‘If only that truck driver had paid attention, I wouldn’t be stuck in this … this God awful contraption for the rest of my life …’ Maggie thought as she stared into the computer monitor.
“I’m only fifty-three and dead from my waist down … DAMN HIM,” she growled and pushed herself backward, away from my cluttered computer desk.
She glared at the piles of papers, scribbled notes, an empty coffee cup and numerous pill vials. The house was a wreck, the roof leaked and the septic didn’t work. She couldn’t fix it, she had no money; and she couldn’t do the repairs anyway.
The computer was her life after the accident, broad-sided by a semi.
‘I shouldn’t have survived … I wish I hadn’t. But I did and here I sit, watching the world fall apart around me.’
Buzz … Buzz … Another text message. It was from Maggie’s only son, Günter.
‘Mom … I Love You!!!’ was all it said.
They hadn’t finished their conversation, but something was wrong—terribly wrong.
Maggie wheeled herself back to the laptop quickly.
“Why is this taking so long?” she shouted, as she slammed the mouse on the desk. The online TV channel opened and she read the headlines.
It had begun. Why hadn’t anyone listened? Sheep to slaughter, that’s all it was; history repeating itself.
THUD … THUD … CRASH …
“Find anyone here and hurry, we don’t have all night,” yelled a deep voice from the front of the house.
‘I can’t hide … why are they here … I’ve done nothing wrong!!!’ Maggie thought as her crippled body began to tremble.
The intruders fumbled and destroyed each room. They found their target.
Maggie stared into the monitor; her cell phone buzzed away, she said nothing.
A firm, strong hand grabbed her shoulder and forcibly turned her around.
“You are coming with us, Miss Weiss. It has been determined you are an enemy of the state,” the tallest mercenary stated.
Dressed in a black uniform, complete with patent-leather brimmed hat and shiny boots, the one thing that stood out … a small pin proudly displayed on his lapel.
“Lift her up, I’ll get what’s here … MOVE IT!!” another shouted.
Maggie slapped her own face in disbelief, ‘is this all a dream?’ She opened her eyes to M16’s pointed at her head.
She was snatched up and carried through what was left of her home and out into the yard. Idling in the street was a converted school bus; painted black, a whirling yellow light broke the darkness. One of the men opened the emergency door and two more grabbed her. They hoisted her limp body into the vehicle. The seats were changed; they lined the sides of the bus now.
Cramped together were several others, scooped up by the madmen.
“Do NOT talk to anyone!!” she was instructed firmly.
‘I know these people—my neighbors … my friends … but WHY?’
The engine revved. The driver sped down the street and out of the neighborhood.
The interstate was crowded, but not with the usual traffic … only buses … THESE BUSES!!!
At every exit, some would depart the caravan. Maggie’s pressed on. For miles they travelled in silence and fear. Some turned to see where they were; but they couldn’t tell in the pitch dark.
Up ahead was another exit. The bus slowed and came to a stop at the end of the ramp.
“Chris … do you know what’s going on?” Maggie whispered to her next-door neighbor sitting beside her. He didn’t reply; only shrugged his shoulders. She looked into his eyes. The happy-go-lucky man she knew had vanished. Looking around at the others; they all had the same despondent expression.
They rode on for a few more miles and a well-lit complex appeared. It was surrounded by eight-foot high cinderblock walls, barbed-wire and razor-ribbon. The buildings were strangely familiar.
Maggie’s horrified thoughts became clear ‘FEMA trailers … it was true … ALL OF IT!!!’
The bus pulled up to the entrance and the driver stopped for inspection. He opened the side door and handed the guard a clipboard filled to the max with paperwork.
“OK, pass through, stop at the first building,” the guard instructed.
Slowly the bus moved forward and stopped. The silence had turned into a low moaning.
“Stand and prepare for unloading!!” the driver shouted.
All but one did.
“I said STAND, bitch!!” the driver shouted as he looked back at Maggie.
“Sir, I can’t, I’m disabled, paralyzed from my waist down.”
Suddenly she was shoved to stand and fell off the seat to the floor.
“I CAN’T STAND. YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT … WHY DIDN’T YOU BELIEVE ME???” she screamed, her eyes filled with tears.
“Get her up … NOW” the driver retorted, disgust evident in his face.
“She’ll be the last to go, get the others out of here and process them.”
Everyone moved forward except Maggie.
‘My heart is racing … my meds … I only have a few days worth in my pocket …’
The bus was now vacant as Maggie watched her friends through the window being led away. She looked at the buildings; they stretched out into oblivion. The area was well lit, but the buildings were dark and deserted.
The driver slammed the side door shut and hit the gas. Quickly they passed the white aluminum structures, one by one, she lost track at fifty. The bus stopped, the door swung open and two men entered.
“She’s back there, says she’s paralyzed. She wouldn’t stand when ordered. Take her, she’s ALL YOURS!” the driver stated with a vicious grin.
Two uniformed men strode down the aisle, their boots clicked as they walked.
“What’s your name?”
“Margaret Weiss, sir. What am I doing here, have I no rights?”
The men’s laughter echoed.
“NO!! None at all and because of your opposing voice, you never shall again. All those you have contact with will be confined as well. Your cell phone and laptop have been confiscated—vital information to put you on trial … as a civilian terrorist!”
“BUT I’M NOT! This country was once the greatest on earth. Don’t you remember? We had rights and liberties granted by the Constitution and Bill of Rights …”
“Those days are gone … your precious country has fallen!” one said brusquely.
Maggie was removed from the bus and paraded toward the compound.
Her eyes strained into the distance. Tall stacks spouted smoke and choking ash …
‘All my pink pills at once … YES! My heart will stop … this nightmare OVER …’
~ ~ ~ ~ ~“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” ~