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SEAHORN EPUBLISHING ANTHOLOGY OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ISSUE TWO VOLUME ONE


PHIL SEAHORN


SEAHORN EPUBLISHING ANTHOLOGY OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ISSUE TWO VOLUME ONE By Phil Seahorn


Copyright 2013 properties of Phil Seahorn All rights reserved by owner of the content in which this ebook is based. Under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication will be produced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the owners of the content in which this ebook is based. Seahorn Epublishing www.facebook.com/seahorn epublishing First Edition: July 2013 Seahorn Epublishing is a Facebook based epublishing service which produces for the Internet written, audio, and video content, to be sold to Internet outlets as content. 1.Ebook 2.Science Fiction 3.Fantasy 4. Anthology ISBN LCCN 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 BRD-C


CONTENTS 4. Hoof Prints in the Snow 9. Thaw 14. Runners 22. Sweat


4. Hoof Prints in the Snow Andy woke up around three on this particular Saturday morning, which was like all the Saturday mornings since he moved to St. Louis to finish up his undergrad the past three years. He had just graduated the past December, and was in the process of preparing himself to get out into the workforce with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. That thought of what the future would hold for him, a man of color with a degree in the job market of 2014, was enough to keep anybody from getting sleep. Such was the case with this cold February morning, snow again hitting St. Louis. Andy was making damn sure that wherever he would go from St. Louis, it would be some place fucking warm. But Andy did not let the view from his kitchen window stop him from preparing to do his laundry. He always liked that time of the morning to do his laundry, almost making it a Zen thing. In the last three years that he lived at this particular apartment building, he never had to contend with four inches of snow while he did his laundry in the winters past. Andy gathered up his laundry bag of the week’s clothes (he worked at a call center at a major university, so he didn’t really have a lot of cloths). Plus being a student for three years, he didn’t need to have many. The bag of clothes was slung over his back like an urban Santa, as he climbed down the back steps of his apartment building. He would take the back way of the building, avoiding walking thru the parking garage in the basement to get to the laundry room on the other side of the parking garage. Andy still took the precaution of packing. He didn’t care that he lived in Richmond Heights, one of the more affluent counties in St. Louis. Even doing his laundry, Andy would pop a cap if necessary. No place was safe nowadays.


5. The thing that really spooked Andy was the stories that were told to him about the building he had moved in. He had started messing with a blonde with a big ass around the corner, as she had a mixed daughter and was looking for a positive man of color to come into their life. It didn’t hurt that Andy was attending and working at the most prestigious university in the region, either. She had told Andy about the building, how the building was haunted. Turns out there had been a cult that had preferred moving it’s members into the apartment building Andy was living in. People in the neighborhood would notice tenants that would come out of the apartment, in the dead of winter, 15 or 20 degrees, with nothing on but the clothes they were wearing: no coat, no hat or gloves. And that they all carried what looked like Daniel Boone bags, both the men and women. But it was the behaviour of the tenants in the winter and their clothing (or lack thereof) that puzzled the neighbours. About ten years back, a double murder and homicide had occurred in the building, all involving tenants who dressed like that. But it was what happened after the murders in the building that got the neighbors to really start talking. They would notice figures during the day and night walking around the complex, all of them in the same clothes and Daniel Boone bag, but looking more out of place. The only problem was, some of the folks would just disappear before entering the apartment. Then, the apartment managers would move people into the apartment of the triple deaths. The neighbours in the apartment complex would complain of very strong, almost cinnamon smell coming from the apartment of the deaths, as if the people inside were using incense to cover up smoking ganja. Only problem with that, Andy’s blonde neighbour explained, was that


6. the tenants never had incense, and never used it. They, too, would complain of the smell in the apartment which would just suddenly appear for periods of time, then completely disappear. The kicker to the stories that Andy’s on and off again blonde girlfriend told Andy was what would occur in the basement of the building. She told Andy that people would see a guy with a baseball cap hung over his eyes, wearing a baseball jersey that would seem dated. He would pass by you in the basement. If you turned around, suddenly he would be gone. Andy really did not appreciate the last part of the neighbor’s story, as she knew that whenever they would get thru fooling around in the middle of the night when she couldn’t get to sleep either, he would do his laundry. Sometimes they would do theirs together .But he couldn’t wait for her to do his laundry with all the time. It was that snowy Saturday morning, around four in the morning after Andy had showered and meditated, he would do his laundry routine. He got down to the basement, put his clothes in the laundry machines, took his pistol out, and scanned the basement.The snow outside had started to come down pretty fast. Andy knew he had to get the laundry done by 6 in the morning, or he would be facing a half foot or more of snow to drag his clean cloths thru. Andy made sure the basement was clear, but still backed up the stairs, still facing the basement. It didn’t help that he had smoked some of the best ganja that he had come across in St. Louis in a while. Andy opened the back door and looked at the snow. It was coming down hard, and he could see the cars slowing down to a creep as they turned onto highway 40, in which the apartment was right next to. Then Andy looked down.


