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~~~

Stephen sat at the control console staring at the blank page of his journal. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stay focused long enough to write a single sentence detailing the past several hours of the darkest day since their community beneath the Wasteland had formed.

He looked up from the large book, searched for Nicole, and was relieved to still find her absent. Stephen knew they had to talk eventually, but he was grateful to be left alone for a few minutes.

Logan had insisted that Bear and Barney remain with him at all times, but Stephen was adamant about his privacy in the control room, so his two appointed body guards remained down the hall, and out of sight.

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then spoke into the low-lit control room, “Today was the day our community nearly destroyed itself…” He let the words hang, wondering how they would sound if he started his speech with those words. No, I can’t focus on the bad. I have to somehow bring something good out of this tragic experience.

He finally put his pen to the page and wrote:

It’s been six hours since Carl Lannister was taken into custody. Everyone involved in his uprising has been temporarily placed in the mess hall under guard while the rest of the community are waiting for me to join them in Cubicle City to discuss the immediate future. Logan is distracting them as best he can while I work up the nerve to speak to these people and offer them… what? Hope?

He paused, not relishing writing the rest. Stephen continued…

Quick summary of the darker points of the day because it pains me to write anything else in too much detail:

Gina was relieved of command. She’s currently being held under guard for murder and attempted murder charges in one of the storage rooms. So far Gina has been cooperative. She hasn’t said a word to anyone since she was arrested. It sickens me to think that she is being treated the same as Lannister, who is also being held in a similar room just a few doors down in the same hall.

Logan, our resident preacher, had to kill a man. Sabastian Reed, an assassin sent by Lannister, almost succeeded in killing Meredith, Megan and Dr. Cooper. Logan arrived just in time to shoot the man in the head. On a positive note, Dr. Cooper’s injuries weren’t serious and he is recovering from a minor concussion.

Meredith, who takes sole responsibility for transporting Megan away from the clinic, for the time being, is confined to the clinic. Her only crime was trying to save Megan but her actions by almost letting Megan get loose could not be dismissed.

And finally, the scariest part of the whole day for me was when Tony came to me in private a few hours ago and stepped down from his current position as leader of the Wasteland community. The only reason he would give was that he felt that his relationship with Gina was a conflict of interest. I could tell there was more but I didn’t press the matter. And with his and Logan’s persuasion, the community has wholeheartedly agreed that I, Stephen Eddington, former history teacher, am now the acting leader of this broken community until an appropriate election can occur.

Stephen stopped and slammed the book close. “Enough,” he said, shaking his tired head. He stared at the big book and felt disgusted by it. This was intended to chronicle our dark past to show and teach the future what got us here… except that we are all still living in that darkness. For the first time he wondered if any of them would be left to read ridiculous books like this. Does it really matter… now?

On top of everything else, there was the matter of Marcus’s death outside the Wasteland that was overshadowed by Lannister’s mess. Stephen felt his absence harder than anyone. “Gina’s a criminal. Tony’s given up. Meredith’s considered a witch… and now Marcus is dead! I’m the last one left from our sad little inner circle. A man left in charge who currently feels betrayed by the dead woman he loves.” He laughed at the absurdity of his statement and looked once more for Nicole to share the joke.

But Nicole remained absent.

“Yes,” he whispered. “I am alone now.” He knocked the book off the control console feeling a hint of satisfaction when the heavy thing struck the floor. “No more stories. No more hiding in books, behind phantoms, or under the thumb of guilt. I can do something here… if I’m brave enough to try it.” He thought of something he’d never had a chance to resolve. Now… he was going to get his chance.

