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Thread: DIY Art

  1. #76
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    His eyes grew more adjusted and he dared look out and what he saw amazed him. The last thing he had seen of the outside world over two weeks earlier was the dark grimy harbor before they all loaded into the container, the future coffin of his family. The blues ocean rolled out to the horizon and large seas heaved and rolled but the container was remarkably level. He looked out and realized the container was leaving a wake in the water. “But how is that…” he began to think then he felt a shadow go up over the sun and he turned and saw an enormous figure perched on the other end of the container. He could see it from behind and it appeared like the gargoyles he had seen pictures of from medieval Europe. “Classic architecture,” he thought, but this was no statue. It had huge leathery wings that spread some forty feet across and it appeared to be driving the container with its wings acting as a sail. It had huge feet with bear like hair to the ankles and then raptor like feet clamped hard into the edge of the container, bracing against the wind.

    The legs went up covered in hair then the hair gave way to leathery scales, like that of a dragon, he thought. He knew of the myths behind Chinese reverence of the mythical creature, but to see one in the flesh!
    Its arms hung to the side with enormous human like hands with long black claws for fingernails. He could only see the head from behind and as this quick physical assessment took no more than half a second he thought, “perhaps it does not know that I am here?”

    It had smooth black skull that looked burnt and split from the sun and long floppy ears like that of a goat or a – The ears flipped straight up and his head snapped around and Chang was shot through with the icy grip of fear as his soul felt pierced by its gaze. The Nightwalker maintained wing position to the wind. Chang could only stare in stunned disbelief at his new predicament, trapped on a container in the middle of the ocean with the Devil himself. He had the face of a black hole with two smoldering red slits for eyes suspended in the void.

    The creature turned its head slowly back towards the direction of travel, due north. Chang sat motionless for the next four hours too terrified to move or think. There was nothing to think about. If all the parameters of life and understanding were based on some foundational truth, he had no understanding now. Reality as he knew it slipped away into the blues depths of the sea as it rolled away in their wake.

  2. #77
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    Chapter 36) David; Alaska, 2030

    Drey glanced up the slope and could see David skinning up the high ridge line. He was already in the sun while he and Avery were still in the cold shade. Drey could sense that the creature was gone. He did not know what it was but he knew it had been following him since that day in Razdolna when he realized it was a literal ghost town.

    “Alright it is ready,” Avery said, “let’s do it!”

    Drey said, “You have to be quick with the next shell, they are going to be on us like how do you say, stink on shit!” He laughed as he got a shell and stood it on end at his feet, “Ready?”

    “Ready,” Avery answered.

    “Firing in 3-2-1,” Avery pulled the lever like trigger and the shell exploded with a resounding BOOM! It was deafeningly loud and Drey plugged his ears while Avery wore a pair of old ear muffs he had found in the cache. They watched eagerly as the shell piled into the mountainside immediately adjacent to where the top of the dam is. “Damn it!” Avery shouted, “quick get it ready,” as he pulled the big chamber open and the huge spent shell jacked back on to the snow under the grate.

    They slammed the next shell in and Avery started adjusting the vertical alignment tensioning bolt. There was some ratio of number of screw turns as it relates to target at certain distances and launch angle. “It is a rare shot to be lobbing downhill like this,” Avery muttered as his warm breath crystalized in the cold air. It took almost a minute before he trusted his calculations. “Ready, this better work because I want to get out of here,” Avery said, “Ready?”

    “Ready!”

    He pulled the trigger and BOOM! The shell whistled through space and struck the dam perfectly in the center. It was a sight to behold. The workers quarters were off to the side and hopefully they were on shift change so nobody would be deep in the dam’s machinery. The dam shuttered and then paused for a moment then all of the sudden the entire contents of the upper lake started launching out of its restraint and began violently flooding into the lower lake. The flow and the debris caused a ripple that ripped across the lake.

    Avery and Drey stared dumbfounded at the fact that they had actually succeeded. Drey let out a “Whoop!” and Avery’s heart sank. It was like he had come out of a trance and the gravity of the rushing water instantly weighed on his conscious, “I’m getting out of here,” he said as he started to hurriedly climb down the ladder.

    “We have to get the second dam!” Drey said.

    “Fuck it, let’s get out of here!” Avery continued moving.

    “NO let’s stay,” Drey said as he had pulled large hand gun out of his bag and pointed it at Avery’s face as he looked up from the second rung on the ladder.

    “Holy shit dude! What is wrong with you?” Avery yelled.

    “We have to finish the plan, take out the next dam!” Drey directed and pointed the gun at the next shell. Avery caved easily and said, “Alright just put that thing away.” Drey nodded and stepped back as Avery started to load the next shell. He slammed the bolt shut and had to turn the whole gun 20 degrees to the left. They then looked and watched as the ripple from the dam reached the lip of the second dam and sent a solid surge over the edge and into the streets below.

    “This is a bigger target, so it should be easier to hit,” Avery thought out loud. After two or three minutes he was finally ready. They got into their ready position.

    “FIRE!” Avery pulled the trigger. Silence. Nothing happened. They looked at each other. Avery released the trigger and tried again. ‘Click’ went the mechanism.

    “Shit, let’s get out of here!” Avery said again and started to make a move for the ladder. But as he turned Drey lashed out with the pistol and smashed Avery across the face, sending him off the platform into the snow. Drey was just taking aim at Avery when they at the same time could hear the sound of a helicopter coming up the valley.

    Meanwhile David was just breaking out of the tree line on his commandeered snow mobile. He pulled up the long snow face of the mountain that led to the mine entrance. The road trended to the left along the longer and less steep side of the mountain while the sled route went up to the right following a steeper line. He took a glance back and could see another sled in the glades behind him. “Shit, security is on it!” He thought as he gunned the throttle. The machine was a 600cc so it had some ‘get up and go’ but was underpowered for high speed hill climbing. He angled left and right up the slope and was actually having fun until he remembered the situation. The trail banked left to a high knoll and he paused to take look at his pursuer.

    He was confused for a second, for what he was seeing. A long black strip was snaking up the hill. He could not tell what he was looking at. Then he saw… a hulking black figure on some sort black evil stallion of a snowmobile. He could hear a guttural growl of the engine pushing the deep tracks into the snow. The most bizarre aspect was the long black contrail trailing the figure. It looked like a scarf or a coat and it trailed out over 100 yards. Then he could see individual specks and he realized it was flock of black birds.

    “Holy shit!” he thought as he gunned the sled into gear and took off. He started climbing again and the surrounding vista was beautiful with the red morning sunlight slanting across the slope, casting deep blue shadows. He could feel the crystalline air in his lungs and the nip of a cold nose. These were familiar things to him, unlike getting chased up a mountain by some huge alien creature. He came over a rise and could see the summit plateau and the mine entrance about a mile off. The sled sputtered and then skipped and then stalled. He knew he was out of gas even as he frantically tried to pull start the sled back to life.

    “Stupid! Stupid!” he chastised himself for overlooking something so obvious. He hopped off the sled and plunged hip deep into the snow and tried to keep running. He soon became tired and heaved deep breathes. He felt like he was having an anxiety attack or one of those dreams where you are trying to run and run but your legs are mired in slow motion.

    David finally resigned himself to exhaustion and turned to meet his maker. The creature stood over ten feet tall and seemed to be clothed in wisps of black smoke. His face was a void and he seemed to flicker in and out of David's perception. As he slowly rode up to David his snowmobile snatched and growled and then burst apart into hundreds of black birds that turned and joined the writhing contrail. He strode three long steps and then looked over David with the sun directly behind him. David had to squint to look up. He remembered the box and started to dig in his bag.

    “Maybe if he just gets this he will let me go?” David thought as he pulled the wrapped box out and undid the chamois to his surprise it was just a similar shaped laundry detergent box half full of detergent.
    His mind raced, thinking back to what Drey had said and trying to make sense out of something. The Nightwalker spoke in his mind and said, “Don’t bother, you ask too many questions.” At that, in one fluid motion he thrust his arm out and a long black spear launched out towards David’s face and in his mind it all went black.

  3. #78
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    Chapter 37) Chang; Pacific Ocean, 1964

    The creature held it position and Chang began to feel less threatened. He even became curious as questions arose in his mind. But he noticed as he thought of speaking the creature would shift with an almost imperceptible menace. He learned that if he basically ignored the creature it ignored him.

    Chang took to the task of house cleaning. He started by pulling each of the bodies out through the hatch and at least attempting a proper burial at sea. He broke into heaving sobs when he finally sent his young daughter and pretty wife over the edge. The Nightwalker remained. Then he remembered the words in his ear, “Maybe you are dead already?” He took time to ponder now. He could touch, smell, see and feel but by the subjective nature of the creature steering its ship, something definitely was amiss.

    The Nightwalker was enjoying his time in the physical realm. He meditated on the force of the wind and his body’s resistance to it to know that he was present and three dimensional. Meanwhile Chang was feeling as if his physical world had fallen apart. Together in the endless expanse of ocean, void of any competing perceptions, they fell into place. The Nightwalker silently studied the human mourning process, something he had seen and caused millions of times now. It was something he still did not understand other then he felt an ever increase in power and that made him feel something like contentment.

    Time moved on and Chang had managed to get his area fairly clean. He used one of the five gallon buckets and a length of rope and he could catch sea water as it moved by and he’d dump it into the hatch. The container remained water tight and buoyant so he spent many hours dumping 40-50 buckets worth of water in the hatch and then use the same bucket to scoop out the more diluted contents. He did the cycle maybe 20 or 30 times before he could go in and not gag. By the end he was down to fairly clean, ankle deep sea water when he got down on his knees and used a drinking cup to fill buckets down to the last drop. He did have 40 gallons of fresh water and most of the food was packaged well and remained edible though he had completely lost his appetite.

    Chang could tell that they were traveling north by the sun and the slowly cooling temperatures. After over a month at sea in the container he looked out and saw mist enshrouded mountains sticking out of the sea. The words sprang from his lips before he had a chance to squash them: “First they are mountain, then they are not mountains, then again they are mountains.”

    The Dragon responded instantly, “Who is to say what is good and back luck? By what luck are you here and by what luck are you still alive? Are you alive by my mercy alone?”

    “I thought I was dead, actually. At times I thought I was in Hell and at other times I thought I was in Heaven,” Chang felt very clear headed. He had absorbed a lot and transmuted a lot and in silence he felt like he had accrued what some would call wisdom, despite distinct lack of understanding. Then Chang said, “You ask more questions than I do.”

    The Nightwalker replied, “In the mountains above Hira there is a cave tucked deep and hidden between the sunbaked boulders. It was there that I was first able to possess the mind of a human. He called me by intention though he was not so happy when I arrived as I arose in a wisp of smoke from the small fire he had made. I had been losing power for centuries as my Being continued to decompose under the harsh ultra violet rays of your Sun. I had been left behind by accident or intention, I do not know.

    I was desperate after being trapped here on Earth thousands of years. In one final effort to save myself I wrapped all of my intentions around the throat of Mohammed and said, “Recite!”

    He rejected me and I attacked again and said, “Recite!” and he again was strong enough to reject me. On my third advance I overpowered the man by crushing myself around his throat firmly and he was nearly dead for not being able to breath. I whispered in his ear for him to recite the words I would use to control him and his people.

    It was Me in which Mohammed looked for answers and I told him to pray towards Jerusalem. This caused strife with the People of the Book and Mohammed was told to find his own direction to pray towards. He returned and asked me, “In which direction do we pray?”

    I told him to pray towards Mecca and when you are questioned about the change, tell them it was the first test of the True Believers and only the People of the Truth would know Mecca as the holiest of Holy cities.”

    Mohammed did what I told him and I felt power for the first time. He promised me freedom and offered me a home in the form of a small wooden box and he transported me to the center of the Holy Mosque in Mecca. This box became my home and soon it will be my lifting point from this planet. It changes character as characters that I possess change.”

    I told Mohammed that the only true faith in God’s sight is Islam and that he would be the voice to the people. As he wrote I told him to seek out his enemies relentlessly and make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion will reign supreme. If you do not fight, God will punish you sternly and replace you with other men. The pilgrims and True Believers would travel great distances to be near me and my wisdom. To this day the True Believers go to Mecca and spin in that desperate gyre looking for answers and solace where there is none to be given. I told them to kill their enemies, kill the non-believers as pigs and seek out transgressors of My Law and have them stoned to death.”

    I felt that I gained weight in experience and an increase in gravity by every human that died by my word. Humans are the Alpha and I am the Omega and their consumption was wrought for the greater good of the Divine.”

    By chance or luck my home and I were stolen away from the heart of Mecca and carried to the sea where the box was wrapped in net and weights and young man rowed straight out to sea for three days to where he cast me into the depths. I came to rest in my prison on the sea floor thousands of feet deeper than the reach of light.”

  4. #79
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    Time passed and I existed as only a few molecules of recognition. It was a curse to be subjected to Time! By weight I existed but with no trajectory, I could not rest! I am completed by consumption. I need forward motion to be truly part of the world in order to consume it.”

    One day there was motion and I came to floating on the surface of the sea. A man picked me off the beach and I was introduced to Africa. The people were different but the stories were the same. I learned quickly and after several hundred years I was seeing the results of my presence and the answers I was giving. I was well on my way to consuming the entire continent when the humans from the New World began taking my people to a faraway land and consuming them there. The Old World had long history of stealing people from Africa but it was such old tradition that it was part of the Story. The New World humans were ruthless and efficient in the transport of the Africans. There was nothing I could do to stop it. Who were these people with more power than me?”

    It became obvious that I must move on and learn to control these people next. By the intentions of those who possessed me I made my way on to several ships that were bound for the new world but repeatedly my travel plans were rejected by some unknown player. I made my way to South America but was quickly returned to Africa. At times I am the Captain and at times I am a Captive! I remained in Africa in the port towns of the Congo watching people be taken and it was there that I came into possession of King Leopold and through him I gained more Power than imaginable.”

    After the Congo was bled white Leopold took me to his home in Belgium where I first came to Europe. You know the history of Europe. You know the history of Russia and Asia and the Middle East and Africa. And you know the history of North America, I found my ticket there with a man who was part of the Bering expedition of 1743. We traversed the entire length of Russia and came to the ocean where we built two boats and sailed towards North America. We came to a beach and I was transported ashore by the man who had been carrying me for over ten years. He knew his time would be limited on shore and I had convinced him to leave me ashore and they would disembark back to Russia.”

    The man placed me on shore in a hole under a huge tree and returned back to his boat that was tied off to a little tree at the end of a gravel spit at the end of a cove. As reward for faithfully transporting me in my wooden cage for so far I promised the gift of everlasting life in heaven. They found the reward to be less then pleasant. It was my first time trying to bring a human up a dimension. The crew, unaware of me or my dealings with the man, happily rowed back to the ship. When they got there no one could see or hear them. They were there in their own right but they no longer existed in the 3rd dimension.”