7. At first, Andy thought it was the ganja. But then, he looked more closely. There were hoof prints in the snow. Now, Andy was a city boy, but he could pretty much figure out what constituted as dog prints. These prints were a size 8 or 9.They stretched from the doorway to the laundry, all the way to the door in which Andy exited his apartment. Andy stepped out, and looked up and down the small ally way that existed between the apartment complex and the sound walls of the highway. The snow gleamed off the metal of his pistol, as he slipped the clip out of the pistol, to make damn sure he was loaded. He snapped the clip back into the pistol with an audible click. Andy didn’t know what the fuck made those hoof prints, but the prints were a fucking lot bigger than a dog. Andy looked at the print in the snow. Yep, Andy thought, this was a hoof print, and this was not made by any dog he could think of. Andy stood in the snow and night air, shivering. Fuck this, he thought, and held the pistol in front of him as he made his way to the other door. Andy slowly opened the door to the back entrance, putting his foot into the door that led to the basement. That would prevent anything, he meant anyone, from coming up and thru that basement door. On doing this, Andy quickly got his keys out, and entered his apartment. Then, he screamed. The apartment manager dreaded coming to the apartment in Richmond Heights, on news of what happened there. The Saturday night air was filled with sirens and cops were still there at the building in Richmond Heights. Apparently, one of the tenants, the one that was moved into apartment One West, seemed to have come under some kind of foul play. The neighboUrs said that they heard a scream and a gunshot that early morning, and by the evening, a strong odor was


8. coming from the apartment. They described the odor as strong cinnamon. It got stronger and stronger as the evening went on. But it was the gunshot that made the neighbours call the cops. When the manager arrived, he gave the cops permission to enter with him, as he had the master keys after he and the cops knocked on the apartment door for five minutes. What they saw inside the apartment made the manager and the two cops throw up, almost comically simultaneously .The manager and the cops staggered out the back door of the apartment building into the snow. It started snowing again. And then, a strong cinnamon smell appeared out of nowhere. But what caused the manager to almost shit his pants was what he and the cops saw in the snow. Giant hoof prints. THE END


9. Thaw The orbital routes had been open for almost two years without incident between the moon, Earth, and the asteroid belts off of the orbit of Neptune. The Asteroid Wars had been over for eight years with less and less terrorist activity until a year before Alonzo Bellingrande decided to opt for space freighter duty. The economy had bounced back enough in Sky City One, but there were just too many people migrating from the surface of earth to the floating suborbital cities, the Asteroid belts, even to the Moon and Mars colonies. The Asteroid Wars had taken place primarily on earth, which everyone agreed after hindsight was extremely stupid. The war was over asteroids in space, after all. Alonzo had enough job offers, but none that would pay him enough to leave Sky city eventually. He had lived on Earth until the Asteroid Wars, when half of the world’s population migrated to the three sky cities that were already built. Before the migration from the surface to suborbital Earth ended, 13 more sky cites were constructed and placed into operation in suborbital space all over the globe. Because of this migration, one third of the world’s population disappeared from the surface. The unintentional side effects of the crazy corporations military’s killing enough of each other to make the remaining world military weak enough for sancture.The Wars ended, and the repairs of earth had begun. Alonzo would have taken a job in New St, Louis, Missouri, rebuilding the gateway Arch after the Asteroid Wars attack on it. He decided that the Asteroid Run would make him far more money, and allow him the chance to explore the new mining towns that were popping up all over the asteroid belt.


10. Alonzo had just reported in to duty on the freighter ship Solomon Northup, which was assigned three stops and pickups in the asteroid belt before it docked at Obama City. From there, Alonzo planned on heading to the mars colonies to exchange his credits for America dollars, as that was the only accepted currency in the Asteroids. Something about being as distantly removed from United Earth federated money and the U.E. itself. It was still a pain in the ass to go to mars. Mars was a shithole. He had just gotten comfortable in his space walk gear, when everything light up outside his suit’s helmet visor like the sun. After blinking numerous times, Alonzo opened his eyes. The interior readings on his helmet visor had gone to red. Alonzo instantly knew why. The ship had vanished around him. The Solomon Northup was in pieces, as Alonzo floated thru the wreckage. He could see the remainder of the crew floating amid the wreckage. He also noted that his energy shield had been activated just as he completed checks on the flight gear that was attached to his space suit. Alonzo knew that was the only thing that saved his life. He got no other life readings from scans of the floating fellow crew members. He didn’t even bother to jet over to a floating body, because he knew that they were just that: dead bodies floating in space. Alonzo immediately keyed in a location beacon for a life ship. Before the war, thousands of life ships were launched into the space between earth and mars, guarantying the safety of anybody who found themselves adrift in space. No matter the drift time in an untethered space suit, a life ship would key in to your location, and eventually a drifting astronaut would be picked up.


