#Perspectives : Part 1, Chapter 5

As we drove, I realized I’d only seen white people. White, Christian people. No others. Nothing but white, Christian people.

“They really did it, didn’t they. Ethnic cleansing.”

The truck’s cold, metallic voice answered, “It’s not a surprise. The drones recorded them.”

“I know.”

I didn’t speak as we explored Jackson. The ruins of the business district, most buildings collapsed from the drone attacks. Another time we’d had no choice, the people who’d worked in those buildings had funded God’s Army, and the Southern Resistance. Billions of dollars had passed through those buildings, into the war. The people who worked there contributed part of their paychecks to the war effort.

In some of those buildings they had worked on advanced body armor. Armor that made standard ammunition useless, that shattered bullets on impact, and spread the shock of the impact over feet of surface area.

In other buildings they had worked on advanced firearms, the kind that aimed themselves, all the human did was pull the trigger. Hell, even the ammunition was smart, guided, heat sensing, some even video based. The guns fired, the rounds took flight, then found a target, and aimed at it. It didn’t matter who, as long as it wasn’t someone on their side.

In still other buildings, they worked on parts for their war machines, their aircraft, ships, tanks. Whatever was needed to keep their machines working. Parts for their bombers and fighters. Parts for their aircraft carriers, destroyers, and cruisers. Parts for their tanks, and mobile artillery.

They even had buildings working on chemical weapons, neurotoxins, super bacteria, vectored viruses, designed to kill us. Designed to kill my people.

I remembered the time the truck drove through what had been Jefferson City. I will never forget that drive. Jefferson City was littered with bodies. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. Every human who’d lived in Jefferson City, died when two B-21s flew over, and dropped two bio-weapons. A super bug. A killer bacteria. People’s arms turned purple, swelled up, the skin broke. Their legs did the same. Green goo flowed from the skin tears. They choked on the goo as it filled their lungs.

There was no cure.

We’d had to seal off the area. Anyone within 10 miles of Jefferson City had been trapped. We’d sent in medical droids to do what they could. When they found someone alive, they accessed the extent of the infection. When they had to, they euthanized people. When they could, they amputated the infected body parts.

The same kind of thing happened everywhere. The B-21’s flew over, dropped their weapons. Millions died. Millions.

I looked at my right arm. The skin looked real enough, it felt real enough, but inside was ceramic bone, an array of sensors to detect pressure and heat, computer circuitry to format the information the sensors picked up, convert it into biological signals it fed to my central nervous system.

I’d lost my arm when God’s Army bombed Springfield. My mother died when her chest broke open as the bacteria ate her lungs and heart. My father shot my brother and me, then he shot himself, so we wouldn’t have to die like Mom had. His aim was off when he shot me. I didn’t die. And the medical droids found me.

And they cut off my arm.

They saved my life.

We’d set up air defenses using lasers, and optically guided missiles. Radar was useless against the B-21s, and their fighter escorts. The lasers shot down hundreds of aircraft. There are still areas where those B-21’s crashed where nothing lives, nothing grows.

Each time they bombed a city, they bombarded the media with stories of how they’d attacked more of Satan’s spawn, and were continuing to do the work of God, saving the country from the Devil.

And for everything we shot down, they made more.

We’d had no choice.

We’d had no choice. We’d sent in the Furies, and the Strafes, our autonomous fighters and bombers. They flew less than 100 feet off the ground. God’s Army and The Southern Resistance had no defense against them. We sent them endlessly. Hour after hour. At first, we had 500 Furies, and 100 Strafes. We’d learned to make them using autonomous factories. Those factories poured out more, daily. After twelve months of the air assault, we had 6000 Furies and 1200 Strafes.

We bombed, and bombed, until the building that made the biological weapons were gone. Then, we bombed until the buildings that made the war machine parts were gone. Then the advanced guns. Then the body armor. We took apart their ability to make war.

And yes. We killed millions.

We’d had no choice.

The rubble of the buildings of Jackson showed the truth about the war. A war with no winner save Death. A war where the country’s population dropped hundreds of millions. It had been a war unlike anything in the history of the human race.

As the bombing continued, God’s Army and The Southern Resistance moved production facilities, research facilities, and all the rest, into churches, people’s houses, apartment buildings, barns on farms. Anywhere they could to continue building weapons for the war.

And we’d had no choice to but move the bombing to those structures.

The cold voice of my truck interrupted my memories, “Drone one reports a sighting of humans.”

“How many?”


“Send drone two for a better look.”


“How far away are we?”

The truck displayed an overhead map comprised of images taken by Furies over the years of the bombing. There were two red dots on the map, one identified where we were, the other where the drones were reporting the humans.

My truck didn’t ask, it headed toward the humans.

The two drones circled the area, their cameras zoomed in. Those cameras could see the teeth in a human smile from a mile. The drones circled, and collected information. The truck pieced the video from the drones together into a map.

There were two, heavily armed white men, guns drawn, barking orders at twelve people, all non-white. Some black. Some white, but clearly the wrong kind of white. I figured that meant they were Latinos, or Atheists, or Jewish, or something other than Christian. They could have been middle eastern, or European. I had no way to tell. They weren’t black.

Three of the dozen people were men. Three were women. The remaining six were children, two girls, four boys.

“Truck. I want to be there now.”

The truck engine roared to life as it left the remains of the roadway, and made a straight line toward the other red dot. We didn’t dodge anything, or go around anything. The truck’s reinforced frame, and metallic foam armor let us run through anything we hit.

We were, in effect, a four metric tonne tank. As we raced through the remains of Jackson to the sight of the humans, the video from the drones played on the truck’s windshield, and I watched in horror, and rage.

A little black girl tripped and fell. One of the white men grabbed her by the arm, yanked her to her feet, screamed at her, and backhanded her across the face. He broke her nose, split her lips. She crumpled to the ground, and I wondered if he’d broken her neck.

One of the men stepped between the white man, and the little girl in an effort to protect her. He reached for her, to help her up, to see if she was OK.

The white man shot him. The white bastard aimed an automatic assault gun at the man, and pulled the trigger. My truck reported 17 rounds were fired. It nearly cut the man in half. The other white man screamed, “Get back to work, ‘fore we have to shoot the rest of ya!”