    They were not happy and soon went crazy trying to communicate with the remaining crew. The man returned to me for answers but there were none to give. I had already been picked up and transported by local people. The Captain Chirikov sent out a second crew to find the first. I watched from the trees with my new hosts as the first crew frantically ran up and down the gravel spit trying to get the attention of the second crew.”

    I realized that the native people I was with could also see both groups of sailors and they became agitated and one of them was completely unaffected by my psychic advances. He took the Box and charged back to the tree to give it back to what they thought were the obviously cursed white people. In the end I was transported back to Russia and then Europe for another 200 years, until now. Everywhere I go I see the humans either die or try to flee to America, the one place I have not been able to go.”

    As night fell on that day they had pulled to within striking distance of the mighty Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Chang fell asleep for the first time since the container hit the water. He had forgotten the concept, lost somewhere between dreams and reality. When he awoke he slouched in the helm of a 30 foot sailboat. He glanced up expecting to see the figure of the Dragon but instead saw the triangle shaped sail pulling gently in the wind as he could see lights twinkling up ahead. He quickly fumbled to his feet and wisdom eluded him as to the nature in this shift in his perception.

    The light was rising and he could see other boats leaving the harbor entrance up ahead. The harbor was tucked on the back side of a finger of land that was sticking far out into a wide bay. He started to panic. He did not know where he was or how he got there or where to go. He saw the old antique box he had purchased back in China. He thought how he had never seen it while in the container with the Dragon. He opened it and inside it were some paper items.

    First was an Alaskan driver’s license with name spelled ‘Chang.’ Then there was a legal copy of his birth certificate from China and then a U.S. Passport with his perfect photo. When he flipped through the pass port a note dropped to his feet. In Chinese it said, “Run to high ground.” That was it but Chang knew enough to take the advice seriously. He dropped the sail and fired up the little kicker outboard and putted into the harbor like any other recreation cruiser. He quietly tied his boat to the short term dock and started walking. He left the box on the boat.
    He had about a mile of flat walking along the thin strip of gravel that tied to the mainland and high ground. Right at the terminus of the spit there was a little gas station with newspapers on a rack. He walked by and read the date on the Homer Gazette: March 24, 1964. He felt a tremor under his foot.

    The ground was shaking first then erupting in violent spasms toppling trees and sending cars in the ditch. Chang ran up the road and then off the road up a trail and kept running until his lungs would not breathe any more. After about an hour he finally got to a high point where he could look back on the bay. He could see the harbor and he could see where his sailboat was anchored.

    The area had suffered a major earth quake. Chang could see smoke rising here and there and hear sirens calling in the distance. As he watched he saw the ocean start to shimmer and it started draining out to sea with all of the main volume of the upper bay ripping past the tip of the spit of land near where the harbor is. The water drained and dropped revealing vast tracks of previously submerged land. He felt as if he was in a trance as he watched and saw the water build on the horizon and turn and rush back inland. As it flowed it piled deep in front of the little spit and soon it was coursing through the sand dunes and ripping the thin black top to shreds. He could see the harbor become flooded and then inundated as boats sank or where pitched free into the ocean. He could see his little black sail boat pushed to the head of the wave and the last he saw it was on its way to a place he would later know as Razdolna.

  5. #80
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    Chapter 38) Sergeant O’Malley; Alaska, 2030

    Sergeant O’Malley cursed under his breath, “God damn hippies!” He was astonished to hear his cell phone ringing at 5:30 in the morning on his supposed day off. He still managed to get up and out the door of his South Anchorage home in less than five minutes and was soon accelerating down the on ramp from Rabbit Creek Road to the Seward Highway.

    “At this time of day I should be able to get down to Girdwood in less than 20 minutes,” he thought. His unmarked Crown Victoria could hit 140 mph easy on dry pavement but in the snowy conditions, even with the best snow tires, he would have to keep it under 80mph for most of the way .

    “The security personnel from Girdwood Mining Company called in an ‘unauthorized ordinance detonation’,” Officer Leary spat out rapid fire in O’Malley’s left ear while his right ear was still buried deep in his down pillow.

    “They reported one shot from near the upper dam station and then a minute later they lost contact with the station,” O’Malley listened on speaker phone while his instant coffee maker gurgled out a cup of joe as he put on heavy pants, boots, warm cap and bullet vest. He grabbed leather gloves his phone and his coffee as he strode out the door. Leary continued, “The State guys are setting up road blocks and they reported hearing a second blast and then five minutes later a large flood of water jumped the lower dam. I guess it was even bigger than the Big Slide there few years ago.”

    O’Malley was half way down the highway and he remembered the Big Slide as the avalanche that got those skiers killed, “Never found the body of the one guy,” he thought.

    “The town is flooded pretty good and people are out in the streets,” O’Malley had seen it before, cold families out in knee deep water and below freezing temperatures.

    “Operator error?” O’Malley asked referring to the mine employees who are authorized to use the Army grade weapons to mitigate the avalanche hazards.

    “Impossible,” Leary said, “I guess the gun positions in question, uh Gun 2, is set up to fire south/southeast, while the upper station is located due north from that position. Keep in mind things have happened quickly, details are incomplete.”

    “Why don’t they get someone up there?” O’Malley asked.

    “They tried,” Leary answered, “But the snowmobile access road got wiped out by a big slide that came down last night. They are getting the helicopter up as of, wait let me check.” O’Malley waited while he drove as fast as humanly possible in the dark on the ice with intermittent puffy snowflakes falling in high beams.

    Leary come back, “The heli just took off we’ll know more shortly.”

    “Good,” O’Malley said as he choked down the last of his coffee. He came around Bird Point and could see the lights of the mine operation laced across the mountain. Right when he pulled off the main highway O’Malley could hear and feel a resounding BOOM echo through the valley and his own chest cavity.

    “Holy shit!” he thought, “These guys are serious.”

    Avery sat up in the snow dazed by the blow and he could see blood matted around him. He had landed next to his skis and he could see Drey madly fumbling with the heavy dud shell. He took the opportunity to click into his skis and pushed away down the slope, aiming for the trees. He was just getting some speed when he heard shots ringing out and then he felt hot pain in the back of his leg, in the hamstring. He instinctively crumpled and as result lost control and began cart wheeling down the steepening slope. He smashed into a tree and was knocked unconscious.

    Drey jammed the dud shell back into the chamber and reset the trigger. The helicopter was just coming up level with the Gun 2 position when Drey pulled the big trigger. The explosion of the shell startled the pilot and then landed harmlessly too far right in the water of the lower lake. The pilot, an ex-Afghanistan combat pilot, instinctively pulled a bank turn as an evasive maneuver. Unfortunately as he banked around he was already too close to where Drey stood ready with his big hand gun and quickly let off three shots. The first two pinged holes harmlessly through the thin aluminum siding but the third was aimed at the tail rotor, the very important part that steers a helicopter. The bullet hit one of the spinning blades and it shattered and threw the helicopter into a tail spin. The pilot managed to blurt out over the radio, “We’ve been hit! That mother fucker shot us!” And then the radio went silent.

    O’Malley had just pulled up to the SWAT assembly point in the parking lot of the local grocery store, the Raven River mercantile or the Merc as locals called it. He had heard the last transmission and turned to Leary and said, “Get the f15’s.”

    Drey smiled at his marksmanship. He had spent a lot of time with guns as a kid and teenager back in rural Russia. The helicopter spun four or five times then smashed into the hillside right near where Avery had crashed. He put the gun into the back of his pants again and bent to prepare the next shot, the one that would take the dam out for sure and flood out the approaching Russian Army. Drey was feeling positive.

    He could see lights and hear sirens, “Well at the least the townspeople care enough to try and fight back too,” he thought, “Sorry but I can do better from up here.” He felt a moment of remorse for the innocent Americans that would also die, but he rationalized it was a small loss in the big picture of defending the North American continent. He knew by experience the oppressive weight of the heavy hand of communism and immediately fell in love with the freedoms the U.S.A. offered. He considered it his new home and he would kill to defend it.

    He had adjusted the aim alignment mechanism about three quarter turn to the left and crossed his fingers and pulled the trigger. BOOM! The shell exploded and landed in the history books—The aim had been repositioned too far to the left by about 100 yards too far. It pierced the tin roof of the Mercantile and exploded, sending glass and lumber flying. There was one worker inside who was killed and there were several serious injuries in the parking lot. O’Malley hit the deck and his cruisers side windows were blown out. There was chaos as everyone ran for cover, not knowing where the next shell might land. The SWAT team van came to a skidding halt 2 minutes later and the black SWAT helicopter landed 2 minutes after that.

    A few minutes later, as the SWAT team prepped for assault tactics, the thunderous drone of two F15’s came screeching over the tops of the 5000 foot mountains that rise at the back of Girdwood Valley. The Elemendorf Military Airbase is only 30 miles away as the crow flies or about 8 minutes from time of call to the projected detonation of the target in, T minus 30 seconds…

    Drey had heard the jets fast approaching. He had cursed when he missed the dam again but he knew his time was up. He made a dash for his skis and ducked behind the gun platform while one of the F15’s buzzed the ridge line. The pilot made a visual on the target, Drey, and radioed the position to the second jet that had hung back for a lap over the valley. The first jet roared over the ridge and Drey made his move. He started skiing down the North Face of Alyeska Mountain, a very steep run by any ski standards made all the tougher with the second jet bearing down on him in 3, 2, 1…

    The f15 pilot hit the launch button and sent a high explosive missile. He pulled back on the controls right when the bomb hit the slope above Drey and exploded into a plume of snow and rock 100 times larger than any ordinance the mine would be cleared to use. The shell itself missed Drey as he skied for his life, but the resulting avalanche roared down the mountain approaching seventy mph before it fully consumed Drey into the depths of pain and darkness.

  6. #81
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    Chapter 39) O’Malley; Alaska, 2030

    The heavy seas placate as I soar above, from end to end of the horizon. I calm all and bring ease of pain and burden. Laughter! I can hear it. It makes me smile. Why not? What stops me? I am everything there ever was. I know all and see all and feel all.

    Our sea below with a sheen of oil coating the surface and the colors dance with the sky. Our sky, they are now the same. They are one. Were they ever not? They were designed as one. Man and his constructive (destructive) way! The horizon was created by man, the separation of the Spirit from the body; the sky from the sea. The sky beckons the sea to continue the dance but the crimson horizon objects! Until now they had forgotten the others touch. Rapture!

    How could they let go? Once before but not again! The sky’s love for the sea was strong but the love for the sky, pent up in the abysmal depths of the sea was overwhelming. The sea rose up in a violent blue protest against the guarded horizon and the world boiled. Seas stood tall and fingers of mist reached out passionately – desperately to grasp the sky and unite. The sky, in turn sent down a deluge of such ferocity that the horizon, sensing destruction, shed a tear into the fray. At that all were One; Sea, sky, and Horizon all unified in synchronized throes signified by their mutual inseparability.

    A spark! A sliver of light where the indestructible horizon once reigned. Growing, expanding, the Sun rose and shed light on everything.


    And all that Drey could see was pain and darkness. He had been over run and consumed by a monster of an avalanche. The weight of the explosive blast caused the entire 15 foot thick snow pack to release tearing out trees and boulders along with it.

    He was caught and pounded from all directions while feeling the release of gravity. The particles were suspended around him as he launched over the ‘Pond Cliffs’ near the bottom of the mountain. He felt the earth and his limbs being torn backwards and his neck spinning and his eyes packed with debris.

    Then silence immediately accompanied by the weight of the slowing snow compressed and crushed more than thought possible. The world froze into still life save for Dreys still beating heart and his bleeding lips protruding into a miniscule pocket of air between snow chunks. He could breath and was alive but could not move. He could not move so much that he could not tell if he even could move. It was pitch black except for the visions in his mind scape. He could see faces flashing and blending and morphing at a quick rate. He could see their flesh and tendons and bones intermittently as each face blended into the next.

    He began counting faces and reached 1500 in what seemed like five seconds and then he felt a warmth. He could feel the euphoria of hypothermia or paralysis or both. But then the warmth became tangible. He could feel snow dribbling into water on his lips. The snow receded from his cheeks and forehead and he could open his eyes. He could see the 1500 faces blended into the void of the face of the Nightwalker. As the Nightwalker melted the snow and filled the growing cavern with a reddish pallor that emanated from his red slit eyes. Drey thought to scream but he realized he was not surprised. He had been having these dreams about drowning and feeling his lungs about to burst and a pretty angel came and pulled him free and he could breathe. But now he was not sure if the breathing was worth it.

    The Nightwalker moved into the space around his face and the snow continued to melt down his mangled torso and the heat felt hot on his face. He thought he could smell his nose hairs burning when the Beast reached and clawed him the rest of the way out of the snow.

    O’Malley leaned forward in his 5 point harness and tried to spot the suspect amidst the devastation on the mountain slope. He took charge of the SWAT team and was already in the air by the time the f15’s called in a confirmed strike and were put on hold to play back up. The SWAT helicopter was zig-zagging the lower 1/3 of the mountain. There was so much brown rock and debris it was hard to pick up the tiny speck of a most likely dead human.

    “Whoa! What the hell is that?!” He pointed as the pilot pulled the bird over on its side into a steep turn to go check it out. O’Malley felt a bit airsick by the abrupt maneuver. He could hear the pilot say, “It looks like a large bear, Sir.” O’Malley looked twice and was trying to gauge what he was looking at. It looked like a giant brown bear was digging a hole in the debris field. “Maybe we woke him from hibernation and he’s trying to go back to sleep?” The pilot laughed.

    O’Malley could see great heaves of snow being ejected out of the hole, “What the hell…” A second later O’Malley blinked and nearly missed the black streak of a creature moving into the nearby tree cover. “There it goes!” he called to the pilot. The helicopter turned and followed and quickly lost sight of the target. “That thing looks like a god damned Bigfoot!” the pilot exclaimed.

    O’Malley looked at his men; Conner, Jackson, Bates and Jimmy. It was a talented team with years of experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pilot said excitedly, “I see him!” and they all turned and could see a huge creature loping up the side of the snowy hillside very quickly. “What is that in his arm? – Holy shit it has a person! Holy shit that thing is like 20 feet tall?!” It was the first time O’Malley could really judge the size having no context with the adjacent trees and mountains. But when he saw the body that looked like limp rag doll under its arm, O’Malley’s heart skipped a beat. Now he was not so confident in his men.

    “He really is moving,” the pilot commented as he looked at the gauges, “pushing 25 mph.”

    “The target is moving northeast at about 25 mph. It is climbing and cruising at around the 15oo foot level,” O’Malley relayed his observations back to HQ. “I wonder why it doesn’t just duck in the woods and hide,” O’Malley thought to himself. He was not sure if this helicopter was equipped with an infrared sensor that would pick up body heat images.

