Posted in Writings

Home – Under the Hood: TIoJK (44/44)

Insects

Time to open your eyes.


Home

Electric hands with pins and needles for fingers plunge into Jonathan Knox’s purged brain, surging him lividly back into consciousness. The sensation of burning ice floods through his body, down his arms to the tips of his fingers, through his internal organs and into his legs, finally stopping in his toes. He is awake, but his eyes do not open. Not yet. Not until the slimy hands release their hold on his head.

“It is time to wake up now, Jonathan Knox,” says a familiar voice to which Jonathan Knox cannot place a name. “Time to open your eyes.”

But Jonathan Knox doesn’t want to open his eyes. It’s not that he doesn’t know how – there are no memories in his head, no sense of a before, and this greatly disturbs him, but he is fully aware that he could open his eyes if he wanted to – he just doesn’t want to. Jonathan Knox doesn’t know where he is or how he got here, nor does he know who he is aside from his name, but he knows he isn’t home. When he thinks of home he thinks of a cozy place, somewhere warm and dark where he’s safe from those who wish to cause him harm, if such beings even exist. This place he’s in now, though… this place is dark, yes, at least from behind his closed eyelids it’s dark, but it is not warm. It is not cozy. He is strapped tightly to a cold, flat metal surface, and the air he breathes chills his lungs with every inhale.

“Where am I?” Jonathan Knox says, tightening his eyelids further. “Who are you, and what have you done to me? Why can’t I remember anything, why is it all so…”

He was going to say foggy, but trails off. Foggy isn’t the word. It’s not that memories are there and he cannot access them, they’re just… gone. Aside from basic control of his body, his name, and some arbitrary associations, it’s all just gone.

“All will be revealed; just open your eyes, Jonathan Knox,” says the familiar voice. “Resistance is futile – you cannot hide from reality.”

Jonathan Knox clenches his teeth, balls his hands into fists so tight his fingernails dig into his soft palms, threatening to spill blood… but the familiar voice is right. He cannot hide behind his closed eyelids, the reality is there no matter how hard he tries to hide from it. Slowly Jonathan Knox opens his eyes, then waits as his vision focuses through the lenses of the glasses on his face.

Before him is a man in a long black robe with buttons running in a line up the length and a white collar at the neck. The man is old with enough wrinkles and jowls alone to convince Jonathan Knox that he’s not a threat. He looks down and sees his own clothing, plain brown slacks and a white button-up longsleeve. Black sneakers. Nothing fancy, similar to the room they’re in, a kind of featureless blue metal dome with an excruciatingly pale light shining without a flicker from above.

“And thus all is revealed,” says the old man, bringing his hands together. There’s a grin on his face, but it’s not a particularly friendly grin. No, not particularly friendly at all. There’s malice in that grin, a ghastly and macabre kind of intention brewing beneath those disarming jowls and wrinkles. Something dark. Something utterly evil. “Welcome to your new home, Jonathan Knox.”

“My new–” is as far as he gets before the old man – a preacherman, as evidenced by his getup – backs to the wall and undoes one of the buttons halfway up his robe, reaches in, and removes what appears to be some kind of remote-control device. Jonathan Knox, his eyes shaking with tension, watches as the old man hits a button, then feels no less than nineteen different needles of varying sizes, all attached to the ends of translucent plastic tubes, plunge into his body from a myriad of varying angles. He shouts once in pain, then finds himself drenched in a strange tranquil mindstate. He is mellow. He is relaxed. He is comfortable, even.

“What,” Jonathan Knox says, “did you do to me?”

“Who, me?” says the elderly preacherman, returning the device from whence it came and rebuttoning his robe. “Well I simply pressed a button. The Compound did the rest.”

“The… Compound?” Jonathan asks, his words heavy in his mouth.

“Yes, Jonathan. The Compound ‘neath Atacama. You do remember Lake Atacama, do you not?”

His bottom jaw slack and his tongue lolling over his bottom lip, Jonathan Knox says nothing.

“There is a lake on the edge of the town of Wuester, Jonathan Knox – that’s the town in which you lived, and still technically live. It is called Atacama Lake, and in August of last year a small meteor fell from the sky and struck a boat, leading to the deaths of a handful of young adult human beings. A tragic loss for the community, I’m sure, and though their demise was as unplanned as the distribution of seeds carried out by the shit of a migrating bird, the falling of the meteor was not. That meteor was not a simple rock but actually a very complex machine, one designed to consume matter and break it down to its basic building blocks, and from those blocks the machine would build. For the past seven months that machine has been hard at work at the bottom of the lake, building and building and building away, and just recently it finished. The room we are–… well, the room I am standing in right now, Jonathan Knox? This is the bottom floor.” He raises his hands to the domed ceiling in triumph. “This is the Compound ‘neath Atacama!

“We’re…” Jonathan Knox mumbles, trying all too hard to make sense of this. “We’re at… the bottom of a lake?”

“Oh no, Jonathan Knox,” the man says, rubbing his hands together greedily. “The top floor is at the bottom of the lake. We’re we are now… well, let’s just say we’re deep enough.”

Jonathan Knox breathes heavily through his moist and dangling mouth.

“Are you comfortable now, Jonathan Knox?” the man says, approaching Jonathan Knox to place a moderately slimy hand on his left cheek. “Oh, I hope you are. Because you’re going to be here for quite a while.” He snickers, takes his hand off Jonathan Knox’s face, wipes it on his robe. “In fact, you won’t ever be leaving.”

“Why… not…?” Jonathan Knox asks slowly, not quite struggling but not having an easy time, either.

“Why, because of the tubes, Jonathan Knox,” the man says, smiling broadly. “You’re all hooked up, those tubes will keep your hateful body healthy and clean, in tip-top condition. You no longer have a need to eat, drink, sleep, shit. You don’t even need to breathe if you don’t want to. You don’t need to do anything anymore, Jonathan Knox, and you’ll stay perfectly alive for… ever. Indefinitely, until the tubes are disconnected.”

“Why… how…?” Jonathan Knox doesn’t feel the need to swallow, so he doesn’t. “What… does… all this… mean?”

“It means your life is over, Jonathan Knox,” the man says gravely, his aged and kindly face suddenly warped into a terrible gruesome scowl. “You invaded my church and hid your bugs so you could listen. You hid bugs in the houses of all your neighbors, but not those of your friends as you had no friends, just like you have no friends here. During your life you went through some horrible trials, Jonathan Knox, and you used those trials as an excuse to commit shameful, disgusting crimes to the ones around you. From the inhabitants of this town, you took away the right to a private life. So in return, Jonathan Knox, I am taking from you the right to a private death. You will not eat, drink, sleep nor dream, but you will live forever strapped to that table, unable to move, unable to escape. This is your fate, Jonathan Knox, and you have no choice but to accept it.”

“But… why…? How…?”

The scowl devolves into a grimace and the man steps back. “Allow me to show you.”

Moving calmly and oh so patiently, the preacherman unfastens his black robe one button at a time, starting at his neck and going all the way down to his feet. He then throws his arms back, removing the robe with a single gesture. The skin hidden beneath the robe is not wrinkly and covered in spots like Jonathan Knox expected but tight and perfectly smooth. No nipples, no naval, no penis nor testicles hanging between his legs. His head is the head of an old man, as are his hands, but everything else… it hardly even looks real. If Jonathan Knox wasn’t so serenely numb from the chemical compounds flooding his system he supposes he would be perplexed, perhaps even terrified.

The preacherman then kneels down and bows, his arms stretched flat on the floor in front of him. His back arches in a jerk, putting him on his palms as his fingers curl so tightly the knuckles turn white. Then, the fingers straighten and relax, then they appear to deflate as two masses move squelchingly up his deflating arms into his shoulders. His head strikes the ground then and caves, deflating like an untied balloon with a gut-wrenching slopping noise that might cause Jonathan Knox to vomit were he not hooked up to the eternal life-support system. The preacherman-thing’s legs then spread and his ass rises up towards the ceiling, and with a sick symphony of wet, slopping, squelching noises, something emerges from the gaping hole, which is mercifully facing away from Jonathan Knox’s face. It’s a slimy mass with dark blue skin and what appears to be a ridge of neon green running along its center. The preacherman’s body, now an empty sack of skin and viscous clear liquid, flops out on the floor, and the freshly molted creature stands up behind it.