11. It took two minutes until three life ships keyed into his position. The only problem was, the nearest one was 24 hours away. Alonzo cursed himself for not insisting that the route in which the Soloman Northrup was taking to get to one of the asteroid stops was way to off the established star shipping routes, taking the ship almost 27,000 miles outside the shipping radius, and putting the ship in exactly the type of situation it had found itself in as well as her crew. Alonzo keyed in the sub hyper sleep routine. Better to wake up a day later on a life ship than go crazy floating in space for 24 hours. He would spend all those 24 hours trying to figure out what the fuck happened that destroyed the Solomon Northup. Alonzo opened his eyes. He was staring at a ceiling of some sort, in a color that he had never seen before. That was his first gut instinct reaction that something was very, very wrong here. He winced, trying to raise his head from the padded table he was lying on. His suit and gear had been removed, but the specs of the ceiling and the surrounding room was nothing like any interior of any spaceship he had ever seen ore been on. The large room he was in was lit very brightly as he raised room the table. His body and shoulders ached tremendously. His arms and hands were shaking .He settled himself as he trained to do in dealing with the affects of long term hyper sleep. The pre medicated endorphins already in his blood stream should even him out, as well as the other meds that were instantly injected into him once he put on the spacesuit for a spacewalk. The meds were used in case of a forced hyper sleep using a suit hyper sleep device, which was much different form a standard issue hyper sleep unit for a spaceship. Alonzo looked around the room, more cube shaped than a room that humans would build. Alonzo knew that not only had he been in hyper sleep far, far longer than a day, but that this


12. room was not part of a ship built by humans. He looked up at the ceiling of the room which had nothing else in it but the table in which he woke up on. He looked at the far right wall of the cubed room. It was window of some sorts. He was able to physically walk over to the window and look out. Yep, Alonzo said out loud, he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. “I assume that the hologram is something that does not represent your true form?” Alonzo asked the hologram of the human woman in uniform. The image grew to be the height of the entire room, with the human figure looking down at Alonzo. This made Alonzo extremely uncomfortable. “Yes, we have assumed that this appearance would make you feel more comfortable. While frozen in your suit, it sustained you thru solar repowering for almost three hundred of your years, is a remarkable feat for a people such as yours.” said the hologram. Alonzo really didn’t like that tone. He knew he was fucked: an advanced, space faring civilization has captured him or rescued him, he didn’t know yet. And they already feel that his “people” are substandard. He saw a” white man meets Indians for the first time” scenario, with him being the Indians. The figure started to change its appearance.”We are the ….” Alonzo saw nothing but blinding light after that. He awoke back in his suit, still floating in space waiting to be picked up by a life ship. He checked the chronometer in the faceplate screen. It read”23 hours plus”. He looked to his left. Alonzo saw a bright light far off in the distance of dark space. The readings on the face helmet


13. indicated that something was approaching his position. Alonzo felt very groggy. Short term hyper sleep was never a good idea, as hyper sleep was meant for extremely long term use. Short term use, especially if the body is under extreme stress, was simply not good. And Alonzo felt that. He saw from his readings that, well, something was coming closer. The instruments would not give a direct reading. “It should read a fucking life ship” he said out loud. The light in the far distance of space was slowly coming closer. Alonzo still was not getting any accurate reading as to exactly what was coming toward him. Then he remembered the strange ass dream he had while in mini hyper sleep. He looked again at the chronometer. His eyes grew wide. Tapping the interior light of the helmet up to” full”, he read the chronometer correctly. The grogginess of stress involved hyper sleep, or the static of the readings coming thru on the face plate screen, had caused him to misread the time stamp on the chronometer. After the number “23” was a number “7” and then the word “years”. Alonzo knew then: his dream was either a premonition, or a warning. The light came closer as the readings on his visor became more and more erratic. Alonzo was about to find out which.

THE END


14. RUNNERS

NEW ST. LOUIS, MO 2039 The eleven contestants were lined up in the cold afternoon of February 2039 in New St. Louis. They all stood in front of the Old Courthouse, which stood in front of theGateway Arch. The winter sun shone off the sides of the Arch like neon light, even in the noonday sun. The announcers were all gathered intheir remote Thermal Units. Spectators who dared to come to the event had personal T.U.’s, but these crowds of spectators were the One Percent, as a personal T.U. that could withstand events like the Cold Run ran close to three thousand dollars apiece. Most of the downtownNew St. Louis area had been evacuated beforehand. The businesses that had to stay open had all their employees move to underground Thermal Units to continueworking.Others, like police and utility workers, had to trust their personal Thermal Units, and all were paid hazard pay for attending this year’s Cold Run. In the last ten years, the Midwest had become the epicenter for crazy ass weather. Mostpeoplewho had any money moved out of the Midwest after the winter of 16, when 4 million plus froze to death in the very first Artic Death Vortex. After the winter of 2016, 12 million people made an exodus from the Midwest, totally rearranging the civilian structure of the entire United States. The millions of Americans who moved in 2016 saved their own lives. Thewinterof 2017 wiped out the remainder of the Midwest


15. population with an Artic Vortex that blasted across 34 states with temperatures and wind chills reaching 70 below zero. The Midwest now housed people who were still living in these Arcticconditions. The entire Midwest infrastructure had to be retrofitted to surviveto function in sub zerotemperatures.With the “myth “of global warming taking people out by the millions all over the world, there were still the stalwart Americans who would not abandon 2/3rds of theUnited States because of weather. And in commemorations of that die hard, American ruggedness and “Manifest Destiny”, The Cold Runs were created. This year, the first occurrence an Artic Death Vortex had been tracked to start in Colorado, and head east (as they always did) with the worst conditions manifesting themselves in the New St. Louis Metro areas. The eleven runners from all over the world had arrived a week earlier, just in case the artic death vortex decided to start early. Each winner of the Cold Run would receive one million dollars, plus gaining the status of a One Percenter for the rest of their lives, if they chose to still live inland of the United States or U.S. owned colonies. That is if they survived the Runs. CHAPTER TWO Hagomon Rasputin Washington had second thoughts about this shit the first time he even was propositioned for this suicidal shit. But 5 million G’s and the opportunity to fuck a Hollywood ALister for the rest of his life was just too damned appealing.


