Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday!

Untitled – Chapter 2 page 3

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It had been a long day. After lunch and Andra’s outburst, Eric had a difficult time concentrating during his internship at the news station. He had been given menial tasks, running reports, making coffee, but still his brain kept wandering, and he kept making mistakes. At the end of his shift, his boss had told him to get some sleep and fix it tomorrow or else he may be looking for a new internship. 

He sighed and rested his head against the headrest in his car. The light was on in Andra’s living room, and he had been debating for ten minutes whether or not to go up and knock. She hadn’t tried to contact him since storming out of the restaurant, and Eric hadn’t either. In the three years that they had been together, Eric had learned that when Andra was mad, it was best to give her some space. 

His phone vibrated in his pocket. “You may as well come in,” the text read. He slipped the phone back in his pocket and grabbed his bag. The door to Andra’s house opened, and she appeared with Moses by her side. 

“I’m sorry,” he said when he got to the door.

She lifted her eyebrows. “As you should be,” she said then smiled and moved out of the way so he could enter the house. He stepped in, set his bag down, and turned to her as she closed the door. 

“Really, I am. We are all under a lot of stress. Neither of us were in particularly good moods today, and I wasn’t exactly the supportive boyfriend you needed.” He reached for her hand and drew her into a hug. She rested her head against his chest, and he instantly felt himself relax. After a few seconds, Moses had enough of being neglected and nudged his way between the two of them. 

Andra laughed and scratched his head, “I guess he’s trying to tell us something. Have you had dinner?” 

“No, actually, I brought some over. It’s in the bag. Probably needs to be warmed up.” He went over to the bag to start unpacking the chicken parmesan. Moses stood watch waiting for the moment something spilled into his reach.

Andra helped him get the dinner going. The two worked together, and all of the tension from earlier in the day seemed to dissipate. “I’ve been doing some thinking today,” Andra said as they sat down to eat. Moses sat beside Andra and placed his big speckled head on the table.

Eric set his glass down and looked up at his girlfriend. She was beautiful, passionate, and everything he wanted in a woman. “I think it’s time for us to talk about where this relationship is going.”

Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday!

Sorry it’s been almost a month since I updated the story! School starting has really taken up a lot of my time.

Untitled – Chapter 2, Page 2

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The soldier couldn’t find his words. He stared at the woman in front of him. Her dark hair was pulled back out of her face, her eyes were still bright, but she looked older, tired. She stared back, and there was no readable expression on her face. No one else in the room moved or spoke for what felt like an eternity. The soldier and the woman continued to stare at each other until the door opened and both directed their attention to the entraint. 

“Is there a problem?” the person speaking was older, female, and followed by two large guards. She walked across the room to the woman who had identified the soldier as Eric. 

“I need to be excused from this questioning.” The older woman nodded and the younger made her way out.

Finally the soldier found his voice, “Andra, wait!” She hesitated a moment at the sound of her name, but didn’t look back before she walked out and shut the door behind her. The older woman straightened her jacket and picked up the clipboard left by Andra.

“So, it looks as though you know each other.” Eric didn’t reply. He let his head hang down. How many years had it been since he looked at those eyes? Three? No, definitely longer than that. It was before the re-election of Peters, so four years. Four years since he had seen the love of his life. Four years since he told her that he couldn’t follow her anymore. He still remembered the pain in her eyes; he remembered her simply walking away. She didn’t fight him, didn’t try to convince him that she was right; she just walked away.

“You willingly surrendered to our officers. That will bode well for you here, since your life would definitely had been taken had the State gotten to you before we did. 

“But before I get to know you, let me tell you a small part of what we are doing here. Then you can make your decision as to whether or not you would like to join us. Our main goal is to eliminate President Peters, although we know this simple act will not immediately remedy all Peters has done, it will be a start. At this moment, we have supporters in every area of the government, military, secret service, and the State media outlets. We currently have millions of people supporting our cause. Many of whom are willing to die to make sure our plan comes to fruition. In fact, Andra has been one of the most vital supporters to our cause. She is my 2nd in command.

“So, Eric, your loyalties obviously are not so strong to the State, or else you would not have sat. My question is, can whatever loyalty you had toward the State be completely quenched so that you can join us, or will you walk out the door?”

Eric watched the woman, “You would let me just walk.”


“That doesn’t make sense. You capture me to just let me go?”