It’s about four feet tall, the creature, bipedal with a broad head and legs that bend twice between the hips and the webbed feet. The hands with their long fingers ending in thick fleshy pads are also webbed, the webbing the same bright green color as the ridge on its back which is not a ridge, Jonathan Knox sees, but a fin running from the top of its head to the base of its waist. The creature’s soulless black eyes are massive, disproportionately large for its face but yet just the right size for its mouth, which resembles that of a grouper eel but with lips. Grotesque lips covered in thick, scaly scales. Great viscous globs of translucent slime dribble and drip from every inch of its figure and it gives off an ambient bubbling sound, almost as if the fleshy scarlet gills on its neck were gargling the slime.

“An… alien…” Jonathan Knox groans. “But… why… are you… humanoid?”

‘Humanoid?!’ the creature which once resembled a kindly old man rages in Jonathan Knox’s mostly empty head. ‘How so typical, how so humanly arrogant of you! I should not be surprised, though – you told me, before the purging procedure, that you never told anybody about the trauma you went through, Jonathan Knox, and quite a bit of trauma that was. But why would you? Why would a creature so despicably arrogant as a human being ask for help? No, you’ll do it all on your own, you’ll drive yourself far past the point of insanity because of your arrogance and pride and nothing else, and it will all be for nothing. I’ve only been on this Earth for a short time now, and in that time I have found myself to be utterly disgusted with the human race and how pathetically it misunderstands and misuses the gift of life, how disgracefully ignorant it is about the planet which hosts it.’

The slimy creature smiles then, stretching its thick scaly lips to speak.

“You are correct, though,” it says in the voice of Neil Campbell. “I am an alien, an extraterrestrial ambassador from the planet Neptune. A–”

“But… Neptune… is a gas… giant… there can’t–”

‘Not that Neptune, you oblivious fool.’ The creature’s smile widens despite the undying rage it feels for being cut off by such a petulant creature as a human. ‘And with your arrogance comes stupidity – you don’t even realize your planet is floating in a different star system than it once was. You probably don’t even realize this isn’t the Universe’s original Earth. Perhaps that is the fault of your government, perhaps the ones in control of your species found out but kept it a secret… but perhaps it does not matter. My superiors will be here tonight, their ship is due to reach the surface of Lake Atacama in a matter of hours, and the secret invasion will begin. In due time the Neptunian High Race of the Dali Straits will rise from the waters of Atacama Lake and eradicate all humans from the small town of Wuester, and from there we will take the world and colonize it as our own. So congratulations, Jonathan Knox. You’re actually quite lucky, you know. You’ve been allowed to have the awareness of the fall of your disgusting, petulant species. In fact, you should feel quite honored. In due time, you’ll be the last human left.’

The slimy ambassador of the Neptunian High Race of the Dali Straits, having properly rubbed Jonathan Knox’s nose in its race’s superiority to humankind, goes through the horrific and squelchy process of donning its human disguise. When it buttons the last button of the reverend’s robe, it turns to leave. Jonathan Knox stops it with noises he makes with his mouth.

What did you say?” says the thing which calls itself Reverend Neil Campbell.

“I… said… why? Why… are you… doing… this…?”

The thing in the skin beneath the robes crosses the small prison room so he may look directly into Jonathan Knox’s vacant, sleepy eyes, so Jonathan Knox can smell his putrid, fishy breath. “Because I hate you, Jonathan Knox. I hate all of wretched humanity. Humankind is a race of evolutionary vermin, inferior in every way to the genetic perfection that is the Neptunian High Race of the Dali Straits. You are a plague, you are a disease. You are insects, Jonathan Knox, you and every last one of your sniveling apish kind are nothing but insects with soft yet disturbingly dry shells, and me?” He sneers. “I’m a boot, the first of many which shall soon come marching across your misfortuned land to crush every last one of the dirty lifeforms known as human beings. Every last one aside from you, that is. You get to live when all the rest die, all because you’re a dirty little eavesdropper.

“I hope you’re comfortable, Jonathan Knox. Welcome to your new home.”


Bookmaker’s Note

A man who goes by the name of Exurb1a once said in the introduction of a novel that some creative ideas welcome themselves into your home and, if you’re kind enough to be hospitable, they will more or less bring themselves to fruition with very little effort on your part. Other ideas, though (and I’m paraphrasing here), are a big ol’ pain in the fuckin’ ass, and they need to be throttled repeatedly with an iron switch in order to just show up at the table, let alone to get working.

The idea responsible for this novel was both.

Some days, specifically in specific parts of the book, I would open my laptop and take a look at Scrivener and the words would literally be typing themselves, invisible fingers literally danced across my keyboard, and then on other days the idea made me do all the work, throttling me repeatedly with an iron switch until a hundred words were typed and I fell unconscious from being repeatedly throttled with an iron switch.

What I’m trying to say is Saint Wuester’s Church is a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go. Furthermore, Jonathan Knox’s home is on a road called Burnout Strip. I do not regret making this book, as it helped me through a cold six weeks of winter, but at the same time I’m aware of what it is. Universe W-2222 just ain’t the main event.

I’d like to thank Sudz for the creative contribution – you did more than you might know. And the hypothetical reader as well; if you’re there, thank you for being there.

H.A.W.
 February 12th, 2021


Hello Commons, this has been the epilogue (and Bookmaker’s Note) 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Gold – Under the Hood: TIoJK (43/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Gold

Warm golden rays melt the sleep from Sarah’s eyes, her lids fluttering open like the fragile wings of a butterfly just crawling out of its cocoon. She finds herself in the passenger seat of the smart car, the wheels still rolling along, the one who calls himself Al Sharpton still behind the wheel. All seems well, but…

But they’re still in the car.

It was night when they left the Atacama Lake public dock parking lot, and Al Sharpton said he was taking Sarah home. The drive with the Fellers felt like it took days, but it was still nighttime when they finally arrived. They were only on the water for about twenty minutes, it might not have even been midnight when she left with Sharpton. Sarah doesn’t live as far from the center of town as Chief Maxwell does… well, as Chief Maxwell did. So why are they still in the car?

‘Why am I still in this man’s car?’

“Relax, little one,” says the man who calls himself Al Sharpton. “So much anxiety I can feel it from here. We’re almost to Poland Boulevard, the drive’s just taking a bit longer than expected.”

Sarah breathes a little easier, but still she’s worried. She never told the man where she lives.

‘I can read your mind, Sarah Hammond,’ Sarah thinks in the man’s voi–… oh. Welp. “I can tap into your brain and make you do whatever I want, too.”

Wellpppp.

“I’m not doing that now, though,” the man says with a smile, looking happily out at Cannonball Road rolling on before him.

Sarah takes a minute to think about this – suddenly she’s feeling very self-conscious about what she says to this Al Sharpton character – and finally decides on, “How do I know for sure you’re not doing that now?”

Sharpton shrugs. “You don’t, but I’m not. I promise. I did it last night, forced you to dive underwater so you wouldn’t get domed by a piece of the police boat, but that takes a lot of effort and concentration. Had a hell of a time workin’ the jet ski when I was swimmin’ you, I’ll tell you that much right now.”

“Oh,” softly. She looks down at the spotless floormat. The floormats in her parents’ van were never this clean, not even when they first bought ‘em. Whoever owns this smart car must be some kind of a freak. Then, “Wait, did you steal this from the reverend at the church?”

“Couldn’t have,” Sharpton says. “Wasn’t his to begin with.”

“Oh,” Sarah says again.

“The car’s rightful owner won’t be needing it anytime soon, though. ‘Fraid he won’t be seeing the light of day for quite a while.”

“Why not? Is he in jail or something?”

“Yeah, something like that,” the one precisely like Al Sharpton says cryptically. “I’m’a bust him out, though.”

“You are??” Sarah sounds a bit concerned. Who on Earth is this man who calls himself Al Sharpton?

“Sure, eventually. When the time’s right. Won’t be for a while, though. You might have some kids as old as you are now by then… or maybe you won’t.” He shrugs. “Not really my business. We won’t be seein’ each other much after today – hey, this is your turn up ahead, right?”