16. He had been born and had grown up in a Metro Alton tent city. Since he had been the age of seven, he had grown very, very tired of being poor. Even with the part time job at the ganja factory, he still was stuck with the rest of the American population; never having enough money to do anything but work, eat, sleep, fuck, then die. Unless you had the I.Q. of Albert Einstein, you weren’t even considered “normal” anymore. If it had not been for Hagomon’s running skills and athleticism, that would be his life for as long as he remained in the United States. But it was the winters in the Community Thermal Units that were the worse. Eitheryou went into one of them, sometimes for weeks, or you died. So many people would go into the Units, but so many would not come back out alive. All the frustrationsof being a 99 percenter would well up and erupt. TheGovernment looked the other way, even encouraged the Alton, Illinois residents too poor to move out of Vortex territory to killthemselves off. ”Crowd control” they called it. So when Facebook sent scouts out the summer of 2018 to place people in the upcoming Cold Run, they had recruited him. Hagomon would make enough money to get his family out of Vortex country, even to Hawaii or Australia, wherepeople never had to deal with the vortex shit. While his family and friends suffered inside one of the Units when the Death Vortex hit the Metro Eastarea, he would be running from downtown St. Louis to University City, Mo. If he survived.

17.


CHAPTER THREE Hagomon was in his thermal running suit. The suits were designed for maximum thermal submergence. The suit that Hagomon was wearing was a beta version of a thermal suit that Facebook was ready to market. The Research and Development suggested the best way to test one of the beta versions of the Facebook Thermal Units (F.B.U.’s) were to enter one in a Cold Run. Hagomon adjusted the helmet, as the Facebook techs made the final adjustments to the suit. The suits were designed with the same technology of the now defunct NASA. They were designed for maximum portability, one of the key factors to surviving a death vortex. Since the Black Winter of 2016, Thermal Unit Suits became a must have. Facebook was bankrolling the research and manufacturing of the suits. Only the very rich could afford the first suits, as the One Percenters would not give up Boulder or Aspen or any of the pleasure resorts in the Midwest .In the past, twenty two thousand One Percenters died in the winter of 2017, the second Arctic Death Vortex. When the Government was able to reenter parts of Colorado, many of the rescue workers were traumatized for life. All the victims caught outside in the Arctic Death vortex were instantly crystallized, clothing and all. It was as if an atom bomb had been set off. That‘s how cold the second death vortex got. Hagomon was trying to get his uplink to work to get the latest weather forecasts for the New St. Louis area. He kept texting outside techs that he was having problems with the Internet feed. They texted him back, as the data flowed in front of his view screen inside his T.U. helmet, that conditions for this particular arctic death vortex were the most unique that the weather analysts 18.


of the day had ever seen.”What the fuck does that even mean?” Hagoman said to himself. ”This shit could still kill you.” Hagomon saw an image of a tech hologram suddenly take up his entire field of vision in the helmet view plate.”Your mike is still on,” said the voice of his handler. Hagomon had to keep it clean. After all, he was being broadcast live on Youtube, Disney Local News, and even the Fallon Channel. He was going to enjoy being Fallon’s 1,000 guests after he completed the run. Fallon was approaching sixty; he didn’t have much time left. The survivors came away with a hefty sum and some One Percent action for a year. Of course, after that , the winners of the Cold Races faded into the collective pop culture memory of the overly electronically saturated and the dreadfully unworked American population. So, if you ran the Cold run and survived, you became a celebrity for a year, allowing you to completely cash in on your popularity in any way that you could. So, the Cold Run became like a poor man’s “American Idol. Each year thousands of people would send in t videos or holograms to be reviewed.If it wasn’t for the fact that his running coach from East Alton High School was the brother in law of a Facebook suit. The readings from the pirated weather forecasr were being streamed to all the runners. They knew that as they had to make a decision. There was no turning back in the direction in which they had begun the run from the New St. Louis riverfront. The Vortex had been reported just ten miles out from the riverfront, passing Belleville and heading toward the New St. Louis metropolitan area. It would hit University City within the hour. Hagomon made a decision. He keyed in to his hidden cloud drive that he had smuggled under the noses of this tech inspectors before the run. Everyone on the run had low jacked shit coming 19.


