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The Telling – Excerpts from the Daniel Sawyer Journal


Waves of civilization clashed back and forth into each other, as ideology broke down into anger, fear and opportunity. The last great bastion of wealth was up for grabs to those willing to take it. There were announcements. There were military parades and then the war was waged.

This journal was found in a glass case on a third floor of a long abandoned building where the Civilian Wars archives in Mexico had been maintained.

First entry:

I am watching Marines disembark from a ship along Navy Pier Terminal, Lake Michigan, Chicago. There are so many, standing in rows. Now a tank is being lowered from a crane. Moving inland - as there is now smoke coming from buildings. The fires must have been set by the Marines.

Moving quickly now, Marines in a jeep are ordering people to evacuate. Troops following the jeep are firing into building windows.

Sirens are blaring. Several patrol cars have blocked W. Pershing Drive. They are standing behind the cars with their sidearm drawn. Many people in the streets now – mostly moving away from the smoke and gunfire.

Smoke is billowing up from what looks to be near Jackson Drive. I am moving with the crowd. I just saw an older woman fire a revolver out her third story window. More police cars are arriving.

A tank has broken through the first barricades of Police cars. I took some pictures with my phone’s camera. Marines are shooting into the crowds. The people are running.

Just passed another police car barricade. I can’t believe my eyes – armed gang members are standing side-by-side of Police officers trying to block the advance of the insurgent Marine infantry. They advance towards Bronzeville. Women carrying babies are running for their lives.

Second entry:

From where I am hiding it looks like Chicago is burning. Loudspeakers are demanding people evacuate the city. Thousands of people are now in the streets, carrying what they can. Some are looting stores for food as they go. I filled my backpack with canned sardines, crackers and bottled water.

My phone has stopped working. I seem to be trapped between the military and the shoreline. Going to head south to see if I can stay ahead of it all. The noise is horrendous, the small arms fire is now mixed with cannon pounding bombardment. There is the smell of the dead in the air. Rats follow along the same paths as the people trying to escape.

As I make my way south, I see small groups of men and women carrying small arms. They are going to make a stand – if they saw what I have seen they would know it is futile. The city is burning.

Night has arrived. The sound of crying has replaced small arms fire. Leaflets were dropped from helicopters. The one I picked up read, “We are taking back our city. You are no longer welcome. You are an example of what will happen in every city in America.”

Just climbed over many cars crunched together into a large four way intersection. No vehicle can get through that mess. Hundreds of armed men and women prepare for an assault.

Last entry:

In Chinatown. Young men wearing black are moving towards the stockades. Their faces solemn. There are hundreds of them.

It is dawn. Helicopter gunships darken the sky above us. Every person has something in their hands to fight with.

A typed card below the journal states:

This journal was found in the former State of Indiana, where many of the citizens of Chicago first took refuge. This is the first known chronicle of what was the beginning of the internal war that raged for decades in America.


A political promise was made to abate the crime in one of America’s largest cities. The population was viewed as unworthy to live in such a fine city and the political solution was a cleansing. The campaign to drive out those that were not wanted sent one million five hundred thousand refugees initially into the States of Indiana and Ohio. The influx, had a domino effect which cut the geography of the United States in half. The action quickly broke out into free fire zones with bands of armed militia terrorizing citizens and refugees alike. Commerce ground to a halt. The battle of political ideology broke down to a fight for food.

Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends Theme

The Telling - The Wheat Eaters Journal

© 2018 mckbirdbks


mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 23, 2018:

Hello Peg - You had an interesting career. Too bad that both you and I were often paid with a pat on the back. Those don't spend that well at the grocery store. Thanks for stopping by to reread this piece. I have not been very productive lately.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 23, 2018:

Hey there Mike, Came back for a reread of this one today. Sometimes I like to relive the glory days when I managed telecom equipment installation projects in the US. (Ancient history) In one 6 month period, our team installed radio base stations in over 265 cell tower sites in the southeast. The VP gave me a 15 pound tin of Hershey's kisses as a bonus along with a sunshine letter to my boss.

Yes, the phones will die and people might have to start talking to each other in person again.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 09, 2018:

Hello Gypsy Rose - Thanks for the visit. My mind can be a scary place. ha.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 08, 2018:

As much as this is a horrific prediction it is also mesmerizing reading and thinking.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 07, 2018:

Hello Martie - The world is clearly going in the wrong direction. We both can see that. Thanks for the visit.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on January 07, 2018:

Excellent journal about a future event!

I have the same kind of vision for SA. Over-population, unemployment, food and water shortages, etc, will cause extreme man-made disasters rather sooner than later.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 06, 2018:

Hello Peg - This is just another fantasy fiction episode from my odd mind. Thanks for taking the time to visit these odd stories. And the phones will not work. The towers will be taken over or taken down or jammed.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 06, 2018:

Hello Genna - I have heard several times, 'What's going on in Chicago?" regarding the murder rate. And I have heard, "Something must be done about it." I am sure we are in the political grip of something far bigger than our current understanding. To me this has the feel of something that does not end well for America and Americans.

You are right this installment should have been first. There are now 3 'The Telling' stories. Each darker than the next.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on January 06, 2018:

This is a chilling and realistic vision of one possible future. I believe you're right about the phones. They will stop working once the cell phone towers are destroyed or damaged and the electricity goes off.

So glad to find your story here today. It must have been lost in the email blackout when we didn't get notifications for days.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 06, 2018:

There is a prophetic quality to this riveting story, Mike. Is the handwriting on the wall? I see this as the opening installment to a fascinating yet chilling series.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 05, 2018:

Hello Bill - What we have here is imagination run amok. Thanks for the visit.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2018:

Well that was chilling!

And far too close to reality to make it anything but a horror story.

There but for the grace of God.....

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 04, 2018:

Hello Verlie – The concept here in these stories is that our country was being ruined by liberal thinkers and only conservative counter measures would stop our decline. As you may know the planning by men to mold anything usually does not go well. The invisible hand takes over. The end of the world as we know it seems to be happening right now. We have a hawk trying to start a nuclear confrontation, thinking they can control the outcome. The lunatics are in control and the world in general is bracing itself. Oh, how I go on.

Thanks for coming by to read the rantings of an old American.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 04, 2018:

Hello mar – has it been months since I published? Time sure flies. I have another story ‘mostly’ written, so it may not be months before something else appears. But times, they are a changing, hope that is S & G, but could be Dylan. I hear it is cold on the east coast. Here, the temps are jumping all over the place. Thanks for stopping by to read the rantings of an American that can’t grasp what is happening at the hands of so called Americans.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 04, 2018:

Hi Shy – As it happens, I was born in Chicago. Though we did not stay there and I have no memories from the place. Thanks for coming to visit my story. It has been a while since I have been able to write, or think. As usual, thank you for the blessing. I hope all is well with you and yours.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 04, 2018:

Wow Mike, is this a prophecy, this is amazing. I once lived in Chicago and the neighborhood where I lived is now gone. My son lives in Chicago.

Blessings always my dear friend and I am happy to see you writing again.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on January 04, 2018:

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was

A time of innocence, a time of confidences

Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph

Preserve your memories; They're all that's left you."

I don't remember this brief but powerful S & G tune - what a perfect tune for this new year's gift which took seven months, well worth the wait.

Not sure if this story or the weather is more chilling - dystopian becomes you, dear Mike.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on January 04, 2018:

Mike you write The End of the World so well...Bleak, only a forgotten journal to tell the story It's war and death. But I see someone is telling the story, from far in the future. Brilliant as usual my friend.

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