver like me?” Sabah asked him.
“It means there are no limits,” Alvin told him. “You only stop because you apply the brakes. You fail only because you refuse to believe!”
“You’re talking mind over matter when there is such a thing as actuality,” Smith argued.
Everyone gasped as a large dragonfly, rainbow colors radiating from its gossamer wings, flew over the building tops dragging a full moon into place in the star-filled sky by what looked like a long silver thread.
“Not really,” Alvin said. “Mind and matter are merely the product of imagination manufactured by acceptance. Reality is a point of observation.”
We entered a vast dome-shaped chamber which must have been at least twelve stories high. Alvin wiggled his fingers in tiny beams of streaming colored lights floating in the air beside his left hand. The entire Milky Way star helix and a dozen other nearby galaxies appeared suspended over our heads. “That’s not real is it?” Sabah gasped. ‘It can’t be!”
Alvin laughed. “I’ve created this simulation to explain what’s been going on with our world.” He began to walk toward the center of the room and we followed. “About four billion years ago … about ten billion years after the universe was formed … a vastly superior being planted life on this planet and on other planets orbiting nearby stars. We’ve been left on our own for the most part. Oh there was a brief return about sixty-five million years ago to do a little weeding; sometimes troublesome life forms both plant and animal get out of control and must be eradicated.”
“The dinosaurs,” Sabah gasped. “Allah returned so that he could destroy them.”
“You’re right about the giant carnivorous and herbivorous reptiles,” Alvin said. “But this actuality is a she … not a he.”
“How do you know this superior being has a gender?” Abniel was obviously intrigued.
“Simple logic,” Alvin said. “In this universe, it is always the female of any species, plant or animal, who carries the seeds.”
One edge of the display over our heads began to darken. “Now that your Allah has returned…” Alvin looked at Sabah and smiled. “We have a chance to observe first hand just what our cosmic farmer’s intentions are.”
“Extinction,” Sabah blurted. “Just like before. We are all doomed!”
“I don’t believe so … at least not before talking to us,” Alvin said. “It seems our visitor wants very much to communicate with you.” He looked directly at Abniel.
“But how?” she gasped. “This thing is so vast as to defy imagination. How can a simple earth creature like me ever communicate with it?”
“There are ways,” Alvin said. He placed his fingers in the colored beams of light that had followed him since we arrived in the chamber. We were now witnessing an exterior image of Graviton City. Thousands upon thousands of the same glowing white orbs circled the city at a high rate of speed almost like a science teacher’s video example of free electrons. “I believe you were almost persuaded to detour to the Caribbean on your way here were you not?”
“It took everything I had not to go along,” Smith told him.
“Then we must all go along this time and see what our maker wishes,” Alvin sighed.
“You will go with us?” I was astonished, elated and also a bit scared.
“I wouldn’t miss it if you gave me the world,” Alvin grinned. “These small glowing lights are like fairy tale bread crumbs designed to lead us safely home.
Sabah was dancing and singing a song in Arabic. “Allah returns to bless his faithful and obedient children …” he crooned.
“Don’t be too jubilant,” Alvin warned him. “My best guess is this is not going to be pleasant … or a reason to celebrate … remember, there is always a witch of some kind in every dark story. Where there is light there will be dark … hot does not exist without cold … good will always stand, not behind, but forever next to evil.”
“And the world has never been darker,” Smith added.
“Then what?” Abniel asked. “Why has this cosmic farmer returned?”
“I truly believe,” Alvin said, a queer note of melancholy distorting his voice, “to the best of my knowledge and ability …
… that it’s harvest time!”
TO BE CONTINUED …