into the race. It would take a full wake of diagnostics to clear all the runners. Time was of the essence in this game. The cloud drive gave him a beep to an electric SUV .According to the data coming in; the couple who owned the van had decided to hit one of the municipal vortex bunkers instead of chancing the twenty minute drive from downtown St. Louis to University City. The couple knew that all the bunkers from here to the east coast were either being filled up or where already filled. There were still 3 million fools who would not let a little thing like global warming and the threat of being instantly crystallized by 200 degree below zero cold fronts. The other runners joined him in the SUV.One of the runners did a scan, and made sure that all the runners who chose not to make the run toward U City and still try to win the race were still round. Once the runners were inside, Hagamon uploaded the emergency shielding program that came equipped with all vehicles used in the mid west Untied States. The SUV was immediately plated in onyx black crystal shielding, designed to withstand temperatures of space. Even with the shielding, the electric car would only go so far, having to divert it energy to the shielding, just to keep the passengers alive while driving in an Arctic Death Vortex. One of the runners had the same idea, and was jury rigging components in the control board of the electric vehicle. The vehicle had already accelerated to 110 miles an hour, making absolutely no noise as it made its way thru the cluttered but completely deserted streets toward University City. The one runner sitting at the auto manual controls in the front of the EV looked at the others in the EV, who had positioned themselves around various components of the holographic control 20.


board. “What the fuck are all of you doing?” Hagomon asked still studying the advancing perimeter of the vortex as the electric vehicle sped up Lindell Boulevard, half mile from Skinker but twenty minutes ahead of the Vortex, which had already reached Kingshighway in the city of new St. Louis. Reports were already coming in from drones showing piles of crystallized remains of the homeless or mentally ill who simply did not take any of the weather events seriously. Hagomon was always amazed at the growing number of people every year who simply don’t leave when a Vortex is announced. Hagomon noticed that the energy reserves in the vehicle were surpassing two hundred percent. The runners had jury rigged an energy spike with their individual suits. It was just enough to spike the vehicles’ energy levels, creating self-replicating recharge every thirty seconds. It was a trick the tech boys had learned a few years back and where still experimenting with electricity that can replicate itself. This would literally be unlimited energy. The Electric SUV made the right on Skinker, almost coming off of the Meg lift platform running the electric wheels of the vehicle. It decelerated to twenty miles an hour as it made the left on Delmar. The runners could see the media outpost up ahead. The runners could also see the three runners who chose to finish the Cold Run. Both runners all looked at each other. Hagomon understood. He knew that all of them would make a tech pact agreement, which would automatically lock them into the process they performed to spike the energy in the SUV. They all knew that everything that occurred from the time the runners entered the SUV had been monitored by Control, but they also knew that the oriented stream on the Internet 21.


guaranteed the runners in the SUV copyrights to the limitless energy process that they had jury rigged inside the EV. Everyone in the SUV started celebrating, giving each other the high five. Suddenly, they heard shots ring out. They looked out of the SUV and saw seven Military Police advancing with arms raised toward the van. They then saw the runners, their heads smoldering heaps of steaming flaming mass of burnt flesh; right where the heads should have been. Everyone in the SUV knew. Better to wait it out and be killed by the Vortex in less than 10 minutes. Control had decided that the recorded events where enough and that no physical evidence need to remain. Everyone in in the race was to be killed. Control decided they did not want to share the goodies. And they could always say that someone or everyone would die in some mishap during the Annual Arctic Death vortex Events. Hagomon turned to the other runners, producing a data strip from his suit. He hooked it into the virtual control board. “Everyone stay hooked up,” Hagomon said.” And all the runners turned toward the viewport overlooking the advancing armed men, as the combined energy from all the runner’s suits built up to an explosive charge. THE END

22. SWEAT


Raymond Vladimir Rasputin Gomez had just gotten off the Metrolink at the Forest Park metro link station on a very hot Tuesday on June 14, 2016. He headed up to the street level area of the Metrolink platform, trying his best not to miss the next Trolley car that would take him to the Art Museum. The Trolley had a route that travelled along the route in Forest Park to the Zoo. He wanted to stop at the History museum, but it was already 11 o’clock in the late morning, and people were applying sunscreen all around him. Since the summer of 2015, people were very cautious now, since the summer heat, since the killer summer of 2014, took the lives of almost ¾ of a million Americans with heat related deaths. Most of the heat related deaths occurred in the thousands of tent cities all around the United States. More unfortunately had come into existence after the Recession 2.0 last year. Bad timing all around. Because of the Recession, over 400,000 new Americans had to resort to living in tents. When the temperatures in April of 2015 hit 105, many in the U.S. knew that this was not a good sign. It never got cooler. From April of 2015 to July 0f 2015, the heat went on a steady climb, never getting below 85 degrees at night, and reaching 115 by July. At that point, a quarter million Americans had already dies, as the utility companies all over the country showed absolutely no mercy when disconnections came. They cut off so many Americans electricity and central air, right in the middle of the worst heat wave in recorded human history. Thousands died. Gomez’s family had made it through, both sides, his Russian and Puerto Rican families, and they did it by reaching out and helping each other. If it hadn’t been for the ‘pill together or die” 23.