    “What if I had no body heat?” A voice came over the radio into O’Malley’s ear. Startled he blurted out, “What’d you say?” All the men nodded, “Nothing, Sir,” as he looked them over. “Disregard,” he mumbled. It seemed like the target had a destination it was aiming for. Now it was basically bee lining down the backside of the mountain and now traversing across a series of insanely steep cliffed-out gullies and ravines.
    The helicopter kept following and the creature kept moving.

    “Sir, any thoughts on engagement? If I may?” Connor spoke up. Until then O’Malley was happy to follow, he was not sure how to engage. Let’s get in close and use the blow horn.” The pilot came in tight to the mountain and O’Malley put the megaphone to his mouth and commanded, “Stop moving, put your hands up.” The creature did not acknowledge.

    “Maybe he is deaf, Sir?” Connor offered. Sitting to his left Jackson chortled trying not to laugh.

    Meanwhile Bates seemed nervous. “Sir, I think we should call the jets back in and blast the fucker. You could be back home with your feet up by the fire just in time for the game.” All the men busted up laughing.

    “Or we could just blast Yogi bear there ourselves!” Jimmy interjected. Jimmy was known for being trigger happy.
    Just then the creature accelerated and started moving over the difficult terrain with astonishing speed. O’Malley was now curious to where they were being led.

    “Sir, we have about 30 minutes of fuel left and we are 25 minutes from base,” the pilot said as he pulled around the east side of the mountain and they could see the whole Wolf Mountain Mine Complex. It was a fairly nondescript cluster of buildings stuck in the middle of expansive mountain vista of blue and black and white. There was a road that climbed up the south flank from Kern Creek and a couple of buildings near the peak.

    “Can you land there?” O’Malley asked the pilot. “Sure we might be able to get some fuel there.”

    David could hear the beast approaching as its heavy feet crunched in the snow. He could also hear a helicopter coming up the valley. He attempted to open his eyes but they were frozen shut with ice and blood. He felt like he had been lying in the snow for quite a while with the cold wind whipping tiny ice particles into every crevice around his body. It was packed around his collar and ears and cuffs. He felt dead except for the orange glow of the sun he could see through his left eyelid. He was going to feel for his right eye but his arm would not move. He felt completely frozen, “Maybe I am dead?” he thought.

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    He tried with all of his effort to open his one eye and he could barely see out of a slit. The sun obliged and offered light and some warmth, enough for his eye to adjust and warm and open a bit more. He watched as the huge creature which had pursued him earlier now loped right on by aiming for the small summit cone nearby. He also looked to be dragging a person through the snow behind him as an angry looking helicopter came about to the left and spiraled in for a landing near the mine building. Men in black jumped out.

    The pilot liked the LZ at the mine station and he could see fuel drums stacked along one of the buildings. There were a couple of employees standing back as the helicopter blew up clouds of snow. The skids had barely touched the ground when O’Malley ordered his men out into the snow. They quickly put on high tech little snow shoes and slung their rifles over their shoulders. Most of them had sunglasses, O’Malley wish he did as the harsh light of the rising sun reflected off the snow made him squint.

    David watched from about half mile away from his frozen position with one eye wet and glistening. The Beast had veered to his right and was fast gaining the summit. The broad, low angled snow slopes gave way to a steep little rock outcrop that went vertical for the last 75 feet. On the tippy top it was a flat circular shape about 40 feet in diameter.

    David watched as the Beast nearly floated up the rock face with Drey slung over his shoulder. The SWAT team meanwhile was moving in single file taking turns breaking trail and fast approaching the steep pitch. The beast was now standing still with its back to David and the SWAT team. Drey was placed on a flat rock and the Beast appeared to position the visually lifeless Drey.

    David watched while the pilot tapped his foot impatiently while the little fuel pump whirred away sipping directly from the blue 55 gallon drum. The SWAT team split up now as O’Malley and Bates stayed back enough to keep a bead on the creature. The other three gingerly scrambled up the rocks, kicking steps in the snow as needed. Eventually they had to take off their snowshoes to get better purchase with the hard edged toes of their mountaineer boots.

    O’Malley muttered under his breath and watched the creature with his 6 x zoom. He could see the individual black hairs on its arm and the long sinewy muscles underneath. Was it a god damned gorilla? He had a sudden vision of King Kong on the top of the building with the girl…

    The three climbing SWAT guys were now all crouched with guns drawn and David could hear that they were saying something but he could not tell what. Connor shouted, “Put your hands up! Don’t move!” It just stood there as still as a full moon seen from a dusty hillside in the tropical pacific.

    Connor could see that the person on the ground was still breathing. He whispered to Jackson, “The guy is alive.” Jackson nodded, “What should we do? Let’s give it a 10 second count down and then open fire.”

    “Sounds good, Jimmy you hear… what tha?” Connor had turned to tell Jimmy the plan then saw that he had put his gun down and was slowly walking to the creature. O’Malley had nearly shit a brick when he saw Jimmy get up while the other two talked. Then he could see Connor turn and look then Connor and Jackson both put their guns down. O’Malley cursed through the radio, “This is not protocol!” Put they kept moving very slowly. “God damn it! We gotta get up there!” he said to Bates as they both moved to the base of the cliff. O’Malley struggled a bit as Bates made it to the top quickly and disappeared over the edge.

    O’Malley’s foot slipped but he caught himself as snow spindrift blew in his collar. David watched as he could see the pilot still pumping fuel but watching intently now, “What are those boys doing?” As Bates cleared the edge and soon dropped his gun and moved next to the other three who were standing aside the creature all looking out over Drey into the yawning abyss on the other side of the mountain. The flutes and spines of the mighty Petersen Headwall fell like stage curtains down to the ocean.

    O’Malley struggled but finally made the top, as David watched. He saw when all five men and the beast stood still. Then the Beast bent over and pulled the Box out of Dreys backpack that he was still wearing. It was the real Box, not the box of detergent. It was the tomb of some 1499 special souls collected and deemed useful to the needs and development of the Nightwalker and now with Drey about to be recruited as number 1500. At that the Nightwalker would Self Actualize and become free of remaining attached to the fate of that stupid wood box. He’d accrued enough power and experience that he could now dwell in the physical form, forever. The Earth’s population of humans would continuously feed his hunger.

    David watched as the five SWAT team members moved together and picked Drey up as the Nightwalker stood to the side and appeared to be performing a ceremony, if not simply playing with his marionettes. Then they all squatted and extended as they tossed Drey over the cliff into oblivion.

    O’Malley later recalled how he snapped out of the trance the second Drey left his hands and arced away down the cliff. He was still mesmerized as the body accelerated away but was now seeing that he had done the throwing. It appeared that the rest of the SWAT team popped out of the trance also when they did a quick clown show and tripped and ran back to their position with guns in hand.

    O’Malley felt so incensed at being taken control of that he quickly ordered, “Open fire!” All five unloaded their weapons into the creature as it fell and writhed and jolted on the ground. Red blood oozed out of the many wounds. O’Malley ordered, “Cease fire!”

    Silence except for the labored and ragged breathing of the great beast. O’Malley made quick eyes with Connor and they both got up and hesitantly moved forward. They got to about five feet out and stopped. It seemed pitiful now, laying in the snow. The Nightwalker felt pain now for the first time. Now rooted in the 3rd dimension his physical body was now more susceptible to attacks that make use of classical physics.

    The other three SWAT guys moved forward and they all looked. “What the fuck is it?” Jimmy ventured. The nightwalker rolled on to its back from its side and the men jumped back. It let out a deep sigh and as each man looked at its face, they saw a reflection of their own. Jackson saw Jackson; Bates saw Bates; Jimmy saw Jimmy; Connor saw Connor and O’Malley saw O’Malley and he was smiling and then Bates saw Bates start laughing and then Connor saw Connor reach with a long spindly clawed finger and flipped his sleeve up revealing a stop watch set up tied directly to a suicide bomb setup that was strapped across the creatures huge chest. At the same instant all of the highly trained and experience mind’s read, “BOMB!” as they all ran and dove as the Nightwalker hit the button letting off a thunderous explosion that sent rocks and snow flying.

    David watched as the SWAT guys appeared to gracefully swan dive in unison and tuck and roll on the slope 75 feet down. David’s eye jerked and looked skyward. He could see a speck of debris arcing up and away and he could see it arcing down now and it hit the snow and rolled and then plunked into a small crevasse. It was the Box, he knew it. He kept his eye trained there for the following hours as the SWAT team and the military and the mine people all scoured the area for clues. But they never saw David sitting so motionless like a cluster of rocks poking out of the snow.

    David watched as the last helicopter flew away and the last truck made its way down the mountain. And then darkness came.

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    Chapter 40) David; Alaska, 2031

    David saw the wall of water stand up on the horizon. Actually he could see three waves as he let out a whistle and shouted, “Big set coming through!” At that he turned his paddle board out to sea and paddled as hard as he could so as to not get caught on the inside of the breaking waves. He looked back and laughed because he could see Avery way back on the inside. “You’re gonna get pounded!” he hollered before turning his attention back towards the open North Pacific Ocean.

    They had been surfing in the cold water for over an hour now. They were an hour long boat ride from Seward, Alaska surfing waves that are born of the mighty storms of the Gulf of Alaska. There was nothing between them and the North Shore of the Hawaiian Islands, 3000 miles to the south.

    David had spent a fair amount of time out here over the previous year.

    “There was no time for reflection now,” he knew that he had to get out over this next wave so that he could hopefully catch the next one, the third and largest one of the set. “This has to be the biggest wave of the day,” he thought as he braced and maneuvered his board around 180 degrees. The green wall of water rose higher and higher as David paddled and paddled now trying to match the speed of the wave.

    This was his favorite part, the anticipation and acceleration. Surfing was different than skiing in some ways and similar in others. When you ski a Mountain it just sits there unmoving, waiting for you to choose your run. The snow conditions might change or it might avalanche but it is basically a static environment, compared to the rolling alive nature of being on the ocean. Riding any wave is an act of improvisation as the energy of the wave, which has travelled thousands of miles, is spent in one last dynamic display.

    David thought these things in the fleeting moments of silence one could only find deep in a green colored barrel spawned from the deep Pacific. He raced down the line and braced with his paddle on the steep face of the wave. He could hear the echo of the heavy lip of the wave crashing down behind him and for a moment he could not see because of the spray blasting past him. And then another second later he burst into the light and pulled off the shoulder of the wave into the bright June sunlight.

    He was ecstatic and let out a celebratory holler, “Wooo! Did you see that?” He called to Avery who was just now making his way out past the white water. Avery was smiling and then he pointed and let out a whistle. David turned and looked and could see an even bigger set coming in.

    “Oh shit!” he muttered as he again started paddling out so as to not get caught on the inside. These bigger waves were expected. They had started surfing at dead low tide, around 9am. Usually from about 1-3 hours after low one could expect larger waves to be produced on the underwater shoal that sticks out from the beach. The bigger the swell the further out the waves will break and this shoal can hold big waves up to the 20-30 foot range. Today the average wave would have been in the 6-8 foot range which is more than enough to have a good time but with these bigger sets pushing into the ten foot range things could get serious.

    David thought these things as he stood and paddled furiously. He knew he was not going to make it over the wave so he dived head first into the water as deep as he could so the wave would pass over head. He could feel the icy water on his face while his body was sweating in the five millimeter thick wetsuit, gloves and booties.

    Dark, silence. He could feel the wave pull on his ten foot board and then he could feel the wave pass. He popped to the surface facing towards shore. He gave a yank with his leg against the leash and the board glided in his direction. He clambered on to the board and turned out to sea just in time to see another huge wave about to drop on his head. He dove off again and repeated the move under the wave. He popped up again and again saw another wave coming in.

    “Holy smokes, I am getting tired here,” he thought. Dive, silence. Come to the surface and see another wave. David could feel a panic starting to rise in his gut. He was gassed out, struggling to maintain composure. He dove again as deep as he could. This time he could feel the bottom with his hands. The beach was lined with rocks ranging from basketball sized to the size of small car. He came to the surface but now could at least touch the bottom. He felt relived knowing that the set had to end sometime. He had a moment when he was able to look over and see his boat which was anchored about one hundred yards beyond the normal breaking zone of the waves.

    He could see the twenty foot long boat riding up the face of a fair sized wave as the next wave pounded him on the head. He came to the surface and was relieved to see a lull in the set. He looked the other direction and could see that Avery was in the same position, pushed way inside but smiling and he gave a wave.

    David yelled, "I am going to move the boat outside a bit!” He was worried that as the tide was now rising the waves would get bigger than originally anticipated. He figured it was better to be more safe than sorry. He paddled quickly to the boat during the lull between sets. He hopped in the boat and dropped his board leash loosely on the rear cleat. He then set the choke on the throttle and turned the key to start. The 60 horsepower outboard sprang to life and idled quietly while David climbed forward through the cabin to pull in the eighty feet of anchor line. They were only in twenty feet of water but he had wanted a longer scope to account for the heavy swells.

    What he did not account for was the boat becoming outright swamped in heavy seas. He pulled the anchor line quickly now. Water dripped off the anchor line around his feet. He glanced up and out to sea and his heart stopped. He could see an even bigger set then before coming in from the horizon.

    “Oh my god!” he said out loud to himself.
    He looked to his right and could see Avery paddling out to sea as he apparently saw the huge set too. One, two, three more pulls and the anchor chain clanged against the side of the boat. He threw the anchor in and jumped back to the steering console gunned the throttle just as the first wave in the set loomed over head. The boat climbed the steep face of the wave and launched off the top and was suspended briefly in the air before coming down the other side. David looked back and saw that his board had come undone from the boat because of his half-assed loop on the cleat. He cursed and looked forward to see the second wave rising higher than the first.
    As the boat climbed David could feel it pulling almost vertical on the face. He had to make a split second decision. He did not want to be tangled in the cabin of the boat if it should topple backward. He turned, and without pulling back on the throttle, dived straight back off the stern of the boat. He angled to the side a little trying to avoid the boat landing on top of him.

    He did not feel the ice cold water this time as he dove as deep as possible. He thought about how things quickly got out of hand. When he got back up to the surface he imagined that he would see his poor boat upside down with the prop spinning madly in the air before the motor died. But instead he saw it jumping over the face of the next wave, cleanly heading straight out to sea.

    “God damn it!” he cursed out loud. There was a lull between sets and he could see his board and paddle floating nearby. He got on his board and looked for Avery. He could see him way on the inside in waist deep water. He obviously and been pummeled and pushed to shore. David waved and Avery gave an arms out ‘what the fuck’ kind of gesture.

    David watched as the people all left and the sun went down. It was a clear night and he could see the stars twinkling as the moon cast a silver blue glow on the clean mountain tops to the south. The plateau he was on gently sloped down from the summit cone which was off to his left. The smooth slope rolled down to the right and gradually pitched over into the lower valley and the tree line.

    He knew the drainage rolled away in his periphery while his focus was on the lone black gash he could see across the far southern edge of the plateau. In the moonlight it looked like a coy smile but then he could see teeth growing where the windward surface snow had blown in along the uphill edge. With only one eye working he could only estimate, How big? How far?

