Breakdown

Breakdown, a short story for the season. It runs about 3500 words. This story evolved over time because we did live in the middle of nowhere. For a few years we used to do what we called The Haunted Walk. We put this together for a number of Church Youth groups. They would park at the beginning of the road and then would be driven in over the rough dirt road as a group. So to set the stage I would tell a story which became this one. Although over time the location and story changed, it always worked setting up the proper atmosphere. Because once one walked away from the lights of the house it would become dark. And when I say dark I mean just that. There were no other light other than what the stars would provide and the ones we had placed on our trail –  a very eerie surreal world for city kids. So without further introduction here’s “Breakdown”.

It was one of those early fall evenings – cool, crisp, and a full moon making all the surrounding land appear magical. One could almost imagine a fairy tale scene as they headed home in their car. As they climbed the hills on the freeway they knew that soon home would be beckoning and after a tough workweek they could finally relax.

Pulling off the freeway at the off ramp, the same that they had for the last ten years, all was familiar. Jessie commenting said, “Now that was a tough week, and I truly cannot wait until we get home. I have to admit I am exhausted and am ready for some quiet time, how about you?”

Bill, his older brother, thought a minute before replying and thinking that it was not unusual for them to put in ten to fourteen hours a day just to keep the business going. Heck, even driving was almost enough to put him to sleep, and he was driving. “I have to agree with you there, Jessie. I’m beat, and in truth, I am looking forward to this weekend. You know we probably put in somewhere around eighty hours each this week.”

Home, always such a wonderful word, was an isolated piece of property out in the middle of nowhere. It had been in the family for a couple of generations. Laughing as he thought about it Jessie could remember when one of his high school teachers had to bring him home. They always had problems, when growing up, with missing school because there were times that the dirt road they lived on became impassable. There was very few living like that so most of the time there was just disbelief. But that all changed when that teacher, who was a drama teacher, had to take him home. This teacher would then tell a tall tale about his trip out to their home – it went something like this:

“Well when I took this student home I really didn’t think much about it – even when he stated that he lived pretty far out in the country. After all, we have a number of students who say the same thing. But to my surprise I was not prepared in any way for this trip. Let tell you, they are really isolated there.

“Now you drive on an isolated black top road as far as you can go. From there it changes to dirt . . . dirt – no problem, I thought. But eventually the road became so bad that I was barely creeping along, you could walk faster. Then I had to switch to a Jeep that was parked there for that purpose, followed by mules, as the road became so bad the jeep couldn’t go any farther. Then even the mules couldn’t go any further, leaving us on foot and using ropes to help us over the steep parts. Eventually I saw where this student lived. Isolated would be an understatement.”

It was interesting that after the teacher had brought him home that one time that they never had problems again about missing school. And yes, while the story was a large exaggeration, which he was sure continued to grow with time, there still was some truth in there. Smiling to himself and shaking his head in the remembrance he knew that they were now approaching the beginning of that dirt road. Looking out to the west he could see that the fog was rolling in and probably before they got home it would be over them obscuring everything. This time of year it would be very wet, so he was thankful he was in a warm dry car.

Bill, relaxing a bit once they reached the road stated, “You notice, at least for me anyway, that once we hit this road that it seems that all the pressures of the city just seem to start vanishing and it’s like a large weight is being lifted off. It happens every time, but at the same time until I get here I don’t even realize that those pressures are there. For me it’s the first sign that we are close to home. Only about four to five miles to go and it’s over for a couple of days.”

“Yeah, I have to agree as it seems things just roll off me when we hit this final stretch. Really never thought of it that way but you’re right. Different subject, but how are you and your girlfriend getting along? I know with the hours we put in its difficult to find time for us let alone girlfriends. I know with mine, this lifestyle you and I are presently living, frustrates her. She feels that I don’t spend enough time with her.” Shrugging his shoulders he continued, “But what can I do? I mean right now while we are successful, and there’s more work than the two of us can do, we just aren’t quite in the place to be able to hire anyone else. Close, yes, but not quite yet.”

