Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.
Heeding his Gran–… Chief’s words, Jim Hubert stays put in the middle of the parking lot until the red’n’blues give the lake a second’s reprieve from their pollutive flashing. Then, walking slowly with his shoulders slumped and his hands buried like corpses in his pockets, Jim drags his feet to the main dock and leans against a pole.
The boat’s quick, Jim notices. All he can see are the lights, but they’re small. Almost as small as the stars look from down here on the ground. Jim bets the boat would look like a toy if the sun was out, but if the sun was out then Rock wouldn’t be coming yet.
“At least I’ll get a good view,” Jim Hubert says, then sighs longly. Or perhaps longing ly – Chief said it himself, don’t nobody care as much about felling Rock unto Earth as Jim Hubert. Out of all the Fellers, even Chief himself, don’t nobody truly understand the danger of the Earthen folk. Jim’s family, Rock rest their empty souls, have been fighting the good fight against the Earthen invasion of the star childrens’ land for longer than Jim is aware of… at least they were, before they all died. Cancer took every one of them, coincidentally enough, but before they got sick they lynched and burned wooden crosses with the best of ‘em. They didn’t call the colored folks Earthen, nor did they call the white folks star children, but Jim still thinks they would understand the mission of the Fellers. When Rock finally comes, all the Earthen folk in Wuester will be reduced to filthy dirt, which ain’t a far step from the truth of things as far as Jim Hubert is concerned.
“Not a far step at all,” Jim Hubert muses under the glow of the dock lamps. “Not a far step at all…”
At least he’ll get a good view of Rock being felled from here. And hey, who says the eradication of the Earthen folk will stop with Wuester? Maybe Rock is the first of many. Maybe Rock’s felling, foretold by The Precursor, is a precursor in and of itself. Maybe tonight is the start of a brand new crusade, the beginning of a great planetary cataclysm between the children of the stars and the dirty Earthen folk. It will surely be messy, surely be gruesome as all hell, but great green meadows grow from the soil where blood is spilled. Beautiful flowers always bloom over shallow graves. Sacrifice is required for the good life to be lived, and if the state of the Wuester vortex is any indication – which Jim Hubert believes it is, oh yes, he’s utterly sure of it now – the star children will only be able to live their good life when the Earthen folk are wiped out once and for all.
“Praise Thee, Rock!” Jim shouts to the heavens, both hands exhumed and cupped around his hairless mouth. “Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town! And may our vortex spiral forever higher! Praise Thee, Rock! Praise Thee! ”
Jim Hubert has never felt more invigorated, more in touch with a sense of purpose in his entire life… until he hears the footsteps coming up from behind him, that is. More than one set of footsteps. When he hears the foot-steps he only feels frightened, especially when he turns around and finds nobody there.
“That’s…” He gulps. “That’s odd.”
Jim Hubert turns back around, takes a peek over his shoulder to make sure he’s still alone – he is – and then gazes out across the water again. Then the footsteps start back up, three sets, each making a different sound. One is thick and heavy, as if from a pair of combat boots; one is a lighter clacking, as if from a pair of business shoes; and the third, well… the third sounds wooden, which Hubert doesn’t understand at all. He throws his hand to his hip to unholster his gun and turn on these creepazoids but finds only the hem of his red Feller sweater. Jim begins to sweat more than he was already sweating under the embrace of said sweater, but then the voice of Chief Maxwell rings in his head.
‘You’re the only man for the job, Jimmy Hubert. Don’t none’a them other Fellers care more ‘bout gettin’ rid’a th’coloreds’n’you do, Jimmy boy. Plus, nothin’ fer nothin’, ain’t none’a’them got a hog as wily as yours, Jimmy Hu’. Your hog’s so big you c’n ride it to the station, y’don’ even need a boat. Now turn on ‘round and send these faggoty sidesteppers away from this place. You’re the only man for the job.’
Uh… well, he thinks he hears Chief Maxwell’s voice up there… um… anyway, Jim waits until the footsteps are right behind him, until it sounds like they’re making to walk right over him, then he jumps and spins in mid-air, landing flat on his feet with a bend in his knees and his arms held out before him, fingers bent and ready to grab, squeeze, pull, even claw if it’s necessary.
But there’s nobody there.
Salty sweat runs into his eyes, causing Jim to blink furiously a million times. When he stops, there they are.
Three men stand before Jim Hubert in the lamplit darkness of the Lake Atacama parking lot. On the left is a dirty-looking hippie with holes in his jeans and a tie-dye shirt which suggests to Jim that he’s a faggot, with a mane of hair that starts on his head and ends on his face and a pair of purple-lensed spectacles that confirms to Jim that he’s a faggot. On the right is a dark man, dressed in all black from his combat boots up to his cloak, with a blank face and a look in his eyes that makes Jim want to turn around and violently brain himself on one of the wooden poles extending skyward from the dock, and he’s probably a faggot too, considering how his cloak is violet on the inside, considering how he’s wearing a Rockdamn cloak in the first place. Between them stands a man with a goatee and big sunshades, a black fedora sat over his shoulder-length straight black hair, a black business suit shelled over a white button-down and a purple necktie between them, but Jim doesn’t think that necktie makes him a faggot. Jim’s afraid to think anything about this suited man in the middle, it’s almost as if Jim is sure the man can read his min–
“Howdy there, Feller,” says the man in the suit. He’s wearing sunshades at night, it just ain’t right! “Wonderful night for boating, isn’t it?”
“I don’t think he would know,” says the cloaked one in a flat monotone that fills Jim’s head with fantasies of caving his own skull in with various blunt objects. “He got left behind on the docks.”
“It appears he did, Brained,” says the one on the left, his voice amused but intrinsically bored as though he’s seen this all before. “And what a shame it is.”
“What a shame indeed, Maned,” says the one called Brained to the one he just called Maned. “What a shame indeed.”
“What are you monsters?!” Jim hears himself shout at the top of his lungs. He’s frowning so hard his cheeks hurt, but he’s unable to stop. “What… what do you want? What do you want with my life?! ”
“To watch Rock be felled unto Earth, of course,” says the man in the middle, the man who wears sunshades on the darkest of nights. Jim bets he would still be wearing them even if all the streetlamps spontaneously went out, their bulbs shattering one by one starting at the entrance of the parking lot and ending right over Jim’s head like some sort of live horror movie. “Now why don’t you turn around, Jim Hubert, before lightbulbs start breaking?”
Jim Hubert’s eyes open so wide he may as well have been born without eyelids. “What did you say? ”
The suit sighs. “He’s going to make me use the magic words, isn’t he?”
“I suppose he is,” supposes the cloak.
“Certainly seems that way,” observes the hippie.
The one in the center claps his hands together, those unseen hands bound in black leather gloves, and grins a grin so brazen and toothy Jim Hubert disassociates from reality completely. Then, he says the magic words.
“Chalak, shalome, sh’bobble’a-doo, now turn the fuck ‘round before I turn you.”
Jim Hubert turns the fuck ‘round before he is turned and walks briskly out over the water, stopping with the toes of his shoes hanging over the edge of the police dock. Time passes miles outside of his awareness. He has no memory of his interaction with the three strange men who approached him loudly but only appeared when his eyes were blinked shut, nor does he understand why he disobeyed Chief’s orders and left the mouth of the dock, but he is sure of one thing. The police boat is in the center of the lake, and the sky is clear and open. Rock will soon be felled, and the Earthen folk shall turn to dust.
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the last chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.
Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
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