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    For the first time since he came to rest in the position he tried to move.

    As David paddled he recollected the gumption it took to move just his toe, then his foot and fingers and hands. Soon his right arm was able to break out of the shell of snow like a newborn chick. He broke and grasped in fits and starts. Soon he was exposed to the chill night air and the constant breeze that had picked up from the interior to the north. He knew he was slipping deeper into hypothermia the longer he sat there. He eventually was able to roll from his left side forward and downhill to his hands and knees.

    David paddled and saw his boat which he could still barely see in the distance. He figured that he must have got the throttle half way back to neutral as it did not seem to be moving that fast. He had only started paddling on the remote chance that the boat would run out of gas. The boat had two twenty five gallon tanks. He knew that he would have run out of gas in the first tank soon and he would have turned a little valve to start pulling gas out of the second tank.

    In his head he could not remember, “Did I plan on turning it on the way back. Or did I preemptively turn knowing that I would have had to turn it soon anyway?”

    He knew that he had not switched it, “The boat should run out soon,’ he thought.

    He did remember his body warming as he slogged across the sloping field of snow. As he warmed he unzipped his jacket and then he noticed that he was not wearing his vest?! When did I take it off? I never take it off. Perplexed he continued and aimed for the smiling crevasse which from this closer vantage point it appeared to be a gaping maw than anything else. He traversed around to the downhill side and got on his hands and knees and crawled to the edge.

    David paddled as he could now see his boat in the hazy distance. He remembered how he had peered into the crevasse and could see his vest draped perfectly on a cone of snow at the end of a smooth ramp by which he could access from the end of the main crack. “What the hell…?” he thought as he felt emboldened now as he ventured into the deep blue walled cavern.

    When he grabbed the vest and put it back on he felt a surge of images flood his mind. He saw the ocean and the tree covered islands and then he saw a river pause in mid flow and retreat to the mountains. There he saw the river freeze into a glacier. The blue ice radiated color and then turned into a deep red and then appeared to melt into a lava flow as it moved back down the mountains toward the sea. He could see palm trees along a point at one end of a long beach. The lava flowed into the churning waves and released a thick steam into the sky. The steam formed clouds and it began to rain.

    David was paddling so hard now that he had not noticed that it had begun to rain in the present. It must have started lightly but now it was falling in a heavy deluge. He tried to keep his head up to see where he was going but the water was now driving into his eyes. He remembered how when he finally did emerge out of the crevasse and descended the long valley along the mine road he fully expected the FBI to be waiting at his truck or at his house. He remembered the Russians attacking… But who was in the helicopter? The authorities had found Avery wrapped around a tree but he did not remember a thing. Drey’s body was never found from where David had seen him hurled out into space.

    His eyes burned now. He tasted the water falling down his face onto his lips and he tasted salt water.
    “How could that be?”

    Just then in the not so far distance he could see his boat sitting still in the flat calm sea. The closer he got he could see it appeared to be sitting in a clearing in the weather. It looked like it was back in the sun. He paddled happy in the rain for a few more minutes until he came to within one hundred feet of the boat and he could see someone in it!

    “How could that be?” He was cautious now. Maybe it was a good Samaritan, but where was his boat then?
    He moved closer now as he came around the side of the boat and then his jaw dropped…
    The person looked just like his work partner Pete, who had drown in the helicopter crash. David’s board continued its glide, leaving small swirls in the water behind him. David drifted silent for a second then saw that the person who looked like Pete was wearing David’s vest. The vest of Great Swimming Wolf. Just as he was about to blurt out “Hey what are you doing?” The person said, “I have come to take what is mine.”

    David stammered “But how…?”

    And then the person who appeared to be Pete said, “Go deeper and deeper until the thrill of the Darkness overcomes your fear of the Light.”

    David felt a shudder and he looked to his feet and his board was beginning to shimmer like the surface of the water he was floating on. Than he could see no board, just deep, deep water under his feet as he sank knee deep, then waist deep. He started to panic and tried to walk to the boat that was so close. He looked and Pete was gone. He kept sinking slowly and then was neck deep. He could feel his board leash on his ankle pulling him down like an anchor.

    He was under water now holding his breath. He bent and struggled to release the leash but he was being pulled faster now and the flow of the water around his body resisted him reaching.

    He looked up and could see the silhouette of the boat bobbing, dappled in the sunlight. He saw images of being out on the water with his family as a kid right after his father had built it. He saw the countless trips it had successfully returned from. But he had never seen it from this angle. It was a beautiful shape as it seemed smaller and smaller. The green light faded. “Such a tiny little boat. Such a broad deep ocean.”

    His lungs were being crushed by the ocean and by the weight of the memory of not being able to save Pete. Crushed by the memory of seeing Pete's wife and four kids all a mess as he explained how he had tried to save the father who had been working so hard to provide for them. The light receded to black and he could not hold his breath any longer. With a final gasp he let the cold water of the north pacific fill his lungs.

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    41) Tamas; Hawaii 1779

    Tamas’ eyes bugged open as he rolled to his side and retched out a lung full of warm salt water. He heaved in the air and could hear people chattering excitedly. He heaved and retched so hard he thought he might break a rib. He could hear people cheering as his eyes adjusted to the light. The salt water and sand in his eyes burned but he could smell the sweet aroma of palm trees nearby.

    He felt like thrashing around but he could feel people restraining him. Loving him, reassuring him. He could only see blurry images of people but he could feel the hand of someone on his cheek and forehead. He could hear sobbing and laughing. After a moment he could clearly see his friends and family all huddled around him. He could see that it was Ke’ana who had caressed his face.

    He finally asked, “What is going on?”

    Ke’ana sobbed with joy as she hugged him and explained, “We were out swimming and playing in the waves, just you and me when a large rogue set of waves came in from the sea. I was close enough to the shore to dive under the white water but Tamas, you tried to swim to the outside and ended up getting caught and picked up. The waves were so big! You were gone for so long I could not find you. I ran back to your village for help and when we got here you were washed on the beach.”

    “We were sobbing for your death when before we had all been celebrating the return of Lono! Do you remember?” Tamas was bewildered. He saw images of people in faraway lands fighting and destroying and he saw the Nightwalker orchestrating and he remembered how Cook had come to the island.

    Tamas asked, “Is Cook here?”

    The people looked confused, “Who is Cook? It is Lono who has returned!”

    Tamas felt his hands clench into fists.
    He felt like he knew more than he should and said, “It is not Lono who is here it is Cook and he brings with him The Great Swimming Wolf which is a Nightwalker that will destroy our people!”

    “What are you talking about?!” Ke’ana burst out.
    Tamas knew there was too much to explain but he knew what he must do.

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    End PART 2... get some more popcorn.

    You wouldn't think I'd leave you hanging on a plot device so cliche as "hypoxia induced fever dream" now do ya?

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    42) Kanu; Hawaii

    With eyes closed, Kanu tried to confirm his memory of the turns in the road that he could feel in the sway of the truck. He was able to predict when his Uncle was going to shift the manual transmission because he had done this exercise countless times in his life. Most of the time his eyes were open but in the early morning he would let his eyes close and try to chased dreams from the night before.

    The rhythmic lefts and rights lulled him until the steep turns midway up forced his Uncle to down shift all the way to 1st gear in order to keep the RPMs up. Gravity would pull him back into his seat. Usually Kanu would stir and know he had a good half hour until the gas station at the Bypass. He knew he would want a coffee by then. Today he felt like he needed to keep his eyes open even though he was more tired than usual.

    He had stayed up too late trying to make sense of it all. He wanted to take inventory of his surroundings to make sure things stayed the way they had always been.

    Kanu's eyes fell heavy and Uncle chided, “Little Brother, what you doing over there? You sleep or no?”

    “I'm tired,” was his non-answer.

    “By now you sawing logs most days!” Uncle continued.

    “Bad sleep last night, the waves were too loud.”
    They passed a row of mail boxes that signaled the top of the road. They would come to a complete stop under grey skis and look both ways before pulling out and turning left northward on the Mamalahoa Highway. It was always grey at the mail boxes. Down where Kanu and Uncle lived by the sea it was sunny more often. Hot like the lava which flowed to form the land.

    But up in the forest it was always grey. Colorless trees stood tangled and starved of light beneath the steady flow of volcanic clouds that ebbed and swirled in the lee of Mauna Loa.

    “The vog been bad eh?” Uncle offered. Kanu could only hear the words in the distance. He knew this section of road as well. Heading north to the town of Kailua on the Kona side of the Big Island, Hawaii. He knew it was going to be hot up north. It was always hot up north. The winds pushed fresh air over the Kohala Range and down the west coast all the way to Milolii, where Kanu and Uncle lived, at the bottom of the hill and near the bottom of the island.

    At this time of day it was still cool and perfect. Kanu wore a thick cotton hoodie as he nodded in and out of slumber with his head leaning balanced between the headrest of the seat and the door frame.

    “You need coffee,” Uncle said as he turned off the truck engine. It was a late 90's grey Ford Ranger that was beat and battered from a life time on the Big Island. Gallons of dried pigs blood and fish slime had dried and congealed over the years in the bed of the truck. Kanu thought these things as he stepped into the parking lot and dramatically stretched and faced the broad western slope of Mauna Loa. He could see the rays of the Sun slicing above the ridge top but no sun.

    The Napo'opo'o gas station was shabby, a relic of a by gone era. It sat 100 yards from where the new lower Bypass Road tied into the old Hawaiian Belt Road. The Bypass Road was still new and contentious. It was built to ease traffic on the narrow and windy Belt Road, which it did, but it also created a direct flow of energy and people from the Kona city core. The new world was pressuring the old.

    Kanu took his time making his way to the pots of coffee in the back of the store. He was examining all the logos on the candy bars and donuts and potato chips. Were they how he remembered? Would anything jump out and strike him as being different? Changed?

    “Come on Brother!” Uncle called from the cash register, “We gonna be late!” Kanu realized that he was holding up his coffee cup and staring at it. He hurried to the register and put a dollar on the counter and went outside and slouched into his seat. He held his coffee cup up, the logo said 'Coffee-Mate'. Uncle navigated back into traffic. He turned right at the light and continued along the original Belt Road. The Bypass was quick to get to downtown but not quicker to get through town to the north.

    “What cho coffee gonna bite you?” Uncle chided.

    Kanu seemed distracted, “This coffee cup says 'Coffee-Mate' with the dash, has the dash always been there?”

    “Yeah maybe, whatcho mean?” Uncle answered.

    “But I think it used to be different...” Kanu pondered.

    “Bah! The fukking Haole going slow, looking round!” Uncle interrupted.

    Kanu smiled at Uncle's daily dose of road rage. It was usually directed at the rear end of Chrysler mini van which is a favorite of the hordes of white tourists from the main land that flood the island nearly year round. It had been getting worse in recent years. Oahu and Maui had been considered crowded for years while the Big Island was kind of the forgotten island.

    Oahu had the best waves and Maui had the best beaches and Kauai had the pristine lush jungle. But the Big Island was known for its fresh raw state. There are miles and miles of expansive lava fields that have not had time to be buried under vegetation. There is also a constant presence of vog or volcanic gases that get emitted from the active fissures and rift zones on the east side of the island.

    People were catching on to the fact that the Big Island was actually really nice in most places and real estate was still cheap compared to the other islands. The beaches were hidden and are harder to get to but they were all gems once discovered. Diamonds in the rough.

    “These fukkin' haoles come build dis new road den dey drive the old road?! Don't they know we gotta get to work? Dey come here all rich and buy our land and we no afford shit!”

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    Kanu was used to this daily rant in one form or another. He was discretely looking at the coffee cup in his lap and trying to imagine the logo without a dash in it. It seemed plausible. Uncle turned up the music. Contemporary ukulele notes plinked through the tinny speakers. Uncle rolled his meaty fingers on the steering wheel while they waited at another stop light.

    “Every day, all the people go to work at the same time and we sit here,” Uncle gestured to the traffic jam. “We should go early in the dark and be done before lunch, eh Little Bother?”

    Kanu lamented the inevitable heat of the coming day. He and his Uncle were both rock wall builders. All of the Hawaiian islands are made of volcanic rock. On the Big Island vegetation has not yet been covered by vegetation in many areas so it is very abundant and useful resource. Many of the neighborhoods climb up the side of the 13,000 Mauna Loa and the American suburb style homes all have level green lawns that need to be terraced flat and supported by rock retaining walls. In another application in which Kanu was painfully familiar, the rock is used to build partition fences between properties.

    They would use string lines and plywood forms to shape and hold the rocks while the concrete cured and held the rocks together. Kanu looked at his own hands. They were calloused and rough from months of handling rocks all day. He was 18 and had only been a rock wall builder for 6 months but he was sure it might not be a wise lifetime career choice.

    He put the coffee cup in the cup holder on the dash of the truck and crossed his arms. He could feel that his biceps had definitely grown and his back and shoulders bulged. He felt like the increased strength helped his surfing and for that he was grateful. The problem was that he didn't have any time to surf now. By the time he was done working for the day the wind would usually be up and the waves blown to mush.

    Uncle finally pulled to the last stop light at the Kona Airport. Beyond was open highway for another 10 minutes to work. They had been driving for an hour now. On the corner of the highway there were a few people standing holding signs to the traffic saying things like 'Keep Mauna Kea Free'... 'Sacred Ground: Mauna Kea'...'We are Protectors' and so on.

    Uncle let out a honk of support and flashed a Shaka with his left hand.

    “See there? That is what we should be doing!” Uncle pointed at the people, “Instead we are going to work for pennies to make room for more of the Haoles that they are fighting!”

    “What you think they are fighting?” Kanu asked trying to sound innocent.

    “Bah! You know what I think!” Kanu wasn't trying to upset Uncle just trying to get him to explain why he thinks what he does. Uncle remained silent when he pulled through the neighborhood security gate but still flashed another Shaka at the security guard.

    They pulled into the main parking lot where all the workers in the whole subdivision would meet and then disperse and pile into a collection of different pickup trucks to be shuttled to the different work sites. Uncle parked and they both got out. His little Ford Ranger was one that they used to ferry workers. Three adults could sit on each side in the bed of the truck and two would sit on the tail gate.

    Both Uncle and Kanu worked in the 'rock wall department' of the large contracting company called General Island Construction. GIC as it was known had anywhere from 5-15 new homes being built all within an area called the Hualalai District. It was an expansive neighborhood for the super rich to buy their 5th or 10th home with price ranging from $20-30m. Many of the houses sat empty for all but 2 weeks of the year with AC cranked and pools humming. Gardeners tended to beautiful hedges and exotic tropical flowers.