“Yeah, know what you mean. I really never thought the business would take off like it did. And your assessment of our situation is quite correct. Even what you say about your girlfriend seems to apply to me also. Yeah, Leah is quite unhappy about it, but has to admit . . . what the heck was that?”

The car made a sudden lurch then a funny sound and then it was like the engine was not connected to anything. “Oh no!” Bill exclaimed, “I think we just dumped the transmission.”

“You’re kidding right? I mean the last thing I want to do tonight is walk the last two miles home, especially now that the fog has reached us. Did you try any of the other gears?”

“Yeah, and even reverse, we have nothing.” Then sighing he continued, “ And of course right here there is no signal for the cell phones until we get home, and even there the signal can be very iffy. Better get the flashlight out of the glove box, and we can look under the hood, but I don’t think we can fix this one.”

Jessie said, “Okay . . . ah here it is. Have you checked it lately?” Turning it on while looking into the lens he was momentarily blinded. Shaking his head he asked, “Now why do we do that? I mean why is it that when we want to check a flashlight we look into it like that?”

Laughing his brother replied, “You know I really don’t know, but we all do it. Shall we see if there is anything we can do? I really do not want to stay here all night.”

“Me either, and walking doesn’t appeal to me either, but I think, as you said, there is no choice.”

They got out and propped the hood open. Looking into the engine compartment they could feel the heat coming off the motor. There was a smell of hot transmission fluid, and a little smoke from where it had hit the exhaust system. Shining the flashlight down Jessie could see what looked like a puddle developing under the car. “Hey Bill, look under the car where I have the light and see if you can see if what I am seeing is just a shadow or something from the car.”

Bill looked under the car where the light was hitting the ground and then groaned, “It’s transmission fluid alright – looks like we at least blew the seals. But I suspect from the sound that it was everything. That’s going to cost us at least three grand to fix.” He then got up and came around to the front of the car and then said, “I guess that seals it, ha ha, play on words, so to speak. Might as well start walking, this car’s going no further tonight.”

Jessie, starting to pull his hand with the flashlight out from next to the motor touched something hot, jerked his hand in reaction and in the process the flashlight left his hand and went flying, hit a rock and then broke. “Great, now we have to depend on the moonlight. You don’t have another one do you?”

Shaking his head Bill said, “No such luck . . . I figured one would be enough. Well at least there’s a full moon, and even with this fog I can see the road pretty clearly.”

* * *

Once away from the car they found it deathly quiet. There was no breeze, just the drifting fog and the sound of moisture dripping off the surrounding brush. At times they could see a little distance ahead of themselves only in the next second to have the fog close in on them with gray wisps and tentacles that seemed to reach out to them, creating shadows giving the appearance of something moving just out of sight, followed by the fog completely closing in allowing them to see nothing. The dirt road remained easy to follow, as it was a lighter strip to the eyes. “Did you hear that?” Jessie asked. Stopping, they both listened carefully, but other than the steady dripping moisture they heard nothing. Shaking his head Jessie said, “I swore I heard something going through the brush, but I guess it was my imagination.”

“Maybe, but it still could have been a rabbit or even a bobcat. They all are out here and as you know night is their time.”

“True, didn’t think of that. Anyway let’s get home, I am quite ready to get out of this.” Jessie then shivered involuntarily, but didn’t speak, signaling Bill to continue.

Once again they started out and then both looked at each other as they heard something moving in the brush. Once again they stopped and it stopped. “I heard it this time also, Jessie. But why would it stop when we stop? Are we starting to let our imaginations run away here?”

“I don’t know, but it sure can send shivers up your spine and make those short hairs stand up on the back of your neck that’s for sure and this fog isn’t helping at all.”