My truck broke through the last pile of rubble between us and the people we’d found. As it did, I grabbed the wheel, and slammed my foot down hard on the gas. I drove straight at one of the white men. He heard me coming and turned just in time to meet the grille of my truck with his face.

The second white man saw what was happening. He saw the remains of his partner piled on the ground behind my truck, and my truck heading straight for him. He dove for cover behind some rubble.

I adjusted my truck’s course, and pedal to the metal, plowed into that rubble. The rubble pile was destroyed. So was the white bastard inside it.

I backed my truck up, then opened the door.

My truck turned on its external speakers, “Both targets disabled.”

I stood before ten terrified people. I reached into the back of my truck and pulled out a supply container. I carried it toward the injured little girl. No one stopped me. I opened the container, and pulled out bandages, and antibacterial cream. The others watched. The cream found any infected areas of the little girl’s broken nose, busted lips, and broken teeth. When it did, it sent in nanobots to penetrate the bacteria, and literally explode, killing that bacteria.

We’d learned a lot about advanced bacterial warfare during the war. We’d had to. Now, it was being put to good use. The bleeding stopped. I looked at the little girl, and tried to smile. I reached into the kit, and pulled out an additional ointment, filled with nanobots that mended wounds. I applied it. “It tastes like dog poo, I know. But it’ll heal the cuts and broken bones. And it’ll mend your broken teeth.”

No one moved.

I stood up. “I’m from America.” I looked at the adults, “You know what that means?”

One of the men nodded, “You’re one of the soldiers of the North.”

“Not exactly. There is no north, no south. No states. We’re just America now. On government. One country.”

He nodded, trying to understand.

“Those men,” I pointed at their dead bodies, “They were making you work?”

He nodded, “Yes.”


He nodded.

My voice shook with rage. “Not anymore. Y’all are free now.”

Slavery had returned. The non-white Christians they hadn’t killed, they’d enslaved. We’d wondered if they’d killed everyone, and what they’d done with those they hadn’t killed. Now, we knew. Now, we had proof. The images from the Furies had shown what looked like forced labor camps. But we couldn’t be certain. We couldn’t believe until we saw it ourselves. Until we put feet on the ground, and witnessed it with human eyes.

And I was staring at it.

I picked up the container, handed it to a black woman. “Medicine and food. It’s yours.”

Nope of them moved. They stood there, confused. Until a little boy asked, “Will there be others?”

“Yes.” I nodded. “With what I’ve learned today, there will be lots of others.” I smiled at the little boy. “We don’t tolerate slavery. It’s wrong.”

My truck was already reporting the proof of slavery. We’d send troops in. All we’d been waiting for was proof. I’d found it. I wondered if any of the others had found it.

“Are there more of you?” I asked.

The black woman I’d handed the case bowed her head, “Yes, ma’am.”

I put my hand under her chin, raised her face to look her in the eyes, “You’re free now. You don’t have to bow down to anyone.” I smiled at her. “Can one of you show me where to find them?”

A man I guess was Latino, or maybe middle eastern, I’m not good with racial stereotyping. Never have been. Never will be, stepped forward. “I know where they are.”

I motioned for him to follow me. “We’re going to get in my truck, and we’re going to go free more people.”

The man climbed into my truck. I waved at the others, “I’ll bring him back before long.” Then, I got in my truck, and we drove.

It turned out the war wasn’t over. The damned war refused to die. We’d hoped it had ended, we’d prayed it had ended. We were sick of war. Sick of dead bodies. Sick of the stories of mass burial sites.

But we’d found slavery, and that meant the war wasn’t over. That meant the war was about to heat up once more.

And once more, there would be dead people everywhere.

“What does it take to end this damn war?” I couldn’t help myself. I said it out loud.

And my truck answered, its voice as cold and synthetic as ever, “The death of every last Christian.”

I prayed it wasn’t right. But I was beginning to believe its cold mathematical self had spoken the truth. And the war would continue until every last Christian in God’s Army was dead.


#ThursThreads Week 498 : He Spoke The Truth

I could see Frank was disturbed. “You OK with everything?” It was polite to ask, but I knew he wasn’t OK.

Frank never looked up from where he was staring at the space between his feet, at the floor of the metro car. “No.”

“What’s up?” I tried to sound positive, something that’s not easy to do after you had to shoot someone in the back of the head while they were blindfolded, and on their knees. “You thinking about the job?”

He still didn’t look up. “He spoke the truth, you know.”

“Yeah, Frank. I know. So do the people who sent us to take care of him.” I patted him on the shoulder. “He spoke the truth, and that’s why they had to get rid of him.”

“It’s not right.”

“Frank. It’s a bit late to worry about right and wrong. It’s just a job. It’s what we do. We take orders, and we follow them. That’s all.” I had to sigh. I already knew Frank wasn’t going to be around long. A guilty conscience was a death sentence in our line of work.

“Let’s get you home, Frank. So you can have a stiff drink, and sleep it off.”

I’d do what I could to keep him in line, but sooner or later, he’d try to get out of the business. No one got out of the business. One in, it was for life.

“It’s just a job, Frank. That’s all. Just a job.”

247 Words

It’s Week 498 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

#SwiftFicFriday Week 107 : Food.

The weather forecast said it was going to snow, somewhere between 4 and 7 inches. It also said that 3 days later, the temperature would be in the high 40s, and it would rain. The snow would last 3 days, at most.

No one would starve, or run out of food, or milk, or chicken, or bacon, or even toilet paper.

That’s why the store’s aisles were filled with people, and why those people had hundreds of dollars worth of groceries in their carts, and why the checkout lines ran from the cashier stands, halfway to the back of the store.

It made no sense. People were panicking. Buying groceries like they would be trapped in their homes for weeks, not for 3 measly days. I would have hauled another cart full of 1 pound chubs of ground beef out, so we could sell them, except we’d run out of ground beef. We didn’t have any more.

“What are these people going to do? Cook hamburgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for the next three weeks?” I paused, looked around at the insanity, and continued thinking, “And they must be going to make them super spicy, because they’re buying enough toilet paper to last three years.”

