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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Agenda 21 - 4. Chapter 4 - "These Haunted Streets"


Chapter One: The Culling
(Part Four - "These Haunted Streets")

I heard my arms, neck, and shoulders, pop and crack as I stretched up towards the sky. It probably sounded a lot more painful than it really was. To me...it actually felt pretty good. I couldn't claim to be 'refreshed' or anything from my nap, but it did work to take some of the virtual sand out of my eyes. At least for the time being.

Everything was so quiet. Even after all this time, being the city boy that I am...I don't think I'll ever get used to the world being this quiet.

Milo hurried back over to the roof's edge, and Ricky and Jordan looked as though they were simply engaging each other in a little bit of small talk while waiting for the big event. There's nothing like seeing that first blazing dot of sunlight as it rose out of the lake and swelled as it pulled itself up out of the horizon. But just as lovely...was the sight of Jordan standing near the edge, with the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan behind him...and a peaceful sky bathed in the glow of golden light.

He turned to look at me over his shoulder...his irresistible smile brightening his profile as he displayed a touch of delight in seeing me up and moving again. Everything about him was absolutely breathtaking. From the blemish appeal of his soft skin, to the lush and shapely form of his kissable lips...to the way even the most subtle of breezes could create a graceful sense of movement in the silken locks of his light blond hair. To look upon that boy in any light was a gift. But something about this morning felt special.

"Hey, sleepy head." He said. "I didn't expect you to be out for as long as you were. Are you feeling alright?"

"Yeah. I'm just..." I was at a loss for words. I didn't have much of an excuse. Other than, "...I'm just tired." that is.

Milo raised his glasses to peek out at the Lake, and he said, "Any minute now."

Ricky put his foot up on the ledge. "Jordan here was telling me that his dad used to drive a truck before the culling began. Big cargo too. I'll bet it was good money back then." I didn't pay Ricky much attention. I was too lost in Jordan's eyes. But then he said, "Hey, Noah? Why don't you tell him about your dad? Noah's dad broke down the whole government agenda with a single book, dude. He was so kick ass."

"I think I've heard a few whispers. Some from Darius and a few of the others." Jordan said. Our eyes kept making contact. Intimate contact. It's times like this that I really wish we were alone. I might find the courage to tell him how I feel if we could just share a single sunrise alone. "Is it true?" He asked me.

"My dad? No. Not really."

"Come on, Noah! Don't listen to him, Jordan. He's just being modest or whatever. Mr. Kenner and Mr. Harvey probably would have stuck it to these assholes pretty fuckin' good if they had given 'em more time!" Ricky bragged.

Jordan's eyes met mine again, and he looked down at his feet with a shy grin. "He sounds pretty important."

"Nah, a lot of people were writing books back then. Making videos, pirate radio stations, handing out flyers. A lot of people knew something wasn't right. Others knew that something was coming, even if they didn't think it was going to be...like this." I sighed. "My dad was one of the first ones Red Listed. And I know he was trying to do good...but...for those first couple of months after they took him? I was just...sooooo angry. You know?" Jordan lifted his gaze again, seemingly concerned. "It's just that...sometimes I feel like we could have been ok. We could have just kept our mouths shut and snuck under the radar. Laid low until it was safe to move and...found ourselves an empty community like the one we've got now. He could have been here with me. With Mom and Anna. I can't help but feel cheated by the fact that he's no longer around. It's not like any of his warnings did any good anyway..." I could hear the bitterness growing in my tone of voice and chose to dial it back a little bit. It's surprising how quickly your emotions can suddenly spin out of control these days if you don't keep them under heavy surveillance.

Jordan put a hand on my shoulder and said, "He sounds pretty cool to me. Besides, the Order came to round up people on the Blue and Yellow lists just as fast as they did everybody else." I nodded, but it didn't mean anything. I was already trying to forget. "You never know, Noah...maybe he found a way out."

"My father's dead." I said.

"Well, it might seem that way now, but..."

"My father...is dead. Ok? He died for nothing when he had everything to live for. He's just...he's gone." I didn't mean for it to come off as angry as it did, but I really wanted to stop thinking about it now.

Leave it to Ricky to drag it out even further. "Died a hero, I'll bet. Probably took a few assholes with him too. BANG! BANG!" God, I wish he had stayed home. "Noah here is the heir to the throne now. His dad's been training him since before any of this shit even started. Like John Connor in those 'Terminator' movies! He's man's last hope."