Sarah looks through the spotless windshield at the green street sign standing sentry on the right side of the road. Poland Boulevard.

“Yeah, that’s it,” she confirms. “But… why did it take us so long to get here?”

Sharpton throws the blinker on. “This town is sort’a just funny like that, ‘specially when you’re driving down Cannonball. They say it’s a straight shot to the center of town, but…” He yawns as they take the turn. “Let me ask you somethin’, Sarah – have you ever been to the center of Wuester?”

“Um…” she um s, watching the familiar houses of her neighbors pass by. “The whY’doubleyeW’Cee’Ay I take my swimming lessons at is sort’a close to the center of town, I think. Closer than my street is. And I think the Fellers drove through it on the way to the lake. Didn’t we pass it coming back?”

Al Sharpton slowly shakes his head no. “This whole drive I’ve had my eyes peeled for the ol’ Wuester Central, but it’s just been road. Just been Cannonball all the way through. And now we’re at your road, just like that.”

“Oh… then no, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the actual center of town.” She broods for a moment. “My parents told me they heard that bad stuff happens down there.”

“It might,” Al Sharpton says, nodding slowly. “It just might.”

They pull into the driveway where there should be a van parked, a minivan, one with windows and a silver paint job and a couple dings and dents here and there from acorns falling out of the trees, and Sharpton parks the car. Sarah tries to open the door but finds it locked, despite the fact that the little bolt is sticking up out of the door. That anxiety creeps back into her stomach, which suddenly feels full of water again.

“Sarah,” Al Sharpton asks, and Sarah feels herself turning towards him, meeting his gaze against her will. “I have a favor to ask you. Will you do me a favor, Sarah Hammond?”

“Y-yes,” Sarah’s mouth says for her, despite her urge to scream out loud. “Anything f-for you, M-M-Mister Ah-Al Sh-Sh-Sharpton-nnn.”

“Good girl,” Al Sharpton says, putting a hand on her shoulder. His eyes dive deeply into hers, as though he was invading her mind and planting some sort of bomb between her neurons. “As your life spirals on you might forget some, maybe even all of what you’ve experienced over the past few days. And that’s fine, that’s just dandy, in fact. But I want you to remember one thing.”

“Whuh… what is it, Al Sharpton?”

“If anybody, and I do mean anybody, ever tells you they’ve been to Wuester Central, you turn your back and you run. They’re liars, Sarah, and worse, they might even be thieves.” Sharpton releases her shoulder and also the hex he cast upon her. “That’s all. Think you can manage that, Sarah Hammond?”

Never in her life has Sarah Hammond been so unsure of what to say.

“Good! Now get inside, they’re waitin’ for ya.”

“Who are?” Sarah asks as she’s opening the door. She climbs out of the smart car and the door pulls closed all on its own, denying Sarah the answer to her question, but that’s all right. She’s pretty sure the man wouldn’t have answered her question anyway.

The man who is precisely like Al Sharpton pulls the smart car out of Sarah Hammond’s driveway and heads down Poland Boulevard towards Cannonball Road. Sarah watches him go until the car is swallowed by the trees, then turns and makes the slow trek along the walk and up the steps to her front door. When she gets there she looks through the window and sees the cold darkness of an empty house, then has a heart attack, remembering how her parents locked all the doors before they left for Sarah’s swimming classes, but then she tries the handle anyway. The door opens, and Sarah takes one last look at her empty driveway before going inside.

The driveway is empty and black as fresh tar, totally devoid of any and all silver minivans.

Shoulders drooping and her head hanging low, Sarah Hammond walks inside her house and shuts the door. She notices the lights are on in the kitchen, the baseboard is ticking away, and the air is swimming with a salty, savory smell like her Mommy was cooking, but… but her Mommy and Daddy are dead.

Is someone in her house? Did someone break in?!

“Hello?” calls a woman’s voice, one eerily similar to that of her Mommy’s. “Sarah, is that you??”

“Sarah?!” A man’s voice. Her Daddy’s. She remembers it now. “Sarah, you’re home! You came back!”

Footsteps now, loud and hurrying through the house towards her. Sarah’s heart races, it’s not possible. They’re dead, she saw them get shot, the driveway was empty, it’s just not

Sarah Hammond spins and peers out the window in the front door. Parked in the driveway where the smart car dropped her off is the minivan, gold paint glimmering boldly in the morning sun. She’s swept up in her parents’ arms before she even has the chance to turn around.


Hello Commons, this has been the last 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

She Lives – Under the Hood: TIoJK (42/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


She Lives

Approximately thirty seconds after the booming report of Officer VanDunk’s sixth and final gunshot hits her ears, Sarah Hammond becomes concerned that she may be going crazy.

It wouldn’t be a complete surprise, especially after all she’s been through lately. They say you become those who you associate with; for the last however many hours (Sarah’s been too terrified for her life to keep count) she’s been surrounded by racist, dusty, and white police officer cultists who killed her parents, locked her up in a grown man’s bedroom, took her to a church that’s not really a church, and drove her through the center of Wuester in a windowless white van to put her on a boat and bring her out to the middle of a lake so she could be sacrificed to a meteor called Rock. To their credit the meteor seems to be real, and how they could have possibly known when and where it would c–… fell unto Earth is entirely beyond Sarah, but they were still undeniably crazy, were being the operative term.

Because one of them randomly decided to shoot the rest dead. Like Jim Hubert did to her parents.

Crazy. Definitely crazy, and it’s not like craziness is a transmittable contagion (although some would disagree, especially those who spend a good chunk of their time around crazy folks), Sarah is afraid that one of her feet may have floated off the ground of reality because of this whole ordeal. The abduction, the hours in confinement, being fully convinced she would be killed as a sacrifice to a prophesized meteor deity and then witnessing the murders of those who meant to be her murderers as said prophesized meteor comes a’crashin’ out of the starry sky – Sarah’s been through a lot lately, so is the fact that she’s hearing a grown man’s voice in her head really all that surprising? No, Sarah doesn’t think so. What’s surprising is the fact that it’s telling her to commit suicide.

‘Just dive, damn you,’ says the foreign voice as Sarah paddles and kicks through the cold water as though her very life depends on it… because it does. ‘There is no time to ignore me, you only have fifteen seconds now. Dive and keep on swimming!’

‘But if I dive and keep on swimming I’ll die,’ Sarah reasons mentally. ‘I’ll drown and all of this will be for nothing.’

‘Trust me, Sarah Hammond,’ says the man’s voice in a soothing way, ‘everything will be fine.’

Well, when he puts it that way. Sarah feels her lungs inflate almost to the point of bursting, then she closes her eyes and slips beneath the surface of the icy water and strokes, swimming with haste but not quite as quickly as she was going above the water. It’s very much possible that the voice in her head is that of her late(?) Daddy – a chill runs through Sarah’s body when she realizes that she’s forgotten the exact sound of her late Daddy’s voice during all of this commotion – and that she knows the meteor is approaching and wishes to avoid being caught in a wave, subconsciously evoking an older male’s voice in her head to help her summon the courage to dive and keep on swimming, but… that’s awfully complicated for such a young girl. Perhaps something higher tapped into Sarah’s mind… or something lower.

Perhaps there’s something living at the bottom of this lake, something that feeds on little Earthen children.

Regardless, roughly tenish seconds after Sarah dives beneath the surface she gets bashed with a sound loud enough to send a tactile shockwave through the water, snatching Sarah out of her stroke and tumbling her head over heels. Everything is darkness whether her eyes are open or not, the air in her lungs is exchanged for freezing water that somehow burns like fire as it flows into her, the pressure is clamping down on her head and it hurts, it hurts, everything hurts, I’m going to fucking drow–’

A hand grabs hold of Sarah’s wrist and pulls hard. It feels as though she’s barreling through the water for half a minute at least, but then she breaks the surface and finds herself plopped down behind a man in a gray suit on what appears to be a jet ski.

“Breathe, Sarah, for you are saved!” shouts the man, his voice identical to the one Sarah heard in her head before Rock fell unto Earth.