situation the killer summer of 2015 presented to most Americans, many more Americans would have died. But the American spirit came thru, many online crowd sourcing campaigns emerged; Americans began helping Americans, and the as a result, many American lives were saved during and after the summer of 2015.However, for those that survived the summer, it was the arctic vortexes of the winter of 2015 and early 2016 that took out another 37, 000 Americans All this Raymond chronicled and logged in blogs and video, which helped him get his degree for m Washington university, the only reason he had come to the Midwest in the first place. Little was he to know that he would be in the heart of the worst weather in the history of the U.S. Raymond had covered in his online vlogs tornadoes so strong that cars were blown thru concrete houses; not blown thru the houses, shot thru the houses like bullets. The brick might as well have been toilet paper. 16 tornados in spring and summer of 2015 while he finished up his Bachelors in Missouri and the total death count had been 5,312 dead in Missouri and Illinois. It was little wonder that Raymond wanted to beat the heat. It was a bright, hot 101 degree day with everyone around him having a hat or an umbrella. That was because, since 2015, people would come back from work, school, or wherever out, and find themselves with second degree burns on their scalps and upper portions of their bodies. But such was the nature of the burns that they were only noticed when the people would get into air conditioned environments. The burns were not caused by heat. They were radiation burns. With this new added fact of life, most Americans chose to ignore it until the spring of 2016, when the spike in skin cancer and radiation related sicknesses sky rocketed. The emergency 24.


rooms were swamped, as well as the hospitals all over the country. So, with Raymond’s handkerchief a bright white, he trudged along the crowded metro link deck, waiting for another trolley. Nobody would dare stand out in the direct sunlight, even with sun screen protection. Everyone cramped to get under the newly erected sun shields along the metro link, keeping from being exposed to the direct sunlight. Raymond was slightly surprised there were so many metro link stations that were simply concrete decks out in the open. The next trolley approached the Forest park metro link, as the 13 or so people, including Raymond, got into a line to board. One thing Raymond could say about St. Louisans: they were very polite socially. That changed rather quickly, however. Raymond heard screams of agony, coming from the far left of the line as the trolley approached the metro link station. A couple, fresh faced and looking to be from somewhere like Iowa, suddenly become not so fresh faced. Their faces starting peeling back and turning beet red, like a huge reddish orange onion with eyes. When the skulls of the man and woman began to be exposed, the screaming stopped. However, for the rest of the people on the platform, the screaming began. Raymond knocked down two people as he pressed toward the wall of the metro bathroom. He had too; people started running away from the metro link station, directly into the sunlight. That’s when Raymond started to throw up. He saw the people from the metro link stations that were all under the metro link heat spilled out into the street. Some people running from the metro link deck the where instantly hit and run over by the cars in traffic; brains and arms and guts flying everywhere. 25.


But what made Raymond throw up was the sight of the limbs and entrails beginning to sizzle and burn. ”Like a microwave,” Raymond said out loud. He knew he was fucked. If this was some kind of radiation, then no amount of shielding would help. And that’s when the guy in the trolley decided to open the trolley door. People literally threw themselves out of the trolley door, some going out the win trolley car windows. And they were all sizzling and burning. The screams were horrible .Suddenly; a guy shoved his way toward Raymond, pointing to the metro link downstairs steps. The guy grabbed Raymond, pulling the 5 foot 8 inch 160 pounds of him down the steps and toward the end of the railings. Other people had the same idea, and were heading toward the manmade caves housing the metro link directly under the metro link station. He turned to the guy, who was over 6 feet and at least 230 pounds. Raymond instantly recognized the guy. He had been in his Critical Research writing class the last summer before he graduated. “Thanks, man,” said Raymond. “It’s Jay, right? Jay Kieslowski or something?” Raymond held his fist out. The guy took the dap. ”Yeah, what’s up, Ray?” said Kieslowski . They both looked out at the metro link station, and looked at each other. The metro link train that had stopped at the Forest park Metro link station was boiling over in steam. To Raymond, it looked like an inverted microwave that had popcorn in it too long. Raymond wiped his mouth, feeling the nausea well. He looked over at Kieslowski, who was turning pale, too. “Fucking smell,” Kieslowski said, taking a handkerchief from his back pocket and putting it around his blond crew cut head. ”Saw shit like this back in the shit”, said Kieslowski, who had talked before in class about his two tours in the Middle East. ”So, what you saying, this is a 26.


terrorist thing?” said Raymond, checking his wifi on his laptop to make sure it was still working. Raymond then took out his iPhone out of his backpack, and started to video record. When he tried to record with his cell phone. The cell phone would not work. “That might not work” said Kieslowski. ”We just got hit with a lot of radiation, some of it electromagnetic. Your shit might not work for a minute.” Raymond began to look pissed. ”So what the fuck just happened, Army guy?” he said, looking up at the crew cut blond. Kieslowski looked at the charred remains of the people who had tried to run up the steps from the downstairs metro link platform, still smoking.”It wasn’t no bomb”, Keislowski said, his Boston brogue coming out stronger, probably due to the stress.”This was mother nature”. CHAPTER TWO Kieslowski and Raymond stayed under the metro link bridge in the cave along with the rest of the people who made it down there. Raymond was really surprised at how smart these people where; they knew that this was no terrorist attack.They could put two and two together. All the conversations were turning to the recent events of the past year, especially about the events of last summer. And now this. Everyone had a cell phone and an iPad out, both or just one. One by one, everyone under the bridge of the metro link were trying to put together information .They especially wanted information on if this shit would happen again. Those with wifi were sharing the grim news: all over the country, these microwave events were happening. Random bursts of radiation and EMP pulse strong enough to microwave people. Animals, any living thing out and about. Hundreds of 27.


