The Search

October 21, 2020
The Search

Walking through the forest I kept my eyes peeled. The creature could jump out from anywhere. As I progressed I thought back to what had happened. I had entered the forest to look for mushrooms when the brown animal ran in front of me. Surprised I watched as the creature lumbered past and on through the woods off to some unknown lair. After it had passed I walked over to where it had been to look for foot or paw prints.
Movement off to the side pulled me out of my daze just in time to see a squirrel leap into the distance. Trying to find this animal was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I mean seriously what idiot would put a needle in a haystack it’s just stuipid. I had to assure myself I had seen a real animal because the only thing it could have been was a brown bear but they dont run on their hind legs.
Bubbles of doubt pocketed themselves in my mind as I plowed through the dense woods. The tremendous noise I was making would have scared off any wildlife within a mile. But I now realized that it couldn’t have been a normal animal that had surprised me.
Squirrels chattered at me when I get too close to their nests. The deeper I went into the woods the darker and spookier it was. Quick on the draw I wiped around as a branch snapped, terrifying a poor rabbit. I leaned against a tree trying to get my heart to slow down when I saw it move. The beast plauded in my line of sight moving with quickness that would be impossible for an animal of its size.
Picking up a stick it moved toward me apparently threatened by me being so close to its cave or wherever it slept. Hefting the log it threw it at me with its massive forearms seeing I was not welcome anymore, I decided to leave. Charging through the forest like a frightened rabbit I ran all the way to the road. Then following it I finally made it home. So after my explanation of what happened you now know why I missed dinner.

Wrap, bubble, progress, print, family, entry, quick on the draw, needle in a haystack

Needle in a haystack

“You don’t understand,” he said.

“Yes I do, I get it but you can’t take the shot from that angle” his captain said. She was more experienced than he. And had been in more battles. She didn’t need to remind him.

“Roger that. Green 2 pulling back”, he replied.

She felt relieved but frustrated. They may have just missed their turn to complete the task.

“Let’s try this again. Green 4, it’s your turn”, she stated over the airwaves.
“Roger that. Circling around into position”, green 4 said. No with a bit of trepidation in his stomach. It was different being second in line to complete the task, now the pressure was on him.

As his plane descended within the few seconds into position, he relied on the computer systems to update the exact location of the target. Not a large target. A needle in a haystack, if you will. A quick fly-by and no one would be the wiser. Actually a brilliant location for the enemy to hide the armory storage. Never would have been found if not for the quick thinking of their insurgent on the ground.

Weeks in the making, probably years, but never easy. The progress was slow and specific. Never revealing identity. Never phoning home when undercover like that. Even getting the information back to the team was multiple layers of messages. Secret words or phrases that meant nothing to the common person, but in the right location and the right time would be translated into the details the team needed. He completed that task just two nights before and was now running across the mountain range to get away before being located and killed, for sure. A two day headstart and he assumed he would be far gone by the time his team got the message and engaged the mission. He couldn’t look back.

“Psssh” the sound of static breaking in the radio sequence. Not a squelch, but more like a sizzle. Everyone was used to it by now, having trained with it. You never payed attention to it anymore. “In position now”, said Green 4, in a very casual voice. “This is like popping bubbles in a bathtub”, he said to himself under his breath.

The low murmur of the targeting system as he approached, increased. If he waited too long, progress would be lost and they’d have to try again, wasting more time and putting the team in jeopardy. Teams in the air and on the ground.

Meep, meep, meep. The sound was increasing in volume and well as frequency. “On track”, he reported to his team. Captain could see every bit of his targeting system from afar, all systems stayed in sync and she could see what he was seeing on his screen.

“Don’t forget the adjustment for the wind differential as you enter the causeway between those cliffs”, she reminded the young pilot. Not wanting to miss this opportunity.

“Roger that. Compensating thermal updraft systems. Check”. As a low hum from the system engaged.

A flock of birds flew over his head. He heard the sound coming again. Another pass? What happened the first time? Must have missed. He wasn’t happy to see that. He really better move now if there was a miss and now a second shooter, they will notice he is gone for sure and start on foot. With enough time between explosions for a few men to come look for him. A swig of water and a moment to look at his footprints in the sand. Uh oh, they might find him for sure. But he can’t stop now. Maybe a brief backtrack but he has to keep moving.