In a few minutes, Stephen would find out just what kind of leader he would be.

~~~

When Stephen arrived at Cubicle City, the gymnasium-sized living quarters of the community was already buzzing with angry voices, fearful whispers, and looks of disdain and distrust. Logan did his best to keep everyone calm, but the community’s patience was at an all-time low.

Stephen stepped up to the make-shift podium next to Logan, nodded at the big man, and then looked out into the smaller-than-usual crowd. This won’t work, he thought. This won’t work unless everyone is here.

“Hello, Stephen,” Logan said, pulling the teacher aside and putting a big hand on his shoulder. “Are you ready for this?”

Stephen smiled. “Thanks for… stalling. I just needed a little time to process.”

Logan laughed. “Understandable. I’ve been doing a lot of stalling in this room today.”

“How are you holding up?” Stephen asked, clearly referring to the shooting.

Logan simply nodded and said, “I’ll get through it, Stephen… with God’s help.”

Stephen nodded, took a deep breath, and said, “I need you to do one more thing for me, Logan. And I need you not to question me about it.”

Logan waited.

Here we go. “I need you to bring everyone here… the rest of the community.”

Logan’s eyebrows shot up. “You mean… everyone?”

Stephen thought for a moment and then quoted scripture. “‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’ I believe your man, Jesus, said that, did he not?”

Logan laughed in surprise. “Why, yes, he certainly did… and I understand… but some might not, especially today.”

Stephen nodded. “Logan, today might be all we have left. It has to be now.”

Logan shook his head. “Consider it done, my friend. This will be an exciting meeting if nothing else.”

“Thanks, Logan. I’ll start talking. Just bring the others in, separate them accordingly, and keep them toward the back. I just need them all here. I’m not expecting cake and kisses afterwards.”

Logan walked off, laughing hard. “He said, ‘cake and kisses’, praise God! That’s the funniest damn thing I’ve heard all day!”

Stephen watched the big man leave with a smile. Well, I’m not completely alone… yet. He stepped up to the podium and felt everyone’s eyes on him immediately.

Okay, if I picture them all naked… I’ll never get through this. Take a breath, Eddington. You’ve seen enough presidential speeches in your lifetime to know that all of them began with confidence… so start there.

Stephen scanned the room and smiled. He placed his nervous hands on top of the podium and started speaking. “Hello everyone. Most of you know me, but for the sake of being official, I’ll just start by saying that my name is Stephen Eddington, and due to unfortunate recent events, it’s been decided by the community that I step in as acting leader while we get through the difficult days ahead. Once we regain our bearings as a community, it is my intention to push for a public election, as I once promised you in the mess hall, as soon as possible.”

This was met by silence.

Stephen laughed and said. “Like all of you, I’m just as much in shock by today’s events, but I believe we will find a way to move past today and on toward the future… together.” He shuffled his feet. “If this were the old world, and I were a politician, I would’ve had someone much more skilled than I, prepare me an eloquent sounding speech to inspire and motivate all of you. But I am not a politician. I’m just a school teacher, and we live in a different world today… a more hostile world. That’s why I need your help in making the best decisions I can for this community.” He scanned their faces and felt their sadness and anger. Give them something real, Eddington. “In a few minutes, some of you… hell… maybe all of you… might start regretting putting me in charge. I’m going to be transparent with all of you right now. I’m terrified. I’m standing here, hoping that I won’t screw things up or make matters worse by my first actions as your leader. In fact, as I speak, Logan is gathering up the rest of the community to make sure we address our uncertain future together… as it should be. That means, Lannister and all those who followed him, along with Gina… and even Meredith… will be joining us.”

This was met with cries of outrage and disgust as it appeared as though everyone in Cubicle City was ready to remove Stephen from office… immediately.

To add fuel to the fire, all of Lannister’s traitors from the mess hall started filing in toward the back and off to the right, along with Lannister himself. Logan was careful to keep them under guard and as far away from the rest of the community as possible. The crowd protested immediately.

Logan followed after, escorting Gina, who refused to look at anyone. They quietly took a seat along the wall to the left. She was equally received by the community.

Meredith was the last to enter, escorted by Dr. Cooper and two guards. They remained close to the entrance in case Logan needed to get her out of there quickly. She looked terrified as the community emphatically voiced their disapproval at the witch’s attendance.

For a moment, Stephen was simply appalled as he watched how fast the community crumbled, turning hateful and abusive with their words.