“Eric, we are not the State. We do not kill people who do not take our side. But I can assure you that if you walk out the door, your fellow soldiers will do to you what you fear.”

“So I don’t have a choice,” he was getting frustrated. He was sick of having to pick a side, sick of playing a game just to keep his life.

“It’s America, Eric. You are always free to choose,” another of Peter’s favorite lines to use when dictating another decree.

Eric laughed out of frustration, “Fine, fine. I’ll stay, on one condition.”

The older woman raised her eyebrows, “By all means, what?”

“I will report directly to Andra, no one else.”

She half smiled, “Are you sure about that, Eric? She is quite the drill sergeant.”

“Yes, no one but Andra.”

“Done.” The two guards who had remained still the entire time went to Eric, helped him stand, and guided him to the door behind the older woman, “This way then.”

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Posted in Stories

Story Sunday!

Untitled – Chapter 2 page 1

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The garage was empty when Clayton finally got home that evening, which meant Eric was probably staying at Andra’s. Even though father and son had a fantastic relationship, he was grateful for the time alone. He needed to process the day. He had never had a day like this at work, and with the busyness at the office, Clayton hadn’t been able to make it home for dinner. Now his stomach was letting him know–very loudly–that he had skipped a meal. 

In the kitchen, there were traces everywhere that Eric had cooked. As a part of their current living arrangement, Eric cooked dinner most nights, and Clayton cleaned up the dishes. Eric did a pretty good job of keeping the stove and counters clean, but he hated washing dishes more than his mother had when she had had the same arrangement with Clayton. So even though the counters and stove were spotless, cabinet doors were ajar, the spice drawer was half opened, and the sink was piled with the pans and Eric’s dishes. 

Clayton found the leftovers in the refrigerator. There was a plate with wrapped up chicken parmesan and a sticky note on top which read, “Salad in the blue bowl and brownies on the counter in the grey bin.” 

Tears stung in his eyes. Again the grief of losing his wife hit him when he least expected it to. She always left notes for him on his leftovers. The last meal she ever cooked for him had been chicken parmesan. Eric didn’t know. He had been away at college, and he hadn’t had to see his mother deteriorate as quickly as she did from the cancer. It was almost as if Clayton had blinked, and she went from healthy to sick. It had only been three months from her diagnosis until he buried her. Three months to try to show her everything she meant to him, and she had done the same. 

Clayton remembered that the last chicken parmesan made by Christine had been wrapped in her favorite decorative plastic wrap. A hot pink sticky note stuck to the top, “I’ve always loved cooking for you. I made you your favorite because you are my favorite.” When he finished his dinner and went to bed, she was already sleeping soundly. He kissed the top of her forehead, then quietly got in to bed not to disturb her. Hospice had to be called in the next day. She couldn’t get out of bed, and the day after, she was gone.

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Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday!

Untitled – page 6

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A branch cracked behind him, but before he could react, the soldier on the bench was being smothered. “Great,” he thought, “this is exactly like every bad suspense movie I’ve ever seen. I’m going to go unconscious, wake up in some panel van with my hands and legs bound with zip ties and gagged.” It was the last thing he thought before he felt himself give in to whatever chemical was on the rag.

Two figures, covered head to toe in a dark material, grabbed the soldier and slowly carried him away from the Capitol. It was as if they were making a point to anyone that was watching. They were not afraid of being caught. They were not afraid of being injured. They were in 100% control of the situation, and this soldier was now theirs.

She slammed the door of her eco-friendly coupe. Andra decided that it would be best for her to go to her favorite little yoga studio and unwind a little. She had still not checked her inbox or any of her social media accounts. It would be too overwhelming. She hadn’t even contacted her boss, although today was a day off. That had been decided months ago. No matter what happened on election night, the next day was a no-work day. They all thought they’d be too hung over from all the celebratory champagne when they made that decision. 

Eric had not been as on board with Jerry Roy’s theory as Andra had. His exact words to her had been, “Don’t just jump on the first conspiracy theory you hear. Use your rational brain.” That conversation did not end well. She stared at him for a moment, then balled up her napkin, threw it on the table, and stormed out of the restaurant. Andra was thankful that Eric was a stand-up guy and wouldn’t leave without paying the ticket, so he wouldn’t follow after her. Since her phone was on silent and stowed away at the bottom of her purse, she had no idea if he had tried to call or text. She convinced herself that she did not care and drove away to escape.