Sarah gasps, then vomits a projectile stream of water back into the lake, then gasps again, gripping the man tightly around the torso.

“Hah’HAH! She lives!”

“Who are you?!” Sarah shouts when she can finally manage to speak without heaving. “What… what the fuck is going on?!”

“You can call me Sharpton, Sarah Hammond!” says the one called Sharpton, revving the jet ski. “Al Sharpton, at your service!”

“Al… Sharpton? ” Sarah almost falls backwards off the jet ski when it starts moving towards the public docks, and she assumes she has to yell to be heard. “Like, that reverend on Tee’Vee?”

‘Yes, precisely like that reverend, my dear,’ says the voice in her mind, and suddenly Sarah Hammond comes to understand that she doesn’t really care who this guy is or how he appeared just in time to save her. All Sarah cares about is that fact that she is saved.

And that she is tired. So, so very tired.

‘Ah-ah, not yet, Sarah,’ urges the voice as the jet ski bumps over the waves. ‘Stay awake just a little longer for me, sweetheart. Your journey’s almost over.’

In no mood to argue, Sarah Hammond forces herself to stay awake. The jet ski quickly carries them across the surface of the lake and stops on a dime at the end of the police dock without administering whiplash to either of its passengers. The way they suddenly stop isn’t natural, it’s straight out of a science-fiction movie, but it happens all the same. The one who is precisely like Al Sharpton, that reverend on TV, helps Sarah climb up onto the docks – she doesn’t notice this but Jim Hubert’s body is gone, and so is his bloodstain; in fact, all the debris from the obliterated police boat is gone – but he doesn’t follow her.

“You’re not coming?” she asks, trying to find at least a shred of logic in all this. “But… you saved me.”

“I haven’t saved you yet, Sarah,” says the man who, admittedly, is a dead lookalike for Al Sharpton. “There’s a smart car in the parking lot, the same one you saw at the church earlier. Should be right next to that dusty white van that took you out here. Go and find it and climb into the passenger seat. Then you can finally close your eyes and get some rest, okay?”

Sarah stares at the man for a few seconds, but her eyelids threaten to get heavy. “All… all right. I’ll go.” She turns to go, then looks back to thank the man, but he’s gone.

And so is his jet ski.

Exhausted past the point of comprehension, Sarah Hammond proceeds to hobble. She hobbles up the police dock, she hobbles across to the main dock, she hobbles up the main dock, and there it is, just like he said – a lone smart car sitting with its headlights facing the bumper of the windowless white van the Fellers used to take her out here. Sarah hobbles across the parking lot, ignoring the pebbles and other gravel biting into her bare feet, and peeks into the window of the smart car. Totally empty. She hobbles around it, tugs on the passenger-side door-handle, and climbs in. She shuts the door, turns to grab the seat belt, and buckles herself in because it’ll make her feel safe and secure, and when she looks up to see if the keys are in the ignition so she can turn the heat on the man is back, Al Sharpton is right there sitting in the driver’s seat, and not only that but the car is suddenly on, it’s just suddenly on, and the heat is blowing in her face and her pajamas are dry like she never swam in them and Sarah Hammond is feeling very, very sleepy.

And there are no keys in the ignition.

“How… how did you–”

“Shhh, take it easy, Sarah. I’m takin’ you home,” the man says, putting a finger to her lips to shush her. “Just lean back and close your eyes, everything is go’n’a be just fine.”

“But…” She leans back. “But…” Closes her eyes. “But…”

By the time the one who calls himself Al Sharpton pulls out of the parking lot, Sarah Hammond is deeply, deeply asleep in the warm darkness of the smart car, her mind lit up with colorful dreams of home.


Hello Commons, this has been the eighth 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Jim – Under the Hood: TIoJK (41/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Jim

The second, then third, then fourth, then fifth gunshots do not break Jim Hubert from his trance at the edge of the police dock. Neither does the sixth, nor would a seventh. Jim Hubert’s staring up at the sky, watching that big red blob called Rock get bigger and bigger until it’s about the size of a cantaloupe above the relative watermelon that is the police boat. Jim Hubert watches Rock fell into the water, obliterating the police boat and everything on it into a hailstorm of debris which flies to every corner of the lake’s shore.

Including the shore with the public docks.

The first of the police boat’s debris, a molten piece of burning metal shrapnel which just happens to be in the shape of a cross, strikes Jim Hubert directly between the eyes, teetering him over backwards. As he falls, his body is pelted and skewered by a hellstorm of bits of metal, fibreglass, normal glass, and even a few pieces of wood. He feels each and every piece of the debris violate the sanctity of his body, then dies seconds after he hits the dock. The rain of debris stops the moment his life ends.

After Jim Hubert is done feeling every last piece of the police boat’s debris violate the sanctity of his body, he doesn’t hear the footsteps coming down the dock behind him. One set of footsteps to be specific, footsteps that stop a single plank away from stepping on his head.

“Huh,” the footstepper says. “Interesting.”

He hunkers down and grips Jim by the head, turning him this way and that. Jim’s soulless eyes sway.

“Well, I suppose you know the story, ol’ Jim. Wrong place at the wrong time.” He lets Jim’s head go. The head of the metal cross taps the dock. “Tough break, Jim Crow. Tough mothafuckin’ break.”

The guy in the dark gray suit with skin as brown as Sarah’s – browner, even, truly the image of an Earthen folk – steps widely over Jim’s body, letting the heel of his shoe land on the crotch of Jim’s pants. There’s a squishy kind of crunch when he steps down, but it’s not quite as gratifying as he was hoping it would be. Meh, oh well. He jumps off the edge of the police dock, hugs his knees to his chest, and hits the water in a cannonball. When he breaks through the surface his suit is completely dry, and the jet ski beneath him is already running.


Hello Commons, this has been the seventh 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Praise Thee and Fell – Under the Hood: TIoJK (40/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Praise Thee and Fell

Sarah feels the boat coast to a slow stop a few minutes after her little chat with Chief Maxwell reduced her to a state of tears. She hears a splash from outside the cabin, likely an anchor being tossed overboard, and then Chief Maxwell is suddenly crouched down before her with one of his fat hands on her shoulder.

“You can die happy or die miserable,” he tells her in an attempt to… well, she’s not sure. Whatever he’s trying to do though, it isn’t working. “That’s a decision only you can make, Sarah, and it’s time for you to make it. You’re not very big, and I can lift you if need be.” Maxwell’s hand leaves her shoulder and rests on his chubby bent knee. “Now what’s it go’n’a be? You goin’ out there on my legs? Or are you goin’ out there on your own?”

Her tear ducts dry up, and she uses the white pajama shirt Maxwell gave her to dry her face. “My own legs,” she whispers, not meaning to. Trying again, this time in a louder voice, “I’ll go out there on my own legs.”

“Good,” Maxwell says, bracing himself with a hand so he can stand back up. Sarah stands too, with much less effort. “Good girl. Let’s go, then.”

They stand off for a moment, the hulk that is Daniel Maxwell towering over the defenseless Sarah Hammond like a kaiju standing next to a Barbie. She sees his eyes flash between her and something above her head a few times, but if he’s trying to drop her a hint she’s just not catching it. Then she realizes she’s standing with her back to the door.

“Can you back up?” she asks, not impolitely. “You’re too close.”

Maxwell is about to grumble how she’s too close to her death to be so adverse to him invading her space, but he decides it wouldn’t be right. Had The Tome not bared the girl’s name her life might not be even ten percent of the way through. She’s making a sacrifice – being forced to make the sacrifice, sure, but she’s still making it, and without putting up too too much of a fight, either, very commendable – that most folks wouldn’t even dream of being faced with, and so Chief Daniel Maxwell takes two steps back so Sarah can open the door comfortably and walk out to meet her destiny.

Four dark faces stare down at her with willing eyes held by baggy eyelids. Herm Billings, Gene Thorton, Billy Gene, and standing back behind them, Vern VanDunk. Heavy feet plod up behind her and hands – fat, chunky hands – fall on her shoulders. A moment of silence is shared by all, then Herm speaks.

“Well Chief, we’re here. We got the girl, we took her out to the middle’a Lake Atacama.” He folds his arms, the sleeves rolled up past the elbows. “Now what?”