thousands of people dead around the country already. People literally trapped under wherever they found shelter. And nobody moved from their spots. NOBODY. Facebook pages began to emerge in the blogospere, complete with video. Youtube, Instagram, all covering and reporting on what was going on in the country. Raymond and the others under the Forest Park metro link station began to form little groups of like minded, electronic using people. It seemed that to Raymond, people with iPhones formed one group, and people with iPads formed another. The laptop people and the tablet people formed one big group. All these people made it a point ot stay out of the sum. The screaming gradually stopped from up above. The public service announcement started coming over the loudspeakers (really too fucking loudly, thought Raymond) instructing people to stay where they were and to not venture out.�No shit� said Raymond to Kieslowski, with his Ipad out as Raymond had his old school 2007 laptop out, looking at videos on Youtube .Raymond saw the same scenario as he was in with this group of people, all over the country. He saw videos of people in airports, subway tunnels, trapped in supermarkets and malls, and all very, very afraid of venturing out of their locations. Raymond checked his watch. It was 1:15. It was hot as hell, and some people under the metro link station began to feel it. Water was plentiful for the first hour. By 1:45, most of the water that people carried was gone. News reports coming over the net still instructed people to stay where they were. But all across the country, a mass exodus of people started toward their homes or wherever they wanted to be to sit out this new shit that Mother Gaia was throwing at mankind for fucking up the weather. Raymond was 28.


still also amazed at how soon the crazy mothers denying the global warming shit suddenly got very, very sane in last few months. That helped a whole helluva lot, Raymond thought in disgust. So now, Raymond thought, here he was under a fucking metro link station in what was now 115 degree sweltering heat, scared shitless to go out in the sun. Suddenly, it occurred to him. He looked at Kieslowski, who must have had the same epiphany. They couldn’t stay under that bridge in this heat. They would both be dead by nightfall. Kieslowski turned and looked down at Raymond. ”Do a quick check of the History Museum, see what the situation is there,” he said to Raymond. “I’ll check the emergency sites and the weather.” Both sat back down on the surprisingly cool ground, and began to type and search the net. ”The museum is full, with people trying to get in”, saidf Raymond. ”Fuck.” said Kieslowski. ”News reports all up and down McPherson, with hundreds of people breaking into the locked apartment buildings to get out of the sun.” Kieslowski did some more searching. ”According to t Yahoo News, thousands of people are flooding up from the downtown area of St. Louis, breaking into homes and building to get shelter.” Keislowski looked at Raymond. ”Reports of gunfire all around”. CHAPTER THREE It was like a fucking horror movie, Raymond thought. It started as a few pops, then the sounds of guns firing began to sound like a fucking world War two movie, except Raymond’s half black half Russian ass was right in the middle of it. Raymond and Kieslowski ducked back into the cave as ricocheting bullets began to shower the outside lower deck of the metro link station. The shots created sparks that made it look like 4th of July sparklers were going off. 29.


”Yeah,” Kieslowski said, reaching into his backpack.”Just like back in the shit.” Kieslowski pulled out a Glock machine pistol, and loaded a clip.”What the fuck??!!” Raymond said, jumping back and looking at the piece. ”Is that thing even real?” Kieslowski checked the gun, and then scanned around him. Sure enough, practically every third person in the cave had a piece, and was cocking. ”This is like a very bad fucked up movie”, Kieslowski said.”Readin’ my mind” said Raymond, holding out his right hand. Give me a piece.” Kieslowski looked down at Raymond. ”There’s a very bad joke in this somewhere, but no, this the only one I got, cabron. “ Kieslowski cocked, and then motioned for everyone to stay back. He told Raymond to see if he could get a piece from someone else. Sure enough, five minutes later, Raymond came back with a sawed off shot gun. Kieslowski turned around, looked at Raymond, and then turned back, shaking his head.”We are so fucked” he said. Sixteen people came running down the stairs of the metro link. People in Raymond and Kieslowski’s group started screaming “there was no room, go back, go back!” The shots started immediately. Raymond’s ears were ringing when he smoke cleared. He had stopped firing when everyone else had stopped firing. The sixteen people that had run down the metro link stairs were all dead. Kieslowski was calling people under the metro link platform to the front of the stairs, aiming his Glock machine pistol, throwing in another clip. He took immediate control of the group. He told them to line up, and just start firing up. The all did, for about a three minute volley. Then he

30.


ordered them to stop firing, as other gunfire erupted on top of the platform, but out of sight of the people under the metro link in the cave. Kieslowski told them to get back under the cave. Raymond looked at his watch. It was 2:10. No more people tried to come down the metro link stairs, as more gunfire erupted. Suddenly, seven people in the cave just keeled over, almost at the same time. Four had been shot; the other three fell dead .They had died of heat stroke. Kieslowski ordered the men in the group to take the dead out among the dead on the platform. He then ordered men to get as many up the stairs at possible, after conducting a quick reconnaissance himself to make sure the upper deck was clear. They had gotten the entire group of the dead on top of the metro link platform. Raymond checked his watch. It was 2:45. ”Hell of a Tuesday, huh”, Kieslowski said as he returned from a second reconnaissance and placement of the bodies. He knew that they would star to decompose quickly, and in an hour and a half, the stench would become almost unbearable in this heat. It suddenly hit Kieslowski.”I know how to get out of here now, but you’re going to have to help me,” he said to Raymond. Kieslowski turned to the group under the cave. “Me and this guy are going to go out and see if we can get some water,” he said .No one questioned Kieslowski, especially after the incident with the 16. They all just turned back to doing what they were doing. Kieslowski motioned Raymond to follow his lead, as they ran out and up the stairs, heading toward McPherson Avenue. No one else was son the street, and world war there had died down twenty minutes ago. Raymond looked around him again to make sure. He picked up two 45’s and an Uzi from some dead folks who had been shot to shit next to a car. There were bodies 31.