Their relationship had been going on for three years now, and Andra had the sinking suspicion that he was going to propose. Which terrified her. Yes, she loved him, but marriage seemed so permanent. It was causing her to stress and be on edge every time they were together recently. The election stress didn’t help either. 

With the election being over, there was a new stress facing Andra. She was jobless. True, she didn’t know what job she would have had if the election gone differently, but she knew that she would have had one. Stein had personally told her during her last stop in the Midwest that she had been impressed with the work Andra had done and asked her if she would be willing to relocate to the DC area after the elections. She and Eric had even discussed how the move would affect their relationship. Now, not only was she unemployed, but her relationship was feeling rocky.

The sound of a car door slamming woke the soldier. His feet and hands weren’t ziptied, and he wasn’t gagged. He couldn’t see though. The one thing he had forgotten about the old suspense movies. It had been a while since he had seen a good thriller. There had been quite a few regulations put on the movie industry when the new administration had taken over. Within a year a new committee was formed, The Federal Entertainment Agency, and the amount of power they had over what was produced and the way the vetoed projects had almost bankrupted Hollywood.

“Private Marshall, we’re here. We’re going to leave the blindfold on for a while. For safety’s sake.” For Safety’s Sake had been the president’s go-to line any time a new executive order was passed. The soldier heard a snicker from someone else nearby.

“Really? Using his words?” a woman’s voice.

“Well, they fit the situation,” the first man said. The soldier could imagine him smiling. “Also, we strip searched you while you were out and scanned you for GPS tracking devices. You’re wearing new clothes, so when we take off the blindfold, don’t freak out. We promise we didn’t do anything else. Now if you just swing your legs to the right, you’ll be able to hop out of the vehicle.”

The soldier swung his legs as suggested and found his footing on the pavement outside. “Will I be able to ask questions?”

“You just did,” the woman’s voice again. “Let’s get him inside. We can question him in there.” 

The soldier felt a hand under his right arm guiding him. He knew it was highly unlikely, but the woman’s voice sounded so familiar. He wanted her to talk again, and maybe he could figure it out, but instead they walked on in silence. A warm blast of air hit his face as they entered the building. He could hear movement all around, but there was no talking. It felt very strange.

“Ma’am, the room is ready. This way,” a third voice said, and the soldier was led into a room where he sat in a plush chair. He felt a hand at the back of his head loosening the blindfold. It fell down around his neck. He blinked a few times to let his eyes adjust to light even though the lighting in the room was dim. Then he saw her, a face he would recognize anywhere, although it had been years since he’d seen it.

“Eric?” she gasped.

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Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday

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Untitled – Page 5

It suddenly seemed much colder to the soldier, sitting alone on the bench. Nothing had happened. His commanding officer did not appear; the woman from the ear piece hadn’t either. Had he misheard something? Was he hallucinating? It had been nearly five minutes since he sat down. That alone would have been cause for his superiors to show up. Patrol shifts were two hours walking, two hours hidden among the shadows keeping watch, then repeat. There were no breaks. 

He tried to listen to his surroundings; he wanted to look around, but fear kept him looking straight at the building in front of him. While all the windows were dark, he knew the building was full of people. Officers, political leaders, gophers always running around. All of them monitoring the common citizens. Most citizens had no idea the amount of information the government was collecting. Anyone who tried to call out the surveillance was labeled a “loony” or “conspiracy theorist” by social media. A few gained some followers, for a while at least, then they would disappear. If your ideas made you stand out and get people on your side, if too much attention was being drawn to you, you didn’t last, and neither did your supporters.

Of course, these disappearances were always explained, car crashes, armed robberies gone wrong, an electrical fire. Occasionally an influencer, as they once were called when social media was a more innocent beast, would disappear and come back, re-branded in full support of the government and its leaders. There were plenty of people who were against the government, but they kept quiet. It was better to stay quiet and keep your life, than speak up and lose it.

A plate crashed in the kitchen, “Ope, someone’s fired.” Eric tried to joke with Andra. She was staring out the large picture window that looked out on to the downtown streets. He doubted she even heard him. When they had planned this lunch, they both thought that it would be a victory date. Andra had worked so hard throughout the campaign, and the vast majority of those she ran into adamantly supported Stein. After the third and final presidential debate, the national polls had shown Stein ahead 80% to Peters 19% with 1% still undecided. Eric and his dad could not remember a time when a race was this decided. Maybe Reagan, Eric thought as he watched Andra. 

