So if you happen to be a subscriber, you may have noticed I haven't posted in a while. There are two reasons.
- One, I'm just too dang busy. I've been working 55 hours weeks for over a year. That's starting to slow down.
- Two, I've been pouring my free time into fiction. But the White Noise posts took on such a life of their own I had to start organizing them and see if there was a book there.
A new element appeared. A young man, holding a remote control. He and his father were wearing Santa hats, and fake white beards. She followed their gaze toward a small Unmanned Arial Vehicle. It was shaped like the Millennium falcon, but she could see cameras attached to it. They were apparently trying to get a better glimpse of the parade. It flew in an out of the balloons.
That’s when she noticed that they seemed to be avoiding the television cameras, and security stations. Quite expertly in fact. It was odd, these visions, she could see near and far at the same time without obscuring either set of images. The pair were not smiling, like the rest of the crowd. They were not pointing and laughing at the parade floats. The father was whispering in the son’s ear, and the son was intent on following the path of his UAV.
The toy plane made its way up and over the last set of balloons, and then down toward Santa, nearly knocking him off his pedestal. He looked more annoyed that frightened. It swooped back up to the last balloon, and under.
Eta willed herself to float down for a better look. As it approached the underside, a small package fixed to the vinyl started to emit a red light.
Wait… no. The red light wasn’t coming from the package, it was coming from somewhere else. The UAV. A metal point was on the front end of the UAV and attached to it was a laser pointer. The kind you might find at Dollar Tree. It was flying straight up now, 90 degrees, at full speed. The red dot fixed directly at the middle of the box.
She’d come to expect what was next.
First the flash…
…then the percussion against her chest…
…then the sound of explosion.
She was hurled through the sky half way across the city. The devastation was enormous. Whole buildings collapsed. People that had not been crushed were running from the scene. But it would do no good. The air was windy, and an orange cloud wafted in all directions. The runners were dropping dead within feet, some within blocks.
Walking, nearly oblivious to the commotion, through the dust were a father and son. Wearing gas masks. They loaded hopped onto a parked motorcycle, on a side street. And headed into the city, and they were gone.
Eta could see the kid smile, raise his fingers to the sky, and toss the Santa hat and beard to the wind.
She watched as the costume floated through the air, landing on a body nearby.
Eta woke. The dream, night after night. She lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling for a few moments. Knowing that sleep would not soon return, she got up and walked to the window. She opened it and let the cool air rush over her. It almost reminded her of home.
She couldn't get the image of Santa out of her head. She always thought that a white Santa was odd.
“Everyone knows that Santa was a dark skinned Russian.” Her Mamochka would start the heated, good natured debate with Da’.
“No dear,” Da’ would counter. “He was an Irishman, plain as the nose on your face.”
And on the debate would run. Reindeer? Please. Not these brown skinny things in American cartoons. He used large chested white Reindeer, with long pointed antlers, like tree branches with no leaves.
That’s the Santa her Mamochka taught her about.
Of course, there is no Santa… no elves, no fairies, no Jesus, no Mohamed, no Buddha. All trappings of religious non-sense to keep ignorant people in line, and full of pointless hope. And when those ignorant people got too far out of line, they sent in Eta to put them down. Well… they used to, until she got broken.
“So…” She broke the silence. Considering the conversation earlier that night. “I’m not just broken… I’m also a failed experiment. Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Her voice fell deaf on the evening breeze.
Images of her parents, when they were alive. Christmas with family and friends. Like it should be. Presents, not many, too poor. But they would come up with something every Christmas, despite themselves. And then her life changed.
“America?” She said one day. “Really? We’re going to America?”
All she’d ever known was the temperate town of Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland. Her mother fled to Ireland during World War 2, when the Russians were working loosely with the westerners.
She got her chance to leave as a “Volunteer Field Nurse”. She managed to claim asylum in newly formed Republic of Ireland, who had been sitting out the war as a neutral party. The Irish were sympathetic to her cause, as they too were under pressure constant pressure to roll over and accept the so called “United Kingdom”.
That’s where she met her Irish lover, a man after her own heart. They thought that kids were not in their cards, until she got pregnant in her mid 40’s. Her parents were older than the other kid’s parents, but she didn’t mind. It made her special. At least, that’s what she was told growing up.
At 10 years old, in 1976, her father, frightened by the escalating violence and the Kingsmill Massacre, decided to leave. He took his wife and daughter to start over in America. That’s when it all fell apart. He worked two jobs, with no family to fall back on, and died of a heart attack before she turned 16. Her mother died a year later of pneumonia, probably compounded by grief. By 18 she was the ridicule of school with the oddest of odd accents, and she didn’t fit anywhere. Then she was left to fend for herself.
“Not to worry,” a friend told her. “The military takes freaks like you all the time.”
And with a 99 on the ASVAB, she could do anything she wanted. She found a job in intelligence, and
worked her way up the ranks. Which led her to today… a total mess.
Eta brushed off the past, and tried to remember the new elements of her dream.
She could still see the face of the young man with the remote, the father not so much.
One word popped into her head. It sounded so funny. She said it out loud.
She rolled it onto her tongue, and repeated it over and over. She found the word instantly amusing, but sad at the same time.
She let the images of the dream, and her childhood Christmas battle each other for another hour, looking out the window into the night sky. Eventually she felt a yawn come on, stretching the back of her throat. That was a good sign that the dream was wearing off, and she could head back to bed.
The covers swallowed her, like an ocean. An ocean island…
Storyteller, Creative, INFJ, Intellection, Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever
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