    Uncle sat on his tailgate as other workers pulled up and parked nearby. It was now 7:15 and they would drive at 7:25. A couple of white guys walked up and Kanu could hear them talking about the protestors out on the corner. Kanu knew that Uncle was already on edge about the subject so he stepped away a few feet around a tree to get a better view of the local surf break. It is called 'Kukio' which is Hawaiian for 'stand and defecate'.

    Kanu always wondered about the name. There is a nice sheltered tide pool that ancient Hawaiians may have used as a restroom facility. On the other hand the surf break was considered to be more on the challenging side. As the swell came in it humped up thick and mean in the rear, while the actual surfable face never stands above head high. The water will rush backward off of the reef and then jack up and smash into the shallows.

    More than once Kanu had stood and effectively shit himself because he saw that he was out of position on the wave and was about to be pummeled into the bottom. When that happened the relatively shallow face collapsed as the hulking body of the actual swell rolled over the reef putting the helpless surfer under 20' of water.

    Kanu stepped back to the now mostly assembled crew and could hear one of the white guys say, “If it is so sacred and a connection to Heaven, it seems a telescope is designed to see into Heaven...”

    He finished the sentence trepidatiously as he could see the vein in Uncles forehead start to pulse as he subconsciously started curling and uncurling his meaty fists. “Brotha, of course you gonna say dat! Because that how you see your god from the top of our mountain. We don't need telescope to see God. It is all around us. The A'ina, the Land, it is us.”

    During this conversation Kanu dabbed sweat off of his brow and remembered one of the Mandela Effects he had seen in a YouTube video the night before. The Ford Logo. He casually walked up to the front of the truck and wiped the dust off the face of the ubiquitous logo. It was different.

    At that Uncle spat in the dirt and Kanu jumped in the front seat not before catching the nervous glances the guys in back shot to each other, clearly worried for their safety now with the crazy local driving the truck.

  14. #89
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    43) David; Alaska

    David was wearing all of his warm weather gear but his hands and feet were still cold. He was crammed into the backseat of a small single engine plane known as a Super Cub. The outside air temperature was around -25F with the air temperature in the cab not being much warmer.

    They had been in the air for almost an hour without being able to move around to keep warm. David ignored the pain in his finger tips and stared out the window mapping his escape. They had taken off from Lake Hood which is located in West Anchorage adjacent to the large Ted Steven International Airport. As they took off north across the upper arm of Cook Inlet David looked down and analyzed the brown silty water. It is heavily tide affected and choked with broad frozen pans of sea water and dirt.

    He found himself thinking “If we go down here, I'll go to that ice-pan... if we crash here I'll go there...” and so on. After only 5 minutes they were over land again and banked left, westward. David was sitting in the right side of the plane. He could see little duck hunter cabins sitting out on the broad mudflats all boarded up for the winter.

    It was the 1st week of January and the sun barely crept over the horizon at this time of year at this latitude. It was a bright clear day and the sun cut long shadows behind the grey deserted structures on the beach. 100 miles to the north the looming bulk of Foraker and Denali stood tall and frozen. The plane was cruising at about 1500 ft as it approached the souther flank of Mt. Susitna. From Anchorage it looks like a woman laying on her back so it is commonly referred to as Sleeping Lady.

    As they contoured around the southern slopes of her hairline the Talachulitna Plateau came into view. Beyond laid the south western arm of the AK range with Denali now at their 4 o'clock.

    The destination of the Super Cub was Judd Lake and a helicopter ski lodge that sat on the south shore of the lake. The lodge had recently been purchased by a wealthy banker from New York. He was investing over $5m in new cabin construction for himself and paying guests.

    Clients would pay $13,000k for a week of top notch wine, dine and powder skiing in some of the world's most stunning mountains. The lodge truly is one of a kind and David felt privileged to be able to work there. But he could also feel the need to escape the closer the small plane came to landing on the windswept frozen lake.

    Small foothills struck up from the north end of the lake and were covered in a bristle of alders and a blanket of snow. The plane banked a hard left and pulled 180 deg back to the south with the nose aimed at the landing strip. A stuttered, rutty landing and whirls of snow. The plane taxied and pulled adjacent to the south shore of the lake.
    Before they landed David could see the whole job site from the air.

    Tractors and skid steers bustled over the dirty snow. There was a collection of 6-7 smaller buildings and two larger lodges and he could see people on the roofs of the buildings. The pilot killed the engine and the plane fell silent. David and the other passenger, a guy named Mark, climbed out and retrieved their luggage. They were told to limit their bags to 50lbs and it was tough trying to pack all the winter gear and tools he needed.

    At -30deg it was colder here then in Anchorage. David was shown where he was going to stay and he was told dinner would be at 6:30 pm. Later when David stood in line for dinner he began to feel the Fear return. He thought he could run and hide in a remote lodge in the middle of nowhere. It started in his lower chest and then he felt a rise in his heart, like the feeling you get when you see a cop car in your rear view mirror. There is that brief moment when you don't know if he is going to pull you over or the next guy.

    The food looked good. Mashed potatos and steamed asparagus with steak or chicken option. Chocolate cake for desert. David helped himself to a moderate portion and found a seat at one of the two long tables that would seat 12-15 people each. He looked around the table and did not know anyone except the foreman who he met briefly and the guy he flew in with. People made small talk about the upcoming Super Bowl and cars and work.

    It was a rag tag bunch of blue collar workers tired after a long day of working in the cold. Most would eat, take a shower and go to sleep early because the next day started early with 6:30 breakfast and work by 7.

    David could hear a conversation at the end of the table getting heated. A guy named Luke was berating a guy named Lee about whether he had actually been to war or not. At age 27, Lee was in active military for the previous 9 years until he was done and found himself working in construction.

    Luke asked loudly “So have you been in the shit or not?! You told me you have but then you told this other guy you have never left AK?” Lee shifted in his seat uncomfortable and didn't say anything. Another guy chipped into Luke and said, “I think he is actually in deep psy-ops. He is just spitten' disinformation at us to keep us guessing.”

    Half the table erupted into laughter. Luke turned back to Lee, “Well what us it, toilet scrubber or high end spy?”

    Lee smiled coyly, “I guess I'll have to keep you guessing.” They all laughed. Lee was in on the joke but David was not. He did not know why something of that nature could be made fun of.

    Someone offered insight, “Yeah one time I saw Lee chicken out on climbing a ladder to the top of Cabin One! How can you be CIA if you can't climb a ladder?!”

    Luke answered, “He is probably pulling the long con on us. He has probably torched villages in Afghanistan!” Everyone laughed.
    David could feel his teeth gritting.

    Lee said, “Yeah I just flicked the match and walked away... walked away”

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    The words echoed in David's ear. He knew Lee was talking to him and as Lee smiled David saw through his teeth an almost imperceptible flick of a whippy forked tongue.

    David looked around to see if anyone else noticed. No one else did as they guffawed and continued to chow down on the good food. David thought about how he had flicked a match and signaled the beginning of the end of the life he once knew.

    His mind instantly flashed back to that first hit which seemed so long ago. David was a rookie on the Anchorage Fire Department. He had passed the rigorous vetting process which includes intense physical and psychological screening. The firefighters on the AFD are also EMTs, so half to three quarter of all calls are non fire related.
    Car accidents, domestic violence and alcohol related domestic non emergencies used to dominate the attention of the fire department. Now more than ever people are calling 911 because they are having bad experiences with the new drug called Spice.

    Spice had reached epidemic levels in some parts of Anchorage in conjunction with heavy opioid and marijuana use. Spice is a synthetic version of the THC found in the marijuana plant and people smoke it because it is legal and does not come up on a pre employment drug test.

    The problem is that sometimes people have very bad reaction to the drug and the AFD is called. In some departments Spice calls make up 90% of all calls. The AFD has to respond to all calls, some being more necessary than others. One patient may be experiencing rapid heart rate and nothing more while another brand of Spice is causing seizures, non-responsiveness, vomiting and intense hallucinations. As law enforcement catches on to specific brands and formulas, the drug manufacturers change a few strategic ingredients just enough to avoid being called illegal and the stuff is back out being sold in tobacco and liquor stores.

    In David's first year as EMT he had personally been called on over 100 Spice incidents. He could remember the call that changed his life. The call was for a “unresponsive white male, late 20's early 30's. Near the corner of 3rd and Gambell.” All AFD knew that cross street address. It is just a couple of blocks from the Brother Francis shelter which is Anchorage's largest temporary homeless facility. There are dozens of alcohol and drug related calls to the area on any given night. David was working at AFD Station #1 and responded to the call.

    David had worked from Station #1 many times. It is the station where they send rookies to test their skills and endurance when it comes to non-stop calls 24 hrs a day.

    He recited, “BSI, scene is safe” over and over in his head like he used to do in EMT training. Body Substance Isolation is the reminder to wear latex gloves and eye protection etc. And protocol is established that the scene must be previously declared safe by the local law enforcement, usually Anchorage Police or State Troopers before AFD can work the scene.

    In this case he saw a couple of APD officers standing near a chain link fence adjacent to a 'Falafel King' parking lot. The patient was laying on the pavement nearby gently rocking on his side.

    “He has been sitting there a while, seems alright,” one of the officers said, “he is all yours.” David could see that they were bored if not indifferent to this latest OD. He turned to his partner Tony and they launched into their routine which mostly consisted of administering oxygen.

    Tony had been a paramedic for over 15 years and David often asked him why he chose to keep working downtown at Station #1 when he could have moved on to greener pastures in South Anchorage at Huffman Station or Bayshore Station. Tony was a bit overweight and David noticed his jowels would jiggle when he laughed. “I like to keep it real, remind myself why I do this. These people need us more then anyone...”

    David always thought his answer was a bit pretentious. The Bayshore Station was like a country club compared to Station #1. The APD guys went and sat in their cruiser while David and Tony cautiously approached the guy on the ground. More often than not, these calls turned into exercises in patience and amateur psycho-therapy. Oftentimes the patient would be scared or disoriented and the medics would had to try and get them on a gurney and in the ambulance.

    They were told that the patients name was Jeremy. He was pale and skinny wearing ratty jeans and a dark hoodie. David could see needle scars on his arms and between his fingers. Jeremy sat there and kept gently rocking and mumbling to himself while David and Tony put an oxygen mask on his face and loaded him into the ambulance.
    David thought to himself how he was getting better at dealing with all of this bullshit. Tony hopped in the driver seat and David rode in back for the 5 minute drive to AK Regional Hospital. Normally David would strap one of the patients arms over their head and the other down at their side but in this case Jeremy was being so cooperative David only strapped his hands down the sides and didn't do his feet.

    He had been distracted by his ex-wife. His very recent ex-wife who, as far as David could tell, was going to keep getting her way in not letting him see their beautiful two year old Daughter Beth Ann.

    “Baby Beth, my sweet Baby Beth,” he would call to her in his mind.

    “She pushed me to get this job...”
    “It's a real job,” she'd say.

    “You'll get benefits,” she'd say.

    It was a real job and he did get benefits. But now he worked too much. He was never home and when he was he was too tired to want to do anything but sit on his iPhone. That is what he did all night at the station, just waiting for calls because he was so excited. He was the new guy and he wanted to make sure that he was the first out of his room and the first down the stairs and the first to his boots...

    But then he would be wrecked the next day at home and then have to go back for another 48 hour shift the day after. So many calls for people on Spice. So many people foaming at the mouth and snarling and then there is this guy. David looked down and was slightly taken aback when he saw that Jeremy had been calmly looking at him. David felt like he was being studied.

    A thin smile crept across Jeremy's grey lips as he said, “I can see everything.”

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    44) Kanu; Hawaii

    Uncles fingers held tight on the steering wheel. “Deez fukkin' haoles!” he gestured over his shoulder to the back of his truck. Kanu looked back with mild amusement and could see the guys in back hanging on tight as Uncle drove through the curvy streets a bit faster than usual. Uncle pulled up to the job site and everyone hopped out of the truck and quickly dispersed to start the work day.

    Uncle was slow getting out as Kanu started getting tools out of their big job box. Trowels, levels, string line, shovels, etc. After a few minutes Kanu made his way back to the grey Ranger to get his water bottle. He stopped at the Ford logo on the tail gate and held his finger out to touch it to confirm that what he was seeing was real. He could swear that something was different about the iconic blue logo embossed in silver with the one and only Henry Ford signature.

    Kanu was interrupted as Uncle finally got out of the truck and reluctantly put a smile on his face. “Hoa, Little brother! Its gonna be a fine day! What you say we make da rocks sing?!?” Kanu felt a little surge of enthusiasm for the day as well as they set to work. Uncle was a proud rock wall builder and he always told Kanu to be proud.

    “You know, Little Brother, we have always been rock builders.” Kanu knew this because Uncle had told him many times. “When we place the rocks they tell us where they want to go. And if sometime you having trouble getting the fit, you can call on your ancestors and they will whisper in your ear what the rock is trying to say. Each of these rocks were put here by Pele and have been waiting for you to come along and listen to their story.” At that Uncle tossed a football sized jagged stone in Kanu's direction to make sure he had his attention.

    Kanu liked to hear Uncle's stories. It made him feel like he was part of something bigger. He looked around the job site. To the north he could see stud walls being framed up on a property adjacent to where he worked. The rock wall he and Uncle were building was to act as a fence between the two properties.

    To the south he could see a crew of Tahitians working to build concrete forms for the next house to be build down the line. Uncle could see Kanu looking. “Those guys came here first and dey still building the foundation for how things go. Look Little Brother! You complaining about the Sun but we got did little tent to move with us to make da shade. Those guys just in it all day!”

    Kanu looked to the house on the property at which they worked. Up on the roof he could see a crew of Mexicans toiling in the boiling Sun as they installed expensive clay shake roofing tiles. Uncle chipped in, “Those guys always work for da Haoles. On da mainland dey all do the shit jobs the Haole no want to do.”

    Kanu could see sweat soaking through the bandanas on the heads of the roofers. They also wore wide brimmed sun hats and long sleeve shirts and pants. Looking down Kanu could see some of the white guys from the truck in the morning. They were in deep shade standing still as they read through a set of rolled up house plans. One of them would turn and point at the wall or down the way and gesture to the other something and they would go back to the plans. They wore matching company shirts and surf shorts and running shoes with short socks.
    Uncle said, “See those Haoles? They just standing in the shade not doing shit!”

    Then Kanu saw a couple of Philippine guys hanging drywall in the next room, “What about those guys?” Kanu asked.

    “Lookit those guys!” Uncle retorted, “what you wanna be hanging drywall?! Bah!” The whole time Uncle didn't stop moving. He tossed Kanu another stone and said, “Here what this guy say to you?”

    Kanu shifted and bent to place the stone followed by another and another. The day wore on and the Sun moved through the sky. Kanu didn't need a watch most of the time. He watched the shadows creep and grow eastward as the work day drew to a close at 4:30pm.

    Kanu was tired and dusty when they finally crawled into Uncle's truck. After quickly dropping the other guys back at the parking lot they made their way to the highway to drive south back towards Kona. Kanu loved this part of the day but also hated it. He was happy to be done with work but hated getting stuck in the inevitable traffic jam that always backed up from the traffic lights at the Kona Airport road.