She sighed, pushed some hair out of her face, then ran her hand hard down her cheek and looked at Eric, “I’m so sorry. I’m having to try really hard not to break down right now. And I know, I know I’m the one who insisted on keeping our date. I need to eat something, but I’m not hungry. I want a glass, or three, of wine. And truthfully, I want to run out in that street and scream. But look around, everyone in here looks dazed, confused, angry. How did this happen? Peters is a horrible person. After the first debate when he actually spit at Stein, his approval rating dropped 20 points! His own party turned on him.” Andra was getting worked up, rightfully so, and a couple at a nearby table, turned to join our conversation.

“He’s an asshole! Someone needs to do everyone a favor and get rid of him, if you know what I mean?” the man nodded at Eric and Andra. “Mark my words, he isn’t going to last. Something fishy is going on, it’ll be exposed, and he will rot in jail.”

Eric shrugged, “What’s your theory? Oh, and before you speak, I intern down at Channel 3, I may want to use your comments in a story if you don’t mind.”

“Of course I don’t mind! My name is Jerry Roy. I own the theater across the street there. I have for 30 years now. Hopefully going to sell next spring. But here’s my theory. Peters is rich, he’s been rich for a long time. He and his family have connections all over the world. Influential people in multiple countries, especially the Middle East. That’s where everyone is going to point. But Peters’s dad, you know where he made his money? Japan. You know? where all the high tech gadgets come from. Peters’s dad owns the majority of one of the video game companies, and apparently is best friends with some of the politicians over there, including the emperor.”

“Japan has been one of our closest allies for years,” Andra interrupted Jerry.

“Yeah, true, but hear me out. I bet, with the mandate that this election be 100% digital, that Japan hacked it, or maybe look into the voting machines. Where’d they come from? You look into those machines, you will have your answers,” he picked up his glass and took a quick sip. “I’m across the street. Feel free to come tell me I was right when you uncover the truth.” He turned back to his friend, and they continued their lunch.

“Thanks,” Eric said then looked at Andra. Her forehead was scrunched the way it did whenever she was contemplating something, or when she was working on her 100s of spreadsheets tracking the election. “Hun?” he broke her out of her thoughts. She looked at him slowly. “Quite a theory, huh?”

“Eric, I think he’s 100% correct.”

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Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday!

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Untitled – Page 4

The second soldier started his patrol, equipped with an automatic rifle with silencer, his night vision glasses, and the go ahead to shoot at any movement. His earpiece beeped, and he touched the sensor to allow communication.

“Yes?” he answered as he completed his first lap around the capitol.

“Set your weapon down. Take off your glasses. Put your hands on your head. We have the capitol surrounded. Your only chance of survival is to do exactly as I have said,” the female voice said in barely more than a whisper.

“PRIVATE MARSHALL DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPON!” came the voice of his commander, “Figure out where they are, now!” he heard him yell to the other soldiers in the headquarters.

“You have until the count of three, Marshall,” came the female voice again. “One.” The soldier quickly scanned the surrounding area. “Two.” His breath came faster. His heart pounding. He would not die for this administration. They could force him to join, but they couldn’t force him to willingly give up his life. His only hope was that whoever this woman was that she would find him before his commanding officer. He threw down his gun, ripped his glasses off, and put his hands on his head. He walked backward to the bench and sat when he felt the it against the back of his knees.

Clayton could not remember the news station like this. People were literally running from desk to desk and down the halls. Cell phones and tablets in hand; everyone talking, shouting back and forth. He could hear phones ringing in offices. “Can you believe this?” Corinne, his co-anchor during the noon broadcast, asked as she slid up beside him, handing him a coffee.

“How’d you know?” he took the coffee and took a small sip.

“I had a tiny hunch you may need it. I stayed up until 2 hoping someone would come on and say ‘April Fools’! You?”

He shook his head, “I don’t think I slept. Went to the gym this morning to wake up. Not sure how much it helped. Make-up is going to have fun with me later,” he laughed a little. 