Captain was accustomed to missions like this. She knew there was never time to stop and think. Only react. “PPssshh, I see you now”, a crack in the lines and a strange message.

“Keep the lines clear!” She enforced over the line. Wait, the team knew that. This was different. A small welp in her stomach and thoughts about the safety of her team.

MEEEEEEEEEEP, the computer indicator of Green 4. Lost? Lost.

“We’ve lost number 4, ma’am”, said the program controller.

“Pull the others out. Send that message now”, she stated. With haste, but not panic. There is a difference and must. She must not show stress to your team. They must have a level of confidence and comfort, even when losing members of the team.

“That shall be the last attempt from you”, the voice appeared again.

“Switch to alternate channels. And can we get a report from the ground?”

The mystery voice again, “We have your channel’s decoded. We have your spy in sight. We’d like our package returned. We will not let you destroy our storage building”.

“We don’t play games with the enemy. You are being tracked and you will also be destroyed”, she sounded a bit over confident, but she believed every word of it.

She switched to a private direct line to the Corporal. “Corp Mahony, can we get movement toward the source of that disturbance? Keep radios clear. I only want the simple progress. I want it don’t quick and let’s get out of here and go home”.
“Roger ma’am”. From the other end of the line.

In a low whisper “you heard her”. Let’s snuff out the problem. This time pieces of shrapnel fell from the sky. He knew was it was and a small tear wrapped his emotions. He was driven by revenge now.

Quiet steps. Quick movements to keep their cover and 3 of them moved through the cover of the trees. Was it enough? Could they find the enemy before one of them was killed?

Oct 21, 2020
Quick on the draw
Needle in a haystack


The Desert of Life

October 20, 2020
The Desert of Life

Walking, walking. Not going anywhere but still walking. Sand in everything, my shoes, my shirt, my pants everywhere. Mirages taunting my with their visions of splendour. Vultures wheeled in the sky lazily. Circling waiting for me to settle my walking and die. I wanted to scream, go away, or put a sock in it, but my throat was so dry I had to suppress a wave of pain.
Sand and dunes everywhere I look. No encampments just sand as far as the eye can see. No helpful arrow of direction, just sand, wind, and vultures. Watching, waiting for me to give up my fight, my struggle and pass out from lack of my basic needs.
Crawling, inching, moving nowhere but towards fate going only towards what lies ahead. No cacti, or tumbleweeds just sand forever. Rattlesnakes and prairie dogs pocketing the land. Just a fraction of the dangers of the desert.
An earthquake of emotion bubbled inside of me or maybe pain and hunger from the days without food in this horrible desert. Wandering without a guide has a price. You end up getting lost and roaming the desert looking for water, precious water.
Animals are smart, they don’t venture into the desert. ‘Cause they know it’s a death trap for unknowing fools. Vultures prey on these fools who wander in thinking it’s a short cut but then they find out it’s only full of death. I was one of these fools and now I’m forced to crawl through this desert looking for water.

First ending: What is this? A town I’m saved finally I can stop walking in this death trap of a desert.

Second ending: In the twilight zone

Second ending: Rain on your parade, put a sock in it, arrow, basic, settle, suppress, earthquake

Between a rock and a hard place

…Quiet steps. Quick movements to keep their cover and 3 of them moved through the cover of the trees. Was it enough? Could they find the enemy before one of them was killed?

So we crept under cover. As a soldier, you know that your training takes over. You can’t think about your movements. They have to be part of your instinct. If you’re thinking, you’re dead. You move as one group. Reading each other’s minds without talking. That leaves you free to observe the surroundings. Looking. Listening.

Jenkins remembered the days his father would take him squirrel hunting in the woods. Quiet, which was hard to come by in those days. They lived out in the middle of Tennessee, which was remote from the big cities, but not too far away from the struggles of his small town and school. He struggled in school. He was smart, but now by the measures of the classroom. He didn’t act up, but couldn’t pay attention to the details of the subject matter. He struggled to get by. Hunting with dad was a way to get away from that stress. Dad loved him as did his mom. He didn’t want to kill just to kill one of God’s creatures. It was learning a lesson. “If you’re gonna kill it, you better be prepared to eat it”, his dad always said. He could still hear the voice in his head. Snap out of it, no room for distraction, dreams or being far away.