everywhere .And the smell of rapidly decaying bodies in 115 degree heat was beginning to get toxic.”There”, Kieslowski shouted, and pointed. It was a “Snarf’-mobil”, the Smart cars that the sandwich shop used to peddle their sandwiches around the Delmar Loop area. A two seater. ”Grab some bodies, and take off belts and anything you can tie something with, “ Kieslowski said to Raymond. Raymond looked at Kieslowski. ”You crazy bastard, “was all he said, and got busy. They got four bodies, with the last body one being an extremely overweight guy who had been shot in the leg, but may have died of a heart attack. ”Put this motherfucker on top of the other bodies,” Kielsowski said, as they piled the bodies on top of the Snarf mobile. After twenty minutes and 40 gallons of sweat, the two had gotten the four bodies secured on about all the exterior of the vehicle, except for the windshield. Kieslowski got in the driver’s seat. Sure enough, the “on” button was still primed. Kieslowski recoiled a little before getting in the passenger’s side of the vehicle, looking at the blood on the seat. He sat down, as Raymond squeezed into the driver’s seat. Raymond started the car, and they turned up McPherson and headed toward Skinker. ”Who lives the closest?” Kieslowski said, peering out the window with his gun ready to fire. The two zigzagged along Forest Park drive, heading toward Skinker.” I do, but I checked the location on GPs, and there are multiple gunfights and shit going on, shit making YouTube already,” Raymond said. ”Where the fuck we going then?” Kieslowski asked. “To the fucking Galleria”, said Raymond, hitting the gas.

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CHAPTER FOUR Both of them had to get out of the car twice to refasten the rapidly rotting fat guy on the roof. If there was another radiation flashes, the bodies would shield them long enough, they hoped, until they found shelter. But all Raymond saw up and down the streets of Skinker toward Clayton Road were scattered gunfights, people running in and out of the mansions along side Forest Park. Probably all the people in the park west of the Zoo headed toward the Forest Park mansion and residential neighborhoods, looking for anyway to get out of the sun. Raymond could not believe what he was seeing. His parents had been Army, and had done tours in the first Gulf War when he was a kid. He always heard the stories, as both his parents served. But to see this shit on the streets of St. Louis? Bullets pinged off roofs of abandoned cars as Raymond and Kieslowski zigzagged up Clayton road heading west toward the Galleria. The windshield was hit, sending the little Snarf mobile careening to the right side of the street .Raymond had hit the brakes, hoping they would not crash into another car as he ducked under the steering wheel. The car had come to a complete stop. Raymond looked over at Kieslowski, who appeared to be hanging out the window.”Hey , Kieslowski , man, you okay?” Raymond said, still keeping down behind the dashboard. He reached over to Kieslowski when he smelled it. The acrid smell of shit. Kieslowski had defecated on himself. Raymond recoiled, still behind the dashboard. He pushed the door open on his side, remaining glued to the left side of the vehicle as he looked back into the car and over to where Kieslowski was sitting. The top part of Kieslowski’s head was gone. Blood and brains where spattered all 33.


over the top shoulders of the Washington University t-shirt he was wearing. He had been shot in the head. Raymond threw up again, ashamed at his weakness. He got hold of himself, but still crouched down as bullets pinged off buildings and sidewalks. Either the fools are scared shitless, or can’t shoot worth a fuck, thought Raymond. “What the fuck are they shooting at anyway?” he muttered to himself. Then he saw. His laptop was still on with the Wi-Fi running. He grabbed it, put in “St. Louis Galleria” in the Google search box, and read what came up. He looked again the direction of the Galleria. The Galleria was erupting in flames and explosions, as red rays f light cascaded down from the sky on top of the building. Hundreds of people were streaming out of the building, people on flames and burning as they ran and screamed. Some began shooting themselves in the head to stop their own suffering. Some started to shoot the people who were being microwaved alive. And they were all heading in the direction of the hiding Raymond behind the Snarf mobile. Raymond saw that the red rays stretched all the way north and south on Brentwood, all the way to Manchester on the south, and all the way into Clayton on Raymond’s right. He knew then: there was no way to out run this. Suddenly, World War Three erupted again, as the people from the Galleria were having running gun battles with the people who were in the buildings. But as people in the buildings on Clayton Road across from the Galleria saw what was coming, they spilled into the streets. And right into the barrage of bullets. 34.


“I don’t fucking believe this,” said Raymond, looking at the horde of people running in his direction.”And all I wanted to do today was take some fucking pictures.” Raymond put the gun he was holding to his head. THE END


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