It never ceased to amuse me when people went off the deep end, and panic bought everything. It was stupid, yes. It made no sense, yes. But, damn was it good for business. While the panic buying stampede was in full force, I got to work over time, trying to keep up with the insanity. I didn’t mind, as long as they didn’t resort to yelling at me. “Can you please check the back! I know you have more back there! Stop hoarding it!”

“Humans.” I knocked my head against the door frame. “Stupid.”

300 Words

It’s Week 107 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. I’m still wondering what the heck is going on with this story. There seems to be only one way for me to find out. Anyway. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up regularly.

#Perspectives : Part 1, Chapter 4

My truck’s cold, robot voice asked, “Where should we go next?”

I found I couldn’t resist trying humor, so I answered, “When in the land of God’s Army, one must always visit a church.”

My truck’s metal tones answered, “Of course. A church.” I watched as maps started scrolling past on his windshield.

“This is Jackson, truck. How hard can it be to find a church?”

“You do know we bombed them all.”

Yes, I knew. “That’s where they suicide bombers came from.” I nodded, “So yes, we blew them all up.”

Jackson, in what had once been Mississippi. Part of so called, “God’s country.” Home to dozens of churches, and each one filled to the brim each Sunday as good Christians worshiped their God, and learned of all the evil things that happened in the world around them.

Jackson, where I didn’t want to be. I’d been curious about the place a few hours earlier. Curious to see what the remnants of God’s Army, the Southern Resistance, and the Christian church were like. Curious to see if they’d be willing to accept help to rebuild their destroyed homes, towns, cities, and lives. Then, they shot at me. Then, I’d seen how they treated people not like them. I’d seen the killing pits, and the oceans of bones, and the remains of bodies. And I wasn’t so curious anymore.

I wondered if I slept, would I wake up screaming?

Jackson was the first major stop on my mission. I’d made several stops along the way, in smaller places, like Shreveport, Monroe, and Vicksburg. I’d seen noone. Everything had been destroyed, desolate, and empty. My truck’s sensors reported chemical weapons contamination in all three places, but in Vicksburg, especially. There were entire chunks of Vicksburg where not even grass grew. Not even weeds. They’d made the weapons there. And when we bombed the weapons production places, it hadn’t been pretty.

But, my visit to Jackson was different. There were not chemical spills, no biological weapons. The truck hadn’t found anything like that. We had found people. The first people I’d encountered on the trip.

And they’d shot at me.

I hadn’t seen any of the body pits in the other places, only in Jackson. Jackson had turned into a disaster. A nightmare. And I was afraid we’d find more nightmares when we found a church, or the remains of a church.

“We  didn’t want to bomb them, you know,” it came out much like a whisper. “We didn’t want to bomb the churches.”

My truck always answered, “There was no other option.”

“I know.”

We had surveillance video, collected by drones, the Spyglass drones. They were solar powered, they flew forever, and they recorded everything on the ground. And the videos showed what happened at the churches. The men and women who went in with no guns, no bombs, and came out ready to die fighting use. We recorded their journeys as they headed north, across the border, across the battle front. The Spyglasses watched, and recorded, as they visited our daycare centers, our hospitals, our grocery stores, restaurants, doctor’s officers. We recorded them setting off the hand-held biochemical weapons they held, or the high explosives. We recorded them pulling out 3D printed, plastic guns, and shooting everyone they could, until we shot them. We recorded them plunging knives into the chests of medical doctors, slashing their throats, killing them any way they could.

We had it all on video. Recorded forever.

We spoke to them, negotiated with them, in endless video conferences. It was useless, they refused to negotiate, refused to stop. “We will never make peace with the children of Satan! We will fight until the last of us is dead!”

We told them they were leaving us no choice, we would have to attack their churches, we would have to stop their attacks.

Their only answer had been, “God will stop you!”

Only, God didn’t stop us.

The drones found the churches. It happened in a week. The drones started in what had been North Carolina. They’d spread to cover the entire border between us, and the rebel states. Once it started, it never slowed down. Drones never sleep, never rest, never get tired. They are relentless, merciless. They found every church, and bombed every church. Then, they found them a second time, and a third time. Twenty four hours a day, for seven days.

Cluster bombs, propelled from the drones, they punched through the roofs of the churches, and once inside, they exploded. They blew out the walls, blew out the framework, and the buildings collapsed.

We cried. We cried tears for their children. For their families. They’d packed them in their churches. Each church, filled to capacity. The drones recorded the hymns being sung by endless church congregations. “Onward Christian Soldiers” rang out for seven days, followed by screams, and explosions, and when the dust settled, the occasional cry for help, the wailing of bereaved parents over dead children, the cries, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

The attacks had stopped. They hadn’t petered out. They’d stopped. Instantly.

We’d bombed the churches to stop them. And it worked.

It was war. We’d had no choice. They’d given us no choice.

My truck’s voice informed me, “I’ve located a church.”


“Observation droid two.”

We headed there.

There wasn’t much left of it, no walls, no steeple.  A few shards rose from the ground, and I supposed they’d once been columns of a grand entrance to the building. Bits of colored glass were visible in the debris.

A sign out front read, “First Baptist Church Of Jesus Christ.” The church bell rested atop a pile of rubble. A few pews were still there, in what had been the sanctuary, arranged on what was left of the carpeted, concrete floor.

There were no bodies. “They cleaned the place up. Removed the bodies.” The two drones scanned the remains with their video systems. I knew from the video, someone was trying to clean it up. Brick and timber had been moved, and along one side of the remaining sanctuary floor was a wooden framework, the beginnings of a wall.

The drones recorded a handwritten note attached to the church sign, “Join us on Sunday’s as we rebuild the house of the Lord.”

I heard the gunfire before my truck told me about it.

“Have the drones find the shooters.”

The two drones zipped about, moving at speeds in excess of 300 KPH, twenty feet off the ground. Nothing human could track them. The gunshots kept coming, and the truck reported the armor was down to 97% of full functionality.

“When are we at risk?”


The drones reported there were three shooters. All three were women. A man, with a clerical collar, stood with them. All were white. The women wore makeup, and dresses.

“Waiting for orders.” The truck wanted me to take action, make a decision on what to do.

“Let’s move on.”

The truck moved forward, and we resumed our journey through Jackson.

