slouching toward inevitability

missing parts, incomplete

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Short Story
I’m sitting on the roof of a gas station about a mile away from town. I can still smell blood wafting in from the light desert breeze. I’m not really sure if I’m smelling blood from what I witnessed or blood from what the dry air does to my sinuses. Not that it really matters, I could have literally breathed someone in, as close as I was to the center of town.

About seven days ago a strange thing started happening. People started to get really sick, like plague, bleed out their eyes sick. We had some doctors who actually whispered “ebola” and it started a serious panic. Luckily it wasn’t ebola, and no one actually died from it, but it seemed to sap something from the town. The only way to describe it was like the town itself contracted something.

Now before I get into any real details, I have to tell you about my town. We’re in the California’s Mojave Desert, close to Arizona, also close to where they mine sodium borate, better known as borax. Our town is old, like pre-gold rush, pre-Spain, pre-War of 1812, old. When the missionaries came and took this land, a group of natives had it, and they gladly let them take it. No one really knows why. The popular theory is that it’s cursed land, but I think the town founder, Father Ichabod Mitchell just knew their language and made an offer.

It wasn’t just the one person who founded Silent Springs. There were seven founders in all. After all the generations the seven families all inter-married, I’m guessing to keep the main estates “in the family” as they say. Though that is one of the odd things. most of the families are down to their last heirs. Hell, one of them even moved a couple states away, wanting nothing to do with the town after the death of his parents. He does still have the family estate, but I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I know of the guy, never actually met him.

In the middle of the town is the old mission, which is also where the main source of water comes from, and also part of where the town gets its name. Silent, because the mountains and the desert are quiet most times, and Springs, because of the natural spring that is directly in the middle of town.

So, now you know a bit more about my town. Now let me tell you it’s current state. In a word: Fucked. In two words: Royally Fucked. I have seen things the past couple days that make me question my sanity. My part in this started when I was talking to the local conspiracy theorist Randy.

Randy was kind of the loner type, kind of the crazy type. Hard to explain unless you met the guy, and that’s not going to happen, unless you have a oujia board handy. He thought the sickness was some big thing cooked up by the city council to stop tourist season. Seriously. He went on and on about it. Then he’d start saying that the heirs to the families were all missing. Which wasn’t accurate as far as I could tell. Like I said before, one of them was away, I think going to college, but the rest were still in town. He’d say, “No man, when was the last time you’ve actually SEEN them?” Which, when I really thought about it, I couldn’t remember. I could have sworn I saw them last week at one of the town hall meetings. I go on occasion, I sometimes write articles about them for the local newspaper if anything interesting comes up. Randy would just go on and on, about signs and portents, that something was starting. That all you had to do was open your eyes. I really wish I didn’t listen to him.

I’m a detective at heart. I couldn’t leave it alone. I start calling around and couldn’t find any of the heirs. They were all, “out on business”. Which was bullshit, because they hadn’t been to any of their local businesses since everyone started getting sick. I tried getting into one of the estate, but guards stopped me. This was when I decided to go town hall and start asking questions. Randy decided to tag a long. Which was a mistake on my part. He got us thrown out when he start accusing the lady at the front desk of being some kind of demon. Maybe a witch, I don’t really know, it’s hard to keep up with him at times.

As we were walking out he said he had noticed that they were understaffed and wondered if everyone there was sick or not. I was actually surprised he noticed, sometimes I think the crazy thing is just an act. He also told me the walls were bleeding, so... crazy, not crazy. I think a little of both. He also said something about a symbol he saw when was being escorted out. In a mirror he saw a seven sided star written in blood on an oval mirror in the corner of the room. I didn’t even notice a mirror, though I didn’t notice the blood on the walls, or that the receptionist was a demon-witch either. I did remember seeing a symbol like that somewhere before though.

I decide to hit the internet and look up the symbol, too bad the internet wasn’t working. The phones were down, TV, cell reception. We were cut off from the outside world. Now I was starting to think something was actually going on. Randy just starting mumbling something about “par for the course” or something. He was furiously writing in an old tattered journal. He noticed I was watching him, which gave him pause. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I think I’m sick, with whatever is going around. I know where we have to go, but you have to promise me that this journal gets to my friend Jonathan, Jonathan Landrum, in Colorado.” He slipped the journal, along with some kind of jewelry into a large padded envelope. “There should be enough postage on this thing to send it to Mars, so it should reach him quick. It’s time to go.” At this he threw me a gun and asked if I knew how to use it. I had been taught basic gun safety, but I’d never actually fired a hand gun before. “It’s easy, safety off, point and click, just like a video game.” And with that, we were off.

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The air in the desert has a smell that I can’t quite describe. It’s dry, so sometimes you smell the blood in your nose more than the air itself. Tonight I smelled blood, and cordite. I look down to my right hand. I see the gun, but I can’t really feel the weight of it. I feel the warmth though.
As I look over edge of one of the few look outs in this town I wonder what I should do. Am I murderer? Can I kill myself? Is there anyway I can possibly take back the last week? I’m just not sure.

The week started off so normal too. I’m a senior at the local high school, thankfully the year is almost over. I’d noticed that a lot of kids had been ditching classes. This happens on occasion at the end of the year. Lots of better things to do, like blow of steam at the quarry that was filled with water so blue that when the sun was at midday it was hard to actually look at it.

Finals were over, so I decided to indulge in some senior ditchage. Why not, all the kids are doing it. Gotta love peer pressure. As I walked out of the school, for what would be my last time seeing it, I heard someone on the radio talking about some kids going missing, and that maybe a search party should be formed. I thought about this for a second, but kept walking. I wonder who was missing.

I live in a small town, the kind of town where if you own a bike you can pretty much cover the whole town. Silent Springs, named after the both the quiet that was the norm for the area and the spring that gave the town life. An oasis in the middle of the California desert.

I decided to go to the quarry, get a little swimming in, maybe see some cute ladies, if you catch my drift. Evidently that wasn’t going to work. See, the cops had shown up at the quarry, for reasons that should be obvious if you’ve been paying attention. The bodies of the two missing kids had been found in the water. The water wasn’t as blue as it usually was either. A part of me realized that particular watering hole was now tainted by death. Another part of me felt rage that kids from my school had been hurt in such a fashion. I got close enough to see two bodies, and it wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t recognize the two, mainly because they had no skin, and were missing some of their extremities. I really wish I’d listened to that radio now, maybe I’d at least know if I knew these kids.

Later that night, while watching the evening news with my mom, I found out that I did know the kids. They were a brother and sister that were the heirs to one of the older families in the area. With their deaths their property reverted back to the founders family. Which is strange since the only living relative of that family live three states away and I don’t think he had any plans for coming back. I do know his best friend though, I wander if he knows anything.

I once again ditched school, but this time for a good reason. To find a man that was both crazy but wise. Randy was basically the towns information collector. Also a conspiracy theorist to the Nth degree. He had heard about what was going on and told me that there was much more that wasn’t being reported. Such as the deaths of almost every founding family in town. The land rights all revert back to the Landrum family. Jonathan Landrum is, or was Randy’s best friend, so he doesn’t really think he has anything to do with it. Evidently the police have been reporting all of these deaths as accidents. Randy said that he’s been roughed up a couple times for asking too much. I’m not sure if he’s telling me the truth or not, because Randy always looks roughed up.

Edited at 2012-10-18 04:48 am (UTC)

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