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Moment Of Truth [EWC]

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posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 03:58 AM
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It’s dark. Really dark. Not the sort that your eyes get used to either, but the absolute kind where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. I don’t like it. It’s playing tricks with my mind and I’m fighting the rising urge to turn on my flashlight. I’m gripping it so tightly that my fingers are starting to go numb. Realizing this, I force myself to control my breathing and slow my heart before it jumps out of my aching chest.

With a slightly shaky hand I wipe at the sweat stinging my eyes, in spite of the cold. Unseasonably cold really, for a June night. Maybe it’s a sign. I’ve been looking for those all day. The string of red lights while driving this afternoon, the hawk circling over me for fifteen minutes during my lunch break or even the engine light coming on and then going off on my long drive up here. Any excuse to not be where I am right now. In the daylight I would be enjoying the scenery on this rather popular hiking trail just outside of town. At one in the morning however, a mile into the woods might as well be the middle of nowhere.

Picking up the large expandable file in my lap, I hold it to me like a shield against the darkness. Rather ironic since its contents are what got me into this mess in the first place. Seemingly innocent papers to someone who doesn’t know any better. But I know better. A crackling from the woods to my right causes me to spin towards it. Gasping in fear, I fumble with my light and drop it while trying to hold onto the file at the same time. I hear it rolling away slowly and drop to my knees, feeling out in front of me blindly.

Sure that something with fangs is about to latch onto my neck or hands reach out to grab me, my breath comes in ragged gasps as I desperately search the dry pine needles for what now seems like my lifeline. After an eternity, my hand finally closes over the cold barrel and breaking the ‘rules’, I quickly turn it on. Leaning back as If fending off an attack, I play the light over the woods in front of me, sure that glowing eyes will be revealed.
When I am convinced nothing menacing is there, I turn it off and chastise myself for being such a wimp. Probably just a deer. Looking at the glowing numbers of my watch, I figure I have been sitting here like an idiot for about twenty minutes now. I was here early, like I am for everything but they are still going on five minutes late now. Thinking back over how I came to be here, I shake my head. It had never seemed like a good idea, but I am really questioning if I was as smart about it as I had thought I was.

As a young nerdy boy in high school, it had always been my dream to work for NASA. Just three years out of graduate school, I achieved that goal. It was everything I had expected, but after ten years I wanted more. Once again, my dedication and drive paid off and I made it onto a specialized team with JPL, a subsidiary of NASA. For the past three years I’ve been working to help develop ground breaking satellite technology. With it, all sorts of things can be measured, studied and explored from space. Only half of what we do is public. I work on the half that is not.

One year ago, after our particular field of study went live, I began to collect data that was…unexpected. So much so, that it immediately went black. I’m talking from the inside out. It never happened, it never existed, there was no record of it except for only those with special clearance and that was limited to a very select few. At first it was exciting, but quickly became terrifying. The world needed to know. I was going to tell them.

An owl hoots from somewhere nearby and I am startled out of my thoughts. My conviction wavers as I wonder again about who I will see emerge from the woods. I was so careful, only using public computers and never the same IP address. Nothing that could be traced back to me. After months of fishing for a contact, I finally found who I am hoping is the right one. So much depends on this.

I make the decision to give it five more minutes and then I will leave. As if in answer, I see what I think is a light flash on and off in the distance. Squinting, I stare in the direction that I think the trail is, wishing that there could have at least been a sliver of a moon tonight. There. Closer this time; two flashes. Holding up my own flashlight, I turn it on and off three times in response and then wait.

“Stuart. So good of you to come.”

My heart kicks into overdrive and my mouth goes dry. Not out of fear that someone is there, but because I recognize the voice. I don’t understand. I was so careful. “Yes,” is all I can think to say.

A lantern clicks on, flooding the small sitting area along the trail with light, making me squint. Apparently there is no longer a need for the cloak and dagger. It was probably just to screw with me anyways. I’m feeling very stupid.

“The files, Stuart.” Matt has come to stand in front of me, dressed as always in his khaki pants and dress shirt. I stare at his leather boat shoes, wondering at how they can still be so clean. Looking up, I see that he has his hand out and is waiting patiently for me to comply. He has a neutral expression that is neither threatening nor reassuring.

Unlike my normal response would have been in the office, I instead hold the files closer to me and slowly shake my head. This simple act of defiance creates a transformation in Matt. His hand dropping to his side, his face contorts into a mask of rage. “Do it!” he barks, looking behind me.

Before I can turn to see who he’s speaking to, I am grabbed roughly, the hands I had feared just moments before becoming a reality. Two men that I don’t recognize wrench my arms around, causing the papers and flashlight to spill onto the dirt between us. Grunting in pain, I am easily forced to my knees.

“Now. What in the world am I supposed to do with you?” His demeanor once again calm, Matt walks closer, stepping over the information that I’m willing to ruin my career over. Maybe more.

“You are going to let me walk away,” I say with much more confidence than I feel. “Three different people have copies, and if I don’t check in later they will publish it on the internet. It’s over Matt. It’s time to share this. I know you think the rest of the world isn’t ready, but I don’t think that is for us to decide!”

“You really think this is about fairness?” He asks with contempt. “It has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.” Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he rocks carelessly back on his heels as if out for a nice afternoon stroll. “As for Chris, Allison and I believe it was Booker? Well, tragic thing, the accident. Booker should have never gotten behind the wheel tonight after drinking so much, especially with your friends in the car. But, he did have a couple of previous DUI convictions.”