“I have reported your inaction to home base.”

“I’ll do it.”

I called up the connection to base, back in what had once been Missouri. “Misty?”

The woman on the other end of the video connection responded, “Yes.”

“Found a church. They’re rebuilding it.”

“We thought they might.” She looked at my image, “Why did you call?”

“Three females, one male. All Christian. They shot at us.”

“Did you respond appropriately?”

I sighed. “No. I ordered my truck to move on.”

“Noted. You know you’ll have to explain your action when you return.”

“I know.” I paused. “They weren’t doing anything important. Just trying to build a church.”

Misty didn’t answer.

I was sick of killing. Of dead bodies. Of the destruction. “Don’t tell me what I already know.” My voice echoed in the cab. “Don’t tell me how this will all happen again someday if we don’t kill them all.”

Misty nodded, “I’m sick of the killing too.” She tried to smile, “You know it’s something we have to do.”

“I know.”

Misty broke the connection and our conversation ended. I’d be reprimanded for not taking out the resistance I’d encountered.

“I’m tired of the killing.”

My truck’s ruthless, heartless voice answered me, “You know they will try again in a hundred or two hundred years. And it will be worse next time.”

“I know.”

As the truck moved along the cratered roads in Jackson, I wondered when the war would start again, and when that old refrain, “The South will rise again!” would once more echo through the streets of places like Jackson.

“We’re human, truck.” I took a breath, tried to find any feeling in my body, tried to remember I was alive, to remember the value of human life. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

I closed my eyes, and wished not to find anything else in Jackson, but my gut, my heart, the ache in my soul, told me I was about to find a living nightmare.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, truck.”

“As you wish.”

#Perspectives : Part 1, Chapter 3

My truck asked me, “Are you sure you wish to stop here.”

“No. I’m not.” But, it was on my list of objectives. Stop at high school sports fields, and provide human eyeball observations of what happened there. “But, you know the task list. I’m supposed to stop.”

“Do you wish me to bring the drones in?”

“No. Keep them observing everything.”

My truck pulled up to the high school baseball field, with bleachers on each side. The good seats, of course, were for the home team’s fans. The old, aluminum, backless, cold as hell, and miserable to sit in bleachers were for the visiting team’s supporters.

I didn’t look as my truck approached the field. I’d seen the video feed from the Spyglass drones. Those fields weren’t for sports anymore. Those fields has been used as part of God’s Army’s plan to purge all of Satan’s minions from the face of the Earth.

They’d had propaganda, of course. Lots of propaganda. Such nasty things like, “What’s the only kind of good demon? A dead demon, of course!” And “Know any of Satan’s children? Report them to us. We’ll come get them, and make your neighborhood safe once more.”

They even provided visual guides to help people identify the demons. Pictures of black people. Pictures of Asian people. Jewish people, Latinos, Muslims, Europeans. Basically, anyone who wasn’t white.

“Report all Satan’s minions to the authorities.”

My truck interrupted my thoughts, “We’re here.”

Still, I didn’t look. I got out of my truck, and stared at the dash, then the hood. I walked to the front, and studied the lights. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready. “This the one?”

My truck answered, “Jim Hill High School, Jackson, Mississippi.” It paused. “When you are ready.”

I looked up, at the baseball field. Instead of grass, a home plate, and three bases, with a dirt infield, and pretty white chalk stripes for the foul lines, there were two pits. Each about three hundred feet long, and twenty feet wide. There was a worn path between the pits. The pits were open, uncovered.

I sank to my knees, beside my truck, as I stared at the field. “It’s true.” I had no words to describe the scene before my eyes. Disturbing, sickening, the very depths of hell, nothing seemed sufficient. Everything paled before the truth my eyes saw.

“It’s all true.”

The two pits were lined with bits and pieces of human bodies. Teeth, an occasional bone, jaw bone, finger bone, pieces of skulls. Scattered among those remains were plastic blobs, the melted remains of athletic shoes, and other footwear, a few charred remains I couldn’t identify. Burned fabric, in bright colors, stood out like flowers in a sea of blood.

“It’s all true.”

I knew what I was seeing. I knew what I’d found. I’d prayed, I’d hoped, I’d begged God, and the universe, to please not let it be true.

“It’s all true.”

I threw up. I looked at that hell. And I threw up a second time.

It was the major reason I was in Jackson. The major reason we had people in Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Birmingham, Mobile, Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, Spartansburg, and too many others to list. We had to have visual proof, made by human eyes. Because what the drones had shone us over the decades of the war couldn’t be true. I had to be a show. Something to fool us, and the drones.

But, standing beside the baseball field of Jim Hill High School, I knew it had all been real. All the pictures of the fire pits, the pictures of people lined up, blind folded, on their knees, being shot in the back of the head, their bodies dumped in open pits, then burned until nothing remained. They were all true.

“My God.” I couldn’t look at it anymore. I looked at the ground, “My God.”

It hadn’t been that way at first. People had fled, headed to the West, and to the North East. Hundreds of thousands of them. Displaced people. Transgender people. Homosexual people. The mentally ill. The disabled. Hundreds of thousands had fled. They’d told stories of executions in the middle of the night. Houses burned to the ground, families still inside. People hanged from trees in their own front yards.

Everyone who fled had a story.

In the first few years of the war, we took in over 700,000 refugees from the south, and the mid section of the country. They all told the same stories. They told us stories of how they managed to escape, and how many died in their homes, and how many died trying to escape, in the middle of nowhere.

They told of hunting parties. White men, armed with assault rifles, and dogs, tracking down people who tried to escape. Those men never asked questions. Never spared anyone. They shot everyone they found. Men, women, children.

And they sang of the glories of God when they did. “Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on!” They spoke of how they were making the country great again. Returning it to the ways of God. Getting rid of all the heathens, all of Satan’s minions, that had wrecked the country, and brought chaos, and havoc, and disasters down on God’s people.

And those who escaped told us these stories, over and over.

We recorded the stories, we put them in our databases, we ran our database analysis programs on them, we had the Watson network look for details of what the data meant.

Population cleansing. Just like in World War II, when the Nazis had tried to wipe the Jewish people from Europe. Just like Africa, when one tribe always tried to kill all the members of the other tribe. Just like what had once been Yugoslavia, when the Serbians had tried to wipe out the Muslim population of the country.

