Hey guys, here is my simple entry for the STBSS contest. I hope you all enjoy it. Please feel free to comment on whatever you like. This story
represents the New World Order forum and is taken from a dream I had. I may yet write a sequel, if there is a demand.
P.S. I swear I didn't realise that I had given my protagonist my handle. I was going to change it, but I liked the title too much.
“Okay champ, I want you to listen to daddy very carefully and do exactly what daddy tells you. Can you do that for me, Caleb?”
“Attaboy. We’re going … well, we’re going to play a game. Like hide and seek, okay? We’re going to be real quite and some men are going to
come in the house and look for us but we’re not going to get caught. Just like in hide and seek. Do you understand?”
From down the street, not far, came a tortured wail, as from someone in great pain.
“Why are you shaking, daddy?”
“Caleb, I need you to be a big boy for daddy now, okay? I need you to listen very carefully. Some men are going to try and find us, but we’re not
going to let them, okay?”
“Good boy. Now, you’re going to be really still and really quiet for daddy. You’re going to put your hands over your ears and you’re going to
shut your eyes real tight and no matter what happens you’re not going to open them are you?” Caleb shook his head no.
From next door, the sound of splitting wood and muffled voices and then a piercing, guttural scream that rent the hot summer night. Jeremiah felt as
though a sliver of glass had travelled through his veins to embed itself in his heart. He tried not to hear as the scream next door begged and pleaded
and poured forth its rage and its anguish.
“Caleb, you know that I love you, don’t you. You know that no matter what happens, your daddy will always love you and protect you and that if
anything should ever happen and you and daddy get separated, you know that daddy will come for you, don’t you”.
“Are we going to see mommy?”
Jeremiah put his hand over his mouth and tried to hold back the tears. If he started to cry he knew he wouldn’t stop and he didn’t have that
luxury. He was out of time.
“No champ, we’re not going to see mommy. We’re going to play a game, remember? Now, I want you to cover your ears and shut your eyes just as
tight as you can. Remember what daddy told you about the men who were going to look for us? Well, they’re going to want to find us but they won’t
be able to, okay. They won’t look for us in the secret spot daddy made”.
From the front door, the sound of heavy boots and creaking wooden boards.
“Okay Caleb”, Jeremiah whispered, “I need you to be quiet now. Don’t look, son, whatever happens you just keep your hands over your ears and
your eyes closed tight, okay”.
Caleb cupped his hands over his ears and scrunched his eyes shut and nodded wordlessly.
“I love you, Caleb”, said Jeremiah, knowing full well that his son could not hear him. “You were such a gift”.
The sound of the front door being kicked in punched through the small, tightly enclosed space. Jeremiah put his hand over his son’s trembling mouth
and tried to slow his breathing. He became acutely aware of the sensation of his heart pounding within his chest. He could smell the jacaranda trees
that lined the street outside. Their rich fragrance crept into the house with the exposed night, lending a soft perfume to the humid summer air.
Jeremiah heard loud voices, but through the wood above him and his fear within, he only caught every second word. He thought he heard something about
an ‘executive order’ and then the words ‘immediate future’ and ‘own protection’ but he couldn’t be sure. Caleb shifted uneasily and
Jeremiah tightened his grip. Even then, he felt very proud of his son. Caleb’s eyes were still shut tight and his tiny hands were pressed firmly
against his ears. The silence was punctuated by the slow, methodical sound of footsteps roaming through the house above. Sweat began to bead on
Jeremiah’s forehead and run down his face, stinging his eyes and raising tears. Jeremiah did not close his eyes to blink the tears away. He was too
scared of what he might see when he opened them.
“What do you think? Holed up in the mountains with the rest of the rabble and the soldiers that got away?”
The voice made Jeremiah’s mind scream. He was numb from fear. It had come from the corridor just outside the room. Heavy footsteps grew louder, like
something from a half-remembered nightmare and then Jeremiah saw a pair of thin blue lights groping their way through the darkness, shining down on
Jeremiah and his son through tiny slits in the floor, casting a cruel eldritch glow through the tiny space.
“Probably, but orders are orders. I’d prefer to search and come up empty then let one get away and wind up in the camps myself”.
This second voice had a slight accent to it, but Jeremiah could not place it. He was certain that, under normal circumstances he would have had no
trouble identifying it, but his mind was consumed by a single thought, a raw, primal instinct – to protect his son. All other thoughts were
pointless, not even worthy of consideration, for they were not this thought. Trying to think of anything but keeping his son safe was like trying to
drown the ocean.
The unseen voices paced about the room. Their heavy footsteps sent small vibrations through the floorboards, causing them to creak and shed layers of
built-up dust. The dust fell on Jeremiah’s hair and rested lightly on Caleb’s tiny face. Jeremiah was glad he had remembered to cover his son’s
mouth. As the footsteps of the voices approached them, Jeremiah felt Caleb begin to shake uncontrollably. He wished he could remove his hand and tell
his son that everything would be all right, that his daddy was there and that nobody could hurt him while his daddy was with him. But he couldn’t,
any more than he could protect his son should their secret be exposed. He was keenly aware of the summer heat as it seemed to pour itself into their
“There’s nobody here”, the first voice said suddenly. “We’re wasting time. Let’s move on to the next one”.
Jeremiah heard the footsteps turn and recede back into the corridor. He breathed a silent sigh of relief and as he did so his sweat-drenched hand
slipped from Caleb’s mouth, allowing the tiniest of whimper’s to escape the boy’s lips and hurl itself into the night. To Jeremiah’s ears it
sounded as though the entire world had groaned its death throes. The footsteps stopped suddenly. Jeremiah quickly clamped his hand over Caleb’s
mouth, hoping that the footsteps would turn around once more. But then he heard them advance towards their hiding place, growing louder and louder
until they were surely only a few feet away.
Jeremiah’s rational, thinking mind shut itself off and his world became one of broken sounds and shattered, confused images. Porcelain smashing.
Blinding light, like needles in his eyes. Caleb screaming with a child’s terror as strong hands ripped him from his father’s grasp. The soft
accent of the second voice screaming orders and vague threats. The scent of jasmine carried on a soft summer breeze. Caleb’s shoe in his hand. The
dense feel of the humidity in the air. Powerful limbs shoving him roughly towards the shattered front door. People running, screaming, pleading. A
convoy of dark vehicles. Soldiers in tan uniforms crucified on electricity poles. The soft crush of cool grass beneath his knees. A loud and sudden
crack. The smell of cordite and long-ago hunting trips with his grandfather. Brief but intense pain in his chest. White specks that seemed to swim
before him like schools of miniscule fish. As blackness took him, the last thing Jeremiah saw was Caleb being dragged from the house. His son’s eyes
were shut, and he still had his hands over his ears.
[edit on 28-7-2005 by Jeremiah25]
[edit on 8-3-2005 by worldwatcher]