Chief, looking up to the starry sky, says, “Now Rock comes and takes care of the rest. We just got’a wait.”

So they wait. Vern leans against the box attached to the back right wall, Gene and Billy pop squats against the side walls. Chief stays standing behind Sarah with his big hands clenching her tiny shoulders, and Herm stays standing in front of her, arms folded, head cocked up at the sky. There are a great many starts in that sky, Herm notices. He’s not one to go out and stargaze too often like some hippie who don’t have a job to wake up early in the day for; any time he’s out at night it’s behind the wheel of a police cruiser, doing everything he needs to do to go on living his life. What’s that life consist of? Some friends, some family, some video games and some alcohol. Some women, every now and then, though they’re few and far in between. Truth is, Herm Billings has always felt like something of a wandering soul, a sort of cosmic errand boy doing what he’s told and doing it well enough until he gets some time for rest and relaxation, all the while not really knowing why he’s doing it. He doesn’t know himself very well, Herm Billings, isn’t quite acquainted with the man in the mirror, but that’s never stopped him from doing what he needs to do. Didn’t stop him digging those holes in the woods off the side of Cannonball, and it didn’t stop him from filling them in after Bill and Gene dumped the bodies. Hell, Herm’s not sure anybody really knows who they are, what they’re doing here, if they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. He does know one thing, though: his being inducted into The Fellers of Rock hasn’t been the worse experience of his entire life. Sure, it’s been gruesome – murder is always gruesome, whether there’s blood on the walls or not – but it’s also given him a sense of identity, a sense of purpose in the world that he’s never felt during any other part of his life. He’s a police officer, yes, and he should feel that sense of duty while he’s driving around town aimlessly looking for kids to give speeding tickets to or stuck at the station pushing pencils and filling out paperwork, but he just doesn’t. Anybody can become a cop, for Rock’s sake even Jim Hubert could become a cop, and while Jim Hubert also became a Feller, Jim was chosen to become a Feller. Jim’s name was printed in a book that appeared out of thin air in a brilliant flash of light, and so was Herm’s. Herm Billings was printed in The Tome of Rock, and that means something. Chief never let him see it for himself, but that’s just the thing: Herm doesn’t feel the need to see the book. Herm’s wearing the red sweater and the blue denim pants, Herm was complicit in the murdering and body disposal of two Earthen humans, and now Herm is floating on Atacama Lake with the four Fellers who were chosen to see Rock fell firsthand. Herm Billings isn’t just one of the chosen ones, he’s one of the chosen amongst the chosen ones. Herm finally has a purpose in his life, and while this isn’t the first time in his life he’s stood beneath the heavens and gazed up at the stars, this is the first time they’ve made sense to him. Everything in life happens for a reason. Those stars are where they are for a reason, and each of the six Fellers of Rock are where they are for a reason too, and that one star up there? That one star which dares to glow red when all the rest glow white, that single burning star which appeared out of the black smaller than a pinprick but now outshines all the rest of the stars in the infinite sky? Well that star’s doing what it’s doing for a reason, too. It’s finally all making sense.

“Chief…” Herm says, unable to help the giant smile on his face. “D–… d’you see that star, Chief?”

“That ain’t a star, Herm,” says Gene Thorton with a sense of awe in his voice.

“Whuh…” Billy Gene says before he swallows down what sounds like a sizeable pebble. “What is that?”

“It’s Rock,” Chief says, and a hot tear rolls down his right cheek. “It’s Rock, Fellers. Rock is felling unto Earth, and we summoned It. We did the work, and now we get our reward.”

The Fellers all stand, besides Vern VanDunk. In fact, Vern VanDunk isn’t even looking at the sky. He’s faced away from the other Fellers now, his feet are dangling through the space between the right and left back wall. His head is turned down towards the water, but it’s not the water he’s staring at. Vern VanDunk’s got something in his lap, something he’s almost done bringing himself to share with his fellow Fellers.

“I reckon we ought to say something,” Herm Billings says, unable to take his eyes off the burning red dot in the sky, that ever-expanding red dot. “This is a momentous occasion, Fellers, and I reckon we should say something to commemorate it.”

“I’ll say something,” says Sarah. Even she’s looking up at Rock getting bigger and bigger in the sky. “You’re all crazy. I know I’m going to die tonight, but I think you all think you’ll survive.” She takes a moment, swallows the lump of rage and fright in her throat. “I hope you all realize that you’re wrong before it’s ov–”

Herm cuts her off with a firm, open-hand slap across the cheek. The other Fellers look away from the sky with shocked eyes.

“How dare you,” Herm growls. “This is a special night, an important night. This might be the most meaningful night of your life, you little brat, and you have the nerve to talk such shit?! You’re lucky Rock is coming for you, because if It didn’t, then I’d…”

Herm trails off as the wind blows. The waves splash up against the hull. The wind continues to blow, and the waves continue to splash.

Then, quietly, “Then what, Herm?”

Herm turns around. It was Vern. He’s facing them now, looking at Herm. He’s got one hand behind his back, probably so he can keep his thumb jammed up his ass.

What’d you say?” Herm snarls.

“I said, then what, Herm? If Rock wasn’t coming for Sarah, what would you do to‘er?”

Herm turns and looks at Billy Gene, at Gene Thorton, at Chief Maxwell. They all meet his gaze but offer him nothing. He turns back and faces Vern VanDunk like a ma–… no. Like a Feller.

“Well, I… I don’t know. I don’t need to know, don’t you see that, Vern? Rock is comin’, It’s fellin’ through the sky right now. Just look up, Vern.” Herm is smiling now. It’s a very toothy, pleading, borderline hopeless smile. Vern supposes he might find wet shit between those teeth if he flossed ‘em. “Just go’head and look up, see It for yerself.”

“I don’t think so, Herm,” Vern says. “Rock might be comin’, but It’s not go’n’a take Sarah.”

“And just what do you mean by that? ” Herm spits.

Vern takes his hand out from behind his back and shows Herm what he means by that. Gripped in his hand is a .44 revolver, a big six-shooter with its serial number engraved and the ghostly pale moonlight reflecting off its barrel. Vern thumbs the hammer back and takes a step towards Herm Billings while Chief Maxwell takes a dive backwards into the cabin, pulling Sarah with him.

“Vern,” Herm says in that pleading tone, but he’s not smiling anymore. Vern supposes he’ll never smile again. “Y-you don’t have to do this, Vern. Please.” He backs into the cabin door, which Chief Maxwell must have shut, and Vern just keeps on coming. Herm raises a shaky palm in front of him, as though he was miming a half-assed wall. “Think about what you’re doin’, Vern. Puh–… put the gun down.”

“Got no time to think, Herm. Rock’s on Its way.”

“I know It is, so you don’t have to pull–”

The big iron makes a deafening report which rides the wavy surface of the lake all the way to Jim Hubert’s ears. His pants get a little wet when the boom smacks his eardrums, but he doesn’t move an inch.

Herm, the shake in his hand migrated to the entirety of his body (aside from that large warm area in his chest; Herm can’t feel much of anything in that large warm area in his chest), slowly turns his palm towards his face and looks into the hole bored through the center of it. He can see Vern through that hole.

“B–…b-but… Vern…” Herm says, his struggle with the words the only true struggle he’s ever known, “w-we–… you… yer a Feller…”

“I am a Feller, Herm,” Vern drawls, “and tonight, I’m fellin’ you.”

Vern VanDunk thumbs the hammer back and blows him away. The body crumples to the floor, a bloody heap full’a holes.

“Vern, you sum’bitch!!”

Gene Thorton, snapped neatly out of his daze by the explosion of the second gunshot, advances towards Vern VanDunk. Vern blows him away. The body dances a jig and flips over the side wall, settling with a splash.

“For the love of God, Vern, please! I never wanted…”

Billy Gene, curled up in a little ball on the floor of the police boat, cowers and pleas for his life. Vern blows him away.

Vern VanDunk finally looks up at the stars and sees the growing red blob that is Rock. It’s the size of a golf ball now, maybe a smidge or two bigger. Doesn’t matter; all that matters is that It’s up there and Vern’s down here, and there are still two more Fellers on the boat.