“Agreed, let’s get home we aren’t going to solve this here, and probably it’s just some small animal anyway and the starting and stopping is just coincidence.” Once again they continued their walk and as they did the sounds of movement in the brush reached their ears. After a number of pauses and starts with the sounds in the brush starting and stopping with them they knew it was something more . . . but what? So far there had been no hostile move just the unnerving mimicking of their movements. Again no breeze, just silence in this eerie world with the moonlit fog continually shifting, adding illusions of ghosts, the sounds of the constant dripping, and the movement of something in the brush, all keeping them company and on edge.

They picked up their pace and as they did so did the unknown watcher in the brush. But at no time did the sound approach any closer, or retreat. It became a constant companion making the brothers on edge and extremely nervous. Eventually as they climbed the last hill they saw as well heard the rattling of the gate that led into the property and was thankful, as they knew that within five minutes they would be in the yard and their dogs would be barking out friendly greetings. Then the tension they were feeling would be evaporating, and probably in the morning they both would laugh about what was transpiring tonight. Yet even as they passed through the gate knowing that there was fencing out from the gate in both directions the sounds in the brush continued to follow them past. How was that possible? They figured that if it was to continue to follow that here it would have to enter the road to go around the fence and maybe they would have a chance to spy what it was that was following them . . . it didn’t. Somehow it went over the fencing and continued to follow and remain their companion all the way down the hill and into their yard. Instead of the friendly greeting that they had expected from their dogs, they could hear them whimpering, and when they saw them the two dogs had their tails between their legs showing fear.

This heightened the threat. This was the last thing that they had expected. They headed inside the house to get that shotgun just in case whatever had been following them was hostile. As they entered the house they tried the light switch but the power was dead. “What the heck?” Bill asked.

Jessie looked at him questionably, “No lights?”

Shaking his head Bill said, “No power, I guess, time to light the kerosene lanterns.” He walked slowly feeling his way as the shadows were deep and the area he could see was indistinct. Striking a match, which blinded them briefly, he lifted the chimney and lit the wick. “That’s better.” Picking up the lamp they headed into the kitchen where they lit a second, followed by the one in the bathroom that sat in the tub. Returning to the living room he set the lamp back on top of the wood stove while Jessie grabbed the double-barreled shotgun and set it on the floor between them. They could hear the dogs still whining and both had retreated under the house. Jessie and Bill looked at each other as they heard the complaint of the hinges supporting the backdoor as it was being opened. With some trepidation they got up with both heading into the kitchen which led through a set of French doors and through these doors into a room that led to the backdoor and continued to listen. They remained in the kitchen. With it as dark as it was since there was no lamp in the room where the backdoor entered the house they both stood with Jessie carrying the shotgun. They looked at each other and then at the French doors when they heard the backdoor close and waited . . .

* * *

While this was happening to the two brothers, the girlfriends had contacted each other and had decided to come up on Saturday and spend time with the brothers – figuring that it would one of the few opportunities for them. Both were in a very serious relationship and knew they would eventually marry the brothers. It was just a matter of when the question would be asked. For now even though it had been somewhat frustrating for the two of them because of the lack of quality time there was a chance that maybe this weekend they could make up for some of that lost time.

So on Saturday morning they met for breakfast at a local Denney’s restaurant for breakfast and then drove out towards where the brothers lived. They were excitedly discussing how their weekend would go when they found the brothers’ car broken down on the dirt road. That brought a quick silence and a feeling that something was very wrong. They stopped and checked it out and found it locked and could see a large puddle of something red on the ground. “I hope that’s not blood.” Leah said.

But when they got close to it they could both see, and smell, that it had to be something from the car. Since neither was very knowledgeable about the mechanics of a car they assumed this was the reason for the breakdown. But it was mid-morning, so where were the brothers? They would have expected them to be here at the car. Now with some fear in their hearts they continued on to the gate, which was closed and locked. When they got out at the gate they could see the brothers’ footprints continuing past. “At least it seems they made it home.” Jill said.

