Future Cry of Defiance
They checked in at the rental office in the main cabin. Once inside, they saw one couple checking in before them. The woman's boonies hat tilted toward the older man. She looked fit in her white halter top, and a sarong wrapped around her hips over her bathing suit. Her toes, encased in sandals, flexed on the cherry wood floor. The older gentleman wore a black T-shirt, camouflage cargo shorts, and leather shoes with white ankle socks was with her. Both carried bright fishing gears. The spinners weighed down the net webbings on the man’s pants. They both boarded the Perpetual, a flatboat with an engine powered by water jets from the lake itself. It peeled away with a quiet roar, the gentleman bent over the steering handle as if he was a fighter jet pilot.
When it was their turn, they showed their identifications as Nancy and Jack Trails. The girl whose idenification shows as Nancy spoke and paid for both while Jack shuffled away to look out the sliding glass door at the parking lot. Then the clerk wished them a pleasant stay.
After brunch in the main room, they hiked to their paltry cabin. Once in, they took a shower together, playfully and gently pushing each other out from the spray. They laughed at how the bedroom, the kitchen, and the bathroom were all in one small room. Dressed, she went for a hike back to the head office to lay on the lounge chair on the roomy deck. He left to do errands for the Friends of the Shepard Club.
On the grassy pathway to the main cabin, she watched a gang of youths carousing on the water. The shiny surface mirrored the cumbersome clouds and their skirting figures. They rode hoverboards, one woman doing an incredible handstand, the feet above and below, sticking out like a forked flesh twig with a blue ribbon wrapped around it, skimming across the still water.
Wishing she could be like them, she reached the lounge area. On one chair, she got off her swollen feet and rubbed lotion on her thicken body. She put her husband’s number octa hat on and took a long nap.
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“Victoria Moss-Epting, I am agent 1022 from O.S.H.I.S. Open your eyes and look at me.”
The voice, strong and demanding. Nancy wanted a fried peanut butter, bacon, banana sandwich cooked in butter and brown sugar. And something that’s not a pizza but tastes like one.
One of the twins shifted and settled on her bladder. The other pressed against her pelvis. She tried to squeeze her legs together, but that only turned her on even when she let a loud one fly from beneath her dress. Ugh, Snnnck! Too funny and she couldn’t squelch down a giggle.
Her eyelids opened and blinked at the eclipsed form. A heady scent of sweat from the body and the earthy smell of the agent’s feet encased in shower shoes wafted. She looked upward at the tip of the form’s head and saw no boonies hat. The agent wore a one-piece bathing suit, usually reserved for Olympians and a wicker handbag was tucked under her arm. She also had a pleasant smile fixed on her face.
“I’m Nancy Trails. I’m sorry, what can I do for you?”
She heaved herself up on her lounge bed and lifted the bill of his cap for a better look.
It was that young woman on the hoverboard earlier in the afternoon.
“Victoria Moss-Epting, I am agent 1022, O.S.H.I.S. on an emissary to present a proposal.” She reached into her purse and presented her credentials: Johnette Banaszynski, Agent 1022, Office of Standard Health Investigative Service. The photo showed a fresh-faced youthful woman scowling at the camera.
“Save the humorous remark, Victoria.” The pleasant smile never left her face.
The agent bent to place her handbag on the deck. The handbag sagged open to show a folded towel, lotion, platelets of clean folded clothes like shorts, T-shirt, form-fitting leather-gel sneakers, and socks. Nestled in all that, Victoria could see a steel pole shaped like a flashlight handle.
It was a Gamma stick that could emit soundwaves to a focal point. Press a hidden slot, it will hum. Point it at someone’s head, that person’s brain fixin’ to boil. In a pinch, it can be used as a sap.
The agent shifted, letting her right hand dangle over her handbag. Victoria wondered how fast the agent could move if she try to flee. Probably amazingly faster than a pregnant girl can ever lumber.
“So…what’s next? Do you put me into plastic straps, read me my rights, and place me in pregnant jail?” Victoria tried to retort.
“Sentence is nine months to births.” The agent smirked in sympathy. The agent straightened, and her smile turned pleasant again. She spoke firmly.
“Here’s how it going to go. You are to go back to your cabin, collect your belonging, and I will have another agent drive you to the Women’s Care Center. There, you and your counselor will explore all utilitarian options, including the termination of your pregnancy if they are verified as disabled. Any questions?”
“Can we stop somewhere for a pizza steak sandwich? I haven’t eaten since brunch.”
“Certainly. Any more questions?”
“Yeah…how did…” She waved a hand at herself and then back at the agent.
The agent pointed at the locket around Victoria’s neck.
“The National Security Agency received a ping when you ordered that online to be 3D printed back at the B’nai Ha Agam temple. They passed it on to our headquarters in Missouri. Now go.”
She collected her beach bag and walked away from the agent.