“Chief,” Vern says calmly, knocking on the cabin door with the butt of the revolver. “Come on out now, Chief. I think we best have a little chat, y’hear?”

The door jiggles, but doesn’t open.

“I can’t open it, Vern. I think… Herm is in the way.”

Vern looks down and, sure enough, the bloody heap’a flesh full’a holes that used to be Herm Billings is blocking the cabin door. With his free hand, Vern grabs the wrist beneath Herm’s one full hand and drags his corpse away. When he gives the all-clear, Chief opens the door and walks out holding Sarah in front of him just like he was before Vern felled the Fellers.

“Let ‘er go, Chief. This ain’t goin’ down the way The Tome said.”

“You don’t have to tell me that, Vern,” the chief says, his voice firmly shaky. “I’m the one who read the damn thing.”

Vern thumbs the hammer back. “Let ‘er go now, Dan.”

Dan lets Sarah go, but she doesn’t walk away from him. Poor thing can hardly hear, her ears are ringing too loud from the gunshots.

“Sarah!” Vern says, loud enough to get her to look at him. “Can you swim, Sarah?”

“Oh you’re kidding, right?” Maxwell says in disbelief. “Earthen folks can’t swim, Vern! Come on, I ain’t a racist but even I know that! Enough a’this!”

“I asked the girl,” Vern explains, “not you. Sarah, can you swim?”

“Yes,” Sarah says, much louder than she means to. “I take swimming lessons at the whY. I was on my way there with my parents when you pulled us over!”

“And I’m awful sorry we pulled you over that day, Sarah,” Vern says, smiling down at her sadly. “I hope you know how sorry I am.”

Above them, Rock fells ever closer to Earth.

“How well can you swim, Sarah?”

“I’m one of the best swimmers in my class!” Sarah is crying again, but those aren’t tears of sadness. Not this time. Those tears express understanding and little else, and they flow like water through an unclogged pipe. “I’m a great swimmer!”

“Go ahead and jump in the lake, Sarah,” Vern says, unable to hide his smile. “You swim to the nearest shore and run to the nearest house, and you get yourself some help. Tell ‘em Vern VanDunk sent ya, they’ll know who I am. They’ll help you.”

Not needing to be told twice, Sarah sprints past Vern and dives gracefully into Lake Atacama. The splashes of her swimming away overpower, then level with, then are slowly drowned out by the sound of the waves hitting the hull. As the wind continues to blow past their ringing ears, Vern’s and Chief Maxwell’s eyes meet.

“You’re making a mistake here, Vern,” Maxwell says, his hands now up by his shoulders.

“No, I don’t think so, Chief Maxwell.” Vern VanDunk guides the hammer back to rest, then thumbs it down again for effect. “Earthen folk are good folk. I would know – my sister is marrying one. If our town really is being poisoned, the Earthen folk ain’t the source. Y’understan’ me? If there’s a problem in Wuester, they ain’t it, Chief.” He hocks and spits into the water. “No, I got all my ducks in a row, Chief Maxwell, all is present and accounted for. Found the gun in the box when I checked the boat, like it was left there for me. Six bullets chambered when we hit the water. Two left now, one for the both of us, and then… well, it’s like you said: Rock takes care of the rest.”

“That’s not what I mean, Vern,” Chief Maxwell says gravely, his voice the very essence of defeat. “I never even asked where you got the gun.” He clears his sinuses and launches it into the water. “You can kill me, Vern, and you can kill yourself right after just fine. Hell, you might even stop the eradication of the Earthen folk, but there’s still one Feller left.”

Vern’s eyes narrow, then widen like the felling Rock.

“Jim is still back on the docks, Vern.” Maxwell closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I thought Jim might be a danger, so I left him on the docks…”

They stand there, two of the three remaining Fellers, a big iron and two shells between them. The red glow of Rock coming down from above throws its first sheens of light and heat upon their pale faces. Won’t be long now. Time’s just about up.

“Well, Chief,” Vern says, his face devoid of emotion. “Let’s just hope Sarah avoids the docks.”

Police Chief Daniel Maxwell nods at the man holding the revolver. Vern blows him away, then turns the gun on himself as the body hits the floor and rolls, making the boat tilt.

“Praise thee, Rock.” Vern VanDunk thumbs down the hammer. “Praise thee and fell unto our poisoned town.

Vern blows himself away. A minute later – twenty minutes exactly since the boat left the docks – Rock fells upon their poisoned town.


Hello Commons, this has been the sixth 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

The Purging Procedure – Under the Hood: TIoJK (39/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


The Purging Procedure

“Hmm… well this is interesting.”

He’s faced by a white man strapped to a tabletop, but the tabletop is standing vertically. The man appears to be unconscious, but alive. There’s not much going on in his head, and his vital signs are weak, but the man is alive. He turns in a slow circle, taking in all there is to see down here on the bottom level of The Compound. Featureless blue metal walls which arch into a ceiling. A dreadfully pale light shining down on a dreadfully featureless blue metal floor. One would think it would be a little bigger, but perhaps not. This room is meant for weapon storage in the other Compounds, but clearly the designer of this one had other plans.

A section of the wall opens behind him then with a hydraulic whoosh, but no footsteps follow. He smiles, and turns to face the shocked face of Reverend Neil Campbell.

“Most interesting, indeed.”

“Who are you? ” the reverend asks cautiously.

“I could ask you the same,” he says, “but it would be pointless.” He looks at his fingernails, trimmed neatly and filed with precision. “I already know who you are, Reverend Neil Campbell.”

Campbell takes a step back, raising an arm as though to defend himself.

“That’s a very nice suit you have on,” he continues. “And I’m not talking about the priest’s robes, either. Very convincing.”

Campbell lowers his arm and steps slowly into the blue metal room with feigned calm. The wall slides shut behind him. “Who are you?” he asks again, this time in an amusingly serious tone. “How did you get down here? How do you know of this place?”

“It’s funny that you chose a reverend,” he says airily. “I’m something of a reverend myself. Well…” His eyes travel down his own body, taking in the dark gray suit and the chocolate skin beneath it. “In a way, I suppose.”

“I’m warning you–”

“Did you call your superiors yet, Reverend Campbell?” he asks, smiling gently beneath his moustache. “Are they on their way down?”

Campbell doesn’t answer.

“I’m sorry, it was a pointless question. I already know the answer.” He looks over to Jonathan Knox, then back to Campbell. “Wake this boy up, would you? Your little procedure was finished hours ago. He’s going to die soon if you don’t bring him out of it, I think.”

He starts walking towards Reverend Campbell. The reverend takes a step back and then another, and then makes fists as though he meant to take a swing at this brown-skinned suit-clad interloper, but the interloper’s advancement does not stop, does not so much as stutter. He walks close enough to Reverend Campbell to smell his breath – terrible, like he ate fish a day ago and neglected to brush his teeth – and then walks clear through him, as though the reverend was no more than a shadow. Then he walks through the wall, which doesn’t slide open.

Campbell spins and realizes he’s now alone with one Jonathan Knox. “What… was that man?” He looks about the entirety of the prison room. “And how did he know…?”

Jonathan’s limp breathing is his only answer.

Regardless of who that man may have been, he was right about one thing: the purging procedure ended hours ago. Jonathan Knox’s brain has been purged twice over by now, maybe even thrice. If he’s not brought back soon, within the next few minutes in fact, there will be nothing left to bring back. The being known as Jonathan Knox won’t have any sense of character at all, he’ll be nothing but a slack, mindless body. In all senses but the literal, Jonathan Knox will be dead. The reverend chuckles.

“Compared to the original, that might not be so bad. But a mindless body cannot suffer, and I do want you to suffer, Jonathan Knox.”

He places his hands on either side of the vegetative Jonathan’s head and lifts it back.

“I want you to suffer for the rest of eternity.”


Hello Commons, this has been the fifth 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Hope – Under the Hood: TIoJK (38/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Hope

“Well Sarah, I suppose you might be wondering what’s go’n’a happen to you when we get out to the middle of the lake.” The boat left the police dock a few moments ago. Maxwell flips the red’n’blues back on, then turns his face towards the petrified Earthen girl standing with her back against the closed cabin door. “It’s all right, I had Officer Hubert stay back on dry land. You’re safe out here.”