She sighed heavily, turning her back to much of the chaos in the news room full of reporters and interns, facing him, “Clay, this is not good. His platform. He’s practically anti-anyone not white. He’s got crazy religious beliefs. Someone had to have tampered with the results. I cannot believe that I live in a country where the majority of the people would support this!”

He met her eyes and couldn’t help but feel the range of emotions building up inside of him: anger, disgust, disbelief, and fear. He saw that last emotion in Corinne’s dark eyes, too. They had worked together for nearly ten years. She and her husband had been there for Clayton when Christine died five years ago. Multiple times a week inviting him to dinner, showing up at his house with take out and wine. Stan started picking him up and taking him to the gym every morning. Turns out working out was a great stress reliever for Clayton. Corinne and Stan were even great on the days when he didn’t think he could make it alone. Gentle reminders that Eric still needed him (they really needed each other), and simply sitting with him while he grieved. They were beyond just co-workers, co-anchors; they were family. “I don’t have an answer. I don’t have an answer at all.”

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Posted in Stories, Story Sunday, Untitled

Story Sunday!

Enjoy the third page of my story that I am currently writing. At this point, I don’t have a title, so I’m lovingly calling it “Untitled.” So original, I know.

Untitled – Page 3

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Andra laid completely still for longer than she probably should have. Disappointment, anger, frustration, and a plethora of other unpleasant emotions flowed through her. She had stayed up all the way until each news station declared a winner. Hoping, praying that at least one station would say Stein, but it wasn’t even close, and she knew it was pointless. For over a year, she had campaigned for Stein. T-shirts, yard signs, rallies, meetings, sleepless nights. The rest of her friends had planned a watch/victory party, and Eric had invited her to the news’ watch party, but she just wanted an evening of peace.

After an exorbitant amount of time, she finally reached for her phone to check the time. It had only been five minutes since her alarm. She sighed and placed the phone on her nightstand and rolled off the bed. She needed to get up and moving. Nothing would be gained by having a pity party all day. 

As she slid her legs toward the side of her bed, she nudged her dog, Moses. He slowly lifted his huge Dane head and looked at her with his pathetic face. Andra scratched the top of his head, he sighed and put his head back on his paws. “Oh, come on now, if I have to get up you do too.”

He did an over-exaggerated stretch and followed her to the kitchen. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Andra threw her head back and sighed. Moses whined and looked at her with a tilted head. “The coffee pot, Moses. It didn’t start. I’m being a baby. I can do it now. I just need something to go right today.” She plopped down onto a kitchen chair, and Moses walked over and set his big head in her lap and looked up at her. “Oh buddy, this really is the worst thing that could happen.” He tilted his head again then walked over to the door and sat. His sign he needed to go out.

“You’re right. Life goes on. We all still have to pee,” she opened the back door, and Moses bounded out to do his business. 

Andra turned her attention to the coffee pot. Going through the motions of fixing her morning vice helped her feel a little bit better. She yawned, ran her hand through her hair, and leaned against the counter listening to the coffee pot do its work. The last thing she wanted to do was go back to her room and check her phone. Everything had pointed to victory, even prominent members of Peter’s own party had endorsed Stein. It made absolutely no sense. As field director for the midwest, she knew she would have more messages than she’d ever be able to respond to. 

The coffee pot finished the last drop of the brew, and she poured the biggest mug she could find, let Moses back in, and then headed to her room to take on the day.

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Posted in Stories, Untitled

Untitled – page two

This story is totally fictional, and it is totally not edited. I do try to proofread to avoid grammar/spelling mistakes, but this is all definitely first draft, raw ideas.

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Clayton filled his coffee mug for the second time in less than a half hour. His night had not been restful. In fact, he was pretty sure he hadn’t slept. Election results did not go as predicted. Not since Truman defeated Dewey had the media gotten it this wrong. Something wasn’t right. They would get to the bottom of it and report it.

“Dad,” Eric came in the kitchen dressed and ready for the day at six am. “Can you believe it?”

Clayton sighed and shook his head. He took a sip of his coffee and sighed again, “Not at all. What’s on your agenda today?”

“Class this morning, lunch with Andra, internship this afternoon, and then home in time to cook dinner. You?” He grabbed a travel mug and filled it with the last of the coffee from the pot. 

“Gym, shower, noon newscast, late lunch, harass you at your internship, four o’clock newscast, home to eat your dinner, then back for the 10 o’clock. And you don’t have to cook dinner.”

