Chapter 29: A Final Countdown
Daybreak, pandemonium reigned at Big Jim’s estate.
Marshal Bass and Cox searched for Jim. Finding him in his luxurious Western-style library, an empty bottle of whiskey propped next to his head.
Bass started in, “Sir, we need to inform you the Justice will be leaving. We have advised all members of congress, currently on the premises to depart as well...”
Cox Continuing, “...we suggest you seek competent legal counsel.”
Jim’s head on his desk, raising his bloodshot eyes to peer at the two, “What in tarnation are you two talking about?”
“It seems the destruction of your fences was a ruse.”
“While your security forces were occupied, chasing down the trespassers, another group broke into your kennels and cages.”
“Video has hit the internet concerning your dog and cockfighting activities here.”
“If we were not protecting the Justice, we would be bringing you in for questioning now.”
“As it is, we must escort the Justice to his helicopter and to safety.”
“Have a nice day,” they walked out the room.
Walking down the halls filled with staffers, and various other hanger-on’s running to-and-fro. All trying to get the hell out of dodge, like fleas leaving a drowning dog. Bass glanced to Cox, “Did you know they were here for dogfights?”
“No, did you know about the cockfights?”
“No. You know that story Miss Knight gave us was bullshit, right?”
Turning a corner down another hall, “Yeah. How did we fall for such an outlandish story?”
“Call it in, she needs to be brought in for questioning. Inform district, to use extreme caution. The woman might be a flight risk and dangerous.”
Big Jim, sat letting the information sink into his alcohol dimmed brain, “Sombitch gona pay!” throwing the empty at the wall, he lacked the strength to break the bottle.
Furious, grabbed the remote scanning the channels for news of his demise. First picture that came up was an overview shot of the New Wave Rave, with a superimposed picture of Crystal from the night before. Throwing the remote at the screen, it bounced harmlessly off. “Sombitch gonna pay!”
Staggering to a wall hiding a gun safe, he selected his M107 fifty-cal sniper rifle. It was almost as tall as he was.
Heading for the hall pushing into the fray of vacillating bodies, “Boys grab the four-bys, we are goin hunting!” shouting down the halls.
Over broken desert terrain a horse can be much faster than a four by four. A telephone and helicopter faster still. Roads leading to the New Wave Rave quickly became snarled with traffic. All dinky two-lane roads, both lanes had traffic funneling into the same small destination. Soon cars became abandoned, people flocking on foot to reach the party. The deeper people walked into the desert, the fewer had cell service. The property Old Sits had chosen was in a cellular dead zone, just like he preferred.
That did not stop the news reports from flowing out from the event. Using satellite feeds the news crews described the growing crowd, and the traffic snarls causing nightmares never seen on the back-country roads. Once, heavy traffic was considered two cars meeting at an intersection. Now the roads were clogged for miles surrounding the deserted garage. People abandoned cars walking to the event.
The multitudes heading to party, had no idea how to survive in the desolated areas of West Texas. Most from the cities, came unprepared to hike into the desert for an unknown number of days. Adding to the fact, there were zero facilities where they were heading. No concessions, no concert tees, no free beer, no first aid stations, no food, no bathrooms, not much of anything out there. A lot of empty promises for one hell of a party circulating over social media. Crystal’s idea of a love fest was about to turn into a humanitarian disaster of... biblical proportions.
Most news outlets began to see the error of their ways before noon and began advising people not to head into the desert. Problem was, no cell service. One A M radio station. There was no way for the people in the desert, to know it was unsafe for them to be going deeper.
The three little bands that started the gig the night before, kept swapping off, playing sets. They had hoped more bands would come to fill in the venue. Who would not want to make history? Even if there were bands on the way to play, they never would be able to make it through the miles of fubar traffic.
Barney had never promoted a concert. He had no idea of the logistics required for something the size New Aged Rage was becoming. Added to the fact he was mostly under Crystal’s control he would do whatever she wanted.
Crystal appeared joyful, preoccupied with showing everyone her crystal egg. So many people surrounded her, all in happy moods. Her tie-dye clad followers interspersed within the group. This was the scene when the sun was directly overhead.
Crystal took the stage, Barney standing in the wings, silence fell over the expectant audience. Raising her egg over her head as if to gain their attention, it was not needed. She held them rapt, studying her every move. She lowered her hands, and all in attendance sat on the ground. Lotus position. Her visage positively glowing.