Population cleansing.

The evidence told us it had begun.

In America, we still had the stories of the atrocities of World War II in our history books. We taught our children about the slaughter of over six million Jews. We taught them about the concentration camps, and how they starved the people living there. How they stripped them naked, and force marched them into gas chambers.

In the rebel states, home of God’s Army, and the Southern Resistance, they’d removed those stories from their history books. They taught their children such stories were nonsense, lies, taught by the Devil. That the Jewish people had not been slaughtered. Instead, the Nazis had fought them tooth-and-nail, for survival. And the Jewish people lost.

We taught our children the stories of the original Civil War in the United States. We taught them one of the primary reasons for the war had been the practice of slavery, and how the black people in the southern states had no rights, no freedoms. They were property, sold, and bought, like dogs, and horses. How an owner could shoot a slave for no reason. How a slave could be whipped, for not looking at the ground when a white woman walked past. How slaves were housed in shacks, like animals.

Those stories were gone in the history of the Southern Resistance, and God’s Army. Replaced by stories of forcing Satan’s minions to do manual labor as punishment for their crimes. How they provided housing, and food, and necessities for those evil beings, and prayed God would purge Satan’s demons from them. How they used manual labor to try to break the possession of the demons, and free those who were possessed.

Our children knew the horrors of war, knew what happened in war, going back to the days of the tribes in Africa, where a tribe always tried to annihilate its enemy tribe, and the killing continued until no one was left. Again, that was missing in the history of the world as taught by the Southern Resistance.

Our children knew. We knew what happened in war. It was in our history books. In our libraries.

And it was there, in the pictures from the drones, in the videos they took as they flew over cities like Jackson, Durham, Savannah, Biloxi, Asheville, and so many others. Our Spyglass drones recorded it all. Recorded the executions. Recorded the burning of the bodies.

We knew it happened.

There, collapsed to my knees, choking back the tears I felt at the horror of what I saw in that field, the nightmare that had come to life before my eyes, I knew with certainty.

“My God. They really did it.”

My truck’s cold, heartless voice broke into my thoughts, “There is no way to tell how many people died here.” I knew it spoke the truth. We’d recorded images of thousands of fire pits all over the states that had been. States like North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, North and South Dakota, Georgia, and so many others. The pits had burned, some for days. We’d seen the fires over and over again. For years.

I knew I’d never forget the pictures of little boys, holding guns to the backs of other children’s heads, and pulling the trigger, as their parents cheered, and sang the praises of Jesus. “Glory, glory, hallelujah, God’s truth is marching on.”

I couldn’t move where I’d sunk to the ground. My knees ached, but I didn’t care. My heart screamed, howled, in agony. And I don’t know if the tears my soul started shedding that day will ever stop.

“It’s all true.”

The truck told me it had been several hours when I finally climbed into it, and resumed my trip through Jackson, my trip through hell.

I won’t tell you how many of those pits I found on that trip, only that we found them at high school after high school. And every pit we found was well used and had been home to more than one set of fires. All I will tell you when you ask me of those fields is, “It’s all true.”

“Jackson is hell on Earth.”

But I was there to do a job. And that job wasn’t finished. So I continued my journey. And I wondered what else the people of God’s Army had taught Satan about death and destruction, and hatred, and violence, during that war.

I didn’t sleep that night.

“It’s all true. My, God. It’s all true.”

My truck informed me it had reported to home base, the fire pits were real. We’d visually verified that. Home base had reported back similar results had been found by twenty-five others, and that number was expected to rise.

“It’s all true.”

I waited for the dawn, and prayed I did not find the other item I’d been sent to look for.

But I knew. I knew. If the fire pits were real, and they were, I knew. I’d find what I prayed I wouldn’t.

#SwiftFicFriday Week 105 : Time For A New Approach.

I’d learned, from public records at the library, who owned the building, and I’d learned they wanted to replace it. Tear it down, put up a new building. But, they couldn’t. The city viewed the old building as a historic structure, even had it on the list of historic sites. Can’t believe I’d never known that.

The owner wanted the building destroyed. They’d only needed a way to destroy it. That’s where she’d come in.

I had a pretty solid guess who she was, from a missing persons search. It took a while to narrow the list down. You have no idea how many women are listed on the government’s missing person list.

My only real question was, “Where are they hiding her?”

That’s why I wound up standing beside that fake lake again, hearing what I’d heard in an old movie somewhere, “Always go with your first instinct.” I stood there, wishing I had eyes that could see through the water, and the ground under it. Wishing I could see where the entrance was to the room they kept her in.

“Time to try something different. Something new.” I started walking around the lake. Hell, I didn’t even know what I was looking for. But, like Deborah would tell me, “How did you know to be at that building?”

Some feeling that I can’t describe, or explain, knew where I needed to be, and what to look for. After all the decades, I was still learning to ignore everything, including my thoughts, and let my body do what it somehow knew to do.

I walked around that lake for hours. Lap after lap. All night long, until my feet stopped walking. I didn’t have to look. I knew the door was there, and I was standing on it.

299 Words

It’s Week 105 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. I’m still wondering what the heck is going on with this story. There seems to be only one way for me to find out. Anyway. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up regularly.

#Perspectives : Part 1, Chapter 2

We’d been in Jackson twenty-three minutes when my truck announced drone number one had found something. It was a small house. Someone had rebuilt it. The walls were constructed of different types of material, stucco on part of the front, brick on the rest of the front, vinyl down one side, plywood and fence planks down the other. The roof was not squared properly, it’s peak was left of center, and was bowed, not straight.

“So, there are people living here.”

My truck’s cold voice responded, “Yes.”

The drone circled the house, it’s optics zoomed in, and provided additional detail. A heavily armed white male who wore a very visible metal cross, sat on a metal chair beside the front door. He carried an automatic assault gun on his back, and one cradled in both arms. He had a handgun on each hip, and two survival knives strapped to his thighs.

He sat on that chair, and the drone recorded his words, “Lord, give me the strength to defend my family, and protect them from the evils of the North. For I know, Lord, they are coming. They bombed your houses. They bombed your factories. They bombed your people. But we are still alive. We are still standing by you, Lord.”