Staring at me, Matt seems to be waiting for the implications to sink in. He’s got to be bluffing. I search his face for a sign of this lie, but am only finding a coldness that is now reaching into my stomach and spreading through my veins. I can’t believe that my friends are dead. Confusion and disbelief threaten to overwhelm me and I close my eyes against it and Matts sociopathic stare.

“Who else have you talked to Stuart?” Opening my eyes, I wish now for the darkness to wrap around and hide me again. I suddenly think of my cat and wonder who will take care of him.
(cont)
edit on 9-7-2013 by westcoast because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 03:59 AM
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(cont...)

“No one, you bastard,” I manage to whisper.

Shaking his head, Matt waves at the man holding onto my left arm. Letting go, he steps around to face me, drawing a large hunting knife from under his jacket. Distracted by the weapon, I realize too late that I might have missed my only opportunity for escape as the other man takes hold of my loose arm, now standing behind me. I may not be large, but I’m fast. If I could have twisted away from his grasp and gotten loose there is a good chance I could have outran these thugs. Too late, I begin to struggle and he only pulls back on my arms until the pain in my shoulders causes me to whimper and stop fighting. Disgusted with how easy it is to subdue me, I look again at the knife and then at Matt.

“What do you want to know?” I ask, slightly embarrassed that I had already told him everything. No one else knew. I am on my own. If he is telling me the truth than my only friends in the world are gone and I am utterly alone. A hysterical laugh threatens to bubble to the surface and I swallow it down, along with rising bile.

Slowly, methodically, the long curved knife rises towards my face, stopping less than an inch from my right eye. “We’ll start with your friend, Chris. How did you know him?”

Before I can gather my thoughts, there is a soft, stealthy sound from the darkness and swirling shadows to our left. Matt spins towards the sound, his expression clearly indicating that he isn’t expecting anyone else. Walking slowly into the harsh light, a large husky-like dog comes within five feet of our odd group and sits down. Blinking rapidly, I realize that it’s not a dog, but a wolf. It stares at Matt. My three captors seem confused, looking at each other hesitantly. Before they can decide how to react, a second and then a third wolf come to sit next to the first one.

“What the hell is this?” The guy behind me says nervously, his vice-like grip loosening slightly on my arms. I shrug silently, my curiosity momentarily overriding my fear. Nothing makes sense anymore.

A large branch snapping to our right draws our attention in that direction. The wolves don’t even flinch. One of the largest buck elks I have ever seen emerges from the woods and walks past me, to stop a couple of feet from Matt. Its antlers have to span nearly seven feet, its shoulders as tall as a man. I can hear it breathing; smell it. I realize that my arms are now free, the man behind me suddenly losing interest in my restraint, but my feet seem cemented to the ground.

Looking past the elk, I see that Matt has a gun in his hand. Probably the one that was going to end things tonight. Ha has it raised, pointed at the Elk, but he must understand how futile it is and lowers it slowly. It looks like a small caliber handgun, and the bullet would only bounce off the elk’s massive skull.

Swooping in low, an owl screeches as it lands at Matt’s feet, making him jump back and fall to the ground. Sitting there, he looks from one animal to the other, a look of terror on his face. Scrambling backwards, his motion is stopped by a large mountain lion, coming to stand behind him, just at the edge of the light. Cringing away from it, Matt pulls his legs in and wraps his arms around them, groaning.
The sound seems to break the paralysis of the other men. Both of them turn and run for the open woods behind me. With a silent grace, the mountain lion leaps across the clearing and disappears after them. It isn’t long before their screams fill the night air and Matt starts to crawl towards me, the gun seemingly forgotten in his hand. “What is this?” He begs, desperate for an answer.

The wolves all move forward at once, blocking him from reaching me. Suddenly, it all makes sense. Slowly, I begin to gather my papers. I’ll drive to the local news station. Tonight. I don’t care anymore about remaining anonymous.

“Don’t you see?” I ask Matt, scooping up the last of the evidence and getting to my feet. “It’s all connected. We’re all connected. This is bigger than us now. Bigger than NASA or JPL or even the NSA. The truth will be told and it will change everything.”

I pick up my flashlight, turn from my terrified boss and head back down the trail, hoping that the rest of humanity is ready for a change in reality.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 05:05 AM
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reply to post by westcoast
 


Nice! I Like This. As The Animals came to the Rescue, I was trying to figure out why and had a suspicion that they sensed the Danger You were in. Then You revealed that we are ALL Connected, even to the Animals. Love It ! Thanx for the Morning Read as I wake up.Coffee in Hand. Later, Syx.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 06:01 AM
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reply to post by westcoast
 

SnF and loved the ending!



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 06:32 AM
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Thanks for sharing it was a nice read before work.

Strangely enough I read 3 threads this morning and all of them used "Irony" either in the title or the discussion itself and now here to. If only to me, there is relevance there.


The one thread was actually about "The Irony and the Ecstacy"

www.abovetopsecret.com...

This thread is also interesting with this as it discusses psuedo-realities and how one can write fiction only for it to be someones reality.

I can't help but picture Phage stepping in and reading your short story and thinking.... "Damn, I Matt!" Yet replying to you post with a completely different response like: "Yeah, NASA stand for Now Animal Science Adminstration" lol jk



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:45 AM
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Glad you guys enjoyed it! It was very late when I finished.


And yeah...sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction!



posted on Jul, 20 2013 @ 01:47 PM
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Just giving this a little shameless bump!


Lot's of good stories getting put up there!!



posted on Jul, 31 2013 @ 03:54 PM
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reply to post by westcoast
 


Enjoyed this! :-) Great style and an interesting twist... I appreciated the kinesthetic and sensory details.

peace,
AB



posted on Aug, 2 2013 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by AboveBoard
 


Thank you! Glad you liked it.



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