I should just open the hatch, announce our presence with trumpets, and let the dead in and have at us!

“When did we become… MONSTERS!!!” Stephen shouted above the mob.

This got the community’s attention. They turned back toward Stephen.

“That’s right! The only thing that’s ever been able to keep us from tearing each other apart, is the threat of something much worse! In fact, it’s probably the only thing that’s managed to keep us together… AT ALL!” He tried to calm down, unsuccessfully. “Is this what you want? IS THIS ALL WE HAVE LEFT?! Shame on all of us!” He started pacing in front of the podium. “Maybe we deserve to be eliminated from the world! Maybe humanity is not worth saving! If it means being reduced to… THIS… then what the hell does it matter?”

The crowd was quieting down.

Stephen wasn’t finished. He stared into their faces and said, “You are all fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers… titles that mean something, titles that share one thing in common even if every one of you are different! Did we all leave this behind when we moved down here? Did we leave our fucking humanity out in the cold all winter for the dead to feast on? If so… then what are we now? Are we already… DEAD!? If the answer is yes… and by the looks of things in this room… we’re very close… then I’ll just have Logan hand out weapons and we can just shoot each other and be done with it! Is that what you want?”

Some of the crowd murmured, “No!”

Stephen raised his voice. “Not good enough! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?”

The community roared back more enthusiastically this time, “NO!”

“Good!” Stephen said, managing to calm down… a little. “I’m glad to hear it! Because aside from letting you kill each other, or letting the dead inside to finish us off… I was wondering if I was ever going to get around to leading a ‘community’, a ‘family’… or a pack of wild animals!”

Some nodded toward Stephen. Some laughed uncomfortably. Some stewed silently. Some appreciated the boldness of their new leader.

“For as long as I’m your leader… and if that’s only until everyone leaves this room… so be it. But while I have the floor, I’m going to make a few changes immediately. Are you ready for some bold changes? Or do you want to keep on hating each other and everything until you can’t stand to look at yourselves in the mirror any longer?”

The community yelled, “Hell yes!”

“Are you ready to do the hardest thing you’ve ever done if it means that we can be more than just fucking survivors stuck down here in this shit-hole? Well… ARE YOU?”

“HELL YES!!!” The community agreed. Even some of Lannister’s men were chiming in.

“Well that’s good news,” Stephen said, lowering his voice. “It’s good to know that there are still a few human beings residing down here… and not monsters. There’s enough of those in the world without having to live down here with them, too.” Stephen took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “We’ve all been victimized and made hard by this merciless world. We’ve all done terrible, terrible things in the name of survival, desperation, whatever you want to call it. Doesn’t matter now. But before I can continue… before ‘we’ can continue… we all have to go back to our previous titles. We can’t become the decent men and women we’re going to be if we forget the best parts of who we were… and the families that made us, and keep us, strong. We are not savages, zombies… monsters. But we’ve all earned a new title since we’ve been thrown into this hostile world. A title that must be addressed… now… and removed from our lives if we’re even going to stand a chance… or be worthy of one.” He stared hard into their faces. “Let’s look at our new title: Murderers.”

This caused Gina to finally look up.

Lannister hung his head and tried to hide behind the other traitors.

The crowd started turning their attention back on Lannister and Gina, raising their voices and spewing obscenities at them.

“I wasn’t finished!” Stephen said, causing the community to quiet back down. He pointed his finger, sweeping it across everyone in attendance. “I was talking about ALL OF US! So as long as we continue to harbor hatred in our hearts… then we’re all murderers!”

Logan crossed his arms. He was smiling.

Stephen continued. “Look… let’s be completely honest in this place. We’ve all failed people we care about out there. You know what I’m talking about. When The Change happened, we all ran, hid… survived… in any way we could. We lost loved ones… and we blamed ourselves. Then we packed up all of our guilt and brought it down here! After a while, it got easier to simply turn away from our own disgusting reflections and find anyone else to blame. We hated Meredith because she’s different; Megan, because she’s more like ‘one of them’; Gina because she wouldn’t let us leave and die with those we failed… and now we can go on hating because of Lannister’s rebellion.” Stephen shook his head. “We will continue to keep finding someone else to target for our own guilt until there’s no one left to hate… or blame. Then we’ll just go back to hating ourselves again. Please… let that sink in.” Stephen started pacing again. “The simple truth is that none of us feel like we deserve to be alive… and we don’t. We’re no better than the people who perished. But that’s not our fault. We didn’t start this thing. But we have a responsibility to do better… ‘be’ better people than we were before. We shame the memory of all those we’ve lost by our hateful actions down here… in the dark. But that has to stop right now! We’ve had to fight for every breath in this new world… and we will continue to fight! But we will die like this! We will fail all those people we lost… again… if we can’t figure out how to fight together… and not against each other!”