He spat on the ground beside him. “I know they will come. And when they do, with your strength, I will defend this, your house, from them, and the demons of Satan they worship.” He looked at the sky, “Give me the strength, and the guidance, to aim true, and protect your holy land, the land you gave to us, from the demons, Lord.”

The second drone left the truck bed, and the truck suspension auto-adjusted to the lack of weight on the rear tires. The second drone moved behind the house, and verified there was a second armed male there. I found myself happy I’d refused to take armed drones on my trip.

The drones held their positions, hanging in the air, virtually silent. The men would not know they were being observed. The drones floated, at rooftop level. Their solar/electric motors produced no sound. You could stand next to them, and not hear them. Each drone was the size of a picnic basket, they weighed 105 kilograms each. And they flew at a maximum speed of 430 knots.

My truck asked if we should approach.

“Yes. It’s  in our orders.” I swallowed, “Approach anyone found, offer assistance.” The back seat of my truck had ten coolers in it. Each cooler was packed with medical supplies, and food. I’d come to offer help to survivors, if I found any. We knew from the Spyglass flyovers, there were people living in Jackson. We didn’t know how many, and we didn’t know what conditions they were living in.

We had no eyes on the ground.
“To be safe, arm missile one.” My truck’s dash lights flickered, and the electric generator kicked in. I heard the missile rack on the roof adjust the position of missile one.

The truck answered back, “One armed, and ready.”

“Only when I order it.”


“Approach slowly. 5 knots.”

The truck slowed, and approached the ramshackle house at slow speed. I wanted the male on the front porch to see me coming, and to see I wasn’t in a hurry.

The man stood, studied the truck, and the truck’s audio system recorded his words, “Bobby! Get your ass around here! We got company!”

Bobby’s voice answered, “Friend or foe?”

“Fuckin’ Yankee truck!”

Bobby screamed, “Shit!” and came running around the house from the back, with an assault rifle drawn.

I let the truck move to within 100 feet of the house. “Stop.”

I opened the door, which the truck informed me was not a good idea, and I stepped outside. “You guys need any help?”

The one that wasn’t Bobby growled, “Not from you!”

I didn’t flinch. “I’m not here to fight.”

Bobby pointed his gun straight at me, “You ain’t welcome here!”

“Anybody in the house?”

“None of your fuckin’ business, Heathen!”

I figured that. They’d rather starve than accept food from someone they considered a spawn of Satan. I reached into the back seat of the truck, pulled out one of the coolers and set it on the ground. “It’s yours if you want it.”

The first man drew his gun, and shot the case six times. I never flinched. I asked once more, “Anyone in the house?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Get them out.”

“We don’t listen to you.”

“Fine. They can die when the missile destroys it.”

I got back in the truck. Bobby joined the first man in shooting at my truck. The metallic foam armor shredded every projectile that struck it. The windshield wasn’t glass anyway, so whatever struck it was deflected up. At best, there were a couple of scuff marks on it. I could wipe them off if I wanted to.

The two kept firing, and Bobby screamed at the people in the house, “Get to the basement!”

I waited another minute to see if the two men would give up. They didn’t. When their guns ran out of rounds, they reloaded, and resumed firing.

I flipped on the external speaker. “I don’t want to do this, guys.” I paused, they kept firing. “I don’t want to do this.”

Another half minute. They weren’t going to stop. The hatred in their eyes spoke volumes. They’d die rather than accept that I existed. The truck’s audio echoed the first man’s voice, “Die, you heathen spawn of Satan!” He kept firing. “In the name of God Almighty! You will burn in hell!”

I didn’t want to kill people. That wasn’t why I was in Jackson. I was there to see if people survived. If they needed help, medical supplies, food, water. We wanted to help. There’d been enough death.

But these two wouldn’t have it. I was the enemy of their God, and that was it. No negotiating. No deals. No bargains. To them, there was only fighting for their God, until they were dead, or had established God’s Kingdom on His Earth.

I shook my head. “God damn idiots.” I sighed. “Fire One.”

The truck shuddered as the missile’s solid fuel ignited, and it tore away from the truck. It took less than a second for the missile to cross the distance to the house. It went in through the stucco, then exploded. The house shattered. There wasn’t a board left standing. No framework. Nothing. The floor of the house was pushed down nearly ten feet. The two men were gone. I supposed pieces of them were scattered here and there.

“Christians…” I shook my head. “Blinded by their hatreds.” I stared at the splinters of wood floating in the air as they settled to the ground, “Blinded by their fears.”

I wondered how many neighbors they had. I didn’t have to wonder for long. Several additional men, all heavily armed, showed up, and opened fire. They surrounded my truck to prevent me from escaping, not believing my truck could mow them down like a lawn mower mowed grass.

One lobbed a hand grenade into the bed of the truck. It’s tiny boom barely shook my truck. The drone attachments were undamaged. It would take something bigger than any of them could carry to hurt my truck.

I sighed, “Let’s make an exit, shall we.”

My truck lurched forward, and ran over three of “God’s Army” as I drove off. They pursued for a moment, until they realized it was useless. They kept shooting at my truck until we were out of sight.

God’s Army had started the war in 2039, on the Christian Easter holiday, in typical terrorist fashion. Six to twelve bombs had gone off, simultaneously, in thirty-six cities in what had been New York, California, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Nearly three thousand dead. Nearly eleven thousand wounded. The bombs had targeted restaurants, shopping centers, movie theaters, places where people gathered to celebrate, to have fun.

God’s Army claimed responsibility, and promised more was coming, as they cleansed the country from Satan’s minions. They’d declared we’d be spared if we purged the nation of all the homosexuals, gender fluid sinners, and transsexual devils. They’d declared those weren’t humans. Those were Satan’s minions, sent to corrupt all of us, and the only way to deal with Satan’s minions was to kill them.

For the first six months, bombs went off like clockwork, in cities, and towns. We were unable to stop them. They were set by people who lived among us. Our neighbors, or friends, the people we knew at work. Agents of God’s Army.