Sarah manages to squeak out, “I don’t feel very safe,” then clamps her mouth shut again.

Chief Maxwell nods as if he has even the slightest understanding of what Sarah Hammond has been forced to endure the past couple days, then turns back around to face the water. They coast in silence for a moment.

“Nobody was supposed to tell you anything,” Chief Maxwell says to the cabin’s windshield, “about what was going to happen tonight. Nobody was supposed to talk to you at all, tell you the truth, but The Tome said everyone would. The Tome also said someone would give up the goose. Has anyone talked?”

“I know about Rock,” Sarah finally says after letting Maxwell listen to the sound of waves hitting the hull. “And the… vortex. How you call everyone who’s not white Earthen, and how you all think us living in the town is poison.” She pauses for a moment, unsure if she should mention the book. “I also know about The Tome of Rock, and that you’re going to sacrifice me tonight.”

If Sarah could look at Chief Maxwell’s face, she’d see the biggest puss she’s ever seen on a man’s mug.

“Who told you?” he asks quietly.

“Does it even matter?” she answers loudly. “You’re all crazy, you know that?”

“I know what I know, Sarah,” the chief answers, but he sounds unsure. “The Tome appeared in a flash of light so bright it knocked me out of my chair, almost made me spill a drink. Our uniforms, and the Pee-Jays you have on now, all arrived in a box delivered to my back door, and I have a fence around my backyard. That book… it spoke of things no man could possibly know… all our names were printed in the book, Sarah. Mine, the other Fellers’, even yours.”

Sarah Hammond feels a rock drop into her stomach. Suddenly she’s very queasy, and it’s not the rocking of the boat.

“The Tome told me how to abduct you, where your family would be driving and at what time. The Tome told me everything, Sarah. The only thing it didn’t mention is that damn smart car we saw on Cannonball, but I think if the smart car was meant to stop us we would have been stopped before we got out on the water. What’s meant to happen is going to happen, a’ight? I know it’s hard to b–”

“There is no Rock,” Sarah moans. The tears make her eyes sparkle like starlight, not that Maxwell can see it. He’s too busy looking ahead towards the center of the lake. “No meteor’s going to crash, you’re making it all up! You’re crazy, you just want to kill me because I’m black!”

I don’t want to kill you! ” Chief Maxwell shouts, then punches the windshield hard enough to crack two of his knuckles. Breathes a few times. “And I ain’t go’n’a.”

“Wait, what?” Sarah asks. “Wh… what do you mean? I’m not going to die?”

“I mean I’m not go’n’a be the one to kill you, Sarah,” Chief clarifies. “None of the Fellers are, either. All we’re go’n’a do is take you to the middle of the lake. Rock’s go’n take care of the rest.”

Sarah takes a minute to think about this, then decides Maxwell is lying.

“You’re lying,” she says, making her decision known. “You… you’re racist and crazy, and you just don’t want to feel guilty until it’s done, you just want to preten–”

“Ain’t no pretendin’,” Maxwell says solemnly. “Ain’t a racist bone in my body, neither. In none of the Fellers’ bodies, except for maybe Jim Hubert.” Maxwell chuckles strangely. “Matt’a’fact, that’s why I left him back on the docks. He’s the only one of us who poses an actual threat to you.” He turns a somber and heavy face upon Sarah so she can see just how lost he feels. “I don’t want you to die, Sarah Hammond. But there’s just no choice in the matter. It’s either you or my town, and I can’t let my town die.”

“What about my parents then, Chief Maxwell?” Sarah demands coldly. “You let your Jim kill them.”

“He ain’t my Jim – let’s get one thing straight, he ain’t anybody’s Jim. And he ain’t a very good shot, either. They might have wound up as collateral damage, but… I don’t know, Sarah. Maybe they lived.” He sighs. “Won’t matter either way. When Rock takes you out It’s takin’ out all the Earthen folk. You’ll all turn into piles of Earth before the clocks strike midnight, and that’s just what it is.”

And that’s just what it is. Just like that, so simple. So concise. And that’s just what it is. Sarah backpedals into the door and slides down to the floor, her mouth hanging slack. And that’s just what it is. She hadn’t considered the possibility that all this might actually – like, really and actually – be real. You’ll all turn into piles of dirt before the clock strikes midnight, and that’s just what it is.

Maxwell wants to say more, but he’s not sure there’s much more to say. They had their little chat, just like The Tome instructed, and the conversation naturally led to her parents, just like The Tome promised. Why the book wanted Chief Maxwell to lie to the girl and give her false hope about her deceased parents he’ll never know, but little details like that don’t matter now. Now, all that’s left is to bring the Earthen girl named Sarah Hammond to the center of Atacama Lake and let Rock do the rest.

And Rock will come. After all the Fellers have been through… after all they’ve done… Rock has to come.

‘You better come to us, Rock,’ Chief Maxwell thinks to himself as Sarah begins to weep behind him. ‘God help us, you just better come.’


Hello Commons, this has been the fourth 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Chalak – Under the Hood: TIoJK (37/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Chalak

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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

A Little Chat – Under the Hood: TIoJK (36/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


A Little Chat

The Fellers’ drive through the center of Wuester to the public docks of Atacama Lake is, on the whole, a periless voyage, neither slowed nor interrupted once, not even by a car turning off Cannonball Road before the dirty cops make their own turn. The only peril which occurs does so inside the van; the grown men fart, belch, sweat, and occasionally mutter to themselves the whole ride. Not a single coherent word is spoken and Sarah Hammond is forced against her will to bathe in that verbal silence, to simmer in that soupy stew of odors and noises even after Chief Maxwell parks and sends Vern VanDunk to scope the place out and make sure the boat is ready to go.

Vern comes back after the longest several minutes of Sarah Hammond’s life – several of the final minutes of Sarah Hammond’s life – and reports the place is deserted, about which he is relieved because he just wants this business to be over.

“We all do, Vern,” Maxwell says gravely as he hits the unlock button. “Let’s get this done.”

The Fellers, all dressed up in their blue denim pants and red sweaters with the blue Rock symbol loud and proud dead center on their chests, file out of the van, Jim before everyone else and Herm Billings after Sarah. Herm tries to guide Sarah by placing a hand on her back, but she walks faster to avoid it. Vern tries to take her hand, but she shakes out of his grasp. Neither Gene Thorton nor Billy Gene try to help the Earthen girl walk across the lamplit, desolate parking lot, and Jim Hubert crosses the majority of the pavement in a dash.

After Jim Hubert takes off, Sarah looks up at the stars, holding her hands to the sides of her face to block out the glare of the streetlamps flanking the lot. They glimmer down at her and twinkle. Gazing up at the stars used to make Sarah feel safe, especially when her Mommy and Daddy were gazing with her. But her Mommy and Daddy are dead now. They’re dead as the black space between the glimmering white stars.

‘And it’s all because my skin is brown,’ Sarah thinks to herself. ‘It’s all because I’m black. They can justify it however their dusty white brains want to, but it comes down to the color of my skin. I’m being killed because of the color of my skin.’ She sighs. ‘God bless America, land of the free, home of the brave. God bless America…”

“You say somethin’, Sarah?” asks Vern.

Sarah doesn’t answer, but she looks away from the stars. She’ll be looking up there plenty when the meteor is coming to kill her, if that even happens. It’s only now, walking across this empty parking lot to the big police boat waiting to take her out to the middle of the lake, that Sarah comes to terms with what’s really going to happen out there. There is no meteor, there is no Rock. These are just dusty white folks, and nobody’s lookin’ at ‘em; they’re going to load her onto the boat, take her out to the center of the lake, and they’re going to shoot her like they shot her parents and dump her dead body overboard to feed whatever demented creatures swim in the dark waters of Lake Atacama. They’ll probably have Jim Hubert pull the trigger, too, just like they had him shoot her parents. And he’ll probably enjoy doing it. This whole thing was probably his idea in the first place.

‘But why me? Sarah wonders. ‘Why did they pick my family?’ Why indeed? ‘And how did they know we’d be driving down Cannonball when we were?’