“Pssh” noise on the radio line. They all stopped and crouched instantly. What was that? Who was on the line? Radio silence from the captain. They picked up and started again.

“Phssh, grgrgrgrgrgr”. There is was again. But this time more noticeable but no words could be made out. Was it friend or foe? Everyone waited for a signal from squad leader.

The charred debris still falling from the sky from their lost friend. A brief victory for the enemy, maybe. Always hate to lose someone, but everyone knew the task at hand was bigger than one person.

“Phssh…. Click click. Grrr-echo gggrrr-avo. gggrrr -ictor”. Echo? Bravo? Victor? That was the distress signal. But who and where was it coming from? Was that for them? They kept moving this time. A little faster. Tracking the last rendezvous place agreed upon to meet Johnson for pick up. But he didn’t have a radio.

Hold. The signal from the lead to stop at something interesting up ahead. A noise? A person? Nerves up but also under control. It’s never this way in training. There is nervousness but also the feeling that it’s not live bullets during training. This was no training exercise.

Something on the ground. A foot print. Bare foot. That might be him. The team tracked it to the right between two trees. They stopped. Disappeared. “Hoo, hoo”. They looked up. Quick turn around and at ease. Johnson. Sitting in a tree, like he was playing a game of hide-n-seek back home. Let’s get out of here and radio back to station.

The recovery choppers always came in fast and low for pick up. And they hit hard. Not enough room to land, so it was ascension via a ladder, but worth the ride. Johnson was first. Secure him as the others faced outward watching for anything suspicious. Better hurry. Not much time now, they will see them and fire upon then at any moment.

Two more were nestled into the chopper. One more. When he’s on it’ll be a quick turn and high-tail back to the dock.

“Rubber ducky to the Momma, we have the eggs and headed back to the Nest”. Overheard in the comms from the pilot. Still on guard even though we were headed away from danger, it was still ever present, like a giant weight pressing down.

Getting back from that retrieval the team felt a little bit of victory even with the defeat of losing a friend. The team was not aware of the status on the initial target. “Were we able to get?”, one member asked.

“We got it! Right after you guys hit the ground, we circled back around and blew that thing to the moon. Like putting popcorn in the oven. BAM!”, Stevens was always a bit dramatic, but who could blame him. We all needed a win. And we needed some emotional out. I was comforted by his enthusiasm.

We started packing our gear, which wasn’t much. It was time to pull further out across the border into safer territory. We did our part for today as part of the bigger plan. That was our payment, if anyone was looking for an equalizer.

The cargo trucks were loaded up and everyone aboard. Not much was left behind except the dirt and dry spot from their station. The smoothness of their operation installation and removal would leave anyone impressed. It was a hard place to be and they made it look easy.

Oct 22, 2020
Between a rock and a hard place



A Relaxing Day

October 14, 2020
A Relaxing Day
As I strolled around the deck a sulfurous stinch hit me. It was a stink like no other, so powerful it could kill a fish. I looked out among the forest of masts that filled the surrounding harbor. there was this notion that got a hold of me to go look for the source of the horrible smell
As i listened to see if i could hear anything the silence was broken by a tremendous wail. The noise echoed in my ears. Heart racing, I jumped outside to see where this was coming from. Just as I got to the rail a monster leaped up on the deck. It was an undesirable shade of green that would make you sick to the stomach.
It sprang forward at me trying to grab me to pull me back to the infernal depths of the ocean. I leaped to the side reaching for the harpoon I had for fishing. As my fingers just missed the creature picked up an oil drum and hurled it smashing into my side, pain erupted as my ribs cracked under the pressure. I sank to the deck. The monster seeing I was down took an uncertain step forward as if seeing if I could still fight back.
As luck would have it I had fallen next to the copper basin. To prevent this monstrosity from terrorising others I had to wound it. It inched closer testing me seeing how injured I was. When it was in striking distance I lifted myself up on my elbows. The creature was startled and backed away, but upon observing I was still injured it advanced. Moving with swiftness I should not have had due to my ribs I lifted the basin and threw it with all my might at the creature.
It was a copper blur in the air as it crashed into the monster’s head. Not liking this it dove over the edge of my ship back to where it came from. Exhausted I sank down in a chair. My side still burned with pain but I had diverted a monster and that was okay with me.

Basin, sulfur, notion, listen, prevent, break the ice, give a man a fish