Gun violence erupted everywhere. The people of God’s Army shot anyone, at anytime. For any reason. They shot black people. They shot women in hijabs. They shot men who wore yarmulkes. They shot people with tattoos. They shot people with Mohawks, green hair, blue hair, body piercings. They shot people in wheelchairs, people on canes, people who limped. Anyone who wasn’t obviously a white, conservative Christian. They shot them.

The first six years had been hell. It took time, but we found them all. We incarcerated them when we could. Most of them shot themselves rather than be taken prisoner. Many blew themselves up, taking more of us with them.

But, by the end of that six years, we’d stopped them.The bombings stopped. The shooting sprees stopped.

And we were armed to the teeth. Everyone owned guns. Every house was locked, and barricaded. Everyone owned sensors to tell them when someone set foot on their lawn, in the hallway outside their apartment.

We used phones. A lot. We came out with phone apps, if you had one, you could identify who was who. Everyone registered with apps. To be safe. We formed neighborhood watches. Armed watches. Armed gangs walked the streets, looking for God’s Army members.

It worked. The violence stopped. Became rare. Mostly along the borders with the southern states, and a few others.

Then, the Southern Resistance formed, and declared independence from the country. “We are a safe haven for God’s Army!” And the war kicked into high gear. Brother against brother. Son against father. Daughter against mother.

The nightmares would grow beyond anyone’s imagination. We’d learn God’s Army and the Southern Resistance would do anything, try anything, to kill us all. We’d learn, there was nothing out of bounds in that war. No ethics. No weapons restrictions. No civilian population.

It was a total war.

And it nearly destroyed us all.

I remembered the streets of what had been Springfield. My home town. Where nothing was green. Where no grass grew. Where birds that flew past fell to the ground, dead. Where four of every five people who lived there died.

God’s Army had been hell bent on destroying us. And they damn near succeeded.

I was tired of the war. Tired of burying more people I knew. Tired of the cold blooded nature of it all. Of how the machines had saved the few of us who survived. All I wanted was for the fighting to end.

“I didn’t want to kill them!” All I could do was pray to whatever god there was that someday, peace would return to the country. That someday, the killing would stop.

I wondered if there would be anyone left alive in the homeland of God’s Army and the Southern Resistance when it finally ended. Or if they’d be stubborn, and insist on their senseless war to the death, knowing they couldn’t win. Knowing to keep fighting was to die.

“If only they’d stop. If only they’d stop.” All we wanted to do was help.

All they wanted to do was fight.

#ThursThreads Week 495 : I Should’ve Known

John Paul inserted his key in his truck door, and stared at his reflection in the window, “I should’ve known.” He shook his head as he got in. “I should’ve known. It’s how they are.”

He thought about it a minute, then got out of his truck, pulled his Confederate flag out of his truck bed, and put it on display in it’s stand. “Don’t guess they can fire me now.” He loved that flag. It reminded him of a simpler time, before all the crap that came along and wrecked everything.

“They’ll never understand.”

He got back in his truck, and started home. Sure, home was a single wide trailer in a trailer park. But, it was what he could afford. He knew dinner would be ready when he got there. The house would be clean. She’d be waiting for him, and not out with the girls, or having to work late.

They were simple people, him and his wife. They didn’t believe any of that crap about tailpipe emissions, climate change, virus spreading, none of that. He’d even stood behind his truck with the engine running once, “See! I’m fine!” Who cared if the sky was black in Los Angeles. He hadn’t caused that. Just like he hadn’t breathed some invisible virus all over everyone he ever came in contact with, and caused them to die.

“I should’ve known they’d fire my ass. Because. I don’t believe the crap they tell me to believe.”

246 Words

It’s Week 495 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

#Perspectives : Part 1, Chapter 1.

The GPS signal told me I was approaching what was once Jackson, Mississippi. For giggles, I asked the network, “What was Jackson, Mississippi?”

My truck’s displays lit up, and I saw images of what had been Jackson. It had been the capital of the state of Mississippi, in what was once the United States of America. It looked like many other cities, it had shopping centers, Walmarts, car dealerships, office buildings. It had lots of suburbs, filled with houses where people lived.

Jackson had made lots of news. It had been one of the first places to legalize discrimination in the years leading up to the war. It’s state legislature had been filled mostly with old white men, who proclaimed themselves as Christians, and conservatives, and doing the will of God.

Mississippi had written state laws that allowed land owners, property owners, to evict renters who did not share their religious beliefs. That law grew, and was appended too. Soon, they added additional clauses. People could be evicted for being a member transsexual. Then for being homosexual. Then for being non-binary gender. It hadn’t stopped there.

The US Supreme Court struck down law after law from Mississippi. And Mississippi ignored them, and continued to write new laws, all of which violated the US Constitution. They’d eventually reached the point of writing laws that implemented racially segregated schools, shopping, jobs, hospitals.

There were hospitals in Mississippi, in Jackson, where only white Christians had been welcome. Those were the best hospitals, the ones that got state funding. Other hospitals were for black people. It broke out by race, literally.

The screen filled with pictures of all white children on playgrounds at pretty schools. And of other schools with no playgrounds, only a concrete set of basketball courts surrounded by chain link fence. There were big, pretty churches, very much works of art. For white people only, of course. And run down churches for everyone else.

The Mississippi legislature declared it wasn’t racism. It was religious freedom.

I examined my black reflection in my trucks displays. “So, I’m heading into a land I’m hated.” I signed, “What else is new.”

As my truck headed east toward Jackson on what was left of Interstate 20, I checked all the arms and safety systems. The two drones in the truck bed reported they were fully operational. The roof mounted missile rack reported it was fully operational. The sensors in the metal foam armor reported the armor was 99.9% intact from the damage done to it in the skirmish I’d passed through a few hours ago.

I checked the shredder rounds for my two assault guns, and my two handguns. The guns and their rounds were ready. I verified the cartridge change mechanisms on all four were functioning, and I had 16 fully loaded cartridges ready to go, attached to the ammo belts on my armor.

My armor itself reported it was 100% functional, and ready to protect me from all forms of gunfire.

My truck stopped on a hill just west of Jackson, and the transport system asked, “Are you ready?”

I was on a simple mission. Reconnaissance. Supplement the information the Spyglass drones had collected in the past month with human visual information.