Both had keys and since Leah was driving Jill unlocked, and then opened the gate while Leah drove through. Once through they locked it again and then drove on down to the property, which sat below the gate. Once there things appeared to be almost normal . . . too normal. But then they realized that they hadn’t heard either of the two dogs, and the place seemed vacant and quiet, almost too quiet. Now alarmed they got out and went to the door and knocked but got no answer. So before trying the door they thought let’s walk around the house and see if Bill and Jessie might either be in the shop or out back . . . still no dogs and no sign of them. What was going on?

Even though they could see the brothers’ tracks leading up to the door, and from this evidence, they should be here, yet, it appeared to be vacant, abandoned. Calling out their names the only sound they heard was the crows that were flying around. Silence . . . nothing but silence. What had happened here? As they came around the corner of the house both jumped as they scared a cat that arched its back hissed at them and then took off. Catching her breath Jill said, “My heart’s really going. That cat scared the heck right out me.”

“You’re not alone on that one. Give me a second here to catch my breath.” Then looking around she asked, “Where are they? This just doesn’t make any sense.” Then looking down towards the shop she saw the door was open, and then said, “Ah, I bet they’re in the shop. Look the door is open.”

Relieved they both headed for the shop, but upon entering found it as vacant as everything else that they had investigated so far. Coming out Leah thought, I didn’t try the lights. Maybe we missed something. Turning before exiting she tried the light switch and when she turned it on nothing happened. “Looks like there’s no power here, I wonder if it’s just here or it is the same at the house.”

“I don’t know, but this is scaring me. I mean really scaring me. Where are they?” The two girls then headed back to the house and continued their interrupted walk around it. Once on the back side where barbecues were held during the summer months, they found the door into the covered patio also open and damaged. Standing there and staring, this mystery was becoming stranger by the minute. “Do you thing we should go in?” Leah asked.

Shaking her head, and very undecided Jill remained silent for a moment. “I don’t know, but if they’re inside and hurt, well, we can’t help them out here.” Eventually their need to know overcame their fear and they decided to go ahead and enter. Once inside and briefly waiting until their eyes adjusted to the dim light, both stood frozen in their tracks. Before them used to be the French doors that allowed one to enter the house proper, but they were gone . . . totally destroyed, shattered. What could have done this type of damage?

They knew that once one went through those broken doors you entered into the kitchen, and off the far end of the kitchen was the living room, which then led to the front door. As they went through these broken doors the next thing they noticed and smelled was blood on the floor – not a little amount either. It definitely had a strong bad odor to it. Gingerly skirting the mess they cautiously entered the living room. On the floor, there at the entrance to the kitchen, they saw a double-barreled shotgun lying there.

Jill picked it up and then opened it, and pulled out the spent cartridges. “Look Leah, both barrels have been fired! My guess is that whatever broke down those doors received both barrels. But where are Bill and Jessie? Again, what happened here . . . I think we had better get out of here and contact the sheriff’s department, what do you think?” At this point the mystery kept growing – little evidence and less chance of finding out what had happened last night.

“I agree, and I’ve been checking and there is no signal for my cell phone, which is what usually happens, so the only way we can make a call is go back out. At first I thought maybe one of us should stay in case they show back up, but upon thinking about it I don’t think I want to be left here alone. And I think it would probably be the same for you. Shall we go then?” Jill just nodded her head.

They both headed for the front door, glad a decision had been made, but uneasy not knowing what had happened. As they opened the front door to leave both screamed. Not expecting anyone they ran into Bill and Jessie, as the brothers were about to enter the house. Unbelieving the girls stood there seeing the two of them, the two girls looked at each other, then at them and asked at the same time, “What happened?”

Bill holding a shovel then looked at Jessie shrugged and said, “It’s a long story and one that is hard for us to believe also, but the proof is right here, well it was until we buried it. Anyway it all started when we broke down . . .”