Several in the community voiced their agreement.

“Preach the truth, brother!” Logan yelled with an encouraging nod.

Stephen smiled at the big man. Then his thoughts drifted elsewhere, his face twisting into a frown, his eyes–faraway. “Now… there have been crimes committed against our community. People have died. That can’t be ignored. But we can show leniency since we, ourselves, have all done bad things to stay alive when we were alone ‘out there’. Things we’re not proud of. Unspeakable things that we left topside when we came down here.” Stephen raised his open hands, palms forward, and continued. “Maybe your hands aren’t stained with blood by actually killing someone else in the name of survival… or maybe they are. Maybe you fought someone in desperation for that last can of food which would have fed a hungry child for one more day. Or maybe you let someone, a stranger perhaps, die, when you could have helped, but chose to save yourselves. Either way, the stains remain on our hands.”

Stephen lowered his arms, let his shoulders slouch, and released a tired breath. “When everything went bad on that first night, I was at my job, hiding from my wife when I should’ve been home. To this day, I don’t know if she’s alive or dead. The kids at the boarding school I taught at… they started to change… and attack each other. I was terrified. I ran to one of the dorms to find a particular student. Her name was Nicole Howard… someone I care about very much.”

Gina and Meredith stared wide-eyed at the school teacher.

“Don’t do it, Stephen,” came the voice of the dead girl from behind him.

Stephen refused to turn around.

“If you tell them about us… I’ll never forgive you… and neither will they.”

Stephen gripped the sides of the podium, trying to find the strength to continue.

“I mean it, Stephen,” she said, in a voice that sounded grave. “Hate me if you must, but don’t you dare tell them about our love! I will go away and never come back if you do.”

Stephen closed his eyes and fought through the pain. “I found several girls… slaughtered. But none of them was Nicole. I ended up in the kitchen. I grabbed a large knife to defend myself when I heard… violent sounds… from upstairs. Someone put a hand on my shoulder and startled me. I turned around and swung that knife, thinking only about those slaughtered girls… and believing I was about to join them. I stabbed my attacker in the eye… and it was Nicole.” Stephen wiped tears from his face.

Several members of the community were stunned.

Both Meredith and Gina were also crying.

“I hated myself for a very long time for that day… and everything that led up to that moment… and I have never forgotten the look on that girl’s face, that living girl’s face, when I turned and murdered her with that knife because I was so afraid for my own life… that I didn’t realize… that I didn’t recognize that Nicole was just a terrified girl, and not the monster I first thought she was, who was just trying to reach out to me… another living soul… and I stabbed her in the face and watched her die.”

The room was filled with silence.

Stephen managed to look up. “So you see… I’m a murderer, too. Some of you will say that it was an accident, but if the law had still been in place then, I’d be in prison for killing that girl, accidentally or not. I’ve lived with that burden ever since the beginning… and this is the first time I’ve shared my dark secret… with anyone.”

“Please… Stephen,” Nicole pleaded from behind him. “I can’t bear this. They don’t need to know anything else… please… stop.”

Stephen was troubled by the faintness in Nicole’s voice. He almost turned around, but was afraid he’d find her standing there, looking ghastly like she was on that dreadful day, with a knife sticking out of her eye. He wouldn’t be able to hold it together if he saw her like that now.

“I mean it, my love. You have to stop now. You’re killing me all over again!”

Stephen wanted to turn around and embrace the dead woman… but that was impossible. His emotions were getting the best of him. Pull it together, Eddington. You’ve made your point. Move on.

He took a deep breath. “I’m glad I shared that with all of you. I’m a different man than I was at the beginning. But I still live with that death on my conscience… as I will until the day that I die… but I have forgiven myself for it, because I know that Nicole would want me to move on… to live and honor her memory by being a better man, a man not driven by fear, like I was on that day. I know that she has forgiven me… don’t ask me how… I just know.”