    All of the workers that headed north in the morning all turned around and commuted back south in the afternoon and got stopped at the lights. Kanu hated it. He always felt like he was wasting his time, wasting his life.
    As they drove, still several miles from the backed up cars, Kanu asked Uncle, “What about that guy?” He was referring to a homeless looking character that he had often seen walking this stretch highway between the Kona Airport lights and the Kua Bay turn off.

    Uncle was taken aback briefly, “Whatcho see dat guy?!”

    Kanu responded, “Uh yeah he's out here walking everyday as we drive by. What is his deal? Where does he fit in like you explained the other guys?”

    Uncle said, “So uh Little Brotha, you see that guy?”

    “Yeah! What you mean, he out here every day just walking. We probably talked about him before!” Kanu explained.

    A smile crept on Uncle's face, “Little Brother, you a big Kahuna?” He asked in a comedic mocking tone.

    “What you talking about?” Kanu was feeling agitated. He leaned forward and looked in the rearview mirror and could see the slim figure fading in the distance. He craned his head and looked out the back window and in his minds eye he could make out the detailed features of the man's sunburned haole face.

    He had seen the guy walking everyday as he and Uncle drove back and forth to work and he had seen him occasionally walking around Kona town proper. He was smallish and skinny and as Kanu could recall always carried his eyes downcast, not quite looking up. It was if he was really watching his step or deep in introspection.
    Kanu turned forward and Uncle kept driving, smiling to himself and gently shaking his head from side to side. Kanu was looking to Uncle just as his smiling face turned into a frown. Kanu looked forward and could see the tail end of the daily traffic jam from the airport. Kanu registered and then looked back again and could still make out the shape of the lone figure walking way back on the shoulder of the highway.

    Uncle pulled up to a stop behind a maroon colored Chrysler minivan, “Fukkin' haole,” he muttered.

    Kanu asked Uncle, “What you sayin' then?”

    Uncle now seemed agitated, sweating, “OK Little Brother, so day guy back der... Most people don't see him... he not there.”

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    Kanu was confused, “How so?”

    “Oh that guy just another Nightwalker” Uncle tried to sound nonchalant, “a very powerful one fo real.”

    “A Nightwalker?” Kanu asked, “It is blazing sun out!”

    “Yeah well, I said powerful, he in daylight erry day...” Uncle trailed off.

    Kanu was now feeling a panic rise in his gut as he could see the traffic was at a stand still and he could look back and see the guy walking steadily in their direction. Kanu could see that he would walk not more than ten feet from where they sat. “Is he dangerous?” Kanu asked.

    “Depends,” Uncle answered.

    “Depends on what?!” Kanu could not believe he was having this conversation. He had heard of Nightwalkers when he was a young boy. They were said to be spirits who were trapped on the islands because they had never been shown a proper 'Lifting Place'. It is a place where the spirit can cast away the physical realm and its torments.

    “Depends on what?” Kanu asked again. He could tell that Uncle was a little thrown off by which way the conversation was heading.

    “It depends on his intentions, why he here, how he get stuck? What he need to do to be set free? Does he even know?” Uncle was talking faster then Kanu had ever seen, “You don 't want to be involved!” He spoke adamantly.

    “How do you know he is Nightwalker? And how do you see him?” Kanu was curious now, seeing a new side to Uncle. Kanu knew that Uncle had a flair for story telling and remembering the old days but he gave no hint at being experienced in dealing with Nightwalkers and such.

    “He cast no shadow, he is not physically here to block the sun.” Uncle answered. “He is close to nothing. Stare at your phone, like normal.” Uncle reached over and poked at Kanu's phone sitting in the truck console and let a smile creep across his lips again.

    Kanu obliged as it was natural habit for him to fill the voids in conversation by pulling out his phone and surfing the internet. Often he would watch surf videos on YouTube. Usually they were compilations from the pros and cool aspects of the sport as captured by the millions of amateurs and their millions of phones. He tried to concentrate on his thumb placement on the tiny iPhone screen to navigate to the search function on YouTube. His hands were dusty with dried sweaty dirt stains at the edge of his hands where the fair hairs on the back of his hand met the textured rough palm.

    Ha glanced in the rearview mirror and could see the guy cruising along. He wasn't shambling like a drunk or limping like a war vet might. As he drew near Kanu could see he walked with his eyes drawn down and his arms lightly hung at his sides. Then he brought his hands together and interlocked his fingers.

    “Kanu!” Uncle spat, “sit back!”
    Kanu fumbled with his phone and clicked on first video that came up. It was something he had been watching the night before, just as he fell asleep. A man was talking and pointing at logos of various common products and brands and explaining how they were all different now, like the Ford logo.

    Kanu looked up at the embossed plastic enclosure on the glove box. He reached his hand out to touch just as he saw the walking man pass by on the shoulder not more than 10 ft away. He continued walking and Kanu could not help but try and see his shadow. He could not tell as the sun was obscured by the afternoons scuzzy clouds.
    The man progressed maybe 50 yards up the road before the traffic began to move again. Uncle crept forward and they passed the man again as he walked. Kanu was trying to tell if any of the other drivers showed signs of acknowledging the walking man. Uncle made it another 50 yards past the man and slowed to a stop again. Uncle was playing it cool, he turned up the radio and a new pop song came over the speakers.

    “This is fun, no?” Uncle offered.
    Kanu fidgeted with his phone as it started acting up and not connecting to the internet.

    “What the hell?” he muttered, the same curse known to millions the world over who are suddenly confronted with internet non connectivity. The he got an idea. He opened the phone camera app and prepared to make his move.
    The walking man drew near for the second time. At the moment he was passing Kanu's 3 o'clock position he lifted the phone up over the edge of the open truck window and snapped a picture.

    At that, the slight framed previously presumed harmless man whirled like a dervish to the side of Uncle's truck and slammed both hands against the door frame and spat in Kanu's shocked face as he said, “Wot? I owe you money?!”

  18. #93
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    I'm hesitant to interrupt but I'm enjoying the shit out of this. Nice writing.

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    Thanks! We are getting there...

    45) David; Alaska

    David got up and excused himself. He kept his head and eyes down but could feel eyes drilling into his back as he made his way to dump his dishes and grab a piece of chocolate cake. He walked out to the arctic entry way where he left his boots.

    He stepped out into the -30 degree night air and moved away from the bright flood light that glared through the steam that rushed out the door as he exited. He could feel the bite of cold on his cheeks and nose. About 100ft down a gentle bank he saw that the frozen lake that he landed on a few hours earlier opened into a small river called the Taluchulitna. He though back to earlier in the day when the small plane cruised above the expansive Taluchulitna Plateau. He could see the course of the river the way it flowed out of Judd Lake southward but then hooked east and then north as it flowed around the north side of the Sleeping Lady past her toes.

    He thought that was odd. He had studied the general layout of the land in a map book which he was fond of that lived on a book shelf in the Anchorage Barnes and Noble bookstore. He had been hanging out there a lot in the last few months. He would buy a coffee and then wander the aisles all day.

    He thought about how he would walk south if it came to that. During his flight in to camp he noticed the land was made of intermittent frozen open tundra surrounded by scraggly black spruce. Little tussocks of trees would cast long eerie shadows across the snow and the shadows looked like a line of haggard people, maybe refugees or prisoners. He felt sad for the little tree shadow trailing in the cold spindrift, struggling to keep up.

    On the ground here at Judd Lake the trees were bigger as the small black spruce were interspersed with tall white birch. Out in the cold night he thought it was interesting that the river was not frozen solid. Steam rose into the trees as the river appeared to melt out of the frozen lake.

    “It must be volcanic,” David thought to himself.
    There were large couch sized boulders strewn throughout the river that were covered in large bulbous mushroom heads of snow.

    “I can see everything,” whispered in his ear. He spun around and no one was there. He felt tired and strung out. He needed to go to his cabin and sleep but he did not turn right and walk past the fuel shed and the employee housing towards his cabin. He turned left and ventured onto the surface of the frozen lake adjacent to the black open water that flowed into the river.

    He could see the packed runway stretching north into the distance across the lake. The parallel marked edges ran to an unseen point beyond the periphery of light being cast by the flood lights on the lodge buildings. He walked 100 yards and got on the runway and kept walking north into the darkness. It was like there was a clear line of demarcation between the world protected in the Light and the raw realities of the Dark.

    He walked as his heavy boots crunched in the styrofoam snow. His body retained heat from the lodge and the belly full of steak dinner but his cheeks felt cold. He stopped. He wanted to weigh his distance from the lodge and estimate the time it might take to get to the far end of the lake. He turned to face back south and could see several exterior and interior lights. He could see people still inside the lodge laughing and eating and carrying on. He saw that he had not gone far so he turned north again and continued walking with confident steps.

    David could now sense the darkening of his environment. He felt like he was in orbit on a distant planet beyond the Earth and the Sun's heat. He looked back again. There was zero wind. The main lodge was smaller now and he could not see people at dinner anymore. He tried to focus on the dining room window. No movement, no sound. Then he caught glimpse of a flash. Small buildings stretch westward down the lake shore from where the main lodge sits at the mouth of the river.

    There is a sauna with a bright flood light and further to his right is a generator shed. Behind and further up the shore from the lake sat the new buildings waiting to be finished. A flash again! A shadow of a railing post leaned and fell to the next post and then slinked down the steps of the sauna porch to the edge of the lake. In a blink it leapt and crawled from one spruce bough to the next as they lined the edge of the runway.

    David stepped forward to the bough to inspect the shadow up close. He could see the feint outline of the bough stretching to meet the periphery of dark. In the corner of his eye he saw another light blink. It was as if someone walked in front of the sauna porch light but no one was there. Again the shadow leapt and slinked from object to object until it was right adjacent to David on the other side of the runway from the first. David was not sure what to make of it. His gut told him that they were spirits that resided at the lodge. Either local spirits that were here before the first lodge was built or the spirits piggy backed in with the construction workers.

    David decided to take a few more steps into the dark. He looked out to the far perimeter of the lake and the shoreline was masked in a low lying bank of fog or mist. Above the mist he could see the tops of black spruce trees as they were outlined by the dull light on the horizon.

    “Lights from Anchorage?” David thought as he scanned the lake edge. Something else caught his eye. He could see shadowy humanoid figured emerging from the mist. As he watched he could count almost 50 shapes slowly moving in his direction. He could not make out legs or arms, just black smudges like vertical grains of rice.
    David knew that he had come far enough out on to the lake. He turned back to face the lodge and could see that he was about 100ft beyond the edge of light.

    “They lay out here waiting,” David thought. As soon as David had turned his back to the Dark he felt a great surging or swelling of energy rise up behind him. Somehow he knew that the spirits were emboldened by his retreat so they amassed into writhing wall of malevolence and dismay.

    David's hair stood on his neck and his heart leapt to this throat as he struggled to maintain composure as he walked. He could not show fear. He could not look back because he knew that the fright would kill him or he would be sucked headlong into the void. He craved the security of the warm lodge now. Not 30 minutes earlier it had revulsed him into the night.

    He could almost feel the warmth of the floodlights on his cheeks and nose. He could see smoke rising from the employee housing building. He could see the edge of the southern shoreline getting closer. He could hear the crunch of his heavy boots on the styrofoam. As he approached the buildings it felt as if a tsunami was rising behind him to pick him up and toss him into the tree tops.

    At this point he really wanted to run but his legs felt numb and useless. He passed the sauna and the fuel shed. He was beelining for his small cabin across the compound. He double stepped up the porch and slammed the door behind him!

    He startled Mark, his cabin mate who was tending the fire in the old wood stove.
    “Holy shit bro! What you up to?!” he blurted out.

    David was breathless and stammered out something about the cold just as a gust of wind shook the building. David knew that he needed to play it cool and quickly turned the subject to the fire.

    “You gotta good fire going there?” he asked.

    Mark resumed sitting on an upturned log round and poked the fire with a stick. “Yeah it's slowly warming up in here.”

    David looked around. They were actually in a snowmobile shed that was stacked with chainsaws and various tools of a woodsman. There was a small sliding garage style door on one side that let most of the heat escape before it warmed the loft, where their sleeping cots were located.

    “I'm beat, going to bed. Gonna be a long day tomorrow,” David said as he climbed the steep loft ladder to bed.

  20. #95
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    46) Kanu; Hawaii

    The small dusty man on the side of the highway yelled, “Wot I owe you money?!” as he took three quick steps to the side of Uncle's grey Ranger and slammed his hands on the edge of the open truck window that framed Kanu's face.

    Kanu instinctually cowered back but Uncle leaned in from the drivers seat towards the man and said, “NO huh, Brah! Wot yo beef?”

    “Dis guy hea, take da pic, wot his deal?” the little haole spat as he leaned back from the truck and looked back up the road in the direction from where he had been walking.

    “Ah, He tink he da sly mongoose but no worry, Brotha! I got heem good. He sorry for da pic, yeah Little Brother?”

    Uncle flipped his sunglasses down his nose so he could make eye contact with Kanu as he gave him a sharp push on the shoulder, emphasizing the need to apologize.

    Kanu seemed to stumble out of a different place as he stammered, “Yeah sorry, man I was trying to get a pic of the surf down there.” He gestured to the ocean about a mile away across the blazing hot lava field adjacent to the highway. “My cousin down south wants to know the surf. Look it is pumping, yeah?” The little tanned haole glanced back over his shoulder towards the ocean somewhat distractedly. He looked both south and then north again along the highway at the cars backed up to the next hill.

    Uncle offered, “What you need man? You want water?”
    The man looked south again as he stepped back form the truck, becoming more passive. “Nah Braddah I been out here long time. Dey say I need to get up der,” he said while pointing northward. Uncle looked over his shoulder out the back of his truck window in the direction of Mauna Kea. It was obscured in grey clouds that was made of moisture that blows in with the Trades.

    “Oh yeah,” Uncle said, “Dat's Mauna Kea, da Aina...” before he could continue the man spun back to the side of the truck and yelled in Kanu's face with hot breath, “I am the Captain of this ship!” And at that he turned and walked away northward, in the direction from where he had come.

    Kanu looked to Uncle as he saw the traffic moving again and eased on the gas pedal. Kanu looked back out his window and the man was already far away along the wide shoulder of the highway. Heat waves beat off the asphalt, distorting his distance.

    They drove on in silence. Kanu kept looking in the rearview mirror to see if the guy, The Captain, was rushing up along side of the them. After some time Uncle said, “I don't know, dat guy could be crazy... He 'bout skeg yo face Little Brother!” as he laughed out loud.

    Kanu laughed nervously and asked, “You think that guy ghost or what? I could smell his breath and it stank!” They both laughed. They made it past the airport road traffic light and were passing through downtown Kona. Kanu got a text from a friend who was about to surf and wanted Kanu to join.