“How many times do I have to tell you. You are a horrible cook, and mom wouldn’t want me to suffer.” Eric smiled as he playfully punched his dad in the shoulder and walked to the garage. “See you this afternoon. Don’t let your disappointment show too much on camera.”

Clayton scoffed, “What disappointment?”  He faked a smile and turned on his anchor voice, “Last night the power-hungry, lying Martin Peters demolished his opponent by a landslide that has baffled even this seasoned reporter. But in all seriousness,” he turned off the reporter tone, “How in the actual hell did this happen?”

Eric stood with his hand on the top of the doorframe, “I’ve got no logical answer. Every exit poll was indicating Stein. I’m sure the conspiracy stories are starting online. One of them could be true, but how would you ever know? Voter fraud, ballot tampering, space aliens, all viable options. Have fun at the gym.” He gave a small wave and headed out the door.

Nothing seemed logical at the moment. He wasn’t sure how he would report the news today, without bias. What he wouldn’t give to have Christine here as a sounding board, his voice of reason, of hope, as his encourager, his best friend. Sometimes the pain of losing her hit him out of nowhere. Today, he felt it coming on. He allowed himself to grieve, most days, but he didn’t have time today. He downed the last of his coffee, grabbed his house key, and ran the few miles to the gym. 

Within moments, an armored truck approached the fallen soldier. Two uniformed guards jumped out and another two appeared through the roof, guns drawn. The two guards grabbed the soldier and tossed him into the back of the vehicle, grabbed an unidentifiable can and sprayed the area where the soldier had bled. In less than three minutes, the truck was gone. Any trace of the fallen soldier erased. A new guard taking his place. The single sheet of paper, missed by the guards, had plastered itself on the door of the capitol. 

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Posted in Stories, Untitled

Untitled – page 1

So, I like to write stories. I’ve yet to finish one in adulthood. I had plenty of spiral notebooks filled with stories when I was in junior high/high school. I would write when I was supposed to be taking notes for class. Shhhh, don’t tell my daughter or students. They should pay attention. I just always felt like my mind was full, and I had to get it all down. I haven’t written much since getting married and having kids, but I started to last summer. I don’t have much, but I figured I should start sharing and maybe it would encourage me to keep it up. All that said, enjoy the first page.

The silent soldier continued his patrol around the city center. Snow was falling, but it was still too warm to stick to the roads. The grass and the tree branches were beginning to accumulate the white powder. It was a stark contrast to the dark night. Few street lights remained in the area, but it didn’t matter to the soldier, equipped with his standard night vision glasses. The commanders’ glasses had extra features, most still a mystery to the general public.

He turned the corner at Main, looked left and right and continued north. It had been nearly a year since protesters tried to enter the Capitol. Nearly a year since 8000 unarmed, peaceful protesters were slaughtered on the steps of the Capitol. Of course, the news reports stated a different story. Capitol Thwarts Ambush by Thousands of Armed Terrorists. This sparked the gun-ban that was quickly passed and made into law. Soldiers slowly started replacing the police force who refused to confiscate the citizens’ guns. Within six months of the new law, the Capitol announced that they had acquired over 95% of the citizens’ gun and declared anyone found with a firearm would be considered a terrorist and shot on sight. After that declaration “Safe Drop Zones” were added throughout the major cities for people to turn in their weapons without penalty. That’s how it was portrayed to the general public; however, each person who dropped at a safe zone was questioned in great detail and then released to return home. Within a week, a garrison would arrive in that person’s neighborhood and begin constant patrols.

Another turn down North Street. Sometimes the quiet was welcoming, but tonight, something felt off. Maybe it was the first snow of winter, but the soldier couldn’t shake that it was something more.

A strong gust made the snow whirl around, looking much grander than it actually was. A single sheet of paper swirled up in the snow. At first the soldier ignored it, but as he neared where the sheet had landed, he noticed the bright red symbol of the Capitol, but something seemed off.

He bent slowly, never really looking down, the way he was trained, and grabbed the paper. As he rose, his suspicions about the evening were confirmed. He collapsed, his face landing in the grass. A bright red stained the snow and the soldier took his last breath, the single sheet of paper slipped from his lifeless hand just as another gust of wind blew and directed the paper to the stairs of the Capitol.

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