From behind him, Nicole went silent. Stephen started to panic, wondering if that was the last time he would ever hear from her again. Nicole?

He soldiered on. “So… my big secret is out. If you all want to remove me from command for the accidental killing of the poor girl… then I’ll understand. I only share it now to be as transparent as I can be… and to make you all realize that none of us are guiltless in this crazy world. We’ve all done horrible things to stay alive… or to keep others alive. That’s why I believe mercy trumps hatred… more now, than it ever has before. It has to… or we’re doomed.”

Stephen waited for the crowd to turn on him. Surprisingly, he was received by sad eyes and tears. Several in the community couldn’t even meet his gaze, choosing to stare down at their feet, possibly reliving their own personal hells from those beginning days when lawlessness and desperation ruled… and all actions were justified in the name of that fickle and compassionless god, ‘Survival’.

Stephen needed to take advantage of this vulnerable moment to address the rest. He looked toward Lannister and said, “Carl Lannister, you effectively poisoned many members of our community into believing that a hostile takeover was the only action left to resolve difference in our community. I know for a fact after talking with Logan that many of the men you swayed already regret joining your resistance, and like myself and others, they’re just thankful that no one else, except for your man Sabastian, got killed. That’s very fortunate for you and the men standing with you today.”

Carl looked up at Stephen, not expecting to be called out, and then he met several angry eyes glaring back at him, many from the men who had followed him. He didn’t know what to say.

“I didn’t have you or the others brought here to call you out in front of the community,” Stephen continued. “I still consider all of you part of this community, regardless of your poor choices. That’s mostly why everyone is here today. Right or wrong, we are all part of this community… and we need to learn how to work together.”

Carl simply nodded.

“I hold you responsible for the attempted murder of Meredith, Megan, and Dr. Cooper. I know you only gave Sabastian the order to kill what this community has shamefully called, ‘The Wasteland Witch’ and her pet zombie, and that Sabastian’s attempt on Dr. Cooper was his own choice, but I still hold you responsible for all three. We can’t just assassinate people we don’t understand. You thought you were doing the community a favor. Get rid of the witch and the dead thing, and they’ll thank you for it. As long as they didn’t know how you did it… who cares, right?” He turned toward the community and addressed them, “Right? Just kill whoever makes us afraid down here… and you’re all fine with it.”

The community didn’t know how to respond.

“Well… that shit’s going to change right now. My next action as acting leader will be one of mercy… because we need each other.” He turned back to the traitors. “I hereby pardon all the men who chose to join Lannister’s rebellion on the condition that they no longer serve in a security position in any way, restricting their access from certain areas of the compound. Furthermore, each man has a choice to either join us as constructive members of the community… or you can leave immediately.”

Many in the community looked at each other, shocked by the decision.

Gina looked back down at her feet. Her face was expressionless.

“As for you, Carl Lannister. I hold you responsible for this mess. You will be held under guard until we can figure out what course of action to take… but I’ll be pushing for a trial by your peers.” He turned to the community. “Are these actions fair? Merciful? Will you accept them? Or will we be just like them and continue their brand of hatred until there’s no one left to call a community?”

After talking among themselves, the community reluctantly agreed.

And now comes the hard part. Stephen turned toward Gina. “Gina, it pains me to say this, but your actions, although not as widespread as Lannister’s, are equally unacceptable.”

Gina refused to meet Stephen’s gaze. “Stephen,” she said. “I trust your judgment. I’ll do whatever you want.”

“Do you deny the charges against you? Did you take Brannigan and Tyler outside under the pretense of banishment… just to execute them?” Stephen hoped she would refute the charges, forcing a trial… and a little more time to decide what to do about it.

Gina looked up at Stephen. The pitiful expression on her face was hard to endure. She finally said, “No, Stephen. I don’t deny what I did. I took those men topside… to kill them.”

This got the crowd stirred up again.

Stephen immediately searched for Tony who was surprisingly absent.

Gina continued. “I did it fearing they would come back and harm us at another time… and I wouldn’t allow them to come back, even when they asked for… mercy. What I did was wrong, but at the time, I thought I was doing it for the greater good of the community. They got a girl killed on my watch. She was just trying to break up their fight, and died for it. It’s hard to know what to do when people die down here. I tried to make examples out of them. And that’s all I’ve left to say about it.” She looked down again.