"Ricky...enough, ok?" I said.

"Don't let him fool you, Jordan. He's got a legacy to build. You'll see. His dad knew it was coming, and Noah here is gonna finish his father's work. Turn this whole wipeout around!"

Milo kept watching the Lake, but it still wasn't time yet. He was getting impatient. I can't understand why. "My parents aren't dead yet. They're going to come back with enough supplies to spread through the whole neighborhood." He said.

Ricky scoffed. "Psh! Suuuuure, Milo. I'm sure they'll be back any day now."

Milo, while as brainy a kid as any that ever existed...he didn't really know what to do with the idea that his parents were gone. They left with a big group of us almost six months ago. Going into the city to see if they could find some of the stuff that our community was running low on. Tools, clothes, fuel for the generators. Both his mother and father went together, mostly to make sure that Milo's asthma inhalers were high on the patrol's list of priorities.

Nobody came back.

Not a single one of them.

I came to terms with the fact that people don't just disappear or go into hiding. They don't vanish for any length of time and then triumphantly return later. Anyone who goes missing for more than 48 hours...you might as well scratch them off of your Christmas list. Milo's parents aren't coming back. But for the sake of his sanity, and maybe my own, I don't mind him entertaining the fantasy. Why not? It's not hurting anybody, right?

I didn't quite hear what Ricky said to Milo that caused him to get upset, but knowing Ricky, it was probably inappropriate and he deserved to get punched in the mouth for it. Milo whined a bit, he's not much of a fighter...and Ricky basically just teased him by giggling at his flimsy attempt to get angry, while backing up to stay just out of Milo's reach.

"So, you're our last hope, huh?" Jordan smiled. I peeked back over at Milo and Ricky, preoccupying themselves and scurrying around the rooftop, giving Jordan and I a few moments to ourselves.

"Don't listen to him. That's just movie bullshit."

"I like movies." He said.

"Great. Well, look around you. You're practically in one right now. And not far from the end credits, I might add." I was doing it again, wasn't I? Depressing myself. I should just keep my mouth shut.

"So how did he know? Ricky said your dad knew something like this was coming. How?"

"He didn't." I said. But when Jordan raised an eyebrow, I rolled my eyes a bit and told him, "My dad was big on history. Political history, mainly. He had all of these weird ideas about...governments ruling over their populations through deception and misdirection...propaganda. The more he filled his head with that stuff, the weirder he got. Then he started filling my head with it too. Once you hear enough of that garbage on a daily basis it begins to make a strange sort of sense. You begin to see things that aren't there. Make connections that don't exist." I shrugged my shoulders. "By the time those planes hit the World Trade Center...he was already too involved to let it go."

"Did you believe him? The things he was telling you?"

"Honestly...I don't know. Sometimes, I think I did. Other times...I think I just wanted to spend time with my dad. I wanted him to be proud of me. Being a part of that particular interest and passion of his was my best way to do that." I kept an eye on the Lake, just in case we missed the beginning of the sun rise. But no. Not yet. "It was the water." I said. Giving Jordan his answer.

"Say what? The water?"

"The government started putting fluoride in the water supply. Small communities at first. Then towns and lesser populated cities. And they just kept going. It was meant to be a pacifying agent. He said it was what the Nazis began doing just before they started relocating the Jews before World War II. My dad used to have all of these notes and photocopied printouts taped to the wall in his study. He used to talk about how Hitler burned down the German Parliament Building in order to start taking civil liberties away from the people. Then...heh...my dad would put up pictures and talk about how our government brought down the World Trade in order to start taking civil liberties away from the people the exact same way. Then came the camps. Communists, Jews, Muslims...there's always a scapegoat. Tragedy equals legistration. He used to always tell me that. Over and over again. So...when the shit hit the fans and the FEMA camps started filling up to get away from the killer virus in the streets...he figured he had all the proof he needed. That's when my dad and Mr. Harvey wrote that damn book. And...well...that was pretty much the end of it all."

Jordan was silent for a moment. I assume to give me a chance to keep my emotions stable. Thinking about my father was more bitter than sweet. Milo and Ricky quit horsing around and had come back to the roof's edge to join us.

"So...the water was when he knew things were in motion, huh? Fluoride in the water." Jordan asked. "Weird."