Advertisements

Elections

Have you studied the measures, the candidates, the direction that this great country is heading, so that you can make a valid choice when you vote? Are you applying the same methods that you used to nail that final in school, or are you more interested in the playoffs, the world series, that hometown football team? Giving little thought to who will be running this government in the next 2 to 4 years? In the past it was common for people to come together to discuss the Constitution, to debate the candidates, to be on top of what was happening in government. To hold the press accountable for what they reported and to put them on the hot seat when they ignored or changed the truth.

Let’s be completely honest here, and know that the press, which has proved itself to be as corrupt as this present administration, has refused to report on this leadership or the lack of leadership. If it had been any other administration they, the press, would be yelling from the rooftops on what this administration was doing. If George W Bush had done only 10% of what this administration has done they would be yelling impeachment, but with this administration they are strangely silent – why is this so? And you should be asking the question as to why and putting the press on notice that this is unacceptable.

Finally before these elections the press had no choice (and I mean no choice), but to report  the incident that killed our ambassador and 3 brave men. This administration once again has been shown to be lacking, heartless, and egotistical as they put their own spin on the events, lying right from the beginning, and only changing the story when they were caught. Finally this one is out in the open. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-usa-benghazi-emails-idUSBRE89N02C20121024

This nation is at a critical juncture in its history. Do we continue down the road to poverty and socialism, or do we work back to prosperity and free enterprise? The choice is yours in the voting booths across this great nation come the first Tuesday in November. And remember, there was much voter fraud in the last election, so be aware of how you voted. Be aware of the results, and if they appear to be outside of where they should be, it is your right to question. Remember we are supposed to be one nation under God, but if one tuned into the Democratic National Committee, all that was heard from them were boos anytime God was mentioned. They rejected the very foundations that this country is built upon. And if they refuse to know God or accept him, how can we trust them, their moral fiber and integrity, and still trust in any decisions that they might make?

Desperate to Survive – The Final Excerpt

This will be the final excerpt from the book “Desperate to Survive”, the second and final in the Survival Series. As stated, the one that I’m presently writing is written within the Survival Universe but takes place approximately 1500 years after the incidents in books 1 and 2. While the first 2 excerpts dealt mostly with the cities and the survivors, this excerpt will be from the primitives, the antagonists (bad guys) in this story. Book to be released in November.

“So, R’san, how’d it go while we were away? I know between the raids on the lairs, and then the gathering of meat for the cold time, we have been gone a long time. It placed a larger burden on you, not that you couldn’t handle it, but you had much less to work with, with most of the warriors gone.” K’jor had to admit that even after all this time he still respected the old warrior. This one had even trained him, and had told him that he, because of his natural skills, and abilities would probably become clan leader. He hadn’t believed it at the time. Since this warrior who trained him, did everything with no effort at all, while, at the same time, he struggled through his lessons on combat, tactics and such. But here he was many seasons later the leader, just as R’san had predicted. Still, smiling inwardly, he had to admit the he had even exceeded the old warrior’s expectations by creating and leading this alliance.

In his usual way R’san paused before commenting. It had always been his way, and K’jor knew not to become impatient. R’san hadn’t stayed alive through all those battles and skirmishes by being slow. He had always been second, never wanting to lead the clan. It was something that K’jor never understood. He had always felt that the clan would have prospered under R’san’s leadership. “It has taken longer to accomplish what was needed without the necessary bodies to work. The slaves, we have lost many to the spirit world, cannot produce as well as our own. Yet, the tasks that you left for me are accomplished, if only barely. And no, before you ask, none of the females from the lairs are carrying. While there has been less to be able to breed with the females, some of our own are carrying.”

“I noticed that the older female from the lair was not around, has she passed into the spirit world also?” K’jor asked.

Shaking his head he said, “No.”

“Maybe I just overlooked her, but it does seem that there is less.”