The YWCA, obviously. Has to be. None of these damn dirty cops look familiar to Sarah, but that doesn’t mean she’s never seen them around town before. Or rather, that they’ve never seen her. Some of them are married – well, probably less than some – and their hypothetical wives might go to the Y. They might have friends who work or volunteer there, too; hell, they might have infiltrated the organization. When Herm Billings gave up the goose he never explained how long they’ve all been planning this, it could have been going on for weeks now, maybe even months. Maybe since before the chief found his book.

“Come on now, Sarah,” says Herm from behind her. She stopped walking to gape at the pavement, it seems. Good thing Herm was there to push her along. “It’s almost over.”

And it is, too. The splintery wood of the main dock is only a few steps away. Jim Hubert is doubled over with his hands on his knees, still catching his breath from his excited little dash. Beyond him the dock floats over the dark water and branches out into about a thousand other docks, each one lined with boats on both sides. All except one, which has a hulking blue and white police boat with a big deck in the back and a cabin with lights on the top. The red’n’blues are flashing, and some of the spotlights are turned on too. Yep, the boat is all ready to go. Too bad Sarah isn’t ready to die.

“Finally,” Jim wheezes between breaths. “Took y’all long enough!” He breathes heavily as his fellow Fellers stare tiredly at him, then he looks at Sarah for the first time since the van was revealed. “You ready to die, little miss ni–”

“Jim,” Chief Maxwell says abruptly. “Can I talk to you over here for a second?”

Jim Hubert straightens up in a similar yet gratefully different way than he does when he’s watching videos on his laptop. “Sure, Grand Martian! Anything for you!”

“Gran…?” Maxwell pinches the bridge of his nose and closes his eyes. When he opens them, Jim is standing uncomfortably close to his face. Maxwell puts a hand on Jim’s chest and backs him off a few feet. “Fellers, take the girl to the boat and get the motors going. I’ll be there in a moment.”

“Yeah, Fellers, we’ll be there when we’re damn well ready,” Jim spits into the night as he walks away from the Fellers. Maxwell grabs him by the shoulder and gets him moving a little faster. When they’re far enough away from the docks that the footsteps of the other Fellers and Sarah Hammond are inaudible over the waves splashing weakly against the public docks, Jim asks Grand Martian what’s going on.

“I don’t know where you got that Grand Martin shit, Jim, but knock it off. This is serious business.”

“I’m sorry, Chief,” Jim says to Chief’s shoes.

“Listen, Jim,” Chief says, forcing himself to put a hand on Jim’s bony shoulder to establish some basic human contact, “I have a special task for you, and I’m afraid you don’t really have the option to say no.”

Jim looks up, visibly excited. “I would never say no to anything you ask for, Chief.” His voice is serious and level, as though they were discussing a promotion back at the station. “You say it and consider it done.”

“Good, Jim, that’s what I like to hear. I’m go’n’a need you to stay back at the docks.”

Jim Hubert’s entire world crumbles around him, the asphalt below his feet goes soft and gooey like a roasted marshmallow and crumbles like the marshmallow was burned. He feels himself tumbling infinitely downward, feels the air leaking out of his lungs, tears rolling down his face. He feels his stomach tying in knots and rolling itself over and over until the lining breaks and the acid spills out, corroding through the rest of his intestines and finally eating through his skin and spouting out like he was some sort of twisted human fountain.

“I don’t think I can do that, Chief…”

“I don’t particularly care what you think, Jim,” Chief Maxwell assures him. “We need a man to stay back at the docks and keep watch, make sure our mission doesn’t get interrupted or observed by any eyes which don’t need to be observing it, and that’s just what it is. You’re the only man for the job.”

“But why, Chief?” Jim damn near sobs, trying harder than he’s ever tried at anything else in his life to keep it together. “Why am I the only man for the job, why not… why not Vern Van-Bunk?

Chief gives Jim’s shoulder a little squeeze. “Because ain’t nobody cares about felling Rock unto Earth like you do, Jim Hubert. That’s why.” He gives this a moment to sink in, which it appears to do considering how Hubert’s face unscrunches and loses some of its purply red hues, then, “Are you up for the task?”

Jim hesitates, but only to take a breath. “Yes, Sir. For Rock… for you… anything. If you really need me to–”

“Great!” Maxwell hits Hubert with a hearty pat on the back, a pat so hearty it leaves a hand-shaped welt. “Listen now, you stay here for a few minutes. I’m go’n’a get the boat out on the water, then I’ll kill the lights for a second. That’ll be your signal – when you see the red’n’blues go out for a second, and I mean precisely one second, you c’n head on over to the docks. I figure you’ll get a great view of Rock comin’ down out of space from there.”

“Hey, that’s a good point!” Jim agrees wholeheartedly. “I’ll get quite the spectacle from the end of the dock!”

“Oh no, Jim,” Chief says. “You’ll be at the front of the dock, over yon’ where the pavement ends.” Chief gestures to where the pavement ends, as if Jim was incapable of discerning meaning from his words. “You got’a be, so you c’n turn any cars who come into the lot around and make ‘em skedaddle.”

Jim feels the asphalt breaking up again, but it doesn’t crumble away this time. There’s a great, deep-seated pain in his heart, but he’ll just have to ignore it for now, won’t he? For Rock, and for Chief Maxwell, he’ll just have to ignore it.

“You got it, Chief.”

“Good man, Jim. Good man.”

Chief Maxwell turns away and begins his trot back to the docks without giving the conversation a chance to evolve any further. He trots down the main dock, he trots across to the police dock, and he trots down to the end of the police dock where the blue and white police boat full of Fellers is waiting for him.

“What was that about, Chief?” asks one of the Fellers, either Gene or Billy. Maxwell always has trouble telling those two apart unless the light’s directly on their faces, their voices sound so damn similar.

“I’m having Jim stay back on the dock,” Chief says on his way into the boat’s cabin. He stops and turns to look at Sarah, then continues in. “Thought that might be better for everyone.”

“This is a hell of a rig, Sir,” Herm says from the back. “Reminds me of the vessels up on the Bur City Bay.”

The motors rumble to life, the props spin up. “That’s exactly where it came from too, Herm. Requisitioned just today. She’s Bur City tough, just like you.”

‘And me,’ Sarah thinks to herself. ‘Bur City tough, just like me… and now I’m going to be sacrificed on a boat in backwoods Wuester.’

“Sarah!” Chief calls out over the rumble. Sarah turns her head so fast she feels a twinge in her neck. “Come on in here with me, and close the door behind you. We need to have a little chat.”

Sarah goes to have a little chat with Chief Maxwell, Grand Martian of The Fellers of Rock, and closes the door behind her. Thus the police boat laves the docks, headed for the center of Atacama Lake.


Hello Commons, this has been the second 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Slimy – Under the Hood: TIoJK (35/44)

Rock

Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town.


Slimy

The one called Jonathan Knox’s eyelids flutter, then his consciousness lulls out. His body goes slack, dead weight hanging by bands of metal. The one called Neil Campbell takes his hands from Jonathan Knox’s face and rubs his fingers together as Jonathan’s head rolls forward on his neck.

Slimy,” Campbell sneers. The grease and oils which seep from human skin like radiation off a nuclear bomb are thick on his hands, and after only a few seconds of grasping the human’s face, too. “He has the audacity to call me slimy. Disgusting. Disgraceful. Asinine, in fact, but should I be so surprised?”

Campbell wipes his hands on Jonathan’s shirt with a grimace of revulsion on his face. He wipes them a second time, just for good measure, then smells his fingers and turns his head away in horror.

“I suppose there’s no getting the malodorous scent of it off,” he concedes. Looks at Jonathan. “Humanity… what a loathsome lot of bipedal vermin you hairless apes are. How your species has gotten this far… bah. I’ve never had such an intimate encounter with one of your kind before; I now know just how repugnant your race truly is.”

The one who calls himself Reverend Neil Campbell takes one last look at Jonathan Knox. His head’s fallen forward, yet the glasses stay firm on his face. ‘Must be the grease,’ he thinks with a frown, turning away to go about contacting his superiors. ‘It acts like glue. Charming.’

A tall black square opens in the featureless blue wall before him and he passes through.


Hello Commons, this has been the first 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.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~