“Beatrice, wake up! WAKE UP! What the hell is going on, Bea?”
Bill was frantic. He had fallen asleep on the family room floor again. Normal stuff. It was 6am now. Beatrice had enough sense to crawl bed into the night before. That was normal, too. Bill was a manly-man type of guy. Ballsy and great with tools. A wearer of Old Spice deodorant. Real macho stuff.
Yet this particular morning was so extremely abnormal that Bill almost shit his pants out of pure fear. His heart wasn’t racing from the bolt up the stairs to wake his wife. His heart was pounding out of his chest way before that.
“Bea, please tell me I’m dreaming. This isn’t real, is it?” His hands were shaking. His breathing was labored, almost to the point of hyperventilation. Bill took hold of both of Beatrice’s shoulders as she lay there groggy. He tried to shake his sleeping wife awake. The urgent pleading in his voice begged hopelessly for confirmation that he was experiencing some sort of lucid dream.
Surely he’d break free from his slumber, get up off the floor, take a whiz, and then make some Keurig coffee.
“What? What’s the matter, Bill? I’m tired. Leave me alone.” Beatrice rolled over to turn away from this nagging irritation of a man. She put the covers over her head and let out an accidental fart. It was Saturday. Their girls had slept over their friend’s house a few blocks away. These were perfect conditions for Beatrice to have lazy morning. Why did Bill have to ruin it?
“Please tell me I’m dreaming, Bea.” The anxiety in his voice just went up 5 notches. He pulled the covers completely off her in one fell swoop, sort of like a magician does that “pull the tablecloth off a table” trick.
Beatrice popped up really fast and sat up straight in bed, as if her entire body had been injected with a triple-dose of instant Viagra. “No Bill, you are NOT dreaming. What the hell is your malfunction? Give me back my covers, you bastard.”
“Please, Bea. Just look outside. Tell me this isn’t real.” Bill tried to grab her hand. She pulled back, confused. Things were not good between the two of them. Hand-grabbing was not normal. Bill hadn’t touched Bea in months. She looked at him, still confused, yet allowed him to take her hand. She got out of bed and Bill lead her to the bedroom window.
“Look at this. Please wake me up,” he said.
Bea was speechless. All she could manage from her mouth was a whimper. She put her hand over her mouth as her legs got weak. She leaned in on Bill to help prop her up. Leaning on Bill wasn’t normal either.
NOTHING WOULD BE THE SAME FROM THIS POINT FORWARD
There were helicopters — at least five — holding & hovering about 500 feet off the ground. Bea regained her footing and ran downstairs to the front door. The scene was organized, yet chaotic from her point of view.
Large military trucks rolled slowly down the street. US Military, to be exact. A voice recording blasted from one of the vehicles. It was a stern, brute voice that did not speak of recommendations or suggestions, but rather, commands:
“You are not to leave this sector. Stay in your homes until you are given further instructions. Any violation of these orders will be considered an act of terrorism against the United States government and you will be dealt with accordingly. You will receive further instructions at a later time. You are not to leave this sector. Stay in your homes until you are given further instructions…
The soldiers who rode on the trucks donned bio-hazard gear. Some hopped off their trucks to sweep the streets on the lookout for violators of the recording. The command played over and over. When the megaphoned-truck was out of range, another truck rolled through with the same recorded warning.
“Sector?” said Bea. This isn’t a sector. This is our neighborhood. Our town. This is my home. What are those soldiers wearing? Bill tried to reach out to Bea again, but this time she pulled away and ran across the room to seek out answers from the television.
Bill stayed at the door to witness “an act of terrorism” committed by his neighbors. Alice and George Johnson from across the street were both on their lawn shouting obscenities at the bio-hazard troops, shaking their fists and demanding answers. They were an elderly couple. George had a hammer in his hand.
“George, no. Get back inside,” Bill whispered.
A nearby helicopter moved in quickly to hover lower over the Johnson home. Bill watched as a soldier carefully leaned out the door of the chopper, automatic rifle in hand, and shot both George and Alice dead on their green, pristine lawn. Their finely sculpted bushes looked on without remorse.
Back at the TV, only one channel had reception. Beatrice stared at a blank screen with a voice recording. The station rattled off the same exact message that spewed from the megaphone-truck. …any violation of these orders will be considered an act of terrorism against the United States government, and you will be dealt with accordingly…
“Why are they wearing bio-hazard gear? She started to cry.
Bill dropped to his knees and put his face in his hands. “Bea. Our girls. We have to get them home. I have to go out there and bring back our girls..”
…TO BE CONTINUED