Monday, December 23, 2013

Darkening Sturgeons: Chapter Twenty-Four

My piece of blog fiction continues...

Chapter Twenty-Four

By John L. Harmon


    One word.  One deep, deliberate word slams against Sheriff Benjamin Straker like a cannonball, but he takes a cue from its speaker, keeping the painful reaction hidden deep inside.  Deep inside, where he already knows the answer to his next question, but he must be certain.

    “Gone where?”

    “Lester Lawrence has joined Bob Kinney, the perverted Schroder boy, and many other residents of Sturgeons in oblivion.”  For a microscopic moment, the matter-of-fact expression of Eugene Raymond Stickler twitches into delight.

    Ben registers this delight, but, while keeping his gun aimed, refrains from pulling the trigger.  No matter how tempting it is.  Instead he fires yet another question.  A question he has a visual answer to, but not a verbal explanation.


    “My collection.”

    “Your what?” fires Christine, as her attention is drawn away from the surrounding scientific technology.

    “Gnats,” Eugene Raymond Stickler answers simply, with a proud, nearly fatherly glint in his eyes.  “Genetically and cybernetically altered gnats that can swim, swarm and devour at my command, to be precise.”

    “But…” Samuel joins the conversation, struggling to find words after such a massively bizarre explanation, “…our readings indicate natural energy, atmospheric even, but cybernetics would…”

    Before Sam can continue, a wide, knowing smile creeps across the face of Eugene Raymond Stickler, sufficiently stifling his voice.  It becomes obvious to those paying attention that there is more going on than what is being said.

    Questions develop in this moment of silent stillness.  Scientific queries occur to Christine and Sam, while only one word forms in Ben’s mind.  One word born of emotion…why…but before it can be asked, Clyde inadvertently answers it with barely a whisper.

    “Ben, look at this.”

    The television monitor, which Clyde has been entranced with since entering this laboratory, becomes the center of attention, causing the Sheriff to turn away from Stickler and lower his gun.  On the flat, wide screen, images of buildings from various positions and angles flash before their astonished eyes.

    It is disturbing enough for Ben to realize that Stickler has the whole town wired, but then the truth becomes far worse.  He sees the darkness—Stickler’s so-called collection—enveloping and laying waste to Sturgeons.

    “I have always hated this town,” Eugene Raymond Stickler states dispassionately.

    Sheriff Benjamin Straker steadily turns, aims and fires his gun until all that remains is empty clicking.
Click CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE to continue.

Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,


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