Milo said, "I thought they debunked that whole water thing, remember? From your dad's book, right?"

"They're skeptics." I said. "That's what skeptics do. They debunk anything they can get their hands on. And they're all dead now. So good for them."

Jordan smirked and said, "You know what they say...skeptics are usually the first ones to stumble upon the truth."

"They're usually the first ones to die in a horror movie too." I said.

I was pretty melancholy about the statement when I made it, but when Jordan's smile widened, a slight giggle escaping his lips, I couldn't help but to smile back at him. "Good point." He said.

That's when Milo yelled, "THERE! Look! it's coming up! I see it!" Pointing out at the lake.

Ricky scolded him. "Shut up! We see it! Jesus, what are you hollering for?"

But I remained silent as the first bright rays of sunshine shot up into the morning sky. The fiery mass growing before our eyes, giving birth to a level of beauty that beyond comprehension. And yet...I still felt the urge to look at Jordan. Just to see how the newborn illumination would look when reflected in the electric charm of his intimidating bright blue eyes.

He only glanced back at me briefly, but now that Milo and Ricky were both focused on the vision in front of us...I felt Jordan's fingers gradually reach out from his side...and take a secret hold of my hand.

A steady rippling of chills slid up from our connection and pulsed its way directly into the center of my heart. I could feel the helpless organ pounding away inside of my chest, more alive than it has been for as long as I could remember. I smiled so wide that it made my cheeks hurt, but I didn't allow myself to giggle out loud. I knew that if I started giggling now...I wouldn't be able to stop. The funny thing is, I think Jordan was holding back a few chuckles of his own. But no matter how much electric energy there was passing back and forth between us...we didn't dare look one another in the eye. We'd burst out laughing for sure if we did. I can't explain to you why...but we both knew that would be the outcome.

So we just...stared out at the Lake and the rising sun beyond it. Grinning like a couple of dizzy hyenas. And holding hands.

Jordan Chadwick...was holding my hand.

"You know, if you were to put a bunch of Earths into the sun, and you left it in its round sphere shape...you could fit, like 960,000 Earths into it..." Milo mumbled. Probably for lack of having anything else to say.

"Ugh, will you shut up already?" Ricky groaned. "Who cares?"

"Actually, if you didn't leave the world in its spherical shape, and you could smoosh it together...you could fit over a million."

"Milo, I swear to Christ..."

"Actually MORE than a million. Almost a million and a half..."

"Dude!" Ricky grunted. But I didn't pay them any mind. Neither did Jordan. We were holding hands. We never did that before. This was different. More affectionate. The world may be a very different place these days, but I was certain that Jordan and I had been subjected to enough social programming to know that...well, typically...boys don't hold hands.

It could have been written off as just a rather exciting 'buddy moment' had Jordan simply tossed his arm over my shoulder, or given me a quick hug. But this wasn't just friendly. His hand caressed mine, and his tender hold on me, skin to skin, lingered while we both struggled to control our heavy breathing. His fingers...my fingers...palm pressed against palm. It was kissing without kissing. A treasured embrace.

Our first.

"Not quite 1.5 million Earths. I think it's more like 1.3 million. Still...that's a whole lot of Earths..." Milo persisted, and seeing as Jordan and I were standing between them, Ricky decided to enlist me to hush him up.

"Noah, God dammit, will you PLEASE do something to..." Ricky stopped, mid sentence. He looked down, and I suddenly felt Jordan's warm hand detach itself from mine. "What are you two doing?"

The shock of having him notice caused Jordan to turn pink almost instantly.

My reaction...was slightly different.

It began as a split second's worth of fear. Fear of being caught. Fear of being outcast and made fun of and dragging Jordan into the mud with me. But it quickly turned to sadness as I realized that our special little moments was now over. It was so brief. So fleeting. It hurt to have to let it go.

And that's when the anger came.

I probably could tossed Ricky right off of that fucking roof and never would have thought twice about it. At this point, I could tell everyone back in the neighborhood that Ricky took off without us and simply never came back. It happens so often, I doubt anyone would do much to investigate it. Hell, they might even be happy to know that they wouldn't have to put up with his borderline bully tactics anymore.

But then...I'd be the asshole, wouldn't I?

Milo looked over at us and lifted his glasses to see if he could figure out what Ricky was talking about. Ricky just laughed out loud, "Were you two fags just holding hands??? What the fuck is THAT all about? Hahaha! Milo, did you just see that shit?"

Jordan was embarrassed, and he turned around to walk away from the roof's edge. I couldn't believe how much HATRED I had for Ricky at that moment. I just stood there, got directly in his face, and said, "The next time any of us go anywhere, do us a favor...stay the FUCK home!" And I walked away to catch up to Jordan.

"Whatever, pretty boy! My bad if I screwed up a blowjob opportunity between you and your 'bromance' buddy over there!" He snickered.

Milo called out to me, "Wait, Noah! The sun's not all the way up yet! You've gotta see the detach from the Lake water and stuff! That's the best part!"

But as Jordan hurried to squeeze his way back through the door and into the darkness of the steps leading us back to the street...I just told him, "I've seen it before. Besides, want to get home before my mom wakes up. She's been a major bitch lately. I don't want to hear her running her mouth the second I step through the front door." And I climbed in after Jordan, hoping to catch him before he got to a part of the warehouse where it would too dark for me to see him again.

"Awww..." Milo moaned, but it was only a moment or two before he spun around and was trotting right behind me like the little human satellite that he was. I shouldn't have expected anything less. All I know is, I wanted to get as far ahead of him as possible before he started treating us to his neurotic 'counting' of the floors on his way back down to ground level. And certainly before Ricky came along, blathering on about something that was NONE of his damn business to begin with! God! If he just...wasn't such an ASSHOLE...!!!

I think Jordan was a few flights of stairs ahead of me from the sound of it. And I was certainly quite a few flights ahead of Milo and Ricky. The further we went down, the darker the staircase got. Until I almost couldn't see my own hand in front of my face. I guess the buildings across the street blocked whatever little sunlight could reach us this early in the morning. Who knows? I just wanted to catch up to Jordan. I just...I just wanted to let him know that it was OK for him to hold my hand! REALLY, it was! I wanted to let him know that I liked it. And that I wanted to do it again. That and a whole lot more.

If I let him go now, and he starts stewing over the idea of being rejected for being close to me...I may just lose him forever. And I can't let that happen! I WON'T let that happen!

Eventually, Jordan reached the bottom floor and he walked through the door, leading him back into the warehouse. I couldn't follow the sounds of his footsteps anymore. The darkness around me became empty. Quiet. Cold.

When I opened the door and entered the wide open space before me, I didn't hear anything at all.

I stopped moving. Trying to see if I could at least hear him breathing. He wasn't so far ahead of me as to have made it back outside into daylight that quickly.

"Jordan?" I whispered. "Jordan? Where are you?"

I stretched both of my arms out in front of me, trying to feel around in the darkness to make sure I didn't smash my face into something.


At that moment, I heard a very subdued sniffle coming from the darkness beside me. Quiet. Vulnerable. Followed by a whisper..."I'm sorry, Noah...."

I was going to say that he didn't have any REASON to be sorry! That it was ok and that Ricky was a jerk and that...if we could JUST be alone together for a FEW short moments...

But I didn't get the chance.

Jordan's delicate fingers reached out, and once again, they took a hold of my hand.

I couldn't see anything at all at the time...but when he gave me a gentle pull forward...I followed his lead.

And as I was guided around a dark corner, unable to see anything at all...I felt the warmth of his boyish breath on my face...as he leaned forward, and gave me an extremely timid kiss on the lips.

Overwhelmed with emotion, I almost began to cry. Was this it? Was this the moment I had been searching for?

I didn't speak. Nor did he. But when I gave his hand a soft squeeze, he understood the gesture. He leaned forward again, and somehow our lips found each other. Even in pitch black darkness, Jordan's remarkable beauty was evident. Blinding, even.

Our lips connected. Our heartbeats found a simultaneous rhythm. And I found myself dizzy with love as we melted into one another...free to express our true feelings at last.

I could hear Milo and Ricky bouncing down the stairs to come join us in the blackness of the open warehouse, but when they first called out our names...we didn't answer. For that one shining moment in time...the world was ours. All ours.

And we intended to make it last for as long as we could, before the outsiders came to shatter it and lay claim to its flawless structure.

Yes...for now...

The world could be anything that we wanted it to be. For now, we remembered what life could be.

All Stories and Original Content Copyright © 1998-2008 by Comicality.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Excellent chapter!! Please keep this story going, and PLEASE not so long before the next chapter!

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