In his bunker to the southeast Old Sits would not be described as a happy camper. Drinking what seemed like gallons of homemade vodka, he feverishly monitored his closed-circuit displays of the unfolding nightmare. Recording the entire event as it transpired. For someone that prided himself on not being found, having a quarter of a million people on his front door step was almost more than his head could handle. If not for the vodka he might have gone on a killing spree himself, just to keep people from finding his hideout.
On horseback, approaching from the south, Trevor and company had to dismount a mile from the stage. A sea of bodies under hoof, he feared crushing the attendees. The group spread out, in a firing line, Trevor taking point. Gingerly picking their way through the sitting crowd, they slowly tiptoed to the stage. His small force spread out behind him. Expecting the throng to jump up at any second and suck his brains out of his eye sockets, he continued despite his fear.
Arriving on the ridge overlooking the valley below. Big Jim parked his mini-convoy of hunting jeeps on the mountain directly over Old Sits secret lair. Setting up a defensive position with his bodyguards, Jim began setting up his sniper rifle with the crowd down-range. Catching sideway glances from his crew, Jim prepared the high-powered rifle aiming at an innocent crowd of partiers.
Jim exploded, “If you can’t handle this, get the hell out of here! Leave the jeeps! They are mine!”
With that outburst, his private army deserted him, taking the jeeps with them. Not wanting to be a part of the next news story of a mass shooting, they expected might soon happen. With Big Jim in the starring role of mass killer. Livid, Jim let out a string of incomprehensible curse words. Ignored by the mercenaries. Deserted, Jim went back to setting up his sniper’s nest.
Old Sits recording every second of Jim’s meltdown.
Upon reaching a distance he considered safe, Trevor shouted to Crystal. Hoping to still be far enough back, just in case, “Cryyyysssstaaaaal, what ’cha doin?” he called to her, in a sing-song voice.
Crystal’s reply came, not from her mouth, but from the very air surrounding them, “So many people in this dimension are unhappy. All the people here with me, look at them, they are happy. We are one.”
“This dimension? You’re not from around here, are you?”
“What you see of us, is all your three-dimensional brains can handle. I tried to explain to you, but it is hard for you to comprehend.”
“You were the lights, that attacked old Sits.”
“We did not attack him, we tried to connect with him. Your brains are too squishy for our normal form of communications. Once I realized the pain I caused him, I ceased. It was never our goal to hurt anyone; We want peace for everyone.”
“What about all these people here? Are they here so you can drink their spinal fluid?”
“No that is another race. We feed off positive energy. Your hate and anger cause us immeasurable pain. Here they are all happy, and we are feeding.”
“We? What do you mean by we?”
“You have been surrounded by us for days. We picked an appearance we found pleasing and most of your kind find harmless.”
The tie-dye group began to stand, Trevor and his band discovered they were interspersed with the alien, interdimensional creatures. All wearing tie-dye and linen pants.
Glancing around, realizing they were surrounded, “Where the hell did all the vintage VW vans come from?”
“We control matter and energy like you control water on this planet. Just like these bodies we project, we can create any material object to fulfill our needs. All powered by your positive discharge.”
“But you’re controlling these people. They are your slaves, your cattle.”
“They are happy now.”
“Why didn’t you control me?”
“I almost did. Your final test was the woman and child. You are a special kind. If I controlled you I might damage you.”
“Wait, you damaged all these people?”
“No, they are not like you. They are driven by greed, among other base needs. You are driven by a burning desire to discover. That is special in your race. Very rare.”
“You slept with Barney and got Ellie pregnant! Here we call that rape.”
“It isn’t like that...” a flash emanating from her body, washed over the valley, a visible shockwave... “Ellie is not pregnant.”
Cuff and Link both startled by the flash. “Bugger All!”
Big Jim, prone on his yoga hunting mat. Bipod deployed, waited for the developing events, spying through his twenty-four powered scope. Crystal, his target, ranged in at a mile. About half the effective distance for the fifty-caliber rifle, but not impossible.
“What in the name of god?” again, people got Crystal mixed up with a god. She was just a visitor. Big Jim didn’t know that. He couldn’t read lips.
