Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.
- The James John Daniels Stories, Story One: A citizen...
The first in a series of stories connected to My Private Global War about a young man coming to terms with loss and fighting to stop the end of the world.
Two deer stood by the side of the road. Behind the deer were another nine-hundred other deer standing by waiting for something. Using the scope on his rifle, Jimmy counted the deer in his way as he tried to get to Cleveland, Ohio. An hour ago, James John Daniels or Jimmy left his hometown, the small farming community of Hinesburg, Ohio. He was the last person alive after a mysterious wave of killer deer struck. Going this way wasn’t going to work. To the west was a forest, and to the east was farms and open fields. The dirt bike he was on had about a half a tank of gas, and he wasn’t sure if he could get any more. When he runs out, he would be on foot, an easy target for whatever was coming next. The whole world seemed like it was coming undone or just coming to an end.
South was the last direction, so south was the way Jimmy decided to go. He wanted to bypass Hinesburg as well as Lodi. When Jimmy left, he didn’t do anything with the bodies, and he also didn’t want to see what he lost. Not wanting to alert the deer, he pushed the bike for about a mile. A farmer named Styles lived just outside of town with his gas supply. Jimmy figured he could stop there, gas up, and ride through the fields, bypassing the city. He made it to the farm to find more bodies. Like many of the people in town, Farmer Styles and his family lived through the invasion only to die from poisoned deer meat. Jimmy checked the house and barn, but everyone was dead. With the key from the farmer, Jimmy went to the pump. The power was out, but the gas-pump had a backup manual crank.
Just as he topped off his tank, a low flying plane went overhead. Jimmy thought of the movie Outbreak with the aircraft and the giant bomb. The airplane turned and headed for Hinesburg. He couldn’t see what it was doing, but something came out the back. A parachute opened, and a large something slowly descended as the plane flew away. The first thought was the movie again, but he quickly thought about how that was just a movie, and this was most likely some aide. Maybe, when he was away, someone came to town. A flash of light came from the town. A second or two later, a thunderous cracking sound like an entire fireworks display going off at once. A surge of wind knocked him to the ground. Jimmy saw what looked like a mushroom cloud overhead. He got up, and the town was gone. Another crack and another cloud hung over Lodi.
Jimmy decided to skip the hills and go straight for route 71 south. The highway would take him to Columbus and if necessary further south. Jimmy remembered that somewhere in west Ohio was an infamous military base where his neighbor, Mr. Drake, said the government kept the alien bodies. He couldn’t remember the name, but if anyone were ready for a war, it would be the military. The first ten miles were uneventful. He passed a few cars and more dead people. Two highway patrol cars were on the side of the highway with their lights flashing, but the batteries were dying with the lights just a slow turning glimmer. All around the patrol cars were the bodies of deer and squirrels, but there were no officer’s bodies.
Ten miles out of Columbus, Jimmy came upon more bodies. Men, women, and children were lying on the road. Most of them had been shot rather than killed by the deer. The way the bodies were lined up reminded him of the movie Schindler’s List. Someone had pulled these people out of their cars and executed them for some reason only the gunman or men know. Among the dead was a child, maybe two to three years old. In a ditch nearby, he saw a woman holding what looked like a baby. Most of the woman’s head was gone. He sat there, trying to understand how someone did something like this when the baby moved. The gunmen thought the baby was dead in all the mother’s gore. Either that or they just left the baby to die on its own. Jimmy emptied his backpack and put the small infant into it and the bag in the front so he could keep an eye on it as he moved.
Bypassing the City
The makeshift wall surrounding the central part of the city was visible from a distance. Jimmy slowed down as he approached a checkpoint controlled by what looked like the national guard and police. A long line of cars snaked its way to the checkpoint and the wall. A truck with dead bodies stacked like logs was also nearby. The truck’s gate was open and was covered in blood. A man in a dark blue suit tried to push past the checkpoint. A guardsman pushed the man back, and a police officer shot him with a shotgun. The shot must have been some hollow-point slug because the man’s head exploded into chunks as the shot expanded. Two men in hazmat suits put the body in the back of the truck.
In all the commotion, Jimmy slipped off the highway and into a wasteland of burning homes and the dead. Someone from the road was screaming and pointing at him. He turned to see a Humvee coming down the hill. The Humvee was no match for the dirt bike. He easily passed burning cars, and tight places, the Humvee had to push to get through until he had enough space between him and them to find somewhere to hide. Society had broken down in about twenty-four hours. In all this, the baby didn’t make a sound. Jimmy could hear the Humvee looking for them. A house door opened, and an older African American man waved Jimmy over to him. He opened his garage and let Jimmy in.
James Buchanan Jones
James Buchanan Jones was eighty-nine years old. He had watched his neighborhood turn from quiet families to drugs than to a wealthy suburb. He bought his house in 1949 for three-thousand dollars, and just about a year ago; someone offered him four-hundred thousand for it. He said, “I was the first black man in the neighborhood, and now I’m the last, but no one is taking this away from me, no rich people, police, feds, or deer.” James was taking in anyone he could. He said, “the police or I don’t know men dressed as police were going around shooting deer than people. Anyone out at night was shot on sight. I know most of the police that patrols around here, and none of them are around anymore.” Jimmy told him about the bodies and how the men dressed like the national guard didn’t look right either. Something was off with the whole setup. As if on cue, the baby started to cry.
A woman with two small children offered to take care of the baby. Jimmy had no idea what to do, so he gave her to them. Whatever name she had died with her mother, so on the spot, they named her Abigail for James’s late wife. James filled Jimmy’s tank, and Jimmy gave him the snub-nosed Smith and Wesson 500 bear gun he was going to give to the sheriff before his town died. James took the gun and opened the wheel, looking at the five shots. Jimmy had ten more rounds with him before he left, and he gave them to James, who put one in his shirt pocket. He said, “I’ll keep one close…….one last shot because they aren’t taking me alive.” James gave Jimmy some protein bars and a couple of bottles of water. He said, “I suspect you won’t be here in the morning. A man traveling like you won’t stop until he gets to wherever he’s going wherever that is. A man on a mission. If you go, please tell someone what’s going on, if you stay, you’re welcome to stay, but I don’t think you’ll stay.” Jimmy wanted to say he had no such mission, but now he had two, or the two missions had him. About four in the morning, Jimmy left the house and made his way west, hoping he was going toward the military base with all the Aliens.
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron