Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Aftershock Episode 016: "The New Breed"
The truck parked in the street and the two men with uniforms and rifles jumped down the back to go open doors for the driver and passenger. To everybody's surprise, it's two women that came out of the vehicle. One was wearing the same uniform along with a strange orange hard hat and the other wore a dress suit and stilleto heels. Both were good looking for women well in their forties. They looked more like a political convoy than a grim reaping squad. None of us reacted. None of us had seen people like this walking the street since the quarantine struck.
I looked at Cliff, he was already looking at me with confusion: ''Brotha, how about we take down these two gorillas and we beat some information from the nipped up soccer moms?''.
''Sounds like a plan to me''.
''No one is going to do anything of the sort'' answered McClure.
We both turned around and looked at him as if he was some sort of alien. Even during happier times no one really bossed us around like this. Neither Cliff or I were angry, but we just felt odd to receive such a commanding attitude from such a non-threatening looking person.
''All right, and what do you propose Mr. Scientific-Smart-Pants?'' said Cliff.
''We listen to whatever they have to say''.
''What if...what if these two women are maid hired to clean our brain after they spill it all over the floor huh?'' said Cliff, gradually more annoyed with the calm but somewhat arrogant tone used by McClure.
''Jesus, keep your gun pointed at them if it amuses you. Just don't shoot please, I don't want to be responsible for any post-apocalyptia diplomatic incident in my home''.
''All right, all right, I like that idea, but if they shoot...or are directly threatening anyone here, I make their head explode all right?''
McClure sighed as the St. Cuthbert Guard convoy knocked on the front door. He looked tense and tired: ''Deal''.
The pounding on the door resumed. A female voice announced: ''In the name of St. Cuthbert, we seek discussion with the survivors in this house''.
''Ye shall enter'' yelled Cliff, arming his rifle in direction of the door.
''Art thou a noble gentlemen now?''
The door slowly opened and a naked calf in high heels walked into the place first. The woman was good looking from a distant, but close observation revealed a woman that was dry and tired. The skin of her neck seemed to have been suffered third degree burns. The other woman had visibly a shaved skull under her hat and weird greenish eyes. The two male escorts were wearing gas masks and were as tall as Cliff was. They immediatly targeted my brother, it took no time for me to arm my gun and threaten them also. In a matter of minutes we had a pretty tense lockdown in the hallway.
''Drop your guns'' said one of the escorts with a disembodied voice.
''Yeah right'' I said ''like you guys are cops or something? Might as well ask me to kill myself''
''Do what they said'' ordered McClure ''I don't want my daughter caught in a crossfire because of your stupid insecurity disorder''.
That's when I got angry.
''Man, have some respect for your household. Take your daughter upstairs and be a fucking man. I'm not going to leave my destiny in the hands of these guys''.
''Drop the guns or we will terminate you''.
''Terminate me? Terminate ME? I double fucking dare you to terminate me you fake ass soldier piece of shit. I'll terminate your ass with a bullet , how about that?'' said Cliff.
I felt reassured that my baby brother was sharing my feelings towards the arrogant attitude of St. Cuthbert's guard. With him alongside, I could fight back the invasion of Poland by the nazis if needed. I was certainly angry enough to do so. McClure, as I thought, was all talk. To a certain extent, that's what scientific and intellectuals were. I was empowered by the control I had on the situation, I considered myself an intellectual too, but I was a man of action. I wouldn't let anyone put my integrity in question for a bogus higher purpose.
''Gentlemen, let's be reasonable'' said the suit lady ''it's unlikely you're getting out of here alive if you show distrust and hostility to St. Cuthbert's Guard.''
''Yeah, well' it's most likely you guys will hit the floor in the next seconds if you won't change your tone.''
Maria Magdelena chose this moment to get out fromt he kitchen and make herself heard: ''You have no control over the ones who survived Abigor and his guardian, their heart are strong and their minds are open, so if you please, just leave this place and never come back''.
That was real good prose for a girl that was foul mouthed and dangerous from the first moment we've met her. She looked different suddenly. Her body language was a lot more quiet and subtle. Like she was walking in her own dream. Like she saw something different than we all did right in there.
''No one can stand in the way of the New Messiah. His word is what prevails and we are His Servants.''
I shot the first guy in the throat. He fell like a sack of potatoes. In the confusion, Cliff shot the other guy in the groin. He fell down with a strange pain ridden groan. Both women looked shocked for a moment. The one in military uniform whipped out a handgun at a blazing speed, like she did it all her life. I had seen women like her during the course of my military service. She was a professional I was sure of it. She had been in he army way before the quarantine and I'd even say she had been in combat many times before. I could spot a professionnal like her from a mile away.
''Now put the gun down or I shoot your crotch too'' said Cliff, visibly not aware of the dangerous nature of that person. The suit lady regained her composure and said:
''You've attacked an official convoy of the guar, you know what you just did?''
''Yeah'' I answered ''We might not even be done yet, there is plenty of room in the backyard for these two assholes and for you too. Let's cut the bullshit and see you too behave like guests. Lower the weapon, you're not impressing anybody. Let's go sit at the table and discuss your business in this household''.
''Well played bro'' added Cliff.
''Thanks'' I said without taking my eyes away from G.I Jane.
The suit lady gave her a quick nod and she lowered her weapon. I could hear McClure and his wife have a noisy sigh of relief. Maria didn't move from her earlier position. She stood still in a weird trance-like state. I lowered my gun too and signified Cliff he could do the same. He immediatly went for crotch-man's weapon. G.I Jane had a barely perceptible sign of deception in her eyes. We took away her escape route.
''Let's proceed to the dining room'' said Mrs. McClure, like she was having her husband's boss over for dinner.
We all walked to the round table, looking at each other like in an old Western Spaghetti. The level of trust in the air was inversly proportional to the level of tension.
''Anyone wants a drink?'' Mrs. McClure said with a smile that indicated fear and insecurity.
''No thanks'' answered suit lady, playing the game.
''Please, state your business in my household'' said McClure, looking directly in the eyes of suit lady.
''We came to requisite your house and relocate you at St. Cuthbert's formation camp''.
''Not gonna happen'' said Cliff.
''Please, let her talk'' added McClure.
''Man, you got no balls''
''Unlike you, I have a family to think about.''
''Well, I had a family to think about too, but they were taken away from me, like anyone else, if you had any spine, you would've kicked these guys out already, or even better, buried them in that nice garden of yours.''
''Guys, stop'' I said. ''We made the two ladies here sit down to listen to what they had to say''.
''We're done. If you don't follow us, we'll come back with a whole company to take you. The neighborhood will be leveled and replaced with a district vowed to the cult of Cuthbert.''
''And if you never come back?''
''Same thing will happen and all of you will be taken to Staten Island Work Camp''.
''What is that? Nazi Germany all over again?'' I asked.
''How dare would you compare us to these close minded scientific freaks''
''They had pretty effective work camps too.''
''We're going'' said McClure.
''Jesus dude, don't bend to their bullshit''
''No, I'm going.''
The suit lady smiled: ''We also take the girl''. Cliff pointed his rifle in her direction and said: ''Over my dead body ma'am''. Maria smiled, still caught in between two worlds. McClure sighed and he left with his whole family for the truck. Before leaving suit lady turned around and said:
''A demolition crew and a hit squad are on their way, I hope you're ready.''
''You bet your sweet are we are''