When Crystal flashed Ellie. The shockwave caught Jim, by surprise. He didn’t mean to pull the trigger, even though he really wanted to kill something or someone.
The concussion of the firing sniper rifle sent its own shockwave out. Launching a half-inch diameter of copper jacketed death downrange.
“I would--” mid-sentence Crystal was cut short. A fist sized hole appearing between her breasts, blowing a hole of light against the water tank behind her. The gown she was almost wearing billowing out by the impact, glowing brighter than the noon sun. A burst of light traced back to Big Jim’s position. Blasting everyone standing to the ground as it passed. Five seconds later the report of the shot was clearly heard by those still awake, everyone had been knocked prone to the ground.
Trevor was pushed forward by the pressure wave of the bullet passing close over his head, then knocked back on his butt as the light erupted from Crystal’s chest.
Ironically, the Calvary headed in from the north, like the lights originally did so many nights ago. Texas National guard helicopters had been requisitioned to assist the State Police, accompanied by representatives of the DEA, FBI, ICE, Border Patrol, and US Marshals. All were being transported to the site, to begin making arrests. Not having an idea which, if any laws had been broken, they decided to bring a whole alphabet soup of agencies. They would have brought more, but on short notice that was all they could muster.
The lead helicopter witnessed Crystal’s flash of Ellie. The shock wave of the second flash, knocked the instruments, crazy. All pilots declared an in-flight emergency thinking they were about to lose power and crash, making valiant attempts for an emergency landing, quickly and as safely as possible.
The news choppers closer to the blast were bolted higher into the sky. Pilots unprepared for the violent blast of force from below lost control. Struggling to keep the aircraft in the air, and not collide with one another, took all the concentration of those flying. The reporters had to have their comments removed for fear of fines from the FCC for foul language broadcast over the air. The cameras gave those glued to their screens an exceptional view of what it might feel like inside a helicopter crash. Due to the violent tossing, little footage was caught after Crystal was hit with the gunshot.
Big Jim never saw the blast of energy pummel his position, the ray concentrated by the high-powered scope sliced straight into his right eye.
The crowd of innocent bystanders was laid flat by the blast. Barney blasted off the stage into the brush. The force caved in the side of the water tank behind the stage.
Raising up on his elbow, Trevor tried to see what had happened to Crystal.
Time stopped for everyone but him. Standing he viewed the area clearly. He was moving but everyone around him was frozen. Crystal had levitated off the stage. Her arms spread as if crucified on an invisible cross. The egg suspended above her head. It glowed like the sun. Rays shooting out like a halo. Her clothes gone now, he noted she had no lady parts. No nipples and as far as he wished to check, no other naughty bits. How the hell did Barney have sex with her? Glowing against her cinnamon skin, a beam of light extended from the gaping hole between her nipple-less breasts to a distance ridge line. Where Big Jim had been. Slowly turning, he caught a glimpse. What could have been hundreds of tie-dye shirts all heaped on the ground. Piled under more nude, sexless Ken and Barbie doll shaped bodies.
Remembering Crystals words. Death is just a change from one state to another. Or he heard her voice in his head. Regardless, he was the only eyewitness to what was happening, the others frozen in time.
In slow-motion, as if time started from zero. The flesh on the aliens became transparent. The bodies changed, each one became a brilliant golden light. The valley floor flooded with slowly expanding explosions as the creatures shed their earthly forms. Buffeted from all directions he lost consciousness falling to the ground as time reverted to normal.
Twenty-two thousand miles away, the weather satellite that monitored the Southwestern portion of Texas recorded the flash of light that overpowered the sun. Observers compared it to a golden nuclear blast. Many in the government remembered and compared the blast to the nuclear tests of the seventies. All footage of the occurrence was scrubbed from public records.
Old Sits had the best view, recording everything from the safety of his bunker. Still many of his camera posts were lost in the blast. He had enough video to share with a select few what happened.
Crystal became a gigantic ball of golden light. The light he first saw that night out in the desert. The other hovering bodies instantaneously turned into a multitude of lights. Crystal light, flew into the air, followed by the lesser lights, forming a column. Arching up into the heavens they dove straight back down upon themselves, colliding with the top of the water tank, filling the empty space with light. A few seconds afterward the vessel crushed like a soda can, a child had stepped on. Imploding onsite. Then it was over.