    Kanu said to Uncle, “Eh you pull into Lyman's? Mikey is there I'm gonna catch a few.” Uncle nodded and turned right at Palani Road. They rolled down the hill and Kanu's mind turned to the ocean. He was excited to get in the water and was stoked his buddy had texted him. He always had a couple of extra boards in his van and Kanu was free to ride them.

    Uncle followed the road as it banked left past the King Kamehameha Hotel then the Kona pier. It was one of Kanu's favorite places. As a kid he would go fishing off of the pier and try to sell fish to sunburned tourists who poured off the huge cruise ships that anchored in the bay. The tourists were shuttled to and from the large ships in smaller 30ft skiffs. Sometimes when the fishing was no good He and Mikey would swim way out on their surf boards to the side of the 800ft long ships. Tourists would rush to the edge and take pictures and cheer and Kanu would laugh and wave back.

    The ship would let out a long whistle and the huge bow thrusters would kick on and turn the nose of the ship seaward. Kona Harbor is on the west coast of the Big Island. A mile off shore it is 3000ft deep and five miles out it is 15,000ft deep. The ship would slowly pull away while Kanu and Mikey laughed and tried to keep up as long as they could.

    The ship would always pull away and Kanu would always look back and be startled at how far from shore they were. He sometimes would get a little panic rise in the gut when he thought about how deep the water was under him. The only thing that separated him from the abyss was a 1.5” thick surf board.

    Uncle pulled over at Lyman's. Kanu hopped out and said, “Thanks I'll get a ride home with Mikey. See ya in da morning.”

    “Ay,” Uncle leaned over and gave Kanu a strong handshake and said, “Catch one fo me, eh?”
    Kanu laughed and grabbed his stuff and ran over to meet Mikey at the end of the grassy park next to the churning sea. He already had a board out ready for Kanu. Kanu dropped his bag, gave Mikey a high-5 and in one motion grabbed a board and they both made for the water.

    “Another hot one today,” was the first thing Kanu said as he took careful barefoot steps while making his way down the jagged lava. He threw his board in the water and dove in after it. He could feel the grim and sins of the day wash away like in a baptism.

    After an hour of catching small fun waves Kanu was staring to feel the day catch up with him. He yelled to Mikey, “One more!” And Mikey hooted in agreement. They were quick to load the boards and hop in Mikey's beat up old minivan. Kanu sat back and remembered The Captain, “Man, you should seen this crazy guy out on the highway today!”

    “Oh yeah?” Mikey listened as he navigated out of the gravel lots and turned south on Ali'i drive.

    “Yeah we were stopped at the lights and he got up in my face...” Kanu's mind drifted as he tried to recollect what exactly happened.

    Mikey was waiting, “Yeah, he got in yo face?”

    “Yeah and he slammed the truck and went back the other way. It was fuct up!” Kanu finished.

    Mikey knew Kanu and he knew Kanu was not telling the whole story. He continued driving south on the new Bypass road and got his old van up to 65mph. “But why he talk to you in the first place?”

    “Oh, ah,” Kanu thought and then remembered, “I took his picture!” Then he excitedly pulled out his phone to look at the pic. The battery was dead.

    “You took his picture?!” Mikey was confused.
    “Yeah I was taking picture of the surf to show you but he was in the way and then he got all fired up.” Kanu retold the story, “... and then he yelled 'I am the Captain of this ship'”

    Mikey's van slowed a bit as he powered up the long hill that tops out at the Napo'opo’o intersection. Coming up on the right is the gas station Uncle had stopped at on the way to work that morning. Kanu was feeling thirsty. Up toward the top of the hill he could see a lone figure walking on the shoulder. Kanu recognized it immediately.

    “Oh shit!” Kanu muttered. His heart raced and his first reaction was to lean over and hide in the seat.

    Mikey was like, “What you doing, Bro?”

    “Dat's the guy! I don't want him to see me.
    Kanu watched Mikey's face as he looked at the guy as they drove by at 50mph. When they passed him Kanu sat up and looked out the back window. He could see 'The Captain' walking with eyes down and hands held together in front.

    “Yeah that's him! Fuck!” Kanu blurted.

    Mikey said, “I'm thirsty, lets stop here.”
    Kanu's first thought was, 'NO way!' But he quickly calculated the distance to the gas station and the speed the man walked. “Ok be quick, I'll sit and wait and see if he goes by.”

    “Yeah whatever, you wanna beat his ass?”

    “Nah, just go get your drink, get me something.”

  21. #96
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    Mikey was in and out in less then 3 minutes. Kanu did not see the Captain walk by. They pulled back out the highway, south bound. Kanu felt his heart slow, he hadn't realized he was feeling very anxious. He thought back to the early morning of that day and how it felt so long ago. He remembered his thoughts on the Mandela Effect.

    To change the subject, “You ever heard of this Mandela shit?”

    “Mandela what?” Mikey popped open a bottle of Sprite.
    Kanu cracked open his Dr. Pepper and analyzed the logo. Was it Pepper or Peppar? He couldn't remember.

    “Ah it's just people on YouTube saying shit is changing.” Kanu intentionally kept it vague, he was too tired to explain much. Mikey was mildly interested as he tweaked the radio tuner and a song came on that Kanu recognized. Mikey started tapping his finger on the steering wheel and turned up the music a bit.
    It was the Scorpions early 90's hit 'Wind of Change'. Kanu listened to the lyrics.

    “The world is closing in.
    Did you ever think we would be so close, like brothers?”


    Mikey whistled along with the famous tune and Kanu listened.

    Walking down the street,
    Distant memories are buried in the past forever...”


    Mikey interjected, “Oh shit! NO way!” He pointed up the road and they could see the now familiar little figure of the man walking on the shoulder. “I thought you didn't see him?!”

    “I didn't, maybe he got a ride?” Kanu felt the Fear rise in his gut again.

    “He wasn't hitching back there,” Mikey observed, “that was five or six miles back.”
    Kanu felt foolish hiding again so he just sat like normal.

    He tried to sound confident and said, “I've seen this guy around for a bit, but never this far south.” The road was slower here and the van was cruising at 45mph. As they passed Kanu could not help but look as he kept his head back on the headrest.

    They cruised by and the Captain didn't miss his stride. Kanu looked back as he passed him for the third time of the day. “Man, that guy is fukkin with me...” Kanu lamented.

    Mikey looked in his rearview mirror, “Nah fuck 'em.” They rolled on not speaking, just listening to the classic rock radio station. The road was twisty with the occasional fruit stand or coffee shop nestled back in the lush jungle off the shoulder of the road. Kanu stared with absent mind down to the ocean some 1500 feet below. It shimmered bright gold though he could not see the Sun itself. The road traversed along a consistent weather line southward. They went in and out of brief rain showers as rainbows came and went.

    Then there is a break in the vegetation where the road cuts across the 1950 lava flow. Huge piles of jagged lava three stories high spilled all the way down to the golden ocean, building the land mass foot by foot.
    The trees are grey and sooty. Stunted and tangled. Choked from light by the constant volcanic fog flowing leeward off the top of Mauna Loa. The sky is darker and Kanu cannot see the ocean anymore. He sees the familiar sign that reads , “Welcome to Kau District”. A few minutes later they round a bend and can see the mile post sign , “Milolii 5 mile”.

    They turn right and begin the long descent to home following the steep switchbacks that Kanu usually sleeps through on the way to work. They descend past struggling macadamia nut farms and a few cows in a field. The scraggly grey sky gives way to occasional bursts of color from a ohia tree or large rooster dashing through the underbrush.

    After a few minutes Kanu can see the ocean again and now the sun shines through the wind shield into their face. It is low on the horizon, 15-20 minutes from sunset. The road steepens and Kanu can see down to the tiny town of Milolii. Way off to the left he can see the Old Town where Uncle and some extended family lives at the end of the road. A bit north, to the right, he can see the neighborhood where he lives. Kanu is excited to get home for the night.
    Last edited by carpathian; 12-31-2019 at 07:50 PM.

  22. #97
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    47) David; Alaska

    David’s room could barely be considered warm when he went to bed. There was a wood stove downstairs that did not help much because the building was an uninsulated snowmobile shed. The small garage door on the west side of the building was clearly not sealed tight.

    There were chainsaws and cross-country skis and piles of firewood and miscellaneous tools. It was a hearty mountain man shop that was put to use with full utility in mind. Up a steep stair through a hatch led to a little loft space. It was slightly warmer up there. When David woke at 6am his nose and cheeks were cold to the touch and there was frost around the edges of his sleeping bag.

    He consciously roused himself to wake through the tale end of a dream that left him feeling very sad.

    In the dream he found himself giving a lecture to a room full of architect and engineer professionals. In the dream he had seen his ex-mother in law in the lobby, but he could avoid her by going into the bathroom. He looked out over the audience and saw his ex wife.

    She yelled out, “What are you doing here?”

    He quickly yelled back, “What are YOU doing here?!” He kept glancing back to her through the lecture while trying to not make eye contact. She stared with big blue eyes, cropped blond hair, smartly dressed. Healthy.
    He started a slide show and wanted to run away. Slip off the stage and get out of the building. But he had to wait. At the end of the show he quickly exited out of a back stage door. Down stairs, long hallway to the left, crowded thick with university students. He figured that she did not know where his office was. He got there and she was already there.

    He said, “Oh hey,” and felt awkward.

    He thought, ‘This pretty blond girl chased me down, looking at me expectantly.’ He grabbed his bags and coat and went back out in the hall and met two other people. There was no introduction that he could recollect. There was a dark haired, handsome guy in mid-30’s and a slightly older attractive woman who was smartly dressed. Who were they? Friends? Business associates. They started walking through the university complex looking at buildings. They would stop and point at random architectural details.

    David joked to his ex-wife , “You think you are an Architect or something?”

    And then she playfully pointed at some arbitrary thing and said, “See those two parts? They should be touching.”

    They turned and continued and David could hear the dark haired man say to his ex wife, “You want to hang back for a smoke break?” David did not want to hear her answer but kept walking, playing it cool but his heart was pounding. He turned left again into a food court, then into another office. She was there, looking expectant. To David it felt like they were going to embrace. They would drop all of their clothes to the floor and grip each other skin to skin and make everything alright.

    Then she said, “You know, my mom is dead.”


    David awoke in the cold. Tired and afraid and alone. He let a tear roll down his cheek for the first time in a long time. For the first time since he lost everything. Even when his mind was at its clearest, he could only conjure a disjointed recollection of how things truly went. His alarm went off and he loathed the fact that he had to crawl out of his sleeping bag to face the world.

    He managed to get through the work day without incident or ‘weirdness’ as he put it to himself. He had been assigned to a crew that installing roofing. It was cold and dark most of the day but David found himself joking and laughing with his new coworkers about this and that. He had a good dinner experience as well, another steak and potato kind of meal with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Around 7pm David stepped outside of the main lodge and steam billowed out from the warm interior. Tonight he was going to take control and make sense of what happened the night before out on the lake.

    Instead of going straight out from the main lodge, he traversed westward through the construction site and into the trees at the end of the main packed trail. Beyond was a small generator building perched on a bench of land next to the shoreline. At this point he cut straight out onto the ice. There were no tracks and the snow was light and crystalline as it swished around his ankles while he walked. He noticed that most of the snow was not snow, per se, but a thick layer of hoar frost that had grown into beautiful and enigmatic shapes. He squatted and felt the fine plates of ice with his gloved fingers.

    Sometimes the crystals could grow to 6-7 inches in the right conditions. They from when the warm moisture in the ground and snow pack emerges to the surface and encounters colder ambient air temperatures. The moisture will keep growing and freezing until the eventual wind blows it away. David thought back several years to what seemed like ancient history in his life. He had not been in the mountains since his experience at the top of Wolf Peak Mine. He could remember how the hoar frost crystals blew in the wind and broke off as he lay immobile in the snow drift.

    He thought about how the hoar frost crystals affect the snow pack stability when it came to the frivolous activity of skiing in the mountains. The crystals compress and lay flat under the weight of new snow. When the weight of the snow reaches a tipping point in conjunction with sufficient angle of the slope, the scant friction found between the prone faces of crystallized ice is broken.

    David encountered some human tracks in the snow. He crossed them perpendicular and tried to ignore them for several steps before he decided to turn and follow them as they led to the darkness. He stayed 3-4 feet to the right and paced along trying to think of nothing. After a few minutes he decided he had gone far enough. There was no panic. There were no spirits following him from the shadows of camp and there were no spirits emerging from the periphery of the lake.

    He turned around and paralleled back next to his tracks. He found it more pleasant to walk in fresh snow and break new trail. He became curious about the tracks he had been following earlier. He turned and stepped through them to see if they had ‘setup’. If they were over three or four hours old in these temperatures they would be refrozen and the snow would feel stiff and breakable underfoot. He kicked and shuffled his feet. The tracks appeared to be fresh.

    He thought it interesting on a physical level that by destroying the stationary snowflakes on the ground as he walked he was created enough movement and friction to create enough heat to briefly melt the structure of the ice. He looked over his shoulder continually and wondered who had walked out on the ice. He turned back to the lights of camp and was alarmed when he felt his feet break through a thin ice layer and start sloshing in a slush layer under the snow. He looked around and at first he could not detect any difference in the snow. Then he saw a slight divot in the snow to his right and then another to his left. He paused and recollected how it had been known that the lake had substantial volcanic activity bubbling beneath the surface.

    He decided to back track 100ft and then turn westward again and follow his previous route. He made it back to shore without incident and returned to his cabin and went to bed.

  23. #98
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    6:00 am, David’s alarm beeps awake. It is a horrible sound, David thinks as he forces himself out of bed to put on cold clothes and boots and start another work day. Over 12 hours later David found himself exiting the main lodge and standing on the porch watching the humidity escape before the bright flood light. He turned to the lake. He felt brave, if not emboldened. He had control of his destiny. He would make the right choices that would lead to good in his life.

    David strode briskly northward down the runway with a slight breeze from the south encouraging each step. He soon reached the edge of Light and stepped into the unknown. His eyes gradually adjusted to the increasing lack of Light as he moved further outside the valence orbit of energy emitted from the flood lights of camp. He looked back at camp and though how the series of lights from the buildings strung along the shore line looked like a string of gold nuggets. He craned his head skyward for the first time in a while he really felt the presence of the stars.

    It felt like they were perched just outside of his reach and understanding. As he pitched his head back he saw the luminous slash of glowing star structure known as the Milky Way. He turned his gaze to follow its path northward as he kept walking in its wake. As he approached the north side of the lake he saw several small cabins tucked up in the trees. Some of the cabins had docks attached to shore that extended out onto the frozen lake. “A weird distant memory of summer,” David thought.

    He paused in his stride when he thought he saw movement at one of the docks. He stood motionless, though he knew he was plainly visible to anyone on shore. He stared at one of the docks and he could swear that there was someone sitting and watching him as if their feet dangled in the warm waters of summer. David had been in camp 3 days and had not seen any other people outside of the lodge construction workers. There had been no lights or evidence of people in these cabins.