Many in the community raised their voices against her, calling her a murderer among other things.

Stephen swallowed hard. Shit! They’ll want justice for those deaths… and I’ll have to provide it. “Gina, since you admit your… crimes… I have no choice but to hold you until we have decided as a community how best to answer those crimes. As for the matter of your… breakdown… in the hall outside the hatch, I’ve decided to pardon your actions based on your injuries. You were feverish and not yourself.”

Gina simply nodded.

Stephen turned to the crowd. “We will have a trial for both Lannister and Gina. Are these actions fair?”

Again, they grumbled a bit, but decided Stephen’s actions were acceptable.

“And now for the rest of it,” Stephen said, regaining their attention. “I’ve already spoken with Meredith about removing Megan from the clinic. She takes full responsibility for violating the rules and placing the community in jeopardy, even though Megan was drugged and supervised by Dr. Cooper. She assures me she will never do it again. In fact, she was on her way to securing Megan in another location until Sabastian’s attempt on their lives. Which leads me to the real crime. If Meredith hadn’t felt that her life was threatened by this community to begin with… she never would’ve attempted to move Megan. So I hold this community responsible for the unfair discrimination and hatred of one of our own. She has had to endure your contempt for far too long! I am a first-hand witness to what this remarkable woman has done for people, at the risk of her own life, to bring us this far. None of us would be alive right now if she hadn’t done the things she did to protect people… whether you or I understand it, or not.” He stared defiantly into all their faces and finished. “I will not tolerate any further prejudices against any member of this community for being… different! Meredith is not a witch, or a demon, or a zombie-lover, or any of the other horrid names I’ve heard her called! She is a woman who deserves our respect! And I will fight for it with everything in my power from here on out! Are we clear on this?”

More reluctant nods.

“ARE WE CLEAR?”

They added a little more enthusiasm this time.

Stephen found Meredith.

She was wiping tears from her eyes.

Dr. Cooper put his arms around her and smiled.

When did that happen? Stephen wondered, staring at the odd couple. He felt shame for not spending enough time with his old friend… or fighting for her much sooner.

“Now, it’s been a long damn day,” Stephen said. “Let’s get some rest and we’ll talk again tomorrow. I’ve heard many of your concerns down here over the past few months and I will address each and every one of them.” He pointed up toward the ceiling. “We will start with how we’re going to get everyone out of this damn grave now that winter is over! There’s a much bigger world than this, one we can make for ourselves… and we need to get topside and start finding it!”

This was met with standing applause and roars of approval.

Gina looked up at Stephen with a mixture of horror and surprise.

She raised her voice for all to hear, “You have no idea what’s up there, Stephen! The world is dead, we’ve seen it. This grave, as you say, is our best shot.”

Stephen nodded at her with respect. “Yes, Gina, you may be right. But I know that death has already found us down here. We can’t hide from it any longer. Better to die with the sun in our faces, than living down here in the darkness, cowering in the shadows of fear.” He then looked out at all their faces and finished, “It’s not enough to merely survive. It’s time to live.”

The community roared their approval.

Stephen felt empowered by their enthusiasm as he raised his arms and smiled.

Gina lowered her head and closed her eyes.

~~~

Next Episode 37-1

Previous Episode 36-6

~~~

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 36-7: Uprising” Copyright © 2017 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Four: Phantoms. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    The last few chapters were, as always, masterfully written.

    I cannot imagine how far you must have thought up the stories of these characters initially, and how much you have had to develop between certain points or ideas afterwards. One thing is certain: You are achieving a high state of flow in your writing.

    The last thing I will say is that I am sure many of us wish that our real world leaders today were half as capable, or as insightful as Stephen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sscherr says:

      Thanks for the encouraging comments and for reading this long tale. Yeah, I’m rooting for Stephen. At the start, he was a lost soul. Now, he may just have found his calling in the apocalypse. Time will tell ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. alikolino says:

    we all ran, hid… survived… in any we could.
    *we all ran, hid… survived… in any way we could.

    Keep up the good work, like always.

    Like

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