“Open.” The door of my truck opened, and I stepped out. The truck reported no abnormal heat sources in the area, so I felt reasonably safe. Or as safe as a hated Non-Christian Yankee nigger could be in the deep south. I scanned the horizon. The remains of a few buildings were visible to the east north east. A few scattered, burned out houses were visible along the sides of the interstate. What looked like a blown up Walmart shopping center was visible about a mile down the road.

I stood there, and thought about what I was doing. “Why do I do this? Why do I come here, to the South? Why do I risk my life like this?” The hills, and what few remaining trees I could see looked good enough. I suspected Jackson might have been a pretty place at one point, before we’d had to bomb everything into oblivion.

Jackson. The capital of The Southern Resistance, and home of God’s Army. Reconnaissance, to see if the killing fields existed. To see if slavery existed. To see if anyone was left alive. To see if the war was finally over, of if it was only in a pause. A gap. Between battles.

Tallulah, Vicksburg, and Bolton had all been empty, abandoned places. I’d found no signs of life as I drove through them on what had been US 20. I hadn’t stopped in any of them, though. That wasn’t my job. I had orders to proceed to Jackson, and perform a full visual confirmation mission there. Find high school, and report what was there. Find churches, and report on their activities. Find people, and determine if they were free, or not.

My truck flashed its lights to signal me it was time to move. The time in the top right of the visual enhancement system said, “0947 hours EDT, 08 May 2054”. It was six months, three weeks, twenty-seven days since the total defeat of the Southern Resistance and God’s Army. We’d kept the door open for peace talks for three years. We hadn’t even asked for unconditional surrender. All we’d asked for was them to abolish their slavery system, and halt their genocide of homosexuals and transgender people, and halt their relentless terrorist attacks against us, our cities, our towns, our homes. That’s all we’d asked. We were tired of the war. Tired of the killing. Tired of the blood.

They refused. They insisted on fighting to the end. “We will never surrender in our fight for God’s ways!” They believed they were in a war for the soul of the country. A war to bring the country back to the ways of God.

As if God supported genocide, and slavery.

I got in the truck, “Launch drone one. I want it ten miles ahead of us.” The truck shuddered as the drone came to life, it’s solar powered engines lifted it from the truck bed, and it sped along the highway, 20 feet above the ground. The drone’s visuals displayed on one of the truck monitors. “Drone one reports no signs of human activity.”

“Let’s go.”

The truck resumed its eastward journey. I recognized the bomb craters on either side of the road. “Look like penetrator rounds.”

The truck confirmed, “Drone aircraft armada passed overhead for thirty days, dropped 25 pound penetrator rounds on everything.” I could imagine the terror. The horror. A thousand aircraft, filling the sky, moving at just shy of the speed of sound, less than 100 feet off the ground.

As they passed over houses, shopping centers, gas stations, or any other buildings, the penetrators would have launched. Straight down. Penetrators contained very high explosive rounds, nano-engineered. Every last atom positioned to make the biggest boom, the most potent explosive that could be made from 25 pounds. They didn’t explode on impact. They were rocket propelled, a small solid booster slammed them into the roof of a building. They went right through. The visual sensors on them detected when they were inside the structure, then they exploded.

Usually, nothing was left standing.

And they’d come back again. We’d had no choice. We’d sent them endlessly for 30 days. They bombed basements, garages, shacks, anything that was a building. Any structure they could find.

We had no choice. The Southern Resistance and God’s Army soldiers hid inside people’s houses. The people sheltered them, protected them. Everyone was certain we wouldn’t inflict collateral damage, civilian damage. We were more civil than that.

But after all the years of war, with countless of our cities in ruins, and uninhabitable from the biological attacks we’d endured, with more than 100 million dead, and with three years of peace offers resulting in nothing but the threat of unending violence, we had no choice. If we’d have let it, the war would have continued for decades. Maybe it would have never ended. So, we’d sent in the penetrators.

Tens of millions died. Maybe more than 100 million. We’d never know how many.

The Southern part of the continent was not like the northern part. Depopulated. All it’s population centers had been wiped out. We’d kept sending the penetrator attacks, endlessly. For thirty days, and thirty nights.

On the thirty-first day, we’d sent the Spyglass drones.  Over 6000 of them. We’d repositioned our satellites. We’d analyzed the pictures they’d taken, studied them, torn them apart. Then, we’d sent in the ground troops. Mostly automated, each soldier controlled a dozen ground drones. They’d gone into the countryside, and looked for pockets of resistance.

It took two years to clean things up, and no one will ever know how many more died.

We weren’t the United States of America anymore. We were just America. No states. No boundaries. One single country. And we hoped the war was over. Now, it was time to assess the damage, and start the process of rebuilding the country.

“So, tell me, truck. Will we find people here?”


“Will they be willing to talk?”

My truck voiced my fears for me, “The only good white Christian is a dead one.”

“And we’ll find people from God’s Army here, won’t we.”

My truck didn’t answer me. It didn’t have to.

I told the truck, “Keep me posted. Let me know if drone one spots anything alive.”

“Jackson. I’ve never been to Jackson.” It was going to be a long day.

We started in to Jackson.

Targeting Sundays.

This is going to be a brief note. It’s 2022. It’s been 6 if not 7 years since I wrote the initial draft of three parts of a larger story. An ugly story. A violent story. A story where, in the United States alone, nearly 200 million people die in a civil war.

At one point, I debated trying to publish the three parts. Having reviewed the requirements to do so, I decided to never publish it. It seems I don’t mix well with marketing, and business.

Now, in the past couple of months, since I walked out of the working world, I’ve decided I can put the story here. On my blog. One little piece at a time. 2/3 of the story have never been edited, reviewed, cleaned up. I’ll work my way through doing that before I post those parts. But, the story will not be finalized. It will not be ready for publication.

It will be a first draft.

I plan to post a small section of the story, each Sunday, until all three parts are here, on this blog. I also plan to work through the fourth section, one I didn’t know I needed to write when I started this story in 2015/2016. One that currently doesn’t exist, even in an outline, or a framework.

I’ll start with today, 02 January 2022, and continue on each Sunday, until I’m finished.

Read it if you wish. Ignore it if you wish. It’s just something I need to finish the words to.