“That is true there have been many of the males and females of the lairs that have passed on to the spirit world. And she almost did the same. She became very ill, and I looked in on her a couple of times, and each time she was worse. So I inspected her for a wound and found one that was very bad. I opened it and let out the poisons and had our healer continue to tend to her. She and two of the females are in the healing area for the females and are out of the breeding herd until the next large moon cycle to heal.” He paused as in deep thought, and seeing this K’jor waited knowing not to interrupt. “As you know, the ones from the lairs do not speak our tongue. They possibly speak the tongues of the gods, but this I do not know. Only T’som would know if that is the way, but this older female, who I have bred with a number of times trying to break the totem, knows our tongue. When I spoke I could see that she understood me perfectly. It is a bothersome thing. If these magicians are part of our gods, then it may be that she is a priest, one of high power. And if that is so, then I or any here will not be successful on making her carry. Yet, she almost succumbed, and entered the spirit world. I have to admit it is beyond my understanding. I understand why it is important to destroy the magicians and their lairs, yet at the same time if they are representatives of our gods, we could be dooming ourselves to oblivion, and find our spirits walking forever in the places of desolation. Again, this is something only a priest can answer, and yes I know we do not allow any females to be priests, but their strength, their totem appears to be very powerful, and when we captured them, they were not in herds like our females. They lived with individual males and only carried with these special males. I have to admit this is something well beyond my understanding, and I always thought I understood most.”

These points that R’san were making, well what could he say? It was something he hadn’t thought about, at least in the direction R’san had just led him. What if that rolling thunder they had heard on their arrival was not a sign of approval, but of just the opposite? He definitely would have to talk long and hard with T’som. “You’ve left me with much to think about. Do we have the necessary wood and grains stored for the cold time, not that I need to ask – since I know you well enough that if that had not been the case you would have confronted me right after we returned. This older female, while it is unusual that we even converse with females, do you think it wise that we actually talk with her?”

Shocked by the question from K’jor, he hesitated before answering. “Why would we do that? If we speak to a female it is for them to do as we tell them. We do not discuss anything with them. After all their purpose is to bring us a new generation of warriors and females, and to help strengthen the clan, to work where they are skilled, and that is all.”

“Yes, all that you stated is true. But you have to admit that we have never been in this situation before. When we have added females in the past, eventually they carried our offspring. Our tongue is the same throughout this land, and the only right a female had was to remain with her tribe or clan, or accept the attacking clan or tribe as her new home. If a tribe or clan had been wiped out in battle it was only right to add the females to one’s own breeding herd. And we have wiped out these lairs so that they may not return, and we have added the females to our herds, but none of them spoke our tongue, none of them understood the consequences for refusal, and thusly why the racks – something that we have rarely needed. In fact I do not remember ever seeing one used in my lifetime, until now.

“All what you say is true.” Again R’san paused, “But this is unprecedented! Are we going to weaken ourselves by submitting ourselves to the females? I cannot believe you are even thinking this way?”

Shaking his head, K’jor said. “No, no I’m not thinking that way at all. But if this one does understand our tongue, well, who knows she may be able to give us answers as to why.”

R’san shaking his head said. “If she is indeed a priest or I guess priestess, since she is female, then how could we go against her power, or even believe what she would tell us? No, I do not think this is a good idea or direction. It will make us appear weak.”

Smiling at the statement K’jor continued, “Appear weak. What does it look like to you when we, we as warriors cannot make any one of them carry? Does that not make us appear to be weak? That our seed cannot conquer them? Where have you ever seen it so? Yet, here it is right before us. So what would you have us do? After all you have much more experience in life than I do, but I can see that you don’t have an answer either. Okay, I will go see our priest and talk with him, and when I have I will have you join us, and see what we all feel about this. I guess at this point, as far as these new females are concerned, we will keep trying. Somewhere one will have to weaken and begin the carrying.”

Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Let There Be Light

With last week’s blog showing the dark side of humanity it is only right that it should be balanced with the good. In my life I have seen much to make one doubt, things such as bodies being dumped in the backcountry, the many cases of rape and torture, deliberate acts of arson, destruction of personal property, the many scams that are perpetuated and as last week this list could go on and on. Yet, there seems to be more of the good than the bad, although you rarely hear about it in the news broadcasts, or paper. Even with the death and chaos that came out of Libya with the murder of our ambassador, the willingness to help even if it led to death is strong in Americans. Two ex-seals who were away from the compound that was under attack went there anyway to help wherever they could even though in the end it cost them their lives.

Still with all of this negative news that is out there, we have people like Mother Teresa whose life was as a humble servant to the poor of this world, or the many who come to areas of disaster to donate their time, money, and efforts, wanting only to help and at the same time to remain anonymous. Neighborhoods and towns coming together to help that family that through some tragedy have been left devastated, the ones who assist during major accidents before the emergency crews have arrived, the many volunteers who are helping our aging seniors who are alone and have no way to reach out. The families who have lost a father or mother or both. All of these and so many more go on every day, rarely noticed, and mostly unknown. Most of the ones who help, do it out of compassion, and are not looking for praise. They know that this is something that needs to be done, and because of who they are, they just do it (Sounds like those two ex-seals).

In a sense my father was a good example of this. In truth I probably could cite many examples of what he did, but will only post this one.We were never a rich family. In fact we could have easily been classified as poor.  For a couple of Christmas holidays, we were the recipients of those canned goods that you brought to school so that some poor family would have a Christmas. I will tell you personally it is a very humbling experience. But that didn’t mean that my parents didn’t give back. Later when things were a bit better, my dad would buy food, put together a large care package, and then deliver it to the door of a needy family. Would he stay and get thanks from these people? No, he’d be sure someone was home, bring up the boxes of food, put in front of the door, knock, and leave before it was answered. It was enough to know that this family would be able to have a Thanksgiving meal.

If you’ve not had the opportunity to live through a disaster, then like most, you can only imagine what it would be like. In a sense it is something that one should experience, and I’m not saying that to be mean or to have you go out of your way so that you can experience it, but it opens one’s eyes to the plight of many in this world. Again the old adage “Walk a Mile in my Shoes”, has so much truth to it. My family survived a major wild-fire, one of three burning at the same time. In these fires where over 3000 homes were lost our family lost 4 – my parents, ours, one of my brothers, and one of our daughters. There was very little time to save anything at all, and when we were able to return the losses were well on its way to being 100%. A few small items were saved, but that was it. Into this devastated area poured support from all over this country. Water, food, shelter, assistance – you name it, all of it was there, and there rather quickly. People, strangers really, reached out and gave whatever they could, including large items like travel trailers or older motorhomes so that people would have a place to live. At the time of these wildfires, which again there were 3, all were major, all were in the same county and burning at the same time, spreading fire protection quite thin. At times it appeared that the whole county was burning.

When one lives through such a thing it immediately gives you a new appreciation for the outpouring of generosity, compassion, love, and support that others have for their fellow-man. And the United States has always been on the forefront of supporting the relief efforts anywhere in the world where disasters have happened; be it natural, manmade, a combination of both, or regional wars and famine. So while the bad and the negative may make the front page or be the lead story on the nightly news, remember that it is those unknown heroes, the ones in the neighborhoods across this country who help families, who work with our troubled youth, the churches that reach out to the poor who cannot even afford food, let alone the required pens, pencils, paper, notebooks and such that schools now require of their students, our volunteer fire departments, and patrols, the neighborhood watches, and neighbors helping neighbors. So shut off that news broadcast, put away that newspaper, look around and see what truly is happening. Look deep and you will see people helping people and not looking for anything for their assistance, other than they accomplished what was required at that time, and at that moment. And you can be sure of one thing, that if something happens in the future they will be there quietly assisting, and when it is over just as quietly returning to their daily lives.

Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 8:07 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

A Past That Haunts

The Dark Side of Us

We, as a species, appear to be locked into our past. And because of this, it becomes a past that haunts us. All of us are always looking to the future hoping that things will improve, that it will get better, whether it has to do with something personal, a friend, neighborhood, city, the nation, or our world. But until we can learn to overcome that darknesses of our past there will never be a bright future for any of us, and the possibility that there will be no future, sits there also. We claim, again as a species, that we’ve grown, that the fears and the dangers of the past are no longer a threat and because of this has no influence upon us, but is this really so? Because if you look, dig down, and it really doesn’t have to be deep, you find answers that many are unwilling to accept.

First off, are we truly past the tribe mentality? What is this, one may ask, and if so then it could be said that this refers to what was necessary for one to have a better chance of survival when dealing with the dangerous world out there. All of us descend from tribes of one kind of another. From these developed the first agricultural communities, the villages, the cities, the regions, the countries, and as population continued to increase, as it has a tendency to do, then the dangerous world was slowly tamed and brought under control. But that life style, even though hidden, is still with us. You can see it is the direction that nations take, in the wars, in the destruction of Peoples and their cultures, and the attempts to eliminate a specific people because they happen to be different. Right now the big push in the Middle East is the elimination of Israel by all of the Muslim nations, and what seems to add fuel to this fire is the sudden increase in hate for this small country worldwide. Why is this so? After all they have the right to live as much as anybody else, but with the tribe mentality others say they do not.

We also seem to have people out there, and again, this has been throughout history, who feel that they and only they have the right to lead. Most do not earn it, but through manipulation, subterfuge and at times outright violence, obtain leadership, and then using these same methods divide the people so that if any fighting does break out that it will be among them and not against the leadership. As I spoke in a previous blog, and something that is definitely out of our distant past still rules us strongly, and that is the pecking order.

What we face permeates all levels of society. And again it is something that has existed probably since the beginning of us and continues to the present. If we can figure out a way of talking someone out of their money and putting it in our own pockets then we will do it. All you have to do is look at the high-profile cases of millions of dollars being scammed from the ones who can least afford it. Follow this with the fly by night companies that always show up after major disasters and steal money from the ones trying desperately to recover. Then, of course, we move on to the con men and women who put on the front of being something they aren’t, taking people’s life savings, then run, and do it all over again, never caring for the damage or carnage that they leave behind.

There will always be an element within society that prey on the gullible, the ones in desperate straits, the ones who have no way out of the situation that they find themselves in. They are easy targets and because, overall, we are trusting, it is easy to become a victim. If one thinks about this, most of us has been one in our lives, a victim that is. We have the thieves, the murderers, rapists, gangs (which emulate tribes), and so many other maladies that permeate the dark side. That’s not to say that there isn’t much good we can do and actually perform. But always it’s the negative that over-rides all the positive that is done. How many times at work have we had to suffer because of something the minority pulled that brought the wrath of management down upon all of us?

For us to survive our growing pains all of this must be changed, and it will not happen because some law that a government enacted makes it illegal. It is we the people of this world, each individual who is responsible. And every time we turn our backs when we see a wrong committed we are just perpetuating and allowing this stuff to continue. So as a result we will continue to have wars, continue to have ones who want to control, and will continue to have the propaganda that allows all of what has been stated here to continue. So until we grow, until we are willing to change the past that haunts, it will always be with us. And it matters not where we go, where we move, or if we finally leave this world and colonize others, these problems will remain. Hope for the good, but expect the worst, and if your expectations lead to disappointment, then for once, the good had triumphed.

Next week I’ll deal with the light, the good side of us and what makes it worthwhile. In the following weeks I will post my final excerpt from “Desperate to Survive”, since it will be published in November, and for Halloween a short story for the season.

Published in: on October 6, 2012 at 8:08 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: