Lake 33 Killing Relic
Chapter 11
God of Fire
A Weldon Springs Radiation story

Like the other pages, this is Draft #1.

I am putting the chapters up on the web site as I type them, including typos, point of view problems, grammar issues and poorly thought out ideas.

I struggled with a way to begin a romance concept with these two individuals and had to give up.

I can return.

But the advice is like this, get in motion somehow instead of being stuck. I can always repair or delete, or what the heck, kill of the main character because I can.



Draft # 1

Chapter 11

I looked north from the top of the Weldon Springs dome towards home. For some time I had been suppressing the magnet pull towards the green blur that was the O'Day Branch Creek and Stonebridge Stables.

By now, people would be placing me in the weird category for not stopping to see my parents. The longer I stayed away, the stranger it seemed, yet conversely, the slower I drove on Highway DD when passing the old place.

Highway DD and all the new construction, I was slowly getting used to the new park and housing development constructed over the leaky underground pipeline. Would there be petroleum fumes leaking into houses?

"Oh, more than fumes," my brother Rob had explained how the new homes were constructed over the old Pioneer cemetery. "They just bulldozed everything," said Rob. "You know me; I do not believe in government contrails or ghosts, but I bet those houses have extra guests the residents aren't aware of." 

I laughed at my brother's sense of humor and possible hauntings. "Did the homeowners know about the cemetery or the pipeline?" 

I laughed at the thought of ghosts and considered that the entire reason for the new O'Day Park was that no one wanted to be responsible for cleaning the soil after the pipeline from Oklahoma had leaked for nearly seventy years.

Director Lui caught me outside the handrails as I navigated the boulders covering the dome, collecting sticky candy wrappers and apple juice boxes.

"Seems like you have a problem following the rules," said Lui.

"A janitor's work is never done," I said.

"When is a janitor more than a janitor?" said Lui.

It was an odd question.

She studied the brass plaque pointing to the ghost towns of Mechanicsville and Toonerville.

I began to climb over the railing to get back on the concrete platform but stopped at her words.

"You don't mind breaking or stretching the rules, do you?" said the Director, pointing at the 'Do not enter' sign attached to the handrails.

I was surprised that she was even talking to me. Every time I joked about a gas station, she stormed away.

"To do my job as a janitor and collect the trash, I have to climb out on the rocks." The words were true, but I thought I sounded lame.

"That is not what I meant," said the Director. "Janitor? You know a lot about this place, don't you?"

I felt safer keeping the hand rails between myself and the museum director.

"Sort of a hobby; I grew up over that way,"  pointing north.

Director Liu held up a vanilla envelope.

"Thanks to Uncle Sam and the internet, I have your life history in this yellow envelope."

I could not contain my surprise.

"You can close your mouth; you're drawing flies," said the Director. "I have had four people inquire about my janitor. Nothing like that has ever happened before. Why is everyone so curious about a janitor? So I took the liberty to look into your background."

"People asking about me?" I asked.

The Director pulled a sheaf of papers from the envelope. "Says here, your family has a horse boarding stables on Highway DD. "You know that stable was on the news recently; the Sheriff broke up a horse thief ring."

"My parent's place," I said.

"So you are a horse person," asked the Director.

Who had been asking about me?

"I suppose I am a horse person, although it has been ages since I thought that way, cowboy boots and hat. 

You know, at one time, my father was the best Blacksmith in the state. Ah, the best Ferrier in the state. Most people would not know the difference, but I saw your barrel racing pictures."

"Hubris to use the words 'the best' in the state?" asked the Director.

"Nope, honest description. However, the problem with being the best is that only one direction remains."

"My impression is that is your history also, said the Director.

She read from the paper in her hand, "United States Air Force. A tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. Enlisted, not officer material?"

I did not know if she was attempting to be insulting or making a joke.

"JTac. You know I had to look that up? Special Tactics Squadron

You were awarded the Air Force Cross for actions at the Battle of Shok Valley in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. Directing close air support and airstrikes totaling 6,700 cannon rounds, a dozen Hellfire missiles, a dozen 500-pound bombs," the Director looked up from the paper. "Two of the Hellfire missiles were requested on your own coordinates?"

I didn't look at her and only said, "The Taliban had overrun our position. No other choice if our wounded were to be saved."

The Director paused to consider the implications and continued reading, "Medical discharge for wounds received.

"Then your record gets weird. Three years for possession of Meth?" 

I didn't say anything.

"I contacted the DA in St. Charles. You know what he said? The drugs were not yours. You took the fall for someone you refused to name. He said he had to give you the minimum sentence because that was the law but attempted to talk you out of it."

I wasn't going to talk about it, but her black eyes bore into me, and I sat on the hard rocks and admitted the truth.

"When I returned to the States, I was having problems adjusting. You can call it PTSD, but I think it was withdrawal."

"Withdrawal? asked the Director. "Pills, coke, what?"

I had to shake my head and laugh at her suggestion of drugs.

"I guess you wouldn't understand. Well, I don't know; maybe you would as a barrel racer. That is exciting, right? A rush? A powerful rush? I know it is; I have been on those beasts trained to run the barrels or pole bending."

The Director's eyes held a hint of excitement, but she did not say a word.

I exhaled deeply, "I needed those three years in prison to decompress, to control my DTs. Earlier, you mentioned the word Hubris. That was me. I suffered from arrogance and excessive pride because, like the old gods, I controlled and directed the lightning and fire from the heavens. With a radio call, I called in the A10s with their Gatling guns, the gun ships and the jets with their missiles and bombs. The silent death from the B2 Spirits and drones. Could Thor, Odin, or Zeus do as much as I could? No way, I surpassed the old gods. That was better than any drug, better than the best sex. How long can a mere mortal last?

At some point, my arrogance or jealousy of the gods put me in a position where I had to call the lightning on myself.

When I returned stateside, I realized I had made a Faustian deal with the Devil; I wasn't a god. I was only seeking that edge, like a champion barrel racing horse, pushing faster, harder, seeking that edge and thrill of danger. After the Air Force, I took up skydiving, scuba, and bar fights with bikers—anything for that thrill. Cocaine couldn't touch that itch. I could see my future, one hundred and forty miles an hour motorcycle rides and maybe heroin-death was calling.

For my life and friends and family, I did three years to control impulses and thoughts. In prison, I could not jump off a cliff wearing a fucking squirrel suit."

I put my head in my hands; I didn't want to look at the Director. "Sorry, I have never told anyone the truth."

After a while, the Director spoke. "You are right. I do get the barrel racing comparison. But I would never jump off a cliff in a squirrel suit. Here is some trash for you. Don't let it blow down the side of this radiation mountain."

She placed the yellow envelope on the concrete.

"Who was asking about me?" I asked the Director as she began to descend the stairs.

"I'm not sure I should tell you, but an archaeologist asked about a funeral you went to, and a DOE investigator asked about the same funeral. Something freaky happen at that funeral?

Oddly, a Missouri Conservation Department Agent warned me about something he learned about you as a child. The final person was an asshole parole agent who did not believe meth-heads could keep a job."


Back to Chapter 10.5


Return to Chapter 1 & 2 of the Weldon Springs Radiation story, Lake 33 Killing Relic


Return to HOME from God of Fire, Lake 33 Killing Relic


moon



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