Image

Deal 1290: Woke

They attempted to capture my mind, but failed.

Failed because I protected my mind from meddling.

The beta rays cannot reach me through my shield.

I have never been clearer in my life since I woke. I am woke, unlike everyone else trapped in the gentle fog of compliance to their will.

Hardly anyone is able to resist. I was lucky.

I was accidentally shielded by attempting to repair my microwave oven when it turned on.

I saw my family taken over. I resisted. The tin foil was close to hand, and I was able to continue to resist.

Now nearly everything I wear is part of an overlapping Faraday armor.

I choose this life.

I am shunned by the sheeple.

I am woke to the truth, though, and cannot go back.

Image

Deal 1289: Matched

We found the campsite in disarray, as if abandoned in a hurry. Gear was left lying around haphazardly, and the coals of the fire were still warm. A well trod trail extended downhill to a creek, and another uphill to a dense copse. Both made sense if the site had been occupied for a while. The obvious hurried footprints, broken branches, and a piece of cord caught on a bush seemed to indicate which direction the camp’s owner had gone in a rush.

The odd thing was the stack of firewood beside the fire. It was all evenly cut to length and stacked neatly, with larger logs split and ready to add to the fire. There was at least two full day’s supply remaining. This was not the campsite of someone who thought they were on the run, no matter how quickly they had fled.

Or perhaps it was someone clever.

Searching more carefully turned up nothing else out of the ordinary. Except a new matchbox that was empty, but for a single match, and that match was broken in half.

That match was a sign for those who knew how to see.

We were on the right trail after all, and were expected to act as if we believed the story being told by the disarray and footprints.

The match signaled that the obvious story was a lie designed to throw any pursuit off in the wrong direction.

The match was bent nearly double at the center. Not really a common manufacturing fault, or something that happens by accident.

No, it was a signal to make a fuss about the trail, then quietly double back and wait.

So we will.

Image

Deal 1288: Watched

Ah, yes. My watch stopped. Again.

What’s that?

Why?

Well, you may recall that I work at some distance from my home. I travel daily by a variety of means, usually including the train. Today I missed the train, and decided to catch the next train at a station I don’t usually use. Not may use it, on account of the neighborhood. I’ve never paid much attention to those rumors, so off I went, at a good pace, to catch the train.

On the way, I heard about the fire. But that was at my usual station, so I paid little attention.

Then I heard about the bank, just in time to take a different route, and avoided the block just before they blew the safe. The safe landed in the street, I hear.

While everyone was cowering as the dust settled, I managed to reach the station, just as the train was pulling away. But it was just in reach and I was arriving at the end of the platform it was approaching, so I sprinted and leapt.

I made it safely aboard, paid the conductor, and settled down to nap for the ride. I must have actually fell asleep for a time, because the watch slipped out of my pocket, where it was trod upon by the conductor making his rounds.

Of course, I won’t have anything less than the strongest watch made, so when the conductor slipped on the watch and fell, dropping everything he was carrying, the watch was unharmed but my nap was interrupted.

So I retrieved my watch, and settled down again with it firmly in my pocket.

I really must have been tired, because I awoke at the end of the line, well after dark, and many hours from home, having heard neither the station call nor my watch’s alarm.

When I checked the time, it was stopped.

And I actually don’t know why.

Image

Deal 1286: Walks

We took the same walk every day. Down the hill to the lake, past the cemetery, through the woods, back past the school yard, and finally down the hill back to the house. Rain or shine, we walked.

Over the years, we saw changes around us. The school was the first to show it. Broken windows. Graffiti. Weeds in the yard. Clear signs of gangs. And even a few patches of illicit plants.

The woods and lake too showed changes, as the community stopped valuing their presence. We used to try to pick up the rare pieces of litter we encountered. But the litter became so commonplace that we would have needed to carry a large back on every walk.

The cemetery too showed signs, beginning with weeds but including vandalized graves and mausoleums.

That was when the trouble really began in earnest.

That cemetery was more important than most, and those who knew its secrets had neglected to pass them down and ensure that certain graves were never disturbed.

The people we encountered on our daily walk began to look haggard and afraid. The stories of strange things wandering at night began to be common, and to carry added twists from personal witnesses rather than the usual friend of a friend heard a rumor sorts of tales.

Then we saw him ourselves.

I don’t think he saw us, and we followed. He was clearly searching for someone, a long past love most likely. He didn’t seem to know that he was dead, or that centuries had passed him by while he was locked in the broken mausoleum. He searched the town, seemingly puzzled by the changes brought by time. Then he searched the cemetery.

We were there when he found her grave.

He turned at that moment from a sad walker on a mission into a monster. He ransacked the cemetery and tore into the town. He terrorized those he encountered. He picked on one particular property, and went door to door demanding to know why nothing was done. He was inconsolable, and refused to believe that she had lived a long and quiet life after his capture and internment.

If anything, stories of her place in the community all those years ago made him even more angry.

She had moved on, married another, and had a daughter.

That sank in, he tried to find the daughter. But she too was long since dead and buried.

But that provided the distraction needed to solve our problem. We used his irrational quest against him, and lured him back into his mausoleum. The repaired tomb closed easily, and the seals were restored behind him.

Since that day, we include his tomb in our daily walk. At first, we could hear him pounding on the door. But as the years wore on, he returned to the uneasy sleep of the not completely dead.