On her way back to their cabin, she saw him doll-sized in the distance. Amidst several youths in camping gears who were going in the main cabin to check-in. He smiled in recognition. She subtly made a slashing motion under her chin and lowered her head away from him. He kept his smile in place as she crossed her fingers next to her hip. She kept her hand away from the agent’s view for the letter R. After she showed him the letter U, he stepped back, bumped into a toddler wearing a tiny Green Lantern shirt and diapers. His attention moved to the toddler. He straightened the two-year-old and pressed the child into the direction of the mother who wore a heavy backpack. The mother squatted and clapped her hands at the baby. The toddler ran back to her. Jack, her husband, said something inaudible to the father. He strode away in the opposite direction. She didn’t have to show him the letter N. She gazed at the calm of the lake, then looked backward at where she had come from. The agent, who had followed at a respectful distance stood near the main cabin, her arms crossed.
ME WATCH YOU, the agent signed.
Victoria continued back to their cabin.
After collecting all her meager things and packing them in her suitcase, she opened the door to find the agent waiting there. The agent had changed into the clothes from the wicker handbag, but she still smelled. Nancy/Victoria lugged her suitcase outside, still wearing the cap. The agent took the suitcase from her.
The agent held out her hand toward the 2100 KIA Blunt car. Through the side window, a seated form waited.
“His name is Niles Garcia. He will drive you first to East Period restaurant for dinner. Then to the Woman Center.” The agent said, escorting her to the car. “Nope, the back seat. I’ll put the suitcase in the trunk.”
She got in the back seat, and the door smoothly slid shut after her. The agent stuck her head in and while talking to Niles, Victoria buckled up and pushed the button for the electric window. All the agent said was “I think I saw him going the other way so…” The sliding glass paused, giving the agent time to rear her head back before it completely shut off the agent’s face. She had been talking about searching for members of the Shepard Club.
“Not nice,” she heard the other agent said. The silhouetted profile moved toward the back where Victoria can hear the trunk opening clunk then shutting. There was the thump on the roof and they were on their way.
Niles’ brown eyes twinkled at her in the rearview mirror.
“Victoria Moss-Epting, I’m agent Niles Garcia. Let’s make this easy on us. How about some music?”
“How about not?”
His hand moved down to turn on the radio and turn the dial to a country music station. Agent Garcia’s fingers drummed on the steering wheel, and he sang along with the radio. It was a song about a girl who must decide to sell everything she has or have her horse with the broken leg put down:
Every hour, every cent, every space
All that she worked so hard to create
For sweet Miles Given
Who’s trying to go far
Who’s dying too hard…
Every power, every sense, every wait
And the vet says will be a waste
For sweet Miles Given
Who’s trying to go far
Who’s dying too hard
To go all the way
It will take all she had
As the singer’s voice emoted to a squall, Victoria drifted off to sleep again.
She found herself being trapped in the ancient Graviton at a local amusement park. Her dark dream needlessly added about forty Simians creatures. They were nailed to the curve of the padded wall, some through their limbs and others through their bellies. In the middle of the steel circular floor, a crowbar waited. She crawled toward it as the room vibrated. Once she reached the finger-length-sized tool, she planned to either use it to pry their agonized bodies off the wall or bash their piteous small skulls in. A voice broke in her dream.
“Whoa, whoa, watch it, assault in progress, oh they bracket me, yes send all help, please you copy—"
Then the room spun, gravitational force hurling her backward against the wall.
Later in an unknown bedroom, Adam Dunce looked down at her, his elfin features pleased. PAH WAKE!
Her husband was on the other side looking at her. He had taken his number octa hat back and now was wearing it. He was dressed like the other Deaf men, jeans and light undershirts. He carried an orange hunter vest in his other hand. He put it on for free hands to sign.
“Hi, Visoria,” he said.
Adam Dunce took over. WE FIND FINISH YOU. YOUR HUSBAND H-E-R-O LEADER. CARRY YOU OUT OF CAR. NOW YOU SAFE! IMPORTANT THEY SAFE! NOW WE HAVE YOU HAVE THEM. FUTURE CRY OF DEFIANCE.
There was something wrong with her right arm so Victoria used her left hand to communicate.
HOME. ME GO HOME.
YES HOME HERE. RIGHT. Adam signed, a wide grin on his face.
She turned to her husband. “Please, I just can’t do this.”
“Is okay, Visoria.” WE SUPPORT EACH OTHER, he signed for Adam’s benefit.
WONDERFUL! Adam said.
Still beaming, he left the room. Alone together, at last, her husband signed to her.
ME SORRY. WE MUST DO THIS. HE…THEY DO NOT GIVE US CHOICE.
She tugged harder but her right arm still was stuck. She finally shifted her head to the right. Her eyes followed upward along her right arm all the way to the bedpost and wrapped tightly around her wrist was a leather strap attached to it.