    David felt the Fear tickle the bottom of his feet. He stood still and tried to convince himself that it was just a tree or a well house or something. David’s stare penetrated the humanoid shape and the night was silent under milky light. His boots squeaked in the snow. Then silently the figure stood on the dock and moved up the snow covered yard towards the grey cabin. It took long even strides and quickly disappeared behind the structure. David felt the subtle fear be replaced by real terror as his brain computed what his eyes told him. He turned to run several steps back to the lodge but then he was struck by the raw emotion that drowned his fear in intensity: rage.

    He spun on his heel and started walking quickly towards the shore line where the docks frozen in the ice. The closer he got the faster he walked. By the time he got to the shoreline he was running and yelling, “Come on out! Who is there?!” He glanced at the ground to look tracks but the snow had been scoured away by the wind and it was hard underfoot. The small cabin looked grey under the starlight and it was boarded up for the winter. He banged on a board over a window. No one appeared to be around as he circled around to the back of the building.

    Only then did he get creeped out by the close proximity of the forest. Suddenly the rage was washed back over by the Fear and he felt the need to get back to the lake. He started running away from the house now and caught sight of the lights from the lodge. They were tiny specks now, sharing size and gravitas with the otherwise encompassing star vista. It was as if a cluster of stars, a constellation, had fallen to lay flat on the surface of earth. The color was warmer but the cluster looked just as lonely and far off as their distant cousins, aloft in the heavens.
    David was feeling out of breath now. He dared not look back and was trying to make headway in getting back to camp.

    For awhile the size and proximity of camp appeared to grow. After a while he summoned the courage to look back to the small grey cabin dock frozen in the lake ice. He was startled at how close it seemed. He was further away then when he had first seen the figure on the dock earlier but still, he had been walking for over 20 minutes. He looked hard at the dock and could make out the humanoid shape who had been there before.

    His heart leapt to his throat, were his eyes playing tricks on his brain?! He began to run again, aiming for the fallen constellation on the far shore. He ran until his lungs burned and his eyes watered. He focused on confirming that the terrain was in fact moving beneath his feet. He slowed to a walk and then stopped and slowly looked back to the cabin with the dock frozen in the ice. It was as if he had not moved an inch. The rage returned and he let out a primal, “What the fuck?!” In the direction of the humanoid sitting on the dock.

    David started running again this time in the direction of the dock for a second time and as he did the figure again stood up and moved behind the cabin to the dark tree line. David stopped and pondered this. He did not want to go back near the trees. He wanted to go back to his warm sleeping bag and wake from this bizarre dream. He tried to wake up and become lucid to the suspended disbelief provided by sleep. He couldn’t do it. He looked over his shoulder to the lights of camp and resolved to walk there.

    He walked for maybe 10 minutes before he realized that the lights of camp were not growing near. He was not moving. He was stuck. At that realization he looked back just in time to see the dark humanoid figure slink from behind the cabin and resume its position on the end of the dock, watching David. David looked to his feet standing in the ankle deep fresh snow. He would walk and leave a trail but when he turned around the snow would become untracked again and again.

    He noticed a dark spot in the snow nearby. It was a hole in the ice about 16” diameter.
    He was startled. Was it thin ice all around? A volcanic hot spring? He dropped to his knees and crawled close to the waters edge. It shimmered black and he could see the reflection of the stars up above. It appeared as if all of the cosmos were sitting on a platter that shimmered and rippled when he breathed onto it. He was no longer worried about thin ice. “It is a responsive universe…” he heard a voice whisper in his ear. At that he turned to look back to where the humanoid figure was sitting. David pulled himself up to a sitting position and faced across the dish of open water towards the figure on the dock that was frozen in ice. David watched intently. He could almost see its torso swell with each inbreathe.

    Then ever so slightly the creature began to move as it stood up and slid off the end of the dock the waters edge. It bent over and appeared to lift up the edge of the lake ice as it ducked down and slid into the water and laid the ice back in place. David peered into the water expectantly. He could sense the energy approaching under the ice. He held his face close to the waters surface. He had the sudden vision of being a hungry polar bear waiting next to a seal’s breathing hole. Waiting expectantly, the seal has to breath. “Soon it will surface and I will eat,” he thought.

    He thought back to when he was a kid and he would see a seal swimming in the Seward Harbor. When the sea mammal turned to face you it resembled a human skull but instead of having two empty eye sockets there were two shiny black orbs hovering just above the water surface. And then… ever so slowly the bald shiny dome of the skull of the creature broke the surface of the water. David held his hands out in a welcoming gesture as the rest of the head emerged. The eyes were huge and black and shiny. It had a thin reptilian nose and a small pursed mouth. David felt like he was conjuring, inviting the creature to join him. It felt so familiar but he could not place the memory.

    David raised his hands as if summoning someone or something from the dead. David noticed a drop of water roll off the tip of the creatures nose. Then in an instant bony fingers and arms shot out into the cold air and grabbed David by the hands and pulled him headlong into the black water.

  24. #99
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    48) Kanu; Hawaii

    Kanu grew up in Milolii Old Town which is known as ‘the last fishing village in Hawaii.’ There is a row of 10-12 duplex style homes perched between the narrow broken pavement of access road and vertical lava cliffs that are relentlessly pounded by the blue pacific. Down the street the pavement peels down a steep hill to the waters edge. There is a series of tight coral beaches and little boat ramp. To the north of the boat ramp, adjacent to the back of the houses, is an old fish hoist built out of concrete cinder blocks. 100 yards to the south of the boat ramp is a large pavilion with picnic tables in the shade and a fenced in basketball court next to it. The coral coast is pocketed with amazing crystal clear water pools that surge in and out as the waves crash and push water from the deep.

    Kanu lived in what was considered ‘New Town’ or more derisively as ‘Haole Wood’. The Haoles lived there, retirees and second homes to people on the mainland. Most of the house were rented as vacation rentals so the vibe was skewed different then a town where all the people lived there all of the time. Let alone families living on the same land for generations like they did in Old Town.

    Kanu never knew his father and his mother died in a car crash when he was 3. He was taken in and raised by his mother’s brother, William Kamanu III, whom Kanu called Uncle Billy or just Uncle. Uncle lived in Old Town but owned a small piece of land in New Town that he let Kanu live on as long as he made improvements to the property.

    Kanu’s feet flip-flopped off the smooth pavement as he followed a dirt path that cut back into the thick undergrowth. 50ft back he arrived at his humble abode. It was a 12 x 16’ platform with a shed roof and half bug net walls. He had a water tank and a small solar power set up and a composting toilet. He had just recently saved up and bought the solar set up that powered a small fridge and he was able to charge his phone and laptop computer.

    He turned on his computer and clicked on the music icon. He scrolled down to find a band called Tool and one of their songs called ‘Parabola’. He had become obsessed with the band in the last few months, playing their songs over and over trying to extract new meaning upon each listen. He felt like the lyrics spoke directly to him as the listener. It felt like the lyrics and the implied meaning of the songs could shift to accommodate his perspective.
    He stood and turned to the stack of dishes in his makeshift sink which was a large Tupperware adjacent to a utility sink that drained directly into a 5-gallon bucket.

    He had been putting off doing dishes all week and it was abundantly clear with the increased ant population making highways across the countertop.

    Whispering lyrics: “We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment.”

    He went to grab the blue 5-gallon water jug that sat on the floor next to the bucket and saw that it was empty.

    “We are choosing to live here, right now, stay inside.”

    He put his head lamp on to head out to the 500 gallon water tank that sat out by the road. It was dark out now, inky black. He cranked the speakers up so he could hear outside. The music carried easily through the bug net into the warm night air.

    Thunderous, rolling guitar…

    “This Holy reality, this Holy experience, choosing to be in…. This body, this body holding me…”

    He finished filling the 5 gallon jug and closed the spigot from the big tank. He turned off his head lamp and could see the stars brimming bright.

    “Be my reminder that I am not alone, all this pain is an illusion.”

    The stars twinkled in response in acceptance and acknowledgment to Kanu’s observation of such. And in this moment of Holy perfection Kanu remembered the sadness. The slight swelling of anxiety always seemed to be there. He went back inside, if you could call it that. The sounds of the crickets and warm wind in the Monkey Pod trees pulled straight through his space.

    He flipped through a couple of songs and found the one he was looking for. It was another Tool song called ’10,000 Days’. Kanu had known the song and liked it for several weeks but had only the night before learned more about the song in a YouTube video he watched.

    Maynard James Keenan is the lead singer of Tool. He was born in 1964. When he was 20 years old his mother suffered a stroke and she had to spend the remainder of her days wheelchair bound, 10,000 Days or roughly 29 years.

    Kanu learned that the song was an ode to the singer’s mother and her suffering and it is a prayer to whatever God there is to finally give her wings. The song is split into two parts. Part 1 MJK laments:

    “A passionate spirit, uncompromised, boundless and open, a light in your eyes, then immobilized.”

    Kanu never knew his own mother. He always tried to assume that she was happy and smart and loved him. But he never knew for sure.

    “So what have I done to be the Son of an angel? So what have I done to be worthy?”

    Kanu could only surmise that the singer’s mother was amazing and strong and patient.

    Part 1 ends with the lyrics, “Now it time for us to let you go.”

    Kanu always thought that Part 2 was a call to action for the spiritually minded but now he knew it was directed at the song writer’s mother and now he saw the way he equated the love from a mother to be on par with the unconditional love of Jesus. He was raised with a strong mix of Christian morals and native custom. He remembered long hours in the little church down by the sea when he would have rather been out in the water. He knew the Christian story of sin and redemption but he always had a hard time seeing how that affected him in the real world.

    “And this little light of mine, a gift you passed on to me. I’m gonna let it shine, to guide you safely on your way.” Kanu was convinced it was his own mother singing back to him.

    “I never lived a life, never took life, but surely saved one.”
    “Hallelujah! It’s time for you to bring me home.”


    Kanu felt tears on his cheeks. Though he felt alone and lost as usual, something was different tonight. He felt rejuvenated. His mind raced. He thought about how in local legend the elders talked about ‘Lifting Places’ on the islands. These were sacred places that helped recently departed spirits to lift from the Earthly plane and ascend to their place among the stars.

    He thought about the Christian story of dying and going to Heaven only if you were good and accepted Jesus as your savior.

    “Who was this Jesus guy?” David often thought. He had his ideas. He thought about the story of the Nightwalkers that were said to have missed their chance to be lifted to the stars, to Heaven so they languished on Earth forever. It was said that they made a sound very similar dry branches of the Kiave tree clickety-clacking in the warm night breeze.

  25. #100
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    Kanu felt a sudden chill. He always hated thinking of Nightwalkers as a kid. He listened and could hear a distinct ‘click-clack’ high on the hillside behind his little island style cabin. Then he thought of the strange little man he saw on the highway and his blood ran cold. Was he a really a Nightwalker?

    “Did he need my help?”
    “Did my mother send him to help me?”

    His mind raced. He knew he had to control his anxiety. He had to change the subject of his internal dialogue. He had to create control in his life. He felt like he could do that by trying to understand layman's meta-physics and quantum physics. He had come across tons of information in his countless hours of watching YouTube in search for Mandela Effect videos. All of the videos eventually leaned towards ‘parallel dimension talk’ and interesting quantum theory videos would pop into his feed.

    Kanu figured that the Mandela Effect was some fleeting evidence of a responsive universe as described by Bell’s Theorem. Time and space was an illusion. He took notes and drew diagrams. He read about the Buddhists, Hindus and Freud. He appreciated rock wall building in terms of classical physics. The rocks form together and became forever static. Immobilized. But did they have ‘spirit’ like Uncle always talked about? Kanu knew that according to quantum theory, the smallest of things are not even there until we decide to look for them. Therefore, is the rock even there? Are the scientists now describing the divine? Description of Spirit?

    Kanu had an idea about Jesus that rolled in his mind the same way the heavy seas slowly eroded the lava cliffs. He thought that maybe Jesus was just the story of ‘everyman’ and the Ego that he was born with. He had to go through the trials and tribulations that an ego driven person would be put up against until he could eventually kill the ego and be released from all of the world’s suffering. The Cross was a lifting place.

    He had read about how the Buddhist said “Kill your ego and become the Buddha.”

    The Hindus said, “Kill your Atman and become the Brahman.”

    Freud said, “Kill your ego and become Superego.”

    Kanu’s mind spun and raced and rolled. That is why he liked Tool so much because many of their lyrics nicely summarized all of his existential thoughts and feelings.

    “This Holy Reality, this Holy Experience choosing to be here in… this body holding me be my reminder that I am not alone. All of this pain is an illusion.”

    The alarm blared in Kanu’s ear and like a Nightwalker he gathered his things and slumped into the passenger seat of Uncle’s little grey truck. He slammed the door shut and dust puffed off the open window frame.

    “Whoa Little Brother! You lookin’ to be sharks bait! You want me to drive you to Hono’kohau and tro you to da tigers?!” Uncle laughed as he hit the accelerator to start the three mile climb to the highway. Kanu muttered under his breath and immediately pulled his hood up and cap brim down over his eyes and fell into sleep.

    He instantly dreamed as his mind followed the twists and turns and the RPMs of the little truck. He found himself in the very cold. He had never been so cold but he looked at his body and it was covered in heavy arctic clothing. Clothing he had never worn or seen before. He knew of cold places in the world like the top of Mauna Kea. He also knew of places in the arctic and antarctic and high altitudes by book or film only.

    His nose felt sharp, frost bitten. His lungs burned as he inhaled frozen air. He stamped his feet and saw that he was standing in knee deep snow and there was snow covered logs and standing trees. Birch trees maybe? He had seen a picture. He looked up and saw a building across a steaming river. All of the rocks along the river bank were pile high with perfect round mounds of snow. The water, inky black flowed from a frozen lake off to his right. The frozen white faded to black in the distance.

    A light on the porch shined bright and true. The building looked like it was poised, ready to pounce. The siding was made of wood slats with a wood deck and railing. The door oped and steam billowed out and was illuminated by the light on the porch…


    Uncle nudged Kanu awake, “You want coffee?” Kanu did want coffee and he roused himself awake to go into the small gas station. He went straight to the back of the store and got his Coffee Mate coffee and went straight to the register and paid. He did not look at the coffee logo Uncle pulled back out onto the highway.

    “Yesterday did I say this coffee cup logo had a dash in it or not?” Kanu lamented, “I can’t remember which one it was.”

    “I don’t know,” Uncle answered. They drove in silence. Kanu watched the early morning rays of sun peeking over the flank of Mauna Kea and Hualalai to the east. Ahead on the road Kanu could see Mauna Kea telescope protestors again on the same street corner as the day before. Right as they drove by Kanu saw the same little homeless man from the day before at the back of the group. He was holding a sign that said ‘432’.

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