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The James John Daniels Stories, Story Three: A Veritable Rug of Living Things

Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.

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Low Die

A squirrel sat on the top of a car staring out onto the road. Its eyes seemed to dance to a sound it, and only it could hear. It looked around at the ground. Surrounding the car was an army of squirrels. A few of them had a strange red-light strip running down their tails going down the spine. Off in the distance was a solid black sphere seemingly made of stone hovering just off the road — a light pulsed just above the sphere that matched the light pulses of the squirrel tails. A boy on a dirt bike sat about three hundred feet away, trying to see if there was a way around the rodents. Jimmy remembered his father calling them tree rats, but today they were something worse; they were in his way.


James John Daniels was born and lived all his fifteen years of life in the small town of Hinesburg, Ohio, near the town of Lodi, pronounced like “low die.” He lived there with his mother, younger sister, and the ghost of his recently deceased father. His world was shaped by his father and was already fracturing with his death when the world ended. A wave of poisonous killer deer killed his town, making him the only survivor. Seeing no other way out, he left the only place he knew and went in search of help or someplace where he could belong. Along the way, he saw what looked like government planes firebombing his hometown as well as other smaller towns. His trip took him south to near Columbus, where a group of men running a checkpoint killing people for some unknown reason. He was able to get away from the people running the checkpoint finding refuge with a man protecting travelers risking his own life in the process.

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The Box

The sphere seemed to open from the bottom with a hexagon-shaped thing slowly dropping to the dirt. A group of the squirrels picked up the strange box and started to carry it down the road. The light above the sphere moved until it was below the sphere. The light grew as the sphere began to shake until it took off into the sky with such a velocity Jimmy couldn’t track its progress. Jimmy watched to the group of squirrels who seemed transfixed by the box. A few of the strange matching deer stepped out of the woods. Overhead a flock of Canada Geese flew in formation. Jimmy heard something just too his left. He turned and saw what had to be nine or ten squirrels covering what looked like a body. One of the squirrels stopped biting and turned around; its face was dark with blood. The squirrel looked at Jimmy, and he looked back.


Jimmy jumped, starting the bike as he moved away from the killer squirrels and toward the squirrels holding the hexagon box. He caught the animals by surprise, running more than a few down and taking the box before any of them could take hold of him. The box was cold, feeling like stone and more substantial than it should have been for its size. At first, Jimmy thought he had a problem with the bike as he felt a vibration until he realized it was coming from the box. He slipped the box into his backpack and made the mistake of looking behind him, seeing a veritable wave of squirrels running his way. Among the squirrels were some deer trampling the squirrels trying to run after him, but the veritable rug of living things kept them from gaining traction.

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Rex

Jimmy turned into some woods hoping to keep the geese off him, but after a mile, he realized the geese were staying out of the chase. His detour was slowing him down and helping the squirrels catch up. The bike didn’t have a gas gauge, and he wasn’t sure just how much he had, but Jimmy knew the deer would catch up long before he got to the military base. As he rode, he saw something all over the road. Jimmy jumped the curb and rode along the side. He made it past the dark things in the road as the first wave of squirrels hit the large traps someone set. Jimmy could hear the snaps of traps as well as squirrel backs. Some of the squirrels went around, but many fell to the traps on the road. A gunshot came out of the dark. Someone shot the lead deer stopping the others. A voice screamed, “run boy,……...run.”


A sign on an entrance to the highway proclaimed Wright-Patterson was just two miles away. That was either the actual base or the exit for the base. Jimmy started up the ramp when his bike died…… out of gas. Upon the highway, he found more than a few abandoned cars. One was a truck belonging to some lawn service with multiple gas cans in the back. Jimmy checked to make sure they were straight gas and not a mix with oil like the stuff used for smaller engines or diesel. He filled his tank and took a drink of water given to him by James back just outside of Columbus. The water was warm, and the energy bar was dry and grainy, but together, they made a mush that clung to his throat.


A dog walked around the truck staring at him. Jimmy tossed the dog a strip of Jerky, and the dog caught it and almost seemed to swallow it all in one motion. Jimmy heard a clopping sound hit the road. He turned as the dog started to growl. Two deer stepped onto the road with what looked like an extra fur coat on their backs. The dog looked at Jimmy then down the road away from the deer. It almost seemed like the dog was saying run. The deer started to move, and the dog jumped up and ran to meet them. Jimmy felt the box’s vibration pickup. He spun the tire and left the dog to the deer knowing this dog named Rex was sacrificing itself for someone it didn’t know, and he had to make its sacrifice mean something.

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The Chase

A mile or two away, Jimmy was being followed again by the deer carrying squirrels on their backs. Along the way, he passed a few exits that were just too dark to be safe. The next exit had a sign saying Wright-Patterson with an arrow. He jumped down and into a field going across to a fence. The deer were close. He turned and went south, hoping to find a gate. He passed a sign saying minefield, but it was far too late to worry about that. On the other side of the fence, he saw two men in some sort of small Jeep racing alongside him. One man was short and dumpy with sunglasses, and the other one was as nondescript as a person could be. Three soldiers waved Jimmy over to a gatehouse. As he passed, he saw two men with what his favorite game called a couple of SAWs, a Squad Automatic Weapons. They opened fire on the deer as Jimmy passed the gate. Just on the inside, someone knocked him off the bike.


Lights flashed on and off as blurry images moved. Jimmy felt someone pulling off his clothes, searching for wounds. He started to say he wanted the pen he had on him, but he couldn’t talk. The pen was from a spy kit his father gave him with it being a camera. He used the camera pen to record the firebombing of Lodi as well as the events of Columbus and a message from James Buchanan Jones, the man that saved him from the blockade just outside of Columbus. A woman that looked just like the woman from the Guild and Supernatural only with straight black hair was here dressed like a doctor. Just as soon as this image came into focus, a short blond Marty Feldman walked in, kissed Felicia Day, and walked over to him. He said his name was Doctor Goody, but everyone called him just Goody, and he wanted to know where he got the box. As he spoke, the sounds of gunfire rattled the walls with the sounds of something thumping into the building.

Jimmy Meets Jenny

Jimmy looked down, seeing he was naked in a room filled with people, including more than a few women. He turned to Goody and asked for something to wear. Goody said in a far too loud tone how he should be proud of what he had. A woman in a military uniform gave him a pair of sweatpants and a tank top while never turning her head away from his lower half. With that bit of weirdness out of the way, Jimmy told Goody about the camera pen and the box. He described the ball and how it dropped the box. Jimmy also mentioned how some of the deer were identical and how many of them had clean insides as if they had never eaten in their lives. The nondescript man gave him a glass of something clear that burned when he sipped it. He said his name was Bill and he asked Jimmy to tell them everything that happened beginning with the deer.


The glass of clear liquid was making him feel both warm and tired. A general came into the room and talked to him about his father. The general said he didn’t know him, but he knew his unit and knew he was a hero. Jimmy didn’t know if this was to comfort him or something, but all it did was put him back in the treehouse, thinking about his father way back before the world ended. The nurse that gave him the clothes showed Jimmy to a room with a bed and a sink. Along the way, she said her name was Jenny, and she was a volunteer at a local clinic when all this started, and she was sixteen. Jenny closed the door and walked over to Jimmy. She became the first girl he ever kissed or ever kissed him. She locked the door, turned around, taking her shirt off. For the first time since that night, Jimmy stopped thinking about his family. Thirty minutes later, the general came into the room, pulling his daughter out and away from Jimmy……. ten minutes too late.

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron