Maniacs (pt. 6)
The following day, the President addressed the nation, and it was the first time I had ever seen him look so grim, so old (any president for that matter). The lines in his face had deepened; the stress was taking its toll.
He declared a national state of emergency, and put a ban on all public firearms sales. He urged all Americans to stay in their homes. Temporary stations would be set up at various points throughout all US cities to supply food and medical supplies, with supply trucks making continuous runs like ice cream trucks, making sure people had enough to eat. The Army and National Guard, along with local law enforcement, had total discretion concerning the use of deadly force. If you left your home, you could be mistaken for a loony and killed.
After the broadcast, the local new stations showed video captured from New York, where gangs of maniacs were attacking and killing citizens in the streets. Police wearing riot gear were running through the mobs, clubbing people down, blocking blows with their shields, and shooting people point blank. In all my days living in this messed up world, with all the violence and chaos that has plagued our world since the beginning of time, I have never seen anything quite like this – it was sheer mayhem. Maniacs were running everywhere like ants, gathering in groups and overturning cars, attacking police and other more docile maniacs, who were simply sleepwalking through the city streets, unaware of the world around them. Smoke rose from scattered fires. Cars, buildings, dumpsters; the maniacs were torching everything they could, even people, which was much too horrible to describe or watch for those faint of heart. Police clubbed, shot, and screamed as they suffered injuries of their own, all caught on camera by those still in possession of their facilities.
The news showed video from other US cities, and a few foreign cities, and it was like watching a worldwide riot. Compton was relatively small, but home to thousands of people. Already the town had been effected. But how long would it be before we were just another nest of smoke and destruction?
I looked out the window, and saw armed men in fatigues and gas masks patrolling down both sides of the street.
It would not be long, I decided. It would be not long.
Maniacs (pt. 7)
We stayed inside and watched newscasts of the world sliding slowly into a realm of a lunatic society. It was strange how one day I was watching Ritchie losing his mind, and now order and rational thinking were no longer the norm. We had gone to war with an alien race, and we were the aliens. Cities were like battlefronts, the streets ravaged and in ruins, and our own city was beginning to taste the chaos.
Once, while staring out the window, I spied one of the supply trucks rolling slowly by, and I ran out the front door, raising my arms in surrender. “Stop,” I yelled. “I need food. Just some food.”
The truck jerked to a halt, and a couple of men in fatigues jumped out of the cab and ran toward me. “Stop right there!” they ordered, their voice muffled by the gas masks. They had their M-16’s pointed right at me. I was not very comfortable, to say the least. After all, how often does the average person have a gun pointed at his or her head? “Turn around!” I kept my arms raised and turned around.
“What is it you need?” one man asked, as if I hadn’t already made that clear.
“I just need some food. It’s just my wife and me. I swear I’m not crazy,” I said. They looked me over for a few moments, and then looked at each other.
“All right, put your arms down,” one said. The other went to the back of the truck and raised the sliding door. He produced a couple of boxes and set them on the ground in front of me.
“You say it’s just you and your wife?” he asked.
“Yes, just the two of us,” I said, and I noticed the two of them visibly relax a little.
“Is everything ok in your household?” A muffled voice asked.
“Yes, everything is fine.”
“Alright then. I’m sorry I can’t give you more, but if it’s just you and your wife, this should last a little while.”
“This is fine, really,” I said, relieved that their guns were now pointed at the ground. “Thanks for stopping.”
“No problem. I would advise that you take your supplies and get back inside immediately. It’s not safe out here anymore.” It’s weird, but even through the muffle of the gasmask I could detect a note of sadness in the soldier’s voice. They climbed back into the truck and continued down the street. I stood there for a minute, taking in my surroundings. I saw two houses across the street with bright red X’s on the front doors. Further down the street, they were dragging more body bags out of a house. I picked up my boxes and carried them inside.